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Hello 2018: Here’s to a new and better year full of happy experiences and adventures!

Its been a month: Its been almost a month since the last post but December has always been such a busy month. The first week of December was spent preparing materials for the coming weeks for the TV show (which meant up to at least the second week of January 2018). The days up to Christmas was spent uploading updates and monitoring as usual, just a few last minute shopping for gifts (Ate F and I always start the gift-hunting around September) and ‘Simbang Gabi’ at Sto. Domingo Church, Mary Queen of Hope, etc.

#ThePromise: Yes, and not ashamed to admit it, there are still moments of sadness because we truly miss Ate M. And going to mass every Sunday plus holy days of obligation is also our way (promise) to pray for and honor her. You see, when she was still alive, she would scold us if we missed Sunday mass or a holy day of obligation and reminds us constantly that a TV/online mass (unless you are sick) is not enough. Because it is only in an actual mass celebration that we receive the sacraments and blessing.

Dr. Love and Padre Pio: Speaking of blessings, Ate F and I considers clicking upon Bro. Jun Banaag, O.P.’s TV/Radio show as one of them. We began the habit of watching Bro. Jun since June 2017 not only because of Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, but because his words of advice indirectly counselled us on how to deal with the loss of Ate M.

“How are you?”: On coping with the loss of Ate M., I am so grateful for my Sarap Diva Family, blogger-friends, neighbor-friends and Betan brods & sis’ whom have constantly been checking up. You see, a person whom have lost a loved one does not really need a production number of a gesture to show that you care. The sincere “How are you?’ every now and then is more than enough and has been such a great source of strength for me.

“Kami na ang pamilya mo.”: I cannot forget feeling so numb, probably/definitely still in denial and trying hard AF to look ‘ok’ when I went to the first Sarap Diva pre-prod meeting after Ate M.’s death. My butt has not yet landed on the chair and Direk Louie Ignacio said, “Kami na ang pamilya mo.” Those words meant the world to me because I felt so alone, ‘ulilang lubos’ as they say because there were so many things going on that I just blocked crying/grieving and just want to focus all my energy on being creative.

Filling the empty space and gaining weight: A downside on putting grief on hold is stress-eating. Yes I admit it, when I can’t sleep because of overthinking, I eat; when I feel there’s too much down time, I cook (and eat); when out doing errands then I’d suggest to eat lunch and dinner out; when there’s no time to cook, order (fastfood) takeout or delivery – I consciously know its to seemingly fill an ’empty space’ within me and did not know it may happen to me but yes, it did. I don’t do fat jokes even with friends because that is so mean AF but expected it somehow on me since hitting the scales at my heaviest. And the diet struggle is real especially since reaching the 40’s.

Going back to old hobbies: I went back to the art & design world, delved into urban gardening, visited museums and exhibits – just went out as much as possible. As much as it was therapy for sadness, it made me realize again that there is more to life; that there is still so much to create, to experience.

40’s, the #TitaHits: Speaking of the 40’s, I’ve come to realize that a lot and I really mean A LOT of what our elders has warned us are so true and they are so right! Will compile and make another blog post about this but in the meantime, here are some of my advice/warning to those aged 40 below:

  • Take care of your skin and moisturize, moisturize, MOISTURIZE!
  • Wear makeup sparingly during your teens to mid-20’s; you will need that make up when you are much older
  • Sleep is important and do more of it while you are young; when you get older it will be harder to go to sleep
  • Do not exercise only at the gym; go out for a nature walk, do some gardening – just be with nature!
  • Eat your vitamins; do not rely on manufactured pills/tablets and try eating healthy at least once a week
  • Collecting material things are not that meaningful; instead collect memories
  • Buy/use well-made products & better if locally made; buy according to need not want (imagine the savings)
  • Vick’s vaporub for colds, pimples, etc.; Pond’s Cold Cream to remove makeup; baking soda is life!
  • Katinko. Bengay, Salonpas and Sensodyne are your friends as you ‘mature’!
  • The truly rich people wear simple clothes and nearly no jewelry & makeup; there’s no need to impress any one when you have such financial freedom

Options, options, options!!! 👊🏼👊🏼👊🏼 #qotd #quotes #options

A post shared by Sire Arevalo (@urmajestysire) on

Anyway, that’s it for my first 2018 blogpost. I’ve a few restaurant and movie reviews on drafts and will publish within the week. I truly hope, ardently wish and fervently pray for every thing that is good for every one this 2018. Cheers!

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Meat Slut: Of sous vide cooked then torched steaks, Robuchon mashed potatoes, and much more!

