Archive for September, 2009

27
Sep
09

AFTER THE RAIN

Today, I rose early from bed to check the clouds. As I opened our door, it’s still a bit dusky but  it’s so comforting to see a bloom after an incessant downpour.

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I woke up yesterday with nothing unusual on my weekend mornings. Everything was fine until after lunch time.  I’m just glad my wife chose not to attend to her work. She advised her students the night before that she’ll be absent for the reason that they’re supposed to have only one surgical operation for their entire 8-hour shift and the doctor on duty is noted for being strict on not allowing clinical instructors to have their nursing students observe and/or assist on cases.  And man, her decision came out to be her wisest to date and served as a blessing in disguise for her and her class to avoid the rampage of typhoon ONDOY.

My wife, Tina, our son Gabby and I were planning to go on another family bonding somewhere in the Metro but we noticed that Mr. Sun hasn’t shown his might.  Heavy rains  kept us curling up in bed. We thought it was an ordinary rainy day.  We just enjoyed steaming hot mugs of coffee, hot chocolate for our 5-year-old and Goldilocks’  plain puto (rice cakes) while watching TV and facebooking.

We honestly didn’t expect that typhoon Ondoy will soak the entire Metro Manila in heavy floods. We caught early news on TV and saw its effects on stranded individuals on streets and on the roofs of their homes. Floods were heaviest more than chest-deep at most areas of the city.

It was very depressing to watch on news a wheelchair-borne man wearing raincoat who was trying to cross a flooded main street amidst the traffic.  Watching children and elderlies who were still left unrescued wasn’t easy;  much more seeing those who were unfortunate to succumb to death.

Phone calls and messages via YM and SMS kept me busy as my relatives verified our safety. My mom who’s in UAE texted me to inquire if we’re OK; my aunt in the US  also called my dad in Pasig City to check them. The compound where my paternal grandmother and other relatives in Marikina live and the house of my uncle and cousins in Karangalan Village in Pasig-Cainta were all devastated by the floods.  

My family and I with our household help were most blessed to have chicken adobo and rice for dinner. Although we had it with candle lights, as power was only restored around 9PM in our place in Quezon City, I still feel so lucky and grateful we had something on our plate and that we’re kept dry, and we’re intact.  I and my family are so thankful that we decided to be home and remained safe without floods on our streets.  My wife and I encouraged our son to pray and to thank the good Lord for so much blessings.

I wish authorities would do more to extend help to afflicted families.

Bravo to those multinational companies, Filipinos here and abroad and all people who are pledging their monetary and in-kind help via NGOs and TV stations that are putting in fund raising drives.  May God bless you a thousand fold.

Let us continue to pray for all those who are impaired by typhoon Ondoy.

How are you and your families? 

I hope you’re safe too.

25
Sep
09

FINALIST

I am so glad to be one of the eight finalists of  2009 Philippine Blog Awards under the Family & Living Category. Congratulations to my co-bloggers who also made it to the list but I give my hats off too, to my team mates on this blog, none other than my wife, Tina and our son, Gabby!  They really inspire me more than anyone else :D 

I’d also like to thank my readers, whom I deeply considered as my BLOG BUDDIES;  those who frequent this site; those who appreciate my family’s activities – you just don’t know how HAPPY I am whenever you leave comments on my posts. MARAMING SALAMAT PO!   MABUHAY PO KAYO!

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Although most of my posts revolve on food and dining which we, as a family enjoy best, I put up this blog with the sole reason : to document our family’s adventures not only on various tables, but wherever our feet lead us to. I certainly hope that when my preschooler son learns to read fluently, he will find time to reminisce the days we spent with each other by browsing again the posts in this blog.  

Some collect photographs, I and my family collect MEMORIES :D  And most of them are kept intact here.

 

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Other than my blog nomination under Family and Living category, I have also submitted 4 blog post-entries for the TOP 10 BEST POSTS of the YEAR award.

I wish to win of course,  but if luck won’t be on my side, I’ll be happy to meet the winner/s and my co-bloggers at the awards night!  See you on October 09, 2009! God bless.

I AM SO PROUD TO BE A FILIPINO BLOGGER.

