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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Crossing Borders, Meeting the Long Necks at Chiang Rai [Day 4]




While planning for our Chiang Mai trip, my friend J was unexpectedly enthusiastic about spending a day in Chiang Rai, a neighboring province of Chiang Mai located at the northernmost part of Thailand. I wasn't so excited because I was never a fan of long land trips, but for the sake of friendship I booked us a Chiang Rai tour for one whole day.

We were picked up by our tour guide from our guesthouse early in the morning. It was too early that we asked if we could buy take out breakfast from McDonald's so we could eat something during the trip. 



Hot Springs in Chiang Rai


After a two-hour trip, we arrived on our first stop, the Hot Springs at Chiang Rai. The place was nothing special, with souvenir stores and snack shops in front. 



I tried to dip my feet to the water, but it was scalding hot. I wonder how the other visitors did it. 

We just walked around and got myself Iced Coffee for 55 Baht (Php 75).





Great morning, indeed. :)

Wat Rong Khun or White Temple



The main reason why we booked this tour was to see Wat Rong Khun or the White Temple. Compared to the temples we have visited in Bangkok, the White Temple is only around 20 years old. 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Press Cafe, Promenade, Greenhills

Note: This location is already closed. 



Food and books, two things that I love. That is why a cafe inside a bookstore is heaven, like Press Cafe located inside Fully Booked in Promenade. 




I love how this cafe used books to decorate its interiors. This is something I would love to do in my own future home. :)

Like any meal with Mr. B, we started with a salad. We ordered the Chef's Salad (Php 205), which changes every month. 

Chef's Salad

The salad we had has lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, walnuts and bleu cheese. I liked the touch of bleu cheese in the salad, however, Mr. B wasn't so amused with this kind of cheese. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

That Boat Noodle Hunt in Bangkok: Doy Kuay Teow Reua



While I was planning for my trip to Thailand, I was supposed to go with whatever food I see on the streets. But when I read about this hidden boat noodle place in Bangkok, the food hunter in me was ignited. 

So after we went to Vimanmek Mansion and Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall, we found ourselves walking around Victory Monument to search for so-called 'best boat noodle restaurant'. 

Boat Noodle is a Thai noodle dish with beef or pork in a thick brown broth that has cinnamon, star anise, or sometimes blood. It was called such because it used to be served on boats. 




It was an open air restaurant located at the back of the temple. Staying true with tradition, the counter is also shaped like a boat. 

The staff could barely speak English but we managed to get our orders: one pork and one beef boat noodle for 15 Baht each (Php 20). 

Monday, November 24, 2014

On Why You Should Watch "You're Not You"



A few months ago, the internet was bombarded with ALS Ice Bucket Challenges, which raised funds for ALS Association. However, what do we really know about ALS? 

According to ALSA.org, ALS or "Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as "Lou Gehrig's Disease," is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed."



Why the long introduction? Because this movie is about this disease and how it affects the person with ALS, and the people around him or her. 

This movie is about two people with different personalities, Kate (Swank) and Bec (Rossum), who saw each other's strengths and helped each other conquer their weaknesses. 

Here's some of the reasons why you should watch this movie:

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Mister Kabab, Revisited



Our itchy feet and insatiable cravings brought us back to Mister Kebab at the Pearl Plaza in Ortigas. It was admirable that this spacious restaurant seems unchanged from my first visit more than a year ago. 



I ordered Special Beef Chelo Kabab (Php 180), while my workmates had Special Chicken Chelo Kabab (Php 175) and Beef Keema (Php 110). 

Special Beef Chelo Kabab
Special Chicken Chelo Kabab

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Asia Scenic Thai Cooking School, Chiang Mai [Day 3]



One of the things you can do when you're in Chiang Mai is to learn Thai cooking. As a huge fan of their cuisine, I didn't miss the chance of enrolling for a short course. 

Our guesthouse booked me a Half-Day Evening Course at Asia Scenic Thai Cooking School. This course costs 800 Baht (Php 1088) per person. My friend didn't want to cook so he was charged 200 Baht (Php 272) as visitor. 

We were picked up from our guesthouse at around 4:30PM by Asia Scenic.


We were first given an orientation of the herbs traditionally used for Thai cooking. 


market tour

Our group then walked a few blocks to the nearest market to get ourselves familiar with the ingredients that we will be using for the cooking lesson. 

When we returned to the school, we were served this traditional snack called Mieng Kham


Mieng Kham

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Equal, Low Calorie Sweetener



I have been a Stevia user for a year and I haven't felt this better in my life. I must admit, as a coffee drinker, I used to be 'sugar-happy' and would add as much sugar as I want to. It doesn't help that I love desserts (and I still do). 

I realized that I could still have that sweetness in my food and drinks without sacrificing my health. Hence, I use sweeteners like Equal

Equal has been around for decades and is one of the most reachable sugar substitutes for everyone. 

What is Equal made of?

Equal is mostly made of aspartame, a sweetener used as sugar substitute in some foods and beverages designed to have fewer calories or sugar-free. (Here's a link containing a list of foods with aspartame)

Here are the Equal products that I tried:

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Nest Modern Table & Bar

Note: This restaurant is already closed. 



I was invited last November 7 to the official launch of Nest Modern Table & Bar at the roofdeck of W Fifth Avenue Tower in Bonifacio Global City. 

