Wednesday, August 31, 2011

If there’s sugar-less, there’s sugar-full!

Meet one of my favorite desserts—Sugar Full!
I find it interesting how we accidentally discovered this delicious dessert.
My mom and I were looking for something to share for a potluck lunch. Since there will be a lot of kids, we thought that dessert was the most brilliant idea ever. We then searched around Tiendesitas for cake or just about anything sweet so that we could say that we were able to bring something… anything. Then we came across KG’s Kitchen that sells desserts.
We asked the seller for their bestseller and she suggested SUGAR FULL. We were bewildered by the name. SUGAR FULL? We’ve all heard of sugar-less desserts but SUGAR FULL?
She gave us samples to convince us that SUGAR FULL was not a dessert that deserves to be laughed at. And she was right.
The fluffy mammon-like texture plus whipped cream and topped by sugar, sugar and more sugar (well some were melted and was turned into a crispy outer layer) was simply delightful. I fell in love... with sugar!
For complete product list and prices, contact KG’s Kitchen at They also have a store at Tiendesitas near the stalls selling fruits and vegetables.

Confessions of a former anorexic kid

You’re soooo fat! Why are you wearing manang clothes?
Those were just some of the snide remarks I used to get when I was a kid. Actually, I didn’t mind it at first as long as I get to eat my favorite snacks (hello Cheetos, ice cream, chocolate chips, pizza, and soda!). However, it hit me really hard when a stranger (an assistant photographer) told me that I was a very big kid (and no, not vertically) and that I needed to go on a diet… fast, quick, pronto, ASAP!
Such statement from a total stranger made me think, “Wait a minute, am I out of control? Am I really that fat?”
Okay fine, I was a bit overweight then but I never considered myself as a rolly polly olly.  But moving schools, entering high school, and seeing girls my age wear pretty clothes I just could not wear (simply because I will look ridiculous in them) made me want to lose weight… a lot of weight.
I was not really into exercising and as a kid and the only exercise I knew then was to run around when playing with my younger sister and chew food (well, mostly chewing).
I felt disgusted with myself. I began to reject “me”.
Since I do not have the motivation to lose weight the right way, I thought that starving myself would be the easiest way to lose weight fast.
My parents were not aware of what I was doing to myself. I wake up super early to drink water and pretend to have breakfast (well I did if only air is considered edible). I’d go to school with an empty stomach and will only eat one pack of crackers and a glass of iced tea. For dinner? I’d tell the helper that I already ate before going home. I saved a lot actually since I spent less than PHP20 a day for months.
My parents started to worry when they noticed that I was starting to become stick thin. But I told them that I was growing and that the fat was being distributed (okay, it doesn’t sound so convincing now than it was before).
I admit; I was pretty happy with the results. I lost about 25 pounds and I could finally fit into the clothes most teens wore then. I felt better about myself. I felt more confident.
But this phase didn’t last long. The happiness and confidence I felt was replaced by pain, agony, and fear.
A few more months later, I had to be rushed to the hospital because I had a severe stomach ache to the point that I kept on throwing up. The doctor said that I was hyper acidic and that I had to take some medicines for a few months to help my stomach recover.
The medicines were extremely bitter. There was one that was of liquid form and it was something I do not plan to take again. There was even one that made me burp all the time.
I then saw myself in a different light. I saw a thin, unhealthy, and unhappy girl. I became sickly and could not enjoy the food I used to love not because I do not want to but because I was not allowed to since my stomach was not yet ready for it.
It made me realize how shallow I was. I wanted to be slimmer because of what? To fit into those fancy clothes? To feel I belong? I can’t believe it that I allowed peer pressure to get the best of me. I became sick because of it. My parents got worried because of it. And most importantly, I hated myself because of it.
I promised myself that I will never ever starve myself again. Thus here I am now, sharing how wonderful food can be.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Singing for Chicken

It seems that Hainanese Chicken is becoming more and more popular in Manila. Almost all malls have at least one restaurant offering this dish and Shangri-la is not an exemption.
Sing Hainanese Chicken restaurant is one of the newest restaurants in Shangri-la and we were excited to dine there.
It was already past 8PM and the place was still packed so we thought that it must be a good place to have dinner.
We ordered Hainanese Chicken Rice Topping (PHP180), Roasted Hainanese Chicken Rice Topping (PHP180), Vegetable with Oyster Sauce (PHP150), and Chicken Lumpia (PHP150). I also had Pandan Gulaman Juice (PHP60) since it sounded interesting.
The first two dishes that arrived were the Hainanese and Roasted Hainanese Chicken Rice Topping. The first thing I noticed was the restaurant removed all the bones. (Yipee!) It was served with lettuce and cabbage.

