Sunday, March 30, 2008

Perhaps We Were Hungry

Remember Claire de la Fuente ?

"Karen Carpenter of the Philippines"
That was how she was dubbed in the 1970s-80's - what with a voice and singing style that bore a striking resemblance to that of Karen Carpenter - the iconic multi-awarded but ill-fated international singer'.
Claire's own Philippine career peaked, plateaued and faded away
She subsequently put her hard earned money in business - and set up a successful bus line, and a chain of restaurants to boot

But recently - with the advent of youtube and digital recordings, Claire was "rediscovered" by none other than Richard Carpenter , the late Karen Carpenter's brother, and composer of all their chart-breaking hits.
Charmed and amazed by the voice quality similarities, Richard got in touch with Claire and contracted her to re-launch the "Carpenters" sound worldwide.
Richard Carpenter came to Manila and was typically overwhelmed by the welcome and adulation that he received from the star-struck Filipino music lovers.

Claire de la Fuente - "rediscovered" and now an international recording star
Another fairy tale story that focuses on Filipino talent, perseverance, and never-say-die character ...

Good news about the Philippines
Such a rarity these days
That was certainly worth a celebration of sorts

How to celebrate?

There were two ways I could think of ...
One was to ride one of Claire de la Fuente's buses
Or I could go out and EAT in one of the Claire de la Fuente restaurants ...
Such a tough choice ...
A bus ride or food?

Claire de la Fuente Grill and Seafood
, at the San Miguel by the Bay is the latest of what is now a chain of " Claire" restaurants
I love this particular location to a large extent because I have learned to love the baywalk ...
It is such a social equalizer
Leave the pretensions of Makati's social structure behind
And just immerse in the crowd as one of the guys
Nobody is anybody
Everybody is somebody ...

I was with my Saturday wild bunch
A conglomeration of family and friends, young and old
Sharing stories
Just a Saturday chill-out, let loose, be yourself exercise ...

It was a "paluto" set up - (pick your ingredients and have it cooked)
The wives and girlfriends hied off to the adjacent wet market
And started picking the seafood that was to comprise our feast
Fresh, soft, alive, moving - still smelling of the sea
A seafood buffet in the making ....

The guys stayed at the table contented with San Miguel Beer,
And the bonus of ogling at all the luscious, attractive, delicious, mouthwatering members of the opposite sex parading down the baywalk ...
(We had to be careful though ... oftentimes the opposite sex was really the third sex)

Stories galore
Boisterous laughter
Endless camaraderie
Cementing of bonds
Enjoying the view
Tolerating the sounds of bands and entertainers
People watching
Waiting for the food to be prepared
Grilled, boiled, sauteed, "sinigang", "kilawin" (fresh, raw and mixed with vinegar and onions) ...

When the food came - everyone just jumped in
It was a frenzy of 15 hungry people attacking a seafood feast
Smiling faces
Contented looks
Licking fingers
Drinkin' beer
Arms reaching out
Lips smackin'
Picking from seatmates plates
Sharing portions
A large extended family devouring a delectable selection of food ...

It was a total wipe out
Like a tsunami had swept through the table
The food was THAT good.
Or perhaps ,we were that hungry ...

(see video below)

You should really try this "baywalk" experience.
Spread the word
We will be there quite regularly
We will be the happy bunch singing the songs of "the Carpenters" ...

Claire de la Fuente Grill and Seafood
San Miguel by the Bay
Pasay City

Friday, March 28, 2008

Siguro Mayaman

I read something in the newspaper this morning ...
Uhmmmm, but I forgot what it was about
Maybe it'll come back to me
What was that?
Hmmmm - I just can't seem to remember
Just can't recall ...

I do recall that I had a wonderful dinner tonight
It was a surprisingly cool and breezy evening
After a predictably burning hot afternoon ...

I was looking for an easy, relaxed place
With a good view of both the outdoors,
And of people passing by ...

Chateau 1771 has found a new home in Greenbelt 5
Loyal patrons of its location at the El Pueblo Center of Pasig/Ortigas area were saddened by its closure
But heyyyy - there is always a life after - right?

Located on the ground floor with a wonderful view of the Greenbelt Park, Chateau 1771 is slowly regaining its loyalists and attracting a new Makati following
Smiling greeters welcome guests into a modernly interpreted "chateau"
High ceilings, cathedral glass panes and walls adorned with paintings (including the colorful Onib Olmedo pieces that were part of the original restaurant)
An open kitchen reveals a beehive of activity as the staff contends with the frequently packed place

We started with some melted Raclette cheese as appetizer
"A bottle of wine please ...."
A low fat and tasty Chicken Marinara pasta aptly prepared the way for the main dish as we bantered and chatted while enjoying the endless parade of interesting people walking by

"Ano ang suot niya ? - Tama ba yun?"

"Huh - sila na ba ngayon?"

