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.

A desk full of treats from North to South

9 09 2009

EDIBLE TREATS sent my way couldn’t help but turn me into somebody loved.  I mean, you can’t help but feel you are worth somebody else’s time and effort.  The human gene doesn’t always come with a polypeptide chain for thoughtfulness.  So something has to be said about people who remember.

And it’s always nice to be remembered by friends who come back from trips.  Lately, at least four goodies found their way to my desk – two from Baguio and two from Iloilo.  Three of these I’ve always loved.  The fourth one was a pleasant discovery.  The best thing about all these treats is that I understand – and have actually encountered in my life – all the ingredients on the label.

Good Shepherd Lengua.  Usually, this is called “Lengua de Gato,” literally translated as cat’s tongue.  The name is descriptive of how the cookies look like.  I’ve had this many times before and I do remember always buying the ones a former office cafeteria concessionaire made and sold.  But this was the first time I got the ones “Good Shepherd” makes.  I’ve always thought they only churn out their legendary ube jam (purple yam jam).  I have to say their lengua is the best I’ve ever had.  It’s really sweet – actually on the fence of being cloying and just right – but is not annoyingly so.  I love how the very porous underside of the cookies slowly turn into mush in my tongue, releasing all that buttery goodness tempered with the fragrance of good vanilla.

Good Shepherd Lengua 01

Good Shepherd Lengua


Good Shepherd Lengua 02
Each Good Shepherd lengua boasts the goodness of fresh butter and the fragrance of really good vanilla.

Good Shepherd Ube Jam.  The first time I went up to Baguio, this was the only thing I was adamant to get.  I fortunately got a couple of bottles.  But being the inexperienced traveler that I was then, I ended up with a duffel bag of clothes stained with the bright shade of purple, with the contents letting off an arresting sweet scent once the zipper parted the two toothed edges of my genuine leather bag.  I felt sorry that some of my tops became adorned with shards of glass.  But I was beyond consolation when I realized that my dreams then of purple bliss went kaput.  But by this time, like most of the country, I’ve loved this ube (purple yam) jam for years.  It has become synonymous with the country’s summer capital and has arguably remained to be the best commercially available version of this Filipino treat.  It’s still the smoothest and it’s not so dense.  And, as claimed by bold uppercase letters on the label, Good Shepherd Ube Jam has remained to be “NO ARTICIAL COLOR ADDED.”

Good Shepherd Ube Jam 01


Good Shepherd Ube Jam 07

Consistently smooth and yummy, a bottle gets wiped out in one sitting.

Mama’s Kitchen Mango Chewies.  Proudly declared to be homemade in Arevalo, Iloilo City, Mama’s Kitchen’s Mango Chewies belong to my short list of the best Filipino cookies.  Though this one has the reputation of being hard-to-find (or should it be “hard-to-come-by”?).  Only one person knew where to get this exactly.  That was, until one of my new friends brought back this box for me.  And where did he find it?!  At the domestic airport of all places!  I’ve been to Iloilo myself a few times and I had never seen this in any of the airport stalls.  What I like about this cookie is that it does taste original, not a dumbed-down version of any western cookie like the chocolate chip or the classic butter.  What I love most is its tender crumb that turns into a really chewy, almost taffy-like consistency, foiled only by the candied mangoes and the cashew nuts.  And it has to be said that its best quality is that it is not sweet at all.  Sinfully delicious but not sweet.

Cookies - Mango Chewies 00

Left at my desk – Mama's Kitchen Mango Chewies. This is arguably one of the Philippines' finest!


Cookies - Mango Chewies 03

Up close... see the candied mangoes and cashew nuts generously embedded in each "mango chewies" cookie!

Guimaras Fruits Fruta_Piaya with Real Guimaras Mango Fruit.  I’ve never appreciated the “piaya,” which is simply an unleavened flattened bread with muscovado sugar filling.  But with this “Fruta_Piaya” from Guimaras, I made an exception.  This is still the usual piaya, but instead of the muscovado, it’s Guimaras mangoes that’s inside.  Why are they so good?  It’s all in the label.

Cookies - Mango Piaya 00

Guimaras Fruits "Fruta_Piaya" filled with delicious Guimaras mangoes.


Cookies - Mango Piaya 01

That's the look of perfectly baked piaya! Definitely loved this!