Monday, June 30, 2008

Getting bubbly with Bubble Tea!

Being a 90s/early 2000 kid, I have been a witness to a dozen food fads that have came and went just as fast as a speeding race car.

There's the mini donuts that even if it's swimming in oil, it tastes so good and so addicting that we can hardly resist buying a bag whenever we're out shopping in Glorietta.

There's also Ice Monster that was the cause of my tonsilitis after I've had a month-long craving of Strawberry Ice alternating with Corn Ice.

Lastly, who can ever forget Zagu that offered Fruity flavored shakes with that sweet, yummy black sago that at some point were said to be hazardous to our health?

Snacking has always been a fun activity with these choices around.

Thanks to the growing consciousness of healthy eating, restaurants and food companies have began to take notice in making sure that they offer dishes and drinks that are not only delicioso but are also, in fact, good for you.

My sister and I grew up in a family who appreciates tea as much as the world loves coffee. Thus, it is no surprise that it was pretty easy for our taste buds to enjoy tea based drinks while others might still find it bitter and would prefer something way sweeter.

Our dream is to be able to travel to Japan someday to enjoy authentic Bubble Teas which are normally a variety of milk teas with big and small black sago-like balls. However, as we continue to save up for this trip, we are happy that we can have a sneak preview of our newest favorite drink right here in Manila.

Located at the basement level of SM Megamall, Bubble Tea offers a long list of tea-based milk drinks and impressively yummy Japanese dishes. Since we just had a heavy lunch today, my sister and I got ourselves a large cup of Coffee Milk Tea (P90) to drink while going around.

Make sure to sit near the counter to be able to watch the server prepare your milk tea. We were amazed at the cool shaking machine that they use to blend the drinks. Sharing with you a video of the machine in action!



We'll definitely be back next time to try their real meals that looks oh-so-mouthwatering in the menu.

Bubble Tea is located at the Ground Floor of SM Megamall Bldg A and at SM North EDSA too!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

A very disappointing return at Italianni's

Barely two weeks ago, I, together with a handful of bloggers were invited to Italianni's to learn about their newest campaign called Extra Surprises. I was so excited and impressed by it that I immediately wrote about to it spread the good news to everyone.

Today, I went out with my grandparents and have decided to treat them to dinner using the gift certificates that I have received from the event. My grandpa loves Italianni's and I figured out that it would be a perfect post-birthday treat for him. We ordered the Seafood Risotto, Chicken Marsala and the Pork Chop Au Poivre.

I was so excited to see the look on their faces when our extra dish would be served. Knowing that we ordered three main course dishes, I was kinda hoping that we'd either be treated to an extra appetizer or perhaps a cold salad or probably a sweet dessert to end our meal. I have also tipped our friendly server that it's my Grandpa's birthday knowing that they normally prepare something special for a birthday celebrant dining in their restaurant.

We have finished eating our orders, the plates have been cleared, the bill asked for and still no extra surprise dish. My sister and I were deciding whether I should ask them about it perhaps they just forgot or simply let it go and leave. We ended up with the first option where I called the attention of their supervisor and innocently asked her what the message on the posters displayed all over the restaurant was all about. She immediately told me that the extra dish is just for customers availing of the buffet. *TING! Strike One* I know for a fact that the extra dish is applicable to ALL tables regardless is they chose to avail of the buffet or go ala carte. After all their poster says

"Always a little something extra, when you dine at no extra cost"
Later, I guess she realized that I am not convinced with her answer and quickly excused herself to get some help. A couple more minutes later, another supervisor arrived and offered to help me. He told me that only the manager/manager on duty is capable of giving the extra dish and it just so happen that he was busy at the office that he missed out on our table. (Well, I'd give him a point for being honest...)

It wasn't until I casually told him that I was just wondering about the missing Extra dish after learning about it from a media event that he immediately asked me if there's anything that we want. *TING! Strike Two* I firmly believe that you do not ask your customer what they want but instead surprise them with something which YOU think they would like. Tsk tsk.. I wonder what would be his reaction if I tell him that we'd like our bill to be waived... hehehe

I was feeling very disappointed already and they only have one last chance to save this visit from being a part of my restaurant dining gone bad list. One thing good though was that our server remembered my tip off and together with the entire team, they surprised my grandpa with a slice of Chocolate Eruption together with a very very very sad rendition of the Happy Birthday song. It was totally a far cry from the impressive and heart-warming birthday song given by Rich of Italianni's Bonifacio High Street.

Eventhough, my grandparents showed their appreciation for the dinner treat tonight, I know that it could have been better.

