Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Honor Roll: Gaby Borja is on a Roll

If Gaby was rolling, then my brother Miji and I were probably rocking.

Gabriel Borja, defensive mid-fielder for the Under-21 Azkals Philippine National Football Team and currently playing in Brunei for the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy game, belongs to the new breed of Philippine players that we had the privilege of interviewing. It was exam week, after all, not to mention his nightly training sessions—and then he also had the Intel Science Fair to prepare for, and now he’s in Brunei. Busy kid.

Clueless about Gaby prior to our interview, I half expected a geek in glasses who never spoke words with less than 3 syllables. So na├»ve—I confess this disgraceful notion—but don’t blame me, it’s the school: Philippine Science High School. THE Philippine Science High School. I know, right?

There’s so much to learn about Gaby, I could probably write a term paper about him. But this should do for now. It’s long enough anyway: Honor Roll: Gaby Borja is on a Roll. First seen in the Azkals Official Website, properly maintained by my industrious interpreter and brother—among other folks behind the screen.

Who’s next? ¡a ver si adivinas! (Have a guess!)


J. Anne

[caption id="attachment_1504" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Gaby Borja is on a Roll!"][/caption]

Monday, February 27, 2012

Cheesecake Challenge 2: Sweet Inspirations

Sweet Inspirations makes cheesecake so cheap, my previous P100 Cheesecake Challenge @ Parvati has been put to shame. At P71 per slice for the New York Cheesecake and P81 for the Blueberry Cheesecake, why there’s enough change to even get myself a drink (or give out as alms to the Bieber-haired beggars outside)!

Amazing what economical treats this Katipunan joint harbors amidst serving the Blue Eagle market.

Sweet Inspirations also serves cakes (memorable are Cookies and Cream, Strawberry Shortcake, Tiramisu, Chocolate Cake), silvanas and sans rival that fall below the cheesecake price range. The Cookies and Cream, in particular, fetches P53 per slice—what a steal!

I’ve been raving like a diner girl, proud of this frugal find, but that’s not enough to bring home a box. Time to start sampling the goods.

[caption id="attachment_1499" align="aligncenter" width="614" caption="New York Cheesecake"][/caption]

The New York Cheesecake was served crumbly and dry, as if hard cheese was used to create that cheesy center, to our disappointment. The top layer glistened with what seemed to be a thin slab of caramel, while its crust composition had this araro-like texture that’s best described as, well, araro. Since the crust was white, thin and powdery, best to leave it as is. A cup of joe might complement and bring more life to this parched slice, as well as water down the dehydrated quality.

[caption id="attachment_1500" align="aligncenter" width="614" caption="Blueberry Cheesecake"][/caption]

Adding P10 more provided the luxury of the purple topping, better known as the Blueberry Cheesecake. Topped with blueberry and whipped cream, and sitting on top of the traditional graham crust, this cheesecake was beginning to taste more like home. The cheesecake itself wasn’t as crumbly as its New York counterpart, and was gifted with moist and comfort food goodness. While it wasn’t the kind that would make one scream “Hands down, best cheesecake ever!” it was still a good value (and taste) for its price. The cheesecake wasn’t watered down or overly creamy, making it a bargain cheesecake for those with a diner girl’s budget.

Just beware of the golden edge—it’s not toasted cheesecake. It’s cake! Brace yourself for what I found weird.

Other than that, everything else was just frugal, frazzled, with cherry on top. If that didn’t make sense, you might as well pay a visit to Sweet Inspirations. Not on a school day, unless you prefer the Katipunan traffic challenge.






Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sweet Inspirations and the Mongol Empire

It was the Mongol Empire that welcomed us to their little hideout called Sweet Inspirations, along Katipunan. We came in peace, just for another round of their Mongolian Buffet, but eventually learned the art of warfare involving chopsticks and ceramic bowls in our quest to eat.

In an attempt at my preserving life, it was hard to stay put so I apologize if most photos appear fuzzy and war stricken.

[caption id="attachment_1475" align="aligncenter" width="368" caption="You and whose army?"][/caption]

While force was not deemed necessary, tactics and formation were - particularly in the queueing system, as we learned the hard way. The Mongol Empire is quite adept at this department, rushing in when the buffet lines were empty and clawing all the noodles and cabbage at the point of refill.

