Monday, April 25, 2011

A sip of happiness

A trip to Greenhills is not complete without visiting Happy Lemon. I don’t know why but this little tea store seemed to have casted a spell on me that makes me go there every time I go to Greenhills.
That cute yellow place is really something else. Yes, even when the floor and windows are dirty, people do not seem to mind (the place was a mess when I visited it during Easter).

Since I made a vow to “order something else” every time I visit a place I’ve been before, I tried Lemon Honey with Seaweed Jelly… just because it seemed refreshing. My mom (who happens to be my complete opposite) ordered my so-far-favorite Crispy Cocoa Milk Tea with Brown Sugar Jelly drink just because I told her I tried it before and it was good.
My Tea. My Mom's Tea. Someone's tea.
The image of Lemon Honey with Seaweed Jelly (gosh, this is such a long name) did not fail my impression of it being a refreshing drink. It was a bit sour (since its lemon) but it is not something that will make your eyes go crazy. I was a bit disappointed with the Seaweed Jelly since it is just tasteless green jelly. It would have been nice if they just made it sweet or something… as long as there’s taste. Nonetheless, it was totally different from what I tried before. (It was more like lemonade than tea… or maybe because it is really lemonade. Not very sure here.)
Refreshingly goooooood.
I can’t wait to go back for more Happy Lemon happiness. I do hope though that the place will be cleaner by the time I visit it again.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Clothes fit for an heiress

While looking for some clothes for my sister, I found this small store at the 3rd floor of Shoppesville, Greenhills named Heir Clothing. I stopped because I saw this really nice purple jersey long gown. But I realized that I won’t need a formal gown anytime soon (but this is another story).

I noticed that Heir Clothing has limited stock per style. This is a plus point for me because one of the things that scares me (every time I buy clothes) is the thought of bumping into someone wearing the same outfit I’m wearing (and it happened thrice already).

They have a mix of clothes bought from Hong Kong and locally designed by the owner of Heir Clothing. Tops cost around P300-600 and dresses from P650-1500.
Found something you adore but it does not fit you well? Well, they offer FREE alteration services. Also, if you are the type who wants to make sure that NO ONE will have the same outfit, you can have your outfit made by their designer.  
I will definitely visit Heir Clothing again soon. J

My Serenitea Love

My first cup of Serenitea goodness was when my officemates decided to have some delivered after lunch. I was pretty clueless with what that was but since I saw everyone excited, I told myself that this must be something worth trying.

I wanted to play safe so I ordered Hokkaido (50% sweetness) since I heard that it is one of Serenitea’s best sellers. And they were right. Hokkaido tastes really good. It is not very sweet and the tapioca balls were chewy. J

TEA! :)
Last Saturday (Black Saturday), I saw Serenitea at ATC and I decided to buy Wintermelon Milk Tea instead with extra pearls (#3 in their top 10 list). 

Wintermelon Milk Tea
I’m not very sure but it seemed that it tasted just like Hokkaido. Nonetheless, it was goooood. J

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A date with J.R.

Turista day once again on Maundy Thursday. Since J wanted to check Manila, D and I decided to bring J to Intramuros. There was no traffic so we managed to go there (from Kalayaan, Makati) in less than 30 minutes (fare was around P150 but the driver asked for an extra. Tsk!).

First stop was the Manila Cathedral Basilica.
Manila Cathedral Basilica 

Inside the Basilica

It was quite packed since a lot were doing their visita iglesia. There were also a lot of street food stalls outside selling grilled squid, corn, and samalamig (cold drinks). I do not recommend buying food though. But if you are really hungry, it might be better to go to Mini Stop or Chow King (across the church). There were also a lot of men offering kalesa tours but we didn’t bother to ask the price since we have no plans of checking the whole place since we had a tight schedule.  
However, I regretted not riding one after seeing these pretty carriages.
Off to the next (and last stop) Fort Santiago. There’s an entrance fee of P75 for adults and P50 for students. There are some old bombs and canons near the souvenir shop and a really pretty fountain on the other side (which is perfect for dates… well, if you are on a budget). There is also a trolley which is good for photo ops. J
We then entered the “fort” and the first thing we saw were gold footprints of Jose Rizal. If you try to follow his steps, you’d find yourself walking like a penguin. I wonder if Rizal really walked like that.
The highlight of our short tour was checking the dungeon. Before, people were not allowed to go in but management finally decided to make it open to the public. We got a special tour from one of the guards who opened the gate for us (before it should be open for the public). The place was really creepy. It was cold and dark. The guard shared how our soldiers suffered (and the life-size statues helped depict it). The fear we had was instantly replaced by sadness after the short dungeon tour.
After the dungeon, we went up to the top of the fort overseeing the Manila Bay. It was a pretty site. We then saw a group with a tour guide and decided to tag along and pretended that we were part of the group.  
I will definitely go back and tour the other places such as San Agustin Church, Bahay Tsinoy, Casa Manila and a lot more. J
By the way, J.R. is Jose Rizal.

