Posts Tagged ‘buffet

20
Jul
14

IFTAR BUFFET AT DUSIT THANI DUBAI

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If you must know, Iftar is the break of the fast at around sunset during the Islamic month of Ramadan. And if in case you’re in Dubai or nearby emirates, why not celebrate Iftar at Dusit Thani Dubai?

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Imagine the exquisite fusion of Arabian luxury and Asian hospitality.  The Emirati sophistication and Thai elegance.  Fascinating qualities combined under one roof, in a remarkable twin-skyscrapers that physically resemble two-palms-put-together greeting everyone, Sawasdee!

Conveniently located along Sheikh Zayed Road, Dusit Thani Dubai is only a stone-throw-away from the world’s tallest man-made structure, the iconic – Burj Khalifa, the massively impressive, Dubai Mall and Dubai’s World Trade Center and the rest of establishments comprising its commercial and financial district; not to forget its proximity to Dubai Metro Station – that defines accessibility in truest sense of the word.

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Dusit Thani Dubai.  A glimpse of Asia in the heart of Dubai, UAE (photo sourced from its website).

One will not only savor a sumptuous buffet spread at Dusit Thani Dubai while enjoying  Asian-Arabian ambiance, but would also make Ramadan more meaningful, as a percentage of proceeds from the dinner buffet goes to Operation Smile.
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Although I have an idea of the Fasting month, as a Non-Muslim-Overseas Filipino Worker who came from a 3-year-work-stint in Malaysia that’s also predominantly believer of Islamic faith, where I had a chance to partake in Berbuka Puasa (breaking of the fast in Malay) and go to Ramadan Night Markets, there’s still a bit of curiosity for me to experience Ramadan (and summer) here in UAE for the first time.

About 2 weeks after our company threw an Iftar buffet party at a different premier hotel, I was blessed to try the Iftar offerings at Dusit Thani Dubai with one of our young colleagues who generously accompanied me on the eve of Friday, 18th July 2014.

Together with Jessica, my taste buds were challenged by not one but three restaurants in Dusit, participating in its Iftar – The Californian (Continental cuisine), PAX (Italian cuisine) and Benjarong (Thai).

The Californian

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Benjarong

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PAX

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Because the three restaurants are located at the 24th floor of Dusit Thani, the view from where we sat at PAX gave us a breathtaking visual feast of the stretch of Sheikh Zayed Road and the magnificent, Burj Khalifa at another corner. The dining experience was heightened as the sky dramatically turned into dusk.

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Jessica, one of my young and brilliant colleagues at work in Dubai.

With fresh orange juice and Arabic beverages and tea inclusive in the buffet, dishes of 60% Arabic and 40% Asian-Continental were on the spread located at the middle of  the 3 particpating restaurants. Although the volume wasn’t as great as our expectations, I honestly found some of my favorites (Shawarma, Hummus, Babanoush, Tabouleh, Greek Salad with feta cheese, Caesar salad, Chicken Biryani, Chicken ala Kiev, various pasta dishes cooked on the spot and others) appetizingly good!  What I did was random sampling of little portions of what I fancied.
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Dates and tea.

Why dates at Iftar? A quick glance at Wiki states, “Traditionally but not mandatory, three dates are eaten to break the fast in emulation of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, who broke his fast in this manner. Many Muslims believe that feeding someone iftar as a form of charity is very rewarding and that such was practised by the Prophet Muhammad.”

*photos below are only a fraction of the entire Iftar offerings at Dusit Thani Dubai.

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What’s dining in Dubai without Shawarma? Unlimited Chicken Shawarma, anyone? :)

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Traditional Roasted Lamb Ouzi, served with Oriental rice and toasted nuts.

No meal is complete without sweet endings… Here are some of the desserts in the middle of the desert! :)
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Good food, good company, good times… Thank you, Dusit!

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I love that Pasta! Go figure why. Troop to Dusit Thani for your Iftar if you’re in Dubai!
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Special thanks goes to Ms. Danelle of Dusit Thani Dubai for the invitation to this Iftar.

Dusit Thani Dubai | 133 Sheikh Zayed Road, P.O. Box 23335 Dubai | Tel: +971 (4) 343 3333+971 (4) 343 3333 | Fax: :+971 (4) 343 4222+971 (4) 343 4222 | website : http://www.dusit.com/dusitthani/dubai/default-en.html

>><<

30
Mar
14

GOZO GARDEN RESTAURANT AT MILLENIUM AIRPORT HOTEL, DUBAI

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When you’re in Dubai either for a brief stopover or a longer stay, you may want to drop by at one of the interesting and delicious hotel food and beverage outlets around – the Gozo Garden located at Millenium Airport Hotel.  I was lucky enough to be invited to experience their BBQ Themed Dinner Buffet followed by a Phil Collins Tribute Show that made one of my first few weekend nights in UAE less ordinary.

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Lobby of Millenium Airport Hotel, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Upon the thoughtful recommendation of a fellow Filipino UAE-based blogger, Carla of  My Yellow Bells @ www.myyellowbells.blogspot.ae, whose blog I follow long before I came to Dubai, and with the generous invitation of Mr. Ben Hipolito, the hotel’s  Food and Beverage Administrator,  Gozo Garden  Restaurant and Millenium Airport Hotel, I’m grateful to be there that Thursday night, savored the food and music, and finally got a chance to meet Carla and another Filipino blogger based in Dubai, Rosell of  Kero’s Celebration @ www.mrspinkihan.com. It was nothing but fun evening that ushered our weekend in UAE!

For someone like me who’s so new to Dubai, finding the location of  Millenium Airport Hotel and getting there were not an issue.  I left my flat in Deira at around half an hour past 6 in the evening ; walked my way to take the ever reliable, Dubai Metro from Abu Bakar Al Siddique Station. After swiftly transferring to Red Line at Union Station, I alighted at GGICO Station and strolled to the venue. It only took me less than 20 minutes to reach the Millenium Airport Hotel from Deira via the Dubai Metro. Of course, getting there through private cars, taxi cabs and buses are also an option. It’s that accessible.

Thankfully, the sky and the stars were cooperative that evening; the seemingly odd downpour in Dubai for two consecutive days prior to that night halted on our favor.
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The view from where we sat.

The simple outdoor set up for that Thursday evening highlighted the impressive space of the hotel. The buffet spread was truly enticing!
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The delicious Gozo Garden BBQ themed dinner buffet outdoor.

Assorted slices of cheese, cold cuts and biscuits, a variety of salads, sushi, seafood, baked goodies and soups, plus a few more hors d’ oeuvres, main entrees that include Salmon wrapped in Banana Leaves, Stir Fried Seafoods, Pan Roasted Vegetables in Pesto, Roasted Rack of Lamb with Moroccan Spices, Grilled Hamour with Citrus Sauce and Basil, Roasted Beef and a lot more!  Desserts spread wasn’t overwhelming but a satisfying selection of sweets and fresh fruit slices.  A choice of beverages from wines and beers to fruit juices, coffee and tea were available too to complement everything that evening.

Let my few captures give you a glimpse of how modest but tasteful the spread was.
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Desserts…

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My plates…

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There were a couple of cover artists who were playing good music during the dinner. Their songs from late 80s to early 90s while we’re indulging were so apt to introduce the main show that night.  A Phil Collins Tribute by Andrew James.

His voice did justice to Phil Collins’ hits and I must state, I caught myself clapping frequently. However, it could’ve been better if his repertoire included the classics,  “Against All Odds” and “Separate Lives.” You know how Filipinos can get so sentimental at any given place and time! ;)
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Upcoming shows at Gozo Garden include, Tom Jones Tribute Show on May 1st, and another Tribute Show featuring hits of Lionel Richie on May 29th. You better mark those dates and troop to Gozo Garden if you’re in Dubai!

As for the gastronomic feasts nightly, Gozo Garden offers Latino Samba on Sundays, Mediterranean on Mondays, Oriental on Tuesdays, Out of Africa-themed night on Wednesdays, BBQ every Thursdays, Seafood Galore on Fridays and Arabian Night on Saturdays.  At AED 195 per person with selected house beverages, and AED 250 every Thursday with Tribute Shows, you’re definitely in for something fun and a delightful night!

It was a pleasure finally meeting my fellow bloggers at UAE, Carla and Rosell! Here’s hoping for more meet ups soon! Until next time!

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Happy to meet fellow Filipino UAE-based bloggers, Carla (middle) and Rosell (seated).

Many thanks to Gozo Garden Restaurant and Millenium Airport Hotel for inviting us!

Gozo Garden | Millenium Airport Road Dubai, Airport Road, Casablanca Street, Al Garhoud, PO Box 13018
Dubai, 13018, United Arab Emirates | Telephone : +971 4 702 8888+971 4 702 8888 Fax : +971 4 282 0627 |
website : www.millenniumhotels.ae/millenniumdubai/dining/gozo-garden

>><<

23
Oct
13

SINGAPORE | OUR STAY AT ORCHARD PARADE HOTEL

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Relaxed ambiance at Orchard Parade Hotel

I considered myself blessed for having a chance to visit the Lion City for the 5th time.  And how was it different from my earlier trips to Singapore?  Staying in two premier hotels on two consecutive nights made it uniquely special this time.  I was fortunate to be invited to do such.  Simply thinking about it may already be tiring for others, but for someone who has an itchy feet and a passion for exploring new things during traveling, it’s something to be excited about!

After our impressive but short overnight stay at The Elizabeth Hotel, my mom, my aunt and I checked in at Orchard Parade Hotel.

Located where Sinagpore’s most famous shopping district begins, Orchard Road, Orchard Parade Hotel is approximately 10-minute walk to ION Orchard Mall, Wisma Atria, Tang Plaza, Lucky Plaza (where most Filipinos and Filipino shops are!), Paragon Mall, Ngee Ann City and Takashimaya Shopping Center. The location is just prime and so accessible to everything – food, shopping, MRT stations!

Because we arrived early morning of Sunday without prior request for an early-check in, our game plan was to leave our luggages at the concierge and then hear Catholic Mass and proceed to our touristy destination after.

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As soon as we alighted from our taxi cab, helpful & courteous staff at the facade greeted us with friendly smiles and carried our luggages to the lobby;  it’s not extraordinary, I know, but these little things made us feel so welcomed upon arrival.
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The Lobby & Reception areas.

A fellow Filipino, by the name of Chona was one of the reception staff that day.  She asked me to fill out the check in card and advised me to return around 2:30PM.  She gave out luggage card and our things were kept safely at the back of the concierge.  Everything was done smoothly. Thumbs up for that!  :)

We returned on the dot and checked in at 2:30PM. Here’s how our Deluxe Room at Orchard Parade looks like…

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Our Deluxe Room

Honestly, I found the room very basic.  It looked a bit old compared to other hotels in Singapore that I experienced the past years.  However, the strong points of the Deluxe Room we stayed in include fast and free wifi connection, and ultimately, cleanliness!

I appreciated the presence of a 2-seater-couch but wished the coffee table was wider. Nevertheless, it was functional as we used it when we eat our takeaway-dinner.

If you’ve been to Singapore, then you know that most hotels there could cost you an arm and leg.  Surprisingly, even those classified as budget hotels can be expensive than you think, despite their rooms have no windows that could make anyone claustrophobic in an instant. The Deluxe Room of Orchard Parade Hotel on the other hand, has the best view you that can stimulate and perk you up!  Lush green, inviting swimming pool, the works! Imagine you’ll wake up to a morning view such as this. Nice, isn’t it?

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The view’s fantastic! Lush green, inviting swimming pool, a visual treat!

The wardrobe keeps all the essentials – a safe, a flat iron & ironing board, a few hangers and bathrobes, 2 pairs of hotel slippers,  a shoe cleaning materials, and a hair dryer, I think. I just forgot to check if they keep a long umbrella there too.

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Wardrobe and Accomodation Essentials

I also found the toilet and shower simple and small.  But more importantly, like the room, it appeared almost sterile.

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Toilet and Shower Room

Just few steps outside the lobby, there are fine choices of restaurants, coffee shops, and a wine store that can entice someone with discriminating taste. Then again, there’s something for the budget-conscious too. From convenience store that’s open for 24 hours, coffee and pastry shops and a lot more affordable restaurants and food stalls that are located a stone’s-throw-away.

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We rested all night and our first priority the next day was : BREAKFAST BUFFET!

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We had breakfast buffet at Tunglok Signatures located at the second level of Orchard Parade Hotel.  Elegant, spacious, Oriental-themed yet laid back ambiance.  Just wonderful!

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And the food?  The buffet spread was modest in volume but nonetheless could fill your tummy.  I liked the free flowing coffee, tea and fresh juices. But it would be better if they could offer more kinds of dim sums and add a few more dishes next time.

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Here are my plates, some are my relatives’.

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Bacon and my morning is complete!  Tuna salad’s a delight! 

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Salad Pasta, Chicken Sausages, Potato Pops, Banana & Chocolate Cake Slices.

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Must Go Local!  Dim Sums and Nasi Lemak…

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Tropical Fruit Slices smothered with Mango-flavored Yoghurt. Yummy!

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Happy diners! My mom and aunt after that breakfast buffet. All smiles! :)

One last look prior checking out…

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Overall, I can personally recommend Orchard Parade Hotel for its prime location, decent and clean Deluxe Room and toilet despite small and a little old, fast and free wifi connection, satisfying eat-all-you-want-breakfast and more importantly, good service from hotel staff.

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Orchard Parade Hotel |  #1 Tanglin Road S247905 Singapore |  For more details and reservation, kindly visit their website of the Orchard Parade Hotel by Far East Hospitality here : http://www.stayfareast.com/en/hotels/orchard-parade-hotel.aspx

Check out this blog’s features and reviews on other hotels by Far East Hospitality :

Thank you to Far East Hospitality & particularly to Orchard Parade Hotel and The Elizabeth Hotel for sponsoring our 3D2N stay at respective hotels this October 2013. We really appreciate it! Special thanks goes out to Ms. Ericia Li, Ms. Christina Tan  & Mr. Mike Cheong for generously responding to my emails and request.

>><<

06
Oct
13

HOW DO YOU SAY GOODBYE TO MALAYSIA?

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Prayer Pavilion, Khoo kongsi, George Town, Penang

After three years, two months and a few more weeks,  how do you say goodbye to the most unforgettable days of your life? How do you say goodbye to the country who welcomed you with open arms, despite you’re initially clueless about her, except for the image of the iconic Petronas Twin Towers? How do you say goodbye to the state who embraced you and gave you so much opportunities to work, travel, eat, learn and experience her culture? How do you say goodbye to the few people who expressed selfless and priceless concern, love and generosity particularly in your lowest moments and trying times?

I don’t know.

As my son’s already in the Philippines now, continuing his studies with his mom, I try my best not to dwell in sadness, while I bid farewell to a lot of things that matter to me, including the three years of my life in Malaysia.  In spite and despite of my family problems that I opted not to disclose publicly (Don’t ask unless you’re one of those pathetic gossipers and hypocrites I know, who thrive in divulging private issues of others, that made them to me, much like receptacles of feces. Rectum personified. Are you?), I chose to celebrate my last days in Penang, the humble state that I considered my second home, by touring my mom (she’s back in Penang!) and her only sister, my aunty who’s currently enjoying her very first vacation abroad.  After all, it’s so much better to be positive and happy on my last weeks in Malaysia, rather than to just abandon everything and everyone who made our stay in Butterworth worthwhile.

After I officially tendered my resignation from work, I’m savoring my last days in Penang at work with my current students during weekdays and revisiting the places I loved with my mom and aunt every weekends.

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Kek Lok Si Temple in Air Itam

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Burmese Buddhist Temple that enshrines The Standing Buddha in Pulau Tikus

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Kek Lok Si Temple in Air Itam

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Thai Buddhist Temple that enshrines The Reclining Buddha in Pulau Tikus

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Kek Lok Si Temple in Air Itam

My Mom and Aunt in Malaysia

We arrived in Kuala Lumpur via LCCT.  And if you’ve been following this blog, you probably remember that my mom has been to Malaysia last year, but as for her one and only sister, who happens to be my godparent as well, we needed to introduce to her the country that has been so good to us by only the best ways we know how.  So first priority after arrival at the terminal : EAT MALAYSIAN FOOD!

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Noodles from Old Town Restaurant in Low Cost Carrier Terminal. Delicious! Sedap! Sarap!

Then came the unexpected travel-blooper of my aunt’s luggage that she only borrowed from one of her daughters. Just before we boarded our KUL-PEN flight, my mom noticed that its stitching collapsed that pushed me to buy packing tape from the airport’s bookstore.  The next photo exhibits the result of our effort to bind her luggage back! Hehehe!

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Boarding time! Picture muna!
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We arrived in Penang on a Saturday late afternoon, almost dead tired of the whole day flight-and-waiting-at-the-airports, so having dinner at the cafe in front of our apartment was really called for! We’re tired but never fatigued to smile! :)
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Sunday morning, my aunt went with me to the pasar (public market) via hopping in the Rapid Penang Bus few minutes after 6AM. If you must know, I am one of those rare breed of family-men who take efforts to go to public market to shop for the week’s food supplies, wash dishes, (I also know how to cook!), do laundry, iron clothes, carry gallons of water from the water dispenser from the mini-mart to the apartment on top of working for a living.  All that I experience in being an Overseas Filipino Worker that gave me deeper meaning to the song’s lyrics, “I did my best, but my best wasn’t good enough!”

From the public market, we bought a few Malay breakfast goodies : some local delicacies and Nasi lemak!
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We wasted no time after breakfast and rode the bus and ferry and trooped to George Town…

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Ferry Ride from Butterworth to George Town

We had lunch at one of my favorites, Restoran Kapitan, Pitt Street, Little India, Lebuh Chulia…

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La Coppera : Chicken Briyani

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Buttered Chicken Masala, Garlic and Cheese Naan, Dahl, Chicken Tikka, and Mango Lassi! Yummy!

Must remember Penang forever with her absolutely amazing street arts!
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Must have photo-ops with Penang’s remarkable symbols and touristy spots. From trishaws, clan houses, temples and mosques, I believed my mom and aunt were happy strolling and touring the heritage trail of George Town.
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Inside Prangin Mall near Komtar Building, we had Ais Kacang!
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Ais Kacang! One of Malaysia’s refreshing desserts!

The next weekend, I brought them to Kek Lok Si Temple.

KEK LOK SI TEMPLE in Air Itam

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We ended the day by having dinner at one of the most affordable eat-all-you-want restaurants in the globe! At only RM 52 (more or less PhP 700) for the total charge for the 3 of us (the two got discounts as senior citizens!), we enjoyed food, food and more food complete with bottomless ice cream and other desserts!


DINNER AT TOWN STEAMBOAT BUFFET RESTAURANT in Macalister Road

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The next day, Sunday – my aunt & mom prepared and cooked lunch. We stayed home the whole Sunday eating & relaxing!

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The following weekend, I brought them to the Burmese & Thai Buddhist Temples in Pulau Tikus, then to Gurney Paragon Mall, G Hotel and Plaza Gurney Mall. Photos need not to be captioned. Their smiles say it all!

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God is so good! When life gives you trials, the Lord makes His presence felt by sending people who care so much about you and in my case, these people aren’t only my immediate relatives but a few Malaysians who really made me experience Divine Intervention in truest sense of the word.

There are no words to sufficiently express my gratitude to those Malaysians who have been so nice to me.  That includes my students! I shall never forget my days conducting lectures, tutorials and laboratory classes in Anatomy and Physiology, Basic Pathology, General Medical Microbiology, Applied Medical Microbiology, Immunology, Basic Molecular and Cellular Biology, Group Project-Case Study, Medical Parasitology, to future doctors of Malaysia!

Special thanks goes out to my students in FMS April 2013 Intake Group D who gave me a ceramic fountain as a gift (not in photo) and to my students in DMS April 2011 Intake who gave me Baju Melayu, the traditional attire of Malaysian men, complete with a very nice hand-woven songket that they bought in Perak as their gift to me.  Thank you very much! With or without gifts, I really appreciate everything!
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Baju Melayu, given as farewell surprise gift from my students of DMS April 2011 Intake. Terima Kasih!

To all Malaysian colleagues, friends, fellow bloggers, students, sponsors,

Thank you very much!

In Shakespeare’s words, “Parting is such a sweet sorrow!” 

There will be no goodbyes, but see you again in the future!

Terima Kasih, Malaysia!

Thank you for both GOOD and BAD TIMES!

I LOVE PENANG!

I LOVE MALAYSIA!

>><<

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

~ Melody Beattie

PS : The remaining weeks prior exiting Malaysia, I still have to attend to generous invites to sponsored accomodation from two premier hotels in Singapore and a luxury 2 bedroom serviced apartment in Kuala Lumpur!  It’s so nice that the good Lord gave me an opportunity to tour my mom and aunt not only in Penang and KL but it will be their first time too in the Lion City soon!  God is so good!
 
21
Jul
13

RAMADAN BUFFET AT EASTIN HOTEL PENANG

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20 July 2013, Saturday. For the very first time in 3 years of stay in Penang, my family and I had a chance to sample an eat-all-you-want-dinner of authentic Malaysian cuisine prepared specially by Swez Brasserie at Eastin Hotel Penang, for the observance of breaking of the fast during this season of Ramadan. The spread was absolutely different from the Japanese-themed-buffet we had at the same venue few months back (blog post HERE!).

We reached the lobby of the hotel where the said restaurant is located, a bit early for the seven o’clock PM start of the dinner; hence, Tina and I had enough time taking photos of the spread. We noted how Ramadan Buffet at Eastin Hotel Penang was well received and patronized by Malaysian guests and walk-in-diners, as empty tables and seats that we saw when we arrived, were all filled few minutes past 7PM. It was a great sign that the buffet dinner at Eastin’s really good!

