By Christine C.
Christine was born in Baguio, Philippines and immigrated to Canada with her family in 1981. She has a degree in Education and taught for 9 years before she became a Team Manager for Individual Sales at Alberta Blue Cross.
Walking into Casa Laurel was different from what we expected. Typically, you walk into a Filipino restaurant and see the TV screens playing TFC (The Filipino Channel) or words flashing across the screen from the karaoke song that’s currently being sung – most restaurants tend to be a little bit on the darker side, a little older, but definitely places that are frequently visited. When we walked into Casa Laurel, it was bright, with the sound of more current Filipino music playing in the background. The decor is warm and earthy – wooden floors, real plants on the tables, and green, leafy art on the wall formed in the shape of the map of the Philippines.
We were greeted by MJ, our server, with a warm “hello” and a welcoming smile. We were able to get seated right away on a Friday afternoon. She asked if it was our first time there (for two of us, yes, for one of us it was the second time). MJ let us know that if we had any question, we should feel free to ask her.
Upon first glance at the menu, we noticed a nice variety of traditional Filipino food like kare-kare and caldereta, alongside more modern takes on our standard fare like sisig tacos and adobo nachos. We decided on the sisig tacos to start, followed by pinakbet, dinuguan and bistek as our main courses. The sisig tacos were served in a soft shell and were covered in a sweet sauce – it was like a Filipino version of a donair. You could taste the hints of ginger infused into the sisig, with just the right amount of kick after every bite. The pinakbet was very flavorful and the perfect dish if you are a vegetarian, as you could order the dish without the pork. The pork in the dinuguan was lean and tender – it is definitely a dish that even non-Filipinos would enjoy! The bistek has the right amount of lemon taste and was my favorite of the dishes!
We finished our meal off with the traditional cakes from the Philippines, bibingka and casava. Both were served warm and reminded me of being back home. Overall, we enjoyed our culinary experience at Casa Laurel and will definitely be back for more!