Early Christmas Greeting


Send your own ElfYourself eCards


What Sandwich Am I?


You Are a Grilled Cheese Sandwich

You are a traditional person with very simple tastes.

In your opinion, the best things in life are free, easy, and fun.

You totally go with the flow. And you enjoy every minute of it!

Your best friend: The Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

Your mortal enemy: The Ham Sandwich

Oh no, it can't be! I need my meat!


Mario's Part 1


Ah, finally! This post has taken a while I know, but nevertheless, I will not be delayed any further. A great experience is always worth sharing and relishing and this experience definitely falls under that category.

Our first blogger event ever and it couldn't have been any better. Thank you Spanx for the invitation.

Liv and I, I must confess are one of the few non-experts at Mario’s that evening. Having eaten in Mario’s only occasionally growing up and once as a couple, I guess we had quite a blurry grasp of what our favorites were except for the oysters which we had for our appetizer. With our wisdom falling short, we thought it best to make sure we experienced what Mario’s was all about through Fil Benitez’s sagely judgement.


This dish left me in awe…. It was magnificent not in that it was so complex but because it seemed so simple … Liv and I could have argued over who ate what but being the meat eater between the two of us, this dish was MINE.

Served modestly on a bed of white rice with a drizzling of light sauce and topped with the requisite garlic flakes, my Mario’s salpicado experience began the moment I slipped my knife effortlessly to part the earth toned beef’s flesh with seductive ease. Taking a few seconds revered with a deep breath, I proceeded to bare the beautiful pink, tasty, perfectly cooked beef underneath. Expertly pan-seared, Mario’s Salpicado is an homage to the beauty of 1st class Philippine beef as it relies primarily on the natural flavor of fresh, top notch beef rather than the flavor of any sauce. The zen of salpicados, this Mario’s favorite left me satisfied and reminded me that keeping it simple is really the best way to go.


Served with rolls of maki. This dish started out as a bit on the bland side, it was lightly seasoned with a drizzling of sweetish sauce that adds a shade of sweetness. I initially thought that there must have been an oversight in its seasoning or perhaps too little sauce (the kitchen was incessantly churning out freshly cooked food for quite a number of hungry bloggers after all) as the dish for some reason didn’t seem to come together for me at first. It was only until I had it with the maki that I realized that I was quite mistaken. A piece of fish, some sauce and a bite of maki revealed the reason behind the combination. The lightly seasoned Chilean seabass and the sweetish sauce was complimented by the soft rice, delectable mango and the bursting flavor of the nori. I find it quite a marvel how the intriguing maki played a vital role in integrating the different elements of the dish. What seemed like an odd mishmash coalesced and everything seemed to fall into place.

Overall, the fish was fresh as expected and like the salpicado, the Chilean seabass’ natural flavor served as the focal point of the entire dish.

(Thanks to my very generous wife for allowing me free reign at her food);p


Eathing Healthy


2 years into our marriage and I would have to say that the biggest change - other than Andrea - would be our eating habits. We eat so much more now compared to before we were married. It's sad I know but it's completely true.

In the Philippines this is taken as a sign that you're happy with your marriage. While I would admit that I am (I don't know if Ruy is, I better ask him), I don't think our eating habits have anything to do with happiness. We are just simple voracious eaters. We are not gourmets, we are gourmands.

We have talked about eating better, now that Andrea is growing the motivation to do this is even greater. We know we need to be role models for Andrea. Yes, she eats healthy food now but she will eventually want to eat whatever it is we're eating. This means we better start eating healthier food...and fast.

There are lots of sugar substitutes out there but a lot of them taste artificial. Salt substitutes on the other hand are a bit harder to come across here in the Philippines. I watched a show in Discovery Channel explaining that while the tongue has a lot of sugar receptors - which explains the fact that there are soooo many sugar alternatives out there - meanwhile, there is only one salt receptor resulting in a very limited number of alternatives for salt.

The good news: we saw a website which offers yummy looking salt alternatives. The bad news: it's not available locally. Waaah.

