Life, as shown in trains and stations.

Life in the train may seem boring yet if you look closely, each individual presents a certain story. The young man texting his girl friend, “I love you.” A couple of school girls giggling, on their way to Disneyland. The old man tired from work and is catching up on some needed sleep. Everyday, simple occurrences happen in the train that seems ordinary but presents a huge inspiration for someone like myself.

I have always been fascinated with the railway system in Tokyo. Everyday, thousands upon thousand upon people use this type of public transportation. A train in Tokyo is always on time. If there is such a time where a train will be late, there will always be a late slip given to the passengers upon exiting the station. Convenient and ingenious.

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Wolfgang Puck Express Tokyo

Most people would probably know the notable chef, Wolfgang Puck. He is, after all, a famous celebrity chef with his own restaurants around the world. Among his endeavors include restaurants in Japan, the Wolfgang Puck Express is probably the least expensive and most casual.

The Wolfgang Puck Express is located in Harajuku, Takeshita street, right across the train station. The menu focuses on burgers, pizza, pasta, salads, and other fast foods.

For my starter, I ordered their Caesar salad. It was tasty but the presentation wasn’t that impressive.

The Margherita Pizza was amazing! I can safely say this was the best tomato pizza I have tasted at this moment. The crust was crunchy on the outside but soft on the inside. It had the right amount of cheese, tomato and basil.

The seafood pasta is divine. Simple and beautifully presented, it’s perfect if you want a light meal.

Wolfgang Express Puck is not the classiest restaurant in the block but if you want a stylish, fun atmosphere and fast service, this is the place to go.

Location and Contact Details:

1-17-1 Jingumae,
Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Telephone: (+813) 5786-4690
Hours: 11:00 – 23:00 Daily
http://www.wp-japan.jp/shop/ex_harajuku.html

Chapter 2: Giant by Tomoko Konoike

Created in 2005, this piece is part of a collection called “Story”. It’s made with acrylic, Japanese paper and wood panels.

The collection involves motifs and characters familiar to us from various childhood stories. However, they have been reconfigured in order to create a new narrative to help us re-examine our preconceptions about these characters and their circumstances.

Dinner at Hill Station

There’s nothing like warm bread, served with olive oil and Dukkah to start a wonderful dinner at Hill Station in Baguio City. I was reluctant to try it at first. I’m not a big fan of Indian dishes but I was curious because the smell was heavenly.

For those of you who don’t know what Dukkah is, it’s a very special dip that you can only find in this restaurant. It contains a mixture of Indian spices with crushed Cashew nuts. By dipping the bread into the olive oil first, it will help the spices stick to the bread.

Me and Anj aren’t big fans of salads, that’s why we opted to get the spinach dip instead. She didn’t want to try it at first. Vegetables aren’t really her thing but I managed to convince her to have a bite. Surprise, surprise, she loved it! I just had to get the recipe from the chef which they readily gave. I’ll be posting about how to make it soon. Just a hint for everyone, it contains 4 different types of cheese! Sounds yummy!

I ordered potato soup for my appetizer. It was a little bit salty for me.

Anj ordered the mushroom soup. Since this is probably the only type of soup that Anj eats, it was surprising to hear how much she liked it considering that my best friend is a very picky eater.

We both wanted to have the coriander chicken for our main course but we wanted to try as much dishes as we can so I ordered the salmon with orange chutney.

The coriander chicken was marinated overnight. It was juicy and flavorful. Coupled with Benguet red rice, you will not go wrong with ordering this dish. My salmon was perfection (and it’s very hard to come by a restaurant with a perfectly cooked salmon)! Unfortunately, I wasn’t that impressed with the orange chutney and mashed potato.The chutney was too strong and the mashed potato wasn’t smooth as I expected it to be.

We were too full by the end of the third course but I couldn’t help but order the orange oil cake with strawberry syrup. It sounded so intriguing. I wasn’t disappointed. It was very moist. I was afraid that the orange flavor would be too strong but it wasn’t. It could do without the strawberry syrup as it can get a little but sour to the taste. Me and Anj spent about two thousand for this dinner. Not bad for a four course meal.

It was a perfect ending to a perfect day.

Location and Contact Details:

Casa Vallejo
Upper Session Road
Baguio City, 2600
Telephone: (+6374) 424-2734
info@hillstationbaguio.com

Photo of the Week

Image

During my trip to Baguio, I decided to visit the Bell Church located along the road leading to Benguet. Before going inside, I saw this family on the way to the market to sell meat. I think most people would say that this is a very provincial thing to do. It’s not a good example of “urban”. However, who’s to say this isn’t the norm in their city? Urban is after all just the characteristics of a city.

Breakfast at Café Sabel

Me and my best friend, Anj, get crazy ideas in our heads. That’s why last Tuesday, we found ourselves on a Victory Liner bus on the way to Baguio. Random and completely spontaneous, we weren’t prepared. It’s been years since I was in Baguio and I had no idea where to go. Thank God I brought my 3G capable iPhone with me. All it took was a few seconds and we found the best place to get breakfast in Baguio, Café Sabel located inside the BenCab Museum.