It looked pretty much like the other Hainanese Chicken I had before. The taste though was different. Cooked with soy and sesame oil, it was a bit bland… actually too bland. I dipped it in a lot of ginger and I still could not taste it. The Roasted Hainanese Chicken tasted a bit better as there was more flavor.
As for the rice, it was quite salty and oily. It complements the chicken’s lack of flavor though. I was just not used to it.
The Vegetable with Oyster Sauce was quite good. Sing used fresh vegetables. It was a sweet yet light side dish. I liked the chopped onions best.
As for the Chicken Lumpia, it reminded me of the Bangus Lumpia of Bangus. (Isn’t it weird that there are just so many dishes that tasted like chicken?) I liked it but it was a bit dry.
Oh, for the Pandan Gulaman Juice, it was your typical gulaman… with green gulaman and a hint of pandan.

Sing Hainanese Chicken is located at 6th Floor Shangri-La Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong City

Monday, August 29, 2011

Ultimate Taste Test 6.0

The Ultimate Taste Test is back with more great food finds!
Happening this September 3, 2011 from 11am to 9pm, at the Rockwell Tent, Our Awesome Planet founder Anton Diaz will round up 55 food concessionaires for a whole day of eating.
Be a food critic for a day!
A fun concept by the organizers, all attendees get a chance to sample the products of the concessionaires and each one will be graded. The ones with the best scores will be featured in Our Awesome Planet site.
What’s more…
Yummy magazine will also join the fun and will give out freebies to the first 500 attendees! So be there early.

Tickets are priced at PHP585 each and are available at:
-Concierge of Powerplant Mall (near Mango)
-Creative Juice office, 2nd floor Fun Ranch, Tiendesitas.
See you all soon!

Finally, the last Final Destination...

Or maybe not.
I was pretty giddy about Final Destination 5. No, it was not because of the actors (I don’t even know them… sorry!) but because for some reason, I enjoy watching movies of this genre (I'm a fan of Saw).
The movie started with 3D opening credits that showed how each character will die. There were pipes, hooks, and other objects and tools that if placed at the wrong place at the wrong time could mean death.
The whole storyline was similar to the usual; only the buildup of each death scene was better. Viewers can’t help but say “Oh no! She’ll get electrocuted! Oh wait…” It was definitely interesting how the director and writer made each scene not what the audience thought it will be.
For instance, we thought that the character having acupuncture treatment will be killed by needles. No, wait, he survived. Alcohol was spilled all over the floor of a room full of candles… he will definitely end up in ashes. No, wait, the flames did not reach him. How did he die? Well, a statue of Buddha fell on his head and smashed it like a tomato stepped on by an elephant.
Most death scenes made us gasp and anticipate the next scene. Too bad though that the acting was not at par with the script. There were times when the actors seem to just recite their lines or stare blankly. Nonetheless, this is still one of the best out of the five movies for their creativity in linking the first Final Destination to this one. This made me think if finally, this is the last Final Destination. I guess we have to wait for a few years to find out. Still, good job to the director Steven Quale and Eric Heisserer.
Check out this link for some movie trivias:
And this one for the movie mistakes:

Image taken from:

