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23 August 2012

Tiffy in Japan: Kabuki and Shrimp

What I love about my school is that they sponsor trips and give us tickets to shows too.
(Sign says: The University of Tokyo Kashiwa Campus)

Last month, they provided 70 international students with tickets to the Kabuki, a classical Japanese drama

The pace of the drama is really slow. So much so that it's not surprising to see several heads nodding and people falling asleep. But one of my labmates really love Kabuki and has watched it numerous times.

On the way back to Kashiwa from Tokyo, we passed by Kitasenju. We wanted to have an early dinner so we were walking around the station to look for a place to eat. 

After walking for quite some time, we went back to this small restaurant that served shrimps and crabs. 

Almost all the food in the restaurant has shrimp in it

Their special offer for the day: ¥90 for one

甘えびの唐揚げ | えびとアボカドのわさびマヨあえ
Fried shrimp | Shrimp avocado salad
Most of their dishes are around ¥300~¥400

赤えび刺身 | Red Shrimp Sashimi | ¥300 per piece
This was by far my favorite. It was so soft and fresh and just yummy.

東京都足立区千住2丁目65 小泉ビル

How to get there:
(122m from Kitasenju Station)
3 min walk from Kitasenju Station West exit
1 min walk from Kitasenju Station Nakamachi exit

21 August 2012

Tiffy in Japan: Field trip to Nikko Tosho-gu and Nikko-bori Crafting

Field trip to Nikko Tosho-gu
By: Tiffy

As far as I've been told, the Student Affairs Section of the University of Tokyo holds field trips once a semester. Last month, I was fortunate enough to have been selected (they raffle off spots) to go to the field trip to Nikko Tosho-gu, one of the more famous shrines in Japan.

Despite the fact that it was pouring, there were still so many people there. 

Look at those puddles!

In some places, we had to remove our shoes before we can enter. 
(I can confidently say that at the end of the day, not one of our socks were dry)

Look at how amazing it looks--if I can live in a shrine, I'd make this my master's bedroom. 

Look ma: I learned how to carve on wood!
(Let's keep it a secret that the sensei did the hard parts for me: eyes, some curves, and 「日光」)

But I totally carved this myself!

Nikko City, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan

17 August 2012

Therese in Taiwan: Coffee Alley 咖啡弄

It's in the second floor of this building beside Uniqlo

Coffee shops are abundant around Taipei, probably because of their culture of drinking "afternoon tea" (or in this case, afternoon coffee?)

My cousins and I went to Coffee Alley a couple of months back (yeah, I have a ton of backlog)
because we wanted to try their waffles. They didn't disappoint.

Coffee Alley 咖啡弄

冰草莓歐蕾 Iced Strawberry Au Lait

抹茶牛奶冰沙 Green Tea Smoothie

OREO冰沙 OREO Smoothie

鹽味焦糖鬆餅 Salty Caramel and Vanilla Ice Cream Waffle

紅豆抹茶冰淇淋鬆餅 Azuki Bean and Green Tea Ice Cream Waffle

草莓冰淇淋鬆餅 Waffle with Fresh Strawberry and Strawberry Ice Cream

香蕉巧克力冰淇淋鬆餅 Chocolate Ice Cream and Banana Waffle
These were the food and drinks that we ordered. They were all very delicious, and the servings were huge! We didn't expect them to be that big. Had we known, we would've just shared. Hihi, oops! I forgot how much these cost, but they're probably around 140-180NT (~203-261 PhP).

You can also check out their website for store locations and operating hours. They also have a Facebook account!

05 August 2012

One Year at Casa Roces

Kape Chino @ Casa Roces July 25, 2012
By: Martin Cruz

I don’t think I’ve ever been to a place quite like Casa Roces, at least in Manila. The old mansion of the Roces clan-cum-bistro, cafe, and art gallery is a watering hole that even the politicos of the Malacañan Palace across the street visit with frightening regularity, so much so that only a quarter of the place’s clientele are walk-ins. Everything else is made via reservation.

That’s the way of life in Casa Roces, and has been so for a year now. What keeps the patrons coming back to their gates, aside from the riveting ambience?

“We keep the food interesting,” said Rod Baumann, the director of food and beverage of the Cravings Group, during the anniversary luncheon held last July 25, 2012. And that’s not something new; innovation has always been a staple in the menus of any restaurant run by Cravings. Of course, there are folks who eat pretty much the same thing over and over – President Benigno Aquino III, for example, eats mostly Casa Roces’ breakfast offerings whenever he holds luncheons at one of the many function rooms in the restaurant’s second floor.

