My method to explore any new city is to explore its culinary offerings, as I’m sure it is for many, many travelers. Under that, I love exploring the city’s Filipino cuisine, if any. In LA, there’s no real presence of my mother land’s cuisine save food trucks who’ve really gotten it down (White Rabbit, Manila Machine, Tapa Boy…). New York, on the other hand, has a true gem of an ethnic restaurant at 1st Ave and 7th St – Maharlika Filipino Moderno.
Their brunch menu is simply a play on the American brunch menu – instead of Eggs Benedict, you have Eggs Benigno (my uncle’s name!); instead of Eggs Florentine, you have Eggs Imelda. They’re mostly known for their chicken and ube waffle, but I was a sucker for their Pampangan-style sizzling sisig with egg. Sisig is a tasty medley of pig ears, snout, cheek, and belly, and oooh my it was heavenly! I paired it with their version of a mimosa called Hilda Koronel (kalamansi honey and sparkling wine).
The restaurant decor is filled with familiar Filipino staples like The Last Supper and the giant wooden spoon and fork. At the same time, it wasn’t obsessively or excessively patriotic – a great balance between contemporary American style and traditional Filipino tastes.
And finally, the service was excellent. We had a cute East Asian man who had a great Tagalog accent despite only having the capacity to learn one word a day.
A must-visit on your next trip to NYC!