Link

Who’s Not Going Sightseeing In London?

Tags

, ,

Who’s Not Going Sightseeing In London?

I already did that when I was younger.

I’m not even going to pretend anymore that I’m interested in going back to the museums or historical sites.

WHAT?

This is going to be a wine debauchery trip.

I’m going to drink all the wines that I can’t get here in the Philippines.

My liver may suffer for it, but at least I’ll die happy.

EXCITED!!!

Flow.Surf.Yoga.Samba Weekend Part II – Coffee and Surf

Tags

, , , , , , ,

WHAT? It’s March 2014 already?! Where did the end of 2013 go?

INSANITY. That’s where it went, thus, having no time to blog at all.

Slow season is here once again so now I more time to putz around and update this bloody thing.

Before my end of 2013 turned insane, I was able to escape to La Union for a little R&R with the girls of Flow.Surf.Yoga.Samba. This was my second trip with them and I went alone as I needed to recover from an emotional setback.

I’ve been coming here since 2005 but the area keeps changing so much every time I go back. I don’t get to go back often enough but I do love this place, as this is where I first learned to surf.

Untitled

I said hi to my buddy River (my friend Noelle’s dog) as soon as I arrived early in the morning.

Untitled

Was feeling a bit groggy so I was about to order instant coffee (which I knew was the only kind they had from previous stays) but Noelle stopped me and told me about this “awesome coffee place” across the street from La Union Surf Resort where we were staying. As soon as I heard “awesome coffee”, I took my wallet and ran to cross, not minding that the street was a busy highway with speeding commuter buses and cars.

Untitled

I was shaking from excitement when I saw the place.

Untitled

Untitled

I had to line up behind some regular surfers and customers which was fine.

Untitled

They gave me a cupcake which was nice of them.

I ordered a cappucino and it was HEAVEN. So psyched that I wouldn’t have to drink instant coffee again. That’s what I basically did the whole weekend. I surfed and ate drank coffee.

In between coffee runs and surf sessions, I joined Monica and my newfound friends for yoga and “taho” (soybean) for a little snack. I’m not a yoga person but I wanted to try it once in the hopes that it would calm my troubled mind.

Untitled
Untitled

I also joined them for raw food and healthy shake workshops.

Untitled

Untitled

Again, not me, but miraculously, I truly enjoyed the workshop and was inspired to continue it even after the trip. I still do a modified version of what I learned there. I also fully quit smoking as I had been smoking heavily from that emotional setback.

We drummed and danced to samba while the sun set and it was awesome.

Untitled

 

 

I didn’t really eat that much that weekend. I normally scarf down unhealthy food when I’m surfing but I was using this weekend to turn over another leaf in the hopes of forgetting the reason for my emotional setback of 2013.

Untitled

I did manage to eat a giant omelette which I didn’t finish. *SHOCK*

Totally needed the weekend, if only for the surf sessions and much needed detox….

oh…and the FABULOUS COFFEE from EL Union Coffee.

…which I will look forward to when I return to La Union again.

 

 

 

 

Basil

Tags

, , , , , ,

I realize I haven’t raved about a local restaurant in year (or more) so it’s about time.

I’ve had a hankering for Thai food lately, and while Benjarong can fit the bill, a) it’s too far from my house, b) weighs quite hefty on the wallet. 

I’ve been driving by Basil for quite a long time now as it’s near my house. I’ve noticed that it’s always packed so I started being curious about it and started asking the food circuit about it. Unfortunately, I only found the time to try it today, because the parking situation there is horrendous and I had to wait until I could drag someone who could park for me (and eat with me) as well. In this case, I successfully dragged my brother (who already ate there and confirmed it was good). 

Outside it looks like a greenhouse, as the area surrounding it is known for selling plants for houses. Inside, the restaurant was gorgeous. 

Untitled

It felt like I was in Thailand, and not in Quezon City. Benjarong still feels like I’m in Manila, and it definitely feels like a hotel, so sorry, Basil wins in ambience. 

<pUntitled

Untitled

Untitled</a

Untitled

They have a quite a selection on their menu. I was salivating just reading it. They didn’t have Khao Soi though. I really want Khao Soi. 

I was extremely hungover today so my brother ordered a Tom Yum to start. The rest, I ordered with my eyes, knowing full well I wouldn’t be able to finish it. The server warned me that portions were for 2-3 people, but I figured my brother eats for 3 people and I eat for 2 people so it would be just right for both of us. I could always take the leftovers to work the next day. 

PB100268

Tom Yum kicked my pounding head to the curb. Especially with the spice!

I ordered my usual fish cakes and pad thai. Pad thai was amazing! It tasted like the pad thai I had in Bangkok which my tour guide said was “the best in Bangkok. I would have finished it except I had 4 other dishes to eat and I mixed in too much of the chile so it got too spicy for me to finish. If I brought my Schloss Lieser Kabinett, then I prob would have finished it. 

Untitled

Pad Thai From Basil

I was going to get the Crispy Fish but I figured I had that already so I wanted to try something else. My eye caught the Squid in Salted Egg. I’m a sucker for anything with salted egg. So I was sold on it.

