Weekend(s) Review!

So y’all know I love weekends. I’ve been busy (and was sick) so I couldn’t post what happened over the past few weekends.

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One of the most memorable weekend of this year (of this life!) is the Saturday that I met Jessica Zafra. She has a series of talks in the Ayala Museum that will run every first Saturday of the month until October. Last August, she talked about why one shouldn’t be a writer. She’s the funniest!

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And the most fun part is when I got a book signed by her!!! Oh god I’m so dorky in that photo I hate myself but oh look at Ms. Zafra!!!

10620111_817292514957996_4666217740683978286_oCatch her this Saturday for the second talk!

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Also, weekends are mostly spent eating. God, I need to think about my weight and my health BUT OH MSG AND DELICIOUS LITTLE THINGS AKA DIMSUM. Two of my officemates and I tried Tim Ho Wan finally! The cheapest Michelin star restaurant was no doubt delicious but I don’t think I’m ready to fall in line for it everytime. How do you like Tim Ho Wan?

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IMG_5118.JPGWoowee dimsum!

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Also, lately I’ve been needing of some much needed quiet (or the right white noise) so I am now bent into trying cafes like M Cafe! They do a pretty decent Americano save that I have to remind them to minus the sugar. But the place is quiet enough for me to work on things. Plus let me tell you the afams in the are aplenty!!! #Reasons

IMG_5141.JPGTablea cake is good!

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Gad, this now looks like a food post rather a weekend post! Well because most weekends are spent meeting people that I don’t have a chance to see. So when my sister was about to take her board exam (I hope she passes with flying colors!) I took her and mom to Zao for a well-deserved dinner. I love the pho at Zao since they do their meat medium rare and I’m crazy about their fresh rolls!

IMG_5168.JPGPlus, their Viet iced coffee is superb!

IMG_5173.JPGAnd off to Future to meet some other friends on some Saturdays (when my body doesn’t feel so tired)

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To more weekends!

A New Burger Place in Town!

LIKE SERIOUSLY I’D FRAK FOR A BURGER! THIS BURGER!

TBB Monster Double Burger

Say “Aloha” to Teddy’s!

Teddy’s Bigger Burgers, Hawaii’s number one burger chain, marks its entry into the Philippines with the opening of its first store on August 23, at Level 3, Greenbelt 3, Makati City.

Awarded multiple times as the best burger in Hawaii, Teddy’s Bigger Burgers takes pride in its signature fare: its 100% cornfed ground chuck made-to-order burgers served with a sweet and tangy special sauce; and its super thick milk shakes.

Established in 1998 by Ted Tsakiris and Rich Stula, Teddy’s has 11 locations in Hawaii and recently opened mainland locations in Washington and Iowa, with stores soon to open in California and Texas. The Philippines is Teddy’s 2nd international location, following Japan.

To celebrate its Philippine debut, Teddy’s will treat its first 100 customers with free Original Teddy’s Burger (5 oz.) on its August 23 opening day.

TBB Win 1 year

Early birds will also be rewarded as the first five in line will receive one year supply of burgers (one burger a week, for 52 weeks). The 6th to 10th in line will get six months supply of burgers (one burger a week, for 26 weeks); and 11th to 20th in line will receive three months supply of free burgers (one burger a week for 13 weeks). From the remaining 80 in line, five lucky winners will also win a weekly supply of burgers of one month (one burger a week for 5 weeks), to be drawn via raffle. Line starts at 7 am in front of Teddy’s Bigger Burgers Store on August 23.

From now until September 3, 2014, mall patrons at the Greenbelt Mall also have the chance to win a free burger from Teddy’s by taking a burger selfie with either the Teddy’s Bigger Burgers store board up or Teddy’s Bigger Burger standees around the mall. Participants must upload their photos on Facebook or Instagram account with the hashtag #teddysburgersph. The first 100 entries will win a free 5oz Original Teddy’s Burger.
For complete promo mechanics, and more information about Teddy’s Bigger Burgers PH, visit the official Facebook Page (www.facebook.com/TeddysBurgersPH).

