Thursday, December 12, 2013

Christmas Gift Ideas - the Best Food Items to Give this Season

It's Christmas time again. I know many of us are already excited with the up coming parties. But I'm quite sure that many of us are also anxious already because our Christmas shopping is far from being finished. Well, who can blame us. There are really a lot of people we want and should thank so it feels like time is not enough. Plus our Christmas bonus is also not enough.So here are some ideas that might help. But I'd like to warn you that all of these are food or food related gifts. I guess you guessed that already from the title -- Christmas Gift Ideas - the Best Food Items to Give this Season.

Christmas Gift Idea #1. SIDES.  I call this SIDES because these are the things you put on the sides of your favorite dishes. You can give your friends a bottle of atchara, roasted garlic and pickles. This set is a good idea because it is quite unique. Not a lot of people will think of giving these things. Plus not a lot of people will expect receiving such items so this set will really have an impact. If you have the means, you can buy gourmet atchara, roasted garlic and pickles in groceries. But these things are also available in bazaars and the wet market. Those gourmet types are already placed in nice bottles so you wont have to worry about how they'd look. You just have to buy a nice gift basket and your done. Those available in bazaars also come in nice containers. If you'll buy from the market, what you can do is design the bottles using pieces of cloth and ribbons. You can use red and green checkered cloth and silver or gold ribbons. You can also add tiny poinsettia or bells to make your gift more Christmas-y.

Christmas Gift Idea #2.0. BOXED-UP. There are a lot of pastry shops that sell all kinds of cookies an pastries. You can opt to buy their boxed goodies to give to your friends. During Christmas season, they use boxes with Christmas design you all you need is to attach a gift tag. But these boxed pastries can be expensive at times. If your budget is a bit tight, you can buy pastries and cookies from your neighborhood pastry shop or bakery and just box them in Christmas boxes. Or you can also put them in jars.

Christmas Gift Idea #2.1. BOXED-UP. Aside from cookies and pastries, you can also box cakes. You can order from your favorite bakeshop cakes and box them nicely. You can actually have your own design followed if you know your local neighborhood baker. In may case, since I don't know of any baker, I will just buy cakes to box at S&R. They have nice cakes that would look really good in cute Christmas boxes. I'm actually thinking of Carrot and Walnut Cake of S&R.

Christmas Gift Idea #3. GREENS. I call this GREEN because this is about vegetables -- green or otherwise. Yes, you can give vegetables as gifts for Christmas especially if you have health conscious friends. You can put in a basket assorted vegetables like cucumber and carrots which they can just slice and eat anytime or turn into juice like those detox juices that's famous among celebrities. Look at their Instagram accounts and you'll see pictures of the products they get from detoxify bar. And don't forget the connection between Anne Curtis and that juice cleanse which got mentioned when she got in the "I can buy you, your friends and this club" incident. Anyway, aside from cucumber and carrots, you can also add salad vegetables like big, red tomatoes, Romaine lettuce, mint, etc. Make sure to design your basket really well. You can use ribbons and other trimmings to give it the Christmas look.

Christmas Gift Idea #4. HOT STUFF. This is all about coffee, tea and chocolate drinks hence the Hot Stuff title. You can give Kapeng Barako, Local Tea and Tsokolate to your friends who are Starbucks and UCC addicts. Kapeng Barako is famous in Batangas but they are also available in supermarkets around the Metro. The same is true with local teas like pito-pito, sambong and ampalaya and tsokolate. Tsokolate also comes in round or ball shapes. These are available in some Batangas towns. They are also good stuff.

So there you go. I hope these Christmas Gift Ideas would help you with your Christmas shopping.   

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

MINISTOP - My One Stop Shop

After working the entire day, the idea of cooking dinner is not so appealing. We'd rather lie down in bed and rest when we arrive home. For those with family this is unrealistic. It is a must that they prepare meals for their loved ones however tired they already are. So what can they do to be able to provide food for their family and still save time for the much  needed rest?

One of the things that working parents can do is to just buy food from fast food chains or in their neighborhood carinderia. Buying precooked food would save them a lot of time. However, buying in fast food chains can be costly.

Another thing they can do is to buy boxed meals that they could just heat in the microwave oven. One of the best places to find these boxed meals is MINISTOP. They have various choices of boxed meals. I discovered this when I transferred to another house a couple of months ago. On my first night there  I was so tired from unpacking and arranging my stuff I didn't like to cook anymore. I just headed to the nearest convenience store which happens to be MINSTOP to buy something to eat. That's when I found out that they have many choices of boxed meals. This is perfect for those moms or dads who do not want to cook.

But that's not the only thing I discovered. They also have rice toppers. In my case I do not like to bring home the food anymore because that would mean additional trash so rice toppers are great. There are several MINISTOP branches that have tables and chairs for "dine-in" customers and I'm lucky the branch near my place is one of them.

Some of the food I've already sampled and liked are burger steak, sisig, caldereta, pork chops (I can't remember exactly how they call their pork chops), chicken inasal, fried chicked and fried siomai/sharksfin. They also have Samurice (its flavored rice wrapped in nori wrapper -Japanese seaweed) which comes in 3 flavors -  Pork Bulgogi, Chicken Adobo and Bangus Sisig. This is good for those who prefer something light. My favorite is bulgogi.

These rice toppers are reasonably priced. Prices ranges from P 29 to P 49. One piece fried chicken is about P60+. The Samurice costs  P 25. It's probably what Ms. Kris Aquino would call sulit because their serving is really filling. The 2 pc. burger steak which costs P 39 pesos for example is good for those who are really hungry. Light eaters can actually share one order of this. However, I noticed that for about a month now, the serving of rice become a bit smaller. this an effect of the sudden increase in price of rice grains?

They also have what I call the Spam collection -- yes, it's the canned meat we all love. There's the Spam Teriyaki Musubi worth P 29, Spam Breakfast meal worth P 49 , etc.

Recently they added the Pork and Beans Collection. It comes in 3 variants but I've only tried that Barbecue Pork and Beans. It is worth P 29.

I still have a lot more to try at MINISTOP but here are some pictures of those that I have sampled. And by the way, after MINISTOP I'll explore 7-11 also because I know they also have rice meals.

Barbecue Pork and Beans

Pork Siomai

Pork Sisig

Pork Bulgogi
2 pc Burger Steak

Pork Bulgogi and Yakult
Chicken Inasal

Monday, September 02, 2013

Hotsilog made Sosyal - Korean Hotsilog ?

Last Sunday, I accompanied my friend who went shopping in Glorietta. We walked all over the place which made me really hungry. After about a couple of hours walking I asked my friend if we could go to the Food Choices to eat. I didn't have anything in mind that's why I chose the place where there are lots of options. My only consideration then was I wanted to eat something heavy and cheap.

When we got there my friend ordered lamb chops at Go Greek and I just had Umo Rice Garlic Sausage at Kim 'n Chi. My order is worth only P 85.00.  Heavy? Check.

Umo rice is fried rice "wrapped" in fried scrambled egg. In effect, the Umo Rice Garlic Sausage is like hotsilog or combination of hotdog, sinangag (fried rice) and itlog made to look different (made to look  sosyal haha). The sausage is just an ordinary sausage -- nothing really  special about it. And it's not really garlic flavor. You'll get the garlic taste from the mayo dressing they squeeze on top. In my mind it's just hotsilog so I think P 85 is a little bit too much because you can have tapsilog in your friendly tapsilogan stores for about P 50 - P 60 only. But then the serving of rice is big so I guess it's acceptable.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Recipe for Dry Flat Noodles in Squid Ink Soup

I have always been fascinated with pasta in squid ink or black ink sauce. Whenever a restaurant has this on their menu, I make it a point to try it. Most of the time I'm satisfied with this pasta variety.

One weekend, while thinking of something new to serve for lunch, I thought of making something using black ink or squid ink. I was tempted to experiment and try pasta in squid ink but I felt that it won't be original because there are quite a number of restaurants serving that already. That's when I decided to try to make a Ramen like dish using squid ink.

My experiment turned out okay so I'm sharing with you my very own recipe of Dry Flat Noodles in Squid Ink Soup

 500 g        small squid
 150 g        dry flat noodles
 250 g        lettuce
                  spring onions
                  salt and pepper

1. Saute crushed garlic and minced onion.
2. Add squid. Leave it in the pan for 2 - 3 minutes to allow it to release the  black ink.
3. When the black ink is boiling and the squid has shrunk, add two to three cups water. Let it boil for a few minutes.
4. Add salt and pepper to taste. Go easy on the salt coz squid can be a little bit salty on its own.
5. Add the noodles. When the noodles is almost cooked, add the lettuce. Let it boil for under a minute.
6. Serve the noodles topped with spring onions and roasted garlic.

Note: You can also use big squid. However, you may want to remove the squid when you do step 3. Set the squid aside and cut to form rings. Just the squid rings back again when you reach step 6.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Koreans -- Where do they buy their pasalubong (Take-home treats)?

That there are many Koreans in the Philippines is already given. We all know that. Perhaps they outnumber all the other nationalities in the country. Maybe their number is even greater than the number of other tourists combined. Some of them come here to see the beautiful places like Vigan in the North and Boracay in the South. Others stay here to study in good Universities like the University of the Philippines and La Salle. Others just come here to study English believing that Filipinos are good teachers of that language. Still others come here to do business. But I've also learned that some Koreans actually come here with intentions of staying for good. Some of them intend to make the Philippines as their retirement place. Nice thought, right?

We Filipinos like to bring pasalubong or take-home presents to our family and friends whenever we come home from trips. Do Koreans do the same? In my observation, some of them are like us. Some of them also bring pasalubong. I saw some Koreans buying bags of Chicacorn when I was in Vigan. By the volume of what they were buying, I assumed they were for pasalubong. I also saw Koreans buying key chains in Boracay. In Laguna, I saw some buying buko pie although I doubt if they are going to bring those pies home to Korea. Perhaps they'll just give it as pasalubong to friends who were left in Manila and were not able to join them.

But do Koreans who do not go out of Manila buy pasalubong as well? They do as I saw in SM Mall of Asia. I saw Koreans buying volumes of pasalubong in a stall near the skating rink called Michelle's Putong Ube.

Michelle's Homemade Putong Ube

There was a long line of Koreans buying bags of goodies that I assume are delicacies not available in Korea (duh? haha). The delicacies they sell in Michelle's are good -- export quality I should say. We won't be shamed if tourists like these Koreans present them as pasalubong to their family and friends. However, for many of us locals, their delicacies are a bit pricey. But judging from the long line I saw, these Korean tourists probably didn't mind.

Long line of Koreans buying pasalubong

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Take that Stress Out with a Spa Visit and Buffet Meal

Working 8 hours a day, 5 times a week can really be draining and stressful. You give your all to your work thus your energy is zapped come Friday. So the best response to this is to relax. And two of the best ways to relax is to go to a spa for that much needed pampering or to have a really good meal in an eat-all-you-can restaurant.

There are a lot of spas you can visit. Some of them would cost a fortune (which could make you even more stressed) but there are also others that are affordable. There are also lots of eat-all-you-can (buffet)  restaurants around. Some are expensive while others are cheap.

If you can't decide whether to go a spa or to a buffet restaurant, don't worry. There is a spa in town that also offers buffet meals. This spa is none other than Wensha. It has a branch in Timog (near Quezon Ave) and Pasay (across the World Trade Center).

Wensha's body massage costs P 780. That price includes use of the jacuzzi, steam room, sauna and showers. And yes, that also includes the buffet meal (more on this later). You can even sleep in the massage room after your massage. You can stay inside the spa for a maximum of 8 hours.

The buffet usually consists of siomai, siopao, a fish meal (fish fillet in lemon sauce, with tausi or hot and spicy), a pork meal, vegetables, chicken (fried or afritada), noodles, soup and rice.

I've noticed that the chefs in Wensha like the lemon sauce a lot. They usually have something in lemon sauce on their buffet table -- fish fillet in lemon sauce, pork in lemon sauce and chicken in lemon sauce. I think lemon sauce is best for fish. Of the three, its the one that I liked.

Their siomai is okay but I think it's similar to the ones you could buy from those canteen or mall carts. Their siomai is far from what you can have in good Chinese restaurants. I have not tried their siopao yet.

I like their noodles (pancit). Instead of pork, they usually put beef. The first time I saw their noodles I didn't try it because it looked dry. But it's good the lady ahead of me actually "showed" me it's not. She got from the bottom of chafing dish. That's where the sauce (and oil) is.

Aside from these ready to eat dishes, they also have shabu-shabu. They have a long line of ingredients for this do-it-yourself meal. I had tried this only once but that was already too long ago I can't remember anymore how it really tasted. What I do remember is that I didn't like what I cooked until I made the soup spicy. At first I thought what I cooked was bland. Most of the ingredients you can put in look good but don't be tempted to get a lot because you'll be  asked to pay P 300 for leftovers. The reason why I do not eat their shabu-shabu anymore is because I usually go alone. I'm too conscious I might cook more than what I could eat so I  just forget about the whole thing altogether. You see it's weird to cook just a little shabu-shabu. I don't know exactly why but it feels awkward cooking soup just for yourself. Anyway, if you go with friends, shabu-shabu is good especially if you want to stay long in the dining area to chat.

They serve bottomless (unlimited) drinks -- orange juice and red iced tea. I was told that they also now have soft ice cream.

This is a spa to begin with so may I say a few words about their spa services?

When you enter the spa you would need to register or pay at the reception counter. After paying, you will receive your electronic locker key and then you'll be asked to go one side where you'll deposit your shoes and get your prescribed rubber slippers. When you enter the locker area, the attendants will give you your robe and two towels. Before, they just give you robe and a towel. That's because back then you can use several towels per visit. But probably because of laundry expenses they've cut down towel use to two per customer per visit. Actually there's a sign saying that even before but I guess nobody minded it so they had to think of a way to really implement it.

You can choose to stay in the wet area first before getting your massage. The wet area is clean. Probably it's because you can't wear your slippers (yes, the one they gave) inside the wet area. You have to go in barefoot. The jacuzzi is big and inviting but if you're a little shy or conservative, you'd probably think twice before taking a dip because the jacuzzi has the big video wall as its backdrop.

I've never been a fan of their steam room because it is way too hot for me. It could get suffocating inside, actually. I like the sauna more.

The massage is most of the time good. Probably 80% of time, I've been satisfied. I've had a masseur or two who are not good  but it general, their masseurs are fine.

So, are you tired and stressed? If you want to relax this weekend after working so hard, I say try Wensha.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Maple - A New Fancy Restaurant to Try in Mandaluyong

A good friend of mine celebrated her birthday recently. We didn't get the chance to really celebrate on that day so we decided to meet up a few weeks after instead. She invited us to dinner in a relatively new restaurant at the relatively new wing of Shangri-la Mall along EDSA, Mandaluyong. The restaurant is called Maple.

It was my first time to go to that part of Shangri-la and it was my first time to eat at that restaurant. When she said we were eating there I  got really excited. I didn't have any idea about the place so I was really looking forward to eating there.

Another friend and I met up earlier than the actual "call time" so we had the chance to go around the new wing first. After a few minutes of malling, we decided to go to Maple. The birthday girl wasn't there yet but she said we could already order. We know nothing about the place so we opted to wait for her. But since we were hungry, we ordered Fiesta Chips and Dips. When it arrived, it was a total disappointment. The chips are "hard" and definitely not crispy. It's worth Php 360. I felt it was overpriced.

Fiesta Chips and Dips

When the birthday girl arrived, she ordered Caesar Salad, Maple Glazed Chicken Wings, Drippin Baby Back  Ribs, Prime Rib Tapa, fish tacos and Blueberry and Cream Cheese Pancake Tower.

The waiting time was not very long. They served the food just a few minutes after we placed our order. The food came even ahead of another friend lol.

The salad came out first. I liked it because the vegetables were fresh and crisp. I  think even those who are not so into vegetables will appreciate it. They gave us just a small amount of dressing so I thought it wouldn't be enough. Well, it wasn't enough but I  didn't mind because the Romain, even without a lot of dressing was good enough for me.

Caesar Salad

The Maple Glazed Chicken Wings came next. It was okay. There's nothing really amazing about the chicken but it wasn't bad as well.

Maple Glazed Chicken Wings

The Prime Rib Tapa is something I will probably have again the next time I visit the place. The meat is tender you wouldn't really need to use the knife given. Well, that's an exaggeration but what I'd like to say is that the meat is really tender you wouldn't have difficulty chewing. It was perfectly marinated. However, it has very small fat. I like the fatty portion, you see.

Prime Rib Tapa

Maple's Drippin Baby Back Ribs is also something I would recommend. Juicy and tender -- that's perhaps the best way to describe it. And compared to baby back ribs served in other restaurants, the one served there at Maple is reasonably priced.  

Maple's Drippin Baby Back  Ribs

What came as a real surprise for me was the Fish Tacos. It's not your ordinary tacos not only because it's fish but because the 'shell' or crust is like pita bread -- flour tortillas. The salsa-ish mixture that you put with the fish when you wrap is flavorful. It's something I really liked even if at first I was hesitant because I saw an herb that I do not like. It's good the smell of that herb was masked so I had the courage to try -- I would have regretted it if I hadn't.

Fish Tacos

The Blueberry and Cream Cheese Pancake Tower of course came last. It was a pity, really. It tasted so good and yummy but we were already full so we were not able to finish the whole tower. It was a great injustice to the pancakes.

Blueberry and Cream Cheese Pancake Tower

After dinner we decided to go to the main mall. Though we were full, we still had dessert. I think it's more for us to have the chance to talk more than to really eat something sweet. Hmmmmm......

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Papa John's Pizza All You Can 2013

Papa John's Pizza All You Can is back. For only P 225 you get the chance to eat as many slices of pizza as you want and can. Last year, I tried this Papa John's Pizza All You Can promo and I think I had 7 slices. If I remember it right, they serves four flavors. I'm sure they served Hawaiian and Pepperoni but I don't remember the other two. 

This year's Papa John's Pizza All You Can is good for all Tuesdays of July, from 5 to 9 pm. Again, it's just for P 225. This comes with a regular glass of soda.

If you want to read my post about last year's promo, you may click here.

Monday, July 01, 2013

How to Prevent Yourself from Getting too Hungry while Attending Wedding Celebrations

Four Sisters and a Wedding is now showing in local cinemas. I heard there are long lines at the cinemas which is a bit expected because you have 5 popular lead stars who have their legions of fans. Angel Locsin would probably have the most but I'm sure the others are not far behind. However, the buzz about the movie is not as strong as that of other Star Cinema films like No Other Woman and It Takes a Man and a Woman.

Anyway, what's a movie doing again in a food blog? Actually, this entry is about weddings. Yeah! Weddings!

Suffering from hunger is part and parcel of weddings. You see, the time indicated in wedding invitations is actually an hour earlier than the actual start of the wedding rites. You're a good guest so you arrive on time (or perhaps even  earlier) so you'd have to wait for at least an hour before you get to hear the wedding rites. Then of course, wedding rites usually last an hour (some religions have longer) so that means another hour of waiting. Then there is pictorial. If you're lucky this would just last for like 30 minutes. Then you still have to travel to the venue of the wedding reception (time depends on how far the place is from the church --or wherever the the rites is done -- and the traffic situation). Then you'd have to sit for another hour waiting for the bride and the groom to arrive. You see, they are still out having another set of pictorials (for the SDE or same day edit video presentation or other stuff). You think that when they arrive you can already eat! Well, think again. There are still traditions that have to be accomplished -- throwing of bouquet and garter which takes so long because single guests like to play hide and seek, cutting of the cake, first dance, second dance, last dance, nth dance, etc. Then when the emcee declares that dinner is served, you can't still go running to the buffet table because you  still have to wait for your table nuember to be called. Once your number is called, you still have to go to the table of the bride and groom to have your picture taken with them.

When you finally get to the buffet table, you're already too tired to even enjoy what's presented in front of you. So what now? Here are some tips to prevent your hunger from going to levels that could rival that of the people in some African regions.

1. I am almost tempted to say go to the wedding late. But that of course is not good. I'd still say you should follow what is written in the invitation. But bring with you crackers or biscuits and a small bottle of mineral water. A small pack of biscuits (something that could easily fit your purse or your breast pocket) will do the trick.

2. Have a heavy snacks before going to the wedding. This could be a problem, though, for those whose dress or suit is already too tight. If this is the case, then just go back to option 1. You wouldn't want to look like you've gained 10 overnight, do you?

3. Bring a piece of candy. This will help abate hunger. Coffee candy would be good because it help prevent you from being too hungry and sleepy at the same time.

4. When you reach the reception venue, look for the cocktails table. When you see that they serve cocktails, it should be an indication to you that they are anticipating delays so go grab a few bites. Again. Few. Bites. Don't make yourself look as if you've not eaten in days by eating too much. Even if they just serve chips and nuts, have some. That would help.

5.  If there are no cocktails, ask the waiters for a glass of water. This will surely help.

Any of these will help you from getting too hungry. But should you still come to the point that you're feeling really, really, really hungry when you reach the buffet table , stop yourself from getting a lot of food. Trust me, you will not be able to finish them all. Get a cupful of soup, a small plate of greens -- salad -- and just enough of the other food.

How did I start this post again? Oh....Four Sisters and a Wedding!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Man of Steel at Giligan's

I watched Man of Steel the other day at IMAX, SM Mall of Asia. I've been wanting to watch Man of Steel after hearing/reading good reviews about it but I never had the time to so when somebody invited me and I was free, I said yes right away. I was really excited. Besides, I haven't been to IMAX in a long while.

The movie was good. It didn't disappoint. The reviews I read were right. It was really entertaining. The visuals were really awesome. They looked believable. It is  also interesting to note that the present Superman showed more 'emotions' than the previous Supermen (does the rule apply here or should it be Supermans since it's a proper name anyway?).

The supporting cast were good. I must say, however, that I thought Diane Lane was Sharon Stone made to look old. I don't know why so please don't ask me.

Anyway, what I want to really tell you in this blog is that we ate at Giligan's after watching Man of Steel. This is a food blog, right? Haha

We chose Giligan's because we were 5 and somebody told us that they have 'group orders' that are affordable. Their group orders are divided into two. The F group and the S group. The F group (F1, F2, F3, etc.) is good for four hence the F label and the S group (S1, S2, S3, etc.) is good for six. Since we were 5, we ordered from the S group -- we had S3.

S3 has fried squid heads with sweet and spicy dip, fried pork liempo, sinigang na baboy, beef steak with bean sprouts, lumpiang shanghai, 2 big plates of steamed rice and 6 glasses of iced tea. The serving of the different viands aren't big but since there are several kinds, all of us had enough (or at least I think all of us had). We were only 5 so I don't think it could really serve 6.

The sinigang is what I likes most. I am not really fond of sinigang na baboy but I liked theirs. I also liked the fried squid heads. The shanghai is okay -- it was fried just right. The liempo was also okay but nothing really outstanding. The steak tastes like the ordinary carinderia variety. I'm not saying it was bad. It's just that there is nothing really special about it.

For P 835 (P 139 for a group of six), I think it's a good deal provided that not all of you are men who are big eaters.

If  you have needs like the Man of Steel, I think this package isn't enough --  even if you eat it alone. Wait a minute, I just realized, I didn't see Superman eating anything in the movie. Did he eat in the past versions?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Kangaroo Jack - a not-so-special menu and an expensive 'charging' rate

June 12, 2013. Independence Day. Holiday.

My friend and I decided to go to a restaurant to finish some work we brought home. I don't usually bring work home but since it's the middle of the week and I can't go out of town, I decided to just bring some to occupy my time. We chose The Hub located at the Rizal Par, Luneta, beside Chines Garden. It's described as an upscale lounge facility owned and operated by 2Go. When we got there we were surprised by the sign at the door that says "CLOSED". I didn't expect that The Hub would be close because it's a holiday and it is located right at the heart of one of the places that a lot of people visit especially during holidays.

We then decided to go to another restaurant near Luneta. Again, the place is closed. What on earth is happening? We had no choice but to go to Robinson's Manila to find a restaurant or a coffee shop where we could charge our laptops so we could finish our work.

We saw this restaurant called Kangaroo Jack at the ground floor of the mall. It has an eat-all-you-can merienda with unlimited red iced tea for only P 189. Before we got in we asked the waitress standing by the door if they have electric outlets where we could plug-in our laptops and she said yes. So we got in and started with our buffet meal.

They had 2 kinds of pasta -- spaghetti (with red sauce) and pesto. They also  had chicken adobo, meatballs and steamed rice. There's soup with toast. They also had nachos and banana fritters or mini turon with chocolate syrup.

The spaghetti is ordinary. The pesto is good but there's also nothing especial about it. Same with the adobo. Modesty aside, I could cook better adobo. What I really like is their nachos because of the salsa. The tomatoes and onions were cut small but not very small to the point that they would look like purees. The banana fritters is also good --  not too sweet and the wrap is crispy with the filling kept soft.

While we were eating we were told that charging is allowed but is only free for the first 15 minutes. They charge P 50 for the succeeding hour. We were surprised by this but just said okay because we have already started with our buffet meals. Then on my second round (hey, this is eat-all-you-can, lol), another waiter (a Richard Poon look alike I almost looked for Maricar, lol) approached us to say that they charge P 100 per hour for charging laptops. The P 50 rate they earlier told us is for cellular phones. I felt it was too much so we just decided to leave the place. That is after we get some more helpings from their not-so-special eat-all-you-can table.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Do Senior Citizens get what they deserve from fast food chains like Jollibee?

My father is 76 years old and is a dual citizen -- Filipino and Senior Citizen. He has been enjoying the perks of being an old man who has somehow served the country in his own little way as a public school teacher. He gets discounts for the medicines that he takes -- he has high blood pressure and, Parkinson's disease. He also had stroke recently. He also gets SC discounts whenever he would be confined in a hospital. When he eats at fast food chains, he also gets 20 % off.

Jollibee is one of his favorite fast food chains. When he could still go to  Lucena City, we would always go to Jollibee uness I request other places. In the beginning he gets discounts for both our orders. Later on there was a rule that only the food that the SC card holder will eat will be given discount. We gladly followed because we felt it was fair.

When he could no longer go to malls, I would buy his favorite burger steak from Jollibee in out town (Gumaca, Quezon) once in a while. I usually bring his ID together with an authorization letter to get the SC discount. Jollibee accepts that like all the other restaurants (and drugstores for that matter). For several years we enjoyed this little favor that my old man gets. I'm grateful for this but  I also know that this is not something that he owes Jollibee or any other restaurant giving discounts. It is a right that he rightfully deserves as a senior citizen of this country. It is not really that much if you really think about it but again, we are grateful.

Last week, I felt like my father deserves a treat so I asked his yaya to go to Jollibee to order burger steak. She brought with her my fathers SC ID and an authorization letter with his thumb mark -- he can't write anymore. When the yaya came back she had with her the burger steak but she said it's going to be the last time she could order for my father with just an authorization letter. The manager on duty was gracious enough to allow her to order that time but she said that next time, the SC himself must be there to order to get the discount. She said there was a memo issued regarding this.

I was really astonished by the said memo. Don't they know that there are a lot of senior citizens who either can't walk or are bedridden? They are SENIOR citizens, for crying out loud. Will we let them go through the trouble just to get a 20 % discount for a piece of burger steak? Some might say Jollibee is not forcing us to buy from them anyway so what are we complaining about. But you see, my  point here is that these old people deserve this. They worked for it, paid taxes for many years.

The discount is really small. It wouldn't hurt our budget if we do not get it. The discount we'll get for a burger steak won't even allow us to buy half a kilo of rice. But whatever it is, I still feel that my father deserves it so he should get it. I feel that they should extend a little consideration to the SCs. Jollibee makes us, Filipinos, proud because it is our own. I just hope that Jollibee won't forget to also serve it's own people.

I wonder what the policies of other fast food chains are regarding this area? Do they also have the same rules or are they more considerate of the senior citizens? I saw a billboard saying McDonald's is coming soon to our place. Hmmmm....I will soon find out which values their senior customers better.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Senatorial Candidates and the Food they are Similar to - (update 1)

This blog is basically about food. But since it is election season I also want to write about our politicians. So to match the subjects of these blog post with the theme of the site, I'll try to relate our senatoriables to food we commonly eat. This is all for fun so please always bear in mind that there is no pun intended in each of the senatoriables I try  to describe. Ang pikon, panis!

1. Ms. Nancy Binay - Dinuguan. It's not about the color, I tell you! You see, dinuguan is basically composed of pig's blood and its innards. I imagine that dinuguan was created so that the pig's blood and the innards will not be thrown to waste.You see, all the other parts of the pig have their uses so it is easy to just throw away the rest. It's like the case of the Binays. Daddy Jojo is the Vice President. Sister Abigail Binay is a Congresswoman. Brother Junjun Binay is the Mayor of Makati City. It is easy to just forget about Nancy. But like dinuguan, there just might be an important use for her. Senate perhaps?  

2. Ms. Loren Leagrda - Roasted Garlic. Roasted Garlic is added to various kinds of dishes. It adds flavor to these dishes, that's a given. But many of these dishes can also go without it. Now, how does that fit  Loren? Well, many say she has transferred from one party to another one time too many. They say the transfers were more like to help her in her campaign than to really help the team. But Loren says she only changed party once -- from Lakas to NPC. All the others were brought about by coalitions (forming coalitions has been the norm these past few elections). Hopefully, like roasted garlic, she can spice up the senate if she gets elected.

3. Mr. Chiz Escudero - Ginataang Puso ng Saging. Well, he could be any ginataan but because of his affiliation to Heart I thought he'd be ginataang puso ng saging for now. Gata helps improve the flavor of other food. It enhances the taste of other food like chicken, pork, fish and yes, puso ng saging. Chiz also has a strong influence on others. He helped in pushing for the impeachment of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. And we all know he also helped Jojo Binay clinch the second highest position in the land. And lest you forget, Heart's parents also accuse him of influencing Heart's decisions. I can almost hear Heart's mom saying gata comes from the same source as lambanog which makes one drunk. Just saying.   

4. Mr. Alan Cayetano - Vinegar.  Vinegar is commonly used for dipping or cooking to either enhance or counteract (or both) the flavor of the food. Salty food like tuyo (salted fish) is dipped in vinegar to lessen the saltiness. In cooking adobo, vinegar counteracts the salty taste of the soy sauce but at the same time enhances the overall taste of the food. Alan is like vinegar because he is a critic to GMA -- counteracting the taste. He is also a critic to the Aquino administration being part of the minority block but he doesn't hit him as much as others (and how he used to do with the other administration). It is said that he is a critic BUT is supportive of the present administration. Is that why he is  running under Team PNoy? Hmmm....much like vinegar in adobo, eh?   

5. Mr. Dick Gordon - Fruit salad. Fruit salad is a famous dessert in the country. It helps remove the after taste of various kinds of food. For me, Gordon is fruit salad because I remember him well for his  Wow Philippines. Again, fruit salad is very Filipino. He is also fruit salad because like a good dessert, he somehow cleared the "sin city" image of Olongapo as an after taste left by the US bases.

6. Mr. Gringo Honasan - Ampalaya Salad. Ampalaya salad is primarily made of Ampalaya or bitter gourd which we all know has a bitter taste. When marinated and mashed with salt and then mixed with other ingredients, a big percentage of its bitterness is removed. Gringo's actions in the past can be considered full of bitterness-- remember, he led two coup attempts against the Aquino (Cory) administration. But he has mellowed in a way because he now brings his battles to the senate floor rather on the streets.

7. Mr. Edward Hagedorn - Ginisang Bagoong. Bagoong has a strong taste. When mixed with food, its taste is what you will remember. Hagedorn is also know for being strong-willed that's why Puerto Princesa City  was recognized at some point as having low crime rate. He also has a srong stand in saving mother earth. His bagoong and Loren's garlic could well blend in increasing our chances of saving the environment should they both get to the senate.

8. Ms. Cynthia Villar - Caviar. Caviar is made from salt-cured fish eggs (wikipedia). It is a luxury food. Obviously, I compare Villar to caviar because of her wealth. And besides, she is married to a man who used to sell seafood in Divisoria when he was young. Since she calls herself Mrs. Hanepbuhay, hopefully she can create jobs that would make people rich enough to afford at least fish for their families. Again, that if she wins even without the help of people she calls room nurses.

9. Mr. Ernesto Maceda - Salted Egg. Salted egg is prepared by soaking or curing egg in brine to preserve or prolong its life. Unlike ordinary eggs, salted egg can last a long time. So why is Maceda like a salted egg? Well, he has been in public service since 1959. He was able to last this long perhaps because he has been cured well.

10. Ms. Risa Hontiveros - Ube and Keso Ice Cream. Why she is called ube and keso ice cream shouldn't be a question anymore. Just look at her outfits (or outfit?) during campaign and you will already know why. But you know,  ice cream is also strong enough to fight off the heat. People love to have ice cream during the hot season. Risa also fights it strong when it comes to the things that she likes like the protection of women and children and the RH bill. But she is probably hoping right now that she will not melt as fast as ice cream does as what surveys now are showing.

11 - 12. Mr. Miguel Zubiri and Mr. Koko Pimentel - Milk and Clamansi Juice. As to who is calamansi and who is milk I will leave that up to you. The point is you cannot really mix them together. If you do, there will surely be coagulation. They almost mixed in one party (UNA) this time but Koko opted to run under the other coalition (Team Pinoy) albeit being the head of PDP-Laban which is part of UNA. We all know why the two are very much against each other. Some say they will be opponents forever  -- but rember, in politics, you can never really tell.

13. Ms. Grace Poe - Kwek kwek. Kwek kwek refers to deep fried quail eggs covered with orange batter. It is the small version of the tokneneng which refers to deep fried chicken or duck egg also covered with orange batter. In many cases, the two terms are interchanged. Some may actually do not know the difference. I compare Grace with kwek kwek because she is always seen  as the daughter of Fernando Poe Jr -- a popular action star and a former Presidentiable. There are other children of ex or present politicians running for office but it is she who I think is always remembered as "the daughter of" because of the use of her father's surname in her commercial -- POE is used as PO which is a Filipino term that shows respect. 

14. Mr. JV Ejercito - Penoy. Balut! Penoy! We often hear vendors shouting these two words at night. It's like you always have two kinds of eggs to choose from. Balut is actually more popular than penoy so in this case I would use it to refer to Jinggoy. I think he is the more popular one now simply because he is already holding a national position while JV is still trying to get there. Balut vendors (see, we do not call them penoy vendors) will always say there is really no competition between balut and penoy as Erap will also say these two half-brothers are not competing against each other. He'd probably say there is always enough room for two (one in San Juan and one in Manila? lol). But we all know that one will always be more popular than the other. It's Jinggoy now. Will it be JV tomorrow?

Please bear in mind that these are not necessarily the candidates I will vote for. They are just the interesting ones. They are the ones we always hear being talked about. (But I'll update the list from time to time.)

The things I wrote here are based on the things I read on various internet sites but mostly I got the idea about their profiles from which I suggest you also read to guide you in choosing who to vote for.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Where to eat during the Holy Week, Where to eat on the way to Bicol

It's Holy Week and I'm sure many of you are thinking of where to eat seafoods that are not expensive. And families with kids who are exempt from abstaining are looking for restaurants where food for kids (i.e. burgers and fries) are also served. Well, the best places to eat are fast food chains. Most of them offer something for Lent on their menu.

1. Jollibee - they have Garlic Bangus which you can buy for less than a hundred pesos. It's boneless bangus so it's easy to eat. The sauce is tasty. I think is steak sauce. And it's healthy too because of the garlic.
2. McDonald's - they have Fillet-o-Fish which is just above a hundred pesos depending on the side order. The dressing is good. It's tastier than the spread they put in their other sandwiches.
3. Mang Inasal - they have sinigang na bangus. It's very sour like how sinigang really should be. They also have vegetables if you do not like fish.
4.Chowking - fish with tausi - serving is big and the sauce is good. But tausi has a distinct taste that some actually do not like. If you're one of those who do not fancy tausi, there's always the good, old boneless bangus.

I'm in Gumaca, Quezon now and I see a lot of buses and private vehicles going south. Most of them are probably going to Bicol -- CWC in CamSur, Mayon Volcano or Butanding watching. A lot of vehicles stop at Jollibee Gumaca. Our town likes this because it is good for local businesses. But if you want to try places to eat other than Jollibee here are some places you can visit:

1. Kapitbahay - they have two branches -- both two blocks away from Jollibee. I recommend their fried chicken and spaghetti. You can also try pancit lucban.
2. Bulwagang Salakot - this is a hotel with a restaurant. This can be found before you hit the town proper if your coming from Manila. It's a couple of hundred meters past the local general hospital.
3. Tabachoy's - this is just a hole-in-the- wall eatery. It's just a block after Jollibee. Many vehicles actually park in front because Jollibee's parking cannot accommodate them all. Try their halo-halo. You can also have mami. And for to-go items try burger with french fries - as toppings.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Where to Eat on Valentine's Day

Some restaurants I would recommend for your Valentine's Day date.

1. If you're in a relationship with your partner for a long time already then you know each others secrets very well -- like how many cups of rice you can take or how many servings of roast beef you can eat. If that is the case, my recommendations are Vikings, Saisaki/Dad's and Yakimix. Since you don't have the need to impress or put your best foot forward, you can go on buffet dinner.

Vikings, Saisaki/Dad's and Yakimix offer a wide array of dishes so you don't need to bother deciding on whether you'd go Japanese, Filipino or Chinese.

2. If you want a place where very few people can see you, go to Ryu Ramen and Achipelago 7107 . Very few people will see in these places not because few people visit these restaurants but becuase these are relatively small places. This is ideal if you're in a relationship that is still kept secret. But it is also good for those who just want to have some privacy.

3. For barkada dates this valentine's day, restaurants I would recommend are Zark's and Banapple. At Zark's you can have those really big burgers at affordable prices. You can even take on Zark's challenge now that you have your friends to support you. At Banapple you have choices that would appeal to peole varying tastes. It's good because aside from having good choices for your main meal, they also have wonderful desserts.  

4. For family Valentine's date, I would suggest you go to Chicboy and Shakey's. At Chicboy you can order a lot at very a reasonable price -- I know you'll like this especially if you have a big family. At Shakey's on the other hand, you can have group orders. A large pan of pizza can already feed a whole family. Just add a basket of mojo's and chicken or a large plate of pasta.

If you want a serious family Valentine dinner, you can try Cafe Juanita. They have nice Filipino Cuisine. The ambiance is also very, very nice. It's laid back and serious.

Don't ask me about fast foods because I would say if you could avoid them even just for tonight, then avoid them. Don't get me wrong. I love fast foods. I love Jollibee, McDonald's, KFC, etc. It's just that these places tend to become too crowded and noisy that talking to your partner is really close to impossible. But then again, if you do not have the budget then these are good choices for you. They have wide choices of food and drinks that are good and reasonably priced.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Army Navy - Fearless and Free

There's a new Army Navy restaurant along Jupiter St., Makati City. It's right beside Bo's Coffee. It's a relief to have one there because I like going to that place. Anyway, I ordered my favorite -- Breakfast Burrito, Longganisa. It's what I usually order. I alternate it with the Fearless Fried Chicken. I also love their Freedom Fries. Love them all, really.

I love Army Navy's Longganisa Breakfast Burrito because I love the crunchy longganisa bits. A bit salty really but it goes well with the salsa. It's a complete meal if you ask me. And it's only P180.00.

Army Navy's Freedom Fries for me is a winner because it's really crispy given that the potatoes are thinly sliced.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Yakimix - A Place for a Great Mix of Yummy Goodies

My friend and I came from a 'project' which made us really tired and hungry so we decided to have buffet dinner at Yakimix (Tomas Morato, Quezon City). Yakimix is a buffet (eat all you can) restaurant where there is ready-to-eat food and also food-to-grill  on your table.

Since we were really hungry, we started with the  ready-to-eat  food. They had lots of Japanese food which happens to be one of my favorites. There are various  kinds of sushi and sashimi. I like those that are spicy. I also had sukiyaki to go with these little bite-size goodies. I love sukiyaki. While their sukiyaki is okay, I can't say it's the best one in town. It's a little bit too sweet for me but again, I still say it's okay.

my 'starter' set
The name Yakimix gives the impression that it only serves Japanese food but in reality they do have other dishes for those who cannot take things uncooked. They have lechon kawali (crispy fired pork), string beans, a spicy chicken dish, etc.

While eating tempura and sushi we also started grilling the meat and seafoods we got. We had various kinds of seafoods and meat but we took a lot of salmon, shrimps and bacon. the salmon and the shrimps are what I  would call bestsellers. I've seen the shrimp tray go empty within seconds after it's brought out by the waiter. The grilling part is nice because you get the chance to 'cook' your own food. It gives you things to do while eating and chatting. 

First batch of fresh shrimps and other seafoods

Grilling 'em shrimps

For less than P700 this eat all you can offer is really good. You get to eat a lot of yummy Japanese food plus some more. And it also comes with a drink all you can offer. You can have iced tea or soda. I wonder if this is their response to Viking's drink and all you can offer. Anyway, I liked the red iced tea.

Yakimix is along Tomas Morato cor. Sct. Limbaga. It is easy to find -- a block or two away from Tomas Morato cor. Timog. They have parking space on the side of he building.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Fearless Forecast - Predictions for the Food Business in 2013

Giving predictions is "in" these days as it always is every new year. I would like to join the bandwagon by giving my own predictions for 2013. Fearless Forecast 2013.

1. First on the list of this 2013 predictions is about McDonald's. McDonald's will once again put out their "Twister Fries" sign. It will be for a limited time only. Then people will line up for it so they will have an extension of a week or two. It's going to be like in a concert where people shout "more!" then the singer will come out looking surprised and teary-eyed. Then he/she will belt out one of his/her most popular songs. Of course no one would suspect that he/she has expected that this moment would come. No one would think that he/she really practiced this song for this purpose. No one would think that the reason why this popular song was not part of the repertoire was because he/she expected that people would ask for more. You see this rarely happens. Well, people will not actually line up outside McDonald's and shout "more!". But you get idea. If not, just wait. You'll get it along with your large twister fries sometime in the 3rd quarter.  
2. Jollibee will also put out their own version of it , the "Crisscut Fries". Lines will not be as long as that of "Twister Fries" but nevertheless they will still extend for a week or two. This will give an impression that their crisscut fries is a must-have so people will be enticed to buy.
3. Jollibee, the mascot, will still be the most sought after guest in kiddie parties. He will continue to be the most photographed mascot. But sooner or later two Jollibee mascots will bump into each other unexpectedly. They will be seen by kids in one place which will cause confusion. "Mama, there are two Jollibee". "Dear, they are twins". Parents will complain because of the confusion and soon a re-electionist senator will file a bill prohibiting Jollibee from coming out ever again. But there will  be massive protests on the streets and on twitter so it will be amended. The new law will prohibit two Jollibee mascots from being in the same place at the same time. I'm not going to say that the re-electionist senator will try to convince Jollibee to support the RH Bill. If she/he does, management will refuse anyway. She/He should approach McDonald's. He is definitely more mature than Jollibee. (NOTE: whatever similarities you will find here and in another blog is purely coincidence. I don't want to be accused of plagiarisem -- I intentionally spelled that word that way so I wont be accused that I copied the word in wikipedia.)      
4. J. Co will continue to be popular. Lines will be really long like a box office hit. They will say they broke the box office record set by Go Nuts Donuts and Krispy Kreme but MMDA will release 'real' figures which will show that the sales they announced were padded. Nothing will come out of the investigation that will be called for by the senate. But anyway, what happened to Go Nuts Donuts and Krispy Kreme will also happen to it. Lines will become shorter. But  it doesn't mean they will close shop. They will continue to exists on a 'regular' status.
5. More actors and actresses will open restaurants taking inspiration from the likes of Regine Velasquez and Ogie Alcasid. But many of them will fail (not like Ogie and Regine). They will realize there is more to having a business than just shelling out capital.  They will also realize belatedly that holding press conferences in their restaurants is not profitable. Showbiz reporters write showbiz news and not food reviews.
6. Coffee shops will continue to be popular. Many small shops will open. Some of them will succeed but others will not (brilliant prediction of mine -- I'm the only so far who has predicted this). A popular coffee shop will close middle of the year. It is not Starbucks because they already issued their planners with freebies that they have to honor till the year ends. Should they want to close shop they would have to do it next year.
7. Mang Inasal and Chicboy will continue to compete. It will be a healthy competition -- like the food that they serve. One will try to 'buy' the other but negotiations will fail.The reason is that it will be named Chicboy si Mang Inasal which does not sound good. It will spark a  war between red ribbon (not the restaurant which is also owned by the group that owns Mang Inasal) conservatives and purple ribbon liberals.
8. Big pizzas are very popular now so all pizza parlors will try to have their own version of  it. Even Pizza Hut and Shakey's will come up with one. Just guess which one will come up with an 80-inch thin crust pizza with loads of cheese and hotdogs on the edge. But wait, there's more, they will have a "buy one, take one" offer. And delivery is free courtesy of their 'motorcycle' boys.
9. Max's restaurant will become famous because of its new endorser Coco Martin. The former model did not renew the contract because "hindi ako ang manok na kailangan nila". Fans of the former model will definitely get mad at me for saying this. They will post bad comments on twitter. But I'm not worried. Somebody more famous will take my side and make patol.
10. Buffet restaurants like Vikings, Dads, Buffet 101 and Yakimix will become more popular. They will put down their prizes so many people will go their restaurants. They will have a buy one, take one offer (the take one cannot be given to another person -- both has to be consumed by the same person on the same day). the really sad thing about the popularity of these buffet restaurants is that many people will become really fat. But I'll let you in on a rumor:  these buffet restaurants are said to be now owned by a famous beauty doctor and managed by a former doctor. This is not confirmed because the source they say is a former employee whose contract was not renewed because of reasons I cannot write here. But I'll carefully whisper them to you if you want.    

These are all jokes. Please do not take them seriously. I'm not referring to specific people except the ones directly mentioned here. Lahat, bukod sa mga tahasang tinukoy ay pawang kathang isip lamang. batu-bato sa langit, ang tamaan TATABA.