Kitchen MIshaps and Victories, Restaurant Rants and Raves and a whole lotta wanderlust!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Traveling Tummy: Cupcakes and Champagne

Loose Leaf tea and tea bags


Make shift tower by Ala, made of plates, tea cups and mugs-and sticky tac.

Trish's Banana Cupcake--half eaten *teehee*

Spinach Dip. *drool*

With fellow baker, Trish

With spinach dip maker cam---> We're both inked by Ricky Sta. Ana, with designs by my sister, Ala Paredes!

*Oh yeah, have I mentioned I love tattoos as much as I love food?*

and just because I love rings...

My friend Trish here in Sydney ( and I decided that while I am here, we needed to have some sort of get together with us baking cupcakes. It was an Afternoon Tea party, with actually tea, but most of us were drinking wine.

On the menu:

By Me--

Red Light Special
Will you marry me

By Trish--

Banana cupcakes w/ Cream Cheese Frosting

Lisette brought dukkah, eaten with bread dipped in olive oil and balsamic, Cams brought spinach dip in a bread bowl, Geraldine, Miguel and Pete brought a cheese platter---aaaaand Awafi Lebanese Chicken (woohoo!) The chicken was a bit out of place but in my opinion, there is never a wrong time to eat Lebanese chicken with garlic sauce. Never.

People brought wines, mostly whites like Chardonnay, Riesling and Moscato and some Sparkling Roses. The day ended at almost 2 am. It was great catching up with friends!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Traveling Tummy: A Sydney Noche Buena

Noche Buena here in Australia is way smaller than the ones we usually have in Manila. It's really just my immediate family and I love it that way. Ever since we moved to Sydney almost 5 years ago, some of us have stayed and others have gone back to live in Manila and we are all never in the same place at the same time anymore. Spending the holidays together is definitely a treat and I like how we keep Noche Buena small, intimate but still very yummy.

For dinner before the 9 pm mass my mom made roast pork with crunchy skin-

It was sooo good, and this is coming from someone who has always preferred beef or chicken over pork.

I made portobello mushrooms stuffed with spanish chorizo and baby clams with a basil cream sauce. Doesn't look very pretty in the photos, I was in a hurry lol-

Then, AFTER mass, like typical Pinoys on Christmas Eve, we were ready to eat again. So I prepared-

A big platter of rosemary bread sticks wrapped with prosciutto, garlic melba toast, aged cheddar, blue stilton, strawberries, figs and wild mushroom and duck pate.

My mom made my favorite-

Strawberry Shortcake :)

And my sister made Vanilla Custard (with a real vanilla bean) for our plum pudding

We had some Riesling and Shiraz with our food. Went to bed stuffed and happy and ready for the big Christmas Day party!

Merry Christmas everybody!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Restaurant Return: Cafe by the Ruins

A must eat at place whenever in Baguio. You won't regret it. In fact, you'll regret NOT eating there.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Kitschen Chaos: A Home-Cooked Christmas Dinner

So, technically, my boyfriend Abdul doesn't celebrate Christmas, but since I do, and I'm leaving today, we decided to have a little home-cooked meal before we parted ways for the holidays.

I don't have time to blog all the recipes now, so technically, this shouldn't be under Kitschen Chaos, but I promise to share when I get to Sydney!

What we cooked:

Chunky, Thick tomato soup served with garlic cheese toast.

---> This could work as a meal on it's own!

His Specialty- Salpicao. I have to say, it's really good!

Pesto Mac n' Cheese with Sharp cheddar and feta. I was gonna make another kind too but it was just me and him (and Ananda who barely ate)

Also on the menu---> Salad w/ my secret dressing and warm cookies and vanilla ice cream for dessert. We went through two bottles of wine!