Meat Slut’s ‘soud vide aquarium’ maintained at 54 degrees

What makes Meat Slut different from other steakhouses? Well, they cook their meats sous vide first at 54 degrees for 72 hours. And what difference does that make? The meat is slowly cooked on the inside that even after cooking over fire, it remains soft and juicy.After soaking the meat for 72 hours at 54 degrees, it is placed on a rack then ‘torched.‘ The result is soft smoky juicy meat with no charred, hard-to-chew parts in every bite.

Meat Slut’s 54 degrees Sirloin
Meat Slut’s 72 Hours Rib Short Plate

Steaks – Choose from; 54 degrees Rib Eye (Php800.00), 54 degrees Sirloin (Php450.00), 72 Hours Rib Short Plate (Php380.00); each order is served with your choice of either rice or umami corn, Robuchon mashed potatoes or french beans. *Best paired with a glass of Merlot (Php150.00)

~ More after the jump ~ Continue reading “Meat Slut: Of sous vide cooked then torched steaks, Robuchon mashed potatoes, and much more!”

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SIDCOR Sunday Market: A trip back to the farmers market which has almost everything

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SIDCOR Sunday Farmers Market | walking around | All rights reserved

Its been years since I’ve been to a SIDCOR Sunday Farmers Market. Went a few times when they were still located at the Lung Center Phils. with my sister and for a blog event wherein we met Ms. Susan (owner) when they were located in the middle of Centris; now they are located near Quezon Avenue and EDSA, Since weekends, especially Sundays should be for outdoor and offline activities, my cousin and I went to SIDCOR on a whim.

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SIDCOR Sunday Farmers Market | fresh seafood | All rights reserved

Expected the usual fare but oh boy was I surprised! There were long sections of clothes, shoes & bags (new, imported, bargain and pre-loved), home decors (export quality ceramics and furniture, paintings, wooden crafts/decors, carpets and antique pre-loved bargains), kids toys and collectibles, and even pets (though I frown on this because I’m an advocate for pet adoption).

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SIDCOR Sunday Farmers Market | dried seafood | All rights reserved

What we planned for was to canvass/purchase seafood, vegetables and ornamental plants. SIDCOR did not disappoint because there were rows of what we came for and more! There are fresh (shrimps, scallops, etc.) as well as dried seafood (hasa-hasa, squid, danggit, etc.) even meat which were priced at a steal. I guess we’ll be frequenting SIDCOR for these rather than the supermarket now.

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SIDCOR Sunday Farmers Market | ornamental plants | All rights reserved
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SIDCOR Sunday Farmers Market | herbs & fruit-bearing plants | All rights reserved

We have mother orchids which gave us a few baby orchids so we needed to transfer them to husk chips. We found these rectangular husks which were great, hanged them (will show this on a separate post) like picture frames plus the roots can move freely that way. Unfortunately, our herbs gave up on us but the cacti and aloe vera still thrives. So we canvassed a few herbs and ornamental plants too. That’s enough motivation to go back and purchase soil, plant vitamins and some seedlings soon.

Read more after the jump Continue reading “SIDCOR Sunday Market: A trip back to the farmers market which has almost everything”

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Racks: Coming back to that hickory smoked flame-grilled, fall off the bone ribs goodness and more!

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RACKS | Southern Favorites | All rights reserved

Bit of trivia before the food review: During the ’90s RACKS was the ‘it’ place to eat with family and friends. Their hickory smoked, flame-grilled, fall-off-the-bone ribs were an instant hit and lines during lunch and dinner were proof of its goodness. But in 2006, Wellington Soong (owner of Jaguar dealership in PH) sold it to Cavallino Inc. owned by the Prieto family (owners of Shakey’s and Dunkin’ Donuts in PH) and managed by Leopoldo ‘Chukri’ Prieto III. It has undergone a rebirth since but that uniquely flavored rib goodness remained and now, joined with a few delicious additions to the menu. Now on to the food!

We went to their Greenhills branch for late lunch to celebrate my cousin’s birthday. We haven’t gone to Racks for years and seeing some changes in the branches and menu, decided to give it a go.

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RACKS | Hickory Smoked Ribs & Southern Fried Chicken | All rights reserved

Southern Favorites (P1,485/4pax) – I chose this because the classic ribs are there with the Southern Fried Chicken which foodies say are really good. It comes with a half rack of classic pork ribs, 4 pieces (half) of Southern fried chicken, a choice of two large side dishes and a pitcher of soda.

