Thursday, March 31, 2016

Love at First Bite: Cafe Shibuya

R and I had a few errands to do before the long weekend last week and to cap the tiring day, we opted to have dinner at this quaint restaurant right across SM Hypermart in SM North Edsa.

Hello, Cafe Shibuya!
I spotted Cafe Shibuya while waiting in line for the cashier at the supermarket.The brightly lit place had a very charming ambiance which appealed to me. So when R asked where I want to have dinner, I pointed the bakery looking shop. It was perfect as we were too tired to head elsewhere. After paying for our groceries, we went straight across and sat on the chairs outside the restaurant while signalling the server for menu. 
Peter, the friendly server told us that it is better to eat inside. We pointed out that we have a shopping cart which will obstruct the space between the dining tables.But he assured us that it was fine and began to pushed the cart inside and positioned it near the counter. He then served water right after taking care of our cart. Talk about great first impression!
We checked the menu and decided to go with Honey Lemongrass Chops (PHP295), Fish and Chips (PHP175) and Pink Passion (PHP85).

Service was fast too. Our drink was served in less than 5 minutes and our food soon followed. I was amazed!
Pink Passion was bubbly and slightly tangy. I loved that it wasn't too sweet and that it actually quenched my thirst. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

First Sip: Baguio Craft Brewery

Visiting Baguio is always fun. Aside from the cool and fresher than Manila breeze (sad that I have to make it relative as Baguio is turning into another Manila with its crazy traffic and trash problems), I love that I get to disconnect from everything. Yes, disconnect because I literally have no signal at R’s rest house. 

On my birthday weekend, we were crazy enough to head to Baguio during Panagbenga Flower Festival. But it wasn’t totally a crazy idea as traffic wasn’t that bad going to the land of strawberries and ube jam. It wasn’t even traffic in the city. Then again, must visit restaurants like Café by the Ruins are packed. *cries*
R2 happened to be in Baguio too that weekend as Grab had a GrabHorse promo in Burnham Park. We arranged to meet up on our last night there and R2 recommended Baguio Craft Brewery.

We agreed to meet up at the brewery around 10 p.m. and when we got there, R2 was nowhere to be found. Apparently, he was still around Hill Station that time.
While waiting for R2, R and I opted to get a glass of beer each. I went with Lagud (PHP170) while R got Rolling Fog (PHP170). 
If you're tired, you might not enjoy this place as there are very limited seats inside. There are only about 10 uncomforatble bar stools inside. I guess the owners do not want people lingering around.

After a few minutes, our drinks arrived. 
Lagud (5.04% ABV and 20 IBU), which is a strawberry flavored beer, tasted like beer with syrup. I felt that there was absolutely no harmony between the natural bitterness of beer and the sweetness of strawberries

Monday, March 28, 2016

Love at First Bite: Melt Grilled Cheesery

It has been a few days ago when I saw Chessie T’s review on Melt Grilled Cheesery and I have been pestering R ever since. I would call out his name and when he looks, I would say, in my most whiny voice, Meeeeelt~ And after a few days of being adorably annoying (or maybe scratch adorable as I was just plain annoying according to the recipient of my puppy eyes), he finally gave in.

Hello, Melt Grilled Cheesery!
Tagged as the cheese lovers heaven, this restaurant sure knows how to attract foodies like me. Cheese on almost everything turned me into a fly lured by light. 
We arrived around 7 p.m. and the place was quite empty with only two other tables occupied. 

After browsing the menu and struggling to limit my order, R and I settled with Tomato Soup (PHP185), Mushroom Truffle (PHP300) with additional Parma Ham (PHP160), Big Buff (PHP395) and The Dulce de Leche Cheesecake (PHP235). 
We sat farthest the open kitchen and watched the crew prepare some dishes for other tables and perhaps ours too.

After a few minutes, the server approached us and mentioned that they do not have enough parma ham for one order and that the chef we talked to will just give us the few left for free. Yay for free parma ham!
In about 5 minutes, our tomato soup was served.
I loved the consistency of this soup. It was thick but not too heavy. It had a nice tangy tomato taste and the grilled cheese croutons made the dish even more delectable. Gooey cheese on my piping hot soup! 

R's mushroom truffle pasta was served next and it was soon followed by the parma ham.
The serving size of the parma ham made us realize why they hesitated to charge us. It was indeed too small to be priced at PHP160.
But those bits of toasted parma ham made the the dish so much better. It balanced the creaminess of the mushroom truffle sauce and it complemented the parmesan cheese. It also added texture to the soft pasta. Ordering additional parma ham is not a bad move at all even if it will cost you PHP460 total for the dish.

