Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Ramen Girl in Manila: Ramen Nagi

Whenever there are long lines, my expectation for great food gets higher and higher. And a handful of restaurants disappointed me to the point of me sulking as I felt that I just wasted time and energy to line up and endure a grumpy tummy. But there are also those worth-the-wait restaurants (though of course, it would have been so much better if there’s no line) like Ramen Nagi.
Hello, Ramen Nagi a.k.a. popular-ramen-place-people-go-gaga-over!
We arrived a bit past 11:30 a.m. and the place was already full of hungry people. We had our names listed but we had to wait for an hour to get a table. No. We just cannot wait for an hour with really grumpy tummies. (Plus it was really hot and uncomfortable that day.) What we did though was go to the nearest restaurant, have a few bites and hurry our way back to Ramen Nagi for lunch #2 (click here for lunch #1). Yes, that is the life.
We were number 5 from the list when we came back and we had to wait for another 15 minutes to get a table. Luckily, we got one inside the store and not along the hallway which was very narrow and crowded with other people waiting for their tables.
T and I decided to share a bowl while M and A had their solo share. T and I decided to go for the Black King (PHP410) while M went for the Green King (PHP410) and A got the Ramen Nagi special, Truffle King (PHP700).
For a full ramen house, service was very quick. Our orders arrived in less than 10 minutes and I was still busy appreciating the interiors then. (They have ramen bowls as wall accents!)

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Restaurant Discovery: Ogetsu Hime

I’m so thankful that some of my friends decided to stay in Manila this Holy Week so I was able to drag a few friends for a food trip over the weekend. Our plan was to visit four stops in Bonifacio Global City (BGC) but I guess we were no longer used to eating a lot as we just managed for stop by three restaurants.

It was one hot Saturday when M, T and I went to SM Aura. Our plan is to stop by Ramen Nagi first but the line was crazy at 11:30 a.m.! So we decided to just have our names listed for reservation and looked for another restaurant to have a quick meal to appease our grumpy tummies.
We thought of going to Magnum Bar first but the place was packed as well and it was just too hot to wait outside. So we opted to go to the restaurant beside it, Ogetsu Hime.
Ogetsu Hime was about half full so it w asn’t that hard for us to get a table. And since this was our first stop, we opted for only a few dishes: Oyako Shake Roll (PHP240), Rainbow Batera (PHP240), Gyoza (PHP165), Goma Ebi Tempura Roll (PHP205), Enoki Bacon Kushi Yaki (PHP190) and Momo Teri Maki (PHP205).
Given that we only have an hour to eat and rush back to Ramen Nagi, we were in a hurry and Ogetsu Hime did not fail us with its quick service.
First served was my Oyako Shake Roll and it was divine. Thinking that the right and polite way to eat Japanese food is eating it whole, I stuffed the whole maki inside my mouth. And yes, I choked a bit while doing so. Why do makis have to be humongous anyway?
The salmon was fresh and there was a slight tangy taste from the cream cheese. There was also an interesting play of different textures brought by the smooth salmon and the slightly crispy salmon skin. I wasn’t able to taste the avocado and the wasabi mustard that much though.

Friday, May 9, 2014

NEWS FLASH: Mystery Manila opens this May 2014!

I love mystery movies and just about anything that would push me to think as it makes me feel more productive even when in reality, I just munching on popcorn. I remember my Detective Conan and Psych addiction days where all I do was speculate. I even got hooked to playing Clues! So just imagine how happy I was when I discovered…

If I am not mistaken, this is the first of its kind here in Manila. It’s like one of those Murder-Mystery dinners in the US where you try to find the murderer amongst the guests.

One room.
One mystery.
One hour.
One way out.

Intriguing right? Right? Riiiiiiight?! Okay, I think I’m too hyper to blog in a calm manner. But if you are into these things, you’d understand why this makes me very giddy.

The fascinating part is that you will be locked inside a room to solve the mystery. (Think Saw the movie.) There will be clues, riddles and evidences all over the room of the mystery you chose. You will be stuck inside the room till you solve the mystery (or when you run out of time).

