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Menudo for Dutchie and a No-Phone TEXAS Getaway


By: Sarah


The goal of a getaway trip is to relax, but when you realized you left your phone at home, it was the worst week of my life. It was not about breaking up with your phone for a week, I simply forgot my phone, I thought I had it in my purse, I just couldn’t believe I didn’t check calls, texts, FB messages. No turning back to retrieve my phone, we wouldn’t make it to our 7 am flight to Texas. The feeling was so sickening, I felt worse, defeated, helpless and this technology disconnect, not for a day, but for a week, was a disaster. The negative emotions kept escalating day by day, minute by minute. My digital-free journey was a first..oh well, life goes on and I gave up battling frustration, worry, anxiety.

A much better trip this time to Texas post Covid restrictions. And really, everything is big in Texas! And we got to experience, on a drizzling day, the return of the month-long 2022 Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo (Houston’s signature event). Big-name Musical Performances, Professional Cowboys, Carnival rides and foods, bazaar…huge crowds of no age restrictions fans flocked at the NRG Stadium. I started to feel better and enjoying the sights and sounds. My Richmond-based cousin expressed, “the scale of this Rodeo even is hard to imagine until you’ve attended”…so glad we booked our trip in March.

It was also a big birthday celebration for my wonderful cousin Dutchie. She and hubby Ray invited families and close friends for a late afternoon birthday party. So we planned the menu, and decided on Grilled Rib eye Steaks, Menudo, Pancit Palabok (for long life, of course), salad greens, and for dessert, my yummy Caramel Cake and Chocolate Cake. It was one busy and fun day to evening affair…complete with professional sound equipment for Karaoke singing. And who says you can’t have an enjoyable vacation without your phone, LOL.


2-3 lbs pork, diced (usually buy boneless pork shoulder, but this takes longer to cook)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons soy sauce
oil 1 medium onion, sliced
4 pcs tomatoes, sliced
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 can 8 oz tomato sauce
½ cup Jufran banana ketchup
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Water, add as needed, start with
1 cup water to boil the pork meat
Sugar, salt, black pepper, as needed
Soy sauce, as needed
3-4 pcs red potatoes, cut into cubes, pan fry in a separate skillet till almost tender
3-4 pcs carrots, cut into cubes
1 pc bell pepper, cut into cubes
4-6 pcs hotdogs, sliced
And a can of garbanzos (my cousin insists on removing the skin, more work, oh yes)

In a Ziploc, Marinate pork in lemon juice and soy sauce for a minimum of 2 hours or overnight in fridge.

Heat oil, saute onion first, add tomatoes and garlic. Add marinated pork, stir and cover till boiling. Add tomato sauce, banana catsup, tomato paste and water. Cook pork till fork tender (I prefer very tender), may add more water, stirring from time to time. Keep mixture covered.

When pork is of desired tenderness, add carrots, bell pepper, hotdog, pan fried potatoes and garbanzos. Adjust seasonings: salt, sugar, black pepper, soy sauce.


500 grams SUPER Q Palabok noodles, soak in water for 10 min. Boil 8 to 10 min until tender. Turn off heat. Stir to loosen (don’t drain) and leave in hot water for 15 to 30 min. Drain, set aside.

SAUCE: 300 grams ground pork, cook with 1/2 cup water till dries and oil is rendered, cook till light brown add more achuete oil (achuete seeds simmered in hot oil), about 1/4 cup or 1tbsp achuete powder

1 large onion, minced, saute
6 cloves – garlic, minced, saute
½ cup (about 3-4pcs tinapa) – tinapa flakes
1 shrimp broth cube
3 tablespoons crab paste
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
2-3 tablespoons fish sauce
1 cup crushed chicharon

Remove some meat for topping Add 5 cups water (OR MORE), boil, then taste/adjust salt or fish sauce Add slurry 1/4 cup cornstarch diluted in 1/3 cup water Keep stirring until consistency is thick. Take out a portion of the sauce for topping

Add the presoaked noodles, stir to coat well with sauce. Transfer mixture into your serving plate. Pour reserved sauce on top then garnish.

– 4 pcs boiled eggs, sliced (round orwedges)
– Chicharon, crushed
– Tinapa flakes
– Pan fried shirmps – Toasted garlic
– Spring onion – Kalamansi
Lesson Learned: Check your phones before leaving on a jet plane.

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