Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tried Pineapple Pie at Laguna? How about Monte Nevoso?

    Ever tired of Buko Pie, or had some thoughts of what else Laguna could offer aside from Hot Spring Pools and known delicatessen?  

    Here's one, people are now raving about when Los Banos is visited,  ORIENT, The Original Buko Pie Bakeshop.   They not only have the famed Buko Pie, but these lovely slices of Pineapple Pie.   They also have the Tropical Pie, which is a mix of Buko meats and chunks of pineapples.   Don't get me wrong I love Buko Pie, but when I heard a friend who was so exuberant with her Dad's craving for Pineapple Pie at the Orient, I went gaga over it.  You might be thinking of the local "panaderia" version of Pineapple pie with the pineapple-flavored jelly filling.   Oh no!  Our country being a tropical one, has lots of pineapple crops, not only in Laguna but also in neighboring provinces like Quezon and Batangas, so it is therefore a wise take on pies.  Knowing Laguna to be rich in coconuts, pagans are crouching their ways there to have at least a box of it.   

    I love pineapples as much as I love coconuts so when my friend left the resort just so she can buy early avoiding the long lines outside the store, I had to ask her to buy one for me and my kids left at home.   Then came the hot boxed pineapple pie.   The smell of it is amazing, the same crust used with buko pies but with a tempter aroma of the pineapple filling.   Have you ever tried cooking with pineapples or have smelled it from the kitchen being cooked?  The aroma is amazing! 

   So why don't we try Orient this time and tell me how their pies stand out from the rest.  And also if you do have other recommendations feel free to comment way below this post.
   "The Original," I know!  When you go to look for a "Pasalubong" Store along Los Banos and Pansol, every stores claim theirs is the original, funny huh!   But honestly when buying Buko Pie we only go to Collete's (my son when he was 8, read it as ko-le-tes), specially when we're along the way and my kids would crave for "Uraro."   Uraro or araro is a 
delicate powdery cookies made from arrowroot flour. They are usually shaped into small 
flat flowers and wrapped in tissue paper popularly called papel de Hapon.

   So after a spirit-reviving long weekend at Monte Nevoso, faced with a long stretch of traffic as we head back to Manila, we are ready to face more challenges and difficulties in life.   But leaving behind all the cursed and painful past, whispered in the strong gush of the wind here at the Los Banos highlands.
   The Crocodile Lake, an entry way to the vast Laguna Lake.
   Soul searching? Or just want to unwind while stretching some muscles?  This is the perfect trek for those who are tired of the polluted streets of Manila.

   The long path leads to a panoramic view of part of Laguna land and the Laguna Lake  with the Crocodile lake.    Be sure to ask the landlords  for a guided tour all the way  to the edge, which we call "the Ruins."  And never to forget to bring any cameras so you won't miss a glimpse of the beauty which will surround you.

   So before you think of getting those Buko or Pineapple pies, you might want to consider getting a hike at Monte Nevoso.   Contact details below, and while you're at it , add them also at Facebook.

Monte Nevoso
Makiling Heights, Los Banos Laguna
Call: cp no. 09175936874 / 09064300514

Food and Drink Asia 2011

A one stop shop for Food & Beverage Industry! Food & Drinks Asia and Food franchising is the perfect place to see the latest food, beverage and franchising ideas and also the best opportunity for you to get contact, grow your business that will give you a competitive edge.
It is a 3 in 1 event , the Food and Drinks Asia, Food Franchising 2011 and Grocery Asia.
This will be held at the World Trade Center in Metro Manila which is located at Roxas Blvd., corner Sen. Gil Puyat Ave., 1300 Pasay City, MM.  From September 1-4, 2011.  Gate opens at 10 am up to 7 pm.
See you there!

A Diamond Hotel Late Night Buffet Invite

Have a wonderful evening with a degustation at Corniche , Diamond Hotel for P688 every weekend of September.    The buffet opens up at 10:30 and ends at 2:00.
For a mere P1400 you and your partner can spend a lovely, romantic dinner at a hotel, all your stomach can accommodate while enjoying a good music.
Call the numbers below to have your spot. 
Warning:  Dining spots are easily filled-up so call them ASAP!

Check this out ==>  
Take a peek at what they can deliver,
our own take at Corniche.