MABUHAY ANG PINOY BLOGGERS! :D

25
Sep
09

GLITZ & FLAVOR

Dear Gabby,

Yesterday, your mom, Tina escorted me to the M.E.T.R.O. Awards conducted my the Class 4H4 of College of Tourism, Hospitality Management of University of Sto Tomas which was held at the Le Pavillon, Pasay City.  I was invited several weeks ago to be one of the foodie judges to this event that aimed to recognize the best restaurants in the city.

Sorry, anak, we didn’t bring you to the event. Your mom and I know as early as now,  you aspire to become a chef and/or a restaurateur one day and this could have inspired you more; but it wasn’t really meant for preschoolers yet. :D

We arrived at the venue from Quezon City at few minutes after two in the afternoon.  Your mom and I were surprised at how these graduating class of CTHM-UST have geared so much for the event. Dress-to-kill lahat sila, anak!  :D They all looked amazing! The ladies were beautiful wearing identical gowns in two-shades of blue with matching earrings and the guys were dashing in their tux similar to the tiniest details like their bow ties. They really have prepared for such activity.

But when the ladies at the reception line greeted us like, “Good afternoon, Sir, Ma’m, PARENTS PO BA KAYO?”  Ouch!  “Napakasakit, Kuya Eddie”,  Do we really looked that old (no pun intended) ?  We really are parents, but not of college student/s  yet!

Tina and I looked at each other and giggled!  She whispered to me, “At least, hindi grandparents!” :D

Anyway, we were ushered to our table by the person who invited me, Ferdinand Azogue, one of the events organizers and part of their class.

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That was one of those 2 Chef Tony’s popcorn given to us as we entered the venue. Remember we brought it home to you as pasalubong? :D  It felt good seated at a table with such label.

The program started on the dot!  Several performances of the college students led to the awarding ceremonies proper.

I was told that being one of those judges, who answered their survey forms of the best restos in the Metro weeks before the event, I should also present an award on stage!  It was OK until your mom was also asked to accompany me to give the award for Best Restaurant in Pasig City.  Tina didn’t expect it that  she’ll join me on stage! Nevertheless, we pulled it through.  CAFE JUANITA won in that category.

Your mom and I were constantly clapping at our seats when the restaurants I’ve chosen were called one by one on stage! It seemed that my personal preference also reflected that of the panel. The other judges were restaurateur like Steve Tamayo, famous food bloggers, a UST-CTHM Chef & Professor, and other remarkable people in the industry of food and dining.

The winners are :  Red of Makati Shangri la for the city of Makati; Heat of EDSA Shangri la for the city of Mandaluyong, Spiral of Sofitel Philippine Plaza for Pasay City, Cafe Ysabel for San Juan, 145 Fahrenheit for Quezon City, Aubergine for Taguig.   Chef Laudico’s Bistro Filipino also won the Little Rascal Award for being the best restaurant that caters to family and children.  Aubergine again for the Romeo and Juliet Award having the most romantic ambiance. Mamou at the Fort for the Best New Guy Award, Corner Tree Cafe at Jupiter Street for The Green Mind Award;  Circles Events Cafe of Makati Shangri la for the Sky High’s the Limit Award for being the best buffet resto.  Bizu Patisserie for being the best dessert place won the The Sweet Kiss Award.  But the top awards of the night went to Cafe Ysabel, Bronze Plate Award;  Aubergine for Silver Plate Award; and Lolo Dad’s bagged the Gold Plate Award from the METRO!

Most restaurants that we’ve been to are simply the best, hehehehe… You’re one lucky and blessed 5-year-old boy to be exposed to such grandiose dining at an early age! Kami dati, puro fastfoods lang, but we’re not complaining.  

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I must say to you my son that despite the long program, we were never bored. Why? The UST students afforded to delight us with no less than Phil-Harmonic Orchestra, PDA alumnus-singer Chad Peralta and some DJs of 89.9. 

I fell in love again with your mom when I heard the orchestra played MOON RIVER! :D It’s such a common favorite of ours. Even your Lolo likes it too!  I didn’t pass the chance to click my cam on those violinists-members of PHO! I wish we could learn to play violins when you grow older and I hope to join and play with an orchestra! Suntok sa buwan yun, anak, but who knows? I may find time, one of these days, LOL :D

Then, the meal came over. We were served at our table by the staff of Tamayo’s. It was a 3-course meal consisted of..

