First Visit to Bookay-Ukay

I’d been wanting to go to Bookay-Ukay since college when I saw a photo about it on a social networking site, but never had the chance since it was far from home and I had no one interested enough to go with me. Then came last year and I thought I finally found that perfect Bookay-Ukay buddy, but sadly, our bridges burned a few weeks after we agreed on going there together. I couldn’t brave the big Quezon City on a search for it alone so I thought my desire for book-hunting at the store went to ashes along with my “incinerated” friendship.

But then at the start of the year, I went excited ’cause my friend and fellow blogger invited me to visit Bookay-Ukay. So without hesitation, a date was marked on the calendar.

Bookay-Ukay 01

To give a good picture of what the store is about and why I’ve been meaning to pay a visit to it, let me explain its name. Bookay-Ukay is a play of words certainly thought of by its lovers-of-words owners. “Book” and “ukay-ukay”, those are the two terms. “Book”, we have no problem about its description, but “ukay-ukay” is a  Filipino term for “thrift store“, so put them together, and we’ll know that the shop sells second-hand books that are still in good condition.

Since settling in Maginhawa St in 2008, it has been visited by cool and book-loving celebrities like Saab Magalona and Mercedes Cabral. Not that I want to look and be labeled cool, I’m actually proud to border on the nerd side, but Bookay-Ukay is a must-visit simply because it has books. And cheaper ones, I must say.

I didn’t know it was so easy to get there, but still, I wouldn’t know how to if not for my friend who frequented the area back in college (She studied at Miriam College and its near there.). We met at SM City North EDSA and took a jeepney ride to Quezon City Hall from its terminal for 8 pesos each person. After that, we walked to the side of National Housing Authority and told the driver of the first tricycle in line to drop us at the restaurant Tomato Kick for 17 pesos for two persons. As soon as we got off the tricycle, we were greeted by a two-storey old commercial building, and looking at the right side of its second floor is the sign of Bookay-Ukay. We finally arrived.

Contrary to what I imagined, the store is quite small, in fact, it’s only a room full of books. Perhaps I visualized it to be like those giant bookstores Fully Booked and National Book Store, which was so wrong of me. But at least its interiors speak of what it offers, unlike the formality and plainness of its rival book thrift store Booksale. The green wall on the left is filled with doodles and other stuff like a poster of local pop punk band Kamikazee, and the shelves just below contains other stuff sold in the store like magazines, CDs, and wall clocks which numbers are in counter clockwise. On the counter next to it are key chains from Pop Relief.

Bookay-Ukay 02

Bookay-Ukay 07

Bookay-Ukay 08

Then after those, everywhere else was filled with nothing but books, books, and yes, books on the shelves resting on the remaining walls and even on the floor. Just the perfect haven for book lovers like me and my friend.

Books on the wall

Books on the wall

Books on the floor

Books on the floor

For some time, my friend and I seemed strangers to each other as we both engaged in separate solitary quests for the books we like. From novels, both local and international, to medical books, Bookay-Ukay has second-hand books for everyone.

While I was busy on my hunt, a couple entered the shop and as the guy looked through the shelves, I heard him mutter to his girlfriend in Filipino something like, “I’ll be out of budget again because of books.” Hello there, fellow bookworm! Nice to meet ya! I wanted to tell him, but of course, that’d be crazy. hehe.

Bookay-Ukay 05Bookay-Ukay 04

At the end, I wasn’t able to buy myself a book (Booo! Shame on me!) as I remembered my pile of unread books at home and how I’ll just decrease the chances of finally reading them if I buy more. At least now I know where Bookay-Ukay is. Meanwhile, my friend was able to buy two books for only 350 pesos. She got James Clavell’s Shōgun and Arthur Golden’s Memoirs of a Geisha, and she was very happy with her finds.

