Thursday, February 28, 2008

starbucks closes...

i've been quite open with my opinion that i do not like starbucks. never mind if i started collecting their city mugs five years ago and stopped after collecting about six.

on tuesday afternoon, they closed their doors for about 3 hours or so. for what? to train their baristas, an AP news report explained today. or rather, retrain them.

here's an excerpt from newsday.

Starbucks wouldn't disclose how much revenue it stands to lose during the shutdown, but analysts say the financial impact will be negligible compared to charges the company will take as it closes about 100 poorly performing U.S. stores this year and pays severance to more than 200 corporate support staff it laid off last week.
if this is not a sign of recession, then i don't know what is.

and also this:
A day after shutting down most of its U.S. shops for three hours to retrain baristas on espresso basics, Starbucks is welcoming customers back Wednesday with a new promise posted in stores: "Your drink should be perfect, every time. If not, let us know and we'll make it right."
yeah, right.

more details here. photo from gothamist.


Sunday, February 24, 2008

cravings - filipino spaghetti

I don't know what it is about the winter that triggered my craving for one very particular thing: filipino-style spaghetti. Well, it's your regular spaghetti, but it's sweet and more, the way we Filipinos cook and eat this Italian dish.

I did not have all the ingredients so I improvised. This was my final product -

Filipino Spaghetti

2 Nathan’s hotdogs
1 jar Barilla Sweet Peppers sauce
6 cloves garlic
½ onion
1 pack Barilla Whole Grain Thin Spaghetti
1 lb ground beef
½ tsp dried basil
½ tsp black pepper
½ cup tomato ketchup
3 tbsp white sugar
2 tbsp olive oil
salt to taste

1. Cook spaghetti according to package instruction. Since I was using whole grain, I cooked it a bit longer. The package said around 5 to 6 minutes, I cooked them for 7. Hahaha. Big deal.

2. Heat olive oil on the sauce pan. Saute garlic until golden brown, then onions until transucent, then hot dogs, then the beef.

3. Open the jar. Haha! Put the contents into the pot. Put in the spices as you wish. I like mine with some dried basil, black and white pepper to make it a bit spicy and the sugar to make it sweet.

I called R, my expert friend at Pinoy spaghetti and he told me that I needed banana ketchup. I told him I have no banana ketchup and my craving for pinoy spag can’t wait. He said I can use any ketchup then, so I used what was in the pantry. I just tried and tried and tasted and tasted until I got the perfect balance between the sweet and the sour.

Verdict? Success. I satisfied my craving and I have about 3 to 4 servings that I am going to freeze for future emergencies. Hehe.

After cooking, I went online and searched "Filipino Spaghetti" and boy was I surprised to find out that Google generated a lot of pages about it. I found something funny from a guy who calls himself Komikero. After the link.


Friday, February 22, 2008

winter's last hurrah

it's going to be spring in about three weeks which means that winter is about to be officially over but there has not been a major snowstorm as of yet.

until today.

and no, i did not pray for it. i experience a mild snowstorm last week and i swore it was fun at first but at the end of the day, i was already channeling "bora! bora!" as i waded through snow and sleet, with tough rain to boot!

so today we woke up with about three inches of snow and there seems to be no let up.

checked the news, and it said:

Winter Storm Pummels Tri-State Area
Sleet, Freezing Rain Expected Friday Afternoon

NEW YORK (CBS) ― A winter storm will be impacting the tri-state area throughout Friday with snow, ice and rain. Snow will dominate the morning hours as temperatures will still be able to support the flakes.

Sleet and freezing rain will work its way in by the afternoon hours though as temperatures rise.
oh well. what can i say. it's just another day.

Type rest of the post here


Thursday, February 21, 2008

stumbled upon - a mighty good patisserie

one more great thing about new york city is that there are a lot of restaurants and cafes that dot the landscape. and we're just talking about manhattan here. i know for a fact that even if i eat at a different restaurant every single meal, every single day, i wouldn't still be able to cover all the city's great dining places.

aside from the fact that i can't probably afford it (major!), i have no plans of eating out most of the time, specially since i have been thinking about developing (revisiting?) my culinary skills. hahaha. that statement just made me laugh out loud.

it's a huge macaroon. twice the size of bizu's. take two pieces and slather a generous amount of coffee cream concoction and make a macaroonwich. this was what tisserie had. it's $2.75 each but worth every single penny. the cafe mocha was pleasantly good too. why go to starbucks (which incidentally is across the street. scratch that, it's on every freaking street here in manhattan. and i hate them for that!)

okay. so let's get the pictures to tell the story.

the shelf of love. i can eat every single thing on this shelf, but i won't. because i can't afford it. haha. this is love at first sight. i can't wait to bring my friends here.

