Celebrated my birthday at the beach with G and his family - just a peaceful and relaxed weekend, with lots of seafood and fresh fruit to enjoy!
Happy Easter everyone!
I was finally able to take G to Project Pie! We decided to share one personal sized pizza between us - I think it’s pretty obvious that G had the meatier side while I had the non-meat side. ;)
G’s half was the #2 (Pepperoni, Italian Sausage, Crumbled Meatballs, Mozzarella, Signature Red Sauce, Garlic) + 2 extra servings of anchovies + extra mozzarella, while I had the #4 (Sliced Tomatoes, Fresh Chopped Basil, Mozzarella, Parmesan, Garlic) + extra mozzarella + fresh mushrooms + pesto.
I enjoyed my personalized pizza more this time around (I think the extra mozzarella made a big difference)!
Coffee and eclairs (chocolate for G and hazelnut for me) at Le Petit Cheri. I liked my cappuccino and the chocolate chip cookie which I dipped in the coffee, but I felt like the eclairs have been on display for a while because the pastry didn’t have that delicate crust and light and soft bite. Still, I was okay with my hazelnut eclair because the sweetness of the hazelnut custard went well with the bitterness of my cappuccino.
Loved the interiors of the place though! Someday, I will have a lot of frames with beautiful photos hung at our house too.
This weekend, G and I decided to explore the Alabang area and try Yushoken which some of our friends have been raving about. Apparently, the place is well known for tsukemen or “dipping ramen” which was invented by Kazuo Yamagishi (that little blue statue you see on the shelf is a replica of the renowned chef).
As a side dish, G ordered some Karaage - Yushoken’s version is chicken that has been marinated, lightly breaded and fried. We both liked this version more than other Japanese restaurants, which had very heavily breaded karaage. The chicken was soft and juicy, and we could adjust the taste with a wedge of lemon, a bit of salt and Japanese mayo as we pleased.
For the tsukemen, G ordered the Tonkotsu Tsukemen. The soup had a very porky taste, so this is perfect for pork lovers.
I ordered the Gyokai Tsukemen, which had a smoky seafood flavor mixed with the pork broth.
Each of us had a plate of cold noodles for dipping. It may not be obvious in this photo but this was way too much for me - I was only able to finish half of my noodles.
The noodles were perfect for dipping in the thick, extremely flavorful soups. Having tried tsukemen for the first time, I definitely found the broth more salty than that of the traditional ramen with the noodles already mixed in. But if you’re more of a noodle person than a soup person (I tend to go from one end to another), then tsukemen may be just the thing for you!
I didn’t really drink much coffee until last year, and while G and I still do not have a coffee maker at home, we now have a small filter which I bought from Vietnam. This morning (hurray for a holiday!), I finally had the chance to make some coffee for G and me.
Remembering how strong coffee tasted when I was in Hanoi, I prepared 2 tablespoonfuls of sweet condensed milk per cup vs. 4 teaspoonfuls of Vietnamese coffee. Needless to say, the coffee turned out more on the sweet and creamy side, with undertones of the strong coffee. Next time, I will be using 1 tablespoonful of condensed milk first and will not dilute the filtered coffee with too much water.
Healthy Shabu Shabu (Part 2)
After my first visit to Healthy Shabu Shabu with my colleagues, I knew I had to bring my family here the next time around. So last Sunday, we had an extremely hearty meal (to the point that I don’t think it was really healthy anymore) and ordered the Mixed Seafood Set and Beef Tenderloin Set. While the menu indicated that each set is good for 4 people, what we ordered was way more than enough for 8 people. Unless, that is, we are talking about 8 people who can really eat up a storm!
G and I had a very late brunch/lunch at IHOP today. They had these summer coolers given the scorching heat here in Manila the past few weeks - we went for the Mixed Berry Parfait which had scoops of creamy chocolate ice cream, large and juicy strawberries and blueberries in syrup, chewy cinnamon oatmeal balls, and yogurt. Delicious!
Can I just say, the summer here in Manila has become unbearably hot! I was planning to finally bake something while waiting for G to come home, but I ended up making a lemonade cooler. The last time I made lemonade was 3 years ago on a warm summer 4th of July using only lemons, ice and sugar, so this time I’m adding a couple of ingredients like cucumber slices, mint (though I was able to find only Vietnamese mint at the supermarket), honey, and a bit of limoncello.
You may want to change the proportions to your liking, but I used 6 fresh lemons (1 cup juice), half a small cucumber, 4 tablespoons of honey, 7 sprigs of mint leaves, 3 cups of cold water.
Combine all ingredients and refrigerate for a couple of hours. I served each glass with a slice of cucumber, a tablespoon of limoncello, ice cubes, and a tablespoon more of honey as the taste of lemons was quite overpowering.
Next time, I will be refrigerating this cooler a little longer (possibly overnight) to let the lemonade absorb all of the other flavors. Hopefully, I find actual mint leaves next time as well. Otherwise, the cooler we had was refreshing and cleansing, perfect for a hot and sticky humid day!
I know I’m way behind but I only got to try Project Pie’s pizzas today when I had an impromptu lunch with my mom and sister. We were quite hungry by the time we ordered so we went for their pre-set combinations - the Number 4 (sliced tomatoes, fresh chopped basil, mozzarella, parmesan, garlic), the Number 6 (grilled chicken, sliced red onion, cilantro, mozzarella, gorgonzola, BBQ sauce), and the Banana Nutella.
