Whether you're a newbie in the kitchen, unable to get some Chinese food nearby or just want to change the game on your usual bowl of rice, this is one of the easiest things you can do for yourself and your loved ones! 

When I made this, I only used a normal cooking pot and ingredients in my pantry, but you can go ahead and add more veggies  - I recommend using bok choy or gai lan if you have them. This recipe is super flexible - from using different kinds of rice or adding meats / poultry like chicken, pork, beef or duck.

This dish kinda reminds me of that time where I tried some claypot rice with abalone. It was so luxurious I almost cried. 

For me, I think the key elements to a good claypot rice is the rice (duh haha), the use of chinese sausage and the sweet salty sauce that you pour over once it's done before serving. You can play around different condiments to go along with it such as chili garlic sauce and hoisin. Most supermarkets here in Manila can give you access to good Chinese staples like chinese sausage, dark soy sauce and rice wine so don't worry if you don't have them at the moment.

Ingredients:
1 tbsp vegetable oil 
1 cup uncooked rice, washed and drained
1 stalk leeks, chopped
1 1/2 cups water
1 small can of shitake mushrooms, sliced
1 chinese sausage, sliced
1 tbsp Chicken Hot Pot Soup Base (I used Lee Kum Kee)
Chopped green onion

Like making risotto, I toasted the washed rice for a bit with some oil and leeks. Add the water, sausage and mushrooms and hot pot soup base and mix before simmering like you would normally cook rice.

Sauce:
1 tsp chopped ginger
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp regular soy sauce
1 tbsp cooking rice wine
1/2 tsp sesame oil

Pour the sauce on top of the cooked rice. Serve it as is or mix it thoroughly before serving. Enjoy!






For many pet owners like me, the current lockdown has been quite a struggle especially when it comes to getting food, medicine and supplies for my fur baby. Typically, I go out of my house just to get my her food and treats, but the store where I used to go had to close because of the lockdown, so I had to look for other options instead.



With thousands of products and thanks to referrals from friends, I recently discovered Pet Warehouse, a web based online store that offers fast and free delivery of pet supplies! Whether you have cats, dogs, rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, birds or fish, you don't ever need to leave your house and your pets at home just to get their essentials. You can order 24/7, pay online via Paypal or credit / debit card and get confirmation right away, with free deliveries for orders above Php995 (within Metro Manila only) 



My discerning fur baby is quite the picky eater (pickier than her momma), only likes imported treats (unlike her momma) and is super cheeky (very much like her momma!) so it's a real pressure not to provide what's good for her. 

And to think dogs are supposed to be the guards of the house, right? I couldn't even leave my house as much prior to the lockdown because of her, so being on lockdown isn't really new to me :))

Prior to the lockdown, what I'm missing though are those roadtrips with her as she loves to put her head outside the car window just to feel her face against the wind. Her titos and and titas also ask about her constantly, so I'd like to say to you all that she is safe and well (...ugh wait, what about me? Hihi!)

All Pet Warehouse PH deliveries are being done by their riders called Pet Heroes, who provides contactless transactions as well as part of their safety measures with the new normal.

It's a plus that Pet Warehouse not only provides the best service for their customers, they also drive meaningful efforts by supporting and partnering with local entities such as PAWS and CARA, to extend help to our furry friends who are up for adoption but couldn't find a home yet. They also run food donation drives, relief operations, and you too can get involved! Customers can even donate pet supplies from Pet Warehouse and have it directly delivered to PAWS or CARA.

It's so PAWsome, right? :)

A few examples of these efforts include raising Php73,000 worth of meals last December 2019, and being able to donate to the affected animals during the recent Taal Volcano eruption early this year.

Lockdown or not, I can always count on Pet Warehouse - the biggest Philippine online store for pets - for all my dog food and care essentials. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram today! @PetWarehousePH

Essential frontline workers enjoy discounts and 

complimentary Peninsula Bread of the Month


2020 is like passing through what seems to be an endless road of small and big tragedies and no one knows where it could lead us. Nature striking lands, a global pandemic, business shifts, people losing jobs, leaders taking advantage of power, friends turning into enemies, and others silently hoping for real change. It's not impossible that some people can't help but be all negative in these trying times. 

But I always believe that everything is going to be better whatever happens. What is important is that we are still alive, our families and friends are healthy and safe, and we always turn to these people most especially during times of adversity - no matter how painful it gets. The key to happiness starts within ourselves - it might take a while to see it but soon you'll find it too :) Just never stop seeking the help from our greater God and always look forward to better days ahead.

