Sunday, January 31, 2016

Tips For Baking With Chocolate

A decadent smell that sometimes comes from the kitchen is chocolate as it melts on the stove. You can also encounter a hint of heaven while something made with chocolate is baking in the oven, such as a pie or a cake. There are a few things to keep in mind when working with baking chocolate or any other kind of chocolate. If you are using the kind traditionally set aside for baking, you will discover that it has a slightly bitter taste. You need to add a bit of sugar for there to be a sweet taste, but there are some recipes that you can make that do well with a bitter chocolate, such as creme pie.

Chocolate is an ingredient that is sensitive to heat. You have to use a lower heat so that it doesn't burn. While it's in a pot or a pan, you need to stir it at a constant rate. If you don't, then it can begin to stick to the sides of the vessel. High heat can make the chocolate lose its shine. This is something to consider if you are making a pudding or a ganache.

Cut large pieces of chocolate into small chips before melting. This will decrease the melting time. A double boiler can help control the temperature. This is a saucepan of water with a bowl sitting on top of it so that the product isn't directly in the heat. When you begin making cakes, pies and other treats, use the chocolate when it's at room temperature. This is when it usually tastes the best. Salt can enhance the sweetness as well as the cocoa flavor. You can add butter to give chocolate a shine. Vanilla also adds a sweet taste, but you need to think about how much is used as it can be overpowering.

When you're using a solid block of chocolate or chips, avoid mixing it with powder. The flavors are usually completely different, and you will often get a mixture that is grainy. If you add sugar to the product, then consider melting the sugar with butter before adding it together.

G's Cafe: First Stop in Our Cloverleaf Northern Bite Food Tour (Banawe Quezon City)

A few days ago, I got invited by Avida Land to experience a food trip in Banawe and our first stop is G's Cafe.  
 
gs_cafe
Why Banawe?  Because just 15-minutes aways, Ayala Land Inc. is developing an 11-hectare project right at the juncture of North Luzon Expressway, Edsa and A. Bonifacio Avenue called Cloverleaf Balintawak.  
  
cloverleaf balintawak
It will be a whole new place by 2020 as there will be QualiMed Hospital, Avida Towers Cloverleaf as residential towers, an Ayala Mall, retail strips and office buildings.  

gs cafe
So along Banawe is G's Cafe is at the second floor of Gears Autoshop so it's not that the first thing that will catch your attention.  In fact, I was really surprised at it's wide floor space.  Just like in coffee shops, it has a counter with a cake chiller.  

gs cafe
But, what makes it distinguishable from all other cafes is it's automobile theme.  It reminded me of the manly bikers bars along Mexico or Texas that I see on American films.

gs cafe
There's a rack where you can purchase mobile accessories.

gs cafe
What I particularly liked the most is their wall brick wall with cool stuffs that will remind you of road driving. 

gs cafe
And, there's a bar with leather race car seats.  Pretty neat huh?  Seeing these seats also reminded me that when I was a little kid, it was one of my dreams to have my own racing arcade machine at home.  (Like most childhood dreams, that somehow faded awayI think because when I was a child I was materialistic and now, I'm more experiential.)

Food

camber crispy bacon and honey cured ham
Camber Crispy Bacon and Honey Cured Ham (165 php)
Seeing the beautifully prepared easy over egg on the Camber Crispy Bacon and Honey Cured Ham is already a plus for me.  Then it was served with a perfectly crispy bacon and savory cured hamHow can I not like this right?  And, I have to add that the potato chips served as side dish with garlic sauce is addicting!
 
radial roast beef sandwich
Radial Roast Beef Sandwich (228 php)
The Radial Roast Beef Sandwich is one of the best-sellers at G's Cafe (according to Swarm tips when I logged in!).  I totally agree with their conviction because I also fell for this tasty roast beef with creamy mushroom and melted cheese sandwich.

breaded ham and cheese sandwich
Breaded Ham and Cheese Sandwich (120 php)
If you like breaded dishes like cordon bleu, you'll definitely like their Breaded Ham and Cheese.

 
dark choco cheese panini
Dark Choco Cheese Panini (125 php)
To be honest, I was expecting the Dark Choco Cheese Panini to be an ordinary panini stuffed with chocolate spread which you can affordably buy from the grocery.   But, I was so wrong!  It was rich and bitter-sweet.  It reminded me of pandesal being dipped over thick hot cocoa but this was richer or maybe like Nutella without the hazelnut.  The cheese is very subtle.


Drinks

cappuccino
Cappuccino Regular (105 php)
Tsinoy Foodies Verdict
We've only tried sandwiches and coffee which is not even a quarter of the menu at G's Cafe.  I'm very pleased with our dining experience.  I really love the theme and the price is very reasonable.  I look forward to trying more of their menu next time.

