Friday, July 31, 2015

Read. Sip. Dine. at Book and Borders Cafe (Tomas Morato, Q.C.)

My Facebook post for my sister, dated 17 June 2015

The very first time I heard about Book & Borders Café was thru a Facebook group I am part of. That very moment, I messaged my sister thru Facebook as well, because I am such a big bookworm and both my sister and I love to eat as well. We, including my bookish friends have wanted to check this cafe, but I guess fate has its own way of rewarding me.

Book & Borders Cafe
Book & Borders Cafe Grand Opening

Last Tuesday, I was one of the blessed attendees to the grand opening celebration of Book and Borders Café, located at 281 Tomas Morato, Quezon City.

Book and Borders Cafe Book and Borders Cafe
Book and Borders Cafe
Book & Borders Cafe Book and Borders Cafe

Entering the cafe, I was in awe at how beautiful it looked inside - definitely a bookworm's dream. There are lounge seats for comfortable seating, as well as a long table for big groups who are about to review or just enjoy a time together reading their own books.

I wasn't able to fully browse Book and Borders Cafe's book selection, but those I have browsed, I am pleased to see that they grouped together books based on their genres and authors. They have a wide selection of YA fiction, which will definitely attract more high school and college students, but they also have a good selection of adult fiction, as well as some children's books, to satisfy people of all ages. Aside from letting customers enjoy a good read while having snacks, they also provide book stands to those who need it, making reading and eating easier to do at the same time.

{More after the jump...}

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Minions McDonald's Happy Meal Toys

This was a very late post, I know... but in the "Thursday Throwback" tradition, allow me to just post this. I just need to finish my current read (so I can include it on my July list), so this post will be heavier on pictures than words.

This was an Instagram post I had June 2013, while my British friend K and I were spending a short holiday in Boracay. I was away from home for nearly two weeks that time, and when my siblings learned about the McDonald's Happy Meal that features the Minions as part of the promotion for the Despicable Me 2 movie, they quickly messaged me their proposal -- that we would pitch in to complete all ten toys. They gave me three toys to hunt, sister had to hunt the other three, while brother volunteered to hunt the last four. I was in Boracay the time they messaged me, and I was so thankful that there is a McDonald's branch in Boracay, and was able to buy this toy. Days after, I got to buy the remaining two toys at McDonald's SM Mall of Asia and McDonald's Robinson's Place Ermita.

Two years after, the Minions were given their own movie, and my sister and I were so happy that McDonald's will once again offer Minion toys on their Happy Meal. When we heard that McDonald's are offering the toys on pre-order, my sister took note of the start of the pre-order period and went to McDonald's near her workplace as early as 8AM to pre-order.

She had to pay for the whole set - a little less than 1,000 pesos, and was given this pre-order stubs, which has the main stub for the toys as well as ten food stubs, which my sister could use until August. It was a good system, though the meals were already pre-determined as well. majority of the food stubs were for Burger McDo meal, but it had two Chicken McDo meal stubs.

My sister asked me a huge favor, making me travel to Makati very early morning last June 25. For breakfast, we went to McDonald's to claim the toys, a day before the toys were made available for individual selling. I was so happy to be able to be one of the first people to share the picture to my sites, but I wasn't able to blog about it, so yeah... boo. Hahahaha.

I love the look of the toys for this batch compared to the last batch, maybe because the movie featured a more diverse set of characters. Taking a close look at the toys --

Chatting Bob
After turning on the power button, pressing the button on his tummy would allow the toy to speak. It was just unfortunate that the paint of this toy wasn't so good - there were some blue paint on the toy's lower left lip area.

Guitar Strumming Stuart
Switching on the power, pulling the guitar neck downwards would make the toy sing.

Minion Caveman
No battery power needed, pushing the button at the back would make the minion's hand with banana move.

Groovy Stuart
Tilting the toy from left to right would make the toy move his hands, like he was dancing.

Minion Vampire
Pushing the switch at the back would allow the toy to show its fangs - I used scotch tape to put the switch in position.

Egyptian Hula Minion
The hula hoop is detached to the toy, but there was a slot on the toy's waistband to make the hoop stay in place. Pushing the button on its head would rotate the hula hoop.

