Boise in a list of 40

16 06 2014

WE NEVER forget our first.  I mean to say, “firsts,” as well as all other things worth taking note of.  My first sojourn to the land of world–famous potatoes is coming to an end.  I allow myself to wax nostalgic and I’m not surprised that as I sip through my Tall Breakfast Brew with room for cream and brown sugar mixed in, I couldn’t help but break into smiles as my list of 40 unravels.

They say that life begins at 40.  I think I’m off to a great start.

01

I’ve been made aware of Boise and of Idaho more along the lines of being one of the best places to live in the States, and to raise a family.  I didn’t realize that this assignment would inadvertently allow me to tick off an item on another kind of list:  “TheCNN10 Dare To Go” List, http://www.cnn.com/interactive/2014/05/travel/cnn10-dare-to-go/.

"The CNN 10 Dare To Go" has Idaho on its list!  I have to say, I've ticked this one off!

“The CNN 10 Dare To Go” has Idaho on its list! I have to say, I’ve ticked this one off!

 

01_Arrival_00

eNTeNG, mere minutes from arriving at Boise Airport.

 

Welcome to IDAHO!

Welcome to IDAHO!

 

Ladies and gentlemen, Jennifer Hudson!  "And I DO like...  Hoo-hoo...  Living under your STOP LIGHT...  Hoo-hoo..."

Ladies and gentlemen, Jennifer Hudson! “And I DO like… Hoo-hoo… Living under your STOP LIGHT… Hoo-hoo…”

 

02

Somehow, it is indeed very nice to know that “in Boise, you are just within 15 minutes of almost everything.”

In Boise, all you have to do is hit the open road...  Always just about 15 minutes from everything!

In Boise, all you have to do is hit the open road… Always just about 15 minutes from everything!

 

03

In Boise, nature is beautifully and peacefully juxtaposed with modern–day technology.  I was first able to write about a similar observation on my first ever trip overseas, when I delivered a speech at a UN–sanctioned international conference for students held in Japan in 1990.

Sights in Boise are easy on the eyes.  The Foothills.  The Blue Sky.  The pristine white clouds.

Sights in Boise are easy on the eyes. The Foothills. The Blue Sky. The pristine white clouds.

 

04

I have never driven my whole life.  So that was the first and foremost concern I had when I learned about my trip to Boise.  Cue The Beatles:  “I get by with a little help from my friends”  Cue James Taylor:  “You’ve Got A Friend.”  And of course, cue TLC: “I don’t want no scrubs.  Scrubs is a guy who can’t get no love from me.  Hanging on the passenger side of his best friend’s ride…’  #Ouch!  Hahaha!

 

05

I was able to get my fill, to my heart’s content, of all the Boise State University (BSU) #BRONCOS merchandise I could get my hands on.  Sadly, I wasn’t as fortunate with University of Idaho #VANDALS.

Lovin' my Boise State U #BRONCOS jacket!

Lovin’ my Boise State U #BRONCOS jacket!

 

Hats galore.  The #BRONCOS are for me and my brothers.

Hats galore. The #BRONCOS are for me and my brothers.

 

06

FOR A place with stark interiors, the menu at Dong Khanh Vietnamese Restaurant on Broadway was daunting.  But just like what The Library of Babel T-Shirt says, “You can’t rule the world if you can’t decide what to order.”  So, armed with my own resolve to rule my own world, I zoomed into the taste of the familiar that seemed buried beneath an array of lunch specials and enticing combo options.  I ordered their Pho the first time I was there, and never looked back.  I also never ordered anything else.

Everybody I know has fallen in love with Dong Khanh's Spicy Chicken Meal!  Well, everybody but me.  Not because it isn't any good.  It is excellent.  But I'm all about the pho.

Everybody I know has fallen in love with Dong Khanh’s Spicy Chicken Meal! Well, everybody but me. Not because it isn’t any good. It is excellent. But I’m all about the pho.

 

My favorite Dong Khanh Beef Pho!  Probably the best I've had the world over.

My favorite Dong Khanh Beef Pho! Probably the best I’ve had the world over.

 

The perfect pho benefits from a generous heap of Thai sweet basil, bean sprouts, and jalapeno peppers.  And oh, a squeeze of fresh lime!

The perfect pho benefits from a generous heap of Thai sweet basil, bean sprouts, and jalapeno peppers. And oh, a squeeze of fresh lime!

 

07

YOITOMO in Downtown Boise may not be the best Japanese restaurant around, but their All–You–Can–Eat lunch and dinner specials are right up my alley.  And I give them a gold star for the most creative names for their dishes.

I've eaten all I could at this place.  At Lunch, and Dinner.

I’ve eaten all I could at this place. At Lunch, and Dinner.

 

I would go through at least five of these awesome bowls of the freshest vegetable tempura.  And I could slurp that dipping sauce...  if I could.

I would go through at least five of these awesome bowls of the freshest vegetable tempura. And I could slurp that dipping sauce… if I could.

 

This is how the FIRST sushi platter would look like.  Then a seeming endless flow would emanate from the general direction of the sushi chefs.  Haha!

This is how the FIRST sushi platter would look like. Then a seeming endless flow would emanate from the general direction of the sushi chefs. Haha!

 

For the perfectly cooked Japanese rice alone, I would keep going back to Yoitomo.  And I mean at least four bowls every single time!

For the perfectly cooked Japanese rice alone, I would keep going back to Yoitomo. And I mean at least four bowls every single time!

 

I knew I would miss these jalapeno bombers / poppers too.

I knew I would miss these jalapeno bombers / poppers too.

 

08

The undivided love and attention I usually give to an excellent piece of ribeye steak has finally had to yield to some level of sharing.  How could I not with those amazing sweet potato fries?  My first – Legend’s.

My first plate of steak and SWEET POTATO fries at Legend's.

My first plate of steak and SWEET POTATO fries at Legend’s.

 

A knife through the steak.  And a sweet potato fry through the dip.

A knife through the steak. And a sweet potato fry through the dip.

 

When I did have a hankering for sweet potato fries, the one from Jack in the Box would do it for me just fine.

When I did have a hankering for sweet potato fries, the one from Jack in the Box would do it for me just fine.

 

09

Speaking of amazing sweet potato, the baked version served at Texas Roadhouse, the one with melted honey brown sugar oozing down to the sides, has always been worth subjecting my ear drums to decibel levels that will send me to the EENT someday.

I swear that there would be times that I was ready to totally overlook the steak in favor of that sweet potato!  My heart would've melted way before the butter or the brown sugar did.

I swear that there would be times that I was ready to totally overlook the steak in favor of that sweet potato! My heart would’ve melted way before the butter or the brown sugar did.

 

A close shot of the object of my affection.  Gustatory affection, that is.

A close shot of the object of my affection. Gustatory affection, that is.

 

In my ecstasy over the sweet potato, I have totally forgotten about the rolls at Texas Roadhouse.  Served hot, fresh from the oven, these are arguably the best buns in town.  Haha!

In my ecstasy over the sweet potato, I have totally forgotten about the rolls at Texas Roadhouse. Served hot, fresh from the oven, these are arguably the best buns in town. Haha!

 

This steak had to fight with the sweet potato and the rolls for my affection.  The latter often win.  (But I finished every steak I ever ordered!)

This steak had to fight with the sweet potato and the rolls for my affection. The latter often win. (But I finished every steak I ever ordered!)

 

Texas Roadhouse boasts steaks handcut under refrigerated conditions, within the premises.  The display alone would make anybody's mouth water.

Texas Roadhouse boasts steaks handcut under refrigerated conditions, within the premises. The display alone would make anybody’s mouth water.

 

10

My seatmate on the Portland–Boise leg of my incoming flight told me that real Idaho potatoes could not be had in Idaho.  If they ever could, they would cost an arm and a leg.  Fortunately, to make my now–famous (haha!) chicken–pork afritada and beef mechado, Winco Foods keeps me covered by stocking up on the best potato in the world!

I love grocery shopping so much that I would often have my photo taken in front of WinCo, among others.  All the time I would wish that a breeze would make those broad stripes and bright stars wave.

I love grocery shopping so much that I would often have my photo taken in front of WinCo, among others. All the time I would wish that a breeze would make those broad stripes and bright stars wave.

 

Seen at WinCo – New Crop Idaho!

Seen at WinCo – New Crop Idaho!

 

My now–famous Chicken/Pork Afritada.  #BBF Steele became fond of this.

My now–famous Chicken/Pork Afritada. #BBF Steele became fond of this.

 

I did bring my very Filipino Chicken/Pork Afritada to the office for #BBF Steele.

I did bring my very Filipino Chicken/Pork Afritada to the office for #BBF Steele.

 

I would often go to WinCo not only for the potatoes but for – and actually more so – the tomatoes!

I would often go to WinCo not only for the potatoes but for – and actually more so – the tomatoes!

 

11

Pastry Chef Karen of Thomas Cuisine, the current office cafeteria concessionaire makes the best Sugar Cookie.  She doesn’t make a lot of it per batch so when she does, I would hoard them.  I share some and the rest, I portion and ration to my own self as much as I could to delay the ultimate gratification.

Amazing Sugar Cookies by Pastry Chef Karen of Thomas Cuisine!

Amazing Sugar Cookies by Pastry Chef Karen of Thomas Cuisine!

 

12

I wish I spoke Italian.  So that I could fight with someone so fiercely, which is the perfect excuse to later make up over a pint of Haagen–Dazs gelato.

