Tuesday, January 31, 2017

First Bite: Outré

I have been curious about Outré for the longest time. Photos of the ice cream store's vandalized walls and the overflowing scoops of liquid nitrogen gelato made me drool like a St. Bernard. But its two branches are a bit too far from me and just thinking about the traffic makes me cringe. And so I made sure to include Outré as one of our stops when we went to Aguirre for a food crawl.

Hello, Outré
The place was empty when we got there around 3:30 pm on a drizzling Sunday afternoon. 
I quickly ordered the Milo Dinosaur Gelato (PHP160) while K went with Dulce de Leche Gelato (PHP150). 
It was fun watching them prepare our gelato. The smoky/fog effect never fails to entertain me.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Second Sip: Craft Coffee Revolution

My mom is a big fan of Craft Coffee Revolution ever since she tasted this third wave coffee shop’s cakes. I only had its cappuccino on my first visit and I wasn’t exactly impressed. But since my mom was craving for its sansrival cake, we found ourselves having afternoon snack at my mom’s favorite café.

Hello, Craft Coffee Revolution!
My mom quickly ordered a slice of Macadamia Sansrival (PHP170) while I ordered Flat White (PHP140). My sister didn’t order any as she was not in the mood for cakes and wasn’t fond of coffee from cafés as she find it too strong for her liking. 
My mom’s cake was served first and it was… just okay for me. It wasn’t sweet so I guess that’s why my mom liked it. It had a light taste and it was not overly buttery making me feel less guilty for having a few bites. There was a relatively generous sprinkle of macadamia bits and that is probably the reason why a slice is a bit expensive. 

Friday, January 27, 2017

New Food Park Alert: The Food Haven at 77

Filipinos love to eat and that pretty much explain why more and more new restaurants and food parks open almost on a daily basis. Though I’m not exactly a fan of food parks as more often than not, the food in these places are just so-so, I had to take back what I said countless times when I visited The Food Haven at 77. 

Hello, The Food Haven at 77!
This spacious two-storey house turned food park is one of the latest Kapitolyo gems worth visiting. Unlike other food parks, this one has ample parking space and the main dining area has A/C units in full blast to beat the never ending Manila heat. 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

First Sip: Magnum Opus

My college friends and I have been planning to visit Aguirre for the longest time but it always get cancelled, moved or totally changed to another location. But it finally happened! Today is an Aguirre food trip. 
Our first stop was Bread and Botany but it didn't leave much of an impression. And honestly, I was disappointed. The only good thing I got from it was that it is beside Magnum Opus, a well-loved coffee shop along the popular food street. 

Hello, Magnum Opus

I went straight to the menu as soon as I set foot. Well, the place is pretty small too so you'll hit the counter as soon as you open the door. 
I went with the famous Belgian Heartbreaker (PHP175) as I have been reading and hearing a lot of good reviews about it so I was excited with my cup.
I was surprised that it was served on a 9 ounce glass without handle. "How will I hold it?" Or so what I thought. But it was lukewarm. And I doubt that it was because I took a few snapshots of it. It was less than a minute. 
I took the first sip and... it was okay. The Belgian chocolate taste was evident but not too strong. It wasn't as sweet as I thought as it had espresso in it. Overall, it was good, but not as good as I thought. It was very similar to the mocha drink I whip up at home and it does not cost me more than PHP50 to make a giant cup of it. 
Iced Belgian Chocolate
Would I go back? Not anytime soon. 

Magnum Opus is located at 2nd Floor, Prime Building, 115 Aguirre Street, BF Homes, Parañaque City.

Magnum Opus Fine Coffees Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

When in Cebu: La Vie Parisienne

Cebu is slowly turning into a foodie paradise with new restaurants opening here and there. One of the restaurants that captured my interest is La Vie Parisienne. It is not particularly new but it has a romantic ambiance and I figured that it’s a great place to spend a night with R for his post birthday celebration. 

