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Diet in a Box – The Revolutionary Healthy Food Delivery Service in Cebu

13 Jul

*Brushes the dust and cobwebs from my virtual life*

diet in a box

Diet in a Box – revolutionizing your healthy meals

Hello from the outside! Yes, the outside because I haven’t been in tuned with the blogging world for over a year now. There seems to be a hundred new Cebu-based food blogs nowadays and even thousands more hashtag-dependent social media addicts. I don’t think I could keep up with them at all. All that posting their Instagram-worthy food trips, which I have, in fact, joined the bandwagon. I ran out of time to open my blog. Regretfully, I missed several blog-worthy restaurants and food trips, so I have FINALLY decided to start writing again.

I just turned 30 and all the years of binging on whatever good food I could get my hands on are finally taking toll on me. My addiction to food has got me closer to obesity. Well, I am here. Finally calling myself obese. That made me think I should start making life changes. I tried my way through exercise and believe me when I say I just end up eating my way through my work out. Results are slower too, if you only burn what you eat, so I never really got to see my actual weight loss. Now, what about the fat that’s already there? How can I actually lose weight?

chime bibo

Chime Osabel and Chef Bibo Moreno of Diet in a Box

Then, I had a great conversation with good friends of mine, Chime Osabel and Chef Bibo Moreno. I had to hear the hard truth: I wasn’t eating right as far as my daily activity was concerned. The reason why my weight loss is slowed to almost zero was because I ate way more than my daily activity, workout included. I still ate 3 cups of rice every day, so workouts were just enough to burn what I ate for the day. The rest of the fat that’s already in my body remains untouched.  I will have to pair it with a compatible diet plan with servings that are enough for me to survive the whole day, workout included.

That was when they lobbied the idea of their food venture Diet in a Box. Sure, there have been several healthy food delivery services that already existed before they put up their own, but by far, they were the first to fully answer my questions about following a proper diet plan. I have tried portion-eating before, I tried the salad diet, tried incorporating brown rice into my regular meals, but nothing seemed to work.   I just bounced back to my regular FULL meals because I couldn’t get as much variety as I would like and most healthy ingredients are way expensive or seem unavailable in the regular supermarket.

Chicken Coconut Laksa on Cold Soba Noodles

Chicken Coconut Laksa on Cold Soba Noodles

Every single diet service seem the same (for me) except for Diet in a Box. Maybe, it’s because of the variety that they offer every single day. It never failed to amaze me how they always come up with new combinations of meats and salads. Some of the dishes on the menu sound far too foreign sometimes, reading the menu of the week would already make my mouth water in anticipation. Perhaps, it’s the convenience of having your food delivered on-the-day, knowing that it’s fresh from the kitchen and you won’t have to mess your own to make your meals. The customer service is also impeccable – the way they handle your needs as a customer and how they make sure your meal experience feels very personal.

bibo

Ingredients are hand-picked by the Chef

For me, I am sure it’s not only about the service, the ease and the variety. It is knowing that you are getting food that comes from the most naturally available sources possible. With all the genetically modified and pesticide-laced ingredients around us, organic and fresh ingredients are hard to come by. Luckily, Diet in a Box boasts of its organic ingredients without charging much. For years, I have known Chef Bibo and their family, I knew they were already advocates of organic farming and now it has been put to good use. Their organic farms have been hosts to the fruits and vegetables that they put into your healthy box. To add to that, Chef Bibo handpicks ALL ingredients. If you’re like me, you would know that this is done by every chef with Michelin stars because they only want what’s best for their customers. It’s like a gourmet meal that’s super healthy and it comes in a box and delivered to your house. THAT CONVENIENT!

beef salisbury steak with garlic mashed potatoes

Beef Salisbury Steak with Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Now, I am sure if you have been reading this far, you would want to know how it tastes like and thank you for trusting me (ahem) where taste is concerned. Does  Diet in a Box taste like every diet meal – bland and dry? Absolutely not! And I am not saying that out of bias. It truly tastes good. You could really tell how fresh the ingredients are because you can still taste the crispness of the veggies, the sweetness of the fruit and the meat is cooked just enough to not be too tough or dry. The play of ingredients – some combinations may be far off – are so well-thought you couldn’t figure out they taste good together until you have tried them. Don’t get me started on the sauces. They are all to die for and yes fresh; built from scratch and not store-bought. All in all, the food is super good you sometimes would want to cheat with more rice (now that’s just me. So don’t judge. LOL).

diab packaging

Your Food Pack with your name and your menu on it!

