The Beauty of the Blintz in Summer, by Ellen Gray

When I was in 6th grade, my grandmother, lured by the tropical climate and a gaggle of widowed friends, moved to Florida. For a number of summers, I joined Mama Min in her high-rise Hollywood apartment, traveling via Eastern Airlines to the land of palm trees and coconut patties. Her kitchen was compact, with just enough room for a slim café table and two chairs. We spent many afternoons sitting out on the shaded balcony, avoiding the blazing sun. The sound of the ocean in the distance was punctuated by the click-click of my grandmother’s knitting needles. It was during these warm weather holidays that I learned the joy of casual dinners and the beauty of the blintz.

Autumn Queen Peach & Cardamom Hand Pies

The weekend before I had bought a dozen Autumn Queen peaches from Costco. I tried my hardest to use them all up before they went bad, knowing peach hand pies photographed with a late summer color palette was the perfect distraction from the news. I wanted to add a nuanced layer of sweetness, so I dug into my homemade cardamom and vanilla simple syrup, a mainstay in my fridge for fancy coffee, tea, cocktails, and compotes.

Mama Min’s “Cheesecake” Blintzes

Ellen Gray’s recipe for blintzes stuffed with cheese and topped with cherries brings is inspired by summers spent in Florida with her grandma, “Mama Min”. The idea of cheesecake for dinner over a game of Mah Jong, after a day spent swimming on the beach, makes us yearn for simpler times.

Meet Monique Santua, Founder of Gastromonique in Austin, TX

Monique Santua was born in the Philippines, and moved to Hempstead, TX when she was 5. At 7, her family made the move from there to Houston, where she spent her childhood. While her mother paved the way for the Santua family here as a nurse to get them to the US, Monique has had the opportunity to feel out a couple of different career options before launching Gastromonique this year as a way to share her love of cooking with the people of Austin.

The Best Pupusas in Raleigh-Durham

We let our pocket-loving stomachs do the writing and put together a roundup of the best pupusas and El Salvadorean (also seen in many places as El Salvadoran or El Salvadorian) food in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. From pupusa trucks, sit-down pupuserias, and drive-thru eateries, the Triangle offers quite a few places to find some damn tasty pupusas. Are we missing your favorite pupuseria or El Salvadorean food spot? Let us know in the comments!

History of the Philippines & its Food: A Timeline

Filipino cuisine is steadily gaining popularity around the world for its spice-packed flavorful dishes. Over thousands of years, other countries’ occupation in the Philippines have influenced the Filipino food we know today. Filipino cuisine is constantly growing and changing –– from the their first encounter with the Chinese, who introduced the small group of islands in the Pacific to rice, soy sauce, and the egg roll (aka future lumpia), siu mai (hello pockets!) to their interaction with the Spanish, who introduced cutlery, tomatoes and cattle-raising, and the Americans who brought canned meats. While the cuisine is always evolving, traditional Filipino culture and cooking are still represented in each dish, some even with a hint of peaceful resistance.

The Best Filipino Food in Raleigh-Durham

We put our heads (and bellies!) together to find the best Filipino food in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. The Triangle offers a small but mighty selection of restaurants and food trucks offering traditional Filipino cuisine to the mashups inspired by the Philippines' storied history.  Are we missing your favorite Filipino food spot? Let us know in the comments!

Jenn de la Vega

Jenn de la Vega is a competitive chef, cookbook author, video artist, and caterer based in Brooklyn. The After wearing many hats outside of the food industry, she has chosen to dedicate the year 2018 to pursuing food full-time.

Healthyish Empanadas with Black Beans and Turkey Taco Meat

Healthyish is my new mantra this summer. How can I stuff my face with delicious pocket foods while keeping my diet well-rounded? How can I make healthy Mexican food so I’m not wanting to undo the button on my jeans after eating? How can I use up the turkey picadillo I made earlier in the week? These healthyish turkey taco and black bean empanadas are the way to go!