Beef Ninja is a Pares In Disguise

About two weeks ago, Nengkoy, I and my family had an early dinner in one of the posh and popular Filipino-fusion cuisine restaurant just beside the lobby of the deluxe and swanky Conrad Hotel (hahaha! I refuse to name the restaurant). It was my first time tasting Pares in that dinner.

Pares is the Filipino’s common reference to a Braised Beef Stew usually paired with garlic fried rice and a bowl of clear soup. Pares is a common dish served in carinderias (small local eateries) usually found along the side streets of Manila.

Since it was my first time, I don’t really have an idea how a good Pares tastes like. That is why I did not know if the version of the posh restaurant was way superior as compared to other Pares-es served in customary, regular and more economical carinderias.

My adventurous nephews however are more well-versed than I am in terms of the taste of Manila’s street food and cuisine. My nephews particularly Denden commented that the Pares served in Café Adriatico is way more delicious as compared to the version served in the restaurant we were having dinner at. He nevertheless commented that the food presentation by the posh restaurant was way more gorgeous as compared to the plain and simple Café Adriatico dish.

When I try to recall if Café Adriatico serves Pares, without batting an eyelash, I reminded Denden that Café Adriatico does not serve it. He then informed me that Café Adriatico’s Beef Ninja dish is actually a Pares disguised in a modest presentation and is called in a different appellation.

beef ninja (pares in disguise)
cafe adriatico in malate

My other nephew Luis confirmed this observation and stated that indeed, Beef Ninja of Café Adriatico is a Pares dish. Both agreed that though it needs improvement in terms of food presentation, Café Adriatico’s Beef Ninja is among the top three Pares-es they have ever tasted.

This inspired me to order Beef Ninja when I had the chance to dine at the 40-year old Café Adriatico in their Malate, Manila branch. While doing some photo shoot of the dish, I wonder which came first in terms of evolution. Was it Beef Ninja of the 40-year old restaurant or was it Pares served in carinderias? I may not know the birth of Pares and how it really tastes like, I nevertheless savored the delicious flavor of one of the best Pares (in disguise) dish on the planet.

Ang sarap!

Advertisements

Cool Coffee Print at Celia’s Cafe

Baristas spend years perfecting their latte art. Tons of milk and espresso has been spent so as to achieve a beautiful design.  But when you visit Celia’s Café in Alaminos City in Pangasinan, they actually have a machine that can actually have your favorite selfie photo be printed on your coffee.

I don’t know of a café in Manila that offered this same cool feature and going to Singapore or Hongkong would be too expensive if I wish to have my photo printed on my coffee.  That is why I did not missed my chance of having this coffee experience when I last visited Celia’s Café, my family’s favorite café in the northern part of the country. 

super cool…

Celia’s Café is located at SSS Building
Marcos Avenue, Palamis
Alaminos City, Pangasinan

Super Cute Arziolo

How would you feel seeing your baby photos on Youtube?  That is what I thought of while I was uploading a collage of Arziolo’s photo on Youtube.  I hope that this baby would be glad in case he sees this when he grows up or he can always just press “report” and relay his reason for flagging this video.

Arziolo is Nengkoy’s great-grandson by the way…  These photos are too cute not to share for everybody’s viewing pleasure!

Ampogi!

Mahjong at Nengkoy’s & The Crazy Rich Asian Movie Scene

Mahjong is my family’s game played in Nengkoy’s house very Friday night.  The shuffling sound of mahjong tiles reverberating inside my mother’s living room area every Friday night is literally a weekly occurrence.  Every child of Nengkoy (including me) does in fact know how to play this old and traditional Asian game.

And every member of my family seated to play this game would in some way transform into someone different.  We would be more focused, more fierce, somewhat smart and strategic as if in a funny attack mode.  This is especially true with Nengkoy.  She would be so engrossed, she would not mind a word you say if you try asking her what she has done all day or what food has she prepared for dinner.

With our being so well versed with Mahjong, it was easy for us to process and easily understood the mahjong scene representations made by the director of the movie Crazy Rich Asians when my whole family watched this groundbreaking movie last Saturday.

strategize….
nengkoy! pong!
rachel chu playing mahjong scene in crazy rich asian

In that mahjong scene between the characters of Rachel Chu (the NY-based Asian-American) and Eleanor (the overbearing matriarch and fearsome mother of Rachel’s boyfriend), we right away understood that Rachelle did the ultimate sacrifice when she let Eleanor win the mahjong game.  Rachelle gave up her love, would-be wealth and basically her future with Eleanor’s son.  She picked the needed 8-sticks tile to win the game yet she threw and discard it away so that Eleanor could win.

My whole family laughed when we heard Eleanor (played by Michelle Yeoh) uttered “Pong!”  The scene would have actually been better if the characters can do the “sinasalat” act.  It is a classic mahjong act in which players would be able to determine the tile they picked without looking at it but by merely using the sense of touch, i.e. by sliding the tile’s character through the player’s finger tips.

