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

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Gourmet Kitschen's new baby!

Hey guys!

Gourmet Kitschen just gave birth to a brand new baby blog!

Check out ---> it will be all my adobo experiments + other Pinoy favorites cooked the Erica way (w/c you know by now is never normal!)

There are only 2 entries now but join me as I build my new blog. Don't worry, this one stays! I just wanted a more adobo-specific one :D

love, peace, and lots and lots of food!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

The first time I tried this was in new York in 2009. I was there and through out my trip, I had friends telling me I HAD to have this chicken from KTown (midtown)called Bonchon, that it was so good, that I'd want to eat it everyday. I kept saying yeah ok, but never got around to doing so until my last week in my favorite city. A friend bought some, and I didn't even eat it until 6 hours later, when I was drunk at 3 am, but when I did, it was like I had some sort of epiphany, a life changing experience that I would never forget. I know that's a bit (a lot) dramatic but exactly how I felt at that moment.

I had it a few more times before I left, but never making a trip to the original Ktown branch (I had it in Staten Island of all places)but I had never had it since, not even when it hit Manila AGES ago. I finally made the trip to the new branch in Katipunan to fulfill my Bonchon fantasies (w/c have been haunting me since 2009)

2 pc wing meal with rice (is the rice part only here in the Philippines?) Always choose the wings! They are crispier and easier to eat than the drumsticks.

2 pc drumsticks with rice. Same taste (I only like soy garlic) but more meat, leass crunchy skin in every bite you take.

So, the verdict? We had Bonchon 3 times in a week. I loved it still every time, but I need a break for awhile ;p

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Kitschen Favorites: Everyday I'm Trufflin'

I don't think I have an expensive palate so much as a diverse one. I can go from eating fishballs from the kanto for merienda to wagyu with foie gras for dinner. Like I've said time and time again, my taste buds don't discriminate and will always love whatever tastes good.

One particular food that is considered a luxury that I definitely love is the truffle. I've heard some chefs and food snobs say they would never eat anywhere with truffle on the menu--in other words, it has become like the word "diva"---> overused that it has lost it's meaning or "special-ness"

But hey, WE aren't chefs or food snobs...we just like GREAT food so to hell with what they say! I will still eat truffles with every meal if I could!

And well, now I can...and I have been. Truffles & More, a local company that carries Sabatino Tartufi products imported from Rome and the US sent me a sampler pack of some of the more basic truffle products---white truffle oil, truffle honey and truffle salt. I was ecstatic because I just finished the truffle honey I bought in London and was about to cry.

They say eat like a king for breakfast right? Well, here is something royally awesome. I used the croissanwich bread from UCC (similar to Jipan's Monroe bread) and toasted it with smoked gouda until it was nice and melted. I then drizzled the truffle honey on it before I closed my eyes and devoured breakfast.

The bottle I got in London before had truffle shavings, and this Sabatino Tartufi one had truffle bits which I prefer. You get a nice little taste in every bite.

I decided to try the truffle salt with my favorite speculoos (Biscoff) spread. Biscoff tastes like graham crackers/toffe/caramel/cinnamon crackers turned into a paste. It's the most amazing thing you'll ever taste. i think it's better than Nutella (yeah I said it!) I put some speculoos on a few crackers, sprinkled them with salt and voila! Eating like a king for merienda too!

My last blog entry featured a dinner, where I made chocolate truffles. I actually rolled white chocolate-speculoos into balls, dipped them in chocolate and sprinkled truffle salt on them. So good too!

Want to give away truffle products for the holidays, or heck, keep them for yourself? Visit Truffles & More's FB page!/trufflesandmore or email them at for price list.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Kitschen Chaos: The kitchen biatch is back

So I haven't had the time to cook for friends in a long time, but since I stopped having to get up at 6 am everyday and no longer am a regular 9-5er, it's easier for me to tinker around in the kitchen again.

People ask how I come up with recipes and honestly for me, as long as it sounds good in my head, I'll try it. Some are better than others, some are hits, others are just Ok and I probably wouldn't bother making again. Whatever the outcome, you won't really know what will be good or not unless you try!

Sage adobo spring rolls with brie, served with adobo and wild honey dipping sauces. I made 60 of these and they were gone almost instantly. I thought the tangy-ness of adobo would work well with brie (since it's usually paired with kesong puti whic also has a very mild flavor)and the honey would counter the vinegar. Turned out great!

This one, not so great. It wasn't horrible, but I actually followed a recipe for this and ended up not liking it that much because it tasted, not bad, but "kulang" I think I'll be able to make this better next time once I've adjusted the recipe to my taste. It's basically tuyo, cream cheese and manchego dip baked in a pumpkin for 2 hours. It's a good idea, recipe just wasn't what I was hoping for.

Garlic Lechon kawali served with spaghetti with peanut sauce and a side of sauteed bagoong. My inspiration here was kare-kare-which is weird because I don't really like kare-kare, but I thought the flavors of the salty bagoong, sweet peanut-y pasta and lechon kawali would be good together.

