At the Oscars 2013

25 02 2013

It’s not the Declaration of Independence but the Winners’ Poster, backstage at the 85th Academy Awards. My favorite Daniel Day-Lewis makes a record-setting three-time Best Actor win! (Photo grab from, the official website of the awards. No infringement of copyright intended.)

08:47 AM BEN AFFLECK’s beard has a twitter account!

Worked on options to be able to watch it live – streaming, Skype, etc.  Finally, I decided to subscribe to Fox Movies Premium.  I hit the blue button on my service provider’s controls and I’m on the show.  I couldn’t stand the thought of missing this historical broadcast – I lapped up the hype of tributes to the movie musical and to James Bond’s 50th year!  And of course, my eldest brother’s text message saying that I was already one for one with Christoph Waltz’s Best Supporting Actor win for “Django Unchained”.


Watched the live telecast with friends and family at different time zones



Jessica Chastain arrives!



The luminous Nicole Kidman is on the red carpet!



One of the most beautiful couples ever, Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck. I really like these two!



That’s the look of love.



Ladies and gentlemen, Coldplay… “Look at the stars, Look how they shine for you, And everything you do, Yeah they were all… Yellow…”



Channing Tatum, who danced with Charlize Theron on stage to Seth McFarlane’s singing, here with his pregnant wife.



Mama texted me back when her favorite actress Sandra Bullock finally makes her appearance on the red carpet!



Sandra Bullock has one of the most beautiful faces in Hollywood.



The Official Program (Photo grab from, the official website of the awards. No infringement of copyright intended.)



Seth McFarlane, Master of Ceremonies, The 85th Academy Awards. (Photo grab from, the official website of the awards. No infringement of copyright intended.)

10:40 AM Seth McFarlane makes an Abe Lincoln joke and snaps back at an uncomfortably passive audience, “150 years and still too soon?”  That cracked me up!

10:41 AM From the cataclysmic disaster that was Gigli – I waited for the camera to pan to Jennifer Garner – to one of Hollywood’s most brilliant and most respected directors, Ben Affleck!

10:45 AM  Really liking how Seth McFarlane is hosting this show!  Even with just announcing what’s coming up puts me on the edge of the sofa.  Hahaha!  Back with Jessica Chastain, Hugh Jackman, and Anne Hathaway.  I wonder if Anne will thank Lea Salonga when she wins.  Hahaha!

10:48 AM  “It’s Sunday, everybody’s dressed up.  It’s like church, but only with more people praying.”  Hahaha!


Jessica Chastain gets ready for her close-up. (Photo grab from, the official website of the awards. No infringement of copyright intended.)

10:49 AM  Jennifer Garner and Jessica Chastain – Sydney Bristow and Maya – presenting.  Wow!  Gorgeousness overload!  Amour wins Best Foreign Language Film!

10:51 AM  The camera zooms on to Amour’s Emmanuelle Riva!  A lot are looking forward to a Riva upset tonight!

10:52 AM  Danny Zuko – make that, John Travolta – is in the house!  This means only one thing.  It’s time for the movie musical tribute – the best in the last decade.  Amazing.

10:53 AM  Oh my God!  He just rattled off the cast of Les Miserables, Dreamgirls,  and Chicago!!!  OH–EM–GEE!  Catherine Zeta–Jones emerges from beneath the stage with “All That Jazz”.  The singing sounds live!

10:56 AM  No no no no way!!!  It’s Jennifer Hudson now with “And I Am Telling You (I’m Not Going)”.  The arrangement is subdued.  Nothing subdued with the voice though!  And she is gorgeous.

10:59 AM  The lights on stage thumped with the sound as the song builds to a raging crescendo.  Wow!

10:59 AM  Wow!  Standing ovation already!  With Jane Fonda shaking her head in amazing disbelief of that talent she just witnessed.

11:00 AM  “I Dreamed The Dream” is playing!  Goosebumps all over!

11:00 AM  Hugh Jackman emerges from the darkness.  Lovin’ his voice live!  I think he is singing “Who Am I?”  Oh no, I think it’s the original “Something Suddenly.”

11:01 AM  OH–EM–GEE!  Anne Hathaway starts “One Day More”!  She’s just so beautiful.

11:02 AM  Russell Crowe redeems himself!  He does sound good live than on record.

11:03 AM  Go Eddie Redmayne!!!  And that’s the BC’s – Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen!

11:04 AM  I give the Les Mis cast a standing ovation – right here in my living room!  Amazing!  And that’s a camera pan to The Daniel Day–Lewis!

11:06 AM  The producers of the show should seriously consider releasing this on DVD.  It’s turning out to be a very historical telecast.  I’ll be first in line to buy!


Nicole Kidman is just so beautiful. Ten years ago, she was up on this stage (at the Kodak) to accept her Oscar for “The Hours”.



Nicole “Let them clap” Kidman

11:06 AM  Thought to self:  Nicole Kidman is here and was gorgeous on the red carpet.  How come no “Moulin Rouge!” on the production number???

