Pieces Of A Wunderkind's Mind

Snippets of Life, Love, Food, Travels, Discoveries, and Whatnot

New Year, New Site, New Look

But, of course, it would still be the same ol’ me.

I would like to inform everyone that I have a new blogging home and it is now on this site. I hope to hear from you soon.

Cheers!!! Let’s drink to a prosperous new year for all of us… and to more blog readers and followers for me. Hehe.

Thanks for sharing 2010 with me. I’m certain that 2011 would be way more awesome with your continued support and friendship.

What do you think of my new web page? I would love to hear from you via the chat box in my new site. [Yeeessss!!! LOL]

Pieces of A Wunderkind’s Mind
a.k.a. Dash Estefani
New Website: http://dashashash.com/

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Winner of the Year-End Giveaway

There were 146 people who participated in my year-end giveaway. What I did was list all the names and shuffled them using Random.org to select the winner.

And the winner of the haul consisting of a set of three button pins, a 4×5 blank journal, and a 2011 planner is… *drum roll*

Click to enlarge

Congratulations, Michelle!!! Smiley I will be in touch with you via email to get your shipping details so please check. For the rest of you who joined, don’t worry. I would be celebrating my blog’s first anniversary Smiley this coming month and as always, I will mark it with a red letter by giving back. So stay tuned for that.

I would like to thank everyone who took time out to participate in this contest. I wish you all a Happy New Year!!!

IMPORTANT: Since the winner of goodie bag #3 from the Yuletide Giveaway [c/o HOF] still hasn’t responded to my email. The House of Flair and I have decided to pick another winner. Here was what the re-drawing came down to.

Congratulations, Joan!!! Smiley Please check your email so I can get your complete shipping details.


Ten Things That Made My Sunday Brunch Extra Special

Last Sunday, I went back to Mercato Centrale. This time, with Francis in tow. We arrived before 10am and we have been munching ever since. We were just supposed to buy a couple of things, drop by to say HI to some concessionaire-friends I made over the past weekend, and have a simple lunch. Eventually, our Mercato visit turned into an unplanned binge session. But no one’s complaining. Unforseen or otherwise, we enjoyed our food trip A LOT. Besides, who wouldn’t take pleasure in eating, right?

Let me share the top ten things that made a mark during last Sunday’s food adventure. I would love to write about all the stuff we’ve seen and tried but I won’t right now. Maybe next time. Meanwhile, here are the ones that made our [Sun]day.

1. Bale Datung’s Pan de Bagnet [P150]

Chef Claude Tayag shares with everyone his take on the popular Italian Porcheta. Pan de Bagnet is a generous serving of crisp bagnet on toasted authentic Ciabatta bread with the Ilocano KBL [Kamatis, Bagoong, and Lasuna (a.k.a. garlic)]. If you want to have a taste of this heavenly treat [which, at the same time, is evil], make sure to come early as this crowd favorite is usually sold out by 11am.

Also available is the famous Bale Dutung Lechon Tortilla which comes at P100.

2. Bap Chi’s Chicken Que’dilla [P165]

Bap Chi offers classic comfort food with an Asian twist. Drop by to sample the delicious Que’dilla — fried, crispy quesadilla stuffed with your choice of meat and loads of cheese [Monterey Jack. :D], onions, red [& green] peppers, and cabbage slaw drizzled with their secret spicy sauce. Don’t forget to say hello to owner Pria Chiongbian Solon, who is sure to greet you with her infectious jolliness. You may also want to try Bap Chi’s equally yummy S’piggy [P175], an Asian version of Sloppy Joe and/or the Baprito [P150], a huge Asian burrito with a distinct Korean flavor. Don’t just drool there. Try it!

3. Stuffed Temptations by February Sweets and Savories [P75 each/P275 for 4/P525 for 8]

It doesn’t seem like it but a stuffed temptation is a stuffed tomato. I was quite surprised to learn what these are in the beginning. I was doubly surprised with how it tasted. The combination of spinach, Parmesan cheese and red, juicy tomato makes this the “Holy Trinity” of appetizers. Whether eaten as a side dish or on its own, anyone will surely be tempted. By the way, these goodies are always freshly made.

