food · Jodythinks

To more meatless meals (Say that three times fast)

So I’ve been trying to eat less meat on a daily basis. Mostly because of my carbon footprint, some because I recently met a vegan that really showed me what a good vegan meal tasted like and explained without malice or condescension why he does it, and a little bit to see if it really does save money.

I have to tell you, I have not been a healthy meatless eater. I’m still getting used to less intake. I’m not sure if it’s because there’s no meat in the meals or because I’ve been cooking what I really want to eat, but I feel like I’ve been eating more. I make basil pesto from scratch and end up eating two bowls of pasta. Hummus and I eat 2 cups of carrots and a hunk of hummus. I even bought a mandoline the other day to make potato gratin and Disney style ratatouille and I ended up eating a whole bowlful of gratin.

My first potato gratin

It’s certainly cheaper. A can of garbanzos versus half a kilo of pork. Fresh basil versus ground beef for spaghetti. Although the gratin ended up expensive because of the cheese and the cream, it’s still cheaper than my mom’s recipe for lasagna. I mostly eat vegetarian because I like my butter and cream but I’ve certainly removed the meat.

You still have to make good choices. Less fat. Steam instead of stir fry. Maybe don’t drown veggies in soy sauce. Don’t use the whole stick of butter in the recipe. Use less salt and more herbs and spices.

Honestly, it’s been a strain for my wallet and the electric bill. More blending or using the turbo oven. Personally buying ingredients. Spending time finding recipes and making the food myself. Eating the rejects or the stuff people don’t respond to.

But it weighs a bit easier on the conscience, and recently I’ve been thinking about the genes I’ve inherited. See what that means for my future. Maybe these choices will make it less risky. And it won’t feel like a sacrifice because I’ll like it.

Now to make the ratatouille.

food

A bid at eating better: Overnight Oats

I am not known for my healthy eating choices. In fact, I’ve had not less than four people tell me expressly that they avoid my social media feed so as not to get hungry. And I do admit that it’s my vice. Some people drink, some people smoke, I eat. And it’s not pretty and there are several chins and wasted wardrobes to attest to the fact that I am a woman who really likes to eat.

But I digress.

In a bid to offset my binge periods (of which there are many), I try to eat better when I am working. There have been several months of chicken in salt free marinades roasted in a turbo broiler (none of which can be called anything else than sad chicken), sugar-free cold brew coffee, and now overnight oats. 

I would like to precede this conversation by revealing that I hate oatmeal. It’s mushy, sad, and feels like glue after half a cup, and for some reason, makes me ravenous for “real” food after an hour. I did have a ton of granola ingredients from my trip to the US last year in which to play with so I figured, how could half a mason jar worth hurt? So I assembled the following in a jar and put it to stew in the fridge:

  1. A third of the jar full rolled oats
  2. A layer of flaxseed meal
  3. A layer of hemp hearts
  4. A layer of dried fruit (raisins, blueberries, figs)
  5. A layer of unsalted nuts
  6. Drown all of it in milk

It’s not very scientific but I figure the flaxseed meal adds a bit of nuttiness that makes it less glue-y, and the hemp hearts and nuts add bite and texture (again to counteract the glue-y). So far I have been eating this at least three times a week for the past three weeks. It’s not helping me lose weight (especially when I forget and eat a whole bottle in one sitting), but I figure the oatmeal helps counteract all the bacon, bagnet, chicharon that I have been consuming due to great opportunities and the lack of self control that comes with vacations.

It’s great. It keeps me full at least four hours, and it doesn’t make me feel like I’m restricting myself. It’s not very cheap and it will be a challenge to find replacements to some of the ingredients when I run out, but so far, I like it.

I’ll let you know what I find to replace when things run out.

What do you eat to counteract all the bad things you do to your body?

food · Jodythinks · Restaurant reviews

Quick thoughts: Cafe Seoulhwa’s bingsu

I am not a girl that goes to BGC (Bonifacio Global City) often. It is, in today’s traffic, three hours away from where I work/live. This was confirmed when I tagged along my sister and her friends’ monthly dinner thing a couple of weeks ago. We had checked beforehand how long it would take as we didn’t exactly know where the place was (it was the suggestion of their friend that lived in Taguig).

