Monday, November 23, 2015

Flavored Lindt Lindor Truffle Balls Taste Test 2015 Edition

Are you a chocoholic? My sister and my daughter both are... so thanks to them, I get to try the good stuff.

If you thought flavored Kit Kat from Japan which you can read about here was something to get excited about, wait until you try Lindt Lindor Truffle Balls. They are my absolute favorite among mass produced chocolates!

Imagine my excitement when my sister bought me a whole bag of different flavors to try? I didn't know which one to eat first... I even figured out that I would get to try more, if I shared each ball with Sofia, so this review if actually a collaborative effort from both of us which we did over several days.

Lindor Balls from the Pick and Mix Lidnt Shop in Sydney
Let the taste test begin!!!

Scoring System:
0 - NO
1 - Not Bad with Comments
2 - Love

1. Salted Caramel - 1 Point
Coley:  1 (but a bit too sweet)
Sofia: 0 (she hates salt, which I love)
2. Raspberry - 2 Points
Coley: 0 (too sweet, lacks berry taste)
Sofia: 2 
3. Champagne - 0 Points
Coley: 0 (liquor is not my thing)
Sofia: 0 (Eeeew! - verbatim)
4. Dark Peppermint - 4 Points
Coley and Sof agree: This is love.
5. Citrus - 3 Points
Coley: 2 love
Sofia: 1 (not too sweet, whatever that means)
6. Milk and Sea Salt - 0.5 Points
Coley: 0.5! (too sweet - only the salt is good)
Sofia: 0 (No to salt)
7. Vanilla - 0 Points
Coley: 0 (too sweet)
Sofia: 0 (tastes weird)

8. Coffee - 3 Points
Coley: 2 Love
Sofia: 1 (you only like it mom, because it tastes like coffee!)
9. Strawberries and Cream - 1 Point
Coley: 0 (too sweet)
Sofia: 1 (a bit sweet)
10. Caramel - 2 Points
Coley: 1 (better with salt)
Sofia: 1 (ok)
11. Dark Chocolate - 3.5 Points
Coley: 1.5 (Ok, but extra dark is better)
Sofia: Love
12. Mint - 3.5 Points
Coley: 1.5 (dark peppermint is better)
Sofia: Love
13. Hazelnut - 2 Points
Coley and Sof: Ok, but nothing special
14. Cappuccino - 3 Points
Coley: Love
Sof: 1 (it's Ok)
15. Dark Orange - 4 Points
Coley and Sofia: Love
16. Extra Dark - 4 Points
This is our super favorite flavor! Staple in our fridge.
This can only be made better with Sea Salt. Hahaha.
But then Sof would give it a lower score!

So to recap, our favorites with 3.5 to 4 Points are:
Dark Peppermint, Dark Chocolate, Mint, Dark Orange and Extra Dark Chocolate 

Clearly, the them is Dark Chocolate and Mint!
But if you ask me, I would also recommend sea salt caramel, coffee and cappuccino flavors. 

But I think we can all agree, Lindor Truffle Balls are love. just saying.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Tagaytay food finds beyond the usual pineapples and buko pie

We went to Tagaytay for the weekend around a month ago for Jem's wedding and these were our food finds, that goes beyond what you normally buy from the fruit stands lining the street on the way home or the usual buko pie.

1. Baked Chicharon from Bag of Beans
Look for Pat & Kat, it comes in a clear stand-up resealable pouch with vinegar inside. Really yummy because it has no hard parts at all, which you sometimes get with deep fried Chicharon.
You can read my previous post on Bag of Beans here.

2. Goodies from the deli counter at Breakfast at Antonio's

Here are my newly discovered favorites.
  • Cheese Roll at Php35 I feel it is yummier and better value compared to their ensaymada. I'm not sure if I remember correctly, but the regular ensaymada is around Php65 (much bigger, but they don't even top it with cheese), you have to buy the more expensive one at around Php85 if you want that.Though Sof swears by their regular ensaymada.
  • Chicken Liver Pate for the win! No other explanation required.
  • Strawberry Jam complements the chicken liver pate really well. Hahaha.
  • Mini-Salted-Caramel Cheesecakes cupcake sized portions of their really yummy cheesecake. I think it's only Php60 per piece. Perfect for portion control. 
You can read my previous posts on Breakfast at Antonio's here and here.

3. Kesong Puti from Mr. Moo

Mr. Moo has a few branches, you can see them on your way home if you're passing through the Tagaytay-Sta. Rosa road. 
Out of curiosity, I made Tim stop so we could buy some.
Their Kesong Puti at around Php90 was so yummy. I wish I bought more.
But then, be mindful of the short shelf life.

Now, I am trying to find an excuse to go to Tagaytay again. It may be too long of a drive to just stock up on chicharon and cheese. just saying.

Bag of Beans
115 Aguinaldo Highway, 
Mendez Crossing West, 
4120 Tagaytay City, 

Breakfast at Antonio's

Aguinaldo Highway, 
Bagong Tubig, Tagaytay 4120
Phone:(046) 413 0975
Reservations not accepted

Mr. Moo

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Jewellery by Coley

Love for jewellery runs in our family.

When my mom was a kid, my grandmother would tell them to save their allowance or pocket money and spend it on jewellery instead of the usual toys and knick knacks that kids generally spend on, so they would go to 'Pohing' in Chinatown every so often, to see what jewellery they could buy or have made.

It was quite similar for me growing up. I used to tag along when my mom went to the jeweller, which was quite often, because on these trips, once she asked if I liked something, and I said yes, she would have it made for me! And it was even better because I didn't have to save my money to pay for it! Hahaha, If you're reading this - I love you Mama!

When I started travelling on my own, thanks to sponsored trips from Angkong, my maternal grandfather, Auntie Celita and Auntie Stella, before low cost airlines was born, one of the things I would always try to bring home from the trip was a piece of gold jewellery, because I have always thought it made a lasting souvenir.

On visits to London, my uncle would often ask me, if I converted any money that day (as buying jewellery wasn't really considered spending, but converting cash to a less liquid form). This habit has just grown exponentially together with my financial independence.

Frequent visits to my Aunt (in London), introduced me to the world of antique or vintage jewellery which you buy from flea markets. From her, I got my love for British Mobile Charms in 9ct Gold (the intricately designed ones that open or with parts that move), and every trip is a treasure hunt to see which charms I could find and afford to buy. Hahaha. My personal collection, which I now sort of share with Sofia, has grown through the years.

However, with the increase in Gold prices, it has been exceedingly hard to find gold pieces, at an affordable price, which led me to the discovery that there is a whole world of Sterling Silver British Mobile Charms out there. A few years back, I was lucky enough to find AirBNB lodgings right on Portobello road, that was flea market heaven. I ended up with so many silver charms that have been sitting in my drawer since I bought them because I just don't wear silver.

An Aha-moment came when I realized there is a developing trend towards "Gold Plates Sterling Silver Jewellery"! My silver charms had a purpose again, and with this more affordable option, I could actually share the love! Thus, this line of Jewellery by Coley was born.

I am currently working on being available online very soon. But for now, you can send me a private message if you are interested. This is seriously the best Christmas gift ever!!! And that holds true for yourself or for a loved one. just saying.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Bo Tung Xeo - Grilled Beef must eat place in Ho Chi Minh

Off to Ho Chi Minh again tomorrow, and if there is anything I am craving for... it's this open-air local beef place where they cook it right in front of you called Bo Tung Xeo!

I'm so glad I mentioned to Anson, that I was going to HCMC and he recommended it because it's just a block or two away from our hotel in District 1. I can't believe Sof, yaya and I lived there for a month three years ago and we didn't even know that this place exists.

It's an open air place, frequented by locals, which also had a fairly
international clientele when we visited.
We went for the beef in marinade that
they grill in front of you.
You don't even have to do any work. Hahaha.
I love Southeast Asian countries.
This dish is only 180,000VND (around US$8 or Php380) and it comes
with salad too. 
It's best eaten dipped in the salt pepper mixture, drizzled with lime,
together with an extra order of white rice. 

We had no idea how big the servings were, or what we were actually ordering, so when we wanted soup and they recommended the seafood hotpot, we just said yes. This course is served after the beef, and since one order of beef was a bit too little, we even ordered a second one!

We were stuffed when they brought this out. Hahaha.
They also cook the hot pot for you. Everything is dumped into the soup,
except for the beef (that comes with the seafood hotpot) which is cooked
in the spoon until it reaches the desired done-ness.
That was such a good meal. Thanks Boss for humoring me and coming
along to all the restaurants I want to try.

Eat well Travel Often. Works for me. See you soon Bo Tung Xeo. just saying.

