Tripping on Tate's

So......I've been sickly for what seems like forever. While not the swine-flu, I have the flu from hell which resurrects itself now and then and leaves me all blah and gross. I need love, and comfort, and love, in the form of goodies....

Here's the problem... I seem to be oblivious to the barriers and continents hindering the cultivation of my cravings. This doesn't always happen, but living in different crannies in the world does not a content tummy make. And coz I'm sick, I must have the essential feel good items. No matter what the circumstances. This is especially true when it comes "ze cookie".
It started with Famous Amos... those tiny, bite size,, melt in your mouth nibblets found in SM Megamall in the 90s, and in vending machines in the US. The latter version are crunchy and mass produced and packed to last a lifetime. The Megamall version is perfectly cooked on the spot, warm and gooey, and engulfs the ground level of Building A with the hypnotizing aroma of brown sugar, cookie dough and chocolate. That just wins daydreams for me.


The BIG Holiday Outlet Sale 2009 PROMO!

Here are the deets to this Holiday's biggest sale event!!!

PROMO! PROMO! PROMO! The first 50 commenters get to enter with a friend for free! Just type in your full name and your plus 1 and click COMMENT and we'll let you in! At The BIG Holiday Outlet Sale 2009, just say you're on the ToT guestlist and say your username/full name! Good for 3 days already!

Don't forget to make a (Christmas gift) list, check it twice so you can buy your loved ones something nice!

Biggest Brands! Lowest Prices!

December 4-6, 2009
SMX Convention Hall 4
Mall of Asia Complex


hk = heart killer

Last week I was in HK for a quasi-business trip. Supposedly to attend some expos and shows, the trip ended up being more of a slow walking tour of the jewelry shops north of my HK hotel. The non business side of the trip was just crappy. Slow walking and HK streets just don't mix.
On the flipside, I had some pretty good meals during my stint which alleviated the stress I endured during the entirety. No explanations. All the meals were memorable. See? When God closes a door, He opens a restaurant or two :)
Dinner at Padang Indonesian Resto
Coconut Milk with Grass Jelly Drink

Read the complete post on the NEW Trip or Treats 


Dinners at Homes

 Last week we had back to back dinners at home, one at our place and another for my mom's BFF at her lovely home. But let me warn you, the images below are not an accurate representation of our home cooked meals. Ok fine, save for the steak and the occasional lobster and food, we don't really pull out the good china. 
Since childhood, my family always valued good food whether made from scratch or restaurant bought. And probably like every other Filipino family, food is the ultimate form of courtesy, affection, and usual overcompensation device for such  issues as lack of attention (as a child), lack of entertainment (at a party, unless it's karaoke), or lack of subject matter (just keep your mouth full so you don't have to speak!)

My much loved aunt from Chicago arrived with a nice big box of pasalubong for the entire family: an entire case of Maine lobsters!!! Being seafood addicts, we welcomed this wholeheartedly. My mother insisted, it must be surf n turf night!


Red Cross Gala Dinner

Lately I've had this very unproductive habit of buying things before I find the need for it. It's my fault, ever since coming up with the wise thought that there is no need until you know something exists, I've found myself needing everything I happen to chance upon.... especially on the internet.
ToT with Ish
But it truly is better to have something and not need it, than need something and not have it. In a matter of days, I found myself as a guest for this year's Red Cross Gala with a very special exhibition of designer Dennis Lustico's deliciously gorgeous garbs. Good thing I had this lovely Badgley Mischka gown I bought off the web (ala rack) which had been festering some cabinet mites.
Dennis Lustico has been on the radar for some time due to his very well executed and crafted dresses and trousers. I've been following his work for some time, and was excited to finally be a part of his first solo exhibit. But come on, I'll be honest, aside from the opportunity to dress up, I was really there for the foooooood! And food there was!


