New in Laoag: Saramsam Nuevo (The New Saramsam)

Picture 193

Saramsan Ylocano Restaurant on Rizal Street closes, Saramsam Nuevo in Balay da Blas opens; and we’re all loving the place! Such a tastefully  decorated 2-story affair. global eclectic like what my new friend Giselle describes it. All the brainchild of owner Sammy Blas, who has got that design gene. Saramsam Nuevo is in the new wing of Balay da Blas. It took Sam a year to complete the restaurant.

There are new additions to the old menu that we love like the refreshing pasta primavera with zucchini. Heavenly with indigenous bugguong!  The fresh take on poque-poque, meant to be mixed with herby Dijon mustard and rolled in lettuce leaf, is dang good! As usual, the assorted pizzetas are saliva-inducing.

Picture 176-02

To be among his enviable vintage collection through the years is not in any way eerie. The subtle lighting and let-me-sink-in music add an air of contemporary sophistication.  It’s my current favorite chill place in Laoag,

Saramsan Nuevo at Balay da BlasSmoked Salmon on ToastsAssorted PizzetasPinakbet Pizzeta

Let your taste buds come alive with pinakbet pizzeta with Ilocano bugguong and chili oil.

Poque-Poque with Herby Dijon MustardPasta Primavera (with Zucchini)Picture 220

The inkalti (Ilocano fondue) that Saramsam repopularized,

Saramsam Nuevo Diners

Chanced upon this group from the Phiilippine Business Bank in Laoag.

StaircaseSaramsam NuevoSaramsam NuevoSaramsam Nuevo

So please tell your friends the wonderful news! Saramsam Nuevo is now in Balay da Blas. It is one among the features in FoodPrints, debuting on the Lifestyle Network on September 7, 8:30 PM.

Saramsam Nuevo #10 Giron St. Brgy. 7-B Laoag City, Ilocos Norte, Philippines

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2013

Out of the Ordinary: Balay da Blas Function Room


Literally floored, I haven’t seen anything like it in Laoag — the 4th floor Function Room of Balay da Blas Pensionne House (the venue of the recent MUD class in Laoag). There’s that apparent Spanish-Ilocano influence in the older southern wing of the hotel, yet as soon as I walked through the gateway to the top floor, a feeling of Morocco fences in.

Warm Tones
Shell LanternShell Lanterns

The Ilocos-made shell lanterns and the Vigan tin latticework on the ceiling complement the neutral palette, with touches of terracotta and vintage-y tones. Sammy Blas, the owner, is a natural decorator. He outshines himself everytime.


Ain’t that pretty?

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2013

Plains and Prints Creative Director Rhett Eala paints Ilocos red

Red Dot Window Display

Although not as wild as the previous African collection, but perhaps as chimerical as the City Series in the Plains and Prints holiday collection 2012, Rhett Eala arrived and left Sunshine City on the same day yesterday.

Setting foot in Norte for the very first time, Rhett made the Plains and Prints loyalists like myself and Red Dot happy. Being the Creative Director of the clothing company, he has personally been to Cebu before Laoag for a meet-and-greet. He was cool, no kiyeme at all whatsoever. Like Marianne, Vince and me, nagka-cam o nagi-Instagram every now and then, just as normal as anyone else who’d photograph every dish on the table.

Red Dot’s big boss and ever gracious host, Mary Ann Cua-Macaraeg,  squeezed in a whirlwind tour after a scrumptious Ilocano lunch, which included poque-poque (he must have liked it so much ‘coz I saw him reaching for more), and before going to Red Dot to handpick outfits for the Red Dot contest winners.

Plains and Prints patrons

Asked Rhett what made him say yes to the Farillas couple behind Plains and Prints and accept the position of Creative Director and he said, “It’s different. I wanted to go back to ladies’, where I stated.” If you remember, his first line was Due at Rustan’s. There was also Wink, popular with the it girls at that time.

The new energy of Plains and Prints is perceptible like its fresh vibrant prints and tones.

Plains and Prints promo winners

 -The two deserving winners of the Plains and Prints contest. Makeup guru Mara Manuel (in white, below)  also gave the winners a makeover as part of their prize.

Mara Manuel joins Rhett and co.Bloggers Christine and Marianne

-Two of my blogger friends Christine Alejandro and Marianne G. Pasion. Marianne’s wearing a skirt from the City Series/Manila. In the next photo is Mary Ann Ang also a P and P regular patron.

Rhett and AnnRed Dot Plains and Prints Crew

-My favorite Red Dot crew. There’s the Ashley (center) that I get to mention a lot. And what do you see below?  A whole mix and match wardrobe that centers around an offbeat print on print skirt and top that Rhett handpicked, which I tried on and liked. Btw, the digital (as I’d like to call it) animal print mullet dress is from a previous collection. I so love the new ladylike cut of the new P and P blouses, sort of retro Brit, imo.

Picture 488-02

Rhett’s picks. You have to check out the Manila city light and bokeh -inspired  prints.
photo by Marianne Pasion.

Lunch TableLunch for Rhett Eala

-The spanking new Saramsam restaurant inside Balay da Blas Pensionne House, baptized via this luncheon. The place is shabby-gorgeous, Sammy Blas’ signature. 

We had spanner crabs locally known as kusimay, bagnet with KBL (kamatis, baggoong, lasona), poque-poque (tangy eggplant with egg salad), marunggay (moringa) ice cream and saba, kamote, and bilo-bilo inkalti (fondue). (Thanks Me-Ann and Bernard!)

KusimayBagnet and Poque-poqueVinceMarrungay Ice Cream at BallpenRed Dot Ladies

-Me-Ann with Mafe and Mylene.

Saramsam at Balay da Blas 2Saramsam at Balay da BlasAjo

-As fierce as Mulawin, Visionaire’s Ace Rumbaoa. Took a macro shot of his wings, and they looked like they were his earrings:) Ajo makes his own fab, unique accessories and I adore his oversize, as in enormous, flower pins.

The next 3 shots are by in-demand photographer Marianne Pasion. (Thanks,Marianne!)

Saramsam's Sammy Blas

-The Sammy Blas of the famed Saramsam. He sort of triggered why I went back to blogging and started Blauearth.

Balay da Blas

-The retro vibe of the  new wing of Balay da Blas

Below was the quick spontaneous tour around the Malacañang of the North, built by former president Ferdinand Marcos and used as a vacation house whenever he was in town.

Ferdinand Marcos RoomMarcos BooksJoe Salazar and Imelda

– Super museum-material, a Joe Salazar terno for former first lady Imelda Marcos. The superb craftsmanship of Joe Salazar is renowned.

Malacanang of the NorthPorchPaoay ChurchRhett Eala  and Me-Ann Cua-Macaraeg

-Mary Ann’s own wedding gown was partly done by Rhett in collaboration with his good friend Patrice Ramos-Diaz.

There goes the red-letter day. A blessed Sunday to everyone.

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2012