Wednesday, January 23, 2013

'Til We Meet Again, Tender Bob's

Ate Faye, our cousin Balu, and I had to wait before the showing of Les Miserables so we decided to grab a bite. We only had an hour so we quickly entered Tender Bob's, much to my delight. It was my first time there and I heard their food tastes great.

Balu opted for their Chicken Tenders, Ate Faye their Pork Chops, and me, being the pasta junkie that I am, their Baked Ziti. Of course, we shared our orders anyway. :)

 Chicken Tenders Buffalo Style

This is so mouth-wateringly good! The breaded chicken breasts are cut in nice, chunky pieces really great for sharing. The meat is juicy, tender, and has the perfect blend of sweet and spicy. It also comes with a sour cream dip and french fries on the side
...Talk about the cherry on top!

Their original chicken tenders goes with a honey and mustard sauce and costs 20 bucks less. But we don't care, this one's a gold mine! I highly recommend this.

Price: ₱270.00
Rating: 4.5/5

Pork Chops

According to their website, this is one of their best-sellers. Grilled pork chops, an assortment of veggies (carrots, corn on the cob, snap beans) and a gravy boat. One can choose between a side of mashed potatoes or rice. We all agreed that it was okay. The meat was juicy and tasty, yes, but it was ordinary. Nothing mind blowing. Ate Faye said the meat was a bit tough for her.

Price: ₱260.00
Rating: 3/5

Baked Ziti

Penne pasta in bolognese sauce smothered with cream and cheese. That's what it says on the menu and it's exactly that. The pasta was truly smothered in a bed of cheese and sauce. It's so rich and creamy yet so clean and light at the same time.

It tastes so pure; no complicated ingredients, no funny tastes from herbs and what-nots. I kind of suspect the garlic breads on the side are meant for wiping one's plate clean. I've had a lot of pasta dishes in the past but this one's definitely made the top of my list.

Price: ₱205.00
Rating: 4.5/5

Our bill was on the costly side (Thank heavens, Ate's paying!) since they also have 10% tax plus we ordered drinks. But hey, the food was divine! We were a bit regretful that we chose such a great place when we only had an hour to spare. It felt like ages before the meals were served and we wished we got to enjoy them to the fullest; at a slower, more relaxed pace. That's why we vowed to go back there... Soon! Haha!


Tender Bob's - 4F The Block, SM North EDSA, Quezon City

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Rush of Coldplay to My Head

I'm a huge Coldplay fan. This alternative rock band has many great songs from various records but I think one of their greatest albums to date is A Rush of Blood to the Head, released in 2002.

After their debut success, Parachutes, they took their time and poured their souls to craft a second one to the point of postponing the album's release because they weren't satisfied with it. It was worth it when they were finally done as evidenced by its 11 tracks (I only liked 9 of it though.).

The songs "Politik", "A Rush of Blood to the Head", and "God Put a Smile upon Your Face" have this gaunt, haunting feel in them with somewhat cryptic messages. Netizens have argued on the lyrics' meanings but I'm guessing it's like art, it's supposed to be interpreted uniquely by each person. "Clocks" has a brilliant tempo as if time is really rushing. Their less enigmatic songs include: "Green Eyes" and "Amsterdam" which talk about love found and love lost. Two of my favorites are "In My Place" and "Warning Sign". Both are beautiful ballads referring to one's journey in life and ambivalent feelings for an ex-love, respectively.

But the track I adore is "The Scientist". For me, it's the best song in the album...No, I'd even go as far to say it's their best song ever! It's a heartfelt piece about a man asking for forgiveness and declaring that his love for a woman is louder than the wonders of science. My description alone doesn't do it justice so I shared their official music video so you could listen to it for yourself. (It's a must-see video, too! :))

The ingenius play of instruments, dips and turns of musical arrangements, fine lyrical composition, and Chris Martin's signature dreamy vocals make Coldplay the excellent band we know today.

In the hopes of them never ceasing to make awesome music,


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Les Miserables is Tres Magnifique

One of my favorite musicals of all time is Les Miserables. I first heard of its soundtrack when I was in college. I borrowed a CD from my cousin, Balu. So, it's just fitting that I see the 2012 movie version of it with him. Actually, it was Martha's treat. ;-p

This film blew me away! The first time Hugh Jackman's gaunt face jumped from the screen, I knew I will love every second of this two-hour-and-forty-five-minute long movie. What I didn't expect was ten minutes into it and I was bawling like a madman. I love Jackman's portrayal of Jean Valjean's inner struggles in 'What Have I Done' and 'Who Am I'. I can see clearly how conflicted he is. I feel his frustration and pain. I wasn't a fan of Jackman before but I am now.

These first few scenes set the tone for the duration of the movie. The cinematography is superb. It emanates the characters' aloneness and the darkness of their reality. Anne Hathaway's 'I Dreamed a Dream' and 'Come to Me' made me scrounge for my hanky again. She sang it un-Broadway-like. I think she nailed Fantine's destitute and hopeless situation. 

I would have given this movie full marks except for Russell Crowe's (Inspector Javert) seemingly lacking performance. Don't get me wrong, I like his rendition of 'Stars' and 'Javert's Suicide', but in my mind I still see him as the 'Gladiator'. He wasn't pompous enough as Javert for me to hate him. I was also disappointed with Samantha Barks' (Eponine) 'On My Own' and I was really looking forward to that bit. She was better, though, in 'Little Fall of Rain'. I also like their 'One Day More' and the finale song, they gave me goosebumps.