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a bowl of thin onion soup, a platter of blanched veggies, chicken fillet with cream sauce, a serving of lasagna and a pair of mini slices of roast beef.  Then the dessert plate came with, if my palate served me right : two bite-sized samples of a dark chocolate cake and a brownie nut fudge with buco-pandan :D 

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The entire meal was decent but nothing extraordinary. :(

Our dinner was made complete when the waiter asked us if we want to have coffee or tea…  :D

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Even though there were flaws in the technical aspects of the production – like the sound system, the poor transmission of music played from CDs,  problem of blockings, few delays in the announcement of winners, and the entire program seemed to last forever,  I and your mom still commend the entire class 4H4 for staging an event as big as the METRO AWARDS.  They got so many established sponsors that helped them out : Folded and Hung, Krispy Kreme Donuts, Careline cosmetics, Goody, ETC channel, Magic 89.9, Pepsi, Silverworks, Ajinomoto, Chef Tony’s Popcorns, Ozeano, Cerealicious, Gasthof, Tamayo’s catering, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf and many more!

Your mom even told me, “Noong panahon natin during college, hindi tayo ganyan kagaling! Then I replied, “Iba na mga bata ngayon, sobrang advanced na talaga, sobrang galing na nila!”

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As you enter college, Gabby, about 12 years from now, we’ll support you all the way if you’ll wish to enroll in the same school, with the same course.  :D

I and your mom love you always!

Study harder.

Love,

Tatay-doc :D

 

24
Sep
09

INVITED

I’ll be attending M.E.T.R.O  Awards this afternoon…

M.E.T.R.O. or  Manila’s Exquisite & Trendy Resto Awards : A moment of Glitz & Flavor is pioneered by Class 4H4 College of Tourism & Hospitality Management of University of Sto Tomas. The event, according to their invitation, is aimed to strengthen the ties of their College and the Restaurant Industry in the Philippines and to enrich the knowledge of the participants and engage them in a higher level of learning, geared towards the University’s mission and vision.

It’s my pleasure to sit as one of the invited foodie judges along with famous food bloggers, restaurateurs and the remarkable people in the hotel and restaurant industries.  :D

22
Sep
09

1950’s PANDESAL & MORE

One day, my family and I were enjoying  brunch at a luxurious hotel in Makati;  the next day we found ourselves having another extraordinary breakfast in a rustic quaint comfort food place in Marikina City. Regardless of the place we’re at, the important thing is we’re having family fun, fun, fun :D

I was surprised when my wife, Tina agreed to my suggestion that we’ve to try PAN de AMERIKANA for breakfast.  Even  it would take us approximately 20 to 30 minutes less traffic to get to its location at Concepcion, Marikina City from our place in Quezon City, we wouldn’t care less.  After seeing it on a local morning TV show and learning that it’s owned by the same family who runs the school I attended during my High School (OLOPSC), the more I became interested to try its 1950s wheat pandesal and other affordable yummies.

With empty stomachs, we hit the roads to Marikina and reached Pan Amerikana around 10AM.  Pan de Amerikana greeted us with its facade…

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Where in the metro could you see a wooden windmill? LOL, only in Marikina! It’s really interesting!

The place isn’t only a bakery but an all-day restaurant as well.  It has lots of fascinating things that may amuse you while you dine or simply can provide you a venue to kill time by playing chess on tables or on the ground, literally.

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There’s this giant chess set much to delight local tourists like us especially the kids.  It was a bigger chess set than the ones we saw in Island Cove Resort in Cavite early this year.  Gabby was really excited to get hold of those black and white pawns. 

At the counter, there are lots of regular-sized chess sets that diners can borrow for FREE after presenting a valid ID.

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Do you play chess?  Shame on me, I don’t, LOL.   So when Gabby asked me to play with him, I thought we can just delay it until the day we both learn the game, LOL :D  For that moment, we just had it as props for photo-ops! hehehe :D

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Pan de Amerikana boasts of not only chess sets but a distinctly Filipino ambiance…There’s an overload of arts and culture that is truly Pinoy! Look at the kalesa  parked near those bikes and a woven rattan hammock that’s so inviting.

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Then there’s this antique grinder of something which led me clueless, if it’s a coconut grinder or an ice crusher. Can you please identify ?  I found this collectible old piece few steps next to Popeye! :D

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There’s also that miniature  pugon or  brick-oven to depict where the famous pandesal are baked.  

