26 April 2012

FOODIE THOUGHTS: Dulcelin Gourmet's pride..the famous Mango Torte!

The first time I tried this Mango Torte, I nearly forgot my name! Kidding, of course. But truthfully, it was so good that it made a permanent mark on me. It left a mark on all of us who had a slice or two of this superb dessert.
This is the photo of the 1st slice of Mango Torte  that I had from Dulcelin Gourmet. Looks delish. right?
Just last night, me and my friend planned to go to Baclaran Church for a visit but opted to have dinner first before proceeding to our destination. We chose to eat at Glorietta's Food Choices. We had chicken for dinner. The last time I was there at the Food Choices, I saw Dulcelin's stand and I got ecstatic! I will not be having a hard time to have the Mango Torte, they're so close now. And so, after our dinner, we shared a cup of this sinfully yummy dessert.
1 CUP of MANGO TORTE for P80.00. Not bad!
 This is how we enjoyed our Mango Torte..
Snap a visual photo of this dessert in your mind. Well me, I just had to take a photo using my cp's camera. Ain't it pretty? Sweet mangoes sandwiched in between cream on top and sweet nougat-ty crust that has absorbed already the fresh mango taste. 
Take the first spoonfuls and relish the taste. So good! It was a bit too frozen but we did not mind that much. But yeah, a bit over-frozen. Getting a small chink of the crust was an extra challenge. But I guess that makes it more exciting. Haha!
Finally, breaking off the hard crust. Combine all 3 layers in one mouthful and its a burst of pure pleasure. It was served to us very cold so my gums experienced a quick jolt but subsided quickly (thank goodness!). 
The finality is so visible! Good for just one more bite. I took it. Haha! Life's sweet pleasures. =)
Overall take, I loved it! A wee bit frozen, I hope they change the temp of the freezer as we tasted the mango   like an ice pop, too cold. Good thing, we were looking forward to the eventual taste so we did not mind it that much. Sweet tooth satisfied! Mission accomplished! =)

Dulcelin Gourmet
www.dulcelin.com (for their branches)

25 April 2012

FOODIE THOUGHTS: Awesome Food = PenPen Restaurant in Cubao X

PenPen Restaurant is something that I have wanted to try out for so long already but did not. Just recently did, after a year or two of just thinking. Haha! Owned by actor Ping Medina, they were originally located in the Morato area, specifically Sct. Castor but eventually transferred to Cubao X (formerly Marikina Shoe Expo). Now Cubao X is truly an eclectic place! You can find shoes, Janylin to name a few, at bargain prices. There are also dress shops, bookstores, thrift shops, art galleries and Bellini's Restaurant (another one that is on my list of must-try restos). A nice place to hang out with friends when night falls, you will have a sense of peace amidst the chaos that is Araneta Center Cubao.

My friend and I went home a bit late one night due to work and was so famished but did not want to eat at the usual places we frequent. I suggested PenPen and we hurried over hoping that they were still open and indeed they were. Yey!

So here is what we had for dinner:
CRISPY LIEMPO (P195.00). A sure bestseller! In every blog that I read, it was always mentioned to try this dish out. Yep, bad for the heart but,well, we can indulge a bit sometimes. Hihihi! Anyway, going back to this crispy dish, I superliked it! Like what I've said, it was very crispy and the thin strips are just the perfect appetizer to tease your senses and start to indulge. It tastes like bacon to me and I liked that. A must try!
SMOKED CHEESE DYNAMITA (P140.00). A pleasant surprise to me, I was expecting some sort of spiciness but I found none. But that did not deter us from loving this because it's very good. The cheese-filled pepper is bursting with creamy goodness and the thin crispy wrapper just added to its texture. In short, I loved this as well. 
ADOBO FLAKES SILOG (P168.00). A breakfast meal late at night? Why not? If it looks good, eat it. Like this one. The adobo flakes were cooked just right and not over-the-top crispy like what other restos serve. Just right! We just shared the rice and all our viands are a rice-eaters dream, so we ended up ordering 1 extra plain rice. Its that good. Loved the garlic rice!  
ZOMBADINGS (I think?!?!) COCKTAILS (P99.00). For a big liquid container, this is a winner!  Now this is something meant to be enjoyed on a Friday night, for me that is. It's perfect for  hanging out with friends. It puts you in the mood to just enjoy the moment. Too bad, it was a weekday for us. But we enjoyed it.
Happy diners! Not much customers that night but we were happy to have that peace while enjoying the fare. 