I am always moved whenever I listen to Les Miserables' powerful yet haunting melodies and it's grief-filled lyrics. But to see it translated this way is short of perfection.  If I were to rate it via hankies, I'd say 4.5/5. I mean, that's how many you'll need! Seriously!


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Not So Big On It

I love pasta! So yesterday at the mall, when Ate Faye wanted to go to a Korean resto for lunch, I pleaded her to take me to Bigoli instead. I've been eyeing the place for some time and unlike her, I haven't eaten there before. 

It's nice-looking with a warm ambience, casual order station up front, and drinks counter if you opt for their bottomless beverage. We had three courses:

Bacon Stromboli

Baked rolled pizza bread with bacon bits and cheese that goes with mushroom cream sauce. My sister has high regards for this one. It's savory and delicious but I think the bread and filling ratio can be improved. Less of the bread, more of the bacon please.
Price: ₱130.00
Rating: 3.5/5

Chicken Spaghetti Bigoli

Thick, tube-like pasta (Oh! So this is bigoli) in a red marinara sauce with herbs, onions, and chicken cutlets. It looks glorious but we found it tastes less so. The spaghetti had an odd, smokey, bitter taste (I suspect it was a bit burned) which, sadly, overpowered the tang and sweetness of the tomato sauce. It would have been a more enjoyable dish otherwise.
Price: ₱140.00
Rating: 2.75/5

San Pietro Panini

Crispy cream dory fillet, lettuce, and cheddar cheese cradled in wheat bread slices and served with potato chips on the side. The panini wasn't quite pressed to our liking and frankly, it needed more mayo but it was good anyway. The fish was perfect, soft and juicy, coated with crunchy breadcrumbs. Dory saved the day!

Price: ₱140.00
Rating: 3.75/5

Nonetheless, we were stuffed! Although my sister said they raised their prices, I think with their huge servings, it's still fairly marked. My sister wasn't in her usual best appetite. She's probably wishing we tried her Korean pick in the first place. At least I learned that I wasn't big on Bigoli (both the place and the type of pasta- It's hard to twirl with a fork!). Don't get me wrong. I'll go back there and try other things from their vast menu. First impressions do not last, as they say. We'll see.


Ristorante Bigoli - 4/F Trinoma Mall, North Ave Cor. Mindanao Ave., Quezon City

Thursday, January 3, 2013

How To Have A Great Time

I've always thought that Christmas season means parties, reunions, and get-togethers. Here's the run down of some of my holiday events:

Dress to the nines
Office Christmas Party:
It's not just about the food, drinks, or gifts but also a chance to let your hair down, let loose, and be merry with your co-workers whilst in a party mood. Add in the mix a loud and crazy exchange gift portion and the annual videoke night! Oh, yeah!
Not to mention the opportunities for 'picture-picture'. ;)

L-R: Lei, Jen, Erika, & Aprielle

At Dapo Restaurant and Bar
School Reunion:
After taking in how much everybody changed or stayed the same, it's nice to catch up with classmates you haven't seen in a long time. Don't forget that booze and music is never a bad combination especially in good company. Cheers!

Standing: Alona (of Music@ts), Kathryn, Che;
Seated: Lorie, Weng, Jo

Dimsum Break
Family Get-together:
Nothing beats last minute Christmas shopping to work up an appetite. It's also a nice way to bond and have long chats with your loved ones then tucking in to a yummy sampler of your favorite dishes. More Hakao please! ;P

Clockwise: Bacon Sio-mai, Yang-Chao Fried Rice, Original Steamed Fried Rice, Hakao, Crab Pincers, Empress Roll

After all the parties and celebrations, I'm sad to say good-bye to 2012 but I welcome 2013 with open arms! Happy New Year! :)


Dapo Restaurant and Bar - 31 Scout Borromeo St., Brgy South Triangle, Quezon City
Dimsum Break - 3rd Flr The Annex, SM North EDSA, Quezon City

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

What a Wonderful Life

Okay. Christmas is quite finished and everyone's recovering from the New Year festivities. But I  believe the holiday spirit should not end with the season. I want to share a classic film which speaks of my point exactly.

It's a Wonderful Life is a 1946 (Surprise! It's in black and white.) Christmas movie by Frank Capra. The 'life' in reference and at stake here is George Bailey's, a man best of his kind who faces his worst on Christmas eve. Hence, God sends George's guardian angel, Clarence, to prevent him from committing a terrible mistake.

The sincerity of the characters and the story telling (with series of flashbacks) add whim and color to the otherwise monochromatic screen. I'm struck to find that it was a box office flop during its time of release. Now, it is rightfully listed by the American Film Institute as one of 100 best American films ever made. I guess sometimes it takes awhile to look closer and dig deeper to recognize one's beauty.

This simple story is so beautiful that it captures hearts from its era up to the present. It shows viewers the gift of life and family that we must appreciate each day, whether good or bad. In a more personal note, I learned that sometimes, like George, we may feel little and unsatisfied with our lives, not realizing the countless blessings that surround us, not knowing how much we truly matter.

So let's keep celebrating... For it's a wonderful life indeed. 
Happy 2013, y'all. :)