Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Super Saturday!

Don't you just love the weekends? I do. After a hard week's work, I reserve the weekend for myself. Here's one of the well spent weekends with family and friends. It was a full packed Saturday. I prefer places where there's not much of the crowd. So being familiar with under rated restaurants, cafes, and bars is really an advantage for the non-party people. Here are some of the places to be. 

After having brunch at home, we went to Bliss Cafe for some drinks, veggie chicharon, and chillin'. Bliss Cafe is located at Hotel Elizabeth, Gibraltar Road. It's just a few minutes away from Wright Park. If you want to have a quiet time over some coffee or vegetarian food, this is the perfect place. The name speaks for itself. Here's a glimpse of the place.

Chill out food and drinks.
Vegetarian Chicharon
Fried Tofu
Red Flower Tea with a Jigger of Honey
Brewed Coffee
My Satisfaction Level:
Ambiance 5/5
Palate Happiness 3/5
Service 5/5
Budget: P250

After a few hours, we went to Tam-awan Village (located at Pinsao Proper) to check out their festival. Entrance fee of an adult is 50 Php. We watched a couple of cultural dances, then the (free) buffet opened. They served black beans with chops of native pig for the soup, chopsuey, and fish in some tomato sauce. I ate this with the cafeteria's flavorful lemon grass iced tea. The freebies were all over the place. The cafe had free flowing brewed coffee and the fest itself had wine testing. Unfortunately, it was already dark when we arrived here so we weren't able to go around the entire place. Here's some of the shots.

Free Food!!! :)

Lemon Grass Iced Tea

Tam-awan Cafeteria

After a couple of hours, we headed back to the busy streets of Session Road. Supposedly to watch Dong Abay play but it took forever for him to show up so we went to Kwago Bar located at Military Cut-off. As expected, no noisy crowd on a Saturday night. Perfect place for chillin' with some beer. Open space, cheap beer, and not crowded - my ideal bar. We had the place for ourselves. But most of what was in the menu weren't available, still it's a winner. 

After some beer, we had a bowl of Bulalo at Duyan Bar and Resto. This is located at upper Session Road, just across the rotunda. A bowl is 60 Php, with refillable soup, and a cup of rice is 10 Php. It's the perfect ending for the cold and beer-ed night. Too bad my cam can't capture the hearty bulalo clearly since it's dark.  

I wonder what's up this coming weekend. This one was really good. A bit of extra spending but it was all worth it for a week of confinement :)

Friday, May 25, 2012

Roasted Chicken, Baked Potatoes and Young Corn Hugged by Gravy

Headache... gloomy afternoon... eye strain... usual afternoon... must do something different!!!

Cooking something new, mixing the old recipe with an imagined recipe, just popped out of nowhere. Why not? Better to focus on something than dwell on the killer afternoon. Here's what it turned out.

My style of cooking: look in the ref, check available spices, then visualize what can I make out of it. Sometimes inspired by previous cooking shows that made me drool or just mix and match. The latter is simpler anyway.

Imagination on Plate

Here are the ingredients: (I only estimate so I can't give exact measurements)

ROASTED CHICKEN: Pound garlic, put some salt, let it stand for a few minutes to extract the juice, then rub under the chicken skin.

BAKED POTATOES: Boil, peel, cut; season with salt, olive oil, and herb of your choice (I used Italian Seasoning coz it's the only one available); place it in the same pan where the chicken roasts. This will give its crisp and golden brown color.

YOUNG CORN: Season with salt and chopped garlic, toss it in the pan with chicken and potatoes half way of the cooking time. Flip on the other side 1/4 of the time before everything's done to give equal brownish color.

Cooking time in my oven is an hour. 30 minutes on each side of the chicken to have both sides roasted equally. Crispy on the outside, juicy in the inside. Cooking time may vary depending on the height of the oven... I think :D

GRAVY: Dissolve flour in water and chicken drippings, season to taste, stir constantly til desired texture is acquired. This will moisten and add a bit to the flavor of  the meal so don't make it too spiced/ herbed/ salty (so it won't over power other flavors).

 And the battle begins.

This is how messy it gets on the plate of a hungry person. Happy eating! :)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Home Version TapSiLog

Today is a record breaker. Waking up at 5am, supposedly to go jogging, but ended up to a heavy breakfast. Can't remember the last time I woke up this early.

