Black Hawk down

21 01 2011

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


“MAMA, MY helicopter crashed.”

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

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

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

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

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

“Do you like it?”

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

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

“How much is it, Uncle?”

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

“But you want this, right?”

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

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

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

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

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

Mama, my helicopter crashed.

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

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

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

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


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


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


Finally, we were cleared for take off...


...and then a safe landing!


Iron Man kept me company as I waited.


Requisite stops at the mall are Starbucks...


...and Krispy Kreme!


This box went to Ninong!


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

eNTeNG’s 25

10 04 2009

Totally unrelated to this post. Haha! Just dug this up during the week-long break. Taken on a dinner-out with Friendship and Mother.


UPON MY friends’ prodding, I signed up for a Facebook account.  But it didn’t take a long while for me to figure out one thing – I couldn’t keep up with Facebook!  To my friends, I’m almost always the one they will name when asked as to who among they know is the most relentless – nagging even!  But when I got on Facebook, I realized I couldn’t really stand being on the receiving end of a “poke” or a “tag.”  Talk about getting a dose of my own medicine!


But if there’s one thing I think I could succumb to, it’s making this random list of 25.  (I’ve been told that being “tagged” to do this on Facebook has spread like forest fire in the dry Outback.)  Things “random” appeal to me.  I even made a category here just for my own “random musings.”  Hahaha!


So here it is, my list of 25 random things – yes, 25 things I love! – mostly about food.  They are in no particular order (again, “random”!).  I just have to sort of count them down from 25.


25.    I have a very weird snacking habit.  I can devour a whole pound of cooked ziti pasta.  Yes, you read it right – just cooked pasta WITHOUT any sauce.  On other days, I would munch on bunches of fresh coriander.  Clearly, popcorn is not my idea of snacking while watching my favorite TV shows.


24.    Unlike, most people, I adore in-flight cuisine!  I particularly love Singapore Airlines’, especially whenever they have their chef specials right around the holidays.  Air India still makes the best curry for me (I had second helpings!).  And Philippine Airlines will always be memorable to me.  I gained appreciation of – and long-standing romance with – enoki (winter) mushrooms on board one of their flights.


Some of the in-flight menus I have saved through the years.


23.    I collect in-flight menus.  But I politely ask the attendants first if I could keep a copy before I stash it away.  Another would be room service menus.  Again, I’d ask first before I keep anything!  And oh, I keep all my restaurant receipts too!


Yet another shot of the in-flight menus.


22.    My favorite salad green is arugula.  I like its slightly bitter, peppery taste and its succulent, slightly thick fleshy leaves.  So I always get SaladTime’s “Arugula & Mixed Greens.”  For some reason, I couldn’t find what is commonly known in the U.S. as “garden rocket” or even what Chef Jessie Sinsioco refers to as “micro-arugula.”


21.     When I read somewhere that Aga Muhlach’s personal chef would make him an all-eggwhite omelet as part of his diet, I started to make the same – my own version, my own recipe! – for one of my best friends who happens to be a health buff.  Mine would call for provolone cheese and fresh white button mushrooms.  Unfortunately, I still couldn’t find provolone locally!  So I’d settle for the next best thing – the Australian COON Light & Tasty 25% Less Fat Shredded Natural Cheddar Cheese!


For my all-eggwhite omelet, I first saute the sliced Tuscan Fields fresh white (or Swiss Brown) button mushrooms in 100% pure canola oil (or light extra virgin olive oil).



I couldn't find provolone. But this does just fine!


20.    My dream all-eggwhite omelet recipe would be made out of, of course, eggwhites, fontina cheese, chives, and shaved fresh truffles (from Italy)!  Yummy!


19.     Growing up, my favorite local chocolates were Serg’s “Mocca” bars, Goya’s block chocolate, and Ricoa Flat Tops!  Too bad, I don’t think they make Serg’s anymore.


18.     Among imported chocolates, I intensely love Godiva (their boxed sets are really pretty); Leonidas for their pralines and truffles; and, ROYCE’   for so many things!  Among their variants – that I have tried and shared with Superman – I particularly love the NAMA CHOCOLATE CHAMPANGE PIERRE MIGNON, NAMA CHOCOLATE AU LAIT, NAMA CHOCOLATE MILD COCOA, NAMA CHOCOLATE STRAWBERRY, Pure Chocolate (Venezuela Bitter & Ghana Sweet), Coffee Chocolate, Prafeuille Chocolat Coffee Chocolate, and PotatoChip Chocolate.