We went to Cafe Seoulhwa for their bingsu, according to Google, a shaved ice dessert with toppings. For 90s kids who grew up in the Philippines, Ice Monster type things.

We ordered two bingsus, the Mango Cheese (P240 for the small) and the Strawberry (also a small at P240)

Strawberry and mango bingsus
Strawberry and mango bingsus

 

They were great. Really creamy, and the ice wasn’t just ice, it tasted creamy. The fruit was fresh and the whipped cream/ice cream, not too sweet. It was soothing, delicious and not too sweet. The servings were large, that by the time we were halfway through, my sister and I were looking at each other, eyeing one another at who could finish the strawberry bingsu we were sharing. (I did, btw)

It’s definitely a return item. Now if they can only open one in the north.

You can find Cafe Seoulhwa at BGC:

2/F Forum BGC South Global
7th Ave. cor. Federacion Drive
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, Philippines
Their Facebook account is here.

Bring around P550 for two people for separate desserts, or share a small one after a meal and try their toasts or coffee.

 

food · Jodythinks

Jodythinks quick thoughts: Fog City Creamery’s Cookie Dough Vanilla

I am calling them quick thoughts because I do not think I’ve sampled enough of the brand/restaurant to provide a rounded idea, but rather one thing out of the myriad of choices they offer.

Last Sunday in a trip to Echo Store in Eton Centris, I was happy to see that they now had the Fog City Creamery pints (and mini pints) in their freezer. After I read about the brand on Pepper.ph, I have always been curious about them but as they operate in the South, opportunities were far and few between to sample them. So I had to pick up a mini pint. There were only a few choices, Benguet Coffee, Ensaymada, Cookie Dough Chocolate, and Cookie Dough Vanilla. Let me give you a disclaimer. I am not much of a coffee person, I am not particularly excited by ensaymada except for Hizon’s ensaymada, and I don’t really eat chocolate ice cream. So Cookie Dough Vanilla it was. The mini pint cost P110 for a single serving. A little steep if you’re used to buying ice cream from the grocery, but what I’ve come to expect from artisan ice cream pricing.

This is what it looked like:

20151011_090238

Verdict: Delicious. It’s chock full of cookie dough that has enough bite to not just melt into the ice cream and adds the needed texture for it to be interesting. Chocolate chips hold up to the ice cream, and the base is sweet enough. If you’re an ice cream hound like me, the mini pint won’t be enough. Buy the whole pint.

I can’t wait to try their other flavors. Their website boasts of a lot of interesting flavors that weren’t in the Echo Store freezer at the time but hope to get there another time. Particularly Ferrero Rocher with Nutella Swirl, Vanilla Malt with Maltesers, Organic Tahitian Vanilla Bean and Blue Cheese and Honey Walnut Praline sound amazing to my ears.

How do you find Fog City Creamery? Details below:

Website: http://www.fogcitycreamery.com/index.php

Phone number: 0917 883 3344

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/FogCityCreamery

Email address: info@fogcitycreamery.com / fogcitycreamery@gmail.com

What ice cream is exciting you this week?

food · Restaurant reviews

Bread and Bakers Munoz, Puerto Princesa’s Chaolong (almost) in Quezon City

20150517_114236

It is no secret that I am a fan of Puerto Princesa (as evidenced by the post here) and the food. Fresh, cheap and uncomplicated, it’s easy there. Everything is mostly a tricycle ride away. I could go on and on about what I love about the place, but that is not the point of this post, but the chaolong.