While taste-wise the pizzas tasted delicious and the crusts were warm and fresh from the oven, I thought they could have used more of the toppings. Especially the Banana Nutella where it would be nicer to have more slices of banana, plus, possibly, a large creamy scoop of vanilla ice cream!
I treated my family to lunch at 8 Cuts this weekend because I was curious to try their burgers. Apparently, this is owned by the same owners of BurgerBar (which I’ve written a review on last year). The look and feel of the place is almost the same, except 8 Cuts is more casual - you give your order at the counter and help yourself to the utensils, ketchup and mustard you need.
Basically, this chain is called 8 Cuts because of the 8 cuts of beef used - “chuck, rib eye, short rib, sirloin, brisket, hanger, flank and ox tail” used to make their burger patties.
Because we were so famished, we shared a serving of Loaded Tex-Mex Ground Beef Nachos which, true to its name, was loaded with cheese, peppers, sour cream, beans, and of course, ground beef!
Now, for the burgers. You get to choose out of 5 beef blends for your burger patty - House Blend (Short Rib + Rib Eye), Beef Bomb (Chuck + Short Rib), Steak Cut (Sirloin + Chuck), Big Game (Hanger + Brisket), and Ox Blend (Rib Eye + Flank + Ox Tail). All of us except G went for the House Blend, while G went for the Big Game.
My mom and sister each had the Rising Shroom (mushroom tempura, white truffle creamed cheese).
My other sister had the Four Cheese (parmesan, yellow cheddar, gruyere, mozarella).
G had the Hangover (fried egg, cheddar, prosciutto and aioli)
My brother had the Q-Daddy (onion tanglers, bacon, cheddar, spicy jalapeno ranch).
And I had The Boss Burger which is perfect for those who cannot make up their mind or who want to customize their own burger! While this comes with lettuce, tomatoes, onions and pickles, I’ve had them remove the raw onions and pickles (which I really don’t like) and replace them with yellow cheddar and caramelized onions.
The burgers were quite juicy and the flavors were unique. I liked the customization part a lot too, so will be definitely going back here again!
Shitamachi Japanese Chashu House
I apologize in advance as I am just too tired today to write a full review on this place, but I’ll let the photos do the talking. Basically, Shitamachi focuses on Chashu in a lot of its dishes like grilled chashu, breaded chashu (tonkatsu), and chashu on ramen. They do have other usual Japanese fare like gyoza, kani salad, and chicken teriyaki. The food was okay and prices are not as expensive as many other specialty Japanese restaurants. Oh, and they serve unlimited hot tea too, which was a plus for me.
Obviously still hungover from my Vietnam trip so I dragged my family to have dessert at Wildflour so I could order Vietnamese latte (yes, with condensed milk!) along with dessert. We shared a Salted Valrhona Chocolate Cake, Crème brûlée and Apple Pie with our coffee.
Admittedly, I did not know much about Vietnam until I went to its capital city, Hanoi for work for a couple of days. Now I know a bit about Vietnam, but I’m sure there is so much more to know about this country.
What I liked most about Vietnamese cuisine is that the flavors are light and the Vietnamese tend to use a lot of fresh ingredients and herbs like lemongrass, coriander, and spring onion. Of course, like other Asian countries they are generous with sauces and seasonings like soy sauce, peanut sauce and chili sauce for more flavor.
Vietnam was also under French rule for decades and of course this influenced their cuisine too. This is a photo of Green Tangerine, a lovely Vietnamese-French restaurant my colleagues and I had dinner at during our stay.
Did you know that Vietnam is the second largest exporter of coffee in the world after Brazil? While buying some freshly ground coffee for our family and friends back home, the store owner made us some cups of coffee, served with sweet condensed milk. The store owner chuckled when she saw my face upon taking a sip - it was still so strong even with the condensed milk!
Hanoi’s Old Quarter is a shopping haven for locals and tourists alike, and our tour guide mentioned that its streets are named after the item sold in the area - if you go to Silk Street you will find a line of shops selling silk products, and if you go to Coffee Street you will find a line of shops selling coffee products. My tip is to visit a couple of shops before you make a purchase. I made the mistake of buying some coffee at one shop which was more pricey than another shop a couple of meters away! Luckily, I ended up doing most of my coffee shopping at the cheaper store!
A woman wearing a nón lá (leaf hat) while gardening.
School girls wearing áo dài (silk tunic and pants) on their graduation day. Their clothes are so pretty!
I thought that the Philippines had a lot of people on motorcycles, but there are so many more people in Hanoi using motorcycles. According to our tour guide, almost half of the people in Hanoi own a motorcycle - considering that the population of Hanoi alone is 8 million people, that’s almost 4 million people riding motorcycles on the streets every day! And yes, the roads there are so much crazier than what we have in Manila (and that means something!!!)
Overall, I did have an interesting stay in Hanoi and hopefully I get to visit more of Vietnam (maybe Ho Chi Minh which is the largest city in Vietnam) in the future!
Enjoying a nice warm bowl of pho in no better place but Vietnam. Stay tuned for more photos of my adventures here in Hanoi!
Nothing like starting your weekend with warm taho (soft silken tofu, sugar syrup and sago pearls) in a fancy glass.
Happy weekend everyone!