The Delicious Essence!

A good online friend started exploring his “healthier” side by going vegan. Yup, everybody seems to be going vegan nowadays. I also have a college friend who’s a vegetarian. No beef, no chicken, no fish… just the thought of it sends chills up my spine. Veggies and fruits are all well and good but a life without meat is just…


Aaaanyway, lately, I’ve been developing my fifth taste.

You might say…

“Fifth taste? You’re talking crazy Jigs! There’s only four types of tastes! Sweet, Salty, Sour and Bitter! You’re stupid! I’ll never read your blog again!”

But wait, there IS a fifth taste. You do have the basic Bitter, Sweet, Salty and Sour, and the fifth is UMAMI. There isn’t really an English word for it, but essentially, UMAMI is the savory taste found naturally in meat, poultry, seafood and some vegetables. The UMAMI taste itself is subtle. Most people wouldn’t even recognize it. It Enhances the taste of other flavours and brings everything together. It’s amazing, believe me, when you can recognize and manipulate UMAMI. It’s like UMAMI is the soul of a dish.

UMAMI isn’t just in the taste. It is a combination of taste, smell, color, temperature and appearance. But let’s set the record straight, UMAMI is not MSG. MSG has been touted as a flavor enhancer which is kinda what UMAMI is. However, UMAMI is the natural occurrence of the delicious essence found in foodstuffs (meat, cheese, tomatoes and mushrooms to name a few), which is far better than its synthetic counterpart. I have never used MSG as an ingredient and never will. MSG is the quick and cheap way to attain that savory flavor.

Enough about that…

UMAMI is something that is not unfamiliar to us. I bet, after reading this short article, you will start recognizing what UMAMI is, and what it tastes like. It is an integral part of the whole dining experience. So, I try my best to maximize the UMAMI of any dish I make. Let me say though, UMAMI is something Vegans can appreciate too. Just a bite of a ripe tomato and you can taste UMAMI.

This is basically my Meatyball Surprise dish. What’s the surprise? UMAMI! LoL! Not really! You just have taste it for yourself! Oh wait, you can't! Hehe! Anyhoo, I have two reasons why I’m showing you this dish. One, it's because it has a great UMAMI taste thanks to the beef, the tomatoes and the parmesan cheese which makes this meal amazing! And two…

It's just to show all those VEGANERDS what they’re missing! Mwahahaha!

P.S. VEGANERDS are “non-practicing vegans”- people who are vegans just because they want to be cool!

For more information about VEGANERDS and those “non-practicing vegans” ask PAOLO.

Advertising: The Life of Trade*

Other than my Cooking, Photography, and Movies, I am also quite fond of Advertising. Being a Business Management student, I recognize the significance (or insignificance) of marketing in any industry. It takes a lot of creativity, expertise and instinct in creating a good and persuasive ad.

Marketing takes up a good percentage on the budget of the whole management process. Marketing answers how the product should look, how much should it cost, where to sell it and how do you advertise the product.

Advertising has been questioned in the past for spending so much of a company’s limited funds with no guarantee of a return on the investment. In spite of this, companies spend millions to make sure that their product is “out there.” Great advertisements are memorable, effective and of course, persuasive.

Right off the top of our heads, we could think of great companies who continuously create entertaining ads like Pepsi, HP, Nike, Sony, and Apple. Do you remember Sony Bravia’s mesmerizing and colorful commercials? How about Pepsi and their endorsers? And who could forget the recent hit of Apple’s “I’m a Mac and I’m a PC” ad campaign?
This is an ad campaign against child slavery. They placed life sized images of chained children on revolving doors.

Viral Ad campaigns create great effect with minimal effort. Do you remember Dove’s Ad Campaign Evolution? A great form of promotion which conjures emotion from their customers. and contains a deeper message. Other memorable video ads are Budweiser’s croaking frogs, and the Energizer Bunny (the first ad that stuck in my head).

On to my favorites: Print Ads! Instant impact is what print ads aim for. Unlike TV commercials – which are repeated constantly on different shows on different channels – a print ad has to grab your attention in just one glimpse in order for the customer to see their product. The ad has to be witty, simple, and attractive. Fascinating isn’t it? You can just imagine all the creative ways companies and ad agencies have already thought of in order to get you to buy a product.

A great ad from Sony for their Micro Vault Tiny

Lately, Ambient Ads are the in thing for advertisements. Placing ads around a customer’s daily routine is what Ambient Advertising is all about. It is outside of the media and can be commonly seen on buildings, roads, and structures at a certain locale. They are visually attractive and invoke curiosity and surprise. Some of the best in this category become attractions or modern sculptures.

Creative use of the steam for a coffee ad.

A wonderful ad from HP

M&M's as buttons for doorbells!

Fun use of the hot blowers in comfort rooms for a hot sauce ad.

Advertisement is fun, creative and mentally challenging. Some ads can be so beautiful and creative that they are considered as today's form of art. It is the principle focal point at which makes a business or a corporation seem more accessible and attuned to the needs of its target market.

*a quote from the author Calvin Coolidge

Finally! A Post! It's A Meme Unfortunately...

I was forc- I mean asked to do this meme. I delightfully obliged because of two valid and convincing reasons. One, my blog is about to die and I need to resuscitate it. And two, it's about movies! It's gonna be fun. So my answers here are off the top of my head and I wrote the first thing that came to mind.

1) One movie that made you laugh

"Kung Pow: Enter the Fist" - as crazy, stupid and retarded the movie may seem, this movie made my jaw, ribcage and stomach hurt!

note: "Dracula: Dead and Loving It" came a close second

2) One movie that made you cry

NONE. Call me cold-hearted or just plain mean but no movie has ever had the honor of making me cry. Not "Life is Beautiful," not "Titanic," not "Anak," no matter how heart breaking the movie got, I have yet to shed a single tear.

note: There is one movie that I remember recently that ALMOST got me misty-eyed. "The Pursuit of Happyness" (the bathroom scene)

3) One movie you loved when you were a child

We basically grew up with Disney and Aladdin was a favorite. However, I remember vividly my love and fascination for the movie Nightmare before Christmas.

4) One movie you've seen more than once

Currently, it's "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street"

5) One movie you loved, but embarrassed to admit it.

"The Brady Bunch Movie." Also, "The Master of Disguise"

note: may I be forgiven for my lack of sanity.

6) One movie you hated

Epic Movie, Date Movie and Meet The Spartans - what disappointing parodies!

note: "Son of the Mask" was gawd awful too!

7) One movie that scared you

As an adult, The Eye kinda scared me. As a kid however, Nightmare on Elm Street scared the crap out of me. I was so afraid to go to sleep, it wasn't funny.

8) One movie that bored you

"The Hours" - to quote Liz Lemon of 30 Rock, "The Hours?! They should've called it The Weeks!"

9) One movie that made you happy

"Grindhouse" - technically, that's two movies, but they both were awesome wicked cool!

10) One movie that made you miserable

"Queen of the Damned" - I like the movie, don't get me wrong. The fact that it was based from an Anne Rice novel means I'll most likely like it. It's just that it didn't live up to the novel and its full movie potential. It could've been better, alot better. And I hated knowing that.

11) One movie you weren't brave enough to see

High School Musical

note: . . . . . . .

12) One movie character you've fallen in love with

Akasha, from "Queen of the Damned"

note: Also probably any role Mila Jovovich has portrayed.

13) The last movie you saw

On the silver screen: Speed Racer - It left a bad taste in my mouth

On TV: Superstar - on HBO

14) The next movie you hope to see

Either "Narnia: Prince Caspian" or "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull"

There! That wasn't THAT painful, was it? And you got to learn a little bit more about me. Do this meme if you have the same reasons as I do. Tell me about it so I can know a bit about you too.

May 9th

My 2nd year...

Can't believe it lasted this long...

It's still fun...

“I’m not a Religious Person, but I have Faith”

I hear that line uttered more and more each day. It may not be exactly in those words, but in every different occasion, they mean the same thing. I even hear myself uttering those same words at times. Now, I find myself asking a question. Is the approach to Religion, and Faith in general changing? Is it adjusting to fit today’s environment or is the traditional ways too slow for the speed at which life operates? Adaptation or Antiquation?

You have proof on both sides. There is adaptation because there are those who apply religion and faith to the current situation of a community. We hear praise songs that have a modern beat to it. We also hear stories related to our daily lives. Religion promotes self expression and can also create a for of support system for an individual. And as always, it is a goal to do what is right and what is good as much as possible. Of course, I can not say this for everyone. However, there are still youths today who, not only have a strong faith, but also knowledgeable of their religion. They are the ones who shape their belief as to better apply to their lives.

On the other spectrum, there is also an evidence of antiquation. Kids nowadays do not know their prayers. What’s worse, many have unlearned some of their traditions. I barely know a handful of people who can pray the rosary. Also, a once a week mass has become more of a chore or even an inconvenience than a time for reflection and worship. I also notice that there is a lesser need for traditions, ceremonies and such. I mean, a good amount of them have become nothing more than novelties. I’m just glad that my family remains steadfast to our traditions and what they truly mean. I don’t want to get too cynical about this whole thing so the less examples the better. This is just me, contemplating on yet another all-too-serious topic which is completely over my head. I’m glad so few people read this blog. I probably won’t get any FYI-retorts.

But, there is one thing I know, times are changing, it always has been. Now it’s up for Religion to catch up to people’s faith.

P.S. This is a chaotic post. Too ambiguous and lacks detail. Well, these are just things I needed to sweep out of my attic. It’s up to you if whether you find something you like in the garage sale.

On A.C. and My First Restaurant Review!

Last week was my brother’s graduation. Congrats to him and all that. I scouted for a few restaurants where we can celebrate his achievement. Despite the fact that I virtually know the economical hotspots of Angeles City AND even though I did do a market analysis of Angeles City for its potential for business growth, I honestly was surprised at the sheer number of great restaurants popping all over the Metro. Angeles City is set to become Luzon’s center for commerce. This is all because of the new super highway being built where Angeles is right smack-dab in the middle and the opening and further development of the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport. Isn’t it obvious with all the new malls populating the vast landscapes of Clark, San Fernando and Nclex? Why, even the Ayalas have begun building an Ayala Mall in Angeles. Land Developments - both commercial and housing projects - are everywhere. Xevera, The Enclave, The Lakeshore, Angeles City and Pampanga in general has become a real estate developer’s dream nowadays. As this shift becomes more apparent A.C. will only continue to prosper and hold true to its title being "the heart of the north."

Anyway, before I get a whole lot further off topic, I picked a restaurant which has become famous for its amazing ambiance, menu and location. This restaurant, scenically situated at The Holiday Inn’s rooftop offered a Brazilian inspired motif with international fares. An award winning restaurant, Rodizio is a true dining experience. To get to the restaurant, you take an elevator straight to the top of the hotel. The moment you step in, you are welcomed by a stunning winery and bar (it’s the bottom picture). You take a short right turn and you’ll see the restaurant itself. The interiors are very beautiful. And the ambiance at night is wonderful. However, if you want to appreciate the view outside the deck, lunch time would be much better.

(click for a larger image)

Some say you can instantly tell the quality and taste of a restaurant’s dishes based on their house bread. And I think that is true. Rodizio’s house bread had a slightly crunchy exterior and the inside was warm and fragrant. It was lightly salted and had herbs ixed into it. It is definitely one of the best house breads I have ever tasted. The whole party partook of the restaurants meat and seafood buffet offering. Everyone started off with some chicken and mushroom soup which was delicious. You can taste the strong flavor of the mushroom, but it did not over power the chicken at all. Their salad bar was also very pleasing. All the vegetables were fresh and the dressing was amazing. The seafood portion of the buffet consisted of crabs, shrimps, mussels, and some Japanese dishes like sushi, maki, sashimi and more. I loved the seafood. One thing that was different was, everything was cold. My family was not used to eating shrimp or crab like that. It was still delicious though and the temperature only added a different dimension to the taste.

For the main course, each had the option of rice, mashed or baked potatoes for a side dish. I asked for mashed potatoes. It was okay, it needed a bit more salt and it was not as flavorful as I had hoped, but I didn’t want to be filling up on side dishes anyway, I was here for another purpose. LOL! After they served the side dishes, four waiters arrived carrying various grilled meats. One had two metal stakes with sausages (one chicken, one pork) impaled on them. Another had chicken teriyaki, another had pork ribs and another had flank steak. Each waiter passed by each plate and placed a portion of what they were carrying. In no time at all, my plate was already overflowing with all the different kinds of meat. Let’s analyze them one by one, shall we? LOL! The sausage, was too salty. I did not care for that at all. The chicken teriyaki was divine, tender and succulent, and the flavor was perfect. The ribs was good, nothing exceptional. The steak was very tasty, but a little tough.

As everyone fell silent while enjoying their meals, waiters would constantly come back to check on our side dishes and meats, just in case we wanted more. You see, in Rodizio, they had this small wooden block (you can see it in one of the pictures) that’s color green on one end, and red on the other. I was told that as long as the green part was on top, the waiters will just keep on serving you meat. If you’ve had enough, just turn it over so that the red part is on top.

On to the final course, dessert. The buffet was complete with its own dessert station. It had a chocolate fondue fountain, crème brulee, fruit slices and a myriad of cakes. I didn’t know where to start, but thanks to my sweet-toothed sister, I tried the fondue first. From marshmallows, to strawberries, to small butter scotch brownies, we bathed them chocolate fountain. Very good…need I say more… From the cakes, we took slices of the chocolate cake, the blueberry cheesecake and the mango chiffon cake. I didn’t like the chocolate cake and the mango chiffon was unimpressive, but the cheesecake…The cheesecake was so dense that it almost had the texture of a pound cake. It was not too sweet and the blueberry on top was the best compliment. It was the best cheesecake I have ever tasted... Ever! And finally, we managed to find some room for a bit of the crème brulee. It was a bit too rich for me and the caramelized sugar on top was nonexistent.

All in all, Rodizio was everything I heard it was and more. The wait staff was pleasant and accommodating, the ambience was perfect and the food is delectable. It completely surpassed my expectations. So, for all you out-of-towners visiting Angeles City, be sure to visit Rodizio at the Holiday Inn.