Thursday, September 27, 2012

Breakfast, the CBTL Way

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf
Ground Level, A. Venue Mall
7829 Makati Ave. corner Valdez St.,
Antel Lifestyle City - Makati City
+63 (02)729-7095

(continuation of the food trips with K)

Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf - A. Venue Mall

During the holiday with K, we usually eat breakfast where we were staying at (except while in Iloilo because we found a place to eat breakfast prior to the trip). Great Eastern Hotel offers buffet breakfast, but when we checked the dining area, none of the food served tickled our eyes. We thought of checking A. Venue Mall again, hoping to have some Chinese food for breakfast, but the store was still closed that time. Good timing, though, CBTL just opened their doors, and we decided to have our breakfast there.

Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf - A. Venue Mall

The place was spacious, and we went for a seat away from the sunlight. K and I didn't have any particular plan to do today, so we figured we would just take time eating our breakfast while reading the paper or the magazines provided by the store. I asked if they have a WiFi connection, and they said they do, but we had to be a part of the CBTL club something so they could give us the password. Obviously, we weren't able to get the password.

They have a lot to offer for breakfast, but we went for the set meals as it already had coffee included in the meals.

Tasty Toast

Tasty Toast. K has always been a simple man when it comes to his food choice, and for his breakfast he just went for the Tasty Toast. He did like the light crunch on the surface of the bread, which had a good contrast to the soft texture inside the bread.

Salmon Sandwich

Salmon Scramble. I really love salmon, and seeing this on the menu sealed the deal for me. A mix of eggs and smoked salmon with special sauce served on rosemary foccacia bread... ummm ummm, good!

His and Her Coffee

His & Her Coffee. K went for the black coffee, I went for the Latte, served with additional milk on the side. It was rich, it was comforting, but every brewed coffee tasted the same for me, so I can't compare if this one was better than the other coffee served elsewhere.

While eating breakfast, I thought about the driver we met while staying at Fernandina 88 Suites Hotel. We knew he works for a different hotel, but during our last road trip with the driver, he did receive a call from someone inquiring about his services, so I decided to call him if it would be okay to drive us around the Metro once again. Fortunately, he was available that day, so we set up a 9:30am call time for another round of road trip.


Monday, September 24, 2012

Chicken Pastel a la Maggi Magic Meals

Our family only does grocery shopping once a month, so whenever that day comes, us siblings do take our time checking every aisle for something new.

Maggi Magic Meals (Chicken Pastel)

Sister saw this new product from Maggi during our last grocery shopping and thought we should give it a try. Well, here in our house, we don't really use rice cooker, so it was just last Saturday that I decided to give this a try.

The pack is divided into two - the top part contains the plastic cooking back, the bottom part contains the seasoning powder you need to "magically" transform a few ingredients into one awesome dish.

Bagged and Ready to Cook
you need to shake the bag and coat the ingredients 
with the sauce before you place it in the rice cooker, by the way.

For Chicken Pastel, all that's needed are 1/2 kilo of chicken (cut into bite size pieces or scored three times if you're using bigger cuts), carrots, potatoes, and 1/4 cup of water. On the picture at the product, I did see some Vienna Sausage and Mushrooms, so I figured I'd add some, too. I only was able to add Vienna Sausage because we didn't have mushrooms.

Like what I said earlier, we don't use Rice Cooker here in the house, so I was a bit apprehensive in using this product. We do have a Rice Cooker (in fact we have three), but we still love cooking our rice the traditional way, and because we haven't used our Rice Cooker in many years, I wasn't sure if it will still work. Having said that (that and my apprehensions), I decided to pan fry the potatoes, carrots, and chicken for about 5 minutes before placing it in the bag, just so the ingredients were cooked a little.

Bag in the Rice Cooker

This product is designed for busy fellows - yuppies, college students - who didn't have time to cook the slow, traditional way. It ensures having rice and viand cooked at the same time, so people who are not into cooking (and/or thought they don't have the talent for it) didn't have to go and eat out.

I thought we'd have a bad dinner that night. When I plugged the Rice Cooker, it did have the red light near the "Rice Cooking" label, so I just left it at that. Some 15 minutes after, my brother asked if I pushed the button to cook the rice... and I didn't. The Rice Cooker has been in "Keep Warm" mode for 15 minutes. Yikes.

Chicken Pastel a la Maggi Magic Meals

Well, I still was able to cook the dish well, but the problems I had with the Rice Cooker made the sauce turn into a paste, hence the not-so-pretty sight of our dinner that night. Still it tasted really good!

A few things I learned in using this product:
  • I should really cut the ingredients small - I checked different blogs that featured this product and I noticed my ingredients were cut way too big for the Rice Cooker to cook properly without having to fry it prior to actual cooking (actually, pre-cooking the ingredients defeats the purpose of the product, so next time I will try this without pre-cooking it).
  • Maybe I should add a little more than 1/4 cup of water, simply because I do love my viands saucy. 
  • It may be easy to use, but taking out the dish outside the bag can be difficult - because it's hot and you don't want to wait 'til it becomes cold, right?
  • If you're having negative thoughts about the plastic bag, you can still use this product by cooking it the traditional way.. just cook the dish the way it should be (saute onions and garlic, add chicken, potatoes and carrots), then add the diluted the flavoring mix and boil it 'til the ingredients are cooked.

It said in the package that one can still use the normal "kaldero" (the metal pot you use in cooking rice on a stove)... maybe next time I will go ahead and use the kaldero method.

Brother said there are three more flavors - Bicol Express, Afritada, and Lechon Paksiw. Hmmm... I will go for the Lechon Paksiw next time. :)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Recipe | Beef Stew

I have always loved eating ever since I was a kid (my late father said they never had problems feeding me), but I wasn't really into cooking and recipe collecting until a few years ago. In our family, it is my parents and my brother who would really cut recipes from newspapers and magazines and compile them together. I am not really much into cook books as I always try out recipes from different culinary magazines.

The Maya Kitchen Journal
The Maya Kitchen Journal

Last month, I got myself a copy of "Journal for Cooks and Foodies" by the Maya Kitchen. It features more than 180 recipes - ranging from snacks, appetizers, main courses, and desserts. What makes this a very unique cook book is that it also doubles as a journal, which has spaces for your own notes - maybe about the printed recipe or to write down an interesting recipe you watched on television. What differs this from a regular journal is that there isn't a year printed, so this journal can be bought and given any particular time of the year.

Published by Anvil Publishing, this journal is available nationwide in National Bookstore, Bestseller, and Powerbooks outlets. If you would like to know more information on how to get your copy, you can check the Maya Kitchen's website - - or e-mail them through

There are so many recipes I'd like to try, but earlier this month we had some beef (we rarely buy beef in this household), so I went to go for this recipe:

Beef Stew

Beef Stew
4 - 6 Servings

  • 6 strips bacon
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium sized onions, sliced
  • 3/4 kilo beef (round steak or boneless chuck), cubed or sliced julienned
  • 3 tablespoons Maya All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup water or beef broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 medium sized potatoes, cubed
  • 1 carrot, cubed
  • 1 cup celery, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar

How to Cook:
  • In a skillet, fry bacon until crisp. Remove bacon then chop.
  • In the bacon fat, saute the garlic and onions. Add beef and cook until browned. 
  • Add flour and stir-fry to coat the beef. Add water, bay leaf, brown sugar, thyme, and seasonings. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer until beef is tender.
  • Add the vegetables and continue cooking until done. Remove bay leaf and stir in the vinegar. Bring to a boil and turn off the heat.
  • Top with chopped fried bacon.

Yep, I know one key ingredient is missing on my dish - the celery. Well, I honestly forgot to buy some the day I cooked this; I couldn't postpone cooking this dish because I got nothing else to cook / serve for that dinner, and since my family isn't really into celery, this dish was still appreciated by the family.

It tasted like Salisbury Steak with a hint of Adobo (because of the vinegar). It was an interesting dish I'd cook again, but the next time I cook this, I'd really add in the celery because I do love the taste of celery. :)

Happy Friday!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Celebrating Mom's 63rd Birthday

Chic-Boy (Chicken at Baboy)
Prudential Life Bldg. Arnaiz Ave. (Pasay Rd.), Makati
+63 (02)869-3412

* picture-heavy post *

We always celebrate birthdays of family members with a hearty meal. For this year, mom told us she wanted to see "the Fort." I am not sure what made her want to go there, but because it is something new for the family to share, we were all eager to travel that far. It was already noon time when we reached Makati, and because us siblings didn't get to eat breakfast, we decided to eat lunch first before we go to Bonifacio Global City. We all know dining in Makati can burn a hole in the pocket, so it was really a great blessing that there are a few establishments offering great food without spending much, one of which is Chic-Boy along Pasay Road.

Chic-Boy Pasay Road - Facade

This branch opened last February, and from a food place that serves customers from 9am-9pm, they are now open 24 hours a day, except during Sundays (until 12mn, the restaurant resumes operation 6am of Monday) and some holidays, and they are also accepting bulk orders and deliveries (phone number at the top part of this post).