11:09 AM  “I made Ted!”  One of Seth’s best lines so far.

11:10 AM  It’s Mark Wahlberg and Ted presenting!

11:11 AM  Les Mis wins Best Sound Mixing!

11:12 AM  Anne Hathaway and Hugh Jackman beaming!  Anne breathes really heavily.

11:13 AM  Ted is so cute!  Hahaha!

11:14 AM  Mark Wahlberg says, “We have a tie.  No BS.  We have a tie.  The first Oscar goes to Zero Dark Thirty.”  I predicted ZDT will get it.  Haha!


It’s a tie!!! (Photo grab from, the official website of the awards. No infringement of copyright intended.)

11:15 AM  The second Oscar goes to …  “Skyfall”.  I totally agree!  Good judgment call on Mark’s part to not call the two winners at the same time.  It allowed for each to have their own moment.

11:17 AM  Note to self:  When was the last time the Oscars had a tie?  Was it still the one between Katharine Hepburn (The Lion In Winter) and Barbra Streisand (Funny Girl).

11:18 AM  Oh my God!  I’m lovin’ their parody of “The Sound of Music” at the part when the Family Von Trapp went MIA.  “Ladies and gentlemen, the Von Trapp Family Singers!”  Hahaha!  Perfect introduction for Christopher Plummer!  It’s Best Supporting Actress time!

11:19 AM  The nominees are all so beautiful!  Amy Adams, Sally Field, Anne Hathaway, Helen Hunt, and Jackie Weaver.

11:22 AM  And the Oscar goes to…  Ms…  Anne Hathaway!  Oh my God!  It came true!  She gives Hugh a buss.  And acknowledges Amy Adams on the way to the mic.  (Nipple much?!)


Best Supporting Actress Anne Hathaway takes the Winners’ Walk. (Photo grab from, the official website of the awards. No infringement of copyright intended.)

11:23 AM  The girl who played the Assistant with the talent and a heart of gold in “The Devil Wears Prada”…  is wearing Prada!


Ladies and gentlemen… Anne Hathaway’s back. (Photo grab from, the official website of the awards. No infringement of copyright intended.)

11:24 AM  Coming up…  A special Oscar performance of Skyfall by Adele.  (Ok, time for a bathroom break.  Not an Adele fan here.  Hahaha!)

11:33 AM  Bummer!  I missed my Mama’s favorite, Sandra Bullock, presenting.

11:34 AM  Jennifer Lawrence introduces the unstoppable Adele.  Her words, not mine.

11:35 AM  Not to self:  I loved loved L–O–V–E–D “Skyfall” and even wrote about it.  But I never cared for the song.  But know what, it is actually quite nice.

11:38 AM  Sally Field looks very pleased with the performance.

11:42 AM  My all–time favorite, the eternally gorgeous Nicole Kidman introduces Best Picture nominees “Silver Linings Playbook”, “Djanggo Unchained” and “Amour”.

11:46 AM  Harry Potter and Bella Swan present!  Together, they are all that is wrong with Hollywood, according to the Christian right.  Hahaha!  Seth, you’re cracking me up.  Daniel Radcliffe is very professional and polished.  Kristen Stewart?  It looks like she’d rather be somewhere else.  I think she hasn’t outgrown being Bella.  (Note to self:  She came in crutches at the limo drop.  So I’ll cut her some slack.)

11:50 AM  Salma Hayek sashays on stage.  Hmmm…  She has all the options in the world of haute couture and she comes out in that?  But at least the velvet accentuates her hour glass figure.


I started watching the show snacking on this! Haha!

11:51 AM  I suddenly feel hunger pangs.  What to have?  ORIGINAL two–bite brownies and Ben&Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie Ice Cream!


It’s time for brownies and ice cream!



I had a few helpings of this – a two-bite brownie and two spoonfuls of chocolate fudge brownie ice cream!



The best brownie and the best ice cream.



Like butter sliding down hot toast. Haha!

11:52 AM  Seth McFarlane is winning brownie points from me for his hosting skills.  Up next, George Clooney, and the IN MEMORIAM tribute.

11:54 AM  George Clooney introduces the IN MEMORIAM.

12:00 NN  Barbra Streisand hums the introduction to “The Way We Were”.  Wow, she looks…  young.  It’s a really touching tribute – her voice, her presence, Marvin Hamlisch’s images on the giant screen wall above.  Goosebumps.


Massive applause for Barbra Streisand’s performance (Photo grab from, the official website of the awards. No infringement of copyright intended.)

12:03 PM  Fox cuts the telecast just when you can hear the crowd going really wild for arguably a really legendary, historic performance.

12:07 PM  This year, Chicago marks its 10th year.  Oh my, the whole cast!  Renee Zellweger, Catherine Zeta–Jones, Queen Latifah, and Richard Gere.  Wait, what’s with Renee’s incessant squinting?  And oh, I’m reminded.  I want a sunny side up for breakfast.  I know where to fry!  Haha!

