Beef kare-kare (beef curry stew with peanut sauce, eggplant, and string beans)Back in October, I complained about Pleasanton’s lack of high-quality food retailers. In the last couple of months there have been some positive developments on this front — first, a new Draeger’s (not in Pleasanton, but a short drive away in Blackhawk — more on this later), and then the appearance of an intriguing sign in the Bernal Plaza shopping center near Bernal Ave. and I-680: Pacific Gourmet & Market.

It took me a while to make it over there, but I managed it a few days before their grand opening last weekend. Pacific Gourmet is a family-owned Filipino market which also serves prepared food. There’s a good selection of canned and packaged food, including what I’m told are “essentials” from the islands, and also fresh and frozen meat and seafood.

Lechón (roast suckling pig) and lumpia (spring rolls)The kitchen turns out an impressive set of hot food for take-out or eating at one of the pleasant tables. There’s a rotating menu of main dishes including chicken or pork adobo, chicken or pork afritada, kare-kare and several other beef dishes, fried pompano and tilapia and fish sinigang, and at least half a dozen others. Appetizers and small dishes include lumpia Shanghai, palabok, BBQ pork skewers, and egg rolls. And for real pork lovers, there are chicharones (cracklings) and lechón kawali (suckling pig). Breakfast is served on weekends only, and offers garlic rice and eggs with a choice of longanisa or tocino sausages, or tapa (meat strips). (Longsilog, tosilog, and tapsilog for you aficionados.)

I bought enough for several meals — lumpia, lechón, pork adobo, and kare-kare, with a bag of chicharones for snacking. Everything was delicious. (It’s probably even better eaten right there on the spot.) Worth checking out, even if you’re not familiar with Filipino food — the owners are very friendly and will gladly explain what’s what and suggest good combinations.

Pacific Gourmet & Market, 6654 Koll Center Parkway, Suite 330 (facing Bernal Ave.), Pleasanton. Tel. 925 417 1120. M-F 11-7, Sat 9-7, Sun 9-6.

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