Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Chinatown Date at Sincerity Cafe and Restaurant, Binondo!

It's been a long time since our last Binondo foodtrip, and so I asked my favorite live Google Map person to take me there for a Chinatown Sundate before he sends his ass back to Mindoro. I'm quite getting used to our quick weekend dates <3

We used to frequent Binondo a lot during the past months, and I think we're becoming quite familiar with the side streets and the shortcuts, you know, to avoid scary things like horse poo on the roads.

The Anthony + Regina Adventures!

Though frequent Binondo visitors, we always get stuck eating at just 1 restaurant, which kind of defeats the purpose of going on a food TRIP. We always plan to get small entrees, but who can resist eating Chinese food without rice?!

Before Sincerity Cafe and Restaurant, we decided to get a short order of Pork Dumplings at Tasty Dumplings. This 8-piece order is only 99 pesos. We decided to have it fried than just boiled. Yummy appetizer for this Binondo Foodtrip :)

Tasty Dumplings is located at Ongpin Street
After I saw how chunky my face is, I did my supposedly regular cardio workouts!

What used to be a long walk to the Chinatown arc from Ongpin seemed rather short last weekend! From the arc, we turned left at Yuchengco Street, walked a little more before we spotted Sincerity Cafe and Restaurant. It's so near the shop my mom and I used to go to for her small office supplies business.

Hearty lunch spread for 2 for only Php 275!

The kikiam was served first, followed by the fried rice, and the fried chicken last. We initially wanted the Honey Fried Chicken, but you'd have to pre-order it apparently. Overnight marinade procedure, perhaps?

Real Kikiam Goodness (Php 55)
Authentic kikiam is sweet than salty apparently!
So different from the kikiam sold frozen in supermarkets.

Small Yang Chow Fried Rice (Php 60) 
This is actually good for one person, but we shared and did not regret it! Despite our allergic reaction to shrimp, we're still alive! :)

Half an order of Sincerity Fried Chicken (Php 160) 
Crunchy chicken skin, I love! It's really yummy, you'll forget about the homemade gravy that comes with it. The waiting time for this is around 10 to 15 minutes. It was the last to arrive, but first to be finished!

We were given these traditional ceramic plates! This plate (before Corel replaced all our mealwares at home) brought a lot of memories back! I used to get spanked a lot for breaking these because it's too heavy haha! Sorry mom!

Chinaware in Chinatown!

If you're too lazy to go to Binondo, there's Sincerity Cafe and Restaurant in Banawe, in San Juan and at the Lucky Chinatown Mall.

David's Tea House Wholesale Center along Benavidez Street!

From Chinatown to the Lucky Chinatown Mall, we passed by the Wholesale Center of David's Tea House! For you guys who want to have a small siomai cart (or an MSG party at your house), you can buy your dimsum supplies here! The prices are crazy low!! For instance, a 60-pc. pack of pork siomai is Php 130! It's frozen dimsum heaven!

To cap off a great Sunday, we watched Gone Girl! It's a must-watch! :)

Sincerity Cafe and Restaurant
497 Yuchengco St. (now Nieva Street)
Binondo, Manila

Tasty Dumplings
288, 620 Ongpin St. 
Binondo, Manila

David's Tea House Wholesale Center
826 Benavidez St. (in between Salazar and Soler Street)
Binondo, Manila

The Why Movement in Metro Manila

Have you seen these Why's too? I saw one here in Ortigas and my friend who works in BGC spotted the same!

Photo source: Dyms Yamat

Photo source: Kelvin Aragones

Got leads on this? In fairness, I'm really curious about the person / group of persons behind this! Achieve!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Let-It-Gogh-And-Paint Kind of Saturday at Sip and Gogh!

So I did it. FINALLY! 

My Saturday on a 3 x 3 

As previously blogged, I finally got to attend the 4 PM session at Sip and Gogh last Saturday! I enjoyed a lot, I'll be there again this weekend for the 8 PM session with my sister and hopefully my cousins who haven't confirmed yet as of press time. The featured work will be Starry Starry Night! How exciting is that! I hope they feature Irises soon...

