Friday, September 30, 2011

My Food Love: The Fruit Garden

I was never a jam person. I grew up addicted to Nutella, cheese spreads, and peanut butter. I thought that I’ll never like jams till I discovered The Fruit Garden.
I first saw The Fruit Garden during Yummy Eats. But since I was running around like crazy, I wasn’t able to sample The Fruit Garden’s jams. Good thing, my mom bought a bottle of Pineapple Mango jam. 

I usually picture jams with bread but this one seems best with the ultimate cracker… Skyflakes. It was a sweet combination. 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

7 Wonders of... Longganisa

I’ve heard of this longganisa place for quite a while now. I never tried to visit the place though even though it was just near where I worked and work now (no, I do not have separation issues with locations). But one Facebook announcement finally convinced me to visit this restaurant.

I visited Sonsi around 8PM and it was pretty dark around Madison Square. Armed with my thermos to protect myself (hey, it’s better to be paranoid than… well, unconscious), I asked the guard for help since I am practically blind at night. I was led to the left side of Madison (if you are coming from Pioneer St., you have to go down a bit to reach the place). No wonder it was a bit hard to find.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

One Yummy Project: Creating your own burger

If only school projects are as tasty as this, I would have been a straight-A student from preschool to college.

We were now on our second stop of our Teacher’s Village Food Trip and the next destination was The Burger Project. With an attempt to burn some of the samgyeopsal we ate earlier, we decided to walk. (Well, the joint was pretty near the eat all you can place. Let’s say about 100 steps away?)
We were greeted by a plain looking signage with The Burger Project name on it. It didn’t really make me utter wow or anything. I just knew that I was in the right place. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My Tea Love: Moon Leaf

I’ve first heard of Moonleaf from a colleague and she was so excited when she told me, “This milk tea is soooo good! You have to try it!” This enthusiastic statement made me promise myself to stop by this tea store if ever I get to pass by Quezon City. And I just didn’t walk through QC last weekend; I explored two streets full of food finds.
A leaf! A leaf! I felt my heart skipped a beat when I saw the signage of Moonleaf. Finally, after all these (uhm) months, I get to try this store’s milk tea

Monday, September 26, 2011

Pork Heaven: Don Day

My friend told me about this eat-all-you-can samgyeopsal (grilled pork belly) place a year ago but I never tried to visit the place because it was a bit too far from where I live. But for the past three weeks, I’ve been craving for this Korean dish and I know that I just have to give in.
It took me three rides before finally reaching this pork heaven but it was worth it. Don Day, a Korean restaurant in Malingap St., Quezon City is right across another noteworthy restaurant… Pino RestoBar but that’s another story.
Anyway… back to Don Day…
My friends and I were greeted by a whiteboard menu—stating its very limited options but you’ll surely leave with full tummies.
We decided to go with the samgyeopsal buffet for obvious reasons—we could eat anything on the buffet table plus unlimited supply of samgyeopsal.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Tea Time: Cha Dao

Serenitea. ChaTime. Bubble Tea. Happy Lemon. Infinitea. And now… Cha Dao.

I’ve heard of this place three weeks ago and I got so excited when I found out about the POPPING BOBBA. Well, it was a type of sinker that pops. (Reminiscing childhood days and those magic powder that pops in your mouth.)

My mom finally gave in and decided to accompany me to visit Cha Dao near Café Juanita in Kapitolyo, Pasig.
The first thing that I noticed was the extremely limited parking space. Only ONE car can park. I guess they target those who live within the vicinity who do not really need to bring their cars with them to go there.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Pantry Surprise: Royce Potato Chip Chocolates

I am starting to love Mondays. 

I have always wanted to try Royce’s Potato Chip Chocolates but every time I visit Royce, I always end up with a chocolate bar instead. Tsk. Resisting “real” chocolates is so hard.

One random (and lucky) Monday, we were approached by one of the associate publishers and gave us a box of Royce Potato Chip Chocolates. She said that it was from the publisher and, without hesitation, we started to munch on the chocolate goodness. 
 Hmm… it tasted like sweet Ruffles. Hey, Ruffles… Truffles… *ahem* moving on.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Feel Good Muffins

One Monday evening, I received a random SMS from a friend asking me if I love sweets… and the rest was… well, pretty much narrated below.

The question “Do you like sweets?” never fails to make me curious and reply and a giddy smile on my face “Why? :)” hoping that I’d get a “I have some sweets to share with you” or a “I discovered this new restaurant and I want to visit it. Let’s go?” reply. 

