Every so often, especially on a long weekend, my kids and I plan a drive to Baguio and chill in my cousin Dondi’s house to watch movies, sip wine, munch s’mores by the fireplace, sing, chat—the simple joys in life that make for priceless memories.
On these out-of-town trips, I do all the cooking, from breakfast, lunch, merienda, dinner to even midnight snack. My goal is to see my kids happy.
I plan what food will be served days before the trip. Whether it’s Pinoy fare, French, Swiss, Japanese, Chinese or anything I can think of, I love surprises, something unexpected, but with familiar flavors.
Where to buy
I go to Belcap along Katipunan Avenue in White Plains, Quezon City, for its huge burgers, corned beef, chicken patties, ham, longganisa and, lately, tinapang bangus. This place gets products from various suppliers and puts them under one roof.
From there, I cross the street and go to Pampanga’s Best where I buy bacon by the kilo, choosing the ones with less fat. I also love its no-fat tocino, not the best, but at least it’s the leanest and healthiest hereabouts.
At Santi’s, I buy sliced raclette cheese, pickled onions, cornichons, Dijon mustard, baguette and Hungarian cheese sausages—which I serve at raclette dinner with my best saved wines that were gifts or bought from Titania, a wine store beside our Wooden Spoon restaurant at Rockwell.
I also bring a slab of Triple “A”-grade Canadian prime rib beef from Alternative meats. I rub it with chopped garlic, butter, herbs, Dijon mustard, seasonings and then bake it for six hours. A good red wine, cabernet sauvignon, goes well with that meal.
I also bring snacks like potato chips, carrot and celery sticks, with a Korean sauce on the side—specifically red Korean spicy sauce and red bean paste.
A friend shared this recipe: 2 tablespoons of that spicy sauce, add 1 cup of red bean paste, 2 tbsps of honey and 2 tbsps of sesame oil. Mix and voila!
Chicken chorizo de Bilbao
While my kids are asleep, I make pancakes, bacon and eggs with pan de sal toast, or tocino and sinangag with eggs.
On some days it can be tapa, batutay longganisa from Cabanatuan, eggs Benedict with Bearnaise sauce, or waffles.
Sometimes I like to cook a new discovery—the delicious but healthier version of chicken chorizo de Bilbao by Mrs. Francisco at the Salcedo Saturday Market.
There’s also a German deli at the Legaspi Sunday Market that offers, large, salty, crispy and chewy pretzels. It’s the same type of bread used for its sandwiches—sausage, pork Schnitzel and thick meat loaf.
My kids and I love chicken nuggets as well, specifically the Purefoods brand, which didn’t use to be impressive. I used to compare it with McDonald’s chicken nuggets which seemed to taste better.
But today, the Purefoods chicken breast nuggets are the best—crunchy and juicy whether fried or oven toasted, always present in my merienda spread or even at breakfast. I use the sauce inside the package and mix it with the barbecue sauce from S&R called Sweet Baby Rays.
I believe that the famous Kambal Pan de sal, another staple at my breakfast table, is a Purefoods product, too. I store them in large mayonnaise containers and they stay fresh, moist and last long.
Even the Purefoods Corned Beef has gotten much better. I’m sure Helene Pontejos has something to do with the success.
My Fukuoka/Hiroshima food tour will be moved to either October or November, when the weather is cooler.