Thursday, September 30, 2010

Simple dining at Shiok, The Fort

*This establishment is already closed.

We had a simple family dinner at Shiok some weekends ago. I've been hearing good things about the place so I was really looking forward to trying it.

Inside Shiok at The FortShiok means "cheap" in Hokkien, the Chinese dialect widely spoken here in the Philippines. Shiok at The Fort is a small and simple eatery which serves a variety of Singaporean and Malaysian food. Prices are reasonable albeit not really rock bottom cheap as the name would suggest. The ambiance is cafeteria-esque.


Roti Prata at Shiok, The FortWe ordered Roti Prata (P55, pictured above). It's a flour-based pancake that's grilled and served with a bit of curry sauce on the side. It's served hot off the grill and it's very chewy.

Hainan Chicken at Shiok, The FortFor my main course, I decided on Hainan Chicken (P245, pictured above). It came with sliced chicken in soy accompanied by three different dipping sauces. Jasmine rice cooked in chicken broth and a bowl of hot soup are also served on the side for a complete meal.

Hainan Chicken Rice at Shiok, The FortThe jasmine rice that came with the Hainan Chicken was a big hit since it was so flavorful yet natural-tasting. I was not overly impressed with the chicken itself, but then coming from me that isn't really big news since I'm not fond of chicken to begin with. They forgot to serve the soup that was supposed to come with my order and I failed to follow it up so it's nowhere to be seen here. An extra order of this special rice costs P30 per bowl.

Sambal Kangkong at Shiok, The FortI really really loved Sambal Kangkong (P65, pictured above). Slighty spicy and very tasty, this was hands down the winning dish of the night. Next time I eat at Shiok I'm having this with a bowl of the Hainan Chicken rice and I know I'd be perfectly happy.

Crispy Pork at Shiok, The FortCrispy Pork (P110, pictured above) was another hit. The tender pork has this interesting smoked flavor that even the kids appreciated. A small dish of sate sauce accompanies this dish.

Although it may not look like it, Shiok does accept credit cards.

Shiok
0105 Fort Forum
31st and 2nd St., Bonifacio Stop Over,
Fort Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City
466-6291

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My close encounter with the NuSkin Galvanic Spa II

I was invited to an intimate media gathering by NuSkin Philippines at Oakwood Joy-Nostalg last Sept. 22, 2010.

NuSkin Galvanic Spa II UnitA little more than a year ago, I had my first brush with the NuSkin Galvanic Spa thanks to my friend Liza. I was amazed at how it seemed to iron out facial lines, including the dark cricles under my eyes. Imagine my amazement when the NuSkin folks showed me the NuSkin Galvanic Spa II (pictured above).

It now has this attachment of sorts with grooves, I was told the purpose of this was to "hold" the gels more so you don't have to keep on re-applying them as you iron out imperfections. The digital display now has backlight too and you no longer need to set the timer. Everything is pre-programmed for one-touch operation. I was kind of worried how it would feel on my face since the original galvanic spa unit's head is just flat like an iron. Would this glide as smoothly?

Ageloc Gels for Galvanic Spa IIFor every use of the NuSkin Galvanic Spa II, you would need a pair of ampoules filled with gels. The first ampoule contains the pre-treatment gel which you apply all over your face with the unit. Then you use the treatment gel to really iron out or galvanize those lines and wrinkles. This is another difference from the old Galvanic Spa system. The gels are now formulated with NuSkin's exclusive ageLOC science, which targets internal sources of aging such as genes.

NuSkin Galvanic Spa II facialI had the chance to experience NuSkin Galvanic Spa II for myself during the event. A suite was set up like a spa where we could get galvanic spa facials and back massages. Surprisingly, I did not feel the grooves of the new head. The aesthetician ironed away.

Before and after NuSkin Galvanic Spa IIBeing the perpetual skeptic that I am, I insisted on before and after photos. Above left is my photo before I had the galvanic spa facial. I look tired because I had to walk in the rain prior to arriving at the venue. The photo on the right was taken a few hours after I had the galvanic spa facial. Notice how smooth, um... straight, and flat my forehead and cheeks are (especially the forehead). I did not take a photo immediately after the treatment because there was a whole lot of serum on my face which refused to dry so you couldn't really see the surface of the skin since it was shiny and wet. I have zero make-up on both photos.

