Hello Bahay Kainan/BaBoys!

October is Filipino 🇵🇭 American 🇺🇸 History Month and Bahay Kainan/BaBoys is the perfect place to celebrate. Their menu brings classic Filipino favorites with an American twist.

Bahay Kainan first started off in 2001 as a catering business by Philippine immigrants. Elizabeth and Guillermo Ferido. The served only traditional Filipino food and hence the name Bahay Kainan; Tagalog for “Home Cooking”. In 2016; they added the name BaBoys when their son Guilbert Ferido; a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena; took over as head chef. He added the name “BaBoys.”  The name “BaBoys” has a special twist as in Tagalog it means “Pork” while the “Boys” can is a reference to American young men.

The new name, “Baboys” with a Filipino American twist was perfect for the new Filipino fusion menu that Guilbert Ferido created. Inspired by his Mom’s cooking of lumpia he incorporated the popular Filipino appetizer into a burger and made the Lumpia burger.

The Lumpia Burger consists of a Lumpiang Shanghai Patty in between two Hawaiian buns and topped with slices of cheese, Asian slaw, tomato, scallions and smothered with garlic aioli and banana ketchup. Filipino classic lumpia is often dipped in the popular Filipino condiment banana ketchup and even that is creatively incorporated in this burger.

Alongside the Lumpia Burger; are other Filipino fusion items such as fries topped with Sisig (Filipino minced pork, chopped onion, and chicken liver),  Tocino (Filipino sweet pork) Burrito and Bistek (Filipino beef steak) Onion Rings.

The Bistek Onion Rings are a favorite of mine on the menu. Filipino Beef Steak is a dish I’ve loved growing up. The traditional way is thin slices of beef with lots of onions stewed in soy sauce and lemon juice. Here at BaBoys; they have lots of beef and lots of onions but the onions consist of fried onion rings. There is also garlic parmesan cheese and cotija cheese. It’s Filipino and American cuisine paired perfectly.

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With it’s Filipino American cuisine, Bahay Kainan/BaBoys is the perfect place to eat this Filipino 🇵🇭 American 🇺🇸 History Month.

For more smiles, please see my Yelp review on Bahay Kainan/BaBoys

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Hello Mix Mix Kitchen Bar!

Just this May 2019; Michelin released the first ever California statewide list of Bib Gourmand selections. The list highlights “exceptionally good food at moderate prices.” One of the restaurants listed was Mix Mix Kitchen and Bar.  Located in Downtown Santa Ana, Mix Mix Kitchen Bar is the global inspired restaurant concept by famed Chef Ross Pangilinan. The restaurant is not new to earning recognition. In 2017; they also Orange Coast Magazine’s 2017 Restaurant of the Year!

Chef Ross Pangilinan was previously the executive chef at Leatherby’s Café Rouge at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa. In 2017; he opened up Mix Mix Kitchen Bar. Since it’s opening; the restaurant has earned both awards as well as the hearts of foodies from all over.

Chef Ross Pangilinan’s dishes have a hint of Filipino flare and European touch. The menu is filled with unique and tasty dishes and one of the best ways to go while visiting is trying out their “Oui Chef” tasting menu. For $65; diners get to partake in 5 dishes personally picked by the chef himself.  I got to try the “Oui Chef” tasting menu recently and had the most amazing time!

Our meal first started off with Chicharrones and spicy vinegar.

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Chicharrones; a classic Filipino snack; was the perfect starter for our big meal.  The Chicharrones were thin and crisp and great when dipped in the Datu Puti vinegar; a well known Filipino vinegar.

Next up; we were presented with several of Mix Mix’s famed snacks..

First was the Seared Albacore Tostada & Filipino ceviche.

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The Seared Albacore Tostada came with avocado, seaweed, Japanese dressing, sriracha aioli, radish on top of a round crisp tostada. On the side was the Filipino ceviche with coconut lime dressing, tangerine, avocado, Thai chili and bits of pork crackling.

One of the nicest things I liked about the Oui Chef tasting menu was it was customizable to guests. One guest can have a different dish versus the other if the other guest has different dining preferences (non-pescatarian, vegetarian etc).

Since I am non-pescatarian; I was presented with a lovely plate with Chorizo & Potato Croquettes and Bacon Wrapped Date.

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The Chorizo & Potato Croquettes came with jalapeno lime aioli, Oaxaca cheese while the Bacon Wrapped Date came with harissa yogurt, Marcona almonds. Both were lovely and full of flavor! I loved the softness of the croquettes and sweetness of the date.

The snacks did not end there as next was a plate of Heirloom Tomato and Watermelon salad to share.

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This had watermelon, tomato, candied pistachio and white balsamic gastrique. Pieces of crisp toast were placed on top. I loved how they made this seasonal dish with watermelon. It was so refreshing for a summer night.

Next up were several selections from Mix Mix Kitchen Bar’s small plates menu.

The first was Short Rib Bao Buns.

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It is rare to find bao buns at restaurants and I have to say that this is one of the best that I’ve ever had! It was packed with braised short rib topped with pickled onions and cilantro. It also had ”pho” cream which gave a pho like taste to great small plate!

Pork Cheek Adobo was followed as our next small plate.

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Adobo is a famed Filipino dish and one knows a Filipino restaurant is good based off their adobo! I am happy to say Filipino Chef Ross definitely knows his adobo. This small plate was delicious and was accompanied with tasty garlic fried rice and chimichurri. It reminds me of home.

The dish served with the Pork Cheek Adobo was the restaurant’s Market Fish selection dish.

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The Market Fish was a lovely looking plate. The fish was roasted barramundi and it was accompanied with Spanish beans, Spanish chorizo, zucchini and pickled chili emulsion. Healthy and delightful are two words that come to mind.

Soft Egg Raviolo awaited our palates next.

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The Soft Egg Raviolo had a soft cooked egg in the middle of a large disk of stuffed black pepper pasta, topped with herb ricotta,  guanciale, parmesan and brown butter. The egg yolk oozed out of the middle as I sliced this delectable dish. The ravioli itself was so soft and cooked perfectly.

Our following starter plate was a surprise. It was the Rabbit Guitar Pasta.

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The pasta itself is representative of guitar strings and hence the name “Guitar Pasta.” On top was shredded meat that at first we were debating whether it was chicken or pork. It turned out to be Fryer Rabbit; a lean young rabbit with fine-textured white meat. This dish is not on the menu but a special of the restaurant. It was definitely one of their more unique dishes!

At this point; we were getting quite full but up next was the main entree; New York steak and Lamb.

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Once again; Mix Mix Kitchen Bar got it right! Both meats were cooked medium and were so tender. Accompanied with brussel sprouts and potatoes; it felt like we were at high end steakhouse. The lamb was another off the menu special.

The desserts were a sweet ending to a very special tasting menu. We got not one but two of their famous desserts.

First up was the Chocolate Fondant.

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Our waiter described this as a lava cake like type dessert with passion fruit cream, salted caramel on the side. The chocolate itself was so rich and smooth. It was dark chocolate at it’s finest. The passion fruit cream gave a nice, sweet offset to the dark chocolate.

Our last but definitely not the least dessert was the Tropical Verrine.

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Once again; Chef Ross Pangalinan pays homage to his Filipino roots with this dessert that is a twist on the Filipino halo- halo. It had coconut panna cotta, macadamia nuts and tropical fruit and mango sorbe and ube ice cream. Definitely save room for dessert as this sweet treat is pure heaven!

Oui Chef experience at Mix Mix Kitchen was the most amazing culinary experience. I can definitely see why this restaurant won Orange Coast Magazine’s 2017 Restaurant of the Year and is on the list of Michelin Guide California 2019 Bib Gourmand. Chef Ross Pangilinan along with Chef de Cusine; Ross Harris came up with some of the best dishes ever and provided us with a dining experience we will never forget! Oui Chef!

For more smiles; please see my Yelp review  on Mix Mix Kitchen Bar.

Hello Full House BBQ Vegas!

I’ve always been a fan of Full House. I mean I grew up with DJ, Stephanie and Michelle….oh wait not that Full House ;). Hehe, with a similar name to my favorite TV show when I was a kid, you may say I’m a bit bias to loving Full House BBQ in Vegas but I actually quite a fan of this Filipino restaurant with no association to the sitcom.

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I had the pleasure of dining here recently and truly loved each and every dish that I tried. The menu is large and they offer classic Filipino dishes as well as fusion ones.

For my trip here, the first dish that we tried was their Fire Roasted Crispy Pork belly.

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At Full House, they offer 1 pound of this Lechon Belly! It’s a classic favorite and they offer plenty.

Next dish was another crispy plate via the Sisig Milkfish.

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Full House offers several sisig sizzling plates. They have sisig pork belly, beef sirloin, chicken, and milkfish. Each dish comes with red, green peppers, onions, lime, soy, mayonnaise and fresh egg.

We also were served another sizzling dish via their beef sirloin.

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This pinoy bistek was my personal favorite of the whole trip. It consisted of board cracked peppercorn, onions and calamnsi soy glaze. I loved the sauce and it went well with the white rice. It was so savory.

For our soup, we tried their “sinigang” tamarind sour soup.

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This soup comes with choice or pork ribs or pompano fish and a blend of vegetables. The broth of this hotpot was so hearty. It had the perfect hint of sourness and made for a great soup.

Last but not least, we got to try their famous Flaming Halo Halo.

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This halo halo dish was lit! Literally lit! As Uncle Jesse of Full House (the TV sitcom) would say, “Have Mercy!” This halo halo was hot! It was served with a live flame. It was not only unique but delicious as well. It had classic toppings of ube ice cream, jackfruit, leche flan.    It was a gigantic dish of deliciousness.

My trip to Full House was one of my favorite dining outings while I was in Vegas. Maraming Salamat Full House!

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Now Full House is once again a favorite except this time instead of a tv show, it is restaurant. 🙂

For smiles, please see my Yelp review on Full House BBQ Vegas.

Hello Tacolipino!

“Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in a Filipino restaurant anymore.” (Hehe, that’s my spin on the famous line from the Wizard of Oz.)

Tacolipino is a Filipino restaurant but it definitely not your typical Filipino restaurant because this restaurant is a Fil-Mex restaurant offering Filipino  fusion dishes with a Mexican twist.

Yes, the fusion even begins with the name of this place. “Taco” + “Filipino”  = “Tacolipino.”

The influence of Mexican cuisine can be seen right from the start as they offer up complimentary chips and salsa to all guests.

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Their menu has a little bit of Filipino and a little bit of Mexican and some dishes are mix of both. For example, they’ve got sisig tacos, burritos with bistek beef and nachos with adobo chicken.

I was quite curious to try a fusion dish and chose to get Fries with Cheese and Chicken Adobo.

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I liked this twist on the classic take of cranes asada fries that is often found at Mexican restaurants. There were lots of tender chicken adobo and drizzled on top was lots of cheese that reminded me of Cheese Wiz.  This is one unique appetizer. The incorporation of chicken adobo brings some Filipino flavor to a dish that normally would not have any pinoy taste in at all. This fusion dish is quite nice.

The other item that I got to try from Tacolipino is their sisig.

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Though they offer their sisig in their tacos and burritos, I chose to get the sisig separate. I did this because they also offer garlic rice here and I love combining sisig and garlic rice together.

I love the presentation of their sisig here because it comes out in a sizzling platter and right on top is a sunny side up egg! Crispy sisig combined with egg is always a delightful dish.

Though I enjoyed my sisig with my garlic rice, I can definitely see this being good on tacos and burritos.

It’s refreshing to see how Filipino flavor is incorporated into Mexican cuisine. Tacolipino does a nice job in combining two cultures into one.

For more smiles, please see my recent Yelp review on Tacolipino.