A not so savory dessert

I forgot that the week of the 18th is Holy Week thus I had a hard time finding a place open to tour a friend’s friend around Manila.
Since my friend’s friend (let’s call him J) and my friend (let’s call her D) were famished, we looked for the nearest open restaurant. We first saw Shakey’s. Knowing that J is not from Manila, I thought that it might be a better idea to eat something more Filipino. We then saw Savory (okay, so we did not go to the nearest restaurant) and dine there instead.
I was pretty full then so I ordered halo-halo instead while J ordered a set meal and D had a BIG bowl of soup (she was not aware that the soup was for sharing).
Yey! My halo-halo arrived but it is melting FAST.
After a spoonful… well… it was… icy. It tasted quite ordinary and I am not really expecting much since dessert is not the specialty of Savory (it’s chicken… or so when I last checked). Next time I crave for halo-halo, I will go for Razon’s or Chow King instead.
As for the rest of the Maundy  Thursday adventure, check the Intramuros entry. J

Friday, April 22, 2011

Another reason to meet friends and chat

 Chatime is good! Chatime is the new Serenitea! Chatime is love.
These are just some of the reviews I heard from people around me that made me so curious about Chatime. What pushed me to check the place out was my boss’ blog about it. The interior of the new tea house in Pioneer Center is super cute and cozy. Chatime also has a lot of tea to choose from.
When I arrived, the crew who attended to me was very helpful. Well, I was the only person they need to attend to then so I think there’s no reason to ignore me.
I noticed that they kept on suggesting milk tea. Well, it is their best seller but I am not very fond of it. So, I opted to order Japanese Sakura Sencha (thinking that since I won’t have the chance to see the cherry blossoms, at least I have the chance to drink it… okay, it does not sound very logical).
While waiting for my drink, I checked the place out and it was just like how it was described by the blogs I read. It was really cute.

Finally, my drink was served. It was quite sweet (probably because of the tapioca balls and because I asked for 50% sugar). It was really good. Love love love. It was not like those other teas that tasted like well… juice.
I will definitely go back for more. J

From choco loco to choco no-no

I was so excited when my mom gave in to drive us to Megamall (okay, it’s not really far from my place but I don’t like to commute just for my food cravings).
Anyway, I was craving for the Belgian Chocolate Fondue of Eskimo Bob by Iceberg one day and I can’t stop chanting BELGIAN CHOCOLATE FONDUEEEEEEE. I guess that was the reason why my mom gave in.
Yey! Eskimo Bob!!! I immediately ordered the dessert my tummy was requesting and I added Country Fries just in case I get tired of eating fruits with chocolate.
The fries arrived first and it was… OILY. But since I was hungry, I still ate it. Not satisfied though. It was really oily and it didn’t have crispy edges.

As for the BELGIAN CHOCOLATE FONDUE (sorry, I just have to type it in all caps), I was disappointed BIG TIME. Let me tell you why.

Belgian Chocolate Fondue in 2010
Before, Eskimo Bob had more uh… stuff, to dip in the chocolate. There were fruits such as strawberries, mangoes, bananas, kiwi, pineapple, cherries, and peaches. There were also slices of cake, marshmallow, and whip cream. Now, they serve fondue with mangoes, bananas, peaches, strawberries, mini marshmallows, cherries, whip cream, and ice cream.  

Belgian Chocolate Fondue in 2011

Aside from the missing kiwi and slices of cake, the chocolate was not good at all. It does not taste as good as before. I’m not sure if they used old chocolate or if they changed suppliers but it was BAD. Goya chocolate was far better.
With this experience, it might take a while before I visit Eskimo Bob again.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A new found travel must-have

Before heading back to the office one Tuesday afternoon, the editorial team (of one of the titles we handle) and I decided to stop by Travel Café Philippines hidden below the escalator of SMX convention. I was not sure what to order since it was my first time to buy something from that quaint café.
I asked the staff to choose for me. I was not very hungry then so I asked them to choose a muffin and tea for me. The lady who assisted me recommended Hazelnut muffin and Basil and Calamansi Tea. I was actually hesitant with the idea of drinking HOT tea during summer but since it sounded so delicious (I love calamansi and everything sour), I gave in.
After a bite of the muffin (sorry, no picture because I immediately took a bite without thinking of taking a picture of it), I was happy. It was really good. The muffin was soft, moist, and chocolatey good. The core of the muffin has this creamy hazelnut filling (which I find it a bit too sweet though).
The tea though was good. I didn’t have to add extra sugar because the taste was already okay. The sour calamansi and the minty basil taste were very refreshing. I will definitely buy more of that in the near future.

