And with Royce’ I said farewell

31 05 2009
Royce' - Farewell Gift Rum Raisin Bar

And with this I said farewell...

I SAW quite a number of people leave last Friday.  Not leave for the weekend.  But really leave.

I’m not good with goodbyes.  I have never been.  And I dread it all the time.  But now more than ever, I have realized just how much it is a part of life.

And with bars of Royce’ Rum Raisin Chocolate, neatly packed inside their pretty gift sleeve sealed with their signature gold sticker, I said farewell to my friends.  I really felt like this was the least gesture I could make to let people know that they have my best hopes and intentions as they move forward to new endeavors.

I would’ve opted for the Nama Chocolate in Champagne Pierre Mignon.  But the ice-replacement gel packs last for only 5 hours.  And I wanted my friends to be able to bring the chocolate home with them should they decide to.  So the Rum Raisin Chocolate Bara Royce’ bestseller – was the perfect choice!

Guys… YOU WILL BE MISSED!

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Zap!

 

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Joren bathed in light!

 

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Ryan in orange...

 

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Mark Anthony, Joren (blurred... sorry), Arnel, Mark, Ryan...

 

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With Mark Anthony and Joren

 

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With Joren!

 

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With Ryan and Mark Anthony

 

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Two of my newest friends - Joren and Mark Anthony

 





Turning out the lights

28 05 2009

HOW I wish it were as simple – as easy – as flickering a switch.  Yes, how I wish that causing something to stop operating were really as simple as disengaging a switch.  But the painful reality is that you cannot just say “turn out the lights” and expect it to be over with one rapid action.

This one has been a slow and steady one.  And as with any major changes – in life or “in the ways things are” – you do your best to “buy more time.”  I guess I have been doing just that for the past couple of months.  But now that it’s only a day away, you will realize that it is all too real.  And it is soon to come to pass.

For a couple of days now, I’ve kept my “sad” status on my facebook account.  I even mustered up enough courage to finally add “bitter” to it yesterday.  One well-meaning friend asked why the “bitter”ness.  I guess (I know) that a part of me still resents the “decision.”  I’ve been quietly indignant about it – what can someone like me do? – but as I have said, if these people directly affected by it had found acceptance, so should I.

Maybe there is a point to this (to borrow Mel’s words).  My only problem is that… I’ve yet to see it completely.  I’m keeping an open mind.

I’m quite thankful of all the things I was able to be part of and work on these past couple of months for this group. I’m not really “chummy chummy” with all 54 of them.  But I have found in some of them the kind of friends that I will want to keep.  Thank God that in this day and age, there is really such a thing as being able to keep in touch.

So let me just say a big thank you to some of them.  Sometimes, meeting people is enough to feel thanks.  And from this group I’ve come to know quite a number of people – then and now – who I personally and professionally look up to.  I really hope that they will soon get their fresh starts!  All the best!

Domeng, Agnes, Mel, Jen, Rey, Bong, Orly, Lence, Jet, Melvin, Toinette, Ems, Kate, Lendie, Floyd, Vernon, Marman, Jon, Arnel, Joren, Mark, Ber, Michelle, Grace, Janwyn, Ryan, Jaber, Ronnie, Kenneth, Richard, Jeff, Eric, Erick, Anthony, Felix, Mark Anthony, and Ronoel… and the list goes on…

A shoutout to those who have come and gone before – Cecille, Erwin, James, NevO, Rod, Rafela, Marie, Ging, Carmie, and Drei.

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Elegant table setting at the CDC Lights Out Party, 30th April 2009.

 

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Putting together a storyline for the CDC video...

 

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It was a date - 30th April 2009!

  





Royce’ for a fave Superhero

27 05 2009

ROYCE’ CHOCOLATES remind me that there need not be a special occasion to give someone special something special.  Yes, it’s true that there are so many reasons in this world to give gifts – but I have to say that the best is to give gifts for no reason at all.

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Royce' Chocolate gift bags for a favorite Superhero!

And for one of my best Superhero friends – a chocolate lover at that – I couldn’t help but get some of the best Royce’ Chocolate varieties ever.  These are the ones that I myself really adore… and devour!  Hahaha!

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Royce' Milk Chocolate Bar

 

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A peek into one of the gift bags revealed the Royce' Milk Chocolate Bar!

