Friday, September 30, 2011

Lunch at Grandpa's Inn

Cafe Uno - Grandpa's Inn
Vigan City, Ilocos Sur
30 October 2010

It was the day Ria and I traveled to Vigan City from La Union, but before going to Vigan, we made a quick stopover at Sta. Maria Church (also in Ilocos Sur). It was already near noon time when we arrived, and since most establishments were closed during noon time, we decided to eat lunch first. Brother was suggesting we check out the carinderia near Plaza Salcedo, but because Luna's post about her lunch at Cafe Uno was lingering my mind at that time, I told the tricycle driver to take us to Grandpa's Inn.

Grandpa's Inn

I don't know the exact address of the inn, but it wasn't too far from the heart of the city, though you still need to take the tricycle to get there.

Grandpa's Inn

Grandpa's Inn

Entering the inn, we were both amazed at how rustic it looked, to the point that we were immediately considering the thought of staying overnight in here so we would have longer time to roam around. Unfortunately, our budget wouldn't be enough and that my mom and brother will be traveling to La Union tomorrow morning so I needed to be home tomorrow as well.

Anyway, there were different dining areas, but we settled for the Cafe Uno side, because the bigger dining area only had one table available and that table was directly in front of the door, which was a bit awkward to be at considering people would get to see us first.

We were given two sets of menus, one for Cafe Uno and one for Kusina Felecitas, but Cafe Uno's menu was more for snacks, so we decided to choose dishes from Kusina Felecitas.

Pakbet with Bagnet

Pakbet with Bagnet. This dish had everything we wanted - veggies for health, it was an authentic Ilocano dish, and it had bagnet, something we both wanted to try. We thought it would be best to have this rather than buy bagnet (solo). I let Ria eat all the slices of Okra, but because the dish was wonderfully cooked, I ate a lot of the eggplant slices (something I don't normally do - I don't really prefer boiled eggplant, but I do eat fried or grilled eggplant). The bagnet was sinfully good, and the pakbet's sauce was superb.


Igado. This wasn't our first choice, but when the waiter approached us to say that our first choice - Grilled Pork with Blood Sauce (I forgot the exact name of the dish) - wasn't available, we checked the menu's pages over and over to find another authentic Ilocano dish. When she asked me about Igado, I quickly told her it had internals, and since she was okay with it, we went for it.

It was different from the usual Igado dishes I have tasted because it had no extenders (some add potatoes and carrots, others add raisins and/or green peas). As for the internals, it had liver, kidneys, pancreas, and heart, making it very rich in cholesterol. Again, another delicious dish from them, something I would like to eat again given the chance.

Rambutan and Watermelon Shake

Fruit Shakes. To breakaway from Iced Tea, we had fruit shakes as our drinks. I went for my ever favorite watermelon shake, while Ria went for rambutan shake. I am not sure if they used fresh or canned rambutan for this drink, but it sure tasted like freshly opened rambutan fruit.

During this vacation, Ria and I would pay for the food we personally ordered (but we share food to each other), but for this food trip, we split the bill in half since we ate a lot of the viands we had.

I have been to Vigan countless of times, but apart from the carinderia-style lunch sibs and I had the very first time we went there in 2006, the dinner at Cafe Leona with K in 2008 as well as the Empanada/Okoy food trips, dining in Vigan has always been at Jollibee. It was a nice change to eat at somewhere new, and this discovery would really make me go back there in the future.


Blogapalooza | Easy Pha-Max Wheatgrass


Image taken at Sidcor Weekend Market, May 2010

The first time I learned about Wheatgrass was when I visited the Salcedo Village Weekend Market (Makati City) for the Yummy Weekend in June 2008. Though I was told the many benefits of wheatgrass and I was given the chance to sample it, I wasn't really able to get a taste of wheatgrass juice as I was a bit skeptic as to how it would taste. Slowly, whenever I visit different weekend markets, I would always see a stall for wheatgrass, though during that time, it was only available in seed form (meaning you need to grow your own wheatgrass and juice it.

The very refreshing green color of the grass as well as its many benefits have already captured my interest, but it was through my scrappy friend Au's blog that made me want to grow my own. However, it didn't push through as I found it a bit tedious, and I didn't have the money to buy a juicer.

I guess my reason was also the reason why not too many people didn't really dive into the wheatgrass habit then.

Easy Pha-Max

When my sister and I visited the Sidcor Weekend Market (then located at the grounds of Lung Center of the Philippines) in October 2008, we got to see the packaged, readily available wheatgrass drink mix, a great solution for people-on-the-go, who don't really have the time to grow their own grass and juice it.

Easy Pha-Max (as what you can read on the image) was established in 2007 and is still the leader in distributing wheatgrass based products in the country. There sure are some other brands out there, but Easy Pha-Max is the only one that uses the leaves and the roots of the wheatgrass so people can get the maximum health benefits.

