RV turns one

Despite waddling through life nowadays, I still managed to get my butt to the first birthday celebration of my inaanak, RV. Getting up from the bed and walking two meters to the toilet is a major feat for me lately. Good thing the venue was near our place so there’s no reason for us to miss the party. Plus, Mischa always looks forward to attending birthday parties held at Jollibee. Although I am beginning to loathe going near Jollibee because really, he’s so smelly. It’s the same for all branches. Don’t they wash those damn costumes?

Anyway, back to RV. I seldom see this guy. The last time was during his christening about nine or ten months ago. He’s a big boy now, and recently, an older brother! Here is 3-week old, Ranna Beatrice:

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Some of us from work, with kids in tow, joined RV and celebrated with him. Mischa kept on choosing the dress she was wearing to every party (parang kokonti tuloy ang damit!).

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Victorino’s

Lunch yesterday was a lovely affair in Quezon City again. This time, I was brought to another re-purposed, but well-light and spacious ancestral house on Scout Rallos specializing in, but is not limited to, Ilocano fare. The front part, which faces the street is covered entirely in glass, thus, letting natural sunlight in.

As soon as you walk in, you will be greeted by an array of native and some handcrafted items, made I suppose, by Ilocanos. There were several tables for intimate groups, and long ones, for big groups, such as ours. Large antique cabinets were also on display all around the dining area. I like it that the pieces do not look or feel too old, but seemed more well-kept and maintained to sport an old-meets-new look. Everything feels warm, modern and comfortable.

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The restaurant also has a bakery filled with the famed Heny Sison’s goodies of yummy cakes and breads, bottled sardines and spread, taro chips, sukang Iloko, and other goodies.

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Love the lavatory area, too.

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Okay, so I do not have an ounce of Ilocano blood (although you never know!), and I might probably not a good judge whether the taste of the food is authentic. But everything we ordered made my mouth water. And I think some of the restaurant’s offerings are not entirely Ilocano in nature, rather more Filipino.

This is their local miki. It kinda reminds me of the molo noodles of Iloilo. Nice and hot, perfect as starter.

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The classic pinakbet. I was a little afraid that this would taste really bitter as Ilocanos are wont to cook, but I was glad my taste buds could take it.

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Poqui-poqui. I love eggplants period.

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Squid adobo. No, the picture is not deceiving you. It is really darker than usual. Still good, though.

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Beef caldereta. I almost sighed indecently when I tasted this, it was sooo good, never mind that it has liver (which I absolutely detest) sauce. The beef chunks were so tender with every bite oozing with rice tomato sauce. I got a little bitin though because we were sharing all the food, and the serving plate was not able to return to its rightful owner (me) anymore. Huhu.

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Chicken galantina. Hmmm, normal.

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Bagnet for the win! I could have this everyday, but of course, I might be chopping several years off my life, and I still have two kids to raise. Crisp to perfection, and the tomato and bagoong just has the right tang and saltiness.

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Beef steak or bistek in Tagalog. A little too sour for me.

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Salmon sandwich for one of my colleagues who was recently diagnosed with diabetes, and is watching her sugar and carbs intake. Poor friend.

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I didn’t get to take photos of the binagoongan and fish sinigang. The former was quite good but the bagoong was a bit on the sweet side (I like mine salty and a little spicy).

After all that burp-inducing goodness, we just had to have dessert. And so we feasted on red velvet cake, almond sans rival, lemon torte and mango chocolate torte.

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Food is truly love. And can you tell, I absolutely adored this place? Will have to bring my family here.

The Making of an Engineer/Architect

Mischa has this habit of recycling old toys and playing with them again after they have spent some time in retirement. We noticed that she has taken to bringing out her old blocks from her 1-year old days, and building all sorts of things (note: must buy age-appropriate ones). Nowadays, she’s into office buildings, houses and bridges.

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Are we seeing the makings of an engineer or architect? Hubby and I are neither in the field, but we would definitely support her if indeed she decides to be one. It must be in our recessive genes.

