Friday, May 31, 2013

Pet Peeve #013

The thing about being an artist is that there are always people in need of some sort of artwork/design/editing/photo taken...but people mistake us as being so passionate about art that we'd be so happy about doing the job that we wholeheartedly do them without expecting anything in return. For certain people, maybe...but we have bills to pay people. This includes basic needs and far-fetched wants. We love pretty stuff--and it takes money to get most of them.

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Great Gatsby


The Great Gatsby is a movie about Gatsby's great love for a woman. It seems as though the measures he took just make make her believe he's worthy of her were nothing short of grand. The movie delights you with stunning production sets and elegant costumes. It lifts your spirit up with the grandeur of upscale parties then slowly drags you down the more you get to know the characters until you're left with the heavy feeling of witnessing the fall of social climber all in the name of love. What makes it so much bigger than a love story are the involvement of themes such as oppression, domestic violence, social division, adultery, and money--lots of it.

The things that's worth the watch are the sets, the parties, the costumes, and the quotable quotes. Of course, the actors were a good fit to their roles in the movie--if only Leonardo DiCaprio made his accent a little more un-intentional especially when saying the line, "owd spowt." 

The movie is about Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Daisy (Carey Mulligan) but you see it through the eyes of Nick Carraway (Toby Maguire) as a witness to both sides of the story as someone being, "both within and without." But for me, The Great Gatsby the movie is represented in the persona of Jordan Baker (Elizabeth Debicki) as a lavish woman who loves the intrigue and being present in the commotion of it all. She knows the secrets, but the character never interferes in the organic unfolding of the story, rather is part of the story that makes it beautiful.  


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Coffee: Kazuki Yamamoto

Epic latte art

Kazuki Yamamoto works in  Café 10g at Osaka and his latte art completely undermines those cappuccino swirls in your local cafe. 

I don't know how he does it, but if you ever get a hold of a barista with this skill level, a word of advice: don't EVER let him go...and invite me over that I may challenge him/her by making me a 3D latte art of the Acropolis. 

Better add Café 10g to your must-go-to destinations for all you coffee lovers and latte art fans out there.

Giraffe flavored cafe latte anyone?

Coffee people peeking into our world.

Just chillin'

"Hope you don't choke on my fur balls!"

"Oh nooo! are you gonna drink me?"

You can find the rest of his latte art in this site:

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Recipe: Orange Cupcake

There's a horror to baking for many reasons, my top two is having to be precise with the recipe and that 90% chance of turning it into a flop. The need to measure ingredients and being careful with the temperature of the oven is always a make or break for me. Thus, I am open to the option of using a ready-mix as the chances of failing is greatly reduced to 50%. The best thing about ready-mix products is that it was made to simplify your life but gives you the option of adding a flare to it. In this case, I wanted to make it an orange glazed cupcake cake. Yes, I'm so lazy that I poured the entire batter in a single pan instead of making individual cupcakes. I'm sharing this recipe because it's not good enough to sell, plus I'm bored. 



1 Pack of ready-mix yellow cupcake mix (I suggest sponge cake or pound cake mix will do better in this recipe)
2 Eggs
1/2 Cup Fresh Orange Juice
3 tbsp. Vegetable Oil
Some Orange Zest
Some drops of Orange Oil Essence


Just do what the box tells you, but substitute water with freshly squeezed orange juice then add the orange zest and essence to the batter. 

Orange Glaze


Chopped Orange (with the skin and all)
Fresh Orange Juice
Orange Zest


Mix them all in a saucepan and adjust the proportions accordingly to your taste. Yes, I did not measure, I simply did trial-and-error. It turned out well, so just hope yours does too. I suppose it's a 1:1 ratio for the sugar and orange juice...but I'm not sure. Just boil them all together until it thickens up and you think it's perfect.

Make sliced and grated orange zest for variation.

Put lots of orange zest in the batter.

Chop at least half an orange for the glaze. Yes, don't peel it.

Then boil it all together like making marmalade.

This is my version of a cupcake, big as pie.

Pour on the glaze while it's hot and make it look pretty.

Enjoy it with coffee!

SM Aura Premier and Paul Boulangerie Café

Since the construction of the building I knew at once it was trouble, and my fears became horror when I found out that it was an SM mall. Despite the fact that I appreciate SM to an extent for bringing in foreign brands and affordable retails, I can’t help but feel biased when it comes to the feel of shopping in their malls, not to mention their ways of dealing business. Always: miles of plain white walls, boring fluorescent lighting, bad flooring, unclean finishes, unimaginative detailing, and chuck full of people. From where I see it, the huge chunk of boot-shaped wall covered the intricate cityscape BGC had tastefully planned out; always big, but never grand. Now, SM Aura is not part of BGC but of Taguig, so it totally makes sense why they were able to smack the mall right along C5 and mammoth their structure right in front of Ayala Territory. I've also come across articles of it being a green architecture, its name Aura coming from the combination of Gold (Au) and Radium (Ra), and the pending case they have with BCDA…other than that, it’s causing me a lot of inconvenience.

