Dining

#StayHome: Food in the Time of Quarantine

With enhanced community quarantine in place and having stayed home for three weeks at this point, I realized how much I took for granted being able to eat at my favorite dining establishments whenever I felt like it.

On the bright side, my family’s usual Sunday lunches have now become an everyday thing. My aunt is an amazing cook, and she’s always made our favorites once a week—now it’s every meal save for the occasional Jollibee takeout. So we’ve been blessed to be eating good food all this time.

That said, my brother is turning a year older during the quarantine period, and we’ve been talking about finally ordering from a restaurant to have a little celebration among ourselves.

Looking for one is a challenge since most restaurants are closed, so I thought I’d compile what I’ve found so far in case anyone else might find it helpful, whether you also have a special occasion or just want to satisfy your cravings!

Dining

Hai Shin Lou: All That, and Dim Sum

(a.k.a. I may not be full Chinese, but I spent months in my mother’s womb with dim sum, so I have authority on these things, okay?)

Seriously, ask and she’ll tell you how she had Chinese food every day she was pregnant with me.

(She also asked me to let everyone know it was so much cheaper back in the day, so you’re welcome, Mom. Love you.)

Having spent my literal formative months alongside a food-gendered twin made up of dim sum, it makes so much sense how I always felt a connection to it, much to the point that I’ve never gotten tired of it. I could have dim sum straight for one week for lunch, and wouldn’t mind having some more on the following Monday. It helps that dim sum is readily accessible in Cebu, with fast-food chains making it available at nearly all hours of the day despite traditionally being served during lunchtime only, a practice that Chinese restaurants still do until now.

But even with so many existing options, a new addition to Cebu’s vibrant dining landscape is always welcome. When there were murmurs of a really good Chinese restaurant opening at the Marco Polo Plaza Cebu some years back, you can only imagine my excitement.

Fast forward to today, and the Seafood King meets the Queen City at Hai Shin Lou Cebu.

Dining

Why Sunday Brunch Matters

It’s not quite breakfast, no. That word itself, despite pleasant associations with bacon, is a dead weight on my shoulders telling me that it’s the start of the day, and that I have no excuse not to get my sh*t together.

It’s not lunch either. That means half the day has passed, and is therefore a signal of failure if I haven’t managed to get anything done yet (which, personally, is the case 75% of the time).

But breakfast and lunch got together and employed dinner as a surrogate mother, blessing the world with the perfection that is brunch—also known as the happy hour for adults, when done right.

Dining, Journal

Pet-Friendly Places in Cebu

Warning: Major floof and cuteness ahead

As 1,197 people on Facebook and 1,260 people on Instagram know, I have a new man in my life. His Royal Floofiness, Gryffin the Chow, is an adorable red-coated chow chow who looks like a little lion, resembling the emblematic animal of the great House of Gryffindor he was named after. His appearance also makes him look like half of a griffin, the majestic part-lion part-eagle creature in mythology.

Despite how cute they look, most people are wary of owning chow chows because they tend to be aggressive—loyal to their masters, yet mean to strangers. They can also get quite aloof, which is the total opposite of most dogs who are people-pleasers. As someone who was debating getting a cat, I can’t say I mind the haughty nature; I was, however, concerned about the hostility.

I read that, in order to tame down the aggression, chows should be socialized early on. Get them used to unfamiliar people while young, and they’ll be friendly doggos. With that, I’ve taken to bringing Gryffin with me on playdates and letting him meet my friends and their dogs.

Cebu isn’t really a park city, and the few parks we do have tend to attract a lot of stray dogs. Not to discriminate against all of them, but I’m concerned about safety. I’m wary of having to break up a dog fight if it comes to that, and most of these stray dogs haven’t had their shots.

So, Gryffin and I have been on the hunt for pet-friendly places in the city, and we’ve found enough to warrant a list!

UPDATED: July 6, 2018.

Dining

Pocket Pleasures: Cammy Confectionery

I have found the best leche flan in Cebu. Fight me on this.