I'm a big fan of Tapsilog, Tocilog, and whatever Silog worth eating coz it's not a common thing here in Baguio. BUT I usually don't enjoy the whole set coz I have standards in its elements :)

1. I like my sunny side up egg to be perfect: yolk not cooked but the white membrane is, especially the one covering the yolk. Most Tapsilog-ans have either cooked yolks or uncooked "yolk top" (I don't know the technical term, if ever there is).

2. Go garlic rice! Some Tapsilog-ans serve UNfried rice, so it's not a SiLog anymore is it?

3. I like my meat salty and juicy. Not a fan of sweet marinade or any sweet viand. Over cooked or reheated meat is a no-no! And of course, proportions should be as what I paid for. Most Silog-ans fail this "standard".

Anyhow, I eat anything when I'm hungry :D

Here's my version of TapSiLog, prepared by Grench.
Home Made Tapa topped with White Onions

Sunny Side Up Egg

TapSiLog as it should be :) 
Wash it off with iced tea or freshly brewed coffee, then sit in your couch with a smile :)

The supposedly jogging hours ended up to be cholesterol loading moments. And now I'm really sleepy but enjoying composing my blog.

Nothing beats home cooked meals, right?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Today is Dedicated to Midz

The way she laughs, she reacts to any story you tell her, she doesn't tell "it's okay" coz she knows it's not but gives pieces of advice instead, she lets me experience things that she knows I'd love, being simply unique... these are just some of the things that make her special.

Adele, blue Tic Tac, Caldereta, perfect pasta, U2, The Wallflowers, bubbly people, the beach, hiking... these are just some of the things that trigger her memories. 

Today marks the day when she left us physically. A year had passed but I can still recall every detail and emotion of that day. There are times when I still wait for her, only to realize that it's not possible. This is the hardest part. Only her memories remain. I don't wanna count those days but as my brother Billy said "It's to honor one of the greatest persons who touched the earth". Difficult as it is to accept, life must go on. 

Here are some of her favorite food that we had today in remembrance of her.

Cheesy Beef Lasagna

No one cooks a perfect lasagna but Midz. Every bite makes the fireworks go boom! Now my Mom was the one who made it. She doesn't usually cook but she managed to make it really yummy. I know she's proud of it (and I can imagine her reaction while reading this) :D

Buffalo Wings and Onion Rings with Ranch Dressing
Every time I visit our house and am looking for a snack, we usually go for delivery. This is her staple set when we dial Don Henrico's. Buffalo Wings and Onion Rings, both hearty and flavorful especially with the Ranch Dressing that goes with it.

Creamy Fruit Salad
This is just to wash off the palate. My Mom makes really good salads. Fresh apples mixed with the canned fruit cocktail, dressed in cream and a right amount of condensed milk.

It's so unfair that you have to leave us too soon
There were so many people whom you touched
There were so many things that I'd like to do with you
I'm fortunate to have met you in this life time, lucky enough to be your sister
I know we'll meet again some day, somewhere
And I'm looking forward to that day
But for now all I can do is just look back at those memories and just cry it out at times
You showed me how to live life to the fullest
Now your influence is a part of who I am
I love you and miss you so much, every single day...

Two months from now, it's Nanay's first year. Healing takes time.  

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Bits of This and That

Food trip day comes ones in a while so why not take advantage of it? Here's half day of food trippin' with friends and family.

First Stop: Army Navy @ Techno Hub, Camp John Hay. Everyone's familiar with this joint but I'll still blog about it since I love the burger and LiberTea. Aside from good food, its location makes it more appetizing. Too bad they're using foil for most of their packaging. Hopefully they'll consider wax paper or something biodegradable instead. Here are my bits for this stop.

Freedom Fries + Classic Burger + LiberTea = Happy Stomach

Starving Sailor for extra baggage

Chicken Quesadilla for the white meat eater
3 of us billed more than 800 Php but we went out satisfied, tummy filled and palate happy. A little walk around the area then on our way to the next destination.

Next Stop: Bliss Cafe @ Hotel Elizabeth, Gibraltar Road. Vegetarian food and an outstanding ambiance (with soft music playing) will surely lead to bliss. The Vegetarian Chicharon is a must try. Deep friend gluten, fried til the outside kinda pops and becomes crunchy enough to give that chicharon feel. For 75 Php per serving, it's really a great deal. A perfect combination for some drinks to keep you company while hangin' out. Here are my  bits for this stop. 

