Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Weekends and holidays are bonding moments for our family. Normally, these are most anticipated times since we are together from the time we wake up till the end of day. I treasure moments like these. It used to be that I still have my own agenda for the weekend but spending more time with my daughter has never given me so much joy. I set aside myself on days that my daughter and I can bond more and enjoy each others' quirks and idiosyncrasies :)

We were apprehensive to go out yesterday because the weather is unpredictable. You wouldn't know if the sun is going to shine already or the rain will cause another flash flood. Flash flood equals heavy traffic. That's what we are avoiding. But then my toe nails are begging for a polish and my daughter needs a trim on her bangs. So late afternoon we headed to our salon which is only a few minutes drive from our home. Vanity ruled.

Trust my daughter to know what she wants with her hair. She wants the sides layered. But she had the same style already a few months back. We agreed to keep her hair straight and just manage the bangs so she will always look fresh, her eyes not covered with bangs. The compromise was set and we were both happy with the result. Just trim the bangs and half an inch of the tips of the hair. I had my own haircut too, an impromptu one since the pedicurist is not yet available. I had it shortened for easier managing. I was glad too with the result. Now mother and daughter are sporting bangs. :)

It's not only with the haircut that my daughter gives her opinion on. Even with the color of my pedicure. It has to suit my age, in her own words, "should be hip for you". So as we pick each bottle, we would say "hip" and "un-hip" if we find the color too boring or too loud. We set aside all the "hip" and from there we agreed on a soft red. I forgot what it's called but it's a cross between mild red and soft pink. Looking at my toe nails now, they are like strawberry-coated candies. I was duped by my daughter! Haha.

After the salon, we went to the mall and had dinner at Gumbo, dine New Orleans style. It's my first time to dine at their The Block, SM City North Edsa branch. I know that there is also a branch at Mall of Asia and it's also from the same company of Burgoo and Sbarro (somebody correct me if I'm mistaken here).

A few things I know about New Orleans - hurricane Katrina devastated the city about two years ago on August. The people love jazz. I remember my book, Bridges of Madison Country where a jazz singer from New Orleans was featured in the story. And this I learned from Bubba Gump, this is where cajuns and creoles originated - a combination of seafood, pork and rice - pungent and peppery.

The restaurant is medium sized but could use more room for moving around since its customers mostly come in large groups as I observed it. I love their circular booth seats. They are very comfortable. There are a lot of books and photo frames which serves as the restaurant's displays. Some tables have labels of street names, from New Orleans I bet.

The food servers and the managers are very attentive. And very much alive. That's how a team should be. Kudos to their training group and their recruitment for hiring pleasant looking people who can deliver good service and has good customer rapport. I love their hats too. They are very fancy, something you see with the food servers of T.G.I.F. Like Bubba Gump, Chilli's and the like, they sing a "happy birthday" song to any guest celebrating his or her birthday. They let the celebrator wear the fancy headdress while they sing away. Superb performance! I did not see but I bet there is a free dessert.

Now the food, they offer bread and olive oil with garlic while you are waiting for your order. It's a good appetizer. We had iced tea and chocolate chip milkshake which according to my daughter tastes good. She had it up to the last drop. We ordered cheezy hotdog sandwich with french fries on the side. Huge.

Their seafood jambalaya is a treat also. There is a choice of original (which is spicy) or mild only. I took the latter since I don't go for too much spice on food. The garlic and shrimp aglio olio can do with some more salt. It was really bland when served to us we have to ask for salt. Everything else is good, like what we told with the food server who approached us and asked how the food is, except for the pasta.

It's a novelty also to hear the kitchen crew's chant before serving jambalaya and gumbo, "Ah, Jambalaya!" or "Gumbo!". I got a little startled when I first heard them but I was amused, and the other customers too, with their energy and hustle movement. The team is having fun and that is great because the customers can feel we are all having a good time.

Therefore the conclusion is Gumbo is worth another trip and another. :)

And it's worthy to say that a full day spent with my daughter - whether at the salon, the mall, the restaurant, or just being at home - whether we argue, we agree, we goof around - is what I love doing the most.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Rai Rai Ken

After office I planned to pass by the department store to buy my Vegas-based brother some things he requested me to buy for him. I decided to take the MRT instead for a faster commute. As I stepped out of the elevator, I was surprised with the huge crowd of people I saw in the lobby of the station. I asked around. Technical problem. Grumble. As of the moment, no train will be coming by. I don't want to wait. It will take an hour or more I believe. I will take a cab. But there is no empty cab. Every cab that passed by is occupied. Therefore I called my husband to tell him to fetch me.

I ended up at Rai Rai Ken. I realized I have not eaten properly today. Just had half a cup of coffee for breakfast, congee for lunch and two spoons of egg with mayo for snack. I was starving. I am not so fond of Japanese food but Rai Rai Ken is open till nine thirty. It was only seven something on my watch, safe enough to stay at RRK while waiting for hubby and satisfy my hungry stomach.

