Objects of My Ingestion: Birthday Edition

I turned 29 this year! The only things on my agenda were to hit the beach and eat good food. I’m happy to report that I did both.

Two days before my birthday, we went for a day trip to La Union. Masa by Barefoot came highly recommended, so we headed over there for lunch. We occupied a vacant table outside under the shade of the trees.

Their avo toast is loaded with avocado slices, bacon, veggies, and oozing cheese. It’s all stacked on a piece of their homemade sourdough bread. For a piece of toast, it’s quite indulgent – an entire meal! While it’s a popular choice for breakfast, it’s really an “anytime” food.

I had the morning beef, which is served bibimbap style – a cup of rice with a sunny side up hat, surrounded by portions of beef, salsa, grilled eggplant, spinach, and red onions. The best way to enjoy it is by, first and foremost, breaking that yolk open and letting it saturate the top layer of rice. I mixed everything together, but my glutton self would have loved more eggplant, just because the smoky flavor was so nice.

Masa is currently in lipat bahay mode, transitioning to a new home. Those based in Metro Manila will be glad to now that they have another branch in BF Homes Parañaque, at 231 Aguirre Avenue. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram for more photos and updates on their move.

After lunch, we hung out by the shore and relaxed. We sat in the shade and threw back a few beers. In recent years, La Union has gained even more notoriety as a surfing hot spot and a place to party, but personally, I just love heading over there to chill. The sea breeze was a welcome change from the chill and fog of city.

A long while back when I was a newbie at work, I celebrated the life transition (and source of income!) with a grazing box. It featured a couple different types of cheese, some cold cuts, crackers, sweets, fruit slices, and a tiny jar of spiced honey. I had had kiwi before but never tried the skin – so I did. I looked up whether it was safe or not after eating it. I was fine, but I don’t recommend this process for trying new things.

I enjoyed it, but at the same time, I thought, I could make something like this myself. Even better, I could just include things I knew I would like. Thus began my interest in assembling simple, personalized grazing boards. That’s how I celebrated the evening of my birthday.

This spread includes mozzarella and sharp cheddar cheese, as well as a small wheel of brie. Thanks for the idea, Instagram! This was also the day I learned that brie is expensive and will not be making my regular grocery list. For sweets, I put in some chocolates and biscuits. I also had cold cuts – salami and pastrami – and two kinds of crackers, plus green olives. The fruits included two of my favorites, red grapes and strawberries.

I love how the colors came together! I should note here the I keep using “I” language, but mostly I just shopped and chopped. Assembly is not a challenge when your best friend is a chef. And by “not a challenge”, I mean, I didn’t do have to do it, at all.

In this house, no one is allowed to eat fruit without paying budgie taxes. Limon got a share of grapes and strawberries cut into tiny pieces. She accepted the payment gratefully and stepped all over the plate. Not in photo: she also made a mess. But it’s okay to make a mess when you’re celebrating a birthday.

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