Monday, May 21, 2007

Mozza Sticks and Chicken Parmigiana at Life Coffee and Tea

Robin, happily reports that you can get free wifi connection at Life Coffee and Tea at the Powerstation, Macapagal Blvd. in his blog, Mobility Philippines. I'm happy to report they have good food and drinks, too.

Life Coffee and Tea serves brewed coffee and hot or cold espresso and mocha based drinks (ranging from Php75-Php160). For those of you who prefer tea to coffee, you are going to love it here. You can order hot tea in a pot or choose from a selection of cold teas that also come in many different fruity flavors. Their Cold Teas (Php80 for small, Php90 for medium and Php100 for large) are perfect for the summer.

My personal favorite is the Iced Mango Green Tea, which I always order with the Chicken Parmigiana (Php165). Yes, they do serve main course meals here ranging from Php165 to Php175, and they are pretty good. Not what you'd normally expect from a cafe that primarily serves coffee and other beverages.

Besides their main course meals, they also serve appetizers ranging from Php120-Php150.

Our favorite is the Mozzarela Sticks (Php135). They also serve salads, pasta and panini.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Pies and Coffee at Bag of Beans, Tagaytay

Last Saturday, Robin, Buffy, and I went to Tagaytay to take some pictures and to meet up with Leen who went there for a vacation with her siblings. Robin, Buffy and I had lunch at Teriyaki Boy in One Destination. Robin had Sukayaki and I had the signature Chicken Teriyaki Don. For sides, we ordered Gyoza, California Maki, and Shake Sushi. Service was courteous and fast and the food was good. Teriyaki Boy in Tagaytay has a fantastic view of the Taal Volcano. Good thing the weather there was cool enough for us to stay in the outer back dining area of the restaurant to enjoy the view.

After lunch, we picked up Leen at the Picnic Grove where we took Buffy for a walk and Robin took more pitures of the scenery.

After that we brought her to our favorite Tagaytay hangout spot, Bag of Beans, for merienda. Again, more pictures. We ordered Braided Bread with jam and butter, Bottomless Coffee, House Iced Tea, and mini Apple Pies. As I've said in an earlier post, Bag of Beans is quite easy to miss if you're not consciously looking for it. I've posted here some pictures of the place so you'd know what you'd look for after you've driven past the Tagaytay Public Market (the one along Aguinaldo Highway).

The Bag of Beans Coffee Shop and Bakery

Loaves

Pies

Breads

Coffee

Monday, May 14, 2007

Philippine Fiesta

Bacoor Town Fiesta

May is fiesta time in the Philippines and this Sunday, it was Bacoor's turn to celebrate its town fiesta. Incidentally, May 13 is also Mother's Day so we had two special occasions to celebrate.

And so we prepared a little buffet of traditional Filipino fiesta cuisine for our guests. For starters, we served Pancit Molo soup. For the main course, there's a choice of Hamonado, Mechado, Morcon, Green Peas with Quail Eggs, Chicken Pastel, and Rellenong Bangus. They all go well with steamed rice. For Dessert we served Sweetened Macapuno and Leche Flan.

As a guest in a town fiesta, it is customary to have a serving of everything on your plate. And if that won't fit in your plate with one trip to the buffet table, you must go back for the rest.

Pancit Molo Soup

Hamonado

Morcon

Green Peas with Quail Eggs

Chicken Pastel

Mechado


Leche Flan and Macapuno



Friday, May 11, 2007

Calamares Fritos at the Anahaw Island View Resort

Last Saturday, we hied off to Calapan Oriental Mindoro for my friend's birthday and a short vacation. My friend's family owns a resort there, the Anahaw Island View Resort. The resort has great accommodations, a spectacular view of the beach and nearby islands, comical mascots, exciting watersports, and of course, wonderful food.

They serve a wide variety of Native Filipino cuisine and other popular international dishes. Our favorite is the Calamares Fritos. It has a delicious and crunchy outer shell and cooked just right so that the squid inside remains tender and juicy. It is served with three choices of dips- sweet chili sauce, spicy vinegar, and wasabi mayo. We ordered two platters of the calamares with our drinks while we played cards by the beach after spending the whole afternoon in the water. It was the best vacation I've had in a long time.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Mocha Cake by Hizon's

I have listed Hizon's Mocha Cake (Php60 per slice) as one of my top ten most favorite cakes of all time and one taste will make you understand why. It's a no-nonsense cake. No frills, no spectacular trappings or complex pretenses. It's simply one of those rare cakes that just "got it right".

The mocha flavored cake is light and soft. The frosting is creamy with just the right sweetness. The center is a rich custard which tastes a lot like their famous yemas. Overall a wonderful combination of flavors and textures.

I was introduced to Hizon's Mocha Cake by one of my "bosses" at work during my "real" boss's (long story) birthday party last January at the Emerald Garden restaurant (in front of the US Embassy, Roxas Blvd.). He usually gave that cake to his friends on their birthday. I guess it's one of those cakes that the entire family loves and generations more will love. Like an heirloom, albeit edible.

While that birthday party may be the first time I've tasted their mocha cake, I am no stranger to Hizon's other delightful baked goodies. They used to have a stall at Food Choices in Alabang Town Center where I used to get my egg roll fix. These are marvelous little pastries, soft to the touch and yet dense with the rich flavors of milk, eggs, and sugar. I loved their egg roll (Php40) long before the cake. Ever the sweet tooth, my sister, on the other hand loves their yummy yema balls (Php20).

