Cover photo credit
For the past three months, I’ve been going full throttle working harder than I’ve ever worked since recovering from cancer. I was shooting videos; then I’d be jumping behind the camera for photography sessions with my mentor, commercial photographer, Mark Floro; and in between, I’d be recipe testing and scouting around for desserts to unbox. Then, with my dad’s 70th birthday approaching, I got caught up making a video for his huge celebration. I was driving around Manila interviewing his colleagues, writing a script, and sifting through hundreds of photos. It was wild. Thank goodness for my contributors who kept up with the posting on DCF otherwise it would go dark over here.
I was hardly sleeping and my Bin warned me to slow down or else I’d crash. I realize that I’m not the type of person who can do things in moderation, I’m just not built that way. But my Bin was right:
I got sick twice in July but I still did my very best to soldier on and finish my responsibilities. Now that things are winding down a bit, I feel bugbog (battered). Bin has not said anything but his eyes say, “I told you so.” (Yeah, I love you too, hon). I’ve written before about stress and how I deal with it. Obviously, now is the time for me to reboot because at this point, I am no good to anyone.
While I decide what to do with myself, I wanted to share with you some snapshots of my joys, the food and drinks that kept me afloat during my three months of mania.
First, gin and tonic! This is my favorite (alcoholic) drink and something that I’ll definitely devote a post to in the future. I like G&Ts because they’re not too sweet and they’re open to all sorts of ingredient interpretations. Tired of paying P450+ for a single G&T in Manila’s bars, I decided to buy a bottle of quality gin – I chose the Ungava in the middle – and now I make my own at home. Bliss! If you’re a gin drinker, let me know how you enjoy this libation.
My Bin noticed something suspicious during our Saturday coffee runs: the coffee remains the same, it’s just the interiors that change. Apparently – and I’m not saying this is a bad thing – there are two companies who are supplying the majority of Manila’s cafés with their beans, thus the similar flavors. I’m all for getting better coffee out to everybody that wants it, but it’s also refreshing to taste something different.
So I was ecstatic to meet the owners of YDG (Your Daily Grind) a few weeks ago and I was thrilled with their coffee selections, they also roast their own beans. I zeroed in on the Gingerbread White because I adore those spicy flavors. The brew is bold enough to stand up to the creaminess and there’s a tingle of cinnamon at the end. Their Nutty Latte is terrific too, peanut butter and milk melding with espresso.
Ikomai & Tochi
Of course I’ve tried those marvelous cookies by Chef James Antolin, those disks of chewy lava that he markets under the name Tochi. With his colleague and business partner, they’ve opened a restaurant dedicated to Japanese street food and traditional dishes. It’s an immensely charming place with the afternoon light illuminating the late lunch crowd and making everyone look beautiful. I’ve only been there once and I only had the salmon poke, (I took a photo of my friend’s tuna poke) but I was impressed with it and want to go back soon to explore more of the menu.
And lastly, some photos I shot that reflect my current passions:
As I mentioned in my video for this dish, I went wild at Daiso buying all these onigiri implements. Onigiri is so easy and so much fun to do! Sadly, there doesn’t seem to be much interest in my recipe videos, so I’m shelving it for now. But I’m still going to continue sharing my recipes here on the blog.
A homemade poke bowl. I highly recommend doing your own at home, it’s so easy!
I shared this on Instagram on July 19, 2017 and here’s what I wrote: This is my Bin’s favorite poke bowl, what I make here at the Dessert Comes First house. Today is his birthday and every year, he asks for a special favor. This year, he asked me to choose some of the photos I’ve shot that he can print and hang around the house. Yikes. I don’t like to see my work staring back at me so until I get the courage to let my husband decorate our house with photos of my work, this should do for now. Happy Birthday, love!
Playing with a backlight and lighting up some jellies.
Let me know how your week is going!
Stores in Makati and Shaw.
Ikomai & Tochi
332 H.V. Dela Costa St., Salcedo Village, Makati
02. 816 4588