Antonio’s

6 10 2010

Found an hour away from the city, Antonio serves organic gourmet food. The place is also famous for its homey feel that best describes the kind of dining we wish to achieve when we wish to talk and celebrate work, life and love.

Surely, this isn’t like your typical loud mouthed commercial-whore-of-a-restaurant like what we are accustomed to in the city. This one is quiet, unpretentious and literally off the beaten path.





Heat

21 09 2010

Me and some friends had dinner at Heat Shangri-La a few days ago and I was lucky enough to be allowed by the chef to take a few pictures to take for memory.

Heat offers international cuisines that are utterly delectable. This, hands down, is my new favorite restaurant; something that will be frequented for celebrations.

Come main course I could not take snaps anymore, not that I was not allowed, I was just too darn hungry. Here have a look …





A Dish And (Perhaps) His Heart

18 08 2010

He brought me food today; something he prepared from grocery to microwavable container. And indeed, it was the sweetest thing by far.

He told me that he was cooking and I shrugged it off like any common errand that he might be doing for the day. I had no idea that it was for me. He took his dish to the office and left it at the fridge – in case I got hungry. With the kind of schedule we keep, squeezing this task may mean cutting on sleep and adding to the already cumbersome day. Surely, it was an acknowledged effort. However, close to seven hours within my shift, with work up to my nose and lunch so out of sight, I haven’t touched the thing. So he reheated it and took it to me to be reminded that I’m already hungry.

I sure was and I ate his Pasta on White Sauce with such appreciation – mushroom cooked just right. While I perfectly understand that people cook when they wish to, I felt the need to ask why.  To my surprise he was brave enough to tell me that he has not cooked for anyone for a long time … until now and I was his reason. So succinctly explained over a text message – something that was just right or we’ d be plagued with awkwardness usually reserved for high schoolers – I could not help but think and blush. There was no occasion or any trivial cause, save perhaps the motivation to prepare me something. Oh spontaneity, bless you.

No one has ever cooked for me before, except perhaps the maid or mom. It was indeed the sweetest thing. Plus, his cooking is awesome.





Before Kick-Off

2 05 2010

Today is Sunday and I’m watching Oprah while typing this. To my side is my planner.

I haven’t really looked at it as close as I should, save for certain days that dictates an activity or an appointment. While answering some emails and organizing files, I took a peek at what I’ll be having for the week and this is  what I saw:

So before I even get to some fun stuff, I have a handful of things to do. I had no idea that I packed what seems like a little more than what I can focus on. Oh well it’s just a light impasse, no biggie.

***

Was out with a friend last Thursday. And for the first time in a very long time, I ate once again at Cabalen. After getting my fill, we trudged for shopping. I took home a new top and a tankini -with its back completely void of any material save for two strings (for the neck and the bust area) to tie the whole thing together.

I can’t wait to launch it with my new boardshorts.

***

I ate a lot today, something that I did not intend to do but managed to achieve without so much as a second thought. How wrong was I? Very. But buttered mussels and adobo squid (cooked just right, it was so soft and not gummy) can make my knees go weak; specially when I haven’t had any for quite sometime.

For dessert: something that helps with any possible feeling of bloated-ness, banana.





Dinner Italian

13 04 2010

I went grocery shopping today.

I’m cooking dinner for  old friends visiting this week. I’m preparing something I saw over Everyday Italian – tried and tested – so I’m confident I can deliver again. Plus, it’s super easy.

There won’t be dessert but instead I’m serving some good Earl Grey Tea  (alfresco style) and invite  them out for a long drive to Tagaytay soon after. Then drive back again. I prepared a mixed CD that I’m sure we’ll enjoy.

But in case they push for something sweet, I’ll have a tub of ice cream at the ready.

Arugula Endive Salad with White Wine Vinaigrette


For the salad:

2 tablespoons white wine
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

For the salad:

4 ounces arugula
2 heads of endive, chopped
1/3 cup toasted walnuts

For the vinaigrette:

Put together your wine, lemon juice, honey, mustard, salt, and pepper in a blender. Add salt and pepper to taste.

For the salad:

Put together all your dry ingredients not mentioned under “For the vinaigrette”.

