Dinner at 22 Prime Discovery Suites

“Roses are red, violets are blue. We’ll treat you to dinner tonight at Prime 22.”

Toblerone cheesecake from Coffee Bean + calligraphy (c/o my sister, Camille)
Toblerone cheesecake from Coffee Bean + calligraphy (c/o my sister, Camille)

Two weeks ago, our parents celebrated their 30th anniversary. Because it was a very special occasion for the family, my siblings and I prepared two surprises for them that day. The first one was an invitation for our parents to have dinner with us at 22 Prime (Discovery Suites), one of the best steak restaurants in Manila. While, the second surprise was an email account filled with greetings and messages from more than 100 people, including family and friends. Yay!

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By God’s grace, our parents enjoyed the surprise celebration! We spent the whole night talking about their marriage, what they have been learning from their experiences, and how God has been so gracious to them and to our family for the past 30 years. (You can read more about it here: http://encouragingtreats.com/secret-30-years-marriage/)

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We usually don’t eat at hotels because of our budget. But, every now and then, it’s fun to try something new with the family. When we arrived at Prime 22, the staff warmly welcomed us and guided us to our table. They even offered to pull and push our chairs as we sat down. Love it! The place had dim and soft lights all over the place which helped create a cozy and relaxing atmosphere. Throughout the whole night, the waiters also stood nearby and attended to our requests. Even without us asking, they re-filled our glasses with cold water – a simple and thoughtful act that I truly appreciate as a customer whenever I dine out.  Moreover, while waiting for our main dishes, we were given two, refillable baskets of complimentary bread with spreads. The spreads offered were: Herbed butter, Feta Cheese in Olive Oil, and Sun Dried Tomatoes.

For our main dishes, we had the ff.:

LOBSTER BISQUE (Php 395) – Fresh lobster, micro greens, and tomato herb croutons. Although this soup was a bit salty for me, it still had a rich seafood taste and was very smooth and creamy.

Lobster Bisque at 22 Prime
Lobster Bisque at 22 Prime

PRIME CEASAR SALAD (Php 360) – Fresh bacon, six minute egg, and shaved parmesean cheese. A simple and refreshing salad. It helped balance the strong flavors of the soup and steaks.

Prime Ceasar Salad at 22 Prime
Prime Ceasar Salad at 22 Prime

SURF N TURF (Php 1,450) – Grilled Angus ribeye steak, jumbo prawns, twice baked potato, and grilled asparagus, zucchini, and cherry tomatoes. The 200-gram Angus steak was perfectly tender and juicy. It had a tangy gravy on the side, but even without it, it was already full of flavor. I just hoped that the steak and prawns were bigger though. But overall, it was a delicious dish. You can never go wrong with ordering steak and seafood. Well, for me, at least. It’s one of my favorite combinations!

Surf n Turf at 22 Prime
Surf n Turf at 22 Prime

WAGYU HANGER STEAK (Php 950) – 200-gram grilled hanger steak, baked tomato, and herb mashed potatoes. I like how the steak was perfectly grilled without having any hint of bitterness. Even if it had charred marks, it was delicious, juicy, tender, and flavorful. How did they do it? Haha! The mashed potatoes also complemented the steak well. It had the right amount of salt, butter, cream, and herbs.

Wagyu Hanger Steak at 22 Prime
Wagyu Hanger Steak at 22 Prime

OYSTERS PLATEAU (Php 1,200) – A tower of oysters served with a cocktail sauce, mignonette, and horseradish cream. THIS DISH WAS THE HIGHLIGHT OF THE NIGHT. We made sure to order oysters because we were celebrating the pearl anniversary of our parents. :) Aside from its lovely presentation, this tower had 3 kinds of oysters (broiled, baked, and Rockefeller) which was perfect for our family since we have different taste preferences. My personal favorite is the classic oysters Rockefeller (with lemon juice squeezed over them). My other siblings liked the cheesy baked and broiled oysters more.

Oysters Plateau at 22 Prime
Oysters Plateau at 22 Prime
Oysters Plateau at 22 Prime
Oysters Plateau at 22 Prime
Oysters Plateau at 22 Prime
Oysters Plateau at 22 Prime

CHOCOLATE GODDESS (Php 360) – Double chocolate mousse, melted dark chocolate, topped with candied pistachios. This dessert was amazing. Even after two weeks, I still remember how rich the chocolate flavor was. It also had a smooth texture which was very delectable. When I go back to Prime 22, I wouldn’t mind ordering this dessert again.

