Wines From The Other Night

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I have a band-aid where the knife on my corkscrew meets the back of middle finger as I removed the foil and corks from about 200 of these bottles combined.
Who’s complaining though?
I still maintain I’m not a left bank BORDEAUX fan.
And while I’m a Burgundy fan, that Puligny Montrachet really didn’t blow me away.

Mecha Uma

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I recently had the pleasure of dining at Mecha Uma, at the RCBC building in The Fort.

I had been hearing so much buzz about Mecha Uma from my extreme foodie and wine customers but I hadn’t had time to go until lately.

It was the endorsement of members of the IFWS that got me curious. I don’t normally take recommendations of restaurants from people unless I know they’re as obsessive as me. Members of IFWS are usually more obsessive than I am.

I called ahead and asked about corkage policies. No corkage being charged but you have to order a bottle from their list (whether wine or sake) and then you can order a bottle.

I brought my Weingut Von Prinz Hessen Dachsfilet Riesling just as a safe wine pairing bet.

I took my brother and we both sat at the bar so we could see the action in the kitchen.

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I ordered a Junmai Daiginjo sake but they ran out so they gave me the next best available.

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The night I went, they didn’t have the omakase option. They only had a la carte. The Chef Patron Bruce Ricketts was there and he explained that he offered a la carte that week because he missed cooking.

I did all the ordering (of course) and ordered a bunch of dishes to try.

All of the dishes were served in small portions, kind of tapas style, so it’s best to order a bunch and eat everything as the food comes.

I won’t be able to put the full descriptions because I didn’t take any. There was no space on the bar for me to write and I was too amused by the food to type into my phone.

I hope you can see the deliciousness through my photos.

Halibut – this was a ceviche type of dish. I normally don’t eat dishes with vinegar but the vinegar wasn’t overpowering. It was also quite refreshing and a good palate cleanser in between rich dishes.

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Tuna

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Oyster – This was probably my favorite as it was the richest, with foie and mushroom. If you’re an umami fanatic, this is your dish. I liked it so muc, I ordered it twice.

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Chicken – This was their version of fried chicken. Very flavorful and juicy and moist inside.
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Kurobota Pork Belly – Very tenderMecha Uma

Udon Mecha Uma

Black Cod – This was my second favorite dish. Very rich flavors, perfectly cooked fish, great accompaniments, complimentary in flavor.

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I also ordered Wagyu Rice because the server suggested it. I guess Filipinos look for rice when they go to that restaurant to eat but personally, you don’t need rice anymore. I didn’t bother to take a photo and my brother ate most of it anyway. The dishes are packed in flavor so you will be full without that gross “I’ve overeaten” feeling that a cup of rice will give you.My brother and I shared a dessert but we were so full already so he also ate most of it.

CoconutMecha Uma

I highly recommend this restaurant if you want a different experience in food (in Manila).

I will definitely be back for the Omakase option.

All I need is…TIME.

At the Riedel Factory, Kufstein, Austria

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This is me by the Riedel sign, outside their factory, in Kufstein, Austria.

One of my good friends had the good heart to take this wine geek for an hour’s drive from Innsbruck, with a 10 month old son mind you, for the complete wine geek experience.

After all, what good is your wine if you put it in a crappy glass?

My friend told the Riedel staff that I was one of the few female sommeliers in the Philippines and they got excited and gave me a free tour!

They even asked if I was willing to wait if Mr. Maximilian Riedel could maybe meet me and I said yes but I think he was too busy that day.

Anyway…we took the tour. Even the baby Alexander! And he was quite thrilled with the tour. Well-behaved all throughout.

This is our tour guide, explaining to us the history of Riedel and how having different wines in different shapes of glasses, change the perception of how the wine tastes like.

Already at 9 months...Little Alexander is interested in learning about which wine goes in which glass.

Some of the other people on the short tour, Americans!

We then went out into the main factory, keeping the baby in the viewing room where it was airconditioned. The main factory was HOT, HOT, HOT. I could feel my face melting. It was due to all the fire for melting glass and for blowing glass. It was AWESOME. I had seen glass being blown in Venice with the murano but this was something else altogether. I saw the decanters being made!

I couldn’t stay long in the factory cause it was too hot and I have a history of fainting in hot environments so I proceeded to my most favorite activity.

SHOPPING!

I literally got crazy eyes when I entered the store. The prices were so reasonable compared to the prices here (almost times three due to tax and shipping costs).

I couldn’t of course buy 12 glasses of every set they made so I had to choose carefully.

I got the Black Sommelier Glasses on the top left corner, ideal for blind tasting. It is now 2015 and i still have not used those black glasses because I have not done any blind tasting lately. HAHA

Check out the rows and rows of glasses!

I also got the 40 Year Anniversary Sommelier Burgundy Grand Cru Glasses, a simple decanter, those micro beads for cleaning the decanter, and micro fiber cloths.

I literally had to tear myself away from that store.

I got all of these without thinking about how I was going to bring them all home in my tiny 20kg suitcase that was already half-filled with clothes.

Luckily, my friend saved my ass again by offering to bring them with her on her next trip.

I went in May and 5 months later, she had them with her.

THANK YOU SO MUCH, LORI!

BEST EXPERIENCE EVER!

See my happy face!

Vienna, Austria

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After Germany, I made my way to Austria to visit two sisters, one in was in Vienna, the other in Innsbruck. I’ve known these girls since forever and I thank them for being such great hosts for the second time in a row!

