Shangri-La Boracay – Cielo Poolside Restaurant & Bar

I went to Boracay before the pandemic. I just didn’t have the heart to post about it afterward because everyone was on lockdown. I mean, it would be pretty tone-deaf to post about it right in the midst of the problems everyone was having.

It was my mother’s birthday, so we went on a short vacation to the lovely island of Boracay, Philippines.

Shangri-La Boracay is probably the priciest resort on the island. We stayed at a different place, but we decided to celebrate a birthday lunch at the Cielo Poolside Restaurant & Bar. According to the person I spoke to on the phone, reservations weren’t really needed, but it’s probably different nowadays because of the Coronavirus.

The Shangri-La Boracay pool.

There are lots of little nipa huts and umbrellas with tables and chairs under them, and the pool area is huge, so there’s plenty of seating. I’m guessing that social distancing isn’t the problem at all. At the time that we were there, no one had heard of COVID19 yet so it wasn’t a concern for us.

The Cielo Poolside Restaurant & Bar

There is also a small private beach that guests can use, but we weren’t staying there so we didn’t use it. I’ve heard some people say that the beach at Shangri-La Boracay sucks, but I think it looks fine.

Grilled Pork Liempo (Belly)
Cielo Poolside Restaurant & Bar – I forgot the name of this desert

I had the grilled pork belly and a dessert whose name I forget. The presentation was on point. The taste, however, was just fine though I must say not as nice as I thought it would be. You can’t beat the view though!

We felt super special and fancy while we were eating there. I recommend that you give it a try if you can. The service was also quite good. In my opinion, Shangri-La hotels always have the service.

Note: I suggest that you call first to ask if they require reservations and what precautions people have to take these days because of COVID19.

More information here – http://www.shangri-la.com/boracay/boracayresort/dining/restaurants/cielo/

Family Mart Inkigayo Sandwich

What I ate today: Inkigayo Sando from Family Mart.

Inkigayo sandwich from Family Mart

What is an Inkigayo Sandwich?

If this is a new term for you, let me explain. Inkigayo (인기가요), literally meaning “popular music,” is a Korean TV show by SBS. The Inkigayo sandwich is a food item that the SBS cafeteria owner at Inkigayo show created for the staff.

It’s a three-layered sandwich with cabbage slaw, potato salad, and strawberry jam fillings.

Weird, right? Somehow, this peculiar snack became popular among K-Pop idols, and it is now available at most convenience stores in Korea and abroad.

The scandalous secret origin of the Inkigayo Sando craze

Whoa! Did you know that this sandwich has a secret? K-Pop idols are often forbidden to date, so they sneakily hide a piece of paper with their phone number on an Inkigayo sandwich’s cling wrap packaging and give it to the person they’re interested in.

Sadly, the Inkigayo Sando I bought from Family Mart didn’t have a K-Pop idol’s phone number in it.

Inkigayo Sandwich I K-POP Idol Sandwich Review

Inkigayo sando

It was… Okay. I’m not a big fan. The white bread was fluffy and nice, but I would have preferred a little more saltiness/savory flavoring. On the other hand, it seems like a relatively healthy sandwich compared to my usual ham and cheese.

The cabbage slaw was pretty unexciting. It’s just basic cabbage with mayonnaise. The potato salad was a little nicer, but nothing to get really excited about. Both fillings were on the bland side. Whoever thought of adding sweet strawberry jam to the sandwich was a genius. It really added something to the sandwich that made it much better than the sum of its parts.

What I order it again? No.

Would I make it at home? Yes. In fact, I think the idea of the sandwich was pretty good. I’d make it at home with a little more salt (which, come to think of it, would make it less healthy) or substitute chicken or egg salad instead of potato salad for a more savory snack. I’ve got a bottle of Kewpie brand Japanese mayonnaise lying around the house, so it wouldn’t be that hard.

Belo SunExpert Perfecting Shield Tinted Sunscreen

When it comes to a skincare regimen, only three things are absolutely necessary: a cleanser, a moisturizer, and sunscreen.

The first two are easy enough to find. All I really need is a gentle cleanser and a fragrance-free moisturizer for sensitive skin. There are plenty of those in the market, especially if you’re willing to try out products that are made for babies.

On the other hand, the perfect sunscreen is much harder to find. In addition to being affordable and effective in protecting skin from the harmful rays of the sun, it also has to be aesthetically pleasing.

