Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Inside the Center for Culinary Arts USDA Theater: "Malabon's Best" Class

Disclosure: As part of my invite to the Manila Food and Wine Festival 2013, I got a free pass to one of the Center for Culinary Arts Manila's two hour-long cooking classes. Still, this review is going to be unsugarcoated: praise what needs to be praised, criticize what needs to be criticized.
 

The "Malabon's Best" class was a demonstration cooking class that focused on Filipino rice cakes. The class was headed by Ms. Annie Pascual Guerrero, a proud native of Malabon. It was held last February 23 at the USDA Theater of the Center for Culinary Arts (CCA)-Manila in Katipunan.

From what I know, the USDA Theater was the result of the partnership between the United States Department of Agriculture and CCA. The USDA provided the culinary school with equipment for a fully equipped training facility, complete with audio-visual capabilities.

It was my first time to enter the CCA grounds. I approached the guard, expecting to be asked for some identification or purpose of my visit. I asked him where the USDA Theater was located and he pointed me inside. I was not asked to present any ID or to sign in any logbook. Part of me was touched at manong guard's vote of confidence on me being a good guy but part of me wished he was stricter in letting visitors in.

Library and Research Center under construction at CCA Manila

Monday, February 25, 2013

Celebrity Chef Cook-off: Day 1 of the Manila Food and Wine Festival 2013

Disclosure: I got an invite to the Celebrity Chef Cook-off at the Manila Food and Wine Festival 2013. The invite entitled me to meals from 2 food trucks of my choice (I chose red and blue). Still, this review is going to be unsugarcoated: praise what needs to be praised, criticize what needs to be criticized.
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When the Center for Culinary Arts invited me to the Celebrity Chef Cook-off and asked me to choose two food trucks, it took me a long time to decide since everything sounded yummy. To summarize, here were the different food trucks:

food trucks at the Celebrity Chef Cook-off (Manila Food and Wine Festival 2013)
celebrity chefs Robby Goco, Marvin Agustin, Sau del Rosario, Bruce Lim, Florabel Co, Tristan Encarnacion
celebrity chefs Robby Goco, Marvin Agustin, Sau del Rosario, Bruce Lim,
Florabel Co, and Tristan Encarnacion

Impressive line of celebrity chefs: Chef Robby Goco of Cyma, Chef Marvin Agustin of the Sumo Sam chain, Chef Sau Del Rosario of Food Garage and Villa Cafe, Chef Bruce Lim of the Asian Food Channel, Chef Florabel Co-Yatco of the Florabel chain of restaurants, and culinary endorser, Chef Tristan Encarnacion.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Moonleaf Tea Shop @ Katipunan

After gorging on chicken wings and bagnet at B. Wings, we stumbled upon a nearby Moonleaf Tea Shop branch. I'd been meaning to try Moonleaf but never got around to doing that, so seeing this branch was a good opportunity.

yogurt milk tea and vanilla milk tea at Moonleaf Tea Shop in Katipunan
yogurt milk tea - P85  ||  vanilla milk tea with pearls - P85

We tried the yogurt milk tea and vanilla milk tea with pearls. I was glad to learn that Moon Leaf's milk teas have a good strong taste, compared to other milk teas where the tea seems to be only an afterthought. Of the two flavors we ordered, I prefer the vanilla milk tea.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Moshi Moshi Japanese Fast Food Restaurant (Katipunan)

Moshi Moshi is a Japanese fast food joint located in Regis Tower in Katipunan, sharing the same floor with Saint's Alp Teahouse and other foodie havens. This resto serves various rice bowls, bento boxes, snacks, vegetable salads, drinks, and desserts.

Moshi Moshi Japanese fast food restaurant in Katipunan
moshi moshi = "Hello" or "Hi" when answering the phone

Taste

I've read good reviews about this place so we decided to go here for a light dinner. We ordered Takoyaki, Tendon, California Roll, Shoyu Ramen, a slice of cheesecake for dessert, and Lemon Iced Tea and Apple Iced Tea to wash them all down. I was hoping to try their Okonomiyaki; unfortunately, it was not available during our visit.

I liked the takoyaki. Not much octopus inside but the balls were soft and the sauce, mayo, and bonito flakes boosted the yumminess. I should have ordered the bigger set (10pcs).

Takoyaki balls at Moshi Moshi
Takoyaki (6pcs) - P55

Monday, February 18, 2013

Review of Ninety Seconds (Short Sci-Fi Thriller)

Ninety Seconds is a short sci-fi thriller set in the near future, where people can hire "techs" -- private detectives who have access to surveillance equipment similar to those used by intelligence agencies.

poster of the short film Ninety Seconds

Check out my review of Ninety Seconds at the Cyberpunk World blog. The post contains the embedded video, so you can watch this short film in full.

