Love and other stuff

31 01 2011

Partner and the iPad from The Boy Wonder!

“WHAT?!  YOU’RE laughing at me?”

“No.  No, I wasn’t.  Here’s Partner again.”

I handed the earphones back to Partner.  I haven’t lasted a couple of minutes on my seat and all I had managed was indeed to laugh – to chuckle in bursts, actually – because I was quite surprised with what I arrived at at the table.  Partner, who I had moments prior envisioned to have already been losing much of her renowned patience, was actually biding the time away in the company of The Boy Wonder.  Virtually.  His Christmas present to her – a 64-GB iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G – was comfortably set up on a stand on the dinner table and he was on Skype.  All I managed was a wave.  And yes, the chuckling in bursts.

Soon they said their farewells and Partner’s attention was back to me 100%.  Having made her wait, I felt the need to launch to a lengthy apology – beginning with the horrendous traffic on EDSA.  But just like how it is with real friends, she lovingly gestured with her hand that apology wasn’t necessary.

We haven’t seen each other for quite a while – as she has been based in Singapore for close to three years now – that I knew I wanted to give her a kiss on the cheeks and hug her really tight.  I’ve missed her so much.  And we both knew there were a lot of catching up to do.  Unlike before when she would understand whenever I would miss showing up in the few days she would sneak back home for a quick respite, this time around, she was quite clear that my absence won’t be excused.

“There’s so much more to tell Partner, if only we can go to dinner now so I can tell you everything!…  I have been dying to tell you but I never really had the chance.” exclaimed some of her e-Mails from a week back.  So I knew I had to make good on my commitment to show up.

So there I was, seated across Partner at our table for two.  Transfixed at one of my best friends, wondering how she has managed to look even more beautiful.  I’ve always admired her face, but that night, bathed in the warm lights of the interiors of my restaurant of choice, Partner’s face emanated with the ethereal glow that brought to mind paintings by Rembrandt.  I guess that’s what happens when one is truly happy from the inside.  When one – or two people so in love – is “no longer hurting.”  I could tell for I was one of her friends who have seen her through the ups and downs.  I may not have been much of a help to her, but I’ve seen her through those times.

“Partner, you order.  I’m not that hungry pa naman.  I had a late lunch.” Partner uttered, snapping me out of the trance I was in.

“You sure?  Where did you eat?  What did you have?”

“Yeah.  Cibo at the Shang.  I had a salad.”

“Did you know that the owners of Cibo and Mamou are sisters-in-law?”

I just had to throw out yet another piece of trivia I know.  And the very moment I did, our server just couldn’t help but smile.

And yes, the night’s restaurant of choice was Mamou at the Serendra Piazza.  Partner told me I could choose whichever I want.  Having been meaning to visit the place – almost on a number of occasions, but never quite! – I thought our dinner was the perfect reason to make good on that goal.  I chose it because it does boast to be “a home kitchen.”  It was, after all, a special dinner between really great friends.

Careful to spill out all my compliments, then all my questions, in one go, I kept myself in check and diverted my attention to Mamou’s laminated menu card.

“Partner, I’ll start with a salad.  Then…”  I was about to mention the pièce de résistance when – just how it is with real friends – Partner finished my sentence.

“You said you wanted to try the steak, right?”

“…then the steak!”

As if violinists in a symphony, Partner and I flipped the menus over in one orchestrated motion and perused the “Meat” section.

“Partner, I want this,” I spoke, mimicking how my six-year old nephew speaks, pointed on the menu card and continued, “the Angus Ribeye USDA Prime Grade Steak!”  At that very moment, I could tell from my peripheral vision that our server (failed to get his name!) was having a field day with my and Partner’s repartee.  And probably, he already could surmise who was getting the check!  Hahaha!

I could very well have stopped with the salad – we asked for the Healdsburg’s Harvest – and the steak.  After all, the pairing brought to mind one of my favorite lunches-for-one that I had learned from Nigella Lawson years ago.  But I just had to ask for one offbeat, somewhat tangential choice – noodles.  And I’m not talking pasta here, which could have very well been inspired by an Italian spread of Bistecca alla Fiorentina served with pasta.  I’m talking good ol’ Hong Kong egg noodles swimming in a potent beef broth.  They call it their “Mamou Mami.”

