Monday, April 30, 2012

Manang's Chicken: Bringing Home Cooking to Fast Food

Sisters Jill Gerodias-Borja and Jen Gerodias-Slagle have long enjoyed a special chicken dish served at home prepared by their long time family cook, affectionately called Manang. Based on their mom's recipe, the crisp and tender chicken dish with its soy garlic sauce remained a family secret. Until now.

After some positive and encouraging results in food fairs and weekend markets, Jill and Jen opened their first branch in 2011, aptly named Manang's Chicken, sharing their family's double deep fried crispy chicken with Manang's secret soy garlic sauce (check out my previous post on Manang's Chicken here at Now with seven branches in the Metro, Jill and Jen are offering two new products to their line up. I was recently invited to sample and be one of the first to try the new products, so read on...

What's in the Fridge...Crab Salad Sandwich

Some crabsticks, a few veggies, the last piece of Ciabatta...looks like the makings of a simple crabstick salad sandwich.

Start off by steaming the crabsticks until its soft and tender, which should take less than 3 minutes.  In a bowl shred the crabsticks and mix in some mayo, salt and pepper to taste. Squeeze in some kalamansi or lime and mix.

Side Views: Carmel and Monterey

There's just something about long drives along the ocean, it's about reconnecting with yourself. I had the chance to do just that three years ago, and it was awesome. Here are two great coastal drives while in SFO,  each offering its own unique charm and vibe.   

The sound of surf, beautiful weather, and scenic drive make Carmel a must stop. Pull the down windows and  let the briny air surround you. Pop in your favorite CD and enjoy the ride...

Sunday, April 29, 2012

What's in the Fridge...A Laughing Cow

A Laughing Cow in my fridge...always a great way to start the day.

Rich, creamy and so easy to spread, Laughing Cow's Milky Cheese is a real treat.  Just toast some Ciabatta and spread away.

Manang's Chicken Take-Out

Had a sudden craving for chicken wings and decided to try a new place...

The Manang's Chicken 6 pc Extra Spicy Wings (P 149), with the trademark soy garlic sauce and a little heat. Crispy, tender and juicy, 

Friday, April 27, 2012

What's in the Fridge...Butter Cake

Found something cool in the fridge today...

Soft, moist and buttery, a good butter cake is always so comforting, perfect any time of the day.

Side Views: The Spruce Goose Up Close at the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum

A visit to the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum was like living a childhood dream. I remember being so fascinated with the legendary fighters of World War II as a child, and seeing these beautiful machines up close was an amazing experience. Located in McMinnville, Oregon, the museum houses some of the best preserved military and civilian aircraft. I was able to visit the museum two years ago, and here's a short walk through some of my favorite flying machines...

The legendary Spruce Goose, one of the largest aircraft ever built, is truly an impressive sight. Built mainly from wood (mostly birch, actually, and not spruce), this mammoth aircraft was designed primarily to airlift troops and cargo across the Atlantic during World War II. Designed by the eccentric visionary Howard Hughes, the Spruce Goose remains one of the classic icons in aviation history.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Sentosa Singaporean Restaurant's 50% Off Dim Sum Deal

Here's the deal. Dim Sum prices slashed by 50%. Sounds good. Definitely worth checking out...

Starting off with the Baked Asado Pie (P 95 regular price, P 47.50 discounted price) to set the tone. Nice flaky crust topped with sesame seeds for some crunch, and a savory meat filling.

Cooling Down with Yoh-gurt Froz

It was a bit cloudy this morning, but hopes for a temporary respite from the heat disappeared well before noon, and the summer heat returned with a vengeance. Man, it's really hot. Any noon time drive, no matter how short, can be an ordeal. Time for a quick detour to cool things down.

My nieces swear by Yoh-gurt Froz, I guess because the sweetness and taste of the Yoh-gurt Froz Original is pretty close to ice cream, and with the added health benefits, this seems like another winner for summer. If you prefer the traditional tart and tangy yogurt flavor, go for the Classic Fro-Yo.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Cooling Down with Mio Gelati

Man, it's hot, and I wouldn't be surprised if the summer temp reaches the high 40s. And a mid-afternoon drive can be brutal, with the car A/C simply no match versus the summer heat. The summer heat seems to be winning yet again, until I spot a familiar sign... 

Mio Gelati just happens to be on the way, and again, saved by gelato.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

What's in the Fridge...Crispy Calamari

Found a half empty bag of frozen squid rings...looks like another fridge raid in the making.