The NuSkin Galvanic Spa II retails for P21,500 inclusive of gels. For more info about NuSkin Philippines, log on to http://www.nuskin.com/intercom/editorial.do?contentId=ph.ns.homepage&mktId=2223

Based in the US? You can buy the whole Nuskin Galvanic Spa II system w/ ageLOC package HERE.

Folks over at NuSkin PhilippinesI'd like to thank the lovely folks over at NuSkin Philippines for inviting me. I'll be test driving NuSkin's ageLOC line soon, so stay tuned. :D

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Monday, September 27, 2010

Shoe crazy with Charles & Keith!

Prior to winning Charles & Keith GCs at the HSBC event, I've never actually set foot in a Charles & Keith boutique. See, I'm really more of a bag person. I don't care what brand of clothes or shoes I wear as long as they fit and they're comfy... but I simply MUST have authentic signature bags. :p

Charles & Keith open toe slip-on wedge in CreamLet me just say that as soon as I tried on a pair of Charles & Keith wedges, I was hooked. They're so comfy it's like a dream. I can imagine myself running around in them all day long. The first pair I got were open toe slip-on wedges in Cream. Almost all my shoes are black so I figured now was a good time as any to get another color.

Charles & Keith open toe slip-on wedge in CreamThis is officially my first pair of Charles & Keith shoes and I love it to bits! It cost P2,199 -- I bought it from the Glorietta branch.

Charles & Keith open toe slip-on wedge in CreamThe only problem is now I need to get a bag to match this since most of my bags are black too.

Charles & Keith open toe slip-on wedges in BlackThe thing with Charles & Keith is... one pair is not enough. I could not decide whether to get the cream-colored open toe slip-on wedges or the black ones so I decided to get both even if it meant shelling out an additional few hundred bucks. Black is just sooo versatile (not to mention majority of my clothes are black), and since Charles & Keith shoes are so so so comfy I just had to have it. This pair cost P1,799.

Charles & Keith open toe slip-on wedges in Black
They make my feet look so fair hahaha. :p

Charles & Keith open toe slip-on wedges in BlackThis style is a tad more dressy compared to the cream pair. I love 'em! My feet don't ache even if I stand and walk around in them. These two pairs of wedges are angled / inclined perfectly for my feet.

I'm positive I'll be back for more.

Charles & Keith
G/F Glorietta 3,
Ayala Center, Makati City
813-3399 / 819-8580

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Sunday, September 26, 2010

La Piadina (La Cucina Regionale Italiana) at Glorietta 4

I was among those invited to preview La Piadina's authentic Italian dishes hailing from various regions of Italy last Sept. 21, 2010.

Cappuccino at La Piadina, Glorietta 4While waiting for the other guests to arrive, I decided to have a cup of Cappuccino (P95, pictured above). Excellent coffee, I must say. I didn't even feel the need to add any sweeteners.

I Crostini with Liver and Tuna Pate at La Piadina, GloriettaWe were served with I Crostini with Liver and Tuna Pate (P230, pictured above) to start us off. Several buttered slices of toasted bread was laid out alongside two small bowls of flavorful pate. I couldn't decide which one was better as both were delicious.

I Cappellaci at La Piadina, Glorietta 4The first of many main dishes we were to sample was the I Cappellaci (P300, pictured above). Homemade ravioli pasta is filled with a mixture of pumpkin and ricotta cheese. It is also topped with fresh tomato sauce and parmesan cheese. Giorgio Matera, the owner of La Piadina and the culinary master behind all of the dishes couldn't stress enough that there are no shortcuts in this restaurant. Most of the ingredients are imported from Italy to boot. The ravioli is made from scratch and re-heating is a no-no. And my word, it was indeed the best ravioli I've ever tasted. It was chewy and al dente at the same time. The filling, the sauce, and the garnishing all had a fresh and light taste.

Piadina Pollo at La Piadina, Glorietta 4We were then served with piadina, the dish that launched 12 years of business in the Philippines for the Piadina restaurant chain. A piadina is an extremely thin and crusty type of bread which you fill with a variety of ingredients and then fold. Piadina Pollo (P200, pictured above) contains roast chicken slices, mushrooms, and mozarella cheese. Don't let the size and thickness fool you. It's quite filling.

