Travel by Train

What an interesting journey it has been. From New Jersey we finally made it to Chicago 12 hours later. We have a 6 hour layover so what should we do in the middle of a sunday afternoon? Well I guess my wife already planned this part of the trip out. We check in our bags to temporary holding and then hopped on a lyft that would then drive us 9 minutes away from Chicago’s Amtrak station. Where did we end up? Well the world’s FIRST EVER Michelin rated Filipino restaurant.

Filipino Food

New American modern Filipino food. It’s nice when you can explain yourself in once sentence. The food was impressive. I cannot lie to you I was very frustrated getting here. Not because they are located in wiered part of town, because they are not. The location is actually perfect. With a small little parklet on the corner where I saw some people grab some take out pastries and eat it on the corner under some trees on this beautiful day. My son ran around this area entertaining the guest as they consumed what I was patiently waiting for. 

The reason for my frustration had nothing to do with the restaurant. But remember I was traveling with an infant, grandma and my pregnant wife and we just got off a train that we were sitting on for the last 10 hours carrying 6 suitcases. We hopped in a Lyft after we checked in our bags and I carried a car seat around so can attach it to any car who decides to give us a ride. The restaurant was just 9 minutes away from the Amtrak station by car but 47 minutes by walking. How do I know this… well because after our meal we decided to walk back and almost miss our train because I ain’t got the money to be spending on Lyfts and Ubers. Was it worth it? I’d say so. 

Pro Chefs take 12 hour train to eat at 1st ever Michelin Star Filipino Restaurant

What we ordered

We ordered an array of things to try. Yea keep in mind this was their brunch menu and it’s a lot different from their dinner tasting menu. But that did not matter one bit because the food was delicious! Filipino food has been making waves in the industry for the last few years and it has not been a cuisine I’ve been very familiar with until meeting my wife. So she took the wheel walked up in there and placed our orders. I sat cranky outside about moving all this luggage under the sun and sweating my face off. When the food arrived I was not that impressed by the appearance at first. Everything looked familiar like I could have gotten it anywhere. But then I took a bite of the truffle croissant and I knew this meal was going to be special. 

The pastries arrived first and I didn’t hesitate to start to eat. The foie gras, the prosciutto on crispy pastries and even the desserts I started eating before we got the entrees. 

Shortly after the hot food on hot plates came out. I was excited. 

Adobo: A national dish to the Philippines which is typically a braised stew of meat and soy cause with some cane vinegar, garlic and black pepper. Some people add coconut milk as well. The adobo we ordered here was sensational. Served on a sliver of a banana leaf with pickled carrots and green papaya. Served also what was probably the most flavorful garlic fried rice i’ve ever had. The rice was cooked just right where I left not one grain behind. The adobo was special because it was pork belly, if that wasn’t enough they somehow managed to make crispy pork belly glazed in this adobo sauce reduction. Adobo is great and I can usually live with out. After tasting Kasama’s version I feel like I’ve been missing out on a very important part of life.

Longanisa sandwich: This breakfast sandwich was nice. I will say I was inspired to create a new breakfast sandwich to offer because of this sandwich. Not saying I could do it better, but I would do it differently. They’re Longanisa is a lot leaner than what I’m familiar with. However, interestingly enough the star of the dish wasn’t the longanisa but the beautiful egg. It was a square omelette that was so tender to the bite yet super fluffy. Gotta have it. Check out Kasama’s full menu here.

Side Note: Order every pastry. It wont be too much and if anything you’ll be happy.

Chicago Combo Sammich: Perhaps the most inspirational bite of the day. Shaved pork adobo with a longinsa sausage and hot pickles. All this with light bahn mi style bread. The bread was dipped in an au jus which the only thing I would change would be to given a cup of broth so I could dip the sandwich myself and go straight into my mouth with the Als Sandwich bent elbow stance. Loved this sandwich. My favorite thing. Everything about it was delicious and flavorful.

Inspired food ideas: 

Longanisa grinder with achara and garlic chips on potato roll 

Longanisa breakfast patty with garlic omelette, Bacon Soy Caramel, English Muffin Sandwich

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