No to Gnomes

I was super excited to watch Gnomeo and Juliet last Friday with my sister that I decided to leave work before 7pm. (Yes, I have a deep attachment with my work area.) Everything was set when I arrived. My mom bought the tickets and my sister and I were set. (For P250 we also get a small bag of popcorn and a kiddie soda.)
We were late for a few minutes because I got stuck talking to this horror supplier (but it was the cheapest so I had to bear with it). Glasses? Check! Mini popcorn? Check! Kiddie soda? Check! Time to enjoy the movie I waited for 4 months.
As the story progresses, I realized that it was not funny at all. In fact, the lines were as stiff and hard as the gnomes in the movie. The story was quite shallow as well. Okay, they patterned it to the original Shakespeare Romeo and Juliet (except the fact that Gnomeo and Juliet were still alive… sort of… well, imaginarily… you get my point).
Okay, you might say that I expect too much from cartoons. Well, there are other great cartoons that were able to balance comedy, drama, and essence. There’re my all-time favorites Up, Meet the Robinsons, Coraline, and Toy Story. They are all funny and they all make sense. Up teaches you the importance of moving on, Meet the Robinsons emphasizes the importance of believing in yourself and never giving up, Coraline highlights the importance of family and not trading them for anything else, and Toy Story makes you value friendship.
Speaking of value, friends, if you value P180-P250, just buy food. I’m sure you will enjoy that more.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Sizzling lunch for sizzling summer

My sister wanted to have lunch at The Sizzling Pepper Steak before watching RIO and since she is pretty picky with food, I had to give in.
She ordered her all-time favorite Teriyaki Chicken Steak while I ordered creamy corn soup and Turtle Cheesecake (because I already had my lunch at home).
The Teriyaki Chicken Steak is just like any chicken teriyaki you can buy in a typical Japanese restaurant. Sweet sauce and a tender chicken with a bit crispy skin. The soup does not need extra explaining either because it was the average corn soup. So, let me focus more on the Turtle Cheesecake.
It was my first time to order dessert from The Sizzling Pepper Steak and I was quite disappointed and let me tell you why.
They informed me that the Turtle Cheesecake was their “bestseller" so I assumed that it is their best dessert. Well, I got the feeling that they will say that since it was the most expensive (P185, well, it is not as pricey as the desserts from other restaurants).
I really have no problem with the price for I don’t find it that expensive. It was more of the taste that disappointed me.
IT WAS TOO SWEET. The caramel was a bit stiff. It might have been better if they added something a bit bitter or bland to counter the sweet cocoa and caramel. The cheesecake was alright. Not bad, just okay.

*Sigh* This made me miss Cyma and Café Ilang-Ilang.
Verdict: The plating was not good at all. Quite messy if you noticed the dessert and soup. The Sizzling Pepper Steak is not really a good place fore desserts but if my sister drags me again, I'll probably stick to the Banana Dark Chocolate and Blueberry Cheesecake next time.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Ice Cream Doughnuts!!!

Okay, it is not actually ice cream doughnuts but it looks like it.
Mister Donut has a new doughnut they call CRISPY POP. It has rice crispies that will remind you of our typical pinipig ice cream, only this time, it is not cold and it does not have vanilla ice cream inside but a fluffy chocolate doughnut.
I find the whole look quite cute, not to mention tasty. The doughnut is so soft and really emphasizes the rice crispies.
A must try. The best part? It’s only P18!!!

Loco over Rio

Rio is LOVE.
The first scene alone was enough to make me smile like a lunatic. Vibrant colors, upbeat music, flying birds everywhere!!!
A loving owner, great friends who can sing, a slobbering bulldog that can dance, and two blue-feathered endangered blue macaw birds trying to escape the “bird smugglers”, a winning combination.
The movie was able to make the story very endearing, funny, and pleasing to the eyes. Watching it in 3D will make you appreciate it even more. FLYING BIRDS EVERYWHERE!!!The bright colored feathers of the different birds were such a treat.
There were also a lot of unexpected witty lines such as “I have beautiful eyes”. Great great job to the writers, producers and director of this movie!
Watch it and be prepared to be in love with Blu, Jewel, Linda, and yes, even Fernando (the kid who stole Blu and Jewel).

