Morning Round Up

A taste of Singapore morning glory along the crowded Ayala Avenue.

Before going to work on a usual weekday, my friends and I stopped by Kopi Roti to have breakfast. The store opens as early as 7 a.m. and is a famous breakfast choice among the Makati working class. We entered the store just in time for the servers to arrange the tables and chairs and set the air-conditioner on. The lady cashier sweetly smiled at us and assisted us to the second floor where we could eat and chat privately.

Tracing its beginnings in Singapore, Kopi Tiams (coffee shops) sprouted to serve quick breakfast to workers during the morning rush. ‘Kopi’ in Malay means ‘coffee’ and ‘roti’ means ‘bread’. 

We ordered kopi buns, kaya toasts, soft boiled eggs and coffee at the counter and waited for our food upstairs. The service was pretty fast, maybe because we were the first customers that day.

Kopi bun (P40)- white bread bun with a hard layer of coffee flavored crust baked to perfection. The bread itself was good enough until I reached the butter filling and I totally fell in love with it. The core was heavenly soft and creamy. I devoured a whole and still wanted a piece or two to bring out. *gluttony alert*

Kaya toast (P45 for four pieces)- thin crispy toasts layered with cold butter and creamy kaya jam. ‘Kaya’ translated to Malay is ‘rich’. It is a coconut jam made from coconut milk, duck or chicken eggs which are flavored by pandan leaf and sweetened with sugar. Eversince I was a kid, I really loved coconut jam (even the local ones sold at the nearby bakery) so it was no surprise being hooked to the kaya jam. I didn’t know that butter would perfectly compliment the sweetness of the jam. 

Soft-boiled eggs (P35) - two soft-boiled eggs with special soya sauce and pepper. I didn’t like this one maybe because it was too raw (and quite unpalatable) for me. I had a stomach upset on my first try and didn’t dare a second one. My friends liked it though, and they had fun dipping their toasts on the runny yolk.

Kopi with “O” (P50)- coffee with no milk. Plain black. I liked the dark blend, all by itself. I was stunned on my first sip as I didn’t expect it to taste pleasantly bitter plus the aroma was really exquisite.

There are very affordable ‘set meals’ if you intend to order a combination of the kopi buns, kaya toasts, french toasts, soft-boiled eggs, coffee or tea. If dining in a group you can order different sets and then share. Try dipping the bread and toast in your coffee for a more enjoyable treat. That’s a total perk-me-up tip to shoot you back on track.

*** Kopi Roti
Ground Floor, The Columns, Ayala Avenue corner Gil Puyat, Makati City
(02) 409.92.50


Get the Glow

I have been hearing a lot of raves about the BB Cream. It’s one of the latest trends in make-up and cosmetics not only in the Philippines but also in other Asian countries.
BB Cream, also known as Blemish Balm Cream, owes its origin to German dermatologists who prescribed the cream to individuals who undertook skin peeling treatments. Korean celebrities, admired for their flawless skin, popularized the cream until it became an instant hit and favorite especially to make-up enthusiasts.
There are a lot of BB Creams available in the market now- each differing in ingredients, smell and texture. The promise of natural glow, perfect coverage and UV protection in just one product is just so tempting. I took my first steps to meeting my match.
While strolling along the cosmetics alley of a department store, I stumbled upon the Maybelline counter. Maybelline, by the way, is one of my favorite make-up brands and I truly love the Volume Express Turbo Boost Mascara, Clear Smooth Mineral Powder Foundation (in W02 Natural Ochre) and Mineral Powder Blush (in True Peach). My eyes laid upon a row labeled ‘Hot’. When I took one, it’s a BB Cream! The Maybelline lady came up to me and said that the BB Cream is their hot- selling item. It was originally priced at P299 but was marked down to P249. Convinced by the lady’s sales talk (and since I have been using the brand), I decided to purchase one.

In only one shade that fits all, Maybelline BB Cream is a blend of eight healthy minerals- copper, zinc, magnesium, sodium, titanium and three iron oxides. It acts as a moisturizer, sun block and foundation.

