Friday, September 27, 2013

Sisig + Turtle Mousse and Tea

Food is a basic necessity. The moment we came to this world, we hunger for milk. But when does it becomes sinful? That is when we become aware about calories. So, is it good not to think about calories then? Well, it's up to you. But seriously, sometimes, the fun comes when you are not analyzing things.

Bonding time with friends typically comes with food. And while other say that it is the conversation that makes French eat less, I believe it is not applicable for Filipinos. The more comfortable we are with the people, the more transparent we are with our attitude, the better our appetite is.

Sisig evening at Aling Lucing

It was another pork sisig evening at Aling Lucing with my friends. Sisig is one of those Filipino fare that let you eat more rice. Whether you are a man or a woman, 1 1/2 to two serving of rice per person is just usual. If you can't resist the urge, you might be surprise to find out that you can actually eat as much as 3-4 serving of rice with the sisig. Take note, their rice serving here is quite hefty.

The sisig-rice tandem can be perfectly paired with the Kapampangan's buro (fermented rice) and steamed veggies. Some non-Kapampangan who are new to this dish may find it repulsive at first. I was not different. Nevertheless, I learned to love it and I crave for it every now and then.



Aling Lucing serves delicious buro. This can push your appetite to a higher notch, beware.



Aling Lucing Sisig
Valdez St Agapito Del Rosario Angeles City,Pampanga


Turtle Mousse and Tea

The best way to end the day, just before retiring for the night is to have a warm drink. Berry infused tea is just perfect. It smells good and relaxes you. Last stop before going home was a short visit to K Cafe at Nepo Quad.

Nepo Quad is buzzing with life, no evidence that it was once an empty space.

K Cafe is among the new restos to open in the area. It is one of the busiest and fave hangouts to many Angelenos. The cafe does not only satisfy your coffee and cake cravings but they offer a lot in their menu. It can be confusing what to order.

Since I try to shy away from caffeine, the tea was just for me. The turtle mousse, one of their best-selling cake, goes along perfectly with the tea. It looks really chocolatey and mouthwatering. I was happy that it is not too sweet to overpower my tea.





K Cafe Nepo
Plaridel St. Nepo Quad, Angeles City
11:30AM - 11:30PM




 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Caffé Bene Goodness @ SM Clark

Koreans have successfully integrate themselves into the Philippine scene. Many of them coming from North Korea are living among us. Their growing number is hard to go unnoticed. We often hear people saying that they have invaded us already. Some of them have successfully put up their businesses with wide acceptance and patronage by Filipinos. This is especially true to Korean food that are well-loved by the Pinoys thus Korean restaurant business seems to thrive here in our country. Latest on the list is the recently opened Caffé Bene. With the cozy ambiance combined with excellent service and delectable menu, it wouldn't be surprising if Caffé Bene would become the next familiar brand.


A bit of history

Caffé Bene was founded by Mr. Kim Sun-Kwon in Eastern Seoul back in 2008. With over 800 stores in Korea, it has become one of the fastest growing coffee shop chain in the country.

According to their website, their coffee beans are roasted in their own roasting plant. And unlike other coffee shops, they serve medium roast coffee, which is non-bitter with less need for sugar.


The place

True to what their site says, the coffee shop has a friendly, warm and cozy ambiance. It has the vintage European feel accentuated by Korean touches. Designed with bookshelves, it makes you want to stay, relax and read a book.

Caffé Bene is brewing in SM City Clark, City Walk Libis and SMC Convention Center.

Caffé Bene, SM Clark

Caffé Bene, SM Clark

the boys are busy


Menu

Caffé Bene serves hot and iced coffee, frappes, specialty drinks, tea, mocktails, gelato, bingsu (iced parfait), and Liège Waffle and honey bread. You may visit their website for their menu.

I tried their blueberry latte. I felt I was doing my body a favor by ingesting real blueberries, giving myself an antioxidant boost. Real blueberries it is and not blueberry syrup.

Their caramel cinnamon honey bread is delish. It is soft and not too sweet. I think it would pair perfectly with a hot coffee. The serving is good enough for 2-3 persons.

