Saturday, August 30, 2014

Restaurant Love: Earth Kitchen

We were so happy with the Bloomin’ Bread that we were still talking about it while on our way to Earth Kitchen which happens to be… right across the bakery. Gluttons? We prefer to be called food enthusiasts. ;)
N got word that Earth Kitchen opens at 6 p.m. and luckily we checked the place out before exploring other areas as it was open! I wonder who blogged that the place is closed till 6 p.m.?
Anyway, we were greeted by a charming façade and a unique door which swivels than swings. The interiors make you feel like you are inside a greenhouse (but air conditioned). I instantly fell in love with the look of the restaurant.
After checking the menu and checking blog posts about the place, we decided to go for the Watermelon and Rocket Salad (PHP270) and Beef Kebab (PHP360). Yes, we try to limit our orders to two per stop this time so that we get to cover more stops.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Restaurant Love: Harina Artisan Bakery Café

I get really giddy when I see new restaurants. As in crazy giddy! I’m just glad that my friends are very understanding with my low EQ when it comes to food. And I am so blessed to have N as a foodie friend! Just one message and she’s game! That’s my kind of girl!
After our successful Kapitolyo food trip, N and I decided to do a White Plains food trip. I was beyond amazed that there are almost as many restaurants in White Plains (or Katipunan Avenue) as in Kapitolyo. Our stops were very near each other that we hardly had the time to burn the calories. With just a few steps, we were at our next stop.
N and I learned our lesson last time when we met quite late and we both had lunch prior to the food trip. N had a burger while I had steak. This time around, we decided to meet at 10:30 a.m. and have brunch at Harina Artisan Bakery Café (our first stop).
We were famished when we arrived as we both skipped breakfast for this. So, after a quick look at the menu, we decided to go for the Biscuit and Gravy, a set with chicken fillet, bacon and baked tomatoes (PHP225) and Bloomin’ Bread (PHP320). 
N went for Tablea Hot Chocolate (PHP145) while I ordered Red Iced Tea (PHP125).

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Restaurant Discovery: Hillcrest Wellness Café

Since we were already in the area, V and I opted to walk around Teachers Village and look for an interesting place to have dessert after a filling meal thanks to Cocina Juan. After a short walk, V noticed a coffee shop with a bookshelf and that attracted him like a fly to light. So, we found our dessert place.

Hello, Hillcrest Wellness Café.
It has a modest café set up that gives an impression of a school lounge of some sort. The menu is quite simple too but the Moringaccino (PHP120) sure made me curious. Moringa with cappuccino? I’ve never heard of that before. And so, I just have to order that one. V, as a person who doesn’t drink coffee (*gasp* I know!), opted for Strawberry Banana Wellness Shake (PHP145). We also ordered a Banana Mango crepe (PHP185). It was a good thing that they have Moringaccino to distract me as the person manning the counter could not answer any of my questions except which one is their bestseller.
My coffee tasted a bit like matcha. It had a strong “green” taste. It tasted healthy though so I didn’t find finishing the cup sinful.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Coffee Love: Local Edition Coffee & Tea

I love coffee. I can drink five cups a day and still be a-okay. Fine, I will be giddier than usual and laugh at mundane things but hey, my heart still beats at a normal rate (at times). But aside from salmon sashimi, a good coffee place is my weakness. I get so thrilled whenever I discover a quaint new coffee shop.
Since the Dinner in the Dark will start around… well, dinner time, my favorite Dragon lady and I decided to visit one coffee shop after a quick stop at Lusso. T recommended that we try Local Edition Coffee &Tea and I got curious with it since I saw a few food bloggers post a lot of photos of the coffee with Iced Gem Biscuits. It is kind of a blast from the past seeing that snack. I’m sure the 80’s kids could relate.
When we arrived, the place was almost empty as there were only two other tables occupied.
We approached the counter and stared at the menu. We noticed that there are steps to making your coffee. First, the base—coffee or tea. Second step is to choose the preparation. Last is where you could customize—level of sweetness, hot or cold, and strong or regular. T and I both chose Flat White coffee (PHP135). We also ordered an Oatmeal cookie (PHP60) for us to munch.
It didn’t take long before our coffees were prepared.
I skipped the sugar this time around as we were told that the coffee isn’t bitter and is naturally sweeter compared to other coffee. True enough, it wasn’t that strong and I was able to finish my drink without sugar.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Restaurant Discovery: Cocina Juan

