There are two things we never fail to order when we find ourselves in Gerry's Grill. One is the Kinilaw na Tanigue. And the other, Chili Cheese Stick with Garlic Mayo Dip.
The Chili Cheese Stick is basically your ordinary Cheese Stick, that is cheese wrapped in lumpia wrapper and deep fried, made extraordinary by sneaking in a green chili (yes, the sinigang kind), sans the seeds, in the fold.
My first crack at this notorious pica-pica is at my friend Leen's birthday party in Anahaw Island View Resort, a resort her family owns. She said she came up with this concoction back in cooking school, deriving inspiration from variations of the humble Cheese Stick recipe. People have added slivers of red bell peppers in cheese sticks, she had said, why not siling pangsigang? "Ah, because it's wicked hot?" I thought to myself, before dunking her experimental cheese stick in the wasabi mayo it was served with.
For those who have not yet dared, yes, it is indeed spicy hot. It was hot the first time I had it and it is still hot now. But it's bearable, it's addictive, and once your tastebuds have been numbed by pain, you'll be popping it like no chili is ever there. Back then, my friend did not have a name for it yet, and she made us taste it hoping that maybe we could suggest a few. We were not much of a help but we did enjoy the darn things. Eventually, she would name it "Sili Rolls", and the rest, as they say, was history.