Sunday, November 19, 2017

Ube cheesecake, French onion soup and wagyu steaks at Aruga Café by Mesclun

The Aruga Cafe in Rockwell offers delicious classic dishes at reasonable prices. We're hooked on their French onion soup and steaks.

Shrimps and anchovies flammekeuche

Mesclun prides itself in creating innovative dishes and reinventing classic favorites; it’s no coincidence that their name itself translates to “mixture” in old Occitane

Le Cordon Bleu alumna and Head Chef Katrina Kuhn-Alcantara reveals that the dishes are a combination of old recipes and new ideas. “Food is a journey,” she adds. “And we want to cater to a lot of nationalities.”

French Onion Soup

The classic French Onion Soup is baked with emmental cheese on top. Dunk your spoon to get a helping of the broth and cheese for that burst of flavor. 

The pizza at Aruga Café went perfectly with Mesclun’s flatbread selections. The shrimps and anchovies flammekeuche (Alsatian flatbread) has a crispy thin crust that complements the seafood toppings. Make sure to drizzle Mesclun’s chili oil or garlic oil on your flammekeuche!


Sisig Pasta

The sisig spaghetti is an innovative twist on a well-loved local dish. The creamy base adds texture to the pasta, along with the crunchy chicharon (pork rind) and pork bits. 

Wagyu Rump Steak

Meanwhile, the wagyu rump steak is also a different take on the typical steak dish, as it uses a leaner cut of beef than a rib-eye; but since it's wagyu, it's got delicious fatty marbling.


Finally, end your gastronomic adventure at Aruga Café by Mesclun with the ube cheesecake, which combines the best of the classic cheesecake with its creamy texture, graham base, and the unique local flavor of purple yam that adds a sweet note.

Ube Cheesecake

With Aruga Café by Mesclun’s mouthwatering dishes complemented by Aruga by Rockwell’s cozy and intimate setting, this new restaurant in Rockwell is bound to be a great favorite.


Named after the Filipino word for “nurture,” Aruga by Rockwell offers the comforts of home with fully-furnished serviced apartments along with exceptional service from a hospitable team. Apartments vary from studio units to two-bedroom suites in Rockwell, allowing different guests to find the perfect room for their needs.

Aruga Café by Mesclun hosts Rockwell Cheese Night 
every third Thursday of the month

Saturday, November 18, 2017

The Cardinal Suite of the Hostal de los Reyes Catolicos in Santiago de Compostela

In the beautiful and ancient town of Santiago de Compostela in Spain, living a #Travelife, we stayed in the Cardinal Suite of the Hostal de los Reyes Catolicos, which, for me, is the best hotel in Santiago de Compostela.


The Hostal de los Reyes Catolicos in Santiago de Compostela 

The Hostal de los Reyes Catolicos is the most historic hotel in Santiago de Compostela and the most elegant as well. It also has the best location, located right on the town square next to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela

It was once a hospital designed with great fervor and attention to details by Queen Isabela, the Catholic Queen of Spain, together with her favorite architect. And if you like design and aesthetics, this simple and graceful building will just take your breath away.

The Hostal de los Reyes Catolicos in Santiago de Compostela 

The interiors of the Hostal de los Reyes Catolicos are lovely as well. Nothing over the top, in terms of design, in keeping with the atmosphere of this former hospital turned luxury hotel in this pilgrim town


The Hostal de los Reyes Catolicos in Santiago de Compostela 

The interiors of the Hostal de los Reyes Catholicos are not open to the public so I’m posting photos to show you the beauty of simplicity in this ancient must-stay hotel. 

Meanwhile, the Cardinal Suite we stayed in is the most extraordinary suite in the city for its interiors and its unique hanging balcony where you can enjoy a lovely view and sunset. 

The Hostal de los Reyes Catolicos in Santiago de Compostela 

Yes, it was all 15th century in the suite but the bathroom was a complete 21st century makeover complete with a glassed in power shower set-up for two. I was floored by this high-tech bathroom in this very old-fashioned suite. 

Pope John XXIII is one of the VVIP guests who reportedly stayed in this same suite, living a Travelife, along with countless other VIPs. So I was half expecting a ghost to appear during our stay in this 500-year-old hotel room, but thankfully it was a perfectly peaceful night and today is another beautiful day in amazing Spain.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

The best wines of Spain. And about visiting the winery of Pingus, just outside Valladolid

Serious wine enthusiasts may know of the cult winery Pingus, just outside the beautiful city of Valladolid. It's a 20-minute drive from the city. We were lucky enough to get a peek at this small Spanish winery with impressive R&D facilities.

Pingus wines

Extremely private, bordering on secretive, the Pingus winery usually doesn’t accept visitors and they produce wines in such small batches that these wines are very hard to get. 

You must often begin your search for a bottle of Pingus way in in advance and you must be prepared to wait for one for a very long time, as most bottles rarely make it even into the finest wine stores

The Pingus winery near Valladolid

The Pingus winery doesn’t even have a sign, and the winery looks just like a regular village house. Mara, our private guide, said: "There's no sign. But everyone in the know knows that this is the Pingus winery."


The Pingus winery near Valladolid

Pingus achieved cult status when one of the Pingus vintages became the first ever Spanish wine to receive 100 points from wine critic Robert Parker. I can understand why as these are very exclusive (and pretty expensive) boutique wines made with a combination of feeling and scientific winemaking data. For a very small winery, they have incredible state-of-the-art equipment.


Yulya, the Russian winemaker at Pingus winery

Yesterday, we drove over for a private visit — a very rare occurrence in this winery. We met with Yulya, the Pingus winemaker, who happens to be a Russian who studied wine making in Moscow and then went on to more wine-making studies in the Loire Valley and in Bordeaux. This Russian connection certainly gave the meeting a warm feeling. 

After talking about wine and visiting the Pingus cellars, we spent the afternoon doing wine tastings straight out of the barrel, living and loving a #Travelife.