My Korean Food adventure continues at Masil

My love for Korean food is well-known by my family and friends. In fact, I have dined again and again at various Korean restaurants in various places in Metro Manila.

I was happy to discover that Masil has opened in Tiendesitas, which I find very convenient. Before or after grocery shopping, I can bring my family here to satisfy our Korean food cravings.

Weekend lunch and dinner times do get crowded and we sometimes have to wait for our table, but there is a waiting area inside which serves fragrant tea while you wait.

We usually order the samgyeopsal (grilled pork – Php330), chadolbagi (grilled beef a Php390), along with dolsot bibimbap (rice mixed with veggies served in a clay pot – Php350). The grilled meats are handled by the wait staff (so we can focus on enjoying our food). Our orders are also complemented by generous servings of side dishes which include kimchi, soy peanuts, green salad and steamed egg.

We enjoy ourselves here so much that we’ve returned so many times and even celebrated mother-in-law’s birthday here.

Masil branches are both located in Pasig:

  • The one we often frequent is at Tiendesitas, Frontera Verde, along Ortigas Avenue
  • The one we have yet to try is at 100 Oranbo Drive, in Brgy Oranbo

Masil Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my posts about other Korean restaurants:

Why not try your hand at cooking Korean food at home?  Check out these recipe books on Amazon.com!

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Comforting food and surroundings at Plana’s Pantry

Considering my workplace for the last three years is located so near to Plana’s Pantry, it’s a wonder that I’ve only been able to dine here just last month.

The place has a rustic shabby-chic feel to its decor. Walls and ornately carved furniture were mostly in white highlighted respectively by framed pithy sayings, teal cushions and various bric-a-bracs. It’s interiors were designed to look inviting and cozy.

It’s offerings are mostly comfort food: a mixture of Filipino and American dishes with some pastas thrown in.

When I dined here with my co-workers, we ordered the following:

  • Tapsilog (Php180)
  • Pasta Carbonara (Php220)
  • Hickory BBQ Ribs (Php285) – my order – I found its marinade a bit too sweet but the meat is fork tender
  • Beef Salpicao (Php260)
  • BBQ Pork Belly (Php230)
  • Fresh Dalandan Juice (Php75)
  • Iced Tea (Php60)
  • Hand-crafted Avocado Ice Cream (Php60 for single scoop – I couldn’t pass this up as I love avocado ice cream, especially artisanal ones

The food were reasonably priced, considering the generous servings. I would probably order the Lengua on my next visit (along with another scoop of Avocado Ice Cream!)

Another plus factor for Plana’s Pantry is the Hi-top Supermarket right next door where my officemates bought some chips and sweets before we went back to the office.

This branch of Plana’s Pantry is located at the Hi-Top Supermarket Building, 1650 Quezon Avenue corner Sgt. Esguerra Street, South Triangle, Quezon City. Another branch is located at the Ground Floor, RC Building, 50 Domingo M. Guevarra Street, Highway Hills, Mandaluyong City.

Plana's Pantry Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Lessons learned from How to Get Away with Murder’s Annalise Keating

Class is in session. Professor Annalise Keating is here.

While she is no doubt acclimating her proteges (the infamous Keating 5) to the ins and outs of the legal system, How to Get Away with Murder’s Annalise Keating is teaching the rest of us other valuable lessons.

  • How to rock business attire. More than anyone, Professor Keating knows the power of the power suit. From her sleek hair, perfect makeup, to her smart blazers, pencil skirts and stilettos, she is all business, especially when she swaggers in and out of the courtroom.
  • How to bare yourself. While she is glamorous and intimidating in her power suits, the scene where she takes off her wig and carefully towels off layers of make up revealing a vulnerable woman underneath is so compelling and relatable it’s almost painful to watch.
  • How to start over. Annalise Keating started life as Anna May Harkness, who, as a child, was raped by her uncle. Later on, while pregnant with her child with her husband Sam, she lost the baby due to a car crash orchestrated by her client. Through these traumatic events and more as the series progresses, she picks herself up and starts over, stronger than before.

Annalise Keating is a complex character, wonderfully portrayed by veteran actress Viola Davis, who made history in 2015 when she became the first woman of color to win an Emmy Award for outstanding actress in drama series for the role.

