Return to Bad Saint

*Full disclosure: I wrote this three months ago but was too lazy to finish and post it. New year…. new me?

After my date at Bad Saint, I spent a lot of time thinking about the food there and less time thinking about the company from that evening. So that seemed like the great place to celebrate my three year anniversary with my current roommate, Jason. Three years is a long time to be living with someone, and it is an especially long time to be living with a secret roommate that my parents know nothing about, so this seemed like an extra special milestone to celebrate. Also, Jason happens to be the most unemotional human being I have ever come across (I mean, research agrees with me here <– this is a joke, Jason is not dead inside), while I am definitely exceedingly high on the emotional spectrum, so I just like to have any excuse to be super sentimental around him.

I did the same thing as my first trip to Bad Saint: I ran up the hill to Columbia Heights during my evening work out and dropped by the restaurant around 5:45pm. Genevieve, the beautiful and gracious host, took my information and said she estimated around a 7/7:30pm seating. Since Jason is not really into “feelings” (his facial expressions are a mix between horror and anxiety when I cry over a guy to him), I thought it would be a wonderful touch if I handmade some sweet, loving signs to decorate our dishes. I handed them to Genevieve, who also knows Jason, and she agreed these would be a nice touch for our romantic anniversary meal together.

The two roomies headed back to Bad Saint around 7:15pm, hopping off of the bus just as I got the text from Bad Saint notifying us that our table was ready. We were seated at the back counter and very quickly sent our order to the waiter since we were both starving. To start, the kitchen sent us some house-made shrimp crackers. These were light and airy, just like the shrimp crackers we used to eat growing up. I love the crackling in my mouth, and the feeling of my tongue sticking to the chip as the air is released (eat one and you’ll know what I am talking about!). Our first order was the Ginisang Ampalaya: bitter melon, preserved black bean and farm egg. Like I said when I first experienced Bad Saint during their pop-up last winter, I usually do not like bitter melon, but the dish here makes me want to start a fan club for the vegetable.

Next up was the Inihaw na panga ng tambakol: the tuna jaw dish that was out the first time I ate at Bad Saint. The grilled fish is incredibly moist, tender and fatty. I loved the salt served alongside of the dish, although my blood pressure levels probably did not appreciate it as much.

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Of course, we had to order the Tapa, especially since I had fantasized about it an inappropriate amount since the last time I was there. I could smell the garlic rice well before the plate hit the counter, and my heart started racing in anticipation. It was every bit as incredible as the first time.

We also ordered the Pancit bihon guisado: a heaping plate of sauteed rice noodles, wood ear mushrooms, bean sprouts, and squash. The tender, thin noodles, the creamy mushrooms and the crispy vegetables made it an incredibly filling dish. The best part of this though, was the arrival of the sappy anniversary signs. I burst into laughter, looked over at Jason who was also laughing (that’s right, folks, he was EMOTING) and took out his phone to snap a picture. I MADE HIM FEEL SOMETHING. Even without the amazing food, this meal was already a win.

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After we cleared our entrees, I was feeling pretty stuffed, but Jason insisted that we order the bilo bilo. I don’t have to persuaded too hard when it comes to dessert so that was fine with me. The purple rice in coconut cream is topped with puffed rice crisps, and so rich and satisfying. After a couple of bites I was completed stuffed and threw in the towel. At that moment, our wonderful server presented us with a dish of caramelized rice cakes from the kitchen. It was such a sweet gesture, but I could manage one tiny bite of the delicious coconut flavored cake before I was convinced my stomach was going to explode.

Overall, this was another fantastic meal that made me 100% sure that my amazing first experience there was no fluke. I found the restaurant as charming and beautiful as the first time, and look forward to my next visit back (hopefully after my sodium levels have decreased slightly).

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