Thursday, May 27, 2010

Tishie's Travels: What Else I Ate

I'm taking the tamad (lazy) route. I'm doing a phlog of stuff I ate in New York (or the New York area...which includes Hoboken) instead of going all food critic-y. Aside from not listing everything down (let's blame it on jet lag, shall we?), I was also kind of on vacation mode and just wanted to enjoy what I ate!

Flor de Sol
361 Greenwich Street, NYC

JC really likes the interiors. Dark and moody and sophisticated and kind of sexy. Kinda funny how you could look at another table and guess if people were on their first date!

Light dinner with my brother JC at this Spanish-Mediterranean place. One of JC's favorite tapas places.

Tapas mixta a la chef, $24. I especially liked the chorizo.

Shrimp on some kind of pastry shell.

The Melting Pot
100 Sinatra Drive, Hoboken, NJ

Dessert. I used to hang out a lot at the Old Swiss Inn with my family, and the fondue was usually on our to-order list. So this place was right up my alley.

Yin and Yang fondue (dark and white chocolate with bananas, marshmallows, strawberries, rice crispies, and cheesecake!), $20 for a small serving.

The Hoboken Gourmet Company
423 Washington Street, Hoboken NJ

I wanted waffles but the waffle place was full, and Turning Point (which I absolutely fell in love with last time I was there) was a little out of the way. So JC and I ended up here, where I had steak for breakfast.

Me want meat.

Big brother had an omelette.

32 Spring Street, NYC

Snack with my East Coast-based teammates Lawrence, Mavs, and Greg (who flew in from Virginia just to hang one weekend!). This place in Little Italy is supposedly the first American pizzeria. To be honest, I thought the pizza was just alright. Maybe I just had such high expectations?

Il Laboratorio del Gelato
95 Orchard Street, NYC

Post-snack dessert. Finally! A friend asked me to swing by this place a year and a half ago. I went, but it seemed closed, and I figured it was because it was the beginning of winter! On my last visit, I realized that it may have been open but I didn't notice. I expected an ice cream parlor or something. Instead it was a hole-in-the-wall stall. No dine-in tables or anything.

Mine is the greenish gunk with caramel. The others got less experimental flavors like chocolate amaretto crunch.

My teammates and I were laughing at how we were having ice cream in around 40F weather. But we had nothing better to do, and we were in the area anyway. Loads of interesting flavors. I got basil! It tasted like pesto. In a good way! The aftertaste is even better. And the hot caramel I had drizzled on mine gave it a nice, sweet, warm kick!

Roxy Delicatessen
1565 Broadway, NYC

Post-dessert dessert. We dragged NYC first-timer Greg to Times Square for a token turista shot. (True to form, he was content just seeing Wall Street.) Mavs was itching to have cheesecake at this tourist favorite.

This thing had toffee in it.

Trattoria dell'Arte
900 Seventh Ave. between 56th and 57th, NYC

Lunch with Carl and our Hearst hosts/"co-workers" Aryanna and Peter.

Spaghetti alla chitarra lump crabmeat and shrimp with sea urchin butter sauce, $24 for a full serving.

Dessert selection

My choice: Tartufo

La Bonne Soupe
48 W55th between 5th and 6th Aves., NYC

Dinner with Ninang Tere (my baptismal godmother and one of the principal sponsors at our wedding) at this cozy little place. Little girl at next table: "Mommy, why is she taking pictures of her food?" Apparently, food blogging isn't as prevalent in dem shores.

Omelettes are $12.95.

Fondue au Fromage, $22.95

Yes, even after polishing off that tartufo a couple of hours before, I still wanted ice cream. With chocolate sauce please.

1300 Sinatra Drive, Hoboken, NJ

The view from LUA

Dinner with JC, our cousin Ate Lorie, and JC's friend. This trendy Latin-inspired restaurant is located right by the Hudson, hence the snap-worthy view of the NYC skyline.

Beef skewers

Chorizo skewers


Something we described as Cuban crispy pata, sans the crrrrrunchy skin (the best part!!!).