I'm currently writing this while on lockdown and I still can't imagine how to move in a post-pandemic world. I noticed that people now strive for simpler things. Distance is now the new normal and we will continue to do so in who knows when. Industries are highly susceptible to change. The economy that came to a global standstill are required to operate in ways that they haven't done before. The travel and hospitality industry is just some of the things we may need to miss for now. 

Remembering that a few times in our lives (or more if you love traveling) they've given us the pleasure and satisfaction during those moments when we truly needed them - nostalgic about that staycation because you wanted to de-stress from something? Or you've probably visited a certain restaurant to enhance your dining experience? For a time, we basically got all the things that we want from such establishments just to get out of our comfort zones. And I say, now is a time to give back and support them more than ever.

Nostalgia will be at the forefront and it's time to bring back and cherish those moments. The lil' old lady in Makati - The Peninsula Manila, is finally having its slow awakening so we continue to remind ourselves about all those #PenMoments with their robust and diverse menu from The Peninsula Boutique, The Lobby and Spices Manila, which you can order either on the day or a day in advance depending on the dish and quantity of your order.





Famed for its classic ensaymada which is my ultimate favorite, breads, quiches, donuts, macarons, handmade chocolates, and cakes, these can now be ordered and picked up from The Peninsula Boutique daily from Monday to Sunday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.


Also on the menu are favourites from The Lobby like Pancit Luglug, Chicken and Pork Adobo, Beef Short-rib Kare Kare, Oven-baked Lasagna, and Pancit Canton. The generous portions serve four persons and require 24-hours advance notice.



One can also pre-order Spices classics like Butter Naan, Lasuni Naan, Chicken Samosa, Vegetable Biryani, Phad Thai Noodles, Murgh Makhani, and Salmon Fillet Tikka Masala that are good for four persons.


As a gesture of solidarity for essential frontline workers who put themselves at risk every day to deliver basic services throughout Metro Manila, frontliners with IDs will enjoy a 20% discount off their purchases at The Peninsula Boutique. And on behalf of guests and patrons who want to show their support, every time they make a minimum single-receipt purchase of P2,000, a Peninsula Bread of the Month will be donated to a frontliner.


Complimentary delivery within Makati City will be extended to guests making a minimum single-receipt purchase of P2,000. For orders not meeting the minimum transaction requirement, a delivery fee of P200 will apply.


Cash, credit card, or payment link are the only accepted modes of payment.


Grab Delivery and Lalamove services booked by The Peninsula Boutique guests and patrons will be accepted.


For inquiries, please call +63 2 8887 5747, +63 2 8887 2888 or email penboutiquepmn@peninsula.com.

These past few weeks have been so hectic that I only got to blog again today! Been busy working on my goals, hiding in the dark (itching to travel but I am isolating myself and need to avoid getting sick), and so far things have been good! I've been teaching myself to bake again (yay) - and I'm sure my current officemates are quite pleased to be getting goodies whenever I test out recipes coz they get to eat more for free hahaha. Among other things, I almost burnt my pastry puff recipe yesterday lol.

Today I did plan on applying for driving lessons but with the current SLEX situation I may need to park that goal for now. I'm still pondering with the vlogging thing but yeah, again, all good!

The Double B

Speaking of good, say hello to Good Good Philippines, a true milk tea sensation that originated from Taiwan and offers a variety of yummy and healthy blends to surely entice not just the OG milk tea lovers, but the smoothie, fruit, and cream cheese lovers as well! Branches have been popping in the northern part of Manila, but they're also looking forward to branch out in other parts of the metro soon.
Frannywanny, The Food Alphabet and Digital Hog Friends!

Get their bestselling milk tea flavors like the Double B, Triple B with Cream and Black Rose Milk Tea that's made only with high quality fresh cow's milk and brown sugar that's quite similar to what they have in Taipei.

Prefer healthier drinks? Get that equally refreshing fix with Good Good's Fruit Tea and Smoothie Series. I recommend getting their Green Grin with a combination of kiwi and coconut bits; Tropical Paradise, Strawberry Blonde and Berried Treasure for that taste of fresh berries and oranges like a summer dream.


At Good Good, you won't find powdered milk and fruit powders. Everything is made with only premium ingredients to make up your favorite blend! Add-ons are as impressive with choices like chia seeds, grass jelly, egg pudding and imported boba from Taiwan. I like my drinks with less sweetness so you can easily customize according to your preferred taste.


With their newest branch in Banawe, you can't help but take those IG worthy photos with all those cute drinks and cozy cafe interiors. So just in case your battery is low, they even offer complimentary power banks at their 'sip and charge' station while enjoying your drink! Simply present your valid ID to borrow a unit.


