All The Way To Tagaytay

Another long overdue article here. 😀

I did mention in my previous articles I have quite a pile of article drafts for editing and publishing and I am in a rush to publish them all (hopefully) while I am in a period of waiting and time is still on my side.

The summer escapade for me and hubby along with his family for this year was in the cool breeze of Tagaytay. We just had to take advantage of the summer season before the rainy days start to fill the last quarters of our calendar. It was a short holiday break thus the rest of the family members were all free to have this short family time and get-together.

It always is a privilege to spend some quality time with the family despite the busy schedules and varying demands of priorities in life – something that is far too precious to waste. My parents are in Bicol which is a 17-hour land travel to get directly to our hometown. Now that is something that I don’t have the privilege to do. Going to my hometown meant allotting 1 day for travel time then another day to rest which, after doing the Math, requires at least a week if you want to make the most and the best out of your family get-together. Simply put, visiting my family in Bicol is synonymous to careful planning ahead of the scheduled visit.

But well, this is the part where I need to thank God for technology. Skype made the term “homesickness” just a term. Again, family time meant quality time and this requires we set aside time for this despite the busy schedules. If most of us have the same free time, my family and I are able to Skype with one another once a week. And Skype-ing in the family means this – the minimum talking time is 4 hours starting at around 9 or 10pm.

Wuhaaat?!?! 😀

Yep, you can already hear the rooster crowing and we’re still on our “high” conversing with one another. Well, that’s for us, women in the family. For the men, 2 hours is the maximum and they bid their “goodbyes” in the middle of our conversation. The ever popular difference of men and women, eh? 😀

Anyway, going back to the Tagaytay escapade, we tried the Pamana restaurant with its awesome overlooking view of the Taal Lake and the food was superb too. I only captured shots of some dishes though, the long trip sure made us all pretty hungry.

I also loved the interiors which exude the ambiance of an old Hispanic house. Indeed, the concept of the restaurant matched with its name “Pamana,” a Tagalog term for heirloom/inheritance.

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Captivating, isn’t it?

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We also scouted for anything new in the area which includes this food park called “StrEat.” We didn’t get to try the food stalls though as it’s flocked with a huge crowd when we got there. The next day, there was no plan where we will have our summer escapade. We’ve been traveling without a destination actually and we came to that point of giving up and just head back home because all the resorts we’ve inquired were fully booked. Well, it’s summer so we kind of expected that.

When we were on the verge of turning back, voila, God gave us one resort that’s not so jam packed with visitors but the place was nice (and budget friendly) enough to bond with the family. Hotel Monticello was indeed “heaven sent”  hubby and I actually thought it’d be perfect for a wedding reception too. We couldn’t spend overnight though as we’re only geared up for a day tour. When we arrived, we had all the pool to ourselves which means this – LOTS OF SELFIES! Hahaha 😀

Nope, don’t get me wrong, I seldom take selfies. You can actually check my Instagram account for that. I just choose moments best for selfies and those moments that are not. And I only take selfies when nobody’s around, not even my hubby. 😀

Hotel Monticello

Selfie moment. My ever seldom selfie moment. 

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But really, when it comes to moments, there are just those that a camera snap isn’t enough to capture them all. I guess that’s the reason why God created our memories, an infinite storage at the back of our heads where every single memory is captured and safely stored.

So this one article is up in the memory of my head, but in case I have amnesia days or years from now, I have WordPress to retell and rewind them for me. Ah yes, the joys and perks of blogging – your online journal indeed. 🙂

P.S.

WordPress, please don’t ever shut down. Like, EVER. 😀

Oh and check out this amusing video of my hubby and sister-in-law. Reminds me of my brother and I – siblings moment, they are. 😉

 

 

THE BLACKBOARD Sommelier’s Selections

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Chateau Vrai Caillou

In case you are interested what is the perfect pair for wine, you might want to check out this article:

 “What’s With Wine: Bespoke Wine Tasting and Pairing at The Blackboard”.

