27 September 2010

Lemoni Cafe: The Perfect Boracay Lunch

I've always loved Lemoni. I never let a Boracay trip pass without atleast one visit to this sunny cafe, whether it's for their great Lunch Box Sets or for a quick coffee & dessert stop after dinner. Sometimes I even find myself going all the way to D'Mall just to order a tall glass of Lemoni's Watermelon Ginger Crush for take-out!

Right smack in the middle of often-too-crowded D'Mall sits this airy little cafe, with its bright yellow & white interiors making it look all the more cheerful & inviting. Always the perfect spot for a cozy, hearty lunch in Boracay!

I usually go for the Lemon Lunch Box everytime we're at Lemoni. For P450, you get the Soup of the Day, Salad Greens with Raspberry Vinaigrette, your choice of their tasty sandwiches (the Pan-fried Tuna with Egg Curry on Ciabatta and the Thai Lemon Chicken Ciabatta being my personal favorites!) or their rice toppings (beef, chicken or fish) plus dessert (you can choose from Coconut Pannacotta, Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse, Caramel Pot de Creme or Tropical Mango Parfait)! That's pretty good value for just P450 if you ask me! That's a complete meal!

I was tempted to get a set lunch on our last visit actually. That time though, The Mister and I were craving for one of their best-selling signature dishes that we had heard so much about from friends and fellow foodies... the Tiger Prawns, grilled and served with Spinach and Coconut Risotto (P495). So we ordeed that and what a pretty dish it was... Perfectly grilled prawns sitting on top of a bed of spinach leaves and risotto that's literally swimming in rich coconut cream. Just a forkful of the rich coconut risotto with a bit of the prawn was enough to explain why this was a bestseller. It was delicious!

We also ordered their Curried Laksa Noodle Soup with Seafood (P200) for the Mister's main course as he claimed he was still full from breakfast that morning. Of course we ended up splitting my order of the Tiger Prawns which was okay since the coconut risotto was really rich and heavy, I couldn't finish it by myself. But the Laksa serving was actually quite big, too! It was pretty good laksa, with just the right amount of coconut milkiness and spice, served with a big wedge of ciabatta on the side.

Mother ordered the Pan-fried Mahi Mahi with Warm Potato Salad and Lemon Butter Garlic Sauce (P390). I didn't get to try the Mahi Mahi but Mother says it was just okay. I was able to try the potatoes though and they were pretty tasty!

The Little Boy ordered from their All-Day Breakfast menu, a serving of their French Toast with Cinnamon, Fresh Mango & a Dash of Yogurt (P185). Pretty yummy, too!

One of the things I love about Lemoni is their drinks selection. They have the most refreshing fruit shake combinations with drinks like the Mango Lemon Crush (P115), Mint & Pineapple Crush (P100), Banana & Coconut Crush (P95) just to name a few. We try to order something different everytime we're there but we almost always gravitate towards our all-time favorites: the Watermelon Ginger Crush (P90) for me and the citrusy Papaya Orange Calamansi Crush (P130) which my boys just love. Perfect for washing down all the rich food we devoured for lunch!

Despite being full to the gills, I can never leave Lemoni without having dessert and coffee. And the Caramel Pot de Creme (P70) never lets me down! This little cup of sweet caramel heaven is an all-time favorite, though the Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse (P85) comes in as a close second!

But that's just the chocolate monster in me. The few times that I let myself stray away from the chocolate desserts, I end up ordering the Classic Lemon Tart (P110), a cheery bright yellow dessert that almost makes me forget about chocolate!

desserts galore from another visit to Lemoni from last summer

Coffee at Lemoni's great, too! I think they serve Lavazza so their lattes are pretty good! And when the staff or baristas are in the mood, they even draw cute little faces with the coffee's foam & crema! Cute!

