Category Archives: Filipino & Filipino-Fusion Dining Guide

Looking Back at Kulinarya 2011, A Filipino Culinary Showdown in San Francisco, California

Here I am, writing “backwards,” i.e., documenting my work for KULINARYA 2011, A Filipino Culinary Showdown in San Francisco, California. The event was held on January 21, 2012 at the Carnelian by the Bay Restaurant (Behind Ferry Building at The Embarcadero), San Francisco. The PILI nut was the food ingredient that took center stage and the Philippines’ KULINARYA TOURS were also highlighted.

Of course, I am “drooling” over the prospect of KULINARYA 2012, the 3rd Filipino Culinary Showdown, being convened later this year — but I promised to keep my mouth shut until the organizers make their official announcements.

I am making more time to document some of my written works and audio-visual creations in this personal blog. I keep reiterating to my nieces and nephews that all I can give them are my experiences (through this blog) and sharing my memories and learnings, whenever we reconnect… I miss them! Fortunately, nowadays, I interact with three of my nephews almost every day — and sometimes, in between my viral marketing and public relations work, I get to share my culinary experiences with them.

FOR EXAMPLE: Last night, it was all about PASTA. I taught Christian that the only way to learn if his spaghetti noodles are cooked “al dente” IS to actually taste them, semi-raw — and then done to perfection. Of course, I did not teach him how to throw a spaghetti noodle against the wall to see if it would stick or not. And yes, I also taught him how to “refresh” his refrigerated noodles inside a colander — over hot running water in the sink.

I hope to share more of these culinary experiences with my nieces and nephews.

In the meantime, this is what I did for our hardworking professionals at the Philippine Department of Tourism in San Francisco. Thank you, Rene de los Santos, Debbie Gallano, Gabby Agcaoili, and the rest of the team for giving me this opportunity to sharpen my culinary writing skills and PR capabilities.

FIRST, here is the promotional video that I created for the event. There is also a youtube video:

SECOND, I was given the writing assignments on a Friday — and I had to turn all of them in on a Monday. It was quite an exhilarating writing adventure for me with this KULINARYA magazine BUT I had my recent 3-month trip to the Philippines that helped me with some of my writings as well as the permissions of my friends in the Philippine tourism industry for their photos, words, etcetera.

The KULINARYA Magazine was a supplement inside the San Francisco Examiner Magazine on its Thursday, January 19, 2012 edition. More than 80,000 copies were distributed throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and copies were also available at The Examiner racks on the same date.

I wrote and I edited the following:

1. About the 2nd Kulinarya (summary, a mash-up; the “higher notch in the culinary world” didn’t come from me; whoever edited this, thank you! You made my original “higher good” relevant and meaninful to foodies)

2. The Pili Goes Gourmet! (article based on research and mash-up; I didn’t write the top portion or recipes in this page)

3. Philippines: Where Green Cuisine Means A Healthier Lifestyle (article)

4. TRENDING: “It’s More Fun in the Philippines!’ (article; the original article went viral on youtube by pinaswatcher6, who had uploaded a GMA News broadcast re: the new slogan on January 8, 2012, and had asked my permission to use my article — after I asked their permission to quote them; see As of today, August 25, 2012, this video, with my accompanying article has 8,574 hits on Youtube.

5. Top 10 Things to do in the Philippines (edited from Gab Agcaoili’s beautifully-written 2,000+ words to a precise 500 words)

Come to the Jan. 21, 2012 2nd Kulinarya: Filipino Culinary Showdown in San Francisco, CA!

I am looking forward to KULINARYA 2012!


For those foodies who want to learn more about Filipino cooking in conjunction with all the good, the “bad” and the healthy cuisines, here are some blogs for you to consider:

Lorna Lardizabal Dietz’s Diabetes Life Notes

Noemi Lardizabal Dado’s Pinoy Food, Pinoy Cooking, Filipino Food Recipes and Photoblog

Noemi Lardizabal Dado (mother) and Lauren Lardizabal Dado (daughter) in Pinoy Food & Other Cuisine: Food PhotoBlog and Events


I also have some content curations that you can embed in your own blog or save in your foodie archives.