Cheers! 🙂

BAGNETO is “The Villain” Who Saves Your Tummy

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Not your ordinary villain.

We all know that Magneto is one of the greatest villains who ever grazed the world of Marvel Comics. But no, he is not coming to life in this article but another unique character who is a villain but not exactly a villain.

So without any further ado, please allow me to introduce to you…BAGNETO. Yes, the name came from bagnet (deep fried pork’s meat) and of course, Magneto, the villain.

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Bagneto

But then again, he is not your ordinary villain. For what he has to offer is a gastronomic adventure that is beyond measure. That is, in terms of being tagged as the restaurant that offers the best bagnet here in Manila.

And the reason is that the owner of Bagneto is also a bagnet lover himself. The restaurant was put up out of love and passion for bagnets. Let me then give you the meal offerings they have all having one common ingredient which is bagnet.

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Menu

First on the list is Kare Kare. I liked the consistency of the kare kare sauce. The peanut flavor is not overpowering and the vegetables are cooked just right.

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Kare Kare

Next is Bicol Express. This is not extremely spicy as typical of the original Bicol Express.

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Bicol Express

Another dish they have is the Binagoongan. The shrimp paste has that perfect blend of sweet and spicy flavors and not too salty.

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Binagoongan

Then they have the original Bagnet dish which is plain deep fried pork’s meat and it is usually paired with a sauce and vinegar. I loved the vinegar they used for this dish which is similar to that of the popular Iligan vinegar called “sukang pinakurat.”

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Bagnet

And of course, I will be saving the best for last – sisig. The first time I tasted sisig was in Bicol and the texture of their sisig is crunchy compared to the usual sisig being sold in other restaurants. And I was brought back to that first love moment when I tasted Bagneto’s sisig – it was all crunchy in every bite.

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Sisig

And what I loved about the bagnet in all their dishes is that they stayed crunchy though they’ve been exposed for quite some time already after they were served.

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Superb bagnet dishes.

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Coke on the spot.

My first dining experience at Bagneto prompted me to give it a 5 with 1 as the lowest and 5 as the highest. It was because of this that I urged my bf to accompany me when I visited the place for the second time. And his experience? He became a sisig lover instantly though he used to hate sisig. True to it’s name, Bagneto indeed offers the best bagnet in the Metro.

Bagneto is located in this cluster of restaurants set along Malingap Street called ‘D Zone.’ Each restaurant has no particular seating restrictions and you can occupy any table of your choice even if it is in front of another restaurant.

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Bagneto

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Art on the pavement.

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What I particularly loved about the place is the fact that its ambiance is so laidback which kind of reminded me of Italian restaurants at night wherein old chairs, benches and wooden tables fill a small nook lit by small yellow hanging lamps. There are also milk tea shops, Japanese restaurants, Mexican restaurants and a whole lot of various restaurants around the area.

Yes, if I can have bagnet everyday I really would. But I’ll stop here for now and let you do the judging. Head on to 33 Malingap St., UP Teachers Village, Quezon City and have a blast with Bagneto’s special bagnet. I know you’re going to call “him” your superhero afterwards. 😉

(Thanks Sheena, Becky and Jeanne for the invite, the photos and the great company!)

Be Serenaded by The Italian Flavors of DON HENRICO’S Must –Try Pizzas, Pastas & More: BELLISSIMO!

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Pasta Lover

The Italian flavor has never been new to the Filipino palate and restaurants catering Italian cuisine are everywhere. But as the old saying goes, “some things never go out of style” and out of sync with the best of the best in pleasing the tummies.

I bet there are classics that are an all-time favorite i.e. the first restaurant where you tried this, which had this and offered this. Let’s go Flashback Friday then and take a glimpse on Don Henrico’s humble beginnings.

Founded way back 1993 in Baguio City, the establishment became a hit not just to the students, who were originally the targeted clientele, but also to the rest of the locals and tourists alike. Soon, branches spread down south invading the country’s capital, which is Metro Manila. They now have 10 branches in the following places in Luzon: Session Road, SM Baguio, Malate, Tomas Morato, at the Brickroad in Sta. Lucia Mall in Cainta, Greenhills, West Avenue, Festival Mall in Alabang, SM Mall of Asia, and at Glorietta, Ayala Center, Makati City.

