I know that this review is a bit too late considering that the book series had been published years ago. The Divergent series didn’t appeal to me at first because I felt like this is just another dystopian tale just like the Hunger Games trilogy. But after watching the movie version of Divergent in cable TV (I still haven’t seen Insurgent), my curiosity was piqued which prompted my husband to buy the book series for me.

The book series is comprised of Divergent, Insurgent and Allegiant. In Divergent, Roth gave us a view of a city that is divided into 5 factions. Each faction is defined and motivated by a strong virtue of its residents - Candor for honesty, Abnegation for selflessness, Dauntless for bravery, Amity for peace, and Erudite for intelligence. Each faction is assigned to a specific role in the society, and the people of each faction is somehow boxed and limited in accordance with their faction’s virtue. But apparently, Divergents are a group of people that have the ability to possess more than one strong innate virtue. And with the constant struggle of power, some of the twisted leaders consider them as a threat to the faction system. The first book is a very interesting read. After reading the first few chapters, I was convinced that this is not another Hunger Games as the book got to focus more on the vulnerability of human nature. It may look as a typical dystopian-themed novel, but I find Roth’s analysis of human nature quite deep and fascinating. The strength of the female protagonist, Tris, may be comparable with Katniss, but I have to say that I got to like her more. She may be hardheaded, but I like that she’s firm with her decisions. Katniss can’t even choose between Gale and Peeta! Hahaha! She also has the perfect blend of innocence and fierceness. Her love interest, Four, oh my God, Four!!! I immediately fell in love with his character! He is strong yet deep inside him sleeps a sense of helplessness brought by his dark past. Roth actually did a great job building all the characters. She made me love the good ones and hate the bad ones. Peter! I hate Peter! And Marcus, too! Also, her style of storytelling kept my eyes glued to every page of the book. The ending of Divergent (which is different from the movie version, in case you’re curious) was a nice cliffhanger that made me immediately start reading Insurgent.

I liked Insurgent more because the pacing is faster and the twists are more exciting. The questions left behind by the end of Divergent were finally answered, with more questions surfacing. When Roth was writing this, she was probably telling herself, “Oh, so you think you already know everything about the story, well, you’re wrong!!!” More conspiracies were born, and the struggle for power became more intense with the introduction of new characters, specifically the factionless who wants to revenge being left behind by their old factions. And once again, the ending made me look forward to reading Allegiant right away.

Unfortunately, I have to say that Allegiant is the “weakest” book for me. No wonder that the last installment got the lowest rating in goodreads.com. Roth finished the two books both on a high note, but I felt like all the twists became too strange to handle. It was as if all the anticipation that Roth built in the first two books were just thrown out of the window because of the weird connections established in Allegiant. I felt like the twists were too “forced”. Though the first few chapters of the book still kept me hooked, the succeeding chapters became too dragging. I was like, “Seriously, Roth? Genetic whatsoever? Behavioral experiments?!” The ending was something I didn’t expect for. Yes, a book with an unpredictable ending is good. But it gave me the same disappointed feeling after reading Mockingjay. I think 90% of the characters died. Probably half of the remaining 10% ended up either injured or depressed! My husband actually got shocked because I threw the book after reading it. (He didn’t mind me because he thought that it was just my pregnancy hormones acting up, haha!)

On second thought, there are few similarities between Divergent and Hunger Games – the restrictive environment, never-ending struggle for power and the very depressing ending. Haha!
After a medical appointment in St. Luke’s Global a couple of weeks ago, Boyet and I decided to go to SM Aura to grab some lunch. My very strict husband didn’t want me to have long walks so he gave me no other choice but to just choose among the strip of restaurants in Sky Park. It’s the shortest possible walk because we went straight to the elevator from the basement parking. As soon as we reached the Sky Park, we just went inside the first restaurant that we still hadn’t tried at that time. That’s the reason behind why we chose to eat at Kettle that day! :p We initially looked at the menu, and the first thing that we noticed was the steep prices of their food. But since we could peek inside the restaurant, we saw that the servings of their food are very generous that’s why we decided to give it a go. Hindi rin masamang maging tsismosa paminsan-minsan! :p
I love the restaurant’s high ceiling which somehow gave the illusion that the place looks bigger than its actual size. I also liked the large glass windows surrounding the restaurant. We were there during lunch so I had ample natural light to make my photos look clearer even if I was just using a point-and-shoot camera. The windows, high ceiling, hanging lamps and the prominent colors of the interiors – black, white and red, gave the restaurant its maaliwalas vibe!

Choosing what to get from their menu was a tedious task because every single item sounds very appealing. That’s why we decided to seek the help of our server and asked what their bestsellers are.

