The Dark Knight in purple

31 05 2010

I SUPER love notebooks.  There’s just no denying that fact.  But still, I concede that there’s no justifying my action at the bookstore last Friday.  Honestly, I could hear Batman from miles away admonishing me for jostling my way to the front of the lone pile of comic character notebooks just so I could grab the last “Justice League / The Dark Knight” notebook.  His text message said it all, “So may isang batang nawalan ng notebook.  Ok lang yan, magtyaga na lang sya sa X-Men.”  (So, there’s one kid who lost a notebook.  That’s just fine.  He can settle for X-Men.”)

My new "Justice League / The Dark Knight" notebook!

I’m quite thankful that I had to brave the maddening crowd for only one notebook that really caught my fancy.  And it really is immaterial that it is one of my cheapest finds ever – ringing up at just Php 26.50!  What was really important to me was that it has on the cover one of my most admired superheroes.  And it’s in purple!

I’m not an expert on what era this depiction comes from.  (I do remember Batman telling me about how the costume has evolved in years.)  But I do love the very dynamic pose my superhero has on the cover and how succinctly the verbiage at the back encapsulates his essence.  And oh, there’s a “#5” – my favorite number – at the upper right hand corner at the back.

This notebook and I?  We’re meant to be.

The dynamic front cover


The very nice back cover


Can't wait to use this notebook!


Copyright © 2010 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.

Scallops for just two pesos. What?!

30 05 2010

I’VE BEEN hitting the supermarkets a lot lately.  More so than Greenbelt 5, Town, or the Serendra Piazza.  And yesterday I decided to burn five hundred pesos in gift check on something rather indulgent.  I mean, I had a separate budget on staples.  But the gift check?  I wanted to use it up on something special.

I hadn’t been staring long at the specialty Asian food aisle when I noticed that the Nissin Cup Noodle Seafood I just hoarded last week also comes in a “with scallops” variant.  I don’t read Japanese, so thank God for images!  I know it currently retails for Php 124.50 each for the “BIG” size, so my five hundred would get two pesos in change for four cups.

But no, I noticed that the one with scallops costs two pesos more, at Php 126.50 each.  No biggie.  I didn’t mind forking over six more pesos so that my five hundred in gift check would get me four.  Now that’s a steal.

Both Nissin. But one is "with scallops." And costs two pesos more! Just sayin'.


I don't read Japanese. But that sure looks scallops to me.


Even just the dehydrated chunks of crabstick, squid, tamago, and scallops are enough to make my mouth water.


What really really hot water (from a kettle, as Nigella Lawson would always say) and exactly two minutes can do to a bowl of Nissin Cup Noodel Seafood... spot the scallops!


I had this steaming hot cup of noodles, eating it with chopsticks from Shanghai that were a gift from my good good friend Tenz, on the couch, watching Royal Pains.


Copyright © 2010 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.

Nissin I’ve been missin’

30 05 2010

IT’S QUITE hard to go gaga about any of the locally produced cup noodles after one has tasted authentic Nissin Cup Noodle from Japan.  No disrespect meant towards all the La Paz Batchoy and the Chicken Sotanghon that abound in supermarket shelves.  But nothing does come close to Nissin, the “authentic” one.  That has been the case with me for over a decade now.

Going crazy over Nissin Cup Noodle bowls!

Trust the Japanese to also elevate a rather placid mundane scene of floor-to-ceiling noodle bowl displays – rife with every possible flavor or variant – into a more interactive supplier-to-customer one-stop-shop when they introduced to the market outlets where one can customize the ingredients and the flavor of a noodle bowl.  After selections are made, the bowl is sealed and can be called any which way one wants to!  I fancy making one with a miso-based broth!

But while that isn’t a possibility just yet, I have no complaints about satiating my cup noodle cravings with Nissin Cup Noodle Seafood.  I love the gingery broth that tastes “pleasantly” like the freshest seafood – rehydrated chunks of which generously swim in each foam cup.  Tamago (egg) being a staple in Japanese cuisine, Nissin made sure its presence is pronounced in every serving.  I make my noodles with water from a kettle that has just gone through a roaring boil.  But not really boiling – exactly 15 seconds after – just to make sure the foam cup doesn’t melt.

Nissin obviously doesn't scrimp on the ingredients!


I made the seafood and the curry at the same time. (I ate up in a hurry to be able to get any good enough photos. Next time!)

I weigh down the foil cover with a small plate just to make sure the cup is almost sealed shut.  And in the heat, in just two minutes, magic happens.

I weigh the foil covers down with good china just to make sure they are indeed sealed shut for the two minutes (exactly) that I let them "cook"!

[For a change, with this batch I bought one Nissin Cup Noodle Curry – to try!  I don’t have any issues with it except that the broth turns out more like a thick sauce.]

