The Cost of Caldereta

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How much trouble are you willing to go through just to taste a favorite dish? Here’s my story.

During our last visit to Northern California, the moment our plane landed at San Francisco Airport, the first thing my wife and I had in mind was to eat authentic Filipino food. Knowing that the Bay area is a hub for Filipinos and caters to the Filipino taste, we googled in our smart phone the list of Filipino restaurants around the area right after we got into our rental car.

We were not disappointed. There were several Filipino restaurants nearby and the nearest one in the airport was Goldilocks. We entered Goldilocks into our phone’s GPS and off we go.

However after several minutes of driving around in circles, the GPS told us that we have reached our destination but still needed to walk the rest of the way. It finally dawned on us the the Goldilocks restaurant that we were trying to go to was inside the airport terminal. So close and yet so far!

We then chose another Filipino restaurant to drive to, but we promised ourselves that when we fly back home, we will stop at the Goldilocks restaurant inside the airport terminal before we hop on our plane.

The restaurant that we ended up going to was a local restaurant in Daly City, a few miles away from the airport. Our tastebuds were satisfied and we had our fill with the bulalo and the kare-kare that we ordered. We also ordered sago at gulaman for our drink and top off our meal with bibingka for desert.

We stayed in San Francisco for a day (see photos from previous post) and jaunted around the “city by the bay,” and we even rode the historic and iconic cable car (short video below). But the reason of our travel to California was to attend a conference in Monterey, which was 120 miles south of San Francisco. The drive was more than 2 hours, but it could be scenic though if you drive through Route 1, also known as the Pacific Coast Highway. And that’s what we did.

The lodging and the food was provided for free in that conference that we attended. The food was plentiful, delicious, and healthy. But it was not Filipino food.

After the weekend conference, we drove back to San Francisco Airport. We gave ourselves ample time so we could stop by Goldilocks before our flight home.

Once we checked-in and dropped off our checked-in bags, we went through airport security. After we were inside the secured area of the airport terminal, we learned that Goldilocks restaurant was located in terminal 1, while we were in terminal 2 which was the location of the gate where our flight would depart. The bad news was these 2 terminals were not connected at all!

We had to exit terminal 1 to get to terminal 2 which involved a fair distance of walking. This also meant we went through airport security again to enter terminal 1, and we had to take our shoes off, our jackets, and went through scans again, not to mention the long line we had to navigate just to get through security. We knew all along that we would need to go through this same tedious process when we go back to terminal 2 to catch our plane.

But what does a hungry Filipino expat do? When the hankering for a certain Filipino food summons you, you need to answer it regardless of all the hurdles you needed to clear, even going through airport security 3 times just to taste Goldilocks beef caldereta. If I have to cross 7 mountains or 7 rivers I might do it too.

Was it worth the trouble? Definitely. I just wish we could savor it a little slower and a little longer, but time was not on our side. Yet it satisfied the craving of this hungry Pinoy expat.

Goldilocks at San Francisco Airport (photo taken with an iPhone)

Did I mention also that we missed our flight? Yes we did! However we were able to re-booked on the next flight which was 2 hours later from our original scheduled flight.

So what’s the cost of tasting caldereta? You tell me.


Extra: Here’s a short clip of our cable car ride going through a hilly street in San Francisco.


  1. Wow! You are hardcore also Doc! When I was stationed in Rock Island Illinois I would either take the 3-3 n 1/2 hour drive to Chicago just to go to Seafood City to get my fill of pinoy food. I also found a a place called pinoy cafe at New Bo Market in Cedar Rapids Iowa and a Lolas fine kitchen in Des Moines Iowa. Worth the drive? Yes indeed. 🙂

    1. I have eaten at Lola’s several times. Though I cannot say it’s really Filipino food perse, rather a fusion of Filipino and Pakistani cuisine. I am not saying it’s not delicious, just not the food I know I grew up with.

      1. I agree doc…the reason I had went there was because it was on the top 20 of Filipino restaurants nationwide in a magazine I read. The trek to Chicago was worth it each time I went. I found the one in Cedar Rapids while driving through.

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