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“What do you call these oil lamps in Bahasa Melayu?” I asked Selene, one of the friendly staff of Eastin Hotel Penang, about the centerpiece of each table. “Pelita” she replied with a smile. I told her we call it in the Philippines, “sulo” or torch.  Dried dates and glasses of warm water were served per table. Lanterns and a few more decors set the mood for families’ Iftar or breaking of the fast.  The ambiance was simply made appropriate for the occasion.

Apart from the usual spread of appetizers, entrees and desserts, they set up a few hawker-like-stalls at the entrance of Swez Brasserie. There, diners could ask for servings of Beef Wellington which was soooooo good, Roasted Lamb on the carving stations, Chicken Shawarma, and local desserts like  Ais Kachang (fruits, nuts and shaved ice) and Tutti Frutti or more commonly known as snow cone.  Other than Beef Wellington, the major reason, in my family’s opinion, for diners to troop to Eastin Hotel is their specialty bone marrow soup locally called, GearBox Soup, or what we call in the Philippines as, Bulalo.

It was totally unexpected to start our Ramadan Buffet with such delicious and piping hot beefy soup! There were bigger chunks of bone marrow being served but Tina requested for a smaller piece for the fear that we may not finish it. But after sipping the tasteful soup with a straw (yes, they serve bone marrow soup here with straws, why not?) and dunking our forks to those tender, fall-off-the-bone meaty goodness, we all felt that it’s an all-worth-it-dining-experience!  For the lack of  better words to describe the start of our buffet dinner, it was so glorious! :D

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Gearbox Soup

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My salad plate was a bit of this and that. 

I loved the Beef Salad, except its black olives (I don’t eat olives, do you?). I think the Seafood Salad topped with sesame seeds was done really well as its spicy-meter didn’t irritate my taste buds! Cucur Udang (or Shrimp Fritters) was good too, plus the Stuffed Tofu and Papadam were OK as well. I was happy to came up with such appetizer plate with various textures!

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Beef Wellington at Eastin Hotel Penang’s Swez Brasserie. Served with gravy of choice -Mushroom Gravy or Black Pepper Sauce, and a few others. It’s very tender with all that beefy goodness, plus the bread crusting was divine! We highly recommend it!!!

Other than the Gearbox Soup or the Bone Marrow Soup, the three of us favored Beef Wellington! We’ve been dining to a few eat-all-you-want in Penang Island and we know that not all hotels here offer this dish; admittedly, it was our first time to find a  buffet that serves it! With all its tender beef, coated by puff pastry to perfection, it’s one of the reasons why you should treat yourself to this Ramadan Buffet at Eastin Hotel when you’re in Penang! Beef Wellington and Gearbox Soup, in our own opinion, make Eastin Hotel Penang’s Buffet remarkably special!

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Penang Assam Laksa. Tina and I agreed it needs improvement!

With all our praises to Gearbox Soup and Beef Wellington, the case is different with their version of what Penang is famous for -Penang Assam Laksa that made to top 7 out of 50 Most Delicious Foods in the World according to CNN. Eastin’s version of Penang Assam Laksa screams the need for improvement! We may not be Penangites but being accustomed to its authentic taste, Tina and I believe that Eastin’s Laksa must be enhanced. Case in point, we didn’t like the use of spaghetti instead of the usual rice noodles. It also lacked that spicy and minty and tangy tug-of-war-flavors on the Assam Laksa. Other than the laksa that’s available upon request at that live-kitchen-station, everything’s worth our thumbs-up!

While Tina and I are biased with Turkish Shawarma which this buffet currently doesn’t offer, Gabby enjoyed Swez Brasserie’s Chicken Shawarma! He personally requested no-vegetable-Chicken Shawarma from the station (I know, kids must eat veggies!).

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Gabby liked their Chicken Shawarma, he savored two servings!

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Everything in this plate was tasteful. I loved those buttered garlicky shrimps!

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My choice of Malaysian entrees. 

I sampled Grilled Spicy Lobster, Spanish Omelet, Stir Fried Bamboo Clams with Black Bean Sauce (My very first time to eat bamboo clams, would you believe? It’s OK, I liked it), Nasi Minyak (fragrant and flavorful rice topped with garlic and nuts), Gulai Udang (or Shrimp Curry) and Baked Fish with Spices. I liked everything on my plate! However, blame our foreign taste buds with the available refillable beverages. The three of us opted to wash down everything with iced water (I had to request glasses of iced water since Malaysians usually prefer warm water); I just got Corn Juice (the yellow drink), Iced Lemon Tea (which was OK), and Badung (milk flavoured with rose cordial syrup, which to be honest, tasted like antibiotic to me) to taste all of them and include in my photos.

Tina had this lovely dessert plate.

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I was pleased and content with authentic delicacies from the spread as I went local with Malaysian Kuihs (or cakes).

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Malaysian Kuihs. The taste in general, didn’t deviate from the rice cakes available at common hawkers, which was good! What I liked best was its bite-sized servings! Diners would’ve more room to taste other sweets from the spread!

Gabby personally got himself a plate of goodies dipped onto the chocolate fondue and some slices of cakes (not in photo) and a bowl of Tutti Frutti or snow cone.

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Like our Filipino Halo-Halo, Malaysia’s Ais Kachang is served with all the sweet ingredients first, plus nuts at the bottom then topped with shaved ice. The server at Swez Brasserie was pleased to gave in to my request to do it, the other way around for taking-photos’ sake. :)

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A scoop of ice cream definitely makes the entire world happy, doesn’t it? Even happier with each scoop of Peppermint Chocolate Chip, Strawberry and Chocolate flavors! “An ice cream station at any buffet is always fun,” says the innerchild in me! :D

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Although not included in the buffet, Tina asked for Cappuccino that she lovingly shared with me.  Our meal is always incomplete without a dose of caffeine!

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We could only wish we have larger gastric pits to accomodate more from the buffet spread. Nonetheless, it’s a sign that the variety and volume of dishes were really remarkable!

Another edge of Eastin is the two-person-live-band that performs during dinner (and even after dinner at the Lounge). Proud to note that the current singer of the band is a Filipina named Jane who beautifully sang English and Malay love songs. It was our second time to meet Jane singing at Eastin! Glad she remembered us and we appreciated her  as she personally came to our table to say, Hi. :)

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Tables were filled with local diners that means food is really GOOD!!!

Now at this point, you should be ready with a tall glass of water (iced or warm, it’s up to you!), control not to salivate too much and scroll down gradually to feast your eyes at what Ramadan Buffet at Eastin Hotel Penang’s Swez Brasserie offers. These photos might not even do it  justice. :D

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Ulam ulaman or local salad with all available Malaysian salad ingredients and sauces! You can also make your own Nasi Lemak from the spread! 

There’s also Mushroom Cream Soup that Gabby liked so much, and Soto Sup Ayam (and possibly other dishes that we missed, which were not included in the photos. Moving on…

seafood salad
Seafood Salad.

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Canape

beef salad
Beef Salad.

kerabu kaki ayam
Kerabu Kai Ayam (Chicken Salad).

gado gado
Gado gado.

stuffed tofu
Stuffed Tofu.

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Prawns, Mussels, Oysters on ice plus beef and chicken cold cuts.

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Fried goodies and noodles (including Penang Assam Laksa) at the Live-Kitchen-Station.

beef wellington
Beef Wellington. I mentioned it already, I’ll repeat it again – We highly recommend this yummy! :)

chicken shawarma station
Chicken Shawarma Station.

roasted lamb
Roasted Lamb. Like Beef Wellington, it’s tender to perfection. No after-taste too!

ikan keli masak lemak
Ikan Keli Masak Lemak (Fish Curry; ikan=fish).

lamb rendang
Lamb Rendang.

grilled spicy lobster
Grilled Spicy Lobster.

spanish omelet
Spanish Omelet.

stir fried bamboo clam with black bean sauce
Stir Fried Bamboo Clam with Black Bean Sauce.

sotong kari lemak
Sotong Kari Lemak (Squid Curry; sotong = squid).

gulai udang
Gulai Udang (Prawn Curry).

lidah lembu masak  berlada
Lidah Lembu Masak Berlada or Malaysian version of Lengua (Ox tongue).

aloo ghobi
Aloo Ghobi.  Potatoes (aloo), cauliflower (gob(h)i).

braised beancurd with seafood
Braised Beancurd with Seafood.

belacan fried chicken
Belacan Fried Chicken.

baked fish with spices
Baked Fish with Spices.

beef masak halia
Beef Masak Halia (halia=ginger).

kari kepala ikan
Kari Kepala Ikan (Fish Head Curry; ikan = fish; kepala = head). One of the most popular Malaysian dishes.

ayam kampung masak lemak
Ayam Kampung Masak Lemak (ayam=chicken).

nasi minyak
Nasi Minyak.

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And if Ais Kachang and Tutti Frutti aren’t enough, here’s a rundown of other delights, including dates, Malaysian kuihs and tropical fruits in season, that could really satisfy one’s sweet tooth.

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strawberry mousse cake
petit four
black forest cake
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Except for their version of Penang Assam Laksa that could be further improve and the local drinks that we’re not that biased with, we enjoyed everything that we sampled from this Ramadan Buffet at Eastin Hotel Penang. We highly recommend it to our Muslim brothers and sisters who are observing Iftar after a day of fasting during this season, but also to everyone in Penang or those who will visit the island soon! It’s also a pleasant gastronomic introduction to Malay cuisine particularly for foreigners like us. We give this Ramadan Buffet at Eastin our thumbs up!

Ramadan Buffet at Swez Brasserie | RM 85++ (adult) and RM 43 ++ (child) | starts 7PM

EASTIN HOTEL PENANG | 1 Solok Bayan Indah, Queensbay 11900 Bayan Lepas, Penang, Malaysia 

www.eastinhotel-penang.com

>><<

*While we’re grateful that Eastin Hotel Penang hosted our Ramadan Dinner Buffet, all words and opinions on this blog post aren’t influenced and remain 100% my own.

07
Apr
13

PENANG’S NYONYA CUISINE FROM PEARLY KEE

My Nyonya dinner plate at  Pearly Kee's home
One of my Saturday dinner plates prepared by Ms. Pearly Kee. Yes, that’s blue rice on my plate. :)

“Peranakan or Nonya cuisine combines Chinese, Malay and other influences into a unique blend.

Peranakans are descendants of early Chinese migrants who settled in Penang, Malacca, Indonesia and Singapore, inter-marrying with local Malays. The old Malay word nonya (also spelled nyonya), a term of respect and affection for women of prominent social standing (part “madame” and part “auntie”), has come to refer to the cuisine of the Perakanans.” via Wiki

As a Filipino living and working in Penang for almost three years now, I always feel privileged and pleased whenever my family and I are invited and welcomed by Malaysian friends to spend memorable moments with them. It’s priceless when local people make us feel at ease, more so, when they offer and share something about their own culture, tradition and lifestyle.

Last Saturday, 6th April 2013, in her very own abode tucked in a quiet corner of Pulau Tikus, Ms. Pearly Kee greeted us with warmest smile, together with her equally admirable husband, Mr. Chandra who voluntarily picked us up and drove us back to the bus station near their place. Generosity, although rarity nowadays, is always appreciated!

Tina, Gabby and I were invited by Ms. Pearly via email several weeks ago to partake in the Nyonya Dinner at her humble home where she also conducts Penang Nyonya Cooking Classes. Despite the almost entire-day-of-non-stop-raining which is a bit unusual in Penang and in spite of the fact that my lovely wife failed to join us for some weekend chores and other things to be done at our own apartment, Gabby and I managed to arrived few minutes over the 7:30PM call time and enjoyed what Aunty Pearly prepared that led our Filipino palates’ to an official introduction to Nyonya cuisine.

Pearly Kee, Chandra & Gabby
Gabby with Aunty Pearly Kee and  husband, Uncle Chandra. Thank you for inviting us!

I read that Ms. Pearly learned her Nyonya cooking expertise from her grandmother and she’s actively passing it on to anyone interested in joining her culinary sessions. Famous and respected as one of Penang’s food ambassadors, we first met Ms. Pearly during one of her Penang Home Cooking classes when we visited Tropical Spice Garden (blog post Here!). She was even thoughtful to include the link of my blog post about Tropical Spice Garden when she sent her invitation to us. That was a nice gesture of her. Thank you, Ms. Pearly!

Here’s a rundown of the Nyonya dishes that Ms. Pearly Kee prepared for her guests.
Blue Rice by Pearly Kee
Blue Rice : Aromatic, fascinating and uniquely flavorful as it looks!

If you must know, my family and I forgot to sample a similar Malaysian rice dish, Nasi Kerabu (blue rice) when we visited Kota Bharu in Kelantan back in 2011. Tina got to taste it recently when one of her colleagues in the clinic brought her a bungkus; she liked and craved for it after, even raving about it to me. Imagine my excitement when Gabby and I saw that Aunty Pearly included Blue Rice side by side with the common boiled white rice on her spread that evening. I was a happy man when I got a chance to taste it finally! Lucky me!

With its interesting color and aroma, this Blue Rice was made as such, according to Ms. Pearly, because of the use of the blue flower called Bunga Telang, which in English sounds cheeky, clitoria. Tee hee!  :P

Sambal Goreng by  Pearly Kee
Sambal Goreng. I loved this, not only because I’m a sucker for prawns but this one’s textured, rich and delicious.

Prawns cooked in white sauce, cashews, lemon grass, tamarind and coconut cream served with chili sauce and cucumber, Sambal Goreng stimulated my palates so well. I loved, loved, loved it!

Kerabu Vegetables (Thai Influence) by Pearly Kee
Kerabu Vegetable (Thai Influence). Another favorite from what we savored.

I have no word to explain why Gabby and I were not seduced by the soup in the spread, not because it didn’t look interesting to us, of course not, but probably there were a number of  dishes on the spread to try that were all very new to us. One of them was the Kerabu Vegetable or Veggie Salad with Thai Influence.

What made this salad so fascinating? Ms. Pearly creatively used seromi, instead of the usual greens that are frequently tossed in commercially available salads. She even informed us during the friendly chat over dinner that she brings a volume of seromi that’s commonly grown near rice paddies in Penang, whenever she visits her friends in Singapore. She combined seromi  Sayur Rumi or Pigwort Watercress with four angle beans or kacang botol, shallots and bunga kantan or torch ginger finely shredded with sweet thai sauce. The addition of pineapple tidbits also gave flare on this Kerabu Vegetable! It was so flavorful, I had to go back to the buffet spread for another serving! :)

Curry Kapitan by Pearly Kee
Curry Kapitan. Surprisingly, not spicy. Just tasteful with a fascinating story behind its name. Ask Pearly!

Chicken cooked with lemon grass, fresh tumeric, galangal and fresh red chillies, Curry Kapitan is as wonderful as the story behind its name.

Surprisingly, Gabby, who as I mentioned as a little picky eater, liked Curry Kapitan. I wasn’t expecting my boy to favor it as we both thought that it’s hot and spicy with its red orange thick sauce but we were wrong. The chicken was perfectly cooked in a mildly spiced sauce. Tolerable flavor for our tastebuds. Gabby and I had two servings of this dish too! Need I say more? ;)

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Of all Nyonya dishes, I regret I forgot to sample this. We all need to be prosperous, right? :D

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Ju Hu Char. Best eaten wrapped in leaves. I liked this too!

Ju hu char is a perfect appetizer made up of mixed stir-fried vegetables eaten with lettuce leaves and a bit of ‘sambal’ or chilli paste. I had two servings as well. Burp!

5 Spiced Pork Roll by Pearly Kee
5 Spiced Pork Roll. Even the picky-eater in Gabby liked this!

Gabby and I also gave our thumbs-up to this pork rolls. It reminded me of our very own longganisa or our local sausages that have a lot of varieties in the Philippines. I only wished it tasted smoked and more garlicky but I guess it’s not its flavor. We liked it, nontheless.

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Spices and more at Pearly’s kitchen cum cooking class area.

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Who’s excited to sample Nyonya cakes and tropical fruits? :)

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Jackfruit and Rose Apple also known as Jambu Air.

Nyonya Kuih and Jackfruit Slices
Nyonya Kuihs and Jackfruit Slices.

Dessert spread may be simple but also a must-try. Although it wasn’t my first time to try Nyonya Kuihs or Nyonya cakes in colorful slices, we didn’t pass it up. We had it with jackfruit slices which is one of our favorite fibrous fruits, and we washed down everything with a refreshing drink prepared by Ms. Pearly made of pineapples and passion fruits (grown in her lawn) garnished with strawberry slices (not in photo). It was so good, again I had two servings, err, glasses! :)

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Yes, that’s Durian made into a sweetened dessert with tiny tapioca.

God knows my family and I are not fond of Durian as Malaysians and other Filipinos do; still Gabby and I tried to taste this Durian made into a sweet puree by Ms. Pearly. No force or coercion was done in tasting it, we did it freely, hehehe!

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At this point, Gabby and I were already satiated and satisfied! Thank you, Ms. Pearly & Mr. Chandra!

The other guests of Ms. Pearly, both expatriates and local friends who made it that evening….
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Ms. Pearly Kee and her invited guests in her home in Penang.

It was another family-food-fun occasion for us! Thank you, Ms. Pearly Kee for everything! It was a pleasure meeting one of the gems of Penang! Hope to see you again in the near future!
At Pearly Kee's Home
Articles from broadsheets, magazines & online are remarkable proofs that Pearly is loved and respected in Penang.

Get to know more of Ms. Pearly Kee and her Penang Home Cooking Classes via the following links :

Websites : Penang-Homecooking-Class  via  Packages of Penang Nyonya Cooking : My Island Penang.Com | Twitter : @PgHomecooking | Facebook : Pearly Homecooks and Pearly Kee on fb.  You may also register HERE! and state your preferred date and number of guests.

Should you feel interested in contacting Ms. Pearly Kee, kindly give my regards to her & tell her you read about her and her expertise in Nyonya Cooking on this blog. Thank you! :)

>><<

27
Mar
13

OUR FAMILY WEEKEND INDULGENCE AT EASTIN HOTEL PENANG

penang, malaysia
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A priceless scenic ocean view, a fantastic glimpse of Penang Bridge by the window and the warmest greetings on the nicest card welcomed my family and I last Saturday, 23rd March 2013, when we were invited to spend a usual weekend turned extraordinary one in Eastin Hotel Penang.

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One of the sweetest greeting cards I’ve ever received.

Accessibility is one of the best selling points of Eastin Hotel Penang. Whether you are coming from Penang International Airport, Penang Mainland or Seberang Prai via the iconic Penang Bridge, or one of Malaysia’s World Heritage Sites, George Town, Eastin Hotel Penang is just located a few minutes away either by public and tourist buses, private cars or ferry. Best, the hotel’s a stone throw away from hawker food stalls where the foodie in you can sample cheap and authentic local dishes from Malay, Indian and Chinese cuisines (although you can also savor them from the hotel’s F&B outlets’ menu), and adjacently located with one of the island’s most visited and largest malls, Queensbay Mall!

With almost 3 years of working and living in Penang, it was only last weekend that we set foot in Eastin Hotel; I thought it was never too late to discover another gem in this side of Malaysia. We appreciate the invitation given by Eastin Hotel Penang for us to experience what makes them different and special from the rest.

From the hotel lobby, we were ushered by the most accomodating & friendliest staffs at the 11th floor and while on the lift, I had to ask them if all elevator units in the hotel are dimly lit. I got a positive response making me wish for a brighter lifts. Othe than that, excitement heightened.

It was a love at first sight! 

We loved EASTIN DELUXE SUITE!!! Our 8-year-old-son, Gabby’s the happiest! :)

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Jump for joy upon the sight of Eastin Deluxe Suite!

Now that blissful expression was taken before he opened the gifts from Eastin Hotel Penang. This defined how thoughtful and sweet the people behind this hotel are! Thank you very much! :)

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First adjective that popped out upon the sight of our 56-square-meter, one bedroom suite : Minimalist.

First impression : Wow! (I wished I invented post-its! Running joke between Tina & I from the movie, Romy & Michelle High School Reunion, lol!) The room surely will appeal to businessmen and leisure travelers. But did it meet our family’s expectations? Read on.

While I do not deny the fact that seeing something whimsical or edgy is sometimes fascinating,  having only what you need in the cleanest lines and tasteful interiors (without clutter and yes, without any plastic plants and floral curtains) is always fresh and rejuvenating.

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We certainly had one of our restful sleeps in Eastin Deluxe Suite’s comfortable king-size-bed. I liked the bed so much however, I wished the pillows are a bit firmer. But Tina & Gabby had no qualms about the feathery pillows; it must be me! hahaha! :)

With free and fast wifi access, apparently, Eastin Deluxe Suite is perfect for businessmen, honeymooners, a bunch of friends and yes, even family with kids! It certainly provides no-frill-comfort and convenience.

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The very spacious suite is equipped with a luxurious living area with a sofa that’s big enough to fit the hyperextended-me, a wardrobe that keeps a flat iron & an ironing board, a safe and a shoe rack; the room also has an LCD TV with cable channels (another unit is generously installed in the bedroom), and a complimentary bar.

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The room’s huge enough to offer a separate powder room where Tina reigned for two days, a full length mirror, a toilet, shower & bath that’s even the most discerning ones would give a thumbs-up.

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toilet & bath eastin hotel penang

I didn’t feel short with the bath tub. The size of the tub effortlessly accomodated the 5’7 1/2″ in me (don’t forget the half inch in height! i reckon! lol); I had slept 30 minutes in the tub, almost fully soaked in lukewarm water. It was so relaxing it nearly melted all my worries away!

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Go ahead, ask our son if he enjoyed the tub! :)

I also liked this little business corner at the living room. If only they have installed more than two sockets and a few more gadget plugs, it could’ve been better, nonetheless, it doesn’t disappoint.

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Actually, the nook became more impressive at night when Gabby lorded it like a boss!

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And just so you know, this one’s candid. Tee hee! :)

At few minutes past 5PM, we went to the lobby to meet again the Marketing & Communications people of Eastin Hotel Penang, Selene & Joanne. They exclusively toured my family and I for few minutes to some of Eastin Hotel Penang’s rooms and facilities. I must state, we enjoyed it as it doesn’t come on a daily basis!
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Far from being boring, the hallways display vibrant visual attractions via abstract paintings that are continuously echoed in various rooms at Eastin Hotel Penang.

Our first stop : The Deluxe Rooms with Hillview (and the other Deluxe Room with Seaview). These well appointed rooms apparently were designed to provide both function and ease to either businessmen, leisure travelers or families. With such contemporary style and amenities, one’s definite of a comfortable and delightful stay.

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eastin hotel penang

Eastin Hotel Penang also has Friendly Suite Room, called as such because it’s built to cater to the needs of elderly and physically-challenged guests. Another room that’s remarkable with Eastin’s their Family Suite Room which at the time of our visit was occupied. Good to know, I told our hosts. Then there’s that Soho Duplex Room that has few similarities to Family Suite Room. Probably it’s unique in most, if not all premier hotels here in Penang. Let the succeeding photos defined how Soho Duplex Room looks like.

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Beautiful, isn’t it? (My family and the Soho Duplex Room!)

Expectedly, Eastin Hotel Penang also has a fitness center, a spa (not in photo) and a swimming pool.

eastin hotel penang

Located at the third level of the hotel, the swimming pool gives everyone a sweeping view of the skyline, roads leading to Penang International Airport and yes, Queensbay Mall! Did we take a dip? Negative. Not because we didn’t feel like it but Gabby preferred to savor our suite the next morning after the buffet breakfast; told you it was that relaxing! But the swimming pool looks really inviting!

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Passing through hallways of Eastin Hotel Penang, we saw some guests interviewing applicants for jobs, proving that Eastin caters to businessmen and the like. We also peeked at its function rooms and ballrooms where special events and momentous occasions are usually  celebrated.

After that brief hotel tour, we trooped to the Executive Lounge which is only accessible by hotel guests who upgrade their packages. With more soothing ambiance, wonderful view of the ocean, contemporary and minimalist interiors, and a shelf with reading materials from travel & fashion magazines to broadsheets can be savored over a free flowing cups of coffee or tea, sodas or wine and some cheese, English scones, sushi, bite-size pizza, cold cuts and more! Here’s a peek at our late afternoon tea time!

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Yum, yum, yum!

executive lounge, eastin hotel penang
The High Tea at the Executive Lounge is a great prelude to the delicious dinner buffet we had! Did I already mention that this spot also serves breakfast? Courteous & efficient staff, quick and attentive service. Delicious bites. Awesome, isn’t it?

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eastin hotel penang
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doc gelo gabby & tina at the executive lounge, eastin hotel penang
No captions needed; the smiles said it all!

Japanese Buffet, Swez Brasserie, Eastin Hotel Penang

JAPANESE DINNER BUFFET @ SWEZ BRASSERIE, EASTIN HOTEL PENANG

One of the highlights of our staycation at Eastin Hotel Penang was the Japanese Dinner Buffet hosted by none other than, Swez Brasserie’s Senior Sous Chef, Daniel Tan. Chef Daniel heads the Swez Brasserie where he and his team offer a wide variety of international and local favorites. It was a pleasure meeting him as Gabby desires to become a chef someday. Talking to the main man responsible for the sumptuous spread was such a nice opportunity. While Tina and Gabby were busy filling their dinner plates, Chef Daniel casually informed me that everything in the buffet is Halal making me more impressed as I somehow knew how challenging Japanese cuisine to be done with no pork or its derivatives (Read : No Pork Tonkatsu!). I told Chef Daniel that despite I’m far from being a food critic and a no authority in Japanese cuisine, my palates have tasted authentic Japanese dishes during my 14-day-trip in Tokyo back in 2005. The dinner buffet, to simply put it, was satisfyingly good! My family and I were pleased with what he and his team prepared. Bravo, Chef Daniel!

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Freshest sashimi! Yummy!!!

Sharkfin’s soup, sushi, sashimi and more!

Japanese Buffet, Swez Brasserie, Eastin Hotel Penang
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Japanese Buffet, Swez Brasserie, Eastin Hotel Penang
Japanese Buffet, Swez Brasserie, Eastin Hotel Penang
Japanese Buffet, Swez Brasserie, Eastin Hotel Penang

How could you not be impressed with this Japanese themed eat-all-you-want dinner being offered every Saturdays in Swez Brasserie at Eastin Hotel Penang with OKONOMIYAKI (the so-called Japanese pizza), SOFT SHELLED CRABS that aren’t usual in other hotel buffets and so much more? Other than a variety of sushi and sashimi, they also have one of my ulitmate favorites, that sweet and salty beefy (they have chicken too) SUKIYAKI!!! :) Not to forget, Chef Daniel offered to do a platter of kani, ebi and veggie tempura for all of us after learning Gabby likes it!

Japanese Buffet, Swez Brasserie, Eastin Hotel Penang
Japanese Buffet, Swez Brasserie, Eastin Hotel Penang
Japanese Buffet, Swez Brasserie, Eastin Hotel Penang
Japanese Buffet, Swez Brasserie, Eastin Hotel Penang
Oishii!!! :D

Japanese Buffet, Swez Brasserie, Eastin Hotel Penang
Shameless display of one of my plates! Sukiyaki, Okonomiyaki, Unagi, Baked Oysters,  Salmon, and those Skewered Grilled Beef – so tasteful and very tender!

Desserts were Japanese themed too! There were mochi and some jelly balls of some sorts! Interestingly good!

Japanese Buffet, Swez Brasserie, Eastin Hotel Penang
Japanese Buffet, Swez Brasserie, Eastin Hotel Penang

We didn’t miss the opportunity to have a photo-op with Chef Daniel, a couple of friendly staffs of Swez Brasserie and the ladies behind the MarCom of Eastin Hotel Penang, Selene and Joanne. Thank you so much!

Senior Sous Chef Daniel Tan & Gabby
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THE LOBBY LOUNGE @ EASTIN HOTEL PENANG

Just when we thought the day was over, Selene and Joanne led us to the opposite end of the lobby where The Lobby Lounge is located. We met the manager of the bar, had some drinks from their menu (Mojito, Singapore Sling, Strawberry Ice Cream Blend and Kiwi mixed Shake), watched and met the Filipina singer after their set and absorbed all in and capped the night!

the lounge at eastin hotel penang
the lounge at eastin hotel penang
the lounge at eastin hotel penang
the lounge at eastin hotel penang
the lounge eastin hotel penang

BREAKFAST BUFFET @ SWEZ BRASSERIE, EASTIN HOTEL PENANG

We woke up with excitement to sample the breakfast offering! Good Sunday morning, Eastin!

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I was silently jumping for joy seeing two choices of congee (plain & seafood congee filled with shrimps and scallops) with several choices of toppings. Too perfect to warm my tummy!

breakfast buffet, eastin hotel penang

Char siew pao, prawn dumplings, and other dim sums, beef bacon strips, (and another favorite of Tina and me; drum roll please) smoked salmon, assorted fresh fruit slices, strawberry and mixed berries yoghurt, DIY-salad were some of the offerings on the spread we enjoyed. Gabby had fresh juices while the coffee addicts in Tina and I were truly satisfied.

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One of the best tasting Congee!

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breakfast buffet, eastin hotel penang
So many food, so little time! :D

breakfast buffet, eastin hotel penang

HIGH TEA | SUNDAY LUNCH BUFFET @ SWEZ BRASSERIE, EASTIN HOTEL PENANG

Our overnight staycation at Eastin Hotel Penang was nothing but pleasant accomodation and nearly non-stop gastronomic feasts! What a blessing! Few hours after a very heavy breakfast came lunch time! The 3 of us avoided rice intentionally to sample a little bit of almost everything from the High Tea spread.

High Tea, Sunday Eastin Hotel Penang
High Tea, Sunday Eastin Hotel Penang
High Tea, Sunday Eastin Hotel Penang
There were many local dishes featured in Swez Brasserie’s Sunday High Tea - Rendang, Curry, Nasi Lemak, Sotong & Udang Dishes, but my eyes were attracted to this Mixed Veggies while my palates loved their version of Chicken Satay that blended so well with its Peanut Sauce (some satay I’ve previously tasted had overpowering gingery taste; this one’s from Eastin tasted just fine). The Roasted Duck & Chicken were also must-sample! However, the Chicken Shawarma was a let down according to Tina.

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High Tea, Sunday Eastin Hotel Penang
High Tea, Sunday Eastin Hotel Penang
High Tea, Sunday Eastin Hotel Penang

Plates for the three of us-self-proclaimed foodies!
High Tea, Sunday Eastin Hotel Penang
Bow!

The Children’s Corner at Swez Brasserie’s High Tea | Lunch Buffet last Sunday was something commendable! Our kiddo’s happy with the “treasures” he found on that spread!

High Tea, Sunday Eastin Hotel Penang
High Tea, Sunday Eastin Hotel Penang
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High Tea, Sunday Eastin Hotel Penang
High Tea, Sunday Eastin Hotel Penang
Bubur Gandum (Wheat Sweet Porridge)-Malaysian equivalent to Philippine’s Guinataang Mais. LIKE!!!

I’m already so full but I wanted to sample their version of another popular Malaysian dessert – Ais Kacang (reminds me so much of the Filipino, Halo-halo). When I went to its station, the Assistant Sous Chef suggested to his junior to make a colorful Ais Kacang, something that will look extra pleasing to the cam. As per his instruction, my bowl of Ais Kacang was made of all the sweet ingredients on the table, and instead of having them under the dome of shaved ice, mine had everything as toppings! Beautiful!

High Tea, Sunday Eastin Hotel Penang
High Tea, Sunday Eastin Hotel Penang

Tina and I ended our unforgettable digestive feasts with a cup of coffee but I made mine more sinful. I tried to marry the coffee and ice cream stations and made an affogato instead of the usual dose of caffeine! :)

High Tea, Sunday Eastin Hotel Penang

The people of Eastin Hotel were super generous, they even allowed us to avail of a late-check-out at 2PM!

High Tea, Sunday Eastin Hotel Penang

Despite our very short stay at Eastin Hotel Penang, our family felt so at ease with their hospitable and courteous service, comfortable and spacious room, guest-friendly amenities and very wide variety of delicious treats! Who says Eastin Hotel Penang is only for businessmen? It’s so family-friendly too!

Thank you very much, Eastin Hotel Penang!

We’re more than grateful with the experience!

My family and I can proudly say that we highly recommend Eastin Hotel Penang! :D

EASTIN HOTEL PENANG | 1 Solok Bayan Indah, Queensbay 11900  Bayan Lepas, Penang, Malaysia | www.eastinhotel-penang.com

>><<

*While this is a sponsored post, all words and opinions on this blog aren’t influenced and remain 100% my own.

Special thanks goes to Criz Lai of www.crizfood.com

17
Mar
13

SARKIES’ SEAFOOD BUFFET DINNER EXTRAVAGANZA @ EASTERN & ORIENTAL HOTEL, PENANG

*Allow me to begin this FOOD PORN blog post with a SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL DISCOUNT GIVEAWAY! Readers of this blog who are in Penang, Malaysia from March to April 2013 are entitled for a great deal at Sarkies’ Chef Petr’s Catch Seafood Buffet Dinner Extravaganza at Eastern & Oriental Hotel, Penang.  All you need to do is to print this banner
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and show this blog post’s URL :
(http://docgelo.com/2013/03/17/sarkies-seafood-buffet-dinner-extravaganza-eastern-oriental-hotel-penang/), then arrange an early reservation with E&O Hotel at contact #s +604-222 2000 ext 3601 | 3602 before 24th April 2013 and you can avail to dine in with a discounted rate of RM80 ++/pax (adult) and RM 38++/child
Happening every Wednesdays until last week of April 2013, this offer from Sarkies is limited to first 80 people who will reserve for the dinner. One printout of the banner per one diner only. Terms & conditions apply.
I remember on my very first days after my arrival to work in Penang from the Philippines back in 2010, Eastern & Oriental Hotel, a luxury heritage-all-suite hotel in George Town was one of the very few spots in the island that I came to know about. Being one of the landmarks in Penang located by the glorious bay, I have been fascinated with its sophisticated and historic charm.

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Fast forward to 3 years after of being an Overseas Filipino Worker in this side of Malaysia, it was truly a pleasure to be invited with my wife, Tina and our son, Gabby to Sarkies’ Chef Petr’s Catch Seafood Buffet Dinner Extravaganza last 13th March 2013, Wednesday. My family and I enjoyed not only the eat-all-you-want-seafood-and more from Sarkies but Tina & Gabby also took time to appreciate the elegance that defines E&O Hotel with me. We all had a grand time!

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Of course, TEAM DOCGELO had a wonderful time capturing the moments on lens prior to the main event! Tee hee! :D

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Now, let’s get down to business. Before you continue reading this post and scrolling down, you must know the drill. Be ready first with a tall glass of cold water and promise yourself not to drool, hehe! :) Here’s a rundown of this one of a kind dining experience offered at Sarkies at E&O. Feast your eyes! Enjoy!!!
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The seafood appetizers were remarkable! My captures were probably incomplete from what’s on the spread but I’d like to showcase what I can recommend. I loved that delicately delicious salmon topped with caviar, thinly sliced scrambled eggs and fine green garnishing; my palates also admired those seafood canapes and those slices of freshest Norwegian salmon sashimi! The sashimi & sushi (yes, there’s a few sushi rolls too!) monster-in-me was so happy! There’s also that Duo of Gravlax that’s not to be missed from this buffet at Sarkies. Some people may find it a bit salty but that’s what gravlax is all about. There must be a tug-of-war between saltiness & sweetness on it. I liked it actually!

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Imported & freshest seafoods galore! Alaskan Snow Crab Claws, Oyster on Ice, Poached Black Mussels that appeared to me as yin & yang as they’re put side-by-side with the more common mussels and there’s also Boiled River Cray Fish that I missed but Tina was able to sample. Other than what’s on my photos, there’s also Oyster Omelette, Marinated Cuttlefish, Seasoned Squid, Black Sesame Salad, Deep Fried Snow Crab Claws and a lot more.

Have I told you it’s not only seafood dishes that lorded the buffet spread? There’s actually something for everyone! If you fancy Roasted Duck (Yummy! check out my plates as you scroll down!), Chicken Satay, Beef and Lamb chops, a variety of seafoods to grill on the teppan, a few seafood like prawns and veggies cooked with sauces, a Noodle Station and more! You have to check it yourself if you have the chance.  :)

Meanwhile, after you’ve taken a glance of some portions of the spread, here’s a shameless display of our delicious plates :

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There may be some dishes that my family and I were expecting that weren’t there, like Baked Mussels (we want it buttery and cheesy), Buttered & Garlic Prawns, Lobster, Sweet and Sour Grouper and at least some local Malaysian dishes. Nonetheless we’re grateful and satisfied with everything! As a matter of fact, when I was asked by Criz who invited all of us for this event, I told him & the blogger-friends on our table that I almost forgot my name as I was very satiated!

While Tina was pleased at how the Lamb was roasted that perfectly complemented with its sauce, Gabby and I preferred the Beef from the Carving Station. Very tender and flavorful, Gabby and I had more than one servings each! The Roasted Duck was also commendable! It’s delicious too sans mushroom sauce!

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*Gabby on his second plate of the Roasted Beef. Obviously, he ate with feelings! Hehehe!

One of the highlights of the evening was meeting Chef Petr of Sarkies at E&O. He was so friendly and accomodating to be photographed! I loved this photo as it captures the Chef and our very own Chef-Hotelier-Restaurateur-wannabe (so help me, God!)!

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An eat-all-you-want is incomplete without desserts.  Sarkies at E&O perfectly knows that and these are their current offerings.

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*If you must know, this photo was taken by my lovely wife, Tina. Applause! I’m proud of her!!!

Over and beyond the gastronomic feast and its sweet ending, I loved how Tina savored the moments photographing her plates. She took turns in using her ipod and our SLR. I know she had fun capturing what we ate as she’s one of those foodies now on Instagram (follow her @ teenasantos on Ig).

Here’s my dessert plate :

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And here’s Tina’s that she shared with Gabby :

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Some of those are fractions of these :
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*This is a portion of Sarkies’ Dessert-Christmas-Tree-in-Mid-March! :)

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*Incredibly fantastic presentation, although I wished the doughnuts were softer.

Ambiance and service were impeccable! Our glasses were refilled with either warm or chilled water without prompting. The overall dining atmosphere and experience were classy yet comfortable and not intimidating.

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Great food, excellent service, fine ambiance, good laughs, good friends.

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*On our table : With Malaysian Bloggers all in black! What’s with black, lah? Hehehe! Oops, someone was wearing ecru! She’s one of our nicest Malaysian Blogger-friends, Emily of www.millymin.com.

Must facilitate peristalsis with coffee (not on photo) after fibrous fruits.
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Interestingly, we met managers of Sarkies and of them even proudly said that he married a Filipina and has been to some places in our country upon learning that the three of us there are from the Philippines.

After having cups of coffee and exchange of chats with our fellows, we bid goodbye to Sarkies and thanked the famous foodie Malaysian Blogger, Criz Lai for inviting us. It was another memorable family-food-fun adventure for Tina, Gabby and I! :D

SARKIES’ CHEF PETR’S CATCH SEAFOOD BUFFET DINNER EXTRAVAGANZA | Eastern & Oriental Hotel Penang | Every Wednesday until last week of April 2013 | 7PM to 10:30PM

Regular prices at RM 110 ++(adult), RM 48++ (child).

Here are the other Dining Offerings at E&O Hotel Penang :
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eastern & oriental hotel penang
eastern & oriental hotel penang

MARAMING SALAMAT ~ TERIMA KASIH ~ THANK YOU VERY MUCH to :

>><<

04
Jan
13

THE JW MARRIOTT-KUALA LUMPUR EXPERIENCE

Christmas 2012 Blog Series includes :

>><<

24 December 2012. Monday. JW Marriott Hotel Kuala Lumpur. With reservation done directly via their website a couple of months back, we checked in around 2PM which was a little earlier than the regular check in time at 3PM with no extra charge; thank you! While our luggage and bags were being taken cared of one of the bellboys, the lady-concierge officer who attended to me was so pleasant, friendly and quick, I think they both deserve a salary raise for efficiency. Everything was absolutely hassle-free!

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Perfectly located along Jalan Bukit Bintang, the major shopping road in Kuala Lumpur, JW Marriot Hotel is adjacent to Starhill Gallery, right across Pavilion Mall, few steps away from Lot 10 and Fareinheit Malls, Uniqlo, H&M, Zara flagship stores and a wide choices of food shops.

Other than location, security and cost, having wifi connection and its speed is also on top of my priorities. Despite fancy greetings upon plugged-in, READ this entire post to know the only thing WE DID NOT LIKE about JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur.

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The family opted to stay here to celebrate Christmas Eve and Christmas Day itself with Shook! Masquerade Lunch! The experience was glorious (blog post HERE!)!

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Tina and Gabby also agreed on the fact that the king size bed on this deluxe room was ultimately delicious.

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One of our most restful sleeps ever.

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Believe his smile, he liked the bed so much! We all did!

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Boobtube had Gabby’s favorites.

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Working station where I plugged my laptop and went online wasn’t bad too.

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The view from our window was inviting but we didn’t take a dip.

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Mini bar and coffee and tea making facility…

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We liked the huge wardrobe fully equipped with those necessary things.

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The toilet, tub and shower (not in photo). Spotless. They granted my request of extra towels, thank you!

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Toiletries were from Crabtree and Evelyn.

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Details of the little things…

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Tina and Gabby tried this; I didn’t. They were happier after the soak. Must be soothing.

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Slept and woke up with nothing to do but indulge in Shook! Breakfast Buffet included in the promo-package we availed.

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We feasted like kings…

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The spread wasn’t ordinary.

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Coffee, tea, fruit juices were free-flowing…

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Choosing what to sample became a happy-problem.

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Local rice and bean cakes…

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Malaysia’s staple food. Nasi Lemak (Nasi-rice; lemak-fat) composed of rice boiled in coconut milk, chicken in sambal spicy sauce garnished with boiled egg, anchovies, cucumber slices and roasted peanuts. They say Nasi Lemak is enough to empower you throughout the day.

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Can you guess who had what?

plates at shook

Everything Halal. Beef bacon (still biased to my favorites- you know!), Chicken sausage, Chinese fried rice, hash browns, biscuits and crackers paired with feta, cheddar and cream cheese, mushroom and onions and a dimsum.

Round 2 : Tina had croissant, smoked salmon and everything else you see on the photo…

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While I was a happy diner with Malaysian favorites – roti canai dipped in dahl.

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Essential fibers. Papaya slices, pineapples and yellow watermelon.

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Those smiles are my early morning sunshine!

