Noms

Chicken Charlie, Baby!

I’ve never been shy about admitting my addiction love for fried chicken. You know how some kids won’t eat anything unless it’s fried chicken? Well, I’m like that but older. This blog has an entire category about it, for heaven’s sake. I’m just happy that many seem to agree with me these days.

CHIKON!

There are many new chicken joints catering to us who love (nomming) these winged creatures. You’ve got BonChon, Sunrise Buckets, my personal favorite Manang’s chicken, and now there’s Chicken Charlie. I have no backstory about this little chicken shop besides that it comes highly recommended by lifestyle blogger Lianne of BuhayKuneho.net (whose noms suggestions I trust fully, story soon).

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Anyhoots, there came one night when I was in need of a quick fried chicken fix and since I was in the Fort area, I decided to drop by Chicken Charlie near Burgos Circle (do not be daunted, prices are nowhere near jaw-dropping). The short of it is that their fried chicken is addictive. The thin and crispy (and semi sweet) skin gives a nice flavor to the juicy meat inside. Once you get started, you’d keep wanting to stuff your face with it, I know I did.

Everything's so orange!

Their branch in Bonifacio Global City is a tiny restaurant located on the ground floor of Grand Hamptons Tower, 31st St. Cor. 1st Avenue with a cozy dining area and extra friendly staff. They deliver too!

Chicken Charlie
Official website: http://chickencharlie.com.ph/
Facebook page: www.facebook.com/chickencharliephilippines
Contact number/s: 804-2409/0922-5529229

Etc.

Did you know?

Did you know that there’s an unadvertised Starbucks coffee cup size? No branch will blatantly tell you about it but besides the regular Tall, Grande, and Venti sizes, there’s another cup called Short.

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Here it is next to a Grande cup.

Smaller than the Tall cup, which is the declared smallest Starbucks cup, the Short cup holds about 250ml of hot drink. Seems perfect for those days when you need a quick picker upper or for kids who like having their own cups (of hot chocolate, of course). Ask your local barista about it tomorrow. 🙂

Noms

What’s the fuss about J.Co Donuts?

In general, I think donuts are amazing. Don’t you think so? I mean, deep fried sweet dough embellished with all the flavors that you can think of? Who can say no to that? I know I can’t. Although all things deep fried are usually pretty darn good, doughnuts just hold a special place in my heart more than any other fried noms (except maybe chicken).

Krispy Kreme, Dunkin Donuts, and Cello’s are my top 3 donuteers (there may be no such word, but idc) in this country and I visit them every so often to get my donut fix. About a couple of weeks months ago, a challenger by the name of J.Co Donuts has come forth armed with their own doughnut masterpieces to claim the crown as the city’s donut supreme (hey, this could totally be the name of a new donut). All my social networking feeds were crazy full of post after post raving about this new kid on the donut block.

See that line? That's the non-rush hour traffic.

What could J.Co possibly offer that the other guys haven’t yet? The flavored donut craze ended more than a couple of years ago. We still like donuts, but we no longer line up for them like the world was running out of flour tomorrow. That is, until J.Co showed up and reawakened our desire to do that again.

I kid you not. The first time I found myself near one of their stores, there was a pretty sizeable crowd (about fifty droolers) that I decided to leave and find actual food first and come back to see if the crowds thin out after. This was on a regular week night at around 10pm (they close at midnight). By 11pm, the crowd was down to twenty so I braved the line and elbowed my way inside and drooled patiently.

This photo of the Al Capone needs a spotlight.

The true star and main staple of this donut shop is the Al Capone (I pronounce this as Al Caponee and will continue to do so no matter what any of you say). The signature light and fluffy J.Co donut is slathered with rich white chocolate and then showered with a handful of almond flakes. It’s a delightful little treat that only a few (stingy souls) can resist. It’s a classic.

Besides getting a box of the then available assorted the donuts to go (and fatten myself and my family with), I also got a J.Club Cheezy Rich. It had a mountain of thick grated cheese on top that was just a curious sight to see. What appeared to be a mountain of thick grated cheese on top of a donut was actually a mountain of thick grated cheese on top of a donut. It wasn’t bad, but it was weird.

J.Club Cheezy Rich

So why do people line up? What sets J.Co Donut donuts apart from the rest is their light and perfectly fried donut base. Their donuts are fluffy, fresh at all times, and not sickeningly sweet like some are. It doesn’t hurt that they have a wide variety of unique (and uniquely named) donuts to choose from that are usually more flavorful than your typical colored sweet icing.

