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We had the opportunity to display some of our Everything Ballet products at the CCP Lobby last month. I found a lot of inspiration online on how to set up our display table. I wanted to do a little shabby chic inspired tablescape much like this one from Such Pretty Things.

Here’s our version of her lovely table:

Everything Ballet cupcakes

Everything Ballet cookies

We displayed a lot of products on our table aside from the pastries above. We had bags, cards, stationery and anything and everything ballet-related. It was a fun experience and hopefully we can plan a better setup next year. I think I’m going to look into those point of purchase displays to see how we can step it up a notch next time. Thank you to all who purchased from our table. Until next time!

Food pics for foodies out there! These are some of the food escapades we did with the grandparents during their stay with us early Feb. this year. The kids love it when the grandparents come because part of the fun is finding new places to eat around town.

First stop, TRAVEL CAFE PHILIPPINES – Greenbelt 5

Kids are the best sales people you  can find. We had tried Travel Cafe for a quick snack of pandesal and tsokolate é a couple of years ago so when we passed by the resto with the grandparents, they enthusiastically recommended the place to them. Of course, how could the old folks decline with two persuasive adorable little sales tots. Ü Lunch it is!

My son ordered the tomato soup in a bread bowl…

… while the old folks ordered this deconstructed kare-kare dish. In contrast to kare-kare being served stew-style, the meat and veggies were served on a plate with the kare-kare sauce poured on top like gravy. Quite interesting. I liked the flavor although I would have preferred it to be drenched with more sauce.

Aside from the above we also sampled their adobo and beef ( I forgot the name of the dish but it was yummy and it was gone before I could take a pic). The old folks ended the meal with a hot mug of Cordillera Coffee served in a clay mug with a cute little “pitsel” for the milk- extremely hot and a bit pricey. I’m no coffee drinker but I  sipped a little bit just to taste and boy! it was a like a shot of nicotine straight to my veins! (barako sa tapang! very brave – joke Ü hehehe)

Next stop, MINI SHABU-SHABU – Bonifacio Hi Street

I took a shot of the interiors, nope, these are not cardboard displays

… this geisha was directly above me Ü

Finally, the food… healthy and guilt-free…

…. a little bit guilty

Über guilty!!!!!!

… prepare to meet thy maker!

awww…

The kids had fun cooking their own food, although the little one had more fun cooking than eating.

You can almost smell it right?

One last look before they go into the hot pot!

Happy and satisfied! Ü

My wife has been going in and out of the  bathroom in the last couple of hours.  She attributes it to corn we had for dinner which she has a hard time digesting.  She has a very sensitive gastrointestinal system.  Things that normally makes her system go haywire are cream salads and raw fish.  These things likely cause her to have diarrhea.  At times she also experiences constipation.  When she was pregnant, she frequently sought relief for hemorrhoids.  I guess this motivates us to plan our meals better or be careful in our food preparation. All part of our lives as a members of one family.

During the recent visit of my in-laws, we brought them to nearby Solenad at Nuvali to have lunch. We wanted them to see the place as there were new restaurants added since the last time they came for a visit. The kids also wanted them to see the hundreds of koi fish in the man-made lake at Nuvali. My in-laws are not as mobile as they used to be. I probably need to read more information on rheumatoid arthritis to find out what could help them as it has become increasingly difficult for them to walk far.

Crisostomo is one of the latest additions to Solenad, the commercial area of Nuvali along the Sta. Rosa-Tagaytay road. We weren’t quite sure about it because I haven’t seen or heard of it before but since that was the nearest we could find and that was all that two hungry and grumpy old folks could bear, we went in to have lunch. Entering the restaurant reminded me of Maria Clara and old Manila. It dawned on me that the name Crisostomo was probably taken from Jose Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere of which Crisostomo Ibarra was one of the lead characters. I looked around and surveyed the interiors. It was nicely furnished and I particularly loved the old electric fan that you only see in your great great grandparents’ house. Their menu offered Filipino-Spanish cuisine with a twist. I glanced at the station where they had a computer and I saw the name Florabel. I had seen the chef/owner of Florabel being interviewed once on TV so I assumed it was part of a chain of restaurants. A little while later, I think I actually saw the chef/owner of Florabel gesturing to her staff to make sure our orders were taken care of. THAT is a good sign.