Cake Decorating Ideas for Nilda Tudtud Abellanosa and Nardith Obera Fuentes

The KAPUSO’s Sweet Taste of Success: Ice-Cream and Desserts in the Bay Area

Gluten-Free Recipes for my niece, Lauren Lardizabal Dado

Oct. 10, 2010: GMA Pinoy TV’s Celebrity Chef, Ron Bilaro, of “Life…Pinoy Style” Runs Race To End Poverty


Chicago, IL—Chicago-based, celebrity chef Ron Bilaro runs his first ever marathon on Sunday, October 10, 2010 for the benefit of Gawad Kalinga (meaning “to give care”), a global anti-poverty movement that was founded in the Philippines.

Bilaro, the host of the popular Fil-Am TV show, “Life…Pinoy Style,” which airs on Comcast and GMA Pinoy TV, is a long-time supporter of Gawad Kalinga. He has been preparing for the 26-mile Bank of America Chicago Marathon since March.

Running the marathon is not the first of Bilaro’s efforts to raise funds for the poor in his native country. In recent years, he has exhibited his culinary talent by preparing sumptuous dishes for private dinners benefiting the movement.

Born and raised in the Philippines, Bilaro has found success in the United States. He is one of the top graduates of the Le Cordon Bleu Program of The Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago (now called the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts).

After schooling, he worked his way up in restaurants first as a line cook and then as pastry chef. He became sous chef to Art Smith, who was then Oprah Winfrey’s executive chef. This opened doors for him as a much sought-after event planner and personal chef to prominent corporate personalities in the windy city and the west coast.

For a couple of years, Bilaro was also a food columnist for the Chicago Tribune, and published his first recipe book in 2009, and is now working on his second.

While the Fil-Am chef prepares expensive meals for his affluent clientele, he remembers the less fortunate back in his homeland, where 45% of the population lives on less than two dollars a day.

“Not many people know about the Philippines or the Filipinos or the poverty that is plaguing the country. I want to be able to help get the message out and somehow make a difference,” Bilaro says.

Gawad Kalinga builds homes and sets up livelihood, nutrition, health, and other programs for the poor, not only in the Philippines but in other countries as well, including Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, and Cambodia.

To make a pledge in support of Chef Bilaro’s run, please go to:

Life...Pinoy Style host Ron Bilaro Nov 09

To subscribe to GMA Pinoy TV and GMA Life TV, click here.

For the schedule of your favorite GMA Pinoy TV shows, click here.

For the schedule of your favorite GMA Life TV shows, click here.

Connect directly with your KAPUSO ABROAD on Facebook.

Barry Picazo of Intramuros Restaurant Honors Pinoy Street Food With a 10-10-10 Festival

The first time I met Barry Picazo of Intramuros Restaurant, it was through Anthony Cruz Legarda of “Arkiteknik” fame who insisted on introducing both of us. Barry, a young retired financial wizard (at least, that’s what I thought of him) decided that his love for Filipino fusion cuisine was luring him to unexpected places, such as a Financial District “food court” on Third Street (about 25 steps away from Market Street) in San Francisco, California. His foodie experiment at that time was called “Mango Bay Cuisine.”

A few years later, Barry went on to help launch Patio Filipino Restaurant in San Bruno, California. It is well-known for its cozy ambience and Filipino-Spanish cuisine in a patio-like setting.

Then again, another restaurant concept that took advantage of multiple rooms and exponentially, more function room space, convinced this intrepid entrepreneur to take another leap of faith. Thus, a fine dining concept with banquet facilities named “Intramuros Restaurant” was born in South San Francisco, California.

I thought that Barry was quite innovative in using his social media techniques when it came to promoting Intramuros Restaurant. He would make me salivate with his short video clips on his Facebook wall about the lunch buffet specials, happy hour menus (It’s super-valued that I called them dinner menus!), Crab Feasts, Karaoke Nights, and lots of entertainment — from the classic to pop culture.

