Thursday, June 30, 2011

Carol's Texan 5: Bloggers Buffet Event

June 23, 2011—It rained cats and dogs.  In fact, some parts of Metro Manila had to endure long traffic and flooding due to typhoon Falcon. But that did not stop the bloggers to troop towards Carol’s Texan 5 Blogger’s Buffet event.  Of course, due to the heavy traffic, some had arrived late, but came in as well.  My good friend Rain de Ocampo and I were one of those, because despite bearing his name, we both did not anticipate the rain would pour down that much. But we were both glad to have made it just the same. 
Outside a stream of motors, lorries and buses, private cars and hirelings, sped up and down the somewhat crowded thoroughfare, and every chaffeur must have blown his horn…Little Baguio is one of the busiest place in the city of San Juan. It is a meeting place of a hundred people perhaps due to the fact that it boasts numerous line up of different establishments. This is the cosmopolitan hub where many Michelin-starred personalities have set up shop like popular chef Gene Gonzales, embracing local flavors and incorporating them into sophisticated cuisines.
 Carol’s Texan 5 is located in 2nd floor of the building it occupies in Jose Abad Santos Street in Little Baguio, San Juan. It’s just across Alex III, and it’s right in the heart of San Juan’s bustling town. Owned by the friendly and accommodating, Ms. Carol Chan, Carol’s Texan 5 started out of her own love for whipping out dishes for family and friends.  With the encouragement of those that had tasted her famous recipes, Ms. Chan decided to open up a restaurant of her own. She had five different recipes that were superb hits to family and friends alike, giving them two thumbs up. Her love for American cuisine made her name her restaurant after the Southern US state Texas, thus Carol’s Texan 5 was born. We also later learned that Mr. Tristan Mirasol of, and who organized and invited bloggers to the event was a good friend of Ms. Chan.

Ms. Carol Chan's to-die-for and fall-off-the-bones ultimate ribs. (my fave!)

Customers will surely enjoy not just the good food but also the photo wall in the area where they could wear cowboy hats, sheriff vests, colorful scarf and toy guns as props for the total feel of Texas. My blogger friends and I had a lot of fun taking photos of ourselves wearing different hats under the sign that says “Wanted”.
As if that wasn’t fun enough, they even set up a unique photo booth for us; courtesy of BoothsRepublic.  We had photo balloons of ourselves to the delight of each blogger. There were even games played during the said event and a chance for each blogger to introduce his or herself, giving each blogger a chance to get to know more people and in the process, plug his or her own blogs.

Dynamite Wings in the house!

The buffet table served us with tomato-based pasta, dynamite chicken wings,  buttered vegetables, Texan rice and slabs of Carol’s Texan 5 ultimate ribs.  My personal favorite is the ultimate ribs. Rich and velvety with a hint of sweet barbecue hickory sauce, it had fragrant aromas wafting up your nose to your brain. The meat was great—tender and fall-off the bones, yet it was able to retain being juicy and packed with flavors to please your discriminating palate. It was lip-smacking just as I had imagined it to be. Barbecued ribs are always a much-awaited treat to our household. But with the onset of the rainy season, grilling the best ribs is next to impossible. That’s why I had really been grateful to Mr. Mirasol for inviting me over to the bloggers buffet.

The sumptuous tomato-based pasta.

The tomato-based pasta is another dish to try. It had herbs and spices with that creamy sauce. I do have to admit that I was never really a fan of red-sauced or anything tomato-based pasta. But I can vouch for this pasta. The pasta was firm and al dente, cooked to perfection. The sauce was absolutely heaven, great for vegetarians.
Another Carol’s Texan 5 specialty is the dynamite wings with something that tasted like sour cream and onion dip. It had the perfect balance of spice and sourness for every discerning foodie.  Each bite will explode in your mouth like a nuclear warhead.  It had the right amount of spiciness, but it builds up to a crescendo of lingering hotness. By the time you savored your first morsel, you realize that every dish, every meal at Carol’s Texan 5 has been conceptualized to give customers a dining experience like no other.

The author in a cowboy hat in the Wanted wall.

Everyone curious to try any of Carol’s Texan 5 staple food will be happy to know that their distinct gourmet food is affordable. In an era where most restaurants equate to high price, Carol’s Texan 5 takes the best of both worlds, serving their customers the highest quality food at prices that won’t leave a gaping void in their wallets. Yes, the only void that is happily filled is the one in your stomach.
Carol’s Texan 5 may not ring a bell yet, but I won’t be surprised if it will gain its popularity soon through word-of-mouth. TV personalities and celebrities like Angel Locsin, Coco Martin and Mike Enriquez all paid a visit to Carol’s Texan 5 despite their hectic schedule. 

