Bon Appetit! Creme Brulee and Macarons from Chez Karine

Chez Karine sweetened up my mid-week when they sent over some macarons and creme brulee.

Pardon the pictures, I was at the mercy of the office fluorescent and my phone cam.

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The cute packaging had me cooing in incoherent fake French. And I was not disappointed by what was inside!

I. Macarons by Chez Karine

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I am used to locally-made macarons having a crunchy outside and a candied inside. This was melt-in-your-mouth love. The covering had just the right kind of chewy, not overly crisp, and the inside flavoring felt like butter to the taste. I even enjoyed the fruit flavored macarons (strawberry, and what I think is a mango-passion fruit mix) – which I usually turn away for the chocolate and coffee flavors.

This, by far, has to be the best set of macarons I ever sunk my teeth into.

II. Creme Brulee by Chez Karine

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I braced myself for this. I am a huge fan of the creme brulee, and managed expectations upon seeing that they were pre-packed. The Amelie in me missed cracking the top open.

The standard creme brulee flavor (center jar) had a taste of that crispy top with the syrup at the bottom. It’s creme brulee to go, definitely, but it hit the spot. It’s not to be dismissed as your average leche flan or kitchen pudding, however. It’s a little bit of heaven, in all it’s rich, creamy goodness with each spoonful.

I thought I’d have a bit to taste at first, then blinked and found I had gobbled it all up.

I am particular about my favorite desserts, but this proved me wrong. Heck, writing this all down makes me crave some more.

Thank God Chez Karine is opening a cafe in Serendra, Taguig, on June 24, 2012. I can hardly wait to go there, girl friends and boyfriend in tow, for coffee and confectionary dates.

Pictures are a blessing

I don’t see myself as a photographer. I write, I manage stuff, and so far I prefer to hone my skills there. What I don’t have (and so far have no desire to claim) is that certain anal attention to detail that most professional photographers embrace.

I just like how a story can be told in one shot.

In any case, uploading and organizing photos from my last trip, and a previous event, have been a good reminder for the more turbulent parts of life. Picking shots to show points out, “Look, it’s not all crap. It might even get better from here.”

More shots can be viewed at my photoblog: miiShots. I am also on instagram as miicam.

[Review] The Avengers

I can’t review this movie objectively since I am its target market. I’m personally not a big fan of Marvel and DC comics, but I grew up with my share of 1960s Marvel cartoons and Superfriends. To top it all off, this movie is directed by Joss Whedon, who I’ve loved since Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Thing is, in the adaptation hype of the last few years, it’s very rare that the directors get it right (ahem Michael Bay and Transformers). For once, they picked wisely, as Joss Whedon is a comic book fan and has penned work for X-Men and Superman/Batman, to name a few. The Avengers movie was clearly Joss Whedon’s love letter to the comic book. You can see it in every frame.

Personally, I love it. Geek or not, give it a watch. It is at the very least, fun. In this infernal summer heat, you need fun.

Go. Book your ticket. Drag your friends and family. Just watch it.

[Day 20] A hobbie of yours

Pictures by the ever-lovely Rej Rosero.

Typo is not mine, I blame the original meme writer.

But yes, I am a geek. You can witness all fangirl geekery in its un-glory over at the fan tumblr. You can also catch me at Committee Geekfight once a month.

Viva Filipinas Futbol

Why football? Because, as the script says, the sport says so much about the Filipino spirit.

Sometimes, it’s that one goal that makes all the difference.

Co-written with Nikki del Carmen.

If you like what you read and see, “like” it for the ASEF Short Film Competition!

“Football had come a long way from its home in England. 

The sport had won the hearts of those outside of Europe, even in parts of Asia. 

Japan and Korea are recognized leaders in the game, and most of Southeast Asia followed and loved the beautiful game.

But in the Philippines, it began with one team.

A team that sought to make a name for themselves, even when few else followed their sport.

While most of the country found their heroes and medals in basketball, boxing, or billiards, they kept on playing football. 

They trained, they played to win, even when they were ignored.  

Even when they hit their lowest, they never gave up. 

Then came 2010, the AFF Suzuki Cup.

They swept through the group stages, undefeated.

Then came the game when they conquered defending champion, Vietnam.

For the first time ever, in the history of the team, they reached the semi-finals.

The news hit home, word spread, the country finally took notice. 

They cheered! 

No longer ignored, more people tuned in to follow the team as they prepared for their semi-finals. Bars and restaurants filled with fans, new and old, wanting to catch a glimpse of the game.

To everyone’s dismay, they were defeated. But, it was only the beginning. 

They may have lost the tournament, but won an even bigger battle: the hearts of their countrymen.

They left the country as underdogs, but came home accepted by many as Filipino champions. 

A team which started out as nobodies came home heroes.

And at THAT moment, it felt that Football was here to stay.

And sure, what does the Philippines know about Football? 

Not a lot, definitely.

But just like that one team, we WILL persevere, and we WILL overcome.

Because THAT is who we are, THAT is our story.”

CREDITS

Film by Nikki del Carmen

Written by Nikki del Carmen and Mia Marci

VO by Ebong Joson, the Blue Haired Fanatic

Like it? VOTE for it at the ASEF Short Film competition! Like it on the site!

For the love of theater: Happiness and Blood

Lots of change in the air. I got back in the swing of production with Sipat Lawin Ensemble‘s Battalia Royale, and managed to catch 9works Theatrical‘s’ You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown.

I. “Happiness Is” – 9 Works Theatrical’s You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown

For those who followed the Charles M. Schultz Peanuts serial, with kids you want to pull away from screens, do catch You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. It’s an entertaining and thoughtful show, made of children’s thoughts on childhood, happiness, and a dash of “philosophy”. As someone raised on the Peanuts holiday specials, it was just the break I needed from the humdrum of work. As an adult, it’s easy to lose sight on what it means to be ‘happy’. You could see that the cast had fun with it, and the fun is contagious.

To see just what I mean, here’s that classic clip of Kristin Chenoweth’s “My New Philosophy” with the bows version of “Happiness” from the Tony Awards 2000. Promise, the Philippine cast is just as good.

You can still catch the last few shows this weekend – March 2-8pm, March 3-330pm & 8pm. Call 557-5860, 586-7105, 0917-554-5560, or email info@9workstheatrical.com.


II. “A Sacred Space for Violence” – Sipat Lawin Ensemble’s Battalia Royale

It was through hell and high water that I made time to help with Sipat Lawin Ensemble’s Battalia Royale. It has been worth it.

Inspired by the Japanese cult series, “Battle Royale”, the story follows a batch of hijacked high school kids then made to fight each other to the death in a deadly game. Only one survives and “wins” the game.

The impact on the Philippine audience was an afterthought – even amidst largely conservative views on sex and violence. While I knew that it would gain a “following”, I did not expect a craze, a clamor for the show. As of writing, tickets for the March run have sold out. I remain amazed, even shocked, at the demand.

In the performance, several scenes play out to accommodate a 40+ member cast. As a crew member I found the show in the audience.

It was the last show during it’s CCP run that I caught part of a phone conversation from one audience member, “You have to come over here!” He was urging in Tagalog, “They’re shooting each other! They’re dying! They’re making out! It’s bad-ass, man! SO BAD ASS!”

The show brings out the little monsters in all of us. On the last night of its CCP run, it seemed like one big monster was made out of the 900+ or so people who came out to watch. They even voted to kill off one student during halftime (on the first two shows, that student was spared), and gleefully clapped as he fell to the floor.

But there is no prize at stake, just the show.

Also consider: the student most popularly rooted for is Kakai, who lies and seduces her way to survival. In the confines of classrooms, offices, any group of friends, a Kakai-type would be “ahas” – a snake. A manipulative slut who stops at nothing to get what she wants. But in this game, she’s considered cool, a hero.

So why the craze? I suspect, in a society where it’s all the more important to represent the good and proper, this is the only show where you can let your demons out. After all, the blood is fake. The deaths only last for as long as the show. It’s become sacred space to let it out, without any judgement.

Rage becomes the best weapon in this game. It can make something as basic as a bag of marbles into an instrument of murder. In the end, it’s what saves even the most peaceful and pacifist.

The show isn’t for the lighthearted. Watch if you dare.

For more information on Battalia Royale, check out their facebook.

5 Songs for the Spirit

The biggest thing to happen to me in 2011 was the decision to take The Walk. I consider myself a progressive Christian: a lot of my views are deemed non-conventional, evidenced by my support for Mideo Cruz’s “Poleteismo”.

I believed in Christ, it was difficult to reconcile what I felt was right in conscience to what was being preached in churches I’ve attended over the years.

Then I found Church Simplified. Click the link and see for yourselves what it’s about. Maybe I’ll see you on Sunday?

The songs below are just some of the highlights of my journey through Christ thus far. For me, faith is a very personal journey, but wherever you are in your life – may these songs seek to uplift and inspire you.

After the Cut:

1) Gungor’s – “Beautiful Things”

You make beautiful things out of dust, You make beautiful things out of us

 

2) Sara Groves – “Painting Pictures of Egypt”

The place I was wasn’t perfect, but I had found a way to live,

It wasn’t milk or honey, but then neither is this

 

3) Jars of Clay – “Shelter”

May this place of rest in the fold of your journey, Bind you to hope

You will never walk alone

 

4) Steven Curtis Chapman – “Remembering You”

And I watch as the cold winter melts into spring, And I’ll be remembering You

and I’ll be remembering You, I’ll be remembering You

 

5) Jay Enrile – “Thank You”

Thank you for emptiness, thank you for rage

Thanks for confusion and the labyrinth it’s made

Thanks for denial, thank you for lust

Thanks for rejection and all the hurts from those I trust

Thank you that I haven’t heard the sweetest sound

Cause I know that’s the only way my knees will scrape the ground

 

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