Thursday, June 30, 2011

Eat My GF Again

Orignal GF (Garlic Fries)
I was at ATC (Alabang Town Center) the other day running errands.  As I had promised myself in a previous post (you can read here) if ever I find myself in ATC I would visit Eat My GF again, and that's exactly what I did. My errands were done and was able to head home when I decided to buy snacks for the Little Ones.  I initially ordered the Pinoy GF, unfortunately she I mean it, was not available.  So I ended up ordering the Original GF and Nacho Mama.  When I got home the Little Ones asked me right away what pasalubomg I had for them.  I opened the paper bag, took out the GF, they smelled that delicious aroma of garlic, then they each took a piece, the Little Boy uttered "Wow chammie naman", chammie is how he pronounces yummy.  They quickly finished the whole thing and were asking me to get them more, I promised them next time I'll order 2 servings.

Nacho Mama

I was happy that Nacho Mama held up quite well.  It is about a 30 minute drive from ATC to our home, was expecting the nachos to be soggy, gladly they were not.  I liked this snack very much, it does not have any meat, there is lots of cheese and finely grated carrots plus some sour cream, and what I believe to be some sort of bean sauce.  Love that they place the nachos around the other ingredients thus the chips remain crispy.  I love my crispy chips, as I am writing this post I am munching on tortilla chips from Yellow Cab.

On my next visit to Eat My GF I hope the Pinoy GF will be available, can't wait to taste that.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Dad's 65th Birthday Celebration

Dad's actual birthday is on June 23rd, the family got together 2 days later to celebrate his 65th.  It was a very happy occasion, the food was great and  the memories we created even better. 

This was the whole spread, Mom cooked Dad's favorites seafood dishes.  Dad loved everything he said "Lahat masarp! (everything is delicious)"

Mom had to cook grilled fish because this is one of Dad's all time favorite.  The fish was fresh and huge, it took quite some time to cook. Mom was able to grill this to perfection.

 We had to have pansit for long life.  Mom ordered from Aling Lucy's, a local restaurant in the area. Their bilao of pansit can feed a whole army, what's even better their price is very affordable. 

Dad of course was the star of the day, however there was another star - the lechon.  We usually order our lechon from Cebu, but this year we had Negros style from General's Lechon.  This was one of my favorite discovery from the Yummy Eats event. So happy that the family loved it, though Mom and Dad still favor the lechon Cebu, the General's Lechon is a close second for them.  As for me I like this lechon better than Cebu's.  I love that the meat is lean, not much fat at all, thus there is no sebo.  Also the skin remained crispy throughout the whole day. I have to commend them for delivering the lechon on time, even though typhoon Falcon was still raging over Metro Manila. Hope the General will be a constant guest of honor in our family celebrations :) 

Mom's famous fruit salad is present during family occasions.  Her fruit salad is so good that whenever my Uncle Ben comes home from the US and visits the house this is the first thing he looks for.  One time Mom gave him a bottle of fruit salad which Uncle Ben consumed on his flight back home to the US. 

Everyone's favorite crabs had to make an appearance.  Mom told her suki to make sure that each crab was was meaty and the fat yellow.  Ate Suki did not disappoint, all the crabs passed Mom's standards, super yummy.

This shell soup dish is the favorite of "Tthe Boys", 1st Brother's two young sons.  The mussels were fresh and plump, and the warm soup was perfect for the cold weather we had.

This is what was left of the lechon.

The Little Ones prepared two video greetings for their Lolo.

Like I said it was an occasion of  good food and great memories.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY Daddy, We LOVE YOU!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Red Crab Alimango House

What is inside the Red Crab palayok?

I'll answer the question a little later in the post.  It was Dad's 65th birthday, we decided to take Dad and Mom out for lunch to celebrate.  Red Crab in Alabang Town Center (ATC) was a family favorite, several special celebrations were held there including a wedding reception, a baptism and several birthdays.  The food was always delicious and the service always great. Sadly Red Crab's mother company decided to replace it with another one of their concept restaurant a couple of years ago.  Our Red Crab turned into Crustasia which was more of an Asian Fusion resto, dishes that our family did not fully grasp nor could appreciate.  

