Scout’s Honor cookie shop at Hole in the Wall Makati

Lunch today was spent at the Alphaland Place in Makati and then off to Century Mall for the much-ballyhooed Hole in the Wall food court on the 4th level. What can I say, it’s the fanciest of its kind I’ve seen. The place is impressive, reminds one of the dining hall at Westfield Centre in Sydney. It even looks like a country club from this angle…

Hole in the Wall

We came to have dessert and it was perfect that Scout’s Honor Craft Cookie Shop by Chef Miko Aspiras (of Magnum cafe fame) was the first outlet to greet us at the door.I’ve been avoiding sweets (but definitely not the kids) and a lot of people have been raving about this shop so it’s a must-go!

Scout's Honor

Scout Honor’s make-your-own cookie concept is a winner! How can you go wrong with the formula of choose your own cookie dough, add 3 toppings and we serve it to you in 8 minutes? Believe me, these hot-off-the-oven cookies (P120 per order) tasted as good as they looked!

Scout's Honor

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Mendokoro Ramenba

I’ve written before about how I loved my first slurp at Ramen Yushoken in Alabang so a visit to their just-opened sister outlet in Makati City was in order. Same owners, different name & location. The new place is called Mendokoro Ramenba (or Mindoro Ramen Bar as a joking friend would say).

Mendokoro is located in one of the lesser known streets in Salcedo Village which is near the Saturday market. We lined up for 30 minutes because the place wasn’t open yet when we arrived.

Line

Prepare to queue because the place only has 21 seats.

mendokoro

My daughter had the basic shio (salt) ramen at P360. I would recommend this for first-timers and ramen virgins out there. It’s a safe choice.

Mendokoro

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Pinoy team competes in World Pastry Cup in Lyon, France

A three-man contingent from the Philippines will compete in the World Pastry Cup, Coupe Du Monde de la Pátisserie in Lyons, France on January 25.

Vicente Cahatol, Rizalino Man?as, Bryan Dimayuga (1)

Twenty-eight year old Rizalino Mañas, Bryan Dimayuga, 24 and 36 year old Vicente Cahatol, all from Makati Shangri-la, will compete with 20 other teams from different countries worldwide in what is considered as the premier competition in the world of pastry.

As Gabriel Paillasson, founding president of the World Pastry Cup has said, “The World Cup will be at the Patisserie what Formula 1 is at the Automobile.”

Renowned pastry chef Buddy Trinidad is part of the official team as juror. Per contest rules, he sits as one of the judges of the competition but cannot participate in evaluating the Philippine team creations.

The World Pastry Cup runs 10 hours long non-stop during which each team is required to create 3 chocolate desserts with great wines using sponsor product Valrhona, 3 frozen fruit desserts using another sponsor product Ravifruit, 12 identical plated desserts, sugar showcase, chocolate showcase, ice carving and ice cream cake.

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Miss Universe 2015 Top 15 fearless forecast

The 63rd Miss Universe pageant will be telecast in Manila next Monday, January 26. Of course Team Philippines will be rooting for our bet Mary Jean Lastimosa who, at 27, is one of the oldest contestants but still has a good chance of winning. She’s expected to follow the footsteps of the other Filipina beauty queens who managed to bag impressive runner-up honors in Miss Universe….but so far, the crown has been elusive.

Our fearless forecast is that MJ Lastimosa will make it to the Top 15 and it’s already a mean feat considering there are 88 candidates in all. In the past year, she has sculpted her body to perfection and trained so hard for the competition.

MJ Lastimosa from MissUniverse.com

Here are the rest of the candidates in our fearless forecast who will round off the Top 15 in Miss Universe 2015 to be held in Miami, Florida:

2. Miss Albania Zhaneta Byberi

3. Miss Australia Tegan Martin

4. Miss Colombia Paulina Vega

5. Miss Costa Rica Karina Ramos

6. Miss India Noyonita Lodh

7. Miss Kosovo Artnesa Krasniqi

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This FabWrap is fab!

After this cold, cold season, the summer will be upon us and you know what this means: majority will be trekking to… THE BEACH! Countless damsels out there will be looking for all kinds of bikinis, summer dresses, sarongs and what-have-you. The FabWrap (yes, this is the name of the label) is just about the perfect coverup in my book. Photo from the FabWrap FB page

Fab Wrap

The FabWrap is a creation of Pole Academy Philippines founder Ed Aniel. Because his daughter was working as an instructor in Boracay, he was toying with the idea of a piece of clothing that’s versatile enough to be worn in so many different ways.One that will not just be good for the beach, but also for daytime and even an evening event.

Luckily, I was gifted with this FabWrap for Christmas and am really loving it because it’s comfy and elegant at the same time. Not to mention, ideal for my age range since we can’t anymore afford to be cutesy, LOL.

For the record, there are more than 15 ways to style the Fab Wrap. It’s nice enough to be worn by itself, or over a skirt, jeans and leggings. Here’s the impromptu OOTD we did at The Grove by Rockwell. Model-modelan mode on. :)

Fab Wrap

Fab Wrap

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Bacolod chicken inasal paella using Samsung Smart Oven

Everyday am loving my Samsung Smart Oven (and if you haven’t joined my giveaway, please do so now). Yesterday, I tried to deconstruct a version of chicken inasal which is one of my favorite dishes from the City of Smiles. Unfortunately, I only go to Bacolod once in a blue moon. Thankfully, there’s the Samsung oven to the rescue whenever I crave for this treat. No live charcoal involved but just as good.

After marinating the chicken in garlic, native vinegar, lemongrass, achuete oil and other ingredients, I placed the bits in a heatproof dish, turned on the oven’s Grill function and set it to 45 minutes. Voila! I loved the golden color when it came out. The meat was so juicy and tender too.

Chicken inasal paella

I paired the chicken with this inasal paella which also obtained its color from the achuete oil. And you can say that the rice can be the main event itself because it is deliciously flavored by the chicken broth. Perfect for a chill-out holiday alternating between watching movies and the millions on TV gathered around the Pope :)

Life is good. Chicken inasal and inasal paella recipes after the jump:

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Favorite photos from the #PopeFrancisPH visit

In a few hours, Pope Francis ends his historic visit of the Philippines that made headlines around the world and showed the power of the Catholic faithful. Don’t judge, but I just stayed at home, watching the event unfurl vicariously on TV and social media. Information overload was certainly rife as it seems everybody out there wanted to be on the scene.

Here are my favorite photos from the Papal visit as gleaned from the timeline of my friends:

The Manila Hotel rooftop was one of the best places in the city to take in all the action of the crowd below. Tech editor Art Samaniego uploaded this shot, and the media estimated a whopping 6 million people attended Pope Francis’ mass at the Quirino Grandstand (whew!)

Pope crowd

Young girl Tricia Farnacio‘s selfie with the Pope made the internet rounds. Tricia is suffering from kidney disease and her photo with the Pope is heartwarming as it shows him at his most charming, lively self…

Selfie with Pope

If he wasn’t comforting & blessing the sick, the Pope was also kissing & holding babies. Here is one poignant shot from the Facebook page of BBC News anchor Rico Hizon. Until the passage of the Reproductive Health law, the Catholic Church prohibited the 76 million or so Filipino Catholics from practicing contraception. Go figure.

via Rico Hizon

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In Cebu: the Marco Polo Plaza hotel

The Sinulog Festival 2015 is happening at the same time as Pope Francis’ historic visit to Tacloban and Manila.This reminds me that I really have to blog now about my experience at Marco Polo Plaza which I had the good fortune of staying in while covering the US Potato Safari in mid-November of last year.

With 24 storeys and 329 guest rooms, Marco Polo is the only hotel in Cebu that’s situated on a hilltop. You know what this means: some good views.

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu

Loved the room they gave me, which had a tub and all the amenities.But the two beds made me wish I was sharing it with the kiddos.

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu

I went to Cebu wanting to have a glimpse of its beautiful beaches, but we went eating eight-course meals instead. The hotel pool was lovely and inviting though –

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu

Even though Marco Polo is one of the older hotels in Cebu, its grandeur never fades, and this aura begins with the lobby…

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu

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Red Ginger 24-hour resto at City of Dreams Manila

Last night found me at City of Dreams again. Bless this place for being a short drive near me :)

It was time to see more of the spots that I wasn’t able to check out the last time. It was dinner time and we were hungry.

The Café at Hyatt City of Dreams Manila had magnificent decor. It was eye-catching all throughout, but the lighting was too dark for what you would expect of a vibrant hotel buffet. As a result, we really couldn’t appreciate all the sumptuous food laid out. If this was a mobile phone, it’s on energy saving mode, LOL

Hyatt cafe

It was even darker in Nobu Hotel and restaurant. From the staff uniforms to the overall ambiance, the whole place smacked of being ‘intentionally black.’ As a result , we decided to have Shiso Tea in the brightest area of Nobu which were the outdoor cabanas.

Nobu cabanas

With martinis priced at P475 and appetizers at P900++, Nobu was kinda out of reach for people like us who have just wasted their Xmas bonus during the long vacay, haha But I was really glad to find out that there’s a place in City of Dreams that’s delightful to the palate as it is to the wallet.

Drum roll: Red Ginger. My new favorite restaurant ;)

Red Ginger

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All set for Bakers Cup & Bakery Fair 2015!

Photo 1 (4)

Are you a baker, a professional chef or working in the food or baking industry? Showcase your skills at the Bakery Fair 2015’s Bakers Cup competition happening from January 20-23 at the FCBAI Baking Center, 1967 Rizal Avenue, Sta. Cruz, Manila.

But first, you have to register and sign up at bakerscup.org before 2 pm of January 15, Thursday to reserve your slot in the competition. An orientation for the participants will happen on Jan. 17 from 10 am to 5 pm.

The annual Bakers Cup contest features two main categories, namely the Angel Yeast Steamed Bun Competition and the Puratos Bake-Off.Eliminations for the S500 Bread Baking Battle will be on January 20 from 9 am to 4 pm while the Carat Chocolate Showpiece Challenge will happen on Jan. 21 at 8 am to 4 pm. The Angel Yeast Steamed Bun eliminations will be held on Jan. 22 at 7 am to 12 pm and 1 pm to 5 pm, while the Carat Chocolate Decoration Challenge will be on Jan. 13 at 1 pm to 4 pm. Finals for all categories will happen from January 30 to February 1 at the Bakery Fair trade show.

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