Kalsada prepares the Filipino of the new school

Photo by Kevin Kramer

Leah Raymundo and John Occhiato have already found success with their pandemic pop-up Side Hustle and St. Paul staples Stella Belle and Cafe Astoria. They now turn all their attention to the Philippines with Kalsada. The name means ‘on the road’ in Tagalog and is a nod to Raymundo’s Manila roots; she grew up just outside the country’s bustling capital and fondly remembers playing on its streets without a smartphone.

Kalsada are really two different restaurants. Its daytime menu features specialty coffee drinks like an Ube Leche (espresso, sweetened condensed milk, and purple yam perfection) and Leah’s Happy Place (matcha, lavender, and pistachio), complemented by vibrant brunch dishes.

The secret weapons are Filipino dishes, like silogs and “lunch bits,” including a longganisa (pork sausage) burger and truffle chicken adobo. The evening menu revolves around robust and highly shareable contemporary Filipino cuisine. Best experienced in a larger group to sample a bit of everything, this is the most invigorating tour of Southeast Asia the Twin Cities have seen since Hai Hai.

Raymundo and Occhiato were invited to take over Kalsada’s Selby Avenue space when Augustine closed just six months into his mission to become St. Paul’s Balthazar. Augustine’s background as a bar and bakery and its recent transformation into an all-day cafe play to Kalsada’s strengths, right down to the palm tree wallpaper that now has the Kalsada logo plastered on it like a pop art painting. lively.

1668 Selby Avenue, St. Paul, kalsada-stpaul.com

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