Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sun, Sand and a Minute Maid: Instant Refreshment!

When Noemi of Pinoy Food and Other Cuisine posed the question about how you can best enjoy Minute Maid, I thought long and hard about it. It would be great on a picnic, as she so aptly wrote in her blog. It would make a fabulous punch with some chopped fruits for a little soiree. It could also be a fun drink for a tea party for little girls to enjoy! A Minute Maid Pulpy Orange drink could also be enjoyed after a long, hard days work or as a picker-upper when your mood starts to droop. It would be great to fight off colds and as a soothing and refreshing quencher when you are feeling feverish as the icy cool juice slides down your hot throat. There definitely are so many ways to enjoy Minute Maid but for me, the best way is to take a half-frozen bottle of Minute Maid Pulpy Orange (or Mango Orange if you prefer) down to the beach for some well-deserved R&R.

With a Minute Maid on hand, I get to cool down after lounging in the sun and soaking up the beauty of nature! It's fresh taste and pulpy bits helps quench my thirst plus keeps my well hydrated. What's great about Minute Maid Pulpy Orange is that it's flavor is as close to nature as you can get. It doesn't have that fake orange-y taste at all. The pulp bits are plump and juicy and in abundance throughout the entire bottle.

There's something, in my opinion, very primal about sitting in the sand. It's kinda like going to the very core of my soul. The Minute Maid I am drinking is kind of like that, I'd like to think. It's like going back to the very core of nature. Why? Because of the freshly squeezed taste of that natural orange goodness plus all the refreshing and juicy pulpy bits. Every gulp is definitely cools you down, inside and out! That's how I best enjoy my Minute Maid Pulpy Orange!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

I Got Sango-ed!

I've read many a Plurk, Tweet and status message about how people are craving for Sango burgers but I never really had a chance to try it because it's kinda hard to access. There are only a few branches and those were only in the malls I never really frequented. However, this morning after work at Shangri-La mall, I was walking towards Starbucks when I saw in the corner of my eye the newly opened Sango restaurant. I wasted no time getting Sango-ed!

I asked the waitress what the Sango specialty was and she said it was the Sango Master Burger (Php 125.00) and the Yakiniku Rice Burger (Php 125.00). It was hard to decide what to try today because both looked good, and they've both been given positive reviews by people I know. For some reason, despite my strong craving for a good burger, I ordered the Yakiniku Rice Burger. 

I was slightly disappointed with my choice, not because it wasn't good, but because I had not satisfied the burger craving! Nonetheless, the Yakiniku Rice Burger was good and very filling. The meat was tender and had just the right amount of fat that I like when I eat beef. It was also very flavorful: sweet and slightly salty but not not overwhelming. The rice was not as sticky as I wanted it, but had the typical Japanese rice quality to it.

Over all my first Sango experience was a pleasant one. The waitress was accommodating and took the time explaining the differences between their specialties. Despite having this for take-out, my burger was still pretty good even after the forty-five minute car ride. It smelled so good it took every ounce of effort on my part not to eat it while stuck in traffic!!!

Sango The Burger Master can be found at the following locations:
Rockwell Power Plant Mall, 1st Level, Makati City
Creekside Mall, Ground Floor, Amorsolo cor Herrera Sts., Makati City
Alabang South Supermarket, Alabang Zapote Road
Shangri-La Plaza Mall, 6th Level (near the Cineplex), EDSA cor. Shaw Blvd., Mandaluyong City

Ensuring Clean Tablecloths with Cheap Tumble Dryers

If there is one thing I cannot stand, it's seeing crumby food stains in my tablecloth. While this cannot be avoided, I always tell my companions that we should all take responsibility for ourselves and clean up after we eat. Some suggestions I've made are as follows:

1. Pick of the dropped food item with a paper table napkin or paper towel as soon as it happens.
2. If sauces or dips spill, wipe with a dampened paper towel asap.
3. Use one of the plastic placemats we have so we can avoid the hassle of having to clean up the table cloth after every meal.

