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Someday my Cambridge Satchel Music Bag will Come

I bought myself a gift five months ago (in the month of May 2011).  It was a purple Cambridge Satchel (TM) Music bag.  I ordered it through the store Schu located in Rockwell.  Every month, I've been following up on the order and I was told that there was a huge backlog on the orders because the factory of Cambridge Satchel has shut down.

It's now the last day of September and I'm still waiting for it.  I really want to have this bag - NOW.  Waiting for it is like Waiting for Godot.

Stock Market's Seared Ahi Tuna

I've been pigging out on sweets and desserts lately.   Before all of you think that I'm trying to be a 300 pound cutie - let me show you what I try to eat during those times that guilt sets in and I realize I need to eat something healthy.

Let me introduce you to the Seared Ahi Tuna from The Stock Market at Bonifacio High Street.   How can you say no to this dish?  The tuna fillet is seared and coated with black and white sesame seeds.  It is served on top of this tiny cup which contains fresh fruit salsa.

Krispy Kreme Kruffins

Have you tried the Krispy Kreme Baked Creations?   Every time I see posters for these goodies, my mouth water.  Unfortunately, because I work nights, every time I drop by the Krispy Kreme outlet in our office building - they're already sold out.  So every time I see something available on their pastry stand - I buy them.   Previously,  I tried the Pull-Aparts.  These are the savory version of the Baked Creations.  I tried the cheese flavor and I also tried the pepperoni flavor.  I didn't like them.   So I was hoping I can try the sweet version - which they call: Kruffins.

Today - thanks to Pedring, not a lot of people worked which means - not a lot of people bought pastries.  So I saw Mango, Double Chocolate Chip, and Apple flavored Kruffins.   I ordered all three. 

The Kruffins were awesome.  I didn't finish all three in one go.  I had one for breakfast - and two of them I brought home.  I only finished half of each - and if nobody else in the House of Queens eat them - I plan to finish it all up when I wake up tomorrow.

Baked by Anita

Please don't tell my trainer that I discovered a new addiction:  Cupcakes from Baked by Anita.  You can find them at Mercato Centrale.  They make tiny cupcakes with amazing flavors: saffron, maple, bacon (yes bacon), sticky dates.

I can eat a whole box of six in one sitting.

Pia Y Damaso

When dining in a restaurant which claims to serve Subversive Filipino cuisine, it's important to suspend judgement.  Pia Y Damaso does not serve the dishes that we grew up with.  In fact - going through the menu - one can get confused with the dishes' names and the ingredients used. I would even say that I had some apprehension with this idea.  Let's start with the name of the restaurant - why put together Pia Alba and Padre Damaso and name your restaurant after these two characters of the Noli me Tangere.  Up to now, I ask myself whether Maria Clara was conceived via seduction or rape.  Did Pia Alba give her consent to have sex with the spanish friar?  Or was she psychologically and physically coerced?  So with a name that revolves around these two characters --- you would have to either hate the dishes or understand the circumstances that the chef was in when these dishes were conceived. 

We opted to take the booth.  It actually felt like dining in the confessional.  I can't remember the last time I took confession.  Dining in a booth which looks like one seems to remind me that I have to make sure that I don't indulge too much or it will just add to the sins that I would have to confess in the real thing.

I liked the quirkiness of the overall decor of the restaurants.   Why is it that Filipino cafes and restaurants imbibe quirky?

I love the print on the upholstery.

We spent a whole afternoon walking around Greenbelt.  So by the time we had dinner - we were hungry and thirsty.  To start our meal,  we ordered this concoction: a pitcher of citrus juice with cucumber and ginger.  I don't like it because I don't like ginger.  But I encourage you to order it when you go to Pia Y Damaso because I'm sure you have not had any drink like it before.  By the way it's called Tubig ni Maria Clara (Maria Clara's water).

For appetizers, we ordered this Filo Pastry filled with asado pork topped with glazed apple.  I know - that doesn't sound Filipino.  Remember my dear readers - this is subversive Filipino cuisine.  So you might find something familiar and yet recognize that your heirloom recipes do not have any of these dishes.  This appetizer was awesome.

Then we moved to our salad.  This was a disappointment for us.  It was Roasted Vegetable Tart with Shaved Malagos Cheese, Pimiento and Parsley Oil.  I want my salad dressing with a little bit of acidity.  To remedy the situation, we asked the waiter for some Balsamic Vinegar.  They do not know what Balsamic Vinegar is.  So we checked the menu and found Dalandan Vinaigrette and Jackfruit Vinaigrette.  The waiter corrected us and called it Vinegray.  I'm not sure what that is but I'll take it.

The Dalandan Vinaigrette definitely improved the salad.  Note to self - you don't like Parsley oil as a salad dressing.

For my main course, I ordered the Camaron Cocido.  It is prawns with scallops, fish, mussels, squid and potato gratinated cheese sourdough crumbs.  I guess this is supposed to be a take on my mom's cameron rebusado.  It's a fancy dish which has an interesting texture.

The restaurant has a number of meat dishes.  The other queen ordered steak with potatoes.  It's as good a steak dish as one can have for 400 pesos.

Filipino dining is not complete without the desserts.  This is where the restaurant went all out in its tribute to Noli me Tangere and El Filibusterismo.  They had Dona Vicky's Brazo,  Damaso's Panaforte, Salvi's Canonigo, Ibarra's kiss, Wicked Simon.  All of them are displayed in this lovely estante.

We ordered Sisa's Dementia.  This is truffle cake with white chocolate almond pastille, belgian dark chocolate mousse and ganache.  Sounds a little bit too much?  Well - it is.  I consumed two spoonfuls of the cake and the rest I had to go.  As I write this blog post a day later - I have not even made it through half of it.

You also have the traditional alternatives like this polvoron.  That is a shaped in a duck - in case you don't recognize it.  I prefer my mom's recipe over this polvoron. 

While having our dessert we had tea.  They were served in a pretty kettle and the waiters will give you these demi-cups.  I love these cups - I wish I can take them home.

For me, Pia Y Damaso lived up to its tag line and name.  There's nothing familiar in this restaurant which will bring you that comfortable feeling the way that Filipino food typically brings.  This is a restaurant that can definitely leave you thinking and evaluating the meal - long after you finished it.  It is not an easy meal to understand - an experience that most probably is similar to your experience in reading the Noli me Tangere. 

New Starbucks Treats

When the seasons change, Starbucks also changes the food that they offer that you can partner with your coffee and tea.   These are some of the new sandwiches and pastries that they have this fall ( BTW - in the Philippines - we only have wet and dry season - but Starbucks insists on having four seasons ).

Classic Spam with Egg and Cheese Sandwich.  They sell like hotcakes.   Spam is very popular with Filipinos.  I've been told by my American friends that Spam is cat food.  

The Barista said they have a new pastry.  He said he never tasted anything like it before.and he highly recommends it.  When I asked what it's called - he said it's called a French Toast.  I silently snickered.  If you order this make sure you tell the barista not to over toast.  I think they want it to look like Biscocho and they over-toast it.

A new pastry filled with Chocolate and Banana.  Not my favorite.  

Hao Hongkong Diner

We discovered a new Hong Kong diner on Jupiter st.  It's located across from where VXi is.  When you look for this cafe - just drive along Jupiter st towards EDSA.   It's a good cafe - and it's open till 2:00 AM - and it can be a good option for our everyday lunch.

This is how they give your bill.  It's a wooden box with a glass top.  Very cool - I think.

When we visited Hao - there groups of friends drinking. 

Choose your sauce.

They were still on soft launch.  So the food does not come out instantly. While you wait - have fun with the crayons.

This is the Crispy Pork Pao.  We thought the bun is crispy.  Apparently it's the filling which is crispy.  I recommend this dish.

I ordered the thin-beef topping with the Spicy Mandarin Sauce.  I think I'll order the sauce on the side next time.  Dish is yummy.

If you Love Ma-Ling and you are having beer - I recommend this dish.  Very tasty.

This is Sweet and Sour fish topping.
The cafe has an extensive menu.   This will not be the last visit.  We will definitely come back for the other dishes.

Midori's Take on the Anti-Planking Law

I read on the iBone that a lawmaker in the Philippines has filed an anti-planking law.  I will be one of those who will campaign against this law.  I love taking the plank position.  Please see the picture below.  In fact - I do it really well that in Doggie Training - they said - I'm a champion planker.  I think that the Philippines has problems that if solved has a greater impact to its citizens than having a law against planking.

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

Life Coffee and Tea

One of our favorite places is Life Coffee and Tea at SM Hypermarket.  I like their wide selection of tea.  I also like the egg pie that they serve.  The egg pie reminds me of the egg pie that I used to buy at the neighborhood bakeries in Sta. Ana.

Did Somebody say Cheese?

The House of Queens went to the Picture Co. last Sunday for our fun portraits.  The photo session was free care of Bow & Wow, our favorite store for Organic Pet food and supplies.

Char Siew and I are used to having our pictures taken.  As I have written in the past, Daddy can be a bit of a pesky paparazzi.  This is the first time that our pictures are taken in a studio.  There were a lot of other dogs having their picture taken so my nose could smell wonderful dog smells and I could not stay put for most pictures.   I guess you can say that I was acting like a diva during the photo-shoot.  Good thing - our photographer was able to still capture cute photos.   That will not surprise most people because Char Siew and I are just beautiful dogs.

Next Door (North Park)

My life seems to have gone to the dogs.   Not my everyday life - but at least my weekend life.  On Saturday - I woke up and had to take Char Siew to Better Dog for our weekly class.  Sunday - Char Siew, Midori, Second Queen and myself went to our photo shoot for the Bow & Wow promo.  Those were the highlights of my weekend.  BTW - I'm not complaining - if I can actually dedicate my every waking hour to my two dogs - I would.  Of course - as long as I can still continue to earn a living.  My dogs and I have needs - and for those needs - I am happy that I have my job that can provide the money for those needs.

All these doggie activities actually get me hungry.  It's a good thing that the Nanny that I hired to take care of them cooks well.  So apart from taking care of the doggies ( while I earn a living ),  she also makes sure that the humans in the House of Queens are fed properly.

For times when I don't feel like eating the dishes that Nanny cooked,  I eat out.  There are also times, like midnight on weekends, that I feel like eating out instead of nuking yesterday's Nanny special.  This weekend - I felt like going to Next Door (North Park).  I think it's been months since I ate there.  My favorite dish is the Boneless Chicken Chops.  For Dessert,  I love their Gabi Buchi. 

Pork Chop with Onion Sauce on Rice 

Boneless Chicken Chops
Gabi Butchi

Chef's Table

We've been planning to try Chef's Table.  From what we hear and read about the restaurant - the restaurant provides its diners a refreshing take on Filipino cuisine.  I love Filipino food.  The traditional recipes of Filipino dishes are mastered by my parents.  Therefore - it is always interesting for me when a young chef gets creative with the dishes that I grew up with.

The restaurant is located at the Infinity Tower at the Fort.