Filipino Home Cooking
Mercel's Bakeshop moved out of the tiny room crammed with boxes she was in, and into a new place down the street with more space and nicer decor. Same great food, and a lot more variety - or maybe she had everything before, but now that she has a printed menu I'm discovering more.
Filipino food is varied, with a mix of influences from China, Spain, America and other Asian countries. There are plenty of dishes that can be appreciated by the less adventurous, and more than enough to satisfy the person looking for something different.
Adobo is probably the best known Filipino dish, chicken or pork cooked in vinegar, soy sauce and fresh garlic. Mercel's is tender, moist and has plenty of flavor.
If you like organ meats - and I love them - this is the place for you! Papaitan is a slightly vinegary goat tripe stew that is absolutely delicious. Another favorite organ meat dish is Bopis, a spicy stew made out of sautéed pork heart in tomatoes, chilis and onions.
As you might guess from the name, Mercel is also a baker. Her cakes are fantastic, light, creamy and not too sweet. She makes a lot of traditional Filipino sweets too.
8500 49th St N, Pinellas Park, FL 33781
Proboscidian, I am glad you wrote Mercel's up. I have been meaning to do so but just haven't gotten around to it. A few of us went a month ago to the new location and had a great meal. We loved the Sisig (fried pig ears with an egg on top), the Papaitan, and the Kare-Kare (beef, ox tail, tripe and vegetables in peanut gravy). I have been back twice since to get my Sisig fix. I love the place but have a couple of caveats. First, you got it exactly right with the designation "home cooking." It is evident that a tremendous amount of care goes into making these dishes but that happens on its own time frame. Second, some of the vegetable dishes do have bonus meat. Mixed vegetables yesterday came with pork belly, great for me (don't change a thing Mercel!) but less so for my vegan wife who ordered the dish.