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

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Restaurant Review: Just Thai

I've been on this Asian food phase lately, and all I want to eat are flavorful, saucy or soupy foods paired with rice. I had dinner with good friend, and make-up artist extraordinaire Jigs Mayuga the other night and we ended up at this Thai place while walking around Burgos Circle. I kinda sorta wanted to stop at Cafe Juanita but we kept walking and saw this.

Cute signage outside. Simple.

The decor was cute and kitschy at the same time. It's a bit dim in there so if you like to take food photos, you probably won't get awesome ones.

Whenever I'm at a Thai restaurant, I always zone in on Tom Kha Gai. It's one of my favorite soups in the world. It's a chicken-galangal-coconut milk soup that is so good and so comforting that I actually prefer it (SOMETIMES) to my all-time favorite arroz caldo. This particular one though, was a bit diluted, and according to jigs, was also lacking slightly in flavor. I was a bit disappointed and only had one small bowl (I can usually finish a whole order of this)

Of course, we had to get Pad Thai. I wasn't really in the mood for noodles, but we were with Ananda and I figured aside from Pandan Chicken, this is probably the only other thing she'll eat. We already ordered two chicken dishes so we went for this. Even if I wasn't looking for noodles at the time, I enjoyed this way more than the disappointing soup. Ananda found it too spicy though, so warning for parents out there who bring their kids here.

Jigs also ordered the Green Chicken Curry--again, one of my favorites. Maybe it's because my mom and I make this at home, but I was once more underwhelmed by this dish. It was ok, but nothing special. It was also the most expensive thing we ordered (not that expensive at P320), but I felt it wasn't worth it. Jusko Thai!

All in all, it was a forgettable meal, only made worth it by the fact that I finally got to kick it with my gay boyfriend, Jigs.

Just Thai is located at Burgos Circle Forbes Town Rd., Burgos Circle, Global City. For reservations, call 403-8718

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Kitschen Disaster: Rainbow Wreck

While more often than not, my kitchen experiments turn out good, I have my bad days. Today was my second one in the last 2 weeks, and making the same darn thing too.

Rainbow Cupcakes, you are the BANE of my existence!

Ok so last week, I tried making rainbow cupcakes using an adjusted version of my red velvet recipe. The colors looked horrible, because I guess even the slightest bit of cocoa powder will make everything look murky and gross.

My friend Dane told me to use yellow cake mix instead because you see the colors better. So, much as I hate using boxed mixes when I cook or bake, I decided to try it.

Btw, All this I am doing for the benefit of my daughter, who's turning 7 next weekend and wants rainbow cupcakes at her party.

Don't worry, I only bake from scratch for Birthday Cafe! Never use the boxed stuff (but I must admit, this was really good, in a nice junky kiddie way)

1. Follow instructions written on the box.

2. Divide batter into as many colors you want to use. I started with 5, but ended up with a disastrous crazy sludgy purple so I tossed that one out and was left with 4.

Rainbow Brightness!

3. Mix food coloring to your batter but remember to do it bit by bit. Once you put too much in, you are basically screwed. (As I was when I tried making purple)

4. Layer the batter by putting about 3/4 of a teaspoon of each into your cupcake cups. I started w/ the red, followed by yellow, then green and lastly, orange.

Orange...that burned! I used an oven I wasn't used to and it freakin' burned the top layer without cooking the inside. Awful. I was so annoyed because it's not easy layering those colors yo! I will try making these cupcakes again tomorrow and lower the heat. I followed instructions on the box.

I tried to save them but topping them with my cream cheese frosting. Instead of the white chocolate I usually use for my red velvet, I did a strawberry cream cheese frosting.

My cupcakes have holes in the middle because they were undercooked. Sadness. What made this whole thing sadder is that I used a freakin' cake mix and messed it up! haha!

Better luck next time. Tomorrow, rainbow cupcakes. Tomorrow, you are MINE!

Oh btw, I was using my dad's Samsung Galaxy thing for photos, and although they are pretty good, my Canon G11 is still way better. Too bad my dumb ass left it in Alabang. Boohoo.

What was your biggest kitchen disaster?

Out of the Kitschen: Turn that frown upside down

It all falls down: understanding teen depression

Life is not always cupcakes and cotton candy (I could only wish) and when I'm not out there chasing sugar and carbohydrates, I actually do care about more serious issues in life. One of them is depression, with teen depression being very close to my heart because it is something I went through myself.

