July 5, 2008

Cooking, citizenship, and chillin' at fastfood eateries...

last week I cooked my first beef steak...

first I had to somewhat defrost the meat... so I ran hot water on it (is this sanitary?)...once the meat was somewhat malleable/bendable, I marinated it somewhat... I sprinkled an estimated pinch of salt and pepper on both sides...then I think I used a teaspoon of lemon juice to spread on one side (repeated for the other side)... I just let all (salt,pepper, lemon juice) settle/marinate the meat (for at least 20 minutes)...

while those ingredients was flavoring the meat, I prepared the pan...I prewarmed the pan for a minute on high...then lowered it to medium and spread 2 tablespoon of olive oil... 20 minutes past, and I place the meat in the pan to fry it... it sizzled and the oil leapt/splattered creating a halo around the pan (grease stains?-- this is why the stove gets dirty [now i understand])...sometimes I felt the pin-prickly feeling of oil stinging me...it's like the bites of fire-ants (but milder?)...

I kept flipping one side to make sure both sides are nice and brown (bloody stuff started to exudes from the meat- heat causing the meat to clean itself?)... I fried both sides for five minutes to be sure (the good thing is that I didn't burn it-- sure some of the edges were charred, but it was still delicious)... once the supposed frying time ended, I lowered the heat and poked the meat... no liquidy stuff was coming out (good sign that it's cooked) and then I cut it in half to see the insides, it wasn't pink/reddish (another good sign)...

I served this along with rice-roni's Cheddar and broccoli flavored rice (which wasn't that difficult and daunting to cook- just add water, butter, rice-roni and BOIL- once it reached its boiling point, lower the heat and let it "simmer")... I was full in the end... I ate the left overs for dinner the next day...

A couple of days after cooking this beef steak, I experimented with canned tuna and eggs...

I sliced half an onion (I learned that in order to prolong the life of the onion, one must slice it and put it in the freezer) and a Roma tomato... I spread one teaspoon of olive oil on the pan (I didn't want the same oil splatter- plus the tuna is pretty much cook so I figure little oil is needed)...

I put everything together and the last thing i added was the scrambled egg... I think I might have overcooked everything in the end because the tuna was a little dry (overcooking is better than undercooking especially when it comes to raw eggs)... everything is still edible and delicious for me (just add a little ketchup)... I ate this with white rice (I recently discovered a working rice cooker in my apartment, hiding in one of those cabinets in the kitchen [my first flatmate left it and I'm glad he did!])...my next cooking project will be SPAGHETTI (coming soon!)...

A couple of days ago on July 2nd (2008), my parents and brother became American citizens (I became one before 2006)... I wasn't able to attend the ceremony because I'm in Logan, UT teaching... I called them and they just received the card I sent them... I watched the fireworks on July 3rd with my thai friends and for July 4th, I just stayed in my apartment dorm and chillaxed (watched tv, graded two papers, caught up with scrapbooking etc.- very laid-back)...

So far this summer, I've been balancing between cooking and eating out: cooking my own food, and either eating at the university cafeteria or eating at local eateries (fastfood chain or not)...in the passed couple of days, I frequented Taco Time and Subway...

Taco Time
McDonalds has its Burger King and Taco Bell has its TACO TIME...Taco Time claimed that they used fresh ingredients and they probably do... BUT eveything gets lost when cooking is approached in an assembly-line fashion... I tried their new Pork Quesidilla served with a scoop of rice and beans with tortilla chips and green sauce (verde chili)... the tortilla and chips' supposed crispyness was on the verge of being overly toasted... in the end, I still preferred Henriquez Mexican and Salvadorian Grill (cooked just right and cheaper!)...

Subway
I tried the Foot-long special for $5 and it was good... I ate the first half for lunch and the other half for dinner... Overall a good bargain, and it filled me up... I had the roasted chicken breast on Monterey Cheese loaf with spinach, pickles, tomatoes and honey mustard sauce... this was also approached in assemmbly-line fashion but somehow it worked for a sandwich-type meal... for dessert, I walked over to Juniper's and had the Caramel Pecan Icecream (it was okay, it wasn't like the Gelati's I would have in Philadelphia, but still acceptable)...

YUMMY!

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 12:11 PM | Comments (0)

June 17, 2008

Pita Pit and Coldstone (they're not wrestlers)

Pita Pit and Coldstone are in the same shopping center area (a tangent from main street, near Walmart)...

one of my students wrote a review about Pita Pit, and based on her review, I was convinced to try it out for myself. She was right about the deliciousness of the food but her description of the serving size was misleading.

The 5-6 inches long cylindrical pita-wrap with an estimated circumference of about 2 inches filled with meaty goodness and fresh vegetables didn't fill me up. I ordered a chicken crave (chicken and bacon) with alfalfa sprouts, spinach, pineapple, green peppers (refrained from the tomatoes because of recent news), shredded cheddar cheese, topped with tzaziki sauce (cucumber mayo-esque) for around $6.25...

I was thinking about getting another one but instead I opted to get a dessert at Coldstone (2 stores away).

One of the special things about Coldstone is their magical 'cold' pan that fuses sweet ingredients using cold technology (in the veins of dry ice)...

I ordered an "All lovin no oven" (which consisted of cake batter, cookie dough, fudge and whipped cream) in the "Like it" size (in starbucks term-"tall" or "small").

They "cooked" the ice cream in front of me and I saw them fused fudge and whipped cream into the cake batter and cookie dough icecream (unique, the whipped cream solidified instead of melting into the icecreams)...

you can also design your own creation (i didn't go for this because it would probably take me forever)... I spent around $4.00 because I had it served on a waffle bowl...

it was sweet!

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 5:22 PM | Comments (2)

June 11, 2008

hindi hindsight from Indian Oven

(good alliteration/assonance but bad generalization; not all Indians are hindi, some are muslims, christians, etc.)

i revisited the "Indian Oven" yesterday (along main street). I got the usual- access to the lunch buffet special for $8... i realized that I get full easily, which means, I probably don't need an unlimited access to the menu presented...

the background: I don't know much about Indian food, prior to "Indian Oven" I've had minute exposure to them (I think the first time was when I rode with Neha to CT for spring break. I waited in her house for my Uncle from Stamford to pick me up. While waiting, Neha's mom fed us. The food she served us were delicious and spicy. I remember dipping the spicy food in the supplimentary yogurt-esque side in order to "cool" the spice down [?])...

one of my colleageus at USU recommended "Indian Oven." She told me about the buffet and how the food wasn't spicy at all (after living with a thai, whose sense of "not spicy" or just "mildly spicy" often misleaded me when testing the "not so spicy" dishes he prepared, i've become more wary of other's perception of what is "spicy"-- nutshell: I'm not used to spicy food so even a smidgen of spice is considered spicy for me... so the first time I went, I talked to the host/server and asked him about the level of spice. He assured me that the food in the buffet were barely spicy/ bordering on subtle spice (in the regular menu, you can order any dish [mostly] with whatever degree of spicyness from subtle/sublime to scorching-need-a-new-tongue spicy, it all depends on you; spicy or not, the dishes are still flavorful).

the buffet was just a great idea because it was a good way to sample different dishes and get to be familiar with the names (so that if you look at the menu, you'll have a better sense of "curry" or "masala" or "tandoora?", you tasted the chicken masala, maybe it'll be similar to pork masala, maybe?)...

the buffet was good for "beginners", BUT since I've returned to this establishment several times, i'm ready to go to the next level and explore the other dishes not presented in the buffet menu/servings... here's my revelation; i don't have to spend $8 to be full while eating in "Indian Oven"- for me, a side of rice, an "ulam (some sort of chicken/ meat)", some vegetable/fruit, a dessert, and a drink, are good enough for me (i can get all of these in varying degrees/ combinations). So next time, i'll start exploring the appetizers, side dishes, and different "naans."

i still remember the first time I ate here. I was so full from lunch (maybe because of the unlimited servings or not) that for dinner I didn't have the appetite to eat the usual large dinner; I ended up just eating a slice of pizza and salad. I had a similar experience yesterday and inspite of the unlimited servings, I stopped myself when I was full.

