Thursday, September 07, 2006

Ruminations on Oarhouse Gastronomy


Carlos Celdran holds a sampling of Ninang Sol Vanzi's 'Roman Deli' of tomato, basil and fresh mozzarella cheese slices (dog not included, whew!), and longtime Oarhouse veteran journalist Nancy Collins pops in last week from her home base in Indonesia.

'Time the Avenger', so sings Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders. Well yesterday, it sure as hell felt like it when 'time plus alcohol' delivered me the hangover of the week. I must be mellowing in middle-age, since all I had the other night was, what, four measly beers? But it was punctuated with a pleasantly wicked rifle shot of Absolut Mandrin, thanks to Ronnie Lazaro's persistence as we just hung out at the bar talking about future exhibit concepts at the Oar. I was telling him how I'd come up with a new delectable meatball mix for this spanish dish called albondigas ('almondigas' in pinoy version), and he proposes out of the blue a group exhibit of photographers showing food they've mastered cooking or really considered their favorite in photographic interpretation, with the actual dishes in tow to serve and sample to everyone on the theme's opening night. Kinda like having your cake and eating it too. I guess any reason to pig out and drink is good enough but the curiously sensible option of connecting them with the visual character of the Oarhouse is a great idea. It's a new term: GASTROPHOTOGRAPHY by 'Gastrophotographers'.

Food is something not often talked about at the Oar because every diehard regular here seems to have had their own contribution or tale as they first tasted something here which they'd never had before as in the baked eggplant mozzarella (a longtime Oarhouse staple), pork schnitzel or balbacua (Cebu bulalo - bean and oxtail stew), and lived to tell of the experience. Then on occasion, someone will bring something not on the menu and everybody gets a sampling of it, from Ninang Sol Vanzi's Roman deli servings of pita bread and pecorino cheese, pancetta and pepperoni, beefsteak tomato slices and fresh basil leaves, with olives and grapes to my own family's pancit luglug from Pampanga, and the crispy danggit from Palawan and Cebu brought in by the other regulars. It's a not oft-spoken of, sudden smorgasbord treat that's always on the calendar of events here. Aside from the usual holidays like turkey on Thanksgiving and on certain birthdays, you have to be lucky to be around at the right time.

If not, there's always the good old chili or standby cheeseburger here, with hot and filling 'english chips' as the perfect complement washed down with those ice cold San Mig Pale Pilsens.

Thanks Carlos and Nancy for dropping by last week, and a happy birthday to good friend Redgie Cinco who had his birthday bash last Monday here at the Oar. I was sick that night, that's why I had to get smashed the following day, hahaha. Cheers all. :-)

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