Food Trip

We bond over food. We love checking out new restaurants, just for the fun of it.
Like many of our generation, we click before we eat. Sometimes though, we’re too hungry to bother.
We are not prolific food critiques, we’re just normal people who know good food. :)

Between the two of us, it’s the husband who cooks at home. Maybe someday I will too. But until then, I wouldn’t likely be sharing recipes on the blog. :)

Chocolate Sheet Cake

Grr! I went to sleep this afternoon because I just could not keep my eyes open. Now, I’m awake and would like to live my online life, but my Internet connection’s being buggy. The intermittent connectivity issues has kept me from dropping ECs, so sorry for my droppers for not returning the drops. I did visit though, but the connection times out before I get to leave a comment, or your widgets are not even displaying. 🙁 Tomorrow, I’ll double up on my rounds. 🙂

I also wanted to join in with Music Monday, but I can’t even preview the YouTube video I wanted to show. It’s a video of Firewoman, written and performed by local band Hungry Young Poets. The band is no longer together and the lead singer is now doing a solo act. They launched when I was in highschool, and this particular song came out on my freshman year at university. A friend who also loves music gave me the lyrics to this song, and I sang it to audition for a music (based) organization. I love singing this song. If you’d like to check it out, do so here: Firewoman. (remember, I haven’t previewed the video but a friend shared it on his Facebook wall. I hope it plays well and does the song justice) Let me know what you think, ok?

For some reason though, Baking Life on Facebook is working just fine. Hirap mag load ng ibang sites, but the application goes on without any hitch. Haha! 🙂

But enough of my Internet woes.

Remember the chocolate sheet cake I made on Friday? Well, the recipe calls for Buttermilk. It’s something that’s not available in the smaller groceries around here. Good thing the Pioneer Woman also shared the substitute for buttermilk!

Click picture to go the Chocolate Sheet Cake Recipe!

The Pioneer Woman already has step by step photos along with the recipe so I won’t be posting similar ones. I do have to show these though, my favorite steps in the making of chocolate sheet cake:

See that buttery goodness? In making the cake, we had to melt butter twice. Once for the cake itself, cocoa powder is added to this. And second, for the icing. Mmmmm, I love the smell of melted butter. This was one of the boyfriend’s jobs for the day, butter melter, haha 🙂

Finally, wet and dry ingredients mix! I used to dread this part when baking brownies because the mixture tends to get quite heavy. If you do it by hand, it can get pretty tiring. For this cake though, it’s very light and easy. I didn’t have to use my mixer for this one.

It was so easy to bake this cake but it didn’t exactly turn out perfect. Our floor is uneven, hence, the oven’s uneven too. We ended up with a sheet cake that was thinner on one end, and thicker on the other. A friend of Alfred’s cousin who got to taste the cake at Theo’s birthday bash commented that it had a tad too much of vanilla. I personally couldn’t detect it, but I think it’s because I was using vanilla oil and we put a little too much considering there was vanilla on the cake and the icing as well. My version also doesn’t have pecans on it. Not because we’re allergic to nuts, but because we didn’t have any. I think the nuts would balance the sweetness so we’re definitely going to get some for next time.

But the biggest thing is this: I didn’t feel like it was the best chocolate sheet cake ever. 🙁 I used to make chocolate cake and cupcakes with a recipe I modified and I remember that tasting more richer, chocolatier. Probably because it has some coffee in it. But I refuse to give up on this recipe, so I’ll give it another shot some other time. Don’t get me wrong though, it tasted great! I packed a few slices for Theo (Alfred’s cousin), and also a few for my cousin Candy. They share the same birthday 🙂 I also gave slices to the kids downstairs, specially Hannah whose birthday was the next day, September 18th.

Mabilis naman naubos, so I’m sure it was yummy. Not perfect, but good. Maybe the next time I try it, it would be perfect. Haha 🙂

The next day, I baked the yummiest thing I’d baked in a long time. That was a perfect cake. Haha 🙂 But I’ll share that some other time. For now, let’s just pay tribute to my chocolate sheet cake:

Weekend Bake-a-thon

I had a wonderful weekend. First, because it’s a long one (but not long enough ;)), three days due to the fact that I filed Sunday as vacation leave. Second, because I baked three cakes in three days! It was sooo much fun, the cakes were light to make, and the boyfriend was my assistant. And all three turned out too good not to share.

So no, I didn’t go on a real vacation, no pools or beaches or atv rides. I was indoors almost the whole time, but baking is such good therapy that it completely de-stressed me. 🙂

What’s with the bake-a-thon? Special people in our lives celebrated their birthdays and we chose to honor them by making cakes. Friday, 17th of September was my cousin Candy’s birthday, as it was Alfred’s mom and cousin Theo. We made Pioneer Woman’s Chocolate Sheet Cake. She calls it the best chocolate sheet cake ever so I really had my hopes up for this one.

The next day, we decided to make another cake to bring to the surprise party for Alfred’s Nanay. She’s not into sweets and not a big chocolate fan so we opted for something else. Tres Leches Cake. I also used PW’s recipe.

