Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Snack Alert: Royal Caribbean Jamaican Patties

Apart from the pastries that I bake, my kids would munch on popcorn and chips, which I really don't advise them doing.  If at times we are caught hungry at the mall, they would always run to the nearest doughnut or cupcake stands around the area, which I am trying so hard to advise them not to make it a habit.  I guess kids today are lured by these sugar-loaded treats that they often neglect it's hazard to health specially if consumed to a normal level, which is half of the usual RDA level.  Okay, I'll confess, like them I am also into the habit, however, as much as I could get away from it, when hunger and cravings strike, tsk, tsk, 

Now, here is something worth sharing to you, my kids and I have discovered a snack kiosk at Market, Market.  It's the next best thing to my kids usual mall snacks.  It's also packed with flavor and nutrition and YEY less sugary.  

It's Royal Caribbean Jamaican Patties, located at the top floor of Market, Market next to the cinemas. It's actually a stone-throw away from where we attend Sunday Christian service for New Life the Fort.   

Compared to other Jamaican Patties, Royal Caribbean's version is less oily, because the bake it fresh at a controlled oven temperature.  The crust is aptly seasoned and not salty, which I would say, way better than eating cheese powdered popcorn.  Another plus from a picky mommy is the crunch in every bite, though I would prefer eating this right away while it's hot, because that's how Jamaican's eat them.

These patties are actually famous in Jamaica, as the name suggests (duh) and widely accepted as their typical street food.  They're like pocket savory pies, but much bigger compared to the pocket pies we get from Jollibee and McDonald's apple pie.

When we tried it for the first time, I didn't expect my kids to like it, especially if their eyes were on the mini-donuts found near them.   That afternoon however became a beefy delight, for we tried all their beef flavors- Beef Royale, Beef Supreme amd Beef Jerky.  

You can't tell which one is which, they all look alike, until you check the wrapper for the designated flavor with a ticked box below it.  So I'll just describe the different flavors we got.

Beef Royale is their all-time best seller, the filling is all ground beef, seasoned and spiced just right.

Beef Supreme is filled with more like sphagetti's meaty with tomato sauce, so kinda expect it to be gooey and saucy.

The Beef Jerky is the killer one, exagerrating.  It's spicy and will definitely jerk you up into eating more, but make sure to ready your drink, they do have  nice beverage options in the house such as fraps amd fruit shakes.

We all love three varieties and we will definitely be back for the rest of the flavors and update this post for you.  

Have you tried them, please do let me know how you like them by commenting below.

Sunday, September 28, 2014


Nothing can over exaggerate this dining madness that have embedded in my palate and the nooks and cranny of my brain, hence the simple, unsought of title.  Oh also, be aware that this is not a garden or herb-related article but rather something you will never regret reading.

I don't mean to beguile you, but I would try to be straight-forward in my judgement on this post.

But before that, I'm aching to give a major shout out to new-blood restaurateurs, who gained their rights to brag about their business, of which J.P. Enriquez belongs.  What's to brag about?  On his collar are dining, drinking and clubbing hot spots that are gaining raves, such as Hyve, Skye and my new esteemed restaurant -Vyne.

You can probably notice the owner's fixation on the letter 'y'. 

Vyne is an inhabitable cosmopolitan bar and lounge provides a bit of playground and cocktail haven in one.

Upon entrance, vibrant wall graffiti will welcome you.  You may get lost getting in for a huge post will be standing right smack at the center pathway, on the left goes to the kitchen and bar, on the right leads to the dining abode.  What I regretted the most was not checking out the al fresco are, the balcony with a great view of the burgeoning BGC. 

Known for their inventive take on tapas and steak, you might have a hard time deciding which one to try first. May I suggest three of the tapas I've tried- Pork Chasu Bun, Thai Scallops, and mini crab cakes. These sounds Asian with a twist. 

The Pork Chasu Bun is a sandwich fried mantao.  You might have an idea if you have tried fried siopao.  However, what made this really special was the OMG-inducing savory pork chasu sandwich in between sliced fried mantao, together with nori strips, leeks and sunny-side up quail eggs, all in sesame mayo dressing.

Elaborately prepared and plated, you'll definitely say WOW to this - Thai Scallops.  The pastry is topped with seared scallop, mango salad with nuoc cham dressing , sambal mayo and crispy catfish.

