Breakfast: Kenny Rogers Katipunan

Continuing with breakfasts, here is Katipunan’s Kenny Rogers with Seattle’s Best. I love the space and No, I don’t feel cramped at all. It seemed like how breakfast should look like.

Ah and they have ricemeals! And no, they don’t have the regular menu on but I saw a lot of cold side dishes in the counter. There is an order of a quarter of a chicken on the breakfast menu but none of those bigger portions, slabs and hot side dishes.

That’s my order baked bangus which is exactly what I wanted as I have been haunted Fullhouse’s Bangus (defunct) back in college days. I am gonna whip up some vinegar cream one of these days and see how I can make my pa and my ma happier by incorporating more fish in our menu. Oh and the big chunks of their atsara is a lovely touch. It reminded me of Moongarden’s homemade pickled vegetables. I saved a chunk of bangus for papa and he loved it.

Meanwhile Phil had the big breakfast 2 or whatever they call it. Pancakes, sausage and pieces of bacon paired with a cup of brewed coffee from Seattle’s Best.

Both were lovely but I think the selection is very limited so it won’t be long before you get tired of their breakfast options. Still, give it a shot as they have smoothies there and a whole lot of salads. I didn’t notice but I’m guessing they also have soup.

 

They’re open from 6am to 12midnight. oh yeah. Anything beyond the usual store hours rocks!

that’s the Seattle’s Best side and below is the smoking area. (looks more like a vacation place to me because of the greens) But it was quite hot so I got why they added le shrubbery. haha!

well, yeah I quit smoking, I can’t post smoking areas pag ganun?!

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Don’t miss it! Polecats Manila’s Polarity

oh yes, that’s right, someone’s excited!

So, Polecats Manila’s second anniversary is up and I am celebrating it with them by inviting everyone to the magical event they have prepared for us.

(some pictures from Stellar)

A relatively new sport/performance art, pole dancing is certainly something we don’t see everyday so I made it a point to watch Stellar, which was kind of a recital for the students who took up pole dancing with Polecats.

Stellar was absolutely stunning. Nothing at all was boring with the varied takes on the pole complete with music, choreography and lighting. And there was something more than the dance steps, stunts and costumes. There was a sense of excitement in the air that the performers themselves gave out with their poise, audacity and winning smiles. Even though I’ve seen them practice it a couple of times, I was still impressed when I watched the actual performance. And the audience certainly felt that fun vibe as they clapped and cheered with no reservations. It was a one night, sold out affair in Teatrino Theater and Bar, Greenhills last June 4. It was nothing like I’ve ever seen and I would’ve watched it again with friends and family only if there were more.

Polarity posterAnd now I have that chance as they give us Polarity. They’re going to be performing with none other than Manila Symphony Orchestra. Yes, that’s how grand the event is going to be! Parkour Philippines will also be joining in the fun. So buy a ticket, invite more friends and get ready to be blown away with Polecats Manila’s Polarity. A big congratulations to Polecats Manila!!!

Polarity

8:00 pm, October 16, 2011
Philamlife Theater UN Avenue
Tickets at 1500, 1000, 800

Test 0917-701-POLE (7653) for ticket inquiries

*The author is taking up beginner pole dancing classes at General Studios under Polecats Manila.

5: Salad Secrets

Ever wonder what makes a salad phenomenal? Sometimes people who do not do much cooking would ask me how restaurants and other food joints do their salads. My answer is simple. Firstly, everything is fresh. Two, start the dressing from scratch or at least do some tasting and mixing to achieve a taste which means absolutely no straight from the bottle dressings. Three, put in some kicks. Salads need that burst of flavor, that added texture and that little something that makes it different. Here’s the list of top 5 add-ons.

  1. nuts – pine nuts, peanuts, almonds, pili, walnut and a big etc. It can be whole, slivers or chopped. It can be fried, roasted or raw. caramelized pili nuts or panutsa even can also add a twist to your ho-hum salad. Unless you’re allergic to them, nuts lend a distinct flavor, smell and texture to the salad.
  2. cheeses – parmesan, cheddar, goat’s cheese, monster, gouda, blue cheese and I don’t really know much about cheeses so I’ll leave it all up to you. When you talk about explosive flavors, there has to be cheese there somewhere. May it be a slice, a stick or bits of grated cheese, it will do wonders. It can even be combinations of different kinds. It lends character If your glands can handle it, then why not?
  3. meats – we’ve all heard of bacon bits, roasted chicken, cold cuts and the key here is surprise. The weirder it is and the more it blends into the taste of the salad, the better. If your guests like it and cannot quite put it, that means it is working. Catch them off guard with bagnet, chicharon, tofu, adobo flakes, chicken skin, isaw, longganiza. Go on.
  4. seafood – a bit of bagoong or perhaps some seaweed or some shrimps, shells will always add a distinct taste to the salad, even taba ng talangka is crazy not to mention sinful addition to refreshing salads you can add to your menu.
  5. fruits and vegetables – What do you think of sun-dried tomato, dried raspberry, strawberries, turnip, pomelo? What about fruits like melon, watermelon, mango and pineapples? What about a flavorfest of olives, capers, jalapenos, leeks, green onions, celery, alfalfa, mongo sprouts and chilis?

