Saturday, 30 October 2010

Going Bananas? Another Diet Program?

Who wants to go bananas?  Me! Yup, I've gone bananas, literally.

Three Fridays ago, a colleague of mine shared a link to me about a diet program that originated in Japan ,

  [8:31:04 AM] saw.lin.yaung:,

my colleague maybe got tired and annoyed seeing a fat woman (that's me)  :-( and out of pity he sent me a diet program that might help me reduce weight.

I am talking about the  "Morning Banana", a yet another diet program (another fad?) that originated and had been a craze in Japan in 2008 but I'm not sure if anyone aside from me is crazy about it up to now.

Well, there are factors I consider before I indulge myself on a diet program:

1)     Convenience   - it doesn’t require a lot of effort and too much time to prepare (effortless preparation and non-time consuming)

2)     Simple –   Easy to follow and it has to easily adopt to my daily lifestyle and routine so that I can keep with it and won’t fall off track

3)     Low maintenance –  It has not to be really really cheap as long as I don’t need to spend a lot.

4) Less restrictions - most fad diets i have read so far have so many restrictions as when and what to eat .  Whenever I am denied of a certain food it makes me crave more for that food.

And since all of the factors are checked for this diet program, I gave it a go.

Here's the morning diet program.  This can also be googled for a more detailed instruction.  By the way, I don't intend to make some review or in-depth analysis about this diet program (I'll do that maybe later on),  I only want to share this program to those who would want to try it.  Who knows, maybe this will be effective for you and me but not to him and her.

1) Eat a banana/s for breakfast - it should be raw, uncooked, and not frozen.  I only eat 2 bananas in the morning, one banana an hour apart , the long type which I don't know the name. 

2) Drink only water -  cold and warm water is not advisable.  From what I've read, tea, coffee, and other non-caloric drinks are allowed.  Good!  For me,  I drink lukewarm water most of the time and I make sure I down at least 3 liters a day.

3) Eat anything for lunch and supper- no restrictions except that desserts are a NO NO.  Fair enough for me as long as I don't need to trash pork and rice from my lunch.

4) An afternoon snack may be eaten - chocolates, cookies, and other sweets  are encouraged.  Ice cream, fried foods, and chips are not recommended. I'm a chocolate person and I'm not fond of icecreams  and sometimes i don't have snack in the afternoon, so it's still an ok for me. But chips? why chips? I love chips!  Do i have to say good bye to pringles, jack en' jill and frito lay? Let me think about that

5) Sleep early at night and the last meal must be at least 4hours before bedtime.  That can be arranged :-)

6)  Exercise only if you want to - no wonder this diet program had been a hit specially for those who find walking cumbersome (wahahahaha).  Dang, exercise makes one physically, mentally, and psychologically fit!  try it at least 3 times a week.

I have started on the morning banana diet BUT I haven't checked my weight yet so I can't say if it is really effective or not.  Well, I still walk-run-jog for 30-50 minutes everyday.  That didn't change. My eating habit of high in fat-pork, also didn't change.

There's one thing I have noticed since I started eating bananas in the morning that made me decide to continue doing this banana-eating-in-the-morning thing - my poop-ing became regular.  Yes, i haven't been constipated (which is normal for me) since I started the morning banana diet.  This is good news for me - VERY :-)

- Sharosem (30October2010)

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Nilagang Baka (Boiled Chunky Beef )

Nilagang baka literally means, boiled beef.  It is very simple and easy, yet very tasty.  What makes a delicious nilagang baka is the soft chunky meat that easily break when bitten and the broth.  Pre-pressure cooker times, the beef is cooked slowly to achieve a tender meat and at the same time a flavorful broth. The simplicity of this dish which doesn't require too many ingredients and spices highlights the true flavor of the beef.


Beef, cut into cubes – 500 g.

Potatoes, cut into cubes – 2 pcs., medium size

Cabbage, sliced – half of a head

Onions, diced – 1 medium bulb

Garlic, crushed – 5 cloves

Pepper corns – as desired

Fish Sauce – 2 tbsp

Salt – to taste

Vegetable oil – 2 tbsp

Water – more than enough to cover the beef

Kamote (sweet potato) can also be used instead of potato.  Other leafy vegetables, like pechay, wom bok, etc., can be used instead of cabbage.  Just make sure that the vegetables you use will not over power the flavor of the beef.

