Tag Archives: titas of manila

Lately…

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I’ve been busy.

I’ve finished an inerview with bartender/burger master Francis Balbarin for a feature I’m doing on Father’s Day.

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Awesome #proudlypinoy Bartender, Francis Balbarin

I’ve gone through one of the best masters classes in Italian wine (hosted by the legendary Gambero Rosso).

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3,000+ indigenous grapes? No problem.

I’ve been scouting around for the best juices in town (because… Is it just me, or did Manila just get hotter?).

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Yum...

I’ve finally found enough time to check out the Bonbon Club (in a fit of being anti tita of Manila).

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Not such a member of #titasofmanila after all!

Now, I’m writing from the comfort of my cozy Hong Kong hotel, excited for tomorrow’s Vinexpo.

That being said, I may not be posting so often this week, but most likely, I’ll be keeping our Instagram (@2shotsandapintofficial) account updated.

Cheers!

The End is the Beginning…

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“Here I sit halfway to somewhere, thinking about what’s in front of me and what I left behind”

Mr. Big, Goin’ Where The Wind Blows

 

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…is not the end 😉

This song, perhaps, sums up the melancholy I felt when we hung out one last time in Cyrano’s old location.

I know I’m breaking one of my old rules by talking about an establishment instead of the drinks, but I think I’ve covered some of Cyrano’s drinks in a previous entry.

It’s just that I realized, as I looked at all the old familiar faces of the bar’s regulars, that no other place has been such a part of my “wine life” than Cyrano.

Just to give readers an idea on how the place is to regulars like myself, think Cheers… Everybody literally knows your name.

I started going to Cyrano in the middle of 2008, when I was working for a wine company. My then landlord and I decided to hang out, and since his office was in Legaspi Village, he took me to Cyrano.

It was then that I met Cyrano’s resident snarky bartender, Alex, who introduced me to the art of wine. See, I knew a little bit about wine before I met Alex, but he was instrumental in changing my perspective. I would have never perceived wine as a lifestyle without him. To this day, I owe coming up with the conclusion that wine involves gastronomy, culture, geography, and science to him.

Since then, Alex has become such a part of our lives; we even got him to attend our wedding (in his Wallace and Grommet tie).

Here are other things I will never forget from the ultimate neighborhood wine bar:

  • Imogen Heap – I’ve never heard of Imogen Heap before I started hanging out in Cyrano… Alex’s sister was playing it during one of my visits around October/November 2008. Heap’s album Speak for Yourself was still in my head when I met Chad in December 2008, so I will always equate Imogen with good memories (Alex, since then, has disallowed Imogen Heap to be played in the bar).
  • Wine Books – One of the proprietors loaned me a wine encyclopedia when I started to study wine. Unfortunately, the books (along with about 75% of my stuff) were damaged by Ondoy in 2009. The books, however, started me on the path of collecting wine literature (admittedly one of my favorite guilty pleasures).
  • Appreciation for Live Music –We got to watch Nino Alejandro and Lee Grane in Cyrano as they got really famous. It was also great to hear one of our friends, Aia De Leon, play in Cyrano’s “smoking lounge” (which is where Curator is now).
  • Victoria’s Secret – I theoretically knew about Victoria’s Secret’s legendary fashion shows, but Alex started a tradition of watching it in Cyrano since 2012. It then became our equivalent of the Super Bowl.
  • Eurovision – It’s so campy, it’s good. As with Victoria’s Secret, Alex held “public screenings” in the bar for a couple of years.
  • Anthony Bourdain – People reading this blog know about my “hero worship” of Bourdain for his no-nonsense take on food, drink, people, culture, and travel. I actually discovered him during one of Alex’s “film showing” evenings… I remember the first episode I ever saw: It was No Reservations in Naples (still one of my all time favorites).
  • Cyrano’s grassy patch – People have smoked there, passed out drunk on it (and were woken up by the barangay police in the morning), thrown up on it, and even brought dogs there (yep, Schrumpf was there!).
  • The glassware – Here’s a bit of trivia: Alex gets so anal about his glasses that he refuses to use them without extensively wiping off the watermarks. I can honestly say that he has some of the cleanest glassware in Makati.
  • The back of the bar – I felt so at home that I actually served drinks on occasion, and even helped myself to the wines in the refrigerator when Alex got too busy (before they hired Fiona, Alex’s equally catty bartender).
  • The PEOPLE – The moment guests walk in the door, they get introduced to everyone. I’ve met a German wino with a penchant for sweet wines, a woman who loaned me her glass with “Bitch” engraved on it (because it totally suited me), law students studying for the bar exams (yes, over wine), runners, musicians, comedians, businessmen, radio personalities, and Mr. S (a Japanese regular who, unfortunately, drowned earlier this year, RIP).