Binondo Chinatown: A Photo Diary

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I had free time in my hands so I grabbed Chace the camera and did a little stroll in downtown Manila. I haven’t set foot in the capital for quite a while after I graduated from college. Manila City for me is a chaotic place but it has its charms – and most of it lies in the old nooks. The charm of this urban hyperreality is when it transports you back to its heydays.

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DSC_0006Most of the streets have crisscrosses of electric wires. 

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DSC_0009Life as they know it

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DSC_0011I think I have overdosed on old Hong Kong films. Thanks, VSCO hehe.

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Binondo is the oldest Chinatown outside the mainland. In this little cramped neighborhood, your senses will be entertained by the sights, smells, and sounds of a bustling neighborhood. Business looks good and every street features a distinct feel of being in another place aside from Manila as we have known it. Honestly, though it could use a more precise urban planning. In the same time, the chaos here seems part of the daily life. Everyone looks so used to it.

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DSC_0016I’m amazed they do their coffee in siphons!

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What is a trip to Chinatown without dimsum! Everytime I think of Chinatown, all I could ever think is dimsum and tea, dimsum and tea, and repeat! I’ve had a bad case of craving for dimsum for a month now so this is a much-needed part of my trip. I just wished Wai Ying had beancurd rolls then, because in my book it’s the best dimsum!

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IMG_4906*burp!*

IMG_4907The narrower streets harbor the best food in town!

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IMG_4908I needed to do a little more walking, but first – I had to buy hopia for my friends!

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DSC_0030That TXTFIRE firetruck! 

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DSC_0035One of the oldest church in Quiapo district

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I spent a rather short time in the area and I walked back to the train station to go back to Makati. I’d love to spend more time in Chinatown though y’know and maybe explore more of Manila. The old city has so much to offer if you let her.

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Quick note: to get to Binondo, one can simply ride LRT-1 to Carriedo station. Head towards the direction of the old BPI building and you can see Escolta. Walk straight through and turn right at Yuchengco/Nueva street. When you see Ying Ying teahouse – it’s definitely time to slow down for some tea and dimsum… and many more will ensue if you’ll walk some more! From there, you can get to Divisoria, U-belt, or Ermita (for the National Museum and Intramuros!) I have yet to walk some more, though.

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Jeez how much longer til the weekend, eh?

I made some art prints you can order from Society6. Let me know what you think!

Starbucks Reserve

I guess when I started working the night shift, my coffee habits really shifted. I drank my usual Iced Americano at night like a milk night cap, and lost of juices (and sometimes alcohol) in the morning. But I couldn’t pass the opportunity when Starbucks Reserve opened in the neighborhood.

20140514-094014.jpg The signature “Reserve” signage by the door gives it away

The third wave movement must have caught up with the big coffee chain, and I am glad! Contrary to others who would scoff at this latest addition to the already awesome caffeine fix Starbucks gives, I am actually glad that I have more options in the metro. Again, just couldn’t pass up.

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So off I went with my friend Nica to check what’s in store. I found two familiar blends – Sumatran Blue Batak (which I previously raved about in Kuppa) and Ethiopian Yirgacheffe. About time to try something new again, I thought. So what else is in the Reserve menu? Nica had the Mexican Finca Nuevo and I with a big mug of Zambian Peaberry from the Terranova Estate. Oddly enough, my African coffee tastes a lot like the Asian Batak. Hmmm, untrained tongue, more coffee. I thought.

20140514-094028.jpg I love that they are adapting to changes! They did a really nice pour over.

It’s the morning and I should be working on getting sleep, but what the heck. I sipped through my mug and felt the brown liquid down my throat and enliven my nerves. Alas, I was alive. I knew I would’t be getting my sleep any sooner.