Like what I've said..laid-back vibe.
The walls are adorned with similar wall art. 
Nice box they got there! Used to serve the bill. 
We enjoyed every morsel on our plate and this is definitely a place to recommend to our friends. A pretty laid-back place where you can just truly relax and enjoy good food.

PenPen Restaurant
Cubao X 15-A Gen. Romulo Ave. 
Araneta Center Quezon City, Metro Manila
(0916) 6002419

21 April 2012

FOODIE THOUGHTS: Happy eating at Nomnomnom Happy Food

Thanks to buying sites, consumers are the ultimate winners. Just choose wisely and do your research on the products that you are going to purchase before you let your fingers do the clicking.

We celebrated the 24th birthday of my brother and I said that I will treat the family to dinner. I bought 2 vouchers from Nomnomnom Happy Food from Metrodeal. One voucher was good for P250 only for P500 worth of food and drinks. I got 2 vouchers so that was a total of P1,000 worth of happy foods! Yey!

I read a lot of blogs about this restaurant and I have been wanting to try it but did not find the perfect opportunity until I saw the deal and realized that my brother's birthday was fast coming up as well. Now that's a perfect timing!

Here's what we had:
12PCS. FRIED RAVIOLI (P180.00). One of their bestsellers! I loved the combination of all the ingredients..the kangkong leaves, the cheesy goodness and mushrooms. Yes, it has shrooms in it. We shared 3pcs each. I find the price very reasonable for this dish. I really enjoyed it! To enjoy it best, eat it while its still hot!
MANGO-STRAWBERRY ICED TEA (P130.00). A different kind of iced tea for me, served with the tea bag intact and floating in the bottle. But refreshing, nonetheless. I liked the subtle taste and how the flavors of both fruits were infused with one another. A treat, that's what it was for me.
NOM QUESADILLA (P210.00). Another cheesy treat filled with mushrooms as well..shiitake and button mushrooms! The salsa on the side is the same with the other dishes but that's alright, it diverts the palate a little bit from the monotony of cheesy dishes. I'm not complaining though, just a teeny weeny bit. But mind you, this quesadilla is so good!
MALINOMNOM PIZZA LOG (P310.00). Their bestseller amongst their other pizza logs. Very Pinoy in taste, consisting of Tinapa Flakes, Kesong Puti, Red Egg and shallots. A big, or rather, a looong serving size. Thus, the name pizza LOGS. This pizza is soft in texture and the ingredients are put generously and each bite is very flavorful. I will try the other flavors next time. 
A much closer look. Pretty to look at yet yummy to chomp on.
WILD MUSHROOM PASTA (P230.00). The menu describes this dish as a pasta with an assortment of mushrooms served with Veloute. Veloute? Now that was a term that was definitely new to me. I looked it up and it means, per Merriam-Webster dictionary, of French origin, "a soup or sauce made of chicken, veal or fish stock and cream and thickened with butter and flour". Rich indeed. Its all mushrooms but it was oh-so flavorful. Definitely enjoyed it together with the other dishes. Rich and creamy and that's usually how I like it. Haha!
THE GOOD SISIG (P110.00) A healthy choice. The tofu was fried perfectly and the sauce was great. I just wished that I instead ordered the the Good Sisifg Platter for the same price and got much more tofu than the rice crater. When this arrived, we were up to our throats in food. So full! But the rice was great, if we weren't so full then. I know I can cook a dish like this at home, just got to experiment with sauces more. =)

Thanks for the nice dinner! =)
Our grand total, P1,170 but since my vouchers were priced at P500 good for P1,000 of food and drinks, I just added P250 more (tip included). Total cash I paid for, just P750. All those dishes for that price, winner!

Next time, I will choose dishes that has a variety of sauces. We noticed that almost all our orders were cheesy and creamy and it could get a bit too much. Not that we have anything to complain about the food, but maybe a dish with red sauce or anything else, could have enhanced the whole dining experience. Oh well, there is always a next time and I definitely see myself going back here in the near future.

