Saturday, December 15, 2012

Caffeinated Xmas Gift Box

LOVELY!!! Most certainly an instant pick-me-upper (and post caffeine rush once consumed) when you open this Christmas package.

Though not really up our alley, it is next to impossible to turn down a favor from our avid supporter and Boss Ms. Sydney Go, STUDIO SnR's dynamic Director for Marketing, who asked us to come up with a Gift Box for her to give away to preferred clients and close industry allies. Something different, most definitely fresh, best off something to cherish (and not recycled) once possessed. Presto Pronto, BOYD's Coffee 200grams Espresso Italiano paired with 2 x 50ml STASERO Flavored Syrups.

Now to find out who's been naughty or nice in Sydney's list... Happy Holidays from STUDIO SnR  and FAR SKYES ENTERPRISE!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

2012 Review

As I welcome 2013's arrival in a few blinks it's time once again to reflect on the what 2012 has meant to me. For some reason the year went by swiftly, probably a good sign since we know how things seem to "fly by" when one's busy, enjoying, or both.

Factory tour in Seattle, Washington.
Kiddo finally understands what his Daddy does for a living

A record-breaking Business Year for my company FAR SKYES ENTERPRISE, and I'm certain it will escalate further. The brands I globally source and represent have finally gained the much-needed attention they deserve, and I am truly grateful to those who believe!

A great year as far as health is concerned, special shout out to my Dad who victoriously overcame his bout with pneumonia. In a nutshell, viewing life as half-full I am glad to be able to spend another Christmas with him and my loved ones... Cheers to Life!

A fruitful year of traveling, being able to visit new States in the US: Washington (Seattle), Oregon (Portland), and Texas (Houston & San Antonio); and locally, touching base with Boracay anew.

My best friend who's in his late 40's became a Dad for the first time, and he's tremendously enjoying fatherhood so much so that he's contemplating on retiring to devote all his time, energy and psyche to his little bundle of joy. I'm glad he finally understands what I've been doing for the past 8 years. As my Dad always says, "Money is not an end in itself, a rainbow is ALWAYS better than a pot of gold."

Happy New Year!!! From my family to yours...

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Pike Place's Starbucks

In tune with Starbucks Philippines' annual "planner/diary craze" allow me to pat myself in the back and brag that I claimed mine in less than 2 weeks. A record breaker of sorts since i started collecting this yearly temptation, and chugging down their brews (Signature drinks included) 6 years ago. Now to abstain from entering this caffeinatedly sinfull java hut for the next 2, 3, 6-months even, while I find a way to lose those excess pounds!

While in the festive mood of talking Starbucks and everything caffein, let me share with you our proud experience of visiting their first branch in Seattle, WA - the iconic Starbucks Pike Place which started brewing "the cuppa joe that launched a thousand more branches" in 1971. This place, or "tourist attraction" if I may, is effortlessly oozing with rich history and is of vital relevance to both the now-titanic brand and the Emerald City. Hands down, it solidified Seattle's reputation as the coffee capital of America.

You literally enter a time warp once there, as Starbucks meticulously kept cadence to the original design - from the hardwoods, furnishings and illumination. Oh, I should also mention that they have a signature blend sold exclusively in that outlet, the Pike Place Special Reserve, which I hoarded and brought back home.

Kid not included...
Literally a souvenir shop!
Scratch off another one from our Coffee Geek bucket list!

The band of four,
mission accomplished!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Black Forrest Latte (Hot & Cold)

Black Forrest is one of the earliest and most popular espresso-based flavor variant used by coffee shops dating back to the  late 90's. It stems from the wave of "drinkable desserts" of that era, with honorable mention going to Tiramisu and Chocolate Mousse.

A healthy, home-made version minus
the whipped cream & garnishing 

Over the years, Black Forrest has either evolved or morphed into many other names (with minimal twist and/or add-on) like Dark Cherry Mocha, Berry Mocha, Mocha Red Velvet, etc., yet the core ingredients consisting of espresso, cherry syrup (cherry brandy/liquor), chocolate syrup/sauce and milk remain.

Here is a cold and hot version of this timeless drink. Pick one depending on the mood you are in, or have both if tummy space permits!

Iced Black Forrest Latte, 12-ounce

Ingredients: Double-shot espresso (30ml per shot), 15ml Stasero Dark Chocolate Sauce, 30ml Stasero Cherry Syrup, 120ml fresh milk

Step 1: In a mixing container combine Double-shot espresso, Stasero Dark Chocolate Sauce, and Stasero Cherry Syrup. Mix well until fully incorporated.

Step 2:  Fill a 12-ounce glass with ice, then pour the Cherry-Mocha mixture into it. Top with whipped cream (optional) and maraschino cherry, and add chocolate shavings for that full Black Forrest effect!

Black Forrest Latte (Hot version), 8-ounce

Ingredients: Double-shot espresso, 15ml Stasero Dark Chocolate Sauce, 30ml Stasero Cherry Syrup, 60ml milk

The do-it-all Jura Ena9 Espresso Machine
Call me spoiled, but this version was simplified thanks to my Jura Ena9 do-it-all espresso machine, with a one-touch LATTE-button. 

With its pre-set feature, one touch of the "Latte Macchiato" button,
it automatically steams the milk for you...

Then dispenses the espresso shot after!

