Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Conversations Over Cherries

Until recently, I never saw or tasted fresh cherries.  I'm used to the bright red bottled kind that is a constant garnish on ice creams and cocktail drinks.  Seeing one for the first time resulted to some funny conversations.

C: Gusto mo?
Me: Ano yan?
C: Hulaan mo.
Me: (looking at a dark looking fruit) Ay duhat.  Di ako kumakain ng duhat.
C: Di yan duhat.  Tikman mo.
Me: Ayoko nga.  Duhat yan, baka mapakla pa.
C: Hindi nga yan duhat.  I-try mo na.
Me: (after one bite) Ang sarap naman.  Ano to?
C: Cherry!
Me: As in, yung fresh?  E, bakit hindi pula?
C: Malay ko.  Binigay lang sa akin yan.  

I went to the source of the cherries.

Me: Ang sarap naman ng cherries mo.
D: Oo nga.  Freshly picked kasi. Konti nga lang napadala kasi siningit lang sa hand carry.
Me: Fresh talaga sya?  E bakit hindi red?
D: Red lang sya pag hindi pa hinog.  Pero pag ripe na talaga sya, dark red na.
Me: Ganon?
D: Ganon talaga yun.  Gusto mo pa? (offering me her bag of cherries)

I brought some cherries home for Mamu.

Me:  Mamu, pasalubong for you.
M:  Ano yan?
Me:  Hulaan mo?
M:  Uy duhat!  Tagal ko na di nakakain nito.
Me:  Di yan duhat!  Ano akala mo sa akin, small time?
M:  E, ano to?
Me:  Tikman mo muna.
M:  (after one cherry) Masarap!  Ano to, imported na duhat?
Me:  Hindi nga yan duhat!
M:  E, ano to?
Me:  Fresh cherries.
M:  Cherry to? E, bakit hindi pula?
Me:  Pula lang sya pag hindi pa hinog.  Pag fully ripe na sya, ganyan na yung kulay.
M:  Ganun ba yun?
Me:  (sounding very knowledgeable) Ganon talaga yun.
M:  Ahhh... Ipunin mo yung buto, itatanim ko.


More is More!

Growing up Brazo de Mercedes is my least favorite dessert.  That light brown and white roll with a yellow custard center.  While I like the yellow yema-like center, I don't care much for the white soft meringue-like outer layer.  My idea of a good brazo is less of the mushy white part and more of the yummy yellow part.

Imagine my delight when I saw the words "Overstuffed Brazo" at Greenwich. I immediately ordered one.

True to it's name, this is one overstuffed brazo!  Look at how thick the custard is compared to the meringue.  I noticed that the meringue is not that mushy (compared to the brazos of my younger days) and the custard is creamy and not overly sweet.  I just think the white chocolate topping is a bit of an overkill, though.

The best part about my ideal Brazo de Mercedes?  It's only Php99 a slice.  Winner!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

My (sort of ) Weird Guilty Pleasure

Let me share something weird about myself.  One of my favorite cheap treat and guilty pleasure is Sky Flakes and Reno Liver Spread (with ice cold Coke, thank you).  I know that doesn't sound too weird but other than with Sky Flakes or mixed in Kaldereta, I don't really like Reno or any liver spread for that matter.  Case in point, if you give me pan de sal, or tasty or any other bread with Reno, I will not eat it.  It has to be with Sky Flakes, yun lang.  Or if you give me Sky Flakes with any liver spread other than Reno, I will not eat it.  I remember one time, Mamu bought me an imported brand of liver spread because she doesn't like me eating Reno, I did not even attempt to open the can.  Weirder still, is the fact that I don't really like liver and no one in my family likes Reno.

Anyway, what I always do is spread a liberal amount of Reno on Sky Flakes and eat to my heart's contest.  I can usually finish 20 crackers in one lazy seating!

Just a tip, whenever I fail to finish a whole can of liver spread, which isn't often, I transfer whatever's left to an airtight plastic container and put it in the fridge.  Just the word botulism scares me.

What's your weird guilty pleasure?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Contest Alert!

Manila Blogs, one of the go to sites for Manila's blogging community is celebrating their 5th anniversary with a bang.

They're giving away a brand new cellphone!

The Nokia C3 is designed with the blogger in mind.  The full QWERTY key makes typing easier.  Nokia Messaging also gives 1-click access to e-mail, chat, and social networking platforms. It also has WIFI which means you can be connected anywhere 24/7.  Visit Nokia for more information about the Nokia C3.

For more details on Manila Blogs Nokia: It's My Life Contest just head on over to their website.

Good luck to everyone!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

My Favorite Siopao

I grew up eating Kowloon House's Jumbo Pao since forever and to this day I still love it.  Why, you ask?

First, there's the fluffy white bun, the texture of which I can't really describe but it's something I associate with my old siopao eating days. 

Then there's the tasty bola-bola filling, the saltiness of which is complemented by the slight sweetness of the bun.

It contains two of my favorite Chinese treats, salted duck egg, and asado (roasted porkloin).  There's also a big juicy Chinese sausage (the real one, not the artificial tasting stuff in the grocery).

And lastly, it's the only siopao that I eat as is.  No asado sauce required, thank you.

Kowloon's Jumbo Pao is hands down, my favorite siopao.  Ever.

But wait, in my (sometimes unfortunate) experience, not all Kowloon branches are created equal, let's just say, some have better siopao than others.  I suggest getting your siopao fix at their West Avenue and Diliman (near Philippine Heart Center) branches.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


My latest discovery during my last trip to Manaoag is Patupat, a native Ilocano delicacy made of glutinous rice and coconut milk cooked in sugarcane juice then hung out to drip.  This rice cake is quite popular during summer or whenever it's harvest season for sugar cane.  I also saw a few patupat vendors at the Mangaldan Public Market.

The most challenging part of eating this kakanin is removing the sticky center from the Bottega Veneta like wrap made from either banana, coconut or palm leaves. 

The intricate wrapper reveals a light brown, slightly yellowish rice cake.  At first bite, the texture of patupat is reminds me of suman sa lihiya only a bit drier and harder, which I think is the result of the dripping process.  It's also like bibingkang malagkit though not as sweet, more along the lines of caramel-ly muscovado type sweetness.  Am I making sense here?

Though, I don't count patupat as a favorite, I'm sure glad of this "discovery".  It's something that I'll definitely keep on the lookout for every time I journey up north.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Spur of the Moment Craving

I was craving for something sweet, tart and fruity.  I looked inside the pantry and the fridge but nothing fit the bill.  I know a cup of yogurt would do the job but we had no yogurt and it was almost midnight.  In the end, I came up with this...

Tada!  Green mango with a sprinkling of salt and lots and lots of sugar. After about 15 minutes (I had to wait for the sugar to melt), the mango was still crunchy, a bit sour with just the right amount of sweetness.

Hmmm...not bad for something I whipped up right there and then.  Even the sauce/dripping was spooned out of it's last drop.  Best of all, it satisfied my cravings.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


It just started with a conversation that went something like this:

Friend's Fiance (FF): Are you familiar with Bacalao? 
Me: Yeah, salted cod.
FF: No.  The fresh one.
Me: No.
FF: It's my favorite fish and that's what we're having for dinner.

Fresh bacalao, as it turns out is one of the oiliest and tastiest fish I've tried.  Apparently it's so oily that bacalao attack (the kind that ends in the bathoom) is a common side effect.  Truth be told, I've never experienced this personally but my friends testify otherwise so I'll just leave that to another post.

Anyway, simply seasoned with salt and pepper and grilled to perfection,bacalao is smoky, moist, juicy and totally delicious.  Too bad, this fish is hard to come by.

 We were also served fresh off the grill sugpo and halabos na talangka.

