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Culminating Activity for Western Cuisine


Having a daughter in Culinary school has its perks.  You get to be invited to a culminating activity which happens towards the end of the semester.   And what is a culminating activity?  Well, it means, you get to experience being served by the students, showcasing what they’ve learned during the semester.  In this case, my daughter invited us to the culminating activity for her Western Cuisine course.  She told us that unlike her last year’s Introduction to Culinary,  where there was a program and where she even performed a cooking demo in front of the guests, this time, it was just a full course dinner.  The schedule had a conflict with her dad’s official business trip to Davao and although he was supposed to arrive a few hours before the dinner was to start, I told her that she shouldn’t expect that her dad will be able to make it on time because of the unpredictable flight schedules of the airlines.  But still, surprise!  He made it, and he went straight from the airport to Izah’s school just in time when the dinner was about to start.

The Menu

Nicoise Salad
We got confused here because it was under the Soup category in the menu and obviously it didn’t look like soup, because, well, aren’t soup supposed to be liquid stuff?  I kept asking the student/server how come it was classified as soup.  She couldn’t give a concrete answer except to say that, yes, according to the kitchen crew, it’s a soup, as indicated in the menu card.  Oh well, I thought to myself, “I have to ask Izah about that because she’s assigned to the kitchen”.  Izah said later that it was a mistake.   It was supposed to be an Appetizer, and she didn’t know why it was placed under the Soup category.  



Quiche Lorraine


Grilled Bratwurst with German Potato Salad



Spaghetti alle Vongole

Major comment – Very spicy,  Egay wasn’t able to finish it.


Bolognese Pasta

Izah made sure that I ordered this because she knew that I didn’t like spicy foods.



Risotto with Greek Roasted Chicken


Chicken Fricassee with Potato Gratin

Sorry about the appearance,  Egay had started eating and I almost forgot to take a photo of this dish.


Desserts were done by Izah and they were both good, unfortunately, no second serving was allowed.



They were actually crepes, with a glamorous name, LOL!


Chocolate Truffle:

Although the truffles were rock hard (because according to Izah, they were unintentionally put in the freezer instead of just the chiller), they were good.  I let them sit for a while at room temperature before eating them.

After the dinner, we were asked to give our ratings for the entire event.  In general, it was a successful event.  The food was great, except for the very spicy pasta and the very thick garlic soup.  The student who served on our table was good, just a little bit nervous, I think, which was normal, but she was able to answer our queries on the content of each course and even volunteered additional information.  For the overall set-up — it may be because it was their color theme that the red color was very prominent all around the room — but I think,  the serving staff’s outfit should have been of a different color, to cut the monotony of the striking red.

But then again, overall, we considered the event successful.  I’m sure they had a good teamwork which made it a success.  Till your next culminating activity, Izah, looking forward to more good food!  Keep up the good work!


Sarsa Kitchen + Bar

I’m not the kind of person who can give an immediate answer when I’m asked, “Let’s have lunch, can you suggest a good place?” I will give you a blank face, definitely.  So, when my friend, Marie, said we’ll have lunch at Sarsa Restaurant, I said, what’s that, and where is that?  She said it serves Filipino food, and she’s been craving for it and been wanting to visit the place.

When we got there, it didn’t take long for the waiter to get our orders since Marie already knew what to get.


Of course we had the Twice-Cooked Pork Belly, which was really good, but I liked the Laing more, although it was a little bit salty.  We also paired these with the Ginamos Fried Rice.  Honestly, 1 cup wasn’t enough, I just had to control myself from ordering again.




My final verdict? Although I must say you can never go wrong with choosing a restaurant that offers Filipino food, despite the sprouting of several restaurants which offer different kinds of cuisine, it was a good dining experience.  The food was great, the restaurant was nice, the staff was prompt and courteous, and he even knew how to get a good angle when I asked him to take our photo, so that’s additional points for him, haha!


In the end, it’s still good company that makes eating out a nice experience,

and capping it with our all-time favorite, Caramia Ice Cream. 