[caption id="attachment_1479" align="aligncenter" width="368" caption="Food Fight"][/caption]

If Gengis Khan were around, he'd probably be enjoying this food frenzy and hollering, "Welcome to Saturday Fight Night at Sweet Inspirations! Fight!" More of Saturday Night Fever.

No need to fight over food or bowls though, as waiters rushed, served, refilled food, drinks and emptied tables as if they were high on Red Bull. Don't bother ordering for an energy drink because only softdrinks and iced tea are on the menu.

Lined with vegetables, noodles, rice, viands and sauce choices, the buffet provides a gratifying assortment to the hungry and cooking-deficient. Choose between sotanghon and rice, then top them with chinese cabbage, tofu, carrots, bean sprouts,  peppers, leeks, onions, tomatoes, sesame seeds, garlic, ginger, among others. There's chili (sili) for those wanting to spice up their bowls (hopefully not your heads) and peanuts for those who want to enjoy every bite with a crunch (though my dentist would hate that).

[caption id="attachment_1480" align="aligncenter" width="614" caption="All About Chemistry"][/caption]

Next came the tricky part, especially if you hated chemistry: sauce making! The instructional recipes were posted, too hard to miss, but involved lots of numbers and fractions which could be detrimental to the math averse. For the impatient and lazy (me and maybe half of the Mongol Empire), the recipes were ignored. Well, I read part of it then stopped when I saw "1 scoop brown sugar". No thank you.

I made my own mix: Teriyaki Soy. 

Not to be ignored, the meat section was another sprawling niche - with beef, pork, chicken, fish balls, squid and fish. Last time we dined there, there was no fish (fillet), so bells were ringing when I saw the fish from afar. Maybe because it's Lent, and fish was a major request by the Mongol Empire.

My bowl was complete, and while the waiting time was long, stories were abound and thoughts on dessert swam in my head.

[caption id="attachment_1486" align="aligncenter" width="614" caption="Pescatorian's Catch in Teriyaki Soy"][/caption]

Finally my bowl came, I named it: Pescatorian's Catch  (mainly noodles, cabbage, tofu, onions, fish, sesame seeds, garlic, chili). I had the right to name it; I made everything from scratch. From a heaping pile, it was reduced to a steaming three-quarters of a bowl. That's how much cabbage I placed!

My cousin looked at my Pescatorian's Catch as if it was a bowl from Hades, and I likewise stared at her bowl in disdain: Bowl of all Trades. Well, she did dump everything on it.

[caption id="attachment_1489" align="aligncenter" width="430" caption="Prepare for battle!"][/caption]

In front of me was the Beefy Boo-yah, since I spied this kid's bowl brimming with beef, beef and only beef. Beside me was Blue Eagle Risotto - ah yes, aka growing up-I-need-rice boy. I could go on forever but then again, my "empire" occupied four tables so this might take all day.

All in all, I downed bowls and enjoyed this mighty meal. It was a triumphant battle, with no leftovers that pleased the Red Bull men. In case we are called back for duty, we have learned to be at the battle site as early as 6pm. The Mongol Empire would be so proud of us.

As for dessert, that's another battle to contend with - in another post. The Pescatorian's Catch got me all hungry, so I have to rush to the Battle of the Fridge first.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Cheesecake Challenge @ Parvati

Armed with only P100, it was a challenge to seek out a single serving of cheesecake - not a Peso more - to address this inescapable dessert craving. I welcomed change (even a measly coin would make me feel rich), though considered this unlikely. Still, the hope for frugal satisfaction led me to the welcoming luminescence of Parvati, Trinoma.

I knew all too well that a slice of cheesecake in Parvati rarely went below the P120 level, but my penury painstakingly led me to scan through the chillers and yes - fantastic eyesight it was that was very supportive to my cause, I found my cheesecake a la pobre.

Mike's Baking White Chocolate Cheesecake Squares came in a box of 2's, priced at P95. For quite a long name, I still got P5 change for my hundred Peso bill. Good 'ol Mike, Baker and Supporter of the Broke.

