Friday, May 26, 2017

When in Pampanga: Bale Dutung

As much as I love to eat out, I also enjoy staying at home and experimenting in the kitchen. Lately, I find attending events a bit too much especially when all my loose clothes are starting to be fit. But an invite to Bale Dutung is too good to resist. And before my brain cells could even process the pros and cons of attending, I already click the send button with yes as my reply.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Summer Is Not Over: Pinkberry

Despite the regular drizzles and afternoon rainfalls, summer is definitely not over. The sizzling summer heat is here to stay in the form of humidity. Thankfully, one of my favorite cold treats decided to add a few new goodies to their list of offerings and we celebrated its launch last week. 
 
Hello, Pinkberry!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Love at First Bite: Toast Asian Kitchen and Tasting Room

I really love how our food scene evolved throughout the years. These days, we don't have to board a plane just to get a taste of other cuisines. And with restaurants and malls popping here and there, sometimes we don't even have to drive around. The residents near Meralco Avenue have it good as they are near the newest Ayala mall and one of my new restaurant favorites, Toast.
Hello, Toast Asian Kitchen and Tasting Room.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

First Sip: Tim Hortons

Everyone was so excited when Tim Hortons announced that they will be bringing in the well-loved brand to Manila. I've heard about Tim Hortons but I could not share the same giddiness as I've never tried it before. The crazy long line sure made me curious though but figured that it must be just because it was new and everyone wanted to know how good this Canadian brand really is. But the practical me opted to wait and I've had my first sip several weeks after it opened its doors to the public.

Monday, May 22, 2017

First Bite: Palm Grill

Tomas Morato has turned from a drinking hotspot to an area filled with restaurants offering affordable and delectable food. New concepts seem to open every month and I often find myself overwhelmed by the growing number of options. But hearing that this new chicken place offers superb "green" poultry made it a bit easier for me to decide.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Love at First Bite: Grape Escape

I love exploring Maginhawa because it is filled with restaurants offering scrumptious dishes at affordable prices. And one of my latest discoveries is this wine place that serves impressive dishes that would intoxicate you with happiness.

Hello, Grape Escape.
It was a bit hard for me to spot Grape Escape during daytime when its signage is not lit. But thanks to Waze and its informative Instagram account, I was able to get dropped off at the right location. [Tip: Look for the building with Bo's Coffee and Anytime Fitness.]

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Restaurant Love: Amici

Amici used to be one of my go to restaurants when I want comfort food like pasta and cake. I still remember frequenting its pioneer branch in Don Bosco just to get a scoop of its sweet dessert. But the crazy number of new restaurants popping here and there made my trips less frequent and the insane traffic surrounding Makati and SM Megamall made me hesitant to be a mile near those areas. Those were true till I got to sample its new dishes. 

Long time no taste, Amici!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Love at First Bite: Ninak

I used to always pass by Ninak whenever I explore Kapitolyo. However, I never had a chance to drop by because of the restaurant's lack of ample parking space for customers. I've actually heard and read good reviews about the place but I always end up dining somewhere where we could park. Thankfully, this Asian restaurant joint transferred to the lower ground of the newly opened Ayala Malls the 30th and I now do not have any reason of not visiting it. 

Hello, Ninak!
I was invited by everyone's "beshie" (bestfriend) Yourfoodtographer to have lunch here one Saturday. Despite being sick and still recovering from my first Canton Fair, I decided to go as I've been eying this place for years! Following the only direction I got, I looked for "Bon Chon" and easily spotted Ninak near it. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Restaurant Love: Bawai's Vietnamese Kitchen

I've been in love with Vietnamese cuisine ever since my first sip of pho. The delectable clean taste of the broth never fails to make me feel that I'm indulging in something healthy. And I was beyond ecstatic when I visited one of the famous Vietnamese restaurants around, Bawai's. However, it being in Laguna (and the super traffic White Plains) made Bawai's spread a rare treat. Thankfully, I don't have to drive (or be stuck for) hours to this superb restaurant as it finally opened its doors in Uptown Parade. 

