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23 November 2008

Restaurant Review | OMG Kawaii Bento

Before the Plurkfiesta happened, there was the UP Anime Manga Enthusiasts first. Bong, Tiffy and Jeric met up at the UP Bahay ng Alumni to check out the event before heading to Libis. While making rounds in the event, OMG Kawaii Bento really got our attention!

This was the first time Foodistas Bong and Tiffy have ever seen a bento - so they were pretty much intrigued and excited! Apparently, OMG Kawaii's booth at UP AME was some sort of launch for them since it was their first time to sell their food. They don't have a restaurant as of yet, but they are already making rounds in different events.

They had three designs -- a dog, a bear, and cute little chicks. The dog is made from potato croquette, pork tonkatsu, and some veggies; the bear, from potato croquettes and Japanese fried chicken; and the chicks, from potato croquettes and chicken teriyaki.


All bento meals are priced at Php 150 (USD$3). The Foodistas, together with Jeric and Osmond, got to taste the yummy doggie bento. From the rice, to the veggies, the potatoes and the pork tonkatsu, everyone really loved it.

All in all, it's a well-decorated dish that doesn't forget that it's actually edible (and yummy, to say the least). But unfortunately, it's not something that Osmond would crave for (apparently). It's one for the special occasions, probably.


Reviewed by Bong and Tiffy.
Special thanks to Jeric and Osmond for their inputs
Photography by Tiffy.

Contact Hershey Ang for more info on OMG Kawaii Bento.

15 November 2008

Recipe | Dulce de Leche

MarkDulce de Leche
Servings per batch: 1-2 bottle-fulls
Total preparation time: Approximately 3 hours
Difficulty: Easy-Moderate

Most of you probably know Dulce de Leche as an ice cream flavor or something that's in a cake or whatnot, but the actual Dulce de Leche itself can be described most accurately as a jam. It's basically like a jam that tastes like caramel, only less sweet.

Make no mistake about it, it might taste similar, but Dulce de Leche is not caramel. The big difference is basically the presence of milk in Dulce de Leche and a little something called the Maillard reaction. Now go and look up the Maillard reaction on Wikipedia since explaining here would be much too boring and off topic.

Dulce de Leche is a simple thing to make, the only thing about it is that it demands patience - lots of it. The total cooking time for this will take at least 2 1/2 to 3 hours, sometimes even longer.

To make Dulce de Leche you will need:
  • 1 quart (.95 liter - which is basically one liter all the same) whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean (with the usual treatment: split, scrape seeds)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Just combine the milk, sugar, and vanilla in a pan and bring it to a simmer until the sugar has fully dissolved. After the sugar's fully dissolved, add the baking soda and continue to cook at a bare simmer. Just leave it be and stir occasionally.

Now, I suppose you can substitute 1 tsp. of vanilla extract if you can't get your hands on vanilla beans or if you're too lazy to have to go and buy some (Santis Delicatessen sells vanilla beans and they have stores in Makati and in Quezon City).

For those using vanilla beans, make sure to remove it after an hour because it will start releasing some funky flavors if you cook it any longer than that.

As I said, this will take at least 2 1/2 to 3 hours because you have to reduce the whole quart/liter of milk down to about a cup of stuff; and that's a whole lot of reducing. A laptop with series of Simpsons episodes worked pretty well for me to stave off boredom.

You want it to reach the consistency of say... melted chocolates. So just wait it out and remember to keep it at a bare simmer. If it still has liquid consistency, don't worry too much because it does get much thicker once you put it in the refrigerator. Even if you do screw it up, don't worry about it because you can just try again. We learn best from our mistakes after all. Believe me, the hours you spend slaving over this only makes it all the more satisfying.

After you're done cooking, pour it through a strainer to remove clumps that might have formed. Store them in appropriate containers. It'll keep for a good while; it's got a lot of sugar anyway, so that should keep microorganisms at bay.

Now you can do pretty much anything with your Dulce de Leche. You can put it on toast, eat with bananas, ice cream, pancakes, cupcakes, whatever you can think of, really. Enjoy!