Rodelio Cruz
Corniche Assitant Manager
Diamond Hotel Philippines
Roxas Blvd. Corner Dr. J. Quintos St.
Ermita, Manila 1000 Philippines
Tel: (632) 528-3000, 305-3000 loc. 1121
Fax: (632) 305-8364

The Sweet Pea of McKinley's Food Adventure

   Our eventful, short journey around Venice Piazza, McKinley Hill ended up with a blast after discovering Chef Florabelle Co-Yatco's Sweet Pea.   Last July I got an invitation from a property sales consultant, it was for a gastronomic delight, the Food Adventure.   To cut the month-long culinary episode story short, we picked this restaurant to be the best amongst the twelve restaurants  who participated.   We based our selection over first, how the staffs treated each Food Adventure Passport holders, second, the quality of the food being sampled, third, the ambiance of the place.   I don't want to hassle my self up with rating or categorizing the twelve restos.   For me it's simple!  If you are going to sell your products in any ways (marketing stints and crazy deals), sell it like you are selling your own house and you are bargaining.   Imagine nowadays, everyone who has the capability, the money and the guts to venture food business is likened to a school of fish in a measured lake (aha, not ocean, just lake).  More and more kids are taking up either HRM or Culinary Courses and are training to be seasoned chefs.   And everyday, a new restaurant is a budding talk of the town for a short period until a new one comes.   A short-lived fame, unless you risk doing everything to always be heard and diners flocking your place.   Well that's how I see it, that is my personal opinion.
     So going back to Sweet Pea, never did I know that this charming and cheery place is owned by Chef Florabelle.   We had an outstanding and history-relevant experience at Crisostomo at Nuvali, another baby of hers.   No wonder the menu was so carefully thought of  and the staff were gracious.

Seeing the brick walls made me so full, with all the cake pictures, I didn't bother getting dessert...hahaha, no but the real reason was having a hefty serving on our plates!
Salisbury Steak,   P 275
A plate has a humungous Hamburger steak, a dollop  of mashed potato, buttered veggies and topped with sunny-side egg.
Hainanese Chicken,   P 275
Served with Vegetable rice,  crunchy cucumber slices with three sauces.
Beef Steak

    So after the Food Adventure hype we decided to go back to Venice Piazza and dine there and we went there with Bhogs' sister and indeed she said she would definitely have her family go back here.   Sad thing for her though she didn't know about the Food Adventure but good thing she didn't, cause with the mishaps we had concerning some of the restaurants she might have had a fight or two with them.

Sweet Pea Restaurant, The Venice Piazza

G/F The Venice Piazza, McKinley Hill, Fort Bonifacio Global City
Taguig City, Metro Manila
(02) 659-3685

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Must-try Coffee Places

Mocha Overload at Bo's Coffee
"Over second and third cups flow matters of high finance, high state, common gossip and low comedy.  [Coffee] is a social binder, a warmer of tongues, a soberer of minds, a stimulant of wit, a foiler of sleep if you want it so.  From roadside mugs to the classic demi-tasse, it is the perfect democrat."  ~Author Unknown
In the earlier part of my blogging, we started trying out new and "not that famous" coffee shops.  Never did I think that my husband's and my coffee habituation would lead us to understand coffee drinkers even more, unwrapping more and more information on coffee.
Here are the places we got a bit intoxicated with caffeine and of course have had the  chance to also try out some interesting stuffs on the menu.   

Bag of Beans
Sam Brew

18 Days Roasters, where I got the most exquisite blend, Alamid Coffee

Kitsch Cafe

Never have we thought, that we never have to get our passports stamped to get a feel of what coffee other countries are soaking up with.   From a French-inspired cafe, American, Italian to Singaporean.   It may not be about just the coffee, may be about the aura or the whole atmospheric state of these coffee stations or just the company of friends and loved ones.
There are a lot more places, scenic, artistic, eclectic or whatnot.   It only takes one day at a time to discover them...Till then!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Is Kitch' Cafe Kitschy?

Kitch's Cafe...The first thing that came to my mind when I heard Kitch was kitschy.    Usually coined for melodramatic soap-operas.  I wondered why it was to be used as a name for a seemingly quaint coffee shop.
Perhaps, it may mean something about its architecture, or a shortened word for kitchen.
To understand it more deeply I consulted Dr. Google, and here are what I've unveiled...
Kitch' , a French word used as an adjective meaning  , art or artwork which is sentimental and in poor taste, in English it is kitsch.
In modern translation, it is somehow synonymous to artsy, funky, colorful, retro, vintage or hip. 
Now this what makes the whole package of Kitch' Cafe.   

