How a duo is cur­ing our meat crav­ings

Where the ba­con and sausage are made from scratch

Northern Living - - CONTENTS - TEXT DENISE DANIELLE AL­CAN­TARA PHO­TOG­RA­PHY TAR­ISH ZAMORA

Let’s be hon­est: ev­ery new restau­rant that opens in the city claims to of­fer com­fort food. But how do we de­fine com­fort food, re­ally? The def­i­ni­tion is very sub­jec­tive, vary­ing from per­son to per­son. My com­fort food will most likely be to­tally dif­fer­ent from yours; that’s why each chef open­ing a new restau­rant can claim to serve com­fort food— their own take, any­way.

HotBox Kitchen own­ers Michelle and Evan Corby helped me de­fine com­fort food by ask­ing, What do you love to eat when you’re home?” If that’s the case, then Filipinos would usu­ally an­swer adobo, sini­gang, ni­laga, or any­thing that moth­ers usu­ally cook for din­ner. The Cor­bys, though, have just moved to Manila from Canada to start anew with their own grow­ing fam­ily.

With the cou­ple’s com­bined back­ground in the culi­nary in­dus­try, they wanted to open up a sim­ple and ap­proach­able restau­rant where they can cook what­ever they love. “Both of us are meat lovers. We make our ow sausage and ba­con in our house,” Michelle shares. That makes 90 per­cent of the food they serve in HotBox cooked from scratch, and the re­sult is a Cana­dian rus­tic com­fort food joint. “We usu­ally smoke the sausage and ba­con on week­ends. So, just fol­low the big pil­lar of smoke [in the sky] and that’s where we live,” Evan laugh­ingly adds.

The idea is you hang out here alone or with friends af­ter work, eat your stress away with their ul­tra-sa­vory food like Dou­ble Smoked Can­died Ba­con or Bourbon Glazed Pork Chop, and cool down with a bot­tle of beer be­fore head­ing home. Or maybe you could hit two birds with one stone and or­der their Ched­dar-Beer Mac and Cheese, a rou­tine any­one could do es­pe­cially if they live in the Ad­di­tion Hills area.

What makes this new small space in­ter­est­ing is its open kitchen. “It’s like a chef’s ta­ble. [This is where] guests can sit and chitchat while we’re cook­ing. No se­crets. No hid­ing. [ We show] who we are and what we do with the din­ers,” Michelle says with pride. And the best thing about it is that ev­ery­one in the kitchen is al­ways on their best be­hav­ior.

HotBox Kitchen. 450 P. Gue­varra cor. Wil­son St., Ad­di­tion Hills, San Juan City. 275-4577. www.face­book.com/hot­boxk­itchen.

The Dou­ble Smoked Can­died Ba­con with a kick from black pep­per and chili flakes (right). The HotBox Burger is served with a hefty amount of fries topped with parme­san cheese (ex­treme right).

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