I'm writing this entry not to give Italianni's a bad name. For the record, I personally love Italianni's and there's still a big chance that I'll go back again some time in the future. However, I might have to steer clear of this branch and perhaps just ignore whatever promotion or campaign that they may have to avoid feeling disappointed again. I just want to share this with everyone who might get all excited about this new promotion and also end up with nothing.

Lesson to be learned: Never promise something that you CAN'T deliver.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

PoPpiN' iT with Nestle Pops! (last of 2 entries)

Dear readers and friends,

Forgive me for not immediately posting my follow up entry that I've promised two days ago. This is because, I was busy enjoying my Pops Cup that Nestle Ice Cream has surprised us with after the launch last Thursday that I totally lost track that it has been days since my last update.

I can't believe how good this new innovative ice cream snack is. It's really fun to just pop this tiny chocolate-y wonder into my mouth without worrying about making a HUGE mess which I always end up having after enjoying my ice cream. No sticky drippings, no trails left for those pesky ants and best of all, it's so small it's almost guilt-free! Yahoooo!

The taste is very similar to that of a Pinipig crunch minus the pinipig coating of couse. Indeed, I had a short Ratatouille moment when I had my first bite.

My sister adores the cute little red container that is really handy and perfect to be brought anywhere. I wonder if I can bring this to work as my little stash in case I need a cool brain break. Hmm..nice idea huh?

Well, I got to go now! Need to drop by our neighborhood supermarket to refill our stock of Nestle Pops!

Yes, we love it THAT much!

Catch ya'll later!
fran


*photos by the el gwapito, Paul Ang

Thursday, June 26, 2008

PoPpiN' iT with Nestle Pops! (1st of 2 entries)

Tonight was a COOL (or rather...a deliciously freezing) night! Together with my always-game mom, sister and boyfriend, we went to the Nestle Creamery to attend the first ever blogger's event sponsored by Nestle Ice Cream!

There was just so much excitement going on beginning from the friendly Nestle team, the servers and of course my fellow bloggers who were just as excited as I am as we were guessing what will happen in the next few hours.

Luckily, we didn't have to wait and wonder too long as Gel, the jolly representative from Nestle, began the program by welcoming us and immediately announcing that dinner is finally ready. Yipee! I was starting to hear my stomach growl :P

As we were lining up, I surveyed the buffet table and allowed my eyes to feast on the huge platters of cheezy lasagna, asian salad, grilled japanese beef, chicken lollies, and a lot more! It was a very colorful spread which is actually perfect for a fun kiddie party!

Half way through dinner though, Gel reminded everyone to make sure to leave some space for dessert to which we happily oblige.

After a couple more minutes, he was back again to present to us our dessert! We are all so curious as to what it really is but the only clue that we got are red handy containers with kisses-like chocolates inside. Hmm...looks very very interesting.

Alas, we were told that this is Nestle's newest product called the Nestle Pops! A fun ice cream snack that is very handy. No messy drippings, no bits and pieces flying all over the place. I'm actually thinking of bringing this inside the cinema on our next movie date.

I'm really impressed that Nestle was able to come up with this innovative snack that everyone will surely enjoy! However, the fun doesn't stop there. After the brief introduction on the product, our hand and eye coordination were put to the test as each blogger were given a chance to take the Poppin' Bloggin' Challenge. In line with the newest online game that Nestle came up with to support the launch of the Nestle Pops, we were tasked to play the game with the goal of popping the most number of Nestle Pops into the mouth of the virtual characters. What seems like an easy thing to do turned out to be quite a challenge. Timing is the key and with no practice game allowed, I'm just hoping that luck would be on my side as the prize is a cool Lomo Pop9 Camera! WOW WOW WOW!!!

I was part of the 1st batch to play and sadly I was just able to get a total score of 18 but I got to say, it was really fun! I think I'll try again during my free time to win myself any of the weekly prizes. Imagine winning any of the following: an IMAX ticket, Karaoke dinner, Ocean Park Manila tickets, gift certificates, EK tickets (woot woot!!) or a Nintendo Wii console and if you're really lucky, the grand prize is an XBox 360 console with a Rock Band Set! This is definitely something not only the kids but the kid-at-heart would go crazy for.

I'm happy for fellow blogger Arpee though who won the Lomo camera! Funny coz we were seated beside each other and he was really excited about the prize that he was actually planning a strategy to win! Good job! Ü

What a fun, cool night thanks to Nestle Ice Cream, Proximity Philippines and Mad Crowd Media. Hopefully, next time we can have a tour of the factory to see how our favorite ice cream flavors are being made!

