A foodie is a person who has a particular interest in food, someone who has a discerning palate. A friend once asked me if I am a foodie and in a heartbeat, I said “NO”. I don’t think my palate is sophisticated and discriminating enough to be considered one. Don’t get me wrong. I love food and I will eat anything you serve me for as long as it is edible and especially when I am famished. Most of the time, my goal is just to fill my stomach and that makes me happy and good to go.

When asked to rate food I will only say things like –  “too salty”, “can we add salt on this?”, “I believe the chef’s family has no history of diabetes, too sweet”, “the food is like my skin, flawless but with a twist”. Judging food should be as simple as that, right?

But don’t under estimate my self-proclaimed un-sophisticated palate, because the same mouth where my palate can be found is convincing enough to draw the eating public to your restaurant. (with narrowing look and a slight giggle) So instead of a foodie, just call me a food PR.

For me, reviewing food should include not only the taste but the presentation and ambiance. Imagine mo nalang na ngumunguya ka ng spaghetti na lasang sinigang habang katabi ng table mo ang pintuan ng CR at habang painum ka ng iced tea ay maririnig mo pa na may nag flush ng toilet bowl kasabay ng iyong paglunok. How would you feel?

Going back sa being foodie and making a food review. Sa akin, dapat yung itsura ng food bagay sa taste. If you ordered adobo, dapat lasa at itsurang adobo ito. Hindi yung:

Kuya D: “Excuse me. Kuya, I think I ordered adobo, not dinuguan”.

Waiter: “Sir, sorry but that is adobo.”

Kuya D: (tumbling 5x, sabay split).

On a serious note, here in Baguio City, there is this hidden food paradise that only food hunters will discover. Along Ambuklao Road, a huge glass house warmly welcomes people with adventurous palates. This food paradise is called “Mama’s Table” by Chef Vicky Tinio-Clemente.

Reservation starts by texting Chef Vicky and receiving the message below:

chef vicky text
Di ba? Sa word palang na “degustation” e mukha na siyang masarap. 🙂 And always tell her ahead of time if you have allergies kasi mahirap naman kung kailangan pa nilang tumawag ng ambulansya kung biglang kumapal ang labi mo. 🙂

Without traffic, the paradise is only a 10 minute-drive from the city. Upon arriving, you will be ushered by Chef Vicky to this wide sala: Where you can entertain your guests:

Me, telling my friends about alta stories.

Toast to a colleague’s success:

Celebrating Judge Jeanylene T. Isip-Fukai’s success!

Fight over who’s going to foot the bill:

away ni yzanne 2
Atty. Yzanne Merced could not believe she’ll be footing the bill. Atty. Jerico Gay-ya just decided to look on while Judge Glenda Ortiz-Soriano is saying “kasalanan mo ito, ikaw ang nag-invite”. Prosecutor Bong Soriano of course just supported her wife, while Chef Vicky was super ready to kick us out.

Plain soshalan lang:

Judge Jeanylene Isip-Fukai, Atty. Jerico Gay-ya, Judge Glenda Ortiz-Soriano and yours truly. We just arrived so everyone looks fresh pa, later wala na.

It is also in this part of the house where you’ll get the warmest food welcome through Chef Vicky’s special appetizer:

(Pic courtesy of Atty. Yzanne Merced)

While waiting for your food, you will be tempted to take pictures of the beauty that is before you. A huge glass house, wide garden, sophisticated furnitures, paintings that only altas can identify and appreciate (Wala akong na-identify kaya na bad trip ako. But I was able to appreciate naman kahit papano, I said “hmmmm nice painting” and I immediately went outside to count how many pine cones fell). Here are some dramatic pictures from the place: By the fire place and the living room.

“Familia Alta, Sino ang susunod na tagapagmana?” From left to right: Prosecutor Bong Soriano, Judge Glenda T. Ortiz-Soriao, me, Atty. Jericho Gaya, Judge Jeanylene Isip-Fukai, and Atty. Yzanne Merced.
From left to right: Prosecutor Bong Soriano, Judge Glenda T. Ortiz-Soriao, me, Atty. Jericho Gaya, Judge Jeanylene Isip-Fukai, and IBP Baguio-Benguet Chapter President Atty. George Fukai.
With my Food Buddies from the PUBLIC ATTORNEY’S OFFICE: Atty. Juliet Toma-ac Camuyot, Atty. Immanuel Awisan, Atty. Louella Navarro, Atty. Rubie Lorraine Bogya-Lictao, Atty. Daisy Padolina-Limos and yours truly.
“Ang mga anak sa labas at ang tunay na taga-pagmana” – Siyempre hindi mawawala ang posing na ganito, para madaling i-crop. LOL.

