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Posts Tagged ‘food’

travel buddies

travel buddies

One of the things that I look forward to when I go to Baler is their creamy, yummy and locally made peanut butter.  Aside from a private vehicle, dwellers of the city can reach Baler through a 6-hour bus ride.  And right beside the bus station is the souvenir and take-home-presents (pasalubong) store where Nanay Pacing’s peanut butter can be purchased.

Via bus ride, I was in Baler this weekend.  And upon arrival and while the bus was to park at its station, I took a peek from the window to check the store.  The store was closed and it seemed no longer there. My friends and I, who equally loved Nanay Pacing’s Peanut Butter, wonder how can a very busy store located at a very accessible and perfect spot, could cease operation?

When breakfast time came while spreading the same delicious peanut butter on my toasted bread (hotels in Baler serve this peanut butter in their buffet), I got to ask one of the restaurant staffs about what happened to Nanay Pacing’s store and where it may have transferred.

I was told that Nanay Pacing’s peanut butter is no longer owned by Nanay Pacing.  I was told that Nanay Pacing, the label, is no longer owned by Nanay Pacing.  And that indeed, the big store beside the bus station has closed.

The restaurant staff through a whisper told me that the label has been acquired by the most powerful family in Aurora and that the peanut butter is now being sold at one of the halls of the municipal building.  But with a flicker of hope on catching and tasting the original recipe, I was further told that Nanay Pacing’s new store is now smaller and has relocated and still sells a creamy peanut butter but already of a different brand.  I asked the staff where the store was, she answered she didn’t know.

To validate the story of the restaurant staff, I asked our tour guide cum driver to bring us to the Nanay Pacing’s Peanut Butter store.  And indeed, he drove us at the municipal hall!  We entered the building, climbed the second floor and indeed saw the bunch of jars of Nanay Pacing’s peanut butter on a shelf waiting to be purchased by mesmerized buyers.  I purchased a couple of bottles for pasalubong.

Upon exiting the municipal building, I then instructed our driver/tour guide to bring us to the new store of Nanay Pacing.  He humbly told us that the store at the bus station is already closed.  I then ordered him to inquire with people at the bus station on where the new store of Nanay Pacing is.  They for sure would know.

good bye nanay pacing, hello great harvest!

good bye nanay pacing, hello great harvest!

And indeed our driver through a whisper by one of the folks at the bus station was told on where the new Nanay Pacing’s store was.  He then drove us to the nearby Baler Public Market and pointed to us the new store of Nanay Pacing.  The store was smaller, offers fewer items but still clean and organized.

The bunch of peanut butter jars can easily be seen displayed on the shelves.  I asked the lady manning the store on what happened to the label.  With a smile, she ignored my question and simply answered “we have our own version of a peanut butter and free taste is available”.  I simply told her, “My God, you are so professional!”

I of course took a tasting spoon and whipped a spoonful from the jar.  And when I tasted it, I can suddenly hear my taste buds cheering and clapping for joy!  I knew then that it was the same lovely peanut butter which I was mesmerized when I first tasted it as offered to me by no less than Nanay Pacing herself during my first visit in Baler.

my new favorite peanut butter plus the usual nengkoy's favorite fried pastillas (for pasalubong)

my new favorite peanut butter plus the usual nengkoy’s favorite fried pastillas (for pasalubong)

the true deal in baler peanut butter

the true deal in baler peanut butter

I purchased a couple of jars and regretted buying at the municipal hall. I then decided that I will just give away all the peanut jars I purchased at the municipal building and I will keep the peanut butter I bought at the public market for my own personal consumption.

While writing this story, I am munching on a piece of bread with heaps of the delicious Great Harvest Peanut Butter!

Ayana, alam nyo na ang hindi dapat bilin at dapat bilin sa Baler…

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I thought my best choice of restaurant in Queenstown that me and my friends dined at would be the establishment that will fix my rice-deprived anatomy.  Yeah, unlike the Philippines, rice is not a staple in New Zealand and my few days of stay in that fresh country made me yearn for it.  I know that I get all grumpy and grouchy if I don’t have rice in my meal for a couple of days.

