Monday, January 31, 2011

King Bee Chinese Food and my dimsum dementia

Since I am a vagabond, voracious kitchen monster, I realized that completely ditching out a red meat in my lifestyle isn't really plausible. So instead of an inevitable decamping from four-legged party, I tried to just put them on a moderate and periodic frequency. I made it strictly veggies by weekdays and moderate-to-no red meat during week ends.

It's a deplorable fact of life that cravings unsatiated will haunt you to sleep. Have you ever had that moment that you could hardly put your resting pleasure because of an unmitigated longing for a certain food? I'm hit by a dumpling dementia.

So I ask Smarla Angtuaco on where to find a dimsum restaurant with value-for-money price tag. Her take was King Bee. I know they have a Marcos Highway branch(which is always full when I go there), but had it not been because of Michelle Cu-Martinez, I wouldn't have known that they have a QC branch as well.

King Bee Chinese Food has the same set up with the Harbour City Dimsum, Cebu where the waitresses wheeled the dimsum. There is nothing spectacular about the interior, just a typical Chinese dining place where their only decorative trimmings are just hanging lanterns, Buddha iconology, chinese charms, curtains, and sometimes an aquarium.

That day I satisfied dimsum cravings with the following on my table: Beef Brisket/Wanton Noodle Soup(Php120), Pork Siomai(Php80), Hacao or Steamed Shrimp Dumpling(Php85), Shark's Fin(Php90) and Sea King Roll(Php95).

The beef in the Beef Brisket/Wanton Noodle soup is an epic failure. Too hard to chew. The Sea King Roll boasts of a huge crab stick, thick fillet of white fish, jumbo prawn, rolled on a broccoli floret. But the broccoli floret is just as hard as the beef in the noodle soup. Other than that, the rest were a delish.

They also have a 20% off all seafood and dimsum items every weekdays.

Yes, craving satisfied --- without going into some ubiquitous Chinese hole-in-the-wall Ongpin houses.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

At GMA7's Kapuso Mo Jessica Soho regarding Ophiucus

Last Saturday, I guested at a GMA7's Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho TV Magazine touching on a topic that has created a stir in the belief landscape of zodiac zealots. The 13th constellation Ophiucus was debunked by many astrologers, stating that there would be no truth to its existence in the western astrology, which is accordingly offset by 23degrees with the sidereal astrology, an astrology that uses backdraft of stars.

Up until now, I still receive questions about this Ophiucus so let me blog it here for everyone's enlightenment. I was wondering as to why there are two standards in the zodiac? As much as I couldn't grasp as to why they differ when both of them uses constellation as a foundation of their groundwork.

Since the GMA7's Jessica Soho TV magazine is a strip-down diorama of a collection of lengthy interviews, let me provide you my complete statement without the warrant of post-production editing. I was interviewed by their segment producer I would just designate her GMA7 SP for brevity sake. It has to be in Taglish, in fact when I started blurt it out in pure Englsh, I was interrupted by GMA7 SP to say it in a way that it can be understood by the Filipino masses.

GMA7 SP: Sir, ano pong masasabi ninyo kung bakit ngayon lang po lumitaw ang ingay na ito sa kabila ng sinasabi ng lahat na matagal na raw po ito.

JRC: Nagsisilbi pa ring hiwaga sa aming mga astronomers at sa buong scientific community kung bakit ngayon lang ito nakakakuha ng atensyon, when in fact, matagal na naming natatanaw in the night sky tong Ophicus na ito. Makaraang dalawang taon na ang nakalipas.

GMA7 SP: Ano po ang pananaw ninyo Sir kung bakit ngayon lang po ito lumitaw.

