Mixtures Made Easier through the Blender Bottle

One of my favorite breakfast meals is a stack of pancakes. I used to make them like two to three times a week. But, because of my very busy schedule the past months, I stopped because it was too time-consuming making a lump-free pancake mixture. Thank goodness for the Blender Bottle.

Blender Bottle, a portable shaker

The Blender Bottle is a patented, best-selling portable shaker in the US. From what I’ve read, it’s a popular kitchen tool that has been used and featured in renowned magazines, TV shows, and has been used by celebrities like Hugh Jackman and Jessica Biel.

When this was sent to us for a feature here, I honestly had doubts it’ll work. I gave it plus points for the container is made of thick, durable plastic. The StayOpen flip cap also was one of the first things I liked about the Blender Bottle because I don’t want to mess our kitchen with spills when I start shaking this bottle.

BlenderBall wire whisk included with the Blender bottle

How does the Blender Bottle actually work? It’s not complicated to understand, but it was surprisingly very effective. There’s a Blender Ball included with it that’s doing most of the work. It’s a polished 316 Stainless steel wire whisk that’s responsible for blending ingredients into a smooth consistency.

You blend the ingredients by shaking the bottle vigorously with the wire whisk in it. You’d be surprised how quickly the Blender Bottle will give you a lump-free mixture.

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4 Fingers Crispy Chicken, Philippines

When I was in Singapore last year, my housemates, Rey and Cindy, took me out for dinner at 4 Fingers, which is a small food joint in ION Orchard that they said serves the best crispy chicken in the city.

4 Fingers Crispy Chicken is now in the Philippines, at SM North Edsa!

My friends were right. The crispy fried chickens were so delicious and crispy that I just had to come back for more. And I honestly felt sad when it was time for me to return to the Philippines, thinking I’ll never have those scrumptious chickens ever again.

4 Fingers Bonchon Crispy Chicken in Singapore

But after almost a year since having my last piece of 4 Fingers’ Crispy Chicken, imagine my surprise when my sister, Mhel, and I found a newly opened 4 Fingers store by accident in SM City North EDSA, Quezon City. We quickly found ourselves a table, settled down, and ordered our food.

4 Fingers Crispy Chicken store in SM North Edsa

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A Disappointing Dinner at Apricot Diner

Over the past year, group-buying sites have sprouted like there’s no tomorrow, providing us with opportunities to dine at a restaurant, pamper ourselves at a spa or salon, and even buy gadgets at very affordable prices, usually at 50% discount. Because of them, more businesses have gained much-needed exposure, especially those that are targeting an already saturated market. And we completely support upcoming businesses or companies, particularly those that have started from humble beginnings. We’re one to give everyone a chance to impress or disappoint us. This time, a restaurant in Caloocan did not just let us down, but completely upset us – Apricot Diner.

Apricot Diner in Caloocan

If you’ve been following our blog, you know we are not snobs when it comes to food and we get easily pleased. However, because we cook at home and we’re so used to the intense flavors of our homemade dishes (not bragging! It’s a fact and we can proudly prove that), we can sometimes be very critical about dishes at a restaurant, especially when the prices are too steep for what they served us. If I’m going to spend over 500 for a buffet or even just one dish, you better serve me something good.

Before I tell you about how our dinner at Apricot Diner went, let me tell you first about how this all started. I saw this deal last year on MetroDeal for 58% discount vouchers from Apricot Diner, who claim to be offering an “Eat-All-You-Can International Fusion Buffet”. As you can see, the photos they used were enticing, which I now think were taken from Google Images or somewhere else.

Apricot Diner deal on Metro Deal

I honestly had doubts because they’re located in Caloocan, but, again, we’re all for supporting restaurants that aren’t that known yet. There might be a gem there somewhere.

So, to clarify this, they were offering Php 600 value of food from their eat-all-you-can buffet for just Php 250. The description had me sold, but I did a little digging first. At that time, there were nothing really substantial written about them yet, so I just crossed my fingers that they’ll deliver to their promise of “… finest foods”. I thought of bringing my 2 best friends with me and Ken so I bought 4 vouchers in total, for a total of Php 1,000.