But surprisingly, the best and finest food establishment I encountered in my recent New Zealand adventure was that of Winnie’s Gourmet Pizza Bar.  Located at The Mall in Queenstown, Winnie’s is a relaxed and casual part-bar and part-restaurant kind of a joint. I loved the ambiance because it is not plush, ritzy and intimidating.

What particularly made me love this restaurant was the food.  Their gourmet pizza was really outstandingly delicious!  And with a quick look into their pizza selection, I can tell that their pizzas were not just the classic types but instead seem to embrace various flavors around the world.  I noticed some Thai inspirations, a Moroccan fabrication, a Hawaiian motivation and some Mexican creations.

zucha  & montanara (flavors of heaven)

With limited tummy space, my friend Denton was smart enough to order one large sized pizza in which each half is of a different flavor.  We settled for the Montanara, which I consider to be the sinful half of the pizza and the Zucha for the wholesome and healthier half.  Both are gluten-free by the way.

Zucha according to my happy taste buds got some roasted pumpkin, olives, some feta cheese, capsicum and toasted almonds.  The blending of these flavors above the crunchy pizza crust, pizza sauce, Parmesan cheese and parsley brings magic to ones palette!

Montanara according to our gracious waitress was the most popular among all their pizzas.  That is why we ordered for it.  And from the first bite of this delectable creation, I knew that the waitress knows what she was doing. This is actually the first time that I have eaten a pizza in which you would have to spread pistachio sour cream on it.  A mound of this yummy cream is actually placed at the middle of the pizza!

The Montanara toppings which consists of chicken fillets, brie cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, spring onions and sweet chili sauce, no doubt, was absolutely delicious.  It’s one pizza that gives me a reason to return and revisit Queenstown.  The taste was just marvelously unforgettable!

chicken!

chicken!

a kiwi classic

is this a kiwi classic? we loved it… especially when we dip the mussel meat into the cream sauce!

Aside from the pizza, we also ordered the succulent chicken wings which surprisingly was not oily and so tasty and crunchy.  And to add a Kiwi flavor in our meal, we of course ordered New Zealand Green Lipped Mussels.  Winnie’s freshly steamed NZ mussels in shallots, capsicum, white wine, cream and sweet chili sauce was one of the best in Queenstown.  I can say this because in almost all restaurants that we dined we always seem to order NZ mussels.  And Winnie’s version was always our basis of comparison.

happy tummy!

happy tummy!

With all these superlative thoughts, accounts and narratives about Winnie’s, I guess, I can really say that it is one of the must visits if you happen to be in Queenstown, New Zealand.

Winer ang tami ko sa Wini’s!

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Breakfast is the most important meal in my universe.  I basically would not function well if I happen to skip breakfast.  That is why every time I got to encounter a great breakfast experience I will definitely have to write about it.

If Marikina City got Rustic Mornings and Alaminos City boasts about Celia’s Café, Antipolo can definitely rave about their Eggs For Breakfast.  This tiny all-day breakfast joint at the tail-end of the Sierra Madre mountain range is definitely huge in terms of serving pleasant breakfast dishes!  Though it’s quite difficult to locate if you wish to snub the benefits of using Waze or Google Maps, this hidden gem in Antipolo is indeed worth a visit.

the breakfast gang!

groupie of the breakfast gang!

it was worth the visit...

it was worth the visit…

My friends settled for the classic Filipino breakfast items, that is, Beef Tapa and Longganisa dishes served with rice and eggs while I opted for the American classic Buttermilk Pancakes with Eggs and Bacon.  And judging from my order, I knew that this café is a good café.  It is because I exactly got what I ordered.  I just wanted fluffy pancakes with bacon and eggs and I got fluffy pancakes with bacon and eggs.

buttermilk pancakes with bacon and eggs

buttermilk pancakes with bacon and eggs

has fun with one pan breakfast

has fun with one pan breakfast

As if like testing and challenging if this café is indeed a good café, I decided to order another set of breakfast dish.  For my second round of breakfast, I ordered for the fancier, heavier and seem to be a popular dish of the joint which everyone seem to be ordering.  Eggs for Breakfast’s version of the classic full English breakfast which they call One Pan Breakfast!

