Tambayan Sa Kanto (TSK) restaurant owner, Margaret Streegan, is more than just a restaurateur. Her love for authentic regional cuisine is the blueprint of the operation with supportive hubby Arman. And she's hands on. Passed on from her doting grandmother, the TSK recipes that she serves Filipino dish-loving patrons are fully hers and she's the spirit behind the kitchen that makes it all happen.
New Self got the chance to take a peek inside the Tambayan Sa Kanto kitchen to see how Crispy Bagnet (lip-smacking and hefty slices of pork belly with Ilocano spicy vinegar and a Kamatis-Bagoong-Lasona siding a.k.a. KBL or tomato with fish paste and onion), Bulalo Steak Ala Pobre (an inventive beef shank dish served on a sizzling plate of TSK's signature creamy bulalo sauce), and Lumpiang Togue (mixed vegetables with a dip of spicy vinegar) are prepared.
Pre-sizzling plate bulalo
I was dazzled as the pork liempo was being deep-fried in the TSK kitchen. I eagerly observed how big bubbles showed up on the surface of the cooking oil which is evidence of moisture. As the minutes progressed, the bubbles became smaller and the moisture less.
Read about my Tambayan Sa Kanto dining experience and more about its selection of authentic regional Filipino cuisine on Turista Trails.
My credo as a frequent traveler is to surprise myself with destinations that nurture my spirit. The same goes for travel stops that I do. And whenever I take breaks from my sojourns, I make sure a spa is in the picture.
My recent appointment for a hotbed treatment at Manila's premier Zenyu Eco Spa at Hotel H2O (the same location of the Manila Ocean Park) got me back on a relaxed mindset. A hotbed treatment entails a guest to lounge inside a warm and humid, negative ion-infused room (wall, ceiling, and floor) which serves as a 30-minute healing treatment for bodies that are exposed daily to positive ions that allow the build up of bacteria and viruses. Think of it as a steam room but an intelligent one. This is a signature medi-spa treatment that I will be testing weekly for the next two months. With such regular visits, I hope to lessen my immune system's vulnerability to unnecessary illnesses, especially since my base is Metro Manila where air pollution is evident.
Thirty minutes into my hotbed treatment (P400+), the spa specialist or attendant inquired if I wanted to lounge a bit longer (normally guests stay 15 minutes more) to which I no longer obliged as I was excited to dip my aching feet and legs into the fish jacuzzi (P300+ for the full-body dip). Drained of reasonable perspiration, I stomped my mildly wet slippers all the way to the indoor pool where I would have a school of fish gravitate towards my lower limbs to nibble on them. The nibbling, of course, translated into a ticklish sensation only. A regular soak is meant to give the spa guest a smoother and softer skin from the dull and dead layer, resulting in in a healthier surface that's not prone to a lot of diseases.
Maybe for my next visit at Zenyu Eco Spa, I can try either a high-tech body massage or facial using the newly acquired technology from South Korea that medical experts (doctors) will be on duty to perform. These days, it's scary to get body-related treatments from just any spa that can be spotted in a street corner. Legitimate practitioners will always provide the needed security and confidence of a fulfilling spa experience, something that Zenyu Eco Spa never fails to give.
Zenyu, in Japanese, means complete healing. This is what Zenyu Eco Spa is about -- total wellness as both top establishment figures Eric Tan and Albert Adrales abide by. Both medical and wellness experts are confident in sharing the Zenyu experience with the arrival of high tech treatment machines from South Korea. The technology is designed for a lot of body rejuvenating services including face contouring, body massage, and scar removal treatment among others.
Albert Adrales of Zenyu Eco Spa
Albert gamely showing New Self how face contouring is performed
I have a new favorite bread and coffee nook that's based inside a mall, all the way to its top floor where an ice skating rink is the activity of each day. I loved to have discovered Lucca Bakery at SM Megamall's Fashion Hall recently just when I was starving for brunch. I needed a rice meal, a glass of cold tea or smoothie, a hot concoction and some bread to go with it. I was glad that all those treats were available for me that day at the resto-bakery.
My post-meal fix
I was delighted to be seated at a corner table overlooking the ice skating rink. The skaters' movements -- of amateur and accident-prone levels -- amused me a lot while I tore into Lucca Bakery's meaty, prime US beef tapa which was served on top of a garlic rice. Remarkably, the garlic on the rice was evenly spread and stuck to most of the grains like they were a spice natural to them. This is because I always get turned off by a chunk of garlic tossed on top of my rice order for me to spread it on my own. That was not to be my litany at the resto-bakery that morning. To drown the spicy beef taste, I paired my meal with a cold berry drink (flavored iced tea) which was served with slices of real lemon. I was at the mall that day to buy a new leather belt for an upcoming wedding event that I got invited to. I already made the purchase earlier at the department store, so I rechecked to see if the belt fit me well after a full meal. Having felt good about it around my waist with that much ingested food, I proceeded to finish my dining experience at Lucca Bakery with a hot Matcha Green Tea Latte and two pieces of country bread. I'm not easily impressed with fancy bread creations but the two pieces of bread served my taste buds well. I loved how distinctly soft and chewy they tasted in the middle.
Strong Opinion: I think Lucca Bakery is a good alternative to its close competitor, The French Baker and other similar dining setup.
I'm not really into hobnobbing with celebrities whether actor or politician but my previous jobs entailed me to do so. I had no choice. Doing pictorials for magazine covers and spreads in the past, I've learned to compose myself in a manner that made the celebrities I met not feel special. They are, after all, just people like me. We all just have different things to do in life. The only celebrity meetup that I felt unguarded about myself was my merienda session with Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr. It was arranged by his aides as I was invited to join him with some of his avid supporters for snacks at a hotel in Makati City. He was keenly interested about my opinions on politics, his work, and society in general. Personal views were exchanged. Casual stories were shared. What did I bring to the private salu-salo you might ask? What else but my favorite merienda treat, Amber's pichi-pichi which the good senator also sampled that afternoon among the other treats laid out on the dining table which included spaghetti and variants of puto (steamed rice cake) flavors.
Daily life is toxic when you have so many things to do and left with so little time to do them. One's sleeping time gets the hefty brunt of the adjustments made in schedules in favor of doing more for work, for friends and for leisure, among others. My former job entailed me to work during the wee hours which damaged my sleeping patterns during the day. Man is really created to sleep at night I suppose. I was able to remedy that by working as a freelancer. Recently, though, I had a serious case of frontal sinusitis which gave me difficulty to sleep at night and wake up in the morning. My nights were bouts with excessive phlegm (it took me an average of an hour to doze off to sleep) and my mornings were always a parade of drowsiness for more than two hours even past breakfast. All the hassles of unsatisfying sleep somehow disappeared when I started to regularly take a health supplement called Laminine. Mind you, the capsule is not a sleeping pill LOL! It's a form of a natural adoptogen. A regular intake of it in the morning and night helps create a state of balance or normalization, restoring one's body to its natural state of homeostasis. In my life, the effect of Laminine is restful sleep!
My early-riser pose at Microtel By Wyndham-Acropolis
Slept soundly on my 8 Waves Hotel bed
Regular intake of Laminine helps enchance one's daily life from giving you a restful sleep, reducing mental and physical stress, improving stamina and energy, among others. Order Laminine now! Mobile: 0915-773-9681