Off to see the Son rise in Manila!
Travelling alone. I’m landing in Clark. Please pray for me.
Proof that 10% of my brain is working. Shyness is nice, and shyness can stop you from doing all the things in life you'd like to
I don’t understand how some people can go to sleep at night not knowing what to do about their problems. Me? I stay up all night, going through my mental checklist, not falling asleep until everything has an answer. I may not achieve everything I want in a snap, but at least I go to sleep at night assured that when I wake up, I know what baby steps to take to get closer to fixing my problems.
As Mom, my sisters and I were leaving the apartment, my heart fell when Mom noticed that the screen framed in front of our glass jalousie windows were cut open, in two different parts. Yep, someone tried to break in… while everyone was at home (during the night). We reported the incident to the landlady and I guess she has no intentions of fixing it up. And now my heart is throbbing, and I’m sweating bullets even though it just rained. I can’t sleep until the holes get covered up; I can’t sleep until the landlady fixes the gate; I can’t sleep until my heart stops throbbing… ugh.
I’ve been getting to know our neighbor for the past couple of months, and today she talked more about her bright personality, and how she hated having to worry about things all the time. I just… couldn’t picture myself like that. If I don’t have a plan, I don’t have anything.
Of course, I know that there are things I can’t control… a lot of them. That’s why I’m channeling all my energy to these things I can control, like myself, and the things around me. Cut-up screens, messy roomies, fucked up grades because of my amazing attendance on my 7AM classes, etc. But sometimes fixing things require help from other people, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned in this life, it’s that you can’t always trust people. Even if they’re family. You love them, but you can’t depend your whole life on them.
When it comes to these things, I’m always going against the grain with my family. When a problem arises, I always ask what we can contribute to fix it. That’s a priority. But them? They always end up in tangents… Last time, a business plan somehow led to my married life. I can’t even…
My heart’s still throbbing. I wanna walk this out since it’s so wonderfully cold outside, but I’m afraid of running into whoever it was that tried to break in. Does anyone know where I can but Mace in the PH(mine got confiscated at the airport because I didn’t put it in my trolley which I checked-in, so)?
You guys!!! These are my Booksale finds! :))
I went to 7 branches in Metro Manila with Flery, and honestly I had more fun walking from Malate to Makati for Booksale over walking around an air conditioned mall in Divisoria (more on that on another post)!
I spent around 860 PHP+ for books that total up to 2247 PHP when bought at bookstores. I saved 1387 PHP. Good job, me! :)
Off to see the Son rise in Manila!
Travelling alone. I’m landing in Clark. Please pray for me.
Staring contest with my “thesis”.
Been meaning for you to see this, Marry.
I still can’t quite believe it. The Lord is good.
At first glance
I imagined Tiny Kitchen’s interiors, based on its minimal signage, as that of Margie’s Bakeshop near Fairlanes Bowling Center. All three establishments are in a long two-lane road known to everyone who knows of Davao as “Torres”. That is, F. Torres street. The name doesn’t reveal much: it isn’t Somebody’s Bistro, Barbie’s Brew, or Carly’s Café. Prior to dining there, I always thought of Tiny Kitchen as some beautifully decorated place where you pay for overpriced fried chicken or bland potato salads swimming in mayonnaise. In short, a cute establishment that pretended to be a restaurant.
It was my first time at legitimately fancy restaurant, and I didn’t expect much, food-wise. In my head, fine dining meant awkwardness in choosing which utensils to use, white tablecloths, wineglasses for drinking water, and pretending to enjoy food I didn’t really understand. I’ve been fond of cooking shows since I was 12 years old; and by cooking shows, I don’t mean cooking contests. I mean Giada de Laurentiis using white wine to “soak up all the flavors at the bottom of the pan”, Nigella Dawson’s weird-looking utensil with the sole purpose of beating eggs, and Ina Garten’s herbs from her backyard. I found these things fascinating, but I knew for a fact that I wasn’t into what they were cooking. I always removed olives from pizza; olive oil was gross, and parmesan cheese was just salty and dry. With those prejudices in mind, I was the first to arrive at Tiny Kitchen.
