2014-07-01 15.18.54I’ve lived all throughout the Midwest… And, now, a decade in Texas, I’m a Texan with a huge Midwestern appetite.

However, I will be Chicagoan forever in my heart no matter where I’m living in the moment. I’m a first-generation Filipino-American.Ā  My parents emigrated from the Philippines in the late ’60s as a young, newly married couple and moved to Wrigleyville, like many young people do.Ā  After they had their young couple fun in Wrigleyville, they moved to the Northwest side of Chicago to start a family and raised my brother and me.Ā  Years later, we moved to the suburbs.

Circa 1976 when we lived in Chicago. My dad, my mom holding me, my brother and my cousin circa 1976

Circa 1976 when we lived in Chicago. My dad, my mom holding me, my brother and my cousin.

As young parents, they grew accustomed and to the American way of life, immersing my brother and me into the American culture and raising us with their old-fashioned Filipino traditions and upbringing.Ā  I grew up eating the traditional Filipino foods my family cooked and the exquisite, finger-licking good, Chicago-style eats.

Chicago dog heaven

Chicago dog heaven, baby. Everything on it…plus ketchup.

My tummy growls for Chicago-style eateries like Lou Malnati’s, Portillo’s, La Villa Pizza and Vienna Bakery.Ā  Yes, you saw that correctly.Ā  I mentioned a bakery.Ā  Chicago does sweets too, ya know.Ā  So, it’s just not all about the dogs, beefs and pizza.

Chicago is saturated with a plethora of cultures…and amongst them are many Asian/Filipino stores and restaurants dotted throughout the metropolitan.Ā  When I think of food, nothing draws me in more than my mom and dad’s Filipino cooking.Ā  I miss the smell of my mom’s pancit sauteeing in the wok, lumpia frying in the deep fyer and puto steaming in the bamboo steamer….I can just smell the many aromas cooking in my mom’s kitchen, but in my head.Ā  This was a big part of my childhood.

One of my favorites...a version of my mom's Arroz Valenciana...or paella to some

One of my favorites…a version of my mom’s Filipino specialty, Arroz Valenciana…or paella to some.

Unfortunately, these exact foods are a rare find in North Texas.Ā  Poor me…but it’s up to me to either find these foods in this cow-town I live in, or wing it in the kitchen!

Texas is wonderful, however, I wish I can find my food out here.Ā  I like to cook and it’s quite an achievement for me when I create a dish that closely matches my authentic, favorite, real deal foods I normally can’t find here in Texas.

So, that’s what I do…I recreate the foods I love.Ā  I hope you follow me on my food adventures, and I hope I can inspire YOU to truly relish, crave and replicate cooking your favorite childhood foods in your kitchen…and share your adventures with me!