Saturday, October 14, 2017

Cold Treats We Love

Most people describe me as a sweet girl, and perhaps that's one of many reasons why I also love sweet desserts! Thank God I don't have issues with my blood sugar yet.

In this blog post I'm going to share with you five of those. But no, I didn't eat them all in one day! Please be kind and give me the benefit of the doubt. ;-)

Cheezy Mango, Snowbing, SM North EDSA Main Building

Frozen Brazo and Caramel Macchiato Mochi, Mochi Cream Japanese Sweet Deli, TriNoma

Tropical Fruit, Snowbing, SM North EDSA Main Building

Frozen Yogurt with Hazelnut Sauce, Graham, and Lacasitos, llaollao, TriNoma

Frozen Yogurt with Chococrock, Mangoes, and Crushed Graham, llaollao, TriNoma

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Always A Reason To Go Unli

Once in a while, it’s exciting to avail of restaurant unli promos. Today, I’m sharing my experiences in two establishments, El Cangrejo (Crab, Seafood and Steak Bistro) and Samgyupsalamat.

One of three crab servings we had at El Cangrejo (Blood pressure check, please!)
Compared with a buffet set-up, I prefer how things are done at El Cangrejo. You just have to sit and relax as they serve your order. No rushing to be first in line or worrying that they’d run out of crabs and you’d have to wait for another round. For 899 pesos, you get to enjoy unli crabs, steak, rice and pumpkin soup. El Cangrejo is located at Sgt. Esguerra, Tomas Morato.

Medium rare

Medium well

Pumpkin Soup

Lately, I dined with friends at Samgyupsalamat. It was my first time, though I experienced quite a similar experience of unli Korean grill at K-Pub a long time ago. Overall, it has been a good experience in terms of taste and set-up. I just thought that this establishment could have a better waiting area and queuing system. We had to wait for 2 hours to be seated (never done it before)!

Grilling in progress, Samgyupsalamat

Samgyup (beef) and side dishes

Bulgogi and side dishes

When they say it’s unli pork and beef for 499 pesos, I hope all varieties were available. Unfortunately, only 1 out of 5 kinds of pork was left during our dinner.

Maybe they could also have better parking space or assign a staff to ensure free parking. My friend parked in front of Samgyupsalamat’s signage but a man asked for 50 pesos. I asked if we could give it once we’re ready to leave but he said he already had to buy food. Good thing I got to haggle, thinking I needed to give him something so he won’t do anything nasty.

Monday, September 11, 2017

My Cup of Tea... Ice Cream!

From my previous blog entry about buffet indulgence, let's now have a tea talk. I can't think of any other place that offers a wide range of teas from different parts of the world as TWG. We had a chance to experience a relaxing time at its Conrad Hotel branch located in the Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City.

What's TWG, you may ask. It's unknown to many but TWG's website reveals that it stands for The Wellness Group. But does it really matter? Let's go straight to the wholesome goodness that we had in this cozy tea salon.

We were lucky that during our visit, macarons were at 50% off. It used to be 60 pesos each. They have flavors like Napoleon Tea & Caramel (my favorite), Matcha, Camelot Tea & Praline, Earl Grey Fortune & Chocolate, Vanilla Bourbon Tea & Kaya, and Grand Wedding Tea, Passion Fruit & Coconut. But note that those are what's on the menu, and that the ones below are not in any particular order nor exactly match all the flavors I just mentioned.

The most affordable drink options here are at 195 pesos for a teapot, so we chose a black tea from Brazil.

Finally, the three of us sampled their ice cream flavors which are at 120 pesos each. Relatively affordable with these generous servings, right? Napoleon Tea Ice Cream features black tea with caramelized macadamia nuts:

Next, for dad, Singapore Breakfast Tea Ice Cream is a blend of green tea, black tea, vanilla and spices:

Finally, for mom, Vanilla Bourbon Tea Ice Cream is red tea blended with aromatic vanilla bean:

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Buffet Dining: What's Your Strategy?

Since eating at Spiral is way too expensive, my best choice for variety and reasonable price is Vikings. Everything I ate, I wrote on a table napkin to remind myself of the good value for money. Haha! And take note: No rice!

Round 1:
Pata Tim
Roast Duck

Round 2:
Salmon Sashimi
Baked Oysters
Milk Tea

Round 3:
Creme Brulee
Leche Flan
Raspberry Cheesecake
Fruit Salad
Fruit Tart
Choco Cake
Coffee Jelly
Bubblegum Panna Cotta

Round 4:
Premium Roast Coffee
Duck Liver Paté

Still, I think my experience at Vikings Seaside Boulevard behind MOA years ago was better than at SM North. There were a lot more seafood and we didn't have to wait for any refill.