To warm our tummies, we decided to try their clam chowder. Served on a bowl of sourdough bread, this clam chowder has got to be one of the best I have ever tasted. It’s creamy and seasoned to perfection. The clams are not fishy at all. And most importantly, the serving of the clams is very generous. We were getting equal amounts of clams, potatoes and other vegetables at every sip. Don’t you hate it when instead of getting clam chowder, you get potato chowder or carrots chowder, or the worst of all, flour chowder?! It’s definitely not the case with this one! Plus, you get a piece of the sourdough bread when you scrape through the bowl, adding a distinct texture to your bite.

DSCN0454Clam Chowder PHP259

The first thing that the waitress suggested to us when we asked for their bestsellers is their Buttermilk Fried Chicken. And when I looked around, every table in the restaurant has at least a plate of their fried chicken. By default, it is served with honey glazed cornbread. But we requested if they could replace it with rice instead.

I know that my photo can’t probably give justice to my claim, but the two pieces of chicken are extraordinarily humongous! I told my husband that we should just share, but he was very confident that he could finish it alone. But would you believe that we ended up sharing and that we even got to take home some of the leftovers?! So my photo may have lied but our appetites couldn’t!

DSCN0467Buttermilk Fried Chicken PHP559

Its size is not the only thing that this fried chicken can brag of. As expected from fried chicken cooked with buttermilk, Kettle’s version is undeniably juicy! It’s so juicy that Boyet even got an unexpected shower when the juices of the chicken suddenly squirted and landed to his face! Ligo ligo din kasi 'pag may time! Hahahaha! :p

The skin is very crispy, and the meat is tender. It’s served with two kinds of dip, but I think that it goes better with the gravy than the honey dip. The aroma of the rosemary is very evident. The chicken is quite tasty, although my husband and I agreed that some parts of the chicken’s core couldn’t stand alone without the help of the gravy.

Because my husband was adamant in getting a separate food for me (and the Little Kolokoy), I decided to get another bestseller – Shrimp Po’Boy. The Cajun breaded shrimps are sitting on a bed of ciabatta bread with lettuce and tomatoes in between. It is also served with fries on the side.

DSCN0472Shrimp Po’Boy PHP459

Because I shared the chicken with my husband, I only got to eat a couple of bites of this sandwich. The breaded shrimp is delicious. And surprisingly, they didn’t turn soggy even after we ate it at home hours after. The sandwich may have been okay, but the fries turned out to be a disappointment. It was very bland. The cut of the fries are thick so I was expecting them to season it more liberally.

Overall, our dining experience at Kettle was remarkable. If ever I find myself back, I would love to try their grilled cheese sandwich! =)

Level 5 SM Aura Premier
McKinley Parkway, Bonifacio Global City,
Taguig City

* All photos were taken with a Nikon Coolpix S3600
Helo, hello, hello! Oh yeah, I’m still alive! I’m not sure if you have ever noticed my absence in the blogosphere given that I only have 10 readers. Harharhar! But in case you did, I’m back! Well, sort of! I know that I have apologized so many times for neglecting this blog, but believe me when I tell you that I have a perfectly valid reason behind my absence. To tell you honestly, I was extremely lazy the past couple of months. Hahahahahahaha! I know, I know! But hear me out first, please. This time around, my laziness has a legitimate excuse! I promise I'll make it up to you. For now, allow me to fill you in with some of the latest happenings in the Kolokoy Household.

First, the construction of our own house’s interiors is finally done! We’re just in the last lap of constructing some minor stuff, and the next step is to clean the house before we could fill it up to make it look like a decent nest. I know that I promised to keep you updated with our house’s construction through my Building the Kolokoy Home series, but something happened which prevented me from doing so. For now, allow me to show you a glimpse of our door, and the floor mat that I bought from S&R! Hahahahahaha! And apparently, today is a very special day because my husband decided to buy me my fourth pair of Chuck Taylor! He was feeling kinda mushy, so he decided that he wanted to be matchy matchy with me! :p

This is actually my husband’s first pair. And because he does not want to be alone in his first-time-to-own-a-Chucks moment, he decided to buy another pair for his fellow first timer!

In case you missed it, I’ll give you 5 more seconds to process the last photo. 5… 4… 3… 2… 1… See? I told you I have a valid reason for being so lazy! The Kolokoy Household is growing by 2 feet! =)

My husband and I decided to keep a lot of people in the dark for a lot of reasons. But the main one is because we wanted to wait for this day to come before we finally share how we overcame our rocky journey to parenthood. When we finally saw two lines in the pregnancy kit, we once again decided to keep it a secret for a while until we were 100% sure. When we finally got the confirmation from the doctor, we opted to delay sharing the good news because I had a very scary and quite risky first trimester. I actually wanted to delay it for a couple of weeks more. I just wanted for my baby bump to show before I make the announcement. (But then again, I’ve had this bump, which I claim to be a foodie bump, for years already! Hahahaha!) We only told our families and very few close friends. But my husband felt that it’s about time to let everybody know that we’re having a Baby Kolokoy soon. He reminded me that I had spent Mother’s Day for years feeling sad and hoping that I’d finally get my turn the following year. He told me that today, the first time that I get to celebrate Mother’s Day, is the perfect day for us to make the announcement. For the first time today, we attended the Sunday mass, and I finally got the chance to join the other mothers in getting the final blessings. It felt surreal to get those Happy Mother’s Day messages from those who already know that I am pregnant.

