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Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994
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Archive for the ‘Food’

Sushi-eating guide: Could we have better chopsticks, please?

February 27, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Food 1 Comment →

I love coffee has this excellent infographic on how to maximize your sushi pleasure. A couple of tips:

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Guilty. We rub the chopsticks together because most of the time they are of poor quality, and if we’re not careful we get splinters in our fingers. Crummy chopsticks are a fact of life in Metro Manila, even in many of the “better” Japanese restaurants. You would think that at those prices, the restaurant could at least provide sticks that don’t break in your hands. We don’t want to be rude, but that is exactly the message we are sending when we rub chopsticks together: “Your utensils are cheap and shameful.”

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Yes. This is much more effective than shrieking “Omigod my mouth is on fire!” then waving your hands in front of your face while tears stream down your cheeks and you grope for a glass of water like blind Bette Davis packing her husband’s suitcase in Dark Victory. That’s not how to deal with wasabi burn, that’s how to draw attention to yourself (It only works if you’re cute).

Our favorite Japanese restaurants: Kuretake, Mangetsu, Hatsu Hana Tei, various shops in Little Tokyo across from Makati Cinema Square.

Thanks to Jackie for the alert!

What is your favorite meal in literature?

November 04, 2013 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Food 12 Comments →

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Madeleines and tea from Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust. All photos from 10 Great Meals in Literature at the Telegraph.

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Chowder has its own chapter in Moby Dick by Herman Melville

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Holden had a Swiss cheese sandwich and a malted milk at a drugstore in The Catcher in the Rye.

Inevitably someone mentions that eating scene in Tom Jones by Henry Fielding, but the novel doesn’t go into detail about what they ate. Probably because they were really consuming each other.

In Babette’s Feast by Isak Dinesen, Babette the French maid prepares a spectacular dinner. The Dwarves dine rowdily at the house of their unwilling host Bilbo in The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. Muriel Barbery’s The Elegance of the Hedgehog is full of meals. In Light Years, James Salter declares that “Life is meals.” Though as prepared by Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs, they require more death than usual. In the Jeeves books by P.G. Wodehouse, Bertie Wooster is always being lured to his Aunt Dahlia’s house by the promise of fabulous meals prepared by her French cook Anatole.

Then there are the terrible meals, such as that eventful dinner in Atonement by Ian McEwan.

Despite the late addition of chopped fresh mint to a blend of melted chocolate, egg yolk, coconut milk, rum, gin, crushed banana and icing sugar, the cocktail was not particularly refreshing. Appetites already cloyed by the night’s heat were further diminished. Nearly all the adults entering the airless dining room were nauseated by the prospect of a roast dinner, or even roast meat with salad, and would have been content with a glass of cool water. But water was available only to the children, while the rest were to revive themselves with a dessert wine at room temperature.

And Patrick’s breakfast in Bad News, the second book in the Patrick Melrose series by Edward St. Aubyn.

The smell of decaying food had filled the room surprisingly quickly. Patrick’s breakfast was devastated without being eaten. A dent in the grey paste of the porridge contained a half-eaten stewed pear; rashers of bacon hung on the edge of a plate smeared with egg yolk, and in the flooded saucer two cigarette butts lay sodden with coffee. A triangle of abandoned toast bore the semicircular imprint of his teeth, and spilled sugar glistened everywhere on the tablecloth. Only the orange juice and the tea were completely finished.

Of course there was a meal to, uh, celebrate the wedding of Edmure Tully and Roslin Frey in A Storm of Swords from George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, but we don’t remember what food was served. Just everything else.

What is your favorite meal in literature? Post the passage in Comments. There’s the tinola in Noli me tangere…

Between Edsa and Ayala, a secret garden of earthly delights

November 04, 2013 By: jessicazafra Category: Food, Places 1 Comment →

Edsa is chaos and tension, multitudes packed into a single road, baking in black fumes.

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But right on the corner of Edsa and Ayala, hidden away from the careworn populace, is a garden.

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And in that garden is the most charming French restaurant.

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The food is wonderful, intense, soaked in butter. We had the snails, foie gras, a salad with smoked salmon, braised oxtail, salted caramel chocolate cake and coffee. The liquor ban was on so we couldn’t have wine. Cost of the meal for two: Php3,300. It was worth it (Since we’re not likely to eat there daily).