[ tangent: yesterday I cut open my first cantaloupe, I cleaned out the seeds, sliced the canteloupe to pieces for easy eating experience and "peeled" the outer thick/rough covering/"shell"-- it was a good exercise to practice using the knife ;) and I didn't chop my fingers off :) ]

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 3:46 PM | Comments (0)

June 7, 2008

restaurant blurb updates

Mandarin Garden- along main street. from 11 am to 3 pm Monday to Friday, they have Luncheon specials. I ordered Cashew Nut Chicken for $6.25. Because of the increasing price of gas, rice is expensive. The dish served to me had 2:1 ratio. The diced chicken, cashew, water chestnut, and zucchini were twice as much as the fried rice. I had left-overs, and I ate it for dinner with the white rice (cooked by my friend and I). The "brown" sauce (water-downed soy sauce?) was flat, but everything else was delicious. The interior looked like a messy amalgamation of western flowery wallpapers and bamboo artwork.

Henriquez Messican & Salvadorian Grill- along main street, I ordered Pasteles de carne (meat vegetable turnover- reminded me of corn beef hash), 3 pieces for $3.50, and Empanadas de Platano (fried plantains filled with milk pudding) 3 pieces for $3.50. It came with this coleslaw-esque side containing red pepper and some kind of vinegar. They were all good (it was interesting to taste and see a derivation from the fried plantains I'm used to: banana-que from the philippines).

La Beau- I ate here with my friends after watching Zohan. For $8, I ordered a Teriyaki Chicken burger and a small raspberry milkshake. Delicious. The teriyaki chicken was up to par with other teriyaki chicken I've tasted, the raspberry milkshake was the bomb (reason why we ate dinner here- my friend recommended it, this shake tasted like the famous raspberry shake she had when she visited the Bear Lakes). The shake was not too sweet or fruity, it retained some of the pungent elements of the natural raspberry without making your lips pucker. Simple interior of red and white with two hanging flat tvs.

Juniper- somewhere near the Transit center. This was the first restaurant in Logan, which I ate at (last august 2007)... for today's lunch, I had a cup of tomato beef soup and a grilled ham and cheese sandwich for $4.17. I was full in the end. The style of serving here is like a classy cafeteria, the soup is fresh. I got the soup served on a tray and they brought out the recently grilled ham and cheese a couple of minutes later (they found my table with my number). There's a tv, some soft rock music and different age groups hanging out: senior citizens, mid-aged women, young family, college students, teenagers, babies and more.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 5:59 PM | Comments (0)

May 31, 2008

blogging calories project

one of my blogging projects for the summer is to write blurbs about different dining experience here in Cache Valley, Logan. Restaurant reviews will be too long and tedious so blurbs will have to suffice. I've been exploring different eateries in the past months but I haven't blogged about them yet (but soon). Local restaurants, food chains--which I haven't been to or seen--and cafes/bakeries etc. are some of the spots in my gastronomical journey.

The thing which makes my job easy to do is the convinient location of these eateries. Most of them are in downtown Logan, along Main Street. There are of course some further away, but Main Street is my starting point. Some of the places that I've been to several times but neglected to blog about are: Indian Oven, Korean BBQ, the Thai Kuisine, the Blue Bird Diner, Angie's Diner, Citrus and Sage Cafe, some food chains, such as KFC, and many more. I'm going to revisit some of these and see if I can capture the good first impression, which encourages me to return, while of course trying new ones and blogging about them immediately so I don't have a list of places piling up.

To start this project, I'll write about the two places I visited today. I'll update later the approximate location and correct name, but for now just know that they are in the Main Street vicinity.

Today, I ate a late breakfast. Nonetheless by 12:30, I knew I had to eat something especially since I would be walking around; I needed sustenance and energy. While trying to find the thrift store downtown, I noticed the "Great Harvest Bread Co." bakery. I remember passing by this bakery several times last semester but I always ignored it because from the outside, it looked like a bakery that sold overpriced muffins (I have this notion that fresh goods are more expensive than processed food because they are FRESH). Inspite of this misconception (?), I somehow convinced myself to enter and just "see" what they offer. The starbucks menu board came to mind when I saw their menu board. But instead of having many different kinds of coffee, it had many varieties of salads and BREAD. My first reaction: I didn't want to just eat bread, and even though a salad was healthy, I wanted to eat something heavier. Then I saw a soup sign: $1.50 for a cup of Chicken with Wild Rice Soup, and then I was convinced. I knew that a cup of soup was not lunch, but I still ordered it and took it as an appetizer for a later lunch. But what made this soup extra delicious and a great bargain was that it came with two slices of bread (I was already thinking about sampling their bread but hearing these additions from the cashier were icings in the cake. I made a mental note to return again). I tried the Asiago Sourdough and the Cinnamon Apple Crumb. They were scrumptious, fluffy but still hearthy with whole wheat substance. I ate the Asiago with my soup, and I saved the apple crumb for later (when I ate it four hours later, it was still fluffy and fresh). So even if a place looks posh, see if it's still in your price range and sample the goods. You'll never know, you may find a bargain and a place to frequent in the future for delights.

After this, I found the thrift store, "Somebody's Attic"... after the thrift store, I found this Spanish Bakery (two stores down, same street and side) called "Ana" something. I decided to enter this store because I saw people walking out of it with quartful of fresh fruit, such as strawberry, melon, etc. I wanted to see if they did something different with it. I was about to get it but then I saw these kids eating something similar to a Filipino dessert called Halo-halo (crushed ice with syrup, fruits, condensed milk, etc.). I was right in my comparison. I thought about how Filipinos might have adapted this dessert during Spanish colonial days and used local flavors to 'naturalized' it to suit Filipino tastebuds. The people in the store spoke Spanish; I was afraid to practice my Spanish. Luckily a brave soul stepped in and translated. The cashier spoke little English, and I spoke little Spanish. In the end we both said thank you in the other's language: she said "thank you" and I said "gracias." The ice treat cost $2.50, and I ended up getting the Coconut and Strawberry flavored one with condensed milk and caramel, recommended by the cashier.

In summary, today's treats totalled ONLY $4 (taxes included). So don't forget to do something good for your tastebuds and always remember the three/four E's: Explore, Eat, and bE m'Erry (?) :). Until next time...

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 2:00 AM | Comments (0)

January 3, 2008

Delicious food, eating, making memories

I'm excited to go back to Logan, UT (continue chasing my dream, teach again- learn from my MISTAKES, take classes- a fresh start). I know a week from now, I'll be "eating" my words (remembering something I forgot to do during the break, wishing for more time as always). Overall, I think I did what I wanted to do for the break. I chillaxed, did various little projects here and there (being in my room feels like being stuck in the past, my room is like a library of memories. I sort of understand how feng shui can change the vibe in my room which I won't see again until December if everything works out- if I'm teaching over the summer and taking classes. I hope so, so that I can graduate "on time"). I found my old yearbook and journals, it was sort of funny and sad reading them.

