Friday, March 31, 2017

First Bite: Sugar Factory

I love sweets and I can't resist it when someone offers me some. And when I got an invite to visit Sugar Factory, I replied with a big, fat YES. Indulging in huge milkshakes and childlike creations always sound like a good idea. 

Hello, Sugar Factory.
I was greeted by a well-lit and spacious dining area that seemed to be a combination of a fancy diner, Vegas and candy land. 
Since we were a huge party of foodies, we were moved to the second floor dining area which gave us a nice view of the whole place. On the other hand, the second dining area is a bit cramped and it was hard for us eager (and aspiring) food photographers to move around and take photos of the fun dishes served to us. But if you're there to simply enjoy the food, you'll be fine. 

An Imperfect Paradise: Les Maison d'Itac

An imperfect paradise would best describe Les Maison d’Itac, a humble resort located at the less popular part of Cebu.

Hello, Les Maison d’Itac.
We chanced upon this resort while checking Deal Grocer for our Cebu hotel accommodation. Since we saved a couple of thousands from our airfare and figured that a 3D2N accommodation with full- board meals and transfers for PHP15,000 sounded like a steal, we bought a voucher the same night we saw the deal. 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Noodle Heaven: Nadai Fujisoba

One clear sign that you love Japanese food is when you crave for ramen on a hot day. I get that a lot and I just can’t help it. I need my noodle fix before I go crazy and one of my go to places is Nadai Fujisoba. 

Hello, Nadai Fujisoba.
I still remember the delectable bowl of udon I had from its High Street branch. Its delicate broth taste and delicious tempura left quite an impression. This time around, I was in the mood for more than a bowl of noodles

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Beat the Heat: Seol Bang

Summer is here and so is the detestable unbearable heat it comes with. But summer is also the perfect excuse for me to indulge in cold treats every day. And it was timely that I spotted a new favorite bingsu place. 

Hello, Seol Bang!
It’s not hard to miss this new dessert shop if your goal is to just have your photo taken by the picturesque “Venice Grand Canal”. This place is located a couple of meters away from on the selfie stick zone of the mall and that instantly warrants +10 points from me as I do not have to dodge phones and sticks on my way here.

Monday, March 27, 2017

First Bite: Kushikatsu Daruma

No double dipping! Finally, one restaurant said it. 

Though I'm not very strict with the no double dipping rule, I still cringe whenever someone I barely know dips his or her bitten food in the communal sauce. I guess that is what Kushikatsu Daruma wants to avoid... a sudden lack of appetite due to what kids call "cooties". Then again this newest addition to Uptown Bonifacio's roster of restaurants have to mess up a whole lot before I lose my appetite for its mouthwatering offerings.
Hello, Kushikatsu Daruma

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Restaurant Love: 7107 Restaurant

I’ve been a fan of 7107 Culture + Cuisine ever since I visited it last year. I still remember the lovely pesto pasta with sweet tocino dish I ordered as if it was from yesterday’s lunch. As much as I would like to dine here again, my busy schedule was against my plan of visiting this colorful restaurant sooner. Thankfully, one weekend finally cleared up and I was able to drop by for more delectable local fare with a twist!
Hello again, 7107 Culture + Cuisine!

Friday, March 24, 2017

First Bite: Sweet Ecstasy

I have been dying to visit Sweet Ecstasy ever since I heard that it serves really good burgers and that its taste is very close to In-N-Out's, a well-loved burger joint in California which also had a few pop up events here in Manila. I was ecstatic when I found out that they have a branch in Uptown Parade. However, all the negative reviews from that branch made me hesitate. Hence, it took me longer to try this joint’s famous patties. Thanks to an event at Miriam College, I finally had a chance to visit its Katipunan branch.

Hello, Sweet Ecstasy!
Located at the second floor of Regis Center, I had an impression that this place will be packed by students and residents around the area. I dropped by around 12:30 p.m. and surprisingly, the place only had two tables occupied. I guess it is busier on weekdays. 
Since I had to go to Banawe at 2 p.m., I quickly ordered Cheeseburger (PHP195) and Ginger Ale (PHP150). 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

First Bite: Hanamaruken

I have been hearing a lot of good feedback about this ramen joint at The Grove. It made me curious when two of the foodies I know and trust mentioned that this is their favorite place for their noodle fix. However, I could never seem to find time to visit as I usually head elsewhere. Luckily, I got the perfect opportunity to drop by last Saturday.
Hello, Hanamaruken.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Night Cap: The Penthouse 8747

People close to me know that I'm far from being tagged as a party person. Born as a certified tita (aunt), I have now graduated as a full-fledged Lola(grandmother) of Manila. But such did not discourage me from visiting a Great Gatsby themed bar that offers a magnificent view of the city. Okay, it was also because I was intrigued with its bar chows. The foodie remains more influential than the lola in me. 

Hello, The Penthouse 8747
The place, as it is aptly named, is located on the topmost floor of Lepanto building. Though the lift would not bring you all the way to the bar's main entrance, you just need to take one flight up to reach the reception adorned with gold accents and chandelier. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Food Find: Köök Manila

I find it interesting how much I’ve changed over the past few years. Before, I’d make sure that I have plans on weekends and that I get to visit at least five restaurants to serve as my content the following week. As I grow older (with matching aching joints and slower metabolism), I now value staycations and enjoying my alone time in the comfort of my own home. And one staycation got extra special when I got a sweet treat from Köök Manila.

Hello mini vacation with Köök Manila!

I hurriedly went home as soon as the clock hit 6 pm and I placed the vacuum-sealed Greek Chicken in the sink to thaw as I prepare my cookware.
Since I do not have an indoor griller, I decided to pan-fry the chicken sans the oil. Though I do not recommend this as it took me quite some time to cook the chicken, it still gets the job done. Best to puncture or slice the chicken to make sure that all parts get cooked. (Mine took longer than it should have because I wanted my chicken to look pretty when I take photos of it. Priorities.)

Monday, March 20, 2017

Second Bite: Raging Bull Chophouse & Bar

It’s always fun having R’s sisters around as it means endless feasts! For last November’s visit, D was particularly excited with Raging Bull, Shangri-La at the Fort’s well-loved steak place, especially after finding out that this restaurant offers superb cocktails aside from its famous grilled meats. Soon, I found myself on my way to the posh hotel for one heavy lunch.
Hello again, Raging Bull Chophouse & Bar
The frustrated interior designer in me was tickled once more by Raging Bull’s sophisticated interiors. The combination of dark browns, blacks and whites never gets old. 

R’s family did the ordering and they chose Raging Bull Salad (PHP375), Maryland Crab Cakes (PHP475), Tomahawk Wagyu (PHP7,950) and Ribeye (PHP3,100). The kids asked for something to snack on while they wait for the meats and H ordered Josper Bone Marrow (PHP685) for them.
First served was the complementary Raging Bull bread and butter which we finished in just a few minutes as we were famished. 
I noticed that Raging Bull added mandarin oranges to its usual Mesclun mix, Gorgonzola, hazelnuts and Granny Smith apple slices topped with cider vinaigrette. I’m not complaining though as I love those small citrus goodness which went well with the delectable Gorgonzola cubes, nuts and greens. 
The Maryland Crab Cakes were good as always. I loved the contrast between the crunchy coating and the soft shredded crab meat filling. 
Josper Bone Marrow was served next which the kids fought over! It was just so funny how they argued on which bone marrow was bigger and who deserved it. They only kept quiet when they each got their portions. I wasn’t able to try this one as they literally licked the bone marrow! It must be that good.

A beautiful platter of ribeye was soon served and we feasted on it. 
Just like before, I paired my meat with various salts in order to fully appreciate the taste of the steak. Cooked medium in order not to dry up its juice, each bite was packed with flavors that made me sigh and my tastebuds sing hallelujah. 
The perfectly grilled meat was wonderfully complemented by grilled pumpkin slices, cream of spinach, buttered corn and mashed potatoes. I didn’t attempt to get rice as I’ve had too much carbs from the start of the meal. 
The Tomahawk Wagyu was served after and it was gigantic! The MS 5+ grain-fed meat had that divine beefy taste which you could get by simply getting a whiff of it. 
As my eyes sparkle at the sight of the huge piece of meat with a bone sticking out, R sliced me a portion and I began to indulge in the premium steak
It was succulent and barely required effort to chew. It was an instant crowd favorite though for some reason, I prefer ribeye more. 

As we continue to bring out a more sophisticated version of cavemen, I took a sip of my cocktailMonkey Business (PHP400). 
The blend of Monkey Shoulder pure malt, homemade rosemary syrup, Griottes cherry juice and Whiskey barrel bitters was a bit too strong for a noontime drink. I got a bit woozy after reaching half of my glass. I guess I’m just not used to drinking anymore. 
But if you happen to fancy this drink, do watch the barista prepare it as it is very entertaining.
To cap our meal, we ordered Granny Smith Apple Cobbler (PHP340) which was absolutely perfect! I loved the crunchiness of the apple slices and how well it went with the puff. It was sweet yet not so sweet, making it great too for elders. 
And since it was R’s birthday weekend, we were given a complimentary cheesecake which was pretty good as well. It had great consistency and the berries were love. 

Overall, it was a pleasant lunch. I can’t wait to go back for more steaks! 

