Friday, April 29, 2016

First Bite: Shutter Café

It was already past 1 p.m. when C and I decided to head elsewhere for lunch. We initially planned to wait for J to pick us up to escape the harsh rage of the sun but we were itching to find a new spot and so we booked a cab and headed to Tomas Morato area and visited… Shutter Café. 
Hello, Shutter Café
The place looks so adorable with its display of vintage cameras. The place is divided into the actual camera store and a nook for eating. As a person who is more than satisfied with just my phone’s camera feature, we headed straight to the eating area. 
It was quiet when we went. Only one table with a small group of women learning how to knit was occupied when we got there. 
C and I decided to share our orders and went with Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich (PHP165) and White Sauce Pasta (PHP165). I also got a glass of Lime Basil Lemonade (PHP100). 
I was surprised when they served my drink. It was more of orange brown than greenish yellow. Apparently, it was iced tea which came with the dishes we ordered. The person manning the counter didn’t even bother to tell me that our orders come with drinks. I could have cancelled my Lime Basil Lemonade. (And it was too late of course so that they could use the classic excuse that it was already put in the system hence they couldn’t cancel my unnecessary order.) At least the iced tea was refreshing. 
The Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich was served next and it was not photogenic at all. C and I had a hard time taking photos of this dish and we even walked around looking for the perfect angle/light and failed. 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

First Sip: Yellow Tree Coffee and Tea

With all my friends dieting or hibernating due to the crazy summer heat, I hardly go on food trips myself. *cries* But I knew I was destined to get fatter when the food gods paved the way for me to meet some fun looloo-ers. I heard them planning a Quezon City (Tomas Morato) food trip and I couldn’t help but ask if I could tag along. And since everyone in looloo is friendly, they said yes. Yay!
The first stop of the Quezon City food trip was the adorable The Bunny Baker. I was dying to visit this place as the place looks so pretty and I heard that the sweets are great! But I woke up a bit late and R insisted to drop me to the place. It took a bit long and I missed the first stop and just went straight to the second stop which was…

Yellow Tree Coffee and Tea
The coffee shop was quite small and could only comfortably fit around 15 guests. The menu is similar to most café/milk tea places. Since I couldn’t decide on what I want, I asked for the server’s suggestion. She recommended her personal blend of coffee, bananas and milk. Since I never had a coffee banana drink as the fruit is usually paired with chocolate or peanut butter, I gave it a go. A medium cup costs PHP115. 
After a short while, my drink arrived and it was actually a frappe which I was not really feeling to drink that day. Oh well.
But I was delighted at first sip. It had a nice light taste of coffee and banana. It was not exactly thirst quenching but it was refreshing enough. I tried to avoid the whipped cream as I was never fond of this foamy topping

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

First Bite: Bon Banhmi

I've been planning to visit Landmark for quite some time ever since I saw some posts about this banhmi kiosk and Kumori (which I have already tried thanks to the long weekend). But given the horrible traffic, my plan never materialized until when I had to source for showroom merchandise.
Hello, Bon Banhmi

It's hard to miss this as several directional pull up banners are placed everywhere. There are banners near the escalator, right before the entrance door of the mall and even the passageway to Glorietta. But... I missed it and ended up circling around and checking |ooloo for clues. 

After a few minutes, I found it! Yay!
But my enthusiasm was not reciprocated by the server who seemed to be having a serious dilemma or struggling with her monthly visitor. Anyhoo, I ordered a Traditional Banhmi (PHP119, medium | PHP134, large). 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Love at First Bite: Dohtonbori

Thanks to the mouthwatering photos I see here, I had a few sleepless nights and experienced intense FOMO (oh yeah! I feel like a millennial) when looloo held a rendezvoos in this popular okonomiyaki restaurant along Missouri Street. And after months of drooling and waiting and more drooling, I have finally set foot inside... DOHTONBORI!!! 
PON POKO PON NO PON!!! (Did I get it right?) 
We were asked if we would like to dine in the tatami mat area and I immediately said YES. Let's eat Japanese style! Woohoo!!!
Water was served right after we sat down. (Plus points for that as the heat was too much!)
After browsing the menu, we settled with Deluxe Okonomiyaki (PHP360), Kalbi Yakiniku (PHP280) and Grilled Salmon Chanchan (PHP380).
The kale yakiniku was served first and the server prepared it for us due to our fear that we'll mess things up if we do the grilling and flipping. In less than 10 minutes, the kalbi yakiniku was ready to be enjoyed. 
It was good. Tender beef with lovely sweet sauce. However, it was a bit on the bland side. 
The deluxe okonomiyaki and salmon chanchan were prepared next and it took longer than the yakiniku

