Ma’am/Sir opens in Silver Lake


Lucky to have walked in with success to the barely three-week old Ma’am/Sir in uberhip Silver Lake.

For someone who has lived or visited the Philippines, ma’am and sir automatically follow every greeting to the point of amusement. Respect like hospitality is ingrained in the Filipino culture. For all that, a very cute name for a trendy Filipino food spot in Los Angeles showcasing the audacious flavors of the Philippine Islands.

Chef Charles Olalia, formerly of Patina, a Michelin star rated French restaurant at the Disney Concert Hall, among his other previous training grounds, creates contemporary Filipino fare inspired by his Kapangpangan roots. His sweet longaniza and pancit luglug, dishes I’ve tried at his thriving RiceBar on 7th Street in Downtown Los Angeles surpass even the best back home.


Pinoy Baby Boomers and also Gen Xers can relate to hanged framed magazine pages with basketball stars of the Philippine MICAA era, iconic Larry Mumar, Francis Arnaiz, Bogs Adornado, and Jaworski, to name a few.


When trying a place for the very first time, I always end up overordering. I was expecting the Ilocos empanada as inspo behind the Impossible Empanada coz it sounded like the empanada I grew up with, what with a longaniza and shredded papaya filling? Nonetheless satisfying, it arrived in a flaky pastry shell, more like the Spanish-influenced traditional Filipino empanada, yet with a unique longaniza and papaya atchara fill.


Kare-Kare comes, of course, with the essential bagoong (fish paste). It brings out the very best in oxtail stew, and white rice is the best accompaniment for this rich kind of ulam.


I was happiest with my banana-mango bibingka (sticky rice cake), very traditional with its texture and overall taste. The fancy Chantilly cream and edible flowers make the otherwise plain-looking bibingka luxurious.

Fil-Ams in the gentrified Silver Lake and Echo Park neighborhoods, not to mention the Historic Filipinotown, can’t be happier with the arrival of Ma’am/Sir. And all the ma’ams and sirs wanting to explore vibrant Filipino culture, or who have already embraced Filipino cookery.


LA’s République


I’ve already posted about the newest baby of chefs Walter and Margarita Manzke’s Sari Sari Store, at the Los Angeles Grand Central Market, and its modern Filipino menu, which is attracting Angelenos and tourists alike. Now, here’s my latest visit (in fact, just an hour back) at République, their posh space on La Brea. The Manzkes are also part owners of Wildflour Cafe + Bakery in the Philippines. Btw, reclaimed wood from the Philippines provides an old world charm.


The last time I was there, I had croque madame and sticky bomb (yummy!). With an extensive brunch menu, I couldn’t decide what to get, so had breakfast like I’m not going back again. Got two toasts — the popular mushroom toast with house-cured ham, egg and gruyere cheese, and burrata and bacon toast, with poached egg, avocado and jalapeño. Both were delicious, making my Monday a great start of a new week. Finished with a glass of iced Vietnamese latte.

Bought some goodies from the bakery.

Hope to also have dinner here soon.


My next post is all about the latest Filipino spot in LA


Sari Sari Store at the Grand Central Market LA


At last, a convenient stop for silog in Los Angeles! Just like its name, Sari Sari, which is the Filipino word for variety, the store or stall that opened last summer at the iconic Grand Central Market, offers notoriously liked traditional mainstream items, and lechon manok, arroz caldo and halo-halo are the Chippy, Halls and Coca-Cola here.


Caught Chef Margarita Lorenzana Manzke, one of the owners of Sari Sari Store, also a co-owner of the crowd-pleasing République on La Brea, and Wildflour Bakery & Cafe in Manila, a James Beard Outstanding Pastry Chef nominee, fervently working on  buko pie, a mainstay at Sari Sari. Husband Chef Walter Manzke was also around.


Located in Downtown Los Angeles (DTLA), the Grand Central Market, a 1917 landmark, houses the many different flavors and cultures of the city. Eating here is a must-do when in LA.  Eggslut, Wexler’s Deli, Mc Connell’s Fine Ice Cream, La Huerta Candies, and lately, Sari Sari Store, are my frequent stops.


Arroz caldo is a hit among non-Pinoy guests here. With mushrooms, it’s a delicious modern rendition of the original arroz caldo back home. So far, I’ve tried tortang talong, studded with corn, and best eaten with patis; sisig rice, which is more liver than pig face, but definitely, the way I like it, like the original Kapangpangan Aling Lucing style; the Americanized buko pie; halo-halo with frozen watermelon and caramelized rice crispies; and homemade calamansi soda — all fun and still Filipino, notwithstanding the fresh twists on the basics.


Absolutely, unlike a sari-sari store in the Philipines, no pa-lista here, cash and credit cards only.

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved