Thursday, January 24, 2008

birthday dinner at choi garden

note: sorry there ain't no pics yet but i'm posting this now before i forget what i want to write. =)

my family and i went to choi garden in annapolis, greenhills last night to celebrate my pa's birthday. by far, it was the best restaurant i've eaten in after cyma. notwithstanding my bros' allergies to seafood (my older bro being the more delicate one), all of us enjoyed our time together.

the restaurant occupies the same building where country waffles used to be. of course they had to change the structure to look more chinese than an american country house. the ground floor glowed red in all its glory from the outside, as all the interiors are in my fave colors--red and black.

upon entry, a short hallway reminiscent of a moon gate greets the guests. it's sort of like a tunnel to another dimension if you ask me. aside from the red and black interiors, another cool thing in the restaurant are the tanks of huge, live seafood imaginable: lobsters, crabs, prawns, etc. and along with the nice chinese music playing in the background, the reddish-black atmosphere of the whole restaurant looks something straight out of a gangster movie. trés cool.

judging from the number of people eating there, it seemed like we won't be getting a table for a while but fortunately a table was just vacated so we snapped that one up immediately. make sure you make a reservation first (especially if you're gonna eat at dinnertime) before winging it out or else you'd have to wait for quite some time like we almost did.

the food... it also took us time to get what we wanted. in the menu is basically your typical chinese fare: fried rice, roast fowl, noodle soups, dim sum, congee, sweet and sour pork, hot pot, the works. there are several items NOT on the menu, though, so ask your friendly waiter for the chef's specials. two such items not on the menu are the hot and sour soup and beef with broccoli in oyster sauce, which we ordered.

besides the hot and sour soup and beef with broccoli in oyster sauce, here are the other items we ordered: braised fish fillet with bean curd in pot, fried pork ribs with salt and pepper (that comes with seasoned vinegar), and birthday noodles, which is simply pancit canton with quail eggs.

because we were so intent on choosing the items carefully (like making sure there's neither shrimp nor crab in deference to me bros), we forgot one important thing: order the rice. the waiter had all but already gone to the kitchen with our order when we suddenly remembered we haven't ordered the freakin' rice. funny, eh? anyhow we got five nice, fragrant cups of steamed rice.

everything we've ordered really tasted great. the amount of salt on each dish is just right, the soup as well the sauces of the braised fish fillet and beef with broccoli are just about the right thickness; the fish fillets, bean curd and beef slices tender to the bite and thick enough for that "oomph" when biting into them; and the pork ribs are well cooked. the birthday noodles, however, just had a few veggies and seafood, not that it mattered to me as i like noodles better than veggies anyway. they don't use msg on their dishes, btw.

but what about the price? you may ask. well, all i can say is that my money was all worth it. the pricing starts at around 170PHP-up, small size. for medium and large, you just multiply the price by 2 and 3, respectively. don't be fooled by the small size as it's good for 3-4 people, 5 even. there were 5 of us and though all the dishes we ordered are small, the servings were generous. to say that we were full is an understatement--we're more like stuffed. and the grand total? P1,290 minus senior citizen (46.07) plus 12% vat = P1,243. that's about P250 per person rounded off. now if there is another resto that serves great food with generous servings at an affordable price like this, let me know.


Friday, January 11, 2008

a (re)new(ed) endeavor

i just recently bought this lovely boxed set of larousse gastronomique (in three easy installments ;-p) from my cousin N, who is a certified foodie herself. from the moment i saw it on her multiply site, i knew i had to have it (talk about impulse buying). impulse buying or not, larousse gastronomique is considered to be the encyclopedia of gastronomy of professional chefs since its first publication in 1938. (now i ain't no professional chef but i can cook pretty well, if i do say so myself.)

this edition of larousse gastronomique is divided into four parts to make the recipes easy to follow: fish & seafood; vegetables & salad; meat, poultry & game; and desserts, cakes & pastries. each book has basic recipes for the sauces, pastries, garnishes, etc... another great thing about this is that it includes all the different measurements for wet and dry ingredients and even for the oven temperature. for someone who shudders at the very thought of conversion like yours truly, this is heaven-sent. basically, most of the recipes in larousse gastronomique are french (duh!) but over the years recipes from different cuisines have also been incorporated into it whilst retaining its very essence.

when there's the time and opportunity, i will post here the dishes that i'd have tried cooking already. to try and cook the recipes presents a challenge to me as i haven't cooked that much in a long time--except for my spontaneous cooking inventions and the obligatory holiday meals which are far and few in between. now the question is, do i have the guts to try and cook these wonderful recipes?

oh, yes. i do.

who knows, maybe this impulse will pay off.

wish me luck!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

may-me time

pardon the pun. i'm still waiting for the pictures from the family trip to baguio, so i'm starting of this new bloggin' year by doing a tag from kris jasper and mojo potato:

What to do:
1. Mention the person who tagged you and create a link back to them.

2. Copy-paste the traits for all the twelve months.

3. Pick your month of birth.
4. Highlight the traits that apply to you.

5. Tag 12 people and let them know by visiting their blogs and leaving a comment for them.

6. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve done it!

JANUARY: Stubborn and hard-hearted. Ambitious and serious. Loves to teach and be taught. Always looking at people’s flaws and weaknesses. Likes to criticize. Hardworking and productive. Smart, neat and organized. Sensitive and has deep thoughts. Knows how to make others happy. Quiet unless excited or tensed. Rather reserved. Highly attentive. Resistant to illnesses but prone to colds. Romantic but has difficulties expressing love. Loves children. Loyal. Has great social abilities yet easily jealous. Very stubborn and money cautious.

FEBRUARY: Abstract thoughts. Loves reality and abstract. Intelligent and clever. Changing personality. Attractive. Sexy. Temperamental. Quiet, shy and humble. Honest and loyal. Determined to reach goals. Loves freedom. Rebellious when restricted. Loves aggressiveness. Too sensitive and easily hurt. Gets angry really easily but does not show it. Dislikes unnecessary things. Loves making friends but rarely shows it. Daring and stubborn. Ambitious. Realizes dreams and hopes. Sharp. Loves entertainment and leisure. Romantic on the inside not outside. Superstitious and ludicrous. Spendthrift. Tries to learn to show emotions.

MARCH: Attractive personality. Sexy. Affectionate. Shy and reserved. Secretive. Naturally honest, generous and sympathetic. Loves peace and serenity. Sensitive to others. Loves to serve others. Easily angered. Trustworthy. Appreciative and returns kindness. Observant and assesses others. Revengeful. Loves to dream and fantasize. Loves traveling. Loves attention. Hasty decisions in choosing partners. Loves home decors. Musically talented. Loves special things. Moody.

APRIL: Active and dynamic. Decisive and hasty but tends to regret. Attractive and affectionate to oneself. Strong mentality. Loves attention. Diplomatic. Consoling, friendly and solves people’s problems. Brave and fearless. Adventurous. Loving and caring. Suave and generous. Emotional. Aggressive. Hasty. Good memory. Moving. Motivates oneself and others. Sickness usually of the head and chest. Sexy in a way that only their lover can see.

MAY: Stubborn and hard-hearted. Strong-willed and highly motivated. Sharp thoughts. Easily angered. Attracts others and loves attention. Deep feelings. Beautiful physically and mentally. Firm Standpoint. Needs no motivation. Easily consoled. Systematic (left brain). Loves to dream. Strong clairvoyance. Understanding. Sickness usually in the ear and neck. Good imagination. Good physical. Weak breathing. Loves literature and the arts. Loves traveling. Dislike being at home. Restless. Not having many children. Hardworking. High spirited. Spendthrift.

JUNE: Thinks far with vision. Easily influenced by kindness. Polite and soft-spoken. Having ideas. Sensitive. Active mind. Hesitating, tends to delay. Choosy and always wants the best. Temperamental. Funny and humorous. Loves to joke. Good debating skills. Talkative. Daydreamer. Friendly. Knows how to make friends. Able to show character. Easily hurt. Prone to getting colds. Loves to dress up. Easily bored. Fussy. Seldom shows emotions. Takes time to recover when hurt. Brand conscious. Executive. Stubborn.

AUGUST: Loves to joke. Attractive. Suave and caring. Brave and fearless. Firm and has leadership qualities. Knows how to console others. Too generous and egoistic. Takes high pride in oneself. Thirsty for praises. Extraordinary spirit. Easily angered. Angry when provoked. Easily jealous. Observant. Careful and cautious. Thinks quickly. Independent thoughts. Loves to lead and to be led. Loves to dream. Talented in the arts, music and defense. Sensitive but not petty. Poor resistance against illnesses. Learns to relax. Hasty and trusty. Romantic. Loving and caring. Loves to make friends.

SEPTEMBER: Suave and compromising. Careful, cautious and organized. Likes to point out people’s mistakes. Likes to criticize. Stubborn. Quiet but able to talk well. Calm and cool. Kind and sympathetic. Concerned and detailed. Loyal but not always honest. Does work well. Very confident. Sensitive. Good memory. Clever and knowledgeable. Loves to look for information. Must control oneself when criticizing. Able to motivate oneself. Understanding. Fun to be around. Secretive. Loves leisure and traveling. Hardly shows emotions. Tends to bottle up feelings. Very choosy, especially in relationships. Systematic.

OCTOBER: Loves to chat. Loves those who loves them. Loves to take things at the center. Inner and physical beauty. Lies but doesn’t pretend. Gets angry often. Treats friends importantly. Always making friends. Easily hurt but recovers easily. Daydreamer. Opinionated. Does not care of what others think. Emotional. Decisive. Strong clairvoyance. Loves to travel, the arts and literature. Touchy and easily jealous. Concerned. Loves outdoors. Just and fair. Spendthrift. Easily influenced. Easily loses confidence. Loves children.

NOVEMBER: Has a lot of ideas. Difficult to fathom. Thinks forward. Unique and brilliant. Extraordinary ideas. Sharp thinking. Fine and strong clairvoyance. Can become good doctors. Dynamic in personality. Secretive. Inquisitive. Knows how to dig secrets. Always thinking. Less talkative but amiable. Brave and generous. Patient. Stubborn and hard-hearted. If there is a will, there is a way. Determined. Never give up. Hardly becomes angry unless provoked. Loves to be alone. Thinks differently from others. Sharp-minded. Motivates oneself. Does not appreciate praises. High-spirited. Well-built and tough. Deep love and emotions. Romantic. Uncertain in relationships. Homely. Hardworking. High abilities. Trustworthy. Honest and keeps secrets. Not able to control emotions. Unpredictable.

DECEMBER: Loyal and generous. Sexy. Patriotic. Active in games and interactions. Impatient and hasty. Ambitious. Influential in organizations. Fun to be with. Loves to socialize. Loves praises. Loves attention. Loves to be loved. Honest and trustworthy. Not pretending. Short tempered. Changing personality. Not egotistic. Take high pride in oneself. Hates restrictions. Loves to joke. Good sense of humor. Logical.

ho-kay, so i highlighted the obvious aspects. as for the others, well, i dunno. some of them do apply to me but i just say i am a big bunch o' contradictions. ;-)

won't be tagging anyone for this but feel free to do this if you'd like. =)