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Breakfast Ideas: Quick and Easy Yogurt Breakfast

I think I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again – I’m a breakfast person. As a Filipino, I am used to eating heavy breakfast. Back in the Philippines, my favorite breakfast involves fried rice, sunny side up and whatever breakfast meat or fish is around (like marinated beef, bacon, dried fish or even hotdogs). When I came to Geneva, I soon realized I have to adjust to croissants and pain au chocolat for breakfast. Don’t get me wrong, I am absolutely in love with fresh croissant au beurre in the morning. However, a croissant for me is not enough to keep me filled up all morning. This is when I discovered my favorite healthy breakfast that keeps full the whole morning plus it’s high in protein- yogurt with fruits, granola and seeds.

Strawberry musli yogurt mix

There are already so many recipes of yogurt mix out there and there are also a lot of ready-made yogurt mixes in shops and coffee shops in Geneva (it’s a popular breakfast). I get mine at Aperto in Gare Cornavin or Migros in Servette in the morning whenever I don’t have the time to prepare one at home (they have fresh ones in these shops). This is my favorite do-it-yourself yogurt mix:

Unsweetened, no preservatives strawberry jam

low fat yogurt (natural or no flavor)

no-sugar musli mix (I used the musli mix with dried blueberries and walnuts)

Fresh strawberries I cut into small pieces

70% dark chocolate (for topping)

Directions: just put all the ingredients in a glass in layers, starting with the strawberry jam, yogurt, musli mix, and strawberries. I topped it with shavings of dark chocolate for fun.

This quick breakfast can be done in 5 minutes and keeps me full and energized the whole morning.

Chicken Hainanese Rice Inspired Dish: Your Upgraded Poached Chicken

Chicken hainanese rice is one of my favorite dishes back in the Philippines. This dish originated in a village in Southern China and has become very popular in South East Asia that it went on to become Singapore’s national dish. It’s a flavorful poached chicken accompanied by rice cooked in the chicken’s broth.

I’ve been craving for this dish for quite some time now so I decided to do it. It was not the same as the ones I would have in Chinese restaurants in the Philippines but I realized how this dish can easily be an upgrade to your regular poached chicken. The rice is meant to be oily because it is cooked in the chicken’s broth plus some drops of sesame oil. You can entirely skip this process if you are not up for an oily rice but it’s really good and it gives continuity of flavor to the entire dish – it’s still clean eating at the end of the day.

Chicken Hainanse Rice

Here’s how I made my chicken Hainanese inspired dish. What you need:

Chicken (usually, this is prepared with a whole chicken but in my case, I got just the thighs and legs)

Ginger

1 bulb of garlic

Spring onions

Bok choy or Chinese cabbage

Sesame oil

Light soy sauce

Chili garlic sauce

Sunflower oil or any cooking oil

Salt to taste

 

Preparing the chicken

In a pot of water, put the chicken, 4-6 slices of ginger (the thickness or how they’re cut don’t matter… you’ll just boil them for flavoring), 4 cloves of garlic, 2 teaspoon of salt and a bunch of spring onions. Make sure that the chicken is completely submerged in the water. Once the broth boils, allow it to boil for another 1-2 minutes. Take the chicken out of the boiling pot and submerge them in water with ice. Once the chicken has cooled down, put it back in the boiling broth. Depending on the size of the chicken, I let mine cook for 30-40 minutes.

 

Preparing the rice

Cook the rice as if you are cooking it the usual way (1:2 ratio) but use the chicken broth instead of water. Put in 2 slices of ginger, 2 cloves of garlic, spring onion, a teaspoon or half a teaspoon of sesame oil and 2 teaspoons of light soy sauce.

 

Garnish, soup and sauces

To garnish the chicken, mince the spring onions, pour in some sunflower oil (I used olive oil and it overpowered the dish… so, I wouldn’t recommend it) and salt to taste. Garnish the chicken with this mixture.

For the sauces, the first one was just grated ginger and oil. The second one is just the chili garlic sauce with soy sauce.

Lastly, don’t forget the soup. Just pour the boiling hot broth on a bowl of bok choy.

I got the bok choy and chili garlic sauce from an Asian shop but sometimes, Coop or Migros have them.