As the steak would be a bit of a wait – the menu said 20 minutes – Partner motioned to me to try the complimentary house bread.  They were actually more like rolls, four rather unassuming pieces of rounded bread – two bark brown (whole grain?) and two white – in a small wicker basket.  I took the white one, tore off a piece and launched with my questions.

Just about the best rolls I have ever had!

 

Aw-aw-aw... aw-aw-aw... Awesome!!!

 

Butter!

 

“Did he know you told me about how he felt about you?  Did he know I already knew.  I mean, from your end.  Because from his, I know because he told me.  And I told you.  Hahaha!”  I asked.  And as Partner responded, I felt I was holding in my hands the perfect metaphor to how her heart probably goes whenever she would mention The Boy Wonder’s name – like butter sliding down hot toast.  Her eyes would glow and her heart would melt.  “If this isn’t love / L–O–V–E / What is it to me?/ L–O–V–E ”

And Mamou’s bread does melt, literally, in my mouth!  I’ve never been so taken by any restaurant’s complimentary bread.  But Mamou’s are something different.  In the middle of Partner and The Boy Wonder’s love story, I just had to interject,

“Partner, these rolls are so good!!!”

I looked for our server, and with a smile told him, “May we have more?  Please.”

He took the basket, with a smile.  And I knew, more metaphors of butter sliding down hot toast were in my immediate future.  Like, in 5 minutes!

“So, Partner, when did you know that he was good for you?  That he was what you needed and more?”

That was when the salad, Healdsburg’s Harvest, arrived.  How could something so healthy, look so yummy?  I could tell that the salad was able to whet Partner’s appetite but she was understanding of my unspoken, unwritten “shoot first, eat later” policy.  My knees were weak at the sight of the salad and the shivering translated to the photos.  It was hard to focus!  The purplish veining of the greens were teasing and the explosion of juices that the cherry tomatoes promised – the moment I’d pop one in my mouth – were too much to handle by someone not blessed with steady hands.

Healdsburg's Harvest!

 

The first portion I served Partner.

 

I got so intrigued by this leafy green that I had to ask what it's called... and forgot it! Hahaha!

 

“What’s the dressing called?” I just had to asked, my curiosity piqued by the explosion of purple that appeared to me more as candy than vinaigrette.

“Berry dressing, Sir.”

“Partner, it has glazed pecans and candied cranberries!”

I tossed the salad and served Partner a decent portion.  She pierced some of the delicate greens with her fork and with the first taste told me, “Partner, it’s good!”  I managed to break into a shy smile.  Because for a moment I thought, while Partner may have told me that the salad was good,  she actually unknowingly just answered my question.  She just knew The Boy Wonder was indeed good for her.  I know the guy quite well and if he came in a bottle of supplements, I’d call him “Multi-Harryboy” – complete from A to Zinc it would say on the label, just what Partner needed.  Very much like the salad she was having.

We needed more space on the table when my big bowl of Mamou Mami arrived.  In one quick motion, Partner willingly let go of the bread basket and handed it to our server.

“Do you still want that, Partner?” she asked.

“No, I’m ok.”  (Though a part of me ached for that last brown roll.)

With what Partner removed from our table, a space was created for something she knew I really liked – the bowl of noodles.

Mamou Mami. This has got to be the best I've ever had outside of Ongpin. For this alone, I'll keep on coming back to Mamou!

 

“So aren’t you going to tell me about all that happened and came before The Boy Wonder?”

“No na, Partner.  Those are all in the past.  Let’s just focus on happy thoughts right now.  Ask me about The Boy Wonder na lang.”

I bowed to catch a whiff of the savory bowl of Mamou Mami in front of me and almost instantly, a sense of comfort washed over me, making me totally forget about that last piece of bread.  It was in the past now.  Partner was obviously happy I was enjoying myself, though I was waiting for her to pass judgment on my unconventional choice (this was supposed to be a steak dinner!).  But the happy person that she is, she allowed me my own happiness.  Which, at that very moment meant a generous portion of perfectly cooked Hong Kong egg noodles in a robustly flavored broth that was part homage to the La Paz Batchoy of Iloilo and part to the mami of Ongpin.  I fell in love with the hint of fresh coriander that perfumed each quiet (quiet!) sip of the broth.

“Partner, do you think The Boy Wonder came just at the right time?  I mean, you shoo’d him away before.  Good thing, you gave him another chance.”