For lunch that day though, we just went for a Caramel Pot de Creme, the Mochachino (P120) and an Iced Latte (P95) for the Mister. Perfect for capping off yet another perfect Boracay lunch at Lemoni! :)

24 September 2010

An Excuse Letter

So lately I’ve been finding myself with so much to blog about and very little time to actually sit down and start typing. I’ve been meaning to finally finish my posts on Bali and there’s still so much I’ve been wanting to write about from our last trip to Boracay last month. A couple of weeks ago, my family and I spent a couple of super relaxing, restful days in Tagaytay and that one’s something I need to share and write about as well. Divine spa experiences, incredible culinary finds, and just lots and lots of stories left to tell!

This week, I’ve been a busy girl on a personal journey. And as hard as I tried to document everything that happened, whether in photos or in my journal, it was very easy to lose myself in all the amazing, blissful moments that’s been happening to me this past week that it was very hard to think about anything else.

Exactly a week ago, I found myself in Bahay Kalipay in Puerto Princesa, Palawan on an Inner Dance, Yoga and Raw Food Retreat. Something I signed up for just to get away for a couple of days… just to have a few days of peace and calm, away from everything else… and boy, did I get so much more than I had bargained for! That weekend was just chocful of incredible surreal experiences… yoga on an empty stretch of beach… morning pranayama on a mountaintop… finding my Inner Dance… and what to me was most life-changing: discovering how delicious and good-for-me raw food can be! I had learned so much during those few days in Bahay Kalipay, it will be extremely difficult for me to even start writing about it, so I won’t for now. Let me just say that it really was one of the best weekends I’ve ever had in this lifetime and one of these days, I will collect enough of my thoughts to actually be able to write about it.

Let me just say though that being on a raw food diet (with no chocolates! And no coffee!) for three days wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. The raw dishes our beautiful host, Daniw, served us were so yummy, it was easy to forget their fried & cooked counterparts! The raw food at Bahay Kalipay was so amazing, it deserves its own post so I’ll try not to gush over it too much on this one!

Post-retreat, after the initial cravings were satiated (we went on a seafood feast and binged on cheesecakes & coffee the first night after the retreat!), I actually found myself actually craving for raw food! I get so much energy from it and it makes me feel so great that I’ve decided to go atleast 40-60% raw for now. I mean, I have to be realistic. God knows I can’t live without my daily coffee fix and my desserts! Plus, I’m slowly finding out that preparing raw meals is actually a pretty daunting task. I had always though raw food would be so much easier to prepare but a lot of planning and prepping goes into it, too. I’m happy and proud to say though that for the past few days, I’ve managed to make myself atleast two raw meals a day (usually for breakfast and dinner) and have been downing green smoothies like water! And I feel fantastic!

super yummy raw banana pancakes!

Being in Bahay Kalipay for a weekend also taught me a lot about the things that I can do without in my life. So now I really try to live by everything that I learned during that weekend and I feel posts on green living tips, raw food & green smoothie recipes are coming your way.

So dear blog, I apologize. I have been MIA again but give me a bit more time and I will be back with so much more stories to tell, recipes to share and just little life lessons along the way. See you later!


Love, light & pixie dust,

Earthbound Faerie

15 September 2010

A Day at the Book Fair

I love books! They're my weakness. So, when I found out that the 31st Manila International Book Fair, one of the longest running book fairs in Asia (I go every single year!) opened its doors yesterday, I just had to drag Mother (the only other person in our household that loves reading as much as I do) all the way to the SMX near Mall of Asia for it (that's a good hour and a half from our little home in the mountains!). And that hour an a half of hellish traffic we braved through was absoultely worth it! The moment I stepped into that hall, I was in book heaven! Now I know how the Little Boy feels inside a toy store!

Rows and rows and rows of books! We spent hours just browsing through all the booths selling kids' books, learning materials for children, piano sheets (for Broadway musicals, Disney movies and even Glee!), hard-to-find sci-fi & fantasy titles, cookbooks... I could go and on about the thousands of books and titles you can find there! It's a bookworm's heaven!

I ended up buying more books for the Little Boy and recipe books for the Mister. I got so excited over how cheap some of the cookbooks & kids' books were that I totally forgot to buy books for myself. I was looking for new Francesca Lia Block and new fantasy titles for my little library but I just didn't have time and the strength to carry any more bags of books by then (Mother and I were already sharing 4 heavy ecobags filled with books after just our first hour!).

