Tag Archives: around the metro

On Board the MV Logos Hope!

It was my first visit to the vessel, though I’ve been planning to come for years. I am a failure that way.

Logos Hope is actually the new ship, the fourth one the organization utilized. It is run by a German charitable organization whose goal is to bring “knowledge to the world”, though there’s a heavy Christian theme throughout. The crew  is made up of different nationalities and live on board for about two years.

It was an easy commute for me from Taft-Vito Cruz. I just took the LRT1 to Carriedo station and from there, rode a jeep with a sign that says “Pier”. I’m a very “let’s take a cab” kind of girl because I’m lazy and get lost easily so I’m telling you, it’s a no-brainer commute.

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Unexpected Sunday Food Trip

As an avid reader of food and lifestyle blogs (fine, mostly food), I was wont to try some of the restaurants they recommend. Last Sunday, I met up with the usual suspects, Jerome & Pat, as well as some not-so-usual suspects (Paula & Ceres) to sample some of the fares these blogs raved about.

I am aware that there might be a difference in quality on what is served to popular food bloggers vs normal people, or if you’re getting your food for free (some of them get free food which in return gives the resto free publicity), you may not be as unbiased when judging it. Well, I’m neither a popular food blogger and I paid for everything with the meager wages of an outsourced employee.

Not me.

Our first stop– sans Paula and Ceres– was the New Zealand film festival in Shangri La Mall. I usually don’t go to Shangri La except for special circumstances like free movies. After we watched “Whale Rider” (I have another entry planned for the movie review, calm yo tits), we went over to Megamall Bldg A in search of the Japanese tea kiosk Akiba Cafe. Some foodies swear by their signature trifle drinks, so that’s what we ordered.

Jerome went for the Matcha Trifle Tea, if I remember correctly, and Pat went for the Chai Trifle Tea. Since I barely had enough sleep, I went for the coffee-based variant of the trifle family, the Signature Trifle Kohi.

Signature Trifle Kohi

Since the waiter recommended we don’t stir the drink so we can get “the full trifle experience”, we sipped daintily at our respective drinks and had a unanimous reaction: The creamy trifle top was too sweet. It was supposed to be a bit salty, but I hardly got a taste of that. It wasn’t bad, really, but reading through the reviews from foodie blogs, I expected to hear a choir of angels upon my first sip. Pat’s Chai drink was better than mine. I recommend you buy this if you want to try out their trifle drinks.

The upside is that there are free cake slivers (not really big enough to be considered ‘slices’, but just enough to pair with the drinks) for each drink. Considering the drinks only costs PHP100 each for the large size, that’s very sulit. The staff were all very nice too. They even let me eat my Spam Jam meal on the premises. (Spam Jam was directly at the back of Akiba.)

We then skedaddled to BGC to meet-up with Ceres and Paula. Our restaurant of choice was Chef’s Lab in Burgos Circle. We wanted test tube drinks, damn it! We were there before the dinner rush crowd, so we had the whole second floor to ourselves. This resulted in unrestricted behavior, such as singing along loudly to Boyz II Men and dancing to… Boyz II Men. I think they played the whole discography!

Trollface was exactly how I looked like that day.

I just had a meal at Spam Jam, but as soon as the Shrimp Mango Salad arrived– this was recommended by someone I know in real life, and not a random blogger on the internet– the first bite made me hungry again! It was so good! It had tinapa bits and it all came together with the shrimp and the mango. Best dish of the bunch, in my opinion. It was a bit pricey, around PHP300++, but there were five of us sharing anyway.

Shrimp Mango Salad

For our main dishes, we ordered the Pork and Chicken Adobo and Lechon Sisig. The pork used in the adobo was the rib part and the chicken is stuffed with rice. Nonetheless, the dish was just so-so. I probably wouldn’t order it again. My mother’s garlicky adobo is so much better. I liked the Lechon Sisig, it was crunchy and tasty and without the mayo that popular chains drizzle their sisig with. As a Kapampangan, I would not stand for mayonnaise on my sisig! Ew. Anyway, I reckon the Lechon Sisig would be awesome as pulutan. Both the adobo and sisig are of the PHP200++ price range. I think the sisig is a bit cheaper.

Pork & Chicken Adobo

Lechon Sisig

After the meal, we had our test tube drinks served. The way they named the sets was fun. We ordered the It’s Complicated set (PHP188 for the entire set), which is a mix of the Love Set and  Friendship Set. Get it? 😉 The other sets were named along the same themes but I’m pretty sure one of them wasn’t called “Fuck Buddies”, which is what comes to mind now when I try to recall the name of the third set.

It's Complicated Set = Love + Friendship

The test tubes contained the vodka (with gummy worms). We paid an additional PHP50++ for Stolichnaya, because that’s what Anton from OAP recommended. It was worth it; I hate Antonov vodka. The Erlenmeyer flasks contained the “potions” (chasers). The darker red one was the Love Potion, but Ceres, Paula and I liked the Friendship potion better. It tastes like liquid apple pie and went well with the vodka.

I LOVE this people. They're my good FRIENDS. But IT'S never COMPLICATED among us. Whaaat? #leaveityeah #DFI

We decided to have dessert elsewhere for more foursquare check-in points because we fancied nothing from Chef’s Lab dessert menu. Burgos Circle is not lacking in the way of dessert choices, but we wanted somewhere we haven’t tried before so we settled on Bar Dolci. It is primarily a sweets cafe with a few savory items on their menu. The interior of the store, especially the second floor, was ideal for lounging around (there’s free wifi). It is even a good place to hang out in big groups; there are areas for that at the second floor (read: long couches!).

