Wednesday, March 05, 2008
Sprinkles Red Velvet Cupcakes
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"Let's be clear, they're not just pint-sized cakes. Cupcakes are something else entirely. At Sprinkles Cupcakes, with over tantalizing flavors to satisfy the sweet tooth, we get it right. Baked fresh in small batches throughout the day, Sprinkles cupcakes are handcrafted from the Finest Ingredients, including sweet cream butter, bittersweet Belgian chocolate, pure Madagascar Bourbon vanilla, fresh bananas and carrots, real strawberries and natural citrus zests. Topped with Sprinkles trademark modern dots, rich chocolate sprinkles from France or seasonal sugar decorations, Sprinkles cupcakes are a deliciously sophisticated update on an American classic. " (www.sprinklescupcakes.com)
The best pasalubong from anyone who is coming from LA is the Hollywood's famous Sprinkles Cupcakes. It is so far the best cupcake I've ever tasted. They bake it fresh on that day itself using fresh ingredients with a satisfying icing that is not too sweet just right. The cake is soft like a sponge and crumbles when you bite it. No wonder, this cupcake bakeshop was copied here in Manila. Do you recognize the similarity with the box design and font?
Just look at Aidan's face when I gave him his surprise pasalubong.... I got pogi points from my wife because of the cupcakes :) Sprinkles is located along South Santa Monica boulevard and it is already near the LAX airport. The cupcakes taste great for a day or two and they put it in a nice recycled box with elegant recycled fork and knife.
On a Sunday morning, there is a long line outside Sprinkles cupcakes along S Santa Monica Boulevard in Beverly Hills.
Thanks to my brother Enzo and wife Carmina for taking the time to bring me here to buy pasalubong for Rache and Aidan.
There are a total of 20 flavors and each cupcake costs $3.25 (P100+).
The Sprinkles Cupcake Mix is good as a pasalubong for those people who prefers to bake their cupcakes :)
Oh, these are so cute and I was tempted to buy the happy birthday candles.
Most of the cupcake have the signature cute dots and our favorites are:
Red Velvet -- southern style light chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting (the best seller)
Lemon - fragrant Lemon cake with lemon vanilla frosting flecked with zest
Black and White - Belgian Dark Chocolate Cake with creamy Vanilla frosting
Strawberry -- pure strawberry cake with sweet strawberry frosting
Check out the other flavors.
Thanks Ate Mina for the treat for the entire food trip in LA!! Sarap!
You got to try Sprinkles' Red Velvet!
Beverly Hills 9635 Little Santa Monica Boulevard
between bedford & camden 2 blocks west of rodeo drive
+1 310 274 8765 mon-sat 9am-7pm sunday 10am-6pm
For Driving Directions
Friday, March 30, 2007
Jewel Box, Mount Faber, Singapore
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"An Extraordinary hideaway which stands out with its pleasing sense of rustic sophistication. The Jewel Box offers an ethereal ambiance in which you will enjoy the privacy and tranquility of nature, as well as the exquisite variety of bars & restaurant. In the midst of an enormous wealth of flora and fauna, of colorful sunsets, and songs of birds, this exuberant architectonic combination offers the most spectacular scenery of the city and harbour and is perfect for after-work drinks, intimate dinners and serious partying"
Usually, our regional team meets twice a year and I always look forward to the group dinner. It is the only time I'm able to go to "bloggable" places, otherwise, we spend most of the time between the hotel and our Novena office. I was excited because I've never been to Mount Faber which is allegedly the highest point in Singapore. We went to Jewel box, Singapore's Iconic Hilltop Destination, which serves a 4 course set menu of salad, soup, entree and dessert. Despite the fantastic 180 degrees view of Sentosa, the lush forrest, and nearby islands, it was not enough to compensate for its uninspired ambiance and cuisine. They also have a very nice and enticing website but I have a hard time to even say that the food was OK.
In any case, it is always a nice experience and more learnings about Singapore. Thanks Alex for arranging this!
Jewel Box, Mount Faber Leisure Group
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
World's 10 Largest Shopping Malls
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Officially, we can now claim that 3 out of the 10 largest shopping malls in the world are located in the Island Paradise of the Philippines!! Woohoo! This is according to Forbes.com article World's Largest Malls based on leasable retail space. Remember this statistic-- our malls in the Philippines is bigger than any mall in the United States. No wonder, Filipino's national pastime is Malling. Maybe, this is one of the evidences that Philippines is now a Second World country according to President Arroyo.
