The Almario siblings in action
- Lydia Castillo () - May 22, 2011 - 12:00am

Our good friend Chita, the Almario siblings’ lola, is some- one we can call an originator of steak restaurants. A few decades ago, she and husband Romy, the late airline pi- lot, put up a restaurant called Luigi’s Steak House, named after one of their younger children. This was on Sampaloc Avenue in Kamuning, Quezon City, where we would travel to enjoy their hospitality and succulent steaks. They soon moved to the US, kids and all. Then they all came back and brought home with them quite a few good tips to enhance their restaurant expertise. The kids grew, married and in turn bore their own children. To- day, the third generation Almarios are actively engaged in their newest venture, Relish at Ponte (Salcedo) in Makati City.

Carlo, a tall young man, shooed away the PLDT van that was insensitively parked right in front of the Ponte entrance, block- ing cars dropping off their passengers, creating a mini traffic jam. That day we were having lunch with our usual group at Relish. His sister Monique patiently took care of our set meal with four choices of main courses. Looking at them, with Car- lo serving meals to diners and Monique solicitously hovering around, we thought the siblings Almario can pass as the mod- el Filipino young man and woman, seriously dedicated to the work they chose and turning out to be the pride of their parents and lola.

The place was very busy – all tables were taken. Our friends gave the thumbs up for the various dishes we ordered – super roasted pumpkin soup, lengua in mushroom sauce, crispy beef (originally pork belly, but they acceded to the request of a guest) and cream dory with cheese. A small green salad was thrown in by Monique for our pleasure. Chita confessed to baking the dessert, a carrot cake, full bodied and not so sweet. Good meal, really, with charming service.

When you come across a Japanese dish done with ponzu sauce, this is nothing but a mixture of soy sauce vinegar (nor- mally light) and lemon juice. Al dente, of course, is pasta cooked

with a “bite,” meaning not overcooked. You sort of feel the “force”or slight toughness in the middle of the noodle. Pomace oil is olive oil that comes from the third press. It is much cheap- er, but rather mild in flavor. However, we have come across a variant that combines pomace with extra virgin olive oil – less expensive, but more flavorful than pure pomace. This is good for everyday use.

SodaStream Machine was introduced to the market recent- ly. This enables homemakers to have their own soda factory in their houses. It can transform ordinary tap water instantly to carbonated and sparkling drinks. They come with a variety of flavored syrups, from cola, lemon, grapefruit, etc. This can be a good cocktail mixer. Look this up at any Rustan’s store.

Prices have gone up, to the lament of most housewives. We are now paying more for a cylinder of LPG. Breads are getting smaller, even if cost stays the same. Native garlic is now sold at P200 a kilo and in some outlets, big white onions are tagged at P120 a kilo.

We missed the First El Pasubat Festival in Taal, Batangas. It is actually a tapa festival. In this town is a market where we get our tapang Taal, uniquely made of pork, which we initially mistook as beef. It is so deliciously seasoned and it has become a family favorite.

There is concern now that vendors have resorted to using much more seasoning than required. Thus, the festival encour- ages them to stick to the traditional method which is to mix proper amounts of soy sauce, calamansi juice and lots of gar- lic.

The festival featured a tapa contest and we are waiting for our Batangueño source to let us know how it went.

Have a happy Sunday meal with family!

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