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Starbucks Reserve at Burgos Circle, Bonifacio Global City

Love at first sight: Pub Street

Siem Reap might be big, but there aren’t a lot of things happening in this town. Pub Street is the biggest night out scene in REP and I bet the partyphile on you won’t be able to resist the happenings around here. From night markets to street food to restaurants to pubs (duh), you won’t run out of things to do in Pub Street. It’s an organized chaos around here, that’s why I loved it the moment I laid my eyes on it (not exaggerating — even before going, while browsing online!)

20140510-091253.jpg Big ol’ Jenny-no-Jenny Johnny is kinda big around here

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20140510-091312.jpg This massive and random bookstore is a welcome peaceful corner in the midst of all chaos

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Pub Street is a mish mash of everything in a tiny convoluted array of streets. It would be easy to get lost, but hey we really didn’t mind if we got lost a bit — because everywhere you go just seems lively and so… full of boys (there I said it!) Everyone’s so friendly and cheerful — them foreigners and locals alike love to holla at ‘ya whenever wherever. You’ll feel like this is just your usual pub in your usual city… just with a tropical climate to boot.

20140510-091345.jpg The neon signs signals your entry to the playful streets

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The food doesn’t disappoint as well. As long as you have a nose for good food and great crowd — you’ll never run out of places to eat at. Choices are abounding as well – some with apsara dancers, and some with that music you might have left at home but were badly missing. There is something in Cambodia that tries so hard to make you feel at home.

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20140510-091437.jpg We were just in time for the Angkor Photography Festival when we went there.

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If you’re tired chugging Angkor beer and spicy chow, head to the night market – a few struts away from the main happenings. Don’t be apprehended by “You lady, what you want,” or “Mister, mister you want?” from the locals who are trying to make a living. Just politely say no if you don’t want to buy. Or feel free to haggle — I  did have more shopping done here than I did in Bangkok because haggling is just so fun to do!

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The best part that I liked about Pub Street is how the whole street is a hotpot of different cultures – whether local or foreign, Asian or Caucasian. Everyone’s just there to have fun – get drunk, high, or bloated. Everyone wants to meet everyone. You just need to have your best brave intoxicated self (as for me, that is) to introduce yourself and ask for names. Ask people where they’re from, what they do in life. What brings them to Siem Reap? Most relevantly, have they been to the temples? This French couple we met were just incredible travellers – having been in Siem Reap for the second time around and absolutely loving it so far. I really enjoyed listening to stories of far away lands, where I might have never been. It makes me long to see the world more. It makes me long to learn more, walk more, climb some more. It makes me feel alive.

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Ella left me for a while. I followed where the lights are, and where the people are dancing. I’ve made some friends, some I flirted about. Thanks to the buzz I have in my head til the morning. But some are just lonesome rangers of the night that won’t budge (that Latino wearing a muscle shirt in Linga is one tough nut to crack.) Meeting eyes with eyes, a shot for a shot. I found myself in a shithole where the sobriety of the night is only the hush whispers the walls make. A young Moroccan with the most expressive deep-set eyes to my left, and a seasoned (emphasis) British businessman who has seen half of the world to my right. Hush talks, laughs. Let the serendipity work. The alcohol did its work as well. But not that day, I thought.

20140510-091616.jpg In those intoxicated days in Pub Street, the tuk tuk is one’s only respite. 

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I was back to my friend, who enjoyed her banana-milo crepe in the middle of the street, and who wishes she can bring it to Manila. Ella thinks of the endless shift hours she makes at the hospital she works at. I thought of the guys I could’ve done that day. But we were in the middle of a happy street. And we were just happy. That’s all we need to know.

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Photos taken from iPhone 5

Zapped

It never hurts to have rebates whenever you go buy something. Loyalty cards are a hit because you can really save up when you start racking up points and start feeling the perks of your purchase. So when ZAP came into mind, I thought of them like Timezone. You buy credits, use them, and earn tickets. Same logic!

