Back in the day, I referred to Kuppa as Koopa – an unconscious tribute to the Super Mario Brothers boss. After realizing my linguistic folly, it took me time to adjust my long u to a curt sound and finally get it right. A Kuppa tea, if you please. Of course in Ken’s (Daniels) case, more of, a Cup of Earl Grey Hot Tea.
Now that I got past that video game reference, it was time to pay homage to the actual spot: Kuppa Roastery and Cafe, 31st cor. 4th, BGC. What better time to visit Kuppa than planning it alongside our interview with Fil-Brit Kaya FC/Azkals player Kenshiro Daniels. Ken, for short, is actually a regular at Kuppa, and so the so-called short walk to his usual hang-out would certainly be just “a day in the life of Ken.” Of course the opposite holds true for us northerners – and in hindsight, that was the onset of #MarioPH.
Kuppa is mostly glass and beside another K place. Ah, Kanteen, how can I forget?
I had decided beforehand that I would order the Cristina Pizza because it contains a strange but friendly mix of toppings: mozzarella, balsamic, Gorgonzola, figs and grapes. Said to share with a friend, but sorry, I always go solo on pizza – and yes, I did finish it!
The pizza is not that gigantic, so a hungry person can finish a whole pie and still have room for dessert. Since the interview was running long, the Cristina was unaffected by the unyielding chilling temperature because the cheese just remained firm, which is all right for me. Unfortunately for those who hate sweet things on their food, the Cristina is not your kuppa tea. One taste and my brother almost spat a Cristina morsel on my face, screaming, “I hate figs!” I guess he wanted dessert instead.
He did go for the Prosciutto and Arugula Pizza (forgot what it’s called exactly) and loved it till the last oily crumb. Swears my Cristina was the worst choice for a pizza lover and I wasted my evening chewing on figs. At least now I know how figs taste, and indeed, they are better topped on pies or oatmeal.
After Ken devoured his Vongole and Chicken Milanese, we advanced to dessert.
Chocolate Souffle and Devil’s Chocolate Cake. The Souffle would have gone perfectly with vanilla ice cream, those firm and sticky chocolate forkful of bites to be complemented with cool creamy vanilla. It could’ve done with more height, since one slice is never enough! On the other dish is the Chocolate Cake with layers of devilish fudge. Moist and cool, you will keep on digging it until you end up with an empty saucer.
Ah well, they did say good things don’t last forever – and in this case, 2 minutes.
Kenshiro’s the Man
The Kenshiro Daniels Interview lasted for a couple of hours, interspersed with sneaky pizza bites, text breaks and off-topic stories. Whilst this is for the Kaya FC Website, I reserve the right to post snippets and excerpts, as a form of consolation to me and my new sandals that got drenched on the way to McKinley.
Read about Ken Daniels here.
A little something about Kenny:
When faced with American-born, Filipino–British Kenshiro Daniels for the first time, the choice between bloke or dude, cola or tea, or even bummer or bugger—will clearly stand to boggle. Best to call the lad Kenny, give him a Hi-chew (if none, a high five can do), and ask about his favorite meme. With the wits of Heisenberg, don’t try fooling the 19-year-old Kaya FC player with fake accents and false facts on history—unless you can deflect his mean green fighting kicks.
Ken Daniels was quite the character to interview; he is young and carefree, yet sensible and endearing. The name “Kenshiro” came from the lead character his dad, actor Gary Daniels played, in the movie Fist of the North Star. If you Google “Ken”, it actually means “fist” in Japanese.
With an actor/retired kickboxer for a dad and a Filipina mom + 4 brothers, Ken may have had an interestingly shambolic and colourful childhood . Still, we can thank Manchester United for the “room”, as he ended up loving football and now plays for Kaya FC and the Azkals.
The Manchester United room was Ken’s room back home in Newport Beach. Studded with MUFC fixtures and flags, he literally grew up in Old Trafford with the Red Devils, whilst still enjoying Sinigang, c/o his mom. Now he enjoys walks to Kuppa, which is where the interview took place and boy am I glad that despite the pre-Mario rains and puddles, Kuppa was a comfortable place for the wet and weary. And Ken’s Earl Grey Tea.
The interview was long and best to read it at the Kaya FC Website, with the awesome artwork of @Mijigonzales.
And keep on supporting Kaya FC! That’s Ken and Miji’s team! #UnaKaya