 

Bon apetite!

Spring 2015 Caves Ouvertes: A biking adventure to Satigny and Dardagny

IMG_6627 (1)

A popular event in Switzerland is the Caves Ouvertes where vineyards open their wine cellars to public for free tasting. In Geneva, this is usually done in May and in November. The May Caves Ouvertes is always the most popular one as people welcome the warmer weather.

 

It is also an opportunity to buy really good wines at a cheaper price since you are directly getting them from the vineyard owners. I remember last year, I really liked a Sheurebe in Satigny but since we were biking, I was too lazy to get bottles at the Caves Ouvertes. It was sold at around 16 francs. After a couple of months, I saw bottles of it, from the exact same vineyard, at Globus but they were sold at 38 swiss francs per bottle. Ridiculous, right? Well, it’s Geneva.

 

It is also very common to combine a biking/cycling adventure with the Caves Ouvertes – although it can be a dangerous activity once you had too much to drink. This year, my friends and I decided to bike to Satigny and all the way to Dardagny. The entire route was approximately 40 km with seriously steep uphill. Same as last year, we also had a really good weather at this year’s Caves Ouvertes. Although we were dying of exhaustion at the end of the day (most of us are not really serious bikers), we had a really great time. So yeah, I look forward to another Caves Ouvertes next year.

xo, I.

Spoiling myself in Geneva with good food: Restaurant review on Café Papon

With my dance school still on Easter break, I decided to go to yoga class with my friends last night. The class wasn’t as advanced as our usual Tuesday or Saturday yoga class but we found ourselves starving like crazy after the class. Usually, we either treat ourselves to a steak or thai dinner after a hard yoga class. Last night, we decided to try something new. As we walked around the Old Town, trying to figure out a good restaurant, my friend remembered that a friend highly recommended Café Papon. We thought it was pretty pricy at first for a random after-yoga dinner. Nevertheless, we were famished and we saw foie gras in their menu.

The restaurant is perfectly situated in the Old Town with short walking distance to buses and tram lines (the closest bus/tram line I saw was Place de Neuve). It’s a bit of an uphill walk but it’s a short one if you’re coming from Place de Neuve/Parc des Bastions area. The restaurant has a classic and charming ambiance. We had our table inside the restaurant but I bet in the summer or on warmer days, their terrace would be amazing.

Foie gras de canard au torchon, financier au citron confit

Foie gras de canard au torchon, financier au citron confit

One of my food guilty pleasures is foie gras so, the moment I saw foie gras in their menu, I knew what to get for my entrée. The foie gras was big enough for 2 persons (there were 2 big slices of foie gras, sweet bread, and citron confit) and I unfortunately couldn’t finish mine because I was worried I won’t have space for my main dish. The foie gras was amazing – probably the best I’ve had in Geneva so far – but I wasn’t a big fan of the sweet bread. For my main dish, I had the sea bass fillet. It was perfect – it was light, perfectly-seasoned, and moist. I also like how they put extra effort in plating our dishes beautifully. For our wine, we had a Swiss sauvignon blanc – it was average but we didn’t really want to spend much on the wine since it was just a random dinner for us.

For the foie gras entrée, sea bass filet, and a bottle of sauvignon blanc, we paid 80 chf each (there were 3 of us and we all got the same food). I know it sounds ridiculously expensive but considering the food we had and that the restaurant is in a good location in the Old Town, for me, it’s a normal price. I don’t mind paying for good quality food and excellent service.

Aside from good food, the service was excellent too. We had a friendly and very helpful waiter and the service was fast. We couldn’t decide what type of white wine we’d like to have and when we hesitantly ordered a bottle of a certain wine, the waiter offered to let us taste the wine first (usually, they open the bottle you asked and have you taste it but that puts you in an awkward position of saying no to a freshly opened bottle of wine you chose). Me and my other friend didn’t like the wine so our waiter brought us another one.

Overall, I definitely will come back to this restaurant and recommend it to others. I think this is a perfect restaurant if you have visiting friends or colleagues because you get to walk around the Old Town then have a nice dinner after.

Café Papon is located at Rue Henri Fazy 1 Geneva 1204.