After thawing out the frozen squid rings, place in a bowl and squeeze in some fresh kalamansi (local lime) before mixing in a little flour, salt and pepper. Then dip the squid rings in egg before rolling it some bread crumbs. Deep fry until golden brown, which really just takes a few minutes.

Monday, April 23, 2012

A Summer Afternoon At My Aunt's Secret Garden

This summer, every day seems to be hotter than the day before, with average temps reaching the high 30s. It seems no one can escape the sweltering heat, but my Aunt's garden appears to thrive, blooming in full color. Sundays at my Aunt's place is a great time to reconnect and strengthen family ties, and nothing bonds like good food.

Friday, April 20, 2012

What's in the Pantry...Marketman's Kalamansi Marmalade Artisanal Preserves

My cuz brought back this great marmalade from a recent trip to Cebu, and it's awesome! Made by Marketman's Artisanal Preserves (the same marketman of the Market Manila blog), the Kalamansi Marmalade, made from native limes, is a sweet sour delight.

The Classic Max's Fried Chicken

The doorbell rings and it's here...another quick delivery from Max's Restaurant. I've had this craving for fried chicken, and Max's is always top of mind. A real institution that remains true to its original fried chicken classic in an ever changing culinary landscape.

The Half Spring Chicken (P 159.60), tender, juicy and crisp. Paired with the signature Jufran Banana Catsup, awesome.

Side Views: Walking the Strip

Vegas, the start-off point for an epic road trip along Route 66 three years ago. Enchanting, almost magical, it's easy to get tempted. After giving in, I decided to try my luck at the Blackjack table. Big mistake. No matter how lucky you feel the odds are really against you. And it's pretty scary how you're chips just seem to disappear. After a dismal attempt, I decided to walk the legendary Strip, all 6 kilometers. And back.  And what a visual feast.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Beating the Summer Heat with Gelato

Summer's here, and you can definitely feel the heat. Another day in the high 30s. And is there anything better than cooling down with Gelato? 

Gelato at The Venetian, Las Vegas
With lower butterfat content and less air versus conventional ice cream, you get less fat and calories but more intense flavors. Very cool.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Getting Personal with Pizza Hut's Supreme Pan Pizza

Here's a pretty cool deal. A pizza just for you.

The Supreme Personal Pan Pizza (P 115), loaded with six awesome toppings: beef, pepperoni, seasoned pork, bell pepper, mushrooms and onions. And layers of mozzarella cheese, perfect.

Side Views: The Caverns of Lake Shasta

An interesting side trip from the San Francisco to Seattle drive two years ago is Lake Shasta. Just off Redding, this man-made lake features the Lake Shasta Caverns, an amazing underground marvel with impressive limestone formations. Definitely unique, and a must-see when in Redding. 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

What's in the Fridge...Cucumber Salad

Found this amazing cucumber salad recipe that is so simple yet full of flavor from mamacook at  This cool recipe is for a traditional Indian cucumber salad called Kachumber (see post and full recipe here at, a perfect and cooling side dish to curries. I see another fridge raid coming up...

Mamacook's Kachumber recipe calls for the following ingredients: Cucumbers. Check. Tomatoes. Check. Onions. Check. Sugar or sweetener. Check. A lime or lemon...uh-oh...will have to improvise here with the native lime or kalamansi. Salt and chili powder to taste and we have a Kachumber Salad, or something close to it.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Konbini Store's Pita Burger

Here's a refreshing twist on the classic burger from Konbini, using quality in-house ingredients for an amazing burger. Premium beef patties stuffed into Pita bread, sounds awesome. Fill it with a tangy chili meat sauce, fresh tomatoes, coleslaw and a creamy garlic mayo dressing, and you have another classic.

Konbini Store's Pita Pan Burger (P 180 Dine-In, P 195 Take-Out), comes with two pieces of Pita stuffed with a burger patty, fresh tomato, chili meat sauce and coleslaw.

What's in the Fridge...Quick Champorado

What to do with some leftover about a quick Champorado. Quick and easy. Pour around two cups of milk (low fat works well) into a pot, then add three to four tablespoons of Hershey Cocoa and bring to a boil.  Simply unwrap and mash up the suman (glutinous sticky rice rolls) in the pot and allow to simmer.