Hello, La Vie Parisienne!
I am aware that this place is more of a bakery than a restaurant but I didn’t know that they have quite a limited selection in terms of heavier, dinner appropriate dishes. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Work Perk: Manila Polo Club

Most of us hate Mondays as it means that we had to bid farewell to weekends again and face the real world. But there are times when work has its perks and one of which is having offsite meetings. You might think that I’m crazy because it still means work. But hear me out. Offsite meetings also mean possible good food! And for my company planning session, the team was thinking of holding it somewhere far like Anvaya. However, the ones with kiddos around were not too warm with the idea  hence we ended up in… Manila Polo Club. Though it’s not exactly far, the traffic separates us from the office. 

Hello, Manila Polo Club!

We booked one of the meeting rooms for our whole day planning and the rental of the room is consumable for the whole day. We had to bring some of our equipment though like projector to avoid incurring additional charges. 
To start the day, we each ordered something for breakfast and I went with Granola and Yogurt Trifle (PHP335).

Monday, January 23, 2017

When in Bataan: Stregato Gelateria

It’s quite frustrating to be in a lovely city yet not know where to eat. I checked a bunch of sites but most of the establishments in the area have zero reviews. I remember though that a close friend of mine recently went to Bataan and took a photo of herself with a charming swing. I quickly checked if it has reviews in looloo; and it has an overall rating of four stars. Since it is just beside our hotel, we decided to drop by. 

Hello, Stregato Gelateria
The quaint dessert shop is located at the ground floor of Galeria Victoria Mall and it was a good thing that I asked The Plaza Hotel’s doorman for directions as we would have missed it and walked 15 minutes away as directed by Google Maps based on the pin in looloo. 

Entering the restaurant could be a bit unpleasant as kids selling garlands would tap and force you to buy. One kid even asked me to treat her a scoop of gelato. Though it is sad to see kids trying to earn money to survive, it could also be annoying to some customers who just want a nice meal, poke-free.
The showcase freezer of gelato is the first thing you’ll see once you set foot inside the charming restaurant. But since R and I were famished, we didn’t bother to check it and looked for the menu instead. After spotting some savory dishes, we headed to the second floor and took the table with a swing couch. After a while, we moved as the table is too small for dinner. 

We decided to go with Mushroom Soup (PHP97), Loaded Potato Skins (PHP145, add PHP10 for additional sour cream dip), Grilled Salmon (PHP185) and Eight-Hour Roast Beef (PHP220). For drinks, we went with Gelato Shake (PHP130) and Frozen Iced Tea (PHP85). I went down again as they have this pay as you order policy.

After placing our orders, I was informed that they were out of roast beef. I then changed it to pork belly but they were out of pork as well. I could sense that R was frustrated as he wanted to eat either beef or pork. Eventually, he settled with Pan Fried Herbed Chicken with Gravy (PHP178). 
Service was fast and our drinks were served after 5 minutes. 

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Celebrate the Little Things with foodpanda

It has just been a few weeks since the holidays but most of us are already stressed as if we didn’t just took a relaxing break. Though it’s nice to run towards your goal, we tend to be too driven towards that finish line that we miss out on the smaller things in life that are also worth celebrating. Admit it, when was the last time you had a slow paced work lunch where you get to really taste your meal and not just wolf it down? Or how about having those few minutes in the morning where you enjoy a cup of coffee while reading your favorite book or catch up with your family? Sadly, I couldn’t remember the last time I had those. And this is what foodpanda wants to change.  
Take time to celebrate everyday as each new day is worth celebrating. 

This is pretty much the message of foodpanda as they launch the campaign “Celebrate the little things with foodpanda."

Friday, January 20, 2017

When in Bataan: The Plaza Hotel

I love being surrounded by fascinating (and old) architecture. I have been eying Vigan for the longest time but the long drive to the "blast from the past" scenic cobblestone road isn’t too appealing, especially to R. We then considered going to Bataan instead to check out some old infrastructures in the area. Luckily, The Plaza Hotel had a promo in Deal Grocer and we quickly nabbed it before it gets sold out. Soon, we found ourselves on our way to the historic place that marked the perseverance and bravery of Filipinos. 

