FOODTRIP IN GEORGIA

No doubt that scenery in Georgia is superb and breathtaking. It is proven with all the places we visit in a span of 4 days. Aside from the awesome surroundings, our group also enjoy our bonding moment when it comes to food. Our guide, Giorgi, accompany us on a local restaurants so that we can try the authentic Georgian cuisine.

We actually ate from different restaurant and each has their own specialty. Though, some menu are almost alike but in every place we dine in they have at least 1 or 2  something new to offer. Our table is always full but due to our ‘gutom moments‘, these are some of the orders we take and captured by our camera.

We, Filipinos, are all for rice but when we were in Georgia, we often got a bread instead as part of every meal.

ADJARULI KACHAPURI (open cheese bread)

 

IMERULI KACHAPURI (cheese-stuffed bread)

SHOTIS PURI (traditional bread)

SOUP

BACON SALAD

SLICED CUCUMBER

 

PKHALI BOARD (spinach with wallnut)

SULGUNI CHEESE (similar to mozzarella)

NADUGI CHEESE

KHINKALI. After eating a lot of steam khinkali, it’s late to figured out that we don’t have any photo except for this fried one. Gutom na nga.

MTSVADI (grilled pork). This is one of the most remarkable cuisine we tried in Georgia. A very simple dish yet so juicy and tasty. Maybe it’s come from animals fed with grass only.

RICE. We thought that we we’ll have it again once we’re back in Dubai but we were surprised when the waiter asked if we want rice. Of course!

CHICKEN (in different cuisine)

GEORGIAN SAUSAGE

MIXED VEGETABLE

MUSHROOM WITH CHEESE

CHURCHKHELA . Aka Georgian Snickers. String of nuts covered with dry grape syrup. This is what we bought as pasalubong to our family/friends in Dubai.

BEER. The boys in our group would like to try it. Okay.

CHOCOLATE DRINK

COFFEE

GEORGIAN WINE.

Presenting to you..the happy visitors who fell in love with Georgian cuisine.

 

THE AMAZING SHOGUN

Aside from a wonderful celebrations, the recent holiday allowed us to prepared a quite number of food recipe and automatically increase our carbs and calories intake. For almost 3 consecutive days we’re eating the leftover from new years eve and still a small bowl of lasagna in our ref keeps on inviting us to finish the last bites. O-ohh…whaaattt a holiday blessings! We start our 2013 with a blast of food feast. Actually, it is a yearly habit that hard to break….eat…eat…eat. Does it means in 365 days we’re pampering ourselves with lots of food trip???!!!!

Well, I thought I’ll be back on my normal eating mode after holiday but sorry I can’t turn down the offer of exploring the different dishes especially if its my first time. One of my officemate invites me to a dinner at her expense last night. She asked me whether I like Chili’s or Shogun. I choose the latter since I already ate at Chilis several times.

Amidst the ongoing Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF), we headed to Deira to expedite our prompt girl’s date. The three of us again step out of our comfort zone to be a food explorer. Our platform: SHOGUN at Al Ghurair Mall, Tower 2. It is a Korean/Japanese/Thai restaurant roll into one. At the reception, we received the warmest welcome from their Korean waitress who lead us to our table. I really admire their simplest way of providing each group of diners a space of privacy. There’s a division in every table. We don’t know who are the guest next to us. The setting is between us and the waiter/waitress assign to our area. We can laugh and talk without getting conscious that some other diners will spare a strange look at us. Yes, they can hear our voice but they can’t see who we are. Hehe!

Of course, the interior defines the best of Korea/Japan/Thailand theme. Even their wall decor promotes the tourist spot of these 3 respective countries. It was indeed a good advertisement. Since we sit in a semi-closed area, I wonder if we need to stand, go out and call for waiter to take our order but the Shogun team was in high spirit to give us their best service. We just press the button on the right corner of our table and instantly….one of their waitress assist us with her accommodating smile. Actually, if we need anything-new order, refill or even asking for bill-all we have to do is press the button. Haha..para lang akong nag do-door bell. Nakaka aliw!

