Friday, November 19, 2010


Whoever once enjoyed ice scramble in their childhood will surely be feeling happy to see its comeback. Recently, I was strolling at Robinson's Place Manila when I saw people lined up at this one food stall in Padre Faura wing. "There must be something new out there", I said to myself. As I came closer, I saw a very fresh-looking foodcart, lighted up, and blushing in pale pink background. I was seeing a childhood favorite: ICE SCRAMBLE! I instantly ordered one cup for myself and as I was waiting for the staff to prepare my much-awaited ice scramble, memories are flooding thru my head:

I grew up in Pasay as a child and we had this neighbor who has a bicycle customized with a tiny roof and styro cooler on the side. The styro contains the pink-colored scrambled ice mixed with sugar and vanilla. On the side are those tiny little pink pearls contained in a bottle, milk and hershey's chocolate swirl that he puts on top of the ice scramble. Makes my heart melt everytime he puts those sweet garnishes. And as soon as you taste it, you can feel the smooth crushed ice in your mouth. Unlike today, he scrambles the ice manually with this egg-beater like machine.

Now, this ice scramble has a gotten a lot of twist. Its pearls tastes a bit sour and you can pop it. You can also customize it with candy sprinkles, popped rice, chocolates, etc. But I still love the good old ice scramble that I use to have as a kid. I always look forward to it everytime I get out of school. Only - I have to get it behind my father's back because he's not so into this ice scramble. Haha! I wish these modern-day ice scramble carts would have the classic recipe. I would love to buy one cup everyday.

Mangia! Mangia!


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Lunch at Jacob's Shawarma

My authentic Turkish shawarma while Jacob explaining the Qur'an

I still have the aftermath of Raw School's last assignment: To create an ad to recruit people into Muslim faith and another to recruit into Catholic faith. That was totally, totally crazy. I mean, next to selling insurance, I think the hardest thing to do was to influence someone about his faith!

Born from a Catholic family, I have stopped practicing back in college when I got into Sociology class on our sophomore or junior years (I don't really remember when was that, but yeah, this professor in Sociology corrupted my faith! LOL) Admittedly, I don't know much about my religion, very much so about the Muslim faith. So I went up to a couple of friends whom I know are reliable about the topic. First, to my bestfriend (who is from the seat of Catholicism and practiced Islam at one point, but then went back to his original faith) and later on to Jacob, the very proud owner of Jacob's Shawarma restaurant.

My colleague, Ariane posing for Jacob's Shawarma

So again, why do I have this entry on my food blog? I guess because next to language (or religion for that matter), what you can't take away from someone is his food. And Jacob's Shawarma is like an epitome of Turkish culture and food. From what I've read, the spread of Muslim faith started in Constantinople (now Istanbul), Turkey during the arrival of the Ottoman Empire. And much like the language, you will find the reflection of a culture from its food just like an original Turkish shawarma. It has zest, it's fresh, tender and spicy at the same time. It has no garlic sauce that we use to get from shawarma stalls in the malls or streets. But it was really good. I've read from somewhere, if you want to know a country's culture, you have to start with the food. And Jacob's shawarma is very rich as its history back in the days when Constantinople was still an imperial capital of the Roman Empire. The combination of parsley, tomatoes, white onion with the lamb in a pita bread bursts in your mouth like you're tasting each ingredient all at the same time. I don't know if it was from the Romans, the Byzantines or the Ottomans but it was definitely one authentic dish I'm getting there. And more so, my perception about shawarma has changed. It's not the same shawarma I think of anymore.

My lunch: Lamb shawarma with Soya drink made by the Restauranteur himself, Jacob Cortes.

A Brief Background:
I met Jacob a few years back in Myspace and he came to Manila to take care of a few business. At first, I was reluctant to believe he was into modeling and that he was putting a shawarma business here. Maybe because of my subtle apprehension that he is a Muslim and the life-long impression I have of someone like him. Not to mention, he is a foreigner. But then, my good samaritan instinct propped me to helping him. I saw the genuity and sincerity in him. Plus, I felt kawawa to him roaming around Manila without knowing anyone, and very difficult to understand with his conversant English at that time. So, I referred a few things relating to his upcoming business with high hopes he'll get some help. And the rest was history.

Going Back to the Aftermath of the Raw School Assignment:
At this point, I asked Jacob to help us in relating some info about the Muslim faith, a little of history, what it's all about. Me and Ariane went to his cozy, cozy restaurant in Ortigas. The interview began at 10am and time spun so fast and so are the many doors that showed me to the Muslim faith. I haven't seen anyone who has known his faith just like Jacob. I was silently telling myself, I wish I had known mine like he does. There were also a few things that made me change the way I look at Muslim faith like allowing a man to have up to four wives, which according to Jacob is not in a Muslim practice but an ethnic culture, the Jihad or Holy War, their belief in Jesus Christ among other things.

If you pass by Ortigas, try having lunch or dinner or midnight snack at Jacob's Shawarma. The restaurant is open 24 hours a day. If you're coming from Galleria, just exit from Gold's Gym and take a walk to the street when you go out. Up near the corner, you will find this cute little restaurant greeted by Filipino staff and you'll be served by this Turkish hunk with his authentic Turkish shawarma.

Posing with Jacob's expression board on the background. All things written are nothing but satisfaction with his shawarma. Some are even signed by famous people. :)

Also a must try: The soya drink especially made by the Restauranteur himself :)

Mangia! Mangia!


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Miswa Batchoy for a Holiday Breakfast

Today is a holiday. Holiday for what, I really don't know. It's like we've been celebrating a lot of holidays lately and for all you know, it's becoming a regular one and each year it comes, it's celebrated without my complete understanding what it is. From what I've read, today is the 2nd most important feast for Muslims. God Bless this Holiday, but yeah, I'm still not understanding it. I hope the government give us some sort of explanation why we're getting too much holidays these days. I mean, don't get me wrong. Who doesn't like to be on holiday? It's just that I don't understand it like the other holidays that we usually have.

And so why am I starting this post with a holiday? Maybe because since it's holiday, I am too lazy to get up that I don't know what to eat for breakfast. It took me 'til 10am today to figure out what to eat.

I've been promoting my online shop( on facebook since I woke up this morning and after hours of doing so, I felt the need for food. And because I am alone (again) in my humble room, I went out for pandesal, miswa batchoy, pancit bihon and one-fourth slice of cheese. God, I realized I'm really hungry, I'm binging on the food I am seeing. So this morning, I had one pandesal with cheese, one tall glass of milk and this miswa soup. The missy who was selling this at the compound gate of my humble abode in Paco told me it's miswa batchoy. I can tell by the taste that it was made out of sauteed ginger, garlic and onion. With pork meat, liver and blood cubes, the miswa was added with ample amount of water to make a sumptuous soup.

It's like having chicken arroz caldo. And it's my first time to try this. I decided so just to have an experience of what it tastes like. I mean, I can have anything and I'm not too sensitive with any dish except, except curry! I don't like any kind of curry. So well, yeah, this dish does not really appeal in the eyes but it's good enough to warm you up in the morning. Perhaps I will cook my own version when I get back home to my parents.

Mangia, Mangia!

BellaDonna <3