So... what makes Wheatgrass good for us?
  • Wheatgrass Cleanses. It has the highest Chlorophyll content among the other greens. It detoxifies the blood, promotes blood production, prevents anemia, and assists in wound healing. It's also a good source of fiber, which can prevent constipation.
  • Wheatgrass Alkalizes. Called as the "King of Alkaline Food," it contains more alkaline minerals than most vegetables.
  • Wheatgrass Nourishes. It contains 13 vitamins, 10 minerals, and 17 amino acid, aside from the other health benefits already mentioned. The roots of the wheatgrass are rich in Abscissic Acid that helps prevent cancer formation and growth. Not only that, it is also packed with more than 100 types of enzymes that aid in digestion and faster metabolism.

Easy Pha-Max is recognized and certified in many countries, including the Bureau of Food and Drug Administration (BFAD) here in the Philippines.

Easy Pha-Max Sampler Pack

At the Blogapalooza, each attendees were given a sampler pack containing four different wheatgrass based products, three of which I prepared the other day as part of the family's breakfast.

Wheatgrass (Original)

Easy Pha-Max Wheatgrass (pure). Sister personally chose this as her drink because she wanted to taste it in its simplest form. Taking a sip from it, I could say it tasted like tea, and because I used to drink Banaba tea, its taste was very tolerable. They say we can get to taste certain smells, and sipping this reminded me of freshly cut grass, and it also had its natural sweetness.

Wheatgrass with Honey

Wheatgrass with Honey. This drink was something I had at the Blogapalooza (I wasn't able to prepare the sachet of Wheatgrass with Honey because brother already had his cup of morning coffee). Although the pure kind had its own sweetness, this having honey made it a very good drink that even kids can appreciate. My cousin Marjorie was actually the one who asked me to try this at the event because it tasted really good, and I am glad I tried it. :)

This drink is something anyone can drink any time of the day, and can be mixed with hot, warm, or cold water. Each sachet contains 100% pure wheatgrass, oligosaccharides, and honey.

BIO 4-in-1 Coffee

Bio 4-in-1 Coffee. Something I prepared for mom. It tasted different from the usual 3-in-1 coffee drinks we had... one could definitely taste the difference because the wheatgrass flavor was something coffee, creamer, and sugar couldn't hide, but it wasn't really overpowering, so mom still said it tasted okay for her.

Each sachet contains: Instant Arabica coffee, non-dairy creamer (glucose syrup and hardened vegetable fat), oligosaccharides, and wheatgrass powder.

BIO Soy Milk

Bio Soy Milk. My drink. As soon as I opened the sachet, it made me exclaim, "smells like Buco Pandan!" I personally loved this drink because it's creamy and a little sweet.

This drink can be taken as is (obviously) or can be poured into your morning cereal, or can be a base for your smoothies and other drinks. Each sachet contains soy bean powder, isolated soy protein, oligosaccharides, isoflavones, and wheatgrass powder.

If you're wondering what's oligosaccharides... it helps promote the growth of good bacteria, and minimizes intestinal problems.

If you want to try the Easy Pha-Max wheatgrass based products, I suggest you visit the weekend markets - there might be a stall selling some. My sister told me she once saw the products at a local convenience store, so you might want to check it out there, or maybe ask your friends and/or colleagues if they know someone who sells the products. To know more about Easy Pha-Max and their other products, please check their Website or their Facebook Page.

By the way, if you're a blogger, you might want to check out their Easy Pha-Max EL P5K Online Blogging Contest. For full details, check this Page.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Katuray (Corkwood Tree Flowers)



Katuray (read: kah-too-rye) is also known as Corkwood Tree, Agati, and/or West Indian Pea. It is one of the few edible flowers around, and is a popular edible flower used in Ilocano dishes (Ilocos Region is located north-west of the country). There are two varieties - the white one and the deep pink one, but I only got to taste the white kind. It is most abundant every summer.

Katuray Salad

Katuray can be added to some dinengdeng dishes (boiled vegetables seasoned with fermented fish paste), but at times my aunt would prepare it as a salad, like the one in the picture. We had this when sister and I went to our paternal hometown last March, when katuray flowers were practically everywhere.:)

They say the flowers were bitter... I still haven't experienced tasting bitter katuray flowers. I guess it comes with preparation. From what my aunt taught me, one must open the pods and take out the pollen and this one thin strand in the middle of it. Preparing the salad, aunt would simply blanch it, then add cane vinegar, salt, ground pepper, and sliced onions.

