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Here’s part 2 of my recent 3-week trip to the Philippines. This post will focus on the good stuff – street food. I’ll also conclude with some photos I shot during my trip of things I saw and places we visited. Now let’s get to it!

* in case you forgot $1 us dollar = $40-$44 peso

** most every piece of street food ranged from $3 – $5 peso (unless noted)

 

Street Foods:

 

a bbq stand literally 25-yards from our home. they wouldn’t start setting up until sunset and would stay open for a few hours.

street food_3

betamax & isaw (grilled chicken blood & chicken intestines)

 bbq chicken feet (adidas) & longanisa (pork sausage) with a sauce of vinegar, chili peppers and cucumber

bbq chicken feet & longanisa (pork sausage) with a sauce of vinegar, chili peppers and cucumber

 l to r: fried chicken breast, breaded and fried quail eggs, chicken skin

l to r: fried chicken breast, breaded and fried quail eggs (quek quek), chicken skin

 pick your own: fish balls, hot dogs, fish cakes

self-served: fish balls, hot dogs, fish cakes

Cherry’s cousin specifically brought us to this stall in the ili. There’s a bunch of toothpicks that you use to pick up any and all the bite-sized food you want. There’s a couple of different dipping sauces you can use as well, ranging from sweet to spicy. This is basically a self serve food cart where you stand and eat as much as you want then the vendor totals you up at the end.

 taste the rainbow

tapioca heaven

various fruit drinks

various fruit drinks

 pandan drink

pandan drink aka “green drink”

Plastic bags are the norm when it comes to juices and sodas in the ili as well as the barangays. It’s a definitely a unique thing to try for the first time. I dig it!

 fresh buko and fresh buko meat

fresh buko and fresh buko meat

home made buko juice: so presh, so represhing!

home made buko juice: so presh, so represhing!

burger collage

makings of a burger

We visited the ili almost every other day and each time we were there, this particular burger stand was always busy. The inviting aroma of oil and meat on the grill didn’t hurt either. I made it a point to try one of these burgers before we left. Their special was a “buy one take one” for $25 peso. Despite my better judgement telling me to avoid a place that sells 2-burgers for under $0.50, I couldn’t help myself. Assuming the ground meat was beef, they weren’t bad. The mysterious pink sauce however, I could have done without. It tasted like what I imagine Willy Wonka’s version of “secret” sauce would be.  I deduced that the other two sauces were mayo and ketchup. These burgers also included a small square of cheese, lettuce and cucumber slices. The cucumber was a surprising ingredient as I’ve never had one in a burger, but thought it worked, providing a nice cool element to each bite. Overall not the worst thing I’ve ever had, but I can’t say I’d order this burger again.

deep fried isaw via balay bistro in urdaneta $100p

deep fried isaw from balay bistro in urdaneta $100p

 palutan of bbq pork, onions, tomatoes and sauce of vinegar, soy and sliced chili

pulutan of bbq pork, onions, tomatoes and sauce of vinegar, soy and sliced chili

Pulutan which roughly translates to finger food, is commonly eaten when socializing and drinking with friends and family  around a table.

  beachside grillin: milk fish, squid and eggplant

beachside grillin: milk fish, squid and eggplant

ice cream!

ice cream: pineapple, pandan, cheese

when you buy an ice cream cone, you get one flavor - all three!

  only one flavor offered – all three!

homemade lumpia

homemade lumpia

impalate aka biko

impalate aka biko

hey buddy!

hey buddy!

One of my foodie goals on this trip was to eat the most popular street food in the country, balut! If you don’t already know, balut is a developing duck embryo that is boiled then eaten from the shell. Once you get over the visual appearance that is often off-putting, it really tastes good. You get all of the flavors you’d expect from hard-boiled egg and then the subtlest flavor of poultry on the back end. I’d definitely eat it again.

