Monday, June 30, 2014

Restaurant Discovery: Open Kitchen by 48 Concepts

I'm glad that my friends remember me when they want to try a new place. I got to reconnect with a few schoolmates because of my passion for food and I get to meet new people because of it as well. Food is definitely L-O-V-E.
K has been asking that we do a food trip soon but our schedules never match. But it finally did one Sunday and E, a schoolmate one batch higher, joined us as well. It was a little School of Management reunion of three generations.
Since I tried almost every restaurant in Kapitolyo, I get to pick where we'll feast and I chose Open Kitchen by 48 Concepts as I have never been there and I have read great reviews about this place.
The place is pretty small but definitely cozy. Parking, just like with the other restaurants, is a challenge but it's not really an issue if you live around the area. But what made me smile like a fool were the small stick men on the bricks! I find it adorable.
K and E were already munching on Sausage Saute (PHP285) when I arrived. The sausages were rather flavorful and meaty and I enjoyed every bite of it.
After a short chit chat, we decided to order. K went for a burger (which I totally forgot but I believe it was lamb burger). E went for the Rosemary Beef Shanks (PHP530) while I ordered Pumpkin Vanilla (PHP140), Tuna Tartar (PHP185), Anise Pork Belly (PHP420) and Green Goblet for my beverage.

First served was the Pumpkin Vanilla which was presented in an amazing manner. It was served as plated scoop of Vanilla ice cream then the server started to pour hot pumpkin soup. 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Heart-shaped Burgers: Murray and D'Vine

I have this huge thing for hearts. I don't really know why but ever since I was young, I get attracted to anything shaped like a heart (not the human heart, just so we're on the same page). I used to have a lot of shirts with hearts printed on it. I also used to have a lot of accessories with heart pendants, charms, and what not. I also went crazy over Papa John's heart-shaped pizza. And I have this glowing heart pin I used to wear every Heart's Day. I guess it has something to do with being me being a February baby.

My favorite Dragon Lady, T, told me that there's a restaurant that serves heart-shaped burgers and we agreed to have a date there and murder a burger or two. But I didn't expect to visit the place sooner when I ran out of ideas during my trip there with J. 
Hello there, Murray and D'Vine.

The place was pretty dark when we went so I thought it was closed and I was already planning to recommend my favorite restaurant in Serendra, Mesclun, as an alternative. But the friendly server approached us and told us that they were open. So, I guess it was destiny. Hello, heart-shaped burger. <3
We opted to dine upstairs as it was cooler there. The server gave us a bell to use to call them. Pretty cute but it clashes with the whole concept of the restaurant. Anyway...

It took us quite a bit to order as we were distracted by the shape of the food. After a while, I decided to go for the Ostrich Burger (PHP565) while J went for the Aussie Burger (PHP515). We also ordered a glass of drink each (and unfortunately, I forgot what it's called but we got it for less than PHP100 each if I recall it right).
First served were our drinks which were pretty decent. The drinks had a slight kick but nothing to make one woozy.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Detective 101: Mystery Manila

I have been going crazy over Mystery Manila and I was quite surprised that I had a hard time finding friends to drag to this fun place. Luckily, I saw a post of one of my former colleagues saying that she will go with her boyfriend. I put my thick face on and asked if I could tag along. (Yes, third/fifth/seventh wheeling is my hobby.) They agreed and as soon as we set on a date, it was game on. Woo hoo~ 
I think we were a bit too excited as we arrive 45 minutes before our schedule. A, being the “cool” one, suggested that we kill some time inside the car as to not look too eager. But after 20 minutes, we decided to go in.
The mystery we tried
The place was surprisingly small. I noticed that there are only three rooms and two of which are for the two stories while one serves as their office. There was also a chalkboard wall where they write down the top 10 teams with the fastest time in solving the case. A, M and I thought really hard on what our name should be and I really want the name “Do Not Erase” with the hope that they will never erase it. Anywaaaay…
We were greeted by the friendly staff and asked us where we’re from and offered some refreshments. (I had to ask if that’s a clue since I was in my detective mode as soon as I entered. Well, it was just iced tea and water. Nothing more.)
The rewards if you get to solve the mystery!!!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Yummy Eats 2014 Countdown: 33 days to go!!!

33 days to go before the yummiest event of the year! Yummy Eats is back with more food finds to satisfy our ever growing discriminating taste buds.
I just love it that every single concessionaire that is part of the event offers amazing (and I mean AMAZING) dishes as each concessionaire is carefully screened by Yummy’s editorial team. Yummy Eats is definitely not an event for all as several do not make the cut. So you are guaranteed to have happy tummies when you leave the venue.