[caption id="attachment_1460" align="aligncenter" width="614" caption="White Chocolate Cheesecake Squares"][/caption]

The cheesecake squares weren't gigantic - what were you expecting, a block of cheese? -  but maintained the usual 3-level cheesecake standard. Omitting the traditional graham cracker crust, it went with the white chocolate crust which balanced the flavor of the cheesecake. The chocolate topping - fine yet barely sweet - was more ornamental, but I appreciated this bland rendition as the white chocolate crust became the sole provider of sweetness.

While the cheesecake was compact and seemed "little" by cheesecake slice standards, it still managed my cheesecake fix without that over indulgent, choking feeling we get from eating too much cheesecake. And it had that white chocolate crust - points for that!

The other bar (remember, there were 2), I left in our fridge. I expect someone to "break in" my stash later in the evening. It's that time of the month again when everyone's broke.

 So tomorrow, I'm slashing my budget to P50.

On second thought.. Maybe not.


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Papa John's: Papa Mia!

Rather than get held at gunpoint by Papa John and his pizza cosca, it was time for us to visit his joint and try out his so-called legendary pan pizza. No need for violence or horse heads, capo. With the green and red logo that is so hard to miss, even the color blind would find his way to Papa John's welcoming doorstep.

Papa John's (SM North) is bustling with red, bricks, and seemingly normal folks. Devoid of Buon apetito crewmen and Can-I-get-yer-order? gum-chewing waitresses, I inspected our salt and pepper shakers in the last effort at protection and preserving my life. Just plain salt and pepper. Check. Now that it's been settled, let the real Buon apetito begin!

While there was no actual Papa John to take our order, at least he was plastered on the walls—a very fit and trim Papa John—and will be dining with us in spirit.

The menu is fraught with choices that would boggle the simple-minded: pan pizza or thin, tick or tin (“thick or thin” pardon our waiter's slang), spaghetti or penne? I half expected milk or creamer, yin or yang, life or death—but good thing the questionnaire stuck to food-related inquiries, as we were really on the verge of attacking the open windowed kitchen with our salt and pepper shakers.

[caption id="attachment_1448" align="aligncenter" width="614" caption="Cheese Sticks"][/caption]

Cheese Sticks

The name is a misnomer, and even a child could point that out. Sticks ought to be thin and pointy; while this one is flat and round. If the waiter hadn’t chirpily announced the coming of the “cheese sticks” I’d swear he served us a complimentary kid’s meal. I would like to rename this dish, small cheese pizza. As for the taste—no need to get all creative—it tastes like a small cheese pizza. Next!

[caption id="attachment_1442" align="aligncenter" width="614" caption="Arrabbiata"][/caption]

Arrabiata Pasta

The pasta came in a small bowl that is better fitted to feed Bambino John. With this serving size, we will need to order at least 3 bowls to get my family back to sanity—and with no bread rolls on the side, this lack of carbs is the surefire way to whack my family, no guns necessary. The Arrabbiata sauce was peppered with tomato and black olive bits to complement the fresh-tasting sauce. At least by Papa John’s standards, this makes the cut.

[caption id="attachment_1447" align="aligncenter" width="614" caption="Diablo Burst"][/caption]

Diablo Burst Pasta

The Diablo Burst came in the same signature bambino bowl, but we’ve gotten used this level of serving already, so there was no need to get all, “Papa mia!” With its sausage component, it was off limits my plate. However, my borgata claims that it was the meat-infused sauce that made it more appealing and delectable. Too hot for their taste buds though, they wish that in the same milk tea fashion, the level for spiciness could be predetermined by diner. Oh and that shrimps would replace the sausage; after all, doesn’t this dish normally go by the name Shrimp Diablo?

[caption id="attachment_1444" align="aligncenter" width="614" caption="Fisherman's Catch Pizza"][/caption]

Fisherman’s Catch Pizza, Thin Crust

Blame my less-carbs-is-best mantra for ordering thin crust, when thick crust happens to be the house specialty. What we got was the phyllo-slender crust that would get every male on the planet dizzy with hunger, and with just enough energy to give me the finger.

[caption id="attachment_1443" align="aligncenter" width="614" caption="Jalapeno and Butter"][/caption]

The pizzas arrived with 2 bowls of garlic butter and 2 pieces of jalapeno chilis as dip/toppings for the pizza. While these are not enough to alleviate hunger, they at least add to the flavor and cholesterol level, as if the buttered up crust isn’t grease stricken enough.