How to Get Away with Murder, currently on its fourth season, airs Fridays at 8:55 pm on Sony Channel on SKYcable ch 35 SD, with catch up episodes available on SKY On Demand. Complete episodes for seasons 1 to 3 are available for streaming on Netflix.

Sumptuous Seafood at Shrimp Bucket

Shrimp Bucket is where my officemates and I go when we feel that we deserve a very happy lunch. For one thing, we eat here fairly often despite the pricy menu or we make our pleasure so evident that the friendly wait staff can recognize us on sight and already know what we will order.

The resto’s interiors have few decor but the most interesting are the bucket chandeliers. There is ample seating for around 30-40 people.

We plan our outings here ahead of time (usually to coincide with payday), so we usually have a lot of time to fantasize about our signature orders:

  • 1 pound of shrimp with Salty Eggsperience sauce
  • 1 pound of Mussels with The Mardi Gras sauce (slightly spicy with yummy chorizo bits thrown in

These sumptuous seafood dishes are best eaten family-style with steaming hot rice. Do take advantage of the bib and plastic gloves provided by the resto so you can eat with your hands to really enjoy the experience without worrying about making a mess or dirtying your clothes.

I have tried some of the resto’s other offerings such as the pan-fried fish fillet in soy ginger sauce and the crispy belachan pork but the combination of the Saltjy Eggsperience shrimp and the Mardi Gras mussels is still unbeatable for me.

This Shrimp Bucket is located at the 2nd floor of Il Terrazzo, Tomas Morato cor Scout Madrinan Street, South Triangle, Quezon City.

Other branches are located at the following:

  • 2nd floor of Ayala Malls the 30th along Meralco Avenue in Pasig
  • Along Missouri Street in Greenhills
  • Ground floor of Grand Hamptons Tower 1 along 31st Street in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
  • Ground Floor of UP Town Center along Katipunan Avenue in Diliman, Quezon City
  • Circuit Makati in Olympia, Makati

A rare steak experience at Vittorio’s

Some small distance from my workplace is a small (but well-known among steak lovers) restaurant called Vittorio’s Steak House. It took some time for me to visit this place because:

  1. It’s hard to find fellow steak lovers among my coworkers.
  2. Pricing in this joint is a bit steep for the ordinary office worker like me.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way, so together with my fellow carnevores, I hied over to Vittorio’s.

I initially found the place a bit dark and hot at first (the aircon took some time to kick in) but the food made up for it. By splitting an order of ribeye steak with a friend, I was able to sample one of Vittorio’s celebrated offerings. It came with steak rice which complemented the steak very well.

Others in the group also enjoyed their orders of hainanese chicken and rice, buffalo wings, seafood pasta and pork ribs. With my share at over Php700, though, the meal was very very pricey.

I might return to Vittorio’s sometime, but I will recruit fellow steak lovers to share the meal (and split the bill) with.

Vittorio’s Steak House is located at 32 Scout Borromeo Street, South Triangle, Tomas Morato, QC. Parking spaces are limited so you might find it more convenient if you walk or take a cab going here.

Vittorio's Steak House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Want tips on how to cook mouth-watering steaks at home? Check out these books at Amazon.com.


The Cook’s Illustrated Meat Book: The Game-Changing Guide That Teaches You How to Cook Meat and Poultry with 425 Bulletproof Recipes


The Book of Steak


Steak a Fork in It: Mouthwatering Steak Recipes for the Carnivore in All of Us

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What Pinoys can learn from Tiny House Nation

The tiny house movement has been around for some time, particularly in the US. In the aftermath of the 2007-2008 financial crisis, more American families found the idea of living in smaller spaces (500 square feet or less) appealing as it provides them with more affordable and environment-friendly housing.

The movement has generated considerable media coverage including the TV series Tiny House Nation, hosted by handyman John Weisbarth and contractor Zack Giffin. In each episode, Weisbarth walks families through the process of downsizing and culling their possessions in preparation for the move to a much smaller living space while Giffin puts his carpentry skills to work by overseeing the build and constructing nifty space-saving yet aesthetically pleasing solutions to address the family’s concerns about tiny house living.

