Thursday, January 31, 2013

Three-way Peking Duck at Hai Shin Lou

My aunt from the US is here and she loves Peking Duck. When she was here last year, one of her friends brought her to a really good Peking Duck place in Pasay Road, so this trip, she invited us to Hai Shin Lou on Pasay Road, so we could try it too.

Our family loves duck.

We went on a Saturday night, so I called for a reservation and I made sure that you don't need to pre-order the Peking Duck. When we arrived, the restaurant was quite busy, but I think there were enough vacant tables that you can just walk-in.

This place immediately gets a stamp of approval because t
hey serve wanton chips and they kept refilling the plate.  Hooray.

We were a small group because it was just our family and two aunts, both from the US so we ordered one whole Peking Duck served three ways, chicken for Sofia (who like her duck roasted) and Ady (she's the only one in our family who doesn't eat duck) and we balanced the meal by ordering a lot of vegetables.

The only sad part about the duck is it doesn't come with the head.
My dad's favorite part of the duck is the head.
Jumbo Seafood, Singapore
April 2012
The servers carve the duck skin, and wrap it in the pancake.
These are super yummy, except that since the pancake is all wrapped up,
it becomes very inconvenient to scrape the fat from the skin,
so you just end up eating it.
In hindsight, that's probably why it's really good.

We asked for the duck meat to be served in two more ways, minced to be wrapped in lettuce leaves, and the rest cooked with salt and pepper. I think there is also an option to have it served as soup.

Minced duck meat with Lettuce
This is really yum (and it sort of feels health-ier too).
It's the first time we tried Salt and Pepper for the third way,
so it turns out that this is what they do with the bones.
My dad loved this.
In Singapore, they also cook it in Salt and Pepper,
but they only do it with the meat (second way).
Jumbo Seafood, Boat Quay
This was our other favorite dish.
The Homemade Tofu and Mushrooms was recommended by our server,
just ask for it, because it's not on the menu.
We also ordered Abalone, but this really isn't my cup of tea.
The White Chicken was served with the ginger sauce.
The pickled veggies that came with it was also good for removing umay.
This was the Kailan (Brocolli Leaves) with Oyster Sauce.
We ordered this to negate the fat from the duck. Hahaha.
We also had a small order of Yang Chow Fried Rice,
but this was barely touched.

Sofia's favorite part of this restaurant was, as usual, the fish! No we didn't order any. She just likes seeing the fish before they become food.

We saw these lobster looking things in their own containers,
because they like fighting with each other.

The real lobster.
Sofia loves shrimp. It's her favorite food.
I think we didn't take a picture of the fish,
but this is Sofia with the shrimp.

Since the restaurant was in Pasay Road, we ended our meal with dessert at Milky Way. As usual, I had to have my favorite Filipino dessert... and it's not Halo Halo.

I love Ginumis. It's similar to Halo Halo, but it's actually just sago and gulaman (tapioca and jello) with
 pinipig (crispies) and syrup (in Milky Way it comes in Ice Cream form)
in gata (coconut milk).
My sister and my aunt preferred Buko (coconut) Sherbet.
We asked them to split our orders in two, so these are actually only half of a normal serving.

That was really a good meal. I am not going to admit that after dessert at Milky Way, we went to Midnight Mercato, since we didn't really find anything interesting enough to buy anyway. I can't wait to go back to Hai Shin Lou for more yummy duck. just saying.

Hai Shin Lou Seafood King Restaurant
810 Arnaiz Ave (formerly Pasay Road) 
Makati City 
(02) 892 5148

Milky Way Cafe
Milky Way Bldg. 
900 Arnaiz Ave (formerly Pasay Road) corner Paseo de Roxas
(02) 8174042

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes by BelleFleur

To make up for my nega post on Banapple, I want to share something really good, you'll want to try it!!!

I read about Bellefleur's Lemon Meringue Cupcakes from another facebook post, but this time it was really worth all the hype and more.

Bellefleur's Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

I bugged my sister to buy some for me because I really want to try it, and when she brought home some, they didn't disappoint. The cupcakes we got looked exactly like the ones I saw. Just looking at it brings happy thoughts because this cupcake reminds me of a sunny-side up fried egg, plus I also really love lemony things like Lemon Meringue Pie and Tarte au Citron (lemon tart).

