Hot Pot Hurdle

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Cooking your own order? Why not!

I had that experience at the Healthy Shabu Shabu event at Shangri-La Mall last night where we were taught the right way of cooking shabu shabu. Yep, I just found out that there's actually a right way of cooking it rather than throwing everything in the pot, then the vegetables last and turn off the fire. Bet you didn't know that too, huh?

Anyways, so I trooped down to Shangri-La mall at 4:00 pm yesterday since I wanted to catch the low-peak hours at the MRT. Wrong! It was jampacked as it was rush hour. As soon as I got off the Shaw station (I just told myself it was cheaper than driving or taking a cab) I went to Shangri-La mall and checked out my favorite makeup counters and chatted with my friend, Chandra at MAC. Since I had more hours to kill, I went to do some (window) shopping. En route to Makeup For Ever and Beauty Bar, I spotted Juned by Cibo so I joined him first. Apparently, he also does my technique of arriving somewhere near the venue hours earlier, grabbing a cup of coffee (or iced tea in this case) to avoid rush hour traffic. Arpee and Noreen joined us then we all trooped down to the venue. Apparently, I have to thank Juned since that saved me money that I would have blew on makeup sprees. Heeheehee

So we got there to the venue and the aroma of cooking soup and the lovely sight of fresh ingredients being delivered to the tables. As we were ushered to our seats, the waiters filled our individual pots with chicken stock (mushroom stock for vegans) and showed us the sauce ingredients. We were also asked to choose our meat dish (all-meat, seafood, chicken, meat and seafood) Our attendant, Phat, was very good explaining what the ingredients are for and how everything works.

Look! Each customer has an individual bowl so that he or she could make his own soup! Plus it's very hygienic that way.

And fresh ingredients!

Businesswoman Candy Hwang, owner of Healthy Shabu Shabu described to us the right way to cook Shabu-Shabu, and event demo-ed to us how it's done. Apparently, the dipping sauce serves to "cool" the freshly-cooked ingredient before enjoying them (and adds up to the flavor). Shabu-shabu is best enjoyed one ingredient at a time so after a few minutes (or seconds) cooking, you can dip it in the sauce and enjoy it. Also, it's best to put the sweet corn, yam, and some seafood/meat first for a richer flavor of the broth.

As soon as our individual soups started cooking and some bloggers ate their own concoctions, I could hear everyone marvelling how all the flavors were kept intact. For those of us who chose seafood, the attendants even peeled our shrimp for us. I can say how much I loved the texture of my shrimp. I also loved how the ingredients are freshly delivered each day. No wilted vegetables, shriveled up meat, or dry fish fillet. We could even customize our own soup to our liking. Sophie even added more chili to hers! All bloggers were silent as they were eating their very own customized Shabu-Shabu.

As for me, here's mine...

Pardon the VGA quality of the pic (I will make do with my camera phone first as my Canon Powershot is in the ICU). That's an all-seafood shabu-shabu with vegetables. Very very healthy! By the way, the shabu-shabu stoves are perfectly safe since these are

"electric stoves controlled by a remote console instead of traditional LPGs."

No wires, no fire! Horray!

After I finished my dessert (a yummy and healthy fruit bowl with grass jelly and sweet milk), I chatted and mingled with the other bloggers and each blogger had a different concoction. With my GC on hand, I better try a new recipe. :-)

(Healthy Shabu Shaby has branches at Powerplant Mall, The Podium, SM Mall of Asia, Robinsons Galleria, SM North The Block, Alabang Town Center, Robinsons Midtown and Shangri-La Plaza Mall)

Affordable Buffet at Poquito Mas

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Every Friday and Saturday if I want a robust buffet that would not break the bank, I'll go to this place....

The literal translation would be "A Little More". This quaint Mexican restaurant is located at West Gate in Alabang. Since we both wanted something Mexican, we went here. The usual programmed order was a couple of fajitas. I saw the buffet platter but here's the thing, I usually associate "buffet" with "expensive and an excuse to pig out and be guilty after just to get your money's worth".