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Everything’s beautiful and satisfying with JW Marriott and would consider to go back but the WIFI WASN’T FREE! We didn’t avail as we want it to be provided at no extra cost.  I only got to go online with their Ethernet-plug-into-your-laptop-kind-of-thing. What if I didn’t bring my own computer? We failed to connect online using our mobiles and Tina’s ipod.  There was wifi at the hotel lobby but it certainly spells convenience if the rooms were provided with FREE WIFI service too.  On this day and age, free wifi is no longer a luxury but a necessity.

>><<

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur | 183 Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur 55100 Malaysia | www.marriott.com

*This is NOT a sponsored post.

31
Dec
12

OUR CHRISTMAS MASQUERADE LUNCH BUFFET AT SHOOK!

Christmas 2012 Blog Series includes :

*Warning : This is another visual overload. You know the drill before you drool. I suggest you get yourself a tall glass of iced water prior reading this post and salivate involuntarily. lol 

>><<

25 December 2012. Christmas Day. Feast Village, Starhill Gallery, Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur.

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Tina, Gabby and I had the grandest Christmas Day celebration in Kuala Lumpur and we hope you enjoyed yours too! We spent Christmas eve in a deluxe room in JW Mariott Hotel and savored our simple Noche Buena feast and a satisfying breakfast buffet meal at Shook! (both deserve a seperate blog posts). We were given the privilege of late check out at 2PM but we managed to settle everything at 12noon and went back to Shook! to grace their Masquerade Christmas Day Lunch Buffet!

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This gastronomic experience is nothing short of spectacular! Of all the eat-all-you-want feasts we enjoyed from the Philippines to Malaysia, Shook! Christmas Masquerade Buffet Lunch at Starhill Gallery in Bukit Bintang (which literally means, ‘star hill’) is the most fantastic, stellar and stunning, certainly entertaining, lavishly fascinating gastronomic experience to date with all those scrumptious spread of Chinese, Japanese, Malay, Italian, Continental cuisines perfectly paired with free-flowing champagne (we passed up the bottomless champagne and opted to wash everything down with Evian water)!  Shook! offers this splendid theatrical buffet every Sunday but for us who currently live more than 300km from Kuala Lumpur, we’re thankful for the chance that we had it on the most wonderful time of the year, Christmas! What a great time and reason for such indulgence!

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I spoke to Mr. Raj, one of the main men behind Shook! in Feast Village and he proudly told me all those holiday decors and pretty ornaments were prepared by the staff themselves. Bravo for such efforts! They creatively set the ambiance and the mood for everyone’s enjoyment. Even the tiniest details on the tables were not overlooked. What a visual and digestive feast it was! :)

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“The sun looks down on nothing half so good as a household laughing together over a meal.

~CS Lewis

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Apart from the buffet spread, diners had the opportunity of choosing entrees on the menu; we selected one for each of us. Clockwise from top photo : Tina opted to try a beef dish that was pleasantly plated while I didn’t miss the chance of having seafoods and that Shook’s award winning dish that I sampled last November when they generously invited me for a tasting tour at selected restaurants in Feast Village, the Dancing Prawn. Gabby’s choice was predictable and classic; he had his favorite, Ebi Tempura that seemed like all coated with batter but were all nibbled by Gabby so I guess it successfully passed his young discriminating taste.

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There were Mongolian BBQ, Roast Turkey and Beef Ribs (which I also sampled, delicious, tender & flavorful!), Western Style Salad Bar, Selection of Fresh Seafood and Oyster Bar, Chinese, Malay, Indian and Thai Food Counters, Cheese Buffet, Antipasti and more but my palates were so biased to what I don’t usually eat on a daily basis. After all, it’s Christmas, must eat your favorites. And for me, it’s seafood dishes and Japanese!

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While Gabby loves Ebi Tempura, I also share the love for such dishes with Tina. Look at my lovely wife’s plates…

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This is the only eat-all-you-want that we experienced amazing entertainment. There were clown-balloon maker, magician, juggler, all staff dressed in Medieval splendor, there’s Santa Clause who went table to table giving candies to the old and the young as if the dessert spread wasn’t enough, and yes, there was live band and choir singing what else but lovely Christmas carols! Everything’s magical! Surreal!

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The service of all staff of Shook! at Feast Village was quick, warm and friendly! Everyone deserves a salary raise if you ask me! They surely complemented everything on this fabulous feast!

Food. More glorious food!

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Desserts were absolutely divine.

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Lively and lovely atmosphere…
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Cups of cappuccino to end a beautiful meal.

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The buffet started 12PM and lasted until 3:30PM; too many food, so little time and stomach! lol. :D As we bid goodbye to the best buffet experience we had for 2012, we were gifted with freebies of heavenly chocolate cupcakes topped with moist and decadent chocolate icing and Christmas ornaments. What a great takeaway!

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Apparently, one can never measure happiness with anything money could buy. It’s not on the food we eat, the gifts we receive, the cars you drive, the things you shop but it eternally springs on those precious moments we spend with people who love and treasure us.  My biggest joy for Christmas 2012 was celebrating its meaning with my family and seeing ear-to-ear-smiles on their faces. Priceless definitely! :)

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May the good Lord continuously shower all of us with more of His bountiful blessings this 2013 and beyond.

Have a Prosperous, Healthier & Happier New Year, everyone!

*This is NOT a sponsored post but special thanks goes out to Shook! and Starhill Gallery people, Yati, Raj and Rachel Yong! Warm regards to all the staff particularly to the Filipino crew at Shook! :)

Feast Village, Starhill Gallery | 181 Jalan Bukit Bintang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur | www.feastvillage.com

>><<

20
Nov
12

MY DELICIOUS AFTERNOON AT FEAST VILLAGE, STARHILL GALLERY

16 November 2012. Friday. I finished early at around 10AM at the Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur after I applied for renewal of my passport so I hailed a taxi cab and went my way to Starhill Gallery in Bukit Bintang.

If California has Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills,

And Tokyo has Ginza

Singapore has Orchard Road,

Kuala Lumpur has Bukit Bintang

(and luckily, I’ve been to these places already!)

I was nearly tachycardic (increased heart rate) because of excitement as it’s my very first time to be in Starhill Gallery.  I wanted to check out the place way ahead of the scheduled 3PM-6PM exclusive food-tasting-tour in Feast Village that they generously arranged for me. How could you say no to the luxurious food & beverage outlet group whose restaurants were recently visited by Tiger Woods and Michael Bolton? The blogger in me was ultimately happy! :D

This is Pavilion Mall right across Starhill Gallery; it’s all dressed up for the Yuletide Season!

Pavilion Mall

This part of Kuala Lumpur is accessible by car, monorail, taxi cabs and via free rides on GO KL-shuttle buses that drop off passengers right in front of Starhill Gallery.

free shuttle bus in Kuala Lumpur

I have been to Pavilion Mall a few times over but never dared cross the street and set foot in Starhill Gallery. Why? Its uniquely beautiful crystal and star-like structure is quite intimidating! Wrong notion, I know. Obviously, Starhill Gallery houses the most luxurious and expensive brands of fashionable clothes, watch & jewerly shops, furnitures and sublime dining.

Starhill Gallery Kuala Lumpur

Detail shot of that intimidating impressive exteriors…

Starhill Gallery Kuala Lumpur

So it’s true that there’s more than meets the eye! I’ve proven that the Feast Village in Starhill Gallery offers some sophisticated dishes that even the most budget-conscious-foodies would not pass up. As I’ve tried some of them, I found that prices are reasonable and competitive; even a little cheaper than the others. At one point during my conversation with the staff of Starhill Gallery that weekend, I descibed some of the meals on the menus as an affordable luxury! Savory dishes enjoyed amidst priceless ambiance -it’s a pure bliss! :)

There’s no argument that Starhill Gallery defines opulence and indulgence…

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starhill gallery, kuala lumpur
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feast village, starhill gallery, kuala lumpur

As I strolled and absorbed the pleasant ambiance, I took some initial captures.

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Then I left and came back few minutes before 3PM. The casual but exclusive food-tasting-tour in 3 of Feast Village signature restaruants was scheduled to begin at LuK Yu Tea House.

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luk yu tea house, feast village, starhill gallery
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Luk Yu Tea House in Feast Village, Starhill Gallery has the must-try-Chinese teas and authentic Hong Kong dim sums and other Chinese favorites on their menu.

My chopstick skills were so ready!

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Ms. Rachel who invited me to this digestive-feast-sampling at Feast Village informed me beforehand that she won’t be able to join me due to some important office matters however, she asked their beautiful and uber charming intern from England to accompany me that afternoon.

*Cue drum roll* Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, meet my host that weekend afternoon,  the 20-year-old Georgia who’s having the time of her life in Malaysia…

at feast village, starhill gallery, kuala lumpur

Lovely is an understatement to describe this young lady. She’s so spontaneous; our conversation went beyond the food we sampled together at Feast Village. I was so fascinated how she shared a bit of her personal side and was grateful that she made my afternoon in Starhill Gallery more engaging and fun! She’s lucky to have me as their only guest that Friday, oops, actually it’s the other way around -I am fortunate to experience the food sampling with her! :)

Still at Luk Yu Tea House…

dim sums at luk yu tea house

I’m no food connoisseur but I know my palate so well. I have tasted authentic dim sum in four trips to Hong Kong and have been acquainted with the most delicious ones in Chinatown in Manila, Penang and Singapore. And the affordable (repeat : affordable!) dim sums in Luk Yu Tea House doesn’t disappoint. They satisfied the dim sum monster in me. :)

dim sums at luk yu tea house

We savored Steam Crystal Prawn Dumpling (Har Kau / Hakao), Deep Fried Prawn & Mango Roll and Steamed Chicken & Prawn Dumpling (Siew Mai) plus even the thinly sliced pickled & sweet papaya as appetizer (not in photo) tasted so well too! Every bite was deliciously paired with mildly aromatic Lily and Jasmine Tea, Luk Yu Tea House’s signature tea! It’s heavenly!

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lily and jasmine tea

Then Georgia and I thanked the Luk Yu Tea House manager, Melinda and walked our way to the next restaurant, Shook!

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“Shook! is an exciting restaurant concept and the first of its kind that opened in Malaysia right here at Starhill Gallery. The menu flirts with seasonal trends and boasts an adventurous fusion of east and west with Japanese, Chinese Wok, Italian and Western Grill show kitchens.

The restaurant is popular with the crowd and it boasts a fanciful ambience, good food and live jazz music. A magnificent walk-in cellar holds over 3,000 bottles of some of the world’s most outstanding wines, including the world’s largest vertical collection of Chateau Mouton Rothschild Artist Label series, featuring every vintage from 1945 to 1997 in both standard and magnum bottles. Also available are European wines from the signature Shook! label.” ~Sourced via www.starhillgallery.com

I regret the fact that I forgot to click my camera on that amazing and enviable cellar where a variety of the best wines from all over the globe are housed. My jaw almost dropped while Mr. Raj, the main man of Shook! was explaining to me this and that. From their excellent collection of wines, he briefly showed me some of the private function rooms that can be reserved by guest for a customized-dining.

Can you imagine yourself dining in those Giorgio Armani seats?

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Here’s one of their function room, all set for a private dinner that weekend.

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We took few steps back to our table at Shook! and what they’ve prepared for us were all ready. Et voila!

Wagyu Beef Cheek (Italian spread of Shook!). Enriched with Goose Liver Butter served with Gratin of Charlotte, Leek and Roblochon.

Wagyu Beef Cheek

It felt effortless when I dunk my fork and used my knife to cut a piece of that Wagyu dish after it was served on my plate because every piece of it was apparently cooked to perfection! It’s the most tender beef cuts I’ve ever tasted. I want to cry that very moment actually! It was that delicious!!! I promised myself to bring Tina and Gabby to Shook! soon!!!

side dishes

Georgia was raving about Shook’s award-winning-Chinese-dish called, Snow White Dancing Prawn. Together, we asked Mr. Raj why it’s called as such and we got a somewhat logical answer-”the moment you put the prawn in your mouth, they’ll dance to your stomach” I cannot agree more! What makes it so wonderful is its thin and light batter. Most tempura-dishes are thickly drowned in flour mixture making the prawn almost tasteless but not this Dancing Prawn dish. Its overall taste would make you crave for more! Trust me, it tastes way better than it looks on my photo. My capture doesn’t do it justice.

dancing prawn

From the grill section of Shook!, behold the Roasted Barramundi…

roasted barramundi (grill)

I bet even the most discening palates would agree with this Roasted Barramundi. :)

shook!

And from their Japanese spread, we sampled Spider Maki made up of Soft Shell Crab Tempura. The name of the maki needs no explanation. Hands down to this! Hallelujah!

spider maki

At around half hour past 4PM, Georgia escorted me to the 3rd and last restaurant that I got to try from Starhill Gallery - the Starhill Tea Salon.

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starhill tea salon
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As Malaysians like all English men love tea and scones and some other pastries, it’s not surprising that Starhill Gallery puts up its own Starhill Tea Salon where the very best collection of teas from most parts of the world are available. Almost stuffed, I was still prepared for some tea time! Bring it on! ;)

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tea cups starhill gallery
starhill jewel tea

We had two tea variants. First was STS’ signature tea called Starhill Jewel and the second one’s called, Grand Wedding. While the latter has a stronger flavor, I highly recommend the Starhill Jewel Tea! Its subtle floral aroma makes it a perfect pair with any slice of cake or pastry. Talking about sweets, a delightful feast must end with tempting desserts. The staff of Starhill Tea Salon walked us toward their cake counter. Everything’s mouthwatering and the difficult part was choosing. She had Chocolate Mousse …

chocolate mousse

while I tried a Fruity Cheesecake.

fruity cheesecake

Just before we ended our tea time, I’ve finally met the one responsible for my invite to Starhill Gallery Feast Village; I was grateful Ms. Rachel took a few minutes out of her busy schedule at work to see and meet me. I was glad to personally thanked her and Georgia of course, for everything. The afternoon was so surreal! They even gave me some special takeaway -a couple of exclusive Starhill Gallery magazines, a 100-ringgit voucher and a box of macarons that I all brought home to Tina and Gabby! Thank you so much, Starhill Gallery! I shall bring my family there soon!

macarons
macarons

Have I told you that Starhill Gallery consists of not only 3 but 16 food places –There’s the most beautiful bar that I’ve laid my eyes on -Village Bar (blog post here : http://docgelo.com/2012/11/17/village-bar-an-underground-fantasy/), Luk Yu Tea House, Shook!, Starhill Tea Salon, Gonbei San, Spice of India, Tarbush, Pak Loh Chiu Chow, Sentidos, Enak, Angus House, Ah Yip Herbal Soup, Kor Yo Won, Jogoya, Jake’s Charbroil Steaks and Fisherman’s Cove. Some of these restaurants I photographed…

Village Bar

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The Vietnamese restaurant I failed to get the name.

vietnamese restaurant

Then there’s that restaurant made of bamboos shaped like a gorgoues boat…

feast village starhill gallery
fisherman's cove

It’s called Fisherman’s Cove where the famous Malaysian Chef Wan cooks his specialties. Most of them are freshest live fish from their aquarium.

fisherman cove feast village

Even the tandas or toilets in Feast Village is a must-see! :)

toilet

It was truly an unforgettable experience for me; certainly an extraordinary gastronomic and visual feasts! For the nth time that I’m mentioning in this blog post, I shall bring Tina and Gabby here soon! It’s all worth it!

feast village, starhill gallery, kuala lumpur

*This is a sponsored post. Special thanks goes to Ms. Rachel, Ms. Georgia and all the amazing staff of Feast Village in Starhill Gallery. Thank you so much! Terima Kasih! And as we say in Tagalog, MARAMING SALAMAT po! :)

STARHILL GALLERY |  181 Jalan Bukit Bintang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | www.starhillgallery.com

*This Luxurious Kuala Lumpur Blog Series includes :

*GOOD NEWS : To those who read & follow my blog, I’ll appreciate if you could drop a line or two about my blogging via ths link :http://www.expatsblog.com/blogs/1157/beyond-toxicity; this is in line with the BEST EXPAT BLOG AWARDS run by ExpatsBlog.com. Maraming salamat po! :)

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09
Oct
12

CELEBRATORY FEAST : GABBY’S EIGHTH BIRTHDAY

It was already late evening of Friday, October 5th, 2012 when I got a chance to view the attached photos on my Inbox sent by Gabby’s teacher & school owner taken using her iphone. I smiled and I appreciated the concern, love and care expressed to our son by his generous and thoughtful Malaysian-Chinese teacher. Thank you so much, Ms. Jasmine! The photos showed Gabby and his teacher’s son eating burgers and fries in McDonald’s after school; a simple birthday treat yet so special to Gabby and to us!  Tina and I really found it so heartwarming!

OUR SON IS LOVED; WE’RE GRATEFUL! :)

gabby and ethan

Because his birthday falls on a weekday this year, Friday to be exact, we chose not to absent ourselves from work and school thus, another extraordinary weekend was brewed.

Little did we know that Gabby told his teacher the reason why he’s not having  that ceremonial birthday cake candle blowing over the usual birthday song singing with party hats, some pasta and loot bags in school like what he used to have back home (If you’ve been following this blog, you’re familiar with Gabby’s SPONGEBOB THEMED 5TH BIRTHDAY PARTY ) it’s because we planned to celebrate his 8th birthday the way we know how : BUFFET!!! :)

Long before his big day, we already talked and decided where to spend it; and among the hotels and restaurants we’ve tried, a unanimous decision was made : G Hotel at Gurney Drive, Penang!

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UNBIASED OPINION OF A NON-SPONSORED DINING

Among the few premier hotels and restaurants in Penang that my family and I have sampled, G Cafe in G Hotel has always been remarkably pleasant. We like its polite and quick service, great tasting dishes with a wide variety but not overwhelming, and its contemporary and edgy, elegant and sophisticated but non-intimidating ambiance. Not to forget its reasonable and affordable cost for an eat-all-you-want dining on lunch, high tea or dinner. They even made it more budget-friendly as we availed of the 15% discount offer that we got for being Rapid Penang Bus commuters. :) Best of all, G Cafe staff granted my request for a FREE birthday cake with a candle to blow for Gabby! They gave an instant nod without hesitation; many thanks to that! :D

There are other restaurants inside G Hotel and at G Cafe, there are two dining spots. It’s our third time to eat inside G Cafe’s airconditioned dining area and have not favored yet their open-air eating space.

So here’s where we sat and dined…
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And here’s a portion of their eat-all-you-want-spread that evening…
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I like their simple and minimalist display and fixtures that perfectly complemented the modern and somewhat masculine appeal of the entire all-day-dining-restaurant. I also think the use of BLUE tones in lighting and glasses excellent! It’s quite uncommon choice for restaurants yet so regal.

g cafe g hotel penang malaysia
G Cafe offers different themed dining every night and it was our second time to try their International Cuisine-BARBECUE NIGHT!
grilled prawns and meat g cafe g hotel penang
There were grilled prawns, grilled lamb, grilled fish, and grilled squid…
grilled goodies 2

Roasted lamb, anyone?
roasted lamb g cafe g hotel penang
Tina and I tried a few slices from the carving station but honestly, we’re not fanatics of lamb unlike the others despite G Cafe’s version was tender.

Usually, it’s a toss between salad and soup for me, I went for the latter first and enjoyed every spoonful of sweet corn and chicken soup! It was thick and superb! Really tasteful!

soup

But then again, I thought I am just a mere mortal and very weak to pass up on these yummies! Tee hee!
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I did not! We did not pass up on the salads. We had a little bit of everything!
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We liked the Smoked Duck Salad even though I was telling Tina how I missed G Cafe’s Prawn Salad (told you, they’ve variety every night!), the fusion of the smoked duck meat cut into strips and those mango and veggies in julienne cuts were an absolute match made in Penang! ;)

How about Smoked Salmon Salad that beautifully blended with those avocado cubes?
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Irresistible! Then you see more Hors d’oeuvre like different chunks and slices of cheese and biscuits…
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And then there’s this crunchy and sweet and a bit spicy dried fish called IKAN BILIS ISTIMEWA which to me was one of the most appetizing appetizers I’ve ever tasted! Or is it an entree? Hahaha!  FYI, istimewa means special!  It reminded me of  a locally dried fish back home called, Danggit, although it’s all salty and crunchy when fried, this Ikan Bilis Istimewa came with flavors and texture that burst every bite! Sarap! Sedap! It’s really something you’ll crave for! Delicious sans vinegar! I wish I had more servings!
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Meanwhile, here’s my salad plate…
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Tina’s seafood plate…
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Everything was fine particularly the salmon sashimi except for the scallops; they were flat and disappointing!
sushi and seafoods

While the birthday boy was certain of his choices…
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Our palates savored the sushi rolls too! I always profess my fascination to Japanese dishes. It’s amazing that they’re both art and nourishment at the same time! My love affair with sushi and sashimi makes me wonder if I’m half blood Japanese, hahaha!
sushi 1
sushi 4
sushi 2
sushi 3
Tina tried the Chicken Shawarma and Roasted Lamb. I tasted their version of Shawarma before and it didn’t impress my tastebuds. I’m still partial with similar Mediterranean favorite back home.
lamb and chicken shawarma
Tina’s plate filled with grilled stuffs…
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And here are my plates…
grilled goodies
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There were a lot more dishes on the spread and a noodle station that we failed to sample. Nonetheless, we made sure we reserved gastric space for desserts.