I did fall in love with Haagen Dazs Sea Salt Caramel Gelato.  Guilty as charged!

I did fall in love with Haagen Dazs Sea Salt Caramel Gelato. Guilty as charged!

 

Gelato reigns supreme over ice cream.  Well, sometimes.  Haha!  As you can see, there is real space devoted to frozen delights in my freezer.

Gelato reigns supreme over ice cream. Well, sometimes. Haha! As you can see, there is real space devoted to frozen delights in my freezer.

 

My eyes were always wide open for amazing deals such as this.  I'd see this and there would only be one logical course of action to do – hoard!

My eyes were always wide open for amazing deals such as this. I’d see this and there would only be one logical course of action to do – hoard!

 

With TOP NOTES and FINISHING NOTES, it felt like consuming edible perfume.

With TOP NOTES and FINISHING NOTES, it felt like consuming edible perfume.

 

13

For more wholesome pleasures, Tillamook Cake Batter ice cream is the perfect choice.  I can finish the half galloon all by myself until I get sick.

Tillamook's Grandma's Cake Batter is so good I could finish this whole 1.75QT tub in one sitting.  And on one occasion, I did.

Tillamook’s Grandma’s Cake Batter is so good I could finish this whole 1.75QT tub in one sitting. And on one occasion, I did.

 

14

The best store–bought gelato is Talentis Tahitian Vanilla Bean.  I get it for US$5.99 at Albertson’s.  And for US$3.99 only at WinCo!

I saw this pint on the shelf at Albertson's and just had to take a snap.  I took it home with me, fell in love, and haven't looked back since.

I saw this pint on the shelf at Albertson’s and just had to take a snap. I took it home with me, fell in love, and haven’t looked back since.

 

Talenti Gelato comes in a number of really scrumptious flavors.  And for just $ 4.39 a pint at WinCo.

Talenti Gelato comes in a number of really scrumptious flavors. And for just $ 4.39 a pint at WinCo.

 

Talenti Gelato goes for only $ 3.99 at Fred Meyer!

Talenti Gelato goes for only $ 3.99 at Fred Meyer!

 

I have to say, I fell in love the most with these two.

I have to say, I fell in love the most with these two.

 

15

A pint of Ben & Jerry’s will set you back by about US$ 4.00 at your friendly Albertson’s, Fred Meyer, or WinCo.  In Singapore, it costs S$ 15.00.  The exchange rate is US$ 1.00 to S$ 1.30, typically.

Gotta keep lovin' Ben & Jerry's for not being boring.  Well, anybody who makes Red Velvet and Coffee ought to be loved.

Gotta keep lovin’ Ben & Jerry’s for not being boring. Well, anybody who makes Red Velvet and Coffee ought to be loved.

 

16

Nothing beats homemade goodnessChase Mecham’s Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, his grandmother’s (secret) recipe, is so good it belongs to a prominent place on the supermarket frozen section aisle.

The perfect Vanilla Bean Ice Cream is homemade, and is by my awesome friend, "Chef" Chase Mecham.

The perfect Vanilla Bean Ice Cream is homemade, and is by my awesome friend, “Chef” Chase Mecham.

 

I intentionally set aside half of the pint Chase gave me.  On my actual last day in Boise, I savored this amazing homemade Vanilla Bean Ice Cream while waiting in line at the DELTA counter at Boise Airport.  I think it was the best edible item to cap a most amazing 120 days in the City of Trees.

I intentionally set aside half of the pint Chase gave me. On my actual last day in Boise, I savored this amazing homemade Vanilla Bean Ice Cream while waiting in line at the DELTA counter at Boise Airport. I think it was the best edible item to cap a most amazing 120 days in the City of Trees.

 

17

My first real experience of Mexican cuisine was at my mentor Ralph Kim’s family dinner at his sprawling home of a house.  I had a taste of unforgettable tacos and that killer of a key lime pie!

My mentor Ralph Kim and his wife and family put out a huge spread of authentic Mexican tacos.  It was a great first time experiencing this cuisine.

My mentor Ralph Kim and his wife and family put out a huge spread of authentic Mexican tacos. It was a great first time experiencing this cuisine.

 

Ralph made Carne Asada on his awesome, Bobby Flay-caliber outdoor grill, chopped them up, and it was the flavorful, juicy, meaty filling of the tacos.  I smothered mined with onions, cilantro and the homemade salsa.

Ralph made Carne Asada on his awesome, Bobby Flay-caliber outdoor grill, chopped them up, and it was the flavorful, juicy, meaty filling of the tacos. I smothered mined with onions, cilantro and the homemade salsa.

 

The flour tortilla was also homemade!

The flour tortilla was also homemade!

 

The Mexican dinner ended with a dessert sampler!  With the brownies and the "leche flan" is the unforgettable key lime pie.

The Mexican dinner ended with a dessert sampler! With the brownies and the “leche flan” is the unforgettable key lime pie.

 

18

I think the Boise Factory Outlet Mall is seriously underrated.  When you’re done shopping, you can actually soak in the awesome view of the Boise Foothills.  (Okay – I can hear you sayin’ that the same could be had right smack from the parking lot.  You have a point.)

 

19

Speaking of the Boise Factory Outlet Mall, I had a couple of field days there, rummaging through the CLEARANCE section at LeVI’S.  I used to only shop where it says S–A–L–E in big bold red letters.  But LeVI’S has changed this to big bold red letters that spell C–L–E–A–R–A–N–C–E.  I got several pairs for myself at only US$ 9.53 each after a further 40% was cut from the lowest–ticketed–price of US$ 14.98.  #SWEET.

"Take an additional 40% off already reduced items."  Were sweeter, more profound words ever uttered?!  Haha!

“Take an additional 40% off already reduced items.” Were sweeter, more profound words ever uttered?! Haha!

 

A wall of denim is always a good thing.

A wall of denim is always a good thing.

 

A pile of denim is also a good thing.

A pile of denim is also a good thing.

 

Sometimes, I just fold my jeans exactly how they would do it at the stores.  I find this...  what's the word...  ah, therapeutic.  Haha!

Sometimes, I just fold my jeans exactly how they would do it at the stores. I find this… what’s the word… ah, therapeutic. Haha!

 

20

My good friend Chase Mecham, the generous Baker King himself, would usually make his own mix of nuts, seeds and spices that he would throw into his dough mix – the image in my head involves a lot of wrist action like in flouring a counter top on to which the dough would be mercilessly slammed – but on the one he brought for me to sample, he used a mix he found at random at Trader Joe’s.  It’s called DUKKAH: A Nut & Spice Blend.  It was a whiff of inspiration.  Chase’s homemade bread had become my favorite.

My favorite homemade bread is by Chef Chase Mecham!

My favorite homemade bread is by Chef Chase Mecham!

 

What's one of the best things in the world?  Butter melting and sliding down hot toast!

What’s one of the best things in the world? Butter melting and sliding down hot toast!

 

21

I was running an errand at Sephora one day when I stumbled upon a kiosk that sells artisanal olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and focaccia so good I must’ve finished all the samples – cubed morsels of rosemary–perfumed goodness – while I carried on an animated conversation with the lovely shopkeeper.  She was so nice I ended up requesting a selfie with her.  And yes, one huge loaf of the bread!  The shop is called Olioteca.  They are online at http://www.olioteca.net/.

Zeppole Ciabatta is the perfect tasting bread to Olioteca's artisanal extra virgin olive oil.

Zeppole Ciabatta is the perfect tasting bread to Olioteca’s artisanal extra virgin olive oil.

 

Artisanal olive oils by Olioteca!

Artisanal olive oils by Olioteca!

 

My lambskin bag of French provenance was the perfect carrier for the very Italian loaf I carried around Macy's.

My lambskin bag of French provenance was the perfect carrier for the very Italian loaf I carried around Macy’s.

 

The requisite #selfie with the very lovely shop keeper.

The requisite #selfie with the very lovely shop keeper.

 

22

My good friend Jonathan Young makes a spicy marinara sauce so good, I had to restrain myself from licking the Rubbermaid™ TakeAlongs™ in full view of the Building 36 lunch crowd.  Sometimes, whatever little sense of propriety a person has always comes in handy.

Al dente angel hair and smooth marinara sauce live together in perfect harmony.  Side by side on this Rubbermaid™ TakeAlongs™...  sometimes, why don't we?

Al dente angel hair and smooth marinara sauce live together in perfect harmony. Side by side on this Rubbermaid™ TakeAlongs™… sometimes, why don’t we?

 

The life cycle of this pasta ended with Rubbermaid™ TakeAlongs™ so clean, short of being licked!

The life cycle of this pasta ended with Rubbermaid™ TakeAlongs™ so clean, short of being licked!

 

23

I may have no problem strapping a Rolex on my wrist but at the same time, I do derive as much pleasure – if not more so – from all the discounts I have managed to score, shopping at ROSS, Marshalls, and TJMaxx.  And trust me, it is amazing the bursts of clarity that come with psychotic retail therapy.  I had formed some of my more brilliant ideas while taking a pause beside the clearance racks.  Right there, just beside the further–reduced bins.

 

24

I would wait for the Macy’s commercials on TV.  I love how the word “doorbusters” rings with much profundity.  My favorite Ralph Lauren Trail Sweater in navy blue cost me only US$ 19.60 + tax after 80% was slashed off the original price.  Major score!

Going all–out with Ralph Lauren, starting with this Trail Sweater that I got for a steal!

Going all–out with Ralph Lauren, starting with this Trail Sweater that I got for a steal!

