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Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994
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Archive for July, 2010

The cat who ate string

July 31, 2010 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Cats 6 Comments →

Hello, I am Matthias.

My human has just finished reading Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy and she says it is horrible and beautiful, like the most brutal parts of the Old Testament except that there is no god to oversee it all, and now she will take the day off to recover.

Haha! I have appropriated the pillow so now she cannot sleep. Meanwhile you can read her column in the Pets section. It is about Saffy. She ate string, she is very silly.

Sentenced to read

July 30, 2010 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Current Events 6 Comments →


Photo: British Museum

Novel approach: reading courses as an alternative to prison
In Texas, offenders are being sent on reading courses instead of prison. Could it work in the UK?

With one of the highest incarceration rates in the world, and the death penalty, the US state of Texas seems the last place to embrace a liberal-minded alternative to prison. But when Mitchell Rouse was convicted of two drug offences in Houston, the former x-ray technician who faced a 60-year prison sentence – reduced to 30 years if he pleaded guilty – was instead put on probation and sentenced to read…(Full text in the Guardian).

What is more amazing, the fact that people in power have realized that reading can turn people into human beings, or the fact that this reading program was introduced in Texas?

While I love the idea of the program, I have doubts about its application. It would probably work for offenders who have hit rock-bottom and have no options, who have some self-awareness and admit that they have done wrong.

Reading courses as an alternative to prison would definitely not work for corrupt government officials who loot the public treasury. Those subhumans not only lord it over their countrymen but they have too many options, thanks to the funds they have stolen and stashed. They will not admit to their crimes because they do not believe they have committed crimes—they feel entitled to that money.

Not even Crime and Punishment and all the novels of Dostoevsky will do in such cases. First they would have to be taken down from the heights and stripped of their dignity, then maybe the reading cure would take.

Wednesday lunch with Chef Jessie, the conclusion

July 30, 2010 By: jessicazafra Category: Food, Places 2 Comments →

Salad was followed by Chef Jessie’s famous bread rolls and the special dip, an alternative to delicious, evil butter.

“We had a regular at Le Souffle, Mr. Jose Periquet, whose diet did not allow butter. So I made a dip out of the stuff in the cold kitchen, and he liked it, and now we serve it with the rolls.”

“Guess what this is,” she said. I took a spoonful—Tinolang manok! “What I want to do is to serve traditional Filipino food along with Mediterranean cuisine in a fine dining setting. I think our foreign customers will get it.”


Dalandan sorbet to clear the palate and then:

Bistek. Thick juicy slices of wagyu beef with garlic rice and eggplant salad. You take something this scrumptious and you know it will probably go straight to your hips but you also know that there’s little point in struggling—we all have to eat, right?

“How can you be around food all the time and not get fat?” I asked. “I have to stay at my working weight, 110 lbs,” Chef Jessie said. “Every day I have a big breakfast with rice, and then the rest of the day I only eat when I’m hungry. Also when you work with food, just the smell makes you feel full.”

Dessert, which in my world is called the main course, consisted of small portions of three top hits: Princess Carmen Pistachio Sans Rival, Crepes Samurai, and French Chocolate Kiss. I had an espresso, then a cup of moringa (malunggay, the veggie du jour) tea. Not only was everything heavenly, but I could actually get up from the table. Pacing is key. When I eat alone I tend to wolf everything and give myself indigestion. Pacing.

“These are the most popular tables,” Chef Jessie pointed out. “We call them the Proposal Tables, so if your date reserves one of these you know what to expect.”

“Or you could end up fantastically disappointed because he just likes the spot. And the drapery. Hmm.”

Enchanté Restaurant and Bar by Chef Jessie is on the third floor of Joy-Nostalg Center (Oakwood) on ADB Avenue in front of The Podium, Ortigas Center, Pasig. Reservations: 4704828 and 4704210.

The unquestionable marvel of David Mitchell

July 30, 2010 By: jessicazafra Category: Books 2 Comments →

The 2010 Booker longlist was announced earlier this week. To no one’s surprise, David Mitchell’s The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet is in the running.

The “not quite a masterpiece but unquestionably a marvel” review may be stingy, but I choose to regard it as an expression of fear. It means that amazing as this novel is, the author is still underachieving. He can do better. Aaaaaaaaaaa!

Attention: Moleskine fetishists

July 29, 2010 By: jessicazafra Category: Notebooks 1 Comment →

The new My Pilipinas Moleskine has the Philippine map in gold.

My Pilipinas Moleskines are available at Collezione C2 shops and National Bookstore branches. Have you been to the Moleskine store-in-store at National Bookstore in Greenbelt 1?

Commence hyperventilating.

Wednesday lunch with Chef Jessie

July 29, 2010 By: jessicazafra Category: Food, Places 2 Comments →

One day some of Manila’s most demanding diners turned up at Le Souffle at Rockwell for their favorite dishes only to find that Le Souffle was gone. In truth it had been gone for some time, but many of its regulars hadn’t noticed. In its place was Chef Jessie Rockwell Club, which looks like Le Souffle, has pretty much the same menu as Le Souffle, and serves food that tastes exactly like Le Souffle’s because it has the same chef, Jessie Sincioco. So many of the Le Souffle regulars just keep calling it Le Souffle, even if Le Souffle no longer exists.


Chef Jessie Sincioco

I know, it’s complicated. The chef wishes she could go on using the name Le Souffle, but it is owned by the holding company.

Chef Jessie runs two other restaurants: Top of the Citi on the 34th floor of the Citibank Tower on Paseo de Roxas, Makati, and Enchanté Restaurant and Bar on the 3rd floor of Joy-Nostalg Center (same building as Oakwood) on ADB Avenue in Ortigas Center, Pasig.

Chef Jessie invited me to lunch at Enchanté. “What would you like to eat?” she asked. “I eat anything,” I said, neglecting to mention that I don’t love vegetables. (I know they’re good for me so I force myself to eat them but I am not happy.) So she prepared a lot of dishes with healthy greens. And I ate them anyway, and was actually happy.


Appetizer: Salmon Caviar. Mmmm.

Chef Jessie majored in Banking and Finance but hated the accounting part and ended up becoming a kitchen trainee at the Hotel Intercontinental in Makati in 1983. They put her to work cracking and beating eggs and slicing the mangoes for the Intercon’s famous Crepes Samurai. “I started doing 30 egg trays a day, then this was increased to 60 egg trays,” she recalled. She thought the kitchen training was just a temporary thing, but she stayed at the Intercon until 1990, becoming its first Filipino pastry chef.


Enchanté at ADB Avenue, Ortigas, telephone numbers 4704828 and 4704210.

Then she joined Le Souffle with chefs Billy King and Andreas Katzer. Billy King was the one who entertained the guests, but whenever he was away she was forced out of the kitchen to meet the guests and she learned the basics of PR. “So all the declamation contests I joined in school were useful,” she laughed.

The appetizer, as if I needed one, was Salmon Caviar, which looked like a particularly decadent pastry. “Would you like some champagne?” Chef Jessie asked. I declined because I had to pretend to work after lunch. The salad was Heart of Palm with lots of alugbati. “I’m from Bulacan where I grew up eating alugbati. I started adding it to my dishes, and the customers like it.” She feeds alugbati to the rich. And they love it. Brava!

“You know what’s good with that? Wasabi vinaigrette.” So I drizzled wasabi vinaigrette on the alugbati and it was excellent—light and tangy, but without the shock to the nasal passages.

To be continued