Seafood Night : Claw Daddy

Met up with my high school friend Lei at the Bonifacio High Street for dinner and coffee to celebrate some milestones in both our careers.
Dinner at Claw Daddy’s consisted of the Oyster Sampler and Char-grilled Opakapaka Risotto. I’ve always ordered Oysters Rockefeller but that night, I wanted to taste the other flavors they had, hence the sample.
I loved the opakapaka (Hawaiian for pink snapper) which was served on top of shrimp bisque risotto.  It was so rich and tasty I hated my seafood allergies so much. Stubborn ole me refuses to heed my doctor’s orders – I still eat seafood like there’s no tomorrow. Hahaha.

In case you’re wondering – no, I wasn’t able to finish the two dishes I ordered. Lei has even worse allergies than I do (she swells; I only itch/redden). I would have loved to but they were just too much. Servings were good for two, and as for the oysters – seriously, I can’t eat eight HUGE oysters on my own.
I’ve been deprived of my daily caffeine fix so we headed after to Coffee Bean, where I had tea and guiltless chocolate cake. And there goes my so-called diet again. Makes me wonder how I will fit into my swimsuits. Or maybe I should just shop again? 😛

Daily Fashion – Denim Girl

You probably all know by now that I am hopelessly obsessed with ribbons, ruffles, and anything dreamy and ethereal and romantic. So it’s no surprise that I bought this skirt the moment I saw it on a mannequin at my favorite store. 🙂
 denim zipper vest and ruffled skirt, Promod; pink floral peep-toes, Charles and Keith; harem bangles and rosette ring, Accessorize; earrings, SM Dept. Store; locket watch, from 168
Sorry for the low-quality photo. I used my E72 but it wasn’t properly charged, hence, it churned out quite a crappy pic. And I notice I badly need a new hairstyle. Will probably have my hair curled again for my birthday (it’s a semi-annual circle for me: curl, rebond, curl, rebond). No wonder my hair’s a mess. 😛

Hotel Weekend: New World

Spent the weekend at the New World Hotel. Joey loves staying at hotels. But I’m glad he still prefers home – shortly before check out, he was already asking me to go home. 🙂
 Top: Joey at the hotel lobby in Guess jeans and Gingersnaps shirt; bottom: Joey at the elevator lobby of the executive lounge
The first thing Joey does in a new place is test the bed. We have a pretty nice mattress at home and big fluffy pillows so I guess he looks for the same whenever we sleep in a new place.
While New World isn’t at par with The Peninsula, it does have a nice view (at least compared to the room we stayed in the Pen):
 view of the San Lorenzo Village from our room

view from the elevator lobby: Greenbelt on the left side…
….and Makati Avenue on the left side.
I was expecting a lot more from the hotel since I usually stay in hotels from the same chain when I go on business trips (I’ve tried the Renaissance in Seoul and Ho Chi Minh and I liked both), but other than the buffet breakfast, I didn’t find anything spectacular about it. The hallways smell old and the rooms are a little too ordinary – the towels are even threadbare! 
I also find their service rather slow – particularly at check-in/out. And I have a separate incident checking in for someone from the office and it was a customer service nightmare – even up to now it is unresolved.
But their bath robes and slippers are super soft and the staff are very friendly and helpful.  Plus, it’s right across from Greenbelt 3 so if your looking to shop til you drop, then this place is perfect. 🙂

If rate are equal, I probably won’t be staying again at this hotel if I am in the same area. But, New World, I think, is the cheapest hotel in the Makati CBD so I guess that’s why it’s a favorite of business travelers who are scrimping on hotel charges.

What’s In Your Bag?

I’ve been having back pains for the last couple of months due to my scoliosis and several other back problems (I can’t remember the medical terms right now) which, are partly due to my prolonged use of high heels and lugging around laptops and heavy shoulder bags.
While I can’t really say no to high heels (otherwise, I would need to revamp my shoe closet and forty or so pairs isn’t that easy to build from scratch, especially when you’re on a budget), I’ve made it a point to wear slippers during commute and when just sitting in my cubicle at the office. 

