Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Beautiful Breakfast

So my backlog is really, really, REALLY long but I just had the most fabulous breakfast today and I can't resist sharing it! I think this is the first updated post I've posted (redundant much?) in a long, long, long time! 

Last night, I was reading my sister's copy of The Mysterious Benedict Society* and flipping through Jamie Oliver's Jamie's Dinners. I chanced upon his recipe for FRENCH TOAST, and decided to make it for breakfast!

Crusty, thick bread, buttered on both sides

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My ISCAHM Culinary Experience in 10 Dishes

At first, I was determined to make a blog post for each and every class that I had, but the thing is, I was quite busy, and I've only been able to write ONE. Now, I seriously doubt catching up on all the missed posts would be meaningful. So I've decided to sum up my culinary experience in 10 dishes! Note that they're in no particular order since it's already hard enough to just pick 10, and it would be even harder to rank them 1 through 10.

1. Salmon Tartare with Honey Dill Mustard Dressing
This dish just might be the most refreshing salmon dish you would ever have. It's composed of 3 types of salmon- Smoked Salmon, Gravlax*, and Fresh Salmon. The crunchy bits of celery yield refreshing intervals in between the spoonfuls of salmon. And everything is held together by yogurt which is way better and healthier than mayonnaise.** This is Chef Gerd Menger's recipe, apparently he created this dish when he was the executive chef for a cruise ship. Three cheers for this dish, it's wonderful.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

ISCAHM Culinary Classes

During my lengthy trip to the Philippines, I actually went to the International School for Culinary Arts and Hotel Management (ISCAHM) for the Culinary Fundamentals course which lasted 12 weeks! It was something I'd look forward to every Saturday morning. Afterwards Daryl and I would often go out to eat, watch a movie, or shop!

Of course there were brilliant chefs to teach us. Each had their own style and we found them quite interesting, better yet, entertaining.


Canadian Chef Sean McSavaney
I've never met a person who loves butter more than Chef Sean. He's claims that sauces consists of 70% butter. Yes, 70%! It's no joke. He's heck funny and often likes to crack jokes.

Swiss Chef Ulrich Williamann
He might be the oldest chef among the 4. He's very much reserved and he likes to prim his mushrooms.

Lunch, HK-style

Confession 1: I used to want to be a housewife. YES, REALLY. That was once my greatest dream in life.*

Confession 2: I forgot to take a photo of the name of the restaurant where we ate. Thus the title's slightly ambiguous nature, conveniently related-sounding to another post (entitled Breakfast, HK-style). 

Confession 3: It was quite a good meal, so I am rather sad I can't refer you guys to it. If it were a crappy meal, maybe I'd feel a bit better about neglecting to photograph the name of the establishment! However, we shall find comfort in the fact that it really was a TYPICAL HK lunch so I think it gives one a pretty good idea of what to expect when dining in HK during afternoons.. :)

Pretty interiors!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Cliff Diving in Santorini, Greece

We've obviously amped up the blog lately, and everything is playing out flawlessly. This is the FIRST post for the FUTURE ADVENTURES section! Pretty damn exciting! Cause of the happenings here and there these days, I've decided that I want to live life to the fullest.  Life's too short, and I just have to grab every opportunity and challenge! That doesn't mean doing stupid things though!

I want the sky to look all blue like this when I cliff dive.
One of the things on my list is cliff diving! It's an adrenaline junkie idea that's really out there! It's just one of the many crazy things I intend to do! So definitely watch out for the even crazier posts to come!


Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Famous Lugang Cafe, Greenhills

I've been itching to post since I woke up, and no, I'm not exaggerating. My internet has been down since I came home from church and it's been such a pain. I haven't been able to do schoolwork that much either cause it's crucial for me to utilize the internet for facebook ideas and stuff like that. Now that it's back (7 hours later)- this is the first thing I'm doing!

I think the lights are gorgeous!
Well Lugang Cafe has everyone talking. Some say they're popular for their dumplings, Xiao Long Bao in particular, and others say the desserts give people a run for their money. I'm here to tell you that it's frankly a bit of both.

Even at 10pm, you've got to admit, the place was pretty packed!
I love the interior which radiates a posh and modern atmosphere although it might not be suitable for those lengthy lunches and conversations (it's heaps echoey and noisy cause of the high ceiling!). Other than that, I find the place quite refreshing from the typical Chinese/East Asia restaurant atmosphere. The waitstaff are very efficient, they had recommendations here and there too. 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Ocean Empire, HK. MUST-TRY!

Here's the one place you really CANNOT miss when you're in Hong Kong. 


OCEAN EMPIRE (that's what those Chinese characters there say. This I know because I am very fluent in the language. Not)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Dulcinea Churros Con Chocolate

You know you're tired when..

You fell asleep in the bus on the way to school.