I am lazy on Lazy Sundays. I am even lazy to eat on Lazy Sundays! Given that I hardly go out on Sundays, I eat really late. I normally skip breakfast so that I’ll just have a big lunch. It became a habit that I find difficult to break. Hence, whenever I go out on Sundays, I’d leave my place with an empty stomach and just a few minutes away from being grumpy. (Unless I bring a carton of milk with me to last me an hour or two.)

A few Sundays ago was supposed to be a Fishing Day at La Mesa Eco Park. But V and I were surprised to be greeted by a fishing pond that seems to be owned by Shrek. We cannot see a single fish. Well, there were a few kids “fishing” but I bet these kids were there for hours. Plus, there were falling branches that made things quite scary for us. So after a few minutes of staring at the pond/Shrek’s swamp, we decided to go to Maginhawa instead.
I was 10 minutes away from being a “hANGRY” cat lady when we finally decided to go for Cocina Juan. The place looks charming with its bright red wall and there were only two tables occupied.

The server assisted us to our table and promptly gave us the menu and recommended some dishes. We went for the Churrasco Nicaragua (PHP439) as the server mentioned that this one isn’t spicy. I also got a glass of Cucumber Lemonade (PHP65) simply because it sounds so refreshing. Since I was really hungry and starting to show some symptoms of bratinellism, I asked the kind waiter to choose an appetizer for us as I do not want to think anymore. He chose the Quesadilla Con Tomate (PHP189).

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Restaurant Love: Galileo Enoteca Deli

I’ve heard of Galileo Enoteca from my good friend D and she kept on praising its food. I believed her as the place has been recognized by several food magazines and it is also part of the top 10 Italian restaurants in the Metro. It was rather funny though that my visit to this place was not planned at all.

V and I were supposed to visit this Italian restaurant in San Rafael, Kapitolyo but I just can’t find it. I kept asking V if he was sure and after searching in vain, we finally agreed to eat somewhere else. And V recommended Galileo Enoteca Deli
The place is in a rather dark street but once inside, the restaurant is charming. It somehow reminded me of C’ Italian Restaurant and Poco Deli combined.

After much thought on which salmon dish to order, we finally went with Tutta Carne (PHP480) and Panfried Salmon (PHP450). 

While waiting, we munched on the complimentary bread.  
Soon, the pizza and salmon were served. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

My Dinner in the Dark Experience

When I was a kid, I loved building blanket tents and pretend that I’m camping with my stuffed toys and flashlight. I even remember the time when my dad bought me a Beauty and the Beast camping set (with tent and sleeping bag) and I would sleep there from time to time. It sure was fun playing in the dark and pretend that I’m in a jungle with only my flashlight as my source of light. But I never realized how scary it is to be in a pitch dark room and experience having your sense of sight taken from you.

It all started when my favorite Dragon lady, T, tagged me in a post about this Dinner in the Dark. I was still pretty high with the Murder Mystery Dinner post I saw a few nights before that made me do a bit of mental accounting to determine if spending PHP1,800 was worth it or not. (Then I saw another one for PHP3,500! But this one was hosted by EDSA Shangri-La Hotel.)

The Dinner in the Dark was actually pricier compared to the Murder Mystery Dinner as it costs PHP2,000. However, T convinced me that the Dinner in the Dark has more value for money as a portion of the money will be given to a partner NGO. And since I didn’t give back during my birthday last February, I thought that this might be a good start. Plus I get to experience something unique.

So, hello darkness!
Before the dinner, we were briefed by the organizer on what to expect. We were also told that it started in Europe and that all the servers inside are all visually impaired.  And in order for us not to be tempted to Instagram total darkness, we had to leave all our stuff in the waiting area along with our bags and other shiny accessories.