Oh, and I ditched the laptop. My office laptop now is incredibly huge and heavy that its sheer weight prevents me from bringing it home. So, whenever I have take-home work, I just use my USBs or send it to my personal email. 

As for my bag, well, I think it used to weigh around four or five kilos. But necessity pushed me to reevaluate its contents and here are what’s in my bag now:

1. LV French Purse
2. Nokia E72 with USB cable
3. Kikay kit which contains: lip gloss, cheek stain, eyebrow powder and gel, gel eyeliner, lip/brow/eyeliner brushes all from Smashbox, Paul & Joe compact, comb, contact lenses, eye drops (I have really really dry eyes), hair gloss
4. mini-umbrella from Accessorize
5. breath mints
6. rosary
7. ipod shuffle

Here’s what I weeded out and why:
1. Digicam – I used to lug around my Nikon (just a point and shoot but it still weighs something), but with my 5MP phone, the digicam can take a backseat. Anyway, it’s easier to whip out your phone than your digicam.
2. Notebook and Pen – the E72 already has excel and word (even powerpoint) so there really is no need for pen and paper which I will just crumple anyway.
3. Pocketbooks – seriously, I don’t really get to read in the car so what’s the use of bringing books with me? In any case, I usually have an e-book saved in guess what? Yup, my phone. Haha, it also has an adobe reader.
4. Change of accessories for day and night – a metal bangle can add major pounds to your bag. 
5. Phone charger – again, E72 has made this possible since it’s USB cable can be plugged into any computer and be used as a charger.
6. Thumb drives – I used to carry as many as four of these. But, thanks to my favorite gadget and it’s 8GB memory, I can just save the files in my phone and bluetooth it to my laptop at home (or edit directly from the phone, haha).

My kikay kit also underwent a diet, since I found out it’s actually the heaviest item in my bag. I took out the bottle of foundation (really, you don’t need another layer during the day; the face powder is your touch up tool), three shades of lipstick (I’ve decided to stick to one during the day), one tube of gloss, and eyeshadow (which anyway, gives me rashes).

I’m also on the lookout for a lightweight bag. I’m thinking of something that will go with my wallet. Hubby has been nagging me to get a nice bag since he says, my bags look out of place when I’m strolling in Greenbelt. Believe me, he’s gotten much worse than I am! So yeah, probably on my next trip I’ll have something nice. 😛

Joey Shots

Joey loves the camera – even at only three years old, he demands that his picture be taken, and afterwards, inspects the photos, shouting gleefully, “Can I see, can I see?” And perfectionist that he is, he would gamely repeat/improve his poses. In fact, I’m the one who gets tired shooting. Hahaha.

My favorites over the weekend (labels for each photo are all by Joey – yes, believe it!)

 Pa-cute Joey

sad Joey

happy Joey

Caleruega Weekend

Ipe went on a retreat last weekend and rather than spend two days stuck in the house with three-hour brownouts, Joey and I decided to tag along. 
What I love about Caleruega is that it’s so quiet and so pretty – it’s literally being alone on top of the mountains, and the sheer beauty of your surroundings will inspire you to believe, that yes, there is a God. It is the perfect place to have a retreat…

…or a getaway from the madness of city living, as you can also rent a room there, complete with home-cooked meals.

path leading to one of the retreat venues/halls
rooms hewn from the side of the cliff overlooking the mountains of Nasugbu, Batangas

scenic views while having your picnic
one of the many wooden pathways and bridges overlooking koi ponds
Caleruega is also a popular wedding venue – it has the Chapel of Transfiguration, a small chapel built on top of a hill, with paths lined with flowers and trees and rustic lampposts. It’s big enough for a bride to have her walk to remember, but small enough to be intimate. I think it will only seat 100-150 at the maximum.

Now, I have always been fond of sunsets, and I can spend many hours or days just waiting for this view:

I almost didn’t want to leave after our peaceful weekend but sadly, Ipe and I had to go back to the frenetic life in Manila. But I’m looking forward to another stay here. 😛

Some catching up…

Been really really busy lately with work so forgive me if I had been a little remiss in updating my blog. Here’s what I’ve been up to the last couple of weeks.
Dinner with Lynda and Robin, on vacation from Australia, at Kabisera:
 Ate adobong kangkong, sinigang, okoy, and of course, sisig:
Had yummy yogurt at Yoswirls at the Venice Piazza:
Robin loved PInoy food – I wish we could have taken him to a nicer Pinoy resto – then he won’t be able to get over Pinoy food. We had to settle for Kabisera since it was the most convenient for us 😛
Roamed around High Street where there was a sand castle making contest sponsored by Sanuk:
Not sure though if this was for kids or adults – I didn’t really find any of the entries spectacular.

Movie: I Love You Philip Morris

When I first saw the trailer and the posted for this movie, I immediately dismissed it as just one big gay movie, portraying the bigger than life lives of your usual gay suspects. But even if it was one big gay movie, I was drawn to it since it was the first time Ewan McGregor will be playing such a role and I loved the poster and the trailer.
The movie was based on the life of Steven Russell, a married cop from Texas who, who  suddenly decides to come out of the closet. From then, he supports his decadent and fabulous lifestyle as a con artist who eventually gets caught and thrown in jail many times over the course of the movie (and his life). While he was on one of his sojourns in prison, he met and fell in love with Phillip Morris and he made several attempts to get Morris out of prison. 

Russell is actually a very intriguing character – using his undeniable genius (he reportedly has an IQ of 170) to stage unheard of efforts to get out of jail: pretending to be a judge, using green markers to dye his prison uniforms like those of prison nurses, and the most elaborate feat – faking medical results and convinces an entire medical facility that he was dying of AIDS. In fact, he successfully “died” of AIDS and would have gotten off scot-free had he not attempted to subsequently free his lover.

If like me, you assumed this movie is about the gay lifestyle, well, you’re dead wrong. It is,in fact, about a con artist’s life and he just happened to be gay. There may be a spattering display of gayness but their quite tolerable (or, probably heavily edited for the Philippine market, hence, I did not see any graphic scenes).

Jim Carrey is right at home in this movie as he impersonates one person after another with such convincing effect yet manages to be hilarious at the same time. I swear, he may be a comedian but I do think he’d do well in drama flicks as he can alter his facial expressions as swiftly as you flick your fingers. Although he might have to cut back on his wide-toothed grins that have become an irritating trademark of his.

Now, the real gem of the movie was Ewan’s performance. Most of us know him as a dramatic/action star and we often associate him as Obi-wan Kenobi from Star Wars, wielding his light saber. So I was really looking forward to see him tackle this role. 

And he didn’t disappoint – in every scene he was in, you just can’t help staring and smiling at him. The way he walked, talked, sat, even just stood in one corner – he was so gay!  From the very first scene when he slowly walked away from a prison fight and took refuge in the library, you knew he was a delicate gay. And a very good-looking gay at that. I loved it when he said, “you know what they do to blond, blue-eyed queers out there” or something to that effect, when Jim asked him why he never joined the field games.

I particularly can’t get over his “bedscene” with Jim Carrey – where he cried his heart out on Jim’s tear-stained shirt while Jim strokes his hair and hugs him on their cell bed. It was so perfect, every sob and rack of his body in tune with what I would imagine a gay to be doing at those moments. 

Story wise, this movie could not have picked a more original storyline. Parts of its plot seem so far-fetched that they almost seem the product of a hyper-imaginative mind, but then, we have assurances that this story happened in real life. And while Jim and Ewan may not be front runners in my mind as a gay couple (but then, Heath and Jake weren’t too), they couldn’t have done it better.

I loved this movie so much that I was actually surprised that I haven’t seen it in any box office reports in recent times – then I discovered that this gem of an indie film could not get a distributor in the US for its gay content. Well, I don’t know about that, all I know is that this movie is infinitely better than most the flicks Hollywood has been churning out lately.

