Sunday, April 29, 2012

Who made you king?

I've been on my toes the past week and I think maybe, the experience I've been through has helped me defne "anger" in a way I know.

I'm not one who easily gets angered but for those times I do get that feeling, I turn to songs to help me verbalize how I feel. So thank you for songs. And for spot on lyrics.

Thank you Sara Bareilles for this:

You've got the talking down
Just not the listening

Who died and made you king of anything?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

When in Ilocos

When traveling, I always like visiting local restaurants to taste authentic cuisine and have a feel of where locals dine. Don't get me wrong, I like tasting side walk food and dining at casual restaurants but my belief is that, if you really want to elevate and show tourists the best of Philippine cuisine, you should direct them to the BEST fine dining restaurants in the Philippines too (think: pretty decor, well known chefs, no flies!) It is the only way we can get past the image of Philippine food as mere "turo-turo", "carinderia-style", or "street food" cuisine that is often depicted in international travel shows.

With that philosophy in mind, let me take you to one of Ilocos' fine dining restaurants, La Preciosa's:

The place itself is not grand, in fact, City people would think of it as a middle-class establishment but for people in the province, a place like this is alredy considered high class. In fact, La Preciousa markets itself as a fine dining restaurant. Well, the interior looks rather shabby chic anyway:

The interior stays true to the Ilocos' trademark of being rustic with Spanish-Filipino influences. I especially love the wooden floors that makes me feel like I really am inside one of those old houses Ilocos is so famous for.
On the walls hung some of the media exposure and accollades that the restaurant has received-- which made me feel even more excited to try their food!
On to the glory!
Dinengdeng: Fresh veggies with grilled fish in a soup
Crispy dinuguan: made with bagnet
Poqui-poqui: unique kind of tortang talong with lots of slice of tomato and onion-- our newest favorite!!!
My vegetarian choice: Pesto pasta-- super yum! One of the tastier pesto pastas I've come across
 Apart from the really tasty dishes (I loved the poqui poqui!), La Preciosa also boasts of their desserts!
For chocolate lovers, they have this:
Yum! My colleague who is a chocolate lover swears to how tasty this is
But for me, this piqued my interest more:

Carrot cake!!! And rightfully so! This cake has been given so much accollade by the press and is one of La Preciosa's trademark menu items
One bite and I died! I am very, very picky when it comes to my carrot cake but I believe, I finally found my "ultimate". THIS. Words cannot give it justice. Super good!

Whenever you're in Ilocos, try dropping by La Preciosa's! Endorse it to your friends too especially foreigners. For really, this is a better way of introducing other nationalities to Filipino cuisine-- let them taste only the BEST. May we all learn to stop making people eat "balut"--lest we want to give the impression that Filipino food is weird and disgusting.

Show them the best that the Philippines can offer-- because we have so much to showcase, it's only a matter of packaging it. So, are you with me on this?

La Preciosa Fine Dining and Catering Services
Rizal St., Laoag City, Ilocos Norte, 2900 Philippines.
Telefax +63.77.777.5130. 
Telephone Nos.: +63.77.773.1162, +63.77.773.2159

Monday, April 23, 2012

Instagram Photo-a-day Round-up: Week 3

Time for another Photo-a-day April weekly update. Here are the Instagram pictures we got for the 3rd week of April.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

It's more fun in the Philippines

We're so used to touring our own country that we sometimes forget to appreciate its beauty. But if we just take time and try to see the Philippines with tourist's eyes, we will undoubtedly be mesmerized by its inherent beauty and be enamored by the warmth of its people.

Last weekend, I went on a trip to Ilocos with my colleagues at work and it was then that I felt proud and learned to really appreciate the beauty of the Philippines. Let me take you on a brief photo tour of the places we visited:
The famous Bangui Wind mills
Powdery sand at Pagudpod
 Sand surfing at the Paoay Sand Dunes!

Beautiful sight at Kapurpurawan Rock Formation

The view at the Malacanang of the North
Proud Iska! Happy graduation to fellow UP-ians!
Sunsets in the Philippines are so beautiful!
Picturesque Paoay Church!
Oh yes, it is more fun in the Philippines! Have a great summer everyone!

