Just across Forbes Town Center, Downtown and Halsted is a nook for good food and art. It’s a place with an an urban ambiance that inspires interesting conversations and memorable moments with friends and family. Going there is like taking an imaginary plane and entering one of the cool gastropubs abroad.
There restaurant also serves as an event place for artsy-urban events during off-peak hours.
The restaurant’s food does justice to the thought that’s been put to the funky and picturesque interior of the place. Here are some of the things I got to try in my fun food night with the Team Aldous troupe (Hi, guys!).
The soup, which we started with, was creamy and flavorful. It was nothing too filling that would remove your appetite for the next course, rather, it excited you for what was coming next.
Moving on to main courses…
If you’re a fan of unique pastas, then you might want to try his one. I love how the chorizo is the glue to all the flavors of the pasta without dissolving the taste of the other ingredients.
It’s probably the most memorable thing I had for the night. I just love how tender it is! You have got to try this.
I probably convinced you already to try it by saying that it has peanut butter. Add smooth, creamy cheese into the mix, and you’ve got yourself a winner!
What if you woke up one day and realized that you couldn’t do anything to conform to what society accepts as beautiful?
We always say that it’s inner beauty that counts, but without knowing it we try to conform to what the media dictates to as beautiful. We diet, frequent the parlor, splurge on clothes, and buy more skincare and makeup products than we need.
One day, I woke up with an itch in my skin, an extreme itch that spread through my body. An itch which bled, thickened, and secreted fluid. I went to my dermatologist and was told that I developed adult eczema, an auto-immune disease whose cause was unknown. The next thing I new, I was was always treating my patches (parts with eczema) or visiting the derm clinic.
Suddenly, whenever I put on makeup, my skin would get irritated so I couldn’t anymore. I had a hard time dressing up because some fabrics would make my skin itch and react. I couldn’t wear clothes that would expose the infected areas so it was good-bye sleeveless and shorts. I also couldn’t do anything with my hair because my scalp would react, so I was good-bye hair treatments.
Aside from that I could only eat bland food which made it really difficult to go out and eat. Smoking also irritated my skin so, I had to tell my friends who smoked to not smoke around me. I couldn’t dance or workout because I couldn’t take the itch. I also couldn’t swim because I couldn’t wear a bathing suit.
My life as I new it, basically ended.
I felt so frustrated, sad, and helpless. Is this how my life was going to be from now on? I feel like no one, apart from my family, could understand what I was feeling. I felt like a loser, like the ugliest one in the room. While everyone else was glammed up in a party, I feel like I didn’t belong.
I come from a family of good looking people. Most of my cousins are heartthrobs and I’ve always felt like I didn’t measure up. What more now???
For months, I didn’t know what to do. How was I going to cover fashion events looking the way I did? Like a freak?
How was any guy going to love, let alone be attracted, to someone like me?
I tried every soap and lotion that promised it would improve my condition. I cried and prayed to God to make it go away.
It was just there like a leach I wanted out of my body….until I realized that I wasn’t going to let how I looked dictate how to live my life. I was still very much alive. I still had my set of skills. I still could write! I still could do good in the world.
Looking back, I guess it was really my faith that saved me during that really challenging time in my life. I realized that there was more to life than feeling that I conformed with what society dictated was beautiful. I had so much more to offer the world. Underneath my flaky, read skin, I was still the same person. People just had to accept me for who I was now.
Eventually, I was able to adjust to my new life. My friends (or the ones that stayed) turned out to be true friends who were willing to adjust to what I could or couldn’t do. I didn’t judge me if I didn’t drink or willingly went out of the room when they had to smoke. They also made sure that I was able to eat something whenever we would go out to eat.
I am better now, but the things I’ve learned are still very much with me.
I learned that beyond the commercial things that is advertised to us everyday of our lives, there is so much more to life. Even without them, life is still definitely a kick ass adventure is worth experiencing.
I learned that true friends will be by your side no matter what.
When everybody else is gone, God will still be there.
I now understand what it’s like to have a health handicap, and I don’t take my health lightly anymore.
