Kusinata: Back to Nature, Back to our Roots

The name Kusinata is a portmanteau word derived from the blend of words ‘Kusina’, which means kitchen, and ‘Ata’, one of the indigenous tribes in the Philippines. The Atas (or to some dialects: Aetas, Agta, or Ayta) are one of the earliest known settlers in the country. In the modern-day setting, they are living in mountainous areas around the archipelago.

This unique ethnic fusion concept was conceived from Chef Jay Grey’s college research paper about the indigenous peoples on the island of Negros. Now spearheading as Kusinata’s resident Chef de Cuisine, he works closely with our Ata brothers and sisters, providing them culinary skills training and jobs where they work as hosts, cooks, and servers, adding great value to Kusinata’s diverse and vibrant team.

Since it opened almost two years ago in the Municipality of Don Salvador Benedicto, they have become known for its ever-surprising, taste buds-teasing menu, thus their fearless introduction of transportive flavors, like the Tamalata, a redefined version of the Mexican Tamales and Shakshuka, their own take and style of this famous Mediterranean dish.

Kusinata’s advocacy is not only centered on the Ata indigenous people but also on supporting local produce, sustainability, and nature preservation. Kusinata is also tapping products from farms toiled by Atas to be used as ingredients for the restaurant’s food and beverages.

A weekend meal with the family at Kusinata is truly an amazing back-to-nature gastronomic experience whilst enjoying the majestic canvas of the Malatan-og Mountain and the Malatan-og Falls. They take early table reservations for Friday to Sunday, 8am – 5pm; but if you missed to book or you just happen to pass by the area, walk-ins are welcome too.

Location: Brgy. Kumaliskis, Don Salvador Benedicto, Negros Occidental
Reservations contact: 0995 915 9229
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kusinata/

Image credit: Kusinata

#KabiseraNYC: The not-so-new-kid in Lower East Side

Situated at the Lower East Side (LES) of Manhattan, Kabisera Café is one of the most trendy cafes along Allen Street. It opened its doors in December of 2017 and it recently moved to a newer and bigger space (just right beside its previous spot which is now Angela’s Ice Cream & Desserts).
 
Kabisera still takes pride in its specialty coffees and other Kabisera-curated favorites such as: Iced Espresso Oat Latte, Almond Chaitado, Affogato, Ube Latte, Matchube (Matcha cum Ube), Golden Latte (Turmeric infused beverage), White Spice Mocha, Vitalitea and many more.
 
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It has become the go-to place by Lower East siders and tourists alike, either to hang out, dine or grab a to-go cuppa. “Our regulars know their coffee and we’re happy to slush their favorite beverage to jumpstart their day. It just feels great to become a part of their daily routine.”, shared Carla Mongado, Actor/Singer and part-time Barista at Kabisera.

The Menu

This Filipino-inspired cafe has pioneered in introducing the Purple Rice Bowl (Tofu bowl), Pork Longganisa Quesadilla and Chicken Adobo Panini in New York City. Their menu includes interesting fusion of contemporary and traditional Pinoy flavors. As for desserts, they have pastries like Lemon squares, Smores brownie, Pecan pie, Maja Blanca, Bibingka, Cassava cake and Ube ice cream which perfectly complement their food menu. Kabisera also features seasonal desserts such as Halo-halo, Frozen Brazo de Mercedes and Palitaw.


 
The Kamayan

Kabisera is also known for its successful Kamayan lunch and dinner parties. Kamayan is the Filipino traditional way of eating sans the knife and fork. The dishes are served on top of a banana leaf and it’s meant to be shared and enjoyed as a family or as a group. You may contact Kabisera for their available Kamayan packages or if you want to customize the menu and style for your feast.

 
For huge groups who need space for closed-door soirees, the place easily transforms from a cafe into an event venue with a seating capacity of 20 to 30 persons and a maximum room of 35 pax. Meetings and parties may be booked at least two or three days before the event schedule.

The Beans

Kabisera has teamed up with a roastery in Brooklyn to customize three coffee bean varieties: Kaulayaw, Silakbo and Dalisay. Kaulayaw is the balanced and smooth variety which they use for their espresso-based drinks. Silakbo is strong and full-bodied which make for their iced coffee, drip coffee and cold brew. The Dalisay roast is the fruity and sweet variety. Kabisera’s coffee beans come from Central and South America with its roastery in Brooklyn, New York.

The Heads of the Table

The term Kabisera means the head of the table. Hence, let’s introduce you to its heads of the table–the hospitable couple Augee and Joey. Augee aka Dj Chinita is the big wheel when it comes to the coffee, food and banquet departments while Joey takes care most of the purchasing and the physical attributes of the cafe. Together they formed an awesome lot of personable baristas and kitchen crew to take care of their customers.
 
When asked about what made them decide to open a Filipino cafe in Manhattan, Augee Francisco, owner of  Kabisera said, “I want Pinoy flavors to have a representation in the New York City’s food scene–in such a way that’s casual yet inventive and high quality yet affordable.”
 
 
Kabisera for Everyone
 
While it’s the first Filipino establishment in LES to introduce the Filipino hospitality to the neighbourhood, it has already gained patrons of diverse culture and ethnicity since it opened. Kabisera continues to embrace and respect everyone’s individuality as it is one with the Women and the LGBTQI community in the struggle for gender equality.
 
“It is a joy to be able to share with everyone who comes to Kabisera, what Filipino hospitality is like. As I always say, we value, respect and take good care of our customers, otherwise, we won’t be living this dream of ours now.”, Francisco added.
 
What they say about Kabisera
 
“I live on the other side of the street and there’s also a cafe near my apartment building but I choose to come to Kabisera because of the good service. They’re all friendly and they treat me like family.” — Nenad, Manager at The Box NYC

“I start my day at Kabisera with my cortado, perfectly prepared by genuinely friendly baristas.”, Hugo, LES Resident.

Visit and follow #KabiseraNYC on social media. For every coffee-based beverage you purchase, you get your loyalty card star-stamped and your fifth drink is free. Ask your barista for your own personalized card.

Kabisera Café
151 Allen St., Manhattan, New York City 10002
Contact: 929 920 8250; kabiserakape@gmail.com
 
Photo credits: Kabisera, Carla Mongado

Savouring Singapore: The 2015 Roundup

Enjoying a great meal is one of our greatest pleasures in life; and, that’s why we always wanted to indulge ourselves with new flavours and different food places to try. So this year, we’ve come up with a unique blog series called: Savouring Singapore; with a mission to promote the delicious food places (big and small players) that you may find in and around the Lion City.

Makan! Makan! Makan!

While we aim to publicise Singapore as a ‘food trip’ destination, and since Singaporeans are known for their penchant in eating out (with family or with friends); this blog series was conceptualised with the main intention of helping those small food stalls in the Hawker Centres and Kopitiams with little or no digital access/capability.

Savouring Singapore

Though some of our featured restaurants serve foreign cuisine, they sure were customised to be palatable to the meticulous Singaporean taste buds. We have opened the submissions to anyone (locals, tourists and foreign workers) who wants to share their food photos and gastronomic experiences.

Here’s a roundup of this year’s and here’s looking forward to more new places in 2016. We hope that you will continue to join us in our mouthwatering journey of Savouring Singapore!

1. The Tea Party – ONE-NORTH, SINGAPORE

2. Heng Ji Chicken Rice – CHINATOWN COMPLEX, SINGAPORE

3. The Bravery – JALAN BESAR, SINGAPORE

4. Yoshimaru Ramen Bar – HOLLAND VILLAGE, SINGAPORE

5. Ye Shang Hai Teochew Porridge 夜上海潮洲粥 – BUKIT MERAH, SINGAPORE

6. Mad For Garlic – SUNTEC CITY, SINGAPORE

7. Yayoi – BUGIS+, SINGAPORE

8. Ann Chin’s Popiah – CHINATOWN COMPLEX, SINGAPORE

9. Gurkha Palace – LITTLE INDIA, SINGAPORE

10. Aura – CITY HALL, SINGAPORE

11. Aeiou – JALAN BESAR, SINGAPORE

12. Day & Night Bistro – TIONG BAHRU, SINGAPORE

13. Niqqi’s – CLEMENTI, SINGAPORE

14. Food Street Fried Kway Teow Mee – CHINATOWN COMPLEX, SINGAPORE

15. Tolido’s Espresso Nook – KAMPONG GLAM, SINGAPORE


Though we believe that good food/restaurant easily spreads by word of mouth, we hope that this will further promote especially those who don’t have a website, a Facebook page or a Twitter account.

How many from this list have you visited? Let us know where do you think we should be going next. Email: eugephemisms [@] gmail [.] com

*Makan is a Malay term which means: food or to eat.

Pasándolo Bomba: La Trastienda Tapas

Apart from the magnificent views of the Spanish outskirts that you’ll enjoy, travelling by land from Valencia to Madrid can be fun, enjoyable, and comfortable, too. Thanks to ALSA bus fleet’s modern travel and leisure services. ALSA is a leading Spanish bus operator which caters to the EU states and even to some North African countries.

We booked a SUPRA Class in one of ALSA’s modern buses and the business class-like ride was indeed a superior treat. “Ladies and Gentlemen, we’d like to direct your attention to the screen in front of you..” Sadly, there wasn’t any actual or onscreen safety demonstration like in airplanes; yet, we had individual screens for movies-on-the-road and a travel attendant who served snacks and drinks during the trip. ¡Qué disfrutando de la vida!

After a seven-hour journey from Valencia, we headed straight to downtown Madrid to have some refreshments by the Plaza de Chueca. Here are some photos of what we had for just a casual dinner for three at La Trastienda Tapas.

Our friendly local host, Juan Carlos (not the former King of Spain), wanted us to try some local Madrileña specialties and if not for him, we wouldn’t have found this gastronomic gem in the country’s capital. This place is secretly situated at one corner, near the fruits and vegetables market, on the second floor of Mercado de San Antón en la Calle de Augusto Figueroa, Madrid.

Mercado de San Antón

La Trastienda Tapas

La Trastienda Tapas

Tabla de Quesos, de Temporada con sus cositas

Tabla de Quesos, de Temporada con sus cositas

Cesta de pan

Cesta de pan

Degustacion de Croquetas

Degustacion de Croquetas

La Trastienda Tapas

Pan de cristal con tomate

Pan de cristal con tomate

Caña de Lomo Iberico, almendras, pan tomate

Caña de Lomo Iberico, almendras, pan tomate

La Trastienda Tapas


LA TRASTIENDA TAPAS
Augusto Figueroa, 24, 28004 Madrid, Spain
Telephone: +34 913 300 271
Website

Italian in Britain: GRAND Caffé Concerto

Located at Whitehall, one of Central London’s busiest areas, the GRAND Caffé Concerto, offers a wide variety of Italian dishes from antipastis, burgers, salads, and main courses. We only chanced upon this place by accident while we were on our way to Buckingham Palace. Aside from being quite famished at that time, we also remembered their main entrance to look very welcoming so maybe that’s why we went in right away.

And since we started our day quite early in preparation for a day-long city walk, we started it right with an English Breakfast at this luxurious Italian restaurant. No, it wasn’t really that luxurious; perhaps it was just the classy furniture plus the modern design of its interior which made it look like an expensive café.

Quite strangely that we haven’t tried any Italian dish from their menu; but as tourists, we wouldn’t mind missing it as we prefer to eat something that’s a specialty or a delicacy of the country we’re visiting. Coffee-wise, their Americano and Latté were, in fact, quite GRAND.

The Caffé Concerto chain of restaurants have 19 branches all over the City of London; so, whenever you’re in “The Square Mile,” it’s easy to find one nearest you. It is best to visit them for lunch or dinner and the approximate spending would be £25-30 for two persons.

GRAND Caffe Concerto

GRAND Caffe Concerto

GRAND Caffe Concerto

GRAND Caffe Concerto

GRAND Caffe Concerto

GRAND Caffe Concerto

GRAND Caffe Concerto

GRAND Caffe Concerto

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace


GRAND Caffé Concerto – Whitehall
43 Whitehall, London SW1A 2BX, United Kingdom
Telephone: +44 20 7494 6846
Website