Cooking Procedure:

1. In a pressure cooker, sauté garlic and onion in oil.

2. Add the beef, stir and let it simmer for at least 5 minutes

3. Add water, peppercorns, and fish sauce and pressure cook for 20 minutes (start timing when the pressure cooker starts to whistle) or until the beef is tender and soft.

4. Add the potato and continue to boil.

5. Add more salt if necessary.

6.  Add the cabbage and boil for a few minutes but make sure not to over cook the cabbage

- sharosem(17October2010)


Sakura ...  I am not talking about the cherry blossom in Japan which the name stands for.  I am refering to the Sakura International Buffet Restaurant that belongs to the suki group of restaurants here in Singapore.

Sakura ...  The restaurant serves seafood buffet and with it's name, it  can be mistaken for a Japanese restaurant.  Well, it is and it may not be is.  The restaurant serves  Japanese dishes like sashimi  sushi , tepanyaki AND they also offer western and oriental cuisines mostly with a touch of Malay, Chinese, etc., all being locally prepared.

At Sakura you can eat and drink all you can but make sure you don’t waste not even a single crumb as the restaurant will charge you with $5 per 100 grams of food you waste.

We (me, Kristine and Aba) are suppose to be going to Sentosa yesterday afternoon but we have miscalculated the time.  The two had to go check a room at Yishun at 4PM and they went out (from the  flat) at past 4 (duhhh can anyone teach these couple time-management 101???)    I got to Dhoby Ghaut mrt station at around past 7PM and knowing that we won’t be enjoying the views at sentosa on a dark night so I suggested that we go there some other day and obliged them to choose  what they want to do or where they want to go tonight instead.  I am no good tour guide.  I've no idea where the good places to go in Singapore despite my more than 2 years of stay here.   So letting me decide on that matter will make everything futile.  Kristine suggested that we go for a buffet dinner.  So while waiting for them at the dhoby ghaut mrt station, I googled the nearest restaurant that serves buffet.  There's sakae sushi at the park mall which is just a walking distance away but Kristine doesn't want to eat there anymore.  Yuki yaki is far and it will take us forever to get there.  Kuishin bo is a bit expensive for us right now and it will also take us forever to get there as the branches I know are in suntec ang jurong point.  And there you go, Sakura, which is just an escalator  away, atop this mrt station.  The “slow-foot duo” arrived, at last, a little past 7:30PM and both of them are blaming their lateness on the slow red line train (seriously? They need to be briefed on punctuality!!!)

T'was my second time to dine in Sakura.  The first time was at the Jurong West branch during a colleague’s (Susan Sulaiman) farewell dinner.  I had diarrhea the moment I got home,  that was because the oysters and the salmon sashimi were not fresh!

We didn’t make reservations so we just walked in the restaurant.  We had to paySG$ 30.05 per person upon entry.  The price included the meal plus drinks.  That's cheap for a seafood buffet dinner.

“Ok for you to eat out?” the male receptionist asked us with a stoic demeanor.  I think he asked us twice because Kristine nudged me “'te, sa labas daw tayo kakain” (she was trying to explain to me that the guy is asking if it's alright for us to have a sidewalk seating) pointing at the rows of tables and chairs outside of the restaurant. I was just staring at the receptionist blankly vexed by the guy’s  unfriendly and arrogant behavior. “Is it already full inside? Can you give us a table for 3 inside instead?” I asked politely, I even managed to smile (we can see from where we were standing that there were vacant tables inside the restaurant and he doesn’t even want to squeeze us in?). “All reserved” came his scripted and recorded-like reply without even butting an eye and without even smiling.  Then he repeated his first question “Ok for you to eat out?” My sister answered “yes” or “ok” I don’t know which one exactly , I just nodded.  “Table 55” the male receptionist grunted while handing me my card and receipt.   What’s with this guy and his attitude? Either he hates his job or he just finds us annoying.