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Don Henrico’s @ Glorietta 1, Makati City

Personally, it was year 2002 that my family and I first dined at Don Henrico’s along Session Road during my brother’s Incorporation Day at the Philippine Military Academy. That was exactly 12 years ago and my next Don Henrico’s experience was 3 days ago at Glorietta 1 in Makati City.

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Circa 2002: With the family, relatives and an ethnic group at Baguio Botanical Gardens.

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Circa 2002: The fam bam during my brother’s Incorporation Day at PMA.

Going back to year 2002, it was the Buffalo Wings that I instantly fell in love with. Every time I hear the phrase “buffalo wings,” no other name pops in my head but that of Don Henrico’s. I was more than thrilled when I found out it still is included in their must-try dishes until now. Some things never do grow old, indeed.

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Chicken ala Buffalo

If I were you, I’d definitely place their “buffalo wings” on top of your list of must-try dishes at Don Henrico’s. So you’d probably wonder why I fell in love with it and why put it as your chart topper. Let’s just say that the perfect fusion of their special BBQ sauce for the chicken wings and the dip creates that extremely smooth, flavorful and mouth-watering taste in your every bite. The spices used are not overpowering which complements well with the tender, moist and juicy meat of the chicken. Upon serving, the aroma of spices combined with the BBQ sauce and the smell of deliciously cooked chicken will already entice your appetite.

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My best pick from Don Henrico’s menu.

They sometimes call this dish “Chicken a la Buffalo” whenever they use a different chicken part other than wings. And I must say, may it be the leg, the breast or any part of the chicken, satisfaction is guaranteed taste-wise.

Another must-try dish at Don Henrico’s would be the Summer Salad. Of course, any meal whether vegetarian or not, always has to has greens. Speaking of being health conscious, you do have an option here. If you wanted to go less on carbs, this salad is definitely perfect for you. And another reason to love it? It just reminds you of summer. Who do not love summer? Everybody loves summer! 😉

And that is exactly what this salad brings you – a feel good summer feeling with all its tropical fruit ingredients from slices of mangoes, to kiwi, grapes, mandarin oranges and walnuts topped over fresh, crisp lettuce. Drizzle it with strawberry vinaigrette dressing and voila! You wish you are off to the beach munching on this.

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Summer Salad

From something light, let’s go to something a bit heavy – pastas. They offer 2 must-try pasta dishes and being a seafood lover, I was overjoyed. No, that is an understatement. I was ecstatic!

I’ll start first with their Tutto De Mare pasta. This linguine pasta is generously served with shrimps and squid cooked in marinara sauce made special by combining ingredients such as garlic, chili, tomatoes, and selected herbs. The shrimps and squid are perfectly cooked. In cooking seafood, there is always this tendency for them to become rubbery when overcooked. But with this dish, I can taste the sweet taste of the shrimp meat and the squid is tender enough you won’t have to cut it at all with your table knife.

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Tutto de Mare

Their second must-try pasta is the X.O. Seafood pasta. This has a very light taste and I love the perfect blend of the seafood and the bell peppers. I bet some would disagree with me when it comes to loving a seafood pasta that’s based with just olive oil as the common dilemma would be the “fishy” aftertaste that sometimes takes you off the hook in experiencing that perfect seafood experience. But this one will get you totally hooked to being a seafood pasta lover with seafood ingredients as the bait. Trust me. 😉

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X.O. Seafood Pasta

But there is something more. Don Henrico’s is also known for its pizzas. And their top 2 must-try pizzas are here to rock your Italian cuisine experience – Don Henrico’s Supreme pizza and Seafood Romano pizza.

