Archive for September, 2009

27
Sep
09

AFTER THE RAIN

Today, I rose early from bed to check the clouds. As I opened our door, it’s still a bit dusky but  it’s so comforting to see a bloom after an incessant downpour.

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I woke up yesterday with nothing unusual on my weekend mornings. Everything was fine until after lunch time.  I’m just glad my wife chose not to attend to her work. She advised her students the night before that she’ll be absent for the reason that they’re supposed to have only one surgical operation for their entire 8-hour shift and the doctor on duty is noted for being strict on not allowing clinical instructors to have their nursing students observe and/or assist on cases.  And man, her decision came out to be her wisest to date and served as a blessing in disguise for her and her class to avoid the rampage of typhoon ONDOY.

My wife, Tina, our son Gabby and I were planning to go on another family bonding somewhere in the Metro but we noticed that Mr. Sun hasn’t shown his might.  Heavy rains  kept us curling up in bed. We thought it was an ordinary rainy day.  We just enjoyed steaming hot mugs of coffee, hot chocolate for our 5-year-old and Goldilocks’  plain puto (rice cakes) while watching TV and facebooking.

We honestly didn’t expect that typhoon Ondoy will soak the entire Metro Manila in heavy floods. We caught early news on TV and saw its effects on stranded individuals on streets and on the roofs of their homes. Floods were heaviest more than chest-deep at most areas of the city.

It was very depressing to watch on news a wheelchair-borne man wearing raincoat who was trying to cross a flooded main street amidst the traffic.  Watching children and elderlies who were still left unrescued wasn’t easy;  much more seeing those who were unfortunate to succumb to death.

Phone calls and messages via YM and SMS kept me busy as my relatives verified our safety. My mom who’s in UAE texted me to inquire if we’re OK; my aunt in the US  also called my dad in Pasig City to check them. The compound where my paternal grandmother and other relatives in Marikina live and the house of my uncle and cousins in Karangalan Village in Pasig-Cainta were all devastated by the floods.  

My family and I with our household help were most blessed to have chicken adobo and rice for dinner. Although we had it with candle lights, as power was only restored around 9PM in our place in Quezon City, I still feel so lucky and grateful we had something on our plate and that we’re kept dry, and we’re intact.  I and my family are so thankful that we decided to be home and remained safe without floods on our streets.  My wife and I encouraged our son to pray and to thank the good Lord for so much blessings.

I wish authorities would do more to extend help to afflicted families.

Bravo to those multinational companies, Filipinos here and abroad and all people who are pledging their monetary and in-kind help via NGOs and TV stations that are putting in fund raising drives.  May God bless you a thousand fold.

Let us continue to pray for all those who are impaired by typhoon Ondoy.

How are you and your families? 

I hope you’re safe too.

25
Sep
09

FINALIST

I am so glad to be one of the eight finalists of  2009 Philippine Blog Awards under the Family & Living Category. Congratulations to my co-bloggers who also made it to the list but I give my hats off too, to my team mates on this blog, none other than my wife, Tina and our son, Gabby!  They really inspire me more than anyone else :D 

I’d also like to thank my readers, whom I deeply considered as my BLOG BUDDIES;  those who frequent this site; those who appreciate my family’s activities – you just don’t know how HAPPY I am whenever you leave comments on my posts. MARAMING SALAMAT PO!   MABUHAY PO KAYO!

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Although most of my posts revolve on food and dining which we, as a family enjoy best, I put up this blog with the sole reason : to document our family’s adventures not only on various tables, but wherever our feet lead us to. I certainly hope that when my preschooler son learns to read fluently, he will find time to reminisce the days we spent with each other by browsing again the posts in this blog.  

Some collect photographs, I and my family collect MEMORIES :D  And most of them are kept intact here.

 

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Other than my blog nomination under Family and Living category, I have also submitted 4 blog post-entries for the TOP 10 BEST POSTS of the YEAR award.

I wish to win of course,  but if luck won’t be on my side, I’ll be happy to meet the winner/s and my co-bloggers at the awards night!  See you on October 09, 2009! God bless.

I AM SO PROUD TO BE A FILIPINO BLOGGER.

MABUHAY ANG PINOY BLOGGERS! :D

25
Sep
09

GLITZ & FLAVOR

Dear Gabby,

Yesterday, your mom, Tina escorted me to the M.E.T.R.O. Awards conducted my the Class 4H4 of College of Tourism, Hospitality Management of University of Sto Tomas which was held at the Le Pavillon, Pasay City.  I was invited several weeks ago to be one of the foodie judges to this event that aimed to recognize the best restaurants in the city.

Sorry, anak, we didn’t bring you to the event. Your mom and I know as early as now,  you aspire to become a chef and/or a restaurateur one day and this could have inspired you more; but it wasn’t really meant for preschoolers yet. :D

We arrived at the venue from Quezon City at few minutes after two in the afternoon.  Your mom and I were surprised at how these graduating class of CTHM-UST have geared so much for the event. Dress-to-kill lahat sila, anak!  :D They all looked amazing! The ladies were beautiful wearing identical gowns in two-shades of blue with matching earrings and the guys were dashing in their tux similar to the tiniest details like their bow ties. They really have prepared for such activity.

But when the ladies at the reception line greeted us like, “Good afternoon, Sir, Ma’m, PARENTS PO BA KAYO?”  Ouch!  “Napakasakit, Kuya Eddie”,  Do we really looked that old (no pun intended) ?  We really are parents, but not of college student/s  yet!

Tina and I looked at each other and giggled!  She whispered to me, “At least, hindi grandparents!” :D

Anyway, we were ushered to our table by the person who invited me, Ferdinand Azogue, one of the events organizers and part of their class.

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That was one of those 2 Chef Tony’s popcorn given to us as we entered the venue. Remember we brought it home to you as pasalubong? :D  It felt good seated at a table with such label.

The program started on the dot!  Several performances of the college students led to the awarding ceremonies proper.

I was told that being one of those judges, who answered their survey forms of the best restos in the Metro weeks before the event, I should also present an award on stage!  It was OK until your mom was also asked to accompany me to give the award for Best Restaurant in Pasig City.  Tina didn’t expect it that  she’ll join me on stage! Nevertheless, we pulled it through.  CAFE JUANITA won in that category.

Your mom and I were constantly clapping at our seats when the restaurants I’ve chosen were called one by one on stage! It seemed that my personal preference also reflected that of the panel. The other judges were restaurateur like Steve Tamayo, famous food bloggers, a UST-CTHM Chef & Professor, and other remarkable people in the industry of food and dining.

The winners are :  Red of Makati Shangri la for the city of Makati; Heat of EDSA Shangri la for the city of Mandaluyong, Spiral of Sofitel Philippine Plaza for Pasay City, Cafe Ysabel for San Juan, 145 Fahrenheit for Quezon City, Aubergine for Taguig.   Chef Laudico’s Bistro Filipino also won the Little Rascal Award for being the best restaurant that caters to family and children.  Aubergine again for the Romeo and Juliet Award having the most romantic ambiance. Mamou at the Fort for the Best New Guy Award, Corner Tree Cafe at Jupiter Street for The Green Mind Award;  Circles Events Cafe of Makati Shangri la for the Sky High’s the Limit Award for being the best buffet resto.  Bizu Patisserie for being the best dessert place won the The Sweet Kiss Award.  But the top awards of the night went to Cafe Ysabel, Bronze Plate Award;  Aubergine for Silver Plate Award; and Lolo Dad’s bagged the Gold Plate Award from the METRO!