Lola Cafe and Bar

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Tucked away in the quieter streets behind Tomas Morato is another ancestral house-turned-restaurant called Lola Cafe and Bar. Although it screams old house, I like it that the owners put in so much modern vibe that it doesn’t feel moldy, dusty or ancient. It is more homey, kind of like a maiden aunt’s joint. Downstairs is a floor to ceiling bar, and as you go along to the main restaurant upstairs, the walls were covered with framed inspirational quotes and snapshots of famous landmarks. I love the mason jars covered lights and plants scattered all around!

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I was with more than a dozen colleagues during this trip, and we were running late for lunch after attending an official business. Our tummies were grumbling by this time. As there were several handfuls of us, I was a little afraid that we would have to wait a bit longer since most restaurants like these are more prepared for their dinner patrons than lunch customers. But no, it was a happy surprise that it took only a little time to serve our food (and we had quite a variety at that). Still, everything looked and tasted superb, not like it was done in a hurry. So two thumbs up for that great service!

Now, for the food. The selection was mostly Filipino fare, which reminded me of Adarna restaurant and Romulo Cafe. I didn’t get to take photos of all our orders, much less taste everything. For those that I did, I couldn’t find any major complaints to.

My personal orders were mushroom soup and spicy tinapa pasta.

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The soup was warm and thick, and it looked like it didn’t come from a can. The serving was tiny though. The pasta was good enough but it lacked some salty kick that tinapas should have.

Other orders were:

Garden salad

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Very tasty tofu squares in a saucy sauce. I loved this! The tofu was crispy and firm, and not at all soggy.

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Tenderloin skewers that looked yummy.

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Beef binagoongan. This was tender and juicy, however, the bagoong did not seem to seep and mix well with the beef. They are better off using pork.

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Kimchi caldereta and kare-kare

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Eggs Benedict that a friend asked to substitute rice for the traditional muffins. It was really sacrilege. We think the chef had a heart attack when told of this peculiar request. Lol.

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Balsamic chicken. Kind of what I make here at home with worcestershire sauce.

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I also saw orders of gambas, seafood stew, another variation of salad, and pumpkin soup. All in all, I enjoyed our visit here. I hope the food tastes as good when I was not this famished.

My little helper

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On her quest for independence, Mischa oftentimes volunteers to help Mommy in chores all around the house. This is actually very good as I have no intentions of raising a real primadonna considering we are not rich and I would not like her to grow up feeling privileged that everything is handed to her on a silver platter. I have long realized she has to be trained to do small chores or perform age-appropriate simple tasks. I know that she will not wake up when she’s twelve years old, and suddenly wanting and willing to help around.

Sometimes, the harried mommy in me becomes annoyed when the tasks seemed to take longer than it should be because she’s still figuring out how to do something. So it’s a true test of patience when training kids. The willingness and determination I see in her are more than enough to make me proud. Of course, those involving fire, sharp objects, such as knives, etc., are off limits for now. But I’m happy she can be expected to throw trash, fold small articles of clothing, stir food for preparation, fetch things for mommy and daddy, bring plates and glasses to the sink, sweep (although this brings in more dust but who cares, daddy can do it again anyway), wipe spills, water plants, keep toys and books after use, dress by herself, among others.

She’s five and I already have the makings of a dalagita. Don’t be in such a hurry to grow up, babe.

Stretching my limit

I feel like such a lola these days. Everything seemed to aching all over my body. I didn’t feel this much discomfort or pain when I was pregnant with Mischa. My mantra for the last couple of weeks: All for Baby’s sake. Sigh!

Good thing I have a very high tolerance for pain. It seems to me that the slightest movement causes a creak in my joints. My singit and tailbone feel the brunt of all the extra weight. Sometimes I wonder if they would just give way, you know. Getting up from the bed and waddling to the bathroom take so much effort. I always have to hold on to the bedpost, steady myself for a full minute and ready my pelvic joints to cooperate. It is so not easy.

As is midnight and early morning bathroom trips when I am in the middle of dream land.

Or Braxton Hicks contractions that often knocks the wind out of me, or makes me want to take go to the toilet again.

And the irritating rashes on my tummy. Although they are less serious now than when I was preggo five years ago, they still itch like crazy! To soothe them, I also scratch like crazy. Some of them had begun oozing blood with the way I am scratching them. Bad. Very bad.

I really can’t wait for these last five weeks to go flying by.