One of my friends once told me that Intramuros Restaurant is this decade’s version of the defunct Tito Rey’s Restaurant or the Mabuhay Gardens, where Filipinos and Filipino-friendly gourmands would gather to eat and make merry… and yes, especially to see who among their friends would drop in.

It’s all worth it, Barry! The late hours, the juggling of schedules, and aligning common purpose and vision with your business partners. I am so proud of your growth as a restaurateur (this is the foodie speaking!) because you have succeeded in making the Intramuros Restaurant an elegant “five-senses” delight that makes me proud to bring in my family and friends. I feel as if I’ve been a part of your growth… Yes, I still have some recipes to share but that will come during one of my visits (that is, if you can spare the time to foodie-chat).

Keep the Filipino cuisine coming! My cousin, Marisa Abad, was so happy that we took the time to enjoy your dining room (leisurely!) that she brought her friends there to celebrate someone’s 80th birthday party. Another classmate, Cynthia Bernaldez Gaabucayan, also brought her family there. So many friends are flocking to your sacred space in Filipino cuisine. Wait till I take my momblogger sister (aka a very popular food blogger in the Philippines with two blogs, Pinoy Food Blog and Food Photo Blog) to enjoy your exquisite culinary delights. I’m not saying anything to her. We’ll just go unannounced — and I will just have to see what my food blogger-sister has to say about the Intramuros Restaurant.

I’ll be coming back to this blog posting so I can update it.

Let’s ring in the TRIPLE 10 Celebration — on October 10, 2010 — or 10-10-10 — when Barry Picazo invites us to celebrate in style — where else? — at the Intramuros Restaurant in the San Francisco Bay Area. Bon appetit!

Pinoy Street Food Festival at Intramuros Restaurant, South San Francisco, California
Pinoy Street Food Festival at Intramuros Restaurant, South San Francisco, California

I’m also including one of your Crab Fest posters as a souvenir in my blog.

Intramuros - Crabs


For those of you who want to know how to cook Intramuros Restaurant’s Crispy Binagoongan over Grilled Eggplant, click here for the recipe.

Here’s Christina Dunham from Filipinas Magazine Online with Barry Picazo in an episode from the Filipinas Magazine Show on GMA Pinoy TV.

Chicago’s Neighborhoods: Comfort Food, Ethnic Dining, and Fusion Cuisine Part 1

March 29, 2009

Now that spring is here (it snows during spring, too!), I’ve decided to collect the contact information of my friends’ favorite foodie hangouts so I can pull up this list from my Blackberry when the need arises.

3424 N. Southport Avenue
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 528-2220

Originally recommended to me by my colleagues at Filipinas Magazine, our visit one winter evening turned out to be a gastronomic delight. Described as LATINO FUSION CUISINE (think Cuba, Spain, Brazil meets the Philippines), our menu selections that day showcased a delicate blend of influences… But I’m not spoiling your appetites. Just make reservations early!

Some of the appetizers and entrees that we tried — aside from the delicious mussels — were:

Fried Calamari – Seasoned with a blend of dry roasted Philippine sea salt and black pepper served with sambal cocktail sauce

Pork Tenderloin Bicol – Lean pork tenderloin stuffed with shrimp, bacon, coconut and pineapple served with jasmine rice, seasonal vegetables and peppery adobo glaze

Zarzuela – Rustic Catalonian seafood dish with shrimp, mussels and scallops cooked in a saffron, white wine and roasted tomato broth served with grilled baguette

3800 N Pulaski Rd
Chicago, IL 60641
(773) 545-7427
The best baby back ribs — and the best barbecued foods in Chicago, according to Ron Salazar. This is on my wish list!

Reviews can be found here.

Neighborhood: Cragin
3100 N Cicero Ave
Chicago, IL 60641
(773) 685-4241

Ron Salazar found another place for me to try (he likes to record these nice finds in his Facebook, lucky me!).

