Sunday, May 1, 2011

May 2011 THE FILIPINO-AMERICAN STORY: Jo Boston is a Foodie

Jo Boston of San Francisco is our May 2011's The Filipino-American Story.  She was nominated by no other than our first and April 2011's The Filipino-American Story, Albert Balbutin AKA Filipeanut for her big heart by making sure the Fil-Ams at the Bay Area had always something going on when it comes to food. I found Jo through twitter last year and have been reading all her delicious tweets about food and drooling at the pictures of the food she often posts....

1)  I learned from your blog that you are born in San Francisco, where is your Mom's origin in the Philippines? My mom is from Umingan, Pangasinan…it’s about 4-6 hours north of Manila.

2) How did you become a foodie? I think I became a foodie when I first learned how to eat.  I was blessed to have my grandma (who we call Inang) take care of me while mom worked during the day.  Everyday she would cook for the family and I’d stand in the kitchen watching her. 

The process of creating dishes interested me to the point that she would let me help in her kusina (kitchen).  My mom works in culinary in San Francisco.  While food at home was stellar and authentically-Filipino, my mom also introduced me to the American restaurant scene here in the City.  I took what they both taught me and it naturally became a passion.  In addition, Saturday mornings were my favorite time of the weekend.  I sat in front of the TV, not watching cartoons, but cooking shows on PBS.  I was not your typical kid.  I loved high school because of “Foods” class and competing in FHA-HERO.  College was great because of the food sales we’d host for my college’s Filipino club.  Basically every phase of my life had something “food-centric.”  I suppose you can’t get away from something you love.

3) What do you do when you are not cooking food? When I am not cooking, I am eating.  =)  When I am not eating, you will find me at my day job as an office assistant at an oncology practice in San Francisco.

4) Albert was telling me that you are constantly organizing food trips if not cooking to feed them, tell me about it?

I like eating out.  A lot.  Collaborating with a start-up called Dishcrawl, I was given the opportunity to host monthly “Filipino Dishcrawl” dinners.  A different Filipino restaurant is chosen each month and the public can purchase tickets to the dinners.  There are usually 15-25 people at each dinner.  It’s a great way to meet new people, enjoy the food that the restaurant has to offer, and experience a cuisine that I feel is very underrated in the Bay Area.  Our goal is to promote Filipino food and introduce it to those who are not familiar with it.

5) How long have you been a foodie?
I want to say since I was born, but I started my blog as Jo Boston is a Foodie in 2007.





Mom, Inang, My Sister Sherri, Tatay, and Myself
at Inang and Tatay's 83rd Birthday in the Philippines 2007
6) How do you find time to blog amidst the crazy schedule of a Filipino-American? It’s really tough these days, honestly.  I try to balance my day job, time with my husband and family, all the while keeping my eyes peeled for good eats.  While I don’t post on my blog as often as I’d like, I do more “micro-blogging” as in updating my Twitter at @joanneisafoodie and my Facebook all the time with food pictures and everything delicious in 140 characters or less.  My phone is always within 5 feet of me just in case there is something to cover.  If I do find time to sit down and compose, it is usually late night or a weekend where nothing is happening so I can totally devote my time to writing and editing pictures.  My husband is the best because he supports my passion and gives me time to myself when he knows I am driven to write.

7) Do you also still do the typical things that Filipino-Americans do as in, send money to Philippines, or send a balikbayan box? Yes, my mom especially.  She sends money every paycheck to my Inang who is currently living there and to fund a new home she is building on the same property she grew up on.  Mom tries to go to the Philippines every year or every other year.  The Balikbayan boxes we pack usually have SPAM, corned beef, coffee, and assorted chocolate bars.  We have a lot of nieces and nephews in the Philippines, and it’s so cute when my mom buys on impulse and purchases Disney or Sanrio backpacks and clothes for them.  My mom works so hard, and always thinks of others.

8) When was the last time you have been to Philippines? The last time I went to the Philippines was in 2009 with my then-fianc√©.  Prior to that was 2007.  Prior to that was 1996.  I let lots of time pass by, which I regret.  Now that I am older and establishing myself as an adult - a Filipina adult - I felt the need to go back and reconnect since I felt detached for a long time. 

9) Do you plan on going to visit Philippines soon? My now-husband and I are flying out May 31!  I cannot wait!  Counting down the days!

10) Being a foodie, what is your favorite food?
My favorite food will always be chicken adobo and steamed rice
.  Inang spoiled me with incredible food growing up, but it was her chicken adobo that transports me to another place and time - home.  It’s like a big hug from the inside out.  I also love my mom’s balatong aka mungo.  Though she taught me how to make it, it tastes better when she cooks it.  It’s the mother’s touch.  Inang's pinapaitan is also up there in the ranks!  It's an acquired taste because of the bitter bile, but I grew up with it and I love it.

Attic
11) Top recommends for Filipino Places to visit in San Francisco?
My favorite spots for Filipino food in the Bay Area are Attic in San Mateo, Patio Filipino in San Bruno, Intramuros in South San Francisco, and Sinugba in Daly City. 
I could as might as well live in some of those places.  There are not many [good] Filipino restaurants in San Francisco proper, unfortunately, but Mercury Lounge in the SOMA district is awesome for brunch and happy hour/late night eats.  If you are vegan, No Worries Filipino Cuisine in Oakland is out of this world.

12) Food for thought to all our kababayans here in America? Stay connected.

Even though I was born and raised here, I was fortunate that my family instilled culture in me through song, household practices, and the fundamentals of Filipino cooking.  I regret losing my Ilocano tongue as a child; therefore,  I think it is important for those in my generation to consciously seek out their Filipino roots, whether you know the language or not.  Know where you came from.  Know where your parents and your family came from.  I am planning on raising a family in the United States, and I hope to one day show them how my Inang, Tatay (grandpa) and mom sacrificed so much for us. 

I love having dinners with my Filipino and Filipino-American friends.  Each of us comes from a different part of the US and of the Philippines, but when we get together, we’re just one family sharing experiences and common bonds - our love of being Filipino…and the food, of course.  =)  --MaG

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4 comments:

  1. If it wasn't for Jo, we in the Bay Area wouldn't be exposed to the Filipino food twitterers, Filipino food purveyors, and restaurant owners.

    I love this part...

    "Know where your parents and your family came from. I am planning on raising a family in the United States, and I hope to one day show them how my Inang, Tatay (grandpa) and mom sacrificed so much for us."

    Salamat Jo and The Filipino-American!

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  2. She is definitely an inspiration!

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  3. I met Jo at last year's Adobo Cookoff and am so grateful! She's def my "in" to Filipino food here in the Bay Area! :)

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  4. Jo, I enjoyed reading your blog. And I like how you pointed out "Even though I was born and raised here, I was fortunate that my family instilled culture in me through song, household practices, and the fundamentals of Filipino cooking. I regret losing my Ilocano tongue as a child; therefore, I think it is important for those in my generation to consciously seek out their Filipino roots, whether you know the language or not. Know where you came from. Know where your parents and your family came from. I am planning on raising a family in the United States, and I hope to one day show them how my Inang, Tatay (grandpa) and mom sacrificed so much for us."

    It's good to know filipinos who never forget where they came from when embracing a new culture.

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