All the way from the Greenbelt 5 store...


supermans-desk-royce-goodies a superhero's desk!



For sentimental reasons, I've kept the wrapper of my very first Royce' chocolates, handcarried from Singapore!


17.      I’m particularly proud of my chicken tinola.  I make my chicken broth the same way chefs Jessie Sinsioco, Gordon Ramsay, and Tyler Florence would make theirs.  Friendship calls me the “sabaw” king!  If I don’t have the time or the ingredients to make my chicken broth fresh, there’s always Swanson.


My chicken tinola up close. Postscript: I just had to cook this right after I made this post! Haha!


16.     Like Superman, I love macarons de Paris from BIZU PATISSERIE, in pistachio, coffee and caramel flavors!


15.     Of all media personalities, Daphne Osena Paez is the best food “critic.”  I mean, I trust her.  For me, nobody has come close to how she would account, describe, or share her gastronomical experiences on the now-defunct show “F.”  I guess it’s in the combination of her (palpable) sincerity, facial expressions and enunciation.  Oh, and the fact that she has got to be one of the smartest personalities to grace the boob tube ever.


14.     The best “spice” I’ve ever put on a bowl of Chinese noodles is ground green tea leaves.  I forgot the name of the dimsun place.  It’s a kiosk inside the Hong Kong International Airport, near a big book store.  From where I would sit, I’d see Starbucks directly below.


13.     I love New York Cheesecake from KRISPY KREME DOUGHNUTS®.  It’s their doughnut shell loaded with cheesecake filling and topped off with cream cheese icing and a very generous “dusting” of graham cracker crunch.  Spider-man loves it too, as well as the blueberry cheesecake.


A box of six Krispy Kreme doughnuts. The one on the bottom left is the New York Cheesecake I love so much!


12.     The Good Earth Tea Room makes the best chicken chow mein and black mushrooms with beancurd casserole.  Their duckquitos (roast peking duck with onion leeks and hoisin sauce in taco shells) are so worth coming back for!


11.      I get my tom yum goong (hot and sour shrimp soup) fix at tHAI AT SILK at the Serendra Piazza.


The elegant place setting at Thai At Silk.


10.     I’m not a huge sandwich fan.  But whenever I would decide to have one, it would only be one of three.  The roast beef sandwich at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (first had at the Alabang Town Center branch).  The crabstick sandwich at The Soup Kitchen (first at Glorietta 5).  And, the farmer’s ham ciabatta at Delifrance (first at the NAIA Terminal 2).  Superman finds the last one particularly fancy when I described it to him.  It’s actually slices of ham and brie cheese with an iceberg lettuce leaf in ciabatta bread spread with a raspberry dressing!


One of my (so far) three favorite sandwiches – the crabstick sandwich at The Soup Kitchen.


9.       The Danish butter cookies that I’ve never forgotten were of a brand called “Oxford.”  It was a gift.  I wasn’t able to find it anywhere.


8.       Brother and I would often pretend that we had officical business at our apartment’s admin office in the U.S. just so we could get our hands on the free Otis Spunkmeyer oatmeal cookies.  We’d shamelessly swipe off everything in sight (Haha!).  They later caught on.  Talk about being caught with our hands in the cookie jar.  Haha!


7.        Other people’s signature dishes that I love to bits are Mother’s adobo, Sister’s tortang talong, Therese’s barbecued baby back ribs, and (again) Therese’s pot roast.


6.       The one recipe I’ve been  meaning to try – for the longest time – is Rachael Ray’s Boeuf Bourguignon (“Beef Burgundy” or simply, beef in red wine).


5.        My most memorable past-midnight cravings were for Hainanese chicken rice.  I’ve had it twice at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel, and once at the Diamond Hotel Manila.  Makati Shangri-La’s was way better.  And more special too as they didn’t really have it on their coffee shop menu.  I wrote the chef a thank you note.