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Lunch was so fabulous, we could not insult the memory of it by eating anything else for the rest of the day.

Maria Luisa’s Garden Room is located at the Makati Garden Club on Recoletos Street, just outside the Urdaneta Village gate off Ayala Avenue. Southbound on Edsa, turn right on Ayala and right at the first corner. You’re there.

The shop with the pink door

October 22, 2013 By: jessicazafra Category: Food, Places No Comments →

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The door is inside the shop.

We spend so much time in shopping malls that during last week’s holiday, we decided to take a holiday from the malls as well. First we had lunch at Seryna in Little Tokyo. The food was good, as always, but the usually reliable service failed and Victor’s order (bento) took an hour to arrive. Well, maybe they just hated him. Happy Birthday, Victor!

From our experience, Japanese restaurants tend to have limited dessert options. After they’ve served your wee portions of fresh fruit, what else is there? We racked our brains for non-mall coffee-and-dessert options in Makati. Chocolatier on Jupiter? Happy Cream Puff on Malugay? Purple Oven on Metropolitan Avenue— excellent cakes, but not enough seats for our group.

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Juan suggested Bebe Rouge on the corner of Sacred Heart Street and Metropolitan Avenue in San Antonio Village, outside the New Hatchin Japanese grocery. We’d heard of Bebe Rouge, a Japanese-owned French patisserie that makes madeleines, but being a mall creature we hadn’t figured out where it is.

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Unlike those self-consciously swanky tea places where the tables are so close together that you’re practically sitting on each other’s laps and you can hear the most private details of strangers’ lives whether you care to or not, Bebe Rouge has lots and lots of room. (Even the gleaming washroom is huge.)

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We love Japanese bakeries because the cakes are exquisite and light. Hey, we’re self-indulgent, not suicidal. We had the matcha roll, which was lovely—the green tea taste is not overwhelmed by the sweetness. The word “double” next to “fromage” suggests that when you finish eating it, you’re ready to get shot out into space as a satellite. But Bebe Rouge’s Double Fromage, a two-layered cheesecake with mascarpone cheese mousse, is surprisingly delicate. And the madeleines are dreamy.

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The coffee is excellent, the service brisk and unobtrusive. We took home several packages of the anpan—bread with red bean filling. Think of hopiang mongo, but not lardy. Delightful.

LitWit Challenge: Ramen Noir

September 25, 2013 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Contest, Food 14 Comments →

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The rain was falling like dead bullets when we left the Mind Museum last Saturday. Dr. Cuanang gave a talk about the brain. It started with art; almost everything does.

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We had nothing to do and the whole night to do it. Freedom spawns uncertainty, uncertainty summons chaos. We ducked into a restaurant for some hot food. The ramen smell was strong enough to build a garage on.

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Cherchez la ramen, Buddy. Remember that. Why are we repeating assorted quotes from hard-boiled detective novels? Because Ricky took these photos at Wrong Ramen and they came out looking like Blade Runner. With a guest appearance by Uncle Junior from The Sopranos.

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So write us a story, will ya? A story of 500 words or more, based on these pictures. Could be a detective story, a mystery, a comedy, knock yourselves out. Post them in Comments on or before 4 October 2013.

The prize is a surprise. Of course it’s baffling. You don’t need a private eye if you already know the answer. But it’s something to read, maybe write on. Something good.

The LitWit Challenge is brought to you by our friends at National Bookstore.

Frying pan or handy iron club?

September 10, 2013 By: jessicazafra Category: Food, Shopping 2 Comments →

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To Saffy it’s a snack dish. To us it’s a handy weapon to have around the house—nice weight, good balance, easy to grasp, made of good old iron. To people with culinary skills, it’s a tiny Mineral B Element iron frying pan by De Buyer, manufacturer of cooking and pastry utensils since 1830. It is has an organic beeswax-based protective finish with no chemicals or coating added, and has natural nonstick properties.

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De Buyer, Kuhn Rikon, knIndustrie, Shun, Swiss Diamond, Mori, Barazzoni, Rosle, Spring and other cookware brands that cause gastronomes, epicures, and culinary folk to hyperventilate with lust are now available at KitchenWorks on the lower ground level, East Wing, Shangri-La Mall, Mandaluyong.

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KitchenWorks had a media launch last week—what we were doing there we have no idea, we are useless around the kitchen, but those are the most beautiful pots and pans we’ve ever seen.

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