Anyway,  As I’ve mentioned, the price is considerably cheap for a buffet dinner at SG$30.05 per person.  I get to eat beef steak, shrimp tempura, boiled prawn, baked prawn, baked mussels, oysters, scallops, lobster & potato salad, kani & asparagus salad, squids, and my favorite salmon- salmon sashimi, steamed salmon, grilled salmon, and crispy fried salmon skin (in small servings only).

Sakura  serves a wide variety of dishes from appetizers( scallops, sushi, sashimi, called prawns, salads, soups, satays), main course (dimsums, noodles, rice, vegetables, fish, & seafood dishes, grilled beef, pork, lamb chops, and fishes), an assortment of desserts (from ice creams, cheesecakes, chocolate cakes, molded chocolates, fruits, yogurt and jellies)  and drinks (softdrinks, iced teas, hot teas and coffee).

This is food paradise for someone who has a big stomach and insatiable palate.  Well, it is really impossible for us to try all of the dishes. I  just had a bit of this and that to taste but I gorged on my favorites salmon, prawns, oysters and scallops and that was good enough for me- I got my money’s worth!


[caption id="attachment_1000" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="me, enjoying clams, oysters, scallops, salmon and wasabi :-)"][/caption]


Downsides …

Customer service Lacking – the food servers need to go on training to improve their customer service skills.  If you are in the F&B, or retail industry and your job is to serve/mingle/socialize/meet people, you need to act and look like – friendly, approachable, and accommodating.  That is regardless if you have problems with your colleagues, your boss, or even the whole of humanity;  regardless if you're tired or your feet are sore or even if you are dead sick.  A smile should be pasted on your faces.  BE POLITE (!!!) and DON’T BE RUDE (!!!) (like the unbecoming attitude of the receptionist and the rude food server that brought our grilled fish and beef steak).  Nonetheless, there will always be at least one good apple among the rotten ones that spoil the barrel and we commend Soon Heng for being that good apple at Sakura Dhoby Ghaut Green branch.  He was cordial enough and fast at cleaning up our empty plates :-) Thanks to him.

Stale fishes dished out on the tray.  I had already downed a few pieces of salmon sashimi when I noticed that they were not fresh nyay and I wonder if Kristine and Aba noticed those too.  I'd better check the sashimi before getting one.  I'd be more careful next time or maybe I need to wear a higher grade contact lens the next time I dine at Sakura so that I'd have a better visual view of the foods being served.

Overall, we had a satisfying dinner at Sakura– tummy and palate-wise.  Good value for money that is.  I’d be bringing Frederick to try Sakura’s buffet, definitely (we’ll  just have to try another branch with friendlier crews).   Sakura may not have outlandish dishes, but I'm sure my husband will love the food there and I can’t wait to see him devour salmons  and tunas.

- Sharosem (17October2010)

PS:    We went to Mustafa afterwards.  Aba and Kristine bought a pair of barbells/dumbbells and a set of table tennis paddles and balls as they are both convinced they already need to work on losing some fats and flabs and w few gained weight (oh no, that's not true, that's a lie!  you are still both thin- skin and bone thin )

Off topic  :  While I was enjoying a buffet dinner, my husband on the other side of the world was having fun too. They partied last Saturday night where they get to enjoy food, beers, wines, and a lot of booze and spirits.  Just stay sobber Dear and don't forget to eat before you drink beer/alcohol.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Ramen Friday

It's Friday! :-(  but it's not the best day of the week for now coz I have to go to work tomorrow :-( (sigh)

Nonetheless it’s still Friday and it's ramen day.  Thanks to Aba who brought home 2 large containers of cooked beef ramen he bought from a hawker food stall near their office.

I love ramen.  That’s one noodle dish I always enjoyed during my trips to Japan.  and the last time I had an authentic Japanese ramen was on my last trip to Wakayama, Japan 6 years ago.  It’s that long!  So I was excited and had been looking forward to the ramen experience all day, crossing my fingers, including my toes, that it won’t be a letdown. Can’t wait to tonight, I even bought coke zero and prepared siomai for our ramen dinner

Ramen time!  Here’s the ramen.   It looks so appetizing.  It contains thinly sliced beef, a few pieces of lettuce leaves, thinly sliced carrots, and an egg (the egg was dropped on the soup while it’s still hot and the heat of the soup cooked the egg).  The noodles however are overcooked which is not surprising because the noodle had been packed for take away while the soup is still boiling hot.