We entered the dark room in two batches. We all had to hold the shoulder of the person in front and form some sort of caterpillar. We were also told to touch the walls so that we won’t get hit on our way to our table. I had to admit, I was so scared! The last thing I wanted to happen was trip, fall and be stepped on by the person behind me.

After a few steps from the door, we were told to touch the chair in front of us. Of course, there was a slight confusion on who owns which chair as some of us grabbed the same one.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Restaurant Love: Franco's

I love my alone time. It’s quite sad to know that some people assume that being alone means being lonely. For me, spending some time with one’s self is proof that you are not dependent on people to do things. I know some people who can’t eat alone. Some can’t even go shopping alone. Well, I have been through that phase too. And yes, saying, “Table for one, please” still makes me giggle.

While walking around Rockwell to canvass some items for work, I passed by the strip of restaurants and realized that I was famished. Given, I haven’t had breakfast yet and it was already 1 p.m. that time. I was thinking of having a light snack at some coffee shop but realized that it’s such a waste if I don’t try something new. So after some thought, I decided to visit…

Apparently, Franco's is also owned by the management handling Myron’s Steaks, Ribs and Seafood. I noticed though, unlike the steakhouse counterpart, the dishes offered by Franco’s are much more affordable.
The place is pretty charming. (Fine, I like wooden tables and cute chairs.)
After a quick look at the menu, I decided to go for the Pumpkin Soup (PHP120), Grilled Salmon (PHP350), Crème Brulee (PHP160) and Butterfly Iced Tea (PHP90). Yes, I wanted a light lunch.
The pumpkin soup was served first and it was deeelightful! It was creamy and it had a great balance of sweetness and saltiness. I finished the whole bowl in less than five minutes.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Restaurant Love: St. Patrick's

My friends and I have been planning to have dinner in Kapitolyo for months after realizing that our offices are practically neighbors. But since everyone’s so busy, we just can’t find time to do it. Until one Facebook post made it possible. Then again, K suddenly had to back. But since F and I were stressed that day, we still went for it.

Hello, St. Patrick's!
St. Patrick's was rather packed when we arrived. Originally, we planned on having dinner at Red Panda but we decided to change venues due to the desire to drink. [No, we are not alcoholics. Just so we’re clear. ;)]

The menu covers simple dishes so it wasn’t that hard for us to choose which ones to order. We opted for the following: Spam Chips (PHP160), Calamari (PHP180), Taco Bites (PHP180), and Shepherd’s Pie (PHP250). I went for a glass of Margarita (PHP180) while F ordered beer.
First served was the plate of Spam chips. It was simply deep fried thinly sliced Spam and it was superb! Okay, I’m a bit biased as I love Spam!
Next served was the Calamari. It was your typical calamari with yummy garlic mayo! I enjoyed the dip so much that I ate the carrot sticks! (And I hate carrots!)
The Taco Bites were awesome! It was slightly spicy but very tolerable. I enjoyed the flavorful chili con carne and the generous dose of cheese. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Restaurant Love: Ludo Boardgame Bar and Café

I love board games and I hate losing. (Who does anyway???) I would go all out when I play games and at times forget that I’m already in my (*gasp*) late twenties. I was so thrilled when I saw the post of D about a place called Ludo and as soon as I got enough info, I begged my friends to join me visit the place. And my favorite Dragon lady and F agreed! Woohoo! However, the day didn’t start as smooth as I wanted it to be as on my way to the meeting place with F, I failed to notice this street sign and hit my head against the sharp edge causing my forehead to bleed. Yes, I saw the Twitter bird circling around my head for an hour. Anyway…

