Of Great Food, Good Company, and Gratitude: The KTG Christmas Party 2014

Thursday, December 18, 2014
Truth be told, given the reserved personality that I have, you can rarely find me associated with big groups. Quality over quantity, that has always been a mantra of sort that I always live by. Sounds like a pesky little unfriendly snob? Nah, it's just that only few people can dig my unconventional approach to life and my f*cker may-care-kind-of-attitude. So, choosing to just peacefully co-exist with the rest of the humanity is just the best bet.

That is why it came as a surprise, even for me that five years into food blogging, I am suddenly surrounded with people that renders my hand fingers not enough to count. Yet, given that these people are some of the nicest I have come across with, I feel grateful. We call our group the KTG Family.




K.T.G. stands for Kain Tulog Gang. People sometimes cringe for what the name of our group stands for whenever I am asked about it. And I understand such reaction. Not to offend anyone but I, myself wasn't a big fan of the name at first - it sounds too pedestrian. Until it grew on me. To this day, I am loving the beautiful irony.



Kain Tulog Gang as they say is very apt since most of us are food and lifestyle bloggers, majority of our group activities involve eating (kain) at restaurants and sleeping (tulog) during hotel staycations.

I am not sure how the formation of the group came to be. All I know is that I've been attending Spanky Enriquez' invites since 2010 with couple of blogger friends. Then, as years progress, new bloggers became visible in most of the gatherings. People come, people go. Year 2013, everything was set on stone, the KTG name was born.



The thing about KTG which I am most proud of is the fact that the relationship goes beyond blogging. Our concern for each other goes beyond the pages of our websites. Our respect for one another goes beyond the number of plates we could all muster to finish. We are a family.

For instance, I don't have a brother, but Chef Gio and Eugene make me feel like I've been blessed with two. And it's funny because when the three of us are together, it rarely concerns blogging - it's usually personal food trips and spur-of-the-moment trips to somewhere just to catch up. Just like the usual siblings, we fight, make amends, share dreams, and respect each others differences. Most importantly, we stick to each other no matter what.

During the time when I don't yet have a condo in Manila to go home to, the couple Richard and Irene never fail to let me know that their house is always open for me to crash in. Especially when dining engagements end late at night. I live at the Eastern part of the Metro, they are always concern about my ridiculous travel time just to get home.

Some photos courtesy of KTG Family and Friends


Richie and Rina on the other hand have always been generous to me in almost everything. They understand the quirks in my personality and they respect that. Also, they don't mind my occasional ranting about random things in my personal life. Yes, private person that I am, they do get an occasional peek of my personal life through heart to heart talks.

I consider Yen and Len my soul sisters in every sense of the word. They are like my college bestfriends I just met recently. Chuckie, despite his celebrity status, has always been kind to me, and to everyone for that matter. Abet, one of the nicest guys ever to walk the blogging community here in the Philippines.

Sumi is like a little sister to me, I can tell her anything and her response is always reassuring. B'ley and Guia in all their craziness glory are some of those who gets my humor and crazy antics. They never frown upon my alarmingly expansive knowledge in gay linggo, it cracks them up instead.

Gerry is the person I can have intelligent conversation with in a very cultured manner while throwing our middle fingers at the absurdities of life and of people at the same time. Jaz is like my kumare next door, willing to make chika-chika about random laughable things. I appreciate people who are kind to my parents, Jill and Queen Jane are just amazing in this league.

Some photos courtesy of KTG Family and Friends


Ray and Lynne, my ultimate peg for cool people who are currently rocking this thing called parenthood. I've met Fran and Jane during my early days of blogging. And it amazes me how these two ladies remain to be the same down to earth people despite the status that their blog already achieved. Same goes for Tippy and Pong, big time bloggers but really down to earth people, and they are funny too!

There are other members of KTG which I rarely get to be with but during brief encounters, they have always been nice and friendly to me.

And Spanx, well, I was told that he discovered YedyLicious when he was searching for blogs about PenPen Restaurant in Tomas Morato. Since then he'd become a good friend, a great dining companion, and a mentor. I am a prodigal daughter at times, always missing from the picture. My silence which commensurate to the personality of a boiled potato can be troubling for some, but Spanx never ditched me for those things. He's always been the gracious gentleman I've met way back 2010.

Photo courtesy of Chuckie of www.chuckiedreyfus.ph @chuckiedreyfus
Yes, KTG is a big group and we are still growing. That is why for this year's KTG Christmas party, we are thankful that kind people from F1 Hotel Manila offered their venue coupled with great selection of food and impeccable service to us. Such generosity, we appreciate to the core.


