Category Archives: Chicago Dining Guide

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.

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.

Continue reading