The objective to this game is to of course solve the mystery the fastest way possible as you get a prize after closing the case. The quicker you solve the mystery, the nicer the prizes you will get. You have to solve the mystery in under an hour to succeed. But you also have an option to try again at a discounted rate in case you didn’t finish in 60 minutes but this is of course subject to the availability of the room. To date, there are no published rates for this.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Love at Second Bite: Spätzle Euro Market Café

I love it whenever I get a chance to have a dinner date with my friends. It’s nice to break the routine once in a while. Hours of sharing what’s happening with one’s life to reminiscing the good ‘ol past could sure brighten one’s day (and even more). I just hope that Shangri-La gets all the restaurants open and operating soon as I have tried all of the restaurants already! But of course, there are the “favorite” spots and I dined in one with my favorite dragon lady. 

Hello again, Spätzle Euro Market Café!
We decided to dine at Spätzle given T never got the chance to visit that restaurant yet. It has been a while since my last visit but I really enjoyed the food there. I remember having that smoked salmon benny which was spectacular. I fell in love with the slightly breaded soft boiled egg. (Okay, just remembering it makes me drool.) Anyway, T and I decided to have a date after work since it has been a few weeks since we last saw each other. Plus, we had so many stories to share to each other. (Clingy friends.)
It was a breeze for us to decide on what to order because we were both hungry and every second counts! 

We went for the following: Roasted Creamy Tomato Soup (PHP220), Monte Blanc Pizza (PHP325), and Roasted Chicken Sausage (PHP295). As for the drinks, we got Spätz All Natural Caffeine-free Iced Tea (PHP98) and Haus Iced Tea (PHP90).
First served was our soup. We asked to have it split into two and it was plated in a charming manner.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Restaurant Love: Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen

I just can’t get enough of Japanese food. Given a chance, I’ll live in Japan and eat all the salmon sashimi I could get my hands on. But of course, that would be too much. So let’s throw in some ramen. There you go. That is the life. Okay, I kid. But I really am too attached to Japanese cuisine. I was so thrilled when I got an email from them before giving me a heads up on their new dishes. I was out of the country then but I promised Riza of Ikkoryu Fukuoka that I will drop by as soon as I’m back. Well, fine, it wasn’t as soon as I anticipated as there were just too many new restaurants to visit. But Black Day was the perfect day for some ramen love. 

For some reason, J and I meet on the 14th of the month. It started with Valentine’s Day where we traded gifts. (Hey, single people can celebrate Valentine’s Day too you know.) It was followed by Pi/Pie/White Day where we had some beer can chicken and finally, Black Day. And yes, I forced J to wear black.
We actually had no idea where to eat when we met but since we were both famished, we had to think fast. We eliminated the cuisines we do not fancy that night and ended up with around four restaurants to choose from. J initially crossed out ramen but remembered his Monday ramen nights and finally gave in to have dinner at Ikkoryu Fukuoka. 
The place wasn’t as packed compared to when it first opened (where wait time was around 30 minutes to an hour). The servers were very attentive and gave us menus as soon as we sat down.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Black Day 2014: Master Bee Chinese Restaurant

In Korea, Valentine's Day (February 14) and White Day (March 14) are pretty important for couples. Valentine's Day is when the girls give gifts to the guys they like and White Day is when the guys give sweets to the girls they fancy. But the 14th of April is also celebrated and it's called Black Day. It's the day those who did not get anything gather and eat black bean noodles together. I like wearing black too on Black Day. And I was so happy that my Black Day dates wore black too this year! 

I have a set of friends who I bug for anything related to Korea simply because we met there. T and K are two of my dearest friends who are game for almost anything Korean and they were both game to celebrate Black Day with me. We also invited two Black Day newbies F and W. (Wow, K and I were with FTW! Anyway...)

We decided to have dinner at this Chinese restaurant named Master Bee Chinese Restaurant  that serves Jjajang-myun (black bean noodles) and then sing like crazy after.
When I arrived, K and F were already inside. T soon followed and we ordered the following: Jjajang-myun (PHP220/bowl), Jjin-Mandu (PHP200) and Tangsuyuk (PHP800).