A Freaky Four-Eyed Food Lover’s Guide to New York City


Can you believe it? After four trips to New York, I gathered enough food finds and photos to collate my very own guide around the city. The inspiration entered my mind many many times. But I just set it aside.

But one day, I promised my friend Iza I would give her a list of places she can eat at for her upcoming New York visit. I recalled each and every place I ate at. I also browsed through the photos I took in each visit. After I completed the list, I was convinced I should give the food guide a go. It took time, energy and blank stares on the wall to do it. The rest of it was history!!

I began thinking how I could laid out the book with the meager  artistic prowess that I have. I looked at the photo book sites available here in Manila. While I’ve tried printing with Photobooks, I needed an app that can allow me to include some notes. I wanted the guide to have a piece of my mind. I want to add my taste into it.

After a fairly extensive search, I found what I needed with the Bookwright App. It was book layout for dummies personified. It was fairly easy to navigate. It allowed you to customize the book to your liking, and did not seem like rocket science to figure out.

The great and awesome part of it is, not only can they print it out for you. You can post it publicly online, and sell it on their online bookstore! You have the option of buying the printed copy or an e-book! It is such a thrill to be able to self publish your work! It is quite costly. The printed copy of my food guide went up to $35. And of course I ordered the first copy!! Just so I can keep it on their online bookshelf. But it is such a milestone for me. I think I should prepare more content and come up with my next editions! I haven’t seen my printed copy. It is on its way to me, but I am very excited!

Here is the description of the book.

A foodie haven like New York City will leave you perplexed and pose many questions in mind. Are you in the hunt for uncomplicated, comfort food? Are you craving for iconic treats you can only find in the Big Apple? Reach out for this guide to find your answers. Discover this city with new eyes, behind Michelle Africa’s dark rimmed glasses.

Maybe after reading this, you might be interested to get a copy for yourself. Click on this book badge you find on top of this post ! 🙂




This blog has been dormant for quite a while but comments and queries regarding NSO documents continue to pour in!

For the information of everyone who has similar concerns, you can now call or text in your questions to the first and only radio show focusing on NSO problems. “The Attorneys Are In”  features lawyers and birth certificate specialists Michelle Africa and Marie Pahate to answer your concerns, problems, issues, fears regarding your birth, marriage and death certificates.

You can catch them every Tuesdays and Thursdays, 7-8pm on DZME Kinse Trenta 1530kHz on your AM band. You can also watch them via livestream at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/dzme-manila.

Here is one of their episodes uploaded via Youtube:

Listen, watch and learn!


The Philippines is made up of thousands of islands. It is a tropical paradise like no other. If beaches are the topic of discussion, several spots come to mind. Boracay, Palawan, Bohol, Cebu.. But if you want to hit the beach, and you don’t want to hop on a plane, the choices become limited. If you ask me though, I don’t feel shortchanged if I don’t have much time or cash to spare. I hit Puerto Galera and I am a happy camper!

Puerto Galera is accessible by land and sea. A two hour drive to the Batangas City port, and an hour by boat are all it takes, and you are in Puerto Galera. Many may refer to it as the poor man’s Boracay. But it offers us more than that. It may have had its share of bad publicity over the years. But its natural charm will lure you back to it. I have been going back and forth to Puerto Galera and I never tire of it. You just need to know where to look and where to hang out.

Let me show you the pockets of beauty that Puerto Galera offers. Perhaps I can change your mind about it. 🙂

My accommodation of choice: Mindorinne Oriental

My accommodation of choice: Mindorinne Oriental

This is the view from the balcony of our room at Mindorinne Oriental. No other hotel on the white beach stretch can beat its central location. Rooms are hotel type, there is free wifi and free breakfast that comes with the package. Call +639178578425 for more details.

Colorful highpower boats

Colorful highpower boats

This is one of the boats that will take you from the Batangas City Port to the White Beach stretch of Puerto Galera. It takes an average of one hour. Since it sails on open seas, it is best to traevl in the morning when the sea is at its calmest.