We have been missing Red Crab, Teody our favorite waiter in ATC informed us that it was only the Clark branch that retained the original Red Crab menu. We love our Red Crab but we did not have the will to travel all the way to Pampanga.

So when 1st Brother informed me that there was a Red Crab Alimango House in Newport Mall, I asked him to check the menu to see if they had our old favorites from the original Red Crab.  He said that menu was different but some of our favorites were back.    We were supposed to go on Father's Day but decided to just celebrate at home because of the rain and the traffic that day.  We then talked about  going last Monday, somewhat of a late Father's Day celebration, but finally decided to go on Dad's birthday.

Newport Mall

We arrived at Newport super early, as in 10:30 AM.  It was Dad, Mom and my first time in this mall.  With time to kill 1st Brother decided to show me around.  He took me to the casino, I've never been to one before. I expected it to be empty since it was early morning.  I was surprised to see that there were plenty of people playing at the different tables and machines.  Some players looked like they have been there all evening long.  They had that zombie gaze, had dark circles under their eyes, plus huge eye bags.  I just walked around for a couple of minutes, could not stay long because I could not stand the cigarette smoke.   With about 30 more minutes to kill, Mom and I decided to check out all 4 floors of the mall to window shop. And that's all we could really do because all the shops were still closed.  I would consider Newport Mall to be a boutique mall.  Seems to me that it will cater to a certain group of people. Mostly like the gamblers in the casino and the balibayans and tourists from the international airport across the road. It is not too kid friendly either, did not find any shops for kids nor an activity area a kid can enjoy. 

Sorry I digressed from the topic of food, bringing it back to Red Crab. There was about 15 minutes before the restaurant doors were to be officially opened, but we asked the staff if we could already wait inside.  Thankfully they agreed to let us in.  I looked over the menu to check if Dad's favorite chicharon bulalak was on it, yippee it was.  I am kind of worrisome of our favorite restaurants being reinvented, because of our recent Casa Marcos experience (which you can read about here Casa Marcos the Rebirth).  I did not want Dad disappointed on his birthday. So I did some research on the internet on Red Crab Newport, from what I gathered the blog reviews were quite good, a promising sign.

The Red Crab Alimango House's menu is predominantly Filipino, unlike before where it was a mixture of several different cuisines.  Mom was disappointed that here favorite Seafood Chowder was not on the menu.  After much discussions, for our soup we ordered the Sinigang na Ulang which came in a palayok (clay pot).

Sinigang na Ulang sa Burong Mangga at Tanglad
The soup was delicious, and this coming from someone who does not like broths.  I believe the combination of all the ingredients gave this soup a balanced taste.  It was not too sour, as I find most Filipino broth soups to be.  I loved the ulang, it was fresh, huge and very flavorful. 

Kinilaw Sampler
Dad loves kinilaw, and knows what good kinilaw should be.  He and 1st Brother found this sampler to be too high brow, I guess these three were striving to be "ceviche" instead of "kinilaw".  Dad found all three to be bland.  Dad says kinilaw should have that  vinegary taste, and needs to be spicy with a major kick.  He said that this sampler is no match to the kinilaw of Vibang's, our favorite neighborhood turo-turo restaurant.

Dad's all-time favorite chicharon bulaklak
Dad was very happy to be reunited with his favorite chicharon bulaklak.  For us Red Crab's version is the best.  Consistently the chicharon is crispy without being oily, flavorful without being too salty, and most importantly it never has that "panghe" taste that other bulaklaks have.  Sorry for the "panghe" term but that's the only way I could describe it.   

