Saturday, February 02, 2019

Katsu Shokudo

Katsu Shokudo
Visayas Avenue, Quezon City

It’s been cold recently in the Metro, not vortex cold, but cold enough for the common Indio to go looking for warm soup when it’s evening and he’s out and about.
It’s the reason why mami has always been a favorite, and now that we’ve become global as the walls of distances come down with the advent of the Information Age, Japan’s Ramen dish is slowly but surely gaining ground as a staple in Filipino’s gastronomic lists.

Katsu Shokudo is a quaint and unpretentious Ramen shop located at in the stretch of Visayas Ave. It looks and feels like how Ramen shops are in its native land, small. homey, and part of its neighborhood.

The fare is simple and straightforward: Katsu in two famous flavors and Ramen in three (Shoyu, Shio, and lol Spicy). They have Gyoza, and Takoyaki to complement the craving, and that’s it. I found the fare’s exactness to my liking, it doesn’t confuse the customer. 

A bowl of Ramen will cost you PHP 160-ish, and Katsu

will cost the same. The ingredients are true to form, not some Japanese wannabe version of the mami. The flavors are strong and crisp, and I would say better than it’s price range. We’ve done some research on how to prepare the soup bases since we’re foodies, and lemme tell you, significant hours are spent with the broth.

We’ve tried out Ramen Houses that cost more but taste like the soup was from - well let’s not go there. I should learn to say “not very tasty” instead.

The crew was very warm and friendly, and for a set-up this small and intimate, makes the dining experience really great. Like visiting a friend’s restaurant. Head on over to Katsu Shokudo and find out for yourself!

Friday, February 01, 2019

Mad Cafe

Mad Cafe
#19 Congressional Avenue, Quezon City

After a couple of days of most things not going right and some going really well, it’s finally the end of the week. I’ve not written about a place ever while I was there, and well you can chalk this to two things: one, I was feeling so bad about our collective week that it was immensely fun to be here, and two, Mad Cafe is great as itself.

Both are good things taken by themselves and as a whole don’t you think?

Applauding the panache and vision of the owners, the sheer gutsiness of Mad  Cafe in placing their establishment near the beloved Starbucks of the area, near the (now extremely disappointing) Pares Retiro, Kowloon, and a something-something Noodle and Breakfast joint across the street, is enough to warrant a look-see. Or rather a look-taste. One wouldn’t go willingly in the middle of a cross hair unless confident; or Crazy. So yeah, welcome to Mad Cafe!

As their name implies, they have the regular run of the coffee list from Cappuccino at PHP 80 to Espresso at PHP 110, and to their credit, have milk teas too. Since we are in Mad Cafe, why not try their concoction of fruit juices and our much loved Yakult? We tried two orders, one with Kiwi and the other one with Mango, large servings at PHP 110. I’m secretly sipping very slow right now and just taking the flavors in. They’re surprisingly good. They let you borrow their metal straws too, so those for lessening their carbon footprints you’ve found a place in Quezon City to support!

We went our separate ways ordering food, and again commending the zany way the menu is structured, we ordered Pork Binagoongan for PHP 180 and their Beef Cheeseburger with Chips for PHP 190.

The burger was well seasoned and carried a punch of flavor, reminded me of those classic Mom and Pops in Manila’s heyday before all these fast food giants altered the landscape. It was juicy and well done, and the cheese gently reminding you it was there, like a very enjoyable and familiar blanket.

The bagoong wasn’t offensive to the olfactory senses, but to our surprise, wasn’t bland at all. Pork was seasoned and cooked just right too.

The serving sizes are reasonable at it’s price range, and you can stay for hours and keep ordering without necessarily denting you pocket a great deal.

Why stay? Cubbyholes for you and your friends. A ball pool, swing and a small playhouse with a slide for the kids. And, and, and boardgames!

Mad Cafe is located near the intersection of Visayas and Congressional Avenues, and will be on your right if you are headed to Luzon Avenue and on your left if you are headed to Mindanao Avenue.

Go pay them a visit!

Oh, just found out. They're not open until two am on a weekday.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Tim Äwä - EP

Tim Äwä - EP

So it was going to be an exciting evening. Counterflow had a benefit gig and we were invited by a childhood best bud who happens to be the guitarist for Monochrome (more on that later).

