Ivan Ramen in Gotham West Market, NYC

Garlic mazamen fully loaded

One of the things I consider when finding a place to eat at aside from serving good food is the story behind the food. Ivan Ramen’s story is interesting because it is successful attempt of a gaijin (i.e. foreigner) to make really, really, really good ramen.

I read Ivan Orkin’s story in his cookbook memoir of sorts, Ivan Ramen, so when I knew we were headed to NYC. Ivan Ramen was on my to-eat list, especially that the weather was nippy, one perfect for a bowl of hot ramen.

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How to use the coin laundry

Gaaaaar coin laundry!

When you’ve come from countries where labor is inexpensive and you could actually afford to pay for their services, doing things yourself is a big change. I remember how on our first encounter with the self-service gas pump, we stared at the pump for five minutes and scooped out what other people were doing because we had no clue how to pump gas ourselves. FYI, you have gas boys to help you out in the Philippine and Dubai.

And when you are travelling or live in a state where you don’t have the luxury of having your own washer and dryer in home, you would have to deal with the coin laundry. For those like me, who are completely alien to how to work the coin laundry, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to deal with it:

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Saying “Hello!” to Julia Child at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History

Hallooooooo Julia!

I did not grow up with Julia Child on our TV screens. We had a local counterpart, but this post isn’t about her. This is about Julia Child, whom I had got to know better when I watched “Julie & Julia” (for like a bazillion times!) and read through her memoirs. And I vowed to visit her exhibit at the Smithsonian in Washington DC if fates give us the chance to do so in our stay in the US.

I guess I was just one lucky duck when The Husband and I finally got our feet in Washington DC for a weekend. The Smithsonian National Museum of American History was a must visit.

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A letter to Ruth Reichl

Ruth Reichl visits Dallas, TX

Dear Ruth,

I think that I failed to come up with words to say to you in person when I finally got the once-in-a-lifetime chance to meet you at the Dallas Museum of Art that cool evening of May 13th, 2014. I’d like to take the chance to say it in a letter as I think I do better communicating on paper than in person.

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The perfect beef tapa (Filipino cured beef) recipe

Didi’s perfect beef tapa

I don’t know why I have an obsession with beef tapa (Filipino cured beef). Maybe because I worked a summer job at Goodah Annapolis, Greenhills, taking orders and cooking tapa and eggs (if I’m lucky) during the lunch time rush. Or maybe because mama made damn good homemade tapa.

This is one of the dishes I never bothered to learn when I was back home. I just woke up to the heavenly smell of garlic, soy sauce and vinegar wafting through my bedroom windows, came down to the kitchen and it was ready to eat. I guess we were spoilt by my mama that way.

But after a few times of experimenting on the ratios of beef, soy sauce and vinegar, I finally nailed it. The perfect beef tapa recipe. At least for us.

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Asian Food Market in Piscataway, New Jersey

As Asians, you will forever crave THIS.

When you’re surrounded by overly sweet supposedly savory dishes from American fast casual chains, you will crave this beautiful Asian plate of rice, vegetables and meat. The complete Asian meal.

And your best bet for this would be an Asian grocery. In Piscataway, New Jersey, head over to the Asian Food Market. It is a treasure trove of almost ANYTHING Asian food related.

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PUBLISHED ON RAPPLER: Defending Filipino women from stereotypes

One of the leaflets I get at least once a week

It was one of those rare beautiful afternoons in Dubai.

The sun was out, not with guns blazing, as it usually does in the desert city. It was a perfect day to have lunch outside, under the shade of the palm trees, with my usual lunch buddies, colleagues from all over the world.

I loved our lunch table because it was a retreat from the silent battlefield of the politically charged, multi-cultural corporate world. We could talk about anything and everything on living in Dubai as expats, no holds barred.

And today, the topic of Filipino women was on the table.

“Filipinas are just maids, who fling themselves at us, desperate, wanting to marry out of convenience to get out of their sorry state,” my Lebanese colleague stated matter-of-factly, as he leaned on the back of his chair, head cocked back in laughter.

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Katz’s Delicatessen in NYC, NY

More than 100 years old and still at it

If you’ve watched the classic Nora Ephron romantic comedy “When Harry Met Sally”, you are familiar with Katz’s Deli. Remember the scene where Sally fakes an orgasm? That’s Katz’s Deli.

Apart from being famous for that cameo, Katz’s Deli is a classic NYC food destination being over a hundred years old. The Husband and I couldn’t pass up the chance to get to taste their legendary pastrami and reuben sandwiches. Just to know whether the raves about the sandwich are as real as Sally’s orgasms.

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