Pig-out Saturday: Lugang Cafe + Crazy Crepes + World War Z + Sunrise Buckets

Sunday, June 30, 2013

PROLOGUE

A little advice: Don’t hold your breath because this one’s going to be long.

Ok. I was in lazy mode these past few days so apologies for the delay. But heeeeeeey! Celineism is officially up and running! Woot! woot! Technically, this one is the Buena Mano post for my very own blog but all my previous posts from Facebook have been transferred here also.

Sooooo… Don’t just stand there—applaud! :)

PRELUDE



After NJ and I went to Rub Ribs in Kapitolyo early in May (or was it late April?), we started formulating this list of the top three foodscapes that we must try before she goes into maternity leave. We came up with an initial list after some googling by me and some er, um, well I don’t really know how NJ conducted research but it doesn’t really matter. Anyway, here was the original list:

  1. Torch Restaurant
  2. Lugang Cafe
  3. Angel’s Kitchen

For fellow foodscapers out there, you may notice that these three are all along Connecticut Street (near Greenhills Shopping Center). NJ and I agreed that we’d shift to that area so I’d get over my Kapitolyo addiction. You know, probably. At any rate, I really can’t tell you what happened—it now seemed like a badly recorded video in my head—but the list underwent a series of revisions and eventually became this:
  1. Lugang Café
  2. Sunrise Buckets
  3. Zark’s Burgers and Fries
“Epal,” yelped NJ when I recited the new top three to her. “’Yung Torch nga ‘yung una kong suggestion, ayun pa yung nawala.” I stifled a laugh. “Eh di ba ‘yung Truffle Fries (?) lang naman ang gusto mong i-try? Edi magtake-out tayo tapos sa Lugang natin kainin. Magkalapit lang naman ‘yun.” She seemed satisfied with this argument so the list was eventually finalized. (The take-out thing didn't happen, by the way. So next time na lang, NJ.) It was still May when things were settled but we scheduled the foodscapade on a much later date: June 22.  We’re forward-thinkers that way.



However, in this world, things are always in a constant state of flux, so I was not surprised when, in addition to mixing up the list, the duet—NJ and I—who were set out to embark on this foodscapade became a quintet. Well, truth be told, we did promise Marian a three-person fete so including her into the fold was not startling. What I believe is that NJ and I weren’t really expecting Ma’am Cmae to actually join us. Well, let me clear this up. NJ and I casually mentioned to Ma’am Cmae that we were going on a foodscapade in Greenhills (Zark’s, by the way, is in Katipunan. So Lugang + Sunrise Buckets). We asked her if she’d like to come. She didn’t give us a definite answer so NJ and I shrugged it off. Ma’am Wilma was a different story. She had this tampo for me and NJ because we didn’t invite her on our last date (read: Rub Ribs). NJ, to make amends, invited her to join us on our June 22nd date. Again, no definite and clear answer. Well, all these happened earlier in June so NJ and I agreed that we’d clear things up when the fireworks are about to go off. (Forgive the pathetic metaphor.)



What happened was Ma’am Wilma wasn’t able to come because she was fairly busy, I guess. So the crew was composed of NJ, me, Marian, Ma’am Cmae and her husband, Tito Lem.



IN A NUTSHELL Part 1: Lugang Café



1.) We are staunch advocates of the Filipino Time. I’ve explained to NJ and Ma’am Cmae that I had an MBA class that Saturday from 7:30 AM to 11:00 AM, so I’d just have to meet them at Lugang. “Pero mas maaga naman kaming palalabasin dahil Research naman ‘yun,” I assured them confidently. Boy was I wrong. The Research class I was enrolled in apparently was too big for one professor so the natural thing to do was to divide the class into two. The division was alphabetically-based and, surprise, surprise, I was transferred to another class under a new professor. Dr. Mateo, our new Research adviser, then engaged us in an impromptu title defense after we informed him that most of us had already prepared title proposals. I was third to defend. Dr. Mateo didn’t have any major issues with it so he quickly gave it the nod of approval. Beaming, I immediately texted NJ and Ma’am Cmae that I was on my way—which was a mistake as Dr. Mateo dismissed the class a little after eleven. I assumed that after you finished your defense you can go on with your life. Like I said, boy was I wrong.
Ma’am Cmae arrived at the Lugang Cafe a little too early because of my SMS. Sorry naman. I should mention that a couple of days before the foodscapade, she and Tito Lem and Ate Faye (their daughter) went on and took the liberty of checking out the Taiwanese/Chinese place. Nangunguna lang. Hoho.  Anyway, I arrived a little past 12 noon. NJ and Marian weren’t there yet. Even after exchanging a couple of stories with Ma’am Cmae and Tito Lem, NJ and Marian weren’t with us still so we decided to place our orders. They arrived way later, it was almost two. The nerve, right? Hahaha.

Posing with Ma'am Cmae while waiting for NJ and Marian
Tito Lem and Ma'am Cmae posed while waiting 
  
2.) Our little piece of Taiwanese/Chinese Heaven. Don’t these pictures say it all?


