31 July 2012

New at Starbucks - Refreshers made with Green Coffee Extract

Starbucks has reinvented coffee once again. This time they are using Green Coffee Extract to make their latest beverage called Refreshers. And refreshed we'd all like to feel during this gloomy, wet, humid weather! Starting today, ask for these from your Starbucks barista:

Very Berry Hibiscus & Cool Lime Starbucks Refreshers

FYI - Hibiscus a flowering plant with lots of health benefits. Some of those mentioned are for weight loss and lowering of the blood cholesterol. Check out this article about Hibiscus on Livestrong.

Both are made with Green Coffee Extract, a source of caffeine (oh yes!) that tastes nothing like coffee. It's made from green, unroasted high-quality arabica coffee beans which many of us already drink.

So imagine getting the same kick as your morning coffee while enjoying new delicious flavors. I haven't taste Cool Lime yet but I secretly wish it tastes and kicks like a mojito. I don't know about the Philippines but International Starbucks Shops are soon to serve alcoholic beverages. How true? Check this story from the Global Grind.

What's certain is that our local Starbucks are featuring 12 new food items that are perfect with the new refreshers. So far, here's what I've tried and recommend

Mocha Silvana

Mocha Silvana - will kill all Silvana businesses in town and give bakers a run for their money. It's nothing like the all butter silvanas I've tried. It even beats the silvanas I order from Dumaguete. At P95, its the best silvana I've ever had. It could be because of the quality of the crushed almonds and bits of dark chocolate. Try it while they are here and I hope they stay forever.

Seafood Po’ Boy Sandwich

Seaffod Po' Boy Wrap - slightly more expensive at P160 but will fly your taste buds to New Orleans. This is a local favorite in N.O. that features crispy fried fish and shrimps, vegetables, cajun sauce, and mozarella cheese. I loved eating this as if I were in a TLC show trying out local food somewhere very far away! Must order on your next date (and don't forget to impress with some knowledge about how it's from New Orleans *wink*)

Wild Mushrooms and Emmenthal Cheese on French Butter Croissa

Wild Mushroom and Emmenthal Cheese on French Butter Croissant - what a mouthful and so is the sandwich! But first, let define what Emmenthal Cheese is.

Emmenthal cheese has a savoury, but not very sharp, taste. It is a cheese from Switzerland and is also known as Swiss cheese. So imagine mixing this with meaty button, shiitake, and portabelo mushrooms - wow! Not your typical vegetarian sandwich.

Grab your wellies and brollies and visit your favorite Starbucks branch today. Lucky us it's a stone's throw away. I highly recommend taking these food items away to enjoy at the comfort of your home with a steaming cup of Blonde roast.

Here's a related post on How to Enjoy your Starbucks Roast at home

29 July 2012

Season 3 or 5: Which Mad Men Style Better Suits You?

When AMC's Mad Men first burst onto the scene and took popular culture by storm, it owed much of its success to the beautiful, romantic clothing that adorned its characters. The first season began in 1960 and the show has steadily progressed through the turbulent sixties ever since. Mad Men's fashion has changed with the times as well. The major shift begins in season three, or 1963, and in just a few short years the landscape of fashion becomes completely unrecognizable. Women looking for vintage style tips from Mad Men must recognize that they have two very different eras to choose from, and that the trends in one may flatter them more than the other. 

The early '60s carried on the tradition of the more conservative jewelry of the '50s. Earrings were rarely more flashy than a gold stud or disc in an office setting, although a night out could warrant pearls. Necklaces could be a little more elaborate although, again, a string of pearls and gold was often the limit worn by established women. By season five's 1966, however, jewelry had gotten bigger and more artistic. Hoops and huge, dangling earrings set with colored stones became all the rage. 

In 1963, women were still following the fashion-influence of Jackie Kennedy and Hollywood bombshells like Marilyn Monroe. Although the shirtwaist dresses that emphasized curves and a woman's waist were slowly going out of style, they were still widely prevalent. 1966, on the other hand, was the year of Twiggy. Silhouettes became sleek and minimal, favoring slender forms and a chic, youthful aesthetic. Women also began to wear pants in public more often during this time. 

Colors and Patterns 
During season three, the women of Mad Men tended toward vibrant colors and feminine pastels. Bright florals, plaids and stripes were common patterns. Although the trend for saturated hues remained, 1966 saw a sudden surge in browns and oranges. Plaids became more pronounced, and patterns were bolder, fractured and geometric. The '60s became a decade of self-expression that many women today take for granted. Although many of the color schemes in season five may look unappealing to modern eyes, chic mod-inspired patterns can spice up any woman's wardrobe. 

