Ramen for a Rainy Day at Ramen Kuroda, SM Marikina

The recent bouts of heavy rain and colder weather gave rise to a craving for a bowl of hot, steaming and hearty ramen.  There really is something about slurping on some thick hot broth that drives the rainy day blues away.

During a recent back-to-school shopping trip at SM City Marikina, the fam joined me in giving in to my ramen craving when we decided to have lunch at the newly opened branch of Ramen Kuroda.

The place seems to be a hit as there was a line of people waiting to get in.  To help facilitate faster service, the hostess already facilitated the orders of the waiting patrons so that waiting will be minimal once the diners are seated in the dining area.

This restaurant’s mantra is to “make Real Ramen part of your everyday.”  This is central to its promise to its customers to provide:

  • carefully selected ingredients such as home-made noodles, soup and seasoned garlic oil that provide their distinctive flavor
  • speedy service to satisfy busy people
  • ramen that is affordable enough that you can enjoy it everyday
  • culinary supervision by an expert ramen chef
  • Japanese-quality ramen made accessible to more Filipinos

For the family’s lunch, we ordered:

  •  Ramen Chahan sets that already include ramen, rice and fruits such as:
    • Katsudon (Php380) with Aka Ramen. As Hubby likes spicy food, he ordered the ramen with a spicy bent.
    • Gyoza (Php320) with Shiro Ramen. I ended up splitting the gyoza with my daughter and giving my rice to my son as the ramen was hearty and filling enough, albeit a little bit too garlicky.
    • Karaage (Php360) with Shiro Ramen.  My daughter found the chicken pieces a bit small but she was able to get her fill of the ramen.
  • Tonkatsu (Php240) plus Rice (Php40) for my son.

A post shared by Jellybeans in the City (@beingjellybeans) on We found the meal as a whole filling and affordably priced, and the service staff friendly and accommodating, though a bit overwhelmed at the influx of diners.

Still, we found the resto’s mantra to have its fair share of overpromising. The resto would do well to settle on one or two propositions (such as affordability and fresh ingredients) and build from those, rather than have such lofty goals and be found lacking in some of them.

This branch is located at Ground Floor, SM City Marikina, Marcos Highway, Calumpang, Marikina City. For reservations and other queries, call + 63 2 7772839.

Other branches of Ramen Kuroda are located at:

  • SM FAIRVIEW: Annex 2 Lower Ground Floor Quirino Highway Cor.Regalado Avenue Quezon City
  • TV5: LaunchPad Reliance Corner Sherdian St. Mandaluyong City (Tel: + 63 2 6370220)
  • SM MANILA: 2/F SM Manila Conception Street Corner Arroceros and San Marcelino Streets, Manila (Tel: + 63 2 2438665)
  • CYBER & FASHION MALL EASTWOOD: 3/F Cyber and Fashion Mall Eastwood City Bagumbayan, Quezon City (Tel: + 63 2 5343414)
  • MEZZA RESIDENCES STA MESA: G/F The Strip at Mezza, Aurora Blvd. Araneta Avenue Quezon City (Tel: + 63 2 2417449)
  • VENICE GRAND CANAL MALL: 2/F Venice Grand Canal Mall, McKinley Hill, Upper McKinley Road Taguig City (Tel: + 63 2 5521170)
  • LUCKY CHINA TOWN MALL: 3/F Lucky China Town Mall, Reina Regente corner Dela Reina Streets, Binondo, Manila (Tel: + 63 2 2418157)
  • ASEANA II: Ground Floor Aseana II BRADCO Avenue Aseana City Paranaque City (Tel: + 63 2 8326246)
  • RCBC PLAZA MAKATI: 3/F RCBC PLAZA 6819 Ayala Avenue Makati (Tel: + 63 2 8326216)
  • BF HOMES: #96 Aguirre Avenue, Phase 2 BF Homes Paranaque City (Tel: + 63 2 5536824)

Ramen Kuroda Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Learn more about Japanese cuisine by checking out these books from Amazon.com!