Diet in a Box offers a variety of meal plans to choose from: Supreme Meals – Breakfast, Lunch Dinner, plus two snacks, Combo A – Breakfast and Lunch plus one Snack, and Combo B – Lunch and Dinner, plus a snack. All of these are calorie-counted according to your body mass index (BMI), your daily activities and your food preferences (like if you want fish instead of chicken).  You don’t even have to plan your meals for yourself. That comes with the service. Before I forget, deliveries are available Monday to Fridays. Clever, because they do know we always want to cheat on weekends, right?

menu july 8-15

Diet in a Box – revolutionizing your healthy meals

Meals are delivered on the day at your doorstep or your office. Just tell Chime and he will work it out for you. That’s why I so appreciate their service. Food tastes excellent, delivered fresh, and customer service is impeccable.

smoked salmon eggs benedict

Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict – POSH!

 

To order, visit their website http://www.dietinaboxinc.com or check and like them on Facebook: Diet in a Box. Instagram-worthy posts could also be tagged to their official hashtags #dietinabox or #dietinaboxph.

 

Sweet Incantations Confectionery

2 Jan
Happy Happy at Sweet Incantations Confectionery

Happy Happy at Sweet Incantations Confectionery

Happy New Year everyone! Let’s ring in the New Year with a new and very indulgent post, shall we?

So my friends and I have this annual Christmas celebration together: where we eat, catch up and have our studio pictures taken (which we forgot to do in 2014! oooppsss). Since the metro was still experiencing rain showers following Typhoon Seniang, we opted to meet and have a quiet dinner at Ayala Center Cebu. We picked something familiar this time – Bigby’s – which I think I don’t have to elaborate much on since they are an institution in Cagayan de Oro City and here in Cebu. But we wanted to try out something new for dessert – it was either Butterbean or Sweet Incantations Confectionery.

If that's not mouthwatering I don't know what is

If that’s not mouthwatering I don’t know what is

Due to the limited parking space and the bright lights at Butterbean, my friend’s boyfriend thought maybe Sweet Incantations Confectionery was a better idea. Just a literal stone’s throw away, we ended up at one of the coziest cafes in Cebu (and a way better parking space too!).

From the outside, Sweet Incantations Confectionery looks pretty impressive already for its minimal decor. The wall was filled with photographs of travels around the world, perhaps of the owner. It had enough space for big groups and intimate spaces for couples as well. But the highlight of the place was its display case – not your ordinary display case at that! IT WAS A REAL SHOWCASE OF ALL THE MOUTHWATERING CUPCAKES MANKIND COULD EVER IMAGINE (ok now I am exaggerating but that was what I felt that moment). Needless to say, at that moment I fell in love. I wanted everything in it, but that wouldn’t be good for my diet (ha! as if I was on diet!).

Awesome Display!

Awesome Display!

They had cool sounding names for their cupcakes: Monkey Business, Red Vixen, Espressamel, and their holiday cupcakes Gingernog, Northpole and Pasko among others. Anyone could tell that they take this business pretty serious. It’s not fun making up names for cupcakes. Some would easily go by whatever they put on it. But Sweet Incantations – they have so much to give when it comes to cupcake-making. My friends and I gushed our oohs and aahs too loudly I think it annoyed the woman behind the counter.

Menu

Menu

Compared to other places, theirs was a little bit pricey, but not too much because cupcakes are now around PhP 55-65 I guess. Each of their cupcakes are at PhP 70. If you buy a box of six, that would only cost you PhP 400. Not bad at all especially when you get to taste their cupcakes! We ordered the box of 6 which was great for sharing with the group. Their cupcakes are HEAVENLY with emphasis on the capital letters. I’ve never had a cupcake with such thick frosting, with a texture that’s as thick as Marshie’s marshmallow. Hey, I am not a baker or some pastry person so I can’t really point out what kind of frosting that was, mmkay? So, yeah they definitely have the finest and most indulgent cupcakes I have ever had 🙂

IMG_0605[1]The cake itself is both dense and moist at the same time. I never liked too dense or too fluffy cupcakes. It was done just right and it went so well with the frosting – a real great marriage between cupcake and frosting. My favorites were the Espressamel, Butterscotch & Bubblegum and Little Black Dress – yeah I am a sucker for Chocolate & Mint. Apparently, these two were their bestsellers along with Sweet Saigon which had hints of Lemongrass and PB & J.

