Friday, August 24, 2007

Piaya! --

My dad went to Bacolod a few weeks ago and came back with two kinds of piaya. One was a familiar package -- piaya packed flat in plastic and the other one looked like this:

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It was the second one that caught our attention. My dad said that that was the best piaya in Bacolod. I was skeptical -- piaya is piaya. How can you differentiate one from the other?

It was when we tasted it that I understood why it was so special.

At first glance, the piaya looks messy -- the filling has leaked out of the crust.

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At first bite, one understands why this has happened. The dough is unbelievably thin and crisp. And the filling has spread to cover the entire inner surface of the dough and you can taste the nuttiness of the muscovado and the sesame seeds. This piaya isn't as sweet as other piaya.

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Typical piaya looks like this:

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It is usually made of several layers of dough which flakes off. There are parts of the piaya that don't get any of the filling, which makes those areas tough.

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The benefit of having several layers of the dough is that it can hold more filling. This is a good thing if you like sweet stuff (like me ^_^).

* * *

Found at SM --

We were at SM Iloilo yesterday and they had a display of Poore Brothers Kettle Chips. They are quite affordable at PhP76.50 per bag and they have very interesting flavors like: Three Cheese Jalapeno, Habanero, Sweet Maui Onion, Parmesan and Garlic, etc.

We got a bag of Mesquite BBQ and Three Cheese Jalapeno.

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I really love the texture of kettle chips and plan to eat bags of it when I am in Singapore.

In Tin News --

Realized it's been a week since I last posted an update --

I've read a lot of very interesting books lately --
1. Anthony Bourdain's A Cook's Tour <-- the chapter on Japan is my favorite ^_^
2. Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential <-- Funny, insightful, amazing!
3. The Nanny Diaries by Emma Mclaughlin and Nicola Krauss
4. Pay the Piper by Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple <-- an interesting take on the Pied Piper story. If you think about it, the Pied Piper is an un-fairy tale.

I've been very busy lately -- being a one-man Alumni Association newsletter machine. We were supposed to release the first issue this August but things happened and we aren't. We are now hoping to release the first issue this September. This week, I had to look through hundreds of pictures and tried to choose pictures representative of the many events my high school has held this year. I'm trying to get a dummy (no layout, no design, just text and photos) ready by Saturday so I can go on my vacation without any worries.

* * *

A funny --

Another reason why I know I married the right guy (and why I know he married the right girl):

We were at a Chinese restaurant last Sunday and, while waiting for the food, we got a copy of the menu and read through everything.

We were laughing at the "Beef with OK sauce" (as opposed to Beef with Very Good Sauce or Beef with Satisfactory Sauce) ^_^

After a few minutes of quiet, Johann finally said, "I know why they call it OK instead of XO ..."

"...if you put to XOs together, you get XOXO and people might read it 'so-so'"

I laughed hard. When my sister asked what we were laughing about, I told her. She didn't think it was that funny. We told my brother and he just twitched.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

An interesting meal --

There is a buzz in our school about the new Korean-Chinese restaurant called Huizhen --

I was very intrigued because my student, a guy who is very picky and particular about his food, actually recommended it to me.

Johann wanted to try it -- his student told him that it tasted "like Korea" so he went there last Saturday, intending to have lunch there with his students. When they arrived, they were told that the restaurant was closed for the day because their cook was sick.

Yesterday, Johann was grumbling about dinner -- frozen pizza. He doesn't like it because the crust is too thick and bready so I ordered some food for him from Huizhen.

We ordered ja jang myun (noodles in black sauce), bokum bap (fried rice with black sause) and tangsuyuk (sweet and sour pork). (For more information regarding Korean-Chinese cuisine, click here.)

We were so surprised when the food arrived -- everything was in proper serving plates and bowls -- all covered very well with cling wrap to avoid spillage.

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I like this style of "take-out" food -- it's a departure from the typical styrofoam and aluminum-wrapped food.

The system is simple -- they leave the food and you eat it. The delivery guy comes back for the plates and bowls 2 hours later. ^_^

* * *

Chocolate! --

When I told my youngest brother about Dream Cacao and asked him if he could get me some, he told me that there are a lot of different kinds of chocolates and percentages in Japan. So he gave us this haul --

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These two Kitkat varieties are very interesting, one of them is green tea and the other one has 61% chocolate --

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He also gave me this --

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I love peanut butter and chocolate together. My absolute favorite is M&M Peanut Butter. Reese's is a close second. ^_^

Oh, and this is a different version of the Dream Cacao chocolate --

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We tried the 72%, expecting it to be very bitter but it is, surprisingly, quite yummy. The chocolate flavor is stronger, which I like. ^_^

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Found at Books and Mags --

Books and Mags is the SM-owned used books seller. They have permanent shelves set up outside Surplus Shop and Island Photo and it is a floor above Booksale.