In need of Nestle Pops Models?
frannywanny and jayme

Blogging Trio
Ryan of Kain Pinoy, frannywanny and Nina of Just Wandering

Up next: A closer look at Nestle Pops

*photos by the el gwapito, Paul Ang

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

and the winner is.....ME! Ü

I'm a sucker for contests especially those that raffle off big prizes in supermarkets or department stores. Sadly though, I never won anything yet and still I keep on trying. "Who knows?! I might get lucky this time.", I'd always tell myself.

When Anton launched his Thank you blog site to celebrate the National Thank You Day last year, he also announced that he's holding a contest where the prize would be an autographed copy of his book on 2009. I immediately got to work and submitted my entry while crossing my fingers that it would at least be good enough to be posted on the site. Luckily, all entries were automatically posted and it was really fun seeing my work displayed online.

Time flies so fast that I totally forgot about the contest. After nine months, Anton finally announced the winners and guess what?! ......

I WON!!!

Thank you Anton! Ü

Monday, June 23, 2008

Friday Lunch Outs at Cafe Med

One thing nice about working in Makati is being close to a wide array of food choices located at the two major malls in this city namely: Powerplant Mall and the Ayala Center. This gives more excitement when going out for lunch with colleagues.

After two years worth of Friday lunch outs, it's innevitable that we have our set of favorites that we somehow manages to go back to every now and then.

Happily sitting at the top of our list of favorite lunch out spots is Cafe Mediterranean at the Powerplant Mall. Our love affair with this cozy, dimly-lit, foreign looking restaurant began a year and a half ago when a colleague treated the entire lunch group out for his birthday.

It was my first visit and to play it safe, I got the Kofta Kebab (Greek meatballs) with Buttered Rice. Surprise surprise! It was love at first bite. I love how flavorful the meatballs were and the buttered rice was just the perfect pair.

The next visit followed shortly a week after that and we have been regular customers of Cafe Med ever since.

A year and a half after, my choices were more varied and I have become bolder in trying out the other dishes to see what else is good. During my latest visit, I went eggplant-loving and got the Moussaka with Buttered Rice. Yes, after three weeks of abstaining from rice, I gave in just this once for Cafe Med's yummy buttered rice. This is a classic Greek dish that is very similar to a lasagna minus the pasta. Instead, it has layers of eggplant, minced meat and Bechamel sauce. Not fond of eggplants? Do not fret as the meat and the Bechamel sauce perfectly overpowers the taste of the veggie.

The meat is very fine and the bechamel sauce perfectly perks up the taste of the entire dish. I was still very cautious on my rice intake that it took a while for me to enjoy my buttered rice being highly aware of its calorie content. Nonetheless, it was an enjoyable meal and perhaps next time will try my Moussaka with Whole Wheat Pita Bread to lessen the guilt. Ü

I truly can't wait for the next lunch out!

Cafe Mediterrnean is located at the Powerplant Mall, Robinsons Galleria, Alabang Town Center, Greenbelt 1 and SM North EDSA.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Finding comfort in ice cream

As a girl who loves appetizers and desserts over a mouth-watering serving of main course, it then applies naturally that I find comfort when indulging in any dish that falls under either of the two categories.

More often than not, ice cream has never failed to be my "take a break, sit back, indulge" companion. It's a wonder how a scoop of this cold, creamy dessert acts like a magic potion in easing my stress away.

Mind you though, I can be very picky when choosing my ice cream.

For instance, I love Fruits and Ice Cream (FIC) because the creaminess is just right, not too watery and definitely not too thick to give me indigestion. The sweetness is subtle yet bursting in flavor that I do not feel guilty after treating myself to a two scoops in a waffle cone ice cream.

I'm glad that they're really expanding and there's at least an FIC stand in most places that I frequently visit. This is definitely one brand we, Filipinos, should be proud of. Ü

FIC's Pistachio and Caramello ice cream

How about you? What's your all time comfort food?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

All in a day's work

It's amazing how a simple act of thoughfulness can make your day brighter.

Who would have thought my hardwork actually matters to others?


THANK YOU VERY MUCH for the sweet gesture.

I will remember this forever . Ü

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

There's always something extra at Italianni's

Dining at Italianni's is always fun!

Starting from the complimentary slices of warm, soft foccaccia bread and a plate of olive oil and vinegar that is sure to solve all possible bingeing, we then move on to my family's all time favorite grilled pork chop that is already good for four and a huge platter of pasta. I love the huge servings making it a fun dining place for families celebrating special occassions or just in the mood to satisfy their Italian craving.

Just recently, I have received an invitation that I just could not resist. Imagine, a chance to dine at Italianni's and learn more about their newest campaign called "Extra Surprises"? WOW! I sent in my confirmation right away to reserve myself a slot. Funny coz at the bottom of the invite it says "Please make sure you bring your EXTRA...whatever. :)" Very very intriguing...

