Thank you to all who have made inquiries for orders of Mr. D’s Artisnal Philippine Wagyu Corned Beef. My next batch is unfortunately sold out but for the last minute shoppers I will have a batch ready the week before Christmas. Please email at email@example.com for inquiries. Have a wonderful Holiday Season and don’t do anything I wouldn’t do (that pretty much leaves it wide open).
I finally made it to the Collective on Malugay last week. If you haven’t been already it’s worth checking out if for no other reason than the cool urban art on the walls inside.
Essentially the Collective is a large warehouse space subdivided into smaller units which serve as an incubator for small, independent businesses. Up front there are a number of restaurants. Toward the back on the right side of the is Ritual. This is where I found my take away souvenir, Katipunan Craft Indio Pale Ale.
I have been wanting this for some time, an alternative to the perfectly mediocre San Miguel dominance of the Filipino beer scene. I don’t particularly dislike San Miguel, and do consume my weight in it on a fair regular basis. But there hasn’t been an active micro-brewer to represent the Philippines.
It’s a well-crafted beer. Balanced, a little hoppy and full-flavored. It made me want for a steaming pot of mussels and fries… might need to make this happen.
I don’t think they produce a huge amount of this beer, but now I’ve discovered it. I can only hope there’s enough left for the rest of you.
Most people come to this website because they are passionate about food, much like me. We can debate about the best ramen or the best pizza in town or share secrets for making a perfect paella. But then sometimes nature comes along, slaps us around and puts us back in our place. It reminds us that before we can eat for indulgence we must first eat to survive.
During the most difficult times the Philippines always shows its indomitable strength and spirit by pulling together and helping those in need. The torrential rains caused by Typhoon Gener have inundated much of Metro Manila especially in areas such as Quezon City and Marikina. There are reports of families stranded on roof tops in Roxas District and thousands of people have been displaced across the region.
Countless concerned people on Facebook and Twitter are asking how to help. There are numerous locations around Metro Manila accepting donations. Parish San Antonio in Forbes is currently accepting, sorting and distributing donations. Ready to eat foods are preferred because many affected people do not have access to stoves. However any donations of canned goods, drinking water, rice, bedding and clothing would be appreciated.
The Philippine Red Cross is already mobilized to respond to the disaster. Those that cannot make it out can donate directly to them here. To those reading this from outside of the Philippines that would like to help, this would be a great way to do so.
Also for information on Gawad Kalinga’s Operation Walang Iwanan follow this link.
Thank you to everyone who has contributed to help mitigate this disaster but more is needed. Check with your local church but keep yourself safe first.
Enchanted Farm Cafe
463 Commonwealth Ave.
0932 872 2427
Last night I had a the opportunity to attend the CSI night at Enchanted Farm Cafe in Quezon City. I couldn’t begin to talk about Enchanted Farm Cafe or its CSI night without first discussing Gawad Kalinga. However GK is a topic too vast to be shoehorned into a single post, so I will offer just a brief synopsis (I’m sure I’ll write about it much more in the future).
In Tagalog, Gawad Kalinga means to provide care. It is an organization founded by Tony Moleto, or Tito Tony, to end poverty in the Philippines and to restore dignity to the country’s poor. This is quite a tall order for a country that despite its GDP increase averaging over 4% per year from 2003-2009, actually saw an increase in poverty rates 24.9 26.5 during those same years¹. Many would put this number much higher.
Land for the Landless. Homes for the Homeless. Food for the Hungry.
This is just the beginning of what GK offers to affected communities. The GK Center for Social Innovations is a program within GK to create a business ecosystem that will benefit GK communities by creating a market for village products and employing its people. The GK CSI creates an environment that cultivates social entrepreneurs to build enterprises that will benefit those all the way down the supply chain.
I was prompted to go last night by one such social entrepreneur Julia Sevilla whose fair trade coffee brand Kape Maria supports local coffee growers and cooperatives. Julia spoke to us last night about how her brand came about.
Also speaking was Paul Rivera, who is a call center entrepreneur and CEO of a start up company called Kalibrr that teaches young Filipinos marketable skills in the tech field and assists them with job placement.
At the end we had the opportunity to listen to Tito Tony speak about the accomplishments of GK in recent years and his dreams for the future. He spoke with an infectious optimism about restoring livelihood and dignity to rural Filipinos.
Every Tuesday CSI night is a gathering of the minds at the Enchanted Farm Cafe. The cafe is a small, casual spot on the second floor of the Human Heart Nature, a social enterprise also in the GK family building on Commonwealth Ave. The cafe serves simple foods, many of which are sourced directly from GK’s farm in Bulacan from which the cafe is named.
In the spirit of Enchanted Farm Cafe’s mission of healthy, organic eating I broke from character and ordered the All Heart Burger, which is made from banana tree heart. They serve this with a small salad and kamote (sweet potato) fries for p100. The food is simple but good and thoughtfully prepared.
I also made a point to pick up some of Enchanted Farm’s hand-crafted cheeses on my way out.
I had the chance to meet with numerous people with GK and I feel I’m just scratching the surface. At the farm alone they have numerous local organic products including all sorts of fruits, vegetables, pork, poultry and cheeses.
It is awesome to me to see a group of people, not only engaged in bringing prosperity to rural communities, but also showing them how to bring on their own prosperity and do it in a way that is sustainable for the future.
