Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Bale Dutung -- House of good food, gracious entertaining, and art

July 26, 2009 -- We used Eric's arrival from Sydney as the perfect excuse to troop to Angeles, Pampanga for this 5-way lechon feast we've been hearing, reading, dreaming, salivating about.

We knew about Claude Tayag -- artist, columnist, and chef. Whipping up an amazing lunch, a degustacion that had food gluttons raising their little white towels in surrender, Chef Tayag certainly didn't disappoint.

But the surprise was Mary Ann, Claude's wife. Stylish, gracious, and entertaining, she elevates party hosting to an art.

Of course, the most pleasant surprise is Bale Dutung itself. You enter an unassuming suburban village to get there. Then once you cross the Tayag's gate you step into a rustic restaurant slash house slash gallery slash nature wonderland. A house filled with art, antiques, and creative ideas that salute Philippine food and culture.

And the food -- I honestly have never been that stuffed in my whole life. Slooooow food at its finest -- almost 5 hours. And well worth the time and the trip. (Of course, I'm not with the party that got caught in the flash flood and the 5-hour traffic jam on the way back, so I can say that.)

Resto review to follow. In the meantime, enjoy the photos at: http://islandhopper.multiply.com/photos/album/38 Read more!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Dr. Seuss Sunday

Yippee. Yoohoo. ‘twas a Sunday!
A fine, fun Sunday, I may say
A fine day to catch up on sleep
And to read something not too deep

So I looked through my shelf

For a book I could choose

Then I thought to myself

How about Dr. Seuss?

Dr. Seuss. Dr. Seuss. He’s cool. He’s fun

And Flippers say for July he’s the one
I know, I know, some will be shocked
That I read a book about (gasp) a cat

For cats are creatures that make me say yuck

I will never like them, no matter what

This particular cat
Knows how to have fun
He brings out of the box
Thing two and thing one

This cat makes a huge mess

And gives the kids so much stress

It gives the fish a huge fright

When it lets the Things fly kites

This particular cat

Has a machine that sweeps things
Oooh, I want something li
ke that
A gadget so amazing

But the amazing thing is this
Dr. Seuss wrote this charming piece

With the same two hundred twenty words; that’s all.

So this poem can be read by kids, big and small.

When I was done with the story

Of this cat that’s naughty and feisty

I guess I had to admit
This cat is not all that yucky
As my Sunday went on
So did my Dr. Seussathon

Book two was Green Eggs and Ham
About a creature named Sam-I-Am

Though the poem sounds rather silly

And funny with a bit of whimsy

It has a lesson to preach
About living a life more rich

Get out of your comfort zone

Is the message of the book
Venture into the unknown
Try things, taste stuff, take a look

Dr. Seuss says for us to grow

Don’t say no to what you don’t know

Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it

Don’t give yourself silly limits
Then it was time for book number three
This time, ‘twas something rather scary
What Was I Scared Of? was the next tome

This is now my fave Dr. Seuss poem

It tells us not to be afraid

Of things and folks that are unusual

We’re all just differently made

And that’s what makes us special

We need not fear

Of the strange and queer

Don’t be afraid too

Of things that are new

Then I took a break
From all the poetry
To read Theodore Seuss Geisel’s

Short biography

I learned he’s American
With traces of German

He majored in English

To be a teacher was his wish

Then he fell in love with Helen

Who became his travel companion

And it was in 1957

When Cat in the Hat
became a sensation

I was also to discover

That Dr. Seuss won a Pulitzer
For giving his life to educating

And making reading entertaining

My Sunday was drawing to a close

But before I rest and finally doze

There was another book to read

The last of Dr. Seuss indeed
You’re Only Old Once
Is a book for obsolete children
This was one of the last books

From Dr. Seuss’s fabulous pen

This is a bit depressing

As Dr. Seuss tells of the stressing

Hospital visits, doctor hopping
Waiting room waiting, medicine popping

Yet it’s still full of humor

And you wish Dr. Seuss could have lived more
To write more about cats and whatnots

Green eggs and other silly plots

So that’s my Dr. Seuss bookfest

What a great way to de-stress

I felt truly truly blessed
Dr. Seuss, you are the best!

PS: After composing this, I have new found respect for Dr. Seuss. This was hard. I had to use an online rhyming dictionary to get this done. And after trying to work out a semblance of a meter, I just gave up at the end.
Read more!