My Journey To #EatPrayLove (Ep.1)

Was in Durian City with my foodie friends over the weekend; and of course, a large part of our trip was devoted to food tripping at local restos. I had stumbled upon Lyndon’s on the Facebook account of my foodie enthusiast balikbayan friend who visited Davao City during his vacation break early July, and was immediately intrigued by the name.

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Wait….what? Did I read it right?

What self-respecting restaurant would call its ribs the “world’s worst” and its chicken “awful”?

Of course, yours truly-ly just had to investigate. So we set off one evening, hailing a taxi which took us to the downtown part of Davao City. Truth be told, the area looked rather sketchy (one of my Manileño foodie friends who came with us even said it’s like being along C.M. Recto in Manila at night); and Lyndon’s turned out to be a more unassuming establishment than we had thought.

Check out their funny and interestingly unique menu for more imaginatively (and self-deprecatingly) named dishes:

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Here’s the eponymous ribs, and you can specify the quantity you wanted to order:

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Lyla’s (Lyndon’s girlfriend/wife, perhaps?) the “Awful Chicken”:

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The two varieties of “Tasteless Pancit”, represent!

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Hail to the ever so “Disgusting Tilapia”:

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And finally, Han’s Horrible Spicy Mechado and Leonardo’s Rubbish Caldereta:

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Obviously we got curious and so we asked the waiter why their dishes were named as such. He admitted that it was really to downplay or lessen the customers’ expectations of their food. Hmm nice (I’ve read somewhere in Entrepreneur magazine that you have to plan already your exit strategy for your company from day one, so I’m guessing this could be their way of guerilla marketing) but still, oh well, maybe there is something to be said about this particular strategy.

Ah so this is my favorite part, we quickly dug in once our orders came in.  Here’s the ribs, which looked really appetizing rather than being the world’s worst (just take a closer look at that):

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Here’s my order of awful chicken (rather, looks scrumptiously juicy):

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Oh what else can I say on this serving of “Fish Be With You”, pretty please?:

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Long life to the humongous plate of their “Tasteless Pancit Canton”:

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Here’s my kaluuurky friend Zarah’s handful of “Tadyang ni Ruby”:

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And, finally (play the Chinese chau gong please) here’s their delicious serving of THE “Leonardo’s Rubbish Caldereta”:

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Oh yes most definitely, we were all hungry alright. ^_^

One thing you can say about THE food is that it’s the complete opposite of the restaurant’s name. Their dishes really proved to be quite tasty, definitely nowhere near being the worst in the world, and good value for money too!

Our guest foodie even said they have the best ribs he had ever tasted and rivals the one in Racks Tomas Morato QC. Another foodie in our group surmised that the ribs were marinated in Sprite (soda), which helped account for its delicious taste. It has that sweet (but not overpowering) barbecue sauce, and the meat is just so soft that it literally falls off the bones, truly amazing!  The chicken was also very tasty as well as the Tadyang ni Ruby (technically lechon kawali). The tasteless pancit canton is not tasteless at all, it was brimming with lots of healthy yummy vegetables and in fact the serving was so big we even had leftovers for BH.

The one thing we didn’t like was the Papaitan (photo not shown) but the rest was superb! I would have eaten in here every weekend if my companions allowed it (but they didn’t, so..). Our total bill was just around Php900+ which was not bad for 6-8 people with huge appetite. If you are going to Davao, definitely stop by at this place and try their food. You would miss half of your life if you didn’t, no kidding!

Wait there’s more….check out Lyndon’s colorful decor as well:

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What can I say? There’s definitely good strategy to this owner’s madness ;-D

So with a happy, bulging tummy we set off to find a coffee place. We saw one nearby named New Orleans Cafe. My foodie friend ordered the Bailey’s Coffee, which costs 120php, but oh it wasn’t that good (sorry). It does taste like the alcohol drink Bailey’s but it lacks the taste of coffee. They have a variety of food, not just deserts and coffee but even main courses. We wanted to try their cakes but we were still so full from the ribs attacking that we just did.

Later on, everyone decided to try the last minute dessert before going home. Light bulb struck me again as I thought of the Facebook account I’ve mentioned earlier about my foodie enthusiast balikbayan friend who visited Davao City during his vacation break. And so….we hailed a taxi en route to MTS (that’s Matina Town Square, by the way) for a much-deserved deliciously creamy halo-halo treat at Aling Foping’s Halo-Halo Atbp. ❤

Indeed, Davaoeños have greatly equated the word “halo-halo” to Aling Foping’s establishment. I have been to Matina Town Square several times before but I was not convinced to visit their humble food-place until just recently (it took some convincing photo powers from my balikbayan friend to make that happen) just take a look at that lovely shot he made:

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Aling Foping’s has a cool concept because you can customize your halo-halo! Isn’t it just amazing? In most restaurants that serve halo-halo, they have a single recipe for all. But this one is different because you get to choose your own ingredients. You will basically fill up a small form wherein you can pick from a wide range of available ingredients and then they’d prepare your halo-halo for you! No need to deal with ingredients you don’t like because every bite consists of only the ingredients you picked yourself (again, this is a nice concept of guerilla marketing huh, don’t you think?)