If I may mention, the ambiance of Nomnomnom was very laid back. Relaxing conversations with family or friends or with a date is the perfect companion to their foods. The waiter/waitresses are very kind and accomodating. Dining here made us feel...happy! =)

Nomnomnom Happy Food
LG/F GYY Bldg. 1 Tomas Morato cor. 
E. Rodriguez Ave. Quezon City
(02) 502-2919

16 April 2012

FOODIE THOUGHTS: Moshi Moshi @ Katips Ave.QC

Thanks OpenRice, for the opportunity to try this Japanese fast food place at Katipunan, QC.

It was my first time to attend for OpenRice and I was excited. Good thing I found a table where I met new people that I felt comfortable with. It made the whole experience more fun.

Here is the rundown of the good food that was served to us: 
Milk Tea for my refreshment. Anything milk tea nowadays is up to par with me. Quite creamy but I took a liking to it.
TERIYAKI BENTO. I'm very partial to teriyaki and this one I liked. The Onion Rings was cooked just the way I liked it and the Pork Balls was yummy too!
Sauce-y. A perfect rice dish.
This I really love!

Yummy Pork Balls!
6-PC TAKOYAKI (P55.00). Though the filling is not that plenty, the sauce serving is extravagant and more than made up for the taste.
5-PC GYOZA (P95.00).Good-tasting.
MISO SOUP. I wished it was served at the very beginning, ahead of the showstopper, but well, better late than never, right? =)
KANI SALAD (P188.00). Such a big serving they got here! I just wished there were a bit more lettuce and crab stick strips and Jap mayo. But otherwise, it was good. Remember always to have your daily dose of veggies!
KIN BENTO (P320.00). A deluxe bento that has Kani Salad, Tempura, Takoyaki and Gyu (beef). So complete! An extravagant order, I don't know if this still would not fill up those bottomless tummies. =)

Thanks again, OpenRice, for this experience.
OpenRicers unite!
They're coming up with Create-Your-Own-Bento for P155 only. Try it next time you visit! Enjoy! =)

Moshi Moshi
2/F Regis Center 
327 Katipunan Ave. 
Brgy. Loyola Geights, Q.C.
Open from Mon to Sun 10:00am-11:00pm

15 April 2012

Visita Iglesia de Paa 2012: My 6th Year (yes!!)

My 6th year of traveling on foot only to visit these churches & parishes, imagine that! And a total of 15 for this year, I decided to add 2 more. =)

I thought this annual visita iglesia would not push through..Papa has church obligations and my brother has work at the hospital that day.  It would've have sucked big time if this did not happen as I'm trying not to miss it, but thank goodness, my friend Melvin agreed to accompany me. I told him what the itinerary is and we would be walking for 8-9hrs, under the scorching uber-intense heat of the sun, but he still said yes. That made me so happy. And excited.

We agreed to meet at Claret Church by 6am. But it was already 7am when we met, not a huge letdown, just a bit of a delay so no worries.

I had the time set up shown on my photos so I would know our time progress and length of the trip. Documented much. So here goes our very eventful day:

Address: 31 Madasalin St. Sikatuna Village, QC
It was still closed when I got there but I could see that they are getting ready for a procession. I wondered why I haven't included this place to my previous year. Maybe because we just chose to stick to the original itinerary of my dad.

Address: Mahinhin St. cor. Mayumi St. UP VIllage Diliman, QC
The church from my childhood. Where I was baptized and where, for 10 years of my childhood life, we attended mass

Address: Sct. Ybardolaza Kamuning QC
This parish was established on October 3, 1941. My reaction whenever I visit was that of coolness in terms of humidity. This parish is nestled in between big trees. It has a very peaceful ambiance despite being located in a main road where this is a part of passenger jeepneys route going to Cubao.
I noticed that this was a new structure. It was not here, I think, last year.
They have a grotto to do some praying and meditating.

