Saté, new and the only Indonesian restaurant in Ilocos Norte

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Last night we were brought to Indonesia via Saté, an authentic, I repeat, a real deal Indonesian restaurant that opened in San Nicolas just a few days ago. Of course, nasi goreng and sate (satay) ring a bell, but on my latest gustatory adventure, my taste buds were treated to a higher level — a full course dinner prepared by Indonesian Chef Robby Satiawan, a former executive chef at Banyan Tree in Macau, who has also worked in other parts of the globe like Maldives, and Qatar, where he met his Filipina wife, Marie. Looks like they are loving their new home, as I feel the excitement radiating from them.

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How we found ourselves at Saté was by accident, utter serendipity, as my besties Marla and Louie and I planned to go to another resto, then we changed our minds in the car ‘coz someone said there’s a new Indian or Hindustani resto in the next town, then we were thinking yogurt-based, masala and so on, and then I realized Brandon told me about an Indonesian restaurant he saw last week, but couldn’t remember the exact location (he said he went to so many places that day, if that’s not premature Alzheimer’s).

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The diverse menu says a description of every dish, so ordering is easy. Found Ilocano gado (gado-gado/salad), but desired all traditional. We started with brief dishes (a la banchan) of veggie appetizers. Our fave was the pickled Ilocos ampalaya (bittermelon). By the way, Chef Robby buys everything from the tiendaan (public market). Another appetizer, perkedel, a fried corn dumpling that reminded me of our very own squash okoy, when topped with the shallot-sambal condiment (something like a spicy atchara), made beautiful contrast.

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I love unusual drinks, so hot bandrek, a black pepper pandan drink with coconut bits, traditional in Indonesia the chef said, was surprisingly refreshing. Imagine a spiced sago at gulaman (the liquid).

Chicken sate and kukus (steamed chicken marinated in chili and sambal) went great with coconut rice. If you’re a chicken lover or on a diet, I highly recommend kukus, easily our favorite. Isi tahu (stuffed tofu) was also light and lovely.

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The langka (jackfruit) sweet course on the menu was not available, but my discontent vanished as soon as we scooped out the flavors of the two other desserts. Penyet, grilled bananas with toasted coconut flakes and cubed jelly (with the texture of Turkish delight) sent me to cloud nine. A West Javanese treat, sarang burung, which means bird’s nest, but had pseudo bird’s nest (agar-agar) has Chinese influence. I remember to have tasted a cold sweetened bird’s nest soup back in the days when I was eco-ignorant.

Chef Robby’s cooking has fantastic balance, nothing overly seasoned nor cloying, aromatic yet delicate. And spiciness was tempered as he is still in the process of feeling the local palate. But I’m sure you can request your level of hotness.

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Had to have a photo with my FB friend Trixie Ablan, who is apprenticing with the Indonesian chef.

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Ending this post with a message to Chef Robbie and Marie, naragsak a isasangbay idtoy Ilocos!

Sate Modern Indonesian Dining
NationaL Highway, Barangay 1-San Francisco, Ilocos Norte, Philippines

© Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2016

The 0ne-hundred-peso lunch for two at Kristina’s Carinderia

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Was actually billed 101 pesos, but made tawar (haggled) the 1 peso. And a plate of rice was included.

Kristina’s Carinderia (facing the Jehovah’s Witnesses church on the western portion of Rizal St., and near the Iglesia ni Kristo) was Brandon’s find. Local senior citizens, families, office employees and policemen were fixed on their food when we arrived. You enter through a kitchen, (neat, btw) and point at your chosen items from among a see-through cabinet of noticeably freshly prepared viands.

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Presko a baka (raw beef), also known as kilawen here, flavored with light papaitan, was delicious. The subtle use of seasonings such as sukang Iloko, salt, etc., let out the natural flavors of the main ingredients, like dinardaran was not overly sour, but rather naturally came out with that hint of sweetness (from the pig’s blood), and the katuday (katuray/corkwood flowers) salad was not too vinegary nor salty. I’m not sure, but I didn’t detect any use of MSG.

Yes, satisfying Ilocano food this cheap still exists.

Kristina’s Carinderia
Rizal St., Laoag City

© Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2016

Savoring Family Time in Baguio 2016

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Classic. The one word to describe Baguio. It has everything the family will mutually love. Behind the threatening traffic and the hustle and bustle of a loaded city, you can find your own peaceful spaces — at the end of the day, the heart and soul of the summer capital of the Philippines — a cheerful spot for everyone.

Cool mountain weather, nature, fresh food, diversity, indigenous cultures — what’s not to love?

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Enjoyed the weekend at the Baguio Country Club, compliments of Yek Yue. Service was great as usual. Japanese food at Hamada was excellent, and Cotterman Room (where we had most of our meals) never fails to satisfy especially their famed steaks.

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Made time for our own family adventure. Ahmad Brothers Cafe was nowhere to be found. We actually found the signage somewhere near their old location, but couldn’t locate the cafe and the traffic was crazy, so we went to Ozark Diner instead. Known for authentic Southern cooking, the smoked crispy pork rib was succulent inside, just fantastic! Brandon went to Amare with his friends, really missed that one, particularly their original foie gras pizza.

Before leaving the city, we had native food at Cafe Yagam (here) and amused ourselves at Kamiseta Hotel (here). Strawberry Shortcake was first-rate at the Vanilla Cafe.

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Lovely time!

© Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2016

Having in hand Japanese Kumori Cheesecake

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Just a quick review of Kumori’s signature Hanjuku Cheese before going to the last of my latest Baguio series. I have to thank my best friend Marla for the box of sweetness. Since New York cheesecake is the only cheesecake I will have over and over again, a fluffier, creamier Japanese cheesecake will hand over a bit of heaven as well.

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The size of this very Japanese cheesecake is just right to whet one’s appetite for something sweet and cheesy. To my taste, sugar level is not that high. The texture goes from pillowy to silky. It’s half-baked I read. Considering that the bakery originated in Japan, and the Philippine Kumori uses imported ingredients, except the eggs, the goodies are on the pricey side (again, I had to probe). You can find them, and perhaps fall for other Kumori goodies, at SM and Landmark Makati and SM North Edsa.

On cloud nine for now.

© Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2016