This one I dedicate for the kid in all of us.  Don't you think the Mini Crab Cakes are cute.  They are like the eyes of some monsters.  You will however like the apple mayo with caviar that is used to dress it up some more.  If you can, try to  eat  all of the elements in one bite, including the pickled radish (the orangey shreds on the photo, but it's actually pink)

For the soup course, try Prawn and Ravioli Laksa.  On the rich and spicy Laksa soup are prawn ravioli, tofu, fried onions, lemon grass and bean sprouts.  I never imagined ravioli could go perfectly with soup, more so with a Laksa soup, but surprisingly it perfectly did.

I thought I was okay with the amuse bouche and laksa soup, until lo and behold, a whole green apple meant to be our salad for the night. 

Make a way to order, Apple and Bleu Cheese Salad. Pure freshness, one whole green apple was seeded, sliced and dressed with honey yogurt and embellished with dried cranberries, bleu cheese crumbs, walnuts and baby arugula.

Look at my share:) I love how the tanginess of the apple  subsided with the Greek yogurt and how the bleu cheese put saltiness and oomph to the whole dish while the walnuts and cranberries made such difference in texture.

We also tried another salad for you, it's the East Asian Salad.  It's what I call the busy salad, here's why.  It's a mixed green salad and Asian slaw combined.  The kimchi and Korean rice cake bits made it Korean,  to give that distinction, while the salmon floss and sesame dressing gives it the knock out taste.

I did mention that they ultimately made the place a playground, right?   They have extended the fun and challenge in the kitchen by providing fusion in every dishes.  
For the pasta, here is what we had -Ramen Carbonara.  

As in Ramen and Carbonara in one bite (duh?), 

When you order this, a hot pasta bowl half-filled with angel hair pasta tossed in Miso cream carbonara, pork chasu and shredded onion leaves will be laid on your table first, then the staff will pour over it the Ramen broth.  The sousvide quail egg will magically transform the dish.  After poring the broth, you may mix the egg with the soup and it will make the broth creamy and thick, more like a soupy carbonara sauce.

They also have burgers, on such good choice is the Vyne Burger.  It's a huge 200 g. beef pattie with mushroom ragout, foie gras, bleu cheese and apricot jam, all layered over an opened-up brioche bun.

For a more serious meal, choose from a plethora of fish, chicken and beef menu.  For fish I had tried Pan Seared Sole.   Beautifully plated, your order will have a complete set of meal with pan-seared sole fish, roasted veggies and sweet corn puree.  The green liquid is parsley emulsion, giving the dish an herb-y taste.

Or why not have US Angus Ribeye steak for a cost of P 2,500.  You steak platter can serve up to two persons.  It's 600 g prime rib steak, cooked the way you want it, served with truffle fries, horseradish gremolata, beef jus and fried Brussels sprouts. 

Served with four different sauces - Pinoy barbecue style, pesto, gravy, spicy kimchi sauce.

It was ladies vs. meat night, and with dismay and heavy tummy, we lost the battle.  Look at what happened to the huge steak platter.  Not that we didn't like, in fact we loved how the steak was seasoned and I could still remember how tender every bite was.  It's just that the serving was so huge.

And so we came, and we conquered...

Now time for a dessert, of course...

Our dinner, of course ended sweetly, however, was hinted with a tang from lemon. The Lemon Cheesecake lightly pushed away some of the aftertastes from the different dishes we had and what was left was a clean, lightly sweetened custard-y texture from the cheesecake. Oh yes, aside from the lemon-basil tandem, I'm guessing the head chef played around in the kitchen and have successfully merged custard and cheesecake together.

For the win...

There are a lot to love about Vyne, do check them out at Facebook and find out all the fun the customers are having here.

Before heading down the lobby of the building, I managed to steal one shot of the ceiling lights outside Vyne.


Address:  Eighth Floor, W Global Center,
                9th Avenue Corner 30th Street,
                Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Lock&Lock Launches Latest Hello Kitty Collection

Were you bothered by the Hello-Kitty-Has-A-Cat-So-That-Makes-Her-Not-A-Cat issue when the news about the iconic character, Hello Kitty shocked the whole world and letting everyone know that she is in fact a cartoon character, not a cat but a girl?

Well whether she is a cat or a girl or what ever, she still has that look that bedazzles every little girl and that inner little girl in some of us.  The combination of pink and white hues
If you collect Hello Kitty items or love using stuff with its theme, then you'll love this news about Lock&Lock's new themed-collection.  Though I was not brought up to collect such things, just looking at the pink and white hues of all the items in their collection, makes me feel all-girly and dainty, just like my grade-school girls who also make it a point to have something pink in most of their items, especially their school stuff.

Hello Kitty, the world’s most iconic cat-like character, brings a new, cute experience every meal time as Lock&Lock launches its newest LockLock Hello Kitty Collection of food containers and tumblers in the Philippines.

