Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Tagaytay Revisited

IMG_3672 Tagaytay is one of the few places one can run off to for the day. When you live in Manila, this serene city by the lake isn't too far away. I like going to Tagaytay whether by myself - to indulge in a quiet meal by the lake and meditate with the Good Shepherd nuns or on a day trip with the family. One Saturday, that's exactly what we did...

Leaving the house around 10AM, we motored off to Tagaytay for a late lunch at Midlands. The view from many points in this city is really quite breathtaking. Taking in the scenery and savoring the fresh air is enough to allow one's stress level drop several significant notches. Family We feasted on fish such as Tawilis and Maliputo - delights that are best taken in this part of Luzon. After a hearty lunch, we went to visit the Ilog Maria Bee Farm over at Silang, Cavite to get some honey bee treats.

Honey treats
Look at these prices!

ilog maria
Little shop on the hill...

I personally swear by their lip balm (the best balm with a wonderful peppermint scent and taste that really pampers and protects your lips), their throat spray (best for those who frequently have sore throats), the anti-itch balm forall sorts of allergies and insect bites and of course, to my mind and taste, the best virgin honey in the whole world. On this trip I discovered their essential oils. I was a bit skeptic at first due to the very simple packaging (never judge an essential oil by the way it's packaging looks...) but when I tried it at home, I was pleasantly delilghted by the quality of the oils! Step aside Sue Bee and Burt's Bee's! For a fraction of the cost, you can get world class products for your health and skin here at Ilog Maria.

Our last stop for the day was the Cornerstone Ceramics factory where they make beautiful but affordable pottery pieces, magical chimes and beautiful aromatherapy burners. I had met the owners, EJ and Eve Espiritu a few years ago when we did a feature on them for "Me", the inspirational women's magazine that I used to edit.

Cornerstone creations

I had searched for them on a previous visit to Tagaytay but could no longer find them. It turns out, they had moved from their Tagaytay office to a quaint location over at Silang, a few meters away from Ilog Maria where they now have their shop and factory in one place. Eve was kind enough to tour us through their small factory and EJ did a pottery demo for the kids. Cornerstone offers free mudpie parties for groups of twenty so long as you give advance notice. Hop over to their website and see what lovely pieces they create.

Tagaytay has something for everyone. It all depends on what adventure you seek for the day.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Loco About Coco

Retro breakfasts anyone?

Coco Rama is the newest and hippest dining place at the Shangri-la Mall. My family and I discovered it one week-end and we were so delighted by the sights and sounds of the whole place. Growing up in 70s, I love all things retro and so do my kids who I believe were born with old souls. Their father, who was in college in the seventies knows all the big hits by heart. Being a breakfast man, he was simply enamored with Coco Rama.

First - the food! Each dish we tried out was oh so delicious and very filling. Back to basics breakfast food just like the way we used to have them as children. Think pancakes, burgers, spam, omelletes, waffles - in really hearty portions and prices that won't bust your budget. There were several entree's to choose from and everyone in the family happily picked out a favorite to try.

L who like that little boy in the commercial loves eggs likes he does chocolate, chose a basic Paradise Omelette (Php 135.00) - stuffed with crabmeat, cheese and grilled vegetables. L who is such a picky eater surprisingly wolfed down this plate-sized egg delight.
eggs paradise

P, whose appetite doesn't reflect on her figure (thank God), felt extra hungry that afternoon and ordered basic Burger Steak with eggs (Php 175.00). Cocorama's is a huge grilled U.S. ground beef patty wth a generous heaping of scrambled eggs and garlic rice. The portion was pretty hefty that P opted to take half of it home instead.

beef PATTY

My roomie, H, the breakfast man went for the ultimate comfort breakfast food - what else but Spam and Eggs (Php 175.00) - three slices of Spam caramelized with a hint of mustard. His food was REALLY good and I couldn't resist digging into some of the tasty and succulent slices of Spam on his plate :)

we love spam

I went for the El Bimbo (Php 199.00). Huh? Yes, named after my favorite dance from the 70s, the El Bimbo is mixed seafood sauteed in garlic, olive oil, white wine and chilis with a generous heaping of warm Spanish rice. I was so happy eating my El Bimbo especially with Donna Summer and the Commodores blasting away in the background. For a moment there I felt like I was 12 years old again :)

el bimbo

As if all these goodies weren't enough, Cocorama offers free chubby, baby pancakes with every meal. Our family had wanted to order dessert after our meals but we were just too stuffed. We plan to go back and try out the Jackson Five pancakes - chocolate pancakes with whipped cream and marshmallows. Mmmmm...