JRC: I couldn't speak in the behalf of the astrologers kase magkahiwalay na landas ang pag aaral namin as a scientific organization kesa sa kanila. Subalit may dalawang teyorya po tayo na tinitingnan. Ito ay may kinalaman sa sinasabi ng mga Mayan na hudyat ng pagtatapos ng long-count calendar ngayong 2012 na natataon sa tinatawag na "galactic alignment." Ito po ay nag pagtatapat ng sinag ng ating araw sa galactic equator ng ating Milky Way. Ito po ay natatapat sa kalagitnaan. That dark eerie region of space sandwiched in between constellations Sagittarius and Scorpio at ito ay ang Ophiucus. It sends us a gloomy scenario of what might happen in the coming 2012. Ngunit ang sabi ko sa kanila, hindi naman overnight yung galactic alignment na yan. In fact, nagsisimula yan noon 1980 pa at magtatapos ngayong 2016. Pangalawang teyorya ay yung sinasabi nilang lost book of Nostradamus. Obviously hindi na sya "lost" kase natatagpuan na niya. Pero nakasaad dito na ang katapusan ng mundo ay sinisimbolo ng isang serpente spitting three times. At alam naman natin na ang Ophiucus is a man-bearing serpent.

GMA7 SP: May mga pagbabago pa ba sa constellation sa mga darating na taon?

JRC: Una una noh, ang dahilan ng ating pagbabago ng perspective in relative to the constellation ay young tinatawag nating "wobbling" ng ating axis dahil sa gravimetric drag of the Moon. Lahat po ay pwedeng magbago. Ngayon ang ating North Star ay Polaris. But back when the Pyramid of Giza was still under construction, yun po ay Thanus from constellation Draco. Coming 12,000years from now, ito po ay magiging Lyra, brightest star from constellation Vega. Sa mga darating na dekada, tayo po ay mananatili sa ating position with the 13 constellation. However, billions of years from now, hindi natin alam. Mahalaga na malaman ng ating mga kababayan that the universe is expanding. And it is expanding at an exponential rate. Malay natin noh, 3-5billion years from now, kung magbabangga na ang sarili nating Milky Way Galaxy with Andromeda Galaxy, ibang constellation naman makikita natin. These two galaxies upon collision will form a very complex gravitational dance, merging them into one singular elliptical galaxy. By that time, hindi natin alam kung buhay pa ba tayo bilang planetary civilization.

GMA7 SP: Sir, yun lang po Sir Maraming salamat.

JRC: Maraming salamat din sa pag anyaya.

On our way to the PAG ASA main office, I overheard the Segment Producer talking to Madam Rosa, Filipino known astrologer. She was asked if she believes in Ophiucus, to which Madam Rosa replied that she doesn't believe it because they derive their forecast from Gregorian calendar and not the Babylonian calendar. Huh? Since when do constellation and our gravitational movement derived from the calendar. If astrology has to deal with the stars, they will have have to keep up with the science that deals with the stars. And that's astronomy.

I was a sleepy slackhead when it was aired so I wasn't able to record it. There maybe online videos available but they may have a copyright requirement from GMA7.

Monday, January 24, 2011

SamboKojin: Japanese Korean Smokeless Grill

I have been to almost all buffet restaurants in Manila, long before the time when food blogging isn't yet a mainstream online fondness. There were only few buffet restaurants at that time, and most resides within the hotel premises.

Now, buffet restaurants sprouted all over the metro. One of the newest scene stealers in the yakiniku foodscape is SamboKojin - Japanese Korean Smokeless Grill. It's a new dining concept from the same restauranteurs, Villevicencio family, who brought to you Dads/Saisaki, Something Fishy, and Kamayan. SamboKojin is Vic Villavicencio's son Bokie's brainchild.

Known for our voracious appetites, me and my college roommate trooped to Eastwood City to try it. We braved it all, even if the poor guy doesn't know how to use chopstick.

The restaurant's minimalist design elements is reminiscent of the Japanese post-modern era. The interior is mostly black and white with red backdrop on the grillable and kitchen section.

True to its name, SamboKojin in Japanese meant "god of kitchen", it indeed is.

Among the choices were bolgogi-style pork, chicken cured in spicy teriyaki sauce, lettuce-leaf meat roll up, and some seafoods like ika fillet(squid), mahi-mahi, salmon, prawns, shrimps, kana, crabsticks, and a lot more I could barely remember.