[caption id="attachment_966" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="ramen? NOT ramen"][/caption]

Hhhhhmmmmm something’s odd, at first glance this looks like a typical Singapore-chinese noodle or laksa because of it’s orange color and oh, it also looks like La paz batchoy.  AND where are the seaweeds. I’m used to ramen on miso soup or beef/pork broth with floating seaweeds and from my experience, the secret to a good ramen is really on the soup, the noodles come in next.

This is not ramen, or say, this is not the Japanese ramen that I was expecting.  The soup taste like a fusion of Chinese-Thai-malay taste, not salty, somewhat sweet, a bit sour, and with mild hotness to the taste, which I still find acceptable and delectable, AS another Singapore noodle dish BUT not as ramen because this is NOT ramen (sigh)

Well, you wouldn’t expect to get an authentic ramen at SG$ 3.50 per bowl in a hawker food store that claims to serve Korean food, would you?

Anyone has had authentic Japanese ramen here in Singapore at an affordable price?  Please don’t suggest pricey restaurants ok?

-Sharosem (15October2010)

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Wanted Chicken Inasal Recipe

Anyone who has a fool-proof chicken inasal recipe, please share!!! I beg you.

I cooked chicken inasal yesterday but it was way short of the inasal taste. I searched for inasal recipes online.  I saw 3 potential recipes. Combined them together and here is the result.

I don't know what's wrong.  The taste is "almost" like inasal but it lacks something else and I can't figure out what's the missing taste (huuuuuwwwwwaaaaaa)

[caption id="attachment_922" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="chicken inasal for my pack lunch- it was lacking the inasal flavor :-("][/caption]

Here's the recipe I used and the cooking procedure I did. I didn't grill the chicken over charcoal, i just grilled it on top of our stove.

Please feel free to revise it and fill-in that missing something.  Pleeeeeaaaasssseee.

I love inasal and I really want to learn how to cook it (sniff sniff)


Chicken Wings   - 10 to 12pcs

          Inasal Marinade:

Lemon grass - 3 stalks

ginger - 2 thumb size

Garlic - 6 cloves

Lemon Juice - 1/2 c

Cider Vinegar - 1/4 c

Patis - 4 tbsp

Sugar - 1 tbsp

Salt  - 1 tbsp

          Basting Sauce:

Inasal Marinade

Margarine  - 4 tbsp

Anato in oil – 1/4 c

Cooking Procedure:

1)     Wash chicken wings and slit open each piece until the bone is exposed.

           Prepare the inasal marinade:

2)     Crush and julienne lemon grass stalks. process julienned lemon grass stalk, ginger, and garlic in a food processor, until everything is finely chopped.

3)     Mix remaining inasal ingredients with the processed spices.

4)     Marinade chicken for at least 4 hours or leave overnight inside the refrigerator

5)     Remove chicken from marinade.  Set aside inasal marinade sauce

          Prepare Basting sauce

6)     Add 1/ 2 cup water to the left marinade sauce and boil for 3 minutes.

7)     Strain and pour the liquid on a bowl then add in the anato oil and margarine

8)     Grill chicken on each side for 8-10 minutes or until chicken is browned. Baste each side with the basting sauce.

-Sharosem (13October2010)

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Ginataang Kalabasa at Hipon (Squash and Shrimp in Coconut Milk)

Missing home so my sister Kristine and I and also Aba decided we have something close to home for lunch - so we agreed on ginataang kalabasa at sitaw (Squash and string beans in coconut milk).  It's one of those dishes we love that is often cooked by our mama.  She puts pork or grilled/fried fish though since shrimps are expensive in our town.

Anyway, here's  my version of our mama's ginataang kalabasa at sitaw.


Shrimps - 200 g.