To end, here are the items I didn't have enough storage for:

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Frames and Lenses

I started wearing glasses when I was 29. It was on August 6, 2015 when I finally couldn't deny the need for it, with a 25-50 vision. A minor issue, you might think. Yet, shopping and commuting started to be inconvenient for me then. Reading signs and hailing public transport became challenges as I squinted. Poor visual recognition also made my friends think that I just didn't bother to greet them during encounters!

Since I was a newbie eyeglass wearer then, aesthetics and price were my only concerns. The lens size and frame weight didn't come to mind and so the purple frame above appealed to me (got my glasses for 2,400 bucks only). Because of the low grade, I was lazy in wearing and bringing those glasses with me, which probably contributed to my worsening eyesight. After a year, in December 2016, I had a 50-75 vision and I opted for lightweight glasses with Nikon lenses (3,280 pesos). As you can see in the picture, it had a narrow frame which was problematic when looking up or down.

More recently, on July 2017, my grade rose to 125-125. Since black frames are in vogue and I wanted bigger lenses, I got my latest pair for just 3,900 bucks. Since Crizal Prevencia was a bit expensive, I chose Crizal Forte UV.

Worsening eyesight is still alarming though. I believe gadgets are to blame for accelerating it.

I even tried OptiMask Pro, an eye massager that promised to help improve eyesight through magnetism and acupunture. You might have seen it through Facebook ads too. The testimonials were convincing and besides, I bought when the initial price had been reduced significantly. Oh well, it is still relaxing to use.

Also, when I went for a complete eye checkup (free with my PAGIBIG Loyalty Card), the doctor from George Optical said that my eyes are very dry. Now, I'm using Optive lubricant eye drops. The box is good for one month and costs 715 pesos.

My eyes are worth saving up for. It could be costly but, I'd rather spend on it than on makeup and luxuries. Oh well, good food of course, is out of the question. Hehe.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Of Cupcakes and Contentment

Hey there! With the midyear, I smell more good things coming up in 2017. You know me - I celebrate life's events as milestones and turn lemons into lemonade. With this mindset and my penchant for dining out, I think one place matches the mood: Vanilla Cupcake Bakery.

My mom, right there at the corner.

Yup, it's been around for a while yet I haven't appreciated it much until recently. I used to think that it's merely a dressed up place that lures you into buying overpriced cupcakes. Also, it had a branch at UP Town Center but it was more of to-go than really savoring the ambiance while dining in. Then, my mom and I discovered that the one at TriNoma is more than meets the eye. It's actually spacious behind the display counter area!

Mom, in another angle of the interiors and more serious this time. Haha!

As of this writing, this particular branch of VCB has a good rating of 4 out of 5 on Zomato. My personal favorite is the Chunky Chubby Chocolate (Sorry cupcakes, though I like you guys too) which I believe is reasonably priced at 148 pesos per slice.

I'm glad that my mom also liked the place and wants to come back for more.

For this blog entry's parting words, it would be nice to leave one of those messages hanging on the wall: Live today for tomorrow it will all be history.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

How Do You Turn Your Back from a Setback?

I think it would be nice to focus my birth month reflection on my in-between-jobs experience, the waiting game, identity, and faith.

Have you ever given up something that you loved doing for what you have thought was a bigger calling, responsibility, and opportunity? Ever gone through a really demanding process, only to find out that you were not informed of other requirements that would disqualify you? Did you take a calculated risk, thinking that you did so well throughout, only to discover you were misled to a dead end?

If you have a limited time to finish reading this post, I have one good piece of advice: It's true when they say "It's okay not to be okay." Go ahead and doubt for a minute: Am I good at what I do? Will I get back on track? After that, keep going. DO NOT let your doubt cloud your self concept. You are strong. You want excellence. You will never give up.

I've started working since I graduated college. I'm not used to being idle and instead, experienced juggling work and study. So what happens when I experience being unemployed for one month? Honestly, I tried to be productive and appreciative of the free time, doing the following:

1. Cleaning the house, cooking, selling items that we no longer need
2. Watching on Netflix, reading books, malling
3. Job hunting (and yes, since 2008, I had my fair share of unnoticed and unsuccessful job applications too)
4. Online teaching

I felt that as a former Iskolar ng Bayan, the jobs I choose should contribute to the society and hone my communication skills. But even with a college and MA degree, combined with more than eight years of work experience, things didn't come easy. For some jobs I chose, I was not chosen.

But like what I told a close friend, "Sometimes the things that are meant for us are not the ones we deliberately plan." How did I manage to handle a setback with grace?

1. Constant prayer (from the start to the end of the process) - I remember saying "Lord, if this is not what you want me to do, I'd accept it. But if this is for me, please grant me the strength to do well."

2. Self-confidence - I believed there would be other opportunities, and better ones. I just had to keep looking.

3. Being choosy - Still, I did not settle or apply for jobs I didn't see myself being into.

Now, I'm happy where the events led me to- thankful and not regretting my decisions.

It was indeed a happy birthday.