Restaurant Review: Le Scandale

Le Scandale

24 rue de Lausanne

 

This is probably the first time I wrote a bad review on anything. I usually avoid ranting or complaining in my blog because basically, if a restaurant or hotel is too bad, I wouldn’t even bother writing about it at all.  However, I thought my experience at Le Scandale last night deserves an exception.

Although I’ve been to Le Scandale for drinks before, it was my first time to try their restaurant last night and I must say, I’m probably not going to go there again to eat.

Location and Accessibility (4/5)

Le Scandale is well located, probably 2 or 3-minute walk from Gare Cornavin (train station), along rue de Lausanne.

Food (3/5)

I had their 4 fromages pizza last night and for me, it was mediocre – it wasn’t bad but not worth CHF 18.00 pizza. I love pizzas and I don’t mind paying more than CHF 20 for a pizza before – but it has to be worth it. Unfortunately, there’s nothing special about the pizza I had so, I was pretty much disappointed. For me, there are a lot more Italian restaurants in the area that serves cheaper but better quality pizzas.

Ambiance (2.5/5)

It’s a confused restaurant/bar. It’s a venue that has a restaurant on one side and a huge bar. The place can get packed and loud.

Price (2/5)

As mentioned earlier, I find that the pizza I had was quite expensive for its mediocre quality.

Service (1/5)

If there’s one award I can give to this restaurant, it will be the worst-service-I’ve-ever-had-in-Geneva award. In my 4 yrs in Geneva, I’m already used to the type of customer service they usually have here. With this, I always come to a new place with realistic expectations on customer service.

Last night, we waited for almost an hour for our food to get served because it seemed like the kitchen forgot to make our orders. This happens. What really upset me was how the waiters dealt with us. After waiting for a while, I politely (even smiling) asked one of the waiters if he can check our orders because it’s been almost an hour. The waiter told me “it’s not my problem. I did not take your order”. Then, he walked away from our table and vanished. Finally, our food was served to us and I told the waiter serving us (again, smiling) “merci. Was our order not placed earlier?” The waiter responded to me also with “well, that’s not my problem”. My friends and I were dumbstruck with the waiters’ rudeness. After a while, we heard one of the ladies at the table behind us arguing with one of the rude waiters and we can hear that she was totally upset on something and the waiter went to argue further with her. That’s when I realized that this place should be reviewed so that hopefully such unprofessionalism will be addressed by management.

Overall Rating (2.5/5)

Overall, I don’t recommend this restaurant based on our experience with its unprofessional waiters. If I’m going to spend such amount for mediocre food, the last thing I need will be such arrogant services. Perhaps, we caught them on a bad night but as a paying customer, that shouldn’t be an excuse for bad attitude.

The Big 3-0h Turned Out To Be… Well, A Big One Indeed!

Birthday weekend in Paris

Birthday weekend in Paris

Exactly a week ago, I had my 30th birthday. I must say, for someone who is not so much into celebrating birthdays, this year has been pretty much…epic!

I’ve always been curious on what I would feel on my 30th birthday. For others, leaving the 20s is a dreadful moment – I guess when you’re at your 30’s you can’t blame on your age anymore on some bad decisions or indecision you make in life. Or, I guess it is also because some people think that you’re supposed to figure out life by 30 (now that can be a scary thought!). For others, 30 is finally an age they’ve been waiting for – it is the age when people start looking at you as a real adult in your workplace, not some striving young professional trying to make it in the business. In my case, I was excited to celebrate my 30th birthday simply because I know I am entering a new season in my life. I know that sounds vague but that’s not why I’m writing this, to expound that would be like writing a book.

The Celebrations

I think it is only fair to say that for my birthday this year, I celebrated friendship. I would not have had a memorable birthday if it were not for my friends. The truth is, Geneva would have been such a lonely place if it were not for my friends. Yes, my top 3 secrets to enjoying to Geneva have been:

  1. Invest on friendships
  2. Enjoy travelling
  3. Appreciate alone time

Triple Birthday and A Farewell Celebration

(My family in Geneva) L-R: Abel, Bhabes, Nenette, Me, and Godi

(My family in Geneva) L-R: Abel, Bhabes, Nenette, Me, and Godi

On the 6th of April, we had a fiesta at the Gray’s to celebrate 3 birthdays (Mike, Nenette, and mine’s) and to say see-you-again to one of my families in Geneva, Bill and Bhabes. It was an Asian-themed feast… we even had a lechon! I always enjoy these get-togethers even though this one was bitter-sweet.

