Peanut Monster


One of my favorite things to make:

Spicy garlic peanuts with green onions

I buy peanuts from a stand, fry lots of sliced garlic and put them together. After around 2 minutes of frying, I mix in minced chili peppers then quickly remove everything from the heat. As it cools down, I add lots of chopped green onions. Salt to taste.

Spicy peanuts with lots of toasted garlic is already awesome in itself, but with green onions, another layer of flavor and texture is added. A trace of sweetness with a fresh crunch.... I love it.

I’m usually found eating this while watching a nice film on dvd, reading a book or when I’m just lazing around the house with an ice cold beer.=)

Thanks to my dad for this recipe which he cooked every now and then while I was growing up.

My appetite was just ferocious when I was a kid. As a result, I've been given many food related nicknames by my aunts and uncles. Among those which I remember are "Lumpia Monster" and of course... "Peanut Monster". ;p


Kusina Teatro


Last Wednesday, Liv took me to the food street in Ortigas Home Depot to a place I enjoyed so much I’m blogging (again).

It all started when she attended a reunion of sorts with old officemates at a place set by their gourmet ringleader, Michael. It so impressed her that in the middle of their affair, I was receiving a blow by blow account of the food they were having. She was simply overwhelmed.

Naturally, we found ourselves there a few days after.

The place is Kusina Teatro. A novel operation serving classic Spanish food and tapas. Especially tapas. Upon seeing the place, I understood that it was special. If not because of the taste, then definitely because of its uniqueness.

Coming across a Spanish restaurant camouflaged in the middle of bar country was exciting enough. Seeing huge windows offering a view into Kusina Teatro’s kitchen was just exhilarating (ok, maybe just for curious wannabe cooks like me). Visible from the street and from inside the restaurant, everyone has a view of the chefs at work and all food being cooked. A curious feature for a Spanish restaurant for sure.

We arrived an hour early because as we found out, that particular night, they were opening at 8pm instead of the usual 7pm (understandable for now because Kusina Teatro is still in its soft opening stage and they are in the process of fine tuning their operation). Left with an hour to kill, we headed to North Park resto to feed Andrea her favorite food (pancit) first.

Let me share that I grew up eating Spanish food prepared mostly by my grandmother. Spanish classics were cooked in her kitchen (with me regularly manning the vegetable station) where I had the happiest time seeing, smelling, tasting the food before it was fed to everyone else.=) A warm experience resulting in an association between Spanish food and my grandmother. An association which caused me a bit of a shock when I saw the chefs who’d be cooking our food walk into the kitchen one by one. Actually, I was stupefied. I mean there I was half expecting to see my Lola Mommy (my grandmother) waltz into the kitchen, put on an apron and ask me to start chopping onions when in walked Chef Ritchie. Calm, with a choirboy type air and looking like he’s barely gotten out of school, he’s just so young! The shock continued when he was followed shortly after by the other chefs Myka (I hope I’m spelling their names right) and Donna, who were also around the same age as Ritchie. Together they looked like classmates working on some school project (or a science experiment)... Oh, and they were wearing cool black and orange chef’s uniforms which made me green with envy.

So began the concert of classic Spanish pieces punctuated by sizzling food, clinking utensils and dancing flames. An entertaining demonstration put on by the trio of young performers as they wove their flavors together.

My Favorites:

Gambas Al Ajilio – I loved this for the awesome, plump, nicely cooked shrimps in olive oil and garlic. No strong overpowering sauce, just beautiful mildness that highlights the big, juicy shrimps and perfectly toasted garlic.

Paella Negra- This dish really impressed me immediately by its appearance. With an option to get it for two or for five. It was presented mouth wateringly in a clay dish overflowing with shrimps, soft squid rings and other seafood which upon probing, reveal rich, squid ink covered rice underneath. The flavor is tweaked wonderfully by the citrus flavor of the lime and creamy garlic dip which it is served with.

Chorizo Flambe- My favorite beer match! Homemade chorizo served in what seems like a small serving definitely packs huge flavor. The moment I popped a cube inside my mouth I was floored by the of chorizo flavor. It was an assault of salty, sour and yummy that I enjoyed washing down with beer.

