Feels weird to write about anything else but food on this space but I’m going to give this a shot. I’ve been wanting to expand the blog a bit more and write about other things (not limited to stuffing my face) so here’s me writing about something else I really love: shoes.

SHOES
If you’ve known me a while or if we’re close, you’d figure out shoes are really my weak spot. I used to be terrible and just mindlessly splurge until I gave myself some rules (I’m only allowed to buy when I’m abroad now). I’m a boring shopper to be honest but I’m probably any marketer’s dream. I’m the kind of person that buys the same thing in different colors. I sure hope writing about this will help me curb my consumerist greed.

SHOES
I only used to wear Adidas for football when I was playing varsity back in college. I’ve always gravitated toward classic styles so I thought the Adidas Gazelle OG would be perfect. I wear gray pants a lot so I don’t know why I bought gray shoes. Either way, I am happy with how this fits and how slim the silhouette is.

SHOES
Gazelle’s are surprisingly comfy despite being thin along the sole. They look good with absolutely anything. You could pair them with pants, shorts, a dress, a suit, whatever and they’d still look cool. That’s why classics are the best pieces – you can dress them up and dress them down.

SHOES
I’ve been preparing for a tennis tournament so apologies to everyone around me but I’ve been really obsessed. Of course I found a way to sneak this in. I went through a lot of tennis shoes, I would just get Nike before but found that they’d break easily. Adidas looked cool – I had the Barricade – but they were just way too heavy. So when I went to Japan, I thought to try on some Asics for a change. Now, I use the Asics PRESTIGELYTE AC and they’re the best tennis shoes I’ve ever owned.

They’re lightweight yet well-padded and the Gel technology makes me feel like I’m walking on clouds even while in the court. AC stands for ALL COURT by the way so whether you play on grass, clay, shell or hard courts, you can use these. There was no break-in period for these guys so I highly recommend Asics to everybody. They have great running shoes too.

If you’re looking for Asics, I know Zalora’s pretty well stocked. They don’t have tennis shoes but for running, futsal or volleyball they have a wide range of different sneaker styles. I’ve got my eye on the Onitsuka Tokuten but it’s a shame they ran out of my size.

Bau House Dog Cafe - Seoul

When I got home from Seoul, my mom said “Mukhang yinakap mo lahat ng aso doon ah! (looks like you hugged all the dogs there)” to which I said, “I love them all and I love Korea because they love dogs”. I couldn’t leave without visiting a dog cafe. We found Bau House accidentally on the way back home from trying to locate a famous Korean BBQ restaurant that ceased to exist, close to the Hapjeong station. Through the window, we saw a neat looking cafe with lots and lots of happy dogs so we said we’d be back.

Bau House Dog Cafe - Seoul

And back we were. The nice thing about Bau House is that it’s a big cafe with two divisions. Up front is where the small dogs hang out and out back is where the medium to large size dogs are.

Bau House Dog Cafe - Seoul

So here’s the drill, to hang around the adorable dogs, each person has to order at least one drink and with that you can stay as long as you want. The drinks are about 8000 won (about $8) and even if they’re pricey, they’re actually pretty good. Liana and I had a Banana Yogurt Shake while Carina had a cuppa coffee.

Bau House Dog Cafe - Seoul

The dogs there were all pretty sweet, they go up to you, sniff you, beg to be pet and sit on your lap. The dogs also mostly speak Korean but once in a while you’ll meet one who responds to ‘sit’. When we got there, these two dogs flocked to Carina to sandwich her.

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When I’m in another country, the first thing I do is look for a convenience store or a grocery to explore. I could spend an entire day at the grocery, noting the differences in produce, learning about the things that fill up their shelves. I wonder about their local fruits, how their meat looks, the kind of fish available, the spices and mixes, the ready-to-eat section and of course, the snacks. Convenience store shopping is something I do almost ritually when I’m abroad. It’s sort of become this obsession to discover the next awesome foreign snack or drink.

Seoul Mini Mart Finds

I gage how affordable staying in a certain country is based on how much they sell a liter of mineral water at the convenience store. In Seoul, a bottle costs 900 won which is equal to Php 36. I learned that on day one. Not bad.

They have a whole lot of different convenience stores in Seoul and each of the stores have a different selection. The one closest to us was 7-11 but there’s also GS25, CVS CU Later, Family Mart, Mini-Stop, etc. It never ends.

Seoul Mini Mart Finds
I tend to gravitate towards Yakult-like drinks everywhere. Among the three I tried, this was the absolute best. Unlike Thailand and Japan, Korea doesn’t serve their probiotic drinks in bigger bottles. This was about 500 won.