But for the rest of us with excitable palates, Casa Roces has plenty to offer, especially since they’re gearing up for their second year of operations. The members of the press were treated to some of the select items in their new menu, starting with the Limon Basilica.
limon basilica
Limon Basilica

The Basilica is a twist on the ubiquitous iced tea. The idea behind it is that the initial drink is supposed to refresh the palate, getting the diner in the mood to, well, dine. Lemon’s good as a palate cleanser, but with the unusual infusion of basil leaves, you’ve got what I’ve come to calling the Pesto Iced Tea. Because that’s exactly how it tastes like: sweet lemon-pesto. Strange as that may sound, this gave me the impression that I was in for quite a treat, and I was right. The first sip will have drinkers bewildered, but the drink grows on you, and by the time you’re done with the glass, you’re ready to start eating.
Choritos and Tinapa Mousse
Duo of Choritos and Tinapa Mousse with Chicaronnes and Breadsticks

The actual main entrees were breadsticks and chicharon, but they were served with a duo of Choritos and Tinapa Mousse. You could call them pates made from pork and fish. The Choritos pate was what you’d expect from a pork-based paste, but the Tinapa Mousse made my day. Imagine dipping your breadstick in what looks like sour cream and onions, and coming up with the salty, smoky taste of tinapa. It went well with both the chicharon and the breadsticks, but you could taste it more with the breadsticks.
Sopa de Ajo
Sopa de Ajo

After the soup course – sopa de ajo – we moved on to the main course(s). The pasta course was served first. It was a delectable vegetable lasagna. The problem with lasagna is that it’s difficult to get it al dente, since most cooks tend to overpower the pasta with either too much cheese or too much sauce. Casa Roces’ offering, however, was chewy and not at all soggy, so it didn’t feel like you were chewing on a sponge. There was a hint of crispiness when you bit into the dough, and the cheese was felt without being smelt, which was a good thing, as vegetable lasagnas tend to have a milder flavour when compared with meat-based lasagnas, and this was just the right mixture.
Callamares RellenoChicken GalantinaMorcon Estofado Vegetable Lasagna
Clockwise from top: Callamares Relleno; Chicken Galantina; Vegetable Lasagna; Morcon Estofado

The meat courses were Chicken Galantina, Morcon Estofado, and a Roasted Leg of Lamb. These were all served with a side-dish of mashed potatoes or rice. It’s hard to argue with a deluge of rich meat, but I especially liked the lamb, which is a dish that is notoriously difficult to prepare (the serving was accompanied by a dab of mint jelly, just to make sure, but it didn’t need it).

There was also a seafood dish of stuffed squid (Calamares Relleno), which was also surprisingly good. This was probably because it was a refreshing contrast to the multiple servings of meat. It’s astonishing how Casa Roces prepared its rather creative fish courses throughout this meal, actually. For that alone, they deserve an A+.
Basque Apple Pie
Basque Apple Pie

The dessert course was served courtesy of Kape Chino, the bakeshop and coffee house arm of Casa Roces. I was not disappointed: the Basque Apple Pie was sin in a cup, thin layers of apple slices with cinnamon atop a solid graham crust. It sounds so pedestrian, but the preparation was perfect, and eating it felt like scooping out a cup of smooth ice cream.
Ensaymada Bread Pudding
Ensaymada Bread Pudding

There was also a dessert pudding made out of repurposed ensaymada bread. I had only recently been introduced to the idea of bread pudding, but I loved the idea instantly. That said, it should come to no surprise that the Ensaymada Bread Pudding was a hit with me.

These were just some of the new offerings Casa Roces had on its refurbished menu. I don’t know how the old menu looked like (read Tiffy’s old post about Casa Roces here for more on that), but it looks like the restaurant’s focusing on including more of a Spanish-Filipino fusion in its menu. There’s also a special Bulto del Casa menu, which is a set of group menus that feature items that you won’t find on the regular fare. These are exciting times at Casa Roces, and you can experience it by paying them a visit.
Kafe Chino @ Casa Roces
1153 JP Laurel cor Aguado St. San Miguel, Manila
(near Malacañang Palace Gate #4)
Telephone: +632 7355896 | 7084020
Open daily 7.00am to 9.00p

04 August 2012

The Wine Museum Manila

Wine Museum Manila
28 July 2012
By Nicole

First off, thank you Breakfast Magazine, Mr. Jorge, and Chef John Joseph for a gratifying Wine Museum experience! It was such a treat!