I discovered chaolong on my 3rd(?) visit to Puerto Princesa. I had gone to other Vietnamese joints previously (Saigon) and raved about it, but on the third, we went to local favorite Bona’s, who serve the most local version of the beef noodle soup. It is not fancy. It’s mostly a bowl of tasty broth, a few chunks of beef and noodles. The ambiance is your typical Filipino down home joint, al fresco dining, utensils in hot water for cleanliness, monoblock chairs strewn across the way. It was awesome. They also had a Yakult slush shake that was perfect to cool off after the hot broth and thick french bread. It is one of the reasons I miss Puerto Princesa, and rightly so.

When we read that there was a chaolong place in Quezon City, we had to go. People’s reviews online were raving about it, and even in this crazy summer heat, we itched to try a bowl. So off we went one lunch after errands last week, in the blazing heat. We almost missed it, even if it was along Roosevelt. If you’ve been along that road, you know that there are a lot of establishments along the road and if you blink, you’ll miss it. Thank goodness for the large sign proclaiming “Chaolong”.

It was humble too, al fresco, empty, had a few pieces of baked goods in the display. We ordered bowls of chaolong and plain french bread to dip in. It took a while to serve, we assume that it’s because they make it to serve because of the aforementioned quiet space. So if you go, prepare to wait around 10-15 minutes to get your bowl.

 

It was not spectacular, it was mostly, okay. The bread was the savior of the meal, being the right amount of crusty without being dry. The chaolong was a little off, but good enough to satisfy cravings until you head back to Puerto Princesa for the original. A bowl will set you back P65 and bread will be P15 per roll. Good for lunch, especially when it starts to rain. They are open 7 to 10 Monday to Saturday and 8 to 7 on Sundays.

How to get there: Drive along Roosevelt Munoz until you see the Metro Gas Station with the 7-11. It is right across from there.

And now to petition them to make Yakult slush.

food · Restaurant reviews

Your Local: Unexpectedly familiar

The website for Your Local says “A new take on familiar flavors.” I would like to agree. While a couple weeks ago was my first visit to the joint, the place felt recognizable, while being fresh.

I had heard of Your Local before, you can’t help but, if you read food blogs and local websites like I do. And my confession of the day is, while I am a voracious eater, trooping to Makati isn’t really my cup of tea. I take great reviews of restaurants down south, and file them away for other times, when I know I’m meeting friends from the south, or for when I can drag people from our cozy nooks in the north to travel the two hours both ways to get to eating places in Makati or the Fort.

But I digress.

I headed to Your Local a couple weeks ago with a friend who was visiting from Singapore. She made the reservation and we headed to Makati to try the joint. It was packed when we got there before our 7 pm. People were waiting outside for tables, and there was no parking to be had (which, since we walked from Greenbelt, wasn’t a problem for us, but may be an issue with 90% of the customers).

I had the day’s special, a truffle cream pasta (P550?)

Truffle cream pasta

With a glass of Moscato (P250). The server, who was very nice, suggested appetizers but since we came from a sashimi snack at Tokyu, we refused. I knew truffle cream pasta could be very rich so I hesitated ordering more.

Several minutes later, the server sets down two glasses, on the house, as my friend knows one of the owners of the place.

I got Tinker, a drink made from vodka, earl grey tea, lemon and rosemary. My friend got Social Dysfunction, a drink of many liquors, starting with Bacardi 151. Suffice to say, I was very happy with my drink, and would consider coming back to Makati just for another glass. My friend was very carefully sipping hers, having had a shot of it before, and having ordered the Lamb Rendang, coating her stomach with food so she could get home without causing herself injury.

Verdict: Fun food, really good drinks. Need reservations. Expect a sprinkle of Singaporean favorites with steak and potato options. Don’t go for a first date. The place is lit very romantically but the tile on the walls bounces back audio, thus making conversation kind of a strain. Works for a third date though, since you have to lean in next to your date to speak. Tip: The joint’s walls open to Yardstick Coffee so you can extend the date to an after dinner coffee or their Carmen’s Best ice cream topped desserts. Bring at least P900 a head for food and drinks, more if you want to get that coffee.