An assortment of other specialties include: tempura in pork, prawn, and tunkatsu variety, sushi comprising tuna, ika, kana, tamale, and salmon, makis which are Shake, Tekka, Futo Maki, and Lipstick Trace Roll. They also have gyoza, sukiyaki, beef curry, tofu steak, and Tori Kuwayaki. Fo the Korean part, they have beef stew, Chapchae noodle dish, Ika Chili, and Clams with soft tofu.

Being an ice cream person, I could say that their ice cream taste a bit generic though. I am not expecting Baskin-Robbins or Ben&Gerry's but their ice cream taste ordinary like those you can buy from bakeshops.

All in all, for a Php595 price tag, I could say that it was well worth it.

Post - Gastronomic Reaction:

Since I have been doing a no-red-meat diet and veggies preferences along with my fitness regimen, the next morning I puked out. As I saw my mess in the toilet bowl, I said, "there goes my Php595". My stomach is not used to meats anymore.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Ramen Bar: Revisited

Last night I hit on Ramen Bar, in Eastwood City, to meet with some long time friends. But unlike my first time at Ramen Bar which was absolutely free as I was one of the invited few during the grand opening, this time I have to pay for what I eat.

Ramen Bar still has the same set of menu, one that is concocted by Chef Masa Ishikawa, a Japanese chef who incidentally also run several ramen chain in Nagoya, Japan. He also was an industrial partner of the restaurant, along with Charlie Paw who is not just a brilliant restauranteur but an accomplished technopreneur as well, being a proliferator of Digital Hub, a chain of Mac-and-accessories retail shops.

RBS(Php380 + 10% SC) maintained to be my all time favorite in Ramen Bar. It's a soy-infused tonkotsu ramen topped with tamago(soft boiled egg), naruto(fish sticks), nori(dried seaweed), nego(spring onion), chasyu, and kakoni(braised pork belly). The tamago has a topnotch taste since it is marinated for two days, enough for the seasonings to absorb inside the egg's membrane. Speaking of seasonings, both seasonings and sauces are actually imported from Japan. Yes, they're that authentic.

We sorely miss each other's company so we transferred to Starbucks for an extended catching up. And just like the good ol' times, boisterous laughter and rolls of fun is still the group's signature demeanor.

Anyhow, I am extremely ecstatic to have meet good old friends from wayback, a friendship forged from the industry of mobile devices. And since we have become a bit matured now, our technobabbles transitioned into life talks. It's a friendship that grows stronger for almost 10years now.

Till next time guys….

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Chateau 1771: No borders cuisine

Well-renowned for its "no-borders-cuisine" adage, Chateau 1771 is brimming with pride to be the metropolitan's finest fusion cuisine conglomerating the different derivatives of Swiss, Italian, and French culinary concoctions.

Nestled right in front of the beside the Greenbelt 5 entrance and fronting the lush greeneries of the Gbelt garden, it is a distinctive restaurant that would catch one's attention due to its Old World-Euro decadent interiors that is brightly-lit and with a spacious dining capacity. Despite its Euro-touch, one couldn't discount the art nouveau paintings done by famous Filipino artists, that adds a crest of prestige to an elegant ambiance along with the plush lounge sofas, high ceilings, and deluxe chandeliers.

A complimentary bread welcomes you while awaiting for your order. I have always been steadfast to my "no-four-legged" diet(a programming we used for our anti-four legged creatures diet, even a crippled cow wouldn't count), so I grab myself a Pan Fried Chicken with Three Cheeses(Php410 + 10% SC), a delicious boneless chicken steak topped with gravy, mashed potato, ratatouille, and three kinds of melted cheese. Comes next to my main course is a Four Season Salad(Php360 + 10% SC), luscious salad of mixed green and cheddar cheese, prosciutto and tomatoes, maple, vinaigrette, and garnished with caramelized walnuts. It was a small order, but upon serving, little did I know that the amount is already good for two. Topping it all is the Coffee Pie(Php150 + 10% SC), a chocolate cashew crust with coffee filling, topped with cream cheese and toffee sauce. It was supposed to order two more, the Triple Chocolate Mousse and the Coffee Bean Sansrival but I don't have enough space in my gastronome.