“Another great find on Chicago’s Northwest side…From a YELP, “…this place is amazing. All sorts of Argentinian and S. American delights. …They have Argentine soccer stuff, food, EMPANADAS, groceries and . . .WINE. Delicious wine from Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and all over S. America …The staff is v. friendly and so enthusiastic about their Argentinian culture and country. A real GEM!”

Some reviews can be found here.

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Noemi Dado’s Pinoy Food & Other Cuisine Photo Blog cum Events Diary

I swear that my next trip to Manila will include a visit to some of the places that my sister, Noemi Dado, lists and reviews in her Food Photo Blog and Events Diary, Pinoy Food and Other Cuisine. Noemi, as a new media publisher, gets invited to some of the new product review events and restaurant openings that PR companies in the Philippines conduct regularly. As always, my sister discloses how she gets invited to such events. Being invited to an event doesn’t mean that Noemi gushes superlatives about a product or a new dining venue.

This talented Filipina offers insightful analysis based on her technical as well as business knowledge and experience. After all, Noemi has a B.S. Food Technology degree from the University of the Philippines. Some people still remember that she had an exciting career at the Institute for Small Scale Industries . I clearly remember this because she sub-contracted my services to interview some small business owners in diverse industries in Cebu. Thus, I was able to get an innate understanding about how a foundry conducts business or how a fledgling dried mangoes business emerged as a market leader. Even our own family bakeshop’s triumphs and woes became a case study for my sister at a national business publication.

Noemi and I are FOODIES, that is, we share a love of interesting, oftentimes off-the-beaten-path type of cuisine. What Noemi’s blog offers to me is a current review of the trends happening in the Manila dining scene as well as the pop culture favorites of Filipino food consumers. I’ve noticed that her daughter, Lauren Dado, who is now taking her Masters in Creative Writing at the University of the Philippines, is an active contributor to this blog. Butch Dado, Noemi’s “Warrior Lawyer” husband, also loves to cook. Marielle, my other niece, has definite opinions about where and what she eats. She reminds me of her mom (Noemi).

Here are some postings in Noemi’s blog that I found which appealed to me.

Noemi talks about Milk Tea, which is a staple in Asian grocery stores here in the United States. I was first introduced to milk tea by my‘s marketing director, Vonny Oei, a couple of years ago. How wonderful to see it being marketed as a coffee alternative in the Philippines!

Her entry about Ube Wrapped Lumpia reminds me that there are many creative vegetarian dishes that can be included in a calorific, cholesterol-rich Filipino menu.

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Asian-Inspired Cuisine: Alimango Restaurant now open for business in San Mateo, California

Our busy Chito Desuasido couldn’t resist sending an e-mail (yes, viral marketing works!) to his friends about spreading the word that Alimango Restaurant, a Crustacean lover’s go-to place, has opened its doors for business in San Mateo, CA. I am so pleased by the diverse dining choices available for lovers of Filipino and Filipino-inspired cuisine in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area. One of my friends from Southern California, Benito Miranda, e-mailed me a week ago, lamenting about the lack of Filipino dining choices in Southern California, where he lives. Take note, Benito! Some of these restaurateurs might just listen to you and send off the Northern California gourmet dining experience to your area — in an L.A. minute.

In Chito’s own words:


Can you pls. help us spread the word around our friends: Alimango Restaurant is now open in San Mateo.

3708 S El Camino Real (between 37th and 38th Ave., 2 blocks south of Hillsdale Shopping Center)
San Mateo, Ca. 94403
(650) 357-1888

We had a very SOFT opening Easter Sunday – 2 days ago – and we have not really spread the word around, but small groups of family and friends have tried us. Last night, we had a group from ABS-CBN. Tonight, we’ll have a few groups including Ayala Foundation (Denny Roja, Vicky Gatchitorena, Dado Banatao and etal) and FILPABA for dinner.

