Chicken adobo. Lumpia. Leche Flan. These are all traditional Filipino dishes that are getting remixed through the lens of Filipino -merican chefs. And though it’s drawing skepticism from Filipinos themselves, while still having to prove itself to the mainstream, Filipino-American cuisine is poised to overcome such obstacles.
Growing up, busting out my lunch of kare-kare with a dash of bagoong didn’t exactly draw kids closer to me, eager to trade up with one of their Lunchables creations. Which is fair, not many really find ox-tail in a peanut stew with a dash of fish paste to be appetizing. But these days, folks have more adventurous palates and are being exposed to Filipino food that has a touch of “growing up in America” generously added to it.
In this latest episode of Taste the Details, walk with me as I explore the friction between traditional and modern Filipino cuisine. This new generation of Filipino-American chefs are cooking up their interpretations of the traditional Filipino food they grew up eating — and pissing off our lolas in the process.
In the Old West, we can easily picture a scene set for cowboys, working hard on the ranch or out on the range. Most ranch owners wanted their cowboys to be well nourished, helping them stay healthy on the trail. This lead to cowboy cuisine, where fresh beef was the main feature, supported by food staples that traveled well and wouldn’t spoil. Steak, beans, wild game, fish — all plenty to keep a hungry cowboy fed.
In casting for a new industry to accelerate the city’s growth, it was natural to think of a meat packing house, as Fort Worth had long been a livestock shipping center. The reliance and prevalence of beef, coupled with its rich history of the wild west frontier and cowboys, has lead cowboy cuisine to be a linchpin to Cowtown’s unique and all at once typically Texan character, which is captured by the Fort Worth Stockyards and their famous twice-daily longhorn cattle drive. What typically is food prepared by chuckwagon cooks and cowboys out on the range is a staple to the West that consists of, but not limited to, long-stewed chili, chicken fried steak, and plenty of beef.
Though unlikely for most traveling foodies on paper, Fort Worth is a bubbling culinary hub that can hang its hat on cowboy cuisine yet still give shine to Vietnamese and Mexican fare. To fully experience the culinary diversity the city has to offer, look no further than the Fort Worth Food & Wine Festival, a perfect ode to not only capturing the cowboy cuisine of the city, but the deeper heritage of other cuisines that make up the vibrant dining scene.
Buffets often get a bad rap. I get it. For the most part, the concept plays to the strength of only quantity. Trays of food sit endlessly under heat lamps, scorching whatever little life it had away. Each batch of it made it large quantities that give more room for error. They earned this rep. But thanks to a select few standouts clustered in Las Vegas, namely The Buffet at the Wynn Resort & Casino, folks can experience a glorious meal in all you can eat form.
The latest episode of Taste the Details has me right in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip to go behind the scenes of one of not only the city’s, but also the country’s, top buffets. Whether it be That Drunken Noodles or Southern-style fried chicken or hand-rolled sushi using real crab meat, The Buffet does it all superbly. Sure, the quantity factor comes into play big time given the amount of patrons that come in, yet the remarkable feat here is how quality is not sacrificed one bit.
So trust that I’ll have plates stacked of the same dish just on the fact that its lowkey better than restaurant quality. And in a town where I’ll more than likely need to stress eat to soothe the sting of all the money I lost in the casino, that’s crucial.
Imagine digging into a sweet treat that looks like it was a patch of forest transplanted right onto your plate. Peculiar on paper, I’m sure, but extend your thoughts further and envision the delicious tastes of pine honey, matcha, forest fruits, and clouds of sugar hitting your palate as you look at what seems to be growing mushrooms and forest moss. Though this was hard to conceptualize at first, I soon enough realized the sweet sorcery being wielded by Chef Fernanda Covarubbias and her team at La Postreria in Guadalajara, Mexico, with each whimsical bite of their desserts.
In this episode of Taste the Details, I experience the philosophy behind La Postreria, which is a reverence for desserts while also challenging the very notion of how we think they should be made or presented. Results come in the form of ethereal assemblages of confections, chic pillars of sweets, and enticing presentations that stimulate our eyes as much as our palates. Here, clever innovation is met with equal parts tried and true technique.
Though La Postreria is a veritable hatchery for off the wall modernism and deviation, these very concepts are nurtured by an approach rooted in respect for premium, unadulterated ingredients and the utmost care given to even the most minute details in temperature and texture. All of these tasty details were a good reminder that life is in fact, as sweet as we make it.
For many, images of freshly powdered slopes and the Hollywood buzz around the Sundance Film Festival are conjured when the city of Park City, Utah comes to mind. However, playing a complimentary supporting role to the city’s vibrancy is the spirited restaurant scene that unlocks the secrets to expertly using wild game in a variety of styles and dishes.
In this episode of Taste the Details, we travel to picturesque Park City and its pristine surroundings to experience the many ways chefs in the area are serving up wild game meat. For those unfamiliar, wild game is defined as any animal that’s hunted for its meat or for sport. Given such a broad definition, such meat can include wild boar, elk, bison, venison, and duck; all of which are given the utmost culinary respect by numerous restaurants in the city.
So imagine skillfully prepared dishes such as wild boar chops, buffalo skirt steak, and even duck enchiladas. Such a common thread of using wild game within Park City’s dining scene is noteworthy in itself, given the rarity of seeing the unusual meat on many menus nationwide.