Johann and I were surprised to see Booksale closed for renovations so we made our way upstairs to Books and Mags because they had recently restocked their shelves.

We found these:
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The Runaway Bunny board book was PhP150.00 and The Crossword Obsession was PhP99.00 --

There was also a hardcover copy of The Nanny Diaries for PhP90.00 but I decided to skip it for now because I still have some books to finish reading.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

More stuff from the mail --

One of our Korean friends, Sue, returned to Korea about a month ago -- we spent a lot of time with her and Phoebe when she was here in Iloilo. She continues to keep in touch through emails with Johann.

Most recently, she asked us if we got the package she sent. We were very surprised because we weren't expecting anything --

True enough, the package arrived last Friday and we were so amazed with what she had sent --

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She knew how much Johann and I enjoyed the Dream Cacao which Phoebe shared with us and she sent us more.

It really made our day.

So now, Johann and I are planning to send her our own "care" package from Iloilo. ^_^

* * *

Oh --

And this is puto.

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One of the best puto makers here in Iloilo is Manapla and their little store is 2 blocks away from my house.

Every day, they open at around 5 and, by 8, they've usually sold all of their stock for the day.

They have 3 kinds --
May gata - purple
May gata - white
Walang gata - white (may dahon)

Seth loves the walang gata. He enjoys chewing on it. ^_^

* * *

And I made this --

Phoebe is leaving for Australia on Thursday. This is unexpected -- we thought she was leaving on the 15th but, because it is very difficult to get a flight to Australia, she had no choice but to go earlier.

We had dinner with her last night at Al Dente (which is where we had our last dinner with Sue, as well) --

After dinner, I decided to make her a little something --

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I'm sure that a lot of people would be asking her for her email and phone number so I made her calling cards.

I found a scrap of pink tulle and a pink ribbon and used that to tie everything together.

I'll talk about this project in my other blog.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Feeling a little bleh --

It's Saturday evening. The day has ended and I have one day left of the weekend --

I didn't do much today -- went out to get breakfast, paid bills, applied to have the bills charged to my credit card automatically every month and then stayed at home the rest of the day.

I was supposed to attend the Ateneo Alumni Association-Iloilo Chapter meeting at 8 tonight (it's newly formed! ^_^) but I really don't feel like going out anymore.

... I keep wishing something more would happen ... but my sister reminded me that we don't always get exactly what we wish for.

* * *

I like this song --

And the lead singer is so cute! ^_^

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

so, harry potter --

I finished reading it today -- I was actually trying to delay finishing the book because I didn't want it to end. (Silly reason, I know --)

After I finished it, I let out a huge sigh of satisfaction -- as though I had just had a glorious 8-course Chinese lauriat meal, and then I went back and read some key chapters again. ^_^

When the first book of the series was released in 1997, I wasn't part of the hoopla -- in fact, I stayed as far away from it as I could. I have never been impressed by hype and have never been swayed by it. I was wary of the hype -- but, even then, I couldn't help but be intrigued by a book that had affected as many people as it had.

When the third book was released, I was actually in London for the Cambridge Summer School and all the bookstores were getting ready for the release. I didn't pay attention to the dozens of radio programs that had invited JK Rowling for an interview. On the day it was released, I made my way to Waterstone's, passed the Harry Potter books, and picked up a copy of Jeffrey Eugenides' The Virgin Suicides instead.

It was in 2002 that we finally gave in and got the boxed set of the first three books (paperback and on sale). It was summer -- and I was holed up in brother's unit at Burgundy for the night. My sister and brothers had to attend a VtES tourney so I was left in Katipunan to man the store the next day. I had books 1 and 2 with me. I was surprised by how quickly I had gotten through book 1 and was already on book 2 so I called our house and asked the yaya to meet me at the store the next day and bring book 3 with her.

Book 4 was purchased by my brother in Singapore. He got it at Kinokuniya and it came with a bag. We got book 5 when we were in Singapore. Also at Kinokuniya. Book 6 was the most special because Johann and I got it in Thailand when we were on our honeymoon.

Each Harry Potter book is tied to a kwento in my life and I am glad that it is. ^_^