Tito Gonzales (of Patio Filipino) and I hope to add one more Filipino venue and gathering place, which we can all be proud of.

Hope to see you soon,

Chito Desuasido

p.s. – Reservations preferred, but not necessary.

Support a Filipino-owned business: Manuel Ramirez launches Chill! Berry Frozen Yogurt in San Jose, CA

Move over, PinkBerry! Manuel Ramirez’s Chill! Berry at the Lollicup Tea Zone in the San Francisco Bay Area is a Filipino-owned business — and we’re here FIRST!

Please join Manuel at his grand launch on February 4, 2008. Chill with Chill! Berry!

Here’s your FREE Chill! Berry Frozen Yogurt coupon, $1 value, courtesy of Manuel Ramirez. Good till October 2008. Please print this coupon for redemption and let them know that Lorna Dietz gave this to you.

Manuel Ramirez and Chill! Berry $1.00 coupon, good till October 2008. Cut out this coupon or print page 1 of this blog entry to redeem your free Chill! Berry frozen yogurt. (from Lorna Dietz)

I met Manuel Ramirez, this engaging, hard-working Filipino American young professional a few years ago at the GMA Pinoy TV launch in the San Francisco Bay Area. He was busy handing out these “to-die-for” Lollicup slush and smoothie beverages (dessert!) with boba (“black pearls or tapioca balls”). Feeling giddy and extra-energetic because my blood sugar was so impressed by Lollicup’s Ube (taro or purple yam) ice-creamy smoothie — I kept in touch with Manuel. He’s been one of our sponsors at the Filipinas Magazine Achievement Awards (2006), delightfully making the Lollicup products available for us to feel “Proudly Pinoy!” We’re proud to support a Filipino-owned business.

Aside from being one of Lollicup USA’s regional distributors (independently-owned and operated), Manuel Ramirez offers Chill! Berry frozen yogurt. Now, my blood sugar is going to be singing praises because I’m a lover of frozen yogurt.

Here’s the news from Manuel.

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Food Review by Marylou “Dada” Tan: Archipelago Bistro in Burlingame, California

I started with one posting about the “Pinoy Dining Guide” for the San Francisco Bay Area so whenever people asked me for a listing of Filipino-themed restaurants, I could quickly look it up in my Blackberry 8830 (from my own postings, of course!). Yes, my friends know that when I enjoy a well-prepared meal, I really look ecstatic! No one has dared to shoot a photo of me when I’m in this almost-Nirvana state of mind — not yet, anyway. I haven’t gone to the level of actually slurping my soup just like the Japanese do when they want to show their satisfaction. Yet, I do take the time to savor the taste of the ingredients and speculate on the spices and seasonings that were used as well as the preparation methods. After all, the food industry is my first love.

So, I have these friends, Agnes Torres and Dada Tan, who are members of the Filipina singing group, the Spice Divas. I haven’t been updated with their latest singing gigs but I have hilarious fun during the rare times we get together. They sing for the love of it!

Dada TanIn the last couple of years, Dada has been sending emails to her friends about her food reviews. I suspect that she actually likes writing about her culinary adventures. Dada’s e-mail about Archipelago Bistro in December 2007 was particularly interesting and oh-so “salivating” that I forwarded it to my colleagues in Fil-Am media. I’m also cajoling Dada to blog about her food adventures.

Jacqui Conclara of Manila Bulletin-USA printed Dada’s edited food review a couple of weeks ago. Shortly after the article was published, I met Archipelago’s Jack Tien at a mixer hosted by the Young Filipino Professional Association (YFPA), who provided me with a menu of the restaurant’s gustatory delights with his follow-up email. Jack also sent me some beautiful photos of their restaurant. I have yet to make the time to enjoy Archipelago’s cuisine. For now, I can walk in Dada’s shoes and pretend that I’ve actually been there.