The Ribs were as good as before especially with a dab of their special sauce. Brought back memories of weekend eats. I’m so glad the Prietos ‘saved’ this food chain and kudos to maintaining its unique flavor and quality!

The Southern Fried Chicken is really good! Its not oily, its crunchy but not crumbly with excess batter. Then you get to that warm and well-seasoned soft fleshy meat on the inside. Its almost a sin if you eat it with the gravy/ketchup because – you really don’t need it. Oh, and eat with your hands! Its fried chicken!

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RACKS | Southern Fried Chicken | All rights reserved

We had the Potato Salad and Coleslaw as side dishes but those were a bit of a let down. Continue reading “Racks: Coming back to that hickory smoked flame-grilled, fall off the bone ribs goodness and more!”

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Luna J Filipino Gastropub: That home cooked Filipino food plus beer!

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LUNA J FILIPINO GASTROPUB | Binagoongang Baboy | All rights reserved

Last month, amidst the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, had the chance to finally try Luna J Filipino Gastropub – twice in one week. The first time was a weekday when my cousin and I squeezed in some salon time and grocery shopping that day and looked for a place for late lunch and the second time we had my sister along for our cousin’s advance birthday dindin. That said, let’s get to the food!

Luna J’s Binagoongang Baboy – Hailed by foodies as one of their best (next to Kare-Kareng Bagnet) has a perfect balance of the saltiness of the bagoong (shrimp paste) and the green chili. It is also not that oily which rendered the vegetables still full to the bite. It comes with steamed rice and a side of blanched carrot sticks, broccoli florets, string beans and corn kernels.

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LUNA J FILIPINO GASTROPUB | Kare-Kareng Bagnet | All rights reserved

Luna J’s Kare-Kareng Bagnet – Most Filipino restaurants now have their version of this dish, but what I like with Luna J’s version is that the bagnet comes in crunchy bite size pieces, in a bed of blanched vegetables then covered with a blanket of kare-kare sauce just before they serve it. The difference is that you don’t have any difficulty cutting the meat, the vegetables aren’t soggy and the bagnet stays crunchy because its not drenched with sauce for a long period. The serving is good for 2 persons, which is best eaten with a side of steamed rice and of course, some bagoong.

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LUNA J FILIPINO GASTROPUB | Tocilog | All rights reserved

Luna J’s Tocilog – If you want a hearty Filipino breakfast after a good run or out on a Sunday brunch after church then this is one dish I would recommend. You’ll get your protein and carbohydrates requirements in one delicious plate, or share it with a loved one while chilling. The tocino meat is tender and does not have that salitre (Prague powder 1 or potassium nitrate used as meat preservative) taste. It comes with a side of fried egg, itlog na maalat at kamatis (salted egg & tomato salsa), atchara (pickled green papaya) and garlic rice.

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LUNA J FILIPINO GASTROPUB | Daing Na Bangus | All rights reserved

Luna J’s Daing na Bangus – Another Filipino breakfast favorite is daing na bangus (butterflied & deboned milkfish marinated overnight in vinegar, salt, crushed peppercorn and garlic) and if you want to satisfy your craving for that home cooked taste, then Luna J’s is the place to go. Crunchy meaty fish goodness that you may opt to dip in some vinegar with chili sauce or soy sauce with a squeeze of calamansi. Comes with a side of steamed rice and veggies.

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LUNA J FILIPINO GASTROPUB | Sago at Gulaman| All rights reserved

Luna J’s Sago at Gulaman – One of the best versions that I have tasted! It comes in a tall glass filled with soft sago (pearls made from the inner part or pith of the palm tree), gulaman (dried seaweed made into jellies or flan) and arnibal (caramelized brown sugar syrup) with just the right amount of water and crushed ice then topped with  a drizzle of milk and some red gulaman. Its not that sweet and the flavor is not washed out by the water or ice when it melts. Its actually a snack in itself, a sure favorite thirst-quencher and a definite drink to have along if you want to try their Filipino snack delicacies like leche flan (caramel flan or pudding) , palitaw (chewy rice cake covered with sugar, grated coconut and toasted sesame seeds), ube (purple yam), etc. Continue reading “Luna J Filipino Gastropub: That home cooked Filipino food plus beer!”

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‘Titans From The Age Of Ice’: For a limited time experience ‘Titans from the Age of Ice’ come alive!

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Experienced ‘Titans From The Age Of Ice’ on its opening day at Trinoma. Its the last leg of their tour at Ayala Malls. They are located at Trinoma Cinema Lobby from September 30 to October 9.