With “some kicks” I mean a little bit of a certain taste. Chop it if it is too strong that it ends up overpowering the other flavors. Remember that you are after flavors that compliment each other and not ones that overpower each other. For instance, longganizang Lucban is quite salty so fry it and chop it to bits before mixing it with some romaine lettuce, chopped apple/onions/olives, maybe a bit of grated parmesan, and slivers of almond and the classic vinaigrette. If it ends up too rich still, add some croutons or add more greens. Remember never to pour dressings and always opt to only drizzle some. I will start with what to do with salad dressings but there are more posts to come.

Have fun. Forget recipes. Use your senses.

Outdoor Grill with Friends

 

I have been playing flag football for quite some time and played the role of mother/cook to most of the players. It has been the most challenging task yet as an experimental cook. Aside from preparing/cooking part, the team is understandably always hungry so the challenge there is working under a budget while everyone is still satisfied. I never play it safe so even if there is a formula that worked before, each affair would offer something new and different. It does not have to be something fancy. It can be a spice, a sauce, a side dish or a dessert.

I have been fantasizing of pulling off an outdoor barbecue. I put it off because I thought it was something that needed a lot of preparation and I knew it would be stressful because I will be cooking most of the food on the spot. I have had my shared of overcooked and undercooked grilled items so I knew I was not only being paranoid. But then it was the team who decided to have that grand ihaw-ihaw and hell they wanted it in another venue. Instead of doing it in our backyard, we will have it in Circulo Verde where our team is having its 3rd season with a league. Since it was the team, I had to give in and I just had to give it to them and the hell I did.

I served isaw manok, isaw baboy, beef kebabs with onions and  chili beef and jalapenos in tortilla wraps. It was a rather short menu but I spiced it up with freshly made garlic sauce and also by bringing some kopi buns. Red, Ej, Frank and Rita also brought hotdogs and sausages so it was sweet.

Anyway, the outdoor grill was a success despite not having much time to prepare and money to spare. I heard raves even with my back turned and everything I heard was good. I’m proud because it’s no joke to grill in your backyard. Elsewhere gotta be very demanding. After that little stint, I had a lot of things going on inside my head about what would be good and what would be better. I started jotting them down and I ended up with around 8 posts that are all related to grilling. And so I thought that little category should have an introduction.  I love food; I love cooking; and of course I love my team!

kisses,

Ina

Xocolat Katipunan: A Quiet and Pretty Coffee shop

The first time I had a dose of Xocolat was in Eastwood City Walk II. Then, I had the overwhelming cup while Karla or whoever I was with had the one with chili. It wasn’t so smart for someone who is not into desserts like me. Fast forward to this year when I told myself that I would start taking pictures of desserts, I am glad to try it out again. I tried it with friends this time and quite slowly had a sampling of their cakes, beverages and even food.

This I think is some kind of an apple pie and the other one is some kind of a cake related to beehive. haha! The apple pie is too dry and the cake is too sweet. (for my taste at least)

If there is something to love about Xocolat, it is the energy of the space. It is overflowing with creativity that you will probably be inspired to whip up some recipe, some design or even some concept. It’s just lovely!

The atmosphere also allows people to unwind and chat with their friends without having to talk too loud. What I mean is if you go to the usual coffee shops, you probably have to speak a little bit louder because of bad acoustics or overflowing customers yakking away in excitement. Xocolat is smooth.

I told you it’s pretty!

Each chair is a conversation piece! haha. I’m raving again…

I think Mylin does a better version of spinach soup meaning hearty, tasty and done with cheaper ingredients! The burger that they called with some fancy name was not at fancy, it is just a burger.

This salad however is something more. It’s something different and it’s  definitely refreshing. It’s no less than a sensory feast with colors and flavors and textures etc. but again, something that you can easily do at home if you know where to get the ingredients.

Anyway I’m not even halfway their menu and I doubt if I am anywhere near their specialties. They boast of other goods like fondues there so expect a second helping once a friend invited me for a long chat.

Items to be Grilled: Dessert (5)

Just about anything from the bakery can be bought, brought to the picnic grounds and heated once it’s time for dessert but let us not be cheats! There’s got to be something more creative than that but yeah go ahead. Most people would crave for something sweet after a heavy meal. It also makes the mood more festive. Desserts may be a little bit impractical to grill but if guests would have a blast with ems sweets then the host/cook may reconsider.