And as with all good things in this life…  As with all good things that have come in Partner’s life at this point, the fabulous steak came to those who were willing to wait.  Served tilted to one side, our Angus Ribeye USDA Prime Grade Steak was perfectly done to Partner’s desired medium-well goodness, oozing with its natural juices and the goodness of – I surmised – really good extra virgin olive oil.  I told myself, the generous jus and oil would make for a perfect dressing for the delicate greens, the sweet cherry tomatoes, and the slivers of cranberry stilton cheese.  And to bring the salad to overdrive, I would tumble into the salad the slices of succulent steak.  Sinfully good.  For a while there, I could pretend that I was having dinner overlooking a vast vineyard somewhere in Tuscany.  Yet, I was where I exactly wanted to be – with Partner at Mamou.

14-oz. cut of the Angus Ribeye USDA Prime Grade Steak

 

Medium-well. Just as how Partner asked for it.

 

Last couple of slices!... And we thought we were not that hungry to begin with!

 

The best corn pudding ever!

 

Creamed Spinach

 

We started dinner with the excitement and intensity of how it felt for butter to slide down warm rolls (the promise of something new!), managed to let go of the past (that last roll!) and made room for the unexpected (Mamou Mami is mami from heaven!), and at the appointed time, became ready to receive the best of what the restaurant could offer (what a steak!).

I thought to myself, very much the story of Partner and The Boy Wonder’s love.

I politely asked our server, "Is the iced tea good?" To which he responded, "I'll bring you a tasting portion." A tasting portion?!?! If that's not luxurious, elegant service, then I don't know what is. (The iced tea was great!)

 

(I may not be the voice Partner hears first in the morning, and listens to last at night to tuck her safely and warmly to bed.  Mine may not be the strong arms that hold her in a tight embrace whenever the world is cold and she needs comfort.  My dreams may no longer hold as much importance or generate as much excitement to her ears like before.  But Partner is exactly where she deserves to be – with someone I prayed she would be.  With someone who can love her for everything that she is and for everything that she could help nurture in someone else.

 

I am a much better person because Partner has touched my life.  She has done so for so many other people – to family and friends.  It’s about time she allows the universe to pamper her and put her happiness first above all else.  I know The Boy Wonder is up to the task.  He has loved her with a love that was never afraid to take the pain, honest, sincere, unceasing.  I pray for them.)

Copyright © 2011 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.





All the best, Giant Paulo!

28 01 2011

A pensive Giant Paulo

IT DOESN’T come often in a person’s life that he or she could claim to be really proud of his or her direct manager.  It just is hard to come by.  But as a direct manager for a while now – to a total of 44 bright young minds, as of last count, spread over five years – this sense of pride has surfaced often enough from my end, allowing me to appreciate those who have spent time in making my team at work a winning team.  If ever I have been regarded to have performed well, I was just a mere reflection of all of those who have been making things happen.  Giant Paulo has been there eversince I got my promotion.  And apart from the exceptional performance he has delivered year in and year out, I guess I owe him a loyalty medal if ever I would give one.

So, for all those times he stood by me, for all the truth that he made me see, for all the joy…  Oh, I got carried away.  I’m not quite sure about the joy part.  Hahaha!  Ok, seriously now.

So, quite naturally, I couldn’t let him move on to a better and more challenging phase in his career without at least hosting a dinner in his honor.  Brother and The Tycoon – themselves Mr. Pure Energy and Mr. Total Performer, respectively – had been in on my plan.  We told Giant Paulo it would be nothing less than a fab steak dinner.  A warm, succulent, plump, and juicy steak dinner.  We made a shortlist – Mamou at the Serendra Piazza, Mr. Jones (they have beef after all!) or  Myron’s Place at Greenbelt 5, or Highlands Steakhouse at the Mall of Asia.

And then that bus bombing happened.  While nothing would come in the way of our planned dinner, common sense prevailed and we had to scratch off Mamou, Mr. Jones, and Myron’s Place from the list.  We eventually decided on Highland Steakhouse.  Unfotunately, after I had made the ounces-to-grams conversion of the meat portions on their menu – I was asked, I don’t usually do the math when it comes to food – another round of check with our common sense led to a reasonable concensus – Café Mediterranean.  It’s one of my own favorites so I was ecstatic with the choice.  Besides, the mere mention of “kebab” and “lamb” did put a smile on Giant Paulo’s face.  So I knew that with every step we were taking, we were inching closer to gastronomic heaven for the guest of honor.

