Twist Tie from True Value.

It's been a while since I wrote about anything other than food, travel or fashion, so though I'm no Martha Stewart, let me share a simple home remedy I discovered today :)  

With technology at its peak, a person probably owns at least 3-5 gadgets... a Blackberry, an iPhone, an iPod, an  iTouch, an iPad, a laptop, a digicam, a Flip, a Kindle, take your pick.  If you're one of those gadget kings and queens, don't you just hate it when you have all these chargers tangled up?

Such a mess!

I know some chargers come with this velcro thing that holds the wires together (like Nokia chargers) but most of the time, chargers don't have that (like Macs and BBs).  Since I keep all my chargers in one box, I usually just get the string that seals bags of bread to tie my chargers together.  Problem is, the string is only good for a couple of uses.  Finally, while looking for something in True Value, I found a solution to my dilemma.


I chose green so I can easily see it amongst the sea of white and black wires!

A twist tie is a metal wire that is encased in a thin strip of paper or plastic and is used to tie the openings of bags, such as garbage bags or bread bags. A twist tie is used by wrapping it around the item to be fastened, then twisting the ends together (thus the name). They are often included with boxes of plastic food bags or trash bags, and are commonly available individually in pre-cut lengths, on large spools, or in perforated sheets called gangs.

Aside from the fact that Twist Tie keeps my chargers from being knotted, I love it because it's so handy! The guy who invented it thought of everything already and integrated a cutter with the wheel.. No more wasted time looking for scissors whenever organizing stuff!  What's more, I bought it for less than $1! It's been a while since I bought something so useful at that price.  Love it, love it, love it.

No more stress from tangled chargers!

How about you dear reader?  What's your favorite simple home remedy? :)

MK ♥ Manila.

I really needed to de-stress earlier this evening so I went to the mall before meeting T and his friends for dinner and some drinks.

Guess what's in the bag!
Retail therapy is shopping with the primary purpose of improving the buyer's mood or disposition. Often seen in people during periods of depression or transition, it is normally a short-lived habit. Items purchased during periods of retail therapy are sometimes referred to as "comfort buys".
Michael loves who?

With the cute and talented Fil-Canadian girl appearing in Ellen, several Filipinos appearing in American Idol Season 10, and Donaire knocking out Montiel, Filipino pride is at its high! So it's really timely that Michael Kors relaunched his Michael Kors ♥ Manila tote.

I love the heart plaque!

It's made of canvass and is pretty much an eco tote though I probably won't use it for my groceries. Aside from the heart in the center, another favorite part of mine is the red croc detail along the handles. The bag also has a detachable pouch (just a really small one) inside.

Can't wait to use it this weekend!

The I Love City totes are also available in MK ♥ New York. But though that city is close to my heart, I'm still going with the Manila version. Visit SSI's Official Website for more information on Michael Kors.

Valentine's at Aubergine.

I know I said that T and I don't have plans for Valentine's since the weekend passed and we never really talked about going out but at the last minute, T surprised me and asked me if I wanted to have dinner this evening.  I initially had a couple of restaurants in mind, trimmed the list to 3 and finally decided on Aubergine.

Chick peas and butter for our bread.

“Aubergine” is the French word for “Eggplant” (Solanum melongena), a large, heavy vegetable, usually pear-shaped and dark-purple.

I first had sourdough bread then poppyseed bread.

For Valentines, we got the 9 course set dinner for P2,300+ ($70), with steak option for P2,950+ ($85+).  They started us out with Amuse Bouche.

Amuse Bouche is a small bite before a meal begins.

Next was the Pan Seared French Duck Foie Gras with warm brioche and Foie Gras-Smoked Trout Terrine in pistachio nut jacket, aged Grahams Port wine jelly accompanied by petit salad leaves and fine herbs tossed in hazelnut-Champagne vinaigrette. 

I don't really eat duck but this is superb!

Drinks weren't included in the set menu so T and I ordered Iced Tea to accompany our appetizers and Red and White Wine for later.

Iced tea.

White wine for me, red wine for T.

They then served us a bowl of Cappucino of Alaskan King Crab with keta caviar on spring potato.  3 courses down, 6 more to go!

Love the soup!

I think my potato was much cuter than T's :))

This was followed by Smoked Sea Bass Tortelloni and Pan Seared Arctic Sea Scallop with wilted baby spinach and Pommerry mustard sauce.

One of my favorites that night.

Probably to give our taste buds a break from all that flavor and to get us ready for our main course, they served us Rose Lychee Sherbet.

Served on a teapot!

Amused with the smoke coming out of the teapot's spout!