Hello, Bawai's.
I was so giddy on my way to this Vietnamese restaurant and my eyes sparkled with joy when I spotted its facade across the Uptown Bonifacio fountain.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Love at First Bite: Nonna's

I've been hearing great things about this pizzeria in the South that I couldn't help myself from wanting to visit it ASAP. However, the place isn't exactly near. In fact, it isn't even in Metro Manila. But when I won some gift certificates from that restaurant, I finally have a good reason to drive all the way to Nuvali for lunch. And I finally did a few weeks ago.

Hello, Nonna's!
This restaurant, which is also a brainchild of the brilliant minds behind the successful Mama Lou's, was quite packed on a Sunday morning. Thankfully, we were early enough to secure a table for five.

Friday, May 12, 2017

First Bite: Fat Fook

I've always been so curious about Fat Fook ever since I saw several posts of its famous chicken chops online. It made me wonder if it would be a lot better than the other brands that claim to offer the number 1 Taiwanese chicken chops. However, its location wasn't exactly a "couple of blocks away" from where I live so it took me several months before I got to visit it. And I finally did last December when I was out panicking on what gifts to buy. 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

First Bite: Tori Ichi

I once passed by this new yakitori restaurant on my home one time and took a mental note to visit it soon. But food gods had other plans and made my visit sooner. And sweeter too as it was a sponsored eat up by Epicurean Partners Exchange, Inc. and looloo. We were told to skip lunch as it was bound to be a very festive night for the tummy and it sure was!

Hello, Tori Ichi!

It would be easy to miss this two-story Japanese restaurant located at the corner of 4th Avenue across Kuppa as a huge metal sculpture blocks its facade. But no art can go in between me and my love for Japanese food.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

First Bite: Bánh Nǎm

I love how Manila is turning into a melting pot of various cuisines. The city that used to be dominated by American fast food joints and Filipino eateries is now a thing of the past. Fast forward to present, we have all kinds of dishes from different countries with some we still could not even pronounce correctly. One of my favorites lately is this delightful sandwich popular in Vietnam. Yes, I’m talking about banh mi. And recently, I discovered this shop that sells really good ones. 

Hello, Bánh Nǎm.

This Vietnamese shop offers two of the yummiest things Vietnam has to offer and it is serious in providing the best kind.  

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

First Bite: Respite

Tomas Morato has turned from a drinking spot to a food haven these past years. And now, with more variety and restaurants, I sometimes get confused on where to eat. Thankfully, a Tomas Morato food crawl introduced me to this slightly off the grid coffee shop that offers delectable green tea cake! I wouldn’t have discovered this if it weren’t for that superb foodie event organized by Zomato.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Go Wagyu Crazy at Edsa Shangri-La's Mad for Wagyu at Heat

I always consider indulging in wagyu a treat. Aside from its unbelievably tender texture, it’s the sort of meat you can’t enjoy on a daily basis because of its not so affordable price tag. This is why my heart pounds so fast whenever I hear (or read) the three sweet words “unlimited wagyu promo.” And it definitely skipped a beat or two when I found out that Edsa Shangri-La’s well-loved buffet HEAT is celebrating foodies’ love for wagyu with Mad for Wagyu.

Hello, Heat!
 
It’d be hard to miss the Mad for Wagyu sign when you enter Heat as the first thing you’ll see is this roulette that diners could spin for a minimum single receipt worth PHP5,000. But let’s save the spinning story for later and focus more on the scrumptious spread.

Friday, May 5, 2017

First Bite: Pista Food Hall

As much as I love exploring Manila, I never had the chance to visit Baclaran. I know that’s where the famous Baclaran Church is located but I also know that the place is chaotic, crowded and not really a good place to be roaming around without a reason. But I finally got a reason to visit the area a few months ago.

