VEGETARIAN WHO?!

I know I have talked about this before (maybe a little more than I should) but now that I’m getting close to some real holiday celebrations, I might as well write something about it again.
About three months (?) ago, I decided to get into something I never thought I’d ever get myself into. I’ve always been an absolute carnivore and it’s always been a struggle to eat vegetables. But having a small part of me that is always curious over a lot of things which leads me to try different stuff on the most random times, I ended up deciding on getting myself into vegetarianism.

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If you’ve been with me since I started the journey, you should know how days went and how much of a struggle the first few days have been. I must admit that right now, this whole system’s not too difficult for me anymore. Yes, there are days when I find it hard to find something to eat but I have this new found excitement to find good food without meat (exploring different food places is super fun too). BUT as exciting as the last few months have been, I know I cannot forgive myself if I let the holidays pass without enjoying the celebrations completely. And honestly, I don’t think I would enjoy the celebrations to the fullest if I would continue depriving myself of meat.

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So with all the holiday dinners, vacations and (possibly) family reunions that are lined up for the weeks ahead, I just know that I need to allow myself to eat meat again. But that does not go without any challenge at all. The challenge for me would be to control the amount of food I’ll be taking in. I have lost a good amount of weight already (blog for that coming soon) so I need to make sure that I don’t gain them back just because I allowed myself to eat meat for a couple of weeks. I don’t know how the next few weeks would go but you can bet that I cannot wait to enjoy the celebrations with all the meat already. I’ll think about how I’ll transition back to vegetarianism (or if I would) once the celebrations are all over. I honestly can’t be bothered to think about right now.

So for the next three (?) weeks ahead, I’ll try my best to write about how the festivities would go for me. Hopefully, I’ll get to sneak in some exciting food features in between too! Right now, I need to start calming myself down because my carnivorous self is just so ready to be unleashed!

 

GIFs are from giphy.com

 

4 MUST TRY MEAT-FREE DISHES!

Tonight, I am celebrating my first month of being vegetarian.

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Well, it wasn’t the easiest especially for an absolute carnivore like me. I could literally devour a dozen pieces of fried chicken in one sitting (ask my friends who once gave me a bucket of KFC fried chicken as their birthday gift for me). I may have a lot of inconsistencies as well when it comes to my eating habits but I am confident enough to say that I managed to stay within the whole vegetarian system for 31 days now. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? 31 FREAKING DAYS!

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Through those first 31 days of being vegetarian, I got to eat in different places I otherwise would not have eaten at. Among all the foods I got to try, there were absolute standouts. These standouts definitely made my experience less of a struggle and more of a memorable experience for me. So in this post, I’m sharing 4 of my most favorite vegetarian-friendly dishes which I have tried over the last few weeks (I’ll most likely drool while writing this…). 

Shitake Mushroom and Malunggay Burger (The Urban Farm)

I came in their place in BF Parañaque with absolutely no expectations. It was quiet when I got there and I had the place all for myself when I ate. Their menu has some pretty good choices but somehow, I decided to try their burger as soon as I saw it.

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They serve their burger with, what seemed like, sweet potato chips. It was crisp and the sweetness of the sweet potato was definitely coming through (Tip: add a little sprinkle of salt). The star of the show isn’t their chips though– it’s their burger. The patty’s sandwiched in a simple bun with oats on top, lettuce, raw onions (which I took out) and puréed tomatoes. It was a rather straightforward combination, which gives a more distinguishable focus on the bun itself. If you eat the burger without knowing what it was, you’ll definitely find it difficult to distinguish what it’s made of. It maybe a little dry but that’s totally understandable for me. What I love most about it is the fact that even with the prominence of the rest of the ingredients, the patty still holds on its own. You definitely would recognize that the patty is there. It’s not at all bland, maybe not as meaty as regular patties (TOTALLY JUSTIFIABLE) and works so well with everything that’s on the plate (IT’S NOT GREASY TOO)! It was a really great way to start my vegetarian journey.

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The Urban Farm Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Agedashi Tofu (Kenji Tei Ramen House)

I’ll admit: I found it really hard to decide which of the two Agedashi Tofus that I have tried is better. But, I am settling with Kenji Tei’s.

