Monday, September 28, 2015

When in Cebu: Rico’s Lechon

Cebu is known for its lechon and a trip to the land of La Marea is not complete without a trip to a restaurant that specializes in lechon. This time around, we visited Rico’s Lechon.

Hello, Rico’s Lechon!
The place was packed when we arrived. We had to wait for about 20 minutes before getting a table. And this was on a Monday with the restaurant not even being near offices. It must be really popular like CnT, I thought.
We were famished when we sat down so we immediately ordered Baked Scallops (PHP180) and half kilo lechon (PHP310). R also got Watermelon Shake (PHP70) while I tried the Halo-Halo shake (PHP110).
First served was the baked scallops and I must say, it was a generous serving of scallops! If I order it here in Manila, I would only get around 7-8 scallops.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Sale Alert: H&M Anniversary Month-Long Sale

Remember when there was a big crowd in front of SM Megamalllast October 17? Yes, it was a year ago when traffic madness happened because of the opening of H&M Philippines.

Forgot why there was a long line just to shop? Well, H&M was giving away several gift certificates for the first 100 or 200 customers and a lot were hopeful to get one. (Though others say that those people who lined up were paid to create buzz about the opening of the awaited retail fashion brand. But that's another story.)
To celebrate its first anniversary in the Philippines, H&M is treating its customers with a MONTH-LONG sale. Yes, a sale during the whole month of October! Shop and buy several OOTD at 50% off.

See you there!

H&M branches are in SM Mega Fashion Hall, SM Makati, SM City North EDSA, SM Fairview and Robinsons Manila.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Love at First Bite: Nadai Fujisoba

Random date nights (on weeknights) are the best. It’s a nice break from work and preparing dinner at home. R and I hardly have those lately so it was refreshing when he suggested that we eat out last week. And it was perfect as I just checked a list of restaurants I wanted to visit along high street. One of the restaurants I was eying was…
Nadai Fujisoba.
The cute soba and udon restaurant was half full when we arrived. Since R was hungry, we hurriedly ordered O-Ebi Ten Mori Soba (PHP260) and Niku Fuji Soba (PHP260). We also got Sobacha Pudding (PHP80) which the server initially described to be made of soba but it was tea pudding.
Service was very quick as our food was served within the 5 minute mark. I was impressed.
R’s cold noodles was served with two pieces of tempura and a cup of some sort of watered down soup which the server suggested to be mixed with the remaining dipping sauce and drink it like tea. It was said to help blood circulation. Not sure if it’s true but… okay!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Weekend Getaway: Balay Dako by Antonio’s Chef Tony boy Escalante

I am a fan of Chef Antonio “Tony Boy” Escalante. Ever since he took pity on us and fed us steak during our event, I loved him. And when I heard that he has a new restaurant, I just have to visit.
Hello, Balay Dako!
The quaint ancestral looking green house is the new restaurant of Chef Tony Boy. The place is so charming and the view is beautiful. 
The mosquito net ruins it a bit but you could always go to the second floor’s al fresco area for the unobstructed view.
R’s family took the lead in ordering and they ordered a lot! They ordered Laing na Gabi at Tokwa (PHP280), Adobo (PHP435), Calamares Fritos (PHP350), Sizzling Bulalo na Baka (PHP920), Grilled Chicken (PHP320, half), Prawn Salad, Sinuteng Pusit (PHP535), and Turon con Tikoy at Ube (PHP160).  I also ordered Sago’t Gulaman (PHP140). I’m sure I missed a few more orders.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Sweet Stop: Lucca Bakery

It’s always fun to be around my college friends. I witnessed the growth and maturity of our conversations. From homework and theses to household chores and banking and from crushes to… well, more crushes (but older). Okay, perhaps not all topics evolved to something more. But it has always been filled with laughter and at times some “kilig” too. And a few weeks back, we all met to celebrate our dear K’s birthday and shared some sweets at…

It has been a while since I last visited Lucca. It was still crowded and the menu didn’t change so much. And since it was packed, we opted to eat outside to avoid waiting for a table. But to our dismay, the tables were sticky and stinky. R who has a sensitive nose sure did not enjoy it. (And who would anyway?)

We decided to go for a slice of Hazelnut Indulgence (PHP145), S’mores Cookielato (PHP195) and Twix Cookielato (PHP175). R also ordered a glass of Green Tea Frappe (PHP145) while I got a cup of Cappuccino (PHP115).
First served was the slice of hazelnut indulgence and it had a weird rubbery or synthetic taste. We asked the server to replace it with another slice as it tasted really off. And the replacement slice tasted the same. We told the server that the weird taste was still there but I guess she got frustrated with us and began to raise her voice. (Uh oh!) Anyway, we soon discovered that it was the base that had a weird taste so the girls just ate the creamy part of the cake.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

First Bite: Nori Sushi Burrito x Yakitori in Kapitolyo

After several months, I am back, Kapitolyo! I read a couple of restaurant reviews on the new establishments in Kapitolyo, one of which is Nori. Since it has been getting a lot of buzz, I decided to invite my mom, sister and R to have lunch there last Sunday.
Hello, Nori!
Just like most Kapitolyo restaurants, parking is a challenge. Luckily, R and I were early and got the one and only parking of the restaurant. My mom came in a bit later and she parked a block away. 

