Weekend at The Lakeshore

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My stay at The Lakeshore, Pampanga last November has been fun! Christian tagged me along to join his friends from the office to have a chill weekend at Chinee’s place. The road trip has been a blast, thanks to the lovely weather and good ol’s music from the 90’s. I did not doze off even for a bit! If you know me, Queen of Sleep, you will give me a pat in the back for the tremendous effort of staying awake.

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Lakeshore4 After the 2-hr-ish drive, we stopped by Koko Buri in San Fernando for lunch. There, I got to try their famous soy chicken. It’s quite similar to Bon Chon but their serving is much bigger. Therefore, much affordable. The interior and the ambiance of the place is cozy with the warm lights and colorful table knick-knacks.

Post-lunch, we headed to Chinee’s place to settle down for a bit before our afternoon swim. I met Chinee’s dog, Amber, once again! Super cute!

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One thing that I really loved about our swim is I got to enjoy the sunset. I always get this peaceful feeling when I’m having a nature trip. It’s such a nice, sweet escape from the urban jungle. Yeah, let’s not forget the fact that I am getting old so I tend to be nostalgic on these kind of mundane. 😛

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Another thing I enjoyed on this weekend getaway? The food! Everyone helped in preparing the meals and they all turned out delicious. Seriously! I’m thinking of trying them out on my own — especially the “Good Shepherd’s Pie” and “Bangus Belly in Spanish Sauce”.

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I don’t know what its actual name is but everyone called it “Good Shepherd’s Pie”. It has chicken chunks and carrots in mushroom sauce, topped with mashed potato and greens. It was a hearty meal and I can’t wait to make my own version of it. I really need to have a decent kitchen soon!  The Bangus Belly meal is a mashed-up of two of my favorites: bangus belly and spanish sardines. It was really easy to make. I just need a pressure cooker and the right ingredients and voila! Instant awesome meal! 🙂

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And what’s a getaway without the booze? We had our fill of these after dinner while playing King’s Cup. It was hilarious! The game got funnier as everyone gets drunker.

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In the morning before heading home, we went to the other side of the lake to enjoy the view and have some photo ops. Thank the heavens for the really lovely weather that weekend.

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A Piece of Italy in Mandaluyong

My roomie, Mils, had a sudden craving for Italian last Tuesday. When she mentioned Galileo, I did not hesitate for a second. I’m scheduled to work from home that time so I have more hours to spare. We went there in our just-out-of-bed state for a late lunch and were crossing our fingers that they let us in. Kidding on that part. The people in Galileo are so friendly, they wouldn’t really mind if we looked a bit frazzled.

Galileo Enoteca is this hole-in-wall Italian place just a block away from us, which serves authentic Italian food and houses one of the biggest wine cellar that I’ve ever seen. This is my third time to dine in this place and it’s a good thing that I managed to take some pictures (blurry as they may). The first and second time, I was just oohs and aahs at how cozy the place was and how good their food were.

I love this appetizer because of the chicken liver dip. I know that most are not into chicken liver but it’s on of the best I’ve tasted. Not bitter at all!
When you order a pizza, you can opt to have 2 separate flavors. We ordered the Tutta Carne (mix of ham, Italian sausage, and pepperoni, and pomodoro) and Margherita. I’m not into pepperoni but the Italian sausage made up for it. 
For the pasta, we ordered the Penne con Funghi Porcini and Tartufo Bianco (Mushroom and white truffle oil). Honestly, I was quite disappointed with this. Aside from the penne not being al dente, the sauce was too salty for my taste.
I was not disappointed with the wine that we ordered. It was sweet with just a slight hint and aroma of alcohol, not the type that would make you wrinkle your nose when you waft it from the glass. We ordered a bottle and took home what was left.

I read somewhere that Enoteca means wine bar, which explains the appearance of the resto. It’s dimly lit with brick walls and rows of cupboards of wines like any typical wine cellar. You can even see some boxes by the corner which will make you feel that you’re just having drinks in your friend’s basement.

The cheese, cold cuts, and assorted canned products are strategically displayed by the main door so diners will be much tempted to take some Galileo piece home . As for me, I had fun just watching the display; it made me feel like I’m in a real Italian store.