Mga maaring eksena sa garden habang hinihintay ang pagkain:

chef vicky's garden dex and abbey
Pag-ibig ang namutawi. (My beautiful Abigail and I)

After taking pictures inside and out, ito na ang pinakahihintay ninyo – DEGUSTATION:

table at night 2
The table that will change your life.
Sinong magsasabing manok lang ang pinapatayo o pinapa-upo?  Meron ding “pinatayo itlog”. Once you taste this, you will never look at your eggs the same way again. Forgive me dahil di ko namemorize mga pangalan nila.
meal 2
THE SOUP. Chef Vicky carefully explained to the group kung paano ito ginawa and to be honest, I never tasted something na prinepare with so much love and detail. Passion at its finest.
Melted mallows with a twist. Nakakiliti yung lasa ng cheese at nakakakilig yung tamis ng mallows. Perfect combination.
DUMPLING na mapapatumbling ka sa sarap. The challenge:  Isang subuan lang dapat at kailangan makuha mo ito ng buong buo para ma-appreciate mo ang lasa.  Kung maliit naman ang bibig mo, try mo singhutin nalang. LOL.
THE SALMON. I am not a fan of sea food but Chef’s salmon made me change my mind. This was served along with different kinds of spices and herbs that complimented the salmon. Chef also provided a spoon so you can enjoy the, somewhat, soup that comes with it.
OMG, THE STEAK. This made the visit all worthwhile. The steak was amazingly tender and juicy and it came with mashed potatoes. Chef did something to the mashed potatoes that made it appear like it still has skin. The different kinds of mushroom was also a hit to my palate.
MOUTH WATERING WATERCRESS. Who would have thought that this rapidly growing aquatic plant will be part of the menu? This will prepare your palate for the oh so yummy dessert. 🙂
HEY, NOT YOUR ORDINARY MERINGUE. I think I heard chef say PAVLOVA. I’m not really sure. Next time I will take down notes. The chocolate thing that you see is Toblerone syrup. The strawberry and peaches regulate the sweetness. This brought heaven on earth.

The very first time that I’ve been to this place, there is only one thing that I captured and that is – PASSION.  Only a person who loves what he/she does can come up with something like this and I salute Chef Vicky for being an inspiration.

After every visit, you will never “not want” to have a picture taken with the lady who, like an orchestra conductor, played melody for our stomach.

Chef Vicky with my friends from the PUBLIC ATTORNEY’S OFFICE, Atty. Daisy Padolina-Limos, Atty. Louella Navarro, Atty. Rubie Lorraine Bogya-Lictao, Chef Vicky, me, Atty. Juliet Toma-ac Camuyot, and Atty. Immanuel Awisan.
friends church
hmmm, I am wearing the same shirt here but this is actually with another group of friends. Me, My wife abbey, Ellen, Chef, Net, Kris Mangaliag, Ali Mangaliag, Kai and Jean Urquiza.
Top: Atty. George Fukai, Atty. Yzanne Merced, Prosecutor Bong Soriano. Bottom: Atty. Jerico Gay-ya, Judge Jeanylene Isip-Fukai, Chef Vicky, Judge Glenda Ortiz-Soriano, Chief Protocol Officer to the Chief Justice, Atty. Zaldy V. Trespeces and yours truly.

We enjoyed the food and the place and I hope that you enjoyed the read.  Visit Chef Vicky one of these days and be inspired.

I intentionally did not edit her digits above so you can contact her and have this once in a lifetime experience.  Again, this is DEGUSTATION at its finest.

NOTE: (Night pictures courtesy of Atty. Yzanne Merced (Except the group pic in the garden); Day and Food pictures courtesy of Atty. Louella Navarro)

That BAGUIO CITY WEDDING you've been dreaming about?  IT'S REAL! VISIT SOULSCENT FLORAL ARTISTRY and make it happen. NOW!
That BAGUIO CITY WEDDING you’ve been dreaming about? IT’S REAL! VISIT SOULSCENT FLORAL ARTISTRY and make it happen. NOW!
We offer Baby, Toddler/Nursery & Kindergarten Classes in small groups.  For inquiries call 09178120753.  Visit us at 2nd Floor, Luke Foundation Building, #90 Leonard Wood Road, Baguio City.
We offer Baby Class, Nursery, Kinder 1 and Kindergarten 2 classes in small groups. For inquiries call 09178120753. Visit us at 2nd Floor, Luke Foundation Building, #90 Leonard Wood Road, Baguio City to reserve a slot.

Published by Dexter Diwas

Dexter Diwas is a Strengths Advocate. He reaches the world by conducting Strengths Coaching and Strengths Awareness Sessions online for individuals, teams, and organizations. As a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, he uses Clifton-Strengths Finder Assessment to help people discover their talents, embrace what they are naturally good and start leading an engaged life. He is also a lawyer by profession and has moved from being a litigator to a full-time preventive lawyer.


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