Rice Bar to love in LA

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There’s no place like home, but with no lola or nanay or hubby’s cooking to come home to, Rice Bar is home to me. And Chef Charles Olalia makes pancit luglug and longaniza (the hamonado kind) so much better than anyone else I know. And on my most recent visit, Vigan longaniza (in top photo) and pancit devil eggs were so new on the menu.

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At the high point of its popularity, Filipino cooking in LA gets more and more powerful, and Rice Bar is one of the few innovative ones who has successfully defined Filipino food with just a handful of dishes on the menu. There will always be pancit, lumpia and adobo anywhere else, but Rice Bar has also other things like tinola is unexpectedly a bestseller, and the longaniza rice bowl is so good that I had two the first time, and buko ice candy for dessert? That’s so brilliant.

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Pancit devil eggs taste so much like palabok with a zing of lemon.

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If you happen to be in Downtown LA, Rice Bar is located on 7th Street. The space is tight and I liken it to a carinderia, but that’s part of Rice Bar’s appeal.

Just like home.

Laoag Sand Dunes heat up all the more… don’t miss out!

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What’s sexier at the celebrated Laoag Sand Dunes than a pumped up night of music? The much anticipated Pamulinawen Sand Tunes Music Festival is finally happening! (Check out poster above.)

Then there’s also the chance to experience Laoag’s signature sand dune adventure for free, courtesy of the Laoag Sand Dunes Coop, in cooperation with the City Government of Laoag.

Save the date, folks… February 21, 2018! Am to Pm!

Happy Fiesta, Laoag!

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Lulu and Lala: Fashion in their veins

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I’m pretty sure Lala won’t mind if I say she took after the OG, fashion designer Luthgarda, more known as Lulu Raval in Ilocos. Tita Lulu was already doing boho-chic way before the term was even coined. Not your ordinary hippie look with shredded tie-dyed tees and elephant pants, but glam hippie pieces worthy of festivals in this day and age. Two of my vivid fashion images were dresses I wore in 6th grade, one “kulambo” mumu, with crocheted details, dyed in sunflower yellow, and the other an ethereal midi in layers of flimsy dusty rose gauze by her, which my dressmaker mom scored from her boutique at the Cubao Farmer’s Market.

Fast-forward to today, you can catch Lulu at the Melrose Trading Post on weekends. Her one of a kind designs attract Hollywood celebs and stylish Angelenos. Her ever fashionable sister, Ditas, who I occasionally see in Palm Springs, showed me an influential fashion glossy highlighting Lulu’s creations. Naturally, I was very proud of a fellow Laoagueña.

Found these photos taken two summers ago. Bought the versatile original Luth Garde kimono I couldn’t part with.

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It’s the passion for fashion that Lala shares with her mom Lulu. It was an exciting thing discovering her at the Arts District Co-op in Downtown LA (here).

Went shopping yesterday, and Lala was looking fabulous in her sexy-skinny newness. It’s still winter here (hahah, what winter?) but it can be oppressively hot during the day, so in Los Angeles, layering is the way to go though crazy weather. Found cute pieces that will still be summer-appropriate

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At Lala Dudley, expect a curated mix of one of a kind pieces, cute tees, edgy basics, lots of boho stuff which include jewelry and purses. She also gets her share of celebrity clients.

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Grabbed this very new photo from Ericke’s Facebook and she was wearing a kimono by Lala Dudley, from 2 years ago, to Nina Bonoan’s wedding to Luis de Peralta today.

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The stories of mom and daughter Lulu and Lala in Los Angeles truly inspire.

Life in America is an ube cheesecake

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Seeing family is like chancing upon a Fil-Am ube cheesecake at Cafe 86 in Pasadena. Sometimes it’s there, and some days you see ube leche flan cupcake, like this week, I was able to touch base with Ericke, and two days later, with my beautiful cousin Samantha, who celebrated her birthday last week. Failed to attend any of her 3 parties ‘coz I was working that weekend. God, please create another weekend for those who work so others can have their weekends always.

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Ericke’s office is in Pasadena, so she’s tried the new Asian fusion Fig Sprout that specializes in roasted chicken. I regret I didn’t take 1/2 ‘coz it was truly so delicious with the mint sauce and herbed rice. I am not a fan of chicken, but this one’s rare, like saying I have so much respect for El Pollo Loco. Ericke had Coco Pasta, very Asian with coconut cream, lemongrass, and so good that it was telling me to have my own full serving.

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Before working another long weekend shift, had one more spontaneous date with Samantha at Market Provisions, a quaint restaurant in the LA Fairfax District near her office in Beverly Hills, and then she dropped me off to go walking down Rodeo Drive.

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In my head debating whether to get rigatoni with crab and shrimps or linguini with lobster. Happy I listened to the waiter.

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Life is an ube cheesecake, enjoy it when it’s there.