Saturday, January 5, 2013

Aussie for an hour

Australia fascinates me although I've never set foot in that country. Why am I interested in the land down under? It's because my favorite band vocalist was Australian - Michael Hutchence, probably the sexiest man alive while he was living. Haha! Michael was the vocalist of the rock band INXS which was popular in the '80s. He lived a fulfilled, colorful rockstar life but he stunned the music world when, in 1997, he took his own life at the age of 37. I've finished reading two books about the life of Michael Hutchence, and stories about his childhood in Australia enchant me the most. 
Before Christmas 2012, while malling at SM North Edsa with my second child, we stumbled upon Kangaroo Jack and I learned when I read the menu that it's an Aussie restaurant. I scanned the items and thought, "So these are what Australians eat. These were what Michael ate." Haha! After much contemplation, these were what my daughter and I ordered:

Pasta, Clubhouse and Soup Combo Meal, P135.

Creamy mushroom soup (came with my meal).

Mini Burger, Chicken and Pasta Combo Meal, P125.

The mini burger was so cute I had to take a closer shot.

Cafe Americano, P35.

Iced Tea, P35.

Strawberry ice cream, P50. per scoop.

I loved everything on our table. Haha! My carbonara, fries, and clubhouse sandwich were tasty and satisfying. The soup was good too. My only complaint was that my bowl was only half-filled. :( Also, I wished they didn't put chocolate syrup on my ice cream because it made it way too sweet. My daughter loved her food, too. At one point, I noticed she was almost done with everything but her mini burger was still untouched. "Saving the best for last, huh!" I commented. "Yeah," she agreed with a smile. She was as enthralled as I was with the cuteness of the teeny weeny burger. Hehe. What made me happier, though, were the affordable prices at Kangaroo Jack. I definitely want to go back here to try their steaks and experience Aussie dining once more. :-)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Yuletide eats

What added to your waistline during the holidays? With all the Christmas parties and New Year revelry we attended and did, I'm pretty sure everyone was stuffed and gluttonous. My family spent Christmas in our hometown in Quezon so I was fortunate to just lay back and wait for Mom to finish cooking before I get to taste what she prepared. Haha! My mother, who is now 84 years old, makes really mean morcon, I tell you. She does this special beef dish only once a year, served as "queen" of our Media Noche spread, which makes it much anticipated. For this year, however, Mom made morcon in time for Christmas because we wouldn't be welcoming the New Year with them in Quezon but in Manila. As always, it was very delicious, even better that those I've tasted in some restaurants. I have yet to learn making morcon from mother, though, and I hope to do that this year. Anyway, aside from morcon, Mom also fried some chicken marinated in soy sauce and calamansi, while my brother-in-law cooked kare-kare and pancit bijon. My two daughters, on the other hand, prepared carbonara which was perfect! I'm so proud of my kids. Their carbonara was heavenly even though it was their first time preparing this pasta dish! As for me, I did the eating. Haha!  

Mom's mouthwatering morcon.

Fried soy chicken somewhat burned on the surface. Haha! Still good, though.

Delicious kare-kare by bro-in-law.

Mom's yellow rice (rice mixed with corn).

My kids' carbonara. T'was the first time they cooked this but it was perfect!

My bro-in-law makes really mean pancit bijon.

To welcome the New Year back in Manila, I prepared spaghetti and tacos while my daughters made the desserts - refrigerator cake using broas (ladyfinger), and coffee jelly. We had barbecue too but I just bought it from Andok's. I was a little bit sad because I wanted to prepare a special Media Noche spread but failed to do so because I still had to report to work on December 31 and also January 1 and thus had little time to cook. And to top this, my househelp went on vacation to her boyfriend's place in Rizal on December 30th and returned only in the afternoon of January 1. Needless to say, she was of no use at the time I needed her most. Sigh...Oh well, better luck next New Year. Hehe!

My spaghetti.

Pork barbecue from Andok's.

My taco. Notice the large-cut cabbage strips. Hubby cut them. Hehe..

Garlic toast by my eldest daughter.

Refrigerator cake also by my eldest daughter.

My second child's coffee jelly.

For dinner on New Year's Day, my family plus two nephews ate at Mang Inasal. It wasn't a very good idea, though, because at a little past 8 p.m., they had no more soup, no chili (very important to me and my nephew JC) and no more dessert! Aaargh! But since I came from work and we had no more time to go the mall after hearing the 7-8 p.m. mass, we settled for Mang Inasal which is the only restaurant apart from Jollibee that is near our place. Still, it was a happy occasion for the family, especially since my two nephews, the sons of my sister who passed away on this date (January 2) 11 years ago, only get to stay with us for a few days during summer and Christmas.