Squash, cut into bite sizes - 1/4 of a whole

String beans, cut into 2" long - 10 strings

Kara coconut cream - 100 ml

Garlic, crushed and chopped - 5 cloves

Onion, diced - 1 medium size

Ripe Tomato, diced - 1 large

Water - 1/2 cup

Vegetable Oil - 1 tbsp

Salt and ground pepper to taste

note  : you can use fish sauce of bagoong alamang (shrimp paste) instead of just plain salt.

Cooking Procedure

1) In a wok, heat oil then sauté garlic in it until it is aromatic.  Add the onion and fry it until it is translucent.

2) Stir in the shrimps and the squash.  Continue stirring for a minute then add the water.  Let it simmer. Scoop out the shrimp and set aside.

3) Pour the coconut cream, season with salt and pepper, and let it simmer. Add more water as need, a little amount only (around 1/4 cup)

4) When the squash is soft, add the string beans, Let it simmer then stir in the shrimp.  Remove from fire and serve immediately.

Do not over cook the shrimp as it will become rubbery.  Now I have to deal with these rashes :-(

- sharosem(09October2010)

Friday, 8 October 2010

Dark Chocolate Truffles

I was browsing through my old emails when I stumbled on some chocolate recipes I've worked on 2-4 years back.

Yes! Chocolates! One of the best things I am grateful for with Puratos (the last company I worked with in the Philippines) is for introducing me to the world of not only baking but chocolates!!! (They sell one of the world’s best Belgian chocolates)

Here are some of the recipes I have worked on before – Chocolate truffles.

Chocolate truffles are bite-size chocolate confectionery, that looks like truffle fungus :D It is traditionally made with a chocolate ganache, formed into a small ball, then coated with a thin layer of chocolate or cocoa.  

Ganache is actually a creamy mixture of chocolate and cream where the ratio is 1 part chocolate and 1 part cream by mass.  Being the center of these truffles, the ganache must be thicker and denser, thus we increase the amount of chocolate more than the cream (2 parts chocolate is to 1 part cream will do).  The reason behind this is that the mixture once it cools down will become hard making it easier to mold it into shapes.  The lesser the cream,

A ganache is simply a syrup of chocolate and cream that does not contain enough cream to be liquid at room temperature. Once this mixture cools, it will form a hard ganache that can be molded into shapes.

Chocolate truffle is so easy to prepare at home, believe me.  And you can stock these irresistible, rich and delicious chocolate candies for a month for some comfort munching time (now I’m craving for chocolate truffles).

So here’s how easy it is to make chocolate truffles starting with my favorite – Dark Chocolate Truffles.   Ooops, I forgot to tell you-this is the most crucial part in making chocolate confectioneries- use only couverture chocolates  (the finest and high quality chocolates with very high cocoa butter content (32-39%), when combined with cocoa solid the minimum should be at least 54%)  And oh, please do not compare compound chocolates to couverture chocolates most especially DO NOT even dare compare it to the confectionery chocolate candy bars you buy from the store  (duh, hello???)


Ganache for the Truffles:

Couverture dark chocolate      ------ 500 g

Heavy whipping Cream – 250 g.

- for the couverture dark chocolate you can use something with a cocoa mass of 54% will do, but if you want it more bitter, you can use the one with a cocoa mass of 70%)

- for the heavey whipping cream, you can use either dairy or non-dairy creams just make sure that it will not curdle when it’s heated


For the coating,  you can choose from either of the following:

Cocoa powder

Tempered dark chocolate or

Ground nuts (I prefer almond or walnut or hazelnut)



1)     If you are using the bar type chocolate, you have to cut it into pieces first using a serrated knife like the sturdy bread knife. This will make it easier for the chocolate to melt.  For a more convenient, no more chocolate-cutting stuff, use the button or coin-like chocolates.

2)     Bring the heavy whipping cream just to a boil over direct fire or using a microwave over –when you start to see small bubbles coming out of the cream, that’s just it- turn off the fire.

3)     Pour the scalded heavy cream onto the chocolate and allow it to sit for a minute then stir.

4)     Stir it until all the chocolates have melted making a smooth creamy blend.

5)     Let it cool down and chill in the refrigerator for an hour or until the mixture has hardened enough to be molded into a ball.

6)     Scoop out (using a melon baller or small icecream scoop) a ball of the hardened ganache then roll it on either of the cocoa powder of ground nuts coating above you preferred.