The menu is simple and you only have a handful of options to choose from which makes ordering easier for the fickle-minded. We ordered Bacon Crab Sticks (PHP39/stick), Chicken Yakitori (PHP39/stick), Mojos (PHP69), Chicken Teriyaki Burrito (PHP149), Beef Bulgogi Burrito (PHP169), Miso Glazed Salmon Burrito (PHP189), Angus Beef Teriyaki (PHP119) with one raw egg (PHP10). We also ordered house blend iced tea (PHP55).
First served were our drinks and mojos. The iced tea was sweet yet refreshing. It went well with the mojos which were thinly sliced and nicely spiced. I also enjoyed dipping the mojos with the Wasabi Mayo (which was not spicy at all).
Next served was my Miso Glazed Salmon Burrito. I liked the sweet sauce but I find it a bit off with the cabbage for some reason. The salmon was also a bit dry. And it was messy to eat. The fried potato chips on the side added a nice texture to the dish but it was slightly burnt having a bitter taste.
The yakitori sticks soon followed and the Bacon Crab Stick is literally crab sticks with bacon. It was okay though quite oily. The chicken yakitori was pretty ordinary too. Both were a bit salty so it might be good to eat it with rice.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Love at First Bite: Rita’s Ice-Custard-Happiness

I have been eying Rita’s for a long time now. Ever since it opened, I have heard and read nothing but praises. They say that this Italian custard really is “happiness” and finally, I got a taste of it last week.

Hello, Rita’s!
The place was packed when we visited but we didn’t mind the long wait as we couldn’t decide what to get. We got giddy with the thought of combining our favorite flavors but we were not so sure if it would work. Eventually, it was my turn and I asked the friendly guy manning the counter for recommendation.
I chose Gelati (PHP130 for regular) which is a combination of Italian flavored ice (think sorbet) and creamy custard. Since I wanted Strawberry-Banana (coffee was just too sweet!), he suggested that I pair it with vanilla custard. But I want to try more so I opted for the twist (chocolate with vanilla).
Presenting… chocolate vanilla twirl with strawberry-banana ice.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

First Bite: Hokkaido Ramen Santouka

It has been a while since I last went to Greenhills. I went crazy with the great tiangge finds. I even thought of hoarding stuff for Christmas. But the tummy had another plan… to eat. And since F wanted ramen, we went to Hokkaido Ramen Santouka.

Hello, Hokkaido Ramen Santouka!
The place was packed with hungry diners when I arrived a bit past 1 p.m.. F and I had to wait for around 20 minutes before the server approached us if we’re okay with bar seats. Since we were hungry, we said yes.
I ordered a regular Shio Ramen (PHP345) with Komi-Tamago (PHP50) and Kurobuta Gyoza (PHP240) while F went for a bowl of Shoyu Ramen (PHP345). Service was quick as it took them less than 10 minutes to serve our food.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Love at First Gulp: Backyard Kitchen + Brew's Butterbeer

Harry Potter and beer lovers alike will love the drink concocted by Chef Ed Bugia of Pino, Pipino, The Burger Project and π Breakfast & Pies. His newest restaurant Backyard Kitchen + Brew serves butterbeer using real beer! And since H was craving for it one afternoon, we decided to head to UP Town Center.

Hello, Backyard Kitchen + Brew!
The place wasn’t packed at all when we arrived as it was around 3 p.m. on a Monday.
R and I decided to give butterbeer a try too and ordered one mug each.
The butterbeer smells lovely with its butterscotch scent. It would make beer haters love beer as it is not bitter at all. The whipped butter made it extra sinful which might turn away some health conscious foodies.
I also got a bite of the potato chips drowning in cheese powder and it was L-O-V-E. I can’t wait to visit Backyard Kitchen + Brew again to try its dishes.

Backyard Kitchen + Brew is located at 2nd Floor, UP Town Center, Katipunan Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City. Contact them at 0999 3666921 for details and reservation.

Backyard Kitchen + Brew Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Game Night: Puzzles Board Game Lounge

I love board games and I could be very competitive too. That’s why I spent 9 hours in Ludo last year. But since I got busier with work, I wasn’t able to visit that puzzle heaven anymore. There are actually a lot of board game places now like Dyce N Dyne which I have yet to visit too. One night, C posted something that made the gamer in me so excited.

Puzzle Board Game Lounge now has a Fort Strip branch! Woohoo!
Since it’s quite near work, we decided to head there on the last day of work before the long weekend. And because we want to make sure that we have a table, C reserved one for a party of 8.