My friend and fellow blogger, Claa (http://watchamacallit-claa.blogspot.com/) with her two new books

My friend and fellow blogger, Claa (http://watchamacallit-claa.blogspot.com/), with her two new books (Photo grabbed from her)

Are you a fellow bookworm who loves to hoard and read books for less? Visit Bookay-Ukay today and satisfy your book addiction! 😀

 

 

Bookay-Ukay
55 Maginhawa St, UP Village
Diliman, Quezon City
Mobile #: 0905.428.3125
E-mail: bookayukay@gmail.com
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/bookayukay
Operating Hours: 1pm – 12pm, daily

Heaven on My Palate, Whore’s Style

Along Maginhawa St, Teacher’s Village in Quezon City is a restaurant with the best puttanesca I’ve ever tasted.

But wait, what is puttanesca? In the Philippines, I find some people who bleep its first two syllables because it sounds like the first two syllables of probably the worst Filipino swear term. I find this act weird and irksome, but I just discovered that they were somewhat right in doing so since they really mean the same thing.

Puttanesca, or spaghetti alla puttanesca, is the name of an Italian pasta which literally means “whore’s style spaghetti” (Yes, it’s the “whore” part that people censor). There’s no definite reason as to why it is called such, but one of the hearsay has it that it smells like the cheap meal prostitutes serve their customers back in the day. Anyway, this pasta is made up of black olives, garlic, tomatoes, onions, anchovies, and olive oil.

I’d been hearing and reading the said dish on restaurant menus, but I used not to care what it was until my friend suggested we eat at Friuli Trattoria, a small restaurant that serves affordable yet definitely yummy Italian dishes, when we were in Maginhawa St, Teacher’s Village in Quezon City. With the words “Angel” and “Hair” just before the magic word, the name finally caught my fancy so it was what I ordered. And oh boy, I didn’t regret my choice!

The restaurant’s version of puttanesca has the usual tomatoes, capers, anchovies, and olives, but instead of using spaghetti, its pasta is capellini, a variety of Italian pasta similar to spaghetti, only thinner, and I believe better, thus, the term “angel hair”.

I’m not a fan of pasta ’cause I’m more of a rice person, but this one became my instant favorite. Its sauce is poured generously enough making me savor every mouthful of its rich flavor, in fact, I could distinctly taste the deliciousness of anchovies (I love seafood!). I also think choosing angel hair as its pasta has to do with its supreme taste, you know, the thin strands give way to experiencing more of its sauce than the pasta itself, which is truly celestial. Just a theory, though.

Anyway, I fell in love with puttanesca because of this that I promised myself that I’ll cook the same one of these days, and it led me to ordering the same dish in Bigoli and Pizza Hut. So far, Friuli Trattoria’s is still the best! I recommend everybody to have a taste of it! ❤

It’s affordable, too. For only 130 pesos, an order, served with a slice of garlic bread, is already good for two persons.

Friuli Trattoria's Angel Hair Putanesca

Friuli Trattoria’s Angel Hair Putanesca

Our other two orders were Spaghetti Carbonara, served with a slice of garlic bread, too, at the price of 130 pesos for my friend, and an eight-slice Mushroom Pizza, which comprises of four different kinds of mushrooms (My favorite!) for only 185 pesos for both of us.

Spaghetti Carbonara of Friuli Trattoria

Spaghetti Carbonara of Friuli Trattoria

Mushroom Pizza. YUM!

Mushroom Pizza. YUM!

If the street isn’t far from my place, I would dine at Friuli Trattoria over and over again so I can endlessly satisfy my taste buds! Visit the restaurant, too, and discover heaven on your palate and its other offerings! ❤

 

 

Friuli 1

 

 

 

 
 

Friuli Trattoria
79A Maginhawa St, UP Village, Quezon City
Tel. #: 434 .1416
Operating Hours: 10am – 2am, daily

 

 

 
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REFERENCES:
POPSUGAR
Wikipedia
I Love QC

Foodtografia de Camilla Pt 2

SM Mall of Asia. The first time I heard the name on television, I thought it was some humongous, extravagant, official shopping center of the world’s largest continent—Asia. Well, it is almost, actually.

According to its website, the 407,000-square-meter SM Mall of Asia, or simply MoA, is the Philippines’ largest and the world’s third biggest mall. But Wikipedia says that it is the second in the country, third in Asia, and fourth in the world. It’s confusing which one is true, yet surely, I don’t want to scare people like me who have phobia with numbers, so I won’t bombard this post with digits. But with its vastness, MoA has a lot of space to be more than just a mall, for it is also a tourist spot, and a leisure and entertainment go-to place.

