Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Peppermill Restaurant and Mixology Bar: Catering to discriminating palates

It has been more than two years since I visited one of Chef Vince’s food creative hubs. Last 2011, I was still starting my food blogs, I was so fortunate to be one of the few invited blogger guest to get the first taste of RED GARLIC’s Menu. This was  at the time when RED Garlic Restaurant was about to open the first branch in Katipunan. 

The second one was in CRAVE Bistro at Rada Street in Makati. The thing a bout tasting good dishes created by master chefs like Chef Vince Rodriguez, is you unconsciously elevate your tasting preference to a much higher standard and anything less, becomes unacceptable. Somehow, these dishes become the new standard of taste. 

After several reviews of other food creations of respectable chefs, I was again fortunate to be included to get to taste the food of PEPPER MILL, the newest of Chef Vince food sanctuary located at katipunan. 

Actually, PEPPER MILL. For those who knows Chef Vince is not as new because it is also the name of his Catering food service that brought Chef Vince food masterpieces in the top of mind when it comes to food catering. As usual, the food that were served was brought out one at a time, to make sure that all of us were able to get good photos and savored its flavorful taste. Some of the food were chef vince’s signature. 

For starters, we were served with the Shrimp Popcorn. Served in a cocktail glass, the Shrimp Popcorn in soaked in Chef’s signature marinate sauce fried to tender crisp. You might want to order a second serving because this one really tastes very good. 

Another good starters would be the Chili Taco Poppers. It’s a kind of a taco roll with Ilocos chili pepper mixed with Mexican spiced beef with Jabanero dough soaked in a garlic sauce dip. For some who are not used to hot dishes, I think this one can be negligible. I like hot spicy foods but sometimes, too hot spoils the taste and flavor of the dish. But this one is okay. 

For people who like to start with greens and veggies, you might want to try the Hanoi Salad. It is normally presented in a very creative plating with Ice lettuce on the first level then Lolo Rosa on the second then followed by layer of Pomelo chunk-bits and crispy adobo flakes on top. Around it are bits of chopped onions, Saigon sweet chili battered with a special mix of vinaigrette. 

Before getting into the main course, I was able to get the privilege of ordering one of the newest drink collection of chef Vince. The Mixology. These are mix of cocktail drinks with a fusion of greens and healthy herbs juices and a bit of kick of booze to add character to the mix. 

After the salad, one can go straight to Japanese inspired rice-rolls. Two popular dishes are the Rainbow and Fire Crackers. The first is a smoked salmon fish tempura with cream cheese and mango salsa cucumber. The second one is your typical California roll with US scallops shrimp and kani. 

Next is a pasta that is quite exceptional, because it happens to be Kris Aquino’s favorite dish in the house. It’s the Vigan pasta. A composition of which are Vigan longganisa with Sundried Tomato, Artichoke, (it was the first time I tasted one) sprinkled with olives and Spaghettini sauced in Olive oil. 

Of course, good pasta is better partnered with a good pizza. Chef Vince made a special treat for us to have a one serving of pizza of the best three flavors. These are Cinco de Mayo, a cheese over load of Mozzarella, cheddar, Fontina and Cream Cheese with Padano. The second one is an Ilocos Bagnet inspired mix that includes Eggplant Casserole, Bagoong Relish, Scarmbled Egg and Mozzarella Cheese. The third type is practically the green pizza. It is called Torre del Greco. Ingredients are: Arrabiata, Rock Shrimp, Sundried Tomato, Arugula, Mozzarella Cheese and Anchovies.

The next serving was course for the meat lovers. To start off, our dear chef served the Steak Roulade. It’s a mouth watering dish of Angus Rib-Eye Steak, rolled to strips of fresh asparagus sauté in butter, with Peppermill Mashed potato in Red Wine sauce.

For those who love fish, Salomon in particular, you might want to try the Norway dish. It is an Encrusted Norwegian Salmon, Sprinkled with Sesame and Nori on Unagi Sauce. On the side is a scoop of Mango Salsa and Steamed Rice. 

The Black Sea is a Halibut Fish dish. Halibut is the largest flatfish which can be found in North Pacific and North Atlantic Ocean. Not a rare fish but definitely delicious, most especially if this cooked in Corn Tortilla, Tomato Relish, Olives, Capers and Mashed Potato. 

Ilocos is actually an authentic Vigan Bagnet. A pork dish deep fried in three different temperatures for long hours which makes it so special. The Bagnet is cloupled with steamed rice and of course a special Bagoong relish. 

