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The First Time I Tried An Authentic Filipino Breakfast

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I’ve always thought of myself as a connoisseur of breakfast foods.

The warm, velvetiness of soft scrambled eggs. The crunch of a perfectly fried strip of bacon. The squirt of juice that comes from biting into a plump sausage. These were all little highs I’ve chased for the last twenty-something years of my life.

Since my pancake-loving youth, I’ve branched into many breakfasts from different cultures. I fell in love with the Mexican chilaquiles. I adore dining on dim sum. I’m even down for the occasional crepe when the opportunity arises.

However, it wasn’t until recently that I got to experience what an authentic Filipino breakfast was like.

I was on an all-day food shoot with fellow Foodbeast Richard Guinto, who made up half of the Hot Boy Duo. We were in the Koreatown area of Los Angeles and I had been sitting in traffic for nearly two hours.

Reach, Richard’s nom de guerre, suggested we grab some food before starting our extensive workday.

What do you wanna eat? I asked him.

Are you down for some Filipino breakfast?

I had never tried Filipino breakfast before in my life. It wasn’t a taste thing, or a culture bias by any means necessary. I just never had the opportunity to try the cuisine before. My prior experience with Filipino cuisine was limited to fusion spots that highlighted meats like adobo (marinated meat in a stock) and sisig (sizzling pork). Though they were heavily white-washed on fries, or stuffed into a burrito.

No, we were going for traditional tapsilog, the combination of marinated meat accompanied by garlic rice and a fried egg.

We drove through the backstreets of Koreatown until we came upon a rundown looking plaza.

Tucked between a lavanderia and a Filipino corner store was a tiny restaurant and bakery. On a typical day, I would have just driven past the location without a second glance.

Bagnet Restaurant, the spot was called.

It being my first time there, and himself a local, Reach ordered our meal in his native Tagalog.

I got you, man.

There was some back-and-forth between him and the elderly Filipino woman behind the counter. She looked at me like a shy fawn walking towards human campers for the first time.

took @pham_bot to his first #silog experience. #foodbeast #breakfastforever

A photo posted by @cozy.bryant on

We took our seats, Reach whittling away at his Redwood tree of unanswered emails. I, on the other hand, scanned the restaurant eagerly taking in the aesthetics of the establishment. The menu was painted on the far back wall. In bold letters, a sign boasted $5 breakfast served all day with unlimited rice.

Five bucks for breakfast with all the rice you could eat? My excitement grew along with my hunger.

A few minutes later, the woman approached our table with two plates of food.

Before me was an aromatic plate of garlic fried rice, crispy fried chicken, two fried eggs, roasted pork known as lechon, and two longanisa links. The savory crimson sausage is flavored with Filipino spices that made for one hearty protein.

While I took a moment to take a photo of this magnificent meal, a habit that’s pretty hard to shake in this line of work, I could hear the earth-shattering crunch of Reach biting into his fried chicken with overwhelming satisfaction.

As I forked a stout piece of sausage, Reach offered me some words of caution.

Prepare yourself for some “longanisa burps,” he said. This meant that the flavor from the breakfast meat was so potent, you’d be burping up the taste for days to follow.

As I bit into the ample banger from the Pacific Islands, my taste buds were engulfed in flavor and juices. I immediately chased down the richness of the longanisa with a spoonful of garlic rice. Next up was the lechon.

I myself am a sucker for any kind of pork. You can roast a pig, braise it, smoke it, or even pan fry it and I’m down to nibble. The crispy texture and fatty content made the lechon a perfect parallel for bacon. It pleased me, as much as finding a front-of-the-store parking spot on an exceptionally frustrating day.

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I washed the meal down with a refreshing gulp of a Filipino style of lemonade called calamansi juice. The light, citrus beverage cleansed the savory sin congregating in my mouth, my palate now a social chatter of flavor. The meal left me pretty satisfied, albeit unwilling to continue onto my forthcoming workday.

As with every successful breakfast, I just wanted to nap.

After we left the restaurant, I told myself I would make time to return and try more dishes. The savory Filipino breakfast I just devoured had left a craving in my spirit and a new restaurant to frequent whenever I’m in the area.

My trip to Bagnet further reinforced my love of breakfast, the greatest meal of the day.

Driving out of the parking lot, I let out a pretty hefty belch. He was right about those longanisa burps. I tasted the meal again, its essence dragging its feet through my tongue, anchoring its flavor to my senses and staying with me for the rest of the week.