This is the PAUL version of one of my favorite French desserts.
Paris, April 2012

In addition to the resemblance to the pastries above, the Lemon Meringue Cupcake also reminds me of Boracay's famous Calamansi Muffin from Real Coffee

The cross-section of the Lemon Meringue Cupcake.
The Calamansi Muffin.
from Real Coffee, in Boracay.
February 2012

The reason I love this cupcake so much is because it a combination of three of my favorite desserts all rolled into one. It's an added bonus that the cupcake base is so dense (but it's not dry in any way), that eating a quarter of the cupcake is already enough to satisfy. That's 75% less fat than if you eat the whole thing. just saying. Hahaha.

The Lemon Meringue Cupcakes are a steal at only Php240 for a box of 6.
To order, you can visit the facebook page of Bellefleur by Beatrix here.

you should also check out their macarons.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Banapple's Maple Pecan & Candied Bacon Cheesecake FAIL

This is a super duper delayed post, so I'm not sure if Banapple's Maple Pecan & Candied Bacon Holiday Cheesecake is still on the menu, but I really want to give my two cents worth.

During the holidays, a friend of mine who's now quite influential in the local foodie community posted about how good Banapple's Holiday cheesecake was. He actually had me at bacon, because I absolutely love bacon, and the only thing I love more than that, is the idea that it comes in a Savory - Sweet combo.

It looked good enough,
but the bacon did not look crisp.

During the holiday break, I was bugging my sister non-stop to eat at Banapple because I really wanted to try it.

Since Banapple is advertising their pies and cheesecakes...
I decided to try their Creamy Chicken Pie.
I had really high expectations because I was mentally comparing it to
my mom's homemade version, or at the very least it had to be at par with
Le Couer's turnover or French Baker's chicken curry version. 
It was so BAD, I only managed to eat this much.
The crust was heavy (not light the way good pastry crust should be),
and the filling was so shredded, all you tasted was cheap sweet mayo.
I had a migraine, so I was extra-sensitive, but still.
I also ordered  Grandma's Corn Chowder, they took forever to serve it,
and it wasn't much better. It also had a sweet taste,
but it was more palatable than the chicken pie.
My sister ordered Lasagna Roll-Ups,
because she said it's the only thing she likes on their menu,
but it was too carb-heavy for me,

We were really looking forward to dessert, because that's what we came for.
It's quite off-putting when you realize that the cheesecake they serve you,
is half cream.
and if you tried it, it's not the yummy whipped cream type.
It tastes very airy and artificial.
When we tried it, the over-all taste was of Maple Syrup. It seemed like we ordered Maple Syrup Cheesecake with some chewy bacon bits that didn't have enough flavor to deliver the savory-sweet combination I was looking forward to. Or maybe, I just had really high expectations. This cheesecake just didn't deliver. So if you're intrigued to try it, I suggest you just save yourself the calories. just saying.

Banapple Greenhills
Northgate Bldg., Connecticut St.
Greenhills, San Juan
(02) 477-2675
They have several branches, visit their website for more information.

The place looks nice and cozy, and the prices are very reasonable,
sayang lang, the food is really not good my type.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Mau in Manila

Mau, one of my close friends from ICA, who now lives in KL with her family, was here for business for a few days, so we were able to meet up for dinner.

It's always fun catching up with High School friends.

The last time I saw Mau, I was in KL for work in Feb 2011, so there was really a lot to catch up on. During that time, her little girl was still a baby (now she's mini-Mau) and they now have a baby boy who's a few months old.

Kuala Lumpur, Feb 2011 

We met at Arya, so we could chat and be noisy without disturbing the other guests (as it doesn't normally get busy there). It was a small gathering because it wasn't really planned so only some of us just got together at short notice. It seems like so much is still the same, from the time that we were studying, yet somehow things have changed as well.  

This was our picture circa early 2000.
I honestly think I look the same. Hahaha.

One big change is most of us have kids now, so our dinner topics range from comparing kids stories, to managing household help. One of our friends even shared that she has been doing her own laundry recently because they had no helper, and I put her on the spot by asking what Laundry detergent she's using and threatening her (if looks could kill) if she didn't answer the right brand. Hahahaha. So, readers, when I see you... and we happen to talk about Laundry, the correct answer is to tell me you use SURF!!! In fairness to my friend, she was using the best Laundry brand in the market. Hahaha. (shamless plug)

Another change is we're more weight health conscious now. One of my friends writes down everything she eats in an app, while another one is thinking of going Vegetarian. Only one of us ordered rice, but she does yoga almost everyday. 

We ordered the Arya dip platter which includes Hummus (mine is better!),
Motabal (the eggpplant one), Tzit ziki (the yogurt one), and
Mirza Ghasemi (which by process of elimination, is the tomato eggplant one).
We ordered the Arya salad, and it's nothing great.
The dressing reminds me of bottled thousand island dressing.
My usual order is the Koobideh Platter.
It's group Lamb, Chicken and Beef served with pita bread.
It's really good when eaten together with the roasted Tomatoes,
mixed with the garlic sauce.
The server will mix it for you.
As a certified carnivore, we ordered the Kofta with Eggplant in tomato
sauce. This was also very good, it's even better with hot sauce.
We thought we were starving, but 4 of us sharing weren't even able to finish everything we ordered for sharing. Too much kwento makes the stomach full. The food was priced reasonably because we only paid Php400 (SG$12) per person. 

It was nice that two of our friends were able to come before we had to go home.
We should do this more often!

On our way home, I had to pass Krispee Kreme because Sofia who has home with a bad cough asked me to bring home some. Mau was closer to the drive-thru window so I just asked her to order a box of 6 "AMAZING GLAZE donuts" and the guy who was talking to us couldn't understand what we wanted because Mau ordered a box of 6 "AMAZING GRACE" and both of us just kept on laughing. It was only when we checked the menu that we realized that I mean to order the ORIGINAL Glaze. The guy got a good laugh from us because he gave us 2 extra donuts for free even though the "HOT" light wasn't on.

As soon as I got home, Sofia gobbled up 2 donuts,
while sitting of Auntie Chacha's gift.

Thanks for the donuts Auntie Mau! Sofia ate 2 on the first night, 2 the next day, another one before sleeping, and the 6th one on the third day. She ate all 6 without sharing! Thanks also for the Hello Kitty Chair Auntie Cha! It was great seeing everyone. Now I understand why the best time to meet is at lunch on a weekend. It's because the time we have when we meet for dinner is never enough for us to catch up on all the kwentos. just saying.

ARYA Greenhills
Unit L-9 GH Promenade Mall, Ortigas Ave
Greenhills, San Juan
(02) 584-6266

Friday, January 25, 2013

Ilog Maria Honeybee Farm

When we were in Tagaytay, one of the places we visited was Ilog Maria Honeybee Farm. I've heard of them before when my friend gave me Citronella (mosquito repellant), but the reason we went was because my best friend Jem was searching for their Throat Spray because her bottle, which she got from Sonya's already ran out.

Those are real bees.
The Birds and The Bees.
This picture was taken just before the ducks put on a porn show. Hahaha.
Ninong Tim and Sofia at the store.

There was so much cool stuff. It's easy to go wild and want to try it all.
They had Propolis Tooth Powder.
This was too weird for me.
They even had a tube of Colgate Propolis Flavor
to prove that propolis is good for the teeth.
They were selling Bee Pollen as Fat Burner.
Sofia hoarded the Citronella.
They also had Leather Balsam,
so I bought some to try.
This was my hoard.
I admit I bought some really weird stuff.
The virgin honey is the honey we know,
except they say that theirs is for medicinal purposes.
You can only buy 1 bottle per person.
I bought 2 bottles of honey cider vinegar for Papa,
because he takes it for his Uric Acid.
The weirdest thing I bought was Bee Pollen to suppress my appetite.
I had a hard time convincing myself to take it because it
looks like fish food.
I have taken it for a week and I am only half a pound lighter.
I have been nursing a sore throat for several days now,
and the honey products are really effective.
The Virgin Honey really tastes good.

Out of boredom, I have also tried the Leather Balsam.
At first, I only put the balm on the side with the holes.
Visually, there is not much difference,
but the part with the balm really did feel softer. 
After trying it on my belt, I also used it on the corners
of my Chanel bag and I'm very happy.

Jem and I are already planning our trip back to Tagaytay so we can go to the Honeybee Farm and shop some more. just saying.

Ilog Maria 
Pulong Sagingan, Barangay Maitim II, West Tagaytay 4120
Attached is the map from their website.