Adobong Hito sa Dilaw
This is something we have not had before.  1st Brother loved this dish, I am not much of a fish eater so I really can't comment much.  I've always been afraid to eat fish, I am scared that matitinik ako.  I took a small portion, it tasted ok, had kind of an adobo taste with a tumeric undertone. 
Seafood Bicol Express
This dish was yummy. I loved the rich coconut cream flavor it rendered to the seafood, though it could have used a little more heat.  There were plenty of chopped chilies in the dish but it lacked heat.  I call these "defective chilies".  I've defined them as siling labuyo that for some reason are not spicy, they did not live up to their name.
Deep-Fried Crab
Deep-Fried Crab, another one of Dad's favorite dish.  Our waiter was trying to convince us to order Crabs Maritess, which I love.  But since it was Dad's special day we had to give him his wish.  He likes his crab to be cooked simply, he then picks the meat and dips it in vinegar, that's foodie bliss for him. 

Kapeng Barako Cheesecake
I don't have much of a sweet tooth, but 1st Brother has a HUGE sweet tooth.  So we decided to order a cheesecake with a twist, the crust is made with kapeng barako.  I liked this dessert, it was not too sweet, just the right amount of sweetness, tartness and bitterness.

Overall, we were all very happy with the lunch we had.  The dishes were good and the wait staff remains to be very attentive without being intrusive. 

Love this mural
Had to take a picture of the mural inside the restaurant.  It had the lyrics of  an old Filipino children's song "Tong, Tong, Tong Pakitong Kitong" which Mom claims she has never heard of.  To which Dad, 1st  Brother and I  collectively reacted to and said  "Whaaatttt????"  How can my Mom not know this song?  I don't know, neither does she. 

I love fountains, had to take a snapshot of it
Whew this has to be my longest post ever.  But I am not quite done, so please stay with me a little bit more. 

I want to dedicate this post to my Dad.  Happy Birthday Daddy, I know we have our differences, I guess it's that way because, as Mom claims, our "ugalis" are the same, especially when we are mad.  But know this I love you very much.  I may not say it or show it often, but I do, with all of my heart and being.   Thank you for all the things that you have done to make the family happy and have a comfortable life. You have made so many sacrifices for us, that most of the time you don't think about yourself, it's always about what you can do for the family.   

We love you dearly Daddy. 

Two days in a row that I had tears while writing a post. Tissue please :) 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Pasta with Ham and Cream Sauce

Since last Saturday I have not been feeling well.  Vertigo episodes have been occurring more often, plus my blood pressure has been up.  So I have been taking additional medication which makes me lethargic, and that’s how I have been for the last couple of days, spending the whole day in bed in a sluggish state.

Today I had to get out of bed to run a short errand.  When I got back home I sat down to do some paperwork when the Little Girl approached me and said “Are you feeling better na? Please make me some pasta, please.” For the past 3 days she has been requesting that I cook for her but I was in no shape to do so. I promised her last night that I would try to drop by KFC to buy her favorite Chicken Alfredo Pasta, but I forgot to, another side-effect of the medicines I tend to become forgetful.

I was going to say no to her request but I saw that cute sweet pleading face of hers.  I told her okay I’ll try my best to cook something from what I could find.  Checking the fridge and the pantry I found that we had spaghetti, some ham, cream and cheese.  So I made a simple pasta dish with ham and cream sauce.  While cooking I felt that this was going to be a bland dish since the only other ingredients I added were onion, salt and black pepper.   I told the Little Girl not to expect too much since I was not prepared to cook for her today.  When she took her first bite her face lightened up, she smiled at me and said “It’s delicious, thanks po.”  I was so touched by that, she managed to get me back in the kitchen, something that I have been wanting to do.

As I write this I am a little teary eyed, because no matter how bad I feel the Little Girl always knows how to lift my spirits.  She is a lot like me,  she does not always say I love you or is she showy and all lovey dovey.   But by just looking at her and how she finished her plate of pasta I know that she truly appreciates and loves me.  I show her my love by cooking for her and she shows me her love by eating with gusto the dishes I make J

Friday, June 17, 2011

Eat My GF (Garlic Fries)

Their kiosk in ATC (photo taken from their Facebook page)
Since I was sick most of 2010, I have not been out much.  It is only these last couple of months that I have had the urge and the energy to go out.  I probably missed out on a lot of new restaurants and food trends.  So whenever I do go out these days I make it a point to try something new.