Veggie Chicharon (served with vinegar)

Mantra (served with ketchup)
 Mantra is potato and cheese, wrapped and fried til golden brown.

Fruit Crepe

Their version of Crepe is pancake covered in sweet cream, sprinkled with Graham and fresh strawberries on the side. Mix it all up, open wide, and feel your sweet tooth go crazy.

Bliss Menu

Now that our tummies are loaded for that hours of food trippin', chillin' out with some beer is the day's ending. A bit of bar hopping, a bowl of bulalo before heading home. Yup, I can say my Saturday's amazing. Cheers to that!

SMB Pale Pilsen to wrap up the day
**Thanks to Sai for the photos :)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day Special

Every mom deserves a treat on Mother's Day. Instead of going through the hassle of eating out, home cooked meals is a better option. Aside from it's cheaper than restaurant food, a dash of TLC makes it more yummier. Simple dishes over some conversation with my family is the perfect treat for this day.

Creamy mac and cheese, plus fresh veggie salad with savory chicken for the main entree.

Mac and Cheese!
Fresh Veggies and Chicken

After a hearty meal comes a creamy-licious Graham cake made by my nephew. A fruity and sweet tooth quencher dessert.

Graham Cake

Grand finale, Choco Almond Fudge ice cream! Perfect for the summer heat while satisfying the chocolatey craving of that palate. 

Almond Fudge

To all the mothers out there, Happy Mother's Day! :)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Pasalubong Galore: Quezon

We went to San Pablo, Laguna's 4th Annual Lakefest to play and went straight to Sariaya, Quezon after. Chilled in Villa del Prado Pool and Beach Resort for a day, then went back to Baguio in the afternoon. This is how to spend the weekend if you have extra budget. I wish I could do this every weekend... 

Good thing of having a private vehicle during an out of town trip is the flexibility of stop overs (aside from the convenience of course). You can control when and where to stop. Eat where you want and spare yourself from the expensive dried up food in the designated bus stop overs. Stop at "pasalubong" shops along the highway and have your time in picking whatever is not in your home town. A trip won't be complete anyway without the extra baggage of merch you bought from where you've been to. Well, here's my list from this weekend.

1. Dried Miki Lucban. I'm not a fan of pancit but this made me crave for one when I first tasted it. The strands are fine, like 1/4 of the generic pancit canton. This is way different from what I buy in the super market. It's not the type that gets saggy when cooked in a lot of sauce. It maintains its firmness, you won't get that yummy-looking-but-saggy-in-the-mouth kind of pancit. This one costs 50 Php, just got it along the highway but the the better brand, a friend said, can be bought at their SM for 90 Php.   

2. Espasol. The last time I tasted espasol was when I was in elementary, so I was so happy seeing some in the pancit store. A pack contains 5 pieces of hearty sticks. I thought that the packaging was to fool the customers that it had a lot in but it really did! It's like an inch wide, 4 inches long, and half a centimeter thick, now that's espasol! It's a really happy deal for only 50 Php. Yummy!  

3. Sukang Paumbong. All natural vinegar from the coconut. You can choose from the spiced one (with red chilies) or just the plain one. This may be a hassle to carry if you'll commute but if not, grab the opportunity to hoard vinegar. Aside from it tastes better than the commercial one, it's also cheaper. 1.5 liters is only 30 Php, though there are bigger containers like a gallon. This goes perfectly with the pancit instead of using calamansi.

4. Lambanog. Also made from an all natural ingredient. 80 proof with different flavors. Obviously there's a bit of coloring according to its flavor and some soaked cut fruits. There's grapes, langka, strawberry, orange and apple, bubble gum, and the plain one. There are 2 brands to choose from (from the store I bought) - the other has fruits in it and the other's plain coloring. It comes in a variety of sizes too, I got the bottle with the handle for only 170 Php (an estimate of 2 liters). Cheers!

Another unexpected buy in San Pablo, Laguna (while waiting for friends busy over some buko pie) is the Kesong Puti. I got it from the street vendor with a basket. Offered it for 100 Php for a bundle with 2 pieces, and ended up getting it for 90 Php. Well, frustrated upon tasting it. Texture's not good, taste's not so kesong puti, and it had a lot of holes in it. Yup, tasted the real thing and this isn't it.

I'm not sure if I can get these products for a more cheaper price but the selling price itself is already a great deal. So I didn't bother negotiating to drop the price. And are these the only things I can bring home from Quezon? Well, it was surely a fun road trip.
My Dinner