Wednesday, September 30, 2009

umi nom for typhoon ondoy victims

Dear Readers, if you live in New York and are looking for more ways to help the victims of Typhoon Ondoy in Manila, there will be a special benefit brunch and dinner at Umi Nom on October 11, 2009. Some generous Filipino chefs in New York are banding together for this event, which will raise money for the San Antonio Parish Youth. This is one way you can help and also be sure that the money goes straight to those in need, foregoing any bureaucratic red tape.

Brunch is from 2pm-5:30pm (last seating at 3:30) and costs $75. Dinner is from 7pm-10:30pm (last seating at 8:30) and costs $100.

Of course, it is a perfectly valid point that you might as well give all of the money you would otherwise spend on the meal to those in need. For me though, I think of it as more like if I'm going to go out and share a nice meal with friends or my boyfriend that weekend anyway, then I'll just go to Umi Nom so that I can do some good while enjoying a great meal. In other words, if I'm going to spend good money on eating out during the weekend, then might as well spend my money at the fundraiser, right?

I'm not sure yet who the other participating chefs will be, but I assume Chef King Phojanakong is one. This Filipino-Thai chef is the man behind Umi Nom and Kuma Inn, the Lower East side tapas establishment I love going to (Incidentally, Tyra Banks is apparently also a fan of this Asian tapas joint). I've been meaning to check out Umi Nom so this is a great reason to do so.

Please feel free to pass this information along! The flood victims need all the help they can get.

Umi Nom is located at 433 DeKalb Avenue between Classon Avenue and Taaffe Place, Brooklyn, NY. Tel. (718) 789-8806

Images via Time Out NY

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

hp mini 110 by studio tord boontje

It's a little harder to blog these days, when all I can seem to think about are the victims of the flood back home. It seems inappropriate to talk about spectacular meals and shopping desires when there are people back home who have literally lost everything ... but the blog can't just freeze, so I guess for now I'll talk about things that I find both beautiful and relevant.

I've been thinking of getting a small laptop since I am hoping to go back to school next year. I'm planning on doing graduate school in the evenings while continuing to work full time during the day, so it would make writing papers and keeping up with schoolwork much easier if I have a laptop that I can carry around in my bag. My top candidate right now is the new HP Mini 110 by Studio Tord Boontje:

I love Tord Boontje's work, and I've been lusting after this garland shade that he designed for over a year now. Maybe the HP Mini is a more useful investment.

What I like about this product is its environment-friendly slant. The packaging and user guides are made 100% from recycled materials and printed with soy-based ink. The intricate design of the cover shows endangered animals like the polar bear, blue whale and red squirrel, raising awareness about their plight. I have to say that I wish HP would go a step further and donate a portion of profits to a wildlife conservation fund. The environment-friendly angle that they currently have, while still commendable, seems a bit half-baked.

The product does not seem to be available yet, but I saw it on the window of Lord & Taylor two weeks ago because they're doing some promotional thing with HP. It is really lovely in person. And check out how small it is! Just use the sunglasses as a point of reference.

It weighs just 2.68 pounds, and is just a little over an inch thick. The screen measures 10.1 inches and the keyboard is at 92% of the standard size, which is fine by me and my 11-year-old sized hands. HP boasts that this mini uses 3D PC surface technology (a first), which is why the layers of design appear to float on the cover. So pretty. The best part, I feel, is that this version has a pretty good price at $399 (compared to the Vivienne Tam version that I am still lusting over, which was priced at $699). Maybe I'll finally get a Tord Boontje piece one of these days ...

Monday, September 28, 2009

please help

I woke up on Saturday to the news that my hometown, Manila, was submerged in the worst flooding the city has seen in four decades. Thankfully, my relatives in Manila are safe, and our home there was spared from the flood. But it was staggering to see how it could've easily not been so. Our family's ancestral home, the home I grew up in, was submerged in flood waters all the way to the roof. On Facebook, I watched friends' status updates with horror as they listed names of people who were trapped on their rooftops and on the higher floors of homes for days with dwindling food and water supplies. Just to give some perspective on how bad these floods were, Hurricane Katrina dumped over an inch of rainfall in Louisiana for 3 hours and another 0.5 inches per hour over the next 5 hours on August 29, 2005. Tropical Storm Ketsana dumped an average of 2.24 inches per hour for six hours over the Metropolis.

