Sunday, February 20, 2011

360 degree approach of Korea (part 2)

Today’s spotlight is on the Korean snack *drum roll* PPEPPERO…

Ppeppero is quite similar to Pocky (the Japanese snack brand). It has various (uh) flavors such as almond, plain chocolate, and hallow pretzel with chocolates as shown below.
I’d say that my heart still belongs to Pocky since it is sweeter than Ppeppero. Aside from that, I find Pocky to be crunchier and more addicting. Also, Pocky has a wider range of flavors compared to Ppeppero but it seems that Ppeppero is getting more and more popular with the help of the KPOP craze. The fact that there is Ppeppero Day also adds up to its popularity.
To those who are not familiar with Ppeppero Day, this is the November version of Valentine’s Day. Celebrated every November 11 (or 11-11), girls and boys give each other Ppeppero boxes to show their love to one another. Interestingly though, this day began differently. It all started in Busan where two high school girls gave each other Ppeppero with a promise that they will be as thin as Ppeppero. No connection to how it is being celebrated now right? J

There is also a TO and FROM on the box since it is often used a gift

Where's the chocolate?
Anyway, I think a lot of people, especially the lovey-dovey ones are waiting for the ULTIMATE PPEPPERO day which is on 11-11-11. I am excited myself. This is the day I could have all the Ppeppero I want and have the “Ultimate Ppeppero Day” as my excuse.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Happy Lemon for the depressed

Since my first visit in Happy Lemon was quite good (I loved my Crispy Cocoa Milk Tea with Brown Sugar Jelly drink), I went back for more. I was torn between Oreo and Lemon Yakult but when the server said that the Lemon Yakult is more of a smoothie, I decided to order Oreo Cookies and Cream Coffee (with extra pearl sago). J
My drink was served a lot faster this time (I guess it was because there were fewer people as well). With a full tummy filled with pizza (which was formerly shaped as a heart) and potato wedges dipped in butter, I took my first sip. It was lukewarm! I guess I have to stir it first. *Stir stir stir* Better!
It has bits of Oreo and it is something to be expected since that’s the name of the drink. The Oreo bits made the drink very sweet. Not a refreshing drink but it is something you could order if you are looking for a dessert or a treat after a meal.
The Happy Trio
My friends ordered the famous Green Tea with Rock Salt and Cheese and one of them reacted that it tasted like Sampaguita. Quite consistent with my previous blog except that they liked it. J Maybe I should try that next time. Then again, the Lemon Honey with Seaweed Jelly sounds tasty too.

I heart you Papa John's

Ever since Papa John’s released its heart-shaped pizza, so many other pizza restaurants (and even pastry stores) came up with their own versions. But my eyes (and tummy) are set on trying Papa John’s version. It was a good thing that the heart-shaped pizza was still available today. I was a bit worried that it was a Valentine’s Day promo. I guess we celebrate Valentine’s a tad longer here as well (just like Christmas).
Anyway, my friends and I had a post-Valentine’s day celebration and ordered that Papa John’s heart-shaped pizza (with 2 glasses of cola). The lovers’ pizza is available in four flavors: Hawaiian, Cheese, Pepperoni, and Margherita. Since we were worried of getting hungry later, we also ordered potato wedges.
Yey! Our thin-crust heart-shaped pizza is here… wait, is this heart-shaped? Why does it look like a butt-shaped pizza? For some reason, if it is viewed at a different angle, it does not look romantic at all. Instead, it looks like a lewd shaped pizza. >.<
*Operation destroy the heart-shaped pizza began. One piece of the heart for you, and another one for you and one for me.*

