BYOB at Wildflour with the International Wine and Food Society

For the International Wine and Food Society’s October event, we had a BYOB lunch at Wildflour’s latest branch which is on Rada St. in Legaspi Village. Although many are familiar with Wildflour’s food, This event was specifically tailored to show the talent of Executive Chef Allen Buhay who came up with a menu of items that aren’t found on Wildflour’s regular menu.

The opening salvo was a platter of pates, rilletes, and cold cuts together with their excellent bread. This was quickly followed by an extensive menu of various dishes. I won’t bore you with descriptions of the food. I will say that everything was of top-notch quality and devoured eagerly by the Society’s members.

Here’s what we ate:

Mediterranean Yellowfin Tuna Salad - Yellowfin tuna, Israeli couscous, Kalamata olives, Heirloom tomatoes, Haricots verts, Hummus, Garbanzos, Citrus Vinaigrette

Mediterranean Yellowfin Tuna Salad – Yellowfin tuna, Israeli couscous, Kalamata olives, Heirloom tomatoes, Haricots verts, Hummus, Garbanzos, Citrus Vinaigrette


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Go Natural!

OK male readers, feel free to skip this post. You have been warned!

I’m not very adventurous when it comes to femme products, so when this package of pH care Naturals arrived recently (and in a lovely monogrammed crate, too), I relished the chance to try something new!

pH Care

Regular intimate wash is given a refreshing spin with the infusion of natural fruit extracts. Choose from two variants: Guava Leaf Extract, for natural anti-bacterial protection for the intimate area, and Papaya Extract, an ingredient traditionally known to safely whiten the bikini area. I already love how refreshing the intimate wash with Guava Leaf Extract is, though I have yet to try the Papaya Leaf variant (I’m always skeptical about anything whitening—especially you-know-where!—but with the promise that the lightening power is “natural,” I’m willing to give it a go soon.)

Both variants have a mild and gentle formulation, and are pH-balanced and clinically tested by obstetrician-gynecologists, making them safe for everyday use. Time to go natural!

The Bottle Shop at the Fort

Jim Araneta is a tireless proponent of craft beer. Through his Bottle Shop retail stores and bars, he makes craft beer accessible to a public which, for the most part, only knows San Miguel.

I was invited by Jim to check out his new Bottle Shop at the Fort and to have a tasting of some of his beers.

The bar at the Bottle Shop with 14 beers on tap

The bar at the Bottle Shop with 14 beers on tap

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A Tale of Two Cookbooks


I’m embarrassed to admit that I’m somewhat allergic to the kitchen (or perhaps the kitchen is allergic to me?); however, these two cookbooks recently fell onto my lap in such quick succession that I can’t help but think that someone, somewhere, is trying to tell me something.


Eat Clean Love


The first is Eat Clean Love, where The Sexy Chef moguls Rachel Alejandro and Chef Barni Alejandro-Rennebeck offer 60 easy-to-follow recipes for a healthy, happy (and sexy!) lifestyle. Since my hubby Toto was responsible for all the (gorgeous!) food shots inside the book, I have a firsthand testimony that the recipes are indeed delicious—no need to sacrifice taste to eat healthy! This comes at just the perfect time, because we have been trying to make a lifestyle change and clean up our act (the operative word is “trying”). Fortunately for me, Toto actually enjoys being our resident chef, and presented me with this cookbook with the promise, “Choose one recipe a week and I’ll make it for you.” My hero! Eat Clean Love (P295) is published by Summit Books and available at bookstores nationwide.


Assumption Cookbook


Of course, the universe isn’t letting me off the hook that easily, because just a week later, my friend Ana Javelosa Gloria sent another treasury of recipes my way via the Silver Linings Cookbook (P599). The charming cover (wonderfully illustrated by Rina Albert Llamas!) is the picture of blissful domesticity, convincing me to at least give this cookbook a chance. Lovingly compiled and produced by Ana, along with Barni Alunan-Escaler and Therese Ng, and edited by Chef Patricia Aurelio Lacuanan, the cookbook contains over 160 recipes and tales from Batch ‘90—apparently many of them well-kept secrets, until now. The ladies behind the cookbook share, “The book you hold is very much a labor of love, brought to life by Assumption High School Batch ’90 to celebrate our silver jubilee. The stories and recipes contained within are reminiscent of a tradition that began more than 25 years ago inside classrooms, on covered court floors, and cafeteria benches—that of chaotic and laughter-filled shared meals and the bonds of friendship and sisterhood that were forged as a result.”

