Potluk: Simple, hearty and bursting with flavor

·3 min read

The best things in life truly come from the simplest things that we sometimes take for granted, especially now that life moves at a much faster pace.

Located amid the hustle and bustle is a charming cafe or “a little hole in the wall,” as its owners would describe it. Eya and her chef husband, Steve Shrimski, established Potluk Pantry and Tasting Room in July 2020, just as the pandemic wreaked havoc on the world. However, there was a silver lining to this that led to an opportunity that would benefit not just their clients, but also communities in need.

As the cases of infections increased, so did people’s perception on the value of life.

“It did not matter if you had money or not, if there was no hospital bed, sorry, you can’t go in, so the best thing you can have at the time is to really be healthy,” Eya recalled.

True enough, the best way to combat the virus was to live a healthy lifestyle that includes eating right and being conscious about what goes in your body.

“We would like to influence people to eat better and make better choices.” Eya said, “The pandemic has allowed us to realize how important it is to eat healthy.”

The reason why Potluk was named as such also had to do with the communal spirit present in the Filipino culture. According to Eya, potlucks allow those present to share the burden of preparing the food and though the dishes may taste slightly different from time to time, it’s nonetheless still delicious.

Potluk’s pantry items consist of chutneys and sauces perfect for adding a new dimension of flavor to your dishes or simply as dips. They come in sweet, savory, and spiced varieties plus this is where the establishment gets its “tasting room” aspect from.

Of course, meals are also served and feature familiar dishes such as meatloaf with onion gravy and fried pork tenderloins, but are made from organic ingredients that are bursting with flavor.

But it wasn’t just their customers who would benefit, as the local farmers who experienced a major produce surplus were able to dispose of the fruits of their labor through a local non-governmental organization.

“What we found as a real blessing was that the farmers really wanted to work with us,” Eya said on the establishment of CAFE i. Eya is the current president of CAFE i, a non-profit organization that calls for the preservation and propagation of organic produce. One of their goals is to help transition the local produce market into a social enterprise that would help these farmers sell their produce. After all, it is these farmers’ produce that are used to put together theirs and many others’ dishes.

And this is what Potluk is all about—simple and recognizable food that tastes exceptional, made from organic ingredients, and is good for you. Plus, customers can feel good knowing that they’re helping a community that’s often overlooked in the process.

The restaurant itself has a cozy atmosphere and customers are greeted by the smell of aromatics and a beautiful display of their pantry items. Patrons can also dine at the restaurant’s outdoor area that shows a different side of the city, one that is lively and fosters a sense of community.

Potluck Pantry and Tasting Room is located at 17 Acacia St., Cebu City, right beside the Golden Peak Hotel & Suites, and is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

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