At Mang Inasal, Pork Sisig.

Chicken Pecho.

Dinuguan at Puto.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Fresh start, new beginnings

New year, fresh start! As 2012 was a challenging year for me, I welcome 2013 with a big smile and arms wide open. To me, it offers hope for a better life ahead career-wise and on the personal front. Oh well, 2012 was not so bad. A lot of beautiful things happened inside the home and family and while it was quite difficult in the third quarter at work, things turned brighter toward the last quarter. 
On the home front, three of the kids graduated in March - our eldest from college, the second from high school, and the youngest from kindergarten. Those were joyous occasions for me and my husband, never mind that these incurred huge expenses. Haha! Around March also, I started this blog, inspired by the numerous food blogs that I read. Doing photography (though amateurishly. Hehe!) and writing each post excite me and give me a sense of fulfillment both as an artist and a writer. Come summertime, my two sisters based in the US and Canada came home and all of us in the family save for our dad went on a weekend vacation in Legazpi, Albay. Seeing Mayon Volcano up close and personal was indeed an overwhelming and exhilarating experience, what with its majestic beauty and magnificence. We also spent two weeks in our father's hometown of San Francisco in Quezon Province, where we spent almost every single day swimming in the beach or simply walking along the seashore. I thoroughly enjoyed burying my feet on the sand, breathing in the fresh, cool air and taking pictures of the sunset by the sea. Meanwhile, December offered a different high for me as the office Christmas party presented me with an opportunity to go back to my first love and showcase a talent long buried in the hills of my personal life - dancing. When I was young, it was my dream to become a member of OctoArts or Wea Dancers so I could dance on TV. No kidding! Haha! Dancing was my life at school and elsewhere until college at UST but when when I entered the College of the Holy Spirit, went into a serious relationship and eventually finished college and got married, dancing (and choreographing) took a backseat. Until our Christmas party in the office came. Were my co-workers surprised that I could actually dance and even choreograph a dance number! Haha! I was thrilled to be dancing again. These were the highlights of my 2012.

Dusk. I took this sunset photo in our hometown in Quezon Province.

My sister's snapshot of Mayon Volcano. The file of my own shots was destroyed by virus, sadly and unfortunately.
And now, it's 2013. I hope to be able to dance in more occasions. Haha! Also, there are other things I hope to be able to do. I want to be able to finish and hang a painting, to do fashion design again as I did in my teenage years, to relearn playing the piano and try new recipes. As a new year resolution, I hope and will try my best to manage my time and wake up early in the mornings. More importantly, I want to have a closer relationship with God and to be able to spread His word in my own little way. 
Have a blessed, bountiful and beautiful 2013 everyone! Cheers!

Monday, December 31, 2012

Afternoon delight

When Panciteria Lido opened a branch in our office neighborhood on Visayas Ave. in Quezon City last year (as I remember, I hope I'm right), I was pleased. A new food place to go to when I get tired of canteen food, I thought. However, it took me so long before I finally set foot inside it. Last November 30, as it was a holiday, I brought my youngest son with me to work (we in the news room don't have a holiday. Hehe!) and come merienda time, we went to Panciteria Lido. It was my first time ever at any branch of this Chinese restaurant which first opened its doors to the hungry in 1936. I know that it is famous for its Pugon-Roasted Asado so this, I ordered, tucked inside a pandesal, and paired with a cup of their Siphon-Brewed Coffee. I wanted to try their pansit, too, but since I ate creamy macaroni soup cooked by a co-worker (In our office, we are provided with lunch, snacks and dinner during holidays) just before my son and I headed out, I settled for just pandesal and coffee. And I was not disappointed about this best-seller of Panciteria Lido. Both the Pandesal Asado and Siphon-Brewed Coffee brought me to gastronomic heaven on that sunny afternoon. The pieces of Asado, which taste quite close to Chinese ham, were tender and tasty, with just the right tinge of saltiness and a bit of sweetness when you pour some of its sauce into it. And my coffee? It was so good! I knew at first sip that this cup of joe is worth coming back for. Meanwhile, my son also loved the Breakfast Chinese Longanisa (which is served all day long) so much that at first bite of the sausage, he proclaimed that he wanted to come back here soon. Haha! I definitely recommend this restaurant for your merienda cena and family gatherings. They do offer, aside from Pugon-Roasted Asado, Beef Broccoli, Drunken Lechon Macau (this I want to try!), Buttered Chicken and a lot more! And before I forget mentioning, service is good, too, at least in this 
branch on Visayas Ave.

Kape at Pandesal Asado, P125.
Breakfast Chinese Longanisa, P155.

Siphon-brewed coffee.

Iced Tea, P35.