Thursday, August 21, 2014

Thursday, August 21, 2014
 

Baked Mussels at SAB Bistro



















T A S T I N G

P A M P A N G A










Being invited as a travel blogger in a Pampanga food tour dubbed as Metro Angeles Food Tour 2014 (#MAFT2014 on Facebook) was one of the highlights of my return to blogging after a 6-month long hiatus. Just a few months ago, I was advised to be on a strict diet that had me bouncing back from an anorexic form after having a bad case of frontal sinusitis. It left me bed-ridden for months and unable to ingest even morsels of food. My immediate therapy after recovering from it was rediscovering the Philippines again one destination at a time.

It was not my first time doing an immersion in Pampanga. I was once invited by Tune Hotels-Angeles in 2013 to test its facility so I also scheduled a random walk tour of the city during my stay. I also happened to rendezvous with a long-lost University of Santo Tomas classmate at a laid-back restaurant called Nona's Kitchen which she co-owns with her husband in San Fernando.

Gising-gising at Abe's Farm
 



For the Metro Angeles Food Tour 2014, the experience was different. I was no longer alone. As a matter of fact, I was sharing countless number of dining tables with various reputable bloggers from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.Organized by the core members of the tour, MAFT was a delicious discovery of why the province of Pampanga is touted as the culinary capital of the Philippines.

Our hotel base was the 3-day food tour was the luxurious Widus Hotel & Casino at the Clark Freeport Zone. I was roommates with bloggers Will Garcia and Adrian Pempena. I enjoyed the hotel's pool, my buffet breakfast at its F&B outlet Salt Resto and a night cap over glow-in-the-dark cocktails at the hotel's upscale bar called Prism.

I wouldn't argue with the itinerary. I knew what I was up to. I understood that breakfast would mean just a few hours before lunch, and lunch was just a few moments away from dinner. Repeat that three times for three consecutive days and that's the gustatory adventure that's MAFT!

Memorable dining moments were tasting the better-than-KFC Angeles Fried Chicken, sampling the better-than-Greenwich Baked Macaroni and Cheese of Mother's Cakehouse, feasting on Abe's Farm Kapampangan cuisine specialties such as the creamy Gising-gising and the as-tender-as-seafood-custard Sinuteng Baby Squid, plus having a kick out of a puny but tasty curry-flavored confection called Passion Cone at La Rose Noire Philippines.

We also visited other dining institutions in the area like the authentic Kapampangan cuisine-oriented Binulo, the new and improved Cottage Kitchen Cafe, and the famous Historic Camalig (home to the local favorite Armando's Pizza).

There was also a country home-style dining venue called SAB Bistro that treated the MAFT participants to an overwhelming panoply of inventive edible love (and I mean this with all my heart).


Finally, I recall being herded by the tour organizers to a side trip at the city's busy Nepo Mall where we all had a filling snack of photo blogger (Palibut.com) Rob Pinzon's siomai treats. The kiosk is called Siomai Hub by the way. I reckon that any food tour is not complete without tearing into such a snack.

This gustatory experience of Pampanga is definitely proof that there's more to the Philippines than Metro Manila.

Special thanks to the organizers. Bravo!

Thank you, dining partners, for opening your doors to the participants of the Metro Angeles Food Tour 2014.
My Metro Angeles Food Tour 2014 posts:

Abe's Farm: A Paradise of Capampangan Cuisine

Widus Hotel and Casino: Pampanga's One-stop Leisure Destination


+ La Rose Noire Philippines: An Elegant Attention To Fond Confection 

+ Pampanga's Pride, Angeles Fried Chicken (AFC)


SAB Bistro: Angeles City's Edible Love


Mother's Cakehouse: A Sweet Institution In Angeles City 


+ Cottage Kitchen Cafe: Cajun and Creole Cuisines 


+ Salt Resto: Widus Hotel & Casino's F&B Outlet


+ Prism Lounge and The Nocturnal Energy In Pampanga 



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