As the ones I’m sharing here were gifts, I didn’t get to take snapshots of the actual chocolates.  But the packaging are too pretty to not take photographs of.  So, here they are!

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The Royce' Nama Chocolate in Champagne "Pierre Mignon"

I’ve long raved about the unparalleled pleasure the touch, feel and taste of nama chocolates give.  Not to mention the teasing, lingering chocolate notes that they leave on the tongue.  But I have to categorically declare here just how unprepared I was for Nama Chocolate in banana, their latest seasonal offering at their Greenbelt 5 kiosk, coming at the heels of strawberry about a couple of weeks back.  After savoring my first block of this generously cocoa powder-dusted confection, the skeptic in me recoiled at the thought that I had unwittingly deprived myself with so much pleasure all the time I cringed at the idea of throwing bananas and chocolate together in the blender for a refreshing smoothie snack!

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The Royce' Nama Chocolate in "Banana" (seasonal)

Unfortunately, I don’t have shots of my other favorites – the Nama Chocolate in Strawberry (seasonal), “Bitter,” and “Au Lait,” and the Rum Raisin Chocolate Bar.

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Aren't they the prettiest?... Yet another shot of the Nama Chocolates!





From someone left behind

25 05 2009

MY TRUSTY online dictionary defines it to be “sadness resulting from being forsaken or abandoned.”  It actually offers three senses for the word.  But this one, I think, comes closest to how I really feel.  Though the words “forsaken” and “abandoned” are somewhat strong.

After over three decades of existence, I thought I’ve seen and felt everything there is to see and feel.  And it is while relishing this thought that I realized I couldn’t be any more wrong – I couldn’t have spoken or claimed something so soon.

Because right now, I’m going through this “sadness resulting from being left behind.”

In life, one will experience a loneliness that nobody else can fathom; a loneliness that only the presence of someone can fill.

This is my own belief.  And this is how I feel.  That is why while “move on” and “move forward” may mean the same thing metaphorically, I’d rather take a conscious effort to “move forward” from this.  Or else, I will get stuck.

Yes, I will move forward. But I WILL NEVER FORGET – the people, the good times, the way they made me feel.





Tasks and tastes

25 05 2009

KATE & LEOPOLD, this Meg Ryan-Hugh Jackman starrer I’m watching right now on free TV (Studio 23) just gave me the fitting introduction to this blog post I’ve been meaning to write.

Right in the middle of a heated argument on the merits of the number of times one has to pull down their bread in the toaster “General Electric” made, Leopold told Kate something to the effect of: “When you wake up to the smell of a warm brioche smothered in marmalade, you will realize that life is more than just tasks but tastes.

And I believe so.  Amen to that! That was exactly what I had – both “tasks” and “tastes” – when I decided to finally get my haircut yesterday, Saturday.  Since I get my haircut in Makati – at the same place and with the same stylist for over a year now – I inadvertently turned my “tasks” day into a “tastes” day as well.  I decided to leisurely take my sweet single time and have my “comfort” dishes at three of my favorite places in that city.  Of course, while I surveyed the latest mid-priced wristwatch offerings in the market. Hahaha! (Recession…)

Lately, I’ve been really lazy to get a haircut.  The last one I had was a week before I emceed my good friends Bom and Rizzie’s January 10, 2009 wedding.  As a matter of fact, that is how it has been with me – I only get a haircut when I have something special coming.  I should’ve gotten one before I emceed a very special party last April 30, but I was just so swamped at work that I didn’t have free time.

Yesterday, I was feeling a bit down and on a whim, decided to get my haircut!  I guess a part of me had also realized – and accepted the fact – that there’s only so much that extra-hold wax or reworkable putty can do to tame my hair.  Hahaha!  So I sent a text message to the Bench Fix Salon at Glorietta 4 and requested a 4:00 PM appointment with their Senior Stylist KC Aninao.  I grew up getting my haircut from the friendly neighborhood barber (who’d often come to the house).  But time came when I sort of outgrown the barber’s cut.  That’s when I started experimenting. I’ve been to Salon de Manila (friends called the rates “highway robbery”), a number of other salons, Regine’s, and to at least three branches of Bench Fix – Alabang Town Center, Festival Mall, and Glorietta 4.

Day in Makati - Haircut 00a

Halfway through the haircut...

