Sunday, October 31, 2010

Alido's Island Flavor offers more than just Filipino food

All I have to say is if you are ever in the Daly City San Francisco area, stop by Alidos for some authentic Filipino eats. I have been here for many family occasions and the food is pretty much like my grandma makes it.

I like the classics, adobo, sinigang, sisig, but you really can't go wrong here. This family owned restaurant makes me feel at home. Make sure to try their bibinka too...and please make sure to get more than 1 serving! But I found out through Facebook that they added a sushi Bar to the restaurant. Now you might be skeptical about going to a non-Japanese restaurant for some sushi right. Well don't be, the sushi is really good. Of course Alido's had to add their own twist to some of the rolls. My favorite has to be the Mad Spam Roll. Spam to me is add it to sushi and we have a great combination.
Aldio's Mad Spam Roll
We ordered a few more rolls on top of our Filipino dishes and were pretty satisfied. I do have to add that their sushi prices are pretty cheap and they definitely don't skimp on the sushi. So, if you are in the South San Francisco area and can't decide between Filipino and Japanese...go to Alido's Island Flavor and have both.
3560 Callan Boulevard
South San Francisco, California 94080  

Tel: 650.869.4457
Fax: 650.869.4490 


Alido's on Urbanspoon
Tuna Sushi Roll on Foodista

Friday, October 29, 2010

No Worries Restaurant offers Vegan Filipino Cuisine in the Bay Area

by @mrfredbriones
The Bay Area is well known for its counter cultures. From it's music, clothing, lifestyle and even food. So why not open a vegan Filipino restaurant. That's exactly what Chef Jay-Ar Isagani Pugao did, in the downtown Oakland. His restaurant, rightly named No Worries Filipino Vegan Cuisine is the newest addition to the growing Bay Area Filipino Restaurant boom. It may also be the only vegan restaurant in the country serving Filipino food but I haven't confirmed that yet.

A Change in Lifestyle for Me
A few months ago my Dr. told me that I could possibly have diabetes based on some test results. That made me re-think my entire lifestyle and has forced me to watch what I eat and make better choices. No bad carbs, especially white rice and breads. Literally no sugar, instead I look for alternative sweeteners like agave nectar and occasionally Splenda. Before that, I had no idea what the Glycemic Index was or how it affected my health. Well, it was scary to see that Pandesal was one of the highest culprits on the chart along with most ingredients that make up my favorite Filipino desserts.

So I was very excited that a Filipino restaurant offering a healthier alternative was opening in the Bay Area. I was fortunate enough to make it to the soft opening event in September. The Restaurant has a different vibe to it, definitely different from any other Filipino establishment that I have ever been to. But, that's what it is...different. While we were waiting, a waiter passed around a few samples of their vegan lumpia which was delicious.
A large selection of Filipino Classics
We finally were seated and I couldn't wait to order. The menu was pretty extensive and it took a while before we could even decide. So we opted for the fried shrimp and lumpia for starters. The fried shrimp is a soy shrimp marinated in lemon juice and soy sauce, covered in eggless batter, then deep fried to a crispy golden brown. We let our our daughter be the taste tester and she literally ate the whole plate. When I think of artificial foods, I think of artificial crab meat from sushi bars. The shrimp here was far from that rubbery texture and taste that you often get from imitation crab meat. This really tasted and felt like shrimp! The lumpia was again delicious but this time I noticed the seasoned soy ground beef. Very nice touch.
Vegan Fried Shrimp
Vegan Lumpia
 For our main course, we went with the Chicken Adobo, Kare-Kare and the Bistek. Now, I can truly say that I am an adobo expert, having competed in Throwdowns and competitions in the past. So the expectations were pretty high for the vegan version. The bistek came out first and we immediately  began to eat...after FOODSPOTTING of course! The tofu had a ton of flavor and the veggies had the crispness that I look for. Many times bistek is over cooked and under seasoned but the No Worries counterpart was far from that.
Vegan Bistek
 Next came the Kare-Kare and the Adobo courses. I have always been used to having my kare-kare with oxtail and using a fair share of shrimp paste. You know, I really didn't mind the vegan version nor did I need to add the bagaoong for flavoring. The same went for the adobo which had bold flavors and great texture.
Vegan Kare-Kare
Vegan Adobo
 No Worries Filipino Vegan Cuisine breaks the mold of what is considered traditional. It focuses on flavor and provides a healthier alternative for diners. I really appreciate that...and my body appreciates that! I do have to say that in the 30 days that of dieting and a change in my lifestyle, the dr. has been given a clean bill of health and all signs of diabetes are gone. All without meds or any treatments. I'm in better shape and healthier than ever, thanks to healthier eating and miles of running. And now, with the help of restaurants like No Worries, I can keep enjoying my favorite type of food...without NO WORRIES. I will definitely be back for more.