Le Linguine ai Funghi Con Olio di Tartufo at La Piadina, Glorietta 4Next up was Le Linguine ai Funghi Con Olio di Tartufo (P320, pictured above). I swear, I could smell the truffle oil as soon as they laid the dish on the table. I loved how the sauce was both creamy and light. The mushrooms were very juicy and flavorful too. This is a great alternative to the usual carbonara most of us order when hankering for some pasta with white sauce.

Il Risotto al Pesto con Scampi at La Piadina, Glorietta 4Il Risotto al Pesto con Scampi (P340, pictured above), or Italian-style rice cooked in pesto sauce with shrimps, was brought out after the series of bread and pasta dishes. Matera explained how difficult it is to cook risotto properly, since it can easily come out like porridge if certain details are neglected. Talk about carbo overload!

Il Trancia di Tonno alle Spezie at La Piadina, Glorietta 4
Il Trancia di Tonno alle Spezie (P370, pictured above) was the final dish in the series of savory offerings. Seared tuna fillet seasoned with herbs and drizzled with olive oil is served with baked potato and side salad. I liked it, the fish was tender, juicy, and tasty... lol, I make it sound like a hot dog don't I?

Il Tiramisu at La Piadina, Glorietta 4We were graciously offered dessert after our hearty lunch. I was already full but I settled for a piece of Il Tiramisu (P150, pictured above). That is not the actual serving portion, I requested for a smaller piece since I just wanted a taste. I was amazed at how different it tasted from the tiramisu I'm used to. It was somehow cheesier, I attribute this to the use of richer and more flavorful marscapone cheese.

Giorgio Matera and Tetta Ortiz-MateraApart from the amazing meal, our conversation with the Materas (Mr. and Mrs. Giorgio and Tetta Ortiz-Matera) was just as lovely. They even shared their love story. :)

La Piadina transcends the usual Italian restaurant stereotype, going beyond the usual meatballs, carbonara, and pizza. It's good to know that we can now have authentic Italian food from various regions simply by visiting Glorietta -- and they're all painstakingly prepared with no shortcuts.

La Piadina (La Cucina Regionale Italiana)
2/F Glorietta 4 (across Jollibee)
Ayala Center, Makati City
501-3788

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Friday, September 24, 2010

Happy Kainan Friday with Coke -- share and win!

Our family loves to eat… I mean, who doesn’t, right? There’s just something about food that’s so warm, pleasant, and comforting. Eating together with my hubby and kids is always a happy experience filled with stories, laughter, and effervescent feelings which I could liken to those fizzy bubbles on top of your glass of Coke. Family bonding over food and drink is a simple yet extraordinary experience which creates blissful memories you’ll find yourself coming back to in the years to come. :D

Happy Friday midnight snack with Coke ZeroOne of our favorite indulgences is ordering large pizzas that come with a big bottle of Coke as a midnight snack. It's a combination that can really get you hooked.

Shakey's Thin Crust Manager's Choice PizzaPizza is great with Coke because let's admit it -- although it's sooo good, pizza can get really greasy and partnering it with a glass of icy cold Coke makes it all go down so nicely. We usually do this on a weekend or when it's a holiday the next day because we watch movies at the same time. That way, it won't be a problem even if the kids sleep late. It's always a joyful time, a happy midnight snack Friday whenever we order our favorite pizzas with Coke. Our kids are real homebodies who would much rather spend time at home with all of us together as a family than go out, so this is just perfect! :D

Enjoy pizza with Coke!What about you? Do you have a favorite food that the whole family enjoys with Coke? Share your Everyday Kainan Happiness with us here! The best answer will win an overnight stay for a family of four (2 adults and 2 kids) with breakfast buffet at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza Hotel!

Mechanics:
  • Share your Everyday Kainan Happiness -- your favorite food that is best paired with Coke by leaving a comment on this blog. Tell us how your whole family enjoys and experiences it… the more details, the better

  • Leave your full name and email address so we can contact you if you win. Use this format to avoid spam – animetric(at)gmail.com

  • This contest is open to Philippine residents, but provincial winners will have to shoulder transportation expenses to Manila in order to avail of the overnight package.

  • Contest runs today, September 24, up to October 8, 2010.

Prize:
An overnight stay for a family of four (2 adults and 2 kids) at Sofitel Philippine Plaza Hotel inclusive of buffet breakfast at Spiral worth P10,000!

You may also want to submit your photos through the creative banner at:


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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Pond's Flawless White Blemish Prevention UV Cream

I was introduced to Pond's Flawless White Blemish Prevention UV Cream when it was launched last August 2010.