One way to help from outside the Philippines is to make a donation to Red Cross through this website. I'm trying to find a more direct way to help. I've heard that Filipinos are mobilizing in New York to get relief goods together to send back to the Philippines, so I'll try to help through that group. I'm appealing to readers to please do what you can to help as well.

See the following articles to read up on the tragedy that has befallen Manila:

Thursday, September 24, 2009

an epic day

What a truly amazing day yesterday was. In the morning, I saw President Barack Obama in the flesh.

At the end of the day, I got to watch U2 perform at the Giants Stadium. I have always said that U2 is the one concert that I must see before I die. I love U2.
Last night was undoubtedly one of the best nights of my life. I have been dreaming of jumping up and down to "Elevation" and "Vertigo", of feeling deep fervor over "Sunday Bloody Sunday", of experiencing the throbbing emotion of "With or Without You" for so long. It was surreal to finally experience it last night.

Truly the definition of an epic day.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Love, love, love these ethereal dresses by Halston for Spring/Summer 2010. What more could a girl want from a summer dress than flowy white fabric, delicate gold beading, and simply flattering lines? I want all three!


Monday, September 21, 2009

naeem khan

Truth be told, since I shifted careers last year, I haven't been paying as much attention as I used to to the NY fashion world. I didn't really check out what went on in the tents until today when I needed a break from studying for GREs and cooking chili. I guess that these days, fashion is just one other thing I love indulging in (as much as say, a great meal, a masterfully made cocktail, or a fantastic vacation), but I refuse to live my life for it anymore. That said, there are still some things that make my heart skip a beat.

These beautiful gowns by Naeem Khan just made me swoon. No intellectualizing, no groundbreaking silhouettes, just plain old beautiful clothing. I would kill for the gown in the middle, seriously.

At the end of the day, I don't need or want to make an earth-shattering statement with my clothing. I just want to look beautiful! Thank you for understanding that Naeem Khan.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


On Johan and Lucie's last night in New York, we had a wonderful dinner at Public. I took Johan there on one of his trips to NY last year and we ended up eating at the bar because the restaurant was packed. This time, we made a reservation, though the restaurant was noticably emptier. Whether it was because of the economy or the fact that it was a rainy Friday evening, I guess we'll never know. It's not because of the food, that's for sure, as Public apparently received it's first Michelin star this year.

In any case, we went straight for the entrees that night. Being the experimental freak that I am, I knew what I wanted to order immediately: Snail and oxtail ravioli with pickled shiitake mushrooms, oven dried tomatoes, peashoots and smoked paprika oil ($24.50).

In all honesty, I was a bit disappointed. I love snails, whether it's escargot soaked in buttery, garlicky goodness or the Filipino preparation of ginataang kuhol where the snails are swimming in spicy coconut milk. In this preparation, I could not taste the snails at all. What this dish tasted like to me was beef brisket stuffed into a dumpling. I've had beef brisket soup with peashoots and noodles in many Chinese restaurants, and this was what this dish tasted like to me. I suppose this was meant to be a play on that, since Public serves "Australasian" cuisine after all. All that said, I ate every single bite willingly.

Lucie seemed very happy with her roast lamb sirloin on crispy goats cheese polenta with saffron braised baby vegetables and harissa aioli ($27). I've had this dish before and it's quite yummy, especially with the lovely shiraz we enjoyed. My beef with this dish was the crispy polenta, since I do prefer mine creamy (hello, Bottega's lovely polenta under glass). But Lucie loved the crispy goat cheese flavored polenta, and I can't say anything bad about that nicely medium rare lamb sirloin.

Both times I went here, I wanted to kick myself for not ordering fish because Johan did both times and practically swooned over his food. I'm such a carnivore, but next time I should give fish a chance. I'm not 100% sure, but I think Johan ordered the Australian barramundi with vanilla celeriac puree, braised garlic greens, verjus and muscat grape sauce ($28). I would definitely order that next time. I mean, muscat grape sauce? Uh, yum!

The high point of our meal, however, turned out to be dessert. The great thing about skipping apps is that you leave enough room for dessert and don't feel (too) guilty getting one each. Johan's choice was definitely the best of the bunch: Strawberry shortcake with candied almonds and amaretto mascarpone.

