Friday, April 02, 2010

Hullo and goodbye

Dear all,

Things have been really crazy lately. Sooo many changes that I find myself in a new phase of my life now--a phase that is quite different from where I was when I started Street but Sweet and Diary of a Food Lover. I've thus decided to say goodbye to these two blogs, and have started a new one to reflect my new life and all the new, wonderful adventures that will be coming my way.

There'll still be stories of my day-to-day life, plus restaurant and food posts. It's essentially my two old blogs rolled into one. So, come follow me on my new blog, Here, Tishie Tishie!

Thanks for all your support and comments over the years! Now click here!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010


I love breakfast! If I had the willpower to get my arse out of bed early every morning, I could so get creative in the kitchen. (Since I don't, my husband generally has to eat stuff from a can...stuff which I lovingly heat, of course.)

This morning though, I kind of wanted to make something a little more special...

Pseudo Eggs Benedict


Whole-wheat bread
Ham, finely sliced
Quick-melt cheese, grated
Ground pepper (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350F. (Approximation only. My oven isn't exactly a bastion of accuracy.)
2. Make a hole in the center of one slice of bread. Lightly butter and place on a baking sheet.
3. Break egg into hole.
4. Surround hole with sliced ham and grated cheese.
5. Bake for 5 to 10 minutes, or until eggs are done.
6. Remove from oven and sprinkle with ground pepper, if desired.

Pair with orange juice and end the meal with some fruit. A great way to start the day!

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

My Yummy Valentine

Seriously, if you're getting married and haven't decided on a caterer yet, I highly recommend our dear caterer, Kaye Cunanan. Not only does she have such chi-chi setups and yummy food (not drenched in the usual peanut sauce like other caterers...), she also has some sweet extras. Like our Valentine date!

Table for two: chocolate brown table cloth, baby blue napkins, Tiffany chairs; other tables had baby blue table cloths and chocolate brown napkins

She invited past clients to feast on a dinner buffet at Blue Leaf--and H and I really arranged our sched so we could make it to dinner. The pictures will do the talking...

It's the Pinoy version of that Italian tomato-and-cheese appetizer. It had kesong puti. I also got a bit of arugula with sun-dried tomatoes.

Prichon with different sauces--hoisin, garlic mayo, honey mustard, and a couple more

Carrot rice (yum!) with chicken, prawns topped with mangoes and coconut milk, lapu-lapu topped with ratatouille (served at our wedding), lamb kofta with couscous

The dessert table looked divine. The thing about Kaye's desserts is that they're not like hotel desserts. And that's a good thing!

Too bad my tummy could only accommodate the chocolate souffle with vanilla sauce, banoffee cup, and strawberry panna cota.

What a yummy Valentine date it was! And did I mention that it was absolutely free?

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Restaurant Row: The Piazza

There’s a fairly new restaurant complex at McKinley Hill, Fort Bonifacio, and it hasn’t yet been invaded by the hoards that flock to Serendra and High Street. Called The Piazza, it’s got this a semi-circular structure lined with restaurants and a sprinkling of other establishments (e.g., a nail salon and a day care center), surrounding this courtyard-like space in the center.

The space, I imagine, will be used for events in the future; on the night I was there, there was a fortune-telling event. A bunch of shops are still closed, but there are already a number of open restos, including my friends' pick for the night, Tokyo Café.

Don't expect it to be really Japanese, because it isn't as Japanese as its name suggests. No maki or sushi, but there’s salad, pizza, pasta, and sandwiches, a few with a bit of a Japanese twist. Some of my friends declared that it was one of their favorites at the Mall of Asia. Among the many, many things we ordered...

Sausage Pizza

Seafood Mix Fry

I think this was the Pescatore

Some sort of chicken stuffed with cheese

…the ones I enjoyed most were the Mango Chicken Salad (the dressing rocked!)…

…and the Creamy Ebiko Pasta. Yum. It was seafood pasta in a creamy, slightly orange-tinged sauce that tasted like it had some roe in it.

If Japanese fusion isn’t your kind of thing, there are other restaurants that are already open at The Piazza:

Carlo’s Pizza
Old Vine
Little Asia
Stackers Burger Café
Reyes Barbecue

For dessert or coffee, head on over to:

Yo Swirl (for frozen yogurt)
Sol Gelato
Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf

Soon to open:

Ristra’s Mex Grill
Harry’s Bar
My Thai Kitchen
Pho Hoa

It’d be nice to go there now while it’s still fairly easy to get tables.

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Sunday, January 24, 2010

22 Prime: High on Wagyu

For H's birthday, we found ourselves on the 22nd floor of Discovery Suites for some steak. I had heard that 22 Prime, voted Best Steak Restaurant 2008 by readers, served some pretty good AND reasonably priced steak.

Sadly, my phone (where I kept my notes) was stolen before I could blog, so I just have pictures and a few, er, "sound bites" to offer. If you'd like to see actual prices though, you can view them here.

We started off with complimentary bread sticks which came with three different dips.

One was tomato-ey, one was mustard-y (if I remember right), and one was lemon-y. Note the nice view in the background.

Then we had our appetizers: Chef Rick's Cheese Bread, which I've heard good things about. It's broiled sun-dried tomato bread with four kinds of cheese. Kind of flaky, pleasantly oily, and I am totally craving for it. Right. Now.

And then before our steak was served, we were asked to choose our weapons. The waiter opened a wood-and-glass case with a flourish to show us their selection of steak knives...

And then, we attacked! H got the Melbourne rib eye. He asked for medium, but it was kind of bordering on well done. It was alright. All steaks served with your choice of two kinds of sauce on the side.

Meanwhile, I chose the wagyu medallions...

We ate our meat with potato gratin and spinach gratin.

I barely touched the side dishes because a) I was full from all the bread, and b) I was too busy enjoying the juiciness and glorious, glorious fat of my melt-in-your-mouth wagyu!

Good. Grief. Now I'm craving for THAT.

Considering we had appetizers and side dishes and both had good-quality steak, I'd say a bill of a little over a grand per person ain't bad. Our total bill was what you'd pay at some other places for one good steak!

Sigh. My husband should have his birthday every month.

22 Prime is located at 22/F Discovery Suites, 25 ADB Ave., Ortigas Center, Pasig City. For reservations, call tel. (02) 719-6808/719-8888.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Van Gogh Is Bipolar: Happy Food

"We're going to Van Gogh Is Bipolar."

I asked my co-worker, Kaye, to repeat what she just said because it didn't sound like a proper sentence. After talking for a bit more, we cleared up the confusion and I found out that Van Gogh Is Bipolar is actually the name of a cafe located along Maginhawa Street in Quezon City.

I researched a bit and I found out that the place is owned and run by Jetro, who is bipolar himself. I made plans on a Friday to have dinner there, tried to make a reservation (for me, Mike, Cheng, and Miguel), but was told that the only available table was outside. Well. For a seemingly obscure place, it sure was popular!

Once you get there, Jetro will be sure to attend to you and give you a little orientation. He told us that the place was his home during the day, and that the food he served was the stuff he cooked for himself to keep from getting depressed--there are explanations in the menu about almost every item, saying how it's supposed to help boost your mood.

The cafe is located in this apartment complex-type place, right beside Blacksoup. The inside has three little dining nooks, including this cozy corner:

You're free to doodle on the red graffiti wall! There's even a desk where you can carve and scrape stuff.

The dark room/bathroom. Interesting photos (including nudes) are plastered all around the cafe.

The dishes are all named after bipolar people: Sting, Jim Carey, Pres. Clinton, Robert Downey Jr., to name a few. Who knew, right? Jetro talked us into getting the Courtney Love Drink of the Day (P75). "It's a surprise!" he told us. But he later revealed that it had lemongrass, melon, and mint, among other things. I reeeally liked this drink, absolutely refreshing! I think Cheng ordered one of the FruiTEA MinTEAs (in the Erlenmeyer flask, below), which is served with wild Palawan honey.

The tea is caffeine-free and is supposed to help relieve stress. I didn't get to try Cheng's hot drink though, because I was perfectly happy with my cold concoction.

While waiting for our food and during comfortable lulls in conversation, we would watch Across the Universe, which was being screened on the wall near Blacksoup. There was this charming, artsy, hippie vibe to the place, much like Cubao X of yesteryear. It had a different kind of energy from typical restaurants. I kind of felt like I wasn't in my element, like I wasn't cool enough for the place! Oh well. I was there for the food, and for what I (rightly) figured was an interesting experience.

After a bit of a wait (while there are a few waiters, Jetro is generally host, cook, and server, so do be patient), my Pres. Roosevelt's Meal (P225) arrived. It's grilled Norwegian salmon belly served with black mountain rice.

Black mountain rice, Jetro explained, is a rare kind of rice grown dry. I think it's cooked with a bit of olive oil and, perhaps, soy sauce because it was very moist and flavorful. The fish (lurve salmon!) was really soft and tender. According to the menu, cold-water fish, like salmon, is an excellent source of omega-3, which helps one maintain a happy-positive vibe. Miguel, who's not a big salmon eater, still had a few bites while waiting for his order, the Pres. Lincoln's Meal (P899 for the "lovers" serving), which he shared with me. (And P.S. Don't be misled by the serving. What we have is strictly platonic!)

It had two cups of that yummy rice, more salmon, lamb, and chicken wings. Mike and Cheng's platter had the surprise dish of the day (tilapia), but ours did not. Sadness. We figured maybe they ran out--it was a busy, busy Friday night at Van Gogh!

