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Why Can't we Sit on the Bench?

Daddy, Char Siew and I were at Ayala Triangle Gardens today.  We had fun.  Daddy was taking pictures of us.  One of the shots he took was us sitting on the bench.  One of the security guards approached us and asked us to step off the bench?  I seriously don't understand that.  What are the owners of this park worried about that they had to ask us to get off the bench?  Are they afraid we'd make the bench dirty?  Dirt is all around that park.  

The good news is that we were naturally beautiful in photos so daddy was able to take some quick shots before we were asked to leave the bench.

Blogger's Note: A guest post from Midori the Beagle

The Royal Canine's Facebook Fan Page

Apart from this blog, my dog, Midori the Beagle has a Facebook Fan page.  It's a great way for us to keep in touch with people and other dogs.  When Char Siew joined the house of queens,  I've had all intentions of incorporating him into Midori's Fan Page.  Unfortunately - Facebook didn't allow you to change the name of your page.   So I thought that I will forever have the Midori page just have Char Siew guest posting his own thoughts into the page.  This changed today.  I found out that Facebook has already added the capability to change the Facebook Fan Page name.  I don't know how long it had been there - and if they did make an announcement - I must have missed it.

If you have not visited Midori and Char Siew's fan page - I'm inviting you to go ahead and take a look.  Char Siew is definitely happy with this new development.    Midori doesn't seem to care.

Rainy Day

What can a dog do on rainy days?

Look at all that water falling down from the sky.  The streets are wet.

I get bored just lying down on our couch.

I can try to dream of chasing after the neighborhood cats.  But I can only dream so much.

Maybe I should ask Uncle Ryan to play with me.

This is our favorite game.  Jump and reach for the treat.  I'm very good at this game.

Trip the light fantastic ... I don't understand what that means -but they say that's what I do when I play this game.

Delicious Noms come to me.

Maybe I should beg and be cute by "Sitting Up"

That was tiring.  Time for me to go back to daydreaming.  The rain has not stopped.

Blogger's Note: A guest post from Midori the Beagle

Sunflower Seeds Brittle

On our visit to Mercato Centrale,  I found this:  Sunflower Seeds Brittle.  I wanted to try it since I like sunflower seeds and from what I can see through the bottle - it looks like the famous Romana Peanut Brittle from Baguio.   

While writing this blog, I tried to check on any health benefits of eating Sunflower Seeds or if eating it can be a good substitute to eating Peanut Brittle.  I didn't find any article in the internet that can provide that.  Sure - eating sunflower seeds has health benefits - but I seriously doubt that I can say that this is a health snack.  Remember - it is coated with SUGAR.   Too much sugar is not good for you.  So I recommend that you practice moderation when consuming this snack.

As for the taste - I like it.  Using a word that I learned from my Dutch friends ... this food is "lekker".  I know I warned about consuming a lot of it but I confess - I finished one jar in an hour.   I bought two bottles - because they were selling two bottles for 150 pesos.   The second jar remains unopened and I'm saving it for this weekend.

I am King of the Livingroom

Something has changed in the House of queens.

I am now the King of the Living Room.

I stay close to the dining area especially when Daddy is eating so I can grab any food that he drops.

The smell of the wooden floor is different from the Kitchen floor but I'm getting used to it.

Midori is now the queen of the Kitchen.  I grew up in the Kitchen - but it's no longer my territory.

I sometimes miss the kitchen ... especially when I see Midori grabbing the food that Nanny drops while she is cooking.

Blogger's Note:  A guest post by Char Siew the Shar Pei

Daddy is a Pesky Paparazzi

Daddy is a pesky paparazzi.  

Daddy, what are you doing?  Can't you see I was sleeping?

Stop the clicking Daddy.  I can hear it through my floppy ears.

I am trying to ignore you.

Don't you see that I'm actually comfortably sleeping on top of your computer bags?    You know very well that when I sleep here - I don't like being bothered.

You wouldn't stop?  Then take a picture of my back.  Hmph.

Blogger's Note:  A guest post of Midori the Beagle

I'm Hooked - Must Go back to Mercato Centrale

Growing up my mother warned me from eating street food.  Every so often - I will try to have street food in the form of Fish Balls, Banana Cue, or the burger stall at the corner of Taft Avenue and P. Faura.  Every time I indulge in this forbidden act - I will feel either feel guilty of once again disobeying my mother or I feel afraid that I might succumb to the supposed diseases that I can get from the street food.