As what my Creative Writing instructor has said, it was a Spanish restaurant. Walking into the place though, I decided to call it a dainty place that served Spanish food. Unlike Tokyo Tokyo that had Japanese interiors, or Bigby’s that had an American set-up, Tiny Kitchen did not look and feel like a Spanish villa, save for the hand-painted plates hung in some of the walls and the guitar music coming off the speakers. Nevertheless, it was a treat to look at. The bar leading to the kitchen door (although it was not a double-door type, it still didn’t have a doorknob. So Ratatouille!!!) was white with pleasant accents. Overhead were blackboards that had most of the menu written chalked in big, neat letters. The chairs were of a forgettable design, although very comfortable. The tables are a story unto themselves.
Perhaps it was for economic reasons, but nevertheless it was so fun and ingenious for them to print out their menus on thicker-than-for-tracing paper the same size as their square tables to use as the table cover. Unfortunately, they don’t allow customers to take home their menu/table cover. The menu was written in Spanish. In smaller text, we were able to read of the main ingredients used, but not how the dishes were cooked. It was awkward trying to say anything out loud, but my English block mates and I sure got a kick out of that pasta dish named after Don Quixote.
We had a salad called Alicante for the entrée, and it was delightful. I used my knife to cut the big leaves with because that’s how Bobby Flay does it. I’ve always known fresh tomatoes as sour therefore best for omelets with MSG and dipping grilled fish, but the tomatoes in the salad were not sour at all. Meanwhile, the ham slices didn’t have the lines to indicate that it was 100% meat—it’s that or I didn’t stare into it long enough—still, they didn’t taste much. The cheese tasted like store-bought cheese, but then what do I know? The only real cheeses I’ve ever tasted are mozzarella, cream, and parmesan. Tuna was cut into teeny-tiny clumps, and I was expecting them to be like the pork on top of BreadTalk’s best-selling pork floss bread: dry, but very tasty. I was wrong. It wasn’t dry, but it wasn’t soaking in oil, either. Again, the tuna was very tasty. The cucumbers were cut thin enough, leaving them crunchy and never overpowered by the weird-tasting middle part with the seeds. The honey mustard sauce, which Ina Garten almost always makes, was very good. Not too sweet, not too tangy. I’m not sure if it was Dijon mustard that they used, but we all had refills of it. I felt bad drenching my salad in the sauce because Giada always said that salad should be light, but the sauce was just that good.
Tiny Kitchen’s paella valenciana with yellow rice, chicken, shrimp, generic clams, and fish cubes was…. succulent. The meats were laid out circularly atop two - three inches of yellow rice. I have always been used to paella with sticky orange tasteless rice, therefore eating paella required including some meat into every spoonful. A struggle, really; which was why I was not particularly excited with the dish our teacher ordered for us. But I’m very glad I still tasted it. The rice was absolutely flavorful. It wasn’t all sticky and bland like Filipino rice cakes, rather the grains fell apart as easy as fried rice does, only the sauce sent from the gods of Spanish food kept it together. They did not use regular thin rice, but a California variant which I initially mistook for risotto, a type of pasta that looks like rice. The chicken must have been injected with the same sauce, because it was soft and tasty. The fish cubes and the shrimp, however, were not suffused with the sauce. I’m not going to say anything about the clams because to me they’re all the same: chewy and always barely-flavored.
I ordered a dish of baked fish fillet with caramelized onions and potatoes, called maya maya a la pobre con sebollas y patatas. I always thought that caramelized onions were sweet, but this was the only dish I did not like; not because it was badly executed, but because I didn’t like the flavor. It was very sour, perhaps because of the onions and vinegar. The fish was cooked well, and I’m saying this because it wasn’t tough to chew (cooks always say that fish is delicate, therefore it must be cooked very carefully), and the flavors of the sauce got into the big chunks of fish. Thankfully, the potatoes were spared. They were very soft, as in the softness you need when making mashed potatoes. Since they were soaked in the sauce, you would still have to taste the tangy sauce. However, chewing the potatoes themselves tasted like KFC fries. Very potato-like, for lack of a better term. When we all finished eating, this was the only dish with leftovers, with enough of the runny sauce and fish to feed someone for lunch.