For some reason, most sunscreens fail one of those conditions. Either they are too expensive, ineffective, or don’t look good. The most common failing is that sunscreens give the face a so-called “white cast,” i.e. they make you look like a ghost or kabuki actor.

In the Philippines, a lot of these products also have whitening ingredients, which I personally don’t use.

The Belo SunExpert Perfecting Shield Tinted Sunscreen

I have been using Belo sunscreens because they are relatively affordable, and effective. At least, I think they’re effective. I’m not a scientist.

As I was doing a bit of research online, some people recommended tinted sunscreens because it avoids the dreaded white cast effect.

I’d found that the Belo SunExpert Perfecting Shield Tinted Sunscreen is almost the perfect product. The price is right, it’s SPF fifty, and it looks good.

It’s one flaw: when I sweat the sunscreen on my forehead stings my eyes.

Of course, I can avoid this by blocking my forehead, but it’s pretty obvious that doing that also removes the sunscreen, so I only use this sunscreen when I’m not doing anything physical. I guess I’ll have to find a good sports sunscreen for that.

Overall, I give this four stars out of five.

Kale Cafe + Restaurant

Kale Cafe + Restaurant is a cozy little place where you can get a great cup of coffee and a good meal. Before the pandemic, I used to go to their place at Melting Pot Building in Fairview, Quezon City. Nowadays, I use their delivery service.

When I first went there with my niece, I had the katsu burger while she had the grilled cheese sandwich and a chocolate chip cookie.

Katsu Burger

Katsu Burger

To be honest, the katsu burger was a bit weird. Instead of a beef patty, the patty is made of ground pork coated in panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) and then deep-fried before being placed in a brioche bun with sriracha mayo, homemade slaw, pickled onions, red cabbage, and who knows what else. It was served with furikake fries. It took some getting used to, but I have become extremely fond of it. I’ve been ordering it repeatedly since I first tried it.

Katsu Sando - delivery

Katsu Sando – delivery

The burger has now evolved into a sandwich (P190).

Grilled cheese sandwich

Grilled cheese sandwich

My niece had the grilled cheese sandwich (P180) made of sourdough, mozzarella cheese, garlic confit, and ebiko (shrimp flakes) with roasted tomato puree. It was a hearty and filling meal, but she still had room for a chocolate chip cookie.

Chocolate chip cookie

Chocolate chip cookie

Who doesn’t love a good chocolate chip cookie (P50)?

Grilled cheese sandwich

Grilled cheese sandwich – delivery

She liked the sandwich so much that we have been ordering it for delivery, too.

That’s the type of thing that we order when we used to go there for meals. On the other hand, it’s also great for coffee and a quick bite.

Coffee

Coffee

I don’t have much to say about the coffee except that it was good.

banana bread

Banana bread

The real star of the show when it comes to coffee and a snack is their banana bread (P79). Something about it is just too good! I have to stop myself from eating too much because it’s that delicious.

Steak - delivery

Steak – delivery

Another thing that I can recommend is their steak (P330) though it might be better if you ordered it in the restaurant, rather than getting it delivered like we do.

Spaghetti Marinara

Spaghetti Marinara -delivery

The spaghetti marinara (P190) was okay but nothing special.

I’ve also had their cereal milk latte (P150) which was excellent. I forgot to take a picture of it.

yema pie

Yema Pie

Lastly, their yema pie (P120) is a thing of beauty! It’s sweet and undoubtedly high-calorie, but I can’t resist ordering it.

I have not been compensated for this post and have no relationship with Kale Cafe + Restaurant. Everything you see here was bought with my own money. The photos are also mine.

Kale Cafe + Restaurant Information

Address:
Unit 2-1 2nd Floor, 527 Melting Pot Building. Ciudad Verde Executive Village, Omega Avenue. Brgy Greater Fairview Quezon City

Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/kalemanila/

Instagram
https://www.instagram.com/kalemanila/

Haru no Sakura Cake Tarts

Haru no Sakura – The tart which symbolizes the coming of spring

Incredible! I managed to snag these Sakura tarts from Candysan before they went out of stock. These “Haru no Sakura” tarts seem to be a seasonal snack because they don’t seem to be available anymore. I’ll definitely order them again if I see them in the Candysan store again because they are the bomb!

It’s pretty much impossible to buy Sakura-flavored anything unless you’re in Japan, sadly. I’m a fan of the fragrant, flowery taste of cherry blossoms.

Anyway, about the tarts!

Haru no Sakura

haru no sakura tarts

The Haru no Sakura tarts come in a very nice pink box with a cherry blossom design.

