Innovative Filipino Dishes Come to the Lower East Side


“The flavors of the Philippines are interpreted inventively in the hands of Jappy Afzelius, a Filipino executive chef who worked at high-end kitchens in France, Italy and New York. Starters, called pica pica, include pinsit fritos or pork dumplings, fried vegetable spring rolls called lumpia, and kale laing sautéed with shrimp paste and replacing taro leaves with kale. Mr. Afzelius adds Filipino ingredients to a Caesar salad; uses French-cut chicken breasts in his chicken adobo with turmeric soy sauce; includes salmon in sinigang, a typical tamarind soup; and serves traditional Filipino milkfish belly called bangus, fried with chayote and quinoa. His halo-halo dessert uses coconut sorbet in place of shaved ice. Not only does the menu expand your Filipino vocabulary, but you may also note that the name of the restaurant is a play on the Spanish word chisme, or gossip. The intimate room has a tropical feel, a copper bar and a chef’s table with eight seats facing the open kitchen. Philippe Segura, the beverage director, selected the wines and sakes. The owners, Stephen Young and Reggie Aguinaldo, have Filipino roots.”

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Which Commercial Kitchen Layout is Right for Your Restaurant?

Zone Kitchen commercial kitchen layout

“(…) Zone layout is what it sounds like – the kitchen is divided into different areas depending on the task at hand. So there might be a food prep zone for chopping and mixing, and all of the necessary tools and equipment will be right there in that station. The cooking zone is only for cooking already-prepped ingredients.

Good for:
The benefit of this type of layout is for restaurants that serve up several menu items that are not cooked, for instance, salads and smoothies. That way, servers can access both cooked and non-cooked dishes, and each staffer can focus on their specific job without getting in each other’s way.”

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Halal Guys, Wetzel’s Pretzel partner with Kitchen United

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Kitchen United, which offers off-premise kitchen centers for brands and franchises, now has two new partners as well as a new restaurant concept. Halal Guys and Wetzel’s Pretzels are now partners with Kitchen United, which also launched Fresgo, a fast Italian offering serving out of the Pasadena, California kitchen center.

The Halal Guys and Fresgo are now available for pickup, delivery and catering from the off-premise kitchen space, with Wetzel’s Pretzels officially opening April 1, according to a press release. Kitchen United’s Pasadena kitchen center opened last year and is home to Canter’s Deli, AmazeBowls, Cheat Day, Grilled Cheese Heaven, Mama Musubi and The Pizza Plant.

“One of Kitchen United’s goals from the beginning has been to leverage our collective restaurant experience to help our restaurant partners take a leadership position in delivery, a fast emerging growth opportunity in the industry,” said Jim Collins, Kitchen United CEO, in the release. “As a team of restauranteurs, we are thrilled to launch Fresgo in order to provide valuable insight and learnings to our partners. We are very pleased to add The Halal Guys and Wetzel’s Pretzels to our family of restaurant partners in order to help them expand their reach into the Pasadena market.”

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Benno, Proudly Out of Step With the Age

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“Dated was the word one friend used after going to Benno, and if you’ve eaten there, too, you’ll know why. It’s as if the past 15 years in food never happened. The menu seems to be stuck in some time between 1994, when Thomas Keller bought the French Laundry, and 2004, when he opened Per Se with a young Jonathan Benno leading the kitchen.

The restaurant will probably be a tough sell to those diners who expect all restaurants to fall on a continuum between Noma and the Salt Bae place. But I prefer it to any number of newer, self-consciously modern restaurants, some of which are so determined to be of the moment that they might as well have a time stamp. Benno is not trying to be contemporary. It’s trying to be delicious. And it is, from start to finish, almost without exception.”

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Webster Hall Team Opens New Seneca Avenue Restaurant

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“The family behind New York’s Webster Hall has opened a new organic American eatery on Seneca Avenue. The Seneca combines a coffee shop, restaurant and bar inside the new digs that opened last summer at 582 Seneca Ave., owners said.

The eatery features a full coffee menu, kombucha on tap, a full menu of beers, natural wines and cocktails, and a short menu of elevated bar food. A breakfast sandwich comes with house-made sausage and hot sauce, the chicken club comes on pullman bread and the tacos come with either chorizo, avocado or mushrooms.

The Seneca is open from Monday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m., the kitchen stays open until midnight and happy hour is from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. every day, according to the eatery’s website.”

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A French Celebrity Chef Finds a Spot in a Lexus-Owned Space

“The aromas you might pick up in this building, owned by Lexus, the car company, may not be that new-car smell but rather curry, roasting meat, smoked vegetables, caramel and freshly ground coffee. Food is the main purpose of this installation, which features a ground-floor cafe, a full-service restaurant and bar upstairs, and not a car in sight. It’s the third such venture for the brand, after others in Tokyo and Dubai. Union Square Hospitality Group is behind the cafe and restaurant, but the food is being devised by Gregory Marchand, a French celebrity chef who owns the Frenchie restaurants in Paris and London. He will be on hand from time to time for the next four to six months; after that, another chef-in-residence will be imported. “We want chefs who are new to New York and up-and-coming,” said Kirk Edmondson, the manager. The long-term executive chef is Nickolas Martinez, who worked with Joël Robuchon and at Foragers City Table. Kaz Fujimura is responsible for pastries, and Andrea Morris is in charge of drinks and wine. A circular bar and lounge is on one side of the second floor. The dining room, done mostly in black and white with a spacious open kitchen, seats 50. Mr. Marchand’s menu includes some of his signature dishes like baby leeks with Parmesan sabayon and smoked egg yolk, halibut grenobloise, and a toffee and banana dessert called banoffee.”

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Green Giant Debuts Riced Cauliflower Stuffing

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“Thanksgiving will always be a day of over-eating, but there are ways to make your meal a smidge healthier and still enjoy all the holiday favorites. Our kitchen team has come up with plenty of paleo, keto, and vegan-friendly Thanksgiving recipes, if you follow one of those particular diets. And now, Green Giant is throwing low-carb eaters a bone with their new Riced Cauliflower Stuffing.”

“Green Giant confirmed the new, healthy side will be coming to select retailers in November, and will roll out nationwide in January. According to the brand, it is “an ideal way to cut carbs and reduce calories by 45 percent.” Best of all, it can be cooked in just eight minutes, making meal prep ridiculously easy.”

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