Just the Two of Us: Bizu at The Promenade

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Now that Peewee has overcome his separation anxiety and grows confident by the day, he has been staying at my Mother’s house every weekend. This has been his weekend routine for almost a year now and we as parents are loving it! One, he gets to spend quality time with my parents and my sisters and  two, John and I get to spend some time with each other.

John at Bizu

John at Bizu

We headed to The Promenade in Greenhills Shopping Centre for dinner before our movie. Since I was craving for macarons, he indulged me with a French dinner.

This is not our first time at Bizu. We have been going there for our sweet cravings and coffee or tea. We always get the L’Opera and a good cup of tea or coffee. However this is our first time having dinner there. So, here’s what we had:

French Onion Soup @ Bizu

French Onion Soup @ Bizu

French Onion Soup. Hearty, hot and full of flavor. Its obvious that they really took time cooking down the onions. Sweet, a little bit of tang and the broth – very delicious. The melted cheese didn’t do anything to me but that soaked-in-broth crusty baguette was unbelievable! Maybe they should lessen the cheese or make a combination of cheeses. Obviously they used Mozzarella here.

John had the Salmon Pommery and I had the Chicken Cordon Bleu.

Salmon Pommery and Cordon Bleu

 

Salmon Pommery. Butter poached salmon with Parmesan cheese and pea risotto, asparagus and Pommery mustard sauce. John gave me a portion of his dish (as good husbands do!) and it was delicious. Perfectly cooked salmon, moist and buttery. The risotto was a vessel for the salmon, light and fresh with the hint of nuttiness from the Parmesan then the mustard sauce cuts the richness of the salmon. Magnifique!

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Chicken Cordon Bleu. A roulade of deep fried chicken with mozzarella cheese and forest ham with mushroom Carbonara. I was a bit disappointed with this dish because of the overwhelming use of cheese. Chicken was cooked to perfection and the forest ham give a slightly salty taste to it. The mushroom Carbonara was good but did not leave any impression on me. I’m a bit particular with my Carbonara, I like the traditional Italian way – spaghetti, guanciale/bacon, eggs and cheese (Parmigiano Reggiano and Grana Padano) thats it! No mushrooms, no cream. But hey, we’re at a french bistro so….

Of course, a date is not complete without some sweets right?!

Macaron de Paris

I had Earl Grey and Vanilla Madagascar. Oh, little chewy sweet goodness! Those little things pack a big punch of flavor. I really tasted the Earl Grey and that premium vanilla they used in making these delectable goodies.

What dishes have you tried in Bizu? What flavors of macarons do you recommend?

Lunchin’ Alone: Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen

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Since I am back in the work force, I am forced to eat outside. I enjoy dining out, but usually I am with John and Peewee or family and friends. But never alone.

I don’t like eating alone. Makes me feel like a loser. (sorry, but I do)

I don't like eating alone.

I don’t like eating alone.

On with the food… I love Japanese food but John doesn’t. So whenever I have a craving for anything, I have to drag my friends or eat alone.

I tried Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen when the craze was at its peak. Ramen places sprouting out like mushrooms was reminiscent of Go Nuts Donuts glory days.

Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen

Headed to the new Shangri-la wing as early as possible as to avoid the queue. Here’s what I ordered:

Asari Butter

Asari Butter

This is Asari Butter. Its stir fried clams with butter. Briny fresh claims, taste of the sea and then your mouth gets this envelope of glorious butter that will keep you wanting more. Good. A nice way to start my lunch.

Ajitama Tonkotsu

Ajitama Tonkotsu

For my ramen I had Ajitama Tonkotsu. Rich milky soup base, springy noodles, the marinated egg, mushrooms, bamboo sprouts and the pork. All ingredients come together in one big slurp!

Definitely coming back to try different ramens.

Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen
Level 5, Shangri-la Plaza East Wing, Mandaluyong City

The Hope of Love Gained and Lost: A Story of Miscarriage

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The first time I learned that I was pregnant with my first born Peewee, I shed tears of happiness. I was so happy that my doctor cried with me in delight. I love being pregnant. The thought of bringing life into this world brings joy to my heart.