Let me tell you that Silent Retreat is not a Van Gogh creation, but Sip and Gogh has a lot of featured artworks (they even have Adventure Time for the kids!) that will make you want to sign up nevertheless. Of course, they have to since Van Gogh's creations were mostly portraits and flower vases. 

Sip and Gogh is conveniently located at the Capitol Greenstreet Commercial Center at the Capitol Hills Drive. That where my cousins and I used to hang out all afternoon during summer. Good times :)

Traffic last Saturday was worse, but thankfully I arrived exactly at 4 despite that I live near the area. There were only a few seats available for walk-ins (so please schedule and pay online before dropping in), and most of the attendees came in pairs! I was the only one on a solo mission. 

While waiting for the others to arrive. The studio is kind of dark, don't you think?

If you're mustering the courage to go alone at Sip and Gogh, go for it! There's nothing to worry as everyone's really friendly - the staff and the other session goers included.

I got coffee instead of wine (as previously planned), and enjoyed the platter of cold cuts, cheese, grapes and crackers that came with the Php 1,000 fee. It's so posh for Regina - I had to leave a few of the grapes untouched para di naman patay gutom ang peg. Haha!

Don't confuse your drink with the glass of water for cleaning your brushes - that's one of the opening lines of the staff when the session started.

Anyone can pull off a great artwork at Sip and Gogh as there's a guide who will show you how it's done. Though guided, much of the creativity is actually left to your imagination. Make Van Gogh happy by vouching on your autonomy!

I had a swell time at Sip and Gogh. It is a real treat for anyone who wants a relaxed time with nothing to think about but the canvas sitting in front of you.

Attending it alone did not feel weird as I found myself more drawn to the activity than the fact that I went by myself. Pretty amazed by myself for doing this (insert smug face here!)

Achievement unlocked for a clingy person!

Sip and Gogh
Capitol Greenstreet Commercial Center
1 Capitol Hills Drive 
Old Balara, Quezon City

Friday, October 17, 2014

Silent Retreat at Sip and Gogh!

So I'm finally fulfilling one of my plans of doing a fun paint project (by my lonesome!) at Sip and Gogh tomorrow!

It may not be apparent (as this is a food blog and stories of my travels), but painting is one of my favorite hobbies since I was little. I remember having so many Artex sets - you know, those super cheap-o paint sets parents buy to shut their kids up - and scratch papers for my 'artworks'.

Batang 90s ka nga talaga if you know this.
Photo source: http://www.pinoycyberkada.com/index.php?topic=22881.15

I remember buying a Mensa crossword puzzle and the 12-piece water color Reeves set when I got my first paycheck. These hobbies of mine are quite definitive of my old soul personality. In short, I'm really a loner!

Photo from Sip and Gogh Website

I'm booked for tomorrow, October 18 at 4 PM for the Silent Retreat session! I'm kind of stoked to discover how it's like to paint like a professional painter complete with the easel, canvas and all that jazz. Should I bring my painter's hat too? Kidding!

For more information, visit Sip and Gogh's website at http://www.sipandgogh.com/. 

Sip and Gogh
Capitol Greenstreet Commercial Center
1 Capitol Hills Drive
Old Balara, Quezon City
(02) 961-1248
Google Map link - http://bit.ly/1qFZGkJ

Thursday, October 16, 2014

3 PM Thoughts: So Girl, In Love na In Love Ka?!

Whenever I hear couples say that they are sooooo in loooooove, I can't help but smirk, raise my left eyebrow (because that's the only side that I can) and shrug my disproportionate shoulders off a little. I'm not bitter. I just think 80% of what they say is pretty much for show. Of course I know because I've been there :) :) :)

Being young and in love is the best feeling, but at some point, growing up while in a relationship can be a pain in the arse. Don't say you haven't been warned.

Coming from a really old relationship, I've gone from a love-sick, crazy infatuated person, to neck-controlled, head-over-heels psycho girlfriend, and now to this yearning, unrestricted and BRAVE independent person who finally came to terms with the fact that I need to find and improve myself constantly so I can be the person my significant other deserves. I didn't know that I could be that kind of person. Until now. Yes I know, ang late bloomer lang.