This is a signature Gourmet Kitschen dish. EVERYONE and they momma loves it! This is Sinigang Roast Chicken. A regular roast chicken with distinct sinigang flavor + sinigang gravy. It's totally awesome. It's a bit burnt because I asked our cook to put it on 350, and she put it on 150! 3 hours later the chicken wasn't cooked, we turned the heat up and yan, sunog! It was still good though! Side of gabi + sweet potato mash courtesy of Miss Margaux ;p

I used to dislike bangus growing up. I thought it was boring and hated it when our cook would make it. Then, I discovered bangus BELLY. Holy crap, I just missed half my life. This is a fried bangus belly with toasted garlic and teriyaki tarragon drizzle.

So, if you follow me on twitter (@ericaparedes) you have seen my tweets about Biscoff (or speculoos) spread. I out together that + white chocolate, rolled them into balls, dipped them in chocolate and sprinkled them with truffle salt.

My new Birthday Cafe flavor---> CHOCOLATE and CHEDDAR! A dark chocolate cupcake with ganache and toasted cheddar bits. PMS has nothing on them!

Second new flavor- apple french toast--> an apple cinnamon cake with raisins and maple frosting with cashews.

Go forth and experiment! And let me know what you come up with!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Food Binge: Ultimate Taste Test

A few weeks ago, I was invited to attend Anton Diaz' (our awesome planet) Ultimate Taste Test (UTT6) held at Rockwell. I joined the one a couple years ago when I launched HAPPY BACON and I know how stressful it cane be to be manning a booth in a food fair. Thank God this year, I was on the other end EATING instead.

I wish I took better photos but holding food with two hands was not very conducive to trying to be a professional food photographer!

Chef Luigi's Phillychangas were bomb! The cordon bleu was so-so but probably because it was cold already. The Phillychangas were good even when cold though. I wanted to ask for another one!

Gourmet Keso--- local goat cheese mixed with other ingredients such as truffle salt, garlic and herbs and cashew. This is a joint effort with Gawad Kalinga so you know tha buying this product (aside from actually being good) helps other people out!

Mochiko mochi never fails me! They featured their new Cookie Dough flavor, which was YUM, but my favorite is STILL the avocado. It's complete bliss in an ice cream ball.

Assorted starters from Cafe Med. Ok, I'm adding this as one of my favorites because I really like their falafels. BUT, one comment I have about the UTT this year is that they should stick to only home bakers or cooks or small scale up and coming food vendors. I couldn't understand why places like Sugarhouse and Cafe Med were there.I wanted to try new things!!!

My daughter really likes these. Tried it at Mercato one weekend we were there. Marla's Original Muncheez are like rice krispies treats but with cornflakes instead. It's a nice little snack!

Admittedly, I did not like Empire Macarons so much the first time I tried them, but I quickly had a change of heart when I tried them a second time at UTT. Yum yum :D

I really liked this! It was bagnet and ilocos empanada. I'm baduy, I don't like vinegar, but even then, yum... fat overload but who cares? I was there to EAT!

Unfortunately, the usual trigger happy me could not put my food down long enough to take photos but other things I enjoyed were Casa Empanada's chocolate bacon empanads (OF COURSE!), Baked by Anita's strawberry-balsamic cupcakes, Hong Kong Roast Food Express' Salted Chicken, Mi paella de Andaluz by Chef C, Tina's Pie Outlet (w/c I featured a few weeks ago) and gosh I can't even think of the others right now! Ang dami!

I know a lot of people are raving about Hyphy's Calamansi and Tuyo pasta. I wrote a review on Hyphy's in the past and w/ this pasta, I still felt the same --nothing special. Also Daim's Wasabi sausages-thought they tasted strange and a bit dry--I liked their regular sausages though.

Anyhoo, do you wanna get the chance to try some of these things I tried at UTT for FREE? Watch out for my Holiday Give-aways on my blog starting November> ONE winner EVERY WEEK for 8 weeks :)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Leave room for dessert: Swensen's Ice Cream

I'm sure some of you have heard of Swensen's- an ice cream chain born in San Francisco in the 1940's. For those who have traveled closer to home, they also have branches in Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand.

Well, it's finally here! And you'll be happy to know that aside from the MANY flavors and YUMMY taste, the prices will make you enjoy your ice cream even more instead of regretting spending so much on a scoop. I think the most expensive thing on the menu is The Earthquake, and it is less than P600 for (I think) a 9 scoop ice cream sundae that you can share with friends. Not bad at all!

