Thursday, June 30, 2016

First Bite: Mrs. Graham Macaron Café

Our dinner at Eighteen Bistro was quite heavy. But there is always space in the tummy for desserts! Since Mrs. Graham’s Macaron Café is just beside the bistro, R and I decided to visit the quaint little shop. 

Hello, Mrs. Graham’s Macaron Café!
The interiors of this café is so charming. The white rustic tables and chairs, windows with dainty decals and mouthwatering sweets, this place is to die for! 
R and I decided to go with Bittersweet and Cookie Dough macarons (PHP70/piece), Toasted Marshmallow Milkshake (PHP160) and Cookie Shot (PHP74). 
While waiting for our food, we took some board and card games from the game corner of Mrs. Graham’s. We started with Monopoly Deal Millionaires’ Edition.
We were busy dealing the cards when the macarons arrived. 

The bittersweet macaron was delightful. It was the perfect macaron for dark chocolate lovers. It was not exactly bitter but it was dark. I also loved the slight chewiness of the macaron.
The cookie dough was fatter and sweeter than bittersweet. The ganache reminded me of peanut butter (but without it being cloying) for some reason. This would go well with tea or coffee. 
R’s Toasted Marshmallow Milkshake was a bit of a surprise. We were expecting rich brown marshmallows. Instead, we got black marshmallows. I know that once you go black, you can’t go back. But I don’t know with this one. I even asked the server if it was meant to be black than brown. She insisted that it is how they prepare it. We just let it be and R just avoided the black parts. It sure made me wonder though how they define burnt if toasted is black.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Promo Alert: Unlimited Deals this Week

Hungry but on a budget? Good news! There are a bunch of promos that could solve that problem!


If you are a fan of pasta or Papa John’s, then this promo is made for you!
You also get two slices of pizza per order of unlimited pasta! Sweet!!!

Chicken or pork lover? Then why don’t you indulge in a kebab or two? Or how about a hundred? Yes, you can get it for less than PHP300!
Don't mind the date. They announced that they extended the promo till end of June. 

You like more sophisticated dishes? Cibo’s offer might be the one for you.
Order any from Cibo’s Piatti Di Marghi menu and you can get unlimited serving of dip, soup or panna cotta of your choice! (I'd get panna cotta!)

This Cibo deal is available in its Shangri-La Plaza and Promenade, Greenhills branches. 

NOTE: Hurry! These awesome deals end tomorrow!!!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

First Bite: Eighteen Bistro

I had no idea that Friday traffic would be this crazy. I had to rush from Greenhills to Tomas Morato before 6 p.m. but I failed. Hence, I had to go back to Tomas Morato the following day to complete my task. And I’m not complaining from working on weekends when I get rewarded with food. After all, Tomas Morato is a foodie destination and thanks to the ever trusty foodie app, looloo, I found out that three restaurants on my must visit list are just a couple of blocks away. And for stop #1, R and I went to Eighteen Bistro.

Hello, Eighteen Bistro!
I have been eying this restaurant ever since I saw a post or two of its PHP18 cocktails on Facebook. I’m not an alcoholic. I just love scoring great deals!
We got to the place around 5:45 p.m. and the place was empty. We ordered Tomato Cream Soup (PHP180), Beef Bourguignon (PHP350) and Spicy Portobello and Cream Cheese (PHP310). We also wanted to avail of the PHP18 cocktails but the bistro was quite strict with the deal and we could only order when the clock strike 6:00. And so we waited. 
The tomato soup, despite its description of being a slow cooked stew, was served fast! (Okay, corny joke.)
It was served piping hot but it had a stench that R negatively reacted to. The server said that it must be the balsamic vinegar. But R felt that it was something else, like a poorly dried dishwashing towel or something.  Despite the smell, the soup was delightful.

