Surf and Sea: Elyu Day 2.

This post is definitely long overdue. The last post about this trip was posted months ago. If you want to check that out, it’s right here. This is day two of our trip to La Union, spent mostly on the beach, but with some gems found in the city. Read on to find out more. 😊

The day started with breakfast care of the place we were staying. It was simple–hotsilog and coffee–but very welcome, and the view we had while eating was amazing (we managed to score the window seat with the view of the beach). It was calming and serene, and was a great start to the day. 😊20170827_071613

After breakfast, we chilled in our room to let the food settle, but didn’t wait too long before going down to the beach. It was a cloudy morning so it was a bit dim out, which just made it more relaxing. We spent some time wading around, playing in the waves, and sitting on the sand, and then back to the room we went to get ready for the day’s adventure. 😄

We didn’t have much planned this day, just lunch out and a visit to the nearby temple, but I have to say, it was fun but tiring. The first stop was a 10 minute drive away, and was a well known barbecue spot called L.U. BBQ. The interior was very modern with touches of brick, cement, and wood, and the minute we walked in we were engulfed with the enticing smell of the grill and barbecue. 😁

 

When we got there, it was a bit empty–maybe like two or three tables other than us–so we wondered if the hype was just that–hype. But then as we waited for our food, the place started to fill up fast, and it turned out that we got there just barely before the lunch rush came. That was great. 😆20170827_11562020170827_115804

We took a long time looking at the menu and couldn’t decide what to get. In the end we settled for this sample platter thing (can’t quite remember what it’s called) that has some of their best sellers, with iced tea and rice. Now. This was a meal for 4. We were 2 people and we finished it. Uhm. Probably shouldn’t have but it was so good. I mean just look at that photo, doesn’t it make you hungry? 😆20170827_121241

That was an amazing meal. We were insanely full after it, but not in the I never wanna go back here ever again, regretful kind of way. It was sooooo good and I wish it was closer to Manila so I could go back whenever I wanted to. 😅

We drove a little ways off after lunch, to the Ma-Cho Taoist Temple, and just spent some time looking around. It was cool seeing such a calm place amidst a busy city–it was like a different world. We were mostly quiet, with silent gasps here and there, as we took everything in. 😊

 

The main entrance of the temple was located around back, and while you’re walking towards it, you pass by this wall of greenery, where some statues stood at every nook, each having some Chinese engraving on them. I tried to look them up when I got access to internet, and what I found said they were 18 saints, but I’m not sure about that. There’s also a statue in the garden above the temple that seems to be that of Guanshiyin — the Goddess of Mercy. 😊

There were so many statues of dragons–two large ones stood at the foot of both flights of stairs that led to the temple, and on the rails were tiny ones as well. In the center is also a dragon, with some Chinese engravings. When you get to the top of the stairs, you get to the main chamber of the temple, which is both simple and extravagant at the same time. 😄

It’s extravagant in the sense that there’s a lot happening in the altar area, but in front of that, all you have are several rows of kneelers where you can light up some incense and pray. There are instructions in the area where you get the incense that shows you how to pray to which god, as well as what they symbolize, and there are also people there at the temple that can help you if you wanted more about it. 😊

I’m not sure about other temples in the country, but this one is so open and welcoming that it fascinated me so much. I’m all for exploring other cultures and religions, and was very much happy for the chance to see this amazing place. 😄

With calm smiles on our faces, we headed back to the resort we were staying at and rested for a while before going back to the beach. For dinner that day, we decided to just get some snacks from the restaurant where we were staying, and enjoyed a night in. 😁

The next morning was just breakfast, packing, and one last time in the beach. And then it was back to Manila and the reality of work and life. It was a short trip, but still very much worth while. We’ll definitely come back sometime, and hopefully actually get some surfing done. 😆

I know this took me a long time to post in relation the first part, I’m sorry about that. One of my goals in 2018 is to be more consistent about posting, so please do bear with me. Thanks so much for sticking around and reading, I am truly grateful. 😊

’til next time,

🐰❤️

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Let’s cook! Bistek Tagalog

I’m making lunch today and I had a thought to document the process. Bistek Tagalog is one of my absolute favorite Filipino dishes, and it’s very simple to make yourself so that’s a huge bonus. Now, I don’t remember where I got the recipe that I use. It’s been a note in my phone for over a year, but it works so that’s great! 😆

The ingredient list for this recipe is pretty short: soy sauce, calamansi (Philippine lime), pepper, beef tenderloin (I used breakfast steak), onions, and oil and butter. Calamansi is a key ingredient in this recipe, and although you can substitute it with lemon, there’s nothing like this citrus fruit from my homeland. 😊

So we start by putting together 1/4 cup calamansi juice, 1/3 cup soy sauce, and 1/4 tsp black pepper. Into this mixture, we put 1/2 kg of the beef, make sure they’re cut up into smaller pieces, although the size depends on you, and let it marinade for 15-20 minutes. I let it marinade for an hour or two, although I don’t know if this changes anything.