So glad I got it! It was so tasty. Would have been better if I ordered rice, but I already ordered too much to start. I ordered my brother not to eat it so I could take it to work tomorrow for my lunch. HAH!

Untitled

I also got the beef curry, but I didn’t enjoy this one as much as the other dishes. I make a pretty mean curry so that’s probably why. HARDY HAR HAR. Next time I’ll order the green curry for future reference.

Untitled

By this time, I was stuffed and felt like hurling so I decided to walk around the restaurant and take more photos.

I went to their outdoor seating and it was really nice. Would be awesome to eat there if only Katipunan Ave wasn’t so noisy with all the cars beeping and pollution.

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

My only complaint is the wine list…or lack thereof. They listed it just as house wine and premium wine. How is that supposed to tell me anything? But I guess I understand because the Quezon City neighborhood are not really wine drinkers, except for yours truly. Since it’s so near my house, I can just lug my stash from my house to the restaurant, and it would still be at proper temperature by the time my food arrives.

Guess I’m taking my Prinz Von Hessen Riesling Dachsfilet 2011 for my next visit!!!! AYEEE!!I Can’t wait!

I’m so glad I came and that this restaurant is so near me. I used to live by Fenway and this restaurant called Brown Sugar Cafe was so near me and I would go there to have some Khao Soi and Pad Thai.

This is definitely a refreshing breath of fresh air amidst all the restaurants opening which have shitty food. 

Now if only they can have better parking.

Or maybe I should take my bike? 

 

Straits Wine Fiesta 2013

Tags

, , , , , , ,

I was able to get in through trade tickets given to me by The Straits Wine Company and I came early to Whitespace to try the wines before they let the general public in. 

See how it’s nice and quiet when I arrived.

Untitled

Untitled

The area was well-organized with the table arrangements, matching the arrangement of the wines in the tasting book they gave us. I tried to taste systematically, even spitting at the beginning, but each year, I always fail, and the next thing I know, I’m all over the place.

Untitled

<pUntitled

Took my sweet time in the Germany and Austria section, tasting every single thing that they had to offer. 

Untitled

Untitled

Found a winner in the Prinz Von Hessen Riesling Dachsfilet 2011 and Laurenz V Friendly Gruner Veltliner.  I liked the Dachsfilet for its complexity, although shy on the aroma, had a lot of underlying flavors of old citrus, white peach, lychee with slight oxidative notes (but not to a fault). It was one of the more interesting Rieslings I’ve had since the Grosses Gewachs and Erst Lager lectures of Joel Payne earlier this year. 

The Gruner was pretty awesome too, no notes on my tasting book, because I think I just rushed off to reserve myself a bottle of each (Riesling and Gruner). 

Decided to then just go off and have a rose which was fantastic. Aix from Provence, France. 

Untitled

I also bought myself a bottle. They were also giving away cute pink cork keychains. I only got one but I should have gotten more. 

Then I dropped by my favorites, the Italians. 

Untitled

Really appreciating the Barone Ricasoli  Rocca Guicciarda Chianti Classico Riserva 2010 during Joel Payne’s “Masterclass” which we rushed off to attend about 6:30pm. It smelled a lot like foot but had so much complexity which I love about Italian wines. Sour cherry, really earthy, tarrish. I carry the Brolio Chianti Classico in the restaurant so I skipped tasting that wine already.

Headed over to Marco Felluga for his Pinot Grigio which I’ve had before but just want to drink again to remind myself. 

Untitled

Then it was time for Joel Payne’s Masterclass so went over to that one. 

Untitled

Untitled

See my ridiculous scribbles on the tasting mat.

Untitled

Then we went back in the tasting room so we could finish off the rest of the wines.

I introduced my friend to Brokenwood because Alan, our master somm instructor, gave us a Brokenwood Semillon 1995 as a reward for our class one day to try. I remember it already being a little oxidated but it was still pretty amazing.

Untitled

This one is obviously much fresher than the one that we had. Still sweet, but not cloying.

Untitled

Tried a few cognacs.

Untitled

I could barely get this down my throat by this time.

We still attended the Riesling and Gruner Veltliner Masterclass (we’re such geeks).

Untitled

Until I finally decided, I should probably head out while I could still walk properly.

I collected and paid for my bottles and set off for home, happy and geeky. 

Untitled

By the way, I really loved that Vina Pedrosa La Navila 2009 from Ribera Del Duero. I forgot to take a photo of the table while I was tasting it but I managed to remember to buy it, which was an awesome thing.

Thanks Straits Wine for another awesome event!

 

Mollydooker Wines

Tags

, , , , , , ,

The other day, I had the privilege of attending the industry and press launch here in the Philippines of Mollydooker wines, held at Massetto. 

Untitled

Untitled

 

Untitled

The owners and winemakers, Spanky and Sarah Marquis themselves, came to the Philippines to introduce Mollydooker to the Philippine market. I was really glad to meet them and have the chance to sit down and talk about their wines in depth. 

They were both really animated and excited to talk about their wines and got to ask a lot of questions about their winemaking philosophies and views. 