It had a thick texture and I loved the sweet yet tangy taste of it. It was like slurping spaghetti sauce with a borderline Filipino and Italian blend. The toasted baguette with cheese was a nice touch.
The slow braised beef in red wine with potato terrine on the side was also good. The meat was succulent

Monday, June 27, 2016

First BIte: Uma Uma!

After getting a few sips from my Aphrodisiac drink from Horse's Mouth, I moved to Uma Uma's bright dining area for some yummy treats. 

The interiors of this area is different from Horse's Mouth. It was a lot warmer and brighter. They made use of lighter colored wood and it had a stronger Japanese vibe to it.
After a few minutes, A arrived and we ordered the Uma Uma Ramen (PHP360) and One-Bite Gyoza (PHP140). A also asked for House Tea but he was informed that there is a PHP35 charge per glass. 
While waiting, A mentioned that he's curious with "Hakata-Style." I told him that it must be referring to the area in Fukuoka called Hakata. Perhaps it originated there. Not really sure as I'm just after the food and I don't really care where the food comes from or what cooking style was used as long as it's good food! *uncultured foodie*

Friday, June 24, 2016

First Sip: Horse's Mouth at Uma Uma!

I have been seeing a handful of reviews about this new ramen player in town and it sure made me so curious! I wanted to try it ASAP but the location of this restaurant made me hesitate. Then again, the food gods love me. I got invited to attend this Lifestyle Asia Thanksgiving dinner at Sofitel and I saw this as an opportunity to drop by Uma Uma. 

Hello, Uma Uma! 
Located at the second floor of the new and posh S Maison of Conrad Manila, it was sandwiched between Chibo Okonomiyaki and Rossini
I entered from the outside door so the first thing I saw was the ramen joint's bar called Horse's Mouth. The interiors were dark with an interesting Japanese painting decorating the dark wooden wall.
I browsed through the cocktail list of the bar and noticed that the drinks are not cheap at all. Most are over PHP300 with a few under it. Clueless of what to order, I decided to ask the barista who happens to be one of the owners, I think. 
He suggested a few drinks but I was sold with Aphrodisiac (PHP360) which he mentioned to be the most photogenic and refreshing. 
Also, the alcohol level isn't that high, making it the perfect pre-event drink. I gave it a go and it was prepared right away! 
I must say, the drink was pretty good. 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

New Restaurant Alert: TenRen's Tea

New restaurants, cafés or whathaveyou attract me like fly to light. I just have to go nearer… and nearer… and… *bite/slurp* Well, okay, I have to order first and pay before I devour whatever I chose. Anyway, the point is, I simply could not resist new places especially if these places offer food or drinks. I am actually practicing intense self control not to go to S Maison to try the new restaurants there as I wanted to go with the awesome looloo group. So to distract myself, I headed to Greenhills and went to the new tea shop TenRen’s Tea. 

Hello, TenRen’s Tea!
I got lost finding this place. I saw the wrong and incomplete addresses in my food apps so it took me a while to get here. (By the way, it is on the second floor of the Promenade Mall, quite near Gourdo’s and on top of Starbucks.) 
The shop was empty at 3:30 p.m. and the server near the door gave me a free sample of their bestseller 913 King’s Oolong Milk Tea (PHP100). I liked it so I went with that one but with 50% sugar level and with pearls (additional PHP10) as I wanted to chew on something. 
The wait wasn’t that long as I was the only customer then. It took them 2 minutes to prepare my drink and it was ample time for me to take a few snapshots of the place for “documentation.” While waiting, I noticed that they did not design the place for people to linger around. There are only two tall tables and 3-4 stools each. There are no power outlets or washroom inside the shop as well. Oh, and it was hot inside! 
I guess, it really is just designed for take out and the store is to showcase its various teas. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

First Bite: Bondi & Bourke

I have been eying Bondi & Bourke for several months now. I have read countless reviews about this Australian steak place and all claim that the succulent slabs of meat are worth fighting for...against the unforgiving Makati traffic. But Makati is a strange and far land, or so on weeknights for me. To cut things short, I never had the chance to visit. Till last Friday night.