For all those reasons, J.Co Donut is the country’s reigning donut supreme. At least until the next fad comes along. In the meantime, they need to quickly set up a branch in BGC because I heard that there are a number of donut freaks who frequent that area. (Stop looking at me!)

Christmas 2012 Countdown: 21 sleeps ’til Santa comes shimmying down our imaginary chimney tops!

*I truly apologize for the crappy photos. Sold my old cameras and rely solely on mobile device cameras for now. I shall attempt to remedy this soon.

Noms

Babycakes-ing Calamansi Muffins

Last summer, I went to Boracay and had the chance to try the ultra famous calamansi muffins from Real Coffee & Tea for the first time. Being a fan of tangy pastries, I promptly fell in love with them. So much so that I lugged several dozens of the firm and heavy muffins to Kalibo to bring some back home. They go fantasically well with coffee and now that they’re long gone, I regularly think about (and crave for) the sweet and citrus-y taste when I have a hot drink in hand.

I can’t very well take a trip to Boracay every time i get a hankering for the stuff (although i really wish i could) so I thought to try and make some at home. After a few days of carefully scouring the net for a good recipe, I hit paydirt when I found Pepper.ph. They’ve already successfully hacked the very same muffins I wanted to replicate.

Babycakes Cupcake Maker
Baby calamansi muffins

Armed with the still unused Babycakes Cupcake Maker that was gifted to me half a year ago and Pepper.ph’s Boracay Calamansi Recipe (with a few modifications), I happily set out to make my own version last Saturday. Making the batter was easy enough, I tweaked the recipe just a tiny bit on my second try to suit my liking.

Babycakes Calamansi Muffins (makes 24 baby muffins)

Dry ingredients Wet ingredients Other
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour 1/4 cup milk 1/2 cup butter
1 tsp baking powder 1/4 cup calamansi juice (+3 large calamansi for a tangy-er result) 1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt 2 pcs eggs 1 tsp vegetable oil (for moister muffins)

Steps to make the batter:

  • Mix together dry ingredients in a small bowl: flour, baking powder and salt, set aside.
  • Mix together wet ingredients in another small bowl: milk, calamansi juice, and eggs, set aside.
  • Mix butter, sugar, and vegetable oil in your main bowl (it’ll work even without an electrix mixer).
  • Add in the wet and dry ingredients to the main bowl and mix until there are no more lumps (but don’t overmix!)
Preparing the batter

The first hurdle was done, I already had a tried and tested recipe and the prepared batter, next I had to figure out how to use the Babycakes Cupcake Maker. The ad had me sold when they said I can have freshly baked cupcakes and muffins in 5-10 minutes. The thing is, this pastel colored gizmo came out only in the U.S. and requires a 110v current to run properly. Luckily, I already had an available socket in the house and had no problem.

Bake using the Babycakes Cupcake Maker (no preheating needed):

  • Scoop in 2 tablespoons of the batter into each hole and plug in the Babycakes Cupcake Maker.
  • After 6-8 minutes, open the lid to check if the muffins are done. With a toothpick, poke each babycake in the middle. If it comes clean, you’re good to go. If not, wait for a couple more minutes and do the toothpick test again.
  • Scoop out your freshly baked muffin with a non-metal spoon or tongs (careful, the plates are hot!) and transfer them into a container.
  • As long as you still have batter, repeat the first 3 steps.
Freshly baked Babycakes Calamansi Muffins!

Fresh from the Babycakes Cupcake Maker, they made the room smell wonderfully fresh. The muffins turned out soft, moist, warm, citrus-y, and all sorts of yummy.

As an added but totally optional step (this is a personal preference), you can add a bit of powdered sugar on the muffins to counter the tang. To do that, let your muffins cool on a plate. When cooled, generously sprinkle the tops of the calamansi muffins with powdered sugar (use a strainer if you like, but a spoon would do too). Here’s how they’ll look after you do that-

Pretty please with sugar on top? Ok.

The Babycakes Cupcake Maker makes cupcake and muffin making extremely easy. Look at how pretty my Calamansi Muffins turned out (and they’re delicious too!). Including cleanup, I babycaked 2 batches in less than an hour. Here’s a fair warning, if you plan to get your own Babycakes Cupcake Maker, ensure that you have the correct voltage converter. It has a pretty high wattage (2000+) and needs a converter with at least twice the capacity, you don’t want to fry anything.

Ready to nom!

Christmas Countdown: Only 22 sleeps to go before Christmas! Advanced Merry Christmas everyone! 🙂