 

25

I collect the beautifully designed “scent swatches” (cards) that are used to test perfume or cologne in department stores.  I re–purpose them into gift cards where I write my signature personal notes that come with whatever I give away.

 

26

I thought I was good at making the Filipino leche flan.  And then my good friend Chase Mecham‘s crème brulee came along, by way of one ramekin all to myself!  Same holds true for Filipino specialties that I realize could be made so much better by others – Rafela Sim’s mom Mamita makes the best “ginataang halo–halo”, Arvin Daguro’s wife makes the best “ginataang hipon”, and, Ricky Victor’s wife makes awesome pasta.

Rafela's Mamita whips up the best "ginataang halo-halo."  I had this regularly, lovingly sent over to me the whole time I was in Boise!

Rafela’s Mamita whips up the best “ginataang halo-halo.” I had this regularly, lovingly sent over to me the whole time I was in Boise!

 

I finished about five cups of piping hot steamed white rice with Arvin Daguro's wife Lea's "ginataang hipon."  (Shrimps in coconut milk)

I finished about five cups of piping hot steamed white rice with Arvin Daguro’s wife Lea’s “ginataang hipon.” (Shrimps in coconut milk)

 

27

#BBF Steele Stone’s lasagna developed in me a deeper appreciation for pasta doused in sauce that has been simmered for hours.

Major fist–bump–worthy homemade lasagna by my #BBF Steele.  The sauce is a study in patience as it is usually made to simmer for hours!

Major fist–bump–worthy homemade lasagna by my #BBF Steele. The sauce is a study in patience as it is usually made to simmer for hours!

 

#Selfie with #BBF Steele!  Of course I wore the Superman shirt in his honor.

#Selfie with #BBF Steele! Of course I wore the Superman shirt in his honor.

 

#BBF Steele with my other best friend, Zach, at the wheel.  They brought me out to lunch on this day.

#BBF Steele with my other best friend, Zach, at the wheel. They brought me out to lunch on this day.

 

28

#Hump_Day_Wednesday means a box of a dozen donuts – often from Country Donuts – shared with the best people you know.  This I learned from the example of #BBF Steele Stone.

It was inevitable that I had to account for my growing vocabulary while I was in Boise.  An eighth of my white board took down terms that would soon pepper my own sentences.

It was inevitable that I had to account for my growing vocabulary while I was in Boise. An eighth of my white board took down terms that would soon pepper my own sentences.

 

This unassuming box of Country Donuts has always been a welcome sight on Hump Day Wednesdays!  I miss these donuts.

This unassuming box of Country Donuts has always been a welcome sight on Hump Day Wednesdays! I miss these donuts.

 

#BBF Steele would often let me choose a donut from the box.  Like this chocolate–glazed one!

#BBF Steele would often let me choose a donut from the box. Like this chocolate–glazed one!

 

29

Eating gluten–free is not a fad.  With all the pasta I devour, I couldn’t imagine an easy existence if I were allergic to gluten.  So I give mad props to all those who whip up edible works of art that pack all the flavors and nutrients sans the allergens.  I’ve been fortunate to sample muffins and (Bundt) cakes made by Sandy Kralik and Heike Brown.  “There’s even no sugar in there eNTeNGJust bananas.”  They were so good that I went bananas.

The Sandy Kralik "There's–Not–Even–Sugar–In–There" Muffin!

The Sandy Kralik “There’s–Not–Even–Sugar–In–There” Muffin!

 

Heike Brown's luscious Bundt Cake.

Heike Brown’s luscious Bundt Cake.

 

30

Gotta love those oatmeal cookies made by Nick Kaiser.  I had to send him my 10–second review from the very first bite.

Not much to look at and doesn't photograph well (or maybe it is my limited photo skills) but these oatmeal cookies by Nick Kaiser are just awesome.

Not much to look at and doesn’t photograph well (or maybe it is my limited photo skills) but these oatmeal cookies by Nick Kaiser are just awesome.

 

31

Some of the best gifts I have ever received this past four months are handwritten notes.  And I would be remiss if I’d not make mention of all the handwritten cards I did receive.  I’ve been reading them over and over again.

Some of the handwritten notes, cards and letters I received while in Boise.  I have to say, these are the best things I'd remember the place – and my time there – by.

Some of the handwritten notes, cards and letters I received while in Boise. I have to say, these are the best things I’d remember the place – and my time there – by.

 

32

I would start my day with happy, fast songs that I think would put the spring to my step.  I can’t listen to Tiesto’s Red Lights without images of South Federal Way buzzing like neon in my head.

This song comes on the radio and my day would be set.

This song comes on the radio and my day would be set.

 

33

I am not afraid of color.  I don’t know if that is a good thing or a bad thing.  On two occasions – once in Singapore and once here in Boise – I was told by someone that I bring “Gummy Bears” to mind.  Haha!  I find that to be a huge compliment as it came from two people whose opinions count.

Yes, I am a Gummy Bear!

Yes, I am a Gummy Bear!

 

34

Trader Joe’s opened in Boise on February 28, 2014.  Of course I was there.  After taking several snaps of the bottles of Cookie Butter on the shelf, I had the urge to clean all 35 bottles on display.

Of course I was there to welcome Trader Joe's to Boise!

Of course I was there to welcome Trader Joe’s to Boise!

 

I just had to take a photo of the display before I cleaned off this shelf.  I has to literally elbow my way to getting ALL of these.  I also got approached and asked about what cookie butter is and why I seem to be in love with the stuff.  I was happy to explain!

I just had to take a photo of the display before I cleaned off this shelf. I has to literally elbow my way to getting ALL of these. I also got approached and asked about what cookie butter is and why I seem to be in love with the stuff. I was happy to explain!

 

When I may not be in the mood for the butter, I nibble on the actual cookies that inspired the spreadable concoction.

When I may not be in the mood for the butter, I nibble on the actual cookies that inspired the spreadable concoction.

 

By my second visit to the store, they had already stocked up on the Cookie & Cocoa Swirl version.  This one gained a lot of fans.

By my second visit to the store, they had already stocked up on the Cookie & Cocoa Swirl version. This one gained a lot of fans.

 

A pretty common sight after just a few minutes at Trader Joe's.  Haha!  Yes, all I would need is about 10 minutes – in and out the door and DONE.

A pretty common sight after just a few minutes at Trader Joe’s. Haha! Yes, all I would need is about 10 minutes – in and out the door and DONE.

 

Made a friend at Trader Joe's.  Eric would always ring up my purchases and yes, I had to explain to him too my fascination with Cookie Butter.

Made a friend at Trader Joe’s. Eric would always ring up my purchases and yes, I had to explain to him too my fascination with Cookie Butter.

 

35

The very first car at the parking lot that I took a snap of has the license plate “BELLA”.  I thought the owner was a Twilight fanatic.  I couldn’t be more wrong.

Hello Gorgeous!

Hello Gorgeous!

 

36

I don’t drive but I do lust after cars from time to time.  I’ve had the longest and deepest longing for the MINI COOPER.  Some of the more recent important days of my life had been punctuated by a sighting of a MINI swooshing by.  I think of it as some sort of lucky charm.  There is a nice MINI I would see at the parking lot on some days.

eNTeNG & the MINI, at the Boise Factory Outlet Mall.

eNTeNG & the MINI, at the Boise Factory Outlet Mall.

 

... and at Albertson's.

… and at Albertson’s.

 

...  and even in Chicago!

… and even in Chicago!

 

37

I think I will miss my cubicle of 120 days – that little corner by the door of Room 113A.

The accounting of the final month of my assignment was handled by the Accounting Firm of Stone & Pritchett.

The accounting of the final month of my assignment was handled by the Accounting Firm of Stone & Pritchett.

 

And then...  it was DONE.

And then… it was DONE.

 

38

I am ending this assignment feeling so well taken care of by locals.  By those who have given me a ride to and from my apartment and “dream” destinations.  And by all my friends at…  Boise City Taxi!

I Heart Boise...  City Taxi!

I Heart Boise… City Taxi!

 

39

They say life is what happens when you are busy making other plans.  I would say, life is what happens when you actually live those plans.  I couldn’t have been anywhere else better in the last 120 days than in 83706, in this Gem of a State.

With this chocolate, I shall remember always.

With this chocolate, I shall remember always.

 

40

Food that provides real comfort could prove to be perfect for mopping up tears – cue here those singular nights of homesickness – and when made really really well, they could move an old man like me to tears.  Such was the oxymoronic delight that is the Blondie from the Mecham family kitchen, which, as I have unabashedly declared here, is equal parts home baking goodness (by his wife Jen) and a treasured family recipe.  For sure, I will miss this Blondie.

The BLONDIE of my wildest dreams.  'Nuf said.

The BLONDIE of my wildest dreams. ‘Nuf said.

 

The sweetest card came with the sweetest treat.  Thank you so much, Chase, Jen, Natalie & Elle Mecham!

The sweetest card came with the sweetest treat. Thank you so much, Chase, Jen, Natalie & Elle Mecham!

 

Copyright © 2014 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.





Jo to the world

18 04 2013
Ms_Jo_0413_00

Ms. Jo and her “dearest eNTeNG,” meeting up in Singapore for the very first time ever. I love how she has always referred to me that way.

MANY PERSONALITIES make me up.  So it is always a monumental task for someone to get me “get me”.  When I find people who do, I try not to lose them.