Friday, April 20, 2012

A bar of Vanilla

I've been unusually tired the whole week and despite how early I go to bed, I still wake up feeling tired in the morning. I assume it may be because the sleeping conditions are not favorable so to help me sleep a bit better, I decided to burn some vanilla wax bars as I know burning oils helps promote good sleep.
I bought these wax bars at SM because they looked so cute! They look like chocolate bars and smells wonderful too!
It's fairly easy to use, just break off a small cube, put it on top of your oil burner and wait for it to melt!

I placed it beside my bed and what do you know, it works! I woke up feeling refreshed and energized.
Good morning everyone!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Mac and Cheese Baked Mini Cups

When I was younger, I only knew how to make the boxed Kraft Mac n Cheese ones. Now that I'm a bit older, I finally know how to make some from scratch. I also saw a great way to serve them, baked in cups! I adapted the recipe from here.

You need the following for the mac and cheese:
2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni, 1 tablespoon butter, 1 egg (beaten), 1 cup milk, 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (we altered the recipe and used 1 1/2 cups instead of 1 cup; don't forget to use SHARP cheddar so your pasta won't taste bland), 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, salt and pepper (we decided to sprinkle some to taste).

You would also need these for the mac and cheese cups:
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup bread crumbs, 2 teaspoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook for about 8 minutes, it should still be a little bit firm. Remove from the heat, drain and return to the pan; stir in the butter and egg until pasta is evenly coated. Stir the shredded sharp cheddar cheese, mozzarella cheese, milk, and a pinch of salt and pepper into the pasta. Coat the pasta well and set aside to let it cool a bit.

2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F or 175 degrees C.Grease a muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. In a small bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, olive oil and salt.

3. Spoon into the prepared muffin tin. Sprinkle the sharp cheddar cheese and then the bread crumbs mixture on top. (Remember, sprinkle the cheese first, then the bread crumbs to get the top nice and crunchy).

4. Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the top is nicely browned. Contain your excitement...let it cool for a while. ;) Remove from muffin pan.

5. Enjoy! :)

Ours was a bit too dark brown at the sides but still filled with gooey, cheesy, crunchy goodness! ;)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Instagram Photo-a-day Round-up: Week 2

I hope everyone's doing well. Here's the second update on the Instagram challenge that Nin and I joined. :)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A foodie's dream hideaway: Vieux Chalet

My dad wanted to go to Vieux Chalet last Valentine's but the restaurant was fully booked. So when we needed to go to Antipolo last week, he told us to call and reserve a table for 5. Unfortunately, it rained and traffic was terrible so we got there an hour after our reservation but luckily they were still able to accommodate us.

Vieux Chalet is a Swiss Restaurant neatly tucked in the mountains of Rizal. I studied near the area for 13 years and it's only now that we found out about the restaurant. Shocking, I know! But that's what adds to the charm of this discrete restaurant.

Our post-Vday and post-parents' anniv celebratory lunch started with these..

L-R: Lemongrass iced tea (my chosen drink), Mango Shrimp Salad, Pumpkin Soup

Then came our main course.. The really tasty sausage platter, the oh-so-heavenly Five Cheese Pizza, and the Cannelloni.

I don't know why but whenever we dine out, we ALWAYS ALWAYS have leftovers to take home. But this time around, we were so hungry (probably because we arrived past lunch time) that all our appetizers were finished in seconds. The same thing happened with the sausages and pizza. Haha.

As we were finishing our food, we were lucky enough to catch the owner get back to her laptop at the next table. She was quietly sipping her tea and researching on raw foods. The waitress introduced her to us and chatted with us for a few minutes. She then told us that their restaurant used to be the favorite hideaway of Filipino celebrities, politicians and socialites. Well, who wouldn't favor their place? The weather's cool, the food's great and the place is secluded.

Anyway, to cap our food fest, we ordered the following desserts..
Swiss Chocolate Cake + Homemade Honey Orange Ice Cream
Carrot Cake + Homemade Honey Orange Ice Cream
With all the accolades Vieux Chalet has gotten in its 28 years of existence, my humble review might not matter much but still I'm glad to say that I've finally tried their food and everything is spectacular indeed!

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