4. Eggs Benny by Flamed [got this for free for being their first client the previous weekend]

The newest addition to the roster of Flamed is their eggs benedict sandwich. It is basically ham, poached eggs, mustard, and Hollandaise sauce sandwiched between English muffins.

Flamed is all about bringing the family Sunday backyard barbecue experience to Mercato Centrale. The chefs behind Flamed aim to share good food, the love of family and friends and the joy of life to everyone they’ll meet. So don’t fail to drop a “Hello” when you visit them this weekend. Also try their signature Baby Back Ribs, Triple Beef Burger, Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Sausages, Chicken Boracay, Roasted Potatoes and other mouthwatering sides.

*In the middle of our pig-out, Francis and I bumped into John Ray, a former classmate of mine in college who happens to be a food-loving being like us. We persuaded him to join us and he agreed. And so the foodventure continues…

5. Lola Maria Restaurant’s Cocido and Tinapaté Pan de Sal [got both for P150 only <— sale price since there was only a little of it left.]

Cocido is a traditional Spanish stew of meat [Lola Maria Restaurant used beef], cabbage, and potatoes, which is a hearty and substantial fare. I was expecting its taste to be similar with that of Pochero but oddly, I was just like eating Menudo… a rich, filling Menudo. It came with an eggplant caviar and, when eaten together, produces an even better taste. We enjoyed it.

The Tinapaté Pan de Sal is a pairing of tinapa paté [spread] and mini pan de sal. It’s a uniquely interesting concept that actually works!

6. Dulcelin Gourmet’s US Angus Beef Short Ribs [P250]

Dulcelin has been a mainstay in the past Ultimate Taste Tests and a consistent winner. Having them as part of Mercato Centrale gives loyal patrons nothing but delight. We initially wanted their Wagyu Tri-Tip but it was sold out by the time we asked for it. We settled for this instead and boy was it a good move. Slow cooked for 2 days, this is an incredibly tender beef dish that is sure to please.

7. Balamban Liempo [P150 for dine-in serving / P220 for take-out serving (500 grams)]

Cebu’s original lechon liempo is now in Manila, thanks to Jojo Chua. He is the first franchiser of this chain carrying unforgettable roasted slabs of sin aptly described to be “tastier than lechon”. I say it really is, compared to all the non-Cebu lechon(s) out there. It was remarkably good that we had to buy some more for take-out. The green stuff you’ll see upon chopping are herbs and their “special filling” stuffed in the pork belly. Think Cebu lechon [having the same herbs & spices inside to make the pork a whole lot tastier], only Balamban offers liempo instead. They were sold out even before the market’s closing.

8. La Cuisine Francaise’s Fruit Tarte [170]

Famous for their quiches and pies, La Cuisine Francaise creates the perfect tart using sweet strawberries, kiwi, and peaches. It was not cloying; sweetness was subdued. Visit their booth, right beside Dulcelin, for more from their extensive array of offerings.

10. Mochiko [P70 each]

The latest dessert item from FIC [Fruits in Ice Cream], Mochiko is an ice-cream filled mochi ball. Yes, two glorious layers: a soft, dough-like outer mochi shell, and inner ice cream core. Mochi is a Japanese confection made of glutinous rice flour, which is usually filled with a sweet center such as anko or red bean paste and eaten as a snack. We tried the two bestselling flavors, Black Sesame and Azuki [red bean]. Yes, black sesame. Now that’s a flavor you won’t find everyday in the supermarket. Come to think of it, I’ve never seen it sold anywhere but here. Though pleasantly sweet and nutty, I think that the flavor is too mild for my taste. I would prefer a bolder flavor of toasted black sesame in my mochiko. Azuki, however, was hands-down a winner! The matcha junkie that I am intentionally ditched the green tea flavor for this one. [Well, I am familiar with FIC’s green tea and it’s not quite the matcha that I prefer. IMHO, it lacks that strong bitter aftertaste that is always present in Japanese brands of green tea ice cream.] The azuki ice cream was rich and creamy, plus, it was just like eating the real thing. Red bean na red bean talaga! I got instantly hooked. Now I am proud to announce that this azuki Mochiko is my current addiction.

