Thank you, 2017!

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Miraculously, the year 2017, for me, happened so swift. Most days of the year, I was working. I had a better job at the start of the year, got my own space, and managed to go on little adventures on days I wasn’t working. I was also lucky to have been offered a sideline someone like me can’t refuse. On Thursdays, I get paid to eat.

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Two friends, Nieves aka Ivee Medrano, an old high school friend now living in Canada, and Ona Medina, a close friend and LEAD Movement co-founder, visited LA, so I had to see them, pronto!

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Spent my birthday working, but saved another day to have dinner with Ericke. We don’t see each other much. In America, independence is spelled in bold letters.

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Close to the end of the year, I experienced firsthand how it was to walk through flames #skirballfire. It was overwhelmingly crazy, I spent most of the evening on the road ‘coz the 405 Freeway was closed to buses that I had to take the long route going home. Yes, I still don’t drive.

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My best food discovery in 2017, Alejandra aka The Quesadilla Lady, a vendor stationed in a parking lot near Echo Park. She’s popular for her huitlacoche (a fungus that invades corn) umami-rich truffle-like blue corn quesadilla filling. But it was her squash blossom quesadilla that sent me to nirvana.

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Who doesn’t miss home? Christmas is the saddest time of the year.

Cooked my own Christmas breakfast below.

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Yet thankful for this year. One of the best years in my life!

Thank you to friends and family, who never forget. Thank you to you who visit the blog.

Life Lately in Los Angeles

Hello once again! Happy to be back in the blog. If you’ve already followed me on Instagram, then you have seen snippets of my everyday life in LA. I work most of the days, many hours spent on the road.

The heart of my new city #LosAngeles #losangelescityhall

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I never waste my free time. It’s essential to soak up newness… like a machine, even a mean machine, needs fine tuning.

March in bloom #flowers #flowerstagram

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So, spring has arrived! Muted colors are taking a backseat. The scented air invigorates.

Fridays are made for me! #hellokitty

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I will try to blog more often. Til the next post.

BlauEarth is also on Instagram

Follow @blauearthlosangeles on Instagram, all about anything cool, hip or yummy that comes Tina’s way while exploring, in between work days, the nooks and crannies of LA, plus other quirky stuff.

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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

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