Hawker Haven at Maxwell Food Centre + BEST Hainanese Ever

That's it. I'm in love with Hawker Food
It was really providence that our hotel is located right across Maxwell Food Centre, one of the most popular hawker hotspots in the whole of Singapore. So famous, in fact that one notable celebrity foodie has deemed some of the dishes from the stalls at Maxwell "the Best of the best".
Anthony Bourdain, are you talking about Hainanese Chicken Rice?!?


Surprise Singapore Day 1: Tower Club + Chili Crab

So goes Day 1 of my Singapore Surprise trip... After we checked in at Scarlet Hotel, I wanted to get some business done before the pleasure, so first on the agenda was a business lunch with my banker to get some updates.
I asked for directions on where we were to meet, but instead she sent Barry and his Benz to pick us up and take us to our destination.
Barry, is a private driver whose card reads "Have Barry, Will Travel. He gives great tips on where to go after my lunch meeting, and I pick up his card just in case I want to feel snooty and get chauffered around Singapore.


Scarlet Hotel Singapore

 For my birthday, I was treated to a Scarlet Surprise.

Read this post on the NEW ToT: 

The Best Birthday Greeting

Spark People, a site and app I use, sent me this birthday message. It is a great tool for healthy living which tracks your food intake, exercise output, calories, veggies, water, EVERYTHING. It is like your own personal food & workout diary which you can download on your Blackberry or smartphone. Such a great message, can't believe I didn't open my email until today. 


Department of Tourism + Smart = GENIUS Philippines Ad

I found this browsing some sites and want to share it to my readers to see what your thoughts are regarding this new direction of our tourism campaign.
* This value driven campaign promotes the Philippines to its own people, many of whom opt to travel abroad unaware of their country’s beauty. “Tara na” means let’s go. * 

(P40,500 is about $900, P4,050 about $90)

After the Pilipinas Kay Ganda (Philippines So Beautiful) campaign fiasco, I have to say this subtle and simple ad speaks VOLUMES. Bravo! Even if it's tied with Smart (Communications), this ad is pretty genius, if you ask me. 

Filipinos: What do you think?
Foreigners: Are you interested?


Happy Birthday to Me...

My only birthday wish is to eat everything on my blog without gaining weight! Hahaha, I have everything a lucky happy girl could ask for... I just wish for a wicked metabolism!
Surprise Cupcakes did NOT help my self-control
I started my birthday week not very excited for the upcoming big-day. First off, it was exactly 10 years ago when I turned 18 and had a ginormous celebration, or debut, to ring in my "adult" status. Fast forward 10 years later, and we're definitely nowhere near the free-spirited teen phase. Secondly, I was not so chipper on turning 28 because it will be the first year I can NOT call myself "Mid-Twenties". Now I am definitely in my "Late-Twenties". Barfbags.
However, my week did not turn out as I planned it out to be. It is quite difficult to surprise me, usually I do the surprising. So it was a pleasant and unexpected day when my office surprised me with a mini-birthday party complete with cake, balloon-hats and spaghetti & fried chicken and harana (serenade) from the boys.

Estrelles Caramelle Cake
They admitted that it felt impossible to drag me out of a lunch meeting if our interior designer didn't pull me to look at "curtain samples"
Then, for the weekend, Mr. S surprises me with a trip to Singapore to eat our hearts silly and...
To watch Lion King! Sorry no photography during the show, it was fantastic, though. More about this trip in the coming days...
When I got back to Manila, I had a joint birthday bash with Nicola, a good friend whose birthday is only one day early from mine. Celebrating with surprise tiramisu bowls. Yumyum.
So happy Sea Princess Tessa could make it! And look at our lovely colors! Lime, Grape & Cherry and Lemon loud.
 On the eve of my birthday, I arrive at my office to find ANOTHER surprise from my office with recycled tarpaulin + balloons and cake! What's up with everyone and cake?
Later that day, I treated the entire office to Max's for Chicken-All-You-Can! My initial count was 50 people but we ended up being 80!
Another cake to blow!
When I woke up on my actual birthday, I was greeted by Jimmy Choo playing with some ribbon. How do you feel bad after looking at this mutt?
I had lunch at my favorite restaurant, Cyma in Shangri-La, and I was treated to some birthday ice-cream. I love my Cyma family :)
I was almost over-birthday'd out, but my mom decided that we must celebrate ONE more time! I got hold of my new found catering who served delicious Japanese food at a great price.
The women I grew up idolizing. Think I'll age as gracefully as they are?
Adobong Balut
Some of my favorite "presents" are not what you'd expect. #1 is a big pot of Adobong Balut aka duck fetus. My grandma from Pampanga cooks this herself and even delivered it to the house. AMAZING, buttery and cholesterolliffic at the same time.
Girlfriend Carla could not make it and sent me beautiful flowers, alongside a strawberry cheesecake from New World Hotel. Beautiful!
 I swoon every time I see a brown box with TFs name. Yay!
 I must say my brother Jerico has outdone himself again and has since added to my collection of Lumix cameras... ok ok ok I will buy you a sous vide for YOUR birthday!
 And I thought that all the birthday blessings would end today, but I arrived at my office with another delivery of roses, a mango torte, and other greetings from friends and business associates.