Spicy Beef And Tendon Noodles Soup


I loved this dish. It was a bit messy to eat. (Probably because I didn't know how to use chopsticks and was shifting from spoon to fork. Haha) Highly recommended!

Aloe Jelly in Honey Lemon Juice for me and Ma'am Cmae, and Cranberry Juice with Mango for Tito Lem
The Aloe Jelly in Honey Lemon Juice was very refreshing! (But not as refreshing as the Citrus Delight.) Perfect to wash down poignant flavors.

Steamed Chicken Xia Long Bao


Could not get enough of this!!! Wanted to consume everything! It tasted really chunky. I recommend you eat it while its hot/warm. Would definitely comeback for more! 

Taiwanese Fried Bean Curd


I prefer not to eat tofu or any of its variations but these changed my mind. Enough said.

1/4 Roast Duck

My first time to eat Duck. Nothing special. Too gamey. Would pick Baliwag Lechon Manok over this anytime.

Steamed Shrimp Xiao Long Bao

Can't comment on this one. Was not able to taste it. Deathly allergic. Hahaha. But Marian and NJ seemed to enjoy it.


Well, all in all Lugang Cafe temporarily changed my mind about oriental cuisine. The things we ordered didn't make me nauseous like most of the oriental cuisine I've tried. Prices are reasonable, the servings are perfect for sharing and the ambiance is very cozy and elegant at the same time. Do visit this place and try out their Xia Long Bao. I, for one, would definitely come back to try the pork ones! 

3.) We are bounded by the innate confidentiality of a lunch date. Of course, we talked and talked and talked. You must understand that what happens in Lugang stays in Lugang. I can tell you this, though: Lugang is pronounced Lukang. (Well, according to Ma’am Cmae, anyway.) Oh, and at one point, we were using the word “mapanga” and Tito Lem made a banat, “Mapanga-nib.” We burst out laughing. Benta lang.

This was also when the phrases, “Bawal ang pikon,” “Wala ka sa lolo ko,” “Bawal ang sad,” and “Topic: <confidential>” became inexhaustible as Tito Lem’s patience.


(L- R) Ma'am Cmae, Me, Marian, and NJ
IN A NUTSHELL Part 2: Crazy Crepes + World War Z 




1.) A Strawberry Nutella Pitstop. We definitely overstayed our welcome at Lugang. We were just lucky many a table was unoccupied, otherwise we’d be asked to leave right after we finished our meal to accommodate other patrons. In any event, we left Lugang at around 5pm and proceeded to Greenhills Shopping Center to watch a movie. NJ and I hitched a ride with Marian while Ma’am Cmae and Tito Lem rode off with their Adventure. The three of us ended up near the mall chapel. I informed Ma’am Cmae where we were by sending her a text. Before I knew it, NJ was lining up in a quaint predominantly-green stall—Crazy Crepes. She wanted dessert, of course. Marian and I did not immediately queue up for a crepe-y treat. I, for one, was having reservations. But, upon reading the word “Strawberry” alongside “Nutella”, I was convinced. Marian had the Almond Nutella. NJ had the Banana Nutella. Do you now understand why we’re friends? Ma’am Cmae and Tito Lem, upon meeting up with us at this store, ordered something for themselves as well. Didn’t know what it was called. Here, take a look:


Anyhow, I didn’t enjoy my crepe. I didn’t taste the Nutella—the slathering was quite thin and sparse. The crepe was floury and dry (is that how it’s supposed to taste?) and the strawberries tasted like sour paper. Ack. I didn’t bother asking the others if they had better luck than I did. I was too shaken up by how the thing tasted so bland. They make strawberries and Nutella look bad, ergo, there is no photo of it. Again: ack. NJ seemed to enjoy hers, though.


2.) We bought popcorn at the other side of the mall. After the disappointing dessert, we walked towards the Promenade. It wasn’t a short walk so imagine my alarm when we found out that the 7:30 showing of World War Z was in Theater 1 which was on another part of the mall. NJ and Ma’am Cmae had already bought snacks. Haha. So we traversed back to the Theater Mall, popcorn buckets in hand. Well, it wasn’t that far from the Promenade so I guess I overreacted. Hihi. In any case, it was only 6pm when we purchased the tickets so we had to wait somewhere. We walked around for a little bit but eventually settled on the steps near the entrance to the theater. We’re koboys, you see.

Chilling at the Theater Steps
3.) A movie that promotes unhealthiness. Warning: may contain spoilers! World War Z was not bad. It was, in fact, thought-provoking. 