Most restaurants that we’ve been to are simply the best, hehehehe… You’re one lucky and blessed 5-year-old boy to be exposed to such grandiose dining at an early age! Kami dati, puro fastfoods lang, but we’re not complaining.  

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I must say to you my son that despite the long program, we were never bored. Why? The UST students afforded to delight us with no less than Phil-Harmonic Orchestra, PDA alumnus-singer Chad Peralta and some DJs of 89.9. 

I fell in love again with your mom when I heard the orchestra played MOON RIVER! :D It’s such a common favorite of ours. Even your Lolo likes it too!  I didn’t pass the chance to click my cam on those violinists-members of PHO! I wish we could learn to play violins when you grow older and I hope to join and play with an orchestra! Suntok sa buwan yun, anak, but who knows? I may find time, one of these days, LOL :D

Then, the meal came over. We were served at our table by the staff of Tamayo’s. It was a 3-course meal consisted of..

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a bowl of thin onion soup, a platter of blanched veggies, chicken fillet with cream sauce, a serving of lasagna and a pair of mini slices of roast beef.  Then the dessert plate came with, if my palate served me right : two bite-sized samples of a dark chocolate cake and a brownie nut fudge with buco-pandan :D 

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The entire meal was decent but nothing extraordinary. :(

Our dinner was made complete when the waiter asked us if we want to have coffee or tea…  :D

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Even though there were flaws in the technical aspects of the production – like the sound system, the poor transmission of music played from CDs,  problem of blockings, few delays in the announcement of winners, and the entire program seemed to last forever,  I and your mom still commend the entire class 4H4 for staging an event as big as the METRO AWARDS.  They got so many established sponsors that helped them out : Folded and Hung, Krispy Kreme Donuts, Careline cosmetics, Goody, ETC channel, Magic 89.9, Pepsi, Silverworks, Ajinomoto, Chef Tony’s Popcorns, Ozeano, Cerealicious, Gasthof, Tamayo’s catering, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf and many more!

Your mom even told me, “Noong panahon natin during college, hindi tayo ganyan kagaling! Then I replied, “Iba na mga bata ngayon, sobrang advanced na talaga, sobrang galing na nila!”

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As you enter college, Gabby, about 12 years from now, we’ll support you all the way if you’ll wish to enroll in the same school, with the same course.  :D

I and your mom love you always!

Study harder.

Love,

Tatay-doc :D

 

24
Sep
09

INVITED

I’ll be attending M.E.T.R.O  Awards this afternoon…

M.E.T.R.O. or  Manila’s Exquisite & Trendy Resto Awards : A moment of Glitz & Flavor is pioneered by Class 4H4 College of Tourism & Hospitality Management of University of Sto Tomas. The event, according to their invitation, is aimed to strengthen the ties of their College and the Restaurant Industry in the Philippines and to enrich the knowledge of the participants and engage them in a higher level of learning, geared towards the University’s mission and vision.

It’s my pleasure to sit as one of the invited foodie judges along with famous food bloggers, restaurateurs and the remarkable people in the hotel and restaurant industries.  :D

22
Sep
09

1950′s PANDESAL & MORE

One day, my family and I were enjoying  brunch at a luxurious hotel in Makati;  the next day we found ourselves having another extraordinary breakfast in a rustic quaint comfort food place in Marikina City. Regardless of the place we’re at, the important thing is we’re having family fun, fun, fun :D

I was surprised when my wife, Tina agreed to my suggestion that we’ve to try PAN de AMERIKANA for breakfast.  Even  it would take us approximately 20 to 30 minutes less traffic to get to its location at Concepcion, Marikina City from our place in Quezon City, we wouldn’t care less.  After seeing it on a local morning TV show and learning that it’s owned by the same family who runs the school I attended during my High School (OLOPSC), the more I became interested to try its 1950s wheat pandesal and other affordable yummies.

With empty stomachs, we hit the roads to Marikina and reached Pan Amerikana around 10AM.  Pan de Amerikana greeted us with its facade…

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Where in the metro could you see a wooden windmill? LOL, only in Marikina! It’s really interesting!

The place isn’t only a bakery but an all-day restaurant as well.  It has lots of fascinating things that may amuse you while you dine or simply can provide you a venue to kill time by playing chess on tables or on the ground, literally.

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There’s this giant chess set much to delight local tourists like us especially the kids.  It was a bigger chess set than the ones we saw in Island Cove Resort in Cavite early this year.  Gabby was really excited to get hold of those black and white pawns. 

At the counter, there are lots of regular-sized chess sets that diners can borrow for FREE after presenting a valid ID.

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Do you play chess?  Shame on me, I don’t, LOL.   So when Gabby asked me to play with him, I thought we can just delay it until the day we both learn the game, LOL :D  For that moment, we just had it as props for photo-ops! hehehe :D

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Pan de Amerikana boasts of not only chess sets but a distinctly Filipino ambiance…There’s an overload of arts and culture that is truly Pinoy! Look at the kalesa  parked near those bikes and a woven rattan hammock that’s so inviting.

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Then there’s this antique grinder of something which led me clueless, if it’s a coconut grinder or an ice crusher. Can you please identify ?  I found this collectible old piece few steps next to Popeye! :D

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There’s also that miniature  pugon or  brick-oven to depict where the famous pandesal are baked.  

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The dining area has laid back atmosphere.  It’s only provided with large units of electric fans, at times, it can become humid; the entire area is roofed so everyone is safe from inevitable downpour.  There’s also a place where dripping water serves as fountain…  

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And did I mention already that the entire food place offers FREE WI-FI ACCESS? A lot of people across ages came in with their laptops and chargers doing school or perhaps office stuffs while having brunch.

As I went to the counter to order and pay for my food, I saw these striking things that can stimulate one’s interest : A tiny set of dining table and a small billboard with schedule of  activities offered by Pan de Amerikana. 

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So did we try those 1950′s wheat Pandesal ? Of course!

IMG_3951PAN de AMERIKANA’S WHEAT PANDESAL, PhP 5.50 each.  It’s humongous! So rich and fibrous, very filling. We took them home as our afternoon snack. 

  PAN AMERIKANO (mega-sized pandesal) gained its popularity when the Americans arrived during the 1940′s. It looks like a giant baguette that was processed like the pandesal. It was during the 1960′s that it suddenly disappeared and was replaced with rectangular loaves. Then came the famous Nutri Bun (monay shaped bread -3 -5 times the size of the pandesal), which was a hit during the 1970′s.

More than that Harley Davidson on display and FOR SALE and the other things we saw at Pan de Amerikana, the one that really caught my attention was this wooden posting in front of the  big bike and a concrete bridge; figure out why….  :D

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Although this restaurant observes self-service policy, there are wait staff who will bring your tray to your tables; so we were handed a customer-number that was creatively Pinoy!

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We also tried their pandesal with chicken and sardines, at PhP 25 each.  Tina had the SARDINES PANDESAL,  I had the CHICKEN PANDESAL; equally must-try!

