ONE YEAR OF FOOD & SH*T: A RETROSPECTIVE (PART I)
ORIGIN OF THE FAMILY
Food & Sh*t has many starting points. Every shared meal we've ever had. The Kama'aina potluck dinner parties. The food justice campaigns we've worked on and supported as organizers and allies. Chera and I have become the face of this project, but none of this would be possible without all the individuals and organizations along the way who have put in work to make it all happen. Food & Sh*t is just a name we slapped on something that's been going on for awhile now once we found a dedicated space for it. But if we must start the story somewhere, let's rewind to Summer 2013:
Along with our friends Mike, Suzanne, Ron & Donna--all parents and organizers in the Filipino community affiliated with Bayan-USA--we ambitiously planned a trip including all of our families to the Philippines in November & December. So, ADOBOFEST was conceived over one Sunday afternoon barbecue in our backyard as a fundraiser for our trip as well as an excuse to throw a block party on Beacon Hill and find out who has the Best Adobo In Seattle.
With only two weeks preparation, and with the homie Kirby and Luis (owner, The Station Cafe) onboard, we put it all together. Nicole Ramirez did the graphic design, and, later on, would design Food & Sh*t's logo and identity.
20 participants entered the contest, 200 people showed up, and Chef Garrett Doherty's pork belly adobo took the prize. More on Garrett later.
GUMBO & SH*T
Our first pop-up, in September 2013, wasn't even a pop-up. It was a private dinner party to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary. Inay's was the first Seattle Filipino restaurant we ever ate at, and have been patrons of many times over since. Kuya Ernie was gracious enough to let us use his restaurant on a Monday, when they're usually closed, and do our thing.
It was hard work, but it popped off. Triple OG Uncle Angelo Pizarro provided the saucy dinner music. It hadn't crossed our minds yet to do it again, let alone turn it into a monthly thing. That's when we sought words of advice from folks who've already dipped their feet into the pop-up restaurant scene. Garrett (Kraken Congee) and Irbille Donia (Lahi), who we connected with through Adobofest, kicked down game to us early on about the challenges and rewards of doing pop-ups. With their guidance and support, we decided "fuck it, let's go!"
So Food & Sh*t became a thing. To 1. share our love of Filipino food, and all good shared foods of all traditions, with more people, 2. to financially support organizations whose work we believe in, and, 3. highlight issues of economic and social justice via food.
LOCO MOCO & SH*T
We rolled out Loco Moco & Sh*t in October hitting up the same folks who came through for Gumbo & Sh*t, intentionally keeping things low key as we didn't want it to get too crazy. But word got out, and seats were filled from 5pm onward. It was our first attempt at an la carte service, and though it got overwhelming at times (overcooked prime rib, fryer pilot crapping out, running low on rice) we managed to pull it off with only one guy complaining on our Facebook page and rating us one star for the long wait for his food. From this experience, we moved back to the prix-fixe dinner format to reign in the chaos.
Also, this is the dinner that gave birth to Chera's Hood-Famous Ube Cheesecake. Chera's always been a sweet-toothed wizard with the baked goods. I don't even like cheesecake but when I had my first bite of this, I knew immediately that it would become a hit. Since then, we've brought it back on later pop-up menus and began rolling out orders in limited batches online, paving the way for Chera to continue doing what she does best.
SEAHAWKS & GUMBO (& SH*T)
We linked up with our old friend, Brian "Sausageman" Myers at Uli's Famous Sausage and cooked up a pot of gumbo for the Seahawks tailgate one cold, early morning in November. It was, literally, a hot mess, as the video shows. Bowls were in short supply and the ladle was shorter than the pot. Plus, bowls of pot. I made the beat on this video using Jake One's Snare Jordan Drum Kit.
TURKEY & SH*T
By the time November rolled around, we evolved from semi-secret Beacon Hill dinner party to pop-up restaurant. Our last pop-up before heading out to the Philippines, Turkey & Sh*t was a Thanksgiving-themed menu re-imagining "traditional" "American" Thanksgiving dinner with Filipino ingredients. Seattle Globalist even came through and wrote a great review of it.
Just two days after Turkey & Sh*t, we boarded a plane to the Philippines with 13 other Seattle-area organizers, with partial proceeds and supplies collected during the pop-up going toward Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda relief efforts.
SILOGS ALL DAY!
Still recovering from jet lag from our Philippines trip, we started off 2014 the way we start off our days: with breakfast. If you're Filipino, Any Dish + Fried Egg = Breakfast. By now, we retired putting "SH*T" in the names of our dinners to make our menus sound more appetizing. Silogs All Day! landed on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holiday, so we decided to do a daytime a la carte service for folks to nourish before heading out to the MLK Day March or fam who wanted to brunch it up on a Monday. For the kids who came through, we had the animator/illustrator homie Cesar Cueva make activity sheets like the one pictured above with the Care Bear rocking a bolo.
Also, this was the month we launched FoodAndSh-t.com!
The vibe at our pop-ups owes much to an incredible community of artists, musicians, organizers, workers and weirdos. It reminded us of the many events and meals we've had at Hidmo Eritrean Cuisine, which closed in 2012 and which we've missed dearly since. Hidmo Back! in February was our first crossover pop-up. Rahwa Habte and her family brought back the old Hidmo menu as lineup of musicians curated by Hollis Wong-Wear performed.
And this all happened in just 6 months. The next 6 months got even crazier…