Read more about No Worries and Chef Jay-Ar Isagani Pugao in an article from Eastbay Express
Restaurant info:
1442 Franklin Street
Oakland, Ca 94612
(510) 444-4466
Monday - Friday:
Lunch: 11am - 3pm
Dinner: 5pm - 9pm


No Worries on Urbanspoon

Twice Cooked Crispy Adobo Wings with Agave and Coconut Sugar Glaze

The World Series is here and football season has reached its midpoint. Come to think about it, hockey season and the Lebron, Wade, Bosh era is in full swing as well. So what better way to enjoy your favorite sporting events with some wings. But not any ordinary wings...twice cooked adobo wings! These are pretty easy to make and only involves a few more steps and handy appliances than your normal adobo preparation. (traditional adobo recipe coming soon)

1 lb of chicken wings
1 1/2 cup of low-sodium soy sauce (regular soy sauce can be used)
1/2 cup of white vinegar (I prefer cane vinegar or Datu Puti)
5 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp of sea salt
1 tbsp of black pepper
1/2 cup of organic coconut sugar (I used Lanka Sun)
4 tbsp of agave nectar
3 tbsp of olive oil
A few bay leaves
Supplies and Utensils
(you can use what ever you prefer)
Large Pot
Deep Fryer - (you can fry on the stovetop but it's definitely safer to use a deep fryer)
1 Large Mixing bowl
1 Baking rack or strainer of some sort

The first thing you need to do is to start heating your oil in the deep fryer to 375. This should take about 20 minutes depending on your machine. Put your large pot on the stove on medium heat.  Once the pot is hot enough, add the 4 tbsp of olive oil. Add your garlic to the pot and saute for 30 seconds. Then add your chicken to the pot to brown. At this point, season your chicken with the sea salt and pepper and don't forget to throw in your bay leaves.
Next, pour in your soy sauce and bring to a boil. Give your wings a good mix to even out your ingredients. Once your adobo comes to a boil, reduce your heat to simmer and cover your pot. Let your adobo cook for around 45 min. Don't keep opening your pot to stir. Just give it a once over at about midway through. Your chicken will be about 90 percent cooked but the deep fryer will do the rest.

Once your adobo is ready, transfer your chicken to your rack or strainer and let sit for 20 minutes. Don't put your chicken directly into the deep fryer because you will definitely get some nasty splashes. 
Now comes the fun part! I love deep frying because it is pretty dangerous. LOL Anyway, don't load up your deep fryer basket. Leave enough room in between your chicken for even frying. 

Drop the basket and let your chicken cook for 5 minutes. Depending on your soy sauce, the color of your chicken may very from light to dark. Don't worry, its just color. On a side note, your oil will have to reach its set temp after each batch of chicken. Many models have a ready light built in.
Once your wings are done, set them aside uncovered and prepare your glaze. Using a sauce pan, add 1/2 a cup of your adobo base from your large pot on medium heat. Now add your coconut sugar and your agave nectar and mix the ingredients. Continue until your glaze thickens. You can add more sugar or agave depending on your taste buds.
Put your wings in a large mixing bowl and add your glaze over the chicken. If you like your wings really saucy, add 1/4 cup more adobo base and 1 tbsp each of your sugar and agave. Toss the wings and serve. Enjoy.

Fried Adobo Chicken Wings on Foodista

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sisig on the Go: Getting my sisig fix with Senor Sisig

by @mrfredbriones
For me, sisig isn't really a dish that I eat on a regular basis. I have to admit that chicken adobo, sinigang and tinola are on our regular rotation on our dinner table. Sisig on the other hand is something that I consider, as my comedian friend Rex Navarrete would say, "SOMETHING ESPECIAAAL". It takes a little but more time to prepare, so for someone like me, I really don't have time to prep and cook sisig for dinner. But with the advent of street food here in the Bay Area and the food trucks and vendors, sisig is literally just around the corner.
Senor Sisig @ The 2010 Eat Real Food Festival
Senor Sisig is a relatively new food truck here in Northern California but has gained popularity fast. It's known for its variety of sisig offerings from pork, chicken and even tofu. You can choose from their versions of the classic taco to sisig nachos with a variety of rice plates depending on whats on their menu for the day. I first ran into the Senor Sisig guys at the 2010 Eat Real Festival in Oakland. The foodies and the Filipino community definitely came out to support the new venture and the long lines proved it. Unfortunately for me, I was filmming and my son didn't share his sisig taco with his hard working dad.(I was actually doing the Foodspotting Dishcrawl scavenger hunt....which I WON!) I was able to get a photo of their taco before he inhaled it.
Senor Sisig Pork Sisig Taco before he inhaled it.
Moxsie Street Eats
The Senor Sisig Menu
I did get a chance to catch Senor Sisig at MOXSIE Street Eats in Palo Alto for lunch recently. I was ready to finally get my hands on their now famous sisig tacos! They had 3 choices, chicken, pork, and tofu...score! These tacos were stuffed with sisig, veggies and their special creamy cilantro sauce.For those wanting a little spice, they offer fresh chopped jalapenos. I was expecting to finish all three but after the second one, I was good. These aren't your skimpy excuses for tacos with a few pieces of meat and overloaded with lettuce. For around $2.50, you get your money's worth. Make sure to bring a Tupperware for the leftovers and the mandatory late night snack. The Nachos and Fries looked equally good our stomachs didn't have enough room to accommodate the large portions.
The perfect pair of Chicken Sisig tacos & The healthier Tofu Sisig Taco...delicious!
I do have to say that the owners of Senor Sisig, Evan Kidera and Gil Payumo are probably the nicest guys in the food truck game. They never seem too busy to chat with customers or nosey foodies like myself. I promised to do a video segment and streetside dinner with Senor Sisig and hopefully I can still make that happen. (Stay tuned for more info) For now, you can find these guys at Off The Grid in San Francisco and other regular locations but make sure to follow them on twitter @senorsisig to find out their times and schedules. So if you are in the mood for some sisig, make sure to give Senor Sisig a try... I'm sure you'll love it!

The Senor Sisig Team @ 2010 Eat Real Food Festival

Sisig on FoodistaSisig

Senor Sisig on Urbanspoon

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Finding Simple Treasures at ATTIC

by @mrfredbriones
After a long day in the City @ the Benny Gold Fall Collection Party, (my wife @CeeEsBee was a cupcake vendor @ the event) we decided to stop by ATTIC in San Mateo for an early dinner. I have been meaning to write about ATTIC since they opened but I have been swamped with other projects. But it wasn't our first time to dinning here, actually we have been back a dozen times since it's grand opening this past Summer.

I have to say that I love what ATTIC is all about, or at least what I think the restaurant is all about. ATTIC isn't trying to be the definitive Filipino restaurant, or even the authority on the cuisine. It doesn't even say anything about being a Filipino Restaurant. I believe what it does do, is re-define what Filipino food is and what it can be. Chef Tim Luym's Filipino-inspired menu includes a wide range of dishes that may be familiar to pinoy-dining regulars, but everything here is different. It's not like your mom's cooking but then again, by no means is ATTIC isn't trying to replace your mom's chicken
adobo. I think what happens with diners who walk into a Filipino restaurant, or any other ethnic-inspired establishment, is that they expect something...something that they are used to. Understandable, but why buy a Ford Mustang if you are used to driving a Honda Accord and keep comparing them to each other. I don't think you should go into a restaurant expecting anything except good food and a great experience. Do I get both here at ATTIC? Yes. It's an intimate restaurant that doesn't make me feel cramped. I feel welcomed here...hmmm, almost like I was at home!