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I’ll have to give it to the tofu itself. I am not sure what type of tofu they used for this because I don’t have any prior experience with different types of tofus. But, if I will have to put my guess on something, I’ll guess that they used silken tofu (WILD GUESS). It definitely tasted like that soy they use in taho, which made it feel weird when I first bit on it. It was a little sweet with distinguishable hints of that soy taste and is very much unlike the regular tofus I normally get from local markets. I also love the fact that the breading wasn’t overwhelming at all. It was still very light and the breading was enough to add a good texture to it. It pairs well with the lightness of their donburi sauce as well. I would have definitely finished the entire serving of it if I didn’t order their Yakisoba with it…

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Mazesoba (Uma Uma Ramen)

I have, for the longest time, shared articles about dishes that are rated by other food enthusiasts. But, I never actually put an effort to visit the places or try the foods they wrote about. Uma Uma was an exception. I guess I read the article about their Mazesoba at the best possible time. I was near the place, I didn’t have anything to blog about yet and I was hungry. So I literally hunted it down!

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On the article I read, they wrote about 7 of the best ramens there is in Singapore and there it was, in all its glory, Uma Uma’s Mazesoba. I read about it and saw that it didn’t have actual meat on it. My only concern was, their broth might be meat-based like how it normally is for ramens, which would be a total deal breaker. Luckily, they didn’t serve it with broth. It was a dry ramen (or whatever that’s called, educate me please) that takes most of its sauce from the runny yolk of the onsen egg. No, I haven’t tried many kinds of ramen yet. Neither have I tried a legit bowl of ramen straight from Japan (BUT HOPEFULLY SOON) but their Mazesoba is by far the one of the best ramens I have tried. The ingredients they served it with worked well together. By paper, it seemed a little too simple but eating everything together was a complete surprise. I particularly love the kick their chili oil adds. It was a good hit.

Anyone would definitely not miss the depth ramen broths’ provide because of how well everything works. Maybe next time I’ll pay for additional soba and onsen eggs…

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Truffle Mac and Cheese (Mama Lou’s Italian Kitchen)

I liked it so much that I could still literally taste it in my head. And I know, I know that it’s probably because truffle’s becoming mainstream lately so I’m probably just too overwhelmed but the thing is… truffle (oil) is one of those ingredients that you need to know how much to put because it could make or break your dish. They finished their mac and cheese with the right amount of truffle oil that did not sacrifice the taste of the pasta on its own at all. I honestly believe that even without the addition of truffle oil, I’d still consider it one of the better mac and cheese plates I have tried.

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Nope, I haven’t tried many mac and cheese in my life yet so there isn’t much to compare it with but I am very bias with dishes that I couldn’t cook myself. I know it’s just basic béchamel sauce with a mix of different cheeses and sometimes finished off with some ground nutmeg so why can’t I cook it myself, right?! See… cheeses are hella expensive here in the Philippines so there’s no way I’ll get to cook my own mac and cheese on a regular day basis (I’ll probably kill more than a thousand pesos worth of cheese to cook a serving alone). So if I were to crave for one, I’d definitely go back to Mama Lou’s and have an order of it again! Let me know if you tried better ones, I’ll make sure to try them when I can!

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It’s been nothing but pure fun. Again, it’s been difficult and I am still struggling until now (it doesn’t help to watch samgyeopsal or mukbang videos late at night). But, I am determined to keep going. I have mentioned over and over again that I am planning to take a break with my diet when I leave the country over the holidays but for now I’m still really motivated to keep going! Hope ya’ll stick with me through this!

Note: Commentaries are written as a food enthusiast and as a self-taught cook. GIFs are from giphy.com and photos are all taken by yours truly. Also, make sure to ask the restaurants’ crews if your food is actually meat free!

If you wish to contact me, feel free to check my contact details on the Contact tab.

 

Day 29 – TODAY, I CHEATED!

Running on nothing but sheer will, I managed to go through this day. It’s been one hell of a struggle because of how weird the weather has been. Just yesterday, it was raining so hard that it seemed like it will flood the greater parts of Manila. And then today, the sun was up and shining brighter than it did over the last few days. With that, the temperature wasn’t tolerable at all which explains my mood for the rest of the days (AND GAAAHD FREAKING HEADACHE JUSKO).