Pork Belly Confit: another good pulutan.=)

Soft and juicy outside, crunchy and tasty inside. This is Liv's favorite.
Bacon stuffed squid!!! What can I say, it has bacon. (Note from Liv: BACOOONNNN!)

Deep Fried Cheesecake! Topped with vanilla ice cream, this dessert banners a rich, creamy cheesecake wrapped in crisp skin. A brilliant dish I must say. Liv and her officemates claim that this is orgasmic and while I am not really a dessert fan, I can understand what they mean…this is really a must try.

Lead by a young and talented cast., the stars however are no actors of fiction. Kusina Teatro showcases an ensemble of young chefs with real talent, in a performance that turns the spotlight away from the setting of formal dining and ancient ancestral homes to a modern stage exploding with youth, adventure and enthusiasm.

Me and Chefs Ritchie, Myka and Donna. I just couldn't keep myself out of the kitchen...

The youthful spirit is best expressed by the establishment’s name: Kusina Teatro, an idea which casts aside what is typically fancy schmancy with something that is playful and familiar. Huge kitchen window in front, the chefs are able to visually allow passers-by to connect with their hunger through a Spanish gastronomic, voyeuristic, seduction (if I may call it that). Finally, its location along the watering hole laden strip of Ortigas Food Street, bridges the contemporary with the traditional and brings Spanish tapas to the modern, everyday crowd.

At P1,350 for a dinner of 6 excellent Spanish dishes for a company of 3. Kusina Teatro’s relatively inexpensive pricing successfully brings excellent Spanish food well within the reach of the working class for regular consumption.


San Mig Cafe in Ocean Park Part 1 of 3



Friends are one of the best things we get treated to in life. People you have chosen to share a bonding connection with not by a matter of circumstance but by a matter of affinity. Unfortunately, as we mature (meaning getting caught up in household responsibilities, debt and work, all of which have good meaning in life as well), our friends being understanding and supportive people become the ones we get to allocate time for least. Not to say that Liv and I are evil people. We’d always make time for any friend in need but during regular days, our natural predispositions lean more toward spending most of our time with Andrea, doing the grocery, household chores, bonding at home…. And eating. So, needless to say, when an opportunity to reconnect with old friends over food and a possibly fun activity for Andrea presented itself, we had to go. The mastermind: Liv’s BFF and Andrea’s ninang, Carmi (spelled with an “I” and not an “IE”) and San Mig Cafe.

It was to be a food tasting and reunion of sorts which was made more fun by the presence of our friend, the coolest bachelor in Manila, Manila Boy Spanx.=)

The Itinerary: Lunch at San Mig Café in Manila Ocean Park, kwentuhan, take Andrea to see the fishies (fishes) and shawks (sharks).


I have never eaten in San Mig Café and I didn’t know what to expect. Considering that it’s named after the country’s favorite beer brand, I imagined it having a bar-like feel but what I saw was far from a bar. The place had a light, open and family-friendly feel to it.

This feeling is also reflected on their menu. They stick to the classics, the comfort food, those we’re all familiar with and those we all love.

The appetizers all looked wonderful and so instead of choosing just one we went for their Super Platter. If you’re not hungry don’t even attempt to order this and a main dish -- you won’t survive. It contains, nachos, flautas, ribs, and Hungarian sausage. One order can easily satisfy a party of 4!

Ruy and I couldn’t get enough of the sausage. It had just enough spice without being overwhelming. The platter had two heavily flavored appetizers ( Hungarian sausage, and baby back ribs), it also has two milder flavored appetizers (nachos and flautas) – this , I’m afraid is the only balance my diet will ever experience.

The boys won’t let us visit San Mig Café without trying their Cerveza Negra Seafood Sampler. I was already so full and so I was not able to taste it but the boys err men seemed to enjoy it. Spanx remarked that, although subtle, you can really taste the Cerveza negra on the batter. Ruy was a fan of their fish which was moist and yummy (I was able to take a bite of this)

After the appetizers I was stuffed, happy and ready to call it a day. But there were more food coming. (to be continued...)