Tried the curry for the first time!

Copyright © 2010 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.

Pigs in blankets all in a circle

27 05 2010

I’M NOT a pizza person.  But to each his own.  That’s why I believe Ms. Kris Aquino-Yap when she declared in last week’s The Buzz that she can live on just lechon (roasted suckling pig) and pizza all her life.

One of 16 sausage pops in a Pizza Hut's Star Pops Pizza!

Obviously, I understand why my mother loves pizza as much.  The other day, she was telling me about Yellowcab’s Dear Darla pizza.  I guess it’s the alfalfa sprouts and the arugula leaves that she found interesting.  I made a promise to get some at the Yellowcab branch nearby – soon enough.

But last night, on my way out of the supermarket, I had to give Pizza Hut a glance back when I thought I saw on my peripheral vision a poster for yet another pizza creation Mama has been craving for.  It’s the “Star Pops” pizza, boasting a total of 16 “pullable” sausage pops around the actual pizza.  I got the family size of their Super Supreme, with extra toppings of mushrooms and cheese.  Exactly 10 minutes after placing my order, I got my pizza and it came with a cheddar cheese dip for the sausage pops.

I have to say the pizza did look so appetizing.  As my Mama told me, the cheese pops before were so good already that adding sausage to the mix could push the goodness to overdrive.

I looked at the 16 “pullable” sausage pops and they conjured images of pigs in a blanket neatly arranged in a circle.  So behaved!  And just waiting to be devoured.

The Pizza Hut Star Pops Pizza in Super Supreme


The toppings overflow on this Super Supreme!


I did ask for extra mushrooms.


Little pigs in blankets waiting in line. One by one, they had their time.


Copyright © 2010 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.

A Lola’s love

24 05 2010

THE LAST time I visited my maternal grandmother Mommy, she had finally come to, something I had been praying for after frantic messages from my cousin said that she (Mommy) had regained consciousness but couldn’t seem to put names to faces.

Mommy's hospital ID bracelet. Upon her discharge from the hospital, I asked if I could keep it.

But this one time I was there, she was back to her usual self, engaging me in animated conversation.  After taking a sip from her drink, she looked at me and said, “So, it’s Noynoy.”  I didn’t take my eyes off of her and smiled, while trying to form in my head a suitable response, knowing for a fact that the choice for the next President is one thing we had respectful disagreement on – disagreement, but never an argument.

Before I could say anything, she continued, “Ok na yung si Noynoy.  Suportahan na lang natin.  Sana pagbutihan nya.”  (Noynoy’s fine.  Let’s just support him.  I hope he does well.”)

A few minutes later I asked to be excused to grab a late lunch at the hospital cafeteria.  The very moment the door behind me closed, my brother who was accompanying me looked at me and said, “Mahal ka talaga ni Mommy.  Ngayon gusto na nya si Noynoy kasi alam nya (Mommy) gusto mo sa kanya.”  (Mommy really loves you.  She now likes Noynoy because she knows you like him.”)

Copyright © 2010 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.

New fave sandwich

24 05 2010

The label from the packaging of my new favorite sandwich.

WITH THIS new favorite sandwich, quite obviously, I still miso like crazy.

I’ve long known that miso has great potential beyond making a cloudy broth chockful with seaweeds, onion leeks, and tofu.  I’ve known this long before any of the chefs on Bravo’s Top Chef has ever made a miso-basted chicken breast during a quickfire challenge.

But I was not prepared to see a miso-based creation staring back at me from inside a temperature-controlled sandwich display counter.  Much less at Starbucks.

But “Grilled Miso Chicken & Mushroom with Wasabi Mango on Italian Bread” leapt from a sea of options that it was a natural choice for company on yet another solo movie night.

The chicken breast fillet was surprisingly – and uncharacteristically – moist.  The red miso paste was basted just lightly, accentuated by a light dusting of black pepper.  The mushroom component turned out to be a generous portion of sliced shiitake mushrooms.  They were meaty and flavorful that I thought they could make a sandwich filling all their own.  The label said that dried shiitake mushrooms were used.  I didn’t guess that to be the case at all for I didn’t have to “fight” with them.  They were so tender.

To tie all the flavors together, the wasabi mango dressing had miso paste as well, the perfect foil to the sharpness of the wasabi, the tartness of the mayonnaise, and the sweetness of the magoes.

I would always politely ask the service crew to please tear off the label carefully. They'd give me a look and before they could even ask, I tell them, "I collect the labels."


Copyright © 2010 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.

