Food Trip: Bar Dolci

I have been craving macarons for the longest time. Well, not really craving, I just miss the taste and the colourful round shapes. Was really happy when our Saturday group went to Bar Dolci so I can get my macaron fix.  😀
Lookie! Got me different flavoured ones.

 

Ferrero, Chocolate Caramel, Pistachio, Blueberry, Salty Caramel, and Chocolate Macarons

Oh, in case you want to know my favourites? The pistachio and the ferrerro variants. Especially when you’ve left them to chill in the fridge overnight. Yum.

Diva!

It has been forever since I last posted anything even remotely related to fashion.  Not that I haven’t been shopping and scouring the newest stores when I get the chance (which comes few and far in between lately).
Not sure when it opened, but I was really happy to see a new accessories store at Market Market – Aussie brand Diva. They have the chicest cocktail rings and necklaces which I instantly fell in love with. And the price range is quite affordable too! Their rings range around Php400 and up and necklaces at Php600 up, almost half the price of British brand Accessorize. Though I admit, the latter has more diverse material and palette and also offers bags and scarves and other whatchamacolit, so it’s still my go-to store for now.

Cocktail rings and beaded necklace.

Oh, and a few months back, another Aussie brand, Ever New also opened its first shop on our shores at the Bonifacio High Street Central, right new door to French brand Promod. The clothes are really nice although quite pricey. Hmm, on hindsight, I think the range is the same as that of Promod. Although, I would think they’d have lower prices since their clothes seem to be all made in China (unlike Promod; most of the clothes I have from this brand are made in France). They do have some really cool and unique accessories which I instantly feel in love with.

Feather earrings may be so last season, but I still love them anyway.

Going back to my first few lines for this post, let me just say that I am still into fashion but I am just too lazy/busy to take photos, edit and post them every day. Besides, there are too many fashion blogs nowadays that I kinda feel like, why join the bandwagon? I started this blog more than three years ago (before I even heard of fashion bloggers, mind you) because I wanted to post photos of what my teammates and I wear to work (our team, probably due to stress, liked dressing up) and while I will definitely still do that, I guess you can tell that the focus of this blog has drifted to other topics. Oh well. Maybe I should rename this blog too, don’t you think?
But wait. Heck, that would mean buying another domain and transferring everything. I would need to take a week off from work to figure out the technicalities of that. Haha.

Food Trip: Cue Modern Barbecue and Slice

Despite the heavy rains, bit of flood and my being almost two hours late (in fact, my dates for the night hit the nail salon and had cocktails while waiting for me), we still managed to meet up for a late dinner at Cue at the Bonifacio High Street Central.

It’s a good thing my friends made reservations because even at that late hour (and the really bad weather), the place was packed. I kind of pity those they had to turn away every few minutes or so (which is actually what happened to me and hubby a week later). Well, I guess that means the food must be good, right?
Either that, or people are just curious as it’s one of the newest restos around.  Since it was our first time, we decided to get some ribs, pasta and fries. After all, that’s what the place was becoming known for, right?
Well, turns out, our decision was right on target — the ribs were quite perfect. We got the dry variant of the baby back ribs barbecue and the meat was very tender, falling off the bones, and tasty right down to the last morsel (although I felt envious after seeing the “wet” variant being devoured by the group next to us). It looked so juicy!
Dry baby back ribs
We also got some pasta although this one just didn’t impress me. It was just ok, nothing to rave or write home about. We did finish it off down to the last piece of pasta (yes, we were so hungry).
Blistered tomatoes and roasted garlic spaghetti
Now, not all restaurants serve grape shake. A bit of trivia about me: I order only three kinds of shake (okay, maybe once in a blue moon I deviate): mango, coconut, and grape. Of course, mango is quite common so when I eat at a place that serves coconut or grape shakes, I make it a point to order those instead of mango. But I never imagined mixing grape with ginger would taste oh so good. I like ginger enough. I eat it with just about anything but I don’t drink it, certainly never as a shake.  
Well, call me a new fan. Grape/ginger has got to be my top shake choice now. The ginger nicely offset the sweetness of the grape, so that neither overpowers the other, but rather complement and brings out the best in each flavour. I love it!
Grape and ginger shake (front). Yup, you read that right. Ginger. Don’t the jars remind you of Gram’s Diner?
I am dying to try Cue’s bone marrow soup next time. Someone told us we should have ordered this but the tip came too late. 😦

For dessert, we transferred to Slice. Now, while the yema cupcakes at this place are TDF, the price of the cakes and bottled drinks just drives me nuts. But since it was Mitch’s first time here, what the heck, right? 😀
My two dates ordered coffee but I settled for some hot and thick cocoa with milk and lots of brown sugar. Another trivia: I love hot chocolate. Give me a warm cup and I’m giddy like a kid. Especially as it was raining that night which made it the perfect night cap for me.
I recommend this – I think Slice is the only place at the Fort serving hot cocoa (but let me know in case you know of any other? Please?)
Since I usually order the yema cupcake, I got the red velvet this time around.

