My Bin: My Turn

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You and me, babe.

A husband talks about life with his wife, a food writer. By Bindoy Baltazar. A Dessert Comes First Valentine special.

The idea for this article starts last week when Lori has this bright idea to drive to Sucat for dinner… on a weeknight… during rush hour… Sucat’s a lengthy drive from our regular stomping ground and whenever we’ve got to move out of our geographical zone, I think: traffic! She thinks: adventure! People say that Lori’s got the best job ever. I say that it puts me in a position to do what I love to do best: eating. So when she says she has to “work,” I say, game on! I’m being a supportive husband after all.

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Possibly Lori’s motto: Life is a cheesecake.

So off we go, leaving Makati at 7:30pm and before we know it, we’re in Don Limone. Surprisingly, it doesn’t take that long to get here. When Lori enters a restaurant, she takes it in as a whole, observing the dynamics of the place. Not many people know this about Lori but she’s a big believer in engaging service staff. She can talk to anyone, and at restaurants, she talks to the servers and really listens to their suggestions. Even on our first date, it struck me how good a listener she was and I think it’s one of the secrets to why she’s very good at what she does. She also works very hard.

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Lori hard at work at one of her shoots. I ripped this photo off of her Instagram account.

Though I sometimes complain about the distances we have to travel to get to these restaurants, I must admit that the advantages far outweigh anything else. It’s terrific to meet chefs and restaurant owners who are fans of Lori and her blog. They rush to find seats for us, chat with us, eat with us, and it’s flattering to sometimes get extra dishes and more dessert. We always insist on paying though, Lori will have it no other way.

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When we go out, Lori always has her camera with her, a Canon Powershot G12. I’ve gotten used to moving tableware (and myself!) out of the way, and asking before digging in. She shoots quickly and effectively though so I’m not left hanging too long. Don Limone’s pizza and pasta are ho-hum but the one non-Italian dish we order, the Lamb Shank Casablanca has us fighting over the last forkful. Supposedly braised for 10 hours, it comes with a sauce made of Chardonnay and dates. I like the crunch of the pistachios with the Moroccan rice. So exotic and delicious.

When Lori likes a dish, she’s … um, how shall I put this … amusing. She’ll close her eyes and make cooing noises, sometimes clapping her hands like a little girl. It’s when she eats dessert though, and I mean a really good dessert, that she starts to moan softly, sometimes caressing the dessert with her fork. Most of the time, Lori’s cool to share her food with me but if she falls in love with her dish – and especially if it’s dessert – well, I’ve heard “get your own, Bin!” on many occasions. Sharing food with Lori is a lot like our marriage: what’s hers is hers and what’s mine is still hers. But I love that. I think it’s pathetic when women can’t or won’t eat. Lori walks the talk. Food is really her whole life and she eats way more than the average woman, which is why I love her. She can chow down with the best of us men.

When it comes to choosing the next restaurant to eat in, we often refer to the restaurant list that Lori keeps in her phone. I’ll make my choice up front but I won’t push too hard because if Lori has a bad meal, that’s a very dangerous situation. I also think all women are scary when they’re hungry.

The Cheese Steak Shop

One day I take her to The Cheese Steak Shop and we enjoy it. Before I even take a bite, I mess up my cheese steak with hot sauce, heap on the jalapeños and consider another sauce to add until Lori calls me from the condiment counter to “come sit down and eat.” I like to tinker with my food but Lori likes to leave her food alone and taste it the way it is. Since Lori and I both work in the food industry, we’re always critiquing our food. Sometimes she says that I’m pickier than she is. In reality, I say it’s all her fault. Before I met her, I was fine with anything, and dessert was something that happened occasionally. Now, no meal is complete without dessert and without an opinion expressed.

Calamansi Cake
Lori loves citrus desserts with real pucker power, like this Coconut Calamansi Cake from The Sweet Edge. I prefer subtler desserts like Gigi Gaerlan’s Fête de Fleur (below).

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A lot of people want Lori’s opinion on food and especially desserts, but since I’m her chief taste tester, I say that my opinion is the most important one, so a little respect over here, people! As for being called “my Bin,” I’ve gotten used to it after all these years, although I was floored the first time one of Lori’s readers came up to me and asked, “Are you ‘my Bin’?”

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This pizza maker in Florence, Italy was especially enchanted with Lori. He hammed it up for us (and her camera).

For two foodies like us, travel is essential. For a creative person like Lori, travel is her fuel. Our roles are clear when in another country: she researches where to eat, I take care of getting us there (and paying for the bill! I am a gentleman after all).

One last thing. When it comes to keeping healthy, Lori inspires me to keep up. She’s more disciplined than I am and way more intense during workouts. I’m a laidback kind of dude when I work out. She’s 150% focused on keeping her “core in” and practicing proper form. I run and think about work, my life, my business , the weather – anything BUT exercise. As far as I’m concerned, a workout is something I do so that I can eat and still stay relatively ok. She works out to be healthy and to look stunning (biased ba?).

Lori is my best friend and favorite eating partner. We have our best conversations when we’re sharing a meal or preparing one. The one thing we both agree on: the food is great when I cook. Real men can cook. Or at least know their way around the kitchen. Lori bakes, I cook… it all works.

There was this meme making the rounds a while back which said “Don’t date a writer because she’ll make you a main character and kill you off in the end.” I say, find yourself a beautiful food writer and marry her.


Related information on restaurants mentioned in this post:

The Cheese Steak Shop

Don Limone

Coconut Calamansi Cake by The Sweet Edge
On Facebook: The Sweet Edge

Fête de Fleur by Gigi Gaerlan

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