Chateau 1771 belonged to the same restaurant group with Sentro 1771, SideBar Cafe, and Cafe 1771, under the brainchild of culinary master Chef Vicky Rose Pacheco, who incidentally offers a 5-course wine pairing menu this January 14, 2011, in cooperation with Bird in Hand Wine Cellar(from Adelaide Hills, Australia) with Justine Nugent, wine maker as a special guest.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Moshi Clearguard Keyboard Protector

Recently, I thought of armoring a long term protective material for my Mac so I marched to the Digital Hub to grab Capdase Screen Protector(Php1,250 - 10% discount) and a Moshi Clearguard Keyboard Protector(Php1,450 - 10% discount). There is nothing to brandish about a screen protector because every gadget has it as a basic staple, although I must admit that the Capdase's crystal clear anti-glare property is outstanding.

But the Moshi Clearguard is something. Professing to be a purveyor of electronics fashion, they have wide array of products from an assortment of devices, MacBook, iPhone/iPod, iPad, etc. Moshi carries bezel anti-glare, keyboard silicon protector, mouseguard, card readers, port replicators, headset, sleeve, wipes, iPhone/iPod cases, etc.

The Clearguard I bought has an unparalleled quality amongst all keyboard protectors. For one, it is so thin and is probably the clearest of them all. It fits perfectly on the square keys of my MacBook Pro and you barely notice that it's there. It's like a keyboard condom(pardon the pun). It is made of a 0.01mm thin, non-toxic engineering grade thermoplastic urethane.

I have apprehensions at first in buying screen protectors because I feel like it would impede my typing speed. But the thin membrane of the Cleaguard is so astutely fitting for those hands who doesn't have to press hard in order to get right keyboard characters. The keys will have around 90% of their original feel but it isn't necessarily a letdown since the silicone will provide a higher grip on the keys.

Since it is the clearest in its class, the keyboard illumination will not be hardly affected.

Some friends though who have been using this one for an extended period of time complained of an unpleasant cloudy effect that cannot be removed even after washing. But let's see where this keyboard protector leads me.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Convergence of the astro minds

Because the Philippine Astronomy Convention is fast-approaching, our group will be busy doing the logistical legworks of the event. Last Friday, we converged for a meeting at the Bo's Coffee, SM MOA to discuss the event highlights drilling down to the details of it.

Unlike Newtonian equation, or General Relativity Theory, event advertisement has no binding formula to a probable success, so we may mainly rely our advertising efforts to the SM Nido - Science Discovery Center for this event.

For those of you who are not really bent into astronomy, it is essentially an expo fusing in the finest minds and technologies for astronomy, which is actually a diverse field. I, for example, am inclined towards astrophysics, our PRO Dr. Armand Lee specializes on observational astronomy, our president James Kevin Ty leans towards digital astrophotography, while Iranian national astronomer Bob Parhizkari dwells on time lapse astrophotography.

This will be an exciting year and a relatively laborious one for me as I am about to dish out a lecture in tangent to the SDCs "Passport to the Universe".

What does this mean for my folks at work: I will be endorsing some reports analysis to some of my colleagues. For my readers: I would be laying low in my foodie lakwatsa(restaurant gallivanting) as I am slated to produce this lecture impeccably.

In the photo were the following along with their fields of specialty: James Kevin Ty(President), Bobby Parhizkari(astrophotography - time lapse), Andrew Ian Chan(chairman), Dr. Armand Lee(CEO of MOA AstroCamp), Christopher Lu(astronomy - cosmology), John Ray Cabrera(astrophysics), Amir Mohammadi(astrophotography), and Mohammad Fahimi(astrophotography).

Ristras Mexican Grill: Mexican Niche Cuisine

As we have been wishing to, it came true when we headed and trooped towards the busiest restaurant strip in J.Abad Santos, San Juan. The name of the place - Ristras Mexican Grill. It is a Mexican specialty niche restaurant derived after an art of drying chile pepper pods used primarily as decorative purposes.

