Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Cuteness That Is

Photo: Atan Caparas

Ain't he adorable? This photo captures my travel essentials: water, my point and shoot camera and Fifi!

May it be in a remote mangrove forest

Or at the Colosseum in Rome

He has done it all. Almost.

We'll get there.

Fifi is named after Jane Goodall's chimpanzee from Tanzania.  Miss Goodall has contributed an enormous amount of information about chimpanzee behavior, their survival and how it relates to human existence.

Fifi, the chimpanzee is a she while our Fifi is a he.

As for the Fifi Meets World idea, it was largely inspired by the jet-setting gnome from the movie Amelie. The gnome sets off on a journey around the world sending snapshots to the owner - Amelie's father.

Saturday, May 28, 2011


Contemporary music with classical piano and strum of strings have an extraordinary feel to it. This latest Jon Schmidt release is a concrete example.

I became a fan when he released this rendition of Love Story and Viva La Vida, from two of my favorite artists. As for the backstory, he made this cover because his daughter loves the song "Love Story". 


Hands down.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Mandarin Deli(cious)

The word “delicatessen” is of German descent that means “fine food”. A deli usually connotes a store that sells fine food. Whenever Person A and I want a quiet place to enjoy a light meal and have gourmet coffee, we head to one of the hotel coffee shops in Makati. (Of course we understand that this comes at a price so we don’t do it often.) Almost, always we head to Mandarin Deli, Mandarin Oriental’s bread/dessert/coffee shop. 

Last week, Person A was at Paseo Uno so I and one of our good friends, Dennis, decided to follow him and have dinner at Mandarin Deli. I just came from a 5-km run/walk/jog so I had an appetite to boot.

The place looks like your typical neighborhood deli, it’s small, it’s warm and has a friendly staff.  You can order freshly-baked breads, salads, soups, sandwiches, main courses, cakes and chocolates.

Salmon Bagel (PhP 610).

Smoked salmon, cucumber, herb crème cheese, sour crème and potato chips. 

Look, I consumed a whole sandwich!(I usually eat half of a sandwich and consume the other half on my next meal, I am on a diet). Everything in this sandwich tastes so fresh. The vegetable is crunchy, salmon serving is generous and the crème cheese compliments the seafood. Even the potato chips are perfect.

I’ll try this with a multigrain bagel next time.

Create your own sandwich (PhP 594 and with 20% discount past 8pm?)

This is Dennis’s sandwich.

There are at least 10 choices of fillings from tuna to liver, pork, duck, egg, salmon, vegetables, etc. For the bread, there’s white, brown, wheat, multigrain and even pan de sal. You can also choose your spread and vegetables.

Each sandwich comes with potato salad on the side.

Iced Cappucino and Hot Latte (~PhP 250/cup)

These are definitely one of the better ones. 

Mine is iced cappuccino paired with the salmon bagel while Person A had the latte. 

The cups are on the bitter side but not too bitter. The sweetener is syrup and the biscotti is easy to bite and chew.

Dennis ordered mango sans rival for dessert. It’s excellent.

Truffles (~PhP 90/pc)

Mandarin makes good dessert and chocolates. You can rarely go wrong with their truffles and it’s as good as those from established international chocolatier.

The round one has Jasmine-flavored filling hence it’s aptly named Jasmine. It’s my favorite because the Jasmine tempers the bitter chocolate taste. The rod-shaped one is called Lotus. It has chocolate ganache.

I love the fact that the truffles are served on doily. And those are gold dusts. 

In Summary:

1. Similar to the hotel’s other restaurants, Mandarin Deli serves great food may it be sandwiches, desserts, breads, chocolates or coffee.

2. The place has more informal feel compared with Paseo Uno or Tin Hau but it’s still warm and inviting. You can grab a sandwich for yourself while reading a book, have coffee with your friends or date and even take your parents for a slice of dessert. The place may not be able to accommodate a large group of 10 or more since the area is small.

