Saturday, December 31, 2011

Movies for 2012

It’s the New Year and I am giving you this special edition of the information I gathered from the internet on the movies that are to look forward to for 2012.  These are the things that may occupy your mind, the members of the working class.  And these may help you balance out that budget to ensure that you invest only on the right movies.

(Disclaimer:  this list does not claim to be the complete guide; there might be changes and all rights are reserved to the rightful owners)

January - Contraband | Joyful Noise | Man on a Ledge | One for the Money | Red Tails | The Grey | Underworld Awakening
My ticket money goes to Underworld Awakening – obviously a follower of this saga; the battle now shifts from vamps vs. lycans to both vs. humans in a fight for survival)


February - Big Miracle | Chronicle | Gone | Journey 2: The Mysterious Island | Safe House | The Vow | The Woman in Black | This Means War | Ghost Rider: Spirits of Vengeance

For the month of love, it seemed like I needed more than the titles for me to decide which one to watch aside from Ghost Rider.

March - A Thousand Words | Dr. Seuss' The Lorax | Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters | John Carter | The Hunger Games | The Pirates! Band of Misfits | The Raven | Think Like a Man

There are quite a number from the list that I want to watch, but on top of my choice would be The Hunger Games. This time, I want to watch the movie prior to reading the novels and experience the difference.  Runners up are Hansel and Gretel (take note that for 2012 there will be a lot of children’s story adaptations) and Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax.


April  - American Reunion | Bullet to the Head | Chimpanzee | House at the End of the Street | Lockout | Movie 43 | Scary Movie 5 | The Cabin in the Woods | The Cold Light of Day | The Lucky One | The Three Stooges

To simplify life I want to watch them all! Hahaha!  But I can’t so to choose I am torn among The Cabin in the Woods, The Three Stooges and House at the End of the Street – whew, movie titles are steadily becoming longer

May – Battleship | Dark Shadows | Men in Black 3 | The Avengers | The Dictator | What to Expect When Your Expecting

I’ll definitely watch The Avengers and Men in Black 3.  I am, however, intrigued by Battleship, Dark Shadows and The Dictator. I’ll have to research further though.

June - Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter | Brave | G.I. Joe 2 | I Hate You, Dad | Jack the Giant Killer | Prometheus | Rock of Ages | Safe Haven | Snow White and the Huntsman | Madagascar

My birth month!  I’m looking forward to see G.I. Joe 2 and Prometheus.  Then you have Jack the Giant Killer and Snow White as additions from the library of stories for kids turned adult (nope, not that kind of adaptation!)

July - Neighborhood Watch | Step Up 4 | Ted | The Amazing Spider-Man | Ice Age: Continental Drift | The Dark Knight Rises

Very lean choices for July so I’d definitely choose Step Up 4 --- NOT!  Ehe, I’d have to sit this one out and wait it to be shown in the cable channels instead.  So it’s going to be a definite Spider or Bat flick for me.  Heroes anyone?

August - Diary of a Whimpy Kid: Dog Days | ParaNorman | Premium Rush | The Apparition | The Bourne Legacy | The Expendables II | The Odd Life of Timothy Green | Total Recall | Warm Bodies

Then August becomes bloated with choices.  Bourne Legacy is on top of my list, followed by the sequel of Expendables (yes laugh at me).  Then I might check The Apparition.

September – Argo | Dredd | Hotel Transylvania | Looper | Resident Evil Retribution | Savages

The first of the ‘ber months’ will have me rooting for Resident Evil and is a bit inclined to research on Argo and Savages. If everything goes as advertised, this month should be full of action.


