DC - The Game Sports Pub & Tiki on 18th
It’s Friday night in DC, and as tourists Chef Patrice has organized us to spend our Friday night out at the lively AdMo neighborhood with our host for the evening, Chef JoJo Valenzuela.
We were met by Chef JoJo’s wife on the top floor of Tiki on the 18th which is above The Game Sports Pub on 2411 18th St NW in DC. The crowd that was gathered in the outdoor patio was lively enjoying the music while having their signature cocktails and of course the food…
The first order of the evening was some ice cold San Miguel Pale Pilsen with Chef Jojo and his wife Christina while they shared with us their industry stories and how both The Game and Tiki on 18th started. I have to admit that while chatting with Jojo, I could easily relate to all the stories of the busy life in running a restaurant. He had made us try some of their signature cocktails like Zombie, which was a very popular rum drink in the Philippines from the 90’s and a few other cocktails followed after :)
The first set of dishes that arrived was the “Gambas al Ajo” with red pepper and the chicken inasal skewers which reminded me instantly of Bacolod. The flavors were on point on both starters which definitely left me craving for more, lo and behold that the next dishes that arrived are the bar classics of lumpia and sisig. 2 sets of lumpia arrived a meat and vegetarian option which both were equally as good and came with the spiced vinegar but the sisig I have to say stole the show. The chicharon as a garnish along with the egg was just the perfect balance of fat, crunch, acidity and richness that can make you eat at least 2 cups of rice, which we all did!
The crispy chicken skin followed next and this was a game changer, this appetizer was by far the best version I’ve tasted so far. The java rice bowl was next with pork belly which was a very nice representation of the classic java rice dishes that we use to eat back home growing up.
Lastly was the pancit and crisp fried chicken, which was Chef’s homage to the classic Jollibee favorite. The fried chicken was my absolute favorite and considering how big of a Jollibee fan I am, I have to admit that Tiki on 18th’s version was really good.
As the night sizzled and slowed down we ended our meal with a surprise Ube Cheesecake by Christina which was every bit as good as the other counterparts I’ve tried here in NYC. It was a long and memorable evening shared with new friends and colleagues over some booze and food along with crazy stories and laughter, the feeling of friendship and camaraderie was definitely there and I’m happy to have had the opportunity to spend the evening here with these amazing people.
2 more stops to go but before we end the weekend our next layover is to visit James Beard Award Winning Chef Tom Cunanan and Paolo Dungca’s new fast casual venture called PogiBoy… See you next week