Seoul Mini Mart Finds
Wasn’t hot on kimchi until I found this inside a GS25 freezer – Spam with Kimchi Fried Rice for about 3500 won.

Seoul Mini Mart Finds
After 3 minutes in the microwave, you get all of this junk. Beautiful. It was such a perfectly honest dish, I scarfed down the whole thing for breakfast while Carina was in the shower. I find this frozen meal to be great because it delivers what it promises. It’s simple and straightforward and that’s what I like when it comes to food. You get a generous helping of Spam with a possibly pedestrian tourist friendly version of Kimchi rice. Nothing too sour or aggressively spicy, just enough.

Seoul Mini Mart Finds
This trip’s new discovery – Samjak-Kimbap, also popularly known as Onigiri in Japan. Samjak-Kimbap is basically triangular shaped Korean fried rice, wrapped in dried seaweed (nori). These go for about 800 won and come in different interesting flavors. The ones I tried and enjoyed were the Tuna Kimchi Rice, Fire Chicken Rice, Jeonju Bibimbap, Chicken Galbi Rice and Beef Galbi Rice. In some shops, the wrappers didn’t have any English translation so we’d just hope for the best.

Seoul Mini Mart Finds
Seoul has a great instant noodle selection and since I’m more drawn to instant pancit than I am to instant ramen, I decided to get my staple: Paldo’s Bibim Men. This is both sweet and spicy but not in the overpowering way that you can’t taste anything else. This was 1200 won in 7-11.

Seoul Mini Mart Finds
The serving’s big, noodles are perfectly bouncy. And you can find this in SM grocery stores in Manila for about Php 38. Go try it please.

You might be wondering why I didn’t go and try other pancits in Korea. I actually did once but it was just too spicy I failed to document the entire experience. I kind of died not being able to feel my tongue cause. My basic tourist tip is to avoid black and red packaging with chillis on them if you don’t want your mouth to burn.

Seoul Mini Mart Finds
We were fortunate enough to have a kitchenette in the apartment we were renting so when we were at HomePlus, one of the bigger grocery stores in Seoul, we bought two bags of Bibigo Korean Royal Court Dumplings at a buy one take one deal for about 7000 won. There were about 20 dumplings per bag so this was practically a steal.

Seoul Mini Mart Finds
Carina boiled them to perfection and we had them for two days worth of breakfast. These dumplings tasted like a mix between gyoza and kuchay dumplings – pork with chives but with noodles in them. Yummy. We ate these with no soy sauce but they were still so tasty.

Seoul Mini Mart Finds
It was cold one day so I opened the ‘warmer’ (aka opposite of a ref) and pulled out this interesting looking drink. I’m guessing it’s Black Soybean Milk. It was comforting and tasted like a combination of black sesame and soy milk.

That concludes this post. I thought I took more photos of the other things I ate and drank but I guess I decided to ‘live’ more than I remembered to document. I suppose that is a good thing? Tell me about what you eat when you’re abroad? Which country has the best probiotic drink? Japan’s Bikkle still takes the cake for me.

Paras Birthday

For Tita Ginger and Tito Dading’s joint birthday celebration, they opted to treat us to a fine home-cooked lunch. Tita Ginger is my mom’s sister and also one of the finest cooks I know. She understands food on a highly technical level and I notice that what she makes is forever evolving. When she calls to tell me she has mastered prime rib, I know we’re all in for a spectacular meal.

Paras Birthday

I got to lunch a bit late so I barely reached the Chili Con Carne for starters. Luckily, my ultimate favorite – Spicy Tuna Sashimi – was there and there was a lot of it to go around. Tita Ginger’s version of this strays a bit from Sugi’s but is just as tasty. It doesn’t have the usual tempura crumbs; the little wonton bowls they come in give its needed crunch.

Paras Birthday

The Green Salad with Candied Walnuts, Fried Onion and Raspberry Vinaigrette looked really good and was. But I didn’t touch it because I was saving precious stomach real estate for steak, spinach au gratin and cake.

Paras Birthday

More sides! Mashed potato, corn on the cob and creamed corn were present. There was also pasta with sundried tomatoes and black bean garlic sauce topped with green onions and Parmeggiano Reggiano.

Paras Birthday

The star of the show was the Prime Rib Au Jus. Lovingly cooked to perfection, I enjoy my steak pink and a wee bit bloody served with the roast’s drippings. Tita Ginger’s steak could rival any restaurant’s and it’s definitely the kind of prime rib you’d be happy to pay for.