It is an upscale bar-restaurant that offers Asian flavors and Western-style cooking fares in a relaxed yet sophisticated environment. 

Lee Watson, beverage consultant for Nest MNL
Chef Benjo Tuason, head chef of Nest MNL

The evening started with demos from Lee Watson, the beverage consultant, and Chef Benjo Tuason, head chef of Nest MNL. 

While waiting for the dinner to be served, we indulged on their Signature Cocktails:

Sexy and I Know It (Php 331) - Absolut Vanilla Vodka, rose syrup, lemon and maraschino cherry liqueur

Smokin' (Php 414) - Laphroaig Single Malt Scotch, Coconut Syrup, honey and lime

Green Mojito (Php 414) - Bacardi Silver, green apple puree, green charteuses, mint and ginger beer

Spider Web (Php 331) - Dewar's White Scotch, Cachaca Brazilian Rum, passion fruit syrup and lemon

I found the Green Mojito a bit strong for me, but I liked the Spider Web and of course, Sexy and I Know It. :)


Friday, November 14, 2014

Roaring at the Tiger Kingdom, Chiang Mai [Day 3]


After the two-day rendezvous in Bangkok, we set off to fly to Chiang Mai, a city located in Northern Thailand. 

We booked a flight via Airasia (BKK-CNX), which has its terminal at the Don Mueng International Airport, Bangkok's old airport. Flight to Chiang Mai from Bangkok takes around 1 hour and 15 minutes. 

inside Don Mueang International Airport

From our guesthouse in Sathorn area, we took a taxi (as advised by our host since it was Sunday, no traffic) and paid around 220 Baht (Php 300). 

To save a few Bahts on check-in baggage, we left one huge luggage at Don Mueng's Left Baggage section. Left Baggage is a facility at the airports where you can leave your luggage temporarily for a fee. 




As soon as we arrived in Chiang Mai, we took a ride on a songthaew (Thai jeepneys), checked-in at our guesthouse then set off to Tiger Kingdom





As soon as we arrived at the entrance, we were given a queue number. When we entered the reception area, a lady oriented us of the packages we can avail. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Bonifacio High Street Food Crawl #BHSFoodie




More than a shopping destination, Bonifacio High Street draws in a lot of foodies due to the variety of restaurants in the area. Aside from international and local franchises, BHS is also hub to home grown concepts. Some of these exciting restaurants were visited by me, along with RJ Ledesma, Anton Diaz and other fellow foodies last November 5, at the Bonifacio High Street Food Crawl. 

Here are the restaurants and their bestselling dishes that we were able to try that night.

1. The Wholesome Table



The Wholesome Table, owned by Juan and Bianca Elizalde, offers healthy dishes without sacrificing the flavors. The ingredients used to all dishes are local and organic, Juan even noted that they don't have a stockroom because they strive to serve dishes using the freshest ingredients possible. 


Enlightened Bowl

I tried the Enlightened Bowl (Php 320), one of their powerbowls, with brown rice, nori, mixed seeds, lettuce, cucumber, pickled onion and avocado, with ginger dressing, fried tofu, shittake mushrooms and pea sprouts. This bowl is quite filling but won't make me you feel overstuffed. 

We were also served Organic Mushroom Fritters (Php 320) and The Barcelona (Php 690).


Organic Mushroom Fritters
The Barcelona

Organic Mushrooms Fritters has mozzarella-stuffed button mushrooms wrapped in homemade Italian sausage, served with a fresh cherry tomato passato. The Barcelona is a wood-fired pizza with turkey chorizo, shittake mushrooms, roasted garlic, mozzarella and Grana Padano. Both dishes are as delightful as the Enlightened Bowl. 

Wholesome Mojito


To wash it all off, we were served Wholesome Mojito (Php 120), a non-alcoholic drink with Spirulina, Chlorella, honey and mint. I would love to chug this drink again on my next visit. :)

Monday, November 10, 2014

Paragon Food Hall at Siam Paragon, Bangkok



Bangkok is known not only for its temples, but also for shopping. As much as we have loved to explore the malls, we only managed to go to one: Siam Paragon. Good thing about it was we got to visit this mall twice: during our first and last days in Thailand. 



From our house, we rode the SkyTrain from Surasak (S5) to Siam (CEN) Station for 31 Baht (Php 42). Exit 1 will take you to Siam Discovery and Siam Center, Exit 3 to Siam Paragon and Exit 5 to Siam Ocean World or the cinema. 


Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Cravings Group brings Aussie Coffee Brand, Di Bella Coffee to the Philippines




I was invited last October 29 to the coffee and dessert tasting and official launch of the partnership of The Cravings Group with the Di Bella Coffee, Australia's best specialty coffee brand and one of the finest in the world. 

It will be exclusively available in all Cravings Group restaurant chains: Cravings, Epicurious, Lucia Ristorante, Lombardi's, C2 Classic Cuisine, B&P, The Blackboard by Chef Michel and The Coffee Beanery (TCB) outlets nationwide. 




“The Cravings Group is proud to partner with Di Bella.  Not only do we raise the bar of cafĂ© concept by presenting customers with new world-class coffee choices; we are also more than happy to create positive impacts to Filipino coffee farmers,” said Marinela G. Trinidad, CEO of The Cravings Group.  
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