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2015 Project 365, Day 149: The Spectacular Now

Photo #149: May 29

Oh, Miles Teller! I’ve been wanting to watch “The Spectacular Now” ever since I first saw him in “That Awkward Moment.” He is adorable and funny! I’m glad this was aired on HBO earlier, and I really enjoyed watching it! I like it much better than “The Fault in Our Stars,” which also features Shailene Woodley. The quotes are more relatable and not too deep, especially for the age of the characters they’re portraying. <3

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Hot Box Noodle Bar Marikina

When it comes to Asian cuisines, my favorites are Japanese and Korean. Chinese and Filipino dishes also taste great, but given a choice, I would almost always pick the former two. These days, it can be difficult to find restaurants that serve delicious AND affordable Asian food. Hence, I was really delighted when I discovered Hot Box Noodle Bar thanks to Roni of All Over Marikina!

My date!  

My date! <3

I was expecting it to be a really small place, so during my first visit (I was with my boyfriend), I was surprised that it actually had decent space (if I’m not mistaken, they also have a second floor, but I haven’t eaten in that area). The place is quite classy looking, plus it’s air conditioned! You’d think that you’re in for an expensive dining experience, but it’s totally the opposite! Upon inspection of their menu, Leo and I decided to try their shrimp siomai, salapao, crispy noodles, beef ramen, and butter stuffed chicken. While waiting for our orders, we were served some complimentary Asian style nachos with a sweet mango (at least that’s what I thought it tasted like) dip.

Yummy Asian nachos! 

Yummy Asian nachos!

Then came our dimsum: salapao (or siopao) for Leo, shrimp siomai for me. These tasted okay, nothing really special about them, save for the fact that they’re relatively cheap: P60 for the jumbo salapao and P50 for the 3-piece siomai (you can also choose pork or chicken at P5 less). I enjoyed munching on the white siopao bread, while Leo thought that the ratio of the filling to the bread could still be improved (he likes his siopao meaty; who doesn’t?!). I was a bit disappointed with the siomai, but I’m still willing to try the other two variants; perhaps I’m just used to Siomai House’s super yummy siomai. :)

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How do I siomai love for you? Salapao…okay wala ako maisip! Haha!

For our carbs (wow, hindi pa ba carbs ang siopao?! haha), as mentioned earlier, we tried two types of noodles. Leo chose the crispy noodles, which were generously smothered in sauce and showered with different vegetables. It’s like the Filipino pancit, only crunchier and saucier. It’s a good choice if you dislike slurping hot soup especially since summer in the Philippines is torture enough. :p

Crunchy noodles...crunchy pancit! :D 

Crunchy noodles (P95)…crunchy pancit! :D

Despite the summer heat, I still like the classic noodles with soup, so I tried their beef ramen, and IT DID NOT DISAPPOINT. It looks good and tastes even better! Its aroma was enough to make me drool! I would definitely order this again! :)

Looks good no? It tastes even better! 

Beef Ramen (P125). Looks good no? It tastes even better!

We were also drawn towards their butter stuffed chicken, which came with some thin potato slices…yes, mojos! Each chicken piece was stuffed with butter (duh, obviously haha), and the cheesy sauce isn’t overwhelming. Man, I am now drooling as I type this. :P

Next time, I'll eat this with rice!!! 

Next time, I’ll eat this with rice!!! This is worth P150.

For dessert, we tried their green tea tiramisu cake. Yes, GREEN TEA! This beautiful slice is like a fancier version of the classic refrigerated cake. The green tea flavor isn’t overpowering, but even if it were, I’d still enjoy this cake, for sure! ^^

Green tea tiramisu. Isn't it stunning? <3

Green tea tiramisu (P130). Isn’t it such a beauty? :)

So those are what we ate during our first visit. On my second visit, I went on solo flight, but I still enjoyed my orders. I tried their Japanese mango maki salad as my appetizer, and I was really pleased with it particularly because it’s only P100! It’s actually good for two people, but I’m just really voracious hahaha! I would want more dressing & crab sticks, though. :)

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What a visual and gastronomical delight! :)

And then I also tried another wet noodle variant: the chicken laksa. Their version is more gingery than coconut-y, and the spiciness was enough to make me sniff (in a good way, of course). I wish it had more chicken pieces, though, and probably more coconut milk. But for its price of P130, I think it’s already a steal. Hope they could provide wider chopsticks, too, since I had a little difficulty in getting the slippery flat noodles. :P

Laksarap! :D 

Laksarap! :D

Overall, Hot Box Noodle Bar is a place I would definitely recommend when in Marikina! The place is nice & cozy, but more importantly, they serve affordable Asian food. I hope they can change their choice of music, though. I have nothing against gospel music, but I think diners would feel less guilty if other music genres were played. :) You can find Hot Box along J. P. Rizal Street, Lamuan, Marikina. They are practically in front of South Supermarket (where you can park more easily hehe).