That, my friends, is a wonderful use of $9. Do have it if you get the chance. The strawberries drunk on amaretto, the cream, the crunchy candied almonds, and the delicious shortcake is just heaven.

My dessert paled in comparison, I must admit, but I loved it anyway. I had the salted milk chocolate mousse with tahini ice cream and sesame candy ($9). I do not have much of a sweet tooth and often tire of chocolate after a few bites (yes, I am a strange creature). But make the chocolate a tad salty, and I'm all over it. This dessert is not for everyone. But if you're one of those people who can eat chocolate and potato chips at the same time, give this a whirl.

Our final dessert was Lucie's choice: Roasted peach, buttermilk panna cotta, peach ginger soup and blueberry gelée ($9). This is totally my kind of dessert. I have a friend who doesn't think fruits belong on her desserts (or is it just berries Ludette?) but I am the exact opposite. I looooove fruits on my desserts. I just loved the lightness of the panna cotta paired with the crunchy topping. The sweet peach with a hint of ginger was a nice twist too. The blueberry gelée I could take or leave, but I suppose it made it all look prettier.

My one complaint about my experience was that I got attacked by mosquitoes under the table! I was wearing tights and those pesky devils managed to get through. Even so, I would definitely like to come back, especially to try their brunch. I've heard interesting things about coconut pancakes, a venison burger on a miso bun, and vanilla brioche French toast with some of that delightful amaretto mascarpone and fresh basil. Must wake up for that one of these weekends!

Hope you're having a great Sunday with a nice brunch, hot coffee, fresh OJ, and no chores!

Public is located at 210 Elizabeth Street between Prince and Spring Streets, New York, NY. Tel. 212.343.7011

Saturday, September 19, 2009

breast cancer awareness necklace

I'm sorry that my posting has been so spotty. First reason is because I've decided to apply for graduate school for the Fall 2010 term, so I've been busy studying for the GRE, gathering up the application requirements, and looking into schools (going NYU a la Blair and Dan is high on my wishlist). Second reason is that I fell ill Thursday night. Nothing major, just a head cold and a bit of fever, but I've put myself under house arrest because I refuse to let it get worse. But I feel way less than 100% even with my minor illness ... which made think about how incredibly difficult is must be to be really truly sick.

Breast Cancer Awareness month is coming up in October, but I've had it on my mind because this week I attended a fundraising event to raise money for colleagues who are doing the Avon Walk. When I opened my inbox today, I saw that Elizabeth & James and Shopbop are also doing their part with this special necklace:

I like how on the website, Shopbop says that they are donating $15,000 to the Breast Cancer Network of Strength, and that these necklaces are a symbol of their support. So regardless of how much money they make with this necklace, you know the charity gets their donation. I also like it that this necklace only costs $58. The pendant is rose-gold-plated and hangs on a sterling silver chain, and it's designed by Robert Lee Morris for Elizabeth & James, so it's something you'll feel good spending on. It's so pretty and also supports a good cause. I'm 100% behind this product!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

today i'm loving: cableknits

Not allowed to shop. Not at all. So all I can do is gush over these things that I want from Victoria's Secret but the shopping trigger finger cannot budge an inch. I am DYING for the cableknit sweater blazer on the left. Seems so perfect for lazy Saturdays. It's easy but not sloppy. And only $58! But I cannot even think about it. *sigh*

Also adore the sweaterdress on the right with that sexy sweetheart neckline. But I can talk myself out of that one. See, I'm not tall enough for it. The dress looks amazing on that 8-foot-tall glamazon there but on me, oh lord, that hem would land on the most unflattering area possible on my leg. Because I'm not an 8-foot-tall glamazon. *sigh*

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

gossip girl does polo!

Oh it was bittersweet to see Blair running around in the same polo field I was at yesterday, even watching the same polo player, Ralph Lauren hunk Nacho Figueras. On one hand, I was giddy that I was there too! But ugh, stake in the heart at how I failed outfit-wise. There will be a wonderful hat and dress on me next year on those fields if it kills me!

But back to Gossip Girl ... I am so happy that the new season has finally started!