Forbes.com World's 10 Largest Shopping Malls
1. South China Mall, Dongguan, China (2005, 7.1 million square feet)
2. Golden Resources Shopping Mall, Beijing, China (2004, 6 million square feet)
4. West Edmonton Mall, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada (1981, 3.8 million square feet)
6. Berjaya Times Square, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia ( 2005, 3.4 million square feet )
7. Beijing Mall, Beijing, China (2005, 3.4 million square feet)
8. Zhengjia Plaza, Guangzhou China (2005, 3 million square feet)
10. King of Prussia Mall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA (1962, 2.8 million square feet)
Monday, March 12, 2007
Desert Safari Arabian Night
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Authentic Arabian Belly Dancers
The Dubai's Desert Safari organized by Dubai's biggest operator Arabian Adventures is one of my coolest adventures to date! It is an exciting experience from the late afternoon start at 3.30 pm until it ends at night at around 10pm. It starts with Dune Bashing where you are inside a 4x4 vehicle and you drive through the sand dunes of the Arabian Desert for almost an hour in the Al Maha Desert reserve. It is guaranteed that this is even better than a roller coaster ride, and guaranteed to make you shriek and laugh with excitement. After the desert drive, the tour stops over in a Camel farm where I came in close encounter with a camel for the first time in my life. Before heading to the camp site, it is a must to see the orange sun sets in the arabian desert horizon. This is a great backdrop for fun shots and group photos while on top of the Arabian Desert sand dunes.
Finally, the group heads over to the Arabian Desert camp site where you are greeted with a free camel ride and an Arabian BBQ Buffet dinner. We decided to stay in the majlis (low cushions) in the Shee Sha area instead of the traditional Bedouin tents area. After satisfying your craving of hummous, arabian bread, arabian BBQ and mousaka for dessert; the gracious belly dancer seduces the audience. The best belly dancer makes you fall in love with her via the hypnotic gyration of her hips and graceful playfulness of her hands. At this point, we are all enjoying smoking the strawberry flavored Shee Shas while enjoying the open bar of wine and beer. But the best part of the night happens when they close all the lights in the campsite to have pitch black effect where you can only see the stars and if you stare long enough, the satellite slowly orbiting the earth. At this point, you don't want to leave but the entire surreal experience is only enjoyed for a few minutes before you head back to your hotel.
This is a must experience when you are in Dubai! The safari costs Dhs. 250 (US$ 68) for adults and Dhs. 180 (US$ 49) for children between 3 and 10. Since we booked via our hotel, it costs us 295 Dirhams about $80. The good thing is it is all inclusive and generally you don't need to pay anything extra during the entire tour (except for minimal tips to some).
Definitely an Awesome Experience you shouldn't miss in your lifetime!
The super fine sands of the Arabian desert and I have a bottle of mineral water full of this desert sand. This is the type of sand that you can use in an hour glass.
Our english speaking driver grins with excitement as he prepares to make a sudden drop from the top of the sand dunes in front.
The tour would occasionally stop for a water / soft drinks break. I can still remember my stomach suddenly dropping as we cross the sand dunes. This is really fun!
Afterwards, we visited a camel farm for the first time.
This camel smiled at the camera at the perfect time.
Arabian Desert Sun Set! So beautiful while seating on top of the sand dunes.
Here are my friends from work posing for posterity.
This is the stage where the belly dancer will seduce you. Just giving you a glimpse on how the entire camp site looks like.
These guys welcome you to the camp site with free date wines.
Ready to serve in traditional Bedouin male garments.
Arabian BBQ Buffet at its best!
The majlis (low cushions) in the Shee Sha area. This is the place to be :)
A free camel ride that brings you just around a small area. After Dubai and my Egypt trip, I'm a certified camel rider.
I could not ask for more of these authentic arabian buffet. Most of the stuff are healthy but carbo rich because of the arabian breads.
Now I know why a belly dancer is called belly dancer because of its large hips and fatty bellies. It ruined all my belly dancer fantasies.
I now know what an authentic belly dancer is.
This is the best experience of the desert safari night! Lying down to see the moon and the stars in pitch arabian desert blackness!
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
The Great Pyramids of Giza
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I never understood the word, surreal until I saw the Great Pyramids of Giza. It is like watching a dream of seeing the sole survivor of the Ancient Seven Wonders of the World. It is like being transported 2,500 years before the birth of Christ when these great Pyramids where build by three generations of Pharaohs --the father, Khufu (Cheops); the son Khafre (Chephren) and the grandson, Menkaure (Mycerinus). I even hesitated to use the word, awesome, because it felt like these pyramids were built by aliens and it was an out of this world experience. Until now, I still look back at the pictures, and I can't believe that I saw, I touched and I even entered the Great Pyramid of Khufu -- the oldest and largest pyramid in Egypt!
This is my humble attempt to share the experience with you, and I feel that there are no words to describe accurately the experience. I immediately went over to www.new7wonders.com to vote for The Great Pyramids of Egypt as part of the new 7 wonders of the world which will be announced on July 7, 2007. Thanks to papa Procter for making this surreal experience with the Great Pyramids of Giza in Egypt a reality!
There are two best times to visit the pyramid. The first, watching the sphinx's face touched by the Giza sunrise at 7am in the morning with the Egyptian blue sky as a background. Second, watching the pyramids while the sun sets in the desert horizon and listening to the silence of the peaceful Sahara desert. These are two priceless experience that I will never forget. I wished Rache and Aidan were with me so that I can share the experience with them.