Caffé Bene, SM Clark


Gelato at Caffé Bene, SM Clark
Gelato

Choco chip frappe and blueberry latte
Choco chip frappe and blueberry latte

Caramel cinnamon honey bread
Caramel cinnamon honey bread

blueberry latte
blueberry latte

happy me


Caffé Bene is open to francising opportunities. You may email them at franchise@caffebene.com.ph


Caffé Bene
Website
Twitter: @CaffeBenePH
Branches:
Eastwood City walk 2
SMX Convention center
SM City Clark

Valero, Makati 



Thursday, September 12, 2013

Seoul Bibimbob, SM Clark Food Court

A relationship without excitement can be dull. Same with food, a bland flavor without an added kick can be boring. Bibimbob or bibimbap is far from being flavorless. This popular Korean dish has the flavor and the excitement that you could be looking for.

Bibimbob or bibimbap is a rice bowl topped with sliced beef and variety of individually prepared vegetables, served with raw or fried egg. The veggies in the dish could include soybean sprouts or mung bean sprouts, cucumbers, zucchinis, carrots, spinach, and fern brake. Korean restaurants serve it in sizzling hot stone bowl.

You do not have to spend much to indulge yourself in this popular Korean dish. In fact, you can dine at the newly opened SM Clark Food Court and have a meal of bibimbob/bibimbap with your choice of drink for Php150 or less. Sounds inexpensive, right? An order of the dish in Seoul Bibimbob can also be shared. Not for me though. I want everything for myself.

The bibimbob/bibimbap consists of white rice, cabbage, carrots, cucumber, cabbage kimchi, bean sprouts, and pickled spinach. It is topped with fried egg on a hot sizzling plate. Then, you have to mix everything with the red chilli paste. Put less paste if you do not want it hot.


Bibimbob or bibimbap @ Seoul Bibimbob, SM Clark

Bibimbob or bibimbap @ Seoul Bibimbob, SM Clark

Bibimbob or bibimbap @ Seoul Bibimbob, SM Clark

What so nice about this dish is how it is presented. The colors are just lovely. The texture of the ingredients and the mixture of flavors make it delicious.

I am not really fond of the hot stuff. My tongue could not seem to tolerate the spiciness. Nevertheless, with this dish, the chilli paste is a requisite. That additional kick let me enjoy the bibimbob/bibimbap more. Just forgive me if I'm sniffling.


Friday, September 6, 2013

Solo Life + Learning to Cook Chicken Cordon Bleu / Chicken Roll

I've been living in solo for almost like 8 years--6+ years in Manila and almost 2 years in Pampanga. Some people thought it is lonely. But, heck, I've been living a life filled with adventure, self-discovery, and fulfillment. So, what's the chicken cordon bleu or chicken roll got to do with this? Read on.

Solo-living can be tough sometimes especially if there are technical troubles like changing the light bulb but I couldn't reach it and problems on electrical wiring. And it can be nightmarish too when your safety is being compromised. When I was in Manila, my place got ransacked. And in a separate incident, I was nearly a victim of assault or sexual harassment, glad it didn't led to violence or rape.

Cooking for myself is not exactly what I do everyday. It is quite economical if I'll just buy some food outside and devour it for days. But sometimes, as a woman, you feel that desire to cook and to be good at it. Sometimes, you also wanted to impress someone or your family. You want to hear their compliment or you simply want to see them enjoy eating.

So last time, I decided to cook chicken cordon bleu or chicken roll. Though I didn't have a mallet to pound the chicken, I was optimistic to be a success in this endeavor. I am not sure where that confidence is coming from. Maybe because I always tend to find way with things.

Cordon bleu or chicken roll is that meat roll with cheese and ham filling typically served during special occasions and holidays. So, I made my own version with it's white sauce.