Hello, Bondi & Bourke

Thank you for opening a BGC branch. You made me so happy! 
I met up with some of my favorite looloo foodies at Melt, their second stop (third for C) that day. After our impulsive Flatiron visit to try the raved about Coffee Pie (PHP220), we headed to Bondi & Bourke for a heavy dinner. (J had to rush to Makati and R had to meet up with her boyfriend and left us alone with our steak night dream.)

While waiting for A to return after parking his car, we ordered a bowl of Garlic Fries (PHP95). I was absolutely famished when it arrived as it was already past 8 then. 
The fries were served in 10 minutes and though the fries were thick and crispy, the garlic powder was not spread evenly. Some fries were too garlicky while some were bland. 

To rightfully utter "Thank God it's Friday," we also ordered Australian Prime Rib Eye Steak (PHP2,190), Truffled Crab Carbonara (PHP630) and Chocolate Lamingtons (PHP145). A also ordered a bottle of red wine Crackerjack River (PHP1,000/bottle). 
The pasta arrived first and it was delightful. The noodles were al dente and the truffle taste was strong enough to be appreciated. 
The sauce was flavorful yet not overwhelming. It was one of my favorites that night. I only have one concern though... I could barely taste the crab meat. 

The rib eye steak arrived after 10 minutes or so and T was just in time for it! (We were already done taking photos when she arrived.)
With high expectations, we each took a morsel of meat and popped it inside our mouths. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Gino's Brick Oven Pizza

One thing I dislike with new work is that I have to prepare and accomplish all these pre-employment requirements. I had to have my photo taken, fill out several government and company forms and take a physical exam. The hassle of doing all those motivate me to stay in a company as long as I could (till I see a better opportunity or something like it). But thanks to the hassle of going to a mall to have my photo taken, I got to have dinner with my former officemates, A1 and A2. Since we were near Serendra, we opted to have dinner at Gino’s Brick Oven Pizza.
Hello, Gino’s Brick Oven Pizza! Long time no taste!

We easily got a table with couch seats as the place was just half full at 7:30 p.m..
We ordered Sausage Pizza (PHP330) and Carbonara (PHP220). We also ordered a pitcher of Iced Tea (PHP125).  

Service was quick. Our drinks were served in 5 minutes and our dishes came after 10-15 minutes. 

The serving size of both dishes are good for two to three and it was perfect for our group.
The pasta was al dente and the creamy sauce was not cloying. The serving of bacon bits was a bit stingy but each forkful was still packed with flavor. 

Monday, June 20, 2016

First Bite: IHOP

I have never tried IHOP here in Manila for two reasons, crowd and bad first impression. I tried IHOP in the US and everything I ordered were too salty or too oily. It made me wonder how this breakfast joint became so popular (even to Filipinos). But I guess there's no avoiding IHOP when P invites you while you're on a Sakura vacation. I immediately replied GAME when she mentioned IHOP. IHOP, we are meant to enjoy each other's company. 
Aaaaaand... I was late. I was trying to avoid Uber surge that morning but I eventually gave in with 1.2 surge as I was really running late. And to make things worse, I didn't know that 9th Avenue (or was it 7th) was closed for an event. Almost everyone was there when I arrived. 

After a few catching up and sharing our food finds, we eventually ordered. 
First served was my Splashberry (PHP175) drink. It was so refreshing and I loved that there were whole strawberries inside!!! Yum! The fizz from the lemon-lime soda and the sweetness of orange juice made this drink the top choice to beat the summer heat! Pricey? Well, did I mention that it was refillable? WE HAVE A WINNER HERE!!! 🏅