The regular halo-halo is currently priced at Php85 while a special halo-halo will set you back at Php105. Ingredients that you can choose from include the following: gulaman, kaong, langka, macapuno, nata de coco, pinipig, red mongo, saba, sago, white beans, and a serving each of ube and leche flan. Of all these, I am crazy about the pinipig and the ube! I’ve never expected that I would love ube (that catchy Cornetto jingle ad suddenly flashes in my mind: uuuuuuube-be I looove your way…everyday…yeeaaah) as much as I do now!

In comparison though, I felt that Prangel’s halo-halo from our humble city of Digos is still the best (naks, alangan noh!). That is not meant to take anything away from Aling Foping’s halo-halo; after all, most Davaoeños seem to really love it and it’s not just all about what’s hype. I just felt that it’s a little too pricey for only six ingredients. But this is just my opinion though, they’re both equally very good and satisfyingly delicious in their own different recipe and pricing variations. Okay? Okay! We’re good, right? Now, moving on…. ^_^

//photo credits to Tito Maykee. Check out more of his food adventures and daily musings HERE.

❤ ❤ ❤

After a couple of empowering conversations and life-telling stories with these two amazing women in my workplace, I was able to ponder what my mother once said to me when I had my first successful cooked meal in the kitchen: that the best friendships are built on a solid foundation on similar likeness of pleasant conversations, silly laughter, and eating good food.

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Funny though, before we even arrived at Avenue One Hotel, I was already deeply moved because these two pretty ladies (namely, Janna and Foramel) rushed in to fetch me right after their Bangko Sentral symposium/seminar that same day. Indeed, my mother’s words suddenly rushed into my head as I stared at these two pretty ladies in front of me that moment we gathered for another food trip and conversations:

. . . .over a tall glass of refreshingly delicious pineapple shake:

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. . . .special chocolate dreamy moist cake:

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. . . . it’s so moist believe me, this is the reason why I went to Avenue One:

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. . . . and a healthy serving of chopsuey and rice:   Flare Lite_20150728_185625

All this stuff made me remember having these empowering books that I bought for only Php20 each at Booksale SM Davao. I still have to read them though…

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And so…. right after we were done with our food, we were all brimming with generous helpings of lessons learned and this rich wide array of inspirations in life that we will surely share all through out the next generations. XOXO

❤ PS. Share some love, follow the adventures of Janna and Foramel on IG:

https://instagram.com/iamforamel/

https://instagram.com/itsactuallynorjanna/

A Panda Love Affair To Remember

As far as I can remember, it’s been quite a while since I felt that tinge of creative passion to write in my blog. For the past few weeks, there had been so many circumstances in my life and it wasn’t that easy for me to move on but eventually I did!

Life… ah well, no one can really give true justice to the real meaning of it. May it be for tons and tons of scientific or religious explanation, even the great philosophers can’t define why such events and happenings strangely occur as a person’s existence come and go.

Strange eh? Well… the universe must have a reason that even man could not fathom. Like that unexplainable feeling when I met “Darcy”, it was totally love at first sight. The moment we met… ah, I couldn’t help but totally fall in love — even head over heels! The feeling of comfort and peace was all there. I even flashed my brightest smile even though it was just the first time. Though I’m a very busy person and time is of the essence to me — I never hesitated on staying a bit longer, my world was swirling with real happiness as we spent quality time together.

And thankfully, it was all worth it. I went home with a happy heart and a very full tummy ❤

Located along Damosa Gateway, Mamay Road corner J.P. Laurel Avenue, Davao City — Darcy’s Place stands proud and cheerfully invites customers through their very cute and chubby display of panda stuffed toys, chic lit books, coffee mugs, artsy portraits, cute trinkets, and even bamboo bonsai ferns. The place gives off that really happy and peaceful vibe that makes their loyal customers keep coming back for more.

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And their simply delicious food….mmmm just thinking about it again makes me want to go back.

Every Monday to Thursday from 8am to 11am, they serve these two pieces of yummy homemade pancakes plus unlimited freshly brewed Café Americano for only P99 per meal. How cool is that?

Just last month of April, they started their Pasta Friday Madness promo for only P250 you get to savor unlimited gourmet pasta dishes from various origins every Fridays of the month from 6pm to 10pm. They also have a wide variety of yummy food in their menu that’s indeed sure to please your palate.

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Sending good vibes all the way! When you’re in Davao City, don’t forget to have your happy dose of Panda-awesomeness, great coffee and delicious food at ‪Darcy’s Place. Don’t forget to take a selfie though. Click! Click! Flash! Flash! xoxo ❤

Spicy & Crunchy Korean Chicken (Dakgangjeong: 닭강정)

Aside from the known fact that the Kpop sensation is taking over our humble city by storm, I recently discovered that Arirang Korean Grocery Store (I’m a big fan of Arirang channel on cable) is already in Davao which is just about an hour of bus ride from/to Digos.