 October - Atlas Shrugged Part II | Frankenweenie | Fun Size | Gangster Squad | Halloween III | Here Comes the Boom | Of Men & Mavericks | Parker | Twylight Zones

I do not know any of the films lined-up for the festive month of October but randomly through the titles, it might be a battle between Halloween III and Twylight Zones for the title ehe…

November - 47 Ronin | My Mother's Curse | Rise of the Guardians | Skyfall | The Silver Linings Playbook | The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2 | Three Mississippi | Wreck-It Ralph

Two months left.  The Twilight is a sure pick whether I like it or else… haha. Then I might check Rise of the Guardians and Skyfall (a new and the 23rd James Bond Film)

December - Django Unchained | Great Hope Springs | Hunter Killer | Les Miserables | Life of Pi | The Great Gatsby | The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey | This is Forty | World War Z

For the happy month of December.  The Hobbit marks my top; followed closely by Les Miserables (wonder how they adapted this one from a famous theatrical play)

There you have it!  Go and organize your 2012 movie dates and feel free to give me a howler in case there are updates.  Have fun watching!

Happy 2012!

The 'Brains' Behind your Food

Knowing your food more (Interview with the people behind Purple Pad Thai)
My constant quest to find great food havens in and out of the metro has put me to this new place with the badge of offering thai cuisine.  True enough, they were part of the many places I have visited and inspired me to create this blog.  More specifically, the feature of their restaurant landed them my first ever blog post and my first ever response from the people behind them.  Receiving a ‘thank you’ message and having these people share my blog link to people they know made me feel that doing this blog is really something that I can do while keeping my day job.  

After that pilot post, I have also received plenty of inquiries from friends and co-workers asking me the location, the menu options and my recommended dishes.  It was then that the idea of returning and possibly interviewing the people behind Purple Pad Thai came into existence.  The response was immediate and I was told that I can just inform them should I visit them again so we can discuss further the improvements made of the place as well as the menu.  It just so happened that my ‘calendar’ was quite jam-packed for the next 2-3 weeks and has also commitments to meet with other restaurateurs for meetings and feature interviews.  Then December came and I thought (or my stomach craving for something Thai) of revisiting if the invitation still stands.  I was not disappointed.  Because apart from the usual interview I was requesting, I was given the opportunity to sample dishes lined-up for their 2012 menu!  As in, try out dishes that haven’t been released yet on their usual offerings.  I was in heaven.  But I needed to go back to reality because I need to come up with article options on how I will be attacking the next feature of their place.   Armed with my laptop, my stomach (and an extra notepad and pen just in case my battery fails me), I settled for an official date with them for the taste test.

Now, to kill the momentum of this post, NOPE I will not be featuring the new menu in this article (tehee, that’s me at the background with a grin) and promised them to do it on a later date either this year or early January of 2012.  Instead, this article aims to show you more of the place as well as snippets from my interview with Mr. Randy Ramos and their resident chef, Mr. Kiet Phassakorn (FB accounts of both are up and running)  Because true to my advocacy to read and research, it is almost always best to be armed with information before venturing to any food trip/adventure.

So there you have it, additional information for the ever loyal patrons of the resto and hopefully, enough ‘push’ for those who still have not tried going to this place.  I was more than satisfied seeing the changes (and even more excited with the upcoming improvements). And while I’m at it, it is a good ‘break’ from all the holiday flavors we have around these days…ehe…

I have also taken some pictures of how the place looks like now as well as their staff.  Don’t worry, at the last part of the photo line-up are teasers of the ‘up and coming dishes’ we sampled.  Just enough to tease your appetite and hopefully you’ll stick around this blog longer, ehe…please don't say i'm wrong..haha, instead SHARE WITH ME EXPERIENCES when you get to visit them...

Interiors are clean, spacious and elegantly modern
Conference Area for more intimate meetings

The menu is up for updating... watch our for the new look!

Iconic 'Menu Board' which will undergo some updating too
Buddha photo installed on one of the walls

teaser teaser

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Korean 'Fast' Food Take

My recent blog post on Korean cuisine introduced the basic concepts of what to expect on a Korean meal and it also focused on ‘banchan’ or the side dishes popular to the Korean eating experience.  For its 2nd installment, I will feature two of the best places for my self- assigned term:  Korean Fast Food.  It is through these establishments that Korean food was made known to the general masses with their less threatening ambience, menu selection and primarily due to the affordability of meals.  I am referring to 1st Avenue in the main Mac Arthur Hi-way of Balibago, Angeles city and Mr. Ramyun which is now in almost every place I know in the metro.  Both of these establishments are accessible, almost always open during wee hours of the night (after work) and have relatively nice staff.