Hello, Pista Food Hall.
Located on the 5th floor of Victory Food Mall across the busy Baclaran Church, Pista Food Hall’s ambiance is a refuge from the chaos of the streets below it. In fact, it may seem like it’s a bit out of place considering its location. But not quite. Especially when you hear what Chef JV Mangibin has to say about his vision for Pista.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

First Bite: Sobremesa

Sobremesa has been one of the most talked about restaurants when it opened. And how can it not make it to the social media world when it tries to address the society’s extreme addiction to gadgets. I’m sure that you remember this restaurant that had the witty idea of putting adorable small bird cages on every dining table where diners are encouraged to put their phones in. Yes, the idea behind it is to have a gadget-free meal and for people to actually talk to each other, in person. And to whoever cannot resist to check his or her phone, that person has to pay the bill of the whole group. Though I’m not exactly sure if diners actually locked their phones in, especially now with the need to document everything, it was and still is a great idea. I’ve been meaning to visit that restaurant for months now but traffic always gets in the way and I couldn’t drag anyone to go with me. But it was a different story a couple months back.

Hello, Sobremesa!
I was invited by The Menu Group to its blogger meet up a few months ago and I figured that this is finally my chance to visit the place as I have other foodies going with me.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

First Bite: Hai Kang Seafood Restaurant

I usually get stressed out when eating in Chinese restaurants. Everything seems to be so fast-paced. Plate after plate after plate of food gets served within a few minutes and we have to eat fast to make room for the next set of dishes. And the same case is true when we visited one of the popular Chinese restaurants along Wilson.
 

Hello, Hai Kang Seafood Restaurant.

I’ve never heard of this restaurant before but I was told that this has been around for years (or even decades) and it is quite popular especially to the Chinese community.

I was greeted by a huge dining area with high ceiling and several pocket rooms that could be enclosed by movable partition walls. The place was packed with diners on a Saturday night and one could get lost with and drown in the chaotic dining scene. Thankfully, R’s family was near the entrance and we didn’t have to squeeze our way in to the other side of the restaurant.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Beat the Heat: Wendy's Frosty Tops

I know I've abused this line but... it's so freaking hot this year! And adulting makes me feel torn with the idea of having my A/C in full blast the whole day. This is why I now look forward to going to malls and any other place that guarantees cool air. I was looking forward to "chilling" at the airport while I wait for my flight but the summer heat wanted to chill there as well. Thank goodness though for this sweet cold treat from one of my favorite fast food chains... Wendy's. 

Hello, Wendy's

I hardly visit Wendy's as this joint by the well-known freckled redhead doesn't have as many branches as the more famous clown and the even more popular happy bee. But when I do, I always get the same thing... Bacon Mushroom Melt combo (PHP156) and Frosty. This time around though, R convinced me that we try Frosty Tops with Oreo (PHP87). And it was the best decision we've had that night! 

Monday, May 1, 2017

Snack Time: Taters

Glorietta never fails to feel like a jungle to me. With its different interconnected buildings and numerous stores, I always end up feeling confused and overwhelmed. But there is one thing that I'm sure of, Taters chips make me happy. And that's why I opted to have lunch there one afternoon. 
 
Hello, Taters!

It has been a while since I last had my Taters fix. Sadly, there are no Taters branches in malls I frequent. But when I pass by one, I simply could not resist getting a bag of chips even when I have no plans of watching a movie. Yes, this store with a baseball inspired logo is irresistible.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Love at First Bite: Rico Rico

SM Aura’s food court is known to be a fancier version of your usual food hall. With more premium options to choose from, you’d have to shell out more cash for a meal. I wouldn’t mind spending a few extra hundreds if it means that I'd get a “good meal.” And that is exactly what I got from Food on Four’s new player. 
 
Hello, Rico Rico.