The sphinx is the guardian of the pyramid of Khufu and the subject of legends and superstitions because of its mysterious appearance. Nobody would know for sure the cause of its broken nose, whether it was hammered off or deteriorated on its own due to poor materials. "Known in Arabic as Abu al-Hol (Father of Terror), the feline man was called the Sphinx by the ancient Greeks because it resembled the mythical winged monster with a woman's head and lion's body who set riddles and killed anyone unable to answer them." (lonely planet)
The South face of the Great Pyramid of Cheops has two structures that you can explore. The first one, the white structure on the left is the solar Barque Museum which contains the Pharoah's boat. This ancient cedar wood vessel unearthed in 1954, might have brought the mummy of the pharaoh across the nile to the valley temple. The second structure on the right with the two post is the burial ground of one of the priests.
Here is a perspective up close on how huge the great pyramid is.
There is the tomb of one of the high priest. It is obviously empty, but it is an experience to go under a small tunnel to see this tomb. This is a similar tomb that can be seen inside the great pyramid.
This is the ancient pharaoh boat that you can only see sometimes in Egyptian movies. It is simply amazing to see this ancient boat -- I really can't believe that such civilization exist in the past.
This is the great pyramid up close. Despite the hot mid-day sun, when you touch these ancient limestone rocks, it is so cold like touching the bottle of cold water kept inside a refrigerator. Climbing the pyramid is not allowed but it is free to wonder how did the Egyptians build this great pyramid!
In the northern face of the pyramid, you can see the two entrance to the Great Pyramid of Cheops. I can still remember the late, Ernie Baron preaching about the exact construction of the the great pyramids to concentrate the cosmic energy into 1/3 of the altitude of the pyramid. I don't know if it was true, but if you lie down in the tomb of the pharaoh for 5 minutes, you would feel the electrical energy generated by the pyramid opening up your chakras.
An IT manager, Finance Manager, and a Sales Manager, explored the inner tomb of King Cheops. Most people say that paying 100 egyptian pounds was not worth to see an empty room 5m wide and 10m long. The experience of going inside the great pyramids is a priceless experience that I will never forget. It is too bad, camera is not allowed inside the tomb.
One of the great experience we had was riding the camel to travel across the sahara desert to explore these great pyramids. I already mastered camel riding 101after 2-3 hours-- lean forward when going up, lean backward when going down, pulling the head left/ right to direct the camel. It was a surreal experience to explore the pyramids with camel as the sahara dessert sun sets in the horizon.
In the morning, we went back during sunrise to explore the pyramids via horses. We had to use the back door to get inside the pyramid complex before 8am in the morning.
The Pyramid of Khafre (Chephren) which seems larger because it stands on higher ground but it is only 136m high. Its peak is still capped with a polished limestone casing to the envy of the other pyramids whose limestone casing were stripped away and used to build palaces and mosques.
One of the best experiences on earth -- watching the light and sound show of the Great Pyramids at night while sitting on the camel's back with the glow of the sahara sunset in the horizon and listening to the peaceful sound of the desert. I got goose bumps watching these pyramids and this is one of the places that would have an emotional impact on you just by looking at it. I forgot my tripod to capture this surreal experience, but I will never forget this ever in my life. I promised to bring Aidan to this place someday.
The Great Pyramids of Giza. This place deserves to be voted as one of the new 7 wonders of the world! (place your votes @ www.new7wonders.com)
Friday, November 17, 2006
Eating Turtle, a slice of Snake and a Water Bug in Guangzhou, China
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WARNING: Please don't read this post. The pictures are disgusting but I wanted to blog about this to serve as a blog memory for me on my exotic adventures in Guangzhou, China. Hopefully, it will never happen again.
In my post, Snake, Water Bug, and Centipede looking Shrimps...
Q. What do these animals have in common?
A. I ate all of them for dinner in Guangzhou, China.
This was the second time I ate snakes in China. It was tolerable, and the Guanzhou locals loved it. It actually taste like lamb ribs with fish bones. It looks slimy but is is not. The skin is tender instead of rubbery and if not for the stripes you will forget that you are eating snakes. But still, every time I look at the picture above, I want to throw up and I can't imagine eating these disgusting snakes.
This is the most expensive crab in China which cost almost P1,000 for this tiny little one. I can't stand the black hairs on the crab's claws. The crab is very tasty and has lots of aligue which probably is the reason for its price.
The restaurant we went is a chinese local favorite and is famous for its soup. The photo above are the ingredients and upon seeing this, I almost did not finish my soup. Of course, Filipinos are not impolite and we usually don't want to offend the locals. This is the most cheapest soup and I was wondering what would be the ingredients of the expensive ones.
I actually love the fresh water shrimps with big heads which you cannot find here in Manila. We also ate a turtle that they call Water Fish. It looks like a turtle without the shell and you eat the shell plus the small feet and neck.
