Born in Texas, raised in Sao Paulo, now living in Manila.
I love eating nearly as much as I love cooking.
Trying new recipes, perfecting old favorites.
I love to travel, I hate being stuck in one place for too long.

  • Location: Manila, Philippines
  • Favorite foods: Mexican, Brazillian, Caribbean.
    If it's spicy I like it, If it's grilled I like it.
  • Last bite on earth: A Jamaican beef patty

What do you guys prefer plastic or wooden

Wood, for aesthetic purposes, because they're heavier and won't slide around on me as much, and I don't have a dishwasher, so whatever I have I'll be washing by hand.

I've even used the back ends of two wooden boards to press out tortillas.

Sous Vide Pulled Pork, looking for input

You could dry rub the pork (I'd probably add some chili powder, cayenne powder, cumin, and garlic, or garlic powder or garlic salt, to what you listed earlier), sous vide that, then shred and mix with a sauce that you've incorporated caramelized apple into.

New Years Day Cuisine

Marinated chicken in soy sauce, calamansi juice, siling labuyo (local chiles), garlic, pepper and some brown sugar. Eating that with some mashed potatoes and my wife's red rice.

I'd have some more champagne but I'm working later this evening.

"Do you have a hollow leg?"

Pretty much everyone in the Philippines. Almost all of my coworkers are tiny. 5'2 and maybe 110 pounds soaking wet and they eat more than I do. They'll pack away 3-4 cups of rice per meal, loads of chicken or pork or whatever we happen to be eating, then complain about how they're getting "fat" and need to diet, but they don't and they won't.

Biggest dining-out letdown?

This cafe in Panama City that got rave reviews on a number of travel sites. "Amazing location, wonderful food!" they all seemed to claim.
What I got was cold calamare that seemed like it had come out of the freezer and not been cooked through. Steak and chicken that a wolf would have trouble getting down because it was so tough, and both seasoned exactly the same and seasoned so much it was hard to tell chicken from steak. As well as terrible service.

That was the first time in my life where I didn't leave a tip. I just couldn't do it.

Colombian food help?

When I visited Cartagena, one staple was deep fried snapper, patacones (pounded and deep fried plantains, the green kind) and coconut rice. This dish was served everywhere on the Caribbean coast.

Empanadas were also very present on the streets. They are also fried, not baked as you might find in Argentina. Arepas as well, though, again, unique in style to Colombia, not the same you find in Venezuela or Curacao.

Ceviche is everywhere in many variations. I noticed many of them have ketchup in them. Not my favorite thing ever but a big hit with the locals.

Steaks tended to be the thin flank-like variety, rubbed down with onion, drizzled in lime juice, then seasoned and grilled.

I'd say the fried snapper was the biggest on the coast though.


The world ended here about 16 hours ago. It's almost 5PM 12/21 already.

My "last meal" was a sizzling plate of fried chicken in gravy with rice and a coke. That was around 2:30AM local time on the 21st.
Seeing as how society is still functioning, I'll be leaving for the beach in about 12 hours for some diving.

Wine that goes with Chinese Food

What kind of Chinese food? It's a big country.

Late Late Late Night Snacks this week

2-3AM is lunch time for me.

Over the past few week or so, some kind of garlic chicken and fried rice, pork adobo, fried chicken in gravy, sinigang(tamarind soup), lechon kawali (boiled and then deep fried pork belly), shanghai rolls and rice w/ vinegar, bangus (milk fish) bbq.

What's in season where you live?

There is only rainy and dry season here in the Philippines. Pretty much the same produce is around the markets as always. Banana, banana flower, mango, jackfruit, coconut, dragon fruit, rambutan, and so on.

I saw a lot of farmers drying rice by the sides of the road about a month ago when I was out in one of the provinces. Banana crops took a pretty big hit from typhoon Pablo this last week, haven't felt the effects yet though.

What's on your thanksgiving menu?

Turkey here costs P1,500 per kilo, nearly $40. So turkey might not even make it to the table.