Hello, Ludo!
The place was pretty empty when F and I arrived. There was only one other table occupied so we had a lot of choices. (Though despite having a full house, there are still a lot of games to choose from.)
Image from
The first game we chose was Mr. Jack. I forgot to take a photo of it as I was still pretty disoriented. But the game is pretty much like Clue as you have to find Jack the Ripper a.k.a. the criminal. Jack is amongst one of the 8 characters in the game and the goal is for the investigator (the other player) to find out who Jack is. The investigator is not represented on the board and he could only make one accusation throughout the game. If the investigator guessed incorrectly, Jack gets to escape.
What I find so interesting about this game is that each character has a special power that could either help or confuse the investigator. At the end of each turn, the investigator can ask the witnesses (the other characters) if Jack is visible or not. Of course, the only one who could answer that is Jack. Anyway, we played it three times before we moved to the next one. (T arrived before the first one ended.)
The next games we chose were pretty easy to play. We played this chicken game where you chase the other chickens with the goal of getting their tails. The one who gets all the tails win. But in order to move, you need to accurately match two cards. In short, it was a mix of tag and memory card game.
The other game we played was a coordination game which was basically matching the color on the dice and the card. The card indicates which animal to get and the goal is to be the first one to grab the right animal. (Did I make sense?) Each correct “grab” wins you a card. The one with the most cards by the end of the game wins.
My favorite though was Black Mysteries which was like being in a CSI episode. In this game, one player gets to be the storyteller and narrates the story. The goal of the game is for the other players to discover the reason behind the death, accident or any form of misfortune. The players can ask the storyteller questions that could be answered with yes or no. (However, we somehow cheated as we inserted “maybe” and “could be”.)
Image from
T had to leave after that game so F and I tried to be more hardcore with the board games and went for Civilization. It lasted us for 10 minutes. (Basically, we just set it up.) Soon, M and F(2) arrived and we chose to go back with no brainer games as it seem to suit us best.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Fondue Haven: Eleven Tables

1... 2... 3... Hold on. I can only see 10 tables. What happened to the 11th? Oh well.

I have always wanted to visit this place ever since I got an email about it from Leslie Go. It is just a few steps away from my place but every time I pass by, the place is closed. And two years later, I found out why. They are open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., closed from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and resumes from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.. 
N arrived late that day and I was really famished. We decided to order the Chorizo Cheese Fondue (PHP420) and the Seafood Bourguignonne (PHP880) without much thought to it. And we didn't regret. 

The Chorizo Cheese Fondue was served warm and it was so stretchy that it made it difficult for us not to make a mess. I always end up getting too much cheese as I had to keep on wrapping the stretchy cheese on my broccoli, carrots or potatoes. (I skipped the bread.)
The cheese though was flavorful though not as tangy as I wanted it to be. Perhaps the chorizo's flavor was a bit too strong.

Love at First Bite: Pink Egg Episodes' Mayura Wagyu Burger

I love burgers! I eat it with my hands and not utensils. (Well, fine, except when the restaurant is too posh or when the burger is too darn fat that even my widest *aaaah* will not make half of it fit in.) And I got so giddy when I saw the post of J about this Mayura Wagyu burger. The photo alone made me drool and since they only have limited quantity of the patties, they have to pre-sell tickets. Limited burger patties? Too tempting to let it pass. So I bought the last two tickets! And I sure had a hard time finding another person to get the extra ticket from me given it cost PHP1,000. (Thank you, N!)
Mayura Wagyu is known to be a brand of full-blood Wagyu beef. These cows stay in a 5-star cow hotel and sleep on comfy sawdust-cushioned floor while listening to soothing music and are fed with Cadbury chocolates and gummy bears. By living the good life, these happy cows make our tummies happy too.
It was Pink Egg Episodes' turn to make foodies happy the second time around when they had a part two of their pop-up event that features this top grade burger at Yardstick in Makati.
I arrived a few minutes after 11 a.m. and the place was packed! There were no tables available so I was forced to get a bar seat instead after getting my ticket.
After 20 minutes or so, I finally got my burger and it sure was big hence the need to use the utensils. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Love at First Bite: The Breakfast Club