For reservations, you can contact Jack Tien at 650.348.3888 or at [email protected]

:-) And here is Dada’s unedited review:

Archipelago Bistro
1107 Howard Avenue
Burlingame, CA 94010
(650) 348-3888

It was over two weeks ago when I first heard about Archipelago Restaurant from my long time friend and classmate, Tet Alba Gaskell. I found out her brother-in-law Chito Dakis (a graduate of UP) is one of the partners in the business. I was real excited to try another Filipino owned fusion restaurant in the San Francisco bay area

Archipelago Bistro - at the entrance (photo provided by Jack Tien)

I wanted to celebrate my belated birthday dinner with my family and sister at Archipelago so we went there 2 weeks ago. We got to the restaurant and saw their modern signage outside. There are elongated rectangular orange lanterns hanging on the ceiling of the bar area on the left side as we entered. Some painted bamboos are part of the décor. There is an archway leading to the private banquet room. To the right is the main dining area which is a just little bit too dim. There are nice booths along the walls with modern wall lamps. In the center of the high ceiling room where we sat are hanging bamboo fish trap baskets used as lamps. There are more bamboo décor towards the back. The wood tables did not need any table cloths. Dark orange napkins are displayed neatly. The waiters are dressed in all black with dark orange floor length aprons. I am in awe at how beautiful the restaurant is and just so classy, elegant and romantic. It is really impressive with the Oriental and modern ambiance of this upscale restaurant that opened on November 9, 2007. I kept repeating “WOW” several times.

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Marylou “Dada” Tan’s Food Review: Red Lantern in Redwood City

I wonder when Dada will set up a food blog. I enjoy her food reviews!

Red Lantern
808 Winslow St
Redwood City, CA 94063
(650) 369-5483


November 18, 2007

Last Wednesday, my family and I wanted to check out this newly opened Asian fusion restaurant in Redwood City. The former government building has been transformed into a beautiful restaurant with high ceiling. It’s owned by a Filipino Chef Jeffrey San Diego and his team, Indonesian Executive Chef Daniel Sudar and General Manager Daniel Burns. The two chefs have graduated from the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. They are all still young in their thirties and have worked for some of the finest restaurants in San Francisco and the bay area. Being a Filipina with an Indonesian husband made it even more appealing to try out the flavors of our countries. It’s an upscale restaurant and I knew the interior designs were gonna be contemporary. I was right but it was more of an exotic Oriental ambiance with some Asian wood statues and decorations, Indonesian wood carvings, bamboos, huge red silk lanterns, Oriental chairs and some contemporary upholstered booths and palm trees. Tables are bare with modern red lined black square plates. There have cylindrical bamboo holders with green chopsticks on every table. They have a full bar seating lounge by the main dining area. There is also a second story lounge but more simple with a flat-panel screen tv.

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Marylou “Dada” Tan: Treat Ice-Cream at Scoops Ice-Cream Shop

Well, I love ice-cream! Here’s something that Dada emailed me sometime ago.

Scoops Ice Cream Shop
784 Laurel Street
San Carlos, CA 94070
(650) 593-8577


August 20, 2006

Hello Everyone! This was sent to me by my friend, Gerry Socco few days ago. I’ve never heard of Treat Ice Cream until last weekend when somebody had given me 3 half gallons of mango, macapuno & vanilla. The mango ice cream is really the best! I found out that Lunardi sells them but they don’t always have the mango ice cream. So, I went to check out Scoops Ice Cream in San Carlos since it was close to my work. I met Lilian & found out she went to St Scholastica’s College in Pampanga, a branch of my school in Manila. She’s real nice & friendly. Since I was at a rush to get back to work during my lunch time, I got a Mocha Almond Fudge which was also very good. It was so nice of her to treat me & I told her I’ll be back next week.

They also sell candies, yogurt, shaved ice, smoothies & coffees.

MaryLou (Dada) Tan


Manny and Lilian Rosales own and operate the Scoops Ice Cream Shop in San Carlos. They serve Treat and Mary Anne Ice Cream. You have got to try the Treat Mango Ice Cream – the best! Even the Macapuno ice cream is just great!

Here’s Manny’s email: [email protected]