OK, let's get to the food. We have had everything on the menu but there are my favorites. We did
get there early so we hung out downstairs at Under ATTIC for Happy Hour. For starters we had a few oysters on a half shell that were nicely plated on sea salt with slices of fresh lemon. Our waiter also brought out vinegar and Sriracha which went well with the oysters. Then we had the Sweet Potato Fries with banana ketchup and the Grilled Edamame with smoked salt. The fries here are always a good starter especially for the kids, but I was extremely surprised by the Grilled Edamame which was different and damn good. It was already a good start to the evening, especially since the Giants were winning.
Under ATTIC appetizers
We moved upstairs and there were already a few diners who like us, decided on an early meal. Since we had a few appetizers to start, we decided to order light and get a few of our regulars. To our surprise, Adobo Hobo was a guest chef for the night offering his famous chicken adobo and pork adobaos, we ordered both along with the Adobo Wing Lollipops, Sweet Pea Leaf Stir Fry,and a side of steamed rice. We'll review the Adobo Hobo's offerings in a later article but for now, let's just say it was damn good! I knew that the wings were going to be delicious as usual. I love the crispiness and the sweet and sourness of the adobo glaze. Make sure to get a dozen of these because six doesn't cut it for me. (I'm greedy) The sweet pea leaf stir fry went well with our
Adobo Wing Lollipops
chicken dishes and can be an alternative for diners on a low-carb diet. Chef Tim also brought out a Caldereta dish that wasn't on the menu for us to try. The beef literally fell off the bone and the sauce of the Caldereta offered a slight bitterness that I appreciated. I hope it makes it on the regular menu because I'm sure it will become an ATTIC favorite especially for those who are still "expecting" something familiar.

It was a great dinner as always here at ATTIC and that's what I expected from a good restaurant. I am still very excited for ATTIC and hope the buzz that the restaurant has generated continues to grow. So my advice to the Honda Accord drivers out there test driving the Ford just might like driving something different.

Attic on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Time Traveling: Searching for Filipino food isn't that hard...anymore

I have to admit, I'm the type of person who holds on to my past. From my old baseball cards, favorite hats, and even my vintage Nikes. So I guess that same goes for my food loves. If I had my choice of hot dogs, TOP DOG in Berkeley was a staple in my youth. So most hot dogs spots can't even compare to the ambiance and local feel that TD offered. My favorite burger still has to be any of the old Giant Burger spots in Oakland. Their fat ass burgers had to be the juiciest and messiest burger around.
As far as Filipino food, there wasn't really a restaurant that I grew up on. As a family, we usually ate Filipino food at home or at the usual family gathering with 100 plus guests. We did get the occasional trip to Max's Restuarant in South San Francisco or even Alido's Island Flavor (review coming soon). But as far as a favorite pinoy spot...I really didn't have one.

In my college years, I began to grasp my inner pinoy and started to frequent every single silog (filipino breakfast) joint I could find. From Ling Nam to Sinugba, I had my weekly fix of longanisa, tapa, chicken, bangus and everything in between. For the traditional dishes, I still went home to mom or grandmas house to get my share of adobo, kare-kare, and pancit. Nothing could even compare to home cooking.

Fast forward 12 years to the present and I have to say that things have really changed. We now can find adobo and lumpia on the streets of San Francisco, from Adobo Hobo to Lumpia Cart. Filipino food on the streets? It's a reality that 12 years ago, was out of the question. The food truck boom that we are experiencing in the Bay to Los Angeles has brought us the likes of Senor Sisig, Hapa SF, White Rabbit(LA), The Manila Machine(LA), and Tapa Boy(LA). You can now find Filipino cuisine anywhere and everywhere.

From simple dishes to complex versions of tried and true recipes, the new age of Filipino food is here and least in West Coast. So my journey continues now and I have to say that I am enjoying this new age of Filipino cooking and experimentation with different restaurants and even my own cooking. Our culture is very rich with traditions and variety. You have to realize that we have over 170 dialects and 7107 islands that make up the Philippines. So I have a ton of discovery left, and lot of trips to the gym to keep up with.

Next is a trip to ATTIC in San Mateo CA, and I'm not searching through my mom's old stuff.