Last night I finished typing my handwritten lesson plans. Once again it was a good "review" of what I did last semester. It reminded me of things I want to change this semester (the weird thing- while typing the lessons that I did during the DRAMA, I had a hard time getting through it. I was grudging typing it and when I finally got through it and finished the last lesson, I felt the same relief, which I felt at the last day of classes. Airhead moment- one of the things I enjoyed last semester was the challenge of coming up with different color combinations for my limited wardrobe). Tomorrow, I'm going back to Logan. My dad is definitely happy because I'll be working again instead of spending money.

Anyway, this blog entry is not just about yesterday or the break. It's mainly about FOOD, eating, and making memories over the break! In my gastronomical adventure/foray over the break I realized why food is so memorable. They are unforgetable because most of them deal with our five senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch, and sometimes the sixth sense when for no reason, we can just tell by intuition or something that something is delectable. This break I was in candyland nutcracker style. Caveat- I had these delicious and cholesterol-filled cuisine intermittently during the break in MODERATE amounts (balanced with exercise and regular healthy fruit/vegetable etc. diet).

Shopping- While shopping at Ardmore, during my breaks from "painting" or browsing I ate at Ruby's Diner and the Corner Bakery. I had a pineapple shake, fries and an "Aloha" burger (glazed with teriyaki, pineapple, lettuce and tomatoe). At the Corner Bakery (another day) I had creamy loaded baked potatoe soup with crossant.

Downtown Philly trips- you know my deal with Starbucks so I don't have to recap. Sadly though, this holiday, Starbucks didn't have anything new- just the holiday special: peppermint white mocha, eggnog and gingerbread flavors. Before Christmas, my cousin-friend and I, went downtown, ate mostly and shopped in between light meals. Our first stop was Starbucks. I liked the gingerbread latte (nostalgic of pumpkin spice but sweeter [sad news- Milkboy the cafe in Ardmore no longer makes the vanilla creme italian soda which I liked so much]). I tried Starbuck's yogurt parfait and chicken tarragon sandwich several days later. We just talked about life (what was happening in her life, anything new, etc.). It was awesome to eat, buy some cds or books or clothes and eat again. We went to a sushi place. I just got the mochi icecream flavor: green tea, strawberry and mango. She got a spicy Philly roll and "rock and roll" roll and she shared some with me. We dipped them in soysauce, which had a bit of wasabi (I would normally marinate the ginger with the wasabi and soy sauce but Consensus said no). We walked it off afterwards. We were going to an art gallery but it was closed. We walked in the Gallery shopping center instead and ended the night with a meal in Vietnam, the restaurant. I had vietnamese raviolli (some kind of meat, rice noodle, sprinkled with garlic, with a side dish of lettuce, cucumber, bean sprouts and mint leaves [for display]), vietnamese iced coffee (powerful- I drank this around 7 pm and I was able to stay awake past 2 am), fried spring roll, and seafood (medley of shrimp, scallops, and squid) and vegetable soup w/ egg yellow noodles (I added some sauce to add more flavor to the broth). The table that we got was nice, it was by a window. I could see half of Philly's skyline.

Another day (because we didn't have time for dessert), we went to Zen tea house and ordered a Thai pandan cake and hot bubble tea (the tea doesn't bubble, but it has tapioca pearls and tea is just an umbrella term- I don't know if the drinks contain tea but I do know that they had tea flavors). I got a thai coconut flavored hot drink and she got an almond one. The pandan cake tasted similar to my drink- pandan and coconut. It was served on a plain plate decorated with whip cream and swirls of syrup. It was a sponge cake, so it was soft and it melted easily in one's mouth. The hot bubble tea warmed my heart/chest, perfect because it was raining outside.

Pre-christmas party to christmas eve and morning celebration- Pre-christmas celebration started at the Wynne Wood lanes in a birthday party of another family friend's daughter (half swedish and filipino- she's 4 years old, she understands english and tagalog but she can only speak in Swedish). Pizza and Pansit, and some bowling. I found out that the politically correct term for me is a "cultural catholic"- sounds more snazzy than "cafeteria catholic." This doesn't strictly define me (one of its criteria, is claiming to be catholic when ASKED, my response is a bit different. I was raised catholic...- deviation- funny but inappropriate joke- because I don't go to church often, my dad thinks I've changed religion and became a mormon [lol]) Christmas eve party took place at my house. More little kids running around. Relatives from CT visited. Eat, sleep, sing, eat, sleep, eat, sing, sing, eat, sing (until 6 am), sleep, then eat some more. Ham, Flan on table decorated by flowers (roses, carnations, lilys, daisies) and christmas colors

Chili's- Before my friend-neighbors confronted me about not keeping in touch, we ate at Chili's and watched a movie. I just had chili soup (unexpectedly- i ordered something else but I got this instead. I didn't complain because we were tyring to catch a movie, be on-time). This soup was an unexpected good surprise. It was mild chili so it wasn't too spicy. It was topped with melting cheese (a la french onion style), below/under it- the peppers, vegetable, reddish/creamy broth. The smell of sweet red pepper lured the mouth, and egg/spurred the hand to scoop a spoonful. The sweet taste died and burned the tongue momentarily, the cycle repeats.

another chili adventure- my family and I were going to go here for my mom's b-day, but we couldn't. My mom was feeling under the weather for her b-day, so we ordered out instead (from chili's). I got spicy honey chipotle breaded chicken, and I sampled other food my family ordered (beans, rice, boneless shanghai wings, mash potatoes, corn). My bro's girlfirend joined us for dinner, so the whole family ate and told stories. Overall an awesome occassion, it's very rare that my family and I sit together for dinner (everybody have different schedules- holidays and birthdays are times when our schedule are in sync). It was nice listening to the stories. My dad recapped our early years here in America. I remembered them when my dad told them, but I found it odd, that I have difficulty recalling them for myself (I wonder if it's some sort of block on my part, but then again, why would I block them? the stories are inspiring and encouraging). For dessert, we had buttercream marble cake and chocolates from Lindt's Chocolatier.

Plates in Ardmore- I had brunch with my high school friends at Plates. It was a nice catch up time. I mostly talked about my semester and I heard work stories from my hs friends. We talked about work, a bit about the past, and we started planning a trip to Europe and meeting in Paris (c. 2009 o 2010) [at Milkboy, I had tofu egg sandwich- they added spice to put more flavor, even though I like the plain taste of tofu, it was done similar to the style of devil eggs but with tofu). Back to Plates- I ordered a salmon grilled burger and water. The salmon burger patti was about 1.5 thick and it was loaded with flavor, spice and seasonings I couldn't name. I just kept eating it because it was delicious. Potatoe chips, crispy fresh on the side, and carrott pineapple/fruit coleslaw-esque salad. For dessert, I had cinnamon bread-pudding topped with butterpecan icecream drizzled with caramel, chocolate and magic.

Family Friend's home during New Years- More Filipino foods (rice, 15-17 inches of fish marinated ins sweet and sour sauce, surrounded by carrots, peppers, egg rolls, shrimp, meatloaf, beansprouts and shrimp), desserts (puto bong-bong, coconut something, sweet brown sticky rice [bico]). I had a bit of "bahama mama" it reminded me of a Dole strawberry, banana, orange pineapple juice gone sour/expired. I had a bit of "French" wine, I didn't like it, I diluted it with sparkling apple cider. The family friend's grand child entertained us- he was filled with energy, he kept running around, dancing and singing. He tumbled once in a while. I have some new year's resolution. One of them is to not get left behind (most are moving on with their lives and I should too).

Artisan gelati and cafe/di bruno bros- more downtown food stops, I recently discover while trying to find other cafes to hang out in order to have a conducive environment for reflecting and being a bohemian poet. Before leaving Philly, I went to the Art museum. I was inspired by Mark Doty (after reading "still life with oysters and lemon") to go to the museum and scrutinize the still lifes. I bought art from an associate artist, and also a book for my co-worker as a thank-you gift. Here's the story, originally I was looking for Corner Bakery (I wanted to order their 3 in 1 salad deal). I walked for three blocks and I couldn't find it so I changed my mind and tried to find a place that had chicken pot pie. I couldn't find any and I was hungry so I settled for mediocre pizza. To redeem my culinary taste, I bought a "snowball" at a italian food market di bruno bros. at chestnut street and ate it in the artisan gelati and cafe at 20th and Sansom st. The "snowball" pastry had bavarian creme layers between cake, frosted by meringue, sprinkled by coconut. I ate this with an awesome plain "latte." I'm used to flavored lattes but this plain one with sugar (brown sugar from HI) surprised me, it was quite potent too, I stayed awake for hours. If I had more money, I would probably try the gelati, but I didn't (so next time). I ate my snowball, sipped my latte while editing a poem I wrote and while reflecting. Good time for solitude. Outside, building towering over me, and buses passing by. I felt the draft of cold air as i write...

dentist- this week I had my bi-annual teeth cleaning (how apt!). The bad news was that my gums easily bled. This could mean that my gums are sensitive and/or plaque/gingivitis are lurking around (irony- I flossed more last year- maybe I'm not flossing and brushing properly?). The GREAT news is that I don't have a cavity (or maybe they didn't spot it). My dentist was nostalgic and commented on when he first met me when I was 9 and now he's still my dentist while I'm getting my MA. I was in the mood to celebrate so I got a pastry top chicken pot pie in Boston Market. Delicious! this is sort of a weird/twisted story. I was inspired to eat Chicken pot pie after seeing the gory musical Sweeney Todd (you'll have to know the musical to get the connection, I won't spoil it for you). Back to Boston Market, the pie is delicious/mouthwatering, and it was served with a loaf of corn bread.

Holiday leftovers- the fridge in the house is still somewhat filled with leftovers. It's nice, I don't have to worry about food during the holidays. I can just heat something up whether it's spaghetti (filipino sweet sauce style), a bread with meat fillings, dessert, reliable rice or whatever. During the holidays, my parents don't hear me whine about the paucity of food in the house. I'm always full.

Food are memorable because they integrate all five senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. You see the steaming seafood and vegetable vietnamese egg noodle soup, the table set, you hear the crunch of the garlic, the clinking silverwares, the laughter/the stories told in between spoonfulls of nourishment, you smell the pepper, the flowers at the table, the perfumes of loved ones, you taste the sweet pepper, the sour grape/wine, you touch the food, sponge cake/mochi icecream melts in your mouth, sticky rice kisses your lips before being devoured. And sometimes your sixth sense kicks in giving you the urge to eat chicken pot pies because of a movie or some memory. Bon appetite world!

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 11:06 PM | Comments (0)

August 15, 2007

starbucks update 2

I tried the sweetened shaken blueberry white iced tea- it's okay, it's like a tease, I guess I'm not much of a tea person- the sweetness of the blueberry is tempting, you can smell it, then once you've taken a sip, you'll taste a hint of blueberry and then wham bland tea- it took a while for the blandness to disappear- when it was diluted by the ice, plus a packet of sugar, and lemon to sweeten it some more...

I'm reading the Curious Writer (the text I'll be using to teach), I finished chapters 1-4... it had a lot of good writing prompts and tips... some topics discussed such as brainstorming, fastwriting, writing badly, etc. I've experienced from my classes such as Writing of Ficiton, Publication Workshop, working a bit at the writing center and more... the challenge will be passing on/transferring all these information and my experience to my students- make it relatable/applicable to them... some words kept popping out such as, dialectical thinking (relationship of opposing ideas), rhetorical (study and practice of written and verbal communication- purpose/goals/audience), recursive (back and forth)...

I got a haircut... the lady said she blended it this time (correcting the mistakes of the barber who gave me a faux-hawk)- time will tell... I still wish I have personal hairstylist to style my hair everyday. It's nice to be a self-made person and be able to do it yourself, but the advantage of hairstylists is perspective. They can step back and distance themselves, to see the whole picture/your whole head...

I finally talked to one of my advisor, and he's completing the form that will waived my out-of-state tuition... hopefully he'll have submitted it so the guy who would approve it, will have it filed by this Friday... because I need to finalized my tuition payment plan (the detached operator directed me to find and fill the form online)... I'm hoping that I can catch them on Friday before closing time and hand in the papers, so when deadline comes (Monday Aug. 20), at least they have the document.

Summer summary/recap and final packing will happen tomorrow...

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 6:18 PM | Comments (0)

July 1, 2007

Ice Cream Festival at Penns Landing

On June 29 and 30, an ice cream festival, organized by the Children's Hospital at Philadelphia, was held at Penns Landing to raise money for Pediatric Leukemia research and its cure.

For $5, people got a white plastic spoon and a free pass to the all-you-can-eat ice cream tent, where they gorged on ice cream from classic favorites such as chocolate, vanilla and strawberry, to innovative deviant delights like peanut butter chocolate, mint chocolate chip, and sticky buns.

Sponsors, such as Starbucks and Ben and Jerry's, were there to show support, and local Philly radio station B101's Buzzbee and the Bee Crew mingled with the crowd and posed with children for the camera.

Although the clouds kept rolling on overcast sky, the high humidity melted the frozen goodies/treat, but precipitation held out until nightfall... overall a good day to feast on icecream for a good cause!

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 12:22 PM | Comments (0)

June 8, 2007

Desserts at Suburban Square's Plate at Ardmore

after Ha Long Bay, my friends and I went to another restaurant, Plate for desserts... the price range for each desert is around $7 but if you get 3 or more dessert you can get the three desserts for $18 (you save $3)...

my friends and I decided to order four different desserts and sample each one (sharing- while using our own spoons) the desserts took a while, but the wait was worth it (it helped build an appetite)...

of course presentation was da bomb- the desserts with the exception of the fruit cobbler were all served on square glass concave plates, sprinkled with powdered sugar. The following were our orders:

1. Seasonal Fruit Cobbler (it was raspberry for Wednesday)
caramelized fruits, vanilla ice cream, caramel sauce, cinnamon tuiles

2. Apple Hazelnut Pie (this has a swirly cookie that looked like some sort of peeled fruit's skin)
flaky sweet crust, carmelized apples, cinnamon ice cream, cranberry compote

3. Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwich (the shortbread was really crunchy and brittle, it needed a steak knife to cut it)
devil's food cake, chocolate shortbread, covered in milk chocolate ganache

4. Fudgie Wudgie Banana Brownie
oreo cookie crust, coconut, walnut, chocolate chips, coconut ice cream, caramelized bananas

well according to my friend, as soon as all four desserts were laid out on the table, I had this "smile" on my face, which can be compared to the look on Charlie's face when he got the golden ticket to Willy Wonka's Chocolate factory mixed with the expression on everyone face including Violet, when they saw the umpa lumpa working along side the chocolate river, picking lollipop candy-flowers, harnessing gummy fruits from marshmallow bushes...

fantalicious!

