October 25, 2014

Delayed Reaction: Wicked Kitchen

I've always thought that Wicked resto me and Edge we used to pass by along Mother Ignacia Ave. was a snobby place.  It had that vibe: it was right across the ABS-CBN building where execs work.  So it had to be pricey too.  

That was four years ago.  Apprently, Wicked Kitchen is still very much in business up till now, and they've even branched out to Maginhawa St., where Job and Jada and me went to have lunch sometime last March.  Yes, delayed post.

Turns out it's not a snobby place at all.  The waiters are friendly, the interiors have that classic red-black-and-white minimalist theme going for it, the food is good, and most importantly you don't feel ripped off.  The food's not gourmet, but their rice bowl meals are sumptuous enough.

You can never go wrong with red, black, and white.

Between the three of us, we had Kimchi Rice (mine), Spicy Mongolian Rice (Jada's), and Crunchy Bagoong Rice (Job's).  We haven't yet reached that level of intimacy where we can freely swap bowls, so we just took a small bite from our bowls to sample each other's meal of choice. 

As is always the case with me, the grass is greener on the other side, and I had secretly wanted Job's bagoong rice:

Crunchy Bagoong with Rice

Desserts in Wicked Kitchen are named after the seven deadly sins.  (Just to remind you, I guess, of the untoward consequences you'll incur soon after eating these immoral desserts.  That bad, evil sugar is to blame!)

Anyway, we had Wrath, which is mango crepe served with vanilla ice cream, drizzled with Nutella that's supposedly chili-infused.  

It was good, but this Wrath dessert didn't exactly taste spicy enough for me (I have high tolerance for chilis).  It didn't taste like what I imagine wrath would taste like.  For one, it didn't inspire extreme anger in me (Maybe my imagination just failed me).  It's just a properly prepared dessert—sweet, chewy, and agreeable, nothing in the realm of David Fincher's film. 

So in the absence of that supposed kick of chili, Job and Jada took the liberty of adding a dash of, well, chili sauce to our mango crepe and ice cream.  And that made all the difference.

* * *

The very optimistic toilet at Wicked Kitchen.

Wicked Kitchen is on the 2nd Floor of Maginhawa Building,
189 Maginhawa Street, Teacher's Village, QC.

October 24, 2014

Green's Not Black & White. | A Tally of Eco-Awareness

1. Bought second-hand at Booksale for PhP 75. (Eco-awareness, Check)

2. Traveled 17 miles from house to the mall (Eco-awareness, Fail)

3. Commuted by jeepney though (Eco-awareness, Check)

4. Still, 17 miles?  (Eco-awareness, Fail)

5. Green's Not Black and White reveals the gray areas of many ecological issues which we've always thought have clear-cut answers to them.  In a series of Yes... But arguments, the book lists the two-sides of the issue, and hopefully you can find a happy middle.

Why paper cup can sometimes be better than a ceramic mug
Why biking isn't always a smart move
Ehy building a new eco-home isn't such a good idea.  (Eco-awareness, Check)

6. Book's binding came apart after barely an hour in my hands.  For a book that supposedly tells us that buying products we know will last—and sticking to itis a good eco-decision, this one ironically wasn't  durable at all.  (Eco-awareness, Fail)

7. Thank God, there's glue in the house. (Eco-awareness, Check)

8. Book's artsy design alternately uses photographs and lovely cartoon drawings.  But both of them take exactly half the entire space of the book.  

So in actuality, you're reading a only half a book.  This is why I finished the whole thing in less than an hour. That's paper spent on snazzy drawings and photos instead of more useful info. (Eco-awareness, Fail)

9. Book is printed on recycled paper. (Eco-awareness, Check)

10. Book was printed in China, where labor and material costs are cheap.  And then they get shipped back to UK and the US.  Uggh, the carbon footprint.  (Eco-awareness, Fail)

11. On the other hand, now I know stuff like "embodied energy".  Also, to really get back the energy-per-use of a ceramic cup, you'd have to use it a thousand times, washing it only once everyday.  

And even if you use a digital camera (as opposed to a film camera that uses chemicals to develop pics), if you keep on chimping at hundreds of your photos onscreen for hours on end, you're still wasting energy. Now I'm more aware of these and many other things.  (Eco-awareness, Check)

12.  Have already spent half an hour composing this blog post.  (Eco-awareness, Fail)

Green's Not Black and White is by Dominic Muren.

October 23, 2014

Reimagining the Humble Carrot

Head on to IntroducingCarrot.com and get to know Carrot.  

No, it's not a new health app.  Wearable fitness gadget?  No.  No-cook drinkable meal?  Not even.  It's just simply carrot, the vegetable we all know since childhood.

With deadpan professionalism, IntroducingCarrot.com introduces carrot as if it's some slick, new must-have app that seamlessly integrates with the rest of our digital life:

Carrot is designed with you in mind. It's a seamless experience, meticulously crafted, from beginning to end. It's not just a vegetable, it's what a vegetable should be. 

From the moment you pick up your Carrot, you’ll notice the care and attention that went into every detail. The unique texture, the striking colors and the pleasing crunch provide a world class experience for each of your senses. 

Nice.  Especially love that pun on "being rooted."