The Thailand dish is Thai’s version of Bagoong Rice. The rice is marbled with sweet pork ( at first I thought its Tocino but its not), with toppings of shredded green mango, crushed peanut and scrambled egg. 

The Monte Carlo is not the typical Lechon Manok because its not grilled but baked. This special chicken dish is coupled with sundried tomato, Italian Herbs and on the side is mashed potato. 

Saving the best for last. Agave-Passion Fruits BBQ Beef Ribs is definitely special. The beef ribs is blanched then baked for four hours in a very regulated temperature, just enough for the meet and cartilages are detached from the bone, without loosing the flavors. It’s served with grilled corn-cob, French fries and passion fruit sauce, although the passion fruit was not as noticeable but I definitely tasted the wine mix. 

Make sure to leave more space for the desserts. Chef Vince signature recipe, Bread Pudding 

The Mango Cheese cake is to die for...

The Hush Puppies is something very exceptional...

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Pro Earth Run 2014 focuses on Climate Change

Pro Earth Run 2014 is the signature event of Earth Day Network Philippines now focuses on protecting mother earth from the adverse effect of Climate Change. EDNPI doubles the celebration of Earth Day with its 15th year anniversary of advocating and protecting the environment. 

This years Pro-Earth Run is co-presented by an equally environmental-friendly enterprise, the Manila nature’s Link Corporation. The Pharmaceutical Company is responsible of brining the very first food supplement Malungay-leaf extract backed up by clinical study done by Johns Hopkins University. The Malungay life Oil is a product developed in pure Moringa Oilefera’s seeds and leaves. The company applies a process which is purely organic. 

The Pro-Earth Run 2014 is also supported by United Parcel Service – UPS, First Gen, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes, Merrell and Sta. Lukes Medical Center. Other sponsors are: Globe, Holcim, The Body Shop, Coco Dulce, Business Mirror, The Manila Times, Malaya Business insights, Business World, Circuit Magazine, 106.7 Energy FM, 107.5 Win Radio, SM Ticket Net, SM Cinema and BGC. 

After the run at BGC, the celebration is extended to the Quezon Memorial Circle, where the network will look back on its achievement over the past 15 years. It is also where the DENR Secretary will present the Philippines Environment Address. The main event will also co-inside with SANDIWANG: Isang Diwa sa Pagdiriwang ng Kalikasan. This event is an interfaith celebration of Earth Day participated by different faith-based organization who’s mission is to protect and be a better stewards of God’s creation. 

National Geographic Channel runs strong with Earth Day Run 5th year…

Last year, the National Geographic Channel staged an unprecedented running event that participated by more than 12,000 runners, 2,000 more on its original goal. It was held in one of the most popular racing routes in the metro, the Bonifacio Global City. This phenomenal event paved a more driven advocacy for people to take care of the environment. And there is no other day to celebrate it than having it on the Earth Day season which starts at April 22. 

This year, NGC and its participating partners pushed on further by targeting 12,000 runners and because of the phenomenal improvements of many runners, they added up another category which is the 42k full marathon. However, due to its logistical constraints, the organizers limits the registration to 500 runners only. Now that the running community has improved so much over the course of time, the 500 slots were gone in the just two weeks of registration. 

Even now that the running event is still three weeks from now, slots in all categories are almost gone. Appeals of the running community are very evident in the social media to add more slots, but organizers are not showing any signs that they will add more. None the less, I was still glad to get the 5k category slot. 

The Nat Geo Earth Day Run last year was able to plant more than 1 million worth of fruit baring trees in the abuan watershed in Isabela, in the Sierra Madre Region. This year, because of the result of the last year’s calamity, this event would hope to build fiber glass boats to the fishing folk communities in the costal areas in the Visayas. This project is in partnership with World Wild Fund WWF. These boats are designed to withstand rough seas and typhoons and building them will no longer require cutting down trees. 

The Nat Geo Earth Day Run will be on April 27, 2014, Sunday and it will be held oncwe more at the Bonifacio Global City. Categories includes 3k, 5k, 10k, 21k and 42k. The 42k and 21k finishers will get medals and finishers shirts. 

MANHUNT: Discovery Channel’s newest reality TV adventure series

When television became popular during the early 50’s, many thought that radio broadcasting will disappear in the public preference. But some how, radio was able to find its niche amongst distinct audiences. Same goes to the TV industry. After the arrival of the internet technology and the phenomenal growth of people in the social media platforms, many thought that it will overshadow TV. But that was not the case. TV still holds the most number of viewership compared to internet. 