My Conclusion:

This was a great trip filled with memorable experiences and awesome food. I hope these two posts provided a glimpse into one small part of the Filipino culture, leaving you hungry to discover more on your own! I’ll end this with some of my favorite captures during this trip…

antong falls

antong falls

A large group of us hiked a few miles through fields, river beads and up rocks to Antong Falls. We had a couple of near death experiences as we tried to traverse the boulders while wearing flip flops, but we eventually made it. It was worth it.

carabao

carabao

adenium

adenium

sunrise via pugudpud

sunrise via pugudpud

milky waters before the storm

milky waters before the storm

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It’s been about forever since my last post, but I have been extremely busy with the newest addition to my family.  My wife gave birth to our beautiful baby girl, Rylie Kadence – literally the week after my last post in October! She has been such a blessing and joy in our lives and as I’m sure all parents can attest, a first child is a minor adjustment to say the least 😉 I’m not going to sugar coat how magical being a new parent is, because it’s not. Your life as you know it, without a child, is literally turned upside down with the added responsibility and care of a baby. Now, I’m in no way saying I don’t enjoy being a new father, because I absolutely LOVE it! I wouldn’t change it for the World! It is definitely cliché, but the love and joy you get from being a new parent is indescribable – one literally cannot put into words how I feel every time I look at her. If you don’t have kids, sorry… you probably cannot relate… but to all my parents out there, this “club” is friggin’ amazing!

rylie_1

rylie kadence @ 2-months

Now, onto the goodies! Last Friday, Valentines Day, I took my family (it’s so cool I can say that now) on a 30-minute ferry ride west of Seattle to Bainbridge Island. Bainbridge is a very charming town with many gems to discover, both as a foodie and as someone looking for fun activities. Here’s what our day trip looked like:

Café Nola:

Through a few recommendations, we had lunch at Café Nola. Located on Bainbridge Island’s main street of E. Winslow, Café Nola is a nice little spot that serves up some great food and drink. Cherry and I were on a mission for one thing in particular – fish ‘n chips. Going back seven years, fish ‘n chips has been our Valentine’s Day tradition and we’ve sampled quite a few spots in Seattle and even up North in Victoria B.C. I’m not sure exactly how this tradition started, but it’s a damn good tradition, and are you really going to argue against fish ‘n chips!?

cafenola_outside

view from the street

cafenola_inside

tight yet cozy quarters

cafenola_bread

 bread ‘ oil

cafenola_kalesalad

kale salad: smoked bacon, pickled egg, roasted garlic mushrooms, pecorino vinaigrette $6

Knowing we’d be partaking in a meal of deep fried goodness, Cherry and I made a conscious decision to balance the meal with a salad. So we split a side order. This was a well-dressed salad with rich flavors of the bacon and garlic mushrooms and balanced nicely with the vinaigrette. The pickled egg added just a hint of brightness to each bite.

cafenola_fishnchips

fish ‘n chips: pacific cod, malt slaw, steak fries $14

These large pieces of Pacific cod were nicely breaded with great crunch in each bite. The fish was fresh and perfectly cooked – tender meat that flaked off. The pieces served here might be the biggest I’ve seen! The only thing bigger would be breading and deep frying a whole filet. The chubby kid side of me was definitely cheering for joy. I would have liked the dish better, if served with a quartered lemon slice, but the malt vinegar and tartar sauce sufficed. The slaw was prepared very well. I favor malt vinegar slaw over the traditional mayo,  because the malt vinegar does a better job blending the subtle bitter and sweet from the cabbage and carrots. The steak fries were your standard fare.

Mora Iced Creamery:

Having never been but hearing as much positive praise as an establishment could possibly receive, we decided to stop by. Ok, that’s not true. I’ve had Mora on my never-ending list of “must tries” for the last few years, and finally found an opportunity to come.

mora_cheesecakebrownie

cheesecake with brownies

Rich flavors from the real cream cheese and awesome brownie pieces… which happen to come from a local bakery. Ohh, and Cherry couldn’t wait for me take a picture before she started diggin’ in!

mora_pistachio

pistachio

Creamy. Nutty. Delicious. Three very naughty words when describing something you want to put in mouth over and over again.

mora_devil

devil: whiskey ice cream infused w/Australian hibiscus flowers in syrup

I wasn’t able to pick up much of the whiskey flavor, but the ice cream was definitely rich and creamy. The hibiscus flowers were also delicious! The texture reminded me of cherries in a cherry ice cream and the flavors were subtly sweet.