I won’t be commenting in length about the food.  I have done that, to a different spread, here.  Suffice it to say that it was a well-received dinner.  I was quite happy with my Roasted Vegetable Soup, creamy in texture and robust in the smokiness of a melange of vegetables most likely roasted for hours to caramelized goodness in the oven.  I found it interesting that while the flavors came from the bounty of the Mediterranean Sea, my dinner pairing of this soup with the classic Greek Salad echoed thoughts of a belly-pleasing combo that was so American in nature.  I got reminded of this juxtaposition while I unconsciously rubbed my expanding tummy as wedges of deep red roma tomatoes burst with their juices in my mouth, marrying perfectly with the coy sharpness of the Vidalia onions and the creaminess of the crumbled feta cheese.

Roasted Vegetable Soup

 

Greek Salad

 

Salmon Linguini

 

Marinated Olives

 

Barcelona Pizza

 

Complimentary Side Salad

 

Iced Mint Tea

As Giant Paulo’s dinner was conceived with unapologetic carnivorous thoughts in mind, I gave in and asked for my own Lamb Stew served over Mediterranean Rice.  The stew was wonderful – though I realized right there that cinnamon suppresses The Flash’s appetite – bringing to Iron Man’s mind an unavoidable comparison to the Filipino beef mechado.  I devoured all the tender – almost gelatinous at times – chunks of lamb, unfortunately picking through my Mediterranean Rice as slivers of almonds turned out to be my cinammon.  Note to self:  say, “No almonds, please,” next time.

Lamb Stew over Mediterranean Rice

 

Giant Paulo had the Lamb Kebab with Pita

 

Lamb Kebab with Mediterranean Rice

 

Moroccan Grilled Fish with Pita

 

Lamb Stew with Couscous served on the side

The full (security) alert status notwithstanding – that turned EDSA to a giant parking lot, yet again – the evening’s only rose, the very lovely K-Girl arrived, well into just the meal’s start.  She started with a little of the salad then asked for the Pesto Basilico pasta.  While waiting, she got into all the catching up, not parrying any questions at all.

Pesto Basilico

I knew that the dinner was thought of as just a fitting gesture to say farewell to Giant Paulo.  But as I skewered yet another wedge of tomato and a chunk of Vidalia with the tines of my dinner fork, I looked up and saw everybody gathered around the dinner table – swapping stories, throwing knock-knock jokes, spilling the latest on what-not – and I knew I was right where I wanted to be.  And that we had fulfilled what we wanted to convey:  it was a celebration of the good times and a silent commitment to recreate the same.  Some other time.  Some other place.

Bon voyage, Giant Paulo!

Here's to more times together!

 

Copyright © 2011 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.





Make someone happy

25 01 2011

ONE OF my personal life-long goals came from a perfume campaign from about a decade ago.  I saw their posters and cardboard fragrance testers at the Duty-Free shop and I knew right there and then that with my purchase of my first bottle, I had caught a whiff of what would be a cornerstone to my existence – “Make someone happy.”

I don’t mean that I get out of bed every morning with a (conscious) intention to make someone happy.  It’s just something that has always been at the back of my head – sometimes hovering above me in thought bubbles – allowing me to dole out random acts of kindness and of love.

The gestures don’t have to be grand.  I still believe that the smallest of deeds far outweighs the grandest of intentions.  What matters is that I give willingly, and with a cheerful heart.  I’ve come to realize that I do it best through food – the moment I share food with you, I truly care about you.  The moment I cook for you, well…  I cook for you.

I got reminded to make this post today after I had told my good friend Toni Alexis that I’ve been thinking about documenting my own “year in love,” obviously inspired by her own.  I love her tagline: “One Year, one girl, one mission:  to spread one love one day at a time.”

Spreading love is all about making someone happy besides yourself.  So I’ll keep on doing it.  There’s no better way to leave this world but by leaving behind the best parts of my life – which, if I’ll borrow from a previous post – are the little, nameless, and unremembered acts.

Copyright © 2011 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.





Weekend with family

24 01 2011

The Façade

VICARIOUS THRILL best describes how it feels like to have visiting family over.  My eldest brother, his wife, and their brood of three are at the homestretch of their month-long vacation here in the Philippines.  They’re on vacation, and I convince myself that I am too.  Hahaha!  The weekends – especially this last one – have proven to be a respite from the toxicity of the workweeks.

