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Malen’s – Revolutionary Cuisine June 24, 2006

Posted by quiapo in Cavite Adventures, Reviews.

In the coastal town of Noveleta, there is an old restaurant in a new building. A few meters from the McDonalds outlet in the town proper, there is a single storey structure near the bridge, with simple transparent glass outer walls and plain white inner walls having some wooden architectural touches, and cars crowding the front parking lot.That's the view you'd see outside Malen's new location. Once inside, the place is like a museum, old swords, revolvers, army gear, medals, newspaper about the wars, and countless other war memorabilia adorn the glass cabinets and walls of one of the food wonders of Cavite I recently discovered.

Malen's in Noveleta, Cavite is a Katagalugan history themed restaurant that serves great Filipino food and for some strange reason, pasta. The interior of the restaurant chronicles the history of our country like it was a hall ripped out of the national museum. Artifacts from the Philippine Revolution to the second world war are everywhere. The ambiance is like Max's, but with a revolutionary twist and the Filipiniana and chicken references stripped down.

The menu is also revolutionary, literally! A quick glance of the menu would have you wide eyed and thinking about their Revolutionary themed meals: Kaldereta ni Sakay, Menudo Ricarte, Revolucionario, Propagandista, Filibustero, Armas blancas (the invisible man – like the vertigo comic book), independencia, Filipino Cowboy pork chops, Filipino Warrior pork ribs… and more. Revolutionary twists on Filipino delicacies. They serve good pasta, but these babies take pinoy cooking to a whole new level.

Unfortunately I have only been here once (due to my hectic schedule), we ordered their Kare-kare and roast beef (I forgot the "Revolutionary term" for them). for drinks we had green tea which tasted quite funny but nonetheless tasted good. The price is typical for a mid-market fine dining resto, the meals are priced from around 90 pesos to 200. The roast beef is at par with Dad's and Cravings, it was soft, mildly cooked, with a gravy sauce which didn't overpower the taste of the beef.

However, the one thing I loved about the resto is their kare-kare. The Kare-kare is sooo tasty I swear I haven't eaten such great kare-kare as theirs. For you non-Filipinos, Kare-kare is a soup based viand. The common ingredients are pork, sometimes pork intestines and other innards which I do not think icky American's would try, some green veggies, with the soup based on ground peanuts. The orange coloured soup is poured onto rice, and the meat is dipped in shrimp paste (the infamously smelly Bagoong) Normally the soup is thin, but Malen's version is quite thick with probably powdered peanuts and one can't get enough the rich peanut taste. I can eat rice with only the sauce and bagoong and I'd be in gastronomic heaven =)

There are a lot more revolutionary cooking which I plan to try on my future visits to Malen's and I'm planning to go back soon and try something new, for those people trying to find an interesting affordable fine-dining restaurant in Cavite (and you're bored with Max's hehe) I suggest you check this place out. They are open Tuesdays to Sundays I think from 10 am till 10pm.


My Cavite Adventures – A Foreword June 24, 2006

Posted by quiapo in Cavite Adventures.
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Welcome to the part of my blog where I chronicle the things and places I have discovered about Cavite, which I guess is my adopted province. I am a native of Cainta Rizal, which is East of the Philippine's capital Manila. Cavite is on the South and frankly I never went there, except during trips to Tagaytay.

I first came to Cavite on August 3, 2004 my second day on my first job. I was assigned to two housing projects in Dasmariñas, Cavite and I had the pleasure of working for LPHI, a subsidiary of Ayala Land, and is now known as Avida Land. My boss then, Sir Emerson Arguelles, loves to eat out and he'd take us guys out to restaurants and other nooks in and near Dasma. Our food adventures became our primary bonding channel.

With Boss and us, his field-cost engineers, food was a better bonding agent than beer or women. I think we are the only site-office which had much more food trips than inuman/beer house sessions. See, Boss has a problem with his liver so he rarely joined us in our drinking sprees. Also, like my married former officemates, Sir was very loyal to his (or very scared of hehe) wife so going to beerhouses (which Cavite is quite notorious for…)  was almost never on the agenda.

While our food adventures never got to the extreme of hunting for the province's finest resto's it did serve as the foundation for my new found hobby of discovering Cavite, the amazing history that it has, and great food served by their best restaurants which, sadly, isn't known to the "Dayo" (non-natives) of the province.

Join me as I chronicle the interesting stuff I learn about the land of "near Manila" housing projects, the seat of the revolution, and of the squala.

X3 Marks the Spot, Finally! June 3, 2006

Posted by quiapo in Reviews.
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Surprised with the story, I really was.

I didn't like the first x-men movie, in fact I can bluntly say that it was a very big disappointment, which thankfully, I didn't waste my lunch money for due to warnings from x-men fans all over the net. I did get to see the movie on VCD though (which confirmed the bad reviews), before X2 was released in the theatres. only the sexy Mystique was worth watching in X1. X2 was a little better than the first movie, the kid mutants were used more in the story, especially Pyro who was portrayed as a freak in the comics but had a make-over as an angstful teenager (and who isn't) which any teenager with problems (again who doesn't) would identify with. I expected little on the third movie, especially after the crap that was Spidey 2 and in fact I didn't even plan to watch it in the movie house.