Last week I together with the Little Ones and my Sister-In-Law found ourselves in Alabang Town Center (ATC) in search of an exhaust fan.  How our search for an exhaust got us all the way to ATC is a story in itself, but I won't bore you with the details about that one.

When we arrived in ATC it was already merienda time, the Little Boy is the type who sticks to a schedule.  If it is his snack time you need to feed him, or else he will throw a fit.  He kept on saying "I am so hungry na, please let's eat na, please."  So we went straight to the food court, in ATC it is called Food Choices, ang sosi di ba. Got the Littile Girl her KFC Chicken Alfredo and the Little Boy his Potato Corner barbecue fries.  I was still undecided as to what I would like to have when the signage Eat My GF caught my eye.  The quirky name got my attention.  After looking over their offerings I decided to get the Virgin Chips for us to share. 

The photo above does not do justice to how flavorful and yummy these fries are.  I think they should rename it because there is nothing virginal with these chips.  Let me prove my point, first the chips are deep-fried then sprinkled with seasoned salt,  a teaspoon of  finely minced garlic is added, and finally they top it with grated Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.  Does that sound like a virgin to you?  Believe me it was no virgin, instead it had character and a powerful flavor. In fact the chips are so flavorful that they give you a free mint with your order.   The combination of all the ingredients give this snack a deliciously complex flavor.   The Little Ones did not take to it as much as I did.  I guess they are used to their favorite Potato Corner flavored fries which are greasy and salty.  Another thing I liked  is that not much salt was added, thus making it a better snack option for someone like me who has hypertension. 

Next time I find myself in ATC I'll make it a point to try out the Pinoy GF and the Nacho Mama.  

Check out Eat My Garlic Fries in Facebook. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Still on a Crocs High

Two days after the end of the Megasale, we are still on a Crocs high.  Yesterday the Little Girl was back in school, she wore her new pink Gabby Crocs.  Was not able to take pictures because I left the house super early. 

Today she wore this pair, which we got a buy-one-take-one deal.  Feeling model si Little Girl = ) 


The following day the Little Girl wore her pink Gabbies again.  This is her current favorite Crocs. 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

We Survived the Crocs Megasale 2011

Our loot from the Crocs Megasale

Last week I wrote about being excited to go to the Crocs Megasale in NBC tent.  After postponing going several times due to scheduling conflicts and errands that need to be done we finally went today, the last day of the sale.

This is my first ever megasale of any kind.  I am not the typical Filipino bargain shopper who would travel a great distance or spend hours in a midnight sale.  I know that there are great finds and deals at these sales but I kind of hate large crowds, it scares me.  I am the type who will avoid going to the mall if there is a megasale happening.  I admire the people who bravely go to these sales because I just can't do it.  But I had to check out the Crocs Megasale because the Little Ones really like their Crocs.  It is comfortable and stylish but has quite an expensive price tag.  So when I saw an ad last week in the Philippine Daily Inquirer about this sale I had to psyche myself in going.

Every day since the sale started I have been checking out the comments in Facebook. There were many complaints but there were also people who were quite happy with their finds. So yesterday my sister-in-law and I finally decided that we would go together.  We knew that today was the last day so we decided to come really early.  We woke up at 3:30 AM, prepared our baon of sandwiches and drinking water.  Was able to leave the house at 5:00 AM, and arrived at the NBC tent at 5:30 AM.  We were the 8th and 9th person to arrive.  Good thing there were monoblock chairs, it was going to be over 4 hours of waiting till the doors open.  

This is what the crowd looked like at around 9:00 AM. By my estimate there were over a hundred people by then.  Good thing the people in our line were composed of patient and jolly individuals.  So we chatted amongst ourselves to pass the time. We were even making fun of each other to humor ourselves during the long wait.  I passed out candies, since most of them had not had breakfast yet, and the food outlets in the area were still closed.