 

I left our office to do some errands around Manila just a few minutes after 12 and I totally didn’t expect the traffic to be very bad in Las Piñas until Manila. So by the time I got down the public bus, it was already past 3. IMAGINE BEING INSIDE THE BUS FOR 3 HOURS! AND THEIR COOLER ISN’T EVEN WORKING WELL (WHICH IS COMPLETELY UNDERSTANDABLE BECAUSE THE HEAT TODAY WAS UNBEARABLE). As soon as I got down, I made sure to rush everything so I could go home as soon as I can. On the way which was past 4 already, I was already thinking about what I would want to eat. It was my first meal of the day so I really wanted to get something good. I decided to just get some broccolis and other stuff before actually going home.

 

As soon as I got home, I boiled water and salt so I could blanch the broccolis I bought. I toasted the three-cheese sandwich I got from 7 Eleven and then went back to slice the broccolis. After blanching it, I boiled some water again to get some makeshift double-boiler going. I added cream and then added some cheese until it’s melted all the way. Put in the blanched broccolis after seasoning the cream sauce. Cooked it for a bit then served it with the three-cheese toast I got AND I CANNOT EVEN DESCRIBE HOW THAT WENT FOR ME. IT’S PROBABLY THE BEST MEAL I HAD IN A LONG TIME (YES, EVEN COMPARED TO THE MEALS I HAD FROM FOOD PLACES). I was so satisfied that all I wanted to do was lay in bed and enjoy the rest of the night. (I cannot workout tonight because I’m trying to feel if my body can hold up well and I don’t think I can. I’m pretty beaten up from a rather intense one I did last Monday… maybe because I have not lifted for a long time.) After a couple of minutes, I remembered I had a couple of potatoes in our stock so I decided to make some croquettes with it. Had it for dinner and saved some for tomorrow.

 

The last few hours has been great. Good food and I got to lay in bed for a couple of hours. I don’t know wy but I’m just very unmotivated lately (well, actually, I know why but lol). In two days it’ll be a month of being vegetarian already, really cool huh? Although I’m really considering eating meat when we leave the country over the holidays but let’s see how things would go. Definitely gonna try my hardest to make the rest of this week better. Gotta load up, have some intense weeks ahead!

 

*ALSO, watch out for something call in the next few days. Super stoked. Hihi.

Day 4 – I ATE BACON!

I HAD PUMPKIN SOUP AND REALIZED IT HAD BACON ON IT WHEN I ALREADY FINISHED AN ENTIRE BOWL. I was going crazy over the fact that I did not even realize there were bits of bacon on the Pumpkin Soup I was enjoying for our breakfast at Hotel Monticello! I wanted to get another bowl because it was so good but there was the reason why I wanted to get another serving. I had to settle down and just shrug it off. Besides, I’m still 4 days in my transition so that’s forgivable. Good thing, the hotel served cereals, salad and customizable omelettes too so my breakfast was still a win!

 

After that forgettable breakfast (not for me, she totally loved it there), we headed out to visit a rather uncelebrated shrine (or I don’t know how to call it) just a couple of minutes away from Caleruega where we went next before heading out for lunch. It was a hot day in Tagaytay but I wouldn’t complain because the weather was actually really good. I had to force my mom and sister to go with me on the highest peak at Caleruega just to show them the chapel upstairs. They haven’t been there since I couldn’t even remember the last time we’ve been to that place as a family. My mom was soaked in sweat as soon as we reached the chapel but she liked it. See, she rarely gets the chance to do some physical work that could actually make her sweaty so I’d daresay she absolutely needed that. On the way back to our hotel, we had to rush because we wanted to check out on time. As soon as we got our backs, we went down, checked out and then we were off to a village in Nuvali so my sister could give her pasalubong to her boyfriend’s tita. But before heading to Nuvali, mom insisted on getting some stuff at Rowena’s. We got Buko Tarts, Assorted Cheese Tarts and Pineapple Tarts for the party tomorrow. I got their Kropek (which, I eventually realized it has shrimp extracts on it… BUMMER!) and a box of sylvanas which I started eating as soon as we got back on the car. On the way to Nuvali, I was not feeling well anymore probably because I was starving already so we hurried to drop my sister’s pasalubong and headed straight to Solenad 2.

