Monday, April 30, 2012

Yellow Cab's Dear Darla Pizza

It has been a few years since Yellow Cab's Dear Darla pizza came out but I have never tried it until last weekend. I have always been a New York's Finest fanatic but I figured it's time to try out something new. 

My verdict? It's so yummy, it's addicting! Love, love, love the taste of the arugula leaves. And it was fun rolling it with your hands. So if you're going to try this, be sure to wash your hands first. 

The pizza is served as usual - laid out in a pizza box. It is, however, cut into strips instead of the more popular triangular shape. Accompanying it is a separate box with fresh arugula and alfalfa sprouts.
 A 14" Dear Darla Pizza

Fresh arugula and alfalfa sprouts

Next step would be to put the arugula and alfalfa sprouts over a strip of pizza.


Then roll it to look like this...

Photo courtesy of Yellow Cab

Done! Enjoy your pizza =)


Photo courtesy of Yellow Cab

 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

All About Hydrotherapy at Ace Water Spa

When hubby announced last Friday night that we were going to Ace Water Spa this weekend, Miguel and I were ecstatic. Finally, we are going to have some much needed water fun. 

Ace Water Spa is no ordinary pool. It is actually an indoor hydrotherapy massage pool. Hence, the word "spa" in its name. Instead of the usual massage where you lie down while a person applies pressure on various parts of your body to ease tension, Ace Water Spa utilizes water to do the job for you. It's massage and fun rolled into one!

Photo courtesy of Ace Water Spa Facebook Page

We woke up early to be there before the crowd arrives. Since it is actually a spa, there is a time limit of 4 hours in the pool. Also, they do no allow food and drinks inside the pool area so we had a light breakfast in the nearby Jollibee prior to going there. They discourage eating a heavy meal 30 minutes prior to a spa treatment to prevent vomiting due to the strong pressure of the water massage systems. They have a restaurant where their clients can dine in after their treatment. 

We got there at around 7am. We registered and paid our fees - P550 for adults and P250 for kids below 4 feet. Then we were given a key to a locker where we can keep our stuff. Be careful not to lose your keys as there is a P200 penalty if you do.

Locker Room 
The Locker Room is located in the 2nd floor. First thing you need to do is surrender your shoes/slippers to the personnel manning the entrance of the locker room as they have slippers available inside. A shower cap will also be provided if you do not have one.  

The locker room is a spacious area with the following amenities:
  • lockers equipped lock and key where you can keep your belongings
  • changing/shower rooms that have shampoo and liquid bath soap dispenser each
  • restrooms
  • 2 counter tables with mirror and hair blow dryer
  • plastic bags are also available for your wet swimsuits
Once you have changed and showered, you can now go to the pool area. Remember to leave your slippers in the locker room. 

Pools
They have 9 heated pools and 1 cold pool so a total of 10 pools. 
  • 1 Lapping Pool - this is a 4-lane 25m swimming pool where you can swim and do laps
  • 1 Kiddie Pool - this is a small pool designed for the little ones. It has a small basketball where the kids can play "shoot the ball" and a mushroom-like figure where water falls
  • 1 Spa Pool - this is where the massage systems are located 
  • 6 Heated Herbal Pools - 3 pools each for Male and Female. The first pool is filled with Mint at 36ºC, the second pool with Jasmine at  38ºC  and the third pool with Lavander at 40ºC. 
  • 1 Cold Pool - a small round pool which is way too cold for my taste. It is actually designed as an alternate for the heated herbal pools. You only have to immerse yourself here for 5 seconds after a 3 minute dip in the heated herbal pool. They call this Contrast Therapy Plunge. But it was ice-cold so I opted to do the bucket splash instead to cool myself.  
Our Experience
We were among the first 5 clients who got there, Miguel being the first kid. He brought his own floater and just started floating around. He was so happy! Too bad they do not allow cameras inside the pool area so I was not able to document his "happy ako" moments. His favorite part was the Lazy River which is a pool about 3 feet deep that goes around the perimeter of the main spa pool. It is mainly for floating as it has a current that can carry one throughout the area without a sweat. They provide big rectangular floating devices where kids and adults alike can ride. 

Since the water was just up to Miguel's chest and he has a floater, we practically left him on his own. We can also easily see him from where we were so we check up on him every few minutes. 

Hubby and I enjoyed the spa pool a lot. They have 25 massage systems that provides soft, moderate and hard massages. They use a system called "Ultrasonic Jet System" which I can describe as like having a very powerful hose spray water on specific parts of your body. (Due to the pressure created by the system, clients are strictly required to wear fitted swimsuits.)
Hydrotherapy massage - is a kind of therapeutic massage that utilizes “Ultrasonic Jet System” that massages specific areas of the body with its aquatic jets strategically located to relax and soothe tired and aching muscles. This treatment is best done in heated water. - Ace Water Spa FAQs
As there are a variety of massage systems available, you can choose which ones you like best. I personally like the Rainfall Acupuncture where you have to lie face down as rain-like droplets fall down on all parts of your body in varying intensities. 