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 1:30 PM | Comments (0)

Vietnamese Restaurant in Bryn Mawr

on Wednesday I went to Ha Long Bay, a Vietnamese restaurant in Bryn Mawr, with my friends. I've tried Japanese and Chinese cuisine, why not try Vietnamese? and I'm glad I did.

I ordered sauteed chicken with mango and cashew nuts, which came with a shrimp roll and broken rice (almost like sticky rice, half the size of regular white rice). Since it was the lunch special version, it was only around $7.00 [compared to the dinner price of $9.00, so you still get to save at least $2]).

This was a delicious meal, my only complaint was that they didn't put a lot of mangoes ....(perfectly understandable, because mangoes are pricey), the tiny bits I had were perfectly ripe...

I've said this time and time again, the presentation of the food adds something to the experience... it magically makes the food more delicious, it encourages you to eat it, you feel good eating something that had effort, it's special...a friend order a summer roll, and it was served on a plate shaped like a boat, it was WOW!

if you like to have a more "hands on" experience with your food try making your own wrap.. my friend ordered a vegetable, rice noodle and shrimp, which came with thin and translucent 'shanghai' wrappers for eggrolls, separately- down side, if you're not used to this, your wrap will explode- you might try to put too much food in it...

Ha Long Bay successfully incorporated the fresh and crispy vegetables with the fried and sauteed beef or chicken... the fusion of the two is BANG in your mouth

another friend ordered some sort of Vietnamese Fried Angelhair-esque rice noodles topped with beef, shrimp, vegetables, your jaw will drop... in the words of another friend, the fried angelhair is "big enough to feed 25" gigantic hungry men.

I like the atmosphere too... the colors of different walls, the Asian-themed paintings, the serenade of Vietnamese ballads (guessing, if not, it's definitely Asian not English), small bamboo plant on each table...

in the end, you get more for your money's worth... you get a full stomach and still have more money in your wallet to order dessert!

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 12:24 PM | Comments (0)

May 30, 2007

another starbucks update and first highway lessons

last week I finally tasted the orange mocha- it tastes weird but I like it very much, it's pungent- it reminded me of marmalade, it has a taste that punch your mouth. You'll get a kick drinking this!

well yesterday was my first highway driving lesson...I've been driving for a while now but I haven't really spent a lot of those driving times in highways because i didn't need to. All the places I usually go to are accessible using the back roads. There's no way I'm going to drive in the city and deal with the hassle (so every time I go downtown, I just use public transportation- save on gas, parking and carbon emission)...

In the beginning of this summer (after graduation), my dad came up with a novel idea. why don't I start driving on the highway? (so sometimes he can take a break from picking my mom from her work- and I can do it instead)...when my father started talking about the different lanes, I started remembering the stuff I read and studied (and was told to me by my instructor) while I was trying to get my license...

my dad kept telling me the conveniency of the highway by contrasting it to the back roads and its many stop lights. He cautioned me to just watch out for drivers, who lane-hop like there's no tomorrow...

after yesterday's tutorials, i was supposed to drive today in the highway to pick up my mom but my mom didn't go to work today (she has a doctor's appointment instead) and tomorrow and Friday, my mom will take the bus home because my dad has a part-time job at night...

I'll most likely drive next week- Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday...

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 11:48 AM | Comments (4)

May 25, 2007

starbucks update

well a couple of days ago, I tried the new summer flavor of starbucks- the orange creme frap (i've yet to try the orange mocha latte),

the drink was okay- it didn't completely blow my mind away. It reminded me of an orange julius (i think this is what's it's called) except it's second rate, orange julius still rocks- I think the added bonus in a julius is the use of actual orange juice (with tons of vitamins) with some type of vanilla icecream...

the orange creme frap I had was too sweet reaching blandness- in a great drink one can always taste the nuances of flavors...

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 2:12 PM | Comments (1)

January 26, 2007

Cafe (Caffeine) Timeline

You know in the Broadway song from Rent, "Season of Love," one of the characters crooned:

525,600 minutes, 525,000 moments so dear. 525,600 minutes - how do you measure, measure a year? In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee... How about love?

How about love of caffeine?

My winter break was measured in the times I drank mostly lattes, hanged out in various cafes, and chilaxed with friends and family...

-Green Tea latte* (dec. 15) good, homecoming, walking out of 30th station, waiting in bus stop

-Maple latte* (dec. 17) bland

-Eggnog latte* (dec. 18) too hot, but good, preparing for GRE

-Peppermint Hot Chocolate* (dec. 19) good

-White Chocolate Mocha* (dec. 20) good with tarragon chicken salad sandwich, GRE, south street

-Framboise (Bonte- dec. 20) good with belgian sugar waffle (next time chocolate and strawberry)

-Maple latte* (dec. 22) - bad/good, asks a question maybe mistaken Maple macchiato with Maple latte (three pumps of syrup), raining, city, eight and walnut

-Caramel Frappuccino* (dec. 24) good, Montgomery Ave. DRAMA, dunkin donut girl "Why Not", praying black man (bowed) 1:30 a.m.

-Soy Peppermint Mocha latte* (dec. 26) can't taste soy but felt it in my throat-itchy, laughing, doing 'stunts,' not so awkward- walking around taking pics, laughing about new jersey dude and situation, French crepes

-Maple Machiatto latte* (dec. 27) sweeter and better than the plain maple latte, stronger, received a gift, framed a lip stain, talked about life, future plans (keeping plans for self), ardmore

-Vanilla Italian Creme Soda (Milkboy- dec. 27) good, only $2.00 plus tax, scrible drawings

-Green Tea latte* (dec. 29) frothy, lots of green tea not diluted with enough milky type, Chinatown shopping, shiny stars, 42nd Street

-Cinnamon Dolce latte* (Jan. 5) okay, watched movies, Creative Writing- techno

-Maple Machiatto latte* (Jan. 9) with Whip Cream and drizzle of Maple sauce , not as sweet but still good, tarragon chicken salad sandwich, thrift store (children's books- to study and appreciate), gave form hs friend, talked about Grad school choices, and back up plans for no grad school, recap of trip to France- galit sa tito at tita, got magnets, forgot to ask about favorite, enlightening moments, briefly talked about high school- ranks, called Utah to confirm

-Americano expresso (The Walnut Bridge Cafe- Jan. 10) with a shot of Amoretti [mix of almond and apricot] with whole milk, stronger than coffee, Chocolate chocolate croissant, good, fluffy,, the chocolate is in stick and they're in the bottom, it's not like a choclate filled croissant- not shape like a moon either, like eating air with flavor, passed by xpn world cafe, small room with two couches, cold be sitting next to a stranger, comfy chairs but backless, went ice skating U Penn Skating Rink, UPenn already has classes, wondering what it's like to go to big university, Chinese in their groups- I like learning basic principles, next on my list is 'cross over' and edge skating- walked from University park from 40th street, rink closer to 30th street (Benjamin Franklin station-take the 44)- I didn't fall, which is good because I wasn't wearing gloves, my hands pretty numb- only realized this after entering the cafe-, glass fogged a bit, when trying to get money, fingers not so flexible, trying to warm itself, short lady (didn't see over the counter at first) enthusiastic to serve, lady with dog working for NBC, will meet Trump and people from the Grease Broadway Reality show next week in Colorado, art abstract, girl reading Italian text, fat guy reading, girl in computer with ipod, two girls talking about other people going out, getting drunk and leaving a party

-Green Tea Frappuccino* (Jan. 12) Pan's Labyrinth, good

-Mango latte (Joe's Cafe- Jan. 12) superhot, drank it while walking in walnut street towards Rtiz 5, to watch Perfume (think Victoria Secret fragrance and horror), continued working on short tale, I like mangoes but some fruits are not meant to be turned to lattes

-Homemade Vanilla latte (Ron's house- Jan. 13) took pictures, kids running around, talked about self-educated, diploma versus self-business, holding baby by the leg, spinning around, going for rides to fall asleep, watching deer at night in Fairmount park, one jealous, one energetic, one still unknown, expressionistique pictures, talked about starting own business versus working for someone else, what do you want to do- be a writer- it's little pay but enough, specialized coffee grinder, coffee oversees, expensive per pound, all kinds....