The author with fellow blogger/friend Emilian Sison of

The author's good friend, Kuya Rain De Ocampo.

Mr. Tristan Mirasol with Ms. Carol Chan (Carol's Texan 5 owner).

Mr. Tristan Mirasol welcoming guests to the event.

Magnolia ice cream set up my mood despite the heavy pouring of the rain that night.

The gracious Ms. Carol Chan holds the mic.

Indeed, Carol’s Texan 5 promises to be a place where the neighborhood can hang out and see familiar faces as they chow down their favorite food.  I’d have to say that Carol’s Texan 5 has earned a sweet spot in my heart and, well…in my stomach. 

Purple Plum Fairy thanks Mr. Tristan Maharlika Mirasol and his brother Majar, Ms. Carol Chan and all the sponsors of the bloggers  buffet such as Coke, San Miguel, Magnolia (the ice cream was in my fave flavor!), Fern C,  BoothsRepublic (for the really cute photo balloons) and of course, Carol’s Texan 5 (the lovely red journal personally made by Ms. Chan). I’d also like to thank, and as well as Cignal Digital TV.

Carol's Texan 5
2 F 713 Jose Abad Santos Street, Little Baguio, San Juan City


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Zubuchon Lechon: Best Lechon Ever!

 I was fortunate to have stayed in Talisay, Cebu during my visit there some years ago. I was surprised to find out that the entire neighborhood probably sells roasted pigs and you can find it almost everywhere!  Since then, I had been looking for the best roasted pig or lechon in Manila.  Of course, there’s the popular Lydia or Mila’s brand of lechon but I liked Cebu’s style of lechon—the one that didn’t need any liver-based sauce or as most Filipinos call it, “Mang Tomas sauce”.

 I wanted my lechon to be as crispy, juicy, tender and delicious as I had it in Cebu. I thought this was really impossible until I came across Zubuchon Lechon recently. Zubuchon Lechons were generously stuffed with the finest ingredients and spices. I was told they were roasted by hand over a charcoal flame by old-fashioned lechoneros who are proud of their craft.  And yes, the roasted pigs are flown all the way from downtown Cebu City so you can be assured of their best quality.

The best part about Zubuchon Lechon or Zubu Chon is that they don’t make use of monosodium glutamate or MSG nor any artificial flavor enhancers. Upon spoonfuls, one will identify the lemongrass stuffed on it, peppers, salt and that honey-roasted taste we all love. When you purchase them, they are fresh off the flames, they even suggest a few tips for better enjoyment of the lechon parcel upon opening them.
My Aunt had purchased the Zubu Chon frozen lechon. It is made up of prime pieces of lechon and weighs roughly 1 kilo. It’s perfect for “pritchon” or fried lechon, lechon sinigang (stewed roasted pig) and the succulent lechon paksiw (a dish with a mixture of vinegar, sugar and pepper)which was exactly what we did.
Anyway, Zubuchon Lechon may be availed and flown in daily from the South by calling 032.236.5264 or dial 0917.627.4761. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Nestle Special Centennial Celebration

I was recently invited to attend a special Nestle Centennial Celebration at the Nestle Office in Rockwell, Makati City. This time, I came as an ordinary Nestle Club member and not as a blogger. The minute I received my invite, I called the office right away to confirm my attendance (as it was written on the invite to RSVP) for there were only about 80 selected members who were sent an invitation to the said intimate affair for those lucky Nestle Club members. 

Thus, I consider myself lucky. One of my Aunt had actually been jealous and somewhat complained for she felt she's more active in terms of membership with the Nestle Club. She's one of those who regularly attends the wellness programs of Nestle in Quezon City Memorial Circle during Saturday mornings. Although I had really been a member of Nestle Club for such a long time, I admit not being as active as her. But since I was the one who received an invite, she can't seem to do anything. I didn't know what were the qualifications if there were any why they had or how they had selected the "chosen few" to attend that special celebration. 
Here's the invite I received from Nestle with my name on it.

I had really been privileged to attend Nestle Centennial Celebration events twice. I had first been invited as a blogger during the gala night prior to to the showing of their film anthology: Kasambahay sa Habambuhay at SM Cinemas. And then this invitation came--and it's something I just couldn't turn down.  I love to cook and there was a time when my Mom and I would brave the long traffic on EDSA just so we could attend Nestle Club's Cooking Demonstration at the Rockwell office. But that had been then, when we were still available in most days. 

