Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Mysterious Benedict Society

It was one of those day-offs when I had nothing to do at home so, dying to catch up on some reading, I borrowed one of my sister's books. I'll never regret that moment when I first opened The Mysterious Benedict Society. 

A curious newspaper ad brings together four special children named Reynie, Sticky, Kate, and Constance. Each kid has a unique talent that comprises a great team to embark on a secret mission for the genius Mr. Benedict. Their exciting yet dangerous adventure will surely keep you flipping through the pages of this trilogy by Trenton Lee Stewart.

Having finished the series, I must say I'm very satisfied with the story. It's not only for children but also for adults with a passion for solving riddles and puzzles. Their journey pursue as they discover their strengths and weaknesses, unravel mysteries (sometimes involving their personal lives), and develop a strong friendship.

All the characters are engaging and the writing is intelligent yet light. I should have picked up this book from my sister's crate sooner. But I'm thrilled I finally gave it a shot. It's a fun read. Two thumbs up! I can't wait to read the fourth installment and prequel to the story, The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict. 

The advantage of having nothing to do at home, eh? :)


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Oh, Mann!

Nothing beats sharing good food with family. And we found just the right place to do so. Mann Hann serves Chinese-Filipino cuisine in a cool, minimalist ambience. Here are the scrumptious courses we tried:

Beef Brisket Hong Kong Noodles

It's a nice twist to the popular dish. Who would have thought beef brisket can be the main ingredient to a noodle soup?  A steaming bowl of beef and noodles swimming in savory broth topped with chives.

The beef brisket flavor is there but sadly a little bland. The idea is clever and sensible; however, the execution falls a bit short of our expectations.

Price: ₱195.00
Rating: 3.5/5

Sweet & Sour Pork

Crispy, juicy, and tender layers of pork sauteed in a sweet and sour sauce with pineapple chunks, green bell peppers, and red onions.

This colorful dish is very succulent and the burst of flavor goes well with plain white rice. The serving is generous, ready to be enjoyed by the whole family.

Price: ₱260.00
Rating: 4/5
Spicy Squid

Deep-fried squid paired with Chinese bagoong and calamansi. We were confused with the idea of squid being dipped in shrimp paste. It's wee bit overpowering for us so we skipped the dip.

The squid has a proper amount of chewiness (not tough) though we imagine it would have tasted way better with a sweet or sour or creamy sauce on the side (anything other than salt on salt).

Price: ₱270.00
Rating: 3/5

Mapo Tofu

Last but definitely not the least, the dish that's been a huge hit to us. Tofu, mushrooms, and ground pork set in a spicy chili and bean-based sauce.

The tofu is perfectly cooked and literally melts in your mouth. The simple components of this dish blend well and together make a high-quality meal. The price is a steal since it can feed at least 5 or more clamoring bellies.

Price: ₱190.00
Rating: 4.5/5

Speaking of clamoring bellies, ours were happy at the end of our lunch. Buuurp!


Mann Hann - 2F Main Bldg., SM North EDSA, Quezon City

Saturday, April 6, 2013

On Being Holy

At Monasterio de Santa Clara in Quezon City
I am not a very religious person but I do observe some traditions associated with my family's faith. Last March marked this year's Lenten season. Annually, my family and I would go to churches and pray. Primarily to atone one's sins and ask for forgiveness.

Mom & cousin Balu at St. Francis of
Assissi in Mandaluyong City
We were able to visit quite a number of churches and parishes during the Holy Week. Frankly, it's not how many you get to visit but how you immerse yourself in the experience and have your spiritual self be 'cleansed' and 'fed'. Well, that's just my opinion.

I consider this time to reflect on the things that happened, so far, in my life. How I reacted to some of my past misgivings or errors made.

Basically, this is when I make a promise or resolution to try and better myself. I'm also with my family when I do this so that's a plus factor.

Maybe this quote can sum up my prayers: 'Whatever I have in mind Lord, I surrender them to You. I will do the best I can but in the end, let Your will be done. Amen.'