Paras Birthday

The crust was nice and tasty – salt, cracked black pepper and garlic perfectly coating the sides of the steak. The beef itself was tender, beautifully marbled and flavorful. I enjoyed eating this so much, savoring every bite.

Paras Birthday

I realize looking back at my photographs from the weekend that I have zero photos of the Spinach Au Gratin. It was so mind-blowingly awesome I just ate it all and forgot I had a camera in the first place. I don’t know about anyone else but I think the perfect siding to a juicy Prime Rib steak is creamed spinach. I told my tita this and even if she hadn’t ever made creamed spinach she said she’d give it a go and came up with this. It was so good. I just don’t know how else to describe it. One of my titos even said he could eat the spinach as is, with rice. If that isn’t convincing enough, I don’t know what is.

Paras Birthday

When we were all full and busy digesting it was time for dessert. There were freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, pomelo slices (the healthy choice) and of course, Tito Dading’s favorite, the San Marcos Cake (Php 700).

Paras Birthday

So funny I forgot I had the San Marcos cake two years ago, Tita Ginger even showed me an old blog entry to prove I did. I had two slices that day just cause it was deceptively light even with the creamy icing.

I really appreciate our family gatherings when someone cooks, we get together and just share a meal at home. I prefer it to eating out just cause everything tastes better and there’s no pressure to rush to leave. Plus, eating at home means you can go back for seconds and maybe even have leftovers for the day after.

Sarie Truffle

When I saw the Food Hack Pepper did on Mamou’s Lorenzo’s Truffle Pasta, I’ve been waiting for the right time to experiment and recreate the dish. Since weekends are times I find myself less stressed out, I found myself inclined to take charge and cook for the family one Sunday.

Mom did the groceries during the week and picked up two small cartons of Elle and Vire cooking cream. We were missing cheese so I stopped by Terry’s to grab some parmesan cheese (which they didn’t have so I settled for Grana Padano). Saw that they were on an anniversary sale so I got a big steak and some pancetta to go with the pasta.

Sarie's Truffle

Followed the directions on Pepper except modified it a bit. Melted 3/8ths of a slab of Salted Anchor butter then added in 2 teensy cartons cream, mixed this in then added half a Knorr beef cube and a few pinches of cheese to get it saltier. Covered this up cause I was trying to cube the deli bacon til my mom freaked out cause the sauce was bubbling like a witch’s stew. Saw the sauce simmering so I poured in some truffle oil and yay the wait was over!

Sarie's Truffle

I thought I screwed the sauce up but it wasn’t burnt or too thick so I pat myself on the back for crafting a hack masterpiece. Sauce was done, noodles were taking forever so pan-frying the deli bacon was the next step. When that was done, it was time to marinate my steak.

Sarie's Truffle

Sarie's Truffle

Since we just were in post-production for a Knorr project I shot that week, I was seriously craving the stuff. I opted to slather my precious ribeye steak in just Knorr Liquid Seasoning and a dab of extra virgin olive oil. Trust me, you don’t need much to make the perfect steak. Just cook it right.

Sarie's Truffle

I like mine between medium and medium rare. I also take pride in perfecting the art of the grill mark. This meal happened almost three weeks ago but I’m glad I documented it because I think it marks the first entire meal I’ve cooked that my mom absolutely enjoyed. Sandro loved it too. And I don’t usually get rave reviews when I’m in the kitchen so this was a welcome first.

Señor Pollo QC
Lets start with the aftermath. I ordered half a roasted chicken, two spicy rice sides, one patatas bravas and lechon asado. I obviously enjoyed this meal as did Kathy.

COLOR GRADING
I was in the Timog area that day because we were color grading the music video I did for Ang Bandang Shirley’s Nakauwi Na. It was the first time I was at Quantum and the whole idea of being in Timog excited me cause it meant I could finally go and try Señor Pollo. Here’s a quick flash photography portrait of what the color grading set-up looks like. The entire act takes a lot of hard work and it’s pretty tedious since you can pretty much manipulate colors in any part of the frame. Imagine, Photoshop in video form.

Señor Pollo QC
I was there since 3PM in the afternoon. We were working straight until the evening until we decided it was time to go look for food at around 10PM. Since I was reading up on Senor Pollo all day, I knew we were safe cause it’d be open til 1AM. Finding the place wasn’t as hard as I thought it’d be, when you’re on Tomas Morato heading straight for the Timog side, Scout Rallos and the F7 building would be on your left. F7 is a nice building with interesting dining choices like Purple Oven and Uncle Moes. The best thing about it? Valet parking. I didn’t avail of this service since there was a lot of space.

