“What are we calling this thing?” Chrissy asked, referring to the pop-up’s title.
“BAGO!!” Sarahlynn saw my blank stare and clarified, “That means ‘new’ in Tagalog.”
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Our Filipino-ness is not something we switch on from October 1 to 31. It’s not a costume. Filipino is part of who we are, always. October is every month, and Filipino American History Month is a special time for us to celebrate and remember who we are. Chicago’s Sunda celebrates Filipino American History Month with weekly specials all October, culminating with a kamayan dinner on October 25.
Though all our meals of 2014 were amazing in their own right, a select few dishes stood above the rest. Whether the dishes were new-to-us Filipino dishes, interesting twists on familiar classics or the classics done masterfully, certain ones we replay in our memory with a genuine desire to experience those dishes again and rejoin with friends, new and old alike. Natalia and I are hungry for more of these top Filipino dishes of 2014.
True to her eponymous dinner series name, Chef Chrissy Camba, over the course of three days, stuffed and rolled and steamed and fried little parcels of thin skin wonton wrappers and spongey rice flour dough full of tasty Filipino Christmas goodness. If that isn't the Christmas spirit, then I don't know what is.
If life were a giant dodgeball game and we get to choose sides, I'm on the side of the pinays (or Filipino ladies) from Chicago. Especially if those pinays were chefs. We'd been meaning to check out Chef Chrissy Camba's new popup project, Maddy's Dumpling House, now for weeks. Her Christmas Filipino Pork dinner on Monday, December 15, gave Natalia and me a wonderful excuse. This lady is a fighter.
Filipino Kitchen started in my kitchen -- a long time ago, on a different blog -- with a bowl of lugaw that became my most visited post. The idea of spinning off a Filipino food website that linked culture to cuisine to current events and history brewed and simmered in the long polar vortex-frequent winter of 2013-2014, as Natalia and I made dinners in, steeling against the cold. Although the starting point for Filipino Kitchen was a multimedia blog, the immediate satisfaction of working with our hands, cooking our food together and eating together as a celebration of our culture is where we really started. Natalia and I always had catering, popup dinners, farmers' markets and cooking classes in our broader vision. Though after only two weeks of publishing our first blog post, opportunity came a' Tweeting.
Pinoy Food for the Soul features Billy Dec, the CEO/Founder of Rockit Ranch Productions, an Emmy-award winning entertainment TV personality, an attorney and a weekly on-air contributor on ABC-TV’s “Windy City Live” and on 103.5 KISS FM radio. Most recently, Dec was appointed by President Obama to serve on his White House Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.