During construction, months of traffic jams along C5 were bad with trucks occupying a whole section of the road. A few days before the opening of the mall, the traffic jams began piling up along the intersections of 26th Street, Mc Kinley Parkway and C5…plus with the new cumbersome rerouting system of BGC, cars clog in all exit and entry points to the area while leaving the rest of it inaccessible. I hate what BGC is fast becoming, a concentration of bystanders and jammed cars. I hope they’ll resolve such issues ASAP. As in!

With so many people, comparable to the horde in Cubao, I lost interest of taking pictures or even staying long in the mall for that matter. Sarah Jessica Parker was no longer there when I arrived anyway, so the only point of going there was one thing alone, makiki-osiyoso.

SM Aura…well, the stores are pretty (a notch classier than other SM stores)  and I like what I’m seeing except the mall itself. True to its nature, it’s a heaping block of white with unfinished sections. I know, it’s in progress, but I can clearly see it was rushed; uneven flooring and messy paint jobs. They were not keen on hiding their excitement of opening the mall and the haste was made obvious as roughly 60% of the mall is tarpaulined with different versions of Coming Soon statements. The thing reminded me of SM Annex in Q.C. with its long straight hall and boutiques on both sides of the building. Plants on the Sky Park are dying from shock of being transplanted in the concrete environment. People from all walks of life flock in droves with cameras to document their experience and update their profiles. Shops are using the term “soft opening” to disguise their impromptu debut. As a supposed high-end luxury SM Mall, people certainly are not intimidated with stepping in and walking around in their slippers. With a possible fail in their effort to market the mall as an exclusive since it’s right beside a colony of informal settlers and with a common mentality that it’s an SM mall, I don’t know where it will stand on the months ahead especially with the major renovation on going in Market! Market! and the upcoming Shangri-la next year. I suppose the sure winner will be us, the customers, who will benefit from all the rivalry.

"Ang eksena niya parang pinaghalong high end 
na middle class with a hint of masa."
                                                   -Francis N.

I can't wait to try more of their creations. <3

I have crappy handling skills, thus I seldom buy take-out.

Lemon Tart (Php.150.00)

An additional note, Paul Boulangerie Café is something to look forward to in completion as a single bite of their butter croissant made me a fan. The one on the photo is actually a Lemon Tartlet as the croissant never made it home, I devoured it within a few steps after leaving the counter. It was so good that I cannot compare it to any other croissants I've eaten before…it was perfect bliss. The tart…well the filling was all over the box by the time I got home so it didn't look pretty eat, but I do commend it as having a nice crumbly crust and a zestful-custardy-velvety filling. It’s as sour as you imagine lemons to be, but in a good way. I am definitely coming back as soon as they finish the better half of their café.

I shall probably return with a better outlook when the commotion has settled and 90% of the stores open.


I finally made it home with a piece of butter croissant intact, so I took a photo of it just make my claims more convincing.

Butter Croissant (Php.65.00) 

Look at the golden brown color and the how well the layers tuned out.

Fruit Filled-Donut (Php.95.00)

The donut was a little sad to eat...though there's actually more filling than what it looks like, it's not something I would go for a second time. 

Maybe it's me...maybe it's the donut...but it's just what it is. 

And good news! I asked the girl behind the counter when their cakes will be available because I'm not so into their tarts, she said the restaurant will be done either late July or early August. Weeeee! <3

**Update#2 (January 20, 2014)

So apparently the girl behind the counter had no idea that her employer would push back the date to December...and so here I am, back for more croissants--finally! And I liked the interior with blacks and elegant fabrics, plus the use of simple lines--so tasteful and classy! I like it--though I don't feel right at home since quirky-rustic cafes is more of my thing. Still, bread and pastries are always a good thing. And on a side note...I love their menu!!! The layout and photographs I mean, the choices are limited but fine. 

Paul's Hot Coca was my favorite-tasting thing of the bunch.
It was the saving grace of their bland waffle and crepe.
This was sinfully thick and made from good cocoa. Try it!

Their cakes are crazy Php350 a slice! So they don't put a price tag on, so I was surprised when I found out.
It was good though, with many layers and complexities as they mix the cake with many flavors and textures.
Still, my knees weakened at the price. I tasted the one on the rightmost corner--the pistachio-rose-raspberry-thing. 

This waffle sprinkled with powdered sugar was underwhelming.
It was an awkward-tasting thing that lacked "ummmf!" But it is cheap. Php 140 I think?
But just so you know, I don't know the standards of waffles, just not a personal favorite this one.

This was their afternoon tea that is a good starter set for first-time diners.
The cake felt like it was flourless because it was gooey, but not like a brownie
sort of gooey. The macarons were soft and puffy and lightly flavored.
You get the smaller sizes in the set, but the typical ones are pretty big.
And the tea can be shared with cheapskate friends!

I had to edit this photo a lot, but it still turned out as boring as it tasted. :(
The Plain Crepe was also quite cheap, Php120 if I recall right. Just order
the hot cocoa with it to balance the blandness. 

Quite frankly, I prefer their breads to their pastries. Except for their sour apple strudel. 