Hello, The Plaza Hotel.
We were a bit iffy turning to the small road leading to the hotel. We thought that the well-established hotel is located in a sinister looking place. But to our delight, it is a pretty good location. It is sandwiched in between Balanga Public Library and Galeria Victoria Mall. It is also across the historical Balanga Cathedral which was once used as an artillery emplacement during the Japanese invasion. 
Parking could be hellish as The Plaza Hotel does not have its own parking area. You have no choice but to park in front which is shared with the other establishments nearby. We were fortunate to get one though in front of the hotel.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

When In Hong Kong: Hanjuku Kobo

I’m always on the lookout for lines whenever I travel. I always think that long queues mean good food or deals. And I spotted a relatively long line when I passed by Hanjuku Kobo.
Hello, Hanjuku Kobo!
Okay, perhaps the line isn’t long all the time. We passed by its Tsim Sha Tsui branch (near Nathan Road) thrice and there was barely a line around lunch time. Then again, it was because the store just opened and foodies must be busy having lunch that time. But after an hour or two, the place was packed with locals waiting for their turn to get hold of Hanjuku Kobo’s pastries. 
The long line made me curious and I told R that I want to buy some of the shop's cheese tarts and cheesecakes. But R is allergic to lines and we stayed inside our hotel and napped instead after lunch. 

There was still a line when we headed out for dinner. My curiosity got the best of me and with my best puppy eyes, I asked R if we could line up and buy a few. And he finally agreed. We were fourth in line outside. (The staff control the number of people inside their small shop and I was part of the next batch.)
Hanjuku Kobo has a very limited product range. It only has cheesecakes, cheese tarts and a few other cakes. I went with a box of cheesecakes and two cheese tarts just so we get to try it. Our total was around HK$119 if I’m not mistaken. I recall that the box of 5 costs around HK$75 and the tarts were HK$22 each. 
The wait wasn’t that long as the ones in line sure know what they want. We got our treats in less than 20 minutes. 
And because these goodies could melt, the shop placed some ice packs inside to keep our cheesecakes and tarts cool. There was a problem though… the thin paper bag melted instead. We had to transfer the boxes to another paper bag and eventually get rid of the ice packs. 

I immediately opened the boxes as soon as we got to our hotel. 
The cheesecake had a light taste. it would have been perfect with tea. I loved that it was so moist and fluffy. 
The cheese tarts though were way better! It had a stronger taste and I loved its slight tangy taste! The crust was crunchy and it complemented the soft and smooth filling. It was divine! I would fly to Hong Kong just to get my hands on these tarts! 

Make sure that you include Hanjuku Kobo in your Hong Kong itinerary. 

Tip: Hanjuku Kobo's Causeway Bay branch has less crowd.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Love at First Bite: The Coffee Shop

It has been a while since my last road trip with R. We’ve been busy with work and other activities that we were not able to keep up with our monthly short getaways. But since our Deal Grocer voucher for The Plaza Hotel will expire soon, we decided to head up North and spend the weekend there. But before heading to Bataan, we decided to spend one day in Subic to enjoy the beach. But Mother Nature refused to cooperate and we ended up pigging out instead. And there is no better place to feast but the famous taco shop, The Coffee Shop, Home of Jumbo Tacos. 
Hello, The Coffee Shop!

This restaurant doubles as a hotel with its rooftop room accommodations at friendly prices. But let me focus on the food, especially its jumbo tacos. 
Since this place has been raved by so many foodies and some even claim that this place offers the best tacos in the country, I just have to try it! I went with Taco with Sour Cream (PHP130) while R went with Hard Shell Taco (PHP95). We also got Double Cheeseburger with Fries (PHP185) simply because R wanted fries. For drinks, we ordered Frozen Iced Tea (PHP85) and Chocolate Shake (PHP130).
While waiting, I took a few snapshots and noticed that they charge PHP30 for using their electrical outlets and that they also do not provide straws for non-frozen beverages. 