Wine Museum is an establishment composed of a hotel, a restaurant, and a wine education centre. A visit here is definitely worth it because the food is good and NOT too expensive, the people are nice, and the wines are really affordable (the wines in the restaurant have the same price with the ones in their store, Ralph's Wines & Spirits. They don't charge corkage fee!). Plus, if you really want to learn a lot about wine, this is the place to be! I swear! :D By the way, the wine descriptions in this post came from the Wine 101 presentation by Mr. Jorge.

Wine Museum Restaurant

Wine Museum's restaurant offers "colonial" dishes which means a fusion of dishes - Spanish, American, and Filipino cuisine. (Now, that term is controversial. I remember all my classes back in college where you could get into serious discussions by just mentioning that word :D). Anyway,  for the complete menu with price, click here for their website.

For the appetizers, we were served with sliced Vigan longaniza, mushroom vinaigrette, and gambas al ajillo (shrimps with garlic). These appetizers were served with the Chardonnay.

Right wine glass:  Claro (Chilean) – Chardonnay
"This Chardonnay has a nice yellow color with some pleasant notes of grapefruit and tropical fruits on the nose. On the palate, it has volume and refreshing acidity to enjoy it with seafood and slightly spicy dishes."
Left wine glass: Claro (Chilean) – Merlot
"Very bright ruby–violet color. The wine has intense aromas typical of its variety with abundant notes of ripe red fruits, plum, pepper and menthol. Its tannins are sweet and velvety. It has a long and lingering finish."

After the appetizers and the Chardonnay, was the main course!

The Claro (Chilean) – Merlot  (picture above) was the wine for the first half of the main course. The Merlot was paired with the sopa de calabaza, pescado con ali oli (fish with garlic and oil vinaigrette), and the paella colonial.

This sopa de calabaza (squash soup) is absolutely one of the best tasting squash soup I've ever had.

Pescado con ali oli (fish with garlic and oil vinaigrette)
Paella Colonial

Their paella is better than what I had in Madrid! Primary reason: it has a distinctive Filipino touch - it's really tasty.  I liked that they used fresh olives because those olives enhanced the flavour of the dish. The rice in their paella is cooked with beer! And I quote, "the best beer in the world, San Miguel pale pilsen." That is really something! In a Spanish cookbook we have at home, the paella recipes there are cooked with white wine.

It's not easy to find a good paella in this country but now we know where to find one! By the way, I got an awesome tip from The Chef/ General Manager, John Joseph, Jr. Want your frozen fish to still taste fresh? Soak it with milk before cooking! Because milk, according to Chef Joseph, will remove that stinky fishy smell and taste ("lansa" in Filipino) of frozen fish. Ting! Light bulb moment! Will try it next time :D

Left wine glass: Claro (Chilean) – Cabernet Sauvignon
"This attractive violet wine expresses cassis and fresh cherry notes. It has a nice and long finish showing a well-balanced wine with round and ripe tannins. This wine is an excellent complement to spicy dishes and red meats."

The first two wines, the Chardonnay and the Merlot, were light while the Cabernet Sauvignon is "full-bodied and tannic." Of the three, I like the Cabernet Sauvignon best.

Mexican Chicken
Cabernet Sauvignon was paired with Mexican Chicken and their bestseller Crispy Toro.

Crispy Toro

I love the crispy toro - an absolutely unforgettable dish! I don't think you can eat something like it somewhere else. The meat is crispy and yet so tender.

For the dessert, we were served with this Hazelnut Crepes a la Mode.

Hazelnut Crepes a la Mode
Oh these hazelnut crepes are ethereally yummy!!!! Thumbs up that the sweetness is just right! You should not leave Wine Museum without eating this!

Dessert wine: Lambrusco Emilia
A lot of people will sure love this Lambrusco Emilia! It's light, fruity, and perfect for dessert! I had two glasses of it ha, ha!

Wine Museum

View from the second floor
Wine Museum is basically a restaurant museum with a hotel. They have wine magazines that you can read and the walls, especially of the second floor, are decorated with wine facts - history, process of making wine, etc. The second floor is where they conduct lectures. The Wine Museum is also a foundation that was created  to educate people about wines. They provide facilities, including hotel and resto for on-the-job training for students, managers, practitioners and educators.

Mr. Jorge Joseph, the Marketing Manager of The Wine Museum, demonstrating how to use this old wine press
It was really nice visiting this place! Again, thank you Breakfast Magazine, to Mr. Jorge, and Chef John Joseph! And oh before I forget, their annual Grand Wine Experience will be held this November! Watch out for it!


Thea, wish you were with me! Our awesome batch should have a get together here. :D They have organic wines from La Rioja!!!

Address and Telephone number:

The Wine Museum Hotel & Resto
2253 Aurora Boulevard (formerly Tramo Road) Pasay City, Manila
+63 2 239 42 78

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