Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Little Lamb Hotpot ♥ ♥


Everyone loves a nursery rhyme. I guess that is why the owner of this hotpot restaurant decided to name it “Little Lamb” instead of “Little Fat Sheep” as the Chinese name directly translates to.

little lamb hotpot manila

Little Fat Sheep is more suited to describe me. After all, I am born under the sheep sign, and I am little.

You thought I was gonna say fat, didn’t you???


IMG_4822Nutritional Non-Spicy Soup – contains a lot of garlic and nutritious Chinese medicine,
so you don’t feel too guilty about gorging on all that meat.


IMG_4825 Mongolian Lamb – an ok quality lamb sliced paper thin for faster cooking and
a more tender feel


IMG_4830Sweet Corn – not sweet at all and very hard even after we boil them forever


IMG_4831“Little Lamb” Shrimp Ball – with real shrimps inside!


IMG_4832Mushroom Dumpling


IMG_4834Fresh Tofu


IMG_4836Golden Mushroom – an indispensable ingredient for hotpot


IMG_4838Fried Tofu Skin


IMG_4841Tong Ho – although not everyone appreciates its unique floral taste, garland chrysanthemum is my favorite hotpot vegetable




And for our dessert,

IMG_4850Costa Brava Ube Cake we bought from Rockwell’s Bakers Fair


Despite the fact that my sister Jamie and I are already 24 and 30, our parents still treat us like little babies. And so tonight, like little babies, we order only shrimp balls, vegetables, and meat from a lamb’s more conventional body part. 

Next time we’ll be adults and order something more adventurous.

IMG_4903 Items 205 and 206. Gulp.


IMG_4853 Mom, Jamie, Me, Dad


Little Lamb Hotpot: La Marina, South Drive, Area 2, Rizal Park, Ermita, Manila, Philippines. Tel. +632-4878198

jin loves to eat at home, May 17-23, 2010

A vibrating belt (and my new BFF) that promises to help slim down full figures is strapped on to my waist as I write this entry. The thing has been wrapped around every part of my body imaginable, with the intensity always set on the highest level.

I don’t care if it works or not, or if I develop permanent convulsion from wearing this thing 24/7, but I am going to do everything I can, take every measure available (except eat less and skip dessert and exercise), to start losing all this ugly excess weight.

So help me God.

And help me, mom!


May 17, 1:02pm

IMG_4545Pork ribs in Chinese herbs, buttered mushrooms, sautéed vegetables and rice

IMG_4547 Apple, pomelo, kiwi, dragon fruit, banana


May 18, 1:51pm

IMG_4590Chicken kaldereta, shredded fish with egg whites, steamed vegetables

IMG_4595Cherries, pomelo, jackfruit, kiwi, lychees


May 19, 12:50pm

IMG_4650Fish in black bean sauce, chicken, white squash, sautéed portobello, fried rice

IMG_4651 Pineapple, kiwi, pomelo, pear


May 19, 8:45pm

IMG_4655Sweet ham and honey in wheat pandesal


May 20, 11:52am

IMG_4666Butter lemon sole fillet, grilled mackerel, celery and garlic rice

IMG_4667 Dragon fruit, pomelo, pear, jackfruit


May 20, 6:33pm

IMG_4669Turkey ham and sage cheese on wheat bread


May 21, 1:40pm

IMG_4695Japanese curry chicken, boiled vegetables and rice

IMG_4698 Kiwi, pomelo, persimmon, avocado, apple


May 22, 1:02pm

IMG_4754 Roast chicken, braised beef with garlic cloves, vegetables and paella

IMG_4756 Kiwi, pear, persimmon


May 23, 12:19pm

IMG_4760Shrimps in tomato sauce, baked creamy dory, winter melon and rice

IMG_4757Strawberries, pomelo, dragon fruit, banana



And the reason for my sudden panic attack?

IMG_3747My stupid and lying weighing scale


I swear, something is definitely wrong with the batteries!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Fireplace at Hyatt ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥




They say how you rate your dining experience depends greatly on the company you have. What makes a great dinner is after all not just great food, but also great company.

I must say I've had some amazing meals here at The Fireplace, dining on beautiful food, in the company of beautiful people. Those times are now beautiful memories I hold dear in my heart.

But how does one allow something truly beautiful to become just a memory?

One does not, of course.


sourdough bread


I come back to The Fireplace to reunite with my old flame, needing desperately to rekindle the passion I’ve tried to suppress but has not died down all these years. I hide my excitement and keep my expectations under control, worried that things may have already changed.

And then…

One look.

My heart freezes, and everything around us stops with it.

One smile.

Blood rushes up my cheeks, and my heart starts pounding heavily against my chest.

And one taste.

Oh, that taste so familiar as soon as it touches my lips all the feelings come rushing back… the overwhelming love, the overflowing joy, and the simple contentment that we are finally reunited.

 lobster bisque Lobster Bisque – not in the menu so do ask for it. Drop down to your knees and beg if you have to. It is worth it.


IMG_3908Millionaire’s Salad – generous portions of pan fried foie gras, prawns, seared scallops and organic leaves in raspberry vinaigrette. Generous enough to be a meal on its own, or an appetizer to be shared by two.


ribeye steak Prime Chilled Rib Eye 10 oz – well marbled, full flavored, tender, and grilled a perfect medium rare.


