30 07 2010

I’VE KNOWN Brother for 14 years.  When he and his batchmates started at the office, I was just going on my fourth month.  And I was usually assigned to look after them, deliver talks, show them how things were done.  Practically their sitter.  Hahaha!  Much later on, I became one of his really close friends.

In the course of a friendship, priorities change.  Some things may seem more attractive and pull you to so many different directions.  Worse, some bad patterns may emerge.  But even when you and your friend begin to move in different circles, the bond of real friendship remains.  One’s addiction to DOTA notwithstanding.

A couple of weeks back, Brother suffered a major loss in his life.  It was very deep into the night of my birthday celebration dinner (that he understandably missed) when he sent me the news thru text.  A couple of days later, sitting at the front pew at the wake, he told me that he didn’t know how to tell people.

He said he had to text our boss – of course out of obligation.  And then he said I was actually the only one he could tell it to.  I really felt like nothing has changed my relationship with Brother.  We have never lost each other’s trust.

I promised that I will always be there for him.  Nothing new really.  It is just like how it has always been.

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

Fab hand-me-down

29 07 2010

The fab hand-me-down! (Oh, it's just the case, hah!)

MY BROTHER gave this wristwatch case to me, quite unsure if I would like a hand-me-down.  I instantly did!  I had to whip out the camera and take a few shots.

I like the deep, dark stain on the wood, as well as the color of the lining.  For these photos, I reached for five of my most used pieces – four of which were gifts!  One of the four came from the maker’s plant in Padua, Italy, and purchased at a store in Sicily.  Another came from Bangalore, India.

The wristwatch case, full of gifts from Partner, Brother, an Indian friend, and Manong.


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

Of icons and heroes

29 07 2010

Twenty-four years of The Philippine Star

THINKING OF what-might-have-beens is a bitch.  And it doesn’t help that I have Lou Pardini on heavy rotation in my head, provoking me with the line that says I could very well be the “fool wondering what might have been.”

In early April, I seriously considered joining The Philippine Star’s “Star Lifestyle Journalism Contest 2010” with the theme:  My Icon, My Hero.  It was a no-brainer who I wanted to write about – Mr. Teodoro “Teddyboy” L. Locsin, Jr.

Mechanics to the Star Lifestyle Journalism Contest 2010


Not only have I admired the man for so many years now.  Not only did his then column “Free Fire” serve as a formative influence to my own principles.  Not only do I unequivocally declare his “Assignment” to have given us some of the finest hours on Philippine television.

I have actually written about him here already, that I felt I had a good start for a contest piece.  But I had a swamped schedule (right now, I’m culling from memory a defining moment that happened to me last June 12.  It was punctuated by the line, “But Tim, he has a full-time job!”).  And I eventually yielded to self-doubt.

Finally, the 10 winning pieces were published in yesterday’s 24th anniversary edition, easily The Philippine Star’s thickest ever, together with features on 24 luminaries from diverse fields of specialization or calling.  I believe it’s going to be a collector’s item so my propensity for contingencies kicked in – I asked my brother to get me another copy.  Besides, I’m so looking forward to the weekend to work on clipping my favorites and putting them in an album.  (I have a modest collection of clippings of Mr. Locsin, Jr.’s “Free Fire” from over a decade ago.)

From the 24 icons and heroes written about by 24 of the paper’s columnists, I have two favorites – Erwin Romulo’s piece on Kris Aquino, and Jessica Zafra’s on the Roger Federer.

Erwin Romulo wrote about Kris Aquino.


Jessica Zafra on Roger Federer.


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

From the bargain bin

28 07 2010

I AM MY OWN ANTISOCIAL after office hours.  I don’t mean shy.  I mean, preferring to not have contact with others.  I have better control of my time that way.

Lately, very much like what I had claimed here last year, second-hand bookstores have been a favorite hangout of mine.  Prior this fixation, I would hole up in Powerbooks and pore over novels (I started reading Kitchen Confidential in Alabang and finished it in Greenbelt) or cookbooks (I’ve already gone through most of the work of my fave FoodNetwork celebrity chefs).

Last Monday night in National Bookstore, while deciding whether or not to get the beautifully Neal Oshima-photographed, Margarita Araneta Forés-co-authored book Kulinarya, a couple of massive tables with piles of books on them, caught my eye.

Bargain “bins”!!!

I never knew there were such in National Bookstore!

Before long, I had my hands full with John Grishams, and a couple more titles of authors I haven’t heard – or read – of.  Before I hit the cashiers, I decided to give the books one more sweep, running my right index finger through the spines.  That’s when I made the best find.


Giada De Laurentiis's "Giada's Kitchen"

Almost-new.  Never used.  No signs of being leafed through.  I turned it over to check the barcode.  W-O-W.  It was not a good deal.  It was a steal.  (The personnel at the counter had to repeatedly scan the item checking if she was reading the price right.  Haha!).  But I didn’t buy the book for myself.  I bought it for someone who I know will get to appreciate it as much – if not even more.

Giada De Laurentiis has been one of my favorites over at FoodNetwork.  I’ve been following her Everyday Italian for years.  I swear by her Pasta Primavera, Rigatoni with Bechamel Sauce and Prosciutto, and her Flourless Chocolate Cake (oozing with gooey melted chocolate at the center).

An nice photo from this cookbook – an instant fave!


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

From The Boy Wonder

27 07 2010

THE BOY WONDER took a couple of photos that I simply love!  These somehow pay homage to people and things really dear to me.

From Gotham City!


"I drew a line / I drew a line for you / Oh what a thing to do / And it was all yellow..."


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

How do I thank thee?

