Friday, February 27, 2015

Kikufuji and their amazing wagyu sticks

I celebrated my birthday last week and treated the family to Kikufuji. It was my family's first time though hubby and I have eaten there before. I made sure to order what I considered the cheap but yummy grilled sticks. I ordered the wagyu sticks, chicken wings, chicken skin, enoki wrapped mushrooms and a seaweed salad for hubby. Hubby also opted for some salmon sashimi which he said was very fresh and had nice thick slices.

For kiddo, I ordered the chicken kaarage and the katsudon lunch set since we all share anyway. Unfortunately, kiddo is so used to fried chicken that he barely ate. Sayang talaga yung food that I had him try.

On the flip side, I ate a lot of the wagyu sticks which is so soft and yummy. I also ate the other sticks but shared with my siblings. My sisters also ordered a sushi platter but I don't eat sushi. I do however eat shrimp tempura so we ate 3 orders of that as well. You can also order the fried rice from their sister restaurant. That will just be included in a separate bill.

We ordered so much and I still spent around only P4k++. That's for 11 hungry people. Heck, the wagyu sticks would get snatched up and I'd just say that we'd order more. I kept telling them to try everything and if they liked it, we would order more.

For those who ordered lunch sets, it also comes with some appetizers and a free dessert. In our case, we had the iced coffee for dessert.

This is a fantastic place to go for some delicious Japanese food but note that if you go during lunch, be sure to make reservations. They have a smoking and non-smoking area so be sure to specify which area you want to reserve a table for.

Izakaya Kikufuji
Little Tokyo, 2277 Chino Roces Avenue, Legaspi Village, Makati City
8937319


042
Wagyu sticks P125 a stick

  041
Enoki mushrooms wrapped in bacon P52 a stick

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Chicken wings P50 (I think) a stick

044 Chicken Kaarage

047 Sushi

  043
Sushi platter

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Korean multi-step skin care regimen: it works!

It's been quite a while since I last blogged and a lot has happened. I have a 7 month old daughter and I've been purchasing items mostly for her. However, I now find myself with more time and was aghast with the condition of my skin. While I was pregnant, I really did have that pregnancy glow. Right now though, all remnants of that glow are gone and my skin is now troubled and uneven.

I wanted to go back to my tried and tested Retinol products but my pediatrician advised me against it since I'm still breastfeeding. So I can't use anything with Retinol, Salicylic acid or those other AHA/BHA acids. I was feeling quite sad so I did what any normal person these days does and turned to Google for some alternatives.

Thanks to Google and several beauty bloggers, I stumbled into the latest fad which is the Korean skin care regimen. In ye olden days, I could get by simply by washing my face and applying a cream. I was in fact using my Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation cream but after several weeks, no transformation was visible. Then I read about snail cream. Yep, this beauty blogger raved about the Mizon Snail cream and online shopping addict that I am, I bought one when I saw that a site was selling it. There was a little mixup however and apparently not all snail creams are the same so I ended up with the Mizon Black Snail cream when the blogged about product was the All in One but hey, same brand naman.

I kept researching though and then found out that Korean beauty brands are apparently 10 years ahead of the Western beauty brands. They are the ones who came up with BB creams. Plus, Koreans love natural products and are constantly innovating. Turns out, Korean women start in their teens with a multi-step regimen so I decided to sort of follow it myself and pray that my skin improves.

Daytime regimen:
Step 1: Cleanse - I wash my face with Etude House Happy Essential Foam with Collagen. I just asked the sales lady what was the best selling facial wash and she recommended this. There's a slight scent but it does clean my face.

Step 2: Tone - I bought the Hada Labo lotion some time ago because I read about it being very popular. It is very watery and I usually apply it with a cotton ball.

DSCF1146

Step 3: Essence - OK, I just got this Missha Time Revolution essence yesterday and used it last night. When I woke up this morning, 80% of the redness on one cheek was gone. I can only imagine what will happen with long term use.