Here's some of the stuff I ended up with:

First stop is always at Adarna.
Here's a giant book that'll teach the Little Boy how to tell time. 
more books from Adarna!
These are storybooks written in 2 languages: English & Tagalog,
beautifully illustrated by local artists, and only at P55 each!

recipe books & other coffee table books
vegetarian cookbooks for just P90 & P60!

a cute little recipe book for vegetable soups
that's actually it's own kitchen stand -- P145
we got these hardbound books on entertaining and
 gourmet hors d'oeuvres for only P200 each!
(You can actually still see the original prices on the back, each at around P1,500+)

the only things I got for myself -- glossies on travel & spa!
I'm pretty happy with my loot this year! Apart from the fact that I missed out on the fantasy books, I'm glad I was able to bring home new storybooks for the Little Boy's bedtime stories. :)

If there's one thing I do regret not buying (and I hate it when that happens!), it's this ecobag I saw in a Taiwanese booth selling health books (that were all in Taiwanese) and environment-friendly eating utensils. It was this denim-looking bag that had the words 'coexist with the earth' written across the front. When you look closely though, you'll see that it isn't actually denim. In fact, it's made of recycled PET bottles. Apparently, Taiwanese people are really gungho about collecting PET bottles and turning it into something new. Something the Philippines could definitely do, too, seeing as how many C2, Real Leaf, softdrinks bottles end up in our trash cans everyday! The bag was being sold for P600 and I hesitated because of the price. Looking back now, P600 wasn't bad! It actually looked pretty sturdy, too!

I'd go back if I could. Unfortunately, noone wants to brave the Manila traffic today and I'm leaving for Palawan tomorrow for a retreat. Besides, I think I'm already broke, I'm pretty sure I blew all of this year's book budget during just those few hours so I guess that was it for me at this year's Book Fair. Boo.

For all my fellow booklovers though, if you have time, do stop by the book fair this weekend! You still have four days to go! Admission fee's just P20. It's open from 10am to 8PM daily until Sunday the 19th at the SMX Convention Center right by Mall of Asia.

Have fun! :)

02 September 2010

Why Having a Garage Sale is a Green Thing To Do

Whew, it took me days to finish that last post! And at the rate I'm going, it's going to take me weeks more just to finish writing about our last couple of trips to Boracay and Bali! I've been wanting to write more (I swear!) but for the past few days, we've just been so busy hauling boxes of junk, going through bins and bins of all sorts of toys, clothes, books, appliances, knick-knacks and whathaveyous and now selling them to neighbours, family & friends at a week-long garage sale.

Living in a compound with 6 other adults (including now grown-up girls) plus a preschooler can result in a LOT of junk! The last time we went up to our attic, the floor wasn't even visible anymore with all the clutter we've managed to collect over the years. And I guess that was the time when my dad finally put his foot down and decided it was time to get rid of everything.

(Perfect timing, too. We had soooo much stuff we wanted to get rid of and we were trying to raise some funds for our mom's 50th birthday gift, so it was the perfect time to have the garage sale really!)

You see, we're all big packrats plus we're such a sentimental bunch, too! And that made the sorting such a difficult task. My sisters and I were all holding on to cute little dresses, tutus and flower fairy costumes that we wore when we were tiny little girls just because it brought back so many childhood memories. I couldn't let myself part with my old pair of super worn out leather cowboy boots just because it was a Christmas present from my sister, even if I knew I was never going to wear it anymore. Up in the attic, it looked like a mini toy store with dolls, board games, toys galore! My sisters and I even had our very own fully furnished Barbie doll house with matching pink convertible! And even a mini pretend supermarket counter! And as much as it pained us to go through everything, trying to decide which ones to keep and which ones to dispose of, it was just something we finally had to do. All the sorting through all our old stuff actually made for a very fun (but looooong day) of reminiscing, too! :p

When our house was up, just one look at the Little Boy's room was enough to tell us that he had way more toys than he knows what to do with. And as a mommy, I was even worse than he was in trying to keep toys he no longer played with or needed. I would reason out that this toy was one of his first toys or that this toy was his favorite for a few months when he was 2... I lost the debates to the Mister, of course, but he still let me keep a few of the Little Boy's first and most treasured toys. Fair enough.