F1 Hotel Manila

Address: 32nd St, Taguig, 1634 Metro Manila, Philippines
Website: www.f1hotelmanila.com
Contact No.: 632-928-9888
Email Add.: inquiry@f1hotelsandresorts.com
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/f1hotelmanila

Twitter: @F1HotelManila
Instagram: @f1hotelmanila


Staying true to their tag line, F1 Hotel Manila is a Home of Happy Experience. Majority of us have already written blog posts about F1 Hotel Manila since we frequent the hotel for staycations and dining engagements. Together with his team, Marketing Guy, Pao Esmedilla who I love dearly was there all through out the party to cater to our needs.




During the KTG Christmas Party, F1 Hotel team was generous enough to provide us with a big function room where we held the party. They also prepared a buffet spread for everyone to enjoy. 

While these things alone are noteworthy enough, what served as the icing on top of the cake was when Mr. Tony Co, General Manager of F1 Hotel delivered his welcoming remarks. Amidst his speech filled with gratitude, he mentioned that we bloggers does not just helped F1 Hotel, we also helped his family by the virtue of undying support for his work. 

It was a heartwarming speech meant not to stroke our egos. It was a dauntless exposure of such vulnerability that I rarely hear from someone of that stature. To say that I was touched would be an understatement.




Torch Restaurant
Branches and Contact Nos.: 
- 63 Connecticut St. Greenhills, San Juan, 1208 (Tel No.: 477-3771)
- Ground Floor UP Town Center, Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City (Tel No.: 287-8675)
- 2nd Level Garden Restaurants, Trinoma, ESDA cor. North Ave., Quezon City
Email Adds.: torch1208@yahoo.com, torch1208@gmail.com
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/torchph
Instagram: @torchresto
Twitter: @TorchResto

Another generous sponsor of our party was Torch. This kickass restaurant which flagship store is located in Greenhills remains to be one of the favorite restaurants of majority of KTG. Mr. Mike Chua of Torch provided us with Paella Neapolitana (Despite the absence of socarrat, it's still amazing!), Chilean Seabass in Garlic Butter Miso (I'm not big on fish, but this one is the bomb!), and Cream Cake.




Salini's Boneless Cebu Lechon Belly

Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/salinishoglog

Instagram: @salshoglog
Contact No.: 0998 994 6095


The first time I tried Salini's Boneless Lechon Belly was when Richie invited me to a Sunday brunch at Richard's place. I was blown away with porcini bliss. So, when Richie pitched that Chef Ilan Bacher and Mikel Sala of Salini's were generous enough to provide us with their lechon belly, I knew from the get go that our KTG Family will fall in love with it. Based on their reaction, I know they did.

You see, I have tried decent number of lechon belly in this lifetime but Salini's is just different. It is the kind of dish in which the passion and love of the maker you can taste in every strand of the pork.



Neil's Kitchen

Address: Lot C 701 and 704 Westgate Filinvest, Alabang Muntinlupa City

Contact Nos.: 7108962 / 09285247404 / 09178300190
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/neilskitchen.bonellis
Email Add.: neils.kitchen@yahoo.com


Since KTG Christmas party is also considered as our Thanksgiving dinner, we are thankful to Neil's Kitchen for providing us with one big Roast Turkey, a staple on events like this. It's grandness was a clear indication that it will be one of the stars of the night from the get go.

Neil's Kitchen also offers other products such as US Black Angus Rib Eye Roast Beef, Lechon with 5 sauces & 2 wraps, Truffle Liver Pate & Truffle Cream Cheese which sound interesting.



The Plaza Premium Baked Ham

Website: www.theplazapremiumbakedham.com

Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/theplazapremiumbakedham
Contact Nos.: 632-890-8446 / 632-843-4267


I have to admit that I am more than happy with the lechon belly and turkey on my plate, alongside the dishes that F1 Hotel prepared to us. Yet, when I took a bite of the Plaza Ham, it reminded me of the reason why this established brand is loved by many including myself.

The generous team of Plaza Ham lead by Karla was generous enough to provide us with their Paza Hamwich. This was one of the dishes I already featured here on the blog during on of Ultimate Taste Test stint and to this day, they still have my respect.



Vita Coco Coconut Water

Website: www.vitacoco.com/

Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/vitacocoph
Twitter: @vitacocoph
Instagram: @vitacocoph


One of the sponsors that dueled the merriment of the night was undoubtedly Vita Coco Coconut Water as they provide unlimited cocktail drinks. What made their cocktail drinks special was the fact that each was concocted with Vita Coconut Water. I was a little adamant at first but I ended up consuming glasses upon glasses of their Vita Summer and Daquiri. I also tried the Vita Mojito but the Summer variant remained to be my favorite that night.



True to the essence of traditional Pinoy Christmas party, we also had Monito/Monita exchange gift facilitated by our beloved The Pickiest Eater. Call me shallow but I am one of those who gets giddy over exchange gift tradition. I love that this practice allows no one to go home without gift during party. 

