The smoothie bowl comes to Ilocos


We like to Instagram everything, and the so-called breakfast photographers are now the influencers of the world. Yassss, bowls are the new plates! Next to rice, what about spooning our smoothies from a bowl?

According to Earth Bowls, set to launch a pop-up stall at the iconc La Paz Sand Dunes, in Laoag, at the start of summer, this coming March 30-31, a healthy eating lifestyle change should be fun and delicious. Barely out of college, Laoagueños Modesty Eugenio and Brandon Tan have partnered to introduce the smoothie bowl as well as promote nutrient-dense eating.




BlauEarth: I know you two are foodies, like always in the kitchen, or eating out, and now, you yourselves are making food a business. What made you fix on smoothie bowls?

Modesty: Bran and I always love eating, but for the past year, we started to eat clean as frequently as we can, and smoothie bowls are yummy healthy snack that we think everyone can actually enjoy.

Natural and/or organic are on average costly. Will an earth bowl be affordable?

M: Healthy eating has always been perceived as costly, but with great effort, we managed to source locally made ingredients to make every earth bowl affordable and healthy because we believe that these two can go hand in hand.

Brandon, were you also part of recipe development?

B: Yes, Modesty and I both gave our own list of recipes. We made a total of 12 recipes and cut it down to 5 with the help of family and friends. We spent two straight days tasting every recipe and there was no guilt eating through all those bowls of fruits.

What is your favorite earth bowl?

B: My favorite earth bowl would be the one with mango, spinach and strawberry (there’s no name yet). I never knew these three could go well together. Definitely, love at first taste.

Food preparation as a business can be very demanding, it is also an art that requires skills, how prepared are you trying your hand at something new?

B: I’m the type of person who loves trying new things. Being the first to introduce smoothie bowls in Ilocos is exciting, and to sustain the trend is challenging.

I see it’s a pop-up stall, do you imagine it as a brick-and-mortar business soon?

M: Yes, definitely, the original plan was a cafe-like establishment but we didn’t have much time to plan due to conflicting schedules. We are planning to launch it before the month of August. And once it’s put up, we have our fingers crossed that it’s going to be the go-to snack stop in Ilocos.

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How to store longer and recook Machang

Pork Sticky RiceB93A1E22-7296-4C02-840D-5F3D2B4AB291Machang

I just realized I posted about machang, those Chinese pandan leaves wrapped sticky rice cakes you may have seen in specialty stores in any Chinatown in the world, but I never really mentioned how to make them last longer to save you on trips to the store, especially if you live in the province. But in my hometown of Laoag,  machang is on the Macy’s Diner menu, but because my husband knows where to buy it by the dozen in Manila, he not only saves time, but money as well.

Now that I’ve been living a schizo life in LA, I actually don’t have much time for too many things such as going to the Kang Kang Food Court, in Alhambra, where machang (zongzi, bah-chang, jung, dong, Chinese suman, or however you call the sticky rice cake) tastes like the one I’ve grown up eating in the Philippines, however, I can bring home a bunch, store them and enjoy them later like they are newly made.


Machang can stay in the fridge for up to 3 days, and beyond that, store them in the freezer. To recook frozen machang, straight from the freezer, boil it for one hour, a little longer if you are cooking more than one piece. Don’t be impatient and open the lid frequently. For cold machang, boil for 20 minutes. Unwrap before serving.

Guaranteed, it will taste as fresh as the day you bought it. Enjoy!


This machang from Kang Kang was insanely good!

Til my next post.


Sari Sari Store at the Grand Central Market LA


At last, a convenient stop for silog in Los Angeles! Just like its name, Sari Sari, which is the Filipino word for variety, the store or stall that opened last summer at the iconic Grand Central Market, offers notoriously liked traditional mainstream items, and lechon manok, arroz caldo and halo-halo are the Chippy, Halls and Coca-Cola here.


Caught Chef Margarita Lorenzana Manzke, one of the owners of Sari Sari Store, also a co-owner of the crowd-pleasing République on La Brea, and Wildflour Bakery & Cafe in Manila, a James Beard Outstanding Pastry Chef nominee, fervently working on  buko pie, a mainstay at Sari Sari. Husband Chef Walter Manzke was also around.


Located in Downtown Los Angeles (DTLA), the Grand Central Market, a 1917 landmark, houses the many different flavors and cultures of the city. Eating here is a must-do when in LA.  Eggslut, Wexler’s Deli, Mc Connell’s Fine Ice Cream, La Huerta Candies, and lately, Sari Sari Store, are my frequent stops.


Arroz caldo is a hit among non-Pinoy guests here. With mushrooms, it’s a delicious modern rendition of the original arroz caldo back home. So far, I’ve tried tortang talong, studded with corn, and best eaten with patis; sisig rice, which is more liver than pig face, but definitely, the way I like it, like the original Kapangpangan Aling Lucing style; the Americanized buko pie; halo-halo with frozen watermelon and caramelized rice crispies; and homemade calamansi soda — all fun and still Filipino, notwithstanding the fresh twists on the basics.


Absolutely, unlike a sari-sari store in the Philipines, no pa-lista here, cash and credit cards only.

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved

Rice Bar to love in LA


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.


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.


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


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.