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#foodbeast Adventures Video

Foodbeast Loves Aruba: The 5 Spots You Need To Eat At On The Island

Not one to confine our tastebuds within the comforts of our own city limits, time zone, shores, and country, we made our way out to the paradise that is Aruba to immerse our palates in the local cuisine.

A fusion of African, Spanish, French, Dutch, Indian, and Chinese influences shape Aruban cuisine, resulting in a vibrant presentation of flavors in dishes that are sure to satisfy any adventurous foodie. One hallmark of the cuisine on the island that we found to be most appealing was its heartiness. Aruban food, whether it be land or sea-based, is guaranteed to impress all kinds of appetites and test the integrity of your favorite pair of stretchy pants.

Whether it be stuffing our faces with pan bati, funchi, pisca hasa, stoba di karni, or Johnny Cake, trust we were completely blown away with how good everything tasted on the gorgeous island. So now that we did all the fun stuff of researching, we present to you the five best spots to dine at in Aruba.

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Hit-Or-Miss

Fig Tartlets and Fig Chocolate Soufflés at Fig & Olive

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In celebration of National Fig Week Foodbeast was invited to a tasting at the Mediterranean eatery Fig & Olive. I’m not a fig person, but this experience has definitely converted me. Fig & Olive was an adventure for the books, as we dined through multiple courses throughout the night.

Fig & Olive currently has three restaurants in New York and two in Southern California. We drove out to the Melrose location and enjoyed a meal that was not only unbelievable but also brought out my appreciation for figs.

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Menu

Olive Oil

Three different flavors of olive oils. Very promising start to the night.

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Piscine

Piscine

 

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Rosellini

Rosellini

 

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Cucumber Cosmo

Cucumber Cosmo

As far as drinks go, each one had a unique characteristic that really enhances the meal.

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Fig Jamon Goat Cheese

Jamon

Cut a piece off each, fork ’em, take a bite and let your eyes roll to the back of your head.

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Fig Gorgonzola Tartlet

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The tart was so light and fluffy that I didn’t know where to start on it. Just had to dig in and get my hands dirty on this one.

Fig Gorgonzola Tartlet 01

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Truffle Mushroom Croquette

Truffle Mushroom Croquette

 One of my favorite dishes of the night. There was so much flavor packed into each croquette, I had to stop myself from eating everything immediately.

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Penne Funghi Tartufo

Penne Funghi Tartufo

One of the heavier items of the night. The chicken was grilled and seasoned perfectly. I wish I had more of this but my stomach was saving room for the lamp chops.

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Grilled Asparagus

Asparagus

Grilled and tossed in olive oil, a solid dish.

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Rosemary Lamb Chops

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Before even taking a bite, I knew the lamb chops were going to be worth the trip alone. Each bite was a masterpiece of flavor.

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Look at those juices.

Lamp Chops Cut

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Chocolate and Fig Soufflé with Vanilla Ice Cream

Fig Souffle

Light and sweet with , the soufflé was a perfect end to an epic meal.

Photo collaboration by Claudia Gonzalez and Peter Pham.

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Fig & Olive

8490 Melrose Place
West Hollywood, CA 90069
310 360 9100

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Adventures

Grilled Cheese Indulgence at ‘The Melt’ [8 Photos]

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Now those of you following our adventures know that I have a pretty bad weakness for cheese. My body can’t take it, but my heart longs for it. Fortunately, I gave in to the latter on our recent excursion to The Melt’s location in Irvine.

At the moment, this grilled cheese joint is found only in California and known for their all-natural, indulgent menu. Check out the grilled cheese grub:

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The Mac Daddy

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A fan favorite, the Mac Daddy features aged cheddar macaroni on white and packs a super hearty taste. Plus, who hasn’t wanted to smash mac and cheese between two grilled buns and just chow down?

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The Shorty

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Look at this gooey mess of a sandwich. The Shorty sticks to the basics (meat and cheese) and pretty much nails it. It consists of  pepper jack  engulfing a generous serving of braised short ribs.

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Ordering

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The Melt’s ordering system deserves a notable mention. Customers can order whatever they want online, drive out to the store, skip the line and scan their QR code. Everything is made to order as soon as the code is scanned so you get the freshest meal possible.

Lactose intolerance aside, I’m looking forward to the next time I stop by for another helping of the Shorty.