I'm not gonna lie... I have a little bit of a self-pity moment every time my birthday happens because I always thought birthdays after childhood meant one year closer to the end of the world. But now... I'm not so sure. I am overwhelmed by the magnitude of love and blessings given me during this week. I even took time out to respond to each and every birthday greeting I received be it the 234 facebook notifications I received. I stayed up til 3am for that one.

  I realized that life does get better with age. Maybe not as irrational, spontaneous or overwhemling as my early 20s, but hey, it's only Day 1 of my late 20s. A lot could happen... and you know a lot can definitely happen to ToT.



Wee Nam Kee's Hainanese Happy Meal

As you are reading this, I am probably in Singapore at the same time this is published, so I find it apt to roll this post out so when I arrive, I'd have some comparison to the wildly popular Hainanese Chicken Rice meal from Singapore import Wee Nam Kee. Turns out, I actually know the proprietor of the Manila franchise, so I promised I would try it out for ToT.
When news surfaced a couple of months ago of Wee Nam Kee's grand opening in Ayala Triangle Park, there was much anticipation from the hungry set because they say that this is THE best Hainanese Chicken Rice. I held off from the opening stampede because I just don't like running with the pack, and preferred to come when all the hoopla had died down. I like the birdcage chandeliers hanging from the ceilings, and the roofed awning by the booths. It reminded me of Kung Fu Panda's Noodle Shop look.
Right on the table is a condiment set of Kecap Manis (sweet soy sauce), Sesame Ginger Scallion paste, and Sambal chili. Although I like the availability of these items without needing to request from the server, I kinda wished the ginger paste was served fresh to keep up with the aroma and the texture.


Brit Brekkie at Gordon Ramsay at The London, West Hollywood

How can anyone resist a spread like this?
 Especially when this little English bulldog stopper ushers you in? Irresistable.
(courtesy of www.gordonramsay.com)
Gordon Ramsay at The London
At a recent trip to Los Angeles, I somehow had the brekkie bug and found every excuse to eat it. Hence the "Battle of the Breakfast" series on ToT. One of my memorable morning meals was an early start at Gordon Ramsay's signature restaurant for The London West Hollywood.


The Three Lechon Flavors of General's Lechon

Hello my lovely porkers, we meet again.
Three Little Pigs
Since I traverse back and forth Cebu on a regular basis, I've become somewhat of a lechon-snob. I like my porkers tasty, crispy (skin), and tender (meat) without the over-abundance of fat; the combination is next to impossible. I've even gone as far as to roast my own lechon de leche (suckling pig) just so I can attain the perfect pork. So imagine my delight when I was invited to chow down not one, but three different types of lechon from grassroots company General's Lechon. I say, why settle for one when you can have three?
I don't normally attend events for bloggers, but when Anton and Spanky call for a gathering, I'm (almost) always in because I know these two have dining du jour down pat. And when they holler "Lechon", my ears begin ringing.


Cupcake Confidential

So I started my Monday with determination that TODAY was the day I begin the road to recovery; recovery of my figure, that is. So imagine my disdain when I arrive toting a lunch-pail full of juice cleanses for the day and see this sitting pretty on my office desk. 
 A friend is developing a new concept for cupcakes and wanted ToT's honest opinion on the quality before she forges ahead in her endeavor. Honestly, I wanted to kill her for putting Day 1 of my Master Cleanse on a serious test of character. I was ready to battle the cupcake demons... but then I spotted a smidgen of red... RED VELVET!?!

Battle of the Breakfasts: Bouchon at Venetian Las Vegas

I just finished watching Hangover 2 and, though the movie is now based in Bangkok, I couldn't help but reminisce the last time I hit up Sin City and lived the suite life.
Instead of partying it up and waking up with a nasty hangover, I decided to take the old-lady route and got up early to have one of the best breakfasts I've had in a very, very long time.
 Yes, I went to Bouchon Bistro, Chef extraordinaire Thomas Keller's casual counterpart to French Laundry.


I Miss Thinking Like This: Backblog #3 03.25.07

I just found this in my drafts and realized that, a friend really needs to hear this right now. This is the last installment to the three part back blog during my soul and self-searching days, aka 2007. Some friends have been fans of my writing before I decided to commit myself to writing about my passion which is travel and food. One friend in particular, admits that he prefers my old posts about life and the in-betweens, the intangible and the inexplicable. Well, deal with it. ToT is staying put.
Mexico 2006
It's been far too long since I last put my thoughts into typed words. Suppressing emotions has never been one of my best traits, yet somehow it finds its way into my daily routine and I find myself staring off for moments at a time, looking off to space and realizing that I've failed to sit down and see the bigger picture of the days that passed me.

The year that was has been a mishmash of sorts, trying new things, going back to old ways, going places, staying in. During the earlier part, it felt as if everything was at a standstill; things were moving too slow, or not moving at all. By the latter part I would catch myself panting at the speed at which precious moments passed me by. Sometimes, all it takes is one blink and everything around me turns 180.


Roomie's Letter to Philippine Airlines CEO + PAL's Response Letter

UPDATED: PAL's response letter below. Read all the way to the bottom.

This is roomie's letter to PAL's CEO. Just want to share so that maybe, someone actually makes improvements with PAL and their procedures.

"I actually wrote it to Jaime Bautista, the COO after the flight attendant told me to write him. In the in-flight magazine he urges customer to send their complaints and comments to his email address. So it's sort of long but I can't explain all that in a few short sentences!" -Roomie

Dear Mr. Bautista

I am writing you to share my personal experiences with PAL. It is quite a long email, so I appreciate your patience in reading it.

I have never flown PAL before until last week, when I decided to give it a try to fly from Jakarta to Manila because of the favorable fares. I usually stick to Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific when flying anywhere, but their prices to Manila were quite steep. My best friend lives in Manila and I wanted to visit her for a 4-day weekend.

Here are the highlights

The Sequel: Max's Chicken All-You-Can is BACK!

I'm not even going to act like I don't care about cheap eats and great deals like the next hungry person. I CARE. And that's why I am excited to announce that as a sequel to the highly successful promotion for the restaurant's 65th anniversary in the food business, and after much demand and requests for a part deux...
Max's Chicken All-You-Can Promotion!
“Chicken-All-You-Can fever has never really waned since its successful launch last year. We have received an overwhelming clamor for this unlimited chicken offering from our customers all over the Philippines. Now, Chicken-All-You-Can is definitely here – and it’s bigger and better,” said Bobby Simborio, Corporate Communications Officer for Max’s Group of Companies. 

Here's what you need to know:
  • Chicken All-You-Can for  P199/person inclusive of a Pepsi drink (That's about USD4.50)
  • Add  P28 for bottomless soda/iced tea
  • Happening daily from June 10, 2011 to July 10, 2011, 6pm-10pm
  • "As an added treat to its customers, Max’s is also giving away free PhP 20 money coupons for every PhP200 spent during the Chicken-All-You-Can promotion. A maximum of three accumulated coupons per transaction may be used to “purchase” any Max’s products within a year after issuance." 
  • The fine print: NOT INCLUSIVE OF RICE. Yay for Carb-less dieters, Sorry for carpinteros.
  • Sorry my kababayans, only available at Max's restaurants in the Philippines.
 I'm gonna surprise my staff with unlimited chicken very soon... Well after this post it probably won't be much of a surprise. I CANT WAIT! 


Battle of the Breakfasts: Beachside Brunch at Nick's, Seal Beach

The perfect breakfast scene.
Nick's Deli on Seal Beach
So apparently, I've visited the home of the "breakfast burrito" in California, and I didn't even realize it until after the fact.
 And this is the breakfast burrito in question... Is it the best?
SoCal peeps definitely love their breakfast burritos. Ever since I could remember my first BB at Lily's on Zuma Beach (a haunt for Pepperdine kids), the fascination with handheld, fastfood fare was too good to be understood. To be able to feed oneself with one hand while driving/texting/studying/surfing/tanning with the other is a trademark of the quintessential Californian, and I've had my fair share of Brekkie Burritos.
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