Chocolate Goddess at 22 Prime
Chocolate Goddess at 22 Prime

Before we left the place, the staff and waiters of Prime 22 were gracious enough to help us surprise our parents one last time that evening. Just before serving our dessert, they brought in a complimentary slice of chocolate cake with a dedication (made out of chocolate ganache) written on the plate. They also brought out the bouquet of flowers that we bought for mom earlier that day. Yay! Thank you, Prime 22, for the special treat!

22 Prime
22 Prime

As we were on our way out, our dad shared that his heart was so full and overwhelmed because of the love and grace they experienced that day through the surprise gifts and greetings. It was also a very encouraging experience for the whole family and we can only thank God for this privilege and for His grace.

This is the day which the LORD has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. –Psalm 118:24

 

Until our next special night out! :)

 

PRIME 22

22nd floor, Discovery Suites, 25 ADB Avenue, Ortigas Center Pasig City.

For reservations, call  7196822  or 7198888.

www.discoverysuites.com

Family Mart: Twirl-All-You-Can Ice Cream

We don’t need to go out of town or spend a huge amount of money to have a good time with the family. Sometimes, all it takes is Php 30 and a quick stopover at a convenience store nearby. Our family spent the whole Saturday with each other and one of our random activities during the day was to try the twirl-all-you-can at Family Mart, Ayala Triangle. My eldest sister knew about the fun experience I had when I first tried it last year, so she recommended to do it with the family.

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Upon entering the store, we sat down on the comfortable chairs and waited for dad who bought a cone for himself. He bought just one cone because we were all full and we didn’t feel like eating ice cream after having our heavy breakfast. Dad knew that I enjoy twirling (which is also similar to piping frosting on cupcakes), so he gave me the opportunity to twirl the ice cream for him. Woohoo! It really is something that I can do all day. After six twirls, the ice cream almost fell, but I immediately used my two fingers to catch it just in time. Oops. Hahaha!

Family Mart's Twirl-All-You-Can Ice Cream
Family Mart’s Twirl-All-You-Can Ice Cream
Family Mart's Twirl-All-You-Can Ice Cream
Family Mart’s Twirl-All-You-Can Ice Cream

Both my brothers suddenly had the urge to give the twirling a try even though they didn’t feel like eating ice cream that morning. Haha. Our younger brother bought a cone and started twirling the ice cream. He started with beautiful twirls at first, and then, the funny part happened. Because the machine was releasing the ice cream fast, his hand panicked and lost control of the cone. It resulted to producing a funny twirl. Nonetheless, it did have a generous amount of ice cream, so, good job, Gabo! Hehehe.

Family Mart's Twirl-All-You-Can Ice Cream
Family Mart’s Twirl-All-You-Can Ice Cream

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At this point, my older brother was already coming up with a strategy to produce the best twirl – one that would have the most ice cream on the cone. He came up with an interesting and crazy idea to tilt the cone sideways until it is positioned horizontally while allowing the ice cream to twirl awkwardly on top of it. We didn’t expect him to do it, but he did. Hahahaha! Just like Gabo, he started out with neat twirls, and then, chaos took over! Instead of twirling the ice cream, he started to twirl his hand and body. It was the funniest thing! Hahaha. By this time, we were all laughing because of the masterpiece that he was creating. After a number of twirls, he finally took out the cone with the best twirl that morning! Woohoo!

Family Mart's Twirl-All-You-Can Ice Cream
Family Mart’s Twirl-All-You-Can Ice Cream

Thanks, Gabo, for the video! :)

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Twirling the ice cream seemed like it was a very easy thing to do. But, when panic creeps in while you’re in the middle of twirling, it makes you come up with interesting shapes of ice cream. Kudos to all the expert twirlers at the convenience stores! How do you do it?? Haha. This is only the beginning of our family’s twirling experience. Someday, in the near future, I know that we will be back! Thank you, Family Mart, for providing a fun experience for family and friends. Thank you to my family for also making yourselves available last Saturday and for being competitive. :))

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FAMILY MART

http://familymart.com.ph/

Phone: 6255701

 

Encourage yourself one treat at a time.

Five Things I Love About Jamba Juice

It was my first time to do a photowalk at Bonifacio High Street last Saturday with one of my colleagues, Zee. We only had an hour and a half in the morning because she had work that day, but that brief time was a fun and interesting experience for us. After the photowalk, she went to work and I decided to pass by a restaurant to buy a glass of iced tea because I was parched. But, while I was walking, I suddenly craved something healthier — like a fruit shake, and I remembered that Jamba Juice had a store in Bonifacio Global City. So, even though it was a couple of blocks away from where the car was parked, I took my time and walked to the store.