To make things short, I didn’t exactly received any of those “dream” replies but instead a request to help a friend out. The one who sent the SMS was helping a group of friends doing charity work. To support their cause, they sell muffins and the money they get from selling these sweets will straight to the institutions they plan to support (I will disclose the names of the institutions as soon as everything has been finalized on the end of the charitable youngsters). As a sucker for fund raising activities, I replied without hesitation, “Sure!”
The prices of the muffins were reasonable. They sell it by boxes of 6, 12, and 24 making it ideal as gifts. There were also 4 flavors available: Double Cheese, Double Choco Cream Cheese, Butter Nutella Cream Cheese and Blueberry Oat Walnut Cream Cheese. They must love cream cheese. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

All-Time Favorite: AySee

I used to dislike food such as isaw, laing, and yes, even sisig… but now, I just can’t get enough of it.

Last Sunday (yes, that was the day after I ate one giant chicharon for an eating contest), my mom and I went to Tiendesitas for some pork isaw from Archie’s.
On our way to Chillers for some shakes, I noticed something familiar… AYSEE!!! The famous sisig-an near Ultra is in Tiendesitas (and they just opened a new branch at Greenhills). Okay, I hardly visit Tiendesitas and I found out that they were there since 2010.
I wanted to order Tuna Sisig so that I will feel less guilty (as my heart was screaming for greens ever since I ate that giant chicharon). However, they ran out of tuna… and I was still craving for sisig. So… I ordered Pork Sisig (PHP120) instead.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Restaurant Discovery: Makan Makan Asian Food Village

For some reason, we were very hungry after joining the Food Warrior Eating Challenge. I never thought that chewing can be so tiring and that will make our  tummies grumble for more food.
The weather did not cooperate with the Food Fest of Manila Ocean Park which was held near the North parking lot but it definitely did with our tummies. It gave us a reason to head to Makan Makan Asian Food Village.

I fell in love with how they divided the stations. It looked so adorable and it added a bit of authenticity. The lights were quirky as well. Cans as the light bulb’s container? Brilliant!

We decided to order Char Kway Teow (PHP160), Sautéed Dry Beef Hofan (PHP150/good for 2-3; PHP220/good for 3-5), Dimsum Platter (PHP600/good for 2-3; PHP850/ good for 4-5), Sticky Rice with Mango (PHP120), and Mango Pudding with Sago (PHP65).

Monday, September 19, 2011

Participate in a Food Eating Contest... Check!

To check if I really am a glutton, I joined the Food Warrior Eating Challenge organized by Manila Ocean Park last September 17, 2011. 
My fellow glutton wannabe and I arrived at the Manila Ocean Park at 10am as we were told that we needed to be there early for some medical tests. To our surprise, we were greeted by a ghost town fair with empty tents. 

Apparently, we arrived too early. We were not informed by the organizer that the check-up was moved to 12NN. But that bright smile of one of the organizers and the fact that she somehow got my name right made me forget about that boo-boo.  

We also noticed that there were only a few participants who joined the event as I overheard some of the organizers that they were still open to more participants. I guess the line “possible loss of life” scared potential participants.

Anyway, we patiently waited till the check-up and the actual competition. While waiting, we, I mean, I roamed around and saw this cute restaurant called MAKAN MAKAN ASIAN FOOD VILLAGE. Channeling the tourist in me (and taking advantage that I do look like a tourist… sometimes), I took photos of each of the station and I promised myself to dine there ASAP (meaning that same day). 

Finally, the Food Warrior Challenge was about to start. GAME FACE ON.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Too Cute To Eat

Ever experienced buying something you really like but hesitate to use it because it was screaming CUTE? 
Last Friday, I was greeted by a cute bento box from Pink Wasabi. I was so excited to try them all. I got intrigued that there were extra Midnight Mint kashi maki so I assumed that this is one of their best sellers and tried it right away.
Oh bliss~
To be honest, I am not really fond of mint chocolates as I find it weird. I tried several before and it tasted like toothpaste with a hint of chocolate. BUT this one was different. The fluffy chiffon cake (which was so delightful) was dusted with cocoa powder and the inside was stuffed with chocolate goodness and dark mint truffles. To finish the “maki” look, it was topped with a mint roe.
Midnight Mint
What I loved about this one was that the mint taste was not overpowering. It definitely did not taste like toothpaste. It was a very refreshing dessert that I wouldn’t mind eating every after meal.
Oolong Berry
The next one I tried was the Oolong Berry kashi maki.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Sampaguita Ice Cream, anyone?

Since I could not get over the Nilagang Mani ice cream and the fact that the server told me that their best seller was the Sampaguita ice cream, I just had to go back to try it.