Sweet Incantations also serves Cookies at PhP 50 each and Gelato which is at PhP 85 for single scoop and PhP 130 for double scoop. We had double scoops of each flavor – Chocoholics Anonymous, My Name is Earl (my favorite since I love Earl Grey Tea), Monkey Berry and Espressamel. We had two tea pots as well and they serve Dilmah tea, if you might ask.

Their Gelato

Their Gelato

I absolutely have no protestations when the cupcakes were laid out on our table. They were served in little chopping boards. It dawned on me that every detail of this was well planned out down to the toilets. Teas were served on pristine white teapots that came with matching cups and even their service water was served in coordinated glasses and a resealable glass bottle almost similar to that of Shangrila’s. I’d have to say kudos to the owner who’s thought so much about what goes well with what without sacrificing flavor – which in fact is the greatest highlight of the place.

The little details that matter a lot - presentation!

The little details that matter a lot – presentation!

All in all, it was a happy night – good friends, great dessert. Sweet Incantations was what my friends and I would call a happy place and we don’t honor that name to just any restaurant or cafe. Only the deserving ones. I guess someone’s going to be a regular customer then, huh?

You can visit Sweet Incantations at the Ground Floor of the Avagar Bldg., Escario, Cebu City, somewhere between Kuya J and Simply J’s. Like their Facebook Page: Sweet Incantations Confectionery or Follow them on Instagram: sweetincph.

Enjoy!!

A Quick Word from the Foodie

18 Aug

Hey guys! I know it’s been over a month since the last post, but several things have changed and I find it quite hard to post here on the blog site. For one, I gave my dear Albus (camera) to my sister who could make better use of it. So, I would not be able to post pics that often.

Also, work’s really doubled up and I could rarely have enough time or presence of mind to finish a full restaurant review. Been honestly trying to write many, but they all end up as drafts :(.

For updates, you can always like the blog’s page on Facebook: Foodie Travels Cebu. That’s all I have been updating since and it’s really easy to do quick reviews and posting of mobile pics. If you have places to share about, you can always make a post on our wall about your experience. We’ll all see each other there, shall we?

By the way here are some places worth checking out:

1. Sprockets Cafe – MUST GO!!! Reasonable price, big servings, love the place. Just be sure to be there early or maybe make a reservation. The place is ALWAYS packed and they have limited seats. Yes, that’s how great the place is. .

2. Sweet Little Things – on the same building as Sprockets. Love their cupcakes especially the fruity ones – Lemon Poppy and Blueberry Crumble.

3. Little Saigon, Big Bangkok – haven’t actually been to the place, but saw their menu on their Facebook page – AWESOME! It’s what other local thai restaurants don’t have – authentic thai dishes.

4. Phoebe’s Cupcakery – YES! No more meet-ups at BTC kids! Phoebe’s opening her own store in Banilad. It’s at Paseo Saturnino, Maria Luisa Road. But hold your horses, they won’t be able to open until the 23rd (August 23).

Top 5 Aphrodisiacs For Valentines

14 Feb

Happy Valentine's Day!

It’s Valentine’s Day once again – a day for lovers and perhaps the would-be lovers. During this time of year, you could barely get a spot at ANY restaurant without a reservation. Flowers, chocolates, balloons and all romantic gift items are all sold out even when they’re all twice as expensive as their regular price. It doesn’t matter much to us because we just want to make our significant others smile (with that I meant family, friends and lovers).

For lovers, it’s a way to manifest their love and desire for each other. Some couples want to add something new and decadent on this special day. What other way to spice your Valentine’s day up than food… I’m talking about aphrodisiacs that literally increase the body’s sexual response or desire towards their lovers. Sounds fun, does it? Here are a few tried and tested aphrodisiacs you can use this Valentine’s.

BALUT!