The box is super nice. I think it’s like a gift box rather than just the usual grocery box. I like the little curved asymmetrical bit on the left side.

Each tart is individually packaged.

To be honest, it’s a bit shocking how many small things are individually packaged in Japan. I think it’s because boxes like these are meant to be passed around. There are five tarts which I guess means I ought to find some other people to share it with but… *cough* I ate it all myself.

sakura cake tarts

Each tart comes in its own gold-edged sakura blossom designed plastic package.

Here’s a nice close-up photo of the tart package. It’s cute.

seasonal sakura tart

This is what it looks like out of the package.

Once I tore off the plastic, I was a bit surprised since it did not look like a tart. It’s soft and cakey! The “tart” is a cake or muffin that was formed in the shape of a tart.

sakura cake

The inside is pink! Although it’s called a tart, it’s actually more like a soft, spongey cake.

I am obsessed with the pink cake interior when I bite into it. It tastes like cherry blossoms (sakura) with a hint of sweetness. It’s not dry but neither is it super moist.

Is it really like “the coming of spring”?

Yes, it really is! The fresh, clean, flowery taste of sakura isn’t overpowering but it’s there and it’s amazing.

Be warned though: if you’re thinking of giving this as a gift, think twice since not everyone likes this type of flowery taste in their cake. I did try to share this but there were no takers. I urged someone to take a small bite but she hated it. I suggest that you buy it for yourself if you like sakura.

One final thought: I’d like to make it clear that this post isn’t sponsored by Candysan. I bought the tarts with my own money.

Having said that, I feel like I want to explain what Candysan is. It seems to be an online shop run by someone French. At least, I think it’s run by some French person since the website is available in both English and French. They ship directly from Japan. Despite the name, they don’t seel just candy. They have all sorts of stuff like noodles, snacks, drinks, gashapon, Japanese honey, etc.

I kinda tend to spend a lot there. 🙂 If you are ever in Japan then buying this type of stuff should be easy enough but for those of us who aren’t there, Candysan is a good way to buy unusual or unique Japanese treats.

Cafe Tribu Fairview (Regalado Branch)

Note: This was before the Coronavirus quarantine went into effect.

I was at the QUAD Study and Coworking Space Regalado branch when I felt peckish. Right beside Quad on the 2nd floor of the Cristina Building is Cafe Tribu. I had some iced coffee and a plate of their carbonara.

Cafe Tribu Regalado Branch
2/F Cristina Building, Regalado Avenue corner Coronet St., Fairview Park
Quezon City, Philippines
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/cafetribu.fairview/

cafe tribu iced coffee

Ice coffee topped with whipped cream

Spaghetti carbonara with bacon and two slices of garlic bread

Cafe Tribu Fairview Food Menu

The coffee and the food were okay. The cafe is pretty small but I like the simple and soothing ambiance. They have wifi, of course, so it’s a good place to hang out that isn’t too expensive. I’ve been there about three times now and I plan to try out their Japanese food next time.

I didn’t realize until I did a Google search that Cafe Tribu was a franchise. It looked like a small neighborhood coffeehouse but it turns out that they have a lot of branches. Some are cafes like the one in Fairview but they do also have coffee stalls.

This area of Fairview, Quezon City is full of students so most of the restaurants and cafes have student-friendly pricing. That’s great for me since I don’t like to pay a lot for a midday snack.

Have you been to Cafe Tribu?

This post is not sponsored. I have no relationship with Cafe Tribu. I paid for my food and drink.

The Body Shop Color Crush Lipstick (Blushing Pink)

I’ve recently switched to using long-lasting liquid lipsticks most of the time because the matte look is in vogue right now but those liquid formulas tend to dry my lips.

My current cream lipstick favorite (used when my lips are too dry for liquid lipstick) is my old The Body Shop Color Crush Lipstick #225. The internet says that this color is “Blushing Pink” but all it says on the lipstick itself is #225.

the body shop color crush lipstick

The Body Shop Color Crush lipstick

The lipstick comes in a silver base with a pink cap that says “The Body Shop” on it. I like that pink shade!

I thought that the pictures on this blog need a little love so I put some effort into staging the pic with a glittery silver-blue scarf, (real) pearl necklace, and some French macarons to give it that extra-fancy look.

These photos are mine! I didn’t get them from The Body Shop, I took them myself.

As I hope you can see from the picture, the lipstick is a medium pink. I’ve already used around half of it. I’m dreading finishing the whole thing since this particular color is discontinued.