Off to Sydney!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Traveling Tummy: Andrea and Darwin's Wedding Reception

Wedding Receptions at hotels are generally good, as the follow standard hotel quality and taste. The wedding I went to last Thursday in Baguio though, had more than just "good" food---It was pretty damn excellent.First of all, I liked that it was a proper sit-down dinner and not a buffet. Food usually comes out faster that way, there are no long lines or crowds to deal with. You can actually sit down and chat with your table mates all night without having to break conversation. Second, There was the right amount of food per course to lead up to the star of the night--rib eye steak. More on that later.

If you know Billy King, then you know the food will be yummy! Le Souffle was my favorite place to eat and certain dishes from there I consider comfort food--so when in Baguio, don't forget to swing by Le Chef for dinner!

The menu

Salmon and Crab Roulade in Dill Honey Tomato Salad

Roasted Tiger Prawns and U.S. Scallops with Linguine Pesto w/ Special Salsa

Roasted U.S. Ribeye with Gratinated Potato, Leeks and Spinach

Ok, so this was some serious steak. It wasn't some puny, thin slice--it was a proper steak. This made me very happy.I usually order medium-rare but it was a nice medium, charred around the edges and fatty. Yum!

I didn't include photos of the Cream of Broccoli Soup with roasted almonds (Couldn't get a good shot)

There was also a whole buffet of desserts, but I was so stuffed I could only manage a few chocolate dipped strawberries and strawberry shortcake.

Thank You for having us, Darwin and Andrea Mago! :)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Traveling Tummy: Hill Station, Baguio

My ex co-worker and friend Andrea got married to her boyfriend of FOREVER in Baguio last Thursday. She asked Ananda to be one of her flower girls months ago so we drove up the mountains last Wednesday with 7 other friends to hang out, enjoy the cold air, have Christmas dinner and to go to the wedding (some of us, at least)

Since we were all there together, we decided to have Christmas dinner and do our Secret Santa gift exchange there. Our usual Baguio haunt is Cafe by the Ruins but this time, we decided to try Hill Station at Casa Vallejo instead.

What we ate:

Complementary bread with olive oil and dukkah

Chorizo with bread...mmmmmmmm....super yum.

Tuna Tataki

Spinach Artichoke Dip (Good but I've had better!)

Our Mains:

Sarah and I had the Cocido Mexicana, a hearty beef stew with cinnamon and fried bananas on the side. It hits the spot when paired with mashed potatoes!

Abdul had the Short Rib Ragu with Fettucine---with shaved bittersweet chocolate on top.

Margaux had the baked salmon

Sorry, we started eating after and I didn't get to take any more photos! haha! The food was generally good, although service was a bit slow, considering the place wasn't even packed. I liked the whole look of the place- it fit December in Baguio perfectly.

The rest of the time, we:

Exchanged Secret Santa Presents!

Went to a pre-Wedding Barbeque

Went Ukay-ing!

Went to Andrea and Darwin's wedding

Group photo!

Baguio again in January, but first, Sydney for the Holidays!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Out and About: Kicks x Cupcakes x Hiphop

Birthday Cafe at NkeTlk's 11th anniversary.

The Raffle:
Buy a cupcake by ME and a cookie (by my girl Margaux at P100 and you get raffle ticket for a chance to win one of 35 pairs of kicks from Converse, Adidas, New Balance etc, and GC's for Nike SB's, Creative Recs, Urban Athletics and more.

Everyone made a beeline for our table, and it was funny to see all these sneaker heads eating cupcakes and snickerdoodles while drinking beer and nodding their heads to Marquiss' performance.

I made Barnaby, Banana Bombs, Red Light Special, Good Morning and Salted Caramel was the clear winner, hands down!

Snickerdoodles by Sue.Eats

84 cupcakes and cookies---> Gone. The Pushers.

