A Few Good Days

I need distractions. I’m so horrified by the events in the U.S. during the past ten days but I don’t know what to say about them, what to add to the discussion. I need distractions.

Friends from Hong Kong (American husband, Filipino wife) have a house in Angeles. We drove up there for the weekend. The drive itself is quite okay – well it’s roughly 60 miles but takes almost 2-1/2 hours if you drive straight through. The NLEX highway has plenty of American-style rest stops – the larger ones not only have gas stations but also have 15 or 20 fast food chains. The ones on the drive south also feature outlet stores from Nike, Adidas and others, crafts shops, even a shop selling ATV’s.

Every time we are at our friends’ house and go out for the night, we drive past Angeles’ Koreatown area but we never stop. This time I took a look at TripAdvisor and selected the top-rated Korean restaurant there, Guyiga. They do proper Korean barbecue, grilling over charcoal and not gas. The four of us had 2 plates of beef, 2 plates of pork, bibimbap, and they threw in the usual 10 or 15 side dishes and also 3 different bowls of soup. Add in some beers and the total bill came to P2,200. That’s just over US$10 a person. I don’t think it’s as good as our favorite Korean spot in Manila, Masil, but I’d gladly eat there again.

Back in Manila, Monday started with us going over to Rockwell. We had lunch at Ooma, a Japanese fusion place that’s been extremely well reviewed. We had their soft shell crab taco-maki (eat it with your hands like a taco, the waitress told us), steak aburi maki (torched hanger steak with onions and truffle oil) and salmon skin aburi maki (torched salmon, crispy salmon skin, asparagus). The taco-maki was good but nothing special, the other two were both dishes we would order again. We saw a lot of people were ordering the ebi tempura but were too full to add that to our order. P900 for two.

Then over to my eye doctor. I could go for the free eye check-up that all the eye glass shops offer, but I need more than that. I need to be checked for glaucoma and for macular degeneration, among other things. I go to the Asian Eye Institute in Rockwell. My doctor there is a Harvard graduate and the place is run to a better-than-American standard. After consulting with three doctors and getting all of the needed tests done, the bill came to all of US$30. As I expected, the lasik surgery I had 17 years ago is starting to wear off and I need distance glasses again. Oh well. I have no intention of getting lasik again.

After that, we went over to this month’s new mall, Ayala Malls The 30th. Yes, that’s the name. What’s nice about this mall is that even though it’s in a busy part of Ortigas, there is a huge open courtyard in the center, a small park really, and most of the ground floor restaurants have outdoor seating facing this park. We grabbed some coffee and cake and put our feet up at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, walked around checking out the new shops (mostly just the same as every other mall, of course) and I ordered new eye glasses before we went over to meet a friend at Draft.

This is the fourth branch of Draft. It’s a nice space. About 10 beers on tap, at least another 20 or 30 in bottles, and the fish and chips we shared was quite okay. The mall also features the newest outlet of S&R New York Pizza (S&R being the local equivalent of Costco – the prepared food there is so popular they’ve been opening stand-alone fast food restaurants around town), Halal Guys, Conti’s, Genki Sushi, Ramen Nagi and coming soon and I don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing but …. Taco Bell.

We finished off the night by going to a press screening of Why Him.  I had really low expectations for this movie but figured (a) it’s free and (b) we could check out the new cinema there. And it turned out we both really liked it.

Basically you’ve got Bryan Cranston and Megan Mullally as very typical conservative parents. Their daughter is attending Stanford and her boyfriend, James Franco, is a tattooed lunatic with “no filter” (who deep down of course is very sweet and also happens to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars). The story idea came from Jonah Hill, producers included Ben Stiller and his partner Shawn Levy, you get cameos from Elon Musk and KISS, and Keegan-Michael Key has some of the best bits in the film.

Low rating on Rotten Tomatoes but a 6.6 on IMDB. Here’s the red band trailer:

There’s a few bits in the trailer not in the actual film, so I’m waiting for the unrated edition or director’s cut that’s sure to appear in a few months. If you’re in the mood for a goofy comedy and a few laughs, you could do much worse.

Anyway, Happy Lunar New Year to all my friends and followers!!! I wish us all health, prosperity and a rapid impeachment of Donald Trump Emperor Baby Hands Clownface McFuckstick.