Monday, August 30, 2010

Marrakesh Palace

A few minutes walk from Dupont Circle's metro station, you'll step into a very interesting dining experience...

 Marrakesh Palace doesn't look much outside, but don't be deceived.
As a start, you'll get a huge serving of olives and bread.
 You'll marvel at the cushioned seats, lamps, torches and the intricate designs on the wall.
A fountain center piece.
The restaurant's set up and design creates a feeling that you're not in DC anymore.

If you'd like to look at the food photos, please click here.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

My Ensaimada

Good morning, Thursday :).

This ensaimada has brought me smile and contentment today. I have been craving for this pastry for so long. While dining at the Filipino restaurant last night, I saw a bunch of them at the counter and immediately bought one (How I wish I bought two.). I thought I could bring it to work for breakfast.

For the life of me, I spent the whole night tossing and turning thinking about the pastry. I wanted to devour it right there and then, but since I've already decided to have it for breakfast, I had to be patient.

Anyway, the ensaimada is gone to the last cheese, butter and sugar. I'm wondering when will I have one again.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tysons Corner Center

While waiting for our dinner reservation at The Palm, we explored the known upscale, largest shopping mall in the state and in the Baltimore-Washington area. The whole set up of the mall is impressive. Unfortunately, most stores there sell stuff I can't afford, so we just stuck to window shopping and taking photos.

 Plenty of space.
 Not crowded for a Sunday afternoon.
 Behind the potted plant is Juicy Couture.
 One of the art/sculpture displays made of Murano glass from Italy.
 Obviously a lot of thinking and design was put into this place.
 The Maserati on display and check out that island of "living room with piano" set up. This is one reason I love this mall because there's plenty of places to seat and relax.
 I love the potted plants on this section.

Happy Wednesday to all!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Chocolate Love

There are days I just indulge with chocolate.
And with every bite I take, life's troubles seem so faraway.

 I have this theory that chocolate slows down the aging process....
It may not be true, but do I dare take the chance?

 I never met a chocolate I didn't like.
 (Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis) in Star Trek: The Next Generation)

 There are four basic food groups: milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate, and chocolate truffles.

 All I really need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt!
(Lucy Van Pelt in Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Le Chat Noir

Dining at Le Chat Noir involved tastey snails, flavor explosion from the Bouillabaisse, and melt in your mouth Creme Brulee and much, much more.

To read more, click here.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday's Breakfast Duo

I'm still trying to recover from last night's dinner at Le Chat Noir (review coming soon), so for today's breakfast, I opted for a cup of cafe roast and Caribou Coffee's handcrafted oatmeal, "maple brown sugar crunch." This oatmeal is my favorite. I think that since we're doing restaurant week three nights in a row, a light breakfast and lunch would suffice.

How about you? What's your favorite breakfast?

I'm looking forward to tonight's dinner at Marrakesh Palace Pasha Lounge, and I'm glad it's Friday.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Food And Finding Calm

It's DC Restaurant Week and I am looking forward to trying three restaurants this week. PW and I will be dining at:
I will try to post my reviews at my food blog, Edible Hunts, and this is if I won't devour the food before I even get a chance to take some photos.


My family problems, I think, are starting to take care of themselves. Thank you to those who left encouraging messages; I really appreciate all your thoughtful and caring messages.

I am beginning to find peace and calm within - again.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Velletri Wine Festival

More photos found from my photo disc.

My classmates and I decided to attend a wine festival in a town called Velletri (Lazio). From Roma Termini, it was a 45-minute train to Velletri. From noisy Rome, we were whisked to a quiet, mountainous town.
Wine and grapes
The town has an old, quiet and friendly feeling
The town center of Velletri
Decorations everywhere
This fountain is at the center of the town
You pay 1 Euro for an all-day event of tasting wine and eating all sorts of pastries and chocolates.

We spent most of the day wine testing and eating, so when it was time to go home, we were so buzzed that we missed our train; we then decided to take the bus instead. We trudged to the town's bus station, bought our tickets and boarded one of the parked buses. I dozed off after finding an empty seat. The bus was passing through mountains and villages when I woke up. I looked out the window and nothin looked familiar at all.  While one of my classmates started conversing with the bus driver, she just started laughing because we were heading further away from Rome. Unfortunately, we also boarded the wrong bus. All I could do was laugh in my seat while my classmates and I asked the bus driver to drop us at the next stop where we can catch a bus headed to Rome.

