The Gossip is Up to You
By Marivir R. Montebon
New York – Gleeful members of the FilAm Press Club of NY (FAPCNY) did their first Restaurant Raid in 2020 on January 11 at the Tsismis NYC on 143 Orchard Street in downtown Manhattan. And what a gastronomic feast it was.
Tsismis (read chismis) means gossip in Tagalog. It is easy to surmise how gossip, whether juicy or hot, could elevate the excitement of good food. That’s the genius of
Executive chef Jappy Diago Afzelius, whose real name is John Paul. Yes, it is no gossip that he was named after Pope John Paul II who came to the Philippines, just months before he was born in Dumaguete City.
Many years later, the boy named after the Polish pope was to become a foodie and then chef who advocates for the Philippine Cuisine movement on the global stage. Prior to opening his own culinary sanctuary, Jappy was sous chef for the defunct Manila Social Club in Brooklyn.
He went to the Culinary School at Enderun Colleges – Alain Ducasse Formation in Manila and has worked at kitchens in California, France, Italy, Japan, and NYC.
He earned his Masters Degree in Food Culture & Communications from the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo where his thesis was named the best thesis for his research on Japanese Food Culture and Temple Cuisine.
Now, his seven-month old Tsismis NYC is distinctively Filipino-American – visually adorned by the artwork of Philippine artists. A look at the menu of Tsismis would ignite anyone’s curiosity as to what Filipino-American cuisine tastes like.
Well, we’ve had our fill.
FAPCNY Vice President Grace Labaguis of Synergy Production loved the Pancit Palabok. It’s rice noodles with achuete seafood sauce, shrimp, squid, smoked fish, egg, and chickpeas.
Secretary Lindy Rosales meanwhile loves Reggie’s Pasta Aligue which was angel hair pasta with crab fat sauce and lump crabmeat. For her, the House Kamote Fries was unforgettable too.
Makilala co-host Rachelle Ocampo loved the Beef Tapsilog which is fried beef jerky, along with garlic fried rice, fried egg, with the kick of chayote relish.
The Brioche French Toast from the plate which the gang thoughtfully set aside for me was a stand-out. It was incredibly delicious with ube butter (hey, this purple yam is must-have in your fridge), maple syrup, and fresh berries.
Then of course, there were drinks. Sangria. Jappy Calamansette. Tsismis Mimosa that went well with our deep conversations and errrr, gossip. I had a great time at Tsismis NYC. And anyone will too.
(Featured photo: Executive chef Jappy Afzelius elevates the ube yam into perfect desserts fit for royalty. Photos by Don Tagala.)