mini pancakes

Cocorama is a fun place to take your family (or your date) to because it's great value for money - your tummy is filled, your senses are sated - audiovisually by the sights and the sounds of the seventies. The people behind Cocorama are the same guys who brought us Heaven and Eggs. Heaven can wait for now -- I'll have an LSD (longanisa, steak and diced veggies - hah!) Omellete with the Jackson Five to go next time.

Coco Rama interiorsCoco Combi
Coco Rama exteriors Take a look at these 70s interiors - note the disco ball. And don't you just love the Volkswagen Combi. Cool.

Friday, November 03, 2006

~Maging Sino Ka Man~ Episode 19 [1/3]

Amazing. "Maging Sino Ka Man" - my favorite soap ranks number 18 today in "the most linked video" on YouTube! Ibang klase talaga ang Pinoy.

Seriously though, it's a well-made soap and the story keeps me glued to the TV every night at 9PM. View this video above to see why...

Growing up on the set of showbiz mom's "Gulong Ng Palad" - the original - back in the late 70s was a memorable part of my showbiz childhood. It's been a long while since a soap opera has caught my interest this much. "Bituin...." was okay but I am not really a great fan of Sarah Geronimo. Besides, once you've seen the original with Sharon and company, all else is, pardon the pun, a copycat :)

John Lloyd Cruz is a sensitive actor (just look at those eyes emote!) and even showbiz mom says that he really has great potential. Sam Milby of course is the big discovery of the year and Anne Curtis and Bea Alonzo have their own loyal following. It seems like ABS-CBN has a winning soap in it's hands. Followed by the top hit reality-tv show "Pinoy Dream Academy" it's no wonder that they have been able to re-claim the number one slot again. Philippine television (at least after 9PM) has gotten interesting again. I hope this is one soap that they don't kill right away or one whose storyline becomes corny after a while. When the yayas, the daughter and the mother are glued to the television set for a teleserye, you can bet it's one show that will really climb the ratings chart.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Family Lunch at Myron's

L's Fave

One of L's favorite foods of all time is pannacotta. He was drooling over the Vanilla Bean Pannacotta served at a family lunch one afternoon at Myron's, a steak and seafood place over at the Powerplant Mall in Rockwell. Myron's is owned by a childhood friend, Mon Eugenio, who seems to have a golden touch for the restaurant business. He started with a Spanish restaurant by the Shangri-la Mall parking lot around 10 years ago but had a falling out with its owners and so he opted out and moved on to Katip's that famous watering hole over at good old Katipunan. A few years ago, he sold his shares and then was supposed to open a restaurant at the still-mothballed NAIA 3 so now he has put up the highly suvccessful Myron's over at the Powerplant.

Known as a steak and seafood place with Angus steak that is supposedly to die for, our family opted to do a light lunch instead. We're not really such big steak eaters but were eager to try something new that afternoon. Here's some of the stuff that we decided to savor...

Cream of Pumpkin

Pumpkin soup is a family favorite and P decided to start her meal with this. "It tastes sooo fresh," the pumpkin soup connosieur said. L and I had the French Onion soup which was very tasty and cheesy while H opted for the Asparagus Capuccino - soup, not coffee.

Chicken Fingers

Both kids opted for Chicken Fingers and Fries which was crunchy and very tasty, just the way most kids like it. Dipping options were mayo or catsup.

Roast Beef & Cabbage

H chose to have Roast Beef and Cabbage - a very British dish which he said was succulent and rich in flavor.

I opted to do the greens and chicken (like mother, like child) --

Mesclun Salad with Cajun Chicken

A very healthy and adequate serving of Mesclun Salad with Cajun Chicken. The dish itself looked very appetizing and I was not disappointed. I was also very full at the end of the meal :)

And of course, everyone's favorite part... though we hardly had any space left for it was the piece de resistance ta-dah! -- Vanilla Bean Pannacotta

Vanilla Bean Pannacotta

Which father and son and mother and daughter devoured!

Let's Dive InSated...

And here we are, all happy and sated after that delicious meal.

Myron's at the Powerplant --