Month: November 2016

One Lucky Goose

One Lucky Goose

On a recent business trip to Hong Kong, I was lucky to have stumbled upon a gem of a restaurant in the middle of the pulsating central business district.

 

I just came straight from the airport, ready to freshen up, when I found out my hotel room would take about an hour to get ready.  Faced with the unexpected idle time, I decided to explore the area right outside my hotel, which was actually the (in)famous party streeet Lan Kwai Fong.  So there I was, walking along the side streets and merrily observing the work crowd who seemed to be rushing through their lunch hour, when I spotted a long line in front of what looked like a very unassuming establishment with roasted meat on display.  I had no plans so I shrugged and thought I’d join in on the fun.  What have I got to lose?

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It was fate.

The stars aligned perfectly on that particularly warm lunch hour.  I would come face to face with the most delicious roasted duck I have ever tasted in my life!  Well, not exactly duck…but its close cousin the goose.

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The storefront was in Chinese characters so I learned while checking my GPS and waiting patiently in line that I was at Yat Lok Goose Restaurant – made famous for gaining a Michelin star.  I was still a bit wary though.  Places with long lines have a way of building expectation and disappointing me in the end…but not this one.

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The cramped space, unfriendly staff, and steep prices (HKD 165 for the goose thigh/leg) all made up for it.  The meat had the perfect combination of crispy skin, melt-in-your-mouth fat, and juicy and very flavorful meat all the way to the bone.  All it really needed was a hot bowl of rice and I was in heaven.

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I loved it so much that I went back for the same thing before heading to the airport.  I even brought a friend along!

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Yat Lok Restaurant is at G/F, 28 Stanley Street, Central, Hong Kong

 

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Hair Horror Story

Let me tell you story that happened not so long ago. A year ago, to be exact. Now I can finally write about it. Who would have thought that something as trivial as hair could cause me so much stress.

I’ll begin my story by giving a background on my hair habits. I’m not much of a hair person. I rarely go to the salon to have my hair done, 3-4 times a year, tops. And I would only go it it’s nearing a special occasion, like my birthday or Christmas, or going on a trip, or my sons’ graduation. To be honest, I get bored sitting in a salon while others milled around me.

The last hair appointment I had prior to this last disaster was March 2015 in time for my son’s high school graduation. It helped too that the salon, which we shall call T & G, had an ongoing 20% discount on colors and treatment. That session went well, and I liked how my haircut and color turned out. I’ve beenn having my hair dyed ombré since 2012 because it’s pretty much low-maintenance, I don’t need to dye my roots every so often.

Then in October 2015, the same salon had another promo, 15% off for color. And I thought, just in time for Christmas and our annual family holiday. So I booked an appointment at a T & G salon near our place in Quezon City. It was a different branch from where I had my last appointment. Even with the discount, it was not cheap, so I expected good service. It’s a given that immediately after a haircut and color, one has exceptionally beautiful looking hair. It’s the days after that, that counts. Less than a week after, I chanced upon a three-way mirror and I noticed that one side of my hair was lighter that the other side. I had my son take pictures of the back of my head. Sure enough, the left side of my hair was lighter than the right.

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I immediately booked an appointment with the salon and came back the following week. When I told them the problem, the color technician said it was just the gloss – like the dye they apply all over the hair after the ombré. So they dyed my hair a second time. Still, I keep noticing something is still not right. A week after, I went back to the salon to have my hair treatment, which I paid for. After the treatment, I said to the technician, I think there’s still something wrong with my hair. I asked them to take a picture. And this is what came out.

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The left side versus the right. I will leave it up to you to decide. And then the next day when I shampooed my hair…

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This! My hair looked like a walis tambo! It was frizzy all over. My hair was so over-processed it looked like it was fried. You know, like that fried pasta appetizer they serve at Torch. Arghhh!!! It was so infuriating, knowing you spend a not insignificant amount of cash and you get this. Of course I called them up and told them about my problem. In fairness to them, when they saw the state if my tresses, they offered to color it again, and added a keratin treatment. But I had to wait a couple of weeks since it was recently colored, twice. So everyday, for the next couple of weeks, I would take a shower, look in the mirror, comb my hair and be really, really pissed. I had to tie my hair all the time, lest I looked like a witch, with a broom for my hair. I did not really think it would be that stressful, but it was.

So I came back to the salon for the corrective color and the keratin treatment. Here’s a side by side photo of my hair before that ill-advised salon appointment, and after.

I hated my hair. Seriously.  This hair experience was truly traumatizing. I was afraid to go to the salon again.

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Then in May, right before my birthday, I decided to treat myself and have my hair done again. This time at Juro Salon in BGC. I used to have my hair done at that salon when they were located in QC. I’ve been hearing great things about them and I decided to bite the bullet.

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Do you see my before photo? I didn’t realize it was still that bad even after several months until Jude took a photo. The bottom, obviously is my after photo. With me are Jude and Rose Hipolito, owners of Juro Salon Exclusif. But we all know that the true test of a good haircut is second and third day hair, right?

Tadaaa! My hair the next day. I felt so light and happy after, truly. It felt so liberating that I wouldn’t have to add my hair problems (though trivial) to other concerns that I have.

So. What’s my take-away from this? Don’t trust your hair to just anybody. And when you’re not happy with a service, let them know and ask them nicely to do something about it. And now I know what it means when we say hair is our crowning glory.