Find your way to Your Local here:

Contact Details
ADDRESS Universal LMS Bldg. 106 Esteban St. Cor V.A. Rufino St., Legaspi Village, Brgy. San Lorenzo, Makati
EMAIL hello@yourlocal.ph
TELEPHONE +632 8236206
MOBILE +63917 6543355

food · Jodythinks · Restaurant reviews

Duck and Buvette: Comfortingly good.

When a former colleague asked to take us to dinner for a celebration of a year well done, I had to look for a place in the Shangrila area. It couldn’t be too weird, as our colleague is notorious for being picky, and it couldn’t be too far because we only had a limited amount of time. I had settled with Duck and Buvette because the reviews were good, and not being very familiar with French food or any version of it, it was something we had to try.

For something we all weren’t familiar with, the style of cooking at Duck and Buvette (or at least the dishes we tried), felt comforting and recognizable. Beef with potatoes, veal with corn, fish dishes. Bacon(!).

My friend, being a big fan of all things bacon, ordered the Maple Candied Bacon and Lemon (P175) to start, and this is what we got:

Maple Candied Bacon and Lemon

They were good, I just needed them a tad crispier, as I am of the thinking that bacon should always be crispy.

The table favorite was the 8 hour Angus Briskets (P370), creamy, melt in your mouth beef with garlic mashed potatoes that i wanted to steal from the two people (out of four of us there) who ordered it.

 

8 Hour Angus Briskets

I had the Veal Shank and Smacked Corn (P550)

Veal Shank and Smacked Corn

For me, a really manly type dish that was full of beefy flavor, made a little delicate with the corn.

Verdict: We shall return. Especially for the mashed potatoes.

Prepare to spend: Around P600-P700 per person for food and drinks

Duck and Buvette

02 6310675
+63 9179324843

Level 2, Main Wing, Shangri-La Plaza, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City

 

food · Jodythinks · Restaurant reviews

Patio Vera: Gorgeous area, menu hit and miss

Patio Vera’s Beef Steak and Paella Valenciana

I can’t take credit for finding Patio Vera, as it was the significant other that found it and made reservations the first time we went there. I was awed. The place was gorgeous. It’s set in an outdoor patio, with an all white room that’s airconditioned for those who want their dinner a bit brighter. Filled with vintage knick knacks, I was openmouthed the whole time I was waiting for our food to arrive, and how do you not, with this all around you:

Flowery pretty

The menu is fairly simple, nice Filipino favorites with a sprinkling of other cuisine. It is divided in simple categories of soup, salad, and main ingredients (Pork, Beef, Veggies, etc.). Our first visit, I had the Fabada (P115) soup, which according to their menu was white beans, pork knuckles and chorizo. It was great. Soothing, smooth, and really quite heavy for a single serving. This made me too full to finish my Salpicao Aglio Olio (P325), which the boyfriend finished. To be honest, it was a little too oily for me, too much richness on one plate, and after a rich soup, I couldn’t manage more than half the serving.

Boyfriend had the Halaan in Ginger Wansuy Soup (P99), which had a nice kick and a surprisingly good touch of wansuy, and the Spare Ribs (P325). He left half the ribs on the plate, as they were half slabs of fat, which is nice for a lot of people, but for him, too much as well.

This was not the last time we would go, in fact we went a month ago with his family. A bigger group, we were seated in the middle of the patio, and ordered significantly more dishes. Here is what we ordered:

Crispy Pata (P595) which was huge, enough for 3-4 people on its own. One caveat was the soy sauce that usually accompanies the dish had a sweet taste, which is not really for me.

Classic Kare Kare (P395) large serving too, 3-4 people as well. Vegetables were fresh, there were both oxtail and tripe, which works for me as I’m partial to tripe. Sauce was a bit sweet, but goes nicely with the bagoong.

Beef Steak (P345) good for 2-3 people. Nothing special, but good for those wanting traditional beef steak.

Everyone also had a Fabada which went over well with all.

Verdict: Go for the ambience, try the menu as it can be hit or miss. I am definitely a bigger fan of Patio Vera’s space, their menu I’m still going back and forth on.

