Day off be like

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Been experiencing winter here in Los Angeles for a couple of weeks now. Rains just stopped, as well. So at 45°, still seeing exposed ankles. That’s the kind of winter we get in California.

Top photo was shot by the lady with me in the next photo. She’s Marcy Contreras, a sharp 84-year-old Ilocana, who works at my friend’s office. Btw, she’s an Atenista. I want to be like her, a bundle of energy, when I reach her age. She’s really adorable.

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This is where I go Filipino food shopping. It can get expensive buying my Purefoods corned beef, Cabalen longganisa, Do-Do fishballs, Dagupeña alamang bagoong and chichirya, but what the heck?


Philippine mangoes are hard to come by, so Mexican will do. They’re the equivalent of our very own apple mangoes.

Okay, loves, ’til the next blog post. Looks like sunny days are here to stay.

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.

Lulu and Lala: Fashion in their veins


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.


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


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.


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.


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