In Search of the Perfect Pancake

I confess: I have a pancake addiction. I think I need a pancake intervention because of the level of obsession I have for these fluffy circles topped with butter and syrup. To satisfy my cravings, I have traveled far and wide in search of the most heavenly bite of pancake. And let me tell you, you don’t have to go very far. Hands down, for the price and consistency, Pancake House still gives all the places that I’ve been to a run for their money. But, as I also find it boring to eat in just one restaurant all the time, I have to have other options to get my pancake fix. Below are some of my suggestions.

Seattle’s Best, Makati

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Of all the chain coffee shops I’ve had the pleasure of eating in, I think Seattle’s (this was the one in Makati) offers the most complete breakfast. You can choose your sides (bacon, sausage, eggs, etc.). And their pancake is good enough (not great though–lacks in fluffiness). I’m a little bit partial to a complete package, and they gave single-serve butter…not the best partner for pancakes in my opinion. But, it’s priced competitively and the service is pretty fast, so I recommend it for those who just came out of work in the wee hours of the morning and would like a decent breakfast.

Mario’s, Quezon City

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As you can tell, this is a monster breakfast fit for a king! And the price is not bad at all…pretty affordable actually. They topped the pancake with whipped butter, and as you can also see from the picture, the pancakes are quite fluffy. So, it comes as no surprise that this is on my list, especially if you have guy companions because they will definitely enjoy the portions.

Eggs n’ Things, Fukuoka, Japan

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I first discovered Eggs n’ Things when we went to Hawaii some years back. It’s a breakfast chain store (like IHOP) but I think its origins are Japanese. So, when we came across it in Fukuoka, I just knew I had to order their pancakes (I had forgotten how they tasted like…it was so long ago =). As the picture shows, it was a very big meal. The slabs of bacon are thick and the eggs are a beautiful shade of orange. Whipped butter, check! Fluffiness, check! And yes, quite pricey! It’s not for everyday breakfast, but definitely a place to go to when you’re entertaining guests, or celebrating a special occasion.

Wild Flour, The Podium, Ortigas

wild-flourI saved the best for last! Wild Flour is known for its tasty concoctions, from sandwiches to meals and I have never eaten anything here that I didn’t immediately like. This pancake is way up there, level of Pancake House, great. It’s not whipped butter, but its salted butter on top of a sprinkling of confectioners sugar. Look at its glorious fluffiness. I don’t know how they achieve it, but these pancakes are as light and fluffy as clouds! Inside it is ricotta cheese, mmm. Makes me think all pancakes should have built-in ricotta cheese. I also love  that it’s partnered with caramelized banana (you know, to keep it healthy =). But since both are sweet, I still need to order a side of bacon. It is pricey, but so worth it!

Yeah, I need help. I’ve got pancakes on my mind!

Fukuoka Food Delights Part 2

ramenA food trip to Fukuoka would not be complete without ramen. Hubby researched that Ramen Stadium was a good place to pick our ramen meal, and so off we went! Ramen Stadium is a floor located inside a beautiful mall, called Canal City Mall, so yey to hitting two birds with one stone! As hubby is very sensitive to certain meats and veggies (no cabbage, beansprouts, potatoes and beef), we had to be extra careful in choosing our ramen. We went to Marufuku Ramen (I hope I got the name right…all signs were in Japanese) and selected via their vendo a Tonkotsu Ramen. Of course I’ve had these before so was really curious what the difference would be. For 800++ yen, we got a bowl with two pieces of chasu, kelp, an egg and nori on the side. We noted that the aroma of the ramen was a bit stronger than what we were used to. Methinks its because the chasu was smoked. It did not disappoint. The flavor of the broth was very rich, the chasu was so soft it was like chewing butter. Noodles were nicely cooked, not soft or soggy, rather on the firmer side. Even Brie polished off her plate! Maybe next time, we shall order more meat, but again for the price, quite a satisfying meal.

I’m sure it will also be worthwhile to visit the other famous ramen places at the Ramen Stadium, Canal City, Hakata.

Fukuoka Food Delights Part 1

To celebrate our 15 years of marital bliss, hubby and I decided on a less familiar, but still familiar travel destination: Fukuoka, Japan. Why Fukuoka? The answer: food!We’ve always been a great lover of Japanese food, so it was a perfect opportunity for us to see what Fukuoka had to offer. Incidentally, we discovered that some of our fave Jap food in the Phil (Uncle Tetsu for cheesecake and Nagi Universal Ramen) originated from Fukuoka.

Just so you know, we’re not really foodies. We don’t do in-depth research on the places to eat in. We’re kinda the “let’s-get-lost-and-go-into-the-resto-with-nice-food-pics” people. So on our first night, that was exactly what we did. Our hotel wasn’t really in the busy and tourist-y district so no English translations. When we entered Ten Jin Cha Han, we pointed to what looked good, while our very gracious waitress tried to understand what we were attempting to say. I ended up with a set meal composed of thinly sliced beef steak cooked in garlic sauce, cha-han (fried rice with pork bits) and vegetable salad. Hubby ended up with cheesy cha-han and Brie got her safe, but sure karaage. Since I got the house specialty, I assumed it would taste decent. And boy, was I wrong. It wasn’t decent…it was obscenely delicious! The beef required very little chewing and was flavorful, so good choice on the garlic sauce (the other option was Wasabi sauce). Although I’ve always been a “well-done” kind of beef-eater, I have to say that their medium-rare is heavenly. Didn’t taste a drop of blood, no slimy aftertaste. Each slice had a bit of pesto, which added a very interesting flavor. And it paired nicely with the cha-han. Hubby also gave a thumbs up to his meal and said the karaage was flavorful and crispy. To top it all off, it didn’t cost an arm and a leg. It was actually a very cheap meal (1,600 Yen, or about 800 Php) for ALL of us. Yup! That’s what I call a successful first day!