The story here is that I've been longing after the SK II Facial Treatment essence for years. I just could not bring myself to buy a bottle for approximately PHP4k-5k. Then I read online that there was a dupe and based on reviews not only was it cheaper but some people said it was better. I bought my bottle on eBay.

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Step 4: Moisturize - Whew, talk about a lot of steps! Anyway, I found the Mizon Black Snail cream too thick for day time so I use the Mizon Snail Recovery Gel for day time. My skin is oily and a thick cream will just not do. I bought mine on BeautyMnl but you can get it on eBay as well. It absorbs after a few seconds and so far I am liking it.

DSCF1147

Step 5: Sunblock - Yes kids, use sunblock every day. I use VMV's Armada when I go to the beach because it's not sticky and my skin does not break out with it. If it's a normal day I use the Shu Uemura UV underbase since it is sunblock and a primer in one. It also helps my make-up last longer. If I'm really lazy I'll just make sure that my bb cream has SPF.

Gosh that was long. My night regiment is practically the same except I double cleanse. This means I use an oil based make-up remover then I wash my face.

Step 1: Remove make-up - I've been using the Shu Uemura cleansing oil but just ran out. Thus I'm now trying the DHC cleansing oil. For stubborn eye make-up I also use a separate eye make-up remover.

Step 2: Cleanse - I wash my face. I also exfoliate 3 times a week with my Clarisonic Mia. Sometimes I'll use a mask. I have this Puressa mask my family brought back from Japan for moisture or if I feel like I'm super oily I'll use my Snoe calamansi and charcoal mask.

Step 3: Toner
Step 4: Essence
Step 5: Moisturize - This is where I use the Mizon Black Snail cream. When I get zits, it usually takes two weeks for the scars to fade a bit. Ever since I started using this cream I noticed that a fresh acne spot is fading after three days.  It seems the instructions for use are to pat, not rub it in so that is what I've been doing. This texture of this cream is quite sticky, it settles in after maybe 30 mins? Once it does, my skin's texture is quite supple. I noticed that it sort of plumps up my skin.

DSCF1142

I bought this from Taste Central last year and only got to use it now. There's a new version which is the Mizon All in One snail cream which you can get from Beauty Mnl or on eBay. They're on sale right now on Beauty Mnl so I bought 2 because I am impressed.

I'm going to keep at this and update this post over time. Oh, I also bought the Mizon Snail BB cream. I'm very convinced with the efficacy of these products and can't wait to try other Korean beauty products.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and Prosperous New Year!


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Va Bene is a dream come true

I've heard so many things about Va Bene and have wanted to visit the restaurant for such a long time. It just happened that I was able to cajole hubby into taking me there when we happened to have a Friday night free.

Va Bene is located at the Petron Gas Station on EDSA and I was a bit scared that we wouldn't find parking but we were luckily able to. There's a guy who will help you find parking if you tell him where you're headed.

For starters I got the mushroom soup. It was ok and I've had better for a much cheaper price. For my main, I decided to get the squid ink pasta with Seafood in a light tomato sauce and it was amazing. The usual squid ink pasta I get is the Al Nero from Cibo but sometimes it doesn't taste consistently good. This squid ink pasta from Va Bene was so yummy and it didn't have a funky taste at all. You could taste a slight lemony tang and the blending of the seafood with the tomato sauce. This dish was so good I wanted to lick the plate clean.


093  
Mushroom soup P299


095  
Black Squid Ink Pasta with Seafood in a light tomato sauce P390

Hubby had the truffled mushroom pasta and he liked it though I found it a bit bland. I definitely can't wait for the next opportunity for me to go back. One caveat though is that the prices are quite high. Then again if you note all the new restos popping up over the metro, this is sadly becoming the new price range.