So if you know anybody who might be going through it, put that cookie down for a second and click on the link above!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Take Two: Robot the second time around

I had a meeting at Robot last Friday, and since my daughter had been begging me to take her there, for reasons I couldn't understand ("Kaya said there's a magician"-Ananda...and guess what, there really is a waiter who does magic tricks)I decided to take her there early for dinner.

My new favorite soup-- Pumpkin Nori soup, served in a martini glass. This is super yummy, even Ananda liked it and it's usually so hard for me to get her to eat anything made of vegetables.

The little girl had tempura. It was ok. I've had much better elsewhere. Skip this, unless you are below 8 years old and don't want anything else on the menu.

The fish tacos with salsa and cilantro aioli were actually good. I just wish the fish itself was seasoned a little, because if you took out the salsa and aioli, it didn't really taste like anything.

Chicken yakitori. Ananda had one, she said it was too dry. Can't judge coz I didn't taste it.

The Future ;p

Sorry for the photos. Robot has good lighting for people but not so much for food. Restaurants, please have good lighting! There are thousands of bloggers trying to get good photos of your food! :)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Traveling Tummy: Bicol's Bigg Thing

When we found out Zest Air had screwed up our flight and we were going to be delayed for hours, we decided to go out for lunch instead of sit and mope at the airport. I didn't really want fast food so Mcdonald's and Jollibee were out of the question. As we drove past this row of restos, my workmates and I saw one called "Bigg's Diner" I was like "Wait, I saw an ad for this at the airport, let's just eat here." My friend Tanya confirmed that Bigg's is a chain that is all over Bicol so we decided to stop and try it out.

Miss T had this appetizer platter BEFORE her burger. I swear, this girl eats like a man! Not just any man, a karpintero! This platter was composed of cheese sticks, chicken and fries served with some sort of ranch dip.

I ordered the fried chicken and carbonara combo. I have this thing for fried chicken. I mean, seriously, who doesn't! My favorites are the pan chicken from pancake house and Mini Stop fried chicken. The photos looked good and it was mad cheap at P120 for the meal. The carbonara was forgettable, and the chicken was nice and crunchy but was no contender in terms of taste. It was a bit bland.

My cousin Gisa and I both ordered thisand we really liked it. I kind of wish I got two orders instead of the pasta-chicken thing I got. So goood. I love mashed potatoes and these were mixed with bacon and cheese and then baked in potato skins!

Gisa and JM both got these burgers. According to them, they were good. The price was definitely right though at only a little over a hundred pesos for this huge thing!

Tanya got the double patty burger, also super big. She liked it as well, I am assuming because she ate the whole thing.

At the end of the day, it's a restaurant chain, so I didn't expect much. I was pleasantly surprised though that for the cheap prices, the food was decent and the diner itself was well maintained. It wouldn't be my first choice if there were other, better food options, but it sure beat having to go to the golden arches for sustenance.

Bigg's Diner is located all over Bicol!
Zest Air sucks.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Oldie but Goodie: Cibo

Cibo is nothing new, but it is on of my default places to eat. Starving and don't know where to go? I end up at Cibo. Craving Italian at a reasonable price that's not fast food? I go to Cibo.

Had dinner with my dad in Alabang the other night when he had this Photography workshop in Alabang.

Yummy looking fresh tomatoes. Trivia: I actually don't like fresh tomatoes, which is why I always take them out of my burgers. I love them stewed though :)

My dad ordered the garlic rosemary beef. Yum Yum.

with mushroom rice. Found the rice a bit dry though.

Ananda and Abdul's favorite potato chips w/ aioli dip. This, my friends, is the only mayonnaise I will eat.

My favorite pasta since Cibo opened- Penne al Telefono. It's a simple dish with a burst of flavors. I love this so much, I actually do a decent replication of it at home!

All restaurants should have something for kids to do! Thank God for pencils, crayons and paper ;p

Sorry for the not-so-awesome pictures. I hate using flash for my food photos. I wish all restaurants had good photography-friendly lighting!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Kitschen Quickie: Seoul Food

This is my new discovery!

I found this at the little retail section of Zaifu in Rockwell. I was craving for something sweet after Pho last Sunday and Pazzo didn't have the gelato flavor I wanted. Abdul and I tried other Japanese and Korean snacks from Zaifu before so I decided to just buy an ice cream bar from there.

I have no idea what it's called but it is AMAZING!