We ordered the monggo soup and a salad with green mangoes in it. Then we ordered the mixed platter that had everything on it – barbeque, pork chop, vegetables, oysters, fish etc. It was quite nice and just the right portion for a party of 7. I don’t remember any particular dish that stood out but for me it was enough to satisfy the old folks so it was fine. The service was good and the staff was attentive to our needs. It was a nice little discovery borne out of necessity. There are more new restaurants popping up here in Nuvali. So for all you foodies out there, I’ll try to post our food escapades as they happen.

Ciao or better yet, Chow!

We arrived a few days ago from our unexpected extended Christmas holiday in Davao. Our little girl was confined for 6 days due to a severe asthma attack and bronchopneumonia. That’s a whole other story that I might post later on when I’ve gathered my thoughts on it but for now, I’d like to share some of our pig-out adventures in the ultimate adventurer’s eco-tourist mecca down south – Davao. Some might like to talk about online life insurance, but we love to travel and dine. Ü

I am not an expert food critic so these are just my opinions about the places we’ve eaten at this year.

The Food Scene:

  1. Tsuru’s – One of the favorite Japanese Restaurants my in-laws frequent in Davao. You can find it right in front of People’s Park. We had a little incident where the waitress (she was new) didn’t write down a couple of our orders and thus didn’t inform the kitchen. I had asked the husband if she repeated the orders and he said she did only to find out later that she really didn’t write it down. So we ended up waiting for something that wasn’t really going to come. Unfortunately, it was the order of our Australian guest. How embarrassing! Muy disgusto! The maitre ‘d however saved the day. She was quick to soothe our ruffled hungry tummies. She told the kitchen to serve the forgotten orders and told us that it was complements of the house.  Whew! For that quick response, I’d still recommend this place. Tsuru’s is located right in front of the People’s Park in Davao. It also has a sister restaurant serving Vietnamese cuisine called Hanoi.
  2. Bistro Rosario – This is an all-time favorite. Owned by Lola Charito, Bistro Rosario is part of a chain of restaurants in Davao which include Harana, Sarungbanggi and Peter Pan Bakeshop.  We were in search of the famous Wagyu beef so we dropped by Harana to sample it out. Wagyu beef is Japanese beef well-known for its juiciness and tenderness due to the intense marbling of unsaturated fat throughout the meat. Unfortunately, we arrived too late for the lunch hour so we transferred to Bistro Rosario since they serve Wagyu as well. While there, we sampled the clam chowder soup, the fresh lumpia, the sinfully delicious buko pandan dessert and of course the surprisingly, affordable Wagyu beef! Everything was delicious and the beef was worth the wait.  We also had a chance to chat with owner, Lola Charito. She told us the story behind her restaurants. She has been operating her business for more than 40 years and it was really inspiring to listen to her. If you want to try affordable Wagyu beef you can order them at Harana, Sarungbanggi or Bistro Rosario along Torres Street in Davao.
  3. Chippens Garden – Owned and managed by the Chippens restaurant, this one is located just outside the gate of my in-laws house. It’s usually booked for special functions and occasions and is neatly tucked away right in front of the house in Davao.
  4. Piccobello a Ristorante Italiano found in the old Gaisano mall. I am a pasta girl and so when we eat out I prefer to have my pesto pasta fix and this is one place I’d like to come back to. They have an authentic wood burning oven where they cook their pizza (which is also good, btw). The pesto was great and so was the carbonara. yum!
  5. Bigby’s – was a pleasant surprise. I liked the interiors because there were old world maps on the walls and we had fun guessing the names of the countries while waiting for the food. I also noticed the ceiling lamps were done using old magazine clippings and newspaper articles-really creative way to recycle stuff. The husband and I ordered steak and the portion was just right. My in-laws split a baby-back ribs rack and the kids had chicken in a basket while our Australian friends had pasta. It was definitely a nice meal altogether plus the service was definitely good. They have a unique little buzzer that you press if you need anything else. I’ve seen other restaurants have their own little signals to call the waiters, this was my first time to see something like this. Check them out.

After all that eating, I think I’m going to look for the best fat burner out there. LOL  We’ve eaten at many other places before that are not in this list but I will update this one as soon as I have time. Meanwhile, if you are in Davao check out these places to dine and discover for yourself the many flavors of Durian country.

I was watching the Oprah show earlier today. She had as guests, Dr. Oz and David Zinczenko, editor-in-chief of Men’s Health magazine and author of  “Eat This, Not That!” series. Their topic was about obesity in kids and the discussion revolved around the how’s and why’s kids end being so overweight. David shared a lot of information about the food choices that are out there in the supermarkets and how to choose wisely.

