Anti Plagiarism

10 July 2017

Starbucks - Araneta Coliseum


This is a question that's been asked of me for a while now - What's so special about Starbucks coffee? 

To be perfectly honest, there's really nothing special about their coffee. It's something that you can learn to perfect at home, if you have the time and some of the equipment needed to roast, press, and drip your own brew. The tea that they sell is probably something that you can find in supermarkets and groceries. They could even be better. But, what's really special with this shop that people seem to like so much?

So, why do I go there personally? Here are several reasons:

Starbucks, Araneta Coliseum branch is a great place to people watch. I like looking at people and how they go about their day. 

Another reason, they are open until late. 12:30AM from Sundays to Thursdays and until 1:30AM, Fridays and Saturdays. 

I like the way they heat up their pastries like the Sticky Cinnamon Bun, Ensaymada, French Toast, as well as their sandwiches. I have yet to receive something from them that's only warm outside and still chilled at the center. 

Last and most importantly is they have GREAT customer service. There are a number of baristas there who have memorized my favorite drinks and how I want them prepped. My best example is my favorite Iced Venti Cafe Mocha. I take it lite - non-fat milk, no whipped cream, and less ice. I visit the branch once or twice a week. However, 4 baristas already remember those preferences. When it's my turn to order, the first thing that they'll ask is if it's the usual drink. If I say yes, one would recite all my requests to confirm. If I say no, they know that I want Full Leaf Tea over Ice - Chamomile or Hibiscus. Same goes for my food order. When I order the Full Leaf Tea, they know how to talk to me while waiting for it to steep. Oh, and of course, they also remember my name. If the queue is light, there would be 4 people making sure that my orders are correct and that everything meets their qualities and standards. 

And speaking of service, I once forgot to tell them to lessen the ice of my drink and it was a new barista who prepared it. When I took it back to ask them to take out some of the ice, the supervisor in charge that evening decided to just make me a new one - no questions asked and it was my fault. 

So, what's special about Starbucks - Araneta Coliseum branch? The people working there who take time to make sure that you get the coffee (or any drink) that you want, they way you want it. Perfection in every cup, that's what they offer. Couple that with staff who display good attitude and warm smiles, then they have got the perfect recipe for encouraging repeat and loyal customers. 

Hey, Starbucks Araneta Coliesum, you guys rock! 

And by the way, I've been going there since 2005. I've stopped for a few years because I've been to other branches, but I still end up going there. No matter the changes in crew, the service level remains the same. Kudos!

Brightest Blessings!

 Halie

07 July 2017

Asian Shrimp Salad

Before I go on with this blog post, let me just voice out this frustration about Photobucket's quiet change in their Terms and Conditions. 

I know that when I agreed to their T&C, it stated that they can make changes to it as they deem fit or needed by the company. However, what I really didn't like was the fact that they disabled third party sharing of photos without any notice to their users. One day my photos were still good and showing, the next, I was hit with this food blog WITHOUT photos and in their place was an AD telling me to upgrade. Apart from being unable to see my photos, I also couldn't download them to transfer to them to another image hosting site or to at least host them here directly. Because of this, most of my entries DO NOT HAVE photos. I opted to erase each and every one of them instead of my visitors being welcomed by their crazy ad. 

Anyway, on to better stuff:


What you'll need:

1/2K medium shrimps, deveined and de-shelled
Lettuce
Cucumber diced
2 tablespoons of lite butter
5 cloves garlic finely chopped
5 tablespoons of honey (or according to your sweetness preference)
100mL of mandarin orange juice
5 pieces of mandarin oranges
Salt and pepper to taste

What you need to do:

Saute garlic in a pan of melted butter. Add the shrimps, orange juice, and honey. 
Take shrimps out of pan and set aside.
In the same pan, reduce the liquid then add salt and pepper. Wait to cool down.

To serve:

On a plate, arrange lettuce and cucumbers, top with shrimps, and peeled mandarin oranges. Drizzle with the cold reduced liquid/sauce. Serve. 

Brightest Blessings!

Halie

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05 July 2017

Food Photography: Chicken Nuggets in Lemon-Mushroom Sauce




Brightest Blessings!

Halie


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20 June 2017

Food Photo: Seafood Mami




Brightest Blessings!

Halie

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Spam Cheese Melt


I was thinking of making another stir fried dish using Spam as the main protein, but I just had some of the same dish yesterday. In order to revamp the menu, I decided to turn this Jalapeno can of goodness into a sandwich. No bread, I used the slices as the "bread" of this dish.

What I did was I used some olive oil to fry the Spam. 
After flipping one slice when a side was done, I placed the asparagus stalks, some quick melt cheese and then the slices of yellow bell pepper. Then I placed a bit more of the cheese before closing the "sandwich" with another slice of Spam. 

I flipped it again to cook the other side and melt the cheese further to hold the veggies together. 

After that, I served it with some more toppings of quick melt cheese. Just be careful with the amount of cheese to prevent the Spam from getting too salty.

Brightest Blessings!