I'm thinking maybe I'll get a whole cooked duck from China Town, make some stove top stuffing, dump a can of cranberry sauce on a plate and call it a day. Sometimes ex-pat life gets difficult.

So what do radiator fluid and beaver tail taste like...

Is 'beaver tail' like the male version of the classic 'grilled cheese' post?

The Thanksgiving dish you are looking forwards too?

Turkey. And stuffing. And everything else.

I have no oven. All I've got is a portable electric burner, a small toaster oven, and a microwave. There will probably be no Thanksgiving this year.

Regional Foods

Texas Red chili. No beans, no tomato, the way God intended Chili to be.

Mexico City style banana-leaf tamales with mole.

Mortadella sandwich from Sao Paulo.

Deep fried red snapper with patacones and coconut rice from the Colombian caribbean coast.

Morning drinker

I work on American time. Here in the Philippines that means 9PM to 6AM or so. So 7-8AM for me is beer o'clock. If not having a beer it could be anything, mango smoothie, orange juice, orange mango juice, soda, etc.

Nov 4 - What's for Dinner?

Last night (Nov. 4) I was too lazy to cook so I ordered a whole litson manok (grilled chicken) from a local chain that does bbq chicken, pork belly, and little else. They have a limited menu but what they do offer they do right.

I'm thinking about starting a pot of chili in a few hours. My local grocery store doesn't open until 10am, so a few more hours until I can go buy ingredients.

New to Whole Foods

I didn't go to Whole Foods often in the US but, like pretty much everyone here seems to have said, I liked their selection of cheese, beer, and I found the bread selection to be pretty good.
Their meat and seafood was often pretty good looking but I found it high priced. Though occasionally they have sales that last just 30 minutes or so and the prices are really good. Gotta be there at the right time though.

I haven't seen WF here in the Philippines so haven't been to one in quite a while.

Cilantro: Yea or Nay?

Yea. Need it on my tacos, need it in many of my salsas.

Guacamole help

"I think marshmallow fluff would work fine."

heh. Where's the 'like' button on this thing?

Viva Mexico! Are you cooking Mexican food to celebrate?

Oh, and I forgot one of the most important parts, the Tacos Matamorenses are served with bacon. That's one of the defining ingredients.

Viva Mexico! Are you cooking Mexican food to celebrate?

Our Matamoros style was different. It consisted of beef marinated overnight in lime juice, salt and pepper, onion, garlic, and a bit of vinegar. Then we cooked it and sliced it very thin, served on (soft) corn tortillas with the usual toppings - onion, cilantro, cheese, salsa.

We did a habanero-carrot salsa that was very sweet on the front and hell-fire on the back. Also made a salsa with the local bird's eye chile, fire roasted, plus fire roasted garlic, onion, and tomato, then adding lime juice and cilantro. It was very hot.

The charro beans were a hit, gone in minutes.

Your meal sounds good Lorenzo. What was in the seafood cocktails?

Big Mac Hack

Unfortunately they don't have the dollar menu here in the Philippines. On the other hand, the price of a Big Mac sandwich is about half the price here of what it is in the US.
I fear I'd just confuse the people at Mc D's if I ordered a smaller sandwich with the Big Mac sauce, so I just stick with the #1.

Weekend Cook and Tell: Cooking on Vacation

I tend to eat mostly street food and at restaurants when I'm on vacation. Especially in countries with an amazing food-culture like Mexico. I would very often ask the waiters or people running the food stalls what ingredients were in the meal/salsa/drinks/etc., and then try to recreate that when I got home.
I picked up a number of great tips on preparing meals and condiments while abroad. Fried plantains I discovered while in Jamaica remained a staple on my table for years. Salsa de Arbol from Mexico City as well. Tamales from Northern Mexico. Fried snapper from Colombia. Pao de queijo from Brazil, etc.