The Beni Ourain Rug – An Overview

The World of Moroccan Berber Rugs

Moroccan Berber rugs (also commonly known by the name ‘Beni Ourain rugs’) have been around for an extremely long time. They’re far from a passing fancy. If you’re fascinated by exotic rugs that have many millennia of intriguing history and background on their sides, Moroccan Berber rugs may just strike a chord in you. These rugs initially began as gorgeous home decor elements for families in Morocco that had a lot of money to spare. Bigger varieties of these rugs were commonly seen as palace decorations. They were commonly seen as lovely decorative elements for places of worship as well. Smaller Moroccan rugs were just as functional. Smaller options were frequently employed as prayer mats. These rugs were handwoven creations and still are to this very day. They were made with the assistance of wool derived from sheep. This wool was sheared.

Moroccan Berber rugs have always had a couple of highly diverse day-to-day applications. Denser rugs were created to cater to people who resided in mountain regions. Thinner rugs, however, were created to cater to people who resided in areas that had markedly warmer and milder weather conditions.

These rugs are known for their exciting and eye-catching designs. People who are fans of striking colors and shapes often adore Moroccan Berber rugs. These rugs feature distinctive geometric patterns that are easy to notice and remember. The designs that are seen on Moroccan Berber rugs aren’t just beautiful and attractive, however. They’re also extremely meaningful. This is because they’re often associated with traditional symbolism and artwork that is linked to protective strength and security. These rugs were part of a ritual that entailed burning their edges. The goal of this ritual was to keep evil spirits at bay.

Moroccan Berber rugs are lovely tribal rugs that have been making splashes in homes all around the world. Although these rugs originally come from North Africa, they’re not uncommon sights everywhere. Moroccan Berber rugs aren’t fads. They have a lot of history to back up their immense popularity. People like these rugs for many diverse reasons. Moroccan Berber rugs can inject rather cold living spaces with nice amounts of cosy warmth. They can also provide living spaces with exotic styles that are inviting and enticing. If you’re designing a residential living room and want to add a little something that will help it truly stand out, a Beni Ourain rug may be optimal. If you want to design a living room that’s a captivating blend of classic European and North African design elements, purchasing a Moroccan Berber rug is definitely a great place to start.

Moroccan Berber rugs are deluxe and lavish. They’re also, however, rather straightforward and subtle in feel. If you want a home rug that combines all sorts of interior design benefits, then a Beni Ourain rug may make an efficient and easy solution.

These rugs can be wonderful for all types of uses. They’re not packed with excessive designs and colours, and that’s exactly why they’re so great as design components. They can blend in seamlessly in the majority of living spaces.

The wonders of Moroccan Berber rugs are numerous. These rugs do not stain easily at all. They’re strong and can stay in superb condition for a long time. They feel nice, cosy and comfortable as well.

Why would anyone love to go to Davao?

Why would somebody who’ve been to Davao a lot of times would still look forward to the next visit, which, if at all possible, would be in the immediate future, like, the following month after the most recent visit? Why is a visit to Davao never enough and staying longer would be very tempting if not for some constraints?

In my own experience, whenever I have the chance to go to Davao with my husband or with the whole family, there’s always a wishful thinking that:

1.  if only my own town/province  is like this;
2.  if only I feel safe walking late at night in the streets of Manila, just like here;
3.  if only military and police visibility in every corner are also implemented in my own town/province; or to stress this point
4.  if only military and police visibility will make me feel safe instead of getting freaked out if it’s implemented in Manila.

Going back to Manila after a short stay in Davao will feel like forcing yourself to go back to reality, that is, the reality that sadly, you’re not a true-blooded Davaoeño.

I didn’t say that the city is perfect, far from it. Traffic in the main roads of Davao is bad, what with the implementation of 30 kms per hour speed limit, add to that the heavy volume of vehicles. The speed limit, which is unreasonable for some, was implemented after a series of accidents in the past. There were complaints especially from the taxi and jeepney drivers who lost a big chunk of their income because it took them longer to reach their destinations, therefore, less opportunities to get more passengers.

Taking public transportation, especially the jeepney, is a challenge. And when we’re there, we don’t take taxis. We ride the jeepneys because that’s how you will experience being a local. The only problem is, some jeepneys have very narrow leg room and it’s very difficult to go up or down, you have to squeeze your body in between the passengers if you want to be able to seat comfortably, that’s why it’s no wonder that my husband always complains of back pain whenever he gets back from a business trip.