Picture from

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Greek Geek

Since I had to leave early, my friend and I decided to skip watching a movie and have a snack at Cyma instead. I was excited because I never had the chance to dine there since my family is not exactly adventurous when it comes to food.
My friend suggested that we order Skolatina, Cyma's Molten Chocolateake (served with vanilla ice cream and roasted chestnut sauce) and her all-time favorite, Spinach and Artichoke Fondue.
We asked to have the Spinach and Artichoke Fondue served first.
Well, the serving was quite generous as well. It was also very filling. The fondue had a very rich taste and for those who hate vegetables, I could tell you right now that this dish does not taste like your typical steamed carrots at all. It was a bit salty but quite addicting.
Next was Skolatina. My friend was raving about it on our way to Cyma thus when they served it, I can’t wait to take a bite.
After that bite, I felt like one of the judges in the anime Cooking Master Boy. I was in chocolate heaven. The warm cake and the cool ice cream felt and tasted so good. I would have loved it even more if the chocolate cake was warmer.
Nonetheless, the crunch of the cake, the nutty and chocolate taste, and the cool vanilla ice cream, one great combination!
I hope I could persuade my parents to try it soon.

A short (taste bud) trip to Chinatown

Due to the unpredictable weather last Saturday, I ended up wearing the wrong top. I thought that it was going to be hot but it turned out to be quite chilly. This made me crave for congee thus my friend and I opted to have lunch at Mongkok.

After staring at the congee picture for 5 seconds, I realized that it doesn’t look like a happy meal to eat. I ended up with choosing between the Brisket Wanton Noodle Soup and Seafood Noodle Soup. Well, the shrimps were very inviting so I ordered the latter.
I was very happy with my order though the soup tasted more like seafood broth cube. The seafood used were fresh. I super love the shrimp. Quite generous serving as well. I didn’t have to order dumplings (hakaw or kutchay).
I will definitely go back for more of Mongkok dishes. Truly value for your money. J

A white summer…

While waiting for my friend, I decided to go to White Hat to appease my grumbling tummy. I ordered regular yogurt with strawberries, homemade brownies, and kiwi (they were suggesting mangoes but it looked overripe).
I noticed that they changed their plastic spoon to wooden spoon instead (quite similar to the typical wooden stick given with every cup of ice cream). An attempt to save Mother Earth? Maybe. Though I didn’t like how it feels. While finishing my cup, I had this eerie feeling that my lips will have splinters!
What I love about White Hat’s yogurt is that it has this tangy taste unlike those other yogurt stores pretending to sell yogurt but it is actually ice cream. The toppings I had were also fresh. For instance, the strawberries were not cut into pieces. They just chop it whenever someone orders it. (Wise move!) The kiwi was also good. The brownies though has a weak chocolate taste.
Overall, the experience was pleasant. Though my heart still goes to a store that makes me see…RED.

Friday, April 8, 2011

My latest chocolate love

I finally got the chance to meet Pam Lim Cinco, the person behind the delectable Risa Chocolates during the Best Food Forward event last April 2-3, 2011. When I met her, I honestly told her that I never had the chance to try their chocolates but I heard and read a lot of good reviews about it.
These reviews were right! The chocolates were downright scrumptious. I tried the Choco Choco Milk, Cerveza Negra  and Dark Rum Truffles and after finishing a few samples, I bought a box for myself (yes, I’m selfish when it comes to chocolates; but it’s a good thing that I’m the only one in the family that appreciates dark chocolate).
 All three are 50-55%  dark chocolate. So soft and it melts in your mouth (and no, not like M&Ms). The Choco Choco Milk is the sweetest. I could hardly taste the Cerveza Negra but you could sense that it has a different taste compared to the Choco Choco Milk a.k.a. “child-friendly” truffle. As for the Dark Rum Truffles, you could definitely taste (and smell) the liquor.
This is also the PERFECT anti-stress snack. I finished a box while doing a presentation and I went on with work with a big smile on my face (and drooling for more). Yes, I am seriously in love with Risa Chocolates. When I found out that they will be part of one of our biggest events, my tummy got so excited.

Verdict: I can’t wait to buy more of Risa Chocolates. I will definitely try Cacao Nibs and Cookie Dough truffles.