Stinky shirt days.

I don’t like how my shirt smells. It’s not that unpleasant but it has this noticeably sharp, musky scent, like I spent the entire day outdoors and had been sweating for hours. Except I haven’t worn it yet.

The laundromat that does our clothes had been very disappointing lately. The shop closes really early — as early as 4pm, although they say they close at 5. Five pm is still way too early for a laundromat to close, at any rate. Sometimes, they were even closed all day on weekends, even though we were scheduled to pick up our laundry on those days.

And now, our clothes didn’t smell like they’ve been washed properly. Time to try a new laundromat.

There are too many laundry shops in Mandaluyong; sometimes, the shops are next to each other. I had wondered before if people in Mandaluyong are adverse to doing their own laundry. Problem is, we don’t like the two shops near our apartment. The first once has had several instances of switching our clothes with those of other clients, and now this other one isn’t cleaning our clothes well.

Despite the number of laundromats in our area, nearly all of them are situated at least 500 meters away. That’s an unfortunate hassle if you’re carrying nearly 10 kilos worth of laundry, but what can we do?

If necessary, we could do our own laundry. It’s not a chore any of the four occupants of the apartment are fond of doing, but if we were wealthy enough to buy new underwear whenever we run out of clean ones, the four of us wouldn’t be living together to share the rent.

That pretty much forces us to hire someone else do our laundry, plus two other facts: (1) the building charges a lot for water, and (2) the apartment has a ridiculously small laundry area. I could very easily cover the entire laundry area with just my socks.

Earlier, I saw that our hamper is nearly full again. Bern and I are also thinking about having the last batch of clothes washed another time to remove the stink.

The way my shirt smells really bothers me.

Street food na pina-sosyal.

Macy contacted me and asked for a tarot reading last Friday. We finished around midnight and she offered to drive Bern and I home. I suggested we have a night cap first at Lime 88, which was really near our apartment.

I’ve heard of Lime 88 from another friend, Alvin. He also heard of it from his cousin, who said it featured street food presented in fancy ways. The restaurant’s logo describes it plainly: Street Food na Pina-Sosyal. It turned out Macy was also familiar with the place, and had been there before.

A few days before, Bern and I saw Lime 88 when we went to China Bank which was at the same street the restaurant was in. Lime 88 open at 6pm, so we could only see the restaurant from the outside back then. It was really just a house converted into an eating place.

There was a bar outside, an airconditioned section, and several outside table for smokers. When we got there, the speakers were playing various minor “alternative” hits from the 90s and 00s. The playlist sounded like it came from a mid-twenties corporate type who fancied himself as a rocker.

I contacted Leo to bring Ed and Markee over from the apartment and join us. While waiting for them, we tried some of the food and the cocktails.

Lime 88 sells decent cocktails at rather cheap prices (P60-P85 a glass). The Chocnut martini Bern got was pretty good. I forgot the name of what I ordered (was it Dare to Chill?) but it was decent: vodka, pineapple juice and melon liquer. Macy had a Jack Coke, except that she found it tasted of Bacardi rather than Jack Daniels.

We ordered their version of kwek-kwek: quail’s eggs dipped in orange-colored batter and deep-fried. Lime 88 kwek-kwek removed the food color, used tempura batter to wrap the eggs and served it vinegar and tempura dip. The eggs came in a martini glass with an orchid. Cute.

Kwek-kwek from Lime 88 Kwek-kwek from Lime 88

When the other three arrived, they also ordered several drinks and a few dishes, including a fried street food sampler, which was fish balls, squid balls and kikiam fried on bamboo sticks; the sticks were arranged radially on a large plate, decorated by teriyaki sauce (I think).

I also ordered fresh oysters soaked in youghurt and vinegar, which chopped onions and green mangoes. Those were served in small shot glasses. The dish makes for a good appetizer, except it turns out only Bern and I are willing to try raw oysters. You can’t really eat the thing from a shot glass in one go; kinilaw is too sour to be gulped suddenly.

But the point of the place is the presentation. The kinilaw would have been excellent if served on a plate to accompany pork barbecue and steamed rice, but it wouldn’t look as fancy.

The dish we all enjoyed was the tinapa pasta: tinapa flakes were sauteed in oil with garlic and onion. It was coated to penne and served with a little pesto sauce. Markee and I decided to remember how the dish was made so we could replicate it at home.

Food in Lime 88 are relatively inexpensive, though you’re actually paying more for the fancy plating more than the dish itself. The staff were a little lousy (sending Leo and Ed’s drinks to a different table causing them to repeatedly follow up the order), but friendly and accommodating (having Markee as the client will test a restaurant staff’s patience sometimes definitely).

In the end, we went there for the novelty of it all. We might go back with other friends, just so they could also be impressed with kwek-kwek in martini glasses, but it wasn’t the first place I would go to if I was looking for something more substantial.

Hospital visit.

I was about to heat water for the second batch of pasta when Mond approached me and asked help to bring Leo to the hospital. Mond and Leo are my flatmates, and Leo had been ill all afternoon. Less than an hour ago, I hear Leo throwing up again, and I already asked Mond if we should bring him to a doctor.

There was a man who just died at the Emergency Room when we arrived at the hospital. His body was on a gurney by the door of the ER, with his wife next to him and crying. His head had not been covered yet. I looked away and told Mond and Leo that maybe it’s not yet a good idea to approach the ER.

A minute later, I saw the gurney pushed away from the ER; the man’s face was finally covered. Mond and I accompanied Leo to the ER to have a doctor see him; I went out when we were told Leo could only have one companion with him. It felt eerie, sitting there alone at the near-empty waiting are for visitors.

Today was my weirdest birthday ever, so far.