 

My sister wanted to try Sumo Sam since she was craving for some Japanese food but when we got there, I think it was /still/ under renovation or whatever. I called dibs on choosing where to eat and chose Mama Lou’s because I’ve been hearing really good things about it. Mom ordered Pizza Bianca (I needed to tell the waiter to put all the bacon on one half of the pizza so I can still eat some slices of it) and City Food Platter then asked me to order for myself. I ordered Poutine, which was basically just french fries with gravy and mozzarella cheese, and Truffle Mac and Cheese BECAUSE THAT’S TRUFFLE… ON MAC AND CHEESE… SO WHY THE HELL NOT? And boy, was it so good! Everyone got busog with the pizza and the platter (they have really good servings) already so I had most of the Truffle Mac and Cheese for myself AND I DID NOT COMPLAIN! As much as I talk about their food, my sister specifically commended their service. She said she never ate in a place where her glass is hardly ever empty because everyone’s really diligent and my mom totally agreed. I do too! I’d definitely come back but maybe after I compensated all that I ate with some good workout! My happy tummy was definitely satisfied so I didn’t even bother too much when we couldn’t find any Lacoste outlet around the place and the fact that I wasn’t able to get anything from the Nike Factory Store we visited before actually driving on the way home.

 

I couldn’t even remember how long the way back home took because I fell asleep and woke up just before we reached our house. All I could remember is how good the foods we had in Tagaytay were and how much we enjoyed that time away from all the stress. Thanks Kuya for your regalo kay Achie na pinakinabangan din namin lol.

 

So tomorrow… we celebrate.

 


 

 

Mama Lou’s

Solenad 2, NuvaliSanta Rosa, Luzon, Philippines

+63 49302 0752

Day 3 – BACON? CORNED BEEF?

I will be honest. I am actually using this whole transition just to fulfill my long time dream of eating in different places to try new food out. But, the past days allowed me to realize that eating out, especially with people you enjoy spending time with, opens us up to a lot of incredible experiences.

Most of my morning was spent inside the kitchen. I barely got to control myself while frying strips of bacon, sautéing corned beef and preparing garlic rice for my mom and sister. IT WAS SO DIFFICULT. I was literally salivating but thankfully, my self-control was enough to keep myself from sneaking some bites. As I was fixing the table, I remembered we still had some of that ground coffee for brewing that my brother was given as a gift. Now, I’m not into coffee as much as I am into teas but I knew I needed to brew at least enough to fill at least a cup or two. The bacon lasted on our table shorter than I cooked it cos that’s BACON, OKAY? Totally understandable! But, yey for me for not feeling all too bad while eating because I had my cereals with almonds right in front of me already. What’s not to love, right?

Before leaving for our Tagaytay trip, my sister and I had to do some errands for our lola’s 87th birthday celebration on Sunday. Yup, we’re pretty loaded this weekend but my focus is on our Tagaytay trip. It’s been a while since I visited for an actual trip and not for any academic reasons.

Anyway, I super love our accommodation here. Probably as much as I enjoyed our side trip to Buon Giorno for an afternoon snack. Okay… I may have forced my mom to go there after checking in because the pictures online were really good. True enough, the place was so good. Plus the fog cleared out the soonest we got there. Family ordered chicken fingers and some sliders which I couldn’t eat so I had to get Bruschetta and Tarragon Tea for myself (and I may have ordered Panna Cotta too). We didn’t realize we were getting biscuits and complimentary focaccia too (which I dipped on olive oil and balsamic vinegar mixture) so you can only imagine how much the four of us had to finish! We took so much time there that by the time we arrived at Caleruega, it was too dark already. So we just went to the nearest Starbucks to kill time until it was time for dinner. They wanted to get bulalo so that was pretty much another torturous moment with me. Picture me sitting with 3 people eating steaming hot bulalo… Sad ‘no? To make myself feel less sad, I dropped by Mushroom Burger na lang to get their old fashioned burger (ever since akala ko purong mushroom iyon, may halo palang baboy) and their no-meat pancit canton (buti nalang) which I am enjoying as I am writing this.

 

So yeah, there’s that. I’m slowly getting into the system. Of course, there’ll be nights when it’ll be very difficult to fight the urge of eating meat but I need stay on track. Three days seem so long but it’s still too early to quit on this. Tuloy ang laban! Can’t wait to know how tomorrow goes (bahala na sa handaan sa linggo hahaha).

 


 

Buon Giorno

Cliffhouse, Emilio Aguinaldo Highway, Tagaytay City, Tagaytay City

(046) 4832102

 

Mushroom Burger

581 Aguinaldo Highway, Tagaytay City