Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Cake Lovingly Made for Valentine's Day

My sister baked this red velvet cake for Valentine's Day, and I "sort of" helped her while she lovingly prepared the frosting, and set out the cake's decorations/design (okay, I actually just stood by her side and made comments whenever she asked for my opinion - but that's helping too, right? :D ). My hubby and I didn't have anything special planned for today, as we rarely celebrate Valentine's day. But this cake symbolizes the things that are most important to me - love, family, simple pleasures, and of course - FOOD! =)

Hope you all had a lovely Valentine celebration, regardless of what your love life "status" is ;)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Social Bullies

I honestly marvel at the audacity of some people to pass judgment on others, moreso because these people think they're much better than others because: they're rich/they socialize with the "right" people/they think they're beautiful. These ultra-judgmental individuals have no qualms about flaunting their brand-name possessions, and will do anything to name-drop as often as they possibly can. They're not afraid to air their comments, which are often on the negative side (except when they're talking about themselves/their possessions). Those who dare to air comments/points of view on the contrary should prepare themselves to feel the wrath of these social bullies - and be bombarded once again with their seemingly astounding display of wealth.

Too bad for these bullies, brand names (and in general, money) don't automatically equate to class. Yes, we all have our own points of view, and we all have the freedom to air them - but feeling high and mighty, and much more superior to others while doing so is just plain wrong.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Bad Service Can Ruin a Good Restaurant

I'm sorry to say that I've totally neglected this blog; those who know me will understand, given the events that happened a couple of months ago - specifically the death of my Mama (which warrants a separate blog entry) and how the whole family has coped so far. This post, however, is for my sister's experience last night at a posh, much-talked-about restaurant south of the Metro - and the bad experience they had because of really bad (read: snooty!) service they were given.

I'll just paste the post I also wrote on one of the forums I belong to:

My sis and bro-in-law, who work for one of the Big Three petroleum companies in the Philippines, had a chance to try Antonio's (in Tagaytay) last night. They were with their colleagues, 18 lahat sila na kumain in Antonio's. They were disappointed because the service was quite bad! The server assigned to them was really snooty (feeling ba nya porke he's working for a high-end establishment e clients are beneath him na?), and here are examples of his bad attitude:

-- One of sis' colleagues did not receive a serving of bread; when they asked (politely) the server, he apparently said in a snooty way - "Eh kasi naman, yung bread yung nasa right side. So dapat hindi siya ang walang bread" or something to that effect. Bottom line was, he was actually blaming the clients! --

-- Main course items arrived; the one given to bro-in-law wasn't the one he ordered (of course he'll remember what he ordered in the first place di ba?). Server said, "Hindi ba ito ang order nyo?" and proceeded on insisting on it for a while. BIL nicely insisted that he ordered a different item...after a while, nabigay din sa kanya yung correct main dish.

Come dessert time, funny because yung nabigay kay bro in law seemed to lack presentation, compared to the others. Siguro napagdiskitahan na sya (though sis said he was actually very nice, maybe because he was in such a good mood). While everyone had some sort of ice cream/gelato with a sprinkling of pistachios on top, kay BIL parang latak na very small nuts ang inilagay.The whole group was still good-natured about it, even joking that "Hindi lang galit ang meron sila for you, poot na ito!" :p

The good thing was that last night, most of the group seemed to be in a very good mood - they were celebrating the birthdays of two of their colleagues, and most of them were I guess just enjoying their time away from work. Kaya tinawanan na lang nila ang actions ni "Koya" (the server) -- or else, the restaurant would've gotten a really big complaint from that big group of diners.

Bottom line? I don't think this is a good image for Antonio's - having snooty servers/staff, that is. People are paying really good money to go to their place, and this is what they're treated like? My sis' group was a big one, and the business they brought in was considerable -- what would've happened if the snooty server was assigned to a small group of friends, or even a couple celebrating a milestone? Would he be much snootier? Or would he be more thankful that he had to deal with "just" a couple of people, as opposed to a large group?

I asked my sister if he considered Antonio's worth revisiting, and she said no - mainly because of the really BAD SERVICE they encountered last night. And I agree wholeheartedly - no matter how good the food is, or how well-known the restaurant is - it's just not worth going to if the staff treats paying customers like something they've scraped from the bottom of their shoes.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

An Extremely Bad Experience with SM Southmall's 3-Day Sale...

It's been a long time since I last had the chance to post something here, and even if it's not really nice to make my "comeback" post one that's full of rant (and rage), I know I just have to let people know of what happened to us during the first day of SM Southmall's 3-Day Sale (Feb. 26-28, 2010).

To put it simply - what happened in SM Southmall was HELL...My Mom, my husband and I were there early, around 10am, to buy a bed for my parents. As this was my first time to go to a mall-wide sale that early, I was surprised to learn that there was an additional 10% discount if you buy an item before 12noon (from the department store), and if you are an SM advantage member (aside from the store-wide discount of 10%). Since we were already quite sure of what we wanted to buy, we hurried up a bit so we can take advantage of that additional discount. So we stood in line for almost 2 hours...only to be told (when we were just 3 persons away from the actual cashier) that there was some mistake on the sale procedures/whatever, and we would only get 10% discount - because we were members of SMAC (SM Advantage Club); the 10% discount that the sales staff were earlier so eagerly pushing into our faces was apparently not valid, even though we hold in our hands an invoice with the earlier discounted price. What MAJORLY pissed me off was that, they would tell us that small detail after they have issued the invoice, and when we're just a few people away from the cashier-- and after patiently standing in line for almost 2 hours?! The price difference was not the biggest issue for me at that moment, the EXTREMELY BAD CUSTOMER SERVICE was!!! Those who know me would agree that I'm one of the most non-confrontational people in the world, but at that moment, I wasn't afraid or shy to let the people there know exactly what I think about their service...

My husband said I went ballistic, but that I still managed to keep my emotions and temper under control. My mom found a supervisor and told him about what happened, and I wasn't shy either in telling him, in a slightly loud but controlled voice - "the price isn't the major issue here. What you people are doing is just plain BAD CUSTOMER SERVICE". He gave me some line about looking into the matter, but I just ignored him and went on to pay for the bed. That same manager wanted to talk to us right after we have paid, but I just asked my mom and my husband if we can just leave the place ASAP, as I think my blood pressure can't take more crap from the people in the immediate vicinity.

I believe a few other people were victimized that day by SM's incompetent handling of their sales procedures/regulations. The supervisors, sales assistants and even the cashiers were all doing their share of finger-pointing as to who was to blame for that major booboo. Bottom line is, something wasn't really ironed out, yet it seemed that mega-retailer SM just can't pass up the chance to proceed with the much-advertised 3-Day Sale, regardless of the hassle and disappointment some of their customers will experience.

I hope this is the last time I have to write a rant post, as it's not really something I cherish and plan on doing on a regular basis. I won't be a hypocrite and say that I'm never going to buy anything else from SM from now on, because I think it's kind of impossible nowadays to travel for an hour or so, and not see an SM mall wedged between cities and municipalities (heck, Las Pinas has 2 SMs!). I just hope not to encounter anything like this anymore, in SM or in any other mall/store.

On behalf of the millions of consumers who regularly flock to SM malls regularly (out of necessity or out of frivolity), here's a message for the SM management: Clean up your act! You owe it to all of us.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Super Simple Baked Macaroni Recipe

For my GT sisters...=)

BAKED MAC (serves 3-4)

1. Cook 200g (smallest package) of elbow macaroni (i use Del Monte Pasta Italiana) according to instructions on the package - don't forget to add a little salt and oil to the water; drain then set aside.

