I’m celebrating independence and self-determination this 4th of July weekend by supporting some of my favorite small businesses and entrepreneurs in Seattle.
On Saturday, July 2 from 11am -5pm, Chera Amlag and the Hood Famous Bakeshop crew will hold a dessert pop-up at The Station coffee shop on Beacon Hill.
Chera is a woman after my own heart. She has combined two of my favorite things of all time: cheesecake and ube (a purple yam commonly used in Filipino desserts). Along with its classic ube cheesecake, Hood Famous will offer ube crinkle cookies, ube polvoron, and some new treats, including strawberry calamansi marshmallows and Vietnamese coffee cheesecake.
Chera’s good friend and talented chef, Tarik Abdullah, will host his own sweet pop-up on July 3 from 5pm-9pm at Refresh Frozen Desserts and Espresso on Capitol Hill. The Rose & Blossom pop-up will feature Moroccan-inspired desserts and music by Proh Mic.
Pursue some happiness this weekend by buying local sweet treats!
It’s 5:30 in the morning. I’m in my basement staring bleary-eyed at my laptop, and I’m sweating—a lot—as I do my best to follow an online workout video.
After completing a particularly grueling set of exercises, the instructor takes a quick break on her mat. She catches her breath and says, “I don’t enjoy that. Not at all.”
The moment makes me laugh because it is exactly what I was thinking. It also inspires me because right after the instructor says this, she launches into another set of challenging moves.
This is Jenn Jordan and For the Glow.
“I need doughnuts,” my co-worker Paige whispered urgently.
I nodded. I understood that this was a serious matter and that it needed to be resolved quickly. But how? I considered our options. They all involved leaving the office and either driving or taking a cab.
Could there be another solution?
Geo, one half of Seattle hip hop duo Blue Scholars, is a fierce lyricist and tireless community activist. The man can also cook.
He and his wife, Chera, have started holding monthly pop up dinners called “Food & Sh*t” at Inay’s Asian Pacific Cuisine. The menus feature inventive riffs on traditional Filipino dishes and other dishes that reflect Geo’s background and his family’s personal tastes.
Other than my mom’s, the sisig lumpia served as an appetizer at the dinner in September may be the best lumpia I’ve ever had. Sisig is a Filipino dish made from pig’s head and liver, or as Anthony Bourdain described it, “the strangely addictive, sizzling melange of hacked up pork face…oh, sweet symphony of pig parts.”
My friend Helen, who is vegan, and I like to joke that Filipino food—the food that I grew up eating—is the least vegan cuisine out there. It’s meat with a side of meat and some rice.
However, Helen remained curious about Filipino food and is a perseverant cook. She surprised me by making her own karioka, which is essentially a set of Filipino doughnuts on a stick. It turns out that karioka is vegan.
That piqued my interest, and I started wondering if there were other vegan Filipino foods. One day Helen and I were chatting on Twitter about a recipe by Astig Vegan for vegan lumpia, one of the quintessential Filipino foods.
I was surprised to find that lumpia wrappers are vegan. I had been sure that there they were made with eggs, but they aren’t. This revelation opened up a world of possibilities.
When I traveled to Austin, Texas for the South by Southwest Interactive conference, I definitely had a lot of barbecue, but I also was fortunate to eat at Uchiko, the Japanese restaurant where Top Chef Season 9 winner, Paul Qui, is executive chef.
The restaurant, of course, was completely booked weeks before I arrived in Austin. I thought maybe I could score a seat in the bar during happy hour if I got there early enough. My conference roommate, Dominique, was game to try. While she was on the Uchiko website getting directions to the restaurant, on a whim, Dominique checked online availability of reservations that night. She found a 5:30 pm slot was open and booked it immediately. Score!