I guess eating healthily will have to wait (don't you just love excuses?)




Walking down this dark alley one cannot help but be thrilled at the prospect of what awaits you on the other side. The alley is hidden and can easily be missed if you don't know what to look for. There's something sexy about going somewhere hidden, it's as if you're in on a secret that a lot of people don't know.

The secret is Kagura and its heavenly Okonomiyaki.

Kagura is a small resto within the Little Tokyo area and is the only resto there specializing in Okonomiyaki.

What is Okonomiyaki you may ask? Wikipedia defines it as:

Okonomiyaki (お好み焼き, Okonomiyaki?) is a Japanese dish consisting of a pan-fried batter cake and various ingredients. Okonomi means "what you like" or "what you want", and yaki means "grilled" or "cooked" (cf. yakitori and yakisoba); thus, the name of this dish means "cook what you like". In Japan, okonomiyaki is mainly associated with Kansai or Hiroshima areas, but is widely available throughout the country. Toppings and batters tend to vary according to region.

The resto is tiny, it could fit 25 people at most. There are 3 tables for groups and the rest of the diners have to sit by the bar where they can be treated to the sight of the owner showing his culinary skills.

While it's true that we went there for the Okonomiyaki, man cannot survive on Okonomiyaki alone =) specially not men like Ruy and I myself who are voracious eaters. We decided to try some of their recommendations.

Cold Udon Noodle with Mentsoya Sauce Php230 - Cold. This is my only recollection of this dish. It's like eating rice puffs or rice crispies but instead of using cold milk, you used cold broth. It's a strange dish but I found myself eating it again and again throughout the night. I think the flavor grew on me.

Okonomiyaki with Pork, Shrimp, Squid, Egg and Cheeze Php 350 - I cannot write this without drooling. How can something so simple be so good? How can soomething which is practically just an omelette be AWESOME?
I don't know what these Japanese guys do to these ingredients but the resulting dish is just fantastic. The dish is rich and flavorful with a great combination of textures. While the dish looks tiny it's surprisingly filling.

Saute Squid with Butter Php 188 - This dish celebrates the flavor of the squid. It doesn't try to mask the flavor, there's no doubt that the squid is the star of the dish. Simple. Satisfying. Good.

Kikumasamune Php 200 - Ruy has had sake before so this wasn't new to him when we ordered it. It was new to me however and I was a bit skeptical. Drinking hot alcohol just seems wrong to me.
I'm glad I trusted Ruy. The sake brought me joy...and it brought Ruy amusement seeing me semi drunk while saying SA-KE over and over again throughout the night


Somebody Spank Us


Yes, Ruy and I have been very bad bloggers. We lost the charger of our camera which means we missed out on all our food adventures.

So what have we been up to?

- Liv's obsession with catfish salad.
- Our anniversary. Ruy wanted to eat somewhere fancy but I wanted Jatujak (hello catfish salad)
- Chef Tony's Popcorn
- Ruy's Tomato Cream soup made using our new pressure cooker (bought on sale, woohoo)
- Ruy's Pork Liempo cooked using the Turbo, with a yummy sauce made with pork drippings and hoisin.
- Ruy's 3-week long craving for Sliders.
- Hau, the new Chinese Resto in SM Marikina (they have yummy sisig made from Lechon Macau)

So many more adventures we weren't able to capture =( The good news is...we have a new charger so we're ready to document our future adventures. YEY




Going around different food blogs just fills my mind with ideas and visions of cooking possibilities. While some are too daunting, too complicated or outright impossible to attempt, there are some that seduce, beckon and set off my imagination to try and find ways to make things happen.

This beautiful dish that I came across thanks to Ning's Heart and Hearth however is among those that didn't put me to sleep until I was able to cook it and satisfy my tummy's desire.

Fish Fillet With Vietnamese Caramel Sauce
(Recipe from Heart and Hearth)
This dish was simple but really good! The flavors so clean and light they seem to energize the tastebuds with the natural essences of rich earth and tranquil sea.

