Monday, November 25, 2013

The Asian Tour in the City! Firozian Indian Tea House

When I went to Vietnam last year I met some foreigners, younger, I noticed most of them brought a book, it was like a travel guide.  I asked how long their vacation was for, most of them at least 3 months. Right after their graduation, before getting a job, or they recently quit their job, a vacation would be a great filler before getting a new one. They have different routes, Thailand-Cambodia-Vietnam-Laos or Singapore-Malaysia-Thailand-Cambodia-Vietnam.

While I just spent 10 days in Vietnam-Cambodia-Vietnam; I couldn't afford a long tour and I could not quit my job or I wouldn't be touring at all.  hahaha. Let us just put it this way, cultural difference. In my country, it's difficult to get a job, what more a good job pays the rent. So I'm lucky where I am at now.

While planning for my next destination, I've never been to Thailand and I'm excited this January, there are really good food within the city that will give you a taste of mainland Asia or at least close since some were adjusted to Pinoy tastes buds.

Here  are some of my favorites:

I may not be able to Authenticate the taste but among the Pad Thai in town, this one from Siam favors my Pinoy taste buds. The  noodles, bean sprouts, nuts and Thai spices blend well together. Located in Ayala Terraces.

I couldn't stop eating in Vietnam when I went home I was craving for their dish.  I was all over town, then a friend tipped me to visit Little Saigon, Big Bangkok in Guadalupe area.  Far from what I've tasted but it was a good meal.  Actually quite expensive.

While my sisters fancy sushi,  I don't. I want my food cooked. The tallest Ebi Tempura in town. At first bite you'll taste the distinct authentic Asian flavor. Although I've never been to Japan, but its the only Japanese restaurant I've observed where there were Japanese people dining.

Last weekend, a friend of mine took me to an Indian dining.  Located within the Capitol area is Firozian; an Indian tea house.  It was just a small space near Cebu Doctor's Hospital.  Parking could be difficult during weekdays, as we all know this is a busy area.

It was decorated with bold colors and their traditional prints to make the dining experience more authentic.

 yes, you need to squat!

I'm a coffee person.  I can take the tea but not the milk. As a starter, we had their hot milk tea. I took a cup just to give it a taste.  It wasn't bad, actually it taste good, creamy! I was just scared for my tummy, it reacts badly with milk.

I've learned from a friend that our taste buds changes in a period of time.  I wasn't a fan of shawarma. it's the smell I find it weird.  I was surprise how I liked the taste of Durum. It must be the yogurt-masala-sauce.  I ordered medium spice though. The Samosa surprised me too, in a bad way, all I could taste was the curry. A small portion was enough for me, I started to sweat.

If you are a rice person , you'll enjoy the Chicken Biryani.  If you are into bread, the Rumali Roti is perfect, although the Thai version (Blue Elephant) of roti tasted better.  

I really thought this was the dessert.  I was so excited to see the heart shapes.  Then I was clueless when my friend dipped it to her milk-tea.  "It's sugar," she explained.

Gulab Jammun

almost like leche flan, maybe because of the caramel but I still love my lech flan.  Overall it was a good meal and the price was right plus the great experience and good customer service, I'd say 4 out of 5 stars rating.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Cry Of A Wolf At La Vie Parisienne

The moon was at its full strength last night.  It was a perfect round and luminous.  It displayed both might and beauty. It was mesmerizing and I had my eyes locked for a few seconds while gazing at my terrace.  Then my eyes grew bigger. If I'm a wolf, I had howled at it gracing its presence.

Behind that beauty was madness.  While I was admiring it, I know, I felt its controlling my emotion.  I tried to be more cognitive but the more I fought it, the more I was losing. So, I let it consume me the whole night. One thing I was sure, I didn't want to stay in room or I would end up jumping off my terrace.  Lunatic? yes, I have some episodes of craziness.

I drove to the city.  I felt the need to accomplish something perhaps getting rid of the moon rays creeping to my veins.  I completed my stickers from Starbucks for the 2014 planner, so coffee was not an option last night.  I dialed some friends and most of them had prior commitments while some chose to ignore my message and it intensified my emotions. I was growing crazier each minute. I was glad someone responded and came to rescue.


I needed comfort food and this croissant has been my favorite.

Along Gorordo Ave, a few blocks from JY Center in Lahug, we found comfort in one of the couches of La Vie Parisienne. A container van turned into shop and filled with bread, cheese, cold cuts and wine!