Last savory dish served was Big Buff. The chef we talked to actually recommended The Classic Melt (PHP265) since it is lighter and it is also his personal favorite. But the chicken lover in me won and I went with what I really want to try. And I sort of regretted it.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

First Bite: Love Shack

Sunday means rest day for most but it is the day I do most of my errands. I sweep, wash and do grocery on the last day of my weekly two-day break. I usually start the week tired because of this. But thanks to R, it was a Sunday well-spent. And we even went out for dinner and tried Love Shack.
Hello, Love Shack!

I have been eying this restaurant for more than a year now. As a sucker for anything with the word “love” in it, this burger joint caught my attention. But I am always on my errand mode whenever I visit SM Aura so I never get to visit this place sooner. So when R asked me where to eat, I suggested we try Love Shack.

The restaurant had a few diners when we arrived. Ambiance is cozy and warm with its wooden furniture and predominantly brown interiors.

Since we were not really hungry, R and I opted to just share a meal. We got Overtime Burger with Umami Beef (PHP260), Mushroom Soup (PHP100) and Toasted Marshmallow Soft Ice Cream with Graham Cookie Crust (PHP170).
First served was the mushroom soup which had a darker color than I expected. It wasn’t thick too. I guess I was wrong to expect such as the menu didn’t state that it was cream of mushroom.
It actually tasted good. It had a nice taste of shiitake mushroom. It was a tad salty though but it was balanced out by the complimentary slice of bread.
We were still finishing our soup when the burger arrived. It came with a generous serving of fat fries and small bowl of ketchup.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Gone Too Soon: Poulet Manille

The deep blue interiors of this organic chicken place caught my interest when it opened in SM Aura. But I hardly see diners whenever I pass by the place. It made me think if the food’s not worth it. It could be either mediocre or expensive food. But after reading a few reviews and seeing the menu, I felt that I have to visit this place. Truffle chicken at less than PHP500 with 4 side dishes? Not bad at all.
Hello, Poulet Manille.
We got to the place around 6:30 pm and the place was empty as usual. We sat down and ordered Poulet’s Truffle Chicken (PHP498, half | PHP798, whole) with Fragrant Jasmine Rice and Creamy MashedPotatoes for sides, Cream of Wild Spinach as additional side dish, Norwegian King Salmon (PHP690) and Watermelon Ginger (PHP125).

No, you are not counting wrong. They lessened the sides per order (from four to two for a half order) and made the price steeper. (Insert frowning face here.)
Service was quick though and after a couple of minutes, my mom’s Watermelon Ginger was served.
It had a refreshing and slightly sweet taste of watermelon. The bits of ginger made it even more interesting and in a way, rejuvenating.
The mains were served soon after.
The Norwegian salmon was delectable. By just looking at it, you could tell that it is a good dish. It was soft and juicy with the outer part having a light crunch. It was on the salty side but it was well complemented by the spinach and lemon risotto. It had that nice tangy flavor that is best paired with seafood like salmon.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Love at First Bite: Hobing Korean Dessert Café

It’s the time to sweat bullets and feel so icky after walking a couple of blocks. It is also the time to have that insatiable desire for anything cold. Oh yes, summer is here. As a person who is not exactly fond of summer, the only thing I look forward to this season is having a convenient reason to have a cold treat or two on a daily basis. And yes, one of the rewards I look forward to is bingsu. Finely shaved milk ice topped with delectable fruits and other sweets… what’s not to love? The best part? More and more players are popping here and there giving us foodies a wider variety of toppings.  One of the new players in the market is Hobing.
Hello, Hobing!

After a filling dinner at Melo’s, R and I decided to walk towards BGC Stopover to visit this new bingsu place for dessert.
The place was packed when we got there around 8:30 p.m. With only one empty table available, we hurriedly ordereStrawberry Bingsu (PHP215, small | PHP330, large) with ice cream as topping instead of whipped cream at no additional cost. (We feel that ice cream is more value for money than whipped cream.) 
Our bingsu arrived after 20 minutes. Quite a long wait but understandable given the crowd and we were still full from our steak dinner.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Steak Night: Melo's Home of Certified Angus Beef

It has been months since I purchased my Deal Grocer vouchers for Melo’s Foie Gras and Steak Set and finally, R and I were able to use it one Friday.
Hello, Melo’s.
I don’t exactly remember the last time I dined in Melo’s but it must have been more than a decade ago. All I know is that this is one of the established steak places in Manila. So when I saw a good deal in Deal Grocer, I nabbed the chance to enjoy a foie gras and steak set for only PHP999.
I made a reservation for two at 7 p.m. and when I got there 10 minutes earlier, the place was empty. Well, there was a table occupied outside but there were no other diners around. To think that it was Friday and pay day, it made me realize why Melo’s was offering this irresistible deal.
I asked the server to prepare our steaks 15 minutes before R arrives. While waiting, I was given some soft buns and butter.