Stacks Pancake House & Cafe
506 Washington St., Hoboken, NJ

Breakfast with JC. Finally got my waffle fix.

Yummy cornbread--on the house!

For some reason, I tend to have strawberries when I'm in the US. Maybe because they're readily available, and cheap! Had this with scrambled eggs and a side of Canadian bacon. (And a "side" means four or five slices!)

Wild Fig
167 Glen Street, Glen Cove, NY

Dinner with family.

Greek salad (greens, tomatoes, olives, cucumbers, feta cheese)

Moussaka, $13.99. It's supposedly been called "the best moussaka I've ever had." I don't really know who "I" is in this quote. I enjoyed it, but I don't know about it being the best ever...

Sirloin steak (I think) and shrimp shish kebab, $14.99

I missed a few things because I didn't have my cam with me. Would have wanted to take pictures of our awesome office cafeteria! The salad bar alone was enough to make me cry. And salivate. And there was a sushi bar, a sandwich bar, a dessert bar...and there's a different chef each day whipping up a chef's special! I would kill to have that cafeteria in our Manila office.

So much food, so little time. This is a major reason I heart and miss NY!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I Won! I Won!

A couple of years ago, I won a vacuum cleaner at an Electrolux event, but it has strangely, mysteriously disappeared. Today, I was at another Electrolux event and went home with... even more bad-ass vacuum cleaner, the 75 Tornado!

Hamil and I had been meaning to get a vacuum cleaner to give our black shag rug a thorough cleaning. (Our customized couch, upholstered in a textured mocha fabric to keep it from looking all funky and dusty, would benefit from a good vacuuming too!) Today, Electrolux had Trivia Day, and my team emerged victorious. We had to answer three rounds' worth of questions about the brand, appliances in general, and Scandinavia. I was happy that we won, but was ecstatic when I found out what the prize was!

Hurray for free stuff! And a double hurray for free stuff that I actually need!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Back at the Barre

I was bored the other night and wanted to give my (relatively) sedentary body a little shake. Plus, I wanted to hang out with Marie, one of my most favorite people in the world. So I decided to attend a barre3 class again after months. (The third Charmed One, Tata, joined us for dinner and drinks after class.)

Photo from here.

As I explained in my old blog, barre3 is a mix of Pilates, yoga, and the ballet barre. The first time I tried it, I found it a bit challenging, but it seems Teacher Marie has upped the level of difficulty. That, plus my decreased endurance and flexibility equals pain two days later. My core (under the omnipresent layer of flab) is feelin' the burn! I wonder how the lone dude in the class is feeling though. I could see him struggling, but I was so rooting for him because he just soldiered on!

Even though I faltered during some poses or reps, I felt like such a star in class because Marie kept saying, "Nice one, Tish!" Unbeknownst to the rest of the class, it was probably just because our teacher knew my name. Har.

I've got a short checklist of new sporty things to try for this year. I'm aiming for one new thing a month, but so far, I only have three things on my list. Well, five, but I'm iffy about the last two I just thought of. Keep y'all posted!

barre3 classes are held at The Spa, Bonifacio High Street, Fort Bonifacio, and at Alabang Town Center. Get more info, including class schedules, here.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Tishie's Travels: My Best Friend's Wedding!

My darling, darling best friend Madhuri got married over the weekend!

Photo by Jamie Lihan for Imagine Nation

Will have a more detailed post about the lovely, fun-filled occasion in Cebu. For now, I just wanted to share how incredibly happy I am for her and her husband Mukesh! (Eep! I can't believe she has a husband!) Mads is one of the people I love the most. She deserves every happiness this world has to offer, and the best man that there is out there. I'm beyond thrilled that she ended up with Muks, who is such a great guy!

Mads has one of the kindest hearts, and she has this amazing talent of making each person feel special. She is smart and generous and she's always making pretty dresses for me! Haha. (Seriously, at events where I'm wearing something she made me, people always ask about my dress!) I think she got so stressed over wedding preparations because, well, aside from it being a logistical nightmare (people flying in from six continents for a destination wedding!), she seemingly couldn't shake the need to take care of every little detail herself. This isn't because she's an absolute control freak! Over the weekend, I realized that she takes on so much because she hates hassling other people. She hates it so much that she'd rather be hassled herself!

