One of my hobbies lately is tracking the development and progression of this trend called the “Filipino Food Movement.” It’s a hashtag I’ve been using to promote my own culture’s food–more often when I eat out but also on the rare occasion when I cook something at home. I’m hoping Filipino food gets more traction internationally, just like how Vietnamese, Korean, and Thai food are familiar to Western palates now.

In support of such awareness and growth of Filipino cuisine in my own neighborhood, I attended one of Irenia Supper Club‘s pop-up dinners in Costa Mesa, CA. Yesterday was my first time going to such an event, and it was a great introduction into the world of fine dining. Irenia Supper Club is the brainchild of Chef Ryan Garlitos, who named his restaurant after his grandmother Irenia. “…the Irenia Supper Club aims to create modern Filipino inspired dishes that are reflective of grandmother’s style and values and also demonstrate Chef’s commitment to making deliciously imaginative plates. Currently a monthly Pop-Up Supper Club, Irenia’s long-term goal is to operate as a brick and mortar restaurant in Orange County.”1

Yesterday’s event occurred at Famosa Tile in the OC Mix/South Coast Collection (SOCO) plaza.
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Kitchen, bar seating, and main seating for the guests.

Last night’s dinner was six courses prepared by two teams: Chef Garlitos and the folks from Irenia Supper Club, and Chefs Nate Overstreet and Ashly Amador of Wheat and Sons Butcher.  I should clarify that not all the courses were strictly Filipino-based, but the non-Filipino dishes presented flavors that remind me a lot of Spanish cuisine, but within an American framework.

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From left: Corinne Mosqueda of Irenia Supper Club, Chase Valencia of Lasa LA, Ashly Amador and Nate Overstreet of Wheat and Sons Butcher.
Here are the six courses from the dinner:

1. Salad Sariwa (Tagalog for “fresh”)

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Persian cucumber, radishes, pea shoots, pickled red onion, milkfish tonnato, bagoong caramel
I wanted more salad so I could eat more dressing >_> 😀

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Nico De Leon of Lasa LA and Ryan Garlitos of Irenia Supper Club preparing the Salad Sariwa.
2. Dungeness Crab Conserva

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Smoked paprika, tarragon, baguette
3. Repolyo

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Grilled cabbage, tinola broth, chayote, crispy chicken skin, preserved meyer lemon
I would call this a very friendly, comforting introduction to chicken tinola soup. My own family tends to make theirs with a little more ginger/lemon edge with chicken drumsticks in a big pot. The version above is definitely a more elegant, muted take on what I remember from youth.

4. Mussels Caldo Verde

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Linguica, potato, cherry tomato
A hearty thick broth with potatoes, tomatoes, and chopped sausage. Almost reminded me of gumbo with the smoky sausage.

5. Afritada

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Braised ‘Cooks Pigs’ pork shoulder, roasted dwarf carrot, charred shishito, jasmine rice
I’ve made afritada for myself before–but only with chicken thigh. This pork shoulder was tender, but a little dry. I much prefer making this dish with chicken. Nevertheless, the roasted carrot and shishito was a treat for me, and I could spoon the sauce over rice for days.

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Kitchen flow.
6. Cassava Cake

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Burnt coconut cream, San Miguel ‘Negro’ glaze, morro grape
I’m not much of a coconut or cassava fan but this was delicious and not too sweet! Win win.

Overall the dinner was well-executed, and I could not have asked for a nicer first pop-up supper. I am looking forward to attending the Los Angeles series of dinners by Lasa LA.

If you’re in the Southern California area and want to learn more about fine dining and Filipino cuisine check out the following:

Irenia Supper Club (Orange County)
Lasa LA (Los Angeles)

A few helpful links on Instagram, where I get my foodie news from:

It feels good to learn new things every day! 🙂


6 thoughts on “Dinner with Irenia Supper Club

    1. Not sure where the Filipino towns are in your part of the world, but if I find something out I’ll pass it along! Our food has Spanish and Chinese influences, so there will be many cross-over dishes.

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