 

It was in Glorietta 4 that I found a haircut and a hair stylist that really delivered.  I went to the place at 4:00 PM on the dot, and after confirming with the front desk personnel my appointment, was led to one of the chairs, greeted by KC with a smile and the quip, “Ang haba na ng buhok mo, parang di ko na makita kung ano ang ginawa ko dyan!” (Your hair has grown, I couldn’t figure out what cut I made to it!).  But of course he said that just in jest, as he had clearly known that I’ve been asking for the “Prada model” haircut for quite a while now.  I tore the Prada ad from one of my GQ magazines and showed it to him the first three times I asked for the cut.  Now, he no longer needed the visual guide.

Day in Makati - Haircut 05 Collage 

He was the only one who cut my hair – after the “Prada model” specs – to my satisfaction!  He would cut it wet, but would ask for a salon assistant to dry it midway so that he could see the “fall” and then, finish it off with a precise dry cut.

The rest of my day in Makati was spent going through inspecting a number of wristwatches I’ve been so lusting after (for quite a while now!).  But it was not totally a selfish exercise as I was eyeing one of the wristwatches as a gift for someone special.  But the tag prices were prohibitive that I really ended up just window shopping – for now! – and asking for business cards with details of the particular models that took my fancy.  I’ll see if I’d lose sleep over any of them.  If so, I’d be back looking at them again next week! Hahaha!

All the other time not devoted to getting the haircut and going over wristwatches was spent on – what else?! – eating!  At Cibo Café in Greenbelt 5 (where I made my requisite stop at the Royce’ kiosk), I had Spaghetti alla Romana, two glasses of (canned) Tomato Juice, and Chocolate Panacotta.  At The Soup Kitchen in Glorietta 5, I had a full bowl of my favorite Hearty Vegetable Soup, a full Crabstick Sandwich, and a cup of Hot Chocolate.  And to cap my day (already “night” time at this point), I went to Starbucks Coffee in 6750 to get one of my all-time favorite sandwiches – the Hungarian Sausage with Egg and Cheese – with a venti glass of one of their new offerings – the Dark Mocha Frappucino!

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The Cibo Cafe menu cover

 

Day in Makati - Cibo 01 Tomato Juice

My favorite - Tomato Juice! I had two of these.

 

Day in Makati - Cibo 02 Chocolate Panacotta

The Chocolate Panacotta. I'm so loving the dessert spoon!

 

The dark mocha frappucino was perfect as it was, but having had this drink for a while now (first at their Las Piñas branch), I knew better this time to ask that they do away with the chocolate chips!

What more can I ask for.  It was an almost perfect day.  Almost.

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Had Starbucks to-go to cap the day (night)!

 

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Now you know my "coffee name"!

 

 





Keeping up with facebook

22 05 2009

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THINGS HAVE a way of coming back and biting you in the a**.  (Can I really say that three-letter word here?)

When I got up the nerve to brandish here my list of 25 things about me – that I called “eNTeNG’s 25” – I went to great lengths in saying that I was doing it here because… (drumrolls please – a bold declaration up ahead)…  I just couldn’t keep up with facebook!  I guess it was there that people first got “poked” or “tagged” to accomplish this list.

A good month-and-a-half later, here I am, and with my right hand proudly raised, and with my head nodding to my virtual audience, as I pan across from left to right with eye contact firmly established, I declare – I’m hooked on Facebook!

Seriously.

And it all started just a couple of days back when I got sick and had to stay home.  It’s been eons since I last logged in on my Facebook account.  I was definitely surprised to see a lot of activity on my contacts’ “walls” but since nothing really “involved” me, I almost instantaneously hit the “Logout” button.  It was then that I noticed the numerical indicator – a “1” – that was right beside the button that said “Inbox.”

Oh, I’ve got mail!” I said to myself.  I clicked on the Inbox and it was then that my fascination with Facebook began.  Responding to the mail – and surprisingly getting a real-time response back – showed me just how much Facebook could keep me in touch with people in my life.  REALLY keep me in touch.  And in the case of the sender of the lone unread mail in my inbox, establish more meaningful friendships with people than when we were still sharing the same country code.

Though well within the comfort of my room, I felt just how much technology could make me go beyond the confines of four imposing walls and really touch base with people I care about – no matter where they could be on the face of this planet.