This is a movie I would highly recommended – even if the story is not to your taste, Jim and Ewan’s antics will surely elicit laughter from you.

Another Food Trip – People’s Palace

Last Sunday, Ipe and I ran into some of our balikbayan relatives (his side) at the Greenbelt Chapel. We were supposed to head to Mesa after hearing Mass so Joey can have his favorite sinigang but got invited to dine in with family instead so we joined them at People’s Palace at Greenbelt 3. 
Now, I have been a long GB mall-goer but I usually eat at the restos in the upper floors of the GB3 and in GB5. So I was quite surprised that there was a nice resto waiting for me at the ground floor of GB3.  It opened over three years ago so it’r about time I get to try it. People’s Palace is actually a Thai restaurant but it sort of feels like an Asian fusion restaurant. I have  been looking for an Asian fusion resto ever since I  tried one in Seoul (which, to this day, is one of the best meals I have ever had; probably also the most expensive).  
All I can say is – I am really quite wowed by the food. The place is simple enough – just stark whiteness. Even the waiters wore white. Kinda apt, considering that after my first sip of their smoothie, I thought I’d gone to gastronomic heaven.
banana/mango/raspberry yoghurt smoothie
And the plates that kept pouring in just left me wanting for more. First up, we were served the prawn, pomelo and coconut salad. I don’t particularly like pomelo but this one made me think twice – the mix of sweet/sour  succulent pomelos and salty prawns tingled my tastebuds.
After that, we had the thom kha gai, a spicy coconut/curry soup. It might be a bit too hot for some, but after you get over the initial feeling of having burning soup searing your tongue, you’ll crave for more. I mixed it with my rice to lessen the sting and also since it’s the Pinoy thing to do – mix you soup with rice and then eat with another dish. Plus, did you know that having something with a bit of spice makes the next food you eat taste all the better? 😛
Next was food overdrive, with calamares, sweet and sour fish, and grilled pork liempo served simultaneously These dishes are common enough, but they were cooked very nicely and the fish didn’t have that “fishy” aftertaste that I would be willing enough to try them again next time.
One of my favorites was the spicy mussels. Now, to those of you who’ve been religious followers of my blog, you’d know I’m a sucker for baked mussels and scallops – if a resto serves them, I make it a point to try them. But this one takes the cake. The mussels were so big and juicy, almost two inches long, and so soft they almost melted in my mouth. 
Another must-try here is their shredded catfish with green mango salad. I didn’t even know catfish needed to be shred for it to look really appetizing. The only catfish dish I know is grilled catfish and that is somehow on the lowest end of the spectrum after I looked and tasted this dish.
The list of must-tries doesn’t end there – we also had Vietnamese spring rolls. I particularly enjoyed this dish because it tasted just the way it did in Vietnam. Ever since I’d been there on a business trip more than a year ago, I’ve been on the lookout for authentic Vietnamese cuisine but so far, every place  I tried had been adapted to the Pinoy’s taste buds. And it pleased me no end that they served it with the herbs used in Vietnam too – I almost forgot they were supposed to be eaten together with the rolls until my instinct told me they don’t taste right. I had initially dismissed the leaves on the plate as garnishing. Proof that I enjoyed it so much is I forgot to take pictures of this dish. 😀
As if we weren’t full enough, we still ordered dessert.Loved the sticky rice with mangoes – they were the perfect foil for each other. But I also loved the bananas and ice cream – the bananas were deep fried and soooo soft, another melts-in-your-mouth dish that even Joey enjoyed.
sticky rice and mangoes with coconut milk
crispy bananas with coconut ice cream
Joey didn’t get to eat much; he was expecting his sinigang but he did down half my smoothie so he’s all happy. Plus he got a chocolate donut after lunch to keep him happy. 🙂
Joey and cow
I loved People’s Palace so much I can’t wait to try what else they have to offer. And prices are relatively pocket-friendly – each dish is around Php 300-Php 400 and I assure you that you will get your money’s worth. 😛