Tuesday, June 23, 2015


There is one restaurant that you must visit should you find yourself in Baguio, Hill Station.
This Asian fusion and tapas bar is a  Miele Guide awardee.  Launched in 2008, the Miele Guide is a regional guide to restaurants in Asia that ranks the top 20 restaurants in Asia using a multi-round judging process.  That means, food is taken seriously here at Hill Station.
It doesn't hurt that the place, despite looking very lived-in, is cozily located below one of Baguio's oldest hotels, Casa Vallejo. If you get the tables by the window, you get a great view of the country's summer capital.

There is also a foyer at the entrance for those who want to lounge and have a kuwentuhan session  with friends and family while drinking wine or cocktails.
Or if you have the kids with you, this is a sweet spot to have cakes for merienda...
... or to snack on some serious deli like the Reuben Sandwhich made with fresh USDA grade corned beef, topped with meltd cheese and a side of home-made sauerkraut. This just needs to be mentioned- the sauerkraut here is excellent, even better than the "authentic" German restaurants in Manila. it is not overly sour or bland and complements the well-spiced juicy corned beef chunks.  Just writing about it now is creating a Pavlovian response.  I am drooling at the memory of a sandwich. That's how good it is.
But if its rice you like, there's the Lechon Kawali with Laing sa Gata served with ampalaya salad and red mountain rice. You'll surely end up with a clean plate.
 Before you go home, you can also check out their bottled goodies like the Vegetarian Bagoong, guava jam and salsa monja.

Address: Casa Vallejo, Upper Session Road, Baguio City, 2600
Telephone: +6374 424 2734

Sunday, June 14, 2015


This is the sugar beet. I used to ignore it until I was introduced to it recently by a friend who is a fan. It tastes sweet corn with the texture of potatoes. like  there are many reason why one should adore this sweet, little red  thing.
  • 20% SUGAR. It's one root crop with the highest sugar content. The root of the beet contains 75% water, about 20% sugar, and 5% pulp. The sugar is formed through photosynthesis in the leaves and stored in the root. .
  • 20% OF THE WORLD'S SUGAR comes from sugar beets. Russia is the largest producer of Sugar beets with 47.6 metric tons yielded in 2011 alone.
  • 15 to 21 °C best temperature to grow sugar beets. They grow exclusively in the colder areas with humus-rich soil. Which is why here in the Philippines they are grown mostly in Baguio and the Benguet region.  
  •  15 MINUTES is all it takes to steam sugar beet. It can be eaten raw, roasted, boiled, steamed, sautéed and oven-baked into chips. 
  • 5 POINTS is how much lower your systolic blood pressure can be if you drink beet juice. It is said to do this because the nitrates in the beets are converted into nitric oxide inside your body.  Nitric oxide helps to relax and dilate your blood vessels, improving blood flow and lowering blood pressure.
  • O% FAT is contained in 82 grams of a single sugar beet but it has 35 calories.


500 g sugar beets, boiled and dice
400 g potatoes, boiled and dice
500 g bacon, fried and chopped
1 liter water
1 big bottle of Japanese mayonnaise
4 celery stems, sliced
250 g kesong puti (about 1 block)
1 tbsp stone ground mustard
1 tbsp dill finely chopped
Salt & Pepper to taste

Wash the sugar beets and potatoes.  Boil the water in the pan. When the water starts boiling, add in the potatoes, skin on. Allow the potato to soften for about 10-20 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes. When already tender, take the potatoes out. Add some more water and wait for it to boil again, then add in the sugar beets. Submerge in boiling water for about 15 minutes. When tender, take them out.
Allow the potatoes and sugar beets to cool down before taking the skin off, then dice.