The dining experience is one to behold for all foodies, where one can attest to the brilliance of perfectly medium rare elk loin that’s enhanced with delectable local ingredients.
The regionality of barbecue in the U.S. is but another wrinkle in the textured history of the cuisine’s rich contribution to the canon of American cooking. You’ve got four distinct kingdoms of ‘cue that are fierce in their respective representation. Think of it as a friendly yet spirited feud between dynastic families or noble houses.
With House Carolinas you have a fine affinity for pork. Their whole hog obsessions and expertise make for a destined pairing with their trademark vinegar-based sauces. House Memphis flies the banner of pit-smoked, dry-rubbed ribs coated in a thin, tangy sauce. For House Texas, their juicy brisket cooked low and slow is their pride and joy. Fun fact: when folks use the term “Texas barbecue” it more than likely refers to the Central Texas-style. But no matter what, beef is their main course. Finally, you have House Kansas City, where slow-smoked meats rubbed in a complex formula of spices and slathered in their signature, gloriously gloppy, tomato-based sauces are their bastion for barbecue braggadocio. Oh and they also happen to be the loudest of the bunch to tout themselves as the barbecue capital of the world.
Bold claim, sure, but the likes of Anthony Bourdain, Barack Obama, and even (oddly enough) John Madden co-signing hold merit. As they say, where there’s smoke, there’s fire — or in this case, succulent, soul-stirring ribs that put the concept of an otherworldly kind of goodness on a pedestal.
And it’s there where I trailed the lead, curious about this barbecue capital of the world and finding out whether such a crown is too heavy for Kansas City to wear or just the right fit. Along the way we put this assertion of barbecue dominance to the test, whether it be through conversations with a barbecue historian to attending the world’s largest barbecue competition to even finding out the preferred choice of pork brand for these lauded bbq pit-masters (pro-tip: it’s Smithfield).
Editor’s Note: Pitmaster Tuffy Stone of Cool Smoke Barbecue
Sure it’s always a rush to be one of the first to check out the latest restaurant opening or to try the newest Instagram-worthy dish that’s set to take over our feeds for the next cycle of social media fame. That need to up our social currency these days seems to take precedence over simply sitting down at a spot that offers impeccable food and doting service, without the gimmicks or trendy bells and whistles.
However, such a mentality turns a blind eye to the legacy restaurants, the ones that have built themselves up to be culinary institutions over the years through a kind of quality that endures decades and trends. Such a restaurant, in specific, can be found in the house that prime rib built, also known as, Lawry’s.
Existing in a space seemingly unaffected by likes and follows, the tradition of Lawry’s prime rib, along with their signature side dishes and thorough tableside service, is one that’s been a mainstay and institution in Los Angeles for the past eight decades.
In this latest episode of Taste the Details, we explore the tried and true traditions Lawry’s has to offer, whether it be in their peerless prime rib, their overstated ambience and heritage, or their meticulous and complete brand of service. It’s an establishment in every sense of the word, really, a true foundation for Los Angeles’ diverse and now esteemed dining scene that’s deserving of the reverence bestowed upon it by any and all astute food lovers for 80 years and counting.
When you’re at the mall looking for a quick snack, like a churro, you probably walk up to the counter, make an order, and take off as soon as you have your on-the-go treat. Doing this at the Del Amo Fashion Center in Southern California, however, means you’re missing out on something truly special.
Churro Buzz, one of the mall’s newest food stalls, is home to a 60-year-old recipe and one of the tastiest churros you can find in SoCal. There’s also more unique items, like “churro boats” filled with various toppings and even churro ice cream sandwiches.
But it’s so much more than the crispy, chewy fried dough at this spot. That’s because it’s also the newest chapter in the incredible life stories of the people that put a ton of TLC into your treat.
Tany Rodriguez is the man who ensures that every churro comes out perfect, and his story is just as incredible as the flavor of one of his handmade treats. He’s been an integral part of the Churro Buzz story long before it arrived at Del Amo. Rodriguez has been handling the churro duties since 1991, when he started work at the popular Pier Bakery in nearby Redondo Beach. Prior to that, he was a homeless immigrant from Mexico, but has been all smiles and dancing ever since he managed to get the job.
In his time at the bakery and at Churro Buzz, Rodriguez has made over 5 million churros, each one just as golden, crispy, and tasty as the rest. You can see his passion for the treats go into every single order, whether it be on the beach or at the Del Amo Fashion Center.
Another incredible life story behind Churro Buzz comes from the owners, Jay and Parin Demel. The children of Sri Lankan immigrants, they bought the original business from a Mexican woman, allowing her to retire after years of running the stand. With the bakery came the long-standing churro recipe that Parin had fell in love with upon her first bite. Since then, the recipe hasn’t changed, and the bakery has long become a fixture of Redondo Beach. The Demels and Rodriguez hope that Churro Buzz can develop a similar legacy at Del Amo.
The backgrounds of the Demels and Rodriguez, and the tale of Churro Buzz, represent so much more than just another churro stand. As Foodbeast’s latest episode of Taste the Details reveals, it’s all about believing in and achieving the American Dream. To get the complete story and understand why, watch the full episode above.
Created in partnership with Del Amo Fashion Center