Food and the Law of Signatures


Have you guys heard of the Law of Signatures? It's somethign which I think most of us have received through email. The law states that the shape of the fruits and vegetables can somehow guide us into determining what we should be eating? How so? Read on to find out:

  • Kidney Beans actually heal and help maintain kidney function and yes, they look exactly like the human kidneys.
  • Egg Plant, Avocadoes and Pears target the health and function of the womb and cervix of the female - they look just like these organs. Today's research shows that when a woman eats 1 avocado a week, it balances hormones, sheds unwanted birth weight and prevents cervicle cancers. And how profound is this? .... it takes exactly 9 months to grow an Avocado from blossom to ripened fruit.
  • A Walnut looks like a little brain, a left and right hemisphere, upper cerebrums and lower cerebelums. Even the wrinkles or folds are on the nut just like the neo-cortex. We now know that walnuts help develop over 3 dozen neuro-transmitters for brain function.
  • Some observers have said that the figs look like the male genitals when two of them are hung together (apologies, don't mean to be crude!). Figs are full of seeds and the nutrients in them are said to increase the number of sperms to overcome male sterility. In many cultures throughout the world, figs are associated with fertility. They seem to act like nature's Cialis however unlike Cialis figs don't protect against Prostate Cancer
  • A sliced Carrot looks like the human eye. The pupil, iris and radiating lines look just like the human eye...and YES science now shows that carrots greatly enhance blood flow to and function of the eyes.

I have received several variations of emails like these and while they sound so promising and wonderful but I have heard arguments against them as well. For example, it is apparently a misconception that carrots are good for the eyesight. One website claims that this was news spread by the British army to cover up a certain technology they had at that time that allows them to track things, so they just told people that they fed their army carrots that's why their eyesight are all excellent.

Figs on the other hand, don't appear on the list of things good for one's sexual organs. Soy, tofu, soymilk still top the list of food that promote prostate and sexual health in men. It has been said that these kinds of food lessen the need for cialis and viagra...figs have never been cited in medical journals.

I am now confused as to the veracity of the Law of Signatures. Do you guys think this is true?


Chicharon - Heaven in a Cholesterol Laden Bite


With every bite I feel my heart beat faster. I am not sure if it's the excitement or it's the cholesterol taking it's toll on my poor heart -- it's probably a combination of the two. Cardiac delights is the term my father-in-law coined for these babies. Wonderfully delicious morsels which could bring you to heaven figuratively...and literally.

Everything about chicharon (or pork cracklings) screams STAY AWAY FROM ME. It's made out of skin and fat, deep fried, and peppered with salt and MSG. It's just wrong in every possible way yet those things which make it wrong are the same things which make them oh so good.

These babies are Ruy's pasalubong from Bulacan. I am a fan of chicharon from Bulacan because they're like tiny lechon kawali. They have enough meat in them to make them hearty.

We usually dip these in vinegar. We either use ordinary vinegar with pepper and finely chopped garlic or we use Sukang Waykurat. We then eat them with rice and a side of chopped tomatoes, onions mixed with bagoong.


Oishi Ridges - Wasabi Flavored


In my previous post I talked about our penchant for watching tv shows. Yes, Ruy and I have been spending a whole lot of time cooped up in our room watching reality tv, tv series, and movies. With this hobby of course comes incessant eating. Yes somehow Ruy and I can't stop ourselves from munching our hearts away as we watch our favorite shows.

We didn't want to be such unhealthy pigs you know? Over a year ago we vowed that we would stop eating chips altogether and try to be healthier. Yet, all these wonderful plans disappeared when we saw this...

We were so curious. We loved wasabi peas but they were quite pricey. These Oishi Ridges - Wasabi flavored chips come cheap at around 23 pesos for one big bag. Normal people can actually share this bag and be satisfied...meanwhile I find myself giving Ruy the evil eye whenever he tries to touch my bag.

The chips themselves look very nondescript and very ordinary...almost boring. I remember the first time we opened a bag. I was confused when I saw the chips. Where was the wasabi? Was there a mistake? How could this plain chip be wasabi flavored?

