Tuesday, February 26, 2013

What's In My Cart: My Favorite Pancake Mix

One of my family's favorite breakfast food is pancakes. They love it when it is piled this high and layered with maple syrup, whipped cream cheese, and bacon.  Scrumptious!
There is no shame in admitting that I use a pancake mix.  When I prepare breakfast, time is usually of the essence, especially if the family want to sit down and eat together on the table before C leaves for the office.  With a pancake mix, I just add egg, water and oil, and pancakes are served in no time. 

I have tried almost all the pancake mixes available in the market.  For a long time, I've been a loyal Pillsbury user, and then I shifted to Magnolia Pancake Mix.  I prefer to add my own eggs so I do not buy the one-step pancake mix, where all you have to add is water.  Between the two brands, my kids like Magnolia better, but I found it a bit too sweet for my taste.

We have tried the imported mixes like Betty Crocker and Krusteaz, but we did not find the flavor and texture outstanding; plus the gigantic boxes they came in made storing them in the pantry a hassle. 

After testing almost all the brands available, our family have found our favorite: MAYA Original Hotcake Mix.  As they claim in the package, it is really fluffy and tasty.  The 500-gram box comes with 2 plastic packets inside, but we are a family of big eaters so the entire box is just right for my family of five, with no leftovers.

And because the bacon bits really did make me happy today, here's a recipe I got from the web for Pancakes with Bacon, Whipped Cream Cheese, and Maple Syrup
  • Pancake mix
  • bacon, cut up to bits
  • 4 ozs. cream cheese, cubed and at room temperature
  • 2 tbsps all purpose cream
  • maple syrup, or if not available from your grocery, any pancake syrup
1.follow package directions

{Bacon Bits:}
1.Cook bacon bits in a non-stick pan without putting oil.  Cook until the bacon has rendered its own fat and the bacon bits are nicely brown.
2.Drain oil, and put on kitchen towels to take out excess oil 
3.Let cool.

{Whipped Cream Cheese}
1.Whisk together cream cheese and cream until light and airy.    

Assemble in layers and enjoy! 


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Cheese Steak Shop Food Truck

C and I are great fans of The Food Network's The Great Food Truck Race hosted by Tyler Florence.   We've always wondered how Manila would welcome gourmet food trucks.  Mobile food peddlers who sell their wares via push carts are no stranger to our streets, but we've always wondered if food trucks would hit it big in Manila.

Last December, when my family was traveling along Ortigas Ave., we saw this huge food truck parked at the complex of City Center (between Madison and Roosevelt sts.).  We knew we had to do a u-turn to get to the other side of the road where this big red truck is.
The Cheese Steak Shop is an original franchise from the U.S. Cheese Steak Shop that is famous all-over California.   The Cheese Steak Shop Food Trucks are now roaming the streets of Manila, bringing the taste of authentic Philly cheese steaks to almost every corner of Manila. I have no idea how many food truck they have; but, this food truck has been in the same spot since December of last year.  

Our server boasts that almost all of the sandwich's ingredients are all imported from the U.S. commissary.  And even the bread for the famous hoagie is imported from Amoroso's Bakery from Philadelphia.
We ordered the 7" classic philly cheese steak, King of Philly, and Italian hoagie, plus sides of onion rings and garlic fries.  Sorry no food photos aside from the one of the fries below.  The sandwiches were ginormous, and eating them in the car was a feat unto itself.  Taking photos in the car was an impossibility.  We ate all the sandwiches in the car - drips and food spills, notwithstanding.  Yeah, family of gluttons.:)

I found it a bit pricey.  But it really tasted soo good... the steak,bread, and fries, it makes it all totally worth it.  We will be having some more again very soon!

The Cheese Steak Shop Manila has two branches, located at 140 Amorsolo St. Legaspi Village, Makati and The Fort Strip, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.  The food truck goes around so it might not be at the City Center in Ortigas by the time you are reading this.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Nihonbashi Tei

We had our usual Sunday lunch at Nihonbashi Tei in Makati.  I can't remember the last time I ate here, but I know it was a long time ago, maybe around 3 years back.  The place looks exactly the way it did the last time we visited.  The place was already packed with diners by the time we got there at close to 12 noon, and it's a good thing we were able to get a function room, away from all the diners.

Whenever we eat at Japanese restaurants, my kids always order the california maki.  This plate is already half-eaten as the kids devoured the sushi rolls as soon as it was placed on the table.

The spicy salmon sashimi is not really that spicy. It's thinly-slivered marinated salmon on a bed of sushi rolls, topped with crunchy tempura crumbs. 

The takoyaki is forgettable. I found the bits of minced octopus rubbery and hard to chew.  

The salmon onigiri came with the bento lunch set; and while not spectacular, was able to satiate hungry tummies.

We ordered the chasho shoyu ramen (shown below) for the kids to share and the shrimp tempura ramen for C and I to share, (no photo of the shrimp tempura ramen because C finished off before I could take a photo.)  He saved some for me in a small bowl; but I thought the tempura batter was overwhelmingly thick, and made the shrimp look smaller that it already is.

C loves sashimis, and he usually orders salmon and hamachi.  We were initially happy to see that the price of the hamachi sashimi was not as high as other Japanese restaurants; but we were disappointed when the hamachi came, for it was not as fresh as we would've wanted it.  Probably because it was not a very fast moving item because of its price point.  

The Asari clams could be better.  The buttery sauce was a bit bland, but nothing that fresh clams couldn't make up for.

The kids love the beef teppan, but I didn't get to taste it.

There's a wall full of Japanese beers and liquors right in front of our private room, but surprisingly C didn't order any.

I found the quality of the food suffered compared to the last time we ate here.  While the food was not bad, it failed to impress.  Maybe it was because it was a busy Sunday lunch, and the kitchen found itself overwhelmed.  Still, everything on the menu is affordable and the staff is efficient and friendly.
Overall, a place to go if you want fast service, affordable and decent food.

Nihonbashi-tei Makati
806 Arnaiz Avenue, Pasay Road, Makati City, Metro Manila. Philippines. 
Tel: +632-818-8893

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