Saturday, May 25, 2013

Singapore 2013 Series: Sushi Tei

Being in Singapore meant I have to meet my high school bestfriend since the last time I was there we (obviously) didn't get to. I decided to meet her on a Monday, after her work. Good thing she could make it. We met at Vivo City because her workplace was near.

After looking around for a decent restaurant we finally decided on Sushi Tei. Mainly because of the ridiculous line outside and you know what they say in Singapore, if there's a long line of people waiting then food there must be good. It just took us around 30 minutes of waiting time before we got seated. I wish I could've taken a photo of Sushi Tei's interiors. It's really lovely!

Some of the selections from their menu. I drooled.

I feel terrible that I forgot what this was.

Negitoro Maki Fried. Fried minced tuna with spring onion sushi roll

This too. It looks like Chawanmushi at first but it has lots of crab meat once you break into the custard/steamed egg. I've never tasted anything so rich! I am still allergic to crab good thing I found an antihistamine on my purse, for those moments that I would have a need of it such as that night.

This tiny cup is  actually super heavy on the tummy which I didn't anticipate at all.

Sashimi moriawase or three kinds. I forgot what kind of fish were these all I can identify right now was the salmon. lol.

Thanks baba Vianne for spending time with me and catch up with our lives. Thanks for the treat too!!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Singapore 2013: In a Sea of Red in Chinatown

Note: this is the 2nd post I wrote from my Singapore trip last January 2013. A continuation of this

When I first came to Singapore, I wasn't able to visit Chinatown being as it was a ninja SG visit. So naturally on my 2nd visit there, Chinatown was on my must-visit list. The festivities of the upcoming lunar new year made the experience more fun as the whole Chinatown seemed to be emitting an aura of excitement and joy.

It's super easy to get to Chinatown since there is a direct MRT station that serves this district. Just get on North East Line (or purple line which is easier to remember) and get off at Chinatown station. 

Chinatown Station, Singapore

These scenes greeted me when I stepped out from the underground train.

Chinatown Singapore

Chinatown Singapore

I've never seen so much red in my entire life until that day. Everywhere, items in red colors are being sold. Charms, clothes, souvenirs, etc. They have it.

Amidst all the Chinese hullabaloo I spotted a familiar face.

Why it's Tintin the beloved French journalist/snoop character that Belgian cartoonist Georges Remi (using the pen name Hergé) created! Hee.

Tintin and Snowy
It's Captain Haddock!

Captain Haddock

I just had to take a photo with him.

Almost real life Tintin and Snowy figures.

At the end of Temple Street you can find, eh ano pa eh di, temples!

Sri Mariamman Temple

I also saw this giant snake-like lanterns. It turns out, snake pala talaga sya since it's gonna be year of the Snake soon! Unfortunately, I didn't see the head part :(

In between Temple and Smith Streets.

Smith Street is also best known as the food street in Chinatown. In here, restaurants and hawker stalls line the whole street where tourists and locals alike can satisfy their cravings for authentic Chinese dishes.

Smith Street, Chinatown, Singapore

Smith Street, Chinatown, Singapore

This is somewhere along Pagoda Street where many hostels can be found (and ongoing constructions for soon to open hostels!).

From there, I walked all the way to Sago Lane where the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum can be found.

Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum, Singapore

This temple was built to house the, you got it, tooth relic of Buddha which was believed to have been found in a collapsed stupa in Myanmar in the 80's. I wonder how it found its way in Singapore hmm.

Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum, Singapore

The blinding goldness of buddhas inside.

I didn't go inside and instead spent my time sitting and contemplating on the temple floor haha. I people watched, looked at all the tourists that took tons of pictures of the temple in contrast to locals who goes straight into lighting their incenses before offering prayers. It was really nice.

Then I went back to Smith Street again where I met my friend Diane. The lanterns have been lit, making it  dramatically beautiful!

Dried leg hams, anyone?

We ate dinner in the middle of Smith Street.

Satay and rice reminiscent of Cebu's puso. Sorry. ours win by a great margin.

Drat. I forgot the name of this. Anyone?

My lovely date that night who took all my giddy photos, after we got tricked/ripped off into buying various mochis and candy for a steep, steep price hahaha. Thanks, Diane!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Ba Noi's: The Fresh Flavors of Vietnam

Ahoy, a new restaurant just popped out in our really, really cool neighborhood! The original one located in Perea Street in Legazpi Village, Makati closed down I think a month ago hence, the great move. Hey, their loss our gain. :)

Ba Noi's, Kapitolyo, Pasig

Romy, Ten and I tried Ba Noi's last Friday to find out what's it like which coincidentally, also happens to be the eve before my birthday. pre-birthday lunch na kumbaga (maisingit lang).

Ba Noi's, Kapitolyo, Pasig

Ba Noi's, Kapitolyo, Pasig

Here's a photo of the restaurant's interior. I like the touch of bamboo blinds on their window that effectively blocks the heat from the sun.