Lava Shooting Kevin
Another battery operated toy, switching on the power would make the "lava" light up, but we got a dysfunctional toy, it wasn't lighting up.

Guard Minion
A very classic way to move a toy - wind it up, set it on a surface and watch it walk.

Marching Minion Soldier
Pushing the button on its headdress would make the toy's eyes move from left to right.

Martial Arts Minion
A little complicated to use -- hold its foot, turn the upper body counter clockwise and release. It would spin round and round. Unfortunately, it was difficult to do this with the minion set on a surface. I really had to hold it's foot and position it at an angle so it would spin good.

True, paying a one time payment of 900+ pesos was a little heavy on the budget, but... we were glad that McDonald's offered the pre-order of the toys. It just took away the stress of hopping to different stores just to buy the toys, because not everybody buys the toys all at once, there will be instances that diners would all prefer just one toy, and there was a risk that the store would run out of stock for one or two toys.

If McDonald's would offer pre-ordering of toys in their next happy meal, I suggest you go and take the chance. There is a big sense of fulfillment in completing all the once.

*** Jenn ***

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A Quick Trip to Tartland Baguio Pasarabo Factory

When one say "Baguio City," the first three food items that would come to mind would be -- Peanut Brittle, Strawberry (anything strawberry), and Lengua de Gato. Though Lengua de Gato is not my favorite Baguio City food item, it has been our usual pasalubong for family and friends.

On my last trip to the City of Pines, thanks to Azalea Residences Baguio, I was blessed to see how these delectable goodies are made.

Entering the Tartland Baguio Pasarabo factory, this electric mixer set and piping tube would be the first that would capture one's attention. This has been the family's source of inspiration, because back when they started the business, this was their tool in making their Lengua de Gato. Now that their business is constantly upgrading, this set of tools is a good reminder of their humble beginnings, that great things often start with a simple idea.

But how did Tartland Baguio Pasarabo start?

In the early 90s, Angie dela Cruz started making cheese tarts and offered them to fellow mothers at her children's schools. The product clicked, and she would then make more and more cheese tarts, but doing so caused her to throw away big amounts of egg whites, as the tarts would only use egg yolks. She was able to find a way to use the egg whites - by baking Lengua de Gato.

This new product was such a hit, that it even penetrated the Baguio pasalubong stores. Soon, they upgraded their tools to accommodate the growing demand for their products. They now employ about 25 employees, producing about 1,200 jars of their very delectable Lengua de Gato.

This was taken from a window before we entered the factory. As a food business, the need to make sure of the quality of their goods, so we were asked to wear hairnets and were asked not to touch any of the equipment and food product.

A good Lengua de Gato starts with the mixing of the ingredients. Ms. Angie dela Cruz told us there are a lot of recipes available online, but should we decide to try it out in our own kitchen, we have to make sure we use fresh ingredients.

After the batter is mixed, it is then loaded to this machine that pipes out 12 Lengua de Gato at one time. Cool!

They didn't divulge the temperature and the cooking time for their Lengua de Gato, but obviously, the next step is to bake them.

Trying not to break any of the delicate cookies, next step is to cool them and separate them according to their color. They might be cooked in the same temperature and time, but not all of them come out of the oven looking the same. They do have their standard color, but those dark ones are not completely discarded - they still pack them for other use.

Final step is to pack the cookies in their respective containers.

We truly enjoyed the short time we spent inside the factory, but aside from savoring the wonderful smell and buying the freshest Lengua de Gato, it was the story behind the success that was the biggest blessing I received from this trip. At this point, I am still trying to learn how to bake and I still don't have the strength to sell the baked goods I have tried, but I will keep this success story in my heart and hope that in time I will be successful in my own little way as well.

*** Jenn ***

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Jenn, the Foodie

I come from a family who loves cooking and eating. I never had any formal training in cooking and that I taught myself how to cook based on the handed down recipes, but I could say that I can cook good food. In 2008, I started documenting my food trips for my travel blog, and since I have quite enough to start a food blog, might as well put all those food trips in one location. Thus, a food blog is born - thanks to the new Friendster Blogs. However, due to several problems, I was left with no choice but to pack bags again and move here instead. Here's the permanent address, promise! Enough talk, let the food trippin' begin! {Know More About Me}