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Gabby wanted ARROZ CALDO with EGG, PhP 28 and a cup of HOT CHOCOLATE, PhP 25…

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The arrozcaldo was good, but Gabby failed to finish it. :(

Before going to this place, I’ve heard that two of its specialties are WAKNATOY, PhP 35/order; a dish similar to menudo and EVERLASTING, PhP 35/order; which is I’m more familiar with. Everlasting is Marikina’s own.  I grew up with that dish made of grounded pork with green peas, some hotdogs, boiled egg and carrots for garnishing; similar to embotido but steamed in an aluminum container.  My relatives in Calumpang, Marikina and my late Lola used to cooked the best Everlasting, even better than that of Pan de Amerikana which was a bit soggy and has a bit poor consistency.  Nevertheless, their version satisfied my craving for Everlasting!

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The servings of each dish were good enough for a diner with regular appetite. And I must say the prices were very budget-friendly.  After feasting on my pandesal, I dunked my spoon and fork at Waknatoy and Everlasting and sipped brewed coffee, PhP 15/ cup, in between. 

Tina ‘s breakfast choice other than Sardines Pandesal was DAING NA BANGUS MEAL, PhP 48. 

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She enjoyed that boneless dried milkfish with vinegar. Perfect meal to start a day!

There were also desserts like Halo-Halo, Saba con yelo and others but we’re just so full to try those sweets.

With Pan de Amerikana’s homey ambiance, friendly service, free-wi-fi access, and to top it all – most affordable food, Tina and I envied the people living within the area. After rising from their beds or coming home from schools or offices, they can just go straight to Pan de Amerikana and savor that family-friendly bonding moments. :D

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PAN de AMERIKANA, 92 Ordoñez St., Corner Maroon Concepcion Dos (near World of Butterflies) Marikina City/ Tel # (63-2) 934-0667 and 475-2398. Branch : 118 Katipunan Ave., White Plains, Quezon City.

21
Sep
09

DUSIT THANI : REVISITED

September 20, 2009 - Two days after my 33rd birthday, my wife, Tina gave me her present : a confirmed reservation for the two of us, with our son, Gabby who eats for FREE at Dusit Thani’s Family Sunday Brunch Buffet! It was our second time to experience such gastronomic adventure in 4 different themed restaurants of Dusit : Benjarong – Thai;  Basix -Asian-Continental;  Tosca-Italian;  Umu -Japanese; Our first dining experience of such epic proportions at Dusit was only last March and can be viewed here; it was such a blast, we had so much fun! :D 

After I have donated blood last Thursday at St. Luke’s Medical Center, as my humble charity work for my birthday, and revisited Bellini’s with my family on the day when I turned a year older, this buffet brunch is more than enough.  For the moment, life cannot be better than this! :D

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We both love Dusit; it’ll be forever memorable for the 2 of us, because 2 sections of its ballroom served as our wedding reception venue more than five years ago. And the brunch we had  six months back was so remarkable that we promised ourselves that we’ll try and explore other dishes some time.  We even spread the word about this Family Brunch Buffet to our colleagues and friends. :D

We arrived at the hotel lobby at 11AM exactly half an hour before buffet starts. After paying PhP 1450 nett per pax, the friendly staff gave our wrist bands that rendered access to those 4 fantastic restaurants in Dusit Thani.  We also got a chance to roam around the Japanese garden opposite Umu while waiting…

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We like those kois on the pond and that man-made waterfalls…

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We shot photos of Gabby at every ‘road signs’ heading to those 4 restos which he enjoyed so much! 

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Though she likes Basix, my wifey chose to reserved a table for 3 at Umu for she knows that I like the ambiance of that Japanese restaurant; not to disregard the fact that I’m excited to eat Umu’s teppanyaki again! 

Who can resist the beauty of Umu?

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Its contemporary Japanese interiors is so inviting.  With those wooden tablets in black with gold Japanese characters, and a sushi-sashimi station at the center, and a classy atmosphere, everyone is easily drawn to its charm.

After being ushered to our table by a purple-Kimono clad staff, Tina and Gabby went to Basix to get some yummies, while I walked straight to an area in Umu to get some of these…

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At the Teppanyaki section, you have the freedom to choose the ingredients you’d like the chef to grill for you at his teppan – from the freshest beef cubes which I skipped;  to thinly sliced veggies, bean sprouts, mushrooms, shelled tiger prawns, pink salmon and lapu-lapu…A dash of salt and pepper and other Oriental seasoning and oil, voila!  

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My teppanyaki plate from Umu is always a personal favorite! I just love how those fresh seafoods are grilled to perfection!

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I also got goodies that were deeply fried upon request :  prawn and bacon which was sooo good! and ham and cheese, eggplant on sticks. 

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I didn’t pass the chance to try another favorite from Umu : SUKIYAKI :D   Look how those bowls of very tender marbled beef and stock with veggies and soft tofu are prepared…

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The glass noodles were soft and thick; the soup itself was never too sweet, neither too salty… Sarap!

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Unlike Sukiyaki from other Japanese restos, Umu’s version doesn’t disappoint because of its almost fatless beef.  Isn’t it obvious that I really like Umu? LOL :D

Other delectable must-try are :  (from left to right)  Tamago rolls, Ika Karaage,  Salad, Cold Soba…

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What’s a Japanese restaurant without sushi and sashimi ?

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On way to Basix, there’s a lady dressed as Thailander who played the string instrument, Khim.

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Basix has this relaxed and cool ambiance…

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Tina and Gabby brought to our table at Umu this plate from Basix…

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I was informed by the chef at Umu’s Teppanyaki section that Ebi Tempura’s cooking was transferred to Basix.  Because it’s one of Gabby’s favorites, Tina got him generous servings of those battered shrimps. It’s not the best tempura we’ve tasted but nonetheless, OK.  The mussels from Basix were bordering from tasteful to bland;  still we favor Circles Events Cafe of Makati Shangri la when it comes to New Zealand Mussels. :D

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When I went to Basix, I got a slice of Roast Beef and 2 wrapped rolls of Peking Duck.  Peking Duck tasted fine, but I wish they can improve the Roast Beef’s mushroom gravy into a thicker consistency and making it more flavorful.

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There are tons of choices to choose from the spread at Basix;  the buffet duration of 11:30 AM to 3PM is just not enough! Too many food, so little time, LOL :D

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What makes Dusit Thani’s Sunday Family Crossover Brunch creatively unique compared to other Live-cooking / open-kitchen buffets in other hotels is that diners in Dusit can burn calories immediately after munching.  How? One has to walk from the base-station of choice (for us :Umu!) to the other 3 themed restos.  I view it as Dusit’s advantage rather than its opposite.  Diners may take the grand winding stairs, or on our case, who were tooooo lazy to walk, take the lifts to go to the mezzanine where Benjarong and Tosca are located.  At the lobby, there are interesting characters to cheer up kids and the kid-at-hearts –  just like this smiley stilt-walker who’s always ready for a photo-op :D

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Being a Thai hotel in Manila, it’s not surprising that Dusit Thani’s Benjarong boasts of ambiance that’s so elegant and enticing to the senses. The entrance to Benjarong has a wall adorned with ceramics that will lead you to the main dining area.

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But, I guess my palate isn’t partial to Thai dishes, whether mild, or super spicy. I only like their desserts.