Finally, I contemplated 20x before being pressured to eat one of these. This is a clean water bug but looks like the cousin of the cockroach. Apparently, the locals do not eat this and this might only be served for the tourist.
I have to coerce my japanese friend to eat with me on the count of three. It is crunchy and it does not have that slimy juices I imagined squirting out of its body. Later on, I found out from a friend that the proper way to eat this is by removing the head with the spine and the little legs and wings. Super disgusting!! This is the most disgusting food I have ever eaten.
After Dinner, my favorite past time is to try out the chinese massage from Fu Yuan Tang -- a popular decent massage medical clinic. This is the first time I tried accupuncture (RMB 180) and it hurts after a day or two.
I learned my lesson on the accupuncture so next time I just tried this soothing and relaxing foot massage (RMB 60). After trying out the local chinese massage, I can definitely say that Philippines is still the best massage capital in Asia.
Monday, November 13, 2006
Snake, Water Bug, and Centipede looking Shrimps
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Friday, September 01, 2006
[Singapore #2] Makan Food that did not make the cut
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1. Fish Head Curry -- My wife wanted to try this out and so we did. It was just okay, nothing to rave about or maybe we just had too much of everything that night. The huge snapper head served was enough for the three of us but with the other food on the table, it was way too much. There was so much fish meat that i thought it was an endless eating. Cooked in a spicy, tangy, tamarind curry with okra and tomatoes.
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2. Popiah -- A Hokkien style fresh spring rolls with julienned turnips (singkamas), carrots, egg, prawns and ground peanuts wrapped in rice flour sheet. One healthy dish! Counterpart of our lumpiang ubod with its crunchiness and freshness.
3. Chwee Keuh -- Steamed round soft rice cakes topped with preserved raddish, fried garlic with soy sauce and herbs. Looks like the almond cake but definitely not the same taste. We did not even get to finish one chwee keuh!
4. Rojak -- A weird salad concoction but just for fun, we tried it. Made with pineapple, cucumber, dried tofu and grilled cuttlefish tossed in a spicy and piquant tamarind, prawn paste, sugar, lime and chili topped with crushed nuts. This tasted so funny because I'm not really into having pineapple in my dish.
7. Bongo Burgers -- Our first Singapore meal because we had no choice. We went straight to Jurong Bird Park after dropping off our luggage to maximize the day so what else was there to eat but the usual fastfood restaurant with their usual burgers.
10. Fried Carrot Cake -- We felt this was too oily for our own good. No, this is not our usual orange carrots but this is a white radish belonging to carrot family. Mixed with rice flour and fried with eggs and pickled vegetables.
[Singapore #1] Makan Food Trip - My Top 10 Favorites!
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I always dread going to Singapore because I thought the place is so boring and the food is uninspired. I was only exposed to my usual routine of hotel to office and eating in Orchard Road, Clark / Boat Quay, or Suntec City Malls, the usual tourist route. Boy, was I dead wrong.
Singapore is a foodie haven! My taste palette just got expanded when I tasted the best of Singapore Makan delights. In fact, Singaporeans are known for their 24-hour passion for makan -- the malay word for "food" or "eat". Armed with a Uniquely Singapore Makan Delights brochure, a popular book called Makan Sutra (singapore makan bible), and a singapore local foodie, my family went on a makan food trip in Singapore. I now respect and appreciate Singaporeans passion for food and as they say, the best food is found along the streets. That I would have to agree 100%!
Here is my top 10 Makan Favorites! For those who will have a chance to go visit Singapore, you have to seek out these Makan Delights! Just an additional tip if you are going on a Makan food trip: a) bring your own tissue/ water and, b) you can say no to the wet towels and peanuts which usually comes with a fee.
1. Bak Kuh Teh -- This is the Singapore/ Malaysia version of our Bulalo. There are two versions the one with clear, aromatic broth that is full of garlic and white pepper and the one with a dark broth full of Chinese herbs that is good for your health. I like the latter one (dark broth) and it is usually served with white rice, yu tiao (chinese fried dough fritters), sliced red chillies in soy sauce, and a pot of Chinese tea.
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The best Bak Kuh Teh can be found in Ng Ah Sio Pork Ribs Eating House located at 208 Rangoon Road. This is near our Novena office and the pork used is so tender and fresh. They are only open from 6am to 2pm and closed on monday to ensure freshness of the meat which I believe is one of the secret of this pork soup dish. It is said that all the meat butcher shops are closed on a Monday so they don't want to serve frozen meat bought on a Sunday.
You can also find Bak Kuh Teh along Balestier Road which serves the clear broth one pictured above. If you prefer this, I would recommend Founder Rou Gu Cha at 347 Balestier Road. They are closed on a Tuesday, serves lunch from 12nn-2pm and dinner 6pm onwards.
2. Chili Crab -- Singapore's unofficial National Dish and the most famous dish known to tourist. The juicy King crabs are cooked in a chili-spiked yummy gravy perfect as a dip for the small fried buns. You won't go wrong with this dish and you just have to be careful the cholesterol that you take in.