Bo Tung Xeo
31 Ly Tu Trong 
District 1 
Ho Chi Minh City,Vietnam

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Wanderlust Treasures and Jewellery by Coley Coming Soon + Favorite Online Suppliers for Customized Stuff

I've been ignoring my blog... and I'm sorry about that. But...

I'm a great believer that when creativity knocks, you should open the door and go wherever it wants to take you, and recently, it's been taking me to a lot of places. That journey, together with my day job, has really been keeping me busy.

But I'd like share some things that have been occupying my mind, and believe it or not, recently, a lot of my inspiration comes while I am stuck in traffic. The only good thing about Manila traffic being at it's worse ever is that gives me a lot of thinking time. Hahaha.

Everything has to do with things I love. My combined love of travel, shopping, jewellery, shoes and other stuff, the list is endless.
For now, let's call it Wanderlust Treasures. I am working on developing
one or two lines, but I am hoping for it to be so much more.
wanderlust + treasures from my unbeatable shopping prowess
The possibilities are endless!

Let's start with my love for jewellery and calligraphy.

Ady says I don't know how to draw. Hahaha. True.
But I know how to shop, and I do that well. I even have enough from my
personal collection to possibly start selling. Watch this space.
If my vision gets landed well, expect a lot of colorful stones too...
Coming Soon

An added bonus of product development on the jewelry front, is it requires frequent visits to our jeweler in Chinatown.
There are freshly roasted chestnuts on almost every corner.
Lucky Charms
And WaiYing for lunch too!
My new favorite is the fried dumpling in curry sauce. I can't wait to go back.

The other project I am working on, was brought about by my love for shoes, inspired by my travels of course!
This project brought me all the way to Marikina, the shoe capital of the Philippines.
Thanks Monch for brunching with me. Rustic Mornings is always a favorite in the area.
I even met a potential supplier. Exciting times ahead.
Please keep your fingers crossed for me and watch this space.

I am very much into ordering customized stuff nowadays, and having two new projects is definitely an excuse to have more stuff made.

Here are some online suppliers I have dealt with, who I would generally recommend:

1. Post Script Designs for personalized stationary products
I think I have been ordering from Michelle for three years now. Her products are really well made, paper quality is very good. Response rate and customer service is excellent.  I also ordered wrapping paper, but I'm too cheap to actually use them to wrap gifts. Hahaha.

You can check out their products and how to order from the facebook page here:

2. Things Remembered for personalized ribbons
What better way to wrap a gift, that with your personalized ribbon on it.
Nice product, but quite pricey. Minimum order requirement is 3 rolls, and they no customer service whatsoever. I remember ordering, paying and being told that it would take a few weeks (*I can't remember how long now, but it was longer than the usual 1 week or so). After the given time was over, I had to follow-up repeatably. It seems they didn't even do my order at all, and when I got mad, they did it in a day. Classic case of kaya naman pala. Then one of the ribbons had a period, like an extra dot. Seriously, they didn't even do quality control. They eventually replaced it, but it was a hassle. So only order if you really like the product, and you have huge amounts of patience.
Personalized Ribbons dress up even regular craft paper bags.
It was a bit hard to take photos of the satin ribbon with gold stamping,
so I did it with and without flash.
You can check out their products here:
Kris Aquino orders from them, but they probably don't subject her to the lack of customer service they do to other customers.

3. Cla Clodesline for reusable fabric ecototes printed with your full color logo
My experience with Cla Clodesline was the exact reverse of my experience with Things Remembered. Communication was a breeze. They even delivered my bags earlier than the lead time that we agreed on. The sent it even if the shipping fee I paid for based on the estimate was lower than actual, so I just paid them after they sent my stuff. The print and bag quality was quite good too for the price.

You can visit check their products and order through their facebook page here:

4. Arts N' Style for their transparent stickers
I ordered from Kristine last year, and I liked the stickers so much, I reordered again. Communication with her is easy, she also delivered my orders earlier than expected, but she uses a very unreliable courier service, which has in the end, led to the delay of my receiving the products as agreed. She was helpful in chasing them though.
Arts N' Style also has other products (like the paper pouch bags used with the personalized ribbons above), and I tried ordering their gift cards because they are slightly cheaper than Post Script designs, but aside from the transparent stickers, I feel that their products have a bit more "homemade" feel while Post Script designs come across as more professionally-made, but it's really up to what you want to spend, and what you will use it for.

You can visit the Arts N' Style website here:

So that's what has been keeping me busy. If everything works out, I guess, I will be even busier, so watch this space, it may be your source of finding really great gifts for Christmas. just saying.