Here in the Philippines my kitchen is hardly worthy of being called a kitchen. 2 portable electric burners, a toaster oven, and a microwave is all I have. This means I eat out a lot. Fortunately a few dollars will get you a satisfying meal, so it doesn't break the bank. Now that I've spent a number of months here I'm starting to crave some of my old favorites, so am having things I cannot find here like mole sauce shipped over from the US. The vast majority of my meals are still local though.

Cheese - Your favorite vs. what you most commonly consume?

Love queso Oaxaca and parm reggiano, probably at those two the most back in the states. Cheese is kinda expensive out here in the Philippines, and selection limited at many stores. I don't eat very much of it anymore. When I do, I buy whatever I need for a specific purpose and then use it until it's gone.

In-N-Out really that good? Do you like Whattaburger?

I think Whataburger is considerably better than other fast food joints I used to go to when I lived in Texas. The problem is, since they cook everything to order, it takes a really long time (in comparison) if you're hitting the drive through. Still, if my options were McDo, Jack in the Box, or Wataburger I'd take Wataburger every time. I like theirs more than Sonic too.

I know I've had In-N-Out, it wasn't memorable. Not somewhere I used to frequent.

Viva Mexico! Are you cooking Mexican food to celebrate?

Tonight (in this part of the world, tomorrow in the west) at midnight, will kick off Mexico's independence day. Anyone else doing a Mexican themed meal? If so, whatcha cookin'?

We're hosting a party for about a dozen Filipino friends and coworkers who have never had 'real' Mexican food. We'll be cooking a big pot of Charro Bean Soup, tacos de bistek Matamoros style (my wife's hometown), chicken in Mole sauce, 2 home made salsas with chips and possibly guacamole. We picked up two six packs of Mexican beer (Corona and Tecate, the only ones available) but they're so pricy we're going to switch to local beer once those run out. Also got some tequila for shots. Now if we can just find tortillas... if we can't we're going to have to buy some imported maseca and make our own without a press.


Help me cook a parrot fish

So I've got a parrot fish. Picked one up at a wet market today, mostly because I really like the bright colors.

In my kitchen I also have lemon, garlic, coconut milk, pineapple, soy sauce, flour and a breading mix, S&P, chili powder, shredded papaya in vinegar, and... that's pretty much it. Various types of liquor.

How would you cook the fish? My 'kitchen' here is only equipped with two electric portable burners, and I have a little toaster/convection oven that would probably fit the fish. I was thinking I could put it in some coconut milk and wrap in foil with S&P? Or maybe incorporate pineapple into there somehow? I also have a lapu lapu which is a little red fish that I'll probably just fry with some breading.

What say you, SEaters?

Serious Eats in Panama City and Colombia?

Hi SE'ers!
I just bought tickets for a week vacation in Colombia in Feb. 2011. It's still a way off but I'm trying to get a plan of what to do together.

I'm catching a 24 hour layover in Panama City both ways so would like to sample some local cuisine in the city while there.

For the Colombia leg of the journey I'm landing in Barranquilla, then catching a bus to Cartagena. From that point on I'm not sure where all I will go, food suggestions may sway my decision. Would love to hear any and all suggestions.


Your favorite tamale?

So theres chicken, pork, veggie, other. You got your corn husks, banana leaves, aluminum foil even.

Whats your favorite tamale of all time?
I think I'm a sucker for banana leaf tamales with a good bit of sauce. I had a spicy mole poblano tamale with pork in Mexico City that I wish I could recreate.
Regardless, I like a big tamale with lots of sauce and definitely sauce in the masa for flavor and color too.


Your Bizarre Foods Tag Line

I was reading ByrdBrains comment on another article about eating chicken hearts and it reminded me that I'd had them once in Brazil as a kid.
Then I thought about how at the end of every Bizarre Foods episode Andrew Zimmern has that line where he says "Whats next? ___ in ___, ___ in ___, or ___ in ___? And it's always iguana in some country or a rat in some other.
If you had one of those lines, but about the wildest things you'd already eaten what would it be?

I think mine would be:
Chicken Hearts in Brazil, Deep Fried Goat Intestines in Mexico, or Bacon Cheddar flavored Crickets in Texas?