I am currently on my 12th week! And believe it or not, my due date is November 20, just one day shy of my husband’s birthday! Makakalibre pa yata ng handa si Boyet! :p

So please, please, please pray for our growing family! And please bear with my laziness. I promise to make it up to you. But for now, please give Mr. and Mrs. Kolokoy some time to savor being Tatay and Nanay Kolokoy! =)
I have been spending a lot of days in my bed with the ever reliable cable TV as my company. I think spending the entire day tuned in to the Food Network somehow messed up my cravings. One night, I caught an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, and I suddenly wanted to get out of the house and get myself a plate of nachos. It was later on followed by an episode of Outrageous Food that featured a humongous 20-pounder burrito! I told my husband that we were definitely having Mexican food the next day. And true enough, after a medical appointment at St. Luke’s Global, I dragged my husband to SM Aura to have lunch at Andale by Agave.

Andale by Agave is at the Sky Park of SM Aura Premier. The restaurant is relatively small with an al fresco dining setup. It’s probably a good place to hang out on a chilly Friday night after work, but it was a bit hot during our visit. My extreme cravings for Mexican food totally made me forget that Manila’s heat is unbearable during a summer afternoon! But whatever discomfort we may have felt, the food and service certainly compensated for it!

I would have really wanted to get their Nacho Grande, but I was scared that it would be too much for two people. I initially thought of bringing the leftovers home, but I changed my mind when I thought of eating soggy leftover nachos at home. I let go of my nachos craving and just settled with their Chips & Salsa.

DSCN0431Chips and Salsa (Single Serve) PHP100

Crispy corn chips in yellow, green and red came with a cup of salsa. The vibrant colors of the chips definitely made this appetizer an eye candy. Boyet and I could not stop munching as soon as it was served to us. It was definitely a good way to start our Mexican feast.

The server asked us to choose among mild, medium and spicy salsa. I love anything spicy, but I was worried that my husband could not handle the spicy salsa so we went on the safer side and opted to have the medium one. The salsa is tasty and quite refreshing. But even my husband agreed that it’s not that spicy. We should have taken the risk and tried the spicy salsa instead! :p

Even before I saw the menu, I had already decided that I would be trying out their enchiladas. Andale offers five kinds of fillings for their enchiladas – Mexican cheese, pork carnitas, grilled chicken, steak and grilled shrimp. I went ahead and had grilled chicken.

DSCN0448Grilled Chicken Enchiladas (Single Serve) PHP250

The corn tortilla is stuffed with grilled chicken, cheese and onions. It is then topped with a generous serving of Ranchero sauce, melted cheese (as if Mexico does not run out of cheese!!!) and sour cream. One piece was actually enough for me, but if you have a bigger appetite, then go for their double serving. One piece was already filling, and each bite proved to be a unique symphony of different flavors. As seen on the photo, there is a slice of jalapeno which added a spicy kick. But how I wished there were at least two slices of the jalapeno! Haha! The meal comes with flavorful Mexican red rice and a very refreshing salad that has the perfect blend of sweetness and tanginess.

My weird husband went with me to a Mexican restaurant and ordered for… wait, hold your breaths, ladies and gentlemen… fried chicken! Hahahaha! When I tried to argue with him, he simply said, “Excuse me! It’s MEXICAN Fried Chicken!!!” Hahaha!

DSCN0445Mexican Fried Chicken PHP285

I know that the Mexicans are known for nachos, enchiladas, and burritos. But fried chicken?! Andale’s Mexican Fried Chicken is amazing! The menu states that it is infused with nine different herbs and spices. I don’t know what these were, but they all worked perfectly together in making a usual fried chicken taste extra special! Promise, it’s super delicious! Plus, the chicken is crispy on the outside yet very moist and juicy on the inside! Believe it or not, this has got to be one of the best tasting fried chickens I have ever tried!

Andale by Agave
Level 5 SM Aura Premier
McKinley Parkway, Bonifacio Global City,
Taguig City

* All photos were taken with a Nikon Coolpix S3600
We first saw Va Bene Pasta Deli a few days after its soft opening while we were buying our favorite Potato Corner fries at the Bonifacio High Street Central Cinemas. We took a quick peek inside and saw a blackboard. Written in it is the restaurant’s “Special of the Day”. We immediately dismissed the idea of trying it out mainly because the prices look very intimidating. Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago, Mitch suggested that Va Bene should be included in our “Must Try Restaurants before We Leave BGC” list! I asked her what changed her mind, and then she started raving about a specific pasta dish that according to her is to die for!