Somehow, TV was able to consistently re-invent itself so that it will conform to the ever changing preferences of its loyal viewership. From the news, sports to entertainment, TV remains to be the most informative and got most ‘life-like” experience. Speaking of “life-like”, another innovation in TV programming is capturing the public’s attention, and that is Reality TV. And every network channels in the world today has one or two reality programs tucked in their weekly line ups. Since everyone are in the reality TV band wagon, the competition now is how real Reality TV can get. 

Discovery Channel, one of the few networks that offers shows which I consider relevant, has created another reality TV show that defies the physical limitations of man under severe rugged conditions. I’m talking about Discovery Channel’s new reality-adventure TV series MANHUNT, starring Joel Lambert. 

The concept is a real life test of the world’s toughest, meanest, hardcore military tracking units if they can hunt down and capture Joel Lambert. Lambert on the other hand is no average-Joe. He is an ex-NAVY SEAL, with expertise in special weapons, covert intel-operation, Expert in survival, evasion, resistance and escape tactics, and who has been in 20 combat missions all over the world. So this reality TV series is high-level “hide and seek” show that will feature some of the best intel and tracking units from across the globe. 

This will also highlights various difficulties of topographic terrain and extreme climate conditions from freezing cold weather in Europe to the heat in Africa and the thick jungle and humidity of South East Asia. 

Last week I had the opportunity to watch an episode where our very own tough thugs, the Scout Ranger of the Philippine Army was put to the test on how well they can track and hunt down Lambert in the thick jungle of Santa Rita, Zambales.

Discovery Channel MANHUNT with JOEL LAMBERT will kick-off tomorrow April 7, 2014.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Glucerna: Not just for the Diabetics…

Glucerna, a dietary food supplement or meal replacement specially designed for people with diabetes. It has formulation that extends its absorbing features to a long period of time, thus glucose are burned by the body before it can be absorbed by your internal organs. 

People with diabetes are into active lifestyle are advised to take Glucerna along with daily meals. Well, it depends on how active a person can be, but the idea is, taking it as it is, might lead to a very low blood sugar after a very strenuous work out, most especially to those who are taking insulin.

For a long time, Glucerna has been the brand of choice, an ideal dietary companion of people with diabetes. But many people doesn’t know, Glucerna, can also be effective for ordinary folks who would want to just to loose weight or simply wants to maintain the ideal physic they have already. 

People who are glued to an office chair in front of a computer for a long period of time, coupled with the heavy lunch at the nearest fast food hub are prone to gaining weight easily. My recommendation for the corporate rats like me who endure the daily grind of office work, is to replace the fast food lunch with a 53.3 grams of Glucerna in a 200ml of cold water.

A mug size would more likely the content of the meal. Make sure to steer it thoroughly until all are dissolved. Taking a mug size of Glucerna will make you feel heavy in the belly. It has a density sensation making you feel really full. Very ideal if you are in a middle of an idea and you don’t want your momentum to be interrupted by lunch break. You can continue working while taking a gulp of Glucerna every few minutes or so. 

My weekly GLUCERNA Program:

Days: Breakfast:   Lunch:   Dinner:        After Dinner:

Monday        Coffee & Bread   Glucerna   Rice meal 12km run

Tuesday        Coffee & Bread   Glucerna   Light meal Rest

Wednesday     Coffee & Bread   Glucerna   Rice Meal 12km run

Thursday        Coffee & Bread   Glucerna   Light Meal Rest

Friday        Coffee & Bread   Glucerna   Rice Meal 16km run

Saturday        Coffee / Cerials   Rice meal  Rice meal Rest

Sunday        Coffee / Oats   Rice meal  Rice meal 4 min metafit

My weight when I started was 142lbs. After the three-week Glucerna Program, my weight went down to 138lbs. With a height of 5’5” , my ideal weight should be 135lbs. 

Glucerna is available in a powdered form on a sachet variant, good for one cup. Although in the super markets the ready to drink can are also available but a little pricy. I’ve tried both and the taste are the same. Glucerna is available in two flavors, Chocolate and Vanilla.

Glucerna, an adult nutritional drink effective for people with diabetes and also to people without the illness but simply wants to live in a well balanced diet and keeping a healthy lifestyle. 

Note: This Three-Week Glucerna Program is a sponsored post courtesy of  Abbot laboratories

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

“COSMOS: A Space-Time Odyssey” Redefines the Universe

With the advent of man’s latest technology in exploration and research, the last few decades has brought man with overwhelming discoveries in the vast reaches of the universe. There are new discoveries about the galaxies and outer space that are mind boggling; weird stuff that we only knew in fiction movies before. 