5. BALUT – fertilized duck eggs. It’s one food we Filipinos are very well-known of. You can buy one from the local street vendor at a very cheap price. It’s found to be a VERY potent aphrodisiac so maybe you can eat one before you head off to your date *wink*. Don’t forget to brush your teeth, though 🙂 you don’t want to turn off your date.

LETTUCE!

4. LEAFY GREENS- who would have thought that this main ingredient to our regular fresh green salad can stimulate the desire in us? Lettuce was even believed to be an aphrodisiac in Ancient Egypt. They depicted their God of Chaos, Set, to be eating this said plant. Set was described to be a very sexually charged god.

 

BANANAS

3. BANANAS – just like the lettuce, this can quite surprise many people. In Central America, the sap of the read banana is a considered a strong aphrodisiac. Many studies found out that it contains vitamins and other nutrients necessary to get the sex hormones going. Next time you see a banana, think there’s more to it than its shape 😀

 

OHH LALA OYSTERS!

2. OYSTERS – if you must book a restaurant, pick a seafood place where you can score loads of oysters. It is a very great source for Zinc. That’s just the right amount to stimulate the individual when their partner pushes the right button. Zinc increases a person’s libido or sex drive. So, expect an all-night party for two between the sheets if you go for this mineral-rich seafood.

Lastly, who could forget the best aphrodisiac especially for women…

CHOCOLATES

1. CHOCOLATES – hands down this could be the best thing men can give to their woman especially during Valentine’s. Get them dark chocolates instead of the sweeter and milkier ones. Dark chocolates contain concentrated amounts of cocoa which influences the body’s release of endorphins which in turn increases libido.

 

MY PICKS:

TIDES at Shangri La

1. If you don’t have time to go to Liloan and score some fresh talaba, you can get them at any SUTUKIL restaurant in the three neighboring cities: Cebu, Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu. That spot near Mactan Shrine is a source of fresh seafood including oysters. If you want something more fancy, the Oyster Bay at Bridges Town Square in Mandaue is just the perfect place to have a date with your loved one. It’s not too crowded and the mood is just right. You can also check out Tides and Cowrie Cove at Shangri-La’s Mactan Island Resort. They have the most delicious seafood buffet in Cebu.

I love you, Chocolatier!

2. Spice up your chocolates literally. Maitre Chocolatier at the Ayala Terraces sell spicy chocolate treats for you and your loved one. Try this for a fiery night together – which I would leave to your own imagination 😀

 

 

3. Go crazy with chocolate syrup – this would be best left behind closed doors 😀

Syrupy goodness

That Sudden Sugar Rush

4 Nov

To Give In or Not?

I know that posts are meant to be well thought about before posting but I am a lot hormonal now and there is just one main concept of food going round and round my mind. DESSERTS. I could have easily blamed it on Top Chef Just Desserts, but no there was no episode on air last night on my favorite channel. So, this could only be attributed to my love for desserts and some hormones.

If you look back through all my posts, I have three major go to places when it comes to desserts and one vendor for ultimately delicious and just-enough-fluff cupcakes. And I want to stuff myself in all things chocolatey and sugary, NOW. How I wish I could do that now, but all I can do is blog… blog about the best desserts that make me say “ooohhh” and “aaahh”.

Are you ready?

Number 5: French Toast Goodies at 30 Kitchen

French Toast at 30 Kitchen

I know it’s your regular breakfast food, but it sure is comfort food for me. There are too many flavors to mention that I couldn’t remember. All I could memorize was the sweet goodness of all flavors combined. And all that whipped cream won’t seem so bad when you’re done devouring these tasty breakfast treats at 30 Kitchen. Explore and let the flavors explode in your mouth.

Chocolate Fondue at Maitre Chocolatier

Number 4: Chocolate Fondue at Maitre Chocolatier at Ayala Terraces

Or it could be anything chocolatey… this place is the greatest authority in chocolates. It can be pricey, but it’s worth the try and indulgence. If you want to find your brand of chocolates you can’t find in the supermarket, you will find it there. Dip pre-cut fruits and what have you’s in oozing chocolate of your liking. You can even have spicy chocolate if you want (must try at least once in your life).