While Miguel is not a salmon fan, I am not a lamb fan. There's something about the way it coats my tongue that I don't like. But this time I gave it a chance. While it still had that innate lamb gaminess, I (unexpectedly) liked it. Maybe the benefits of lamb kicked in--since it's a grass-eating animal, it's a healthier source of protein than chemically fed animals. (Chemicals = bad for your mood) Or maybe I've just realized that it's a close cousin of steak. And this girl loves steak!

There are a lot more interesting things on the menu, as you can see from here. I so would have wanted to try Mel Gibson's Darkest Sin (P125)--a shot of vodka with dark chocolate, walnuts, almonds, and wild honey--but we headed to Pino for dessert. One reason to go back. (As if I needed much convincing.) During their screening of The September Issue, perhaps?

Van Gogh Is Bipolar
is located at 154 Maginhawa St., Sikatuna Village, Quezon City. Call (02) 394-0188 or text 0922-8243051/0922-8243052 for reservations.

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Saturday, January 02, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me!

For my milestone birthday, I spent a whole week celebrating with people I love, stuffing myself silly with food that I love. Amid all the cooking and entertaining and eating at my regular haunts, I wanted to do something a little special, so we headed out to a place I've been wanting to visit for months now.

This is Laya, a Balinese-style house-turned-cozy restaurant in the hills of Antipolo. Owner Irene, who was so accommodating and who very pleasantly responded to all my texts in the days leading to our visit, revealed: "It used to be my family's rest house. But it didn't make sense because we live just five minutes away!"

It's a weekend dining place which is by reservation only, and which serves a multi-course meal for a reasonable price. For P650, we got a five-course meal plus bottomless pandan iced tea and coffee or basil tea to cap our dinner. They don't serve wine, but there's no corkage so feel free to bring a bottle!

Last weekend's dinner was made up of classic dishes with a playful, modern, Asian twist. We started off with Spiced Tuna Tartare on Crispy Wontons.

Irene told us that there were two ways of eating it: 1) Mix it all up, crushing the wontons, or 2) eat them like nachos. I attempted method number 2 at first, but after I bit into a wonton, the rest of it fell under the weight of the tartare (which kind of tasted like chopped-up sashimi). I loved how that bit of wasabi dressing on the side added a little kick.

Next up: Thai Tomato Basil Soup with Shrimp Dumpling and Cilantro Foam.

The dumpling was just a tad dry, but the soup was quite nice--the perfect way to warm us as we were chilled by the January air.

We then moved onto the Asian Caesar Salad Sticks with Ginger Aioli.

Again, Irene said that this deconstructed salad could be eaten in two ways: 1) Mixing it up like a regular salad, with the dressing poured over, or 2) Dipping each salad component into the ginger aioli--a method that Irene described as "funner." Ahh, a place that encourages you to play with your food! And since I'm all about the fun, guess which method I opted for?

After getting through three courses, I was already reaching "comfortably full" levels. We were then served our main course. You could choose between two courses. H picked the Red Curry Glazed Pork Loin Roast with Roasted Onions and Saffron Cashew Rice Pilaf.

Sounds like a mouthful. I can't really describe it since I just got all of two bites. Just think of it as yummy ham with yummy sauce on yummy rice.

I got the Hoisin Baked Norwegian Salmon with Soba Noodles and Shiitake Mushrooms and Sesame Scallion Salad.

I'm a salmon fan, so I did like this dish. The noodles were good, but I did wish that there was less sauce.

For dessert ("Ahh, the last course!" sighed my expanded belly): Bananas in Thai Coconut Pancake with Mantecado Ice Cream and Latik Sauce.

The crepe-like pancake deviates from the usual fried lumpia wrapper. The ice cream offsets the strong flavor of the latik. And since ice cream is possibly the Greatest Invention Known to Man, I happily gobbled up H's share (bless him and his minor lactose intolerance!).

But what I thought was the last course in fact...wasn't. Irene, having heard that it was my birthday, gave me a sweet surprise:

Awwww. Fruit skewers with a side of spicy chocolate sauce for dipping. (It tasted like it had some chili powder in there.)

After all that food, I needed to take a bit of a walk, so I took a look around. Laya has a pool, a wooden swing, and a cozy little cabana.

Imagine lounging with a cup of hot tea or tsokolate-eh! Divine.

Such a lovely, relaxing place! (Must thank Miguel for telling me about it a few months back!) Irene says that the plan is to turn it into a bed and breakfast. For now, it's a really cool chill spot for a romantic date or an intimate dinner. They accept weekday reservations for at least 15 people, and can close the place for private functions on weekends for a group of at least 20. For me, it was the perfect end to a week that celebrated my big 3-0, summing up some of the things that make me happy: good food, good vibes, wonderful company. I would be incredibly fortunate if the rest of my years were filled with all these.

Laya is located at Sierra Madre St., Grand Heights Subdivision, Antipolo. Check out their website at For inquiries and reservations, email, or call or text 0917-8464322.

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