 

Photo grabbed from Wikipedia

 

It was after a few months since its opening in 2006 when I first experienced its hugeness. My family and I just went there for Christmas to check out what everybody and the media were all talking about. When we arrived, we were somewhat dismayed by its size that at the end, we were only able to walk up to one-fourth of the whole mall, then we all decided to go back home. For us, it was just like any other malls, only farther from our place, bigger, and more tiring to roam into.

That was in 2006. I never thought of ever going back in there ’cause, hey, SM Megamall‘s nearer to my home, and though it’s not as gigantic, it is still big enough to house all the shops that have my needs.

But like they say, things change and people can have a change of heart. Since the first quarter of this year, MoA has become my rendezvous with a friend or two. Then I went to its SMX Convention Center just recently for the 33rd Manila International Book Fair (which made me reminisce walking at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre), and I even celebrated my birthday there with my mom and younger brother.

Maybe it’s because I grew mature and I have come to widen my horizon, or maybe I got tired of the malls around my place, or better yet, maybe I finally find it more refreshing and liberating–if that’s the right term–to be in a place where I can choose whether to stroll in open air or in an air-conditioned area than just the fully air-conditioned one. Whatever it is, I have seen MoA in a whole different light.

It is especially nice to walk and hang out at its esplanade during the night when the sun won’t have the luxury of burning one alive anymore and only the cold air can touch a person’s skin (Err… Not really, it is also a place where couples hold hands and cuddle. Please believe me when I say that I don’t do any of that anywhere. I swear! hehehe. Little Miss Defensive in the house, yo!)

Anyway, with a size like that, it is undoubtedly abundant in restaurants of all kinds in every corner. But the things is, irony comes when I tell you that there’s a scarcity in my little photo collection of the food I ate there so far. hehe. Still the same problem with my blog post Foodtografia de Camilla Pt 1. *sigh I’m trying my best to be more vigilant now, though. 🙂

So without further ado, let me present to you six images of the food I happily masticated from four restaurants located in MoA. They may be few, but they are some of the best. 🙂

 

Ranch Style Beef Strips
Holy Cow!

 

New York Cheesecake
Holy Cow!

 

Jamaican Jerk Chicken
Racks

 

(Some Ribs. I forgot what it’s called)
Racks

 

Tempura Japanese Grill

 

Tanabe Japanese Restaurant

Deboned Goodness: Serye’s Boneless Crispy Pata

A few months have passed, but I can still remember that moment when I first had the taste of something sooooooooooooo delectable, and so, so worth raving about.

I am talking about Serye‘s Boneless Crispy Pata. If you look at the photo below, the presentation alone would make your mouth water in anticipation, and that’s even in person. So just imagine when it finally touches your taste buds. Mmmm…

Serye’s Boneless Crispy Pata at 130 pesos per 100 grams

Discovering the Goodness

Before anything else, let me first tell how I came to learn about the restaurant.

Serye was introduced to me by a close friend and office mate who went eating at its Eastwood branch with two colleagues one lunch break. As a person who likes sharing everything to me, she quickly told me she wanted to make me try its offerings especially the Boneless Crispy Pata, and so she went on talking about it for a few days until at last, our plan to eat together there materialized.

I think we just got our salaries when we headed to the same branch (it’s very near our office) with one of the co-workers she went with her first time. So both of us decided to treat this office mate, the company’s admin head, because she has been really nice to us even if she is just a new acquaintance.

It was around 12nn so the restaurant was full and we waited a few minutes before we got our table. The place was nice and cozy and the crew was really accommodating, but waiting for the food was taking forever, or maybe we were just running out of time since we only had an hour. Setting that aside though, once the food we ordered were already on our table, I forgot that I waited (one of my greatest pet peeves is waiting) and instead, pure satisfaction took over me that by the time we went out of the place, it was my turn to rave about it ceaselessly and enthusiastically to my friends and family.