You can store these truffles in any container (they won’t be sticking with each other)

7)     If you choose to coat it with thin layers of chocolate, you have to melt and temper maybe around 200 g. of chocolate.  Using a toothpick or a fork, dip the scooped and rolled ganache into the tempered chocolate. Then place it on a tray lined with wax paper (do not let them touch each other).  Let the truffles set in room temperature first for a few minutes before you chill it inside the refrigerator.  If the truffles are cooled rapidly, the shells will crack and it will not also have the luster a good tempered chocolate has.

This recipe will yield around 60-70 pieces

- Sharosem (24September2010)

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Pizza, Pasta, and a Conversation with my Niece on a Wednesday


I'll be dining out tonight with my sister Kristine and Aba (her bf).  It's their birthday so they have to treat me.  Since I’d be going to Lucky Plaza at orchard after office hours to remit, I agreed to meet them there. We haven't decided yet where to eat and what to eat, well, that's something to look forward to till later.

I don’t feel like eating today. I feel like I'm kinda full and bloated.  I don’t know why is that when all I had for lunch is an oily vegetable okoy-like fritter which I bought from a Malay food store from the hawker nearby.  And at the moment, the thought of food, any food, makes me vomit uuuggghhh.  Oh well, I'd leave that task (food/restaurant hunting) to Kristine and knowing her,  who is much like me when it comes to food, either we go buffets or we end up with burgers at either burger king or carl’s jr or some fried chicken at kfc. Let her do the thinking coz  my appetite has gone haywire and the least I can think of right now is food.

So I texted Kristine “panganan tayo damdama? nasa lucky plaza nako ng mga 6:15. Darasen yo a”  (that’s Tagalog and Ilocano.  Translation:  Where will we have dinner later? I’d be in Lucky Plaza around 6:15.  You better hurry up).  She just texted back “k”.  I texted 3 complete sentences and all I get in return is not even a word but just a letter “k” (duh!)
. . . . . . . . . . srm . . . . . . . . . .

The mobile internet connection on my HTC is slow and I can’t open the website of the Philippine daily inquirier or yahoo canada gggggrrrrr  (hello! starhub can’t you speed up your internet service???!!! it's too slow and it's killing me! )  Got a text message from Kristine on my other phone saying Aba is still on his way (gosh they're late!) and another text message from my sister Joy on my roaming number saying our nephew Ambrei is so active and so restless (hhhhhmmm I wonder if he's again on top of a chair doing ala-superman stunt--- toddlers...).  Texting kept me busy while waiting for these two slow-footed duo (Kristine and Aba) to arrive and they’re really trying my patience - It’s already past 7pm and i've been waiting for them for like more than 30 minutes!!! I’m already done with the remittance and I've already checked  several stores on sale, and they’re not her yet.  And I can’t buy the dress from the botique infront of me coz I need Kristine’s opinion before I pay for it.  Darn.  And my feet are sore and I'm tired. and yes I am complaining. Of all the things I detest, waiting is what I hate most.  When it comes to waiting, my patience is zero, nil, nada.  I’ve no choice though but to wait and sit and bear the noise this Filipina beside me is making (she's verbally mutilating whoever is on the other line - P-----g I-- mo.  Ta-----do ka.  Ma--t-y ka na sana!!!)
. . . . . . . . . . srm . . . . . . . . . .

I'm still undecided as to what I want for dinner.  I don’t feel like eating and I plan to tell them that I am ok with Carl’s Jr or burger king, as always.  And before I can even open my mouth, Aba and Kristine blurted out “Ate, gusto namin ng Pizza at pasta” (We want pizza and pasta) in almost a chorus.  Do I have any choice? 1 for burger versus 2 for pasta and pizza?  I conceded.  Ok fine! For a change.  Just then, Aba suggested we dine at pizza hut. WWWHHHAAATTT???? I gave him a big "NO" and "over my dead-voluptuous body " for an answer.

I dragged them to plaza singapura and brought them to café cartel and pastamania.  They decided to try Pastamania.  I had been to Pastamania once and I had tried their beef lasagna which I find ok.  So a second time won't hurt.

