Friday, August 24, 2007

La Lanterna, Scheveningen

It's not gourmet and fine-dining but it's affordable, comforting Italian food coupled with a warm, friendly vibe suitable for all-night story telling.
Nestled along Keizerstraat at Scheveningen is a franchise of the big La Lanterna chain of Italian restaurants.

I don't usually review restaurant chains but this I particularly like. It's easy to forget you're in the Netherlands from the moment you step inside. The jovial manager, Mario greets everyone with a friendly smile and a firm handshake. His staff barely speak English and are even more fluent in Italian than Dutch. Grazie!

The place is decorated with bottles of wine hanging from the roof and the pizza oven is in plain view. This gives off some warmth which is great during winter however you end up smelling like pizza after dinner. But that's ok since you'll also smell like cigarette smoke anyway because of all the Dutch lighting up indoors.

I recommend the seafood risotto dribbled with chili oil. The thin-crust pizzas are made fresh and are affordable and filling at €8. (Portions are big enough for two asians to share.) I wasn't too happy with the lasagna-- too rich and creamy to have by itself.

Rating: 0
Four pawikan points. Bonus points for the complimentary marsala dessert wine that Mario offers to everyone. It's not really a date place but come here with a big group or if you want to have a quick, no-nonsense meal. Drink a lot of wine and don't be shy-- boisterous laughter won't be out of place.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Nose, Cape Town

The Nose has fantastic food, a cozy ambience and a good selection of wines by the glass.
As I was surveying the clump of restaurants at the Cape Quarter, the specials of The Nose which written on a small black-board caught my attention: Zebra carpaccio and a veal stew in an ossobuku sauce served with vegetables and mustard mash.

I've neither had Zebra nor ossobuku before so I sat down to try it. To make a long story short, I was not disappointed. The carpaccio had a weird gamey aftertaste but i wolfed it down anyway. The veal melts in your mouth, very tender, very tasty. Perfect meal for winter and reasonably priced.

I returned a couple of weeks later and the special of the day was warthog with stewed apples. I've never hard this before but it is the dish with which I will measure all future warthog meals. The meat was almost falling of the bone and the sweet stewed apple made the perfect complement!

For dessert, I tried the Diemersfontein pinotage 2006-- a very strange wine for me because of the very bold taste of chocolate and coffee! This was also my first time to try the sweet-as-honey Simonsig Gewurztraminer. Yum.

Four pawikan points! Bonus points for our Xhosa-speaking waiter Thando and his quirky sense of humour. Come and visit for dinner-- depending on the night, they've got a jazz pianist, ladies night and free wine tasting.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Jessica Zafra Reviews Coffee in Manila

According to one of my favorite Filipino writers, Jessica Zafra, she has been drinking "four to five 8 oz cups a day since childhood." I'd say this will make her a pretty good judge of coffee and in her blog she reviews some popular and obscure coffee joints in Manila in a few words:

  • UCC - "...expensive but worth it."
  • Starbucks - "...weak and tastes burnt"
  • Via Mare, Pancake House, Gloria Jean’s— "...bleccch"
  • "You know who has good coffee? Dunkin Donuts"
  • Panciteria Lido - "...excellent cup"

Maybe drinking coffee makes her a better writer. For example, read about her surreal encounter with a sampaguita vendor. It's got a disturbing surprise ending.

Monday, August 20, 2007

American Soldiers Review Ready-To-Eat Meals

I know i'm usually the one supposed to review stuff but I think I can learn a thing or two from these soldiers who were tasked to review their Meals Ready to Eat (MRE). (MREs are instant food that they eat during battle in the field.)

Here's a sample:

  • "...the vanilla pudding is so good that i ripped it open licked the inside and rolled around on top of it like a dog." (link)
  • " must always have a spread for the crackers if not anger is the result." (link)

and my personal favorite:

  • "...even in the harsh conditions of the field of combat, the way it turned my mouth blue flooded my mind with childhood memories and for a slight moment i was at peace." (link)

Friday, August 17, 2007

Quentin Tarantino Takes A Pedicab in Manila To Avoid Traffic reports that after being stuck in a traffic jam because of heavy flooding, director Quentin Tarantino gets on a pedicab and rides 2 km to Malacañang Palace where he was scheduled to receive a lifetime achievement award from the president.

He was 40 minutes late but still received the award clad in a barong tagalog and black jogging pants. (His original pants got wet in the rain.)

Asked how it felt, he responded with "That's the way it is."

Bonus points for the pedicab, a leg-powered rickshaw! (Although I haven't been on one in a very long time!)

Friday, August 03, 2007

History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi (Animé Series)

Rating: 0
I'm not a big fan of Japanese Anime but out of the three series i've watched in my whole life (the other two being Death Note and Cowboy Bebop), this is my second favorite.

It's about your typical high-school weakling, Kenichi, and how he meets sexy, gorgeous Miu who just happens to live in a dojo with six masters of martial arts. Needless to say, we join him in his training adventures and follow him in his many unsuccessful attempts to woo his crush, Miu.

This has all the makings of a great story--
... the beat up, naive hero with self confidence issues who reminds me a lot of wimpy Peter Parker! (Think Rocky Balboa meets Spiderman.)

... there's the sweet (but tough) love interest, Miu, who's always looking after our hero! Her close-but-not-quite-there relationship with Kenichi is reminiscent of Mulder and Scully in the X-Files! Can't they just cut through all the tension and get it on!?

... naughty jokes! just when you start thinking that the show is too goody-two-shoes, you get a cheeky boobs/butt/groping/peeping joke! Only in japanese animé...

... there are the six masters each with their own unique character. the Zen-like "Elder", sex crazed pervert Ma Kensei, seductive weapons expert Shigure, brusque Karate master Sakaki, man-of-steel bone-doctor Akisame and my favorite, the man-child muay thai expert Apachai (whose only dialog is exclaiming Apa! Apa! Apa! It's gi-joe and Charlie's Angels sprinkled with some Friends love all rolled into one!

... and an interesting soundtrack too! pay attention to the 60's swing-beat taiko drums of the opening credits, the cheesy pianos during dramatic moments and the inspiring feel-good vibe of the ending credits.

Four pawikan points! Plus points for just having a fun, light story where the underdog struggles and wins. It's cheesy, playfully animated and very entertaining.

Each episode is like a Rocky movie but filled with such gems like: "Humans don't have a can do or can't do attitude. We have a should do or should not do!" (Of course this implies that we can do anything as long as we set our heads to it.) Bonus points for the generous sub-titles provided by the Kuro-Hana and Umai-Doremi fan subs.

Feeling down? Losing hope? Stuck in a struggle you can't win? Watch this series and maybe it will lift you up.