HYPERGLYCEMIA  : REDEFINED

desserts 0

In our third time to dine at G Cafe in G Hotel in our more than two years of being expatriates in Penang, we’re loving the fact that we have experienced the evolution of dessert offerings. Let the photos do the talking. Sweet, sweeter, sweetest! :D

desserts 8
desserts 9
desserts baskin robbins
Who knew my family and I could enjoy an eat-all-you-want Baskin Robbins ice cream? I don’t know about you, but for jologs like me, it’s a big deal already! A BIG PLUS for this buffet actually! ;)
So my sweet tooth became happier again with every scoop of Baskin Robbins included in the buffet spread. I had Mint Chocolate Chip and Vanilla which are two of my favorite flavors, I also had Strawberry Sherbet and Green Tea. I was content with just the scoops sans toppings and syrups. I’m a purist when it comes to ice cream or at least in this occasion.
desserts g cafe g hotel penang baskin robbins
While Tina was in bliss with her gummies toppings over her Baskin Robbins…
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I wish all the sweets in the dessert spread had labels. Because there were none, I relied on my gustatory skills. These bite-sized cakes that tasted peanut butter at its creamiest earned my thumbs up!
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Another must-try at G Cafe’s dessert spread is this beautiful pastry. Believe it or not, the filling inside those dark chocolate cream icings is a tiny strawberry –just imagine the tug-o-war of bitter-sweet taste of the dark chocolate against the sour-sweet taste of strawberry. The combination’s brilliant! Then each was sandwiched by a light chocolate meringue. Wonderful! The toothsome flavors and luxurious textures were so amazing! I’ll bring back my family there for these!
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How about a munch-all-you-want macarons? Heavenly. Just heavenly.
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The birthday boy loves cheesecake…We all do!
desserts 4
Mini Cupcakes, FTW!
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I’m now lost for superlatives to describe these…*drooling*
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desserts 2
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One of Tina’s dessert plates… yes, one of them! :)
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While here’s a shameless display of mine…
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After a great and hearty meal, must have coffee.
coffee
And before you forget it’s Gabby’s 8th birthday celebration, here’s the documentation of that special moment…
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G Cafe at G Hotel became uberly generous again in granting my request to provide a FREE birthday cake with a candle for Gabby to blow. Thank you so much, G Cafe! …And just so you know, Gabby held the bread knife to slice his birthday cake just like a CIRUJANO would do an incision; we didn’t coach him to do so. :)
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The necessary family portrait…
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Happy 8th Birthday, son! WE LOVE YOU VERY MUCH!

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*This is NOT a sponsored post for G Cafe at G Hotel, Penang. We wish! :D

 

04
Sep
12

BANGKOK 2012 SERIES : HEICHINROU

Flashback to January of 2004, Tina and I flew to Bangkok and spent honeymoon in Amari Watergate Hotel. Nine months and few days after, Gabby was born.
amari
Fast forward to August of 2012, we went back to Amari Watergate Bangkok with Gabby. :)
tina & gabby at amari watergate lobby
gelo & gabby at amari watergate bangkok august 2012
amari watergate bangkok august 2012

Weeks before we left Penang for Bangkok for a few day break, I emailed Amari Watergate to inquire about the rates of their buffet in one of their restaurants where Tina and I spent our first meals together as married couple, the Promenade. Unfortunately, the Filipino hotel staff who promptly replied to my query informed me that Promenade is closed on the dates I specified. He recommeded another restaurant in Amari Watergate that serves eat-all-you-want-lunch, the Heichinrou.

heichinrou bangkok

Located at 5th level of Amari Watergate Hotel, the Cantonese restaurant, Heichinrou that actually originated from Yokohama has been keeping its branches in Japan, Hong Kong and this one in Thailand. I was told they’re offering a Dimsum Buffet and ya ol know that eat-all-you-can dining is such a kryptonite to me and my family and dimsums are one of our favorites. So I asked Tina if she wants to try Heichinrou in Amari and with its reasonable price, we both gave it a nod!
chinese rickshaw
heichinrou bangkok, amari watergate
entrance to heichinrou
heichinrou menu
Despite the fact we failed to eat again in Promenade for the reason that they’re preparing for a reserved function that day, it was a nice coincidence that we were led to sit in Heichinrou in a table with a view overlooking Promenande, exactly the place where Tina and I had breakfast buffet 8 years ago.
overlooking promenade
We seldom engage in ala-carte-buffet where you can order all you want and everything from the menu is unlimited to your stomach’s content. :) We liked it actually. We didn’t have to check the spread and queue. Time was spent in pure indulgence!
chopsticks

Soon after the senior staff of the restaurant handed us the menu, everything was served to our table less the dessert. I didn’t remember asking him to do it but no regrets, no complaints. We certainly loved it! :)
dimsum love
It wasn’t overwheling; it was lovely!
dimsum galore
We started with Sweet Corn Soup with Crabmeat. It was impressive! Thick and tasteful just like what I want in my Chinese soup. There’s generous servings of real crabmeat too! When the staff asked me if I want another serving of the soup, my knees became too weak to say no! :D Then we tried Steamed Barbecued Pork Bun. Delicious! We call it Asado Siopao in the Philippines!
siopao

If you must know, whenever we have buffet-dining, we rarely order drinks and frequently go for just a glass of cold water to wash everything down. We usually make sure to have less intake of sugar-rich beverages from a glass of iced tea or soda but this Heichinrou Dimsum Buffet was an exception. Gabby and I ordered Fanta Orange and thought it went well with those yummies. ;)

Steamed Spare Ribs
spareribs
Fried Noodles with Shredded Chicken
unusual noodle dish
Steamed Cream Buns…
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Deep Fried Spring Rolls
fried rolls
Steamed Fresh Shrimp Dumplings, Steamed Pork Crab Egg Dumplings, Steamed Bean Curd Skin Flakes with Oyster Sauce
dimsum dimsum!
The only dish that I didn’t like (Tina agreed) was the Deep Fried Taro Dumpling; it wasn’t greasy and it looked fine but it’s just me – I am biased to savoring taro as an iced pudding :)
taro puff

The dessert from this buffet menu set was heavenly. Deviating from the common mango and tapioca; Heichinrou Dimsum Lunch Buffet offered Chilled Sago and Cantaloupe Melon topped with Coconut Cream. I had two servings. Need I say more? :)
melon sago

One may find it so peculiar to enjoy dimsum in the land of Pad Thai but it’s a great breather from all street-food-and-spicy-eats. All in all, we’re delighted with Heichinrou Dimsum Buffet and it felt really wonderful going back to a place that etched a memory in us. ;)
daddy's boy heichinrou bangkok
characters! chinese characters!
gabby and tina heichinrou bangkok

*This is NOT a sponsored post. ;) For details and contact information about Amari Watergate Hotel in Bangkok and Heichinrou, visit there website by clicking THIS!

This Blog’s Bangkok 2012 Series includes :

01
Aug
12

GLORIOUS FOOD PORN @ HARD ROCK HOTEL PENANG

Indulgence is a must when spending quality time with the family or with friends. My family and I are very grateful to the people of Hard Rock Hotel Penang for they perfectly know how to pamper their guests across all ages by providing A COMPLETE SENSORY EXPERIENCE.

You’ve probably read my first post about our family’s grand experience (blog post HERE!). Now, here’s the conclusion of my 2-part-blog-series about Hard Rock Hotel Penang; I’m ending it with everything that satisfied our digestive tracts. :)  WARNING : FOOD PORN AHEAD! You may want to drink a glassful of cold water first before scrolling down this post. FEAST YOUR EYES! ENJOY! *wink*  

OUR FRIDAY DINNER @ STARZ DINER :  THE GREAT AMERICAN BUFFET with A TWIST

Shameless dispaly of indulgence. My plate # 1 : Fresh green salad, prawns, crayfish, salmon sashimi and cheese on a biscuit. Nom nom nom!!! :)

My plate # 2 : Mini Lamb Burger, Chicken Fingers, Mashed Potato, Chicken Wings and the most delicious and tender Smoked Beef Rib I’ve ever tasted! Tender. Delicious. *sigh*

Sarsi Longgan, anyone? Surprisingly, I liked it. It’s light, fruity and refreshing! :)

Our little-big-boy’s preference : chocolate fondue goodies!

HAPPINESS!!! …Can you imagine a world without ice cream?

This trio melted all my worries away, seriously!!! :D

Res Ipsa Loquitor means the evidence speaks for itself. Here’s a proof that Hard Rock Hotel Penang is beyond rockstars and adult-fun. People of HRHP are certainly KID-FRIENDLY TOO! ;)

The next day was made for another gastronomic adventure in epic proportions! ;)

OUR SATURDAY BREAKFAST BUFFET PLATES  @ STARZ DINER

LOVE! This platter on the buffet spread is just love. Smoked salmon and salted fish are so right in the morning!

My plate obviously. Smoked salmon FTW! :)

Tina sampled the do-it-yourself-congee.

Our kiddo is a cereal-monster! :)

Apparently, Gabby’s :) Don’t ask me if appetite is hereditary. LOL!

Early Weekend Morning Look! hahaha!

Dim sums in the morning? I had it for 2 consecutive weekend mornings. First in Singapore, then at Hard Rock Hotel Penang. It’s habit-forming and I’m not complaining! :)

Fiber-rich fresh fruits : A must for digestive process. Nutritious too!

What Gabby does to express happiness. :P

Tina’s.

My world revolves around them. End of story. :)

OUR SATURDAY LUNCH @ PIZZERIA

There’s so many nice things to experience in Pizzeria at Hard Rock Hotel Penang. For one, diners get to enjoy watching the chefs tossing and flipping the pizza as per order.  It’s entertaining in its own way! The wannabe-chef in Gabby and me enjoyed it a lot! Having an open-air-ambiance, located few steps by the beach provide a very relaxing and casual dining feel; it’s non-intimidating. :) Italian dishes on the menu look and taste authentic too! Highly recommended, a really must-try in HRHP! :)

Watching the chefs prepare those hand-tossed pizzas is an extra special treat!

Antipasto combo includes that tender baby octopus, mushrooms and diced eggplant that are complimented by that mayo-based dip. :)

All about Pizzeria’s pizza : I liked the thin crusts and the fact that toppings are served generously!

My family’s (Gabby’s) choice : Pizza Contadina, 14 inch for sharing. Tomato-based topped with chicken, mushrooms, onions, the works!

My plate : Pasta Aglio Y Olio (spaghetti with garlic, olive oil and chili peppers- very Italian? eduate me!). My verdict : I liked it except that my tongue does not favor too much spice, nonetheless, I finished the entire plate.

Gnocchi for Tina. If you must know, this pasta dish called Gnocchi is made of potato-pillows. Those worm-like-pasta are actually made of potatoes and starch.

Hot chocolate for Gabby on a hot weather. Why not.

Our blogger-fellows from Penang and Kuala Lumpur, Isaac, Chris and Emily with their companions savored these Italian goodies…

Gamberi pizza. Prawns in tomato base.

Calzone = folded pizza. Can’t get enough of that Pizzeria pizza-goodness! I’ve tasted this and I gave a thumbs up!

Tomato-based spaghetti.

Calamari. Classic. :)

Pizzeria also offers local Malaysian dishes…

Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce. One of Malaysia’s favorite dishes.

BEVERAGES compliment tasteful dishes best. Either alcoholic-based or otherwise, Sand Bar and Pizzeria in Hard Rock Penang, as well as Hard Rock Cafe have a long list of choices from their beverage menus. There’s something special for everyone; even Gabby was happy with his Hot Chocolate and Chocolate Smoothies drinks. :D

Fellow Blogger Chris’ choice : Mojito

For our Saturday Lunch : Watermelon and strawberry-based smoothies for me, Tropical Paradise, a fruity shake for Tina, and Hot Chocolate for Gabby.

On the very first weekend evening that we met the invited Malaysian awesome bloggers, Isaac, Chris and Emily with the very hospitable people of Hard Rock Penang, we had a few drinks at Hard Rock Hotel Penang’s Sand Bar, a very apt spot in the resort to chill out and watch the gorgeous sunset.

Gabby had his Chocolate Smoothies from the Sand Bar. While admittedly, Tina and I are non-alcoholics (and non-smokers too), we’re not kill-joy-junkies when an occasion calls for it. I made Tina sample the drink from Sand Bar’s menu called, PICKLED TINK which is an infusion of Smirnoff Raspberry Vodka, Pina Colada Mix and Fresh Strawberries Served Frozen and garnished with two Maraschino Cherries. ;)

Guess who had what.  ;)

OUR SATURDAY FAMILY DINNER @ HARD ROCK CAFE PENANG

Didn’t I tell you that the entire Hard Rock Hotel Penang including Hard Rock Cafe is very family-friendly? Gabby’s delighted at the sight of specially tailored menu for kids his age. He immediately scan it and made his choices. Oh and by the way, he had two cups fresh milk that went perfectly with his preference. Can you believe Hard Rock Cafe has fresh milk for kids? They have actually!  :)

Gabby’s choice # 1 : Ceasar’s salad

Gabby’s plate # 2 : Mac and cheese. This is a favorite-kid-friendly-plate. Agree? :)

The scene early that evening. It became packed with hungry diners in a blink.

I went up the mezzanine of Hard Rock Hotel Penang and a volume of Rock and Roll memorabilia are on display too to delight the music-loving patrons. Can you spot that Madonna costume?

Now, I have a confession to make. It’s a lame excuse, I know but because of my hectic schedule from my social media commitments for two consecutive weekends (Singapore Blog Awards 2012 and this Hard Rock Hotel Penang invitation), not to forget the stress that my wife and I are currently getting from work, I committed an isolated glitch. It slipped my memory that we’re instructed to try the “Hard Rock Cafe Eats Platter” special offering from HRC during the Fasting Month (Breaking of the Fast or Buka Puasa during Ramadhan) and for that I’m really sorry. :( What I remembered from the invite they sent in pdf via email and a printout form was the phrase that made me smile ear to ear :  “if you wish, you may order other stuff.” I forgot to memorize the phrase that came before it (“After the platter,” ) toinks!!!  We came earlier at Hard Rock Cafe that Saturday evening than our fellow blogger-buddies, thus my family and I were done with the last meal of the day earlier too. I immediately emailed Ms. Danielle Fung of HRHP to explain and verify everything after our sumptuous dinner. And I must say, they’re really generous. Everything’s waived and we didn’t pay a single ringgit. :D THANK YOU SO MUCH, HRHP & HRC! I just had to be honest about it. Now, continue to feast your eyes on our dinner that Saturday night…

Tina ordered this thick prawn-based soup. It could have been better if it’s not too salty.

Gabby got MILK. Fresh Milk. Two Cups. From HRC Penang! :)

We did not expect it too be in HUMONGOUS servings! I ordered JUMBO APPETIZER COMBO that includes Fried Spring Rolls, Chicken fingers, Potato Skins, Onion Rings and Buffalo Wings with respective dips! SEDAP, SARAP!!! The HRC EATS PLATTER that my family and I failed to sample (please see posted below) has similar offerings except it has Mini Lamb Burger and the others.

DISCLAIMER : Tina and I did NOT finish everything we ordered; we had most of them as takeaway (or in our words, take-out, take-home). It’s good that our seaview deluxe room in Hard Rock Hotel Penang has a personal fridge to temporarily store those delicious leftovers. We literally took them home the next day after check out. :)

Tina was astonished with the serving size of her order. TRIO COMBO. BBQ flavored Chicken, Beef Ribs and Roasted Beef Brisket (Believe me, it’s the most tender beef dish that I’ve tasted! Flavorful too! We loved it! The chicken’s OK too however, it’s so frequent for us to eat chicken so the beef ribs and roasted beef tantalized our taste buds effortlessly. )

My HRC Surf and Turf dinner plate : NEW YORK BEEF STEAK with PRAWN SKEWER. I had it medium well and I lost superlatives to describe it. I finished the side dishes that were also remarkably delicious plus the prawns, a personal favorite! I had the rest of the steak as to go.

I just had to take one more shot. Beautiful plate, isn’t it?

What’s a rock and roll meal without a sweet ending? DESSERTS we had included this CHOCOLATE MOUSSE, it’s Gabby and Tina’s choice. I liked it too!

My choice from the HRC dessert menu : Haagen Dazs Sundae Trio. Simply divine!

OUR SUNDAY BREAKFAST BUFFET @ STARZ DINER

Our last meal enjoyed at Hard Rock Hotel Penang during that 3D2N sponsored staycation was our breakfast buffet at Starz Diner. There’s a vast selection of bread for those who want to have carbo-loading. There’s a station for free-flowing morning drinks -from coffee, tea, fruit juices, fresh milk and chocolate. The difficult part was choosing what to chow down! So many food, so little time and limited gastric pits! Nevertheless, I’ll state it again that we’re very blessed to experienced all this. Thank you, God! Thank you, Hard Rock Hotel Penang! :D

I told you, that smoked salmon got my taste buds seriously. I love it to bits.

Tina and Gabby’s Roti Canai, one of Malaysia’s famous breads for breakfast, actually, it’s all good anytime of the day!

There’s only one thing that Tina and I regret of not doing in Hard Rock Hotel Penang and that’s failing to watch the Filipino Live Band called, Tiempo who plays at Hard Rock Cafe at 10:30PM that (every) weekend. We like watching live bands however the show’s strictly for adults 21 years old and older and Gabby didn’t allow us to sneak out leaving him in the room, even for an hour. Oh well, parenthood duties!!! We’re not complaining. At least it became one of the reasons to go back to HRHP and HRC in the near future. :)

THANK YOU VERY MUCH, HARD ROCK HOTEL PENANG! :D

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Part one of this 2-part blog series : http://docgelo.com/2012/07/31/our-rock-roll-family-weekend-hard-rock-hotel-penang/

Buka Puasa & Hari Raya Buffets | Hard Rock Hotel Penang offers a wide array of dishes specially prepared and cooked by their rockstar chefs in time for Buka Puasa (breaking of the fast during Ramadhan season) and Hari Raya.

Buka Puasa at Starz | Starz Diner | Mondat to Thursday | 6:30PM till 10:30PM | RM 60++

Great American Buffet With A Twist | Starz Diner | Friday & Saturday | 6:30PM till 10:30PM | RM108++

Buka Puasa & Hari Raya Barefoot BBQ | Pizzeria | Sunday | 6:30PM to 10PM | RM60++

For reservations call +604 8811 711 ext 8703 or email fb.penang@hardrockhotels.net

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Hard Rock Hotel Penang
Batu Ferringhi Beach | 111oo Penang, Malaysia

http://penang.hardrockhotels.net/

Take the Hard Rock Hotel Penang VIRTUAL TOUR HERE! :)

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*Thank you to Ms. Danielle Fung of Hard Rock Hotel Penang for making this grand family weekend experience possible. :D

05
Jul
12

DEFYING STRESS : YET ANOTHER FOOD PORN

We defy stress from a weeklong work and some bizaare challenges that come with living in another country by spending quality time together, either simply being lazy at home or going out on weekends. It breaks the monotony of our seemingly routinary lives here in Penang on weekdays (home-school-home for Gabby and home-work-home for Tina and me). Needless to say, we enjoy our togetherness longer every Friday night, Saturday, Sunday and during holidays, thus, we usually have efforts to make the most out of it (In Tagalog, SULIT!).

And whenever my family finds extra time and budget to go out, gastronomic adventures have been integral part of the fun! Frankly speaking, savoring good food has been therapeutic and a delightful measure to combat all the hassles away. Of course, the choice of food places and menu should always be unanimous among us!

Subway never fails to unleash the sandwich and cookie monsters in us. My family and I always opt to make our Subway sandwiches into a meal so that we get a cup of drink plus 2 cookies per sandwich, which we favor over a bag of Lays potato chips. Tina and Gabby love Chocolate and Double Chocolate cookies. While I also like their choices, I frequently go for Macadamia cookies; it’s deliciously good! Admittedly, Subway has been a favorite of the family. At reasonable and affordable cost, we get to savor freshness in every bite! :)

Before the clock hits 7PM when we watched Upin & Ipin, Live! at a carnival in AutoCity, Juru, Penang one Saturday, our tummies were filled by early dinner-cum-late-afternoon snack at Subway.  Gabby had Roast Chicken-no veggies, just mayonnaise (I know, he should eat greens and he usually does at home but not in Subway), Tina had Roast Beef while I chose Subway Melt and both of our sandwiches contained everything except Jalapeno and olives.

Dinner came at past 9PM. We had eat-all-you-want and this time we went Japanese! But because we only had reservation on the same day at around half hour past 5PM, the Japanese food place was already packed hence, we were assigned to a table at their open-air-area. It turned out to be a better option because Tina, Gabby and I got to watch a live band show plus Gabby experienced dining while his legs crossed. :)

Because we became preoccupied looking at the menu, we failed to note the name of the band. Toinks! :) However, Tina and I had a strong hint that the two lady lead singers are voices from the Philippines. We might be wrong of course, but the English accent that landed on our ears when they sang their repertoire almost confirmed it; we just failed and was too shy to ask. Nonetheless, they threw a remarkable performance of a variety of songs mostly from classic hits of Whitney Houston (Indaaaaaaay, will always love youuuuuuuhuhuuuuuu!) to the very now, Adele (Someone Like You) and so much more!

Tao Restaurant’s Japanese buffet specializes in ala-carte-eat-all-you-can. Simply put, food is only delivered on the table upon order. In a way, we liked it because it assures the freshness of the dishes compared to the ones found on a spread. We already experienced it once in Manila when we dined at Chef Laudico’s Bistro Filipino in Bonifacio Global City several years back.

These were the dishes from Tao that earned thumbs up from the 3 of us. :)

Temaki : Hand rolled Soft Shell Crab (2 orders), California and Smoked Salmon. They’re satisfyingly good, a visual treat too! This is why I love Japanese food -they’re both art and sustenance.