Number 3: Blueberry Cheesecake at Bittersweet Pastry Shop

Blueberry Cheesecake From Bittersweet Pastry Shop

My friends and I are always on the lookout for the right mix when it comes to blueberry cheesecakes. And yes, in a building across Cebu Doctor’s Hospital is the quiet and unassuming personal hideout – Bittersweet. It’s the next best thing (I’d still be biased to all things desserts at Shangrila Mactan’s Tides) for me. Their blueberry cheesecake is the right mix between sweet and salty with a little hint of tangy. You can see my review on Bittersweet here.

Warm Brownie Cup at La Marea Pastry Shop

Number 2: Warm Brownie Cup at La Marea Pastry Shop (Hands down)

This would have been on top had I not discovered a to-die-for dessert also concocted by another authority in Desserts – La Marea. If you want comfort food, this is your best buddy. My warm brownie cup and I have been through a lot for the past year. I build my own friendships around it and cried over past loves. But one thing remains the same, it’s the right sweetness and gooeyness of the brownie topped with the ice cream that completes the whole taste. It plays with your tongue being hot and cold at the same time. As you finish your bowl, you find yourself smiling and feeling better.

Finally, Number 1  on my list is the new craze to come to Cebu – Mochi Ice Cream at La Marea Pastry Shop

Mochi Ice Cream at La Marea Pastry Shop

I know ice cream is not an entire dessert, but in my book it is. My world seemed to revolve around Mochi Ice Cream when I first heard about it from a friend. From then on, I would crave for anything mochi, even my toppings on my favorite brand of yogurt ice cream. At La Marea they make it on their own. There’s a thin layer of Mochi covering home-made ice cream that’s just right for my palate. It’s available in different flavors – Chocolate, Mango, Strawberry, Green Tea, Yema/Brazo de Mercedes. I have mentioned this before on my past post and I’m still raving about it til now.

So that’s it, I gave in to my cravings the healthy way. But still there’s that need in me to devour all these five desserts in one sitting. Maybe one day in these coming weeks… 🙂

Pass Me The Patis Please?

3 Nov

Did you mean toyo or patis?

***DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT OWN THE PICTURES OF THE CONDIMENTS, LECHON KAWALI, LARSIAN SELECTIONS AND PUNGKO-PUNGKO. I got them on the net. Credits to the owners who took and own those pictures***

If you’re from anywhere in the Philippines and you hear this, you would instinctively reach for the bottle of Rufina or Lorin. But if you’re in Cebu, they will look at you confused and sometimes irritated. If they ask you for the patis, hand them the toyo. I’M SERIOUS.

Wherever we got this trait from I really don’t know. I would laugh at friends and make jokes if they’d ask me to hand the patis. This is how different Cebuanos prefer their food and condiments. We find ourselves one with the rest of the Philippines, but separate from others especially when it comes to food.

Adobo or Lechon Kawali?

In my native island, I could find food that’s not in Luzon. I can find it in Mindanao though, especially since most people who live in some areas originated from the Visayas. And quite frankly, I would rather prefer our adobo and dinoguan. Now, there’s one dish you don’t want to confuse here as well – ADOBO. In Luzon and in some other parts of the country and the world, Adobo is sauteed pork with soy sauce and some bay leaves. But Cebu’s version of Adobo is get this – Lechon Kawali – and I am not kidding you. We use both terms for lechon kawali and the real Adobo. THAT’S HOW DIFFERENT WE TEND TO GET.

A normal array of selection at Larsian's

There is a lot to the Cebuano palate than I can explain here on my blog. For one we have this undeniable love for everything grilled. We love our grilled and barbecued food not just on Sundays, but we want it every day if we wanted to. When you walk down alleys or the bigger streets of the city, you will surely find a smoking stand where people line up to get their daily dose of barbecue. That’s why the Larsians theme is such a hit. You want grilled food at low cost? Try AA BBQ with branches all over the place. The toyo+suka+green tomato sawsawan is naturally the first course of the meal for some people, but these are mere condiments to others.

