Thursday, January 29, 2009

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

SC, Nescafe or PAL?

Forwarded:
Once upon a time in China, there lived a happy couple,
Mr. & Mrs.Chan with their 3 lovely daughters: Elaine, Ena & Ella.

The 3 daughters were brought up in a prim-and-proper way
and when they reached 20, they were still virgins.

Years passed, and it was time to get them married.
So, the parents found them the most suitable 'leng chais'
(handsome guys). They got married and were preparing
to set-off on their honeymoon.

As 'concerned' parents, Mr.& Mrs. Chan were curious
about their daughters' first-night experience.

So, before the daughters went on their respective
honeymoons, Mrs. Chan told them,
'Your father & I want to know about your 1st night
encounters and whether you are satisfied. Write a letter
to us, but so as not to raise your husbands' curiosity...
you all must use a code to describe your experiences. '

So, the excited daughters were off. A week passed.
Mr. & Mrs. Chan got the first letter. It was from Elaine.

They opened the letter and found the word STANDARD CHARTERED.

They immediately took the newspaper and looked for the
Standard Chartered advertisement. 'Ah! Here it is!!!!' ..
exclaimed Mr. Chan. The motto for Standard Chartered was:
'BIG, STRONG & FRIENDLY.'
Mr. & Mrs. Chan were happy.

A week later, they got another letter. This time it was from Ena.
The content was simple.
'NESCAFE'. So again they took the newspaper and
looked for the Nescafe ad. 'Ah! here it is.....

'NESCAFE: PLEASURE TILL THE LAST DROP.'
Mr. and Mrs. Chan jumped for joy.

Another week passed. A month passed. 2 months passed.
There was still no letter from Ella. The Chans became worried.

Finally, the letter came. It was scribbled and could hardly
be read, but Mrs. Chan managed to figure it out.
The code was 'PHILIPPINE AIRLINES'.

Mr.Chan, confused on why she chose Philippine Airlines,
rushed to the nearest store and got a newspaper.
He flipped the pages frantically. ....... 'Ah! Here it is!!!'
Mrs.Chan grabbed the page and read aloud.

Before she could finish...THUMP! !!...she fell off her chair...

The Airline's motto was...
'7 TIMES A WEEK. 4 TO 6 TIMES A DAY. NON-STOP....

Akin McDo, lol.




Cookbook Kitchen

While enjoying the food at Cookbook Kitchen, I told Mon that it would be nice if we could both write the food review for my blog.

So here are our reviews:

Mon:
I read somewhere that a good way to spice up a relationship is for the couple to dine at an unusually-situated eating place, away from those in malls and established gimik complexes. Since J and I have already tried almost all the restos we fancy in Greenbelt, Shangri-La Mall and the Atrium in Megamall, I was pumped up to find our next dining destination soon.

It was a good thing that in the office last Thursday, my friend Owen was raving about this restaurant in Mandaluyong that he and his new boyfriend went to that afternoon. He said it’s called Cookbook Kitchen (CBK) and that was the start of his series of praises for the place and its food. He gave me CBK’s Multiply address (www.cookbookkitchen.multiply.com), which I visited at once.

The website will give you a good glimpse of its menu, complete with photos of its dishes which enticed me in no time. Since I’d be on leave from work the next day and J will be in the Mandaluyong area that Friday night, I called him and asked if he’d like to give CBK a try. True to his Libra element, it took J until lunchtime the next day to finally say yes to a dinner reservation for two at CBK (:-P —Jason).

Pork Steak w/ Honey Mustard Sauce. P240
So I called CBK and asked the staff to have our table ready by half past eight. I even inquired about the availability of my pre-meditated choices: Squash Soup, CBK Chicken, Pesto di Basilico, and Parmesan Crusted White Fish (the house specialty, for the two of us to share). Everything was available except for the Pesto di Basilico. The person I spoke with said that the restaurant recently updated its menu and that meant the removal of this pasta dish off its roster. I was a bit disappointed because I’m a big pesto fan and I love almost anything with it. I even joined a Pesto fan page in Facebook (for fellow pesto fanatics, just type “pesto” in the search box in Facebook, hit enter and you’re there presto!).

Fast forward to dinner time. Pasta al pesto not being available turned out to be a blessing in disguise since the guys at Cookbook Kitchen give generous servings of their dishes. I ordered as I planned while J opted for the Pork Steak w/ Honey Mustard Sauce (Although I prefer my meat well done and spicy, this dish is nevertheless a good alternative, particularly for those who prefer cream-based entréesJason).