Va Bene was still closed when we arrived 15 minutes before noon. The crew members were still busy cleaning and making last-minute preparations in the place. We initially thought that they would not be operating that day, but we noticed two more groups of people who were also waiting with us outside the restaurant. At exactly 12 PM, the waiter finally turned the OPEN sign and welcomed us. In just a matter of minutes, the restaurant was already full!

va bene (13)

The restaurant’s interior is quite simple with its black, white and peach combination. The large lamps and pin lights surrounding the restaurant made the place look a bit larger. Plus, the lighting was perfect for everybody’s Instagram-worthy food shots! :p

Complimentary bruscheta was immediately served to us while we were scanning the menu. The crunchy bread alone was already enough to jumpstart our palates. But the very tasty salsa made the bruscheta extra special! The waiter was generous enough to give us extra servings. He probably saw how we all rumbled over the bread, or maybe because I unintentionally kept on mumbling, “Grabe ang sarap! Sana unlimited.” :p

va bene (6)

Va Bene’s Organic Eggs Tagliatelle is the pasta dish that Mitch was raving about. Given her non-stop praises, I could not help but set my expectations to a higher bar. As soon as it arrived to our table, I immediately understood why she was so crazy about this! The aroma alone was enough to awaken all my senses! With Portobello mushrooms, white wine cream sauce and truffle oil, this pasta dish has all the elements of making one’s taste buds jump out of joy! The rich and creamy sauce coats every strand of the perfectly cooked pasta. I loved that they used a thicker kind of pasta which gives greater surface area for the yummy sauce to stick in to. Portobello mushrooms certainly go well with a creamy pasta dish. Plus, anything with truffle oil tastes and smells better! Ang lakas maka sosyal ng truffle oil! :p

va bene (1)Organic Eggs Tagliatelle PHP440

The waiter noticed that we were having a hard time choosing from their pasta dishes. He probably heard me when I asked myself, “Bakit walang carbonara?!” It wasn’t included in their menu, but he told us that it is included in their “daily specials”. Kulang ang medalya para pasalamatan ko si Kuya! Bakit?! Ang sarap ng carbonara!!! Pambihira!!! I took my first bite of the carbonara, and without me knowing it, I involuntarily closed my eyes and said, “Ay shet, ang sarap!” One my teammates asked, “Bakit kapag si Je ang nagsabi na masarap, naniniwala talaga ako?!” Hahahahaha!

The Organic Eggs Tagliatelle  is undeniably delicious. But in my opinion, the carbonara can very well compete with it. The large chunks of bacon provided the right amount of saltiness which complemented the rich and creamy texture of the sauce. Each bite of this pasta dish is so good, you’ll feel like going to pasta heaven!!!

va bene (12)Carbonara PHP440

We also got to try another pasta dish – Black Ink Tagliolini. I didn’t pay attention to the menu so I was initially expecting the pasta sauce to be made from squid ink. I was so surprised to see tons of seafood in marinara sauce. But what sets it apart is the fact that the pasta is black. I think it was my first time to eat black pasta. The sauce is very flavorful, with the different kinds of seafood giving a natural briny taste. And surprisingly, the pasta itself is packed with so many flavors.

va bene (4)Black Ink Tagliolini PHP440

Aside from pasta, we also got to sample two kinds of pizza. First of which is Massimo. It has mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese, capers, black olive pesto, sausage and prawns. The mixture of two cheeses is undeniably a perfect combination. I loved the salty and pungent taste of the capers which went perfectly well with the smoky flavor of the sausage. The bits of prawns definitely made the quality of this pizza a notch higher.

va bene (2)Massimo PHP288

We also had Boscaiola. It has taleggio cheese. It was actually my first time to hear that kind of cheese. But whatever it is, its pairing with ricotta cheese along with mushrooms, truffle pesto and Parma ham was such a gastronomic delight. The ham has the right amount of saltiness with a hint of sweetness. I initially thought that the crust of the pizza is too thick. But with the different layers of flavors of both the Boscaiola and Massimo, I realized that the thickness of the crust is just perfect.

va bene (5)Boscaiola PHP288

While we were eating, I noticed that Mitch kept on looking at the kitchen. When I asked her why, she told me that she’s looking for the chef. “Ang gwapo ng chef dito, Je!” When I saw the chef, it took me a while to remember where I first saw him. I suddenly realized that I saw him from the Best Thing I Ever Ate series of the Food Network! I remember him describing how they create the pasta from scratch! I was able to put one and one together and understood why their pasta dishes taste differently – one factor of which is the freshness of the pasta. Oh well, Va Bene Pasta Deli is probably The Best Thing That Ever Happened to Pasta History! Believe me!