Birthday Lunch, An Anonymous Gift, and We Were Off to Paris

It was particularly more-than-the-ordinary busy at work the week of my birthday. But as early as Monday, I already started receiving birthday cards and greetings from friends.

On my actual birthday, I was greeted with a birthday card on my desk from my boss and his wife (with a PS saying they have a gift for me but he forgot to bring it). Before turning on my laptop, I quickly went to the area in our floor where we put food that we would like to share to everyone. On that day, I brought special pain au chocolat. As I didn’t want the attention, I tried to sneak the pain au chocolat but someone eventually caught me… and usually, if someone brings that much food that means it is his/her birthday. So, at early morning, half of the people in our floor have already greeted me.

Lunch was truly a treat! First, my boss treated me to lunch at Café du Soleil. Second, it was a double birthday lunch because it was also the birthday of one of our security colleagues from another agency. Now, at least I know 2 people with the same birthday as mine.

After lunch, as I came back to my office, I saw a gift on my chair without a tag. I thought it was from Nenette who earlier called to greet me and told me she’ll drop by my office to give a gift. Since I was trying to finish everything at work by 5 pm (our train to Paris was at 5:45 pm), I only called Nenette after an hour of seeing the gift. When Nenette picked up the phone, I thanked her for the gift. She replied “you’re welcome. Sorry, I’m quite busy at the moment, is it okay if you get your gift here in my office? “. So, apparently it wasn’t from her. I asked around whom the gift was from or who left it in my office… no one knew. To whomever it was from, thank you! It’s a really nice scarf.

At 5 pm, I left the office to catch the 5:45 pm train to Paris with my friends Nicol, Sarah, another Sarah, Kaisa, and Jordan (Tara and Tya took the later train). The train ride was beautiful! You see, we’ve been having some crappy weather in Geneva the whole week. So, when the sun shone at 7 pm (at one point, I had to wear my sun glasses because it was too bright), I couldn’t help but appreciate God’s little birthday treat. After everyone has arrived in Paris, Yann took us to a bar for a little drink before calling it a night.

The Big Weekend in Paris

Birthday dinner in Paris organized by Nicol and Yann :)

Birthday dinner in Paris organized by Nicol and Yann 🙂

On Saturday, we did a sight-seeing/shop-seeing walk from Notre Dame to Champs Elysee. We also discovered a cheap but really good Japanese restaurant close to the Louvre.

At night, Yann took us to this French restaurant for my birthday dinner. The food was awesome (at least based on what I had)! Having dinner in Paris with these girls and guys made me realized how much blessed I am to have these nice people around me.

After dinner, we went to Barrio Latino, a salsa club in Paris. As I said to my friends, I don’t remember the last time I had to line up to get in a club… with that alone, I knew it was going to be a fun night! Barrio Latino is a 5-floor club (they serve dinner on the upper floors). Although it’s a salsa club, they played quite a variety of music genre that night – which I appreciated since I’m not exactly a salsa dancer. Overall, it was one of the best nights ever since I moved to Europe almost 3 years ago.

Surprisingly, everyone got up pretty early the following day. On that Sunday, the weather was fantastic! It was so warm that we didn’t need to put a sweater on. It was the perfect weather to end the weekend in Paris. To enjoy this rare opportunity, we decided to have a picnic at a park by the Eiffel Tower. For me, it was a perfect, relaxing day with friends. At 2 pm, Jordan and I had to leave the group since we were both catching the earlier train back to Geneva.

Wrapping up the Paris weekend with a picnic

Wrapping up the Paris weekend with a picnic

In Conclusion

As I reflected on my birthday last week, I asked myself what made me want to celebrate my birthday this year. I realized it’s not because 30 is a milestone – it was merely an excuse for the big celebrations. I celebrated my birthday this year because my friends made sure of it. And this is why I dedicate my birthday this year to celebrate friendship.