As a grown up - my fear of street food was heightened when my sister did get hepatitis from eating Isaw ( or barbecued intestines ).  So from then on - I just stopped eating street food altogether.  Even Jollijeep - I stay away from.  However, there are moments that I would want to try them out.  

Last Friday - we thought of going to this place called Mercato Centrale.  It's not really street food - but it is a tent full of different food choices from street food to gourmet dishes.  It's organized by one of the famous food blogger's of the Philippines: Anton Diaz.  We met Anton a couple of years back when we joined the Ultimate Food Pampanga tour.  The thing with Anton is that he's so passionate about food - but he himself doesn't cook.  However - I think that he does have a keen sense of what is good food and what is not.  That talent - is manifested in the food that is available in Mercato Centrale.

We didn't order a lot during this visit - but I must say that what we did order was excellent.   We promised ourselves that we will come back for more next time.

These are the dishes we ordered:

Pan de Bagnet from Bale Dutung.  This is heaven wrapped in a pork roll.  They slice it and make a sandwich out of it.  They then combine greens with Ilocano Vinegar.  Just thinking of it make my mouth water.

I love corn.  This one is even better than plain corn.  It's flavored corn.  They offer it in Cheese, Barbecue,  Plain and Sour Cream.

Those are Taco Shells.  They're not shaped in Triangles - they actually look like Rose Cups

The Tacos have that special mixture of flavors that stay in your mind long after you've gobbled up the whole thing.  You will notice the ingenious way that it's served.  They use Egg-Cartons.  Makes it easier to carry as you wander around the are looking for other things to devour.
Asadong Tenga ( Char Siew Pork Ears ).  Sounds delicious - but I wasn't able to try it.

Asadong Isaw ( Char Siew Intestines ).  I don't like intestines but one of the queens love Isaw.  She said this Isaw is as delicious as the other items we ordered.

A meal is not complete without dessert.  They had dessert stalls everywhere.

What we ended up ordering is Creme Brûlée Bread pudding. 
Mercato Centrale is located at Fort Bonifacio.  They are open on weekends starting Friday Evening.   If you love food and you want to try something new or you want to see creative ways of classical dishes you enjoy - I encourage you to visit it.  You will definitely enjoy it.

Apple Pocket from Starbucks

I have stopped going to Starbucks daily.   My daily coffee craving has gone away.  In fact when I order coffee from Starbucks,  I just order decaffeinated coffee.   This week,  I've been to Starbucks three times.  I was there not for the coffee but for one of their new pasty offering.  They call it Apple Pocket.  I call it an AMPED Pop Tart.  It's yummy.  My trainer said he noticed that my waist line seems to be bigger this week.  I blame the amped pop tart for it.  In my mind - I just convince myself - that the Apple Pocket is good for me.  Don't they say an apple a day keeps the doctor away?

Early Morning Meal at Whistle Stop

Which is your favorite 24 hour Diner?   Mine is Whistlestop.   This is why I was one happy camper when they reopened in Makati last year.   They retained their old menu and added some dishes that I don't recall them having ( e.g. the Munggo ).  The decor has also changed.  They now look like a modern train station instead of their western style train station in the past.

They fixed up the place again.  They made the smoking area bigger.   

I love corn.  Especially when they're served off the cob.  I wonder where Whistlestop buys their corn from.  It's sweet and yummy.

They say that a healthy meal should have brown, read and green.  So I guess this multi-colored Nachos dish is a healthy dish.

Another dish meant for lazy folks like me.   This one is boneless Buffalo wings.  I like the Buffalo wings.  I don't like the supposed Blue Cheese dressing.  It actually tasted more like Mayo rather than blue cheese.

An innovative dish from Whistlestop.   Salpicao pasta.


Gigil is a Filipino word that does not have an English translation.  To explain what it means - I need to show you this picture of my two dogs:

If you are like me, when you see this picture, you most probably had a strong urge to pinch their cute faces - and while doing it - you feel your jaws clench.   That feeling - is what gigil is.

If you look at this photo of Macchiato and me - you will notice that my jaws are clenched.  I was trying to smile - but it didn't like I was smiling.  In fact it looked like i was strangling Macchiato.  I couldn't help it.  I was feeling gigil for one of my babies.

