Drinks and Tapas Philippine Style, Raising Funds For Fil-Am Victims of Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy is behind us, and so is Athena, the nor’easter that threatened to cut the power of the people who just regained theirs and made life more miserable for those who do not have power nor heat.
As a foundation, Handang Tumulong was born because of a need to help our kababayans back in the Philippines whenever natural disasters struck. And like clockwork, these typhoons ravaged the country and killed hundreds of people. Handang Tumulong, as their name implies, was always ready to help.
This time around, they are not helping kababayans victimized by typhoons back home. They are helping fellow Filipinos in New York and New Jersey who lost their homes last week because of Hurricane Sandy.
“The extent of devastation of superstorm Sandy left behind is so enormous it is heartbreaking to watch the news and see the victims left homeless, in need of help. In response, Handang Tumulong Foundation, Inc., in cooperation with the Philippine Consulate General in New York and a few concerned Fil-Ams have tried to identify and locate Filipino American families needing help in the much affected areas in New York and New Jersey,” said Nelsie Parado, Handang Tumulong president.
The organization will extend financial help to these families to tide them over for a few days. They are also in need of warm clothings, water, and non-perishable food.
“Handang Tumulong Foundation is making an appeal for cash donation, and in kind. Please donate. To do so, please go to our website at www.handangtumulong.org for the victims of superstorm Sandy. All donations will be earmarked for families identified to be in dire need of assistance. All cash donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law,” Ms. Parrado added.
Fund-raising Through Food
When the “Inuman at Pulutan” project was being planned, Handang Tumulong, as a 501 (C) (3) non-profit organization was chosen as a beneficiary. Nobody could have predicted that Hurricane Sandy would cause such devastation to New York and New Jersey that organizers toyed on postponing the event to a later date.
Initially, the project was planned to promote Philippine beverage brands that are already available in the U.S. today, according to Michelle Fatima S. Sanchez, Special Trade Representative and Consul.
“This project started because I wanted to promote the Philippine beverage brands that are available in the US market like San Miguel beer and VuQo vodka and do an event to showcase them. At the same time, being new in New York, I was quite excited to discover that we had great Philippine food available and presented nicely by Fil-Am chefs and restauranteurs in the city,” Ms Sanchez shared.
After several discussions with friends like Consul Noc Maningat and Agnes Jamora who were as eager as she was in promoting Philippine food and flavors to the mainstream market, they pitched the idea to the Philippine American Chamber of Commerce which then decided to adopt the project. Once they formed the team, they worked on getting the beverage companies and chefs/restaurants on board.
How apt that the idea was discussed over a sumptuous dinner at Maharlika in the East Village, one of the most-talked about restaurants in the New York foodie world of late.
The event organizers hope to introduce Philippine flavors, through our food and drinks, to those who may not be familiar with them.
“If they end up liking or even loving them, we want them to know where they can get them in New York,” Sanchez added. “But this project is also aimed at Filipinos who may not yet be aware that all this great Philippine food can be had in the more non-traditional venues like Lumpia Shack and Adobo Shack at the Smorgasburg in Williamsburg for instance or in one of Masarap’s secret suppers taking place in different venues in the city or in a gathering place like Ugly Kitchen where I once enjoyed a lechon feast. This is also a first-time project and we hope it will be the start of an annual Philippine food and drink event.”
Next week’s event promises to be a great treat to foodies as it has gathered the chefs who are – in one way or the other – pushing the envelope for the cuisine to be more recognized in the mainstream.
While the idea was born in Maharlika, the chefs met with the organizers in Chef King Phojanakong’s Umi Nom in Brooklyn.
“It took one great meal at Chef King’s Umi Nom to get everyone excited about the project! We had done a bit of groundwork before that in getting the beverage companies and the chefs/restaurateurs to appreciate the idea for the project and get them on board,” said Sanchez. “When we got everyone together for dinner at Umi Nom, with some meeting the others for the first time, you could really tell from the conversation that these were like-minded people who were all quite passionate about getting Philippine food and flavors more known and appreciated.”