The pizzas are brushed with what seems to be layers of butter to create that glowing and juicy effect, once served on the table. It’s not enough that we get steaming fresh-from-the-oven pizzas, the shimmering look is just as mandatory for those who want to end up like Super Mario. I’ve always wanted to be Luigi, so I dabbed my pizza slices when no one was looking—busted though once they tidied my plate and uncovered yellow tissue papers. Gross, I know.

Back to the pizza. The Fisherman’s Catch is obviously Papa John’s pizza tribute to the pescatorian with squid, minute shrimps, green pepper and this interestingly named garlic sauce. The mozzarella cheese is rather thickly spread, to my delight, but its suspicious gleam demanded closer inspection—ah yes, it was the garlic butter all along! With the lack of a proper pizza sauce to balance the saltiness (don't bother looking for anchovies because there aren't any), it’s best to call this the salty pizza. Again, I’m not being creative anymore since. After all, this one ain’t a catch.

[caption id="attachment_1445" align="aligncenter" width="614" caption="All Meats Pizza"][/caption]

All Meats Pizza, Thick Crust

This pizza happens to be the anti-thesis of the Fisherman’s Catch in Phyllo-butter crust. The meat content is enough to battle out even the deepest of all hungers, while the hand tossed crust is baked golden but not glistening with butter. While I never felt the temptation to pluck a piece of pepperoni—which is bad manners, by the way—I watched in awe as the meat eating bunch ate in peace and harmony. No complaints about bread rolls or dripping grease, just pure carnivorous dining bliss.

As we finished our meal, it was gratifying to know that there was a chance of leaving the place with all our limbs intact. They stuffed us silly though—all those carb dishes and only a few strips of green pepper I could call my vegetable serving. At least I was alive and breathing, and only needed a cup of tea to regain my slumbering arteries.

While the hungry and very hungry will definitely come back for more dough-oriented dishes and crusts, there are those who could do with less grease (me!) and bigger pasta servings (me!).

What I would like to now though is: How does Papa John stay slim, with all that butter in his pantry? 

I’m dying to know.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Lazy Black Goat @ Cyma

Now I know how it feels to be a celebrity, courtesy of the waiters and patrons of Cyma (Trinoma). The stares and gawking have definitely contributed to my ever growing ego, and the really obvious-but-trying-not-to-be side glances cannot escape my omniscient radar. If people could probably tweet their thoughts, it'd be something like: Saw @LazyBlack_Cat being such a Lazy Black Goat at Cyma. Again.

Oh fame, if only you were for real, but it wasn't me they were staring at, but rather, my plate. Amidst platters of pasta and cheese seen on other tables, only the Tonnos Salata has landed on mine.

While I love Cyma's Roka Pasta, Chicken Gyro and Saganaki, call me living in peasantry, but it's the salad that would cause us to conquer this Greek Restaurant in proper phalanx formation.

Lately, I have dined and lived off on the Tonnos Salata, family size of course (good for 2 people from MY family). The toppings are endless, lively and would make Poseidon proud: seared tuna, anchovies (Gavros), black olives,  feta cheese, roasted bell peppers, onions, potatoes, boiled egg, etc. The summer herb vinaigrette dresses the salad with that light sunny, cream-free feel. No other salad can give us this leviathan serving, magnified further with its fresh and dainty ingredients. Other local joints present us with shoddy counterparts that would make Zeus so mad, he'd throw a thunderbolt right through that iceberg lettuce.

The seared tuna is normally the first to disappear in our Tonnos Salata, but the salad on its own has created its Greek standard that I can never replicate in other local buffets. I have tried, failed and always ended up with a balsamic vinaigrette-hard cheese salad instead. Good though.

Back to being a celebrity. Well, I suppose we will always have our 15 minutes of shame at Cyma, but then again, maybe being a goat suits me. I feel, though, that the waiters are getting to know our strange diet habits. The once look of horror has transformed into that of slow comprehension.

Maybe next time we eat there -  no, i will not give them the finger, don't tempt me - I could wear a shirt that says: Teach your kids not to stare. Or are you also a kid?