Visit stores like We Legendary, Secret Service, Terminal, Progress and Unschld at The Deck of Ronac Art Center. Ortigas Avenue, San Juan. While your at it, go down street level and have a Charlie's Burger. One of my favorite burgers in the city.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Shamless Plug: Birthday Cafe

Hi, so, um, aside from pigging out in different restaurants, and making a mess experimenting in my kitchen for fun, I also bake and sell cupcakes under the name BIRTHDAY CAFE :)

Salted Caramel Mudcakes-- Chocolate cupcakes with a peanut butter bomb, topped with thick caramel frosting sprinkled with sea salt.

Red Light Special-- Red velvet Cupcakes topped with White chocolate cream cheese frosting. (Shown here w/ sprinkles for a party)

Banana Split-- Strawberry and Chocolate swirl cupcake filled with strawberry jam, peanut butter cream cheese frosting and topped with a caramelized banana.

Barnaby-- Dark Chocolate Cupcake stuffed with Peanut Butter and jelly and topped with a toasted marshmallow :)

View my menu at (Salted Caramel and Banana Split are not on menu yet but already available!)

That's it. Thank Yooooooou! :D

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Restaurant Review: Borough

The Name: Borough--After New York's Five Boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and The Bronx
The Claim: 247 x New York Comfort Food

Y'all know how much I love New york so any restaurant that advertises itself as new York Comfort Food will be subjected to high expectations and standards. Thing about New York is, they can have good food with or with out the ambiance. In a city where you either thrive or don't survive, people need to rely on their actual food more than anything else, and with so much competition, only the strong and consistent survive.

This was actually my second time eating here. The first was during their soft opening- like I think it was actually their very first day open. I had the Cheese Injected Portobello pita and I remember liking the taste, but being disappointed that I had cold tomatoes in a supposedly hot sandwich.

Still, The menu, which includes a lot of the things I love (Grilled cheese and tomato soup, Mac n' Cheese, Cubano Corn (Inspired by the one at Cafe Habana--with their own twist)Fried Chicken and Waffles and an all-day breakfast menu) sounded too good for me to write the place off over a few unheated tomatoes. I knew I would come back and give it another chance.

This time, I went a few months after they opened-accidentally as I was on my way home but ended up having dinner with my parents and their friends.
What I had:

Pumpkin Soup topped with a dollop of cream and fried onion rings. I liked the thickness of this soup. All too many times I have had too-thin pumpkin soup whose consistency made it go from comfort food- to flavored water. I also add a lot of onions to my pumpkin soup so I thought the fried rings were a nice touch. I would have wanted it a tad saltier though-something I get from adding pancetta to the mix when I make this soup at home. It was good though and I would get it again.

NY Strip Steak. Before I say anything else, I will say this- I am a steak snob. If it is not cooked perfectly, I will always say the one I make at home is better. Manila has disappointed me time and time again-mostly because nobody seems to know how to cook a really good medium-rare steak. It always arrives at my table medium, which for me is already overcooked.
This one was actually cooked pretty well, although I would have preferred it slightly bloodier-it was pinky-red but no blood when cut. I think this was due more to the actually piece of meat then the way it was cooked. I wasn't too happy with the quality of the steak, but I liked the taste of it, and the mashed potatoes on the side were bomb!I'm a sucker for steak though so maybe I'll try this again another time.

For dessert I had the molten chocolate cake, which was like a runny (in a good way) souffle with caramel, cream and candied peanut bits. I think this was my favorite thing that I ate that night. I was stuffed but managed to eat most of it, which my dad shared with me. I wanna try the milk and cookies next time and the Bread and Butter Pudding.

What my mom had:

French Onion Soup. She liked it but thought the serving should be a little bit bigger.
She also had the pulled pork sandwich but I forgot to take a photo!

What my dad had:

Seared Tuna Salad- a meal in itself because its HUGE! If you don't plan to share, don't order anything else because my dad couldn't even finish it!

Nice touch with the NY Subway inspired logo hehe!

Borough is located at GF, Unit 107A, The Podium Mall,12 ADB Avenue, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong. Telephone: 570-8906