After the movie and even during, Marian, NJ and I were already having little comment exchanges about the events in the film. World War Z was really scary because it could happen if you really think about it. “Hindi sila nakahanap ng cure ‘no?”, remarked NJ. By the way, kudos to her; her control of her hitting reflex (which I was at the receiving end of) was not bad considering her claims that thriller films do not sit well with her. “Kaya dapat tayong mag-cardio para mas malaki ang chance of survival pag nagka-Zombie Apocalypse,” I said in a serious tone. “Magi-start na akong mag-jogging!” swore Marian. “Hindi na lang ako gagalaw,” said NJ. “Edi magiging zombie ka!” Marian pointed out. NJ thought that the mere lack of movement would spare one from a zombie infection. (Before we proceed any further, please note that the following statements are in the context of the movie we’d just watched.) We explained that one had to be terminally ill or disabled in order not to be bitten. The solution to the epidemic was actually a vaccine developed from strains of diseases like SARS and H1N1 (which were curable—at least according to the actors who played the health experts). The solution—or, rather, it’s theory—was proposed by Brad Pitt’s character after observing three incidents where zombies avoided individuals who, Pitt’s character explained, were ill or deemed unfit to host the virus. (Which makes sense since viruses do need a healthy host in order to thrive.) This theory was proven true after a series of heart-wrenching, gut-grinding, mind-blowing events. But NJ was right, there was no actual cure. The vaccine’s purpose was just to “camouflage” the uninfected from the zombies. It was sad that the non-zombified had to resort to nuclear weapons and carpet bombings. It showcases, in a morbid way, that humans are willing to go to extreme lengths for self-preservation. I recommend you watch this movie. Refrain from watching it alone, though, because it’s more fun if, immediately after you watch it, you get to discuss the what-went-wrongs and the what-could-be’s with someone. Oh, another testimony that should convince you: “First time kong ‘di nakatulog sa sinehan,” – Ma’am Cmae.



IN A NUTSHELL Part 3: Sunrise Buckets




1.) Walking in the rain is a glorious feeling. After the movie, we set off to go our separate ways. We bid Ma’am Cmae and Tito Lem goodbye and headed towards the rooftop parking. And you know what, it started to rain. It’s a good thing NJ had an umbrella. Girl Scout ang peg. We tried to fit under the sole parasol but we just couldn’t. We’re still lucky the rain was just gaining momentum. NJ suggested I post it here so I took snapshots:






2.) The dinner that almost never-was. “Hindi ba tayo magsa-Sunrise Buckets?” I asked, after we got settled into Marian’s car. “Ok lang. Text mo si Cmae,” said NJ. “Saan ba ‘yun?” inquired Marian while I was sending Ma’am Cmae an SMS. NJ gave Marian the address. Moments later, Ma’am Cmae called on my phone. I handed it to NJ. A rather confusing phone conversation transpired. We eventually agreed to meet in front of Unimart. “Si NJ ang navigator. Good luck sa atin. Hehehe!” was the content of my second text to Ma’am Cmae. Marian drove on, with Tito Lem and Ma’am Cmae behind, relying on NJ’s directions to get us to the place. “Ay! Sarado na!” cried NJ when we passed a complex. Marian panicked a little bit and slowed down. “Ano? Itetext ko na si Ma’am Cmae,” I asked. Marian kept driving and, thank goodness, spotted Sunrise Buckets on the other end of the complex. Hahaha! Woohoo!


Impish grins and popcorn-stained fingers. These are a few of my favorite things. 


Say "wing it!"
3.) We just had to “wing it!” NJ and I practically decided what to order. We asked for the five-pound chicken wings in Garlic Parmesan, Mild Real American Buffalo, Jack Daniel's, and Honey Mustard. “Hindi tayo magra-rice?” I asked. “Puwede naman,” replied NJ. She then turned to our server, “Nakikipag-compete kasi siya sa akin eh.” Whatever. Haha. But anyway, we then added an order of Chili Cheese Fries, two orders of white rice, and the Sunrise Iced Tea Pitcher (which I hated because it had cinnamon—or, perhaps, vanilla—in it. Ack, after-taste alert.)

Before we dig in!
I was told that the tea used was Sunrise Buckets' original brew. Why add cinnamon/vanilla?


Five-pound goodness!!!
I swear, I began salivating when I saw these. I had many a chicken wing before but Sunrise Buckets' Jack Daniel's-flavored wings were the best I had by far. They're perfectly cooked (not like the icky wings of Pizza Hut. A review of that later on). You just want to devour them all. I wanted to keep eating but was afraid of my stomach exploding. As for the other flavors, the Garlic Parmesan was too salty for my liking. The Mild Real American Buffalo was a bit bland but it was spicy so it was OK. The Honey Mustard tasted strangely like Joy Dish-washing Liquid. (Wait, what?)


We didn't get to finish everything. Ma'am Cmae brought the left-overs home to have Kuya Clyde (her son) taste them. I asked her about it the following Monday. She said Kuya Clyde liked them. 
The Fries that tasted like armpits
I wasn't crazy about these fries. Too onion-y.


Aptly named.

 BOTTOMLINE 

So much had happened in a single day. It was fun and I really enjoyed the company. Only one more item left on our list, NJ!

Cheers to the next adventure!

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