Archive for June, 2010

Food Trip

After three weeks of being with my siblings and their kids, I am back in Manila. It was a fantastic trip and I was extremely sad to say goodbye (as always), but there will always be more reunions to look forward to.

During this trip, I told my siblings not to worry about taking me around. All I really wanted to do was to be with them so it didn’t matter if we were home most of the time. One thing we all enjoyed doing was of course, eating.  We hit our usual dining spots and discovered a few new favorites.

Taquitos are my favorite Mexican food. We discovered this taqueria (Casa Treio) through my sister’s neighbor and the food was excellent.  I wish we had more good Mexican restaurants in Manila.

The obligatory In and Out burger.  I think these burgers taste a lot like the ones from Sango.

Akasaka serves fresh and authentic Japanese dishes that will never disappoint. My brother and sister go so often that they have become good friends with Sako, the restaurant owner. This Chirashi bowl ($32) can easily feed 4-5 people and is my absolute favorite.

Jalapeno Tempura. Need I say more?

Rainbow Roll. Can you tell how fresh the fish are in this picture?

One night we decided to visit the neighborhood night market and discovered this delightful Salvadorian staple food, Pupusas. It’s like a cross between a tortilla and a pancake, infused with flavors like cheese, jalapenos or even chicharon! And on top of the tortilla is either beef or pickled cabbage. Dangerously delicious!

Hooters Wings. Too good to pass up. Each fiery and butter-filled bite is definitely worth all the calories. Check out this site for the shocking reveal on how many calories there are per serving.

Lucille’s BBQ biscuits are heavenly. Light, buttery and creamy, paired with their apple butter is absolutely divine. I couldn’t stop eating them and the servers just kept giving more.

But this, my friend, will turn any non-beer drinker to a lover. Lucille’s Hefeweizen is the best beer I’ve ever had. I’m tearing up just thinking about the distance between us. I predict that my brother, who has also fallen in love with this beer, will be back in Long Beach pretty soon.

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First Cherry Pie Attempt

Only one week left and I head back home. Although I do miss Manila, I don’t like saying goodbye to my siblings and my adorable nephews and nieces. I always wish we didn’t have to live oceans apart from each other.

my nephew enjoying picking cherries

I’ve been going back and forth my brother and sister’s house. Now i’m with the sister and when we’re not searching the outlets for great bargains, and when she’s not busy being supermom, we’re in the kitchen baking or cooking, as if making up for lost sister time. I’ve mentioned before that my sister has a lot to do with my ability to cook. I often watched her in the kitchen and most especially, ate most of what she made. Now that I know my way around the kitchen as well, it’s nice to do some tandem cooking.

The other day, we visited a cherry orchard and harvested this summer fruit with the kids. We had a wonderful time climbing trees and ladders, trying to pick the sweetest cherries possible.  We harvested so much that we had more than enough for our first cherry pie attempt.

Making a cherry pie was surprisingly simple. All you really need is some sugar and cornstarch and store bought pie crust that just make things a lot easier and delicious. I am happy to report that our first cherry pie attempt was a success! The cherry pie filling was nicely tart and sweet with the right gooey consistency. My sister thinks that it could use a little less sugar and she’s probably right. Next time, instead of using 1 1/2 cups sugar, I’ll probably settle for just 1 cup. That large slice of pie is sitting happily in my stomach and I’m trying to figure out how long I’ll have to run today to burn off all that sugar.

Find the cherry recipe here. My only concern about this recipe is that it doesn’t specify the cooking time for the cherry pie filling so I had to rely on my cooking instincts. 😛

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Mai and Ginger’s Coffee Cake

Here’s a quick post to end my hiatus.

Am on vacation visiting my siblings and now have all the time to write and blog, so no more excuses.

For now, here’s a recipe that my sister and I tried out this afternoon. We chose the recipe from a cookbook that I sent her on her birthday. Although I’ve never tried the famous Magnolia cupcakes, I’ve heard only good things about them and figured that this cookbook would be a good one to have.

The Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook

We wanted to make something quick and simple so we chose the recipe for a coffee cake.  Coffee cakes don’t need to contain coffee, but are meant to be served with the caffeine-filled drink.  The recipe we found called for a poppy seed filling but since we didn’t have any poppy seeds, we altered the recipe. Instead of a plain flavored cake, we added some coffee to it. Coffee flavored coffee cake? Why not?

Coffee flavored coffee cake

The cake was very dense and had a nice subtle coffee flavor, making it like a mocha chiffon cake.  One thing my sister and I both noticed was that even after baking the cake for it’s required time, there was a raw flour taste to it.  We couldn’t quite figure out why this was and thought that maybe the recipe could have used half a teaspoon of baking soda to make the cake rise more. Other than that, this cake was slightly addicting and could easily be tomorrow’s breakfast.


  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs, separated at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening (I am particularly opposed to using shortening so we substituted with butter)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk (instead of using all milk, I used 1/4 cup milk and 1/4 cup brewed coffee)
  • 1 twelve ounce can poppy filling (we didn’t use this for this recipe)


  • 6 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter

NOTE: It is best to separate the eggs when cold and then allow them to come to room temperature before proceeding with this recipe.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line an 8 x 8 x 2-inch squared pan with waxed paper.

To prepare the coffee cake: In a medium-size bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks, about 1 minute.

In a large bowl, on the low speed of an electric mixer, cream the shortening and the sugar until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the egg yolks. Add the dry ingredients in two parts, alternating with the milk. In a separate bowl, on the high speed of an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.  Gently fold the egg whites into the batter. Batter will be thick and doughlike.

Meanwhile, prepare the topping: In a small bowl, mix together the flour, the brown sugar, and the baking powder. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Pour the batter into prepared pan. Make indentations with the back of a spoon and press teaspoonfuls of the poppy filling into each indentation.  Sprinkle the topping over cake. Bake 40-45 minutes or until cake tester comes out with moist crumbs attached.  Do not over bake.

Allow to cool for 20 minutes before cutting and serving.

*After re-reading and typing the entire recipe, I now realize what went wrong. There was a raw flour taste because the cake was indeed, half-cooked. I made the mistake of baking it for only 20 minutes and not 45 minutes. NOT FOLLOWING DIRECTIONS!!! Don’t make the same mistake as I did and read carefully 😛

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