(Music) The Ink Spots

Summer and doo-wop go together. The Ink Spots are in rotation, have a listen.


(Food) Simple Snacks

Remember boiled camote and sugar?


(Travel) Best Stone Contest

We have a competition when we are sitting on the sand by the coean. For 5 minutes, you must collect the best stones from your side. What follows is a stone showdown, and you explain why you chose each one.

We are still wondering why we left.


(New) Organic Red Rice, Theo & Philo Chocolates, And A Bit On Sesame-Molasses Snacks

We present you with red rice for people who do not like ordinary red rice. Just enough texture, without being tough. A fantastic, organic everyday rice from Nueva Ecija.

Theo & Philo is the first bean-to-bar chocolate maker in the country. Using local beans, they create a unique bar that is more "rugged" than your normal specialty chocolate. We currently stock the 70% dark chocolate variety, dark chocolate with siling labuyo (local hot peppers), and milk chocolate with local barako coffee.

Speaking of snacks, a handmade sesame we have named "Jimmy's Mama's" is on our counter. You've had this at some time or another in your childhood-- local sesame (black and white, combined), cooked in the best local molasses or tagapulot. (Molasses is here understood as boiled-down sugarcane juice, and not the byproduct of white sugar production.) This is a gluten-free snack that is good for you. It is made by Jimmy's mom in Ilocos, where he plants a field for her to use in her candy-making.

Brittle-type candies are made all over the world-- from the Americas to the Middle East to East Asia. They are some of the most ancient forms of candy, using either molasses, palm syrup, or honey to bind seeds and nuts together (a precursor to the modern granola bar). As you may read in The Oxford Companion to Food by Alan Davidson:
"Brittle is a simple and ancient sweet, and has been made for centuries in many countries. It is very similar to some types of nougat made with honey and nuts only (no egg white). Two examples are the Provencal 'croquant' made with sugar, honey, and almonds; and Italian 'croccante' with sugar, sometimes a little butter (which makes it less hard), and almonds. Similar confections of nuts, especially pistachios, almonds, and cashews, or sesame seeds, are popular in parts of the Arabic speaking world. Versions of nut and sesame seed brittle are to be found in many parts of Asia...peanut brittle is a popular sweet in North America."


(Travel) Antique Baunan

Antique fiambreras (food tiffins) at the old Burgos house in Vigan. Beautiful tools for living, eating, and mobility, pre-plastic.


(Small Celebrations) An Italian Dinner

We've become friends with one of our market customers, an Italian named Sergio. He and his wife had us over recently for a fantastic, home-cooked dinner. We ate, talked, drank wine, and laughed until 2AM (he has many interesting stories from his work in Sudan, Mogadishu, and Somalia).

One great thing about having a shop is meeting fantastic people and sharing stories and food wtih them. In the end, Sergio made us our Daguma Range robusta in a moka pot-- the best cup of it we'd had. Everything tastes better around a happy table.


(Food) Pastured Eggs vs. Factory Eggs

We recently made coconut flour pancakes at home. We used the flour, coconut sugar, pili "milk", sea salt, "wild" eggs from the backyard, and baking soda.

Eating pasture (plants) and insects creates a different kind of egg. Letting chickens be chickens creates a rich orange yolk, a firm egg white. We bought and opened a factory egg (right). It was watery, pale, and weak. We are currently creating a sister urban farm for the shop, and pastured eggs are on the agenda.


(Current Events) A Plastic Ban in the Metro

Congratulations to Muntinlupa for banning plastic bags. A beautiful sight-- brown paper bags and used cartons. Please ban those "biodegradable" bags as well. Santi's in Molito is still giving them out.

Here is a video of Van Jones, talking about another dimension of plastic bags and bottles.

(Food) Recent

At the shop, we often invent meals and eat out of the pan. Recently: mushrooms with loads of onions and parsley, mashed potatoes with garlic, olive oil, and malunggay root (a horseradish substitute), and salad with sesame dressing.

These are sometimes followed by manual drip sessions (although the Turkish coffee pot is not the best hot water dripper).

Look ma, no plastic taste!


(Small Celebrations) A New Kitchen Floor

Finally after some months of being open, we have put tiles on our "kitchen" floor. We chose white plain tile, like an old bathroom. When the grout and tile cement were drying, we had to use a wooden "bridge" to get things from behind the counter. We also had to toast bread outside the shop.

Thank you to Cecil's posse, who did a great job. Tiling is an area of the highly skilled. It is a hypnotizing art!