Have you ever had Filipino food?
For the majority who have, I’m sure you’re probably naming the dishes already – lumpia, pancit, adobo, puto…
But have you ever had Filipino food KAMAYAN-style? No? Well then, you’re missing out.
“Kamayan” is a term from the Tagalog language that comes from the word “kamay” (hand) – So, you guessed it, I got to get down and dirty and eat delicious food with my hands. After washing them a hundred times, first, of course.
Last night, I took the mans out to a special foodie event called Dinner & a Mixtape, hosted by Top Chef favorite Dale Talde and DJ Neil Armstrong, as Part One of his birthday celebrations. Below is some evidence of the feast-ivities.
The idea behind D&M is that you get to enjoy inauthentic Filipino food in an authentic manner (yes, those are real banana leaves instead of plates), while simultaneously enjoying a bumpin’ soundtrack in the background.
If you’re wondering what’s On the Table, we had fried chicken, Lechon Kawali (crispy fried pork belly), Roasted Whole (EMPHASIS ON WHOLE) Branzino with Tomato-Ginger Soffritto, and a Squash-variation on Bicol Express (cooked in coconut milk, shrimp paste, and chilies). Not pictured were the Bulleit bourbon shots we took to whet our appetites, or the complimentary Calamansi Punches/Red Horses, though great perks those were.
I spent a good hour on my portion, but still had a considerable amount of leftovers to take home. But hey, no complaints there!
I do wish I was able to get to know my neighboring foodies a bit more, but the tables were so long and seats were spread a bit too far apart to deviate from talking with who you originally came with. Not that that’s a bad thing, I got to spend more time with him, and the servers were still very attentive to each guest despite the volume of both the music and seating capacity. But definitely a complete 180 from my previous Chef’s Table post, for those who were previously convinced “all Filipino food is the same” (hint: it’s not).
I’d have to say that the D&M team was extremely helpful. I had written them a couple days prior because the person I was going with has somewhat fatal shellfish allergies, and Filipino food traditionally tends to use an array of shellfish related ingredients. The coordinator of the event responded promptly, saying they were willing to supply a separate arrangement for him, and boy, did they provide: he basically got everything I did, with a substitution of Adobo-style Kale (which was surprisingly bomb, coming from someone who does not usually eat kale voluntarily).
Also notable was how chill Chef Talde is. He’s very much an advanced and skilled persona in the culinary world, but also very into what he’s doing for the community through his work. This whole wave we’ve been seeing of adding contemporary twists to traditional Asian food isn’t exactly new, but it is definitely expanding, crashing with great force, on the city of New York lately thanks to people like him – mad props.
Throughout the night, our other host DJ Neil Armstrong went around talking to guests about his musical ventures and offered complementary mixtapes to take home after our meals. He offered a few options, but the aspiring turntablist in me immediately drew towards his Original 5 tape, which plays between original throwbacks and current songs that sample them. BF got the Warm & Fuzzy Pt 2 mix. We were all told to look out for the new mix dropping this weekend: Sidepiece Valentine’s.
Thanks again Dale & DJ Neil!
Let’s party rock again sometime!