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Cookie Day [20 May 2009|12:34pm]
[ mood | accomplished ]

Ok so I made the big booboo of deleting my previous post of cookie making. (which I know sucks big time!)  So I decided to just repost and create a new entry just for the cookies!

Cookie making has always been something that is both relaxing and stressful. (Paradox much?) Its relaxing because I get to work out my aggressions and frustrations in mixing and well I get to control the amount of chocolate chunks that go into my cookies! Stressful because up until it starts baking in the oven I wouldn't know if I over mixed and did everything right.


Since there is a secret ingredient that mom wants to protect, lets just call it the dry parts. Mix the dry parts with 4 oz. of eggs and 3/4 bar of butter cut into cubes to make for easier mixing. (TIP: If you want flatter and creamier cookies just add a bit more butter.)
 

Continue mixing the wet and dry parts until it is this consistency or all the flour has been folded into the mixture.
(TIP: Remember to try to keep the mixing to minimum to avoid over mixing. Also you may want to melt the butter instead of adding them in whole to lessen the work of mixing.)
 



 
Pre-heat oven to 180°C. Since my oven burns unevenly (don't ask my why) Cooking time differs from one tray to another. Some taking 10 mins while others from 5 to 15 mins.

 





 
Now for the best part, EATING!!!!

 








The cookies turned out to be rich and creamy but not too sweet. The chocolate added that extra oommphh which made each bite exciting, never knowing if you're about to get a bit of chocolate. I love that they were a bit flat and crunchy.


Cheers & Happy Eating!!
 
 
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Nestle Creamery [03 May 2009|03:40pm]
[ mood | disappointed ]

Going out for Ice cream has always been a time honored tradition of families to just bond and enjoy a frozen treat especially in our hot climate. Aside from Icecream Etc opening up different branches Nestle Creamery (formerly known as the Magnolia House) has been the household name for cold summer delights.

Sad to say though, the standards of the establishment have gone down. Gone are the dancing servers around the circular ice cream station. The poor state of the indoor airconditioning is even worse. They had 2 huge IWATA fans blowing humid air all around. ( I've been there twice on during different times and they really don't turn the AC on.) The sad state of the childs play area promised an infection of some sort or illness because it looks like it hasn't be throughly cleaned in years.
 


Some positive points are still the ice cream concoctions created on the marble slab. The prices though are kinda expensive. (ranging from P150-P300) The menu was a great idea. One huge menu so that more than one person can look at the menu at the same time.
 


 

I decided to try the special of the house; the Vanilla Rosher Crunch
 


At first I was dismayed at the quantity. For P290 I expected a lot more. But the taste more than made up for it. It was indeed something special. It had little crunchy bits inside which added a nice texture to the soft vanilla ice cream. Folded into the cream was a chocolate fudge which added the chocolate goodness to it. Over-all not a bad treat. It just had me wishing there was more. Don't even ask me about the waffle cone.

GF had S'mores.
 

 
Every choco-holics dream. This was just laden with chocolate cookies, fudge, cream, and everything chocolate. The marshmallows tasted a burnt but hey I guess that's the way its suppose to taste.

My sister and her Bf each ordered something different. I wasn't able to taste what they ordered. But here they are.

Banana Peach Melba

 


and the Black and White Ice Cream



They call it Black and White because one side is covered by chocolate syrup and the other side is just laden with thick cream.
So for the cream lovers out there, this should be heaven.
 
For the price and quality of the place I should just give this 1 Chef's hat. But because of the nostalgia and the ice cream wasn't so bad, I give Nestle Creamery 2 out 5 Chef's hats.




Nestle Creamery is located at the Nestle Compound along Aurora Blvd.

Cheers & Happy Eating!
 
 

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A Meal fit for an Emperor! [29 Apr 2009|01:45pm]
[ mood | jubilant ]

So this review is a bit delayed and for that I'm sorry but with the amount of food we ate during the last outing it will be a worth the wait.

Last Saturday means the it was eating out day again for GF and I. We settled on a place recommended by Martin. It was an eat all-you-can japanese resto. (How can you go wrong?) The place was called Zensho and was located at Tomas Morato right before Mickie D's.


Sure enough we had big appetites coming in to the resto!


We decided we wanted to try the teppanyaki grill. So we sat by the grill and apparently unlimited food will be cooked in front of us! First to be cooked was the Kamameshi Rice(?). It was not buffet style as we were accustomed to in Saisaki, but the rather a list is given and you check what food you want brought out. If you wanted more then you just asked for the same thing again. Being our first time there, we ordered everything.

The teppanyaki chef, Chef Rogelio, was entertaining and lively. I love how he was always offering to order whatever we needed right away. Whether it was small talk or excellent service I couldn't differ from the two. Definitely a plus for the resto. Also never did I have to ask for a refill for water or tea.


 

There were also his fair share of tricks with the utensils and flaming grill.


 

First to come out were the Kani Salad. Cabbage, with Kani sticks and mangoes topped with Japanese Mayo. Although there was too much Japanese Mayo, I loved the portion size so as not fill you but create an appetite for more food.