In terms of food… Shogun bring the finest dishes from these 3 countries  to Dubai. We tried Bugolgi- a korean dish of grilled marinated beef and Pad Thai-famous dish from Thailand consist of stir -fried noodles with bean sprouts and peanut. Another amazing feature of Shogun is their built-in indoor grill located at the center of each table. Ang taray! As in we are allowed to cooked our own Bugolgi. We order it raw and give us the opportunity to be a minute-chef. No need to worry because it was safe and easy to use with no smoke at all. Chikahan is at the maximum level while we’re also grilling the thin slice of beef.

Well, both Bugolgi and Pad Thai is really tasty. Actually, I can highly recommended it to other diners. But believe it or not, from the list of restaurant I tried here in Dubai, Shogun was on the top-list of giving a lots of freebies. Imagine we only order 2 main course plus 1 Green Tea and 2 Iced Tea amounting to total of AED 140/-, we got 7 side dish (platter of lettuce, carrots and cucumber, Kimchi, stir-fry cauliflower, squid, bean sprout salad, and other which I don’t know the names) and 2 more glass of Green Tea for FREE. Yayyyy…ansaya! They even refill the stir-fry cauliflower as we finish it so quickly. After we paid our bill, the waiter asked the 3 of us if we like ice cream or fruits…. again for free. Uhmm…we’re all full and yet the compliments still counting. Ok, let’s try it. Bongga! Ansayang kumain.

SHOGUN is indeed an amazing restaurant. From the ambience, service, foods, price and compliments deserves a thumbs-up. Thanks for bringing Shogun to Al Ghurair. It looks like I was soulful-winged to Korea and Thailand but physically enjoying my presence here in Dubai.

In The Name of ARABELA

Aside from locally-made slippers and prestigious old church, Liliw has one eating destination where visitors can look forward to after their gala mode. The Arabela in Rizal Street seems to be very busy all day long so kindly warn yourself that patience is a must. We’re so lucky to wait only for 10 minutes because some of the customers especially if they are in big group will take time before they got a seat.

Unlike other, Arabela is not that big. Their low ceiling doesn’t  help to create atleast an illusion of space but they make bawi-points by bringing out their best on food menu. My friend who already experience to dine in here had a very good review about the cafe so she want us to try it also. Since we’re there for afternoon snack we better order something that could filled the energy leak on our pasalubong shopping spree.

Its good to know that Arabela serve the finest Italian-like cuisines. We order sirlion Fettucini, Pesto and pizza which have a similar taste to European flavor I had taste in Dubai. At the same time, we try their version of Potato Salad and Bread Pudding. Assorted drinks are available in our table. We have chocolate milkshake, fresh mango juice, watermelon shake and hot chocolate.

arabela food1 arabela food2

Well, it was indeed accurate when those diners keep on saying good things about Arabela because we also proved it by ourselves. Potato salad, though serve in small portion was more than enough to start our food trip. Their pasta is so firm and tender with a savory sauce that relish classical flavor. We fell in love to Bread pudding because it was so soft and had satisfying sweetness na di nakakasawa. All our drinks looks appealing and of course a perfect combination to our special meal.

It sounds good that Arabela does not only offer a classy cafe experience to us but also with their congested space-it help us to bonded in full swing as well as strengthen our friendship.

KAMAYAN SA PALAISDAAN

It’s weekend when we finally pursue our plan to visit some parts of CALABARZON. Our first stop: Quezon Province. Few years back, I already visited some of its town on various occassion to attend a family event. This time I went with my friends for a typical unwind session. Since our call time is about 5am we only  got a super light breakfast  at home and decided to have brunch at Kamayan sa Palaisdaan.

Almost past 9am when we reach the Lucena Grand Terminal. From there we look for a public transport going to Tayabas. It will surely pass baranggay Dapdap where Kamayan sa Palaisdaan is located. I notice that most of the jeepney in Quezon were design for a big purpose. It’s not an ordinary 12 seater but the passengers can also seat at the top if they want. When asked why it was bigger than normal they told me that it is used also to transport goods to the nearby provinces. Ah okay, parang sa Baguio lang. It’s also funny how the Driver of the jeepney got his own assistant someone like the “kunduktor” in the bus. Sa sobrang haba ng jeep may taga kolekta ng bayad, kulang na lang may ticket na rin.