On the other hand, the Hydro-Buoyancy Massage tops hubby's list. He likes it because it provides moderate massage and he enjoys the feeling of floating that it creates. 

Each massage system has a time limit of 3-5 minutes per session. There is a button that needs to be pressed to get it started and then it automatically turns itself off once the time limit is reached. You can do it again if you prefer especially if there is nobody waiting for his turn. Otherwise, you can try the other systems and then repeat the ones you like. You do have 4 hours after all. 

As I mentioned earlier, food and drinks are not allowed in the pool area but they do have water dispensers and plastic cups so you can hydrate as you need it. 

Is 4 hours enough?
Yes, it is. The regular massage sessions lasts for about 1-2 hours at most. This hydro-massage lasts 4hours! That is ample time for you to try out all the massage systems and even do a repeat session. 

Overall, we truly enjoyed our time in Ace Water Spa. Looking forward to going back soon!




    Ace Water Spa - Quezon City
    399 Del Monte Avenue (near Banawe St.)
    San Francisco Del Monte, Quezon City



    Ace Water Spa - Pasig Branch
    United St., cor. Brixton St.
    near Pioneer, Pasig City

    Official Website: http://www.acewaterspa.com.ph/
    Official Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/ACE-Water-SPA-OFFICIAL/153492801354119

    Thursday, April 26, 2012

    Stieg Larsson's Millenium Trilogy


    “Friendship- my definition- is built on two things. Respect and trust. Both elements have to be there. And it has to be mutual. You can have respect for someone, but if you don't have trust, the friendship will crumble." (Mikael Blomkvist)” ― Stieg Larsson, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
     
    I saw the Hollywood movie version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo out of curiosity. Mainly because it was recognized by the Golden Globe and Academy Awards with a number of nominations including Best Actress in a Leading Role for Rooney Mara. And somehow I associated it with the film Red Dragon of the Hannibal Lecter Trilogy by Thomas Harris which I also got hooked on several years back. Plus this year is a Dragon year according to the Chinese calendar and I am a Dragon-born baby. Does my association even make sense?


    Anyway, I saw the movie last week and I enjoyed it a lot that I started reading the book version by Stieg Larrson immediately after. And in just a span of 7 days, I have seen the movie twice and I am now halfway thru the 3rd and last book of the trilogy. 


    The story is an intricate maze of crime (murder and rape among others), homosexuality, computer hacking and other mumbo jumbo that will surely keep you reading until your eyes pop out. Seriously, the books are hard to put down! I am losing a lot of sleep over these books especially with the 2nd and 3rd installment because this is where the real persona of the lead female character, Lisbeth Salander, is slowly being peeled. She is initially viewed as a psychopath and declared as socially incompetent by the government. Then she meets Mikael Blomkvist, a journalist, who discovers her photographic memory and her outstanding talent on computer hacking. Later on in the series, a whole dimension of Lisbeth Salander's complicated past will reveal a complex web of conspiracies involving the government that threatens to destroy national security. Yes, it is a lot to digest and there are also a lot of players involved that I had to stop once in a while and try to remember who's who and what they do.

    Earlier, I mentioned that I saw the Hollywood version of the film. That is because there is an original Swedish version released in 2010. I have read a few reviews and all of them say that the Swedish film were really good. So addicted that I am, I am now trying to find the Swedish films (with English subtitles) to see it for myself. I love Rooney Mara's Lisbeth but some of the reviews say that Noomi Rapace's original version was equally good if not better. So we'll see. 

     
    Have you read the book? Seen the film? Hollywood or Swedish version? What did you think about it? Feel free to share your thoughts below.


    Thursday, April 19, 2012

    Raising a Bookworm

    I love books. I have been reading since I was in early grade school. Even before I was eligible to have a library card, I was already reading any story book I could get my hands into. I also made friends with a classmate who devours books for breakfast so I got hooked since. 

    Now I have a 6-year old who seems to be developing the same fondness that I have for books. He does not know how to read yet but he likes being read to. It has become mandatory that me and his Dad read to him at least 2 books (of his own choosing) each night before he sleeps. We read to him in the vernacular to be consistent with his school's curriculum to teach and enhance the mother tongue first before introducing a second language. I now appreciate those books that has both the English and Filipino translation as it saves us the trouble of translating it ourselves.

    To stir things up a bit, I sometimes let him do the storytelling especially for books that we have read a thousand times and he already knows by heart. Other times, he creates his own stories. There is still a big room for improvement on this area as most of his stories are like fuzzy dreams that starts at one point and ends in a totally different place. Sometimes I get lost listening to him. I'm sure it will get better in time. (One of his stories may be found here.)