Below are some pictures of other goodies being offered by Hizon's cakes and pastries. All photos are taken by Robin (Thank you!) at Hizon's Greenhills branch, luckily as soon as they opened for the day so that their showcases are still full. Thanks to the gracious staff as well who let us photograph these wonderful treats.

Egg Roll
Little light and fluffy jelly roll cake with egg custard filling


Yema Balls
Custard candy made from condensed milk and egg yolks wrapped in sugar or caramel

Panolon

Yema Pastillas
pastry made of milk and sugar

Brownies

Visit their pastry shops at the Promenade in Greenhills and SM Mall of Asia. (Buy enough to share!)

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Shabu-Shabu by Gala

I have come to love eating shabu-shabu and that's good news because it means eating more vegetables and less grease laden food. Another thing I like about shabu-shabu is the fact that I get to cook my own food. Now, this may not appeal to some people who go to restaurants precisely to have other people cook food for them, but me, I actually enjoy it. My mom, who I assumed belongs to the first group, surprisingly liked the shabu-shabu experience when I treated her to one for dinner. Don't knock it 'til you've tried it, eh?

A shabu-shabu meal usually includes pechay, pechay baguio, corn, tofu, taro, squid ball, chicken ball, pork ball, fish cake, crab stick, and noodles. The items included in the set vary depending on the restaurant. Some restaurants offer two modes of cooking your meal-- the hot plate and the hot pot. Others offer just the hot pot where the food is cooked in boiling hot broth. Then you get assorted choices of meats to go with the veggies-- lamb, beef, pork, chicken, sea food, sometimes even Kobe beef. The meat possibilities are limitless.

Gala
One of the restaurants in Manila where to have good hot pot shabu-shabu

We first ate at Gala Shabu-Shabu and Teppanyaki at the SM Mall of Asia around March of this year, and we've been going back there for our shabu-shabu fix since then. I like their special spicy sauce which they prepare for you at your request. We usually order the beef set which is priced at Php229. The order is already good for two, so it's a very good deal. Their Php40 drink all you can house iced tea is also a fixture in all my meals at Gala which I always get at least four rounds of every single time.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Cakes by Chocolat

Some new pics taken from Chocolat by Robin who was breaking in his spanking new Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50. Chocolat with its quiet and cozy interior, not to mention wonderful brewed coffee, has become one of our favorite hang out places at the MOA. (Robin particularly loves the fact that he gets very good speed test readings on his Globe Visibility here. I wonder if the fact that Globe Telecom is just above Chocolat has anything to do with it.)

Orange Poppy Seed Cake
Light Butter cake with specks of poppy seeds and orange zest, topped with candied oranges.

Kahlua
Chocolate cake laced with Kahlua liqueur, toped with chocolate mini kisses.

Classic
Super moist chocolate cake gnerously draped with satin fudge frosting.

Bailey's
Classic chocolate cake soaked in Bailey's Irish Cream Liqueur, topped with chocolate curls.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Chocolate Chip Cookies!

I love baking chocolate chip cookies as much I love eating them. I do not have one particular recipe. I like trying out new recipes each time and my family and friends help me ferret out the good ones from the bad.

Here's one of them, from www.allhomemadecookies.com :


Chocolate Chip Cookies
by
Michelle Jones


Here’s a basic Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe that bakes up perfect every time. This is basically the same as the Hershey's® recipe, and only differs slightly from the Original Nestle's® Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookie.

Ingredients:

2 ¼ c. all-purpose flour

1 t. baking soda

½ t. salt (okay to omit if using salted butter)

1 c. unsalted butter

¾ c. granulated sugar

¾ c. light brown sugar, packed

1 t. vanilla extract

2 large eggs, fresh

1 12-ounce bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips (any brand makes a great chocolate chip cookie, but our editor favors Hershey's)

Directions:

Heat oven to 350-375 degrees, depending on how hot your oven runs.

* In a small bowl, combine flour, soda and salt. Set aside.

* In a larger bowl, beat butter until soft. Then add sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth.

* Add eggs, one at a time, and beat just until blended.

* Gradually add flour mixture and blend well.

* Stir in chips and drop dough onto cool, ungreased cookie sheets, using a Tablespoon or large dinner spoon.

* Bake for 10-12 minutes until lightly browned, do not over bake.

* Cool on wire racks and store in an airtight container.


Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Japanese eating etiquette

Some useful notes when eating Japanese food (especially if you have a Japanese guest):
  • The rice or the soup is eaten by picking the relevant bowl up with the left hand and using chopsticks with the right. Bowls of soup, noodle soup or ochazuke may be lifted to the mouth but not white rice. Soy sauce is not usually poured over food at the table; a dipping dish is usually provided. In particular, soy sauce should never be poured onto rice or soup. Noodles are slurped.
  • Chopsticks are never left sticking vertically into rice, as this is how they are ritually offered to the dead. Using chopsticks to spear food, to point, or to pass food into someone else's chopsticks is also frowned upon.
  • When taking food from a communal dish, unless they are family or very close friends, turn the chopsticks around to grab the food; it is considered cleaner. If sharing with someone else, move it directly from one plate to another; passing food from one pair to another is a funeral rite.
  • It is customary to eat rice to the last grain. Being a fussy eater is frowned upon, and it is not customary to ask for special requests or substitutions at restaurants. It is considered ungrateful to make these requests especially in circumstances where you are being hosted, as in a business dinner environment. Good manners dictate that you respect the selections of the host.
  • Even in informal situations, drinking alcohol starts with a toast when everyone is ready. It is not customary to pour oneself a drink; but rather, people are expected to keep each other's drinks topped up.
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