Christmas musings

It was when I was watching television while waiting for something that I was doing (cant remember what it was no) that I heard the tv host say that it was only 8 days till Christmas. And then I suddenly thought to myself, what happens when we reach Christmas? What am I counting down to? 🤔

Maybe I am getting old that I am not sure what I am counting to since I dont go to my Ninangs and Ninongs anymore nor is there any traditional gathering or event we do on Christmas. I mean when December 25 comes, nothing really out of the ordinary happens. Because of that I was forced to think and it was when I was reminded of what Christmas is all about. 

Christ’s birth is being celebrated. It is a day or say a season full of love and hope because God has given us the gift of His Son because of His great love for us. Whatever people may call this season today to make it politically correct (which I perfectly understand), this holiday season was still rooted from the savior’s birth. 

And so after being reminded of such, I was able to appreciate more all the Christmas activities and intentionally made time to pause, celebrate, feel the magic of the season and just have peace in the midst of all that is happening in and around me.

Celebrating the season included (of course not limited to) eating my favorite ramen while thinking about Christmas and listening to chimes and Christmas songs, enjoying buying and making gifts for my friends, and binge watching on Christmas movies. 😁

There is nothing more magical than Christmas! Even the hardest of hearts can have a soft spot during this season. It is a time when anything can be possible! I think in a sense that’s what is called the magic of Christmas.

And so with all these thoughts, I counted. I counted with enthusiasm and I counted with expectancy. Nothing like having purpose and understanding (counting down)  in what one is doing. Lol. 

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Music saves

I wondered why there are people who say that music saved them when they were at a low point in their lives.

I guess music helped me once but I totally forgot about it. And now I am beginning to understand what they meant when they said music saved them.

Music is a friend. A friend who knows you, knows how you feel. Music puts words into the feelings that you cannot even say. It expresses the things that only you and your soul know. Music can answer questions you have or assures you that all your questions are just normal. Music is the perfect best friend.

Home cooked food

Once you have made your own good version of meals, it’s just hard to eat the same from outside. You kind of think that what you can make at home tastes better and yet you pay more at the restaurants! 😁 

There is not a lot of food I can cook good but I could just imagine how the chefs may have felt. Yet also it increases your appetite to try out different tastes and types of food. Cooking makes one a better ‘eater’ I would say. 😉 

I had some time after work to cook and with the lack of someone who will cook good food (getting tired of mom’s hotdogs!), I went ahead and started cooking again. I cooked whatever mom bought. And they were a very good audience for my food! Lol

Here’s some I tried in the past days.

Tangy and savory chicken gizzard and liver adobo

Tortang talong and egg. I just fried the skin so as not to waste it. And we looove our eggplant skin.

Szechuan garlic spicy eggplant. (Not sure how the first word spells. Just typed what felt right. Lol.)

Pork patties and gravy

Tuna garlic tomato sauce and thin spaghetti. Yum!! Dont care about the carbs when eating pasta! 😋😋😋

Buttery garlicky refried shrimps

Chicken tinola with lemongrass and malunggay. Healthy and yummy. Perfect for the cold weather. Like a warm hug. 😍

Just a few things I have tried thanks to the internet and my tita. 😁 made from a few ingredients. Nothing like knowing what went into your food – no msg guaranteed! (Oops I used broth cubes on some so not sure then)

I Love cookin and I love seeing people happy and satisfied while eating. I just hope the dishes and pots and pans wash themselves automatically! Haha.

Good coffee

People change – and I am a changed person because of coffee. 😆

From someone who cannot even stand to drink brewed coffee, i have become a coffee lover counting on brewed and strong coffee to keep me awake and alert. 

Got me thinking about the coffee I drink most of the time…

Dunkin – about 50 pesos. i like the taste ( bit strong but still light) and it’s caffeine level is strong

McDonalds – 35-50 pesos. taste is good (clean and light and aromatic) and I would say medium

UCC at Family mart – 55 pesos. a bit heavy (maybe thick?) I think on the texture and strong

Country style – 50 pesos. almost the same as McDonalds

Starbucks – 100-200 pesos. i still cant find the right balance for its brewed cofee unlike for their espresso based drinks. Their normal brewed is strong but the reserve variants are stronger. 🙂 i get the reserve variant for the cookie that comes along with it. (Sort of fooling myself that I did not buy dessert or sweets)

UCC cafe – 150-220 pesos. i love the UCC special blend and the sumiyaki! Maybe it is with the cream and the sugar… Both flavors are strong. The great thing here is you really taste the distinct flavor of their coffee and the differences in flavor of each variant. Or at least for the 2 I mentioned.

Coffee bean – 100-200 pesos. hasnt been a fan. I like their food though. I go there more for the food. 😀

Toby’s estate – 120-200 pesos. still has not registered to me. 🙂 i found the mocha nice.

Vietnamese coffee – 100-120 pesos. i like the iced coffee on the rocks. I forgot the name of the coffee shop where I used to buy it. It closed because the coffee was pricey. They should have improved their packaging. If you see it, it looks like a 50-peso drink.

Chilis – they have unli brewed coffee. For about 100, it is sulit!

And so I just switch coffees every now and then depending on how much of a sleepy head I am on that day. I also do it to make sure my coffee taste buds don’t get fatigued. 😊 

(picture not in any of the places I mentioned above. 😅)

Alfredo’s steaks

The restaurant can already be considered a landmark at Tomas Morato. I grew up seeing it with its wooden frames and inviting veranda. It has not changed much ever since, which I think is a good thing, because externally, I dont think that it looked worse with time. I just see it as a constant reference to all the shops and restos that come and go in that busy street.