When I got to the Nestle Office that morning, I did not really know what to expect. All I had in mind was that I must have been lucky for being invited to the affair, but I had no idea what's going to happen next. I was one of the early birds, as usual. I'm the type who goes really early to an event regardless if there's a reward or none. That's just the way I am. I never want to be late. In case I arrived late to an event, there must be a good reason behind it. Anyway, going back to the said affair, I was surprised to see a friend who's also invited. And when I saw her, I knew it was going to be fun because there's going to be somebody I know from the crowd. Not that I couldn't stand on my own though, it's just more fun when you're with someone you totally know, right? Anyway, my being early was an advantage this time as I was one of those that received P200 worth Nestle Ice Cream gift certificates, 30 early birds received gift certificates. 

There was a cooking demo made by Nestle resident chef Ms. Tess Sutillo, who's still young-looking and pretty at 44 and has remained single all these years (btw, for guys, she's accepting suitors). She cooks a healthy salad and pork tofu dish to the delight of the audience. She proudly says that almost all the recipes found on the limited-edition Nestle Centennial Cookbook was made by her. "I did 90 recipes for everyone, incorporating Nestle products on them. I'm sure your families will love them because I made them with love also," says Chef Tess Sutillo. 

Nestle Club members were also treated to a film showing of Nestle's Sine Kasambuhay sa Habambuhay, showcasing how Nestle products were able to touch the lives of its consumers in 10 short films in 100 minutes. I must have seen the film for about thrice already and still I never get tired of watching them. Then as if that wasn't enough, we were treated to a buffet lunch where selected dishes from the Nestle Centennial cookbook were served. And not only that, I was able to meet the oldest Nestle member, she's been a member for 65 years now! She had even compiled all the recipes she had received from Nestle Club and then she turned them over again to Nestle Club and received by Ms. Au Alipao for keepsake. 

I had been lucky for being able to shake hands and personally meet the Nestle Executives such as Mr. Paul Bulcke CEO of Nestle Southeast Asia, Mr. Frits van Djik, EVP Nestle Southeast Asia, Zone Director for Asia, Oceania, Africa and Middle East and the President and CEO of Nestle Philippines Inc., Mr. John Martin Miller. I had been touched by the story of one Nestle member who sent Mr. Miller a handwritten letter congratulating him for Nestle's 100 years. A week after reading her letter, Mr. Miller personally answered her letter along with a huge basket of Nestle products sent to her doorstep. Mrs. Adriano-Po (the letter sender) was really flattered! "Mr. Miller's body guard came and looked for my house. Just imagine, I live in Baclaran and you should know how many people are there in such place. But the guard persevered until he found my house," recalls Mrs. Adriano-Po. 

When I was able to ask Mr. Miller why he had to sent someone to look for Mrs. Adriano-Po, here's his answer: "It's very rare nowadays that you find someone to write you a letter, personally written through her heart. With the technology that we have, you could just send someone an email or an SMS to let you know how she feels. But Mrs. Adriano-Po sent me a heart-warming letter. And I really treasure every Nestle consumer and I truly appreciate her effort to send me a letter. So I wrote her back and sent in some goodies for her to enjoy," says Mr. Miller.

The little nest--symbol of Nestle.
I had never seen anyone of such stature to be so humble despite all the things Nestle had been all these years. I mean, it's always been a Filipino trusted brand, but Mr. Miller was so down-to-earth, he made us feel as if we're on the same level or that he's like a friend--not Nestle Philippines' CEO and the company's President. With such treatment he gives Nestle product consumers, I no longer wonder why Nestle had been so strong that it had reached 100 years and will be staying until the next century.
The Nestle Ice Cream Gift certificate I got.

Nestle goodies were given to each member.
 All the Nestle Club members who attended the event went home with Nestle goodie bags and the Nestle Centennial Limited edition cookbook. And since I already have one (during the blogger's event), I am giving away one on this blog soon. I'd like to share with you the joy of cooking the nestle recipes which chef Tess Sutillo had created just for Nestle. I've tried  a lot of the recipes and I'd say they were really good. They even had 10 recipes by celebrities, recipes for business, for Christmas, for budget-friendly/thrifty days and a whole lot more. 

More Nestle goodies...Kyle's fave Bear Brand Busog lusog.

So I hope you'll be joining my mini giveaway. Mechanics will be posted here soon. Please continue to visit my blog for further details and updates. This is my way of sharing and thanking followers of this blog who enjoy good food and good life. Thank you. 

