Friday, October 30, 2015

Love at First Bite: Le Petit Soufflé

[Disclaimer: This blog will be longer than usual as we were fed really well by the generous team behind the charming Le Petit Soufflé.]

I get so giddy and thrilled whenever I receive goodie packages from Looloo. I emailed P to say thanks but her reply thrilled me even more… she invited me to one of the eat-up events of Looloo. Woohoo! After 4 months of reviewing, I finally got an invite to one of their fun events where foodies meet fellow foodies who are patient enough to allow you to take few, scratch that, several snapshots of the dishes served. And the best part of the eat- up was that it was in a restaurant that I’ve always wanted to visit. (I tried twice and failed twice to dine there!)Yes, it’s Le Petit Soufflé!!!
Hi, Le Petit Soufflé!
The charming and aesthetically pleasing restaurant is now a few months old and it still gets packed with hungry diners. 
That only proves that this restaurant is not all cutesy furniture and interiors and that it serves delectable dishes.
During the eat-up, we got a chance to meet the brilliant minds behind the restaurant—Miko Aspiras, Charles Paw and Kristine Lotilla. They mentioned that the inspiration behind the restaurant is the fact that Japanese are so fascinated with French cuisine hence the play of French and Japanese ingredients to whip up mouthwatering dishes. They also mentioned the use of greens to make the dishes look “alive”. And I guess healthy.
First served was the Tropical Basil and Cucumber drink (PHP350, carafe). Despite its dark color, it was not that sweet and in fact, it's refreshing. I liked the tinge of basil and the coolness of mint leaves. (Since this was first to arrive, it preoccupied us for more than 10 minutes, taking photos of all possible angles.

The savory dishes started to be served one after another.
Let’s start with the Kinoko Frites (PHP235).
These deep fried enoki and oyster mushrooms toasted in matcha salt are so addicting. Who would have thought that fried fungi would be this good? Don’t forget to dip it in tonkotsu mayo. It makes it even more delightful. Careful though with the thicker parts for it could give an oily surprise!
The Cheesy and Matcha Puffs (PHP175) reminded some of us of fish balls with its flat round shape. It was pretty much just like flavored bread with a hint of cheese and matcha. I guess it’s a good and light way to start your meal but I wasn't that crazy over this one.
The Sesame Crusted Tuna Salad (PHP345) was perhaps the most photogenic savory dish served. The seared tuna loin was so inviting that it made me salivate while taking photos of it. Thank goodness I did not drool. The garden greens, shimeji mushrooms, tobico and bonito flakes, topped with sesame wasabi dressing added more color to the dish.  Sadly, I wasn’t able to try it. *Insert ugly cry here.*
Team Clingy was raving about the Japanese Beef Curry Soufflé (PHP525) and most if not all of them said that it was their favorite dish in Le Petit Soufflé. It made my expectation higher and when I got to taste it, it was pretty good. In fact, I’m willing to order this when I visit again. It was the type of curry that is "curry-me-no-likey" friendly. The curry taste was definitely there but it wasn’t overwhelming. The nicely cooked cheese soufflé was a great complement to the thinly sliced US beef mixed with Japanese rice and curry sauce.
As a noodle lover, the Vegetarian Soba Pasta (PHP345) caught my eye. Made of buckwheat soba mixed with shimeji, zucchini, eggplant, and bell pepper in delectable shoyu sauce, this dish is a winner! Serving size though is not that much and could only be good for one to two.
Another dish that deserves the spotlight was the Foie Gras Mac and Cheese (PHP755). This awesome dish (wait, did I mention awesome yet?) was soooo good! It’s a must-order even if you’re not a fan of foie gras. The mac and cheese was oozing with flavor and it was a cheese person’s dream. Sharp, tangy, cheesy piece of heaven. Munch on some Hungarian sausage slices for some contrast in flavor.
I had a lot of squid ink dishes before and Le Petit Soufflé’s Squid Ink Rice (PHP395) was good but nothing spectacular. Well, we can’t expect everything to be superb right? 
One thing to note was that they used fresh seafood with this dish. Oh, and shimeji mushrooms made yet another appearance. Le Petit Soufflé must love this ingredient.
I wasn't really attracted to the Truffled Mushroom Hambagu (PHP595) despite its truffle cream. I had a few bites and yes, it didn't stand out. (Maybe it could have if I ate it before the Foie Gras Mac and Cheese or the Japanese Beef Curry.)
After trying all the savory dishes, I started to munch on French Toast (PHP295). It is Le Petit Soufflé’s signature brioche French toast served with maple syrup and whipped cream and it is worthy to be called a signature dish. It was soft, light on the palate and simply lovely. You can even enjoy it as is sans maple syrup and whipped cream.