One of the Makati Shangri-La receipts. Hainanese Chicken Rice at 11:39PM! They punched it in as "open food" because the lobby lounge / coffee shop menu didn't really carry it! I wrote the chef a thank you note! To date, it has got to be the best I've ever had!



Room service for Hainanese Chicken Rice at 11:51PM at the Diamond Hotel in Manila.


4.       I get my cupcake fix only at – wherelse?! – Cupcakes BY SONJA.  Here in the Philippines, Sonja L. Ocampo is still the one and only cupcake rockstar!  Of her creations, my favorites are Bunny Huggers Carrot Cake, Melt-In-Your-Mouth Valrhona Flourless Chocolate Cake, Red Velvet Vixen, Choco Cream Cheese Swirl, and Pumpkin Sweet Spice (seasonal).  Spider-man adores the Bunny Huggers.  Superman likes them a lot too!


A stack of Sonja's pretty cupcake boxes. When Sonja learned I was blogging, she had her staff put this out, and even told me it was okay to style the cupcakes for my pictures. Such a nice lady!



This box of four went to Superman. A serious chocolate lover like this superhero likes the melt-in-your-mouth flourless Valrhona chocolate cake cupcake a lot!


3.       I still mourn the demise of the cookie dough flavor of HÄAGEN-DAZS®.  I love BEN&JERRY’S cookie dough too.  I’m just not sure if it is available locally.


I've kept these through the years – the boxes of the first (ice cream) snacks I've ever had in a moviehouse abroad! See – Ben&Jerry's!



Cookie dough is really my favorite. But on that first night, this had to do. Not bad at all really!


2.       I make the time to cook for someone.


1.        I still eat Cerelac!




Happiness is a box of six

10 02 2009


ONLY A few things do manage to stop me on my tracks.  Some of them, they just stop me and then I would carry on.  Some of them, they stop me, demand for my second look…  and then a scream.  Hahaha!


And still, there are others that stop me, demand for my second look…  and deserve my appreciation and say, a few minutes to even hours of my time.  I can enumerate at least three of these.


The CUPCAKES BY SONJA signage (especially when lit at night).


Big bold red letters that spell SALE (there’s a recession, sleepy head!).


And wherever a lit neon sign says, “HOT KRISPY KREME ORIGINAL GLAZED NOW.”



Which is only at – wherelse?! – Krispy Kreme!  I can still vividly recall the first time I saw that sign.  It was right across one mall in Sacramento.  I think it was Sunrise Mall.  You may very well know that everytime that sign would be lit, it only meant that Krispy Kreme’s famous Original Glazed yeast-raised doughnuts were coming out the dougnut-making line right that very moment.  And I have never been disappointed with Krispy Kreme.  Even after all the hoopla has died down from when it first opened in the Philippines, I will remain forever enchanted by these doughnuts and excited with even just the thought of getting my hands on one.  Krispy Kreme still stands unperturbed as the ultimate doughnut experience.


An Original Glazed never fails to remind me that some of the strongest and longest-lasting friendships I have made were forged over a box of these doughnuts.    Obviously, munching on one always brings back happy memories.  Lately, these doughnuts and Sonja’s cupcakes have had that effect on me.


Won’t you also be happy when you get your hands on doughnuts that taste so good, they could surely only be made in batches within the store’s premises?  You can tell with one bite that they are cut, yeast-raised, fried, flipped…  and then glazed right there and then.  And of course, if you’ve been to a store – right in front of your very eyes.  Without question, the anticipation of this doughnut experience is something that will make your eyes beam wide and your mouth water.


Arguably, happiness is a box of six Kripy Kreme doughnuts.  But since I was not up to making the whole trip to Bonifacio High Street last night (which also explains my absence at Cupcakes), I depended on the kindness of one of my new friends.  He thoughtfully texted me last night to ask if I’d like to have some boxes brought to the office today.


Of course I said yes!  Sometimes – I can’t say this enough – you will get surprised with the kindness and thoughtfulness of people.  It’s like wishing upon a star…  and seeing your wishes come true.  Hahaha!


Spider-man's box of six - three original glzed, 2 cookies n' cream, 1 chocolate something.


Superman's box of six - three original glazed, one cookies n' cream, one chocolate something, one new york cheesecake (luv this one, my fave!).