Good Good Philippines' newest branch is located in Banawe, Quezon City, with other branches at Scout Tobias (QC), Executive Regency (Ortigas), Caltex Pioneer (Shaw) and Sta. Maria (Bulacan). Visit their branches everyday from 11am to 9pm.


Check out and follow me on these pages:
About me: @nineslicad  | Nines vs. Food
From the blog: @ninesvsfood

Having a specific food craving is always a make or break thing for me. Either it'll be easy for me to buy something that I crave for (hello Grab Food) or I'll probably force myself to go out to the supermarket to buy some ingredients and cook myself a decent meal. 

More than the actual craving, I also have to think about other things like using all the usual kitchen stuff: pots and pans, dishes and then preparing all the ingredients. Sometimes I ask myself...will I have the extra strength to wash the dishes or will I just too tired to do it? Living independently (going on for more than a year now and counting, HUHU-YAY) is sometimes a pain in the ass so please forgive me if I seems to be ranting about these little things.

Or maybe I'll just get a dishwasher this year. 

ANYWAY...so a few weeks ago my emotions got the best of me and mustered to act on it only because I missed my lola / parents and their cooking so I had to make some twice cooked adobo...with a twist of course.

Here's my version of Thrice Cooked Spicy Pork Adobo that you can make at home. It took me a few hours to make it so make sure you have all the time in the world before attempting to do this. I assure you, it'll be worth it :)


THRICE COOKED SPICY PORK ADOBO
Yield: 3-4 servings

  • 1/2 kilo Pork Belly, cut into pieces (thicker cut is better)
  • 2 heads of garlic
  • 1/8 c. soy sauce 
  • 1/4 c. vinegar
  • 1 to 2 tbsp. brown sugar (you can also opt for coconut sugar)
  • 2 pcs. laurel leaves
  • 8-10 pcs. black peppercorns or ground pepper 
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 5 pcs. red finger chillies / siling labuyo (optional if you don't like it spicy)
  • 1/4 c. coconut cream

I’ve separated the cooking process into three simple phases.

Phase 1: The Typical Stuff
Wash the pork pieces. Separate the cloves of (unpeeled) garlic, lightly crush them with the back of a knife (or with your hand if you’re angry and aggressive) before dumping everything on the same pot with the rest of the ingredients except the coconut cream.

Make sure you don’t cover the pot until you’ve evaporated the vinegar a bit. Then cover and simmer until tender.

I only made this spicy because I love spicy food. But the use of chilies is really optional at this point. You can use this now as you simmer the meat or use it when you’re ready for Phase 3.

Phase 2: The Classic Twice Cooked
Now that the meat is tender and they are now happily simmering in its own oils and sweet garlicky salty goodness, it’s time to take it off from the heat.

I separated the meat from the sauce and get them ready for Phase 2. Make sure you have everything ready. A separate pan for frying, your handy splatter screen (if you don’t have one, you can find this at any Landers or True Value store), your apron (just in case you don’t want your clothes oiled) and a lot of breathing in the hopes of not getting that hot oil splattered on your face.

Drop in a few tablespoons of fresh oil to get the pan ready. Just cook the pieces until you get that nice toasty dark brown color on the meat. 

I also took out the excess oil from the adobo sauce (a must because to be honest, too much of it is obviously not okay) as well as the garlic skins which were now separated from the actual garlic pieces. This will give us a cleaner, smoother sauce by the end of Phase 3. 

Phase 3: The Coconut-nut is a big big you know what.

Still don't know what it is? it's a big flavor enhancer, that's what! I personally prefer to use the cream to make the sauce richer. It also subsides the heat a little bit if you happen to put too much chilies in the first phase of cooking.

The only step you have to make is put everything back in a pot, slowly add in the cream and let the heat do the rest. This would have to be the time to set up that table and get your piping hot rice (and extra rice) ready.

Try making and let me know your comments and suggestions below!

Check out and follow me on these pages:
About me: @nineslicad  | Nines vs. Food
From the blog: @ninesvsfood











I've been getting a lot of queries about friends asking me if it's okay to bring their children to the beautiful, majestic El Nido in Palawan, and here's what I can say:



Traveling to El Nido with children
El Nido becomes a lot more fun and excitement when you travel there with children. Well, there are some intrinsic benefits of traveling with young children even if they are too young to remember the trip. For those planning a trip to the El Nido, can look for direct Manila to El Nido flights to enjoy a fast and comfortable mode of travel.

 El Nido is a popular destination within the Philippines, and if you have still not been there, this is the perfect chance to plan a trip there with children. All you need to do is book Jetstar airline online and take advantage of special offers for families and kids. Explore the quintessential Philippine paradise in the Palawan region that is made of more than 45 islands with loads of lagoons and caves. It is like a perfect playground for the kids!