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After marinading, put some oil and butter in a pan and then sear the beef. Don’t forget to set aside the marinade as this will be used later on. This is the longest step in this recipe because the meat should be seared one layer at a time. I cooked 3/4 kg of beef and it took me about 30 minutes to sear everything–it really depends on the size of your pan and the amount you’re searing.

When all the beef is seared, set them aside and put the onions in the pan, sliced into rings, and cook them until they’re translucent. I like onions so I put in a large whole one, but the amount depends on your preference. When the onions are translucent, put the beef back into the pan and mix them in with the onions. Pour the marinade into the pan, as well as 1/4 cup water, and let them simmer for about 2 to 3 minutes.

That’s it! Pretty simple right? This is a classic Filipino dish that I think you will enjoy. It’s savory and kind of sour, with some sweetness coming from the onions, and it pairs very well with white rice. Try it yourself and let me know what you think. 😁

’til next time,

🐰❤️

P.S. – I had to leave right after cooking and then chowed down as soon as I got home so I wasn’t able to take a photo of the final product. Sorry about that. 😅

Cali galleries: In-N-Out.

These next 2 posts happened in the same day–my last tourist day in San Diego. If you want to check out the rest of this series, go ahead and click here. I spent two weeks in California meeting with family and friends, and being a tourist. This series documents this trip. Go ahead and check it out! 😄

This day’s adventure started with lunch at no other place than In-N-Out. I’ve heard so many things about this place, and have been told that it’s something that must be tried when in California. I was really excited to finally be trying such a popular thing. I nearly jumped out of the car when we parked. BURGEEEER YAAAAAASS. 😆

In all the time that I’ve seen and heard people talk about In-N-Out, I heard hype around pretty much the same thing–Animal Style. It’s an item on their not-so-secret secret menu, and means the addition of grilled onions, cheese, and extra sauce. Given its popularity, it was clear what my order was going to be–a double double and fries, both Animal Style. 😁IMG_4895

Look at that beaut. It took a lot of restraint to not chow down as soon as the food arrived, but I had to take a photo first–if not for the blog, then for my own memory bank. I took this and another one and then, finally, FINALLYate my lunch. 🤤

The burger was really good and I’d definitely have it again, but it wasn’t as amazing to me as the hype made it out to be. Maybe it was just the fact that I heard too much hype about it, or maybe I just eat too many burgers. Again though, it was super good and filling, and I’ll definitely be going back when I can. 😁

So yeah, just a short post to start off the last tourist day. I’ve gotta say, it was a great start–stomach, heart, and soul full (burgers really make me happy 😆). What followed is a very tiring and fun day–but that’s for the next post. Thanks for sticking with me! 😄

’til next time,

🐰❤️

Surf and Sea: Elyu Day 1.

It’s been a while since I went on a road trip (Tagaytay doesn’t really count because it’s only about 2 to 2 and a half hours away), so when I knew that a long weekend was coming up, I decided it would be a good time to go somewhere and take a break. It’s also been quite some time since I’ve gone to the beach, so that’s where I decided to go. 😁

We left at around 8:30 AM in order to arrive in time for check in at Costa Villa Beach Resort at 2:00 PM. Holy shiitake, that was an insanely long drive. Granted, I wasn’t driving, but I was already incredibly tired so I could only imagine how much more tried the driver was. It was about 3 and a half hours on the road, going through three different expressways. 😵

One thing we forgot to do before leaving Manila was getting cash for the trip. So there was a point that we were getting quite frantic when we reached the La Union area because there were barely any banks. We ended up having to go on another hour driving in search of a bank after checking in just so we had funds. So that was crazy. 😅

The place we stayed at was simple and of a really good value. What could possibly be my favorite part about Costa Villa is the fact that it isn’t located right in the center of surf town. It’s located a little past it which gives them a separate strip of beach that isn’t as crowded and gives a bit more of a private feel. And if you wanted to check out the bars and food places in surf town, it’s just a few minutes walk away. 😊

When we got back, we didn’t waste any more time. We changed into our swim clothes and headed down to the beach to check it out–but couldn’t resist jumping into the water and playing in the waves. We were there for about an hour, and then we rinsed off and relaxed a bit before going out for dinner. 😊

We walked down the beach to get to our dinner destination. It was nice, walking by the waves as the sun started to set. In ten minutes, we arrived at Mad Monkeys, and tried their burgers with beer cheese sauce. I’ve got to say, the patties were perfectly cooked, and the cheese sauce just added to the rich flavor of the sandwich. It goes really well with the beverages we got them with (beer and orange soda), and was a really taste bud satisfying meal. I love love love burgers, and this has my two thumbs up. 😁

After dinner, we started walking back to our room. This time we walked on the road–it was a bit too dark to walk by the sea. I knew we were going to pass by a well known coffee place called El Union on the way back, but I didn’t plan or expect to be dropping in that night. When we passed it by though, I was immediately pulled towards it. 😊

The place itself emits such a chill vibe, and the people there–from the staff to the patrons, were just as chill. We approached the counter and stared at the menu for a bit. They’re popular for their brews–the owner is the reigning World Barista Champion (So flippin cool)–but they’re also known for a drink called Horchata that’s made with rice milk, cinnamon, and vanilla. 😊

We were pretty full from dinner, so we decided not to get any particular food just then, but we decided to try the Dirty Horchata. This drink is their Horchata with a shot of espresso, and is a very interesting and delicious beverage. I, for one, am not a fan of cinnamon, but the espresso balances everything out and was just a delight. 😄

This drink pretty much ended our day. We went back to the resort, got some beers, and drank while munching on chips and watching a movie. It was a good day. Our short vacation has officially begun. 😁

’til next time,

🐰❤️

Cali galleries: Boodle fight!

Welcome back! In the last post, we started with the second day of my family reunion. If you want to check that out, or any other post in this series, go ahead and click here. We’ve taken in the view and the air in Mt. Helix, and we’ve gone home to take some time to relax as we waited for the next event. 😊

The Filipino culture is one of community–even to the point of some opening their homes during fiestas and inviting strangers to grab a bite. Also exemplifying this is something called a boodle fight–a giant spread of food on top of banana leaves. The idea is that everyone stands around the table, and everyone, at the same time, eats off of the spread with their hands. This was the next event of our day. 😄

While most of us were lounging around, some of the tita‘s and tito‘s fired up the grill to start cooking the seafood and meat for the boodle. The comment later that night was that something that took hours to prepare was devoured in minutes. It was such a fun dinner, and the time-lapse that was taken was funny to watch. This was the aftermath (about 10-15 minutes later). 😆IMG_4783

It was a pretty quick dinner, filled with laughter and good food. The night wasn’t over though–the family decided to make more out of the day and go bowling. That was the end of the family reunion. When we got home that night, most of our relatives started packing their things, readying them for their departure the next day. It was a pretty short reunion, but it was very very sweet. 😊

This wasn’t the end of my adventure tho. 😉

’til next time,

🐰❤️

Size matters.

A few years back, I went to this thing in La Union, and I got a bite of a burger from one of the concessionaires. The bite was so good that when I got back to Manila, I looked up the place to check if they had stores nearby. The upside was that they did. The downside was there was only one near me. I made a mental note to check it out, but never really got to. 😔

A few weeks ago, I went to Alabang Town Center in Muntinlupa and, knowing that one of their branches was there, I decided to finally grab a bite there. SIZE matters in ATC is pretty small, just 3 tables and a bar. Their menu is more diverse than I expected, with rice meals and pasta dishes that can cater to those that don’t particularly want sandwich type food. 😊

I asked what their best-sellers were and, surprisingly, their top two aren’t sausage burgers. Their number 1, the T.W.B. (The Works Burger) is composed of a monterey jack stuffed beef patty, bacon, american cheddar, lettuce, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, and an oat bun, with a choice of garlic cream cheese or bleu cheese. Their number 2, the B.S.B. (Beef & Sausage Burger), is composed of a beef and sausage patty, garlic mushrooms, colby jack, lettuce, onions, tomatoes, and an oat bun. 🤤

We got one of each of these burgers, just to see if we could taste a difference between the patties, as well as a single order of their chili cheese fries. Let me tell you, when the food got served, I’m pretty sure I started to palpitate. They looked SO good, and showed me that they pay attention to the appearance of the food they serve. They don’t stop there though, everything we got tasted really good. I didn’t get to take a shot of the T.W.B. but here are the fries and the B.S.B. 😄

Imagine: a gourmet tasting burger for a not-so-gourmet price. I think it was absolutely amazing. My thought from when I first had a bite years ago, that of wishing they were more common, just kept ringing in my head as I took bite after bite. Burgers are one of my favorite things to eat, and Size Matters is up on my list of local places to go. Their staff is nice, their food (at least the two burgers and cheese fries we tried) both looks and tastes good, and I will definitely be returning to try more of their menu. 😁

So yeah, if you ever come across this place, and you really love burgers, I really do suggest you give it a shot. They have two branches–one in Alabang Town Center and one in SM City North Edsa. If you do end up checking them out, lemme know what you think, okay? 😄

’til next time,

🐰❤️

Cali galleries: Lucille’s flying pig lounge.

No trip would be complete without checking out the local food scene. I’m a huge fan of barbecue, so when my mother’s friend suggested we have lunch at this really good barbecue place, I was stoked. 😆

From the minute you enter the place, you are bombarded with the scent of food being grilled, as well as the visuals of the decor around the place. It was kind of crazy in the sense that there wasn’t really a single theme to the whole place–the bar area was dimly lit and, for lack of a better word, bar-like, but the outer extensions of the bar seemed to have a more homey vibe to them. Their setup was kind both in-cohesive and cohesive at the same time, if that makes any sense at all. 😆IMG_4547

Now on to the food. So Lucille’s has 3 different barbecue sauces that you can try when you eat there, and purchase to take home if you’re into it. I tried all three, and my favorite is probably the original. The Memphis sauce was a bit to tangy for my liking, and I was never really a hot & spicy type of girl. 😕IMG_4548.JPG

When I was looking through their beverage selection, I saw the words “Muddy Waters” and I was so fascinated by the name, I just had to try it (although my tita did say that it was a good drink too). The drink is a mix of iced tea and lemonade, which isn’t too unusual a drink mix. Back in Manila, actually, I liked to mix different drinks and this was a mix I’ve tried. There is a difference though–iced tea in the States is different from Iced tea in the Philippines. I can’t explain it, but even International sweet tea is not the same as the iced tea I’m used to. 😆IMG_4549

Let me tell you, that was soooo good. Again, it’s different from what I’m used to, but it was such an awesome mix of sweet, bitter, and sour. Aside from the flavor itself though, the drink also looked cool with the gradient of brown to yellow in the huge mason jar. It makes it look all the more elegant and chill. 😊

IMG_4550.JPGOkay, now on to the food. Let’s begin with the biscuits and Honey Apple Butter. Now, I’m not really a big fan of biscuits and butter, but as always, I didn’t knock it ’til I tried it. It was different from other things I’ve tried. As can be guessed from its name, the butter was sweet–and way different from what I’m used to. It wasn’t bad at all, but not exactly my type. 😕

IMG_4551Next up is what my tita said was a must try for this place: their Onion Straws. This is Lucille’s version of onion rings–thin strands battered with buttermilk, seasoned, deep fried, and served with their BBQ ranch dip. It was amazing. First of all, when they put it down on the table, I was surprised at the size of the serving, it was just a mountain of onions and I got excited. I love onion rings, but am kind of picky about it, and this was just really really good. In a way, it was both something very familiar, and wonderfully surprising. 😊

Now for the main. When I was looking at the menu, I had a really hard time deciding what to eat because there were so many choices and they all looked good. I then found that they had lunch combos. It was an opportunity to try multiple items on one plate, but not too much of each. I decided to get their St. Louis Spareribs with Brisket Burnt Ends and Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes. 😄IMG_4552

The photo I took doesn’t quite look too appetizing, and I think it looks smaller than what it actually was. The serving was pretty big, almost too big for me (and can eat A LOT). It was a really good combination, and each item was good on its own. I was worried that having two barbecue meat dishes would be overwhelming, but it really wasn’t. The ribs were delicious, they were really tender and slipped off the bone, and they just tasted like really good ribs. The burnt ends, I thought, took the best part of barbecue (the charred bits) and let it stand alone. It may not be the healthiest thing in the world, but boy was it good. The garlic mashed potatoes accompanied the two grilled dishes well, while at the same time being able to stand on its own. It wasn’t the type of thing that I couldn’t eat by itself. 😊

After finishing the main, I was so stuffed that I didn’t have space for dessert, so I missed out on that on this visit. I’ll have to try it next time, and there will be a next time. I really enjoyed my meal here. Their decor, their servers, their food–everything just came together in an upbeat and energizing way. If you happen to pass by one of their locations, I say check it out if you haven’t yet. So yeah, that’s it for this installment. 😄

’til next time,

🐰❤️

P.S. – Check out the introduction to this series here. Links to the other posts are here too. 😄