Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Foodie Sunday with the Mother

My previous blog entries have been slightly off as I haven't been on an eating spree. But now that I am back in the grind, and since it was a long weekend, I have so much to share I can't even decide if I should blog about it chronologically. To put an end to my internal debate, I decided to blog about this first.

Last Sunday, I took Mom to Eastwood. It was her first time there because when we were still residents of Makati, we were too lazy to venture far off. But now that we live like 20 minutes away from there, we decided to go for it and let the oldie discover the hip and happening place that is Eastwood.

After hearing mass, our grumbling stomachs lead us to our favorite comfort food place, Cafe Via Mare and had a beautiful merienda (afternoon snacks, we Filipinos love!) at 5pm.

First on the list is this beautiful, oh-so-yummy Vigan Longganisa sandwiched between soft, warm Pan de Sal. This time Mom and I knew we both had the real deal Vigan longganisa, and we were just blown away! We had the sad, sad misfortune of eating so-called longganisa a couple of weeks back. And being true to Filipino form this dish comes with crispy kamote chips, instead of potato chips. They were a bit salty but Mom and I had fun munching on them.

Next was Mom's favorite in Via Mare, Bibingka with Salted Duck Egg and shreds of coconut. It was perfect with coffee!

After Mom's day out in Eastwood, we went to Shopwise along C-5 to buy groceries for the house. After several hours of going around that huge-ass store, we were again, famished.

At the ground floor just in front of the escalator is this hidden gem: Yang Chow Dimsum & Teahouse. It was a cheaper version of our favorite North Park restaurant. There were people outside waiting to be seated, but since it was new food haunt, Mom and I decided to try it, just for kicks.

Since it was our first time to try the place, Mom and I didn't know any better and ended up over-ordering. My goodness, be prepared for this because for 2 people this was A LOT!

Having a bad cold and even slight fever last Friday, I wanted something hot to ease the colds. So I had this delicious and piping hot Noodles with White Chicken. The broth was oozing with chicken-y delight, and the noodles cooked just right! It was heaven and perfect for the sick one!

Next on the noodle list was Seafood Pancit Canton, although there were more vegetables than actual seafood. And this was something Mom and I did not expect. This huge dish costs P180, and just look at the size of that thing! It was so generous we even had it for Monday brunch and dinner. And yes it was DELISH!

Mom also ordered Fish Fillet in Tausi Sauce. I loved this because the fish was soooo tender, and the sauce was really good with a tinge of spice. And we also had this for Monday brunch.

Unfortunately, there was a black sheep among the dishes we ordered. And this was the Shark's Fin Dimsum. Totally forgettable and I MAJOR MAJOR feel sorry I ordered the damn thing. It was dry and un-shark's fin like. I consider myself a dimsum guru, I could siomai anytime, everyday, and not get sick and tired of it. But this thing, forget it!

The shark's fin was a minor setback, but I was just so thrilled with this Yang Chow place. I'm sure a lot of people have eaten here, but new food haunts excite me! This place is totally and highly recommended! And with those 4 dishes which left us hauling our tummies all the way home, our bill totaled to P605 and some lose change. It was incredibly cheap! Great cheap, Chinese food is just AWESOME! :) And it must have been really good because at 10.30PM people were still coming in.

After a good grocery shopping spree at Shopwise, treat the family to Yang Chow why don't you! It's totally good! :)

Yang Chow Dimsum & Teahouse
Shopwise E. Rodriguez, Jr., Brgy Bagong Bayan, Quezon City
For reservations and delivery please call 470-1251 (No delivery charge)

Cafe Via Mare-Eastwood Mall
2nd Level, Eastwood Mall, E. Rodriguez Ave., Quezon City
Tel No. 709-3005, 709-3006
Visit their website or click link http://www.viamare.com.ph/

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Coffee and Caffeine

Will kill me soon if I don't stop!

Ever since we transferred to the province of Rizal, I've been waking up at 6am just so I wouldn't be late for my 8.30am call time at work. So this entails slow, sleepy mornings at work, hoping against hope that projects would come later in the afternoon when my mind has woken up (if it decides to eventually wake up).