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The dining area has laid back atmosphere.  It’s only provided with large units of electric fans, at times, it can become humid; the entire area is roofed so everyone is safe from inevitable downpour.  There’s also a place where dripping water serves as fountain…  

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And did I mention already that the entire food place offers FREE WI-FI ACCESS? A lot of people across ages came in with their laptops and chargers doing school or perhaps office stuffs while having brunch.

As I went to the counter to order and pay for my food, I saw these striking things that can stimulate one’s interest : A tiny set of dining table and a small billboard with schedule of  activities offered by Pan de Amerikana. 

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So did we try those 1950’s wheat Pandesal ? Of course!

IMG_3951PAN de AMERIKANA’S WHEAT PANDESAL, PhP 5.50 each.  It’s humongous! So rich and fibrous, very filling. We took them home as our afternoon snack. 

  PAN AMERIKANO (mega-sized pandesal) gained its popularity when the Americans arrived during the 1940’s. It looks like a giant baguette that was processed like the pandesal. It was during the 1960’s that it suddenly disappeared and was replaced with rectangular loaves. Then came the famous Nutri Bun (monay shaped bread -3 -5 times the size of the pandesal), which was a hit during the 1970’s.

More than that Harley Davidson on display and FOR SALE and the other things we saw at Pan de Amerikana, the one that really caught my attention was this wooden posting in front of the  big bike and a concrete bridge; figure out why….  :D

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Although this restaurant observes self-service policy, there are wait staff who will bring your tray to your tables; so we were handed a customer-number that was creatively Pinoy!

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We also tried their pandesal with chicken and sardines, at PhP 25 each.  Tina had the SARDINES PANDESAL,  I had the CHICKEN PANDESAL; equally must-try!

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Gabby wanted ARROZ CALDO with EGG, PhP 28 and a cup of HOT CHOCOLATE, PhP 25…

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The arrozcaldo was good, but Gabby failed to finish it. :(

Before going to this place, I’ve heard that two of its specialties are WAKNATOY, PhP 35/order; a dish similar to menudo and EVERLASTING, PhP 35/order; which is I’m more familiar with. Everlasting is Marikina’s own.  I grew up with that dish made of grounded pork with green peas, some hotdogs, boiled egg and carrots for garnishing; similar to embotido but steamed in an aluminum container.  My relatives in Calumpang, Marikina and my late Lola used to cooked the best Everlasting, even better than that of Pan de Amerikana which was a bit soggy and has a bit poor consistency.  Nevertheless, their version satisfied my craving for Everlasting!

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The servings of each dish were good enough for a diner with regular appetite. And I must say the prices were very budget-friendly.  After feasting on my pandesal, I dunked my spoon and fork at Waknatoy and Everlasting and sipped brewed coffee, PhP 15/ cup, in between. 

Tina ‘s breakfast choice other than Sardines Pandesal was DAING NA BANGUS MEAL, PhP 48. 

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She enjoyed that boneless dried milkfish with vinegar. Perfect meal to start a day!

There were also desserts like Halo-Halo, Saba con yelo and others but we’re just so full to try those sweets.

With Pan de Amerikana’s homey ambiance, friendly service, free-wi-fi access, and to top it all – most affordable food, Tina and I envied the people living within the area. After rising from their beds or coming home from schools or offices, they can just go straight to Pan de Amerikana and savor that family-friendly bonding moments. :D

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PAN de AMERIKANA, 92 Ordoñez St., Corner Maroon Concepcion Dos (near World of Butterflies) Marikina City/ Tel # (63-2) 934-0667 and 475-2398. Branch : 118 Katipunan Ave., White Plains, Quezon City.

21
Sep
09

DUSIT THANI : REVISITED

September 20, 2009 – Two days after my 33rd birthday, my wife, Tina gave me her present : a confirmed reservation for the two of us, with our son, Gabby who eats for FREE at Dusit Thani’s Family Sunday Brunch Buffet! It was our second time to experience such gastronomic adventure in 4 different themed restaurants of Dusit : Benjarong – Thai;  Basix -Asian-Continental;  Tosca-Italian;  Umu -Japanese; Our first dining experience of such epic proportions at Dusit was only last March and can be viewed here; it was such a blast, we had so much fun! :D 

After I have donated blood last Thursday at St. Luke’s Medical Center, as my humble charity work for my birthday, and revisited Bellini’s with my family on the day when I turned a year older, this buffet brunch is more than enough.  For the moment, life cannot be better than this! :D