12:14 PM  Norah Jones performs the song from “Ted”!  I hope Seth McFarlane wins!  I sincerely do.  As the song says, “Everybody Needs A Best Friend”.

12:15 PM  Adele officially becomes a multi–hyphenate!  When Barbra Streisand sang “Evergreen” on Oscar night, she won for it too.  And now it’s Adele’s turn!  And hers is the first James Bond Original Song win ever!  Wow all over!

12:17 PM  It’s the big ones when they come back!  Meryl Streep, Jean Dujardin, and Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, and Best Picture when Oscar returns!


Channing Tatum raises an eyebrow. (Photo grab from, the official website of the awards. No infringement of copyright intended.)

12:21 PM  Dustin Hoffman and Charlize Theron!  Beautiful.  Dustin complements a visibly “embarrassed” Charlize for her dancing.  Wait, did Fox cut yet another amazing portion of the show?!  It’s Best Adapted Screenplay.  I hope “Argo” wins!

12:23 PM  And “Argo” wins!!!

12:24 PM  Weird but none of the speeches has moved me so far.

12:26 PM  Quentin Tarantino wins Best Original Screenplay for “Django Unchained”!  Wow, 20 years after “Pulp Fiction”!

12:27 PM  The cameramen love Kerry Washington.  They keep showing her reaction.

12:27  PM  “And since we’ve been here this long, we’re going to start the 2014 Oscars after this.”  Bwahahaha!

12:31 PM  Seth introduces children of Hollywood screen legends – from when it was all cocaine trees to as far as the eye can see (Haha! – who have become screen legends themselves, Jane Fonda and Michael Douglas.  That’s “Nobody Does It Better” playing!

12:33 PM  It’s Best Director.  Ang Lee wins.  It should’ve been Ben Affleck.  You Academy!

12:36 PM  Ang Lee says Xie Xie and Namaste.

12:36 PM  Coming up next, three–time Oscar winner Meryl Streep and the awards for Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Actress.  Will it be Quvenzhané Wallis, who is nine?  Or Emmanuelle Riva, who was nine when this show started.  Hahaha!


Last year’s Best Actor, Jean Dujardin! (Photo grab from, the official website of the awards. No infringement of copyright intended.)

12:39 PM  It’s Jean Dujardin (with a shot of a bored Kristen Stewart thrown in for good measure)!  Lovin’ the accent.  Best Actress is up.  Oh, Jessica Chastain’s forced smile looks like conceding that she has lost.  Oh my.  Jennifer Lawrence claps for herself.  Emmanuelle Riva’s clip is heartbreaking.  Wow, lots of love for little Quvenzhané Wallis!  And now, my personal bet – Naomi Watts.

12:42 PM  Wow, “My Cherie Amour”!  Jennifer Lawrence wins?!  Really?!  Wow.  Up to the last minute, I was thinking of an Emmanuelle Riva upset (the song suits her too!).  Jennifer falls.  Must’ve been so surprised.  Wait, is that Jean Valjean to the rescue???  I find it so sweet that she greeted Emmanuelle Riva a Happy Birthday.  Ms. Riva turns 86 today, on Oscar night!


The actress who doesn’t need any caption – Meryl Streep!

12:44 PM  The presenter who needs no introduction – The Meryl Streep.

12:47 PM  And now, the first actor to win three Oscars for a leading role – Daniel Day–Lewis.  It is the speech worth waiting for.  I’ve always admired Mr. Day–Lewis for the calm, composure and crispness with which he delivers his speeches.  His hint of surprise is always sincere.  He never assumed he would be the one up there at the microphone.  He speaks with the grace and the intellect that sometimes I think could only come from the Irish.  And his tributes to the two women in his life – his wife and then, his mom – were so touching.


Daniel Day-Lewis is so humble!



Yay, he wins! Three times the charm. And I won’t be surprised if he gets more.







The Daniel day-Lewis makes a reference to The Meryl Streep. A funny one.



That’s the profile of the best actor to play an American President.



The Nose. And I mean that as a compliment.



See how humble Daniel Day-Lewis is! (Photo grab from, the official website of the awards. No infringement of copyright intended.)

12:51 PM  Jack Nicholson, one of my father’s favorites (loved him in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”).    I adored him in “As Good As It Gets”.  US First Lady Michelle Obama introduces the category before turning it back to Jack!  What a casting coup!  My fingers are crossed for “Argo”!!!


US First Lady Michelle Obama

12:54 PM  And the Oscar goes to…  “Argo”!!!  I’m so jumping up and down – in my head.  “I know what you’re thinking.  Three Sexiest Producers Alive.”  Hahaha!  Oh my,  Ben Affleck’s closing speech tear me up.  Congratulations, Ben Affleck!  You’re one of my iDOLs ever!


Accepting the award for Argo are The Three Sexiest Producers Alive!



Behind every man is a woman. Jennifer Garner beams!



Mrs. Ben Affleck fights back tears of joy.



At this point of Ben Affleck’s speech, I was near tears too. So so so happy for him.



You are, Ben. You are. (Photo grab from, the official website of the awards. No infringement of copyright intended.)

