What to order in Vietnamese restaurant: Nhà Em

I have to admit, I haven’t really taken the time to explore and experience Vietnamese cuisine. I mean, I have tried PHO before, but that’s about it. I cannot recall sampling any other dish–well, maybe spring rolls, but I’m not even sure if that was Vietnamese. I have heard some amazing things about their cuisine though, and I have friends who really plan trips to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh just to taste authentic Vietnamese dishes.

Of course, I was more than happy to change all that–I was so ready to get to know what this particular cuisine was all about. And like an answered prayer, the Baby Barangay was invited to NHÀ EM, which is the newest Vietnamese resto in SM Aura Premier.

Nha em actually means “my home”, and boy, did the girls and I feel at home in this lovely restaurant. The owners wanted to share the experience of dining in a countryside home in Vietnam, where meals are carefully prepared with a mother’s love. Needless to say, I was more than excited to get a taste of a yummy Vietnamese home cooked meal and I am happy to say that we got exactly that.

Their menu was so nice! It made it easy for Vietnamese cuisine newbies like myself to order and explore their different dishes. The photos were colorful and detailed–it made me hungry!

For our appetizers, we started with GÕI CUON (P220), which are fresh spring rolls. I love how huge the shrimps are, and how delicate and fresh the rolls tasted.

The CHA GIÒ (P240) though became an instant favorite. These fried spring rolls are so unique because you actually wrap the rolls in crunchy lettuce. I never thought of putting the two together, but wow–the crunchiness of the lumpia wrapper combined with the freshness of the lettuce is incredible. I could’ve finished this whole plate, but I had to make room for all the dishes we ordered.

This was an definitely an interesting dish. DĀU HU CHIÊN TRUNG MUÔI (P260) is salted egg tofu, but this version was cleaner and more refined. Of course, I am coming from all the salted egg chips I’ve tried in the past. This wasn’t as salty as those, that’s for sure, but it was pretty good.

MU’C XÀO XÃ ÓT (P325) or lemongrass squid with chili was soft, tender and tasty. I can imagine this would be perfect with rice.

BÁNH XÈO (P350) or crispy crepe was something new for me, but it was so good. I had to listen to the chef’s instructions on how to eat (pay attention so you look like an expert when you order this dish haha): (1) lay out the veggies, (2) add a cut of the Bahn Xeo, (3) top with herbs, (4) roll, dip and enjoy.

  This is the dish I am familiar with– the PHO BO (P305) or Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup is all kinds of delicious. And the best part is: you can build up the taste according to how you like it.

This was one of the highlights of the evening: TOM KHO TÀU (P550) or river prawns in roe sauce was just delightful. First off, I have never tried shrimps this huge (and I love shrimp)–it was so meaty and tasty! This is a must-try, if you haven’t already eaten this.

       It wouldn’t be an authentic Vietnamese resto without all the drinks you can order: specialty coffee, iced teas and sodas are all available!

   For dessert, we had BÁNH FLAN (P65)! This was especially yummy topped with ice (who knew)!

And lastly, we had the CHÈ DAU 3 MAU (P105) or 3-color sweet soup, which is very similar to our halo-halo.

NHA EM Vietnamese Cuisine is located at the 5th Floor of SM Aura Premier, C5 Road, 26th Street, Taguig, Metro Manila. Make a reservation by contacting this number: +63956 877 6180.

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What the Baby Barangay ordered at Souv by Cyma

Souv! by Cyma is a new concept restaurant by Chef Robby Goco that offers a fresh and modern take on Greek cuisine. I have always been a fan of Cyma (and Greek food, for that matter) so I had high expectations for this lunch. Let me tell you, it did not disappoint. If anything, it was able to exceed all my expectations–the food here is amazing!

The Baby Barangay (that’s me, Bianca, Cat, Nicole and Patty) went in at 2:30pm and the place was packed (always a good sign in a restaurant). We were definitely in for a treat, because Chef Robby personally took care of us and sent out the best dishes on the menu. Now, for those of you wondering what ‘souv’ means, it actually comes from the word: souvlaki/souvla/souva, which is a Greek dish made up of meat on a skewer. And since the resto has a modern Greek concept that focuses on spit fired meat, well, it was the perfect name!

Because of Cyma’s success, Chef Robby decided to integrate his top 12 favorite dishes in Cyma with Souv! which is why the resto still has the flavors we are so familiar with. But also expect more. Souv!’s menu revolves around the three souvlaki meats usually found in the rotisserie: chicken, pork and lamb. Which means the meats are incredibly flavorful and tender, and has a smoky delicious taste.

For lunch, you can choose their roastings which you can have in a wrap, salad, or bowl, served with your choice of side dishes. The best part is you can customize your meal based on your preference and diet (whether you are vegan, paleo, gluten-free or keto). And for appetizers, you can start with a range of mezzes from dips, to their spinach and clam fondue. For salads you can sample their Kinoa Salata, and for paleo and gluten-free options, they have the super Souv! salad. For big plates to share, they have a meat platter of their roastings, Greek Paella, Angus Beef Short Rib, Grilled Whole Fish with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Lemon Emulsion.

Their dishes are perfectly paired with modern day Greek libations and everyday wines. And get this, they also have organic and vegan-friendly red wines if you request for it.

Sticky Chicken Wings P495. Fried chicken wings, honey, oregano, lemon, pickled onions, harissa yogurt.

 Clams & Spinach Fonduta P530. Served with grilled bread.

Plenty of kwentos and laughs with my girls.

Strapatsada P280. Greek scrambled eggs, cherry tomato comfit, feta, Greek oregano, grilled bread.

Salata Kinoa (small) P480 / (large) P680. Lollo verde, quinoa, arugula, pine nuts, sultanas, shaved kefalotiri, dijon herb dressing, grated walnuts.

Cranberry Grains Salad (small) P490 / (large) P690. Puy lentils, bulgur, parsley, cilantro, red onion, capers, cranberries, cumin, honey yogurt dressing.

    Chef Robby Goco carefully explained each dish he served us.

Cheese Saganaki P480. Fried kefalotiri with peppered fig, jam and honey sesame. Served with grilled bread.

Cyma Roka Salata (small) P350 / (large) P530. Arugula, romaine, sundries tomato, candied walnuts, parmagiano reggiano, Greek vinaigrette. Add grilled octopus (small) P110 / (large) P200.


Happy, full and completely satisfied faces.

Pork Wrap served with Oregano & Feta Fries P520. Minted tzatziki, cherry tomatoes, pickled red onions, pickled cucumber, sprouts, feta.

Hummus P290. Chickpeas, tahini, evoo.

We were super full but could not stop eating!

Grilled Sous Vide Octopus P295. Laddlemono, smokey paprika, Greek oregano, parsley salad.

Meat Platter: All Three (Chicken, Pork and Lamb) P950. Good for two. Comes with garlic yogurt sauce, pita, juicy potatoes, pickles and Greek coleslaw.

Seafood Yiouvetsi P850. Squid, shrimp, clams and mussels, orzo, crustacean-saffron broth.

We will definitely be back soon! The Baby Barangay had so much fun sampling Souv!’s dishes.

               For dessert, we had Greek yogurt!!! It comes in Wildflower Honey, Crumbled Baklava, Carrot Jam, EVOO with flakey sea salt and Orange Saffron.

Souv! by Cyma is located at Net Park Building, 5th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig

For reservations, call or text +63949 481 9621

How to make healthy bento box baon for the kiddos

I’ve always admired the creativity of moms like Kat Maderazo (she comes up with amazing bento box ideas in her Instagram account: @bentobykat). She effortlessly creates incredibly appetizing themed bento boxes that are also yummy and nutritious. I cant even begin to imagine how to decorate Tristan’s bento box baon when he starts going to school. Like, creating something cute and delicious might be a little difficult at 5 in the morning!

So okay, the Baby Barangay moms (that’s me, Bianca Santiago-Reinoso, Cat Juan-Ledesma, Nicole Hernandez-de los Angeles, and Patty Laurel-Filart) were invited by Gold Seas Tuna to a bento box class and guess who our teacher was?! KAT MADERAZO! She was so nice and patient, and allowed us to explore our creative side, while teaching us the tips and shortcuts for making our bentos look amazing.