Ba Noi's, Kapitolyo, Pasig

Ba Noi's table setting. Love the chopsticks!

Ba Noi's, Kapitolyo, Pasig

This Goi Cuon order came first. It was a pretty simple combination of lettuce, shrimp and rice vermicelli rolled in (glutinous) rice paper.

Goi Cuon at ba Noi's

Dip 'em in peanut sauce and it becomes even better. I'm glad it doesn't include that odd herb(?!) in fresh spring rolls we've eaten in Ho Chi Minh. It was also included in their pho noodles kaya medyo naumay ako ng slight because of that. But I still love their pho, hands down. Walang katulad.

The  Bún Chả Giò Thịt Nướng came next. Funny thing is, I was slightly - slight lang naman haha - disappointed when we saw that it did not include soup in it. Dried noodles pala kasi ang naorder ko haha. But it's alright, the chef recommends it and I don't say no to their recommendations.

Indeed, this turns out to be a really good dish! The noodles are already tasty on their own and the spring rolls, oh the spring rolls! I can eat those everyday of my life.

Bun Cha Gio Thit Nuong at Ba Noi's

This is what it looked like when mixed. We took out all the meat and set them aside on one plate haha.

Bun Cha Gio Thit Nuong at Ba Noi's

The Bo Luc Lac was a a lovely surprise for us. More often than not our expectation of meat's tenderness are not met unless it is beautifully presented on  a hot plate for an unfortunately, fancy price. However, when these cube of beefs touched our mouths, the collective expression was "uy, ang lambot"! And it really was. No chewy beef to munch on for minutes.

Bo Luc Lac at Ba Noi's

We also ordered Ca Kho To, a braised catfish cooked in caramel sauce. This is one dish that isn't usually served in other restaurants nor in our own homes so it was a good thing we got to try it at Ba Noi's.

Ca Kho To at Ba Noi's

All in all our Ba Noi's experience was great. Each dish we ordered was really good and something we can recommend to our friends and families.

A plus factor: I'm not sure if it's because Ba Noi's is a fairly new-opened restaurant that the owner, Dodjie Violago, also happened to be in the house but for whatever reason we appreciated his gesture of coming to our table and asking how the food was.

PS: We're also avid fans of Borough Comfort Food :)

Bs Noi's
12 East Capitol Drive,
Barangay Kapitolyo, Pasig City

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Our TNF100 Trail Run Tales

JC and I joined the TNF100 Trail Run just for the sake of joining. Okay, I'll admit I did it for the TNF stickers! Ganun kababaw ang kaligayahan ko, sa sobrang babaw laki ng nagastos ko haha.

I know I swore off joining events that literally rob your money outta your pocket just because of the hype. I caved in because 1) I wanted to try running on a trail, 2) it's the frakken TNF and 3) it was a great excuse to escape the hellish Manila heat and see friends in Baguio.

TNF100 Trail Run, Baguio City

Also, we were to be the support team of our friends, Mac and Marie. They did 50 km which was, based from all 50k runner stories, no easy feat. It was beyond difficult. A Herculean task that every runner must commit to not only physically, but mentally too. It was a pure test of endurance and strength, you have be there to believe it.

TNF100 Trail Run, Baguio City

We arrived in Baguio at past 11 pm, got lost a bit while looking for our transient house in Scout Barrio, ginising pa namin yung may race ng 4am para lang magkahanapan kami haha. Konting chika, then a little before 1am we all took a nap before waking up around 3am. What is bangag. Took a quick shower before we made our way to John Hay which is, thankfully, on a walking distance from our house.

Hinatid namin sila sa starting line then waited for the gunshot til the last runner has been sent off the grounds. Sobrang exciting lang you could see it in every runner's face and feel it in the air.

TNF100 Trail Run, Baguio City

After sending off all the 50k runners we walked a bit on the grounds looking at interesting stuff.

TNF100 Trail Run, Baguio City

We went back to our transient house, set our alarm for 9am and slept again. After 3 hours we showered again, dressed up and were on our way to Green Valley where we'll meet Kimi. The cab driver dropped us off at the last point where PUVs are still allowed, there we waited for Kimi to arrive.

We were dead set on hiking our way up to Mt. Sto. Tomas if we didn't find any vehicle that would be willing enough to take us all the way up. Hitching a ride na naman ang peg just like what we did when we first made our way here in 2010. Wala pang 20 metres na nakakalakad kami may dumaang pick-up truck! We thought it wouldn't stop for us after raising our thumbs but lo and behold huminto sya. So that's the story how we arrived in the radar/AS 8 in less than 30 minutes without any sweat . Ha!

These were the scenes that greeted us when we got there. AS 8, to sum it up, is the mid station for 50k runners. This is where runners took their brunch or lunch depending on what time they arrived. The place was buzzing and you could feel that every marshals and officials were frantically going gaga. Or si Daddy lang yun (an official there, Kimi's friend from UPM).

