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CookingforOne: DOUBLE DOWN CARBONARA

THE LONG INTRO

After a few months of living alone (at least on weekdays), I finally decided to give in and buy STUFFS to cook food in! 

Nothing major, just an induction cooker and a few utensils. Much to my dismay though, my mom’s fancy non-stick won’t work with it. *_* Ended up using a heavy stainless pan.

Since I’m out most nights, I only have time once a week to fix myself dinner, and first on the list… carbonara!

This is not my first attempt, it was another pasta creation a few weeks back, but this had this embarrassing back-story of sorts.

I’m no cooking expert, which is why, this isn’t really cooking - others may want to call it mixing ingredients together + applying heat = science experiment! But just like what Ratatouille (the rat) said:

"Anyone can cook." But I realize, only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist; but a great artist [can] come from [anywhere]

And so, the adventure begins!

I ordered a KFC double down meal for lunch. Feeling guilty for not running earlier that day, I thought I didn’t deserve to finish the original chicken AND this bacon and cheese filled fillet goodness!

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I decided to get some items from the supermarket, which included canned goods and a selection of Clara Ole sauces, which I’ve been hearing friends raving about for quick pasta fixes.

Not even halfway back to the office, one of the two the paper bags in my hand gets wet from the pineapple I bought and tore wide open. I reached the office elevator when the unthinkable happened — cans dropping to the floor!! I had no way to reach down without spilling the rest of the items, like pasta, bread and other goods for the “domesticated”. Thank you to random person for picking them up for me. 

I wanted to get off at a different floor, but I just had to get over it.

THE ACTUAL CARBONARA

Fast forward to dinner time. I decided to document every step of the way for the benefit of another hungry soul out there, but it’s really more for my amusement.

Because I only have one pan, I cooked the pasta first until it was al dente, which required me to eat three pieces to test a few minutes apart from each other, because I really want to make sure I dont over or undercook. NO, YOU CANNOT TELL JUST BY LOOKING!

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Late DISCLAIMER: I did mention this is really just mixing ready-made items so.. canned bangus goes in with the sauce mix. This is not the usual, coz I thought I still had tuna left. Fish, same-same.image

Put them all together — now, it feels stupid to even write it step-by-step but it’s almost done anyway, let’s just all go along with it, shall we?

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Add cheeeeese.

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And just because I had some… jazzed it up with almonds for added crunch!

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Now for the double down, I decided to place it in the toaster to heat. In it went, wrapper and all…

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BAD DECISION! because no Mark, it’s NOT THE SAME AS A MICROWAVE OVEN. Noted.

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Salt, pepper, basil, parmesan and whatever else you have to tasteimage

Aaaaaaaaand, voila! With or without filter, it LOOKS GOOD!

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TIP: Prepare your lock&locks for the left-overs and serve up for breakfast with team mates the next day, they’ll thank you for it :)

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NEXT WEEK: Steaaaaaaaaaaak Surprise!

LEGIT COOKING INVOLVED!

REPOST: MarkisAM on Tumblr

RAMEN BREAK… or make that, BREAK FROM RAMEN

It was time for an early Sunday dinner with the rents and we decided to check out what else we can find at The Grove aside from Starbucks.

It’s the Rockwell development along C5, right in front of Tiendesitas. Yes, it’s the one with the misty fountain at the entrance. I know I should have snapped a photo (every other resto review I saw at the Grove had that fountain featured in it) Guess you’ll just have to check it out for yourselves.

We ended up choosing Umami over Sunrise Buckets, which is fine since I’ve had my share of wings in a bucket before. I was already trying to recall which one is which, between Shoyu and Shio as we stepped inside, only to find out it’s NOT A RAMEN place! 

Umami Hambaagu House

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Their specialty is burger steak! Is that even really Japanese, I thought. Always open to try new things, we stayed and were in for a fun(ny) night.

It has a really funky interior, just check out this monster on the wall.

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The seats are plush and comfty and you just can’t help but look around and check out the place. They have a friendly waiting staff, a girl was standing beside us the whole time, so it wasn’t a hassle asking for water refill. They were also helpful in recommending what to order. The only thing that made it awkward was when my mom would laugh a bit too loud. (I’ll get to that in a while)

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Zoom in on these quirky details on the wall (both found near the toilet). The bill that comes in a bucket and the receipt comes back in a little push-cart (my iphone was already dead by that time, so I wasn’t able to take a photo *sigh* I can dedicate a whole series of posts on battery fail)

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But before paying, obviously we had to sample the goods!