Quite a bold statement coming from someone who wouldn’t necessarily define herself as a dessert person (stay with me here). It’s not that I don’t like dessert – I do, really, but when I don’t actively look for sweets, I’m extremely picky with the ones I like. Off the top of my head, I will indulge in the following: Marco Polo Plaza’s malicious cookies, Isidra Comfort Cantina’s calamansi custard meringue, red velvet cupcakes by The Cupcake Theory, a box of Ferrero Rocher, basically anything by Raquel Choa and The Chocolate Chamber, and blue cheese walnut and fig cheesecake from Osvaldo’s in Davao whenever I can bully someone to buy me a slice (to date, this has only happened once).

So there I was, perfectly content with my current roster of favorite desserts, and in swoops my good friend Mayan with a pretty little jar of leche flan. Plonk, on the table, no big deal, like she knew it was just another addition to a running list of things she has negatively influenced me on – and she wasn’t even sorry about it, the devil.

Then again, label says, ‘A Sweet Treat for the Wicked’, so that’s a warning as good as any.

Dining

So Good to be Bad: Bad Boys Wingz

One of my favorite things about Zee Lifestyle‘s annual Men’s Issues is the Bachelorettes feature, in which we gather the city’s most eligible ladies for a dining by discussion on love, sex, relationships, and dating in Cebu. It’s always interesting and informative (sometimes waaaaay too informative) to delve into the minds of gorgeous and intelligent women of substance, and this year was no different.

BBW12
Behind the scenes of Zee Lifestyle’s 2016 Bachelorettes feature: Shaira Berame, Christina Santos, Yumny Mariot and Pia Tenchavez (Shot on location at Wish Cebu)

What makes the 2016 batch even more dear to me, though, is how the ladies have all become fast friends. I remember everyone’s initial trepidation on not knowing anyone before the shoot, especially since they were expected to share personal details. To my surprise, they warmed up to each other right away, even having their own conversations while the production team was setting up. By the time the discussion part started, Pia Tenchavez, Yumny Mariot, Shaira Berame and Christina Santos have developed this easygoing chemistry that the pages could do no justice.

Since the shoot, the girls and I (along with photographer Toni Marie Despojo) have since taken to going out every now and then. First was at Yumny’s homebase Marco Polo Plaza for the hotel’s signature Earl Grape Iced Tea. Then Christina invited all of us to her brother David’s chicken joint Bad Boys Wingz, which recently opened a branch at The Greenery in Mabolo.

Dining, Travels

The Sweet Escape: 10:31 by Chef M

When it comes to good food, distance is no issue. I’ve been known to make the drive over to nearby Mactan Island for some great Asian fusion, and recently a few friends and I even headed all the way to Sogod for German noms at Borussia. So, you see, as long as the food is worth it, I’m all in.

A recent work event (a successful one!) brought me to the shores of Bohol for several days, and my stay happened to coincide with the opening of my friend Wyvren‘s new restaurant 10:31 by Chef M in Tagbilaran City. No reason not to drop by, especially when it’s super near the port and I was already there anyway.

Dining

Ilaputi: Not Your Usual Order

It’s time to admit that I’m a total creature of habit.

While this quirk has its share of frustrations, it’s mainly a good thing. If I see something I like, I’ll wear it a lot, use it again, order it over and over… you get the gist. That basically explains why my wardrobe staples are all in black and white, which makes dressing in the summer quite the challenge.

You’d think I would know myself better, but truthfully I only came to this conclusion recently (and amusingly, by the way), when I realized that the baristas at Brown Cup already knew I usually get a cappuccino (hot) or a white mocha java (cold), that I was on first-name basis with the barista in Starbucks (hi, Linus!) and the bartender at Politics (what’s up, Mark?), and heck the server at Dimsum Break anticipated my usual order of spicy-steamed-rice-with-plain-siomai-and-ginger-sauce-with-bottled-water.

In Ilaputi‘s case, it was The Stroganov. Because, seriously, it’s The Stroganov.

 

See what I mean? 😛

I have to hand it to Jan Rodriguez though. Instead of being perfectly content that I was already nursing an incurable addiction to The Stroganov, he’s continuously whipping up delicious ways to sway me into trying out other items on the menu.

And that is how I ended up eating something-else-not-Stroganov at Ilaputi one Saturday night.