I learned what products help in curing or relieving eczema, so I gladly share it with people who are suffering from the same condition. At the top of list is this soap from G-Stuff.
I hope that reading this has somehow taught some things about life. I shared this experience of mine, because it was a hard one. I hope that it will inspire you or give you strength if you are suffering from eczema, self-esteem issues, or any other health or personal problems.
I couldn’t find any pictures showing my rashes because I was always covered up. But I did see something that very slightly showed what I went through.
Here are some of the myths that were shattered when I faced the real world.
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PASSION To a certain extent, it’s true. I certainly believe that passion matters, but it’s also about being practical. Money does matter because your bills aren’t going to pay themselves. I believe that there’s a perfect compromise between passion and financial stability. Find it and live your dream!
HARD WORK EQUALS GOOD RESULTS—ALWAYS!
Fresh from college I had the notion that everything that I worked hard for was going to garner good results. In school, when I studied hard, I got high grades, which is how I thought it would pan out when started by career. Boy was I in for a rude awakening.
I realized that no matter how passionate I am about my career, it will not be perfect. There will still be stress and there will still be times when my best is not what my boss wants. Life is not all rainbows and butterflies. As a professional, I developed thicker skin, humility, and I learned not to take things personally.
I WOULD MARRY A BACKSTREET BOY of course, even then, I wasn’t that delusional. [lol!] But I did hope that I would be with someone similar to the guys I read in romance movies and novels. Now, I still have standards, but I don’t exist in dreamland anymore. Overall, I want to be with someone who genuinely loves me. Realistically, this someone must have a stable job, a great personality, and must not be hard to look at. [What? I said I grew up. That doesn’t meant I can’t hope anymore. Hahaha!]
IT’S ALL ABOUT INNER BEAUTY
You don’t have to be shallow and make your life revolve on how you look, but you should also invest the time to take care of how you look. People will always tend to judge what they see first. I’m not saying that it’s all that matters, but it ALSO matters.
BE A GOOD PERSON AND PEOPLE WILL BE GOOD TO YOU
Being a good person doesn’t mean you have to be naïve too. You also have to protect yourself from people who don’t have you best interest at heart. Don’t be a jaded skeptic, but also don’t be a victim.
Yes, growing up was a tough eye-opener, but it certainly made me stronger. I won’t ever lose the dreamer in me, but at least now, I’ve developed the realist in me as well.
Last Thursday (April 19) was a time to C.E.L.E.B.R.A.T.E.
It as the birthday of my blogger friend, Aldous. He is also the founder of #teamaldous, a food blogging team that I am a part of. Happy birthday!! 🙂
He celebrated his birthday with #teamadlous at Solstice by Cafe’ Ilustrado.
Pic c/o Solstice
Pic c/o Solstice
Pic c/o Solstice
The outside of the restaurant builds excitement and anticipation even before you enter. The all-glass facade creates a chic, NY-type look, which I feel, is very attractive to bystanders in the area.
Go in and you’ll find yourself in the middle of a modern, but classily designed restaurant. It has a very accommodating feel, but at the same time, its design practically tells you that you’re in for a gastronomic treat.
Now for the food…
Did the food live up to the restaurant?
This is one of my favorite food blogging events, simply because the food was amazing, and they served a lot of it [brb, going jogging!].
One of the first things I tasted was the Truffled Hummus with Homemade Sourdough Pita and Crudites. Warning: it is highly addicting. I had to stop myself from eating too much before the main courses arrived. The dip goes well with either the pita or the vegetables. It could make a good beer pairing in my opinion.
Their Aligue Pasta is to die for, though it’s better if the dish is divided and conquered. I love how the pasta has both the fresh taste of the sea with aligue and the sweet taste of tomato.
Bagnet with KBL (Kamatis, Bagoong and Lasuna) Sauce is waaay good. Give it a go if you need comfort food after a long day at the office. Its salty-sour Filipino taste will get you every time!