Gigil is not always a positive feeling.  It can also refer to the same jaw clenching feeling you experience when you seething mad at someone or something.  You clench your jaws - your open hand becomes a fist.  It's as if the anger is being held up inside - building up and ready to explode.    I do feel this sometimes.  As much as I can help it - I try to minimize these hateful gigil times.

Fried Oreos with Corn Flakes

Don't tell my trainer that I had Fried Oreos with Corn Flakes.  Midori, Char Siew and I were at Momo last weekend and I had this for dessert.  I'm a big fan of Oreos.  Actually - I prefer the local version: Hi-Ro.  This dessert has an interestng texture.  I would have preferred for it to be sweeter.   I had one cookie and the leftovers I took home.  It's been a week - and it was only last night that I tried it again.  I realize that the corn flakes around the Oreo Cookie destroys the flavor of the cookie.   So I broke the cookie piece in half - and scooped out the Oreo and threw away the Corn Flakes.

XO 46 Bistro Filipino

When I started working - the Filipino themed restaurants are limited to Kamayan, Barrio Fiesta, and Kalde-Kaldero.  That was 16 years ago.  Today - there are many Filipino themed restaurants in the City.  Some of them put a modern twist to the Filipino dishes.  Some of them retain the original home-cooked experience.  And then there is XO 46 Bistro Filipino.

XO 46 Bistro Filipino is located in Salcedo Village.  We tried it last weekend.  When we asked the waiter what XO meant - he said it means Extra Ordinary.  We then asked what 46 is - he indicated that this is the year that the Philippines declared independence from the Americans.

I actually like the overall look and feel of the place.  It definitely has traditional pieces of furniture - and each booth is located near a mirror - made to look like a window with capiz-shell shutters.

The following picture seems to be the focal point for the overall decor.   I like the look of the chair - but we opted to sit in one of the booths.

Word of warning - the waiters and waitresses will address you with Senor and Signora.   That was a bit unsettling for me - since I felt as if I should clap my hands to grab their attention.  Or maybe I should look for a bell and ring the bell to call them.  I was also tempted to use "tonta" although - I must say it wasn't warranted to to so because the waiters and waitresses were knowledgeable and provided really good service.   Oh - I forgot to mention that if you are Filipino - they will speak to you in Tagalog.  It reminds me of the Tagalog spoken in provinces like Bulacan and Rizal.

Since this is a Filipino restaurant - I thought that the chef did well in serving puto instead of bread.  Puto - for those who don't know - is one of our many varieties of Rice Bread.

For appetizers we ordered the sausage and chorizo tapas.

I'm not a big fan of chorizo - so I didn't eat much of this.   However - if you want to have really tasty chorizo - I'd definitely recommend ordering this.

For our main dish - we ordered Crispy Beef Ribs Kare-Kare.   This is different from your regular Kare-Kare.   I know that most of us grew up with the chewy tripe or ox-tail for this dish.  Surprisingly - the crunch of the meat combines well with the peanut sauce of the Kare-Kare.

For years now - I'm actually puzzled over the origins of the Filipino Kare-Kare.   The name implies that it is "Curry" based.   However- it is actually peanut based - which is closer to the satay.  

The other dish we had is the Sigarilyas in Coconut Milk.   Lovely dish.  I'd go back to this restaurant for more of this dish.  I finished all of it.

So my dear readers - if you are like me - who is the official GRO ( Guest Relations Officer ) of your company when foreigners visit our beautiful country,   I recommend that you take them to XO 46 Bistro Filipino.  I'm sure your guests and you will enjoy this dining experience.

To get in touch with XO 46 Bistro Filipino.  Please visit their page on Facebook.

Swirls Frozen Yogurt

I don't like Frozen Yogurt.  I think they're either too sweet or they're too tart for my taste.  But I found a Frozen Yogurt store that I like.  The store's name is Swirls Frozen Yogurt.  It's located at the bridge-way between Greenbelt four and five.  It's next to the Ayala Museum.

This Frozen Yogurt is not tart.  It's actually creamy.  I wonder how much yogurt is in it and how much skim milk is in it.  I guess it doesn't matter - as long as it tastes good. 

Left:  Oreo and Chocolate Syrup on top of Choco and Vanilla Swirl
Right: Strawberry and Pistachio on top of Vanilla Frozen Yogurt.