There are only two places I would recommend. Either you eat in the Jumbo Seafood located in #1-07/08 East Coast Seafood Centre, Blk 1206 East Coast Parkway or in the No Signboard Seafood located in 414 Geylang Road, next to Lorong 24 or their Esplanade (pronounced like lemonade) branch.
Also, nice to eat with the crispy cereal prawns but this might be a cholesterol overload. I like eating at Esplanade because of the cool ambiance it brings especially at night. It was a good thing we ate there past lunch time so there was barely people eating. It sure can pack a lot of customer come dinner time!
3. Kaya Toast -- Kaya is a local jam made from eggs, sugar and coconut milk. The Ya Kun version (a popular Kaya Toast chain) comes in green color with a caramel taste and texture, their version of our coco jam. I was instantly hooked with Kaya Toast and you can opt to eat it traditional style with a thin layer of pure butter spread all over the bread. This is one of the best pasalubong from Singapore that I bought. In the many years that I visited Singapore, I was ignorant about this local favorite treat.
5. Prawn and Banana in Dragon Beard Dimsum -- I should say this is a nice combination. You could taste the sweetness of the banana and mayonnaise after a bite and the prawn adds flavor to it. Ever wonder why it is named dragon beard? Question got answered when our Aidan got a bite and caught some of the crispy noodles on his mouth that resembled a beard. A messy eater he can be.
6. Singapore Satay -- Singapore's version of our barbecue, marinated and skewered mutton, beef and chicken and grilled to perfection. The lemongrass was the dominating flavor which I liked. This came with ketupat (compressed rice cake, like our puto but this is one bland puto that obviously we did not like.) to complete the meal.
7. Mee Siam -- A sweet and spicy noodle soup that you will sip away and not leave anything in your bowl. The tanginess flavor from the squeezed lime makes you want to finish it all off. One cannot forget their sambal, their version of our bagoong, which is almost part of their every meal. This soup also comes with a hardboiled egg, fried tofu and beansprouts.
8. Otak - Otak (Grilled Fish Paste) -- Taste like your favorite maling or spam except that this is made from fish and vegetable. As usual, this is kinda spicy and is nice to eat it with rice. Cooked in banana leaves that also gave a flavor to the otak-otak. Sometimes, eaten with nasi lemak.
9. Mee Goreng -- This was one of our last chance to eat a noodle meal, a meal before flying out to Manila. I noticed that there are so many noodle dish so I did not want to miss at least one of them. It is like eating pancit canton but this is much better with its sambal sauce to go with it! So tasty!
10. Fried Oyster Omelet -- Your aphrodisiac meal for the night. Full of oysters fried with egg. My first time to eat and it did not disappoint me. But you have to be careful since this is highly packed with cholesterol. Come on, just this once!
Too bad, we had to go home because I know there are just too many dishes to try in Singapore. But I am also relieve to go back because I know I have again gained so much weight. Maybe next time, we will try to walk more.
Monday, August 07, 2006
Shanghai Si Chuan Surprise :)
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Hi! I just got back from the young and vibrant Shanghai City. I was smitten by the beauty of Shanghai and if ever I would leave Manila for an overseas assignment, Shanghai is on top of my list. The Shanghai city skyline is one of the best in the world. I was fortunate to have seen this magnificent beauty and capture it with my camera. It was a short business trip so I did not really have the time to explore. I have a few photos to share with you and I do hope I get to have a chance to go back to explore this city. I love Manila but Shanghai is number 2 in my list of favorite cities in the world.
Just one unsolicited advice, the new generation of Filipinos need to learn Mandarin. There is no doubt in my mind that China will be the next economic super power and Shanghai is a glimpse of China's dominance in the future. The next generation of global Filipinos will be speaking three languages English, Tagalog and Mandarin to become successful in this information age. I would make sure that my son, Aidan would learn to speak Mandarin. ( Let me know your reaction to this... )
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Si Chuan Chicken -- Sweet and Chili Chicken is not enough to describe this dish. I'm missing it already.
I love Shanghai because of their food. I was wondering where can I get authentic shanghai dishes or even si chuan dishes in Manila to satisfy my craving? Please please let me know.
Friday, April 07, 2006
[Los Angeles vs. Manila #3] Porto's Cheese Roll
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I still can remember a couple of years ago when eating a carbo-loaded krispy kreme donut is a cool thing when you visit the US. Now, that's a thing of the past, and Porto's bakery is a better alternative. Its famous cheese roll is a must try along with the other cakes and other pastry delicacies. The cheese roll taste like Otap baked to perfection with cheese inside it, similar in texture to a croissant. It's super addicting and I easily ate 5 pieces in one sitting. Porto's Bakery is a cuban family-owned and operated business that has served Glendale and its surrounding areas for over 35 years and they recently opened a beautiful new store in Burbank.