The Silver Linings Cookbook encourages us “to entertain more often and extend the enjoyable experience of breaking bread with friends to actually cooking for our families and each other.” (OK, OK, I get the hint! At the very least, I promise to attempt Miri Villa-Abrille Abello’s Berry Merry Sangria for the holidays…) This cookbook promises to hold pride of place in your kitchen, and is also a great gift idea for the food lovers in your life. All proceeds from the cookbook sales will go to the Assumption mission schools in the Philippines. For inquiries or orders, email

New American Flavors with the International Wine and Food Society

The International Wine and Food Society Philippines Branch recently had its September event at the brand new Toby’s Estate roasting facility and offices at White Space in Makati. The dinner, dubbed Exploring New American Flavors, was prepared by Chef Justin Golangco who just returned to the Philippines after a stint in the US. As explained by Chef Justin, the way he prepares his food reflects the current state of American cuisine. Chef Justin does private dinners although he eventually hopes to open a restaurant.

While waiting for all the guests to arrive, we had some canapes of clams on grilled bread which went very nicely with the Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs 2011.

Clam, Tonato Basil, Grilled Bread

Clam, Tonato Basil, Grilled Bread

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Mecha Uma with the Chaine des Rotisseurs

For the first time since the Chaine des Rotisseurs Manila has had its annual Kaiseki dinner, we decided to have it cooked by a non-Japanese chef. Regular readers will surely note that I’m a big fan of Chef Bruce’s style of cooking and so it was a no-brainer for me to attend this event, one of the most popular events in the Chaine’s calendar.

Mecha Uma (“Absurdly Delicious” in Japanese) is Chef Bruce’s flagship restaurant and is one of the most sought-after reservations in Manila. The weekly tasting menus featuring produce flown in from Japan showcase some of the most creative cooking and combining of ingredients you can find.

After some preliminary remarks, the Chef got down to business and service began. For such a small kitchen, it was quite remarkable how efficiently the kitchen was able bring out the dishes for everyone.

The first course was some Japanese peach, which was in season, with white chocolate, sake and cucumber. A sweet start to the meal.

Peach, White Chocolate, Sake, Cucumber

Peach, White Chocolate, Sake, Cucumber

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Craft + The Craft of Tarot

It’s really nice when two things you really like come together unexpectedly—in my case, one of my favorite iced mocha concoctions at Craft Coffee Revolution and my interest in reading tarot.

I’ve been studying how to read cards and collecting them too, but it’s been a while since I last fell pulled to go for a professional reading. But then I chanced upon my friend Monica’s blog post about her reading at Mysterium Philippines and immediately called my tarot connections to book an appointment.

Mysterium is located in Burgundy Place Condominium in Katipunan, in a space that reminds me of Harry Potter’s Platform 9 3/4. Halfway between two floors, I’d been there before for  classes with one of my long-time yoga and meditation teachers, Sarah Rubin. Her husband, Robert, does the tarot readings, conducts classes on intuition, and  other esoteric and spiritual subjects.

Robert Rubin

Robert Rubin

Sarah put me in touch with Robert and he suggested we meet at Craft along Esteban Abada Street in Katipunan, although he sees most of his clients at Mysterium. Our appointment at the cafe was a perfect happenstance because I was also slated to have a meeting there. From the time we set a date, I had a feeling things would go well because having one of my favorite iced mochas (love that thick, heavy, chocolate bottom!) while getting my cards read seemed like the perfect idea.

Iced Mocha

Iced Mocha at Craft


I’d had my tarot cards read by other people before, but this by far was the most in-depth session I’d ever encountered. Robert starts out by giving me a short brief on what I could expect over the next 60 minutes—he told me to reserve any personal details about myself until after he goes through the reading. He also says that we do get a Q&A answer after, where I can ask him specific questions.

One of our card pulls during the reading.

One of our card pulls during the reading.


Robert is extremely well-spoken, candid and likes to pull from pop culture when doing your readings (Star Wars was a recurring theme in mine). For a craft that’s highly esoteric, I really think that his very “real” way of reading—where cards that can be inaccessible to a lot of people are given a lot of real time context—is the perfect gateway for those who are still getting their feet wet in something very broad and hard to grasp like tarot. For those who have been into the cards for a while, he also offers a refreshing point of view.