But when we arrived, 5 minutes before our reservation, there was no table available! The server and (I guess) the owner said that there were a few walk-ins and they accommodated them. It made me upset. What’s the point of reserving then? But what made matters worse was there was another party of three who walked in and they were given a table and seats before us (as soon as a table was cleared)! I told C that if I was not with them, I would have walked out already but since everyone was eager to play games and enjoy the night, we stayed.
After 20 or 30 minutes of standing in the middle of a very narrow walkway in front of the counter where everyone who try to cross to the other side will bump you, we finally managed to get a table for 5 pax. Remember that we needed a table for 8? They claimed that the table we had was good for 8. Yes, it is possible if the other three were floating. (Just thinking about it annoys me!)

Anyway, we just sat down and ordered. I decided to get Fried Chicken and Cheese Pasta (PHP250) and a bowl of Mushroom Soup (PHP160). While waiting, I snacked on a pack of Sky Flakes.

Our food arrived as we were playing Dirty Minds, a game that will test how clean or dirty you think.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Love at First Bite: Breakfast At Antonio’s

These past weeks have been stressful. Deadlines, projects and other concerns drained me (and especially R). We even stopped our swimming and basketball nights just so we could rest (and eat) some more. And a few weeks back, we opted to have a mini getaway and drove to Tagaytay for a nice relaxing Saturday. And for brunch, R and I opted to visit… Breakfast at Antonio’s!
Hello, Breakfast at Antonio’s!
The place was packed when we arrived and we were on the waiting list for a bit over half an hour before we got a table. While waiting, I bought some breadsticks to calm the grumpy tummy. (And the breadsticks were great! I got the garlic flavored ones.)
I was unsure of what to order since there are a lot of mouthwatering options. The server then suggested tapa and even said that if it turns out to be not satisfying, it will be free of charge. How can I resist that? So we ordered the suggested Beef Tapa (PHP510) and Fresh Corned Beef (PHP465) each having one sunny side up and poached egg. I also ordered a bowl of Basil Tomato Soup topped with Cream (PHP165).
Our mains were served at the same time and both looked lovely.
The soft marinated sirloin tapa had the delectable sweet and salty flavor. I enjoyed it with the jellied atsara and vinegar. The beef was also very tender. It went really well with the eggs too. Tapsilog… <3

Friday, September 4, 2015

Love at First Bite: Alchemy Bistro Bar

I got an email from Janine last week inviting me to Alchemy Bistro Bar. I’ve heard of this place before where the drinks are fondly called concoctions. And since we cancelled our La Union trip for the long weekend, I decided to accept Janine’s lunch invitation (yes, they are also open for lunch!) and know more about the bar which offers more than just great drinks.
Hello, Alchemy Bistro Bar!
We were greeted by shades of purple and nicely decorated walls with flasks containing colorful liquids and a bicycle. I’m not exactly sure what look they were trying to pull here but it was quirky and cute.
The restaurant’s owner, Tina Currie (who studied in Le Cordon Bleu and worked in the US and Thailand), welcomed us and gave us an overview of what’s lined up for lunch—Baked Oysters (PHP350), Croquettas (PHP260), Burrata Cheese Salad (price not on the menu), Alchemy Pizza (PHP450), Gnocchi (PHP390), Pan Seared Salmon (PHP465), Roasted Organic Chicken (PHP450), Slow-braised Lamb Shank (PHP775), Crème Brulee (PHP210) and Cheesecake with passion fruit coulis. We also had Alchemy Smoothie and Four Fruit Smoothie (PHP180 each).
First served was the baked oysters and R and I were impressed with the Aklan sourced shells. It was very fresh and it was so delightful with the spinach, hollandaise sauce and gruyere cheese. [Note: Be careful though and check your oyster. R ate his fast and didn’t notice a little shell piece was on the oyster and it hurt his tooth.]
Next served was the Burrata Cheese Salad and it was delicious. The giant red tomato slices made the tomato lover in me jump for joy! The prosciutto ham added flavor and the mozzarella on the outside and cream cheese in the inside combo made me go crazy! I also love the play of textures of the ingredients.
The croquettas were piping hot when it was served and I just found out when I took a big bite. I love the smooth potato with cheese stuffing. It was a great contrast with the crunchy breading. And the paprika dip wasn’t bad at all.
But if I were to choose between croquettas and gnocchi, I would choose the latter. Made with Gorgonzola cheese sauce, it was a cheesy affair with my taste buds. I love the crispy pancetta too for added bite. To fight off the “umay” factor, I munched on the herb garlic bread. This dish is a bit heavy on the tummy though so it’s best to share it with a fellow cheese lover.
R and I were slowly getting full when the Alchemy pizza arrived and it was pretty big. The wood fired pizza was amazing too. The speck ham, which was slightly different from prosciutto, added flavor to the pizza. I also enjoyed the slight tanginess from the Balsamic sauce drizzled on the arugula. And yes, the arugula made us feel that we were eating something healthy.