Friday, March 18, 2016

First Bite: Ebeneezers

Checking looloo has been part of my daily routine for months now. I get to discover new restaurants through the app. It is making me fat and poor but happy. And just last night, I went to this new restaurant by the brilliant minds behind Lulu (now Catch) and Hooch.

Hello, Ebeneezers!
I have read a few reviews about this place and all are positive. Food's not that expensive so it definitely caught my attention. And when R and I walked home from Melo's one night, I made a mental note to visit this place soon. And I did last night.
I never noticed this place to be beside Shangri-La at Fort. It must be because of the chaotic view of construction. But if you're walking towards Burgos Circle, it's hard to miss this place with its neon signage.
Since I was still stuffed with my heavy lunch, I just opted to get Ebeneezer's Mezze (PHP188) and a glass of Rose Cooler (PHP150). 
Service was quick and my meal was served in less than 5 minutes. 
The Mezze was served on a take out box with foil lining. One order comes with grilled pita (which I asked to be soft), marinated olives, roasted eggplant baba ghanoush and hummus

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Second Bite: Morganfield's Home of Sticky Bones

Birthday is meant to be the perfect reason to pig out and I decided to pig out in Morganfield’s to celebrate my special day.

Hello again, Morganfield’s.
I was lucky to win Morganfield’s sticky money from a looloo contest and I figured that I could use it to treat my family and R to this place on my birthday.

I heard that Morganfield’s sausages are superb so we got the Pork Sausage Platter (PHP465). We also ordered Chili Cheese Fries (PHP195), Hickory BBQ Spare Ribs (PHP750, half slab | PHP1,395, full slab), Chicken Roulade (PHP595) and Loaded Baked Potato (PHP125). For drinks, we got Begonia (PHP175) and Berry Easy (PHP195). 

First served were our drinks Begonia and Berry Easy.

Berry Easy (made with black grapes, blackberries, strawberries and pureed berries) was too sweet for my liking but my mom loved it. I prefer Bregonia which had chunks of kiwi, strawberries and lime in lemon lime soda with passion fruit syrup. It had a nice bubbly and refreshing taste.
Served next was the Chili Cheese Fries and I fell in love with... the cheesy part of the fries. Not all were drizzled with melted cheese and bacon bits and I wasn't really crazy over the chili con carne. But the baked fries were definitely delectable and serving size was good for sharing.
The Pork Sausage Platter was served next. The platter comes with spicy devil, smoky bandit, herby hog and chewy cheese. All four sausages taste awesome! All were juicy and flavorful. Each one can be enjoyed as is but putting some homemade garlic aioli makes the sausages even better. The spicy devil was just mildly spiced so I didn’t find it hard to eat. The chewy cheese and smoky bandit were my favorites! The sausages went really well with fries too!
I liked chicken roulade as well. It was flavorful yet not overpowering.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Love at First Bite: SaladStop!

Despite my lack of interest in blah healthy food, I love munching on crisp greens. I make sure to hoard lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber and the like whenever I visit Baguio as enjoying salad here in Manila can be very expensive. Most restaurants serve salads with outrageous price tags that make you ask if there's gold in it. I tend to veer away from ordering overpriced salad but I gave in last Friday when my colleagues went to...

I have read a lot of great reviews about this place but the PHP250-PHP350 per bowl price seems to be too steep for lunch especially when I'm used to just spending... practically nothing as I bring packed lunch. But since it was payday Friday, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to treat myself a nice and healthy meal.
I got myself a bowl of Big Bird (PHP350) with Ranch dressing.

Serving size was huge! The bowl was filled to the rim with Romaine lettuce, smoked turkey, avocado, celery, green apples, and red grapes. It was definitely good for sharing or you could split it to two meals. I opted to do the latter.
Instead of mixing the dressing with the salad, I simply dipped the greens in the ranch dressing.