The first few months (and years) are the best in any relationship. Kilig galore. Laging may date sa lahat ng lakad, which (honestly) was kind of a big deal when I was in college. And if you're like me who bagged the crush ng bayan on campus, having really long hair is an understatement. You can't help but feel like the most beautiful girl on campus, if not the entire world.

But as they say, anything worthwhile is worth fighting for. There were a lot of obstacles that came in the way of our relationship. There were many moments when it felt like we were running a marathon and people who watched were jeering while throwing tomatoes at us.

There were a lot of growing up pains that got in the way of our relationship too, and I say this for all relationships where both boy and girl were really young teens when it started. Until now, I guess there are still growing up pains that we deal with since we inherently, we change and we grow up. Looking back, I'd do anything not to avoid stubbornness, the MIND GAMES and the immaturity that, thankfully, we both learned (and are constantly learning) a lot from. Everything's a work in progress after all.

So what's my point?

Relationships require a lot of hard work. You don't wake up every single day madly in love and in awe of your significant other, but you choose to be despite the imperfections. There will be days when you want to punch them for doing something you didn't like, and there will be days too when a little cooing that used to work on you will make you even more annoyed at them. Despite the 'hate', trust me that you will always go back to the very reason why you committed to the person in the first place. Maybe not immediately, but you'll find it in the deep recesses of your mind - the great albeit imperfect future together, the kind of love and understanding you know you may never find anywhere else. The discoveries you make about yourself and your special someone almost always come during the toughest of times.

Two, relationships work when both persons understand one another and learn to give way when the situation calls or it. Note: give way, but do not always give in because you need to preserve your sanity and your identity too. You owe it to yourself to do the things you want to do even in the absence or non-participation of your other half. Travel if you want, immerse yourself in a new hobby even if ayaw nung isa. Your partner should understand.

Third, there will come a time when you will feel so pikon with infidelity jokes from his friends, and there will also come the time where you can block them out (thanks prolly to yoga?) and be strangely unaffected by their teasing. There will also come a time when you'd be the one reaching out to these people that are his friends to be your friends as well because when you get older, you'd want to have them around. You'd want them to be in your wedding, be there during your marriage and everything in between. They are involved in the fruition of your relationship one way or another. I assure you - what seemed like the world will be very trivial later on as you learn to dissect and isolate the things that really matter.

And if you happen to learn that someone's in a decade-long (or more!) relationship, remember that it's not always rainbows and unicorns that got them to where they are now. Consider it proof that true love is a lot of hard work and that it always believes as much as it endures always.

LOL may hugot?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Container Hotel at Jalan Delima, Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

The perks of budget travelling is you are forced to consider options outside the usual comforts you'd pay for in a heartbeat. More often than not, you feel great about yourself for scoring a really rad rare find.

Transiting from Singapore and Legoland in Johor Bahru to Kuala Lumpur by bus, we weren't surprised that we'd be finally out on the streets of KL by midnight.

It was a scary experience to look for a cab in the dark, with the language barrier and with very few ringgits left. I guess we splurged a little too much on trinkets at Legoland. Yikes! Also, we really didn't know where to go with our phones dead and public WiFi signals have gotten so poor as we approached the center.

With luck on our side and with 15 ringgits left to spare, we arrived at our hotel at Jalan Delima in one piece. We checked in at the Container Hotel. 

The hotel is made of re-purposed container trucks and bunks that made it seem like we were living a scene from the Hunger Games. It was inspired by the concept of Kyosho Jutaku, which meant living in style in a small space and leaving very little footprint behind. The hotel may be for budget travelers, but I found it very fancy treat given the unique concept. Also, there's a Chatime cafe at the front. Win!

Left: Top view of the hotel from the containers housing the outgoing beds. Right: Exterior shots of the Adventure Room where I stayed. 

How the inside of an Adventure Room looks like. It looks a little too cozy, but believe me, it does not scream claustrophobia! 