One bite and I was convinced. The chips give off the unmistakable flavor of wasabi in a way that wasn't overpowering. The combination of the flavors is sublime the saltiness of the chips goes perfectly with the slightly sweet and quite potent wasabi flavor.

Things You Don't Know About Us


1. Liv didn't like Chinese food until Ruy forced her to eat some.
2. Ruy's frustration is that Liv won't eat in carenderias and turo-turo
3. Liv's frustration is that Ruy can't seem to cook for two. His dishes always last them 5 days.
4. Ruy generally doesn't like sour things. Liv loves them. Andrea shares Ruy's dislike for sour things.
5. Liv is Ruy's biggest critic when it comes to his cooking. Liv is her own biggest critic. She is never ever satisfied with anything she has ever cooked or bake.
6. They both love In-Yo (now called Ninyo) and think it's so much more sulit than any of the hotel buffets.
7. Liv sincerely believes that she has 2 stomaches, one for main dishes and one for desserts.
8. Ruy's into ice cream and Liv's into cakes. They both like frozen yoghurts
9. Ruy can't stand natural yoghurt.
10. Andrea is beginning to be as takaw as Ruy and myself. She likes pesto, pizza with camembert and blue cheese, etc.

What's Been Keeping Us Busy


So, needless to say, Ruy and I have been terrible bloggers. Ruy does not even consider himself a blogger anymore as we've been in absentia for far too long. So for some of the people who still check out the blog I guess we owe you some sort of an explanation for our absence.

What's been keeping us busy? Andrea, cooking, watching cooking shows and eating. Yup. That pretty much sums up our life these past few months.

Ruy has basically been cooking up a storm as he's been inspired by all the cooking shows we've been watching. He's currently obsessed with Iron Chef Japan but we've also seen Top Chef, Hell's Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmares, and Iron Chef America. Ruy is going gaga over these shoes. Every night before we sleep he'll have to watch at least one episode. Obsessed much?

I can just imagine how excited he'll be when he found out that I came across a site about Vacation Homes which has an awesome contest related to Hell's Kitchen! The contest is called the Chef Bonnie Weekend Getaway. What will I win in this contest? First I get a free airfare from wherever I am to the vacation home I rented. Second, the rental fee will be waived. Next, and the best part I believe, I get a gourmet meal cooked for me by Chef Bonnie.

I really shouldn't be talking about this here cause the more people who know about this the more competition I have...but this is just too good to keep for myself.


How We Choose Restos


Ruy and I have been going out for almost a decade and choosing a place to eat is still as difficult as ever. Whenever we go out there are different things we consider, these are:

  1. Craving - I'm usually the one with the cravings and so Ruy has to choose between letting me have what I'm craving for or hearing me whine for two weeks (true story!). My cravings are so insane that I once made Ruy eat in Jatujak 3 days in a row. (Side story: my cravings disappeared when I got pregnant, weird huh?!)
  2. Price Point - are we in a kuripot mode or not? The interesting thing here is that when we eat in inexpensive places we usually end up spending just as much as we would in pricier joints. I think we get carried away with the ordering when we see the cheap price.
  3. Family Place or Not - We don't bring Andrea to bars or drinking places like Gerry's or Dencio's, etc. If we're taking Andrea we need a place with space for her to walk around and run around. If we're not taking her then this is not part of the options at all.
  4. Atmosphere - lighting is essential together with the restaurant furniture. When I'm stressed I look for restaurants with nice booths where I can snuggle up with Ruy or Andrea. Other times, nice restaurant chairs would suffice. (Incidentally I saw a site called Fashion Seating with really great furniture for your restaurants. The price is just unbelievable and their selection is HUGE. Why am I looking at this? Well let's just say that it's a dream of Ruy to open up his own resto in the future and it looks like the only thing we can afford at this point are the bar stools, chairs and tables for http//
  5. Location - we have no problem going to Tagaytay, Pampangga, or Subic just to eat but you'll have a difficult time inviting us to Makati. Ruy and I have an irrational fear of Makati...don't ask my why. =)

This is how we do you guys choose?


Love is in the Air


And when there's love...there should be food. =)



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