Arriving at Italianni's at Bonifacio High Street, I was greeted by the friendly servers as they ushered me to my seat. In a couple of minutes, I was given a sheet of paper with a list of dishes where I have to choose my Appetizer, Salad and Main Course. Good thing I asked if the servings will be given in full sizes and when I got the affirmation of the server, I knew I won't be able to finish it all up. Thankfully, my tablemates and fellow bloggers agreed to just order everything on the list and we'll just share it amongst ourselves. YaY!

First came the Appetizers, we were given a platter of Spinach and Artichoke Formaggio which is so rich and creamy and is totally bad for anyone who's on a diet, the Fried Calamari which is one of my favorite, and the Creamy Mushroom Crostinis. As we were enjoying the appetizers, our very attentive and helpful server came back this time with a platter of crostinis but with a different set of toppings. Too bad I was seated at one end of the long table that I can hardly hear him explain what the dish was all about.

From what I was able to pick up it's Bruschetta with Salmon Cream sauce topped with juicy diced tomatoes. One seemingly surprised and confused blogger asked how come this is not part of the list and he happily announced that this is one of the extra dishes that they are giving us.

Extra, extra!

With the help of the marketing team of Italianni's, we learned that every table in every branch of Italianni's will be receiving something extra as a treat from Italianni's. This could be anything from salads, pasta, alchoholic beverages, desserts, appetizers and a lot more! For instance, when dining with friends you might order a plate of salad, a pizza to share and perhaps one of the house specialties. To ensure that you have a complete truly-satisfying meal, Italianni's may surprise you with a slice of Tiramisu absolutely for free! Note though that the extra surprise differs as this is up to the restaurant team to decide.

Italianni's sweet surprise

The server was not kidding when he said that there were more surprises to come. Right after the Salmon Bruchetta, we were served with a platter of Mussels Lombardi which is also one of their extra surprise dish. The fresh mussels are simmered in white wine, olive oil, garlic oregano and parsley. Although I still prefer my mussels baked and topped with cheese and garlic, this is pretty good and a way healthier alternative.

I knew my stomach was half-filled by the time the salads were served. I skipped the Caesar Salad and concentrated on the colorful Sicilian Chicken Salad in front of me. I love my salad with loads of fruits, a bit of meat and tossed in light dressing and this is a yummy discovery! I think I enjoyed it too much that the platter was parked a bit too long in front of me that I was eating more than my share... woops!... guess everyone was busy eating to notice anyway. :P

After the salad, the main course was served. Sadly, we didn't had any pasta or fish dishes served on our side of the table but we surely feasted on the Grilled Pork Chops Au Poivre! This is one of the house specialties and I like how tender the pepper-crusted pork chops are but what I love most about this dish are the cripy fried spinach served on the side. It was a veggie-loving lunch for me!

I had to run back to the office soon that I was actually planning to make a quick exit right after the main course. However, the PR team of Italianni's asked me to stay for a couple of minutes because another surprise is coming our way. I thought it was just dessert (thinking along the lines of "what missing in our meal + extra surprise campaign") which I had to skip and perhaps enjoy some other time.

It wasn't until a big white platter with a scoop of vanilla ice cream (or shall i say, gelato) with a lighted candle and chocolate greeting that says "Happy B-Day France" was placed in front of me. Awww... and I thought my birthday celebration was over.

The very talented Rich sang a wonderful Happy Birthday song in Italian followed by a short song and dance number from the rest of the crew.

Not only can Italianni's give a little extra serving to your meal but they can surely make your day EXTRA special with this warm, pleasant surprises.

Now, this is what I call GOING THE EXTRA MILE!
Grazie Italianni's and Yehey.com!

There are 12 Italianni's branches all over Metro Manila: Greenbelt 2, Glorietta 4, SM Mall of Asia, SM Megamall, Greenhills Carpark, Tomas Morato, Eastwood City, Gateway Mall, ATC, Bonifacio High Street, Trinoma and Robinson's Midtown.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Dialogues @ Starbucks : Taking a Closer Look and finally Speaking Up

*I'd like to take a break from regular blogging for some shameless plugging*

When was the last time you can actually say you are HAPPY? Or perhaps, would you like to know the secret on how to discover how truly AWESOME is our planet?

Yesterday afternoon, a handful of bloggers and online media friends were invited to an exclusive sneak preview on the newest in-store activity called Dialogues at Starbucks.


What we promise is an hour of stimulating discussions on relevant topics, facilitated by interesting and (i must say) well-respected key speakers accompanied by cups of coffee.

During the sneak preview, for instance, participants listened to Anton Diaz (of our Awesome Planet) and JP Tanchanco who both shared wonderful insights which I believe is relevant on our perspective on life, how we deal with our society and a lot more.

Anton Diaz of Our Awesome Planet


JP Tanchanco


invited bloggers and media friends listening intently


Be sure to catch the first-ever Dialogues at Starbucks series on the following dates below:
June 21, 4PM : Starbucks Coffee Silver City (near Tiendesitas)
(featuring Anton Diaz and the WeeWillDoodle team)

June 28, 4PM : Starbucks Coffee Harbor Square (CCP Complex)
(featuring Dr. William Oliver of Fauna and Flora International)

July 5, 4PM : Starbucks Coffee 6750
(featuring Ivan Henares, Kidlat de Guia and JP Tanchanco)

See you there!!! Ü

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Can't Get Enough of Avenue Q

It was just barely six months ago when I finally had my chance to watch the highly-acclaimed Avenue Q in RCBC Plaza. Thanks to a dear friend, I'm back once again with my little sister, this time to catch the final run and the 1st ever Avenue Q performance of Carla Guevarra as Kate Monster and Lucy the Slut.

I can just imagine the pressure there is on Carla who now has the role which also garnered a lot of raves and that formerly belongs to Rachel Alejandro. However, she do not have to worry as everyone would probably agree with me in saying that Carla is truly a talented actress creating a clear connection between the audience and her two puppets. We're really amazed how we can flawlessly switch from nicey-nice Kate Monster to seductive Lucy and back again. I love her expressive facial reactions that perfectly brings out the right emotions from her character.

"I know we'll never get tired of Avenue Q", whispered my sister who obviously was enjoying the show even if it was also her second round.

I guess this is because the story was pretty line where humor was injected here and there but in the end successfully still drives a strong message directly to our hearts.

Fran and Pan with the cast of Avenue Q

Finding my Purpose

Being 26, I'd say I've successfully overcome that so-called quarterlife crisis. It's this stage in one's young life where he/she would stop and re-evaluate if they've been living a life that they want or perhaps there might be something else that's missing.

For me, my purpose is to take things one step at a time. However, no matter what I do or where I am, I've promised myself that I have to make sure that I am enjoying it. Realizing my passion in writing has brought out the blogger in me. People would normally wonder how can I ever find the time and energy to blog even after a crazy day at work. My answer would be simple: Blogging is always fun. I love sharing my thoughts through writing and I find simple joys whenever I receive a comment from friends and readers telling me that they liked what I've just wrote.

Someday, I know that I will always look back and tell myself that this is one of the best times of my life. Ü

Friday, June 13, 2008

Let's do Vietnamese at Pho Hoa

It has been two weeks since I've officially started my No-Rice diet. Don't ask me if it's working, I guess it is but I'm not sure. All I know is that it truly feels great to to be able to keep this (diet) going for as long as I can. Ha! Talk about being hard on myself ;)

Tonight was date night. As always, it takes us a while to finally decide on where to eat. Our normal conversation would go like this:
P: Where do you want to eat?
F: Anywhere, how about you?
P: Anywhere also, go choose na
F: You nalang
P: (getting hungry and impatient) dear, please choose na
F: ok fine, Pho Hoa (teehee)
So it was Vietnamese for us tonight. Luckily, we have a branch located nearby making it pretty accessible for us to visit anytime.

Pho Hoa Noodle Soup originated in the US of A and was brought here more than 10 years ago. Currently it has 15 branches located all around Metro Manila. Although, Pho Hoa is pretty much classified as a fast food-ish noodle house, I really enjoy dining here because of its great service and flexible food preparation.

I remembered the time when my family dined at Pho Hoa while mom was still recovering from her mild stroke and is following a very strict diet. We asked the server what type of soup stock is being used for the noodles and when we found out that it's made of beef broth which mom is not allowed to take, he (the server) immediately suggested that they can prepare a clear soup stock for mom's noodle soup. Although, it tastes more bland compared to the usual pho, at least mom was able to enjoy dining out without going against her doctor's advice.

Tonight, we got the Fresh Spring Roll (P106.40). This is one of my all-time favorites at Pho Hoa. I love dipping the fresh, crunchy spring roll into the peanut sauce before popping the entire thing into my mouth. mmmmmmm...yummy Ü

Paul and I also shared on a bowl of Pho Do Vien [Seafood Noodle Soup] (P218.40/P240.80) that comes in two sizes. What makes eating Pho exciting is whenever we fill up our bowls with fresh crunchy bean sprouts and basil leaves. I love how the herbal flavor of the basil stands out amidst the mildly salted noodle soup.

