Sunday, 24 May 2015

Remembering An Amazing Woman

I would like to introduce to the whole world the most amazing woman I've known and will ever know in my entire life. Her name is Sally and she is my Mom.

All throughout my 30 plus years of existence, I would always hear people saying how lucky I am to  have her as my mother or how they wished their mom was like mine. If I remember it right, I was only 5 years old back then when it was first said to me. It was mentioned by my playmate and I never really put much thought on it, I thought every mother was like my mom. It was when I got older when I understood what people were saying about her. She wasn't just kind and caring to her family, she was with everybody.

Being the eldest, I think I got spoiled by my parents when I was younger. Even though this was the case, my mom has her ways of 'tricking' me to do the things the way she wants me to. One of the most common problem that parents have is to make their children eat healthy. I was a very picky eater when I was younger but I remember how my mom magically transformed me. She would prepare Mah Khut Tung (pork bone soup) with Chinese cabbage, potatoes and carrots.

While eating, she grabbed a chuck of pork bone and told me that it looked like Twin Popsies, my favorite popsicle treat. Being curious and gullible, I got hold of the pork bone, started to gnaw and suck on the bone imagining it was really a popsicle. She would proceed to cut small square pieces of cabbage, telling me it looks, tastes and feels like eating Juicy Fruit Gum. She would also tell me that carrots are sweet as candies, I believed her and ate everything in my bowl. After that eventful night, I would always look forward to meals when my mom prepares the Mah Khut Tung. Right now, I practically will eat anything edible, a foodie and it was all because of my mom!

Mom at Age 7....ain't she so cute?!?

Thru stories of relatives and friends, it was flattering to know how our mom was so proud of us, her three sons. We all had our share of compliments on how we all grew up to be kind, generous and responsible. My mom deserves all the credit, it was because of her how we all grew up to be this way. Being the only woman at home, it wasn't an easy task to raise three boys, make that four including our dad. My brothers would always joke around how kawawa (pitiful) our mom is for not having a daughter. Whenever there was an occasion, mom would wear her dress, model it in front of us and asked for our fashion opinions. Mom would go thru three to five sets of clothes until we gave our thumbs up. But it doesn't stop there, her shoes and bag would be the next agenda, accessories and jewelry would be the last. There were even times that she would even ask us to zip her dress up from behind.

Mom and her four Boys

Whenever someone asks me what my mom does for a living, I always proudly say that she has the most noble job in the world. Being a teacher for more than 30 years, she wasn't just our mom but she was also a mother to her hundreds and maybe thousand of students. She's no ordinary teacher, it was inspiring to hear stories on how she touched and made a big difference in the lives of her students. I would hear countless number of stories on how thankful they were because my mom became their teacher...
"Your mom was so patient in teaching my son".
"My son will always remember Mrs.Cheng".
"If it wasn't for Tsai Lao Sh, Auntie Sally, Mrs.Cheng......I wouldn't have learned Chinese".
To her teaching is not her profession but her passion. Among the three of us, no one followed her footsteps but one thing is for sure, I definitely got the love of being around with kids from her.

Mom with some of her Kiddos

These are just some of the many Awards that my mom got from being a Teacher

My mom is a wanderlust, She loves to travel whenever there's an opportunity to do so. She has been to different local and Asian destinations. When she came back from her last trip in Singapore, I asked her how she liked the country. I'd always remember the look of happiness on her face when she told me how much she enjoyed it . During that time, I saw myself in her, she had the same look as mine whenever I get back from a trip. Sadly, I never got to travel with my mom. Maybe next time mom, maybe next time.

If I were to describe my mom in one word, it would be selfless. She always thought of other people first before herself. She is someone you don't need to ask for help because she will always be the first to be there in times of need. My mom would always make an effort to visit or help out someone even if it was obvious that she was tired. My brothers and I have often told her that she should think of herself first but more often than not she always put us and other people's priorities first. As I've been told by her friends and our relatives, this selfless trait of hers is what they will remember her by.

As we mourn and grieve for the passing of my mom, I'm sure that amazing and inspiring stories will still be told about her. A couple of hours before my mom decided to move on, she told me. "I'm already satisfied with my life". Ma,,,I apologize for being selfish and telling you that you shouldn't think that way. Though it will be hard for us to live our lives without you around, I'll try to accept the last words you told me. Ma you should be satisfied, you've done enough goodness, you've touched people's lives, you've proved that unconditional love does exist and you've been a perfect mother to us. I'll miss you ma!!! We all will! Thank you! I love you!!! I'll forever be honored to be called your son.