Service was quick and our drinks were served in less than 5 minutes. 
My frozen iced tea was refreshing. It had the right amount of sweetness and had a delightful lemon flavor. (It was so good that we ordered another glass right after finishing one.) R’s drink tasted like chocolate ice candy. It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t that good as well. And for PHP130, I don’t think it was value for money. 
Our tacos were served next and we were overwhelmed by the size. They were not kidding when they said jumbo. It was really huge! It would be at least 9 inches long. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Filipino Classic: Lydia's Lechon

Lechon has always been one of the highlights of any festive celebration. We’ve seen it in big events such as fiestas, Christmas gatherings and well… Cebu. I must admit, I already had my fair share of crispy suckling pig but it’s just so hard to resist it when it’s right in front of you begging to be loved or indulged. Screw cholesterol! Let’s YOLO. Okay, using that term might have just revealed that I’m no longer young. Lame lines aside, The Foodie Station tickled my tastebuds once again by inviting me to its foodie eat up at one of Manila’s classics… Lydia’s Lechon. 

Hello, Lydia’s Lechon!
A well-known brand that has been around for over 51 years, Lydia’s Lechon continues to make gatherings, big or small, extra special with its famous roasted pig. But unknown to many, Lydia’s offer more than just lechon. In fact, it serves other dishes that you wouldn’t associate with lechon

Monday, January 16, 2017

Love at First Bite: Choi Garden

I have been crazy for Chinese food ever since I’ve been with R. It’s hard not to fall in love with the centuries old cuisine especially when R’s family loves to go to the best Chinese restaurants in town. My tastebuds got spoiled and there’s no turning back. And just when I thought I’ve had the best peking duck, another restaurant made me think otherwise. And this “other” restaurant made me regret all the years of me ignoring it. 

Hello, Choi Garden

I always pass by this huge restaurant with red facade whenever I drop by Greenhills. A popular dining option for the Chinese community, this place gets really packed during dinner time and the day I went was no exception. 
It was R’s parents’ wedding anniversary dinner and they ordered a bunch of special dishes for us to feast on. While waiting for them, I was given some nuts, water and hot tea which I almost finished as I was super hungry. I also ended up eating more than I should as there was nothing else to do. My phone's signal was weak and they do not have wifi. It was just me and the peanuts. Well, it was mostly plate when R and his family arrived. 
They all arrived a bit before 7 pm and after a few minutes, a majestic boat filled with two huge Chilled Australian Abalone was served.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Archery 101: Arrowland by Gandiva

One thing I do not like about Manila is the lack of fun activities one can do in the city. Unlike other places like New York, Seoul and the like, we do not have parks, easily accessible mountains, or even spacious and well maintained zoos to spice things up and avoid mundane activities such as shopping and watching movies. Don’t get me wrong, I also enjoy shopping and catching the latest blockbuster but there are times when I crave for adventure or simply do something different. And I found the solution when I stumbled upon Gandiva in Ortigas. I had a blast firing arrow after arrow but I didn’t like the heavy price I had to pay for an hour of fun. Thankfully, Gandiva heard my prayers and created Arrowland.

Hello, Arrowland by Gandiva
I’m sure you’re wondering what makes this different from Gandiva. It’s also an archery place with pretty much the same set up as Gandiva which just happens to be located inside the always busy and packed SM Megamall
The venue alone already serves as a clue on what differentiates Arrowland from Gandiva. It made archery a lot more affordable and accessible to everyone interested to try being Katniss or Hawkeye by offering this action-packed activity in sachet-like packages.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

First Bite: Warung Kapitolyo

I hardly frequent Kapitolyo these past months but when I do, I always notice the numerous cars parked in front of Warung, an Indonesian restaurant that opened a several months back. It sure made me curious as the place seemed to be packed every lunch and dinner. But I’m always hungry whenever I visit Kapitolyo and I lack the patience to wait for a table. Luckily, I passed by this place again around 2 pm on a weekday and my mom and I had the place all to ourselves! 

