It’s been a couple months since I last made a food review, and to be quite frank, I don’t think it’s such a bad thing. The latter end of last year was spent making new memories, ones that were meant to last even without the presence of a DSLR, and I for one couldn’t have been any happier. 

At the moment, I’m still slowly coursing myself through this whole journey of going back to food reviewing. I can’t say for certain when my next “real one” will be but I’m in no rush. For now, I’m happy with taking food shots and not having a self-imposed deadline for when they should be up on the blog.

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I started off the year with a lot of food, family time (both mine and my Vergs’), and lots of pleasant surprises in between. I swear, I’ve got more stories to tell, but for now I’ll stick to my grandma’s 86th birthday. 

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My grandma and I never really saw each other eye to eye when it came to most things. She was traditional and a little too strong-willed while I was just a tad bit stubborn and a product of an entirely new generation. Despite our differences, I always knew that I was one of her favorites — she may have blatantly announced this every time we’d have family gatherings, which might have led to a few uncomfortable moments what with my cousins there and all. 

Anyway, I digress. For her birthday, we asked her for ideas on how she wanted to celebrate. After all, turning 86 is a milestone in this day and age. Initially, she just wanted to stay at home and rest, but after a few prods from my parents, she agreed to a trip down memory lane — in the literal sense. We spent the day in the car travelling around Manila, looking at old apartments she lived in and familiar areas where she grew up.

I’m not one to enjoy sitting in the car as a passenger — I’d rather drive to battle boredom — but on this trip, I wasn’t the least bit bored. Maybe it was because of the stories she and my dad exchanged while driving by their 3rd or was it 4th apartment, or maybe it was because Vergs was there and I didn’t feel singled out via age group. Whatever it was, it sure made for a great day. 

We dropped by Manila Ocean Park for late lunch at Makan-Makan. I was surprised that they changed their service — they wait at tables now instead of the get-up-and-order-your-own-fare, the kind that was reminiscent of how Singaporeans usually dine — but oh well, it saved us the effort of waiting in line, I guess. 

Here are a few of the plates we ordered:

Bak Kut Teh, a favorite of my dad’s.

Roti, one of my favorites. If I could have authentic Roti Prata everyday, I probably would.

Broccoli in Oyster Sauce. Can you say smothered?

Crab Rice, an ode to my lolo who used to order Crab Rice at every chance he got.

Carrot Cake. This was a scam. It tasted nothing like what we were used to.

Calamari, which in my opinion, is something I will ordering a lot soon.

We all definitely ate too much during this day, but hey, I guess that’s what comes with every birthday celebration. :)

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Happy birthday again, grandma!

& just like that, in true Roxci fashion, this blog has yet again been abandoned for quite some time.

I’d rather not go into specifics and whatnot anymore because of time constraint, but let’s just say that 2013 was a year of anxiety attacks. Who would’ve thought that thesis, moving on post university life, waiting a month for a certain something — and having it almost snatched away from you in an instant after it arrives — could have taken a toll on me? Add that to erratic hormones induced by stress, not feeling good enough, and a few little “party poopers” here and there and you’ve got, well, 2013 me. 

The year had its ups of course. Such as finally making a choice to stay with someone I love and sticking with that same person in all times good and bad, learning if and when to put my foot down instead of just being passive all the freaking time, exposing myself to new experiences and circles of friends, and finally, spending time with the people dearest to me. 

In a nutshell, here’s what I have to say about 2013: It was great. It could’ve been better but I’m thankful all the same. :)

 

I’ve always been a fan of listing down goals for the new year. So without further ado, here are some of my 2014 resolutions:

1. Be more organized. - Stop using the “I’m an artist” excuse and actually make use of filing cabinets.

2. Go on a three day juice detox. - The amount of sweets and junk I consume is just alarming. i think it’s only right for me to practice some discipline via a detox cleanse. Lord, help me.

3. Read more books. - I’ve stacks of unread and unfinished books waiting to be devoured. Oh and a Kindle and an iPad too. Better put all of these to good use!

4. Give the beach another chance. – Because when you’re dating a beach lover, you have to at least try and see things from his perspective.

5. Record a song at least once a month. - Always have a creative outlet, especially one that involves singing.

6. Watch a concert. - The last one I went to was 6 years ago. No judging.

7. Be more domesticated. - Learn how to prepare the dishes mom is known for, and maybe just maybe create some original ones on my own.

8. Splurge and not feel guilty. - I’m pegging this to be a certain Michael Kors watch that I’ve been lusting over for the longest time.