The chicken and beef teriyaki were done first among the viands. It was good. So good in fact that it was almost instantaneously finished even before the rice was done. I recommend this one when picking out your viands!

The sushi and sashimi came out and being a huge fan of selected sushi I was pleased to see that Tuna, Salmon and some other raw white fish was served. Nothing else. I wish I ordered more of this! We only ordered 1 boat to make room for the other food!

The tempura next arrived and I was pleasantly surprised. It had 8-10 pieces in it and it even came with Kakiage. (Veggie tempura.) I was sad that there wasn't a separate order for Kakiage alone.


We also had the steak teppanyaki. We had 3 different kinds of meat. Wagyu, Cutlets, and Sirloin and for all the meat lovers out there, you will never get enough of this. Although you may want to ask your chef to tone down the saltiness a bit.


Did I mention the baked oysters? This was just great.


We had a few more viands like fish fillet and chicken teppanyaki which GF loved and I believe finished all by her lonesome!

The tofu steak was not really that good so I wouldn't recommend that.

Check out the amount of food we had on our tables!

Thanks to Martin and Tintin (my sister) for taking us here. We were so full, that Rogelio thought it funny to pretend to start cooking again!



But aside from the authentic japanese teppanyaki eat-all-you-can meal, the best part of the meal was yet to come. Did I mention how much it cost? For only P650 per person definitely SULIT!!!

We had so much food! Rating? Definitely 5 out of 5 for me. For price, quality, and quantity! (Funny too, that the music played was old pop songs! I dunno if that was intentional nor if it created the Japanese ambiance!)



Cheers & Happy Eating!


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California Dreaming... [20 Apr 2009|09:57am]
[ mood | surprised ]

Its summer again, and with the increasing temperature nearing the 40s a sudden rise for cold beverage runs parallel with it. If its not cold beverages, ice cream for sure runs through your mind. I'm very particular about ice cream because its something you have to finish and not get only a portion to find out that you didn't like how it tasted. (Happened to me more than once.) Aside from the usual gallons offered by local creameries, here is a list of a few of my favorites: DQ Blizzards and Chowking Halo-Halo. (Will try Razon's next weekend!)

Tucked away in an up & coming mall of Silvercity in Libis, lies a quaint little ice cream shop which offers customizable ice cream. The twist? Its Yoghurt! (healthy!) For the health conscious but still would like to enjoy a frozen treat this is the way to go. Offering fruits for toppings and a few nuts and candies, fruits were the way to go. California Berry anyone?


From the array of choices that were there one could really pick the only ones you wanted in your Yoghurt.


Images on the wall show the different concoctions one can make as well as celebrity customers.


We ordered our yoghurts Medium (because we weren't sure how it would taste like.) A medium cup + 3 toppings was about P115

I picked, Mangoes, Blueberries, and Almonds on mine, and GF picked Strawberries, Blueberries, and Cherries.



Mine tasted fine. The acidity of the Blueberries would have complimented the sweetness of the mangoes had they been ripe enough. (Yes California Berry, make sure that the fruits you use are ripe!)

But I still missed the sweetness that ice cream had but it was different. It tasted good and I could say I would definitely go back.



GF loved her concoction. I didn't get to taste hers as I was driving and was pre-occupied in finishing mine! But she says its her new favorite place so I guess it's that good.

I give it 4 out 5 Chef's Hat only because the mango was not ripe!


Definitely worth to check out at least once! GF and I will be back soon!

Cheers & Happy Eating
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Avenettos, its amore! ♥ [19 Apr 2009|06:02pm]
[ mood | happy ]

Its Saturday again and its date day for me and GF! Having a nasty craving for some pasta we decided to narrow down our list by eliminating all the usual pasta places. We ended up selecting Avenettos Pizzeria & Pasta.

So we cruise on over via C-5 to Tiendesitas and park underneath the Hypermart. We arrived pre-lunch time (around 11:00 am) The place already had a few customers who were probably letting time pass by after doing some grocery shopping.


The quaint little space was a really done well with both ends of the dining area having padded seating. The brown and cream color of the walls had some semblance of formality. The HUGE mural of actors on the wall was entertaining for GF and I, as we took different turns identifying who these construction workers dawning denim overall were. From arnold eating 2 pizzas, to sylvester stallone hanging on a tension wire we were never bored.

Much to my delight, the food came quick! Service was attentive, and I never had to ask for refills for my bottomless softdrink!

This was on our menu:

For starters we had Onion Rings and Buffalo Wings
As for the main meal, we had a Bacon Burger Pizza, Baked Ziti with Meatballs, Chicken Parmigiana in Marinara Sauce

The Onion Rings came first. I was glad to see that they used WHITE ONIONS for the onion rings. They also included in the batter some spices which really made the onion rings taste better. It was good value for money. The food came hot and the onion rings were not soaked and swimming in oil. Very well done in my opinion.


Out came the buffalo wings. The skin was crispy and the meat inside was tender. The sauce was also great. For only P150 and I had six wings it was a good deal already! But to have it taste good? What more could one have!