Finished product prepared in less than a minute! 
Garnish this drink whichever way you want, I simply topped this drink with more Stasero Cherry Syrup!

Here's wishing everyone Happy Holidays!!! Caffeinated & Creamy Cheers...

Friday, October 12, 2012

Chunky Choco-Chocnut Frappe

Getting your kid(s) to eat fruits and veggies is every parent's dilemma. Fool them once maybe twice, making it a healthy habit is a taller order. Fortunately for me, my soon-to-be 8 year old has a well-seasoned palette, enjoying healthy/nutritious dishes like pesto pasta, ampalaya (bitter gourd) omelette, minestrone soup (minus the beans), and most fruits available locally (apples, bananas, grapes, etc). My wife and I make it a point to make our dishes "creative", sneaking-in the healthy stuff either as an infused ingredient, sauce or as a garnish. We are also conscious not to define the dishes literally, at least not now, given a child's vast imagination in general. Case in point LENGUA (ox tongue) with mushroom sauce, which kiddo perceives to be "roast beef" is a dinner staple in our household.

For this new post, inspiration was drawn on healthy drinks easily prepared and served in the confines of one's abode - saving you time, cash and best of all the unnecessary calories. Ripe banana is "sneaked in" not only to add a healthy dimension to it,  but to provide added flavor, stabilized body and mouthfeel as well. Proud to mention that the finished product will be used as a Yuletide Signature Drink of a Five-Star Hotel starting next month, with a catchier name to it compared to mine.

Ingredients for a 16-ounce drink:

3 tablespoons (approximately 50 grams) Far Skyes Vanilla Frappe Powder Base
Double Shot Espresso (approximately 60ml), I'm using Boyd's Premium Roast Arabica
10ml Stasero Hazelnut Syrup
1 Ripe Banana
3 pieces Chocnut OR Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
10ml Stasero Dark Chocolate Sauce (for garnish)


Step 1 In a Blender dissolve 3 tsablespoons Far Skyes Vanilla Frappe Base with 2-shots espresso and 10ml Stasero Hazelnut Syrup

Step 2 Add 2 pieces Chocnut and 1 ripe banana and blend for 5-10 seconds

Step 3 Fill a 16-ounce tall glass with ice; pour into blender and blend until crushed & smooth

Step 4 Pour into tall glass and let your creative juices flow by garnishing with Dark Chocolate Sauce, and 1 Chocnut (I topped my drink with steamed milk froth and poured the Chocnut on top of it). Serve and enjoy!!!

Now who says delicious and healthy can't intertwine?! Happy Thanksgiving to all!

so easy to make even an almost 8-year old can do it!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Coffee Review: Trader Joe's JOE Coffee

Those who've been to this cool food and beverage mecca, with branches all over the US of A, are aware that one hour is not enough to scour for affordable gourmet eats! The perennial economic conflict of HIGH QUALITY vis-a-vis LOW PRICE is stabilized in TRADER JOE's, as all items on the shelves are rigorously tried and tested to pass their strict standard.

For almost a decade I've been a regular, yet it was only during this trip in April that I tried purchasing their coffee beans, both as a gift to family back home and for my personal consumption too. But with luggage space as a major constraint, I had to select the safest pick...

so many to choose from yet so little luggage space

TRADER JOE'S  JOE COFFEE, as indicated in the hip nitrogen flushed can (reminiscent of the Planters Cheese Balls/Curls packaging many loved circa '80s) is 100% Arabica Whole-Bean coffee, medium roast. This particular blend is a "safe choice," catering to a wide audience as far as flavor profile, balance, low acidity and body.

My initial sip indicate subtle hints of caramel, with an earthy/woodsy afternote. Quite ideal as an everyday cuppa joe, or a morning wake-me-upper. Nothing euphoric to write home about,  yet with its cost effective price of $4.99 per 14-ounce can, how can you go wrong?!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Lobster Shack, Maine

Located in the heart of Perkins Cove in Ogunquit, Maine, LOBSTER SHACK serves a mean seafood chowder and the much-applauded Boiled Maine Lobster.

Our 10 days 1,000 miles drive around the New England States wouldn't be complete without visiting this institution, first opening its doors in the 1920's. Bottom line, we did our research, traveled from a far-away place, AND we're mad-hungry for what this food shack is best known for.

The scenery was perfectly inviting, setting the proper mood for what is to be one of the best lunches we've had in the US - seagulls hovering in circles, small fishing boats docked, and the smell of the ocean all around! And lucky us, since the day of our visit was Lobster Shack's reopening after a long winter break!

Being the first customers of the day, we rushed to the counter and was greeted cheerfully by the owner Chris Evans, and upon his recommendation we ordered the following:

Seafood Chowder, which my son had and immensely enjoyed. Hearty broth and loaded with lots of seafood (haddock, razor clams and shrimps) and served with oyster crackers...

Lobster roll, for sharing and served w/ a bag of chips and coleslaw. Portion size for $18.95 was worth it, considering the amount (tons) of succulently-sweet lobster meat per sandwich. No fillers, just the right amount of seasoning (paprika dust included) and not drowned with mayo...

Whole Maine Lobster ($25 for a 1.5 pounder) is simplicity at its best. Freshly caught and steamed on demand, best eaten with your bare hands (bibs highly recommended) and dipped in clarified butter for that overall feel of being a "Maine-r" - even for just a day!

Definitely worth the long drive, and dreaming of the day when we revisit!