I thought I picked up an ice cream sandwich with the usual cookie or wafer, but NO! It was cookies and cream ice cream sandwiched between thin sheets of velvety cake! I'm sorry for the photo of the empty wrapper, but I couldn't wait to eat it, nor could I stop to take a decent photo. It was SO good!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Travel Journal: Bicol Express

Last weekend I flew to Bicol with my office mates to swim with the whale sharks :)

A 6 am flight meant we were at the airport at 4am, and saw the sunrise.

The first thing that will greet you when you land is Mt. Mayon, known for its perfect cone shape. It really is a beautiful volcano!

Vitton Resort, which I jokingly called Luis Vitton lol!

It's probably because of the butandings, but the undercurrent here is so strong! I felt like I was swimming and swimming and not getting anywhere-and I'm a pretty strong swimmer!

Relaxing on the boat before we started our frantic diving. I'm not even joking, the guide will all but push you into the water when there's a whale shark. As he said "Butandings wait for no one!"

Enjoying the sunshine...something you don't get much of when you work a 9-5. It was awesome!

There was a short sun shower when we got on the boat but the sky quickly cleared up and God blessed us with this :)

Of course there was the obligatory jumping shot! We did this more than once...can't help it.

Messing around in the water.... and almost getting washed away by the sea. I wasn't even kidding about that undercurrent.

And.... time to go back to the resort. Til next year butandings! it was a pleasure seeing you!

Kitschen Quickie: Fish and Love

Growing up, I thought tinapa was a kind of fish. This ignorance was rooted in my distaste for any food that was stinky and looked funny. 20 years ago, there was no way I could have even thought of starting a food blog because I didn't like ANYTHING.

Now I love smoked fish (Yes I know now that tinapa is not a fish but refers to any kind of smoked fish) and my first meal in Bicol last Saturday was Tinapang Galunggong, fried egg and rice. My tummy was happy and I was carbo-loaded enough to last a few hours chasing whale sharks ;p

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Out of the Kitschen: The night before

So, the night before my prim and proper tea party, I had a pre-birthday celebration with an even bigger group that was less about Earl Grey and scones, and more about Bacardi, Johnny and Skyy.I had a busy, stressful week at work and all I wanted to do was DRINK!

ME with my "I'm going home early and only having like, 1 drink" buddy. Obviously, that never EVER happens. We're almost always the last ones standing.

I love it when Gina comes out, because she doesn't so much anymore (actually none of us do) but if you need to get your party started, you should call her. She memorizes hiphop songs from the 90's AND dance moves from all their videos.

Trina is my work mate and one of my sister's best friends. We've had our own share of that time in Boracay when...nevermind ;p

My girl and my best guy.He's my boyfriend AND my homie---AND was supposed to be my designated driver that night... Well, THAT didn't happen. (shout out to Dj Melt who played sound selecta fr the night, drove us home AND got us Mickey D's--Thank Yooouuu)

My cousin, my twin, my soul sis. Love these girls.

Some things never change...even when you're 32.

I'm heading out of the city this weekend! Hopefully I can get my hands on awesome fresh seafood, so I can shoot and write about it!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Outdoor Kitschen: Just Grillin'....

It was an action packed weekend of drinking on Friday, eating on Saturday and the Pacquiao fight and an afternoon BBQ on Sunday. I actually was fighting a fever the entire time but birthday weekends wait for no one. I ended up actually getting really sick on Sunday night and the whole of Monday was spent in bed except for the reluctant drive to Alabang.

Ah, back to real life, unfortunately, but not before a recap of Sunday's Steak fest.

Grilled corn! Cut them into threes and there will be more to go around!

My favorite cheese Port Salut and crackers on the side.

The famous Dimaporo Tuna Kilawin---I don't like vinegar so I skipped this, but apparently, this is always a crowd favorite.

My favorite potato chips from Australia--Red Rock Deli, I am SO happy you are now in Manila!

White Tiger and his banana with peanut butter...or actually his peanut butter with a tiny piece of banana

The easiest way to marinate a steak--mustard, Worcestershire or Knorr seasoning, minced garlic, freshly ground pepper, garlic and onion powders, fresh or dried Rosemary and paprika. Marinate for at least 6 hours.

When cooking on a grill, sear both sides on a flat grill and then transfer to the other side to get those grill marks. I like my steak rare to medium rare but if you want it well-done (shame on you!) cook it for longer. I leave mine in for a minute and a half to two minutes per side for a rare steak to two-three minutes for medium rare.

Trying to get grill marks. In the process I overdid this particular steak haha.

Cut up into strips for easier eating!Just give everyone forks.

Drinks for the day included Tandueezy, Absinth and Goose. Didn't have much of anything, was already feeling lousy at this point.

Kiss the cook! ;p