The Adobo Bento– a Pinoy take on Japanese boxed meals

Finalist: Best Single Food PostAs a kid I was fascinated with bentos since I first saw one on Japan Video Topics. If you are unfamiliar about Japan Video Topics, it’s a mini-program wherein they showcase things of interest about Japan and it’s culture such as tourist spots, festivals,technology, food, etc. These are shown on a daily basis during odd hours on state-owned TV stations.

Recently, I found a renewed fascination for bentos, due in part to Kaoko’s creations. I’ve been trying to find the right opportunity to make a bento, and that opportunity presented itself when Nina suggested we have a picnic at the La Mesa Eco Park in Quezon City. I thought about what I was going to bring. It had to be something easy to prepare, something that we definitely like to eat because we would be sharing, and something Filipino. And adobo definitely is all three! So I decided to bring an adobo bento to our trip to the park. I paired it up with brown rice and a siding of fried eggplant, diced tomatoes and bagoong (sautéed shrimp paste).

KainPinoy.com's Pinoy Bento for Lasang Pinoy Challenge #25
The Bento

Adobo has been synonymous to Pinoy food for as long as I can remember. If you asked someone to name a Filipino dish, chances are the answer you’ll get is “adobo”. Ask a fellow Pinoy or foreigners who have Filipino friends and contacts, and most of the time, that is going to be the answer. I don’t know why, but it just seems to be the case.

Adobong Liempo - Pinoy Bento for Lasang Pinoy Challenge #25
Adobong Liempo

This is so easy to cook. I used pork belly cut into cubes, and started by sautéing it in oil with chopped garlic and onions. I sautéed it until all the pink is gone and before adding a tablespoon of oyster sauce. Next, I poured in the soy sauce which I allowed to simmer before adding in the cane vinegar. I brought it to a boil, lowered the flame, and allowed it to simmer until the sauce has reduced and thickened, and the meat is tender. I continued to simmer it on low heat until most of the sauce has been absorbed by the meat, and the fat has been rendered. I then allowed the pork meat to fry a little bit in the fat before taking it off the flame.

Kamatis, Talong at Bagoong  - Pinoy Bento for Lasang Pinoy Challenge #25
Kamatis, Talong at Bagoong

While I waited for the adobo to cook, I worked on my side dishes. I fried slices of eggplant, diced some tomatoes and scooped out some bagoong from the jar.

Brown Rice - Pinoy Bento for Lasang Pinoy Challenge #25
Brown Rice

After the food has cooled slightly, I proceeded to put the bento together. Since I don’t have bento boxes, I used some disposable microwavable plastic containers which we already had. I used three containers in all, and to give it a more Filipino feel, I lined the containers with banana leaves. For garnishes, I used a tomato peel rosette for the adobo, and some banana leaves cut like bento grass for the rice.

This is KainPinoy.com’s first time to join the Lasang Pinoy challenge. Thank you Ajay for hosting this round!

Cupping at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf

Let’s start off with a little trivia I learned at the event: Tea is the 2nd most consumed beverage, next to water, world wide. And here I thought it was beer!

Moving on.

Cupping is the term used for what a tea taster does as he evaluates the tea. And at the Tea Appreciation Seminar, we got to sample some of Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf’s house blends.

Tea! I think this is the African Sunrise
Trying out Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf’s bestsellers

The first tea that was served was the Genmaicha Tea, which is a blend of high-quality Sencha tea and partially toasted rice. I got a whiff of the aroma before I took a sip, and it did smell faintly of toasted rice. As I sipped the tea, I noticed how light the tea tasted, and how the flavor of the toasted rice gave it a wonderful finish.

Next to be served was the Fancy Formosa Dragon Oolong which is a medium bodied tea, with a subtle floral aroma and a flavored with a hint of peach. Now this is an instant favorite of mine, simply because it is peach-flavored. I love anything peach-flavored!

A light-bodied tea, the Apricot Ceylon was the third to be served. I liked this one as well because of its fruity flavor and aroma, which is think is a bit stronger than the Fancy Formosa Dragon Oolong. (Even though it is lighter.)

CBTL Tea Bag
CBTL Pyramid Tea Bag

If you want spice, then the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf’s Chai is the tea for you. This full-bodied tea is a special blend of Black Tea, cinnamon, cloves and other spices. These give an exotic aroma and spicy taste to this flavorful tea.

Saving the best for last, our host introduced us to the latest addition to The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf’s roster of house blends– the African Sunrise. This definitely takes the cake–or should i say “tea”?-! A Coffee Bean original blend, it has a very smooth body, complimented with a wonderful flavor and aroma. This is definitely the best tasting tea I had ever had! It has never been released anywhere in the world, and will be first sampled here in the Philippines this June.

Eli's Cheesecake Tira Mi Su Sampler

My mom went to the supermarket the other day after a visit to the dentist’s clinic. She brought this treat home:

Eli's Cheesecake Tira Mi Su Sampler
Eli’s Cheesecake Tira Mi Su Sampler

 
Tira mi su is a popular Italian dessert that means “pick me up” in English. It is made up of sponge biscuits or stale cake dipped in a mixture of coffee and rum, topped with a mixture of mascarpone’ cheese, egg yolks, cream and sugar, and then crowned with a dusting of cocoa.

The sampler has four variants– the original tira mi su, chocolate, white chocolate, and caramel. With three slices of each variant, there’s plenty to go around!

Eli's Cheesecake Tira Mi Su Sampler
Original Tiramisu, White Chocolate and Caramel

 
I’ve tried all four, and I liked all of them. It’s safe to say that I wasn’t disappointed. Well except for the size of the portion. It was a bit to small for me, but then again I do like my cake slices big! Other than that, it was pure heaven! The mascarpone’ layer was not too sweet, very smooth and very creamy!

Eli's Cheesecake Tira Mi Su Sampler
Chocolate Tiramisu

 
Eli’s Tira mi su Sampler and Cheesecakes are available at Robinson’s Supermarket and Makro outlets. You can also order online at www.elicheesecake.com.