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2015 Project 365, Day 147: Korean Cheese Ramen

Photo #147: May 27

Lately, I’ve taken a liking to Korean noodles, and since I am on a soft food diet due to my recent dental surgery, I think it’s time for me to explore more of them. This cheese ramen is not spicy, so I added some chili flakes. Of course, I also added more cheese! ^^

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Antojos Manila

Antojos Manila: Modern Filipino Cuisine 

Antojos Manila: Modern Filipino Cuisine

When it comes to exploring food places, I gravitate more towards those that offer foreign cuisines, particularly Japanese. However, if a restaurant is recommended by a trusted foodie friend, then I would do my best to try it even if it serves Filipino food. Don’t get me wrong, I love our local dishes, but because they’re easily accessible, I am in no rush to try every good restaurant that serves Filipino food. Anyway, since I was scheduled for oral surgery last May 25, my boyfriend (Leo) and I decided to visit Antojos Manila the day before, as recommended by our friend Kuya Hubert.

Isn't this sign simply elegant? :) 

Isn’t this sign simply elegant? :)

Antojos was originally located in San Juan, but due to some complex matters, they decided to relocate along Banawe. Upon seeing their very classy wooden sign, we were already impressed. They have really beautiful interiors! The place is like a mix of old school and modern, simple yet elegant, classy but not intimidating (well, not so much haha). It is spacious yet does not lack furniture or fixtures. I also like their placemats, which go well with food shots! :D

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A good mix of old-school and modern fixtures adorn Antojos’ walls. :)

Classy but not too intimidating, right?! :D 

Classy but not too intimidating, right?! :D

And speaking of food, we had a little difficulty in choosing because many of the dishes seem so appetizing! By the way, they have a high-tech menu as we were given a Kindle or a similar device to browse. :) Anyhow, we decided to try the Jalapeño balls (or crunch) first. Oh my goodness! They were so good! Leo and I agreed that it is the best chili-cheese snack we’ve tried so far! The balls had a very generous amount of CREAM CHEESE with the right kick of jalapeño. The breading wasn’t too thick, so we really had our fill of cheesy and spicy goodness! We suggest that they add another ball, though, because we believe that at P290 per order of 4 pieces, it’s a bit expensive. :p

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Look at that CREAM CHEESE peeping out! Yum! The fourth ball is hidden beneath these 3 balls. :D

For our main meals, we ordered garlic rice, cheesy beef kaldereta, and seafood curry pasta. The rice was already good for 2-3 people, and I believe P120 is a good price for it. It was really good, too! It wasn’t “fake” garlic rice in which the garlic is only sprinkled on top of the rice. Fragrant and soft, you’ll definitely want to eat a lot! :p

Say no to fake garlic rice! This is the real deal! 

Say no to fake garlic rice! This is the real deal!

Kaldereta is one of my favorite Filipino beef dishes, and being cheesy is a huge factor for me to like it. Antojos’ version is a deconstructed one as the potatoes and carrots weren’t sliced into cubes; rather, they came in strips. These vegetable strips are not initially seen because they serve as the cushion of the very soft beef and cheesy tomato sauce! The whole ensemble was such a delight to the eyes (or my camera’s shutter haha), and it went so well with the garlic rice! I just wish that the vegetables were cooked a little more. :D They are simply blanched pala, according to Kuya Hubert.

If this does not make your mouth water, there must be something wrong with you... :p 

If this does not make your mouth water, there must be something wrong with you… :p

Pasta is one of the easiest dishes to cook even at home, but that doesn’t mean I don’t order it at restaurants. Antojos has a variety of pastas, and we chose their best seller, the seafood curry pasta. Upon my initial taste, I told Leo I didn’t like it. I found the taste weird and I thought I wouldn’t be able to eat more. However, I tried it again, and gradually, my taste buds adjusted to the taste. I think the curry flavor “slapped” my taste buds first, and it is quite unusual to have curry-flavored pasta. This curry pasta came with thin slices of grilled eggplant and a tiny serving of bagoong, which made it even weirder! Haha! But yeah, it was actually good enough to be tasted once; I will eat it again, but not anytime soon. My favorite pasta is still puttanesca. :)

Curry and bagoong in a pasta for those with adventurous taste buds. :D 

Curry and bagoong in a pasta for those with adventurous taste buds. :D

But wait, there’s more! Kuya Hubert wanted us to try the chocolate binagoongan. What?! Yes! Chocolate and bagoong mixed together to add a twist to a classic Filipino dish! Man, just writing about it makes me want to go back to Antojos right now and order it for myself! :D It’s really good! The salty bagoong is still more dominant than the sweet chocolate flavor, but they are a good match, especially when paired with garlic rice! Hay nako, my mouth is watering right now. Hahaha!