The Lock&Lock Hello Kitty Collection offers a wide variety of products that range from bento boxes, air-tight containers, and tumblers.

Oh, my kids would always look forward to what they would be having for recess or lunch, especially if they are kept fresh and clean, and hot.  I cook for them lunch everyday and send it over their school in time for lunch.

So, let me say that I have been a user of Lock&Lock since it came in the stores of Manila, and never have it failed me giving a hot and clean soupy or saucy dishes with rice meals.  I love seeing empty containers which signals that they liked the food prepared for them.

I did mention about serving them soups, right?  Yes, they would have Sinigang, Nilagang Baka and even Tinola from time to time and I'm happy to say, it never leaked on their lunch bags.

So here now are some of the items they have on the Lock&Lock Hello Kitty Collection.

All of these products are made of high quality materials, which make it durable and able to resist extreme heat and changes in temperature. They are 100 % airtight so the products completely lock in moisture, while retaining freshness of the child’s baon. In addition, the collection is Bisphenol A (BPA) and Phthalates free, ensuring that food is kept fresh and safe when being transported and consumed.

Yesterday at the launch of the Lock&Lock Hello Kitty Collection, I was able to see the different items from the collection which were displayed all over the East Atrium of EDSA Shangri-la.
From bento boxes, water tumblers, and lunchboxes, the collection depicts the fun and playful characteristics of Hello Kitty while having the known durability and air-tight qualities of Lock&Lock products.

“This new collection of Lock&Lock shows how the brand can offer fun and colourful containers and products while maintaining the level of quality it’s known for. Hopefully, with this latest collection, Moms and their daughters all over the country will find lunch time more convenient and enjoyable,” shared Mr. Chua.

Articles of Disagreements: Contemporary Arts Through a Mom's Eyes

This torrent of anecdotes began, maneuvering around the dimly-lit, cold pathways of The Lopez Museum, that alley where black walls were jazzed up with glossy black-and-white prints, which sink into the insulation.  

Though I was inspecting these two-toned photos, flashes of skinned and sharpened "krayolas" easily snatched my vision.

My daughter, Danielle, fondly called by her friends as Danie, her chosen pseudonym, would always first to pick up the blue crayon and with her tiny, candle-like fingers drew stick people on our newly-painted semi-glossed white wall.  With a grin, showing off cavite-stricken front tooth, she told me "Look, Mommy, I draw you sweeping the floor and me and Brownie (her pet dog) scattering shreds of paper on the floor." Let me not tell you how I looked like or even felt like upon seeing it on the cleanest part of the house, rather let me tell you how proud I was seeing her eyes lit up with enough exuberance, realizing she was able to draw a story.  Even though the bushes on the broom was prettier than how she had drawn my hair, I gave her a smile and said "Wow, ang galing naman ng baby ko magdrawing," (Wow, you did good drawing).

It wasn't the last time I caught her drawing something on the wall, but I made sure I was armed with enough cleaning aids to wipe them clean and asked her to do it on papers.  She did learn eventually, making her drawings better and better each day, until a year after, she isn't making stick people anymore but fancy faces with chubby, pinkie cheeks.  She was five years old then.

Until such a time that she would ran out of pad papers and notebooks to draw to.  While she grew fonder, developing artful skills of her own which happened to depict how she personify's herself.

Early high school drawings
I never knew that she would still be drawing people up until now, she is by the way taking up Fine Arts Major in Painting at PWU.

Above is her first ever painting project, only I was able to capture it in it's unfinished form.


Here are some of her ball point pen artworks

As Ms. Ethel Villanueva, was making her welcoming address at the launch of Articles of Disagreement, an exhibition, last September 18, I was trying to multi-task my brain by listening at her while more artsy stories from my husband's family echoes on my mind.  Thank God it didn't resulted in a splitting headeache, hahaha, get it?

I love, love artworks, in evidently all forms, antiquated and fresh, for the reason that a person meant for skill, reborn with a passion to create what they interpret as art.  I doubt that I can pass a bachelor's degree in fine arts, but I can, as strongly willed as I could, manage to pull up something which can also be considered as art.  After all, isn't beauty in the eye of the beholder?  

The Lopez Memorial Museum and Library is at the ground floor, of Benpres Building, in Pasig City. Museum days and hours are Mondays to Saturdays, except holidays, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.  Upon entering the lobby of the building, a door to your right opens and gives you a peep through of what could be in store for the art-lover in you.