I sure am one. Meeeeeh!



Monday, February 13, 2012

Double Take: Marvin and Marwin Angeles

Marvin Marwin Angeles J.Anne Gonzales

While getting an interview with Manchester United's da Silva twins is close to having Wayne Rooney bring us fish and chips for dinner, at least we had the bravissimo chance of interviewing Philippine football's very own set of twins: Marvin and Marwin Angeles.

As a linguistic bonus, the twins speak Tagalog, English and Italian, so there was no need to get all "Buon giorno" and "Capisce?" with them. Grazie mille! As in!

While many may contest their nationality, the boys are Fil-Italian (because they were born in Italy), and upon closer look at their birth certificates (okay, just kidding, someone corrected us) Marwin is older than Marvin.  

Read more about them at Double Take: Marvin and Marwin Angeles. First seen at the Azkals website, powered by my ever resourceful brother who loves Chicken Joy.

Who's next? You tell us.


J. Anne / Jenina Gonzales

Double Take by J. Anne Gonzales

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Ramen X Marks the Spot

I can’t say that Ramen bars are common spectacles in Manila, and neither are they hailed as hunger busters, as my hometown doesn’t exactly harbor a magnanimous noodle crowd. Sad to say, the people I share the same air (and pollution) with are more of the rice variety. The absence of rice in any meal may signal a threat to future generations, so it is always best to maintain rice meals in the menu, no matter how unsophisticated, unphotographic and messy they may seem.

Newly opened Ramen X at Trinoma should signal the emergence of my people, the noodle crowd and ramen lovers. This definitely signaled our weekend dining. That giant X embossed on the door offers its leviathan welcome to those who worship ramen, above rice and other lowly carbs.

The location may be a bit tricky; considering Trinoma as a second home, my best direction would be, “Near the C places: Cibo, Chapel and Cabalen.” That should at least get you to the right floor.

The place is sprightly, urban, Oriental, with mirrors covering all angles, and the line-up-and-order approach you can expect from Ramen bars. If you think the mirrors are the best part, then go ahead and gloat, but the McArthur in me (“I shall return.”) was summoned by the satisfaction of my frugal self.

At P99 or P129 per bowl, the ramen is eXpress, ineXpensive and eXciting (to eat). The bowls are huge and the toppings satisfactory, so for this weekend dining spree, it's definitely “Itadakimasu!”

[caption id="attachment_1395" align="aligncenter" width="614" caption="Karaage Ramen"][/caption]

Karaage Ramen

The soy-based ramen provides that Japanese-y flavor that other local noodle shops deprive us of, and instead feed us that awful beef stock. Topped with Naruto, cabbage, onions, egg and wee bits of chicken karaage, the ramen is light but highly satisfying for its price. While the noodles are not exactly premium soba level (that’s asking too much), at least they’re not the salty, plump I’ve-seen-better-days-overcooked leftovers that would make Naruto beckon the Nine-Tails inside his belly in fury. Lightly chewy but satiating nevertheless, I don’t see any X’s here, only checks from my abysmal belly.

[caption id="attachment_1388" align="aligncenter" width="614" caption="Chikuwa Ramen"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1390" align="aligncenter" width="614" caption="Oishi Ramen"][/caption]

Chikuwa and Oishi Ramen

Bigger bowls for the carnivorous boys. The Chikuwa (Japanese fish tubes) rouses Oriental noodle fantasies, with its deep-sea flavor, while the Oishi Ramen is the supremo bowl and the premium offering of Ramen X. I watched Onichan and Ossan slurp down their bowls in a matter of minutes, interspersed with drinking and catching their breath (They had to; we asked for chili). While Ossan questioned the authenticity of the ramen, I believe that my frugality has created a bubble of protection around Ramen X’s standards, and so I found myself telling him that we are in Manila, not Okinawa.

The Gyoza and Karaage sidings at P39 each are appealingly cheap and can instantly lure that impulsive nature. The soft opening though included only the main deals, so the gyoza still has not made its way to their kitchen. As for the karaage, I feared that the poultry redundancy in my meal might not be met with much glee by my belly.

There are toppings that can be bought at P15  or P30 each: boiled egg, kimchi and green onions among others—to those who feel like garnishing their bowls further. Taste-wise though, there is nothing to add and if any, a cup of house tea would be much appreciated.

[caption id="attachment_1393" align="aligncenter" width="614" caption="Ramen get it!"][/caption]

In the midst of untangling my ramen noodles, pouring chili oil and just savoring the emptiness of the place, the theme from One Piece (“We Are”) blasted from the speakers. Ah yes, Luffy and his Mugiwara Kaizoku (“Strawhat Pirates”) crew and Ramen. Not even the mirrors could give me that kind of noodle high.

How about you play the Bleach OST next time? Or give out One Piece-inspired Strawhats to lucky diners?

Uh-oh, I suppose I did get that weekend-noodle high.

(By the way, this weekend post was inspired by Tara Let's Eat's weekend eating meme.)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Moshi Moshi or Sayonara?

It wasn’t the catchy restaurant name that got us barging in Moshi Moshi at Regis Center, Katipunan. Neither was it the green and white interior that dared to scream animo verde in Blue Eagle territory. It was gluttony, really—the Japanese Kitkats that decorated the walls sucked us like a magnet, as we hoped would be freely given out as we made our googly-eyed, kawaii entry.

However there were no Kitkats or even mochi to spare, only J-pop that was more sappy Saizen than bouncy One Piece. With that chirpy reception, it was difficult to detect what the actual humans bellowed in welcome, whether it was a Moshi Moshi, banzai or even Baka! (“stupid”).

With this line-up-and-order method, it was midway between fastfood and fine dining or simply put, the BonChon Chicken style of speeding things up. BonChon Chicken, coincidentally, happens to be the neighboring stall, so this must be a Regis Center Oriental-mad-dash-express-eating trend.

I did learn one lesson: Never flip the placemat, expecting more food, or suffer, stare at and endure the Moshi Moshi mascot's evil grin.

Moshi Moshi has a limited menu assortment and sadly, does not offer my Japanese cuisine staples: tofu and noodles. It was a purely rice-and-viand feast, a splendor to the rice eaters but devastation to those upholding I-want-something-else-but-rice. Do not expect maki or sashimi to make a cameo either because this place is fast food, express meals for the third world diners, devoid of gourmet, sake and Kitkat.

In an effort to maintain harmonious relations with our manga mates, I forbade my brother from sneaking in food from nearby Bonchon, despite the nagging temptation of cluck-cluck chicken. It was Moshi Moshi all the way, grease streak and carbo fest, and meals finished in a couple of minutes.

[caption id="attachment_1353" align="aligncenter" width="614" caption="Takoyaki"][/caption]

The Takoyaki was cheap, perfectly seasoned and topped with gigantic bonito flakes. I spied bits of tako (octopus) that were not consistently spread among the 6 plump balls. This led me to think that my octopus meal was born with only 3 legs. Poor thing. The batter was too soft and rather undercooked, that if takoyaki would come in sashimi form, this is how it would taste and look like. Since I’ve developed this strange fondness for the three-legged octopus and its offspring, I choose to promote its longevity and abstain from octopus dishes from now on. Tentacle swear.

[caption id="attachment_1350" align="aligncenter" width="614" caption="Okonomiyaki"][/caption]

The Okonomiyaki was thoroughly baked and more nourished with greens, which at least made me feel like I was finally ingesting something aside from dough. Still, the same set of seasoning made it feel like eating takoyaki again, except that this require more chewing power. Interestingly, the okonomiyaki was the most expensive item in our receipt and so the hopes on this one were sky high. If there’s such thing as typical okonomiyaki, then this marks the tiny spot. However if I were to pursue the real okonomiyaki, then we’d have to drive far South (ahem, ahem Pasay Road) for that.

[caption id="attachment_1351" align="aligncenter" width="614" caption="Chicken Karaage"][/caption]

I expected the Chicken Karaage to be plump, breaded and filled with soy goodness. What we got were flouredchicken chops leaving grease stains on bond paper. The mini mayo siding served more as an ornament than an actual sauce, leaving a dry and papery after taste which water alone cannot save. It was the excess Takoyaki sauce that saved the day, now if only it was available in thermoses as well.