Fry the bacon until crispy, then chop. Slice the celery. Mix the Japanese mayonnaise, dill and stone ground mustard. Add in the diced sugar beets, potatoes, celery and bacon. Mix gently, add salt and pepper to taste.  Place the salad in a container then crumble the kesong puti (white cheese made from carabo milk) on top. Serve.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015


This is one tambayan that fried chicken built.
A small hole in the wall in an obscure corner in Teacher's Village, Quezon City is a fried chicken place that students (and teachers) in the area frequent. It's MTRCB-inspired name matches the showbiz-themed interiors, with movie poster, quotable quotes and quirky illustrations of a few favorite Pinoy superhero characters.
The stars of the resto are its chicken, fried in a variety of flavored batter and served with ekstras, the side dishes like rice, mashed potatoes and french fries.
Only had time to grab a box of the That's Entertainment mix of 5 flavored chicken: Buffalo Action Star (Classic Buffalo), Sweet and Spice Bold Star, Honey Teen Star,  Garlic Matinee Idol and Barbecue Star for All Seasons.
I am not a fan of sweetly flavored fried chicken so I would stick to the mildly spiced classic Buffalo or garlic chicken. But since I had these for take-away, the batter was not as crispy when I got home to eat it.
The chicken can ba a tad too oily but isn't that the reason why you like your chicken fried? Was glad that the whole lot of medium-sized cut portions was consistently cooked-through.  It's a problem most chicken places have but I guess the proprietors of the place have had enough experience since this is their second location. The original branch is in Malolos, Bulacan.

I'm surprised tough that it's only listed in Zomato and not in the more popular listings of  Munchpunch and Click The City.  They do have a Facebook page that you can check out.

Address: 48 Magiting Street, Teachers Village, Quezon City
Telephone: 0906 791 2986

Thursday, June 4, 2015


I first heard about Casa San Miguel when I saw the film "Boses," shown during the 2008 Cinemalaya Film Festival. The film tells the story of Onyok, a seven-year old boy rescued by a concerned neighbor from his abusive father. The films lyricism was reflected by the locale, beautiful and haunting at the same time.
Casa San Miguel was established by renowned concert violinist Alfonso “Coke” Bolipata to integrate culture and community development in Pundaquit,  Zambales. Aside from housing a museum and serving as a school to talented music scholars like Julian Duque who played Onyok in "Boses," there is the bed and breakfast for visitors who want to stay for a night or two.
For tourists who just want a quick stopover,  there's the Backstage Cafe. There's a patio perfect for outdoor dining. 
The indoor area is airy and has a shabby chic air with lots of corners filled with curios and antiques.
No, there is no one playing the piano
Yes, that's a mannequin standing in the corner, not a neckless jester.
Was able to sample their breakfast fare, the choices of which are mostly Filipino food. I had the tuyo  (dried fish) and tocino (sweet pork meat) combo, served with sinangag (fried rice) and sliced tomatoes. I orderd a cup of brewed coffee to complete the filling meal.
The hubby tried the cafe's specialty, tuyo pasta. The linguini is served with fresh egg to thicken and add to the creaminess of the carbonara sauce, lightly flavored with tuyo flakes. The simplicity of the dish is the its secret.
My favorite was the molten lava cake, which reminded me of the souffle cake of Cafe Lawis in Bohol. The tanginess of the fresh strawberries helped balance the heaviness of the chocolate flavor. Like a teenage love affair, the cake was pretty, moist and bittersweet.

Address: Barangay San Miguel, San Antonio, 2206 Zambales, Philippines
Telephone: +63 47 903 8657

Tuesday, June 2, 2015


Source: Investigations of the aquatic resources and fisheries of Port
In the 70s and 80s, the price of  Galunggong (Round scad) was in the forefront of goods used for the Consumer Price index (CPI), an indicator used to measure the rate of inflation and in turn,  the purchasing power of the Philippine peso. If the price of galunggong went up, marketgoers would start complaining and it would be in the news. 

With the advent of commercial fishing and the effects of climate change on our seafood resources, the lowly galunggong has been replaced by instant noodles as an inflation indicator. It has also gone beyond being sold in the wet market and can now be found in supermarkets in plastic packets.
The fish is filleted, deboned, marinated  and ready to cook. It's a practical solution for the urbanite who's either too busy or doesn't know how to clean and prep fresh fish.
It just takes 2-3 minutes to cook it but since I like my galunggong crispy, I cooked it for a couple of minutes more.
The marinade is on the vinegary side and the hotness of the chili is mild. As with anything that's left to marinate for a long time, you tend to taste more of the marinade and less of the fish. After a few bites, I did miss my lola's simple salted version for the galunggong.   

Whenever I crave crispy galunggong, it's a choice I have to make: ready-to-cook fish or fresh fish with all the effort put in. Which one would you choose?