We had the "bunutan" online and my monito was Vlad. His wishlist was a bit vague because he just asked for CD/DVD/Magazine, no particular title. I did a little bit of stalking through his Facebook and IG and upon seeing his #Shelfie posts which shows a slight resemblance to the kind of books I also read, I took the liberty to pick a book for him instead.

I got him The Food Snob's Dictionary: An Essential Lexicon of Gastronomical Knowledge by David Kamp and Marion Rosenfeld. I was bothered for a while that I might offend Vlad with the title of the book bearing the word "Food Snob" but my confidence in his intelligence steeled my resolve to go for it.

This title which I also enjoyed reading myself is a combination of wit and humor - informative and downright entertaining. There are some entries which should be taken with a grain of salt because well, those are meant to crack one's up.




The one who picked me for her monita on the other hand was my good friend The Mommist. The book titles I indicated on my wishlist were not yet to be found in the bookstores so she gave me a fully Booked GC instead. Thanks, Len

KTG Famiy is filled with generous people that aside from the gifts I got from our monito/monita, there were also gifts from some KTG members. 

Muchos gracias, Queen Jane for the birthday and Christmas gifts! Jane, you never fail to make my Christmas as sweet as you! Guia, I am not sure if you're aware but yes, I am a sucker for hand creams and lotions. Jill, don't worry, I did not eat the lolly soap despite its enticing appearance. Jeeves and Joko, may your love for each other be as sweet as your gifts for us. And thank you for bringing the gifts from Blooey and the rest of our friends at Media Sense.

Jaz and Eric, spreading the love of KTG for two years in a row! Kudos! Love the bag last year, love the mug this year! Chuckie and Yen, you guys are amazing! I am a sucker for anything which has my name on it, shoot me! Chef Gio, thank you for your rare public appearance, I love you to the core, my brother! Richard and Irene, QDB Cheesecake. You. Nailed. It.

Maraming maraming salamat sa inyo!



The next day, I woke up with a  messy room filled with gifts from the night before. Messy room is not the sight I want to deal with especially during early in the morning. Yet, this kind of beautiful mess was a blessing. I am humbled and thankful.

The generosity of the sponsors was not boxed within the confine of F1 Hotel during the party. Some of them were generous enough to make some gift packs for the KTG Family to take home to. We felt so loved!



The Green Baker

Contact Nos.: +63.998-984.2339 ; +63.2-433.3741

Email add.: somade.orders@gmail.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/thegreenbakerph
Instagram: @thegreenbaker

My friend The Hefty Foodie swear by the goodness of the Green Baker's Healthy Cookies and I have to agree with him. These babies in different flavors such as Malunggay Cookie, Almond Ginger, Pinatubo Cookie (Dark chocolate and chili), Lemon Basil, Garlic Cookie, and Carrot Squash are all amazing.

My favorite among the flavors are the Dark Chocolate Pinatubo for its rich chocolate taste with a spicy kick and the Almond Ginger because I love anything with ginger. That is not to say that the other flavors are less than stellar because seriously, it's uniqueness of flavors alone is enough for me to give them two thumbs up.



As if the free flow of cocktail drinks weren't enough, generous people from Vita Coco gave us box of their coconut water each. Amazing, these people! 

At home we have several coconut trees so I am not big on having store brought pre-packed coconut water. But when we talk about convenience, then I will simply go for Vita Coco because its taste is really close to the real coconut water fresh from the tree.



Zomato

Website: www.zomato.com

Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/zomato

Zomato's gift came as a surprise - well at least for me. As mentioned, I love gifts with my name on it, needless to say, I fell in love with Zomato's gift from the get go. I also love that they got my name right, which rarely happens given the name I have (Story of my life.)




Villa Del Conte

Branches: 3F, Shangri-La Plaza Mall; 2F Greenbelt5; UG Robinsons Magnolia; GF Resorts World Manila; LG Alabang Town Center

Contact Nos.: +632 6216101/ +632 8932575
Email Add.: info@villadelcontecioccolato.com
Website: www.villadelcontecioccolato.com/
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/VillaDelContePh
Instagram: @VilladelConte
Twitter: @VilladelConte


I have always been a fan of Villa del Conte Chocolates that is why I am glad that they were kind enough to provide gift bags for the KTG Family. I rarely write about chocolates here at YedyLicious because I am picky when it comes to brands. I have couple of blog posts about Villa del Conte, so that says a lot about my love for them.




Laurin

Available in: ECHOstore Salcedo and Serendra, Nurture Nook Shop, The Flow Shop

Website: www.laurinmct.com
Facebook: Laurin
Twitter: @mylaurin
Instagram: @my_laurin


Yen informed us that kindly peeps behind Laurin were kind enough to provide bottles of Laurin's Pure Coconut Oil for KTG. I read somewhere that Coconut Oil is way better than Olive oil when it comes to cooking. I have tried several cooking oils which I am okay with but a new brand is always a welcome change, hence I am excited to try Laurin.