I hit Vienna first as I had never been there. I managed to find the correct train and arrived in Vienna with perfect weather.

My friend Sacki picked me up from the train station and brought me to my awesome hipster hotel.

My friend helped me make a reservation at Steirereck for my early dinner as she had to go back to work. When I Got there, turns out they were closed for renovation but their bistro was open so I ate there instead.

Was definitely excited to try Viennese cuisine and wine.

I got the Steirereck Weltliner and the Blaufrankisch.

The staff were very nice to me, considering I looked very out of place. HAHA!

This dessert was awesome. It was almond cake with strawberries. Kind of like financiers which are my favorite!!!

Got ready for the next few days in Vienna for some trip highlights including:

Spanische Hofreitschule – Spanish Riding School

Other than food and wine, I love horses and equestrian so this was a must-do in my list and was in fact, first on my to-do list. I watched the morning exercise and took the tour of the stables.

A break between the morning exercise and the stables tour enabled me to find the must-see Cafe Central which has been an institution in Vienna.

My dripping nose due to the bad weather warranted a hot soup.

And even though I don’t eat sweets, I ordered a cake for the sake of tradition. It was another almond cake, also good, but this time I couldn’t finish it.Another highlight of the trip was going to Naschmarkt which is their famous food market. In California, I ate at a restaurant called Nashcmarkt, inspired by this famous market. I never thought I would get to the real market and I was thrilled.

My friend and I had a drink first to kill time before raiding the stalls.

Stopped at a stall which made fresh pasta so I freaked out.

Met up with a few friends after at a nearby wine bar for more Austrian wine education.

That Blaufrankisch was phenomenal. It was still quite young but had a lot of layers of flavor and depth. Came recommended by one of the wine guys working in the store.

Met a few new friends which is the whole point of sharing wine, community!

Another Vienna highlight was visiting the Wieninger winery and meeting Mr. Fritz Wieninger.

It was quite a trip about an hour  from downtown but it was worth it as I got to do some tastings with him!

His sweet puppy hung out with me during the tasting!

This was my favorite bottle.

IT was his most expensive bottle. Of course. I really have a knack for liking the most expensive ones.

Thank you to Mr. Fritz Wieninger for having me around and for my friend Ava for hooking me up, all the way from the Philippines at such a short notice.

Didn’t really do the tourist site thing except for a walk through Schloss Schonbrunn cause the weather sucked for the 4 days that I was there.

I jumped on the train after to Innsbruck and apparently, the weather got better.

It was I that brought the horrible weather so I will have to go back to Vienna.

German Wine Escapade Part I

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The story of how I got into the world of wine is pretty simple.
I went to the CIA, not knowing a single thing about wine, except that my parents drank it occasionally, and that it tasted like awful grape juice.
I entered my wines class, scared shitless, but came out at the end on top, and newly converted.
Professor Weiss actually used Brachetto D’Acqui to convert me (paired with a chocolate tart) but the wine I fell in love with was really a German Riesling.
From then on, I dreamed about going to Germany.
7 years later, I finally made it!

I arrived in Frankfurt and my host Wilhelm picked me up and we drove straight to Rheingau for my first tasting.You know Wine tasting is serious business when you head straight from the airport to your first tasting at Weingut Knyphausen.

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The right side of the photo is dirty because that’s what you get when you step out of a plane into wine region and get super excited that you forget to check your camera.

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This awesome dog greeted me as son as I stepped down from the car!
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Watched the guy tend the vines for a bit before we went to the tasting room.
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With the winemaker!
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Some of the wines that I tasted…

Then off to Rheinhessen and Schloss Johannisberg…
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What a nice place to hangout and drink wine in the spring!
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Jesuit vineyard across his house and tasting room…

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Sweet Rhodesian Ridgeback!
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Photo with the winemaker/owners! And the Rhodesian Ridgeback shaking my hand!
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We saw a little bit of downtown and had lunch in this great tavern.
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Schnitzel, anyone?
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I really love the charm of these small German towns. I’ve lived in big cities all my life so it’s really a great experience to be in these towns so different from the places I’ve lived in.
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After lunch, we went across the river to Mosel.

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Drove to Prinz Salm

Various slate/soil around the vineyards…

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Awesome underground tasting/function room…
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We went to their old house which was destroyed during the World Wars.
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We drove to the top of the Urzinger Wurzgarten gardens and the view was amazing!!

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Bud break…
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Packed slate/rock formation…

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From there, you can see something off. They are building a bridge through the landscape and the winemakers are fighting against it.

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Here’s one panoramic photo.
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We headed back down to make our appointment at Jos Joh Prum.

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With Katarina Prum!

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She served us an amazing dinner! Thank you, Katarina!

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And with that, I was pooped…and jetlagged.

Germany Day 1 was an amazing experience. Couldn’t wait for Day 2.

But first, some much needed rest at a quaint B&B.

At Mosel, Germany

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Hello from the top of Urziger Wurzgarten, Mosel, Germany!

I finally made it to my dream wine destination.
Thank you very much to Joh Jos PRUM, Knyphausen, Prinz Salm, Schloss Saarstein, Schloss Johannisberg and
for taking their time to taste with me and feed me.
I appreciate it from the bottom of my heart.
I still had a list of other wineries to visit but I only had two days in Germany.
Now that I know how to get around, I can come back easily.

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Who’s Not Going Sightseeing In London?

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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

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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.

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

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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.

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I was shaking from excitement when I saw the place.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

 

 

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