Tuesday, February 13, 2007


I watched the teams fill up the balloons with air, and then heat it up with the hot flames. They filled up, took shape, and flew away. Human weight, however, is the anti-thesis of what the balloon teams seem to do. We eat, put food into our mouths, chew, swallow, it is digested and liquefied, nutrients are absorbed, then passed through our colons and eventually the waste is released. No air is pumped into our stomachs, no matches lit down our throats. Our corporeal masses grow when we put in food, especially when we don’t use up any of the energy. I think the balloons have a better deal.

Last Saturday, we didn’t live on aerial acrobatics alone. Other than our craving for coffee after the first lift off at 8 a.m., we also wanted something substantial. Blogger Anton of Our Awesome Planet had the group scheduled for breakfast at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post (VFW) Canteen, where we dined on SUBSTANTIAL American “diner” food: pancakes, eggs benedict, ham, biscuits and gravy. I think a few folks wanted to try their famous “shit on a shingle”, a piece of bread smothered in sausage and gravy. I prefer the biscuits and gravy over SOAS, or the meatloaf (all meat! With homemade mashed potatoes!). But I went ahead with my full order of eggs benedict, yolk perfectly runny, the sauce oozing with butter. Our group paid an average of P200 for our meals with coffee. Service was spotty, but the place was busy with our group of 20 to 30 pax.

After the balloon popping and paragliders, we went on a separate excursion from the main group and headed to Bohemia, a new restaurant on MacArthur Highway, corner of Fields Avenue. A had suggested trying it out on the recommendation of a Czech friend of his. Plus we knew that A has this long standing interest in Eastern European culture/history/beer. We’re easy, just feed us.

Bohemia is run by Frank Krejci, an American/Czech chef with an interesting past. There’s a write-up about him on the wall of the outer garden area, where you can read about his long and winding career path, from musician to nurse to opening up several European style bistros around Florida, and now, the Philippines. Frank was kind enough to chat with our group, especially when A tested his rusty Polish/Czech on Frank to order a beer or two and other drinks. We learned how he set up his own smoke room for kielbasas and sausages, bakes the bread (try out the rye! It’s close to divine, spread with the cheese reminiscent of the Bavarian obatza I had in Munich last year); I was expecting him to say he makes his own cheese and grows all the vegetables, but that was not to be. But there’s a wonderful artisinal nature of his food that is perfect for those who want to eat homemade cooking infused with love. In our group, we all wanted to try the pirogis, the potato pancakes, the kielbasa, and potato dumplings. We also got to taste the hearty potato soup (notice a theme?), the weiner schnitzels, pork loin, sauerkraut, and the beer (of course!). Heavy, carby, and definitely made us sit a bit lower in our chairs, like slugs. Sleepy slugs, happy from all the good food. To perk us up, Frank gave us a shot glass of the Czech liquer: Beker√≥vka, a clove infused drink that made us all sit up straighter. It was a highlight of the day. Warm, a shot of sunset.

Directions: from the Main gate of Clark Airbase, take a left on Friendship Avenue, drive under 1 km down the road till you pass Oasis Hotel, and look out for an abandoned 3 story building. You should see the sign for Blue Boar Inn, turn right on that street and you'll see VFW in front of you. Parking is behind the abandoned building.

Mabanta Arcade, Balibago, Angeles City


christine said...

Thanks again for the tip on Bohemia! It came just in time too, because most restaurants in Angelese are closed on Mondays and Bohemia stays open (they close on Sundays instead)! Loved the potato pancakes, potato and dill soup and goulash. The kielbasa's were pretty good too. :)

Senor Enrique said...

Hi Mila!

I love Eggs Benedict and usually have it for brunch! I wonder if they serve Sloppy Joe's as well. I will make a note of this restaurant in ase I find myself in Clark.

I'm not too fond of Eastern European cuisine. There's a popular neighborhood in Manhattan's Lower Eastside with rows of such eateries near the Indian food restaurants.

I will join one of Anton's food trips one of these days!

Mila Tan said...

Good to know you got to try it Nena!

Hi Senor Enrique, I don't recall if VFW does a sloppy joe, but their eggs benedict is definitely one of the best locally.

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