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We both love Dusit; it’ll be forever memorable for the 2 of us, because 2 sections of its ballroom served as our wedding reception venue more than five years ago. And the brunch we had  six months back was so remarkable that we promised ourselves that we’ll try and explore other dishes some time.  We even spread the word about this Family Brunch Buffet to our colleagues and friends. :D

We arrived at the hotel lobby at 11AM exactly half an hour before buffet starts. After paying PhP 1450 nett per pax, the friendly staff gave our wrist bands that rendered access to those 4 fantastic restaurants in Dusit Thani.  We also got a chance to roam around the Japanese garden opposite Umu while waiting…

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We like those kois on the pond and that man-made waterfalls…

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We shot photos of Gabby at every ‘road signs’ heading to those 4 restos which he enjoyed so much! 

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Though she likes Basix, my wifey chose to reserved a table for 3 at Umu for she knows that I like the ambiance of that Japanese restaurant; not to disregard the fact that I’m excited to eat Umu’s teppanyaki again! 

Who can resist the beauty of Umu?

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Its contemporary Japanese interiors is so inviting.  With those wooden tablets in black with gold Japanese characters, and a sushi-sashimi station at the center, and a classy atmosphere, everyone is easily drawn to its charm.

After being ushered to our table by a purple-Kimono clad staff, Tina and Gabby went to Basix to get some yummies, while I walked straight to an area in Umu to get some of these…

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At the Teppanyaki section, you have the freedom to choose the ingredients you’d like the chef to grill for you at his teppan – from the freshest beef cubes which I skipped;  to thinly sliced veggies, bean sprouts, mushrooms, shelled tiger prawns, pink salmon and lapu-lapu…A dash of salt and pepper and other Oriental seasoning and oil, voila!  

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My teppanyaki plate from Umu is always a personal favorite! I just love how those fresh seafoods are grilled to perfection!

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I also got goodies that were deeply fried upon request :  prawn and bacon which was sooo good! and ham and cheese, eggplant on sticks. 

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I didn’t pass the chance to try another favorite from Umu : SUKIYAKI :D   Look how those bowls of very tender marbled beef and stock with veggies and soft tofu are prepared…

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The glass noodles were soft and thick; the soup itself was never too sweet, neither too salty… Sarap!

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Unlike Sukiyaki from other Japanese restos, Umu’s version doesn’t disappoint because of its almost fatless beef.  Isn’t it obvious that I really like Umu? LOL :D

Other delectable must-try are :  (from left to right)  Tamago rolls, Ika Karaage,  Salad, Cold Soba…

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What’s a Japanese restaurant without sushi and sashimi ?

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On way to Basix, there’s a lady dressed as Thailander who played the string instrument, Khim.

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Basix has this relaxed and cool ambiance…

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Tina and Gabby brought to our table at Umu this plate from Basix…

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I was informed by the chef at Umu’s Teppanyaki section that Ebi Tempura’s cooking was transferred to Basix.  Because it’s one of Gabby’s favorites, Tina got him generous servings of those battered shrimps. It’s not the best tempura we’ve tasted but nonetheless, OK.  The mussels from Basix were bordering from tasteful to bland;  still we favor Circles Events Cafe of Makati Shangri la when it comes to New Zealand Mussels. :D

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When I went to Basix, I got a slice of Roast Beef and 2 wrapped rolls of Peking Duck.  Peking Duck tasted fine, but I wish they can improve the Roast Beef’s mushroom gravy into a thicker consistency and making it more flavorful.

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There are tons of choices to choose from the spread at Basix;  the buffet duration of 11:30 AM to 3PM is just not enough! Too many food, so little time, LOL :D

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What makes Dusit Thani’s Sunday Family Crossover Brunch creatively unique compared to other Live-cooking / open-kitchen buffets in other hotels is that diners in Dusit can burn calories immediately after munching.  How? One has to walk from the base-station of choice (for us :Umu!) to the other 3 themed restos.  I view it as Dusit’s advantage rather than its opposite.  Diners may take the grand winding stairs, or on our case, who were tooooo lazy to walk, take the lifts to go to the mezzanine where Benjarong and Tosca are located.  At the lobby, there are interesting characters to cheer up kids and the kid-at-hearts –  just like this smiley stilt-walker who’s always ready for a photo-op :D

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Being a Thai hotel in Manila, it’s not surprising that Dusit Thani’s Benjarong boasts of ambiance that’s so elegant and enticing to the senses. The entrance to Benjarong has a wall adorned with ceramics that will lead you to the main dining area.