After sleepily waiting for an hour (seated on the side of the road), we finally boarded the right bus. At that time, all I wanted to do was sleep, and snooze I did all the way back to Rome.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Postcards From Brugge

Funny but I am writing this post from memory and aided with some online research. 2004 seems so long ago, and as I peruse the photos on my photo disc, I remember the experience but not the locations. My time in Belgium was short, but I managed to explore the city of Brussels and also visit Brugge.

As my roommate spent her time at the museums (she was an art history major), I had all the time to explore the city of Brussels and managed to join a tour to Brugge, which is the capital and largest city of West Flanders (Flemish Region). Brugge, also spelled as Bruges, is pronounced as Bruh Ha. Brugge is beautiful and it left me wanting to go back and visit again if given the chance. This city is also known as the "Chocolate City" as there are several chocolate makers in the area and a chocolate museum to boast called "Choco-Story." Unfortunately, I did not take any photos, but I remember buying a few boxes to take home.

Top, L-R: Entering Brugge, Town Hall
Bottom, L-R: Cruising through the canals, The Burg (the town square)

 The Burg

One of the best ways to experience Brugge is by cruising its canals. This photo was taken around November 2004, and the colors of fall really added to the town's beauty. The historic city of Brugge was added to the Unesco's World Heritage List, and as perfectly captured by this description from
Brugge is an outstanding example of a medieval historic settlement, which has maintained its historic fabric as this has evolved over the centuries, and where original Gothic constructions form part of the town's identity. As one of the commercial and cultural capitals of Europe, Brugge developed cultural links to different parts of the world. It is closely associated with the school of Flemish Primitive painting.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Postcards From Brussels

A couple of nights ago, I was organizing my home office and found an old photo disc in one of the boxes. Glad to say that I found a disc full of travel memories.

Album: Brussels, Belgium (2004)

Photos of buildings taken at The Grand-Place or Grote Mrkt (Dutch)

Left to Right: Rin Tin Tin drawings on the wall, some church building from one of my walks, and another building at the Grote Mrkt

I love the architecture of Brussels.

I had no intention to visit Brussels at that time (I was a poor student.), but my roommate in Rome insisted that I accompany her to Brussels and that she's paying for the trip. Well, who would refuse a free trip? I found out at a later time that my roommate was scared to travel on her own and that she's got some issues about flying. Anyway, the trip was worth it and that I really enjoyed walking around Brussels. It's a small, clean city, and most of all, I really enjoyed eating Belgian waffles and chocolates.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Birth Home

Last night, I received a heartbreaking call from my "birth home" which catapulted me into panic, distress, and depression. I felt my world shattered - again. As far as I remember, my family is always dealing with one crisis from another, so whenever I hear the word "birth home" I am beginning to associate this word to crisis, dilemma and other words that also pertain to suffocation and drowning. (I think anyone who has dealt with familial greed and envy knows how it feels. I associate it to drowning because I have a cousin who, was so envious I could swim/float, tried to drown me.)

In this entry, I would like to make it clear that the place I am referring to is Kalinga, Philippines - my birthplace.  So if you'd ask me how I identify my tribal identity. I am Kalinga by birth and Igorot by blood.

I will always acknowledge the Philippines as my "birth home" and Hawaii "my home." I was 17 when I left the Philippines and much of my life now is here. Being of Filipino descent and of American citizenship has its ups and downs. I am sometimes labeled as too American by my Filipino family and too Filipino by my American family. I sometimes feel caught in-between.

These are photos I took the last time I visited "birth home."

This is Kayni's Tree. My grandpa planted this tree and it was toppled down by a typhoon. It amazes me that it's still alive and thriving to this day.  No matter how many people try to topple me down, I am still here - alive and thriving.
When you sit or lie down on Kayni's Tree, this is the view.
Green gold and sometimes worth dying or killing for.
The house I grew up is surrounded by rice fields.
Rice fields guarded by a lonely scarecrow. Sometimes, "birth home" brings back a lot of lonely memories.
BUT no matter how "birth home" left a bitter distaste in my mouth, it's still worth fighting for.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Summer Of Vegetables

I can't remember if this is the third or fourth harvest. My backyard tomatoes are so generous, and I'm hoping that I'll keep harvesting until the end of summer. Most of these tomatoes were given away to neighbors and coworkers, and I am happy I could share them.

