Glorious Caffeine: Pho Hoa’s Vietnamese Coffee

17 Apr

I think it’s because I’m working, that’s why I find myself loving coffee again. For the longest time, I have avoided coffee. Health problems is the number one reason for the avoidance and the other is the fact that I was just satisfied with tea. But now that I’m working again and I now need the added boost of caffeine most days, my love for caffeine has returned. And why not when I find gems like Pho Hoa’s Vietnamese Coffee.

coffee

Condensed milk with coffee. This is how they do coffee in Vietnam. It’s sweet and it’s delicious. ‘Make it a cold one and it’s refreshing and energizing. At first I was skeptical about the price because it cost P125, which was equivalent to something you can get at Starbucks. I wasn’t disappointed, though, because it was delicious and the presentation was different. See that filter? See how you have to put the hot, freshly filtered coffee and condensed milk mixture into the glass of ice for cold coffee? You pay for that experience and that makes it somehow more fun than your regular Starbucks coffee.

La Grotta Cucina Italiana: A Review

6 Apr

2013-04-06 17.28.34

I’ve actually eaten at La Grotta Cucina Italiana before but when they released discounted coupons through Groupon, we jumped on the chance to try it there again.

The first time we were there, we were impressed by the classy atmosphere and the delicious food and I kind of felt under dressed.  The servers were in suits or just really neatly dressed and the food (and their prices!) was nothing to scoff at at all. So I actually made an effort to put on make up and look presentable, haha.

We made reservations for their evening shift on a Saturday night. We were there at 5:30pm, and we were the first customers. Maybe it was because we were the first people there and they have just opened, but the place smelled a bit like cleaning solution. That wasn’t really appetizing, but I guess that’s the bit of price you pay when you catch them unawares by coming early. Our table was ready right away and our waiter was quick to hand us menus so we could start selecting our food.

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The coupon that we had was originally for four people which included one pasta, one pizza and four iced teas. For our pizza, we chose the best seller, Quattro Stagioni (regularly priced at P450) which contained herbs, salami, prosciutto, mushrooms and artichoke. Meanwhile, I chose their Linguine Alla Vongole (regularly priced at P380) for our pasta. I always order Pasta Vongole (pasta with clams cooked in white wine) when I see it on the menu and I hoped that they wouldn’t disappoint me.

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While we waited, we were served bread with Pâté and butter with a dipping sauce composed of olive oil and balsamic vinegar on the side. We have learned from our last La Grotta trip and we barely touched the bread. If you eat the bread, you will become full and unable to fully appreciate what you ordered and besides, it’s added fat that you don’t need. Also, Italians don’t eat bread before they start a meal, and they don’t dip bread in olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Our food arrived soon enough and it looked… yummy.

Quattro Stagioni

Quattro Stagioni

The pizza will be good enough for four people who don’t have big appetites as it was a 12-inch pizza cut into eight slices. It was easy enough to see why it’s considered the best-seller as who would say ‘no’ to prosciutto, salami and cheese? Add mushrooms, herbs and artichokes and you’ve got a winning combination. Plus the dough was cooked perfectly. Normally, I like my crust thin, but this crust was soft and chewy and when paired with the cheese it was absolute heaven.

Linguine Alla Vongole

Linguine Alla Vongole

My problem with the pasta dishes over at La Grotta is their serving size. I wish they were bigger because their pasta dishes are great and their Linguine Alla Vongole was just excellent. The clams were cooked just right, not rubbery when I try to chew and swallow which was always awful when it happened to clams. The flavor was rich without it being overwhelming and the pasta was al dente. If only the serving size was bigger! I guess their pasta dishes are only really good to fully feed one person but could be shared by two if they had pizza on the side like we did.

The last time we were at La Grotta, we were also treated to some entertainment. There was a trio of musicians who entertained the diners and took song requests when they went around the room. We were lucky that we were there on a Friday night since they performed on Friday and Saturday nights only. It was the same thing for us earlier tonight when we were there. There’s just something about having live music while you had dinner. They were also able to grant our song requests (“She” by Elvis Costello, “Words” by Bee Gees / Boyzone and “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley) and it was a good end to an enjoyable and delicious dinner.

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So all in all, La Grotta Cucina Italiana is one of those Italian restaurants that you should visit, if you could. It’s a bit pricey, but it’s well worth it for the quality of the food and the ambiance, especially if you stay for a while and take the time to be serenaded by the musical trio they have on Friday and Saturday nights. Also, I would also like to commend the staff of La Grotta. They were oh so accommodating, especially when we asked them numerous times to take our pictures. They certainly gave service with a smile. 🙂

(La Grotta Cucina Italiana can be found at G/F Angelus Medical Bldg., 104 V.A. Rufino St., Legaspi Village, Makati City)

So bad…

28 Mar

I got my new smartphone and it has made things a lot easier for me, namely being in constant contact with real-life and online friends if I want to. It has also made posting stuff in social networks much, much easier and hence why I have been so bad…

tumblr food

Tumblr! You make photoblogging so, so much easier! And hence why that’s another reason why this blog hasn’t been getting updated lately. How easy is it to just take a picture and then upload it immediately to Tumblr? I don’t even need to say much and the post is considered done.

