A cat and a donkey (and a notebook) from the Lion City

2 02 2011

Partner came to dinner bearing gifts!

“THERE ARE countless good reasons under the sky for giving.  But the sweetest one may be for no reason at all.” – the RedEnvelope Fall 2003 Catalog

While I consider myself to be generous, I’ve been blessed with people in my life who manage to – just when I least expect it – “outnice” themselves and make my generosity pale in comparison to theirs.

Over dinner with Partner at Mamou, she handed me presents from both her and The Boy Wonder – a couple of new wristwatches from Universal Studios Singapore and a “MY RECIPE BOOK” notebook by kikki.K, that purveyor of “Swedish Home / Office Style.”

Partner put me on the spot and made me declare which between the two wristwatches – Puss In Boots and Donkey – I like better.  She laughed boisterously at my response and bragged that she won a bet against The Boy Wonder.  Haha!

As for the recipe notebook by kikki.K, I couldn’t wait to perfect my own version of Fettuccini Alfredo with Shrimp so that I could put the recipe down for posterity.

Thanks, Partner and The Boy Wonder!  I love the presents.  Hugs and kisses!

"Puss In Boots" and "Donkey" wristwatches from Universal Studios Singapore from Partner and The Boy Wonder

 

Puss In Boots

 

Donkey

 

"My Recipe Notebook"... Wait, I want to turn that into my own TV show!!!

 

Copyright © 2011 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.

Friendship!

 

Batman!

 

Superman!

  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.





Recent presents

14 06 2010

FRIENDSHIP GIVES the best presents.  By that I mean both the relationship one has with a friend, and “Friendship,” my shopping soulmate based in Singapore.

The kikki.K bag bearing gifts

Nothing beats waking up to this message:

Spell it out loud together with me: G-I-F-T!... And Friendship, I know you like Anderson Cooper. I'm reading his book right now, concurrent with two others.

So Friendship’s sister and I made a plan to meet up at Town for what I kept referring to as the “drop” (giving away my penchant for far too much TV spy series watching).  We met up at Starbucks.  And over my very first Iced Coffee Signature in Chocolate, I carefully tore off the delicate almost tissue-like wrapper to reveal what I later texted Friendship as one of the nicest and most thoughtful presents I’ve ever received – DAILY NOTES by kikki.K notebook.  And this was just gift number one.

I love the design of the wrapping paper – closed and opened envelopes!

 

My new DAILY NOTES by kikki.K notebook from Friendship!

 

That's the product sleeve and a shot of 7 of the 8 predefined tabs. Friendship has always been on a "gift ideas" tab in my head. Now I can write those down!

Daily Notes is a practical notebook that helps “keep track of information, ideas, recommendations and inspiration.”  It has 16 tabs which will assist in organizing random thoughts and observations into 8 predefined categories – books, films, gift ideas, music, bars/restaurants, shops, websites, and miscellany – and 8 that can be personalized.  The product sleeve says it all, “You will never forget an idea or misplace a written note again.”

My kikki.K 10-pack Recipe Inserts and My Recipes folder. I'm going crazy thinking about which recipes to write down on these precious sheets!

 

How the 10 recipe inserts looks like.

Gift number two turned out to be a 10-pack kikki.K My Recipes folder that comes 10 sheets to write down recipes in my head, or those that I come across in magazines or newspapers – both of which I read a lot of.  I like it a lot that the sheets have sections for temperature, preparation time, level of difficulty, number of servings, and rating.

The presents are equally nice – the designs are stark, the colors very basic, and the lines very clean – as they are quite thoughtful.  Friendship really knows that these will allow me to indulge in a couple of things I love the most – lists, and writing in cursive.

For good measure, Friendship’s sister threw in the latest Ferrari by Hot Wheels model car in the bag.

Speaking of the “bag,” having been told that the gifts came in their own special paper bag, I had to spend time familiarizing myself with it.  It’s a pretty white-and-gray number that says “kikki.K Swedish Home / Office Style.”  I took it as an homage to Robin Söderling making it to the finals of the French Open at Roland Garros.  Haha!

Me and my loot!

 

It's hip to be green. Makes me love kikki.K all the more!

Thanks a lot, Friendship.  I’ve often wondered why I’ve been holding back buying myself a new Moleskine.  I mean, besides the fact that I didn’t want to spend that much for myself.  I guess the universe was telling me to wait for your presents.  Love them!

Had to send Friendship a text of thanks!

 

The meet-up was at 3:00PM. I made it quite early. By the way, my wristwatches are wound 30 minutes in advance!

 

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