After serving in some of Los Angeles’s most well-regarded kitchens (Republique and Bestia among them) and developing his Italian, French-American, and Californian palate, Chef Maynard Llera is finally paying homage to home. Kuya Lord—a pop-up he runs out of his house in La Cañada Flintridge—is the Philippines-born chef’s take on traditional Southern Tagalog cuisine. For FAHM, he’s bringing back his Lucban longganisa, a garlicky pork sausage that originates in his home province of Quezon. The dish is a mouth-prickling, insanely delicious celebration of Filipino flavors and ingredients—served with java garlic rice, housemade atchara (a pickled, fermented papaya), and spiced vinegar. This month, Llera also introduced Batangas Goto -- an umami-rich beef soup of shank, tripe, and tendons named for another southern province. While you may not recognize everything on Kuya Lord’s menu, all you need to know is that everything is delectable—from his sweet and spicy pancit chami (a delicacy in Llera’s hometown Lucena City) to his homemade kesong puti (originally from Laguna, a province neighboring Quezon). Traditionally made with unskimmed water buffalo milk, which is unavailable stateside, Llera’s version of the soft white cheese uses sheep’s milk—and its slightly tart flavor and creamy texture is eye-opening when spread on pan de sal or crumbled into salad.
How to order: Pickup only (follow @kuyalord_la for menu and location details)