Photo courtesy of Yen Dreyfus of tummytraveler.ph @yendreyfus
Torch Restaurant also provided take home GCs for us. They are launching new items soon, and I am excited to pay them a visit one of these days. We have to thank fellow KTG, Bea for hooking us up with Torch.

Since this season is a time for sharing, KTG prepared some giveaways for the guests and sponsors. For that we say thank you to Torch, Mitsuyado Sei-Men, King Chef, Ippudo, Teddy’s Bigger Burgers, Banzai, Ryu Ramen Curry, The Cheesesteak Shop, Nuat Thai, and Urban Ashram Yoga.
 


The KTG Christmas party was a night of generosity, kindness, and good memories that I will carry in my heart.

We couldn't thank enough the sponsors for their generosity and for embracing our KTG family. It is rare to find people in this industry who are willing to build a lasting relationship beyond blogging. Maraming salamat.

To the new babies of Papa Bear Richie, the KTG new members, welcome to the family! To the guests, it's nice to meet everyone! To the ladies of The Soshal Network, you rocked my world! Bro. JC Libiran, thank you so much for blessing our group with your heartwarming prayer. 

Photo courtesy of Spanky Enriquez
I have to admit that I rarely meet up with KTG for the past few months since I've been caught up with my personal life and other responsibilities outside the world wide web. Despite that, I find comfort that just like a true family, when I am ready to return, KTG will be there. My KTG Family will be there. Thank you, KTG. 


Happy Holidays, everyone!
20 comments on "Of Great Food, Good Company, and Gratitude: The KTG Christmas Party 2014"
  1. Long read, but it was worth it :) I miss your stories for the past days. Nice to read personal post like this one.

    You are lucky to have family through blogging. I never thought there's a community for that. You are blessed, Yedy.

    Merry Christmas to you and to everyone in the Philippines.

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    1. Wow! That's fast, Jay. Thank you for your comment.

      Noticed some hitch, sorry, drunk writing. Will edit when sober. But I'm glad you enjoyed this post.

      Happy Holidays to you and your family wherever you guys are!

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  2. Great post as always, dear Yedy! <3 It was nice seeing you even though we didn't get to talk much. But I want you to know that I am so happy that we have gotten closer considerably. Love you always! :-*

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    1. Hi Jane, I am so blessed to have known you and the rest of the GOppets. You're a blessing to me. Love you to the moon and back :)

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  3. Thanks for the book. No I'm not offended by the "food snob" title. It's actually the type of book that I would read :) Merry Christmas!

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    1. Hi Vlad, thank you! I'm happy you're cool with the book. Happy Holidays to you :)

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  4. This was such a touching post dear Yedy! I'm happy for the others and how we all appreciate each other's gifts and quirkiness in KTG! Like you I really consider it to be a blessing to included by Spanky considering how accomplished you all are in the world of blogging. I'm so glad that we get to talk more because I may have discovered another true "kumare" in KTG. Thank you again and cheers :)

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    1. Mareng Jaz! I'm equally happy that we've gotten closer. You know how I always enjoy the chika-chika and I am looking forward to more years of friendship with you and Eric :) Happy Holidays!

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    1. Love you to bits, Len! See you soon! :)

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  6. So sweeet! <3 I was just smiling all the way while I was reading it. :) Merry Christmas!! *BIG HUG* :)

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    1. HI Jill, thank you! Happy Holidays to you and your family. Sending a virtual tight hug to you, sweetie! :)

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  7. I love you, Yeds! Happy Christmas!

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    1. Love you B'ley! Happy Holidays! See you soon :)

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  8. I love being with you guys, miss you Yedy! Chikka time soon, hehe! Mwaaahhh! :)

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    1. Guia, I can't wait to bond with you! It's been a while. I want that talk alongside hearty laughter we always have before :) Happy Holidays and see you soon! :)

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  9. So sweet Yeds! You are one of the sweetest and nicest blogger that I know in this universe and I love you for that <3 So sad we missed this year's party! Hope to catch up with you soon ok?

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    1. Hi Fran, we miss you here in Manila! Thank you for your kind words. You know you're one of those I always look up to in this community. I remember one event at Marriot Hotel way back, I might have looked like the anti-social kid at one corner and you invited me to sit with you and Paul. Such kindness, I can never forget. Thank you for being the kind person that you are. You know I love you and I am looking forward seeing you and Paul soon. Happy Holidays! :)

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  10. Grabe, puro big time bloggers magkakasama sa isang group! It's nice to know na you are all friendz with each other Ms. Yedy. I thought magkaka-competensya kayong lahat. Merry Xmas po, Ms. Yedy!!!!!

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  11. Happy new year Yedy! Just dropping by.. Great post! :)

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