Hello, Warung Kapitolyo!
This restaurant seems to be an old house converted into a spacious and well-designed restaurant. Upon entering the dining hall, I noticed the beautiful dangling lighting fixtures and wooden window panes that made the frustrated interior designer in me jump with glee.
I’m not exactly familiar with Indonesian cuisine but the overlap of Asian dishes made me feel comfortable with ordering Sate Ayam (PHP195), Ikan Pepes (PHP210), Nasi Goreng (PHP185) and Soto Ayam (PHP190). For drinks, I got Cucumer Shake (PHP95) while my mom ordered Coconut Shake (PHP95).
First served were our drinks which were perfect thirst quenchers! 
I loved that our drinks were not that sweet and were very refreshing to combat the intense afternoon heat.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Kitchen Adventure: Suy Foods' Longganisa and Tocino for Brunch

Those who say “never skip breakfast” are wise. Why skip an awesome meal? I try to squeeze in a bite or two even when I’m at my busiest state because breakfast is love. And when I do have the time to indulge in some sunny side up eggs, sausages and the works, I spoil myself with only the best. I have to admit though, I got used to eating out due to convenience. But last Sunday was a different story. I finally got to spend some time at home. And what better way to spend morning than to whip up your own brunch?
It felt like it has been months since I last cooked my own meal. Due to the crazy ber months, I often find myself dining out to save time (not money). Holding a pan and knife seemed a bit foreign to me till I opened my fridge and saw my Filipino favorites.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Love at First Sip: Toby's Estate Chai Chocolate

Toby’s Estate is one of my favorite coffee shops in the metro. I love that its coffee is not overly bitter and that its hot mocha is a taste of heaven. With a bunch of drinks to choose from, I usually stick with my usuals—flat white and mocha. That was till I had chai addiction. I always end up ordering anything with chai. And when I spotted it on Toby’s Estate’s menu board, I had to order it. 

Hello, Toby’s Estate!
It was my first time to visit its branch at Shangri-La, Fort and just like its other cafés, it has really nice interiors. It was also quiet there making it a nice place to catch up with friends.
I spotted Chai Chocolate (PHP160) and was convinced to get that despite possibly ruining my appetite for dinner. 

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Restaurant Love: Barcino Wine Resto Bar

Barcino has been around for a few years now yet I still remember its launch years back where I was still new with food blogging. I guess it is hard to forget such a fantastic dining experience and being in the awesome company of top foodies and wine connoisseurs. Hence it was such a treat to have my first 2017 date with R at what I consider one of the best tapas restaurants in town. 

Hello, Barcino!
We were warmly greeted by the front hostess upon entering its Forbes Town branch and were quickly ushered to our table near the bar. 

Friday, January 6, 2017

Now in Manila: Thai Original BBQ

I am a big fan of Thai Original BBQ and I couldn’t contain my excitement when I found out that they opened a branch here in Manila. It has been over two years since I indulged in its famous chicken bbq and I’m so glad that it won’t turn into three years as I managed to convince my friends to hold our Christmas get together at the newest restaurant in Fort Strip. 

It is hard to miss Thai Original BBQ as its prime corner location facing 5th Avenue and Central Square is very easy to spot. 
I was warmly greeted by its front host wearing traditional Thai outfit and ushered me inside. 

The interiors of its Manila branch is not quite the same as its Los Angeles’ restaurants as it lacked fresh orchids. I do understand though that such tabletop could cost a fortune.
I was so happy that they kept most, if not all, of the dishes offered by its US counterpart. Of course we had to go with the bestsellers Gaiyang Dinner (PHP530) and BBQ Spare Ribs Dinner (PHP580). We also ordered Fried Calamari (PHP280), Yum Pla Dook Foo (PHP380), Tom Yum Goong (PHP380) and Pad Thai (PHP380). For our drinks, we all went with Thai Milk Iced Tea (PHP140) except for M who tried Iced Coffee (PHP140).