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YAM SOM O : Pomelo Salad,  and YAM PLA DOOK FOO : Crispy Fried Catfish with Green Mango Salad 

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YAM SAI KRAWK BACON THOD : Spicy Bacon Wrapped Sausage

MEE KROB KRATHONG : Sweet and Sour Crispy Vermicelli in Pastry Cup.

My Thai plate had a bit of everything…

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I like those Thai sweet treats with coconut milk and glutinous rice…

KHANOM TAKO : Sweet Water Chestnut and Coconut Cream in Pandan Cup -> sarap!

KHANOM SOD SAI : Stuffed Glutinous Flour Ball with Grated Coconut and Sugar -> yum!

KHAO NIAO MAMUANG : Ripe Mango with Sticky Rice -> I love mangoes; i like rice! Tasted like bico.

Let’s leave Benjarong and allow me to take you to TOSCA, the Italian Restaurant of Dusit Thani in Makati…

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Tosca is noted for its sophistication and class… the atmosphere is made subdued and comfy by a musician who plays the piano while diners enjoy some of the best Italian cuisine…

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FREE FLOWING ITALIAN SPARKLING WINES, anyone ?  This is another edge of Dusit Thani’s buffet. In other hotels,  rates do not include beverages, but in Dusit, you can enjoy Italian wine flavored with either Dalandan or Raspberry to your hearts content! Other drinks available are Lemongrass Juice from Benjarong, Iced Green Tea from Umu, Dalandan and Raspberry Juices from Basix all in bottomless servings! Plus the staffs are always ready with smiles, which I most like!

There are wide array of food to be cooked and prepared upon request, from pasta to pizza, to salads and more. 

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I so wish our stomachs are bottomless too, LOL :D  We can only eat as much. :D

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I asked one of the chefs in Tosca to prepare me a personal-sized pizza. As he began to knead the dough I requested all toppings available except for olives. Tina and I aren’t fanatics of olives.  He politely told me to return after 5 minutes as he bakes my pizza.  It was delicious; the bread alone can stand sans toppings!  As I enjoyed the pizza freshly made from Tosca, I failed to savor other Italian dishes like that Turkey Breast Stuffed with raisins and sage on roasted tomato cream (photo beside pizza); it looks delicious as well.

One rule that Tina and I have learned from buffets :  MAKE ROOM FOR DESSERTS !

After my wife entrusted Gabby to the very accomodating staffs of KIDS’ STATION at the lobby, Tina and I became so busy with desserts… (Gabby opted to play and watch his favorite cartoons, Spongebob rather than stuffed his tummy like his parents, LOL).   We had ice cream from Tosca, as we look upon Gabby.   

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DESSERTS from TOSCA : DIVINE!

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DESSERTS from BASIX : SUBLIME!

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Care for some D-I-Y  HALO-HALO or CHOCOLATE FONDUE that tastes like Hershey’s?

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While Gabby became occupied with having his face painted for FREE, Tina and I sat at Basix and had blueberry and mango crepes!  I had mine topped with almond flakes.  

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BENJARONG SWEETS : EXQUISITE…

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DESSERTS from UMU :  TOOTHSOME…

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Half hour before 3PM, we took time to photograph Gabby with the friendly balloon-maker and the man on stilts…

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It was another memorable fun day with my family.  What a way to welcome my 33rd year!  The buffet was only icing on the cake;  I am so grateful to our good Lord for my family’s health and safety.  I am just thankful for having Tina and Gabby!  :D 

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We love Dusit Thani’s Sunday Family Crossover Brunch! :D

Dusit Thani Manila, Ayala Center, Makati City/Tel (63-2) 867-3333 Every Sunday 11:30 AM to 3:00PM/ PhP 1450 nett for adults/PhP 725 nett for children 6 to 12 years old.

19
Sep
09

A QUAINT RESTO : REVISITED

Our munch plan for my birthday : 

               Friday late afternoon snack/early dinner + Sunday hotel buffet = family bonding :D 

This is the first of two celebrations I had with my wife, Tina and our son, Gabby…

It took us seven months before we revisited this quaint Italian restaurant tucked in the low-key area of Cubao (our first can be viewed  here ). I like  its interiors and ambiance more than their food.  OK, their menu may be authentic, as the owners are a former paparazzo who married a Filipina; but I guess my palate has been biased with other restaurants that serve similar cuisine.  Nevertheless, I always  find BELLINI’s  pleasing… 

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These aren’t paintings on the walls but murals on the ceilings. 

Check out how enticing  the interiors is…

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Bellini’s, owned by Roberto and Ma. Luisa Bellini, has been a location of a local movie  because of its romantic appeal…

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It’s like a small piece of Italy in the heart of Marikina Shoe Expo in Cubao, Quezon City… 

Bellini’s delightful atmosphere is artistically beautiful but I just wish the service will be friendlier. The two wait staffs who attended to us were discreet and courteous; but smiles were inapparent. I like food servers who always flash their best smiles while at work. For me, smiles mean that they love and enjoy what they do.  It lessens my appetite if the servers are apathetic.  

I always expect waiters and waitresses to be acquainted with the menu. I usually ask something like the serving size and the restaurant’s bestsellers; and I admire staffs who are familiar with the food they serve.  Yesterday was not my lucky day at Bellini’s; for the querries I addressed to our waitress were all thrown to her colleague.

I ordered one of my favorite breads, focaccia; even asked the waitress the dip that comes with it, but got no reply from her but from other waiter.  And when I checked the bill before paying, the focaccia bread was charged but it wasn’t served.  To be fair, I’d say the waiter was apologetic and did the necessary changes on our bill; but there’s no room for mistakes to render remarkable dining experience.

Poor me, I just thought that the waitress was new and still untrained, and I just swallowed my temper and remembered that it’s my birthday.

Enough, and on with the food… :D 

IMG_3690BREADSTICKS, Complimentary :D    House Iced tea, PhP 50+; it tasted like Peach flavored Sola Iced tea, not bad for me; i love peach!

Last February, we ordered a pasta that won our hearts, so we had another plate for my birthday!

IMG_3702BUCATINI AMATRICIANA, PhP 250+ (bacon, tomato and onion sauce).

We love its thick strands of pasta and its simplicity made it so tasteful.

What’s an Italian dining without pizza?

IMG_3712QUATTRO FORMAGGI, PhP 250+ (mozzarrella plus 3 different kinds of cheese; tomato based).

All of Bellini’s pizzas are mozzarrella and tomato based. We had Bellini’s special pizza seven months ago.  It was fine combination of most toppings in super thin crust.

Yesterday, we chose this 4-cheese-pizza because we considered our son’s preference. He doesn’t like any toppings on his pizza but cheese.  We all liked its flavorful thin crust;  but we all thought that Amici’s version is far better.  

IMG_3710POLLO ALLA DIAVOLA , 1/2  PhP 280+(grilled chicken breast with herbs and chili).

I ordered this grilled chicken breast with herbs and chili just to taste how different it is from other chicken recipes I’ve sampled from other restos. I like its well-marinated meat that was so tender that once you dunk your fork into it, it easily shreds off from its bones. I like it but not to point it’ll become my favorite.  Unfortunately, my wife gave this dish her thumbs down.  She was probably not in the mood for some spice.  

