Oats and Me

It’s in all kinds of media – Oatmeal is good for you. It lowers cholesterol, good source of fiber yada yada yada. The problem is I hate hot oatmeal!

As a child I was forced fed hot, runny oatmeal by my yaya (nanny). I remember the daily battles and my threats to throw up. My yaya Nena would simply put a plastic basin beside me and continue to feed me the oatmeal. Boy, did I use that basin. But my yaya never let up.

Then there’s the image of my cousin Stanley enjoying his daily bowl of super duper thick oatmeal. It’s like Dairy Queen’s ice cream – you tip it over and nothing falls. It’s so thick the spoon stands in the middle of the oatmeal ready to attack Stan’s mouth. I can’t comprehend how to this day Stanley still eats his oatmeal this way.

I still don’t eat hot oatmeal. But I eat oats in the form of Bircher Muesli. I first discovered this in a hotel’s breakfast buffet. It’s very healthy and easy to make an oh so good.

Bircher Muesli
For 2-3 servings, place 1/2 cup of rolled oats into a bowl.

Pour enough milk (skim or low fat) just to cover the oats. Add dried fruit. Dried cranberries and apricots are a good choice. Cover the bowl and let this mixture sit overnight in the refrigerator.

In the morning add half a grated apple (use the medium hole in the grater) and a sliced banana.


Optional are toasted sliced almonds or walnuts. Then add a container of yogurt to the mixture and honey to taste. Eat immediately. Leftovers, if any, can be kept in the refrigerator for 2 days. It is best to make small batches often. Based on my experience and lack of common sense watermelon and melon are fruits NOT to use in this recipe.

The reason for this blog entry is today I tried steel cut oats for the first time. All the blogs I’ve researched talk about eating this hot. But with my aversion to hot oatmeal I ate it cold. I just added dried fruits and honey. It’s not bad at all. It tastes like something in between brown rice and barley. But I still like Bircher Muesli more.

My Pomeranians

I know it’s supposed to be a food blog but I couldn’t resist. Do you know how hard it is to take all 3 Pomeranians in 1 picture with all of them looking into the camera? The opportunity presented itself when they came with breakfast this morning. You think they look at me that? With adoration in their eyes? They’re waiting for food that I will throw to them.

L to R: Cholo, Cricru, Chino

L to R: Cricru, Chino, Cholo

Orange Chocolate

My favorite kind of chocolates are dark chocolate with orange rind.

My holy grail is Leonidas’ Orangette. But it’s so freakin’ expensive.

For more affordable chocolates, I have found several good ones from my travels all over. Some were given by friends who know my quirk in chocolates. Note: It has to be dark chocolate. I don’t eat milk or white chocolate.

Villars Chocolate Noir is only found in Manila and Singapore duty free shops. For me it’s best in the bar category. It has real chewy dried orange peel and the chocolate is dark, smooth and full bodied without being too bitter.(6/7/11- I can’t believe Villars chocolates are now being sold in Unimart. They had several varieties including my favorite dark chocolate with orange peel.)

2nd runner up is this Lindt Noir Orange that my friend Tisay got in Paris. I loved it so much that I kept the unopened bar for a year until it expired because I forgot about it. Thankfully, this is now available in CitySuper in Hong Kong for HK$55. It has bits of orange crunch. It’s very creamy. The Lindt Creation 70% I got in the US for US$5. I don’t like this as much because it has a liquid center.

3rd runner up is Monbana Chocolat Noir Orange. It contains 60% chocolate. This is a new discovery from HK. It’s available in CitySuper for HK$14.

In the truffles category the winner is Royce from Japan. Again from Tisay.

Special mention is Dark Chocolate Orange Twigs by Mademoiselle de’Margaux supplied to me by Ariel from San Francisco. It’s hard to stop munching these flavorful twigs.

For the affordable and accessible category, Frey Bouquet D’ Oranges is a recent discovery from Unimart. I bought this only because it was 50% off or P50. It was pleasant surprise. The chocolate was dark and smooth with bits of orange crackles.

In search for the perfect garlic peanuts

Several months ago I had this craving for garlic peanuts. I remember trying the perfect coated garlic peanuts but I couldn’t find the supplier. So I started looking for it. First I bought this Indonesian garlic roasted peanuts from Unimart. It was a disappointment. It was coated with garlic but there was barely any garlic flavor.

My mom joined in the search and bought this. It’s greasy with slices of mild garlic. Thumbs down. My Auntie Lily heard of our peanut hunt and sent over Milky Way’s garlic peanuts. It was a little improvement over this but it wasn’t what I was looking for.

