I use this blog as my personal diary, a place where I can recollect and reminisce about my passion for food through visiting restaurants all over the world, my homecooking, and travels. I am neither a food critic nor provide restaurant reviews. Most importantly, I never ask for a free meal. My main goal is to tell the story of the restaurant, the chef, and the many people behind the whole gastronomic experience.
My passion for food is a product of my upbringing, travels, and experiences. I was born in Manila, Philippines, raised in Vancouver, Canada, and now based in San Francisco, USA. Growing up in the Philippines has taught me about the many flavors of food from spices, fruits, root vegetables, and other Asian influences on Philippine cuisine. My dearest mother is one of the major influences I have with cooking. She prepares the best Filipino food, mostly cooking with seafood and vegetables. Of course, no one’s food will ever taste as good as their own mother’s! Little did I know growing up that she was training me around the kitchen by having me help her with mincing the garlic, rolling the lumpia/eggrolls at 2 o’clock in the morning, and many other things!
Growing up in Vancouver, Canada exposed me to a multitude of different cultures and their respective cuisines. It was during 9th Grade in my Spanish class where we took a field trip to an authentic Mexican restaurant in New Westminster, BC. In this restaurant, my classmates and I witnessed how the Chef prepared “Mole Poblano” by grinding chilies, chocolates, and spices on a big slate of rock called “metate”. This was where I tasted my very fist Mole and instantly fell in love with Mexican food. These experiences at a young age helped develop and refine my love of food.
Back in 2010, the husband and I embarked on our first adventure outside of North America, to Spain, as a post-college adventure, where we instantly caught the travel bug. We spent one entire day eating our way around the open market of La Boqueria, where our passion for food was ignited! It was the Navajas (razor clams) and the Jamón Ibérico that we fell in love with.
It was in Paris, France in 2013, where for our 9th year anniversary, we dined at our first ever 2* Michelin restaurant, L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon Saint-Germain. Little did I know about what the stars meant, and what tasting menus and wine parings entailed. It was here where our taste for fine-dining was conceived.
After reading more about Chef Joël Robuchon, I found out that the restaurant where we dined in Paris was ranked the 24th Best Restaurant in the World in 2013. This was the moment where I learned about the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.
The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list has been a major guide for helping me select which part of the world to explore and where to eat. The list does change every year, but the top restaurants are very consistent. My goal is to travel and eat at these beautiful restaurants so I can share and document my experiences here! In October of 2016, shortly after my trip to Portugal and Spain, The World’s 50 Best invited me to become one of their TasteHunters.
When I am not eating at restaurants or travelling, you can find me at the markets gathering beautiful fresh ingredients for a lovely home cooked meal. Cooking at home is my ultimate “zen”, my balance, my peace. In my home cooking, I draw inspirations from a culmination of experiences from my childhood memories, my mother’s cooking, my travels, and the restaurants I have visited.
My only hope is that through this blog, you will enjoy Eating with N.J.