 In the truest sense of sharing, I gave a bag of tomatoes to my neighbor, and she in turn gave me a couple of potatoes, zuchinis, and onions. Apparently, my neighbor's family has a big vegetable farm in the area.

It's a summer of vegetables.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Pho For A Rainy Day

Tái, Nạm, Gầu, Gân, Sách
With medium rare steak, flank, fatty flank, tendon and tripe

What can I say, DC Metro is proving to be a transportation of mediocrity these days. It's appalling that they have the audacity to raise fares yet their service is seriously deteriorating. It makes me wonder what I am paying for and where is my money going. Yesterday was another Metro day marred with crowded trains, non-working escalators, stop and go traffic, and train delays. I can't hold back my huge disappointment any longer. DC Metro sucks!

After my long ordeal with the Metro, I reached my last station at 7 PM. It also started pouring again, and I was too tired, too frustrated, and too hungry to drive home and still cook dinner. I decided to check out Pho & Grill (Gaithersburg) instead; I pass it on my drive to 270.  Besides, I really needed a place to just relax and let go of my negative emotions before I go home. I've passed through the place several times but never got the chance to try their food.  I know that the nearby Rockville area boasts of really delicious tasting Pho, so I came in with expectation that Pho & Grill could rival the Pho restaurants in Rockville, I wasn't disappointed.

 Gỏi Cuốn
Summer Rolls

The restaurant is very clean - almost gleaming. It has a very relaxing atmosphere. After placing my order, I chose a table near the entrance where I could watch the rain through the glass walls. My order arrived in a few minutes and the manager even served my food. Noticing that I was taking my time eating and watching the rain, the manager even asked me if I wanted my peanut sauce warmed up for my summer rolls. The summer rolls were delicious and the sauce sweet and not too peanuty.

On a rainy and frustrating day, life feels good again; my smile revived by the wonderful customer service, a warm bowl of delicious Pho, and a nice view of the pouring rain. I'm so glad it's Friday; I won't ride the Metro for at least two days.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Caribou Inspires

DC Metro was delayed again yesterday (this happens twice (or more) a week and this is in addition to the broken escalators and elevators - very disappointing transportation system!), so instead of fighting my way through a packed crowd, I decided to have a cup of coffee at Caribou Coffee and wait it out.

I've always liked Caribou Coffee especially that they have nicer, friendlier staff (Metro Center location) and really delicious dark chocolate drinks. I also love their breakfast selections and that I am a fan of their maple brown sugar crunch oatmeal. Anyway, while drinking my cup of iced mocha and scribbling my Metro frustrations on my journal, I noticed that there were quotes/messages on the napkins and my drinking cup. On a bad day like this, these inspirational quotes were just what I needed. Caribou did a great job on this. I spent my time at the cafe reading and writing them down on my journal.

Today, I'd like to share them with you. The ones in blue are my favorite quotes. Read through them and tell me your fave quote or quotes.

Stay awake for -
Maxing out your passport
ghost stories around the campfire
Adopting a four-legged friend
Playing an instrument
Break dancing
Luscious, oh-so-delicious chocolate

  • don't wait for new year's to make a resolution
  • spin the globe then pack your bags
  • have a favorite charity
  • sing out loud!
  • be the first to apologize
  • pour yourself a cup full of karma
  • dance in the rain
  • learn to say thank you in ten languages
  • step 1: rake leaves; step 2: jump
  • only look back if it makes you smile
  • be the ruler of your own life
  • indulge in chocolate therapy
  • you'll only be your current age
  • savor every sip
  • dare to adventure
  • be the first to enter and the last to leave the dance floor
  • lighten up
  • marshmallows have no nutritional value and that's ok
  • life is too short, stay awake for it

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Peek: Home Office

Finally, my home office is ready to face the world. The project to renovate this room started about a couple of weeks ago, but due to the heat wave, we had to postpone working on the second floor due to the unbearable heat. Anyway, thank you to PW for spending the whole Saturday adding all the finishing touches, while I went out with R for some shopping and eating. Here are the before and after photos.


I didn't like the brown wall and the thick, heavy curtain so we took those off. I think this was formerly a kid's room due to the stickers on the wall.

The brown wall and curtain really made the room dark.

When the brown covering came off, this is what we have to deal with - ugly. This wall required so much spackling and sanding.


With newly painted walls...

All new - bookcase, curtain added.

I thought the paint and the softer curtain brightened the room.

Welcome to my home office :)