Kamayan sa Palaisdaan is such a indigenous restaurant that promotes our very own Filipino culture.  They have an ample count of Nipa hut floating in a bamboo raft where we stay for a while for our gastronomical experience. Since the Nipa Hut are floating in a man-made body of water, we have to pass a bit narrow bamboo bridge in order to find a comfortable seat. Well, for all first-timers, try to have a good balance while walking or else you will fall down. We saw lots of water lilies around  the area and even their furniture on the side are made of carve old tree which I think serves as a waiting area in case all table were fully occupied. The place can cater the needs of both small  and big group but there comes a time that it was loaded especially during Holy Week and weekend. So far, Kamayan sa Palaisdaan is one of the distinguished eating destination which is near to Kamay ni Hesus Healing Center, another crowd’s favorite place in Quezon.

Living in a modern world, its nice to find a place with a native-inspired theme.  We, Filipinos are known for eating “naka-kamay” style. This is what you can expect in Kamayan– from the name itself- all guests can  set aside the pair of fork and spoon and try to use bare hands while eating. Of course, Handwash in a passe banga is available in every corner.

If the interior/exterior design of restaurant are made to emphasize our historical identity, they make sure to put an exorbitant pinoy-touch to their dishes. We find here a variety of genuine filipino food that is uncommon in other chain of eatery. Like ensaladang pako (Fern Salad), fresh fish and seafoods prepared in a different cooking techniques as well as locally produced vegetables. From so many listed meals on their catalog, we all agreed to order Sinugno Tilapia (grilled tilapia in a coconut milk), Laing which we don’t know why their version is a bit sourish (or maybe because of grated kamias mix with it???), Sinigang na Sugpo, rice and Pancit Habhab (Lucban’s local delicacy). When all these kind of of food is in front of you, under the provincial ambience of Bahay Kubo then what else I’m waiting for—masarap kumain kung naka-kamay!

Kamayan Dessert

We didn’t order any dessert because we reserve it for our Liliw trip. Unfortunately on our way out, we can’t resist the newly-cooked and mouth-watering Kamayan Dessert display near the restaurant’s main entrance. So we bought some pieces and ate while waiting for any public jeepney that will bring us to our next stop over.

Well, for me, Kamayan sa Palaisdaan is a good escapes if you want to avoid the urban’s noisy surrounding and feel the rhythm of nature while indulging into palatable Filipino cuisines.

HOME SWEET HOME

WELCOME HOME!

I’m so happy to see Philippines again. Aside from re-uniting with my family and spend a quality time with them, I could also meet most of my dear friends from childhood to college. It was the best moment to relax and wholeheartedly appreciate my off without thinking my work, my expat life and everything about Dubai. I’m sure some of Filipino working thousand miles away can relate on my excitement to come home. Stepping on our native land is always a dream destination for all who were temporarily away from our loved ones. So making each day memorable and worthy plays a vital role in achieving vacation grande, ika nga nila.

Though its not a rainy season, there’s a fair share of rainfall anytime of the day. I was surprised with the kind of weather here (winelcome ako ng sipon, nyahaha) as I don’t have an idea when it will suddenly fall so hard.  That’s why I always keep my folded pink umbrella in my bag wherever I go. I am thankful that whenever I need to go outside (whether official or personal gala) the weather is so cooperative. Its giving me way to finish the things I must do in a day then afterward saka bubuhos ang ulan. Thanks to SM for giving me a free pink umbrella when I shop on their Department Store. Speaking of SM and other mall nearby as well as our public market, I was fascinated with their idea of taking seriously the no-to-plastic campaign. Afterall, this is a small step to save our mother Earth and will be a beneficial to the next generation.

It’s more fun in the Philippines. Even just at home, each day counts as memorable stay. I can eat the food which rare to find in Dubai like Lansones,  Lomi or hot pandesal. So nice to know that we have a home-grown Patola in our backyard ready to harvest anytime which is a good match to fried tuyo or Tilapia. I can also explore my hour by visiting some of my relatives and their house become my tambayan. Watching TV is my other source of entertainment. I enjoy being too close to remote control as I alwayas shift from 1 channel to another. There’s a lot of well-documented shows that deserve my time and attention so when commercial break—alam na…..lipat sa kabila! Listening to radio program at night is also my pampalipas-oras till I fall into sleep.