The conversation about fresh bacalao ended with one of the best seafood spreads to date.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Instant Ramen Fix on a Rainy Night

I have a thing for instant ramen noodles.  It started with those instant Japanese ramen noodles given to us regularly by a tito who used to work in Japan.  Then there's Nissin's Instant Ramen Noodles, the blue one that has real sesame oil. My current instant ramen favorite is Shin Ramyun.

This is one spicy ramen, in Mamu's words, "nakakasipon sa anghang", which somehow masks that "instant taste".  I always add eggs to give it the drop egg soup feel which I like and tend to under cook the noodles so that it won't be really soggy.

Shin Ramyun is now a pantry staple, the perfect fix when I crave for something hot and spicy on a cold rainy day.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Barquiron de Casoy

We had visitors from Guimaras over the weekend.  One of their pasalubong is Barquiron de Casoy, an Ilonggo delicacy of mini barquillos filled with pulvoron.

Maybe it's the combination of the wafer thin barquillos and the powdery sweetness of the pulvoron that make these little babies are so addicting.

Case in point...

A little over an hour after opening

In the words of a famous TV commercial, "Once you pop, you just can't stop."

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Arroz ala Cubana

I've been having an Arroz ala Cubana craving for weeks but never really acted on it. Then one day a neighbor gave us saging na saba (native plantains), I took this as a sign to hit the kitchen.

My version of Arroz ala Cubana:
1/2 kilo ground beef
1/2 T crushed garlic
1 medium onion chopped
1 medium bell pepper chopped
1 medium potato cubed
green peas (optional)
2 cups tomato sauce
fried saba (what's Arroz ala Cubana without the fried bananas, right?)
 2 tsps. cumin
1/2 tsp. coriander
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. sugar
3 pcs. bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste
Saute onions and garlic.

Add ground beef and season with salt and pepper (I like to season along the way).

Add the spices (cumin,chili powder, cayenne pepper, coriander) and bay leaves.

Add the tomato sauce.  I usually wait for the tomato sauce to boil before I start mixing.

Add the sugar (to balance the acidity of the tomatoes), adjust the seasoning then add the potatoes.  Wait for the potatoes to cook.


Best served with rice.  Certified yum-o!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Living on the Edge

One of my best adventures in Cebu happened at The Crown Regency Hotel, the tallest structure in the province, but the real adventure happens at the two top floors.

The Skywalk Extreme Adventure is a 15-minute walk.  What so extreme about a walk, right?  Well, the walkway area is at the edge of the 37th floor on a platform with no railing. 

First, we were asked to sign a waiver that basically says, we participated in the activity knowing the dangers involved and the hotel is not liable in case something happens to us. Then we were suited up with an orange and blue jumpsuit, think MC Hammer meets Jabbowackeez.

After a short orientation and the realization that the harness was the only thing that kept us safe, we were off. 

Along with us came the Skywalk guide and the official photographer who asked us to pose every now and then.
Look Mamu, no hands!

The most exciting part of the walk is the clear fiberglass platform where we were asked to look down.  I just saw a lot of bright lights, lovely but still they looked like lighted dots.  To get a better view of Cebu I think this adventure should be done in broad daylight. 
No room for acrophobia

After the adventure we were given certificates.

Photos are sold at the registration area, you have the option to choose between an individually framed photo or a CD of all your shots.  Since, we came as a group we opted for the CD instead.  I can't remember how much we paid for the CD but it was pricey, around 200+ per person (we were a group of six).

To some, the Skywalk Extreme is enough adventure for one night but not for us.  We wanted to try the Edge Coaster, a three minute ride on a coaster seat along the edge of the 38th floor.

The seat is equipped with a device that controls the tilt of the coaster up to 55 degrees.  I tilted like there was no tomorrow and screamed my lungs out.
Total adrenaline rush!
The three minutes seemed like a few seconds, medyo bitin.  We wanted to ride again but were told that they close at exactly 12 midnight on a weekday.  Our plea fell on deaf ears as they shut down the lights. 

Notice the dark background as we posed with our Edge Coaster certificates.

Life is short.  Live on the edge once in a while.  I totally agree.