 

Yema cake, yema cupcake, and red velvet cupcake with whipped cream/butter (I know it’s supposed to be cream cheese but it sure didn’t taste like cheese but more like butter)
It was okay. I couldn’t really tell if the cupcake itself was good because there was just too much cream obscuring its taste. Although when I had licked off the cream, the cupcake didn’t taste particularly good. The cake we ordered at Bake Happy tasted much better (and Sonja’s cupcakes definitely beat this one).

Well, that’s about it for this post. Off to my next food trip!

My Newest Babies

I have wanted to get a decent camera for so long – I wanted DSLR quality but I really couldn’t be bothered with the bulk. So, I settled for point and shoot ones, from Canon, to Olympus to Nikon and back to Olympus. But now, with the mirrorless and micro four-thirds system cameras in the scene, I can finally have good quality photos less the weight and bulk.
But, having been burned by an impulse splurge on a Nikon compact camera a few years back (one of their most expensive at the time, but sadly, it only lasted a few months before dying on me), I took my time doing lots of research. And having proven how sturdy Olympus was (both my eight and two year old cameras are still very much functioning) and user-friendly, my top two choices were Olympus and Sony (which had that built-in panorama I so wanted plus a tilting LCD).
So which one did I pick? 
Tada! Olly it is for me. The tipping point was the range of lenses: with Olympus, you can use any of their Zuiko lenses plus Panasonic’s and other micro 4/3 lenses out there. Besides, I find the Olly better suited to me than all the other brands out there. While with Sony, well, you can only use Sony lenses. And I like having my options, thank you very much.

I have yet to figure out how to use this baby though, and I might need a more detailed guide or even a class for that (talk about technologically challenged) so, no camera tips from me here, just photos:
Yellow is my favorite color, but red and white sure come a close second. Besides, I don’t think a lot of products come in yellow. 😦

with the 14-42 kit lens and detachable flash

The initial models didn’t have this tilting LCD (up to 90 degrees), which was why I considered getting a Sony but when they launched the EPL3, I was sold.

It’s not touchscreen, you have to use the scroll button to get anywhere but it works fine with me – I hate touchscreens.

One other thing I finally gave into? An iphone. Although I got this earlier this year, I only got to blog about it now (my bad). Peer pressure, you know. Everyone I know has an iphone (or an android) while I was stuck with a Nokia (which I actually loved).

And of course, I had to get it in white.
I wasted no time looking for a nice case – I wanted something yellow or floral, but couldn’t find one I liked, so I got me a white case from Japanese brand, Tunewear.
The case is pretty heavy duty – Joey dropped my phone several times but seems the case absorbed all the shock. It comes with a cord organizer too and a plug for the charger slot, which you can accessorize with crystals and whatchamacolit.

The cord organizer doubles as a stand too! And the pack comes with a clear home button sticker.
I didn’t want my phone to get dirty or anything so I immediately looked for a multi-purpose case for it. I was on my mandatory leave at the time with no maid so I was forced to do my shopping online and came across this red leatherette case from Shopping Bliss. 

It has three card slots, a bill slot, and of course, cell phone slot, which is perfect as I don’t have to worry about holding my phone and wallet at the same time. My only gripe is that I can’t charge it or use the earphone while the phone is inside the case.

I also got a stylus from Capdase, a bit of a splurge considering I don’t use it as often now (I only used it during Draw Something’s heyday). And, after realizing that the iPhone uses up its battery like there’s no tomorrow, I got a power box (with 1500 mah) from National Bookstore, good for one full charge. And if you have a car, get those car chargers. Trust me, they’re very useful. Victorinox has a pretty nifty set – with cables for blackberry, iPhone, etc.

See? I have a penchant for red and white things, which are easier to get than yellow.

Look! The cap of my stylus has that needle-like thing for opening the sim compartment of the iPhone.
Okay, this one last item is more of in keeping with my lazy nature – I mentioned earlier on that I couldn’t be bothered with bulk right? Well, when I got the iphone, I figured it could serve as my camera as well and I might as well dress it up properly. So, I got me a macro and wide angle lens from Chic Mommies. It attaches via a magnetic ring which comes with the lenses, and can be attached to the iPhone.