I admire this little girl, she was behaved during the wait.  She only got antsy about an hour before the doors were opened, which was perfectly understandable because at that time the heat was really unbearable. Our kids would never have been as patient as this girl.  If we had brought the Little Ones with us they would have been throwing a fit at the first hour.

The doors were opened at 10:20 AM.  We rushed directly to the kids section because we wanted to make sure we got the items on our list.  I am pleased that we were lucky to get everything we wanted for the kids.  The prices were further reduced and there were buy one take one items.  My sister-in-law also got a pair for herself. 

Overall my first megasale was a good experience.  I guess it really pays to be early, we were in and out in about an hour and was at home for lunch.  The Little Ones, especially the Little Girl, were so happy to see the stuff we bought.  The Little Girl is excited to wear her new Crocs and temporarily retire her old ones.   

I do hope that the organizers for next year's megasale will take note of all the comments and suggestions for improvement that were given on Facebook and other avenues.  That way next year's event will be more organized and better experience for everyone, and maybe even convert me to become a megasale bargain shopper fanatic. 

Friday, June 10, 2011

Chicken Flauta

Still been very busy, have not had time to spend in the kitchen.  But the other day I was craving for a quick snack.  So I made chicken flautas accompanied by a simple salsa.  I know my flautas don't look much like flutes.  They looked more like flat turons.   My excuse, I was in a hurry thus the misshaped flautas.   What's important is they still tasted great, or was I just really really hungry.  Anyways if you are like me who seems to be a very busy bee these days you may want to try this recipe.

You will need:
cooked canned chicken (I don't add anymore salt because the chicken is already cooked, I just season it with pepper)
tortilla wraps
grated cheese
cooking oil

Place some chicken and grated cheese in a tortilla, wrap it tightly to form a flute like shape.  Then fry in cooking until each side turns golden brown.  Serve together with a simple salsa. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Recent Junk Food Discoveries

I admit it I am a recovering junkie - a junk food junkie.  I used to consume big bags of junk food daily - Clover chips, Jack and Jill's munchies, and Frito Lay's barbecue potato chips were my junk of choice.  Due to health issues, over the past few years I have tried very hard to cure my addiction.  But last week while doing the grocery shopping 4 new junk foods caught attention, it must have been their packaging and shelf placement that got me.

These two Wild Willy's chicarones were the first to catch my eye.  I did not fully read the labels and thought that they were veggie chicharons like that of Marty's.  Upon closer inspection when I got home I discovered that these are real pork rinds.  I opened both bags and shared it with the family, the verdict it's not worth the P30.00 plus price.  It is more air that rind.  I guess for us nothing will ever compare to R. Lapid's pork chicharon, it is the best.

This is the other "chicharon" that I bought.  Now this one is actually dehydrated peas that are made to look and taste like pork chicharon.  I guess everyone is trying to join the Marty's veggie chicharon craze.  In our opinion Chicharron ni Mang Juan is going to overpass Marty's in the veggie chicharon race.  This veggie chicharon tastes better and seems to be less salty.  Marty's used to be the Little Girl's favorite, but now she says that this is her new favorite. 

Does this not remind you of another cheese snack?  The font, the color and design of the package, including the placement of the mascot looks very similar.  From afar I thought that this was Cheetos.  I really fooled me.  Cheetos is the Little Ones favorite cheese snack, but it has gotten quite expensive.  A small pack can cost you  between P15.00 to P20.00 depending where you buy.

So when I saw this medium size back at P20.00 I had to buy it and see if the Little Ones would notice. The Little Boy did not seem to notice the difference he ate his share in silence.  The Little Girl being older, noticed that there was something off with her "Cheetos".  I had to come clean and admit to her that it was Chumbos.  She said it tasted ok, but she still preferred Cheetos.  I told her let's compromise and make a deal, for special occasions we will get her Cheetos but for everyday baon we will give her Chumbos.  She agreed, I am hoping eventually she will prefer Chumbos or better yet swear off junk food completely.  