Ebi tempura : Gabby’s default choice. I didn’t sample it but by mere looking, the prawns had too much batter nonetheless, our son munched it happily!

Sushi Moriawase : Took me to heaven! :)

Sashimi Moriawase : Fresh cuts! …Salmon and tuna sashimi are happiness!

Fried Crabmeat with Cheese : The cheese lover in Gabby liked this.

Tina ordered Ika Spicy Age : A fried and crunchy-spicy squid dish. Just okay.

I think this is called Beef Bacon Skewer : We liked it too! :D

Salmon Teriyaki’s another just fine.

And if there’s one dish that’s worthy of visiting Tao again and again, it’s this Scallop thingy-I-forgot-its-name but never its taste! Toink-Toinks! :D

It’s creamy, sweet and spicy; what more can you ask for? WE LOVED IT! Tina and I consumed 3 plates!!! There you go!

And these were the ones that FAILED to stimulate our palates… :(

A bigger scallop-let-down-dish-so-unremarkable-i-didn’t-bother-to-note-its-name. Glass noodles and scallops fusion wasn’t good on this plate.

Pickled Papaya Salmon. #ayokonito.

Cheese-something. #anotherforgettable. Gabby, Tina and I are fond of cheese but this one didn’t hit the mark.

Beef Ribs that looked like pork chops had nothing to rave about. Sorry.

Ebi Fried Kani Mayo. I so love prawns, crabs and mayonnaise but the combination didn’t worked on this dish. #soggy #supersaturated

Tina ordered this Mushroom dish but I so believe my very own home cooked buttered garlic mushrooms is far better than this variety.

Lobster sandwich. I ordered this when I thought I was not struggling on satiation yet. The end point : I didn’t even taste it. #whatawaste!

My bad comments on several dishes from the menu of Tao impose a challenge for enhancement. I’ve to be honest and far from being biased on my review.  On a positive note, we loved Tao’s bottomless drinks (we only had iced tea, but Tiger beer was also free-flowing), and dessert included in the rates. The cost of the buffet for the three of us was reasonable; in fact, was only equivalent to half of an adult-rate in a hotel buffet in Manila. Another plus point of Tao was the courtesy of the wait staff. Prompt and friendly service without being pushy makes every dining experience commendable.

The raspberry flavored ice cream was such a wonderful ending to this meal! Tina and I loved it but Gabby passed it up.

I had an arrangement with our usual taxi cab driver to pick us up at around 11:30PM so while waiting, we had to give in to Gabby’s request for him to have his share of dessert. We left Tao before 11PM and walked few steps towards Starbucks Coffee.

Since Tina and I were so full, it was only Gabby who enjoyed his Chocolate Chip Frappuccino and Chocolate Marble Cheesecake.

For few minutes while waiting for our cab to take us home, I chanced upon this magazine inside the coffee shop that featured one of Malaysia’s pride, Penang-born-world-renowned-luxury handmade shoemaker, Prof. Dato’ Jimmy Choo. I’d like to end this lengthy family-food-fun blog post on one of Jimmy Choo’s quotes from that featured article…

Until our next stress-busting-family bonding! ;)

——————–

20
Jun
12

POWER LUNCH WITH THE IRELAND-BOUND

16th June 2012, Saturday.  My family and I took the bus-ferry-bus-rides from Butterworth to Tanjung Bungah, Pulau Pinang (Penang Island) at around 10AM to just before lunch time to grace the exclusive invitation of our students who will be studying Medicine in either Galway or Cork in Ireland beginning this September as Malaysian scholars (read : everything’s FREE!). I believe this was their generous way of saying ‘THANK YOU’  to our humble efforts. Trust me, there was No-Grades or No-Marks-Attached to this occasion; it was purely a very warm and friendly get-together-party. FYI, I was a part of their Pre-Med studies and currently the soon-to-end, Bridging Course-Ireland program.

From the first set of photos on this post, one might think that we went to a park, a zoo or an aviary. Actually, the venue of our eat-all-you-want-lunch was at The Flamingo Hotel by the beach. I confess, I underestimated this hotel upon the sight of its modest lobby but when I saw the gorgeous beach, I immediately thought otherwise.

How lucky I am that my students invited even my family…

About the next photo :  With me were the English lecturers from London who are now based in Penang, Esther and Phil, they’re great friends of Prof. Dato’ Dr. Chan Kok Ewe (or simply, Dato’ Chan for us) who’s seated next to them. It has been a pleasure for me and one of my best learning and humbling experiences as Dato’ Chan shared the lectures of Bridging Course-Ireland to me 2 days a week from October 2011-June 2012. Prof. Dato’ Dr. Chan  happens to be our school’s Pro Chancellor too and the Director of Island Hospital, Penang and not to forget that he’s the Chairman of Penang Hospice Society among the long list of his worthwhile contributions.

That’s me beside Esther and Phil with the one and only, Prof. Dato’ Dr. Chan

Must-Read-About-Dato’-Chan :  As Esther, Phil and I conversed, we all agreed that Dato Chan is one of the most noble & humble men we’ve ever met. His feet remain planted on the ground despite his humongous achievements (read : he’s one of the few Malaysian MD-pillars of Medical Research). Whenever I go and see him at his office to get the materials (which include powerpoint slides that he makes and videos related to our lectures that he personally handpicks), he never fails to amuse and motivate me even without trying. He’s a man beyond his titles. I would not know about the Korean Singing Pop-Group, Girls’ Generation if not for him (Do you know Girls’ Generation? If not, google them on youtube like what I did when Dato Chan made me watch one of their MTVs. When I told him that I was surprise that a guy his age can appreciate contemporary music that even I was not aware of, I noted from his reply that his age does not impose any limitations)!

Imagine inspite of his status, he managed to make cups of coffee for me and Tina on this lunch.

Not everyone does that to his subordinates.

His humility is so inspirational!

His humor and zest for life, phenomenal! :D

Meet the Malaysian scholars who are all Ireland-bound this September! *applause*

It’s not because they treated us for this lunch but I have to state, these Malaysian scholars who will be studying Medicine in either NUIG in Galway or UCC in Cork, Ireland starting mid-September 2012 until two and a half years after (then, they’ll go back to Taiping, Malaysia for their Clinicals and housemanship), are the epitome of the cream of the crop. Teaching them the few basics of Medicine has been such a breeze because they’re so responsible and goal-oriented. They attend to our classes with so much enthusiasm and eagerness to learn. Proof to that is their active participation in our lectures (I cannot remember a 2-hour-class with them that was so boring) and mind you, they laugh spontaneously when I crack jokes! :)

Formal to wacky…

Tina took my photos with them…

Prof. Dato’ Dr. Chan with our Ireland-bound-students

Once more, everyone with Tina this time…

It was so fun talking to Esther and Phil (Afiqah and Aizat helped me and Tina go through it without epistaxis or nosebleeding, hehehe!). We spoke about almost everything from their stay here in Penang for almost 3 years now, their favorite Malaysian dishes; Esther recommended a list of hawker food stalls from various parts of Penang with corresponding specialties! I remember the most interesting part was when Esther shared their experiences with the unforgettable tsunami that hit Penang (and Phuket, remember?) and the recent earthquake + tsunami alert which made us all panic. Tina and I were amazed to learn that Esther and Phil were very cool in dealing with the latter as they even had cups of tea in their balcony while my family and I evacuated and slept the night in a hotel far from our seafront-11th floor-appartment. And of course, we talked about THE PHILIPPINES. Phil and Esther want to visit our country during the Christmas holiday and boy, they were surprised to hear when I said that Filipinos celebrate Christmas season starting SEPTEMBER! Don’t we? :D

Enough with the photo-ops and those introductions; let’s get down to business. Here’s what we chow down….

I started with this noodle soup that looks like simple mami (mamee) dish for Filipinos, but the red & spicy sauce makes it Malaysian…

The hot & spicy broth did not irritate my taste buds; I actually liked it! Then, there was tempura station near the pool side so I sampled some ebi and veggie tempura and a few fried spring rolls. Sarap! Sedap! :P

That may have been another shameless display of dietary consumption from this site, but heck, I savored this plate to bits, even made me to want more! That’s how delicious those dishes in this plate were. The omelette, chicken, fish and that lamb were all tender and flavorful! The Briyani rice was tasteful too. I’m lost for superlatives to describe each. :)

If you’re a Filipino reading this post and viewing those photos, yes, you are absolutely correct in thinking that most Nyonya or Peranakan (Straits/Chinese-Malaysian) delicacies here in Penang look like our very own sweets from the Philippines. The rice cakes we have back home appear like those glutinous treats here; the difference lies on the tastes – ours mostly satisfy sweet tooth, but some Malaysian delicacies have a hint of saltiness infused with sweetness.

At this point, I remember I was already struggling to wish I had more room in my gastric pit but truth didn’t allow me to get some fruits from the spread. :( Anyway, after this Nyonya delicacies, I had coffee made by Dato Chan himself; now that’s one for the books! ;)

It was a sumptuous lunch! The spread was mostly Malay dishes but they’re not that spicy and I truly liked it and might consider to go back for another Sunday buffet lunch with my family some other time. It’s so relaxing to enjoy a buffet with that priceless view with your love ones.

And to the 14 students (2 were not able to join us for this lunch) of Bridging Course-Ireland 2011-2012, I know I already told you this a countless times in between our classes, but would like to state it here again. Always remember that you are so BLESSED to have such opportunity to study MEDICINE for FREE in EUROPE no less. You’ll gain more than Medical knowledge but an experience to cherish for as long as you live! If you keep in mind that you are blessed and you know how to count your blessings, you will not only become what you dream of but will be an inspiration to others too.

Thank you for bearing with me every Tuesdays and Fridays from October 2011 to end of June 2012  Teaching for your batch taught me so many things beyond books and classrooms; indeed, learning has been mutual. I’ll surely miss doing lectures for you! :(

To Prof. Dato’ Dr. Chan, my work in AUCMS has been worthwhile because of you, Sir! Words are not enough to express my gratitude to you!

Thank you, Bridging Course-Ireland 2011-2012 students! We had a wonderful time! :)

03
Jun
12

AN EPISODE OF HYPERGLYCEMIA

No, I am not diabetic yet, neither I have pancreatic insufficiency. Don’t fret; continue reading! :) Either you’ll learn a bit from the next few phrases or you’ll find this post visually gastromically stimulating. To simply put, hyperglycemia is descibed as elevated sugar level that occurs whenever we have excess carbohydrate intake, or when the hormone, insulin secreted by the beta cells of the islets of Langerhans of the endocrine pancreas becomes inadequate to catabolize carbohydrates into glucose for it to be deposited in the cells of the liver and muscles as glycogen that may be transformed into glucose again in times of stress and as the need arises. Persistence of uncontrolled hyperglycemia leads to diabetes. Enough of the rambling, you might be having epistaxis (nosebleeding); kidding! :D This post is all about the CHOCOLATE BUFFET at Soy Restaurant in G Hotel, the most stylish luxurious hotel in Gurney Drive, Penang, Malaysia.

Let’s begin this sinful but delicious blog entry with Baskin Robbins’ Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream…

One of the strongest reasons why anyone interested from Penang should troop to this chocolate buffet is the bottomless scoops of luscious Baskin Robbins Ice Cream. That alone made this sweet dining experience heavenly; its cost so sulit (value for money). I consider it a steal and extraordinary for we don’t have Baskin Robbins experience on a daily basis.

The chocolate buffet isn’t complete without a fondue. And having both white and dark chocolate fountains provides sufficient logic when one isn’t enough…

Of course, I tried dipping some mallows and tropical fruits from the spread onto these chocolatey goodness but in between indulgence, I had savored these fibrous fruits in their purest forms; they aid well in digestion.

At one point, this Soy’s Chocolate Buffet is deliciously challenging. Resistance to be overwhelmed is a must.

Another commendable thing is their provision of free-flowing tea in different variants (I opted for Jasmine Green Tea) to make every intake nice and easy. Thank God for Lipton!

One soothing sip and you’re on your toes again towards the spread.

Yes, it’s Chocolate Buffet so everything in there are chocolates, chocolates and more chocolates!

When I was asked to fill out the comment card by the wait staff, I cannot agree but to tick “excellent” in service, ambience, cleanliness, etc. However, those glorious cakes could have been presented better on top of handsome cake stands. Other than that, Soy’s Chocolate Buffet earns my two-thumbs-up! :D

Soy’s Chocolate Buffet is such a reason to head to this G Hotel. As they claim to have the most stylish adress in Penang; I cannot agree more.

Meanwhile, here’s a proof that my family and I are such a chocoholics. Tina and Gabby whipped up another no-bake-chocolate cake at home.

Tina’s not only a lovely wife and a caring mom, she also has this love affair with her gadget that she wanted to document some of Gabby’s wonderful antics. If I am into blogging, Tina enjoys capturing special fun moments on video.  WATCH THIS chipmunkie-ala-charlie-chaplin-short-film on how the Chef Gabby made that moist cake… ENJOY! Let me know what you think. :)

Do you think our son has future in becoming a chef, a hotelier and a restaurateur? Only time will tell. :)

—————–

Enjoy Penang’s only all you can eat chocolate buffet of various delectable offerings of scrumptious chocolate desserts. Available every Saturday,8pm-12am, priced at RM45++ per person (USD 14++ or PhP 612++) at Soy Restaurant, G Hotel, Gurney Drive, Penang, Malaysia.

*Although the blogger and his blog are open for advertisements, sponsorships, invitations and blog reviews, this isn’t a sponsored post. :)

25
Nov
11

THE DAY WE HAD BIGGER APPETITES

A few months back, there was one weekend morning that Tina, Gabby and I woke up with a great drive for eating. You might be thinking that there’s nothing uncommon about it as my family and I truly have passion for dining (READ : Gluttony is far different from being self-declared food enthusiasts or foodies; spelling pa lang po magkaiba na!)  but that day was totally exceptional. We oddly tried two Steamboat and BBQ buffet restaurants in a day.

The marbling of the meat says it all. Tender, moist and flavorful!

Lunch was at Asian BBQ located at Prangin Mall, George Town, Penang. It was less ordinary compared to Yakimix in SM Mall of Asia, Manila, more so with Don K! Yakiniku Buffet in Tokyo  which absolutely earned a spot in my taste buds. :)
With its price less than 50 ringgit (PhP 700 or USD 15.63), Tina chose a package meal that allowed Gabby to practice his “cooking expertise” (Consider this part of his chef-wannabe immersion). 
This was our table. Clean and almost spotless however the grill isn’t smokeless. :( 
But wait, I know we shouldn’t be complaining because grilling and barbecue are 2 different things. Agree? (READ : Muli, spelling pa lang po, magkaiba na!). To those who are still in the dark, allow me to enlighten you a bit (Violent reactions are welcome on the comment thread but you’re too much if you expect a reply…*biro lang!).
If you must know, I read somewhere that if and when there’s use of direct high heat, it’s grilling.  And cooking meat, fish, or anything you fancy over a low heat slowly with a smoke is barbecuing. Ergo, what we had for this lunch was actually barbecue, not to forget the name of the restaurant’s Asian BBQ, hehe! :) 
Res Ipsi Loquitor : The evidence speaks for itself.  

Smokin' !!!

Despite we smelled like what we chow down, the fambam had fun!
After stuffing ourselves with that Asian BBQ package that came with cups of rice, we burned those calories by strolling inside the mall and another mall across the street and hopped on a bus to spend the rest of the afternoon at a public beach in Tajung Bungah, a coast line 12 km away from George Town.
Sunset signaled us to take dinner somewhere. And because it will take a while before we reach our home here in Penang, Tina gave her green light for us to pay Town’s Steamboat  Buffet Restaurant a visit again. 

A sight of a packed food place is always an indicator that we're in the right venue.

If you’re following this blog for some time now, you should be familiar with this food place in Jalan Macalister (Macalister Road) in George Town where (binge) eating is best just disregard the disturbing presence of those LPG gas tanks beside each table (If you’re suffering from paranoia, you’ll instantly entertain the thought that these tanks might explode while you munch and digest a feast–morbid!).
The fantastic and voluminous spread of this place makes up for its lack of proper ambiance.  Food choices and value-for-money are the things that make us go back here once in a while.

Piping Hot Dimsum and Dumplings : Bottomless and Self-Service. YUM! :)

Tong tong tong tong pakitong kitong….
 

There are spreads of cooked and raw ingredients. You either barbecue or throw them down and simmer on a hot soup base. We always do both!

 How sweet it is to end a day with sweets! :)

Not the perfect Portugese egg tarts but nonetheless can satisfy one's craving.

 We never had dessert at lunch that day so I we downed cups of ice cream and ice  drops for Gabby (not in photo).

The strawberry and chocolate flavors were mediocre however the coffee ice cream was excellent!

Food is and will always be a substantial part of our great appetite to engage in family bonding.  
Until our next one! :)
06
Nov
11

SHANGRI-LA’S RASA SAYANG : A BLEEDING WOUND, A THOUGHTFUL STAFF, A DIGESTIVE FEAST PART 2

I have always thought that most of our priceless and happy moments together as a family are commonly shared over a meal. Either at home or whenever we dine out, great tasting foods have been essential in making the three of us more joyous. Most epicurean adventures that we celebrate, be it simple or otherwise have been a constant reminder too, that we’re so blessed on top of life’s challenges. 
On a lighter note, I am a strong believer of my personal beatitude, ‘Blessed are the people who consider food as their kryptonite for they will continuously seek strength to fight cravings for more toothsome dishes!’ LOL! :D However, I know most, if not all will instantly agree with me that resistance is remarkably futile if the spread includes the following….  

Mont Blanc

 Black Forest never presented this edgy…

Our 7-year-old wonder boy loves cheese and cheese cakes and so are we…

Gabby’s palatal exposure to wide array of digestive stimuli may hopefully contribute in his aspirations to become a chef, a hotelier and a restaurateur someday. So help us, God! :) 

Paris Brest

Strawberry Flan

Apparently, Chocolate Dome Cake…

Pralinosa Bavaroise…
 
And of course, Tiramisu….
Reservation was done over a phone call a week prior to this dinner-buffet. Spice Market Cafe in Shangri-La’s Rasa Sayang Resort and Spa in Batu Feringgi, Penang is usually packed even on weekdays, as we’re told, not only because of their on-going promotion (Yes, if it’s not a buy-one-free-one we could have not afford it, haha!) but more logically for their delightful dishes. 
No fresh floral arrangements, neither fancy balloons nor fruits. What could be more appropriate table centerpieces for Spice Market Cafe but mortar and pestle with dried herbs and spices.
Table for 3 please : Tina, Gabby & me :D
The three of us immediately became busy viewing the spread of the different live-cooking stations that represent a multi-cultural gastronomic feast : Continental, Indian, Japanese, Chinese and Malay.  Even Gabby had several trips to the buffet tables on his own. And after getting our individual preferences, we shared plates generously.
Without a clue, Tina’s scarred wound at the tip of her left ring finger was already bleeding; her table napkin was inevitably stained with drops of blood.
  • me: Ano nangyari? Bakit dumugo?  (What happened? Why did it bleed?)
  • Tina : Hindi ko napansin e.  (I didn’t notice.)

Then out of nowhere, Norizah, a short-haired pleasant female senior wait staff approached our table with utmost concern. She asked what happened and offered something she can do.

  • Tina : (smiling despite bleeding) “My wound is bleeding but I’m OK. Nothing to worry. I am a nurse and my husband is a doctor.”
  • me : (smiled and nodded at Norizah)
  • Norizah :  “You’re a nurse and he’s a doctor but you are my customers and I worry about you. Would you like me to bring something from the clinic?  I’ll go get some band-aid.”   

Right there and then, I wanted to give Norizah a “Natatanging Waitress Award.” (Outstanding Waitress Award) haha! :) Seriously, I could have told her that it’s our first time to experience such utmost thoughtfulness from a restaurant staff but Tina and I only thanked her for her impeccable service.

How many hotels, restaurants or any form of food places have thought of providing kids their own plates?  Isn’t this gesture sweet?

Because excitement was difficult to contain, Gabby filled his first plate with chilled scallops that he topped with what else but parmesan and cheese dressing. Cheesy overload on those delicious mollusks. Takaw mata man, Tina and I were there to eat his leftovers. Sarap!

There’s a bar that has various cheese offerings; celery and carrot sticks made available for dipping.

How do you like blue cheese?

Or emmental cheese perhaps?

There’s no wine for obvious reasons but breads made a great combination..

Now, let’s proceed to shameless display of plates :  I started with this few slices of cold cuts– chicken ham and that remarkably delicious smoked salmon, with bread and cheeses. We also enjoyed their thick and creamy corn soup.

Must have that detail shot, haha! :)

Second of my beatitude, “Blessed are the people who have no hypersensitivity, for theirs the kingdom of seafoods!”

I am a sucker for prawns and proof to this is the fact that I never miss out to buy prawns from the public market here every weekend (read : we’re lucky for it’s a lot cheaper here than in Pinas).  Tina usually cook it either with garlic and butter or just steamed and we’re on cloud 9 already! :)

Mussels on the otherhand, aren’t as common as shrimps here. :( If you must know, the sweet taste and humongous size of mussels that we’ve eaten when we were in Auckland, New Zealand back in 2005 for our memorable 7 week family vacation there remains to be unforgettable! We’re fortunate enough that the buffet of Spice Market Cafe has mussels but not as close as what we had in Auckland.

Then there were those another family favorite which Gabby had singled out…

Have you tasted yabbies?

We could have wash our hands and enjoyed them to bits but I for one had no extra room in my gastric pit…some other time, I guess haha! :)

Here’s my seafood plate…

Pity those who must take anti-histamines when they eat these glorious foods!