26 07 2010

IT’S INSIDIOUS, the pleasures I derive from miso.  Just when I thought I have had enough, I crave for just a little more.  So when someone so kind gave me a 10-serving pack of my favorite miso soup, I jumped up and down, quite a vulgar and immature reaction.

My favorite brand of miso soup!

I heart miso, here and here.

I can have this all day – everyday.  Which was exactly what I did this past weekend.  No wonder I’m so happy.

A bowl I made, with lots of tofu and onion leeks. I love how the dried wakame seeweeds start off as little as peppercorns and soak up broth to become bigger than the shallow bowl-shaped container of my soup spoon!


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

Stopping over for beef two ways

25 07 2010

Hawaiian Burger at Tropical Hut

TROPICAL HUT has punctuated a number of memorable scenes in my childhood.  Whenever we’d go to Pasig or Greenhills, my Mama and I would consider stopping over for quick bites at this place.  As a kid, I felt that choosing Tropical Hut over the really more popular Jollibee or McDonald’s somehow made me a non-conformist.  Wow, I was a kid with issues.  Hahaha!

A week ago, two colleagues and I felt the need to make a quick stop over to satiate grumbling tummies, before we continued on our way to a wake.  Just when we thought all hope was lost, a Walter-Mart complex figured to our left, thankfully before we had to hit the freeway exit.

My companions looked at me quizzically and asked, “Saan mo gusto kumain?”  (Where do you want to eat?).  Instantly, I felt just like a kid again, one so taken care of.  Channeling the sentinments of my childhood,  I beamed, “Tropical Hut”!

At the counter, I ended up perusing the extensive menu at my leisure, totally oblivious to the line that was forming behind me.  As I’m all about noodles, I asked for their Beef Noodles, which was quite a steal at a measly Php 39.00.  My being a skeptical consumer kicked in, and so, I added Beef Stew Rice to my order.  I figured that a 39-peso bowl of noodles would be nothing more than a small portion.

The food arrived at our table and I had never felt happier to be proven wrong.  The bowl of Beef Noodles was quite substantial!  It had a generous amount of really tender beef, noodles that had been cooked with still a bite left to them, napa cabbage, and chopped spring onions in a robustly flavorful broth.

Beef Noodles

I assumed that the beef in the noodle dish started off as a stew, something that I was about to savor in the Beef Stew Rice that came next.  I was resigned to my self-fulfilled fate of savoring redundant dishes in one meal, so imagine my pleasant surprise when I caught hints of cilantro in the mound of rice, on and around which were strewn the chunks of beef.  I swear I almost asked for another one of the exact same rice.

Beef Stew Rice

There was plenty of beef in each serving!

It’s been decades since I first enjoyed Tropical Hut – looking out the window to see kids my age with spaghetti sauce all over their faces at the nearby fastfood outlet – and it’s still as good as I remember it to be.

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

For someone who does look only 20!

23 07 2010

The fab birthday girl!

TODAY MARKS the birthday of one of the really few people who have managed to fascinate me, make me smile, and make me feel I matter – Rizzie.

For you, may the sun keep shining through regardless of the clouds and the rain


and may you never lose your way


and may you stop and smell the roses


and may your life be always full of flavor.


Happy birthday my friend!

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

For before, during and after the movies

23 07 2010

Snapshot taken right after getting my caffeine fix after watching the last screening of Toy Story 3. It was right around midnight.

THIS WEEK seems to be a good week at the movies.  I haven’t gotten around to seeing any of the current releases, but I intend to this weekend.  Everything’s in consideration.  Oops, spoke too soon.  Everything except one of the two Tagalog movies.

With movies in my mind, I’m reminded of my routine as of late:

A really heavy dinner.

Healthy shabi-shabu!


Lots of vegetables!


Beef sirloin


Fresh oysters


Extra serving of Taiwan pechay and shiitake mushrooms


Extra serving of tofu


Coffee (or tea) and a pastry from The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf to bring to the cinema.

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf


Coffee and a pastry from Starbucks for after the movies.

My coffee name on my coffee cup on top of gifts from The Dark Knight.


My coffee name came from a newspaperman...


...who turns into The Man of Steel.

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

Here, you don’t pay for the ambiance

22 07 2010

Lolo Claro's "Selecta 6", a meal of half a fried spring chicken, garlic fried rice, and iced tea.

THIS HOLE-IN-THE-WALL owes a debt of gratitude to word of mouth.

My friend Jeck has been telling me about Lolo Claro’s, egging me on to pay it a visit.  I probably would have done so much earlier, except that true to being a hole-in-the-wall, it is out of the way.  As to the other aspect (of it being hole-in-the-wall) that it’s a small unpretentious place, I absolutely don’t care about it.  It’s the food that matters.

Jeck succinctly describes the food to be “sing-sarap ng Max’s pero ‘di sing-mahal!”  (As good as Max’s but doesn’t cost as much!).

On my second visit, I asked for the meal with half a fried spring chicken, and a fresh “lumpiang ubod” (fresh eggroll with a filling made of sautéed heart of palm).  It was a quick decision as the offerings fill up only the back-to-back space of the worn out, laminated menu card.

My half fried spring chicken!


Fresh Lumpiang Ubod (fresh eggroll with a filling made of sautéed heart of palm)

Jeck was right to make the comparison to Max’s.  In between heaping spoonfuls of rice and chicken, I kept looking up to check where I was having a most filling meal.  I would’ve thought of the place to be Max’s, were it not for the stark décor and the conspicuous unavailability of the all-you-can-eat chicken promo.  And yes, the creek a.k.a. “the view” adjacent to the place.



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