Under the ordinary set menu, there were two choices left for T for the main course because I was going to get the fish: Trio of Australian Lamb (grilled lamb loin, oven roasted lamb rack and sous vide lamb shoulder confit) served with French beans, celeriac-potato mousseline and carrot honey juis and Slow-Cooked Duck Breast and Warm Quail Galantine served with truffle jus, mushroom risotto and star anis scented cherry tomato marmalade.

The set menu.

But since I don't eat lamb nor duck, T got the steak option instead.  They served him Snake River Farm US Wagyu Eye of Rib Steak served with Port wine jus and bearnaise, rosemary scented potato gratin and vegetable bouquet. 

OH... MY... GOSH... Heaven!

On the other hand, I got the Glazed Black Cod with baby rocket leaves set on asparagus-morel ragout accompanied by saffron. 

One of the best fish dishes I've ever had.

After that, they gave us French Camembert on prune-apricot bread and Roquefort Mousse with compressed nashi pear.  T didn't like it that much so he gave me his share, too.

Made for cheese lovers like me!

I was still buzzed because of my white wine when they served us each a glass of Champagne! This went really well with the cheese plate.

Champagne + rose petals = Ultimate Valentine moment.

Finally, they served us the Aubergine Sweet Valentines Temptation which was a sumptuous cake accompanied with a small scoop of ice cream on the side.

The dinner ended with Valentine Pralines (just 1 plate per couple so I learned to curb my sweet tooth and share ;)) and Brewed Coffee.

Decaf for me!

Truffle and a macaron.

Dinner was so enjoyable that we didn't notice that we've been eating for more than 3 hours!  Almost everybody left by the time we were done.

Only a few of us left at the main dining area.

This is by far one of the best dinners I've had with T.  I hope everyone had their share of happy moments today as well.   Whether with your special someone, friends, or family, I'd love to read about them so post your link on the comments page of this entry.   The love bug has bitten ;)  Happy Valentines Day everyone!

Happy... :)

Dining Date: 14 February 2011

32nd and 5th Building
5th Avenue corner 32nd Street
Fort Bonifacio, Taguig

Tel No.: (632) 856-9888
Mobile No.: (63917) 557-1675

Aubergine Official Website

L'Incontro Ristorante Italiano.

Happy Hearts is only a day away!  Where are you celebrating?  Ironically, T and I don't have plans but throughout the week, I rounded up a couple of restaurants we've been to before so you guys can have a couple of choices for Valentine's Day (including the ones I suggested last year):

                               The Goose Station
                               The Frazzled Cook
                               Je Suis Gourmand
                               The Crystal Room
                               The Old Vine
                               Beurre Blanc
                               Sonya's Garden

I was about to close my 'Valentines Series' when I remembered L'Incontro Ristorante Italiano!  I first saw this restaurant when I enrolled in Alliance Francaise de Manille but never really got to go there during my French school days. And then just last December, my friends and I randomly picked this place to have our annual Christmas dinner. 

Front of the restaurant.

From the outside, the Italian restaurant didn't seem like anything, with the dark exterior and simple roof tents, but as soon as you enter, you'll be fazed.

Not your usual chandelier.

As soon as we sat down, our server gave us a bread basket and 3 different spreads.  I'm not sure what they were called but one was tomato-based, another one was pesto and the last one was some kind of pate.  The food took a long time so T and I had 2 basket refills.

For our bread.

For starters, T and I had the Crema Di Squash E Burro Zuppe (P265).    It was good but my favorite would still have to be Cibo's version.

Squash soup.

For the main course, T ordered the Rib Eye Chargrilled Steak which was Wisconsin Beef 100% USDA certified and graded (P3,955).  Why so expensive?  It's because the steak was aged for 15 days.

The P3,995 steak.

Other dishes on the Italian Grill are the Grilled Aragosta Lobster (P310/100g) with truffle butter, rock sea salt and lemon and Veal Chop (P1,450).  All items from the Italian Grill are served on the board with rosemary and baked potatoes, onion gratin, and fresh greens tossed in aged balsamico.  I want to try the lobster next time. 

T enjoying his 15-day steak.

On my end, I got the Salmon and Almond Mascarpone with spinach mashed potatoes (P695).  It was really tasty.  I'd recommend getting this.

First time I've tried spinach mashed potatoes.

For dessert, T and I got the Panna Cotta (P210) and the Crepe Flambee (P250) to share.  My friends got the Dessert Pizza (P300) which is a pancake-like dessert with Nutella, fresh strawberries and mascarpone.  It looked delish but my friends said it wasn't anything great.  I'm more interested in the Formaggio En Fruit (P1,150), which is a caramelized brie wheel, gorgonzola with honey, walnuts, provolone and grapes, I saw on the menu.  Maybe during our next visit.

Panna Cotta.