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The Legend of Sheba – Rise of a Queen by Tosca Lee

The Bible mentions a foreign queen who journeys to Solomon’s court to test him and exchange lavish gifts. In legend, she took home more than just gifts and trade agreements: she took home a baby, a child with Solomon, from whom the line of Ethiopian kings that extends to the 20th century would trace their lineage.

In The Legend of Sheba – Rise of a Queen, Tosca Lee does a great job in sifting through packets of Biblical verse and ancient lore to come up with an exquisite retelling.

Her Queen of Sheba – Bilquis also known as Makeda – was blessed and burdened with beauty. The death of her mother plunged her into suffering before taking her destiny as queen of her father’s kingdom, at great cost to her heart.

Her refusal to wed echoes a similar scene in the movie Elizabeth (starring Cate Blanchett) which illustrate the challenges faced by powerful women in a man’s world.

Her relationship with Solomon develops over distance and the course of several years. It is important to note that they met and parleyed with each other as equals. She is a queen in her own right, not a treaty wife or a consort. Despite their developing love for each other, they had to separate due to her obligations to her own kingdom and the intrigues within Solomon’s harem.

I find Bilquis very intriguing: she is haunted by her past but bravely forges on for the good of her kingdom.

I recommend The Legend of Sheba – Rise of a Queen to people who, like me, wonder about side characters in lore and history, and want to see their perspective.

Click here to buy this book on Amazon.com.  Its prequel titled Ismeni: An eShort Prelude to The Legend of Sheba is also available as a free e-book.

Other works of Tosca Lee include:

Check out my reviews of other Biblical fiction:

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Esther – Royal Beauty by Angela Hunt

Angela Hunt’s Dangerous Beauty series begins with Esther: Royal Beauty. It is the fourth fictional account on the biblical Queen Esther that I have read. The narrative is told from two perspectives: that of Harbonah, one of the eunuchs who served the king of Persia; and that of Hadassah, later called Esther, the beautiful Jewish orphan with a world-changing destiny.

I can’t help but compare this book to another book on Esther: Roseanna M. White’s Jewel of Persia:

  1. Both books portray Esther as growing in maturity and queenly grace. In Esther: Dangerous Beauty, however, Esther is shown to be more shallow, concerned with nice clothes and dreaming of marrying the handsome Persian brother of her friend. She found her way into the Persian royal harem when she was abducted from her Jewish fiance by slave traders seeking to profit from the search for a new queen. Guided by her devout foster father, Mordecai, and the eunuchs she befriended, she wins the heart of the king for a time.
  2. Similar to Jewel of Persia, Queen Vashti is shown to be callous and ruthless woman, capable of unspeakable crimes to achieve her ends.
  3. King Xerxes, unnamed in this novel, is enigmatic. He rarely speaks and, being the sun around which the other characters revolve, his actions are given commentary by Esther and Harbona, and interpreted through their understanding. For me, his character is not fully fleshed out; even his involvement in the infamous affair with his son’s wife was told similar to a shady rumor, not provided with enough motivation.

Esther: Royal Beauty combines the biblical stories with historical accounts (as recorded by Herodotus), and is a good book with which to pass the time. However, I would have liked the King of Kings to be more real.

Click here to buy Esther: Royal Beauty on Amazon.com.

Other books in Angela Hunt’s Dangerous Beauty Series are:

Check out my posts on other Biblical fiction:

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Amy Adams stars in new HBO limited series Sharp Objects premiering July 9

Five-time Academy Award-nominee Amy Adams (“Arrival,” “Nocturnal Animals“) stars in the new TV series Sharp Objects, set to premiere on HBO at 9am on Monday, July 9, taking up the slot left vacant by Westworld.

The eight-episode series is based on the novel of the same name, with Adams playing reporter Camille Preaker who comes back to her hometown to cover the murder of one preteen girl and the abduction of another. Trying to put together a psychological puzzle from her past, she finds herself identifying with the young victims a bit too closely.

Sharp Objects is the first novel of now renowned author Gillian Flynn(“Gone Girl,” “Dark Places“), who also wrote some of the series’ episodes.  She shared “I wrote it nights and weekends and holidays with no real belief it would ever be published, because I felt like I had to bring this girl to life, so it holds a sacred place with me. It’s a strange and thrilling thing, bringing text to screen, allowing it to become a new thing while honoring readers’ interpretations too — it’s fun and a bit scary.

“This was my first novel, yet the last to reach screen — 12 long and often disappointing years. But then Amy came along, and I thought, ‘Oh, that was it! Camille was waiting for Amy to play her.’ And that’s not lofty, writer talk. I really believe Camille needed Amy.”

Emmy, DGA and PGA award-winning director Jean-Marc Vallée (HBO’s “Big Little Lies”; “Dallas Buyers Club,” “Wild”) who helmed the project relays that he was quite taken in by the character Camille saying “I was falling for this character. Never met, never seen, nor heard anyone like this before.

“I was fascinated by her obsession with words, the way she uses them to define herself, to heal and to harm, and her way of describing the world, her way of talking about herself, her wounds and imperfections. What a unique voice, so raw, so dark, and yet so honest and vulnerable. That is Camille Preaker’s beauty, and Amy Adams.’ I feel grateful and fortunate to have witnessed the spectacular work of an actress who dared to play in the dark, with no safety net.”

The series’ cast of characters are:

Camille Preaker (Amy Adams), a St. Louis newspaper reporter sent on assignment to Wind Gap, her quaint Missouri hometown, to cover the gruesome murder of one preteen girl and the disappearance of another.

Adora Crellin (Patricia Clarkson – the “Maze Runner” series, HBO’s “Six Feet Under“), Camille’s mother and queen of Wind Gap’s high society, who has her serene, picture-perfect life threatened by the unexpected return of her estranged daughter.

Richard Willis (Chris Messina – “The Mindy Project,” HBO’s “The Newsrooom“), a detective brought in from Kansas City to support Wind Gap’s sheriff in the search for the killer of a young girl. He joins forces with Camille to try to solve the mystery.

Amma (Eliza Scanlen – “Home and Away”), Camille’s 15-year-old half-sister, living a double life as a restrained and girlish daughter at home with her parents, and as a brash, impetuous teenager when out with friends.

Jackie (Elizabeth Perkins – “This Is Us,” HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm“), the local gossip and renowned alcoholic. Trashy, fun and larger than life, she knows she’s a “backwoods Barbie” and has a sense of humour about it.

Vickery (Matt Craven – “X-Men,” “Justified“), the frustrated small-town police chief, trying to preserve the reputation of Wind Gap by keeping a lid on the possibility that a serial killer might live among them.

John Keene (Taylor John Smith – “Cruel Intentions,” “American Crime“), moody and sombre since the murder of his 13-year-old sister. His sensitive, temperamental nature raises eyebrows and makes him a prime suspect in the murder investigation.

Meredith (Madison Davenport – “From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series“), the confident and supportive girlfriend of murder suspect John Keene.

Bob Nash (Will Chase – HBO’s “The Deuce“), the hot-tempered father of Ann Nash, Wind Gap’s first murder victim.

Alan Crellin (Henry Czerny – “Quantico,” “When We Rise“), Adora’s attentive, mild-mannered husband, who dotes on her.

Curry (Miguel Sandoval – “Station 19,” “Medium“), Camille’s caring and supportive newspaper editor, who sends her on assignment to her home town.

Young Camille (Sophia Lillis – “It“), a 14-year-old tomboy who is devoted to her younger sister, Marian.

Episodes airing in July include:

Episode #1: “Vanish”

Premieres Monday, July 9 at 9am

Camille Preaker (Amy Adams), a reporter for the St. Louis Chronicle, is sent to her rural hometown of Wind Gap by her editor, Curry (Miguel Sandoval), to file a story about two missing girls, one of whom was found dead and presumed murdered. The assignment, which reunites Camille with her overbearing mother, Adora (Patricia Clarkson), stepfather, Alan Crellin (Henry Czerny), and half-sister, Amma (Eliza Scanlen), brings back traumatic childhood memories, including the death of Camille’s younger sister, Marian (Lulu Wilson), when both were schoolgirls. Tormented by her past and seeking refuge through alcohol, Camille joins Detective Richard Willis (Chris Messina) and Chief of Police Vickery (Matt Craven) in following leads around town that might shed light on the fate of the most recent missing girl.

Episode #2: “Dirt”

Premieres Monday, July 16 at 9am

Camille (Amy Adams) searches for clues at the funeral and wake for Wind Gap’s latest victim, and clashes with her mother (Patricia Clarkson) over Camille’s presence in the town. Richard (Chris Messina) finds a surprising way to arrive at a conclusion about the murderer’s profile. Camille pays a visit to the working-class home of a young boy (Matty Evers) who says he witnessed the abduction, and confronts Chief Vickery (Matt Craven) about why he ignored the boy’s claim.

Episode #3: “Fix”

Premieres Monday, July 23 at 9am

Camille (Amy Adams) relives a recent tragedy as she struggles to piece together the murders in Wind Gap. Richard (Chris Messina) grows frustrated with Chief Vickery’s (Matt Craven) assumptions regarding potential suspects. A defiant Amma (Eliza Scanlen) shows off her wild side to Camille, while Adora (Patricia Clarkson) admonishes Camille for meddling in the investigation and a town in mourning.

Episode #4: “Ripe”

Premieres Monday, July 30 at 9am

Camille (Amy Adams) agrees to show Richard (Chris Messina) some of Wind Gap’s crime scenes, though the tour opens up old wounds.  Alan (Henry Czerny) confronts Adora (Patricia Clarkson) about her sharing confidences with Chief Vickery (Matt Craven), who is concerned about the Crellins hosting the annual “Calhoun Day” attended by Wind Gap’s youth. Fired from his job at Preaker Farms, John (Taylor John Smith) shares off-the-record revelations with Camille that raise fresh concerns for her.

New Sharp Objects episodes will air Mondays on HBO (SKYcable ch 54 SD and 168 HD in Metro Manila) at 9am with same day primetime encore at 10pm.  New episodes will also be available for streaming within the same day on HBO Go, HBO’s online streaming service exclusively available in the Philippines to SKY subscribers.

HBO Go not available in your area? Watch Sharp Objects on HBO on Amazon Prime.  Sign up for a free 7-day trial.

Series and episode details provided by HBO in a recent press release.

Disclosure: I work for SKY and part of my job is promoting its products and services, especially the content it provides to its subscribers. I consider being able to share my love for TV shows and movies and the experience of watching and talking about them with like-minded people some of the biggest perks of my job.

Check out my other posts on HBO shows adapted from novels:

You can also purchase the novel that the series is based on, Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects, at Amazon.com.

Love books and reading? Try Kindle Unlimited on Amazon. Get your first month FREE.

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Jewel of Persia by Roseanna M. White

Roseanna M. White’s Jewel of Persia sheds light on the hidden life of one of the Bible’s most enigmatic women: Queen Esther. Unlike most books about the events that make up the origins of the Jewish holiday Purim which focused solely on Esther and her journey from Jewish orphan to Queen of Persia, Jewel of Persia, ties Esther’s life with that of her childhood friend Kasia. Also, the competition to be Xerxes’ queen is not portrayed as a series of abductions with girls taken unwillingly into the harem. Rather, it was a contract willingly entered into by the potential brides.

I find Jewel of Persia quite gripping, particular when you consider that:
1. Esther was not portrayed as the love of Xerxes’ life. Rather, it was Kasia whose chance encounter with the king sealed her fate to become his most-loved concubine. Kasia’s love for the king was big enough to forgive his many failings as a ruler and as a man, and even to welcome Esther to the harem and help her fulfill her own destiny.

2. Kasia and Esther’s faith is central to the story. It sustains them through the many trials: such as the trials Kasia faced as an outsider in the harem and Esther’s heartbreak over a childhood love. Their personal relationship with God is contrasted heavily against the religion practiced by her enemies.

3. The book also has lighter moments. A running gag is of Xerxes (as in the Bible) offering cities up to half his kingdom at different instances to the people he favors but being met with requests for something else. By the third time this happens, he wonders why no one seems to want his cities.

Jewel of Persia is a compelling sample of biblical fiction.  Check it out on Amazon.com.