When I was in grade school in the late 70’s, I had the opportunity to visit the local planetarium in Manila where we experienced seeing a replica of the galaxy with constellations and all the stars and planets. At that time, Pluto was still a planet but now it's not as experts voted that it is just a big moon. 

As man is able to come up with new ways to discover new things about outer space, the curiosity allows him to want for more knowledge beyond what’s out there. In the 70’s in order for a man to become an astronaut, one should be at least an Air Force pilot with an engineering degree. Now, a simple civilian can already get the opportunity to become an astronaut without having those technical skills in order to explore outer space.

Very recently, news broke about the next space shuttle mission that will allow the first Filipino to experience the vastness of the cosmos. And these developments just happened in the last 40 years! Imagine the many other things man can do tomorrow. 

This month, National Geographical Channel (NGC) and FOX will be featuring another mind blowing documentary series about the universe and beyond. Its called COSMOS: a Space-Time Odyssey. The 13 episodes series is actually a sequel of the popular TV series in the 80’s COSMOS: A Personal Voyage, which was written and hosted by Carl Sagan.

The new COSMOS series will feature new discoveries and will disprove old theories about the universe and all the things in it. The new COSMOS will be hosted by Mr. Neil deGrasse Tyson who will feature a new imaginary space craft while he expound the secrets of the universe in a new mode of storytelling. The producer of this scientific mini series is a man, very unlikely to pursue such a project. He is no other than Mr. Seth Mcfarlane, the very talented voice comedian that brought us the Family Guy

COSMOS: A Space-Time Odyssey will launch its premier telecast on March 12, 2014 at 10PM on NGC and FOX channels simultaneously. The new COSMOS series will definitely raise the bar in three dimensional animation that will bring audiences to new heights in education and entertainment. 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Harness The Kinetic Advantage for Your Business

Just over a few years ago, the phenomenal rise of popularity of the social media made a lot of brands re-think their way of reaching their target markets. While many have gone exploring on how will their brands click to the world of the “netizens”, many experts chose to held on to other mediums which they believe still works best – the OOH media or the Out-of-Home media. 

Out-of-home media are the images and visuals that you see everyday when you go out. OOH maybe in the form of billboards, LED screens and some times in metro media like buses or taxi’s. In the length of EDSA alone, the billboards that covers practically all sides of the highway are so tightly packed, such ads have become distractions rather than attracting attentions. 

So how come a lot of brands still invest in these channels of media which are more costly rather than riding along the limitless exposure of the social media which are more cost effective? 

Well, according to Kinetic Worldwide Philippines, a pioneer in brand market research, have proven that among the channels of media, the Television still holds as the number one channel medium in brand awareness and second to TV is the OOH. Yes, not the internet as many would assume. 

As many brands would spend so much in advertising and marketing, it pays to really have a hard facts information about the dynamics of the specific market segment the brand is aiming for. The Kinetic advantage will give a brand clear pictures that will focus its visibility specifically matched to the right target market. The playing field is not just about the right location and right message, it is important also to know the right timing. 

The kinetic advantage can give the brand owner these valuable data so that such ad campaign will no longer be a hit and miss marketing program.

According to Mr. Rowell Santiago, Insights Director of Kinetic Worldwide Philippines, The results were mapped out in all zones identified by Kinetic enhancing its set of proprietary tools of planning and buying. The study is customized for the unique landscape of the country as it also examines other touch points and compares them to OOH-Media effectiveness in adding to the business in the medium. Meanwhile, the OOH media can be based.

With the Kinetic advantage, business can customize their own OOH media campaigns to fit the interest of the audience profiled in the study. It also allows the business to correctly place their OOH media where they can reach the most of their customers.  

Monday, February 17, 2014

Walking Dead Season 4 on FOX Channel

Hooaw! Just finished watching Walking Dead Season 4’s second episode. It was a brain splattering episode!

Near end, I was glad to see Glenn alive. In the first place, I knew he’s alive because the producers couldn't simply cut the participation of a single Asian character in the show, it would be culturally un-friendly, right? 

After that prison out-break from the season 3, and all of them were scattered and got separated again, the season four would certainly be an exciting season because each group has its own adventure of surviving the walkers in the outdoors and at the same time the adventure of searching for each other. 

Last week, I just had the opportunity to be invited in the first screening of the first episode at the FOX Channel office at the Active Fun building in BGC, along with some members of the media. 

All of us had the coolest time to watch it on a 70-inch flat screen LED TV with hi fidelity audio speakers that captured all the details of the sound effects including the sound of blood splattering while Michonne gruesomely slices the heads of a bunch of walkers with her Katana (Samurai Sword).