Julie & Julia & ToT

I miss movie nights. I especially miss hoarding all the popcorn and candy at the AMCs or United theaters in the States. But in all honestly, Manila cinemas are the shiznitz for seat comfort, food variation (who would think, Binalot!) and unwaivering cold ac.

So imagine my jubilations when my girlfriend C sends me an insta-sms asking me to be her date to a movie. I ask which movie, she answered, and the rest is history...

Well not really.

Julia & Julie is THE film I was dying to watch. Beyond Meryll Streep's overabundant personification of ze Julia Child, it is the plot of a twentysomething lady with a lot of "duh" on her head who decides to blog about food. Specifically, a one year cook-off from Ms. Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. (Note to self: get a copy of the book)
While waiting in line, we were greeted by these adorable women dressed up in Le Cordon Bleu outfits, which is where Julia Childs took up her culinary studies


Wine-topia at Wine Depot Festival

So there was this very odd weekend when a lot of shit almost literally hit the fan. I needed a drink... I needed a lot of drink. A few Saturdays ago, manna from heaven came down to earth in the form of Wine Depot's tasting event.
Held at the NBC Tent at the Fort Strip, the wine tasting was a consummation of different vineyards, distributors, suppliers and connoisseurs. There was also no shortage of alcoholics, hoarders, and just plain thirsty goers... that would be my entourage right there.
Saw my good friend G at the event, I decided to turn him into my model bitch. He gladly obliged.
Upon registering, they issue you your very own glass, which will be used for all the free flowing wine you want to gulp down. I liked this sommelier's style. lol
I liked this Chilean line called Casablanca Valley
Booth after booth, the P1000 pass gave unlimited access to vino from Australia (where most of the vendors originated), France, Spain and other grapeful countries. I really enjoyed the Late-Picked one from Tulloch vineyard. Must get more.


Terry's Treats

I recently went through a spanish phase... where everything ingested must be birthed from either barcelona, catalana, or the subsects of Spain. When such a phase happens, I must head to Terry's Selection
3rd floor delicatessen side
The branch at the Podium is so convenient from work that the fam usually goes there for some lunch. I like Podium for the grocery style appeal where it feels like shopping in New York or even in Barcelona itself. But this time, I wanted to try something different and headed to the Makati branch... the treasure is found on the third floor
The third floor of the Salcedo branch of Terry's is somewhat of a hidden gem. It's two flights up really steep stairs, and not very many people want to climb that high, but that's where the deli section is, and there are only about 2 tables on the top floor, making it an intimate dining setting amidst bottles of vino, vats of olio, and slices of jamon iberico.

Julius, super attentive server/sommelier. Look for him
The clincher must have been Julius, who is the most serviceable server I have met. Short of wiping my mouth with my napkin, he was on his toes, in service, all the time. And to think, he had to go back and forth the 1st and 3rd floor to get our wine, bread, blahblahblah... A MUST look to for him and leave a ginormous tip.


Ziggurat's Oxymoron of an Experience

The craziness of the typhoon drive, packing rice, distributing goods and staying dry from the rains has subsided, I can now resume the habit of my gluttony, aka Trip or Treating. I've been eating out lately and the posts need to catch up with the blog so bear with me...
Lately my tastebuds have been craving for stinky, sweat inducing food, and after my Indian craving I headed off to Ziggurat for some Persian grub. Islamic food actually, because the menu ranged from Ethiopian, Persian, Iranian and other exotic cuisines.Noted for its authentic dishes, the menu is like a newsletter of different food elements used in the  menu, such as curry, yogurt, and the usage of spices. I was hungry so I completely zoned out on that part.
Ziggurat is located in the heart of Makati's red light district by P. Burgos and Makati Ave.The space is a super visual bubblegum, literally in pink and all the bright colors that resemble Morrocan and vibrant food.


Best Trip Ever: Typhoon Drive Update

Dear Trip or Treaters

Let me update you on the day that has passed. I was contacted by a local magazine/website to be featured for my efforts to help the victims of the unfortunate event that is Typhoon Ondoy. Since I promised to update those who gave, and also those who are in the loop, I'll just send you what I sent the writer... because I'm damn tired and there is so much work to do. Multitasking at its best.