IMG_3723TIRAMISU : GELATO CAKE, PhP 170+

Gabby immediately recognized that it’s a combined mocha and coffee ice cream cake. For a barely five-year-older, we’re proud to raise Gabby as a food enthusiast too (with the hope that he’ll pursue his early dreams of becoming a chef one day).  But to my wife Tina, this gelato cake is a dissapointment; not of its taste, but of its price.  I have to agree with her that it’s pricey for its serving. C’mmon, with its price more expensive than a pint of ice cream, the cost is just too steep! Look how fancy the layers are but its tiny size of slightly bigger than a teaspoon drowned all its glory…

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Although we’re full after that meal, I felt something’s missing.  I never experienced the excitement of dining I had during our first visit.  Perhaps because of the gloomy weather, or can I attribute it to the service and some dishes that can still be improved? 

Anyway, there’s still tomorrow for another day of gastronomic adventure. 

Abangan! :D

———————————

Bellini’s Italian Fast Food and Restaurant / Stall 68-69 Marikina Shoe Expo, Gen. Romulo Ave., Cubao, Quezon City/Tel #s (63-2) 913-2550.

17
Sep
09

MY BIRTHDAY GIFT

Dearest Gabby,

For the past few weeks, I’ ve been thinking of a charity work that could be feasible as my thanksgiving, as I celebrate with you and your mom my 33rd birthday tomorrow.  Because I cannot do medical mission alone, I thought of donating few pieces of my not-so-old-still-wearable shirts to someone  but then, I opted to give it to your Lolo Ben and your uncle instead.  I also considered bringing your used baby clothes to an orphanage, or visit and do some feedings at a care home for the aged to no avail. 

I  practically chose to do this today….

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 At exactly 7AM, I was at the Blood Donors’ Center of St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City.

Since I’m off from work until few days, I have taken the chance to donate 450 mL of my blood. I became a walk-in-volunteer blood donor again! This is my fourth time to do such activity and it feels good to have helped anonymous patient live his/her life longer.  

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I wish when you grow up smarter and healthy, you can also do the same to reach out to needy hospital clients. Don’t worry anak,   it’s medically beneficial for us to donate almost half a liter of blood (50ml is the anticoagulant per bag) once in a while because as we do so, our bone marrow is stimulated to replenish what is lost.  Blood donation refreshes our circulation at the same time, prolonging the life of someone.

The venipuncture using a large bore needle didn’t hurt too much; I just thought of my goal during the process.  The friendly professional staff allowed me to take photos of the bag and generously offered this snack for free after the donation to keep me from fainting or being dizzy. Their token included a black headcap with the hospital’s logo and the phrase “I am a Blood Donor” at its back, isn’t it sweet?

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 The center was expectedly clean and orderly. The staff who did the extraction was very polite, professional and friendly. (Thanks, Ms. Joan!)

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After the procedure, she handed me a note of Pre & Post Blood Donation Instructions and advised me to claim my Donor’s ID a week after.

I wish when you grow older, you can also find in yourself a stimulus to reach out to others as the rewards will always be greater in Heaven.

Love,

Tatay-doc :D

PS : I’m excited to enjoy another hotel buffet dining experience with you and your Mommy Tina this Sunday!

————————————

Pre and Post Blood Donation Instructions :

1. The blood sample extracted from you will be initially screened to determine your hematocrit level and blood type.

2. You may take a light, low-fat snack/meal. Avoid eating heartily before blood donation.

3. Leave dressing over venipuncture site/s for at least 3 hours but not more than 12 hours.

4. Drink at least a full cup of water or juice before leaving the Donor Room. Increase your fluid intake over the next 48 hours.

5. Do not smoke for at least 2 hours and do not take alcoholic drinks for the next 12 hours.

6. If you feel faint, dizzy, cold or suddenly weak, put your head between your knees.

7. Avoid lifting heavy objects to prevent bruising or discoloration around the extraction site. This will disappear in a few days. Should a bruise appear, apply a cold compress for the first 24 hours to prevent swelling and a hot compress after 24 hours for the resolution of clot. If severe pain or discomfort develops, call the Donor Room at (63-2) 723-0101 local 4110 to consult with the nurse on duty.

8. Male donors may give blood again after 3 months while female donors may give after 6 months. We will be glad to see you again for your next donation.

Thank you for your blood donation – St. Luke’s Medical Center

17
Sep
09

CONFESSIONS

Yes,  I watch Tagalog movies too.

Yesterday, as my wife, Tina and I were off from work, we took the chance of seeing the movie In My Life, that stars Batangas Governor Vilma Santos, John Lloyd Cruz, and Luis Manzano on its first screening day at Gateway Mall.  We brought along our kid, Gabby; anyway, it’s a PG13-film and we (all) wanted him to see New York where most scenes were shot.

We had to-go- orders of venti cups of White Choco Mocha, Java Chip frappuccinos and a Bacon and Cheese bagel from Starbucks, while Gabby had his favorite Auntie Anne’s Original pretzel with chocolate dip.

Good movie + great snacks = family bonding! :D

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The movie isn’t about homosexuality, but it’s about the physiology of being a parent. I won’t  disclose any spoiler but I must say that I haven’t seen a Pinoy drama +comedy done in its highest sensibility and sensitivity until this movie. A lot of scenes exploded with emotions that are so effectively executed by the actors. Yes, it’s a cry-movie and I am not embarassed to claim that In My Life moved me to tears. As a young father who has tons of lessons to learn as a parent, I can relate to the story. What’s so unique with it was the intelligent humor incorporated to the roller-coaster of emotions that revolved around a separated-mother who believed she has fully lived her life until her children’s experiences awaken her to the fact that there’s more to be learned and explored.

I give my two thumbs up to this movie.  Hands down to the cast, director and crew! Bravo!

Everything’s at its best except for the line “Cancer, stage one…malignant” -ouch!  The writer and the director could have done more research about the big C.  Nevertheless, In My Life is well-crafted; has great story, impeccable acting.  I honestly never thought the works of John Llyod Cruz to be at par with Vilma’s but he surpassed our expectations. My wife Tina even found herself clapping for these two actors while she was also crying during their remarkable funeral scene.  Luis also surprisingly delivered.  Go see the movie with your children. Bring your wife and your daughters tons of Kleenex.

After watching the film, I have grown my LOVE and gratitude to my mom (and dad) more. I miss my mom who’s working in UAE. I wish I could THANK HER and SAY MY SORRIES to her everyday.

Meanwhile, here’s the trailer…

13
Sep
09

WEEKEND BLESSINGS

How would you spend PhP 4,000 worth of gift certificates found in your mail box?

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I know for some this is cheap, but hey, it’s still PhP 4K !

I could have bought myself a nice pair of jeans, or an out-of-season-sale sneakers from Gola, Adidas or Nike; or a pair of silk neck ties from Marks & Spencer (i love collecting ties from M&S; i’ve a number of them already; it’s therapeutic for me to see my ties neatly arranged on my wardrobe) or a new sporty back pack or duffle bag perhaps.  *SIGH* :P

I have accumulated more than 25,000 points from using one of my credit cards and haven’t redeemed them yet until I called the bank agent last week and told her my desire to claim my rewards as GCs from Robinson’s.  I was only expecting PhP 2000 worth of GCs but the friendly call center agent handling the account suggested that I can claim the entire rewards amounting to PhP 4,000 which can be use for purchases in all branches of Robinson’s department stores, supermarkets, Toys R Us, hardware and appliance center, also includes some clothing boutique like the West-End-brand Topshop and  a Japanese sale store -Saizen. She advised me to expect the delivery of the GCs one to two weeks after our transaction. Not bad.