And when it came to our own closets... man, I'm even embrassed to say just how long it took me to go through mine. In the end, I ended up with 2 bins full of clothes and accessories and even a few pairs of shoes! And I can't tell you how great it feels to know that now, choosing what to wear won't be such a difficult task anymore.

So now, we're out in the garage, taking turns in attending to the garage sale. We've been doing this since Monday and while we've sold sooooo much stuff already, we're still left with more than half of the junk and the old stuff we've brought out.

We have all sorts of knick-knacks from lamps to fairy lights; from old china sets to pans & pots for the kitchen; from facial steamers to curling irons; from tennis rackets to golf clubs; from toolboxes to stereos; from intercoms to old cellphones... things we've forgotten we had! These were all stuff we had too much of that we probably knew we were never going to use but kept anyway with the usual "I'll open/wear/use it someday..." until of course, it gets buried among all the other junk until it's all but forgotten.

Having this garage sale is easily one of the most exhausting, most stressful things our family has ever done. But it also became one of the most meaningful (and greenest) things we've ever done as a family.

Green Benefit #1: Now, we get our attic back! We can finally go up there without going on a coughing / sneezing spree from all the dust. And for a family of asthmatics, that's a BIG thing!

Green Benefit #2: By opening the garage sale to our friends, family and neighbours (especially our good ol' neighbourhood tricycle drivers who are the most thrilled with all the clothes, shoes, appliances they can buy for just a day's work), we give other people a chance to buy secondhand which means a few less people buying more things at the malls/supermarkets. Remember, even the smallest things we purchase "brand new" contribute to the large-scale cycle of consumption & waste. So be a wise consumer. ;)

Green Benefit #3: Just seeing how much stuff and junk we've collected through the years and seeing all these things that we are now trying to get rid off, it made us all realize just how much of the things we buy are simply things we don't really need.

Interestingly, yesterday, I came across this article online:
And I think it presents some good guidelines to follow from now on when buying stuff.

The last thing isn't really green or anything that concerns the environment... But having this garage sale taught us a lot about the value of some things we took forgranted before.

It's a good happy feeling! Seeing someone excited over a hardly-ever-worn pair of Nike Prestos for just P200; or a dress from Mango (that I've only worn twice) that I only sold for P50; Levi's jeans being sold at 3 for P100; unopened sets of Victoria's Secret perfumes & toiletries at only P300! Things that we never really thought had much value anymore (since we never use them) and when you see a little girl's face light up when she finds that she can buy a Barbie doll for just P10, it certainly is a reality check.

Yesterday, we had a tricycle driver come in to ask about the 2 laptops we were selling. The Mister and I decided to get rid of his laptop (an old Asus model) and my old one (a small white Twinhead). We weren't really using either laptop anymore and the Mister has been planning to get a new one, too, so we decided to let both laptops go for P10,000. When the driver came in to ask how much it was, he was surprised when we said P10k and that's for both already. He walked away though so we didn't think he'd come back for it. After a few hours, he came back with a plastic bag of coins. He said it was P10,000 worth of P10 coins that he took out from his alkansya (coin/piggy bank). It was such a special moment because he looked so happy and so proud that he would be able to buy his daughter who was on her 4th year in college a laptop that she needed for school with just his piggy bank savings! He kept saying how happy he was to be able to find laptops he could afford for his children and that his kids will be so happy! Made us feel all warm & fuzzy, too! :)

More shoppers to attend to now! See you later!

01 September 2010

Rockin' the Kasbah for Lunch

The Mister and I have always wanted to try dining at Kasbah ever since it opened a few years back and after we'd heard and read so much about their flavorful tagines and interesting Moroccan food. But since for the past few summers, we had been visiting Boracay with the rest of my family (rest of the family being my sisters, my dad and my mom), we had to keep giving Kasbah a miss since my folks aren't exactly the adventurous types when it comes to food and have always been skeptical about our food and restaurant choices (especially after a near-disaster birthday dinner I insisted to have at Bollywood in Greenbelt a few years ago).