Trip Or Treats
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: J
Date: Thu, Oct 1, 2009 at 12:22 AM
Subject:  Typhoon Efforts
Hi ,

I'm going to try to follow your SMS as much as possible, then inject nalang in the bottom so you get the details:

A group of us girls (Gel Schmeing Cruz, Tanya Cuaso, Hilary Favila) discussed last Monday to help the ones ignored and prepare just 500 bags of relief goods + 500 cooked meals for San Mateo, Rizal, an area with over 80k families in distress but very low on the media mileage.  Sent an SMS + facebook efforts regarding this.


A different kind of Treat :)

Dear President Obama: You are correct. WE are the one's we've been waiting for!

Dear Friends,

If you're aware or not, a vicious typhoon has hit Manila and flooded a big portion of the cities. There are many areas which were completely submerged in water, and many people resorting to climbing up on their roofs to get shelter from the rising water.

Feeding and helping someone during these trying times might be the catalyst for a saved life, as well as a fulfilled life for those who become part of the efforts. In this time, I feel like nothing I do is enough, I want to do more. SO MUCH MORE. But then I see that others around me are giving the same, giving more, doing more. And I know that it is enough. We are enough


Bollywood is Westwood for Indian

Nothing tickles my tastebuds like a plate full of spices and sauce. And no one does both better than Indian food.

Since living with my roommate C in Santa Monica, Indian food has been a staple cuisine in our tummies. Lunch runs to Ambala Dhaba on Westwood always ended up with C ordering her Chicken Tikka Masala (white meat, nonetheless), and my Lamb Saag, while sharing Samosas, Garlic Naan and Mango Lassis. It definitely helps to have an asian roommate who can not only rival my height (NOT asian size, that's for sure), but can also fight alongside my appetite.

In Manila, I've had some good Indian, and some bad Indian (shudderrrrr), but I always seem to go back to Bollywood. Kashmir in Pasay Road is also very very good, but sometimes it gets a bit tough on the wallet. Bollywood is the total package.
Bollywood is the ultimate Bombay trip. The space is brightly decorated with Indian movie posters, paintings and sarongs and beads. The festiveness of the decor almost makes you think this restaurant is a joke, but the food is authentic.


Shameless Plug: The BIG Outlet Sale 2009!

Here's an event worth saving up and making a trip for:

The BIG Outlet Sale 2009!
Biggest Brands! Lowest Prices!

OCTOBER 16-18, 2009
30 Meralco Ave. Ortigas Pasig

FREE Entrance to all BPI Cardholders!Brands Include:


Myth by Randy Ortiz, Patrice Ramos Diaz, Esprit de Corps, Giordano, Giordano Concepts, Giordano Ladies, Nike Golf, Levi’s, Dockers, Adidas, Reef, PUMA, Triumph, Chocolate, Salsa Trends, Katricewear, , Goods of Desire, Cole Vintage, La Copa, Blue Star Exchange, Jockey, Pink Manila, Orange Juice, Big & Small Co, Spin, Havin’ a Baby, Fuddy Duddy


Mizuno, Substance, NJ Sneaks, Renegade Folk, Adidas, Ipanema, Grendha, Riders, Dupe, Ed Hardy


Luxasia, Guerlain, YSL, Davidoff, Hylexin, Jurlique, Stella McCartney, Burberry Kanebo, Max Factor, Anne Klein, Elizabeth Arden


Hugo Boss, Tommy, Citizen, Time Force, Everlast, Storm, Lambretta


Ferragamo, Shanghai Tang, Oakley, Ray Ban, Calvin Klein, Bvlgari,Levis, Tag Heuer, Lacoste, Ideal Vision, Versace,

JB Sports, Dunlop, Slazenger, Head, Mares, Babolat, Everlast, Deuter, Zoggs, Swans, Nike Golf, Adams Golf, Tourstage, Titleist


Power Mac Center, Olympus, JBL, Western Digital, Sennheiser, Philips, Cutting Edge, Parker, Victorinox, JA Henckels Zwilling, Bicycle, Switch, Canon


Tefal, OXO, Rowenta, Beka, Princess, Simmons, Canopy Home, Samsonite, American Tourister

See below for Promo Mechs!