Ugh.

I must get over this slump! I must!

 

Oops…

16 Mar

kenny

There is no excuse for my utter lack of updates but the fact that I have been lazy and preoccupied and there was more eating than actual writing in the past week. The good thing about that is that now I’ve got tons of stuff to write about because there was a lot of eating!

Really, I’ll get to blogging about what and where I’ve eaten the past week very, very soon! 😀

 

Reasons Why Crissy is Fat #734985736

9 Mar

It’s so hard to deny, but I’ve really been eating so much lately. I really can’t blame it on the crazy hormones before periods anymore but what I can blame it on is just the ridiculous amount of food in our fridge!

This is only the topmost part of our fridge.

This is only the topmost part of our fridge.

That is only the top shelf and already you can see all sorts of stuff: cereal, bread, oatmeal, a box of rum cake, Toblerone minis and a box of Knott’s Raspberry Cookies. Our fridge has four levels. Just imagine what else is in there. And don’t even get me started on the stuff outside the fridge…

So you must be saying, “Crissy, it’s not Christmas anymore! Where in the world did all this food come from??” I agree! During the Christmas season, this is just a normal thing, but it’s the start of March already. So what happened?

Well, Hong Kong happened. Most of our souvenirs and pasalubong are food for some reason. I brought back mochi, green tea chocolate, almond cookies and different kinds of Oreos that we never get here in the Philippines. My Mom brought home nuts and chocolate. While a couple of those got given away to friends and relatives, a lot of the food still remains with us and well, we’re not quite going through them as fast as we can. We’re actually quite conscious of how bad eating all this is for you but well. They are there and they provide ample temptation.

What about the rest? Like the rum cake and the two kinds of cereal and the Knott’s cookies? We also have very generous relatives. The rum cake is surplus from Valentine’s Day. And well, cereal is yummy and we’ve got… lots of milk…

So yes. You’ll never go hungry in this house, nope. But I can guarantee that you’ll really gain weight. Definitely not the house for someone who wants to go on a diet.

Anyone want to help me finish these?

STRAWBERRY OREOS AND MOCHI!

STRAWBERRY OREOS AND MOCHI!

Lazy Fridays

8 Mar

finger sandwiches

And so I wish that I was near the InterCon Hotel and I was so very, very rich that I can afford to eat their pastries and sandwiches whenever I wanted.

Then again, it’s a Friday so Cucina Andare would be open. Even more varied and cheaper options there!

Whyyyyy must it require so much effort to go to Makati? Whyyyyyyy?

Thoughts on Breakfast and Cooking from a Sleep-deprived Mind

7 Mar

I didn’t get to sleep very well last night for some reason and when my brother’s alarm blared at 4am, I decided to quit trying and just get up. Naturally, the first thing I thought about was, “What should I have for breakfast?”

On a normal day, I would get up at 7-8am and I would have to content myself with what was there for consumption as I had to leave around 9:30am. I try to be healthy and eat fruit and either cereal or oatmeal but that gets boring after a while. A friend of mine from the States mentioned that it’s probably my “Filipino-ness”; it’s just not natural for me to have fruit and cereal or oatmeal for breakfast. So at times I also have rice and some kind of protein. Sometimes I just make toast with butter and have it with coffee if I really feel like it.

Waking up at 4am and with a lot of time to spare until I have to prepare to leave the house opens up the possibility of a more exciting breakfast menu. Plus, it also opens up the kitchen to my use.  Now, I’m not really an extraordinary cook or anything like that, but I do enjoy cooking, so any chance that I get is exciting for me. In the end, I opted to make a kimchi omelet and garlic fried rice. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take a picture of my sleep-deprivation breakfast, but I guess that’s okay. Maybe next time. It probably just goes to show how happy I was to have managed to cook myself breakfast after so long.

There are people who end up not wanting to eat the food that they cook and I can’t understand this. Why? Eating is always great. I guess when you do it a lot, though, the novelty of making your own food wears off. My cousin tells me it’s because you end up getting stuffed just by preparing the food or maybe the hunger passes you by. Well, for me, it has yet to be like that and I really do look forward to learning more recipes to cook and having to eat them after. After all, eating what you made is practically the best part of the cooking process, I think.

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