Señor Pollo QC
ON TO THE CHICKEN! Kathy and I decided on sharing a Half Order of Roasted Chicken + 2 sides (Php 299). For sides, we picked the Spicy Rice and Patatas Bravas. The chicken itself is served with chimichurri sauce and garlic sauce. We ordered an extra order of Spicy Rice since it was awesome and later found that it was the last batch of rice in the restaurant. Score!

Señor Pollo QC
Oh man, this was heaven. I mean, just look at it. Took my first bite and I was hooked. The chicken was tender and roasted perfectly, that fire roasted flavor was spot-on: hint of sourness from the chimichurri, the creamy garlic sauce and the chicken combined with the spicy rice.

Señor Pollo QC
So. After trying this and liking it so much, I thought I wanted something more. Just a chicken quarter wasn’t enough so I settled on ordering Lechon Asado (Php 200) as well. This was good too but the chicken was way better. I thought the pork was too fatty.

Señor Pollo QC
Aaron and Gen followed shortly and enjoyed their meal as well. Too bad there was no spicy rice left when they arrived.

Señor Pollo QC
We were all happy campers. It was everyone’s first time at Senor Pollo that night.

Señor Pollo QC
Here’s a shot of the menu for reference. Compared to the old reviews I used to read, they seemed to have increased their prices. I can’t complain since they seem to be doing well for themselves. I remember leaving a bit before midnight only to find that they’d already run out of chicken to serve.

Señor Pollo QC
The waiting staff is great too. Knowledgable, polite and just pleasant overall. I drink a lot of water and I really liked how they were sensitive to that cause despite the fact the place was packed, my glass was always full. Can’t wait to be back! Hopefully I find myself in the area soon.

Señor Pollo
F7 Building, Scout Rallos Street,
Tomas Morato, Quezon City
0917-833-1033
Open til 1AM

Kimpura GB5

Every Sunday, I have lunch out with my mom’s side and last weekend we ate at one of my teppanyaki favorites, Kimpura. I just love Japanese food in general so take me anywhere good and I’ll be happy. I won’t be posting prices here because I have no idea how much the meal we had was thanks to my generous grandma.

Kimpura GB5
For starters, we had unagi rolls – grilled eel, teriyaki sauce and sushi rice. Very basic dish done right. I liked that they were generous with the unagi but would’ve prefered if this had a slice of avocado somewhere in there as well. I also realized while eating this that I don’t enjoy sushi when the rolls are too big to stuff in my mouth,

Kimpura GB5
If you want to be on the safe side, get Greg to be your chef! He’s the expert at toasting steak fat to those little crispy bits you won’t beat yourself up for eating. It was also nice of him to ask if we wanted MSG in our food. We declined.

Kimpura GB5
We had tempura, steak, oysters and fried rice.

Kimpura GB5
I do not have anything bad to say about fried rice. Ever. Don’t shoot me though when I say that I honestly kind of missed the MSG on this thing and generally, I thought it needed more black pepper.

Kimpura GB5
Buttery oysters with green bellpeppers and onions. Mmm… There were small pieces here and there, I wish they just served big oysters. Bigger oysters would’ve just made every bite better.

Kimpura GB5
Observe the mountain of fat and oil on the right hand side. Mmm…

Kimpura GB5
I’ve been eating organic grass-fed beef for almost two years now and I can honestly taste the difference, especially when served thicker cuts like steak. Grass-fed beef just has so much more flavor, it’s richer and just better quality in general. When I’m served corn/grain fed meat whether it’s from the US or local, I can tell. This steak was cooked well, medium, the garlicky buttery teppanyaki taste was there but the meat was just OK. It was tender, yes but I was missing its flavor. If you’re interested to know the difference between grass-fed beef and grain-fed beef, click this.

Kimpura GB5
At the end of every meal here there’s the promise free dessert. We were given a choice of fruit or ice cream. Since we were all feeling pa-healthy, we opted for fruit. Thankfully the pineapples were sweeet.

Kimpura’s probably the best restaurant I know to go to eat teppanyaki cooked right in front of you just because it’s the only one I know (apart from Inagiku, but that’s cheating cause it’s in a hotel). In the future, I hope they start offering grass-fed beef to improve their steak. Where is the best teppanyaki restaurant in Manila anyway? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Kimpura
4/F Greenbelt 5, Legaspi St
Legazpi Village, Makati
(02) 621-6791 to 93
*with branches in Greenhills and Trinoma

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