Who cares if you’re alone if you’re armed with a pen, paper, camera, and money (okay, just a few bucks)?

I hurriedly went back to Café Ilustrado one day to try its Sampaguita ice cream (PHP80). 
Yey! Sampaguita ice cream.

I took a sniff and it didn’t smell like ice cream. The cream or milk must have drowned the scent of the tiny flowers. I also noticed that it was a bit icy. I guess this was the leftover ice cream as they had to check the fridge first if there were still some ice cream left to scoop.

Friday, September 16, 2011

My First Bite: The Kebab Factory

(A prequel to the Mega Mall Food Sale entry)

Some colleagues and I went to SM Mega Mall to have lunch as one of them needed to shop. We had several options. There’s JiPan, Sbarro, The Kebab Factory, and Pho Hoa. We decided to consult the powerful and all-knowing eenie meenie miney moe to help us decide and the finger landed on JiPan. For some reason though we wanted to eat somewhere else so we decided to choose one and say at the same time where we want to eat… The Kebab Factory won.

*Off to The Kebab Factory*
It was my first time to dine there so I read the menu “Curious George” style. The dessert G’ulab Jammu (sugar milk balls dipped in syrup) got my attention as my friend gave it her seal of approval. I didn’t order it though since I was saving up for my ultimate food galore trip next month.  I promised myself that I will try this in the near future. I heard that it has a bit of herbal taste. Dessert? Herbal? Interesting…
Since I was on a tight budget, I decided to order C2, Chicken Mast Kebab (PHP180) and Papadum Masala (PHP95) but what I really wanted to order were M1, Chollo Sultani Chicken Mast and Beef Kebab (PHP275), Spinach and Feta Cheese Dip (PHP200), Mango Kulfi—The Kebab Factory ice cream with pureed mangoes and hint of cardamon flavor (PHP150) and Sweet Lassi (PHP120). My bill would have reached PHP745 (exclusive of tax and service charge) if I gave in to my tummy’s request. 

Anyway, featuring my affordable picks!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Restaurant Favorite: Pho Hoa

I love Pho Hoa, its chicken dishes, marinated prawns, spring rolls, tenderloin beef, crepe, and their sweet vinegar dip. Now, let me share with you my love affair with this restaurant.
Vietnamese food? Why?

That was my first reaction when my mom told me to try this restaurant. I was quite iffy since I have never tried Vietnamese food… ever (before).

I then read through the menu and I was surprised that not everything sounded so foreign to me. They have grilled meat, several chicken dishes, soup, salad, and even desserts such as crepes. I remember that I was fond of chicken when I was young so I ordered Grilled Chicken with Fried Spring Rolls (which I thought was just like your ordinary lumpia). I was surprised though that they served it with vinegar… sweet vinegar. And that was the start of our wonderful love story.

Years later, I have tried several other [non-spicy] dishes and I would say that I’d still go back for more. My must-orders though are the Fried Rice Paper Roll with Pork and Vermicelli (PHP127) and the Tenderloin Beef with Rice (PHP295). And that was what my mom brought home for me for dinner one happy Tuesday night.  
Fried Spring Rolls freshly removed from the take-out container
The Fried Spring Rolls were still the crispy and scrumptious rolls I remember. You could taste the pork in every bite. It wasn’t as oily as well. It was not the type that will make your lips shine and blind people when the light hits it. Plus dipping it in the sweet vinegar brought out the savory flavors of the stuffing of the roll.

Food + Sale = Happiness!!!

I went to Mega Mall today to have lunch with some of my colleagues. For some reason (which I do not intend to share anymore here), I got stuck in Megamall for the next 3 hours. Tired from standing up and lugging with me a heavy bag, a certain signage brightened my day.
Food? Sale? Food Sale? Did Megamall just combined two of my favorite words? Why yes, yes it just did. 
I immediately Googled what it is all about and found out that it really is a FOOD SALE. Several food establishments in Mega Mall will be having promos from September 23 to 25, 2011. That’s three days of sheer happiness for the tummy and the wallet. Here are some of the food establishments joining the sale that I am targeting:
                -Dulcinea’s CHURROS ALL YOU CAN from 2PM to 5PM
                -Mesa’s 50% off on ALL DESSERTS
                -Red Mango’s BUY 2 TAKE 1 SPECIAL                      

I don’t really know how I’ll manage an eat-all-you-can samgyeopsal (Korean Pork Belly) on the 24th and this but this "food sale" is just so irresistible!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