But for me, the good side far outweighs the bad, and as a parent, that’s very important.
So, what’s with Davao that you would wish to stay there and settle for good?

1.  Parents are not scared that their daughters might be kidnapped after being lured or forced into a van which is becoming to be frighteningly common in Metro Manila;
2.  A Mayor who commands respect, admiration and obedience from his constituents;
3.  Affordable cost of living;
4.  Confidently riding a taxi without fear of sniffing drugs that will make you lose consciousness or worse kill you;
5.  Having a curfew in which business establishments are mandated to stop serving liquor by 1:00am.  Business establishments have to comply, otherwise, as what Mayor Duterte always say, “you have no place in Davao if you don’t follow the rules of the city”.  People have just learned to adjust their party hours.
6.  The Anti-Smoking Ordinance which has been in effect for 13 years now.  Smokers are only allowed to smoke in their private residences, private cars and designated outdoor smoking areas.

That’s how I look at Davao.  First and foremost on my list is the peace and order situation.  The other reasons are:

1.  the awesome smell of durian as soon as I step out of the airport and  eating unlimited durian, of course. Anything durian: shake, ice cream, and the latest is the durian donut by GoNuts Donuts.

2.  eating pomelo and mangosteen;

3.  riding the ferry boat going to the  Samal island,  which we haven’t fully explored yet; for now, my favorite is the Hagimit falls;

4.  shopping at the Aldevinco shopping center.  A visit to Davao is not complete unless I visit this place to buy a little something to take home with me.  A piece of shawl, a shirt, or a bag would be enough for me.

5.   full body massage at very affordable cost. After a tiring day of walking around the city, a massage is definitely a welcome treat, and this place is my husband’s favorite.

6.   eat-all-you can lunch and dinner at Php149 per person;

7.   very affordable fresh fruits, vegetables, seafoods;

8.  the people and their accent, I love listening to their local dialect;
9.   I just love it that for the locals, their preferred mall is their local mall, that is, the Gaisano mall, and not the SM’s big malls. Oh, I didn’t say that they don’t go to SM or Ayala malls, there are in fact different types of crowds in each of those malls, but, as what my husband said, SM or Ayala have no chance of putting the Gaisano malls out of business in Davao or in Mindanao for that matter;
10.  Going to the countryside to enjoy the unlimited view of rich forests, untouched, preserved, and well-taken cared of.

What's Binondo To You?

What comes to mind when you hear of Binondo?  Chinatown, Calesa, Tikoy, Divisoria, bargain items, food tripping.  Yes, food tripping! There are lots of restaurants around Binondo for all food lovers: conservative, conventional, or adventurous ones, you wouldn’t be disappointed.  We’ve been to Binondo countless of times.  That’s where we park — near the Binondo Church, or the Minor Basilica of St. Lorenzo Ruiz — whenever we go to Divisoria.  We’d rather walk  going to 168 Mall than brave the traffic and park inside the mall.  The downside is when we have lots of purchases, we have to walk all the way back, so there was one instance when we were really tired, we took a pedicab and had to shell out Php60 just to reach our parking area.  Binondo and Divisoria for us are  synonymous to business opportunities.  That’s where we buy our reams of paper for our notepads, water bottles,  boxes for our cakes and cupcakes, various raw materials and equipments for our two online businesses, Homespun from the Heart and Artsy Cakes and Cupcakes.

Our recent favorite restaurant whenever we go to Binondo is the Sincerity Cafe and Restaurant. Our first visit there was so heartwarming.  Why?  Because of the plate.  I really had to take photo of the plate.  It brought back childhood memories because I remember having the exact same color and design when I was a child.  What’s their specialty?  The fried chicken!  I really love their fried chicken. For me, the chicken is enough, no need to check on their menu, although they have varied options.  But today, when we went to Binondo to purchase some additional toys (a.ka. equipment) for our business,  we tried their Oyster Cake.  It was good, really good. The serving was big, which, I think is good enough for 3 to 4 persons.  The price is very reasonable, the place is clean and the service is good.

It was almost 7:00pm when we finished our transaction in the nearby shop.  Too bad because the Eng bee Tin was already closed.  I wanted to buy Tikoy.  I always crave for Tikoy whenever we go to Binondo.  For me, Binondo is also synonymous to Tikoy.  Oh well, next time… there is always a next time.