So when I learned that I was pregnant for the second time around on Christmas day 2011, I shed tears of happiness again. But it was SO much more than that. Happy tears fell because of a couple of reasons. First, I wanted this new life to come into our lives so badly since Peewee was 2 years old. I wanted to have children who are 2-3 years apart so that they’ll play and grow together. A tandem of sorts. I also wanted to have children while I am still relatively young. I’m in my 30s and I want to be able to run free and play with my children as long as it is physically possible. Yes I am aware of medical advancements in child bearing aspect but I don’t want to go through that road. And besides, I don’t want to be 60 and still have a preschooler. Another reason of my happiness is that its gift for my husband John. He has been a good father and role model to my son and he deserves another one for him to love and carry around. :)

The second pregnancy was really tough on me. I got a new job, new responsibilities and new tasks to think about on top of activities for Peewee in school and therapy. In spite of that, I went through the morning sickness with a breeze. Ate healthier meals and took some time to rest as much as I can. The first ultrasound I had was to check the development of the embryo – its gestational age. They had to adjust my LMP (Last Menstrual Period) because it didn’t coincide with the gestational age. After two weeks, I was five weeks pregnant. :)

Knowing I had gestational diabetes during my first pregnancy, my OB was very keen on me health wise. She had me on dietary monitor and had me consult with a handful of doctors. I tried to diligently take my meds and follow a strict diet. I was only allowed to gain a pound a month. I get nervous every time I was due for a monthly prenatal check up. The second monthly checkup we heard the heartbeat. John was with me and I saw the happiness in his face when he heard the heartbeat. Pretty exciting times.

February was a happy and toxic time for us. During the love month, John and I celebrate our wedding anniversary and Peewee’s birthday. And in between, there’s therapy and school activities. And this month, Peewee got sick that we had to rush him to the hospital due to high fever. A very stressful time that I do want to forget. And not a good time to be pregnant at that. Having a child who gets seizures every time he has high fever doesn’t grow old with me. I still feel that its the first time. Very scary time.

March came and every thing went by smoothly. I was on track and feeling much better. I was entering my second trimester. However, during this month people have been noticing that my tummy wasn’t growing. I often say that I begin growing by the last trimester which was true with my first pregnancy. My next prenatal check up was on April 11.

Oh April 11. My heart sank to the deepest part of the earth. A day I will never forget. During this routine check up, the OB put the doppler on my tummy and heard nothing. Nothing. No heart beat. She then used her portable ultrasound to check and measured the fetus. Made some calculations and saw the worry in her face. She had me go to ultrasound to confirm. While waiting to be called for the ultrasound, I prayed. I prayed to God to give me strength to face whatever will happen. Prayed to God for strength to accept. Accept my fate.  Accept my fate and carry on. Carry on and know that there is a silver lining. When I was called, I told John he should come with me inside the examination room. I told him I will not go inside the room alone. I needed him there to give me strength. He did. And asserted that he’s the husband and he’s a doctor. I didn’t had the strength to look at the monitor. Only John and the OB sonologist knew how it looked. It was confirmed. Only 13 weeks. I cried my heart out as soon as the sonologist left the room. Sobbed. Cried some more before I left the room with John holding my hand. I have been carrying the fetus for six weeks – lifeless.

After confirming, I ran to Peewee and hugged him. Hugged him tightly and said my apology. I said “Peewee, sorry for not giving you a playmate.” Held his hand and we went to get ice cream. We had to got back to the OB to prepare for the next process. The OB wanted a spontaneous passing out to preserve the integrity of the uterus. This would mean that they have to induce labor and I have to give “birth” to the fetus. When I heard this I wanted to be done right away. But my OB suggested to process the loss first before going through the procedure.

The drive home was numbing. And as soon as I stepped inside the house, I cried. Cried with John. Tried to sleep and felt nothing. Asked myself what I did wrong and what I didn’t do. Felt dirty knowing that there’s something dead inside me. For six weeks. A month and a half. I wanted this baby so badly. I wanted it for John. I wanted it for Peewee. I felt so useless. The hardest part was telling our parents. Everybody was devastated. I let John tell my mom about the news. I heard she cried. And I couldn’t bear the sound of my mom sobbing. It feels like I failed her.

We had scheduled the procedure that Friday, April 13th. They put a gel/ointment in my cervix to induce labor. And this was done every six hours. I began passing out blood Saturday morning and wheeled me to the labor room. At the labor room, I was given some hard core pain killers that it put me to sleep after 5 minutes. Woke around 10 am and I was bleeding heavily. I was allowed to eat a light lunch while waiting for the passing out. While waiting I prayed to God. By 1pm I felt nothing was happening and set a time that when nothing happens by 4pm, I want to be in my room with John. By 3pm I had this urge to push. So I pushed three times and called the nurse. I told the nurse to check but asked her not to tell me anything. When she checked, she called one of the OB residents. The nurse came back with a bin and covered it up. I told the staff that I do not want to see it. Because I want to “remember” it with happy thoughts. The nursed also asked me if we want to keep the fetus. I said no but I wanted it to be blessed with Holy Water which they obliged. During my time alone, I felt God’s presence every step of the way.

I am now at home and healing – physically and emotionally. I don’t know if I still want to have more children after this ordeal. Thank God that my husband know what I am going through and he said that he would wait for me to be ready. Ready to give it another try to be have more kids. My miscarriage made me appreciate my husband more. He was my rock during this misfortune. It made me grateful knowing I married the right guy for me.

 

 

Peewee’s Development So Far – Therapy Sessions At RLS Therapy Center

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A recent comment I received made me want to write again in this humble blog. Its from a post I have written about my son who was diagnosed with some developmental delay.

Thank you Mads, for reminding me for this post. This is for you and your little one.

After we have been informed of Peewee’s delay, the pediatrician suggested that we look for a therapy center that can accommodate Peewee. You see, there are lots of therapy center in Metro Manila however they are also no slots available for new students. These therapy centers cater to children that are diagnosed with a myriad of developmental delays, autism, ADHD, ADD and so many more. So you can imagine my worry when most of the therapy centers around our area were fully booked and have a wait list.

And then I found RLS-TLC (Therapy Learning Center). The first person I had a chance to talk with was teacher Louise, Peewee’s first occupational therapist. She informed me of the services of the center and invited us for an ocular visit. We grabbed the opportunity to see the place as soon as possible and was impressed on how friendly and inviting the modest facility and the personnel was very accommodating. We also saw 2 other therapy centers that day that were more well equipped than RLC-TLC but the personnel are not so good. To be honest, they were rude.

I told John that I feel I can entrust Peewee with RLS-TLC because of the teachers that I met during the ocular visit. So we had the initial assessment with teacher Dahlia on March 2011, Peewee’s second and current occupational therapist. The initial assessment was an hour long interview with the parents/primary care giver and the assessment with the child. Teacher Dahlia asked me about my pregnancy, when Peewee started eating, sitting, walking and crawling. Then after my interview with her, I had to leave Peewee with her. It was the first ever moment I left my son under someone else’s care. You see, Peewee had separation anxiety. I can’t even leave him with my mother. So hearing him scream and beg for me was heartbreaking during the initial assessment.

After the assessment, it was suggested that Peewee have occupational therapy first before speech therapy. We started with twice a week with teachers Louise and Dahlia. An hour long session filled with activities for the child and addressing the delay through play. The first two months of the OT (occupational therapy), I had to carry Peewee inside and leave him there with the therapist. Peewee would feel anxious whenever we wait our scheduled time slot. He was so anxious he would poop before every session! It was like that for six months.

Dr. Arranz-Lim also suggested to us that we enroll Peewee to school to broaden his social skills. So we did last June 2011 together with twice a week OT and twice a week speech therapy with teacher Faye.

After two months into the therapy, we saw dramatic changes on Peewee. He was more confident, he wasn’t babbling anymore, potty training was much easier and less separation anxiety. It was like a light switch was turned on!

