Monday, April 14, 2014

Rufino's Cafe @Arte Luna

I knew working on weddings will bring us to lovely adventures and would open doors for us to meet lovely people as well. Two years back, we had the privilege to style the wedding of Jason and Monica Nalupta, to which, Chef Nice of Bistro Candon was the caterer.

From the first meeting we had with the Chef, in ways I understood how he works, no nonsense and to the dot. Can I start with raving on how starched white his linens are? How his silver had no water spots because they were wiped thoroughly? How his waiters were dressed cleanly, nicely? That their uniforms were sized accordingly? How the waiters are always alert, standing breast out, tummy in, hands clasped at their backs? How labeled their crates are? Right! Those are minute things I notice. Minute things, I appreciate and impress me.

And on the first time we worked together, I didn't expect a feast prepared for us. We expect crew meals to come in styro boxes, with a cup of rice, a little of and so on. Chef Nic is consistent with his generosity. We never had crew meals that way, rather in nice plates, silvers and three or more generous chaffing dish full of delectable goodness. His thoughtfulness is greatly appreciated too. There was a time, he called me up to ask what would I want for lunch. Can I even demand? Teehee! I won't and I wouldn't because somehow I love love everything he cooks. He did serve us an abundance of salmon in Yaki sauce (I think!) alongside his Bagnet, ginisang bagoong, and so on.


I also appreciate how he hand picks his meat himself, and funny how one time he had to lecture us about rigor Mortis. How he is a farmer, who plants rice in his own farm, raises his own fish, ferments his own bagoong (he buys the whole bangka full of whatever kind of fish is used for that, then no one touches it other than him, salts it the whole nine yards). Gosh! Those things he does for the love of cooking!


I also remember one time, he was telling a story about someone he talked to who spoke in English yet he was answering in Ilocano because they were both Ilocanos and knew how to. From that moment on. I knew what a stickler he was. Teehee! That inspite being educated at the Culinary Institute of America, having worked for ski resorts in Switzerland, he has always been grounded. I have endless stories why I love love the Chef and so is his lovely wife. Sigh!


That brazos I've been posting, the chocolate cakes, carrot cakes, yema and pastillas we always get when we work together, not that we are expecting, yet his generosity is quite something.


Now to be on track, I am so glad they opened closer to home a stones throw away from the Paoay Church, a 20 minute drive from the heart of Laoag. We just can't, not raid their kitchen!

Chef Nic told us that those cacti came from Anna Lao's wedding that we did last December. Why on heavens sake are you throwing away those? Teehee! A part of us is in Rufino's. Yay!

That lechon Baka in pita pockets! Divine! Can you believe Nessa and Gil Baldellon's wedding had that Baka for those home made pita pockets as appetizers? We, that is Raymund of Sitio, the mister, Toni of Playa went crazy munching on those shawarma look a likes.

In everything, I play favorites, not because I want to but because it's something worth sharing and not keeping to myself. My personal choices had always been crazy and if you are as crazy as me, then maybe you ought to try Rufino's. And taste for yourself, why Dr. Cuanang, had to lobby this resto's opening right in his Arte Luna. For heavens sake though, don't order pansit... That you have to go to my favorite panciteria, Nana Melody's kitchenette.


