Sunday, September 29, 2013

Going Back to LiLi

The boys did remarkably well in their first quarter in Claret, considering they're transferees.  In terms of academics, social skills, and all of that.  Wow.  Did they really come from me?  Hard to believe.  Well, like I always say, they got Chester's brains and my charms.  Hahaha.

To celebrate, we want back to Our Favorite Buffet of 2013:  LiLi at Hyatt.  It was my good friend Sherry from SM who referred us to this place, and she should know where to go for Chinese food bcoz she's Filipino-Chinese.  Actually it shows, too, bcoz the two times we ate here, we were the only non-Chinese-looking family around.  So it's gotta be good, right?  It is good.  Pricey but good.      

I love that it's a mix of  buffet spread and order-all-you-can.  So you can be sure that what you're having is freshly cooked bcoz they only do it after you order, and while waiting you can already eat and have your fill from the buffet.  The hands-down favorite in the buffet is the lechon sushi.  Ches also swears by the barbecue ribs, but I'm not a barbecue nor ribs person and the only way I like my ribs is deep fried with salt, pepper, and lots of garlic bits.  Yum!

Too bad the hot prawn salad is not available this time.  I've been dreaming about it for days before we went to LiLi.  Hahaha.  I also missed the fresh garoupa from last time.  It turns out they change the menu for the mains every month or so.  So the tip is to call first to make sure your favorites are on the menu.  The desserts were better this time around, tho.  Loved the mango sago, green tea-flavored custard, egg tarts.  And the brownies! I'm wary of picking brownies from buffet spreads bcoz it's so hard to tell whether they're any good.  The bad floury ones and the good gooey ones all look the same.  I have to say:  LiLi's brownies are One of the Best.    

Years from now when all our friends are reaping the rewards of their wise investments and enjoying their snooty vacation homes somewhere, I would wonder where our money went, and remember all our buffets especially LiLi.

And I would not exactly regret it.  

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Invincible/Tired Woman

My favorite aunt-in-law had the nicest pasalubong for me the last time she visited.  She got me this fabulous picture book and a box of Godiva dark chocolate bits.  She said she was browsing in a bookstore back home in Shanghai when she saw this book and just had to get it for me bcoz it reminded her so much of me.  I showed Ches the book and he couldn't agree more, couldn't stop laughing at my expense.  Groan.  Well, at least she still loves me, even knowing that I'm this way.

I do share many of the sentiments written in the book.  Below are my favorite parts.

On giving beauty a break:

On the virtue of keeping calm vs. staying fit:

On environmentalism:

On physical sustenance:

On the value of shoes and friends:

On the true worth of men:

On setting priorities:

On words of wisdom:

On having other skills to make up for a lack of culinary ones:

On being yourself:

... even if it means being a beyotch:


Friday, September 20, 2013

Foodie Finds

The Austria Eating Family lucked out on some foodie finds lately.  Some families go to the mall, others go out of town - we spend our weekends trying out new restos or going to our old reliables.

Casa Filipino is one of those old houses converted into restos. It's near my old office and Ches and I have been planning to try it out for sometime.  The lunch buffet was good - it had crabs for Ches, prawns for me, bagnet for Yoshi, soft ice cream and chocolate fondue for Boots.  We'd go back there if we hadn't lined up several other buffets to try.  Hahaha.

Lord of the Wings was a recommendation of Robert and Eycee, and it was right smack in our neighborhood.  It's a typical Maginhawa small resto with laid-back ambience and great-tasting, affordable food.  The menu contains mainly just wings, pasta, and pizza - but they're all so yummy.  We've been here twice already.  I cannot get enough of the wings with creamy parmesan.  The complete name is actually Chef Diego's Lord of the Wings - and Chef Diego refers to Diego Castro who used to be in showbiz and is a son of prominent broadcasters.  Cool.

Yen Yen is our favorite Taiwanese resto.  The place is clean and simple, the service fast and warm, and the food is great and distinctly unlike the usual Chinese flavor.  The boys love the chicken and porkchop, I always order the spicy spare ribs, Ches usually gets the noodles.  Ate's favorite here was the eggplant with minced meat.  Yen Yen alsos serves The Best Hot and Sour Soup Ever.  Yen Yen was the whole reason we wanted to go to Taipei, but we scrapped that bcoz of the whole shooting incident with the Taiwanese fisherman, and went to HK instead.  Oh well, there's always Yen Yen nearby.  

Zong is our second favorite Chinese restaurant after President.  Too bad the branch in Centris closed down. We went all the way to Sta. Rosa for this one (altho the original branch in the Fort is still open, I think). Omg, Yoshi and I have dreams about Zong's salted egg-covered fried chicken.  One of the Best Fried Chickens Ever.

Our new favorite milktea place is Cobo. What we keep going back to, tho, is not the milk tea, but this concoction of kiwi, strawberry, mango, and passion fruit, with yogurt and other yummy stuff.  Too good.

It's hard for me to choose a favorite among these foodie finds, but I think the boys' is easily Ally's.  It's another typical Maginhawa resto, hence another reason why I just love living where we do - all of these fantastic foodie finds are right in our neighborhood so we can go anytime we feel like eating out, and the food is terrific but the price is just like what you would pay in a school or office canteen.  Ally's serves all-day breakfast, and the boys and I are suckers for breakfast meals. One of the things I love most about Ches is that he cooks me breakfast meals for dinner.  And the boys' default choice when Ches and I go on date night and we let them choose what to have at home is usually bacon and egg.

You can make your own pancakes and waffles at Ally's.  The boys created something they called Extreme Waffles with blueberry, chocolate, and caramel.  They also serve something called Freaking Deep-Fried Oreos, which we tried and which I now keep bugging Yoshi to replicate at home.  Ally's serves The Best Adobo Flakes Ever.  Yes, even better than the one at Chocolate Kiss.  

I also love Ally's writings on the wall, that even include a quote from Roald Dahl.  Too perfect.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

School Days



We spent all of Saturday in Claret for the boys' activities.  We are all liking Claret so far, for various reasons: 1.  Boots - bcoz he has quizzes and homework and projects unlike in Mayfield where they don't start these until Grade 1 (what a nerd); 2.  Yoshi - bcoz he has Kids in the Kitchen every Friday where they cook and bake and do cool stuff like visit Greenwich and make their own pizzas, plus the canteen where he buys Blizzard and siomai; 3.  Ches - bcoz he's a Claretian; 4.  me - bcoz they don't take things too seriously and let my kids enjoy their childhood.

We went to another school activity once where the spiritual director talked about how they discourage tutorials, homework, time-consuming school projects.  He said something like:  you don't bring your work home, in the same way you shouldn't require your kids to study some more at home after they've already spent the entire day in school.  Good point, right?  He also asked parents to be honest and see if their kids really need tutorials, or if they're just doing it to assuage their guilt that they're not around to teach the kids themselves.  I was happy hearing this bcoz I do not feel alluded to - the only tutors my kids have ever known are Ches and me.  (Yes, us already!)  We're the kind of family who'd rather spend our money on buffets than on tutors. Hahaha.

So anyways.   Boots' activity was Family Day, which actually looked a lot like a sports fest to me.  There were cheers and games and Mc Do goodies.  Boots' class was supposed to be in soccer attire, and family members had to wear something orange.  It was a good thing I had a ready orange Plains and Prints top, or I would've been The Resident Deviant as usual.

In all fairness, Boots' class did well in the cheers.  The other teams' cheers were so short and uninspired it was hilarious.  I moaned to Ches:  I woke up at 7AM on a Saturday to watch this???  Aaargh.

The highlight of our morning was the paraliturgy (a shortened version of Mass that I guess is customized for pre-schoolers), bcoz Boots was chosen by Teacher Roselle as his class representative to do one of the prayers of the faithful.  We spent a few minutes for two nights last week memorizing 12 lines of the prayer. Whew.  He had a hard time at first, but by the second night he was reciting the long verse as tho it was one of his favorite songs.  Amazing.  I don't think I was even reading at age 5, much less memorizing any darn thing.  Obviously, the boys inherited Ches' brain powers - and my acerbic humor.  HAHAHA.            

Yoshi's event, meanwhile, was his Boy Scouts Investiture (whatever that means).  It was mainly a ceremony where the priest blessed the scouts' green neckerchiefs, and then the parents tied them on their necks.  It's supposed to symbolize their official entry into the Boy Scouts of the Philippines. 

I liked that the program started on time and finished in an hour.  There were the usual speeches and oath-taking, but mostly it was marching and chanting.  It was all pretty fun, actually.  Not Yoshi's usual geeky activity.  Hahaha.