Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Meet JOE BLACK's Favorite Soup!!!

Joe Black,

Brad Pitt's deathly cool grim reaper
who famously noshed on Peanut Butter in the movie
where Death did the nasty with Claire Forlani ,

would have loved this warm nutty soup,
a savory treat less of a Pinoy Kare-Kare
and more of an Indonesian Sambal-Sate,
and I'm pretty sure that he'd say:

"F*#%^! This Soup is to Die For!"

Last Thursday night,
Awesome Anton convinced Ivanhoe-nares and I
to have our Ultimate Pampanga Tour meeting in Makati

by texting these three words:

My reaction?
"In what F*#%^! restaurant can we have this?"

Anton texted back:

I texted back:
"F*#%^! Bakit galit ka yata?
So saan nga ito?"

"F*#%^ nga!
Carlos Palanca St., beside Gweillo's!"

"F*#%^ talaga?
I'm there!!!!"

And that's how we ended up in the "F-Word",
one of Makati's most Fab new restaurants,
to try the F*#%^! Peanut Butter Soup,
which is such an intriguing Food concept

that I didn't complain about the F*#%^! long journey
from my office on Quezon Ave. to Legaspi Village...

only to find out that the PBS wasn't on the menu anymore.

Fortunately, we were able to Force the chef
to Frepare it specially For us.

So ask the Friendly servers to do so For you too,
and remember, be Folite, and don't say F*#%^!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Christmas Won't Be The Same Without PEPPERMINT MOCHA

I saw this announcement in Starbucks yesterday:

Dark Cherry sounds awesome,
but nothing compares with the warm Yuletide nostalgia
brought by Starbucks' annual Peppermint Candy Cane coffee!

Those in the U.S., however,
will be getting an even better version of Peppermint Mocha:

Peppermint Twist,
Peppermint Mocha with peppermint whip & chocolate shavings!!!

I've been Scrooged!!!
I better run to the supermarket and find this...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Dining at MARIO'S up in Baguio has been in our family's
To-Do list whenever we'd vacation up in the mountains
ever since I was a little boy,

when it was still somewhat politically correct
for my dad to dress up, or more accurately, dress down
his firstborn son in a G-string:

We'd always sit by the windows on the 2nd floor,
embraced by the pinewood walls and warm lighting,
luxuriating in the cool, diesel-free breezes of the Baguio of yore,

us kids bundled up in our brightly-colored sweaters and jackets,
breathing in the cold air and gleefully exhaling "white smoke",
pretending that we were smoking cigarettes, just like

our elders who inevitably pulled out their Winstons & Dunhills
after enjoying Mario's trademark steaks and succulent salads.

We loved Mario's so much that one evening,
we decided to take home a souvenir with us.

Remember when the only wines available in the Philippines
were Mateus Rose and Paul Masson?

Here's that Mario's souvenir from more than 25 years ago,
a "Very Cold Duck" Pepper Grinder that I still use today:

And it's a good thing I "borrowed" it then,
because that peppermill is one of the last remnants
of the original Mario's on Session Road,
(KFC now occupies that prime lot)
which burned down a decade ago.

But weep not for Mario's.

37 years on, the restaurant is going strong in its new location
along Upper Session Road near Nevada Square,
and its counterpart on Tomas Morato in the lowlands of QC,
is likewise experiencing a resurgence.

There's so much shared history between
my Hizon relatives and our favorite Baguio restaurant,

that it was almost like a family reunion when I first met
Fil, son of founders Mario & Nenuca Benitez,

when he hosted a dinner to introduce his new concept:
"Cordillera Hip Dining"

Mario's with very cozy, less formal interiors, and
surprisingly affordable prices for all the old "Casa" faves:
the Oysters Rockefeller, Lengua, Callos, and Paella.

There's a new bar stocked with Grey Goose and Bombay Sapphire,
and since this Mario's is in MMLA's "Sin City" after all,
smoking is allowed, but only in the Zen-themed bar.

When I saw the intimate new interior decor,
so far removed from the stuffy Batasang Pambansa ambience
of the old Mario's, I knew I was in for a grand evening,

and what made it even better was that Fil also invited
quite a number of friends, from left to right:

the "Smarter-than-Sarah Palin" Toni of Wifely Steps,
Brian Gorrell's favorite backpacker, Ivan About Town,

the original Baguio Boy, Fil Benitez,
the once-upon-a-time Baguio Boy now Manila Boy,

and the girl with the happiest bangs in the world,
Stephie of Allergic To Beef.com

Salad Comes First,

literally and figuratively,
whenever I dine in Mario's.

For all intents and purposes,
Mario's is the resaturant that introduced
Caesar Salad to Filipinos,

and to this day, I've yet to taste a better version,
specially when Mario's expert servers combine
the seemingly simple ingredients in those wooden bowls,

and somehow come up with the unmistakable, unforgettable
flavor of the dressing, made more decadent with bacon bits
and freshly grated parmessan, a salad truly fit for Caesars.