Squash Soup. P90
We started our meal with the Squash soup. A mutual favorite of ours, we make it a point to order it whenever it is available in the restaurant we are dining at. CBK’s version of this soup variant has the perfect consistencydefinitely not watery but not too thick. Its meaty taste reminds me of my mom’s ginisang kalabasa and sitaw (trust me, that’s a good thing), which leads me to think that CBK either cooks it in strong pork broth or actually have the squash pureed with small chunks of pork. Also, it is served with freshly baked bread shaped like a small pillow. It has a buttery taste so there is no need to spread actual butter. For me, its squash soup is one of the best, if not the best in town (Makati Sports Club serves good squash soup as well).

CBK Chicken. P290
CBK Chicken is a dish of grilled chicken breast stuffed with ham, cheese, and fresh basil leaves. CBK does its grilling really wellthe knife glides perfectly against the chicken, which means that it’s neither overcooked nor undercookedgrilled to perfection, ‘ika nga. Thumbs up to the way CBK stuffed it with layers of cheese, ham and basilmore than halfway through the dish, the stuffing is still intact. More importantly, it tasted really good. The natural bland taste of the chicken breast was an excellent canvass for the saline taste of the cheese, the sweet taste of the ham, and the strong herbal flavor of the basil. CBK Chicken is reminiscent of the good old chicken cordon bleu, only it was chunkier and more textured.

Parmesan Crusted White Fish. P240
The Parmesan Crusted White Fish is fish fillet baked with lots of Parmesan cheese on top. The taste of the Parmesan mixes well with the natural salty flavor of the fish. For those who might find it a bit too salty, you can dash it with lemon that comes with the dish. I understand why it has become CBK’s ultimate house specialty: it melts in your mouth and it really tickles the taste buds. I recommend this dish to be eaten with plain jasmine rice and that you order it as the only main course for a better appreciation of this unique dish.

Since we had very little room for dessert, we opted for a scoop of ice cream for each of usvanilla for J and strawberry for me. I’ll make it a point to try their cakes next time. We also enjoyed their apple-flavored white iced tea and their green iced tea with a hint of menthol.

As for the place, it has a very homey feel that befits the size of its floor area. It has more or less 10 tables of various sizes inside the restaurant and a few more outside for those who want to dine al fresco. The choice of glassware and fabric design is reminiscent of the late 70s and the early 80s, which adds up well to the intimate kitchen concept of the restaurant.

All in all, it was a very good dining experience: good food that’s priced reasonably, a place that mirrors the comfort of home, and pleasant staff members who served our dinner with wide smiles. I definitely recommend this place to our friends. Prior reservation is required so be sure to give them a call at 7243595 or 3815935 before you go there.

Cookbook Kitchen is at 8 Socorro Fernandez Street, Mandaluyong City. Directions on how to get there are in its Multiply site. Finding the place is a bit tricky. Referring to the map from their website, J and I decided to walk our way to get there from our meeting place, which is Starbucks Wack-Wack in Shaw Boulevard. It was a long walk through uphill streets. Going home, we realized that the directions are for those who plan to go there by car. If you plan to commute, you may get off at Shaw corner Luna Mencias Street. Luna Mencias is a one-way street and you can walk your way against the flow of traffic then make a turn to the second street to the right.

In any case, I don’t mind taking the same path again for our second visit. For me, long walks with J are always a good thing. I won’t complain. (Aaaawww —Jason)


Jason:
Ang sarap sarap!!! Eh ano pa ba masasabi ko, eh true to his cum laude form, nagpaka-bibo ang lolo nyo at sinabi na lahat, lol.

Just to reiterate:

  • The servings are huge.
  • The squash soup is awesomealong with the perfect bread that came with it. I'm not a bread/pastry fan, but this was one memorable bread.
  • The dishes we ordered were cream-based, which made me feel too full too soon. I'll remember to have more variety the next time we visit.
  • It has clean and well-organized restroomsfor gents, ladies and a common wash area.
  • I found it extremely weird that if you are dining al fresco, you eat right beside sweaty men, no exaggeration. That's because the al fresco area only has bars separating it from a gym.

Photo credit: www.cookbookkitchen.multiply.com



Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Miss Universe 1980

Only saw this yesterday -- Chat Silayan for the win!!! (Lol, though of course, we all know she didn't; she was 3rd runner-up.)


Ms Philippines is at the 6:43 mark.


Her gown was designed by Rene Salud, and with Chat's effortless grace, I think this makes it the Philippines' best-ever in the Miss Universe evening gown competition, a notch better than Miriam Quiambao's.