What I usually do is eat breakfast first then sleep or take copious amounts of, yes, COFFEE. As of this writing, I am currently finishing my 2nd cup of brewed coffee from McDonald's.

Yesterday though I had like 4 cups - Jimm's 7-in-1 in the morning, then went to Jollibee, then at McDo after lunch, then Coffee Chill from Quickly. Okay, maybe Iced Coffee doesn't really count, but still I could taste the Nescafe from the creamy thing Ate Quickly made for me. It was so good I inhaled it in a minute. :)

If my coffee cup in the office could talk it would be cursing me already! Like me, it's also high and crazy from caffeine! But I love it!

Sad thing is that it doesn't even have an effect on me anymore. Yesterday after the 3 cups of coffee I still fell asleep at my desk. I swear they're gonna fire me soon for sleeping on the job! And at night, I still sleep soundly, and it doesn't really make me hyper. I drink it just for the heck of it. I am an addict, a coffee addict.

Oh and by the way, since I have admitted to being an addict, I am on a hunt for the best Latte and Brewed Coffee. I've had Starbucks and Seattle's Best brewed coffee already. Seattle's Best's brewed coffee totally sucked! It sorta ruined their really good breakfast meal. The cheap brewed coffee from Jollibee and McDo are really good, too!

Latte's I've had from all 3 coffee shops - Starbucks, Seattle's, and Coffee Bean. The best pa rin Starbucks in my opinion. Creamy, and not too foamy. And regardless of whether you order it with regular milk or non-fat milk, the consistency of the taste and texture stays the same. That's what I call latte perfection, which you only get from Starbucks! :) I am not advertising, I'm just saying!

OH MY! To have a hot latte on a good day, with a good book, my trusty mp3 player (mind u I didn't say iPod :p), and cigs is heaven to me! I'd diss work just for that..seriously!

So if you guys have any other coffee recommendations, lemme know! I wanna taste other coffee shops too! Just not Bo's Coffee though, I wanted to hack up the coffee I ingested.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

This Blogger Will..


Yep, you all read that right my dear friends! Inasmuch as I've been scared of the kitchen in all my 24 (about to be 25) years of existence, I will swallow my fear of getting burned or getting hit by popping or splashing, boiling oil, broth, water, or what have you.

My first shot at "cooking" was for Mother's Day eons ago! I told Mom I'd make her pancit canton, I think she thought it was the real deal pancit canton. But what I really did was the pancit canton from Lucky Me! She almost died laughing, and she only ate the thing because it was my Mother's Day present to her! So ever since then I swore to myself that the kitchen will be the last place I will be found in!

My inspiration came from 2 blogs I've been reading on a constant basis: Trip or Treats and my 4th year high school class adviser in St. Scholastica's College, Ms. Sunshine Quibilan-Mendoza. Plus, my high school friend, A, have also turned chef-y. So being the inggitera that I am, I thought why not join the bandwagon! :D

And since I've been eating out a lot with my friends, I thought why don't I try eating something I did myself. I love pasta, so that's a start. My former class adviser shared this really easy, somewhat fool-proof, pasta recipe. I'd like to try that first and feed that to Mom.

But my first attempt would be at baking. It seems easy and since I'm scared of getting burned, the baking seems to be the easier way for a rookie like me. Although I have my inhibitions, I SUCK at measuring, and I do not have the patience, I think I have a good shot at this. I WANT this to turn out good!

Come payday I have already made out a list of things to buy, especially for the baking. I'm actually excited to buy the stuff where you put the things in (trays?), the spatulas, the measuring cups and spoons, and of course the ingredients!

I promise I shall document the process and give out an honest evaluation of how it came out. Check out this blog for the outcome! :D

Wish me luck peeps! :)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Horror Bus Rides

I haven't been on an eating barrage lately, so I thought I'd blog about something not related to what I do or eat or go to. So here goes!

This month must be horrifying to those who take long bus trips here in the country. For those people who aren't from the Philippines, but get to stumble across my blog, the most popular (and cheapest) way to go to the provinces is by the mighty bus. But now, I'm not so sure if the bus is still MIGHTY. I'm sure it's going to be the last adjective people would describe them.

Early this month, the most tragic bus accident occurred in Benguet. The bus driver said it lost its brakes and plunged down a 100-foot ravine. The driver's efforts in slowing down the bus by driving straight to a tree was futile. When it went down the ravine it took the tree and with it the lives of 41 people.

Photo from http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38750815/ns/world_news/

This next accident took everyone by surprise. I'm no beauty pageant fan, beauty queens make my head hurt. But the death of Bb. Pilipinas International 2009 Melody Gersbach shook the beauty pageant industry, and also the youth.

The 23 year old half-Filipino, half-German Melody was in Bicol to attend some pre-pageant gig. They had a head-on collision with a bus that was trying to avoid a tricycle. The Toyota Innova she was riding in along with her driver, a make-up artist, and 2 others, was a total wreck.

Photo from http://tweetphoto.com/40394598

Learned about the incident through Mom who's close friends with Meldoy's mom, Bot Gersbach. I remember meeting Tita Bot when we ate at her Gersbach restaurant at the A-venue. Although I do not know the feeling of losing a child, I know it must hurt, especially losing her child in such a tragic way.

I just feel so sad that she died so young. I'm sure she still has a lot of things to accomplish. And she's just so beautiful! Super sayang!

I'd like to extend my condolences to the Gersbach family, especially to Tita Bot. Please take solace in the thought that your dear Melody is in a safe place now where there is no pain nor suffering, and where her beauty will live forever.

To bus drivers and bus companies:
Please always know that lives are in your hands EVERYDAY. Please be careful in driving, whether here in the city or in the provinces. I know your wages depend on how much passengers you get to take in a day. But when you get into an accident you'll never get anything plus you end up in jail.

To the government/MMDA:
Let's implement stricter rules, especially on speeding. I drive along EDSA every stinking day, and these buses are hazardous to every commuter. They switch lanes like they're ordinary vehicles.

In the provinces, traffic enforcers are nowhere to be seen. Actually there are no traffic rules in the provinces. People get to drive there without licenses! Drivers tend to speed, overtake, and counter flow like crazy! They're free to do this because no one's watching over them. There are no rules! And that's why I think accidents are rampant in these parts of the country.

Come on guys! Let's take people's safety in mind. Do your jobs! Send traffic enforcers out on the roads in the provinces. Impose strict rules on speeding and overtaking! I'm sure if you guys implement rules, then killer accidents such as these would be reduced by a great deal!

To us drivers:
Let us be vigilant as well. Be careful whether you drive alone or with people. I know Manila traffic sucks, but let us not lose our cool. Curse fine, honk all you want, but counter flowing or overtaking may not always be the right thing to do. If driving to the provinces, let's be extra careful when we overtake. I for one love to overtake in the freeway. But just check and double check for approaching cars. Huwag nang ipilit! Getting held up for 10 more seconds when you let a car from the other direction pass is better than being dead.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Cafe Via Mare: I Missed You!

For those who don't know, The Landmark in Makati is being renovated. One thing I hated about that renovation was that I thought they took out Via Mare, which used to be right smack in the middle of the 2nd floor, for good. It was my and Mom's go-to restaurant when we were so hungry and too lazy to either cross on over to Glorietta or go down to the food court which was at the basement.

I was already prepared to move on and start considering going to the outlet at Greenbelt 1 when suddenly, last Sunday, from out of the shoe racks and people milling around, I saw this:

I couldn't help but feel happy, overjoyed even! Mom loves their Fresh Lumpiang Ubod and super famous Bibingka with coffee. It was Via Mare staple food for her. For me, I really loved their Pork Tocino and their Pork and Chicken Adobo.