i didn't know if they allowed photography so i took these photos discreetly. but for people who know me, i am more discreet if i try not to. if you want a closer look, click on the photo. just don't blame me if you drool. or if you suddenly develop a craving. or if your sweet tooth aches.

ah. the mini-tarts. lovely to look at. as in parang ayaw mo nang kainin. i got full just by looking at these tiny works of art.

and my favorite: the macaroons. they have around eight flavors but because i am such a coffee addict, i ordered the coffee flavor. i'll try the other ones next time.

and what is a patisserie without the patis? hahaha. i meant the buttery croissants and danish pastries. the cafe also serves soups and quiches may plural ba ang quiche?) and sandwiches too.

that's how the cookie macaroon crumbles. yum.

if i had a cafe, this is how it would look like. hahaha. i swear. i'll copy tisserie's format from the interiors to the food. i won't probably serve quiche though because i'm not a big fan. but yeah, it would be nice if i owned a cafe like this.

857 Broadway @17th St Union Sq
New York, NY 10003
Phone: (212) 463-0850

epilogue: this is by far the most photos i have uploaded in one single entry. that's how much i loved the place and the food that i want to share it. if ever you are in new york, make your way to this place. you'll love it.


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

an attempt at pad kraprow

i miss sanamluang.

hah! sanam (shortcut!) is a hole-in-the-wall thai resto in hollywood, and is about 5-10 minutes away from where i used to live in silverlake. they serve delicious, satisfying and affordable thai dishes.

one of my favorites is pad kraprow, or thai basil chicken. for dinner, i decided to recreate this meal. this is how it looked like.

yummy! it looks pale, maybe it's because of the lighting. hehehe. (actually, i forgot to put soy sauce, because i used patis (fish sauce).

the recipe requires "holy basil" which is different from the "italian basil" i used. i couldn't find holy basil in the grocery store and i did not want to use dry basil. and also, i can't for the life of me, distinguish among all the chilis in the market so i just asked roomie to buy some. turns out he bought the jalapeno kind, the one sprinkled over nachos. which means, walang ka anghang anghang. which is good, because we're not big fans of spicy food.

but to compensate (this was supposed to be a bit spicy), i put drops of garlic chili seasoning, two pinches of dried chili flakes and some black pepper. the recipe? swiped off the web.

Type rest of the post here


Friday, February 15, 2008

snow day!

while i was in manila last november/december/parts of january, i kept on calling my roomies to ask them if it has snowed. they told me it did, but it was not much. when i got back last month, there were a couple of instances where there were snow flurries. snow flakes, that's all. barely there to cover the ground.

then this week, the weather center said that there's going to be an inch of snow. i rejoiced. it's not that i have not seen snow, because i have. and it's also not because i haven't seen snow falling on cedars (that was a stretch...), because i have too.

what i have not seen was 10 to 12 hours of non-stop snow, with the flakes covering the ground slowly. after this, our courtyard was covered with about three inches of fresh, powdery and ultra-white snow.

i was ecstatic. then i remembered the email that circulated in the filipino community years ago, about this guy who was so happy to see snow for the very first time but after a week of shovelling and living with snow, he was screaming, "ibalik niyo ako sa pilipinas!" ("bring me back to the philippines!"). then i laughed. i was still ecstatic.

roomies are kinda weird. while it was snowing the entire day, we were indoors, watching the snow fall from the living room window. sometimes, we opened the veranda to feel the breeze. temperature was around 10 degrees F, but with the wind chill, it was more like -5. it was bitterly cold. perfect for a mug of hot chocolate! or tea! or cafe latte! all of which i had because it was just too cold outside.

me and the girls @ the courtyard of our apartment stepping on fresh snow

bored out of our wits, someone suggested a movie. by around 8, we were in the car, braving the snow-covered road to go to the cineplex about a mile away. we watched "the eye" (review forthcoming. hehehe) and after the film, we went out and we saw our car covered in snow.

nice! we didn't have the necessary tools (scraper, among them; salt, shovel) so miko had to scrape the snow on the winsdhield with plastic fork from a chinese takeout. nice!

drove back to the pad and had some white wine. it was a good day!


Thursday, February 14, 2008

v day

seen at the 42nd street-times square subway station last night: a not-so-subtle reminder that it was valentine's eve and that people should buy flowers for their loved ones. some enterprising guy put this up to sell flowers. not that flowers are that hard to find...but for those who are going straight home, then this was their best bet. i did not bother to ask how much his flowers were.

i did not realize that v-day's such a big deal here as well. even circuit city (!!) has its own v-day sale. (exilim cam for $139! save $40. hehehe). and last night, we went to path mark to do some grocery shopping and we were bombarded with anything and everything red. v-day this, v-day that. seriously, it was discombobulating. well, not really. i've always wanted to use that word. haha.

happy valentine's day people!