 Visiting El Nido with kids
 El Nido is sure to floor you and your kids because of those postcard-perfect islands, gorgeous lagoons, and white sand beaches. The best part is that El Nido is easy to navigate and explore on foot. Most of its attractions are within a short walk and are well connected. It is like being in another world as you enter the secluded landscape of El Nido

Where to stay
 There are plenty of family-friendly islands that can fit within your budget. One can stay at lovely private houses or one of those comfortable beach resorts or one of those lovely private houses that can be had on a modest budget. One can even rent a place through Air BnB. And for those with adventurous families, can hop around the islands on a sailboat and camp and BBQ whenever they want.

Where to eat
 When it comes to food, there is surprisingly a good range of restaurants. El Nido Boutique Art Café is popular among families, and here one can enjoy a wide range of dishes and a child-friendly menu. L’Assiette is another good choice where the whole family can enjoy some great meals along with a great view. And if your kids can’t do without a pizza, head for Little Italy. Children love those ice creams and fresh crepes sold by the roadside vendors.

Activities not to be missed by any family
 Although there is plenty to do and see in. El Nido with your family, there are activities that should not be missed.  
·       
         Kayak or paddleboard to explore the islands. The small children can sin the paddleboard but make sure they wear life jackets. The catamarans are a excellent option for two people and one child.

·         Relax and laze around on the beaches and watch a glorious sunset from El Nido Beach. You will find everybody making a special trip to the beaches to enjoy the beautiful sunsets.

·         Book an island-hopping tour on a Bangka boat and do carry your snorkel and mask. Take your kids to those deserted beaches, stunning sandbars, and explore huge caves and hidden lagoons with them. They will never forget the experience their whole life.
·     
          Rent out a tricycle and explore the town and its boutique shops. Stop wherever you want and whenever and enjoy tasty food and meals at any of the leading restaurants.

El Nido is safe for kids and makes for a spectacular playground for kids. However, if planning to go on one of those island-hopping tours, make sure to carry life jackets for children. It is recommended to carry cash as many shops and restaurants do not accept credit card and there are very few ATM machines in El Nido. The right time to visit El Nido with your kids is between December and February when the temperatures are comfortable and cooler.



Rewind to a couple of weeks ago we rediscovered our love for Yakiniku at Gyu-Kaku. Hailed one of the best Yakiniku restaurants in Japan, they landed in Manila a few years ago, which obviously shows that I am not the type of person who'd give in to trends, except when it comes to social media and digital marketing (because that's my job or else I can't eat and spend and be merry when I want to hihi).


What I would give in to, however, are good dining deals, which is why looking at their everyday unlimited BBQ promo, it easily convinced me to try Gyu-Kaku (finally!). Although I have to be honest that they initially invited me to try this at their Shangri-la Mall branch (it was paid for by a dear friend), it only proved that it is worth paying for and I'm making sure to visit again.




In a way, Yakiniku differs slightly from KBBQ, for example, their use of special grills and coals to achieve a distinctive taste as you cook your meat and vegetables. With Korean BBQ, there isn't a ton of veggies for cooking except for onions and garlic, but they are still available as side dishes such as kimchi and pickled bean sprouts, radish and cucumbers. Gyu-Kaku, in the meantime, adds carrots, capsicum, shitake mushrooms, eggplant, and pumpkin.






They also serve everything a la carte instead of standing up and going to a designated area for meat refills. Just sit back, relax and enjoy cooking and eating as much as you can.

So how do you maximize this buffet style to the fullest? My key takeaway: you don't need to try everything and in large portions. A little bit of everything can give you an opportunity to check on what you really like, and once you find it, don't stop. It's just like dating and choosing the one you really love, right? Right And make sure not to waste any food along the way :P





Some downsides if you're a slow eater: the buffet time is only strictly 90 minutes, so it's best to arrive hungry and move fast. Wastage will also be charged, so again, don't abuse yourselves too much. For more details, read the terms and conditions on their menu before you proceed.

Not the best photo, but also sharing is a photo of my foodie friends for life, all of whom I totally missed since I don't see them as much as I would like to. Love these guys so much!


Cheers!
~
Nines

Visit Gyu-Kaku Philippines at the East Wing inside Building Shangri-la Mall, EDSA Corner Shaw Blvd, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong, 1550 Metro Manila. For reservations, you may call (02) 631 7243.

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Step into a new level of delectation with exclusive Theme Nights and A La Minute Stations on selected days of the week. From Thursdays to Saturdays, Corniche at Diamond Hotel Manila presents special sets of dinner buffets to cater to a diverse range of palates which I think would still be impressive to the most discerning of guests.