Before you think this website is bollocks, creator David Angelucci and his friends are really serious about carrot.  Sometimes, all you need is a rebranding of something as basic as a vegetable just to remind people that reclaiming their health is as simple as going back to the old ways, to the root of it all.  

And what's could be more basic than munching on an organically grown carrot?  It's real food with no-fuss, no preservatives, no ads, no data gathering involved (sorry, I got carried away with the tech speak).  Companies spend a lot of moolah on ad agencies just to promote their products, so why can't the humble carrot  have its very own media campaign and online presence?  Well now there is.

| via Treehugger

October 21, 2014

Suam or Ginulay na Mais | Recipe

There's corn soup made from powdered mix from out of a foil pack, and then there's the real deal, made from actual corn. It's called Suam in Tagalog, although not many people know it by that name.  I've heard some call it Ginulay na Mais, but that sounds too technical.  So I call it suam.

Corn is actually forbidden in the Paleo diet because it's grain and has gluten, but that's okay since I'm not on strictly on the Paleo diet.  Say what you want against corn, but a hot bowl of suam na mais is still the perfect thing for rainy days.


4 Cobs of Corn, grated by knife, cheese grater, or in a blender
1/4 kg Chicken filet
Tomato, chopped
Garlic, minced
Onion, chopped
Bunch of sili (chili pepper) leaves
3 Green finger chilis
Hibi (small dried shrimps)
Patis (fish sauce)
Salt and Pepper
Coconut oil

1. Brown the chicken filet pieces in a little coconut oil.
2. Sautee the onions, garlic, tomatoes, finger chilis, and hibi.
3. Add the grated corn.
4. Add water and let simmer.
5. Season with patis, salt and freshly-ground pepper.
6. Finally, add the sili leaves.

* * *

Sometimes I crack an egg into the soup and stir it in before adding the sili leaves, or add a little milk for a creamier texture. Also, instead of chicken, you can use shrimps. And you can include okra/gumbo too: their slimy texture goes well with the corn. Your call.

October 20, 2014

It's Been Raining. Set Up a Rain Barrel. Now.

Rainwater is a terrible thing to waste. Apparently, a heavy downpour can send as much as 13,577 gallons of rainwater to your yard.  It's free water we should all take advantage of.  

Don't just rely on those puny bath pails that fill up in less than five minutes.  Go big: get a humongous rain barrel.  We bought ours for just PhP 500, second-hand, and it's pretty much paid for itself in just a matter of weeks, especially during the rainy season. 

Set your rain barrel under the gutter, and when the rainstorm arrives, watch how quickly it fills up, depending on how heavy the downpour is. When I look at the gushing water, I can't help but think about all the other spots in our yard where there's no barrel to catch all that rainwater. 

* * *

Seven years ago my dad had our entire yard paved in concrete.  Sheesh. So now I'm always guilty of stormwater runoff, where the rainwater simply flows on the surface of the ground instead of seeping into the earth. The water picks up dirt and pollutants along the way, bringing contaminants as it flows into our sewer systems and lakes and rivers.  I've been meaning to do something about that concrete yard, but for now the rain barrel will have to do.

What can you use rainwater for? A lot of things.

For doing laundry. If you're finicky, you can use rainwater for just your curtains, etc and still use tap water for your clothes.

For flushing the toilet.  Have your handyman rig a system where the rain barrel can be sourced for toilet flushing.  No need to waste perfectly good water just to flush poop.

For washing your car. Again, many people waste perfectly good water just to wash their car.  Why?

For watering plants.  Plants love rainwater more than tap water that's been chemically treated.

For washing a sundry of things.  
Like our muddy camping tent.

For making your bokashi starter culture.  Because rainwater isn't chlorinated.

For bathing the dog.  Because dogs don't mind at all.  Or do they?

Proper Crepes

We've never been able to make proper crepes. With a frying pan, me and Edge manage a half-inch thick affair.  It's good, but only if you're making omelettes.  Just like pizza, I guess, crepes taste better when they're wafer-thin. But then you'd have to have one of those commercial crepe makers that have non-stick plates for even cooking. 

So it was a pleasant surprise that we found Crepeman Cafe at Maginhawa Street (there are several branches all over the metro). I mean I'm not really into crepes—they're too light and fluffy and cloyingly sweet for my taste. But good thing the ones me and Edge had were just perfect.

We wanted to try out their mealy crepes and their dessert crepes in that order, but for some reason our waitress served the sweet crepes first.

This is their Chaos crepe.  With banana, mango, peaches, choco spread, whipped cream, and tiny chocolate kisses.  Doesn't look very chaotic on this pic; looks hollow actually, but trust me it was yummy all right.  Or maybe we were just hungry—we had walked all the way from Philcoa to their store (it's our thing), and so anything with sugar would be automatically delicious.

Next we had one of their mealy crepes: Doggy Combo, which is bacon, cheesedog, mayo, cheese, lettuce, corn, and pepper.  We also shared a cup of macchiato, pretty standard fare, or I'm just not a fan of milk in my coffee.  (They use a CBTL machine, by the way.)

And this is their freedom wall.  It's full and noisy already.  Since we had nothing interesting to contribute, we just let it be.