Ananda got Mr. San's babies- 2 mini scoops of ice cream (strawberry and banana) with sliced bananas and strawberry sauce (P115)

I got the strawberry, banana and cream sundae- but instead of 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream, I got macadamia and almond praline. (P190)

Forever 21's Brand Manager Jane Kingsu was sitting with me that day and she got this- one of the "Chocolate Fantasy" sundaes, but I can't remember which one. Chocolate overload!!! (P220)

In order to try the other flavors (and coz we're baboy) we also got the Fondue for 2 to share. You can pick 4 flavors of ice cream and it comes with fruit and hot, creamy chocolate (P395)

And because I ate so much and had such a good time at Swensen's, I'm giving away 3 vouchers for FREE ice cream to 3 lucky readers!

3rd place-- Voucher for FREE GOld Rush Sundae (worth P190)
2nd place-- Voucher for FREE Oreo Cookies 'n Cream Sundae (worth P220)
1st place-- Voucher for FREE Earthquake Megasundae (worth 595)

All you need to do is leave me a comment on this post telling me why you love ICE CREAM and why you want to try SWENSEN'S :D

I'll pick the 3 answers I like so be creative!!! Contest ends on Monday, September 19 at 5pm.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Grapevine: Wine and Dine

Everyone knows I love my wine, so I'm really, really excited to attend this with Abdul tomorrow! 100 different wines from the country's top wine distributors? I'm so there! Plus unlimited cheese and other food as well!

What: Wine and Spirits 2011
Where: Mandarin Oriental
When: Friday, September 16, 2011, 7 pm onwards
Damage: P2,500

You may balk at the price tag but UNLIMITED wine and food all night? One glass of good wine can cost you hundreds, even thousands PER GLASS. If you are into your vino as much as I'm into mine, you must not miss this tomorrow night!

See you there!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Restaurant Rewind: My kind of Burger

Every single time I eat at Charlie's, I'm happy :)

One of my favorite burgers in the metro. Definitely on my top 3. Make sure to add some of their aioli to your burger. omnomnomnom.

And now they have the bestest fries to order on the side too. Warning, you will be STUFFED. I suggest you get fries to share, unless you're starving. I really like the Garlic Parmesan and my sister wanted to try something else so we got two. Neither of us finished our food!

Ala's fries- black truffle and chicken liver. Good but the chunks (yes CHUNKS) of chicken liver are too big. They should make them smaller so you get a bite of it with every fry and not have to alternate.

Charlie's Grind and Grill is located at Ronac along Ortigas Avenue and in Kapitolyo in Pasig

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Kitschen Chaos: Beef.Sauce.Rice. Check.

It was my last week in my Makati apartment and I decided I didn't want to have to bring any food home. So, the plan was to cook something every night with whatever ingredients I had left in my freezer, fridge and pantry--I had to get creative!

Thankfully, I had some ingredients that I could mix and match to create normal, yummy dinners. I made Lemongrass Dory one night, Chicken Adobo with red wine and sage another and on this particular night, I decided to venture into the Beef stew arena since I had a half kilo of beef, carrots, a potato and onions. I wish I had celery, it would have added some nice color to it.

What I did:

Roughly chop all the veggies you have available. It literally took me 30 seconds to chop them, no perfect cubes! Stews are meant to be rustic and homey!

Saute your onions in olive oil. I chopped them into quarters only, no smaller than that please.

Add your beef once the onions start to brown. I always like to pre-season my meat before adding to whatever recipe I am making. It adds more flavor to the final product. I did my go-to no brainer marinade of mustard, knorr and garlic.

Add about 3 tablespoons of tomato paste and a cup of red wine (see the spillage?). I transferred it into a pot after because I planned to make LOTS of sauce (my favorite part of any meal)After transferring add your veggies!

Add 1 cup water (or 2 cups for MORE sauce) and a packet of onion soup mix. I got this in Australia so I guess you could just replace the water with beef or vegetable stock?

Add a bit of brown sugar and slow cook on LOW heat for about an hour or so until you reduce your sauce by about a quarter! Lastly, top it off with some Parmesan cheese!

Serve over hot Japanese rice! Enjoy on a rainy evening!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Kitschen Favorites: Turning Japanese

I could eat Japanese food forever! There was a time a couple months ago when I ate at Omakase for like 3 weeks straight. You'd think I would get sick of it but no I wanted more! Abdul and I spent our 2nd year anniversary pigging out in Little Tokyo where we had lots and lots of sashimi and Japanese pancakes.

The other day, we celebrated my dad's birthday (in advance) at Tsukiji-by far my favorite Japanese spot in Manila.

Yummy Yummy! We got tuna, salmon and hamachi sashimi to start off.

My dad and uncle ordered grilled toro, which is like the best cut of tuna there is. This fish was awesome and lucky me I was sitting beside my dad that night!

My absolute favorite thing to eat here is their wagyu. It's so tender you can cut it with a spoon! It's cooked in butter and garlic chips and awesome medium rare, with rice.

Family photo!!! More photos of my dad's real birthday party in my next post!

Tsukiji is located at 900 A Arnaiz Avenue Corner Paseo De Roxas Street San Lorenzo Village. Call 8122913 for reservations.