The first chamber, the Reading Lab, is such a welcome sight with the coffee aroma wafting around, where Cafe of Letters, another event of the museum, is said to happen.  It is where artists and collaborators, even guests can join in a discussion about written contributions that will zoom in on the generation of narratives that make up the body of texts of Philippine art history, art criticism, and broad art writing.  Yes, letters, comic strips and other written narratives are forms of art as well.

Pressed for time, I wasn't able to see in details the collection but I was impressed by the decoupaged table, something like a take-away for a DIY'er domestic diva in me.

To put into perspective, Articles of Disagreement deals with art forms in writing and anecdotes of criticism in Philippine art history.  Well curated by Sidd Perez and Lian Ladia of the alternative contemporary art platform ‘Planting Rice’ Philippine art history was given a little showcasing.

There started, new discoveries, or rather an awakening.  

Here is a blown up photo probably in late 70's to early 80's era when artists needed to voice out their rights not only fighting for freedom to express but to represent a growing number of silenced artists.

Nena Saguil's work entitled Sun-I (1968), from oil in canvas.

 There is something in this photo that needed more than comprehension, perhaps it is a revelry to get into the minds and hearts of the artists who photographed this.

Where ordinary boxes affixed in such a pattern, the architect in you might go crazy doing the measuring.  What seemed to look like random light fix ins just made the art  pop up.  

Something to love artist more are their cunning usage of worthless, garbaged materials into a masterpiece, thus, this pile of old, wrecked shoes and shoe-related items.   

Pockets of dark rooms are strategically positioned across the museum where ludicrous films are shown, light experiments including picture reflection from regular household devices such as UV lights and clock will also be conducted and described by the featured artists.  Yes, you call them weird and they get even weirder but in a very productive yet amusing way.

Featured artists include the collective of young filmmakers Tito and Tita.  

I'm sure meeting the featured artists would be nice, how about listening to them, interacting and reach out to the soul where passion and loads of it just spruce up? 

I believe each art work tells an inspiring story. 

One such installation commissioned by a German museum is Germany-based artist Maria Cruz.  The story was depicted over a documentary movie of Maria's work done in a public seating space inside a museum in Germany, that specific place became her office as she tried to share a social issue where young adults are involved to anyone and get financial support for her to come up with an art.

Born out of a specific pool of major texts found in the Lopez Library archives and focuses on the reflexive practices of contemporary artists, as diverse occupations in the Arts are explored to unburden itself from established institutional forms. 

As you enter farther into the museum, another room will make you realize that art can be developed even in your daily lives, even in one's revolting OC'ness. 

These are notes, not entries to a diary, but notes in numbers, measurements, time intervals and referring quotes.  If I were his mom, I could have mistaken it for my list of debts, and if not labeled and I was not informed, it have ended up in the trash.  So I was in total amazement, as well as most of the friends in the media who were with us.

This guy is the 2013 Ateneo Art Awardee, Buen Calubayan.  His painstaking structured timeline and the journal of his daily routine as a government worker at the National Museum was made into art, the exhibit is named “Race Laps."

The predominant task of going to and fro the office from home and vice versa became boring and cumbersome for Buen.  Getting from point  A (his home) to point B (his work) took different routing and sighting, thus the routine won his interest and since then he had recorded his daily commuting and put into writing everything including 

Moving on...

On to the gleaming room at the end, where the library is, are these whimsy and vintage photos of Jose Rizal with his friends, colleagues and  family members, taken in amusing ways, you never realized could have existed.

Below every photos are blank boards where you can write anything as if you caption the photo.

The exhibition revolve around the archives of the library, along with the museum’s collection of works by Raymundo Albano, Fernando Zobel, Nena Saguil, Roberto Chabet and more.  Also, it includes the ever present masters Juan Luna and Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo.  

The Articles of Disagreements exhibition will run until December 20, 2014.

My favorite painting of Juan Luna.

There ends my afternoon art rendezvous...Though my hands and hearts could have not level with, not even an inch, to these worthy heroes, my hopes and dreams stay ablaze for my daughter.  It was such a joy hearing out these featured artists, knowing and believing that my daughter too can walk on the path they have walked.

I can't wait to bring all my four kids here and get them all inspired and have them gain more pride in being a Filipino.


The Lopez Museum and Library is at the ground floor, Benpres Building, Exchange Road corner Meralco Avenue, Pasig City. 

A minimum cost of  P 100 and P 80 for students with ID's will be asked as an entrance fee and access to all library amenities, including free coffee.  

Museum days and hours are Mondays to Saturdays, except holidays, 8am to 5pm. For inquiries, call Tina Modrigo at 631-2417.

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