Va Bene Pasta Deli
Level 3
Bonifacio High Street Central Cinemas
Fort Bonifacio Global City,
Taguig City

* All photos were taken with an iPhone 5
How would you feel if you received an invitation to meet your LIFE? You expect it to be okay only to meet a haggard, grumpy guy with an unbearable bad breath! Can you face the fact that the awful person in front of you is the reflection of your life? Well, that was the exact situation that Lucy Silchester was put into. Lucy used to have everything in life – a handsome boyfriend, a stable job, nice friends and a posh apartment unit. But things turned for the worse when her boyfriend, Blake, decided to leave her to pursue his dreams alone. They agreed to come up with a lie – that Lucy was the one who left Blake, in an attempt to stay away from all the questions. But with a single lie, Lucy didn’t realize that her entire life became strings of more lies. She lost her job and got a new one that she despised. Her relationship with her friends and family were strained. She lives in a cramped apartment in the company of a cat that her landlord forbids her to keep. She makes more lies each day. And then, her LIFE needed to step in!

I have always been a fan of Cecelia Ahern. I fell in love with her earlier works specifically Love, Rosie and Thanks for the Memories. She has this specific charisma in writing that makes her readers smile and fall in love as they flip each page of the book. Suffice to say, I really had very high expectations with this book. The first few chapters of the book were very intriguing. I mean, how many of us will be confident enough to face our LIFE? As I was reading the first few chapters, I envisioned my LIFE to be a very, very, very quiet one. Hindi nagsasalita ang LIFE ko. At malamang, wapakels siya. Forever SILENT mode. Nyaha! Cecelia Ahern’s presentation of the plot is not only intriguing, it’s very funny, too. Her sarcasm definitely made me laugh out loud. The way Lucy and her LIFE throws insults at each other is definitely hilarious! Unfortunately, the succeeding parts of the book became too dragging. I think I just finished the book out of pride because I always finish a book, by hook or by crook. It was quite a struggle for me to keep up with Lucy. But I was curious enough to know what would happen to her.

Despite its shortcomings, The Time of My Life was still successful in making me fall in a deep introspection. It made me question some things in my life. Will I be proud to look at my LIFE when I meet him/her? Is there really such a thing as a white lie? Is my definition of success enough to make me happy? The Time of My Life is undoubtedly funny. Ahern may have failed in some aspects of storytelling, but she definitely succeeded in making me laugh and making me take a look at my life at second glance. =)
When the house was turned over to us last February 14, I didn’t realize that we still had a long way to go. By the last week of February, the construction of our house’s interiors was in full swing. Papa suggested that we buy the materials in a hardware store that is just a five-minute walk from our house. We got some really good deals because Papa’s friend knows the owner. The first time we purchased tons of plywood, my Tito (who happens to be in-charge of the construction) got a lot of freebies. Unfortunately, there are still a lot of things that can’t be bought in that store. We were initially planning to go to Soler, a place popular for selling anything related to house construction. I even researched for the routes, available parking spaces and all the information we needed for our visit. But on the eve of our planned visit, I got sick. I was taking meds that made me really nauseous. I asked Boyet to just go ahead and leave me behind, but he insisted that he wanted me to be with him. We needed to buy bidets (Oo, importante ang bidet sa bahay namin!!! :p), cabinet handles, LED lights and ceiling lamps. Baka daw kasi sisihin ko siya kapag panget ang napili niya. He then suggested that we go to Wilcon Depot instead. He already went there a few days before to buy a few pieces of tiles for the bathroom so he already had an idea. He told me that the things that we could buy in Soler are probably cheaper, but shopping at Wilcon Depot is way more convenient. Lalo na daw sa mga weakling na gaya ko! :p

Well, Wilcon Depot didn’t disappoint. It’s indeed a one-stop shop because they have everything you need. Plus, all their staff members are very efficient. We first went to the lights section because we wanted to use LED lights in our house. The staff members thoroughly explained to us each kind and each brand. We then went ahead to buy ceiling lamps. The choices are limitless – from the simple ones to those elegant chandeliers that will make you sing “I’m gonna swinggggggggg…” Hahaha!

The staff members are very knowledgeable of the products, even those that are not “assigned” to them. They are very friendly and very helpful, too! The guy who assisted us when we bought the ceiling lamps didn’t leave us. He offered to push our (very heavy) cart until we checked out!

Prices at Soler may have been cheaper, but shopping at Wilcon Depot proved to be a good idea. There is ample parking space. We got everything we needed in one store. We just threw everything in the cart and paid once. That meant that we just needed to keep one receipt in case there was a need to return the items. There was also no need to go outside in the middle of the summer heat just to transfer stores. Wilcon Depot is fully air-conditioned that’s why I was able to manage my nausea. They accept credit card payments, and they also have some sort of a rewards system so you keep earning points each time you purchase. I have to agree that there are other places that are better alternatives especially when you have to buy in bulk. Soler is good place. But then again, convenience has a price, too. Ayun, nawili si Boyet! Halos every week kung tumambay sa Wilcon! :p

I also noticed that their prices are cheaper compared with the hardware stores in the malls. But if we need to just buy a thing or two and we happen to be in the mall, we just go directly to Handyman or Ace Hardware. At sulit din lalo kapag naka-SALE sila. Hihi!
I have read so many positive reviews about My Kitchen by Chef Chris. Housed at The Oasis Hotel near Paco Park, the restaurant is just a five-minute drive from where we live. I’m not sure what took us so long to try it out, but I am thinking that it must be the intimidating price range of their food. That’s why when I saw an online voucher being offered by Deal Grocer, I immediately told Joie about it. We bought two vouchers, and we got to redeem them a couple of weeks before the deal ends. Haha! If I remember it correctly, we got a 50% discount on their rolled pizza selection.