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But, I guess my palate isn’t partial to Thai dishes, whether mild, or super spicy. I only like their desserts.

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YAM SOM O : Pomelo Salad,  and YAM PLA DOOK FOO : Crispy Fried Catfish with Green Mango Salad 

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YAM SAI KRAWK BACON THOD : Spicy Bacon Wrapped Sausage

MEE KROB KRATHONG : Sweet and Sour Crispy Vermicelli in Pastry Cup.

My Thai plate had a bit of everything…

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I like those Thai sweet treats with coconut milk and glutinous rice…

KHANOM TAKO : Sweet Water Chestnut and Coconut Cream in Pandan Cup -> sarap!

KHANOM SOD SAI : Stuffed Glutinous Flour Ball with Grated Coconut and Sugar -> yum!

KHAO NIAO MAMUANG : Ripe Mango with Sticky Rice -> I love mangoes; i like rice! Tasted like bico.

Let’s leave Benjarong and allow me to take you to TOSCA, the Italian Restaurant of Dusit Thani in Makati…

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Tosca is noted for its sophistication and class… the atmosphere is made subdued and comfy by a musician who plays the piano while diners enjoy some of the best Italian cuisine…

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FREE FLOWING ITALIAN SPARKLING WINES, anyone ?  This is another edge of Dusit Thani’s buffet. In other hotels,  rates do not include beverages, but in Dusit, you can enjoy Italian wine flavored with either Dalandan or Raspberry to your hearts content! Other drinks available are Lemongrass Juice from Benjarong, Iced Green Tea from Umu, Dalandan and Raspberry Juices from Basix all in bottomless servings! Plus the staffs are always ready with smiles, which I most like!

There are wide array of food to be cooked and prepared upon request, from pasta to pizza, to salads and more. 

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I so wish our stomachs are bottomless too, LOL :D  We can only eat as much. :D

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I asked one of the chefs in Tosca to prepare me a personal-sized pizza. As he began to knead the dough I requested all toppings available except for olives. Tina and I aren’t fanatics of olives.  He politely told me to return after 5 minutes as he bakes my pizza.  It was delicious; the bread alone can stand sans toppings!  As I enjoyed the pizza freshly made from Tosca, I failed to savor other Italian dishes like that Turkey Breast Stuffed with raisins and sage on roasted tomato cream (photo beside pizza); it looks delicious as well.

One rule that Tina and I have learned from buffets :  MAKE ROOM FOR DESSERTS !

After my wife entrusted Gabby to the very accomodating staffs of KIDS’ STATION at the lobby, Tina and I became so busy with desserts… (Gabby opted to play and watch his favorite cartoons, Spongebob rather than stuffed his tummy like his parents, LOL).   We had ice cream from Tosca, as we look upon Gabby.   

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DESSERTS from TOSCA : DIVINE!

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DESSERTS from BASIX : SUBLIME!

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Care for some D-I-Y  HALO-HALO or CHOCOLATE FONDUE that tastes like Hershey’s?

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While Gabby became occupied with having his face painted for FREE, Tina and I sat at Basix and had blueberry and mango crepes!  I had mine topped with almond flakes.  

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BENJARONG SWEETS : EXQUISITE…

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DESSERTS from UMU :  TOOTHSOME…

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Half hour before 3PM, we took time to photograph Gabby with the friendly balloon-maker and the man on stilts…

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It was another memorable fun day with my family.  What a way to welcome my 33rd year!  The buffet was only icing on the cake;  I am so grateful to our good Lord for my family’s health and safety.  I am just thankful for having Tina and Gabby!  :D 

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We love Dusit Thani’s Sunday Family Crossover Brunch! :D

Dusit Thani Manila, Ayala Center, Makati City/Tel (63-2) 867-3333 Every Sunday 11:30 AM to 3:00PM/ PhP 1450 nett for adults/PhP 725 nett for children 6 to 12 years old.

19
Sep
09

A QUAINT RESTO : REVISITED

Our munch plan for my birthday : 

               Friday late afternoon snack/early dinner + Sunday hotel buffet = family bonding :D 

This is the first of two celebrations I had with my wife, Tina and our son, Gabby…

It took us seven months before we revisited this quaint Italian restaurant tucked in the low-key area of Cubao (our first can be viewed  here ). I like  its interiors and ambiance more than their food.  OK, their menu may be authentic, as the owners are a former paparazzo who married a Filipina; but I guess my palate has been biased with other restaurants that serve similar cuisine.  Nevertheless, I always  find BELLINI’s  pleasing… 

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These aren’t paintings on the walls but murals on the ceilings. 