I fell in love with Tres Leches. And all who tasted it, loved it. We loved it so much we decided to make another one today so my parents and my brother could taste it too. Also because we only had one teeny slice of the cake last night at the party, hehe.

I have more pictures of the bake-a-thon, and a few more stories to share, but my weekend’s over in a few hours and I gotta go get some sleep.

How was your weekend? What’s your favorite cake? Did you have one this weekend? 🙂

Casa Reyes

We were at the Greenhills on Saturday until around dinner time. There are several restaurants there that we already consider favorites, but we wanted to try something new. We had our sights on Casa Reyes. Both Alfred and I were already very hungry, I was sure that taking appetite suppression pills would have been the only way to keep us from gulping down food!

Casa Reyes, from what I gather (but I wasn’t able to confirm this) is operated by the family of Mama Sita. The matriarch of a family that has also released cook books featuring native Filipino dishes. They also have their own line of seasonings and instant mixes.

Upon entering the restaurant, we had to wait to be seated. There were other patrons enjoying their dinner already, and the crew were still clearing the table for us. After seeing the seasoning products on display, next thing I noticed was the cute and vintage-looking high chairs for little diners:

So Alfred and I are both BIG people right? Sabi ko, “palagay mo, pag nagka-anak tayo kasya kaya dito?” (I joked around and asked whether he thinks our future kids would fit in such small chairs!) haha 🙂

We got our table just a few minutes later. Ordering wasn’t easy! They have a lot of dishes to choose from, and being Pinoy food, most are definite favorites. In the end, we settled with these two orders:

Fresh Lumpiang Ubod

Kare-Kare

Though the Kare-Kare is shown here on a plate with a cup of rice, we actually got it in a pot, a palayok. I haven’t been eating rice, so I had the lumpia to myself, and Alfred shared the Kare-Kare with me. Both dishes were very tasty. I loved the lumpia, and it was priced reasonably too at less than a hundred pesos for the plate. Don’t ask me though if I prefer it over the famous Globe lumpia. I’d have to have them at the same time to make a comparison. 🙂 The Kare-Kare wasn’t special, or maybe it’s because we had just had home cooked Kare-Kare a few days before this meal. Dad cooked Kare-kare for the first time, and we all loved it.  🙂

We ordered dessert too, it was my guilty pleasure for the day:

Chocolate mousse

Leche Flan

All in all, we were satiated. The food was okay, the pricing was not bad. But the boyfriend wasn’t too happy with the service, he even commented that we weren’t going back there. I understand that it was a busy night, but there was a number of waiters staffed that day anyway. We didn’t order drinks with our meal but asked for glasses of cold water. Alfred normally needs more than a glass with his meal, so even before we finished eating, he’d already asked for a refill. He didn’t get it even after the second time he asked. Our glasses were finally refilled only after I had asked, and we’d asked for the bill already. It wasn’t as if they couldn’t see us (we’re very easy to spot), the request was acknowledged the first two times he asked, but it wasn’t granted. Sabi ko na lang kay Alfred, You should smile while asking. 🙂

So I think it will take a while before we set food inside a Casa Reyes resto again. Too bad because I really think they serve good food.

[Food photos in this post were taken using the LG Renoir camera phone, while the first photo was shot with My S Phone. I haven’t been toting Deena regularly like I used to :(]

Scooter Sunday

After almost a month of staying away from Trinoma, the boyfriend and I stepped into the mall again yesterday. We had two things in mind: lunch at Conti’s and grocery shopping for my SBD meals that he prepares for me.

Lunch was satisfying. He had lengua, while I had the American grilled spareribs. For starters, we ordered gambas with mushrooms. The meal was completed with a slice of Mango Bravo that we both shared.

From there, we headed inside the mall and walked around a bit. At the Activity Centre, there were cars and scooters on display, among other things. We checked out the Suzuki APV, which would be a nice family car. There was also the Suzuki Swift, a white one, that would be a great first car for just the two of us. But it wasn’t the four-wheeled cars that got my attention. It was the scooters.

First, my eyes were glued to the Kymco Like:

It’s cute, not too small, and has a compartment at the back.

A few steps away, my heart was captivated by the Yamaha Mio Fino:

It has that vintage feel to it, even when it’s actually brand new. The one on display was tinted in gold, but not a very bright one. It looked more brown to me than gold, but since the salesman said gold, then that it is.

Both scooters share the same price range but if I were really to consider buying a scooter, I’d probably go for the Fino.

What would I use a scooter for? To get to and from work, of course. I can potentially save some money in the long run, plus I wouldn’t have to wait for a cab anymore. We can also use it to go to the seminary, or to the groceries along E.Rod. But do I really really want to hop on a scooter? I’ve never been on one, so I’m not really sure. Besides, I can’t stand the pollution so I’m sure I won’t be using it much around major thoroughfares.

Still I really think it would be cool to have one. Besides, my brother and dad have been bugging me to get one since I started working at NCO. I just never really liked the idea of being on a scooter. Maybe that will change.

