Monday, June 20, 2016

Nobu Hong Kong

On the evening of my arrival in Hong Kong, I was lucky enough to have been invited to dine at Nobu Hong Kong. We have our very own Nobu here in Manila but due to the fact that prices were quite steep, I have never able been to try it out. It seems that the first time I get to dine at Nobu, it would be in Hong Kong.

I tried the Nobu Signature Tasting Dinner which cost 1088HKD. The first dish I had was the Salmon Tartar with Caviar on Top and Wasabi with Japanese peach on the side to cleanse the palette. I loved the taste of the salmon and the only downside of this dish was that it was too small. I wish they served more of this.

Next came the Newstyle Oyster Sashimi and Yellowtail Sashimi with Yuzu Sauce. The oyster was pretty huge and if you're not really into oyster, it would be pretty hard to swallow. The yellowtail on the other hand was pretty good.

3rd on the signature tasting menu was the Medium Fatty Tuna, Yellowtail Tuna, Salmon Eggs, and Crispy Rice with Shrimp paste. Honestly, there was nothing outstanding about this 3rd plate.

The 4th plate was the King Crab Tempura with Japanese Vinegar and this was my favorite. I think I even ended up having another one of this because the other people in my party couldn't eat crab. It was really good and the crab was definitely more than bite size.

The Pico Fish was a little weird. I don't know if I just wasn't used to it but it was really just weird.

The Beef Tenderloin with Cauliflower and Mushroom was perfection. Next to the crab, this one is definitely my favorite. I loved the mushroom and I loved the beef. I could have eaten 3 of these without blinking.

The Clam Green Tea Noodle was VERY different. It's definitely unique and new. I've never had green tea as a soup and paired with the soba noodles and golden mushrooms, it gave off quite a different feel.

Finally, the 8th dish of the night is the Panna Cotta with Granita and Strawberry Topping. The strawberry was pretty good and the granita was interesting but I felt that it was lacking a little bit of something something.

What made the night worth it was the view. This was my view while I was having dinner. It's definitely mesmerizing.

If you have money to spare, I would definitely recommend getting the Nobu experience but if money is an issue, there are cheaper ways to get this view with more affordable food to consume.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Hong Kong in the eyes of a First Time Traveler

I've never been out of the country. EVER. I have been offered to go to London, Egypt, Thailand, Panama, South America, USA, Japan, Bali, and other places but I have never said yes. I just wasn't into the idea. I've never been a wanderlust but now that I am turning 36, I realized that perhaps it is time for me to actually step out of my comfort zone and explore a new place.

An opportunity for Hong Kong came and finally, I said yes.

As with anything I went ahead and forged ahead like a bull. I didn't even want my family to take me to the airport. I wanted to start this trip on my own and not have my family hold my hand which I honestly needed but knew I shouldn't depend on.

THE WORRIES: I was really worried about the laglag bala scheme at the airport. It sucked that this was even a cause for concern but since I was going on my own, I knew that I may be prime target. Thankfully, I got through it without any mishaps. Next was going through Immigrations. I've heard horror stories about the Immigration officers here having more attitude and giving Pinoys a hard time which is really sad so I was ready to give charm or poison. Thankfully, being a blogger had its perks and the moment the officer saw my business card, I was good to go.

THE AIRPORT: I never knew that the international side of the NAIA 3 was quite big (compared to our other airports anyway.) I had to walk a bit to get to my boarding gate. The next worry I had was the consistency of  Cebu Pacific for being late. Surprisingly, there were no delays in this flight. Miracles do happen.

THE FLIGHT: On the flight to Hong Kong, it was fairly smooth and we got there ahead of time by 25 minutes. It was also my first time to have a full meal while travelling. It seems that the ticket that was given to me had a meal chosen for myself which luckily was chicken.

UPSIDE:  It tasted good.

DOWNSIDE: It was hard to manage because the atsara had sauce and there were no nearby trash cans.

HONGKONG AIRPORT: You know those scene in the movies where the lead actress marvels around, goes in a circle just taking everything in, and simply is in awe of everything she sees? I was that girl. I was definitely impressed with their airport and wished that we had it back here.

They were also very efficient and orderly. You could really feel that they value people's time because they make sure that everything is addressed without causing any confusion. I never had to ask for anything twice even with the language barrier.

THE CITY: There was absolutely no traffic. Seriously. No traffic whatsoever and people followed the rules. Coming from Manila where people had a mind of their own and traffic laws seem more like decor than anything else, this was definitely a shocker. I mean I've heard about it but seeing it first hand was definitely something.

It was also clean. There were trash bins everywhere and people actually use it. Art was also found in a lot of places and I even saw a wall signage saying that without art, a society is without a soul.