The pastas came out next. The pastas came in white bowls placed inside wicker baskets so as it won't be hot to handle. The bowls themselves were heated so as to maintain the warmth throughout the meal.

First to be served was the Chicken Parmegiano with Marinara Sauce.


Upon being served I quickly noticed that portion size! The waiter already warned us that the pasta was for two people, but we wanted the variety. Boy, you could say FAMILY STYLE dining here. The noodles were cooked to perfection. The sauce was garlicky and tasted of real tomatoes. (No sweet sauce here! Thank God!!) The chicken also tasted good! One could taste the different cheeses complimenting the acidity of the tomatoes. 

Next to come out was the Baked Ziti with MeatBalls.


The baked ziti was again cooked to perfection. With chunks of cheese baked into the sauce, the tomato sauce was just delightful. There was no scrimping of mozerella here too. The meatballs were tender and soft. They tasted well of ground beef and complimented the tomatoes of the sauce. 


The pizza came out next. Again one would not be able to tell that the entire pizza costs only of P320 only! Huge slices and the toppings were just abundant. The entire meal could have fed 4 people!

We had so much leftovers we were able to eat the same meal for dinner that same day!
For the price of meal and if 4 people ate, the meal would have only costed P300 per person. Not that bad for the amount of variety we had. You certainly get a feel of what real pasta would taste like.

I give this meal 4 out 5 Chefs hats.


So the next time you get a hankering for some pasta, head on over to Avenettos. They have branches in MOA, Glorietta, and Visayas Ave.


Cheers & Happy Eating!


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Max... disappointed to the MAX!! [17 Apr 2009|04:04pm]
[ mood | sad ]

  

Dining out during Easter is usually one of those dates that most restos are operating at its prime. Service should be quick, food should taste great and well in general this is usually the date to make that impression. I've been dining at Max for quite some time now. It's become synonymous to fried chicken and pinoy! But sadly, last Easter weekend, we had balikbayan's, and they in turn wanted to eat at Max, and well to cut to the chase, it was a sad experience for me this time around. 


As usual, I had the Spring Chicken, which was half a chicken deep friend to be Sarap to the bones.  (as they advertised.)
The breast part of the chicken was dry and tasteless. Certainly not sarap to the bones. Although the dark meat did make up for whatever flavor the white meat lacked, it was still sad that it tasted bland. The skin was also quite a disappointment. Although it was crispy, the copious amounts of oil it had was just such a huge turn off because you could just see your heart muscles cringing at the very site of that unhealthy oil. Spring chicken has just lost its delight. The only positive side to this meal were the Kamote Fries which were deep fried to perfection. Not soggy nor was it too tough. 



 
Of course along with any Max's Fried Chicken experience comes the condiments they made so popular. The Jufran Banana Ketsup is still the same banana ketsup we have loved (or hated) throughout the years. Offering up a both sweet and spicy tang to the traditional tomato condiment. Max also had its special chili sauce which I opted not to try due to me not actually enjoying the meal already. The worcestershire sauce was sweet but didnt have that Lea & Perrins Sauce we also associate with worcestershire sauce. 

To try something different on the menu, we ordered Crispy Pata. (Deep Fried Pork Leg) The CP was dripping in oil. The skin was tough although the meat had some semblance of tenderness it wasn't one of the best one's I've tasted. It something when the sauce tastes better than the actual meal. The concoction of soysouce, oinions, and shallots, with a hint of vinegar and sugar was great. (I will try this at home soon!) 

  
 

The meal was maybe 2 out 5 chef hats for me. (NEW feature!)


The service was poor. Although the staff members were accommodating and were always smiling, the service was slow and the food took quite some time to come out. We also had to repeatedly ask for water refills which is a huge turn off for me. This isn't a knock on Max's though, maybe a wake up call. In this ever growing market of restos one needs to step it  up to continue to compete!
  

Cheers & Happy Eating!
 
 

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Musssshhhhrrrroooommm Burger [12 Apr 2009|01:20pm]
[ mood | amused ]

 I've been to Mushroom Burger Tagaytay for about 4 times now and I finally decided to make a review about this quaint little establishment and their little special burgers. (There is a closer branch at Timog , correction West Ave pala Thanks Rychus supposedly.) 

This time around though, it brings a reserved appetite and rather than consuming volumes of their little burgers, I decided to try one of their different burgers.

Last time, I was with GF and decided to take the burger test to the limit, she had one. I had 5.
 

    

Inside the rustic resto it was packed and the line was long. The overhead train set which goes around the entire resto was not working anymore much to my dismay. I always enjoyed watching that train chug along as I waited for my number to be called out!

    

 
The resto was jam-packed and no available seat inside could be located. Luckily, we found ourselves a table and some chairs outside by the playground. (We were also able to drink beer without being reprimanded!)

 

I ordered the King Burger while GF ordered the Regular Burger. We used to eat the 100% pure mushroom burger so we decided to take a different approach this time around. Of course, the mushroom culture inside the resto always gets attention while standing in line. 
 