After my wonderful experience at Bawai's, I've grown addicted to Vietnamese Iced Coffee. I love it so much that even if it was 8 in the evening already, I still got it for my drink.

Dining at Pho Hoa makes skipping rice fun! Ü It's perfect also that they do not have additional service charge making all their efforts really genuine. YaY!

Pho Hoa Noodle Soup branches are located at the following areas: SM Manila, Robinsons Place Manila, SM Mall of Asia, Greenbelt 1, Paseo Center Makati, SM Megamall, Shangrila Mall, Robinsons Galleria, V-Mall Greenhills, Wilson St., San Juan (our favorite branch!), Eastwood City, SM City North Edsa, Trinoma, ATC and Tomas Morato.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Hi! I'm Fran and I'm a Pepper Lunch fan

After my first visit and after declaring to the world that i LOVE Pepper Lunch, I found myself back there again with two friends who are soooo exciting to get bitten by the PepperBug.

Call it good coincidence that my favorite chicken and salmon plate was out of stock forcing me to order something else. I then chose to have Cut Steak and Burger (P280) and a glass of Coke Light instead.

With very low expectations on my order as I am not really a steak person, I examined the thinly slices of beef and the meaty burger patty that were served in front of me. The aroma is just heavenly! Once again, I quickly spread the butter on the steak and the burger then flipping them over to make sure my meat gets evenly cooked.

The Verdict

The steak is really soft although I would have enjoyed it more without the visible fat strips on each cut. The burger, however, was a winner! I like how tender it is and it's so flavorful that I almost forgot to make use of the two sauces available on our table.

Perhaps on my next visit, I'll order my chicken and salmon plate again but will surely alternate this with the burger. Ü

Smelling like Steak

If only the management can do something about the exhaust. This is the one and only negative point when dining at Pepper Lunch. I always have to make a conscious effort to note that I'm having dinner there and I'll be going home right after because the smell can really stick to your clothes making you smell so mouth-watering steak-like. Yum!

Related post: I Love You Pepper Lunch!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Time to get Musical: West Side Story

Another great Broadway play is coming to town and boy, am I excited to watch it! I was told that this is one of the best musical productions of all time with songs like "Tonight", "Somewhere", "One Hand One heart" and a lot more!

West Side Story in Manila will have Christian Bautista as Tony and Joanna Ampil as Maria. I'm sure it will be another great show as it will be directed by Audie Gemora.

Buy a ticket, help a kid
The show will be on September 5, 2008, 8PM at the Meralco Theater. Ticket rates are as follows:

Balcony Side - P500
Balcony Center - P700
Orchestra / Loge Side - P1000
Orchestra / Loge Center - P1200

To make this more meaningful, a portion of the proceeds from this play will be donated to Kythe Foundation, which aims to help uplift the spirits of children with cancer.

For more info, you may contact Minnie Fong at 0917-8676332 or minnie.fong@gmail.com

Can't make it on the 5th?

Don't fret, the show will run from September to October 2008 so there's absolutely no reason for you to miss this.

For the September 6 (Saturday) 8pm show, you may contact Anton or Rache for more details :)

See you there!!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Sweet romance with dessert

When asked about my favorite part of a meal, I would quickly answer "definitely appetizers and desserts." This is because I find gastronomic satisfaction in trying out a wide variety served in tiny portions until I finally decide on my favorite. Therefore, how can I possibly ever say NO to an opportunity to try the newest dessert innovation made by the Diamond Hotel?

Just by reading the invite, I imagine rows and rows of sweet, creamy, to-die-for delicacies. Now that makes my mouth start to water...mmmm

Life is Sweet

Called the Dessert Buffet, this is the first and one of the most (if not THE MOST) extensive dessert catering service in the metro as Diamond Hotel puts together an array of treats concocted with the skills and expertise of the hotel's kitchen team.

After a short briefing about this new concept, we were ushered towards the dessert buffet station where we first allowed our eyes to take a closer look at each unique creation before giving in our taste buds to do the work.

There were a LOTTTT of available desserts that it was pretty difficult for me to choose which ones I liked best. Alas, after a couple more bites, I finally made my decision and here, sharing with you my top 3 desserts (in no particular order) by Diamond Hotel:


1) Baked Cheesecake
My love affair with cheesecakes began back when Paul and I had Just Craving. Together, we would bake cheesecakes in big and small sizes for our supportive clients. Imagine waking up each day to the wonderful smell of cream cheese, eggs and crushed graham crackers. One bite of Diamond Hotel's baked cheesecake transported me back to those good ol' times of us baking, laughing and enjoying the rewards of our hard work.