3. The meal comes at a price but with the good food and excellent service, it’s worth it.

Mandarin Deli
Makati Ave, Makati

Thursday, May 19, 2011

First Look: Katniss Everdeen

When Jennifer Lawrence was chosen as the Hunger Game's Katniss Everdeen, there were numerous doubters.

For one, our heroine is supposed to be olive-skinned and has that tough-chick look.

And look what the producer has released:

The first picture of Jennifer as Katniss Everdeen!

Doesn't this make you excited?

This image conveys that she can be the best archer and can survive an arena with the toughest living conditions.

Never in a second had I doubted that Jennifer can be the perfect Katniss. She has acted alongside veteran actors, has won an award at the Venice Film Festival and has received an Oscar's Best Actress nomination for her role in Winter's Bone.

They did not choose someone with her achievements for Harry Potter and Twilight. Just saying.

For those who aren't familiar with the Hunger Games trilogy, it tells the story of sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives in a post-apocalyptic world in the country of Panem where North America once stood. This is where a powerful government working in a central city called the Capitol holds power. In the book, the Hunger Games are an annual televised event where the Capitol chooses one boy and one girl from each district to fight to the death. The Hunger Games exist to demonstrate not even children are beyond the reach of the Capitol's power.

The movie is set to be released in March 2012.

I'll be watching! -(",)-*wink*

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

My Cuppa: Teh Tarik

Teh Tarik is probably the defacto national drink of Malaysia.

Person A, who is a teh tarik addict, introduced me to this drink and for almost 4 years, we're hunting the best teh tarik in Manila. Nope, we haven't found it yet. Filipinos are not big tea drinkers (except powdered iced tea which isn't tea enough), the closest you can find is milk tea which totally has different taste from teh tarik.

The word "teh tarik" (te ta-re) translates to pulled milk - which is how the drink is prepared. Tea and milk mixture is poured back and forth between two containers, giving it a thick frothy top. The process cools the fluid, mixes the tea and milk giving it a better taste.

The taste is quite different from milk tea probably due to the decanting process, giving it a distinct taste. The fresh tea is masked by the light milk. I apologize, that is a lame description.

Anyhow, I get my stash from Person A which he requests friends to get from Miri/KL. I don't get the fresh one but this tiny packet keeps me happy.

I like it warm with my bread, breakfast or on its own.

If you're interested to know, I am enjoying my cuppa while typing this entry. I am down to my last 3 packs so I have to remind myself to ask some from Person A. 

I was told he got a fresh batch last Monday.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Going the Extra Mile: Fully Booked

Here's the reason why I love getting my books from Fully Booked

You can have it wrapped for free! 

The little things do count.

P.S. Bibliarch does the same. I think they belong to the same company.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

According to Forrest Gump

"Life was like a box of chocolate

You never know what you're gonna get"

Unless you refer to the underside of the cover.

Person A happily finished the whole box off. I restrained myself to minimize the calorie intake.

I miserably failed.

I love Cadbury since time immemorial.

Although I admit, I agree that I love Hershey's Pot of Gold more than this box.

That's what I say if you don't give me any truffle option.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Varekai in Manila

I am so excited!

I'll get to watch a Cirque du Soleil show, one item off my bucket list. The name translates to Circus of the Sun and it performs acrobatics mixed with street entertainment allowing the company to win  several awards.

The premiere circus company will pitch their famous chapiteaux on the grounds of the Quirino Grandstand.

Aren’t we lucky? 

I and 6 friends purchased tickets for the June 25 show the first weekend of the June 23 – July 24 run in Manila.

Deep within a forest, at the summit of a volcano, exists an extraordinary world—a world where something else is possible. A world called Varekai.

From the sky falls a solitary young man, and the story of Varekai begins. Parachuted into the shadows of a magical forest, a kaleidoscopic world populated by fantastical creatures, this young man sets off on an adventure both absurd and extraordinary. On this day at the edge of time, in this place of all possibilities, begins an inspired incantation to life rediscovered.