1. French toast – As long as the grill is clean and oiled, French toast can be yummy outdoors too! For starters you can bring confectioner’s sugar or maple syrup. If that is too plain then perhaps other flavored syrups? A notch higher and you can have chocolate or caramel sauce and lastly whipped cream, ice cream with nuts and cherries and what else can there possibly be?!

2. s’mores – delectable yet simple. Melted marshmallows on top of graham crackers topped with chocolate syrup/chocolate bits and a variety of nuts… surely you’ve tried it.

3.banana, sweet potato, turon – classic Filipino grill items for that sweet ending, don’t forget your brown sugar and if you want some twist to that bring langka, ripe mango, chocolate syrup, cinnamon and coconut shavings.

4.puto, bibingka, ensaymada – I’m actually thinking about items that you can heat and items you can top with a slice of cheese or salted egg. Are you following? Coconut shavings also sound rather exotic and inviting.

5.brownies – It’s chocolaty, nutty, sweet, bitter and hot. How can people ever resist?

Check out other items to be grilled and cheat sheets

Items to be Grilled: Breads (5)

Though I will die without rice and I can easily forget the existence of bread, I know that there are many people who will be lost without them so I dedicated a category just for that. Yes a post on its own is necessary because of the different breads there are and because of the different ways it can be done and ways it can be appreciated. It is an impossible feat to actually enumerate most of the breads there are but let me try?

1 – pandesal/pan/baguettes/croutons/garlic bread – These basic ones are quite versatile. You can use them for canapes, you can mix them with salads, pair them with pasta or put toppings of grilled meat/grilled cheese/grilled vegetables.

2 – ciabata and focacia – These sound lovely for Greek/Italian grilling affairs. Actually just grilling it and dipping it in oils or cheese or other sauces already sound gastronomic. Make gourmet sandwiches and grill it right there. Guests can even do their own if you choose to put up a sandwich making station. Don’t forget condiments!

3 – sesame buns/hotdog buns are best paired with burgers and hotdogs for an American backyard cookout. If you want a foot-long, enjoy! This will not be complete without chili&beans, onions&pickles, mustard&ketchup, jalapenos&cheeses and other mean mean matchups.

4 – tortilla/pita/naan – Oh exotic options for flavorful marinades with chili, turmeric, curries and cinnamon. What, you were thinking of using pandesal for that?!

5 – pizza – Do yourself a favor and get those instant crusts. You can even get a metal cover so that cheese will melt and vegetables will cook faster. Thick crusts I think are a bad idea so stick with thin ones.

 

*Check out other items to be grilled and cheat sheets

Items to be Grilled: Vegetables and Others (5)

Healthy, cooks fast and easy, vegetables would always have a place on the grill. They go well with other items or they can be mixed with salads and pastas for that char-grilled flavor that you can never replicate. Some simply oil the grill and put the skewered vegetables on top. Others would prefer to have basting sauces so that the veggie kebabs would be tastier. Again, basting sauces will dictate on the theme so prepare it beforehand. There are so many vegetables that are perfect for grilling but as I have to narrow it down to five, I would have to stick with categorizing them into themes.

  1. onions/tomatoes -classic items to be grilled!
  2. eggplant/capsicums/carrot/zucchini/onions/tomatoes -these are wonderful with salads most especially with Greek, Turkish, Italian flavors
  3. corn/potatoes – American barbecues can’t happen without baked potatoes and grilled corn
  4. pineapple/banana/sweet potatoes – this more of Brazilian-inspired barbecue, but it can also lean towards Filipino and Thai
  5. tofu/cheese/chili/mushrooms – Tofu has a good texture and can easily blend with other flavors. Cheeses are great for grilling but this may require bigger chunks or they may go to waste. Different kinds of chili will ultimately change your grilling experience. Start with something basic such as jalapeno then go on with green chili before trying out hotter ones.

*check out other items to be grilled and cheat sheets for grilling

Items to be Grilled: Meats (5)

When people talk about grilling, the first thing that they can think of is meats. and when people talk about meats, it is sinful! Here are variations of meats that you can grill as well as some ideas on what might be something different. Knowing all of your options would help you decide what would be best for the grill party you are planning.

  1. Beef/Lamb – Many people love steaks whether it’s the classic t-bone or porterhouse to the more adventurous brisket, rib eye, tenderloin and grilling is probably the best way to enjoy them. The truth is that it is quite easy to grill these but people shy away from them because they are scared of screwing it up. They have the right to especially when you think about how much these cost. For those who are willing to take the plunge, there are few things to remember 1) get them fresh 2) don’t make it salty 3) time it. Actually to be safe, don’t put anything salty on the meat and stick with spices. You can just add seasoning once it’s done. As for timing it, you can simply surf how long each side should be grilled. It’s different with every kind of meat. Lamb is a bit more tricky as it tastes terrible when it is undercooked and it becomes hard to chew when overcooked but again it is as simple as timing it or biting a piece off whenever you have to check.
  2. Pork – Pork is cheap and easy to cook. It can be sweetish such as with a barbecue sauce or it can be sour and salty with the Filipino classic, liempo. Actually it can also be done Mediterranean-style but competing against pork bbq and pork liempo, well it’s kinda clear what people would opt for. Whatever you choose, do not forget to prepare enough sauce for everyone.
  3. Chicken – Most people do not like the idea of grilling chicken because of the time it takes. It is so typical to undercook or overdo it so hosts would rather stick with items that are faster and simpler. However, if you do have the patience to time it and your guests are served with other food items while waiting for the chicken to be done, it’d be wonderful.
  4. Kebabs/Burger – This is the solution for those who are a little bit too scared to go for pork chops, slabs of beef, grilled chicken and etc. Smaller chunks and pieces usually mean cheaper. Secondly, you can cook it faster. And when you have kebabs you can have lamb, beef, pork, chicken, duck, turkey and all others you can think of. How is that for variety? The same goes for burgers. Buy ground pork, beef, lamb or chicken, mix some spices in and form it into mounds and you are good to go. Kebabs and burgers would demand more preparation time but surely you know that it’d be worth it.
  5. Hotdogs/Sausages/Cold cuts – If there is a way that you can go wrong with hotdogs and sausages then you have to give up the whole idea of grilling. Put it on a stick, put it on the grill and voila! Easy, fast and cheap but unfortunately guests wouldn’t be so impressed. But if you really think this is the only thing you can pull off, you can make it better with condiments/relishes/sliced vegetables or maybe do some magic with your marinade or baste. As for cold cuts, they are a notch or two higher but still cheap and easy to cook. The problem is that you would have to spend some time in folding and arranging them in skewers and even more impossible to keep them intact while grilling but if you do pull it off, it’d be grand. Mix and match varied cold cuts in one skewer. you can also choose to wrap them in asparagus/carrots/eggplants and etc if you are having a hard time. And don’t forget to oil the grill okay.

*check out other items to be grilled and cheat sheets

Items to be grilled: Main Categories (5)

This starts the posts related to grilling. It’s a rundown of food categories that you might consider when you are planning to have an outdoor barbecue. It’s just basically a list that would help you decide what would be best. I wrote some suggestions on how to choose and hopefully it would be less overwhelming to plan a barbecue after you are done with the series of “Items to be Grilled”

  1. Meats – beef, pork, chicken, kebabs, burgers, cold cuts
  2. Seafood – fish, squid, prawns, shells
  3. Vegetables – onion, tomato, eggplant, capsicums, corn, zucchini, chilis, potato, carrot
  4. Breads – pita, tortilla, pandesal, croissants, toast, ciabatta, focacia
  5. Desserts – french toast, ensaymada, brownies, sweet buns, sponge cakes, marshmallows, smores, choclits

Are you planning an outdoor cook out? If you are choosing items to be grilled, you have to consider a few things before you can get down to business. First, you must think about your budget as some viands are a lot more expensive than others. Then you have to think about your guest’s preferences. For instance, are they finicky eaters or are they the adventurous type? It would also depend on the time of the day. For example, are guests expecting to be served a full meal or just a little snack. Finally, your choice should be something that you can manage. Think about how short or how long you need to prepare the food. Apart from the marinade, the actual grilling time is another concern. Some foods are also more difficult to serve and eat so it would also depend on how comfortable guests would be with what you will serve. For instance, it may not be a good idea to serve fish or steaks if the guests are standing up.

If the level of difficulty is not an issue then just about any item can be grilled. It may be overwhelming but if you stuck with having a certain theme then it would not be so bad. For instance, is it a July 4 American barbecue, then you are probably gonna have some barbecue ribs, corn, baked potatoes and etc. If it’s aFilipino ihaw-ihaw then you can choose to grill liempo, eggplants and fish like tilapia and tanigue. For a Greek or a Mediterranean twist, kebabs, capsicums, onions and tomatoes will all be wonderful. It can be Thai-inspired, Chinese inspired, Japanese-inspired or Brazilian-inspired. It can also be somewhat of a gourmet cookout with lamb, duck, salmon and beef tenderloin with grilled garlic, onion, capsicum and slices of cheese and a medley of sauces.

Lovely isn’t it? Grill away!