Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Dinner Tonight

Apple and Quezo de Bola (Edam) with guava jelly panini. Apple and Quezo de Bola really go well together. I had it one time for a midnight snack at home. Something sweet and savory. It was so yummy, so I thought it might translate well if made into a panini.

This recipe obviously needs a lot of tweaking. I should have used a softer cheese but didn't have any on hand. Also, the overheated the panini pan had burnt one side of the panini. Had to replace that side with a new piece of bread to salvage the rest of the panini.

Complete bust..... for now.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Kenji Tei in Greenbelt 5

It's so rare to go out with Hubby on a weeknight. Last week, he had a meeting in Makati and was able to sneak a quick dinner date with me.

We tried Kenj Tei in Greenbelt 5. There used to be a branch in BF, which recently closed down. I guess parking was a huge problem and the location in BF was hard to get in and out of.

 Last week was the first time we've tried Kenji Tei in Greenbelt 5. I love their modern interiors and the ceiling details.

I ordered the Shoyu Ramen (P228), which is soy sauce based (what I usually order, when eating ramen). The Shoyu Ramen in Kenji Tei in Greenbelt was a bit too salty and "malansa". Not sure why this is so, since the broth usually cooks for hours and hours. I wasn't able to finish my order because of this.

Hubby's order of Shio Ramen (P308), which is a salt based ramen, was way way too salty. We could smell it right away, once it was served. Hubby obviously wasn't too pleased with this.

We also ordered the Oyster Fry (P318). Those are oyster fritters with a sweet soy, chili (something) dipping sauce. I think this dish taste a bit better if dipped in the Japanese mayonnaise. Hubby took one bite and almost spit it out. The oysters weren't very fresh.

Hubby wasn't an happy diner, obviously. He ordered Green Tea Mocchi ice cream (P167), to make himself feel better. Ice cream usually does that to him. Lo and behold, the miracle of miracles, Hubby found an ice cream that he didn't like.

Four strikes. Yikes.

One consolation though, our meal wasn't an expensive one, so it wasn't such a huge waste. Whenever I am in Greenbelt 5, I always see lot of people still eat there , so it may be just one of those "off" nights for the Kenji Tei kitchen.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

A Challenge?

I was at a salon earlier to get a haircut. I saw an article in a magazine (sorry, forgot which one). Several women will take the challenge of fitting back to their wedding dresses by June of this year.

When I got home, I pulled out my wedding dress. I knew I gained a bit of weight since I got married almost eleven years ago. With trepidation, I put on my wedding dress, got the tape measure out and see once and for all, how many inches I need to lose if I am to take on the fit-in-your-wedding-dress challenge.

***Drumroll*** It's four inches in the chest area! Holy moly, how can I get rid of the back fat and not lose the girls' ummm..... plumpness?!

Wait, I think I have the perfect solution! (Besides exercising daily and watching what I eat)

I'll just be happy with whatever shape I am. For an almost forty year old gal, I think I'm pretty decent shape (round is a shape, in case you've forgotten). Besides, I'm too attached to my girls. I would very much like to keep them.

Friday, January 25, 2013

A Nerd in a Candy Store

Hubby loves them sweets. Here he is at Cacao kiosk in Greenbelt 5. The chocolate covered cherries are his favorite.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Cucumber Kimchi

I brought some cucumber kimchi from my recent trip from Seoul. It's long gone now because Hubby and I really enjoyed it.

I'm trying my hand into making one from scratch.

My cucumber kimchi is currently fermenting at the fridge. I sure hope it turns out ok.

I will know in a few days at least. We tried eating a piece yesterday with just one day fermentation. It turned out great and spicy. But I think it needs a few more days for the flavors to really meld together.

I think I will be making this on a regular basis. I adapted Maangchi's recipe (without the carrots). I doubled the kimchi mix because I felt that the original recipe was a little short for my needs. Here's my adjusted version:

4 large cucumbers
1 small white onion, sliced
2 pcs leeks, sliced, white portion only
2 bunches chives, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup Thai fish sauce
1 cup hot pepper flakes
2 tablespoons white sugar

1. Wash the cucumbers and cut them in half. Make a "cross" but don't go all the way through. This is where you will stuff the kimchi mix later.

2. Sprinkle sea salt or rock salt on the cucumbers, toss and let stand for half an hour.

3. To make the kimchi mix, get a clean mixing bowl, mix together the fish sauce, red pepper flakes, sugar, onions, leeks and chives. Mix well. Set aside.