After the boyfriend bought a pair of jeans, we went down to the supermarket for our last errand of the day. We enjoyed grocery shopping for food that follows the SBD guidelines. Alfred will be cooking for me again this week. 🙂

We picked up something that’s not exactly SBD though. Two boxes of Guylian chocolates, La Trufflina. They were on the buy-one-take-one rack because they will be expiring in the next two months. So what. Haha.

La Trufflina is an irresistible combination of Belgian chocolate truffles with a smooth milk chocolate truffle filling. Each truffle is enrobed with the finest milk, white or dark Belgian chocolate and delicately sprinkled with fine chocolate flakes. An unparalleled chocolate dream.

It was a fun afternoon, even if we were exhausted a little since we both came from our work shifts. I also missed an NCO party yesterday because I was tired, and was also having stomach cramps due to dysmenorrhea. Ugh. Yes. Primolut N worked for me that I actually started bleeding again before the month ended. And I’ve been wearing maternity pads for a few days now. Ugh. Sorry, too much info!

Bad Carb Weekend

I just had one. A bad carb weekend. I’ve stuffed my body full of bad carbs. White rice, and pasta. Ugh.

Winging it with a pseudo-South Beach Diet isn’t working for me. I really need a meal plan, and I should go grocery shopping for the kind of food that should surround me. I’d been eating rice with my meals (just a few spoonfuls, but it’s still rice) and I’ve had a few bowls of elbow macaroni pasta. Hay. The family can’t be blamed really, it is not their responsibility that they make all these bad carbs available. No one forced me to eat those. Haha.

It seems that being in the office, or out at the mall, makes it easier to eat healthy. Odd, but true. I’ve always imagined that being outside would mean exposing myself to temptation, but I guess it’s been awesome that there are just a lot of alternative eating places now that offers healthier alternatives. There are the sandwiches as Starbucks on whole wheat bread, the salads at Gram’s too. And recently, a new store opened at The Loop: Refresher’s

This store is green! They have packed greens and you choose what dressing goes with it (included in the price, unless you choose a premium dressing). If you want more than just greens, they have a nice selection of ingredients like egg, cheese, ham, etc. I get a very filling pack of yummy salad here for 90 pesos. If I wanted to save a little, I’d limit myself to only two extra ingredients.

So let’s back up, you pick a pack of greens, choose your toppings, choose the dressing. Then the staff tosses them all together for you.

You can then enjoy your salad at The Loop, or bring it home. I wonder though if the greens would wilt if I take one around lunch time but eat it at night? Hmm. They also have set salads, meaning they’ve chosen the topping already. There’s nicoise, weight watchers (or something), among others. I tried the tuna nicoise once and it had olives and peas in it which I don’t normally add to my salads. It was good.

They also sell salad dressing in bottles, and some sandwich spreads too. No added preservatives. They have coffee grounds too, some veggie chips, and potted herbs.

Last week, I walked from the office to the Digiprint outlet in Morato (I had a roll of film processed, see my Lomo and Toy Camera Photography post for the results). It wasn’t really that far, but because I was wearing my high heels (the same one I put on at Mayeen’s wedding), I felt that I needed to take a break at this nice place, HalfMoon Cafe. I noticed a long time ago that they seemed to have merged with the breakfast place I Have Two Eggs, but we hadn’t been there in a long time, years really. Since I needed to lay off my feet for a while and my stomach was grumbling, I went in.

It turned out to be a very good decision, I had found another place to satisfy my salad cravings.

This salad is really good! It had strips of beef tapa, eggs, croutons, mangoes that weren’t sour, tomatoes and greens. The house dressing was good too. I had coffee, and I proudly shunned from the chocolate bibingcrepe in the menu. haha!

I think it’s wonderful that more and more places are offering Halo or Splenda without one having to ask for it. Is it more expensive for coffee shops to stock on this sugar substitute than refined sugar? I guess so. It’s sad though because outside HalfMoon it says that they have Roti bread. When I asked the waiter, he said that because they’re merging with the other restaurant, the asian café offerings were no longer available. What’s left is only the bibingcrepes. Oh, those are sinful!

Anyway, as soon as I stepped out of HalfMoon, I felt my feet start to hurt again. There were tricycles just across the road waiting to take me to where I was going but I was determined to walk my way to Morato circle. I didn’t stop to eat and then just give up, did I? So I made the trip and took a couple of snapshots using Pinky. I hope the shot of the boy scouts’ memorial comes out good.

Okay, here are the last food photos for today. This is from our last meal at Kenny Roger’s Roasters at SM North:

Healthy, no? But, I’ll have to confess that we couldn’t resist the new desserts that the waitress was offering. I just had to try their new pannacotta and crème brûlée!

It was my first time to try crème brûlée, it’s a lot like leche flan pala but less sweet, and with the torched sugar on top. Incidentally, P-Dub published her crème brûlée recipe on PW Cooks. You have to go checkout that recipe, you’d know why I so want to make crème brûlée! I don’t care about having to do SBD phase one all over again if it means I can make this and have it too before the strict phase. Haha 🙂 Go see the recipe!

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