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Friday, February 15, 2013

Event Alert: Manila Food and Wine Festival (MFWF): Cooking Revolution 2013

If you're a cooking enthusiast or a food lover like me, you may want to check out the first ever the Manila Food & Wine Festival 2013. It is happening on Feb 22-25 and is spearheaded by the Culinary Education Foundation.

Manila Food and Wine Festival 2013

The festival will kick off with a food truck cook-off on February 22 at the SM Mall of Asia Grounds Block 12 from 5pm til midnight. Six top Pinoy chefs will battle in this event. You can vote for your favorite chef and taste their unique dishes.


There is also a Facebook contest for a chance to win VIP Food Truck Pass, Cravings junior cake, and other goodies.

On days 2-4 of the festival, various participating restaurants will be offering their set lunch and dinner meals at greatly discounted prices. Lastly, an AFC Gala Dinner will be held at the Makati Shangri-La on February 25.

For inquiries and tickets, visit mfwf.ph.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Chicken Wings and Bagnet at B. Wings in Katipunan

B. Wings is a casual restaurant located in Katipunan. This resto serves chicken wings, bagnet, and fish.

B. Wings signage


Taste

B. Wings offers two kinds of buffalo wings: originals and specials. The original-style buffalo wings are available in three levels of heat: mild (mildly-spiced sauce with a touch of honey for sweetness), medium (medium spiced with a cheesy flavor) and hot (hot and flavored with herbs and spices such as jalapenos, habaneros, and siling labuyo). There are four kind of special wings flavors: Barack Opakpak (hot flavored using fresh herbs and spices such as African chillies with a touch of cilantro), Black Mamba Wings (Mexican mole-inspired, the bitter-sweetness of cocoa combined with spicy chillies), Caramelized Wings (mildly-spiced with a hint of peanut butter), and P-Noy Wings (non-spicy, flavored using dried herbs and spices, sinigang-like fried chicken with dayap undertones).

For each pound of chicken wings, you can choose two flavors. B. Wings' bagnet, meanwhile, is available in these flavors: Bicol Express, Binagoongan, Dinuguan, and Kare-Kare with Bagoong.

Friday, February 8, 2013

The Beaver (2011 Drama) Movie Review

The Beaver is a 2011 drama film about a depressed man who adopts a beaver hand puppet to communicate with people around him.

The Beaver movie  poster

Synopsis: Walter Black (Mel Gibson) is suffering from a deep depression. His relationship with his family is strained and the toy company he inherited from his father is nearing bankruptcy. After his wife Meredith (Jodie Foster) asks him to move out, he finds a beaver puppet in the dumpster and puts it on then begins drinking heavily in a hotel room. At the end of his wits, he prepares to end it all. Right before he jumps off a high ledge, the puppet begins talking to him, causing him to fall back and saving his life. He begins talking to himself and others through the puppet, claiming that the puppet is a treatment program to create a psychological distance between Walter and the negative aspect of his personality. With this new personality, he finds renewed vigor, gets close to his family again, and sparks creativity within his company. The success gets him a lot of publicity and respect. Things go smoothly until the beaver begins taking over his life.

Friday, February 1, 2013

In the Night Room by Peter Straub (Horror Novel): Spoiler-Free Review

Synopsis: Willy Patrick suffered a mental breakdown when she lost her husband and daughter in an accident several years ago. Now recovered and engaged to a rich but mysterious man named Mitchell Faber, she begins to doubt her sanity once more. She experiences gaps in her memory and a strong feeling that her daughter is alive and kept in a warehouse. When Mitchell's house gets damaged by a fallen tree, Willy accidentally stumbles upon a photograph that sends her fleeing for her life, with Mitchell's goons hunting her down. Meanwhile, the famous writer Tim Underhill is being haunted by his sister's ghost and receives messages from dead people. Cyrax, an entity from the other side, claims that Tim has angered the spirit of a serial killer whom he wrote about in his previous book. Willy meets Tim, as if by fate, and learns the awful truth about who and what she really is.

Peter Straub horror novel In the Night Room
Book Review (no spoilers): In the Night Room is a continuation of Peter Straub's earlier book Lost Boy Lost Girl. Important points in the previous book are referenced and explained, so the reader can fully understand In The Night Room even if he has not read Lost Boy Lost Girl.

In the first half of the novel, there are two plot lines: the story of Willy Patrick and the story of Tim Underhill. The plot lines merge by the middle of the book. The two storylines are very engaging and it is hard to put down the book as the separate tales unravel.

There is a big twist in this book, and unlike other stories, the twist is not at the end but in the middle of the novel. After the revelation, though, the book loses steam.

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