The word Varekai means "wherever" in the Romany language of the gypsies the universal wanderers. This production pays tribute to the nomadic soul, to the spirit and art of the circus tradition, and to the infinite passion of those whose quest takes them along the path that leads to Varekai.

The stage lay-out can be found below. Our group opted for the Categorie 1, "200" section seating. According to a friend who has watched the show that section has a good view of the stage without paying the price for the Premium Level. 

I shall see and let you know. 

Ticket prices are as follows:

Tuesday thru Friday Matinee. 
Convenience fees and Delivery fees apply.

CHILDREN 2 to 12
Tapis Rouge
Level 1
Level 2
Level 3

Friday Eve thru Sunday Evening
. Convenience fees and Delivery fees apply.

CHILDREN 2 to 12
Tapis Rouge
Level 1
Level 2
Level 3

Tickets can solely be purchased online at hoopla.ph. A PhP 50 fee will be charged for every ticket.

Varekai Manila
June 23 - July 24
Quirino Grandstand

Sunday, May 8, 2011

I Am Such A Disaster: The Hunger Games

I had my Sunday lined up to do some income-generating activities (read: work).

However, when I started leafing the pages of this book

I was instantly hooked.

I spent 6 full hours in bed while Manila is being pounded by the nasty "Bebeng" rain. My worst record was the whole weekend (Friday night til Sunday night) spent finishing a book. I subsisted on food deliveries.

This reminds me that long before I watched television, surfed the internet and got consumed blog walking, my first love has been reading.

As for the "Hunger Games", it's a good one: light and entertaining.

In a tweener/teenager kind of way.

Definitely not rocket science.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Kitchen’s Best Home Patisserie

We had no idea what this restaurant has to offer since this is a random stop from our let’s explore Pasong Tamo Extension afternoon.

Going inside the red and white interior gives you a quaint, homey feel. The pretty, white wooden chairs and red accents whispers "I am a nice little place for brunch". The walls are adorned with food reviews of the place and the awards it garnered.

That says a lot.

The menu is straightforward: soups, salads, appetizers, pastas, chicken fares, red meat and fish dishes , and drinks. There’s no dessert menu, you head to their display to see what’s available and the distinctions each dessert has been awarded.

Wild Mushroom (~PhP 250)

Spaghetti in white sauce with 3 types of wild mushrooms.

The cream-based sauce has the subtle taste of mushrooms. In fact, it’s close to the truffle taste. I recommend this.

40 Cloves Chicken (~PhP 300)

Slowly cooked chicken with secret herbs, olive oil and baby potatoes.

A phrase to describe this is gourmet adobo. It has tons of garlic, generous olive oil, and the chicken is very tender. It tastes great, especially with rice. This order comes with rice, by the way.

The only comment I had: the office canteen serves adobo with the same taste at PhP 40/serving. It's made with coconut oil not with olive oil.

White Chocolate Macadamia Cheesecake (PhP 165)

As described here, the cheesecake base is very creamy, sliding to the sweet side. It can stand on its own.

Worth coming back for more.

Iced Latte(PhP 105)

Coffee is strong and the whipped cream topping is milky. Great with the pasta, not so much with the adobo.

In Summary:

1. Kitchen’s Best goes to my comfort food list. It’s one place you can go back to anytime. The food tastes great, the place is pretty.

2. It is great for brunch, afternoon tea, date with the special someone, catching up with friends and family gatherings. Yes, it’s first and foremost a dessert place.

3. It’s not too expensive considering that it is in Makati and most of its desserts have been awarded some distinctions.

Kitchen's Best Home Patisserie
Unit 5B, Karrivin Plaza
2316 Pasong Tamo Extension, Makati

Siraan na Ng Buhay

This got to be one of the best cheesecakes in town. If not the best.

Hands down.

White Chocolate Macadamia Brittle Cheesecake from Kitchen's Best Patisserie. The cheesecake is very creamy and has the right sweetness from the white chocolate. It can stand on its own even without the macadamia brittle.

This won an award in 2009 as one of Inquirer's Lifestyle 24 Best Desserts.

Kitchen's Best Home Patisserie
Unit 5B, Karrivin Plaza
2316 Pasong Tamo Extension, Makati

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Alexandre: The French Bakery and Bistro

Last Sunday, I had brunch with friends in this lovely French restaurant at the corner of 31st and 1st streets in Bonifacio Global City.

I am a fan of Café Breton and given that French cuisine always has this light feel and taste to it, you can rarely go wrong with any dish that you order. My first encounter with Alexandre is their bread display both at Rustan’s Makati and Power Plant. According to its website, it is a bakery, bistro and a lounge so one can deduce that it caters to the young and not so young crowd.

The subdued black and white interior of the shop with its warm lighting gives it a cozy, inviting feel. You can also opt to dine al fresco, but given the summer heat, it is much wiser to enjoy the food inside.

Breakfast Bonjour (PhP 250)

Alexandre is a bread place. If you choose to order this make sure you share it with at least 2 people because it is 2 baskets full of bread.

Assorted fancy breads and petit croissants: Butter chocolate and almond, accompanied by Honey, Strawberry and Mango Marmalade.

Generally, the bread is one of the better ones. It’s plain and has minimal flavor but the texture of the bread got to be the reason for you to order it. I can imagine pairing it with my cappuccino or even brewed coffee. 

Kahit instant nga.

If I get to choose one, it has to be the almond croissant. The texture plus the flavor makes it unique and wanting you to come back for more.

The order comes with a hot beverage.

I like the marking on the mug.

Le Cirque (PhP 170)

For this sandwich, you can choose your bread among Rye, walnut, walnut and raisin, Ciabatta traditional baguette or whole wheat baguette with chicken.

The presentation is nice and the taste is decent. It’s not unique to the point that you’ll be coming back for it.

Pizza Quatre Formages (PhP 399)

Classic four cheese pizza with thin crust. I like the fact that it’s served on a wood base, the serving size is good for 4 people and the cheeses taste fresh.

I say, “Yum!”

Spinach Ricotta Lasagna with Bechamel Sauce (PhP 310)

This is an Italian-French dish. Italian because of the “re-cooked” cheese (that’s how ricotta is made, just in case you’re interested). French, pertaining to the Bechamel sauce which is made from milk and is a staple in French cuisine.

Given the dish’s origin, I expected it to be light. And light it is so I can barely taste the flavor. I would’ve wanted this to be on the saltier side. Le best friend (not Person A) agrees with me too.

Person A’s Order (which I forgot to take down hence I don’t know how much, too)

Essentially tastes like menudo but made with chicken.

The good thing is it is made with tomato sauce so you can enjoy the tomato goodness. The rice is herbed, I believe.

Iced Latte (PhP 100)

Latte is good. Real Coffee.

Blended Mocha (PhP 125)

This is also good. Though, the blended choice does not pair well with my lasagna. Too flavorful. I would’ve been fine with an iced one.

Apart from these, they have a wide selection of pastries, cakes, crepes, salads, sandwiches, lasagnas, pizzas, coffee, wines and beers.

It has a pretty website too. So chic in black and white. 

So French.

In Summary:

1. I am going back to Alexandre primarily for its ambiance. I can say it is pretty and I can imagine having brunch with friends or having a night cap with a date. The food is decent but still can improve a lot.

2. Breads and croissants are definitely one of the better ones. That is if you don’t mind paying a little bit more. Price point slides to the more expensive side though it doesn’t scrimp on the serving size.

The Grand Hamptons Tower 2
31st cor 1st Sts.
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Because I Really Have Nothing Much To Say

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
- Mark Twain

I am not really sure why I brought my laptop while lounging by the pool.

This post is cheesy.  

And I feel lame. 

Mark Twain isn't.


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