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The Melt

 73 Fortune Drive

Space 105

Irvine, CA

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Adventures

A Trip to Langer’s Delicatessen [ADVENTURE]

There aren’t too many places that can make a pastrami sandwich so good, your troubles just melt away. Fellow Foodbeast writer Isai, along with yours truly,  have both been itching for some decent pastrami sandwiches ever since our trip to Katz’s in New York. Thankfully, there’s Langer’s Deli home of their World Famous Hot Pastrami in Los Angeles. Better yet, it’s only a thirty-minunte drive away for us here in Southern California.

Langer’s was founded in June of 1947 by Al and Jean Langer. Known for their #19 (hot pastrami, cole slaw, Russian dressing and a slice of Swiss cheese on baked rye bread), Langer’s has served over 4 million pounds of pastrami since the establishment was created. Imagine what you could do with 4 million pounds of pastrami.

With a very family friendly atmosphere, it doesn’t matter if you want to make a quick pick-up from the deli, or sit down and enjoy your order, Langer’s has some pretty great service. What’s unique about them, other than their kick-ass pastrami, is that their rye bread is double baked. That means, once it’s in from the bakery, they throw it into the oven again so the crust comes out extra crispy.

But getting into the meat of things, their pastrami is a freakin’ dream. Super moist, super flavorful, it totally just melts in your mouth. The coleslaw that comes with the sandwiches only add to the already ridiculous amount of flavor, and the fresh pickles they garnish the dish with is just icing on the cake. Whether you order the number #19, the pastrami and corned beef combo, or just the regular original pastrami, you’re sure to be satisfied with your experience. We both were.

Isai:

It almost felt like I was biting into a pastrami sandwich, except I wasn’t. I was biting into a piece of heaven.

 

So if you’re ever in the L.A. area, make sure to swing by Langer’s for some good old-fashioned sandwiches. My new life plan is to work my way through the entire menu from #1-89 before I die. My bucket-list. Maybe that’s what will kill me. Who knows? Who cares. What’s important is, I’ll be back.

 

704 South Alvarado

Los Angeles, CA 90057

213-483-8050

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Adventures

Adventure: The Lime Truck

Ever since they won Food Network’s The Great Food Truck Race and hearing all the buzz surrounding The Lime Truck, I knew it was time to have a proper food adventure into the heart of Orange County to grab some delicious “California fusion” food.

After a cursory glance at the menu, me and my fellow FOODBEASTS decide to get the most out of our experience and order up a number of choice dishes.

We even got to sit down and have lunch with one of the food truck’s founders Daniel Shemtob and talk a little about the Food Truck Race and the finer points of running one of OC’s premiere food truck. But back to the food…

We started off with some succulent Crab Ceviche. The citrus tangy flavor coupled the natural sweetness of the shrimp and crab definitely made this dish a great way to start off our FOODBEAST meal.

We also had some roasted corn topped with spicy remoulade sauce and cotija cheese. Because FOODBEASTs need veggies too!

The Lime Truck’s Ahi Poke Tuna Nachos really was a sight to behold. The edemame hummus really brought a splash of color and flavor to some delicious raw Ahi Tuna chunks. It was almost a shame to eat such a beautiful thing… almost. A nice way to head into some heartier dishes.

Now this had to be one of my favorites of the entire meal. The Carnitas Fries. Sour cream, guacamole and chipotle cole slaw nestled on a bed of pulled pork–What more can anyone ask for? Some fries to eat them all with, that’s what. This proved to be the messiest and therefore delicious things eaten on this venture.

Daniel concedes it’s definitely one of his favorites they serve on the menu.

Nothing finishes a meal quite like a Slammin Lambin Sangwich. I say that because after all that food and this mountain of marinated lamb, veggies and tzatziki sauce and sriracha atop a flat bread bun, your meal is definitely finished. Good thing I had my fellow FOODBEASTs to help chow down on all this delectable grub.

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Adventures

Adventure: Which Wich (Fullerton, CA)

One thing that helps me persevere through the long days of being a student is the new and convenient sandwich joint right across campus known as Which Wich. The expanding sandwich chain makes use of its understanding that their customers aren’t all the same, allowing a level of customizability that rivals Subway.

Their business model may seem similar to rival sandwich chains, but the customizability is the last point of comparison the consumer has against the brand. Having more then 50 customizable “wiches”, this place takes the saying “The Way You Like It” to a whole new level, check out how!