Mollydooker means “left handed” in Australian slang terms, as both of them were left handed. All the labels have characters on them that were left handed or had stories about being left handed. The labels are so cute. They hired some artists to to do their labels for them. 

Untitled

We started off the meal with The Violinist Verdelho paired with chorizo puffs and calamari with onion marmalade. 

The Verdelho was really different from the Portuguese Verdelhos I’ve had, as this one was high in alcohol and more weighty than the Verdelhos I’ve had. It also had some oak though the high acidity and minerality was there.

 

This is a modern interpretation of the Verdelho, and though one might not be able to pick this out at a blind tasting as Verdelho, was still quite good in itself. 

Sarah and Sparky spoke about the Mollydooker shake and its purpose of releasing nitrogen and minimizing sulfites, making it ready-to-drink, especially for those allergic to sulfites. This is good information for me as a lot of my clients are allergic to the sulfites in wine. It’s quite difficult for me to track down sulfite-free wine in the tropical islands. After all, I doubt it’s going to make it this far from wine making regions without sulfites.

I then found out that Sparky Marquis was a professional photographer before he became a winemaker. I got a little insecure sitting beside him with my too awesome camera (Olympus OMD-EM5) which I’m sure he could tell I could barely use. He didn’t say a word though so I just kept using it.

Untitled

I then asked him about fruit weight so both he and Sarah explained to us that fruit weight was the measure of quality in wines of the velvety, silky sensation of fruit in wines. In layman’s terms, I’m guessing this was equivalent to fruit concentration. This is a measure from the tip of your tongue for the velvet glove to the prickly structure (acid, tannin). 

Untitled

To further elaborate on fruit weight, we went on to the next wine, the Two Left Feet 2011 which is a shiraz/merlot/cabernet sauvignon blend. This wine was at 70% fruit weight  and had ripe cherries, plums, oak and cedar as well as some wet basement aromas. The tannins were soft, and not too acidic but high in alcohol and had both a fruity and earthy finish. It was quite syrupy already and had quite a decent finish with mild oak on the palate. 

Untitled

This was paired with Butternut Squash Soup with Goat Cheese Tortellini. 

I didn’t get to take a photo of the soup but it was a decent pairing with the pumpkin’s earthy but mildly sweet flavors.

Untitled

Untitled

We moved on to the Blue Eyed Boy Shiraz 2009, which I quite enjoyed, despite the high alcohol content. I could feel it running through my veins and this was lunch time, and I had to get back to work. 

Untitled

The wine was quite fragrant and had a lot of candy, licorice aromas combined with ripe red and black fruit and spices (all-spice, clove and cinnamon. I kept smelling it and smelling it in my glass. The tannins were soft and rounded. 

This was paired with my most favorite thing in the world, a cheese souffle.

Untitled

Untitled

The Blue Eyed Boy combined with the cheese souffle actually gave off raspberry flavors. I actually thought I could taste a raspberry pie. I even texted my friend who sat across from me about it to double check if she got the same impression and she did. 

On a sidenote, I probably like this wine because I have an affinity for blue eyed boys. HAHA!

The wine for the main course was the Carnival of Love Shiraz 2010 which obtained 99+ from Robert Parker. This wine had a heavy concentration and amazing depth and compared to the BLue Eyed Boy would appear to be a “more serious” wine versus the playful Blue Eyed Boy. This was much earthier and had less ripe fruit aromas and more secondary aromas. This was more black fruit like blackberry and black currant versus a combination of black and red fruit as in the Blue Eyed Boy. This wine, according to them, was at 90% fruit weight. 

Untitled

Together with the Enchanted Path Shiraz Cab blend, the labels combined formed a complete picture/told a story.

Untitled

Untitled

The wine was paired with Crispy Chicken, Jamon Serrano, Potato Puree and Mushroom Sauce. I loved this dish because the chicken was really crispy on the outside but really tender on the inside.

Untitled

As you can see, I pretty much wiped out the contents of my glasses.

Untitled

I actually wanted more (chicken) but I’m glad they didn’t give us a large portion or else I wouldn’t have walked out. The mushroom sauce completed the serious earthy flavors in the Carnival of Love. I think I asked for a refill, twice. Plus, refills of the Blue Eyed Boy. I’m glad I asked for refill for the Blue Eyed Boy because it went REALLY WELL with the dessert, a course I normally skip.

They served a chocolate hazelnut tart, which had the magic word hazelnut in it, so I ate it versus normally chucking it or giving it to my seatmate.

Untitled

It went great with the Blue Eyed Boy shiraz so I told Sparky and he tried it and agreed with me.

I’m pretty sad I didn’t get to try the Velvet Glove as they didn’t serve it for that meal. They served it the night before at the wine dinner at Shangri-La but nobody wanted to go with me so I skipped it. It’s pretty sad attending a wine dinner by yourself.

Untitled

Hopefully, I get to try it next time.

And finally, a slightly blurry, parting photo with Sarah Marquis!
Untitled

Thank you Erin and Premium Wine Exchange for the invite!

 

 

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 205 other followers