Chicken Cacciatore


4 chicken thighs
2 chicken breasts with skin and backbone, halved crosswise
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup all purpose flour, for dredging
3 tablespoons olive oil
large red bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3/4 cup dry white wine
1 ( 28-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
1 can of button mushroom
3/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons drained capers
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves

Salt and pepper your chicken. Lightly coat chicken with flour and put it in a  pan with medium high heat. Brown your chicken per side then set aside.

At the same pan where you fried your chicken soutee, the following: bell pepper,  mushroom, onion and garlic. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the wine, simmer for 5 minutes, put your  tomatoes (with juice), broth, capers and oregano.

Add the chicken to the pan and turn them to coat in the sauce. Bring the entire ensemble to a simmer, until chicken is completely cooked. You will know this once the sauce thickens.

Top with basil (or parsley) and serve with rice or bread.





Delish

7 04 2010

Last Saturday me and J went out and tried a restaurant both of us haven’t tried before. Given both are appropriately hungry, we were gung-ho in checking my agent’s (M and R) recommendation.

Amici is one of the new restaurants in SM Megamall Atrium. Located at the 3rd floor, they serve Italian cuisine that people can find within their budget. I was hesitant at first; I walked in and it didn’t have that homey feeling I use to get from other Italian restaurants. Plus, it was self service – you get your condiments, ice, utensils, plates and whatnots yourself. It was strange not having any waiter wait on you.

The gelato I wished could've fit my tummy after the meal

We ordered the tried and tested, Spaghetti Alla Carbonara mainly so we don’t have to go through  the tedious experimentation over menus we haven’t the slightest clue. We then added, apart from a liter of beverage, Tutta Carne for Pizza and Mozzarella Fritto. When we started eating, the inadequate ambiance instantly took second to how good the food tastes. The portions were bigger than usual (that we found ourselves taking home a  hefty take home) and the carbonara’s plating was done quite well.

Sitting in front (but not close) of the open wood fire oven where you can see the chef putting in his pizzas, I immersed to both the dining and the conversation.

I must say it was a good dine. We walked away from Amici warmed up and so full we couldn’t order the gelato anymore.

Maybe next time.





The Short Of It

23 03 2010

I took one day out my weekend to spend with Ayie ( my best bud since I think first or seconds grade) and her son (my godchild) Irvine.

Suffice to say, I had a blast. I took them out for burger (I had the shrimp burger while they had baconator – something I can’t wrap my head around), ice cream and movies. I laughed so hard with how glib Irvine is; an eight year old genius who stops you in your track in case you use bad words. He’s a remarkably delightful, patient, polite, obedient and rambunctious boy.

I am planning another day out with them soon.

***

I hardly watch the television. If I do, it’s never the local channels. I’ve never seen (just don’t add the tragic times when I channel surf) a show of Wowowee nor Showtime.

Growing up, my parents and adults around me have inundated me with the basic knowledge of choosing shows that will yield you not just entertainment but educational worth. Once in a while they would park me in front of the telly to pick up a thing or two about someone else’s life (imaginary or not). Would you believe they taught me to make opinions out of writers and war by allowing me to watch Full Metal Jacket as a tiny kid of seven?

Well it’s true.

I also learned that if you want to survive, do it for yourself and not wait for anyone else to deliver it to you – that was after seeing Empire Of The Sun.

Again, so very factual and so very helpful during my formation years.

So now, as an adult I find it ordinary not to know anything about local afternoon game shows Willie Revilame have hosted. I have never been stilted brainless jokes that tries to teach me how to be trite and crude. Its content overrides commercial and idiot-inday consideration at all times, it’s so blah. Although this much is true, I sat through any Lino Brocka  and Ishmael Bernal films that reruns heavily in the early 90’s. And to tell you frankly, I think all old Sharon Cuneta films are the bomb. So I’m no snob. After all I half studied Filipino film making and adore Ricky Lee.

Some say it’s a form of pretentiousness. I say, it’s a form of self preservation. Veer away from brain cell implosion if it’s the last thing you do.

***

I’m still trying to finish a very lovely book by Elizabeth Kostova.

I’ll say this much: We need more of these intellectual books. Now I’m not saying I’m intellectual (don’t tell my brother) but I’m saying it helps those who need to bolster individual commentary of how art connects to the world. In Kostova’s novel, a painting.

Given I’m nearing its penultimate turn, I’m crossing my fingers that it exceeds my expectations after having met it.