Mad Men has almost single-handedly brought back the retro style, and has influenced the runway collections of many important deisgners. Brooks Brothers, which supplies the show with historically-accurate suits, has even launched a limited-edition suit in collaboration with Mad Men's costume designer, Janie Bryant. Female fans of the show, no matter what their personal style, size, or age, can find inspiration in any stage of the show's fashion timeline, if they understand which era plays to their advantages best.

12 July 2012

Feast of Asian Flavors at Marriott Hotel Manila

This is your chance to widen your Asian Food horizon. The Marriott Hotel Manila is featuring 'Flavors of Asia' all days of July. Four chefs from Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Indonesia teamed up to present an extra-ordinary buffet experience.

Of course, I could not pass the chance to visit Marriott again. I am not adept with Asian food except for Japanese, Indian, and Filipino dishes. So let me focus on this hot spicy dishes I found during my quest:

Green chicken curry with eggplants

This alone has made my dining experience worthwhile. I forgot where I was when I first tasted the green spicy curry. This is what I call really spicy. Grab a bowl of this, enjoy the hot soup, and the tender chicken meat with Asian fried rice. It was raining that night and this dish was just perfect.

Beef curry

Milder than the Green Chicken Curry, this dish is a perfect companion. Educate your tongue on how curry can taste different and how each spice contribute to the uniqueness of each dish.

Discover different Asian hot soup like this

While enjoying these dishes and chit chatting with fellows, I caught my forehead sweating but it was an exhilarating feat I sure enjoyed. If you are looking for a hot Asian experience this is it my friends.

Thai Lemon Grass

The buffet, now priced more affordably at P1,850 on weekdays and P2,000 on weekends also include Asian drinks. I remember very well the enjoyable taste and zing of Lemon Grass and Black Tea with Condensed Milk.

My friends and I enjoyed them so much we imagined we are intoxicated by their deliciousness. And I am not just saying that. I like the Black tea with Condensed Milk so much I had several rounds.

 The Asian adventure doesn't stop here as there are a myriad of 'exotic' desserts as well. There's Asian pudding, banana bread, etc. You can almost feel like you are in some other Asian country. 

Asian Banana Cake

All of these you can enjoy including Marriott's signature buffet selections. When you enjoy Flavors of Asia, make sure you wear your adventurous hat and do try what these dear chefs have to offer. Resist the temptation to focus on your favorite items from the Marriott Buffet :p

One thing I learned is that Asian Flavors go well with each other, in harmony. No matter what dish you choose or combine - the flavors are extraordinarily Asian. Truly ours to celebrate and enjoy!

03 July 2012

How to Enjoy Kroketten - that curious Kiosk in SM Mall of Asia


I may not be overseas but finding new and exciting food in Manila is not far-fetched! Take for instance this unassuming new kiosk in SM Mall of Asia - it's called Kroketten and they sell flavored potato ballens.

All I know is that croquettes are indeed made from potatoes somewhere in Europe but have never seen or tasted such in my country. Thanks to Kroketten and some curious food bloggers, I was able to try it for the first time.

At first bite, you'll be surprised by Kroketten's texture. It is crispy on the outside but mash potatoey on the inside. I told my date it's like fried mash potato (excuse my ignorance). You can choose from logs or balls but I prefer Kroket logs because it easily fills me up. Flavors include beef, chicken, and cheese.


Kroketten is situated near the terminal, it's an experience eating there standing without airconditioning and it's unusual that this is the place to find croquettes. It isn't surprising though why Kroketten owner Belle chose this location "Our company aims to reach all levels of market A to C, for everyone to enjoy quality, healthy and good food. We never want our products to be intimidating that’s why we came up with a combo meal– our five pieces mini ballen (P20) and our four pieces mini ballen with the 6.5 oz revitalize 10 or Nutri 10 fresh fruit drink (P35)".

Other branches include Festival Mall Alabang, Alabang Town Center, GT Tower Makati, Market! Market!, Starmall Edsa Shaw, Robinsons Galleria, Robinsons Metro East, SM North Edsa, and SM Lipa Batangas.

Wasabe for the win!

Personally, I've devised my own plan to enjoy my Kroketten logs which I think also deserves star treatment for its quality and taste. I am ordering take away and bringing them into the cinema for me and my movie date to munch on - much healthier than fries or chips and the dips are a feast for the tastebuds.