As parents, we all want to raise normal, healthy kids and sometimes our food decisions aren’t always the best ones simply because we lack information. We have evolved into a “fast-food” generation where everything is quick and easy but not necessarily healthy. Hence, the rise of liposuction, diet pills and all sorts of weight-loss products. Although, these books are geared more towards the American consumer, still, there is much to be gleaned from them because a lot of these products are now available locally in major supermarkets. If you want to know if ‘regular bacon’ is healthier than ‘turkey bacon’, you gotta read the book. You’ll be surprised. So before you reach out for that bag of chips and that box of “multi-grain’ something, read the back label or better yet get yourself a copy of these books.

Check out these books. They are available at Amazon.com and you can read more reviews by those who have bought them. You might even qualify for their Free Super Saver Shipping. (Click on the links to get there)

Eat This, Not That! Thousands of Simple Food Swaps that Can Save You 10, 20, 30 Pounds–or More!

Eat This Not That! for Kids!: Be the Leanest, Fittest Family on the Block!

In the past few days, I have rediscover my passion for grilling.  I used to grill a lot of our food particularly steaks.   With a quest for family health, I decided to grill more of our food as opposed to eating mostly fried stuff.  My first attempt was with tilapia (aka St. Peter’s fish).  I miscalculated the amount of charcoal so my fish was quite raw in some parts but good enough to be eaten.  The whole time I was cooking, I was thinking about cats or dogs that might take the fish.  A pvc fence installation would be helpful! My second attempt was with a whole chicken sliced in the middle.  Miscalculated the time in this case so I had to partially cook it with the microwave. My last attempt was quite fine and proved to be a delectable meal of tilapia for the family. For my next chicken attempt, I already had the vendor cut it up so I cook  it well.

The kids love the grilled food I cooked these days.  I guess I’m becoming a grill dad all over again.

Our recent bout with pneumonia, led us to rethink the nutrition strategy we have for our kids.  As it is, we feed the kids mostly fried meat or fish with rice and give them vitamin pills for the micronutrients.  Now we have decided to give them vegetables with every meal.  We also decided to buy our food from the market as opposed to a supermarket.  The benefits are quite a surprise. Market food is fresh and typically cheaper than at the supermarket.  Its really worth putting your dansko clogs.  When was the last time you  grilled tilapia still squirming in the bag? Or had fresh camote tops as a delectable salad for the family?  I guess the old ways are still worth keeping.

It’s a Friday night and usually we don’t cook on Fridays because after the kids are done with Kumon (they go to the last batch for the day) we usually have roasted chicken and barbecue or grilled porkchop from Jimanji, the local village store. But tonight, instead of our usual ‘Jimanji’ chicken and barbecue dinner we had to look for an alternative because the hubby arrived late and missed the 6:30 pm window to place our order. Oddly though, they only cook  a maximum of two roasted chickens a day so if you don’t place your order early, chances are you won’t get any. And so we did. We missed the ‘cluck’ – get it ‘cluck’? Nah, nevermind. LOL

So off we go to Paseo de Sta. Rosa to check out our options. Of course, the kids knew what they wanted. Kanin Club!!! Well, we were doubtful we could do that because the hubby and I knew that it’s usually full and bursting at the seams especially during peak hours. True enough there were groups of families waiting to be seated. But the kids have spoken and value for money wise, it was still the best choice plus you can’t beat the taste, that’s for sure. So wait we did until it was our turn to be seated. 

Now what do you order when you are in Kanin Club? Everything! Well, not in one sitting though. You have to keep coming back to try everything on the menu. Of course, the kids have their “walang kamatayang” crispy tadyang while we tried something else. Normally, we would order the Thai green mango salad, crispy tadyang, sinigang na bangus. Tonight, I wanted something different – I wanted the kare-kare! The hubby went for the lemon chicken and brown rice while the kids, well, you know what they had. So ‘galit-galit muna’. 🙂

We don’t normally order dessert but because we were seated at a table where we saw all the food that was coming out of the kitchen, when the hubby saw the ‘turon ala mode’ sitting on the counter waiting for the waiter to serve it to one soon to be very happy customer he turned to us and told us that we were having dessert. I said “huh?” Oh well, I’m not going to argue about that, no sir. The hubby asked for the menu again and ordered our dessert. As soon as it arrived the ube ice cream parted into four directions and the turon was divided among the four of us. Fortunately for the hubby, the kids weren’t that taken with the turon, he was just so glad to relieve them of their predicament. hahaha

And so the meal ended with a smile on our faces and on our tummies too. On our way out the hubby stopped by the door and called me to check out the sign posted on the door. I took a closer look and what I saw put a smile on my face. It was a certificate given by The Miele Guide, purported to be the first, authoritative and truly independent guide to Asia’s finest restaurants, stating that Kanin Club was  recognized as one of the finest restaurants in Asia for 2008-2009. Isn’t that amazing? and what’s more fun is that it’s just a 5-minute tricycle ride away from where we live. I think diet pills would be a sellout here if Kanin Club was my next-door neighbor… then I wouldn’t have to worry if I ate there every single day.