I had Unagi Don (eel in teriyaki sauce) because it's the softest real food they have. I still can't bite properly because of the recently adjusted braces. I am not in the mood for noodles anymore. The husband and the daughter came in an hour after.

As usual the husband had his Kani salad. This is a staple for him whenever we are in a Japanese restaurant. Hubby made his own version of this using shredded cucumber and crab meat and diced ripe mangoes served with lettuce. Nothing of the salmon roe though. If I was already blogging then, I won't miss taking pictures of him in the kitchen doing his Iron Chef thing. Haha. He made his own Japanese mayonnaise as dictated by a friend of ours over the phone. Very simple, ordinary mayonnaise mixed with ketchup and a dash of salt and sugar and black pepper. Well actually I cannot distinguish between the usual mayonnaise we use for sandwiches and Japanese mayo. I think the Jap mayo tastes saltier.

And our not-so-little-pretty-one had her chicken teriyaki. Normally I would ask for spoon and fork for the two of us so we can eat properly. I can use chopsticks but I don't prefer it when I am really hungry. But according to the daughter, she wants to get used to chopsticks. Okay then. I am not so fond of teriyaki sauce...Or if I may say, I don't like any sauce poured all over my food. I always want it on a separate plate so I can just dip my food a little which is what I did with my Unagi Don. Sesame seeds though makes teriyaki sauce tastes better.

My supposed only expense for the day which is seventeen pesos (.37 USD) for the train ride increased by four thousand percent (the increase was shouldered by the hubby of course, haha). But looking at it, that's better than waiting for the train or the cab that could take forever. Plus dinner with the hubby and daughter and going home with them capped my night very well. :)

Monday, August 6, 2007

Yang Chow That Made Me Feel Good

My braces were adjusted yesterday. I spent forty five minutes or so with my dentist-friend while she's doing some work on my teeth. Eww, it hurt. I was telling myself why did I even think of these adult braces? Why haven't I done this oral rehabilitation when I was a lot younger? But as my friend told me, it will not hurt anymore as much as it did yesterday because the succeeding visits will only be minor adjustments. After a few minutes after the session, the pain went away but I still cannot bite even soft food. I have to chew very slowly.

In a way this is good for my diet. For the past weeks I have not been taking my regular food consumption. My rice intake lessened by more than half compared to what I normally consume in a day. Let me just keep it a secret how much rice I usually have. Also, I was able to save some money since I bring my own food at the office. A lot of savings if I may say because when I buy my lunch or snack, a lot of desserts go with them.

At times when I am not able to prepare food to take with me or when I am in a major hurry, I have salad, congee and pancakes. I learned to love congee and soups. I don't prefer them when I can eat food which are a lot tastier. But I greatly appreciate them now and they will be part of my favorites even after the braces.

I have not been to Wendys for several months now. They don't have the salad bar already. Maybe because some customers get more than they can have - like they get what is good for not just one but five persons. Bad for the profit. They still have the macaroni salad which was what I had. Still great but there is no more hard boiled egg which I prefer more than the red jelly.

I love most servings of North Park Noodle House. It was my first time though to order their congee with bola-bola and egg last Friday. I love it! It's actually good for two. There is no garlic aftertaste.

I am a Pancake House diner eversince. Aside from their taco and salisbury steak, I love their classic country medley - sausage and pancakes with butter or syrup plus coffee or juice. Hmmm, delicious. The pancakes' texture is just right for me.


I was browsing on some nice-to-read blogs earlier tonight when I clicked a link to a blog about a man's chronicles of his life as a single parent and taking care of his only son. There were some posts which touched my emotions, they made me shed some tears as I was reading them. I always want to end something on a good note so I browsed some more of his categories. Good! I was entertained with his choices of music and books. He writes well too.

To make me feel even better, I prepared Yang Chow Fried Rice for dinner. I altered some ingredients I got from Yummy Magazine. Thanks Yummy Mag for being a great part in my kitchen adventures. :) Yes, that's how newbie I am in cooking, I need a recipe for even a simple dish. Anyway, I did not add dried shrimp (hibe) but fresh shrimp. I don't like dried fish much so I skipped adding it. I was not able to eat much but as a newbie in the kitchen, I feel really good if I get compliments for the food I prepared.

They say there are certain foods that make us feel good because of their chemical composition. Like sweets, we experience sugar rush and it keeps us up and about. This one though made me feel good because of two reasons. The hubby and the daughter loved it! And I was able to prepare it without any hitch - no burnt garlic or onion, the green peas didn't fall off as I was transferring them, the Chinese sausage and the shrimps cooperated with me and proved to be good bites. That's my little success for the night. :)