This to me is one  of the most beautiful spots in town. The local church has its own grotto of Our Lady of Puerto Galera. Its backdrop is the scenic Puerto Galera Marina, set in one of the 10 best bays of the world.


Undoubtedly the best picnic spot in the entire of Puerto Galera, Haligi beach! Just look and you will agree.

GaleraSunsetWM (1)

Puerto Galera has one of the best sunsets I’ve ever seen. I’ve witnesses perhaps hundreds of this, but I couldnt keep myself from taking endless snapshots with this as my subject. 🙂

My New York Food Truck/Cart Hunt

I have been a long time fan of the Food Truck feature show, Eat Street. It is seen in various cable channels here in Manila. And when I visited the US last year, I pledged to catch at least a truck or two that I’ve seen featured on the show.

First truck I caught was the award winning vegan food truck, Cinnamon Snail. I approached the truck as it was parked somewhere midtown. I saw it parked alongside other food trucks. It thrilled me to finally hunted them down. I stood in front of the order window, and barked, “I saw your truck on Eat Street, and I flew all the way from the Philippines to taste your food!” That was kinda groupie sounding. But I didn’t care. This was one of the perks of being in New York, since vegan food is so scarce in Manila. I had to grab at this chance!

I ordered the Dutch Chocolate Coffee and the Lemongrass Five Spice Seitan, and their Creme Brulee Donut. It really felt like a treat, despite it being vegan. It changed my notion that healthy, meatless can be yummy!

My Seitan Burrito and Vegan Creme Brulee Donut from Cinnamon Snail

My Seitan Burrito and Vegan Creme Brulee Donut from Cinnamon Snail

After tasting the food, I turned into a real groupie, stalked The Snail on Facebook and Twitter even when I left New York. I was so crushed hearing that they would stop operating the food truck on a daily basis. I saw the love from its legions of fans, I send this as a love note to The Snail as a one time visitor. Thank you for changing the face of vegan food. I hope one day to grab your goodies again!

The next food truck hunt I took on was The Famous Halal Guys. One of my visits at the MoMA, I bumped into a long line that snaked around the corner. It was cold and damp that day, but this didnt stop the people from standing in line. I smelled something really yummy. But then, I didnt have time to wait around. I had no idea that the crowd drawer was The Famous Halal Guys.

So, on another weekday afternoon, I trekked towards MoMA yet again, and found a shorter line. I was again so thrilled that the universe conspired for a better shot to taste a New York fave. A mound of yellow rice, topped with lettuce, a choice of chicken, beef or lamb and pita bread, smothered with the best white sauce you’ll taste. All for the amazing price of $6! No wonder people cant get enough of it. It was a masterpiece bang for your buck!


When I returned home to Manila, I could not stop raving about Halal Guys. Despite knowing that it will soon open in Megamall this year, I just cannot wait anymore. So I asked my chef-mom to concoct her own version of Halal Guys. She scoured the Net, watched Youtube videos, and tweaked her own recipe. Soo happy to get my own Halal Guys fix. This is a jazzed up version, but tastes just as great!


I caught Cinnamon Snail in November at Midtown. But they have stopped doing their rounds 😦

The Famous Halal Guys is located in several corners around the Theater District. But I went to the stall/cart parked on 53rd and 6th just fronting the Museum of Modern Art. 

Sweets for my Sweet- Europe Edition

Europe is candy for a sweet tooth like me. I browsed through my photos to find my memorable sweet fixes throughout my stay there.

One of my favorite things-to-do during winter is to visit Christmas markets in Germany, which were a train ride away from the Netherlands. Just looking at these stalls left such a sweet taste in my memory

KolnKerstMarktWMA Christmas market stall in Koln, Germany

Another memorable food stop was when we tried churros in Barcelona, crunchy dough sticks dipped in thick gooey chocolate! We tried one along the Rambla.