Monday, April 25, 2016

Love at First Bite: Balai Pandesal

I love pandesal. It is one of the reasons why I’m a morning person. Nothing beats enjoying freshly baked pandesal in the morning paired with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate. I am perfectly happy with Pan de Manila or Pan de Amerikana. There is also this bakeshop in Manila (as in Lungsod ng Maynila) that serves pretty good mini pandesal which I really love. It has this nice faint sweet taste that is simply addicting. But I only get to enjoy it when my aunt visits; which is very seldom. Then I saw Balai Pandesal. 
Hello, Balai Pandesal!

I have been seeing a few reviews raving about this place. But the bakeshop locations I saw were not exactly near my area hence I was not really curious to try it. But it was fate for me to have this for breakfast when I saw it in San Juan during my food trip just last weekend.
I decided to buy a couple of Small Pandesal (PHP3.50 per piece while large ones are PHP7.00 per piece) and Toasted Siopao (PHP9.00 per piece). I didn’t buy much as I just bought a box of diced hopia from Baker’s Fair the day before. 

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Hong Kong Local Night: Noodle Soup

I forgot how frustrating it is to travel in Hong Kong. The language barrier was so high especially in small hole in the wall restaurants. I felt it even more during my most recent visit as R and I went to more small shops for that local vibe. And one of the restaurants we visited was... 
This restaurant. Sorry, (I can't read Chinese.)

The place was packed when we arrived so we assumed that the food served here is spectacular or bang for the buck. 

There was one table vacant when we got there. Since the sole server was busy cleaning and serving food to other customers, she hastily handed to us the menu in Chinese. Though R could read Chinese, he wasn't too familiar with it too. He was able to pick up the words beef, chicken, pork and the like but some were too confusing. 

When we asked for the server's attention for help, she misunderstood it for us being ready to order. Since she was still very busy, she handed a piece of paper and pen for us to jot down our orders. We cracked up! R's shocked face was just too funny. 

The server noticed that we were so puzzled and eventually handed an English menu. (Apparently, we just wasted brain cells.)

With a menu we could read with ease,we ordered Beef Noodles and Wonton Noodles (both at HKD20). 

Our piping hot bowls were served in less than 5 minutes. 
Both look pretty much the same except R's had beef while mine had wonton. The soup base, noodles and vegetables included were all the same. 
I must say, R's bowl was pretty good. It had richer flavors. The strips of beef were pretty good too for the price. My wonton noodle soup was delicious too though its flavors were not as rich.
It was fun to experience Hong Kong like a local. But I think I need to learn the language first. 

This restaurant is near Canal Road and just 5 minutes from Best Western Hotel, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong.

Friday, April 22, 2016

First Sip (and Bite): Backyard Coffee

My foodie college friends and I decided to roam around San Juan and pig out. We had a game plan ready. Sadly, a few of the stops on our list were closed as it was a Sunday. I was running late (thanks to the crazy Uber surge) and my friends were getting hungry. They then decided to go to a coffee shop nearby named Backyard Coffee.

Hello, Backyard Coffee
The coffee shop was quite full at 10:30 a.m. with studious youngsters. It was actually pretty quiet there and seemed perfect for those group studies. For a coffee shop, I didn’t get a whiff of coffee beans. 🤔
I approached the counter and read the menu. Since we plan to have around four to five stops, I decided to just have a Grillled Cheese Sandwich (PHP200) and a cup of Cappuccino (PHP120). I had to call the server for my order who was just sitting and texting or tinkering with his gadget. After placing my order, I asked if I have to pay there and he said yes and that was pretty much it. He didn’t even repeat my order or tell me how much I have to pay. Yes, it was just simple math but isn’t that some sort of SOP? In short, customer service sucks! 
At least my cup of coffee and sandwich arrived in less than 10 minutes. 
My cup of cappuccino had a light taste. I feel like I was drinking half a foam of milk. I was only able to gulp down the slightly bitter coffee when my cup was almost half empty. Nonetheless, it was a good drink if that’s the first thing you’ll drink in the morning. My tummy didn’t hurt at all! 
The Grilled Cheese Sandwich was something else though. I loved it!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