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Casa Marcos the Rebirth

My parents, especially my father loved the old Casa Marcos in Roxas Boulevard.  When it closed down in 2000 they were really sad.  They have very fond memories of this restaurant.  Apart from the great food, they loved the exceptional service of the wait staff, especially Mang George the waiter.  I remember that whenever I was fortunate enough to tag along with my parents, Mang George always had a friendly smile and greeted us at the entrance.  He would then lead us to our table, and immediately serve us their famous hot pandesal and butter.  Then he would inform my Dad if his favorites were available, take our order, then come back with the Casa Marcos' special iced tea.

So when I learned that Casa Marcos has re-opened in Taguig we had to check it out. Dad was looking forward to because it has been over a decade since he had  his favorites - almejas, prawns thermidore, adobong baboy damo, usa, callos and of course the pandesal. I thought that the new Casa was located in McKinley hill when we did not find it there.  I searched for the correct address in The new Casa is located in Burgos Circle, Taguig. 

We arrived lunch time, and since it was still early there was no crowd yet.  We were happy to see that Dad's favorites were still on the menu.  For appetizers we ordered almejas, Dad and 1st Brother ordered sopa de mariscos.  For their main courses they ordered adobong baboy, usa, and tenderlion tips. Dad was trying to convince me to order my old favorite prawns thermidore but since I had a heavy breakfast all I ordered was Caesar Salad. And I was hoping to load up on the free hot pandesal, just like when I was a little girl. 

While waiting for the food to be served we were exchanging stories about the old Casa Marcos, the table across us was doing the same.  I guess everyone was nostalgic about the old Casa Marcos, and was anticipating that the new one would live up to it's name. 

I have to apologize for the quality of the following photos.  I could not do any styling because my parents don't fully grasp the concept of blogging and why I need to take pictures of the food.  So I had to take these shots in haste. 

Almejas and hot pandesal
When the almejas and the hot pandesal arrived our first reaction was that of surprise because both have shrunk in size.  1st Brother was the first one to say "Di ba mas malaki itong mga ito noon?"  In the old Casa Marcos the clams used for the almejas were huge and succulent.  The clams in the new Casa are very small, we were quite disappointed.  And the pandesal too were tiny bite-sized pieces.  We were used to large hot toasted pandesal in the old Casa. 

Still delicious but wish the clams were bigger.  Since the clams are now tiny they tend to dry up, while in the old Casa since they used huge clams it remained succulent and juicy to the bite. 

Sopa de Mariscos (Creamy Seafood Bouillabaisse in Light Tomato Soup)
Only Dad and 1st Brother ordered this soup.  1st Brother liked it however Dad was not able to finish his, so he passed it over to me.  I don't remember having this soup in the old Casa.  I found the soup to be just ok.  It tasted like tomato sauce used for pasta dishes, but if you like to tomato soup this should satisfy you.

Caesar Salad
The Caesar Salad had too much cheese and the dressing was too thick for my preference.

Add caption
Mom ordered this usa dish, which I can't recall what it was called, I refer to it as Bambi's Mom.  My Mom liked the dish very much.  But when we got home she told me that she just said that so as not to upset Dad further. She found the dish to be too sour.

Adobong Baboy Damo
Dad was excited to eat this dish, however he was very disappointed.  He told us that it tasted very different from that of the old Casa's recipe.  He said that the dish had too much pepper, it was overpowering.  He only took two bites.  1st Brother offered to share with Dad his order of tenderloin tips, this Dad found ok and was able to finish the tips. 

Overall I have to say that our experience with the new Casa was quite disappointing.  The food was okay  however it could not compare to the Old Casa Marcos.  The food then was rich in flavor and the quality was exceptional.  I guess our lunch can be compared to the build-up one feels when meeting up with an old flame whom you imagine to still look the same as the last time you saw them many years ago.  Only to finally see them and discover that they have changed so much over the years, and you just don't feel the same way about them anymore.

One thing in common that the new Casa has with the old one is the good service.  The wait staff, especially Jose, I believe is his name, was very attentive and friendly.  Mang George would have been very proud of that. 

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