Review: At My Place Café

Nikki BuchananMay 5, 2022
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Pork sisig; photography by Rob Ballard
Pork sisig; photography by Rob Ballard

This all-day mom-and-pop Filipino diner has a new East Valley address and our critic’s unabashed endorsement.

If traffic on the 101 is moving, I can make it to Flordeliza Obregon’s cheery Filipino café in 20 minutes, a calculation I make after my first few bites of her miraculous pork sisig. I could scold myself for overlooking this 5-year-old restaurant gem, which opened first in Mesa before moving to a storefront in Chandler last fall. Or I could just make up for lost time.

Sisig is the first in a series of knockout dishes that effectively convey the Philippines as a melting pot of influences from China, Malaysia and Spain. Served sizzling hot on a cast iron platter, it’s a glorious mix of cubed pork belly, garlic and green onions, topped with a raw egg, which our server directs my friend and me to stir around until it scrambles, then squirt with lemon. Lordy, this is good – the soft egg with the salty-sweet crunch of charred pork, jolted with tangy lemon.

Next up: braised chicken adobo, great hunks of juicy skinless chicken set afloat in a light broth tinted with soy sauce and brightened with vinegar. It’s nothing like the thick, chile-laced adobos of Mexico, but compelling just the same, eaten with the fragrant rice that serves as a backdrop to nearly every Filipino dish. And then there’s pancit bihon, a light spin on Chinese stir-fry combing rice noodles with chicken, fried shrimp and vegetables.

lumpia and empanadas; photography by Rob Ballard
lumpia and empanadas; photography by Rob Ballard

Silog, the Filipino breakfast staple, is offered all day in seven protein variations – because what does time have to do with something as deeply satisfying as glossy, caramelized beef (called tapsilog), garlic-fried rice and an oozy egg? A vinegar-forward sauce cuts the richness.

buko pandan; photography by Rob Ballard
buko pandan; photography by Rob Ballard

Later, a companion and I double back for wonderful pork-stuffed lumpia – spring rolls cradled in light crispy wrappers reminiscent of Vietnam’s cha gio. Meanwhile puffy, piping-hot empanadas, filled with a sweet picadillo-like beef mixture, are all butter and crunch, a revelation.

I’ve loved everything, including buko pandan, a cool, pale green dessert combining young coconut, sweetened cream and green gelatin cubes imbued with the grassy, vanilla flavor of pandan leaves. Ask me where to go for a fantastic Filipino meal and I’ll ambiguously advise: At My Place.

At My Place

Cuisine: Filipino
Contact: 3450 W. Chandler Blvd., Chandler, 480-838-1008, facebook.com/atmyplacecafeaz
Hours: M-Tu, Th-F (closed Wednesday) 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Sa-Sun 9 a.m.-7 p.m.
Highlights: Pork sisig ($15); tapsilog ($15); lumpia (“pork eggrolls,” $10); empanadas ($3.50); buko pandan ($7)

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