I was playing Paula Cole’s classic 1997 album This Fire on the drive to Paranaque. We were looking for Linamnam MNL, a small home-based restaurant serving an 11-course tasting menu, which was given glowing recommendations by Rollypolyoly and Wakicaboose, . In the first track of the album, Paula Cole sings the fantastic song “Tiger” with the growling lyrics:
“AYAYAY! AYAYAY! AYAYAYAYAY! HAYAYAY! HAYAYAY! HAYAYAYAYAYAYAY!”
“Ay… galit sya?” Armando Gormano exclaimed. On further googling we would learn that HAYAYAYAYAY was actually “High and noon! High and noon! High and noon!”
Paula Cole is mostly known for “I Don’t Want To Wait” popularized by Dawson’s Creek, and her Buddhist convictions to not shave her armpits. Her pop stardom quickly fizzled after the ninety’s, but she has been regularly releasing great albums since then without much fanfare. Old concerts in Youtube reveals a brilliant vocal powerhouse of a performer who can beatbox, play all sorts of instruments, move around the stage with grace, and whistle entire verses effortlessly. It would have been fun and intense to watch her live in concert at her peak.
We were welcomed by Chef Don Baldosano, who was a former Junior Masterchef contestant. Since the pandemic he would reserve the entire garden of his house for only one table of diners. Chef prepared each dish while we waited, after which he would present it to our table, and leave to prepare the next dish. And so on until the 11 dishes were completed. Each small dish was described meticulously down to what the pig was eating while he was waiting to be butchered (peanuts and carrots to give sweetness). It was a memory test after each presentation.
“What’s the description again?” Armando Gormano asked. I attempted to echo Chef:
“Uhmm… 2-month old pig named Christian who was only fed peanuts and carrots… hogtied, hit on the head with a hammer, then thrown to the grinder while he was still alive and oinking in pain. Served with fresh human blood for more vitamins and minerals.”
I was JOKING. I was obviously following the Armie Hammer stories of cannibalism.
We ooh-ed and aah-ed after the tinapa tart appetizer, realizing flavors we never thought existed. Since then the gustatory experience just escalated, culminating in the latik turon and tamarind-strawberry-vinegar ice cream. The menu changes every week, so no two experiences are the same. So if we want more of that ice cream we need to eat there more often for greater chances of randomization!