Barely a week after, I got the GCs. :D  I told my wife about the shopping spree that we’re about to enjoy and I personally suggested to her that it would be better for us to stuff our fridge and cupboards with food, laundry supplies using those freebies.  Of course, she can’t complain. :D

We arrived yesterday afternoon at Robinson’s Galleria with hungry stomachs. So before hitting the grocery counter, we first filled our tummies with these…

IMG_3625GREAT WHITE PIZZA, PhP 220+.  Freshly made pizza crust topped with bacon, shrimps and mushrooms with garlic over rich and creamy Alfredo sauce. This is a delicious breather from the usual tomato-based pizzas plus it has one of my favorite ingredients : shrimps!

Our merienda was not covered by the GCs since it’s from the Italian-American fast-service restaurant, CHEF D’ ANGELO (How I wish I could franchise; and the name of the resto won’t be a problem, lol). It’s a budget-friendly food place that’s usually packed by diners, mostly yuppies and students who are always on the look for restauarants with homey ambiance.  With pots and pans hanging from the ceiling, and a kitchen-like display complete with colorful stone & ceramic plates and jars, there’s always that feel like having the meal in the comforts of your own dining  room.  However, since it’s still a fastfood-restaurant, some people who prefer cozy, quiet and relaxing dining place,  probably would not even try ordering from Chef d’ Angelo.  To each his own.

Since the usual servings in Chef d’ Angelo can be shared,  I asked my wife, Tina to choose our pasta.  While she was browsing the menu, I was hoping she would order my favorite, Seafood Medley (tender shrimps and calamari lightly sauteed, served with spicy scampi sauce over fettuccini) but she opted for ….

IMG_3619SPAGHETTI CARBONARA, PhP 148+ A pasta with bacon, ham, green peas in a mild parmesan flavored cream sauce. It tasted OK, just like any Carbonara; nothing unusual and I wish those strings of ham could have been diced or cut into smaller bits.  I’m not sure if it’s close to being authentic, but it just felt weird seeing those long strips of ham on pasta;  maybe, it’s just me or something.

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It seemed like we had too much of bechamel sauce yesterday- from those pizza and pasta.  No worries, there was still taste distinction as creamy as they get. :D

Gabby wanted to satisfy his sweet tooth and personally picked this from the cakes on display at the counter…

IMG_3617CHOCOLATE MARBLE CHEESECAKE, PhP 120+.  Creamy baked vanilla cheesecake marbled with dark and whit chocolate ganache.

I’ve tasted other cakes from my last visit to Chef d’ Angelo in other mall but surprisingly, Gabby’s choice was better. It’s just not irritatingly sweet.  And the serving, again, was huge compared to other cheesecake places.

By the way, they also serve burgers, fries, onion strings, salads, soups. waffles, and single-serve their ice tea is great thirst quencher too! It has a pleasant flavor similar to four seasons ice tea.   And their fried chicken servings are deliciously enormous as well! :D

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After that hearty meal, we initially used PhP 1000 worth of GCs at the department store and bought Gabby 3 T-shirts in bright colors that he personally handpicked from the items at the kids’ section. Tina and I also spotted a Ben 10 flip flops for him, which he likes the most from that cartoon on cable that he watches, and also got him a set of colorful plastic shore instruments – all for our Boracay trip next month. (God please let the sun shine its brightest on the 3rd week of October)  :D  Then the remaining PhP 3K  of our GCs were spent at the supermarket.

Isn’t nice to buy things for free?! :D

Thank You Lord,

You are good, all the time! :D

——————————–

Chef d’ Angelo, Level 4 Robinson’s Gallera, EDSA corner Ortigas Avenue, Quezon City. Tel # (63-2) 637-4760.  with a dozen more branches in other malls.

10
Sep
09

PRIDE CHICKEN

Leg /drumstick,

wings,

breast,

thighs…. 

Take your pick …

I like breast  (no pun intended). :D   My wife’s choice cut is usually wings while our son Gabby likes anything fried less the skin.

Regardless of how it was cooked,  chicken has been a favorite in Pinoy dining tables… The warm broth of  Tinolang Manok  is always delicious especially on a rainy day.  Who doesn’t eat Chicken Adobo?  Perhaps only those who have allergies and those unfamiliar to it.  Fried chicken is definitely a winner sans ketchup or gravy.  There’s just so many ways on how we enjoy this product of poultry.  

In no particular order (of  yumminess),   here’s my simple ode to that finger-lickin’ goodness…

img_12382CAFE ADRIATICO’S  CHICKEN A LA KIEV.

This is one of my favorite dish in Cafe Adriatico. It’s just so sinful that once you dip your fork into it, it bursts its secret filling – butter!!! :D    It’s one of those I consider  “I-can-eat-this-everyday” meals… LOL

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I’m craving now….

tgi'f jack daniel's chickenTGIF’s JACK DANIEL’S CHICKEN.   I like that it’s grilled to perfection and that Jack Daniel sauce is unforgettable.

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PEPPER LUNCH’S  CHICKEN PEPPER RICE.  Although I am bias with PL’s Beef Pepper Rice,  this tender chicken strips + only outer shell of peppercorn + PL’s (to-die-for) honey brown sauce + do-it-yourself-cooking = delicious meal :D

2PANCAKE HOUSE’S  PAN FRIED CHICKEN.  What’s unique with Pancake House’s version of fried chicken?  Nothing but the crunchiness of its skin (which is God-forbid, cholesterol-rich!) and perfect frying of the meat plus  that smokey flavored gravy.

IMG_2810SAVORY’S  FRIED CHICKEN CLASSIC.   That oriental-tasting gravy separates Savory’s from the rest.

IMG_3063 WORLD CHICKEN’S GRILLED CHICKEN FILLET with RANCH SAUCE + PESTO PASTA & POTATO SALAD.

I just love this combo from World Chicken! :D

IMG_2946BALIWAG’S  LECHON MANOK + ATCHARA/PICKLED PAPAYA.   = emergency food !  This has been a part of our home meals whenever we ran out of time to go to the grocery or my wife or our house help failed to cook for whatever reason.  I like it with pickled papaya on plain rice, garlic, or java plus extra gravy please… :D 

chicken ballotine, conti'sCONTI’S CHICKEN BALLOTINE.  Conti’s menu consists of  simple dishes with extraordinary tastes.  And this Chicken Ballotine is no exception.  It’s similar to Chicken Cordon Bleu with fillings & stuffings rolled with the chicken and served with cream sauce. Yummy! :D

chicken cheese roll kimono kenKIMONO KEN’S CHICKEN CHEESE ROLL.   One of the must-try in their menu.

The last few are the common favorites in fastfoods that greatly influenced our palate…

IMG_3065KENTUCKY FRIED CHICKEN’S  CHICKEN STRIPS =goodness.

mcdo MCDONALD’S CHICKEN MCDO = love.

IMG_2937JOLLIBEE’S  CHICKEN JOY =happiness.

What’s your favorite fastfood fried chicken?  

Honestly, I equally like them.  :D

But our son Gabby makes his own choice…

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This post lacks our other favorites - Max’s fried chicken (which I don’t have a photo yet to upload) Superbowl of China’s Crispy Lemon Chicken, and the chicken yummies that we still have to taste :  the new Jollibee Chicken barbecue and some Oriental restaurant’s Hainanese Chicken. 

Life is short to savor all of those chicken dishes! :(

What chicken meal do you like best?

08
Sep
09

GREAT BALLS OF FUN

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I never thought a box of multi-colored balls could give so much happiness to a kid and kid-at-hearts :D
No, they’re not chocolate balls or sugar-coated candies :D 
Do you have any idea of what we did to while away our time last weekend?
Our preschooler, Gabby had an hour of fun somewhere in Robinson’s Galleria last weekend.  He posed with his cartoon idol, Ben 10 ….  and sat with the  place’s mascot…
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After we bought our tickets from Cebu Pacific office for our October trip and enjoyed those plates of ravioli, our son didn’t pass the chance to ask us if we can bring him to an arcade.  He likes going to Ayala Mall’s Timezone but Robinson’s Toys R US and Tom’s World also gave Gabby reasons to smile :D
We usually play table hockey; my wife, Tina and our little boy had so much fun on hitting that puck. 
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And those colored wooden balls were used in this perya-game, lol…
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He had successfully hit 11 holes to the tummies of those animals that paraded in front of him and as a consolation prize, he got a small mobile phone…….trinkets, lol. 
It’s not only the activity that we enjoy the most but the quality time we spent with each other. :D
06
Sep
09

FOOD COURT FINDS

I know some people who are partial to good dishes and dining experience with exemplary ambiance and have developed the aversion to eating at fast food and food court in malls.  I can’t blame them.  Nothing beats the presence those three dining requisites.  But I can’t deny the fact that some common eating places here and abroad also offer delectable food that can please even those with most discriminating taste.

I remember during our 7-week vacation in Auckland, New Zealand few years ago, we usually go to Westfield Mall in Downtown and in Manukau City for great Chinese dishes and combo meals in their food courts with prices range from NZD 5 to 7 (around PhP 200 – 300 then; cheap because people with blue collar jobs there mostly earn NZD10/hour).  Those yummies were truly authentic prepared by the cooks and food servers who were all orientals.  Other than the basic fish and chips take-away (in NZ, to-go  or  take-out is termed as take-away), a lot of remarkable Schezuan goodies can be enjoyed in those awesome food courts.

Last Saturday, we got to sample these ….

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At the food court in the heart of the basement of Robinson’s Galleria, there’s Ravioli,  a food stall that offers freshly made pasta.

I politely asked the staff if I can take a photo of how their ravioli’s done, but to my surprise she denied my request.  I shrugged my shoulders and smiled and without a word, paid my bill at the cashier.   When I returned to their counter to get our orders, the same lady finally gave her word of approval.

With utmost courtesy, I can accept if an establishment, whether a turo-turo or a fine dining resto won’t allow pictures being taken, but I just wish that they would understand that most of us Pinoys love to take photos regardless of activity and for a picture to land in a blog post simply means FREE advertising.

Nevertheless, here’s the simple but amazing ravioli-maker machine that their staff is using to make those pasta readily available upon order.

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What did we order ?

IMG_3581MOZZARELLA and MUSHROOM RAVIOLI, PhP  116+

My wife, Tina had the M & M ravioli which according to her was good enough and for the lack of a better word, “cheesy” :D

I had this plate …

1CHORIZO and TOMATO RAVIOLI, PhP 116 +

One thing is sure, although I like bechamel sauce in my pasta, I don’t have problems with tomatoes – canned or fresh; I like them too, actually.  However, I didn’t expect that this plate won’t have that creamy consistency which I preferred. In fact, it has this thin-saucy texture.  I was also looking for those chorizo bits and that chorizo taste but was disappointed.  What I found inside those ravi0li were mushroom slices.

Nonetheless, since the ravioli was made fresh, and each plate came with crunchy butter garlic toast,  the taste wasn’t bad either;  the price was so reasonable and the entire plate satiating, I would still recommend it and will try other pasta like that PASTA DIABLO with tomato cream base and shrimp toppings on our future visits.

Still, it’s nice to know that it’s not only huge restaurants but also food court stalls have been taking efforts to innovate and improve their dishes (& hopefully service too)  so that diners like us would have lots of options other than burgers and fries. :D

—————–

RAVIOLI, Ground floor, Robinson’s Galleria Food Court.

06
Sep
09

XXX

My wife Tina, our son Gabby and I trooped to Robinson’s Galleria in Ortigas yesterday afternoon and purchased something from this office…

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Now that we have our tickets ready and seats reserved, all we have to do now is pray, pray, pray hardest that forces of nature will allow us to enjoy the sun, the powdery sand, sunrise and sunset, fun activities and of course,  gastronomic delights and freshest seafoods in one of the most pristine beaches in the world…

Can’t wait for 3rd week of October….

I’m sure it’ll be an  XXX :  eXtremely eXciting eXperience!!! :D

04
Sep
09

DESSERTS BEFORE MEAL

Have you ever made desserts as your appetizers ? LOL. :D

I consider myself as someone who can be  flexible to a lot of things especially when it comes to eating.  I can chow down desserts first before the main course,  I call it pure talent, LOL :D   Some, like my wife, Tina just can’t; or at least, finds it difficult to reverse the scheme of dining. She believes everything should be done in proper order. I am not contesting.  I am also systematic  but when opportunity presents itself, I can easily adapt.  Last Monday afternoon was an exception to my wife’s as we had sweets first prior to dinner.

As we’re strolling around Megamall as typical mall rats while waiting for our friend, Rob to attend to his early dinner invitation, we decided to fill in our tummies with light snack or merienda.  After several minutes of roaming at the Atrium choosing what food to munch,  we found ourselves seated at a table inside a familiar ice cream place :  ICEBERG’s ESKIMO BOB.    

Irregardless of the weather, ice cream and halo-halo for me are always a winner.  So I was so sure when I ordered this…

12CARAMEL FLAN, PhP 108 +.

With its cheap price, I was expecting a small bowl but the serving was good enough to be shared by two or even 3.  I was glad to let my wife and our kid enjoy it too. :D

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I always prefer super thin crushed ice when it comes to halo-halo or its variation. I hate one local fastfood chain that previously served pebble-sized ice on their halo-halo for the longest time until they recently innovate and changed for the better.   This Caramel Flan from Iceberg doesn’t disappoint. Over the ice shaving were toppings of chewy macapuno balls, sweetened  plantain (saging na saba), a scoop of ice cream and a cherry,  with two of my favorites - riped mango cubes and generous amounts of leche flan slices. To complete the halo-halo experience, milk could never be absent.