 

Old regulars marveling at how much our lives have changed made Cyrano’s last night in Legaspi Village particularly sentimental. We realized we don’t hang out until 4am anymore, we don’t drink like fish the way we used to, and we’re in bed by 12 midnight… Totally titos and titas of manila.

To further drive home our age, we decided to play power ballads of the 90s (which is the reason why Mr. Big is stuck in my head). After all, is there a better way to end an era than with lots of food, wine, friends, and belting out songs we grew up to?

Much as we titos and titas will miss the old place, we are also very excited to see it re-open in a different location: Cordova Building along Valero street in Salcedo Village. This should happen in a couple of months, so hey… We are totally looking forward to that. 😉

Cheers!

The Year That Was (2shots of 2015)

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“To take wine into our mouths is to savor a droplet of the river of human history” – Clifton Fadiman

 

If that is the case, then 2015 was the year I became a true historian. 😉

Here are a few of some of my favourite moments in 2015:

 

Tons of Travel

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Amsterdam, Sancerre, London… Oh My!

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Singapore, Hanoi, and Napa

I thought 2014 was an amazing traveling year (I wound up halfway around the world on the opposite hemisphere!), but 2015 was just as fun. I enjoyed being part of a Vietnamese tea ceremony and partaking in my favorite Singaporean libations. I loved drinking through London, Paris, Sancerre, and Amsterdam. It was also a blast to end the year with a trip to Napa.

 

Healthy Living

Sharing my discoveries on health benefits of different beverages (juicing, chia, tea, etc.) was a rewarding experience. If you meet me in person, I’m far from being an Adriana Lima (I always use her as my ideal body peg because man, she’s healthy and sexy), but I’ve been consistently happy with my yearly checkups… I just have to be more mindful about the stuff I eat with wine (eheh).

 

Friends and Family

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Titas Drinking Spritzers for Lunch (How The Mighty Have Fallen)

Some of my favourite articles included chronicling a wino friend’s pregnancy and looking back on the drinking habits of our youth. Chad, the rest of our family (I’m still eternally grateful for the surprise trip to Napa), and our spectacular friends have been loving and supportive (even drinking with me and sharing their discoveries, all in the name of beverage research of course) throughout 2015.

 

The Great Chilean Adventure

CHILE COLLAGE 1

Gillmore Winery, Valdivieso, Via Wines, Montes, Lapostolle, Caliterra

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Morande, Sta. Rita, Tremonte, Uva Dulce, and Valparaiso

 

CHILE COLLAGE 3

Checked One Thing on my Bucket List: A Visit to Concha Y Toro!

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My First Foray Into Becoming a Legit Non-Writer Writer 😉

Narrating my Chilean wine adventures throughout 2015 was marvelous. To this day, I still can’t get over the beautiful sights, wonderful people, and phenomenal wines of Chile. The icing on this cake was the Lifestyle Asia article about the trip (OMG I’m a legit non-writer writer now!)… It was fabulous to share my experience with so many people.

 

Local Flavours

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The Beginning of a Fantastic Pinoy Adventure!

The epiphany I had in looking in my own backyard for beverage inspiration has led to many adventures (from coffee to craft beer and everything in between). I’m not done writing about them, and I’m excited to talk about even more truly Filipino drinks (and explorations) to the world.

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Ville de la Reine (available in Wine Story branches)

That being said let me do something quintessentially “new year” with you, my dear readers, by toasting with a glass of Champagne. This bottle of Ville de la Reine is a creamy blanc de blancs (translation: made from 100% Chardonnay grapes) perfect for toasting as the clock strikes 12, or with tasty hors d’oeuvres.

Cheers to 2016!