Pond's Blemish Prevention UV CreamPond's Blemish Protection UV Cream works in many different levels. It whitens, provides complete sun protection (SPF 15, shields against UVA and UVB rays), and prevents freckles and dark spots from appearing.

Pond's Blemish Prevention UV CreamIt comes with a nice pump dispenser so you can control precisely how much cream you need. I find it both convenient and more hygienic since you don't have to dip your fingers into a whole container full of product.

Pond's Blemish Prevention UV CreamThe consistency is rather thick and creamy, especially compared to the last facial daytime moisturizer I've used which is L'Occitane Immortelle Very Precious Fluid. There is also a light scent that's typical of a Pond's product.

Applying Pond's UV CreamI suggest taking it easy when applying Pond's UV Cream. A little goes a long way given its texture. You'll have to make sure you spread it evenly all over your face for maximum coverage.

After applying Pond's UV CreamPond's Flawless White Blemish Prevention UV Cream gives your face a natural and slightly dewy look right after application. That's me up there first thing in the morning with just Pond's UV Cream on my face without any make-up.

Finishing off with a bit of pressed powder afterwards gives you a matte yet fresh-looking face if you want to eliminate all traces of shine.

I've been using Pond's UV Cream for a week now and the good news is:
  • I did not break out or have any allergic reactions.

  • It's actually better for my skin now that the -ber months are here. It's less humid these days so my cheeks tend to dry up. The rich and moisturizing Pond's UV Cream is perfect for keeping my dreaded flaky cheeks syndrome at bay.

  • The fragrance is quite light so it doesn't bother me.
I can't really tell if it's whitening my skin because my complexion is already light in color. Spots and freckles haven't been appearing on my face as well, so that pretty much assures me of the sun protection factor.

Pond's Flawless White Blemish Prevention UV Cream is available at an introductory price of P99 for the 50ml size in the next 3 months after its launching... so you have until end of October 2010 to grab a bottle to try! :D

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Monday, September 20, 2010

New dishes at Gerry's Grill!

A handful of bloggers and media folks including myself were invited by Gerry's Grill to sample some of their bestselling dishes as well as their new offerings.

We dined at their Tomas Morato branch. I was amazed at the sheer volume of people. The place was jam-packed whereas the neighboring grills Guilly's Island and Dencio's were not even half-full. I've actually blogged about Gerry's Grill before since we eat there occasionally.

Adobong Puso Rice at Gerry's GrillTo start us off, Adobong Puso Rice (P155, pictured above) was brought out. It's white rice cooked in adobo sauce with chunks of pork. Since it was wrapped in banana leaves that they had to slit it in the middle to create an opening so you could scoop out the rice. It's very tasty, and it reminded me somewhat of the Chinese machang, which is a sticky rice dish that's also wrapped in leaves.

Fish and Chips at Gerry's Grill
New Dish #1: Fish and Chips (P165, pictured above)

Their Fish and Chips is surprisingly good. Despite the puffy-looking batter, there was a lot of fish inside. I liked the garlic mayonnaise that was served on the side.

Sizzling Binagoongang Baboy at Gerry's GrillSizzling Binagoongang Baboy (pictured above) is another tasty offering. An assortment of vegetables and pork cut into lechon-kawali like strips are cooked in bagoong (Filipino shrimp sauce).

New Dish #2: Sizzling Tilapia Ala Pobre (P245, pictured above)

I'm not really a fish person but I really liked all the vegetables that came with this dish hahaha! Hubby thought it was pretty good though.

Beef Caldereta at Gerry's GrillThe new dishes were interspersed with the classics, and as such Beef Kaldereta (P220, pictured above) was up next. The grated cheese on top is a unique touch. The beef is lean and the tomato-based sauce very flavorful.

Tinomok at Gerry's GrillTinomok (P165, pictured above) was the surprise of the night. It's kind of like laing, it looked like a bunch of leaves in gata (coconut milk) but it's actually a meat and vegetable dish. The leaves serve as a covering for a meatball like filling, and I was surprised at how the leaves retained their crunch even while being covered in sauce. The pork filling is very juicy too. The other new dishes featured different ways of cooking Pla pla, a particular fish that I'm not really fond of. :P

Brownie ala Mode at Gerry's GrillFor dessert I opted for Brownie ala Mode (P110, pictured above). A fudgy brownie square is topped with a giant scoop of vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce. It was quite good but I was so full I only managed to finish half of it. I suggest sharing it with someone to save on the calories, hehe. :D

Gerry's Grill
Tomas Morato cor. Eugenio Lopez St.,
Quezon City
415-9514 / 373-9166 / 414-4234

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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Gloria Maris Dimsum Promo -- 30% off on all dimsum!