One Pan Breakfast further verified our delight and enjoyment of the place.  Though everyone are already full after finishing their respective orders, we were still able to finish the One Pan Breakfast in a breeze as soon as it was served on our table!  Yum yum!

nice one...

nice one…

Eggs For Breakfast isn’t the most spacious and comfortable café to laze but the quirky interiors, the delightful ambiance, the pretty alright service and of course the tasty breakfast dishes were indeed worthy of a visit.  I am just glad to know that a cozy and delightful breakfast joint does exist in that part of beautiful Philippines.  I will definitely visit again!

Itlog para almusal…

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People living in Alaminos, Pangasinan (and those who would visit this fast developing city) has something awesome to look forward to.  Celias, a new modern Filipino coffee shop, is due to open on Saturday, July 16, 2016.

egzoited!!!

egzoited!!!

I am excited because the last time I visited Alaminos, Pangasinan, there seem to be no decent café or coffee shop where we could enjoy good coffee and some sumptuous meal.  I and my friends (after touring the Hundred Islands) settled on eating at a trivial fastfood joint inside a trivial shopping mall.

What I’m most excited about Celias Cafe would be their all-day-breakfast Pinoy food offerings as well as that of their coffee concoctions.  I am excited because I know, on a personal level, the owners of this café. And I know that these owners has lived for years in Osaka, the culinary capital of Japan.  Hence, these new proprietors knows what good food is and I believe they have acquired impressive palatal sense.  They know what delicious is!

I will definitely be heading to Celias Café and will give you my two cents on what this new exciting café has to offer!  Celias is located beside the SSS Building along Marcos Avenue, Alaminos City, Pangasinan.

Si yu der…

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Let me add some class, sophistication and culinary elegance to this blog by posting photos of the interiors, table set-up and a couple of tasty food dishes of China Blue.

China Blue Manila

China Blue Manila

the set-up (especially the beautiful plate chargers) speaks a lot about elegance

the set-up (especially the beautiful plate chargers) speaks a lot about elegance

Thin Crispy Beef... my personal favorite

Thin Crispy Beef… my personal favorite

elegant interiors... round chandelier in manila, square chandelier in tokyo...

elegant interiors… round chandelier in manila, square chandelier in tokyo…

Steamed Truffle Mushroom Bun... the most "sosyal" and ostentatious "siopao"

Steamed Truffle Mushroom Bun… the most “sosyal” and ostentatious “siopao”

inside Conrad Hotel Manila

inside Conrad Hotel Manila

China Blue Manila inside Conrad Hotel (the newest five star luxury hotel in Manila) is not the first on the planet.  The first China Blue, a classy modern Chinese cuisine restaurant is in Conrad Hotel in Tokyo.

O ‘di ba? Ang sosyal sosyal ko!

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The usual main aim of an out of town adventure is to see and experience for yourself the scenic view of your planned destination.  While the food in your destination would usually come in as an additional perk to an already awesome adventure.

But this is not the case with my recent out of town adventure in Tuguegarao, Cagayan province.  I, MJ, JB and Willie (my officemates) went to Tuguegarao for a long weekend with two major aims in mind:  to visit the majestic Callo Cave and to take a bite of Tuguegarao’s unique noodle dish.

 

super special batil patung at jomar's

super special batil patung at jomar’s

Pancit Batil Patung on my first chomp was like an explosion of flavors in my palate.  The delicious mixture of ingredients was so awesome it will make your taste buds wanna grow hands for it to give a good round of applause.

But let me digress from the as-expected delicious taste of this dish to that of the surprising and unique experience we had when we went and ordered our Pancit Batil Patung at Jomar’s Panceteria (panceteria: English translation, noodle house).