Mils said that she’ll be hoarding some products here before moving out to another city. I might do, too. After all, this is one of the things that I will miss much in Mandaluyong. 🙂

Boracay Bummin’

Our Boracay vacation last July has been the ultimate beach bumming activity that I had in a long time. Having buffet breakfast by the cabanas, enjoying the early morning and afternoon sun, reading novels by the beachfront, and waking up at your own leisure without worrying about the day’s itinerary was great! We just simply went through our vacation days appreciating the great beach and sand, and enjoying each other’s company over card games, good food, beers, and cocktails.

Speaking of cocktails we immensely enjoyed Loco Frio. They offer frozen cocktails to go and it comes with these adorable insulated tumblers. You can buy a refill at a much cheaper prize if you already have a tumbler so it’s really cool. Totally perfect for the hot, beach weather.

As for the food, we ALL fell in love with Sur Burger. It was one of the biggest and tastiest burger I have ever tasted. Not exaggerating! This is a Boracay must-try. Some other dishes that I love is the baby back ribs from Hawaiian Bar-B-Que and the lechon kawali from Jonah’s. If you’ve got money to spare, is willing to wait for a table, and willing to wait to be served of sumptuous ribs, then go to HBBQ. But if you’re on a tight budget, Jonah’s Kawali is not too bad. One serving (PHP 300) is good enough for three. It was also my first time to have a go at the infamous lobster. We went over to the wet market in D*Talipapa, get ourselves some live lobsters, and have them cooked in one of the restaurants along the area. It was served to us in spicy coconut sauce and it was delicious!

We were blessed with a very nice weather during our 5-day stay (considering that it’s already the rainy season here in the Philippines). It was perfect for walking along the sandy shores, taking pictures, and just breathing in the beauty of the place. I have to thank Christian for some of these gorgeous shots.

But being the adventure freaks  that we are, it was not exactly ‘all bum, no play’. We did have fun trying out the club scene (a little), going skimboarding, driving ATVs to reach the highest point of the island, fly-fishing, and paraw sailing.  I’ll tell you all about them next time. 😉

Simple Joys and Me Time

Spanish sardines pasta with thyme and ground white pepper
Teh Tarik foamy tea

Sometimes the little things in life are the greatest. Like cooking up a decent meal for yourself (after months of kitchen dormancy) and enjoying a hot cup of tea while hanging out in your veranda on a rainy, windy day.

I enjoy the company of my friends and my relationship with Christian, but I always make it a point that I allot a small time where I can be alone and do the things that I love. Having “me time” helps me to be more secure and in touch with my inner self.  🙂

Rainy Sunday. Chill fun.

Last weekend’s weather was terrible but it didn’t stop me and some of my friends to go out and have a chill fun. I miss spontaneous hangouts like this. Reminds me of my younger days when everyone is still very much willing to trade sleep for escapades. Oh well, I think we’re just getting old. But not that day! 😀

Meeting up with Char and Jing for the movie

We started by catching one of the entries in Cinemalaya Film Fest at Greenbelt, Mga Mumunting Lihim. Stellar cast, great director, and good plot. And have I mentioned that we watched this with the beautiful Mylene Dizon? Yes! We did! She was sitting 5 rows behind us. Haha!

Christian, give your friend some corndog!

After the movie, we went to Chili’s for dinner, where we had a round of superb Mexican food. We were joined by another friend, Maryann, whom we fondly call Ermengarde. If you’ve been an avid fan of the Princess Sarah TV series shown in one of our local TV channels, you’ll know why. 😉

Ermengarde is the cutest!

We ordered the Bottomless Tostada Chips for appetizer. They were perfectly crisp and were served warm. It tastes good even without the salsa. We had 3 or 4 rounds of this so our 330 PHP was put into good spending.

We also ordered Triple Play which consists of Southwestern egg rolls, Buffalo wings, and Chicken Crispers. I’m not a big fan of the SWER but it comes with a yummy guacamole dip that goes well with the other entrees on the plate.

For our main dish we had Fish ‘n Chips and Fajita Trio. The Fajita Trio is special because it has a little bit of everything: marinated steak, grilled chicken, spicy garlic and lime grilled shrimp, onions, and bell peppers. I would have liked my pita bread to be softer, though, rather than crispy.