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

Dispatch from the edgiest

7 02 2011

Anderson Cooper's "Dispatches from the Edge: A Memoir of War, Disasters, and Survival" (together with a couple of magazines about a favorite personality, Ms. Daphne Oseña Paez, and a favorite hobby, wristwatch collection)

DISPATCHES FROM The Edge:  A Memoir of War, Disasters, and Survival by CNN anchor Anderson Cooper is one of my favorite books of all time.  I read it first in 2010 and I’ve been meaning to write about it in length here.  Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten around to doing it.

I got reminded of it when I saw on the news that Anderson Cooper and his crew had been attacked while covering the current crisis in Cairo – that’s 4 C’s! – something that the likes of Christiane Amanpour had denounced.  I think Anderson is alright, having seen his recent broadcast from an “undisclosed” location.

I think he’s not one to run away from where the action is.  But I hope he decides what’s in the best interest of his personal safety, taking into consideration the concern of his family and everybody who cares about him.

CBS’s Katie Couric and NBC’s Brian Williams have just gotten out of Cairo.  I hope to hear that Anderson Cooper follows suit.  Soon.

Anderson Cooper's book and a text from Friendship


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

Cold sesame and peanut noodles

5 10 2010

My cold sesame and peanut noodles

THE KEY to the perfect bowl of noodles is in the temperature of the broth.  I like mine scalding.  Often, a blister on the roof of my mouth equates to satiation.  Something that I wouldn’t get from a lukewarm bowl that seems apologetic for being tepid.

But I do have a couple of exceptions – my favorite cold buckwheat noodles (zaru soba) dipped in a Japanese soy and mirin sauce, wasabi on the side, and this cold sesame and peanut noodles that I first learned to make seven years ago.  It was made as one in a lavish spread of Chinese dishes on Tyler Florence’s Food 911 over on the FoodNetwork.  And from the episode, it was the recipe that got imprinted in my head.

I’ve since been making it on the fly.  And it never fails to deliver its own brand of comfort.  The warmth obviously couldn’t come from the broth that isn’t there.  It comes from subtle hints of the pungent earthiness of the ginger.  It never fails to leap off from the coyly sweet goodness of the peanut butter.  Then, as you chew on the noodles – perfect in doneness as if its Italian al dente pasta – the pronounced nutty goodness of roasted sesame oil coats the tongue, perfumes the mouth, satisfies the palate.  Cold sesame and peanut noodles, its perfect for cozying up in bed with a book, or for lounging ‘round while watching TV or a good DVD.

To make this dish, you will need:

200 grams (about half a pound) of dried egg noodles, cooked to package directions

Three tablespoons of roasted sesame oil

A pinch of salt

Two tablespoons of canola oil

Three cloves of garlic, finely minced

A thumb (about one inch) of ginger, finely grated

A bunch of scallions or spring onions, finely chopped

Two tablespoons of dark brown sugar

Three tablespoons of naturally brewed light soy sauce

Three tablespoons of rice wine vinegar

One tablespoon of chili garlic in oil (like Chiu Chow Chili Oil)

Three tablespoons (or more) of water

Half a cup of natural peanut butter

In a large bowl, mix together the cooked egg noodles, the roasted sesame oil, and salt.  Mix well until each strand of egg noodle is coated with the oil and salt.  It is best to do this with really clean hands.  Or if you prefer, a fork.

In a large heavy bottom skillet – I use my 11” Meyer 18/10 Stainless Steel Impact-Bonded pan – heat the canola oil over low to medium heat.  All at once, add the garlic, ginger and scallions.  Sauté to cook, without even the slightest of browning.  Add the dark brown sugar.  Continue stirring until the sugar has dissolved and is slowly thickening up the sauté.  Add the light soy sauce and the rice wine vinegar.  Do not stir until the mixture has come back to a delicate simmer.  Add the peanut butter, stirring well to melt it into the sauce.  If you want to thin the mixture, add about three tablespoons of water.  Finish this off with the addition of the chili garlic in oil.  Again, mix well.

Pour the sauce on to the sesame noodles and mix well.  You can serve this immediately, or allow the dish to cool a bit.  This is usually served as a side to barbecued or teriyaki-glazed spareribs.  But I enjoy it as is.

Sau Tao egg noodles. I love these! They're also available in the "shrimp" variant. I would use that for more savory sauces.


Each one-pound pack has ten of these noodle bundles.


Almost all the seasonings needed for my cold sesame and peanut noodles. Only the dark brown sugar is missing here.


Making my Chinese-inspired cold sesame and peanut noodles is a study in globalization. The sesame oil is from Singapore. The canola oil is from the States. The rice wine vinegar from Japan, as well as the soy sauce. The chili oil is from China by way of Hong Kong. And the peanut butter is from the States.


For a change, I precisely measured everything for this recipe. A little non-stick vegetable oil spray on my Farberware measuring cup allowed for easy release of the sticky peanut butter.


Half a cup of yummy peanut butter!


The holy trinity of root aromatics for this recipe – garlic, ginger, and scallions.