I called the restaurant the day before to make a reservation. When we arrived the following day for lunch, I noticed that every table has a RESERVED sign on top of it. I also noticed that a lot of the guests were voucher holders.

The restaurant is facing the hotel’s swimming pool. This made me really happy because my photos turned out quite well because of the natural lighting. But I think the boys were happier because they were able to do some “sightseeing”, haha! :p

Anyway, Boyet and I arrived earlier than Jeff and Joie. As soon as we were seated, the waitress served us with small bowl of complimentary freshly-baked bread. The bread’s crust is a bit crunchy, but its core is very moist. It goes perfectly well with the pesto dip. The first bowl served to us has 4 slices of bread. Boyet and I ate a piece each, and we left the remaining two pieces for Jeff and Joie. But when they arrived, the waitress served us this bowl. I think the waitress saw the way I looked at the bread! :p

bread, my kitchen by chef kris
Complimentary Bread

We scanned the menu and got really surprised with the many choices of panizza staring back at us. We got two vouchers so that meant that we were entitled to two orders of panizza. Good thing that the waitress told us that we could have their “half and half”, meaning we can get two flavors of the rolled pizza in one order. We just asked our server what their bestsellers are, and we started choosing from there.

my kitchen by chef kris, panizza
Miguel / Pancetta e Chippoli PHP790

Miguel has sausage, sundried tomatoes, mushroom and olives. I liked the spicy kick of the sausage. It’s perfect with the hint of sweetness of the tomatoes and the pungent taste of the olives. Pancetta e Chippoli is a straightforward choice. Topped with only bacon and caramelized onions, this choice is the true testament that there is beauty in simplicity. Anything with crispy  bacon is absolutely divine. So what more if it’s mixed with caramelized onions? It was indeed a perfect marriage of sweetness and tanginess.

Pamela is topped with salami, ham, bacon, fried garlic and chili flakes. This will surely be a hit to all meat-lovers. I loved that every bite of the panizza gives you protein overload, and not to mention that spicy and garlicky punch at end of every bite. The Formaggi e Erbette is infused with different kinds of herbs – sage, parsley, oregano and marjoram. The citrusy and earthy flavors of the herbs mixed with four kinds of cheese – gorgonzola, parmesan, cheddar and mozzarella, orchestrated a very unique and delightful treat to my taste buds. In other words, ang sarap! :p

panizza, my kitchen by chef kris
Pamela / Formaggi e Erbette PHP790

Did I like the panizza? Yes, of course! But... yes, there is a BUT to it. The crust is soft enough making it easy for us to roll the panizza. The edge has a slight crunch which adds another layer of texture. When it comes to flavor, I have nothing but praises for My Kitchen. However, each panizza costs PHP790. If not for the vouchers, I don’t think I would be willing to shell out that much, considering that the panizza of Focaccia can compete very well with it. In addition to that, I asked the waitress if the serving of arugula and alfalfa is unlimited. I love putting tons of alfalfa and arugula to my panizza so I was a bit disappointed when we were told that it was only limited to two servings.

Thinking that the two servings of panizza would not be enough for the boys’ big appetites, we decided to try out other choices from the menu.

Spaghetti con Frutti di Mare, My Kitchen by Chef Chris
Spaghetti con Frutti di Mare PHP720

Spaghetti con Frutti di Mare is like sea in a platter. This pasta dish has a generous serving of salmon, dorado, snapper, prawns and mussels. That alone is enough to explain the hefty price tag of this dish. Every bite is like a burst of different kinds of flavor inside my mouth, with the saltiness of the capers, the mild acidity of the tomatoes and the pungent taste of the olives. I had initially mistaken the olives with something else. “Ay, ano ‘to? Ahhh, parang pickled ubas! Ay, duhat yata?! Ah, ok fine, olives pala!” Bwahahahaha!

I know that salad is usually served at the beginning of the meal, but ours arrived last. We decided to make a last-minute addition for lunch. Joie suggested we get the Rustico Salad.

My Kitchen by Chef Chris, Rustico Salad
Rustico Salad PHP540

Sitting on a bed of lettuce and arugula are chunks of tasty grilled chicken. The sweetness of the pear slices balanced out the strong flavors of the thin strips of red onions. The arugula gave a much needed contrast to the subtlety of the lettuce. The salad also has walnuts which added texture at every bite. The sour cream dressing was a bit bland for our liking so we asked for more. The dressing may have fallen short when it comes to flavor, but the grilled chicken definitely made up for it! The chicken is very flavorful, it made me forget that I was eating salad.

