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!
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