As it turns out, getting the chefs interested was not difficult.  The challenge was more in getting everyone’s schedules to jibe.
“Inuman at Pulutan” is going to be an evening of great food, drinks and fun, where guests will be treated to creative ways of interpreting Philippine flavors.
“I’m hoping that on leaving the event, they’ll miss the Philippines so much that they’ll start planning for a trip back home or at the very least, a food trip to any of these great Filipino food places we have in New York,” Sanchez quipped.
The Inuman at Pulutan event is going to be a celebration of Philippine flavors. Philippine beverage brands will be showcased, such as San Miguel Beer, brewed in the Philippines for the past 120 years, and VuQo Vodka, distilled from fresh coconut nectar using techniques dating back to more than 400 years.
And because Filipinos cannot have Inuman (drinks) without the Pulutan (tapas and nibbles), the event gathered together five exciting NY-based chefs and restaurants to prepare creative tasting plates of Filipino-inspired dishes for guests to sample.
Tickets to the event – which will be held at the Kalayaan Hall of the Philippine Center on November 15 – cost $30 and includes entry, drinks and tasting plates from featured chefs and restaurants. Tickets can be purchased online through Eventbrite (www.inumanatpulutan.eventbrite.com).  Tickets may also be purchased at the door on the day of the event at $40 each, subject to availability.
Featured Beverages
San Miguel Beer
Established in 1890, La Fabrica de Cerveza de San Miguel, Southeast Asia’s first brewery produced and bottled what would eventually become one of the bestselling beers in the region. Within the span of a generation, San Miguel Beer would become an icon among beer drinkers.
By 1914, San Miguel Beer was being exported from its headquarters in Manila to Shanghai, Hong Kong and Guam.  A pioneer in Asia, San Miguel established a brewery in Hong Kong in 1948, the first local brewer in the crown colony.
Today, San Miguel Beer-the Company’s flagship product-is one of the largest selling beers and among the top 20 beer brands in the world.  While brewing beer is the company’s heritage, San Miguel subsequently branched out into the food and packaging businesses.  San Miguel beer is among the legacy brands imported by St. Killian Importing.
St. Killian has been a successful importer of fine beers from around the world since 1983 and embraced high end and specialty beers long before they became en vogue in the United States. Recent developments in the global and domestic beer market have underlined our longtime belief that consumers are and have been ready for the better beer category.  St. Killian remains dedicated to providing America with the finest lineup of unique beers from around the world.  St. Killian Importing is one of the L. Knife & Son Companies.
VuQo Vodka and Haliya Wines
The history of VuQo Premium Vodka dates back at least four centuries. VuQo Premium Vodka is based on an ancient technology practiced in the Philippines long before the Spanish conquistadores set foot on its shores.
It is the same technology that Filipino seafarers brought to Mexico through the Spanish Galleon trades to create the now popular tequila. Coconut vodka was the drink in those ancient times, on those far eastern shores. It was, in a manner of speaking, a tribal drink, one that sealed brotherhoods and with which the day’s bounty was enjoyed and shared. It is this spirit that VuQo Premium Vodka hopes to recreate and celebrate today.
Haliya Light Fruit Wines are all-natural, handcrafted wines made from the finest Philippine fruits.  Haliya is exported to the US by VuQo Inc., makers of premium Filipino wines and spirits for the global consumer.