1st stopover: Had some Royal Tru Orange at a store beside Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish
The Boy Scouts rotunda was practically deserted. A rare view.
Address: Sct. Rallos cor. Timog Ave. Brgy. Laging Handa, QC
Our sked was a bit delayed so this was the first time for me to see many people at this parish, mostly those who finished already the procession for the Stations of the Cross.
2nd stopover: Got to rehydrate! Had 1 bottle of Propel to wet my somehow parched throat. By the way, these are my Visita Iglesia de Paa essentials: fan, towelette, liquids, umbrella and a wide hat. Actually, one should bring less if they can because as walk the day away, the stuff that you bring weighs a ton after some time. But for me, I always risk it because these are what I consider my 'safety blankets'. =)

Address: Quezon Avenue, QC.
A very big church with ample parking space ready for anyone who wants to visit and pray.
This is one of the churches that many people frequent for their visita iglesia itinerary because of what it has: the century-old image of Our Lady of La Naval that was credited for having saved a city from invasion during the 1600s. Despite the buzz of people reciting the Stations of the Cross, on the other hand, TV staff and crew prep up for the broadcast of the Siete Palabras to be shown on GMA 7.
Stained glass artwork like these surround the church.
This is one of the few great churches in Quezon City.
You will see a lot of devotees of the Black Nazarene walking the length of Quezon Avenue and Espana, some of them barefoot and some of them bringing an image of the Black Nazarene. It sure is fascinating to see people from all walks of life doing their panata in their own ways. Filipinos are truly religious and show no qualms how to express it. Remarkable!

Usually, I feel already so tired upon reaching the gates of UST. Coming from Santo Domingo, it takes around 40mins of walking before reaching UST. And I tell you, it's not easy because the sidewalks of Espana are not even. Its not a straight walk, you have to go up and down on sidewalks so its a bit of a challenge. Good thing, UST grounds is a welcome respite, its visually appealing and gives a peaceful vibe.
Of course, I can never get tired of posing around when I see picture-worthy sceneries. =)

Me and my friend Melvin. First time I did the Visita Iglesia de Paa with a friend. For my first 4 years, it was with my dad and bro. 5th year was with my bro only. So this was a pleasant first.
Address: inside University of Santo Tomas grounds

Saw this huge yet cute bullfrog, I think. Some boys stepped on it, I thought they were going to kill it but fortunately, just to stop it from hopping so they could get a closer look. I was about to say something to them, to take pity on this living creature, until I realized and saw their playful intent.
3rd stopover: Mini-Stop near UST. I was slowly developing a migraine and I said to Melvin that I should stop for a break. I ordered water and their Tuna Kariman so I could take my Dolfenal. The airconditioning was working so fine that I did not want to leave. But of course, after 15mins, we had to go on.
Devotees flocking to Quaipo Church.This photo did not do justice to the number of people heading towards the church.
I took a stolen photo of this group and when they saw what I did, they good-naturedly posed and shouted to me to take their picture again. But I had to be cautious so I just said 'thank you' and went forward. No harm in being extra alert. This is Quiapo after all.
Address:  Plaza Miranda along Quezon Boulevard, Manila
The church's facade is very beautiful! Quiapo Church is the most jam-packed church from my entire list. Our target was to get here the earliest that we can but since we got delayed, we had to deal with the masses. Going down the underpass was quite a bit of a suffocating experience for me. The heat of the weather then add the heat coming from the bodies of the devotees who were resting there was too much for me. Too humid!

8th church: SANTA CRUZ CHURCH 
Address: Plaza Lacson Sta. Cruz, Manila
Per http://travel.aol.com, The first Santa Cruz Church (often abbreviated to Sta. Cruz Church) was erected in 1608 by the Society of Jesus, better known as Jesuits, as a parish church for the swelling ranks of Chinese immigrants to Manila, many of whom had converted to the Catholic faith. The original structure was twice damaged by earthquakes, and totally destroyed in World War II. The present building, completed in 1957, is essentially Baroque and somewhat reminiscent of the Spanish-built mission churches in southern California.

I really love this classic European-design fountain just in front of the church. I just wish people would stop throwing litter in the water. And for whoever is in-charge of this area, to keep it clean. It's a very nice photo-worthy tourist place, both the church and the fountain, let's not disappoint.
Before entering Chinatown, we saw this statue that looks very Singaporean and we just got to have our photo taken.
Finding a Chinese resto to have lunch was not easy. We were looking for, of course, Chinese and something that would fit our budget. It was not easy. Almost all places along Ongpin St. was packed. Good thing, Four Season Cuisine still had available tables so we grabbed it. Whew! I know it's bad, but I had 2 orders of Coke Sakto. So refreshing! The food that we got was great too, way better than my order last year.