Rufino's Cafe @ Arte Luna

0917 803 1875


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Red Romance:: Erlynne + Rey

When we did Phil and Erika's wedding in San Clemente, CA last year, we squeezed in a meeting with Erlynne and Rey. I remember the salted caramel ice cream we had for dessert. It was so good at times I daydream and torture the mister to bring me back there. Yikes!
Time flies so quick, we've already worked on their loveliness. Everything went smoothly and lovely. Though we had a wedding before us at the church, we were still able to finish on time. And though it was crazy to hang the logs and candles, we had to do what we had to do to achieve the loveliness we wanted.
Have you ever thought it was easy to work on weddings like how easy a fisherman catches fish or a carpenter builds a house? In all honesty, it is crazy doing anything with a deadline. But I don't mind because somehow I love the pressure that goes with this line of work, and whatever we had to go through seems minute when guests start throwing compliments or when they show the slightest joy with what they see. What I cannot tolerate at times is how hotel manangement can be fickle. We've been doing drapes since I can remember at the Sierra Madre ballroom. To do those heavy drapes, they are stapled at the ballroom's ceiling. How else can we do that other than that way? Elmer's glue? I'm irked and amused at the same time. I can straight face say we've always abided with house rules when working. If we had to do flowers 300 meters away from the venue, we will do that, no problem. Because rules are rules. And so if contracts stipulate the no gun tacker usage policy, heck, I will forego drapes and save us time and effort to do so. I would be insistent to clients we don't do drapes or do their wedding elsewhere where we can do lovely drapes. Why not! Fort Ilocandia is lovely no question, but then it's quite nice to know and relieving that Ilocos Norte have other venues we could hold weddings at which is equally lovely, and we do have now caterers who can parallel their service. I know that I can never ask the world to be fair like how people are supposed to treat clients equally. The reality is that the more powerful and sadly, rich, the clients are, the more concessions they could ask without so much ado. So what I want, is that front runners could at least be fair in treating people with respect and dignity. I am not going to argue with allowed days to ingress and egress anymore, just that. I have so many stories to tell, and there are so much more weddings to do. This road block however will not stop us from doing loveliness. If we can't do anything with the ceiling, then let's do something about the floor. Bring it on!

How about I stop agonizing everyone with my story and let the pictures describe the loveliness for Erlynne and Rey last night?
Venue:: Sierra Madre Ballroom, Fort Ilocandia Resort Hotel
Bridal gown:: Vera Wang
Cake and Floral + Event Styling:: Ava's Cakes and Events
Planning and Coordination:: Mara Manuel of Belladita Events
Photo/Video:: Em Productions
Host:: Stella Gaspar


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Summer Romance :: Heidi + Nelson

What better way to start summer with a wedding aptly themed Summer Romance?
Though we took a breather for just a few days, I seriously missed doing weddings. I love the simplicity of the couple's lounge, specifically the makeshift logs/chopping board table we adorned with almost fresh moss, with all that minty smell which I love, and lots and lots of votives, and my quirky faucet plant box.


We can't get over the Cath Kidston inspired cake we did a few days ago, that we felt this wedding would need a floral handpainted cake. Teehee!

When I went back to give the bride and groom our warmest congratulations, I couldn't help but gatecrash a little when the host started narrating Heidi and Nelson's love story. Would you believe their relationship blossomed through Facebook? I suddenly remembered, the couple I'm meeting tomorrow met through Facebook too. How quirky! I met the mister at the tennis courts. I wonder if there was Facebook back then, would have it turned out differently. Teehee!


Anyways, to endless romantic summers to Heidi and Nelson. Much much love from our end.


Venue:: Vigan Convention Center

Cake and Floral+Event Styling:: Ava's a Cakes and Events

Catering:: Diay Plaza

HMUA:: Noli Morales

Photo / Video:: Ernie Mangoba

Monday, March 31, 2014

Books and more :: Pio Hermann's 1st

We must be nuts for squeezing a few days off in our cray calendar. When my body clock was syncing with Haweewee time, we were set to come home. How uncooperative, sigh!

Anyways, we had to be back in time to do Pio Hermann's book themed party. I borrowed my little mister's I Wonder Why... books. Have you had the chance to read a copy of those? It's a picture book which is amusing and educational. My fave volume goes I wonder why the dodo is dead! Teehee! Don't you wonder why?



With that quote above, the stars must be dancing endlessly. Happy happy birthday little Pio. You truly are a miracle and we thank your mom and dad, for letting us work on yours as we had work on their wedding day... 9 years ago. Wow! How time flies! Mahalo for having us!


Venue:: Arabella's Events Place

Cake, cupcakes, party styling :: Ava's Cakes and Events

Host:: Brandy Howard's

Catering:: La Preciosa

Photo/video:: I-click photography

Refreshments:: Lex Mobile bar