  

 
Seeing that the resto was packed with tourist either buying merienda or having early dinner, one could realize how long the wait was for our burgers to actually come out. Don't expect McDonalds style service as these burgers are made just when you order them.

  
We had quite some time for pictures!

Now unto the burgers:

We had 2 kinds of burgers. The King Burger and the Regular Mushroom Burger

 
  

 
The regular burger tasted like a regular ground beef home-made burger with little chunks of mushroom embedded into the the patty itself. It wasn't salty nor was it too sweet. It offers a refreshing variety of taste from the generic fast-food burgers of McDonalds or Jollibee. But doesn't offer the pure beef taste of higher end burger like Bros Burger or Hotshots or Wham!
For Php 35 per burger, this is a pretty good deal. (see the logic of having 5?!)

As for the King Burger the only difference would be the scrambled egg inside the patty. It also had the little chunks of mushroom within the patty and was also a pleasurable change from the generic fast food taste of McDonalds and Jollibee you still craved to taste the beef and hoped that the mushrooms were bigger. 

 
  

 
They also had their own version of special sauce. (see the pink sauce in the picture?) All in all, mushroom burgers are nothing to rave about all together. I still believe you can get better burgers at Bros or Hotshots or Chili's and Fridays, but they do offer a cheaper alternative to McDonalds or Jollibee costing only Php 44. Maybe its the novelty of actually eating mushrooms but I guess this is still a popular stop-over at Tagaytay.

For dessert, I decided to try their cone-twirl. For Php 13 it was a cheap dessert. With water as my primary drink, I basically spent only Php 57 for a burger and ice cream. The twirl was a mess to eat as the soft-serve ice cream quickly started to melt and me licking it had to keep up with the rate of melting. I did enjoy eating this ice cream though. You could clearly identify which was vanilla and which was chocolate. Also, the ice cream was not too sweet. 
  

 
It was still a great experience as we played in the playground after eating. Taking on the see-saw and swings and playing like kids till it was dusk and then finally going home.

Mushroom Burger is located along the National Highway towards Batangas, a few kilometers past the main city of Tagaytay.

Cheers & Happy Eating!
 
 
 
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Libertad Secret [11 Apr 2009|12:00pm]
[ mood | surprised ]

Due to the large amount of free time I've recently dawned upon, I have now dedicated myself to finding these little foodie nooks that offer the best bang for your buck. Also because to dwindling funds, I need to find cheaper places to eat. Thus, this place at Libertad. What looked like an empty lot with a huge tent on the side turned out to be one of the best foodie experiences I have ever had. (Probably because of the price being so low!)  It totally blew me away! Throw away 1st impressions and judging the book by the cover, this was the bomb!


Upon arriving at the place, I immediately noted the abundant parking space right beside it. Definitely a plus for the place! Someone was actually directing traffic and watching your car while you eat! Although the parking space was not covered, it was still ok since it was free parking. 


 
  
 
 
 

Once you enter the main dining area you are immediately greeted by an open flame grill which continuously is grilling liempo and fish. The smoke and smell obviously being blown out into the street by a make-shift exhaust fan. Not only does it serve the purpose of taking the smoke out of the dining area but also blowing the sweet smell of grilled pork unto to pedestrians and nearby offices to entice them to dine. 

The patrons were diverse as I've ever seen. From long-sleeved corporate attired employees from nearby offices to SWAT team members and military types with M16 rifles slung over their shoulders while they eat, everyone was eating at the same place and the same food. The occasional Taxi driver and Jeepney driver would also drop by. 

    

Definitely a place worth checking out, we started to pick out our viands. We trotted off to the main counter and started lifting lids to see what were the different selections. We ended up with the following:
  • Pork Liempo (Grilled Pork Sides)

  • Inihaw na Bangus (Grilled Milk Fish)

  • Tokwa't Baboy (Tofu and Pork)

  • Bicol Express (Spicy Pork cooked in Coconut milk)

    
    

All the meals come with a free bowl of Bulalo soup. One of the highlights of the meal was indeed the Bulalo soup. Also, the meals come with a sauce dish with Calamansi and Red Chili Peppers. Mashed with the juice of Calamansi and soy sauce would be the perfect accompaniment to the Liempo



Even GF was excited to eat! She decided to dig in right away finishing the entire Bangus on her own! (clap clap!) 

I would like to take this time to defer from reviewing the Bangus because I didn't take the time to eat it. It was not boneless and I just shudder at the thought of having to start taking out the bones before eating. 




Looking at the first order of rice, I knew I was going to need more!
 


The Liempo would be the first casualty!

Now for a quick review of the food.

The liempo was sweet and juicy with every bite. The oilyness of the pork was washed away with the soy sauce concoction. The marinade did not over power the taste of the pork. In fact, it just accentuates the taste.

The Bicol Express was one of the best I've ever tasted. With just a spoonful, one could taste the spicyness and hotness of the dish. But whatever the spicyness of the dish was washed over with the unique taste of coconut milk. A must order for me next time! (for sure there will be a next time!)