Jamba Juice Bonifacio Global City
Jamba Juice Bonifacio Global City

As soon as I entered the store, I was warmly greeted by two staff members who were preparing more than 20 cups of fruit shakes for some of their customers. After being exposed to the sun for hours that morning, walking into their store was definitely a refreshing moment for me. :)

Here are some of the things that I love about Jamba Juice:

1. Choice of Colors – The bright colored walls and wooden tables and chairs help in making the experience more fun! Even if you were just taking out a beverage or dining in with friends inside their store, you’ll certainly feel lighter and happier because of the pleasant colors.

Jamba Juice Bonifacio Global City
Jamba Juice Bonifacio Global City

2. Jamba Juice Baristas – Aside from being very welcoming and friendly as you enter and exit the store, they really seem to enjoy what they’re doing. I also love how the baristas confidently whip up the drinks in a few minutes. They even throw balls of crushed ice and frozen fruits in the air and catch them using the blender. Love it! If I try to do that at home, I would probably make a mess. Haha!

Jamba Juice Bonifacio Global City
Jamba Juice Bonifacio Global City
Jamba Juice Bonifacio Global City
Jamba Juice Bonifacio Global City

3. Healthy and Refreshing Drinks – Every now and then, we take in food and drinks that don’t really contribute to improving our health. But, Jamba Juice encourages a healthy lifestyle by offering their specialty: beverages made from fresh and pure ingredients, without high fructose corn syrup or artificial preservatives. I also appreciate how they make thick and creamy smoothies with free boosts (e.g. Vitamin C, Zinc, Energy, Protein, etc.).

Banana Berry Smoothie
Banana Berry Smoothie

4. A Place where Family and Friends can Hangout – Aside from having many comfortable tables, wall sofas, and chairs in and out of the store, Jamba Juice also encourages bonding between family and friends through their own free photobooth. I tried this twice since I started drinking Jamba Juice and this extra effort shows value to their customers. Personally, I love documenting events and moments in my life. So, having this special feature deserves two thumbs up!

Jamba Juice Bonifacio Global City
Jamba Juice Bonifacio Global City

 

5. Witty and Good Vibes – Inside the store, you’ll see different phrases written on the walls that somehow help spread good vibes. Phrases such as “Squeeze the day” or “Live fruitfully”.

Before going home that morning, I got myself a cup of my favorite Jamba Juice smoothie: Banana Berry (Apple-Strawberry Juice Blend + Frozen Bananas + Nonfat Frozen Yogurt + Blueberries + Ice + Raspberry Sherbet)! Yum!! You could just imagine how refreshed I felt after relaxing inside the store on a hot morning. Thank you, Jamba Juice, for the lovely experience. I’ll be back soon!

Jamba Juice Bonifacio Global City
Jamba Juice Bonifacio Global City

For more details on their menu and branches, you may check the ff. websites:

http://jambajuice.com

http://jambajuice.ph/

Jamba Juice Bonifacio Global City
Jamba Juice Bonifacio Global City

 

Encourage yourself one treat at a time!

OFF THE PLATE: A Talk on Food Blogging

Through the years, I’ve realized how comfortable it is for me to work behind the scenes than to speak or perform in front of a crowd. If I were to choose between preparing the materials for a show and hosting a show, I would certainly pick the first option.  Hello, introverted me! However, every now and then, God gives me the strength to step out of my comfort zone and He graciously uses me in spite of my weaknesses for His glory.

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Photo c/o Lizette Tan

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Recently, I was invited by UP KKB to speak at one of the classes in the University of the Philippines (Diliman) during their Alternative Classroom Learning Experience (ACLE). After weeks of praying and surrendering my fears and doubts to God, I accepted the invitation and spent the afternoon of October 23, 2014 with a classroom of college students and with my older brother (Thank you, kuya!).

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I’ll be sharing some of the topics discussed during the event. If you’re planning on blogging soon, I hope that this post will somehow encourage you to take the plunge! :)

TIPS ON STARTING A BLOG

PURPOSE: Identify the purpose of the blog.

Brainstorm ideas. What do you enjoy doing or talking about the most? What are your hobbies, daily activites, talents and skills? What are you passionate about? If you have all the resources in the world, what is it that you imagine yourself doing for the rest of your life? Your answer to the last question will most probably reveal what you’re passionate about. Making your passion the theme of your blog will help you express your ideas and skills more since you are very interested in it.