When we booked this visit though (initially just for the Mister, the Little Boy and I), we knew we would finally have a chance to dine at Kasbah this time! And after my mom decided to come along, we immediately gave her a heads up and told her that it was set: we were eating at Kasbah, no matter what.

So one rainy afternoon, we finally found the perfect opportunity to persuade my mom to let us treat her to a lunch at nearby Kasbah. She didn't have a choice really. It was still drizzling a bit and we were all too lazy to go to D'Mall or anywhere else for lunch so Kasbah, which was just next door to Discovery Shores, was perfect!

They had the usual bamboo scaffolding+plastic sheets barrier set up right in front so we weren't able to enjoy our meal on the couches they had right on the beach nor did we get a very good view of the sea while we had our lunch, so that was a bummer! And when we got inside, most of the chairs were still wet from the rain (the place is really small), a few chairs & tables were overturned, and there was hardly anyone there, we weren't sure if they were actually open!

We had to wait a few more minutes before somebody actually noticed us and gave us a table inside. But once we were seated, all the bright pinks, blues, yellows and purples cheered us right up and got us excited for what would be an interesting Moroccan lunch.

We ordered the Tangier Calamares (P355), exquisitely stuffed squid with a mixture of garlic herbed rice in a piquant tomato sauce -- as described in their menu, and it was exactly what we got. Four medium-sized squid stuffed with herbed garlic rice; a simple dish but the spicy tomato-based sauce made it a winner!

It was meant to be an appetizer but could have easily been a good entree, too! This was actually my favorite dish out of everything we ordered!

For Mother, we played it safe and ordered Chicken Brochette (P300) and asked if we could have it cooked with as little spice as possible. Boo. :(

On their website & menu, it says that brochettes are basically Moroccan Meat Skewers -- Morocco is renowned for its street stall food of savoury skewers seasoned with cumin, coriander, lemon, garlic and black pepper served with chermoula or harissa dip. Succulently tender. Too bad we had to request for it not to be too spicy! While I don't exactly know just how much spices and flavors they had to leave out, the chicken was actually still pretty yummy! In fact, Mother loved it so much, she swears she'll help us drag the rest of the family for a meal at Kasbah next time we're in Boracay! Yay!

And then we had to get a traditional Moroccan tagine, of course! Especially after seeing all the bright, colorful tagines displayed all around the place. Again, according to their website, a tagine is a traditional Moroccan dish combining the most exquisite ingredients slowly cooked to enhance the flavors, the conical shaped lid ensures that the dish is kept moist and enthused with the flavour and aroma of the spices.

We wanted to try the Seafood Saffron Tagine (Solo P425; To Share P810) that we had heard so much about but oddly enough, they were out of seafood. :s So we went with the Lamb Tagine with prunes, hard-boiled eggs, honey and almonds (Solo P445; To Share P850) instead.

The flavors were great! The honey and the prunes had imparted a sweet taste that perfectly complemented the gamey taste and the super tender meat of the lamb. The only thing was, it was barely warm when it was served to us so it took away from what would've been a perfect dish. :( Nevertheless, it was still pretty good!

The tagine came with basmati rice, but we ordered an extra plate of couscous just for good measure and to complete the whole Moroccan meal!

Overall, our lunch at Kasbah was great! The hearty, spiced meals paired with our fresh fruit shakes was just perfect for a rainy day at the beach.

Though, I would have to say that Kasbah doesn't look too great during the daytime especially when the couches out front are all covered and I would imagine a dinner experience at Kasbah would've been a lot better. :)

The best part of the meal? We dined on a Tuesday and they had just launched their Toss-Up Tuesdays where if you win in a heads or tails coin toss-up, you actually get 50% off on your food! And, we won!!! Yay!! So we paid just half for a meal which would've otherwise cost us a lot (prices are a bit steep even for Boracay standards though I would have to say the food was worth it!).

The only negative part about this whole experience is how badly we've been craving for more tagines and Moroccan food ever since, knowing we would have to wait until our next Boracay trip for it! :'(