You had to concentrate extra hard to listen to the lecturer who can't even pronounce feature and future properly.

You made up the best excuse to go home early. I'm going to the library. 

You fell asleep again in the bus on the way home.

Your usual bed time is never before 12mn and you plan of collapsing in bed around 9pm.

And you spill water all over your keyboard (thank God it didn't die) at 8:30pm.

It's been a hell of a week and basically, what I wrote above was precisely what happened today. I guess late nights are taking their toll. I intend to have a fantastic night's rest and head straight to the gym tomorrow right before lunch. SOUNDS GOOD, right?

The only thing that could make me feel better would be a brownie with a glass of skim milk or a plate of churros with hot chocolate. Sadly, both aren't in my reach right now. I couldn't say I didn't try, I went brownie hunting in the city, and I didn't get to buy any since I wouldn't settle for cheap nasty stuff.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Crystal Jade, HK

I'm almost FREE. The freedom is SO CLOSE I can practically taste it. :D I'm so LOOKING FORWARD to days of sleeping in, lazy swimming, rearranging my closet, watching movie marathons... Bliss!

So anyway (with no carefully crafted, intelligent-sounding, proper transitional thoughts/sentences, because my brain is slightly fried from all the studying I've been doing + the psychotic, blinding, irrepressible Manila heat) I will now talk about what I'm supposed to. Crystal Jade in Hong Kong! If you haven't gone to Crystal Jade here (in Manila, I mean), you better go! It's an experience like no other. And I'm quite happy to say that the xiao long pao here is as good as the ones in HK! :D But there are quite a few entrees that are available in HK but aren't available in Manila..

Here we go!

I can attest to the validity of this "award."

My Steak Sandwich

So, I'm writing a list of things that I have to do before Friday. It's a heck of a long list, but hey, whatever, I love making lists. It's my thing, you know? I can make lists probably out of anything, I'm not kidding, mind you. I even make lists on my iPod when I'm on the bus. It sounds a little far fetched- the way I'm obsessive compulsive when it comes to these sorts of things! I even have a particular notepad for it. And a notebook for each and every other thing.* One of the things on my list at the moment involves drawing spaceships and space stations.** SIGH.

But there are days that I don't need to make lists, you know? It's free flowing cause I'll only have one or two items on my plate. It's not fiddly or hurried, it's relaxed. It's fun to have those sort of slow days every now and again- which brings me to My Steak Sandwich. 

I came up with My Steak Sandwich on a slow day. I went downstairs to make lunch, I was planning to have a plain salmon sandwich. But then I saw last night's leftover steak sitting on the counter. I could only swear that it was calling my name. Really. So with a little bit of thinking, I came up with My Steak Sandwich.

HK Disneyland


So have you missed me? :) 

I've just been REALLY busy lately! But here I am now, to ENTERTAIN! :D

My backlog's really, really, really LONG. I know I ought to be more responsible... But the most I can promise is that I'll be as entertaining as ever. Hahaha. 

Welcome to the Maxim's inside HK Disneyland!*

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Adriano Zumbo Experience!

He's the cover of Time Out this month!
Three cheers for Adriano Zumbo cause he's a genius. Heck they should give him an award for reinventing desserts. He could full like take over the world- Yes, his desserts are that awesome.

Macaron Tower.
Beetroot & Olive Macarons, specifically!

V8 Layered Cake.
8 Layered White Chocolate Cake!
I first heard about Zumbo from my friend, Min who wanted to be a pastry chef. And the next time was when I was watching Australia's Masterchef.* He made a macaron tower which was composed of beetroot & olive macarons- it totally amazed me. Following that, there was the perfectly crafted V8 Cake. Those two things alone got me hooked onto Mister Zumbo.

It's a hole in the wall, I'm not joking.

And it brings heaps of people in.

Mini Cakes Selection

Trays and trays of macarons, of course!
Finally the Adriano Zumbo Patissier has opened a more convenient and accessible location- Manly. I've been dying to visit the patissier, and obviously jumped at the chance! There wasn't really a whole lot of questioning about what I was going to get, cause macarons are a must since he fully like revived the whole shibang. On top of that, I wanted to get each and every one of those small cakes cause they were equally intricately constructed and all of them looked darn tasty! But there was no way I could- 2 reasons why. First, I'll get fatter- a lot fatter! Second, it will cost a fortune! These sweet treats don't play games, they're serious with your account.

The Chocolate Duo That Makes Me Swoon


It's incomparable, it's probably like my drug, my ecstasy- it's MY thing. I find each and every reason to have it. I'm picky picky though, I favor dark chocolate over anything else.

Which leads me to my two favorite chocolate picks- The Magnum Temptation Chocolate and Green & Black's 70% Organic Chocolate. They might not be the routine things that you'd buy in the grocery since it will probably break your bank.

Drumroll please!

It's like a block of holy gold!

See the thick coating?
See the oozing ganache?
The Magnum Temptation Chocolate Bar is nothing BUT HAPPINESS. It's the best popsicle out there. Trust me with this, I may eat ice cream every now and then but I do know a good one. The packaging completely sells the product already, it has a very luxurious vibe- WIN. There's an extremely thick chocolate coating that envelopes the whole bar. Small chunks of Belgian white chocolate are constantly present perfectly distributed throughout the popsicle. The brownies are the same story as well. Finally, there's a syrupy chocolate ganache that constantly oozes from within. It's heavenly.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Merry Little Simple Lunch

It's always the question.
Hocus Pocus, Focus! If only it was easier said than done. I find my thoughts drifting far far away these days. That's why I haven't been actively posting. It's too hard to find the concentration. If you knew what was going on, you'd undoubtedly understand. I'm losing my balance and I'm so eager to get it back.

So far, I've been eating mindlessly but thank God I haven't gained a pound, in fact, I've lost two or three. I've messed up a project or two. I've cried one, twice, or thrice. I haven't cleaned my room.* I haven't folded my clothes from the laundry. I cram all my assignments up until the last minute. I listen to techno music.**

Fingers crossed things will get better, and I'll get back to my rhythm. Enough about me, and more about food- there's absolutely no better way to distract myself.

See the wholegrain mustard peeping out?
Since I've discovered wholegrain mustard,
I've never looked back. 
Agenda: Lunch.
Solution: Vietnamese bun with chicken breast, lettuce, wholegrain mustard, and vintage cheddar cheese.
Highlight: Toasted crunchy hot bun & papaya.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Stewed Peaches with Cinnamon & Toasted Macadamias on Oatmeal

Fact: I like Oh Mercy!

Fact: I love breakfast!

Fact: You know it's going to be a great day when you're listening to Oh Mercy and having breakfast.

Fact: I have oatmeal around 4 times a week for breakfast.*


Proof: Stewed Peaches with Cinnamon & Toasted Macadamias on Oatmeal.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

BenBry Burgers, Manly

Perfect Backdrop for the Perfect Lunch.
They have markets on the weekends!:)
Hey hey, it's SATURDAY. What better way would there be to start the weekend other than hanging around the beach with a burger and a bottle of ginger beer? My favorite beach, my juicy burger, crisp chips, and the ultimate spiced ginger beer. And Adriano Zumbo after. Bliss.

The weather is pleasant today, nah, actually more than pleasant, PERFECT! I think I talk about weather too much these days. That's the problem when you live in a place with four seasons! So it was really sunny today (yay shorts, flip flops, and sunnies!), fair enough, there was a breeze to go with it as well.

The plan was to have lunch at Chat Thai but unfortunately, we couldn't find it so we settled with BenBry Burgers.* There's a full range of stuff on the menu, they have a lot varied patties as well. There was beef, chicken, lamb, felafel, and tofu. Talk about choices. Everything looked enticing which made picking close to impossible.

Dad got the BenBry Burger with Cheddar cheese. He was playing it too plain and simple- boring! The burgers on the menu were all so inspired each having a similarity to one another and yet they're very different, like worlds apart different. I wanted to a nice beefy one too but beef makes me FAT, so I went for lamb which wasn't really a compromise!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Meet Fresh Taiwanese Dessert House, Chinatown

Hi, hello, there has been a ton on my mind lately- cycling, the Beatles, cardboard models, Ferran Adria, bathrooms, running, and the infamous new iPad. It's quite the range of stuff, yeah? I'm listening to Beatles right now, and I think they're fabulous! I say that in the most non-gay way! With regard to the bathroom, we're designing one, fixtures and the works!:)

Isn't that a hilarious name?
You'd prolly think it's a supermarket or something else in that category!
I've been out so much lately which obviously leads to eating out and other stuff. So after a crazy indulgent and filling lunch at Happy Chef, you'd think that there's not going to be any more food calories! Why don't you guess again? Late last year, there was this lucrative dessert store that has the longest lines. Seriously, it was crazy and there were times that it would go around the block. And since the fad has faded (a tad), it was time to check it out!*

You see, the staff is talented, she makes the desserts too,
on top of that, she cleans the tables!
Talk about Asians being stingy with employment.
For me, it's a bit reminiscent of the dessert shacks in Hong Kong.** This one happens to be Taiwanese, it's also a cleaner and more refined version. Well, not that I'm trying to be all racist, but there weren't a lot of white people in view cause I reckon it was a bit intimidating. I'm Chinese and even I it's intimidating, what more for the whites? It all starts with the menu, they basically have the same core thing (taro balls, herbal jelly, crushed ice, tofu pudding, whipped cream tea) with the slightest variations aka the toppings. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Cafe by the Ruins, Baguio, AGAIN :)

My mom and I went to Baguio last weekend to attend a close family friend's engagement. We also had to fulfill some very important business: eat at Cafe by the Ruins!!!

Since I only had my sad Cybershot camera with me the last time I was at Cafe by the Ruins, this time, I fully took advantage of my new s95. Which is like, only the BEST, most value-for-money camera the world has ever seen. Ever. It's portable, light, easy to use (virtually idiot-proof), takes great photos, and has a long camera life. I am in love with it.

Enjoy the photos! :)

So this is the entrance....

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Berting's Grill, The Ultimate Pulutan Place

I like fried food. It's so crunchy, greasy, and satisfying. Which brings me to Pulutan, which is also known as pub grub in the Philippines. Initially, these fried treats are heavenly, but after one drink too many, I wouldn't be too cheery about it.

You know the Philippines, where bars/pubs are everywhere and the drinks are cheap as chips.* And of course, with the drinks come pulutan. There are some phenomenal hole in the wall places for these, case and point, Berting's Grill.

My mom claims that she's found a fantastic restaurant at the Ortigas Home Depot Complex.** They have really good homy food at dirt cheap prices. Little did I know it was one of those restaurant come bar places.  But of course, I didn't mind the slightest bit cause that just means that there's going to be damn good fried food.

Just so you know
I told you they have quirky names.
On the menu they have the most quirky kitsch names, but hey, that doesn't really matter when the food is promising.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Hero Teppanyaki, Chatswood, Australia

Instead of properly drawing
I start doodling
How appropriate
BTW, World's Greatest Shave in the background.
 I've been thinking.
It pays to be WILD cause you'll only live once!
I should be drawing up some perspective sketches and making some painstaking models right now, but instead I'm writing a post. Not because I'm compelled to, but I think it's a rather pleasant outlet for me to unwind and destress. And if I do have time after all of this, I will catch up on all my culinary readings.

We celebrated my auntie's birthday last week, she treated us out for Japanese Food. My cousin got excited at the prospect of teppanyaki.* Apparently, this one in Chatswood is quite popular so we tried it out!

Teppan Fried Udon with Prawns and Hokkaido Squid
YAY for Bonito Flakes!
This dish I found quite bland, there was no layering of flavors or anything of that sort. The seafood that came with it was pristine and fresh. Finally, the main star of the show, the udon was perfectly, perfectly cooked. It had a nice bite to it.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Breakfast, HK-style

My little sister* says that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And she is certainly the sort to walk the talk-- especially when it comes to breakfast. She never, ever, ever misses breakfast. And neither do I.

In HK, we usually stick to one particular sort of breakfast: the sort you can get only in HK! We always hit Ocean Empire at least once, and try other places for the rest of the stay. One place we tried was this:

Sorry, but I read write no Chineesey!** I don't know how to say that, so I can't give you some mangled pronunciation via my sad version of fake Pinyin. SORRY. Let's just pretend it's called Know Happy Restaurant. Because I know that the first word is part of two words that make up "know", and that the fourth word is also part of a pair of words that mean "happy." OH GEEZ. My Chinese is really pathetic. Anyway, here are the prerequisites for an HK brekkie:

Ho Hung Kee, Hong Kong

So I've been TRYING and TRYING to upload photos of and write a blog about a meal we had at this restaurant called Power Long in Xiamen. The food wasn't great and it was no epic gustatory experience, so I wasn't exactly itching to do it. The good thing is that it seems as if the invisible fairy godmother of 3748miles did not want a blog written about such a dull thing, and so the system kept lagging. Therefore, I've decided to skip it entirely and leave the photos in the bowels of my Mac, never to be published... Hahaha.


Our first stop in HK (yay, HK!!!!) was dinner at Ho Hung Kee.

It's recommended in the 2011 Michelin Guide. Hong Kong food really is the best-- you can get great chow for almost any budget.

Are you ready for the Ho Hung Kee experience?

Friday, March 4, 2011

Myron's Place, Greenbelt 5

This is what I thought of today.

The weather was terrific today. Nothing brings my spirits up like a nice sunny yet breezy day. 

1. I get to wear shorts and sunnies.
2. All the more reason to wear flip flops.
3. No cold sores or windburn. 
4. I don't eat every 10 minutes.*

Honey Rye Bread & Butter

The weather was also great when we dined at Myron's Place. When we were in highschool, we'd always go dine at Myron's at Rockwell.** What did we used to have? Hmm. I remember we had a Seared Tuna Dish with Pasta once. And there's nothing I could remember more than the roasted bulbs of garlic that we would always smother on the bread.

Being overly hungry, we ordered a feast.*** Daryl with her oysters and steak, there's nothing new. These are the things she always craves. Whenever we're out to eat, the first thing that comes out of her mouth is- I WANT STEAK.

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