My friend and I booked 2 Adventure Rooms at Php 1,600 per night. It had a single bed, comfortable pillows and duvet, an aircon, and complimentary pitcher of water. While the website said it's good for 2, we decided to get 1 room each so we could move more comfortably and with privacy. The Adventure Room was cozy - great for snuggling when you're with you're special someone :)

Yay for Chatime!
(Photo from TripAdvisor)

Except for the damaged water pipes that left only 1 shower room working, (which the person at the front desk who by the way was Pinoy!) profusely apologized for) the experience is 100% A-ok! They also have outgoing rooms (bunk beds) and Conservative Rooms (double size beds) so there's a room for everyone regardless of budget and length of stay. I'll definitely book the Adventure Room again the next time I visit KL hopefully with the boyfriend in tow. 

Learn more about the Container Hotel here - www.containerhotel.com.my! You can book directly on the website or from Agoda. I don't quite understand though why Agoda rates are more expensive =/

Cheers to the architects of this modern, sustainable form of architecture.

If you're on a budget or just looking for a quirky alternative to hotels, consider this. It's relatively near The Pavilion Mall and the transit system that can take you to the Batu Caves and the KLCC Center where the Petronas Towers is.

Container Hotel
Jalan Delima
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Wilayah Persekutuan
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Monday, October 13, 2014

Cafe Shibuya - the Cafe that Keeps on Giving

Food wise, Cafe Shibuya is more than just fancy toasts. As it turns out, they also have savory ones along with delicious pasta dishes and rice meals.

To replenish energy after shooting my sister's prenup photos and to seek a little respite from the rain, we decided to catch a quick grub at Cafe Shibuya - a must-try restaurant (that I'm glad I finally got to try!) at the UP Town Center.

If you ask me, it's a good choice of restaurant if you want something that's already familiar while enjoyed in a cozy environment. The deluge of rain yesterday was depressing and staying at Cafe Shibuya made it bearable somehow. We watched the drops of rain weaken while enjoying great food. It's kind of therapeutic apparently.

They should consider getting round dining tables though as the ambiance is great in itself for catching up. Also, so that everyone gets to see how beautiful your order looks like on the plate. Great service! Thank you very much :)

Here's what we had for a quick merienda yesterday. 

Creamy Rich Pasta ala Carbonara (Php 235)

At first, I thought that the white matter at the center of my pasta was burata cheese. As it turns out, it's poached egg that has a runny yolk inside it when pierced. I liked this a lot - creamy and very flavorful!

Look at that yolk go!

Smoked Salmon Benedict (Php 375)

I wonder how they made the poached egg crispy... This is toast made with smoked salmon on arugula.  Below is another pretty shot of this well-presented dish.

Spaghetti al Tonno with a Side of Chili Flakes (Php 235)

Japanese Hamburger (Php 235)

Buttermillk Fried Chicken 

I got a few bites of this. I don't really know how buttermilk fried chicken should taste like (me thinks I have to try the on from Kettle for a benchmark!), but to me this is just like normal a 2-piece Chicken Joy meal. Not that I'm ungrateful that they have delicious, Pinoy comfort food on their menu.

Their portions were so big, we didn't have space for dessert! I'll definitely try one of their Ghirardelli-based drinks and Strawberry Matcha Toast next time! 

Cafe Shibuya
UP Town Center, Katipunan Avenue
Diliman, Quezon City 
Telephone: +632 722 2237
Mobile: +63 947 221 3836
Sunday to Thursday 10:00 am - 10:00 pm
Friday to Saturday 10:00 am - 12:00 am
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CafeShibuya

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Kitchen of Cakes and Coffee on a Lonely Sunday

My motto has always been this: if you're gloomy, stuff yourself silly with cake and coffee. And that's exactly what I did last Sunday when I was the only one at home for the long weekend.

Whole cakes arrived just as I did. I opted for a slice of Really Queso Cheesecake, which was so red it's the first thing I saw!

I honestly think though that it's too much for 90 pesos. It was more gelatin than cream cheese =/

Better than no cake at all :)
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