Backtrack: Racks

This has been buried in my laptop for quite a while now but I had to share this because I still remember how much I loved my hot meal and lovely dessert. 
Tired from another Rizal Rediscovery Tour (which turned out to be more like of a Binondo Food Trip), I headed to SM Megamall for dinner.
I do not want to walk far (since I walked the whole day… well, while chewing something at some point) so we (my mom and I) sought sanctuary at Racks. We thought that it was a good idea since it has been years since we last visited it. 
We normally start our meal with soup so we ordered Clam Chowder and Minestrone (PHP85/cup). Since we were not super hungry, we decided to just order one main dish to share—Pork Ribs (PHP275). For dessert we ordered Mississippi Mud Pie (PHP130).
When the soup arrived, both orders were not warm at all. My mom had to ask the server to warm it up. We had to wait for an additional 5 minutes for it.
Finally, warm soup!
The clam chowder was a bit bland and there was not much going on. True, the soup was thick and creamy but there was not much clams inside. In fact, the soup was pretty much forgettable.
The Minestrone on the other hand has a lot of vegetables, bacon, beans and ham. It was a bit salty and oily for me. I guess I am just not fond of soup with just too much stuff in it.
For the main meal, the Pork Ribs were (or should it be just "was" since there was only one big chunk of pork?) tender and seasoned well. It was also well-cooked (not burnt). It was a bit sweet and salty. However, the fat was a bit scary. We only took a bit of it and enjoyed the less scary meat instead.
The meal was pretty heavy because it was served with rice and potato salad. I had to skip the potato salad to make space for dessert.
Oh my chocolate galore! I was so surprised that the serving was quite big. For PHP130, it was a steal. It was definitely good for sharing.
The chocolate fudge brownie was soft and chewy and it was stuffed with melted chocolate inside while covered in chocolate syrup and topped with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream.
It was quite good. I managed to finish half of the mud pie. My mom though was not in the mood for sweets so I ate a few more and I got… sore throat.
Yes, the mud pie was good; but do eat it with caution. Make sure that you drink lots of water.
Racks is located at the 3rd Floor, Building A, SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City

Restaurant Discovery: Asagao

I used to frequent Pearl Plaza for lunch or early dinner during my college days and I missed it so much (and more so when my colleagues and I had lunch there a few months ago).
So many things changed. I noticed that there are new restaurants around thus I asked my mom to have our early dinner there instead of the usual mall-based restaurants.
I really missed Pearl Plaza. It used to be my third home (UA&P as my second).
We checked around and we were stuck between Adobo Republic and Asagao. Since my mom was not in the mood for adobo (well, I was not sure if they serve other dishes), we went to Asagao.
The place had very simple interior… not intimidating making it very welcoming to students.
After 30 seconds of the servers’ non-movement, we realized that we had to approach the counter to order. Well, there was a small sign near the counter as well. I guess we got spoiled with the other restaurants.
We ordered Beef Teppan (PHP215), California Maki (PHP125), and Salmon Sashimi (PHP210).
First dish that arrived was the California Maki.
Well, it was the typical California Maki. The thing I liked about it though was that it used Japanese rice and not the usual that was cooked with too much water.
Next served was the Salmon Sashimi.
At first, I thought that the salmon was not fresh because the color was a bit different from those I’ve tried before. But I was proven wrong after taking a bite. It was sliced a bit thick but it was still the soft salmon that almost melts in your mouth sashimi love. For PHP210, it was a steal!
As for the Beef Teppan, it was average.
The beef was tender but it seemed to be a bit too oily and salty (I guess it should be eaten with rice). Also, the vegetables were a bit too hard. I wasn’t so sure if the vegetables were meant to be served a bit raw. It added some crunch though.
The place offers pretty good Japanese food at student-friendly prices. Not bad at all.
Asagao by Kamirori is located at Pearl Plaza, Pearl Drive, Ortigas, Pasig City.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Dinner for a Cause...