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Another question that you can ask yourself is: “What do you want the readers to take home after reading your blog?” Do you want them to know more about your experiences or skills? Certain products? Photography? Origami? Gardening? Your own business? Latest trends in fashion? New restaurants in town? Lessons you’ve been learning? Blogging is not only a way of expressing oneself, it’s also an opportunity for people to interact and inspire others.

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Photo c/o Lizette Tan

 

BRAND: Take time to think about your blog’s name, logo, and tagline (optional).

When the readers hear about or read you blog name and see the logo, they need to have a glimpse of what your blog is all about. The blog name must be clear, creative, easy to remember, and of course, unique.

Also, take into consideration the colors that you will use in the blog’s logo and theme. The colors need to match what your blog is all about. For food blogs, using royal blue as the website’s background or font might not be as appealing as compared to using colors like yellow, orange, or red. (Notice how most of the logos of the food establishments use the latter colors too?) Feel free to observe and take notes on the different logos displayed at the malls and those featured on the internet.

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RESOURCES: Identify your resources and maximize them.

Before I started Encouraging Treats, this was one of the major factors that I struggled with. I remember feeling discouraged because I didn’t have a DSLR camera and I thought that without it, I wouldn’t be able to produce good photos for the blog. A lot of other discouragements hindered me from starting the blog last 2012, such as our slightly broken (but still usable) convection oven and my lack of experience in writing.

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Photo c/o Lizette Tan

But, God encouraged me to look at the resources that I had at that time and helped me maximize them. I had the ff. resources:

*A simple digital camera that didn’t take good photos in the dark. Haha.

*Internet connection and a laptop that I could use at home.

*An oven that struggled in producing the exact temperatures — which is very crucial in baking.

*Extra money for ingredients and extra ingredients from mom’s groceries.

*Quiet times with God and His Word.

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Photo c/o Lizette Tan

Two years later, by God’s grace, He continues to use the blog to encourage others. And even though I still do not have a DSLR camera, God has been faithful in helping me improve on my photography skills.

Sooner or later, we will get discouraged when we focus on the material things and resources that we have because these things don’t last and they will never fill the desires of our hearts. But, when we focus on who God is and surrender these resources to Him, He is able to do more than all we can ask or imagine.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory… ” [Ephesians 3:20]

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Photo c/o Lizette Tan

 

PLATFORM: Choose your blogging platform

You can have the option of creating a free website or creating your own domain.

For platforms with free accounts, you may try any of the ff: WordPress, Blogger, and Tumblr. But personally, I would recommend WordPress since it is very user-friendly, it has a lot of ready-made themes, it can categorize your posts, and it transitions smoothly when converting your free account to your own domain/website.

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Photo c/o Lizette Tan

 

NETWORK: Share your blog and posts.

One of the advantages that we have in today’s technology is that we can easily communicate with others through our various gadgets. Sharing thoughts, promoting businesses, and interacting with other people from around the world are only a few clicks away!

In blogging, you may share your posts through the different blogger-friendly websites such as: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, FoodSpotting, Pinterest, Vine, etc.  Also, taking time to interact with your readers and fellow bloggers by replying and leaving comments in your website and in their blogs help in expanding your network.

Lastly, using links in your posts (whether they are from your previous posts or from other websites) also help in sharing your blog to more readers.

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Photo c/o Lizette Tan

WITH A GRATEFUL HEART

I ended the talk by sharing the first encouraging treat that I posted HERE. I talked about how God used the resources and even the weaknesses of Mrs. Wakefield to bless millions of people by allowing her to create the first batch of chocolate chip cookies!

Afterwards, I gave the participants an opportunity to think about and document their PASSION, PURPOSE, and RESOURCES on a golden paper plate. Then, I asked them to fold the plate into a cookie bowl/container. We all held the bowls as I encouraged them to pray and seriously think about starting a blog. Just like how God used Mrs. Wakefield, I shared to them that He can also work in and through us, the passions, purpose, and resources that He has given to us so that we can honor Him by being a blessing to others as well.

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Photo c/o Lizette Tan

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I really praise God for the wonderful time that I had with the participants of OFF THE PLATE. It was encouraging to see them have the desire to learn more and share their hearts and lives through blogging. Hopefully, I will see them online soon! Thank You, Lord, for this amazing privilege. Thank you also, to UP KKB, for having me. :)

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Photo c/o Lizette Tan
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Photo c/o Lizette Tan
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Photo c/o Lizette Tan

 

Encourage yourself one treat at a time.