With this, I sincerely thank all my friends in Geneva (especial mention to Nicol and Yann)… I appreciate you all so much!

 

Hugs,

~I

PS. Guys, thank you for the cool gift! hahaha!

PS. Guys, thank you for the cool gift! hahaha!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CARNIVOR DU CENTRE: For the Weekend Dinner

Entrecote Beurre Carnivor at CHF 37.00

Carnivor du Centre
rue Neuve-du-Molard 11
Geneva 1204

I had dinner with a friend last Saturday and up to the last minute, we weren’t sure where we were going. We agreed on one thing though – we wanted to have steak that night. The famous entrecôte places were not an option for some reasons but we recalled that there’s this steak place that we would always pass by in Mollard. That’s how we ended up at Carnivor du Centre for dinner.

Location (4.5/5)

Carnivor du Centre is located at rue Neuve-du-Molard 11. I always refer to that area as the shopping area. Getting there from Gare Cornavin is easy – Bus 8 (bus stop: Metropole) or Bus 3, 5, and tram 14 (get off at Bel-Air and walk or hop into Tram 12 heading towards Moillesulaz and get off at Molard). This is a perfect place for a Saturday night dinner with friends because it is close to the Old Town where you can have a nice walk (on not-so-chilly nights) or a nice drink after dinner.

Food (3.5/5)

I had their entrecôte with their house butter (entrecôte beurre carnivor). The dish goes with a salad (mix greens with French dressing, slices of parmigiano, and some nuts – I think they were almonds) and fries and veggies as sides.

The salad was okay – I would’ve preferred a balsamic vinaigrette as a dressing though. The fries were really good (properly salted and fried just the way I like them). The thing was, the portion of the fries and veggies were too small – especially the veggies. The veggies didn’t seem like a side dish, but more like a misplaced cut carrots and 3 slices of zuccinies. I could’ve traded my veggies for an extra portion of fries actually.

The entrecôte was of good portion and cooked in a perfect “medium” (I hate it when you ask for medium and they give your steak bleeding all over the plate). It was very tender and well seasoned too. The house butter was interesting – I’m guessing it had a generous amount of pepper and some basil and thyme (I can be wrong though) but it has a little kick of spice. I actually like it, too bad they only put a small portion of it on top of the entrecôte. So, the house butter, just like the side dishes, weren’t enough to fully enjoy the dish.

Ambiance (4/5)

The tables are quite small and quite close to the other tables BUT way better than the other famous entrecôte places in Geneva such as the Cafe de Paris or Relais. The restaurant was packed but it wasn’t noisy at all. Our table was at the extension area so I could barely see the actual restaurant – it looked pretty cozy though.

Price (3.5/5)

The entrecôte with their house butter was CHF 37.00 and a glass of their vins ouverts (I think for the red wine, they had gamay de Geneve that night which was actually good) was something like CHf 3.60. For a restaurant in that part of Geneva, I say it’s quite reasonable. If only they served a more generous portion of the butter and fries (as I said, I don’t care about the veggies), I would’ve given it a 4/5.

Service (3.5/5)

I was satisfied with their service. The servers were friendly and our food were served pretty quick. My only comment though was towards the end of our meal, it took a long time for them to give us the dessert menu and take our dessert order. Thus, my friend and I decided to just ask for the bill and go somewhere else for dessert and a coffee.

Overall (3.8/5)

Overall, despite my comments on the food portions, I’d say it was still a good discovery for me. As I said, the restaurant is strategically located close to the Old Town. So, for Saturday nights, this restaurant is perfect for a proper dinner before hitting the bars (for me, this is a good restaurant to take your date before hitting a bar at the old town or catching a last full show at the Rialto). This is also a nice place to grab lunch before or after shopping (as I said this is within the shopping area). However, if you are looking for a an entrecôte meal that is to-die-for, I’ll take you to another restaurant.

Regarding reservations, my friend and I didn’t have one but we managed to get a table. Perhaps, for a bigger group, having a reservation is ideal on a Saturday night considering the place was pretty packed at around 20.30ish.

For more information on Carnivor du Centre, you can visit them at their website at http://www.carnivor.ch/.