TNF100 Trail Run, Baguio City

We were so worried that our friends already made it there without us at 10:30 when we felt it was still early for them to make it there at that time. Malay mo bigla pala silang naging halimaw, ran so fast and made it to AS 8 super early. But we waited patiently, talked to some of the officials, watch every runner that arrived, talked to Kimi's friends, walked to the viewing deck to wait some more until finally at 11.30, Mac arrived!

A series of kwentuhan and kainan naturally ensued. Marie finally arrived a little after 1 pm, a few minutes after, Mac decided to run the 3 km from AS8 to AS9. The 3 km that you do not belittle as it was harder than it seemed! Mac decided to wait for Marie despite the ticking clock (he made it back to AS8 at around 2.30pm). He decided though that if Marie still hasn't arrived at 4pm, he'll continue the run on his own. Good thing Marie came in at 3:30! After a short rest (for Marie) and quick bite, off they went again and us three hitched a jeepney ride alongside some of the DNF's (runners that did not finish) back to Camp John Hay. It was so awkward. Most of them didn't make it to the finish line for various reasons. I can feel their disappointments but they compensated by cracking jokes. At least there's always next year to try again :)

Before the 2 resumed running, we saw this man came in. He was currently the first place holder in the 100k division. Everyone gave him a round of applause when he continued his run after a quick egg and coca cola break haha.

During the awarding ceremony, we found out that he was the first placer indeed. Good lord watta trail monster. Mabuhay ka kuya!

TNF100 Trail Run, Baguio City

We arrived at John Hay at 5pm so you can just imagine how starved we were! We had baon but a lunch is a lunch. We headed to the first resto we saw (that we liked haha): Army Navy.

Then we went home again at around 6pm where I slept once again (JC didn't, he watched TV), woke up at 7.30 and was out of the door for the third time at 8pm. We waited in the finish line section with the chilly Baguio weather enveloping us.

Every time a 50k and 100k runner arrive, we clap our hands.

Then this girl. Apparently she was the first woman from 100k to arrived. Way to go girl!!! Okay sorry walang fez na makita, madilim eh!

9pm came then 10pm but still no Mac and Marie. 10pm is the cut-off time for 50k runners. If you don't arrive by that time you're not included in the official list of finishers. After multiple phone calls and waiting-in-the-super-cold-dark-forest, these two finally arrived.

There were so many stories to tell but I don't know how to relay them here so I'll just skip the part and past forward to when they finally reached the finished line. They made it a few minutes before midnight and though there weren't any other people to cheer them on nor an emcee to announce their arrival, we cheerfully met them at the finish line. At least no one's knee got broken or anything. They were all in one piece. Ang loser namin wala kaming matinong camera. All photos were taken from my phone.

Congrats Mac and Marie!! Bawi tayo next year! Este kayo pala :)

We had a super late dinner at Yellow Cab at around 1 in the morning, went home at 2am. JC and I still have our run later at 5 in the morning. I was so exhausted and sleepy I fell asleep in no time.

April 21, 2013, Sunday. It was our turn, 11k trail runners, this time. In fairness nagising naman kami at fresh pa rin no matter how puyat. This was a few minutes before gun time (5.30am).

There was a slight traffic on the first 3(?!) km kasi nagkakasalubungan pa ang mga 22k and 11k runners especially on uphill areas.

Ang trick lang naman dyan is not to run like crazy on uphills kasi pinapagod mo lang ang sarili mo hehe. We ran when the trail's flat or downhill (sarap! but remember to be careful always).

Yes, may wild horses talaga.

Water station stop. I like the fact that the organizers required runners to provide their own water bottles because really, those paper cups add up to this world's litters.

This was my, ahem, TNF shining moment shot. Okay end of gloating.

That's us in the finish line!

With kids who also joined the 11k run. Mind you, these kids were placers ha! They were on top 5!!

I don't know the name of this guy but he was the 3rd placer lang naman in 100k! Ang cute ni kuya, nakapikit!

After watching the awarding ceremony and hanging out with Mitch for a bit, we headed for lunch because we were really starving by then. We headed to Ketchup Community Place and sat at Canto. Kimi, JC and I ordered at Canto (ribs that could really use more dressing/sauce/whatever) while Mac and Marie ordered at Happy Tummy. Sadly there wasn't anything happy about their service. The food took a really long time to get into our table and that's with 2 follow ups pa!

Siningit ko lang yung free pic namin from ROX hahaha
Sunday night, Mac and Marie went back to Manila while JC and I stayed for another day. We decided to stay in the transient house instead of spending the night at Kimi's since bayad na rin naman ang place. The next morning, we woke up early and headed to public market to buy stuff. We bought the usual veggies and for a change, I bought organic and red rice. Wala lang.

And of course, my Baguio stay won't be complete without seeing my cutie patootie godchild who's turning into quite the posh toddler. Props to her Mamay for picking her everyday get-up hehe.

The end. Next year we'll try our luck with 22k. Huzzah!