Now that we are in our 9th month of OT and 5th month of speech therapy, Peewee is progressing at a steady pace. Together with his school, therapy sessions at RLS-TLC has helped Peewee know his ABCs, count 1-30, tell the weather, write his name, know family members’ names, a chatterbox and so much more.

As a parent with a child who has developmental delay, I highly recommend RLS-TLC because:
1. Therapists are top of their class
2. Board top notchers and passers
3. Build a relationship with parents and primary care givers because therapy does not end at the center, it continues at home and school
4. They care about their students dearly.

Every time I hear a parent/friend goes through the same ordeal I had been through almost a year ago, I don’t hesitate to recommend RLS-TLC because I saw how my child improved and I want that results too for their kids.

If you want to know more about the RLS-TLC center, please click here.

DISCLAIMER: I am not connected with the management of the center and was not asked by management to write about them. I’m just a parent who believes in their services and would like to help out other parents as well.

Breakfast Alone at The Chocolate Kiss Cafe

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There are times that I crave to be all by myself. No need to worry about Peewee, John or work. Last week I had the needed break from being a mommy and wife. I headed to UP Diliman to eat alone at The Chocolate Kiss Cafe.

It has been ages since I have been to this place. I ordered the Crispy Chicken Pork Adobo, my favorite. You know the feeling of tasting something for the first time? I had that feeling when I had this for breakfast as if I have never had this meal before. And then I was reminded of the times I used to go there during college and law school. Oh, nostalgia.
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Back in the day when Starbucks was not in every corner, I frequent Chocolate Kiss Cafe for their coffee. Its not for the faint of heart. Its strong, dark and full of flavor. It gave me the needed jolt for that day.
Coffee from Chocolate Kiss Cafe

No trip to The Chocolate Kiss Cafe will be complete without sampling their desserts. I chose the sour cream cheesecake. The sour cream topping toned down the richness of the cheesecake. What a nice way to end my breakfast.
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Have you been to The Chocolate Kiss Cafe lately?

Teresita’s Halo Halo and Palabok of San Fernando

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Move over Razon’s you got yourself some serious competition from Teresita’s Halo Halo and Palabok of San Fernando.

I have been eyeing this place every time we traverse the ever so congested Tomas Morato avenue. And I always tell John that I want to try this out. So while Peewee was on his 2 hour therapy session, we went to check out Teresita’s one hot Thursday afternoon.

Teresita’s of San Fernando is an offshoot of Teresita R. Razon’s Halo Halo and Palabok originating and operating within the city of San Fernando in Pampanga. Teresita’s is being operated, owned and managed by Teresita’s sons – Paulo and Ryan who is a Go Negosyo Entrepreneur Awardee and of the Pinoy Edition of Biggest Loser fame (fourth generation Razon).

All Razon’s stores operating nationwide are owned and operated by kins of the 3 spinster sisters namely Severina, Elena and Virginia who all started the business back in 1972 and was passed along to nephews and nieces.

I haven’t been to the original restaurant in Pampanga but I’ve heard a lot of good things about the place.

I ordered the Special Halo halo (95 pesos). Chunks of sweetened bananas, macapuno and langka with shaved ice and topped with a heaping of leche flan. When they served me this halo halo, my jaw dropped.

Can you see how generous that leche flan is? And that’s only the peak of the heap. They put some in the middle of the ice too. You can see the flecks of dayap rind in the leche flan which how leche flan should be made. :) I was in leche flan heaven!

I was also happy that the bananas as well as the other components of the Halo halo were not mashed, you can actually see the chunks of bananas, macapuno and the langka. Yummy!
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I usually eat the leche flan first before mixing everything up. However with Teresita’s halo halo, I had to mix half of the it. Talk about leche flan overload! By doing this, the icy concoction turned a bit too sweet for my taste so I requested for more ice which they happily gave me some.
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John ordered Pancit Luglug (85 pesos). Thick rice noodles topped with a thick orange-y sauce crushed pork cracklings and slices of hard boiled egg. The noodles were cooked right, it was still springy and not all bunched up together. The thick sauce was bursting with flavors, hints of shrimp, crab fat (aligue), toasted garlic and some sweet onions. Very thick, very rich sauce. The pulverized pork cracklings and the slices of hard boiled egg made it over-the-top rich but easily toned down by the calamansi.