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 While I was enjoying my bowl of sweet treats, our son Gabby was also busy with his…

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At a young age of nearly five, Gabby is gradually developing his own preference toward food. He knows what he wants and his choices are not bad.  Just like this SWISS CHOCO ICE CREAM, PhP 68+, that delighted his taste buds :D

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Tina was craving for a crepe so she readily ordered this…

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STRAWBERRY CREPE, PhP 168+.   The price was again, never intimidating.  However, it only looked better than its taste.  This was the disaster of the three desserts we sampled from Eskimo Bob.  It fell flat to our standards! :(

Both Tina and I love crepes particularly with blueberries, straweberries or with mangoes of course, wrapped in almost paper-thin pancake. This version did not live up to our expectations.  The scanty little strawberries were chilled and never fresh, the pancake was nearly bland and to make the plate worse, the strawberry and chocolate drizzles were far from being sublime. The only saving grace was the ice cream topping and some whipped cream… Sayang!  my wife didn’t finish it at all… :(

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Despite the fact that Tina was disheartened with her plate, we still enjoyed the moment that was sweeter than our desserts! :D

——————————

ICEBERG’S  ESKIMO BOB, Atrium, SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City.

02
Sep
09

SOMETHING FOR MOTHER NATURE

My wife, Tina our son, Gabby and I have made grocery shopping once a week a part of our family bonding.  We like buying our stuffs from toiletries to laundry and kitchen supplies including bottled and canned goods, fresh meat, poultry and fish from huge stores like Landmark in TriNoma, Shopwise and Rustan’s and SM Supermarket in Araneta Center all in Quezon City.  As simple as it is, we really enjoy pushing carts from shelf to shelf getting our weekly needs from our favorite groceries. Convenience spells the difference between a wet and dry public market and airconditioned, mud-and-insect-free supermarkets. Sure you can’t haggle with vendors unlike in the market, but there are a lot of bargains and items on sale in groceries too.

On a budget, this was our cart with four bags of goodies this Wednesday afternoon… 

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I’m not sure when did SM supermarket start this eco-friendly idea of avoiding the use of plastic bags every Wednesdays but I definitely appreciate it.  Even on a once- a-week scheme, everyone is encourage to bring their green bags available at SM for PhP 35 buy-one-take-one.  Each bag has printed tag line of  “Save a Bag. Save the World.”   It also entitles the bearer of SM Advantage (rewards) card to earn 2 points every shopping with those reusable bags.  Otherwise, any customer who’ll deny its use, he/she has an option to carry his/her grocery items on carton boxes and paper bags similar to what is being practiced abroad for the longest time.

Other than those green bags from SM, we also have canvass grocery bags from Shopwise which can also be use at all Rustan’s branches. 

At work, I never forget to bring my Starbucks tumbler to fill & refill it with water and I avoid using plastic cups which are not biodegradable when crushed, or will take years to decay at least.  

Our little cooperation as a family to use these reusable tumblers and grocery bags and segregating garbage will contribute a lot in prolonging the life of our one and only planet.   Imagine if all families in all cities within the country will learn to practice this, there will still be trees and fresh air that our children’s childern can enjoy in perpetuity. :D 

Recycle, reduce, reuse. Be environment friendly! :D

01
Sep
09

NOT OUR USUAL MEAL

Guess what type of food we had for dinner on a lazy Monday-holiday…

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After a brief phone conversation in the morning and few text messages until afternoon, I, my wife Tina and our son Gabby were invited by our good friend of 16 years and counting, Rob to a dinner in one of the restaurants at the Atrium of SM Megamall.  He’ll depart again to middle of nowhere by the end of the week after his official days off so he had to see us and feed us; LOL, before he bids temporary good bye for another 3 months of medical work that gives him his bucks.

Because our host doesn’t eat meat and practices Pescetarianism by choice, seafood and no-meat diet should be present on the menu every time we’re eating with him. WE ARE NOT COMPLAINING!  We love seafood!!! But that night it was only him who had such craving, or was he?  I know it’s unusual, but believe it or not, I wan’t craving for anything.  I just went with the flow and trusted Rob’s preference.

2

Enough with the guessing game. I know I’m no good at that :D

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OK, we had our first chow at THE KEBAB FACTORY.   It’s our first time there but Mediterranean food is never new to our palates.  I’m a fan of beef or chicken shawarma.  There was an episode in the life of Gelo & Tina when we became so addicted to shawarma that we had it for almost a week as late afternoon snacks  to the point that we got so umay or found it  ‘sickening’.   But after few weeks, we craved for it again, lol and had tasted so many varieties from food stalls on streets and groceries to high-end hotel restos like CIRCLES EVENTS CAFE at MAKATI SHANGRI LA  where the chefs also serve such dishes to bakeshops like BreadTalk where they also sell Naan. 

Going back to The Kebab Factory, it was almost empty of customers when we got there that late Monday afternoon but as our son’s ‘magnetic powers’ with diners worked again; as everywhere we eat he attracts more clients.  With less than half hour, TKF was filled with hungry stomachs craving for something different.

Here’s a peek of  what we had…

3PAPADUM  MASALA,  PhP 65 +.  Fried lentil wafers garnished with onions, tomatoes and coriander.

I ordered this appetizer. It’s marked as one of the bestsellers of TKF on their menu and the logic got into me after trying it.  The wafers were thin but crispy and were perfectly served with dips of  yogurt and hot sauce.

4

I wanted to compare  Naan of Breadtalk and Circles with that of TKF so I aslo ordered its kind…5

GARLIC BUTTER NAAN, PhP 65 +   Traditional leavened Tandoor bread with garlic…  Not bad either.

6HYDERABAD  CHICKEN  BIRYANI, PhP 200 +  The famous city known for its authentic chicken simmered in rice with the rich array of spices.   Tina and I shared this dish and again, we can tell that this was satisfying.

7

I only remembered that I’ve watched an episode on Asian Food Network long ago, on how to prepare this Hyderabad Biryani when we got home.  And now that I’ve tasted the dish, I can tell that it’s truly flavorful and perhaps next to paella which tops my list of rice dishes,  I think given few more exposures, I can learn to love this too.

A visit to The Kebab Factory isn’t complete without trying one of their kebabs on skewers…

8BEEF  KEBAB, regular PhP 225+ / also available at 1 skewer for PhP 115 +  Mouth watering minced beef kebabs cooked in a Tandoor oven.   It was Tina who chose this and Beef Kebab doesn’t disappoint.

As for our pescetarian friend, here’s what he ordered that he genererously shared with us as well…

9SAFFRON  RICE, PhP 120+.  Long grain rice cooked with butter with delicious aroma of saffron.  

10

VEGGIE MEAT KEBAB, PhP 250.  This plate got mixtures of flavors. There was a little bit of sourness we tasted which I guess, was part of its character.

11PRAWN TANDOORI, PhP 480+.  The plump shrimps had that lingual stimuli from those unfamiliar flavors that were fused in one dish. It’s neither spicy nor bland.  The taste was good but far from standard and new to my tongue.

Except for the Persian lamps and nicely woven comfy chairs which are far from being eye-sores, the ambiance at The Kebab Factory is typical and casual.  Entire staff was discreetly attentive, although constant smiles would help soar their service to the highest heavens. Food was served after  10 to 15 minutes after order which was good and the taste of what’s in the menu isn’t bad either.  

Considering that our friend, Rob has been eating similar food at his work site, nevertheless, our tongues are still bias with our staples and with the few Italian, Continental and of course, Oriental.  Although we found the food at The Kebab Factory as uniquely tasteful and a bit new to our senses, to nicely put it- I think it would probably take more gastronomic adventures partial to Mediterranean food before it tops our list.

Do you like Persian food? :D

The Kebab Factory, 2/F SM Megamall Atrium, Julia Vargas Avenue, Mandaluyong City.




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