My Kitchen by Chef Chris has some hits and misses. Some swept us off our feet, but some didn’t. The rolled pizza are really good, but once again, I am not sure if I am willing to come back and pay for the original price. So yeah, thank God for Deal Grocer! :p

My Kitchen by Chef Chris
The Oasis Hotel (near Paco Park)
1032-34 Belen Street,
Paco, Manila

* All photos were taken with a Nikon D60
I think you will agree with me that there are times when the comments section is more interesting than the actual post. I am guilty of checking the comments section. First, I get curious as to how other readers perceive a certain article, especially the controversial ones. And second, well, I just want to be entertained! Kaso lang, madalas, may mga comments na mapapa “Putragis!” ka na lang sa inis e! =))

For so long, may isang universal comment na banas na banas ako. At eto ay ang walang kamatayang FIRST! Ano teh? May contest? Paunahan mag-comment?! So bale, anong premyo mo nung nauna ka sa thread?! Consolation prize lang ba kapag SECOND o kaya THIRD?! =))

 Eto, may message si Ninong Jackie Chan para senyo!

Kaso sa kasamaang palad, na-dethrone ang FIRST! May bago ng nakakabuwang na comment sa internet lately.

ariel finally meme
Apparently, sobrang laking big deal na 7.50 na lang ang Ariel. Sobrang big deal na kahit ang balita ay tungkol sa love life ni Kris Aquino, may bearing ang price reduction ng Ariel! Bwahahahaha!

Eto si Ateng! Payapa akong nagbabasa ng comments o kaya nanonood ng Forevermore, tapos susulpot na lang basta basta! Oo na! Alam ko na! 7.50 na lang ang Ariel!!!


*** Photos grabbed from the internet.
Coron will forever hold a special place in my heart. It was probably the most tiring trip that I ever had, yet it was also the most memorable one. The breathtaking beaches and underwater creatures that we saw after an entire day of island-hopping, the mouthwatering food and the warm smiles of the people of Coron certainly made our trip full of fun. I also think that a great part of why our Coron trip became extra special for us was because of the people behind Centro Coron Bed and Breakfast! They did not only give us a place to stay, they also took very good care of us. (Read my review of Centro Coron Bed and Breakfast here.) Their place may not be at par to that of a five-star hotel, but their personalized service is impeccable! So imagine how surprised I was when I received an email from the people of Centro Coron three years after. They told me that we can have a 3d/2n accommodation at Centro Coron for free! Unfortunately, I had to let their very generous offer pass. I have more pressing matters to attend to so traveling needs to take a back seat. I asked them if I could give it away to a reader, and they gladly obliged!!! So, I’m giving it away to one lucky reader!

DSC_1530Photo taken 3 years ago

One lucky reader will get a free 3d/2n accommodation for two at Centro Coron Bed and Breakfast. This includes daily breakfast and airport transfers. Offer is good until December 31, 2015. One month reservation is required. Please note that airfare is not included. (Wala po akong pang-abono, haha!)

To join:

1. Like the Facebook pages of Centro Coron Bed and Breakfast and jE’s AnAtOmY. (1 entry)
2. Follow @dahwanderer on Instagram. (1 entry)
3. Share this post on your Facebook account. Make sure your posts are set to PUBLIC! (1 entry)
4. This is the most important step so don't forget to do this. =) Leave a comment below with your name, Instagram handle and hyperlink of your Facebook post.
5. To gain more entries, you can share this post on your Facebook account up to 3 times. Just make sure that all your posts are set to PUBLIC. If you wish to share it more than once, just REPLY to your previous comment, and put the hyperlink of your Facebook post.

Contest ends on April 5, 2015!

Contest CLOSED!

Our office will be transferring to Makati a few months from now. And because I am with the company of foodie team mates, they agreed with me that we needed to try as many restaurants as possible before we bid BGC goodbye. We listed all the restaurants that we had yet to try, and we would try to cross one out every Friday. The first that was crossed out from our list was Shrimp Bucket. I don’t know why it took us that long to try it out. We had been to Mozu, which is just across the street, countless of times before, but we never really paid attention to Shrimp Bucket. After working in BGC for more than three years, I finally set foot in Shrimp Bucket.

With only a few seats, I have to say that the place is a bit cramped. But one of the waiting staff told us that they have a bigger space at the second floor. The flag-bearer of Shrimp Bucket is obviously their shrimp dishes. But looking at their menu, I was actually quite impressed that they also offer other kinds of seafood. Meat-lovers need not to worry because they have quite a few selections, too!

We had chicken wings for starters. Guests have three options - Plain Salted, Buffalo and Belachan. We all agreed to go with buffalo wings.

shrimp bucket (3)
Chicken Wings PHP225

The wings were gone in 60 seconds! (Okay, probably 120 seconds if you include the time we took to Instageeee it, haha!) But believe me when I tell you that the wings are divinely delicious! As soon as I had my first bite, I had to stop to wait for the rice to be served! Ang sarap ulamin! It has the perfect tanginess which will suit both the bold and the weak-hearted when it comes to level of spiciness.