This new paella place caught my interest when it opened a few months ago. Vibrant colors and DIY paella were what caught my attention. And I grew even more curious when I found out that this brand is the brainchild of the group handling Las Flores and Rambla, restaurants known to serve superb Spanish dishes. But my schedule didn’t permit me to try this place sooner.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Love at First Bite: Kumori's Apple Cheese Tarts

Kumori and I didn’t have a smooth relationship. I still recall my first visit which was love at first bite. Those Hanjuku cheese cakes were delectable and definitely worth lining up for. My second visit was great too with the delectable (but messy) krones. But my third visit where I had the raved cheese tarts was not as great as my first and second Kumori visits. Its improved version and its scrumptious matcha variant won me over though and I was crazy about Kumori again. And just when I thought I’m already a fan of Kumori, something just made me even more head over heels in love with it.
 
Hello, Kumori.

I got a sweet message from Kumori asking if they could send me some of their newest (and limited edition) apple cheese tarts in celebration of the opening of its Robinsons Place Manila branch. Of course I said yes and I counted the days till I got my delectable package.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

When in Boracay: Spice Bird

It has been a long while since I’ve visited Boracay and my last one was a mere 22 hour trip. Yes, it wasn’t even a whole day. Anyway, this time around, I decided to stay a bit longer, not to bask under the sun but to feast. After all, aside from the fine white sand, Boracay is known for its wide variety of restaurants and good food. And as soon as we checked in, first stop was... Spice Bird.

Hello, Spice Bird!
It would be easy to miss out Spice Bird if you don’t look for it. Located behind the ferris wheel of the famous D’Mall Plaza, Spice Bird’s location is not exactly a great one but its strong following still makes this restaurant a hot spot for foodies. 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Beat the Heat: Elait

This year has redefined the meaning of summer heat. It's just too hot to go out lately. Actually, it's too hot to even step out of the cold shower. But there's one word that makes me wake up in the morning with a big grin plastered on my face. Ice cream. And The Foodie Station sure knows how to make me happy when they tagged me along to sample this new rolled ice cream treat in Century City Mall. 

Hello, Elait
Named after the words elate and au lait (or happy milk when put together), Elait aims to provide its customers a delightful dessert experience. After all, aren't desserts meant to make us happy? But Elait is one notch higher by making us feel good in a different level. 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Beat the Heat:Shakeaway

This year’s summer is insane! The scorching heat is just too much and it makes me crave for cold treats every hour (or two). Thankfully, one of the cold dessert shops I’ve been eying for months finally opened its doors in Uptown Mall making it a lot more accessible to me than its first branch in U.P. Town Center. Yes, those two are different locations and are quite far from each other. And yes, I am talking about Shakeaway.

Hello, Shakeaway!
I was welcomed by a bright and predominantly white store. The first thing I noticed was the bunch of white containers by the counter which reminds me of a pharmacy. Apparently, that’s where Shakeaway puts its sweet treats. If I were to count the number of containers on display, I’m sure it’d be over 100 as there are 180 flavors and toppings to choose from!

Friday, April 21, 2017

First Bite: Bistro United

I miss living close to Kapitolyo, one of the best food havens in the metro. Though it’s technically just 20 minutes away from where I live now, the traffic makes it seem a far away land. But good food conquers all and I found myself in front of this new restaurant in Kapitolyo one Tuesday afternoon. 

Hello, Bistro United.
This new restaurant by Chef Mia of The Round Table is one of the handful delectable additions in Kapitolyo. 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Love at First Bite: Hook by Todd English

I'm so thankful that I live in a country that has access to several kinds of seafood. However, some of my favorites cost me an arm and leg (at times two legs). But that was about to change thanks to this new Todd English concept called Hook. 
Hello, Hook
Just like the other Todd English restaurants, Hook has dark interiors and a bit of pub/bar vibe to it but with a touch of class. 
I was first greeted by a beautiful showcase of seafood ranging from humongous fishes in different colors to the freshest oysters I've laid my eyes on. 
Eric welcomed us and ushered us to our table and suggested that we try the Three Tiered Seafood Platter (PHP3,500) and (Not) Paella (PHP750). As clueless diners, we let him surprise us with his choices. 
While waiting for our food, we were given glasses of champagne to pair with our meal. And it was a pretty good way to cap the week. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

First Bite: SUSI

SUSI has captured my heart ever since I saw a bunch of its mouthwatering dishes on Instagram and Facebook. However, I hardly frequent Burgos Circle and eventually forgot about visiting this quaint restaurant. It was until a few weeks back when I finally spotted SUSI. I had no plans of dropping by though as I was expecting a hefty dinner from another restaurant which recently opened. But I was still hungry after what I would describe as a disastrous dinner and ended up craving for more food. And if that’s not a sign to visit SUSI, I don’t know what else to call it. 
Hello, SUSI!
We were greeted by smiling faces behind the counter and were immediately ushered to the dining area on the ground floor which was dimly lit. 
Since R and I were trying to catch a movie in Uptown, we just ordered desserts and went with Eat Your Feelings (PHP245) and Willy Wonka (PHP295) for a quick chocolate overload to help drown our sorrows. 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

First Bite: Plaza Brew

It sucks to be in such a gorgeous city yet not know where to eat. I tried to look online but there are not a lot of sites that offer restaurant suggestions. And since we wanted to maximize our day and not waste it looking for a place to have lunch, R and I settled with the café beside The Plaza.

Hello, Plaza Brew!
This café was still in its soft opening when we visited. Aside from the other table near the counter, we were the only diners during lunch. I’m not sure if locals find the place intimidating given that it is right beside a hotel or if they are not adventurous enough to try a new restaurant. 
R wasn’t really hungry then but I was so I ordered Beef Kebab (with an option of buttered rice or pita bread PHP220, add PHP20 for iced tea or orange juice) and Green Tea Latte (PHP120, over ice).
While waiting, R took advantage of the complementary wi-fi. I, on the other hand, went crazy with some of the nifty displays of the cafe
Service was quick and our drinks were served in less than 10 minutes. My plate of kebab was served a couple of minutes later. 

Monday, April 17, 2017

First Bite: AM:PM Brunch Bar and Cafe

I hardly frequent San Juan as traffic there gets too insane at times. I still remember the times when I get stuck in standstill, no thanks to a certain school. But thanks to Waze, I discover new routes in order to get around its small streets filled with good food finds. And a few weeks back, I discovered this new restaurant that offers everything from breakfast to bar chow that is worth braving the traffic for.

Hello, AM:PM Brunch Bar and Cafe.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Second Bite: Brad and Pits Ribshack

It has been a crazy for me since I left the corporate world. I was painting a picture of a very relaxing and carefree life but it turned out that I became busier than ever with meetings, shoots, and events. I’m not regretting my decision to become a full time blogger and freelance marketer though as I finally got to become my own boss. And to reward myself on taking the big jump, I feasted on some succulent ribs (at very pocket friendly price, coz, you know, I’m still kind of jobless). 

Hello, Brad and Pits Ribshack
It was my first time to visit Brad and Pits’ Kapitolyo branch and it gives the same vibe as its Marikina branch. However, this one is more spacious and has more parking space for diners. Its private function room is also slightly bigger and it has its own bathroom too. 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

First Bite: Main Street

I always see Main Street whenever I pass by Tuscany. I also noticed it while making my rounds in Kapitolyo when I hunt for new restaurants. But for some reason, I was never lured to pay this restaurant a visit. It may be because I was in the mood for something else whenever I see it or perhaps because of the several lukewarm reviews about its food I've read online. But food gods paved the way for me to find out myself if I'm missing out or not at all. 