Pungko-Pungko

Another Cebuano staple are innards of the chicken, pig and sometimes the cow (not popular though). We LOVE our dose of uric acid even when can no longer move our thumbs and other joints because of arthritis. Try having lunch with me at the local pungko2 where you can enjoy your crispy fried chicharon bulaklak at 10pesos a piece. THAT’S A BARGAIN… Dip it in Sukang Bisaya with LOADS of white onions and you won’t care if you’ll live to see the daylights of tomorrow. Pungko2 is generally a small roadside ensemble of a small table, some 3-4 benches that could fit 2-3 people in it. You lay out your plastic on the table, grab some goodies in another plastic to have it chopped and you have instant meals. The plastic on the table IS your plate, mind you. You eat with your hands with some hanging rice – puso – to combat your need for carbs. To some this can be dirty, yucky or whatever you might call it, but to us, this is the mother of all cuisine. You can spot at one time or another a car parked by the side with loads of moneyed kids who eat pungko2. And they come back for more.

My First Taste of Zubuchon in 2010

And who could forget our love for lechon? NO ONE COULD. It’s actually a Cebuano staple almost every occasion or to some every Sunday. They say, we have the best lechon’s in the country and I would have to agree with that. Even Anthony Bourdain does. There’s just something with how they roast and season the pig that makes it so delicious from outside in. Don’t you just love that cracking sound you get as you bite that crunchy, salty roasted pig skin? And thanks to the demand, it’s possible to send and bring some abroad. But what makes it so much different from all other Lechons in the country? It’s the patis… toyo, I mean.

There is so much to a Cebuano’s palate that I could write about. Sometimes we’re weird, sometimes plain. At other times we never learned to let go of our old habits and dishes that we have grown to love. If I would live in another place, which I hope would not happen any sooner, I would long for Mama’s cooking or carenderias in Cebu. I will always long for Humba, Utan Bisaya, Cebu Lechon, and all things else that reminds me of home. This is why I love Cebu. And it’s time you should too 🙂

at the local tabo in Liloan which happens every Sunday

Herbed Cream Dory With Lemon Butter Sauce

23 Oct

My own creation

Sundays were always my days to destress and one of my favorite hobbies is Cooking. Yes, I don’t just eat; I cook too. And I love to experiment. So, I found myself in Metro Ayala’s supermarket and I was looking at the freezer where the Cream Dory was displayed.

Fried Herbed Cream Dory

Who wouldn’t love its soft meat? But just when you think that this fish is so expensive, think again! I bought mine less than a kilo at PhP 120. That’s not bad considering I don’t have to clean it; it’s pre-packaged and filleted ready for cooking.

I was too excited for Sunday lunch that Saturday night I kept pacing back and forth. Now, if you knew me that well (my sister can attest to this) I’m very OC when it comes to cooking and I want to cook at that exact moment. I wouldn’t even care if it’s 12MN if I am in the mood. But still I tried my hardest to wait for Sunday lunch for me and my mom (showed off the fish to my Sister and dad on skype LOL).

There was this recipe on the internet I was eyeing on so I copied some of it and experimented on it. This recipe serves four 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 2 pcs Cream dory fillet
  • oil (deep fry)
  • bread crumbs – use the Japanese kind
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • basil leaves – i used the store bought dried leaves because it gave a lot of flavor and aroma. i infused some of my own fresh leaves of thai basil from the yard too!
  • salt (optional)

    Sauce - this one was actually a fail 🙂 too much lemon juice

Sauce:

  • 1 half lemon
  • mayonnaise
  • butter
  • evaporated milk
  • salt and pepper

Procedure:

  • Rub the dory with basil leaves. If you want to add more flavor, rub salt as well. Let it sit for about five to ten minutes. You can also marinate the fish with some soy sauce and some calamansi or half of the lemon.
  • Dip them in the eggs and bread them with your crumbs. If the basil leaves come off, add some as you bread them.
  • Pour oil on a NONSTICK pan, enough to deep fry the fish. (Mom’s tip: to give it a crunch, indulge yourself with more oil – DEEP FRY).
  • Fry the fish til golden brown. Set aside.
  • On a bowl, mix the mayonnaise, butter and evaporated milk.  Then add the lemon juice in slowly. Control the sourness of the sauce by adding in the juice little by little.
  • Pour into a pan on low heat and stir for a few mins. Don’t worry if the consistency is quite runny. Add salt and pepper to taste If you like it to be a little bit sweet, add sugar.
  • Cut into pieces. Serve

Enjoy!