Salvadoran Queso Duro... anyone ever tried it?

I was at the Mexican grocery store yesterday and everytime I go I see this "Queso Duro Salvadoreno." It's cheese, apparently.. but has the consistency of wood almost. It's airy and light, white color, and hard as a brick.
Anyway.. I could no longer resist the urge and I bought a quarter pound of it. Does anyone have any suggestions on uses for this cheese?

How do you Polenta?

Hi SE'ers. I'm looking for suggestions of ways to use polenta and methods of preparation.

Polenta was not something I ate growing up and have only recently begun to purchase and use it in my cooking. I was turned onto the stuff by eating at Fogo de Chao, which leads me to my secondary question, how do they make it so awesome??

It has that nice brown crisp around the edges and the melted parmesan ontop. I originally thought they must sear it at high heat on a cast iron with butter then top with the cheese, but I tried this at home and ended up with soggy polenta that stuck to my pan. Now I'm thinking maybe they broil it for a few minutes. Anyone have any ideas? Either way, what is your favorite use of polenta?

Night of El Grito! What's for dinner 09/15/2010?

I haven't seen one of these threads in a while so thought I'd start one.
What's everyone cooking for dinner tonight?

In celebration of Mexico's 200th year of independance tomorrow, and the fact that I have a very homesick wife at home, I'll be making a caldo de pollo and transferring the chicken to what hopefully will not be a completely failed mole.

This will be accompanied by watching TV broadcast out of Mexico City and hopefully seeing some of the celebration, tequila, and cold mexican beer.

What about the rest of you serious eaters?

I quit smoking, now I can't quit eating. Help?

So I stopped smoking. Havent had a ciggarette since Monday. Problem is I seem to have replaced my smoking with constant munching all day long.

Anything salty works. I've eaten 2 bags of sunflower seeds since then and had an unusual amount of soda and chips. Is this normal? Will it wear off?
I work out 3x a week so I'm not TOO concerned about gaining weight, but I would prefer not to. Can anything salty be healthy? If not is there anything healthy and tasty that I can snack on?

My cheeks feel like they're going to fall off from being packed with salty sunflower seeds for the last 48 hours =P

Things to cook in a cazuela?

Hey SE.
I got back from Mexico City last thursday and managed to bring a giant Cazuela with me. (Airport security told me it was too big to be a carry on, I chose to not listen and luckily when boarding the jet no one said anything. I figured it was good as smashed pottery in a checked suitcase.)

Anyway, I'm looking for ideas to start breaking this thing in. I "cured" it by rubbing the bottom down with garlic and boiling a couple liters of salt water till evaporated on the inside, Im hoping that's sufficient.

So for those of you who have one or have eaten from them, where should I start? I'm furiously googling paella recipes, and when in D.F. some of my wifes family cooked us an epic barbacoa meal underground in theirs, but otherwise I'm not really sure what all can be done with this thing. Links to blogs, recipes, and inspiration would be appreciated.

Thanks as always!

Where I ate in ____

Just wanted to throw an idea out there.
If we could have a section on the site where we could maybe tag a map and add places we ate and reviews for them it would be really cool.

I see a lot of people asking for suggestions on places to eat while travelling, and then some submitting feedback when they return. I think it would be nice if it could all be consolidated into one location, kinda like the new recipes section.

If the map part is not do-able even a section of the site broken down in forum style by country, then states or reigions would be pretty cool.

Food to feed a sore body

Hi SE'ers!

I know we have a lot of healthy folks hangin around the site and wanted to ask those that frequent gyms and workout often what they eat. I'm not trying to bulk up by any means, but have recently started a mixed martial arts class and about 48 hours after every class I feel like I've been run over by a stampede. (Mostly due to getting my butt kicked every time, but regardless...)

Wondering what you folks eat before/after/during working out, and if theres anything to help when your body is sore and recovering.
I'm struggling with cardio but I know thats due to my smoking habit which I'm trying to kick, but until that time, is it carbs, red meat, before, after?? Etc.