Inside Serye, Eastwood branch

The Taste of Goodness

We ordered two viands, the Boneless Crispy Pata and Sinigang na Bangus Belly (Bangus is milkfish in English). At 215 pesos per order, the latter is equally superb, only that I think there was too little bangus in it that it seemed like it was a Sinigang na Gulay (Gulay is vegetable in English.), if such food exists. It was delicious that I didn’t find myself hoping there was a fish sauce nearby, and the slices of fish took no fuss in chewing because they didn’t have even a single bone when it’s known to have lots of it, but hey, it is really, really the former that I want to focus on in this post.

Serye’s Sinigang na Gulay… Er… I mean, Sinigang na Bangus Belly at 215 pesos

So what is a Crispy Pata? (It’s so off when the photo above this is not what I’m talking about. hehe Please forgive it. ‘^_^)

Crispy Pata is a Filipino dish made of a pig’s trotter, boiled in salted water, vinegar, and onions (or so my mother said), then deep-fried making its skin oh-so crunchy. When eating, it is dipped in a mixture of soy sauce, vinegar, sliced onion, chopped garlic, green chili pepper, pepper, and a little bit of sugar for added flavor.

When I was a kid, I remember how everyone would devour it once placed on the table like not doing so would leave them with nothing during family reunions. And now, I was able to have a taste of Serye’s Boneless Crispy Pata. As the name would suggest, it is deboned, therefore, there’s no hassle in consuming it, ’cause all you have to do is chew and chew and chew, and indulge your taste buds and tummy. Now that’s total pampering for you!

It is also sliced to the right thickness for more ease in eating, and is cooked perfectly, so expect juicy meat meets crispy skin as you put a bite size in your mouth. It costs 130 pesos per 100 grams, or 600+ pesos for a small size (like on that first photo above) that’s good for three people. Of course, Serye also serves the regular Crispy Pata for a cheaper price of 100 pesos per 100 grams, but with the boneless one around, I believe it will be just a second option.

Serye’s Boneless Crispy Pata is the restaurant’s newest bestseller and is one of the dishes, along with the Kare-Kare, that won the Sooo Pinoy, The Search for the Ultimate Pinoy Dish award.

The Goodness that is Serye

Serye not only offers Filipino dishes, but also cakes, pasteries, and coffee.

A little trivia about Serye: The name of the restaurant is short and simple, but behind it is a total creativity and a hidden message. Serye is an anagram of the owner’s surname, Reyes, since the menu was based on the recipes of the Reyes family matriarch, Engracia Cruz Reyes (I suggest you click the link before this, she was totally amazing). Aside from that, the word serye, or series in English, signifies the restaurant’s mission, which is “to carry on the family’s culinary tradition.” As a person who’s in love with words, I find this totally awesome.

Currently, Serye has three branches in QC Memorial Circle (924.3411 / 426.2693 / 0921.8489149), in Santana Grove, Sucat (825.4691 / 826.9317 / 0915.2276042), and at Eastwood City (911.2334 / 709.3712 / 0921.3708648). Visit one of them now and be filled with real goodness!

P.S. Yes, I am a Reyes but no, I’m not related to these Reyeses, though I have joked that my father owns it and I was assigned to manage the Eastwood branch. hehe 🙂

Foodtografia de Camilla Pt 1

Maybe it’s because of the trend and Instagram in particular, or maybe I just want to remember the various food that I eat, but I love taking pictures of food! Sadly, much as I adore doing it, I oftentimes forget to take snapshots of them because, yeah, I’m almost always hungry especially at the sight of, yes, F-O-O-D. So before I realize it, all I have is a clean plate. Too bad.

What happens then, you say? Well, I end up capturing images of empty plates just so I can remember and tell myself someday that, “Once, I was able to eat at this or that restaurant. As a proof, look, there’s the plate I ate at with the resto’s tissue in the photograph.” Hehe.

Anyway, there will be no empty plates in this post. Below are (only) five images of food and a drink that I ate and was able to catch on camera either in Macau or in Hong Kong. There are no food reviews about them since my memory is now betraying me, most of them are taken back in 2010.