Address: Plaza Lorenzo Ruiz, Manila
This church is one of the oldest places of Christian worship in the Philippines. It was said that earthquakes and natural disasters has badly damaged the original edifice, so today, the octagonal bell tower is all that remains of the 16th century construction.
I find the church very grand. The ceiling paintings are very beautiful. The effort put in was superb. This is definitely one of the churches that is a must-visit. Include it on your list!

Exit Chinatown, hello Jones Bridge!
Crossing Jones Bridge at this hour is a challenge. The heat was so..so intense! But the sight was still something to behold, with old architecture and structure everywhere.
Scorched friends!
Confirmed! Definitely Singaporean. I read the tab on the statue. This also looks like the statue that I had my picture taken with before we entered Chinatown.
Statue of Queen Isabel II in Intramuros.
Address: Gen. Luna St. Intramuros, Manila

Sadly, Manila Cathedral is closed for a year to give way to a much-needed renovation in their structures. For those 200+ couples who were set to wed in this church during its temporary closure, they are being assisted by the Wedding Task Force to find a new church to their liking. It is better this way than suffer the consequences later in the end. But despite being closed, people still flock here to do their Via Crucis outside the church. It was a real sacrifice because the sun was up in all its glory and you can feel it searing your skin.

I have not noticed before that the wood works on the doors of the cathedral is so beautiful. Glad to have seen it closely now.
My first time to try a yellow watermelon. The taste was between a melon and the red watermelon variety. Refreshing!
 11th church: SAN AGUSTIN CHURCH
Address:  Gen. Luna St. cor. Real St. Intramuros, Manila
This UNESCO World Heritage Site Baroque church is the oldest stone church in the Philippines that was built in 1589. So many stories this church has witnessed for more than 300years. If only the walls could talk.
I recited 1 station of the Cross here.
2 influences?

My first time! I was so excited to be here. Entrance fee is P5 only.

The now empty niches where the olden city's elite people interred the remains of their loved ones.
Even though it is, or was, a cemetery, this place has a very relaxing vibe. The breeze was cool and one can just sit around and feel relaxed and at peace with one's self. But I don't know if that is still the vibe during nighttime. Haha!
This was where Dr. Jose Rizal was interred after his execution at Bagumbayan (now called Luneta or Rizal Park)
Address: Paco,Manila
Sadly, the chapel was closed. Luckily the park was not. The chapel is managed by the same group who cares for  Adamson University.
Definitely! More fun in the Philippines. =)
 13th church: ERMITA CHURCH
Address:  M.H.del Pilar St. cor. A. Flores St.Ermita, Manila
Per www.lonelyplanet.com, a modern construction that replaced the original hermitage destroyed during WWII, is home to the widely venerated Nuestra SeƱora de Guia (Our Lady of Guidance). Legend has it that this richly robed image of the Virgin Mary was found by Legazpi on 19 May 1571, the day the Spanish forces took over Manila.

Address: M.H. del Pilar St. Malate, Manila

Filled to the brim during the Siete Palabras

A beautiful Baroque-style church

15th church: BACLARAN CHURCH
Address: Redemptorist Road Baclaran, Paranaque
Yes! Done. Whatta feeling!
Though for this last leg, Malate Church to Baclaran Church, we rode a jeepney. My headache was very persistent even after 1 dose each of Biogesic and Dolfenal. I did not push it because the consequences might be much harder.
We finished at 5:00pm.

For a short backgrounder, my papa did this for more than 20yrs already if I'm not mistaken, and it was high time that we joined him as he is not getting any younger and the streets, and the heat, could do unpredictable things to a man who walks alone. Thus, the start of our own panata.

This is something that I truly look forward to every year. A truly satisfying spiritual and physical experience. I will do this as long as I can. God willing. =)

Special thanks to my friend,Melvin, for joining me. Hope you enjoyed the sights, the exercise and spiritually enhanced your faith.
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