I used cream dory and followed Ning's recipe as faithfully as I could. The only modification/tweak I made was the sprinkling of ground peanuts at the end.

It was so worth the effort (and it didn't even take a lot!)


Quirky Tag


Ning of Heart and Hearth tagged me to write 6 QUIRKY THINGS I DO. I thought to modify it a bit to 6 quirky things I do with food.

1. I love sili and take approximately 3 mins before I eat to pick the perfect 3 pcs of sili to slice into very tiny particles with my spoon which I eat with my food or mix with fish sauce and kalamansi.
2. I use my cellphone to store the recipes I cook. I am constantly typing in my innovations and modifications as I cook. The sad thing about it is that my old phone stopped working several months ago. All my old recipes were stored there.=(
3. I always have to order extra secret sauce for my Big Mac. I spread it on the underside of the top layer burger using french fries.
4.When I eat out alone, I'd rather eat in my car than in the restaurant. I just order the food , take it to the car and eat while parked. Somehow it feels homey in there.=)
5. I love cherry coke so much but can't find cherry syrup anywhere so I just put 7 whole cherries into a huge glass of coke when I watch DVDs at home.
6. I love, love Chowking's Naicha and just recently learned to ask for extra caramel syrup. Sweet!!!

Tagging rules:1. Link back to the person who tagged you - that's me. 2. Mention the rules on your blog. 3. Tell about 6 unspectacular quirks of yours 4. Tag 6 bloggers by linking them. 5. Leave a comment on each of the blogger's blogs letting them know they have been tagged.

Vicki, Liv, Noemi, Oggi, and everyone who'd like to do this.=)


Subic and Back


This year has been very busy and draining for both Liv and myself. The demands and responsibilities of work, the scary serious (yet fulfilling) task of raising our rapidly growing baby Andrea, finishing and furnishing our own tiny house and more work again are among many other things that have conspired to give us a long shot at fulfilling our goal this year to have a nice, relaxing vacation as a couple.

Accepting this most likely fact, we had an idea one day to just go somewhere away from Manila to soak in a different atmosphere and of course, EAT. To make things "funner" we made it a family affair and took Andrea (with her yaya). Off to Subic we went!


The SCTEX makes going to subic more scenic and less tiring. Just take the exit in Dau and keep stepping on the gas till you get to Subic in no time (ok there's a speed limit for a good reason so don't step too hard).;p The scenery is unexpectedly pretty and offers views of quaint fields, mountains and hills. Just be careful not to fall asleep because it seems that not many people use this road yet and it can get pretty lonely and quiet specially during siesta time.

The toll fee is around P114.00 or close to that amount one way (Dau-Subic).

Arriving at around lunch time, we headed straight to Xtremely Xpresso. I've been raring to try their Big Ben Pizza ever since I read about the place in Dessert Comes First (it was a great review delivered with Lori's usual mouth watering eloquence) so of course, it was the first thing I asked for (gimme! gimme!). Taking a look at their menu, I was pleasantly surprised to see that they had quite a wide selection of of other food as well.

What we had:

Smoked Salmon Capaccio (Php200.00)

It was great with the olive oil, capers and lemon. I thought it could have been smokier and better seasoned, but overall, I was really happy with the salmon. It was just fresh and simple.


The carbonara Liv ordered was really good. It wasn't overwhelmingly rich unlike some that fall into the trap of becoming an homage to seductive cream. It was seasoned well and the noodles were cooked perfectly. However, it was Liv's flash of brilliance that took the good carbonara dish to the realm of greatness. She topped it with the smoked salmon carpaccio!=0 It was just awesome...

And thanks to our nice window seat. We were able to watch our food get made like this

to become this

The Big Ben Pizza

Loaded with pepperoni and all other awesome meat a meat monster like me might possibly desire putting on a piece of dough, it was carnivore heaven. Olives, bell peppers and two kinds of cheese (I believe) were also thrown in to the party to complete the protein fest.

Although I have to say that the pizza was worth every peso, all the good things on top of the thick dough ended up quite heavy, and as much as I might have wanted more, the sheer volume of the whole thing had me tired after two slices. I guess there is such a thing as "too much of a good thing".
All in all it was a very good food experience and I would definitely go back to try the other interesting pizza flavors of theirs that I saw on the menu, among which are the Curry Chix Pizza and the Wasabi Mayo Seafood.

Later in the afternoon and after some duty free grocery shopping and after a failed attempt to get Andrea to have her first beach experience due to the rainy weather, merienda time found us still a bit full. Seeing Aresi (an old favorite resto of ours along Tomas Morato Q.C.) however, we decided a little reminiscing in Aresi's cozy ambience over some light snacks wouldn't hurt.=)

I forgot what this was called but it was some kind of crostini which we dipped in very yummy cream sauce. It was very good!

Old school four seasons... Yeah!

We were actually drooling over the leg of lamb course we spotted on the menu but after assessing our tummy storage situations, we reluctantly yielded to going back some other time for it (PROCASTINATION!! Ughh..)

I should also mention that the staff and waiters of Aresi were very helpful and friendly.

Soon after we were headed home. It was evening and evening meant dinner time. A late dinner in Pampanga it was and we had it at a place I first learned about from our friend Sakai's blog (which doesn't seem to be there anymore). This place is called a La Creme.

a La Creme is an unassuming restaurant right along Mac Arthur Highway with two stores that I know of (San Fernando and Angeles). The interiors are warm and homey and the atmosphere during dinner time is quite busy but happy.


The flavor of the gambas was just okay for me. What I liked about this dish though is that the shrimps were cooked perfectly and stayed away from dehydration. Each bite of shrimp was met by sensations of juicy, plump and sweet as if a bunch of little crustaceans just jumped into a bowl of sauce and spices straight from the sea.

Surf and Turf

Still feeling the effects of the pizza, I decided to stay away from bread for the evening so I had to skip the cheeseburger sandwich that we love in a La Creme. Thankfully, I didn't feel too bad with my decision as the steak was seasoned and spiced perfectly for me while the deliciously subtle lemon butter dip and the rough smokiness of the grilled shrimp went so well with each other.

Cheese stuffed burger from a La Creme

This is what I was talking about.

A mound of beef which erupts and spills oozes of mozzarella cheese when broken. The veggies are served on the plate and not in the sandwich accompanied by a spot of breaded fries that have some kind of yummy garlic mayo dip. Liv just had to have it as it's definitely one of our favorite burgers.

La Creme provided the perfect food and setting to cap off a day of eating and travelling to Subic and back.

What Love Song Am I


I saw this in Dreamwalker's blog and got curious.

Your Love Song Is

Thankyou by Dido

"And I want to thank you for giving me

The best day of my life

Oh, just to be with you is having

The best day of my life."

It's all good, as long as you're in love.


Vicki's Cupcakes


Hey world! I know, I know, when your birthday post is composed of a blurred picture a a good natured rib from your wife about being behind on posts then it's most probably a sign that you've been a bad boy. Tsk, tsk...

Oh well, thats all the past now and I have to admit that I've been a delinquent blogger and I probably deserve to be put in blogger jail and under solitary confinement for months feeding on cold, mass produced instant food (nooooooo!!). However, life has to move on right? So here I am again saying thank you to all the people and friends who continue to visit our blog (specially those who constantly hound me to get back to posting).

My re-entry will be about something good. Something which is the opposite of me as a blogger. Lol.

Vicki's cupcakes.

Vicki is Liv's officemate. A good friend (to Liv), a super mom, a blogger, and one mean baker.

I've been a fan since the first time Liv brought home some of her brownies and I downed half a box in one go. How a working mom like her who probably keeps the same superhuman hours at work as my wife still manages to deliver the "goodies" is just beyond me. I'm just glad she takes the time to make a lot and sell some for other people to enjoy her creations.