John Ray, I, and Francis in our pre-parting picture

We left by 12pm and I was home 20 minutes later. That same day at 4pm, when I usually take a snack, I was still so full from my brunch that I only had a glass of water. Hehe. I say there’s nothing better than luxuriating in great food finds and sharing them with equally great friends/people. Now, I’m wondering what I’ll have in Mercato this weekend. What to eat, what to eat?

Note: Mercato Centrale is extending its market operations from 6am to 2pm starting this weekend, December 18 and 19, 2010. That’ll be the last weekend market for the year, though. Mercato Centrale will resume on January 8, 2011.



Year-End Giveaway

As previously stated, I will be ending this fruitful year with another treat. Aside from being a year-ender, my next contest would be the second part of my blog’s Yuletide Giveaway [my thank-you gift and Christmas present in one for your continued support]. A new set of swag, courtesy of Planner People, is up for grabs.

I wrote about Planner People here and shared with everyone how awesome their planners are. Incidentally, the honchos behind Planner People happen to be the very people who created Notebooks, Etc., an Etsy store whose products I’ve been lemming over the past months. That’s one amazing discovery I learned just a couple of weeks ago.

This was a collage I made and uploaded in both my FB & Twitter a few months ago. It shows all the lovely blank journals I’ve been lusting over, most of which are from Notebooks, Etc. [Click to enlarge]

Notebooks, Etc. is the name of the e-commerce site that was the brainchild of Regina Silva. On that site, handmade paper goods designed and illustrated by her are being sold for unbelievably low prices. Local artists like Reg should be patronized and works of such talent should be promoted/endorsed. Take a peek at her quirky designs here.

It’s contest time!!! Of course you would love to know what you’ll be vying for, wouldn’t you? I have no plans of prolonging the suspense here so let me now show you what one lucky reader could receive in the mail by the last week of December.

A set consisting of a 2011 planner, a blank journal, and button pins [all painstakingly designed by a fellow Filipino] is this promo’s loot. Aren’t they cute? Big YAY for Planner People and Notebooks, Etc. !!!

Under The Sea – Set of Three 1.75 inch Button Pins that retails for $4 in Etsy.com

a 4×5 notebook — double-loop spiral and side bound, containing 50 blank, unlined leaves

a 2011 hardbound planner in Bear design [Click here to know more about this planner]

Since it’s the season of giving, I would love it if everyone stands a chance of winning the prizes. I’ll make the mechanics extra simple. And by simple, I mean that interested parties would just have to provide me with a short answer [in the comments section] to this question: What is the single thing that makes you realize that Christmas is looming around the corner? Just give me anything that makes you truly feel the Christmas spirit. I would be delighted to read your answers. Oh and by the way, a person can comment only ONCE.

Promo period is from today, December 16 until December 25, 2010. As usual, the winner will be chosen via Random.org and will be announced here through a blog post on December 27, 2010. The winner will also be notified via e-mail.

I will be sending the prizes to the winner’s address for free and as soon as I can so the winner can start the year with the planner. I will have to contact the winner for shipping details so please do not forget to leave your email address in the corresponding area in the comments section. This giveaway is open to all Philippine residents only.

Ready, set, comment!!! Goodluck, everybody. Merry Christmas!!! Smiley



Winners of the Yuletide Giveaway

There were 21 people who participated in the House of Flair goodie-giveaway. I used Random.org to select the winners. First, I wrote down the names of the participants and entered them in a list randomizer to shuffle.

Here are the names in random order. [Click to enlarge]

Then I used the True Random Number Generator to pick three specific numbers leading us to the following lucky ladies: *drumroll*

SHMILY – winner of goodie bag #1

TORQUE15 – winner of goodie bag #2

ERLHYN – winner of goodie bag #3

Congratulations to the winners!!! Smiley I will be in touch with you via email to get your shipping details so please check. For the rest of you who joined, do not despair. I will be holding one more giveaway before the year ends and it will officially start today. Stay tuned for that. I will be posting the mechanics in a few.

In behalf of the House of Flair, I would like to thank everyone who took time out to participate in this contest. I wish you all a very merry Christmas!!! Smiley