Gi-Chi’s Lugawan

It is a Saturday.

The torrential rain which came with lightning just stopped and my stomach is churning.

What to eat?

Time check 4 PM.

I sent a quick message to my eating buddies. They have just finished having Korean Samgyupsal. What’s for dinner? I asked.

They have no idea.

I said why not have some lugaw? In that unlimited lugawan they have always been telling me about.

Weather is just perfect for that warm bowl of congee. I asked if they also serve tokwa’t baboy. They have, they said.

Great.

See you at 6:30 PM then.

And I continued reading blogs until I need to get up and prepare for the night.

Gi-Chi’s Lugawan is located in the street near Diamond. If you are from Angeles, you know where Diamond is. It is a subdivision where lots of restos, cafes and videoke houses have sprouted. That is the destination.

We arrived and was welcomed by a garage turned carinderia.

Lugawan

Plastic chairs and tables covered in linoleum. A counter which houses the steaming goto and some side dishes for accompaniments.

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I ordered EggCaldo. 30 pesos. Not bad. I paired it with tokwa’t baboy worth 25 pesos and a bottle of Pepsi for 10.

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A big bowl of steaming white delight arrived with those golden brown tokwa’t baboy. Stomach problem solved.

For only 65 pesos, Saturday dinner, check.

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Rating:

Parking 4 out 5

Park at the sidewalk at your own risk. There were plenty of spaces though when we arrived.

Taste of food 3.5 out of 5

Limited condiments. Friend garlic is rationed. You can have all the kalamansi, patis and pepper you like though.

Hygiene 2.5 out of 5

My measure for this will always be “Will my Mom eat here?”. Definitely not. Exposed washbasin with your typical curtain covering the bottom part. Possibility of crawling critters but I did not see one.

Price Soundness 5 out 5

For 30 pesos a bowl. You cannot complain.

Will I eat here again? It will not be a favourite place but for those times when budget is low and craving is on full mode, why not?

Also, there are several videoke and bar restos in front all blaring their own music. Conversation is not possible. Stress from noise pollution? Guaranteed.

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Work-Life Balance, Eating and Writing. Yay!

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It has been almost 10 months of living in Clark and I have to give the self a pat at the back.

I got what I wanted. Yay!

I am living independently, doing work I love and having a real awesome WORK-LIFE balance.

Work-Life Balance, something that has become a stranger to me in previous jobs. Something that I was able to own back for the last 10 months. Hurray!

So what is the life in this work-life balance anyway?

Aside from having weekends off which I rarely had before because it was either I was travelling or working, I now have the opportunity to nurture my loves. Which are? Doing things I cannot do before such as cooking, maintaining a home, reading, napping, exercising(?), and eating!

Nothing spectacular really, I know. But they are to me. Especially if you have missed them for a long time.

And I am very grateful that I live in Clark now. It has everything I need and want and sometimes more!

One of which is the abundance of great places to eat. 10 months and I am still not even a fraction close from trying and dining in all the gastronomic delights this place has to offer. And I like food at that and often eats out when time and money permits. So there really are a lot!

This place is foodie haven!

Colleagues have noticed this passion for eating and some has been suggesting to blog those food-sojourn. Share the experience. Recommendable or blah. Some sort of an advice kind of blogging.

And I said yeah, why not?!

My blog has been in hiatus for quite some time. And this project might keep my fingers to start tapping again.

Marrying two loves. Eating and Writing.

So here goes.

To more gastronomic adventures and beyond.

Giada’s Cafe and Kitchen

It was a lazy Sunday.

After spending my whole Saturday nursing an unknown illness, the body has recovered and is ready for anything other than lying down.

I decided to have a lunch out.

I haven’t done it in quite a while as most of my lunches are either at parents’ home when I visit them during weekends or at my place with my measured lunch as I am trying to lose weight.

I found myself in Berthaphil, Clark rounding some restos. I zeroed in on Giada’s Cafe and Kitchen.

A lady opened the door and welcomed me. There were only two persons inside that time plus two new customers who came a little over a few seconds before me.

As I got seated and was handed the menu, I looked up and there was no one to take my order. I have to catch the attention of somebody from the counter (there were a lot of them huddled together) so somebody can attend to me.

I asked for the bestseller. The baby back ribs was mentioned as well as the chicken steak. I was waiting for some nice explanation on why but did not get any. Just curt responses.

I ordered barbecue grilled spare ribs and Italian soda, kiwi fantasy flavor.