The owner of Mango Tree Bistro invited our editor-in-chief to attend the newly founded organization named Chefs and Food Service Community of the Philippines. The organization aims to gather food suppliers, manufacturers and restaurateurs to promote the local food industry and to support its projects such as soup kitchen and several other outreaches.
Anyway, the fourth dinner (our first was the third leg) was held at The Loop, operated by the Institute of Culinary Arts and Food Service of Far Eastern University. I was quite thrilled since I’ve never been there. This time, I went with some other colleagues. The dishes I will show in this blog are not from the restaurant though.
The first dish that was served to us was toasted bread with cream cheese from S & L Fine Foods, Inc. (I heard that they have a store at Yakal and their line is similar to Santi’s Deli but cheaper. Tempting!)
The cream cheese was not overpowering. Quite pleasant and simple dish for an appetizer.
After finishing our plate of bread, they served some blood sausage. It was my first time to eat blood sausage so I don’t really know what to expect. There was a bit of white sauce over the sausages that tasted like cream garlic. The sausages on the other hand were extremely dry. Hope they placed more of that white sauce.
The next dish served was made by one of the chefs during the dinner. First dish served was Dinakdakan with Dilis and Adobo Salad.
The Dinakdakan was quite very flavorful and crunchy but it was a bit too heavy for me. I left like I was consuming a 1000 calorie dish and it was just a 4 tablespoon serving. The Adobo Salad had bits of adobo but it was a bit too hard. The Dilis Salad on the other hand tasted like laing but I enjoyed it the most.
I was starting to feel full (since I had a heavy lunch at New World Hotel and snack at Blue Leaf… yes, it was one eating galore day) when they served the Soft Shell Crab in Sinigang Soup. It was my first time to try soft shelled crab and I LOVED IT. It was quite chewy because of the shell but it was not hard at all.
The soup made it a bit tangy but I love sour dishes so it made me smile. I was not very fond of the breading being soaked though. (I was never a fan of soaked cereal and this is a similar case.)
To cap the meal, they served halo-halo shots. It was not your typical halo-halo served with shaved ice. Instead, it was just some beans, coconut (nata), and sweetened milk. It was served with a thin peanut brittle.
Surprisingly, despite the small serving, I find it still too much. It was really flavorful… and too sweet. Half of the shot was more than enough.
Aside from these, there was also a buffet that includes kare-kare, steamed fish, and some pastries (chocolates from Bakersfield).
Since we wanted to have something else to drink, we ordered margarita. I had one of The Loop’s bestsellers… Loop Margarita (PHP180). It was a bit icy thus less alcohol (I think). Nonetheless, it was pretty good.
I love attending this monthly dinner because I get to meet great chefs and food store owners and discover great dishes. Just last month I got the chance to try Pampanga’s Best bacon ice cream!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Restaurant Favorite: Tender Bob's

Whenever we’re hungry and do not have the energy to look for new places to dine, we seek sanctuary in this all-American restaurant…
It was way past lunch time when we went to Shangri-la. With grumbling tummies (and trying to catch up a 3pm show), we decided to have lunch instead at Tender Bob's.
Without even reading the first line in the menu, my sister ordered Chicken Tenders, Original Recipe (PHP220). Tired of chicken, I looked for another meal. I was not in the mood for steak or pasta so I concentrated on seafood and as a salmon lover, I ordered Grilled Salmon with Tropical Salsa (PHP395).
The chicken tenders arrived first. (My sister hated me so much that it took me 2 minutes to take photos of the dish and she was so hungry then. She wasn’t able to resist so the photo was missing two or three fries. Well, who counts it anyway?)
One thing I love about the chicken tenders/fingers of Tender Bobs is that the chicken is actually… well, tender. Unlike other restaurants, the chicken was not overly cooked to the point that the meat becomes dry. I also love the honey mustard dip (though my sister prefers to drown it in gravy).
Finally, my order arrived. S.A.L.M.O.N.
The salmon’s skin was a bit burnt but I didn’t really care since I don’t eat it anyway. The salmon was fresh and the salsa added oomph and texture to the dish. There was a bit of spice though but it was totally tolerable.
The mashed potato also helped make the dish filling. The corns on the other hand were really sweet to the point that it could serve as dessert (and I meant it in the most positive way). Overall, I loved the dish I ordered.
I will try their steak platter soon… or as soon as I get to convince a friend or two to share it with me.
Tender Bob's is located at 6F Shangri-la Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong City.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Nutty Afternoon

Sampaguita. Ginger. Nilagang Mani. Apparently, they all have something in common.

We had a client meeting at Café Ilustrado in SM Makati this afternoon and the first thing that came to my mind was “Hmm… what should I order?”

I was surprised that this small café offers meals such as Tapa, Lengua, Salpicao, among others to think that the kitchen (placed right after the counter) was made for one person and one person ONLY. Apparently, it is more than just a small café situated along the walkway to the department store.