-Nothing (Ardmore- Jan. 15) Good luck party for new semester Lansdowne, watched Dreamgirls, Bagel Factory (Egg with Strawberry Creme Cheese)...

-Raspberry White Mocha* (Jan. 17)- just right, not too fruity, good blend of the white chocolate and raspberry, chilaxed at 8th and Walnut tried to work on more stories, but having a difficult time, did some free writing, ate at Mixx- Mochi Ice Cream, dancing eels, philly roll and Gyoza (pork), bought paper for stars, stuff for basket, and dreamgirls soundtrack

-Caramel Frappuccino* (Jan. 20)- good, with Aunty Anne's Almond pretzel, sat in University City, watched people go by- guy controling robots, people tossing football, bikers, people from around the world, runners, prior to this, watched a dance- discordant music- tribute to Scott Joplin- better and cheery, last day to pack, off to SHU the next day...

*Starbucks

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 9:31 PM | Comments (2)

January 6, 2007

Cebu: A Restaurant Review

Yesterday, after my friend and I watched "Miss Potter" at the Ritz Bourse in Center City Philadelphia, we walked two blocks to the Olde City district and ate dinner in this posh Filipino-Spanish restaurant called Cebu (named after one of the islands in the Philippines). We've been eating mostly sushi and other Asian and world cuisines lately and we wanted try something else. I have been exposed to Filipino food all my life, and I wanted to see how this restaurant presented Filipino cuisine.

Before entering, we checked the menu for the prices and what they served. They served mostly Filipino food with some Spanish cuisine. Their motto is Filipino cuisine with a Spanish flair. The appetizers started at $7 per entree (this was reasonable considering its location (prestigious Olde City= high rent, tax, license), service, public image etc.). The main meals started as low as $25. Good thing this was not the first time I've eaten in such a restaurant, I knew that the $25 meal was served in a large quantity. So I rationalized that several appetizers would probably suffice me and my friend (we get full easily).

We came in -it wasn't too busy, (maybe it was still early) and saw some people at the bar- and were seated. We were greeted with "Mabuhay" (which is similar to "Aloha"- multiple meanings- one such translation is "to live"). I think the woman who greeted us was Latina (I definitely sense a different accent when she said "Mabuhay"). I asked her if she was Filipina. She misinterpreted my question and replied that the owner and the chef are Filipinos.

The place looked awesome. It had high ceilings, which had trompe l'oiel drawings of clouds and something mechanical (like the insides of a clock). It had weird lamps that were sinuous and some looked like Dandelions/NY New Year's Eve Spikey ball. It was sort of dim and black lights highlighted parts of the wall creating dimensions and exciting diagonals in the air and on the walls.

Then comes the food. We ordered four appetizers, a sidedish of rice and I got water with lemon to drink (figuring that my money should go to the food instead), and they gave us a small basket with bread and butter. I started worrying about the size of the appetizers (different restaurants have their own concept of appetizers- to some, they are little snacks and to others they can be large enough to be an actual meal) Fearing that they might be as small as two slices of emaciated carrots on a large white plate drizzled with caramel and parsley and baby's breath on the side, I loaded up on my carbs and ate most of the delicious bread and butter.

I was half right. They served us two Shanghai Lumpia (Filipino eggrolls with meat and vegetables) with three sauces, Adobo Pork (Pork marinated in Garlic and soy sauce with vegetables), and Tokwa (Fried Tofu with Barbeque) and Tuna Kinilaw (Tuna with Vinegarette made of mangoes, coconut and other Filipino ingredients) for $33. The side of rice cost $2, and the waitress was surprised that it was just for me (she thought that the tiny bowl of rice was for me and my friend- she kept asking us earlier if we needed another one).

The Lumpia and Tuna were served in tiny amounts but the Adobo Pork and Tokwa were not. The two 2.5 inches Lumpia were overprice (my aunt in CA makes the same size and sells them for a dollar a piece), and there were only three slices of tuna. The Lumpias weren't golden browm instead a little pale even in the dim light. The Tokwa didn't have enough fried tofus. Nonetheless all the food were delicious and good quality.

Bonus points for their cooking and presentation. I was impress with the Pork Adobo and the vinegarette in the Tuna Kinilaw. The pork was tender and moist (wasn't dry or overcooked), and the adobo sauce was right (didn't have too much garlic or soy sauce). It was very flavorful, I tasted all the ingredients and nothing was overpowering- all in harmony with the tastebuds. The vinegarette opened my senses to possibilities I've never considered before. It was a good blend of the sweet and the pungent. They used top quality, fresh sweet soft Philippine mangoes (not hard unripe Indian mangoes), sugar palm candy and coconut to sweeten the vinegerette.

For presententaion, they cut the Lumpias in diagonal to make it look like there are many pieces. They used angular banana leaves as a matt on top of the plates and purple orchids (however unlike icing on cake they were too pretty too eat). They served the Tuna Kinilaw on a lopsided/asymetrical bowl.

We had turon (fried sweetened bananas wrapped in Shanghai wrappers) for $6. The bananas were too mushy like baby food, and there were more wrappers than banana. The turon was served with a perfect single-scoop of vanilla icecream on top of caramelized chocolate syrup with a sliced strawberry fanning out. The dessert was nicely presented, but wasn't as tasteful as the appetizers.

Cebu Restaurant lost points for courtesy. They were nice, but I felt that I was rushed (this might appear so because we were the only customer eating at the time- so they weren't busy with other diners). I don't know if this is a restaurant custom or not but everytime we finished a plate, the waiters removed it immediately. At times I felt that this was disruptive (I understand if we had extra food coming or if our table was really cluttered).

They lost points for downplaying the uniqueness of the Philippines. The only thing Filipino is the food. Instead of playing a mix of Tagalog and Spanish songs in the background, they played all Spanish songs. The decor was very trendy, modern, something one will find in New York (but not memorable). It looked like every hot shot restaurant out there. I sort of understand the logic behind this marketing scheme- exotic enough to attract attention at the same time with a familiar and upscale feeling. Filipinos (Fil-Am) who know how to cook this food already may be intrigued (like me) to check it out and support it. Others totally unfamiliar with Filipino culture may be lured by its Spanish charm and "flair" (or vice-versa). They downplayed in order to suit their constituents, which was very reasonable for this type of business (nonetheless they still lose points for it).

Overall, eating at Cebu was excellent. It was pricey (comes with the territory), the service was good, and the food was scrumptious!

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 4:50 PM | Comments (3)

October 21, 2006

Making cotton candy

last night in Night on the Haunted Hill, I was in charged of the cotton candy machine. This was the first time I've ever made cotton candy and it was a fun and hilarious experience.