096  
Truffled mushroom pasta P390

Va Bene
5569442 2169879
Second Floor, Petron Gas Station,
EDSA Corner A. Arnaiz Avenue,
Dasmariñas Village, Makati City

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Cerveseria Catalana: The best food to get in Barcelona

Before I left for Barcelona my new office mate Tim told me to make time to eat at Cerversaria Catalana. I saw that it had good reviews online but wasn't that intent on making it a priority. After a day at La Roca where I was able to buy a Fino bag at a bagsak (really low) price we decided to go visit the place. The wait time was 30 minutes. I was like "whut?" why is it so long but noticed that the place was packed and people were really waiting. Our curiosity was piqued and we decided to wait.

It's a good thing we waited because we ended up eating the best food I tasted in Barcelona. Our waitress was a Pinay who had been in Barcelona for the last 25 years. She was so happy to talk with fellow pinoys that she told us exactly what to order and boy were we happy we followed her.

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Sampler platter

The sampler platter is their best seller because you get to taste several of the tapas at one go. At around 15 euros this was a good deal. It had calamares, shrimp, fried green peppers, clams and croquetas. Believe me when I saw everything was so so good. The croquetas were a wonder from the first bite. I never thought croquetas could taste so yummy. The clams were juicy and flavorful that I just slurped them up. The shrimp was good as well. The calamares was so addictive after a squeeze of lemon and dunk in aioli. We had to order the calamares and clams again.

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Close up of the clams and green peppers

We had beer again since we were with Mels. She kept saying that this was the best food she'd tasted in Barcelona and she's been here twice na. After stuffing ourselves full of tapas we still opted to get dessert and shared a creme brulee cake. Yummy.

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Creme Brulee cake

This was an amazing meal. We loved it so much hubby and I ate dinner here for two more straight days. If you eat at only once place in Barcelona make it Cerveseria Catalana.

Visit to Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya and Masquiteria de la Salamanca

Thursday was a rainy day. However I thought that maybe I could still do what I planned on my schedule and set off for MNAC or Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya. My siblings told me to go there and of course I put it down in my schedule and bought a ticket again online.

I took the subway route that was calculated by Google Maps as the fastest  but to my disappointment, it was raining so hard and the walk I would be making would be up the hill. So I abandoned my plan and took the subway back to Plaza Cataluna and just went around the shopping centers there. I can easily spend hours at the ground floor checking out all the cosmetics and skin care items anyway.

While I was having lunch hubby called me that he had the rest of the afternoon off so I went back to the hotel to meet him. Turns out he and his boss still had use of the car and driver and I suggested we go to the museum since the car could bring us directly there.

The MNAC actually sits on top of an elevated part of Barcelona. I actually passed by on my Hop On-Hop Off tour and was able to take pictures of when it wasn't raining.

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Cafe area outside of MNAC

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Panoramic shot of the view from MNAC

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Facade of MNAC

MNAC is huge! There is a long lobby area that leads to a place where you get to choose the exhibits you want to view. It was amazing being able to check out the lesser known artists of Barcelona.

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Le Morte de Cleopatra

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Ceiling of the dome

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This last image was particularly stunning to me. The painting looked almost alive. There was loads of art that I wish I took more pictures of but sometimes you just want to absorb the art. There were paintings that would span an entire wall and some up to the ceiling as well. I know nothing about art but I just appreciated what I saw.

We didn't even see the entire museum when we decided to go have early dinner. We asked the driver to take us to a good resto in Barceloneta since that is where the best seafood is supposed to be. Unfortunately a lot of them were still closed till we finally ended up at Masquiteria de la Salamanca.

We ordered their pica-pica platter, some paella negra and the Estrella beer.

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Chorizo

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Bread with tomato and olive oil

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Pica-pica platter

So their pica-pica platter is the size of a serving tray. Yep, it is that big. to the right you'll see fried baby squid. To the left that is fried anchovies and the top and bottom are calamares. The center is fried green peppers. Mels immediately requested for some aioli and we generously dipped everything in it. It was so freaking good.