Monday, February 11, 2008

"there is a way to be good again"

not that i ever strayed to the other side. i'd like to think that i've always been good. generally speaking that is.

the statement above is one of the many memorable phrases/sentences i learned/picked up from this book called "the kite runner". i bought it around spring 07 and unfortunately, i did not find time to read it. i've been meaning to but my schedule during the past year has been erratic, to say the least.

i picked the book up from a stack of unread books just before i flew to manila last december. i thought i had time to read it. then on my way back last january, i saw it and it made me think: should i just leave it here? if i bring this back, will i be able to read it? i put it in my hand-carry, just in case i find time.

and i did. the book is a page-turner and i could not put it down. i finished about half and i feared that i won't be able to finish reading it. when i got back, i noticed that they were playing the film the kite runner (i did not even know that a film was in the works!) in the cineplex near the apartment. that pushed me to finish reading. i want to watch the film and see if it is at all comparable to the book.

i regret not reading the book earlier. it's one of the best stories i've read in a long time. it's raw, engaging, vivid, stirring, stunning, shocking - all rolled into one. it's also emotional. i found myself shedding tears while reading. not once, not twice. yes, the book is packed with an emotional wallop that hits you where it matters most.

khaled hosseini delivered a very good debut novel. i'm in awe.

next up is his second book - a thousand splendid suns - which i intend to start reading this week. a belated new year's resolution (i don't do resolutions!). i should read one book every two weeks. nope, i don't think that is doable. one book a month? that's more likely, given my tight working schedule.

12 books for 2008! hahaha. if i do more, then woohoo for me. if i do less, then boo!


mercury falling

winter has only a few weeks left and i still have to feel/see the new york winter i have always dreamed of. the past two weeks have been quite moderate (yes, considering it is winter) but last night, it was damn cold.

there were reported snow flurries somewhere. too bad we didn't get to see it. the temperature dipped to around 10 early this morning. it's around noon and it's only 16 degrees. factor in the wind chill and it feels like 5. degrees. fahrenheit.

it's good i don't have scheduled appointments today although i have one tomorrow and according to my widget, it's going to snow tomorrow. good luck to me. more postings coming up soon. lots to blog about.

Type rest of the post here


Tuesday, February 05, 2008

super tuesday

today, we will find if hillary is going to kick obama's butt or if obama will show hil who's the man. i don't care about who wins among the republicans. it could very well be huckabee.

then we also have the new york giants parade in manhattan. hehehe. it's time to celebrate. we'll be there for sure, so if you plan to be there, well, see you there. hahaha.

i'm quite swamped with work and i hope to finish some of the projects we have started. i also haven't found time to cover events and write about them. i kinda miss that.

aside from that, everything's been going quite well.

mamang's on her way to a great recovery. i've been calling her regularly since i got back and it's good to hear that she has been exerting extra effort to feel better and regain her lost energies. thank god for this, and thank you my friends for the prayers.

got news yesterday that one of my good friends is getting married this june. june bride talaga. i will be there! that's a promise.

one of my friends is pregnant and she's quite excited. she's giving birth in july.

hope to receive more great news in the future.

gotta run. don't forget to vote!


new addiction

i don't know if this product will click, but i am loving it. hehehe.

introducing, diet coke plus.

i am a diet coke addict and i find regular coke too sweet. this one is kinda sweet, maybe that's why it has vitaminerals. haha.

i'm not sure if this product is available all over. diet coke used to have one that's sweetened by splenda. they also had one that i truly loved: diet coke with lemon. i think they discontinued that. i don't like the diet coke with lime. it tastes blech.

sometimes i cross over back to my old-favorite, dr. pepper. at the grocery last week, i saw the newest dr. pepper: diet cherry vanilla dr. pepper. i was flummoxed. dr. pep in itself a mix of flavors. make it diet, add cherry and add vanilla and your tongue gets crazy. i've tasted it and i'm confused. i like my original.

sige pa dr. pepper. remember the dr. pepper berries & cream (diet and regular)? and yeah, for a limited time, there's also diet dr. pepper cherry chocolate. that, i need to try.


Monday, February 04, 2008

go giants!

and with that, the new york giants denied the new england patriots' quest for history.

hahaha. new york is abound with celebration as soon as the super bowl ended earlier. a friend asked if i watched and who i was cheering for. i retorted, "do you really need to ask?" of course i was rooting for the giants! never mind if i only watch football during the super bowl. make that my annual thing. hahaha.

it was too bad that two east coast teams travelled all the way to arizona to slug it out. it would have been nice if the patriots won, with their 19-0 record and all, and tom brady being so pa-cute and all, but alas, i was not bound to happen.

this was eli manning's super bowl glory. this was his time to finally come out of the shadow of his more famous brother peyton.

we're looking forward to the parade on tuesday! see you in manhattan!

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