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Showing posts with label Food / Dining. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Food / Dining. Show all posts

05 December 2014

Those charming moments

Skywatch: city is far behind and I'm loving it!

Reflections: serenade

I buy books just because....

My not-so-old hat from the antiques section of a weekend market

 A little yummy error

Maybe I had more of those charming moments this week than the other weeks. I'm thankful.

Swiss sheep farm. Anything that takes me out of sight of urbanization, rising concrete (condos) and drab parking spaces - I'm in. What a treat for the country girl in me!

Somewhere out there beneath the pale moonlight.... It's not everyday you get serenaded. I appreciated it. A lot.

The Heart Garden, Eating People is Wrong, etc: my loot from Neilson Hays book sale. Knockoff prices, old plus beautiful library architecture - just my kind of awesome.

Antiques therapy. My apartment is bursting I could hardly navigate the floor without my feet touching things so I didn't buy a truckload this week. Just the one hat. Thanks to the shining sun I had an excuse. But looking at those old, pre-loved treasures made me happy.

At a Vietnamese cafe I decided to not mind being 'lost in translation' so much. I'm a foodie; it helped. I just ate both dishes. Miscommunication is solved.   

Friday's Fave Five & Willy Nilly 5

14 May 2014

Ineffable

"The ineffable joy of forgiving and being forgiven forms an ecstasy that might well arouse the envy of the gods." ~ Elbert Hubbard
It's been somewhat a long week for me here in the Big Chili. But I'm glad that toward Thursday things got a bit hyped up and suddenly it's Friday; time to conclude the week by recalling what's great in it:

Coffee table books, a vintage flower vase and a Guess purse among the rest of the many bags, some still on the floor. Not exactly a spree but I did shop and it was fun.

Recent movies. There was The Lunchbox, Noah, Transcendence, The Amazing Spider Man 2, all entertaining and all gave me some time off too much stress at work. I appreciate being reminded of what forgiveness is like from the Railway Man - for both Eric Lomax and Takashi Nagase.


This is Kanchanaburi where much of the story took place and some scenes in the film were shot.

 

Leave approved without much ado. I am Vietnam-bound in eleven days.

Surviving a day of complete communication breakdown. Wrong event, wrong venue, wrong assignment. Last time I checked I was an English major. But Thursday I was talking finances in front of university deans. Then just as I thought I could finally go home I was called back to judge seven stage productions. Late that afternoon the real fun began. I found myself laughing so hard at what unfolded on stage it was like getting rid of five years' worth of toxic off the lungs.

Something new (to me) on the luncheon table. A colleague says it's Vietnamese. Chunks of sausage, sour mango, garlic, raw banana and sweet white bean sauce wrapped in paper noodle. It will be nice to try it again in Hanoi.


26 March 2014

Fancy a splash?

The Big Chili continues to behave like an oven. As I type this, I am chatting on the phone with a friend who is speeding on an Arabian expressway. She reports it's pouring around Abu Dhabi. I tell her I'm going island-hopping. In my dream, that is. For now I am grateful for faves of the week::

Life-saving AC. Since walking around in rising temps this invention has become my best friend. And as for the board room thingy with an amusing laptop reflection that's bluer than the blue above it, that's where I was officially informed about 

Remuneration. I thought it went with the normal salary but it seems the university is happy to pay researchers extra.


Imagination. It does help when there is something to look forward to.


Tax sorted. A colleague fixed a little problem in it for me. Until next year Mr Tax. For now I'm celebrating with some
 
Cold Stone delight. A yummy antidote to the notorious Bangkok heat.


I may still fancy a splash. It's seriously hot in here. When things at work calm down, it's going to be a cool splash. Here's wishing us all a great week.

Visit: Blue Monday * Reflections * Friday's Fave Five * Skywatch * Share the Joy * Water World

10 March 2014

Dreaming up a surprise

A lovely week my friends! I give you sunrise from the world's largest religious monument - Angkor Wat


and a quiet spot from the chili patches


Some days this week were bittersweet. But I'm loving the joys and faves:

This goodbye is not forever. Someone dear to me is away for a couple of days. On call for an important politician, he does not know when is he returning to base. Communication to the outside is quite restricted. Then out of the blue he sent word saying he was making use of what internet access was allowed 'along palace perimeter...' and then he was gone. But I'm glad he tried to reach me.

