Professor Dawn Bohulano Mabalon Honors Visayan Roots

Professor Dawn Bohulano Mabalon from San Francisco State University shares family stories and a Visayan favorite, binangkal, which my grandma and grandpa loved to make and share for breakfast with a nice cup of coffee. Just because the holidays are over doesn’t mean we can’t keep sharing good times with family & food.

From Our Own Voice, published December 2011, “Bohulano Family Binangkal”:

Several friends, many of them second and third generation with roots in the Visayas, reacted quickly and rapturously to my binangkal photo, thrilled that Facebook love had been given to an obscure regional treat beloved across the Visayas and wherever in the world Visayans settled. My writer friend Rashaan Alexis Meneses posted: “My grandpa used to make these! Sob.”…Binangkal is a sesame-covered baking powder donut, deep fried until crisp and brown on the outside and pillowy on the inside. When made well, its surface is craggy, brown and caramelized from the hot oil, its insides moist and fluffy. A popular snack in Cebu and the Visayas, it has look-alikes in Chinese dim sum restaurants and bakeries, which is a clue that binangkal may have some Chinese influence.

Read entire article here and have a go at the recipe to bring a taste of sweet memories into your kitchen.

Holiday Shopping with Head, Heart, and Hands

Still scrambling for holiday gifts? Tis the season to celebrate family, friends and community by supporting local businesses. Consider shopping with head, heart, and hands with some of these favorite local purveyors:

BOOKS

Anvil Publishing – Just released Angelica’s Daughter, “A Dugtungan Novel, a collaborative work written by five established Filipino and Filipino American women writers.  The five authors came from different countries during the creation of the novel: Cecilia Manguerra Brainard and Veronica Montes lived in California; Susan Evangelista and Erma Cuizon were in the Philippines, and Nadine Sarreal was in Singapore.” This publisher has a wide range of Pin@y literary selections that should be in every savvy reader’s library.
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Continue reading “Holiday Shopping with Head, Heart, and Hands”

New Fiction on UC Riverside’s “The Coachella Review” Fall 2010 Online Issue

Once in a blue moon, mountains are moved, seas are shifted, and your Salonniere gets lucky enough to have a piece published. If you like Thai food, love/hate Los Angeles, or enjoy quirky short fiction, please check out my short story, “Like Fish to Ginger” included in The University of California, Riverside’s The Coachella Review Fall 2010 online issue. Many thanks to SMC Fiction MFA’ers for helping to make this possible. And, if it strikes your fancy, please pass the word along to friends, family, colleagues, students, blogs, tweets, Facebook, etc. Thanks for all your wonderful support.

Try a taste:

Like Fish to Ginger

By Rashaan Meneses

Before I set out to make my mark in Los Angeles, I chased Sunee. We met in a steamy noodle house in the Dusit District of Bangkok where I elbowed my way from dishwasher to sous chef. Sunee worked as hostess. Both seventeen, she knew exactly what she wanted, and it wasn’t me. Like with a delicate soup, I had to know when to stir and when to let the ingredients meld on their own. For seven months I coaxed her to me, savoring every minute of it, the taste of falling in love. This was all ages ago when cooking was like breathing.

Check out the entire piece, about a 15-minute read, at The Coachella Review.

Los Angeles

Haleki’i and Pihana Heiau State Historical Sites, Maui, July 2010

Wrapping up the visit to Maui, which can’t be concluded without a nod to our favorite Maui finds:

  • At Mana Foods of Pai’a, we seemed to stop here daily for groceries. They carried an exceptional brand of Maui made smoked paprika hummus. Both local and organic, the prices are decent and the fare exceptionally delicious.
  • Cane and Taro in Lahaina’s Whaler’s Village was surprisingly tasty for such a popular tourist spot. The Hawaiian Swordfish was perfectly cooked, dressed with a simple ginger butter sauce that left the fish naked enough to stand up on its own flavor and meatiness.
  • CJ’s offered the best mixed plate in Kaanapali, including mango-glazed short ribs, outstanding kalua pork and mahi mahi, as well as deliciously sweet and sour pineapple coleslaw.
  • In Haiku, Hana Hou’s chop steak, sauteed with garlic and onions, served with a side of macaroni salad and steamed rice, featured Maui Cattle Company’s tasty and local beef. Elegant yet casual with slightly upscale local fare, banana groves and roaming chicken make a perfectly authentic upcountry dining spot.
  • Our favorite eats by far was Pai’a’s Fish Market. Their ahi burger, washed down with Maui Brewing Company’s Coconut Porter, so absolutely divine, makes me want to cry because I don’t know when I can taste paradise again.
  • This trip couldn’t have been possible without the savvy advice from Vince and Vangie Meneses, Jake Sanders, and Andrew Doughty’s indispensable Maui Revealed: The Ultimate Guidebook.

The last hours of Maui were spent on sacred grounds at the Haleki’i and Pihana Heiau State Monuments, just outside of Wailuku, which served as religious ceremonial site and home to Hawaii’s chiefs and high-ranking officers. The following information on the sites are referenced from Hawaii Web and Maui’s Historical Society writer Lyons Kapi’ioho Naone III, who is highly respected as a Hawaiian healing practitioner. The hallowed land featured below offered the perfect chance to contemplate our visit in silence and beauty. Until next time, Maui. Mahalo!

Kihue, Kula, & Makawao, July 2010

We’re wrapping up our trip to Maui with a bang, including a day-trip to the south side of the island, a birthday feast at Koiso, Maui’s hole-in-the-wall for top-notch sushi, and then photos from our last day in paradise at the Surfing Goat Farm in Kula and, a Maui must, guava malasadas at Komoda Bakery in Makawao’s cowboy country. Come see and taste!

Savoring Memories from “For the Love of Chocolate” at the 2010 Asian Culinary Forum’s Symposium

On a windy and chilly May afternoon, when Bay to Breakers turned the streets of San Francisco into a cirque de la jeunesse, the Asian Culinary Forum hosted their 2010 Symposium “Filipino Foods: Flavor + Innovation” at the International Culinary School in the Art Institute of San Francisco-California’s UN Plaza building. Their previous symposium focused on Pan-Asian cuisine and was held at the Ferry Building. We arrived just in time for the Merienda Reception, which featured the special ingredient, tsokolate.

Mangos, sugar snap peas, and strawberries

The bar served VuQ0’s coconut vodka, a refined version of the poison my grandpa spun tall tales about involving heavy doses of tuba, also known as lambanug or bahal. We also sipped sweet mango wine from Haliya, reviewed at Winecentric, but our favorite was the dalandan juice, a tasty sweet citrus fruit that leaves your mouth hankering for more.

Marti Chocolatt

The spread was both elegant and rich, offering tightly wrapped rolls of lumpia, thick turons plump with jackfruit, and platters filled with sweet, sticky bibingka. Marti Chocolatt based in Los Angeles presented a beautiful table of dark and fruity sweets. The highlight of course was champarado (chocolate rice pudding), prepared by chocolatier Toney Tibay and paired with tuyo (salted herring), which was nothing but savory. Samples of chocolate covered langka (jackfruit), kalamansi, buko pandan, and ube tempted every guest who couldn’t just have one.

Champurado with salted fish

Tables for attendees provided individually wrapped uraro, arrow root, candies made of cassava. While we feasted on Filipino favorites, we met Lauren del Rosario, Director of Sales and Business Development for Azukar Organics, which makes coconut sugar and flour. Low glycemic and gluten-free, the sugar is both sweet with a wonderful nutty essence. Delish. We can’t wait to cook and bake with it. If only it was distributed in the Bay Area, but So Cal people can easily get their hands on this product at LA health stores.

The reception eased us into the reading that followed, “Eating Our Words: Writings about Food & Family,” featuring Barbara Jane Reyes, Aileen Suzara, Aimee Suzara, Lizelle Festejo, Yael Villafranca, Lisa Sugitan Melnick, and your Salonniere.  For more on the literary event, check out the post “Writing + Food” on Ruelle Electrique.

“Eating Our Words: Writings About Food & Family” at the Asian Culinary Forum’s 2010 Symposium, Filipino Flavors: Tradition + Innovation

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Filipino Flavors: Tradition + Innovation

Literary Reading

EATING OUR WORDS: WRITINGS ABOUT FOOD & FAMILY

Sun May 16 | 1:00–2:30 pm, with light refreshments

Local writers share their poems, fiction and essays about two of the most important facets of life: our families and our food. Barbara Jane Reyes, Rashaan Alexis Meneses, Aileen Suzara, Aimee Suzara, Lizelle Festejo, Yael Villafranca and Lisa Suguitan Melnick read from their books and works-in-progress. Oscar Bermeo emcees.

$5 general admission, $3 students. Ticket sales end May 12! [buy now]

Location: The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of California-San Francisco

1170 Market Street, San Francisco, CA

Join the Asian Culinary Forum in the heart of San Francisco for an exciting, weekend-long celebration of the foods of the Philippines. Information on other weekend events here: http://www.asianculinaryforum.org

LIZELLE FESTEJO is the Assistant Director/Program Manager and Job Readiness Instructor at The Bread Project, a culinary and commercial baking job training program based in the East Bay. She was an organizer of Filipino American Coalition for Environmental Solidarity’s (FACES) first Kain’Na Cooking School fundraiser and also a 2008 Fellow for Robert Mondavi Winery’s Taste3. Lizelle consults for the San Francisco International Chocolate Salon organized by Tastetv.com. As a writer and community worker, her passion is fueled by bringing communities and families together through the multi-faceted and inter-generational powers of cooking, eating and food itself.