Upon my aunt’s invitation, all of us went to her resthouse in Tagaytay.  In the family, I was the last one to set foot there as I would always have schedule conflicts whenever they would make the long drive to the place.  My mother would always tell me that it was about time I saw my youngest brother’s work.  I got out of the car and my jaw literally dropped and I lost composure in my attempt to channel the Daphe Oseña Paez and do my best effort of doing an “Urban Zone” feature of the structure.

Youngest Brother designed this?”

“Yes, and he interior decorated it too.  I sent him to buying trips (in Asia) for everything you see inside the house.”

“Wow.”

I loved how the living room area was glass-paneled on one side, with a ceiling height extending to almost three storeys.  I would’ve asked for the huge snowball drop chandeliers if they would fit in the trunk!

For posterity, my brothers and I posed behind the glass wall – a panel each – doing our best impression of a department store window.  I was tempted to comment, “Vu-ma-Vanity Fair.”  Hahaha!

The Façade at an angle

 

The neighbors

 

I like this house a lot. I was told that it is yet to be finished.

 

I love love L-O-V-E these "snowball" chandeliers that drop from the highest point of the house. The railing at the foreground is actually the second level. The one above that is the third level.

 

The chandeliers against dusk

 

Outdoor sitting at the front

 

I love the gate!

 

View from the top

 

I love that the "main" bathroom at the second level actually has a five-star hotel feel to it. It opens to a lot of stalls and cubicles, with the center island housing the lavatories, mirrors and the toiletries.

 

Of course there was food! My aunt has always been the most gracious "Hostess with the Mostest"... She had the cook make Baked Spaghetti, and Grilled Ham & Cheese Sandwiches, to join the Razon's of Guagua Ensaymada in the spread. My sister-in-law brought the assortment of pastries.

 

Baked Spaghetti

 

Blueberry tarts. These were SOOO GOOD!

 

I'm guessing these were purple yam tarts.

 

Ensaymada from Razon's of Guagua

 

Pink cattleyas

 

Purple cattleyas

 

Pine trees line the road outside.

 

Time check!

 

Time check yet again!

 

Copyright © 2011 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.





Life happens

21 01 2011

"I see trees of green..."

THEY SAY life is what happens when you’re busy making plans.  At the Mall of Asia (MOA), life is what happens when you’re waiting for a table (at YakiMIX).

I found myself particularly pensive Friday night, exactly a week ago.  I was on my way, walking to the restaurant for a dinner treat.  It was a long walk and there was no rush.  The seating hostess told us it would be a bit of a wait.

So I went and wandered.  And everytime I’d pass by a carousing group of friends, everytime I’d hear boisterous laughter, all the more that I felt I should turn around and walk away from the dinner plan.  I felt I shouldn’t be there.  Something was missing.

That was when I unknowingly looked to the sky and then became aware of all the wonderful LED-lit trees around me.  A song played in my head and I knew, “something told me you were there with me.  And you made everything alright.”

Once again, a song captured exactly how I felt that very moment.  As I hummed the melody and sang parts of the verse, I renewed my commitment to reach my dreams.  To be somewhere else.  Sometime.

 

 

 

 

Copyright © 2011 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.





Black Hawk down

21 01 2011

An evening of errands at MOA saw three successful exchanges – of a toy at Toy Kingdom, of a shirt at Philisophy Men, and of foreign currency.

 

“MAMA, MY helicopter crashed.”

“Yeah, I know.  Don’t worry.  Uncle eNTeNG will take care of it.”

I would play this scene in my head, and all the time seeing my youngest nephew looking up to my sister-in-law, clutching her apron strings.  Except that in reality, there was no such clutching.  I arrived at my youngest brother’s house and immediately, I was told that the above conversation had taken place, about at least a couple of times.

The helicopter involved was this really amazing remote-controlled toy that we got at Toy Kingdom at the Mall of Asia (MOA).  When we were approaching the vicinity of the store, I asked my nephews if they wanted to go in and look around.  I had to ask because in the couple of days of having them at home, I had surmised that they have this unwritten rule that they should work hard – I mean, “earn” – whatever perk they’d get in life.  I found it to be very mature and very responsible.

The older two said yes and immediately darted through the door, proceeding to the video games section as if they had radar-locked on it.  The youngest one was hesitant.  He said he had nothing in mind to buy.  But I took his hand and told him we would just walk around.