Tsinoy Foodies Review Rating G's Cafe Menu
Ambiance Menu 1 | Menu 2
Taste
Service
Price
=Favorites or Recommended 
G's Cafe
Business Address 802 Banawe St., Sienna, Quezon City, Metro Manila
Business Hours 9:30 am- 11:30 pm
Payment Options   Cash
Service Charge 10%
Budget/Person 250-500
Free WiFi No
Unlocked Foursquare Perks None
Contact (02) 516-3352
Other  Facebook Fan Page
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Friday, January 29, 2016

Elmer's Pares Plaza: The Famous Imperial Chicken of Puerto Princesa Palawan

If you ask the locals even our tricycle driver during our Puerto Princesa Palwan trip which is their favorite food place, Elmer's Pares Plaza would be on top of their list.  Naturally, to complete our experience we just had to try it out.

elmers pares plaza
They have several brances along Puerto Princesa.  If it was just me, I'd be fine with their non-air conditioned main branch along Malvar Street.  But being with a companion, I opted it is more proper to dine at their Robinsons Place Mall Palawan branch.  It is located in the food court area.

elmers pares plaza
Imperial Chicken Meal (135 php)
The Imperial Chicken Meal is priced at 135 php.  I can't say it was sulit because as you can see the portion looks generous but there's not much chicken meat.  It has a semblance of a white chicken but with green onions and fried garlic.  I think I'd prefer the white chicken here in Manila which is more moist and tender.

Tsinoy Foodies Verdict
Elmer's Pares Plaza is worth the stop only if it's convenient or you're on a budget.  Otherwise, there are so many other better options.

Tsinoy Foodies Review Rating Elmer's Pares Plaza Menu
Ambiance Super Pares - 140 php
Beef Pares - 75 php
Bulalo with Rice - 160 php
Grilled Boneless Bangus with Rice - 135 php
Soy Chicken with Rice - 135 php
Imperial Chicken with Rice - 135 php
Super Mami - 130 php
Beef Mami - 75 php
Siomai Mami - 75 php
Beef + Siomai Mami - 85 php
Pork Siomao - 35 php
Beef Siomao - 35 php
Bola-Bola Pao - 35 php
Chicken Pao - 35 php
Pork Asado Pao - 35 php  
Taste
Service
Price
=Favorites or Recommended 
Elmer's Pares Plaza Robinson Palawan Mall
Business Address 2F Robinsons Place Palawan
National Highway, Brgy. San Manuel
Puerto Princesa City, Palawan Philippines
Business Hours 10am-9pm (mall hours)
Payment Options Cash
Service Charge N/A
Budget/Person 80-150
Free WiFi No
Unlocked Foursquare Perks None
Contact

Other 

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Friday, January 22, 2016

Mandala Park: Locally Sourced Weekend Market That's Wellness Conscious

Last Saturday, the family planned to have dinner in Kaptiolyo.  To kill time, I decided to drop by the nearby new market in Mandaluyong area  called Mandala Park.

mandala park

I've once shared that the family has tried the Razon's in Liberty Center for Halo-Halo.  But, we seem to have missed Mandala Park which is just beside it!  It has Mandala Park signage and a green-filled fence.


mandala park
Mandala Park is not just a food market.  It's  an open space that showcase locally sourced and crafted produce.


mandala park
But, most of it are food stalls so it really draws us foodies.

mandala park

There are also live bands.  


mandala park
As you can see, it's a great chill place.

mandala park
I've yet to try having a Tarot ReadingBut, as usual my budget is on for the food. 

Food
mandala park
Asiong's of Cavite
mandala park
Jonas Pop Up

mandala park
Gostoso
Yes, their menu is on the floor and even the staffs had to bend down to check the pricing when customers were inquiring.

mandala park
Commissaire
mandala park
Punta
mandala park
Scout's Honor (see our review here)
mandala park
Mister Delicious
 I shared our sandwich experience before, didn't know Mister Delicious now sells deli goods as well.
 
mandala park
Wrapped

mandala park
Good Food Co.
mandala park
Perfect Mushrooms (Facebook Fan Page)
I got to try samples of the Fried Mushroom and Mushroom Rolls with their Mushroom Chili Sauce.  It's really good!  Too bad I was in a hurry otherwise, I would have bought some of their products for the family.

mandala park
Ribs Manila
I regret not trying this out.  Perhaps, when I get to visit next time.

Other options that we've tried before are: Babci Kuchnia and Fog City

Drinks
Pure Nectar by Fruit Magic
Pedro Brew Crafters
Bulletproof Coffee

Other options that were there that we've tried before are Stanford & Shaw and Bayani Brew.

What I Had
Mac & Foie (755 php)
I've heard a lot of raves about Le Petite Souffle's Mac & Foie so I just had to choose it among the rest.  It was served in a big paper bowl.  This is good for sharing!  Compared to other mac and cheese I've tried, I would say this is the most luxurious one I've had.  Within our family I am the only one fond of foie gras so I really thought I'd fall over heels with this one.  It was just good for me but not extraordinarily so.  I think I'd prefer the slightly cheaper Luxe Mac & Cheese over this.


Matcha and Mille Feuille (250 php)

Being a fan of matcha, I just had to order the Matcha and Mille Feuille.  This is the first time for me to try a mille feuille.  I was expecting a mille feuille to be light, crispy and flaky puff pastry similar to a croissant.  But, the Matcha and Mille Feuille was heavy and crunchy like a thin cracker.  The matcha filling is good.  It was rich but not too sweet.  

Mandala Park has lots of tempting food options.   I don't know what happened.  Before I realized it,  I found myself shelling out 1,005 php for this meriendaAnd, I've only tried one out of the many.   I hope to try more next time. 

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