The directions are "simple." Place sugar (for candy floss) in the center circular whole of the machine, turn it on and wait for the magic to begin. Depending on the amount of sugar you place, the faster the results will be if not it will take a while before weblike strings appear on the rim.

I was instructed to rotate the paper stick (which will gather the cotton candy) as I move my arm in counterclockwise (two rotation- sort of like the revolving earth spinning on its axis while circling the sun).

Being a little bit tall or lowering the cotton candy machine would have help to gather the candy floss. The tip a fellow gave me was to spin as close to the rim but not too close to the base of the bowl-like struture (if you do, you'll get sprinkles of sugar "gunks"- rock-like bits of sugar- on your cotton candy).

Making cotton candy looks easy but it's not. The whir of the machine, heating up the sugar, (smell of caramel) also heat stretching the sugar into threads, some flying away, a sugar wisp. It wraps around your arm- dry at first like wool then melts because of your body heat- sugar wisp landing on the floor masking it with stickiness...

The first cotton candies I made didn't have fluffly cumulus-look to them. Mine looked like a beehive hair-do, however by the end of the night, it was getting rounder...

A SHU staff who works in Student Accounts commented that I can now work in a Carnival.

If all else fails with my English degree, I may consider this. Who can ever refuse corn dogs and cartwheeling clowns? Plus you get to travel around different places! :)

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 2:29 PM | Comments (1)

January 5, 2006

french onion soup disaster

Caveat: gross

French onion soup is delicious but lethal. This is the third time it happened to me. I always forget the previous disaster and somehow I always succumbed to its tantalizing aroma. So if you were to see or hear me order this soup, please stop me (do whatever- yell, slap me [but not too painfully]).

No it wasn't diarrhea, that would have been the easy way out (no pun intended). This would have been quick and less painful.

But what happened to me, I have no name for it. I can only describe it. I ate the soup around 10 p.m. and the effects of it didn't hit me until midnight. My stomach gradual expanded, and it looked like a water balloon about to explode. I felt it and it was not soft. I had this feeling of wanting to burp but it was difficult. I had to stay still because my stomach would hurt if I moved.

It wasn't heartburn. I think it was the cheese's fault. For those who have never eaten a french onion soup, this soup consisted of onions and on top of it was fromage (cheese). The cheese is similar to the type of cheese on pizza but thicker. It almost tasted like and have the melted texture of mozzarella cheese (rubbery very hard to slice with your spoon).

Maybe it was so thick and late in the night that my stomach didn't have the power to digest it. But I think this cheese started expanding in my stomach the way somebody would blow a bubble from a bubblicious gum.

I don't know how long I writhed on my coach but finally I belched three loud ones consecutively (I think these belches were record breaking for me for its loudness and quantity) and all the gas in my stomach disappeared.

I never knew how tiring it could get, and I fell asleep. I woke up two hours later around 3 a.m. I turned off the t.v. and went upstairs in my room and continued sleeping.

The morale of this tale is to stop me from eating french onion soup. In the future do everything you can to stop me, your help will be gratefully appreciated. Thank you!

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 11:38 AM | Comments (1)

November 6, 2005

ISO: a new concept of fruit cake

after the Internationl Food festival on friday, i have a new concept of "fruit cake"--- originally when someone would mention fruit cake I would think about this brownish cake that has raisins, other dried fruits, some spice and rum-flavoring, which can outlive spam or twinkies.

On friday, I tasted a Serbian Fruit cake baked by Marina. from it I detected condensed milk, some cake-like substance (reminiscent of twinkies and strawberry short-cake crust), fresh bananas, and pineapple. It was so delicious and creamy. the way I described it (when I shared some sample to Amanda) "It melts in your mouth BUT it's not M&Ms!"

I enjoyed the Johnny cakes, the coffee jelly, and the peanut punch the most (one thing they all have in common - delectability aka sweetness). I liked all dishes served as well.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 11:24 AM | Comments (2)

October 19, 2005

SHU's french fries are safe!

In the Morgan Spurlock lecture, I was reminded of the McDonald's french fries incident, so I decided to test out SHU's french fries, luckily for me, four days after the lecture on Oct. 10, SHU had fries...I took some and placed it in a dessert box and kept it in my room.

After four days in my room, the fries were still whitish/yellowish, no changed occurred, I was getting worried...but to my relief, nine days later, when I came back from the Fall Break on Oct 18, mold started growing on it, it started to decompose.

This is great because it showed that the ingredients of the fries were not too artificial. There were not many preservatives in SHU french fries. Yeah SHU fries!

***Caveat: Below is the picture of the moldy fries.

Notice the green fuzzy spots!

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 9:51 PM | Comments (31)

March 28, 2005

a bit of "curry" adds variety/spice to life

Authentic Indian food added to my worldly appetite database...

after the Dante-esque road trip, Neha and I were welcomed with open arms by Neha's energetic and entertainingly humorous mother...what better way to celebrate hopefully the last breath of Winter until the next cold winter with food--spicy Indian food to warm up the soul.

while waiting for my Uncle to pick me up in Southington CT, Neha's mother constantly fed me, Neha and the other guests...I was surprised that I became full just eating Indian vegetarian dishes...

to start off, I had this crispy pastry-liked chip that looked like a giant crunchy nacho chip, then I ate homemade lemon cake...

for lunch, I had rice (not the short white rice but long fragrant rice similar to jasmine rice) with this medium spicy "gourd" vegetable that looked like chicken, the texture, and its thickness made this gourd passable for chicken. I had an additional "gorban/gorbaz" beans that was high medium spicy--the spice made it taste like meat--to mitigate the hotness, I was advised to add some homemade yogurt (not the sweet kind but the kind that looked and tasted similar to sour creme)

2 hours later, I had an early dinner, I had the same thing with several new dishes added...I ate this "protein delicacy" that had a texture and size similar to hashbrowns (this was one of my personal favorite) marinated in homemade yogurt, I had okra, and this really high high spicy "green sauce" and this bread that was called something like "pati or putti", the taste and texture was similar to a greek pita bread...

What would the day be like without dessert and entertainment---we ate Indian-style rice pudding ( yellowish with added almond) and I saw first hand the one woman act show of Neha's mom, she was so funny, it was fun how she incorporated audience participation in her live show....

It was a fun and relaxing night filled with laughter....in spite of me not being able to speak Indian, I was still able to somehow understand the conversation through hand motions and the mannerisms displayed, I did catch on with the english words that inevitably escaped--the difficulties of immigrants and how time passed by...

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 11:45 PM | Comments (0)

March 13, 2005

spring break and yummy food...

foody, yummy, tummy, and DALI...

...while a typical college student, who had money, would immediately pack his suitcase for the sunny southern States, I went back home in Philadelphia, where the weather undulated from old man's winter one day to soothing spring of Ceres the next day. From Friday, March 4 to Saturday, March 12, I spent spring break in Philly with friends and family.

Most college students were basking under the sun, with their toned bodies and killer wash-board abs glistening and glowing with a healthy tan, I was enjoying the food of Philly, stuffing myself silly and moderately of course so not to make my belly like a washer full of loads.

Spring break for me started out with a high and a blast, and as the days progressed it got better and better. I got a ride from my friend Neha. We had a fun mini road trip. She dropped me in Philly on her way to Connecticut. The ride was only 5 hours but it didn't feel like it. It went faster especially while singing "This is the highway that never ends." We stopped to eat for lunch and this was where my week of great food started. I ordered a Burger King Whooper and a Starbuck's White Chocolate hot drink.