The very clean, shabby-chic, new-country look of the shop, really makes it a wonderful spot for afternoon chats with friends, colleagues and family.   If you close your eyes, when you open it, its like you are taken off somewhere, where it's  tranquil, your back rested on the soft couch with the soft sun beams reflected on  their huge mirror on the right side and on the aluminum sugar canisters.   Adoring the decorative kitsch plates  hanged on the wall as the aroma of coffee whiffed all  over the place.
As you enter, you will notice a staircase on the left which leads to the semi-private function room.   Where you can hold special company or family events.   It is so comfy upstairs, if the interior design below is egg-shell based, upstairs is the mid-tone gray sophisticated look.   They have a new wave sound system to support the activities of  any events.   All these while enjoying the food catered by their staff headed by Chef Mildred Smith and Chef Eugene Raymundo.

You can either read a book, or a magazine, or enjoy free WiFi.   I could imagine myself coming back and blogging my way to an inspiring afternoon delight.  Of course before we do, let us check out some of the treats they could offer.
For Bhogs, MILKY WAY (P 115), something like cappucinno or cafe americano with a twist.
Mine, BUTTERSCOTCH  LATTE (P 115), a sweet blend of coffee , milk and caramel!
PIZZA PANDESAL, pizza topped with smoked fish, black olives, capers and cream cheese.  The catch here is that the dough is for pan de sal.   So what you get is a crusty and crumby texture like that of our usual morning bread, but with the goodness of typical Italian pizza.
ULTIMATE BLONDIES ( P 35), it's a brownie without the cocoa then topped with dessicated coconuts, walnuts and cinnamon, an ultimate sweet sensory aliment indeed!
APPLE STRUDEL, a slice of it is apple heaven!   A rich apple and cinnamon filling coated in a flaky and crumbly pastry.   As you can see, I've almost finished it before I'd capture the whole slice in my camera.  So I guess that says it all!   
When you do visit, check out the big black board where new and seasoned treats are posted, along with the good variety in their menu.   For heavy eaters, don't fret for they do have rice meals and pasta and a line of cheese cakes, cookies and bars.   When we were there a couple of teens went there just to buy their huge chocolate chip cookies so better add that up to your "to try list at Kitch' Cafe."

Unit g-14 Sunvar Plaza, Pasay Road corner Amorsolo, Makati City
Contact them at: 63917 8851812 and at 632 8433620

Notes when going there:  When you are at the back of Makati Cinema Square, where there is Villman, that is Sunvar plaza,  from the parking lot near McDonalds, it is at the right side of Sunvar Plaza.

What A Chef's Table Should Be

There was a thunderstorm brewing and I was suddenly taken back to my childhood memory as we drove around The Fort.   Still not over the story behind how chef Bruce's childhood shaped who he is now, after having hyped up with voluptuous  fodder at Hyphy's .   Waiting eagerly for the green light on the street ahead,  I envision my Papa roasting chicken (the "Pinaupo" way, where the dressed chicken being roasted is sat on a grill over heaping fiery red charcoals.)   My Mama, making Arroz Ala Valenciana for 30 or more guests, as we scatter sliced boiled eggs over a bed of the soothing dish.   And my Lola Vita, cooking our regular Kaldereta for lunch.
Happy childhood memories are few for me and they almost all seem to revolve around food in some way. No wonder really, as food is comforting in itself. It fools you into believing that all is right with the world, well for that moment at least; and later on, if need be, the memory of it can soothe an unpleasant moment in time.   Unpleasant  as it may seem, but the thought of the indulgence that will soon manifest as we were closing in at none the less, Chef Bruce Lim's Chef's Table.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

My Mango Lavander Cupcake

Mango Lavander Cupcake topped with Wild Raspberry Jam
   Care for some jam?  Or how about sprucing up a ho-hum vanilla cupcake or morning muffin?  I hope you do excuse me for playing around my old humdrum recipe.   Everyone loves vanilla cupcakes, but if you are always having it, or if you do bake it yourself you tend to get bored, well  that's just who I am.   Every time I think of some  modifications on a certain recipe I shun the thought of what if it goes wrong or what if we won't like, the ingredients might gone to waste.   Luckily none of that happened yet, modesty aside, each time I try something out, everyone at home are elated, and kids would say, "there she goes again," and adds, "Can't wait for the yum."   It's a matter of listening to your instincts and of course years of training and tasting.   I guess my family just love me that much, they dare not criticize my cooking, or baking for that matter.   

