I always bring my appetite wherever I go. It was travelling that taught me how to eat. I have a list of countries and places that I would love to visit, but I believe that I have to see first the wonders of my own country- the Philippines. It was January when I went to Tagaytay with my classmates. In my own opinion, it is over meals where I could socialize with other people. Over good food, out would come amazing stories about adventures, hilarious experiences, heartbreaking and sad ones. Often, stories would begin with the food itself.
Accompanied with our love and passion for food, off we go to Tagaytay. We arrived at around 12 noon, famished and tired. But it was Tootsie's that saved our lives. Being adventurous eaters, we ordered foods that we are not familiar with. To begin, we had a healthy serving of salad. Fresh greens with grapes, slices of cheddar cheese and balsamic vinegar. For the main course, we had Fried Bia with just the right amount of saltiness. It goes well with vinegar and some tomatoes. We also had Pinakbet, a dish with vegetables and pork. I love the slight bitterness that I get from the ampalaya. After that came the star of the afternoon, the Lengua. The tongue was chewy, but it was soft and creamy. I treasured every bite that I took. Then came the steaming bowl of bulalo, perfect for the setting. Hot soup on a place with fresh and cold air. It was enough to keep our tummies warm. But wait, it is not yet done, we also had Crispy pata. How I adore the crispiness of the skin especially when dipped into the sauce. And then the final dish for our main course, buttered shrimps. I love the buttery taste and the spiciness. It was such a blissful afternoon. To end our meal, we had Leche flan with the right amount of sweetness. Mild but not overpowering. We also had a hot bibingka served with butter, sugar and niyog.
After lunch, we decided to head down to Sonya's Garden. Sonya was kind enough to show us the plants and flowers that they grow. They have a buffet and you can choose if you want to eat filipino or american style. The salad with fresh greens and edible flowers was a good choice.
For our mid-afternoon snack, we headed to Mushroom Burger. And boy, it was so good. The flavors of the patty danced in my mouth. And to wash it all down, we had some coffee at The Bag of Beans. Coffee and Burger. I never knew that they can be an awesome combination.
After walking around and checking out the local market, we found ourselves seated in a greek man's restaurant. Which by far I think, is the best authentic greek restaurant in the Philippines. Manos Greek Taverna. Manos was there and her wife. His restaurant offers authentic greek food. He was kind enough to tell us a short story of his life, and also the story of the restaurant's food. We were served a platter meal that includes tomato and cucumber salad with olives and feta cheese, sauteed mixed vegetables, shepherd's pie, cabbage roll, french fries fried in olive oil, and fried chicken with calamansi. The food itself was truly outstanding. It was enough to make me teary eyed and wistful. It was perhaps my first ever transcendent dining experience.
Now if you will ask me about food, I am happy to say that I have my own stories to tell. A single dish can tell you so much about a place and its people. Ingredients can tell you about climate and geography. Methods of cooking can tell you about tradition. After a long and tiring day, we went home with our heads heavy, our bodies tired, but our hearts and tummies happy.