Your Local

wpid-20151122_111611.jpgIt’s been a month since I returned to the corporate world as a chef at a large food conglomerate.  I have always been an advocate of  the slow food movement and constantly preach about the farm-to-table philosophy.  Today I visited my former students Nico Junio and Mariel Agraan at a hipster restaurant  called Your Local.  I sat by the bar and watched them prepare the orders.  I missed the line! I missed cooking like that! wpid-20151122_113038.jpg         

Torched Salmon Donburi – must try!!

Nico reminded me of my advocacy  to support the farmers and use local ingredients. It has been an internal struggle ever since I left the academe and started corporate work, but I try to focus on the bigger picture of food security by learning about the food manufacturing industry. In my dilemma, I found comfort in the restaurant’s food and was inspired by the very creative menu.  Coffee from Yardstick next door was also excellent! wpid-20151122_113257.jpg

Chorizo burger on a squid ink bun with truffle frieswpid-20151122_120014-1.jpg

Nasi Lemakwpid-20151122_120115-1.jpg
Beef rendang with heirloom rice

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Fresh catch of the day

It was dawn when I woke up to the noises of fishermen. They were drawing-in their net to shore. I ran down from my room to join them. I have always wanted to experience this with the locals. It was a modest catch of anchovies. The lot was equally divided to feed their families. wpid-20151010_072015.jpg

In the islands people may be poor but they are never hungry. They have the sea and the vegetation of the land to feed them. Life is simple but they are happy.
This was my solo travel weekend escape to Puerto Galera. It was  inspired by the book  “The 4-hour Workweek”. I  needed to hit the beach before going back to the corporate world.

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San Francisco Union Square Food Crawl

wpid-20150808_122901.jpgThis trip we skipped the popular Fisherman’s Wharf and decided to thoroughly explore Union Square on foot.  Amy is one of my best friends and host in the bay area. She arranged accommodations at the Hilton Hotel because parking is ridiculously expensive in San Francisco.  Amy and her family love to eat, so I share with you our “heart of the city” Union Square foodie adventures:wpid-20150807_143501.jpg



1.  Cheesecake Factory – this iconic and touristy restaurant is located at the 8th Floor of the Macy’s Building. You need to take an old elevator to get to the top. The patio view is perfect for taking great pictures of Union Square.  Large food portions!

wpid-20150808_130721-1.jpg 2. Café de la Presse – voted as one of the best restaurants in the area. It is located just across the entrance of China Town. This restaurant is reminiscent of a Parisian café with food offerings such as escargot and beef Burgundy. It has a nice cozy ambiance, good food and an extensive wine list. Try the steak frites!

3. China Town – nice to explore the little shops and dim sum restaurants. The list for China Town restaurants is too long but here’s  the link:

4.  Tad’s Steak House – a SFO classic that has been around for decades. The old diner is a place to go to for sentimental reasons. I had the steak sandwich and it was yummy.wpid-20150808_143822.jpg

5. Senior Sisig – is a Filipino- Mexican fusion taco truck. Filipino style minced meat is used in the recipes. Must try sisig taco and sisig burrito! Check the website for their daily location. Mabuhay Philippines!

6. Sushirrito – is another burrito concept using Japanese ingredients. It is a giant sushi roll. It’s a big hit among the millennials.  Must try Geisha’s Kiss  (Yellowfin Tuna (Hand-Line Caught), Tamago, Piquillo Peppers, Lotus Chips, Namasu Cucumber, Green Leaf Lettuce, Ginger Guac, Yuzu Tobiko, Sesame White Soya) !

wpid-20150812_211458.jpgI couldn’t leave San Francisco without having a bowl of clam chowder on sourdough, so I had one at the airport just before leaving.  I am back in Manila as I write this blog. Thank you Amy for a wonderful time!

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Portland Food Trip

wpid-20150801_145742.jpgThe Oregon coast is a beautiful drive. We were coming from California while my brother drove down from Canada. Portland  is midway and the shopping is tax-free!!wpid-20150801_114629.jpg

It’s really the many bridges that welcome you to the city. We rented a quaint wooden summer cottage across the river. The Californians were happy to get drive-thru coffee at Dutch Brothers, it was the indicator (according to Waze) that we reached our destination.
Microbreweries are everywhere in Portland. The place is known as the craft beer brewing capital of America; even the groceries offer a wide selection of homemade flavors.  As for wine, Oregon is known for cool climate Pinot Noir!!

wpid-20150801_130203.jpgThe street or food cart culture is also very strong. We got to explore the Portland Saturday Market located downtown. The summer heat was unbearable so instead of trying a food truck I escaped to a rated restaurant called Sube Sushi. I sat by the sushi bar, relished my food and enjoyed the AC.

Later I explored the riverbank and someone tried to offer me weed! Oh my! Cannabis is legal here!

I regrouped with my family and found our youngsters with a box of Voodoo doughnuts. They told me it’s one of those things you must try in Oregon.

Portland for me is an oxymoron. It has a strong hipster culture with health buffs patronizing “farm to table” restaurants, vegetarian, organic and healthy food.  Ironically it also has a strong hippie culture of long bearded men smoking marijuana.  Over craft beer I pondered if this place is more hippie or hipster??

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Chef Pam Obieta’s Chicken Adobo


Thank you Spicebox Travels !

Originally posted on spicebox travels:

adobo garniLast fall, I had the amazing opportunity to accompany my husband on a multi-Asian destination work trip.  Our first stop was in Manila.  I had only 30 hours or so, so I spent my one full day there not shopping, as most people staying in the fashionable suburb of Makati would, but learning to cook.  Previously, I shared my experience cooking with Chef Pam Obieta, and her recipe for PInakbet, Filipino Vegetable Stew.  Chef Pam runs the culinary program at De La Salle University, and has recently opened her private kitchen to teach cooking classes. I can say that she taught me everything I know about Filipino cooking!

Since my return, the one recipe which I’ve made over and over is the one Filipino dish most familiar to non-Filipinos– adobo.  It’s a classic for a reason.  It’s simple and made with readily available ingredients, and quick to cook, belying…

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Rainbow pepper

Here is a “celebrate pride” pepper!


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Cebu’s Tabo-an Market

Tabo-an is a famous public market located in Cebu. This place was featured by Chef Anthony Bourdain during his trip to the Philippines. Tabo-an market sells dried fish and seafood sourced from the nearby islands. The most popular fish identified with Cebu is danggit (rabbit fish) and is sold here at wholesale prices. The vendors neatly arrange and seal your purchase in plastic to contain the odor. You might pick up that stinky scent of fish in your hair and clothes as you wander around the stalls.  That smell is part and so worth the adventure :)wpid-20150606_141802.jpg

Different kinds of dried fish or seafood in Tabo-an:

Dulong (baudnon)
Fish Tapa
Fish Tocino
Pusit (squid)
Shredded squid
Tarorot (squid)
Tocino bones


wpid-20150606_141935.jpgOther Cebu items available:
Cebu chorizo
Dried mangoes
Little Guitars


How to get to the market:
Taxis are safe and cheap in Cebu. It is for me the best way to get market

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