P.S. I’m no photographer so I hope you’ll forgive my shots. ^_^

 

Restaurante Vinha
G/F AC Dinasty Plaza, 393 Alameda Dr. Carlos d’ Assumpção, NAPE, Macau

 

Deep Fried Spicy Crab
Spicy Mama
Tak Hing St, Jordan, Kowloon, Hong Kong

 

(I forgot what it’s called, but it’s composed of noodles in tomato sauce, with different kinds of mushrooms, some veggies, and one chicken skewer.)
Glass Flat Q’ Noodle
Wan Chai, Hong Kong

 

Fried Noodle with Beef in Malaysian Sauce
Sun Thai Restaurant
Shop 3-4, G/F, Tonnochy Towers, 272 Jaffe Road , Wan Chai, Hong Kong

 

Milk Tea that comes with the food above
Sun Thai Restaurant
Shop 3-4, G/F, Tonnochy Towers, 272 Jaffe Road , Wan Chai, Hong Kong

Love in the Time of the 33rd MIBF

I once declared to the world wide web: “If I am to drown, I want to drown in a sea of books.” (Whoa… Did I just quote myself there? Haha.)

Books everywhere! *drools

Of course, I didn’t sink literally. But just imagine how elated I was when my friend and I were finally surrounded by books at the 33rd Manila International Book Fair (MIBF) held from the 12th to 16th of September 2012 at the SMX Convention Center, SM Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City.

Lookie! I was looking for this book almost everywhere and it was only at the fair that I finally found abundant copies of it. Wooo~

With more than a hundred exhibitors that gathered from bookstores like Fully Booked and National Book Store, Inc., to publishing companies like PSICOM Publishing Inc. and Anvil Publishing, Inc., the whole exhibit area served as a paradise for book lovers like yours truly.

Paradise just got more blissful with these! I LOVE THE HUNGER GAMES TRILOGY!

But what might be the most thrilling about the MIBF was the hundreds of items, from novels to educational books, that were mostly on sale. Even Fully Booked, that which may be considered as every bookworm’s favorite bookstore, had an exciting 20% discount on their books, plus, for every 1,000-peso worth of purchase, customers got to have a free Fuel Your Mind notepad, which I am more than proud and delighted to own.

SALE, SALE, SALE, and yes, SALE! ^_^

My free Fuel Your Mind notepad from Fully Booked with the books I bought: Life in Pictures: Michael Jackson (for my Mom), Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife, and John Green’s The Fault in our Stars.

I learned about this fair just last month but it is actually one of the longest-running book fairs in Asia. Last year, on its 32nd, it garnered more than eighty thousand visitors, and although as of writing this there isn’t a definite figure yet, this year’s event must’ve gotten more attendees. MIBF was prominently promoted online and on newspapers especially by its ambassadors, online celebrity Ramon Bautista, stand-up comedian/cartoonist Stanley Chi, famous tour guide Carlos Celdran, and actor/DJ Tado Jimenez. Chi and Jimenez also had their respective book launches at the fair.

33rd MIBF Ambassadors online celebrity Ramon Bautista, stand-up comedian/cartoonist Stanley Chi, famous tour guide Carlos Celdran, and actor/DJ Tado Jimenez (Photo by Clarissa Catalina Repollo)

Tado Jimenez’s book signing at the 33rd Manila International Book Fair

 

Look at who was at the Best of Anime 2012… Conan Edogawa! Such a cute little kid. :3

 

Coinciding the book fair was the Best of Anime 2012, a two-day weekend event (September 15 – 16, 2012) that was already on its third year. Thousands of cosplayers, anime and manga enthusiasts, and animators/illustrators, among others, took part in the success of this fun-filled convention.

As an extra color to the event, the Japanese band Uchuu Sentai NOIZ rocked the visitors with their music for two days.

My friend and I were supposed to go there, too, but upon seeing that there was an admission fee of 190 pesos for a day and 350 pesos for two days, we decided not to anymore. It seemed totally organized from the outside, though, so the price might be just right for the event.

 

‘Til the next Manila International Book Fair and Best of Anime event! 😉