One could argue that Becky's or Conti's taste a lot better, but the I've never tasted a cheeseroll as delicious as porto's. If you can manage to bring one home as a pasalubong, it is highly recommended.
Technorati Tags: los angeles
315 North Brand Blvd.
Glendale, CA 91203
tel. (818) 956-5996
fax (818) 956-0696
3614 W Magnolia Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91505
Thursday, April 06, 2006
[Los Angeles vs. Manila #2] Hollywood's famous Pink's Hot Dog
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This is one of the famous must-eat destination in LA, and I was extremely curious why a chili dog can be this famous for 66 years! Paul Pink started this hotdog stand in 1939 and it stood on the same spot, giving the same quality of hot dog for years. I'm glad that Atty. Joseph Joson who was kind enough to accompany me to eat in this so-called hot dog to the stars. The hot dog heritage is a great marketing sell and they have photos to prove it (amazing)! I'm not really fond of hotdogs and I'm eating a vegetable rich diet lately, but this one is a must try (not to mention my weakness is chili). In the Philippines, we don't really have something equivalent to this and Ogie Doggie would be the closest but far from the heritage that Pink's hotdog built over the years.
The verdict: The chili is phenomenal, polish dogs are the best! Read on...
Their best seller is the Chili Cheese dog. Interestingly, they started to market Hot Dog variations branded by the preferences of a particular celebrity. For example, The Ozzy Spicy Dog by Ozzy Osbourne which is composed of the spicy Polish Dog, Nacho Cheese, American Cheese, grilled onions, guacamole and chopped tomatoes.
Pink's Hot Dog
709 N La Brea Ave (near melrose)
Los Angeles, CA 90038-3338,
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
[Los Angeles vs. Manila #1] Inn of the Seventh Ray! Creekside Dining
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This is the ONLY restaurant I love while I was on vacation and I visited Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Cincinnati, and Chicago. The Inn of the Seventh Ray is L.A.'s most romantic restaurant and in fact, when we were eating on a Saturday Lunch, there was an engagement proposal with the beautiful setting -- 12 red roses bouquet, a carpet of petals and dining beside Mother's flow ( in other words, creekside :). I felt that most of the US restaurants are either man-made, full of dead food (steaks, white bread, etc.), pretentious service and too commercialized. This creekside dining experience is a dining made in heaven indeed and this is a must-eat destination for all of you who will have a chance to visit L.A.
(Note to Jay of Kinabuhayan Cafe: Jay, Kubli Springs can be a lot nicer than the Inn of the Seventh Ray. You just need to have excellent food and an overall concept. Check out the photos... )
Let me pause for a bit here before we go to the rest of the review, it just occurred to me how lucky the Philippines is with the kind of world-class nature inspired restaurants that we have and I can already count seven easily...
1. Antonio's Restaurant, Tagaytay
2. Sonya's Secret Garden, Tagaytay
3. Nina's Kusina Salud, San Pablo, Laguna
4. Ugu Bigyan's Pottery Garden, Tiaong, Quezon
5. 85/15 Restaurant, The Farm @ San Benito, Lipa, Batangas
6. La Cocina de Tita Monings, Manila
7. The Prana Restaurant, Mandala Spa, Boracay
I LOVE THE PHILIPPINES! I missed it during my vacation and I'm glad to be back. I'm creating this series of [Los Angeles vs. Manila] to challenge your own mental models that the Philippines is the best place to be in. I felt like Neo in the matrix scene where he suddenly realized that all of the reality he is seeing is computer generated, and I suddenly felt that visiting the US, everything is man-made. Enjoy this series...
Health Foods @ The Inn of the Seventh Ray
The food is excellent !! The Inn prides itself with having foods and grains (mostly) organically grown from local farms. The soups are their own recipes using fresh herbs. All food is cooked in nut or olive oils. The chickens are naturally raised and range fed, and they only use natural meats, without anti-biotics or force fed hormones. Only the freshest of fish is served and they minimize the use of dairy ingredients. They use no food colourings, preservatives, refined sugar or bleached flour. Wines are from organically grown grapes and they have a selection of alcohol removed wines. How can you beat this kind of cuisine? Our total cost is only $80 for 3 people so about P1,400/person,just like eating in Antonio's.
Whole grain bread. (free) Their breads are baked daily from organic grains and you can taste the freshness with every bite. The olive oil and black vinegar enhances the overall taste and gets you excited for the rest of the meal.
Large Seventh Ray Salad. ($10) "Locally farmed, organic greens. Tossed Tenderly with a lemon vinaigrette directly from the secret files of the Master Alchemist, Saint Germain. Topped with freshly julienned vegetables and sprinkled with nori." It taste as good as it was described in the menu.
Shrimp, Avocado and Scallop Omette. ($10.50) The combination actually works although one could argue that the taste is the same as any omelette.
Crab Quiche ($11.50). This is a winner! I don't know how they made this but the quiche melts in your mouth and each bite is full of flavor and tastiness. I never thought that quiche could taste soo good and I'll never eat a Starbucks quiche again.