9. Upload photos asap. - My family and friends have fallen victim to my lack of uploads of anything other than Instagram photos. 

10. List down three things to be grateful for with each day. - Because positivity starts with gratefulness realized. 

 

Let’s have fun, year 2014! :) Looking forward to creating happier memories this time around!

 

I was mindlessly scrolling down my newsfeed when I came across a link entitled “50 Life Hacks to Simplify your Life”. As someone who’s looking for more ingenious ways when it comes to everyday tasks, I was pretty excited about what was in store.

On subtle reminders when it comes to good health.

Take for example this marked water bottle. I for one, am one of those who constantly have to be reminded to take a swig every now and then. If there’s nobody there to remind me, I usually fall victim to (a) forgetting my thirst or (b) remembering it for a second, telling myself that I’ll rehydrate in a minute, but ultimately forgetting in the end.

I’m one to work on pressure, so I think that this coaxing of the marked lines will have me go bonkers if I don’t finish a “level” of water in time. But hey, if it’ll get me to drink more fluids at the end of the day, maybe it isn’t such a bad idea after all.

Dessert portion control.

Let it be known that sweets must never be completely taken out of my diet, lest I go on a chocolate eating frenzy and scarf down every bit of cocoa in sight. I’ve seen this picture countless times already actually. I just haven’t mustered up the initiative to make one for myself. But who knows, maybe I’ll whip up a mug or two to share.

Besides the fact that this recipe is practically fool proof, I like how it limits the calorie intake per serving. I’m a big snacker so it’s pretty hard for me to mentally stop myself from eating one chocolate bar after another. I mean, sure they may just be bite sized pieces, but have six of those in a day, and well that won’t really strike as something pleasant in the fat and jiggle department.

Oh, if only I knew about this earlier.

Back when I was still a college senior bound by the perils of thesis, I had a slight panic attack whilst looking for CD cases. With a deadline at noon and only two handfuls of minutes to spare, I ran to the LS bookstore, grabbed a CD case off the shelf, and waited in line rather impatiently. Since it was lunch time a number of students were queueing up as well. There I was, fidgety as can be, looking at my watch, and desperately pleading time to pause.

By some miracle, I made it to my deadline with a little under two minutes to spare. Thank goodness for adrenaline that makes a person sprint like nobody’s business. Even though I’m extremely pleased at the outcome, I think knowing this little life hack beforehand would have saved me a couple of fine lines on my face.

 

Do you know of any other life hacks? I’d love to hear about them.

At the start of this year, I told myself that I’d start incorporating more greens into my diet. I was pretty darn determined to eat nothing but vegetables and fruit at the start. But I guess repressing my sweet tooth has done me more harm than good.

Anyway, let this be my way of assurance when it comes to checking another item off my 2013 resolution list.

Mary Grace Caesar Salad

Mary Grace Caesar Salad

This has to be my favorite salad to date. It’s not exactly the healthiest of its kind — what with the creamy dressing the greens are coated in — but it’s definitely a plate of comfort for me.

I remember eating this with Rika, one of my colleagues, after a meeting at Makati. We were pressed with deadlines to meet for the afternoon but were just too hungry to think.

Normally, I’d be fine with working lunches since I’d feel more productive at the end of the day… But this dish, it deserves respect. It deserves to be smiled at upon the waiter’s delivery from the kitchen to the table. It deserves to be cut and pierced with the utmost care, lest any ingredient accidentally fall off the plate. And it deserves to be savored, each bite chewed ever so slowly, enthralling the taste buds of the tongue.

Dory served with a salad to be washed down with sangria.

Dory served with a salad to be washed down with sangria.

I feel incredibly blessed with the friends I have. One of them in particular is Sasha. She prepared dinner for Pat and I before and made everything herself. Had I not had an upset stomach or been too full from countless glasses of sangria, I would’ve probably licked the plate clean.

Sasha, if you’re reading this, thanks again for being such an amazing host. Dinner was delicious and company was great as always! I miss you and the rest of the Wings Team, sweets. I really do hope we’d all get to hang out soon.

And there you have it, my two bits of evidence when it comes to eating healthy. Do follow me on Instagram (roxcideleon) if you’d like to monitor my future plates of yummy greens!

I know, I know. Forgive the corny 5vorites bit but that’s what I’ve decided to call this entry. I figured I’d jump on the “Favorites” blogpost bandwagon and start listing down five favorites or highlights for the month just passed. That way, I get a good ol’ trip down fairly-recent memory lane and remind myself that no matter how stress ridden a month can be, there are still pockets of gold hidden beneath all the chaos and hormones.

Let’s start, shall we?

1.

Daddy's back, and for good. Well, sort of.

Daddy’s back for good! Well, sort of.

Early last month, we picked up my dad from the airport and made our way back home like the happy close knit family that we are. It’s really nice being in the same country with my dad again and I’m happy that he’s finally taking a well deserved rest. He’s still quite the workaholic though so I’m not entirely sure how long his “vacation” will be. Nevertheless, it’s great to have him around.

I find it adorable how my parents still go to my room before they sleep, checking to see if I’m also getting ready for bed. They can’t hide their concern when they see me typing away with a cup of coffee by my side though. Other times, I try and sleep before midnight. But some nights are a different story.

2.

& this is how Vergs and I look like whenever we watch cartoon movies. Haha! (Image taken from Tumblr.)

In all honesty, dating someone who doesn’t share the same interests as me can be quite frustrating. Take for example, my fascination with anything released by Pixar and Disney and his lack thereof. Or how he loves horror movies when I for one sing “La la la” out loud in an attempt to keep busy when a scary story is being told. And it doesn’t just end there too. One of my biggest weaknesses is nuts in any kind and form possible. I stock up on different peanut butters and have several kinds of nuts in raw, honey roasted, and slightly salted variations. I’m a downright nut, pardon the pun. But while I gape at all the different kinds of nut varieties available, Vergs is deathly allergic to them. I may have accidentally forgotten that pesto had nuts mixed in and offered him a plate, to which he got back at me and told our friends that I tried to kill him.

But I have to say, albeit frustrating, all these differences are a little refreshing. It’s like HIMYM’s olive theory, I guess. Person A doesn’t like olives and Person B does, so it’s ultimately a win-win situation — by the way, the same goes for whenever we find olives in our nachos. Mmm yummy olives!

3.

Zoella, a YouTube vlogger based in UK. See more of here here: http://www.youtube.com/user/zoella280390

Zoella, a YouTube vlogger based in UK. See more of here here: http://www.youtube.com/user/zoella280390

Zoella’s this beauty blogger who has the personality and optimism that a lot would be envy for. She’s so candid and doesn’t mind looking silly at all– something I’ve always admired about some people. Her kookiness is just a part of her charm, I guess. That, and her British accent. Oh goodness me, I may have found a girl crush.

4.

Lonely Hearts Club aka CommuniTEAM

As some of you may or may or not know, I’ve started working at a multinational advertising agency early last month. Although I’m a tad bit overwhelmed at times with all the digital scans and content plans to be prepared in x amount of days, I get by with a little help from my CommuniTEAM. I’ve never felt so welcomed at work before and I owe it to them for teaching me the basics about status scheduling, Social Bakers, and Facebook Insights. They’ve been a brilliant companion during lunches both in and out of the office too. I still consider myself the ultimate newbie in the team but I never would’ve guessed that I’d get a lot of “love” from a group that calls themselves The Lonely Hearts Club.

5.

So happy to have finally seen Vergs dance. Yay for Homecoming!

So happy to have finally seen him dance. Yay for Homecoming! (Photo from Zaya.)

Prior to last month’s Homecoming dance concert, I had never seen Vergs dance. Not even when I asked nicely.So when he asked me if he should join his friends for a dance or two, I said yes right away. Dates spent tired from work, classes, and training were our own ways of still making time for each other, a feat I’m pretty proud of us for.

Fast forward to a few hours before the concert.. I was at work, readying my things to leave at 5:30 sharp, when a horrible storm happened. I was in a white dress, velvet flats, and the open parking lot where my car stood had a flood up to ankles. With my tiny blue umbrella, I managed to make it to my car without looking like a complete mess — at least I hope. I didn’t really care that much because the concert was at 7 and it was rush hour. I just stepped on the gas pedal and drove off into the sea of cars. Fortunately, I made it in time with an hour to spare because the power went out in the auditorium.

I’ve got to admit, Vergs looks really good dancing on stage. That’s all I’m going to say because I’m afraid he’ll read this and get a big head again. Hahah!! But honestly though, I was so proud and happy to see him performing. The fact that he only joined the concert because of me was the cherry on top.

“I didn’t remove them, though. I’m leaving them because now when I look at them, they remind me of Hope. They remind me of me, and everything I’ve had to overcome to get to this point in my life. And while I could sit here and feel sorry for myself, wondering why all of this happened to me… I’m not going to do it. I’m not going to wish for a perfect life. The things that knock you down in life are tests, forcing you to make a choice between giving in and remaining on the ground or wiping the dirt off and standing up even taller than you did before you were knocked down.”