2. Saute chopped garlic, onions (the amount depends on your preference) for about 2 minutes or until soft. Add 1 can Century Tuna Light, then saute for an additional 2-3 minutes. If you want a chunkier pasta dish, don't break the tuna chunks/flakes into small piecces

3. Add 2 packs of Clara Ole 3-Cheese Pasta Sauce. Stir until well-combined.

4. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasonings according to your preference. I added some sugar, half a chicken cube, and a pinch of ground black pepper to bring the flavors together.
**Another version would be to add cheese spread (Chiz Whiz, Magnolia cheese spread, etc.) directly to the sauce, to thicken it and add more flavor. My sister does this and her baked mac is a hit with both kids and grown ups!

5. When you think you have achieved the taste you want, combine the sauce with the cooked macaroni. Mix well.

6. Transfer the mixture to an oven-proof dish (glass, pyrex, aluminum). Top generously with grated quick-melt cheese (make sure to pre-heat the oven before placing the pasta inside). Pop it into the oven for about 5-10minutes, or just until you see the browned and bubbling cheese topping.

7. Remove from the oven and let it cool for a while - this would be around 5-10 minutes so the cheese has enough time to cool (very hot cheese can burn your tongue/mouth! you won't be able to taste anything for days...). Serve with garlic bread on the side.

You can always adjust the ingredients according to your taste; I believe the secret to good cooking is knowing what tastes awesome to you (and to those you cook for), rather than following recipes to the letter. Don't be afraid to have fun while cooking!:)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Chicken Burger Steak with Gravy...with a Scary Movie on the Side

I didn't have any idea what I was going to cook for lunch today; after getting up late (yes, again!), I saw the chicken burger patties in the freezer. The patties looked so lonely, I just had to cook them so they can be with their perfect partner - thick gravy with lots of garlic and onions. Yum!!!

The burger and gravy should be enough; however, I wanted to incorporate some veggies into the dish as well so I mixed Baguio beans, giving the whole dish a welcome crunch. The beans also helped minimize the guilt of not being able to prepare vegetable dishes more often (I'm trying my best to do more of those, promise!).

As I was preparing the chicken burger steak, I chanced upon the local horror movie "Ouija" on TV. My husband clearly didn't want to watch it, as he's not fond of watching scary movies. But I reasoned that we can watch it without getting too scared, since it was such a sunny day anyway. My powers of persuasion won, and we finished the movie without scaring each other too much:p

In making the gravy, I used the same pan where I fried the chicken burger patties in. I used about 1 tablespoon of butter, then sauteed lots of chopped garlic and onions, scraping the sides of the pan for the bits left from the patties (the burger bits added to the nicce color and texture of the gravy). I then added chicken broth, then flour dissolved in water (to thicken the gravy). After a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce, I added the beans, and let the whole thing simmer for a while. The gravy was poured on top of the patties (nicely plated a few minutes earlier).

After serving this, we forgot all about the scary movie for a few minutes.

A lazy Sunday at home, spent with the man I love, enjoying the perfect easy-to-prepare-but-still-sumptuous dish for lunch...I couln't ask for more =)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Breakfast Fare for Dinner

I suddenly had a craving for tocino(Wikipedia definition: a cured meat product native to the Philippines. It is usually made out of pork and is similar to ham and bacon although beef is also used. It is often reddish in color and has a sweetish taste. Its name is derived from the Spanish word tocino, which is used to describe bacon or cured meat.) earlier today. I decided to prepare one of my favorite breakfast items for dinner - this might be a weird idea to some, but a novel and much-appreciated one by my husband (and by me, of course!)

We still had leftover rice from lunch, so I went all-out and made fried rice too! I made sure there were lots of crunchy garlic bits on top to give the rice an interesting kick and texture (yummm). And what the heck - I threw in a sunny-side up egg with the package as well!

This is what a plate of my tosilog looked like, before two hungry people attacked:

After a few minutes of eating, with only the empty plates in front of us, my husband and I had one thing to say to each other...

"Good morning!" =)