Monday, May 30, 2011

Patisserie: French pastry shop

Because we were an hour earlier to our monster munching time, me and my college room mate sauntered first at Patisserie, a French-inspired pastry shop located at the lobby of Manila Pavilion Hotel.

We only ordered a a hot tea for Php135 as we are readying our tummy for a smorgasbord fest. It's quite pricey though as I can get the same brand of tea bag at Krispy Kreme for just forty bucks. :) Anyways, I'd rather have a tea than coffee.

The pastry has a cozy, warm interior meant for long talks and chill outs. They have comfortable sofa so you can lounge in on a lazy afternoon. The ceiling is elegantly decorated with a fabric tapestry reminiscent of a Victorian castle. Sadly, they don't offer wifi amenity which should have been a de facto standard for all coffee shops.

Their specialties include French breads, Biscotti, Cheesecake, Chocolate cake, and Loaves. They even have Ensaymada. If you're there, I'd suggest you check out their best of the month: Praline of the month and Cake of the month.

This is a place not really for mobile professionals but for those groups of people who would want to talk things over a cup of hot coffee.

While everyone here seemed nice, I noticed that they all speak Filipino? That was a bit odd as I was expecting a pastry shop residing inside a hotel should have staff that speaks English as a prime communication facility. I tried to communicate in English to jumpstart the mood but they still reply in Filipino.

Panasonic Lumix FT-10: Jungle P&S camera

The unboxing happened at the Shopwise Cubao. Who'd ever make a ceremonial unboxing for just Php8,700 worth of product at a posh hotel's classy restaurant.

This is a Panasonic FT10. And you've heard it right, it cost sub-9grand. Don't raise your eyebrows yet. There is more to it than meets the eye. For one, it sports a sturdy aluminum body and a folded optics safe from accidental protrusion presses.

That's not all, the FT10 is shockproof from drops put to 1.5meters, waterproof up to 3meters, and freeze proof up to 10degrees Celsius. Yes, this is your trek camera. It can endure form nature's cruelty and man's insanity up to a certain degree.

Inside it's hood is a 14Megapixel CCD sensor, with 4x optical zoom, and equipped with Panasonic's MegaOIS(optical image stabilizer). Not only is it limited to its still capture capability, it can also do an HD recording of 720p in MJPEG. Intelligent Auto is a breeze that provides shooting-assist functions to capture spur-of-the-moment instances.

All in all, this is the point-and-shoot camera you'd want to use if you're frequenting outdoors, especially for expedition purposes.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Seasons at Waterfront Manila Pavilion Hotel

We are what you call the "drifters" when it comes to the gustatory monstrosity. We are the buffet busters and monster omnivores. Yeah, that's me and my college room mate. He even has to travel all the way from Laguna just to challenge his gastronomic capacity, while I have to travel all the way to Tagaytay just to taste the curry goodness of Indian and Mediterranean cuisine of Andanita Taj, the gourmet fusion of Antonio's Restaurant and the healthy bliss of Sonya's Garden.

Lately, I got one of the Ensogo groupon vouchers and grab him to once again challenge, if not each other, our self indulgences.

The place is Seasons Restaurant inside Waterfront Manila Pavilion Hotel. The interior boast of an exquisite luxury, a hallmark of a stunning hotel amenity, with profuse lighting fixtures and furnitures that speaks of class and comfort.

The buffet includes main courses, salad section, pastries and pasta, pizza, grillables, dimsum, Japanese Maki, and dessert bar. If you are the kind of person who loves to indulge desserts like cakes, ice cream, and other cold delights more than the regular course, then this might just be the place for you.

The buffet left us really full and sedentary. Though it doesn't have much choices, no steaks, no turkey, and no lobster, I couldn't complain for its price of Php1,375 good for two pax. I couldn't help but compare it with other hotel buffets like Spiral, Circles, and Heat. Even Escolta and Cafe Ilang ilang.

Also, I was wishing that they'd place the exact menu in their courses, not just sketchy symbols of pork, beef and chicken. I was wishing they'd be a little more specific.

While the customer service is good, I noticed everybody speaks Filipino? Not that I am against that practice but a typical Starbucks barista seemed smarter than all of them combined as they can relate well with foreign dignitaries and Filipinos who preferred English as a main language of correspondence. It's a hotel restaurant, I was expecting them to come across using English as a primary communication facility.

Anyway, the gourmand experience you can get here is to challenge your capacity despite a fairly limited entrees.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Joey Pepperoni: Casual pizza place

I am a cheapskate for everything. In fact, I have accumulated enough groupon voucher to strive my way and evade hunger for the next century or so. :) And today's dining adventure is but one of those cheapskate moments.

