At a typical Benaddictz pop-up, you'll likely find chef-owner Justin Foronda's signature dish, which adds a Filipino twist to an American classic: the chicken adobo eggs Benedict. Instead of the regular old English muffin, he employs a crispy rice patty that's topped with tender, twice-cooked chicken adobo, a garlic-soy-lime hollandaise and an irresistibly runny, poached egg.
If that's piqued your interest, just know the 31-year-old Foronda is about to take things up a notch with his March 26 pop-up brunch, which marries Filipino and American flavors over a four-course meal. It even comes with some bubbly something he's dubbed "Tangina-mosa," a play on the Tagalog curse word tangina. It's made with powdered Tang, fruit and Miller High Life — you know, the "Champagne of beers."
Foronda is into fun spins on dishes and wordplay, as evidenced by how his company's name itself is a reference to how people are hooked on eggs Benedict. Foronda, whose day job is registered nurse, has made Benaddictz his passion project. While he says it's hard running this company on his own (though he does ask friends and family to help out at events), he hopes to host biweekly pop-ups wherever he can, from festivals to cafes and even backyards. Most recently, Foronda was slinging his chicken adobo eggs Benedicts at the grand opening event of FrankieLucy's Bakeshop in Silver Lake.
Foronda's always thrown himself head first into any creative project he sets his mind to. He started b-boying when he was 11; after graduating high school, the dancer ended up joining BHAM Tribe, a crew he admired growing up. His professional breaking took him to competitions in France and Spain. Going in another direction, he later joined Bollywood dance troupe Blue 13 and even performed in a film with the crew. Foronda, who says he's always been musical, began playing drums and doing co-vocals in his rock band The Status: Fiction, and released an album. While he was waiting to get accepted into nursing school, he attended culinary school for a few months.
Cooking is his current obsession. For him, it's just like dancing and is a creative outlet for him. "When you’re b-boying, you make a [dance] piece and you automatically throw it out there and you try to top people with it," Foronda says. "[Cooking] has that for me. You learn a move, or you learn a traditional dish, and then you start pumping out moves from what you learned ... and you gather from your past experiences, you gather from tradition — just things that taste good to you — and you add your own style."
He's using Benaddictz as a way to connect to the food from his Filipino culture as well, while appealing to his American palate. Case in point: In the first course of his upcoming brunch pop-up, one of the ingredients he'll be using is bagoóng, a fermented shrimp paste that's he says he's just learning to love. Normally, slices of green mango are used as a vehicle to dip into the pungent and salty paste. Foronda's twist is that he dehydrates the bagoóng into a saltlike powder, coats fried plantain chips with it, and then serves them alongside green-mango salsa. "This is the only way I can do bagoóng straight up right now, because I'm training myself to get into it and get into the really popular things in my culture," he says. "It's introducing [people who aren't familiar with the dish] to these flavors, and for the people who are familiar, you’re giving them a new way to enjoy a classic."
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Same goes for the next course: a pork belly sisig hash. Foronda was inspired to put everything he loved about the sizzling, citrus-marinated pork dish into a breakfast potato hash that reminded him of something he'd get at Denny's. Instead of cooking the cuts of pork head, like ears and cartilage, that are traditionally used in sisig, he wants to just stick to pork belly. The whole thing will be tossed with the potatoes, onions, bell peppers and chili peppers. He says his American side freaks out a bit about eating cuts of pork head. "That’s OK," Foronda says. "I’m not going to shy away from that. I'm going to embrace that. There are people like me."
He'll be finishing off his brunch menu with his take on the sweet and cheesy ensaymada bread. Foronda's is an ensaymada french toast, made with a soft and sweet brioche that's brûléed with sugar to give it a crackly top. Shredded sharp cheddar is melted over it and it's coated with granulated white sugar. It's then topped off with a scoop of coffee ice cream, because "it’s a coffee-time kind of snack," Foronda says.
He's certainly got our attention.