The movement is not so prevalent here in the Philippines, probably because tiny house living is already the norm with houses typically measuring under 500 square feet. Still, many of the principles espoused by Weisbarth and Giffin should guide Filipino families in building, designing or maintaining their homes:

  • You don’t really need all that stuff, do you? This might be news to many Pinoys with the pack rat mentality, but the accumulation of so much possessions is no longer a sign of prosperity. In fact, many converts to the tiny house movement mention how they feel weighed down, even enslaved by their possessions. Living in a tiny space forced them to pare down their belongings to the bare minimum, leaving behind items with the most functional and sentimental value.
  • If you can make something serve more than one purpose, all the better. Maximizing the limited space often means assigning more than one function to key items. A tiered book shelf can sometimes double as steps going to an upper floor or a storage cabinet can convert to a dining table. You are limited only by your imagination.
  • Your house should support your life, not the other way around. Many young families are beginning to put more value on having great experiences rather amassing many possessions. A pared-down lifestyle frees up resources and time that would have otherwise gone to home payments or maintenance but can now be expended for travel or the pursuit of other interests. Living in a small space also puts family members in closer proximity with each other, affording them with more opportunities to interact and bond.

Tiny House Nation airs on FYI (SKYcable ch 200 HD | 79 SD). Catch up episodes are also available on SKY On Demand.

Why we should donate blood

I joined the Red Cross Youth org in my university during my college years. While I handled several projects for the org, I never got around to donating blood. At the time, I was afraid of the needles used, the sight of blood or the medical team sometimes had trouble locating the blood vessel in my arm optimal for blood extraction.

I started donating blood a few years ago. The employees’ union at my office had a bloodletting activity and, as a show of support and with some friendly competition among my coworkers, I joined those donating blood. It was fairly painless plus the union officers even gave me a mug and a shirt as a souvenir.

Since then, health and schedule permitting, I have tried to regularly donate blood at a nearby hospital. I even brought my husband with me once and we made the experience into a bonding activity. On my next donation this December, I plan to bring my eldest daughter so I can instill the habit in her as well.

My reason for donating blood is that it’s one of the easiest ways I can contribute to someone’s life. One pint of blood can be broken down into three components – red blood cells, plasma and platelets – thereby possibly saving up to three lives.

And don’t worry about your donation going to waste.  There’s actually a lot of demand for donated blood.  Yours may even reach the farthest areas in the country, and may help save lives in far-flung provinces.

Given the demands on my time and resources, I can’t contribute much to charity or volunteer at my chosen causes. Giving blood, however, simply involves a trip to the hospital and a few minutes at the blood bank, or some time away from my desk during the office’s blood donation drive.

Blood donation also affords me several health benefits:

  • A free mini-physical that checks my pulse and blood pressure as well as a free blood analysis that checks for the presence of infectious diseases.
  • Prevents hemachromatosis, a health condition brought about by too much iron in the blood. By maintaining healthy iron levels in the blood, the risk of certain cancers, liver and heart ailments are also minimized.
  • It helps in weight loss. Every donation burns around 650 calories, which to me is the equivalent to three hours at the treadmill.
  • It also stimulates production of new blood cells further contributing to the maintenance of good health.

To be eligible to donate, I needed to be the following:

  • In good health.  You should be feeling well at the time of donation.
  • Between 16 to 65 years of age.  If below 18, you will need your parent’s consent to be able to donate.
  • Weighing at least 110 pounds.
  • Having a normal blood pressure, between 90 and 160 mmHg (systolic), 60 and 100 mmHg (diastolic)
  • Able to pass the physical and health history assessments that will be conducted immediately before the donation.

After the procedure, I was given refreshments (usually a snack and a juice box which I should consume before leaving the donor area), and these reminders:

  • Rest and remain in the area for 15 minutes.
  • Increase fluid intake for the next 24 hours.
  • No smoking within the next 3 hours and no alcoholic beverages for the next 24 hours.
  • No strong pressure or heavy lifting on the donating arm for the next 24 hours to avoid bruising.
  • No strenuous activity or hazardous work for the next few hours.

Blood donation is a way for me to give of myself. It is my gift of life to whoever has the urgent need for it.

If you want to donate blood, check out the Red Cross website for more information.