THE VIEW: One of the things I truly enjoyed about Hong Kong was the view. The view was so amazing from across the bay when we had dinner at Nobu and from the 28th floor when we ate at Hutong Bay. It was definitely mesmerizing and jaw dropping when I saw it from my room at the 112th floor of the Ritz Carlton. I have always loved city views and seeing Hong Kong from that point of view was definitely something. It was like being able to see a sliver of what God sees and it was just SO BEAUTIFUL.

THE FOOD: It was pretty good but I guess being Chinese and exposed to the same food made me less impressed with what they had to offer. HOWEVER I haven't tried all the dishes Hong Kong has to offer so I'm sure that I will still be blown away in future trips. I will say though that for those who haven't tried their food, they will definitely be treated to a sumptuous meal.

THE MTR: This is probably the most amazing and impressive thing for me about Hong Kong. It was just so efficient and so on time. It was not crowded no matter how many people get on it and it was definitely not hot inside. I was just so blown away with every single aspect of the MTR. It was running 24/7 and it was definitely clean. It also let me go around the city by myself.

People also follow and respect each other. They don't rush in and let people go out. They let the elderly sit in and no one really minds standing because it's not hot inside. The MTR is also very efficient and gets you to your destination fast and cheap.

THE WALKING: I think if I lived or worked there, I would lose weight with all the walking around. I just don't know if I can do the whole high heel while walking thing though. I'm just not that graceful.

THE FASHION: Half of the people there were just so fashionable. They walk around so confident and so secure that they can go around the city and not have to worry about being raped or mugged. It's really liberating. I like low neck shirts coz I'm not so gifted there but with the "rape culture" perpetuated here, it's hard.

THE LADIES MARKET: OMIGOSH! There are absolutely no words for this really wonderful place. An afternoon wasn't enough to go around the place and have a look at everything. I didn't even have time to take photos of the merchandise because I was just so overwhelmed with how big and diverse this place was. I literally want to go back just because of the Ladies Market. I got so many things but now I kind of want to start a business with them. Be still my shopping heart.

THE OCTOPUS CARD: They have a card there that you can load at the train station and airport which you can use almost everywhere. It's really wonderful. I used my Octopus card at 7-11, restaurants, to buy food at bakeries, and almost anywhere. It makes for faster transactions and I definitely did not hear this super hated phrase "may barya po kayo?" I really hate that. If we had the Octopus card, this wouldn't be a problem and we would always pay what we just need to pay.

THE ART: Almost everywhere, there was art. It was encouraged and I really loved this being an artist myself. In a city where business means business, it is always good to see that there is soul.

THE FLEA MARKET: I was lucky enough to have dropped by the Cultural Center of Hong Kong on a Sunday. Apparently, 3 Sundays a week, they hold a flea market. What I loved about this is that most of the craft makers were seniors. They were old people just really pursuing their passion. It was such a LIFE GOAL.

I was only in Hong Kong for a couple of days but it was definitely life changing. I have seen a glimpse of the world and I am now ready to take a peek again. Thank you Hong Kong for being my first. It was definitely memorable.

All photos taken using my ASUS ZENFONE SELFIE and it was really good. I could easily snap photos and I didn't have a hard time taking food shots even inside the dimly lit Nobu and Hutong Bay because of the flashlight aspect of the phone and the 13MP. Yey to ASUS PH.

Separate write ups to follow for Ritz Carlton, Nobu Hotel, Hutong Bay, and Kams Roasted Goose.

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Sunday, June 12, 2016

Dearberry is now in Manila

Korean cosmetics are some of the most compatible make up products to the Filipino skin which is why when Ilearned that Dearberry was coming to Manila, the make up lover in me gave a yelp of joy.

Yes, I actually do like make up. I am just too lazy to use it all the time but if you see my make up hoard, I can compete with small time make up artists. Trust me.

My first haul are the following: The Dearberry Pore Primer because people have been telling me that it's good for the skin and it will make my face look more flawless. After all, I am turning 36 and I won't have that dewy skin feel soon. I also got the Gel Eyeliner named Online. They should have named it "on fleek" because it was definitely on fleek everytime I put it on. The mascara which is called Must Eyetem which is a pay on must have item. The last one is lipstick of course since I am building my #lipsticklovebyK hashtag. Also, I just really love lippies.

The Pore Primer felt good. It wasn't heavy on the skin and it was easily absorbed. I didn't even look like I had primer on. It didn't wash off even when I was sweating under the heat and it definitely did not feel sticky which was really good because that was my biggest fear. There is nothing more icky than a sticky face.

The Online gel eyeliner was definitely good. It stayed in place the whole day and did not smudge. Can you imagine going around the city with raccoon eyes you can't get off. When I got home at night, I washed my face and used wipes afterward. It came off pretty easily. The mascara did not clump which for me is the only thing that matters.

Lastly FLIRT. I loved that the name of the lippie is flirt and when I put it on, it did make me look ready to flirt, not that I'll be flirting anytime soon.

It's not long lasting but it definitely glides smoothly, looks good on the lips, and definitely moisturized. You just need to dab it on again after eating and drinking.

Dearberry is definitely going to my list of cosmetics that I will regularly use and buy. You should also give it a try.

Starbucks Cards: Scales and Vivienne Tam

There are two new cards from Starbucks Philippines. One of them is already available while the other one will be available come July. The blue scales card is a reminder of the summer that just passed and is available starting June 7.

Inspired by our Siren’s tail, this special blue fish scales design will make a colorful splash this season. Available for an initial consumable load amount of ₱300. Purchase limit of two (2) activated Scales Cards per customer per day

 In collaboration with Vivienne Tam, this limited edition Starbucks Card is inspired by her iconic “Bird and Flora” print. This will be available on July 1.

The design showcases Tam’s East-meets-West approach to design, that effortlessly blends cultural roots with modern design vocabulary. Available for an initial consumable load amount of ₱1,000.

Purchase limit of two (2) activated Vivienne Tam Cards per customer per day.

I personally love the Vivienne Tan card. It is just so pretty. To Card Collectors, this one is a must have! 

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Tea in a Frappe, Starbucks Summer Inspired Beverage and Sweets

Once again, Starbucks has delivered in surprising the people with their latest summer inspired beverage. Starbucks Philippines inspires customers’ sense of summertime adventure with unique twists on the signature flavors of chocolate and tea in two new Frappuccino® Blended Beverages, available for a limited time: the Chocolate Black Tea with Earl Grey Jelly Frappuccino® Blended Beverage and Double Chocolate Green Tea Frappuccino® Blended Beverage

The Chocolate Black Tea is highly recommended for those who are not heavily exposed to tea and wants to give it a try. It's a good start because the chocolate balances everything out.

The Double Chocolate Green Tea is good for lovers of matcha and those who really put value to their tea. It's stronger but still flows smoothly. Personally, this is my favorite among the two.

Of course whenever Starbucks Philippines launches new beverages, they pair it with new treats as well. They have the chicken milk bun, chicken parmigiana wrap, purple yam cheesecake, and the sausage and spinach on foccacia bread. I've tried almost everything and I have to say that it's filling. VERY FILLING. 

Meanwhile, conveniently brew your own refreshing coffee at home, with the new Starbucks Iced Coffee Blend, specially roasted to accentuate its full flavored taste when chilled, this blend creates an invigorating and refreshing beverage. Craving for a more exotic coffee? Try the new Starbucks Reserve® Cape Verde and Starbucks Reserve® Colombia San Fermin which are exclusively available in Starbucks Reserve® stores.

Plus, there are new core food items such as the breakfast pancakes which go perfectly well with your coffee and Go Lite! Chips which are great for your afternoon snack cravings. 

This Go Lite Popped Chips are my favorite now. Seriously. I ate 3 packs in a row. I'm not proud but it's only 100 calories so 3 packs is only calories and that's not so bad for 3 packs of chips right? It was really, really, really, really DELICIOUS. Seriously. You need to try this like now. GO NOW. 

So there you have it guys. Go to the nearest Starbucks and fall in love ONCE AGAIN with Starbucks Philippines and their amazing line up of drinks and food, esp the Go Lite Chips. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

of love and being jaded

Earlier tonight I found myself in a discussion with two foreigners, one of which was madly in love and about to get married, the other more jaded and realistic. I couldn't help but listen in on their discussions and when the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind came up, one of them said that it was a DARK movie.

I begged to differ.

I told them it was a romantic movie and Madly in Love said that it was just too dark to be one. I didn't even think about my response and I just said, "isn't every love story that end in heartbreak dark?"

What I really wanted to say was ...

Every love story is dark. It becomes dark
when hearts are broken ...
when promises aren't kept ...
when smiles are replaced with tears ...
when sweet words become screaming matches ...
when a tender touch becomes a forceful strike ...
when love no longer is love but indifference ...
when one no longer feels anything ...
Every love story becomes dark.

Realistic guy said I was wise and I told him "VERY!"

I have become wiser ...
with every tear that I have shed
with every sob that I held back
with every pain that was inflicted on me
with every broken promise made
with every sweet word turned sour
with every smile that I can no longer make
with every tender touch that leaves a mark on my skin
with every love that I no longer feel ...
I have become wiser.

Madly in love is getting married and says he feels that he won because of his wife. I told him that I hope he remembers this feeling 5 years from now when she is no longer the perfect girl she is right now and someone younger seduces him. If all men just remember how they felt on the day they got married, perhaps, there would be a few less wiser women and more happy and whole families in the world.

I know that I'd choose to be the latter rather than the former.