Lots of happy events where I am invited are still counting–birthday, anniversary, wedding and even simple gathering but I’m a bit apologetic for refusing some of them due to my conflict schedule. If only I could spare my time to each one of them, then I will do so. Coming home means reviving the opportunity to meet my friends I never seen for years and have a fantastic day with them. As a matter of fact, I’m always looking forward to our escapade which they never fail to plan everytime I visit Philippines. Despite of their busy schedule they gave atleast 1 day just to hang out with me.

Though most of my days were spent being an expatriates, I love to see myself landing on the place where I am mostly welcome. To see my hometown after months of living in a distant city is indeed a promising event. Full of line up activities, people who was eager to exchange a conversation with me, the place waiting for my presence, the vacation that freshened up my mind. In short—— There’s no place like HOME!

The Meat and Co.

As part of our Madinat Jumeirah hour tour we decided to try one of the well-established steakhouse in Dubai- The Meat & Co. This prestigious restaurant is not only famous here in UAE but also scattered in some parts of the world. As a matter of fact, here only in Dubai they have 2 branch-1 is located in the heart of Souk Al Bahar (Dubai Mall) and the other 1 is in Madinat Jumeirah.  The latter was situated in promenade level of Souk Madinat. Outdoor seating was available  but we choose to reserve a seat inside due to hot weather condition.

For our group foodtrip this year, we temporarily scratched the idea of taking eat-all-you-can lunch and happily indulge ourselves into ala carte style where The meat & Co was known for. The place is spacious for both small and big group diners but before the crowds come in we already found a good seat few steps away from the window where the upper half of Burj Al Arab can be seen uplcose. It’s really aamzing that after our host take all our order, they serve us their complimentary bread a bit quick than other resto’s tactics. At first I thought both were the same but when we cut a piece and bite it, the flavours come out differently. One has potato and the other is made of squash. We all agreed that the latter is tastebuds-friendly and invites us to ask for another servings.

Free Bread, Yummy!

We admit its our first time on this kind of high-class restaurant. We don’t know  their specialty so we better asked the help of our host, Mr. Chulani. From him, we gather a lot of information about their business, owners as well as little knowledge about their food terminologies.

For our appetizer, we ordered Boerewors-a grilled african sausage with pap and chakalaka sauce. The plating is good but nothing special on pap which is tasted like Maja Blanca ( mas okay pa rin ang maja-pinoy version) My satisfaction goes to african sausage which is much juicier and blends well when you dip on Chakalaka sauce. According to Mr. Chulani, Pap is a grated cornmeal and chakalaka sauce is an african term which is a combination of tomato, onions and beans. To complete our entree set, we also take 1 order of The meat & Co Chef salad which consist of fresh cut vegetables and fruits and a small bits of sundried beef with maple cashew nut dressings.

Of course, The Meat & Co is famous for their one-of-a-kind beef menu. They have variety of beef cooked in so many different ways. We tried their Angus Butchers Skewers. It is a medium rare Beef Angus marinated and skewered along with onion and pepper. It was one of the best beef I ever tasted. It’s meaty and tender  that can easily chew and bite into pieces. I am not a beef fanatic but I think I set my standard that their version is something that I will search whenever I dine in other restos. Most of the time, beef smell like maanggo and has an aftertaste but their version is indeed a perfect cooked.Even their french fries is a perfect match for this protein-filled menu.

Angus Beef

Since our group loves seafood, we ordered Grilled Giant Prawns. The juiciness of of prawns comes from its natural flavour with the help of thyme and lemon. Their baked potato becomes our carb-intake for the day as a side dish to prawns. Aside from the main course, The Meat & Co. also serve a licence venue for wine drinkers. They have a wide selection of wines. Imagine they have a separate menu just for drinks only. I’m sure its a perfect match for their steak (but sorry we never try it).