We also got to try some of IHOP's LTO (limited time offers) for lunch! We had Southern Fried Chicken (PHP195, one piece | PHP295, two pieces) and IHOP Tacos (PHP125, single | PHP195, double).
First served was the Appetizer Sampler (PHP425) and it was goooood! The sampler comes with giant onion rings, chicken tenders and mozzarella sticks. The mozzarella sticks were a bit on the bland side and lacked the gooeyness great mozzarella sticks have in common. But it was good with the marinara sauce. I liked the chicken tenders more as it was so crunchy on the outside and quite juicy on the inside. It went well with marinara sauce too. The onion rings were great too! I ate 3 rings, I think. I totally ignored the honey mustard sauce as I fell in love with the red dip. 
The Southern Fried Chicken was served next and it was delectable. Simple and straightforward, it's that type of chicken that reminds you of home cooked fried chicken, only better! The skin was so crispy and the meat inside was so juicy. The one we got though had slight red spots which I didn't like. I guess I should request for breast for more white meat. 
The tacos and pretty much everything else were served after. We took advantage of the natural light and scored some nice photos. But it took us long enough for the Banana Hazelnut Crepe (PHP275) to require some retouch. 

Friday, June 17, 2016

Foodie Alert: Starbucks' New Chocolate Black Tea with Earl Grey Jelly Frappuccino

I’m not a fan of Starbucks but I am a fan of freebies. When R scored some free Starbucks from BPI, we decided to use some of his electronic vouchers to avail of some drinks. 

Hello, Starbucks!

It has been weeks since R mentioned that we pass by Starbucks to get some free drinks but we always forget it when we do our errands. It was only yesterday when we finally got to visit the famous mermaid.
The SM Aura branch was packed with only a few seats near the sunny side of the café vacant. 
R went with a Green Tea Frappuccino (PHP185, Venti) while I went with the new Starbucks drink Chocolate Black Tea with Earl Grey Jelly Frappuccino (PHP200, Venti). I was thinking of getting the Double Chocolate Green Tea Frappuccino but decided to just sip from R’s cup for some matcha love.

Service was superb as our drinks were ready as soon as we settled our bill! Talk about lightning fast service!

R’s Green Tea Frappuccino was delightfully sweet with a hint of green tea. The matcha taste wasn’t as strong as I thought. The green color was deceiving. 
My Chocolate Black Tea with Earl Grey Jelly Frappuccino, which I now baptize as CBTEGJF with CBT as its nickname, was pretty good. I loved how the Kenyan tea leaves offset the sweetness of chocolates. The two flavors blended so well. I also liked the touch of chocolate black tea powder on top of the whipped cream. Be careful though with the chocolate Javan chips as it could get stuck in between your teeth. So smile with caution, especially if you’re on a coffee date with your sweetie pie (and you haven’t reached the sweatpants stage of your relationship). 

Click here for a complete list of Starbucks branches.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

First Bite: Flatiron

It was my mom's birthday a few Saturdays ago and we celebrated it at my aunt's place who prepared a seafood feast. Since the feast was for lunch, I invited my mom for a part two celebration at Flatiron. 

Hello, Flatiron
This was my second time visiting this restaurant. I went last week but no dish caught my interest. Also, their bestseller beef brisket was out of stock that time. Luckily, it was available last night. 
We sat at the table with the Uptown Mall fountain as our view. The small lights on top of our table seemed busted and kept on flickering making us dizzy and disoriented. We requested for it to be turned off before one of us pukes or something. They obliged but turned the lights on again after a few seconds. The on and off of lights happened thrice and it made me snap and told them with a very firm voice to turn it off. And they finally did and kept it off throughout our meal. 
We ordered Garlic and Rosemary French Fries (PHP180), Flatiron Beef Brisket (PHP850), Pizzaiola Pasta (PHP395) and Chicken Piccata (PHP450). Since the prices of the drinks are unreasonable, we didn't order any and just had filtered water. 
Our order of fries was served first and it was quite good. It was crisp and dashed with rosemary
It also went really well with the thick garlicky dip. Serving size seemed to be a bit stingy for its price. 

The mains arrived next.