After all these years, I finally got to try Alfredo’s. Having a no reservations policy during a holiday, the field was kind of leveled in terms of chances in getting a table. And so the race begins.

We got there around almost 6pm and it was already packed with people. There was no queue and there were already people standing around. Good thing there was a waiter we were able to convince to create a queue and list our names and guest number. It was on a logbook page full of scribbles. Hmm not a very good sign.

There were still several vacant tables but nobody is making the effort to have people get seated there. If we could only fit on those spaces, I would have volunteered. Actually, I would have already sat there. It took about an hour before they start figuring things out. There was even a waiter who was turning people away. Very bad sign. 

Anyway, thankfully, I was sent a guardian angel waiter and he really tried to find a spot and reserved it for my group. There is still hope.

I ordered an appetizer right away and one of my group guest ordered for a drink while we try to figure out what to order for entree. Long story short, the appetizer did not arrive and the waiter even had a comment about not ordering completely the first time. We let it pass so as not to ruin the day. 

Anyway let’s talk about the food, since this is Alfredo’s steaks we had to try the steaks. They said the only difference between tenderloin and fillet mignon is the bacon on top. Their steaks are priced between Php 800 – 2000. It comes with gravy, vegetables, and half a boiled potato that you can mash on your own since it’s very soft. 🙂 I liked the potato, dont get me wrong.

The steak was soft and it was cooked the way I asked. Good job chef. 🙂 But it is not the kind of steak you eat without gravy hence, the gravy. Lol.

Good steak for me is something you can eat and enjoy without the need for any condiment or sauce. 

They had soup and salad with the steak. The soup was  mushroom soup that seems to have been watered down. It was edible and I finished it. The salad is like a worse version of a Wendy’s side salad. Let’s just say that is a bit personal as I am not a fan of thousand island dressing. ;p 

I liked their complimentary pandesal and butter. It was a hit. 🙂 It was hot and soft which really made it good and they weren’t cheap on the butter.

We ordered coffee for one of my group guest and again, it did not arrive. Queue was still very long during this time so I guess they are busy.

The ambience was nice with all the walls being glass and the guests seeing the lights outside the restaurant. They had a special gift for the ocassion, which was very much appreciated. A point for Alfredo’s. 🙂 

The food was ok but the service can be improved by a lot. Seems like the servers and waiters have become too familiar with the place and their work and no one seems to be keeping them on their toes and leading them (at least not that I saw). It is an old restaurant that is in a way has grown old in terms of service. Like a tired old grandparent, still loving and serving, but can only do so much due to frailty.

Lola Ote

I love bbq! I mean it is one of my all-time favorites like pizza. I think i can eat it 7 days straight and be perfectly fine with it! That says a lot as I normally want my meals to be varied.

A local resto in QC offers value for money bbq!! The pork bbq was 18 inches and is served hung. Nice. 🙂

It is a great buy for about 150 I think for the combo meal. The isaw baboy and isaw manok are ok and can offer variety but I like the pork bbq best.

The pancit there is good too – flavorful and with lots of ingredients. I have not ordered other menu items as I normally get full on the bbq. 😋

Have tried many bbq places and this is one of those I go back to. 👍

I normally rate high and since I have gone back to this place several times already – 4.5 😋

New Bombay

Never did I imagine that I would say I like Indian cuisine. I think it could have been several factors…

1. I am getting old. Ever noticed that we tend to eat or try those we thought we do not like for the longest time and found that it was actually good or not that bad. 😄

2. 100 foot journey. Nothing like a good movie influencing you. I remember as a child I saw an actor from a tv eating boiled egg and I suddenly craved for one. I actually boiled an egg by the way. 😅Anyway, Hassan had so much passion in cooking that in the movie that I wanted to try Indian cuisine. Imagine that!

3. New Bombay had it good. 👍 I found all the things I thought I would not like very very good! The bread Naan was perfect with the sauces. As in the movie, I ordered Masala! Chicken tikka masala with cheese on top was the crowd favorite.

We also ordered samosa for appetizer. Still an influence from the movie. “…Only grease-proof paper, Samosa” 😂😂😂 loved it with the green sauce! The tamarind sauce was also ok but I prefer the cilantro one. The samosa we ordered was vegetarian and was made of peas I believe.. healthy and good!

We ordered another entree for the bread – fish curry this time. It was also great. I already tried several dipping sauces there like mutton masala which I also found nice. I have not actually tried anything in that place that tasted overpowering. Good job New Bombay!

The Chicken Biryani was super spicy for me even if it was only supposed to be medium spicy. The bread alone can be heavy so I only ate a bit of rice. 

I tried the mango lassi but found it too sweet! They said it was to take out the spicyness of the food. I ended up putting a lot of ice in the drink and probably turned it into a mango juice. 😆 also, i hate paper straws!!! 😠 the owners should really try to use it first before making the customers do so. Aside from getting the paper taste, the straw becomes useless after a while!!! This is one invention I do not like. 😥 so back to the drink.. lol.. next time I will stick with coke. The softdrink is a nice balance to all the spices in the food. 😉

The food range is about 250-350 and the bread 75. I think it is a real value for your money and may be the best first Indian restaurant to try Indian cuisine. 🙂 (everyone I brought there liked it.. so far 100% hitrate) 😀
New Bombay: 😋😋😋😋 plus 😋 (4.5) or probably a bit higher