The next day, on Saturday after returning from the library, I had an Elios' Pizza, the best ready-made pizza ever.

On Sunday, to celebrate a friend of the family's birthday, we went to Olive Garden. I couldn't decide so I ordered the Tour of Italy. In one plate, there were lasagna, Alfredo Pasta and Parmisan Chicken. To top this, I had an Italian Vanilla creme soda. Later on after dinner, my friends: Lauren Elise Therese McMonigle Kadel (letmk), Jessica Elizabeth "Benett" Nelson (jebn), and Ashley Romano (ar) invited me to Vinny T's. Since I ate dinner already, I just got desserts. I had this very delicious homemade Canoli; it was just perfect, the creme wasn't too sweet and the wafer complemented it with its crispy texture and sprinkled chocolate chips. I shared this "Italian Ice-cream" with Jessie. This Italian Ice-cream was a combination of flavors: Vanilla Rum, Chocolate, Strawberry, and Pistacchio with candied nuts and dried fruits topped with strawberry sauce.

On Monday, I just ate homemade Spaghetti and Lumpia (shanghai eggrolls) and when I met up with my friends: letmk, jebn, and ar in Starbucks, I got a small Caramel Frapuccino (Note- the best size to get in Starbucks is Small, not Grande or Venti because the flavor is just right - not too sweet or bland).

On Wednesday, I went to dinner with my friends letmk, jebn, Kevin Hughes, Mary Ellen McMonigle PhD, and Aunt Margy McMonigle. We went to Shanachies near Ambler PA. I got this new celtic dish. It was a dish with an Atlantic Grilled Salmon with Mango Pineapple chutney served with sidedishes of Garlic fries and fried onions. For dessert, I ate homemade cheesecake, and I tasted a bit of Creme Brulee and this Walnut Chocolate fruitcake-esque dessert from my friends. This was all being digested while I listened to irish folksongs being sung lived.

Indulging my appetite and taste buds wasn't the only thing I did. Thursday was a day of the Arts. In the afternoon, I went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art to see the Dali exhibit. It was so great. I had to pay $17 (Student) but it was worth it. At first I thought 17 dollars was a lot for a few works, but the exhibit showcased a lot of Dali's work. In fact, I spent at least half of my museum time
in the Dali exhibit alone. Originally I didn't like Dali. I thought he was a snotty artist who exploited the arts for money. I learned that he was spanish, born in May 11 (taurus), he was the forefather of pop art (before Warhol ---> not as good as Dali), had art training and background with the classical, experimented with Pointilism, Impressionism, symbolism, explored the Fruedian theories, reacted to Spanish civil war, World War II, contemporary of 20th Century Modern Artist, was a sceptic about the church/God and later on started to have relationship with God (became "religious"), obsessed with the painting "The Angelus", Mae West's Lips, worked with Walt Disney in a motion film entitled "destino" (which they showed also, and I watched it), very imaginative and 'tormented", friends with Picasso, liked the goddess Venus, and Venus De Milo, experiemented with "nuclear art", holograms, etc, in a nutshell, he is more than what appears, don't let his "lobster-back phones" and curly mustache and other eccentricities deter you away from him. He's an awesome and prolific artist and human being.

Later at night, I watched a play with a friend: MaKristine in her high school. We saw The Sound of Music. This play wasn't a high school play, it was more like a grade school play. The saving grace for this play were the lead singer who played Maria, and the older gentleman, probably the director of the play, who acted as the Nazi General. What went wrong in this play... overacting-- too expressive, a lot of arms swaying, too ""expositiony" rather than facing the other actors while they were talking to each other, they faced the audience, most of the actors butchered Rodgers and Hammerstein's music--there were points when the actors didn't sing at all, they just shouted, they were flat, or too sharp, the transitions from one scene to the next were awkward. The stage was too big for the set. They should have made the stage smaller by either using the curtains more or using lthe lights effectively (there was one scene where the set succeeded, it was a wedding scene and the chapel stained-glass window was cool). Last but not least, some of the scenes were ruined because the actors were "rushing," for example, when Maria and Georg were dancing the traditional Austrian folk dance, the rushings movements did not render the dance graceful and romantic, when Maria and Georg kissed, their kiss didn't show passion (it wasn't convincing, it was more like two shy teenagers kissing hesitantly in a party playing spin the bottle), after the Nazis left the garden, immediately the nuns showed up and within a negative second, the Von Trapp family were off in the mountains (there were more rushing scenes but these stuck in my head), on the good side, the show ended on time, and hopefully they would learn from their mistakes, i still give them kudos for attempting such a large project, and I understand the limited sources they had to work with (inner city catholic high school funds).

On my last full day in Philly, I returned the library books and dvds I borrowed. I also met my friend: letmk in Starbucks. I had a Chantico (this is the latest concoction of starbucks). Chantico, as a sage described, was chocolate on steriods. If you were ever to see an ad. for this, it would describe the Chocolateness of Chantico.

I arrived back in SHU last night, Saturday, March 12, at 9:30 pm, I did laundry and I "feng-shuied" my room. Now, it feels and looks a lot bigger. I guessed my old and narrow room couldn't hold the huge appetite I aqcuired over the break. Ah changes, yummy!

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 12:55 PM | Comments (0)

July 15, 2004

Ketsup!

Have anybody ever heard of The Ketchup Song? I haven't heard of the song per se, but I heard people talking about. You may asked, what would the song entitled 'The Ketchup Song' would be about? Well let me tell ya, it has nothing to do with Heinz, it's about this 'hot' person (I guess it's a metaphor---but it's really farfetched...I mean is this person so hot that one 'melts' like ketchup in the presence of the so-called 'hottie?')

My friends and family know that I put ketchup on everything: on top of my rice, mixed it with relish for a fish dip, on hotdogs, 'kelbasa', pizza (not really, but my cousins do) and milkshakes (j/k, although, that's not as weird as my cousins' latest concoction: Cheetah's Cheese Curls dipped in Starbuck's Vanilla Bean Frapuccino with Whipped Cream).

Anywayz, I wanted so badly to watch tv, but there weren't any good shows on, so I 'flipped' to 'WWYBE' channel 35 and watched the news (I'm not sure if it was Le Journal or something after it). I just heard "Blah, blah, blah, Ketchup...War...something wrong...with yours...blah, blah..."

I was attentive. In my mind, I thought that some scientist found something disturbing about ketchup, maybe it contained radioactive potassium sorbate; or maybe there's a pending supreme court decision that would prohibit ketchup because of the war. The commercial was finally over and the newscaster was back. Lo and behold, it was only about the president...sigh of relief, there's nothing wrong with ketchup...just imagine a ketchupless world...what would it be like?...the depravity, the depravity!!!!!!!!!!!

Basically, a Republican found out that everytime they used Heinz ketchup in their burgers, they were supporting the Democrats. Mrs. Kerry (wife of the democratic presidential candidate) is a widow of the former 'heir' of the Heinz Ketchup Empire, but she only receive 4% from the Heinz royalties. Outraged, the republicans decided to make their own ketchup named after President George W. Bush. They called it W. Ketchup or something like that. As John Stassle would say: "Give me a BREAK!" Just because one like Heinz, it doesn't mean that one's pro-democratic or not. Ketchup is ketchup for its ketchupness, whether one's preference is "W." or other '57 Varieties' of ketchup. One say to-ma-toe, another say to-ma-ta...to-mai-toe...toe-ma-tais...so-mi-re-do-so-do! They're all the same!

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 2:14 PM | Comments (3)