Blackbird Bakery:

blackbirdbakery_cinnamonwalnutucoffeecake

cinnamon walnut coffee cake

We ended the trip at Blackbird Bakery to pick up a few goodies for the road. Yes, I know we just had ice cream, but if you didn’t know already, Cherry has a sweet tooth the size of Texas and I’m never one to disappoint! Blackbird Bakery is a nice place offering freshly made pastries of both the sweet and savory variety. I didn’t end up taking many pictures of what we bought since they were mostly boxed or wrapped up. Cherry ordered a few cookies and an herb roll to go – all of which were very good once we got home. I was able to get a shot of this coffee cake as we sat and ate while waiting for the ferry. Overall, it was a tasty coffee cake with chunks of walnuts and pleasant flavors from the cinnamon and coffee cake. It wasn’t as moist as I’d had hoped for, but then again, we did come in 30-minutes before closing, so that could been a factor.

Bloedel Rerserves:

bloedel_cherrynrylie1

my valentines 

We spent the bulk of our time at The Bloedel Reserves, which is wonderful public garden with roughly 2-miles worth of walking trails taking you through the lush flora and fauna of this region. There is a visitor center at the half-way point of the trail that doubles as a rest point and as an event hall for musical events. I particularly enjoyed the Japanese Garden located towards the end of the trail. I would highly recommend visiting Bloedel during anytime of the season – but bring comfortable walking shoes. We will definitely be back in the spring to see different flowers in bloom. Keep in mind that there is an entrance fee.

My Conclusion:

seattle night_1

a stone’s throw away

I consider Bainbridge Island somewhat of a hidden gem. Those who frequent or live on the island know how great it is and those who do not, simply don’t know what they’re missing! We weren’t able to explore as many of the “commercial” points of interest as we would have liked, but that only gives us another reason to come back!

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I wasn’t joking in my previous post when I said we came here twice in two days… this place is that good! For this visit, Cherry and I both tried the poke bowls which consist of 1/3 lb. of poke, one scoop of rice and a choice of side.

 

The Food:

shoyu poke (ahi, shoyu, green onion, onion), white rice, seaweed salad $9.50

Shoyu poke is a traditional style of poke in Hawaii. The simple ingredients do a wonderful job enhancing the natural and delicate flavors of the ahi. Da Poke Shack doesn’t lie when they promote their foods as, “Always fresh, never frozen.” The ahi was amazingly fresh and most likely brought in that very morning. Unfortunately the poke was too salty for my taste – some shoyu’s are saltier than others. I was still able to taste the freshness of the ahi, but it was tragically overshadowed by the shoyu sauce. The seaweed salad is of the typical variety you can find in most restaurants and grocery stores – bright flavors and very green!

 

pele’s kiss (ahi, spicy sauce, onion, green onion) white rice, seaweed salad $9.50

 Pele’s kiss was very good! The spicy sauce had creamy texture with great kick and reminded me like a spicy tuna roll (without the rice and nori.) The onions added a countering texture that balanced the ahi very well and provided a bright crunch. This was one of my favorite flavors offered at Da Poke Shack. For anyone unfamiliar with Hawaiian religion, Pele refers to the goddess of wind, fire, lightning and volcanoes… needless to say we were touched by a goddess 🙂

 

My Conclusion:

If my reviews and pictures of Da Poke Shack haven’t prompted you to book for the next flight to Kona, Hawaii then maybe these pictures will. I dabble in photography whenever I can 😉

 

kona side sunset

hibiscus in alii garden market, kona hi

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