The Tokwa't Baboy was something I would not order again. Although the texture of the Tofu was a great comparison to the beef and pork , but the saltiness of the sauce it comes with just overpowered the flavor that was trying to be achieved. 

Now the meal didn't end there. After ordering so much food and rice, and ordering drinks for everyone, I was prepared to pay around 150-200 per person just because I've learned to judge the price based on the serving size and number of food and drinks we consumed. So imagine my surprise when the bill came and it was just Php 95 per person.

This is what we consumed:

9 Viands
11 Rice
4 Bottles of Softdrinks
2 Bottles of Water
1 Rootbeer
12 bowls of Soup

Imagine my surprise!

 
Definitely a place to visit again. I have made it a quest of mine to find the best deals in and around the city. Never sacrifice quality for the price. But in this case, definitely, a bargain!
 
 
 

Cheers & Happy Eating!
 
 
 
 
 
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Bahay Pastulan - Food Trip stopover # 2 [09 Apr 2009|10:03am]
[ mood | satisfied ]

To really culminate the long break from work, we decided to go on a food trip. We started at Libertad and ended in Tagaytay with each stop being an eating stop. 1st stop at Tagaytay was the Bahay Pastulan for some Halo-Halo and Buko Juice. 




It was a quick drive from the main fork at Tagaytay to the Bahay Pastulan. They created a quick over the counter way of ordering so despite the large number of people arriving, the lines moved swiftly and orderly. They even had a small area for "dining in". 






  v

Since GF was craving for Buko Pie we bought a small pie. It was ok in size for Php 50. The pie was filled with a gelatin like substance encasing some buko strips. It was disappointing to say nonetheless. I'm used to buying this special buko pie near Los Banos and I brought home a pies last time I was there and those had large slices of buko meat. This buko pie was just sad. It was a poor excuse for a buko pie. It only had small strips of buko meat and somehow lost the taste of sweet buko within the gelatinous mixture. So we moved on to the drinks.

    

So we ordered 3 drinks, Buko Juice with Lychee, Buko Juice with Gulaman, and a Guyabano Shake. The BJ's cost Php 20 and the shake at Php 30. The BJ with Lychee was sweet and refreshing. The lychee added a cooling effect as one took a sip. It tasted really good, sad to say, the lychee over powered the real taste of the buko juice. The 2nd BJ with gulaman was good if not weird. With each sip promising a surprise at the end of the straw one struggled to get the buko meat with the amount of gulaman it contained. (See the green in the picture?) It was, disappointing, to say the least. The last was a favorite and a winner for GF and me. The guyabano shake was just pure guyabano goodness. It had a rich guyabano taste and it didn't taste like it had sugar or any other type of sweetener to enhance the taste. The shake was thick and still had little guyabano strips inside. I really enjoyed this drink. 

 
 

It was a good first stop in Tagaytay. It offered us a quick reprieve from the sitting and driving of the travel. We had good fun and took some pictures. GF and I didn't have halo-halo since we really were not in the mood for some. But the game gang, had halo-halo and they came in these little containers instead of cups or glasses. It was a day full of promise, and we had to move on to our next destination!

Cheers & Happy Eating!

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O Mai Kahn! [09 Apr 2009|09:28am]
[ mood | discontent ]

 So upon reaching Baguio from Sison, Pangasinan at 7pm we were famished. Looking for a cheap place to eat that promised to satisfy one's appetite was the challenge for me and our game group. We scoured Session Road and other Hotspots in Baguio and settled at O Mai Kahn. 

O Mai Kahn was a small little bistro-type restaurant which had its own potential. It served an eat all you can buffet style mongolian rice bowl dining. The choices were limited though and the amount of beef, pork, or chicken was heaped upon your bowl by a waiter. The choices of vegetables seemed limited too and there was no recipe guide for what to put in your bowl. But for Php 190 what did I expect right? 

Wrong, I expected more! 

The first 2 bowls I made were bland. I decided to just heap everything into my bowl from soy sauce to garlic water to teriyaki sauce. Sadly, I forgot to add brown sugar which made my dish taste somewhat like a piece of cardboard. I quickly gobbled up the 2 bowls (small servings) and went in to give it another try. 

My 2nd attempt I decided to overload on the seasonings. Instead of just getting scoop full, I decided to double the recipe I had in my head. This time around it tasted good. Like a generic mongolian dish, I enjoyed eating it. (Probably because I was so hungry already!) By the way, did I mention that you only get 1 bowl of rice (really small bowl of rice) per bowl of the mongolian dish? As I was emptying my 4th bowl, I could feel the rice start to get to me. And by the end of the night I was stuffed. I would have preferred to be stuffed and enjoyed the meal, but we can't ask for everything. Also, they charge an additional P10 per egg that you would like to add to your dish.