I love visiting new restaurants. It makes me so happy every time I get to discover a great fdish or a nice restaurant perfect for mini reunions or some alone time. And I’m really lucky that I’m just a few blocks away from one of the foodie destinations, Kapitolyo. But even Pioneer is starting to pick up. Just a few months ago, I spotted two new restaurants, Takeshi, a Japanese restaurant and one of my new favorite dessert places… The Breakfast Club.
Hello, The Breakfast Club!
Okay, The Breakfast Club is not exactly new as it has another branch in Quezon City but it’s still new to me. Owned by celebrity Erich Gonzales and her boyfriend, The Breakfast Club is known for its breakfast staples. (Duh!) But they also offer Korean dishes, a few Japanese dishes and steaks. But when we visited, we only had room for desserts as we just had dinner at Takeshi.
We first noticed the Fallen Cake (PHP155) and it sure look like it fell and was slightly stepped on. It still looked delicious though but my mom was iffy to order that. So we ended up with Lava Cake in (a) Cup with Vanilla Ice Cream (PHP170) and Mango Caramel Panna Cotta (I forgot how much this one costs).

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Restaurant Discovery: Greeka Kouzina

I have been a fan of Cyma for years. But I have been hearing that there’s another restaurant that serves great Greek food and that’s Greeka Kouzina. E and K planned that we have our next lunch there but our schedules never seem to meet. Then I was surprised to discover that Greeka Kouzina’s newest branch is just a few blocks away from my office. I am fated to eat there! Luckily, V was open to the idea of visiting the place. So…

Hello, Greeka Kouzina!
Located at the ground floor of the new D Strip along United St., the place has limited parking slots (which is also the issue with all other establishments in the area). Fret not though as the place has a lot of tables to accommodate more than 20 people. It was a rainy Wednesday night when we visited so there were only a few tables occupied.

Since I’m not so familiar with Greek food, I asked the server for the bestsellers. After being a pesky customer, we went with the following: Hummus (PHP155), Kotopoulo (PHP455), and Beef Souvlaki (PHP495). For our side dishes, we got the Garlic Arugula Pasta and Moussaka. The side dishes cost PHP195 each but you get it for free if you order a main dish.
First served was the hummus. The chickpea dip with roasted garlic and tahini was quite thick and rough. It was a good dish to start the meal as it wasn’t that heavy. Just don’t finish all the pita.
I enjoyed the Garlic Arugula Pasta. I love pasta dishes that are not cream based as it helps me appreciate the other ingredients more. I’m not so sure though if it made my breathe stink afterwards.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Restaurant Discovery: Tim Ho Wan

When there’s a hype, I get curious. When there’s a line, my curiosity disappears (unless I really, really want to try it). Tim Ho Wan has been one of the most anticipated restaurants this year. The line seems to be longer than when you process your NBI clearance. As much as I would love to try its famous pork buns, I always think of the long line and I’m not confident my tummy will like the wait as I am always hungry when I pass by Tim Ho Wan. I thought that the line would eventually disappear after a few weeks but it’s a totally different case for this place. Luckily though, grumpy W was in a good mood and lined up while I was busy looking for a paper bag to pack his late birthday gift. So…

Hello, Tim Ho Wan.
It was almost our turn when I arrived so I didn’t have to do the Trip to Jerusalem game (where you move seats every time someone gets a table) that long.

The menu is very straightforward. There are the famous pork buns, dumplings, a few rice toppings, and congee. They also have barley which happens to be one of my favorite drinks (thanks to Toastbox). W pretty much chose what we’ll eat. I just added two. We ended up with the following dishes: Pork Buns (PHP145/ 3 pieces), Rice with Beef and Fried Egg (PHP180), Pork Dumplings (PHP150), Prawn Dumplings (PHP160), Spinach Dumpling with Shrimp (PHP120), Steamed Egg Cake (PHP85), Vermicelli Roll with Shrimp (PHP190), and Mango Pomelo Sago (PHP90)
First to arrive was the plate of Pork Buns. It was served warm and I had pretty high expectations as people line up and wait to order this.
It was good. Not great but good. It tasted like your typical asado though this one had a stronger flavor. I also enjoyed the baked bun. I just find it slightly messy to eat. 
Next served was the Rice with Beef and Fried Egg which was rather soupy. It was also a bit bland for me.