Literally, a thumb of ginger. Hahaha!


All the prep work's done! – finely grated ginger, finely minced garlic, and finely chopped scallions.


Sauteing the root aromatics in canola oil.


Two tablespoons of dark brown sugar are added to the saute.


The sugar dissolves and thickens the saute.


(Almost) Finally, the peanut butter is put in.


Done! YUM-O!


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

World Cup hangover

12 07 2010

I ADORE TheCorporateTeener’s writing.  That, and the fact that she is quite the authority on TV shows, books, restaurants, and movies.  Actually reminds me of someone I know really well.

We were texting a short while back as the 2010 FIFA World Cup final replay airs on Balls channel 34, a chance to relive the glory of La Furia Roja (The Red Fury).  I had to ask her if Nando was her favorite.  She sent me a text back that I just had to put here.

“…Casillas is a rockstar, Podolski is a long-time love (Germany), Sneijder broke my heart with his tears, David Villa amazes me, and Nando stole my heart.  Woohoo it’s a longer list pero yan ang summary.  Wahahahaha!”

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

Notes from three hours of no sleep

12 07 2010

Fernando "Nando" Torres and some of the members of Spain's National Team in the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa. (Photo Credit:

AS I write, the fate of every squid or octopus must have been decided in the kitchens of the land of the Flying Dutchmen.  Off to the deep fryer they go.

As for me, I have nothing but love for Paul, the psychic octopus who correctly predicted Spain’s triumph over the Netherlands at the 2010 FIFA World Cup final held in the Soccer City stadium outside Johannesburg.  That’s seven consecutive predictions from who is now the world’s most beloved mollusk.

Unlike some of my friends, I didn’t have to set the alarm to get up at 2:30 AM local time just to watch the live feed from South Africa.  I had just had a very late extended birthday dinner with family so by the time I went to my room, it was just minutes to the game.  Part of my watching is an homage to my good friend the Michael James Fisher who plays soccer.

116 minutes into the game, Spain’s Andres Iniesta scored an extra-time goal.  Finally, an actual goal would win the title – not penalties.  The time stamp on my recorder said 02:36:57.  I recorded the final, from when the players were about to enter the stadium.  I missed the official presentation of the World Cup trophy in its personalized Louis Vuitton carrying case.  A total of 13 yellow cards flew all over the place, prompting my friend TheCorporateTeener to post on facebook over 12 hours ago: “Umuulan ng yellow cards.  Ano buzz.”

Actually, though I was alone in my room watching the game, I was texting with a couple of other friends – Friendship and TheCorporateTeener – who were also watching in Singapore and here at home, respectively.  Funny that we were all online at some point, but we’d rather text.

Some of the messages – some really hilarious – that we exchanged:

Tinutugtog na si Shakira!  Hahaha!”  (They’re now playing Shakira.  Hahaha!)

Hinihimas ang tophy parang Buddha.”  (They’re rubbing the trophy as if it were a religious relic.)

Ahahahaha  oo nga!  Ang trophy na naka LV pa kanina!”  (Yeah, that trophy that was earlier encased in LV!)

I looove the name Iker!”  (I love the name Iker!)

I looove the names Iker, Raul, Nando!”  (I love the names Iker, Raul, Nando!)

Woohoo!  Sana pakalbo na si Puyol!  Hahaha!”  (Woohoo!  I hope Puyol gets his head shaven!  Hahaha!)

Ayan na si Torres!”  (Torres is finally in the game!)

Goalkeeper ng Spain si Casillas OMG!”  (Oh my God, Casillas is Spain’s goalkeeper!)

They’re making beso Queen Sofia!”  (The players are bussing Queen Sofia!)

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

36 Things

12 07 2010

36.  AFTER THREE unsuccessful attempts, I’ve finally completed the Starbucks® Coffee Company’s Christmas Traditions Promo Card.  I redeemed my 2010 planner at their Las Piñas store on New Year’s morn, just hours after I was treated at the hospital for firecracker-related injury – also a first.

Starbucks Christmas Traditions Promo Cards

My Starbucks 2010 Planner, plus three bags of New Year's gifts.


35.  I’ve been in the same job for the past 14 years and two months.

34.  My beverage of choice be it at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf or at Starbucks® is Hot Chai Tea Latte served over ice.  Strong on the freshly steeped tea, easy on the steamed milk.  Unfortunately, neither has perfected it, just the way the Sodexho Coffee Bar at Intel Corporation in Folsom makes it.

The very kind staff at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf didn't mind me taking a shot of their fragrant chai tea loose leaf blend. It was a bouquet of cardamom, cinnamon, star anise and fennel, with hints of ginger and black peppercorn.

My chai tea latte over ice is finally served! Notice that it's quite milky white, unlike in the States where they put more of the steeped tea. Chai tea latte should be a mug of spicy black tea with milk and sugar, profuse with notes of cardamom, cinnamon, star anise, fennel, ginger, and black peppercorns.

I've kept these beverage rewards cards all these years.