We had all our ingredients properly chopped up and prepared (which helped make the class smooth and easy) and we each had a complete set of tools and our own workstations! It was so much fun–I was nursing a headache that was quickly turning into a vertigo episode but I soldiered on. I didn’t want to miss out on this!

So this is how our individual workstations looked like. All the ingredients were in nice little containers, which I think helps make the bento box decorating process a whole lot easier. So yes, if you want to get into bento box making for your kiddos, make sure to: (1) prepare everything the night before and separate them into glass containers, like above.  

 Before anything else, you will need a legit bento box to put all your wonderful creations in. These ones from Yumbox (IG handle: @yumboxlunch) are so cute, so easy to clean and really organize and separate each food group. No mess or spills with this one. So be sure to (2) pick up a bento box (like this) because of course, before you get into bento box baon making, you need a bento box! 

Another important tip I learned from this class: (3) invest in bento box making tools! You will need all the cute molds, punchers, mini scissors, tweezers, small knives and spiralizers to create your masterpiece easily. Yes, you can actually do without these but you will surely have a difficult time creating that theme you’re envisioning in your head or copying your son or daughter’s favorite cartoon characters.

 The most important thing I learned is (4) how to incorporate healthy ingredients into your kiddo’s bento boxes. This is the part where you can make use of colorful vegetables and fruits, which your kids need to eat anyway. Kat taught us how to use natural coloring for the rice to make it more appetizing–you can use ingredients like turmeric (yellow) and edible flowers (blue). And using cut up seaweed sheets to create an outline of a face/features. Gold Seas Yellowfin Tuna chunks can make cute tuna mayo sandwiches or can be fried to be make tuna nuggets!

And lastly, (5) be creative with your presentation! Kat suggested to draw the design you’re envisioning in your mind. This not only helps organize your thoughts, but also allows you to come up with the right proportion for the bento box, as well as know what ingredients you need to create it (so you can prepare and do the groceries beforehand).

Oh, and don’t forget to have fun and keep practicing! Your kids will surely appreciate all your efforts.

The Baby Barangay loves Gold Seas Tuna Chunks and Kat Maderazo!!!

What happened when the Baby Barangay moms took a Master Mixology Class

HISTORY OF THE COCKTAIL. Since the days of mead, honey, wine, and toast, people have been mixing alcoholic beverages in an effort to make the intoxication process go down a little smoother. Throughout the middle ages, distilled spirits were strong and fiery, so plenty was done to tame them. They were mixed with water, wine or beer, and flavored with herbs and sweeteners. From this tradition, we get many of our classic liqueurs, vermouths, and digestifs. 

But it wasn’t until the early 17th century that a drink called ‘punch’ was first served in India, taking its name form the Sanskrit word for five. All the building blocks were in place for the rise of the modern cocktail. Punch spread throughout Europe and the many British colonies, crossed the Atlantic, and became a popular mainstay in bars everywhere. Its classic five-part recipe (sour lemon, sweet sugar, strong alcohol, weak water and spices) proved to be an adaptable template which would evolve into other categories of drinks, such as egg nogs, flips, juleps, slings, and of course, the modern cocktail. 

I love cocktails as much as the next person, but I have to admit, I never really gave much thought to it, other than trying to drink as much of it as I could. During my pre-baby days I was never seen without a drink in my hand whenever I was out, and I would always order my favorite cocktails: Whisky Sours, Mojitos, Daiquiris and Martinis. Now that I’ve taken a long break from drinking I am seeing the cocktail in a whole new light–I have a newfound appreciation for it, especially after taking a Mixology class by Bevtools.com.

The Baby Barangay (Bianca, Cat, Nicole, Patty and I) took a Masterclass on the Fundamentals of Craft Cocktails (it sounds so serious, I love it), which of course, became a super fun night of drinking, mixing drinks, and drinking some more. We used the coolest-looking bar tools (also by Bevtools) and by the end of the night were shaking, stirring and pouring like pros. The class was moderated by amazing bartender/mixologist/brand ambassador for Bevtools Kath Eckstein, who broke down the essentials for us and made bartending incredibly fun. Scroll down to see what went down that night.

