Monday, January 14, 2013

Galette de Roi for Three Kings

Hubby is very much sentimental and traditional. We always have a gateau de roi or galette de roi for the 3 Kings celebration. It's called King Cake in English. The ones in France were superb! Plus the fun that comes with it... golden crown and the little hidden porcelain statue inside the galette! While we are here in KL, so far we have been ordering it from The Bakery at Hartamas. This year we had a new choice and bought from Yeast.

Conclusion: yummy and really flaky. However I find a bit too oily, and hubby suspect it is bec of the weather in Malaysia. Humidity and heat is making the oils come out as opposed to the cool weather in France.

Still happy we have a new choice in town. If you know anywhere else to buy do let me know! Will try it next year!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Yeast Boulangerie Second Visit

After the initial visit which didn't give a lasting impression, I decided to try out Yeast Boulangerie again. This time on a warm Saturday afternoon and in the new year 2013.

The place was buzzing with people- both employees and customers. I saw the chef they recently imported from France (her 2nd day I was told). She was interacting with other cooking staff, maybe doing some test runs.

We took the high tea set which came with different kind of pastries like savory and sweet ones plus some tarts. For the price, it was quite reasonable. It doesn't come with drinks though, so we ordered tea and coffee. Coffee was okay, much better and improved than my last breakfast visit. This time it had coffee taste instead of milky. Their tea on the other hand was superb and we loved the chamomile tea they served.

My daughter ordered the pavé nutella, a bit like pain Au chocolat but with Nutella inside. She loved it!

Overall I'm happy to say that the second visit was better. The owner (who initially looked not-too-friendly in my past visit) was even smiling and had a short chat with us. I also booked a galette de roi which I plan to pick up tomorrow.

The Filipino staff are friendly and the place is gaining momentum. Yet to try their dinner menu, for sure one of these days will be date night with hubby to test it out.

Meanwhile, check it out for yourself and let me know how your experience was. Bon appétit !!!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Thai Odyssey One Mont Kiara review

After hubby's tiring business trip, we decided to go for some relaxation at Thai Odyssey at One Mont Kiara. Turned out to be a so-so experience and I was so disappointed that I had to write this post before I go to bed.

Maybe it's having too high expectations? Or was it because of my unfair comparison to Manila's better service and price? Or simply they are not as good as what I remember?

We opted for 60-mins for massage and 30-minutes back massage.

What happened?

- we arrived at 8pm. We had to sit and wait until 830pm before anything go started
- over the phone, prior to going there, they told me to go 815pm which I assumed that is the time we can start
- hubby started a timer on his iPhone, and true enough they finished massaging 10 mins before we hit 90 mins
- price is much higher than Manila :(
- the stick that they used to massage the foot was painful and hubby especially didn't enjoy it
- oil they used was too minty and wet. Wet towels as well to wrap the feet, I would have preferred some new dry ones, especially as I was freezing already in their Aircon room
- they don't speak English (Thai masseuse)
- my therapist was obviously less knowledgable and was doing some shortcuts as I compared my massage to hubby's since we were side by side... Mine was in a hurry.. Perhaps bec it was Friday night and we were the last customers!
- prices they advertise on their flyers and website does not include taxes yet FYI!

Would we ever go back? I don't think so. I would rather pay higher prices elsewhere as long as the massage is good and they deliver real relaxation at the proper timing. Read another blog the girl went to the same branch last Nov and they also went under time with the massage! Her blog can be found here

What a disappointing experience! Thank God I didn't buy their silly packages. Rm 239 wasted!
Perhaps other branches may be delivering better service. Just don't get ripped of at Mont Kiara.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Manila Prices Vs Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

I grew up in Manila thinking that things are quite okay in terms of pricing. Over time I realized that things are not what I thought it to be. In fact, after 6 years in Kuala Lumpur, I started to appreciate all the lower prices that one could find here.

Having gone back to Manila for Christmas just last December 2012, I noticed some price difference in many things. Some examples:

- one of my favorite pasta brand is Barilla and I was ecstatic when I found it in Manila so I could cook some pasta dish I usually cook in KL. I bought a box of Barilla Spagetti no. 3 at Santi's in Fort Bonifacio Hight Street and it cost Php95 for one box. When I went to Metro Mart at Market Market I found exact same one at Php85. Here in KL, the price is Rm4.99 which turns out around Php67 only!

- we bough a Cotton On shorts for guys at Bonifacio High Street. After seeing the Rm pricing versus Peso pricing, there was close to 20percent price differential

- I shopped at Gap kids in KL before flying to Manila on dec 18. I was able to buy at 50% discount already at Gap Kids KL plus if you buy 5 items I got additional 20% on top of the sale price... I was happy! I arrived in Manila and saw there was nO big sale (at that time just a flimsy 20% off on knits). After Xmas, Gap went on sale but still could not beat the KL sale.

- before we left for Christmas, hubby bought a Hello Kitty castle toy for my daughter which cost rm159 at Jusco. There was a 10% discount plus rm10 voucher during the promotion period. When I got to Manila I saw it at Toy Kingdom selling for more than PHP3,000++ and that is about rm220++!