It was quite crispy because of the slightly burnt thin-crust. I find the pepperoni a bit oily and spicy. The cheese does not have a strong taste and it is not the type that stretches when you try to slice through the pizza (am I making sense?).
As for the wedges, it was also a bit crispy… just the way I like it. It was not very tasty though compared to other potato wedges I had. We were also puzzled with the dip. It was butter. Melted butter. We still tried it though and it was GOOD (or at least for me).
The pizza was not something I will rave about and say it freakin’ good since it wasn’t. It was good but not something I will want to eat again for the next weeks or months to come. I find the butter dip very interesting though but it was something I could do at home.
Nonetheless, I will still visit Papa John’s sometime next month and try the pasta. I wanted to try the Seafood Carbonara but I was trying to leave space for another trip to Happy Lemon.
Ambiance: The set-up is a typical casual dining restaurant. We managed to get the table with semi-circle couch. But the couch was quite hard and not comfortable at all.
Service: The service was quite good. The servers were very quick and accommodating to our picture taking whims.
Price: The pizza and other meals were quite affordable. Of course, it is not on the price level of Greenwich but it is not as pricey as Yellow Cab or Sbarro.
Overall, it was a pleasant dining experience. But I might stick to thick crust pizza on my next visit. Long live thick-crust pizza!!! (What???) J 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

360 degree approach of Korea (part 1)

Korea has turned Manila into a tropical Korea with our fascination with the Korean culture. We can see, feel, smell, hear and taste it. There are Korean shows on television (and you do not even need cable to watch it. Remember Lovers in Paris? Okay, how about Kim Takgu?), K-Pop invaded our radio stations and even some television shows. Of course there is also the sudden increase of Korean restaurants. But I admit that I love Korean food. Bulgogi and samgyeopsal!!!

But I will not talk about those things in this blog. Instead, I will highlight the snack that saved me from hunger today… CHANCHYO (I am not good with Romanizing Korean text).

When I was still in Korea, I lead a very unhealthy lifestyle. My breakfast is something I could buy in a vending machine. Yes, SNACKS. To balance it off, I drink milk with it (so, it’s not so bad after all… right?).

Anyway, let’s go back to CHANCHYO, the Hello Panda of Korea.  As just described, it is similar to Hello Panda or Pucca. But for some reason it is better than those two because it does not have the grainy shell as Hello Panda’s nor is its shell too hard as Pucca’s. As Goldilocks would describe it, it is just right.

I miss this one particular snack though. It is in a yellow-orange foil pack and it has a bland taste but I got so addicted to it. I want to go back to E-Mart or Lotte Mart to do my grocery shopping. *sigh*

Comic strips inside. Just like Bazooka!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Past, Present, Future... 3-in-1 in Ayala Museum

I promised myself that I will to go to a new place or try something new every week and last weekend, the pre-Valentine’s weekend, was no exemption. And since my friend and I vowed to spend Valentine’s together until the day we remove our “I AM SINGLE” stamp on our foreheads, we decided to return to being students… a field trip in the Ayala Museum.