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Through Facebook, I didn’t feel alone savoring my steaming hot “sinigang na bangus” (milkfish in steaming hot sour broth with fresh vegetables) as the torrential rains ravaged the outdoors (climate change sucks!).  As I devoured my dinner, I learned that one good friend – way down under in Adelaide – just cooked her own “sinigang na hipon” (shrimps in steaming hot sour broth with fresh vegetables).  Posting about it, she earned raved comments from people who praised her cooking prowess and those who wanted to partake of the very Filipino dish.  Yet another friend, quite coincidentally, quipped that he just had the exact same dinner as mine – and went further by relishing the thought of how much the fish belly fat made him so happy!

Somewhere on my wall, another one of my best friends first ranted that she was “hungry!”  And then much later on proudly declared that she just had chili crabs and didn’t get any allergies at all!  Quite obviously, her dinner choice could only mean that she is right now, in the Garden City, where yet another one of my “bestest” friends is.  Through wall-to-wall comments, I couldn’t help but smile when these two important “girl friends” of mine decided to meet up and hang out.  And knowing these two, meeting up could only mean great dinner, animated conversation, and lots of retail therapy. How I wish I could find myself in the middle of their shop-‘til-you-drop adventures and good-humored people-bashing.  Hahaha!

Before I knew it, I had been online – “facebooking” – for about six hours!  Very much just like right now.  I found someone with whom I could share my thoughts about the two-hour Season 5 finale episode of the hit ABC series Grey’s Anatomy. And in the same person discovered a “geek” who also watches Chuck, 24 and The Big Bang Theory, as well as a wide range of movie and book genre.

And there’s this one person whose work in Korea can’t help but fascinate me to no end.  Through his comments, I realized how boring my office existence could be sometimes (Hahaha!).  But more importantly, he made me chalk up the Gulf of Mexico, the Santos Basin in Brazil, and Africa as dream destinations.  Not to mention that he just promised to send me songs I love! You know who you are – Harry Stamper or A.J. Frost!

I’m loving Facebook.  With it, as the Kara DioGuardi-co-written American Idol Season 8 coronation song says, “there are no boundaries.”  It helps keeps communication lines open.  It allows people to share sides of their personalities and lives that you wouldn’t see from 9 to 5.  It can make a better friend out of you.  It can make a more caring person of you. And with a comment like “…is disappointed – FALSE ALARM!”… Facebook can stop you dead on your tracks.  Hahaha!!!

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Cocoa in numbers

21 05 2009

 

THIS HAPPENED last Monday.

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I don’t normally snack before lunch time.  But I could already hear my stomach grumbling furiously.  So grabbing something to bite was in order.  But unfortunately, my meetings then were running a bit late.

 

So I turned to my seat mate, our company’s Quality & Reliability Manager, and asked if she had something I could munch on.  She stepped out of the room and in an instant came back with a box of chocolates she said she didn’t really want.

 

It was a Lindt EXCELLENCE 85% COCOA DARK SWISS THINS.  I took one bite of one of the 2” x 2” thin squares and instantly fell in love.

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I felt like I literally melted in my seat.  The “thins” – each “engraved” with the signature Lindt cursive brand logo – have a deeply intense, dark and bitter chocolate taste that smelled robust and full-bodied.  The “crunch” that came with each bite would later give way to a velvety smooth texture as the chocolate melted on my tongue.  I guess this kind of dark chocolate doesn’t really appeal to everybody’s palate.  But it does to me.  Some who tried it said they’re just fit to be used for baking or probably thrown in to a pot of boiling water to make “Tsokolate eh!

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Cocoa in Numbers - Starbucks 01 

Having tremendously enjoyed this box of chocolate brought back to mind the beautiful box of STARBUCKS COFFEE COMPANY® *STARBUCKS® ORIGIN SELECT CHOCOLATES* that I bought at their store right across our company’s corporate offices on Prairie City Road somewhere in the Golden State, right around one Christmas time.

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As you can see from the pictures, the box could actually pass off as a “Celestina minaudiere,” complete with metallic chrome hardware – the snap lock.  Inside this box came individually wrapped miniature chocolate blocks of Starbucks’ special “Origin Select Chocolates” – Venezuelan 45% cacao, Ecuadorian Arriba 66% cacao, Mexican 50% cacao, African 34% cacao, African 54% cacao, and Venezuelan 73.5% cacao.

 

I won’t go to great lengths as to how I recollect these chocolate pieces tasted.  They’re all in the pictures.  Hahaha!