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Aria Cucina Italiana : Italian Flavors from Boracay, in Manila VERY SOON + Promo Alert!

Aria Cucina ItalianaI have something to confess. I haven’t been to Boracay. Supposedly, after Ken’s graduation from Nursing (yes, he’s an RN and an RM too! 😀 ), we were going on a vacation there. But, I was sick so they went without me. I’m pretty jealous of the stories I’ve heard from them and from my friends who’ve been to Boracay because of their stories about the beautiful beaches, the people, activities and, of course, the food. One of the restaurants I’ve heard people raving about was Aria Cucina Italiana.

Briefly, Aria Cucina Italiana is an Italian restaurant in Boracay (D’Mall) known for its modern and contemporary take on the flavors of Italy, particularly inspired by the coastal regions of the Mediterranean.They opened in 2003 and became popular for their homemade pastas, salads, woodfire oven-baked pizzas, and excellent wine list.

Aria Cucina Italiana is in The Fort

A couple of days ago, we received news that they’re coming to Manila. They are finally opening a store in Bonifacio High Street Central in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig on January 28, 2012. Along with the news was an invite to dine at their restaurant. So, we just can’t wait for Aria Cucina Italiana to open its doors this coming week.

Here are a few teaser photos of the food you can savor at Aria Cucina Italiana:

Fettucine Nere in Crema di Mare from Aria Cucina ItalianaFettucine Nere in Crema di Mare

Continue reading Aria Cucina Italiana : Italian Flavors from Boracay, in Manila VERY SOON + Promo Alert!

Straightforwardly Filipino : A Satisfying Lunch at Chef Tatung Garden Cafe

“Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.”
-Harriet Van Horne

If you’re a regular follower of our blog, you may know now that I have exchanged a career in nursing for an unknown future in the culinary industry. I’ll be honest; there were times when I had doubts if I’ve made the right decision of switching careers, but I always find inspiration from people who have experienced the same things that I’ve been through and have become successful. One of them is Chef Myke “Tatung” Sarthou of Tatung’s Garden Cafe, who decided to brush aside writing and production work to put on a chef’s garb and start a restaurant business.

Chef Myke 'Tatung' Sarthou telling us more about his style of cooking at his garden cafe

Hidden along the residential community of Sikatuna Village in Quezon City, a home-turned-restaurant stands with a luscious menu offering a modern take on Filipino Cuisine.

It’s a rainy Saturday morning when we were invited for a lunch at Tatung’s Garden Café. The façade gives little clue that there’s actually a restaurant inside.

Outside Chef Tatung's Garden Cafe

Chef Tatung truly understands Filipino cuisine. He shared that Filipinos eat with flavors that are close to nature, and that our cooking is greatly influenced by our environment. That is the reason why in creating his dishes, he made sure that his food tastes like what they really are. A chicken dish should taste like it’s made of chicken. It’s as simple as that.

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Parvati : Your One Stop Desserts Shop

When Ken and I thought of coming up with a monthly theme for our blog, the first thing that came to mind is desserts month. And the first store we wanted to visit was, of course, Parvati in Trinoma, a one-stop desserts shop.

Parvati a pastry shop in Trinoma

With the growing number of home bakers in the country today (oh we can’t be thankful enough! :D), getting their products out there can be a challenge considering the logistics of opening their own store. This is where Parvati comes in, providing a venue for talented pastry makers to showcase their homemade creations in one roof.

It was August last year when we first went to Parvati at the Mindanao lobby of Trinoma (I know, this is a very late post that has been sitting in the drafts folder for months). Upon walking in, we were welcomed with a smile and were directed to check their selections of pastries posted on this line of chillers / refrigerators located at one corner of the store. We were in dessert heaven! 😀

Chillers at Parvati in Trinoma

Based on the information on their Facebook page, Parvati features 40 best-selling desserts from 27 different home bakers. They have various cakes, cookies, cheesecakes (love, love, love), revel bars, pudding, cupcakes, pies, brownies, etc. If you’ve got a sweet tooth like we do, I tell yah, you’d probably spend a long time choosing what to order. We wanted to try everything, but we know we HAD to limit ourselves to just three. 😀

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J.CO Donuts and Coffee Philippines

A few days before Christmas, we were surprised with these three boxes of delights from J.CO Donuts and Coffee. This popular donuts and coffee brand that has satisfied the tastebuds of foodies in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and China is finally here in the Philippines! And I can’t wait to show you what’s inside these boxes.

Boxes of J.CO Donuts - Woot!

To give you a brief background on J.CO Donuts and Coffee, they opened their first store in Jakarta, Indonesia in 2005. Since then, they have opened over 100 branches across Malaysia, Singapore and just recently, in Shanghai, China. Our fellow Pinoy foodies who have travelled to these countries and got to taste of their premium donuts are for sure happy about this exciting news.

You might be thinking, oh, it’s another donut shop and cafe. We thought so too, not having the slightest idea of how good their donuts were. So, we were pleasantly surprised with what was revealed to us when we opened these boxes.

First are these almond-covered donuts they call Al Capone. These are J.CO’s best seller and their signature flavor.

J.CO Donuts Alcapone donuts - their signature product

The donut is covered with white Belgian chocolate and then topped quite generously with almond slivers. I’m not a fan of nuts on my food, but I’m starting to really get used to it. I mean, how can I not enjoy these donuts?

The donut itself is soft to the bite (all of them were!) and the crunch from the almonds gave them a very interesting texture. It was my first time to taste such a delectable piece of donut so I looked forward to trying out the rest of their flavors.

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F Restaurant : A Flavorful Feast at BGC

It was the first day of December last year (sounded like a really long time ago eh?), we were headed to Bonifacio Global City in Taguig. It was a very familiar place to me since I used to work there at ePLDT Ventus so now, I always look forward to any opportunity that brings me to this same place where I spent two years working. This time though, the whole BGC is populated with more establishments everywhere you look and it’ll take some time before we can try all the restaurants here.

Best Western Premier F1 Hotel at The Fort, Taguig

The reason why we were at BGC : we were invited to dine at F Restaurant on the fifth floor of Best Western Premier F1 Hotel, the first hotel in the area and is located (strategically perhaps) in front of St. Luke’s Medical Center. Just by the sound of the name of the hotel where the resto is located, you’d know our expectations were set high. 🙂

As soon as we entered, we were welcomed with a very festive scene – beside two tall Christmas trees is this house made of candies, marshmallows, and other goodies. I began to understand Hansel and Gretel. 😉

House made up of candies, marshmallows and other goodies

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Profess Your Love for Food for a Chance to Win Php 5,000 from Unionbank My Easy Loans Twitter Contest – Ends January 8th!

We are Certified Foodies!First off, HAPPY NEW YEAR, fellow foodies! 2011 has been a very fruitful year for us and we can’t thank you enough! We’ll be doing a separate year-ender post of our favorite food / dishes / restos for 2011 PLUS our blog’s new theme. For now, though, we’re excited to bring you another giveaway where you can win Php 5,000 CASH from Unionbank My Easy Loans.

Some of you may ask how we came up with the name of our blog. Why Certified Foodies? It’s truly because we love everything and anything related to food and its enjoyment.  The discovery of different flavors, how it affects our mood and even relationships, how every one of us has our own capacity to tolerate certain levels of a certain flavor, the welcome modern twists that we now see being applied on traditional cuisines, the wonderful memories a dish or even a certain aroma can bring back, and the adventure of challenging your tastebuds or just trying out something new are among the reasons why this blog came to existence. 🙂

With that, we’ve got good news for you fellow certified foodies! Tell us about your love for food for a chance to win Php 5,000 in CASH in Unionbank’s My Easy Loans Twitter contest. It’s not yet too late to treat your friends or family to an ultimate food trip!

Twitter giveaway from Unionbank MyEasyLoans and Certified Foodies

CONTEST PERIOD: January 2 to 8, 2012 (yayyy for the new year!)

PRIZE: Php 5,000 CASH


1. Eligibility: This contest is open to Filipinos residing in the Philippines for at least a year, at least 18 years of age at the time of joining, and must have a Twitter account with at least 15 Twitter followers.

Continue reading Profess Your Love for Food for a Chance to Win Php 5,000 from Unionbank My Easy Loans Twitter Contest – Ends January 8th!