Now I'm going to discuss the movie series before I bore you with my nostalgic thoughts.
(Spoiler alert, if you haven't watched the movie and you plan to, read no further)

Last Friday night, I was tired and resting at home when I got a text message and then a call from a friend, I was bored and had nothing to do so we went and watched it. I was really shocked that Marvel had the balls to come up with the story for X-Men III: The Last Stand. True to the title, the movie had the story that ended the X-Men Professor X vs Magneto universe. All the boring inactivity which killed X1 and X2 were trimmed-skin head trimmed- in X3. In fact I think that X3 is more similar in structure to the Blade movie series. The plot of the movie revolved around the discovery and application of a cure for mutation (which was processed from the cells of a mutant who had the incredible but uncontrollable power to remove mutant powers and mutations in general if a mutant gets near him) similar to the Silver Nitrate and UV rounds in Underworld.

Marvel didn't spare the most popular characters from being killed! Main characters in the x-men universe died left and right in the movie like they were extras in a Tarantino film.
Cyclops was the first casualty… he was smoked by his beloved Jean, who was possessed by her powerful subconscious (can the subconscious possess the conscious… more philosophical debate may be needed) the Dark Phoenix. Then Jean goes to kill Xavier with her mutant powers fully unleashed… Even Prof. baldy (and a dumbstruck Magneto) with all his power can't prevent Jean Grey from turning him into mutant juice, literally liquefying Xavier’s frail body. Wolverine had a killing fest as he invaded the rebel mutant camp run by Magneto… No blood and gore though as the producers deliberately shunned away from making this movie a slasher flick. Mystique was turned to human as she was hit by a dart containing mutant cure serum… so we get a peek at Rebecca Romjin ex Stamos lovely naked figure – for the first time in the movie without the blue make-up. Juggernaut even made an appearance, and parodied Dave Chappelle with the line “Do you know who I am? I’m Juggernaught, Bitch!” which got me laughing (I think I’m only the one in the movie house that did). Lots of mutants were included in the movie, like Colossus, Shadow Cat, Ice Man, Angel, Beast (is this the first time he appeared in the movie series?), Multiple Man (but he was a villain in the movie) as well as introducing some mutants with interesting abilities I never heard or read of. Night crawler, the German teleporter/gymnast in X2 that almost killed the president wasn’t included in the movie though…and so was Gambit who is, in my opinion, the coolest X-men character ever created.

The climax, first with Hank McCoy/Beast stuffing Magneto with mutant cure serum, and then Wolvie using every bit of his healing ability to get near Jean/Dark Phoenix (who created a field which atomized everything that went near her), kissing her and then thrusting those adamantium blades through her gut… was just amazing! Rarely do I get to see a superhero movie that ends with superheroes getting killed (obviously because doing such will pose a lot of continuity issues and kill the movie franchise) and I salute Marvel for having the guts to end the X-Men movie franchise with their third installment.

Growing up on X June 3, 2006

Posted by quiapo in Musings / Random Thoughts, Reviews.
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I've been a big fan of the comic book series, especially during my late primary schooling. My biggest collection and addiction has been the X-men and Superman comics which I've read since I was a kid. In the early 90s, Marvel trading cards were printed locally (and illegally). It became popular in the Philippines and every middle class kid was drooling over the Infinity Gauntlet, Adam Warlock, and Thanos. The children of the ninetees had a crash course on the Marvel Universe, and we knew more about superheroes than elementary Geography.

Then the X-men trading card set followed and every kid discovered Wolverine, Cyclops, Arch-Angel, Magneto, Domino (strangely there was a lot of printed Domino cards even though she was a 6 Pack/X Force minor character) and the rest of the X men family. Like every kid I wanted to be Wolverine, with the bling bling adamantium claws (beat that 50!), bad-ass looking beard, a costume which, even if it was collored yellow (nice fashion statement Logan…), was still tougher looking than Batman's armor (complete with detailed tits) and a "dont mess with me boy I'm gonna gut you" attitude.

I grew up reading the comic books, I collected the X-Men series (as opposed to the Uncanny X-men series), and it had a lot of influence in the formation of how I think. The science fiction in X-men really intrigued me, I've been interested in science since I was a toddler, and the X-men's explanations/theories on mutation, new (fictional) technologies, other planets (Shi'ar mainly), parallel dimensions, and the scientific treatment of paranormal things (such as ISP and telekinesis) amazed my young mind. My adolescence was even guided by the X-men, the "Generation X" line, which was about forming a group of young mutants which will eventually become X-men, gave me ideas (or fantasies) as to how to cope up with the problems of growing up. I was so addicted on the X-men that even now when office talk involves stories about the X men I can hear the organ heavy theme song of the cartoons in my mind (now I really dig the psychedelic new "The Batman" opening theme.)

Now that I just watched the new X-Men movie, I can't help but feel nostalgic.