Since we got there really early, there was nothing like a good cup of hot chocolate to warm our insides and keep us awake. After all, chocolate contains sugar and caffeine. What a wonderful energy booster it was!

For our appetizers, we ordered carrot and pumpkin soup topped with parsley and cheese. Pumpkin soup is my favorite kind of soup so I’m very particular about the taste and consistency of it. I like that it was a little bit thick. It wasn’t my favorite but it was very good.

Anj ordered Adobo rice for her main course. It was served with boiled egg and Benguet rice. I love how they used red rice. It’s healthier and adds flavor to the whole dish. Definitely a must try!

I ordered their best seller for rice dishes and that’s the Pork chop with Rosemary. It came with Benguet rice and Atchara. I thought that the meat was cooked well. It was juicy. However, I found the seasoning a little bit salty. Although, it was still tasty for me. Overall, I preferred the Adobo rice.

It was definitely a yummy and healthy breakfast for the both of us! If you’re planning to visit Baguio, you should visit this little café. The ambiance is light and airy. Plus, the food is good and worth every penny.

Prices:

Hot Chocolate/90.00 | Pumpkin and Carrot Soup/90.00 | Adobo Rice/190.00 | Pork Chop/190.00

Location and Contact Details:

Km. 6 Asin Road, Tadiangan,
Tuba, Benguet, Philippines
Telephone: (+6374) 442-7165
www.BenCabMuseum.Org

Hall of Mirrors by Bruce Quek

Upon walking into the room, you’re greeted by blank walls with different clocks – each ticking away at a different rate. Upon closer examination, each clock face has a neat inscription like Infection or Cancer or HIV. Randomly, you’ll hear a soft bell-like sound, ting!

As you finish your tour, the attendant gives you a paper with a list of things and numbers. Apparently, the chimes that you hear means that a person somewhere in the world died of a particular cause.

The installation uses popular statistics, tries to strip the analytical aspect and “humanizes” it by letting viewers experience and reflect on them on a personal level.

I spent 7 minutes in the room and in that span of 7 minutes. 20 people died.

Premiere Pression Provence Hong Kong

It always amazes me to discover quaint little shops while traveling. I stumbled upon this place while I was walking around the streets of Hong Kong. I get excited with anything French and the exterior was too inviting to just pass by.

Walking in, I could already smell the wonderful aroma of truffles, lemon and basil. This little deli sells the finest olive oil in Hong Kong. Oliver Baussan, founder of L’Occitane, owns the shop and aims to bring the South of France to Asia. From the different types of olive oil, you can choose to make your own blend. Partner those oils with their freshly baked rosemary bread and you’re good for late afternoon snacks.

They have a tasting counter in which the staff offers you samples of their products, from olive oil, to pâtés, to tapenades and other delicacies. The staff are knowledgeable about the products and speak good English so don’t hesitate to ask them questions.

A can of 250ml truffle oil will set you back almost seven thousand pesos while a regular blended olive oil will be around one thousand pesos. Although it would definitely leave a small dent in your wallet, this is the only place where you can get it in Hong Kong so be sure to buy a few things. You won’t regret it!

Premiere Pression Provence
39 Graham Street, Central
00 852 2805 1599
http://www.ppprovence.hk

They are open Mondays to Sundays from 11:00AM to 8:00PM.

The Lantau Island Adventure

It was a gloomy day when I arrived in Hong Kong for the HK Art Fair 2012. Dread filled me when I realized I might not be able to go around the city since it kept on raining. Thankfully, on the third day,the sun finally came out! Deciding to make the most out of the good weather, I opted to go to Lantau island.

It’s the largest island in Hong Kong. Here you’ll find the giant Buddha, reminiscent of the Buddha in Kamakura, Japan. You’ll also be able to enjoy the Ngong Ping Cable Car with its glass bottom as well as visit the Po Lin Monastery.

Personally, I’m a big pussy so I didn’t try the glass bottomed cable car and just went with the regular one.  On the way, I managed to see some hikers going through a walking trail to the monastery. Maybe next time I go there, I’ll try to hike instead. The hiking trail seems worth it seeing as there were a lot of small waterfalls and floras from my view at the top.

Around the area, you’ll be able to shop for a few souvenirs. I bought some postcards so I can send them to my friends at Postcrossing. If you happen to be a big foodie, don’t worry! This place has a lot of restaurants. From what I can remember, they even have Starbucks (which a was a very good thing for a coffee addict like me)!

If you want to visit, it’s fairly easy to get to this place. You can take the metro to Tung Chung station using the Disney Resort line. From the station, you have a choice of using the cable car or the bus (Ngong Ping no. 23). The bus takes about 50 minutes while the cable car takes around 25 minutes (though you have to wait in line so more or less, they take the same time). This is definitely one of my favorite tourist places in Hong Kong.

Photo of the Week

No One Can Save Us Now by Mojoko and Eric Foenander

It’s pretty obvious why this photo is wrong. This shouldn’t be happening to Superman. Although with the hot weather in Singapore, I wouldn’t be surprised. With that realization, the sculpture did its job. It’s a direct response to global warming. If this can happen to Superman, who is pretty much indestructible, what’s the hope for the rest of us?