This dessert was not representative of Roman cuisine, but we made a pitstop in this restaurant after a long day’s walk in the streets of Rome. This apple upside down cake was a perfect pairing with an espresso.


Macarons always amused me. Those pillow like candy colored crunchy bits are one of the cutest desserts ever. Just the same, it exudes a certain whiff of class and pizzazz unlike any dessert. When I was in Paris, the first macaron I tried was, along the Champs-Elysee, at the McCafe! 🙂 Haha very un-French I know. But well, it was not all that bad!


What is a trip to Italy without gelato? But with the endless choices, which stand should we go to? A kind Italian friend led me to the iconic Giolitti, which was established in 1890. Such history, wrapped in a gelato store. We went to its original store in Via Del Vicario. Just talking about it gives me the chills 🙂


And finally, I just had to try canoli! And where best to try it but in Venice, at the foot of the Ponte Vecchio! Nostalgia rules!


O sweet heaven! 🙂

The Brooklyn Food Fest Called Smorgasburg

Brooklyn has become a food haven for New Yorkers. Manhattan has become unfriendly, due to lack of space and skyrocketing rentals. There were many restaurants that sounded inviting to visit for a tourist like me. But nothing got my full attention until I heard the words FLEA. FOOD. MARKET.

So on a chilly November Saturday morning, I took the train to Brooklyn to check out Smorgasburg. A crafty play of words for a food feast at the Williamsburg side. That Saturday, I trekked to East River State Park. It was the second to the last Saturday before the Smorgasburg turns indoors to shelter itself from the cold. I followed the drones who were going toward the market. I walked and walked until I saw this sign.

Smorgasburg Outdoors

I looked around, to choose which stall I will line up for. While in deep thought, I was so thrilled when I saw this stall, that made me proud that Filipino cuisine was in the mix.

Lumpia Shack

My instinct told me to go where the longest lines are. My choices were trimmed down to two:

Milk Truck

Yes people were braving the cold to line up for grilled cheese sandwiches! The main draw is ooey gooey cheese mixed with various options, avocado, bacon, etc. Interesting, but I needed something more.

Mighty Quinn

Saturday suddenly turned into a cheat day, as soon as I laid eyes on Mighty Quinn, a New York Smoked Barbeque resto. Who could resist those sliders with meat on a cute little bun, with a touch of red chili and pickled onion?

Li'l Brisket

This is one of ’em days that I repeatedly told myself, “I will never turn vegetarian”.

This was the small slider that they served, slices of the fall off the bone, melt in your mouth pork heaven. I was tempted to get the bigger size, but after eating every bit of this masterpiece. $5 was all I needed to a wide grin and a happy tummy.

Smorgasburg View

Travelling is made of days like these. This was one of the best finds of my trip. And with these photos, it is a joy to relive the day I met Smorgasburg. 🙂


Our Lady of Lourdes is very special to me. When I was in third year high school, I remember it being my section. But I started praying to her before her statue in Mt. Carmel Church in Quezon City. I used to be a regular church goer to that parish, up and until my priest uncle started saying mass at our compound every Sunday. But everytime I would visit the church, I would always light a candle and say a little prayer to her before her statue.

There was one time I felt that she really listened to me. That I was asking for a sign, and as I approached her statue, I saw a beautiful bouquet of pink and green flowers. It was awesome, it was to me an answered prayer.

During her feastday, I was searching online for a novena prayer and I chanced upon the official website of Our Lady of Lourdes. And they made it possible to place online petitions, that the parish will pray for on your behalf. I was so thrilled that was possible. What’s more awesome, is that with a minimal donation, the parish could also burn a candle to go with the petition. The donation may be made via paypal or credit card payment. I was so excited, and did it immediately. There were bumps along the way, but the transaction went through.

I received this authentication certificate from the parish to prove that the candles have been offered at their grotto in France. I felt as if I did it myself.

Happy Feastday to our dear Lady!

I received this certificate that my candles were offered at the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes in France!

I received this certificate that my candles were offered at the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes in France!