Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Pop Danthology 2013

Before we say goodbye to 2013, here is Daniel Kim's mash-up of the biggest hits of the last year.

video uploaded by kimaginati0n

Monday, December 30, 2013

The Royal Touch Gourmet Cupcakes

I've been hearing a lot of good stuff about The Royal Touch Gourmet Cupcakes. I noticed it when I visited SM Aura for the first time, and shortly after that, a friend told me that he had just tried the cupcakes there and they were pretty good. More recently, another friend went there and posted a lot of pictures online that further piqued my interest. Finally, a couple of weeks ago, a colleague was given a box of Royal Touch cupcakes and she let me try a bit. The ones I tasted were so good that I knew I had to get my own box. :)

I finally got to go on Sunday afternoon. There is a huge variety of cupcakes here and I ended up getting a box of six with assorted flavors:

Clockwise from top-left: Princess Rose Petal Cupcake (P95), Chocolate Cherry Baronet Cupcake (P80), Caramel and Date Squire Cupcake (P90), Apple Duchess Cupcake (P80), Chocolate Strawberry Marchioness Cupcake (P80), and Red Velvet Empress Cupcake (P80)

I decided to have the Caramel and Date Squire Cupcake in the store and I paired it up with brewed coffee. The rest, I set aside for my family.

This Caramel and Date Squire Cupcake was pretty good. The icing was smooth and silky, the cake was moist and delicious, and the whole cupcake, including the bit of caramel at the top, was just the right amount of sweet. I've never had a cupcake with dates before so this was a first.

While these cupcakes are not cheap, they aren't more expensive than a lot of others in the market (cupcakes often sell in the P60-90 range now). They are definitely worth the price and Royal Touch has now been elevated to my favorite cupcake shop!

The founder of The Royal Touch is Carolyn Robb, who was Executive Chef to Prince Charles, Princess Diana and the Royal Families so it's not surprising why these cupcakes are really good. I am definitely going here again. I want to try every item on the menu LOL but of course, it will take some time before I can go through their entire selection. Can't wait for that to happen, though. :)

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Random holiday season stuff

I was driving along Ayala Avenue the other day when I got caught in some pretty bad traffic. As it turned out, I ran smack into the victory parade for newly-crowned Miss International Bea Rose Santiago. I got to see her waving to the crowd amidst a shower of confetti while I was stuck in my car and despite my annoyance at the traffic, I actually ended up waving back at her LOL.


I was there because I was going to Greenbelt to meet up with my good friend Daday. We had lunch in Kai then moved to Caffe Ti-Amo for coffee. At some point we ended up talking about how she missed out on seeing the metro stations in Moscow when she went to Russia so I ended up showing her my photos of the Moscow Metro  as well as the rest of my Russia pics. I then accompanied her to Globe before we went our separate ways since I had a haircut appointment at 4pm. It was another long day as I then drove to Shangri-La Mall to do some after-the-fact Christmas shopping since I still had several gifts to buy and I also had to have the batteries replaced in four of my watches.


The night before, I met up with another good friend, Che. She wanted to have Spanish food so we tried Relik Tapas Bar in BGC. The Baked Australian Brie was a bit bland, the Tenderloin was okay, and the Arroz Con Pollo was pretty good. It's been about a year since I saw her so there was a lot of catching up. Once the noise level in Relik started to go up, we moved to Kuppa which was just downstairs to enjoy some coffee.


A bit of bad luck right before Christmas. As I was walking to my car after picking up food from Conti's, I noticed that the rear right tire of my car looked flat. I drove to the nearest gas station and had it filled with air before bringing all the food home first. I then went to my friendly neighborhood vulcanizing shop to have the tire looked at. As luck would have it, my tire was punctured. Ugh.

Not sure how that happened. Thankfully, it didn't completely deflate while I was driving and that the vulcanizing shop was open the afternoon before Christmas.


And of course, the Christmas season brings with it extra weight. I've gained about five pounds over the last few weeks from overeating. There will be more food to enjoy over the next few days but hopefully, once January comes in, I can start going to the gym again to lose at least some of the extra weight. Good luck to me!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Seasons Greetings!

Merry Christmas, everybody!

In honor of today's holiday celebration, here's a really cool video of Christopher Lee reading Tim Burton's original poem "The Nightmare before Christmas".

video uploaded by fill10000

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

What a day

It's not very often that you end up being more exhausted and having a fuller day when you are on leave than when you are working, but that's exactly what happened to me yesterday. Then again, a lot of people do experience this when Christmas is right around the corner, so I guess I'm not all that unique. :)

It started out when I took my car to the shop in Bonifacio Global City to have it looked at. I would get my car back at around 4pm so I decided to do personal errands over the next several hours. BGC isn't that big and I did have time to spare, so I decided to take a 10-minute walk to the bank to pay my credit card bills before heading to Early Bird Breakfast Club to try it out. I ordered an Eggs Benedict:

Eggs Benedict at the Early Bird Breakfast Club

The verdict? I thought it was just okay, considering the price (P420). Along with the coffee, I spent close to P600 here. My poached eggs were a tad overcooked - the silky yolk didn't start spilling over everything when I cut into it - but the shoestring potatoes were a unique twist.

After polishing off my food and coffee, I made my way to The Spa in Bonifacio High Street to get a gift card that I planned to give out for Christmas. I then headed to Conti's so I could place an advance food order that would serve as my family's noche buena and Christmas food. There was a relatively long queue of people at the take-out counter - as there always is during the Yuletide season - so by the time I had placed and paid for my order, it was already close to 1pm.

I had a couple of errands to do in Market! Market! but I also knew that Ender's Game would be showing in SM Aura at 1:35pm. I only had a couple of days to catch it because the Metro Manila Film Fest starts on the 25th but when I got there, I realized it was being shown in the Director's Cut theater, which meant I would be in a crowd of only a couple dozen people and I would get to sit in a lazy boy with free popcorn but it would cost a whopping P350. After thinking about i, I decided it would be a new experience so I got myself a ticket. It was an interesting experience (it is definitely comfortable having a lot more space!) and the movie was a decent sci-fi flick with pretty good effects.

After the movie, I went to Market! Market! to look for Dulcelin since I wanted to get their strawberry cake for Christmas. It took me a while to find it - apparently, there is no Dulcelin shop but instead, Dulcelin items are sold by Pelican Farms. Unfortunately, the only dessert they had ready was the mango torte; everything else is for pre-order. So I went into the mall to look for the place where I bought my watch before to ask if they also sold batteries but apparently the store is gone. It was at this point that I got a call saying that my car was ready for pick-up.

I wanted to watch Frozen as well but I had to pick up my car first. So after settling the bill and heading to the mall to catch the 6pm showing of Frozen, I saw that my right headlight was not working. Bummer! I called my service attendant and he asks me to bring my car back to the shop. Apparently, my headlight was busted and I needed to replace it but the shop was about to close so I was told to just return later in the week. What a hassle.

I still had enough time to make it to Frozen. Two movies in one day! This was a pretty good Disney movie, with excellent character development and a very unique take on the Snow Queen fairytale. I wouldn't be surprised if it ends up winning Best Animated Film at the Oscars.

As if my day wasn't long enough, I decided to go grocery shopping after my second movie. Thankfully, malls and supermarkets stay open a bit longer nowadays. I then drove to Aristocrat along Jupiter to buy a Torta Delos Reyes chocolate sansrival cake (I only got the small one since I am still hoping I can get a strawberry cake from Dulcelin in Times Street).

Torta Delos Reyes (photo courtesy of http://www.aristocratbakeshop.com.ph)

I had a hot, hearty dinner at around 10pm before I got home. Despite the full and productive day, I still have a lot of stuff to do. While I have almost completed my Christmas shopping, I am still missing gifts for all the kids I plan to give presents to. I also still have to return my car to the shop. I also need to have batteries replaced in a couple of my watches. Nevertheless, I am happy that most of my to-do list has already been crossed out. Hopefully, I can get some much needed rest during the Christmas break. :)

Monday, December 23, 2013

Alex and Sierra win X Factor USA

I'm really happy that Alex and Sierra won The X Factor USA, especially since it's rare that a contestant or team I'm rooting for actually wins. They first caught my attention when they performed an acoustic and version of One Directions' Best Song Ever. Their individual voices sounded good but it was their unique arrangement and their great harmonization that really made them stand out for me. However, it was their standout rendition of "Say Something" that locked me in and made me become a fan. Take a look at what I think was the performance of the season:

video uploaded by eduardoox03

I had goosebumps watching and listening to this. The song, originally by A Great Big World, is now one of my current favorites. There aren't many current artists who are like them so I'm looking forward to Alex and Sierra releasing an album soon.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Nadal wins a poker tournament

Talk about an uncanny ability to win. Rafael Nadal recently participated in the EPT Charity Challenge in Prague, his first-ever live poker tournament. Amazingly, he won! And not only did he win, he did so in style be coming from behind and actually knocking out Poker World #1 Daniel Negreanu. You can read the play-by-play in this link, but here's a snippet of that link showing how Nadal took down Negreanu:

6.15pm: Nadal hurricane knocks out Negreanu in 4th, €5,000
Wow. The last few hands have seen Rafa Nadal go from short stack to chip leader! He first doubled through Negreanu jamming all-in with Q♦3♠ and caught a queen against Negreanu's A♠9♥. Then he doubled with Q♥9♥ against Negreanu's pocket threes catching a straight on the river, then he won a huge three-way all-in against Negreanu and Andriy Shevchenko to give him 80,000! More details to come.

This poker tournament win came with EUR50,000 prize money that would go to charity of Nadal's choice. Way to go, Rafa!

Saturday, December 07, 2013

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Wow, I'm really looking forward to this.

video courtesy of SonyPictures