Monday, December 28, 2015

First Bite: BLK513

I'm quite hooked to Looloo these past days and I can't help but notice the numerous reviews on BLK513, the newest yogurt place in Manila. Okay, you might think that it's nothing special because it's just another yogurt shop which brands such as Red Mango, Pinkberry and White Hat made popular. Buuuut... this yogurt is black. BLK= black. And since new food or restaurants are very appealing to me, I just have to try it myself! 

Hello, BLK513!!!
It has been several weeks since I first saw a post on this "activated charcoal" infused yogurt. Charcoal on yogurt??? Well, it is definitely not your lump of coal on top of smooth and delectably tangy yogurt. Activated charcoal is actually used in hospitals and even at home. Some of the benefits you get from it are (1) reduces high cholesterol (2) anti-aging (3) digestive cleanse (4) toxin removal; and (5) prevents hangover.
Okay, sold!
R's family scheduled a katsu lunch at Maisen a few days back and I thought that it was perfect since I hardly visit Megamall these past months. (Holiday rush, traffic and SM Megamall is an equation for headache!)
After lunch, R and I went to BLK513 for dessert and I opted for cup (PHP185; PHP175 for cone) so that I could get more toppings/layers. I went with caramelized cookies (which tasted like Speculoos or Biscoff) for crunch, kiwi and strawberries for fruits and Nutella for syrup.

And tadaaaaa...
My first spoonful didn't give much of an impression. It tasted like your usual tangy yogurt which you get from Red Mango, only darker. But the second spoonful with the layers made it more delectable.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Restaurant Love: Yabu House of Katsu

You better watch out, you better not cry. You better not pout, I’m telling you why. Christmas break is a few days away! Yeeeey! And I am now feeling it with all these Christmas dinners and meet ups. I love it! Come here holiday fats! *hug* :D

It has been a tradition in our department to organize a simple Christmas dinner where we share a nice meal together and exchange gifts. But since we were extra busy (and poor) this year, we decided to scrap the second one and just focused on the fattening part.
This time, we decided to have dinner at Yabu and since it’s not exactly a new restaurant, I made sure that I order something different. I remember a post on Yabu’s Menchi Katsu Burger (PHP380) and decided to get that one.

When we arrived, the early birds already secured a long table for us. (And it was not a picnic to get one as they waited for half an hour outside as Yabu requires them to place all our orders before getting a table).
It took a while before my dish was served. I was starving to the point of me feeling my cheekbones becoming more prominent and my tummy digesting my tummy. And to distract myself from the World War III happening inside my body, I decided to read the comic strip on the wall which was quite funny. (Katsu solves family feuds.)

Monday, December 21, 2015

First Bite: Brand Bakery Bistro

There are moments when the lazy bug bites me really hard to the point of not eating even when I’m hungry (simply because I have to cook or prepare my meal before filling the tummy). But there are also times when I still find the energy to eat out on a weeknight. And a few months ago, I got to try Brand Bakery Bistro.

Hello, Brand Bakery Bistro!
This quaint bakery is located at the second floor of RCBC Tower in Fort Bonifacio. I noticed it before when we were looking for Paprika.
The place is quite dark and has more of a bar vibe than a cozy café. It has a long showcase chiller beside the counter for its desserts which are not included in the menu. The pizzas available on that day are also displayed there.
While waiting, we got a plate of complimentary bread.

Since I wasn’t really craving for anything in particular, I just went with Melazane Fritte (PHP150), Tagliatelle Crema di Salmone (PHP260), Pink Lemonade, and Mango Panna Cotta.

First served was the Melazone Fritte (eggplant fried in canola oil) and it was your usual “tortang talong”.  The server said that it is one of their best appetizers and I believed him! But it was such a simple (and overpriced) dish when it arrived.
Fine, let’s try it before judging it (even more). *bite* *munch* *swallow* Okay, done.

Friday, December 18, 2015

First Bite: Paper Moon

Several months back, social media was raving about this quaint pastry shop known for its crepe cakes. Available in flavors such as original, chocolate, mango and strawberry, kids and adults alike flock to the shop like bees toward honey. But since its first shop was located in Makati, its sweet aroma did not reach me till… it opened a branch in SM Aura.
Hello, Paper Moon!

Finally, after so many months, I could now sink my teeth on those soft, delectable layers of thin crepe!
I was rushing to go home when I made a quick stop here and unfortunately had to wait for my turn as the server was busy with a group of indecisive diners. It gave me some time though to take snapshots of the place.
I wanted to get strawberry because strawberry is LOVE but they ran out of slices and I was not willing to splurge PHP350 for a mini cake. (I was still not sure if it’s worth PHP350 so I hesitated.)

I ended up buying a slice of mango crepe (PHP225) and had it prepped to go. (And the server was nice to accommodate my request to have my slice wrapped first as I really had to go home ASAP.)
After giving my tummy some time to digest my heavy dinner, I started to plate my crepe cake and…

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Stuck in Seoul: Food Café

Walking around Gyeongbukgong Palace, N Seoul Tower and the shopping streets of Dongdaemun drained me so much that I almost fainted. Then I realized, I wasn’t really tired… I was hungry. After convincing my mom and sister to stop shopping, we finally got out of the shopping mall and headed to… the tourist information center and asked for a nice place to eat. And the friendly staff mentioned Food Café. So off we go to the place they say that serve yummy Japanese dishes.
Hello, Food Café!
This simple food joint is located near the line of malls of Dongdaemun and the Dongdaemun subway station. And since it has a nice location, it was a bit packed with hungry night owls when we got there. Luckily, we easily got seats (and a table of course!).

After browsing the menu, we decided to go with Cheese in Pork Cutlet (7,000 ₩), Seafood Udon (6,000 ₩) and Vegetable Kimbap (3,000 ₩).

Service was quick and first served was the plate of cutlet.
It looked like your usual crunchy pork cutlet but each bite was delightfully cheesy. The melted cheese sure made this katsu a happy pill for the tummy.
I was looking forward to the seafood udon as I was freezing that night! And it did not fail me at all. It was served piping hot and it definitely warmed me, especially my tummy. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Love at First Bite: Carousel Creamery Handcrafted Ice Cream | 101 Flavors

It has been a while since my last lazy weekend. R and I have been out traveling for weeks and though it was fun to see new (and not so new places), it was tiring. (Oh how I hate unpacking!) So last Saturday, we decided to have a lazy day and napped the whole afternoon. But when I woke up from my slumber, my tummy was on a rampage. It was hungry and DEMANDS food ASAP. I then started to munch on the delightful Coco Banana Corn snack my officemate gave me for Christmas and I (well, with R’s help) finished it in less than one episode of Amazing Race. And since it was not enough to calm the grumpy tummy, I managed to convince R to go out (with a lot of cutie pie eyes which were not really cute) and head to Chili’s so that we could finally use the PHP 1,000 gift certificate I got from Looloo. (Stay awesome, Looloo! I love yah!) Buuut, this entry is not about Chili’s (which I will blog soon). The spotlight is on Carousel Creamery, a new ice cream place I spotted last weekend.
Hello, Carousel Creamery Handcrafted Ice Cream | 101 Flavors!
The bright black and white sign caught my attention as we brave the Missouri Street traffic last Saturday. Ice cream? 101 flavors? Oh yes please!!! Gimme all!!!
Almost all tables were occupied when we got there. But several chest freezers were still empty. Boo! That night, they had 21 flavors ready for us ice cream lovers and said that all 101 flavors will be ready in the next weeks to come. Apparently, they are still in their soft opening and last Saturday (the day I went) was their first day of operations. Sweet! I was one of the first foodies to spot this place.
They have a lot of interesting flavors such as Beer and Chicharon which have this nice malty caramel taste; Java the Hot Star Wars which was pretty much like chocolate until the spice hits you (surprise!!!); and Maple and Bacon which has real bacon bits! Bacon?!? *drooooool*

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Love at First Bite: Hong Kong Banjum 0410 Plus

When I watch Korean dramas or even when I lived in Korea for several months, I didn’t really understood why Koreans are so into jajangmyeon (black bean noodles). But boy oh boy, when they slurp those thick noodles with fragrant black bean sauce, it sure looked scrumptious. But back then, I wasn’t really adventurous with food. I’ll just have bulgogi or samgyeopsal with my mekju (beer) and soju. And I never realized what I was missing until I dined in Hong Kong Banjum 0410 Plus.
Annyeong, Hong Kong Banjum 0410 Plus!
This place was recommended by my local friend E. She said that this is one of her favorite restaurants in Dongdaemun and since I trust her taste, off we go to this jajangmyeon restaurant.
And when we arrived, it was packed! Good thing though that one table was available when we got there.

We ordered Tangsuyuk (9,500 ₩ for medium and 15,000 ₩ for large), Bokkeumjjamppong (5,500 ₩) and Jajangmyeon (4,000 ₩, or add 1,000 ₩ for extra size).

Service was pretty fast and our jajangmyeon was served first.
It was HUGE! And I can’t believe that it’s just 5,000 ₩ or PHP200. It tasted divine too with the slightly sweet black bean sauce and well cooked noodles. It was really heavy dish (I can’t even lift a chopstick full without exerting effort) so it is best for sharing.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Love at First Bite: Lulu

I love birthdays. It’s the day of the year when I feel special. I spoil myself with sweets and a gift or two. But more than that, I love making the people I love special on their special day. This is why I had big plans for R’s big day. But it was ruined by APEC when they cancelled my flight back to Manila and I had to stay in Seoul for 4 more days. *cries* Good thing, I have Plan B ready.

Hello, Lulu (now named as Catch)!
I spotted a deal on Lulu’s scrumptious steak while checking Deal Grocer a few months back and figured it would be a great meal to share with R on his special day. For PHP1,800, we get 600 grams of Lulu’s rib eye steak and two sides—garden salad and one of your choice.
Since I missed R’s actual birthday, I made dinner reservations at Lulu the following night and it was perfect as we were the only ones in the restaurant. It was as if I reserved the whole place for us. Sweet!

It was a bit chilly that night so we opted to order a bowl of Organic Squash Soup (PHP250) along with our U.S. Prime Angus Rib Eye with garden salad and truffled fries.
The squash soup was served first and it was pretty good! It was slightly creamy with a bit of earthy flavor from the spices. I enjoyed it the crisp toasted bread.
The rib eye steak was served after quite some time. I think it took them at least 20 minutes to serve the steak but when it was served… wow oh wow~
It was huge! I was scared that 300 grams might be a bit too small for us but I was wrong. Pairing the steak with truffled fries made the dish even heavier.

We asked them to make our steaks medium rare and it was spectacular! I loved how soft and juicy the steak was. Each bite was succulent and packed with flavor from the rich mushroom gravy sauce. I just kept having one mouthful of steak after another like someone who was deprived of food for days. I also loved smothering the seasoned fries with the thick gravy. It was a lovely meal.

Friday, December 11, 2015

First Bite: Yakitori One

Thanks to Taguig Day, I had free time to do errands that I always put aside. I was able to clean my place, do laundry, and other boring adult stuff. After overexerting myself and going mad cleaner, I decided to reward myself by having late lunch at SM Aura. When I got there, I realized that I’m not interested in any of the restaurants in the mall. And since I was feeling a bit stingy, I went to the sort of classy food court, Food on Four, instead of dining at a restaurant and spotted Yakitori One.