Ristras' ambiance is a nonchalant, non-stiff, and non-intimidating dining experience. It is just the kind of casual ambiance that they project to their market, given the surrounding area is not that shrouded with splendor.

In the counter, you could find the framed nomination certificate from the recently held Manila's Best Kept Restaurant Secret(MBKRS 2010) as a "Best Specialty Cuisine" but they lost to Cyma Greek Taverna. A losing luster one wouldn't mind as Cyma and Ristras belonged to the same culinary influence of Chef Rob Goco.

They served fresh ingredients Rob Goco himself prides as not having owned a can opener in the store, everything's verdant fresh and slowly cooked to achieve that ultimate Mexican flavor. Not only do they keep that promise, but they even prepare your food upfront. They even have a Man vs Godzilla Burrito promo that invites everyone to eat their 2feet long burrito in just 90min for free, exceeding to that, you have to pay it for something like a thousand bucks.

That day we grab ourselves a Burrito composed of a flour tortilla, a choice of Cilantro-lime rice or Chorizo-brown rice, pinto or vegetarian black beans, red or green chile, corn salsa guacamole, cheese, Mexican spices, sour cream, and romaine lettuce, along with your choice of meat. MobilityReel ordered a Carnitas Burrito(Php330) - a naturally raised pork, seasoned with thyme, bay leaves, orange juice, and freshly cracked black pepper-seared for hours making the taste leaning towards the hot and tangy side. I had myself a Chicken Burrito(Php320) - a chicken marinated for hours using a Jalapena marinade, then grilled to perfection. As if a Burrito larger than my already huge wrist isn't enough, we still order a Quesadilla(Php330) made of flour tortilla, cheese, pico de gallo, corn salsa, meat choice, sautéed peppers, red onions grilled to melting heaven, then served with salsa, sour cream and guacamole. And there were four huge folds of them.

Truly they live by their business philosophy of "cooked slow, done right." Plus the freshest and finest ingredients is topnotch. My advice to people planning to go there: "Trust me, you'd appreciate them more under a hungry stomach."

Monday, January 3, 2011

Mr. Jones: 1950's American dining

Blame it on Elvis Presley, I was lured into this 50's Americana dimension in the heart of Greenbelt 5 via Mr. Jones. It's a well-executed dining theme from the Raintree Restaurants Group(headed by Martin and Andrej Wisniewski), the same group who brought to you Chelsea, M Cafe, and MoMo).

Mr. Jones' design elements were derived from the Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley, and Jerry Lee lewis era. And like what I said, it was the continuous Elvis Presley that hypnotizes me like a Budol Budol victim to get my lunch there. It's essentially Austin Powers-centric resto with glazed sea-foam-colored vinyl dinner chairs, fire-engine red faux "sharkskin" booths, bronze Copenhagen pop walls and table surfaces, kitschy tablewares. The dwarf-plate Palm Trees dotting the al fresco area add a 1960's Palm Springs feel to the overall dining experience.

They say one can never go wrong with a house specialty, so I grab myself a US Beef Ribcap Tapa and Garlic Overload(Php295 + 10% SC). It's topped with a heap of crispy garlic chips, garlic fried rice, special MoMo, Atchara, and two Sunday Side-Up eggs. It's better than any tapa of any restaurant, but it taste bland for me. I should stick to the rule of thumb that says Filipino foods are best cooked at home.

I was supposed to order a Banana Split but upon getting it I was informed that cherries and almonds are not available. Where can you find a Banana Split without a cherry on top and not sprinkled with almond nuts.

So I decided to grab a second entree. This time, it was superb to the last bite. Rosemary Grilled Chicken and Turkey Melt(Php375 + 10% SC), served with Emmental & Gruyere Cheese, Pesto, Mixed Greens, Tomatoes, Onions, topped with Sweet Cranberry Compote on Toasted Rye, and with home-made fries.

They serve in American quantity which makes it really humungous serving far as Filipino eating capacity is concerned. Still, I vouch Mr. Jones hearty mix of quality and quantity food combo for my foodie friends.

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