Thursday, November 17, 2005

Cashews and Durian chips

I had to stop by Market!Market and found that there's a whole new wing I hadn't seen before. There are signs for a new Korean market, and potted plants are on sale. A whole row of food carts are also up selling packaged chichiriya (snacks and other miscellaneous food products), sausages, peeled chestnuts, and assorted Asian edibles. One of the food carts sells Thai munchies, under the brand Aloi. What that means is a mystery to me, I should probably ask my Thai friends if that word means anything. Aloi has several outlets in different malls, usually near the movie theaters for those of us who don't think popcorn is the end all and be all of movie snacks. I'm particularly addicted to the durian chips (doesn't have the pungency of fresh durian, and may seemingly be healthier than potato chips...not) and their roasted bangkok cashews.

Nuts are great snacks. I'm a long time fan of boiled peanuts, roasted almonds (ooh, the ones in the States that are soy flavored are wonderful), macadamias, and nuts in chocolate are great. Cashews can be difficult to get, good ones, not the burnt to a mealy crisp or somewhat rancid tasting. So I've been happy with the quality, size and flavor of the Aloi cashews. The few times I buy them, they taste fresh, are of uniform size and color, and aren't heavily salted.

Aloi sells their nuts, candies and other items by the 100g, and they're not the cheapest, but at least I don't have too many surprises eating their stuff.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Thy name is procrastination

I have 5 major, urgent, must-do things to complete this week. They were all due last week or earlier. One includes paying a rather important bill. Hi, I'm a procrastinator.
It's been my weakest link since childhood, the ability to push the limits of my deadlines and pay by dates. Is it a vice? Or is there some latent underlying problem that creates this endless lateness? I hate it, I know it, I can do something about it, but it's there.
I even procrastinate writing in this blog, but at least it's not an urgent matter. The bills however, are another matter altogether.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Tuesdays, hot sweltering Tuesdays

What odes are there to Tuesdays? What songs? Mondays, Fridays and general weekends seem to have the corner on songs and emotions. The rest of the week don't qualify. Does anyone have a paean to Tuesdays?

It's also been much too hot lately, where are our typhoons? Minus the rain, typhoons are lovely, the winds sweep out all the smog and lowers the temperatures for a couple of days. Plus think of all the delightfully middle-class memories we have of typhoons - no class, no work, eating, playing cards, sleeping. For sheer desperation, pulling out the woolies that we only get to use in Baguio to warm up (mind you, putting the aircon on while there's a typhoon makes for that perfect San Francisco chill).

I have organized my books, and put them on a spreadsheet. From my struggles, I realized that I have books that go back, way back, to early adulthood, some to childhood. I have lost so much though, my Agatha Christie Penguin editions, my Jane Eyre, and where the heck is my complete Sherlock Holmes? Not to mention all the romantic trash I bought at the old Army and Navy Club on my weekly allowance.

From the list, I find that I have 40 PG Wodehouse, a stack of female Anglo-mystery writers (blame dame christie), and a column of fantasy (pratchett, gaiman, mckinley). I reminisced over my All Female Classics period, reminded of that year when I went through one female writer a week (Wharton, Eliot, Austen, the other Bronte's, Chopin, Cather) until I nearly ran out of writers and started picking up those I didn't like, mostly preachy books or plain depressing Victorian authors.

I found a new copy, recently re-published copy of The Art of Eating by MFK Fisher. I waffled over getting the copy, and spent a day deciding whether or not to get it, but as I also decided to swallow my lumps and buy the complete Calvin and Hobbes, I figured, why not go crazy and get both, plus a few more books in the long run. The bill was enough for me to get a free discount card at Fully Booked. I don't want to see my credit card bill!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Ode to shopping: A ladder, a bench, and thou

Night markets - Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Hong Kong. Where are Manila's night markets? Yes, we tout long night drinking spots and 24 hour McDonald delivery, but where can shoppers go at 11 p.m. to buy stuff in the middle of summer? I'd do more shopping if it were at night, it's cooler and interesting food finds are always more, well, interesting, late at night after finding a eureka tidbit.
At a recent embassy bazaar, I chose a long wooden bench and a Igorot/mountain province inspired ladder, paid for it and told the vendor I'd pick it up after two weeks. After a couple of days trying to contact the vendor with thoughts having been cheated of my money, the agreement was that I'd pick up my buys at their new outlets in Tiendesitas. A friend had emailed me about it, so I was ready to check out the new shopping haven in the city.
Tiendesitas is between Ortigas Avenue and J. Vargas Avenue, right behind Ortigas Center. I had seen it being built on the occasional venture out on C5, but paid it no mind. I'm too Makati-centric, and find it more convenient to do all my shopping here. But now that I live in New Manila, I've started exploring Cubao and now Ortigas.
What struck me going around Tiendesitas is the sheer gimmickry of the place, think theme shopping. Another friend said that it was built along the lines of Chatuchak in Bangkok, but I don't think this is anywhere near the scale of Chatuchak. I also hope they learn from the problems of their Bangkok brother since that market gives me a headache after an hour of wandering. Sizewise, Tiendesitas is only third of what you'd find in Chatuchak; the maze effect is missing, and perhaps when more vendors pack it in, there will be more of that joie de vivre, hustle and bustle, and pure sense of commerce. What Tiendesitas does bring to mind is a cleaner, more open Greenhills Shopping Center/Virra Mall layout. And when I spoke to a vendor, she told me that they are originally based in GSC, but find the business in the new location better (perhaps for the novelty than for anything else. Well, and the free parking).
Parking is, as I mentioned, free, but limited. If it turns into a Greenhills franchise, the space they have for parking will easily run out. It's not very accessible to public transport, perhaps to limit hoi polloi. One aspect I forgot to check out was the public bathrooms. For now, the green space is pleasant, and at 8:30 p.m., the breeze made it pleasant to stay out and wander around the open stores.
I picked up my bench, ladder, and was suckered into picking up two wooden trays. A 50% discount is too much for me to pass up, I have to admit to a weakness when the discount is larger than 30%. That makes the section of my brain controlled by primeval urges go "Buy! Buy! Buy!" I also couldn't resist a pomelo shake at one of the fruit vendors; my worry that it would be a saccharinely sweet concoction was all for naught, and trying to get all the pomelo bits was a nice alternative to canned juices. Give me pulp or give me a bargain.
My new finds are positioned (they fit) in their new home, giving some definition to my room. Now all I need is to find the space for the bookshelves I ordered.

Pike Market Peonies

Pike Market Peonies