I was actually hoping to go ice skating that weekend since I wanted to at least learn how to stand with the skates on. But since my friend’s idea was less painful, I decided to go with her idea. *Off to the Ayala Museum*
Entrance fee was P225 and we gain access to all the exhibits. During our visit, there were a total of 5 exhibits: Face to Face: Portraiture in a digital age , Diorama of the Historical Philippines,  Boat Gallery, Paintings of Damian Domingo and pioneers of Philippine art such as Luna, Amorsolo and Zobel, Gold of Ancestors, Garments of the past (embroideries), and Ceramics. We toured the museum from the first floor to the fourth so our first stop was the exhibit on digital art.
The digital art was… interesting. It featured several Australian artists using different media to create digital art. There are digital photography, videos (I can still remember the girl dancing to the tune of Pussycat Dolls), and even interactive programs (there was an artwork that could answer your questions… sort of). The ventriloquist dummy was freaky! I do not remember what he was talking about but I know that it was something about the future and it was very pessimistic.
Next stop is the Diorama exhibit. We were first greeted by the boat gallery which was really big and well-made. I find the illustration of different people—from the aetas to Rizal to the American soldiers—and how tall they are very interesting. Too bad though that we could not take pictures inside (I was super tempted to take a snapshot but my conscience won’t let me!). The dioramas were also very nice. There was even a diorama with the people painting and there are drawings on the small canvases. Good job! J I find some diorama though a bit not well portrayed such as the fight between Magellan and Lapu-Lapu. The ones dead were all Spaniards. It is just like the photo chosen for the fight between PacMan and Morales—the picture showed PacMan punching Morales on the face. There was also a room showing video clips of Martial Law and the EDSA Revolution.
The painting exhibit is on the third floor and I fell in love with the painting of the Holy Family. It was painted on wood and it was well-preserved. It was painted around 1700s and it is still very much intact. I think we spent the most time in the painting exhibit because we were trying to understand what some of the paintings were trying to say. And we failed in some.
The next exhibit is the embroidered garments of the past. I noticed that some of the garments came from other countries and I was stumped by that. WHY? Anyway, some of the accessories exhibited were pretty nice. Who knew that Filipinas back then were fashionistas already? There were also drawers which you could pull to see what’s inside. Quite an attractive feature for kids.
Moving on to the next exhibit… gold! The gold accessories of the past were crazy! The earrings were VERY BIG and I could not imagine wearing them. No wonder in some illustrations, our ancestors piercings were as big a plates. It seems that gold was very abundant before because even bowls were gold. There were also golden belts and hilts. Moreover, the dead were masked in gold. My friend and I even kidded that the reason why they stopped putting gold over the face and just covered they eyes and lips was because they realized that it does not give justice to the nose.
The last exhibit showcased the ceramics of China and other Southeast Asian countries. This is probably the exhibit I find least interesting. I guess it is because I could still see a lot of ceramics that look a lot like the ancient ones. It must be because of the strong cultural influence of China.
The ceramics was the last exhibit but since we were “tourists” we have to stop by the museum shop. I forced myself to buy a souvenir, thus I bought the cheapest one I could find… a pack of pencils. But there are also nice notebooks, only it is on the expensive side. L
It was indeed an interesting weekend. I do not normally visit a museum but after this trip, I am now inclined to visit the National Museum and of course… Museo Pambata. J

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The effect of Valentine's Day to the economy

I find it interesting that people act like bees during the day of romance. They go all the way to Dangwa to buy flowers at a “more” reasonable price while those who are very busy and just buy flowers from the nearest flower shop find adding a few hundreds a “convenience” fee. Nonetheless, flower shops’ business boom on this day (and probably also a few days after since it is payday the following day).

Chocolate shops and supermarkets’ sales also rise on this occasion. People turn on their sweet “teeth” and drop hints to their loved ones that they want chocolates or sweets in general to have a proof of their sweet relationship.  

Same boom is experienced by restaurants (may it be fast food or fine dining). Couples and families eat out and take this as an opportunity to catch up or get to know each other better.

Hotels and other places offering accommodations also experience an upsurge in sales for most couples would like to have an alone time with their loved ones (well, it is not really alone time since there are two people involved but hey, that’s what they call it).

Cinemas also have higher ticket sales during the month of love since this is a typical activity during dates.  

Telecommunications companies also benefit from this occasion as several people call or send SMS to their loved ones.

Moreover, bookstores and stationary shops also experience higher sales with people buying love cards, heart-shaped balloons and cut-out boards, and even fake flowers (which will last forever but could also be perceived as a symbol of PLASTIC love).

And if we think further, even salons and spas earn more on this special day as people are more motivated to be their prettier and more handsome selves for their special dates. Interestingly, pharmacies also earn more on this day because of the increased demand for you know what.

If we think about it, Valentine’s Day could be deemed as Victory Day for the economy for people are inclined to spend money… lots of money. Then again, are there businesses negatively affected by the V-Day?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Dieting blah part 1

For some reason, I just could not go on a diet for more than a week. I tried a no-rice diet last month and it lasted for a DAY. The second one was a typical eat-less diet and it lasted for HALF A DAY. But I was getting ahead of my story. This blog is all about my failed diet which lasted for less than 15 hours.
I usually munch on Welch fruit snacks (healthier gummy bears) whenever I get hungry. But there are times when I forget to bring my snacks… when I change bags. Unfortunately, on the day I was on my eat-less diet, I forgot my “survival kit”. Thus I opted to buy coffee from the vending machine (instead of braving the traffic elevator). Thinking that extra sugar will make me less acidic, I ALWAYS choose #5, the sweet and creamy coffee with extra sugar.  
*Inserted P10 and out came the coffee and it was*

Mud water?
I thought that it is just my eyes since I have been starting at the computer for a long time but my eyes did not deceive me. The coffee lacked cream and I was forced to throw it away. So much for pleasing my grumpy tummy. L
Survival tip #1: Eat.
Survival tip #2: Make sure you have extra food on your bag or work area. But make sure that it is sealed.

Turning into a fan of fun runs?

I really hate running when I was a kid. I guess it was because, first, I was a chubby kid then… okay, a fat kid. Second, I am flat-footed a.k.a. lampa. Lastly, I am just not the sporty type (I am more of the eat-all-you-can type of girl). But for some reason, I enjoy family fun runs.
My first fun run was two years ago when my sister was still a sophomore. St. Paul College, Pasig organized a fun run as part of its fair. My sister and I joined the 3K run and since it was our first ever run, we didn’t expect that it will be VERY tiring especially the ramp partS (yes, I emphasized the “s” part). What was weird though is that despite the sweat, panting, and aching legs, I enjoyed it thus I told my sister that we have to join the next one. But we missed it. L
 This year, I had to beg my sister to join the fun run. She told me that there is nothing fun about fun runs. But after whining and begging and more whining, she finally gave in and registered us both the day before the race.
We had to wake up early since the program starts at 5:30am. Sleepy and with puffy eyes, we went to St. Paul and joined the other participants stretch and prepare ourselves to run. We saw a lot of funny things like 1.) a guy with an almost hanging top (since he wore the SPCP singlet) 2.) a nun playing with the gun to be used for the race and using it to play as a “gangster” 3.) a kid asking her mom how she could avoid the race and get a ride in a motorcycle instead.
 I was hoping that this time around (since I got used to walking a lot in Korea) that I will finish the race better than two years back. But it just got worse by 8 minutes. Boo! I had to wait for my sister so that we could finish the race together.
I guess I have to practice more to get a better time.

*Smile* while running... or speed walking.
*Off to the next run*

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Raising the bar… Barcino

I was lucky enough to be part of the press launch of Barcino in Rockwell. At first I got lost since I hardly dine in the restaurants beside the entrance of Rockwell. But all the guards know where Barcino is so it wasn’t hard to find it. J
I thought that I was late since the invite mentioned 7pm (I arrived 7:45pm from a trade check). Good thing though that they were still waiting for the other guests. While waiting, I was offered some chips and wine. To be honest, I am not really a wine person, and as a person starving, I felt that my stomach rejected the wine. >.<
The event started around 9:30pm (and I am really famished).  They first served an appetizer fondly called as “Smooth Appetizer” which was a fried battered prawn dipped in a squash gazpacho accompanied by Estrella Calacia beer (which can only be bought at Barcino).  Smooth appetizer tasted like calamares but I assure you that the shrimp used was big and fresh. Also, I think that it goes well with the beer.
The next meal was a Mi-cuit with spicy bread paired with Cava Vilarnau from Gonzalez Byass. I first noticed that the toasted bread was topped with pepper and I got worried since I cannot tolerate spicy food. But it was not that spicy at all. Also, when you eat it with the sweet spread, it is actually very delicious. The wine on the other hand is like a sparkling wine... a strong sparkling wine (with 12% alcohol content).

The third meal was scallop with caramelized onion, ginger, and tomato sauce paired with Vallformosa Claudia. The scallop is quite bland so you have to make sure that you cover it with the sauce (which is on the bottom of the bowl). The wine was also a bit too strong for me. >.<

The fourth meal was sea bass with concasse tomato made with vanilla, spinach, and mushroom plus clouds of rice noodles paired with Martin Codax Albarino. This one is the best for me since I love sea bass. It was a bit bland as well but I love bland food for I do not get tired of eating it.

The spinach was a surprise for it added flavor to the dish. The wine was also favored by the press with me since it goes really well with the seafood. The sour kick of the wine brought out the rich flavor of each of the ingredients of the dish.