The waiter asked us, "Would you like to try the buffet?" I decided against it but when we were told it was Php 199, we were like sure! I even had to ask the waiter, what's the catch for the Php199 All-you-can eat buffet or if there are any hidden charges. He assured me there was none and just enjoyed our meal.

I think I had like double servings of mexican seafood soup, mini-burritos, cheese macaroni, enchiladas, and taco pizzas. I especially loved the chili corn, which I had mucho servings of. I asked how come the buffet was so cheap (don't expect a smorgasboard though, like hotels. It's just like 3 tables long, but all worth it since we could keep going back), and the waiter replied they usually have this only on Fridays and Saturdays.

You know what I love about this type of Mexican food? They didn't go OA with the refried beans. Although I still pick out the beans from my quesadilla and chili, I still get my Mexican fix.

And remember my tip with buffets people! JUST ORDER WATER! You can have soda anytime. Soda and fruit juices will just fill you up with sugar. So to really enjoy the buffet water is the key. :D
The beef empanada (On top of the Chili Corn) reminds me of samosas. And their enchilada had the right amount of creaminess to it. The corn is just love. I love the spice it has.
Yep, we just would love to have a little more ofthis. :)

Prettify the Pesto: Grilled Chicken Pesto

Saturday, July 19, 2008

After sharing my pesto recipe, here's another recipe-sharing to jazz up the usual pesto sauce.

Grilled Chicken Pesto

For the chicken breasts:
  • 1/2 kilo chicken breast fillet
  • drizzles of olive oil
  • 6 cloves crushed garlic
  • juices of 4 dayaps
  • Dried rosemary, Italian seasoning, salt, and black pepper
Other ingredients:
  • 3 heaping tablespoons of pesto sauce (or more or less)
  • a drizzle of olive oil
  • Linguine/spaghetti (cooked)

Marinade chicken breasts in olive oil, dayap juice, rosemary, Italian seasoning, salt, and black pepper for an hour or more.

Pan-grill or charcoal grill the chicken breast fillet until done. Slice into strips or flakes

Heat a tiny amount of olive oil and pesto sauce in a pan and toss cooked spaghetti until well-coated. Shake up some parmesan cheese and toss flaked grilled chicken. :-)

Serve with wine or iced tea!

Strawberry Sweet Delight

What can I say about Dulcelin's strawberry shortcake?

Just like the cartoon character, it's pure delight. Not too sweet, not too tart (strawberry-flavored anything lovers have been traumatized by how tarty strawberries actually are but this one has got the sweetness of pastries and the tartness of the fruit). It's pretty refreshing, really, and for the cake to be uber light in texture and not too heavy on the stomach.
Basic math of the mixture: Strawberries+cream+chiffon+torte = YUMM!!!!
Aside from this, the Mango torte is another bestseller. That I gotta try! :)


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

(image from

Another recipe-sharing entry! During the 1990's with DADs buffet and pasta bar being the place for after-grade school grad dinners, the pasta lover in me went up to the pasta bar and since I wanted to try something new, I pointed to a green mass and when the dude on the counter said "Pesto" I was like "What?" Anyway, I ended up liking the dish and thought only DADS served it and ended up getting seconds.

I really searched for Pesto recipes and found the recipe from my mom's friend. It really is pretty simple: Just basil, olive oil, garlic, pine nuts (or walnuts, we prefer walnuts), salt, and parmesan. The traditional way is really to chop and grind with a mortar and pestle but here's a shortcut way: a food processor!

Unfortunately, our food processor conked out so I used a blender in low speed, which works okay. I don't have exact "measurements" with my pesto recipe. I just play everything by ear:

Pesto Sauce

  • Fresh basil leaves (you can get fresh basil at the supermarket, usually at Rustans or Shopwise, by the pack) - wash and dried well
  • Olive oil
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Salt
  • Toasted pine nuts or walnuts
  • Garlic - I love lotsa garlic!

Toss 'em all in a blender or food processor and process until desired consistency is attained. Season to taste.

Pesto is great over melba toast or pasta. I just made a batch yesterday, so I'll be experimenting with pesto recipes. Till the next recipe, dahlings!