The ambiance was great as the outdoor bistro type dining was conducive to conversation. The air was cool and crisp as the Baguio weather was really good for outdoor night dining. If one is hungry though, I would recommend going to some place else. (Maybe one of those chicken places near Burnham!) But if one is out for a good conversation over a semi-light dinner, then O Mai Kahn is the place for you. The novelty of actually picking your ingredients and seasonings adds to the excitement of conversation. But for a real mongolian buffet experience, I'd still stick with Kublai's or Sweet Inspirations.

    

   
 

Cheers & Happy Eating!

Give your compliments to the Chef

The Lunch! [07 Apr 2009|09:36pm]
[ mood | nostalgic ]

So for my next entry, I decided to post the lunch. But because my cam kinda ran out of juice during this time, I ended up with only 1 usable picture thus will keep this entry short and sweet.

Ok since I only have one picture of our lunch, I decided to post the picture really big to show off the awesome food that we had.

For our main course we had breaded pork chops and Soured Milk Fish. 

The breaded pork chops were juicy and tender. With every bite promising a healthy helping of oily, artery clogging, goodness. Despite every known fact that this will inevitably contribute to an impending illness somewhere in the near future, it was just too good to pass from. (Needless to say I had 4-5 pieces.) They were not marinated. They just had a quick dip in soy sauce and calamansi with a thin coat of flour right before they entered the pot.. The pork chops ended up being juicy and the wondrous rapture of flavors I never knew pork had, before entering my mouth. Cooked over a wood burning, or was it charcoal, pot in oil, they were tender enough that one never needed to look for a knife. (I didn't use one anyway nor did I use any utensils, except for the spoon for the soup. But I ended up slopping up the soup from the tiny bowls!) Clearly, the amount of time to cook the pork was taken into consideration so as not use a large flame to slowly cook the pork.

As for the soured milkfish, (aka Sinigang Bangus) the soup was just sour enough using real tamarinds (thanks to timmy for this) and avoiding the powdered version to really bring out the flavors of the tamarind and fish. The fish was also boiled in the soup for just the right amount of time so as the meat was literally just falling off the bones upon dissection with my spoon and fork but still maintain enough structural integrity for it not to melt in the soup and become mush. For my personal taste, I love soured anything really sour. (One of the reasons I rarely eat other people's Sinigang because I find them not sour enough and just completely miss the point of cooking such a dish.) Again, the fish used was boneless so it was happy eating all the way through.

We had bananas and the fruit salad from the other meal (see earlier post). The bananas were a bit hard but sweet nonetheless.

Another thing different with this meal was the special shake that Tita Chit provided. It was a papaya shake. The papaya shake was blended. But something different from regular shakes that I have tasted. The shake or juice didn't have sugar, didn't have crushed ice, and didn't have milk. The consistency of the drink was thick with small chunks of papaya. The drink was cold  (but not cold enough for my taste) and sweet. (Not sweet like sugary sweet, but rather sweet like fruit sweet) It was again fresh papaya literally picked from the backyard a few minutes before lunch was served. 

This was truly something different. What an experience. (I have the extra pounds and inches to prove it!) Something definitely worth doing again. The pork was just terrific and sourness of the soured milk fish was in my taste perfect. (it was really sour.) The papaya shake was unique and the over-all experience was just great. 

And of course, what comes better with a good, yummy meal would be great conversation. Couldn't ask for anything more, good food, good times.  Maybe even in life that's the key, find a group of people you'd feel comfortable with. Have good food, good conversation, and good times. 

Simple. Fun. Fantastic.

Good times!

 

Cheers & Happy Eating!


 


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Roasted Pig Dinner [07 Apr 2009|10:14am]
[ mood | full ]

 Ok so I just got back from my 3 day spontaneous road trip with Ken Leo and GF. I must admit to gaining a few pounds due to the amount of eating we did. But more so, the quality of food served. (Whoever said that province = vegetables, I now can prove them wrong.) From the minute we touched down what greeted us was a beautiful little suckling pig roasted to perfection over a charcoal pit on a manual rotisserie. 

    

The juicy-ness of the meat of the pig could already be felt just by looking for it. This was a pig slaughtered just for us. It was killed the morning before we arrived and cooked for the whole day just in time for our arrival. The pig or piglet was cooked to perfection. The type of perfection one can only achieve through years of practice and knowledge gained throughout the years. Truly this was a specialty of the house.

   
 
 
As you could see, we could hardly contain ourselves from posing with the pig! We were so excited to eat that we already plopped down the tables and started getting ready for the feast the awaited us. 



Even the girls with GF was posing with the pig and getting in on the action!
 
    

One last quick look at the pig before it got chopped up.
 
 
 
After a grueling 20 mins. of just looking at the pig, the dinner bell finally sounded. With the sudden on rush towards the table one can't help but feel excited to taste the roasted pig even if just to see how perfectly well cooked the insides are.

The dinner consisted of a generic mushroom soup for starters, 3 main fares, and a dessert.

(Due to excitement I forgot to take a picture of the soup.) So onto the main dishes. 

1st Main Dish: Roasted Pig. 

The meat was so perfectly cooked that one could literally just feel the mean just melting away from the bones. It was also so tasty, that you couldn't help but avoid not using any condiments such as lechon sauce or soysauce & calamansi. And of course who would not eat the skin? To put it simply, I've been an avid lechon eater as long as lechon was served at any family gathering or restaurant, and by far this was the best skin I've ever tasted. The skin was both crunchy and soft. Not tough to the taste but contained enough texture to satisfy that sensation. It had a thin coat of fat underneath to provide that complimenting taste to the juicy-ness of the skin. One could literally hear or feel the skin go "crrrruuuunnncccchhh" upon biting into it. Sweet with a hint of saltiness at the same time. The joyous celebration of flavors that erupt in your mouth as you start chewing on the skin is to put it simply sublime. The sinfully delicious part of the roasted pig is just unavoidable. With every bite knowingly adding to your cholesterol count, you chug along and for a brief moment, simply just enjoy being alive. Need I say more?

But it didn't end there. As I started digging in, I was looking around for the usual accompaniment of lechon, the lechon sauce or Mang Tomas. I finally summoned up the courage to ask our gracious host and chef, for the lechon sauce, and she pointed at the bowl you see in the picture. This was home made sauce. It was made from pure liver seasoned with spices and herbs. (Due to the complicated nature of doing this liver patee and the fact that it is a family recipe, I didn't want to post here the ways of making it.) The liver patee was heavenly. Complimenting exactly the taste of the meat without overpowering the flavors of the meat themselves. This was 2 food soulmates finding each other. The texture of the liver patee was a bit rough and unlike the usual lechon sauce which usually is a thick liquid, this patee was more of a paste that you slathered all over your lechon meat. It was a little sweet without the usual taste of liver. GF loved this part of the lechon and was the reason she ate a little bit more that usual. 

2nd Dish: Pan-Fried Bangus with fresh Tomatoes

Due to me being a meat eater, I really didn't find anything exciting about this dish, that was, until I tried it. The fish meat was so soft and the fish was already deboned earlier on. The saltiness of the fish skin complimented the almost milky soft of the fish meat. The tomatoes added a hint of sweetness to the dish as well. The skin was both crunchy and salty. The fish belly was soft and flavorful. Also known as the fish fat, it melted in your mouth. GF loved this dish. The fish was freshly caught from a neighboring town. And it was only caught a few hours before we arrived. This was becoming a pattern. 





3rd Dish: Assorted Vegetables

Now, I'm not really a big fan of vegetables, but these vegetables were so good that I couldn't keep from getting again and again. The cauliflower, beans, carrots, pea pods, and brocolli were all stewed in chicken stock and was absolutely delicious. Not being a vegetable lover, I was taken back by the different flavors and textures each kind of vegetable had. The tenderness of each vegetable was also just right. They were not soggy, but also they were not tough. They were boiled just right so as to not lose the flavors to the soup. They were not tough or undercooked either, with each bite providing just enough crunch and texture to satisfy the palette. I enjoyed again. Tita Chit (our gracious host and chef) mentioned also that these were freshly brought down from Baguio. I now attribute the tastiness of everything due to the freshness of the ingredients. (and also the skilled hands and work of the chef!)

Dessert: Fruit Salad

The dessert was a simple fruit salad. With cherries, melons, pineapples, langka, coconut, and a few others which I failed to recognize, all chilled together in cream. It was a bit too sweet for my taste, but as the salad thawed out the sweetness was ok. The fruits were fresh and the ripeness just right (as expected!). It was the perfect end to a perfect meal.








All in all the dinner was great. I've never tasted such great food coming from such a simple household. One could already open up a restaurant with the quality of the food that was served and we had the joy of eating for free. If Tita Chit's becomes a household name around Pangasinan, I can proudly say that I was there! It was the perfect welcome for us. The Food was just simply divine. 

    
  

What a great start to our adventure! 

Cheers & Happy eating!


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Sweet, Sweet Pandan! [02 Apr 2009|01:32pm]
[ mood | curious ]

 So for lunch today we decided to try a little something different. My sisters and I prepared some Chicken Pandan. Pandan leaves, as Wikipedia defines it, would be: 

"Pandan (P. amaryllifolius) leaves are used in Southeast Asian cooking to add a distinct aroma to rice and curry dishes such as nasi lemakkaya ('jam') preserves, and desserts such as pandan cake. Pandan leaf can be used as a complement to chocolate in many dishes, such as ice cream. They are known as daun pandan in Indonesian and Malay; and 斑蘭 (bān lán) in Mandarin. Fresh leaves are typically torn into strips, tied in a knot to facilitate removal, placed in the cooking liquid, then removed at the end of cooking. Dried leaves and bottled extract may be bought in some places."
 
 

Here we see the marinated chicken breasts wrapped in pandan leaves and cooked in oil. 
  

They took quite some time to cook as you would want the chicken to be throughly cooked and the juices and flavors of the pandan leaves to really seep into the chicken meat.

The Pandan leaves are held together by toothpicks.
  

Here are some of the cooked pandan. You would recognize the readiness of the dish when the leaves themselves turn brown.
 
            the sous chef for the day!

