Monday, February 2, 2015

How was your Sunday? Ask Sandy

Mine went so well--it had food, music, my sister's company. So well I'm a little at a loss on what to do this Monday.

Everyone else is elsewhere, and here I am caught up in volunteer work I love but choose not to get paid for. I'm crazy that way. It's the type of "work" that brings me to the dream life I've wanted: being close to the arts, especially music and literature, and the culinary arts (partaking of good food)!

As if I didn't have enough on an already full plate, Carlos Garchitorena of the Manila Symphony Orchestra Foundation just rounded me up to "woman" the ticket table at the one-night concert "The Late Romantics: Music by Strauss and Rachmaninov and Strauss" on Wednesday at 8 p.m. at the Cultural Center Main Theater. Pianist Aries Caces is the soloist. Of course, I texted him back the code word "Rachmaninov" which means a "Yes." You know the other composer's name if it's a "No." Easy to answer "Rach" if you're enticed with free seating plus snack. Babaw ba?

Interiors of Wooden Spoon. Note the spoons transformed into lighting fixtures.

That benign tumor excised out of me has done wonders. There is an urgency to everything I give myself to, whether it's sharing a meal with my sister Suzy at the new Wooden Spoon of Sandy Daza in our Kapitolyo neighborhood or learning to appreciate acoustic music at a free outdoor concert at the Carillon Plaza, UP Diliman.

It was my second visit to Wooden Spoon, and I again ordered that simple but savory appetizer of red and century egg salad with peanuts. It's described in the menu as "a delightful mildly spicy dish that will wake up your palate because of the variety of textures and flavors." It's a meal in itself if you pour it on piping hot jasmine rice.

Are you en egg lover like I am? This one's got slices of century eggs, itlog na maalat (salted duck's egg) and hard-boiled chicken's egg. When I was too young to know better, I always imagined that the Chinese cooks buried eggs for a hundred years to get the black color and the jello-like consistency.

I could've swooned and fainted from a cholesterol attack if the sauce had been made of crab fat which I don't mind having. But this dish has coconut milk with spices and red chilies. There's still some leftovers in the fridge for reheating as my afternoon snack! (My evil design means I'm not sharing it with anyone!)

Suzy and I wanted to eat healthy so we also ordered stuffed pechay (with tinapa inside) in coconut sauce. But she couldn't resist adding something more filling: the kaldereta. Members of the Lolarga clan never skip dessert, but we sometimes split it like we did with the Reyna Blanca, a coconut custard with crisp pinipig. It transported me to the white sapin-sapin that my mother's friend used to make. It had no food coloring. Like like the one at Wooden Spoon, it was arranged in layers. I can't accurately describe that elixir of my youth.

I am always thankful for a sister like Suzy. I don't have to spell out in detail to her the state of my finances. She immediately offers to treat me.

Carillon chronicles will be for another day.

Meanwhile, God bless you, Nora Daza, for raising a Sandy in your Quezon City, Makati, Malate and Paris kitchens.

A decoupage photo of Sandy Daza

Nora Villanueva Daza, doyenne of good food and fine living Photos by Babeth Lolarga
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