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Team Zap invited me and a couple more people to join the Zap Crawl in Greenhills. Now I don’t go that much here, and it was a pretty quiet Saturday for me, so I decided to go and have fun! I haven’t been aware that they had this same gig over at Fort. So here goes.

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After the trip to The Wine Depot, we headed over to Department of Coffee. It’s this little third wave coffee shop in Wilson street. I’ve been meaning to go there and try it out and finally I was able to go there! Not too shabby, I think. I just hope they offer more than espresso. But nonetheless, that cup of espresso is exquisite.

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20140429-014115.jpg Department of Coffee’s menu

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Dinner time came, and we were treated to Asian Fusion Cuisine at Torch. While I am not a fan of fusion, what I am of is a really good slab of meat. I’ll cut to the chase, the steak here is the bomb, and I cannot wait to go back and have more of that succulent steak!

20140429-014144.jpg Again, I am not a fan of fusion but burger and mac and cheese just sounded like my childhood on steroids. SO YES TO THIS DISH!

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Team ZapWe ended up watching the latest 300 movie at the Promenade Cinema.

Yeah, more meat! 

Find out more about Zap Partners and register here TODAY!

Photos taken from my iPhone 5

Coffee Wishlist!

Coffee cups

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PatriciaCups

ceramic-mason-jar-mugs-4Especially this one please! I usually shun people who give mugs as gifts BUT in this case, I really need lots of GOOD mugs. Read: good = creative, beautiful, something that will make me shit rainbows in the morning.

custom-cups

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Local coffee beans

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Kape-Maria3Kape Maria is part of my Christmas Gift ideas list last year as well! Quick Brew is exclusively available in Heima! If you know other local brands though, link me up!

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(or International coffee beans!)

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Blue-Bottle-CoffeeOne can’t have too much coffee. 

(or cold brew/make me a 12h cold brew)

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French presses

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e9ddd36d1fceb6b2f9e30f80877827acCutesy patootsie terrarium in a coffee press I found somewhere in Pinterest!

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Screen-Shot-2013-11-21-at-11.57.41-AMAgain, can’t have too much coffee.

(actually, there’s a lot of choices) Different strokes for different folks… or moods.

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Shot glasses

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‘Cause sometimes a shot is all you need!

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Vacuum mason jars

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BOOKS ABOUT COFFEE!

God in a Cup: The Obsessive Quest for the Perfect Coffee by Michaele Weissman

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Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee by James Freeman

blue-bottle-bookJeez, or bring me to the US of A for Blue Bottle!

A-Z Coffee by Lars K. Huse & Harald Johnsen Vøyle

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Whew! I haven’t done a wishlist in a long time! So hey, you know it’s my birthday month *big grin*

P.S. More to come this coming days! HAHA I miss doing this, y’know?

Pan-roasted Vegetables with Apple Cider Mustard Vinaigrette

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This is something I like cooking, because it’s fast, nutritious, and filling as well. Find the recipe in this feature here.

Stories of coffee

It’s been crazy for me – coffee and I. I will already apologise because I sound like a junkie of sorts. But I just can’t help it. It’s like I haven’t known what coffee tastes like and my taste buds are sooooooo asking for more. My heart can’t keep up, and I don’t want to go back being a sleepless zombie again. So I turn to Youtube —

Thrash Lab did a good job with this documentary about specialty coffee shops in the US! Watching feels like smelling and tasting and being in the coffee shop. Or I was just craving for a cuppa, idk really. But I enjoyed knowing more about these shops who takes the next step of knowing their coffee – from seed to cup. Such geekery watching them play with their toys (oh that Hario V60!) Thrash Lab has a lot of good videos to watch… I could easily use up an hour just watching. They’d probably coffee-d up to come up with these!