While waiting for the food, I noticed that the interior looks nice. There is a great wall paper on the far end of the wall, nice cushioned chairs, decors by the counter and some wall art. Music was also being played adding to the place’s ambiance.

What I find distracting though are the people in the counter. There were just too many. Maybe because it wasn’t so busy yet so they can have time to chit chat before crunch time.

Drink and food came.

The Italian Soda – Kiwi Fantasy, I must say tastes refreshing. The lady who served me said it is made from Sprite and some syrup. I saw the bar man pick up a Torani so I am assuming that is where the flavoring came from.

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Then lunch arrived.

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The mashed potato tastes normal and the gravy tastes like it came from a packaging. Too seasoned, maybe. The barbecue spare ribs looks yum and tastes ok. It was the buttered veggies which I enjoyed the most.

For the value relative to the price paid, I would say it is ok. I have tasted similar food at a better price and service.

Will I come back again? Maybe yes.

Or

Maybe not.

Giada’s Cafe and Kitchen is located at Berthaphil III, Clark Center along Jose Abad Santos Avenue, Clark Freeport Zone , Angeles City, Pampanga.

Sayur Assam

So maybe I was not telling the whole truth on why I am OOO (Out of Order) today.

Last Saturday, a colleague brought me to the market. I love markets despite being a little bit chaotic. It reminded me so much of the ones we have in the Philippines. The problem was the heat. It was like I was punched in the face. It was a sweltering 32 degrees Celsius there in the city.

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I lived in a tropical country all my life but since I migrated to one of the hills in North Sumatra, it doesn’t feel so tropical at all. We have 18-24 degrees Celsius everyday, sometimes lower.

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So I think that one set me back. And then I had to attend a travel fair which could have survived the light of day without me. I have to remember not to attend such things again unless I need to buy a trip for a cheaper price.

And then I went to Cemara, the biggest Buddhist temple in Medan. It has become a local attraction. People of all kinds are there. The rows of street kitchen and restaurants probably also added to the appeal.

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So dinner time and we decided to have our feast there. The colleague has been dying to let me try Sayur Assam since she learned that I like sour taste. She caught me picking green mangoes from the tree in the city office one time and that sealed it. Anything that is sour, Leslee will like.

I was curious what this Sayur Assam is. Sayur means vegetable and Assam means sour in Indonesia. From the picture I saw it looks like the Filipino version of Sinigang. If it is, I won’t have a problem with it.

sayur assam

I checked the ingredients: shrimp, beans, cabbage, eggplant, tamarind, fish stock, turmeric, almond, shallots, garlic and dried shrimp paste. Sounds like Sinigang to me except for the shrimp paste.

The dish came. A soupy dish. I tried it. The sour taste is overpowering. Then there is the sweet taste. But the killer was the shrimp paste. I almost puked. It was horrible.

When asked if I like it, I said it is interesting.

Liar!

I finished one whole bowl without breathing but promised to the self that I will not touch that dish ever again in this lifetime.

Until now, I can still taste it on my tongue. It has that lingering effect which makes me cringe my nose.

I hope I learned my lesson. Just say no.

But the problem with me is I always find it hard to say no. Haaaayyyy.

Maymun!

Les, I feel like I’ve been convinced by some indian guys to go horseback riding with the Dalton Brothers in Cappadocia.

Really, what was I thinking? Writing on your blog? (Is it on or in your blog?? Ooooffff I don’t even know English enough for this! Give me a dictionary, lütfen!)

Well..as you can see, I left it to the last minutes of this day. Cause I’m brazilian and we do that: we leave everything for the last minute!

Maybe not because I’m brazilian…maybe cause I spent the whole day thinking about what to write here, and thinking about everything we lived together and thinking how much you mean to me. And I couldn’t find the words to explain that…

What is the Universe telling us when it puts both of us in the same country, same city, doing the same thing and with some people in common to introduce us in the middle of a crowded street at the end of some random day?

Bilmiyorum 😉

I just know I thank the Universe for that. I’m thankful for you. I’m thankful that in the middle of a strange country, with people talking a strange language and having some strange food we decided not to be strangers anymore.

I’m thankful for our courage and for not having giving up on each other… Cause we have to admit: we even look weird together. It seems like we were not build to be friends! But we did it! In the middle of akward moments and some feelings that I was only thinking about beer and that you were not thinking about having fun (“She behaves like an old lady” I thought!)…in the middle of all these things, we made it!

And now, here I am… to start a new chapter! A written one 😉

Let’s see how it goes. Hope it tastes like manti and doesn’t look like a buyuk maymun 😉Imagem