Italia at Seattle

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Seattle's Best Coffee has been the official meeting place whenever I have a photoshoot somewhere in the South. Usually, I arrive early so I have a little breakfast. I'm not a coffee drinker and since in shoots I sometimes forget to eat, so I use my down time to have my breakfast or brunch. Here's a favorite meal of mine:

At Php168.00 you get a plateful of pasta with two slices of toast. I got this kind, I forgot the name but it's got ham and bacon and tomato sauce in it (a friend please give me a heads-up on this). It leaves me full but not bloated and even with the meat content. Taste-wise it's alright. Not too sweet that there's no authentic flavor and not too spicy either. I'm not a fan of meat though, I still prefer their pesto. :-)
I just wish for more varieties like tomato-basil or tomato-garlic. :P

A Spoonful of Baguio

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A spoonful of this is pure bliss

For those who are curious, that's Good Shepherd Ube Jam... a popular Baguio treat that I just appreciated as i finished half a jar. A spoonful is never enough. I need a third or more. It's better since I like how smooth it is, almost like silk on the mouth and how it tastes just right ... not too rich, not too sweet, not too powdery or what not. I prefer this over the other kind due to the texture, but the other one, popular as it is too, ain't so bad as well.
Best enjoyed: Alone. not on bread or what. Try savoring it by the spoonful. :-)

Comfort Food On a Dreary Wednesday

Since I was home-bound yesterday, I wanted to go out and grab something I've been craving for.... Fries!

We don't have a deep fryer at home but Php80.00 with 2 dips aint bad. Good thing we have NY Fries and Dips at a walking distance. Pepper steak is a newfound twist that I love and pesto, a classic favorite. I forgot I had a cold as I was munching them. They're best when they've cooled down a bit as they get served piping hot. I'd rather enjoy the flavors. :)

Jamaica in a Pie

Monday, July 7, 2008

Remember the Jamaican Patties we eat during school for that quick "lunch fix"? Starbucks has its version

And also, it's healthy being a vegetarian dish - carrots, mushrooms, zucchini, etc. My only complaint is that why they had to include beans.
I do like the exotic taste though that remind me of my favorite samosas. They do need to improve on the crust consistency as well.
And the talk on vegetarian food, what happened to the vegetarian stall @ the food court in Glorietta? I sure hope it didn't close!

An Extended Birthday Treat

The Diamond Hotel seems to see a lot of me in my birthday. Aside from being my birthday cake supply (Had the Supermoist Cake), I finally used my lunch buffet for two complementary GC yesterday. I did all the reserving on Saturday afternoon, which was surprisingly easy because I thought, being a Sunday, the place would be jampacked with patrons. When we got there though, we had our table waiting for us. And after checking and appoving my GC... let the feast begin!

The Palm Court Cafe International buffet had rows of appetizers, food, and seafood that I always dream of eating. After breezing through the appetizer section, I helped myself to their selection of seafood and japanese food. You guys know I'm such a seafood lover so I devoured prawns, mussels, sushi, and fish to my heart's delight. And of course the star of my meal was:

This humongous crab that will scare the living daylights of non-seafood eaters but seafood lovers would eat with gusto. And since I had this baby all to myself, I wolfed it down in 30 minutes.

Dessert was just as scrumptious. I was reunited with the Supermoise cake, but I traded it for Le Royale instead and brazo de mercedes. Since I'm not a halo-halo fan, I made one of my own using leche flan, fruits, sago, and I topped it with chocolate and cream. YUMMM!!!!! I guess this is the longest lunch I had in my life, a 2-hour lunch that had to be capped of with a cup of tea. What "trick" I did so as to enjoy a buffet without feeling bloated is to go for variety instead of quantity. I put small amounts of food on my plate so I can sample a variety of treats. Also, I forgo rice (unless it's rice on my sushi) since that would stuff me more. Water too would be a better option to juice. And never go to a buffet in a super empty stomach. What I do is I do have a light breakfast so as not to overwhelm my tummy.

And the crew really was accomodating and they knew the meals well. I love how they cooked the crab. Yummm!!!!!!!! This would be fun too with friends as well, especially the seafood lovers like me