January 1, 2009

Home for the Holidays

For the past eight years, I greeted the New Year basking under the warm Bora sun and celebrating with mega parties going on all around me with only the most amazing fireworks displays I've ever seen. Not that Manila does not have nice pyrotechnic displays, it's so different when you see it with no distractions such as lamp posts, trees, and wires all around...just the open skies.

Given that introduction, suffice it to say that the last few days of the year since 2001 was always sunny and bright (except for that one rainy December two years ago) and spent literally lounging around and just relaxing and having fun. The only thing missing all those years was spending the New Year with Bubba.

However, this year, I found myself home for the holidays. I kinda didn't know what I would be doing at first especially since my usual companions were away for the holiday or have gotten used to not having me around. Then the perfect no-plan came along: "let's go on a food trip" said my JTRAPS friends. And so it was set. December 30, 2008, the perfect way to bid 2008 goodbye. I decided to let the gang handle all the planning, and just to go with the flow. The only known plans was that meeting place would be in front of DLSU in Taft at 9 am. So I texted P and T to schedule a meet-up so we can go together. To my dismay, T had to back out due to "circumstances beyond her control". Much as this put a damper on things, we decided to push through and just see how it goes. So P and I met up at 8 (and yes, first time ever, ako yung late!!!) When we got to DLSU, we were surprised with the fact that McDonald's was closed so we decided to wait it out in Starbucks. For me, this was the start of my gastronomical experience. Had a tall Cafe Mocha, which gave me just the right kick of caffeine to start the day.

trying out P's new camera while waiting

At 9 A and J came, and again, we got another bit of disappointment when we found out S went up to Sagada and would not be joining us for this (as P puts it) gastronomical flavors of the north. So anyways, we headed off to Quezon City, all the while A still kept mum about where we would go.

Finally, after checking out a few stops that were still closed at 9:30 am, it was decided that Stage 1 of the food trip would commence at Mr. Kebab, all the way at West Avenue. We almost missed the place because a. half of us had no idea where it was, and b. we were talking and laughing way too much in the car.

In order to successfully work out our un-plan of food tripping (plus cost-efficiency as well!) we decided to get stuff to share so we can try out a lot of different things in all the places we go to. We ended up getting an order of keema (yummy), ox brain with their roti (I think that's what it's called), and a yogurt shake. Yummy enough, but not super yummy for me ;-) Next time maybe I'll try a kebab or something. Total expenditure thus far: 112.50 per person.

With some food in our bellies, we started plotting out our next venue for food domination. Given that I am the dessert fanatic, I didn't stop making kulit until A agreed to take me to 5 Cows in Trinoma, a dessert place I've always wanted to go to. Added bonus was the fact that I had long wanted to see Trinoma as I've never been there.

I gotta admit, I was kinda disappointed with Trinoma, as I expected much, much more. Nonetheless I loved the resto! Super cute lay out and a fridgefull of desserts. HEAVEN!!! P and J loved their rocky almond bar, but were not so keen on the Ferrero Crunch. I loved, loved, loved my Belgian Chocolate Mint Ice Cream. Expenditures: about 180-200 per pax. This was probably the most expensive place we went to hehe...especially since this was a non-sharing kinda food!!!

Next stop was the famous Bite Club in Katipunan Avenue. When I was still a student in UP, I wanted to check it out, but because it's a bit hassle to get to, I never got the opportunity. For about 200 bucks, you get a giant (I mean GINORMOUS!) burger. Flame broiled, tender and juicy...yummy!!! A got his own burger (he still had a lot of tummy space since he didn't get dessert) but P, J and I shared a Bombarella.

By this time I could barely breathe from all that food!!!

But off we went to our next stop: Morning Sun Eatery. It's a little turo-turo in a street parallel to Katipunan, just a corner behind Bite Club. However, since we were still super full, we decided to take the food with us to A's secret hideaway.

the animals feasting in the park

I have to admit: it was one of the best barbeque's I've tasted. For 20 pesos, you get a pretty large bbq that's really yummy!!! We also tried out the liempo, which P loved the most, but it was just average for me.

Again, the dessert queen's sweet tooth acted up and we decided to go off to Chocolate Kiss in UP after our late lunch (which coincidentally happened after our hour-long walk/tour/camwhoring in Nature Parks and Wildlife...who would have thought there is such a beautiful hideaway in the middle of the city!!!)

We had two stops in UP. I was really glad to have the chance to go back to the university where I graduated from, and a lot of things have changed, yet a lot still remained the same. We first had dessert (again) in Chocolate Kiss then proceeded to the famous isawan in front of Kalayaan Residence Hall.

I was a bit disappointed that P and J didn't enjoy their desserts so much, because those were my favorite ones! They only enjoyed the Devil's Food Cake while they were unhappy with the yummy sour cream cheesecake and Kahlua butter cake.

We decided to walk off the full tummies to the isawan so J could be initiated into the fine art of street cuisine. She gamely tried a pork and chicken isaw. Lesson from this stop: may listahan pala sa Mang Larry's, so before you order, ask the girl to take down your order!!!

Although we repeatedly asked "talaga bang mag lalamb chop pa tayo for dinner?" after having our isaw's we got back into the car and headed towards Javi's in Sikatuna Village. I used to live in that area but that was a big surprise for me. I think at that time it wasn't there yet. It's right across the old Glo-ri supermarket. We had the most amazing lamb chops for less than 200 pesos. Ok, it's not the best quality, fine dining lamb chops, but it was soft, tasty and filling. No doubt worth the bucks!!!

It was past 8 when we made it back to Taft...which made our food trip a 12-hour adventure. Talk about a gastronomical feast, all for only 700 bucks, give or take a few pesos! It was a great end to 2008...and while I do miss the Bora fare (Jonah's fruit shakes, Aria's pizza's and Margaritas in Cocomangas), this was one food trip for the books!

3 stars twinkling:

cigarette-girl 1/02/2009 08:08:00 PM  

i love the che something at mr kebabs. hahaha! forgot the name eh.

i am P,  1/02/2009 10:36:00 PM  

definitely one of the most memorable adventure i've tried so far =)

Ria 1/02/2009 11:04:00 PM  

ja9: mahirap tikman yan hehe.

P: so true!

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