Jesse and Jere sat across from each other at a long communal table at the newly re-opened Bourse food hall. Their plastic forks fought for the last grains of garlicky rice shimmering on a banana leaf. It was all that was left of their lunch from Lalo, a spot known for lutong bahay – Filipino comfort food.
They had shared Lalo’s lumpia Shanghai, Filipino spring rolls made with pork and lemongrass served with sweet chili sauce, and inihaw, skewers of grilled pork with atchara (pickles) over garlic rice.
“It’s phenomenal,” Jesse said. “Dangerous, actually.” Dangerous because it’s the kind of place that might derail the couple’s serious budgeting goals – they both work less than a block from the Bourse. Jesse works in HR for a telecommunication company and Jere’s the director of executive strategy at the Philadelphia Youth Network.
To save money, they typically pack lunch. Each morning, after letting out their new Dalmatian, Watson, Jere assembles peppered turkey or ham sandwiches with sharp cheddar cheese, bread and butter pickles and a small dab of mayo with a huge squirt of Dijon mixed together and spread on wheat bread.
But they’ll be back for the inihaw, Lalo’s classic that comes with a sweet story. It was the specialty dish of one of the owners’ grandfathers, who used to run a food cart right across the street from the Bourse. They used his recipe to create their version of the grilled meat with pickled vegetables. And they give a nod to him – and all their lolas and lolos (grandmothers and grandfathers) in the name.
“We remember the old Bourse,” Jere said. Smoothie King was the only draw for them back then. “This is obviously an upgrade.”
Author's note: This article and original illustration was published in Edible Philly's Winter '18 issue.