Monuments Men. Those art pieces! They took my breath away.

The Valley is a friend's short story which he asked me to edit for an alumni newsletter. I was hesitant; warned him I might unwittingly ruin it. My mind went back to that article I wrote 19 years ago. It was too late when I realized how unnecessarily sentimental it sounded; it was already published in a national women's magazine. I don't exactly trust myself with creative writing nowadays but while having a go at the very thing I realized I was enjoying the process. Although what I would normally accomplish in 15 minutes dragged for an hour, it turned out a pleasure. What a break from technical stuff!

'Shriveled banana,' according to an online review of this Cassia Cafe dessert. Curious and looking for fun, I singled it out of the menu. Despite the cashew nuts as its saving grace I reckoned it was still a risk but I went ahead and ordered one to complete a lazy Sunday brunch. It has a bit of a price so I expected to be deliciously surprised and I was. Clearly, looks are not everything.

 
In the mood for generosity. A niece's FB shout out goes: "Queen is having a concert this summer... I really wanna go!" I couldn't resist asking, "Queen? If it's Queen, i.e. Brian May, Freddie Mercury (RIP)... don't miss it sweetie!" She replied, "yes Tita (Auntie)... but I'll have to go alone. My clique doesn't really like their music. Plus, a ticket costs almost 200$ because obviously it's THE queen... but I'll find ways."

This darling niece has taste for household name stadium rock; was probably influenced by her seminary-bred father ;) Poor kid. I see myself in her 25 years ago - young, passionate, penniless. Suddenly an idea came flapping its wings in my face. Isn't it my longtime dream to watch The Queen live? Now since I could not fly to Montreal anytime soon, what if I'd just wire her $200 so she could go to the concert? I quickly made a mental survey of the checkbook but had to temper my excitement as I realized I have Vietnam and South Korea lined up on my travel timetable in the coming months.

But I'm not forgetting the whole thing yet. And this is not a bad place to dream up a surprise, is it? Charm could set you in the mood for generosity.


04 March 2014

One fine morning

Someone says good memories are for bad times; not that I'm having one. It feels good to express gratitude.  I look over my week and notice that I put in effort to turn yesterday's emotional glitch around. The attempt was successful. I am happy. So on to this life-enhancing exercise of sharing joys and faves:
  • attending an art exhibit whose artist I have personally met from a fundraiser for Haiyan victims last year
  • a friend I haven't seen in 25 years who now lives in the UAE rang and we chatted for two hours
  • Pompeii and Robocop
  • someone tells me I am her inspiration. Whatever she meant I thought knowing that was inspiring as well
  • memories! I woke up one fine morning this week and reminisced:
this spot in a splash resort, so appealing to the country girl in me  (Del Rio, June 2012)


exploring a lake with young nephews and nieces (Sebu, 1 January 2014)


finding myself in a lovely tea room free to dream as much as I want (Cassia Cafe and Tea Room, 2010),


while sipping green tea with milk and honey. I promise it tastes divine!


and having steak and kidney pie with mashed potatoes and chutney for brunch. This makes me look forward to exploring more charming cafes. They are cozy worlds in the midst of buzzing Bangkok.



Links:
Weekend Reflections
Friday's Fave Five
Skywatch
Picture Clusters
Share the Joy
Water World 
Our World

11 February 2014

See you later, alligator!

There's something about going up in the air. Some kind of high. I may have felt homesick watching the buildings grow smaller as the plane zoomed into space, but it's cool joy to welcome the normality of getting back to work.


Thursday my passport was sorted. Suddenly I didn't want to think of Bangkok. I packed wondering when I can come back home. But then it's wonderful to see the end of this stress so of course this one tops my faves for the week. There was one final thing I did before dealing with airports and immigration.


I went to see my old man.

Back in 2005 I defied sorrow that only death could pull off by glaring at it in my mind dry-eyed throughout the burial ceremony. How dare you snatch my father, you massive coronary! 