Chic-Boy Pasay Road - Al Fresco Side

The al fresco side was more spacious than the actual dining area; I didn't notice any electric fans (but there might be some, I am not sure), but the overall temperature was actually okay. As soon as we arrived, staff were friendly and courteous, something we appreciated as we walked from the Ayala MRT station 'til Park 1 Square and we were hungry and a little tired.

Chic-Boy Pasay Road - Dining Area

There were available tables outside, but we decided to take a table at the main dining area so we can get some aircon juice. :) Inside, the area was a little cramped, but it didn't really look and feel that crowded.

This wasn't the first time the family dined at a Chic-Boy establishment, so we already knew what kind of dishes they serve. We decided to have our own plated meal and just add additional food we will all share. Presenting what we had for mom's birthday fiesta:

CB1 - Chicken Inasal (Paa)

CB1 - Chicken Inasal (Paa). My meal. Chicken Inasal is one of my favorite chicken dishes, and I just realized I still haven't tasted Chic-Boy's version. This one didn't fail me - it was seasoned well, and I didn't have to season the meat further in the calamansi-vinegar-soy sauce dip. The size of the chicken was big enough to satisfy my hungry tummy.

CB5 - Cebu Lechon Manok

CB5 - Cebu Lechon Manok. Kuya's meal. I personally love this better than the Chicken Inasal because it has this very distinct flavor. Diners have the choice which part they would want - the leg quarter or the breast/wing part.

CB6 - Cebu Lechon Liempo

CB6 - Cebu Lechon Liempo. Mom's meal. I only tasted two pork cubes of this, but I did love it so much! The pork skin was crunchy, the meat was tender and super flavorful!

Sizzling Bangus Belly

Sizzling Bangus Belly. Sister's meal. She opted to have the rice served at a different plate (to prevent the rice from burning), and this was something really interesting. Most of the flavor came from the sauce - which was creamy and tasted a lot like margarine (which I truly liked).

The meals above all came with unlimited rice and unlimited house soup. I wasn't able to photograph the bowls of the house soup, but my brother and I liked it a lot. We actually opted not to have drinks anymore (except for water at the end of our meal, of course), slurping the soup in between bites was enough for us.

As for the food the family shared, we had:

Sinigang na Salmon

Sinigang na Salmon. I loved how rich the soup was. It had the great balance of flavors, and the fish was cooked just right. This bowl had about 4 slices of salmon belly, not much, I know...but do know this bowl of comfort is just 69 pesos, so it was really a good buy.

Lumpiang Sariwa

Lumpiang Sariwa. Curiosity was the reason why they (bro and sis) ordered this, and it didn't disappoint me, but the sauce was a little too thick for my liking.

Calamares Fritos

Calamares Fritos. Sister suggested for us to try this because this is one of her Chic-Boy favorites. It tasted like something we would do at home, but a very big plus was that the squid was really tender.

Salmon Sashimi

Salmon Sashimi. Something brother and sister shared (mom had a slice, too), because they love sashimi! Brother said it was "bitin" (not enough), which meant he liked it, although he said the wasabi didn't have that much kick on it.

Pancit Canton

Pancit Canton. Birthday is not complete without any noodles, hence this one. This one had the type of noodles I prefer for a Pancit Canton (chewy and not soggy), the vegetables were crunchy, and it had a great amount of meat (pork, chicken, liver) in it. Picture grabbed from brother's camera, I actually forgot to take a picture of this.

Desserts? We had those, too! :)

Halo-Halo Halo-Halo

Halo-Halo. Hmmm... not my favorite that day, but the leche flan tasted great. :)

Turones con Leche

Turones con Leche. A very simple dessert, but is something my siblings and I really love (there was actually a time we went into a Chic-Boy branch just to eat this).

Our lunch lasted two hours. We truly had a lot to eat that even if we roamed around Makati then later on roamed around Bonifacio Global City after, we didn't feel the need to eat dinner anymore. A hearty fiesta shared with family... all for just below 1000 pesos. :)

- * - * - * -

I just noticed each Chic-Boy branches have their own sets of promos... checking Chic-Boy Pasay Road Facebook Page, I saw a few promos you might like to avail, if you're near the area:

The Chibog Affordable Meals are extended 'til November 15, by the way.

...and something generous people might want to avail since Christmas is less than a hundred days away.

All of us in the family are hearty eaters, and Chic-Boy is definitely a place where we can share great food, great chats, great time together. Happy birthday, mommy!

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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}