The thing for me about food is that, I hate spending on food that is not worth the money I paid for.  I don’t mind spending on food as long as get satisfied. By satisfaction, I mean,  food/meal should not only make my tummy full or trick my brain into feeling I have gulped enough just for the sake of filling my stomach.  I must have to gratify my nose,teeth, palate, and tastebud's expectations in terms of aroma, flavor/taste, and texture in that order.  I don’t  care how romantic,  cozy, elegant, luxurious, whatever else adjective you got, a restaurant is  nor will I mind if it was just a modest, ordinary or cheap diner, I go for food satisfaction first period.  A good ambiance is just an additional perk and I terribly hate it when I pay for a high-priced yet crappy meal just because of the ambiance (duuuhhh)

Back with Pastamania.   Pastamania is a casual dining restaurant where you chooose the food, place your orders at the counter, pay for it, then their cook (chef? they need to earn that name first) cooks your chosen pasta and/or pizza while you wait, then the waiters bring the food to your table.   They serve quite a wide variety of pizzas and pastas.

I had beef Bolognese (price : SG$7.50)  Kristine had, beef lasagna (Price :  SG$ 10.90) and Aba had Chicken Ham & Sausage Baked Rice (Price : SG$ 8.60) plus + SG$ 3.50 for each meal price for an additional coke and garlic bread.  Oh we also had a 12 inches pepperoni pizza (Price : SG$ 15.40).  Expensive!

I cook pasta and I know how to make pizza and our housemates make pizza at home and I like Macoy’s pizza more than that of pastamania.  And I hate to spend on food I can cook specially when there is nothing special about it.  So, no, I was not satisfied with the food at Pastamania.  Oh, the one dish we tried that I liked was the Chicken Ham & Sausage Baked Rice.  It has a creamy and cheesy sauce.    I’ll try that dish at home :-) I've been planning for quite sometime to make some baked casserole dishes, but I never had the time and appetite to make one though :-(  I'll find the time regardless of my appetite's mood.

My verdict on Pastamania? I'll give them a 2-star rating.  They have to add more herbs on their beef bolognese.  It is supposed to be a pasta with beef in tomato herb sauce right? But it is lacking the herb flavor.  The pizza? As I have said, Macoy's pizza is better.
. . . . . . . . . . srm . . . . . . . . . .

Earlier tonight, while waiting for Kristine and Aba at Lucky Plaza I called Mama (she's in Tabuk) and I was able to talk to my niece Richie (she's 3 turning 4 by the end of December).  The conversation went like this:

Me:  Hi Richie girl. How are you?

Richie: Hello Tita Ate.  I'm fine.

Me:  What are you doing?

Richie:  I'm playing with Ate Shai- something (I didn't hear the name right)

Me: How's school?

Richie:  It's ok.

Me:  Where's your mama? (referring to Farah)

Richie:  Mama? She's there.

Me: How's your mama?

Richie :  I don't know. But she's there and I'm playing here with ate Shai- (something)

It felt like she wants to hang-up the phone and go play instead.  Then she suddently gets excited

Richie : Oh you know Tita, Samsam (our pet dog) is so naughty. She runs around the house and everywhere.  She's sooo naughty.

Me:  Really?  By the way, what's the name of Samsam's puppy Richie?

Richie:  You mean the puppies? (she emphasized on the -ies, plural) Little Samsam.

Me:  You named them all Little Samsam?

Richie :  Yes.  They are all Little Samsam.

Me:  Why did you name them all Little Samsam? Can't you think of any other names for the puppies?

Richie:  They all look like Samsam.  So I call them Little Samsam ah.

Then she called my mama, she said "bye Tita" coz she wants to go play.

Richie:  Tita, I'll go play now. Mami's here (she calls our mama mami and our papa papi)  

Then she passed the phone to mama.  Mama's sick with asthma, again.  Probably due to the constantly changing weather in Tabuk (hot-cold-hot-then cold again; dry-wet-dry then wet again).  She's said she feels better now.  They'd be going to Manila this Friday to visit my sister Joy and  my nephew Ambrei.   I miss Richie and Ambrei and mama and papa. I'll see them all agian in less than a month :-)