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I went with my cousin Ate Fely and upon entering she immediately understood why I was so excited. In this age of the social media, it would seem that animatronics at a mall is boring, even for pre-schoolers. But I beg to disagree, one should experience ‘Titans From The Age of Ice’ before dismissing it as such.

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The 25 massive Animatronics were really a sight to behold coupled with fascinating facts from Australian tour guides. Each and every creature/animal as presented by a tour guide, has their unique and fascinating characteristics that one would wonder ‘what if’ they were still around.

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We really took time with each creature/animal, some are ancestors of species that are still around albeit on the ‘border of extinction’ list.

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The cute birds above are probably the ancestors of penguins. They’re huge versions though, lays an egg once a year which probably one of the the reasons for their extinction and basically just ate fish.

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After the tour, you have the opportunity to take photos with the animatronics. If you are with kids, there is a live musical, a puppet show, a photo booth up on a baby mammoth, painting and other craft activities plus get to meet the mascots!

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The Mammoths were what really got me excited to troop down to Trinoma. The mere thought of having an idea, albeit a simulation, of the grandeur of the proof existence of such creatures is really exciting!

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The Gorilla/Monkey above reminded me of Harambe. Humongous mammals which are akin to us humans as they say.

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A tour is good for two hours which you may think is such a long time. But believe me, you’ll truly enjoy yourself and maybe ask for an extension. I sincerely recommend it to everyone. Bring your family and friends, especially the kids because they’ll learn while enjoying the tour and other fun activities.

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We met ‘Zabe’ the Saber-toothed Tiger and had a photo for posterity. There’s also ‘Maurice’ the Mammoth.

More about ‘Titans From The Age Of Ice’ after the jump

Continue reading “‘Titans From The Age Of Ice’: For a limited time experience ‘Titans from the Age of Ice’ come alive!”

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Fat Fook Manila: Authentic Taiwanese food in Quezon City

My cousin and I went for a stroll at SM North EDSA and thereafter, decided to have an early dinner. We went around looking for where to eat, maybe try a new restaurant. But it was a Sunday so most restaurants were packed but we didn’t want to have fastfood. We were on our way to just maybe grab a sandwich when we chanced upon what I saw last June, that a new Taiwanese restaurant was to open – Fat Fook Taiwanese Kitchen.

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Fat Fook Taiwanese Kitchen | Fat Fook Manila interiors | All rights reserved

Upon entering Fat Fook Manila, the Interior Designer in me was curiously interested with their lighting fixture. Blue and white bowls were attached thru (electrical) poles with light bulbs and hung upside down. Really nice concept!

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Fat Fook Taiwanese Kitchen | Fat Fook Manila interiors | All rights reserved

It was their opening day/soft opening and didn’t really expect to be seated soon since the place was abuzz. Luckily, we were ushered straight to a booth and handed menus by their courteous staff. I like their booths also with the interesting pattern and color combination, very comfy too.

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Fat Fook Taiwanese Kitchen | Fat Fook Manila menu | All rights reserved

They have a concise choice menu but if you’re such a foodie, you’ll probably take time to decide which one to try out because everything looks good. Aside from their staff being fully aware of their dishes (and patiently answered my questions), I appreciate that they tell you how long it takes for the food to be cooked and once served, they’ll ask you if everything’s in order or if you need anything else. Our order as they said will take about 10 to 15 minutes but it was served in 10 minutes.

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Fat Fook Taiwanese Kitchen | Fat Fook Manila ‘Spareribs and Radish Soup’ | All rights reserved
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Fat Fook Taiwanese Kitchen | Fat Fook Manila ‘Spareribs and Radish Soup’ | All rights reserved

With the pouring rain, we wanted to get home the soonest. So we decided on a soup to warm us up first and ordered the ‘Spareribs and Radish Soup’ since our original choice of their wanton soup which also looks so delicious would be too much of a serving. That was what we thought. Because even if this soup is a solo serve, it had generous servings of spareribs and radish, plus the broth was so flavorful! Truth be told, an order of spareribs soup and a cup of rice is a good combination for a quick and hearty meal.

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Fat Fook Taiwanese Kitchen | Fat Fook Manila ‘Chicken Chop’ | All rights reserved

We ordered their highly recommended ‘Chicken Chop’ and two plain rice bowls for good measure. This was a delightful combination of meaty chicken, and I mean really thick strips! Its crunchy but with no trace of oil, surprisingly juicy inside and seasoned quite nicely, no overpowering flavor. Their serving is definitely good for sharing. I also would like to add that their rice aside from being served steaming hot, is so yummy.

More after the jump Continue reading “Fat Fook Manila: Authentic Taiwanese food in Quezon City”