I wouldn't miss their croissant baked perfectly to create a crusty outside, not burnt but just right yet the inside remained soft.

The breeze was a little bit cold last night.  Since coffee was off my list, we paired it with their house wine.

This is Michele Lhuillier labelled Merlot. Its soft and medium built with a little tint of sweetness.

The set up was so perfect I forgot about my emotional attack brought about by the full moon.  Though I could still see it, the place was just too cozy to worry about something.  I needed an accomplishment and I was craving for croissant and I got these additional sweet treats.

Pistachio and raspberry taste better than any macaron displayed in the mall. Enough sweetness that just tickled my tongue yet did not hurt my throat.  The custard cake was fine but I prefer the Canelés de Bordeaux.

There are people that are way too insensitive. They are going to hurt you, perhaps unconsciously and it takes an amount of understanding to just dust yourself off.

Cheers! A toast to living, loving and learning.

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Sunday Before the Typhoon At One Claypot and Royal Krua Thai

It was one fine Sunday before super typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda came.  The city experienced lesser occurrence of aftershocks weeks after the region was hit with 7.2 magnitude earthquake.  The sun was bright and the sky was calm. It was a typical warm Sunday. A market day for most.

I woke up early. I was tasked to buy some raw materials for our decoration in the office.  We expected visitors. Where else can we get good materials at a lesser price? Carbon Freedom Park.

Its the biggest market in the city. It challenges your creativity with all the raw materials you can find. The theme was Fall season.  So we needed twigs, dried leaves, twines, ribbons.  Since we don't have maple trees, the plastic leaves would be just fine. Acorns were no where to find but pine cones could do just as good.

Most people has this impression that I'm "maarte". I dont know how I become one or when they got this cliche. Yes I go to this place of course. Anyway, I asked two of my friends to tag along so they could help me carry some bags! ha ha ha.  Poooof! there you go, a proof of being "maarte".  Ok fine, I needed help.

We spent half of the day going from one store to another.  We heard our stomach growling, we missed that it was lunch time already.  So we drove uptown. I heard about One Clay Pot House near the capitol area that served Singaporean fusion only to find out, they moved location.

So, I dialed some friends if they can google the new location for me but no one responded.  Data plan could have been a good help. But I like the adventure of hunting locations. I like driving corners after corners like an online game collecting gems something to that effect.  Another 30 minutes wont hurt our stomach I thought.

I passed this street several times.  It's easy to miss the place because the signage was very small. The only tip I got was its near Ayala and along the route of 14D jeepneys.

Well, the restaurant is very small.  Accommodates 3 to 4 small groups at a time. Nothing fancy but i like the small things they placed.  It was neatly arranged.

Then we ordered what we came here for, lah-lah-lah Claypot. The name suggests its Singaporean flavor lah? We also ordered some Thai and Filipino dish.

I give them A for the concept but I've tasted better food.  If you are secretly dating and wants a place away from the crowd the location is a good hideaway. But if you are into comfort food, uhhmm there are better places. A bit pricey too.  I don't like the Pad Thai. It was just cooked weird, more like carbonara-sauce-ish.

Then we went to Ayala for a movie, Thor: The Dark World.  It was better than the first one.  I don't know but I enjoyed it.  While waiting for the movie, we went to Starbucks for some refreshments.  It's that time of the year, call it once-in-a-blue-moon-craze that I go loco over stickers.

As of writing I need 3 more stickers. I'm planning to get the yellow or orange this year.  I have collected their planner since 2005 or 2006, talking about 8 years of loyalty.  ha ha ha.  

After the movie we went to Gaisano Country Mall for some more materials for the decoration.  Time passed swiftly its dinner time.  We went to SM since we couldn't decide where to eat in Parkmall. I guess, we were everywhere.  Another Asian Cuisine. A friend of mine commented, "What are we doing, Asian tour?"  

That reminds me, I've never been to Korean Restaurant or Indian/Persian.  Krua Thai never fails my taste buds. I did mention above that there are better places, well basically we paid the same amount but got better selections here.

A one fine day then the storm came.

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Halloween Special

Mostly, the unplanned events are the coolest. There's something about spontaneity that pumps signal to our brain and describes FUN. I don't mean to sound scientific here,  maybe, I've been too tight with my schedule, breaking it gives a different adrenaline rush. Yes, I'm pretty OC with my schedule at work, any unexpected long meetings would kill me. Talking about flexibility, it's a skill I need to master.