The Crispy Belachan Pork was a big hit for all of us. The pork is deep-fried giving it its very crispy texture. And then it’s coated with a thick bagoong sauce. It has the perfect blend of sweetness and saltiness.

shrimp bucket (1)
Crispy Belachan Pork PHP255

I specifically loved that pungent kick in the end which is obviously brought by the bagoong. And to make things even better, the dish is topped with tons of crispy garlic! My taste buds were doing a happy cartwheel each time I get a bite of this awesome dish!

The Spicy Pork Belly is a dish infused with so many flavors. Although in my opinion, this may have paled in comparison with the Crispy Belachan Pork, this dish is still savory enough to deserve a spot at our table. Every bite of this dish is like a symphony of different kinds of flavors that give my palates such a delightful treat.

shrimp bucket (4)
Spicy Pork Belly PHP 265

And now, let’s go to the highlight of our meal! What’s the point of going to Shrimp Bucket without trying their infamous shrimp?! A pound of shrimp cost PHP560, quite pricey, but you’ll definitely get the worth of your every cent! Guests can choose among their different special sauces. They have The Mardi Gras, Salty Eggsperience, Coco-SOL, Frenchy Lemon Pepper, The Spaniard and Coco-curry. The waitress who attended us suggested that we get their bestseller – Salty Eggsperience. After our meal, I wanted to hug her for suggesting this to us!!!

shrimp bucket (2)
Shrimp PHP560

This dish is cooked to perfection. Each piece is undeniably tasty! You’ll get that distinct salty and pungent flavor of the salted egg, plus the natural briny taste of the shrimp. Would you believe that this dish is so good that one of us literally got another serving of rice and ate it along with the sauce that was scraped off from the plastic bag?! Kulang na lang dilaan namin! Actually, gusto ko ngang tumira sa loob ng plastic bag sa sobrang sarap! Bwahahahaha!!!

Suffice to say, we all went back to work with a smile drawn to our faces. And our tummies were definitely bursting. Without a doubt, Shrimp Bucket gave us one helluva gastronomic treat!

Shrimp Bucket
Ground Floor Grand Hamptons Tower 1,
31st Street Corner 2nd Avenue,
Bonifacio Global City,
Taguig City

* All photos were taken with an iPhone 5
Fated to Love You is currently being aired in ABS-CBN. My curiosity was piqued the moment that a teaser of this KDrama was first shown. My curiosity grew even bigger when my girl teammates would rave about this non-stop.

Fated to Love You is the story about a pushover, Kim Mi-Young (Jang Na-Ra). She’s the type of girl who does not know how to say NO. Kinda, uto uto, in short. She has become a laughing matter at work because everybody is treating her like their own personal assistant. In some twist of fate, she meets a rich but very eccentric guy, Lee Gun (Jang Hyuk). On the day that Lee Gun was supposed to propose to his then girlfriend, he had an “accidental” one-night stand with Mi-Young that led to a pregnancy.

I know, I know. The story is a big cliché. That was exactly how I felt while I was watching it. I’ve seen other Korean Dramas with the same plot. Much to my surprise, another cliché was injected in it – AMNESIA! It was such a bummer when the drama led to that point. Although the story of Fated to Love You is not as refreshing as I hoped it to be, I have to say that the performances of the lead actors very well compensated for the story’s weakness. Jang Na-Ra is just too cute for words! I also loved how she transformed from a meek Post-it girl to a strong-willed and sophisticated woman. She has shown great vulnerability after going through a series of hearthaches. Jang Hyuk’s over the top portrayal of a weird (almost borderline crazy) rich guy is actually funny and very amusing. I initially thought that it was the only thing that he could offer, but I was so amazed when he started to show his soft side towards the end of the story. Another favorite performance of mine is that of Choi Jin-Hyuk who plays Daniel, Mi-Young’s knight in shining armor. I first saw him in Grandpas Over Flowers Investigation Team. Daniel is the typical third-party-guy-always-waiting-for-his-love-to-be-reciprocated. And incidentally, Choi Jin-Hyuk did very well in making it hard for the audience not to choose him over Lee Gun!

The supporting cast was great, too. Most of them are just simply hilarious! I think that alone was enough for me to keep watching it even if I was slowly losing interest in the middle of the story. I’m just really glad that the funny and kilig moments were everywhere to keep me focused. Another strength of this KDrama is the chemistry of the two lead actors. I bet you have already seen a TV series or a movie that has too many flaws but you still keep on watching it because the lead actors are just too adorable. Well for me, Fated to Love You is one in that list. Despite its flaws, I have to say that Fated to Love You is a poignant KDrama injected with tons of fun and kilig! =)