As I said before the scope of this organization is far greater than what I can discuss in a single post. I leave a lot untold but will catch up with the topic again soon enough. I look forward to learning more about GK and visiting the farm which seems to represent all of Tito Tony’s hope and optimism for the future of this country.
Finally I am excited that they are taking so much interest in the quality and sustainability of their food chain. They are truly creating something that will benefit future generations in a way that was not conceived just a few decades ago. Through better growing, purchasing and eating we can create an industry.
Every year the San Pelligrino World 50 Best Restaurants comes out about this time and fires up age old rivalries, particularly in the US. For decades Ney York and San Francisco have been engaged in a transcontinental pissing contest with the restaurant scene central to the grand debate. In their fury though they may have neglected to notice that the rest of the world is really kicking both of their asses.
The San Pelligrino list is actually one of the more credible lists out there on the topic. And you should listen to San Pelligrino. After all they are smart enough to dupe the entire world into importing water. In reality though San Pelligrino is just the primary sponsor of the list and it is actually operated by Restaurant Magazine with over 800 restaurant industry experts, chefs, restauranteurs, etc. Unlike Michelin they do not view the world through tricolored lenses and measure every restaurant to a specific cultural standard.
Of the 50 restaurants I’ve only dined at three, Pierre Gagnaire, Atelier de Joël Robuchon, both in Paris and of course the French Laundry in Yountville, CA. I would count these as three of the best dining experiences of my life. Also I have worked for two of the chef’s with listed restaurants, Thomas Keller and Daniel Boulud, from whom my cooking has forever changed for the better.
Looking at this list, Spain is established itself as the restaurant capital of the world, hands down. San Francisco is sliding, badly. Not a single SF restaurant in the top 50 (Coi was number 58). Looking at the Bay Area though there were two, the French Laundry at 43 and Manresa in Los Gatos at 48. Thomas Keller is still a pimp for having Per Se at number 6 and the French Laundry at 43.
So what’s up with San Francisco? I thought it was this amazing west coast oasis of great food? Well, it is, still. As good as New York? Well that depends. On the highest echelon of fine dining restaurants New York will always outperform San Francisco. It takes a certain intensity to execute fine dining that San Francisco just doesn’t have. If you’re a server or cook in SF and your shift begins at 4:00, that means you’re in Dolores Park eating ganja cookies until 2:30.
What SF does excel at is the second echelon. Farm to table, casual-upscale restaurants. Hipster joints. Usually pretentious ad nauseum, these restaurants benefit from some of the best food available in the world. There are no better growing regions in the world than that which surrounds San Francisco. The product is already so good that all you really need to do is drop it on a plate and it’s really fantastic. Sonoma plums, delta asparagus or Hog Island oysters don’t require a great deal of fuss and SF chefs are wise not to fuss.
Seeing this list is really making me want to travel. As though I needed another reason to spend thousands of dollars to on a vacation in Spain. It’s cool to see the rise of Asia as well and I’m glad that they are given fair consideration unlike Michelin did. Singapore and Tokyo are cleaning up.
Let me hear your thoughts. Anything missed on the list? Is it fair? Add your comments below.
It’s been quite a long journey but we have arrived. Awarding ourselves with a day of sheer laziness I finally have the opportunity to post an update. Twenty straight hours of travel is a lot to ask from anybody but especially a three-year-old. I have returned to my home with the wife and son for my brother’s wedding in Ohio. From Manila we flew to Tokyo, then to Chicago and finally Columbus.
Flying All Nippon Airlines and then connecting to a United fight it really showcases the embarrassment that our American-based airlines have become. The Asian airlines have surprisingly decent food and many have improved their amenities like WiFi and chargers for your gadgets (Philippine Airlines notwithstanding). Unlike the flying gulag that is United Airlines, the flight crew even treats you with a small measure of dignity.
The good news is there is good ramen to be had in Narita in Tokyo. I’ve taken a number of flight connecting in Narita since becoming a slave to Star Alliance frequent flyer miles and have risked missing a flight to fill my belly with good ramen before boarding a hellish United flight.
About eight hours into our flight we were awakened with this meal to warm our souls.
You can see why I needed to redeem my soul with a good all-American artery-clogging jet lag breakfast the morning after we finally arrived. Living in Asia I often feel a little bit potato-deprived.
I love cast iron cookware a whole lot. This Dutch oven I used is a beautifully utilitarian piece of cookware once it achieves its height of proper seasoning. It was really simple to make with whatever I found in the fridge, but for the benefit of those who might want to recreate it here the recipe.
For the home fries:
4-6 russet potatoes, small dice
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
For the toppings:
1/2 pound bulk breakfast sausage
1/4 lb shredded cheddar
5 slices tomato
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit.
Start by cooking your bulk sausage in the pan on medium high heat until it’s browned. Remove the meat, leaving the fat in the pan and reserve the meat for later. Now throw in your potatoes and fry on high heat stirring or tossing continuously until the potatoes begin to brown. Season with salt and pepper. Next add the onions, garlic and dried thyme. Next add onions, garlic and dried thyme and lower heat. Cook until onions are translucent.
Then you will form a nice thick bed to layer the rest of your toppings. First add the sausage and top with shredded cheese followed by the tomato slices. Season the tomatoes with salt and pepper. Shape your base so that it creates a nest for the raw eggs to rest in without spilling out. Add the eggs all the way around and pop it in the oven. Finally season your eggs and bake until the egg whites are cooked.