My drink was Coconut Water with Strawberry. When I saw this in the menu I was kind of skeptical if it would taste good, but I’m so glad it’s what I ordered! The milky sensation of the coconut water goes perfectly with the sweet, refreshing taste of the strawberries. It’s perfect for the hot, summer weather that we have here in the Philippines.
Finally, there’s dessert. Go for their Caramel Macchiatto cake, which is basically like the coffee drink morphed into a cake. I love it! ❤
Solstice Bistro and Boulangerie is now called Solstice by Ilustrado, a merger of two great culinary brands offering modern continental and heritage Filipino-Spanish cuisine. This is coupled with a well-curated selection of wines and spirits located at the ground floor of 8 Rockwell, one of Makati’s chic urban communities.
A merger of two well-loved culinary brands.
Solstice draws inspiration from the success of One Way Restaurant, once touted as among Makati’s best-kept secrets. Ilustrado, on the other hand, brings with it its rich history and heritage, with its status as one of the well-established household dining destinations in Manila’s famed walled city. The new management has taken this as a challenge as they reinvented the restaurant’s menu just this year adding new recipes and covering multiple cuisines. They also complemented the refreshed menu with a selection of fine wines carefully chosen to complete the gastronomic experience.
For Reservations, please call (+632) 802 1891 or (+63 977 748 8861), from 11AM to 11PM daily. Follow @solsticebyilustrado on Instagram, and like facebook.com/SolsticebyIlustrado/ for updates.
“You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless, until they can find rest in You.”- St. Augustine
by Jel Tordesillas
Lent comes and goes every year like clockwork. Together with my family, I do the traditional Bisita Iglesia and Easter Vigil, and other Holy Week activities mostly in our parish.
As I come from a very religious family, I have no choice but to do these church activities.
But what meaning do these things have if my heart is not in it?
This year, I remind myself that these aren’t merely church activities. They are gifts from God reminding me of what God had to go through so that I could live for Heaven. Before Christ died and rose for the world, Heaven was out of my reach. Now that attaining it has become a gift so generously given by God, what am I doing?
Here are some of the things that I have reflected on. Maybe it can help you in your Holy Week contemplation.
Why do I sometimes look at hearing mass and saying the rosary as a chore that I painstakingly have to go through instead of something I should be all to joyous to do?
Why do I sometimes think that my religion is holding me back from living, when it fact is something that should help me live my life in the fullest possible way?
Why do I sometimes feel like putting Christ in a drawer, just listening to his voice whenever I feel like it?
Why do I feel like I’m sometimes more attached to my worldly life than my spiritual life?
Lent is a time to remind us that Christ should be the center of our lives. It’s as black and white as that, there is no grey. We cannot defend ourselves by saying that, “We are only human.” We are humans who are children of God. We are humans who can be lifted by God to be spiritually good and worthy to be called his children. Yes, being human makes us week, but our spirit can make us holy.
When we choose to listen to God, rather than the evil in the world, everything falls into place, everything makes sense. It’s home.
Like the prodigal son who went away because he fell in love with worldly things, we tend to run away too. Now, Lent is giving us a chance to return to God. To stop, examine our lives, and ask ourselves—have I strayed away from my home?
What kind of life am I living?
Am I living the kind of life that Christ lovingly died for?
Earlier this year, I have had the pleasure of trying the newly opened Tim Hortons at Uptown Mall, Taguig. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that—1.) they served sandwiches! and 2.) their prices were relatively affordable. I also love the cheery ambiance of the store.
It is always exciting to try something new. (It’s kind of my thing, which is why I am a writer and blogger. haha!).
While my personal order was their Iced Latte (which was good by the way), I couldn’t help sipping from my cousins’s Frozen Hot Chocolate. That, you have got to try!
Eating at Tim Horton’s was a yummy and satisfying experience. There will surely be a next time!
5 Reasons To Watch, “I’m Drunk, I Love You” NOOD NA! By Jel Tordesillas
Na-friend zone ka na ba? Ako rin.
…also that dude from the Jollibee commercial. <insert breaking heart>
Ang sakit noh?