Jomar’s Panceteria only serves Pancit Batil Patung and there’s nothing else in the menu.  Thus, you would really conclude that their noodle dish is one of the best since it’s the only dish that keeps their store alive.  Nevertheless, their pancit are of three varieties, i.e. regular, special and super special.  All four of us of course did not settle for less and opted for the Super Special which only costs eighty pesos (or less than US$ 2).

happy tummy...

happy tummy… (with mj, jb and willie)

Our astonishment in the restaurant was further driven when we noticed at one corner of the dining area was the presence of a ginormous chopping board, several knives and a huge sack full of pungent shallots.

While we were having the first bite of the pancit (egg noodle), we noticed people were actually proceeding to the monster chopping board and were actually peeling off and mincing the shallots.  After which they would place it on a small saucer and bring to their table.  We then saw them pour soy sauce and scooped a generous amount so as to top it on their Pancit Batil Patung.

We then asked our companion Willie to peel and chop red onions for us.  And when he could no longer take it he went back to our table serving a meager amount of minced shallots with uncontrollable tears in his eyes.  We on the other hand were laughing so hard!

big portions!!!

big portions!!!

extra challenge part of the adventure!

extra challenge part of the adventure!

pose muna

pose muna with the “cusinera

That’s when we realized that Jomar’s Pancit Batil Patung was a shallots-all-you-can panciteria!  I was actually telling my companions that Jomar’s should replace the knives and chopping board with a food processor so that it would be “no-more-tears” and would be easier for their guests.  But then again, I realized that if electric food processor would be installed, the odd extra-challenge, fun and uniqueness of the whole experience would be expunged.

Where in the world would you find a restaurant that has this kind of an offering?  Pancit Batil Patung at Jomar’s was definitely one unique, enjoyable and tummy-filling part of our adventure in Tuguegarao.

Sibuyas pa mor!

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Americans may crave for the tasty mac & cheese, Italians may hanker for an authentic margherita pizza and Japanese for a shot of sake.  This is a common desire and appetite if they people have been out of their country for a considerable span of time.  I for one yearned for the texture, flavor and smell of Patupat.

Being a child of a Pangasinense, I grew up chomping on the sweet molasses flavor of this glutinous rice wrapped in coconut leaves weaved into a bag.  Patupat during my childhood was a usual chow readily available inside our ref every time my father’s relatives living in Pangasinan visits Manila.  And because of this, my DNA was programmed to crave for such if my nutritional intake has been Patupat-deficient.  I can confidently say that Patupat in a way defines me.  It’s in my tradition, it’s in my subconscious, it’s in my roots.

i have to steam it! just like me... it's best consumed when sticky and hot!

i have to steam it! it’s best consumed when hot and sticky!

patupat defines me...

patupat defines me…

I could no longer recall the time when the last time I ate a bag of Patupat.  I have been craving for it!  That is why when I learned that Thatcher (my niece) will be arriving in Manila from Pangasinan, the foolish request I asked her is to bring me loads of this tasty, sticky and gluey delicacy.

Now my craving has been resolved because my hearty breakfast are two bags of Patupat.  I guess… Patupat defines me.  Patupat is tasty, hot and sticky just like me!  Yummy!

Walang kaduda-duda, Pinoy nga ako!

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Nengkoy is the nickname of my mom during her pre-school years. Her parents and relatives call her ‘Ang Neneng Ko’. With her pretty charm and appeal, she was usually called in a melodic way using this lovely phrase. Until it evolved for easier articulation of the phrase, Ang Neneng Ko was shorten to Nengkoy.

Nengkoy

Nengkoy is the nickname of my mom during her pre-school years. Her parents and relatives call her ‘Ang Neneng Ko’. With her pretty charm and appeal, she was usually called in a melodic way using this lovely phrase. Until it evolved for easier articulation of the phrase, Ang Neneng Ko was shorten to Nengkoy.