A Pampanga food trip is spinning wildly in my head…

I lived in Angeles City for a month 2 decades ago. Back then, at first, I could hardly look at sisig, which my hubbie to be ate all the time. It didn’t look appetizing at all. The one he liked was not the sizzling kind. It looked like Ilocano dinakdakan minus the brain. In the middle of our stay, I was curious, I tried it, and it was love at first bite. Years after, we could no longer locate the same sisig and barbeque stall, ran by a middle-aged man, by the railroad crossing. This led us to Aling Lucing. Hers was sizzling, but just as wicked. Oh, gosh, a friend says that a tablespoonful is equivalent to 700 calories!  I think what makes her sisig different from everyone else’s is the suka. I’m not too sure, but it tastes like Lazatin’s. Every time we travel to Manila, we make it a point to visit the Sisig Queen’s. Aling Lucing’s sisig has become all the more popular after Anthony Bourdain featured it in No Reservations Philippines.

In Dau, there’s also this super palabok, which had bean sprouts, chicharon bits and a rich sauce made of I don’t know what. Shrimp paste or crab fat is just a guess. I never had it again.

After a sinful meal of sisig with piping hot rice, Ala Creme’s sansrival or Razon’s halo halo takes away that sisig aftertaste. Heaven forbid!

Talking about Razon’s, I wonder why their halo halo in faraway Guagua is still the best? I like the one at their North Expressway branch, though.

I heard from chef Claude Tayag, who visited Adams in Ilocos early last year, that  Arayat’s Kabigting halo halo with pastillas de leche, made of carabao’s milk,  is to die for. I have to have that!! And a gallon of Nathaniel’s buko pandan salad, to go, please. Just maybe, one of these days…

Getting my caffeine fix at Café Isabela

I was gone for the weekend… where: Cauayan City. It was my first time in this flourishing city in the middle of the province of Isabela, known as the rice and corn granary of Luzon, where 68.71 percent  of the population are Ilocanos and the rest is comprised of Tagalogs, Ibanags, Gaddang, Paranan, Yogad, and other ethnic groups. The El Niño heat didn’t prevent me from tagging along with the Laoag Off-Roaders, who competed in the latest NAsFOR event for the GAWAGAWAY-YAN Festival 2010. I’m the tough group’s official media outfit LOL. After an epic travel to the race track with no sleep and real rest, it was difficult to keep up with the intense atmosphere of the 2-day 4×4 race. In a place where you feel like a complete alien… it always pays to have good contacts. In our case, a  family friend saved our day… Edwin Uy was generous enough to treat us to a hearty home-cooked lunch at his place then give us a quick tour around the city during the lunch break. After a long day, we were treated, again, to a sumptuous dinner at the Kapangpangan-owned Kabayan’s Grill (where the calorie-laden sisig was crispy and wickedly good), and after-dinner coffee at this cool coffee shop named in honor of the province. Thanks, Edwin!

Café Isabela’s frothy Caramel Macchiato Espresso and Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie were soo good I had to go back the following day… made my eyes wide awake for  the camera 🙂  The Cookie Monster would have gone mad! The menu is eclectic. I saw  gourmet sandwiches like turkey breast sandwich and nouvelle pasta dishes… something to look forward to on my next visit.

NAsFOR Off-Roading for Real Men event in Cauayan, Isabela next on deck.

Café Isabela 79 Roxas Street Cauayan City Isabela Tel. No. (078) 652 0071
Photos by Blauearth  Copyright © Blauearth™ ALL RIGHTS RESERVED