Odd as it may seem that I pass by this pizzeria frequently in DBP Bldg and RCBC Plaza Makati but I never had a chance to try it, until now. After rounding up the MSI event, we were bit by hunger so we had to scourge and check for any best value restaurant. Me and MobilityReel decided to hit Joey Pepperoni Pizzeria.

A quaint little place in SM North at the far end of the Annex adjacent to the Supermarket, Joey Pepperoni is a casual dining restaurant that specializes in Italian-American cuisine and comfort food. Although named after its owner, Joey Concepcion, the menu of the restaurant is concocted by the Milan-based Chef Giorgio Bucciarelli who is now the incumbent Chief Executive Officer.

The restaurant interior is very simple, a backdraft of what looks like Venice is the restaurant central wall theme. Adorned by a hanging lantern made of a woven paper fabric stamped with Joey Pepperoni stickers is but another design ingenuity.

Having lounged in at a comfortable, well-cushioned seats, we began picking our orders. As if we use our neural muscles enough, we just pick the one at the signage where it says Buy One Take One for only Php199. So we got ourselves a pasta and a pizza, all buy one take one. For the pizza, we got the Trio Special and Bianca Vegetariana and for the pasta, Pesto Cream and Pasta del Tonno, a tuna-based pasta. The taste were not really leaning to the gourmet kind but for its price, who would complain. I like the Bianca better than Trio due to its cheesy goodness. The Pesto Cream pasta is a bit soggy but the pesto and its veggie-based ingredient won my heart.

MSI 25th year anniv: Master Overclocking Arena

MSI, one of the leading proponents in PC component manufacturing, just recently held MSI's Master Overclocking Arena(MOA) held at SM North EDSA CyberZone. It is where the brightest minds a of PC enthusiasts and modders battle for the skill supremacy on overclocking a system.

People from different walks of life, levels of profession, and academic undertaking wrestled in this year's one-upmanship for the mightiest modder and alpha overclocker.

Mobilityreel, a film enthusiast, dragged me into this event. He, of course being a multimedia practitioner, required a system built to withstand under pressure for his lengthy film reviews and other related endeavor.

The event runs from May 20-22, 2011 with the following series of activities:

May 20 - event ingress, a free RPG game play, and the day's highlight, a rig display competition. Even an audience can cast their vote for their face rig on display. I bet the one who'll grab this price is not necessary the one with the highest horsepower but just the visually arresting design. After all, half of the people there are not PC-literate and could hardly tell which rig had dual loop, much less any idea about cable sleeving and water-cooling in general.

May 21: overclocking finals. This is when I came to realize that the audience are generally not the enthusiast type. They didn't even swarm the overclocking section to ask about handling tips and clockspeed maximization.

May 22: event egress, RPG challenge including games such as Starcraft, Call of Duty, and Quake Live. This day is hosted by cosplay queen, Alodia Gosengfiao. She seemed to be geeks' favorite. I like her too, if only she will maintain her stature of not going into sexy pictorials for men's magazine. If it does happen, she will lose 80% of her market, which is essentially the younger generation, and of course the young at heart(pointing at me).

Monday, May 16, 2011

Of fitness and fulfillment

I am not the most astutely fitting person to dispense sound advice on health and wellness topic. I never acquired the palpability to discuss talks surrounding medical science actually, and just rely on my friends who are by the way fitness authorities. I have lots of them in fact.

So let me share to you some of the things that I have learned from them and had been doing it as my axiomatic contribution to keep myself human temple in shape:

1) Eat lots of veggies. Eating high calorie foods is probably the hardest thing to resist, but soon after, you have to make sure that you eat veggies twice the amount of the high-calorie intake you have had

2) If you can, resist red meats. But since I hop from restaurants to restaurants every day or so, this has beyond my rudimentary exercise. So what I did is just to chew my meals properly and drink Yakult for better digestion after every meat-based meal.

3) Drink lots of water, less soda(or any carbonated drinks). I must admit, I used to drink one liter of Coke after every meal, until after college graduation, I was diagnosed with Diabetes Mellitus, that epic saga has been my continuous battle up to this day. But I was advised to drink ionized drinks(Gatorade for example) by my friends instead of soda. Still, water is the best.

4) Exercise regularly. I am hitting the gym four times a week. Sweating it all out and burning calories seemed to be one of the best experiences after a sinful indulgence. I ran at least a straight 3-5kilometers at a 10.5speed at the treadmill before pumping weights.

5) Sleep well. Oh yes, you can't have a good gym-ing session without getting good sleep.

Trust me, there's a bit of fulfilment after every gym-ing session.