The product glides on skin easily even without applying moisturizer. It’s light on the skin, doesn’t leave a heavy feel and doesn’t appear cake-y after hours. The cream lessens the red appearance of fresh pimple marks although doesn’t fully conceal them. Same is true for visible pores. However, there is a matte glow on my skin and I love that it doesn’t get oily. It also lasts for the whole day so I don’t need to re-apply during midday. If you have a perfect or almost perfect skin, this BB Cream is already enough to give a more flawless look. But if you have blemishes, I think there is still a need to apply face powder for smoother coverage. As for the sun protection, I cannot yet attest to the effect of the product. I’ll give it a rigorous test this coming month in Boracay (weee!)

The 18-ml tube for P249 is quite pricey but I will still consider buying it again. Anyway, a small amount is already enough to cover the face so the tube will last several months. I am sticking to this BB cream for now. It’s love at first application!


Bagnet in the City

You don’t have to go up north to Vigan to eat Bagnet. There’s a quaint restaurant located in a residential area in San Antonio Village in Makati that will surely make you forget the scale and the calorie counting.

Mismatched tables and chairs, children’s toys and adult books on vintage wood shelves, dissimilar yellow ceiling lamps and a graffiti wall make 8065 Bagnet a charming place. The restaurant can sit around 40 persons (including the tables and chairs outside) and it gets literally full during lunch and dinner time.

When my J and I first visited the place, we ordered the Original Bagnet (house specialty) and pork barbecue. I am not a fan of pork skin and fat but this one got me munching like crazy! The Bagnet skin was crunchy and the meat was flavorful. We requested for Mang Tomas sauce (since I am allergic to bagoong) and our fat feast was even more pleasureable.

On our next visit we were surprised to see that the menu included Spicy Ginataang Bagnet, Bagnet Curry, Bagnet Sisig, Kare-Kareng Bagnet and Binagoongang Bagnet. Now that got me thinking- what else can you cook using Bagnet?

My J ordered Ginataang Bagnet and I ordered Bagnet Sisig. Even if the Bagnet skin was dipped in sauce, it was still crunchy. The sauce was spicy but not to the extent of fiery hot. We would even ask for extra sauce to pour on our rice.
Aside from Bagnet, Steamed Fish (good for two at P170) and Crispy Chicken (good for two at P170), Tortang Talong (P45), Ensaladang Talong (P35) and Okra with Bagoong (P35) are other worthy picks. If you are dining as a group, it’s a wise idea to order the main Bagnet dishes which are good for sharing at P170 to P190 each and then just split the bill. There are also budget meals (with rice and soup) which are reasonably priced at P100 to P110. For an after-meal treat, it’s a choice between Frozen Buko Pandan (P45) and Pastillas (P5).

During evening the place is packed with customers who stay to have a nice cold bottle of beer (P180 per bucket of six) to cap off the night and those who simply want to bond and chill out over beer and pulutan. Attracting a crowd on Fridays, the owners hold Quiz Nights (starts at 10 p.m.) and on Saturdays, cozy acoustic performances.
Fortunately (or unfortunately) I live near 8065 Bagnet so my J and I can quickly satisfy our Bagnet cravings. It may be hard to resist this mouth-watering dish but we say that it should only be a once-in-a-while indulgence.

*** 8065 Bagnet
8065 Estrella Street, San Antonio Village, Makati City
(02) 508.18.07


Smooth as Satin

Dry, rough skin is unattractive. The skin appears dull and flaky. It may also feel itchy and uncomfortable.

Some of the common culprits of dry skin are genetics, dehydration, sun and wind exposure, poor diet and use of harsh soaps.

I still consider myself lucky because I only have to deal with mild skin dryness mainly due to change in weather. No red or white patches, itching and cracking. I simply follow the basics- drink lots of water, shower in lukewarm water because hot water removes natural oils from our skin, put on moisturizer or lotion right after every bath to seal in moisture, avoid exposure to the sun and apply sunscreen.

The skin on my elbows, knees and heels tend to be the driest. Even if I applied generous amounts of moisturizers, I still didn't get the smooth skin that I wanted. My frustration ended when my sister introduced Glysolid.

Glysolid is a glycerin cream. Glycerin is a humectant- it attracts moisture to the skin. It is highly hygroscopic- it absorbs water from air. It is a common ingredient of soaps, lotions, aftershave creams, make-up removers and toothpaste.

I first tried applying the cream on my elbows and knees. After two days of use (twice a day) the skin on my elbows and knees became smoother. Since then, I also apply the cream on my feet (paying more attention to my heels), put on socks and leave it overnight. When I wake up in the morning, my feet feel so young and soft.