With gorgeous Mads at their sangeet

Exquisite as she is on the outside, she is even more dazzling on the inside! All the bling in the world (and at Indian weddings, there is LOTS of bling!) can't compare to her stellar personality! Congrats and best wishes, Madhuri (Rania) and Mukesh! I have a new brother! Yay!:)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Don't Have No Short Shorts, Man

Dear local shorts manufacturers,

I'd like to meet the aliens you make your shorts for. You know, those girls with no hips, no ass, and no thighs to speak of. For months, I have tried (and failed) to get pair after pair of cutoffs past my thighs. Each time, I have ended up doing a little dance (a few hops here, a wiggle there) in the dressing room as I attempted the impossible.

I'm petite, yes, but I have jiggly bits like 90% of women in the world. Bits that don't fit into shorts that were seemingly made for girls who haven't hit puberty. Birthing hips spring forth below the waist when a girl hits her teens. A pair of shorts labeled "26" is for a woman whose waistline is 26--unless I didn't get the memo that the RTW industry sells by hip measurements now.

Strangely, I have this problem when I check local brands or tiangges (which get their stash from, say, China, Korea, and Bangkok). But American and European brands are more forgiving. You'd think that an Asian woman would fit into Asian clothes. But apparently, my butt thinks it's Western.

To all other women who are still on a quest for the perfect pair of cutoffs, this one's for you.

Tishie Tishie

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tishie's Travels: Defying Gravity

Wonderful. I call it "wonderful."

And if you've seen Wicked, you'd probably sing the same!

I don't often find myself on Broadway or in the West End, so when I'm there, I make the most of it by going for the big, splashy shows. This time, I was dead set on seeing Wicked, a show my friends have been raving about for years. Wicked is based on a book by Gregory Maguire--something I had already read and which I totally did not enjoy! I felt it was a little too political and dark for my taste, not the light, entertaining story I expected from a retelling of the life and times of the Wicked Witch of the West. I couldn't believe it had been turned into a musical.

But it was--and how! Funny, poignant, borrow a line from Barney Stinson, it was more than just awesome; it was awe-quite-a-bit, it was awe-a-whole-darn-lot! While it would have been quite an experience to see the original cast (I heart Kristin Chenoweth!), I was pretty happy with this batch. Katie Rose Clarke, who plays Glinda, was hilarious and endearing. I was prepared to be disappointed by Mandy Gonzalez, who plays Elphaba (the green-skinned witch) because she seemed to start off weak. But her vocals soared during "Defying Gravity" and I...well, I got all teary eyed and goose-bumpy! She. Was. Amazing. My theater companion Carl commented that she was even better than Idina Menzel and I have to agree.

Leaving Oz. I quite like how I'm the only one who's still in this picture.

I can't tell you just how much I enjoyed the show (especially since I got to see it for free! Wheee!). But if you ever find yourself in New York or London, please please please go see it!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Tishie's Travels: Seven Restos in Three Hours

Seven restos in three hours. Even for me, that's quite a feat! To the uninitiated: Dear reader, meet my stomach! I'm a girl who loves to eat. And whenever I travel, I make sure I have at least one great meal at my destination. Other girls shop when they travel; I eat!

One of the most memorable things I've ever had on a trip: this crazy-ass $32 burger at db Bistro Moderne. That baby's a sirloin burger with short ribs, black truffle, and foie gras!

OK, so I didn't technically eat at seven restaurants. It was a mix of delis and bakeries and whatnot. And, lest you think me a glutton (though you wouldn't be entirely inaccurate...), I did not have full meals at each place.

See, New York City is home to thousands of restaurants, and my friend and travel companion Carl wondered, "Ang dami-daming makakainan, bakit may pila pa rin sa ibang lugar?" I remember going to the trendy Meatpacking District on a previous visit and being told that there was a 45-minute wait in the three restaurants we tried!