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I am so proud of Drei

18 05 2009

Estudyante nko uli 🙂” (I’m a student again :))… so declared this text message that came in to my Globe Handyphone at 3:53:17 PM, yesterday, Saturday, the 16th of May.

Even if I wouldn’t know who the sender was (like with earlier generation cellphones like the Nokia I use for my SMART line), this was a message that could only come from one person. I’ve actually been waiting for the day that he’d confirm this. And I am just so happy for – and so damn proud of – one of my best friends, Drei.

Drei, who I first met as a Design Engineer in our company’s Design Center here in the Philippines, just got accepted to the MBA PROGRAM at the College of Business Administration at – wherelse but – the University of the Philippines.

Andrei MBA - Recommendation 00 

And though I’m such a proud Mapuan, I still maintain that the country’s foremost educational institution is UP. Just recently, it ranked highest among the three Philippine universities that made it to the top 200 listing all over Asia. And some of my “bestest” friends are fierce Fighting Maroons!

I’m so happy that Drei got accepted after what seems to me as a rigorous screening and examination process. He actually began toying with this idea – wanting to take further, higher education – when he found himself at a crossroads in his life about a year ago. He was at the brink of changing careers. And while that hadn’t really panned out then, he surprised me one day with news that he had started inquiring about UP’s MBA Program. As his friend, I pledged my full support – even demanding that I write him a personal recommendation (which I did!). From the first time he told me about his plan, I knew he’d make it! I didn’t get even the faintest feeling of doubt for my friend who already has a masters in electrical engineering neatly tucked under his belt! (See, I’m so proud of him!).

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Yup, I filled out Drei's form using my long handwriting...

 

It was really a rigorous process. And it demanded a lot of his time – I should know because our “catching up” dinners became really far between! Hahaha!!! But seriously now, I really, sincerely congratulate him for achieving this. I can’t say it enough – I am so proud of Drei!

And as he said in subsequent text messages, he almost aced his accounting exam, committing only two mistakes. I joked that from now on, he could handle my finances. To which he snapped back, “Hahaha! Ang ipapayo k naman syo, cge lng! :)” (Hahaha! My advice would bejust go ahead!)

I can’t wait for our next dinner plans. There are just so many stories to tell.

Again, I am so proud of him!

 





A lazy Sunday lunch

17 05 2009

INSPIRED BY the presence of a hunk of GIGLIO provolone cheese in the refrigerator, my home-alone Sunday lunch didn’t turn out to be drab at all – but it was a lazy one. I mean, taken at a leisurely – almost glacial – pace.

Cheese has got to be one of the more versatile ingredients. It can see you from starters, to soups, to salads, to the main entrée, all the way to dessert.

So that exactly was what was in my head when I went to the fridge. In true Rachael Ray-in-30-Minute Meals fashion, I piled up on my left arm most everything I needed to whip up my meal – the Giglio provolone cheese, my prepared honey mustard dressing, a 200-gram pack of Sunsweet hearts of hydroponic romaine lettuce. And from the pantry shelf I took exactly five ripe, plump roma tomatoes, five large cloves of garlic, McCormick cayenne pepper, and an already-opened box of San Remo organic “bronzato style” penne dried pasta.

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My very simple salad of Sunsweet hearts of romaine (hydroponic) with freshly grated Giglio provolone cheese in a honey mustard dressing.

 

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A close-up shot of a romaine leaf drizzled with the dressing and covered in cheese... much like a green mountain top getting snow capped.

 

For the salad, I whisked at the bottom of the plate the prepared honey mustard dressing. On top of it I tore the hearts of romaine, on which I drizzled some more of the dressing. Then I finished it off with a very generous grating of the provolone cheese. Much later in the day, I made the same salad for my mother. She crushed on top of it some “chicharon” and called me in to check out her “innovation,” to which I quipped, “That’s so Chef Margarita Fores of you!” Hahaha!

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San Remo organic "bronzato style" penne. The box says that is made in the traditional "bronzato style" that gives the pasta its distinctive rough finish that makes it hold the sauce better.

