My friend threw me this hypothetical and somewhat theoretical question: What would my first meal be in heaven (assuming of course certain religious affiliation and that I'd be awake and conscious and hungry when I got there. Plus do our souls need earthy food up there?)?
After much cogitating (or is it cogitation? More likely agitation of the brain.) I tossed out the lavish buffet, or the gourmet tasting menu. Instead, I chose comfort food, which to me means breakfast. Almusal, breakfast, is my comfort zone, where I see myself in pjs, tousled hair, a good book, and a looong morning ahead of me with no bothersome work or stress in sight. This would also take place in a white cottage, overlooking the ocean. After a few more zoned out drooling minutes, I chose the ff to be on my list for heavenly breakfast food:
1. Fried rice, heavy on the garlic, rock salt and that slightly burnt or perhaps better described as caramelized rice. You can't do fried rice without cooking it first, then letting it cool, overnight is best. So fried rice means patience or foresight, cooking enough quantities so that the next morning you can dump it into a hot wok filled with garlic, some butter and oil, but even better is the oil from pork adobo, which leads me to ....
2. Pork adobo. What did you expect, banana pancakes? I like mine of the oily but saucy variety, the kind where you know the cook had enough soy sauce and vinegar, bay leaves and peppercorns, plus a good cut of pork, stewed hours until the pork bits are nicely soft and melt in your mouth good. Again, adobo tastes better a day or two after it's been cooked, so this breakfast isn't going to happen without some heavy planning. Heaven should be the right place for it.
3. However, I realized that I'm more a fish person and what I sometimes crave for at breakfast and don't always get is a good sizeable serving of crispy dilis or dangit whichever is available. Where I go for my crispy dilis moments is Via Mare, where they have a breakfast plate of fried garlic rice, crispy dilis (and an small dish of spicy vinegar) and fried egg.
4. And who could forget the egg when it comes to breakfast. When eggs were created (probably in some heavenly or utopian environment) the egg maker must have looked at it and said "thou shalt be breakfast food" and so it was. It is the perfect food, lots of nutrition, and tasty when cooked right or with the proper accessories. Everyone has their way of eating a fried or soft-boiled or poached egg (my favorite ways of cooking an egg in order of preference). My way is a throwback to my childhood, two eggs, sunnyside up, with a runny yolk to cut into the rice, spreading its golden goodness into the garlicky, slightly salty and oily rice. That alone is worth the price of dying of clogged arteries. Add some tiny chillies for a zing on the tongue, with a splash of soysauce if the rice isn't salty enough.
To go with this medley, I'd choose two beverages: a freshly squeezed glass of orange juice, pulp please. Yes, it's not true blue pinoy, but OJ transcends national borders. And to make the meal complete, a large cup of grainy, dark, bold tsokolate ah/eh/i/o/u. Thick and viscous, leaves a trail down my palate, and enough remnants to make me hungry for more a few hours later.
That would be my heavenly meal. My almusal, and my earthly delight.