Recently I tried their much-anticipated Seafood Night, where the finest local fresh catch takes center stage inside their massive restaurant. Reward yourself with a range of local fish and seashell varieties, such as fresh and saltwater shrimps, mud crabs and blue crabs, rock and slipper lobsters, lapu lapu, squid, mussels, clams and more!


Have them the way you like it: drenched in garlic butter, grilled, tamarind bisque, steamed or baked with butter and cheese! On the back end, they also make sure to feature their staff, with a weekly 'Chef of the Day' to make sure and surprise you with his/her cooking prowess and preparing your food exactly the way you want it. 

This is a great deal especially for those certified Dampa fanatics and 'enthusiasts' (hehe) who spend thousands ordering weighed seafood, farmers market style and pay a few hundred bucks more to have them cooked the way they want it. At Corniche, Php2,990 can give you unlimited access to all the fresh catch that you can get, and it already includes access to their Carving station (they have one of the most succulent steaks I have ever had), Japanese Station, Bread and Salad Station, Filipino Station, Chinese and Dessert Station! Can you get that in a Dampa? NOPE!

Check out the photos from last Friday's dinner:















In the meantime, Thursday nights are all about the 'Flavors of China' which highlights Diamond Hotel Manila's Chinese Sous Chef Yang Yong and his team. Enjoy traditional dishes like Salted Egg Crab to more modern dishes like the Kung Pao Prawns, as well as undisputed classics from their Dimsum stations. 

Saturday nights appeals more to the meat lovers, with a 'Steak Night' like no other. Relish on smoky and juicy meats from sirloin to lamb chops to grilled veggies combined with flavorful sauces.

See detailed prices below:
Thursday, Friday, Saturday Theme Night dinner buffet rate - Php2,990.00 nett per person
Lunch buffet from Mondays to Saturdays - Php2,380.00 nett per person
Dinner buffet from Sundays to Wednesdays - Php2,480.00 nett per person.

Promo will happen I think around August? Make sure you call them first before paying a visit at Corniche. 

BONUS: They have one of THE BEST UBE ENSAYMADAS in Manila! 
Make sure you go home with a box for you and your loved ones!

Corniche at Diamond Hotel Manila is located at Roxas Boulevard corner Dr. J. Quintos Street, Manila. For reservations, call (632) 528-3000 ext. 1121 or e-mail restaurant_rsvn@diamondhotel.com

Cheers!
~
Nines

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Crimson Hotel Filinvest City, Manila’s culinary team at Café Eight restaurant comes together to showcase the culinary heritage of Mexico and its popular cultural celebration – Cinco de Mayo. From May 3-11, 2019, diners can feast on a buffet spread inspired by the rich diversity and vibrant flavors of the Mexican cuisine.

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From the Spanish words ‘La Rumba’ or the party in English, guests can only expect a festival of gastronomic experience in a jovial atmosphere at Café Eight. Flavorsome appetizers such as Chicken Taco Salad, Stuffed Jalapeño, Pork Empanada, Pinto Bean and Chili with Avocado Salsa, and traditional Mexican soups such as Pozole, Tripe, and Albondigas will keep one’s taste bud alive and kicking.



Get ready with a sombrero on because Café Eight’s live and carving stations of Stuffed Beef, Tacos el Pastor, Chipotle Marinated Dorado, Beef Chimichanga and Fajita Sandwich will transport you to the streets of Mexico. In addition, the main dishes such as Gambas al Ajillo, Enchiladas, Pork Carnitas, Vegetable Chili Lasagna, Lamp Barbacao Adobo and Meatballs Enchilada and more will surely leave you with a full belly and flame-kissed lips. Don’t leave Café Eight without satisfying one’s sweet appetite with Churros, Flan de Manga, Corn Cheesecake with Tamarillo and Apple Burrito.

Here are some of the things that I've tried as well:

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Whether Cinco de Mayo is right around the corner or just craving for Mexican classics and some modern twists, book for seats for P1,470++ per person. The rate includes the buffet and unlimited Mexican beer. Guests can also avail of the buy one get one free on all Tequila cocktails.

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For more information or reservations, please visit the official website at http://www.crimsonhotel.com/manila/, call (02) 863-2222 or email dining@crimsonhotel.com.

Bonus: Crimson Alabang isn't just another hotel in Alabang. Aside from being a good venue for business travelers and a place to unwind and enjoy for families and friends, their staff are also very accommodating and friendly that they deserve to be on my list of most accommodating hotels in the city. Just so you guys know, I've been here a few times and never left it unnoticed :)

~
Nines

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