Friday, February 28, 2014

Love at First Bite: Custaroonery by Gigi Gaerlan

My close friends know that I find it hard to just order one dish. Normally, I have to order an appetizer, main course, and dessert. But they also know out of the three, the most important is the last one. I just can't give up sweets. I'll just become a very hostile foodie if deprived of my sweet endings. 
While looking for a place to have dinner, I came across this cute looking kiosk. Dainty and sweet-looking, I was attracted like a fly to light. I had no power. (Okay, fine, I did but I let my glutton spirit overpower me.)  
Soon, I was in front of Custaroonery and staring at the simple menu card and ended up ordering a box of 6custaroons in a span of 1 minute. I was super excited to enjoy it with my sister!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Restaurant Discovery: Osaka Ohsho

There are only a few times when I am willing to wait for a table when I'm hungry... when I traveled far just to get there, it's a new place, or there's a long line and it made me VERY curious. And last Saturday, it was because of the last two reasons.
We noticed a long line in front of a restaurant I haven't seen before. It looks... Japanese. And true enough, it's a restaurant that claims to serve the number one gyoza. It's Osaka Ohsho. I asked how many people are in line and there were a party of 12 before us. Yes, it's a long line but in my mind, long line means good food. And since we were not so hungry then, I had my name listed and waited.

It took an hour for us to get a table and we would have missed it if we didn't return. We were up next and we did not get any message from the front host.
As soon as we sat down, I already have dishes in mind. I remember the host mention the Black Vinegar Chicken set (PHP360) to be one of their bestsellers so I chose that while C went for a katsu set. I also got a half order of the Osaka Ohsho Salad (PHP195) and Fresh Mango Yakult (PHP125).

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Life Note: Gratitude

In life, we meet so many people... the good, bad, acquaintance, friend, movie buddy... you name it. Each one will have a role, no matter how big or small, in our lives. 

When I was a kid, I would often say to my "favorite" friend that he or she (though it's usually a she as you know, kids have this inborn annoyance of the opposite sex) will be my bestest  friend forever.
Forever. We usually use that loosely when we were younger as we do not have a full grasp of reality. Come high school, that's when things become clearer. Not everyone who comes in our lives will forever be in our lives, or hold that special place for eternity. Remember why tears are shed during graduations?
Reality is, people come and go. Yes, everyone has the option to stay. But sadly, not everyone opts to stay. Priorities change, we change. The usual brunch dates every week turn to every month to every other month and so on. The long calls turn from hours to minutes to half a minute. It's not because of the changes that happen to us. It's by choice. 

At first, I find it hard to understand why set ups I'm comfortable with have to change. But change helps us grow, to get to know ourselves more. We all used to be dependent on certain people for something, may it be comfort, laughter, or the daily dose of gossip. But in the end, we all have to learn to live without them. No, it doesn't mean throwing them out but being independent, being strong on our own. 

People come and go. Yes, at times we grow to question what went wrong on why some of whom we were close to suddenly went the other way, leaving us wondering. But instead of asking why, it's best to just be thankful. Be thankful to have them become a part of your life. Be thankful for their time, concern, friendship, love, and simply being there for you for a while. Let go of the sorrow, the grudge, the regrets for those will do nothing but inflict pain. Instead, remember the nice memories, how these people helped you become the person you are now. Do not let anger or sorrow cloud the good times. For I am definite, there are those memories you would love to cherish.
In more than two decades of meeting people, I can no longer count how many people came and left. But I am thankful. Each exchange of words helped me be more mature and realize how wonderful life is and could be. The shared experiences made me who I am today. The laughter once shared would be great memories for me to keep.

I am also thankful for the people who left and came back. These people made me realize that you should never close doors. Life is interesting that way. 

And for those who never left and patiently watch me grow, I love you beyond words. 

To everyone, thank you. <3

-Mary Love (a.k.a. Gluttonshopper, the sentimental birthday girl)

Love At First Sip: Kuppa Roastery & Cafe

Seriously, going on a food trip on a Sunday is a terrible idea especially if you want to do it at The Fort. Most stores close at 4 p.m. and clueless people like me and N just got tired walking to and from places and be faced with closed doors. *cue: sad music* But thankfully, a quaint coffee place was open and we decided to cap the day at...

Kuppa Roastery & Cafe !
The place was quite busy when we arrived as there were only a few vacant tables. We managed to get a couch though. Yahoo!
Despite the long walk, we were still full to order more than one plate of dessert so we opted to have a slice of Kuppa's Chocolate Souffle Cake (PHP105), Barista's Secret (PHP135), and Skinny Sugarless Sip-Mochachino (PHP100).
N's drink was like a shake and it was very sweet. It tasted very much like vanilla frappuccino. It was a bit thick and really creamy. I couldn't seem to discover the "secret" though. But I must say, Kuppa has friendly servers and very eager to help the customers decide which drink to order.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Restaurant Discovery: The Hungry Hound

[Continuation of my BGC food trip story.] N and I were supposed to stop by Sunshine Kitchen for stop #2 but the place was closed. We passed by a German Pub, Burgos Circle and much more but none seem to catch our eyes and tummies. Then N went to Instagram for other finds and we both decided to go to...
Hello, The Hungry Hound!
We practically own the place when we got there as we were the only customers. The young server seemed to be very eager to serve us too. We guessed that he must be so bored and wanted to do his job.

We went with two dishes, Smoked Bacon-Silog (PHP385) and Duck Fat Fries (PHP288). Just two you say? Well, we still have one more stop and food tripping in BGC kills the poor wallet. 
We decided to finally order the Duck Fat Fries as it has been haunting me since I was in California. I just have to order it I guess. (Then I remembered afterwards that I had a few when I visited Green Pastures.)
The fries doesn't seem to be anything extraordinary. It tasted like deep fried potatoes. Or perhaps I just don't have the precise taste buds to differentiate the different oils used to fry food. The fries though were cooked crisp which I enjoyed. I just wish that they added a bit more cheese.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

First Bite: 8 Cuts Burger Blends

Burgers. My tummy must be filled with burgers to last me a lifetime. I have been munching on burgers for months now! I had tons of burgers when I was on vacation and I had tons of burgers when I got back here. Heck, I even had a burger during the day of love. (Hey, that's my day!) And today, I will share another burger joint I have visited recently.

Hello, 8 Cuts Burger Blends!
I saw 8 Cut's signage on our way to the parking lot. I must say, having a store signage facing EDSA is pretty effective to capture attention and create interest. (Or maybe it was just me.)
We then went straight to the fashion wing and went to the 3rd floor to see this new burger place. And thankfully, the place wasn't packed at all. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A Bacon Lovers' Heaven: Slater's 50/50

I remember it all started with a question on what cuisine I would love to try and I said, "Anything but Korean or American" as I was tired of Korean BBQ and burgers that time. But alas, we ended up in another burger joint at Old Town Pasadena which I must say looks pretty nice. It reminded me of New York with the stores on the streets and street performers making the night extra special.

Hello, Slater's 50/50!
The place was pretty packed with people so we had to wait for about half an hour to get a table. While waiting, K and I decided to go for a walk while couple T and K wait for our table.

The place is different from the other parts of Los Angeles. I actually find it pretty romantic. There are some quaint restaurants and for some reason, a handful of flower vendors too. I felt like buying one (love thy self) but naaah, I need the money for my other food trips!
After a while, K and I decided to head back as we're getting hungry too. And... we still have to wait for a few more minutes.
Thankfully, service was pretty quick. We ordered Fried Bacon Mac n' Cheese Balls ($5.95), Slater's Vampire Dip ($8.95), B' B' B' Bacon Burger ($10.95), The 50/50 ($9.95) and the Fried Chicken & Pancakes ($10.95) and in less than 10 minutes, our appetizers arrived.
The Fried Bacon Mac n' Cheese is your typical Mac n' Cheese covered in breaded coating with a tinge of bacon. It was pretty good though I hope it was a bit cheesier.
One of our favorites that night was the Slater's Vampire Dip! The dip had a strong garlic taste and it went so well with the cheese and artichoke. We also enjoyed the pita and T can't help but finish the sourdough.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Love At First Bite: The Tuileries Confections

Macarons. This has been one of the biggest food craze last year and it seems like it's here to stay for a bit longer. I must say, I am one of the crazy foodies to shell out money for these small (but yummy) desserts. If you think about it, these are very expensive. But if you crave for something beyond your typical chocolate bar or ice cream, this is a good choice.
I have been a big fan of S's baking and when she flew to Paris to further enhance her skills, I just want her to finish her studies ASAP just so I could have more of her delectable brownies. But I guess I have to wait.
She didn't disappoint us though as a few weeks after she came back, she started her business The Tuileries Confections.
Image from The Tuileries Confection Facebook page
It was her post for Valentine's Day that convinced me to to order a box of macarons. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

First Bite: Green Pastures

Organic. This craze is getting stronger and stronger as time pass by. I guess it's actually a good craze as people are becoming more health conscious. I'm not too fond of organic food though as I think it tastes the same as the usual non-organic kind and because it is way pricier than its "unhealthy" counterpart. Don't get me wrong though as I try organic or healthy food from time to time. Like when I tried Juju Cleanse and Slice. And because of my desire to visit all new restaurants, my friends and I visited Green Pastures.

Hello Green Pastures!
There's a short wait before we could be seated. Oh the charm of new restaurants. This one was featured on T.V. and my aunt told me to give this a try and so I did.
I just came from Kimukatsu so I was still pretty full when I met A and L. (AL?) So I decided to go for the Local Artisanal Cheese (PHP325, single; PHP425, choice of 2; PHP850, full) and MilkEggsHoney (PHP155) for dessert. A went for the Meat On Meat Classic Cheeseburger (PHP595) while L ordered Octopus Bone Marrow (PHP425) and Duck You fries (PHP185). We all ordered Hibiscus Iced Tea (PHP90 per glass, PHP135 refillable) out of curiosity on how different it would be from a typical iced tea.
Service was quite quick as the Duck You which was served with a mini spray bottle of sauce, which happens to be vinegar, arrived in less than 10 minutes. The Duck You fries are your typical fries cooked in duck fat and topped with duck skin and duck confit. This dish is rather unhealthy but something duck lovers would enjoy.
Next served was my cheese order. I got the Neufchatel Cream Cheese with Smoked Salmon. The serving of cheese wasn't that generous but it was definitely enough for the four slices of bread. I wasn't very experimental though and ate the nuts, grapes honeycomb and cheese separately. I enjoyed the cheese though I hardly tasted the salmon.

Restaurant Love: Olive Tree Kitchen and Bar

It has been a while since I have done a food trip thus I tend to eat less now. Yes, I can no longer do four stops. (I bet you think I eat like a person on a diet huh?) 

I have super friends! Even before I landed, I already arranged dates with the people I love. N for one was game for a food trip. So that means more than one stop.

Wee both finally agreed to go to Bonifacio Global City as it has a lot of new restaurants we have yet to try. We planned to visit Olive Tree Kitchen and Bar, Sunshine Kitchen, and Kitchen's Best. We didn't know though that most restaurants close at 4 p.m. on Sundays so we had to change our plans a lot!
Anyway, this entry focuses on our first stop, Olive Tree Kitchen and Bar.
Why hello there OTKB!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Restaurant Discovery: Kimukatsu

People change as time pass by. Priorities shift and some friends come and go. That's how life is. Dwelling in how great things were will just hinder you from appreciating the present. I admit, I used to be guilty with reminiscing about the past, how happy and carefree college was. Okay, perhaps it wasn't as carefree as I recall as I do remember sleepless nights because of those financial models we just could not balance. But I am thankful for one thing... the people who stayed. 

It has been a while since I last saw J and M. The last time I met J was way back in 2010 while it was 2012 for M. I guess we all got busy but interestingly, kept in touch thanks to Facebook. Hey, this could be a movie, eh? Uh, not really.
Anyway, we all decided to meet up at Shangri-La (since I'm the youngest and I get the first pick!) and went to Kimukatsu, a new Japanese restaurant at the East Wing.
For some reason, I had an impression that it is just like its neighbor, Ikkoryu Fukuoka. But when we got there and saw the menu, it is just like Yabu. KimuKATSU... duh! Since we're there and comfy, we decided to go for it. 
I ordered the Black Pepper Katsu (PHP390) while J went for the Tatsuta-Age (PHP180) and another katsu viand I forgot to note. M on the other hand went for the Kimukatsu Plain Sandwich (PHP210) and Agedashi Tofu (PHP180). I also ordered Japanese Panna Cotta for dessert (PHP110).
First served were the complimentary miso soup and cabbage followed by the Tatsuta-Age and Kimukatsu Plain Sandwich. I had to take quick snapshots of the dishes as I was not with people who are used to being around a food blogger who believes in "picture before satisfying the tummy". 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Restaurant Discovery: Kettle

I really have this thing for new restaurants. I get so excited every time I find out that a new restaurant is opening soon near my place. By near I mean Shangri-La, Megamall, Capitol Commons, and Kapitolyo. While I was trying to resist my foodie urges in the States, I was busy doing "research" on the new restaurants. One of the new places that caught my fancy was Kettle at Shangri-La's East Wing.

Hello Kettle! 
I met up with my good friend M for dinner for some intense catching up. I insisted that we have dinner there as I have to try its famous fried chicken.
Ordering was a breeze too as I know what I want. I ordered the Smoked Salmon Salad (PHP250), Buttermilk Fried Chicken (PHP519), and Calamari (PHP329). For dessert, we originally wanted to get the Checkered Cake but they ran out so we went for the Pistachio Cake instead (PHP229).

Service was pretty quick as our salad and calamari were served within 15 minutes. 
The salad was drizzled with black pepper for additional taste. The serving itself was pretty generous and I enjoyed it a lot. I would have enjoyed it more if there were more salmon though. The dill ranch dressing has that tangy taste that would make you eat more!
The calamari though seemed typical for me. It's your usual fried and breaded squid.

Friday, February 7, 2014

An L.A. Must Visit: Castaway

Ever since I heard from Auntie L that Castaway is a great restaurant to visit, I have been hoping to dine there. It's slightly far and I heard that it's pricey too. But reading the reviews and seeing the photos made me want to visit it more. It somehow reminded me of how much I wanted to go to Sonya's Garden and Vigan. Luckily, I managed to have dinner there a few days before my flight back to Manila.

Hello, Castaway!
The place has a relaxed ambiance and doesn't have this snotty feel at all which I get when I visit classy restaurants. It feels more like a guest house with rather tropical decor.
The menu is not as extensive as I thought but all sound so mouthwatering. We ended up ordering Castaway Crab Cakes ($13), Roast Prime Rib of Beef ($32), and Bone-In Rib Eye ($38). As for drinks, we had a glass of Virgin Strawberry Daiquiri and Lemonade.
The crab cake was served quickly. It even arrived before the wait basket of fresh bread. It was quite savory and a pleasant appetizer. The texture was smooth and crunchy. The sauce too was a combination of tangy and salty. I truly enjoyed it.
The main dishes took a long time to be served though. Apparently, there was a problem with our side dishes... potatoes. They ran out of potatoes. Thus the over half an hour wait.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Japan in California: Yamashiro Japanese Restaurant

I love Japanese food. People close to me (and those who see me wolf down sashimi) know how much I just adore it. And every time I eat out, one of the cuisines I consider is Japanese. I'll either crave for salmon sashimi, ramen, tempura, udon, or whatnot. It must be my anime addiction that caused this. Anyway, on my last night in Los Angeles, my aunt R treated me to this nice restaurant overseeing LA. 

Hello, Yamashiro!
The place is so Japanese! It felt like I was really in Japan though I'll never know because I have never been there. I wanted to capture every corner of the place with pictures. I was like a kid trying to ingrain every bit of detail in my mind as this place is simply... amazing. At least for me. 
 It was rather chilly that day but we didn't care and took pictures like it's nothing!
We ordered though before we went out to capture the beauty of the place. We ordered Wakame Seaweed Salad ($12), Pistachio Salmon ($16), Truffle Hamachi ($16), Spicy Seafood Hot Pot ($10), and Duck Confit Asian Cobb (forgot to take note of the price of this one). For dessert, we had Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich ($12) and Banana Fritters (price was not in the menu as well).
The Wakame Seaweed Salad's serving was pretty stingy. Luckily though they gave us an extra serving for... FREE! The power of the people I'm with. :D The taste though was your typical seaweed salad. You could get a huge serving of it if you buy the ingredients yourself.
The Spicy Seafood Hot Pot wasn't spicy at all. It was served warm and it was a good appetizer. All the ingredients (shrimp, shiitake mushrooms, mussels, and scallop) were fresh. Yum! However, the serving, again, was too small.

Stop in the name of WINGS: Wingstop

Okay, okay, the title was beyond corny. I'm getting rusty here. Anyway, I have been wanting to eat out for a long time while I was in California as I normally eat at home to well, save money. And ever since I saw Wingstop, I have always been curious with it. And when Frannywanny posted it in her Instagram, I got even more curious. So one day, I finally have to try it!

Hello, Wingstop! 
Luckily, there was a branch a few minutes away from where I stayed though it was a pretty small store.
We had to wait for a few minutes before we could get a table while waiting for our order of wings. When we went, there was a promo of $20 for 25 boneless wings and we could choose 3 flavors. If I recall it right, we had Garlic Parmesan, Lemon Pepper, and Hot Original. The meal comes with vegetables sticks and bread. We also ordered fries and a glass of cola. Our bill amounted to less than $25. Not bad for a meal for two.
We managed to get a table before the food arrived. At first I was trying to figure out how we will manage to eat while sitting on a bench but chicken wing gods have been extra nice to us.
I didn't bother trying the Hot Original as it's the second spiciest flavor and I don't really like spicy food. I was told though that it wasn't as spicy and it tasted okay. Not superb but okay. 
The Garlic Parmesan is literally fried crispy wings sprinkled with garlic parmesan. Without the topping, it's as bland as blah.