When in Hong Kong: Charlie Brown Café

I have lived in Seoul, South Korea for a few months and I never had a chance to visit a cute café throughout my whole stay. Vending machine was my friend, companion, and favorite barista. And the 250 Won price tag on coffee was hard to resist. And so when I saw my friends post photos of their visits in Hello Kitty Café or Charlie Brown Café, the foodie in me bawled in the ugliest way possible. I remember that I saw Hello Kitty Café and Charlie Brown Cafe in Incheon Airport on my way to LA. I wanted to take photos with the adorable merchandise. But since I travelled alone, I wasn’t able to take a selfie with the cafés. (I was also too shy to ask since I had no plans of buying.) Then again, during my recent Hong Kong trip, I got to visit one of the cute cafés and this time, I have someone to share the experience with!

Hello, Charlie Brown Café!
I was hesitant at first to try this place since the food’s quite pricey for its serving size. But I guess R sensed that I really want to visit this place so we stopped here before heading to Ocean Terminal for our cruise.

The stairs alone already made me stop to take quick snapshots of the mini statues of Snoopy and friends.
When we went to the third floor, we were greeted by a mini fountain adorned by Peanuts merchandise.
The ceiling too is worth mentioning as it is beautiful.
We decided to get a glass of Caramel Coffee Frappa (HK$41, grande) and Tiramisu Cup (HK$40).
The Tiramisu was fluffy and light. It goes well with a flavorful drink. But as is, it might be a bit bland for those with sweet tooth. It was hard to eat this though. 
I mean it has Charlie Brown’s face on it. Plus the price kinda hurts (given it’s such a small cake).
I enjoyed the caramel coffee frappa a lot! It was a great drink to cool us down. (It was quite hot in Hong Kong when we visited.) It was sweet yet not too sweet and you could definitely taste the coffee flavor. There were also small bits of ice you get to munch on for texture.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Hong Kong Food Stop: Sushi One

It’s been a while since I last visited Hong Kong. I remember that I had a hard time there as I was not an adventurous foodie then. I was stuck with Yoshinoya and McDonald’s. But things change. I am now game to eat anything as long as it will most likely not make me sick and Hong Kong evolved into a foodie paradise.

R and I were not exactly famished yet when we arrived in Hong Kong but since we wanted to maximize our trip, we walked around Nathan Road (Tsim Sha Tsui) and entered small alleys near it. That was when we saw this Japanese restaurant with a sushi conveyor belt. And as a sucker for these sushi conveyor belt or sushi-go-round, we went in.

Konnichiwa, Sushi One!
I was thrilled to dine at Sushi One. And I waited for some sushi to be placed on the belt for me to take some photos and videos. Sadly, the place wasn’t packed so there were not as many sushi on the belt. (The foodie in me holding a camera cried a puddle.)
To order, we had to accomplish several checklists depending on what we fancy. We went with Seared Salmon (HK$17), Seared Fatty Salmon with Sauce (HK$19), Shrimp Tempura (HK$29), Grilled New Zealand Mussels with Mayo and Cheese (HK$36), and Dancing Spider Roll (HK$36).
First served were the two kinds of salmon sushi.

The seared salmon was your usual salmon sushi. What was notable here was the fresh salmon cut. It was the type that melts in your mouth. Delightful!
I preferred the seared salmon with sauce though as it had more flavor to it. It was slightly sweet. This was sooo good that there were fireworks in my mouth to celebrate such taste.
The shrimp tempura was nothing special but it helped fill the tummy. I would have preferred to order more salmon instead of this one though.
R loved the grilled mussels. It went really well with mayo and cheese. The mussels, just like salmon, were undeniably fresh. And for the price, it wasn’t bad at all. 
The silky smooth texture of the mussels with its faint sweet taste with the slight tanginess of the cheese and richness of the mayo was a killer combo.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015


We all live in a digital world whether you like it or not. (Unless you live in a jungle where there’s no signal or electricity.) Technology advancements are made to make our lives more comfortable. But there are those who use this to take advantage of the gullible. You’d be surprised with how many still fall for the “I have a business proposal for you” email and “Please send me load. I have an important message to tell you.” text messages. I even know some who fell for it! Crazy? Perhaps not at all.

I make it a habit to check my spam messages from time to time as some legit emails get stuck there for some reason. And one of the spam emails that caught my attention was Metrobank’s email saying I have a problem accessing my account.
When I opened the email, it asked me to click a link. When I placed my cursor over it, it was leading me to a trekking tour site. I’m 100% sure it won’t lead me to “unblock my account.
But the email address seems legit. Or maybe not.
I backtracked and searched for my previous emails with Metrobank and I found out that the right email address should be! No period between customer and care.