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Not yet satisfied with halo halo and palabok? They also have rice meals like Kare-kare, caldereta, embotido, bangus and pork spareribs. You can also buy native delicacies over the counter such as yema, sansrival, brittles, cookies and tarts. And oh, you can also buy the leche flan. Hehehehe

John and I have found a real gem with Teresita’s. I think Razon’s of Guagua should be worried. :D

Teresita’s Halo halo and Palabok is located at Alfredo’s building beside Bubble Tea and Brothers Burger Along Tomas Morato avenue.
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The Diaper Test

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So many brands to choose from, its overwhelming. I can’t believe that I’ll be losing some sleep over diapers. Although Peewee has been potty trained for almost 6 months now, he still wears diapers at night. I have read a lot of articles already about avoiding bed wetting but we still can’t resist giving him his 1AM milk bottle.

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We have scoured the metro in search for the best overnight diaper for Peewee. First off, Drypers WEE WEE Dry. This diaper has a thin absorbent pad and I doubted that it’ll last through the night. Well, it didn’t. After two hours into his sleep, the bed was soaked. Even though it didn’t passed the overnight test, Peewee used this when we were still training him to pee on a potty. A good day diaper.

Next is the Drypers DryPantz. Its a bit thicker than the Wee Wee Dry and it resembles an underwear. This is a good potty training tool so that Peewee will get used to putting one foot and the other on the leg hole and pulling up the diaper. However, after 6 hours into his sleep, again he was soaked. The Mamy Poko Pants Value also met the same demise. And after three different diapers I became frustrated.

Last but not the least, Mamy Poko Extra Soft for BOYS. Features a very thick pad infront (well, you know your anatomy right?!) to absorb the pee and its also great since Peewee sleeps on his chest. We have been using this for almost four months now and I can only recall a handful times he wet his bed. For almost 400 pesos for 10 diapers, these diapers are quite expensive not to mention very hard to find. The nearby ShopWise only put stocks of 4 in about every 2 weeks, so I hoard them every chance I get.

Any brand of diaper that you can suggest for a 21-kilo 3 year old to wear at night?

Seafood Galore At KayMigs

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I got my taste for fish and seafood from my parents. I grew up going to Farmer’s market in Cubao during Sundays and at an early age I knew how to spot different types of fish and seafood not to mention how fresh they are. Since I belong to a seafood loving family, it is but natural for us to be drawn to restaurants that serve good fish and seafood dishes. Whenever my mom feels like eating seafood or if my dad craves for that steamed lapu-lapu (grouper), we always go to KayMig’s at the Seaside Market along Macapagal Ave. in Manila.
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While my parents head to the wet market to buy the seafood and fish for our meals, us kids (ehem) took our usual seat. Peewee and I usually go to the nearest seafood purveyor to check out the live fish and seafood for sale.

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Here are just a few of the food that my parents ordered
Clam soup.
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Very clean flavor. The clams were cooked just right. With a little hint of ginger taste, it was soothing.

Fried squid rings (calamares).
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Cooking squid is a tricky thing to do. Cook it too long, it will become rubbery and you don’t want to eat rubbery squid. The calamares were sweet, soft to the bite and very addicting.

Buttered shrimp.

This is THE reason why we keep coming back to this place. Succulent sweet, salty, spicy, buttery shrimp goodness! Its finger lickin’ good!

Buttered crabs and Baked Mussels (background photo).
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The sauce that they used on the shrimps goes well with the crab too. The baked mussels was so-so.

Steamed Lapu-lapu in light soy sauce.
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You can’t go wrong with fresh lapu lapu. This was cooked to perfection. The sauce was not overpowering the delicate taste of the fish. Definitely a winner in our tummies.

And our all time favorite Ebi tempura (sorry no photo). We believe that they, a non-Japanese restaurant that serves one of the best tempura in town.

So whenever you are craving for some good and fresh seafood, head out to KayMig’s at the Seaside Market in Macapagal avenue.

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