Hello, Yakitori One.
There was a long line when I last saw Yakitori One, about two years ago. Lines have this strong power to get rid of me so I didn’t bother lining up to try its dishes. But this time around, the food court was like a ghost town so I finally gave Yakitori One a try.
I went with #13, Chicken Thigh, Chicken Karaage and Pork Butabara (PHP218). I added PHP20 for iced tea.
At first, I was thinking that three sticks might be a bit too much since I was nursing a very ill stomach that day. But… nope. Apparently, I could still eat no matter what.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Second Bite: Unit 27 Apartment Bar + Café

Manila is turning into one big foodie destination. With several restaurants opening here and there, it is so hard to decide on where to eat. I am already getting frustrated that I am finding less and less time to explore new restaurants and the fact that for some reason, fats find its way to chill on body parts I wish they would never find. Curse you slow metabolism! Anyway, I got so giddy when R mentioned that his Chichi group will meet up for dinner last Monday because that means dinner out! (Yay!) I was so excited with the idea of eating at Genki Sushi since that was what R recommended. But come Monday, it was decided that we’ll have dinner at… Unit 27 Apartment Bar + Café.
This time around, I got to see the third floor of the restaurant/bar. The third floor, unlike the set-up on the ground floor, was definitely more of a bar with its neon light wall décor, dim lighting and actual bar. I didn’t take photos of the place since it was quite dark and I was more interested to listen to R’s Chichi friends’ stories. (Yes, connected to the real world!)
Hungry, R already knew what to order—Pinoy Steak & Egg (PHP380). I went with Bagnet Breakfast (PHP395).

It’s so fascinating though how restaurants service slows down when you’re very hungry. It happens to me most of the time. And Unit 27 was no exception. Our food arrived after 30 minutes! It took them that long to prepare our food. >_< We were so hungry that it made me exert extra effort to take quick photos of the food.

After a few clicks, it’s dinner time!
My house dried pork belly was quite good. It wasn’t overly dry that would make my throat itch. I loved that it was crunchy all throughout and no part was chewy. I alternately dipped it sukang Ilocos  and Unit 27’s homemade lechon sauce. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

First Bite: Farmacy Ice Cream and Soda Fountain

I have been planning to visit Farmacy Ice Cream and Soda Fountain for almost a year now! But for some reason, I always end up going somewhere else till one Monday night.

My long wait is finally over! Hello, Farmacy Ice Cream and Soda Fountain!
The store is quite charming with its slightly retro signage.
I also loved the “prescriptions” sign which is a play with the name of the store (Farmacy—Pharmacy).

But what I loved most about this place is the oh-so-patient staff who let us try as many flavors as we want till we decide which one to order. I think I sampled over 8 flavors.

After my sampling spree, I decided to get Pick Me Up sundae (PHP280) which comes with Hazelnut, Vanilla and Coffee Verve ice cream, toffee nuts, whipped cream and an espresso shot topped with thin chocolate waffle. Since I wasn’t too crazy with vanilla, I went with Milk, one of the flavors R sampled. Milk was just like vanilla, only creamier. I also swapped whipped cream with sliced almonds for more texture.

And after a bit, my sundae arrived.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Green Tea Heaven: O’sulloc Tea House

Hipster. That’s how R described this quaint tea shop known for its wide range of teas from Jeju Island. Yes, I’m talking about O’sulloc Tea House.
Hello, O’sulloc Tea House.

The two storey high tea shop was quite packed on a rainy Saturday night.
It has a wide range of teas and sweets displayed on the ground floor. The packaging of its teas is also so adorable, perfect as Christmas gifts! (I personally love its Wedding Tea. It smells so great!)

Since we were still full from our Jjimak dinner, my mom and I decided to share a glass of King O Fredo (8,500₩) while my sister opted to get Jeju Milk Ice Cream (6,000₩).
While waiting, I explored the tea shop and went up to the second floor.
And it has a different feel to it. It was warmer with its wooden interiors. It also has interesting wall details and I spotted a door that says OSULLOC LABORATORY. It must be where tea magic happens! *drools*