It's simple, yet delicious, and it goes well with fried / grilled fish.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Blogapalooza | Healthy First Carrot Juice

Even before the Blogapalooza, I already know about the Healthy First Carrot Juice because I always see their booth whenever I visit the Sidcor Weekend Market. I see them as a very enthusiastic company - offering free taste of their carrot juice to everyone who passes by the aisle where their booth is located. Back when the weekend market was located at the grounds of Lung Center of the Philippines, I always eat my meal at Tita Norm's, which was right next to their booth. Needless to say, I would often buy their juice to go with my meal. :)

Healthy First at Blogapalooza

Healthy First started in 2007. Reading their history from their Facebook Page, it was so interesting how blessings came to them - from a vegetable juicer, to helping an apostolic work for the Baguio farmers. They then started producing homemade carrot juice, which they offered to weekend market shoppers as their way of promoting a healthier way of drinking juice.

Healthy First Carrot Juice
photo from archives, circa 2010

Healthy First carrot juice is available in 500ml. bottles for 45 pesos each. Their juice has no preservatives, and that they use only purified and energized alkaline water.

Flavors available include:
  • Carrot - Mango - Melon
  • Carrot - Mango
  • Carrot - Strawberry
  • Carrot - Pineapple - Lychee
  • Carrot - Four Seasons (carrot, apple, mango, melon)
  • Carrot - Mango - Lychee
  • Carrot - Melon

Like I said, I have been one of their patrons since then, but I always go for the four seasons because it had more fruit flavors, haha. At the Blogapalooza, though, I chose the Carrot - Strawberry, and it was refreshingly good. It also had bits of strawberries inside, something that made my drink worth its price. Imagine how much strawberries cost these days...

We all know that carrots are rich in Vitamin A and Beta-Carotene - it can help with our eyesight... but it also protects our heart, it prevents constipation, it combats cancer and it promotes weight loss.

If you have to taste the goodness of carrot juice mixed with different fruit juices, check out the Healthy First stall at these locations:
  • Sidcor Weekend Market (Centris Walk, Quezon City) - Sundays, 6:00am - 2:00pm
  • Quezon Memorial Circle Weekend Market - Saturdays and Sundays, 6:00am - 1:00pm
  • Green Market Bazaar (ELJ Building, ABS-CBN Compound) - Fridays, 7:00am - 7:00pm
  • NCO Bazaar (ELJ Building, ABS-CBN Compound) - Fridays, 2:00am - Saturdays, 9:00pm
  • Northeast Greenhills Bazaar (La Salle Street) - Sundays, 6:00am - 12:00nn
  • CVC Supermarket (Cainta) - Daily

Just so you know... Healthy First carrot juice lasts 10 hours in room temperature, lasts two to three days inside the fridge, and when frozen, it lasts for two - three weeks.

Aside from the freshly made carrot juice, they also offer Baked Goodies and other delicacies / meals, which you can order from them (they do small catering for maximum of 30 people). If you're interested, go visit them at the locations listed above, or contact them:
Ima: 546-1916 / 0917-8303434 /
Ninay: 425-6473 / 0927-8940610 /

Monday, September 26, 2011

Weekend Eating | Veggies and Fish

I have been having problems with my weight ever since I could remember, and in high school was when I first learned about "1 cup of rice" and "matchbox cut pork," but I called it ridiculous. I love food and I love rice, and back then I could eat lots and lots of rice with minuscule amount of viand. Well, we all know what happened in this story - I ballooned to more than 200lbs.

Of all my attempts to lose weight, this year has got to be the year that I was more committed to it, but lately I have been struggling to find the enthusiasm. I am way too lazy to exercise (yes, I blame the rain for it - I know, I should blame myself), and I am seeing myself eating more rice than I should. Bad, Jenny.

Dinengdeng with Fish

Realizing we had a protein binge days before (mom hosted a post-birthday dinner for church org friends and we served pork bbq, lechon manok, and fish & chips), we decided to eat veggies last Saturday dinner. Mom requested the papaya-malunggay dinengdeng, which brother happily cooked. This is one of my favorite ways to cook dinengdeng, but because I had some snacks that afternoon, I psyched myself to go back measuring my food, and since sister needed the measuring cup for her cereal's milk, I decided to just go for 1/2 cup of rice and 1/2 cup of the dinengdeng, plus a piece of fried fish.

Thankfully, it was able to satisfy my tummy. I need to go back on track asap, and I am glad that despite my many pig out moments the past week, I can still happily go back with measuring my food intake.

So... what did you have last weekend? If you're new to the Weekend Eating meme, you can read the rules and get the badge codes HERE. My heartfelt thanks to everyone who joined last week.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Jenn, the Foodie

I come from a family who loves cooking and eating. I never had any formal training in cooking and that I taught myself how to cook based on the handed down recipes, but I could say that I can cook good food. In 2008, I started documenting my food trips for my travel blog, and since I have quite enough to start a food blog, might as well put all those food trips in one location. Thus, a food blog is born - thanks to the new Friendster Blogs. However, due to several problems, I was left with no choice but to pack bags again and move here instead. Here's the permanent address, promise! Enough talk, let the food trippin' begin! {Know More About Me}