Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Restaurant Love: CO/OP Manila

Quaint coffee shops never fail to make me giddy. But quaint coffee shops that serve good food make me happier. Shops like Tweedle Book Café, Refinery, Yardstick and UCC are just a few that make me go gaga. Last week, I went to one of the cutest cafés I know… CO/OP Manila.
Hello again, CO/OP Manila!
It has been a while since my last visit. I recall that I only had dessert and coffee when I visited this cute place for the first time. This time around, I went for dinner and I realized that there are only a few savory options. Anyway, I decided to go for the Smoked Salmon (PHP370) while F got the Tartufo (PHP370) and R got the Beef Brisket Sandwich (PHP390). I also got the CO/OP Iced Tea (PHP80) while R got the Strawberry Lemonade (PHP150).
I noticed that the place is practically empty. It’s a perfect place to catch up with friends on a weeknight or the sanctuary of a person cramming.
First served were our drinks.
My iced tea was sweet yet refreshing. R also liked his strawberry lemonade. Though I couldn’t get much from him but a simple, “’k lang.”

Soon, our dishes were served.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Love at First Bite: π Breakfast and Pies

Breakfast food is love. Sunnyside up eggs, bacon, spam, tapa, hot dogs… I could eat it all day long. This is why I adore restaurants that serve breakfast from opening to closing. And that’s why I got excited when R suggested that we try π Breakfast and Pies for dinner one Sunday night.
The quaint restaurant is pretty small and parking could be difficult too if you visit around lunch or dinner time.
R’s memory of the Longsilog (PHP295) wasn’t that good as he recalled that he only got two small longganisa and felt that it looked sad with the mountain of rice. Anyway, we opted to go for the Wagyu Beef Sirloin Tapa (PHP265) and the Caramelized Spam (PHP265). We also ordered Lemon Basil Fritz (PHP75) and Cranberry Celery Cooler (PHP75) as our drinks.

First served were our drinks.
The lemon basil fritz didn’t have much citrus taste to it while the cranberry celery cooler had a strong celery taste. In short, both drinks tasted very healthy. (And sadly, R and I are not fond of it.)
The tapa and spam were served next.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Love at First Bite: Seryna

Most of my friends tell me that one of the best sashimi places is Seryna. Some of my friends even invited me to visit the place but every time we plan it out, it gets cancelled. But J wanted to really eat there one time and I figured that it’s about time to make it happen.

Hello, Seryna!
Tucked inside Little Tokyo hides a Japanese gem or so what foodies say. I actually had a bit of difficulty finding the place. But once you know Makati Cinema Square, you’ll find it.
I was surprised that the place was packed when we visited. I thought that since the place is not exactly convenient to visit and with so many other restaurants to choose from, people will not visit this establishment. Well, I was wrong.
It took me a while to decide on what to order because Seryna has a wide range of dishes from appetizer to sukiyaki, from ramen to bento meals. After 15 minutes or so, I went with Salmon Sashimi (PHP240), Tako Wasabi (PHP160), and Gyu Don (PHP320). J went with one of the bento meals for PHP380 and I was surprised that it was such a steal. (Think Yabu/Saboten meal.)
First served was my salmon sashimi (with J’s uni in the background).

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Bacon Steak Heaven: Balboa

Friday traffic never fails to discourage me from exploring other places. Just like last Friday, R and I were supposed to visit Xocolat near UP. But since traffic gets more intense on Fridays, we decided to go to Shangri-La instead. And I find it tough to choose where to eat there since I already tried all the restaurants. (Good thing my favorites such as Spätzle, Kettle, Balboa, Brotzeit, and Duck & Buvette are there.) R let me choose where to eat and I chose…

Balboa! It has been a while.
I still remember how much I raved about its roasted chicken. I told my family, friends, and colleagues how much I love Balboa’s roasted chicken. I’m a fan. (Okay, enough of the chicken.)

This time around, R and I ordered the following: Cream of Squash (PHP209), Bacon Steak (PHP448) and Lasagna (PHP319). For drinks, R got the Salted Caramel (PHP175) while I chose Lychee, Lime and Honey (PHP138).
The drinks arrived first and my drink was quite refreshing. It wasn’t that sweet and it has a slight citrus taste from the lime. The lychee taste was faint though.
R loved his salted caramel. It was quite milky and surprisingly not as sweet as I thought.
The Cream of Squash had a light texture making it a good appetizer. I loved the slight sweetness of the soup.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Weekend Getaway: Highlands Prime Steakhouse

[Part 2 of White Day Weekend Getaway] After lunch, R and I decided to ride a cable car to explore Tagaytay Highlands and it turned out to be a not so good idea because it was a really hot afternoon. Good thing we were prepared to swim. (Okay, I was prepared to just dip and do nothing else.) After bringing out the mermaid and merman in us, we decided to have dinner.

Hello, Highlands Prime Steakhouse!
The place has a very cozy feeling. Despite being a steakhouse, it didn’t have a snobbish ambiance to it.

R wanted to eat outside for the view but it was rather chilly that night. Anyway, we still went for it.
We decided to go for the following: Westfalian Barley Soup (PHP158), Sautéed Scallop of Hudson Valley Foie Gras (PHP920), Norwegian Salmon Steak (PHP880) and John Wayne’s Prime Rib (PHP2,598, 20 oz. | PHP1,998, 14 oz. | PHP1,380, 10 oz. | PHP1,008, 7 oz.). We also got some fruit shakes.
The barley soup, which was a mix of ham, carrots, celery and potatoes and blended with cream and egg yolk, was a good appetizer. It sure warmed up the tummy and was pretty light too.
The foie gras was also delightful! I loved the contrast in flavors of the foie gras and the pineapple bits.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Weekend Getaway: The Bistro Saratoga

I love celebrating Valentine’s Day, White Day (March 14), Black Day (April 14), Children’s Day, Halloween, Christmas, New Year’s (including Chinese New Year) and every other occasion you could think of. It’s fun! My favorites are Children’s Day and Black Day (where those who did not get anything from Valentine’s and White Day sulk over a bowl of black bean noodles). This year’s White Day was planned out by R and it was a great day!

Hello, Tagaytay Highlands!
We left for Tagaytay around 11 a.m. and arrived past lunch time. Famished, we decided to have lunch at Tagaytay Highlands instead of the original plan of visiting Sky Ranch.
Since The Bistro Saratoga was nearer, we decided to go with that place for lunch. I decided to go for the make your own sandwich at PHP280. I chose roast beef with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, mushroom and cheese. I also got a cup of tomato soup and strawberry shake. R, on the other hand, got a plate of carbonara.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Restaurant Discovery: Burp

I get so excited every time I get to read a list of new restaurants near my area. Well, aside from being excited, I get frustrated too as there are times when I hardly know any from the lists. It means that I don’t get to explore that much and it makes me wonder what I do on weekends. Anyway, one list covers the restaurants in Mandaluyong and I was surprised that out of 20 or so, I was only able to visit 5. FIVE. It made me a bit disappointed with myself as a foodie. I must bring back the foodie the explorer in me. And so on my anniversary with work I decided to visit…

I’m not exactly sure when this restaurant opened but it was part of the list I “reviewed” a few months back. It was pretty small but it could accommodate around 20 diners. Parking though is very limited.

The menu had a handful of choices from appetizers which are mostly soup and salad, sandwiches, breakfast meals, mains such as ribs and pork chops, pasta and desserts. There are a few shakes and frappes as well.

I decided to go for the Truffle Mac and Cheese (PHP245) and Stuffed Chicken with Garlic Cream Sauce (PHP245) while R went for the Roast Beef with Red Wine Sauce (PHP345). For drinks, I opted for the house blend iced tea (PHP55) while R got the Dulce de Leche Frappe (PHP125). We also ordered a slice of Blueberry Cheesecake Frost (PHP125) for dessert.
First served were our drinks.
My iced tea tasted like tamarind candy while R’s frappe was quite light (rather than thick) and milky.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Second Bite: Burgers & Brewskies

Living near Kapitolyo and the developing foodie area Capitol Commons has its perks. I have quick access to the good restaurants near Ortigas. However, it can pretty much damage the wallet as well. (I seriously need to save more!) I blame my I-say-no-to-food mentality.

Hello again, Burgers & Brewskies!
Mr. Flaker J suddenly wanted to have dinner because he was too hungry to drive back home. And since he knows that I’m the resident foodie who’s pretty much easy to drag around as long as food’s involved, he messaged me. Soon, we were in front of Burgers & Brewskies.
The place was pretty packed on a Thursday night. There was also a guy singing to add some good vibes on a “thirstday” night. We were lucky to get a table near the bar.

J decided to go for Call the Nurse (PHP280) while I got Neat burger (PHP180) and Krispy Pinkies (PHP175). I also got a glass of Classic Mojito (PHP140) while J went for a bottle of beer.
First served was the Krispy Pinkies and it was great! It’s basically chicken tenders but instead of the usual bread crumbs, they used Rice Krispies. As a fan of the crunchy treat, I loved this dish! I chose honey mustard as my dip.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Now in Manila: Coco Ichibanya Curry House

I am not fond of curry. There, I said it. For some reason, I just do not like the taste of curry. I try to veer away from restaurants that serve that. But when I visited Coco Ichibanya in California, things changed. I am now a curry lover! And I was thrilled when I found out that Coco Ichibanya finally has a branch here in Manila!

Hello, Coco Ichibanya!

R and I decided to have dinner together one Friday night after receiving her message that her flight to Thailand was moved to that weekend. (I just have to meet my good friend as I do not know when I’ll meet her again. *cries*)
There were still a handful of tables when we arrived. After a few minutes of staring at the menu (especially at the cheese curry which has nothing but rice, cheese strings and curry sauce), we decided to go for Pork Cutlet Omelet Curry (PHP360), Creamed Chicken Omelet Curry (PHP330) and a bowl of Tuna salad (PHP100). R2 arrived after half an hour and ordered Pork Cutlet with Vegetable Curry (PHP440) and Milk Tea (PHP100).

Service was pretty quick.
The tuna salad was crisp and I loved the generous serving of roasted sesame dressing. Nothing spectacular with the tuna though. It reminded me of the usual canned tuna.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Love at First Bite: Ippudo

I have been planning to visit Ippudo since it opened but the line was so discouraging. I could never wait for over an hour just for a bowl of ramen while my tummy’s staging World War 3. I figured that in a month or two, the line wouldn’t be as crazy. WRONG. But last Friday, which happens to be a pay day Friday the 13th, there was no line at all. (Okay, it was 4 p.m. then.)

Finally!!! Hello, Ippudo!
First thing I noticed was the bar table perfect for solo diners. I think I just found my new favorite hangout place.
I was famished when we got there as I haven’t had lunch yet. So I decided to go for Shiromaru Motoaji Special (PHP480), Ippudo Pork Bun (PHP100), Ippudo Chicken Bun (PHP100) and Ippudo Hakata-Style Gyoza (PHP195).

First served was the gyoza.
It was served hot and it was juicy with a slight crunch on the fried parts. Yummy though it was more expensive compared to the gyoza of other ramen shops.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Love at Third Bite: Green Pastures

My preferences seem to be different from my colleagues. Whenever we vote on something, I usually end up choosing the option NO ONE votes for. Just like when we were deciding where to have our celebratory dinner, I chose Kettle or Brotzeit; both chosen by nada. Curious which one won? Green Pastures.

Okay, I have a love-hate relationship with this one. I recall that I ordered the wrong dishes on my first visit and I had yummy pasta but a weird drink on my second visit. This time around though, my boss, M, ordered for the team and got Ricotta (PHP225), Stracciatella (PHP325) and Autumn Surprise (PHP430, small | PHP595, large) for appetizer; Scampi-Chorizo (PHP500, solo | PHP700, sharing), 80/20 Burger (PHP550), Roasted Organic Chicken (PHP650) and Tap-Caulisi-Log (PHP600) as our mains.
First served was the bowl of salad.
I truly enjoyed the mix of greens, nuts and fruits. There were a lot of flavors and textures going on making it very interesting. My favorite was the candied walnuts.
Ricotta and stracciatella were served next.
Almost everyone liked the stracciatella cheese more but I prefer ricotta cheese as it had a tangier flavor. The scracciatella needed a bit of salt for taste while ricotta tastes even better with the onion jam. Then again, the arugula made scracciatella delightful.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Summer Love: Larcy’s Frozen Hot Choco Velvet

Can you feel the love heat tonight? Definitely! It’s summer again and people are off to gym or beach. Me? I’d rather be in a cool place away from the crowd. And how could I leave the metro when I discovered…

My love, I’m back!
Yes, it’s official. I’m in love… so in love with the Frozen Hot Choco Velvet of Larcy’s!
This sweet drink enchanted me in one sip. The slightly rough texture and the oh so chocolately taste were just too much. I also love the creaminess of the drink. Sinful? Most likely. But hey, we all deserve a reward from after a tiring week at work or school.
I can’t get over my newest addiction. See you again soon, Larcy’s!

Larcy’s Cupcakery Café is located at Lower Ground, Estancia Mall, Capitol Commons, Oranbo, Pasig City.