4. After thirty minutes, wash the cucumbers and dry them with a paper towel.

5. Stuff your kimchi mixture between the slots in the cucumber and rub them all over. I suggest you use gloves to do this. The smell of the spices and onions will cling to your hands for hours. (Okay, learned that the hard way.)

6. Place the cucumbers, mix and all in a ceramic pot, cover and refrigerate for a few days.

It's gonna be stinky but worth it :-)

You can buy hot pepper flakes in Japanese and Korean supermarkets. It's cheaper to get a whole bag. I got mine for less than P250 a bag and it's probably good for 3-4 uses, depending on how spicy you want your kimchi to be.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Ramen Yushoken

My niece Ashley said to me one time after watching cartoons, "Ninang, can you make ramen?"

Apparently, there's this cartoon character that loves to eat ramen. Hence, the question.

I honestly answered "Sorry, I don't know how to make ramen." The non-instant one, at least.

She said "But Ninang!!!! You know how to cook everything!"

My thought balloon: "Um, Sweetie, thanks for the vote of confidence, but, I don't know how to cook everything, remember that botched fortune cookie that we made?"

I've researched and watched videos on how to make the perfect ramen. It takes forever to make the broth. My immediate solution was to find a really good ramen place (Ukokkei in San Lorenzo Village is good, but quite far), Kenji Tei in BF recently closed its doors. The place has to be within twenty minutes from our place (do you know how impatient a six-year old gets during long trips on a hungry stomach?!), the ramen has to be good so that I don't have to make a "better" one at home. Sheesh!

Anyway, I saw a blog about Ramen Yushoken in Molito, Alabang which had favorable reviews. It is within driving distance from our home, so Hubby and I scoped it out one evening.

Hubby ordered the Shio Ramen (P320), which is kinda milky. Not too salty and really quite delicious. He had Sapporo beer (P160) with his Ramen.

I ordered the Miso Ramen (P380), which I wasn't too pleased about since it was way too salty for my taste. I originally ordered the Shoyu Ramen, but they ran out of broth.

We paired our ramen with Aji-tamago (P160). A soft boiled egg marinated (or boiled?) in a special broth. Hence, the brown outer coloring.

We also ordered Gyoza (P150), which I really loved. It was cooked perfectly and the wrapper was crispy (others tend to be a bit mushy). Hubby isn't fond of ginger and wasn't too keen about this dish.

Ramen Yushoken is on soft opening, the signage isn't up yet. It took us two rounds around the the mall to look for it. Ramen Yushoken is right beside Omakase, in case you can't find it either.

Overall though, I would like to give it another try and see how the Shoyu Ramen is. Because it's the kind that I really like and what I usually order in Ramen houses.

Ramen Yushoken, as I previously mentioned, is on soft opening. A lot of orders got delayed, other orders got forgotten or wrong dishes were delivered to the table while we were there. The Japanese guy seating beside us waited more than half an hour for his cold ramen. I thought he was gonna be pissed, but no, thankfully. The restaurant was full when we arrived, I suggest you come early if you want to try it out. Hopefully though, they will improve their service and orders will arrive promptly next time.

Let's see what the six-year old Ashley's verdict will be when we take her and her brother Jayjay to check it out.


Sambokojin is the newest buffet place to hit the south (well, at least as far as I know). Hubby and I just chanced upon it while we were doing one of our post holiday shopping in SM Southmall. People were lining up and waiting for tables.

Since it was quite late already, we were able to get a table within 20 minutes (the place really was packed!). I don't know about Filipinos and buffets, they're quite inseparable. Filipinos really really love to eat. Yup, we like 'em greasy, fatty and plentiful.

Anyway, Sambokojin is a fusion of Japanese and Korean cuisines. You can grill assorted meats and seafood with various marinades (or those without marinades are also available). An assortment of sushi and maki are also served, as well as various hot Korean dishes, salads and some steamed dimsum. Desserts of small cakes and several flavors of ice cream with sprinkles, choco chips etc are pretty standard with any buffet place here in Manila. There is something for everyone.

True to our Asian heritage, various condiments are available to enhance your eating pleasure.

There is an abundance of prawn tempura as well. They refill it by the buckets and never seem to run out, like some restaurants I know (ahem, ahem, Yakimix).

Overall though, the food isn't exceptionally mind-blowingly good, but not bad either. For P659 per head, all you can eat? I think that's a pretty reasonable price and not a bad place to treat out family and friends. The seats are quite comfy, the place is bright and cheerful and conducive to laughter and sharing stories.