Seventh Ray Burger! ($11.00). Have you ever heard of Seitan cuisine ? If not, you're missing on the best food adventure ever and this vegetarian wheat meat is a vegetarian food at its finest. This burger is described as "lightly seasoned seitan, ground and charcoal grilled. Served with cheese, avocado and tofu based herb dressing on a grilled whole wheat bun." I can eat this everyday and I don't know if Seitan food is available here in the Philippines.
Raw Canob Ganache. ($8.00) In cinnamon with a powdered almond coconut. This is a rare healthy dessert that taste soo good! I can't stop raving about this place.
The Inn of the Seventh Ray ambiance.
If you haven't figure out by now, the seventh ray is violet and the philosophy is embodied in this description:
"We, at the Inn, believe in giving you the purest of Nature's foods, energized as a gift from the sun with a dash of esoteric food knowledge and ancient mystery school wisdom tossed in for your seasoning and pleasure. It may just raise your body's light vibration and the extra work may cost you a few pennies more, but we believe in the long run, this way of living and eating may prove less expensive."
You'll be greeted with this lovely doorway to the Inn.
This is my wife, Rache and son, Aidan at Mother Nature's flow...
Look at how colorful the food is? You really feel energized just by looking and after eating the food.
We decided to take this small hut with all green plants around it. This scene is common to some of our best nature restaurants I mentioned.
This is the center of the Inn with a fountain. Sorry for using my brother as a model for these ambiance shots.
This is the creekside dining experience that is unforgettable.
Inn of the Seventh Ray
128 Old Topanga Canyon Road
Topanga, California 90290
Sunday, October 09, 2005
Bak Kuh Teh - My New Singaporean Dish Favorite
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Bak Kuh Teh is the local version of bulalo for Singaporeans and the loop is alot better than our bulalo!
I was out last week again and was travelling in Singapore for yet another team meeting. Mostly it was all business and networking with other nationalities, and the badminton game with Indoneans, Australian, Thai and Filipino. The only thing that is worth raving about during my trip was our hunt for the famous Singaporean food called Bak Kuh Teh. Now, this is a local favorite that you don't hear a lot among tourists which only knows Hainanese Chicken Rice as the only Singaporean food out there. We really had to go to Ballestier Road which serves alot of these Bak Kuh Teh food and we were not disappointed.
We were looking for Founder Rou restaurant in New Orchid Hotel but unfortunately it was closed on a Tuesday. Now, this is soo weird that this is the first time I heard a restaurant closing on a Tuesday. Maybe its a Singaporean thing. We ended up in hawker place along a street and we're soo curious about bak kuh teh that we don't mind eating in this ambiance. Maybe it is best eaten here rather than in an airconditioned restaurant. The Bak Kuh Teh is really a winner and the pork ribs broth was sooo delicious that all of us in the table who was from Thailand, Australia and the Philippines loved it! The only problem with it is that it was pork ribs and there was not alot of meat. It has a garlic taste to it that it is soo good that you can eat the soup with the rice and that was it. This really made my night!
[Left-Right counterclockwise] The Bak Kuh Teh Gang. Calvin (Australia), Siriwan (Thailand), Pittaya (Thailand), and my Boss Susan (Phils). Thanks for the company guys!
You can check out this address in you next Singapore visit:
Founder Rou, New Orchid hotel
347 Ballestier Road
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
The Coolest Town in Singapore
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Visionary technology ideas in the year 2020 for the Philippines?
I wanted to write this post about my coolest town in Singapore experience. Not because I want to blog about the coolest technology stuff but to be able to recollect back in time once these technologies become available in the future. How far is that future -- 5, 10, 15 years perhaps? Let us check out some of these technologies:
Digital Home. Alot of people are banking on this to happen pretty soon where the Media PC would be the center of all the devices and appliances in the digital home enabled. The digital home prototype is not impressive although it demonstrate the convergence of TV, Audio, Video, Photos, and computer in one powerful media PC and only one output LCD screen. If you look at the center of the prototype above, the LCD screen acts as both mirror and the TV which is a very neat architectural execution (which gave me an idea for my condo). The idea is that not only the appliances are fully connected but also, the home is connected to the outside world via webservices from internet sites like airline carrier, radio stations, google sites, etc. The infrared keyboard was cool as well although, it is a one finger at a time typing technique and cannot take in simultaneous keyboard strokes. Bottomline, the keywords would be Convergence, Appliance Networking, and Web Services in the future.
Virtualization. On 3d virtualization, there was an interesting demo on virtualizing a physical space (in this case, the lobby of cool town) in a tablet PC and as you move it, it changes views to where you are physically oriented or looking at. It was able to determine it by having GPS or location based detectors and respond to it accordingly. Now this is cool :) We are now experiencing the power of google earth using satellite images and imagine being able to recreate the world's environment in 3d and not use top-level satelite point of view.