We walk into Mow’s as Tim Äwä was starting the set, and boy wasn’t it ear candy love at first sight! Or rather, some post psychedelic, grunge, gothic, soul drawing rock music that was utterly hypnotic kept us in thrall. It was like deliberately stepping on a rake to have its handle whack you in the face intense. But in a good way.

Tim Äwä’s self titled EP has five tracks, each of them a gem in its own right.
The percussion and bass work on the tracks are tight, snug like a blanket. Guitars are dreamy, and quite intelligent. The melodies and harmonies employed make you feel like riding a huge cloud (blanket, walking bed of ants, take your pick) that even though drips of possibly gothic sadness is all Filipino mythology and is surprisingly unobtrusive and unpretentious at the same time. 

The tracks evoke strong personal memories, testament to the artistry of Tim Äwä. It sounds deeply personal, which is why it rings true to the listener I think. I was so caught I actually searched for where to get the album and whee! It was available on iTunes. 

Sample the songs boys and girls. These are who we should support. OPM with stress on all three letters. Original Pinoy Music. We are a little late to the party as this was released last year, but hey better late than never right?

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Hello Precipice

My head is fried. Quite badly. And I feel it to the marrow of my bones. To try and reach out, to someone and then realize - and draw your hand back.

As all of us are on our own journeys, and oftentimes it’s all we can do from keeping ourselves falling as well, much less stop for someone else, and clear space in our heads.

It’s painful that realization. Of this that I brought on myself. To become this vulnerable in real life. To have given as much of myself  - yes I know I am broken beyond comprehension, and there has been a lot of water under my bridge. But what I kept for myself, where my dreams still glowed like white hot light, where I wrote, where I raged, where I danced in circles in the rain - that last part left, where all my parts came and sat in the campfire of knowing - I gave that. The part I promised myself to not let anyone ever see or know. Because she was worth it.

And then to know, it was all to naught. To hear, how to a circle of knowns and unknowns it has been coldly announced - all I had feared as I sat with another in a dark, damp corner, trying to will what remains of my light and of my innocence to be enough, to pray that it was and even then knowing it would not be - to hear it, that all of it just brought her to place of despair.

To see the pain in the other person’s eyes as she walks through her journey; and what I am, but just another broken shard to wound her. To hear it, broke me.

To hear that what she needed, I cannot give. To see her in pain. To know, that she is unhappy, and me the source. To end up this way.

There is no place to go to now. Not in my head. Not in my heart. Not in my soul. Where do I turn? Where do I go? There isn’t even a myself anymore.

These tears are bitter. We are both wounded, in spite of it all. 

I am far from perfect. My love is far from desirable. But these last ten years I gave my all. Sitting in a hospital emergency room with my blood pressure at 200 / 110 and seeing her see me as a burden she has to take care of - hammered it all home.

Now on top of my pain, there is a cold fear in my marrows that I can’t shake, and the universe is pointing to the frays in the tapestries, of stories and timelines that do not fit. I don’t trust myself, and what I think. But it pulls like a bull dying of thirst and trying to get water.

There is so much more, to say. But I can’t right now. I can’t.

Why did I even believe that there is something in this life for me?

Saturday, December 22, 2018

This is For You, When You Find It, And I Hope You Do

9:28 PM on a Friday evening. It’s drizzling outside, and quite cold for a tropical country. It’s the fourteenth of December in the year 2018, and it’s near Christmas in this Christmas crazed country.

Instead of being out and crushed in the general mill of people, which I don’t happen to like anyway, I am here tap tap tapping at... well I was tap tap tapping on my eight year old MacBook Air, but I couldn’t get a connection, and then the battery drains to fourteen percent and then i realize that I dont have a charger with me. So here I am now tap tap tapping on my banged up iPhone six plus.

Which brings us to why I’m tap tap tapping right now. See Ronan Keating has been crooning about The Long Goodbye for the last two weeks, (your are going to love the write-up on the link lemme tell you) on loop and the only song I’ve been able to stomach. Yes it’s sick I know. Sue me. 

So yes, what were we going to talk about. Ah yes. You find yourself here, for some odd universe balancing turn of events. Are you saving me? Perhaps. Am I saving you? Perhaps.

So, Mr. Keating would not be on endless loop if I was not in some quandary of the heart. That much I think we agree on this early.

