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The Crispiest Skin: Rico’s Lechon, Cebu/Philippines

VideoBy Liza de Guia on May 19, 2014
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“People like the way I cook lechon, that’s why it tastes so good.”

Ask anyone in the Philippines where to find the best, tastiest lechon and they’ll send you to Cebu. Cebu is beloved to many Filipinos as the Lechon Capital of The Philippines. So, it was only a matter of time before I made a pilgrimage there. During a recent visit to my family’s home country, I asked my food-loving uncle to take me to see who he believes is the best lechon maker in Cebu. He took me to Rico’s Lechon.

Rico Dionson is a legend. Or so they say. He started his lechon business after money started running low in cock-fighting. On his own, without any experience, he bought a pig, and then another, eventually perfecting the crispy lechon recipe that makes him famous today. And if gold chains are any indication of how well a man is doing, then Rico is killing it.

In Cebu, you can get Rico’s lechon – regular or spicy – from his restaurant or WHOLE via special order. Believe it or not, they ship their whole lechon around the country, even to Hong Kong and Korea. It’s that good. And if you want to know how I feel about it, just listen in…

Thanks for watching food. curated.! Happy eating!

La Vara Churros: The Standard Which to Measure Every Churro

VideoBy Liza de Guia on Jan 15, 2014
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“The window of opportunity to eat a freshly fried churro is actually very short.”

Meet Alex Raij, the co-chef and co-owner of La Vara, a bright and beautiful Spanish restaurant in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. To me, Alex is a Saint. A Churro Saint. She saved me. She single-handedly absolved all the sins of New York City churro makers by creating, in my opinion, the Holy Grail of Churros. Just one bite will transform even the strongest skeptic into a believer. Trust me, from street food vendors to Zagat-rated restaurants, my crusade for the perfect churro has spanned years. I’ve chewed on cinammon-starved cardboard logs. I’ve suffered sponges full of dirty oil. I’ve sat alone, hungry and hopeful, awaiting the arrival of someone’s “favorite churro” only to be left disappointed, dejected and exhausted, with nothing to show except cinnamon & sugar in the deep lines of my hands. So come you tired churro masses, come cake your weary lips with sugary heaven. Your search is finally over.

La Vara’s churros are ONLY available on weekends on the brunch menu. I know it’s been awhile, but I have lots of stories in store for the new year.

Thanks for watching food. curated.Happy eating!

Dock to Dish: A Full Circle of Awesome

VideoBy Liza de Guia on Dec 3, 2013
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“It’s a win, win, win, win, win.”

Meet Sean Barrett, the co-founder of Dock to Dish, the first community supported fishery in Long Island, New York. A few years ago, during a trip to San Sebastian, Spain, Sean noticed a very different practice occurring among local fishermen. They were selling their day’s catch directly to restaurants that lined the harbor. Diners were experiencing the freshest fish, straight from the sea to the table. This inspired Sean’s idea of Dock to Dish, a revival of an old way of life, where customers buy their fish directly from the source.

In today’s model, the chain of custody isn’t as direct as you might think. Sometimes a single piece of fish can pass through a surprising number of supply chains, even reaching other countries before it arrives in a customer’s hands. Sean’s idea is to eliminate the number of hands that touch a piece of fish to preserve its quality and freshness. To give people what he believes they’ve been missing: a fisherman’s fish. A fish so fresh, members prefer to eat it raw, no matter the variety, because each fish is guaranteed to be less than 24-hours to your table. Enjoy his story.

Dock to Dish is always growing, and is currently making plans to accommodate new members. To find out more, click here. Recently, Sean launched a new restaurant supported fishery program in New York, with the help of Blue Hill, Le Bernardin, Telepan, The Spotted Pig, Breslin and Nick & Toni’s. Find out why “New York’s largest fishing port is undergoing a return to awesome.” 

Thanks for watching food. curated.! Happy Eating! 

