Willing to be Illuminated and Pierced

Posts tagged ‘family bonding’

The Magic Of Dinner Over Movies (Sixth Bite): A Reunion in Pampanga

It’s strange how our relatives could only get together after years. If it were not for a cousin’s special occasion, my mom and I wouldn’t get a chance to visit Pampanga.

Pampanga is a province located in Central Luzon. Should you begin your travel point from Manila, go in a two-hour northward travel to get to Pampanga, or longer depending on the city to visit. Since my province Bulacan is adjacent to Pampanga, travel going there is quicker. From the district of Bocaue, Bulacan to the city of San Fernando, Pampanga, it takes about an hour’s ride. So what’s so special about this place? For foodies like me, of course, it would be food.

I had the privilege to taste of the authenticity of Kapampangan dishes as my cousin invited us for the christening of her first baby. Now, add up the mini-reunion of relatives on my mother’s side, our visit is worth to remember.

Kapampangan dishes are known for their richness. Besides that, their food can range from simply being savory to exotic. I’ll give you a peek to one of the restaurants there.

Bale Capampangan:
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My craving to taste the best of Pampanga has been answered by having the privilege to visit and have lunch in this cozy restaurant, located in Dolores, San Fernando, Pampanga. The buffet it offers has a variety of dishes, igniting the curiosity and the hunger pangs in me.

IMG_20150516_112354There are the classic dishes of bulalo (cow soup), pinakbet (vegetables cooked in sauce made of seafood like shrimp or fish), bistig damulag (the Kapampangan version of beefsteak). I’d take only a little of each, since they are very rich in ingredients. The each sauce of these dishes is filled with much flavour. It embodies the homestyle cooking. Besides, the place is a good place for family reunions as it gives a homey feel.

Adobong Balut

Adobong Balut

There are also exotic food like the pasta aligue (pasta made with crab paste), susong supsop (yes, it’s

made of cooked, small snails) and adobong balut (the matured chicken egg now cooked adobo-style). These are but a few in the whole bunch of buffet offered by this restaurant. I bet you’ll keep on coming back once you take a bite of them.

As most Filipinos, we had the habit of ignoring the people around us while we eat. Perhaps, it’s an inborn ability to take note of the food first before we get to talk much. Or perhaps, we heed what the elders say: “Don’t eat when your mouth is full.”

Susong supsop

Susong supsop

Of course, Filipino meals are not complete without sweets. After a plateful of the main course, we’d line up for halo-halo (or mixed up, literally in English). Just fill your glass with sweet banana, red sago (round starch pearls), mongo, pinipig (uncooked glutunous rice), sugar, crushed ice and milk. A cold treat to chase the summer heat away.

Aside from that, there are also other sweets and rice cakes like the palitaw.

I guess this place gave us much to talk about, like language differences. Yes, that’s right. The signs are mostly in Kapampangan. In the Philippines, each provinces have unique dialects. Pampanga has its own dialect, aside from the Tagalog widely spoken in the whole country. Even my uncle admits that he was still confused with some of the words, being a Bicolano himself.

The calming atmosphere of the restaurant made us stay, relax, dive into nostalgia and crack jokes at one another. Because it shunned us from the terrifying heat of the day, I did not notice that we were staying there for more than five hours! It was past three in the afternoon, and we would have wished to stay longer with our relatives.

After scouting for pasalubong, my cousins invited us to try the popular cheese bread and Spanish bread of a bakery just beside Bale Capampangan.

L.A. Bakeshop:

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When the door was opened, the smell of freshly baked bread gave us the tingling sensation of home in the city. Started in 1985, this bakeshop had its humble beginnings at one of this city’s market. But the populace would flock this store because of its tasty cheese bread, thus it grew into a cafe and resto-bakery.