If in other Asian movies the fight scene can be so literal – in the form of Karate, Judo or other martial arts – I consider the mahjong scene in Crazy Rich Asian as the ultimate fight scene between the protagonist and the antagonist of the story.  This scene actually unleashes the dragon in Rachel and ultimately tamed the bitchiness of Eleanor.

channeling the eleanor young in me

I was seated beside Nengkoy inside the movie house when Rachelle picked her “puro” (the needed tile to win).  I heard Nengkoy say, Todas na Sya! Bunot Pa! (Translation: she wins! and with a higher pay).

And since mahjong is played by my family every Friday night, the mahjong scene in Crazy Rich Asian even made me further love this delightful film.  The movie was definitely a Todas! Bunot! All-Up! and Syete Pares!

Todas!

Mama Mia 2: A Luis Movie Treat

I just have to chronicle this delightful experience! Me, Nengkoy and a couple of my beautiful relatives were treated to a delightful movie all paid for by my nephew Luis. I just have to blog post this event because this is actually the first time that Luis paid for all our movie tickets. And the treat was not just in any other ordinary movie house it was in an affluent and more luxurious venue, the Director’s Club in SM Aura Premier Mall.

The comfortable mechanized la-z-boy seat and the complimentary bowl of buttery popcorn added up to the pleasurable delight of the movie we chose to watch. It was the Mama Mia 2. Like the first version, Mama Mia 2 again made me tap my feet and sing along with the popular tunes of Abba. Some of the songs included in the movie were semi-hit in the Philippines yet I felt silly that I was able to sing along when these semi-popular songs reached the chorus. 

 

(l-r) nephew luis, me and nephew denden
nengkoy and I (inside director’s club movie house)
happy nengkoy

Delightful would be the best word to describe Mama Mia 2: Here We Go Again. Though the movie was not as fun and as merry if compared to the first version, which included more popular tunes and more comical scenes, the treat by that of my nephew Luis made this movie unforgettable!

Naka libre din! Sa wakas!

Classic Pudding

My palatal experience and taste for the Classic Pudding has come a long way.  It progressed from being derisory to being lavish.  My lunch today with Nengkoy and a few of my relatives at Medley Buffet in first-class hotel Okada Manila made me realize this. 

Superb buffet here at Medley Buffet, Okada Manila

When my sister Joie took a heap of the Classic Pudding as her dessert, I told aloud that Nengkoy (my mother) at one occasion made a Classic Pudding when we were still very small.  Nengkoy upon hearing this smiled and nodded her head.  But what is so memorable with Nengkoy’s Classic Pudding I told Joie is that it was made from left over breads most especially from the staple of the Marcos regime’s feeding program in the ‘70s called Nutribun.

I can still recall that Nutibun given to us students in the 70’s were so big, so dense and were so filling.  It was so compact, that if you fail to consume it and let it stand for a day it will turn so hard, eating it would be next to impossible. I remember not eating those bulky Nutribuns and instead bring those home.  This kindled the parsimony and thriftiness in Nengkoy.  Instead of throwing away those rock hard Nutribuns, I remember she turned it into a hot delicious Classic Pudding. 

with niece bebang and nengkoy
nengkoy! enjoying her medley buffet experience
my bowl of classic pudding

After telling that story, I excused myself, went to the abundant and over-the-top buffet area of Medley Buffet. I also took a big bowl of their Classic Pudding for my dessert.  While enjoying my dessert and washed it down with champagne, I silently reminisced about the taste of the pudding Nengkoy prepared for us when we were still kids in the seventies.

Parang walang pinagkaiba anf pudding ng Okada at ng Nutribun. Yummy! Hahaha!

My Christian Warrior

nengkoy & joe

I grew up in a Catholic family.  My father was Catholic when he converted to being a Born Again Christian back in the late 80s.  Ironically, his conversion happened in the Islamic country of Saudi Arabia where he was based as an overseas worker.

When my father retired and decided to stay for good in the Philippines with my family, he was one active member of his church.  He even attempted to convert every one of us in the family.

Too bad for him, he started with me.  I actually commend my father for trying.  His strategy to start with me was so genius.  He knew that if I will be converted, it would be very easy for the rest of the members of my family to become Born Again Christians.

Up until the last days of my father, he never stopped in convincing and converting me.  I guess he knew that I am really the one who needs to be saved from the fires of hell. Hahaha! I can still remember the funny and humorous intellectual debate we had about how to be a true Christian while he was in the hospital.

It has been years and my father has gone to heaven.  He may have failed to convert me, yet I am pretty sure that in spirit, he still looks after me, Nengkoy and the rest of my growing family. He has always been my Christian Warrior.

I guess my father’s failure to convert me is really not a failure after all.  Because a true Christian Warrior will simply let you be the seeker of your own Truth.  And that is one of the multitude of impacts and contributions of my father to me.

Happy Father’s Day Tatay!  You got one proud son here…

Amishyu!