Where I used to work, I have never been made to feel really understood or really important any better than by Ms. Jo Damian.  She used to be the Senior Executive Assistant to a number of our company’s General Managers (think, Country Managers) before taking on the role of Senior Human Resources Business Partner.  At some point, she was – for all intents and purposes – our HR Manager.  She was a major force behind getting us all here in the Lion City, although nothing was in store for her for doing so.  I guess she got something better – unspoken appreciation, lifelong gratitude, and much love.  She is guaranteed of those, at least from me.

I worked with her on the biggest and highest level programs, and together, we handled most of the Site’s communications.  Our collaborative efforts culminated with the coffee table book “Faces of Memory,” to commemorate all the men and women who were part of our former company.  Call it vain, pointless conceit but that book is on my all–time Top 10 List.  Hahaha!

Coffee Table Book Core Team 04

Our official photo as the Editorial Team of the coffee table book “Faces of Memory”. With Ms. Jo and me are Jack (left) and Alfie (right).

 

Coffee Table Book Core Team 01

This was actually my favorite of all the photos. Haha! I love to have been immortalized in this reclining position. Notice the two wristwatches I have on? I do love stacking them.

 

Coffee Table Book Core Team 03

I’ve always felt that Ms. Jo treats me like her own son. Although she’s more like my big sister.

 

Coffee Table Book - Dedications 00

Ms. Jo wrote me a note on this page of my copy of “Faces of Memory”.

 

Coffee Table Book Core Team 02

What Filipino photo shoot is complete without the requisite wacky shot?! Hahaha!

Ms. Jo was here for a couple of days last week.  And while I missed the dinner in her honor, I was at least able to take her to the airport and see her off.  I put more weight to the latter, knowing all too well that that is one gesture I do only for the truly deserving.

Thanks, Ms. Jo.  And I shall see you again!

Ms_Jo_0413_02

We didn’t play with ramen. But we did have it for lunch. Alvin and I with Ms. Jo at Ajisen Ramen on the day of her flight back to Manila.

 

Ms_Jo_0413_15

Welcome back to Changi Airport Terminal 2!

 

Ms_Jo_0413_16

Ms. Jo took a Singapore Airlines flight back. I don’t know a better way to fly.

 

Ms_Jo_0413_03

Just two small pieces of luggage – a check-in in her favorite shade of purple and a carry-on (which is actually her laptop). The red bag contained lots of her favorite Bee Cheng Hiang beef jerky. The lambskin leather bag is actually my Longchamp Parisi, just joining in for the group shot.

 

Ms_Jo_0413_04

Ms. Jo knows me like the back of her hand. So when she had made it to the end of the line to the check-in, she knew that I would be grabbing that opportunity to snap shots away. She turned around on this one just in time to catch me striking a pose. Hahaha!

 

Ms_Jo_0413_05

This is the proper one.

 

Ms_Jo_0413_06

Alvin and Ms. Jo.

 

Ms_Jo_0413_07

Then it was my turn.

 

Ms_Jo_0413_08

Ms. Jo, in head-to-toe Marks & Spencer, against the backdrop of Changi Airport Terminal 2.

 

Ms_Jo_0413_10

Spectacles – Ray-Ban Classic Wayfarers in white. T-shirt – “Last Night The DJ Saved My Life” from Malaysia. Bottoms – Adidas running shorts. Wristwatch – Philip Stein Signature Large. Bag – Longchamp Parisi in lambskin leather trimmed with cowhide and/or goat skin. Shoes – TOMS in red corduroy.

 

Ms_Jo_0413_11

“Goodbye… it’s time for me to go…”

 

Ms_Jo_0413_12

Just one more for the road

 

Ms_Jo_0413_13

My reflection on the stainless steel frame of the departure area gate. We waited until Ms. Jo had cleared immigration.

 

Ms_Jo_0413_14

One more time for a selfie!

 

Ms_Jo_0413_18

Take away some FRESHNESS – a slice of New York Cheesecake and a venti Caramel Frappuccino.

 

Ms_Jo_0413_17

eNTeNG, Starbucks Coffee, Changi Airport Terminal 2, Singapore.

Copyright © 2013 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved





At the Fort

14 03 2013
Avant_at_The_Fort_00_Facade

AVANT AT THE FORT. I’m really lovin’ this Lacoste Flag Shirt, Korea edition. Of course I also have it in Italia.

I KNEW I was really sick when I couldn’t care less about the inflight cuisine.  I couldn’t be bothered by the flight attendant to respond with my choice of meal.  Instead, I ended up snacking on antipyretics while ensconced beneath a blanket.  The very first time I have ever done so on a flight.

I spent the first three days of my most recent vacation just trying to convalesce.  By the time I was up and about, I knew no better way to spend my time than tag along with my brother when he went inspecting his latest projects.  He’s currently working on a couple of units at some of the more covetable addresses in the metro.

When he was done talking to his teams – the foreman, contractors, laborers, electricians – we went to lunch at UCC, with the rest of the family.  But not before first making a walking tour of Burgos Circle at Forbes Town Center, with the requisite stop at the MINI COOPER dealership on Fifth Avenue.  At UCC, he introduced me to his favorite coffee concoction – the Kori Kohi Coffee – as he lunched on Seafood Risotto.

Kori Kohi Coffee is simply coffee “ice cubes” in a tall glass, on which you pour warm milk until the cubes melt.  A little stir turns this confection into a freezing frenzy that could make you ditch your usual latte at the more popular coffee chains.

I did.

Avant_at_The_Fort_01_Ceiling

Our first stop was AVANT at the Fort. Upon entering the lobby, my sight got transfixed on to this “ceiling treatment” of a chandelier. I was told that it was inspired by actual Swarovski crystal-studded dangling earrings.

 

Avant_at_The_Fort_15_Lobby

Another view of the chandelier over the lobby.

 

Avant_at_The_Fort_02_Lobby

I was told that the lobby was designed by the country’s top interior design firm. I actually liked the cathedral ceiling and the furnishings. Spare and minimalist.

 

Avant_at_The_Fort_03_Elevator

Then it was time to hit the elevator. Of course, when surrounded by mirrored walls, I couldn’t help cam-whoring.

 

Avant_at_The_Fort_04_Elevator

A parting shot at the elevator landing.

 

Avant_at_The_Fort_05_Elevator

I lug along a number of my wristwatches when I travel. For this day out, I decided to strap on a Philip Stein Signature Large and a Tissot Heritage Prince I.

 

Avant_at_The_Fort_07_View

The view from one of the windows of the “huge” unit – the first of a couple of my brother’s projects in this high rise.

 

Avant_at_The_Fort_08_View

I love this other view for how the golden arches stand out!

 

Avant_at_The_Fort_09_Elevator

Then it was time to hit the elevators again to go to the other unit several floors down.

 

Avant_at_The_Fort_10_Elevator

Cam-whoring!

 

Avant_at_The_Fort_11_View

This unit has floor-to-ceiling glass windows on one side.

 

Avant_at_The_Fort_12_View_4

I just had to snap this photo of this window because of the number “4”. It happends to be an important number to me.

 

Avant_at_The_Fort_13_Level4

See, I snap anything that says number “4”!

 

Avant_at_The_Fort_14_Elevator

I saw my reflection on the elevator panel and I felt like a Fernando Botero.

 

Avant_at_The_Fort_17_Lobby

I had to wait in the lobby as my brother went on with his official business. I like waiting in lobbies.

 

Avant_at_The_Fort_20_Table

See, I had time to admire the appointments. I particularly liked this glass table top supported by this “wavy” or “wrought” metal.

 

Avant_at_The_Fort_18_Lobby

Of course, I had to pose by that Swarovski crystal chandelier.

 

Avant_at_The_Fort_20_One_McKinley

ONE McKINLEY Place is nearby.

 

Avant_at_The_Fort_21_One_McKinley

At ONE McKINLEY Place

 

Avant_at_The_Fort_22_Building

I love the look of this building. It’s like one big gift with silver ribbons swirled all around it.

 

Avant_at_The_Fort_23_Mini_Cooper

Yehey! It’s the MINI Store!

 

Avant_at_The_Fort_24_Mini_Cooper

By the MINI COOPER in silver.

 

Avant_at_The_Fort_25_Mini_Cooper

Red is always auspicious!

 

Avant_at_The_Fort_26_Mini_Cooper

Tickled pink. Mama loves this one.

 

 

Avant_at_The_Fort_27_Mini_Cooper

At MINI GLOBAL CITY on Fifth Avenue

 

Avant_at_The_Fort_28_I_Heart_Taguig

I heart Taguig!

 

Avant_at_The_Fort_29_Wrong_Ramen

“WRONG RAMEN”. This restaurant was still on soft opening. The name caught my attention. The personnel at the door was kind enough to engage me into a discussion about the place’s name. It is ramen so good that it is “wrong” for you.

 

Avant_at_The_Fort_30_Wrong_Ramen

“The last guy who ate here left screaming in pure ecstasy.”

 

Avant_at_The_Fort_31_Wrong_Ramen

Whoever did the branding for WRONG RAMEN got it all right! The “X” could mean “wrong” or the chopsticks that you eat ramen with!

 

Avant_at_The_Fort_32_Wrong_Ramen

I already have a favorite from this list!

 

Avant_at_The_Fort_33_Wrong_Ramen

I find that the soft opening menu was quite pretty in its stark simplicity.

 

Avant_at_The_Fort_34_Gelato

My heart skips a beat over anything gelato.