Prepare to spend: Around P400-P500 a head with drinks.

Where is it:

70 General F. Santos Street, Calumpang, Marikina City

Please reserve a table before going as they can fill up (02 2390615), and be prepared to be a little patient on parking as there isn’t really space to park, it’s just on the street.

 

 

 

food · Restaurant reviews

Let me sin again: Ramen Nagi’s Butao King

Ramen Nagi Butao King

Ramen Nagi is a lot of people’s favorite from the ramen joints out there. It’s one of the more interactive ones, where you pick the richness of the broth, the garlic strength, noodle firmness, and individually pick add ons from the menu. I’ve heard about the place a long time, and I only had the time to go there last week, with a friend I haven’t hung out with in forever.

I picked the most basic broth, the Original King (P390, with P50 for add ons like egg or mushrooms), as I have heard that the spicy Red King was a burn on the mouth. While I like a bit of spice, I was not in the mood for a bowl of pain, as I was still nursing a cold, cough and a slight fever that day. The pesto green butao was interesting, but as I learned from my experience with the Double Cheese Tsukemen at Mitsuyado Sei-Men, and another time at Nomama and their green curry ramen, I really am more a traditional ramen girl.

The innocuous looking photo lies about the richness of this bowl. The umami of the fat really sings through the broth with every bite, and as I discovered, chopped up bits of fat were in it as well. Now I know why people love this, we Filipinos have an affinity with fat in our broth, and if you don’t agree, I suggest you check out any pork sinigang broth and the fat chunks in that.

I had the pork belly, but I think I’m better off with the cheek next time as I left most of the belly in my bowl as I am not a fan of soft fat in broth, while my sister really couldn’t get through much of her meal. She found it too much, and left more than half the bowl untouched. Our friend, who had the green butao, found it good, but not amazing, she just thought it would be greener than what she had, there were tinges of green in her bowl rather than the overall green in the photos advertised. Also untraditional, so if you love pesto and want a fresh twist on your ramen, try the Green King.

Would I go back? Definitely. I would need a pot of hot tea to melt all that fat down the system though.

Ramen Nagi is in SM North Edsa’s Main Floor next to Jollibee near the grocery, and if you need to call them, 3740503 is the number to use.

 

 

food · Jodythinks · Restaurant reviews

Mitsuyado Sei-Men’s Double Cheese Ramen: Yay for cheese (but not for traditionalists)

When my sister and I found ourselves in Makati last month, we knew we had to try the cheese tsukemen (a variety of ramen in which the noodles arrive separately, cold or at room temperature, along a bowl of intense broth into which the noodles are meant to be dipped) in a place famous for it in Jupiter street.

So we headed to Mitsuyado Sei-Men for this:
Double Cheese Ramen

The double cheese tsukemen (Large, P380), which comes sprinkled with parmesan cheese that you pour cheese sauce over before you dip it in broth. Being as it was already 3 pm and we weren’t really hungry at that point, we decided to split and have a side order of edamame (P150) (because my sister always has to have edamame when they have it on the menu)
Edamame

It was to say, interesting. Definitely not for the purists, as I remember telling a colleague about it, and them saying “So basically it’s mac and cheese ramen” and hearing a click in my head as it came together. Cheesy noodles that you dip in rich, meaty broth, yes. Intense flavors and rich, smooth experience, yes again.

Anyone who wants a different ramen experience should definitely go to this, but for those who want a comforting bowl to slurp on that’s easy, maybe not. It took me a while to understand it, and now, while writing about it while the rain is pouring outside, my mouth is starting to water. Not for the faint of heart, and those who are trying to lose any poundage.

Verdict: Must try. Go with an open mind, and around P700 a head if you want your own bowl and side orders.

You can find Mitsuyado Sei-Men here:

No. 22 Jupiter Street, Brgy. Bel Air, Makati City, Philippines.
Operating Hours: 11.00am to 12.00am Monday to Sunday
Telephone: +632 511-1390