My current favorite is her latest creation:

Orange Cupcake With Killer Cream Cheese.

The cream cheese just leaves you crazy for more while the flavor of the cupcake itself is just perfect (and that's coming from me who has never really enjoyed citrus in cakes except for this and Bellini's orange cakes). Put together, it's just a killer combo of sweet, salty and smooth on top and citrusy dense cake at the bottom. I love the fact that the cake is heavy and definitely hits the spot (for a takaw person like me, density and weight are very much appreciated). These cupcakes are a bit rustic and less refined than the more popular brands right now but they're every bit as tasty.

All in all, it's one heck of a cupcake for the price and Liv if you're reading this you know what to do. ;p


Too Easy


Inspired by this post from 80s Breakfast I decided that I should get a *ahem* healthy dish in our diet somehow (between the chicharon's and the sisigs and whatnots). The original recipe called for almond slices but I wasn't able to find any in the store so I had to be contented with using cashews instead of almonds.

It was awesome. I can't believe something this easy to make is this

I'm sorry we haven't been updating this site too often, a little boy somewhere is being lazy. =) This site is updated more often so you can visit me there too. Ciao




Happy Birthday RUY!!! You're virtual image is becoming hazy...I think it's time to start blogging again. =)


Olivia's Recipes


I am no cook. I think we've established this fact in this blog already. I have been forced to cook more and more lately. The fact that Andrea is not allowed to eat junk food and food with MSG makes it essential for me to learn how to cook.

I usually look at Key Ingredients from recipes and then adding my own ingredients or technique. Yes, I am indeed overly ambitious when it comes to these things. I barely know how to cook and yet here I am already disobeying the recipe.

This makes it extremely hard for me to duplicate any of the few successes I've had in the kitchen.

Vicki, a friend of mine who makes the best cupcakes, once asked me "Do you have any of these recipes written down somewhere?"...I of course did not. I told her "If I just write it down and follow the same recipe again and again...that's so boring. It's not exciting...where's the fun in that?"

Truth be told, I'm just too lazy to write anything down. Luckily there are websites now which will allow you to store your recipes and share them with your friends. I think I might just give this a try...if I'm not too lazy to type.




You Are French Food

Snobby yet ubiquitous.

People act like they understand you more than they actually do.

Does this mean I am someone people pretend to like becuase I'm exotic but in reality they can't understand my taste? Hehehe I actually like this result cause I adore french food...well the little french food I've tried at least



The first time I tasted Goldschlager I didn't know what to think. It was definitely unlike any of the other spirits out there. First and most obvious would be the 24k gold flecks floating around the liquid.

You then open the bottle and be greeted by the smell. It's like stepping inside a Cinnabon store. The unmistakable smell of cinnamon draws you in and comforts you. It can't be that strong if it tastes like cinnamon right?

So you pour half a glass of Goldschlager and you bring the glass to your mouth. The texture is a bit thicker and more syrupy than others.

It tastes almost exactly like cinnamon syrup, like melted cinnamon candy. You can barely taste the alcohol. So you drink the remainder of the drink from your glass.

Then you TRY to walk...and you can't.


Chilling News


I was reading some news online and I came across a preacher who killed his wife and then stuffed her in the freezer for 3 years. This guy and his wife have 8 kids together! What has the world come to?

The guy hasn't remarried so I don't think it's a crime of passion, it's probably all about money. I don't understand why they would have to resort to these kinds of things? Don't they know there are other ways to resolve these? He could have just gone to the alameda probate attorney any day and his problems about splitting his wealth would be solved.

I think people think that lawyers are too expensive and would not want to waste money on lawyers. I think that's just plain silly, they would rather kill than work things out? It's crazy I'm telling you. This just goes to show you how difficult times are really now and people are resorting to extreme measures.

Gas and Cars


My gas expenses are CRAZY. I think at the beginning of the year it was at around 42Php per liter and now it's at 60Php. So going to work now costs me more, interestingly enough my salary is still the same (ooops, hope my boss doesn't read this).

Ruy's luckier in this area. He gets free gas which is of course a huge thing for us otherwise we'd have to pay for his gasoline from Manila to Pampanga, Tuguegarao, Apari and back. Just thinking about the possible cost of that is giving me headaches.

My cousin in california was telling me that they're experiencing the exact same thing over there. Most people are actually giving up their fords and gm cars because they're gas guzzlers. He said that if you go to any used car san diego or rather any used car shop in san diego you'd find dozens of these kinds of cars selling for next to nothing.

On one hand, it's nice to know that the Philippines is not the only country hard hit by the rising gas prices on the other hand the fact that other countries are feeling it to makes it seem more out of control. SIGH my posts are depressing aren't they?


Payday Loans


So here's more on depressing money talk. Every single time I go out with people the talk inevitably goes to money. Only a handful of people are immune to the down spiral of our economy and the insane inflationary rate. Can you believe that the inflationary rate for the 2nd quarter of the year is actually double to projected inflation?

A whole lot of people are beginning to live from paycheck to paycheck and we all know how unhealthy that is. What happens when you have an unexpected emergency? Where are you going to get the funds for that? I guess this is why payday loans are becoming so popular huh?

Is this why a taste of married life hasn't been eating? NO! We still eat a us.

Economy and My Pocket


I went to the market today and saw the price of rice. 35-60 a kilo! Can you believe it? It's crazy how expensive everything has become.

A lot of people I know are having difficulties making ends meet and these are professionals who work over 9 hours each and every day. Can you imagine how much more difficult it is for those who are trying to subsist on minimum wages? Andrea's yaya said that in her province rice costs 65-70. How can her family afford that? No wonder this poor girl has been relying so much on cash advances from me.

It's terribly sad how this is happening to the Philippines. We used to be the best in rice production and now we can't even afford rice?


Do you understand a word that’s coming out of my mouth


"Do you understand a word that’s coming out of my mouth?"

-- Chris Tucker, Rush Hour

I feel like our darling baby Andrea is going to channel Chris Tucker and tell us this line very soon. She has been talking non stop lately but there are times (though it doesn’t happen often) when neither Ruy or myself could understand what she’s saying. It’s terrible cause you can see the frustration on her face whenever she’s trying to express something and she tries and tries and tries but still no understanding from us.

I feel so bad cause I’m the mother and I’m supposed to understand my daughter right? I also feel horrible cause at the end of the day I still don’t understand what she’s trying to say and unfortunately language translation services for baby talk don't exist as of yet.

Despite this occassional issue with communication Andrea's growing and developing unbelievably well (hey, I'm entitled to be biased cause I'm the mom)... Here's how she looks like now.


Decorating Bug


Van and I have been putting finishing touches in our little homes. Van is of course so much more into the design aspect of home interiors. In fact, the most common phrase Ruy has been hearing from me is "Whatever's cheaper" (needless to say this frustrates Ruy to no end). Van and I have been talking about this so much that Jen B. got bit by the decorating bug as well.

She asked us to help her decorate her main living room. I think Van and I got over eager with having the creative freedom of redecorating the room and not having to spend a single dollar. We looked at so many things like coffee tables around the san francisco area, we also looked at rugs and lamps...we got too excited that we even looked at beds san diego or rather beds found in San Diego. The site where we saw these beds were quite affordable so we would definitely look into their other furniture more.

Inheritance Talks


Dozens of families have been torn apart by feuds over inheritance. My own family has had bouts with this issue and trust me fangs and claws come out when the talk turns to money and properties.

I was watching Crime Night from Discovery Channel and I was shocked at the lengths people will go just to get their inheritance early. There was a son who murdered his entire family just to get the money and the property! Can you believe that?

I do know that desperate times have driven a whole lot of people to desperate measures. Luckily killing your parents need not be an option anymore. Did you know that there are now ways of getting your inheritance money safely and legally!! (What's the use of the inheritance money if you'll end up in jail right?)

You can cash in parts of your inheritance any time! Processing takes only 72 hours. This will save you a whole lot of time, effort, worry ...and blood! =)

Now as for Andrea, the only inheritance she'll get from Ruy and myself would be this blog...poor girl.




Ruy and I are fans of the rich choco concoctions from Xocolat. We know of their branches in Eastwood and in Megamall and we were thrilled when they opened a new branch in Serendra.

This branch has an expanded menu with selections not offered in other branches.

Ruy is obsessed with this caviar mixture, the name of which escapes us right now. It's basically a mixture of cream cheese and caviar. You basically spread it on this toasted pita slices. Those who want to lessen the fishy taste of the caviar can squeeze the lemon on top of the caviar.

This is of course not your top of the line caviar, but it does satisfy for those cravings that you just can't shake off (like the one Ruy had). We usually end up finishing the bread before finishing the spread so we have to get an extra order of bread with this dish.

One cannot and must not go to Xocolat without having some of their chocolate offerings. I cannot tell you about these wonderful chocolate concoctions without the disclaimer that these are not for the weak of heart.
A personal favorite of mine would be the Taza de Xocolat. A sinfully rich and thick hot chocolate drink which some people find overwhelming but I am in love with.
For this trip however we tried something which is just as sinful but more for sharing. This is called the Frozen Hot Chocolate. An irony in name and a surprise in your mouth. This is eaten by popping a piece into your mouth, then feel the cold chocolate slowly melting and coating your tongue and throat with the richest, smoothest chocolate.
I've never gotten drunk on chocolate...not until I've had this.

We Apologize


We're so sorry for not blogging more often. We're putting the finishing touches to our home and it's been CRAAAZY! We'll try better promise!




Sometimes you crave for decadence in your dining experience, but there are times when you just want food. Honest-to-goodness, no frills food. This was exactly the kind of food that I was craving for and this craving led me straight to Quattro.

Quattro has always been known to my group as a drinking place and not necessarily a food place. It was not until I joined my current company (which is run by the son of Quattro's owner) that I began seeing this place in a new light. Slowly, Quattro has become a place to go to for simple and good food.

Our menu for that night consisted of the following: Fried Cheese Puffs, Sizzling Tofu, Chicken Teriyake, Baked Fish, Garlic Rice and Quattro Carousel.

The fried cheese puffs were simple yet addictive. It's not overwhelmingly salty like you would expect as the batter has enough flour to compensate for the saltiness of the cheese. The garlic mayo dip also made it yummier. It was quite a steal at 85 pesos...we weren't able to finish it!!
Next we had the tofu with garlic, mushrooms and oyster sauce. It was a great dish which was lighter than most of the things we had. Once again, this dish was very inexpensive
The chicken teriyaki was another okay dish but it was a bit salty for my taste. I'm not sure if it seemed salty because I've had other dishes with salt in them and I was already saturated with salt when I ate this, or it was just salty. The salt content wasn't offensive at all, you would just need a whole lot of rice to eat with it. =)
Wooohooo, now here's the dish which made me drag Ruy up to here. The baked fish. This is one of their bestsellers and it's my personal favorite (thanks to Ruy who introduced this to me in the past). It's just soooo good!! 188 pesos will get you a white fish wrapped in foil with a garlicky sauce on top of it. I have never had it overcooked so I know that the people in Quattro really know how to cook their fish. I could eat one whole order myself! During this meal however I was kind enough to share it with Ruy...hehehe

Normally, we don't even mention rice in this blog but their garlic rice deserves some mention though. It's WONDERFUL. I have been trying to figure out what they do differently but I can't. My boss (whose family owns this resto, and who came up with the recipe for the rice) also refuses to tell me...sigh

They have a signature drink which is perfect for the summer time called Quattro Carousel. It's a concoction with Singkamas (turnip), Carrots and Cucumber plus a medley of fruits. It's refreshing and it helps you deal with the guilt of eating all the other dishes...after all it has veggies so it's healthy right?

(Our entire meal together with the drinks and 2 orders of Large Bibingka for take out cost us 800++...not bad eh?)


Marikina Delights -- Macky's


Anyone who knows me would tell you how in love I am with Marikina. I have witnessed how this town has transformed from the rape capital of the Philippines to the thriving and bustling little town that it is now.
I love the cleanliness, the order and the friendliness of the people in this town. I would be a liar if I would not admit that the main thing which draws me to this town would be my food finds. One such food find would be Macky's.

To be honest, I have a bit of a complex when it comes to eating places. I am a bit afraid of eating in Carenderia's or Turo Turos...which I know is a loss of mine but I'm just generally uncomfortable in them. Luckily, I got to taste Macky's before seeing the place otherwise I wouldn't have dared go inside.
Macky's offers a variety of merienda fares but it's most famous for it's goto and tokwa't baboy. I have yet to taste it's goto but it's tokwa't baboy is to die for! The tofu used is always fresh, this could be due to the fact that this dish is always sold out before the day ends. The pork is replaced with Lechon Kawali which adds another dimension of texture and flavor to the dish. The sauce is addictive with it's wonderful mix of sour and slightly sweet. Those who, like Ruy and myself, fall in love with the crisp yet tender Lechon Kawali can order a separate order of it for 45 pesos, meanwhile an order of Tokwa't Baboy costs 25 pesos.
Macky's is found in San Roque and Concepcion Uno in Marikina City.


Isabela's Ramos Cafe


Finally I get to post my favorite restaurant in Isabela!

A little place in a residential neighborhood in quaint little Echague Isabela. A town which is small even by country/province standards. Surrounded by ricefields all over and serviced by (my observation) a gasoline station (that regularly has rice drying in its service bays), a school, a cemetery, a number of carabaos, a rice mill, one church that I know of and the best pizza place in Isabela.

Ramos Cafe aka Cafe By The Park

Introduced to me when I first started going to Isabela for work, it has been a favorite ever since.

Imagine being in the middle of a burning desert at high noon and suddenly bumping into a Fruitas stall or maybe finding a spa on top of Mt. Everest with a hot spring bath.
That is sort of the feeling.

At that time I was a stranger to the province and the only food options I had then were McDonald's, Jollibee, Chowking, Felicita's Pancit Cabagan and lechon manok in the evenings.

Situated in a residential neighborhood, this sign marks the spot.

Cozy interiors really make you feel that you're someplace unique to everything else in the immediate vicinity.

A menu of homemade stuffed crust pizzas, pastas and dishes like surf and turf, roastbeef, seafood thermidore and a lot of other stuff you'd never expect to find in well... Echague.

Fresh flowers on the tables.

Salad and iced tea. I love their waldorf for less than a hundred. Although tweaked to fit local taste, I love the nuts and apples which cleanse my palate and refresh my mind.

The Italian favorite has beef, italian sausage, mushrooms, basil, pomodoro sauce, soft cheese and mozarella I believe.

Chef's Choice (my favorite) has ham, onions, bell peppers, young corn, pineapples which I was able to take a picture of as it baked in their oven with the fire burning on top of the pizza.

Oh, and I always request for a special twist to my cheese stuffed crust pizza which isn't on the menu. Bacon.=)

Price would be around the Greewich Pizza range.

Other favorites of mine would be their canneloni and shawarma with super yummy garlic sauce.

The chef/owner I heard worked in Mandarin hotel and Paris before retiring to establish this wonderful manna from heaven.

If you're ever in the area, Cafe By The Park/Ramos' Cafe now has a branch along Villasis Highway in Santiago Isabela which is smaller and not as secluded but definitely more accessible. But, if you want to experience the real deal, the Echague branch (which is also the owner's house) is just around 20 mins away. Take the Cauayan Isabela bound highway until you reach a fork in the road. Take the right prong which veers off the main highway and leads into a small town. Go straight (around a kilometer) till you reach a small intersection with an equally small Shell gas station. Turn left and go straight a few meters till you see the sign.



Disclosure Agreement