 

Avant_at_The_Fort_35_Gelato

Here’s looking at you, Kuya Michele. Hahaha!

 

Avant_at_The_Fort_36_Sculpture

This sculpture at the “park” piqued my interest.

 

Avant_at_The_Fort_37_Sculpture

Gotta have a photo!

 

Avant_at_The_Fort_38_Cucina_Italiana

Pasta! Pizza! Steaks! Count me in!

 

Avant_at_The_Fort_39_Forbes

It’s all about living the good life!

 

Avant_at_The_Fort_40_Forbes

…Which to me means lots of sleep! Hahaha!

 

Avant_at_The_Fort_42_Mama

After all the walking, it was time for lunch! Mama and I on our way to UCC at Burgos Circle.

 

Avant_at_The_Fort_43_Cath_Kidston

Mama brought along one of her Cath Kidstons, among her many bags.

 

Avant_at_The_Fort_44_Kopi

The Kori Kohi Coffee is served! We went over my blog on my brother’s Google Nexus 7.

 

Avant_at_The_Fort_45_Kopi

The Italians are quite the consummate coffee connoisseurs. So my photo with Kuya Michele and the “third” Michele by good Kori Kohi Cofee is quite fitting.

 

Avant_at_The_Fort_48_Kopi

Kori Kohi Coffee is simply coffee “ice cubes” in a tall glass, on which you pour warm milk until the cubes melt. A little stir turns this confection into a freezing frenzy that could make you ditch your usual latte at the more popular coffee chains.

 

Avant_at_The_Fort_46_Seafood_Rissoto

UCC’s Seafood Risotto hits the table! It’s my brother’s favorite.

 

Avant_at_The_Fort_47_Seafood_Rissoto

This is a winner!

 

Avant_at_The_Fort_49_Afternoon_Sun

The afternoon sun and the clear blue sky made the day perfect. On a clear day, you can see forever!

 

Copyright © 2013 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved





La Vita è Bella

10 12 2012
Italian Lunch - Group 04 THANKS Original

The writing on the paper says it all.

MAKING PASTA for Italians is like hitting your head with the biggest rock you picked up on a leisurely stroll on Orchard Turn.  It sounds like a recipe for disaster but you do it just the same,

Not one to back down from a self-imposed challenge, I, along with Kiddo, whipped up an Italian lunch of pasta and risotto for our four dear Italian compadres Michele, Paolo, Claudio and Michele last Saturday.  (Yes, two Micheles.)

We intended to hit a home run – or, going by Italy’s favorite sport – make a goal, so we asked (okay, more like forced) Claudio if we could have the lunch at his place.  I thought, it could’ve at least imbibed by now the essence of the Italian spirit – the flavors borne on the sun-kissed Mediterranean, smacked with the temperament that can only come from the boot-shaped peninsula and the islands of Sardinia and Sicily where the Eurasian Plate and the African Plate meet.

If everything went well, I could charge it to the golden green extra virgin olive oil and the perfumed goodness of basil.  If from the initial sizzle created by garlic hitting hot oil everything went downhill, I would allude to the considerable seismic activity, characteristic of the country, which could wreak havoc on even the best-laid plans.

The planned menu reads prettily on paper and speaks boldness on the part of two Asians who for the most part could’ve just very well been tinkering with one of the most recognizable cuisines in the world.

TheBrenDarryl (recipe here) – Australian Baby Wild Arugula Salad with sliced Green New Zealand Granny Smith Apple and Green Argentinian Pear, topped with shaved Parmesan Cheese and served with pan-grilled honey-glazed Prawns on the side, in my now-signature Honey–Calamansi Dressing.

Angel Hair Pomodoro (recipes here)

Farfalle alla Genovese (recipe here or here)

Risotto Zafferano (recipe by Kiddo)

To start the meal, we passed around a loaf of ciabatta from a “Milano” bakeshop in Takashimaya, and for dessert, we couldn’t have gone more traditional and Christmas-y than with panettone which I sliced and served with three kinds of gelatocrème brûlée, coffee and vanilla.  Three bottles of red wine were popped through the course of the meal, their origins being a veritable testament to globalization – one came from Chile, another from Australia, and the third one from France.

The day started quite early as Kiddo, Claudio and I agreed to do the groceries at the Cold Storage at Takashimaya the morning of.  What was initially planned to be a dash-and-go turned out to be a surprise gathering as we bumped into Paolo (there for groceries) and Michele (there for breakfast and some takeaway bread).

Italian Lunch - Group 05 Cold Storage

What did you know. We first bumped into Paolo. Then on the way out, we saw Michele.

 

Italian Lunch - Group 06 Cold Storage

Michele says HI to the camera!

 

Italian Lunch - Group 07 Cold Storage

Now, let’s try a proper photo. Hehe.

Together, we took that leisurely stroll back to their serviced apartment and I kept my eyes wide open for the biggest rock I could pick up and hit my head with.  Haha!

Italian Lunch - Apartment 00 Chandelier

I fell in love with the lobby of their apartment from the first time I saw it. The chandeliers are nice. Simple lines, wrought iron work, and individual lights that evoke images of votives. Like sending prayers to heaven.

 

Italian Lunch - Apartment 01 Ceiling

Lovin’ the high ceiling and the skeleton globes.

 

Italian Lunch - Apartment 02 Lobby

The place is all dressed up for Christmas already. I love that tree.

 

Italian Lunch - Apartment 03 The West Wing

A part of me expected Martin Sheen to show up at some point.

Once there, Kiddo and I proceeded with all the prep work – peeling, cutting, and slicing – while at the same time turning on all four burners to heat pots and pans, some of which had to be borrowed from Paolo’s and Michele’s places.

Italian Lunch - Solo 01 Cooking

Whenever I cook at other people’s places, I always get this kind of shot. How does this happen? Someone calls out for you, you turn around to acknowledge, then the shutter is set off. I like this one.

 

Italian Lunch - Food 00 Ingredients

First thing I always do regardless of where I’m cooking is lay down all the ingredients. I pick what I need as I move along with the cooking. The steaks were for Paolo as he doesn’t eat seafood.

 

Italian Lunch - Food 01 Mushroom Ragout

The mushroom ragout for the Farfalle alla Genovese is done. The two pots on the left are water for the pasta – one for the farfalle, one for the angel hair.

 

Italian Lunch - Food 03

The food has landed on the table!

 

Italian Lunch - Food 06 Risotto Zafferano

Kiddo’s Risotto Zafferano

 

Italian Lunch - Food 05 Angel Hair Pomodoro

Angel Hair Pomodoro, made with only fresh tomatoes. In deference to Claudio’s sensitivity to “uncooked” cheese, I didn’t sprinkle parmesan cheese on top.

 

Italian Lunch - Food 02 Farfalle alla Genovese

Farfalle alla Genovese

 

Italian Lunch - Food 07 French Red Wine

The third bottle of red wine that was opened was French.

 

Italian Lunch - Food 08 French Red Wine

I loved how the label verbiage described the wine. “The wine is expressive and full-bodied yet unpretentious…” Could’ve been describing a person. Haha! Michele did a fine job reading the description in French.

 

Italian Lunch - Group 08 Lunch

I think lunch went okay. Haha!

More than anything, Kiddo and I wanted to keep the time as much as possible.  It would be a shame to keep guests waiting.  When the clock hit 1:00 PM – the appointed time on our invitation – I closed my eyes for one brief moment and imagined in my head the voice of Padma Lakshmi saying, “Hands up!  Utensils down!”  This meant slashing the salad off of the menu simply because I had yet to assemble the individual plates.

We sat down like one big happy family, expressed our appreciation for the food we were about to share, and just dug in.  Before we were about to finish, Michele and Claudio started asking for the speeches from “the chefs.”  I kept glancing at Kiddo and kept making sheepish grins thinking those would get me off the hook.  But our guests were serious about wanting to hear speeches.  Claudio, having already heard me deliver one at an office event, just wouldn’t let me get away with it scot-free.  I had to speak.

So with an iPhone5 trained at my countenance, I spoke.  It’s always just a good thing to keep on remembering the two lessons (among countless others) from my childhood that have never left me:  I was raised to never talk to strangers.  And to never ever be afraid to express how I feel (in my heart) and what I think (in my head).  So I spoke.  I had to.  I couldn’t put up with pretending not wanting to speak my mind.  Hehe.

Eventually, the Italians responded with their own “speeches.”  The one thing I could never forget from what they said was that by sharing a meal with us – me, Kiddo, and our other Asian friends (Chin Eik, and then Shook Yee, were there too) – they actually express their respect for us and their willingness to be our friends.  I paraphrased but that was essentially it.

After lunch was cleared, it was time to move on to a more pressing concern – to learn to play mahjong.  While Shook Yee, Chin Eik and Kiddo coached Michele, Paolo, Claudio and Michele, I proceeded with preparing the dessert course.  The panettone and gelato were store-bought (Cold Storage Specialty) but they didn’t have to be served looking like they did.  So I reached for Claudio’s pristine bone china pieces from the cupboard, set on each a thinly sliced wedge of panettone, and three rustic scoops of gelato, one each for the crème brûlée, coffee and vanilla.

Italian Lunch - Group 00 Mahjong

For most of us, it was time to learn mahjong! Chin Eik, Paolo, the very lovely Shook Yee, Michele, eNTeNG and Kia Leh (Kiddo).

 

Italian Lunch - Group 09 Mahjong

Soon enough, the Italians were making a killing at the game. Haha!