Roseanna M. White’s other biblical fiction works include:

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Check out my other blog posts on my favorite books:

Westworld Season 2 ends with a 90-minute episode on June 25

After leaving its viewers reeling with the events of its penultimate episode “Vanishing Point” last Monday, Westworld Season 2 will conclude on June 25, 9am with its longest episode, “The Passenger.”  Clocking in at an hour and 30 minutes, the episode promises to lay questions and conspiracy theories regarding the show to rest as well as give rise to new ones.

  • Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) has emerged from being Season 1’s sweet damsel in distress to being Season 2’s big bad.  As she nears her goal of reaching “The Valley Beyond,” will she also succeed in avenging herself and her fellow hosts against humanity?
  • William aka The Man in Black (Ed Harris) seemed to be on a redemptive arc for a while but his prolonged stay in the park has messed with his mind that he kills his daughter after suspecting she is a host.  How will he move on after causing the deaths of both his wife and daughter?
  • Maeve (Thandie Newton), revealed to be Robert Ford’s (Anthony Hopkins) favorite among the hosts, unknowingly rebelled against his plan to allow her to escape the park and now is badly injured and held captive in headquarters.  With the transfer of Ford’s consciousness into her, will she escape her confines and deal with Dolores?

Winner of five 2017 Primetime Emmy® Awards and nominated for a total of 22 Emmys®, Westworld is a sophisticated, highly imaginative drama series that elevates the concept of adventure and thrill-seeking to a new and ultimately dangerous level. In the futuristic fantasy park known as Westworld, a group of android “hosts” deviate from their programmers’ carefully planned scripts in a disturbing pattern of aberrant behavior that culminates in a violent wholesale rebellion by the end of Season 1.

In Season 2, the fruits of that uprising, and a series of questions about many of the hosts and humans who co-exist and clash in Westworld and beyond, will be revealed. With returning cast members including Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, Ed Harris, Jeffrey Wright and James Marsden, Westworld was inspired by the 1973 motion picture written and directed by Michael Crichton (Jurassic Park), and was created for television by Executive Producers, Jonathan Nolan (Interstellar, The Dark Knight) and Lisa Joy (Pushing Daisies, Burn Notice). Season 2’s Executive Producers also include J.J. Abrams, Roberto Patino, AthenaWickham, Richard J. Lewis, and Ben Stephenson.

This episode will air on HBO (SKYcable ch 54 SD and 168 HD in Mega Manila) at 9am with a same-day encore at 10pm.  It will also be available for streaming within the same day on HBO Go, HBO’s online streaming service exclusively available in the Philippines to SKY subscribers.

HBO Go not available in your area?  Watch Season 1 and Season 2 on HBO on Amazon Prime.

Not yet on Amazon Prime?  Start your free trial today!

Check out my other posts on Westworld:

Unli Samgyeopsal at Korean Palace, Baguio

Similar to the phenomenon in Manila, Korean restaurants have sprouted across Baguio City, spurred no doubt by the growing appreciation for the gastronomic pleasures brought by Korean cuisine.

On our second night in the City of Pines, the fam braved the cold and drizzles and made the drive to this Korean restaurant which is quite near the apartelle where we were staying.

The resto has grown considerably since our last visit three years ago. The eating area and the parking space have been expanded. Still the place was already quite packed with the dinner crowd by the time we made our way there at 6pm.

At Php399/head, our group was able to eat out fill of samgyeopsal (grilled pork belly), woosamgyup (thin beef brisket slices), pajeon (vegetable pancakes) and all sorts of side dishes. (We did have to do our own grilling, though.)

The staff were polite and accommodating but due to the sheer volume of diners, refill requests did take some time.

By the way, if you ever had that desire to have that photo opp while dressed up in traditional Korean, this place can accommodate you. You can borrow the costumes on display for picture taking purposes.

Korean Palace is located at No 38 South Drive, Baguio City. For inquiries, call + 63 74 4467557.

For tips on surviving an eat-all-you-can setup, view my blog post here.

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

Want to try some recipes today? There’s no need to leave home to shop for ingredients.  With Honestbee, just order your groceries online and you’ll get them delivered right at your doorstep at your preferred time. Use this referral link and get Php500 off for a minimum spend of Php2,500.  You can download the Honestbee app on iTunes or Google Play.

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