I had a goal of trying both of DC’s Filipino restaurants in 2016. After having such a good experience at Bad Saint, I couldn’t wait to get to Purple Patch to compare and delight in more flavorful food.
Purple Patch has a very different vibe than Bad Saint. While Bad Saint is that dark, handsome mysterious boy cloaked in drama, Purple Patch is bright and cheery and eager to please (which they do, by accepting reservations). Located in a two-story row house in Mount Pleasant, this restaurant serving Filipino American food is as cute and cozy and they come. I loved all of the fresh flowers and local art on the walls.
We were in the area on a Sunday afternoon to get our dog groomed, so we decided to stop in for brunch. I started with a standard bloody Mary, while Tom had the bacon-infused variety, both very solid.
We were the last brunch patrons of the day, having had a minor snafu with the groomers that caused us to push back our reservation, so we ordered quickly and decisively. Up first, a side of papaya salad because it’s one of my favorite dishes.
Compared to a Thai or Laotian papaya salad, this Filipino version was far less spicy than I was expecting. But what it lacked in spice it made up for with tangy freshness. I’m not sure I’d go out of my way to order it again, but it was a nice and light start to the meal.
For entrees, we went both savory and sweet. First up was the tapsilog, cured beef with two fried eggs, garlic fried rice, tomatoes and scallions.
This is the type of breakfast I love, straight forward and filling. The rice seemed more like plain white rice than fried rice, which may have had to do with us being there at the end of service. Or I could just be clueless about rice. Either way, I enjoyed this dish.
The real star of the meal, however, was the ube (purple yam) pancakes with lechon kawali (crispy fried pork) and macapuno (coconut) syrup.
This was incredible. The pancakes were dense, but still soft and fluffy and the coconut syrup was out of this world. I don’t typically order pancakes at breakfast because they never keep me full, but since they were made with purple yams they definitely had more staying power. I liked the pork, but would probably order the pancakes on their own next time, with extra syrup, which I could quite definitely eat by itself with a spoon.
We rushed out to allow the restaurant to start transitioning to dinner service, but were wowed by this unassuming restaurant.
I overheard the owner, Patrice Cleary, talking to a table about the hard work she put into opening the restaurant and her desire for Washingtonians to experience authentic Filipino cuisine. Cleary uses her mother’s recipes for some of the dishes, and the restaurant’s passion for and commitment to educating diners on these lesser known foods shows in the presentation of each dish.
I definitely need to return to Purple Patch to try their dinner offerings. My love affair with this cuisine is only just getting started.
About the Author
Kacy Kish writes for Mezze Weekly in Washington, D.C. and with our readers she shares her own international culture experiences through food, drink, while highlighting cultural events and more to check out around the DC area. Kacy also writes for her blog, Bad Sentences where you can follow her own journey through food, or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.