There are a lot of exciting things to look forward in Season Four. In the previous season, we were able to see the strength of the group in surviving all sorts of troubles with both living and the un-dead. Their escape from the prison in the last season forced them to scattered in small groups, thereby compromising their strength as a group without some one leading them. 

In the succeeding episode, each small groups will face challenges in surviving the wild with out the security of the prison walls. Each one will its own adventure on its own. Now, that Herschel is no longer in the picture, let see who are the surviving character at the end of this season. 

The time schedule was at 11:35am, synch to the showing time in the US. The regular screening in the Philippines is at 8:55PM every Monday night.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

F21 Sugar Blocker: An Effective Partner in Blood-Sugar Management

Last September, I had a comprehensive blood chemistry test. The package cost me a little more than I expected, but it’s okay. With the price, the medical clinic managed to throw in an ECG service along with it. The blood chem schedule was kind of overdue since I was admitted for elevated blood sugar almost three years ago. 

After that revelation, I completely made an overall lifestyle change and started running and joining marathons aside from the other outdoor stuff I’ve been doing ever since. Surprisingly, it did not only improve my health bios, it also reduced my weight tremendously in a short span of time. Of course, this would not be possible without serious consideration of my daily food intake, so I made sure to control the calories that enter my body. 

However, there were some unguarded moments when I tend to get carried away with eating a little bit too much. In order to counter the effects, I will just hit the road for a 16 kilometer run. That’s my own little way of punishing myself for eating too much.

Just recently, I discovered a food supplement that blocks the sugar even before it is absorbed by my body and to my bloodstream. It’s called F21 Sugar-Blocker by LUDAX. A friend of mine gave me the opportunity to give this relatively new product a test run. I was given the instruction to take two tablets a day, 20 minutes before eating. Since it’s a food supplement, dosage can vary depending on the amount of food one eats. One tablet can actually block at least 10 grams of sugar of whatever food I eat. So, if I take two tablets, 20 grams of sugar will just go straight to my colon and out of my body as waste.

But as a runner, I normally take caution when blocking too much sugar since it’s also where I get the energy needed for the activity, most especially when running long distances. Presently, the only medication that I take for diabetes is a daily 1mg dose of Glemiperide, the clinical action of which is hypoglycemia, which means it lowers my blood sugar systemically. Oral meds are very effective for most people but the downside of this is the effect on the kidney. So, I think the F21 really complements whatever diabetic meds one is taking already because it supplements the effect of low intake of sugar minus the risk of damaging the kidney. 

I started taking F21 on the first week of November 2013. On the first two days, there weren’t any significant changes in my blood sugar level. However, in the next few weeks, I noticed a significant drop.

When I was diagnosed with diabetes, my endocrinologist prescribed me anti-diabetes maintenance drug, Glemiperide 1mg. The branded ones cost around 13 pesos to 15 pesos each, but the generic ones are just eight pesos to nine pesos. Some doctors say the dosage is so small, the effect is almost placebo. Nonetheless, I still take them because psychologically, I think it works for me. Unfortunately, the 1mg tabs are really hard to find, because not many are prescribed with that dose. The most common are 2mg and 4mg. 

This January 2014, for whatever reason, the medicine I’m taking became out-of-stock for weeks. So I resorted to the F21 Sugar blocker to compensate of the Glemiperide’s absence. I made it a point to take two tabs everyday and, sometimes, take another two in the evening before eating dinner. For almost a month now, F21 Sugar blocker is the only supplementary drug I’m taking while I wait for my meds to become available in the pharmacies again.

Yesterday, I decided to make a random check of my sugar level. It’s a good thing that many drug stores in our area offer free check of blood pressure and blood sugar level. You only have to pay for the test strips that cost 25 pesos each. I asked for a blood pressure check up and blood sugar level check. To my surprise, despite almost a month of not taking Glemiperide 1mg, my blood sugar level is only 115. Now that’s amazing! 

Okay, I think I need to put some disclaimer here. This blog post does not, in any way, insinuates that F21 Sugar blocker should be a substitute to any diabetes maintenance drug. I just want to make that clear. I would like to believe that the significant drop of my sugar level was a combination of a well balanced diet, F21 Sugar Blocker, and running.  

The fact remains that in one month, my sugar level was reduced significantly. I’m not sure if this would apply to all diabetic people who may not be as active as I am though. Another significant change I noticed is the weight I lost over the past four weeks. I started at 145 lbs and now weigh 139 lbs. I believe that F21 Sugar Blocker is also a good weight loss supplement because those extra sugars that were being blocked were no longer stored as fat inside the body. 


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