"Ang ganda naman masyado nun - 'tamo pag lumakad, kumakalog ang ..."
"Original kaya yung bag nya?"
"Palagay mo na-lipo na yan?"
"Sino kaya gumawa ng ilong nya?"
"Ahhhhh - siya ba yun? "
"Akala ko kung sinong maganda .."

Good food, good wine and chismis ...
Just a typical evening,
No worries

Then the main dish came.
Potence is the "star' of the house specialties
This is "grilled beef tenderloin hung on metal gallows then flambed with brandy" and served with "3 sauces"
The ritual of basting the tenderloin with "fire" is performed at your table side
It is a ceremonial sight in itself
The aroma of brandied beef is irresistible

And when put to the test of taste?

Now,that is gooooooood
"Another bottle of wine pleaaaaaase"
More chismis ...

"O sino naman yun?"
"Huh - talagaaaaaa?"

"Grabe - ang pangit nya hah - mas gwapo pa ako dun e"
"Siguro mayaman ...."


Lookin' for a great evening?
Try Chateau 1771 at Greenbelt 5
I love this place ...

Chateau 1771
Ground Floor @Greenbelt 5
(63-2) 7299760

Saturday, March 22, 2008


Walking can be tiring
Food is my fuel
And on festive moments like this weekend has been
I indulge (hahahaha - as if i ever don't indulge)

How festive is festive on Manila's streets without street food ?
Eat light
Always on the go

Peace ....


A full moon illuminated the cool evening
Wifey, growing son and yours truly were out in the streets
Enjoying the festive atmosphere

Thick crowds
People shoulder to shoulder
Eye to eye
Side by side

There was a need to be careful
Street smart

Peace .....

Friday, March 21, 2008


Visita Iglesia is a tradition of Holy Thursday that we inherited from more than 300 years of Spanish colonial occupancy.
Pinoys festively troop on this pilgrimage of visiting seven churches (some visit as much as fourteen) - in representation of the seven stations of the Cross.

It is a ritual of devotion for most.
A visit of curiosity for some.
A tradition of habit for many
A sacrifice of sincerity for others.
An opportunity to reflect, for all ...
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son - and whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but shall have everlasting life
John 3:16

At this time last year, I was in the pits.
Life had not been going well.
I was indeed ready to give up.
I had thoughts of going to sleep and never waking up -and it would have been alright.
I was done in emotionally.
The burden of life itself had become too heavy
I was a total mess
I wanted to "rest"
I just wanted peace and quiet ...

"Angels" in the form of friends and family hovered over me
Being the shoulders on which I could lean
Being the hearts to whose beat I could weep
Being the ears into which I could whisper
Being the arms onto which I could hold

And on a moonlit, warm and lonely night
I found my peace
I found the quiet
I found rest ...

I found it in Him
Completely surrendering my life
Cognizant of my human helplessness
Accepting the grace and mercy of a loving and forgiving God ...

Life is not at its best
I continue to struggle with issues
But I do not feel alone
I feel His presence in this journey through life
I know He is there ...
And I value the life that He has given me

God is indeed good
May you all be touched by God's continuing love.

On this Holy Week
I wish you all ... peace

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Whaaaaaaat a day
5 meetings
Everyone wanted a piece of my head
It was the day before Holy Thursday
The last day of the week for a nation looking forward to a long weekend ...

I was very tired
Brain dead
Leaden feet
Empty stomach ...

I just wanted some comfort food
Something familiar
Something to lull me to sleep ...

C2 ...
For those unused to the Filipino penchant for shortcuts and acronyms -that's C2 for Classic Cuisine
Classic because it pretty much serves Filipino dishes that are well known and popular
Cuisine to reflect the flair with which the food is plated or presented
The result?
Filipino food that is good to eat and good to look at.

My favorite?
The food that comforts me?
The reason I chose to eat here tonight?
The reason I take cholesterol busting statins?

Ta dah ...
It's Crispy Kare-Kare
I love this
It is Crispy Pata -with kare-kare sauce
Two of the Pinoy's fave foods put together as one
Cholesterol plus cholesterol equals cholesterol
Add a decent dose of white rice for a carbo boost
Take some sweetened gulaman and sago to push it all down
And you are set for a blast off into a health buffs nightmare
But clearly a foodies delight ...

This stuff is goooooooooood
Crunchy crispy "balat" - (almost "chicharonish" in consistency)
Tender "pata" meat - (complete with "taba")
Tasty kare2 sauce - (thick stewed peanut sauce)
With bagoong on the side to boot - (alaaaaaaaaaaat )

Mmmmmmmmmmm ...
Blood rushes to my stomach as the digestive juices go on overdrive
My speech slows down
My eyes start to droop
A sense of wooze prevails

It is time for post digestion slumber
It has been a good way to end a bad day ...
Good night

As the blog says -life is short

C2 (Classic Cuisine)
Powerplant Mall
Rockwell Commercial Center