Next Auntie Lily sent this over. This Vietnamese creation does not contain garlic but instead is combination of wasabi, seaweed, sesame seed coated peanuts. It’s very good. It’s available in Unimart. This peanut tasting has cost me one cracked tooth and several dentist appointments trying to reconstruct the tooth. Now I need to have a crown put in.

Finally Flory found the perfect garlic peanuts in a small store in cubao. These peanuts are dry roasted with garlic bits stuck to it. There is slightly sweet, salty taste to it. Every bite guarantees a pungent garlic flavor. You are left with wonderful garlic breath. Mmmm.

I gave Auntie Lily a bag and she immediately texted that it’s so good she can’t stop eating. My mom and I have the same problem.

We repacked these peanuts for resale in my store.

(pls click on the picture to see the full size and appreciate all the garlic bits)

Choi Garden Seafood and Shark’s Fin Restaurant

This Chinese restaurant in Greenhills opened its doors in December 2007 and it’s been full ever since. The restaurant employs 6 chefs from Hong Kong and you can tell by the authentic taste of their food.

The entrance of Choi Garden

Ground floor

The following pictures are part of a set meal for a table of 12-14 pax.

Birthday Misua

Unlikely tandem of Chinese Lechon and Salmon Sushi

Sharks Fin Soup

Sea Mantis & Aligue (crab fat)

This is how they keep the sea mantis – in plastic bottles.
The waiter said they did this to keep the sea mantis from fighting with each other.

Braised Abalone

Fried Pigeon

Steamed Lapu Lapu

Seafood Roll

Butchi and Mochi (say that 10x)

But my favorite dishes in Choi are the Salt & Pepper Spareribs, Fish Curd, Millionaires Fried Rice, Fish & Tofu in claypot and the best Fried Pigeon in town. These are my standard repertoire when treating guests from out of the country.

Crispy Seafood Noodles

Salt & Pepper Spareribs

Fish Curd with Wintermelon and Golden Mushroom

Choi Garden Seafood and Shark’s Fin Restaurant
12 Annapolis St.
cor. Purdue St.
San Juan, Metro Manila
telephone: 727-6042

Small Office Solutions

SOS is the name of my store in Jollibee Plaza, Ortigas Center in Pasig City. Despite the name I sell food. Here are some of the lunch packs we sell.

Beef Tapa for breakfast

Chicken Longganisa

Binagoongang Baboy

Assembly in the morning

Beef Kaldereta

Our bestseller, Lechon Kawali

Small Office Solutions
Ground Flr., Jollibee Plaza Bldg.
F. Ortigas Jr. Rd,(formerly Emerald Avenue)
Ortigas Center, Pasig City
telephone: 638-3650/51


Cav Wine Shop and Cafe

location: Philippines

The food was good but the service was horrible. The waiters were so slow in getting our orders and had to be reminded again and again to bring our hot water. Maybe if we ordered wine it would have been faster.

Malagos Farm Goat Cheese Croquetas w/ Pickled Beets & Organic Greens

Soft Shell Crab Tempura

Heart of Organic Baby Romaine w/ Jamon Crisps, Caper Berries and Truffle Aoli

Baked Oyster on Caviar Angel Hair Pasta

Lemon & Parmesan Tortellini w/ Prosciutto

Green Pea Soup

Glazed Tiger Prawns w/ Tagliatelle

Crispy Skin Salmon

French Duck Breast w/ Truffled Macaroni & Red Cabbage Confit on Caper Essence

Valrhona Chocolate Souffle Cake w/ Grand Marnier Strawberry Float (to die for!)

Our Faves at Fely J

location: Philippines

Fely J is a Filipino restaurant at Greenbelt 5 in Makati. It specializes in Kapampangan food (Pampanga is a province in Central Luzon).

Crispy Pata w/ Garlic bits (another eat before shoot pic)

Dilis Rice (crispy dried anchovies)

Fried Tilapia w/ Plum Sauce

Binagoongang Baboy

Camaro (Crickets)

Lola Ising’s Adobo

Ginataang KangKong

Lengua Rendang

Lunch at Spoon

2.01.09 Last day in HK
location: Intercontinental Hotel, Hong Kong

Last day. Spoon offered the best choices and value for your dollars.

the nice French manager

delicious soup!

Dessert is in the kitchen

Lobster Caesar Salad

my appetizer plate

Wine came with the meal

my high blood plate
(Foie Gras Terrine on the upper left side & 3 kinds of pate below)

Cocette of Seasonal Vegetables


Artisan Shell Pasta w/ Ham & Black Truffle Condiment
(my order)

my dessert plate