Details Magazine names Filipino Food “The Next Great Food Trend”

I was so happy to see the feature on Filipino cuisine in the September 2013 issue of Details magazine. The writer of the piece wondered how Filipino food has managed to stay under the radar for so long, which is something I have often questioned myself. I always tell people that the most Filipino parts of me are probably my taste buds because I love, love, love our local fare! This story explains the many different flavor notes our dishes hit and calls ours a ‘pork-centric’ cuisine. It also gives a short list on widely used terms in our local kitchens and dining tables such as ‘banana ketchup’, ‘lumpia’ and ‘tinapa’. With its gaining popularity, more and more Filipino restaurants have opened and Details has named it “the next great food trend.”

If you want to read the article, click this link: or you could grab a copy of the September issue of Details Magazine.

Turning Things Around at 30

Last June 27 was going to be a bad day. I think I had a pre-conceived notion that it would be because I knew I would be officially removed from my 20’s and (what felt like) thrown into my 30’s. My mind was made up and anyone who knows me can tell you that it is very difficult to reverse that.

As if on point, the day started out roughly, waking up with a terrible hangover from the festivities of the night before. Festivities meaning 2 vodka cranberries, 3 tequila shots, whatever was inside a drink called the lemon-strawberry (2 of those) and wine. I know, who is silly enough to mix all that? Well apparently me. So my head was pounding and my stomach felt like waves crashing. I got out of bed to my girls, excitedly waiting to wish me a happy birthday. Appropriately so since they were the highlight of my day. Then it was off to work where I had to proof read over 80 pages and overlook photos as well. By this point I swear I was seeing double. Finally feeling free of my over indulgent consumption from the cake my workmates so sweetly bought me, things were looking up. Until of course I got into the car and sat through an hour and a half of traffic… the very worst I have endured since I started this job. To make a long story short, the rest of the day continued on in a similar manner.

When I got home, I literally wanted to pass out. But my ever so forceful hubby wouldn’t have it. He told me I had no choice but to get dolled up for some alone time with him. So I did. I guess at that point I was appreciating that he wanted to do something special for me… I just had no idea how special.

I should have figured it out when I was blindfolded. He told me that he didn’t want me to see where we were going until we got there.  I was preoccupied with thoughts of being seen in public and giving people the impression that I was some obsessed ‘50 Shades Of Grey’ fan. When we finally hit our destination, I remember a long walk, which further sparked my curiosity and also built my excitement. Finally, I heard a door open and as I stepped inside, I was allowed to remove the tie I had covering my eyes…


My whole family and all my in-laws were there to celebrate with me.

He got the team of Cibo di M under one of my favorite local chef’s, Margarita Fores, to prepare a set menu and sit-down dinner for us. I am so happy to share this night with you all. A little disclaimer though: It being a surprise, I didn’t have my camera on me so these photos were taken with an iPhone.

We started with crostini topped with water spinach and gruyere and barquillios cylinder filled with chive mouse and ham crisp. This was being passed around as we enjoyed a light and bubbly prosecco.

As we finally settled down in our seats, the first course that was served was a simple salad of field greens, sliced apple and pear and Parmesan crisp with a guava jelly-balsamic vinaigrette. It was light and delicious.

Field Greens with Apples and Pears, Frico of Parmigiano Reggiano, Guava Jelly Balsamico Vinaigrette

Our second course was my favorite pasta from Lusso, definitely heavier on the tummy with an asiago and mushroom cream sauce over spinach taglierini and topped with parma ham. This is an indulgence I could eat forever.

Lusso Spinach Taglierini with Asiago, Mushrooms and Parma

The third course was slow roasted us beef belly with a pommery mustard glaze and red wine au jus. It was extremely tender and the perfect portion. It came with simple wing beans, red wine tomatoes and skillet potatoes.

Roasted US Beef Belly, Pommery Mustard Glaze, Red Wine Au Jus

Last but not least, dessert! Asides from the delicious birthday cake my mom made for me (Butter pound with expresso cream filling and marshmallow icing) we had a duo of salted caramel gelato and a dainty chocolate tartlet.

Salted Caramel Gelato and Chocolate Tartlet

So this was how my dear husband turned the promise of a very bad day around. If before I was worried about coming into my 30’s, largely due to vanity thinking of a slowing metabolism and the test of my skin’s elasticity, I now look to it with an open mind and so easily realize that all those matters which are on the surface, quite frankly, don’t matter. I have a wonderful family and am constantly surrounded by people who love me. And even if I wasn’t so blessed, this individual who adores me to the point of doing anything to make me happy, is all mine and he is truly one of the best gifts I have ever received.

My Family Table

My lovely husband, Armand.

Hotels & Hot Cocoa

I am one of those people who enjoy staying in hotels. There is something about the room service, the fluffy sheets and the pretty little bathroom products that get me giddy. I guess it is also because when I am in a hotel I can leave whatever stress I have from work or home… at home.

Tonight I am at the The Shangrila Mactan Resort and Spa in Cebu, lounging alone in my room, enjoying the peace and quiet. Nights like this can only be completed with a steaming hot cup of hot cocoa. Through this blog, you will notice that I am not much of a coffee person… Well, not a coffee person at all. But hot chocolate? I can never resist. Good night dear readers, I am snuggling up, loving my sweet nightcap.

Hot Cocoa with Giant Marshmallows

Lunchtime at The Office

I have known my boss Raul Manzano for quite sometime now. I can’t remember the exact moment that we met but I do recall when we got to know each other. We were both invited to go to Bangkok with a side trip to the island of Kho Samui on a press junket. At the time he was representing the publication Metro Society and I was with Metro Weddings. Asides from having writing in common, I soon realized that we both shared another passion, food. And what better place to discover that than in lovely Thailand? We bonded over street food on the island and the best restaurants the city had to offer.  We liked so many of the same things and shared that same excitement when we tasted something pleasing. His palate was a lot more resilient to heat than mine but still, we were able to share many things.

From then we remained close and I began contributing to his magazine. Then late last year the managing editor position opened so when Raul called me for the job, I gladly took it. Since I have started working there, I can’t count the number of times he has fed me and the rest of the staff lunch. Sometimes, when we need a break, we trek from the office to a nearby mall to all dine together, usually on him. If not, he comes to the office with a whole meal, which we just have to heat up. Anything from roasted lamb ribs to chicken pastel to amazing pasta dishes. And as the popular saying goes “beggars can’t be choosers” that we are not because everything he has brought thus far is really delicious. He is a fantastic cook.

There are also those moments when our job gets quite stressful and instead of leaving our office TV on a news station, he puts on a cooking show and we all sit back, relax for a bit and watch together. I remember last week we saw Tyler Florence make a chicken paillard and the next day he came to the office with a whole pound of it for us, side salad and bread pudding for dessert included.

This is definitely not a part of his job description but he continues to do it because of his innate need to go the extra mile for our staff. I not only feel so blessed to have such a wonderful boss but a true foodie friend whom I can always share my experiences with.

Raul and I during our press trip to Thailand

Much love dear Raul, you are truly a treasure…