It was a meal set of beef and pork burger steak with japanese rice, sesame mayonnaise salad, edamame on the side and a generous serving of JUMBO FRIES!!! There are about a dozen options ranging from plain, to the ones with creamy sauce or gravy, an option topped with egg, pineapple or caramelized onion and the fancier ones with truffle cream sauce or foie gras. They also have a kids menu, serving up rice in fun shapes.

I loaded up on the edamame before chowing down the burger steak, it was an easy bite, remembering the meat to be so tender. I was confused whether to pair it up with rice or fries, but it’s great that you have both options on your plate (or should i say, tray)

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I mentioned we were in for a funny night, and the TV on the wall was to blame. There are two screens, one showing anime and this one right next to our seat, showing funny Japanese gag videos, which pretty much stole my parents’ attention the whole time.

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They were enjoying themselves too much, I didn’t even bother starting any sort of conversation (reserving that for dinners at home) Besides, I was also busy finishing my set, which was a lot.

If you’re feeling quirky, down for a big meal or just had enough of ramen (not a ramen hater, just saying) - have your own Umami experience! Peak into their facebook page, saw a dealgrocer tie up in there.

-AM

Rereading Rizal

One of my goals before was to reread Noli Me Tangere again but without the scholarly point of view on it. It feels different when we are obligated to read something for grades in Filipino or a literature class. I wanted to read the book again but this time for leizure. I decided to read it in Spanish and see what the fuss is about and if it would be a peculiar experience having read it in Spanish , the actual words used by Rizal. 

 Rizal is brilliant! 100 plus years after Noli Me Tangere was published the story still applies to the current day Philippines. This is what long bus rides can do to me….. pondering on a century old novel and finally read in its original version feels much more real and in contact with the author. “Puedo conceder que el Gobierno desconozca al pueblo, pero creo que el pueblo conoce menos al Gobierno. Hay funcionarios inútiles, malos, si usted quiere, pero también los hay buenos y si éstos no pueden nada hacer, es porque se encuentran con una masa inerte: la población que toma poca participación en las cosas que le atañen.” “I can concede that the government doesn´t know its people, but I believe the people know less of the government. There are useless officials, evil, if you like, but there are also good ones, and these are not able to accomplish anything because they encounter an inert mass, the population that takes little part in matters that concern them.” So please be vigilant and don´t forget the pork barrel scam vote wisely next election!

-ANIMOENZO

late afternoon stroll.

There are coffee hangouts, fancy dinners over wine or partying all night, and then there’s also the occasional all-nighter in the office. I must also mention the workout sessions and weekend long runs for the health buffs, but never, at least not in my immediate circle, a late afternoon stroll at the park. It’s not a very Gen Y thing to do.

Thanks to my friend’s excitement over a long lost (and now found) film camera, we decided to talk a “photowalk”. Not extremely random since I also needed to pick up something in Makati. We ended up in Ayala triangle.

Sure, people go there a lot these days, but it’s either to check out the row of restaurants (try Poco Deli) or go for an after-work run. The lights show was also up during the holidays, making it all the more crowded at night. So what happened to just taking a walk? Was it even ever a thing?

I remember a company top level manager, who shared a story that one day, he decided to get up from his work pod to head out to the Ayala triangle library. Coming out of that afternoon walk was an insightful message that inspired his organization. My additional take-aways were - 1> there’s a library there? and 2> he walked to the park, who does that?

No, a walk in a park will most likely NOT change your life, but it allows you to exercise just appreciating the simple things and yes, also a bit of physical exercise for those sitting in an office desk all day. On that late Friday afternoon post the holidays, I was fortunate enough to see…

man vs mango… in the city!

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an office dude on a rock with his music on.

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a blonde toddler who’s not on hyper-care.

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a lady-in-waiting

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photo credit goes to my friend’s “eye”, taken with my trusty iphone.


When was the last time you took a stroll?

