Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Burger King

There is a new "king" in the house... Burger!!! He's our new pet dog which is a Lhasa Apso. He's only 2 months old, still really shy and kinda still coping with his new environment... We're starting to train him and stuff to start early. We've always wanted a pet dog and we're so excited raising the newest addition to our family! Here are some pics of baby Burger...

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Food Critique: Pepato

I got to know Pepato when I was scanning the TV one night. I saw Margarita Fores, owner of Cibo and Cafe Bola being interviewed in (I think) the Lifestyle Channel and she was talking about her newest restaurant. I got intrigued and so I suggested Pepato to be our next "food-trip" destination. Here's the verdict:

The Ambiance - The mood was a bit dark and fancy. Fine-dining qualities also with the lighting and the fixtures. The ambiance alone screams expensive! But it is a nice place to chill and to have a couple of drinks with a date.

The Food - I started with the appetizers... breadsticks with a twist! At first I thought the breadsticks were are part of the table setting but it was edible so i tried it. Nothing special with the taste but the difference maker was the ingredients they used to make it like squid ink (i forget the other one) together with the bread dough formed into a breadstick. Weird huh? Yeah but innovative... Something new rather than your typical breadsticks. The dipping sauce for the breadstick was a choice between unsalted butter and herb-infused olive oil. Both dips were a good compliment to the unorthodox breadsticks. Dang and I came late so we ordered a new plate of Lamb Bone Marrow and a Grilled Austrailian Steak. Everybody had a try of everybody's order (contrary to fine-dining etiquette but who cares!?!) and the dishes were generally good. First, Venice's order, tht Lamb Osso Bucco... it was not quite what I expected since my concept of Osso Bucco was a creamy dish much like a thick beef stew but when it came it was the spanish style Osso Bucco and I didn't like it that much. Don't get me wrong it was good but I didn't like that much olives in a dish. The sidings were great though like the mashed potatoes which was broiled so there was a crust over it and the blanched spinach. The next dish I tried was Matthew's, which was the best! It was a Ribeye steak that was cooked to perfection! The meat was really tender and moist. When you slice the steak, you can see it's juices glisten. You can see the beautiful cross-section of the meat, the seared outer shell creating a barrier for the pink center. Since it was cooked medium-rare, the meat was juicy and the sweetness of the meat was trapped by the searing of the outside. You didn't need gravy or any sauce for this since the meat was flavorful enough. Oh yeah, did I mention the zuccini that was to die for? Well, I'm mentioning it now! The next dish I tried was Chinang's order, I forget what it was called but it was also good. It was sort of like tenderloin steak strips or something like that. Again, it was really cooked well and it was very tender. The sauce also complimented the meat. Maina's order was also great! She ordered a Walnut-Crusted Chicken Breast Stuffed with Gorgonzola Cheese... Love it! The chicken breast was very juicy and cooked perfectly from the inside out. The mixture of flavors with the walnuts gave it a little roughness and the gorgonzola cheese was a perfect mix with the neutral flavor of the chicken. The Lamb Bone Marrow and the Grilled Austrailian Steak that Dang and I ordered was not that great since the bone marrow was not quite what i expected. It smelled kinda funny so you needed to put some lemon on it to cover the strong meat smell and some salt. The only thing out of place was the truffle paste since the meat has a strong smell so why would you put another strong smelling ingredient to compliment it? Maybe Dang and I expected more and didn't get it! The Grilled Austrailian Steak was good but we didn't enjoy it that much since it was really a small piece. I knew I should have order the regular piece and not the tasting piece! Come to think of it, shouldn't the tasting piece be by all means the same with the regular piece taste-wise? I can understand the difference though since the tasting piece was kinda small and cooking it with the same process as the regular serving would definitely change it's taste and tenderness. Smaller pieces cook faster so cooking it at a longer time would make the meat tough and dry. Maybe if I ordered the regular one, the doneness of the steak would be quite different. I should have ordered the Sea-Bass instead... Well, maybe next time...

The Price - The meals are quite expensive. Prices range from Php800-Php1200 or even more! I just hope authentic ingredients are used and not substitute ones because for their price range, I am gonna expect the best!

The Service - The service was exceptional. My water glass was never empty and our breadsticks were always replenished. Very good service! They even offered to keep our food warm while waiting for the dinner latecomers. They also give you palette cleansers after your meal. Perfect service for the right ambiance!

I enjoyed our dinner at Pepato, loved their steaks and chicken. I surely will come back for the Sea-bass...

Greenbelt 2 1st Level
Estrella St.
Ayala Center
Makati City
Tel. 757-2636

Monday, November 14, 2005

Goodbye Latino Heat

It gives me great sadness to inform you all that Pro wrestler Eddie Guerrero of the World Wrestling Entertainment has passed away at the age of 38. Eddie was found dead this morning (November 13, 2005) in his hotel room in Minneapolis.

Rest In Peace

You will be missed, Papi...

Viva La Rasa!

UPDATE (November 15, 2005): The cause of death from his wife Vickie, as posted at WWE.com:

“It was heart failure. It was from his past – the drinking and the drug abuse. They found signs of heart disease. She (the examiner) said that the blood vessels were very worn and narrow, and that just showed all the abuse from the scheduling of work and his past. And Eddie just worked out like crazy all the time. It made his heart grow bigger and work harder and the vessels were getting smaller, and that’s what caused the heart failure. He went into a deep sleep.