An Early Christmas Shopping

...will only mean one thing... my wallet will be empty earlier than expected. Nonetheless, I am still thrilled to say that my favorite bazaar is scheduled to be back… and bigger… this November 4-6, 2011!!!
I’m sure that all bazaar lovers and fashionistas are familiar with the SuperSale Bazaar. This time though, instead of the Rockwell Tent or Rockwell, The Grove, they will hold it at the World Trade Center and it is bound to be a big event piggy banks will need to prepare for.
So, should I be grumpy everyday to save up?
This time though, the organizers made it more interesting for concessionaires by coming up with a Facebook contest where the online flier (posted by the concessionaire) with the most likes (from their fans or customers) gets a free booth. Yes, a free booth plus a PHP5000 worth of gift certificate from its partners (the second and third highest also get discounts and freebies from the organizers). The concept is quite similar to Rockwell Bazaar’s previous event called In Search for The Next Big Thing where concessionaires competed to get the votes of the shoppers. These contests of Rockwell Bazaar and SuperSale are brilliant as not only do these attract concessionaires, it encourages the sellers to really promote the events to win. Anyway, enough of this SuperSale contest I can’t even join. 
Or check for details.
Time, please move faster! I’m itching to see my favorite concessionaires. I hope Miss Veronica will join again. I miss that store. 
I'm also looking forward to see Sunday's Best and Posh Pocket Shoes
I don’t recall the names of the other stores I loved (I just remember what they sell. There’s this one store with cute vintage eye glasses, a Korean dress shop, a store that sells cheap sheer tops and loose tops--good for food trips, and the stall that sells cute accessories). I just have one wish… I hope that the aisles will be wider and each booth will be bigger so that it could accommodate more customers.

To all bazaar stalkers like me, see you on November 5! (I hope I’m no longer sleeping during the day this time and that I have money left from my dessert funds for The Cheesecake Factory.)

All images (except for the coin bank) used are from the Facebook pages of SuperSale, Miss Veronica, Sunday's Best, and Posh Pocket Shoes.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Bald Man’s Chocolates

I was pretty excited to pay Max Brenner Chocolate Bar a visit as I was informed that their chocolates are amazing. Plus, I love to be surrounded by bald men serving chocolates. (Hmm… that sounded so weird.)
Still full from one heavy lunch from Max’s neighbor Simply Thai, we walked for a bit around Greenbelt. After 5 to 10 minutes, we went back to the corner of the bald men.
Bald guy spotted!
We checked the menu and noticed that the place serves savory dishes as well. The meals were quite pricey (though I should have expected that since we were at Greenbelt 5). But I was not after sandwiches, meat, rice, or whatnot… I wanted to try their Chocolate Fondue (PHP528). It comes with two types of chocolates (choices are milk, dark, and white) and seasoned fruits, marshmallows, lady fingers, and fudge brownies.
Yahoo! Chocolate Fondue! Chocolate Fondue! Chocolate Fondueeeee!
I was very excited to try the dark chocolate as I LOVE DARK CHOCOLATE. (I was quite apathetic towards milk chocolate; and, just like some of my friends, I also believe that white chocolate is not real chocolate.)
It was quite thick, rich, and velvety… but mostly thick. It was chocolate ooh-la-la~
As for the milk chocolate dip, it was a bit too watery. It seemed more like a chocolate drink than a dip for me. It did not have the rich taste of the dark chocolate. Nonetheless, I think kids would like this one better for its milder and milkier taste.
The plate of fruits, brownies, marshmallows and lady fingers was too small for the price. Well there were a few slices of kiwi, bananas, and apples but it would have been nice if they also added some strawberries. Or is it because it is not in season? But it is never in season here, right? Rather, it is always in season in Baguio (the place with year round strawberry harvest), right? The brownies though were really good. It was moist, soft, and rich in chocolate. It didn’t have to be dipped in chocolate for more for it would seem like a sin already.
As for the interior, it is so cute! After 30 minutes of waiting for the customers to leave, we finally had the place to ourselves. In short, we had a mini photo shoot with everything cute inside the place. There’s the wall, the chocolate machine, the cartoon poster of a girl with her tongue out (it's on the photo with the bald guy) and more of the wall.
I’m not really sure if it’s worth it to go to Max Brenner but I definitely enjoyed dining there. It was like I was in a playground.
Just a little trivia before I end:
Did you know that Max Brenner was named after the founders Max Fichtman and Oded Brenner? I’m not sure though if both are bald. But there’s one thing I know… there was only one server in the restaurant that was bald. What happened?
Max Brenner is located at Ground Floor of Greenbelt 5, Makati City.