Crepe Flambee.

For Valentines, L'Incontro Ristorante Italiano probably has a set menu.  Better call to be sure.  I'll post their contact details below.  Happy Valentines everyone!  Tell me if you got to go to any of the restaurants I suggested.  Enjoy!

Me and my friend and fellow blogger, Kat.

L'Incontro Ristorante Italiano
Dining Date: 17 December 2010

207 Nicanor Garcia St.
Makati City
Tel No.: (632) 899-0634

Sonya's Garden.

Valentine's Day isn't just for couples and so are wedding venues like Sonya's GardenOur recent trip there just proves it!  So even if this seems to be another Happy Hearts Day post, you can also treat this like a simple dinner suggestion from me :)

Last December, T and his friends had a mini highschool reunion in Tagaytay and he let me tag along.  After a day of fun and adventure, a few of us stayed behind to have dinner.  After debating about where to eat and where to go, we finally decided on Sonya's Garden.

Look for this sign!

Beurre Blanc.

It's almost Happy Hearts Day everyone!  Last year, I made a list of restaurants where you can go to for Valentines.  In case you missed it, here it is:

                               The Goose Station
                               The Frazzled Cook
                               Je Suis Gourmand
                               Felix - where we celebrated Valentines '09
                               The Crystal Room  - where we celebrated Valentines '10

Although these restaurants are good choices up to this day, let me add a few more to the list.  One is The Old Vine, which I recently wrote about.  Another is Beurre Blanc.

My favorite part of the restaurant: the ceiling!

The Old Vine.

Coming from Bukidnon (a quiet province in the southern part of the Philippines), T* picked me up from the Manila airport and brought me to Venice Piazza.

Me in Bukidnon, too bad the plant covered the beautiful view.

Although we frequent Bonifacio Global City, it was both our first visit to the Piazza.  We were actually looking for the gondolas they usually advertise together with the place but unfortunately, the 'Venice canals' were still just plans and the only establishment in the area were the restaurants.  We went around the whole strip and settled for The Old Vine. 

The dining area.

We started off dinner with French Onion Soup (P150) and Tessie Tomas Salad (P295) which were both good!  I asked why they named the salad after the actress.  Our server explained that the owner used to be with Le Souffle and Tessie Tomas was their regular customer. 

French Onion Soup.

Bread and butter that comes with the soup.

The Tessie Tomas Salad is a combination of roasted prawns, marinated salmon and grilled shiitake mushrooms with mesclun salad in creamy balsamic dressing.  

Tessie Tomas Salad.

Another favorite of mine is their Bottomless Iced Tea (P80).  Usually, restaurants just serve the normal Nestea Iced Tea at that price.  But not in this restaurant!  Their iced tea tastes like home brew iced tea. 

One of the best iced teas I've ever tasted!

Tuna lover that he is, T also ordered an order of Seared Tuna Tataki (P220) seared in olive oil and garlic ponzu sauce. 

Seared Tuna Tataki.

For the main course, T ordered the Lamb Shank "Pinot Noir" (P420) marinated in red wine, grilled and braised and served with mashed potato, roasted shallots and garlic.  Sorry, I can't tell you what it tastes like because I don't eat lamb but T said it was good!  For what it's worth, it does look good.

Lamb Shank "Pinot Noir"

On my end, I got the Penne  Carbonara (P230) they describe as "Old Fashioned Style".  And I understand why!  It's the ultimate comfort food.

Penne Carbonara.

For dessert, we were curious about this cake they call Surprise (P130).   It's actually a combination of creme brulee (top part), cheesecake (middle) and chocolate (bottom part).  Really good.

This dessert is really called 'Surprise!'

Another dessert that caught our eyes was the Chocolate Gooey Fudge (P150).  Really rich.  A must for chocolate lovers!

Chocolate Gooey Fudge.

Adjacent to The Old Vine is another restaurant named Kuse which specializes in Filipino dishes. The restaurants are connected because they're managed by the same owners. 

Common bathroom between the 2 restaurants.

I believe they also allow cross-ordering because T and I sat at the Kuse area but ordered from The Old Vine's menu.

Kuse dining area.

All in all, T and I were very satisfied with the food from The Old Vine.  What we didn't like was the band outside.  It was distracting!  The loud music would interrupt our conversation whenever the restaurant door opened.  The Old Vine would be better off if it were in Serendra or Bonifacio High Street because it's the perfect place for a 'quiet dinner'.

For every P1,000 purchase, you have the chance to pick from this tree. I won a CD!

The Old Vine
Dining Date: 3 February 2011

Ground Level
The Venice Piazza
McKinley Hill
Fort Bonifacio, Taguig
(632) 836-4969

*the boyfriend