As soon as they saw his heart, they saw the lining of his heart already had the heart disease. There was no trauma, and Eddie hadn’t hurt himself in any way. It answered a lot of questions. I knew Eddie wasn’t feeling very good for the last week. He was home and kept saying he wasn’t feeling good and we thought it was just “road tired.” So we thought he just had to rest. It answered a lot of my questions, too, because he was just so exhausted. She said it was normal because the heart was working so hard.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Food Critique: Cascada

We had a great dinner at Cascada in Greenbelt 3! Here is my critique of the whole dining experience:

The Ambiance - It was a fine-dining type feel when you enter the place with yellow lights instead of bright white lights. It was very cozy and the seats/sofas were comfortable enough that fit the place just right. The lighting and the mood would set up some major foodgasms to come (pardon the pun)!

The Food - I ordered the Grilled Porkchops with Beer Gravy... The Porkchop was perfectly cooked on the inside and it was really juicy. The only problem that I tasted was that they didn't clean or brush the grill first before grilling my porkchops. Grilling on a dirty, or to put it in a better term, recently-used grill would cause the burnt flavors of the continuous cooking and thus the burning of the previous item cooked to go into the current item being placed on the grill. This naturally affects the taste of the meat making it much more burnt than grilled. Thankfully, the beer based sauce was heavenly! It was a medley of different flavors which i really like. It's not your typical gravy since it really had much more flavor than the conventional gravy mix. The gravy was sweet and salty at the same time which is one combination of flavors I really adore! Didn't taste the beer though but I have no problem with that since the gravy without the beer taste was enough for me! (Hmm... I wonder what the gravy would taste like if I tasted the beer part of the gravy... I'll try to make one next time to find out!) I think the dish was pretty good in general since the juiciness of the porkchop and the variety of flavors incorporated in the sauce covered-up the burnt taste. My friends ordered their own food and what struck me the most was Venice's Lamb Chops with Risotto. I think just the sound of ordering the dish would make your mouth water. He says it was good so I will try the lambchops next time I go back... Oh yeah! I forgot to mention that their iced-tea was pretty good! Kinda sweet for my taste but very good!

The Price - The meals were very pricey but it was worth it! Prices range from Php500-Php800 per person and is a perfect date place for those who want to impress but not regret the money they spend if the date doesn't go well! :)

The Service - Service was excellent, except for the fact that we weren't greeted by the maitre d' when we were coming in which should be a standard in any (I repeat) any restaurant. May it be a five-star restaurant or a fastfood restaurant, I believe that it is just proper to greet the guests or customers when they come in the door. This is not a question of protocol but of respect... Moving on, the time we got a table was quick since the restaurant was not that filled. The staff gave us time to settle down and look at the menu before asking us what we would like to have. The staff was also courteous in asking us what we would like to order. The service came quick and they didn't make any mistakes with our orders. Not only that, they gave us a free membership to their "Birthday Club" where you can enjoy giftcheques and discounts on your birthday if you dine at Cascada. They also gave us a loyalty card that you have to complete in order to get some freebies. This is a marketing strategy for most restaurants and believe me it work because as soon as they gave us the loyalty cards, we were talking about our next visit and which menu item to order!

I personally enjoyed our dinner at Cascada and will surely be back there sometime soon. Hopefully with Dang this time!?!

Greenbelt 3 2nd Level
Ayala Center
Makati City
Tel. 757-4368, 757-4369

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Cooking Show Host Wannabe

It's so boring today and there was nothing to do so I decided to whip up something... I went to Santis Delicatessen, our local grocery store for gourmet stuff to get my dad some lambchops cause he said he was craving for some lambchops. I was supposed to buy a meat thermometer also for me and my sister but it was out of stock. (Don't you just hate that?!? When you plan to go buy something and when you get there, it's out of stock?!? I just hate that!) Anyway, I went back home seasoned the lambchops with salt, pepper, and some herbs from our cupboard and set it aside to marinate. I found some available veggies around the house like potatoes, carrots, white onions, red bell peppers, and some button mushrooms and decided to use it as a side dish. I placed all the cut veggies in a hotel pan, seasoned it with salt, pepper, and some rosemary. I preheated the oven and when it was hot enough, I placed the veggies inside and left it to cook for a couple of minutes. I then proceeded to sear the lambchops on a pan, making sure in searing all sides for a minute or so... After searing the lambchops, I placed it inside the oven together with the veggies and continued cooking it. The lambchops left some major fond on the pan and I went on to make a simple gravy for the lambchops. I deglazed the pan with some leftover wine and allowed the alcohol to evaporate. I poured in some chicken stock and allowed the liquid to reduce a little. I then added cream to thicken it. I also put some dark soy sauce since I felt that the gravy wasn't dark enough. Lastly, I added salt and pepper to taste. I transferred it to a gravy bowl and set it aside. I went to see what was happening inside the oven and decided to add some butter to the veggies. After about 30-40 minutes, everything was finally done... the lambchops was perfectly cooked and the veggies were now tender. On the side, my sister Steph also created her own pasta dish which was a great accompaniment to the lambchops! We both plated it our creations. And then we all devoured it! Funny how long you cook and prepare for a dish and how with a blink of an eye, it's all gone. Much like LIFE, huh? All in all, it was a great day for cooking and lambchops are a perfect dish for this (almost) boring day!
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