Perhaps because you least expect them. There's no time to set high standard of expectation. No time to think whether or not it will be fun. Sometimes, it helps letting go and just go with the wind.

Anyway, it was a weekend. I don't think missing my laundry schedule would entail a big percentage loss in the stock market. So I said yes for a brunch. Besides, care bear was there. For sure it would be a time well spent. ;) I got too excited upon hearing this news, I forgot I was crossing the street, the taxi driver must have been very mad that I wasn't in my mind while walking. haha!

So we set to IT Park for Red Moon Chinese Cuisine and Delicacies.

It's not like my first time there. I've tried their food several times and the prices range from Php50 to Php130. Its worth the money you paid for.  Here's what we got:

Yang Chow Rice

Fried Shomai

Beef Rice bowl

Sweet and Sour Beef
After brunch we went to Mango Ave. for a movie.  There's been a lot of DVD movie houses in the city lately. I've never been to one so I thought would be a good try.  We're supposed to go to a horror booth, well, its Halloween but we were not sure if it was already open that hour.
photo my CMBC
We ended up watching Dark Skies.  It started ok, then it got better towards the end. The climax of the story was too close towards the end that it fell short.  It wasn't a scary movie. We were looking for a good horror film.  I'm not good with movie review so I'll skip that part.

Except for the AC, the place was great. Nice concept actually. Audio was good. They projected the movie in the wall, it was wide for us to see. It came with a free drink and we won a pop corn. But nothing beats a movie in the comfort of your own living room or bed room. Maybe it's time for me to get my own wide screen t.v.

So I went home late and slept the whole day, I miss Saturday night Halloween clubbing but that morning was fun!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Breakfast Club At Manggahan In Lahug

The common denominator among the 5 of us, well 6 if you include the bat in the background, is we are nocturnal people. Yes, we work in a graveyard shift.  So breakfast is our dinner and dinner is breakfast and lunch is served by midnight instead of noon. By noon we are already snoring, if the weather cooperates as sometimes, it gets too hot and humid.   

I'm used to it. I have been in the industry for almost 10 years. Seems like our elevators serve as time portal. The moment you step on it, it will bring you to a different time zones, London, NY, California, Sydney.

Its been a while that I have seen these people so breakfast/dinner would be a great time to catch up (we used to be on the same project)

We went to Manggahan in Lahug. (The place used to be a mango farm that's where they got the name and actually you can still see a few trees) It's located along Wilson St. on your way to Camp Lapulapu. If you see JY square then you are close to the area.

Bummer, we arrived there 9:30am and the kitchen won't be open until 10am. Actually, the chef did not arrive yet. But they let us stay, we were willing to wait anyway. A good conversation, laughing and tripping filled the 30 min wait. Everyone just wanted to talk, we were to noisy, good thing we were the only guest there that time.  Here's what we got:

Dinuguan ni Cardo

Sizzling Pork Sisig
Sizzling Pochero

Pancit Canton

mango shake
Some of their food has funny names, Dinuguan ni Cardo.  Some were not the usual, Crocodile Sisig. I didn't try the crocodile,  I wasn't ready for it yet and yes we still have plenty supply of chicken and pork at home hah-aha-ha, so spare the reptile! The place is known for giving more than the price you pay.  They serve good food. They are like home-made cooking. Nothing fancy but it taste good, just like having a good dinner at home. Another special from their menu is the Tuna Panga and Crispy Pata.

After we ate, we played guess the bill.  Whoever had the closest estimate wins. I won. My guess was Php800 for all of us. I cheated because I had been to the place and that's how I know about the Panga and Pata.

For dessert we drove through Salinas drive. Turned right through Archbishop Reyes Avenue. And right again to N Escario St for Mickey's Japanese Cakes.

Mango cupcake

Pumpkin Pie
A bit pricey, costs 120 to 140 per slice. Perhaps my tongue were not designed for their pastries.  The guy in the counter said it's their best seller. The mango flower was creatively made and the pumpkin pie was "in" for the occasion, its Halloween after all. I guess that's my good way of saying I don't like them.  Maybe Japanese cakes are not really sweet, I don't know, not even the cream.  It's more like a Jell-o to me than a cake.

So I settled for the tart I bought from the office earlier that day.  It half the price but 3x yummy-ier.

Thanks Marc for the photos