Chocolate Beehive

How cute is this chocolate beehive cupcake from Mom and Tina's!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Nanbantei - Greenbelt 3

Nanbantei is one of my favorite restaurants. The staff is friendly and the yakitori are quite good and freshly grilled upon order. I've dined there with Hubby before and we really enjoyed the yakitori.

Last weekend I met a couple of my friends from college and chose to dine at Nanbantei. The girls and I tried the Spicy Tuna Maki, Yaki Niku (thin beef slices), Tebasaki (chicken wings, my favorite!), Aspara Maki (asparagus wrapped in bacon, yum, bacon!), Pork Garlic Yaki (thin pork slices, grilled a bit crispy).

For dessert, we shared  green tea ice cream with sweet red beans and mochi. This is soooo good. Worth coming back to..... many times over :-)

My Baby Picture

Taken by my Dad.

I miss you, Dad.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Ganso Shabuway - Japanese Style Hot Pot

Hubby likes shabu-shabu. There is no denying it. He loves the swishy-swishy sound of meat and veggies simmering in a flavorful broth. This is his way of "cooking" me dinner. This also a healthier alternative when dining out.

The latest Shabu-shabu that we tried was at Ganso-Shabuway in Greenbelt 5. The restaurant serves USDA Meyer Angus Beef, Wagyu Beef and Kurobota (pork) and other vegetables. Hubby and I tried the Angus beef set (P750) which comes with two bowls of rice and some vegetables. We ordered an extra set of vegetables (P395) because Hubby was hungry (as always). We chose have a mild miso soup base. You can choose mild and spicy miso and the plain traditional seaweed broth, which doesn't taste anything (I tried it first). The shabu-shabu goes with two kinds of sauces. I like the vinegar/soysauce base rather than the peanut based one.

Hubby loves Ganso Shabuway, he's is very happy with the quality of beef that we were served and felt that the amount of beef were commensurate to the amount that we paid.  Maybe we'll try the Kobe beef next time. But, isn't Kobe beef best eaten as a steak? Just wondering.

Monday, January 7, 2013

J. Co Donuts

J. Co Donuts, the newest Donut shop to hit Manila. People line up for hours just to purchase. Hubby and I were able to go Greenbelt last Saturday, just as the mall opened. We had time to kill before I was to meet my college friends. J Co still had a short line. There were only three people ahead of me. 

We tried a variety of donuts to eat at the restaurant. We tried the Alcapone (donuts with almond slivers), Glazzy (plain glazed), Blue Berrymore (with strawberry jam and sprinkles? I think this was miss-punched in our receipt ), Coco Loco and Caviar Chocolate (with chocolate "pellets"). Can you get which ones are for Hubby? He he he. We also ordered an iced tea and a hot green tea.

Admittedly, the specialty donuts were less sweet than those from Krispy Kreme, Donut Donuts, Dunkin' Donuts and Mister Donut. J. Co's donuts are a bit fluffier, and the flavors are much more interesting, I guess. 

Despite the minor difference in taste with J. Co's competitors, it was not worth the long line. Seriously, there were a lot of staff in the counter, but they had no system and some staff members were just talking among themselves. It took me almost twenty minutes to get to the counter (with just three people ahead of me), the cashier was taking his time packing the donuts ordered by the lady ahead of me. There were a lot of staff, but they were like ants lost in a maze of sugar donuts. It would have been easier if an ambulant waiter were to go through the line, and take people's orders to facilitate faster ordering, packing and paying. Our drinks arrived much later after we finished our donuts. I don't understand why it took too long to put a teabag in a cup?! Or pour iced tea in a glass. We had to follow up our drinks twice! Seriously. I am not going back to J Co Donuts if the line is long. It is simply not worth it.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Extra Trimmings

I seriously need to lose the extra holiday weight. S-E-R-I-O-U-S-L-Y.

I will start tomorrow. I just had sisig for lunch. Not a great way to start the work year. Fell off the wagon even before I started. Haaaay....


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Nerd of All Nerds

My mother in law gave me Hubby's high school yearbook last night. His yearbook caption describes him as the "nerd of all nerds".

Yup, that sums it up.

Smart and ambitious guys make the best husbands.

Welcome 2013!

Happy New Year!

Wow, it has been a wonderful 2012 for me and Hubby. Some of my fervent wishes came true, Hubby and I became more active "parents" in Jayjay and Ashley's life. I saw three beautiful countries. Our blessings are too many to list all here. Hubby and I are truly happy.

May the year 2013 bring more joy, prosperity, health, peace and love to everyone. Life is truly beautiful, if we only look at the bright side.