2) Supermoist
Diamond Hotel's signature moist chocolate cake made with layers of rich ganache to give that extra mmmmmm.
One reason why I simply love hotel cakes? This is because they always give a unique twist to an ordinary dessert like that of a chocolate cake which is one of the most popular kind being offered by every baker in town. Believe me, this is not JUST a chocolate cake. It's the type of dessert that makes you want to have a slice just for yourself and won't make you feel bad or guilty at all (well...probably in a couple hours when reality sinks in hehehe). I promise you though that you will just shrugged the guilt away and smile because this cake is worth all that.

3) Le Royale
My friend and fellow blogger, Phoebe, has recently announced that this cake is her favorite chocolate cake. Thank God for having the chance to try it out myself, I'd say, I have to agree with her 100%!
Just imagine, dark Valrhona chocolate mousse with almond meringue and hazelnut crispy. Heavenly, isn't it?
I love how light and soft the cake is that makes it a perfect ending after a full meal.

The Party Cake

I always believe that a party will never be complete without cakes! The most challenging part however is choosing which cake to serve. Lucky for bakers out there who are willing to whip up a real, mean, yummy tasting party cake. However, for the rest of the food loving world, Diamond Hotel's Dessert Buffet is here to prepare a mouthwatering line of desserts that is sure to impress your guests during birthdays, weddings or any private functions.

Thanks to Diamond Hotel and the people behind this successful, sweet event, I now know where to get the best tasting cakes to celebrate special occassions with my loved ones. Ü

For inquiries, please contact Diamond Hotel's Indulgence Office at 305-3000 local 8413/8414/8460 or send them a note at indulgence@diamondhotel.com.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

another angel spotted on Earth

Received yet another pleasant surprise from a friend this morning...



I can't wait for next saturday to come along!!

THANK YOU VERY VERY MUCH!!! Ü

Friday, June 6, 2008

Bon Appetit à Cuillere

"Welcome to Cuillere", the cheerful server greeted us as we entered the cozy yet formal looking restaurant on lazy sunday afternoon. I had to ask her to slowly repeat the name of the restaurant in order to get the right pronounciation. "It's kwee-yer, Maam, with the silent Ls", she explained.

"Kwee-yer" repeating after her...sounds great!

As we sat down, I glanced at the paper place mat in front of me and there it was. The pronounciation guide and the definition of the restaurant's name:
Cuillere [kwee-yer] n. b. 2007 1. French word for spoon. 2. Choice utensil for Filipinos 3. A perfect bite: a spoonful

One thing I love about dining out is being able to know more about the different cultures and appreciate the beauty of it.

I've been receiving a number of raves about Cuillere and most of it were about its famous carabao milkshake. Sadly, I'm lactose intolerant thus I have to skip this one but nonetheless enjoyed my visit by trying out their best-selling dishes that made Cuillere one of the most talked about restaurants in Serendra.

We wanted to keep it light and simple that we settled for the following:

Sausage Platter (P395)-- I loveeeee sausages so how can i say NO to an opportunity to try an assortment of sausages served with, my latest discovery turned favorite, Saurkraut, and creamy mustard? However, I think I got a little too excited blowing my expectations way up there and later realizing that this dish was just a-ok but nothing remarkably spectacular. Some pieces were a little bit overcooked that it turned out a bit dry and, sad to say, boring.

Monsieur Cuillere (P275)-- I love Croque Monsieur because it turns a simple ham and cheese sandwich into a yummy delight! My favorite Croque Monsieur is from Bizu and Cuillere's version was pretty good too! I love the crunchy, salty and super cheezy coating on top of the sandwich which blends well with the flavorful ham and the subtle, melt-in-your-mouth gruyere and bechamel cheese spreads. Paul enjoyed the thick fries served with aioli sauce which he later traded off for good ol' tomato ketchup to lessen the calories (hehe).

Late afternoon is the perfect time to sit back and relax at Cuillere. No waiting lines and you even get to pick your own spot because the restaurant is almost empty. In fact, there were only three occupied tables during our visit. The servers were super attentive to all our needs and even patienty answered all our inquiries and made wonderful suggestions as well.

Looking forward to my next Cuillere visit and perhaps this time, Paul and I can make it a dinner date to try their mouth-watering Les Petits Steaks au Fromage Bleu (Tenderloin tips and sauteed mushrooms wth blue cheese sauce). Très délicieux!

Cuillere is located at Serendra, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. Telephone Number: 8563325/8167394

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Let's Prettify and learn with the PROs

I honestly think I need THIS.