Grilled Prawns

We let our digestive system do its vital role before we asked for dessert. They have a lot of choices if you have a sweet tooth. We decide to try one of their specialty eventough we felt fullness inside. Being a kid at heart we got a big eyes when we saw the Chocolate Pistachio Fondant from the list.  It took 10 minutes to serve because they need to baked it upon order to preserve its freshness. Its look like a cupcake but theres  a caramelized chocolate inside that add some twist on its yummy taste. Along with it is the classic vanilla bean ice cream (I think the main ingredients here is the Pistachio nuts) that really blend with the sweetness of chocolate.

Fondant

We don’t took so long because some of my colleagues had different appointment on that same day. Just a bit of picture taking and there we end our food trip with a great smile in our face.

How to get there:

From Dubai, follow the Sheik Zayed Road till  Mall of Emirates, then take Exit 39 (before MOE) going to Umm Suqeim, Jumeirah Beach Road. Just go straight- there you’ll see the Madinat Jumeirah after the signal (exactly at the end of the road).

The Meat & Co

Shop 148 Souk Madinat.

KFC Moment

Totally out of our daily routine we just decided to order our lunch food from KFC. Though I had my prepared baon I also agree with my two colleagues to treat ourselves with their signature value meal. Why not???? It was a month-long ago since I tasted their finger lickin’ good chicken. As for my baon, I left it inside the refrigerator nd reserve for tomorrow. It was a timely idea also not to have an empty lunch box in my bag for I have a personal-slash-private mission today that require some amount of energy to walk few meters away from our house and having it will only create an additional weight amd might  cause slow-walking tactics for me (ang bagal ko pa mandin maglakad pag mabigat ang dala taz lagablab pa ang init na iniwan ni haring araw).

Usually, when we’re placing take away order from every fastfood chain we always have something left for the next day. Their generous serving of value meal is more than enough to satisfy our stomach but for unexplainable reason—for the first time— the 3 of us fortunately finish everything. As in empty bucket, not only for chicken but including large portion of mash potato and large coleslaw. Do we need to congratulate ourselves???? Nyahaha…. we can’t say that we’re hungry nor much excited t eat every bit but today is definitely—a simot-sarap day!

Since our lunch time were spent on KFC, there’s something sensible flash on my mind. We all know that KFC stands for Kentucky Fried Chicken but last month while I’m on tv/net diet, I found myself reading a Nicholas Boothman book where he also used/borrow the same abbreviation. It’s not a food-for-stomach related but rather a food-for-successful-life formula that every human being must use in achieving their purpose of existence. KFC, for him, simply define like this:

           K- now what you want

            Find out what your getting

           Change what you do until you get what you want

When we meet the world we already know that we are given a golden opportunity to live. Yes,  we all have life but are we heading in a right direction; are we living with purpose or we are like an ordinary fellow who dream nothing and let themselves goes on to the flow. Sometimes, we are uncertain where our destiny will lead us. We seldom thinks something is missing in our life that impede us to move forward.

We have food to eat, gadget to enjoy but do we have any reason to live. This is what we missed to have a fruitful life- setting GOAL for ourselves. If we don’t know what exactly we want in life then where do you think it will lead us.  Just imagine you have a car and you want to drive it but no particular plan where you suppose to go, it will only result to empty-fuel but no satisfaction at all. This what K (above) is all about. Recognizing our goal. It is not a matter of simple or complicated goal what more important is we have a reason to wake up each morning, work with fulfillment and have a satisfaction at the end of the day while we’re on the process of realizing our dreams.

Okay, you know what you want but do you have the potential to achieve it. Do you have a weapon to accomplish your purpose? Or you will give up if by chance you hit the bottom. Like the example I used above, driving a car to reach your exact location is not always on smooth lane. At the middle of your journey, you will experience near-to- empty fuel, more road bumps or worst than ever-detour to nowhere. If you really wanted to reach your destination you will surely  done something to go for it. You will never stop until you finally see what awaits you there when you arrive. Same thing with our life. There’s no room for quitting if we always want a brighter future ahead of us. Live with purpose. Dream. Believe and Achieve!

Everytime we ate and enjoy a KFC meal, I also hope you live your life in KFC rules!

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