The only thing that Manila beat prices of KL were on services. I went to the hair salon, nail salon and massage... All prices were much lower than in Kuala Lumpur. And of course who could forget the genuine smiles and happy service of the Filipinos?

I guess you can't win them all!

New Year Resolutions

It is always hard to keep a promise. Though, I am proud to say I was able to keep one very well. Last year 2012, my new year's resolution was just one main thing: I would stay away from BUBBLE TEA. Yes, those yummy, creamy and sweet bubble tea that was all the rage. I was so hooked to them, yet after every drink I would feel so bad. Unsure if it was because of the calories, the fats or the sugar in them... I just felt bad afterwards. So at the start of last year, I swore off these Bubble Tea stuff. It was H-A-R-D to do it. Especially whenever I walk across Gong Cha at the Gardens Mall. A month became two, then three... until 2012 passed. I am so happy and proud of that achievement. And perhaps it was one of the things that helped me maintain my weight.

I am still finalizing this year's resolution though I did have some random thoughts : like radically lowering rice consumption and eating much more veggies. Hubby and I would often have a discussion about vegetarians and he does not believe we will one day turn into one. I don't aim to, honestly. I just want to be much more conscious about our meat intake. We occasionally still enjoy our meat stuff, though now it is not as frequent as before.

One of the things I have done since the start of 2013 (we arrived in Kuala Lumpur on Jan 1 after our Manila Xmas escapade) is to make fresh veggie-fruit juice. We often cannot chow down a lot of fresh veggies and the easiest way to enjoy those vitamins and pack more of it in the tummy is to juice them.

Bought the new Philips Juicer (which had the Smoothie function) at Jusco and it has been put to a lot of good use.  We would blend fruits and veggies together and the mixture tastes good. A glass a day will help with the digestion and food processing (this was the good effect for me)!

What would we put into the mix? Half a cucumber, a small chunk of bitter gourd, one green apple, a stalk of celery, half a lemon (including the skin; just ensure you remove the small seeds), and sometimes I would add some malunggay (Moringa). Moringa has a lot of health benefits and you would probably have heard of it if you were from the Philippines as they claim it can prevent and cure many things. My mom has personally taken Moringa every day for the past 3 years and many people have commented about her radiant skin and how it helped her "preserve" her youth much better than others.

Anyway, whatever your new year's resolution is ... what is important is you TRY your best to do something new and good for yourself... and stick to it. Don't lose hope and maybe it will help if you have a buddy to remind you about that resolution of yours. Best of luck in 2013!

Seda Hotel Fort Bonifacio Manila Review

Christmas this year was spent in Manila with my folks. After being away for 6 years, this is our moment to go back and relish the Christmas celebrations in the Philippines. One of the reasons why I wanted to go back was for the Christmas food like noche buena celebration, the traditional bibingka and puto bumbong. A separate entry perhaps will be done for that. Meantime, I wanted to share this new hotel at the heart of Fort Bonifacio.

We were lucky to find this boutique hotel, simply because they opened the week before Christmas. We were probably one of their first few customers. And the beauty of its location is it is right across my sister's condominium called One Serendra.

The whole purpose of our stay there was to get close to my sister and her kids... so that my little one can spend more time playing with them. Apart from that, hubby and I also enjoyed the taste of "Fort Boni" living with our 2 nights' stay at their hotel.

It was not fully functional yet (in my humble opinion) because of the little details: the roof deck bar is not yet opened, they didn't have the suite available because many rooms were still under renovation, the breakfast buffet showcased confused waiters and cooks as well as the ugliest tissue amongst the beautiful setting and branded utensils; even the folks behind the lobby desk were still a bit confused as I ordered an extra bed which was almost 50% of the cost of the room and they told me breakfast was not included! All the hotels I have encountered were charging high for extra beds but they would include the buffet breakfast. After speaking to them, they decided to give me the breakfast with the rates... I guess they are still figuring out their final rules and regulations. I don't blame them as they were probably on soft opening (though they didn't specifically mention that they are).

The room was modern and spacious. I would not rate the materials and execution as 5 star, but I would generously say it is boutique quality and a very wise choice if one needs to be at Fort Bonifacio.

The total of 2 nights' stay plus the extra bed for 2 nights totaled to PHP 12,000. Not a bad price for a good location hotel. Perhaps their rates will go higher next time when they are fully operational. 

Enjoyed jogging around Fort with hubby. We also tried the Jamba juice after one of our afternoon walks. Very convenient access to all the Serendra and Fort establishments. The swimming pool was tiny so we ended up swimming at Serendra. I wouldn't rave about the pool. Not sure about the gym as I didn't have time to check it out. We booked the hotel directly with them as I walked across from my sister's place.
Room Interior

Comfy bed

Stationary and a complete set of power point plugs

Comfy Bed; Behind you will see the bathroom


Happy that they have non-smoking rooms

Sleek finish: simple


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