33.  I’ve been meaning to prop up my Americana Wooden Birdhouse at the terrace.  But I haven’t gotten around to actually doing it.

32.  The first time I’ve ever seen a movie on 3D here at home was when I saw Toy Story 3.  I thought the Dolby 3D glasses over my Emporio Armani prescription spectacles were putting too much strain on my eyes.  I didn’t know the lump that was forming in my throat had managed to escape through my eyes.

Toy Story 3 movie tickets

31.  The best motion picture I’ve seen in the past six months is Up In The Air.

Movie ticket for Up In The Air

30.  During flights, I take photos of the airplane’s wings at 30,000 feet.

Took this photo of an airplane wing on a flight from Penang in Malaysia to Singapore.

29.  I’ve never seen an episode of Glee.  But I never miss watching Royal Pains weekly – on its original time slot and on both its encore screenings on Saturdays.

28.  While I prefer tempura batter to be light and fluffy, I don’t mind the heavy batter Healthy Shabu-Shabu uses on their mixed tempura.  My favorite in their platter is the shiitake mushroom caps.

A small portion of Healthy Shabu-Shabu's Mixed Tempura

27.  Gourmet’s Farm grows the sweetest, most fragrant basil leaves.  I bought one packet, stuck it in the fridge, and forgot about it.  Three days later, when on a whim I made my angel hair pomodoro, I got arrested by the unusually heady, invigorating scent that tearing Gourmet’s Farm’s basil leaves emanated.  Basil had never smelled that good to me!

Gourmet's Farm's Sweet Basil

Really fragrant Gourmet's Farm sweet basil leaves ready to perfume my pomodoro sauce.

The actual Angel Hair Pomodoro I first used Gourmet's Farm's Sweet Basil on. Sumptuous!

26.  Mapúa Institute of Technology, where I studied in high school, was near Baker’s Fair where I used to get my favorite hopia monggo.  Nineteen years later, I serendipitously discovered their ube ensaymada.  Simply scrumptious!

Baker's Fair's Ube Ensaymada

Purple yam swirls through the brioche.

25.  I eat noodles using chopsticks from Shanghai that my friend Tenz gifted me with.

Chopsticks from Shanghai, courtesy of Tenz.

My favorite chopsticks piercing through a pile of Beef Tendon Noodles from Kim Hiong!


24.  The big Zara S-A-L-E is going on.  There is one item I didn’t get before – because it was still full-priced.  Hahaha!  I wonder if it’s still available.

Zara S-A-L-E, 2009.

23.  One of my principles in life is:  “Never pay full price!

22.  The only vegetable entrée I consistently ask for everywhere is Ampalaya Con Carne (bitter gourd with beef in a fermented soybean sauce).  At Max’s, I’d rather have that than the all-you-can-eat fried chicken they are currently offering at a very reasonable – almost a steal – Php 165.00.

Max's Ampalaya Con Carne


At Maxim's Tea House, Ampalaya Con Carne with Rice can be had to go.

21.  I prefer fried chicken to be doused by nothing more than a good Worcestershire sauce.

Max's fried chicken


Worcestershire sauce does wonders to fried chicken!

20.  My tea of the moment is TAZO Mint Blend, courtesy of my Ninong Allan Paz.  It’s a caffeine-free herbal infusion described as a bracing blend of mint with a pinch of tarragon.  Doesn’t that sound lovely?!

A pile of this wonderful tea from Ninong Allan Paz!


The description of this tea blend alone is half the fun already!

19.  I adore Cibo’s Farfalle Genovese.  This dish of farfalle (bowtie pasta) in a wild mushroom cream sauce with fresh basil pesto is both heaven on a plate and a party in your mouth.

The family size serving of Cibo's Farfalle Genovese


Farfalle Genovese on my plate

18.  Still at Cibo…  I always ask for extra slices of fennel bulb and fronds whenever I have a plate of their Spaghettini Alla Romana (spaghettini with sardines in oil, fennel, and red pepper pesto).

Cibo's Spaghettini Alla Romana

17.  My favorite Chicken Tinola (chicken in a gingery broth with chili leaves) is not my own, but my friend Stave Michael’s.

Stave Michael's Chicken Tinola


This has got to be the best homecooked Chicken Tinola I've ever had.

16.  My favorite commercially available cookies are Mama’s Kitchen’s Mango Chewies from Iloilo City.

A box of Mama's Kitchen's Mango Chewies from Iloilo City


These are the best cookies!

15.  Buon Giorno! at the Cliffhouse in Tagaytay makes amazing Bruschetta and Insalata Caprese (Caprese Salad – tomatoes, basil, buffalo mozzarella).

Buon Giorno!'s Bruschetta


Buon Giorno!'s Insalata Caprese

14.  Of the many malls, The Podium gets decked in the best Christmas decorations.

The Podium, Christmas 2008.


The Podium, Christmas 2009.


In Christmas 2009, Victorinox Swiss Army held an exhibit at The Podium.


I loved the golden Christmas trees that hung from the ceiling.

13.  Whenever it’s on the menu, I ask for fresh Chrysanthemum Juice.  Here, I get it only at Banana Leaf and at North Park.

Fresh Chrysanthemum Juice at The Banana Leaf

12.  Long before Up and Toy Story 3 wrung my lachrymal glands dry, Finding Nemo had done so seven years earlier.

I found Nemo!

11.  I waited for the results of the voting in the 121st IOC Session, and I was quite saddened when Chicago lost in their bid to host the Games of the XXXI Olympiad (the 2016 Summer Olympics).

One of the placards in downtown Chicago as the city awaited the announcement of the winning host for the 2016 Olympics.

10.  The Highlander Steakhouse at Tagaytay Highlands makes an excellent Salad of Hearts of Romaine and Smoked Salmon.

Tagaytay Highlands' The Highlander Steakhouse's Salad of Hearts of Romaine and Smoked Salmon


I served myself with a lot of the smoked salmon! Greeedyyy!!!

  9.  I’ve had the best Chicken Curry dishes at over 30,000 feet up in the sky, on board Air India and Jet Airways flights.  The New Bombay Authentic Indian Cuisine at The Columns on Ayala Avenue and at The Podium is a nice place to go to here at home.  Besides the curry, I super love their Saffron Basmati Rice.

Chicken Tikka Masala Curry at The New Bombay Authentic Indian Cuisine


Saffron Basmati Rice

  8.  I have three notebooks in current (simultaneous) usage status – the Superman notebook I made, the Cardinal Notes from Mikko, and the Daily Notes by kikki.K from Friendship.  They’re for my essays, work, and all other notes of personal importance, respectively.

MIT Cardinal Notes from Mikko


kikki.K Daily Notes from Friendship


The cover of the Superman notebook I made.

  7.  More than ever, I have become really grateful for friends far and wide.  Not a single day passes by without me having conversations with Friendship, Batman, and Superman – no matter how busy each of us may be.






  6.  I’ve developed a deeper appreciation of Anderson Cooper, anchor of CNN’s AC 360O, after reading his memoir Dispatches from the EdgeA Memoir of War, Disasters, and Survival.

My book of the moment!

  5.  I woke up with Maroon 5’s Sunday Morning playing incessantly in my head.  Sang it a number of times in the shower.  So it turned out to be a looong shower.

  4.  For three years in a row, Batman has always been the first one to greet me on my birthday.  And there has always been a gift.  I sure hope he does keep that tradition this year.  Hahaha!

  3.  I’m craving for the U.S. Beef Ribcap Tapa & Garlic Overload at Mr. Jones in Greenbelt 5.  TheCorporateTeener highly recommends it.  “Tapa” in this context loosely translates to strips of beef that had been cured.

  2.  I believe in this: “There comes a point in your life when you realize who matters, who never did, who won’t anymore…and who always will.  So, don’t worry about people from your past. There’s a reason why they didn’t make it to your future.”

Adidas Samba shoes... my favorite!

  1.  My favorite shoes are still the Samba by Adidas.  They’re the best!

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

Only in Secrets of the Masters!

2 05 2010

I JUST caught the latest episode of Secrets of the Masters – this one with the tagline, “On the road!” – and I couldn’t help but feel a sense of pride, both for the wealth of culinary talent we have, and the sustainable bounty of the sea and the earth that can find their way to our dining table.  Chef Boy Logro was the featured culinary master and he did a wonderful job getting this message across.

The Taal Volcano and Lake

The show took me on a gastronomic adventure of Tagaytay City and the surrounding Taal Lake.  Chef Boy, together with a couple of guests from the Taal Vista Hotel, prepared a total of five dishes that put local ingredients on the spotlight, front and center.

He started with Al Horno Ostras Y Quesillo (Baked Oysters with Kesong Puti), an homage to the bivalves that thrive abundantly in the city’s nearby waters.  I like the potent mix of whirred greens (basil and spinach among others) that he slathered on to each oyster.  It’s so much better than a solitary, sad spinach leaf that makes it to a Rockefeller.

Pinausukan Yaman Taal ng Maliputo at Unsoy” (Steamed Maliputo Fish with Unsoy Herb) featured this fish that is indigenous to the Taal Lake.  The poaching liquid used was a heady mix of Chinese wine, oyster sauce, some kind of mushroom sauce, onion leeks, and pungent ginger, among others.  But the star flavor comes from the “unsoy” herb, also indigenous to Tagaytay.  I don’t think I’ve ever come across it – unless it’s some hybrid or derivative of the “wansuy” (fresh coriander).

The Taal Vista “Bulalo” (beef bone marrow in a ginger broth with fresh vegetables) by Chef Babes Austria brought this dish to a whole new level as her broth used coconut water!  I was also fascinated by her use of a whole vine of fresh peppercorns, but more so by her presentation of the soup in a coconut shell.

Crispy Taal Lake Tawilis with Tagaytay Micro Greens in Calamansi Vinaigrette featured yet another seafood that originated locally, the “tawilis.”  It was cleaned (gutted), then seasoned with salt and pepper before being dredged in flour and then deep-fried to a crisp.  It was served on a bed of the baby greens and dressed ever so lightly with the simplest of vinaigrettes – just fresh calamansi juice, salad oil, salt and pepper.

Herbs Aromat Crepe with Tagaytay Tinapa and Seafoods began with an “unsoy” herbed crepe.  Chef Boy swirled his batter to perfection on a lightly greased non-stick skillet that I scrambled for paper to take down the proportions of his “perfect” batter.  Each very thin herb pancake was filled with seafood – mussels, fillets of Maliputo fish, squid, and smoked tawilis – before getting nestled on a layer of bechamel sauce, smothered with mozzarella cheese, and then baked.

I’ve often wondered why Filipino cuisine hasn’t shattered the glass ceiling of international renown.  At some point I thought that probably its because unlike the Thai with their sweet basil and Tom Yum, the Vietnamese with their mint and pho, the Chinese with their peanut oil and dim sum, the Japanese with their miso, nori and raw fish, and the Indian with their curry, Filipino dishes aren’t yet defined by a unifying flavor or ingredient.

But one thing is for sure.  We come from an archipelago blessed abundantly by nature, with talent that is truly on a par with the best in the world.  Secrets of the Masters shows us exactly that.

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

In my sleep

3 04 2010

ONE CANNOT talk about going to sleep without accounting for the action of the stars that set the stage for deep slumber.  Before I closed my eyes last night, I stared at the ceiling and pictured the stars wheeling forth from their daytime hiding places.  I looked out of the window, and I could tell that indeed, “the stars have made their way.”

I stole that last line from this song that Harryboy told me about.  We were chatting before he left for his Singaporean sojourn, and he asked me if I had seen the latest episode of Chuck yet.  That was when he told me about this song that, quite obviously, struck a chord with him.  I take his fascination for it to mean that it managed to capture one moment in vivid detail.  Just one moment in a 42-minute episode runtime that would’ve otherwise flown over the viewer’s head were it not for the perfect song.

I went to bed last night without giving the song much fuss.  I felt that I had to first see the episode for myself.  But this morning, I woke up with the most vivid recollection of the dream that I had.  It was so vivid, capable of evoking life-like images and happenings in my mind, that I had to text someone the very moment I opened my eyes.

I got out of bed and turned the computer on.  I had to look the song up with the urgency of an itch that had to be scratched.  And now, it is not only Harryboy’s.  It’s not only Batman’s (he posted about it on his facebook wall).  With lines like these: “And I know I’ll miss you / I’ll always miss you / But I know I’ll see you / In my sleep” …  It’s now mine too.

"Ganda nung song e"


The song is called, "In My Sleep."


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

For Batman part deux

19 03 2010

MY AARON Brothers tower cabinet has been with me for the past seven years.I bought it for its function – which it still perfectly does nowadays as it houses all the DVDs Batman has given me.  But through the course of time, its appeal has magnified on me.  I think it’s because the four frames on its door have allowed me to reflect my changing moods.

My Aaron Brothers Tower Cabinet. Inside are DVDs that Batman has given me!

What I put on the 8”x10” frames have evolved.  I still remember some – memory boards of sorts like a collection of sayings from Chinese restaurant fortune cookies (“Today you shall meet your destiny.”  Duh!), patchwork of eau de toilette cardboard testers from duty free shops, travel photos (of course!), movie posters, and lately, TV series posters.

Here’s how the door looks like nowadays.  The Tudors makes a double appearance because unfortunately, I couldn’t find a poster of this other favorite US TV comedy series.  Batman, Harryboy, help!

On the door – The Big Bang Theory, The Tudors, How I Met Your Mother, and The Tudors (again!). I'm still on the lookout for another favorite TV series' poster.


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

Double shot Americano and a mask

5 03 2010

Just got to love this mask! If the base were any bigger, I would've suspected Chuck to be after this... beating The Ring to the punch!

“WHAT IS that?”

“Double shot Americano.  No cream.  No sugar.  Just the way you like it.”

“Oh, I almost forgot.  I notice you chew on it when you get nervous.”  (Places the coffee stirrer beside the cup.)

This came from yet another one of my favorite Chuck episodes from the current season (it’s the third).  It’s one thing for a TV series to be really likeable for me.  It’s another when it subtly makes food references to frame moments in vivid detail.  The scene where I lifted the quotes above was tense, while at the same time capable of eliciting a suppressed giggle.  Chuck is a spy series – giggles should be kept at a minimum.

The scene played on in my head when I saw a mask at this place I was finally able to go to – like, after one lifetime!  It’s because the mission in that episode involved an antique mask.  I’m not sure if it was the latest one – I could imagine Harryboy or Batman smirking at my outdatedness at times.

To bring the experience full circle, there had got to be coffee from Starbucks.

My very lovely friend Ms. Jo placed the order for all the 10 or so coffee drinks we asked for. That's why it says "eNTeNG" on the tumblers, and not my "coffee name."


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