Air India

24 05 2010

NO MATTER how many times I have taken air travel, I haven’t gotten over my fear of flying.  Up to this very moment, the very first thing I do when I board an airplane is pray.  Takeoffs and landings still manage to get the better of me.  And whenever I’m way up there – at about 30,000 feet up in the air – I continue to pray.  I pray as if I’m just carrying a conversation with God, asking that He keep my flight safe.

Plane ticket, luggage tags, Amex ticket sleeve.

So everytime the news carries stories about plane crashes, it does break my heart.  The news in this Sunday’s papers – I have both the Philippine Daily Inquirer and the Philippine Star – is especially poignant because it involves Air India and the state of Karnataka where the crashed happened.  Bangalore, the state’s capital, has been quite dear to me.

I only have fond memories of my Air India flights, things I took account of on my “Rickshaw Diaries.”  Foremost of which were the very friendly in-flight cabin crew and the superb mile-high cuisine.  As for Bangalore, I would always remember it for The Park Hotel and for the many shopping haunts that dotted its busy streets.  I have spent a whole day roaming the city, sharing the streets peacefully with cows and the friendly locals.

My prayers and my sincere thoughts go to the victims and the loved ones of the crash of the Air India Boeing 737-800.

I heart Air India.

Copyright © 2010 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.

When you love you don’t count the cost

23 05 2010

YOU SIMPLY don’t.  Especially when you are giving away something in a box that seems to cost an arm and a leg more than what the contents are worth.

An assortment of Isabelle® cookies in the "Amour" purple-and-pink gift box with a pink ribbon.


“Quand on aime, on ne compte pas.”

ISABELLE® cookies are simply some of the best I have ever tasted.  And this one right here comes in the special “Amour” gift box, on which is stamped, “Quand on aime, on ne compte pas.”  The box itself alone is so pretty that it took time before I could get past it to take a peek at what was inside.

And inside was a collection of some of Isabelle’s most popular and most delicious cookies, all individually wrapped.  Included in the mix were cookies infused with the luscious essences of coffee, chocolate, and vanilla.  Espresso Crunch was all coffee and crumbs.  Mischievous Chocolate was devilish as it was sinful.  And Heavenly Vanilla seemed to have come straight from up above, packed in a gossamer pouch as light as a cloud.

Something like this shouldn’t be finished in one sitting.  In fact, one has to make a personal injunction to ration it out.  But if it can’t be helped, one can argue that it was done to free up and re-purpose a box as beautiful as this one.

Ain't it pretty?


A sneak peak at what's inside!


The cookies and biscuits are individually wrapped. The vanilla discs even comes in their own gossamer pouch!


Some of the individual plastic wrapper says, "Un bon biscuit"!


One more look at the very yummy contents!


Copyright © 2010 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.

No complaints about this “daing”

22 05 2010

HOW I wish I could lay claim to actually making this dish from scratch.  But I just can’t.  Because fortunately for me, someone delivers to the house these ready-for-the-frying pan, marinated boneless butterflied milkfish.

Perfectly fried marinated boneless milkfish

Though making them from scratch should be a breeze.  All one needs are the very best boneless milkfish, lots of crushed garlic, vinegar, salt and pepper.  Overnight marination should do the trick.  And before long, “daing na bangus” (marinated milkfish) is ready to sizzle in hot oil.

And then there were two!

The fillets are fried until the outside is a golden crisp, keeping the inside really juicy – not dried and flaky at all.  As a perfect accompaniment, I would always make a light cucumber salad with tomatoes and shallots in a calamansi-vinegar dressing.  The only things I’m finicky about are that the cucumbers should always be seeded and that they should always be sliced thinly – paper thin if at all possible with one’s knife skills.

Cucumbers have to be seeded – always!


One of the few things I'm really patient about – slicing cucumbers as thin as could be!


Tomatoes sliced into wedges.


The shallots, also sliced into wedges.


The salad, all mixed up, gets a sprinkling of salt.


Finally, the salad gets a couple of cracks of the pepper mill.


Copyright © 2010 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.

A different fried chicken

21 05 2010

MY FRIEND Ms. Jo’s marinade recipe for pork belly was so good that it was inevitable that I would use it for chicken.

I did exactly that, per my mother’s request.  My visiting brother and his wife loved it so much too that after dinner, I sent them off with a freshly prepared batch all their own.  I used only chicken thighs and legs.  They had it for lunch the following day.

Again, thanks Jo for a simple yet great recipe!

I thought I burned the chicken pieces with all that caramelization. But no, they actually tasted perfect! Having grown tired of all my chef-wannabe talk, my brothers knew they had to wait 'til the meat had rested before they attacked!

A tight shot of a perfect fried chicken thigh.

One of my dipping sauce options for this dish is made of soy sauce, freshly squeezed calamansi juice, and onion leeks.

Copyright © 2010 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.