Via Mare for me will always be one of the best comfort food ever! When I'm getting sick and tired of the usuals, I find myself looking for Via Mare, specifically the one at Landmark. There's this one waiter, who by the way has been there forever, that I always look for. And although we never got his name, and he never knew ours, when we sit down and order, he gives us this knowing look that says, "Hey they're back!". Our sense of familiarity is what draws us back to this place.

Not only that, this is where we bring our balikbayan relatives to eat when they crave for Filipino food. How they've mastered several dishes is I think one of the qualities that make Via Mare what it is today. And they are managing to make it look more chic and sosyal! Good job!! :)

Thank God for the re-opening of Cafe Via Mare at Landmark. I swear I would've been totally depressed!

The Landmark @ Makati
2nd Floor, The Landmark, Ayala Center, Makati City
Telefax: 817-9720

Visit www.viamare.com.ph for catering services and other inquiries. :)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Flapping Time at Flapjacks

It all started last Sunday while hearing mass. The priest was going about his homily when I look up and see this FLAPJACKS poster hanging from a lamp post. I was already hungry, and that poster made me hungrier.

Right after the mass, I dragged Mom to the said restaurant which seemed to be God's gift to my hungry stomach. Mom's very picky with her food, she likes the very basic stuff and isn't very much into the fancy shmancy ones. She doesn't eat American, Greek, and other food which has too much in them. But when we saw the menu and the Vigan Longganisa, I knew it was game on!

I loved the interior's cool colors. It was soothing to the eyes. And like any typical American diner, it has the usual graffitti on the walls. We sat on the couch and it was really comfortable. And a cool plus was WIFI!

And don't make a fuss out of this. But when I used their banyo, I liked it a lot! It was ORANGE - my fave color! And it was clean, like you could lick off the sink or something. Restaurants with well-maintained restrooms should be given two-thumbs up!

Anyway on to the food. Mom ordered the Vigan Longganisa. She was particularly excited about this because she hasn't had longganisa in a long time.

It looked really good. But you see, here's the problem when you know a certain food's authentic taste. Remember my blog about the bagnet? It's all about being ILOKANO! We get Vigan Longganisa straight from the makers way up north. So we know it's the real deal even when you blindfold us.

Mind you, it is longganisa, just not from Vigan. There's no salty twang to it. No oil which makes it tastier. It's a bit disappointing. Good thing Mom was really hungry so she ate the entire plate. She told me if she weren't THAT hungry she won't even touch it.

On the other side of the table, there I was enjoying and having fun with my super Cheesy Mushroom Burger! It reminded me of the Mushroom Burger of Burger King. I loved it because the juices were dripping off the sides, and it was (sorry to steal KFC's tagline and for my lack of originality) finger-licking good! :D I loved the cheese!!!!! The fries with the Heinz ketchup was just a bonus to this meal! Loved, loved, loved this!

I'd give this a 6 out of 10. Food-wise we did encounter some slight problems, but ambiance-wise it was relaxed. :) But that burger sure was memorable, if I were to come back to Flapjacks, I'd definitely be having that again! :)

Flapjacks Greenbelt 2
Greenbelt 2, Greenbelt
Paseo de Roxas cor. Legaspi St., Ayala Center, Makati

Monday, August 16, 2010

Cyma: Perfect Way to Cap Off The Week

There are some statements about food I regret saying too soon. I said before I don't like Thai food but ended up going to one particular Thai restaurant more than thrice already.

Then there's Greek food. I said, "Me. No. Likey!". But then last payday Friday, Trency wanted Greek, so off we went to Eastwood Mall to chomp on Greek food in CYMA. Since I knew nothing about Greek food I had to check out their website and look at their menu for something familiar. Good thing I saw a lot of meat..so it was safe!

If there is one thing I thank for having a group that's dead set on consuming good food is that it has opened my eyes..and taste buds..to a wider variety.

Anyway got there earlier than the rest, and thank God for early reservations! I sat all by my lonesome for about an hour. So what's a lone blogger to do but take pictures of the place.

I love how informative their menu was. There was a short history, a map, and pictures of Greece. It made the feel very authentic. And I also liked the statement from CYMA Executive Chef, Robby Goco.
"When the raw products are of such flawless quality, as they are at CYMA, covering them up with sauces and forceful flavours is exactly what should not be done. CYMA prides itself on its delicious food - the idea is perfect simplicity. To preserve each ingredient's distinct flavour and nutritional value. Why interfere with what nature has already mastered?"

Seriously after reading that, I felt all my Greek food inhibitions disappear. There was so much power in Chef Goco's words. All I had to do was wait for the gang to arrive and order. My eyes, stomach and mind were already focused on one thing - Lamb Gyro!

Trency arrived first, and as always hungry. So we started ordering like there was no tomorrow. Here's what we had, first stop was Roka Salata. I'm not a veggie person, and if there's salad, the only thing I'd eat is Caesar's Salad. But Trency said this was her family's favorite. Aside from the veggies, it had nuts and I think cheese (Quezo de Bola type).

Then we had this totally awesome appetizer which will blow you away. Saganakai - Mozarella. Served like this:

Yep FIRE! It was so cool because the servers all had to yell OPA! Whatever that meant! The effect was definitely worth screaming OPA over and over! After all the fire tricks, it looked like this. Served on a sizzling plate, the mozzarella cheese was so good with the white, soft, buttered bread that comes along with it! I am such a sucker for all things cheesy! :)

For our main course we had Pork Souvlaki with pita bread. The pita was really good, but the pork was a bit hard. I remember Trency complaining about it. But it sure was tasty!

We also had pasta because no one ordered the famed kouskous. This was the Angel Hair Baby Clams. There was more clams than pasta.

And this was the motherload, for me anyway! Lamb Gyro! You see, Gyro made CYMA famous. Although their best seller was the Chicken Gyro, I just had to have LAMB! What's so cool about this was when I ordered, the server, Kuya Jerwin, said they ran out of Gyro. I think he saw the distraught look on my face, and he said he'd have it specially done for me! Hooray! And it did not disappoint. It made me remember my LU experience - LAMB on Rigatoni! Seems like lamb is the way to go! Uber yummy! And no lamby after-taste.

Since we all felt so grown up, and since it was Trency's belated birthday treat, Amanda and Mike capped off our gluttony with WINE. Yes, WINE complete with the chilled glasses! We all felt very chic! Mike and Amanda nrought the White Zinfandel from California. And this bottle came along with a little trivia: Claudine Barretto allegedly bought all the stock of this little sucker (in some wine depot) because it was THAT GOOD!

But being the beer drinker, my taste buds did not conform with the supposedly good taste of the White Zinfandel. On a good day, I'd still have beer.

My first Greek experience was not traumatizing after all. And this teaches me to taste first before saying something. CYMA you made my first Greek food trip totally exciting. Really good food! :) Can't wait to try out the other entrees from CYMA! Now if I could just drag Mom to a CYMA store, that would solve it.

Oh and if in CYMA Eastwood Mall, look for Jerwin, our server. He was the best! You'd see him present in some of the photos in this blog. He was the one holding the Saganaki and the one pouring wine in Mike's glass. He was just so cool. He even took pictures of us using Trency's brand spanking new Canon 550D. He will make your time at CYMA a great time! :)

CYMA Eastwood is located at the 2nd floor of the new Eastwood Mall in Libis, Quezon City. Call them at 709-1955.

To know more about CYMA and its other branches simply visit their website at www.cymarestaurants.com.

Remember to have your seats reserved. Having reservations usually mean a quicker way to get a seat and a server! :)

Friday, August 13, 2010

New Food Trip: Peri-Peri Grill House

Bez and I can't seem to get over each other that we met up for the 3rd time this week. This is a major feat for us since I already transferred to Cainta last month. Funny because she was in Greenhills waiting for the traffic situation along EDSA to improve, and since it was just near my usual route home, we met up. I had to wait out the traffic as well, so spontaneous date was at The Promenade.

The usual noshers that we are, she wanted to go back to Peri-Peri Grill House to eat. I was excited because this was a new food haunt for me.

Trency said that the place looked different already. The last time she ate there was 3 years ago, and they have improved the look of the place. Cool addition to the restaurant was WIFI! I absolutely love establishments with free wifi..agree with me on this! :)

And so the starving Trency ordered the same food I did: Peri Chicken Combo 1. A delightful 1/4 chicken platter with 2 side dishes. Trency's side dishes were Jave Rice and Buttered Corn and Carrots. For me, I had the French Fries and Buttered Corn and Carrots.

Besides the free gravy that comes along with your dish, there are other condiments you could try to make the chicken flavor come alive! Just choose from any of these 3 Peri-Peri sauces - Hot Peri-Peri Sauce, some oily sauce thing, and Mild Peri-Peri Sauce. :)

The chicken was really good! Since it's grilled, it's supposedly healthier than deep-fried. The meat was really tender and full of flavor. Something I'd recommend to chicken addicts out there. :)

The only thing I didn't like about the restaurant was its confined space. We stayed outside, but when I went in to use the bathroom, I got confused. Upon entering, to the left there was this huge mirror that reflected the other side. So you'd think there was an extension. Sure mirrors are used to make something look bigger than it actually seems. But I just found their use of mirrors weird and unnecessary. Pictures below are from Click The City.

They don't have service charge, so if they please you with their service and out of the kindness of your hearts, give 'em a little something. We didn't have problems when we were there, except that the server forgot my french fries.

Come to Peri-Peri Grill House if you want fantabulous chicken! They have other stuff on the menu that looked really enticing. Just be prepared to pay up, it's a little pricey. But I guess it's worth it, cos the food was good anyway. :)

Peri-Peri Grill House
G/F Promenade, Greenhills, San Juan

Visit their website at http://www.periperigrill.com/

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Happy Birthday Bez!! :)

Last Sunday night I get a late-night call from Trency telling me to sleepover at her house on Monday night. She wanted us to make salubong her birthday which was today (August 10) at their Rockwell condo. Excitedly, I said yes.

Despite having menstrual cramps, a very painful wrist (no thanks to carpal tunnel syndrome), and back pains (again, no thanks to my foam-less bed), I happily drove to Rockwell after work. The happy birthday salubong plan was beer, sosyal (posh) pulutan (beer chow), and movies.

It was so weird, because of all the times I've gone on a drinking session, the usual suspects were greasy peanuts, greasy barbecue, sisig, and anything with oil and grease that is known to man! But last night, this drinking session called for beer chow that even the Zobel de Ayala's might partake of.

Here's the lowdown: 3 kinds of fromage (cheese), assorted nuts (almonds, pecans, and the like), cold cuts, and assorted crackers. All of those partnered with Gilbey's Premium Strength (DEFINITELY NOT for men only!) and Tanduay Ice.

We also watched Aladdin, just so we could feel like kids again! :D

At the stroke of midnight, we went up to their condo's terrace to officially welcome in the 10th of August and Trency's 24th birthday. Wishing her all the happiness in the world, we let her blow her ESPERMA candle. Sorry, we all forgot to bring a real birthday candle! :p

As for Trency's cakes, we had sugarless, flour-less chocolate cake and Heaven on Earth. All from Starbucks. The Heaven on Earth was so good, we ate it before I had the chance to take a photo of it.

It was a great night, a great way to celebrate yet another year of endless possibilities, another year to grow! But we all had to retire early (at 2.30am) because we all have certain responsibilities today. We didn't even finish the 2nd movie (The Boat That Rocked).

So Trency, my one and only bez, happy, happy, happy birthday! We love you so much! Always remember we're here for you. And I know we were talking about this while you were washing the dishes, how hard life is now that we're adults, but I know you can get through anything. I wish you luck in your interior design endeavors, I know you can do it. I wish for you to have more theater stints, so we can all watch you act in your plays with pride only true friends could do. Amanda may not have been there last night, but I'm pretty sure, she'll wish you well. We may not have a love life right now, but I'm sure you'll find that right guy someday.

Love you bez! Happy birthday! *hugs* :)

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