Halie


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19 June 2017

Food Photography Tip: Up High


There are times that I like to experiment when it comes to different angles while taking photos of my food. Most of the time, I prefer to shoot from a lower angle, closing in on the best part of the plating, and at times using the macro mode of my bridge camera to give it that oh so yummy bokeh.

For this shot however, I decided to approach it from a different view, high up. The camera was placed at a high angle, looking down on the plate. Why did I do it? I wanted to show the totality of the dish. From a lower angle and a closer crop, I would not have been able to show how the tofu contrasted with the colors of the vegetables on the plate. 

So, the next time you shoot your food, make sure that you try and take a photo from different angles using different settings. Choose the best one. Try to place the camera directly above your plate, look for a focal point, focus, and press the shutter button. But, don't forget to consider the lighting. The shot worked because there was so much natural light that shadowing was not much of a concern because there wouldn't be any discoloration on the food which would have made it look unappetizing. 


Brightest Blessings!

Halie

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23 May 2017

Spicy Chicken Ramen



After the disastrous lunch attempt at a local restaurant, I decided to give in to another craving - Japanese style ramen. This time though, I cooked the dish at home and gave it my own spin.

Here's what you'll need:

4 tablespoons of sesame oil
2 cans of chicken chunks in water
crushed chili (use according to your tolerance)
salt and pepper to taste
5 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 medium onion bulb finely chopped
1 pack of Japanese egg noodles (ramen) cooked according to package directions
3 medium boiled eggs
nori

1 head of lettuce julienned
1 sprig of green onions finely chopped

What to do:

1. In a pan, saute garlic and onion in sesame oil. Add the chicken chunks, cook well. 
2. Season the chicken in the pan and add the water, add more to make the broth
3. Simmer until the chicken is well done
4. Remove from heat

Serve

In a bowl, place the cooked ramen noodles
Add the veggies on the side
Top with the chicken and add broth 
Sprinkle with green onions 
Garnish with nori and half a boiled egg
Serve and enjoy

Brightest Blessings!

Halie


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22 May 2017

Kuya J's Restaurant



Last Saturday I found myself craving for halo-halo. As delicious as the one from Razon's is, I thought it was high time for us to look for another place where we can indulge our palates in this delectable dessert. We decided to go to Kuya J's Restaurant after a friend told me of their halo-halo serving.

Upon arriving at their branch in Cubao, Quezon City, we were famished so we decided to have lunch there as well. We ordered Pancit Palabok, Chicken Salad, Lumpiang Presko, and Calamansi Juice. We were informed that the order will take 15 to 20 minutes for preparation. We agreed to it. However, after placing our orders, the server came back and informed us that the Palabok, Lumpia, and Calamansi Juice were all UNAVAILABLE. That was the first disappointment. We decided to replace the Palabok with Pancit Canton, and yet again after the server informed the kitchen about it, he was again instructed to tell us that it was also UNAVAILABLE. 

In our frustration, we just decided to cancel all the main meal orders and just go with the halo-halo.

As the dessert was served, the waiter came to our table with two spoons in his BARE HANDS which he handed to us in such a hurry that both spoons almost fell to the floor. Oh, and before that, one waiter tried to take away the clean plates from our table after hearing that we cancelled our food orders. That was also unprofessional of them. 

The halo-halo though is another matter. It did not disappoint. The consistency of the shaved ice is so close to ice cream that you wouldn't even think of it as your typical ice on halo-halo. It wasn't too sweet, nor was it bland. If not for the service, I would definitely think about going back there just to get another serving of this cool and cold deliciousness. 


Brightest Blessings!

Halie


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18 April 2017

Soi Thai Restaurant | SM Megamall Atrium Branch



Benji and I went to Soi Restaurant in SM Megamall Atrium for dinner last Saturday. We ordered several dishes, including a serving of Chicken Phad Thai from the restaurant. 


On the menu it wasn't stated that it has dried shrimps as part of the ingredients. Upon eating said noodles, I immediately had an allergic reaction to it. My tongue felt thick, my lips were red and a bit swollen, the corners of my lips had some rashes, my chest was red, as well as part of my arms.

We called the manager immediately. The response we got after we complained was - "You should have informed us of your allergies so that we could have done something about it." Instead of apologizing, she immediately tried to turn the tables around. In response to that I said - "It is your responsibility as an establishment to list some common ingredients that can trigger allergies on the menu like shrimps (dried or fresh), peanuts, etc." for the simple reason, establishments have different ways of preparing certain dishes. 

After we complained, the manager didn't even offer any first aid remedies. We had to ask for sugar water! The restaurant didn't have a first aid kit in cases like mine. 

Lastly, we never received any apologies from said manager! Lesson learned - ask for the ingredients of a dish even if you have eaten it numerous times in different restaurants.


Brightest Blessings!


Halie

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10 April 2017

Chicken Stir Fry


What You'll Need:

1. 3 tablespoons of soya oil
2. 1 kilo chicken breast cut into chunks
3. 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4. 1 medium white onion, finely chopped
5. 12 pieces of young corn, cut into halves
6. 2 pieces each green and red bell peppers cut into squares
7. 1 medium broccoli, de-stemmed and cut into bite sized bits
8. 1 small can of mushroom buttons, sliced in half
9. spring onions for garnishing

What You Need to Do:

In a pan place two table spoons of oil, saute 5 cloves of finely chopped garlic with finely chopped white onion. Add the chicken (sliced into cubes).
Add the young corn
Add mushrooms
Add broccoli
Then add the bell peppers
Salt and pepper to taste.
Cook until the veggies are done.
Garnish with spring onions, serve.



Brightest Blessings!

Halie

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12 February 2017

Chili Con Cane



What you'll need:
1/2K ground chicken
5 cloves garlic minced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small can liver spread
3 teaspoons crushed chili
3 small pouches of pork and beans
3 tablespoons oil
salt and pepper to taste
What you need to do:
1. In a heated pan, place oil, garlic and onions
2. Add ground chicken
3. When chicken is cooked, add liver spread and chili. Simmer for about 3 minutes.
4. Add the pork and beans, salt and pepper to taste
~serve with nacho chips and top with grated cheese. 



Brightest Blessings!

Halie


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09 February 2017

Nescafe Berry Mocha


I don't usually write about instant food or even coffee, but this time, I want to share with you a new discovery - Nescafe Cafe Mocha. This smooth drink has the right blend of flavors - coffee, chocolate, and most especially that distinguishable flavor of strawberries. 

I am a huge fan of Seattle's Best's iced version of their Raspberry Mocha Kiss, something that's truly enjoyable and refreshing. However, I can't be there everyday since I work from home and I live away from the city. This blend for me can be a worthy substitute for the drink that I so much enjoy.

A recommended blend. I hope that the company (Nescafe) would think of keeping this for a very long time. 


Brightest Blessings!

Halie


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27 January 2017

Pasta Arrabbiata




What You'll Need:

1K pasta cooked according to package directions, drained and set aside

3 tablespoons of olive oil
5 cloves of minced garlic
1 medium onion chopped
5 tomatoes, diced
2 packs of Clara Ole Three Cheese Spaghetti Sauce
3 pieces jalapeno peppers, sliced thinly
1/2K lean ground meat
6 pieces of black olives thinly sliced
salt and pepper to taste

What to do:

In a saucepan, place olive oil, garlic, onion.
When the onions caramelize, add the ground meat and cook
Add the olives, jalapeno peppers, tomatoes, salt, pepper and simmer for about 3 minutes
Add the Spaghetti Sauce and simmer for another 5 minutes

To serve:

In the saucepan, mix the cooked pasta noodles and toss until it is evenly coated
Serve with grated parmesian cheese and enjoy

Brightest Blessings!

Halie


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25 January 2017

Spicy Bacon Mushroom Pasta



What you'll need:

500 grams of pasta cooked according to package directions, drained and set aside
250 grams of bacon, chopped finely
1 can of mushroom pieces and stems
3 pieces jalapeno peppers sliced thinly
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons of pomace olive oil
1 pack Three Cheese spaghetti sauce (I used Clara Ole)
Salt and Pepper to taste
What to do:
In a pan, place olive oil and heat over medium flame
Once the pan is heated, fry bacon until brown
Then add the garlic and onion, saute until onion is caramelized
Add the mushroom and jalapeno peppers, simmer for about 3 minutes or until mushrooms are cooked
Add the Spaghetti sauce, salt and pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes
In a separate pot over low heat, place the cooked sauce and add the pasta. Mix together until the pasta is evenly coated with the sauce. Serve with grated parmesian cheese and enjoy. (you can add more or use less jalapeno peppers depending on your tolerance for spicy food.)


Brightest Blessings!

Halie


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16 January 2017

Papa John's Pizza

Since we were not satisfied with our lunch, we decided to have dinner at the mall and went to Papa John's.

What we had was their set meal for two which came with two pasta dishes, a 9' inch classic pizza of your choice and 2 glasses of iced tea. Since we were still quite hungry we decided to order a side of bread cheese sticks.

Here's what we ate:




His choice: Bacon and Cheese pasta in Red Sauce. Honestly, it was good. Simplicity at its finest. It had the right amount of sourness that you would expect from a classic tomato-based pasta. 


My choice: Spicy Mushroom pasta. It was no disappointment to me. It had the right amount of spiciness that didn't overpower the taste of the mushrooms. The herbs on top which were there for presentation and flavor did give it the extra layer of flavor.

The Pepperoni Pizza


And the Cheese Bread Sticks


Food wise, the only criticism we have is that the pepperoni were sliced so thinly that it started to taste like chicharon or bacon. 

Service wise, the biggest thing that we noticed was that when they served the food, they served one pasta dish ahead of everything else. Now, when there are two or more people seated at the table, the food should be served at the same time. 

Hubby's pasta was a getting a little cold when my pasta arrived. That's the only let down, the rest of the experience was quite pleasant.

Brightest Blessings!

Halie


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