-AM, first posted on Mark is AM on tumblr

After Christmas Chills

I look up and marvel at the constellation right above me. I come up here on the roof top to make myself feel stellar in the phoniest sense; in the most hopeful sense. Don’t we all feel like we want to be a part of the stars sometimes? The clouds seem to be the same clouds in the galaxy, and sometimes I wonder if clouds are all we can be – precipitation, gas.

A day after Christmas and the world’s festive bubble is popped – back to work and silence envelops the neighborhood once again – no deaftone karaoke singers and only sparse colorful blinking lights left alit. Fear has a way of getting into the season – fear of fire, fear of high electric bills. Reality has its way of catching up with feasts.

It wasn’t this quiet when I was a kid. Was it because I grew faster than I wanted to? Or was it because giftgiving becomes boring as you grow old?

I am well aware sometimes that my thinking is too rigid, too cynical. But I listen to pop songs and there it was, the Eraserheads’ Fruitcake taking the words out of my mouth – now that I understand. Back when I was younger, it was just another pop song. Music sure has its way of getting to you – regardless of age, subject to time and experience.

Why do I come up here? It used to be that this was my recluse, when I wanted to be “on top of the world” with an occassional cigarette. But lately, it seems to be a regular occurrence. I ask myself why, and I get scared that its familiarity would devoid me of the elevated satisfaction.

I stayed here far too often last week – a day after Papadom of Tropical Depression passed away. He is not a friend, nor an acquaintance. For some reason, we were not introduced in spite my boyfriend being a good friend of his. I come up here, contemplating on why his death affected me too much. With that last puff of cigarette, it dawned to me.

I was in first grade, scrimping my allowance for the week, sacrificing overpriced Nerds and Crazy Hair candies for a copy of Song Hits magazines sold on the sidewalk by the bus stop. A collage of foreign artists grace the covers of these masa magazines, but heck did I care, I was in it for the song lyrics back when they can only be found in sleeves of albums I can’t afford. I grabbed the thickest one, left two ten-peso bills by the wooden plank and caught up with our house help’s quick pace. Nothing else preoccupied me on my way home but that excitement, the sheer joy of singing along to songs on the radio.

When I get home, I equally enjoy Ace of Base’s I Saw the Sign with Tropical Depression’s Bilog Na Naman Ang Buwan because back then, radio and music were the cheapest and most varied forms of entertainment barring cable TV.

Fast forward to 2013 when I met Papadom, I was starstruck – I had rare opportunities to meet singers and artists outside my convent school life. It was disappointing to finally meet him and this wide-eyed fan not having the guts to hold out her hand for a shake. Such opportunities.

I was disappointed because I had a picture of him in my head as the successful reggae artist that he was. He came across snobbish; had he not died, I wouldn’t have known that he had that coldness towards people he didn’t know, but as they say, he was warm to those close to him. How could have I known? I didn’t hold out my hand to him. I guess I never can, now.

With regret, I contemplate on the life of an artist. I contemplate on the life of an artist in the Philippines, and how difficult it is to be one in this economy, in this society. Having a family, forging a niche market in the dwindling music industry infested with piracy and remakes that are often hardly different from the original, materializing a musical vision with fans sacrileging his sacred reggae with mainstream idolatry – too much frustration, too much pain. So, I ask, was it worth it?

Searching for the answer brought me back to when I was a kid, when my classmate threw a stone on the water, telling me how earthquakes work. How a tremor can affect a radius far-reaching. It was fascinating.

This girl’s childhood memories are far from Papadom’s epicenter, but the waves are felt on this side of the roof top.

I feel the chill of the wind. I look up at the stars again. I see him there and I am humbled. There’s that star that winked and said: You can be more than clouds – but first get off your phony rooftop.

I guess he wasn’t a snob after all.

-ELLA

say oui to La Crêperie

It was a late Sunday afternoon and my appointment was confirmed to meet up for dinner at this place called La Crêperie in New Manila, I just said yes, even if I had no clue where that is. Living in lower Antipolo and now working in Ayala Ave, my world mostly revolved around Makati, Fort and on slow Sundays, Eastwood.

I googled and was directed to their facebook page showing me a number of branches, one in Katipunan, another in San Juan and there, New Manila! But that didn’t help. I typed it on waze and chose the option near Tomas Morato. So when I heard my phone say “you have reached your destination” along a side street in Timog, I was bummed out to find myself nowhere. I had to check google maps to discover that it was still two kilometers out.