Digital Pen. A digital pen where whatever you write gets recorded. You can also have a specially printed form where if you use a digital pen to write on it, it can record your actual entries and its relative location on the form.
Future Workspace. Hmmn, lets see if people will start working isolatedly in a bike or spaceship type of mode where it promotes two screens, one for business applications and one is for personal/ games so that you can work life balance :) We'll see about that.
Interactive Posters. Advertisement on posters or even billboard someday would be able to communicate with mobile phones or PDAs.
Poster Kiosks. Buying artworks (reproduced) in museums can now be done interactively with this proof-of-concept kiosks.
RF ID Cafe. The idea is that the coffee mugs in a cafe would be identified to the person drinking it so that it enables a personalized experience when you are inside enjoying your coffee. It could let the barrista know personal information about yourself and your preferences.
However, I think the best technology in this coolest town is this self-service printers in the reception lobby where you can plug in your CF card and print your own photos instantly! Maybe not a revolutionary technology but it works we had fun taking pictures and printing it. Really cool! This gaves me an idea for a business venture ....
Friday, September 30, 2005
My Singapore Adventures 1: Are you a Chili Crab or Pepper Crab lover?
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Asia Band 3 College, Singapore ( September, 26-30, 2005 )
Singapore has been my second work home. All of my trips this year have been in Singapore and this week is no exception. We had a leadership training for all the senior managers in our company in the asia region. Whenever I travel, I bring my hobby with me: Photography, Badminton and Culinary Adventures.
Night Photography. My first attempt at night photography of Clarke Quay, Singapore. I wished pasig river could be as beautiful as this. This place have always been a tourist winner ever since.
Chili Crab or Pepper Crab? I've always craved about these singapore favorites that nobody can match in the Philippines resto. For some reason, ever the Palm Beach in the Fort or Singapura Rasa cannot even compare to these authentic dishes from Jumbo Seafood Restaurant. The JUMBO chili crab has always been a winner over the JUMBO pepper crab because of its rich yummy sauce with fried or steam buns! If you don't know what I'm talking about, you're missing on one of the culinary adventures of your life.
I can't imagine that I've eaten in a Jumbo restaurant on two consecutive nights both in Clarke Quay. Their most famous restaurant is in East Coast -- most of the taxi drivers know this place. Recently, I learned that there are other recommended dishes that are sooo delicious in Jumbo. Don't forget to order Bamboo Clams with minced garlic and Crispy Baby Squid!! Equally Yummy!
Badminton. When visiting Singapore, I always make a point to play Badminton. Also, I always bring my badminton racket when I travel. It affects my game if I don't use my Armortek 800. There's a certain feel to it that I'm able to make excellent drop shots or control the flick of my wrist.
RC Airplane. On my way to Jumbo, I saw these Singaporeans flying RC plances that look like UFO sightings in the photo above. One day, I'll take up this hobby :)
Official Photographer. The problem with having photography as your hobby is the fact that people will leverage your hobby during meetings and ask you to be THE official photographer. One of my difficulty is asking a group to do a fun shot aside from the normal formal shots. I'm happy that I was able to talk some sense into the team and inspire them to have this wacky pose. (I'm the middle person on the first row)
Sunday, March 13, 2005
Singapore Travel Hacks!
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I would normally go to Singapore about three (3) times in a year, and during my latest trip last March 9, I learned three (3) travel hacks (Great tips to make your trip enjoyable):
1. Best Pasalubong from Singapore -- Royce Nama Chocolates! I first learned of this chocolate secret from an article from inquirer written by Reggie Aspiras (Jan. 6, 2005) and she is right it is Sinfully delicious! I spent some time looking for it, but finally I was able to find the two retail outlet: one in basement 2 of Takashimaya where the Cold Storage is located; the other one is in Tower 3 in front of Carrefour. The first time I visited Taka, the Nama Chocolates were out of stock. I'm glad I was able to purchase the next day, I bought the Champagne and Mild Cacao flavor (S$12.80). Your not a certified chocolate connesiour, if you haven't tasted this. If you can read japanese, visit Royce Website. NOTE: The nama chocolates is packed with dry ice that is good for 5 hours so you need to put it in the ref in your hotel and in the airplane, you could ask the stewardess to store it for you in a cold place.
2. Reserve the best seat in the plane 1 day before! Are you the type of person that have a favorite seat in the plane? If you are like me, who would like to reserve the aisle seat in the front exit row, then calling a day before to reserve your seat is a must! Remember this Singapore Air Check in number: 65-6243-2546. You can also visit the singapore air website to check-in.
3. Free cable Movies from Movielink! This hack is a little complicated, but if you are the type of traveller who want to watch movies in your cable and you don't agree with the price of one movie (S$16 + gst), you can try this out. The ondemand or schedule movies is controlled by the movielink or cable box that connects the cable outlet and the TV. It is so easy, you just need to bypass this box and connect the TV directly to the cable outlet. I've tried this at the Grand Hyatt hotel which uses Movielink services. Enjoy!