The next dish for the night was lengua with mashed potato matched with La Miranda De Se Castilla from Vinas del Vero. The lengua was a bit salty and it really has to be eaten with the mashed potato to lower the saltiness.

Last dish (before the dessert) was lamb chop with apple compote with fresh rosemary and turned vegetables paired with Fontal Crianza from Bodenas Fontana. The lamb chop was a bit dry at first but as I cut through the center, it becomes more and more savory. It Is not a seasoning heavy dish that you will get tired of easily. Too bad though that they served this late since we were all too full to finish the dish.

Finally, the dessert was pineapple bomba with crema catalane with fruit pincho paired with Nectar Px. The dessert on a pineapple shell was quite interesting. There were pineapple tidbits with kiwi and strawberry on top of melted sugar. The pudding was too sweet for me though.

As I finished my dessert, I left Barcino with a full tummy yet very eager to go back to try their other meals. But, I will definitely order the sea bass again for it is love.

Friday, February 11, 2011

A fun Valentine’s Day for the loveless

People say that Valentine’s Day is also known as Single Awareness Day which is SAD for short. BUT, we can make this F.U.N. (well, I could not think of three words for that yet). Here are some ideas on how to turn S.A.D. into F.U.N.:
1.  Learn a new sport (or at least try)
You will feel more accomplished on this special day for lovers if you have done something you have never done before. There are several sports to learn: biking, skating, bowling, swimming, diving, snorkeling, playing basketball, soccer, and much much more. BUT, if you do not have money, well, you can turn a seemingly ordinary activity into a sport like catching flies with chopsticks. Now, you have a new talent!

   2. Treat yourself and your friends to dinner
So what if you do not have a romantic dinner with a special someone? Friends are special. J Dress up and go to a fancy restaurant and enjoy. You might also want to go to a karaoke after. BUT if you do not have (again) money, invite your friends over and have a chocolate overload instead. Remember, chocolate is love. J No need to splurge on Ferrero Rocher. Munch on Goya or even Milo powder. Buy some cheap chocolates, melt it and dip marshmallow on it. TADA! A chocolate fondue party!

3.  Buy your best friend or mom flowers
Just because you are loveless does not mean that you have to turn into a scrooge. SHARE THE LOVE or else I will be singing “Where is the love… where is the love, where is the loooove?” Okay, maybe you do not deserve such corny lines. But, the mentality that Valentine’s is just for lovers is wrong! BUT, if you do not have money, make paper flowers. It’s the thought that counts anyway.

4.  Be inspired
People-watching is probably one of the best pastimes ever. Get in touch with the photographer in you or sketch the busy malls filled with lovey-dovey people. Who knows, it might be a masterpiece. BUT, if do not have money, ARE YOU CRAZY? THIS DOES NOT COST MUCH! A pencil costs less than P10 while a sketch pad from Best Buys cost less than P50. No need to buy oil pastel if you really do not have money.

5.  Have a Valentine’s pictorial
Create FUN and HAPPY memories and capture them on camera. Have a theme. You can all wear red or take pictures in such a way that it narrates a story. If it turns out good, it might inspire writers to turn it into a play or even a movie. No room for “buuuut I have no money” excuse here either.

6.  Visit the World of Butterflies in Marikina
Not only will you be surrounded with probably one of the best looking insects in the world, you also get to sharpen up your science knowledge. Best of all, entrance IS VERY CHEAP. Entrance fee is only P20 for students, senior citizens, and Marikina residents while P40 for visitors and tourists. It is open from 8am to 5pm from Mondays to Sundays. :)

        7.  Write a letter to a random person (preferably snail mail)
  This is something unique to do. Stalkerish, yes. Fun, YES!

8.  Take advantage of the “everything love-related becomes more expensive”
If you know how to bake, sell cookies as an alternative to chocolates. If you are the person who frequents Dangwa, use your sales skills and offer services to buy the flowers for the lover boys and girls. But if you do not have any skill that you could use, start learning a skill NOW and use it next year.

9.  Watch a horror/thriller/suspense movie
Nothing beats horror/thriller/suspense movies to make you realize that it is so good to be alive. This will make you forget that you are in fact loveless during the hearts day. Also remember that it will be more fun if you tag your friends along because watching any movie genre alone in general is just plain sad. BUT if you do not have money, pray for HBO or Starworld to air a good romantic-free movie.

Well, at least it brightens another loveless person’s day. :)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

How to make your weekend action-packed!

I have always wanted to try paintball but I never had the chance when I went to Tagaytay Highlands. I was so glad though that I joined Couch Surfing and that someone organized a paintball event on January 30, 2011. J I made sure that I WILL BE THERE NO MATTER WHAT. 
Finally, January 30 came and we all went to the La Mesa Eco Park (yes, there’s Global Gutz there too) to play paintball and to also try other things (such as biking, rappelling, wall climbing, fishing, boating). There is also a zipline inside the park. :)
We first tried to bike. We got a bit disappointed because rented bikes cannot be used outside the enclosed biking area. But since I saw a pretty interesting bike, I still rented one. It was a bit more expensive than the basic bicycles (basic bicycles cost P60/hour and the one I rented costs P80/hour). The enclosed area is actually “supposed” to be a good place to learn how to bike. BUT, the ground was pretty uneven and it was also quite rocky. So, for first-timers… good luck.

Bike at your own risk!

Don't worry. The first aid station is very near the biking area :)
After biking in circles, we decided to find food. To our surprise, there are very, and I mean VERY limited food options. No wonder some people advised us to bring our own food. But we were a stubborn group and hardly brought food. Some brought some chips with them and thank goodness for that.
Anyway, we are now excited to do something… violent. *Off to Global Gutz.* To be honest, I got super nervous and even hesitated if I should still try it since they made us sign a waiver that they will not be accountable for anything that happens to us inside the arena. (We were “quite” safe though because we were equipped with masks and chest… uh pads.)But since a lot were still very game to try it, I gave in. It costs P350 for 50 bullets and P500 for 100 bullets. Extra bullets cost P4 each. Yes, it is quite expensive. But I guess we are paying for the unique experience.
At first, I thought that 50 bullets is more than enough but I realized that it is so not enough because we all became trigger happy when we see the opposing team. Note: Be careful of getting hit on the head. IT IS PAINFUL. Also, make sure that you follow the rules. 1.) Keep your distance. 2.) Make sure that you do not attack people with their hands up for they either ran out of bullets or were hit twice already. The masks get blurry and foggy after some time since we sweat (unless you are some demigod who do not sweat at all but glow instead). But you have to wear your mask at all times or face the risk of your eyes saying hello to paintballs (which look like egg yolks).
Our P350 lasted for less than 20 minutes I think. >.< But it was a fun-filled less-than- 20-minutes game. And several mosquito bites as a bonus!
The before PAINtball picture
The others even had the energy to do wall climbing while the others opted to try the zipline. Since I was dead tired (and was not too keen with the zipline because of the lack of view), I opted to… buy ice cream and let the not-so-polluted air dry my sweaty top. (Disgusting, I know.)
Overall, I will go back to the park and try the other activities namely fishing, boating, and wall climbing. :)
Captured! Yihee! <3

Forever 21 revisited!

It has been a month since I last visited Forever 21 since I have been trying to avoid unnecessary expenses. But, since my sister wanted to use my gift for her last Christmas (I bought her a F21 gift certificate), I was forced to go to F21 this weekend.
Gaaaah! There are so many clothes I wanted to try. In less than 10 minutes, my mesh bag is already full of clothes (though most were cardigans, basic tops, and a handful of dresses). I normally do not pick several clothes in one go in other boutiques since there is a maximum number of clothes you could try in one go. But since I was in F21, the place where one can try as many clothes they want in one go, I decided to be in my shopaholic state.
WRONG TIMING to be my crazy shopaholic self. F21 now has a fitting room policy where customers can fit maximum of 6 garments only. I was forced to skip fitting the jackets and cardigans since I could manage to fit those outside and avoid lining up again. To my surprise, if you have more than 6 clothes, you could go back to the person in charge of the fitting rooms, get another batch and skip lining up. I guess, they are trying to manage the waiting time. It was a bit hassle on the part of those who shop a lot at F21 but it made the lives of those who try on few clothes a lot easier. I guess, F21 considered the majority of their customers and is instilling discipline—not to go wild over trying clothes you do not even intend to buy.
Good job F21!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Revisiting Dulcinea… the place with the oh-so-good churros…

I loved Dulcinea as a child. I remember that I often order lengua before learning that it was actually tongue (well, I was an ignorant kid then). I then moved on to salpicao and breaded chicken. I super love Dulcinea’s desserts such as cream puffs and yema balls.
Today, I decided to try their pasta for since I was 10, I never tried their pasta. Weird. I ordered pesto since it mentioned that it was “light” (assuming that light=healthy) and pumpkin soup. As for the drinks, a pitcher of four seasons. J

My sister, who still has kiddie food options, ordered chicken fingers (dipped in tartar sauce/ketchup) and mashed potato while my mom ordered her all-time favorite, salpicao (no picture though).

My pasta was served first and the soup was served 10 minutes later. It was quite weird because my pasta turned out to be my appetizer. Anyway, the soup was not very creamy compared to other pumpkin soups I have tried before. Though, it still has the sweet pumpkin taste. The bacon bits also added texture to the soup. As for the pesto, I do not find it light (at all). It was very oily and it was quite salty as well. Same goes for the chicken tenders. The mashed potato on the other hand needed more butter and a bit of salt.  
The four seasons and yema balls on the other hand are two thumbs up! The four seasons shake was very refreshing and it was not too sweet that it will make you thirsty. The yema balls on the other hand are a bit crunchy with its hard shell (covered with sugar). This dessert is also not very sweet that makes you turn down a second serving.
Ambiance: The ambiance is quite homey. With its quite yellowish lighting, it makes you feel warm inside. (Or is that just me?)
Price: The price range is quite affordable. You could get a good big meal with just P200 (and that includes drinks already). They also have meal deals for as low as P99.

The NEW water and healthy drinks

Don’t you just hate it when some salespeople block you offering you insurance or credit cards? Well, I find those gym people pushing me to apply way more irritating because it implies that I NEED TO GO TO ONE. There was even a time when I (jokingly) asked the salesman/trainer if he thinks I am fat. And yes, I did not allow him to answer that question because I fear that he might be too frank and tell me, “Yes ma’am. You need to apply ASAP!”
Anyway, the real reason why I am writing this blog is because of this…

No wonder…

Friday, February 4, 2011

All Tangled up!

As a fan (and stalker) of animated films, I got super excited when I saw the trailer of the movie Tangled. A twisted tale about the beloved story about a girl with long golden hair stuck in a tower who was saved by a thief. (DYK: The real version is not very child appropriate. It was pretty gruesome.)  
After watching the film, I was pretty happy. The movie did not disappoint me. It had a nice plot and the characters were well-thought.  I love it when Mother Gothel tells Rapunzel that she loves her dearly. Here’s the exchange of lines:
Mother Gothel: I love you
Rapunzel: I love you more
Mother Gothel: I love you most
(Me: crying)
It was so refreshing to see the villain to have a soft side. I felt Gothel’s concern to be not totally because of her fear to get old. It would seem that she also did loved Rapunzel. She even agreed to go out and travel for days just to get Rapunzel’s “request” for her birthday. Also, if Gothel only wanted Rapunzel for her hair, then when she confronted Rapunzel about escaping the tower and traveling with Flynn, she should have forced Rapunzel to go with her. But she was hurt. As a mother, she was in pain and she wanted Rapunzel to see her mistake on her own (with the help of the two thugs Gothel hired). Okay, I am a bit confused now. But I still love how they developed the character of Gothel. I felt so bad when she had to be her mean self again. (Yes, I will not put another spoiler. Don’t worry.)  
On the other hand, if there is one thing that I did not like that much, it must be the fight between Flynn Ryder (spoiler alert: which is not his real name) and Maximus (the horse). I am not really that fond of animals acting like humans when there are human characters.
I look forward to other projects. I will forever be a Disney kid. J  
Verdict: 8/10

Café Ilang-Ilang, the place where you won’t get “ilang”

First off, I would like to apologize about the lame title for I feel that this place deserves a classier name… but I just can’t help it. (For those who are not that familiar with the Filipino language, ilang means to be uneasy.) Moving on…

I was so glad that my boss tagged me along to the launch of the all-new Café Ilang-Ilang. At first, I didn’t know that it was a buffet restaurant thus I had a heavy breakfast. When I got in, I felt remorse over not skipping breakfast. And who wouldn’t when one is faced with NINE COOKING STATIONS?

The host of the launch was Issa Litton and she felt that we were all drooling and eager to visit all nine stations. The stations were: Pan-Asian (Chinese, Korean, Malaysian, and Filipino dishes), Churrasco (Western), Japanese, Italian, Spa (healthy food station) and Dessert. After the short talk of the president of Manila Hotel (yes, Café Ilang-Ilang is inside the Manila Hotel), people from the press all “charged” to the different stations.





Being a frustrated Japanese that I am, I went to the Japanese station first. It was sushi, sashimi, and maki galore! I took a lot of salmon sashimi which is my ultimate love. I also took some other tuna sashimi, eel sushi, and this interesting pomelo with shrimp salad in a martini glass. All I can say was, it was LOVE! The seafood was fresh. The salmon was so soft and the shrimp is still firm and not the powdery type some restaurants serve. The dish that has several colors (I can’t remember the name), was also good. :)

Next stop was the Chinese, Filipino and Korean Stations. For the Filipino station, I took some grilled pork (and I forgot to get some sauce, no wonder it was so dry), steamed fish, and of course, lechon! For the Chinese station, I took some dumplings (pork, chicken and shark’s fin). Lastly, for the Korean station, I got chapche, kimbap and my favorite, bulgogi. 

The lechon’s best part is the skin and I was really excited to munch on it but I guess that was the one dish you have to try first. My lechon’s skin was no longer crispy. :( The steamed fish on the other hand was your typical steamed fish. A bit on the bland side but that was cooked just the way I love it!

Sorry, I forgot to take a picture before taking a bite. IT WAS THE LECHON!
The Chinese dumplings were also not that great to rave about but it was still quite good. But, the Korean dishes were a disappointment to me. I was actually quite excited because I was hoping that (at the very least) the bulgogi will be good, especially since the chef handling that station is a Korean. Unfortunately, the dishes were quite dry and bland. True, Korean dishes are not very rich in terms of flavor but I had better bulgogi, kimbap, and chapche in other restaurants here and in Korea.

Since I was already full and my tummy was already asking for mercy, I decided to skip all other stations, EXCEPT the desserts station. I left that I was in Willy Wonka’s factory when I visited the desserts station. There were lots of pastries, chocolates, fruits, ice cream, and much much more. I had a hard time choosing which ones to try. Just staring at the chocolate fountain brings tears to my eyes. 

Anyway, enough being so sentimental over desserts, I had marshmallow covered with chocolate, tiramisu, chocolate brownie, strawberry pudding, and that heavenly chocolate pudding (which I forgot to take picture of—was too excited). The tiramisu was a bit bland and same goes for the chocolate brownie and strawberry pudding (though it was not the pudding’s fault since I got it from the sugar-free section). BUT the chocolate on the marshmallow was so good. In fact, I savored every drop left on my plate (and no, I did not lick my plate clean. I was still aware that I was in a hotel and that I have to act properly.)  

Verdict: A must visit place!

Ambiance:  The place was quite cozy. At first, I thought that the place was small; but after checking all 9 stations, I realized that the interior designer was witty to segment the place in such a way that all kinds of people, from couples to families to colleagues will all feel at home. Also, they were witty at placing the desserts station near the entrance. As mentioned by Issa, it was purposely done so as to remind people to “make room for dessert” since there are 8 other stations.

Price: Given that it is in a hotel, expect that it will be pricey. The range goes as low as P1372.77 (net) and as high as P1647.32 (net).