After passing by a lot of Scouts (Sct Rallos, Sct Fuentabella). I finally found this shack, just a block behind a main road, E. Rod.

It looked quaint from the outside, and it remained true to this as I stepped inside. The place was empty when I got there, so I took the opportunity to snap a few pics before it was filled up around seven.

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While I am not an expert in art, pieces like this one on the wall does a lot to transport you to a different place. The exposed light bulbs add an old-homey touch. I remember the feel to be much warmer than what was captured in the pictures.

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I ordered hot chocolate, the best one in their selection called Angelina’s - their pièce de résistance, it says on the menu. This special creation better deliver, I thought. My server mastered her top-up skills and offered to have crepe along with it, the place is called La Crêperie after all. She recommended one of their best sellers, Mango Hazelnet au Chocolat. It wasn’t a difficult sell, thanks to the photo in the menu - one on the top right.

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And it did not disappoint, just look at this marvel on my table! 

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The hot chocolate ensemble, which came in its own tray had whipped cream on the side and a couple of cacao chips inside the cup for more chocolatey goodness! Worth the 185pesos, you would have otherwise spent for a venti in a to-go cup. The mango crepe is as yummy as it looks. Fresh fruit with your favorite Nutella, but I craved more of the caramel drizzle. It’s dark and rich, heaps beyond what I’m used to (what you can find in a McDonald’s sundae, feel free to judge). At 205pesos, it’s at par with what your usual crepe place offers. Just not sure if you can get that same non-commercial feel from their mall branches though.

The experience of getting there, the hole in the wall vibe, the cozy and unique interior, and inviting food selection was something that’s hard not to write and rave about. I’ll be back and have friends tag along, for sure!

- AM

SEOUL SEARCHING

Korea has got to be one of the Must Visit places in Asia. I’ve been there a couple of times, and it never fails to excite me. Let me share with you MY TOP FIVE reasons why I think Korea is awesome!

5> WEATHER

Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall, I love them all. I don’t think Filipinos will disagree with me on this; coming from a tropical country, Korea’s weather is one of the reasons why I keep going back. My favorite season has got to be Spring, it has just the right chilliness and you get to enjoy all the beautiful flowers that bloom in season. It is the perfect time to travel there, shop, walk around, take pictures and eat their local street foods.

4> ENTERTAINMENT

Just before the KOREANOVELAS and K-POP phenomenon hit our country, I remember desperately watching them in Korea’s local channel without any subtitles.lol at that time, I probably just understood 30% of what’s going on, but I was so drawn to it that I couldn’t stop.  Let me tell you now that it’s almost impossible to spot a celebrity in Korea, unlike here where you can just go to certain places or bars and party with the stars. The most common way tourists get to satisfy their Koreanovela fix is to visit places where these dramas have been shot. Some places include Nami Island (Winter Sonata), Lotte World (Stairway to Heaven), Korean Folk Village, Naganeupseong, Suwon Hwaseong Haenggung Palace, and Changdeokgung Palace for (Jewel in the Palace), and Jeju Island (Full House).

A photo taken in Nami Island (Winter Sonata).

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The famous carousel from Stairway to Heaven <3

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3> KOREAN PEOPLE

Now, I know this is very subjective so I’ll only discuss this based on my experience with Koreans. My best friend is an awesome Korean girl. There’s nothing much to say about our friendship except that we just clicked.

I put Korean people on my top list, because they will really make your trip there extra special. For some reason, they love foreigners. They get extra friendly (esp. when they can speak English), and at times you get favors being a foreigner in Korea. Some establishments give extra discount or freebies if they like you. On some occasions, be ready to be avoided by some locals who fear the English language (aka nosebleed).

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2> SHOPPING

Dong dae mun. Myung dong. Gang nam. Shin chon. These are the shopping spots I recommend you visit. I would say the prices of the items you’ll find in these places are pretty much like our very own Greenhills. They are quite affordable, fashionable, and the quality of the items is extremely good.  I remember purchasing a bag from Gang Nam station that cost me 400php and it lasted for 3 years (note: I abused that bag,lol).

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Of course, no lady in her right mind would travel to Korea and not get anything from their famous cosmetics shop. See? Not crazy.