Yep, they may be small and far from pro-quality, but for an ordinary person like me who just likes taking photos, these lenses are perfect! My only gripe is the magnetic ring covered the phone’s flash partially, hence, I couldn’t use the flash anymore, unless I remove the case.
All the photos from our Ilocos trip earlier this year were taken using my iphone and edited using a variety of apps; but my favourites are Camera+, DMD (for that panorama shot; I liked this one better than 360), ProCamera, PicFrame and CameraSplash (where you can highlight only portions of the photo and leave the rest of the photo in black and white) and Retouch (photoshop baby!). 
Here are some sample photos taken using the macro lens:

There’s a new model of the Olympus PEN coming out later this year, and I heard iPhone 5 is coming out next month… with this growing interest in gadgets, I think my wallet is gonna kill me. 😛

Food Trip:Aposento

Hit up Aposento with my officemates for a lunch treat earlier this week. It’s funny how I rarely get to eat here even though it’s practically our next door neighbour (even funnier is how I only knew about it’s existence a year and a half after I joined the company). 
But, better late than never! This place is fast becoming one of my favorites, one, because of its location (hello, no need to go to Greenbelt or Glorietta in all this rain), two, the price (hubby and I ate here one time with a friend as they were waiting for me to finish work – talk about dedication, theirs, not mine – and our tab only came at less than Php1,000!), and three, the food is good. It’s nothing fancy, mind you, but they serve a host of your favorite food at home, but they made it so much better.
Since we were trying to have a balanced meal, we ordered different dishes.
Veggies:
Pinakbet
Bicol Express
Pork/Beef:

Tapa with lots of kropek – bestseller! Make sure to get this.
Crispy Pata
And since if was raining, of course we had to get soup – sinigang, which was just the perfect foil to all the dried meat dishes!
Fish:
Bangus Belly – it was my first time to taste this but it was sooo good! The fat of the fish was too die for (admit it, it’s your favorite part of the fish too!)

We were too full after wolfing down all that food (there were only five of us: two guys and three girls) so we just shared a slice of this baby:

frozen brazo de mercedes – one of my all time favorite desserts, but sadly, not too many restos serve this

Oh, and did I mention they serve cocktails and beer? We didn’t drink of course, as it was only noon. But, just saying. I got to try their cocktails a few months ago and it was good. 😀

They don’t have a website but they do have a facebook page which you can view here.

Food Trip: Slice

We were craving something sweet after our late dinner last Saturday, and since Slice was only a few steps away, we decided to grab a couple of cupcakes before heading to a coffee shop (Slice was too crowded).
This photo was taken a couple of months back, when it wasn’t so crowded yet
Now, on my first visit which I wrote about here, I already mentioned how ridiculously expensive their drinks were. Hubby, on a separate occasion, also noted that their cheesecake cost way too much – Php290 a slice, which becomes Php 300+ when you get to the counter, where they charge you with 10% service charge. 

 

But imagine my surprise when, after ordering four of their yema cupcakes, the lady at the counter informed me that I would be charged Php10 for a box. Huh? Say what? I was so caught off guard I could only mumble an “It’s okay” because really, how was I going to hold those cupcakes? And it’s not like they’re usual muffins or cupcakes which can be put in plain paperbags without having to worry about how messy they’d become. 
Imagine if Starbucks or Coffee Bean or any of your favourite cafes/dessert stations started charging for their take aways.
See that Php10 charge? And if you do stay to eat, they will bill you service charge. Talk about a money-making venture.

Talk about being robbed upfront of your money. Slice of heaven? Na-ah, more like a slice right out of my pocket. While I love their cakes, it is just too ridiculously priced.

Poor Customer Service at Pao Tsin

Hubby and I went to the grocery a couple of days ago and since it was past noon and we were hungry, we decided to have our lunch at the food court.
Food was okay – I mean, nothing fancy, just your usual food court meals which I sort of miss. I don’t get to eat at food courts anymore coz they’re usually closed by the time hubby and I get off work, or are just plain crowded on weekends. 
One thing I don’t get though is why Pao Tsin, where we ordered two rice meals, a huge bowl of soup, two large drinks, and several dimsums, refused to give us an extra spoon for the soup? And as per the lady manning the counter, we only bought one bowl so she can only give us one spoon. 
WTF?
Is Pao Tsin’s margin that small that they couldn’t afford to give us an extra spoon, even though hubby and I bought enough food for four people (mind you, we bought several servings of dimsim on top of the rice meals)? A plastic spoon couldn’t have cost more than 50 cents.
Talk about poor customer service. It was just plain stupid (pardon the use of this word). Definitely not going back there.