Since the Suman is already sweet, you don't need need to add sugar, but if you are using regular sticky rice, adding some sugar to taste is a good idea. Using Suman is a cheat, but it works. This simple dish can be traced back to Spanish and Mexican influences as a result of the Manila-Acapulco Galleon Trade when chocolate was introduced to the Philippines, and it's been chocolate love ever since.

Side Views: Bandelier National Monument

Amazing hiking trails taking you back in time to the ancient Pueblo peoples' cliff dwellings, surrounded by the natural beauty of the Bandelier National Park Preserve. Definitely something different and unique, and a must-visit when in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Monday, April 9, 2012

What's in the Fridge...Instant Sinigang!

Checked the fridge, and there is potential. A bag of fresh shrimps, some assorted veggies. I'm thinking Sinigang. A sour, tamarind-based soup usually prepared with pork, beef or fish, but also great with fresh shrimps. 

In a large pot, fill with around 6-8 cups of water, and bring to a boil. Grab four medium sized tomatoes, diced, and throw in the pot. Throw in a medium sized onion, quartered. Empty a pack of Knorr Sinigang sa Sampaloc Mix and stir. Then add the remaining veggies, like okra, labanos (daikon), gabi (taro), kangkong (water cabbage), sitaw (string beans), and eggplant. Throw in two to three whole green chiles for a little heat. 

A Superior Congee Breakfast at North Park

I've always associated congee as something one takes when recovering from a fever, and I used to abhor the bland, tasteless and really boring stuff. And then there is the Superior Congee which just erases all your childhood memories of the usual rice porridge.

Side Views: Written in Stone at the Petroglyph National Monument

Just off Albuquerque, New Mexico, is the Petroglyph National Monument, an interesting side trip from  a drive along the legendary Route 66 three years ago. This archaeological site features intricate images and symbols carved on rock by the ancestral Pueblo people, providing a unique insight to an ancient culture.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Time for More Cookie Love with SweetLeaf Soft Batch Wasabi White Chocolate Chip Cookies

After falling head over heels with SweetLeaf Soft Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies, it's time for more cookie love. This time, with the Wasabi White Chocolate Chip.

The batches come in pretty cool packaging, perfect for gift-giving. Or simply to reward yourself for a rough week. Why not indulge in some cookie love?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Ever Tried a Balkan Burger?

The Pljeskavica is a Serbian grilled ground beef dish, lightly spiced, and usually served with potatoes. At Balkan Express, you can have a traditional Pljeskavica served as a burger, and believe me, it's pretty good.   

And here's Balkan Express' Pljeskavica (P 180). Each order comes with French Fries, including a tartar sauce dip and catsup.

Monday, April 2, 2012

What's in the Fridge: Fresh Tomatoes and Garlic Chives

Found some fresh tomatoes in the fridge. And some garlic chive. Chop up the fresh tomatoes, add a pinch of salt, a splash of olive oil, and throw in what's left of the garlic chives. And then you have an instant side dish perfect for any fried seafood.

The fridge also yielded some boneless bangus belly (milkfish), cool. Simply pan-fry the bangus belly until it's nice and crisp, and serve with the fresh tomatos and garlic chives.

Side Views: An Afternoon at the Taos Pueblo

I remember seeing photographs of the Taos Pueblo by Ansel Adams way back in high school, and I was fascinated ever since. Three years ago, I had a chance to spend a half day in this thousand year old village. After imagining this place for pretty much half my life, I was finally here, and somehow I felt a sense of closure, like linking one of many loose loops, a small check in a long bucket list.  

And the Taos Pueblo is just as inspiring as I always knew it would be.

What's in the Fridge: Tamales

It's always a treat when somebody brings home tamales from Pampanga. Tied and wrapped in banana leaves, these glutinous spicy rice cakes brings back a lot of good memories. I remember my grandmother bringing this stuff over, and those were good times.

Made from rice and coconut milk, topped with thin strips of chicken, sliced boiled eggs, achuete (annato) for that distinctive orange color and black pepper for that unique heat and flavor, and then wrapped tightly in banana leaves before steaming. The local tamales traces its origin from Spanish influences, an adaptation from the Latin-American staple made from corn.

Side Views: Sunrise at the Grand Canyon

The dawn's early light slowly reveals this incredible wonder of nature, with the penetrating glow peeling away the different layers to reveal a truly amazing sight. I was told to catch the sunrise at the Grand Canyon, and it's an experience that still blows me away three years later. 

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