Hello, Main Street

I was greeted by a well lit black and white signage and a dining area with warm yellow lights. The brown tables, lovely natural stone tiles and tan couches added warmth to the space making it quite homey and quite fitting in Kapitolyo. 
We were in for a treat as we were served a lot of dishes! 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

First Bite: Tittos Latin BBQ & Brew

I’ve been hearing a lot of great reviews about this South American joint in Kapitolyo. I got so curious that I always drag people and convince them to try it out with me. But my first two attempts were not successful. The first one was because of parking and the second one was because we were too full from our first stop. But third time’s the charm.  

Hello, Tittos Latin BBQ & Brew! (Finally.)
The spacious restaurant is one of the few that offers a handful of parking spaces in Kapitolyo. But on a good day, the place gets really packed and you’d be lucky if you could score one of the “double parking” spots. Inside, you’d be welcomed by vibrant colors and very South American murals. 

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

When in Bataan: Bataan World War II Museum

While researching for things to do in Balanga, Bataan, R spotted a review on the Bataan World War II Museum which is just a few blocks away from The Plaza Hotel. R’s interest in World War II grew ever since we visited Corregidor last December 2015. And after watching all the documentary and series focused on WWII, we both became even more fascinated with the bravery and perseverance of the soldiers and made us thankful for being alive during this time of relative peace. And since we had nothing else better to do, we decided to drop by the small museum

Hello, Bataan World War II Museum.
It is quite easy to miss this small museum as it is located behind Balanga Elementary School compound which is being renovated. At first, we thought that the museum was closed given that we dropped by on a Sunday afternoon. Luckily, it was open. 

Monday, April 10, 2017

When in Bohol: Bohol Bee Farm

I’ve never been a beach loving person till a few years back when I was dragged out of my house to bask under the scorching sun. The usual me would dread the idea of being burnt black and having to cut down on carbs just to look decent in photos. But for some reason, it became a lot more interesting. I’m not sure if it has something to do with getting older but the relaxing sound of the water hitting the shore or boat and having a carefree life (for at least a few days) were just some of the things I look forward to whenever I visit an island. Of course, good food is also in the picture. And a trip to Bohol is not complete without visiting Bohol Bee Farm. 
Hello, Bohol Bee Farm.
This popular dining destination in Panglao has been a favorite of tourists and locals alike. Aside from its spacious restaurant, the huge compound also houses a nursery of herbs and various plants, spa, and several cottages as B&B accommodations. There are also water sports equipment available for rent for those interested to enjoy the sea.

Friday, April 7, 2017

First Bite: Cicada Tapas & Bar

It is always fun to visit Cebu as it is turning into a foodie destination with new concepts opening here and there. But there are a few classics that I missed out from my previous trips and I made sure that I’d drop by a few of them during my last Cebu visit. And for R’s late birthday celebration, we opted to have lunch at Circa 1900. 

Hello, Circa 1900!
We were greeted by beautiful two ancestral homes (turned dining halls) as soon as we entered the restaurant's huge compound. 
Unfortunately, Circa 1900 was closed when we visited and will be closed throughout our stay in Cebu. On the bright side, its tapas restaurant, Cicada was open and we could dine there instead. 

Thursday, April 6, 2017

First Bite: Sakura Terraces

Chaya is my favorite Japanese restaurant in Baguio and I was excited to share this wonderful find with R’s parents. I had no idea though that a lot of locals and tourists also know my secret Legarda Road gem. The place was packed on our first night in Baguio and we were gently turned down to dine there for dinner when the front host found out that we didn’t have any reservation on its busy night. I had to think of another restaurant quick before R’s parents turn from hungry to hangry. And the first restaurant that came to mind was Sakura Terraces.

Hello, Sakura Terraces!
This restaurant has been highly rated on its Facebook page and looloo. There was even one Japanese reviewer who mentioned that Sakura Terraces offer the real deal while giving Chaya a very low rating. I then thought that Sakura Terraces might be my new favorite.