Day 56: Healthy Hump Day

Fettucine Cauliflower Alfredo

Fettucine Cauliflower Alfredo

As much as I loved last night’s abundance of pork-based Filipino dishes, tonight my wife and I got back to our healthier eating. She made her excellent cauliflower alfredo sauce with fettucine and baked green beens. It’s a simple meal and I’ve been surprised how much I enjoy the cauliflower dishes she’s made (my other favorite being her mashed cauliflower “potatoes”). As for the greens beans, I’m a big fan of garlic and slivered almonds, which certainly weren’t lacking in this dish.

The only problem with tonight’s dinner? No leftovers.

Day 55: Family Celebration


Gaviola family favorite Salo-Salo Grill was the site of another celebration tonight. Whenever we get together here, we tend to order too much food. It’s consistently excellent Filipino food, served in abundant portions. I call it The Place Where Diets Go To Die.

Clarissa Wei, one of my favorite food bloggers, recently posted this guide to Filipino food in Los Angeles. There are  some great spots listed; I’ve been to a few of them and others were new to me. I would’ve loved to have seen Salo-Salo on there, but it’s still a solid list. Newbies to Filipino food should start with her article; better yet, I’d point them to one of the Filipino-American restaurant icons of L.A.: Bernie’s Teriyaki.

Bernie’s has been serving inexpensive plates of Filipino barbecue for decades in the same location. Yes, the name suggests Japanese food, but that taste is undeniably Filipino. In fact, I prefer Bernie’s over Grill City, which was one of the places in Wei’s article. Unlike Grill City, Bernie’s doesn’t overdo it with the barbecue sauce and glaze; it’s a more subtle taste and there’s less fat on their pork sticks, which sets them apart from most Filipino barbecue.

In my family, we’re on generation three of the Bernie’s fan club.  The menu isn’t as Filipino-heavy or authentic as Salo-Salo’s menu, but those barbecue plates are deeply satisfying and inexpensive to boot. The location is ideal during baseball season: you can pick up a plate to go before making the short trek to Dodger Stadium.

Day 17: Asian American Expo

Alex Goh's Dragon Whiskers

Alex Goh’s Dragon Whiskers

I took my family to the 34th Asian American Expo in Pomona, California, today. We arrived at the Fairplex around 11am and I was suddenly reminded why I haven’t been to the L.A. County Fair in 25+ years. I enjoy events like these, but the enormity of this trade show, with the amount of people and the high levels of volume, was some serious sensory overload.

Still, it was great to see so many Asian and Asian American businesses and organizations at the fairgrounds today (day one of the two-day event). I would’ve loved to have seen the Filipino American community represented here, though; Jolibee would’ve been a perfect addition to the festivities. There were also lots of cultural activities and we were able to take in a martial arts demonstration and a hula performance.

Like the thousands of our fellow AsianAmExpo attendees, our first stop was the food hall. There was booth after booth of food exhibitors and we sampled until we were full. From curry to sriracha, cookies to juices, there was something for everyone.

What made my day, though, was seeing Alex Goh make his Dragon Whiskers candy. That’s him pictured above, after taking a single strand of honey and water in cornstarch, and transforming it into thousands of whisker-like strands. He then wraps a mixture of peanuts and sesame in the whiskers, for a light, semi-sweet treat that’s unique and melt-in-your-mouth good. My family and I have had Goh’s candy before, but we’ve never seen him make them in person, so this was a real treat.

Even after noshing on ramen, barbecued squid, boba drinks, and my first ramenburger (pictured below; it was good, but didn’t live up to the hype) at the outdoor food festival, the Dragon Whiskers were the highlight. It’s not every day that you get to see how the magic happens.