Yakimix: Smokeless grill goodness

After Gold's Gym-ing with my college room mate who is a professed health buff and a power builder himself, we went to Trinoma to hit Yakimix. Yes, that seemed to be an odd combination of saintly and sinful calorie carousel, but heck, we always make sure to have a good time while we are both single and unattached by hopping into restaurants that can satisfy our monster palates.

Yakimix is a treasure trove for for those who'd like to devour gargantuan quantity but grill it their own way. It is essentially a Japanese-Korean yakiniku spread out in various locations like T.Morato, Macapagal, Greenbelt 3 and Trinoma where we are at.

Our timing was impeccable, because having eaten in some of the country's finest smokeless grills like SamboKojin and BonoYaki, I know that the place get crammed with lengthy lines of diners waiting outside. Finished pumping irons at 9:45am, showered and got out at 10:30am, drive to Trinoma and arrive at Yaimix at 11:00AM.

The ambiance is perfect for those who'd like eat with comfort, having had well-cushioned seats, profuse lighting fixtures, spacious walkways, and fast refills. He got himself a Blue Lemonade and mine a Red Iced Tea for our drinks, both are also refillable drinks at Php65 each.

Priced at Php580 per pax, they offer a wide array of grillables and sushi for sushi fanboy like me. They too have pre-cooked meals to have something to eat while waiting for your mreats to be completely grilled. We started with prime red meats and then seafoods for the second round. So far, they have sections like grillables, salad, soup, fruits, deserts and cooked meals. But unlike SamboJokin, their sauce are not served right in your table. You have to go to the grill section to get it which is a but of an inconvenience.

All in all, there are two things I haven't found in some of the smokeless grills I have been into, the dragon fruit and a popsicle ice cream.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Thai Kitchen: Thai buffet

One equation that knocks me off my feet: dumpling and all-you-can-eat smorgasbord concept.

As was literally dried-hungry when I was about to hit the gym at the Robinson's Galleria. Upon treading to the universe of depravity, I happen to pass by this Thai restaurant, The Thai Kitchen, that struck my cheapskate attention with their lunch buffet priced at Php245 with free iced tea.

My friends have always been ramming my throat of going along with them at some Thai restaurants like People's Palace, Thai at Silk, and AzuThai, but given the unorthodox taste of Thai foods, I have foregone the expense-paid lures of luxury. The first Thai restaurant I have been into was Mango Tree Bistro which serves Thai comfort food pre-disposed to smirching alcohols.

This time however, I have no choice. My body is almost falling apart for having not eaten yet the entire day and that was around 6PM in the afternoon already, about to burn a huge fat deposit and calorie deposit at the gym, so I managed to stand the unconventional curry and soup taste.

Thai Kitchen serves all the basic Thai entrees and more. They have sticky rice with sliced mangos pread all over, same one I have tried at Mango Tree Bistro. They have fried rice also topped with green mango strips. They only have one variant of dumplings too which is a pork siomai, however i still like the one at Causeway. Their sweet and sour pork spare ribs are so delicious, I kept on coming back for it. They only have a fairly limited selection though but with the price, I won't have to complain.

I didn't take note of what they serve since I was in a hurry to hit the gym already as I have other errands that night after gym session.

Flying Pig revisited: Swine and Dine

This is the third time that I was here, and the third time that I tried their Pork Burger Oink One Take One Promo. Having said that means that I am not particularly audacious in my choice of food, especially with Raymund Magdaluyo's chain of restaurant since it is sometimes hit and miss.

The name of the restaurant is Flying Pig but it is not in strictest term a restaurant but juts a bistro. Located at the ground floor of Eastwood Veranda, it has one of the premium location amongst all food establishments in the area as it is unmistakably easily seen to public views by walking traffic.

Flying Pig's interior, designed by Archt. Cahthy Saladana, remained unaltered since the first time I was here, except for a hyped up prominence of Flying Pig being your culinary Superman. The place is teeming with hanged galleries of pig related-cartoons reminiscent to that of Pugad Baboy. A makeshift, metallic iconology of what a flying pig really lay suspended on top of the cashier area, made out of used LPG tank. Red and white are generally the color conjugation of the restaurant, with red chairs coupling with white tales with equally red linings.

It is the same matriarch concept of the same restaurant groups founded by Raymund Magdaluyo, with others such as Red Crab and Seafood Club, Crustacia, Paloma, Heaven n Eggs, Clawdaddy Crabhouse, American Grill, Hula Hula Seafood and Barbecue House, Blackbeard's Seafood Island, The Red Crab, Red Crab Cafe, Red Crab Alimango House, Sumo-Sam, Texas Smoke Em, and Blu Fish Coastal Cooking which is just literally beside it.

This time around, Oink One Take One comes in two variants, Cuchinillo Burger(Php300 + 10% SC) and Pork Burger(Php299 + 10% SC). Under their menu, if you buy the a la Cart Cuchinillo, it is priced at Php265 + 10% SC, while the Pork Burger at Php225 + 10% SC. Given the small difference between the a la cart and promo price, I took the Pork Burger. The pork patty is so thick, you'd surely get full in just one burger alone. The burger comes with a really delicious fries and a courtesy bread, now if that alone wouldn't make you full, I don't know what else will.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Thor and the Einstein-Rosen bridge

This is not a movie review.

My childhood was a cartoon epidemic. I grew up with it just as everybody grow up with it as an integral part of their childhood, however mine was a little non-popular medium, comics, particularly Pinoy komiks. Unlike the general public who get fascinated Marvels, I on the other hand, followed Mars Ravelo. While everyone was so immersed with Thor, I, in my seclusion, was dipped with Dodong Maso.

It was just during college that I added DC and Marvel characters to my very few superhero assembly in the likes of Silverhawks, Centurions, and Bionic Six. One of that Marvel characters is Thor, so when the news about it released as a motion picture, I was hit by my anxiety attack.

I thought of watching it at Ultra 7(Php400) but I was informed that it's just LaZ Boy and not 3D, so I opted for the Cinema 6(Php350) instead. I have been sleeping in a LaZ Boy in the office, so that seating option has not been a luxury for me anymore.

One thing that got my attention in the movie is Einstein-Rosen bridge. For those of you who are into astronomy and astrophysics, this is not the first time that you encountered such a word. In fact, you'd probably hear it over and over, countless times. This is the holy grail of time travel, I should say.

Let me explain to you in layman's terms: Every solid surface in this world is NOT ABSOLUTELY solid. It has full of holes and crevices in a quantum scale. The same can be said of time. It is this gaping hole in the fabric of time that might give way to space travelers in unfathomable distances, the tunnel of the past and future. This tunnel is conveniently called WORMHOLE.

Hold your horses and don't sell your real estate in exchange for time travel ticket yet, wormhole is highly unstable and right before you can make your first step, it may have already closed. Second, it is humstrung by the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, one that states that you will be transported to an unknown distance and dimension in random order. Who knows you would end up at the core of a star.

As I lectured this Einstein's field equation, one student ask: can we just make an artificially created wormhole? The answer to that is YES, but it will take the power of a star to do that. And our planetary civilization can't harness that immense power, just not yet.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Old Vine Grille: Gallery of good food

While waiting for screening time of Thor, I thought of giving myself a sumptuous lunch without overindulging the guilty pleasures of meat products. So I surveyed around the Eastwood Veranda and mulled over on where I must have a resplendent meal.

Thankfully, there's Old Vine Grille, an offshoot of another Chef Mauro Arjona's culinary brilliance whipped up with the entrepreneurial genius of Larry Cortez, the same man behind the Chef's Quarter restaurant group.

I have been to some of Chef Mau's concept restaurants, Duo Steakhouse and Wine Bar and Zuni Restaurant and Wine Bar. Although these are his ventures with the Prasad family of restauranteurs, you can never go wrong with Chef Mau's delectable concoctions.

And Old Vine Grille is no difference. It is trumpeted to be a continental-themed restaurant with entrees derived from Mediterranean, French and Italian-origin. The restaurant interiors boats of an exquisite gallery of European art with paintings profusely slapped on their walls like an art museum of sort. The ceiling is a graphic representation of grapevines hanging from a trellis. The dining area is so spacious that can accommodate 50persons or even more without having to bump each other while moving around.

That day I got myself a Tessie Tomas Salad(Php295 + 10% SC), a combination of roast prawns, marinated salmons and grilled shitake mushrooms with mesclun salad in a creamy balsamic dressing, a Spaghetti Puttanesca(Php230 + 10% SC), an Italian spaghetti with tangy and spicy taste from finest ingredients of anchovies, capers, chilli peppers and olives with huge portion of shredded chicken on top, Choco Gooey Fudge(Php150 + 10% SC), a mouth-watering chocolate with strips of mango and strawberry. After your meal, you can choose the wines at the wine rack, but I decided to just conclude it with a Grape Shake(Php115 + 10% SC), a fresh grape fruit shake in finely crushed ice.

Yes, I managed to evade from the heavy meal with rice and meat but I still ended up to be so full.

Next time, I might try the duo's other restaurants like Uncle Cheffy Brick-Oven Global Cuisine and Beurre Blanc Restaurant and Wine Bar.

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