Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Tale of Two Martabaks

A must...if you find yourself in Jakarta. Don't attempt to buy this in restaurants or hotels, you'll regret it. Go to the warung (street vendor) and ignore the smog while waiting for your order. You'll soon forget that you're out on the street, sweating from the heat and waiting in line. Once you take a bite and sink your teeth into the freshly made martabak, you'll realize that it's worth the trouble. Still warm to the touch as you let out some of the steam from the box- these crepe-like squares are the perfect after office snack or even dinner for me. It's crispy on the outside, soft and flavor-full on the inside. Dipping this tasty crepe-like finger food in the accompanying vinegar-dip gives me more satisfaction than biting into a crispy chicharon (deep fried pork skin). I'd be happy if I could eat this everyday.

There was a ray of hope for a martabak-lover like me from Manila. My friend who was walking in the Mall of Asia (MOA) saw a restaurant called Martabak Cafe and hastily told me about it. Next thing you know, there I was with my mom and dad in tow eager to share with them my delight for this simple Indonesian dish. Looking at the restaurant from the outside, we could tell that the place was not inviting. Despite these warning signals, I forced my folks to try eating there even if my mom is quite a picky eater to say the least. My dad, well, I don't have to worry about him- he eats anything. So there I was eagerly waiting to dig-in and have them taste that wonderful martabak I've been raving about. To my horror and utter dismay, the martabak they served was the most unappetizing thing I've eaten. The thing was so oily, that it'll make your lips glisten from the oil. What a sham this thing was! It wasn't crispy at all. They were instead soft gummy squares dripping of oil. Oh my, they probably deep fried it while the oil wasn't hot enough which isn't the way it's cooked back in Jakarta. Lesson learned- don't settle for second-best EVER!

Just like anything else in life, whether it's getting into a relationship, choosing a job, or something trivial like selecting a restaurant, take note of the warning signs early on. Good thing this was just me eating martabak in a terrible restaurant which I later had to drown out with Hagendaas ice cream just to take the taste off my tongue.

Terrible restaurants like these are analogous to bad relationships, don't even think of going back there!

Martabak Cafe
Ground Floor Mall of Asia,
Pasay City

Friday, June 19, 2009

Feeling Incredible?

Over lunch at Bouna Vita, my friend Vonj asked me if I had seen "The Incredibles" the movie. Told him that I haven't seen it. I used to watch movies twice a week more or less but with my busy schedule I haven't had the time to go regularly for the past three years. Pathetic if you ask me. Anyway, I digress, back to Vonj. He said that I looked like one of the antagonists in the film. Since I haven't seen it, couldn't really comment.

This afternoon he sent me a link so I could see.

Picture from here

I think the hairstyle and the shape of the face are close. Just like most cartoon characters, the body shape is way too exaggerated.

Will have to see this film soon!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Buona Vita: Serving Good Italian Food in Cavite

It was a Saturday, June 15, when I met up with the Agile gang (Ron, Vonj and EJ). We would usually meet at Makati but they decided to troop over to Alabang so that I could have a quick lunch. It was my dad's birthday and I couldn't stay that long. I suggested Kanin Club at Wetsgate because I wanted to try the crispy dinuguan that my cousins have been raving about. Was really looking forward to the crispy dinuguan but Ron is sooo picky when it comes to food. He doesn't like seafood and the dinuguan didn't seem palatable to him. So after a five-miunte-where-do-we-eat conversation in the car, we finally decided on Italian. I've had enough of ho-hum food at Italianni's so I suggested that we try Buona Vita right across Verdana along Daang Hari.

It was my third time to eat here. Cathy T. introduced me to this restaurant when she organized a lunch for Luchie H. who was in Manila for a few days. Because I loved food and the coziness of the place I brought my folks the weekend after. Mama and Papa loved it. My mom particularly liked the five-cheese pizza. Papa loved the oysters.

Now back to the Agile gang. For starters, they served bread with accompanying pesto and tomato dips. This was Ronald's favorite hands down. Even after the main course, he kept requesting for refills. Good thing the servers obliged.

The baked oysters were next. This was so yummy. It had the right hint of heat to cut the cheesiness of the dish.

Our main course consisted of 2 pizzas- five-cheese pizza and another one with meat plus an order of canelloni. One of the best thin crust cheese pizzas I've tried south of the Manila. So you've gotta go there, I tell you!

We capped our lunch with a heavenly bite of tiramisu, panna cotta and a cup of coffee for EJ.

We had to chalk up P500 each but it was well worth it. Driving down to Cavite isn't all that bad when you can stop over at Buona Vita and have good homestyle Italian fare.

Buona Vita
From Alabang Town Center, take Daang Hari.
Keep driving until you see Verdana to your left.
Buona Vita is just across Verdana.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

U.P.'s Thai Canteen has resurfaced at Ortigas Home Depot

Today was a good day! I had lunch with my college friend Ella, who's a lawyer by profession but a writer at heart. To make our lunch extra special we decided to have a bite at Khao Pad (formerly known as "U.P's Thai Canteen", which recently resurfaced at the Ortigas Home Depot).

Rewind to the past
During our college days at the School of Economics, we and our friends used to walk over to the IC (International Center) and have good yet cheap Thai food. Budget wasn't necessarily a constraint to eating authentic Thai food.

Then when I was taking my post grad studies, U.P.'s Thai Canteen moved to Balara as a hole-in- wall type of eatery. It was later ejected to give way to a road widening project.

Fast forward to the present
"Mommy" as she is fondly called by U.P. students, was there though a tad bit thinner than the way I remembered her to be. I ordered the Phad Thai while Ella ordered the mixed seafood and rice. The portions can be shared by two if you're not a big eater. We decided to sit at the second floor. The interiors are slightly better than the eateries at the "shopping center" at U.P. so don't expect much in terms of ambiance. But the food is yummy taking into account the cost. I spent P150 for the noodles and a softdrink.

Good food + good company = HAPPY DAY

If you're coming from
Megamall, take Julio Vargas and you'll see the Ortigas Home Depot on your left. Once you see the Starbucks on your left take the first available U-turn slot and turn right at the gate in front of Starbucks. Just go straight - you'll see small restos and watch out for "Khao Pad".

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Are Your Gadgets Ready to Travel?

I was packed and ready to face 2 grueling weeks in Jakarta. Mind you, it's not for leisure folks but work, work and more work. Along with me are my laptop, camera, ipod, and cellphone. The good news is I am spending the weekend to visit my friend Mitchie in Singapore before flying back to Manila.

To my horror, I forgot to bring the appropriate adapter. I actually didn't have any adapter at hand. No adapter = no pictures with Mitchie and Evan plus no cell phone to boot. Can you beat that? Been traveling so long (3 years!!!) and still not organized.

I don't really shop when abroad but I did buy a set of different types of adapters during my last trip with the girls to Singapore. These are so handy. I saw one being sold in the plane but those are expensive. The set I bought was lime green all for $ 12 (SD) or approximately P360 pesos.

Sittie, my favorite-OC-friend was obviously prepared for our trip. Why am I not surprised. She bought hers at SM hardware for only P250. Had to borrow it for a day so my gadgets wouldn't die on me again for the nth time.

Which adapter should you bring? Take a look below:

Monday, June 1, 2009

Goodbye Singapore!

On our way to Changi Airport. It was tiring but enormously fun. Taking a few days off from work for some R&R was good. Glad to have been with amazing travel companions. Sittie and Bel, you rock! Until the next adventure.

I wish Manila had more trees in the city.