We were still full then and we were there for a meeting and not to eat so we just ordered some pastries and desserts. Something got my attention though… ICE CREAM.

There it was… sampaguita (ignoring pandan, pinipig and nougat)… ginger… nilagang mani!!! I crossed out ginger since I was too scared that it might be just like those chocolate chili snacks. I was torn between sampaguita (jasmine flowers) and nilagang mani (boiled peanuts). 

The server told me that their bestseller was sampaguita but I was so interested to try the nilagang mani. I then let my finger decide (eenie meenie miney mo… ) and it landed on nilagang mani.

I got excited since this will be my very first entry in my food journal.

WOO hoo?
My first impression was… the serving was too small for the price. I could have gotten gelato instead with that price. I guess the word homemade made it expensive (just like how organic stuff are priced).

Anyway, after taking a few shots, I finally took a (tea)spoonful and it… tasted like rocky road… at first. Soon, I got the taste of the nilagang mani. The taste was a bit weak though. It was still very much like vanilla ice cream with a hint of the sweetness of the nilagang mani

Maybe I should have listened to the server instead. Nonetheless, I will be back to try sampaguita and ginger. 

Café Ilustrado is located at the 4th level of SM Makati, Makati City.

Fired up for Chocolates

There are just so many food gatherings and events this August! 
Last weekend, I went to the Corks and Forks: An International Food and Wine Fest held at the Grand Ballroom of Marriott Hotel to check out the best food from New Zealand and Australia.
I was surprised when I saw that Chocolate Fire was one of the exhibitors. I’ve been telling just about anyone how much I wanted to visit this restaurant with a very tempting name. And by anyone, that including strangers (yes, I love sharing my passion for food with everyone).
I got so excited when I saw the Chocolate Fire stall with its chocolate-dipped strawberries and truffles. It was such a pretty sight.
I asked if the chocolates melt easily and the seller told me that it needs to be in a cool place. I decided to roam around first and buy chocolates before leaving.
Well, I just went back and forth to the stall for more than 10 times. I just can’t wait to try it.
After realizing that I just have no patience when it comes to chocolates, I decided to buy a bit earlier. Soon, I found myself paying the seller more than PHP500 for a few chocolates. Yes, Chocolate Fire’s chocolates are a tad expensive but all of my friends who tried its chocolates told me that it was worth it.

Sold at PHP115 each during the event. Regular price is PHP125.

The strawberries were delightful to shoot. The red color was so vibrant. Okay, enough with how pretty the strawberries were and now for the taste…
The strawberries were a bit on the sour side and it worked well with the chocolates (both milk and dark chocolate but I prefer dark chocolates). It was not so special though. I thought it was something that will make me cry… because I reached chocolate heaven. Well, it didn't.

PHP40 each. Definitely worth it!

The truffles though were really really good. I was not really expecting much from the truffles for the strawberries were highlighted more but I just fell in love with the truffles of Chocolate Fire. I bought the dark chocolate variant of hazelnut sprinkled truffles and cocoa powder covered truffles.
It was extremely velvety. This is one good example that proves that not everything extreme is bad. Sometimes it could bring… happiness. Well, it did for me. J
I can’t wait to try the other chocolates Chocolate Fire offers. I HAVE to visit their restaurant soon.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Rock. Pepper. Chili's.

It has been a long while since I last had dinner at Chili’s. I still remember that they get kiddie crews every summer. Cute little kids will take our orders and assist the servers bring the food to us with innocent smiles on their faces.
With weary feet (and wallets) from the Rockwell Bazaar, my mom, sister and I decided to call it a night and head back to the mall to have (a late) dinner. I wanted to eat at a new restaurant but my mom wanted to eat at Chili’s and I just could not resist their oh-so-good-made-from-real-potatoes fries. Okay, technically, Chili’s is not a new restaurant to me so the best I could do is order something I haven’t tried from Chili’s before.

