They say that watching TV has its subliminal effect. I may have to agree this time as what we’ve done a day after the Balloon fest is somewhat similar to the recently concluded Amazing Race Asia Season 2. No, there’s no running involved, no Henry-Trinidad arguments and definitely there are neither clues nor roadblocks to beat. But it’s just that there’s money to be budgeted like being the last team on a non-elimination round plus the fact that my two-weeks of re-gym made me somewhat near Marc Nelson’s six- pack abs — okay, is a joke.
But quite frankly, the reason why I’m trying to control our first meal that morning of February 11, both budget and volume, is because we’ve been planning on checking out Everybody’s Café. So after Angeles we went to San Fernando where the main restaurant is located. We got the idea of going to this famous Pampanga restaurant from a show on the Food Network channel (if my memory serves me right). The host of the show ate frog legs in this resto and that perked up my interest to try this exotic food.
Almost an hour away from Angeles, San Fernando city is surprisingly developed than I expected it to be—the presence of several major car dealerships reaffirms this observation. A couple of minutes after entering the city and spending a few more time asking for directions, we located our main objective but to my dismay is not the one we saw on TV. My wife later mentioned that it located in Angeles which is the branch store. To save the day and our grumbling stomach we proceeded nonetheless.
From the outside, the place looks just like any ancestral house. With only one SUV parked that day, a newcomer wouldn’t even think that inside is a restaurant if not for the large sign hanging on the right portion of the entrance. Upon stepping inside, the sight of the food display gave me a hint that we are in the right place and at this point I already started to check every food tray for something looking weird, with long legs and webbed feet, and that resembles those we see in ponds–frogs. But there were none.
Good thing the old lady at the counter sensed my craving for exotic kapampangan delicacies. She politely offered buro with mustard leaves, fried hito (catfish) and to my delight, fried camaro (crickets). We also ordered Tapang Kalabaw–this became my instant favorite since I had one at SM Clark’s Cabalen.
Once the foods are served, I was surprised that we had little hesitation to dig on everything in front of us. The camaro tasted just like small shrimps if not for its hollow stomach and dark brown color. And the buro and mustard leaf combination made me remember my late lola‘s preparation when taking the nganga (leaves and lime chewed usually by elders). Overall, we enjoyed the weird lunch. Spent: P500+
Upon finishing our kapampangan meal, we still had time to check out San Fernando’s malls which we unintentionally discovered when we took a wrong turn while looking for the resto. So with full stomach we found window shopping a good way to burn calories—I wonder how much calories did the fried crickets deposited in me. After grabbing some items, we decided it’s time we head back to Manila. Spent: P1000+
It was just around 1:30 PM when we left San Fernando. NLEX traffic was smooth. We only got stuck starting in Cubao and the area before Ayala and we realized we still had time to kill. To the delight of my wife, I agreed to drop by Glorietta Center in Makati. Besides, our car already badly needs a wash.
Inside Glorietta, the temporary stalls located in one part of the mall made us realize that renovation is ongoing to repair the site affected by the December 2007 blast. That uneasy feeling to avoid this mall subsided quickly once we reached Glorietta 4 wherein our quest for local foods continued as I decided to take my snack from Taco Ilocano—Ilocano-style empanada. Right after another calorie pile-up, we went to watch the movie The Eye in one of G4’s cinema. It’s been quite some time since we last watched a film in this mall. Spent: P1500+
By around 6 PM we were already on our way back home but the thickening traffic gave us another reason to make our final stop at SM Mall of Asia.
When we got out of the elevator from the parking lot, all the food we took a couple of hours ago seem to just disappear out of our bellies—we were hungry once more. So we combed the place and found ourselves facing the Manila bay at the rear portion of the mall. Right in front of us we noticed something new in the vicinity—SM by the Bay.
We excitedly crossed the bridge to check it out and it was as if all of a sudden we were transported to another country somewhere in Asia but the Philippines. Whoever thought of this idea deserves more than just a pat on the back. It was packed with people, it is clean, it’s enticing, romantic and more importantly, the choice of places to eat is overwhelming. Almost an hour later of picking which is which, we eventually settled in Aling Tonya’s restaurant. We ordered calamares, sinigang na isda and, last but never the least, San Mig lights beer. What a wonderful way to cap the Balloonfest. Spent: P800+.
So there goes another trip with my lovely wife, another well-deserved outing for the two of us. Looking forward to the next road trip and good food to deal with. And by the way, I need another set of coin banks.