  • I am liking Serena's bad girl ways because that Dan romance crap was boring enough to make me switch off.
  • It's interesting to see the Humphreys newly rich.
  • I am super excited to see Blair's first day at NYU!
  • I am a little weirded out by the profusion of brunette boys on the show this season.
  • I am liking the new hair on the boys, especially Nate. I used to find his floppy blond hair totally blah but this is working for me:

You'll do until New Moon comes out in November, Mr. Archibald ...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

sunday on the polo field

Had an amazing time today watching the last polo match of the season in Greenwich. It was a beautiful day with startlingly clear blue skies, brilliant sunshine, and cool breezes sweeping through the grounds. I was really PO'd with myself though because of my epic outfit fail. Nothing about the gray New York morning or the past two days of rain prepared me for this stunningly gorgeous day so I was wearing jeans and sandals. And I missed the chance to wear my straw fedora! I repeat, EPIC FAIL.

That's not me throwing an outfit tantrum. I'm just stomping on the divots. How I wish I was rocking it like my favorite Angel, Miranda, below. With a few choice accessories ...

Dress by Victoria's Secret ($99), Spillane straw fedora at Urban Outfitters ($28), Sunglasses by Juicy Couture at Bloomingdale's ($145), Earrings by Anthropologie ($48), Frye Women's Harness boots at Endless ($277.95)

Oh well, first time isn't always a charm for me fashion-wise it seems. I'll make up for it next year, because we had such an amazing time that we will definitely come back for at least seconds. Polo is so much fun to watch. The gorgeous horses running with such power and agility is truly a sight to see (the polo players aint shabby either—hello Nick Roldan and Nacho Figueras!). All that plus free beer and delicious herb-flavored water courtesy of the Range Rover tent ... what more could one want from a Sunday afternooon??

Happy Sunday y'all!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

shopping for cognac

Don't you think getting the best deal when you shop has gotten more complicated with Internet shopping? You would think that an item's price in the store and on the website would be exactly the same, but that's not always the case. These Steve Madden boots are priced at $199.95 on the website but they're just $129.95 at the Soho store. BIG price difference!

And if that's not enough, the store gave an extra 30% off (The website's giving a 25% discount and free shipping for purchases over $125). The final price on my boots? $90.96! Massive discount from the website's $199.95 price. You never know where you'll get the best deal though. I've had experiences when buying via the website saves me a buck, and others when stores gave the better deal. They say shopping aint rocket science, but sometimes it does take major research!

Hope you're having a great Saturday!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

a plate i would marry

Today I decided that I love this dish so much that I want to have it on my wedding day and on my deathbed:I apologize for being so morbid, but really, that's how much I love this dish. I still vividly recall the gaping mouths and salivating tastebuds that the mere description of this dish induced when Mika and I first read it on the tapas menu at Bar Carrera: "Smoked salmon, mascarpone & black caviar on a toasted mini brioche, drizzled with honey." (not as sexy but equally seductive was the price tag of $6) Since that first bite, I haven't been able to swill wine at Bar Carrera without ordering this alluring little snack. It's just perfect. There's that sweet and lightly toasted brioche smeared with creamy mascarpone, then topped with smoked salmon that brings substance, lovely pliant texture, and a complimentary mild salty taste. A sprinkling of caviar adds pleasant bursts of ocean flavors into every bite, and a drizzle of honey perfectly harnesses all these tastes into a pleasantly sweet whole. It's unexpected and yet just so right. Truly, I might marry this plate if I could.

Before I do, let's just put the tipsy woman to bed, shall we? Gnight dearies!

Bar Carrera is located at 175 Second Avenue, New York, New York 10003 and 146 West Houston Street, New York, New York 10012

Monday, September 07, 2009

garance doré for gap

Images via Garance Doré

Dear Guardian Angel,

You've been pretty awesome to me, especially in that almost-getting-hit-by-limo incident I had on 3rd Avenue two weeks ago. Anyhow, my point is, I believe in you. You can make amazing things happen. So if it doesn't take too much time away from your saving-girls-crossing-streets-and-almost-getting-hit-by-limos time, would you kindly whisper some genius idea into the ears of those lovely people at the GAP so they can figure out how to sell these super über limited edition Garance Doré t-shirts to the general public? Thanks. You are awesome.