LISA SUGUITAN MELNICK’s daily life is a colorful melange of multi-cultural experience. Yes, she eats adobo with chopsticks, serves miso soup alongside pancit, and adds a touch of shoyu to the vinegar sauce for lumpia. Lisa’s work has appeared in Latin Beat Magazine, Philippine News, CATESOL (California Teachers of Speakers of Other Languages), The Advocate, and Filipinas Magazine. A third-generation Filipina/Latina American, she is currently working on Ima Ni Soledad, a memoir of vignettes which present Filipino-American experience in contexts that highlight the reverence for family and generosity of spirit. Lisa shares her life with partner of 27 years, Mark, their son Ryan Akira, and Miss Jazz, a doberman mix diva dog.

RASHAAN ALEXIS MENESES, born and raised in the seismically diverse and fractured landscape of California, earned her MFA from Saint Mary’s College of California’s Creative Writing Program. She was named a 2005-2006 Jacob K. Javits Fellow and awarded the Sor Juana Ines de La Cruz Scholarship for Excellence in Fiction. She received her B.A. in English with a specialization in Fiction, Creative Writing from the University of California, Los Angeles. Recently, A Room of Her Own Foundation named her a Finalist for The 2009 Gift of Freedom Award and her latest short story, “Here in the States” is included in the anthology, Growing Up Filipino II: More Stories for Young Adults.

BARBARA JANE REYES was born in Manila, Philippines, and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. She received her B.A. in Ethnic Studies from the University of California, Berkeley and her M.F.A. at San Francisco State University. She is the author of Gravities of Center (Arkipelago Books, 2003) and Poeta en San Francisco (Tinfish Press, 2005), which received the James Laughlin Award of the Academy of American Poets. Her third book, entitled Diwata, will be released by BOA Editions, Ltd. in September, 2010. Her poetry, essays, and reviews have appeared in Latino Poetry Review, New American Writing, North American Review, Notre Dame Review, and XCP: Cross Cultural Poetics. She has taught Creative Writing at Mills College, and Philippine Studies at University of San Francisco. She lives with her husband, poet Oscar Bermeo, in Oakland.

AILEEN SUZARA is a second generation Pinay raised in California and Hawai’i who began exploring the kitchen at childhood. Her passion for social justice led her to the Filipino/American Coalition for Environmental Solidarity and positions as an environmental educator. Aileen now brings that commitment towards sustaining the recipes and rituals of Filipino foodways. Her words appear in Earth Island Journal, The Colors of Nature, Growing Up Filipino, and others. Aileen received a BA from Mount Holyoke College and recently graduated as a Natural Chef from Bauman College.

AIMEE SUZARA completed her M.F.A. at Mills College in 2005 and has been sharing poetic and multidisciplinary work since 1999. Her play, Pagbabalik (Return) in 2007 was selected for several festivals and granted the Zellerbach Community Arts Fund in 2006-7. Her poetry collection, the space between, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2008, and her writing appears in several journals and anthologies, including Check the Rhyme, An Anthology of Female Poets and Emcees (Lit Noire Press), 580 Split (forthcoming issue) and Walang Hiya/No Shame (forthcoming anthology). Currently, she is collaborating on text-dance works with two companies: Amara Tabor-Smith’s Deep Waters Dance Theater for “Our Daily Bread”; and choreographer Frances Sedayao, Aimee Espiritu and Michael Torres for “A History of the Body,” to be hosted by the Oakland Asian Cultural Center. A passionate advocate for arts and literacy, she teaches English at community colleges and leads workshops on poetry and performance.

YAEL VILLAFRANCA is a Kundiman fellow, an organizer with Babae San Francisco/GABRIELA-USA, and a student at the University of San Francisco. She gets emotional when she eats.

OSCAR BERMEO is the author of the poetry chapbooks Anywhere Avenue, Palimpsest and Heaven Below. Born in Ecuador and raised in the Bronx, he now makes his home in Oakland with his wife, poeta Barbara Jane Reyes. Oscar was the founding curator/host of the Acentos Bronx Poetry Showcase, and a founding curator/host of the synonymUS Collaborative Open Mic at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. Oscar has been a featured writer at a variety of venues and institutions including the Bowery Poetry Club, Intersection for the Arts, Kearny Street Workshop, Bronx Academy of Letters, Rikers Island Penitentiary, San Quentin Prison, the Loft Literary Center, Sacramento Poetry Center, UC Berkeley, Columbia University, UNC Chapel Hill, NYU and many others.