Thursday, November 19, 2015


Jus reposting this video I saw on Facebook.

With the help of 3D projection mapping technology, one can watch a lilliputian chef preparing your dinner on your plate. I am now going to include this dining experience on my bucket list.

Skullmapping, an artistic collective run by painter Antoon Verbeeck and filmmaker Filip Sterckx created the mini-mapping project. On their website, the duo explains that "for this project, we experimented with projection onto a dinner table. By making use of a combination of 3D animation and motion capture, a miniature chef turns your dish into a projected grill."

That is what you definitely get and a big smile on your face as you are served your actual meal.

Saturday, November 7, 2015


The first time I visited Runner's Kitchen was for a meeting.  The location was a bit odd, beside the creek along the periphery of Tomas Morato and E. Rodriguez. In my mind, it would be like a gym with a milk tea shop serving protein shakes.  It was nothing like that at all.

The earthiness of the wooden fascia extends to its interiors, which feels like a well-appointed Baguio B&B. A central wooden table awaits a big group or individuals willing to share a table during a meal.

Quirky lighting fixtures ang wall decor add to the coziness of the whole place.

Being wary of menus that group "proteins" or "carbohydrates," it took me some time to decide on what to order first. Without much expectation for taste, I decided to order the Healthy Whole Wheat Nachos and Spicy Tuna Quinoa Roll.

The nacho platter was overloaded with toppings but was good for one person, two if you're dieting.  Instead of ground beef, the meat topping was mad of crispy adobo flakes which gave the appetizer an interesting Filipino touch. 
Healthy Whole Wheat Nachos
The Spicy Tuna Quinoa roll, is a Japanes maki  roll that uses Quinoa instead of Rice.  
Spicy Tuna Quinoa Roll
Quinioa is grain crop cultivated as early as 4,000 years ago in the Lake Titicaca Basin in South America. It became wildly poplar amongst the health conscious as a substitute for white carbs like bread and rice because it had a high protein and low gluten content. In fact, 2013 was declared by the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), as the International Year of Quinoa.
Photo courtesy of Michael Hermann for
The dipping sauce is not served on the side,  instead it's integrated in the plating, drizzled in waves over the rolls along with toasted black sesame seeds. Interestingly, it's not that spice and the sauce is on the sweet side.
Spicy Tuna Quinoa Roll
Then there was the Chicken Malunggay Pesto on Whole Wheat Pasta which I ordered with trepidation because whole wheat pasta tends to absorb water more than your regular supermarket pasta. This often results in a bland dish. The chef, however, worked on the nuttiness of the whole dish, layering the taste one upon the other from the pasta to the pesto. The malunggay, as you can see on the pic, is not evident. So, I guess it was added for the nutritional value more than for the taste. If nutty is your type, then this dish will work for you.
Chicken Malunggay Pesto on Whole Wheat Pasta
On two other occassions I tried two other dishes.

The  Crispy Beef Tadyang (rib) which I asked to be served with instead of the carrot potato mash.  It is as spartan as it looks. The combo of lightly spiced beef, brown rice and some veggies is a heavy meal for those who are not looking to be wowed.

The other dish I had tasted was the Prawn and Quinoa with Sun-dried Tomato Sauce which the restaurant boasts as one of its best-sellers.  And no wonder, it was bowlful of complementing flavors and the fresh veggies balancing the soft and fleshy textures of the quinoa and prawns.
The place, which seats less than thirty gets filled up on some days, so don't go looking for a quiet dinner.

Runner's Kitchen 

Address: Ground Floor, Creekside Square, Tomas Morato Avenue, Kamuning, Quezon City
Telephone: (02) 415 6870

Sunday, November 1, 2015


Bitter-sweet is how I would describe my relationship with Ampalaya, the extremely bitter vegetable I hated and avoided whenever my lola cooked pakbet but I have also come to love it as the lead character of my hubby's first published children's book, Alamat ng Ampalaya (The Legend of the Bitter Gourd).  
Source: Adarna House
Often, when people find out I have one degree of separation from the anti-hero of this modern children's tale, I am asked if I like the bitter gourd. I would often reply, "yes but only if it is cooked the way I like it."  Problem is, I have rarely encountered cooks or chefs who could make me eat ampalaya.  Bitter has never been my thing.
Source: Flora de Filipinas
Is bitter really better for your health?
Dr. Andrew Weil, the man who established the field of integrative medicine (a combination of alternative and conventional medicine) said in an interview with Huffington post that "one of many other things you can do to improve your daily diet is indulge -- or cultivate -- a taste for bitter flavors" because bitter foods can help moderate your blood sugar levels and hunger.

Recent health concerns with high sugar levels have made me  think twice about my sullen attitude towards this often unloved vegetable.  Here's what I tried:  Ampalaya Polvoron and Ampalaya Chips.

Ampalaya Polvoron
Polvoron is a sweet shortbread made of toasted flour, sugar and powdered milk. This version created by Nutri-Vron of Pampanga uses stevia sweetener instead of sugar and has powdered ampalaya for flavoring.  Sounds really healthy, right?

It does taste a bit like your regular polvoron- powdery, milky and sweet but with a bitter aftertaste, not like the tartness of beer malt, though. More like the bitterness of aspirin, but only for a second.  

Ampalaya Chips
Made with flour, spices, salt and ampalaya powder,  these chips are produced by Ocean Fresh from Cavite. The foil pack kept the chips crunchy.
At first bite, I couldn't taste the ampalaya at all because the chips were heavily spiced with too much pepper. Then just before swallowing, that's when the taste receptors got activated by the ampalaya bitterrness.

After trying both snacks, I have decided that I would take healthy snacking at my own pace... a very sluggish pace. I would still like to try other ampalaya  flavored snacks. Ampalaya ice cream, perhaps?