Don Henrico’s Supreme pizza is a thick crust pizza topped with pepperoni, mushroom, ham, onions, beef, pineapple tidbits, black olives, bell pepper, homemade ricotta cheese and tasty cheese served with red sauce. What I particularly love about this pizza is that the toppings are not overwhelming and they pair just right with the not-so-thick crust.

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Don Henrico’s Supreme Pizza

The Seafood Romano pizza amazes me in a way that the seafood toppings are not “toppings” at all as they seem to be embedded in the crust. I guess one common dilemma that pizza eaters have would be their topping rolling/falling off the pizza while they are about to take a bite. And once again, their seafood was cooked just right. The cheese just complements well with the overall seafood taste you would not need any sauce to add flavor to your Seafood Romano pizza.

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Seafood Romano Pizza

Of course, something sweet will always be present in any “courtship.”  Thus, when you are at Don Henrico’s, allow yourself to be serenaded by their sweets corner and among their must-try desserts are their Chocolate Nirvana Cake, Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake, Red Velvet Cake and Toblerone Cheesecake.

I’ll start with the Chocolate Nirvana Cake. It is a moist chocolate cake with chocolate ganache layers topped with dark ganache frosting. I can say that describing the overall texture of the cake would be this and only this – EXTREMELY SMOOTH.

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Chocolate Nirvana Cake

Next is their Red Velvet Cake topped with cream cheese frosting which is indeed velvety enough it is not just delectably good but perfect as a light dessert after a flavorful meal.

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Red Velvet Cake

And for Toblerone lovers and addicts like me, Toblerone Cheesecake is a perfect must-try especially if you are a cheesecake lover too. Imagine having two of your favorites in just one dessert – SUGAR RUSH, it is.

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Toblerone Cheesecake

And of course, I saved the best dessert for me as my last entry in the must-try desserts  – Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake. Why is it my best bet? It has the perfect balance of sweetness and saltiness that is not ordinary among desserts. It is a moist chocolate cake with chocolate ganache filling and covered with salted caramel butter cream. I can eat a whole cake of this. No kidding. 🙂

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Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake

All their desserts are not too sweet which gives you that sort of craving for more sweets but not heavy enough for the tummy. You can actually finish a whole slice of their desserts and I am sure you’d request to try all of them.

Don Henrico’s is not just after delivering good food, but the place matters as well. It is not just the treats that your suitor gives you during courtship that are important but how you were serenaded as well, right?

I loved the ambiance of Don Henrico’s at Glorietta 1 in Makati City. They have one side of the restaurant which is quite classical and another side which is a bit modern. What sets them apart would be the choice of lighting for each of this side. The place has a combination of yellow and white lights which creates that semblance to a home. Art galleries are known for its yellow mellow lights while a common office ambiance would be the white lights and any home has both the white and the yellow lights.

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Classical Nook

 

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Modern Nook.

You’ll also see inside the restaurant a striking balance of modern chairs and lounge chairs that indeed attract a diverse clientele. In other words, you have the option to choose from the type of chair that you would love to sit on to that perfect nook that suits your mood.

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I Love Wine

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Waiting Area

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Wine Corner

But the overall feel of the restaurant is totally relaxing. It is spacious enough for you and your family and every nook has its own character. Exactly why I think Don Henrico’s will never go out of style. Infusing the classical with the modern is its way of serenading the clientele with their particular interests from food to ambiance of the place making one happy customer utter this big Italian word  – BELLISSIMO!

Check out a Don Henrico’s branch near you and be serenaded as well with their best pizzas, pastas and more. I should say that you say YES to that. 😉

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Don Henrico’s

The following are their website and Facebook page:

http://www.facebook.com/DonHenricos

https://www.donhenricos.net

P.S.

And before I forget, they have something ENORMOUS coming up this October! It is something REALLY HUGE. Stay tuned for updates! 😉

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(L-r): Don Henrico’s Operations Manager Noel Santos and Marketing Manager Anthony Mercado with the WhenInManila.com writers.

(Thank you Sir Noel, Sir Tony, Ma’am Tess as well as to the entire staff of Don Henrico’s for the warm welcome!)