Glysolid is with me at work too. I use it as a hand cream. A small amount is enough for moisturizing during my daily eight-hour stay in an air-conditioned room.

What I also love about Glysolid is its light texture. It doesn’t leave a greasy and heavy feel after application. Also, even if I forget to put on lotion or moisturizer, my skin still feels healthy and soft after a day or two.

This skin treat fits my budget. For P390 a 250-ml tin lasts four to six months depending on usage. It is not locally available so if you purchase one, you need to pay for the freight fee (around P100 to P120 depending on your location).


Great Taste and Good Health with Every Sip

On one of my recent visits to Starbucks I decided not to order the usual mocha frappucino. I got myself a Venti Raspberry and Black Currant Frappucino Blended Juice Drink.

This beverage is a blend of raspberry and red and black currant juice with minty Tazo Zen tea. It comes in three sizes- Tall (P125), Grande (P135) and Venti (P150).
The subtly sweet flavor of raspberry and the distinctly sharp tang of currant were perfectly balanced in the drink. The blend was smooth and refreshing until the last sip.

A healthy alternative to coffee, this beverage is rich in anti-oxidants, fiber and Vitamin C. It can help strenghten the immune system and improve digestive health.

I am impressed that Starbucks not only caters to coffee lovers but also responds to consumers’ demand for healthier beverage. I am quite excited to try the other cool tea drinks on the menu- Mango Passion Fruit, Lemon Green Tea and Lemon Hisbiscus. I’m sure I will love them too!


Pampanga Delight: Cold Spoon

I love frozen yogurt because it’s just like ice cream, only healthier. It is low-calorie and low-fat, rich in calcium and protein and contains probiotics.

Along Fil-Am Highway (near Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga) is a haven for yogurt lovers. Cold Spoon Frozen Yogurt, owned by a Korean, is gaining popularity among locals and tourists alike and is considered a must-visit place when travelling to the culinary capital of the Philippines.

The frozen yogurt comes in three serving sizes- small (P60), medium (P90) and large (150). You can choose from a variety of toppings (P20-P25) which include strawberries in syrup, cranberries in syrup, oreo, raisins, cereals and chocolates.

I found the yogurt lightly sweet and the texture was very similar to ice cream. I didn’t find the sourness that I like. Also, most of the toppings were sweets and cookies. I prefer fresh fruits on my yogurt.

Although this yogurt is not the best dessert for me, Cold Spoon deserves credit for the spotless interiors, relaxing ambiance and excellent service.

It’s worth a try if you’re planning a trip to Pampanga. Besides, you can indulge without the guilt.


Zits, Zits Go Away

I have been getting zits lately and no matter how much I cleanse my face, eat healthy meals and get enough sleep, I find one or two zits every morning I look at my face on the mirror. I am surprised every time I see a red bump on my face when I just checked the night before and there was no hint of redness at all. It seems like these zits just grow on my face overnight! It’s really disgusting and depressing.

I made a research on the internet about any topical treatment for zits. There’s Benzoyl Peroxide, Adapalene and Erythromycin to name a few. I read reviews on these medicines and found good ones about Sansacne (Erythromycin). Off I went to the drug store.

Sansacne is a 4% Erythromycin gel used for treatment of acne. A 30-gram tube is P553.75 in Mercury Drug Store. The gel is clear and feels alcohol-y when applied to the face. It is supposed to be applied twice a day for eight weeks.

I have been using the gel for five days now and so far it works well in drying up my zits. I put two layers of the gel on the zit and massage it a little. The next day, the swelling and pain is reduced.

I will use Sansacne until the eight week and see how far it can go in treating my zits. Keeping my fingers crossed that I will get better results.


Love Love Love Ferrero!

I will never say no to that thin crunchy wafer shell filled with rich chocolate hazelnut cream. It is nothing but absolute delight.

On my special day, my J surprised me with my ultimate favorite. Woot-woot! (Btw, the phone's a gift, too. Lucky me!)

I recently found out that a chocolate boutique/cafe in Makati offers a Ferrero cake. My friends and I visited the cafe one Thursday night. My J readily ordered this cake for me.

This is one of the cafe's best-sellers- Ferrero Hazelnut Crunch Cake (P280). It is a moist chocolate cake and has a bit of crunch. A slice is good for 2-3 persons although I can finish one by myself (*snicker*).