The Croque-monsieur was really good, including the salad. The price made
me want to flip the table though. So my friend ordered, and I ate my part from her.
The ham was sweet, the bread was soft, the cheese was gooey--yummeh!

The creme brulee was amazingly cheap in a sense that the three of us had
to share it and force ourselves into not wasting the dish. It was average in taste though.
I think it was around Php200...?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Burger Project

The thing I loved about the place, more than the burger, was the playlist. The best part about hanging out with friends for a meal on a gloomy weather is having good background music. We stayed on a lot longer than expected for that very reason. When asked who was responsible for the Indie-Rock-Acoustic-Pop playlist, they said it was the owner of the shop who did the bidding. Kudos to you oh proficient music lover!

Oh yeah…the food…it was a challenge when they first handed out a questionnaire for you to customize your order. The hardest part was naming your burger in a unique fashion because the server actually calls out the name you bestow upon your burger. I suggest you name the burger HOHAOBFVJKS when you do, just to challenge the server. You can design a burger worth Php.500 or just go with the Php.75 tofu burger that comes with a free sesame seeded bun, lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles. If you are one of those unfortunate souls who always regret his/her decision after the order, then they have ready-made designer burgers catered to every taste.

The thing that makes this place special is that you get to choose from an array of toppings, from the basic bacon down to the not-so-typical choice like mango salsa. During our visit, genius as I am, I ate a burger before coming here so I ended up craving for anything but. I did get to sample my friends’ burger though, and I concentrated more on the beef patty that they used. It was juicy but lacked seasoning, thus this is where your topping-decision-making comes into play.

I got the buffalo wings which were buttery and not spicy on my palette at all. The drinks I should recommend because it’s good, really good. The strawberry shake I ordered reminded me of my childhood, and the iced tea was also refreshing with a hint of calamansi and dalandan. I wasn’t so crazy about the sweet potato fries though, it was a little dry.

The place was nice; it was never crowed from the time we arrived until we left. Seats were fast-food friendly, and the staff were okay. Not much to complain about—and did I mention I love their playlist?

38 Jupiter St. corner Planet St.
Makati City

Monday, May 13, 2013


Blueberry Pancakes with about seven pieces of fresh blueberries in them.

The International House of Pancakes may have opened its doors for less than a year, but already the word has spread and the queues just keep coming. It took a while before I found enough determination to stay in line and wait for my turn. Of course the only thing that will make me stay is that if I'm with someone who's willing to wait as much. We were number 13, and it took a little over thirty minutes of standing out on the sidewalk together with other hungry customers before our group was called. A tip would be to come with a friend or two as the lady said that bigger tables take longer to clear out as groups of six or more tend to linger more than couples. True enough, those number 14, 15, 16, and 17 got their tables a little earlier than we did. By the time we sat on our table it was around 9 p.m. just in time for a 9:30 dinner! 

And by the look of the pictures, I was obviously starving and uninspired to care what the photo looks like. So, this is all I could offer.

Waiting out for roughly forty minutes.

Unlimited syrup! Yey! The Butter Pecan easily stood out.

To the artist who did this layout: BAD!

To the client who approved this layout: BAAAAD!

The server was aware enough that their menu was chaotic and confusing. I agreed. She said with a sigh that they were working on it every night. Well, I'm glad they are. It was a sad thing to stare at; especially when you've been standing out for a long time, hungry, and in need of nutrients. The choices just blur out and you will tend to point out the prettiest photo on the menu. You will be disoriented and you will miss out on the word "or", mistaking it as "and", and assume that you will be getting both sausages and bacon as compensation for your effort. When the food arrived, roughly twenty-minutes later, the first thing I noticed was the plate; it was big, so your food doesn't look as big--in fact it was almost sad when you realize that it isn't as huge as imagined. As a side note though, one order was a "light meal" for two people, but a lot for one, and perfect for one-and-a-half person. 

Interior-wise, I say there's a bit of error in its layout as to why lines extend out front and cannot accommodate a good capacity. It was crowded and the acoustic was as terrible as most restaurants these days--I remember my companions just saying yes to whatever our server was saying because there was a lot of background noise joining in the conversation. What I did find useful though was the location of their toilet, right on the landing of the staircase, maximizing a supposed dead space.

The CR I was talking about...

The crowded interior I was talking about...
The big plate-small-looking food I was talking about...

The food I'll be taking about...

The food they serve is one of those non-pretentious-and-done-right kinda things. In other words, it's comfort food. Fatty, smothered in cheese or with cream, deep-fried, and in all ways's guilty pleasure. Honestly though, it's nothing to die for, and I'm not that willing to stand wait for over an hour the next time. The first bite was the best because I was starving then, but the succeeding bites got better, then it became good, until I realize I was sleepy and needed to finish the food so that we could leave in consideration to those waiting out at 11 P.M. Hopefully for an early midnight snack, not dinner. But if the there's no queue and if I'm with good friends, I'll most probably drop by again because they have great hash. 

W Global Center, 
30th St. corner 9th Avenue 
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig