Walter Manzke and wife/chef Margarita Manzke have created a Cali-French culinary wonderland in Los Angeles with Republique, the ambitious brasserie they run with Bill Chait’s Sprout Restaurant Group. Across the Pacific Ocean, they’ve carved out an alternate niche with Wildflour Café + Bakery, which they run with Margarita’s Manila based family. This growing venture has necessitated regular trips overseas. Meaning Walter Manzke has enjoyed many bowls of arroz caldo, Filipino style rice porridge, in the Philippines Airlines lounge.
Manzke’s version, which will soon resurface for weekend brunch, stars Cook Pigs pork on many levels. Let’s start with the boiled jasmine rice, which floats in rich pork stock. Next comes thick slices of salt-cured pork belly and bits of plucked pig feet and head meat. A crispy Nancy’s Orchard duck egg, which cooks a la plancha, unleashes more richness in the form of bright yellow yolk. The stock also touts fish sauce, onion, garlic and ginger. Up top, Manzke layers more texture and flavor with scallion shavings, crunchy fried garlic shavings, and a dollop of Huy Fong Foods sambal oelek chile sauce. In the Philippines, he’d provide calamansi. In L.A. Manzke props a lime on the rim of the bowl to squeeze into the porridge, theoretically cutting the richness, though you’d need a whole lot of limes to make that happen. Squeeze the lime if you like, but you should probably just grab a spoon and dive into indulgence.
Dose of Vitamin P spotlights my favorite pork dish from the previous week.