First Sip: Sap Juicery

I have been pigging out like crazy for the past weeks and not working out helps keep the fats stored in undesirable places. And now that I now work closer to several malls, it'll be even harder not to eat out. Thanks to some stores that specialize in healthy and detox treats, I might be able to avoid a few pounds. *crosses fingers*
I have read about Sap these past months and it caught my interest as I have a thing for juices. (R makes fun of it though as he could not understand why I spend so much when I could just buy a fresh fruit and eat it as is.) I actually saw the Sap kiosk at SM Aura last year when I tried Yakitori One but I was in a hurry because I wasn't feeling well then. But I couldn't let it pass twice so when I had lunch at the kinda pricey food court, I got myself a bottle. 
The server suggested that I get G1 (PHP185) which is a combination of pineapple, apple, kale, cucumber, spinach and organic cane. Since I'm a Sap newbie, I gave in. 

After paying and getting my bottle, I noticed that there are cheaper drinks such as the organic cane and smoothies! Price difference was around PHP25-65! Some are even less than half the price of what I got. It made me feel a bit of regret not seeing it (and my wallet uttered "ouchie") but I just hoped that it tastes good and worth the price I paid. 

Good news, it's actually a good drink. It was sweet and went well with my meal. Bad news, it was a bit too sweet (and it made me wonder if I'm really drinking something healthy). It is not an ideal drink when having desserts

Overall, it was still an a-okay beverage. I'll probably try the other more affordable drinks next time. 

Sap is located at Food on Four, 4th Floor, SM Aura Premier, McKinley Parkway, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City. Sap also has a branch opening soon in NAIA Terminal 3 across Wendy's.

Sap Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Beat the Heat with Carousel Creamery Handcrafted Ice Cream 101 Flavors

Several reviews have been raving about Carousel Creamery's delightful customer service. They are also very active and interactive online and today was not an exemption.
Hello, Carousel Creamery! I NEED YOU! Save me from melting!!!
The crazy heat makes me picture the sun with a smirk on its face while looking down at us while we desperately look for ways to cool down. One of the quickest ways I could think of is to buy ice cream
After a great lunch at Dohtonbori, we decided to get some cold treats at the well loved ice cream parlor. And when we got there, the place was packed with other melting human beings. 
The order system seemed to have changed as we didn't have to pay first before sampling some flavors. There were also no tokens given. The cashier also told me to just approach any of the servers when I have decided on what I would like to order. 
I roamed around and squeezed my way from one display chest to another and sampled a few flavors namely--mango sorbet, green mango and a few more I could not remember the names but the tastes were a bit too sweet and heavy hence the reason why I didn't get those flavors. The mango sorbet was pretty good as it had a refreshing flavor. The green mango was a tangier version of mango sorbet but I was not in the mood for anything sour. I then asked for a flavor that has a nice light taste yet refreshing... and weird. He quickly recommended Olive and Basil. Weird enough. Game!
I sampled it and true enough, it had a nice light taste and it tasted weird at first. (It had a tinge of herby taste and it reminded K of pesto.) But I eventually grew fond of it. I found the one out of 101 flavors! 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Love at First Bite: Peperoni Pizzeria

Buy One, Take One. Those four words are just too appealing when used in the same phrase for a promo. 

I have been reading a lot of good reviews about Peperoni, a newly opened pizzeria in Uptown Mall. It being featured on the looloo blog as one of the must visit restaurants of pizza lovers made me want to visit sooner!
It was perfect that J wanted to get his "pabili" from Japan as soon as possible and since dinner's on him, I requested that we visit the new pizzeria a lot of foodies have been raving about. 

We went on the last day of the grand opening promo and the place was packed at 7:30 p.m. We were lucky though as the long communal table was not yet full and could accommodate us.
We were greeted by several bright colored metal chairs and an adorable witty lighted signage. The ceiling was also adorned with pizza paddles. (And a big plus about this place is that there are noticeably less flies flying around here compared to other establishments.)
After browsing through the menu, we decided to go with Pancetta and Prosciutto Crudo de Parma (PHP395, 9" pizza | PHP565, 12" pizza | PHP1,250, 21" pizza). Prices for the pizza are not bad at all! I checked the other dishes and some are reasonably priced. Some appetizers like soup though are a bit steep at PHP200. Then again, I do not know the serving sizes of these dishes. 

Service was quick! Our pizzas were served in less than 15 minutes. 
I took a slice of the Prosciutto Crudo de Parma pizza first and it sure tested my determination to eat. The knives were too dull to slice the prosciutto topping and it was the spoon that did the job.