THIS series of columns is dedicated to all busy moms.
SO WE all love to cook. But then again, a lot of times we don’t have time and are too stressed out to go to market, super wet, too hampered by a lack of help and so on and so forth.
Other times, friends and kin drop in unexpectedly and we just don’t have anything to feed. So what to do?
Buy cooked food. That's what.
With this column we begin a series of places to buy cooked food and how to go about the good, the bad and the beautiful establishments when it comes to buying cooked food.
Before we begin, please understand that this is a series where the opinion of the writer is the only criteria. If you, dear reader, have a different opinion, do let us know.
One of the nicer places to buy cooked food is in one of the oldest supermarkets in the city, and when we tell you about it, you will certainly recognize the place. Without mentioning the name lest we be accused of advertising the establishment, we shall endeavor to show of how it is operated.
Since it is the typical turo turo place, one lines up and points to the food of choice. The server then ladles your choice and weights the portion. This makes you sure that you don’t get short changed and also makes sure that the amount is consistent daily.
Usually there are more than 20 dishes to choose from, so if you choose, you are sure of not having to buy the same thing for at least two weeks.
Usually on the spread are the lutong bahays of the Pinay. There is picadillo, kare kare, menudo, tinola, binagoongan, adobo, laing, pakbet chopsuey. Then there is higado, sweet and sour pork, fried fish, pancit, lasagna, baked mac and a great deal of others.
To cap the purchase is the recognizance of the senior discount, and that is certainly a boon to the seniors. The senior discount is only for 2 portions, and if you buy more, than the succeeding portions are not discounted. While the cooking is not definitely not, gourmet, it is adequate. It is what Pinays call lutong bahay. Sounds fair enough. So if you are in a hurry, or just plain don't feel like cooking, then just buy.
Beware of this following place
At the other end of the spectrum is a huge well known eatery in one of the biggest malls in the city. They really cheat. When you order to go, the portions are less than the portions which are served dine in.
How they do this is simple, they just do not give you the portions served as dine in, and when you get home, you will find, instead of the three or four pieces of whatever there are only two pieces. It was awful for us to find out.
How we found out is: last December, my daughter gifted us with a lot of gift certificates from this well-known eatery. So what we did was to have a meal there and we certainly enjoyed this meal. Then the next time we used our gift certificates we asked that the order be to go, (the same order) and to our chagrin, the portions were only half of their dine-in portions.
We found this out when we got home and opened the package. Yes. That is true.
Beware of this place, it is one of the more popular places. That is of course for the to-go orders, the dine-in orders are not bad, and are sufficient for three to four people, but not the ones which you bring home. When you get home and open the package, you will find that the portions are woefully inadequate, approximately only half of the dine-in order.
Finally, what we did to outwit the place was to order dine in and when the food was served, pretend to change our mind and asked that it be wrapped and we bring the order out.
We also INSISTED that they wrap the food at our table, and not bring it back in to the kitchen to wrap. Thus we were able to bring home the whole portions. Like my daughter said “utakan lang iyan,” we really had a good laugh that time.
Thus we begin this series of buying cooked food for times when you are really too hassled to cook.
So for buying food, here are some tips to follow:
Always think of the place in terms of
1. Senior citizen discount
2. Consistent portioning
4. Accessibility of location
If for whatever reason you don’t want to cook, and decide to buy, we will offer our choices of where to buy cooked food.
Finally, may we add that we have tried all of these places. These are first hand experiences. We have tried the establishments from the top of Session Road to the bottom of the Road. We will also take you to places out of Baguio City proper, all good, tried and tested, and we will also give ou the caveats of each place. Not to worry you will recognize each place which we describe.
So, while we all love to cook, we do sometimes get tired of doing the same thing day in and day out.
Don't forget plant something this rainy season.
We wish you all BON APPETIT.