[caption id="attachment_1352" align="aligncenter" width="614" caption="Tendon Bowl"][/caption]

The rice bowls are available in regular and level up, which is of no consequence or appeal to me since the thought of “more rice” can only bring horror and muffin tops. The Tendon Bowls purchased by my closest kin did seem to do the job of filling them up, but as for gastronomic satisfaction, the fact that my Ossan kept on mentioning “un-fresh oil” can only mean the negative. However Onichan did take his time finishing his bowl, giving rise to the conclusion that oldies may have a thing for grease, but the Blue Eagles will always have a hungry welcome for Moshi Moshi.

As for me, it’s more of “Ja ne, Moshi Moshi!” After all, with so many interesting restaurants sprouting along Katipunan, there are so many others that this Maroon-blooded, green archer can choose from the blue highway. Do I hear cluck-cluck or something sweet and inspiring?


Sunday, February 5, 2012

Shred the Sugar: Shredded Wheat

Off with the seasonal gatherings and dragon new years feasts. February signals the revival of the sugar allergy, fitness attempts and calorie counting. We ought to pretend that our goal is to end 2012 as athlete of the year (I wish, but that should be a crazy motivation). With V-day and Lent approaching, the sugar-free quest shouldn't be a problem - as both occasions require abstinence, not celebration.

Fancy cereals (sorry, Special K with chocolate) are kicked out of the pantry, as we welcome the non deviant: Post Shredded Wheat. Original, not the Frosted one that brings shivers to your teeth.

In my quest for the low sugar cereal, I ended up with ZERO SUGAR - a jump-for-joy occasion like finding One Piece, or perhaps the Holy Grail for the more civilized readers. Not only that, a serving packs in 6g fiber, 1g of Total Fat and 170 calories.

Taste-wise, do not expect Chocolate Cheerios to start spreading chocolate goodness from your bland bowl. It's 100% wheat that's sugar-free so try to be more realistic: spiky wood chips drenched in milk. That's more like it. Keep it soggy and it'll be easier to swallow, but there's a downside to it as well as it grows in size the longer it stays drenched and untouched. Yes, kinda like the Gremlins, but with fiber.

The cereal takes getting used to, and of course there are ways to garnish the earthy flavor to make it more edible and worth feeding those under 20. With its sugar-free composition, we could afford to add a little fruit, soymilk or mochi even.

Look at the upside, this is the last cereal anyone's gonna steal from your pantry. Your investment is safe. :) 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Pizza Night @ Brooklyn Pizza

Pizza night was created for folks who were too lazy or broke to have a decent home-cooked or fine dining meal. In our case, it was both. It was quite the coincidence as well, having spotted the faded, nearly transparent signage of Brooklyn Pizza along Tomas Morato. Years ago it was a sprawling hole for dine-in families, but circa 2012, it's become the parking spot for nearby Little Asia or Amici.

[caption id="attachment_1334" align="aligncenter" width="614" caption="White Pizza (left), Deluxe (right)"][/caption]

However, the pizza's still the same: cheap, chewy and gleaming with its cheesy parade. The White Cheese Pizza will forever stand in competition with any Quattro Formaggio other joints will have to offer, and with a crust that folds neatly into rolls and never toughens up, it can kick Dear Darla in the front anytime. Now if only they offered salad.

The Deluxe Pizza is the consolation for the meat eaters but in every way, deserves its ultimate sounding name.

[caption id="attachment_1329" align="aligncenter" width="614" caption="Creamy Pesto with Chicken Parmigiana"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1330" align="aligncenter" width="614" caption="Tomato and Garlic Pasta"][/caption]

The Creamy Pesto with Chicken Parmigiana gives off that comfort food vibe complete with its breaded chicken slices that complement the creamy taste. Do not make the mistake of ordering the Pesto alone, on account of a no-cream diet or lower price, or suffer the throaty pains of one salty dish. The Tomato and Garlic Pasta follows the same cooking pattern as the plain pesto - grossly salty and devoid of any other Italian flavor. Better judgment led us to mix the Tomato and Garlic Pasta with the Creamy Chicken Pesto resulting to a mildly flavored and lightly creamed up version of Brooklyn Pizza's Pesto. So far, so good.

Pesto and pizza parade. Guess being broke pays off at times.