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1> FOOD

Kimchi, Bibimbap, Ddeokbukki, Bulgogi, Sam gyup sal, are some of the signature dishes/ side dishes in Korea.  Koreans love rice, and we do too!

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Don’t miss out to try their local street food :)

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Korean breads are so divine <3 try visiting Paris Baguette. Although I remember seeing branches in other countries too. Try their baked creations ^.^ it’s really good.

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Here’s my best friend MeRae polishing off Korea’s famous dessert, the Bingsu. It’s refreshing, it’s healthy, and it can give you a brain freeze.

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I’m sure you’ll have your own reasons why Korea is worth visiting. I gave you my top picks. I’ll have more stories about Korea and their people in my future posts. Apart from the places I’ve mentioned above, I also recommend you visit Seoul Tower, the Teddy Bear Museum, Vivaldi Park, Ocean World, National Palace Museum of Korea, Everland, So Rak San, Walker Hill (esp. during spring), , famous temples which  names I can’t recall. Happy Seoul Searching. Anyeong!

- BEA

We were, once upon a time, student radio DJ rockstars —- back together even though we’re miles apart!

This is our little spot in the world wide web to to share our collective thoughts for the foodie in you in GASTRONOMY, our travelogue in WANDERLUST, our common love for music in JUKE BOX and to get you thinking with our RAMBLINGS

Check back often!

-One Frequency

PSST and Hoy, ways of determining who is Pinoy.

The United States, Hong Kong, Spain, France and Singapore are probably the countries that I went to that epitomizes the idea of a melting pot of cultures. In a hodgepodge of races, sometimes it is nearly impossible to point out who your fellow Filipinos are. I got my fair share of miscalculations when I would speak in Tagalog with Malays, Indonesians, Thais, and even the Chinese in Granada or in Venice and would just get a blank stare that spells out “What the hell are you talking about?”. Through my traveling experiences, keen observation skills, and constant trial and error, I can now point out who my countrymen are in a sea of people in a foreign land. So what are the signs that would tell you that someone is indeed Filipino?

At the airport you know someone is pinoy when:

  • He is standing with 12 huge boxes bigger than himself and he would call these things “luggage”
  • He would put his hands together and say excuse me to get his bags from the conveyor
  • While waiting in line or for something, he will be comfortable in a squatting position with his elbows resting on his knees
  • He would look for a CR instead of the toilet or restroom
  • At the sight of their relatives, he would kiss them all in the cheeks and would say “You were this small when I left (only to find out that they haven’t even seen each other yet!)”


At the hotel:

  • Your mom would bring home all the tissue, toothpaste, sewing kit, tooth brush, shampoo from the hotel and would even ask if it’s ok to bring home the towels or worse the pillows
  • They would wash their clothes on the sink or bath tub and hang it in the bathroom
  • He would ask his room to be made up every now and then to get more tissue, toothpaste, sewing kit etc.
  • He asks for Colgate instead of toothpaste
  • He would bring home the hotel key card holder or worse the card itself for “souvenir sake”


At the restaurant:

  • They are the ones who developed their rice to viand ratio. They know exactly when to order extra rice even if they haven’t started eating yet. 
  • He uses the term dig in literally by using his hands to eat
  • He thinks it’s ok to put his foot up the chair and let his elbows rest on his knees
  • If they see someone familiar they are going to ask them to eat with them (they don’t mean it and they are doing it for the sake of being polite)
  • The person they ask to eat with them will say “No thank you!” because it is already agreed upon that everything that has been said is just for courtesy. You’d be “makapal ang mukha” if you said yes. 
  • If they haven’t finished eating everything then they would ask the waiter to wrap everything up and say “for take out” instead of “to go!”


The list could go on and on but nothing beats non-verbal communication. We have something in our very own bodies that would beat GPS anytime! Through evolution, we have learned to use our mouth to point at just about everything when giving directions. We acknowledge our fellow Pinoys by greeting them by raising both our eyebrows and nodding our head upwards. These maybe hasty generalizations but what the heck it’s all for fun. I love being Pinoy and all the the atrocities attached to being one. If you are not sure when the person is in front of you is Pinoy then the “pssst!” technique would always do the trick.

Did I miss anything? Go ahead and leave a comment

- ENZO