Before heading home, we went to UCC Cafe for coffee. I ordered their iced cocoa which I’m not getting again because it did “wonders” to my stomach. >_< We just passed the time taking about exclusive schools, religion (we were not drunk, I swear!), and Australia. Quite diverse topics but somehow they got interconnected. 😉

Overall, I’m glad that we pushed through with our hangout despite the red warnings and flood alerts. And yes, I’m also glad that we all got home safe. 🙂

Weekend Discoveries

This weekend has been full of new discoveries!

Let me start with Saturday. Christian and I were both craving for Japanese (no surprise there, really) and we magically stumbled upon Rai Rai Ken. OK, to be perfectly honest, we were lured by their “50% discount on ALL Ramen” ad. Turned out that you have to order a plate of appetizer and any Pepsi product to avail of the discount.

It proved to be a very good thing actually because without it I wouldn’t have discovered their delicious Fish Fingers with Cheese. The wasabi sauce goes really well with it and the salad is a good side dish compliment. Christian ordered a plate of maki (as usual) and for the ramen, we opted for a fusion of Japanese and Filipino: Batchoy Ramen. It’s one of the store’s best seller but it was a little too salty for me.

This overhanging lamp is my favorite decoration in the resto. I wanted to take it down and bring it home! 😀

Come Sunday, Christian’s sister, Cati, took us all to The Collective in Makati to have lunch at Wingman. I’m crazy about chicken wings so I was really, really excited to visit the place.

And I was not disappointed! Wingman serves one of the best and most affordable chicken wings in the area. They are also relatively big in size compared to what the other restos are serving so a dozen of this is good enough for three. You can also opt to order two different flavors for your chicken wing dozen. That way, you can have more flavor variety for a lesser price.

And true to all chicken wing dining, it never hurts to order a plate of fries or onion rings to pair with your meat. 😉

After lunch, we went around the compound to check out some of the stores. But because it was a Sunday, most of them were closed. I’m planning to go back there to visit the Polaroid store which sells Instax Mini cases. It’s high time that I give my Choco a face lift.

Anyway, the compound trip would have been a shame if it weren’t for this:

The walls were lined with amazing graffiti. I’ve always been fascinated with them. There’s something interesting about the colors and the chaos of graffiti art. It makes me think of what the artist was thinking while sketching these. If ever reincarnation is true, I would work my ass off just to be a kick-ass artist in my next life.

As for my personal discovery, I fell in love with the dress-and-sneakers porma once again. It’s funny how I used to dress up like this every single day when I was in grade school and the early part of my high school. I’ve always been sort of a tomboy growing up but wasn’t really into jeans. Plus, my mom always buys me these cute dresses whenever she can. So there. What I probably love most about this style is it is girly and totally laidback at the same time.

Anyway, I’ve been blabbing on forever. I should really get my act together and start a daily blogging thing. Wrapping a weekend over one post can be lengthy.

Or maybe my weekend was really just a blast. Or I talk too much. Whatever. 😛

Chicken and Pumpkin

Have to wake up early again today because Christian’s new baby toy needs some pampering. It was more than OK since he treated me to a hearty lunch in Holy Cow after.

Chicken fillet with creamy parmesan sauce sprinkled with thyme with grilled veggies and Java rice

I could begin an affair with this pumpkin soup. It’s so thick, and creamy, and hot. My tongue was parched but my soul was warmth. I’m getting “poetic” just thinking about it. 😛

Spidey Saturday

We watched The Amazing Spiderman last Saturday, and boy, it really is amazing. I think Andrew Garfield did a better job at being Spiderman than Tobey Maguire. Tobey can look such a retard sometimes. Christian’s words, not mine. And Emma Stone IS Emma Stone. That girl can never do anything wrong even if she looks like a crying Powerpuff Girl or an enamored goldfish. She’s just the perfect combination of cute and hot. The visual effects are stunning as expected. If there’s a sequel, I will definitely watch.

Anyway, here are some other highlights of my Saturday.