Rest in Peace Ma. (1946 - 2015)

Monday, 23 March 2015

Spices: Duck and Buvette

When I read about a French Bistro opening in Shangri-la plaza, I really got excited to try it out. In fact I went there when they were still on their soft opening and I've already dined here twice.


Being a French Bistro, it was not surprising for me to find wine on the menu, I actually expected it. It's typical for restaurants to have option for a glass or a bottle of wine. But in here you can choose to have a carafe or half a bottle of wine if you picked one their house wines.

Chateau les Tuileries - Php1,300 / bottle

I asked for bread and butter but the server told me that I had to pay for it which was disappointing. For an order of 4 slices of Baguette and a bowl of butter, it cost 100php, 50 for the bread and 50 for the butter.

Baguette and Butte - Php100

I got to try two starters, The Gnocchi Escargot and Truffle Roasted Cauliflower. The tube shape gnocchi is roasted with butter, don't expect any snail meat or flavor on the dish. It was named as such because of the shape of the gnocchi. The dumplings were pretty good, nice and chewy. Served with bread, it was perfect to soak in the butter from the dish.

Gnocchi Escargot - Php160

The Truffle Roasted Cauliflower was simple, chopped cauliflower roasted in the oven then drizzled with truffle oil and olive oil. Nothing really to rave or rant about but it's worth mentioning that the cauliflower still had a nice crunch.

Truffle Roasted Cauliflower - Php185

The Goat Cheese Ravioli would have been a hit, the pasta dumpling had a nice springy bite and the goat cheese filling deliciously went well with the roasted fresh baby vegetables. My biggest gripe was the lemon garlic sage sauce, it didn't taste of it. I wished I picked the the tomato based sauce option instead.

Goat Cheese Ravioli - Php320

The Pan Seared Hake with 3 Grains Risotto was pretty good. The sliver of fish was cooked well, skin was crunchy and the flesh was moist and flaky. The red butter sauce on top was nice and velvety. The risotto was also done well, al dente to the bite, flavorful and creamy.

Pan Seared Hake with 3 Grains Risotto - Php460

Now for the house specials, the Slow Braised Beef Burgundy which was stewed in Burgundy wine for six hour was divine. The beef ribs and pork belly has that melt in your mouth feel and texture, the gravy or sauce was tasty and so hearty. Having been cooked for six hours, the alcoholic taste of the wine has evaporated and what's left is the wonderful sweet, aromatic flavors of the red Burgundy. Served with plain rice, this is something I would love to have again.

Slow Braised Beef Burgundy - Php620

Beef Ribs

The D&B Crispy Half Duck Confit is the resto's bestseller. On my first visit they ran out it considering it was relatively early in the evening. Luckily I had the 2nd to the last serving on my 2nd visit. The duck confit looked beautiful and delicious, fried to golden brown perfection, it came with whole grain mustard, reduced balsamic sauce, duck rice and cranberry carrot side.

D&B Crispy Half Duck Confit - Php980

Some parts of the duck had crispy skin while some didn't have any crunch. I just loved how it was cooked this way, I get to enjoy the skin's crispiness as well as the skin's fattiness. The duck meat was to die for, it was so moist, tender and had a full bold flavor. Both the mustard and balsamic sauce went perfectly well with the duck, personally I loved the sweet sour balsamic reduction sauce better. The confit can be pricey but for its size and quality, it is a must order.

Duck Confit

I didn't have any idea of Intelligentsia Coffee when I dined there, it was only after that I found out that this came from Chicago. I picked the El Diablo since it was what the server recommended. On the menu, it stated that it was dark roasted but the pour over coffee didn't taste of it. Flavor was more on the pale to medium roast side. I'm not sure if it was the barista's fault or the coffee beans itself that made it taste this way.

Intelligentsia Coffee Counter

El Diablo Pour Over Coffee - Php160

We also got to try the Black Cat Classic Espresso, it was pretty good compared to other American brands I've tried. But not as aromatic compared to European brand of coffee.

Black Cat Espresso - Php110

To go with our coffee, we ordered an Almond Croissant. If I remember it right they bake their own bread. The croissant was a big joke, not only it didn't look like one, it didn't taste like it too.

Almond Croissant - Php160

Though there were some hiccups, I would love to dine here again. Dishes are prepared and cooked well, the duck confit itself is enough reason to come back. It's one of the best you can find in the metro.

Duck and Buvette
Address: 2nd Floor Main Wing, Shangri-la Plaza, Mandaluyong City
Tel No: 631 0675