 

I’m not really the type to use penne for my pasta dishes. I’ve preferred the long, thin strands of angel hair or spaghettini all this time. Unfortunately, I’ve run out. But I was so pleasantly surprised to see this open box of San Remo organic “bronzato style” penne behind big plastic bottles of supplements from the States. So what was an open box of this pasta doing lying around? I remember picking this one from the supermarket shelf when I was fancying making pasta for one of my best friends. The bold declaration “organic” on the box label caught my attention. I mean, being the health buff that he is, Superman would most likely appreciate something organic – and for pasta, that’s quite a change! But unfortunately, that pasta venture didn’t pan out quite well. I didn’t like how the sauce I made tasted. So I didn’t bring the dish to work anymore! I put it in the refrigerator and it was that night’s perfect cold dinner during TV-watching. See, I don’t throw away anything! But I won’t serve second best to important people either.

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McCormick ground cayenne pepper. Perfect for tomato-based pasta sauces!

 

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San Remo organic "bronzato style" penne pasta cooked to perfection according to package directions.

  

For the pasta, I used extra virgin olive oil that was about seven swirls’ worth around the pan. Then, I lightly sauteed the garlic I first crushed then coarsely chopped. After about thirty seconds, I added five dashes of the cayenne pepper. And then I added the coarsely chopped tomatoes that I first blanched and peeled. After about five mnutes, I tossed into the sauce the penne pasta (cooked to package directions). And then I tossed everything a little more (think about how chefs on TV toss together the dish they’re making, with that slight wrist action).

I plated the hot pasta dish and grated on top of it the provolone cheese.

YUM-O!!!

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The finished dish! Yum-o!

 





Surprising finds at Rustan’s!

15 05 2009
Rustans Finds - Giglio Provolone Cheese

Surprising find #1! - GIGLIO PROVOLONE cheese

I KNOW this will not be surprising finds for others.  But they are to me!

 

I finally found provolone cheese…” formed part of my super excited text message to Superman the moment the sales associate at Le Gourmet at Rustan’s Makati offered to me their thin disc of provolone cheese, which she lovingly nestled on the palms of her two hands.  It felt almost like a sacred offering to me.  And I guess rightfully so!  I mean, I hadn’t been living under a rock but for the life of me, all my efforts to look for provolone cheese here in the country…  had been an exercise in futility!  I’ve been to delis in Makati and Alabang – nothing!

 

But last Monday night proved to be serendipitous (Note:  Batman – that’s one of your fave words!  Hahaha!).  After negotiating the pedestrian lane from Glorietta 4 to Rustan’s, I turned the corner, found myself outside looking in to the coffee shop below, and saw a middle-aged American guy instructing someone at the coffee shop deli counter how huge a wedge would be sliced from a wheel of brie cheese.

 

And then it occurred to me!  “How come I’ve been coming here often and never noticed the deli counter in the coffee shop!”  So I went straight ahead to the counter, was greeted warmly by one of the personnel, and was presented with GIGLIO provolone cheese – the first time I’ve ever gotten a positive response to asking for it!

 

I chose a 200+-gram disc that sold for about 280 pesos.  Kind of affordable for high quality cheese!  I happen to have loved provolone.  And at one point, it was the only cheese I’d have in my mushroom and cheese omelet – for a year-and-a-half’s worth of breakfast!  On my Philly cheesesteak, that’s the only cheese I would have too!

Rustans Finds - De Cecco Spaghettini

Surprising find #2! - De Cecco Spaghettini

Still in the Rustan’s supermarket area, I made another discovery.  A very very very late discovery.  I was just supposed to pick up a pack of San Remo Angel Hair pasta when out of nowhere I saw the familiar blue-and-yellow pack of De Cecco pasta, “Spaghettini” to be exact.  This brand, for me, is actually one of the best dried pasta ever.

 

I’ve been searching for this for so long too!  I’ve even come to the point of asking the staff at Italianni’s at the Greenbelt 2 restaurant strip if they would sell me some.  I didn’t even know if they actually use the brand.  They just happened to have some packs on display at what I would call as cupboard shelf tops near the ceiling.

 

So having made this other serendipitous discovery, I had to throw in a couple of packs to my basket.

Rustans Finds - Pomodoro

The product of my two surprising finds! YUMMY!

And with these two “discoveries,” I just had to make myself the simplest of pasta dishes, using only what you see in the picture – one (just one!) plump roma tomato, fresh basil leaves, and De Cecco spaghettini – together with lots of fresh garlic, exactly seven dashes of cayenne pepper, extra virgin olive oil (seven swirls’ worth around the pan) and freshly grated Giglio provolone cheese instead of the traditional parmesan!