I think every one of us, girls, can relate to Maja Salvador character in the movie—a girl who has always been in love with her college best friend (played by Paolo Avelino). In the movie, the two go on a road trip to La Union to settle their feelings for each other.
This mysterious desire to see that kind of heartbreak played on the big screen by actors I love is one of the reasons why I am looking forward to what looks like an indie masterpiece.
Here are five others.
#hugot #hugot #hugot
“Ikaw nalang yung umaasa, kahit yung pag-asa nag-give up na sayo.” [Excuse me, I have to go cry now.]
Yes to hugot lines galore! The trailer was full of them and I look forward to hearing what else the scriptwriters’ have up their sleeves. Reunited again! A big, “Yay!”, to Maja and Paulo being reunited. Their chemistry in, “Bridges of Love”,was amazing. Now, we get to watch them together…on the big screen!
It’s starring Paolo Avelino (Hello?!) Need I say more? ❤
Fate of Maja in the movie We all know we want them [the characters of Maja and Paulo] to end up together, but what if the movie decides to go on a different direction? What if Paolo Avelino actually ends up with Jasmine Curtis-Smith’s character?
La Union Of course seeing La Union on the big screen is a definite plus! I look forward to great cinematography!
Are you also looking forward to, “I’m Drunk, I Love You”?
Things, “Sakaling Hindi Makarating”, Reminded Us by Jel Tordesillas
After hours of typing, I felt like I deserved a much-needed break. I craved a good Filipino watch. Thankfully, “Sakaling Hindi Makarating”, was showing. Once I found out that it involved a road trip, I was in!
Basically, the movie revolves around Cielo (Alessandra de Rossi), a heartbroken girl, trying to decipher who was sending her mysterious paintings set in places around the Philippines. Cielo uses the paintings as clues and decides to go on a road trip of the pictures’ locations, hoping to find who the sender of the letters were. The movie also stars Pepe Herrera and JC Santos.
While the movie didn’t end the way I wanted it to, it was still a good watch. The movie was able to remind me of life’s lessons. Sometimes, because of the busyness of life, I tend to overlook these lessons, so it’s always a good thing when someone reminds us of these things.
Life doesn’t always meet your expectations
We plan and we plan, but sometimes, we just have to let go and let life take its course. Yes, it hurts when life doesn’t turn out the way we want it—especially when it comes to love. These things, however, happen for a reason. In the meantime, we just have to be strong and see life’s silver lining.
Sometimes, pain can be the seed of strength and learning No one wants to feel pain, but there are times when pain can be a blessing. It makes us stronger and it makes us learn from the experience, opening our eyes to things we didn’t realize before. Some people aren’t meant to stay …but they were definitely there for a reason. The best thing to do is to be grateful for the time they were there. The people we encounter in life mold us into the people we are, no matter how short our time with them is.
The Philippines is a paradise just waiting to be discovered I really need to travel the Philippines more. There were beautiful shots in the film that reminded me of the fact that I should really explore my own backyard.
Support Filipino movies Especially indie movies. There is so much talent in the Philippines that need the support of filmgoers. If we don’t support our own, who will?
I love trying out restaurants, which is why I am lucky to be part of Team Aldous. I have been a part of the group for almost a year now and it’s been great so far! Aside from the fact that I was able try good food from really accommodating owners, I was able to meet new friends from the blogging community.
For our 2016 Christmas party, we celebrated at Xiao Nan Men, a Chinese Restaurant at Z Square Mall, Banawe. The restaurant is a casual dining restaurant that’s built a following despite its somewhat off tangent location. It spacious enough, making it appealing to families and groups of friends.
The food was good, though I wish they had bigger servings. I liked their lapu-lapu, beef w/ bell pepper fried rice, and scrambled egg with special sauce. My highlight of the evening was lapu-lapu though, because I hand’t had it in a while.
The food was freshly cooked—which is always a good thing. I hate it when restaurants microwave their food.
Xiao Nam Men’s food is reasonably priced, averaging from PHP 200-250. Not bad, right?
You can view their menu at the link.
It’s been a great year Team Aaldous! Looking forward to many more moments together.