Some of L.A. Bakery's special breads and cookies lined up at the counter beside the cafe

Some of L.A. Bakery’s special breads and cookies lined up at the counter beside the cafe

L.A. Bakery's tasty cheese bread and Spanish bread. Thirty pieces of these can be sold for P195. Freshly baked, it's inviting scent invigorates nostalgia and the hunger pangs of the other passengers in the van as we went home :)

L.A. Bakery’s cheese bread and Spanish bread. Thirty pieces sold at P195. Freshly baked, its inviting scent ignited nostalgia and the hunger pangs of the other van passengers as we went home 🙂

Unlike some usual cheese bread bought in other bakeries, this one is oozing with much cheese and it’snot airy; even though it looks smaller compared to other breads. The Spanish bread is sweetly superb, as well. A box of it would make a good pasalubong. Aside from being tasty, a box of it is worth its price. Even if you reheat it in the oven, it still smell as if freshly baked, provided that you keep it in a safe place. My mother said that instead of using lard, real butter and egg yolks were used for the dough. If we had much more time, we’d stay with our cousins and have coffee in this homey little bakeshop. Perhaps, I would not stop myself from its offer of unlimited coffee and bread. Yes, coffeeeeee… 🙂

My cousins introduced us other shops just near these places where we’ve been. I promised them and myself that we would return and try them all. But I would enjoy these places and food better with my relatives. That would make every bite and taste more sumptuous and even memorable.

Meet my family. My mom (in red) and I (in the dark green dress) together with my cousins, uncle, and aunt :)

Meet my family. My mom (in red) and I (in the dark green dress) together with my cousins, uncle, and aunt 🙂


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Great Restaurants For the Holidays!

Christmas is the best time for family bondings, but it can even get better when we all get together with food!

So, it’s a privilege to have this assignment of featuring special restaurants that are unique in its kind. As a foodie myself, it’s an amazing
experience to feature (and taste) Galileo Enoteca and the Old Oven Cafe.

Let me give you a peep to these one-of-a-kind restos:

Galileo Enoteca:

You don’t need to leave the Philippines just to get a taste of authentic Italian dishes. Everything’s here in this restaurant in Mandaluyong City! Take a bite of their risotto (their rice recipe), frutti di mare (their pizza), and real Italian cold cuts and cheese. It would be better when paired with vino rosso (red wine). But it wouldn’t get better without lively chatting, laughter, and fun — and our interview was thus memorable!

But just because the air of Europe fills this place means you have to very careful in eating. Eating Italian food means you have to be yourself! Don’t cut up the spaghetti strand, or you’ll miss half of your life! 🙂

A memorable dinner with the general manager of Galileo Enoteca, Wilma Valbuena. For the first time, I got to learn all these Italian dishes

A memorable dinner with the general manager of Galileo Enoteca, Wilma Valbuena. For the first time, I got to learn all these Italian dishes

The Old Oven Cafe:

Get a bite of Italian-American-Asian fusion with that Baguio feel in this restaurant in Katipunan, Quezon City. With its classic facade and vintage-feel, it reminds me of pubs in Ireland brimming with country music. But the food is not really old, but it gives you a fresh feeling of good company. Try their Three Cheese Pizza, Swiss Mushroom Burger, and Chonburi Spicy Wings (my favorite!). For this holidays they have Lamb Chops with Black Rice, and tasting it for the first time is a treat for me!

But what I appreciate more in this place is their appreciation for real Pinoy talent. Take a tour to their mini-exhibit of artworks made by deaf artists. For art enthusiasts who would like to buy their works, proceeds would go to the artists themselves.

Having a chat with the owner and chef of The Old Oven Art Cafe, Kay Mangibin-Torres, who made all these food herself.

Having a chat with the owner and chef of The Old Oven Art Cafe, Kay Mangibin-Torres, who made all these food herself.

For my report on these amazing restaurants, watch Newslight on December 25, 7:30-8pm (Manila time), on Light Network channel 33. Also, it is on channel 93 (Cignal cable), 5 (Sky cable analog), and 161 (Sky cable digital).

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