Welcome drink. Tonic water, ice, gin, and lemon.

Learning has never been so much fun.

Cat and Carl made old fashioned Whisky Sours–egg white, whisky, lemon juice, simple syrup, and angostura bitters.

Gorgeous bar tools by BEVTOOLS.com.

Bianca and Uli demonstrated how to make Moscow Mules–vodka, lime juice, ginger beer, and mint or lemon/lime.

Cat and Carl.

Kath teaching us the fundamentals of cocktail mixing.

Nothing like a well-stocked bar. Julep strainer and cocktail glass from Bevtools.

Intently listening. We were never this focused in school.

Nicole in her element. Happily drinking.

We all made daiquiris. This tasted so good. Now, to find a way to make Stevia-syrup.

 It was so much fun learning about mixing cocktails, as you can see in my face.

Perfect excuse to drink all night.

Pretty Cat.

Patty enjoying her Old Fashioned–bourbon, sugar cubes, angostura bitters, and orange peel.

  My gorgeous ladies having a blast.

We couldn’t have done it without our excellent bar tools from Bevtools.

The Pats are now experts at making Old Fashioned.

How to shake that Cobbler Shaker.

Simple and amazing. Gin and tonic.

Cant have that Moscow Mule without that Copper Mug from Bevtools.

Nic made a perfect daiquiri.

Absolutely love these copper bar tools! They are so pretty!

How fun was this class?!!

What you don’t hear: our graduation song! Yes, we had graduation rites for this Mixology class!

We did it! And in just one night.

                      Congrats to the Baby Barangay, for finishing this super fun course! I actually don’t mind taking this class again though.

                   FUN times.

Thank you, Bevtools for this amazing class. The Baby Barangay (minus the babies) had so much fun! Till the next one.

*

Bevtools.com offers Bar Consulting, and services like Bar Fabrication, Bar Layout and Design, and Bar Program. Apart from that, you can order the most gorgeous bar tools, glassware and other bar needs on their website: www.bevtools.com. Plus, they also do Drinks on Demand: beer, wine and spirits delivered to your doorstep within 90 minutes (www.bevtools.com/drinksondemand). 

Reasons why you need to get your hands on Jo Malone’s English Oak

The magic of the forest. Climb. Dream. Drift. Wander through emerald moss carpets. Ripe redcurrants, ready to be picked. Succumb to the scent of the fabled oak. Noble. Wise. Infused into two spellbinding scents. English Oak & Redcurrant. Bright. Embracing. Bewitching. English Oak & Hazelnut. Earthy. Enticing. Enchanting. Perfect alone. Or paired for a compelling fragrance combining effect. 

Oak isn’t your typical scent. Usually we smell sandalwood or cedar wood in our favorite fragrances, but oak, well, that’s what makes The English Oak so special. Oak is described by Master Perfumer Yann Vainer as a beautiful, noble wood. It is unique, majestic and mysterious. I completely agree. This collection is anything but ordinary, and can be worn in many ways as you can easily layer each fragrance to create something completely different.

For example, layer English Oak & Hazelnut  with Basil & Neroli to get a lively, citrus scent that’s a little flirty (perfect for a date). Try English Oak & Redcurrant with Blackberry & Bay for a truly fruity combination (great for everyday wear). Or combine together for a fresh, spicy fragrance highlighted with a bright and juicy twist (I’m thinking a work-fragrance).

The Baby Barangay happily joined the intimate launch and discovered the many ways of wearing Jo Malone fragrances. We absolutely love this newest collection, and we’ve actually been using it with our favorite Jo Malone scents. The English Oak will be available on September, so watch out for it.

English Oak & Redcurrant // English Oak & Hazelnut

Cologne 100ml P7,500

Cologne 30ml P3,750

Available in September

What went on at Tristan’s Cars, Trains, and Planes Party

I cant believe it, my little lovey turned TWO last weekend!!! ❤ I never believed it before whenever parents used to talk about how quickly their kids grow up. Well, I am here to tell you: IT’S ALL TRUE!!! Time flew by so quickly–it seems like only yesterday when I had just given birth to the cutest little baby boy, and now I have a toddler. If only there were a ‘pause button’ we could press to allow us to take in all the wonderful memories so we could remember each one forever. The reality is, we forget to take a moment and enjoy what’s in front of us. Thank God for photos, though there’s never enough time to organize them!