The Regal Vegan: Fooling Jewish Grandmothers w/Faux Gras

VideoBy Liza de Guia on Sep 17, 2013
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“I wanted to make something bigger. Something better. Where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

Meet Ella Nemova, the Founder and Chief Faux Gras-preneur of  The Regal Vegan, an artisan food company in Brooklyn focused on decadent vegan treats. Ella is a force to be reckoned with. Spend just a few hours with her and you immediately get swept up into her whirlwind of ideas and epiphanies about vegan food. Her opinions are fiery, and her suggestions eye-opening. All stemming from a mini-diet experiment that changed the way she ate forever. Before I knew it, I found myself picking apart my own diet, wondering why I didn’t talk about “feeling amazing” or “feeling energized” as often as she did. This is what I love about exposing myself to passionate individuals, the belief in what they do is so strong, you feel this pull become part of it. Like osmosis. And just being around Ella, I started to feel good already. Try it yourself sometime!

As Ella explained to me, “decadent and vegan are not usually used in the same sentence.” She wants to change that. Starting with her Faux Gras and Basilicotta vegan spreads, she wants to help satisfy our cravings for meat and dairy with alternatives that actually tasted rich – introduce food items that wouldn’t make you second guess a meat replacement. Enjoy her story! I hope it convinces you, not to stop eating meat entirely, but to peer into the food landscape and see what you’re missing. I’ve never had cardoons. Now I’d like to know what they taste like. Thanks Ella. Thanks for sharing the exciting possibilities of a vegan diet. The plant world awaits us all.

Thanks so much for watching food. curated.! You can find out where to pick up or buy Faux Gras online here. Have fun eating your vegetables!

The Red Lion Inn: A Farm Fresh Update to a Historic Restaurant

VideoBy Liza de Guia on Aug 28, 2013
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“I think the misconception is that the talent isn’t here like it is in the city.”

Meet Brian Alberg, the Executive Chef and Director of Food & Beverage, at the historic, 200+ year old, Red Lion Inn, a farm to table restaurant in Stockbridge, MA. Brian, along with a small handful of chefs, are responsible for updating the current restaurant landscape in The Berkshires, proving to locals and visitors that their food can compete with the high quality dishes and service found in the big cities. At The Red Lion Inn, you can experience the past with a food program that champions the future: small farms, farmers and food artisans. Locally grown produce and whole animals from the area are honored here, inspiring dishes that make you appreciate the terroir of this special farm community. Enjoy Brian’s story. I hope he inspires you to head upstate for a visit!

OR, to experience something even more unique, Brian will be showcasing the very best of The Berkshires at his Outstanding in the Field Dinner, September 8th, at Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield, MA. Set outdoors amidst a beautiful backdrop, you can taste for yourself how Brian is truly inspired by the area. Just take a peek at the menu below.

Outstanding in the Field Menu for Sunday, September 8:

Passed Hors d’oeuvres
Berkshire Valley Beef Summer Sausage, Half-sour Pickles & Grain Mustard
Joshua’s Farm Deviled Eggs with Nancy Fuller’s Roasted Beet Relish
Willow Brook Farm Sweet Corn Pancake with Rawson Brook Farm Monterey Chevre

Dinner (Served Family Style)
Chilled Smoked Farm Girl Farm Tomato Soup with Olive Oil-poached Turnips
Howden Farm Sweet Corn & Berry Patch Tomato Salad with Equinox Farm Arugula & BBQ Meat Market Bacon
Wanabea Farm Rabbit and Raven & Boar Pork Shoulder Choucroute, Parsnips, Carrots & Smoked Caraway
Wood-grilled La Belle Farms Duck Breast, Foggy River Farms Kale Hash & Buttered Indian Line Farm Celery Root
Dave’s Melons with Berle Farm Crowdie & Berkshire Wildflower Honey


Thanks for watching food. curated.! For ticket information for the OITF dinner, click here. Happy eating!