These guys are getting smarter and smarter!

Here’s another example…

I got an email from Mystery Shoppers Inc. offering PHP10,000 weekly. Sure, it was tempting as I know how mystery shopping works. But it sounds sketchy.
Nonetheless, I checked the email. True enough, there’s a link. I am allergic to links so I made a bit of research first.
I checked the company name and the only one I saw was a Facebook page. Okaaaay, that makes it very credible. Not!

Since I couldn’t find much information about the “company” I decided to Google the only other information I have, the sender’s email address.

And my hunch is right! The email address is not connected in any way to mystery shopping. In fact, @uni-oldenburg is the email used by University of Oldenburg, Germany.  Goodbye PHP10,000 weekly.

These people have a lot more tricks under their sleeves. It is up to us to be smart enough not to fall for it.

Be extra careful!

P.S. Click the images for clearer view. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Love at First Bite: Matutina’s Seafood Restaurant

R told me about this great seafood restaurant called Matutina on our way to Baguio. But since we were still full on our way (as we stopped over an icky McDonald’s) and we were too sleepy on our way home, we missed having a meal there. But a few weeks back, we stayed at a place which was near a few branches when we went to Clark for C’s big day. We didn’t exactly plan to drop by but R’s dad craved for it and so…

Hello, Matutina’s Seafood Restaurant!

It was a simple no frills seafood restaurant that has a bit of Padi’s Point minus alcohol feel to it. (Or let’s change it to Gerry’s Grill as an easier reference.)

Uncle H already ordered for us and we had Bangus na Inihaw (PHP130), Tanigue Kilawin (PHP180), and Sizzling Bangus Sisig (PHP180).

While waiting for our fish, we munched on some coconut candies wrapped like pastillas which were yummy! I failed to take photos as I was already hungry then.
For the price, the grilled milk fish was huge. It was grilled well as it was still juicy when it was served to us. I enjoyed it with soy sauce with calamansi.
Look at that belly!!!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Love at First Bite: Spanglish

Looloo is an amazing app. I find myself relying on the app when I am traveling locally and have no idea where to eat. And last week, Looloo helped me find another great restaurant.

Hello, Spanglish!
After checking in our hotel, R and I went out for lunch to fill our tummies before C’s big day. And since we’re not familiar with the area, I checked Looloo for some recommendations. There were a bunch of Filipino restaurants in the list but the one that caught my attention was Spanglish.
Aside from the high rating, one of my schoolmates reviewed it too saying that it’s a gem in Clark. Convinced, we headed to the Mexican restaurant.
The complex where the restaurant is located looks abandoned with several retail spaces empty. Spanglish was the only area with a lot of customers. And we were lucky to get the last table inside the restaurant. (It was super hot that day!)

We decided to order the following: Chips and Salsa (PHP150), Chicken Quesadilla (PHP310), and Chimichanga Plate with shredded beef (PHP315). R also ordered a glass of House Blend Iced Tea (PHP65) while I got Espresso Triple Thick Milk Shake (PHP240).
First served was R’s iced tea and it was nothing spectacular. I also find it a bit too sweet to quench our thirst.
Chips and salsa was served next and it was quite filling. R and I ate nonstop and after 10 to 15 minutes of munching, the appetizer calmed our grumbling tummies. The pico de gallo was fresh though again, nothing extraordinary.
My Espresso milk shake was dessert and drink combined. It sure was thick and flavorful. I enjoyed it but I need it with a glass of water.

Finally, the mains were served.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

When in Cebu: Crimson Resort and Spa, Mactan

Since it’s Thursday, time for a throwback post! Okay, I just missed out on this entry which truly deserves to be posted.

Hello, Crimson Resort and Spa Mactan! (Whew, that’s a mouthful!)
It was quite a trip from Bantayan Island to Crimson, Mactan. It took us roughly 4 hours just to go back to Cebu City and another 40 minutes or so to Mactan. We were weary from the hot ferry ride and crowded bus trip. And we were famished too since we skipped lunch. But this made us look forward to our stay. True enough, we were so delighted to see our room and the spacious bathroom (which was 6 times bigger than the bathroom in Kota Beach, Bantayan Island).
After freshening up a bit, we decided to head down to the beach area but sadly, it was already closed. So we just took a quick dip in the crowded pool (there was a Korean-Chinese event during our stay and the resort was PACKED).
While lounging, our tummies reminded us that we haven’t had a meal since 10am. And since it was happy hour, R and I ordered Mango Shake (I recall it was around PHP150 per glass) and a plate of Tuna Tataki (PHP220).
The mango shake was sour. Perhaps it was no longer in season. We also noticed the shortage of buko in the island. Bananas too! We heard that a huge company bought most of these fruits hence the shortage.