To be fair, when it's daily dining, we are able to keep this in check most of the time. However, during parties or our weekly family day, there always seems to be some kinda mishap. I know it's difficult to wash and dry our tablecloths since we have a large 12-seater table so I promised to check out some Cheap Tumble Dryers to make cleaning up easier and quicker for all.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Cucumber with Yogurt Dressing

Inspired by the Greek appetizer tzatziki, this cucumber with yogurt salad is an very refreshing and nutritious alternative to a green salad. There are many variations of tzatziki. Some add dill to it or even grated cucumbers but being the lazy cook that I am, I enjoy just making a simple yogurt dressing to throw over fresh cucumbers. It is also a good variation to the typical cucumber salad with vinaigrette that we Filipinos serve. Making the yogurt dressing is the simplest thing: just mix the unsweetened natural yogurt with crushed garlic, season with salt and pepper and viola, instant dressing. I sprinkle it with a little bit of sugar just to give it a sweet-sour taste. It is best to peel and remove the seeds of the cucumber before mixing this together because the seeds and the center of the cucumber kinda water down the dressing a lot. I love serving this with fried fish because the flavors mix so well. It also goes well with pork chops and inihaw na liempo or grilled pork belly. But to be honest: even on it's own, it's wonderful. An added bonus: great for weight watchers!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Scrambled Tofu: A New Way to Enjoy an Old Favorite.

I have to give credit to my colleague L's mother for introducing me to the idea of scrambled tofu. The first time I heard it, I was a bit skeptical. I had never thought of cooking tofu this way. However, after trying it once, I was hooked! I can honestly eat this for days on end. What I like best about it, besides the fact that it is uber healthy, is that cooking it is so easy and flexible.It can be prepared totally vegetarian or mixed with meats or hams for those who want the added flavor. I have mixed this up with so many different ingredients and I have yet to find one that does not sit with me well. My favorite add-on to this is fresh shitake mushrooms.

This is how I prepare my scrambled tofu:


  • 2-4 squares (or 1 big block) of tokwa (I prefer the local tofu compared to the Japanese kind because it is firmer), crumbled
  • half of a large white onion, chopped
  • tomatoes (amount depends on you. I like lots of tomatoes in my dish), chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter (may be
  • spring onions (optional)
  1. In a pan, melt butter and sauté onions and tomatoes.
  2. Add in crumbled tofu. Mix until tofu is cooked, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add in spring onions and whatever add-on you prefer. 
Possible add-ons:
  • strips of Spam (I love the hot and spicy kind!)
  • fresh mushrooms, Shitake being my favorite!
  • cooked shrimps
  • ham or bacon bits
  • whatever floats your boat! 

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

All Natural Homemade Yogurt

For my blog readers who have been following me for quite some time, I think it would be safe to say that you know how much I love frozen yogurt. Regular yogurt is another big favorite, whether on its own or as a dressing for salads. Soon, I promise to post one of my favorite dishes with yogurt, but for now, let me share with you a new source of healthy, all-natural and freshly made yogurt.

Based in Paranaque, Nanette Saenz started cultivating her yogurt initially for home consumption but soon, family and friends began asking her to make some for them and before long, she began offering this to an extended network. When asked what makes her yogurt different from commercial ones, this is her reply:

The milk we use is from New Zealand and/or Australia because if I'm not mistaken, they do not pump their cows with hormones and unnecessary antibiotics, as other milk-producing countries are said to do.  Also, we use whole milk, not powdered and reconstituted.  We would be hewing more closely to nature if the water component of the milk came from the cows themselves, rather than from our water supply, well-filtered as it might be.

Unsweetened yogurt gives you the most flexibility.  Toss in chopped sweet fruit, raisins, nuts & roasted oat meal and you have a delicious breakfast or snack.  Those with sugar issues can sweeten it with sugar substitutes.  It can be used as a base for salad dressings or as an alternative to sour cream or mayo.

The honey we use is extra virgin dark tropical honey.  It contains Vitamin C, catalase (an enzyme we need) & selenium (promotes good cell function).  Pinocembrin, a potent antioxidant, is unique in dark honey.

The fruit in our yogurt is canned without harmful preservatives and artificial (or, as some product labels read, "nature-identical" ) flavors.  Soon, we will be producing variants with fresh fruit and dried fruit.  Frankly, from a consumer's point of view, it would be best to purchase just the yogurt and add the fruit yourselves.  In this way, you not only save price-wise but you also eat the freshest fruit possible.

It takes 3 cups of regular yogurt--and thrice as much time--to make 1 cup of Greek yogurt.  The resulting product, however, is well worth the trouble and expense.  It is eaten traditionally with honey and chopped pistachios or walnuts.  An order of this, about 1/2cup yogurt served in nice stemware, costs P170 in a leading Greek restaurant in Manila.  It makes an excellent base for tzatziki, the Greek salad dressing, or the Middle Eastern white sauce that accompanies shawarma.

Yogurt freezes very well, by the way, so you can stock up without risk of spoilage.  Freezing the fruit variants are a great way to get the kids to eat healthy.  Also, yogurt is the answer for those with lactose intolerance who need the goodness of milk.  The microorganisms in it digest the lactose and convert it to lactase, which is readily acceptable to the digestive system.