Heart-shaped Dolcitas

We were all pulled in by their gelato selection thought I want to try their macarons next time. I read belatedly that they have one of the best ones in Manila. You can ask for free tastes of the different gelato flavors, and you better take your sweet time deciding on the flavor(s) you’re going to get because the small cup is PHP120. I was satisfied with the small cup though, they allow you to combine two different flavors and don’t scrimp on the scoop.

(Front) Mine was Ferrero + White Chocolate Wasabi; (Back) Jerome got Salted Caramel + Pistachio*

*not sure if it was Pistachio or French Vanilla or something else

Except for me and Pat, who got the exact same thing, we got different flavors. I loved loved LOVED the Ferrero gelato, with the Hazelnut a close second. I tried the White Choco Wasabi for something different, and I enjoyed it in contrast to the heavy Ferrero gelato. Salted Caramel was good too, but probably better if paired with something lighter. Next time, I will try the Thai Tea and Eggnog! Maybe not together though. Also, I’d like to write on the walls, which they allow their customers to do.

And then it was off to Heckle and Jeckle for me, Jerome, and Ceres to watch Arsenal thrash Spurs while drinking hot tea. I mean, we drank hot tea, not the Arsenal players. No beer for us this time, we were too full already!

P.S. Apologies for the crappy pictures. I only had my android phone with me, and it takes such awful pics in low lighting.

P.P.S I know that I’m supposed to write about my Singapore trip before this entry, but I’m having trouble condensing that entry and choosing which pics to include.

[UK 2011] The night was young, and so are we, but only God can make a tree!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Probably because we were knocked out from the wedding festivities the night before, I don’t remember much of the morning of May 8. I’m sure it involved sleeping in and then heading over to Waitrose or Sainsbury to feed ourselves. I remember going with Pat & Jerome to Primark (a shopper’s haven, my long-distance love, etc) to buy a hand carry bag for Pat while I did a mental checklist of the things I’ll buy there to take home with me.

Meanwhile, Dale went to a farmers market, something which I also planned to do on a Sunday morning. Fatigue won over and the three of us stayed at home while– and I’m sure this is totally what happened– Dale tied a scarf around his head and carried his wicker basket to Chapel Market, while birds sing all around him. There, he met the love of his life, a small-town farmer that grew the most delicious strawberries.

As soon as Dale got back, strawberries in tow (this part is true, and they were really delicious), we decided to go ahead with our previously-aborted plans of meeting Vince, Ajay’s friend and a fellow Filipino who lives in London, to spend the night dance, dance, dancing away.

What? Didn’t we just do that during Angel’s wedding?

Yes, we did. But this was a legitimate night out in town. Pat and I wanted one before she went home to Manila the next day. So we decided to meet Vince at the Trafalgar Square, so we can also fit in a few minutes of taking photos. [Note: Here’s when I should have gone to Australia House, a.k.a., Gringotts.]

Pat and Dale on the train.Either Dale's yawning, or he's belting out an emotional ballad.

Trafalgar Square is one of the more famous tourist attractions in London. It is also a popular venue for rallies and demonstrations.

Trafalgar Square!

Trafalgar Square again (well part of the fountain), with the National Gallery in the background

Smack at the center is the Nelson’s Column, with the four lions “guarding” it. Lots of people seem to like chilling in there. Jerome attempted to climb on one of the lions, with Dale on his heels. I would have also tried climbing up that lion, but not while wearing a skirt.

Jerome with one of the four lions

There’s also a large fountain and some other sculptures in Trafalgar Square, which I’m too tired to Wiki.

Vince introduced us to his friend, Tendai, and this pub, Montagu Pyke. We had a quick dinner there, and also a few cocktail drinks. We ordered different cocktails at first, but we all ended up liking this apple pie-tasting mix the best, which had Fireball Cinammon Whisky as its base. It was so good that as of this entry, I’m having my friend bring me some of that whisky home from Canada.

My amigos in front of the pub

Jerome and I shared a steak and kidney pie with mashed potato and mashed peas on the side.

Mashed peas aren’t for me, I soon discovered. Perhaps they were when I was 5 months old and eating them out of a Gerber bottle. Speaking of babies (whut?), we were carded when we ordered drinks. Bless that bartender, he was probably our age or younger. I guess our Asian genes can still have us passing for college students there.

After Montagu Pyke, we looked for a place we can go dancing. Our first attempt was at a salsa place (the dance, not the dip), but no amount of “So You Think You Can Dance” can make us attempt the salsa publicly. We ended up at Zoo in Leicester Square, where there were actual college (or high school?) students. One of them looked like Ignasi Miquel. Or Zac Efron. Unfortunately, apart from Ignasi-Zac, the only tappable guys there was this Italian guy who ended up making out near the bar after making 5 seconds of eye contact with a total stranger.

Not gonna lie, the crowd was totally lame. There were quite a number of douchey-looking guys trying to dance with me or Pat (and one guy who actually danced his way inside our protective cocoon– but that was fun.) and a group of slutty tourists taking the London Night Tour. Thankfully, we had our… er, men to protect us and vice versa. Despite all that, we enjoyed the night, even the part with the cheesy 90s backtrack music (Backstreet Boys, anyone?).

Okay, so we especially enjoyed the cheesy 90s music part.

The only photos at Zoo, c/o Vince's iPhone

It was kind of a shock seeing people make out on the dance floor. Had to remind myself that we were in Europe. If we were here, those people would have been doused by an icy beverage. Not really, but they would be given the evil eye. Wait. Will they? I haven’t been on the scene for so long. Or ever.

When it was time to call it a night, there were no more trains to take us back to our hotel so we had to walk to a bus stop with a route that included East Croydon. Pat was going home the day after, and it was a sad because we wouldn’t have her for the remainder of the trip, and also partly because we were reminded that we do not live here in this wonderful, amazing city. 😦