Any help is appreciated :)

Serious eats in Mexico City?

I've been blessed by my in-laws with an all expense paid vacation to D.F. Mexico City.

While my wife and her family have been there probably a dozen times this will be my first visit. So just wanting to know where other SE'ers ate while in the city.

I plan to stuff myself silly with al pastor and barbacoa inbetween visiting the pyramids and various museums. However it would be kinda cool to suprise the suegro's with a few restaurant suggestions. I'd love to hear about everything from street carts that may still be around, to cantinas, to 5 star dining. We will be leaving on the 19th of August, spending 4 days in the city.

Thanks as always!

Are we becoming overly sensitive to our food?

I just wanted to pose this question to see what the general consensus was.
I've been browsing around to read up on different food sensitivities and disorders and have started to wonder to myself why I wasnt hearing so much about these things years ago.
Is it simply advances in the medical field that are allowing us to discover so many new intolerances and sensitivities to foods? Have humans always had this many problems with food and simply not known about it until more recent years?

For example, I've read a couple articles on gluten intolerance that state many people will eliminate gluten from their diet on a hunch that they are intolerant, and thusly the lack of gluten over a period of time will make it nearly impossible for their body to deal with if they ever do decide to consume it again.

The second part to my question would be how do more developed nations like America, Canada, and European countries differ from developing countries in this matter?
I personally have never heard anyone while on my travels in Central and South America say they were gluten intolerant. Is this simply due to their more limited access to doctors? Could it be they have different diets as children, less processed foods that causes them to be less sensitive?

Also, are we heading to a time where every human will take a test that will eliminate various foods from their diet, or could humanity head in the other direction and de-sensitize to food through medical advances?

My love for _____ has faded.

Just wondering what you Serious Eaters have fallen out of love with food-wise.

I bought a pack of Gardetto's today and realized that the little round black wafer things in it that used to be my favorite taste like salty dirt to me all of the sudden. Ontop of that, the pretzel sticks I used to pick around have now become my favorite.

Any recent discoveries of a food or drink love that has faded?

Tried anything new recently?

I posted a topic a while back asking people what something(s) was/were that they had never tried but wanted to. I think the most common response was durian.

I wanted to pose a follow up to this and ask you all what HAVE you tried recently? How was it? Did you expect it to be better/worse?

For me:
I was lucky enough to try both black truffle and saffron (in the same dish no less!) while eating a seafood soup dish at McCormick and Shmick's for fathers day. The saffron was wonderful, I'd had a cheap boxed rice before with "saffron flavor" so I had a general idea of what to expect, but the intensity of the real thing is just awesome. The truffle added a serious deep flavor to the dish too, it seemed to blend in with the salt but add almost a smoky element to the dish. I'd like to try truffle a bit more on its own where it can shine, but the dish was composed perfectly.

So all you Serious Eaters, what's new with you!?

Budding basil?

I have some basil plants indoor that are under flourescent light. I have them on a timer that gives them about 16 hours of light per day. It looks like they're about to flower, I see clusters of small leaves with hairs on them.

Is there anything wrong with budding basil? I know some plants once they grow seeds you cant use them anymore, if so, should I change the light hours?


What is this fruit?

On my vacation in Curacao I picked up a fruit from the floating market, it looked like a brown potato slightly smaller than the size of a baseball. The outside is rough, the skin almost identical to a potato's. The guy I bought it from told me the name but I completely forgot.

The ripe ones were soft when held, almost like a potato when its gone mushy. I split it open by hand and the flesh was a creamy white color and tasted really sweet, not very juicy though. Almost a mango texture but less creamy. It also had a black pit inside, the pit was smooth and about the size of the end of a thumb. (A kinda big thumb) Any idea what it could be?

The market is Venezuelan vendors so it most likely was grown in South America. It's bugging me now that I cant remember the name.

Travel eats: Cheap local, fancy local, or fancy-fancy?

I got back last week from Curacao and noticed while I was on the island there seemed to be 3 basic types of restaurants that were always full.