We had our dinner at Mr. Kurosawa because we were both craving for ramen. This is a Euro-Japanese fusion restaurant that has a very good ambiance. I especially loved the wall art decor and brick walls. One thing that I don’t love is the red light beside our seats. It’s kinda distracting, although it has done it’s fair share in making the pictures that I took appear special. 😀

We had the Shoyu seafood ramen as recommended by the waiter. One order is good enough for two so you can just ask the waiter to split the soup into smaller bowls. Christian ordered the Spider Roll, which is a nice coincidence to the movie. What set it apart from the other rolls that I had before are the crunchy crablets inside. Never mind my allergies, they tasted really good. It got me into thinking on why this roll was named as such.  Hmm.. I also got myself a platter of bacon-wrapped dory. And yes, I loved it!!! Come on! Bacon and dory? What’s not to like? 😀

Over dinner, we had this little quiz wherein we will take turns into acting one epic scene from a famous movie and the other one would guess. Titanic’s “I’m flying Jack!”, The Matrix’s slow-mo-dodge-the-bullet-scene, and LOTR’s Frodo-accidentally-catching-the-ring-with-his-index-finger (again in slow mo) were the firsts to make the cut. We prolly looked like a bunch of dorks sitting by the corner of the resto but we didn’t really care. We were having fun. 😀

We finished dinner early so we had a good one and a half hour extra time before the movie started. We just strolled around doing some window shopping and I snapping pictures along the way.

Hope you had a nice weekend, too! 🙂

First Taste of Binondo

Going to Binondo on a Sunday is a very good idea. The streets are almost empty so you can freely roam around at your own pace, take pictures in the middle, and just do your thing without the usual pack of people crowding the place. I missed the usual hustle and bustle of its Chinatown but it was actually good. It was a lazy Sunday after all.

Babes and I trying to be fancy in the middle of Chinatown.

We planned on having the ultimate food trip and start with brunch but failed. We arrived there at past 1PM already and everyone’s damn hungry. Our first stop was at Ying Ying Tea House where we ordered a sumptuous feast of a lunch.

And by sumptuous and feast, I meant this!

(1) Beef Hofan – Flat noodles with tender beef strips and sesame seeds; (2) Yang Chow; (3) Salt and Chili Squid; (4) Soy Chicken – goes well with the green pickle-ish thingy there.

But it doesn’t end there. I have to make a separate collage for two of my favorites: Shrimp Hot Salad and Hakaw (shrimp dumplings). I was hoarding them like a pig from the others. Haha! Yes, I am the ultimate takaw hakaw. @_@

The food were all delicious and the price are perfectly acceptable for the taste and the quality of service. Our first set arrived in less than 30 minutes (which was good since we were all starving at that time). There is unlimited house tea and the waiter who served us even gave some tips on what dishes and servings to order. I like it when waiters are honest with their advice. Makes me think that they are not only into the profit that the resto will get but the satisfaction of the customers, too.

Post-dinner photo op by the sticky stairs

Because we were so full, we decided to skip dessert or any kind of munchies and go to 168 instead. 168 is a popular mall in Divisoria just a few blocks from Binondo’s Chinatown. It is a mine of very cheap but amazing items. I will write about it more the next time I visit. 😉

Going back to the food, we headed to Eng Bee Tin after 3 hours of 168 scouring to buy some take-home goodies. There were rows of flavored hopia (filled pastry), mochi, milk teas, and Chinese food items that I grew up with as a kid.

“Fake communion time!”: These are thin sweet flakes that look very similar to the Catholic host.

Is this the Chinese Dora? 😀

After that, we went to the adjacent restaurant, Tasty Dumplings, for our last hurrah. Their wintermelon iced tea is good, and it only costs 45 PHP. Babes and I shared the tossed noodles with porkchop meal. Babes was crazy about the porkchop but it was just OK for me.

Tossed noodles look just like the usual spaghetti pasta and is served with a pickle-ish garnish and oil-based sauce. It is served separate from the soup but you can opt to combine them later, like what we did here. 🙂

Even though we were only able to visit three stores, the overall foodie experience in Binondo has been superb. I will definitely go back and visit the other dumpling houses and get more wintermelon iced tea. And yes, it will be still be on a Sunday. 😉