Well, we were thinking what a good dessert would follow a good hearty pandan meal. We decided to go all natural and have some healthy fruits. Our suki fruit vendor was just outside the house. So off we went to buy some mangoes.
  Ripe mangoes or Green Mangoes they were all available
                                                               Mangoes galore.                       Whether Ripe Mangoes or Green Mangoes they were all available.

The Chicken was cooked just right. The Pandan flavor of the leaves dissipated within the meat leaving the even most dry part of the chicken (breasts) succulent and juicy. With the first bite one can clearly define the sweetness that pandan flavor brings to one's palette.  The chicken was both juicy and tender, and obviously we did a great job with this meal! And that's what is important. It doesn't matter who prepared the meal, how it was prepared, the quality of the ingredients, etc. What is important is that the people who ate the meal were satisfied. Maybe that is how simple life can be. No need to worry about money, riches, power, etc. Maybe in life, all we need is a satisfyingly good meal. Maybe in life all we need is to be content and satisfied. Enjoy what we have with every bite. 

 

 
 
Cheers & Happy Eating!

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Spaghetti Night! [01 Apr 2009|06:50pm]
[ mood | mellow ]

 Ok so for my first official (cooking related) entry; it was spaghetti night tonight at my house and seeing as I had loads of free time I was the one tasked to make the spaghetti.

So armed with Clara Ole: Triple Cheese Sauce I was off to the kitchen.

So I had to prepare my ingredients.


Not seen in the picture would be the spaghetti sauce and ground beef.
Garlic and Tomatoes. 

Sauteed the garlic and tomatoes until garlic shrinks in size and turn brown in olive oil.
Added ground beef with 2 beef broth cubes.

Boiled the beef until it was cooked. 

Added the Clara Ole; Triple Cheese

Simmered and skimmed off excess water and fat that built up on top.

 
  

Next were the noodles. This took some time to cook as the big cauldron just couldn't boil due to the stove top's fire being weak. Only 1 burner was working properly. (next big purchase: stove?)

   

when finally it did boil, I had to time it just right so that the noodles came out al dente!

After around 15 mins, the spaghetti was done. It wasn't one of those gourmet spaghettis. Just something that tasted well and was relatively easy to cook. As I get my cook on, I hope to amp up the quality of the food. (Not to say that the spaghetti was not good, it was just simple and delicious.)

   


Well that's it for now. 

Cheers & Happy Eating!

 
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Pre-review... [01 Apr 2009|10:24am]
[ mood | excited ]

 Ok, so I haven't gone out and cooked for a few days. Nor have I gone out to cook. We've been eating the usual table fares at home. So as a pre-review of things to come, I thought it nice to show some new updates I have. (in terms of cooking.) The smallest being a little measuring cup that I now can't find. (Mom must have misplaced and didn't return it to the rack!) But the biggest addition to my arsenal would be the big oven. (yup its a big oven!) 

          
     Our Oven close up      Mom didn't like the look of it so she had it enclosed in bricks.

So that's my latest update. Expect something better this coming weeks as I take off for a road trip with my gf and a few close friends!
Shall I say, Lechon anyone?

Cheers & Happy Eating!
1 gave their compliments to the chef.
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Spring Cleaning... [30 Mar 2009|01:02pm]
[ mood | accomplished ]

 So it's almost Spring time and well, spring cleaning is needed for this blog as well. Time to clean up some of the posts that have no relation to what I've committed this blog is about. 

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Over a year and back! [29 Mar 2009|10:34pm]
[ mood | excited ]

Ok so it's been a little past a year since I really posted anything worthwhile (or connected to what my blog is about!) on this blog of mine. And well, due to the recent availability of time and the relative freeing up of my schedule, I decided to finally continue writing on this blog. But aside from my culinary exploits, each week I vow to blog and post pictures of places we eat at. (By we I mean my girlfriend pat.)  So next stop, Pangasinan, then Baguio... expect something different and definitely summer!

Pat

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..... Welcome back.... [18 Feb 2008|06:47pm]
[ mood | anxious ]

Well, I've been gone for a quite some time. I promise to return to cooking and posting here. I've got my digicam now and promise to keep updating more and more. Also I've come back with something well, out of theme. But even as an amateur chef, I am affected by what is happening to our country. Please, keep the issue alive. Discuss it with people. If not with your friends, with the manangs and manongs. Jeepney drivers, cab drivers, or who ever. It may not make that much a big of an impact but please do keep the issue alive.

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[10 Oct 2007|07:35pm]
[ mood | bouncy ]







Haha... Who would've thunk it. I won!! Never won anything like this before! hahaha..

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New Look... I think.... [12 Aug 2007|10:59pm]
[ mood | artistic ]

So I've finally done something new to my Cooking journal. I've updated the look. I finally got Sophy (my computer) back and was able to use Photoshop to finally do what I wanted to do for so long. I'm hoping that I get to take pictures of stuff that I've been cooking lately. I really need a digicam or an dSLR for that matter. I need money. PERIOD. Hopefully, I'll be posting some new stuff here soon. Until then, be patient.

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