Since it wasn't possible to eat EVERYWHERE during my short stay, I decided the best way to experience the NYC food scene was to go on a food tour! The group I chose gave tours in downtown Manhattan, an area I hadn't really explored in my past visits (save for that dinner at the Meatpacking District).

Every corner you turn, there's a place--or two or three--to eat! Photo from here.

I spoke with a native New Yorker about my plan, and even after having lived in New York for so many years, she had no idea that there were food tours in the city. I guess it's a sign of just how many diversions are available out there!

I had wanted to do the SoHo tour, since it seemed to offer more variety. But it was fully booked (you normally have to book waaay in advance) so I ended up going on the Greenwich Village tour. The group met up right before lunch outside Murray's Cheese Shop, where our uber funny guide Sefra greeted us and started off by giving us "emergency napkins" (to be used at any time during the three-hour tour, for whatever reason). It was bright and sunny, and warmer than NYC had been the first few days I was there. "We brought the sunshine from California!" said one of the girls from San Diego. And thank goodness they did—from the late fall-like 40s, temperature was probably in the 60s that day! And no sign of rain! Woohoo!

Patches of sunlight on tree-lined streets--a pleasant day for a tour around a lovely neighborhood!

Aside from getting to try food from different establishments around Greenwich Village, I also got a bit of a history lesson and a few interesting tidbits about the neighborhood. I won't really go into detail because 1) I couldn't possibly remember everything Sefra told us, and 2) you might decide to go on the food tour yourself someday!

There were lots of stops during the trip, but I'll just be posting about the places where we actually ate, starting with...

First stop: Joe's Pizza
There's a big debate about which pizza place serves the best pizza in NYC. A few days prior to the tour, my friends and I tried Lombardi's in Little Italy (more on that in a future post). On this day, Sefra took us to Joe's, where we tried a thin-crust pizza topped with tomato sauce and cheese. It was fresh out of the oven!

(Top) That's our funny tour guide in gray. (Above) Sixteen slices of pizza, one for each member of the group.

Second stop: Faicco's
Faicco's is an Italian specialty store, previously known as a pork store. On our visit, we got to try these little Italian rice balls called oranginis. They're these risotto-like, cheesy balls with a lightly crisp coating. Yum!

Third stop: Palma
It's intriguing how some doors have half numbers on them. Sefra explained that these normally led to back houses. The door labeled 28 1/2 actually opens up to a passageway leading to a little cottage at the back of Palma. Here, we got to try cauliflower florets cooked with black currant and pine nuts. Slightly salty, and a nice break from the cheesiness of the pizza and orangini.

(Top) That door leads to... (Middle) This charming courtyard. (Above) Cauliflower florets served in a teeny bowl.

Sefra told us that Palma's Chef Walter recently had to make a thousand cookies for a certain vegetarian Hollywood A-lister. Can you guess who?

Fourth stop: Soy and Sake
We had a mini-lunch at this Japanese vegetarian place. Our bento boxes had yummy seaweed and this pork-like thing that had no meat in it whatsoever. Some of the others in the tour group ordered some sparkling sake, which I wanted to try. But was worried about what it would do to me mixed with jet lag!

Fifth stop: Milk & Cookies
For dessert, we stopped at Milk & Cookies, where we had some big, freshly baked cookies! I reeeally wanted a glass of milk to go with that. The store also sells their own mix (supposedly available a Whole Foods but I couldn't find it!) so you could make your own cookies at home!

Sixth stop: Murray's
We went back to our meeting place, which carries around 300 kinds of cheese! They also have their own cave where they age the cheese—a place that made it onto a 50 Most Interesting Places list. Here, we had parmesan puffs, two different kinds of cheese, and salami! Yay, meat!

Seventh stop: Rocco's
At this pastry shop, we got to try some cannoli, little tubes with a creamy center and some chocolate chips. I was expecting it to be overwhelmingly rich, but it had a very nice balance of flavors. I wanted to scoop the remaining cream out of the box, but someone else beat me to it!

In three hours, I got a bite--well, seven bites--of the Big Apple! When I go back (and I am most definitely going back with my husband!), I am so doing the SoHo tour!