Here’s to Kanin Club! Cheers!

p.s.

I know there are a lot of Kanin club fans out there – why not leave a comment and share your favorite dish right here. I’d love to know why you like it and why I should try it. Really!

 

coffee break ver. 1.30

After a long hiatus from Jan’s coffee break, I’m slowly getting back to my blogging groove. I really like this week’s topic because it’s a topic close to our tummies. However, it’s a bit difficult to narrow the foodie choices down to just three so I’ll choose three categories – high end,  middle of the road and  ‘pocket’ friendly dining places.

HIGH END 

CIRCLES at the Shangri-la Makati :

If you are a buffet and eat all you can type of foodie then one of the best places to pig out is at the Circles located at the Shangri-la Hotel in Makati. International cuisine is their strength so there are numerous choices to satisfy whatever craving you have. Indian, Japanese, Chinese, a lot of Western dishes and desserts that keep calling your name to fill up your plate over and over again. It was our second time to dine there last week and fortunately the service was much better than the first time. As far as cleanliness is concerned, the proof is in the bathroom and so far I have no issues with them. When it comes to the price however, you better go there really hungry because it will set you back at approximately P1,600 ++ per person. Fortunately for us, somebody footed the bill so all we had to do is relish each mouthful with gusto. But if you’re planning for a really special occasion then, hey, go ahead. You can always hit the treadmill the next day.

The Manila Peninsula 

One of my all time favorite hotels is the Manila Pen. I actually felt so bad when it got wrecked during the Trillanes takeover last year because I really like Manila Pen. We haven’t been able to dine there for years already but my most unforgettable memory about them is their “Baked Alaska” which I tasted more than ten years ago. I don’t know if they still serve it today but I still have to find one as yummy as the one I had years ago. Unforgettable. Really.

MIDDLE OF THE ROAD

Kanin Club at Paseo de Sta. Rosa or Westgate Alabang

If you prefer Filipino cuisine with that home-cooked appeal then Kanin Club is a must. Their signature ‘crispy tadyang’ is our favorite aside from their yummy gourmet ‘turon’ and practically everything on the menu is a must-try. The first time we ate there, I felt like a judge on Iron chef tasting and savoring every dish they served. The servings are generous, enough for a family to share and the price is just right.  Don’t forget to try their Thai green mango salad!

SONYA’S GARDEN in Tagaytay

If you like it light and healthy, then Sonya’s Garden is where it’s at. Freshly picked greens from her garden sprinkled with edible flowers is a romantic, yummy treat to try. They usually serve a set menu at approximately P500 to P600 per person. I love their dalandan drink. If you go during the day, you can also snap some shots around her lovely garden.

“POCKET” FRIENDLY

MAX’s Fried Chicken

Now here’s an ever reliable place to dine, affordable and always yummy. Their chicken is true to form “sarap to the bones” talaga plus the price is absolutely pocket-friendly. Sulit sa bulsa.

Chow King

You can’t beat P39 Chao Fan anytime. Busog kaayo!

 

I have so many more but I’m getting hungry already so I’ll leave you with those choices to drool over. I need to grab a bite, hubby just came in with our village’s Jimanji roasted chicken.

Chao!

 

We went to the supermarket the other night and upon the request of my little boy we bought more veggies and fruits rather than those dehydrated air-filled foil snacks. (Take note, I didn’t say we didn’t buy any, we just bought more of the real food than the processed ones… shhh, I’m the guilty one who sneaks in those chips). Anyway, we are trying to eat more healthy as a family and I’m just glad that the kids’ go-to snacks are apples, bananas and oranges. You are what you eat, so they say. (Oh no, I don’t want to have orange peel looking thighs!) Anyway, I checked out this site that talks about the Top Ten Superfoods. Quite interesting actually. You can read more about those Superfoods at Orovo to learn more. You might be surprised that they are already part of your regular diet. Check it out.