IMG_3920 Potato Gratin – the creamy, cheesy and buttery complimentary potato side I always ask for.


baked alaska Flamed Ice Cream Alaska, Raspberry Coulis – not something I would normally order, but my date tonight is a kid at heart and is mesmerized by ice cream and flames…


baked alaska Pouring the brandy from the half eggshell.  Dramatic is all. No love after the flame dies down. I’ll stick with the Chocolate Soup next time.


IMG_3923 Coffee and Macaron


I come back to The Fireplace to meet my old flame. Here at the very same place, in the exact same booth where it all first happened. After all, one cannot allow truly beautiful flavors to remain just a memory.

And to my delight, I discover that my old loves – the lobster bisque, the millionaire’s salad and the prime chilled rib eye – they still can, after all these years, make me feel this happy and deeply in love.

It is indeed as they say. Love is sweeter the second time around.


The Fireplace: 5/F Hyatt Hotel and Casino Manila, 588 Pedro Gil corner M.H. del Pilar, Malate, Manila, Philippines. Tel: +632-2451234

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Burger and Fries Love Story by Frannie Tales ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

In the busy, noisy, hectic and unhealthy world of fast food chains, drive thru’s and deliveries, there is no time to slow down, look around, smell the roses and meet The One. You go your own way, sliding thru metal trays, staying under scorching light to keep warm until you are picked up by rough and uncaring human hands that put you on a tray or in a bag that transports you to your final destination.

But sometimes, amidst all this craziness, some people get lucky.

Like the burger and the fries who were packed into a tiny box one fine day.

It was love at first sight.


The burger, with his heart pounding and filled with longing, said to the fries:



And the fries, tilting her head up and looking lovingly into the burger’s eyes, smiled and whispered to him tenderly:


And then they were served to a hungry little boy who devoured them instantly.

Short-lived, but sweet.

And really, it is these little moments, moments when our hearts feel like bursting with happiness and moments when we make others feel the same, these are the moments that make our lives worth living.

I live for these moments.

Do you?


Get your own his and hers Frannie Tales necklaces now.


To order, contact my talented cousin Frances at +639175180781,

or email her at frannie.tales@gmail.com,

or visit her website http://frannietales.multiply.com/

BC Proof

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Cantinetta ♥ ♥


Yvette is my friend from the good old elementary days. We lived in the same village and slept over at each other’s houses, staying up until the first rays of the morning sun, talking about petty stuff that seem so trivial now, but meant the whole world to the callow and naive little girls that we were back then.

Then high school came, we made different sets of friends, then we’re off to different colleges, went through different relationships, moved to different countries… We lost touch for years, and then next thing I know, my grade school friend Yvette is now a wife to a wonderful man named Alex, and a doting mother to their two beautiful daughters. And as for me, well, my civil status still says a simple and jolly “S.”

IMG_1372 Cantinetta Rockwell


IMG_1378Bread basket with liver pate and tomato salsa – the secret is to spread an inch thick layer of liver pate on the bread, then top with heaping spoonfuls of salsa. Yumminess.


IMG_1381Carpaccio di Manzo alla Cantinetta. Paper thin raw beef with shaved parmesan and olive oil – Alex and Yvette’s


IMG_1385 Pesce. Fresh seafood in light tomato soup – Alex and Yvette’s


IMG_1387Zuppa di Granchio con Gamberetti. Prawns and crabmeat soup – generous with seafood and rich in flavor


IMG_1390Costolette di Agnello. Chargrilled lamb chops – dry and a bit overcooked, but we still finish it anyway


IMG_1394 Tartufo. Truffle cream sauce with parmesan cheese – the cream shouts cholesterol and the angel hair screams carbs, but I pretend to hear none of them warnings. One whiff of the tartufo’s powerful scent and I know my 30-min cardio workout this morning is in vain. One taste of its earthiness and creaminess and I lose every ounce of restraint in me. Oh, Tartufo, you are the devil, and I, a sinner.


I used to be a bigger fan of pasta when I was younger. I would eat nothing but carbonara, lasagna, and spaghetti Filipino style – sweet, topped with hotdog slices, and covered with a whole block of grated quickmelt cheese. Then came weight problems, anorexic celebritiy idols, and my love affair with Atkins… Pasta slowly disappeared from my life.

I have grown and matured a lot since then. Grown in size and matured in the sense that I’ve finally accepted that I will never be thin even if I banish carbs forever. I learned to love myself as I am – bloated during certain days of the month, disgustingly fat during and after trips, totally unrecognizable during Christmas season, and chubby, round, bulky, flabby all year long. 

I still crave good creamy pasta every once in a while. Despite life’s many changes, it’s comforting to know that some things remain the same, like my relationship with pasta and my friendship with Yvette. We don’t see each other much now, but when we do, it feels like grade school was just yesterday.


IMG_1398Alex, Yvette, Me, Nelson


Cantinetta: Block 9, Rockwell Info Center, Rockwell Drive, Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines Tel: +632-4030145

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