Nestle Limited Edition Centennial Cookbook

Yummy Recipes with a Twist

Bread with ebiko filling, Foccacia bread pizza, salmon in Bruschetta
I had always been into food ever since I was in high school. It was in my sophomore year that I decided I had to learn how to cook. It all started way back in 1994, right after my grandma had died, I was often left all alone at home. Without someone to cook for me, I figured, it's either I would starve myself to death or learn how to cook for myself. In the end, I had chosen the latter. 

It all seemed difficult when I started cooking. I would have cuts here and there and occasionally burns. I would also do stuff too stiff or burnt that even our dog would no longer want to eat--in short, not edible enough by humans and animal consumption. But I had never given up.

Later, I found myself buying cook books for me to use. And instead of following instructions or the recipe per se, I would do things on my own or give the recipe a twist. I do not like giving set parameters on myself or anything like that. And each time I tasted something really good, I try to do it at home and make my own version of the said dish. 

So if I come across a new dish or viand, I immediately ask what's in it? What made it unique? I recently had this bread with ebiko filling, foccacia bread filling (bread with olive oil and herbs), salmon bruchetta, chicken ballotine on a bed of spaghetti squash and Spanish paella with Pinoy touches by putting on Tinapa (smoked fish) flakes, Vigan longanisa and red salted eggs! That's something new, isn't?

Chicken Ballotine on a bed of Spaghetti Squash in Truffle

Paella with a twist: tinapa flakes, Vigan longanisa, lemon and red eggs!
I'll be putting on the recipes of Chicken Ballotine, Paella with a Twist and French Macaroons soon on my blog. So keep reading my blog for future updates. I also have a plan of giving away Nestle 100 years Special Centennial Cook Book for my loyal Security Blanket readers and followers. Details will be posted soon on this blog soon. You see, I'd like to share whatever it is that I have--for people who would like to learn how to cook, for those who already know how to cook but are willing to learn new techniques and cooking procedures, that limited edition Nestle Centennial Cook Book is really a treasure.

French macaroons with ganache fillings.

Dark Chocolate mousse, Strawberry-topped Tiramisu and French Macaroon
So for the meantime, allow me to seal my meals by chewing on all these yummy goodies...Cheers! I will let you in on their secret recipes next time. And that's a promise!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Conti's Chicken Pastel, Seafood and Pasta Galore

I never expected it to be creamy and tasty. But I fell inlove with Conti's chicken pastel upon first bite. I also liked their angel hair pasta and baked shrimp. They were extremely delicious bringing me to heaven upon tasting. I never thought I'd fall for something like this. Paired it with mini fudge caramel bars as perfect way to cap off the said meal. Hmmm...I'd want another round of these foods on my plate. 

I've always wanted my chicken to be fried, grilled or broiled but never in pastel. Not until Conti's gave me the best chicken pastel I've ever tasted. The chicken were still juicy and the potatoes soft, almost buttery, melting in your mouth with a burst of flavors! That's exactly what I want in my chicken--to think its got sauce, and creamy at that! 

I'd definitely recommend this to my friends...

Monday, June 6, 2011

Gong Cha's now in the Philippines!

Gong Cha is now in the Philippines!

Gong Cha finally opened its doors to the Philippine market this month of May. Located at the ground floor of SM Mall of Asia, it offers customers the best milk tea experience ever.
A combination of the characters “gong” () which means reward or contribution and “cha” () referring to the tea plant, Gong Cha refers to the best tea offered to the Emperor in ancient China.
Gong Cha was first launched in Kaohsiung, Taiwan in 2006. There are over 100 outlets worldwide spreading from Taiwan to Hong Kong, Singapore, Macau, China and now the Philippines.

Gong Cha sets the highest standard when choosing materials, and takes the most severe attitude in quality control in order to provide the best tea with the most considerate services to the customers.
The company insists on choosing materials that are healthy to people, and use Taiwanese fresh tea to make every beverage. So sever is the quality control that even though the liquid tea doesn’t go bad, it is thrown away every four hours.
Gong Cha offers beverages such as blended with coffee, caramel, chocolate and milk.  They also have ice cream for those with extra sweet tooth. But one MUST try their Gong Cha House Special. It is a combination of brewed green tea with sweetened creamed milk for a delightfully unique blend. It’s perfect for soothing the mind, body and soul. 

Every beverage is tailored for the customers and is made by well trained people. Customers can choose the sweetness level of their order.
Truly, Gong Cha makes the best milk tea ever an affordable luxury for everyone.

Gong Cha – SM Mall of Asia

First floor, Entertainment Center (near Timezone and Crepes and Cream)
SM Mall of Asia
Pasay City, PhilippinesWebsite:
E-mail: contact at