Raging Bull Chophouse & Bar is located at 3rd Floor, West Wing, Shangri-La at the Fort, 30th Street corner 5th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Brunch for Three: Wildflour

I think most of us are guilty for ordering the more photogenic dish over the tastier one. More often than not, I find myself asking the server if the dish I’d like to order is pretty or Instagram-worthy and hesitate when I get no for an answer. But there’s a restaurant with a menu packed with tasty AND photogenic dishes. Yes, I’m talking about Wildflour

Hello, Wildflour
I’ve never seen Wildflour empty and it proves that this restaurant is not just a craze or have lost its charm after the market became less interested in Cronuts. 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

First Sip: Dipdenza Coffee

After a filling dinner at Manam’s, F and I decided to cap the night with a warm drink. (When you reach our age, you’d want tea or coffee after a meal to help aid digestion.) I remembered that there was this coffee shop that I wanted to try when I went to Jonas for dinner. And without thinking twice, I convinced F to have our warm drinks there. 

Hello, Dipdenza Coffee
It has been several months since I last visited Fort Strip. I’d usually head home right away given the unpredictability of Mother Nature. Also, Fort Strip isn’t exactly “on the way” back home. Then again, so are the other restaurants I have visited these past days. Anyway…

F and I stood in front of the counter for a few minutes with blank faces and obvious traces of food coma. Eventually, F went with a cup of tea while I ordered Hot Chocolate (PHP110). Yeah… I should have ordered tea too or at the very least, coffee. But I wanted something semi dessert. 

Service was quick as there were no other customers during our visit aside from the other fellow busy tinkering with his laptop. 
My hot chocolate drink had a bit of art on top and it made my expectation a bit higher.

But I was disappointed after my first sip. It wasn’t thick enough and it tasted just like Swiss Miss. It was an overpriced slightly watery Swiss Miss.

Then again, I guess their specialty is coffee. Also, the place was a bit hidden and quiet making it a perfect venue for catch up sessions.  So I’ll give this place a second chance to impress me. 

Dipdenza Coffee is located at Fort Strip, 5th Avenue and 7th Avenue, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City. It is right beside Early Bird Breakfast Club

Schmidt's Gourmet Hotdogs Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

When In Hong Kong: Go Jelly Crazy!

I love jello, jellygelatin… whatever you call it. It used to be my staple afternoon snack and I remember that I used to get all the grape flavored ones to eat and the red ones to use as my pretend lipstick. I still get to have my jello fix from time to time these days but in the form of coffee jelly, grass jelly or sago’t gulaman. But when we discovered a jello place in Hong Kong, R and I dropped by the place as frequent as we could.

Hello… uhm… sorry, I can’t read Chinese. But this is the place near Canal Road, Causeway Bay
R and I headed to the small restaurant one time after dinner. We got curious with why a lot of locals frequent the place and we were greeted by a friendly elder who I assume is the owner of the restaurant.  We told him our order—one bowl of black jello (HK$7). 

Service was quick and we got our bowl in less than 5 minutes.
It was pretty bland as is so R added this orange powder we saw on the edge of the table. 

We sparingly sprinkled some of the said powder and it turned the jello sweet. We then figured that it was sugar. And that was when we went crazy with it. 

It was just your usual bland jello but it being served chilled and topped with sugar made it a refreshing dessert, perfect to cap any meal.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

When in Cebu: 10,000 Roses Café

 I always look forward to my Cebu visits as it means pigging out and indulging in some cholesterol-filled lechon. I also love that most of the new Cebu restaurants pay attention to ambiance and not just offering good food. But one café stood out and outdid everyone in the ambiance category when it filled its front yard with 10,000 roses

Hello, 10,000 Roses Café.
This place is at the end of Cordova and the last two to three hundred meters are not accessible by car.

Monday, March 13, 2017

First Bite: Fukurou Nihonryori

The third stop of our Zomato x ABS-CBN Marikina food crawl was supposed to be this well-loved ribs place but due to heavy rainfall, we had to make sudden changes and headed straight to the only Japanese restaurant on the list. And that’s Fukurou Nihonryori. 

Hello, Fukurou Nihonryori!
Almost everyone in the group was excited to this stop as the gloomy Saturday afternoon screams for some hot bowl of ramen. However, I was not so thrilled with this stop especially when M and R mentioned that this place serves below average dishes. But hey, they might have improved. Let’s give it the benefit of the doubt. 
We were only given 45 minutes to enjoy our food here as we were behind schedule. Good thing though that service was fast. 
First served were plates of Kani Salad (PHP128). Honestly, I though those were complimentary side dishes as I couldn’t even call it kani salad for I could count the number of thin kani strips with one hand. Taste-wise, I couldn’t even remember. 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

First Bite: New Kamameshi House

Japanese restaurants never fail to charm me like light to fly. I’d go to one for lunch or dinner if I have the chance to do so. And when I spotted New Kamameshi House during one of our Pokemon Go runs, R already knew where we were going to have dinner. 

Hello, New Kamameshi House.
I heard that this Japanese restaurant is one of the pioneers in Quezon Memorial Circle. With it having several years of being in business, my expectation from this place went up a bit. 
There were not a lot of people when we dropped by around 7:30 pm on a Sunday night. In fact, there were only 2 other tables occupied then. 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Restaurant Love: Matutina’s Seafood House and Restaurant

I’m so glad that I live in a country rich in seafood. With a bunch of seafood restaurants around, I never have to worry on where to get my under-the-sea fix. And whenever I travel north, one of the stops I look forward to is Matutina’s Seafood House and Restaurant. 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

First Bite: Abacá Baking Company

Abaca is not a foreign name to those who frequent Cebu. As one of the popular restaurant groups in the city, a visit to any of Abaca Group’s restaurants is a must. I’ve been to Maya, Abaca’s Mexican joint last 2015 after my trip to Bantayan Island and I was impressed by its nachos and very flavorful Asada Fajitas. This time around, I made sure to drop by its cafe counterpart, Abacá Baking Company.

Hello, Abacá Baking Company.
Located a few steps away from Maya, this place has a very chill and New York bakery vibe. 
Since there are only high stools on the ground floor, we decided to head up to the second floor. I was hoping that some of the staff would help us carry our luggages (as we were on our way to the airport then) upstairs but we didn’t get any assistance from anyone even when some were just idle when we arrived. 
We were approached by a server with a very red nose and handed us menu. With hoarse voice, she mentioned their bestsellers and we decided to go for Tomato Soup (PHP195), Skillet Breakfast (PHP495) and Calamansi (PHP55). For dessert, we went with Fresh Fruit Tart (PHP225).

Monday, March 6, 2017

First Bite: Gringo

Ola amigos and amigas! Those are the words that come in mind when I think of Gringo, a restaurant known for its delectable baked chicken. And when I found out that Gringo opened a branch in BGC, I was beyond ecstatic! I could finally sink my teeth into some of Gringo’s well-loved chicken.
Hello, Gringo.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Now in BGC: Uma Uma Ramen

I think I’ve used the sentence “I love Japanese food” countless times to the point of me quoting myself. But I can’t resist it. I really do love this Asian cuisine and always find myself craving for more. And when I found out that one of my favorite ramen joints finally opened in Uptown Parade, I just have to drop by ASAP. But adulthood got in the way and it took me a few months before indulging in some Hakata ramen.

Hello, Uma Uma!
I’m so glad that they opened a branch in BGC. Gone are the days when I have to brave the traffic just to get to S Maison. I could finally have my ramen fix by walking to Uptown. (Okay, that might take at least half an hour but hey, at least I won’t get stuck in the detestable EDSA traffic.)

Thursday, March 2, 2017

First Bite: Wee Nam Kee

Wee Nam Kee has been around for several years now, but for some reason, it never succeeded in attracting me to any of its branches. And the weird part is that I love Hainanese chicken. But it was in my fate to eventually step inside Wee Nam Kee and that day finally came two months ago. 

Hello, Wee Nam Kee!
We visited its Serendra branch one Friday night and we were instantly greeted by warm yellow lights and a crowd feasting on some Singaporean signature dishes. 
Plate after plate of scrumptious looking dishes were served on our table while another server was busy serving everyone glasses of Iced Lemon Tea (PHP70 | PHP95, bottomless). 
As a Wee Nam Kee first-timer, I didn’t know that the dishes served to us were the Singaporean restaurant’s new offerings. 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

First Bite: Crepe Amélie

I still remember the time crepe cake craze hit Manila. Everyone was raving about it and posting it on their social media accounts. I’m not a fan of this dessert as all of the ones I’ve tried were overpriced and borderline disappointing. But when my friends start to rave about this café in Makati, I was itching to try it. After all, I trust their tastebuds. 

Hello, Crepe Amélie
It’s easy to spot this quaint café as it is located on the ground floor of A.Venue and it has frontal facade giving it high visibility. 
I was instantly charmed as soon as I stepped in. Dim lights, dark wood interiors and adorable decors filled the dining area of the café. 
C has been waiting inside for a couple of minutes already when I arrived and since we were about to have dinner somewhere else, I decided not to order anything. She, on the other hand, ordered a slice of Strawberry Fields Crepe Cake (PHP200) and waited for me to arrive so that I could also take photos of the lovely slice of cake. Ain’t she the sweetest?
And after a few snapshots, I demurely took a bit of the cake to taste and it was pretty good! Actually, it was the best local crepe cake I’ve tasted so far.