There are times when hubby and I find ourselves hankering for a late night snack. Sometimes we just grab some burgers and fries via drivethru, while other times we dial for pizza delivery.

We discovered an alternative some time ago when one of our friends told us about Gloria Maris' dimsum promo. You get 30% off on all dimsum by 9pm onwards, but this is only ongoing at the Wilson St. branch.

Shanghai Siao Long Pao at GloriamarisThere are at least 30 kinds of dimsum in the menu, so you get a whole lot of choices. My favorite has always been Gloria Maris' Shanghai Siao Long Pao (P95 for 8 pcs, pictured above). I always order it whenever I visit Gloria Maris. I love how chewy the wrapper is and how it's filled with at least a tablespoonful of delicious hot soup and lean ground meat inside. I always eat it by using my chopsticks to get a piece and then put it on top of a Chinese spoon so I can sip the soup after biting into it. Sooo yummy, and with 30% off, it costs only P66.50 per order. Dumplings, rice rolls, siopao... you name it, they've got it. A great alternative to greasy burgers and fries don't you think? :D

Gloria Maris on Wilson St. is perfect because we can just cross over to Serenitea and get our favorite tea drinks to accompany our dimsum.

Gloria Maris Dimsum Kitchen
202 Wilson St. cor. Jose Abad Santos St.,
Greenhills, San Juan City
724-5011 to 12 / 572-7111 / 527-7222


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Friday, September 17, 2010

Free Charles & Keith shoes from HSBC Red Mastercard!

I attended the HSBC Shoedown at the Makati Shangrila Hotel last Sept. 14, 2010.

HSBC Shoedown at Makati Shangrila HotelIt's definitely one of the more interesting events of the year. All the guests were asked to participate in a game upon entry.

HSBC Shoedown raffle stubWe were given raffle forms to fill up. But here's the catch -- we had to identify which lady represented which set of shoes that were displayed in the room. The 5 ladies in question were: Alexandra Rocha, Raya Mananquil, Rocio Olbes, Stacy Rodriguez, and Tessa Prieto Valdes.

HSBC Charles & Keith Shoe Shy showcase
HSBC Charles & Keith Shoe Setter showcaseWe had to correctly answer which of them is the Shoe Artiste, Shoe Biz, Shoe Diva, Shoe Setter, and Shoe Shy based on the shoes displayed. To be honest, I was only familiar with Raya Mananquil and Tessa Prieto Valdes among the ladies featured in the event so it was tough for me. Later on, the raffle mechanics went something like this -- all our game cards were folded and placed in a fish bowl. The correct answers were then revealed one by one. If your card is drawn and your answer is right you get to take home Charles & Keith GCs!

Raya Mananquil is the Shoe SetterThe answers were revealed one by one. Raya Mananquil was revealed to be the Shoe Setter. I got only one answer correct, and that was Tessa Prieto Valdes = Shoe Artiste. She was the last to be identified, and I remember thinking it's a lost cause because I think everyone could tell she was the Shoe Artiste because of the description "For her, less is not more.". What are the chances that I'd be drawn among all the people in the event?

Tessa Prieto Valdes and AnimetricImagine my shock when my name was called as a game stub was fished out of the bowl! I told everyone it was the one and only answer I got right. I won Charles & Keith GCs! I guess she's my lucky charm because I normally don't get drawn in raffles hahaha! :D

Charles & Keith shoesAnyhow here's the good news from HSBC: You can get three (3) pairs of Charles & Keith shoes absolutely free! New HSBC Red Mastercard holders will receive three claim vouchers for Charles & Keith shoes worth P1,249 each for every minimum spend of P3,000 on their card within a specified transaction period. Just present the charge slip + claim voucher and voila! You get a free pair of Charles & Keith shoes.

I've seen nearly a hundred pairs at the event and wow, all I can say is I'm excited to use the GCs!

HSBC Red Mastercard promo with Charles & Keith will run till December 31, 2010. For more info, log on to http://www.hsbc.com.ph or call 85-800 / 976-8000.


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