And so we celebrated Tristan’s birthday with his favorite theme: CARS, TRAINS & PLANES! Our little man enjoyed so much he didn’t want to leave his party! It was an entire afternoon of singing, storytelling, doing arts & crafts, eating and playing with his best buddies. He was the happiest little birthday boy, and I was the happiest momma to witness it all.

As you know, Tristan has been using NUBY feeding products since day one (I’ve been posting about it in Instagram). We love these because they are super safe, easy to use and clean, and are oh, so colorful. Tristan’s NUBY feeding bowls, utensils, and water bottles have gone with us around the world as we make sure to pack them when we travel. It has made feeding Tristan super fun and easy, and I recommend it to all parents who are looking for safe feeding products for their babies. That’s why when Jenna Sy of NUBY (and Aprica, which I am also a complete fan of) asked me if they could throw Tristan a party, well, I couldn’t say ‘yes’ fast enough.

What a party it was! I am so thankful to all of the suppliers and sponsors who made it all possible:

Styled by Deiz (IG handle: @styledbydeiz) for making this dream theme come to life. We had giant airplane centerpieces, a giant locomotive train and Tristan’s name is lights! We couldn’t ask for anything more. The meeting room in F1 Hotel, BGC was transformed into an amazing play area. The kids couldn’t get enough of it!

Instamug (@insta_mug) for the cutest giveaways! All the grownups got to take home customized neck pillows (in theme, of course) and the kids took home drawstring backpacks to store all their goodies in.

Teacher Jill (@jilliancarla) for turning the party into a fun learning classroom. The kiddos loved all the activities, and the adults enjoyed watching them learn, create and have fun. She provided all the materials needed for the activities, and had such a calming effect on the children. They were so behaved, even though they had cake! This is such a great idea for a party if the celebrant is a toddler.

Melo Balingit (@melobalingit) for the photos! I’ve known Melo since the beginning of my modeling days so we go way back. It was nice to work with an old friend for Tristan’s party. We love all of his photos!

NUBY (@nubyph) / APRICA (@apricaph) / Jenna Sy (@jennasypr) for organizing this super fun party for Tristan. Jenna and I communicated through What’s App and really, that’s all it took to make it all happen. All the coordinating and logistics were by wonder woman–we love you so much, JENNA! ❤

Belo Baby (@belobabylove) for sending a giant cake for Tristan!!! We blew the cake twice, and I have to say, Tristan enjoyed it and asked to do it again and again hahaha. It was delicious! Also, thank you for sending Belo Baby giveaways for the kiddos.

Pampers #PampersBestInTheWorld for sending a yummy chocolate birthday cake and Cerelac NutriPuffs treats for all the kids!

Cycles and Cradle (@cyclesbaby_ph, @cyclessensitive and @cradlenatural_ph) and Bite Block (@biteblockprotect) for the giveaways. The parents especially loooooved receiving them as most of them are fans of the products.

  

Initially, I wasn’t sure if I wanted a program for Tristan’s birthday. At his age, he doesn’t really understand kiddie party games. I am glad Jenna suggested we get a teacher to facilitate fun learning for the kids because all of the children (including Tristan) enjoyed! They sang songs, made paper cars and airplanes, listened to stories and played to their hearts’ content. It was so much fun to watch the kids do the activities. Of course, the parents and yayas were there to help when they needed it.

Since Tristan had two big cakes, we decided to blow the candle twice. This was good practice for our little guy, so when we got to the second cake he knew what to do. Of course, he doesn’t know how to blow the candle yet, but he enjoyed watching mama do it. Happy Birthday, TRISTAN!!!

HUGE THANKS to all the guests to braved the rain and the traffic that day. Some arrived later than expected, but everyone had a great time once they got there. Tristan loves all of you!!!

THANK YOU so much, NUBY for making this party happen! It was an unforgettable day for the Fernandezes. #TRISTANlovesNUBY!!!