There was a Washington Post article recently talking about the advent of Filipino food becoming a thing in the Washington, DC area.  It's always a little bit surreal thinking of the food that you grew up with as being a thing.  To me, it seemed like it was always around but it existed in little mom and pop shops where the cooking was closer to home made than professional.  That's not a bad thing.  The drawback in that is that you'll never be satisfied with anything but your mother's homemade cooking.

To me, in order for Filipino food to be successful as a restaurant, it had to be less homey, feel somewhat familiar, but also feel a little like maybe it wasn't made by your mother since why would you want to eat any other type of Filipino food?  The sense that Filipino cuisine was starting to become mainstream started for me at places like Maharlika and Talde.  Not only did they make Filipino food in an "elevated" way but they also made it cool.  This wave now seems like it's moving to DC.  I wasn't too swept up but my parents were curious enough to jump in.  We did Cathal Armstrong's tasting menu at Restaurant Eve and maybe that's my next article.  But, the next place we tried was Purple Patch mainly because it's wasn't full out Filipino and offered other choices.  Heck, I just liked there was a burger on the menu.

So, I'm back.

I know.  I know.  Like two people missed me.  But, hey...

I'm different and I feel like my view on food has changed greatly.  I think I understand my palate better and I slightly understand better what it takes to something extraordinary in terms of food.

I took the time off because I had got caught up in life. You all know how that happens.  I had especially got caught up with an exceptional woman.  It was sudden and inexplicable.  She took my breath away and I did the same to her.  We were both a little broken at the time and helped each other get better and be better.  Her journey was much more complicated than mine and I admired how she handled it with grace...albeit at arms length...always at arms length.  It was gentle, it was kind, it was passionate, and it was a roller coaster.  Above all, it was great.  But, unfortunately, this relationship flew too closely to the sun.  It feels like it never happened (we don't even have a picture together) but my heart says otherwise right now.  It ended suddenly and inexplicably.  It ended without closure but you somehow knew it ended.  I wanted to rage and I did.  I wanted to cry and I did.  I wanted to lash out but I didn't.  Now, I just want her to know that I loved her and even though the wounds are still fresh, I understand and yet I don't understand.  I hope one day I will but that won't be today.  I wish her well and she'll always have a piece of my soul.

One of my best memories with her is that we loved new restaurants.  She hadn't experienced as much food as I had (oysters...she had never had oystsers!) so I loved the light in her eyes when she tasted things for the first time.  I conveyed my love for food to her and she took it all in wide-eyed and indulgent.  I think maybe that's why i stopped writing.  I had all the sharing I needed to do.  It was enough for me to share my passion with one.

But, now I'm back. I've realized a few things.  One, I enjoy writing more when it's tongue-in-cheek. Unfortunately, that is not this post but believe me it will be in all subsequent writings.  Two, I hate taking fucking pictures of food.  I'm embarrassed for me when I do it and I'm embarrassed every time I see someone else doing it.  I saw a man who looked like he was in his 60s do it the other day. Christ, just stop.  I know camera phones are so much better but take pictures of your loved ones. Things that matter.  Also, I'm pretty sure it's disrespectful to the resto and the other people trying to enjoy their meal.  So, I've given up the galleries and the pictures.  Three, another reason I stopped writing was I think I was writing to get more audience.  I got caught up in wanting people to read my shit.  Well, I don't think my shit was even very good.  I had found a voice that somewhat resonated but a little taste of success.  Being invited to visit a restaurant here and there, went to my head.  I wrote to have more people read what I had to say.  I didn't write because I just loved the food and the experience.  So, I'm back now, sans pictures, to just write for me and my personal hobby of loving food and restaurants.

Well, now that I'm back.  I can say that I've eaten at a lot of places in the almost two plus years that I had stopped.  I may be writing from distant memories or more recent experiences but I have a lot to get through so let's do it

Sundays in NYC always mean brunch to me which eventually lead to a long day of enjoyment that I like to call Sunday Funday.  A little quirky?  Yeah.  Corny?  Sure.  Bordering a bit on childish?  Kind of.  Fun as sh*t?  Absolutely.  I had heard a lot about a Danny Meyer Italian restaurant called Maialino (Italian for Piglet) located in the Gramercy Park Hotel and so we decided to head down there for some brunch.  The hotel itself is pretty elegant and I wasn't expecting the casual surprise of a place like Mailino.  The space reminded me of the Tabard Inn and any place with a view of Gramercy Park is always a welcome place to eat.
65 4th Ave
New York, NY 10003
Ippudo on Urbanspoon

It seemed like all my friends were either working or doing some sort of volunteering on Saturday so I was on my own for an...ahem...late lunch.  I was all set to either walk two blocks and go to Num Pang or just take a short cab ride to Momofuku.  But, I remembered a conversation I had with one of Sakuramen's owners and he had mentioned Ippudo for a place to go to when you want ramen in NYC.  I looked them up quickly and headed down to the East Village.

19 Kenmare St
New York, NY 10012
Ken & Cook on Urbanspoon

In continuing with new experiences for this week, I headed up to NYC for the weekend to spend some time with good friends.  My flimsy excuse (like I need one) was an e-mail from someone at Ken & Cook saying this:

I came across your blog on foodnomad and find it very interesting and well written. It would be a great honor to host you at our restaurant Ken and Cook in Nolita at 19 Kenmare St and get reviewed by you.

Our executive chef Richard Diamonte and partner Artan Gjoni (both veterans at Jean Georges’) including myself look forward to seeing you here.

126 West Street
Annapolis, MD 21401
West Kitchen & Tavern on Urbanspoon

I got this e-mail the other day:
Congratulations! Your e-mail has been selected as the PRIZE winner of 2,000,000.00 in Promotion Held September, 2012 in Europe.
Umm....wait.  I did get that e-mail and usually I'd be stoked about winning 2 million of something but I'm still trying to help an African prince reclaim his fortune.  The e-mail I wanted to show you was this:
880 N. East Street
Frederick, MD 21701
Family Meal on Urbanspoon

When is a diner not a diner?  The correct answer is usually, "when the chicken isn't the duck."  This time, however, it's when a former Top Chef contestant converts what looks like a former showroom of some sort into a "classic, American diner".  Bryan Voltaggio of Top Chef and Volt fame has expanded his empire in Frederick, MD by opening up Family Meal in a surprisingly industrial part of town.  The whole place looks like a gussied up diner but with the obvious Volt connections from the PBR on the menu to the service staff's uniforms (jeans and Chucks).  So, on my way home from Ellicott City, I took a detour through Frederick and got some lunch at this newly opened 'elevated' diner.