Thursday, January 31, 2013

Vietnamese Coffee Experiment

I have a new kitchen gadget. It is a Vietnamese coffee maker.

PD and Michelle were in my house and I experimented with my new toy. I even had to watch a video on YouTube on how to make Vietnamese coffee.

I added a tablespoon of condensed Alaska filled milk.

I used a tablespoon of ground coffee.

Filled the coffee maker half way with hot water.

After mixing the coffee with milk, I poured PD's drink in a glass full of ice.

Not bad for an experiment.

This is what I had at Rene's Saigon in Puerto Princesa.


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Ba Noi's ... The Fresh Flavors of Vietnam

If you Google for the best Vietnamese restaurant in Manila, Ba Noi's would come up at the top of the list. I am still in my Beef Pho obsession. After My hearty meal at Plantation on Carlos Palanca, I went to Ba Noi's on Perea St. Both are located a minute or two away from Greenbelt 1.

The place was packed, I had to wait for a while until a table became available.

I ordered the Beef Pho.

I was happy with what I ate. The soup was piping hot.... It had a fresh, light and clean taste.

The serving of bean sprouts and basil leaves was generous.

They even gave me a complimentary plate of kropeck.

I plan to recommend to place to Ms. Ann. She was the one who introduced me to Vietnamese Cuisine.

The restaurant is open everyday! Even on Sundays, parking will not be a problem anymore.




Grilled Mediterranean Pork Chops

My Kuya and I attended a meeting with our lawyers this morning. We had an early lunch at the place he has been telling me about called Plantation on Carlos Palanca.
His favorite is the Grilled Mediterranean Pork Chops.
We ordered the same thing. Next time, he said he will also treat Mona. I have my eye of the Lechon Kawali with Pinakbet!
If you happen to be in the area, it is worth a try for office people who have a little extra budget for lunch. The place is popular because it was full and other diners had to wait for vacant tables. I think my Kuya wanted me to be inspired, to somewhat open a small scale restaurant like Plantation.

Goodies from my Fairy Godmother

Almost every night, Mona and I love to tell bedtime stories. We usually talk on the phone before midnight.

Here are some excerpts from our conversations:

Mona: Lia, I want to eat Kare Kare.

Lia: Mona, I want to eat hotdog with cheese sauce, chopped white onions and crumbled bacon.

Mona: I am excited about our barbecue party in March. Let's grill burgers and hotdogs.

Lia: Mona! Why are you thinking about our March food activity already? We still have a seafood party this February.

Lia: Mona, what is your favorite brand of bacon?

Mona: I like Hormel or Purefoods.

Lia: Mona! I want to eat bacon, a whole pack ! Then I want to heat a big can of pork and beans using the oil drippings of the bacon!

So, most nights we go to bed thinking about the food we talked about.

I posted on FB that I was so hungry! Then asked my neighbor what food she has at home.

Cindy replied, I will be there in 2 minutes, wait for me outside the gate.

Ohhhh look what my fairy godmother brought me for "past" midnight snack!

Bacon! A whole pack!

Cheese Sausage from Poco Deli! She was the one who also gave me sausages from the deli but super frozen I could not cook it yet.

A liter of pineapple juice!

Granny goose tortillos!

She even brought cakes from Breadtalk which I had to decline because I cannot eat wheat.

Ohhhhh what a lifesaver!

I cooked the cheese sausage. It was so good! Juicy! And the cheese was oozing out!

I let her try the Yonanas frozen fruit ice cream. She said, she liked it!

Ohhhhh..... so bad of me.... Hahahaha I was enjoying the sausage so much.... There was just a little bite or two left when I remembered I did not even offer her if she wanted some of the sausage she gave me!

It was so nice of Cindy to indulge me in my midnight yen.

Thanks, Cindy! Next time I go crazy in the middle of the night, will remember you are just a few corners away!


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

"Love...... Love..... Love"

If you have been following my blog for quite a while now, you know I am silly-crazy. I went to Rustan's Rockwell and asked one of the butchers if by chance they have bone marrow. The guy said he will check their walk-in freezer and he came out with one as long and as thick as my forearm! I asked him to get a couple more and cut each one into two.

What I love about Rustan's is that they usually give in to my request. I told the butcher I only like the center part..... The part where the marrow is. I do not want the end part of the shin bone because I have no use for it.

Now..... Here comes the silly part.... As I was pushing the cart in the supermarket, I was humming softly ( I hope?) the song, " Love..... Love... Love". If you could have seen me, I had this unholy gleeful expression on my face.

I should not feel guilty whenever I buy bone marrow. According to the Eat Daily Blog, (, the marrow is a good source of protein and monounsaturated fat.

Another source is:

"Beef marrow is quite fatty but none of it is saturated in nature."

"Since it does not contain saturated fat, it should not significantly contribute to your risk of heart disease and type-2 diabetes."

It is also a source of iron and calcium.

Hard to believe, is it not? But then it is up to you.

My Grandmother had bone marrow almost everyday and never had a heart problem.

I made Bulalo Soup with my beef bone marrow.

I added young sweet corn, about 4 inches in length.

If I want to make my family happy, I should serve them this soup all the time. I shared my Bulalo with PD, gave her THREE of my precious bones!

I invited my Kuya, he had one. I could only finish 2! It was so heavenly! The whole marrow slipped from the bone easily! Ate it with hot steaming rice and my dipping sauce was kalamansi and patis.

The perfect partner of course was fried crispy Tawilis!


Monday, January 28, 2013

Simple Food

Sometimes, I often think.... Is my food "blog-worthy" enough? I like to cook and eat simple food. I am very wary of dishes with a "twist". I am even more "allergic" when I hear the word fusion. Why ruin a perfectly good adobo by adding something new to it?

Perhaps, I am very old-fashioned when it comes to food. I always love to re-create what I had when I was growing up. I remember reading a handwritten recipe by my Grandmother, it was Lechon Meycauyan or what we know as Lechon Kawali. It was "roasted" using a kawali and not deep fried. I use that technique sometimes when I want to render fat from Liempo to use for my sautéed vegetables.

Lechon "Kawali"

Sautéed Sitaw

Can you see how shiny the vegetables are? And..... glistening in natural animal fat???

Saturated fat gets a bad reputation all the time. But actually, it is not bad. I know all the dietitians and medical practitioners will disagree with me.

Compare the regular cooking oil whether, canola, grape seed, or corn (They all underwent a series of processing) with natural animal fat which did not undergo processing. Which do you think is healthier??? Maybe I am just a fluke of Mother Nature because even if I consume saturated fat, my cholesterol level is low and I do not have a fatty liver. Perhaps it is because I do not eat wheat, which is a big reason why I can indulge in saturated fat.

I still cannot forget the Adobong Hito Mayette served yesterday. Since I do not have Hito at the moment..... Mayette's Chicken and Pork Adobo was good enough for me.

Hahahaha! Do you think it is immodest and not so humble of me if I say all the food I cooked today were delicious???? Mom used to scold me whenever I heap lots of praises on my own cooking. She said, I should not do that. But what can I do? My simple food tasted really good!!!


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Picnic in Tagaytay

I love picnics! All kinds of picnics!

That is my most favorite activity. I am even imagining when my BF proposes marriage to me, he would do it while we are having a picnic on a grassy river side or lakeside area. Knowing me.... I would probably concentrate more on the food rather than the marriage proposal. I bet I would even swallow the ring which he will put in the food. Hahahaha! But I digress.....

Mayette invited us for a picnic in Tagaytay.

I immediately said yes and rounded up the troops, Jing and Mona.

How can I say NO????? She said, Tita Letty would bring my favorite!

As soon as I heard that her Mom arrived, I went down to greet her! Hehehehe.... And they all knew why I was so excited.

Funny.... Mon went into a mega panic mode when he realized I was in the garden! He thought that I was eating Lechon already! But then, he probably said to himself...... "No Way are they going to start without me! I hold the magic key!"

Hahahaha ha! Does he not know I do not need a cleaver to eat Lechon?

Mayette cooked the Butter Garlic Crab.....

Fresh Lumpiang Ubod.... Jing even helped Mayette with the homemade wrapper.

The Adobong Hito was really delicious! I ate more Hito than Lechon!

Mayette really makes good adobo. I kept on saying..... "Sarap ng Adobong Hito!" But then after a while I shut up because the others might hear and get more! I realized that not all people eat Hito. Well... Yay! More for me!

The childhood cook of Jon prepared the Salmon Belly Sinigang with fresh tamarind pods!

I brought all the ingredients of my salad and assembled it there. I used the Japanese Soy Sesame Dressing.

Mona cooked Pancit Sotanghon!

It was a hit! First thing that got wiped out.

I loved the Pancit Malabon from Tito Vino and Tita Baby. I had a HUGE serving! I am allowed eat rice noodles.

Another bestseller was the Sans Rival of Tita Letty!

I forgot to take a picture of the BIG box of Cheese Pichi Pichi from Jing.

Mark and Cindy brought Pistachio Cake.

The pineapple was so sweet! It was like someone poured syrup on it.

The caretaker got fresh coconut from the tree.

The boys enjoying their buko......

The girls enjoying their buko.....

And.... This is me..... Hahahaha ha! Do I look like I am enjoying my buko?

It was a cool afternoon..... Perfect for a picnic in the garden.

We enjoyed ourselves so much!

Coincidentally, it is the wedding anniversary of Jon and Mayette tomorrow!

Happy anniversary!

Thank you so much again for letting me have an unforgettable experience with you and our friends in Tagaytay!


Dreaming of Chao Long in Puerto Princesa

There is only one reason why I want to go back to Puerto Princesa. I want to eat the Chao Long again!

I would love to do a day trip just for the very delicious soup! I cannot get it out of my mind. I have eaten in a lot of Vietnamese restaurants here in Manila but nothing can compare!

Rene's Saigon is the the best place to get this noodle soup. It is not even served in Vietnam! When you order Chao Long in Vietnam, they will give you a bowl of porridge.

I will dream about it until I get the chance again to go to Puerto Princesa.

Arghhhhhh! Help me get this out of my mind!!!!!!