Fast forward to 2014. Holy Garden Matutum Memorial Park was breezy when we walked in. The kiddo insisted that his Tigger relaxed beside my anthuriums. It gets easier each year. Time does heal.  


Less than thirty-six hours later I flew back to life in the fast lane. And didn't I just love the legroom around my 1A seat!


It will be a year or two before I can have these delicacies again. I want to hold on to this memory one more time before facing cafe meals eaten hurriedly beside computers:  At church potluck Pastor Mandreza got busy pairing off widows and widowers. For the first time ever I didn't mind the banter over the possibility that my mother could marry again. Better yet, I didn't know what made me full: these coconut sport dessert and fern salad or the laughter galore.


28 January 2014

Life in the slow lane

As if the delay of my passport release was not enough, the office of Academic Affairs emailed to remind me that my work license was expiring. So much for being happily stuck at home, sweet home. I should probably start pleading for a miracle. There had to be something to make up for this black cloud over my holidaying head. I tried looking around and it's wonderful to find joys and faves despite all this trouble.

Ever tried going around looking for something you fancy eating in a downpour? Life in the slow lane. You can afford time to do what you want the way you want it. It was like stepping back into a world where deadlines don't exist. No alarm clocks. No meetings. Just friendly vendors selling fruits under trees in front of their houses.


Tuesday I sorted out a couple of beneficiary issues on my health insurance. If you are familiar with how paperwork is done in the Philippines, you would consider yourself lucky if you got things done in one go. This time I did and to celebrate I took Ma and Cj to Barrio Otso (Village 8) to spend a lovely afternoon eating a yummy dessert.


A friend said that my passport issue could be a sign that I should not go back to Bangkok, at least not just yet. Political unrest is happening there right now anyway. I thought it could be. I'm falling fast for the mountains around. They give the country girl in me a rather better view of the world out there.


Then Wednesday I rang DFA and was told my passport was on its way to Gensan from Manila. Things are looking up. My heart leapt to my throat. I am thankful and excited.

So this is what I fancied eating. Through the rain. Wish granted.

27 January 2014

Camp Mariano

Camp Mariano is a summer camp along the Pan-Philippine Highway to Koronadal in South Cotabato.


Next to the camp entrance is where locals or visitors to the province spend lovely afternoons -


enjoying a dessert called buko salad


Buko is a Filipino word for young coconut. There are variations among ingredients. This one includes ube ice cream and jam, sweet banana and leche flan.


Around Camp Mariano are little huts selling coconut vinegar and salted fish; root crops like camote (sweet potato) and turnip.


The sign on the tree house says "Live Christ, Share Christ." Having lived in a Buddhist country for 16 years now, I felt a bit strange but cheerful reading that. And then I knew something: I was reconnecting with Christian culture. I was home.

25 October 2013

October charm

It's weekend! Time to share joys and faves:

i. How I love autumn! I had so much fun putting together autumn scenes and quotes despite never actually having seen the season for real.


ii. Check out my ABC chocolate- a gift from a girl friend on my birthday. It's too pretty to eat, which is good so then I avoid too much sugar.

iii. Would you believe I got the ceramic plate for only 32 cents? I imagine it would look fab with a slice of Black Forest or Red Velvet on it.


iv. And here's Agalico - a quiet English tea room not far from where I live. It was wonderful savoring the charm while waiting for someone who joined me for tea.

 
v. As a fan of Japanese cuisine, I explore restaurants from time to time. It's Honmoni Sushi this week where I tried their saba in teriyake sauce. The set includes miso soup, vegetable salad, egg and tofu, and pickled zucchini. Delicious.


Linking to - Fave Five, Picture Clusters, Share the Joy

04 October 2013

Birthday trip to Singapura

"I'd like to be a kid again but only because naps were insisted, twirling in circles was acceptable, and the only password I had to remember was open sesame." - Adan Burks
True.

It was unabashed fun posing with some childhood TV idols at Universal Studios.

At first I was hesitant thinking I was too old, but reckoned what the heck.