Kuma Inn and Umi Nom (King Phojakanong)
King Phojanakong is the chef-owner of two of NYC’s favorite restaurants, Kuma Inn in Manhattan’s Lower East Side and Umi Nom in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. Chef King is a born and bred New Yorker whose culinary influences began at home with the inspirational cooking of his Filipino mother and Thai father. Spending summers in the Philippines throughout his childhood furthered his interest in the culinary world and instilled the importance of community and culture. Chef King, a graduate of the Bronx High School of Science, first pursued a career in energy management before deciding food and hospitality were his calling. In his late-twenties he received his formal culinary education from the Culinary Institute of America, where he was elected group leader, selected as one of the “10 Best Student Chefs of the Year” and graduated dean’s list in 1998.  Chef King went on to work with Daniel Boulud at Restaurant Daniel and David Bouley at the Danube.  Other kitchen stints include: Bouley Bakery, Jean-Georges, The Grocery, Cendrillon and Fatapples.  Chef King opened Kuma Inn in May 2003 and Umi Nom late summer 2009. www.kumainn.com  www.uminom.com
Lumpia Shack (Neil Syham)
Lumpia Shack is a Filipino-inspired lumpia stand that creates delicious fried and fresh lumpia, or spring rolls. Born from our love of Filipino food, we want to add our own personal touch to one of the culture’s most popular snacks by mixing traditional flavors with locally-sourced ingredients. Our menu changes weekly, as we incorporate seasonal ingredients purchased locally at Greenmarkets and from other high quality food purveyors. All of the fillings, sauces, and toppings are bought and cooked every week, with each lumpia hand-rolled to ensure the perfect amount of filling for each bite! Lumpia Shack is an idea and creation that has been years in the making-a product of our cultural roots blended with our experience growing up in America-and inspired by the many meals made by and shared with our families. We strive to provide the best food possible for our community in NYC and everyone willing to taste our food! Find us at Smorgasburg in Brooklyn every weekend April through November.  www.lumpia-shack.com
Masarap Supper Club (Norman Dalager)
The Masarap Supper Club, founded in October 2011 by Chefs Norman Dalager and Rob Kearns, hosts private cocktail and dining events in some of New York City’s most unique venues.  Though inspired by the bold and rich flavors found in Filipino cuisine, we create menus that transcend regional and cultural designation. Our intimate events have proudly been described as highly interactive and cheeky.  Half-Swede, half-Filipino Chef Norman Dalager cites his mother as his biggest influence in cooking, “My mom is a really great cook, so I grew up eating amazing Filipino food, and I think Filipino food is the most exciting cuisine in the world with all the spices and flavors.”  www.masarapnyc.com
Ugly Kitchen (Ron Ancheta)
Ugly Kitchen specializes in an Asian eclectic fusion menu. We take a lot of pride in our delicious food and drinks.  Ugly is known for the holy Grill which pumps out mouthwatering Steaks and meats cooked perfectly to order as well as for our eclectic bar sides and pastas.  Co-owner Ron Ancheta was formerly with the Blue Ribbon restaurants. www.theuglykitchen.com
Maharlika Filipino Moderno and Jeepney (Miguel Trinidad)
Maharlika Filipino Moderno is a NY based restaurant designed to unite Filipinos and foodies through Philippine food and culture. Maharlika has garnered much attention on New York’s culinary scene from its initial opening last year including a glowing review in the New York Times and the award for “Best New Restaurant” by Metromix.  Maharlika Filipino Moderno has been the trendsetter in the food world and is recognized by Timeout NY (best new food), Tasting Table (Top 10 cocktail with Pacquiao Punch), Complex Magazine (Top Restaurant for 2012), Inc.com (entrepreneurship) and The Huffington Post (Best Cuisine) as a major player in the dining scene. www.maharlikanyc.com
Jeepney’s approach is simple: to create an authentic family-style Filipino gastropub for novice diners & food enthusiasts alike. Lead by the power-group behind the critically acclaimed restaurant, Maharlika Filipino Moderno, this quick-service East Village eatery brings a new generation of bold, regional Filipino food to the forefront in a relaxed yet bustling atmosphere. Jeepney is a place for everyone to feel at home, family & friends to take a heritage filled culinary journey and of course a place for all things spirited. Emphasizing a value based, shareable plate concept while bringing to life a jubilant, island style experience creates this one-of-a kind environment where everyone feels like a part of the gang and always feels satisfied. www.jeepneynyc.com
(NYNJ Mag November 9, 2012 pg.2)

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