Since I was still full from my cup of taho (I have this weird addiction to silken tofu with syrup and small tapioca), I decided to order something I could share with my mom.  My sister on the other hand was pretty easy to please. As long as the restaurant offers chicken fingers, she’s happy.
We then ordered Triple Play (PHP485) and Chicken Crispers (PHP300). I also ordered Chili’s Soup of the Day (PHP150, cup) and Molten Chocolate Cake (PHP390) for dessert.
Despite having a lot of customers, the service was very fast. We got our soup in less than 5 minutes. It was Seafood Chowder.
It was served with a small pack of crackers. It was creamy and not that heavy unlike other chowders. The serving though was quite small. I managed to finish it in less than 2 minutes.
Next served was Chicken Crispers… (FRIES!!!)
It was nothing special. It was your typical chicken fingers. It wasn’t very crispy. It even reminded me of camaron rebusado. K The fries though were really good. Real potatoes!!! (Okay, fine, it wasn’t that special as a lot of restaurants serve that too.)
The Triple Play was good for two people. My mom asked the server to separate the sauce for the buffalo wings as we were informed that it was spicy. Well, it was bland without the sauce. It was your typical deep-fried chicken. The Southwestern Eggrolls on the other hand had a very strong onion taste that I don't like. It somehow reminded me of the soft taco I had from another restaurant. I only ate half of a roll. There were also Chicken Crispers in the plate. (Wrong move there.)
Finally, dessert… Molten Chocolate Cake.
First thing we noticed was the generous serving of ice cream. The chocolate syrup froze already and we had a hard time cracking it. After several taps and pokes, the hardened syrup finally gave up. YEY! 
The ice cream, syrup, and chocolate cake were… okay. It was not as rich and velvety as Cyma’s though which disappointed me. The price made me expect more from it.
There was this one dish that I really wanted to try but didn’t order. I will definitely try that when I visit Chili's again.
Chili's is located at Level P1, Powerplant Mall, Makati City

My First Bite: Khas Food House

For some reason, I love UP… okay, to be more specific, I love the food stalls and restaurants in UP.
Last August 14, 2011, a few CSers (that’s Couchsurfers for short) and I went to UP for a food trip. I arrived late as I got confused with the word OBLE. I thought that was a person or something. I guess I got it mixed up with OPLE. Anyway, OBLE is short for oblation.
We walked all throughout the food trip thinking that we will be pigging out the whole afternoon.
We first saw Myrna’s sorbetes (dirty ice cream—well, it is not really dirty it was called so because it is considered street food). Oh well, we can’t be picky eaters. So what if we start the food trip with dessert first?
I was so surprised that they offer AVOCADO flavor. Isn’t it a bit expensive? Anyway, I just have to try it.
For PHP25, the serving was very generous (unlike the overpriced sorbetes I had in Makati. PHP50 for a tiny serving!) The avocado flavor was not a disappointment at all. To describe it better, it tasted like Arce Dairy. The avocado taste wasn’t overpowering. It actually went well with the cheese flavored ice cream.
But what I wanted to share in detail was my Khas Food House dining experience.
It is an Indian restaurant in UP near where the foreign students stay. I was so surprised when I saw that they offer TAPSILOG.
It took us a while to order as most of the dishes we wanted were not available at that time. I finally decided on ordering Llon Dam Mong (PHP70) and Ox Brain Sandwich (PHP65) since I never tried ox brain ever before. One of my friends ordered “It’s Not What You Think” which made us curious. It intrigued us even more when the server told us that the chef will just improvise on what he will include in the “still unknown” dish. In short, you’ll end up with something you may or may not like.
Finally, our orders arrived. First served was my Llon Dam Mong. It really did taste like sinigang (sour Filipino soup normally served with pork, beef, or shrimps). It had bits of chicken, shrimps, and vegetables. Good but not great.
Now for the Ox Brain Sandwich…
It tasted like chicken curry for me. Well, I could see that what I was eating looked like a brain… but for some reason, it tasted like chicken. Weird… but it seems that most dishes taste like chicken. It was quite good. A light meal perfect as an afternoon snack.
If you’re curious on what my friend got… it was soup that tasted like tinola (yet another Filipino dish served with chicken and ginger). It was definitely something she did not expect.

Food was really affordable and decent. I can't wait to visit the others namely ROC, Lutong Bahay, LKB (Lutong Kapitbahay), and more!