I included a tissue with a lipstick mark to show the color better.

The lipstick is soft and glides on smoothly. It has a very luxurious, creamy feel and it’s very pigmented. It’s glossy. not matte like a lot of lipsticks these days.

Sadly, it has no staying power since it rubs off on anything that touches my lips but, on the other hand, it’s comfortable and moisturizing, unlike long-lasting liquid lipsticks. I wear this when retouching my lipstick isn’t a problem or when my lips are dry. I don’t even need lip balm if I use this since it soothes my dry lips. The Body Shop website says it’s made with beeswax which is probably the ingredient that makes my lips feel good.

The taste of this lipstick is light and neutral since I don’t even notice the taste whenever I eat something. Don’t you just hate it when your lipstick gives your food a weird taste?

Would I buy it again? Yes.

 

Hearthstone Battlegrounds (Beta)

I’m addicted to Hearthstone’s new Battlegrounds mode. It’s still in beta right now but I think it’s a genius idea. In this new play mode, eight players compete with each other.

Sadly, I’m a weak player which means I often get pwned a lot by the other seven players.

The first and quite crucial task is to pick from two heroes that are randomly assigned. Some heroes suck! It’s really sad when I’m given a choice of two heroes who are both no good.

I get super envious when I see the other players have some really great heroes to play with but, oh well, them’s the breaks of Hearthstone Battlegrounds! At least I don’t often end up as dead last.

I really like the Nightmare Amalgam card, especially if I get it early since I can buff it until it becomes awesome.

Players have to pick cards that are available from Bo’s Tavern then when the fight starts the minions automatically attack each other. It’s a bit nervewracking when your minions keep on attacking the wrong enemies. Minions do attack from the left to right of your own board which gives a player a little bit of control. I also like taunt minions since they protect the other minions.

At the end of a round, the player who has at least one minion left is the winner (only of that round) and the enemy hero takes some damage.

Getting first place is sooooooo satisfying when you have to beat seven other players! I love it!

Japanese Kit Kat – Beni Imo (Sweet Purple Potato)

KitKat Japan is pretty well-known for its seasonal and limited edition flavors. I was at a 7-11 when I saw this purple mini KitKat.

Here are my photos:

purple kitkat

This is a mini Kikat

purple sweet potato kitkat

KitKat flavor: Beni Imo (Sweet Purple Potato)

As you can see, the coating on the KitKat must have melted then reformed in storage or something like that since the surface looks slightly wrinkled. It didn’t affect the taste though.

The Beni Imo (Sweet Purple Potato) flavor wasn’t very strong but it was there. The primary taste is of white chocolate and sweetness. It was pretty great.

The crunch factor was there, as usual, and it was very satisfying. Great mouthfeel!

If you were to ask me if I prefer this over the regular chocolate then my answer would be NO. I liked this as a change of pace. The Sweet Purple Potato KitKat is worth buying to check it but I think I’ll stick to the regular chocolate version.

This would make a good small gift. I bought two to share with someone. She also who liked it but both of us prefer the regular KitKat. You just can’t beat classic chocolate KitKat.

Monte Cristo Sandwich (Fried Ham and Cheese Sandwich) Recipe

monte cristo sandwich

Monte Cristo Sandwich

Monte Cristo Sandwich Recipe

Makes one sandwich

1 egg
2 slices of bread
1 piece ham
cheese
butter
cooking oil (any kind)

  1. Crack the egg on a shallow plate or bowl then beat just until the yolk and whites are combined.
  2. Assemble the sandwich by putting the cheese and ham in between the slices of bread.
  3. Optional: I like to press the sandwich flat with my palm because it makes it easier to cook. You can also cut off the crusts if you prefer it that way.
  4. Dip the entire sandwich in the egg mixture. Flip it so both sides are coated.
  5. On low heat, add some butter then cooking oil to a non-stick pan. Fry the sandwich.

Optional toppings:

I like my Monte Cristo sandwich savory so I don’t put any toppings on it but you can add powdered sugar or drizzle maple syrup or honey on top.

My version is the simple type you can make at home with whatever you have in your larder but it can be made a lot fancier. For example, check out this image below of a Monte Cristo Sandwich from Cafe Orleans. It’s made of sliced turkey, ham and Swiss cheese that is coated in a light batter then fried. It’s served with berry puree and dusted with powdered sugar.

fancy monte cristo sandwich
HarshLight from San Jose, CA, USA [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons