Tonight's Dinner: Pork Chop Ala Pobre

Thursday, August 30, 2012

We're doing some experiments in the kitchen testing out the right proportions of vinegar and soy sauce to create the perfect balance for adobo. And the venture ended up to more ideas and then branched out to another soy-based dish namely the 'ala pobre'.

I told him I wanted a saucer dish so I can drown my rice. And my wish is his command.



Cheesecake Factory

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

This was my very first cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory all the way from the US of A. So happy that TOSH (The Old Spaghetti House) carry them. I would love to buy an entire cake but part of me wants to justify the price tag.

. . . unboxing of the precious cake

Since it's imported, the cake was frozen.

Since we brought it home, it had a good time thawing out.

You can also opt to have strawberry or blueberry toppings for the cake but I already knew what strawberry and blueberry tasted like so I declined. I wanted the pure goodness of the cheesecake.

Eeek! CD-R king is peeping out from the photo . Its like saying my cake is a hoax. Lol!

It is the real deal? Does it taste good.

Hell ya! And that glossy red sauce complemented the cheesecake well. It was cheesy, creamy with a note of citrus (prolly from lemon/lime), not crumbly, not too sweet, not too much gelatin, very smooth indeed. Yummy! I'm craving for this right now unfortunately, TOSH has removed this on their new menu :-(

But I've read somewhere that S&R carry these cakes. Sino member ng S&R? Pahiram naman ng card, please? Or better yet, will have to talk to Tapioca about getting a membership there. Gosh, I'm so craving for cheesecake. Must be PMS.


Cyma Greek Taverna

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

We traveled to the land of Gods - Greece and experienced their wonderful cuisine. No need for plane tickets. Just go to Eastwood and you'll find healthy and yummy Greek dishes at Cyma.

. . . the open kitchen and the staff

That is Cyma's open kitchen and we loved it. Their staff were super friendly and game enough to pose for our camera.

. . . Tapioca and our drinks

Tapioca asked for a lemonade and I ordered the watermelon shake. It came in this really tall glass. Sulit ang bayad!

saganaki . . .

I ordered this house flaming special because I was curious about the "OPA" presentation. I chose the Cyma Original which has mozzarella, parmesan, grilled garlic and EVOO (extra virgin olive oil). The server had to flambe the dish and shout out a loud "OPA" before serving it. Quite amusing and entertaining at the same time. The dish came with bread to dip it into. Yum!

. . . kurobuta pork pansetes

This was off the menu. They also called it the Greek Liempo. It's grilled Japanese Berkshire (black hog) belly, served on artisan farmer's bread with Greek roasted potatoes and tzatziki. Tapioca's choice. If wagyu = beef, then kurobuta = pork. Well, Tapioca said the pork was soft but there was nothing really special. Too bad the pork and bread combo didn't work to make the kurobuta stand out. Also bread + potato = carbs overload!

chicken gyro . . .

This was kinda like the Mexican burrito except it didn't have any fillers (no rice). More on meat and veggies. I guess this is more comparable to shawarma but with the Greek-y touch because of the tzatziki. Sorry if that didn't sound right. I'm running out of words. LOL!.Anyway, this was good.

garides mi feta spaghetti . . .

I'm a newbie to Greek cuisine so I didn't have any clue as to what to order. I asked our friendly waitstaff for recommendation. She said this was their best seller. I am not really a fan of tomato-based pasta but I ordered it anyway (and I'm glad I did). As expected it was sour tasting but there were more flavours on that thick red sauce that balanced out the sourness. I couldn't really tell what the flavours were but it encouraged me take a bite one after another and the flavours were just bursting like there's a party in my mouth! Absolutely delish. And those prawns, those giant succulent prawns! This was just a solo order but it came with four grilled prawns. Very generous indeed. I had a hard time finishing everything so I had to share it with Tapioca who by the way was very happy with the pasta dish. After all this was his kind of pasta. Of all the food we ordered this was hands down the winner. We lurve, lurve it!

And we love Cyma! Will definitely going back to try more of their dishes and more of the garides pasta.


Happy Monday

Monday, August 27, 2012

I think it's just appropriate to start the day with a yummy breakfast post.

. . . pancake and popcorn eggs

I know I've already shared a pancake post before but I wanna share it again. Lakas kasi maka-good ng morning ng pancake. As in good na ang morning ko pag may pancake and of course eggs! If you will notice the pancake was mejo sunog. Nakalimutan sa stove eh. But the eggs, cyempre di pwede iwanan. Dapat perfect. Para perfect din ang buong araw.


Paraffin Wax Treatment at Nail Tropics

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Foot spa at the nail salon is one of my indulgences (aside from food and travel). You see, our feet carry one of the most important role in our daily life - walking. We walk, it takes us to different places, gets all the beating and we take it for granted.

Back when I was still in school, I used to have nice feet. Imagine everyday naka-shoes with socks? Cyempre super protected ang mga paa. When I started working and had to walk long route to get to the office, I discovered the convenience of flip-flops. But flip-flops exposes our feet to sun, dust and dirt causing dryness, cracked soles and uneven skin tone.

So now I'm guilty for making my feet ugly. To lessen the guilt, I go to nail salons. Nail Tropics to be specific. 

. . .  the ambiance

I love the relaxing ambiance of Nail Tropics. The serene music playing in the background, the comfy beach chairs, the cleanliness, the spa-like atmosphere, it's perfect. It will make you fall asleep while having your nails done.

On this post, I'm having my favorite foot spa treatment, the paraffin wax. First thing is to soak up and wash the feet. Pretty much the standard for any foot spa treatment.

Then comes the tub of warm paraffin wax. They soaked my feet several times until it is fully coated. The wax was hot but bearable. I love this treatment because there's so much benefits you can get like:

- soften hardened skin
- increases the skin's elasticity
- the heat helps increase blood flow and relax the muscles.
- and more (source from here)

the boots and my huge calves . . .

Once the feet are fully covered with wax, they covered it in plastic and put on the insulated boots to hold the heat. After 10 minutes the plastic, the boots and the wax are removed with ease and without any pain at all. Then the pedicure comes next.

Unfortunately, I don't know where the rest of the pictures from this visit. I prolly lost them  from the old computer but anyway, I highly recommend getting a paraffin wax treatment. Yes, it is expensive but you should give it a try at least once in your life.  Your feet deserve it!

Nail Tropics is one of the most expensive salons I've tried. And if you wanted to use branded polish you have to pay extra for P60. But the reason I keep coming back is because I get my money's worth. The service, the way they take care of my toes and feet, the relaxing ambiance, the massage after the treatment - hay nakakatanggal talaga ng stress. Aside from that, they have a wide variety of treatments that target specific concerns. Hindi lang puros upgrade like the services offered on other nail salons. And last but not the least, the location. It's near the mall, it's near  the (my then) office and our place.

After trying out so many nail salons in the metro I've come to realized na wala talagang perfect. It all boils down to the nail techs. If the nail tech you get is good then chances are you'll gonna give them a good grade. But if the nail tech is so-so then patay na ang rating ng salon. I also get my share of so-so nail techs at Nail Tropics. Pinaka-hate ko sa lahat? Minamadali yung service! Oh well, this does not happen all the time (thank God!) but in rare cases it does happen. And when it does, sorry na lang but don't expect any tip from me. LOL!


Meatball Sandwich, Mac n' Cheese and More Surprises

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Remember our experiment with meatballs (see it here)? As I've mention a long time ago, Tapioca came up with a better idea. You see, he loves meatball sandwich. Sadly, Subway or any other deli or sandwich places here in Manila don't offer this kind of sandwich. If you do know a place though, please let us know, okay?

Here's what he did. First, he made the meatballs and steamed them on a rice cooker. Next, he made marinara sauce. You can find tons of marinara sauce recipe online or if you're lazy to make one, you can always buy store-bought marinara sauce from the supermarket or deli shops. He also bought a baguette from French Baker.

. . . baguette from French Baker 

steamed meatballs . . .

Now time to assembly the sandwich.

. . . meatball sandwich baby!

Slice up the baguette and remove the insides so the meatballs will have space. Spread with marinara sauce. Topped with parmesan cheese.Voila! To make it healthier, you can opt to put fresh greens, tomatoes, onions, cucumber, etc. Here's the deal. I was not able to try this. When I went home it's all gone. The only consolation I got were the photos. I should be angry but my guy prepared something else to make it all up.

mac n' cheese . . . 

It looked instant because he used powdered cheese. Ya know, the stuff we put on french fries as flavouring. By the way, it tasted instant too. LOL!

. . . Campbell's cream of mushroom

Another instant item on the table. I'm not complaining though. I love Campbell's. Actually, I love anything soup.

A&W root beer . . .

The original aged vanilla root beer. Our favorite :-) For dessert, we got cakes from Banapple.

. . . strawberry amaretto cheesecake

jeepers creepers pie . . .

As usual, the cakes were too sweet for my taste. Again, I'm not complaining. It's the thought that counts. At least nakabawi cya for not saving some of the meatballs. Hehehehe!


McCormick's Beef & Vegetable Stir-fry

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Domestic Goddess Jellybean is here to whip up some easy to make dish with the help of McCormick's Stir Fry Ginisa Spice Blend. Oh, I have to mention that this is not a sponsored post. I just happen to see this recipe from Yummy Magazine. The reason I chose this dish is because:

1. Less prep and cooking time.
2. Few Ingredients.
3. Meat + veggies = complete meal.

. . . the recipe I got from Yummy Magazine

Here's what you will need:

Beef sukiyaki, baby corn, snow peas, bell pepper, mushroom, cornstarch, water, oil for frying and of course the McCormick's Stir Fry Ginisa Spice Blend. O di ba, less than 10 ingredients lang yan.

Here's what you need to do:

1. In a pan heat a small amount of oil then stir fry the meat. Combine water and cornstarch then add the mixture to the meat. Once the meat is cooked, set aside. By the way sukiyaki beef cut cooks fast. Do not overcook or it will become tough.

2. Using the same pan, stir fry the veggies then add the ginisa mix.

3.  Combine the meat and the veggies. Adjust seasoning. Serve.

How easy is that, huh? And as for the taste, it was yummy! Tapioca said he likes it but he would prefer I use the real thing next time. Well, I agree. But sometimes it wouldn't hurt to use something that would make our lives easier, right? Especially if you're like me who hates chopping onions and garlic.


The Best Dinuguan

Thursday, August 23, 2012

I was in Cubao on my way home when I passed by Goto King and saw the poster of puto and dinuguan outside the store. Without thinking twice, I went inside and order away. It was late and they've only got 2 pieces of puto left. I thought that wouldn't be enough for me and Tapioca. Mabibitin lang kami ng bongga. I though hard where else to find more puto. Hmmm, where else but another place that sells dinuguan, right? So I went to the next store that sells dinuguan, none other than - Goldilocks.

Luck was not on my side that night. Goldilocks' puto were all sold out for the day. I went to two Goldilocks's stores. One in Farmers and the other one was all the way in Ali Mall. Silly me decided to buy yet another dinuguan. While waiting in line to pay for my food, I though of Shopwise and all the kakanin vendors from that place. Ya know, when I want something so bad I would not stop until I got it to the extent that I'd become crabby and unreasonable. Who in their right mind would look for puto/kakanin late at night when these goods are made fresh early in the morning and it has limited shelf life. So yeah, I'm being impossible hunting down for puto when most of the stores were about to close. When I got to Shopwise and found not a single kakanin vendor, I came to realize how foolish I was for letting this delusion take over me.

After all the walking, I felt tired and miserable. Then, I spotted a happy place - Red Ribbon. Would you believe what happened next? I snubbed all the cakes and bought another dinuguan. My craving craze sent me to an adventure which made me buy all the dinuguan I can. Time for some taste test session!

When I got home Tapioca was surprised to see my loot. I told him what I had in mind. Let the test begin!

. . . Goto King's puto't dinuguan 

We tried Goto King's version first. It was a bit only and some blood coagulation were noticeable though not in the photo above. It was flavorful but the one thing that bothered us the most was the meat. I'd say the meat used was questionable. Can't tell if it's pork or innards or worse something else. I didn't want to think anymore. Just glad I bought two more dinuguan from other stores.

Goldilocks's dinuguan . . . 

Second was Goldilocks's version. Very oily but it was because they included the meat's fat. Despite the oil, it was very yummy. I think the fat added more flavor to the dinuguan. It's true what some or most chefs/cooks said that fat can improve a dish taste.

. . . Red Ribbon's dinuguan 

Last but not the least, Red Ribbon's version. First thing we noticed was the velvety smooth texture of the sauce. I liked it because it wasn't oily as they used mostly lean meat. However, I couldn't help but point out the missing flavor from the meat's fat.

The Winner. 

Both Red Ribbon's and Goldilocks's had it's hits and misses (I'm leaving out Goto King. Sorry!) but there has to be one winner. And the best tasting dinuguan (based on this taste test) is - Goldilocks. Yeah, it was very oily but it made me realize all the difference taste wise. If Red Ribbon would add more fat on their dinuguan I'm sure they'd accomplish the same taste. But the same texture and no oil? I don't think so.


Thousand Cranes Shabu-Shabu

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

One of those ever so backlog post. Finally unleashed!

Date night on a rainy evening always means having a hot and steamy bowl of soup. Tapioca and I decided to meet up in Eastwood for a late night grub. I told him to pick out a place. He said how about shabu-shabu? Surely, the guy knows me so well.

thousand cranes shabu-shabu . . .

I've always thought this place to be expensive but  when we checked their menu I was surprised to see a set meal for less than 500 pesos and good for 2 persons. Not bad, huh?

. . . tuna sashimi

Tapioca was already hungry so while waiting for me, he went ahead and order a sashimi. He saved a few slices for me to try. How thoughtful! I'd say the sashimi was just okay. I didn't really pay much attention to it as I was more excited for the shabu-shabu. First time ko eh. We chose the beef and seafood set meal which came with the following:

2 types of noodles, corn, egg, vegetable, mushroom, fish balls, etc . . .

The set meal only came with one egg. We thought it's not enough so we ordered 2 more.

. . .  eggs galore!

The set meal was reasonably priced but the extra eggs were expensive :-( Mistake #1. Should have order just one egg instead of two. Three was too much.

beef slices, prawns, fish fillets, oysters, clams, squid and sea cucumber . . .

Forget about the bowl of soup. We're getting a huge potful of soup. The set meal only allowed one pot for people to share. We had to pay extra though because I was being greedy and refused to share my pot with Tapioca. Mistake #2 We didn't know the soup was refillable. Should have stick with one pot instead.

. . . the knob with japanese characters

I don't know how to read Japanese but my guy who likes tinkering on stuff figured out how to operate this.

 mushrooms, tofu slices, fish cake slices and dumplings . . .

We thought the set meal was not enough for the two of us so we ordered more (again). Mistake #3. Our eyes were bigger than our tummies. We ordered way to much for the two of us. The soup + noodles were heavy and I felt so sad for the left overs which by the way we weren't able to take home.

. . . oysters galore!

Grabe, di naman kami maciado mahilig sa oyster. Pramis hindi talaga.  LOL! Sadly, some of these babies went to waste. Sayang :-(

. . . the condiments.

I'd say this was one healthy option to enjoy a meal since cooking the food didn't require any oil. My only complaint was the food somehow tasted bland no matter I tried dipping it on the sauces. Nevertheless, my first shabu-shabu experience was fun (cooking your own food) and a learning experience (with all the mistakes). On my next visit, I made sure to remember not to do the same boo boo and gained tips on how to enjoy it even more than the first time.

2nd visit with officemates myra, divi, and thirdy's mom . . .

Since Tapioca was not with us we asked for assistance from their waitstaff. First, they helped us operate the electric stove (I still didn't know how to turn them on hihihi!). Then the waitstaff cracked the egg and separated the yolk from the white. The egg whites went to the soup stock while the yolk went to the dipping sauce. I was like eeeww raw egg on my dipping sauce?

. . . the dipping sauce

It turned out it to be really yummy. Now food wasn't bland anymore. You can also adjust the spiciness of the soup and the sauce depends  on your preference. Since my companions and I were no big eaters (ahem), no extra order for us.

seafood, chicken and beef slices . . . 

Another tip: Put the food with longer cooking time in the pot first. Once it's almost done you can put the others with lesser cooking time. And don't forget to turn off the heat once you're done otherwise you'll overcooked everything.

. . . the aftermath

See, we even had leftovers. Good thing we never paid extra for anything else. Oh well, we did pay extra for our drinks which by the way, did not come with the set meal.

watermelon shake and black gulaman . . . 

Guess which one's my drink?


Home Made Chili & The Amazing Things You Can Do With It

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tapioca is a self-confessed chili lover. I've lost count of the number of times I posted here on my blog about his never ending love affair with chili. Mind you, I'm not jealous. I totally understand. Just like how Tapioca understand my love affair with soups and ice creams. I think all the foodies out there would share the same sentiments. When I found out we were having chili for dinner, I was kinda surprise my guy actually knows how to make one. It just gave me an idea. I think I should learn how to make my own comfort food too so I can enjoy them at home. Hmmm, gotta start making my own soup stock and save up for an ice cream maker! LOL! O cya, let's get back to the subject - how to make chili.

1. Saute the onions and garlic on a huge heavy-bottom pot.

2. Add the ground beef and spices.

We store all sorts of spices in our pantry and Tapioca basically just dumped everything in it. Pardon me if I can't mention all of them. But I'm sure it has chili powder, oregano and cayenne pepper.

3. Once the meat turned brown, add the baked beans and stewed tomatoes. For the liquid add a can of your favorite beer. Simmer for a few minutes to reduce and thicken the sauce. Adjust seasoning then serve.

The next question is, how do you eat chili? Well, chili is a versatile dish. You can eat it on its own or pair with with something else. Now let me show you how we enjoyed our home-made chili.

 steam the german franks and hotdog buns (not in the photo)  

Assemble the dogs and put chili on top with some mustard and Tabasco. Another option is to top your french fries with chili and melted cheese. Or you can also pair them with nachos, tacos, eat it with rice or pasta. 

chili dogs and chili fries - yum yum!

The possibilities are endless. It's all up to you. Kumbaga eh kanya-kanyang trip. Enjoy and get full.


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