Gambas primavera was next: spaghetti with shrimps and shells in thick tomato sauce. By thick tomato sauce, don’t expect the consistency of store-bought tomato sauce. Think of a cross between literally mashing up seedless tomatoes and a little bit of tomato paste as a thickening agent because tomatoes are water-based, after all. In this dish, you can see more pasta white than red as you bite into al dente pasta. I didn’t like al dente pasta. For the past 18 years I have been eating close to mushy pasta, and initially I thought that they were rushing our orders and failed to cook them all the way through. But then I remembered Giada, Ina, Bobby Flay, Mario Batali, and even GMA’s chef Boy Logro talking about al dente pasta, and I thought to myself: “Well, I can’t like everything.” The sauce was not sugary-sweet like our moms’, but it had the subtle taste of tomatoes so you wouldn’t get tired of eating it easily, at least that was the case for me. The shrimp was already peeled and deveined, making the teeny-tiny prawns look fat as the cavity swell up in cooking. I wanted more because the sauce was good, but the serving was good for one person only. The shells were laid around the plate.
The first chicken-based dish to arrive was pollo a la jillo, or chicken slices sautéed with slivers of garlic and potatoes. There’s not much to say about this dish. Think garlic chicken from most drinking joints, only without the Knorr seasoning as we have in my hometown. The potatoes were cut into big chunks, and so they didn’t taste much as I bit into them. If the maya maya a la pobre tasted too strongly for me, this was the opposite.
I’ve decided to talk about the best dish for last, and I’m guessing my block mates would agree with me in saying that the chicken in mushroom sarsa or stew, next to the paella valenciana. I got a wing by sheer absentmindedness, but I wasn’t going to pull a Padre Damaso and throw a fit over it. I’ve always heard that the chicken’s wings are the tastiest part, but I never liked wings simply because it didn’t have a lot of meat. I’m not sure about the other parts of the chicken, but mine got enough of the sauce inside it. While the chicken ran out easily, the plate kept being passed around the line of four square tables we occupied because everyone wanting to have the sauce in their rice: think Jollibee’s gravy, but with less saltiness. The sauce in this dish was so thick you could put it on top of your rice and it wouldn’t run, with bits of orange I’m gonna say were micro-diced carrots.
All of the main course dishes, save for the paella valenciana, were served with a slice of warm, crisp bread. Unlike most fast-food chains that serve slices of bread, they didn’t slather the bread with butter, but they were tasty nonetheless because of herbs.
For dessert, I ordered a slice of mango sans rival that turned out to be as small as two slices of Goldilocks’ bestselling brownies. The cake was frozen, and so the wafers weren’t crisp as I expected. The mangoes were tart like my favorite mango ice cream, complimenting the sweet butter parts.
For drinks, I ordered one that I couldn’t find on both the overhead and tabletop menus, but on the counter, waiting to be brought to customers. The receipt calls it strawberry bl, and I’m going to call it strawberry blend lemonade from here on out. It was lemonade with I’m guessing real strawberries because of the seeds poured over a glass of crushed ice. Apparently, all of the drinks they make themselves are like this: juice over crushed ice. Very refreshing. Initially, I was unhappy with how the strawberry taste wasn’t as tart as ripe strawberries are, but when I took a sip after all the food I’ve eaten, I realized that the mildness of my strawberry blend lemonade drink perfectly complimented the flavors of the dishes.
I got an F on my Philosophy of the Human Person midterm today for not following the instructions. Apparently, we only had to pick one question from those written on the board. Well, smart little me answered them all.
Worst, still, was the bonus question. We watched The Devil Wears Prada (it’s relatable to Marx’s Alienation of Man, I swear) and if we could write down the first item Nigel ever gave Andy in the wardrobe department. I knew for a fact that it was some sort of jacket, in a hanger (apparently it was a poncho). But everyone around me was talking about Prada heels, so I crossed my original answer out, crossed the 5 easiest bonus points I’ll ever see out.
On a more positive note, here are the good things that happened to me today: