CHEFS Dinner at Poleng Lounge

This write-up is a special recap of the tablehopper CHEFS (Conquering Homelessness Through Employment in Food Service) dinner that was held on Thursday February 5th with class/session number 34. The event was generously hosted by ~POLENG LOUNGE~. A huge thank you to executive chef Tim Luym, who not only prepared the flavorful feast, but also set up a special display area with a variety of ingredients and cooking utensils from the East to show the students--so thoughtful. We are also very grateful to owner Desi, GM Chris, and the rest of the kind staff--thank you all for your gracious hospitality.

We are also so touched that Poleng Lounge offered to host the entire evening, gratis. Dear readers who donated in the past, I wanted to let you know part of your donated funds went toward some food costs and staff gratuity that I wanted to cover that night, but this means I still have $1,100 to apply to another outing! I am hoping to arrange a trip to a farm and a meal for the next CHEFS session this spring.

Thank you all for making these evenings and events possible--they are so memorable for all involved, and the exposure to unique ingredients and preparations inspires the class immensely.

We had our own private table set up in the back private room, and chef Tim explained each course and the various techniques and ingredients. Below is the menu, with some helpful notations provided by chef Tim, FYI. The students impressively and valiantly tried everything, trotter and tongue included!

CHEFS Dinner at Poleng Lounge
February 5th, 2009


Hiyyako (cold tofu appetizer) with ginger, negi, and grated radish
The use of soy in Asian cooking is demonstrated with this simple tofu dish with a few garnishes and soy sauce. Opens up the palate for the rest of the meal.

Filipino Lumpia Shanghai w/ atchara (pickled papaya)
A Filipino favorite and the name is derived from the Chinese.

Walu Kinilaw (ceviche)
Use of coconut vinegar and coconut milk with some chilis make this the fisherman's inventive dish, showing the resourcefulness of a country utilizing the ocean's harvest.

Balinese Lemongrass Satays

The use of a rich spice paste and why Southeast Asian countries like Bali use it as a staple to a lot of their food. Use of lemongrass as well.

Adobo Chicken Wings
A modern take on traditional Filipino adobo, but yet the same ingredients that would essentially be put in a stewed adobo.

Madras Samosa (vegetarian)
Veggie bite with the use of curry powder and tamarind in the chutney.

Thai yellow vegetable curry infused w/ rooibos tea
Use of tea in cooking. Also making of curry pastes and overview of the spices and technique to achieve a superior curry.

Szechuan Chicken Lettuce Cups
Play on the hot and cool. Can't really go wrong with this one...

Crispy Pata (fried pigs trotter)
Filipino treat that shows how the less popular cuts of the pig are used to create goodness. Served with a garlic chili soy dip.

Lengua Estofado (beef tongue in mushroom sauce)
More on the adventurous side, recipe used by Filipinos but derived from Spain.

Baby Bok Choy Hearts

Nice greens found at the market served up with garlic, lily bulbs, shiitake mushrooms, and sauce.

Garlic Crab Noodles
A classic on the Poleng Lounge menu.

Broken Rice
We will discuss different types of rice and how the texture and starchiness is important to what it is paired with.

Bread Pudding and Ube Tapioca Bites

Calamansi Juice
Better than lemonade!

And here are the comments on the dinner from the students:

"I went to Poleng Lounge and was swept off to the Philippines in first class. It was an event that I won't soon forget." ~Michael Rose

"Like spending a day at the fair, having something wonderful at every booth but hard to remember which was the best." ~Jonathan Alexandro

"It was wonderful, a whole new experience, I almost cried. Gave me the chance to try eating what I'm not used to. Also helped me understand what they are looking for when they judge on Top Chef." ~Lisa Brady

"Deftly made and tasty, loved the fried pork trotter." ~Doug Park

"Like being in another country, if this is street food I want to be there. I left feeling really good." ~Rolf Apostolos

"An abundance of taste." ~Neal Rockett

"It was wonderful, so tasty and different from what we usually get." ~Antonia Perkins

"Good and zesty. Loved the satay on lemongrass, never had it before, it melted in my mouth." ~Lennie Spicer

"Everything was great but I got hooked on the wings adobo and didn't really want anything else." ~Jim Sandoval

"Presentation was awesome! Excellent lumpia and the very best pork I've ever had." ~Michael Goddard

"Never tried tongue before, it was delicious and different, didn't expect it to be good, helped me to be open-minded." ~Janet Ray

"Best chicken wings I've ever had. The food was 'the bomb.' Had a lot of fun." ~Allison Edney

"Great food, really tasty, I enjoyed it all. Marcia and Tim were great at explaining. The lemongrass satay was my favorite and the calamansi juice was great. Why do they call it street food? It was all very elegant." ~Antonio Amadeo-Vaz

"A compliment of the finest accord. The inspiration of a lifetime. It was pure pleasure, every morsel succulent, divine to my palate. Thank you for this worldly food experience." ~Sally Ray

If you haven't been to Poleng Lounge lately, or perhaps ever, I highly recommend you head on over and take your own tour o' tastes (and support this very thoughtful business). Thank you.

tablehopper CHEFS dinner at Poleng Lounge
1751 Fulton St.
Cross: Masonic St.
San Francisco, CA 94117

Open Tue-Sun 4pm-10pm
Late-night menu Sun-Thu 10pm-1am

Small plates $3-$15

1751 Fulton St. San Francisco
(at Masonic St.)
Timothy Luym, chef