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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Dutch Haven Shoo-Fly Pie Bakery @ Amish Country, PA

Hello Amish Kitsch!

Our GPS has a nickname: the scenic route GPS.

En route back to Texas from the East Coast, past Philadelphia, PA, we entered a two-lane highway and then started seeing horse drawn carriages with bearded men in black and white suits. The air was filled with the smell of tilled earth, manure and green leaves.

I looked at The Husband and said “I don’t think we’re in the modern world anymore.” No we weren’t in Kansas, but deep in the heart of Amish Country.

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