11 July 2016

Aida's Chicken Inasal, Bacolod Food Review by RA

Chicken inasal is the “go to” food of Bacolod – just as how LeBron James is the “go to” scorer of Cavs. Chicken inasal is eaten with garlic rice, chicken oil, oysters, and soft drinks.

Aida’s Restaurant can be found in a place called "Manokan Country” in Fr. Ferrero street a few meters away from SM Bacolod. Wow. It must be some kind of "country." Imagine their nationalism.

Avril and I like it here because their food is consistently authentic.This restaurant is unpretentious, pompous, and doesn’t bull shit. The rule is simple: you eat or leave. Never mind that their toilet is as trashy as a bunk of squalid drug den, or that the server of oysters seems bipolar and needs to be treated with anti-psychotic drugs. If you are looking for the “go to” of chicken inasal in Bacolod – Aida's Restaurant is the shit.

Wash your hands thoroughly because inasal is eaten with the hand. Don’t expect a choice of cutlery. The use of spoon and fork here is laughable. Hand to mouth is the way, the truth, and the light.

You can choose what kind of water to wash your hands – deep well or faucet water. It's amusing. It took me a while to realize that it is a contingency measure. No water from the local water district? No problem, there’s deep well water and vice versa.

Aida’s chicken inasal is as tender as marshmallow, soft and juicy, with a faint hint of ginger and other spices. I usually order "pa-a," the leg part, but you can also choose from pecho, pak-pak, or pecho-pak, atay and isol. Isol is chicken ass - gorgeously flunky and unhealthy, but claimed to be damn good.

The garlic rice is served generously. It is made-golden by chicken oil, a dash of crisp garlic, and a pinch of sea salt on top.

Talaba, on the other hand, is served a plate full. Locals eat talaba together with soft drinks. They believe that soft drinks neutralizes whatever biological dangers and perils oysters carry. I don’t know if that’s true, but I do believe though that you should not eat talaba with an empty stomach or when pregnant. Needless to say, eating talaba is like playing Russian roulette and for good reason. This tasty, slimy mollusk is a “janitor” of the sea.

Aida’s imperfections are part of its appeal. You need to be patient to people who serve your food. The key to satisfactory eating in Aida’s is to follow up your order and your extra orders, or else, it might  never see the light of day.

Just like quarter-life or mid-life crisis, we’ve all hit that point where we can’t figure out what to eat. You feel isolated, absurd, and bored with the choices available. But perhaps “go to” places like this can help you discover what you want. 

Sometimes, the best way to figure what you want is by a little bit of trial and error. Finding out what is hidden behind the usual surface of life even if it might involve some kind of risk -- like death or illness from eating raw talaba. 

The usual food bill dining for two is around 350-500 Pesos.

02 July 2016

Finding Dory (2016) Movie Review

by RA

“Finding Dory” is Pixar's sequel to the “Finding Nemo (2003).” It takes off where Finding Nemo left. Dory, a regal blue tang fish, lives with Marlin and Nemo in a happy a curious marine neighborhood. As part of her everyday struggles, Dory is aware that she keeps on forgetting things. She suffers from “short term memory loss” - which sounds cuter compared to its actual debilitative effects. Meanwhile, spontaneous trigger of words flashes back her childhood. She remembers her parents. She wonders what might have happened to them. She blames herself as the reason behind their loss. Facing danger and against all odds, Dory and her friends embark on an adventure to find her parents leading them to a marine institute in California. What she finds out there changes her life.

Story aside, Finding Dory’s animated graphics is a joy to watch. The details of the background and the characters themselves are astounding. I had to be reminded by my seatmate, Avril, to keep my voice down, when I involuntarily blurted “WOW!” in my amusement as the movie started to unfold.

Frankly, it is too much to ask for Finding Dory to surpass and out-do Finding Nemo in terms of originality, high emotional focus, and entertainment value. I don’t smell anything fishy in this regard. But, I think, the strength of this movie lies with how it was able to deal with issues like friendship, parenthood, and going through life in the face of disability.

I learned in this movie that there is a Dory in each of us.  And, while life may sometimes be a fine kettle of fish, nevertheless, there are people who are like Jenny and Charlie (Dory’s parents) who show us how loving, caring, and being patient can transform another soul. These sort of people believe in us when no one would. They remind us that despite life’s setbacks, goals can be achieved - if you just put your mind into it.

In other words, one way to interpret Finding Dory is to look at it as an introspection of our own personal disabilities and how it affects our personal goals in life. Each person’s goal is unique. While others may be eyeing more riches or more advancement in their careers, some goals are as noble as taking care of those who have less in life. Each step towards the accomplishment of one’s personal goal is a battle that must be fought. In relation to them, what we need is to be more tolerant and understanding.

It took thirteen (13) years for “Finding Dory,” the sequel of the “Finding Nemo (2003),” to come out. A lot of things has changed ever since. Even the voice of Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) has noticeably aged.  All these years, I guess it is only now that I am starting to realize what Dory stood for.

Perhaps, Dory is a reminder for us not to over-worry and overthink, but instead, to take action. Despite the dangers, it is only by taking action that we can accomplish what we aim for. Arguably, acting on her goals was the key to Dory’s triumph from the very start up to the very end. When life gets you down, “Just keep swimming.” This is the sort of Dory-ism that I hope to remember, even long after this movie has been forgotten.