Meet the Meat.

My main course?
Steak, of course.

And in honor of that pilfered pepper grinder,
I had Mario's Peppered Steak, medium rare;
the proper way, the only way, the best way.

With garlicky Gambas on the side,
I made my own version of Surf & Turf:

If you're more of a Pork and Paella person,
try their Sunday Lunch Buffet...

or if you're really an inveterate beefeater,
Thursday dinners are U.S. Angus Prime Rib nights!

Dessert Heat:

Flambéed Mango Jubilee,
definitely worth risking burned-off eyebrows for,

and Mario's classic concoction,
Toffee Sans Rival!!!

Thanks again to Baguio Boy Fil Benitez
for re-introducing Mario's goodies
to a whole new generation of foodies,
in the very same spot where their parents
probably went to on their first romantic dates!

You can call Mario's Tomas Morato for reservations
and to ask about their latest specials at 372-0360,

or if you're too far from Quezon City or Baguio,
do check out more mouth-watering pictures over at
The Bachelor Girl, ArpeeLazaro, and Fritzified!!!

And if you see this Baguio Boy pretending to play the piano,
do give him a large tip to make him stop disturbing the diners.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The CHILL List

The Top 7 cool things that
turned me on these past 7 days:

1. Tina FEYLIN

Saturday Night Live got its highest ratings in years
when Sarah Palin met up with her Doppelgänger;

the problem is, after the show, everyone realized
that they would rather have Tina Fey as Vice President.


Looks like it's going to be a "Fruitcake" Christmas
for the millions of Eraserheads fans;
here's what's coming up:

* A live official "Reunion Concert" album

* A live concert DVD and concert film -
to be shown in select theaters prior to the DVD release

* A 10-CD Box Set with everything the Eraserheads ever recorded

Oh, and you can order the T-shirts here!!!

3. The Manila Peninsula's CHOCOLATE BUFFET!

Every Friday and Saturday
from 830pm-12mn until the end of December!

P550+++ for adults, with a cup of coffee or tea;
P225+++ for children 12 years old and younger.

Christmas Carols will be sung (via remote broadcast)
by the Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV Military Choir.


Pizza Hut (!) goes Gourmet (!!)
with this new collection of pies
inspired by Rome, Milan, Florence, & Sicily.

I do believe this is the first time ever
that Pizza Hut pizzas will encounter real Olive Oil!!!

5. LETTERMAN rips McCAIN a new one...

Don't let the smiles fool you.

It was David Letterman at his witty, nasty best,
ripping into John McCain's choice of Vice President,
spurious attacks on Obama, legislative flipflops, etc.,

Dave certainly showed John who the real Maverick was.

And all this, because Republican's standard bearer
lied to CBS' main man and ditched him for Katie Couric.
One late-night screw-up just may have cost McCain
the Presidency of the United States.

6. BUTTERific!!!!

No need for a hot knife.
No need to soften at room temperature.
No need to zap a hard block in the microwave.

Anchor Buttery goodness straight from the 'fridge,
ready to slather on any surface,
be it on bread, rice, or on your favorite kinky friend.


I have to say what ought to have been said
months ago, after the almost back-to-back
cinematic releases of Marvel's summer movies:

The Incredible Hulk is better than Iron Man!!!

That ought to be almost blasphemous to some,
but upon a second viewing on DVD, it's apparent
that Norton's Hulk flick actually has better
screenplay than Downey Jr.'s Iron Man movie.


These two so-called "representatives"
of the Philippines in The Amazing Race Asia 3.

I fail to see a single iota of evidence
that these jokers actually grew up in our country,
and I doubt if either can speak a simple sentence
in Pilipino without stammering.

What's worse is that, desperate for camera time,
they''ve cast themselves as the villains of the competition:
rude, crude, obnoxious, and absolutely unsympathetic.

come to think of it,

while they aren't making a good representation of Pinoys,
they are doing a pretty good job of mimicking our President!

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Third and Final U.S. Presidential Debate:



I didn't realize CNN's so-serious Anderson Cooper
could also be such a spot-on Astounding Comedian!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Chill of DAWN

I cannot wait for this CD!!!

Props to Lea Salonga's
weekly "Back Story" column at
the Philippine Daily Inquirer

“The Later Half of Day”:
chill versions of their signature hits,
“Enveloped Ideas,” “Iisang Bangka Tayo”
and “Beyond the Bend,”

plus cool covers of
“Message in a Bottle,” “Melt With You”
and “Can We Still Be Friends.”

release date:
November 3

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Off The Grid in TAGAYTAY, Part 5: The Garden of Good and Oddball

Off The Grid in TAGAYTAY, Part 4 : The Romance of Vienna

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