The cup in the price list below is a standard measuring cup.  The quantity of the most saleable supermarket yogurts is 1/2 cup or less.  Do the math and you'll see that you'll be paying less for much better yogurt.

Price list

Unsweetened         P42/cup
With honey              48/cup
With fruit                 58/cup
Greek                   126/cup


Unsweetened         P46/cup
With honey             52/cup
With fruit                62/cup
Greek                  138/cup

In support of the environment, you are encouraged to bring your own containers.  Any container with a good lid will do--glass, Tupperware, reusable plastic tub; the only requirement is that it be very clean and very dry.  For those who prefer to purchase their yogurt in plastic cups (1/2-cup capacity) or tubs (1 1/2-cup capacity), there's an additional charge of P4 and P7, respectively.

For more details and orders please email At present orders are exclusively for pick-up only. Do feel free to drop her a line anytime!

Happy, healthy eating, everyone!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Smoke Resto

Trying to find a good yet pocket-friendly place to eat along the famed White Beach of Boracay Island is like looking for a needle in a haystack. To be fair, there are new places all around the new D'Mall that are more affordable than the restaurants on the main beach, but if you're looking for something different from what you can normally get here in Manila, try out Smoke Resto. It's a bit of a walk from the beach, but it is so worth it!

I first discovered Smoke way back in 2005 on one of my spur of the moment trips to Boracay. My cousin was still living in the island and she introduced me to the "cheap" alley where great meals are waiting to be explored! Back then, however, it was much cheaper than today. However, for about Php 80-125, meals are still cheaper than in the beachfront restaurants. It was so cheap, in fact, that one year, we ate almost all our meals there for the duration of our stay.

My favorite order is the Beef Salpicao, now priced at Php 90. It is a bowl of rice topped with tender beef strips, slightly spicy and sprinkled with sesame seeds. I love the flavor of this dish. It is not too salty nor too plain for my taste. This time however, I ordered the stuffed squid with vegetables. I would have preferred the squid to be grilled and seasoned a little more, but when dipped in soy sauce and vinegar, it was pretty good. I enjoyed the huge serving of vegetables though.

In the past few years, the menu of Smoke has grown a lot. I have yet to try many of their new dishes. I can't wait to go back to the island to do so!

Smoke Resto is located a few meters away from the Hey! Jude RESORT (not bar!). 

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Oodles of Goodness at Goodles

One of my favorite comfort foods is pasta. Be it smothered in a garlic and tomato based sauce or thick and creamy white sauce, it surely hits the spot for me. Despite my being a big pasta lover, I tend to shy away from ordering pasta whenever I am out for two reasons: one, I cook really good pasta (I will share one of my favorite recipes soon!) and two, really good pasta, I mean with the authentic, honest-to-goodness fresh taste at an affordable price is hard to come by. However, after trying out Goodles, a new and hip pasta place down at Robinson's Galleria, I changed my mind.

Goodles offers a wide array of innovative and sumptuous pasta dishes. Even the old classics such as carbonara and pesto are given a tasty new twist. To top it off, all pasta dishes range from only Php 130 to 170 only. What makes Goodles different from just the ordinary pasta place is that it offers fast, fresh and healthy choices in easy-to-go cups. This makes it perfect for a quick and easy meal. I can even take this in with me to a movie without worrying about how I'm going to eat it!

I initially ordered the Garlic Shrip and Chorizo pasta, which is described as "a slightly spicy olive-oil based sauce with juicy white shrimps and flavorful Spanish chorizo. Tossed into liguine noodles and topped with parmesan cheese". It was delicious! There was a generous amount of shrimp and chorizo althrouout my dish and not just on top.

During the soft launch where we bloggers were invited, we got to sample many of the other special dishes goodles have to offer. Looking at the cup may give the impression that it does not contain much, but when poured into a plate, you will be proven wrong! Just take a look at this order of Chicken Vodka:

Among the many dishes we sampled, this ranked second in my favorites list. I loved how the cream-based sauce was not so overpowering and thick, and yet super tasty and yummy! The one I loved best was the Grape Carbonara. Yup, Grape Carbonara. When I first read the item off the menu, I was a bit dubious because I never thought of grapes as something I would put on a cooked dish. I mean, we all eat grapes raw and on its own right?!?  However, after trying it out, I realized that this is a great variation of an old favorite.

Goodles is the brain-child of owner Shar Tan. I must admit, I never thought of packaging pasta the way she did! Many, many thanks for the invitation to a great pre-Christmas dinner treat, Shar! Thanks too to Fran of for organizing the wonderful blogger dinner at Goodles!

Goodles is located at the 4th Level of Robinsons Galleria, Ortigas Avenue corner EDSA, just a stone throws away from Movieworld.

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