It's like the savory version of salted caramel...well, not really haha basta it's soooo good! 

It’s like the savory version of salted caramel…well, not really haha basta it’s soooo good!

Antojos is located at 238 (2nd floor) Banawe Center, Panalturan Street, Banawe, Quezon City (nasa dulo siya hehe). Eating good food in a beautiful place is always welcome, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy your dining experience here! :)

Thanks to Kuya Hubert for being such a gracious host! :) 

Thanks to Kuya Hubert for being such a gracious host! :)

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The First Rare Job Orientation Program: Road to Greater Opportunities

Last April 25, I attended my first Rare Job tutor gathering. I had a lot of fun during that event, so I was already looking forward to attending the next TG in August (assuming it will be at a nearby location). However, I experienced another RJ event just last Saturday, May 23, at Max’s Restaurant in Robinson’s Metro East. It was the first RJ mini gathering that aimed to orient tutors within their first year of teaching. I was expecting around 20 participants based on the recipients of the invite via email, but we were only 6! I was the second tutor to arrive, and I was welcomed by Jules, Din, Flor, Paul, and our very hands-on CEO, Kato-san! Like the 23rd TG, Kato-san brought some Japanese snacks, which were quite yummy and such a treat to my sweet tooth! :)

Oishii! Love the customized ID lace as well! :)

Oishii Japanese snacks! Love the customized ID lace as well! :)

When all the participants arrived, lunch was served. Everything was covered from appetizers to dessert and coffee! The last time I ate at Max’s was in October or November 2014, so I ate a lot! Hahaha! Takaw much! :p We had spring rolls (or triangles), daing na bangus, liempo, kare-kare, shrimp sinigang, fried chicken (of course!), and buko pandan. For merienda, we had ensaymada (so cheesy!), plus unlimited coffee! I ate everything, but skipped the coffee because I already drink it at home, and I wouldn’t want to be addicted to it. :D

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Itadakimasu! Omnomnom!

After our scrumptious lunch, it was time for the actual reason why we had the gathering. Jules of Tutor Support (if you’re an AM tutor, he’s usually the one who answers your queries via Skype) started the “magic ball” ice breaker, which was followed by a short opening speech by our beloved CEO. The highly energetic Paul and very fluent Flor then discussed managing our classes effectively, maximizing our earning potential, and improving our tutoring skills. The event was interactive and productive as all participants were given the chance to share their suggestions and experiences. Some of us even received green tea Kit Kat for answering!!!! Ahhh my favorite!! <3

Our very hands-on CEO, Mr. Tomohisa Kato. :)

Our very hands-on CEO, Mr. Tomohisa Kato. :)

After all the presentations by the RJ staff, Kato-san asked each of us what we thought about the gathering or any final thoughts about it. All of us agreed that we learned a lot and our expanded knowledge will definitely help us improve our teaching skills. In addition, I was also more motivated to apply the things I learned, particularly the different types of error corrections. Since February, I have been a free trial lesson tutor, so there is an unspoken pressure to convince potential students to continue studying with RJ. It is a challenging task, but I know there’s still a lot of room for improvement, and this mini gathering encouraged me to do my best even more. :)

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Thank you, Rare Job! Thank you, Max’s! :)

My complete loot! :)

My complete loot! :)

To cap off the event, we were given certificates, a Rare Job mug (yey! ’tis my second mug!), and even some sweet treats from Max’s! And of course, no matter how big or intimate an event is, it won’t be complete without taking group shots and selfies!!! :D

Formal group shot. :)

Formal group shot. :)

Wacky! :p

Wacky! :p

Selfies! Upper left: with our CEO; upper right: with the super cool & funny Paul; lower left: with a UPIS batchmate's mom, Tita Irene! Lower right: with the very engaging Tita Carol and ever so friendly Jules!

Selfies! Upper left: with our CEO; upper right: with the super cool & funny Paul; lower left: with a UPIS batchmate’s mom, Tita Irene! Lower right: with the very engaging Tita Carol and ever so friendly Jules!

Among all the jobs I’ve had, I can definitely say that working as a Rare Job online English tutor is the best. Rare Job does not rest on its laurels as it continues to find ways of improving its system, and one of them is by reaching out to its diverse tutors from different parts of the Philippines. I appreciate this effort so much particularly because I am such an extrovert, and meeting my fellow tutors means having new friends & learning a variety of teaching strategies! :) Suffice it to say, I LOVE MY JOB! :) If you want to experience a fulfilling career or if you just want to earn extra, you can become a Rare Job tutor by clicking this: