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Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Manila, Berkeley, L.A.

I’ve lived in 3 places all my life: Manila, Berkeley and Los Angeles/Torrance. Here’s a little bit of what I love most about them.

10 Things I love most about living in Manila:
1. Of course, my family – home-cooked dinners with everyone around the table, sleeping in my parents’ room, the whole family watching DVDs, and trying new restaurants every weekend.
2. Sunday lunches at my grandparents place with the whole "extended" family – I can still taste my guama’s homemade meatloaf and carne frita (beefsteak).
3. Having several groups of wonderful friends to hang out with after work and on the weekends – friends from work, college and high school.
4. Sleepovers where hardly any sleep happens.
5. Actual weekends where I can just bum around, read books, and watch movies.
6. Bargain hunting with my sisters at tiangges (Greenhills and Tutuban in particular).
7. Going to mass at Mary the Queen where you always run into people you know.
8. Working at Jewelmer (interesting clients, wearing great jewelry, 2-hour lunches, putting together fashion shows and bridal fairs, employee discounts, traveling, working with friends).
9. Weekend out-of-town trips.
10. Bacolod Chicken’s chicken inasal; Via Mare’s gourmet tuyo; Dencio’s sisig; Dulcinea’s churros con chocolate; Tapa King’s tapa queen, Le Ching’s spareribs rice, Di’Marks (did I spell this right?) pizza with everything on it; oysters at Mario’s; prime rib at Conway; Digman's halo-halo; shabu-shabu at Tong Yang; the Mongolian barbecue at Little Joey’s; iced coffee at Dean Street Cafe; lauriats at East Ocean; La Gondola’s pasta negra; drinks at Bistro 110 and Il Ponticello; ice cream parfaits at Magnolia and the Peninsula; etc., etc.

10 Things I love most about living in Berkeley:
1. My roommates and people living in my building – never a boring moment!
2. Beers and live music at Jupiter every Friday night.
3. Saturday night parties on Milvia St. and Sunday afternoon backyard barbecues.
4. Long drives to Napa, Sausalito, Tiburon, and Monterey Bay.
5. Half-priced movies for students every Tuesday night.
6. Farmer’s Market every Saturday a block from where I lived.
7. Taking the Bart to San Francisco to watch flamenco dancing and to have dim sum in Chinatown.
8. All night study sessions.
9. My internship at Shaklee with an awesome group of people.
10. Sushi at Manga Manga; authentic French breakfasts at La Note; drinks at Café Strada and Raleigh’s; pizza and dark beer at Jupiter; vegetarian curries at Chaat Café; smoothies at Planet Juice, corned beef and cabbage at Beckett’s; coffee and dessert at Peet’s and Au Coquelet; “imitation chicken” dishes (I swear it could pass for the real thing!) from this hole in the wall vegetarian place on Shattuck; Frausto's for Mexican food; Mel's for burgers and buffalo wings; warm spinach salad with goat cheese at Chez Panisse; panfried noodles from Long Life Noodlehouse; etc, etc.

10 Things I Love most about living in Los Angeles/Torrance:
1. Being newly married and owning our own home here!!!
2. Living in a city that allows one to drive an hour and get to the beach, the mountains, the desert, parks, malls/outlets, museums, Hollywood, Downtown, and every major theme park in America.
3. Playing tour guide to all our balikbayan guests. We’re the number one stopover destination for family and friends (Philippine Airlines flies direct to Los Angeles!).
4. Discovering discount stores that sell brand names at half price: Marshals, TJ Maxx, Tuesday Morning, Ross, Loehmans, Kohls, and, of course browsing neighborhood yard sales!
5. Shopping in bulk at Costco and Sam’s Club.
6. Perfect weather that allows backyard barbecues almost all year long.
7. Learning to drive and getting on the freeway (minus rush hour traffic).
8. Taking turns hosting weekend get-togethers with friends, my in-laws, and family.
9. Watching my nieces and nephew grow up and getting to babysit them along the way.
10. Grilled short ribs and stone pot soup at the BCD Tofu House; soft tacos at Chipotle; dim sum at the Empress Pavilion or Harbor Village; prime rib at Lawry’s; the champagne brunch at Louise’s Trattoria; dessert from The Cheesecake Factory; udon bowls at Mitsui; anniversary dinners at Maggianos; margaritas and appetizers at Border Grill; Café La Strada’s salmon sorrentina; the lamb curry at Punjab; fresh Vietnamese rolls at Noodle Time; bibimbap at Tahoe Galbi; chocolate pudding cake at King's Hawaiian, having Pinoy favorites like Jollibee, Red Ribbon and Chowking close by, etc., etc.

Doing these lists has been somewhat therapeutic. On one hand it has made me truly appreciate what I have. On the other hand, I’m also feeling pretty nostalgic about the things I used to take for granted. And on a lighter note, going thru the lists have also made me quite hungry.

Interesting how people and food play such integral parts of what I love most about places.


jol said...

Food tops your agenda; followed by family and friends. I say this based on the longer lines written about restaurants and diners.

Kidding aside, you do remember so many things that people take for granted. As your life improves, it is commendable that you know where you started.

We are all proud to play a part in your life!

jml said...

People and food are indeed 2 factors that greatly contribute to making any place feel like home. Family and true friends and good familiar food never fail to bring warmth and comfort to the body and spirit.

Joanne said...

Dad, Mom - some other places I forgot to mention: Seafood Palace's hotpot; Tequila Joe's boneless buffalo wings; Aressi's garlic mussels; North Park's potstickers; Mann Hann's oyster cake; and Han Court's radish cake. These were all part of our Sunday lunch tradition.

Oh and another tradition I miss is having that oily yet super yummy fresh lumpia at taima's place every year! How could I forget that?

Angelina from DBS, SG said...

Hi Joanne:

Congratulations on getting your very own blog up and running.

It is very interesting to read about life in Phils and USA, and yes I am going to try and incorporate some of the feng shui tips for my bedroom!

Happy writing!

Joanne said...

Hi Angelina,
Thanks for checking out my blog. My dad mentioned you would. Since we have never met, this is a great way for you to get to know me - and through your comments, I'm happy to get to know you as well.