 

Italian Lunch - Friends 00 Claudio Michele

Michele and Claudio celebrate a win by singing Queen’s “We Are The Champions”. Haha!

 

Italian Lunch - Mahjong 00 Fave Tiles

My favorite mahjong tiles

 

Italian Lunch - Mahjong 01 Almost Win

An almost win for me

 

Italian Lunch - Mahjong 02 Win

Finally, a win for me!

 

Italian Lunch - Mahjong 03 Cheat Sheet

We had a cheat sheet written on the mahjong paper, courtesy of either Shook Yee, Chin Eik, or Kiddo.

 

Italian Lunch - Food 09 Panettone

Panettone, the traditional Italian Christmas cake, the dessert of choice courtesy of Claudio.

 

Italian Lunch - Food 10 Panettone with Gelato

Panettone with Gelato Three Ways, ready to be served.

 

Italian Lunch - Food 11 Panettone with Gelato

Each dessert portion is a thin slice of panettone, with a rustic melange of crème brûlée, coffee and vanilla gelato.

By the time each finished his or her share of cake and gelato, we looked at the leaderboard in shock and awe that one of the Italians, very new to the game, made us bite dust.  Paolo made an unprecedented three-win streak.  Michele (Kuya) chalked up two wins (celebrating one with a rendition of Queen’s “We Are The Champions” together with Claudio), as well as Chin Eik.  I don’t recall how the others fared.  But I do know that Shook Yee won the last game.  And somewhere in between, I walked away with a win too!  Haha!

We spent another hour talking about all things Italian – everybody in the guest list has been to Italy except me – before heading off to Takashimaya for dinner at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf’s Beanstro.  Around past 11:00 PM, we went on our way back to their place for the final nightcap.

Italian Lunch - Group 05 Elevator

On the elevator ride down, on our way to Takashimaya for a little shopping, coffee, and dinner for me. Haha!

 

Italian Lunch - Food 12 Beanstro Menu

The BeanSTRO Menu

 

Italian Lunch - Group 02 CBTL Beanstro

The gang at BeanSTRO by CBTL at Takashimaya

 

Italian Lunch - Food 15 Beanstro Pasta

My Roast Chicken and Tomato Concasse Pasta

 

Italian Lunch - Food 16 Biscotti

We brought back some Almond-Chocolate Biscotti from CBTL.

Needless to say, on this third leisurely stroll on Orchard Turn done in the space of one fine day, I was hoping against hope to find the biggest rock to hit my head with.  What was my business making pasta for Italians?  Then I realized I needed not a reality check because in their kind words that peppered the day’s many conversations, I recognized gratitude, appreciation for effort beyond the fruition of perfection, and a tolerance for what one’s best can offer.

I can’t wait for the next get-together.

Italian Lunch - Solo 00 Christmas Tree

Of course I’ve got to have a photo by the Christmas Tree at the lobby.

 

Italian Lunch - Group 01 Christmas Tree

By the same Christmas Tree, here with Michele, Claudio, Shook Yee, and Kiddo.

 

Italian Lunch - Solo 02 Lobby

Anywhere there is a mirror. Haha!… As you can see, we had the lobby all to ourselves. This was one of the best late night conversations I have had in a long time.

Copyright © 2012 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved





IKEA is the love

9 04 2012

ANY HOME need – like this stubbornly unyielding thought of a clothes rack I could get on the cheap or haunting images of pristine white clothes hangers that sell at four for S$ 1.00 – is good enough reason to hop on the 27 that stops behind my block, taking me to IKEA Tampines in no time at all.

IKEA at 60 Tampines North Drive 2, Singapore 528764

 

Me on my first ever trip to IKEA

 

Welcome to IKEA! See, they're open up to 11:00 PM... DAILY!

 

Welcome to IKEA Tampines!

And once within the hallowed walls of the world’s largest furniture retailer’s imposing structure off on Tampines North Drive 2, I have to make the requisite stop at the Swedish Food Market and at the Restaurant & Café.  Any efforts at home improvement would prove futile when done on an empty stomach.  Take my word for it.

IKEA Restaurant & Café

 

April specials. Some are available up to 10:00 PM! Gotta love that.

 

Gravad lax plate

 

Organic pasta with tomato sauce & Swedish meatballs

Besides, how could you resist Swedish Meatballs?  Well, honestly you could.  Because before this trip, I have always shunned speckling the top of my Organic Pasta with Tomato Sauce with these coveted rounded tender morsels of beef and pork, prompting one of my best friends to SMS in horror, “What?!  You went to IKEA and didn’t have the Swedish Meatballs?”

So on yesterday’s trip, I made good on this resolution to finally give it a try.

The first thing that strikes you about the IKEA restaurant is that it could get crazy in there.  With the sheer number of people alone waiting for tables to free up, you would feel thankful that while it could take all the time up to when the cup of coffee you got for 50 cents freezes over, it is, like some of the other drinks, refillable.

Some drinks are refillable. I forgot to try the Lingonberry! I take that that is very Swedish. I like it that IKEA uses UTZ CERTIFIED coffee.

 

IKEA's three-tier food cart

I took the store’s signature three-tier food cart, walked at a leisurely pace unperturbed at the thought that I was flying solo and didn’t have anybody to save me a seat, and walked up to the end of the queue under which the sign says, “Line 1.”  The queue is formed right beside where I would always get the cup for my refillable coffee, just right before the row of refrigerated counters that dole out, among other sumptuous treats, one which has proven to be impossible to forget – the Cardamom muffin.

Impossible to forget - the Cardamom muffin. I had this on my first ever time at IKEA.

 

Salads & Cakes

 

Hot meal counter

This time, I didn’t fancy any of the lovely packed salads they had on display – Smoked Chicken or a Gravad Lax plate – as I could hear the meatballs calling my name from the adjacent counter where the hot meals are dished out.  So I got the Organic Pasta with Tomato Sauce & Swedish Meatballs, and its mini-me called Kid’s Meal Pasta with Tomato Sauce.  The invisible human conveyor I was on makes a turn to the right where the soup station is.  But before ladling in to a shallow bowl the Cream of Mushroom Soup chockful with chunks of wild mushrooms – I espied oyster, cremini, and shiitake – I got a couple of the rolls and three 10-gram packs of LURPAK unsalted butter.  Everything is better with lots of butter!

From the counters to my tray!

I moved on to the cashier and for everything in my cart, paid S$ 14.30.  I couldn’t wait to dig in.

The sauce for the organic pasta was very resonant with the strong flavors of dried herbs.  I picked that out clearly and easily from the mishmash of flavors and textures since I have recently re-acquainted my palate with the subtle nuances of fresh sweet basil leaves, quite a delicate whiff the moment they hit the heat from a bubbling sauce.  But while I did find the dried herbs in the sauce to be a bit strong, it didn’t take away from the culinary pleasure I was deriving from piercing the al dente penne with the tines of my fork, alternating it with the diced tomatoes and carrots that were swimming in the sauce.  The meatballs, I gobbled up on their own, or a couple of times, stained with the robust and hearty sauce.  Yum.  I cleaned the second plate, the “Kid’s Meal” version, in no time, shameless that I was like eating for more than one person.  Crazy.

Organic pasta with tomato sauce & Swedish meatballs

 

My plate of "seconds" - the Kid's Meal version of the organic pasta with taomato sauce

 

Usually, I would just have it plain as it is, no Swedish meatballs.

 

I've also had it with salmon.

 

Cream of mushroom soup, chockful with all of those bits of wild mushrooms!

 

Two rolls are better than one!

Yes, didn’t I say it could get crazy in there at the IKEA restaurant?  It took me quite some time to lay claim on free dining space.  And when I did, I had to move away from my captive table and chairs to ask for assistance from the staff to bus the table.  From time to time, I had to glance back to ensure that no one else could think even for a second that they had dibs on what I had already found.  But someone did approach.  But when he saw I had already found it first, he moved away, back to his also searching girlfriend.

Whoever said, “Share a table and win a friend” made a believer in me.  So I politely asked the couple if they wouldn’t mind sharing the table with me.  They smiled and took the free seats.  I told them that I shall refer to them as the cute couple with whom I shared a table at IKEA.  (Later, they were joined by the girl’s mom.  I assume she was the girl’s.)

I went to IKEA to get stuff, but had to eat, and made nice acquaintances.  And I finally made good on a promise to try something new.  Ain’t life sweet?

This customer feedback section is near the cashiers.

 

Everytime I see this, I get reminded to put up one at my desk. Haha!

 

See You Soon!

 

IKEA at dusk

Copyright © 2012 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved





Off to the far East

16 01 2012

Footwear in the sand, By the 15-km shoreline, East Coast Park, Singapore

BRENDA & DARRYL are one of the five couples I’m really close to.  They share a lot of their interests, themselves and their home with their friends.  And Brenda, in true Barefoot Contessa fashion, whips up meals that are so good they could only be cooked with love.  Whether whipped up in minutes or really slaved about over a hot stove, her cooking has always been superb.  I would raise my feet if only to let her know that meals at their place have always deserved more than my two thumbs up.

The requisite wacky shot at our Mexcian Christmas Party at Brenda and Darryl's place.

I still have vivid recollections of the Mexican Christmas Party we had at their Singapore home.  She rolled out a spread that appealed to the shameless recipe requester in me.  I just had to learn how to make her Mexican Rice (I’ve a feeling this is her original, based on her understanding of what Mexican flavors are), Pan-grilled Pork served with freshly made Pineapple Salsa, and Chicken Fajitas.  For dessert, she made Churros con Chocolate, spiking the chocolate with a little chilli, making it oh so wicked and oh so Jacques Torres.