General reminders here. If you were curled up in a ball earlier, if you were stuffed silly inside a blanket, if you just got through that tub of ice cream, and you felt so sorry for yourself that you fired up your computer and then ended up stalking your current or ex, your goldfish, or whichever, whomever it is that’s been causing you that pain that is so bad you can’t even seem to breathe - it’s good that you’ve stopped being an embarrassment to yourself and just surfed aimlessly until you typed hurt and somehow ended up here.

It gets better from here. We all have to believe that. We have to hope, that one morning we wake up and smile at the morning. It doesn’t matter whose fault it is now. It was a shared life, and you were getting to be a part of it. Look you can’t expect anyone to love you the way you want to be loved. Even if you can bring down stars and make the galaxies stop and spin the opposite way. It will be about making a sandwich maybe. A small pebble that grows and becomes a boulder. No matter that you can explain it and maybe cover with some other goodness. The trait becomes irritating, then annoying, then a source of resentment, and finally unforgivable.

All you say, all you do will not matter. Because the other person’s mind is made up. The lines have been drawn. By the one who loves less. The one who loves more, clutches tighter in all cases, willing to subjugate self to keep the world from spinning out of control. And what that does to the other person is just to further infuriate and alienate. You’re labeled insane, crazy, controlling, paranoid, unstable and a whole host of things. Because the other person has moved on, maybe not fully, but enough to not to want to take care of the relationship. What you feel is the other person’s apathy towards you, and that dear one stings like no other thing on earth.

Because it comes from the one you would give everything for. And it’s not wanted anymore. I can tell you to read the signs, but we’re blind now aren’t we? It’s the reason I’m writing here and you are reading it.

You can take back your life. If you find the courage to do so. The power goes both ways. It’s just that yours waned and flickered out in the other person. But it’s no use pining for it, it’s dead and gone. Maybe the other person just doesn’t to be the one to say goodbye. It has to be you; so they can sleep at night and convince themselves that you went completely off the reservation and there was nothing else that can be done about it. 

We’ll talk more about it, you and I. Just so we all don’t off ourselves. If you’re feelings are as strong as mine, then the world still has need of us. Maybe there’s someone out there who can still accept you, broken, banged up, and all else that may have happened to you. Maybe you help someone heal, then move on again. Whichever it is, let’s look forward to a morning we smile again. When we are free of this pain. If not, you’ve gone this far already, what’s another day?

I’ll see you tomorrow? Great. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

The Street Photographer and Shyness

Street photography. Interesting right?

Get out, walk around, get to know people.

Take portraits. Take photos of scenes.  Easy peasy.



Yesterday my better half, forced my hand on a project I have been mulling for sometime now. I love coffee and I love coffee shops. Topping the list is that American Giant, Starbucks. I was thinking the project would be of women who love having coffee, perhaps starting at Starbucks and then progressing to all coffee houses and opportunities to have coffee.

Sounds easy enough. 

I'm on day two, and I'm sitting here frozen to death. I am stuck to my chair it's actually laughable. Why is it so hard, to try and break the ice and approach people? It might be rejection I think. That I know that makes it all the more embarrassing since I can't take any action despite knowing what my actual issue is.

Hey, if you're mostly mistaken for someone who will mug people - then you may think twice about approaching people too. 

So now. I'm stuck with this. A loser photo, of the Frappuccino I will be taking home for when she wakes up. She'll be saddened by my reticence of course. And I'm going to be a little sadder for both my inability, and that I made her sad.

Who knew learning photography would be so difficult? Le sigh.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Teaser Review: Nabulao Beach and Dive Resort

Sunset @ Nabulao Beach

Hinoba-an, Negros Occidental

I'll complete the write up over the weekend. I hope.

Just couldn't leave it alone like this. It's a four our drive from Bacolod or a three hour drive from Dumaguete or a 25 minute trip from Sipalay via a charter plane from Cebu courtesy of Air Juan.

The surrounding area is lush, and the drive although long, does not take you through bang-your-head-on-the-glass kind of traffic. We had the needle mainly fixed at sixty most of the time.

The resort was such a pleasant surprise. Great people, excellent food, wonderful amenities. The service was so good we forgot we were on our first visit. 

Photos here, which I will also update over the weekend.

Katsu Shokudo

Katsu Shokudo Visayas Avenue, Quezon City It’s been cold recently in the Metro, not vortex cold, but cold enough for the common Indio...