The first were the small food stands, often a bar/restaurant, most were cash only places, and most seemed to be full of locals. They had a lot of stewed meat, fried and grilled fish, and dishes rich in yucca, plantain, etc. Your drinks options are for the most part beer, soda, or juice.

Second were the restaurants that still served local fare but in a little fancier setting, and the price is higher. Many of the restaurants attached to the hotels were this way. I tried the buffet at my hotel and didn't find the food to be any more flavorful than the street foods, but there was the added benefit (depending on your taste) of having the white tablecloths, a wine selection, and an attentive wait-staff.

The third restaurant style seemed to be purely marketed towards tourists. I inadvertently stumbled into one, and after seeing "Jumbo Hawaiian Shrimp, $40" on the menu told the waitress I'd left my wallet at home and would be right back. Why anyone would want hawaiian shrimp in the middle of the Carribbean was beyond me, and that was one of the average priced entree's too. (Lobster and shrimp you may ask? $70, no kidding.)

What do you look for in a restaurant when you travel? Are there any signs of a "must have" eat for you? Do you not mind shelling out extra since its a vacation anyway?

I noticed we gravitated toward the smaller food shacks, places with plastic tables and a lot of locals hanging around. Arepas, fried fish, stewed anything, and cheap "Polar" beer kept me for pretty much the entire trip.

What have you NOT eaten?

I feel like there are so many things I haven't tried. Many of them it seems like everyone else has been eating forever. Not that I don't want to, I just havent been presented the opportunity yet.

Anyone else in the same boat? If so what are you dying to try but havent yet?

(a small portion of) My list:

Foie Gras
Pork Belly
Sea Urchin

Theres about a million fish and beverages I could add to that, but those are things I'd really like to have tried all of within the next year or two.

Simple site update suggestion:

A "Back to Talk" or "Back to Top" link at the end of the comments on a talk topic would be nice.

I know this is incredibly lazy, but once I've finished reading all the comments instead of scrolling back up to the top, it'd be nice to just jump either to the top of the page, or back to the main talk page. Once a topic has passed about 30 comments you've scrolled down pretty far.

Just thought I'd throw that out there :)

Eats in Curaçao?

A few months ago I asked this when I was first planning my vacation, now that I'm under 2 weeks out I'd like to post again to see if anyone else has been and has any tips on where to eat.

I'll be there for a week so I have plenty of time to cover quite a few restaurants. Thanks everyone :)

Going to Curaçao, food recommendations?

I'm midway through setting up my vacation to Curaçao and am planning activities for the week there with my wife and my daughter.

I'm wondering if anyone has been to the island and has any reccomendations on where to eat, or what to eat. Specifically if anything is local to the area.


Last time you ate something without knowing what it was?

I went to a flea market on the south side of town on Saturday. I saw a small taco-truck type shack with a lady working alone inside. All it said in big letters on the side was "PUPUSAS." It smelled great so I thought, why not.

She was serving pupusas, which (unknown to me until that time,) are basically hand formed pockets of dough stuffed and griddled. I was looking over the options, with cheese, with beans, and one said "con queso y loroco."

I ask the cook what loroco is, and she replies "una fruta." (a fruit.) No further explanation was offered.
So... having no clue what it is, I decided I would try one. I was pleasantly suprised. The loroco was very tasty (sorta like spinach) and according to wikipedia is an edible flower, (though she may have been referring to the buds of the flower.) Not suprisingly it is noted as being most common in El Salvador, where the cook was from.

All in all it was a pleasant experience, and I learned about something new by eating it.
Ever eat anything without knowing what it is? Was it a good or bad experience?

Breakfast Ideas

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What's your favorite crock-pot dish?

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Produce in the fridge - bagged or loose?

After watching my boyfriend empty a bag of loose okra into the crisper drawer in the fridge (apparently because I told him not to leave produce tied up in bags), I'm wondering about veggie storage. My theory has always been... More

homemade deep fried shrimp heads

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