Darryl and Brenda

The Mexican spread – Tacos with the works (tomatoes, onions, lettuce, jalapeno) by Vel; Fresh Salad by Kwai Han; Mexican Rice, Chicken Fajitas, and Pan-grilled Pork with fresh Pineapple Salsa by Brenda; Almondigas by Vel, Brenda, and eNTeNG; Fresh Tomato Salsa by eNTeNG.

Mexican Rice

Chicken Fajitas

Pan-Grilled Pork

Fresh Pineapple Salsa

The pan-grilled pork, topped with the fresh pineapple salsa.

The tacos had the "works" – diced tomatoes, onions, shredded lettuce, and jalapeno peppers.

Fresh Salad

Fresh Tomato Salsa

The churros got a dusting of confectioner's sugar before being served.

It was paired with wickedly good chocolate.

Churros con Chocolate can put you in the holiday spirit!

Yesterday, a Saturday, they organized a day of recreation at East Coast Park.  The original plan said we would have breakfast at Old Town White Coffee, the one at Playground @ Big Splash, and then we would have the whole day to “unwind.”  It was the unwind part that I was so breathless in anticipation of.  There are just weeks when you just wish there would be a time to exhale.

I shall now refer to Old Town as the most leisurely luxurious meal of the non-fastfood, non-hawker kind that can be had here in Singapore.  It rings true to their trademarked tag line at the back of their receipt, “take your time™”.  I had the Old Town Soup Egg Noodles, Kaya & Butter Steam Bread, a Basket of Sausages, and a cup of Hot Mocha White Coffee.  The egg noodles were swimming in a most flavorful broth, almost with the hint of the sweetness of corn.  I fell in love with the bread, so delicate and tender after being steamed.

The gang at Old Town White Coffee, Playground @ Big Splash, East Coast Park, Singapore

Alvin, Jossel & Vel, and Loradel

Jossel and Vel

Brenda & Darryl, and eNTeNG

There was no doubt where we were having breakfast. The paper napkins say, "Old Town White Coffee". Here it is photographed with my and Darryl's Blackberrys, and my old, beaten, yet still trsutworthy Canon IXUS 860IS.

Soup Egg Noodles

A tight shot of my new favorite noodles. Okay, it's one of many. Haha!

A bucket of sausage

Kaya & Butter Steam Bread

Kaya & Butter

Delicious butter slathered thick on tender, delicate, really soft bread.

Hot Mocha Ipoh White Coffee

Dry Ipoh Chicken Hor Fun

Hainanese Chicken Chop Rice

Ipoh Lum Mee

Steam Rice with Mushroom and Chicken

A Kaya Toast

Two soft-boiled eggs

After a full breakfast, we rented a couple of four-seaters at the bicycle shop.  I was so excited with the thought of taking in the view of the famed 15-km. shoreline that 7.5 million visitors see each year.  When the ride I shared with Loradel and Alvin made it past the initial downward slope, Brenda handed me a print out of the shore line and said that we should take a photo in front of each of the land marks identified on the map.  It was one of those moments that made me look up in the sky, scratch my head and say, “I didn’t see that coming!”  But how could I not, when every event Brenda and Darryl have organized has some sort of surprise twist to it, or sometimes, just the best “special effects” and props like those for the games during our Christmas Party.  Their 40+-inch TV was perfect for providing the slides and the backdrop to our party.

On board our four-seaters. Super excited!

Making it past the first downward slope... snapping a shot of the other team.

Taking another one

Brenda & Darryl

The Young Married Couples' Team, in front of one of the requisite stops, Burger King.

Alvin & Loradel

Loradel & eNTeNG

The young married couples, in front of Long Beach, another required stop on Brenda's map.

The singletons struck a pose too.

We had to resume pedaling like crazy. I could still hear Loradel screaming at the top of her lungs, "eNTeNG, mag-pedal ka!!!" ("eNTeNG, keep pedaling!") Hahaha!

Vel & Jossel... and a four-seater. And oh, that's Brenda too in the background!

From time to time, we just had to park our four-wheel-drives. Haha!

A shot of our competition right before we passed them.

Sorry, but we had to pass you guys. Hehe.

Good job to my team's driver, Alvin, and navigator, Loradel. Haha! It felts like some real race.

East Coast Park really has amazing views.

Alvin and Darryl had to get drinks for the girls.

We had to stop for a shot at one of the "lighthouses". I haven't figured out all the kinks of my brand new camera so the lighting wasn't what we wanted.

Jossel subbed for Darryl, and took this second shot.

Finally, the family of the 4J's made it to the race!

Julie, Jasmin, Julia, and Jack

The girls wanted more laps around the park with Daddy.

The race is done! Loradel and Alvin.

This was so much fun! Here, Loradel and eNTeNG.

Negotiating the stretch of the shoreline was much more challenging than I had initially hoped.  Haha!  So when we had completed most of the necessary photo stops, we took our sweet time at one of the free barbecue pits (they could be reserved for a fee, online), soaked in the amazing view of the water, and even got our feet “dirty” in the powdery sand.  I’ve never been a beach person.  But the little time spent at East Coast Park made me reconsider.  Especially when we decided to take more than a kilometer’s walk back.

eNTeNG by the bay

By the shoreline – Jossel & Vel, Alvin, Darryl & Brenda, Loradel, and eNTeNG

"All my life, it's always been my shadow and me."

What's out there in the horizon?

I couldn't look at this lifebuoy and not hear in my head, "Some people stand in the darkness / Afraid to step into the light..." Hahaha!

My red TOMS in the sand

You couldn't get too close to the water without getting yourself wet.

The sand had an exfoliating effect.

Another wave was about to come in.

Of course, we had to have group shots taken!

Getting ready to jump!

Almost there!

Yehey!

I like this group shot for the pensive feel I get from it.

eNTeNG was here.

Vel & Brenda

Brenda tagged Kate Spade along. Hehe.

Brenda reviewing the group shots.

One more shot!

A Walk To Remember

Another Walk To Remember

The 1-km. mark! Whew!

Lunch was at McDonald’s, before we headed to Marine Bowl for a couple of rounds of friendly but competitive pin tumbling.  All the pedaling and walking didn’t take a dent on our energy levels.  Each one bowled for the win – losers were to pay, after all.  Haha!  The final tally?  It was even.

Marine Bowl

The balls that came into play!

eNTeNG

Alvin

Jack

Loradel

Brenda

Darryl

Jossel

We had a blast!

From East Coast Park, we took a taxi ride to Velocity Mall at Novena to claim our singlets, bibs and runner’s kit for the Safari Zoo Run 2012.  If us enduring the day’s busy and physically demanding schedule is any indication, then I have a good feeling that I’d make it through the 6km Zoo Fun Run I signed up for.

The line for the Safari Zoo Run'12 was so long, it snaked all the way outside Velocity Mall.

Yey, getting closer to the end of the line!

This setup was quite efficient. We didn't take as long in line as we had feared.

Of course, the Fun Run is yet another one of Brenda and Darryl’s influences on me (though I used to run back in the Philippines).  And for that and a really full-packed, fun Saturday, thanks!

Can't wait to go back to running!

Copyright © 2012 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved





Bowling for Kebab

25 09 2011

The bowling carnival was all about fun. Brenda was part of Team "I'm Bob"!

WHAT KIND of friend am I if not to cheer my closest friends on as they pursue their own passions or reach for their dreams?  Or just like yesterday, throw some ball.  And in the case of Brenda, a seven-pound orange bowling ball.

When I actually learned that Brenda was participating in our company’s annual Bowling Carnival, I just had to free up my Friday night and Saturday morning to be able to get up and make it to the meeting point at 7:30 AM.  I found it funny that I ended up forgetting to enable my four alarms – yes, four! – to go blaring on a Saturday morning.  They happen to all be set on “weekdays” mode only.

But that’s the thing when something has been preoccupying your head for days, your body will tell you something’s up.  So I made it, though five minutes late, and off we went to Marine Bowl at the Marine Cove, East Coast Park.  I just find the ride through KPE (the Kallang–Paya Lebar Expressway) kind of soothing.  I could hear Maroon 5’s “Sunday Morning” playing in my head.

Approaching KPE...

 

We're in!

 

Nearing the final turn...

The day started with registration and breakfast.  Since Brenda’s hubby, Darryl, wasn’t playing as well (he did the weekend prior), we stuck with each other and lined up at the counter.  I’m not a McDonald’s regular, and this was my first meal in the global food outlet, ever since I got here.  Not having any favorites at all, I settled for the Sausage McGriddle with Egg, served with a hash brown and coffee.  I was so surprised that I liked it.  A sausage patty, a sunny side up, doused in melted cheese, in between two pancakes – what’s not to love?  It felt so Southern (American) comfort food to start the morning – sausage and waffles with maple syrup.  Yum!

A breakfast sandwich, coffee and a hash brown.

 

Not exactly what I would have for breakfast, but was I so glad to have asked for it!

 

Simply delicious!

 

As if anybody needed any reminder he or she was in McDonald's!

When my Mama learned that I was cheering Brenda on, she had to dole out a wise piece of motherly advice – “don’t shout or scream too loud and too much,” to keep my Achilles’ heel, tonsillitis, at bay.  Good thing that the refreshment kiosk at the bowling alley offers “ginger water,” scalding hot.  At SG$ 1.30 a pop, not bad at all.  It’s Sunday morning and I don’t feel even a slight scratch behind my throat.  Haha!

Alvin, Darryl & Brenda, and Melisse

 

Brenda, the orange ball, and a spare!

 

Two of my favorite people – Darryl and Brenda.

 

Melisse and her Staff is "Team One Thousand."

 

Team "I'm Bob" is Brenda and her colleagues that include Alvin and "Bob" himself.

Brenda wowed the cheerer in me with a four bagger, making me scream at the top of my lungs.  But the ultimate treat of the day turned out to be lunch.  Right across the Marine Bowl was the Marine Cove, a stretch of quirky shops and restaurants.  We surveyed the length that our starving tummies allowed, before turning back for the Kebab Station.  It was Brenda’s choice and when it comes to food, I totally trust her.  Her roasted chicken with cumin and oranges left an indelible imprint on my mind.

From the Kebab Station’s wide selection, I gravitated towards the Kofta, with the faintest of idea what it was.  The generous scattering of tomato wedges on the photo did it for me.  And at the counter, upon placing my order, I just had to quip, “Extra tomatoes please?”

Beef Kofta, The Kebab Station, The Marine Cove, East Coast Park, Singapore

The chef was just so glad to oblige and the very amiable staff proudly announced the advent of my request, “Beef kofta with extra tomatoes.”  Like a kid in school wanting to earn a star at recitation, I just had to raise my hand.

The chef at the Kebab Station was so cool!

 

I was that that's lamb on the left and beef on the right. The chef thinly slices from this rack and collects the sliced meat from the pan and makes the food to order.

Kofta turned out to be this traditional Middle Eastern meatball (or meatloaf) made from either beef (like what I had) or lamb, infused with spices.  The dish came with fragrant rice, a mound of crisp iceberg lettuce leaves, wedges of pita bread, and in my case, lots of tomatoes.  A couple of dressings were drizzled on to the plate – a garlic aioli and I think, tomato ketchup.

Melisse succinctly summed up the meal – delicious and authentic!

A kofta with a wedge of tomato

 

Lots of extra tomato wedges!

 

A wedge of pita bread

 

Couldn't help but love this kofta!

 

A wedge of pita bread cozying up with a kofta. Nice!

 

Lunch buddies all! Me, Bob, Alvin, Melisse, Brenda, and Darryl.

 

The Chef and a blogger

 

 

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





Eat. Talk. Shop.

8 06 2011

Data & eNTeNG

MY MORTALITY stares at me straight, not in the presence of imminent danger, but when in an eat-all-you-can buffet.

I’ve been to YakiMIX a few times, all for reasons that were beyond sustaining my body’s physiological processes.  The first couple of times were celebrations to see colleagues and dear friends off on their move to Singapore.  The last one last night, a spur-of-the-moment surprise to one of my dearest friends, was one in a series of seeing me off.  I don’t know but something about eventually taking that flight to somewhere 2,390 kilometers away could make someone wax nostalgic about the past.  And want to make memories.

I owe Data – the Daphne Tatiana – everything I know about making short videos.  She gave me a short introduction over coffee at Figaro at The Podium, and I’ve been unstoppable since, producing works that have been used for corporate events and for intimate gatherings.

The Diva approaches the escalator landing.

The Diva right in front of the venue of our first meeting, Figaro at The Podium.

So fab at the buffet. I told her that I loved her color blocking.

The Diva and the swanky interiors.

I felt my series of send-offs wouldn’t be complete without an evening of good food and great conversation with this fine lady.  We realized that so much has changed in each other’s lives – she now teaches at the country’s foremost (state) university, is waiting for word on the next phase of her application to a major Ph.D. program in the States, and is back writing for a major network, something she probably loves as much, if not more than executive producing the first season of Project Runway Philippines.

Yes, so much has changed.  But we are just both so glad that, as she did write on my facebook wall, we haven’t.  Our conversation was free-flowing and it was so effortless to pick up from where we left off.

The Diva's grillers

The Diva's second plate of salad, sashimi, and more grillers.

My first plate, from the sashimi station. I got five of each kind! Yes, even the lemon wedges were five in all!

 

Five pieces of ebi sushi

 

My second plate of sushi. Again, five of each, except for a "duo" of salmon and tuna.

 

My duo of fish sashimi. Norwegian pink salmon and yellow fin tuna, live together in perfect harmony, one on top of the other, on my plate.

 

Sukiyaki

 

My sukiyaki with the Diva's grillers at the background.

Practically the same sentiment I have for YakiMIX.  It’s simply a trusty buffet, with probably one of the widest selections of sushi and sashimi (my favorites!), Cantonese cuisine, and barbecue on their smokeless grill.  A little shopping ensued, including tagging a Philip Stein wristwatch for future purchase.  Of course, we capped the night with luscious desserts and coffee at Segafredo – a couple cappuccinos, and a slice each of Butter Cake for her, and Red Velvet for me.

I’ve missed you, Data!  Let’s do this one more time before I leave.

Segafredo

 

Red Velvet Cake

 

Perfect combination – red velvet cake and cappuccino!

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





B for Bendetta

26 05 2011

The barista murdered my coffee name. Or was it my fault?

FRIENDSHIP IS the toughest critic of my enunciation.  There was no use denying it when she pointed out to my face that I have a “short I / long I” defect.  Just last night I missed Friendship so much when my deficiency chose to manifest itself in the presence of a newfound friend.  For sure she would’ve been laughing the whole stretch of EDSA on the way to The Podium.

Claiming my green tea latte over ice at Starbucks at the Robinson’s Summit Ridge in Tagaytay at lunch today, I was stunned to find out that I may have yet another diction issue – “V” as “B”.  I gave my coffee name to the barista.  “Stave.  That’s S-T-A-V-E.”  I was surprised to read what she wrote.

Oh well.

Starbucks!

 

Pensive... Oh well...

 

 

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





Next espresso shot please

22 04 2011

They come in threes. Nespresso coffee capsules in Ristretto, Vivalto Lungo, and Decaffeinato.

 

I LOVE coffee so much that there are days I wish I could have it on an IV.

So whenever I check in a hotel, the first thing I raid is the free coffee in the mini bar.  Which, for the life of me, has always been a couple of sachets of granulated instant coffee.  If I’m lucky, it’s the 3-in-1 kind.  I’m lousy with electric contraptions so after I’ve taken the time to figure out how to plug in the pot for boiling water, I’d get started on my caffeine binge.

It’s the kind of binge that will last the whole duration I’m billeted.

At my recent stay at Royal Plaza on Scotts – it’s been weeks and I thought my love affair with the place has waned with time, but apprently, not so – I had my caffeine cravings satiated 24/7 with not only the requisite free instant coffee in the mini bar, but also with my very own in-room Nespresso coffee maker!  It was unassumingly placed on top of the credenza right below the flat screen TV that it took a real coffee enthusiast, Friendship, to sense its presence within our breathing space.

My very own in-room Nespresso machine!

The most amazing thing about this Nespresso coffee maker is that it is a single-serve machine that does exactly what it is intended to do, and amazingly so.  Of course, being the lousy person that I am when it comes to gadgets, I had to first quietly observe Friendship make one cup before I even had the courage to work the machine myself.

Nespresso is the most convenient coffee maker you’d ever find.  You don’t need to fuss anymore about putting coffee filters in place or scooping the right measure of ground coffee every single time.  All you have to do is lift the chrome top cover, place a capsule of ground coffee, replace the cover (you’d feel the action will plunge the capsule in place), select either an espresso shot or a full cup of drip coffee, and you’re seconds away to caffeine heaven.

An excellent brew starts with simply lifting the top cover, called the "lever", into an upright position.

 

All you have to do is insert a capsule of your choice into the machine. As you shall see, the capsules fit only one way.

 

After the coffee capsule is inserted, the lever is replaced, plunging it (the capsule) in place.

 

I hit the button with the image of a coffee cup (against the other's espresso shot cup) and wait for freshly brewed coffee to drip to the cup on the (drip) tray.

 

Wherever I am in my hotel room, the first whiffs of freshly brewed coffee is hard to miss!

 

Just seconds away from the perfect cup!

 

Done! I take mine with creamer and sugar. I think the hotel provided me with reduced non-fat milk creamer.

You don’t need a “for dummies” guide to operate Nespresso.  The coffee capsules – available in a range of blends so there’s always one to suit your of-the-moment liking – fit only one way, and the only other thing you actually have to worry about is if there’s enough water in the see-through carafe conveniently located at the back of the machine.

The Nespresso coffee capsules are contained in this box, which when opened doubles as a stylish display box that can also hold two coffee cups.

 

The hotel's complimentary selection has Ristretto (intensity 10), Vivalto Lungo (intensity 4), and Decaffeinato (intensity 2).

 

A closer look at Ristretto.

I couldn’t help waxing nostalgic about having a two-week affair with Nespresso.  It was there for me for the many personalities that make me up.  And believe me, it’s quite a wide spectrum.  When I had to pull all-nighters, I popped in Ristretto.  For when I was passing time, waiting for dinner plans or invitations to come to fuition, I would have a cup of Vivalto Lungo in hand.

And when it was time to call it a night, I’d just lounge around in bed, having only the hotel’s luxurious robe on, put the TV on TLC (where the cooking shows are), and sip through at least two cups of Decaffeinato.

One for each mood... Ristretto, Vivalto Lungo, Decaffeinato.

 

Ristretto turned out to be my favorite!

 

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