'Today I will grin and giggle like that third grader with pigtails that I was, and be quietly thrilled as when I won that little multiplication contest in class. Period.'

Touring Lion City was also officially starting a walking regimen. That's two at a time. Or three: exercising, touring, enjoying the sights. Though highly urban, the country girl in me had no complaints at a Lamborghini whisking by as we explored Marina Bay Sands.

No deadlines, no meetings, no homework, just holiday bliss.

Doing something unplanned and then finding out it feels wonderful should make it to my faves this week -

Like walking barefoot in a part of Gardens by the Bay which they call Scented Walk. Alongside is the Dragonfly Lake which serves as a good spot to view the Supertrees.

What a relief for tired feet after wearing wedges on the plane and walking in them around Merlion Park!

While my friend and I are neither tipplers nor teetotalers, we went up Altitude for its reputation as the world's highest alfresco bar -

"... pink and orange sunsets... the day winding down over busy China town, night lights and laser beams painting shapes and figures in the sky." (CNN Travel)

People there are well-dressed and well-mannered. Altitude, at 282 meters above sea level sits atop United Overseas Bank. I remember scrambling to activate international withdrawals on my UOB account a few hours before flying in; sort of teasing myself but there's a sense of security there somehow.


Singapore looks well-organized. I never saw a beggar the whole time I was there. Taxi drivers speak English. Guards can communicate.

Then it was time to go home. But not before enjoying familiar cuisine, the grilled chicken with sauce so divine it all tasted like a home-cooked meal.


Visit:  Our World * Smiling Sally * Picture Clusters * Share the Joy

09 September 2013

Ice cream it is

I doubt whether the world holds for anyone a more soul stirring surprise than the first adventure with ice-cream. ~ Heywood Broun


I don't think this is the kiddo's first ice cream. But I remember I bought this for him because its blue color was very attractive and I thought it would match his blue shirt and blue watch. It would also please his Grandma whose favorite color is blue. The other reason was he wanted to stay in the mall to check out the latest Ultraman dolls. I wanted to go home so I bribed him with ice cream.


History repeats itself. When I was little my father would buy me ice cream and I would forget that I wanted something else which I knew he didn't want to give. When a massive coronary felled him, I made sure there were loads of ice cream on top of a catered lunch I hosted for approximately 300 family and friends. The sweet, cold, creamy dessert must have worked wonders on the sombre mood. At the reception hall I heard this exchange between a cousin and her innocent, little daughter:

"Mommy, is it Grandpa's birthday?"

"What? Why? Didn't we just bury Grandpa?"

"I knew it. It's Grandpa's birthday ice cream."


"You can't buy happiness. But you can buy ice cream and that's kind of the same thing."

Not that ice cream made me feel better after having just buried my father. I remained in shock and could not cry. But the brain freeze from several scoops did manage to numb the pain of losing him.


When the Eagles came to Bangkok in 2011 tickets sold out like hot ice cream. I was beyond disappointed and must have worn a scowl to the classroom because a student asked, and I whined. It turned out she and her husband run a concert-organizing company. Hello connections! Ten hours later I was to savor Seven Bridges Road live from a strategic seat. 

Ice cream was of course immediately in order.

15 August 2013

Queen's birthday week

What a pleasure to wake up, realize it's a holiday and therefore... free time! Thailand's Queen Sirikit had her birthday on Monday. It was also Thai Mother's Day. After a little FB chat with a cousin we, her kids and two uncles headed to a place we used to avoid (pricy) but always wanted to see.

Chocolate Ville is little Europe / America in Asia. Business is mainly dining with lots of photo opportunities. Some spots, particularly the Waterfront Glasshouse made me fancy another visit to England.

niece

What's a celebration without food? There were loads but my favorites are (upper, l-r) fried oysters and santol salad topped with peanuts; (lower, l-r) chocolate strawberry cake and mango chocolate mousse


I never realized how beautiful a quiet moment could be by a pretty window like this until I did. It was like looking at a lovely book cover and walking right into it. 


Over in the city center, Dasa Books is having their Blow-out sale - $.29cents each. I had a little spree with 15 titles. Such a treat for book lovers.


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