Moving on, the Chinese section’s essentials were present like noodle station…

It’s an experience watching the chef make hand-pulled noodles live! :) The force in kneading that dough as he stretched and slammed it to have less air was already an entertainment while eating!

Noodle soup must have other ingredients…

But where are the dimsum and dumplings? Did we miss it out? :(

I was silently jumping for bliss when I saw that there’s a Japanese station. It has been months since I’ve last squeezed a sushi between chopsticks.

Although to our dismay there were no ebi and crab tempura which are also Gabby’s favorites, we were happy to have freshest tuna and salmon sashimi, and some sushi…

The little-big boy really had his time…

I can eat this plateful of yummies everyday, haha! :)

I just recently found my love affair with some Indian foods, so I tried some chicken tandoori (but too spicy for my palates), papadum and roti, and one of the famous local grilled goodies here, chicken satay with peanut sauce…

I like their chicken satay but had an aversion to eat it with fresh onions. Usually, it’s eaten with cucumber and onion slices. Don’t you love these brass wares? I do!!! I wish when the time comes that we need to leave Malaysia, there would be extra money to buy these as souvenirs (O marami nyan sa Divisoria? LOL!) :)

Do you like lamb? I don’t because of its usual-after-taste that leaves you wanting to gargle non stop, hehe! But the slices of roasted lamb leg from this buffet made me reconsider it!

Beef dishes, as I know it, aren’t easy to prepare. It needs slow cooking for it to become tender and the beef medalions with mushrooms from Rasa Sayang doesn’t disappoint!

Peking Duck and  Char Siew Chicken were also sublime!

tastier and crunchier than it looks on photo!

Most foreigners and tourists would dig the local Malaysian favorites so for the desserts section, they’re offering ais kacang, cendol, ABC and more….(their version of our Filipino Halo-Halo!)

However, we didn’t try their version; perhaps, next time.

We've already tasted those green worm-like jellies made from rice flour and food coloring that are toppings of cendol from a hawker food stall in George Town before and we liked it! Grossly looking but will delight your palates!

Thankful to Gabby, he had the effort of going to the ice cream station to prepare a cup as Tina and I were already full that time.

Ice cream toppings and syrups never looked and tasted this great!

 Chef Gabby’s plating of ice cream…

Local Malaysian desserts were satiatingly good; our own versions we call them in Tagalog, kakanin…

Skewered for dipping…

One of this blog’s valued commenters (convictstock from Australia) mentioned before that their stay and dining in Rasa Sayang was made extraordinary because of their chocolate fondue. I agree but it would not hurt for Shangri-La Penang to double it with white chocolate fountain too! We have lots of hotels in the Philippines who offer it and it’s twice the fun of course!

Melted dark chocolate : so heavenly but wished there was white one too!

Gradually, Gabby’s having big ideas of what his kitchen, hotel and restaurant will all look like in the future as he picks up beautiful things and notes those he must avoid doing by his decent exposures to all this. It’s like (positive) brainwashing 101 or more like an early immersion for our kiddo. :) Salamat na lang, lagi may promosi! (We’re always grateful for promotions as buffets in hotels are made affordable!).

These FUNtastic looking sculptures out of some ingredients I guess, made Gabby and Tina the happiest people on that dining area that night. My family's addicted to Angry Birds as they left me still enjoying Plants vs Zombies, LOL!

 Thank you, Spice Market Cafe for putting up such dining decors for kids and kid-at-hearts!

Fresh fruits were also on the spread but not the same with fruit juices; you need to pay extra for a glass or two. :( It’s unlike other premier hotel-buffets we have tried here in Penang where beverages are included in their offering; that’s one little disadvantage for patrons of Rasa Sayang in our humble opinion.  

However, they uplifted our spirits when we learned that coffee is included in the buffet, yahoooo! Tina and I are just simple coffee-lovers! :)

One week prior to our dinner when I had phoned them to make a reservation, they told me that the 250-sitting capacity of the restaurant is almost filled. I just took the chance in requesting that if and when some guests back out for whatever reason, I’ll appreciate if they can accomodate us in for consideration that I am bringing Gabby and I was surprised on the eve of our indulgence, they did! They allowed us to sit inside the buffet dining area instead outside where they have nipa huts and more tables for diners. 

All in all, our first dining experience in Shangri-La’s Rasa Sayang Resort and Spa Spice Market Cafe was indeed, less ordinary. Admittedly, I personally had great expectations because of its name and reputation and they exceeded it, bar none! More than great tasting dishes, their friendly service to customers showed how they value their market over their business. And where else can you spot such impressive factors for the price of RM 185 nett (PhP 2,590 or USD 59) for the three of us (at RM 104+ : buy-one-free-one+kid’s half rate)? The cost is such a steal that one will be tempted to go back for more!  Visit their website for more details of their rates and promotions (http://www.shangri-la.com/)

Until our next family bonding moments! :)

________________________________ 

PART ONE : Shangri-La’s Rasa Sayang Spice Market Cafe Buffet

02
Nov
11

SHANGRI-LA’S RASA SAYANG : A BLEEDING WOUND, A THOUGHTFUL STAFF, A DIGESTIVE FEAST

RASA SAYANG, in Bahasa Malaysia when translated to English means A Taste of Love.  And in my vocabulary, Shangri-La’s Rasa Sayang Resort and Spa here in Penang is aptly called in every sense of the word.

The lobby is so enticing, you’ll fall in love in a heart beat…

Located 12km away from George Town, Penang, Shangri-La’s Rasa Sayang Resort and Spa is one of the premiere hotels in this part of Malaysia. Other than the lavish amenities and hospitality that Shangri-La Hotels are known for, this branch offers beyond great expectations.

We experienced something extraordinary that cannot be done justice in words or in pictures.

We arrived more than an hour earlier to the dinner-buffet we reserved at 6:30PM. Waiting wasn’t a big deal because appreciation of the hotel’s facilities was more than enough for us to kill time.

Because it was drizzling, Tina and Gabby decided to stay inside the lounge while I, with a huge black umbrella, took the chance to roam around from the lobby to the beachfront…

It reminded me of Shangri-La Mactan, Cebu where the lush green leads you to the waters however less the expansive lobby where you can view the majestic scenery. This one in Penang doesn’t have an elevated lobby like the hotel in Cebu but nonetheless impressive.

Nipa Huts and benches are found along the uniquely shaped swimming pools amidst the enormous trees and tropical plants. I know nothing of architecture but I noticed how creative they were in guiding the raindrops as they fall from huts’ roofs to a massively charming jar that serves as basin. Have you seen one like this in Pinas or elsewhere? (Ang husay ng alulod!). 

I joined my lovely wife and adorable son for some more minutes of waiting. While Gabby became busy taking photographs of the lounge and his parents, a male staff approached and talked to us.

  • male staff :  Are you waiting for the dinner-buffet?  Do you have reservations, Sir?
  • me : Yup! I did a reservation over the phone a week ago.
  • male staff : Spice Market Cafe gets packed even on weekdays.
  • me : Because of the on-going promotion?
  • male staff : Not only that, Sir but because the food is really good. And for its price, it’s more than reasonable and competitive with other hotels’ buffets.
  • me : That’s great to know. Thanks!

After few bladder breaks at the spotless tandas (toilet)…

and some more snapshots at the facade of the restaurant…

If jeepneys are the king of the road in the streets of Manila, in George Town, Penang are the trishaws. Most tourists and travelers are seen on this wheels, being driven by a local on a tour of one of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites.

Finally, at 6:30PM, I confirmed our reservation at the entrance of Spice Market Cafe, was surprised that beside my name on the guest list was the apposition, “recognized blogger”; I cringed and swallowed my saliva! haha! (read : I am recognized only by my family and a few online friends and being known by some may be purely accidental).

Gabby, Tina and I have been to quite a number of eat-all-you-want-food havens but our experience in Rasa Sayang’s SPICE MARKET CAFE was definitely less ordinary….

Located at the main entrance of Spice Market Cafe is Spice Boutique that showcases an interesting display of varied spices and herbs that were sourced all over Asia .

Our 7-year-old kid who dreams of becoming a chef, a restaurateur and a hotelier someday was again exposed to another ground.  However, his nose wasn’t ready yet to perceive an array of aromas and different smell from those spices…

Perhaps, because of their quaint characteristics of being rustic and old, I was silently jumping for joy upon the sight of these museum-worthy kitchen wares and whatnot. I don’t care whether they’re original and vintage or just a noteworthy reproductions, they all looked attractive to me.

Tina and Gabby had their own fascinations while I found myself mesmerized…

Ais Kachang or their version of the Filipino Halo-Halo needs finely shaved ice, thus the existence of this equipment…

My eyes were also caught by a corner where a long wooden bench holds a row of canisters of locally-cooked chips…

We never dined anywhere before where the entrance of the restaurant creates such impact…

To be continued…

03
Sep
11

OUR AMAZING QUINCY EXPERIENCE

Hainanese Chicken Rice… Fried Hokkien Mee.. Iced cold water chestnut… One-dollar-ice cream bar… Sri Mariamman Temple… Perhaps, the cleanest Chinatown… Orchard Road… Esplanade… Sentosa… Merlion Park… These and more can obviously describe the city where we spent our Hari Raya holiday this year.

Now, if you’re still clueless of the place, you may have left your brain cells somewhere, haha! :D *kidding*

We loved Singapore! Although our pockets and credit cards are now weeping, the experience was worth it! My wife,Tina and I took our soon-to-be 7 year old kid, Gabby to the Lion City for four glorious days (August 30–September 2, 2011) of food indulgence, fun and of course, family bonding!

Let’s begin this Singapore blog series from our arrival at few minutes before 2PM, Tuesday 30th August at the Changi airport, Terminal 1…

Gabby with Mr. Lee, one of the friendliest Singaporean drivers we’ve met (We encountered almost a handful, and you’ll meet them with some of their stories toward the end of this series).

PERSTAYMERS :  It’s our first time to be in the  city described by the National Geographic as “the smallest nation in Southeast Asia that has long been a financial powerhouse.” and by the -The Lonely Planet as a place with “a strange brew of Chinese, Malay, Indian and Western cultures, a rich social stew that’s anything but boring.” …Who would not be excited?

I planned the trip several months back with gradual let go of the budget by purchasing online plane tickets via Air Asia (Penang-Singapore) on its promo rates and reserving rooms in 2 different hotels (read: maximizing the range of experience at the same time, reducing the cost); we only chose one theme park over a volume of choices and pre-paid it online on a non-peak season. I even asked blogger-friends who have been to Singapore many times over and former colleagues who are presently based there, for their recommendations and whatnot (credits at the end of the post). I made sure my family and I would enjoy our vacation the way we know how.

After reading tourists’ reviews at tripadvisor.com countless times and after paying attention to what bloggers have been raving about, I finally settled for Quincy. I thought it wouldn’t be voted as the tripadvisor.com’s Winner, Travelers’ Choice, Trendiest Hotel 2011 for nothing. I know Tina and Gabby will like it too.

Our airport pick up, included in the room package I availed for my family…

Jologs lang po kami. (repeat : Jologs lang po kami!) We’re so easy to please, and so riding a Mercedes benz E-class limo that doesn’t happen on a daily basis was indeed something for the 3 of us! Hence, that explains those sweetest smiles mixed with pure bliss and excitement inside the car…

Mr. Lee made us feel so welcome while he was driving. He confirmed some of the (positive) things about Singapore that I have heard and read.  Everything, including the air in Singapore seems so sterile!

Singapore in so many ways is so expensive yet seductively beautiful. Prices of almost all items are notoriously steeper than you could imagine. Hotel rates and charges could leave you begging for alms in the streets, haha! :) And so one of my considerations that made me chose Quincy is its being an all-inclusive boutique hotel. It’s amazing! :) Imagine buffet breakfast, set lunch and dinner, all served with appetizers, salad, soup, bottomless canned sodas, free flowing brewed coffee and tea, distilled water exclusively bottled for Quincy and even beer and cocktails in the evening are all included in the package! It’s the first time in the history of our vacations that we didn’t buy bottled water from any 711!

About 25 minutes after we left Terminal 1 of Changi airport, we arrived in Quincy.

Tucked in the secluded end of Mt. Elizabeth Street, one of the laterals of the famous high-end shopping district, Orchard Road, Quincy is strategic in its location. Quincy is about 5-7 minute-walk away from Orchard Road.   It works best for guests like us who would like to walk after a sound sleep and particularly after partaking on a heavy, sumptuous meal. We felt so secured (physically) as we passed by Paragon Medical Center and Mount Elizabeth Hospital from Quincy just before reaching the upscale malls like Paragon, Takashimaya, Ngee Ann City, and as per Mr. Lee’s words, Lucky Plaza -”the little Philippines in Singapore” due to its Filipino stalls and patrons.

As Mr. Lee dropped us off at the lobby of Quincy, (although we know Singapore offers jobs to many Filipinos) it was (still) surprising that 2 Filipina staffs were at the reception area to welcome us. One of them accompanied us to the 10th floor to endorsed the entire room and its gadgets to us nicely.

This was the view from our window…

Pillows that provided us one of our restful sleeps…

Everything’s so impressive at Quincy. I love its interiors in neutrals and its atmosphere, so edgy and manly.

The king-sized bed with 400-thread-count-immaculate white sheets were too perfect to curl up in bed the whole day and do nothing. –now, that’s a luxury!

I told Tina, I like this desk lamp other than the presence of 42″ LCD TV and  everything so ergonomic!

For a moment, the world seemed to stop revolving as my lovely wife and our wannabe-chef son, had their amusement over the coffee gadget inside our studio deluxe room (read : My wife and I are coffee-addicts!). It’s not just your ordinary coffee making facility but Nespresso Expresso Machine! In Tina’s words, “kape pa lang, sulit na!” (“abundance of coffee alone makes the stay in Quincy worth it!”….  because Quincy also offers free flowing coffee at the spread every meal time, even have takeaway coffee cups to Tina’s delight!) 

How many hotels offer complimentary mini bar with Lays potato chips, cup noodles, lots of tea bags, canned sodas, soya milk and iced tea and even canned beer? They replenish it everyday for free!

It’s difficult to get over with that coffee machine, hahaha! …I should get one for Tina (read : but where’s the budget?), haha! :)

Availability of a number of electric plugs is also a plus! Everything spelled convenience at Quincy!

The tandas was spotless…

The toilet and bath left us in awe! Quincy provides toiletries by Molton Brown, London with scents that definitely, rejuvenating.

There’s that rainfall effect shower, pull-me-down curtain blinds if you want some privacy on that glass walled comfort room. Bath tub seemed sterile, weighing scale’s available, slippers were uniquely thicker than usual hotel room footwears, they’re even smart in providing toothpaste that my gums prefer!  Our toilet experience at Quincy was truly beyond expectation…

The wardrobe essentials are commendable too. Sana lang, Quincy goes for better choice of towels…

We didn’t waste time and checked out their facilities at Level 12…

The infinity pool gives you a relaxing view of the slice of Singapore skyline…

Popcorn’s offered every weekend, 9PM when they show movies on big screen by the pool. Chilled drinks are again available for free!

A gym, a sauna and steambath rooms are located adjacent the swimming pool.

The lobby boasts of mac computers and egg-shaped lounge seats too.

Now, the succeeding photos make us miss Quincy more…

Quincy pampers guests on the gastronomic department too! We’re given menu of entrees to choose from, then free flowing beverages from fruit juices, canned sodas, tea and coffee, and cocktails are at the bar for self-service.

The dining area gives you a view of the greens at the hotel’s facade…

Admittedly, Tina and I rarely drink. She tried sipping her red wine paired with her main dish, but she’s really not into alcohol, while I finished my glass of white wine.

My lovely wife had an appetite for prime steak…

She had it well done, still the beef slab was tender, passed Tina’s discriminatory taste.

While I was delighted with my salmon plate… yum, yum, yum!

Gabby had tomato-based seafood pasta; and unlike kids of his age, he loves mussels and clams!

Beverage bar…

The buffet spread is simple but satisfyingly good! There’s a self-service ice cream bar too! The soft ice cream can pass as gelato with its thicker and creamier- less-air consistency. We loved the chocolate syrup topping!

Gabby at the ice cream station …see the reflection of the lush green from the outside; i love this shot! hehehe :)

 
I asked the wait staff if there’s any available dessert, he replied, “Apple strudel.” Gabby and I ordered (repeat : it’s an all-inclusive hotel package!).  I went to the ice cream machine but was no expert in topping my apple strudel with it, nonetheless was superb!  Gabby’s apple strudel (on the right) was perfectly ice cream topped by the staff… Dinner was absolutely delightful! :)
 
 
 Simple yet sophisticated hotel dining experience continued through breakfast…
 
 
Tina’s favorite corner at Quincy… the coffee counter!  Here, Gabby makes me a cup of cappuccino…
 
 
Digestive indulgence so early in the morning : We tried fish congee, I tossed some greens, loaded fibrous fruits, & my family’s favorite (but not me), cereals+milk.
 
 
After breakfast must come lunch, haha!
 
I went to the salad bar and made this…
Tina prefered a sandwich called Modesto something… (sorry, slipped my memory; must be because of aging, haha!)… She liked it a lot!

I opted for an open-faced steak sandwich… sublime! :)

But Gabby’s choice was the winner that lunch…. He decided to eat Creamy mushroom pasta; even asked for more parmesan cheese! The fusion of shitake and button mushrooms with the creamy sauce was unforgettable! Sarap talaga…

Almond jellies and Longan was the dessert of the day. Of course, we had another round of ice cream + dark chocolate syrup topping!

These smiles apparently show that we loved our Quincy experience…

If you are looking for an ultimate relaxing respite from the busy and stressful life, a staycation in Quincy when you’re in Singapore is highly recommended. In a city where hotel accomodation defines a huge portion of its tourism, Quincy rose above the rest in my family’s book.

I’m glad I made a right decision in choosing Quincy. Wouldn’t you be happy if you’re family’s content too? :)

_____________________________

This is the first of Beyond Toxicity’s Singapore blog series. Disclaimer : DocGelo’s stay in Quincy was only for 24 hours; accomodation package was personally paid and Quincy has nothing to do with this blog entry. For specific inquiries and details about Quincy kindly *visit their website here -> Quincy Hotel Singapore. Thank you.

UPDATE : 11 September 2011 sourced from tripadvisor

____________________________

*Thank you to fellow bloggers, Dyanie (she did my initial itinerary!), Cza (recommended the other hotel we stayed in), Chyng, Sards , Dom/Dong Ho, Annevdns, Bambi (all of their blog posts about Singapore and replies to my queries served helpful references for this trip) and former colleagues, Ms. Gina (who provided useful links online about her work place), Dr. D. and former student, Lea for replying to my questions about the city we all like.

15
Aug
11

HOT POT. CHINESE FONDUE. SHABU-SHABU. STEAMBOAT!

If gastronomic indulgence is a sin, then my family and I are always guilty as charged, hahaha! :)

pass the vinegar, please! yum!

Apparently, gluttony is one of the deadliest sins, but gastronomic indulgence isn’t. I believe when you only try to please your palates with a digestive feast without eating excessively, you are just being a foodie.

Enough with the defenses. Great foods are really meant to be enjoyed and the moment becomes instantly priceless when you share delightful dishes with your love ones.

If not for one of my few valued senior colleagues who generously shared his affordable eating discovery with his family here in Penang, we wouldn’t sample it too.

Along one of the busiest thoroughfares in George Town, Penang is Jalan Macalister (or Macalister Road); it is one of the places in this part of Malaysia where hawker food stalls and restaurants can be found almost side by side. With tough but “healthy” and delicious competition, one of the establishments that was referred to us by my senior fellow is Town Steamboat Restaurant. He only had good words about this eat-all-want-food place; his family’s satisfaction was enough for us to give it a try.

Popular among Asian countries, Steamboat also known with so many names like Shabu-shabu because of some Japanese influence, Chinese Fondue, or Hotpot if claypot was used, requires no skill in cooking but creativity in combining various slices of raw meat -pork, beef, fish, seafoods, veggies, noodles and other interesting ingredients simmered in a pot of boiling stock, cooked directly on the dining table and readily served hot!

tender beef strips cooked slowly on butter and sinigang na hipon or prawn on sour broth simmered to almost perfection!

 I think the affordability of the buffet in Town Steamboat Restaurant is difficult to top with its wide and varied delicious spread. The flavors are almost infinite!

Other than bottomless ice cream, ais kacang (say, ays ka-chang!), the Malaysian version of Filipino Halo-halo or vise-versa served with red bean, nuts and shaved ice…pastries and other sweets, Town Steamboat Restaurant has a  dimsum corner where you can take a volume of steamed goodies!

They got me on this one; I am sucker for dimsum and dumplings!  ….And you?

Drinks from orange, grape and lychee juices, Chinese tea and my favorite, iced cold soya are all available as bottomless and via self-service; it’s all inclusive!

after a hearty meal, must drink tea.

 You’ll never go wrong with a casual atmosphere… 
 
 
…unless you make a big deal out of an overly exposed cooking gas beside your dining table, hahaha!  
 
I think the exposed cooking gas tanks are nothing to these hungry pack…
 
 
Admittedly, I didn’t like the red and spicy broth that they also serve; we prefer the plain soup as base for our steamboat; it’s most appropriate in cooking sour broth or our very own Sinigang!
 
 
This is more we like it….
 

except those with hypersensitivity to it, who doesn't like sinigang na hipon? imagine a Filipino dish personally cooked in a Chinese-Malaysian restaurant! Sarap! Ang saya!