    For now, me and hubby are combining our efforts to instill in him the value of books and reading. I'm sure someday soon I will be the one begging him to put down the book he's reading and do his homework or some house chores he is tasked to do. Memories of me and my mother suddenly pops in mind. Hahaha!   
      
    Miguel's Mini Library

    Wednesday, April 18, 2012

    Beans in Coconut Milk

    Cooking time once again! Found another cool dish from the Yummy Quick and Good mini recipe mag (page 8). This time, I tried something with coconut milk (gata) in it. This dish pretty much resembles the locally famous Bicol Express but instead of chopped pork, this recipe uses string beans (sitaw) and ground pork.  It's good! Do try it =)


    Ingredients:
    3 tablespoons oil
    2 cloves garlic, chopped
    1 small onion, chopped
    150 grams ground pork
    3 cups sliced string beans (sitaw)
    1 can coconut cream
    1/2 cup coconut milk
    2 pieces bird's eye chili (siling labuyo), chopped
    salt, pepper, and sugar to taste

    Procedures:

    1. Heat oil in a pan. 
    2. Saute garlic and onions.
    3. Add ground pork and cook until brown.
    4. Add string beans and coconut cream. Simmer until reduced.
    5. Add coconut milk and cook until beans are tender. 
    6. Add chili.
    7. Season to taste. 
    8. Serve hot. 
    I made two versions of this dish, one without chili so my little boy can eat it and another with chili to satisfy my need for heat =) 

    Sunday, April 15, 2012

    My Titanic Weekend

    In 1912, RMS Titanic plunged into the depths of the Atlantic Ocean taking along with it the thousands of passengers aboard it.

    In 1997, film director James Cameron released his mega-blockbuster film "Titanic" which featured a fictional love story interwoven in the short-lived life of the RMS Titanic.

    This year, 2012, the centennial year of the sinking of RMS Titanic is being commemorated with the re-released of the beloved epic film in 3D technology. 


    I must admit, I was one of those who went gaga over the film when it was shown here in Manila in 1998. I was in the middle of my board exam review at that time and I seriously thought I was going to fail because I was spending more time reviewing the film than my review books. I would attend my review classes in Recto and I would always have a Titanic-related poster or magazine when I get home. I was that hooked. 

    But contrary to what I believed as my doomed board exams, I did pass it that year and I would credit part of it to Titanic.

    Why?

    No, the film itself did not inspire me to study. Nor did I find the test answers in Leo di Caprio's handsome face. It was all in the beautiful soundtrack, the instrumental songs and not Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On". Titanic's soundtrack was my constant companion during those grueling days and nights of studying. The songs had embedded itself so much in my mind that I was still hearing it in my head as I was  answering my test sheets during the actual board exams. Two days after the last day of the exams, the list of the successful examinees was posted in the newspapers and I was in it. =)

    So watching the film again is more than satisfying my girly desire of seeing the young Leo di Caprio again in the big screen. It was also my way of reliving that stage in my life when I was transitioning from being a student to being a young professional. As the film created a milestone in the movie industry being one of the highest grossing movies of all time and catapulting its stars into mega stardom, I was also creating my milestone in my little side of the earth. That is passing the board exams which helped me to get where I am now.

    "I figure life's a gift and I don't intend on wasting it. You don't know what hand you're gonna get dealt next. You learn to take life as it comes at you... to make each day count." - Jack Dawson (Titanic)


    Sunday, April 8, 2012

    An Easter Birthday Celebration

    Today was a doubly special day because it's Easter Sunday and hubby's birthday! We started the day by attending the Easter Mass at the Chapel of St. Michael the Archangel in Trinoma. It was a nice little chapel located at the Level 2 Plaza of the mall. I think a restaurant was occupying that space before. 


    Then we had lunch at Sizzlin' Pepper Steak, a sizzling place similar to Pepper Lunch. I have tried both and I can't figure out which one is better. They both taste equally yummy to me. It's a must-try for for those who have not tried it yet. For us, we are definitely coming back for more. =)

      Beef Pepper Rice Overload, Vegetable Lasagna & Salmon Pepper Rice

     Moo-ve = you need assistance; Stop = you're ok

    Dessert comes next and it's better than Magnum =).


    After lunch, we walked around the mall to buy a few stuff. Hubby bought a pair of office pants and while he was fitting, Miguel was at his naughtiest. Check this out.


    What is the best way to end a day at the mall? Another eating session, of course.

    Red Ribbon

    And to cap the day off, a final feast at home. (Yes, we looooove to eat!)


    Happy birthday to my dearest Caloy. Love you much! Mwah!