Bialetti Caffe

I've been having this thing about non-chained coffee shops lately.   Sure Starbucks, Figaro and Seattle's Best abound, like everywhere you go around Manila their there, so you won't run out on caffeine boosts.  Pretty much we we have the idea already of what to get even before getting near the counter.
But, aside from the caffeine addiction, I came to get frantic with the treat along every new coffee shop discovery!  "You'll never know what you'll gonna get...," as what Forrest Gump would hum in my ear every time I see an unexampled coffee shop or restaurant or just something new to my senses.
Here is an example of what i'm talking about.    At the heart of Aguinaldo Highway, at the Revilla Business Park in Imus, Cavite, is Bialetti Caffe.    Franchised by the Revillas of Imus, is not only a coffee shop but also a museum.   Ramon Revilla being widely known in movies and the Philippines having his origins here, have grown love and ahh family, outright sense of it.   The coffee shop is fronting Aguinaldo Highway, while behind it is the Memo Revilla Gallery (get it? from memorabilia), where all about Ramon Revilla is being exhibited.   Good thing we where there 30 minutes just before the gallery is closing up.  It opens at 10 in the morning for public viewing and closes at 5 in the afternoon.  Here are just what you can uncover inside Memo Revilla.

After which, we head back to the cafe and discovered that they don't only serve coffee, but a whole interesting menu of Filipino and American dishes.   From rice meals with sisig, chicken, pork, pasta, sandwiches to dreamy desserts.

 Hot Chocolate for my hubbydoo...
But what they really boast of is the extensive variety of coffee drinks they offer as would the company Bialetti would offer.  Widely known in Italy and around the world for its highly sophisticated beverage solution, equalizing coffee loving to good lifestyle.  
A Bit of History
Bialetti Foods Corp. started as an importer of 1883 de Philibert Routin French Syrups and quality Italian espresso coffee machines and supplies from where the best espresso is being made. Eventually, BFC brought in the country not only the machines and supplies but the Bialetti Caffe concept itself. The Caffe served European developed coffee-based concoctions.
And It all started in 2002, with a one man’s search for the perfect cup of espresso at a reasonable price.   He noticed the
lack of  specialty coffees, innovating simple cups of espresso and cappuccino with the 70 different syrups of 1883 de Philibert Routin syrups.   And walahh!...My ChocoMisu,  A cold coffee Tiramisu.   It was so good, like having a two in one snack, an iced coffee and a slice of Tiramisu, all in one sitting, and one affordable price.

Choco Misu
Being new and an upscale, mod look both on the interior and exterior, not many have had the guts to check it out,  the down side, it is a bit pricey.   But we found it very inviting and refreshing.   Loving the splash of yellow around the walls and on the chairs, more colors on the  wall painting magnificently blend in the whole package.  The staff are cheerful and courteous,  anyone can hang around, lounge on the sofa, enjoy free wifi, good music and carefully prepared food and drinks.  
What do you think, did I blend in, with my yellow T-shirt and all...? :0

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Chef's Quarter: A Business Lunch with the Flawless Group

Together with Beurre BlancUncle CheffyOld VineKUSE Chefs' Quarter perks up your dining encounter.  Said to be a fusion of Mediterrainiane dishes, ecclectic eaters like me
would definitely hold dear a lunch or dinner here.  
Though the ambiance might give you a clue on what to expect,maybe pricey and for upscale diners, class A food but price comparably lower than what seems to be.
Showing off a warm feel for everyone, with its brick walls, floor to ceiling glass window, over-looking part of Ortigas business domain.  Above is photo of the big mirror as wide as the wall on my left side, personalized with the kitchen's best-selllers.
Sir Philip's Trio Salad with escargot and some thinga magix...
Had my salad order inspired from the write up on the mirror, the Tessie Tomas Salad.    Ooh,why the heck, didn't I ask why it is named so. had all my faves on it, grilled prawns, slices of raw salmon, olives and fresh and crunchy lettuce. with a wallop of thousand island dressing, i wise choice should I say.
The group also had a basket of Fish and Chips (from a far), BBQ Buffalo Wings and some pasta.   
I could not  forget the Salmon Carpaccio my kids and I had at the Old Vine at McKinley Heights.   The same taste and note that truly reached the attic of Kuse and Old Vine.  The thinly sliced pieces were astonishingly creamy and flavorful.
Too bad we missed out their dessert selection since I'm so full even with my salad alone.   The salads are good for two or three, but I ate a whole order of it and some of what the group ordered so I guess there were no more space for the dessert,Nah!
Overall, I'd definitely bring my parents here.   Well, if I do, or says I 'll do, that would only mean that it was quite impressive, the food selection, the ambiance, the service, to think that my parents, living in Milan is quite finicky when comes to fine dining.

Chef's Quarter Restaurant and Wine Bar
Location:  Level 3 Mega Atrium, SM Megamall, Mandaluyong
Call them at 632-4013658