Check out how enticing  the interiors is…

IMG_3688  4

5  IMG_3705

Bellini’s, owned by Roberto and Ma. Luisa Bellini, has been a location of a local movie  because of its romantic appeal…

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It’s like a small piece of Italy in the heart of Marikina Shoe Expo in Cubao, Quezon City… 

Bellini’s delightful atmosphere is artistically beautiful but I just wish the service will be friendlier. The two wait staffs who attended to us were discreet and courteous; but smiles were inapparent. I like food servers who always flash their best smiles while at work. For me, smiles mean that they love and enjoy what they do.  It lessens my appetite if the servers are apathetic.  

I always expect waiters and waitresses to be acquainted with the menu. I usually ask something like the serving size and the restaurant’s bestsellers; and I admire staffs who are familiar with the food they serve.  Yesterday was not my lucky day at Bellini’s; for the querries I addressed to our waitress were all thrown to her colleague.

I ordered one of my favorite breads, focaccia; even asked the waitress the dip that comes with it, but got no reply from her but from other waiter.  And when I checked the bill before paying, the focaccia bread was charged but it wasn’t served.  To be fair, I’d say the waiter was apologetic and did the necessary changes on our bill; but there’s no room for mistakes to render remarkable dining experience.

Poor me, I just thought that the waitress was new and still untrained, and I just swallowed my temper and remembered that it’s my birthday.

Enough, and on with the food… :D 

IMG_3690BREADSTICKS, Complimentary :D    House Iced tea, PhP 50+; it tasted like Peach flavored Sola Iced tea, not bad for me; i love peach!

Last February, we ordered a pasta that won our hearts, so we had another plate for my birthday!

IMG_3702BUCATINI AMATRICIANA, PhP 250+ (bacon, tomato and onion sauce).

We love its thick strands of pasta and its simplicity made it so tasteful.

What’s an Italian dining without pizza?

IMG_3712QUATTRO FORMAGGI, PhP 250+ (mozzarrella plus 3 different kinds of cheese; tomato based).

All of Bellini’s pizzas are mozzarrella and tomato based. We had Bellini’s special pizza seven months ago.  It was fine combination of most toppings in super thin crust.

Yesterday, we chose this 4-cheese-pizza because we considered our son’s preference. He doesn’t like any toppings on his pizza but cheese.  We all liked its flavorful thin crust;  but we all thought that Amici’s version is far better.  

IMG_3710POLLO ALLA DIAVOLA , 1/2  PhP 280+(grilled chicken breast with herbs and chili).

I ordered this grilled chicken breast with herbs and chili just to taste how different it is from other chicken recipes I’ve sampled from other restos. I like its well-marinated meat that was so tender that once you dunk your fork into it, it easily shreds off from its bones. I like it but not to point it’ll become my favorite.  Unfortunately, my wife gave this dish her thumbs down.  She was probably not in the mood for some spice.  

IMG_3723TIRAMISU : GELATO CAKE, PhP 170+

Gabby immediately recognized that it’s a combined mocha and coffee ice cream cake. For a barely five-year-older, we’re proud to raise Gabby as a food enthusiast too (with the hope that he’ll pursue his early dreams of becoming a chef one day).  But to my wife Tina, this gelato cake is a dissapointment; not of its taste, but of its price.  I have to agree with her that it’s pricey for its serving. C’mmon, with its price more expensive than a pint of ice cream, the cost is just too steep! Look how fancy the layers are but its tiny size of slightly bigger than a teaspoon drowned all its glory…

IMG_3724  IMG_3722

Although we’re full after that meal, I felt something’s missing.  I never experienced the excitement of dining I had during our first visit.  Perhaps because of the gloomy weather, or can I attribute it to the service and some dishes that can still be improved? 

Anyway, there’s still tomorrow for another day of gastronomic adventure. 

Abangan! :D

———————————

Bellini’s Italian Fast Food and Restaurant / Stall 68-69 Marikina Shoe Expo, Gen. Romulo Ave., Cubao, Quezon City/Tel #s (63-2) 913-2550.




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