TOUR 1:  1st Avenue
Located in Balibago Angeles City, this place is not hard to find.  It is strategically located along the famous Mac Arthur Hi-way and is next to popular spots like McDonalds Balibago and a new Seven Eleven store.  It’s famous orange signage invites hungry souls to visit it.  Do not, however, get discouraged by the seemingly narrow space because the venue actually stretches at the back where a more spacious area awaits the customers.  The ambience, I would say, borders on the informal, fast food slash drinking hub type.  The winning point for choosing this place is that I see a lot of Koreans frequent this place so it must be good.  In terms of menu selection, they have quite some on their list and if you do not know the Korean language, it would be a bit difficult trying to figure them out.  I wish they’d have more pictures instead or at least descriptions.  Price-wise, I’d say they have theirs grouped into two.  On one side are on the average to above average range with some of the items priced almost as if you were in a fine dining restaurant (must be the type of ingredients I say).  The other side, the one which would be more appealing to people are the more ‘popular’ Korean fares so even without photos, newbies would have it easier deciding.  I am talking about their Ramyun and Kimbab line-up.

Ram-what? Kim-say again? To level off our understanding and for the benefit of those who have not tried anything Korean, let me give a crash course description of what ramyun and kimbab are.  Ramyun is the Korean equivalent of the famous Japanese Ramen (or Lomi of the Southern Tagalog).  It is spicy, flavorful and usually with spring onions, eggs, chili and various toppings. Kimbab, on the other hand, is the Korean’s take of a sushi roll.

In 1st Avenue, they have quite a number of ramyun options.  The most affordable is the Babae Ramyun (I still don’t know how it is pronounced) at about 55 pesos per bowl.  The other Ramyuns usually have various toppings that differentiate one from the other.  I have so far tried the cheese, dumpling and kimchi variations.  Good news also for the ladies as a typical order of ramyun can be SPLIT into two so no wastage there for the ‘not-so-hungry’ customers.
I haven’t gotten a chance to know who the owner is but when I do, I would ask for a more extensive feature especially of their menu options.

TOUR 2: Mr. Ramyun
 This player I would say started it all.  It became an instant hit with the younger residents of Angeles City with the establishments of mini-shops that offer Korean fares.  Not only are they restaurants, but they also are a ‘food shop’ where people can buy instant noodles (that’s a big smile for those who want to extend their Korean ramyun experience to the comforts of their homes) and some nice desserts (Fish Ice cream anyone?).  Below is a photo I got from their facebook account where customers can see (and decide) what type of food to take.  One of their advantages is that they already divided their offerings into options for a ‘full meal’ and the other to give just ‘half’ of the usual servings.                 
 Yes, that’s about three (or four counting Jiampong style) levels of ‘hotness’ you can choose from.  Or just simply advise the team when you order should you want yours mild (or extra hot).  And while we are on the topic of noodles, Mr. Ramyun also has their ‘Mr. U-Dong’ line-up.
A break from the usual kimbab offering (which they also have, by the way) is the Riceball.  It will remind some of the popular siopao but instead of a bun, it is rice that covers the stuffing.

One of the nicest location of Mr. Ramyun is the one located at the Angeles-famous Bale Harencia.  There are several ways of going there.  One is to ride the yellow Villa-Pampang bound jeepneys and the other is to ride the blue C.Point Hi-way PUJs.  It is strategically located next to Holy Angel University so this place is commonly frequented by students.  Below are some of the photos I have when I recently visited their place.  


There is this new food kiosk near to where we go for the gym making 'Korean Egg Cakes'... at PhP 20 per piece.  Not so sure if you have these on other places too, but it's the first one of its kind that I saw here.  I'm going to do further research...