Dreaming of Damaso... Sigh

After being eternally bedridden these past three days to due a recurring flu aka trangkaso, I finally generated enough braincells to go back to finishing up the long list of blogs waiting to be written. For some reason, I've been itching to write this blog because, from what I remember of the nibbles and the bites... this was one good experience.

I'm quite convinced that my fingers wanted to type away because tasting absolutely nothing, on my sad little food tray brought to my bedside, just pisses me and my tummy off. Not to mention ToT. I NEED TO TASTE SOMETHING!

Last week, my (almost always mistaken as a fraternal twin) brother and I decide to go "malling" during the afternoon to check out some watches. Now the term "malling", if everyone remembers correctly, means heading out to the mall to chill out. I don't remember the last time I've done it past high school... but I remember a disturbing mention the term while he and some middle aged men were found strolling around the mall in the heat of the afternoon, malling. Shudder.

Anyway, one thing bro and I both share so generously is a never ending appetite and ever present desire to eat out. Having lived in LA together, I've infected his masculinity by introducing him to the haven that is Fred Segal's and coordinated garb, while he has killed my femininity by infecting me with his burly appetite. Being 6'1'', he needed someone dependable enough to eat next to his side through thick waist or thinning hair. From taking Pepperdine University's Waves Cafe and turning it into a degustation experience for college kids, we've graduated to actual degustations at Lolo Dads, Aubergine and Peter Luger's
For our afternoon delight date, we decide to set up shop in Greenbelt 5's Damaso restaurant, home of the infamous Brazo de Mercedes I so excitedly blogged about previously.


Haute Hawker at Lime88

As a rejoinder to previous retaliatory post about my supposed snooty food facade, please welcome part deux of my attempt to erase the myth that I do not eat below my social class. I bring you isaw (intestine), balut (duck fetus), kwek kwek (don't ask, I don't know either), and tuyo (cured fish).

With a twist, of course.

Exactly what Lime88 is all about, street food with a twist, as their tagline indicates.

My girlgroup and I just couldn't get enough of each other and decided to meet a second time in one week, which is all but rare, this time for some good old Filipino cuisine. I've been craving for isaw (intestine) for a while... so this was a perfect crave buster.
Lime88 is literally a house turned resto in the heart of Mandaluyong city. Entering the house gate feels like walking into one of those 80's soirees at some guy's house where chairs are propped by the garage, music blaring from the inside, and shabby chic lighting illuminates and sets the mood for soiree-ing. There is an indoor area complete with karaoke room, but we digressed, knowing for certain our Assumptionista gab would overpower any minus-one song by three decibels.The thought of beer garden also comes to mind, but hey were not picky, like some people think.


Neo Neo Nyum Nyum Chicken!

Ok, so I got bothered because someone wanted to prove a dull point and told me that I seem to go only to fine dining restaurants; that I dare not eat in (shockers!) Zagat-less rated establishments or that I lack the diversity for food flair and extremity befit a foodie. Hello?!?
Kamayan sa dahon ng saging (walang tira!)
(eating with your hands on banana leaves) (no leftovers!)
Street food (ok fine it's in bangkok, but still!)
The ultimate pinoy piled on plate


kfc zinger +funshots = ultimate meal
Whaaaaatever... you don't know who you're dealing with.


