Couple Brings Pinoy ‘Isawan’ Vibe to San Diego with New Resto

Filipinos in the San Diego area who miss the genuine taste of Filipino street food can now have their cravings satisfied.

Toto’s Grill, owned by Filipina Alice Marcos-Kostic and her husband Sasha Kostic, is a six-month-old restaurant on Sweetwater Road in National City, California, which offers popular Filipino street food with a twist — the customers can make the food warmer by grilling it themselves outside the patio area.

The inspiration came from years of growing up in Laguna, said Alice.

“It was in the Philippines [where I got the inspiration for the restaurant],” she said. “My mom and grandma use to sell it (street food) in front of our house at Calauan, Laguna.”

Toto’s Grill in San Diego, which opened on November 20 last  year, is actually the second branch, with the first one located in Panorama City, having opened in November 2008.

Unlike the branch in Panorama City, which offers authentic Filipino cuisine delights, the one in National City strictly offers Filipino street food.

“We have over 20 items such as pork isaw, beef or chicken  isaw, pork or chicken barbecue, snout, pig ears, chicken butt or feet,” Alice said.

Champorado (Filipino chocolate rice pudding), lugaw (rice porridge), melon or gulaman juice, sesame balls, fish balls, lobster balls, kikiam, betamax (pork blood), pork liver and the quintessential balut are also available.

For dessert, Toto’s Grill in National City has buchi or sesame balls. —KBK, GMA News



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