Looking back, I always look forward to March as that’s the time when Yummy starts to screen the concessionaires. Different kinds of food fill the pantry for us to savor. And the best thing was… it was part of our job! We were actually working while enjoying those yummy dishes. Oh how I miss those days.
Anyway, I believe Yummy has been announcing some of the participants this year through its Facebook page so make sure you like Yummy magazine’s page for updates!

I am hoping my favorites Mochiko, Pepita’s Lechon, Crunchy Belly, and Pio’s Kitchen will join again!

I am so excited for the biggest foodie event of the year! See you all soon! :D
P.S. They are offering the tickets at really really (did I mention really?) affordable prices. Get your ticket at PHP250 if you buy through (<--click now!!!). If you get 5 tickets, one is free as you just have to pay for PHP1,000. Now how sweet is that?

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Finally... Wildflour Café + Bakery

[Continuation of Black Saturday food trip] We were already starting to get full when we were on our way to our last stop. I persuaded the group that we walk (since I love talking walks, yes, even here in Manila) to the last stop. But the heat made A want to take a cab and M and T agreed. It was 1:3 so we took a cab in the end.

Hello, Wildflour Café + Bakery!
As a foodie, I feel slightly embarrassed to say that this is my first trip to the croughnut paradise spot, Wildflour. Every time I plan to visit this place, it gets cancelled. But last Black Friday was not one of those days. I finally made it!

Since we were still pretty full, T and M decided to go for just desserts and drinks. However, A and I decided to order pasta with our cakes and drinks. T and M shared a slice of Salted Chocolate Cake (PHP195), A went for the Peanut Butter Banana Cream Pie (PHP190) and Mac n’ Cheese (PHP280) while I went for the Cheesecake Flan (PHP195), a cup of iced Hazelnut Chocolate (PHP160) and Rustichella Squid Ink Spaghetti (PHP450). Yes, A and I were full too. (But we managed to find a bit of space somewhere.)
While waiting, a complimentary plate of bread with salted butter was served. I love that it was served warm and it sure made me forget that I was full. Munching on the fragrant bread with butter topped with rock salt was delish!

Soon, our orders arrived.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Xiao Long Bao Heaven: Lugang Café

When eating out, Chinese restaurants are hardly top of mind for me as I prefer Japanese food. (Go blame my anime addiction turned I-want-to-be-Japanese-but-it’s-impossible-so-I’ll-just-eat-everything-Japanese nature.) This is the reason why for the longest time, I have never tried Lugang Café. It’s not Japanese. *turns away* But F has been raving about Lugang Café’s coffee and was very nice of him not to tempt me during Lent season as I sacrificed coffee for 40 (long) days. Come end of Lent, we finally went to Lugang to try that F-recommended coffee.

Hello, Lugang Café!
It wasn’t exactly my first time here as I visited the same branch with my friend A. But I just had a drink then as I was too full to eat anything else. This time though was different as I came from work and famished.

F was already inside when I came in and I let him order for me as I have no idea which ones are good. He ordered the following: Steamed Xiao Long Bao (PHP248), Taiwanese Steamed Minced Pork (PHP220), Stir-fried Beef Noodles with Taiwanese Barbecue Sauce (PHP280), Aweto Flower, Mushroom and Jelly Fish (PHP290) and a pot of Arabian Coffee (PHP240).

In less than 15 minutes, our xiao long bao was served. It was served hot and I found out from F how to eat it the right way. [Dip it in the sauce, place it on the spoon, and then nibble a bit of the dumpling and sip the juice then eat the whole thing.]
The warm xiao long bao sure hit the grumpy spot. It made my tummy happy. The pork was rich in flavor and I just love that it was really juicy.
The Taiwanese Steamed Minced Pork was rather soupy but it was yummy too. The bits of pork were slightly sweet and salty at the same time. It somehow reminded me of pork adobo but minced and saucy.
The stir-fried noodles on the other hand somehow reminded me of Thuk Thai’s noodles. The sweet barbecue sauce made it hard for me not to have a forkful after another. The tender beef bits added texture to the dish making this a winner plate.
The Aweto flower dish was rather interesting. F asked if I was grossed out by it but I actually found it yummy. He mentioned that the taste of this dish is something that requires getting used to. That statement made me wonder though if I just gulped down the whole thing before I could taste it or simply because I love food.  Anyway, the dish was slightly tangy and the texture was quite unique. It had some rough parts and it was rather gummy as well. Overall though, it was a great dish.