Panalo naman kasi bumaba ng hagdan at mag-twirl, parang Swan Lake lang, lol.

Her Top 12 interview here.






Monday, January 19, 2009

PPA

I received a text message this afternoon cautioning me from taking local nasal decongestant medicine brands because they contain phenylpropanolamine (PPA for short), which is linked to increased hemorrhagic stroke. I am one to diligently make sure such messages are correct before forwarding them so I made a quick search on the Internet.

From the FDA website:
Scientists at Yale University School of Medicine recently issued a report entitled "Phenylpropanolamine & Risk of Hemorrhagic Stroke: Final Report of the Hemorrhagic Stroke Project." This study reports that taking PPA increases the risk of hemorrhagic stroke (bleeding into the brain or into tissue surrounding the brain) in women. Men may also be at risk. Although the risk of hemorrhagic stroke is very low, FDA recommends that consumers not use any products that contain PPA.

The brands mentioned in the text message included Neozep and Bioflu and I'm fuming mad as I type this because I regularly take Neozep since I always catch a cold, and Bioflu whenever I have the flu (aside from the fact that this warning had been released as far as 8 years ago). Unilab's website lists the ingredient in both brands: Neozep and Bioflu.

I've no time to check whether the other brands mentioned contain PPA so do leave a comment if these don't contain the ingredient any longer:

  • Alkaseltzer
  • Dimetapp
  • Robitussin
  • Dexatrim
  • Bioflu
  • Neozep
  • Sinutab
  • Decolgen
Thanks.

Update: Rochelle comments: "Unilab has already changed the PPA content of Neozep, Bioflu and Decolgen to Phenylprine."




Sunday, January 18, 2009

Portrait of an Artist as Filipino

Tony Javier tries his charms on his landlady and potential doña, Paula. (Credit: Repertory Philippines)
Mon and I were supposed to see Love Me Again -- that Piolo Pascual and Angel Locsin starrer -- when our reluctance to watch the movie brought us to Onstage in Greenbelt to check out what play was running. It was a pleasant surprise to learn that it was Nick Joaquin's Portrait of an Artist as Filipino, and thankfully, we had 10 more minutes before the show started.

Prior to last night, I knew nothing about this particular work of Joaquin, though I'm sure most of us have heard about it -- Repertory Philippines's show guide describes it as "the most important Filipino play in English." I'm no theater buff, and thus, cannot weigh the merits of this description, but after having read about and learned the context of "Portrait" -- written in 1955, ergo, a few years after World War II when Manila, then confined within the four walls of Intramuros, was reduced to rubble -- it was understandable to proclaim it so. "Portrait" is a play that questions identity: Old Manila versus New Manila; and the romantic (but starving) artist vs the pragmatic bourgeois.

At the Marasigan household, Don Lorenzo, a contemporary and rival of Juan Luna, paints his final masterpiece, Portrait of an Artist as Filipino, and bequeaths it to his two unmarried daughters, Candida and Paula, before setting himself up for a life of reclusion in his bedroom. A French journalist writes about the painting and Don Lorenzo's retirement, thus creating a huge buzz on the painting -- and an equally huge price on the painting.

Unbeknownst to the public, Candida and Paula are in dire financial straits. Their richer and married siblings, Manolo and Pepang, reluctantly send money for the upkeep of the Marasigan home. They want to send their father to a hospital, split Candida and Paula between their families as household help, sell the house and sell the painting. Other forces turn out to have a vested interest in the painting and convince the sisters to sell -- a hunky roomer, and a poet-turned-senator, who is an old family friend.

It is the painting that eventually acts as a barometer of morality and ethics; it is up to the viewers to weigh in and decide on the soundness of the characters' rationale behind wanting to sell or not sell. Personally, I wanted the sisters to sell -- nothing wrong with being worldly and having a scandalous amount of money if acquired through good means -- but this is a micro perspective. If one substitutes Manila for the Marasigans, would one still want to "sell" and become worldly? Joaquin doesn't seem to think so and here's where the assumption (or over enthusiasm?) becomes a problem.

Again, this play was written in 1955. Joaquin and I suppose, the romantics of his generation, had high hopes for Manila; waxing poetically about Manila and maintaining a staunch, nationalistic pride was a given. (For the record, I probably would have been too.) The war had ended -- there were no Spanish, American or Japanese forces to colonize us. Power had been handed to us Filipinos -- it was the time for us to start fresh, and this time, on our own terms.

That was Manila in 1955. The Manila of 2009 -- and you can count decades back -- is far from romantic, and this needs no explanation. We all are aware of what Manila is like now. Sure, it has its charms, it has its hidden secrets, but charming little secrets can't make up for its "mismanagement," to put it lightly.

Let me use the word again; the playscript was charming. It was charming to see the optimism and enthusiasm for the new Manila, and I understand we can all use the same hopes and enthusiasm now, sure. But in the final scene, wherein the narrator made his final, oratorical case for the city, I couldn't help but feel that history unfolded rather unkindly: until when do we stop hoping for a fresh start?


* * * *

I understand I didn't exactly review Repertory's staging itself; I got so absorbed by the material -- I do hope that speaks about how beautiful and thought-provoking this play is: GO WATCH IT! Do tell me what you think about the selling and not selling thing, and all its other meanings.

Superb acting by the cast too -- we had Ana Abad Santos as Candida (Irma Adlawan-Marasigan alternates), Liesl Batucan as Paula and Joel Trinidad as Bitoy. I had misgivings about Randy Villarama's portrayal of the hunky roomer, Tony Javier. His character was supposed to be extremely charming but it was easy to see through his insincerity, which makes for an anti-climactic ending. Joel's final oratorical piece also felt too high school, e.g., as in those declamation contests we've all grown tired hearing. I've no other complaints with the acting -- the second act played host to one of the finest performances I've ever seen, whether on- or off-stage, thanks to the Dons and Doñas who shared the spotlight with Candida and Paula.

It was sad to see that there were only a handful of patrons at last night's show. (Though on one hand, we were fine by this; the seats were awfully small -- it would have been uncomfortable if we were seated next to other peeps; we would have felt squished. Also, the performance felt more intimate.)

Ticket prices are very affordable: P550, P350 and P250. Show runs at Osntage, Greenbelt 1 on January 23, 24, 30, 31; February 6, 7 at 8:00pm; and January 18, 24, 25, 31; February 1, 7, 8 at 3:30pm.



Saturday, January 17, 2009

Charice

While reading Inquirer over coffee...

Me: Si Oprah pala ang nagma-manage kay Charice?

Mon: Ah...

Me: And drinop na pala nya last name nya, so Charice na lang sya.

Mon: Mahirap nga naman yung "Pempengco".... although may na-isip akong bagay na surname.

Me: Ano?

Mon: Wag na corny....

Me: Dali, sige na.

Mon: Witherspoon... Charice Witherspoon.

I lifted my eyes off the paper, looked at him and two seconds later, Starbucks was witness to two dudes laughing so hard they had tears in their eyes.

:-P




Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Gather!

Did anyone see Kate Winslet's Best Actress speech at the Golden Globes?


My new catchphrase is "Gather!" LOL.

I shall use "gather" to tell a person to calm down, or bring him to his senses (as in a truncated version of the Tagalog phrase, "uminom ka ng kape.")

Let's use it, shall we?
A: "Ang ganda-ganda ko talaga."
B: "Hala. Gather!"

Gather!




Monday, January 12, 2009

Pasado

While on my way home, in my t-shirt and basketball shorts...

Kanto boy, with his posse: Kuya, basketball? Kulang kami eh.

Me: Tsong, pauwi na ko eh.

Lol, kidding.

I said, "Pre." Haha.



Friday, January 09, 2009

Hollywood bigote

I've kept mine even after Survivor Philippines, hehe.


James Franco in Milk
(Photo: Phil Bray/Focus Features)


From The New York Times:
Inching Its Way Back Onto the Lip
By DAVID COLMAN
Published: January 7, 2009

In case you have been in a hole the last few years, stylish men have cast aside razors for electric clippers and taken to styling their face and body hair — a k a “manscaping” — with a zeal not seen since Edward Scissorhands.

But its upstairs neighbor, the mustache, has had a bumpier ride. It, like the beard, enjoyed its most widespread popularity between 1850 and 1900; John Wilkes Booth, it must be conceded, had a beaut. But today, the mustache cannot shake its ties to the sexy-yet-buffoonish machismo of the mid-1970s, epitomized by Burt Reynolds, Sam Elliott and the Village People, ’stache sporters all.

Lately, though, there are signs that the mustache is at long last shaking off the most unsavory of those associations. Exhibit A is, of course, Brad Pitt, who grew one just before the filming of Quentin Tarantino’s new World War II film, “Inglourious Basterds,” and flaunted it for the paparazzi over the holidays. Emanuel Millar, the head of the film’s hair department, said he was surprised when Mr. Pitt showed up to shoot avec mustache and insisted on keeping it despite the fact that it was not true to the period. Exhibit B is, of course, the “Milk” Mustache — that is, the one worn by the scene-stealing James Franco, playing Sean Penn’s long-suffering and dreamy boyfriend in “Milk.” While Mr. Penn’s performance is the most talked-about aspect of the film, Mr. Franco’s mustache has elicited plenty of admiration on its own.

Read more.


Brad Pitt
(Photo: Francois Duhamel/Weinstein Company)



Tom Selleck. Mabuhok
(Photo: Bravo)



Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The City

This has been my guilty pleasure for the last two weeks:

from my Facebook


MTV's reality show The City follows the life of Whitney who recently moved from Los Angeles to New York city to intern for Diane Von Furstenberg. Whitney used to be with The Hills, which was the sequel to Laguna Beach. I used to watch Laguna Beach regularly until the cast became irritating; I never bothered watching The Hills. That all changed when I decided to give City's pilot episode a shot and I found myself getting hooked.

Aside from Whitney, the camera follows around her best friend, Erin; romantic interest, Jay, he with the fluffiest, shiniest and healthiest hair it almost hurts; and my "favorite," the rising antagonist, Olivia. Olivia is young, rich and pretty. Pretty catty as well. Consider last week's episode when she and Olivia met with Manolo Blahnik for an autograph signing:
Whitney: (as Manolo autographs her new pair of shoes) This is my first pair of Manolos.

Manolo: It won't be the last, believe me.

Olivia: (interjects with no one asking her) My first pair was I think, when I was 17 for my dey-bah (that's "debut" for us plebeians).

Manolo's assistant, who is just next by, is caught by the camera rolling her eyes, lol.

Olivia also looks so... so sex-starved. Whenever Whitney mentions Jay to her, she gets this famished and envious look on her; she's so transparent!

So yes, the show is shallow and vapid but I'm entertained by it. I rarely get that in local TV, wherein if it's shallow and vapid, then it's irritating (e.g., Lipgloss).



Monday, January 05, 2009

Bags

Forgive me for on the fifth day of the new year, six days since I announced my resolutions, I've already broken one of them, particularly the third:

  • I am practically a financial guru. My savings are huge as I don't see the need to be materialistic.

I unnecessarily purchased a new bag despite my perilous finances (no thanks to the major works my teeth are undergoing).

But hep -- the Libra in me justifies this acquisition by this virtue: I needed a masculine bag.

Consider the bags that I am presently using in rotation:

My bag for work:


Esprit


My bag for trips to the mall:


Twiggy tote from Marks & Spencer. (credit: http://www.marksandspencer.com) Pang-maton, di ba?


My weekender bag:


Tyler


And the only rugged bag of the bunch, for gym:


Nike


In my defense, this Nike was given to me by my sister. Needless to say, I'm not a fan :-)

So while I was in the mall earlier, I figured, hey, why not get a non-vaguely masculine-looking bag?

Hence this brute from Gap:



The fabric is thick and the zippers are huge; even when empty, the bag works up my bicep as it feels like 5-freaking-pounds.

But fiiiinnnne... I'm not complaining; I'll just work it like my rent is due tomorrow, lol.

And oh, New Year ain't starting for the Chinese until the 27th, right? :-P



Sunday, January 04, 2009

"Take this all of you and eat it"

While shopping for kitchen utensils last Saturday, my mother somehow miraculously got me into attending mass at the new chapel in SM Megamall. I didn't mind going through the rites and all but somehow it amazed me that I didn't find this particular song weird until now:
Si Kristo ay gunitain
Sarili ay inihain
Bilang pagkai't inumin
Pinagsasaluhan natin
Hanggang sa sya'y dumating
Hanggang sa sya'y dumating
(Crude) translation:
Remember Christ
Who served Himself
As food and drink
We feast on
Until He arrives
Until He arrives
A few weeks ago, at a wedding I attended, this Indian lady who clearly wasn't Catholic lined up for communion, got a host, held it with her two fingers until she got back to her seat then showed it off to her Indian partner in amusement. She may have pocketed it, I couldn't tell, but I was so shocked by it that I realized I was observing her with mouth agape.

I remembered that event as I sang the song above, which got me thinking: Do I genuinely and sincerely believe that bread and wine turn to the Body and Blood of Christ during the Eucharist, or do I only believe it out of tradition and what I was programmed to believe? At what point do I stop questioning my faith to protect my belief in Christ as God?

I wish I had a photo of my Best in Religion medal in high school to post with this entry :-)







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