09 November 2008

Restaurant Review | Dampa Sa Libis

Dampa sa Libis
Type of Cuisine: Seafood
Average cost per person: Php 300-350 (US$6 - US$8)
Overall Rating: starstarstarstarnostar

There were only a handful of us when Plurk started. That was around July of this year. Soon enough, it caught on and a lot more people started using it. Plurkfiesta is a term coined by Manuel L. Quezon III. It's when people from Plurk gather together to eat and hang out--or so Tiffy always believed.

Since Tiffy has never attended one and she kept on missing out, she decided to drag people from sitting in front of their computers and gave a time place: Saturday, 6PM, Dampa sa Libis.

Interestingly enough, we had a good turnout (aside from Bong and Tiffy): Josh and Arthur from, Lizz, Jeff, Fritz, Marcelle, Arbet, Manolo, Ozy, Mark, and Jeric.

Dampa is known for its market -- you can buy your food from the market fresh. And then after, you get to decide how it's cooked. If you're not the type to buy your food raw, then you can choose to skip the whole buying-from-the-market process.

But since Tiffy was up for some haggling, then market they did. Did she get good prices for the seafood? What do you think?

Scallop (350Php/kilo, US$7.20/kilo)
Cooked in butter and garlic (140Php/kilo, US$2.88/kilo)
Fritz, Arthur and Tiffy specially liked the scallops. It was sweet and soft. True enough, a few minutes into the meal and they were greatly lacking in scallops. Although Ozy thought that it wasn't as good as he expected. He was expecting it to be sauteed in butter and garlic--the buttery syrup was unexpected.

Snail or Kuhol (100Php/kilo, US$2.06/kilo)
Cooked in coconut milk or ginataan (140Php/kilo, US$2.88/kilo)
Everyone had a fun time eating the snails. And they especially had more fun making fun of Jeff -- a snail virgin! It was his first time. And even with toothpicks for weapons, he failed miserably. It was all for the best--take one for the team! Lizz was a bit wary at first because there were parts which were red in color. She wondered for a moment if the snails were still raw. But then ate it anyway.

Clams (100Php/kilo, US$2.06/kilo)
Cooked in soup (140Php/kilo, US$2.88/kilo)
There wasn't really anything particularly note-worthy about the dish except that it was "divine," as mentioned by Fritz. The flavor of the soup wasn't too strong -- yay. Considering that Tiffy dislikes soup, she certainly liked this one. Arthur thought that it could've used more garnishings -- maybe spinach or watercress.

Shrimps | medium-sized (300Php/kilo, US$6.17/kilo)
Cooked in butter and garlic (140Php/kilo, US$2.88/kilo)
It was Fritz's turn to question why the shrimp had buttery sauce. He expected it to be clear. Like the scallops, it had a sweet buttery flavor. It was a bit of an ordeal removing the skin from the shrimp, though. Either that, or Jeff had no poise once again! Fritz thought that maybe they should've ordered the larger shrimps for this kind of cooking. And Arthur thought that it could've been better -- it wouldn't have been how he'd prepare it.

Oysters (70Php/kilo, US$1.44/kilo)
Baked (140Php/kilo, US$2.88/kilo)
They all thought that the oysters would be bigger. They were a bit shriveled up and dry. It wasn't as moistly yummy as Tiffy would think. But Arthur thought it was good so all's well. Well apparently, because of the cheese.

081120082364Mussels (100Php/kilo, US$2.06/kilo)
Baked (140Php/kilo, US$2.88/kilo)
Both Jeric and Jeff pointed out that the mussels were yummy. Although Arthur thought that it was so-so. Tiffy didn't really got to eat a lot of it because they all but gobbled it up!

All in all, it was a pretty good trip. The place played out like a canteen, except cleaner. The food was a notch above average although buying the food is one heck of an experience -- made the food more enjoyable. Serving time was a bit tiring, though. Plus, they didn't serve the food all at once. Marcelle mentioned about their inihaw na liempo being excellent. But since he came late, we didn't get to order that.



Reviewed by Bong and Tiffy.
Special thanks to everyone from the Plurkfiesta for their inputs
Photography by Tiffy.

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