Then he saw the remote-controlled helicopters hovering above us and by the look in his eyes, I knew I would have to get it for him.  The eyes of children don’t lie.

“Do you like it?”

“Yeah!”  He was nodding enthusiastically though obviously shy about his response.  The little slouch of his shoulders gave him away.

“Ok, we’ll get it.  Which one do you want?”

“How much is it, Uncle?”

I took a box and before I could even read how much, my nephew pointed at the barcode and said, “It’s too much.”

“But you want this, right?”

“Yes, I want it.  But I can live without it.  You don’t have to get it.  It’s too much.”

Oh, the wisdom of a six-year-old.  For that, I made the firm resolve to get the toy.  I thought, the parents are there for the strict disciplining.  A little spoiling could come from me.  Hahaha!

I bought the toy and right after the cashier had rung up our purchases and the store staff had tested the actual unit we bought, my youngest nephew ran to me, gave me a really tight hug, and in his Sam Milby intonation said, “Salamat po!”  (Yes, it felt like living with three Sam Milbys everytime my nephews would attempt to speak in Filipino.)

Unfortunately, within hours of playing with it at home, the toy conked out – the blade refusing to rotate, something that the helicopter body itself started to do before crashing to the ground after experiencing what seemed to be an air pocket.

Black Hawk down.  We’ve got a Black Hawk down.

Mama, my helicopter crashed.

So off I went to Toy Kingdom at MOA.  Honestly, I dreaded having to go there knowing that there isn’t really a clear-cut policy on exchanges here in the Philippines (makes me miss the States!).  But I was pleasantly surprised to find my fears unfounded.

The store manager, who was on the phone at the time, cut her conversation short and attended to me.  After stating my case, she summoned a store staff and gave instructions to look into my complaint.  And if the unit was indeed defective, that I be given a replacement right there and then.  How’s that for customer service in the Philippines?!  A huge thank you to Ms. Ehl (I think that’s her name) and to Sam.  Everything took less than 30 minutes – and that was inclusive of about 10 minutes spent to charge the helicopter unit, part of their defect isolation process flow.

I couldn’t wait to see my nephew play with his new favorite toy again.  And hopefully, no more “Black Hawk down!  We’ve got a Black Hawk down!” this time.

Sam tried the defective unit. The blade rotated but the helicopter wouldn't lift off the ground.

 

Sam took a really close look at the helicopter. He articulated his findings and gave me a decision flow. Hehe =)

 

Sam eventually ruled the unit I was returning to be defective. He then tried a new set (the replacement).

 

Finally, we were cleared for take off...

 

...and then a safe landing!

 

Iron Man kept me company as I waited.

 

Requisite stops at the mall are Starbucks...

 

...and Krispy Kreme!

 

This box went to Ninong!

 

Copyright © 2011 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.





Today in jeans and shirts

19 01 2011

WHEN MY penny-pinching started, my blog post “Life in the time of bailouts” came to be.  Nothing much has changed a couple of years since I wrote that.  If there’s anything that three consecutive days and nights at the Mall of Asia (MOA), and a serendipitous find at the “Shell of Asia” along NLEX further affirmed to me, it is that I will shop only where it says SALE.  Preferably in big, bold, red letters.

Last Friday, while doing the rounds of stores at MOA – for shirts and toys for my nephews – I chanced upon this window display at Lacoste.  I was drawn to how well-put-together the whole ensemble was.  I loved the shirt and the shoes, but it was the pair of pants in royal blue that pulled me in to the store.  Now I could say that the green scarf speaking to Rebecca Bloomwood, luring her to yet another unnecessary purchase, wasn’t so preposterous.

Lovin' the pants in my fade shade of blue!... Lacoste ensemble at their window display in MOA.

I actually hesitated to inquire because I knew I wouldn’t be able to afford it.  Besides, I didn’t want to risk having to call the pants “that blue stuff on display” – because I’d always articulate my inquiry to sales people rather than point with my fingers – lest I earn the ire of Miranda Priestly and get a dressing down on how this shade of blue trickled down to the masses.  Sensing my indecisiveness, my sister-in-law did all the asking on my behalf.  Php 4950.00 for the pair of pants.  Quite steep for my standards for things I buy for myself.

I told myself that I could save up for it.  Then another voice in my head told me that if I will have to do that, I don’t have a business wanting it in the first place.  So, goodbye Lacoste pants in my favorite shade of blue.

Then came the weekend.  On the drive back from Fontana in Clark we decided to stop for Starbucks, which we found at this gas station that purports itself to be the “Shell of Asia”.  Do you know how it feels like when you know what your goal or intention is and yet so many other things seem more attractive, piquing your curiosity and pulling you to directions other than your original goal?  That’s exactly what happened to me on the way to Starbucks.  And it was because one store screamed: “OUTLET”.  Giordano Outlet, to be exact.

Giordano Outlet at the Shell of Asia along the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX)

Walking past the Php 299.00 shirt pile, I ran my fingers through the jeans rack and that was where my eye caught a certain shade of blue peeking from what appeared to me as a slice of vanilla gateau de crêpe turned to its side.  Eureka!  And when I checked the tag – reduced three times! – it was just for the very affordable price of Php 750.00.  Sold!  Hahaha!

So here it is, my new pair of jeans.  In the shade of blue that I love.  For a price I was willing to pay.

Giordano jeans in my favorite shade of (royal) blue!

 

(At MOA, I also found a statement shirt that appealed to me in all its cheesiness.  Yes, cheesy but undeniably…  hopeful too.  Hahaha!)

"God is writing my love story"

 

Today in jeans and shirt

 

This is just so cute.

 

Starbucks at the "Shell of Asia"

 

My usual "goodness" is chai tea latte over ice. Sometimes, it's green tea latte, which I discovered through Green Lantern.

 

Starbucks Flourless Chocolate Brownie

 

Dessert and tea

 

Copyright © 2011 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.





Last night in penmanship

18 01 2011

I LOVE my penmanship.  And I’m quite critical of it.  So I can say that it takes a lot for me to admire other people’s handwriting.  Last night at Starbucks at the Mall of Asia – I was running three errands after office hours (may post about those too)! – I finally saw the best barista penmanship that committed my coffee name to the surface of a venti-sized plastic cup.

The best barista penmanship that committed my coffee name to the surface of a Starbucks plastic cup.

 

Loved how they mixed my fave chai tea latte over ice!

 

It didn’t matter that she had to do a double take after she must’ve found the name to be extraordinary.  What mattered was that she got the name right and she wrote it perfectly.  And oh, her execution of my chai tea latte over ice was extraordinary too.

Copyright © 2011 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.





Peanut Butter Nutella. Eat Pay Love.

16 01 2011

CUPCAKES BY Sonja keeps giving back.  And I keep coming back!  It’s like having your very own Eat Pay Love moment.  Have your cupcake and eat it too.  Pay for it.  And, send ripples of your love to as far as they could go.  I’m sure that’s what happens when part of the proceeds go to a good cause.

Peanut Butter Nutella cupcake by Cupcakes by Sonja

 

A box of four. Actually, one of boxes of four.

That exactly is the case with every purchase of the Peanut Butter Nutella cupcake by Cupcakes by Sonja.  Reminiscent of her “Red Velvet Vixen for Red Cross” campaign in 2009, this new socially responsible drive benefits the Virlanie Foundation – “Giving back the smile to street children”.

And sinking your teeth into one of these peanut butter-nutella confections likewise couldn’t help but put a smile on your face!  I love peanut butter, reason enough for me to explore turning it into a sauce for egg noodles long before I got formally exposed to the wonders of Indonesian satay.  But over the years, I’ve come across peanut butter cookies and cakes that had proven to be wanting.  Even Otis Spunkmeyer’s version of the classic peanut butter chocolate chip cookie wasn’t able to impress me.

I just love the height and the look of that Nutella buttercream frosting.

Cupcakes by Sonja’s Peanut Butter Nutella cupcake puts an end to the dry spell that’s my search for a really satiating peanut butter confection.  It has got to be one of the most visually compelling in Sonja’s wide array of offerings – an imposing tower of swirls of nutella-spiked buttercream frosting sits prettily on top of the peanut butter cake, in which is ensconced a dollop of Nutella chocolate hazelnut spread.  It’s an “architecturally sound” work of edible art as handling and traveling didn’t compromise the integrity of the frosting’s design and structure.

I freed one from the hold of the box-of-four liner and soon the feast for the eyes became a feast for the palate.  The cake is crumbly and moist, my Oneida Silversmiths dessert fork being chased by just enough eager and yummy crumbs as it pierced its way through to the bottom.  The flavor is undeniably peanut buttery – unapologetic in its goodness but at the same time, not cloyingly sweet.  And when savored in the mouth, it is amazing how a small piece of cake – kissed by Nutella, and slathered with buttercream – becomes something big.