An excerpt from Colleen Hoover’s Hopeless

Scars are something people aren’t usually keen on having. Whether they’re literal or not, scars are something I’ve consciously tried to prevent. “Mag-ingat ka sa tornilyo, (Be wary of the nail.)” my mom would say as I’d swiftly move past a jagged nail on the wall. “Baka magkapeklat ka.” (You might get a scar.) “Just be careful of whoever you give your heart to,” said my friend. “You wouldn’t want to be scarred again.”

It’s things like these that make me approach the idea of scars with a hesitance. After all, I’m not one to talk about my mistakes unless needed. I looked at scars as signs of weaknesses, markings of whatcouldhavebeens, whathadbeens and everything in between. Every thought of them was followed by a sigh of pity, at how I could’ve taken better care of myself or at how I could’ve made better choices.

Lately, I’ve been having episodes of a certain scar resurfacing. I’m not welcoming the idea of broadcasting what it is just yet, but rest assured that it isn’t a physical mark nor a person.

It’s just there, taunting and telling me not to bother when it comes to doing more than what I think I am capable of. It acts as an anchor, drowning me in complete misery until I’m completely engulfed by negative emotions.

Some days it wins over me and I’m left to sleep it off, self-esteem as low as ever. But other days, I fight it head on, realize I am my own ship and pull up the stupid anchor.

Today is one of the latter days. I will it to be.

I had dinner with Ea after work one night, and what was supposed to be a purely foodie session turned into a hole-in-the-wallet experience faster than you can say ‘sale season’. In my defense, I just received my pay the day before so I think a pat on the back in the form of a La Senza paper bag was only necessary. But anyway, moving on…

One of the nicest things about having a job situated in Bonifacio High Street is the plethora of restaurant choices when it comes to meal time, or as I like to call it ‘feeding time’. Seriously. There’s absolutely everything at my disposal when I step out of my office building. From glazed donuts to tomato based pastas, BGC’s pretty much got it covered. The only downside to this is actually having the money to spend on plates of food. But I’m not complaining — for now, I mean.

Crispy Adobo Quinoa Salad (P290) 4.5 out of 5 on the DO scale.

Crispy Adobo Quinoa Salad (P290) 4.5 out of 5 on the DO scale.

Slice’s Adobo fused salad may have had me raise an eyebrow upon seeing it on the menu, but that sure didn’t stop me from ordering a bowlful of it. Initially, I was preparing myself for utter disaster: (1) I hadn’t tasted quinoa yet, and (2) I honestly believed that adobo belonged with rice, and rice alone.

The only thing I held on to was my perception of Slice delivering deliciously impeccable dishes. Nothing more, nothing less.

The greens were adorned with crispy Adobo flakes, Pecorino goat cheese, quinoa, a salted egg, and tossed together in a balsamic Adobo vinaigrette. In all honesty, the salad exceeded my expectations. The bits of adobo offered a crunch (a plus for texture) with only a hint of actual adobo following after. The choice of cheese was complementary to the flavors the dish; and the quinoa, well I’ve been scouring places looking for packs of it. It was all in all, a good and healthy choice for dinner.

Hungry Man's Eggs Benedict (P390) 2 out of 5 on the DO scale.

Hungry Man’s Eggs Benedict (P390) 2 out of 5 on the DO scale.

Although Slice dubs this as the meat lover’s special, I think that a more proper version would be ‘the butter lover’s heart attack’. The Eggs Ben was placed on a lake of hollandaise so rich in butter that I think I lost a number of days in my life. Perhaps if less butter was used, I would’ve appreciated the mushroom pate and smoked ham more.

Double Choco Yema (P240)

Double Choco Yema (P240) 4 out of 5 on the DO scale.

True to its name, Slice delivers some of the best slices of cakes for people aching to satisfy their sweet tooth. One of their best sellers, the Double Choco Yema, is a testament of that. This cake is everything that you’d expect it to be: decadent, moist, sinful, and the sticky yema on top pairs brilliantly with its chocolate base.

Another commendable factor of Slice’s cakes is how the icing doesn’t melt quickly. it stayed in place and shape, yet I never felt a need to push my fork down with strong force. Because if there’s one thing I don’t like, it’s me having to wrestle with a cake. I mean, come on. Dessert shouldn’t be that hard –both literally and figuratively — to eat.

The only reason why I didn’t give this cake a perfect score is because I felt that crunchy bits of yema should’ve also been included. But then again, maybe it’s just me and my stickler for childhood.

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