Busy Eater

Just woke up. I’m now catching up on my emails; catching up on forum updates; staring blankly at the Badminton Olympic match on TV. At last I’m at home and I’m staying put, at least for today. For the past few days, I’ve been on the go and I’ve been longing for one good day of rest and I think today is the day.

The lull in activity gave me time to think of what kept me recently occupied. I can’t believe that I’ve been so busy that I miss my afternoon siestas so much. So what was it really? Work? Maybe. My new motorcycle? Maybe, but not quite. Now I remember. Surprisingly (or not), I’ve spent so much time lately on mall-hopping and food. Yes, you read it right…F O O D.

Last Wednesday, on a trip down memory lane with my wife to her alma mater in Taguig (I was surprised that it made me reminisce my own memo- ries of the place) we decided to have lunch at Shakey’s Magallanes while having a break from the school clearance process. The last time we were in Magallanes was more than 10 years ago when our manufacturing plant was still in Makati. The whole place has significantly improved; other restaurants are now available and several other establishments have opened up for business. Shakey’s pizza (and shakes) of course still continue to perk up my palate. One thing I miss though is having the real Tabasco to come with my pizza. Anyway, my wife pointed out that even other restaurants have changed their hot sauce to cheaper brands in the name of cost cutting.

Thursday last week was Saisaki day at the Glorietta Mall. I’m once again with the company of my wife and her colleagues. Despite working with another team (which requires me to file a leave), what makes me comfortable joining hers is the fact the most of these guys are also Japanese food lovers just like I do. Well, Saisaki day just doesn’t mean pure Japanese foods as the option to do a crossover is always picked, thus lechon, turkey, and ginataang kuhol (escargot) never fail to be on the plate–at least on my plate. And normal side trips with them always include San Mig lights beer and a coffee stopover to cap the night. (Note: 1 beer bottle per hour is always followed when I drive).

From Friday to Saturday, I reported to work on a night shift. Normally being on this shift gives me chance and excuses to go on a diet as the cafeteria food especially at night, pardon the word, sucks. Saturday however wasn’t the case this time. My colleagues got totally bored of canteen food that they decided to have rice, lechon manok and liempo for our meal. Desserts were chocolate rolls and a super sweet pastry. If I were to count calories I might need a calculator to do so.

Coming from the graveyard shift, Sunday was a day off that was supposed to be a rather light day for us. Instead, after a 5-hour sleep and a trip to the dentist, wifey and I decided to go to MOA (Mall of Asia) with the intent of either watching a movie or buying my helmet. But once we reached the mall, it seems like my teeth having come from the dentist wanted a test of their biting power. My wife suggested UCC Vienna Café. I eagerly concurred and I promised, “I’d take only coffee and a light food.” But the sight of Risotto in the menu changed all that as I’ve been so intrigued with this food every time I watch it featured in cooking shows on TV. I thought that it’s just lugaw cooked by an Italian chef. After tasting UCC’s chicken, cheese and curry risotto, however, made me a fan of this food. Their Sumiyaki coffee and mango crepe were remarkable as well. Prices in this restaurant are worth it.

Monday was no different. And I blame it on the absence of good movies. After we arrived at ATC, we learned that Wall-E and X-Files are still not showing. We decided instead to eat at North Park where once again I or- dered their lechon rice toppings. This food is good all the time and this is one of the restaurants where food is a bang for the buck. Now if only ei- ther of the two movies is available, then I could have had coffee and donuts only for lunch. In Festival Mall the movie titles haven’t changed as well. Good thing I was able to stand firmly that I’ll have only coffee and muf- fin in Kenny Rogers – although the call to have baby back ribs is almost inescapable.

I have now lost track of the calorie pile up – or scared of knowing the exact score. I’m also thinking how many liters of gas we’ve actually consumed the whole time.  It was indeed a busy week where we’ve been spending money, burning gas and piling up calories. And now I’m quite sure that my 3-hour badminton and gym session yesterday wasn’t enough to undo the calorie damage. But there’s still hope. But then again there’s activity in Batangas next Sunday – it’s someone’s birthday. Will there be food? Your guess is as good as mine. I think it’s about time I get my wife a helmet and a pair of riding boots. At least we’ll save on gas.

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Amazing Race Pampanga

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.

Swagman.jpg

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+

Everybody outline

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.