And when you get reminded where part of what you paid for for the cupcake goes, you do realize just how big.  Now, doesn’t that bring enjoying dessert to a totally new level of guilt-free?

A pile of treats from Cupcakes by Sonja! My all-time favorite is somewhere in there.

 

Four red velvet vixens in a box!

 

Once bitten...

 

I just had to get these too – Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies!

 

The very scrumptious Peanut Butter Whoopie Pie in a solo box. The "doily" that lined the pie against the box was a nice, elegant touch.

 

Sharing the love – a Peanut Butter Nutella and a Red Velvet Vixen shared with our company's very efficient and outstanding Executive Admin Assistant, Ms. Deng.

 

Cupcakes by Sonja menu

 

My excitement over the Peanut Butter Nutella cupcake makes it to a card.

 

Every purchase of the Peanut Butter Nutella cupcakes benefits a good cause.

 

Copyright © 2011 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.





Conversations that leave me scratching my head and looking up in the sky

13 01 2011

MY ELDEST brother, his wife, and three kids just flew in from the States for a much-deserved month-long vacation.  They’re staying at the house for a week.  Then at my youngest brother’s for another.

On their first night home, wondering about what to have for midnight snacks led to an impromptu dinner out at the newly opened Chinese Restaurant nearby.  It was past 11:00 PM and my youngest brother just arrived (from work).  Good thing that the resto is open until 2:00 AM on weeknights.

My three nephews, though all raised in the States, are practically still very Filipino.  Though they can’t speak the language.  But the eldest understands.  I turn into the proud uncle whenever I remember that the eldest – the 14-year-old – is a Spelling Bee champ, refused to join the Math Quiz Bee so as not to become a full-time nerd (Haha!), plays the drums in the school band, plays the guitar and the piano, sings, plays basketball, and looks after his two younger brothers whenever his parents are away.  The 10-year-old also plays the drums, and sings.  The youngest, at six years old, loves to sing too, tells animated stories, and happens to be the most “malambing” to his parents.  All of them love to read.

I gave them my room while they’re with us.  And when I got home last night, I was pleasantly surprised that each of them has his own laptop!  The eldest brandishes two actually – the high end one is what he uses for research, writing, and school work while the other one is “just for games.”

This post won’t be about the food, but rather a couple of anecdotes that just couldn’t keep me from laughing up to now.

eNTeNG:  “Did you know that Uncle Youngest here finished The Sea of Monsters in one sitting?  From New Year’s Eve to New Year’s Day.  It’s the Percy Jackson book.”

Nephew 2:  “I read that too.”

Uncle Youngest:  (Turning to eNTeNG) “I just finished the first book too.  The first one in the Olympians series.”

eNTeNG:  “Oh, that one…  It’s…  it’s…”

Nephew 2:  “The Lightning Thief!”

Uncle Youngest:  “Yup!”

Nephew 1 & Nephew 2:  “We’ve finished all those books.”

eNTeNG:  “But Uncle Youngest here did The Sea of Monsters in one sitting!”

Nephew 2:  (Turning to Uncle eNTeNG, brows a little furrowed…)  “But Uncle, Percy Jackson is light reading!”

eNTeNG:  “Here, try some of this.  It’s one of my favorites.”  (eNTeNG reaches for the Taiwan Pechay in Oyster Sauce and offers it to the kids.  Hahaha!)

———————–

(The Percy Jackson and the Olympians series and related topics continue to be discussed.  Uncle Youngest, Nephew 1 and Nephew 2 are talking about Greek and Roman gods and goddesses.  eNTeNG chimes in.)

eNTeNG:  “I think that some of the gods and goddesses carry dual titles.”

Nephew 2:  “I’m not sure about that.”

Uncle Youngest:  “You know which goddess your Uncle eNTeNG is an expert on?  Here…  (turning to eNTeNG)  Who is the ‘Goddess of Talk’?”

eNTeNG:  “Kris Aquino!”

Uncle Youngest:  “Who is the Queen of All Media?”

eNTeNG:  “Kris Aquino!”

Hahaha!!!

Taiwan Pechay with Oyster Sauce

 

Stir-fried Rice Noodles with Meat and Vegetables

 

Copyright © 2011 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.