It was actually around year 2013 when they established this store (I’m a very homey person, not much of a traveler that’s why I’m not always updated so…there). Located at Victoria Plaza Car Park, this ethnic grocery store sells everything imported stuff from Korea. From the food, drinks, and even to the ice cream! Isn’t it amazing… isn’t it just amazing (huh, is that you Kim Chiu?)

Koreans are famous for their love of kimchi, bulgogi, soju, cucumber or radish side dishes, and mostly everything spicy. On my first attempt to try their signature spicy and crunchy chicken called Dakgangjeong, it literally transported me to Seoul (haha, was just imagining it) and the taste of crunchy-crunchy chicken is superbly delicious.

So now I’m sharing this recipe with so much love. I hope you will enjoy this authentic Korean dish as much as I did. I highly recommend it for parties or any special occasions with your family and friends. Works every time!

But first, credits to Maangchi’s video for this recipe!

So crunchy and super-duper delicious! Enjoy! 😉

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….and because I just looove the taste of spring onions. GARNISH!!!

Ingredients:

3½ pounds chicken wings/or any parts (about 1.6 kg), washed and drained

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon minced ginger

2/3 cup corn starch

1/3 cup peanuts (peeled and fried)

4 cloves garlic, minced

3-4 large dried red chili peppers, seeded, cut crosswise into ⅓ inch pieces

¼ cup soy sauce

½ cup corn syrup

1 tablespoon white vinegar

1 tablespoon mustard (optional)

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

cooking oil

Directions:

1. If you are going to use chicken wings (like in the video), cut-off the tip of each wing and chop in half. You should approx. have about 3 pounds of chicken, with 24-26 pieces. Other chicken parts need not to be chopped, just marinate it like so.

2. Put the chicken in a bowl. Using your hands, mix with salt, ginger, and ground black pepper.

3. Put 2/3 corn starch in a bowl and dip each wing in the powder, coat evenly and very generously.

For the sweet-sticky SAUCE:

1. Heat a large, non-stick pan (or just your usual frying pan) over medium heat. Add 2 tbsp. cooking oil, minced garlic, and the cut-up dried red chili pepper. (Note: since we don’t have dried red chili pepper in the local market, I had to improvise and literally sun-dried the red chili peppers for 2 days ahead). Stir with a wooden spoon for about 30 seconds.

2. Add soy sauce, corn syrup, white vinegar, and mustard sauce (optional). Stir occasionally and let it simmer for a few minutes.

3. Add the brown sugar and continue stirring. Remove from heat. Set aside.

Now let’s fry the chicken wings:

1. Put 4 cups of cooking oil in a frying pan/pot and heat it up for up to 7-8 minutes over high heat.

2. When the oil is hot enough, deep fry the chicken wings for about 12-13 minutes.

3. Using a strainer, take the chicken wings out of the oil. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes.

4. Reheat the oil and double fry the wings (again?! YES. Believe me, it’s worth it) for another 12-15 minutes until they all look golden brown and feel super crunchy. If your frying pan/pot is not large enough to fry all the chicken at once, divide it into batches. But if you use a larger frying pan/pot to cook them all at once, you’ll have to use more cooking oil.

5. Coat the fried chicken with the sauce. Add the peanuts. Mix evenly.

6. Remove from the heat and transfer to a large platter. Sprinkle some sesame seeds on top and serve immediately. This chicken stays crunchy even until the next day. You don’t any dipping sauce, but it goes well with fresh cucumber salad mixed with zest of calamansi or lemon and brown sugar.

Nom nom nom ❤ ❤ ❤

Crab Tales From The City

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C R A B S. I absolutely love to try crabs (among other things). So when I was invited to eat at Arpochi’s in Davao, I didn’t hesitate. Oh well, another one of those hashtag cheatday moments.

The very first local branch of Arpochi’s is located in Marbel, South Cotabato. They also have a branch in General Santos City. And just last 2011, they finally set sails and brought their seafood expertise to Davao City.

Don’t be surprised when they hand out a menu that has only a few items listed, don’t get me wrong all of the food they serve is really delicious. All three branches are owned and managed by family members, for sure you’ll get the same taste and quality on every local branch near your area.

True, I was overwhelmed by the huge crabs that they serve (the quantity and quality is just too much for the price). It was prepared with their signature Sweet and Spicy recipe. Perfectly cooked meat, not dry or soggy. Really juicy with hints of pepper and garlic, drenched in an unforgettable sweet sauce (not too sweet though).

I rarely touch the food I eat but that moment at Arpochi’s, I happily ate with so much gusto using only my hands. The crabs and the sauce were too tempting (oops, I ate more than my share). ;)

Arpochi’s Sweet & Spicy Crabs is a true delight for all seafood aficionados. They also serve prawns, chicken, squid and other dishes but people go to Arpochi’s for the crabs. So you must absolutely try Arpochi’s Sweet & Spicy Crabs when you’re in Davao City.

The Apochi’s Davao Branch is located along Palma Gil Street, Obrero, Davao City. It might take a while to have your delicious crabs prepared so don’t hesitate to call them up first to reserve seats and to order in advance. You may call them at +6382-305-8246. They are open Mondays to Sundays from 10 am to 10 pm.