Sunday, October 26, 2008

Dinner at Jo’s Chicken Inato

After roaming around the various restaurants and the tempura, I after all decided I’d have my dinner at Jo’s Chicken Inato. I learned sometime ago that Dumaguete’s branch is the original of them all, so I thought I might as well go check it out – a plan in my head that started playing even before I had lunch at Lab-as earlier in the day. And so I walked to Jo’s.

Ground floor was quite full. Not a single seat available for even a single soul like me wishing to devour on grilled chicken. So I went up to the second level. The enclosed air-conditioned area was also full with diners. But that was fine with me as I never dreamt of staying there since I was sure I will want to smoke at my table after a heavy dinner where I cannot possibly immediately move with a heavy stomach hehe! So I opted for the “open-air” tables of the second floor that is like a terrace with 3 tables still unoccupied out of about 8 or 9.

No need to think (I thought), I will just look at the menu and I’d know what am going to order since I know how it looks – what with having eaten in a lot of Jo’s all over the Visayas and Mindanao, even include QC and Makati hehe. I just don’t remember its exact name but I know it from the pictures. And when I saw the picture, yes, foolish me, it’s the “Chicken Inato”, period!

Told the waiter I want the breast part and don’t like the atchara. When I was asked for a drink, I just hesitated for a very little bit and said SanMigLight hehe! Then he took off to get my order. I played with my cam, reviewed some shots and in just a while came my dinner. Oh, when it came, it was the thigh part. I told the waiter I ordered for the breast part BUT also quickly told him don’t touch it since I was all too eager to devour it just the same! Oh, there was atchara too! But I did not protest, I just left it where it was and immediately lifted my precious chicken hehe! Yep, I told the waiter about that smilingly and he apologized. And I was quick to revert with a “no problem, bai”!

See? Am not a difficult customer after all hehe! But I must admit, Jo’s is one of a handful of establishments in this country that can’t easily simmer or boil my blood. It’s probably the ambiance, it’s probably the friendliness of their staff, it’s probably the taste & price of their food or it’s probably all! Example: a staff accidentally banged me at Jo’s in Tagbilaran and some of the stuff he was carrying fell to the floor… instead of being mad, I caught myself even helping him pick all the pieces. Good that those were all his cleanings from a nearby table. And to think, my white shirt’s shoulder got purple wet from the left-over buko-halo that fell on me! Nope I did not fume – and recounting this later...my friends thought that was a miracle that I did not lose my easily boiling temper hehehe!

When tables were emptying where I thought the crews were not that busy, I thought of asking questions, so I called on the waitress who just by the veranda looking out unto whatever activity there was on Silliman Avenue below. When she came, I asked “who is your supervisor or manager here”. The reply was a worried, “why sir, what is the problem”. I said, just call him or her, I want to talk with him or her. Waitress obliged and called on one of the more senior ladies that didn’t look like a supervisor or manager to me hehe! I could see that I created some kind of a concern bordering on commotion amongst the crews. Their movements and their glances all had to include an obvious consciousness (or was it attention?) at where I was seated.

The portly woman came with a “good evening ser, what es de problem”. I smiled and said “wala oi, I just need to ask some questions, okay ra?”. The reply was some kind of a relieved “sus, bisaya di-ay ka ser, ok ra ser oi, sige, unsa imong questyoons”. I said “where is the owner?” And she said “sa ilang balay ser, didto sa XXXX”. And I said, “estoryahi ko be, how did Jo’s Chicken Inato start?”.

Then the barrage of stories came forth, then others were joining, and when I ordered my 4th bottle of SanMigLight about five of them crews were already huddled on my table either happily telling me stories or learning from what their colleagues were telling. I remember hearing some of them say “aw di-ay” and even “aw gali”. It was almost like a meeting or a caucus while my original waiter was watchful and if my bottle emptied, he’d promptly ask if I wanted more! I had something like 8 bottles and it never did tickle in my conciousness. Perhaps due to the interesting topic at hand? And Now I know a lot of things on how Jo’s started at this very place, how and when they have branched out, how they employ people, how much are their salaries and so on and on! But I promised them, I will not tell a soul about those “confidential matters”, so I will honor that. No am not telling anything about it here! The “how we started” story is open and they all are fine with me telling others, but I decided no I will not. You better hop in to a Jo’s Chicken branch and ask for the story yourselves! You won’t be disappointed. Its truly inspiring!

My final question: “hey, after here, I am supposed to go enjoy the nightlife at Hayahay, are there other places I should go visit?” Hah! The male crews were unanimous and almost simultaneous when they told me to go visit ‘Gimick’. I was told it was some place out on the fringes of the city but frequented by a lot of people and was a nice place for a night-out. I got excited since these were “common folks telling me”. I was sure it was not a fab or lux place but just the same must have been an “in” thing for the locals. I asked for directions… the simple reply was “sir, just tell the tricycle driver “gimmick”, they’ll know where that is. And so I did!

Most obviously that’s my next topic hehe! Wouldn’t you oblige please?!




For a chronology of stories on this trip, click the following article numbers:

01   02   03   04   05   06   07   08   09   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18
19   20   21   22   23   24   25   26   27   28   29   30   31   32   33   34   35


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