Ingredients:

For the chicken roll
Boneless chicken breast (you may leave the skin on but it can  make it a little difficult to roll)
Salt and pepper
Flour
Bread crumbs
2 eggs, whisked
Sliced green bell pepper
Sliced cheddar chees
Ham slices
Toothpicks
oil for deep-frying

For the white sauce
Nestle cream
melted butter

Procedure:

For the chicken roll
1.  Flatten the chicken breast. Use a mallet or something heavy to roll or pound it until it's flatten.
2.  Add salt and pepper to the chicken breast.
3.  Place the chicken roll on a flat surface. Put one ham slices per chicken fillet.
4.  Put the sliced green bell pepper and the sliced cheddar cheese on top of the ham.
5.  Then carefully roll the meat. Fasten the chicken roll with toothpick. Make sure the filling is not showing because the cheese could melt and make everything messy when it is being cooked.
6.  Brush or dip the rolls into the egg.
7.  Dredge the rolls with floor.
8.  Dip the rolls into the egg again.
9.  Cover the rolls with bread crumbs.
10.  Heat the oil in a pan.
11.  Deep fry the rolls in medium heat.

For the white sauce
1.  Put the melted butter and nestle cream in the sauce pan.
2.  Let it simmer until it reaches its sticky consistency.


Slice the chicken rolls. Top it with the white sauce.










Thursday, September 5, 2013

Cooking Adobo: The Pambansang Ulam

Adobo is the unofficial national dish or the "pambansang ulam" of the Philippines. Our love for adobo can not be underrated. Many pinoys, including myself, list adobo as their personal favorite and their comfort food. But despite of having adobo frequently cooked at home and being a household name,  it is also served during special occasions.

Adobo is a term for cooking  meat, seafood, or vegetables that is marinated in sauce consisting of soy sauce and vinegar, browned in oil, and simmered in the marinade. The adobo recipe has a lot of variations. Different regions of the country has their own way of cooking adobo. In Zamboanga for instance, they cook adobo with coconut milk or gata (adobo sa gata). In Cavite, they add mashed pork liver into their recipe. In Laguna, they add turmeric to give that yellowish color. 

Different adobo versions came about because of personal preferences. Some would like it sweet, so they add sugar or pineapple. Some would add ingredients like potatoes, siling labuyo (chili), calamansi, and pepper. Some would like their adobo dry. Others would like theirs crispy.

The most common in adobo are adobong manok (chicken adobo), adobong baboy (pork adobo), combination of pork and chicken, and adobong isda (fish adobo). Then we also have adobong pusit, adobong kangkong (water spinach adobo), and adobong labong (bamboo shoots adobo).

Typical ingredients in adobo, regardless of its main ingredients, are vinegar (you can also use white wine and cider), soy sauce, peppercorn, bay leaves, garlic.

For the tamad (lazy) version, you can simply cook your adobo by mixing all the ingredient then let it boil and cooked until the meat is tender. And viola! You have your adobo.


Pork and chicken adobo

Below is my version of pork and chicken adobo cooked the tamad way. 

Ingredients:

Chicken
Cubed pork meat
Bay leaves 
Chopped garlic
Vinegar
Soy sauce
Sugar

Procedure:

I put the pork meat with the marinade (soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, bay leaves, and garlic) in the saucepan and add a bit of water. Let it boil until the meat turns brown. Then, add the chicken. Let it boil together until the chicken is cooked. I then transfer the pork and chicken meat with the sauce in a frying pan, let it simmer until the liquid evaporates and the oil comes out.





Adobong atay/chicken liver adobo

Chicken liver must not be overcooked because it becomes dry and tough. It loses that fine texture.

Ingredients:

Chicken liver (you can add in chicken gizzards/balunbalunan)
Soy sauce
Squeezed calamansi juice
Chopped garlic
Chopped white onions
Oil

Procedure:

Put a little oil in the sauce pan. Sauté and brown the garlic. Add the chicken liver and sauté it until it changes color. Add the soy sauce, calamansi juice, and the onion. Let it boil for like 5 minutes and remove it from the heat.



Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Gustav Cafe, Angeles City

In this day and age, hanging out can sometimes mean just going to a cafe and have a decent talk with your friends. Many of us would simply love that few moments of relaxing conversation in a nice spot. Of course, with a company of food and coffee. Those days of unruly crowd and loud music is over. What we prefer now is to be a little laid back far from work, business and problems. Perhaps that preference comes with age.

One of the highly recommended coffee shop in Angeles City to tag along your buddies that serves the best food and coffee is Gustav Cafe.

This French-inspired cafe got its name from Eiffel Tower's engineer Gustave Eiffel. You won't miss this cafe because of it's prominent Eiffel Tower replica outside the establishment.

Gustav Cafe, Angeles City


Gustav has just opened a new branch in Nepo Quad, offering coffee and international cuisine--Italian, American and Filipino dishes.

The place is nicely designed. It is cozy with beautiful furniture and fixtures.

Gustav Cafe, Angeles City


We ordered the Italian sausage spaghetti (Php195), last time. It was heavenly! The pasta was al dente and the sauce was simply perfect. Their serving was generous. In fact, it can be shared to two persons.

Italian sausage spaghetti at Gustav Cafe


We paired it with our choice of coffee--a macchiato and latte.

Gustav Cafe, Angeles City


Gustav Cafe, Angeles City

I heard that their white pizza is delicious. It is something I definitely must try. Maybe later?

Gustav has branches in Balibago, Essel Supermarket in San Fernando, and Nepo Quad.

It's a bit sad that I don't find much information about Gustav in social media. They haven't invested in their internet presence. But good thing, I've seen some good reviews in Foursquare and blogs. I think, this is one marketing strategy that business should not ignore.


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Taho for Breakfast

Taho is a popular Philippine snack made of fresh soft or silken tofu with arnibal (caramelized sugar) and sago pearls. It has this soft custard like consistency. Though there is really nothing fantastic about this snack, Filipinos simply love its sweetness and texture. It is perfect as a breakfast item or morning snack.

It is a usual morning scenario to see taho vendors and hear theam shouting: "tahoooo!" for everyone to hear. Some children and adults would rush out of their houses bringing their own cups or mugs.

Hawkers would sell taho from Php5 to Php20, depending on the size of the plastic cups. They served them warm and with a straw.

Taho is not only delicious, it is healthy too. Taho primarily use tofu or bean curd, which is made from soybean, as its main ingredients. According to Fitday.com: "Consuming tofu regularly helps lower bad cholesterol, alleviates symptoms associated with menopause and even lowers the risk of cancer. Other major health benefits of tofu compared to meat include making middle-aged bones stronger and delaying the ravages of age. Tofu has been found to be a great source of calcium and vitamin E as well."

taho


If you want to make your own taho at home, let me share this video from Panlasang Pinoy:






Monday, September 2, 2013

McDonald's Blueberry Pancakes

Do you love pancakes for breakfast? If you do, then you must definitely try McDonald's limited offer of pancakes with chocolate or blueberry syrup for just Php64.00 for the ala carte (Php84.00 for the meal and Php106.00 for a meal with hash browns).

McDo's three pieces of pancakes is enough to load you up. With your choice of sachet of syrup, you can savor that chocolatey or blueberry sweetness on your panckes.

The most requested syrup according to a McDo crew is blueberry that's why I gave it a go. It taste okay but I'm looking for something else in my pancakes that I couldn't quite determine. 



McDonald's pancake meal with the blueberry syrup is flavorful, giving me a slight sugar rush I needed for the morning. I should have paired it with coffee but then I have already ordered a cold orange juice, which I thought was what my stomach wanted. The coffee could have offset that sweetness of the syrup.

The first few bite was really delicious. And like everything else in life wherein the first few try is extra special, that enthusiasm started to decline when I have eaten half of it.

 McDonald's Blueberry Pancakes


McDo's pancake itself is delicious. But with the blueberry syrup, I'm not really sure if I want it again because as of this writing I feel that it's enough that I have tasted it. Yeah, it's sweet but so-so, not really something that I would crave for. Though, I might try the chocolate syrup one day.

Have you tried this? Feel free to share your story in the comments below.