A lot of people associate tarot with fortune-telling, but in my experience, the reading was really more like a 60-minute session that helps you map out your life. Robert makes clear that your “fortune” or whatever happens in your future is a product of your own decisions, and tarot helps you explore and tap into the possibilities that are out there.

Even though I’ve been collecting cards and studying them for a while now, there was no way I could have pulled that much insight for myself the way he did. Robert has been doing tarot readings for over 16 years and that experience speaks for itself when he talks you through your reading.

If you’re looking for some insight into your life and yourself, or if you’re curious enough about tarot to have made it to the end of this post, I highly recommend a reading with him!

To book an appointment, call 09165511824 or visit




Open Kitchen

Just a little beyond the main row of restaurants in Kapitolyo is Open Kitchen. I’ve been here several times before and enjoyed myself every time but somehow, I never got around to doing a profile on the place. I guess it’s because every other time I’ve been there it was for some family celebration so I never had the time to take pictures.

Dinner last Saturday was at Open Kitchen and this time there was no special occasion so I was able to take my time and take a few shots.

Open Kitchen has a short but interesting menu that should cater to a wide spectrum of tastes. The food is decidedly European/American although some Asian flavors and ingredients do spice things up.



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Bespoke Wedges by Sapato

Deconstructed Construction


Attention, shoeholics! Following the success of their bespoke ballet flats event last April, beloved homegrown shoe brand Sapato (also known as Sapato Manila) is bringing back their customized shoe service with “Deconstructed Construction,” a bespoke wedge event.


Customize your own Sapato in three simple steps:

Create Your Own Sapato


Step 1: Choose the heel height (low, mid, or high)

Step 2: Choose your shoe style from Sapato’s seven best-selling wedge designs (Gladys, Rikki, or Nissa for the low wedge; Bambi or Datu for the mid wedge; and Anya or Ashley for the high wedge).

Step 3: Choose your desired material/color for the key parts of the shoe (leather? Suede? Patent? Snakeskin? Metallic? What is calling out to you?). So. Much. Fun!!!


Nikki Yuson-de Guzman, co-owner of Sapato, tells us that their shoes are proudly made by skilled artisans in Marikina and feature premium materials to ensure the quality of their pieces. True enough, even their high wedges are surprisingly comfortable! Simply fill out the order form at the store to customize your perfect wedge, and your order will be ready in two weeks. Hurry, this special bespoke wedge event runs only till this Sunday, September 13!

Sapato is located at 2/F Archaeology Section of Power Plant Mall, Makati. For more information, follow sapatomanila on Facebook and Instagram. 


Although it was a pretty busy week for me food-wise, one invitation I could not refuse was the Bruichladdich dinner at Solaire’s Waterside. The Scottish food, which I had never had before and cooked by Chef Sascha Gausselmann – a German who had work experience in Scotland, plus the chance to taste Bruichladdich’s famous expressions, notably the Port Charlotte and Octomore were too tempting to turn down.

I arrived at the venue when cocktails were already well underway. After a whisky sour, I got to try Bruichladdich’s gin called The Botanist Islay. This was very smooth and dry. Most of the 31 botanicals used to make this gin are native to Islay.

After s short introduction by Solaire’s  Senior Beverage Manger Daniel Blais and Bruichladdich Commercial Manager Joey Pineda, dinner service promptly started.  The Port Charlotte was poured for the first 2 dishes. Port Charlotte is a fairly big whisky with an obvious smoky peat character but it is very well balanced so that the peat is not overwhelming. An excellent expression of Islay character.  The first 2 dishes titled “A Taste of the Scottish Highlands” (black pudding, kedgeree and smoked salmon) and “Barbarian Pierced Skull” (Skewered Lamb and Ayreshire Bacon) were both very good and went quite nicely with the Port Charlotte

Black Pudding Terrine, apple and onion; Kedgeree, Beetroot and Whisky Cured Salmon

Black Pudding Terrine, apple and onion; Kedgeree, Beetroot and Whisky Cured Salmon

Collops - Skewered Lamb, Ayreshire Bacon over Charcoal

Collops – Skewered Lamb, Ayreshire Bacon over Charcoal

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