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close up shot of the pica-pica platter

233
Paella Negra

So my siblings warned me that paella is usually ordered per person so we ordered for 3 persons. We should have ordered for two only as the paella they served us was huge. When they say per person it is like a whole plate of paella is for you. This paella negra was fantastic with the aioli we asked for.

As we were leaving the resto the pinoy wait staff said hi to us. Too bad we didn't see them earlier. So out we went back under the rain and the driver took us back to the hotel where we collapsed into a food coma induced sleep.

Barcelona: Braving the subways

This was my third day of going off alone around Barcelona. I was prepared to use the subway and had researched already what I was going to do. Day 3 is when I was going to go the the Picasso Museum, eat at El Xampanyet and wander around.

It was very easy for me to board the line nearest our hotel then transfer lines to the station that came out near the Picasso museum. I was even able to ask direction and apparently from the station you just walk almost a straight line to come up onto the street where the Picasso museum was. Another tip here is that you can buy the ticket online to avoid lines. Gosh I love the internet.

However, I was waiting for a friend since she and her husband were also in Barcelona at the time. We had met up for dinner the other night. The name of the place escapes me at the moment but suffice to say we enjoyed our food. Anyway, I bought an extra ticket for Mich since she said she wanted to go to the Picasso museum as well.

When Mich arrived, we were able to enter the museum without much lines. The museum however does not allow pictures to be taken inside and there were a lot of tourists. It was quite interesting since I now know a little bit more about Picasso and his history. At least now if people mention Picasso's blue period I know exactly what they're referring to. We were able to spend around 2 hours in the museum and the gift shop. I bought some prints but have not had them framed yet.

Once lunch time came, we walked a little bit to El Xampanyet which is rated highly in Lonely Planet. Mich and I squeezed into a small table and ordered lots of food. There were these little potatoes with crumbled chorizo on top, some anchovies that were delicious and of course the tomato, olive oil and sea salt bread. Unfortunately, I was too intent on eating the delicious food to take pictures haha.

After our lunch Mich was kinda interested in going to the chocolate museum which was a short walking distance away. I agreed since it was fun going around doing the tourist thing in Barcelona and I had to walk off what I ate.

The chocolate museum has a small chocolate cafe at the entrance where you buy your ticket. Imagine my joy at discovering that the ticket to the chocolate museum is a chocolate bar! Now here are some of the pictures I took.

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chocolate truffles

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chocolate for baking

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chocolate goodies

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chocolate bars

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Sagrada Familia in chocolate!

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La Pieta in chocolate

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  The museum talked about the history of making chocolate in Barcelona. There were also examples of the equipment they used in casting chocolate. There were also a lot of artistic masterpieces carved out of chocolate. Makes you wonder if this chocolate can still be eaten. Inside there was a small room for some sort of cooking/baking demo where we saw little kids.

Once outside we could not resist buying some chocolate souvenirs. I got a chocolate, olive oil and sea salt bar, a caramel and chocolate bar and a cheese and honey with dark chocolate bar. I really should eat the last one as it is still in our ref.

I told Mich that the Catedral de Santa Maria del Mar was also within walking distance so I took her to it and she was similarly thrilled with the architecture. After that we parted ways at the subway.

I waited for hubby at the hotel and we decided to go out for dinner at Tapas 24. As usual I forgot to take pictures of what we ate except for the one below.

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La Bombeta

La Bombeta is some sort of potato and ground meat ball. It was a bit expensive at 3 or 4 euros a piece but the ball is bigger than your average meat ball. We also had the grilled octopus and the callos. Strangely enough we also had a bottle of white wine to ourselves and managed to finish it. Rather hubby finished it. This was probably our most expensive meal due to the bottle of wine at almost 20 euros.

The wait at Tapas 24 was around 15-20 mins. The place was full and some people still came in while we were eating to be told the wait was 45 mins. Gosh! I enjoyed the meal and of course the company. So that closes out my third day of wandering around on my own in Barcelona.
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