the boyfriend blazer hunt

It's not a good sign for one's finances when the thing that gets you out of bed on a lazy Monday morning is an email from Express on their new chic blazers. Hard to ignore a fierce image like this, especially since my best fitting blazer is actually an Express one:

There's that Balmain-esque strong shoulder, but not to such an extreme that it can't be work appropriate. If I'm gonna spend $138 on a blazer, it better work at my Midtown office and on a night out in the Lower East Side. That said, the piece that's seriously tempting me is not quite work appropriate. I am loving the boyfriend blazer rocking a studded lapel:

I tried on a blazer with a studded blazer that I loved in Zara awhile back, but some studs had fallen off here or there so I decided against it even if it was on sale. This is giving me a second shot at the style and at a much cheaper price! This blazer is already 25% off the original retail price, bringing it down to $73.50. Plus, today is the final day for getting $15 off every $60 spent, making the final price just $58.50! Oh wow. After my 1:30 Bikram class, my new Express card is gonna get a workout too ...

Hope you're enjoying the Labor Day deals today! (or if not, a Labor Day BBQ at least)

UPDATE: So I actually went to Express to see this blazer up close, and there went my studded blazer dreams. The website says it's pitch black, and um, it aint. It's closer to navy. And the sleeves are ruched! Ok, the website does say that, I just don't read. Ugh, the ruching just ruined it all ... bye bye dream blazer ...

Sunday, September 06, 2009

pio pio

I love having a foolproof deee-licious meal right in my hood. After a leisurely afternoon throwing frisbees and enjoying a picnic in Central Park, I took Johan and Lucie to our neighboorhood Peruvian chicken joint, Pio Pio. There are seven Pio Pios around New York, from Queens to the Bronx. We're lucky enough to have one that's just a stone's throw away. The $26 Peruvian Combo has everything one would want in a meal: a juicy and lipsmackingly delicious rotisserie chicken, a fresh avocado and tomato salad, and some good old fries. I've been here for lunch, and they have a pretty awesome lunch special where you can have a quarter chicken, salad and a side (choice of fries, rice and beans, tostones, maduros or fried yucca) plus a soda for $9.50.

My one qualm with Pio Pio is that their service runs hot and cold. One one hand, it took us awhile to get their servers' attention that we needed a table, were ready to order, and were ready to leave. On the other hand, when Johan accidentally spilled his sangria onto the salad, our waiter immediately gave us a fresh salad without our having to ask. I would frequent this place waaay more if service was more consistent. But yeah, I love ya anyway.

Hope you had a great Sunday! How I love the fact that tomorrow, when I wake up, it's still the weekend ...


After two rounds of delicious cocktails at Milk & Honey, Zoe, Johan, Lucie and I went to Kampuchea for a bite and a nightcap. I'd been wanting to try Kampuchea for awhile since I've had some amazing sandwiches at Num Pang. Kampuchea is, of course, Chef Ratha Chau's establishment which preceded Num Pang. It turned out though that the dish of the night was not the Kampuchea Num Pang that I had but the delicious grilled corn on the cob that our waitress guaranteed would "change your life."

That was some truly scrumptious corn (so awesome I forgot to take the brutalized lime wedge off the plate for the pic, sorry). I am one of those strange souls that do not like mayonnaise, but I was over the moon with the chili mayo, coconut flakes and chili powder topping the lightly grilled sweet corn. I love how the corn was not grilled too much. The light char gave the corn flavor but didn't overpower its natural sweetness. Very yummy. Very worth $6. (By the way, yes that's a San Miguel beer you see by my corn. And no, it's nowhere near as good as the San Miguel beer in the Philippines. *sigh*)

My Kampuchea Num Pang consisted of housemade pork pate and headcheese terrine with coriander, carrots, cucumbers all tucked into a toasted baguette. It was nice but not as fantastic as what I've had at Num Pang before.

That said, I am dying to go back to Kampuchea to try all the other yumminess on its menu. The party beside us ordered some tamarind baby back ribs that smelled like heaven. Kampuchea does 1/2 priced bottles of wine on Sunday evenings, and I am definitely down with a chill evening of ribs and vino. But I think next time I'll beg for a table by the windows, far from the stifling heat of that open kitchen.

Kampuchea is located at 78 Rivington Street (corner of Allen Street), New York, NY. Tel. (212) 529-3901

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