Scuba ala Sogod Bay

Inexcusable, I know. After an almost two week hiatus from ToT I come back (hopefully) banging out post after post, since I'm recovering from a flu with some more clarity in my head literally from the flushing of congestion as well as the recapturing of some alone time. I haven't been boring, I've just been lazy. I promise I'll work on the procrastination bone.

So a few weeks back I went on an impromptu vaca for one of the numerous September long weekends and did what I love to do:
scuba!!! Everyone who's known me this past year can attest that I am gaga over scuba diving and all the technical gadgetry involving it. Save for the everpresent freckles and occasional jellyfish stings, scuba has literally changed my life, just like yoga. It gives me two things: one, the chance to explore yet another part of the world, this time not involving a plane, train or sneakers; the other, the opportunity to get to meet the delicious plethora of seafood that I absolutely adore seeing on my dining table. Hey, my stomach thinks first, I'm just being honest :) So my long weekend destination of choice: Sogod Bay. Sogod wha?!? Yes, its not really on the diving map just yet, as more accessible places like Anilao and Puerto Galera and more famous finds like Tubbataha and Apo Reef, are more on the list of dive locations. But the dive crew is always on the lookout for the next best thing, so we were lucky when A got in touch with his dive guide from Palau who recently moved back to his motherland to start anew in the hidden gem that is Sogod Bay.


Back to 03.25.07 - I Write Because I Know I Am Not Alone

To ward of lag time before I post my brand new escapades of food and flight, I give you, hungry readers, the sequel to my previous back blog... 2007 seemed like such a great year for contemplating.


I was inspired by a friend of mine who posted a movie clip with the quote "we read to know that we are not alone," by J. Lewis on the subject matter. I have yet to view that clip attached, but the line itself has forced me out of slumber and has been bugging my brain since I saw it earlier today.

Not since I saw the Ipod ad asking me to "Give Chance a Chance" have I been so moved to randomly spill my thoughts based on someone else's thoughts.

It is true to a t. It's a fact: I write what I do because I know I am not alone or hope that I am not alone. Not in the literal, physical sense of the word. I've never really had a problem with being alone, or single, or unattached. Moreover, it is the belief that I am not the only person who thinks my thoughts, who wonders about certain matters, who stays up at night (or in my case, gets out of bed) and ponders... in this universe so large and insurmountable... is there someone who gets it just like I do?

Many people are scared of being alone... There is a trick question I ask everyone: What do you want to be when you grow up? Usually people say an occupation, or a family man, something in that manner. What do I say? I don't want to be alone. Obviously freaked many people out, but I never meant it in the literal sense. I never had that need to always have someone by my side and more often than not enjoy my own company. Blame it on being the youngest and only girl. While my brothers were out in school I was playing mindgames with Barbie and the Carebears, my formative years becoming a preview of things to come.

There are plenty who cannot bear the thought of being alone, and always have some sort of candy hanging on them, be it arm candy, a shoulder to lean on, or a pet to personify. Jimmy Choo doesn't count though.. as he is a real person who just looks fuzz


Choi Coma

Chinese food always has a certain appeal to it. From haute chinois locations to fastfood moo shoo, everyone craves for Chinese at one time or another. Be it dim sum or peking duck or salted fish fried rice, Chinese food is almost always tasty. The plethora of flavors, spices and concoctions are so intricate yet complex that the balance must be established to make sure that it is truly authentic.

Most celebratory events for our family involve Chinese food. Lately, our resto of choice is Choi Garden, owned by, duh, Mr. Choi. Mr. Choi was a previous partner of the Gloria Maris restaurant group which has branches from here to there. After some disagreements and undisclosed issues, Mr. Choi decided to separate from the conglomerate and set up shop in Annapolis Greenhills. Not one to get in between drama, we went where our tongues salivated more. We have been willing and hungry Choi chompers since then.

Since the parentals were out on a safari, I played matron and decided to order set D. Set D is supposedly good for 12 people. Our party was for 9. But when you take into account that 6 out of 9 are all males, with 3 being my oversized brothers and the rest my brother's equally hungry friends, it was evident we needed more food.

Do I even have to elaborate on the authenticity and flavor of these dishes? Can you just take my word for it?


How to Have the Perfect Weekend

Weekends are somewhat of an addiction of mine. Since moving back, I count the hours til the clock finally ticks Saturday. I've vowed to resuscitate my liver by drinking only on weekdays, although it seems to be slightly less effective in terms of sobriety. I also took up diving to compensate for my lack of eagerness to go out, so my weekends are my special days. Those two days of sheer solitude usually end up becoming opportunities for things I used to do ritualistically when I was living in sunny California.

The intense addiction to weekends is actually the cause of this blog, Trip or Treats. My friend B once told me on YM: J, I never know where you will be until I find out on FB that you are either here, or there or everywhere. It's like you want to escape Manila. You should be a travel writer. Well... not quite, but this is a pretty good attempt, right?

My weekend rituals are quite simple really. I love to drive, preferably with the view of the Pacific Ocean on either side of the window and/or driving to some far off destination aka LONG DRIVE. I love being near the water to watch the sun set or rise. And lastly, ahhh... I really enjoy feeding people with food that I prepare myself.

I did all three this weekend when my adopted famiglia and I went to Punta Fuego to enjoy the long weekend with some driving, sun and food.
Driving: No matter what you hear about Angelenos and freeway road rage, it doesn't apply to me.
I L.O.V.E to drive. Of course, it helps to have a sweet ride, but it's not so much the physical manifestation of driving that delights me, as it is the mental clarity I get when maneuvering the brake and gas with my bare feet while hearing the engine respond fully. It feels like an orchestra performing a symphony with driver as conductor. Having a banging playlist also does wonders to soundtrack the fast paced lights running across the windows.


Italia-mania at C's

Being a temporary resident of a foreign country exposes you to so many different aspects of their culture: language, lifestyle and cuisine. Obviously, the latter is my favorite of all even though the others are still on my shortlist.

When mi studiare a Firenze, I made sure that no meal was left uneaten, no vino left uncorked, no cappuccino unsipped, no cured meat untouched, and no gelato unenjoyed. And here's proof!
Gelato craze
Pizza from Napoli
Fave meat shop for some Prosciutto
Ristorante Ciak for some Pasta Ciak
Cafe Liberta's signature cappuccino
Trattoria Za Za's mouthwatering Bistecca FiorentinaLimoncello shots at SpleenAcqua Al Due's Trio Di Bistecca Fiorentina: Balsamic, Blueberry and Filetto
The crap part about being exposed to such authenticity is the sheer frustration and withdrawal syndrome that follows suit when, upon returning to the motherland, one finds herself faced with faux-talian food that is reminiscent of 3M pizza or kiddie spaghetti with ketchup as base. I like them and still crave for them when I'm on children's party mode. But still... you can't mess with Italian!


Nihonbashi Tei Hits

Lately, my dive crew and I have been getting chummier than ever, meeting more than once a dive to rehash dives and plan trips and whatnot. Of course what do I do best but to introduce my beloved divers to the wonders of the sea... seafood that is.
Or more specifically... Sashimi!
Now here's the thing... everyone needs to be discerning when it comes to the raw fish craving. I've had one too many experiences where an ingested piece of sushi means a weekend glued to the toilet. Or when biting on a piece of shake sashimi feels like licking a popsicle, you know it's been sitting on the freezer longer than it should be kept fresh.

The downfall with a sushi addiction is the inevitable pains the wallet feels. Good sushi does not come cheap... Or so we thought.
Enter Nihonbashi Tei
Nihonbashi Tei is a Japanese joint in Makati by Pasay Rd. Its entrance is lit up like a karaoke studio which makes it impossible to miss. The interiors are nondescript, as if to insinuate that they don't care about the ambiance as much as the food, but props for the staff because they always seem uppity scurrying around greeting diners and getting the orders.
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