Satisfy your cravings of maximum coffee geekery and watch how making coffee can easily turn into Dexter’s Lab! Zagat‘s feature on Seattle’s Caffe Vita and the coffee siphon is absolutely amazing! I’ve seen this done once in Craft Katipunan here in Manila. Reminds me of the chem lab in high school without the nasty odors!

Watching how people follow their passion inspires me so much! Their enthusiasm is contagious. You can see sparkle in their eyes when they talk about the one thing they love to do. When they stand and decide that doing anything else is futile – you just feel it flowing from them. Nick Clark from New Zealand in his Tedx talk is absolutely charming. Don’t you just love him and his accent?

In the same vein, Asher Yaron, in his pursuit of the perfect cup, is very inspiring. I admire his vigilance against stale, old, and dead coffee – because coffee is meant to be alive! I am now understanding why coffee is the second most traded commodity in the world – because it brings the best in us; from drinking it just because to finding the perfect cup.

And don’t you just love mythbusters?

Here’s to enjoying a cuppa!

Coffee isn’t bitter. It tastes just like coffee, that’s it.

A little digression — sorry, my blog has been on maintenance for a couple of days, but now I’m back! And I have a lot to share, being the oversharer that I am, hihi.

Now on to coffee! I’ve been fascinated with coffee ever since I know how to pull off all-nighters and watch movies til early morn. It aided me into long exams, long phone calls (don’t ask), dating (ehem, not a V-day post, please), enduring entirely painful meetings, and that bitchy board exam. Dawdling sleepless zombie in Manila that I am, yes I appreciate the kick and high from a nice brew.

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But a nice brew when you are young is one that’s full of milk and sugar. That trendy Frappucino, which I still like. Or lattes, which are the bane of my waistline. Oh, in days that the wallet just can’t spew any more dough, Kopiko works. Highs and lows. Anything but the bitter black brew. Once I tried downing a shot of good ol’ espresso shot and my heart has never burned like before. I won’t even pretend that I liked it.

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But coffee is an odyseey, as my queen of a blogger deity said. It’s a journey, and it will definitely come a time when you will like coffee for its truest form. No it isn’t bitter. Or isn’t all bitterness. Coffee is a spectrum of flavor. Delicate flavor, that is. I’ve come to learn that different brewing styles fit for different people. There are A LOT of things to consider too, like water temperature, beans, and equipment. It’s actual food science, and art – involves a lot of experiement and creativity.

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I’ve learned how to drink appreciate my coffee black, just recently. I’m not one to pretend like an adult and try to gulp coffee without any sugar. But I’m pretty sure, that like other coffee lovers out there, that a nice brew is just ain’t a good cuppa. I started to cut down the cream. Then the sugar followed suit til a teaspoonful is still sweet for me. Thanks to Commune (and the internetz) and my last teaspoon of sugar is down.

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Now, I’ve been hearing a lot about pour over coffee. It’s almost ceremonial and puristic for me, that I never tried it myself at home. My go-to coffee brew is one that comes from a humble French press and I love it. So when the barista from Commune offered this, I overstayed my welcome at the counter and watched him prepare my drink. It was love and respect that I felt over coffee as I see it brewed in the most delicate manner, at least for me.

20140211-091443.jpg Ros, my friend, former boss and now owner of Commune, used to tell me to learn how to drink my coffee black. And I now do! Ain’t you a proud momma, Ros?

A pour over brew, as I learned, relies on the control of the infusion of beans. The speed by which hot water goes through the coffee affects the taste and acidity. Apparently these grounds from Mt. Matutum, South Cotabato has a sweet finish without sugar. It starts like how all cups start – it’s a bit bitter and acidic, and there’s the bold familiar flavor – and then the sweet finish. It’s weird because I have not tasted coffee like this and it really makes a good cup, not just nice.

I think, Joe Bean Coffee Roasters from Rochester, New York explains best why pour over coffee gives you a different coffee experience. And Joe is smokin’!

If you had done pour over coffee at home, tell me your experience in the comments below!

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