I'm so clueless when it comes to make up and beauty products! In fact, I've been sporting an Au Naturelle look even at work for 3 years! Modesty aside, thank God for good genes and clear skin that I somehow manage to always get away with it. My definition of putting on make up involves swiping some blush on my cheeks and glossing my lips up with my ever reliable strawberry lip gloss from Body Shop that is only when I remember to do so or if I have to go to an event that needs me to be a little more dressed up.

Thanks to YSL and Guerlain who'll be hosting a couple of Trial Make Up sessions with top local make up artists :) It's never to late to learn! See you there!

click to enlarge

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

[Cooking with Fran] Mixed Greens with Garlic Wasabi Mayo

I love cooking and one reason why I always look forward to hosting a simple lunch or dinner party here at home is for me to be able to experiment on a couple of dishes for my family to enjoy.

Keeping up with the healthy eating trend that is currently being practiced by my clan lately, I whipped up a refreshing Japanese-inspired salad that turned out to be a hit with my dear guests.

Here's sharing with you my little masterpiece.

Mixed Greens with Garlic Wasabi Mayo Dressing

What you'll need:
Mixed Greens (different types of lettuce, arugula, etc)
Sliced cucumber
Fresh or canned Mandarin Oranges (may also be substituted with Mangoes)
Kani sticks - thawed, steamed for 1 minute and separate into strips

Garlic Wasabi Mayo dressing
1 tbsp wasabi powder
2 tsp water
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp mayonnaise
1/2 tbsp chopped garlic

1) Mix water into the wasabi powder to make a think paste
2) Let it stand for 1 minute
3) Slowly add the wasabi mixture into the mayonnaise
4) Add in the chopped garlic
5) Chill for an hour or more

----

To make the salad:
1) Arrange the greens at the based of the container
2) Add the remaining ingredients
3) Mix in the Garlic wasabi dressing
4) Carefully toss this to spread the dressing evenly
5) Topped with more kani strips and mandarin oranges

HAPPY EATING!!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Sex and the City: The Movie =-=spoiler alert!=-=

This is a story about love, life in fast-paced New York and most of all, a story about friendship.

It began with a short recap on how the girls are -- Carrie, the ever fashionable New Yorker, has left Aleksandr Petrovsky and is now, once again, back in the arms of Mr. Big; Miranda, the intellectual lawyer has married her long time boyfriend, Steve and both are doting parents to Brady; pink-loving Charlotte has married Harry, her divorce lawyer, and after years of trying to have a baby has now adopted a cute chinese girl named Lily; finally, Samantha who has won the battle against cancer, moved to LA to be with her boyfriend Smith Jerrod who's an up-and-coming actor in Hollywood but flies back and forth to New York to meet up with the girls.

The movie later moved on to the newest developments in the lives of the girls. There's a wedding being planned, a baby on the way, a re-evaluation of a current relationship and an obstacle that will put trust and yes, love, to the test. Needless to say, it touches on every single aspect of a woman's life. Focusing more on the importance of having girl friends around when the world seems to crumble right front of you.

I'd like to share with you my Top 3 most impactful SATC the Movie moments:

1) The time when Steve told Miranda he had a one night stand...
... and repeatedly defended himself by saying "it was just one time" over and over again. I felt my heart plummet all the way down to the ground as I can just imagine my own boyfriend or future husband giving me the same news (oh dear Lord..i hope this will never happen though). I saw the pain in Miranda's eyes and the feeling that she has just been betrayed by the most important man in her life. However, love is truly powerful that no matter how hard you fight to stay far away from him and how often you'd tell yourself to just forget him... i always believe that love will make you do crazy things...even to forgive and yes, forget.

2) The time when Carrie dragged herself out of bed just to be with Miranda on New Year's Day
The entire city went out to party while our two single girls stayed a home and immediately felt the loneliness without a loved one nearby. This scene showed the beauty of having a girl friend who will do anything for you. Thank God for girl friends. Ü
3) The time when Carrie's BIG day turned out to be a no-BIG day
I knew something bad is bound to happen when I saw the trailer scene where a mobile phone was dropped and the girls are rushing down the stairs with Carrie in her wedding gown. Right there at the middle of New York's busy avenue, Carrie met up with Big and began hitting him while screaming and crying at the same time. Mr. Big suddenly had cold feet and chose to back out from the wedding. This, I think is one thing that every girl would consider a nightmare. While watching this scene, I whispered into Paul's ear: "please do not ever do this to me..." with matching tears streaming down my face.

The movie ended with the four girls back at their favorite bar celebrating Samantha's 50th birthday. I love every teeny-tiny detail that was shown as it made us laugh and cry and laughed and cried some more. It made me thankful for having great girl friends who has been there for me through all these years :)
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