 
Heeding my colleague’s advice, we brought our very own, Knorr Sinigang na may Gabi Recipe Mix which made our Steamboat more appetizingly good! Now, if only Knorr could sponsor and send us here lots of their goodies, we’ll be more than grateful! Because Philippine products are rare here in Penang, can someone refer this blog post to makers of Knorr mixes? Paging Knorr Sinigang Mix, hehe!
 

We brought the mix, baby!

 
We’re definitely spending another gastronomic feast here when we find a chance…
—————————–
The first time we dined at Town Steamboat Restaurant, I only paid RM 49 (PhP 686) for the three of us –Tina, Gabby and me. Then several weeks ago, when my parents came over, we paid around RM 80 (PhP 1120) as lower rates are charged to senior citizens (age 55 and up) and only RM 4.90 (PhP 69) for kids of Gabby’s age and height. It was really a great deal! Now, if only YAKIMIX (which post continuously gives me highest blog hits per day!) or Tong Yang in Manila can top this restaurant with its price, more Filipinos back home can enjoy good food with their families and friends. But I know, YAKIMIX‘s edge are its smokeless grill, airconditioned and more comfortable ambience. 
 
——————————
Town Steamboat Restaurant. 
63 Macalister Road (slightly opposite UMNO building)
10400 George Town, Penang, Malaysia.
 
22
Jun
11

GASTRONOMIC ADVENTURES : PART OF OUR LIFESTYLE

Let’s have a brief rundown of some of my blogged digestive feasts…

Obviously, we love eat-all-you-want-dining.  Whether it’s in a premier hotel or simply inside a mall, for as long as the place offers decent buffet spread, my family and I are more than willing to take our taste buds to gastronomic adventure (but no exotic foods, please!).

This lifestyle which we don’t boast (you know for a fact that there’s a huge difference between sharing in blogging and boasting), has inspired our 6-year-old son to dream of becoming a hotelier, chef and restaurateur someday. We like it when he tells us he will do this and that in his own hotel or whenever he comes up with ideas of what to prepare in the kitchen in the future.

Last weekend was another memorable one.  Scroll down and you’ll understand.

Salads came first :  Thinly sliced veggies tossed over deeply fried fillet-o-fish shared a plate with prawns and fruits. yum, yum, yum!

Noodles for Gabby…

Seafoods for Tina…

Must have Peking Duck and Smoked Chicken…

Entrees of seafoods and mushrooms are always comfort foods!

Beef fajitas and seafood skewers… can’t get enough of seafoods!

The Golden Rule : Always make room for desserts!

Contrasting temptations : After ice cream must come coffee; can deliciously numb your teeth!

As we end our wonderful meal at G CAFE, G HOTEL, PERSIARAN GURNEY, PENANG, MALAYSIA which we have tried for the second time (read : on 2 consecutive weekends!),  the waitress offered and came back with cups of coffee for me and Tina and I was honestly surprised of what she told me,

Waitress Hema :  “Sir, your bill for today’s lunch buffet is on the house!”

This must be because the management and staff of the said generous hotel-restaurant were grateful of my blog post about our dining experience there about a week ago.

Blessings indeed, come unexpectedly.

I requested Ms. Hema to call Mr. Alwee, the G Cafe Manager to personally thank him of his kind gesture but I was told that he went off from work already and will be back at 6PM the same day.  I could have taken a photo of him with Gabby for posterity. Nonetheless, I kept his call card sent him SMS. He replied that evening with a phone call inviting us for a dinner one of these days.

So how did I celebrate Father’s Day this year? Simple.

Priceless hugs and kisses from Gabby and Tina, plus a buffet lunch that’s perchance, free! :D

———————————-

Sincerest thanks to the generosity of G Cafe, G Hotel!

G Cafe, G Hotel
168A Persiaran Gurney 10250 Penang, Malaysia
Tel +604-2380000
12
Jun
11

DINING IN G CAFE, G HOTEL, PENANG

In the heart of one of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, where century-old structures fused harmoniously with modern and restored ones, a gorgeous hotel stands proud and celebrates its contemporary and stylish designs with non-intimidating ambience.
Saturday, 11 June 2011.  When you’re living an expat life with your wife and kid and you both work 5 days a week with a daily routine that can be almost utterly boring (read : home-work-home-work routine), you strongly need to be creative in spicing up your weekends to break and prevent monotony.
 
Last Saturday, Tina, Gabby and I woke up at 5AM to go to an event that I will post next.  After being sun-kissed, walked up and downhill and felt fatigued, we decided to reward ourselves by trying out the buffet lunch at G Cafe at the lobby of G Hotel located in Persiaran Gurney, Penang.
 
Tina, being modestly frugal as she is, reminded me to be conscious of our budget.  So after we all went to the toilet to freshen up, I approached the counter at the entrance of the restaurant to inquire the rates of their buffet. We were keeping our options in mind in case the price is beyond our taste.
 
At around half hour before noon, a friendly and courteous banquet manager spoke to me and informed me that their International buffet lunch on a Saturday for adult costs RM 52++ (PhP 743++ or USD 17++) inclusive of free flow of fresh fruit beverages, coffee and tea, and kids of Gabby’s age eat for free. Well, that sounded like music to my ears! The price is definitely a steal and imagine, our little-big boy would eat for free! We gave it a nod and reserved a table for three at 12 noon.  
The cool and edgy atmosphere at the lobby is spontaneous. Other than the use of various wonderful and comfortable seats, I like the air of having tall ceiling and the presence of glass walls to stimulate appreciation of huge trees and lush greens outside surrounding Gurney Mall. Yes, if you are familiar with Greenbelt Mall in Makati, Philippines, G Hotel in Gurney Drive Penang reminds me of home.
 
The interiors of G Cafe also boasts of simple lines, repeated circles and other geometric patterns which are also apparent in the use of modern yet ergonomic chairs and tables.  
 
The use of those striking royal blue drop lights on the walls somewhat like echoes and matches with the drinking glasses of the same hue; isn’t it nice?
Who would not want a breather from the usual homecooked dishes, or worst, the repeated consumption of fastfood value meals? Luxury sometimes, comes reasonably affordable as we always keep in mind that our pocket dictates indulgence need not to be expensive.
 
Who would not want to dine under these lights?
Without idea of being rushed (as in quick bites every breakfast and that 1-hour lunch breaks at the office except on Fridays, 12-2:30PM) and most importantly, dining comfortably with your family with foods you love eating, the experience was truly divine!  
And so Tina, Gabby and I took our taste buds to another gastronomic adventure at this sumptuous lunch buffet at G Cafe.
 
I started with their creamy corn soup; i like its light buttery taste with thick and textured consistency. 
Salad comes next : My plate had prawn salad, cheese, mix salad (tossed with crab sticks) and one of my favorites, potato salad… everything was superb! the prawn salad’s flavor wasn’t overpowering; it wasn’t too spicy, neither too oily. Sarap! it was like a perfect prelude to this wonderful dining experience. 
I tell you, I can eat this seafood plate everyday! hahaha! :D
Although there were no sushi and sashimi, which God knows I am biased with (Japanese foods are only offered every Thursday nights at G Cafe as of present), and notable absence of carving stations except for some Peking duck and smoked chicken,  Tina and I concluded that when you enjoy every bite, everything seems to be complete.
 
At the spread, these burst of colors reminded me of my favorite season of the year, Christmas!
Defensively, we know buffet plates should not be stuffed with most from the spread to effortlessly look like you’re eating as if there’s no tomorrow, hahaha! but Tina had this plate because she wanted to share those dishes she preferred with me and Gabby, isn’t that sweet? :D
My wife recommends this Chinese prawn dish and comments,“It feels like eating in Ongpin (Manila’s Chinatown).”   My palate dictates that it’s the sesame oil that makes most Chinese foods taste Chinese.  I miss having some dimsum and dumplings, though.
You can never go wrong with Peking Duck and smoked chicken with honey syrup… Yum! :D  *unless you’re allergic to it*
Baked vegetables, spring rolls and calamares, anyone?
Delightful desserts!
Irresistible temptations!
Guinataan! Wow! :D
As I’ve always stated it, the world is so incomplete without ice cream, agree?
 
Fibers are essential, we know.
And coffee is a must to end our meals.
 
Above all, my family is happy. It was indeed, a happy weekend!
Tina and I were so impressed at their highly efficient wait staff. Our glasses were refilled with freshly squeezed fruit punch promptly, attended to our needs in a blink making their service almost impeccable!
 
I almost forgot to tell you that Amex credit card holders receive 15% discount  on top of the reasonable cost of this lunch buffet. :) We only paid RM102 (PhP 1,458 or USD 33.7) for two plates as Gabby ate for free, I know it’s the usual price of one buffet plate in some hotels when I left Manila last year, so it was truly a steal!
 
It won’t be our last time to dine at G Cafe in G Hotel, definitely.
I wish to bring back my family there to experience their room and amenities too someday.
After all, the view from their 300+ rooms include priceless sight of Penang bay and the tourist-famous Gurney boulevard. *wishful thinking*
——————————-
G Cafe, G Hotel
168A Persiaran Gurney 10250 Penang, Malaysia
Tel +604-2380000
16
May
11

KOTA BHARU, KELANTAN SERIES : BUFFET AT RENAISSANCE HOTEL

I completely understand that it’s essential to sample local cuisine from a place you’re visiting for the first time.  And I forgot  did not do that when we were in Kota Bharu. *epic failure!*

Defensively, there are 3 reasons why we didn’t have the chance to taste Kelantanese food – firstly, we have limited time (lame excuse, I know). Secondly, when you’re on a trip with a 6-year-old kid, it’s more often than not that he would prefer to eat in fast food joints rather than to try native delicacies (I’m not blaming you, Gabby! I love Pizza Hut and A&W too!). Lastly, we were weak to resist the hotel’s buffet spread…

At Renaissance Hotel, Kota Bharu manned by Marriott, the restaurant that offers International cuisine was so inviting, thus we gave in.


Only those who have hypersensitivity to prawns and cheese would say no to these sumptuous dish…

peborit ko 'to!

Nice to know : UDANG is the local term for shrimps / prawns in Bahasa Melayu.

How do you like your plate to be seasoned?  Mine, not too much. I have an aversion to strong spices.

Fish and beef : perfect on a plate!

Here we go again : shameless display of our pig-out plates… yum! yum! yum!

Tina and I loved the Korean beef (the one with sesame seeds). Tender. Juicy. Tasteful. Although it isn’t my favorite, there was lamb cuts too that was hard to miss. No after-taste actually.

Tina’s plating was beautifully done… agree?

tina's plate

…as if she’s not hungry! haha! :P

My taste buds also tried the pasta, potato wedges and local crunchies that weren’t that greasy.

can't get enough of those prawns

Every meal must have sweet endings!

What would you pour in your ice cream? chocolate syrup? kiwi? orange? the flavors were too many to handle!

We never forgot to eat fibrous fruits!

Sublime. Divine. Irresistible.

I posted a teaser on facebook about this food porn that it’s not our common gastronomic adventure. On the second thought, it was! The spread might be a bit less than usual but the elements of casual dining I enjoy the most were all there –good food, friendly ambience, affordable price, impeccable service,most of all, the company of my lovable family.

What do you look for in an eat-all-you-want dining?

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——-This blog series includes :

26
Mar
11

FOOD PORN : PENANG

It’s an understatement to state that Penang offers a variety of food choices because food options in this part of Malaysia is limitless! It’s as diverse as its people (Malay, Indian and Chinese). However, since taste is subjective, one may be easily satisfied with affordable and delicious dim sum from food stalls in the streets, popularly known as hawkers, while others would not be pleased to eat some dishes if tolerance to spice can’t be stretched. Nonetheless, there’s a plate in Penang for every palate.

When Rob, one of our good friends of almost 2 decades decided to go to 3 key cities of Malaysia (Kota Kinabalu, Penang and Kuala Lumpur) for his 1-whole-week of lone backpacking trip, I thought of playing the best tour guide to him but I guess my 7-month-stay here in Penang isn’t enough to meet the part (The story deserves another post). :(  Part of the plan (if there was any, haha!) was to showcase to him the flavors of this island (read : food trip!) I reminded him just before he went here that it’s a must for first-time-tourist to taste the place’s staple food; and one of Penang’s favorites is Nasi Lemak

That was my plate. I didn’t know that Rob developed allergy toward chicken. Chicken is a part of that dish served with roasted peanuts, cucumber slices, cup of rice traditionally cooked in coconut cream, hard boiled egg, dried anchovies, and sambal, yes its hot and spicy sauce. Nasi Lemak simply means fatty rice; it needs no further explation with its ingredients. A colleague once said that this Malaysian dish can last you throughout the day.

All happiness depends on a leisurely breakfast.  ~John Gunther

Some people categorize food into meal times. We don’t. My family and closest friends can eat almost anything regardless if it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner. I call it pure talent. haha! :D We are one with those people who like breakfast-all-day menus. Here are some breakfast foods for some which we had for our early light dinner…

Who doesn’t like buttered toasts?

We brought our best friend to one of my favorite simple food places along Jalan Burma (Burma Road) in Georgetown. It’s called Santorini…

Santorini’s Chinese-owned restaurant without intimidating ambiance. I cannot recall a visit without me ordering this dish previously known as Seafood Rice Combo but now labeled on their menu as Butterine Prawns and Mantis Rice…It’s sufficient to ease out all worries and fatigue from a day’s work. In other words, it’s one of my comfort foods. Sarap!

My wife, Tina opted to have Sambal Rice… tolerable spiciness served with prawns and herbs.

Our 6-year-old kiddie, Gabby went British in ordering Fish and Chips…

While Rob’s first meal in Penang wasn’t a local dish but nonetheless looks so pescetarian to me (he is, actually). He finished this veggie-pasta plate; it’s either it was that good or his trip from Kota Kinabalu to Penang was tiring for him.

We washed everything down with refreshingly good iced teas of berries and lemon flavors.

Then the next morning, we left the hotel in the island at 6AM and took our breakfast at a roofed-hawker-place somewhere 30-min from Georgetown.

Warm broth from this prawn noodle dish in hot claypot can be soothing for an empty tummy.

Rob and Gabby had bowls of Fish Congee and a bun of kaya…

I wanted to eat Char Koay Teow that morning but the vendor said that ingredients were still yet to be sourced from a nearby public market, so I ended up having another noodle dish with taste similar to CKT…

If food choices are as wide as the Penang blue sky, so do drinks…Tina and I shared in Iced Coffee, Gabby had Iced Milo and Rob tried Wheat grass which tasted like sago’t gulaman to me; sarap pamatid-uhaw!

Lunch last Thursday was superb; in fact I lost superlatives to describe its goodness. Rob treated us to this buffet place in Plaza Gurney called Seoul Garden. It’s like Tong Yang and Yakimix in Manila or close to the authentic yakiniku in Don K! in Tokyo

You get to grill your prawns, beef, fish and chicken strips while boiling your preferred soup; we chose Abalone broth as our soup base.

The spread in Seoul Garden is more than what your appetite can handle…

We also feasted at salads, dim sums, fried chicken, potatoes, fried spring rolls and more…

And the world is always a happier place to live in because of ice cream, is it not?

It’s one of the best vanilla ice cream I’ve tasted; it’s creamy vanilla enriched with chocolate sprinkles; sinfully delicious! They’ve other flavors like raspberry, mango, corn even durian! 

Great tasting food + company of loved ones = what more can you ask for?

It was a day and half of food tripping with my family and our best friend who paid us a visit here in Penang. We might not have brought him to the most authentic food places like hawkers at Gurney Drive and food stalls in Lebuh Chulia and other parts of Georgetown but I am betting my last ringgit that he definitely enjoyed his hours with us. :)

Until my family’s next gastronomic adventure! :)

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05
Sep
10

ON A SATURDAY NIGHT

docgelo in penang with kim chiu?

My wife will kill me for this! …*kidding* :D

Her name is Beatrice, a 20-year-old beautiful and lovely lass who has a striking resemblance with the famous Filipina actress, Kim Chiu. Beatrice sings and plays with her keyboard in Wok City KTV and ‘Restoran’ in Bukit Mertajam, Penang.

From Justin Bieber’s song, “Baby” to a more complex ballads like Titanic’s theme, “My Heart Will Go On” and other pop and love songs, Beatrice sang them well alternately with some Chinese songs sang by the other musician.

Together, they set the mood on stage while my colleagues and I went for a hot pot dinner buffet in response to an invitation by one of our fellows’ good friends who have been living in Malaysia for 6 years now.

The casual table that reminded me of Yakimix in Manila and Don.K! in Tokyo

The spread had these delightful ingredients of Chinese steamboat…

My first plate that I loaded into the cooking broth with chopsticks…

Good music, warm and best-tasting soup with freshest prawns and dimsums, seasoned pork, beef, fish, chicken and even deer meat slices, eat-all-you-want-Nestle ice cream and free-flowing drinks all for only RM 25 (PhP 350) per pax,  what more can you ask for?

Oh yes, not to forget to bring good company!

We’re all satiated! …Burp! …Oink, oink! :)

After that sumptuous dinner, we’re brought to Auto City, a bazaar-restaurant-place in Seberang Perai, Penang.

Shopping is always an inevitable temptation but most of us resisted. I for one just noted that this place opens daily at 5pm to midnight; good enough reason to go back.

To Bel and her husband and to Anna of course, thank you for inviting all of us! Indeed, it was a fun night to unwind. We need to have more of this; it certainly deviates our homesickness. Bonding has become a therapy for us, don’t you agree?

To my wife, Tina, it was only for photo-op, honey! You also love Kim Chiu, don’t you? :D

———————————-<@

Restoran Wok City BBQ*Steamboat*Buffet*Karaoke, 3212-G, Jalan Kampung Baru, Pusat Perniagaan Maju Utama, 14000 Bukit Mertajam, Penang.

03
Jul
10

CHOWDER X MONGOLIAN BBQ

I don’t know if you’re like me who barely know CHOWDER.

It’s NOT that thick and creamy soup with yummy seafoods that’s best served on a bread bowl but this :

I grew up on Popeye, Smurfs and Thundercats and am currently lost with my son’s numerous favorite cartoons; one of them is Chowder from Cartoon Network.

Imagine how Gabby became so excited when last Friday afternoon, we chanced upon watching its free mascot show in TriNoma before we hit the grocery shelves in Landmark.

Tina and I were amazed how Gabby knew almost all the antics of the show.  I guess what draws him to Chowder other than its being colorful is its theme of cooking. The show we saw involved Chowder and friends to cook a dish called Froggy Apple Crumple Thumpkin; whatever that means! So much for half an hour of kiddie fun. :D

Then undecided of where and what to eat, we went to TriNoma’s foodcourt and had different choices.

My wife enjoyed an affordable but satisfying meal from Le Ching Tea House : Chicken Mushroom Rice Toppings and HK style Asado Siopao + ‘the essential,’ chili sauce. :) You might think that my wife eats like a carpenter but she shared her food with Gabby and me.  Yum! :D

Then my kid and I tried one of Tina’s favorites, Mongolian barbecue!

Our bundle of joy who dreams of becoming of a chef someday really enjoyed getting all the ingredients from the spread as I guide him what to put on our bowl.

Rice, vermicelli, julienned carrots, Chinese cabbage, onions, garlic, julienned turnips,  red and green bell peppers, leeks, cubes of tofu and a personal choice of all-squid meat (there are also strips of chicken, pork, beef, squid balls to choose from) plus its sauce made our Mongolian barbecue bowl; all in for PhP 160.

There are directions on the spread on how to seasoned the bowl. I wanted it SWEET and SPICY :

  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 scoops Teriyaki sauce
  • 1 scoop Mongolian sauce
  • 1 scoop Szechuan sauce
  • 1 scoop Lemon water
  • 1/2 scoop Garlic water
  • 1/2 scoop Sesame oil
  • 1/4 scoop Soy sauce
  • -recipe from Mongolian Rice Bowl, Foodcourt, TriNoma, Quezon City.

and voila!

Do you like Mongolian barbecue?

What’s your favorite cartoon/s during your childhood?

How’s your weekend?

Enjoy the new week, everyone!

05
Apr
10

LETTERS ABOUT TOKYO #11 : EATING JAPANESE

*WARNING :  This post can make you SALIVATE  &  FEEL VERY SATIATED! :D  Enjoy!

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Dear Tina and Gabby,

My 14-day-stay in Tokyo could not be any happier if not for (my colleagues) our memorable weekends and these Japanese gastronomic delights.  You know how I like sushi and eating it as authentic as it gets was just divine! :)

My very first bite of sushi costs Y890 (PhP 445).   Funny that I have to share it with our head nurse, because we both didn’t know if it’s too pricey or not, since it was our first night in Tokyo then.

Luckily after we transferred accomodation, our colleagues told us of  a department store called Remy that sells all other things but most importantly  bread, sushi, salad, bento boxes and other food items at 30 –50% off every 8:30PM (and those aren’t expired yet; they just want to dispose everything within the day to keep things on shelves fresh).  Buying discounted food is one of the best things I have experienced in Tokyo (everything else other than Remy’s are expensive in Japan including train fares, particularly when you convert prices into pesos!).

These are some of my Remy purchases that kept my stomach full every dinner!

Each sushi set at Remy costs around Y480 –900+.   So it’s really a good buy when it’s discounted at night; although one has to wait until it’s labelled as such.

There’s this microwavable- Tonkatsu-set that was originally priced at Y480; then after 8:30PM, I bought it only at half of it’s price.  I had to keep most of my food spending for dinner on a low key for  the rest of my budget per day was allotted for water (yes, we even had to buy 2-liter-bottles of drinking water),  food for breakfast and lunch, laundry and laundry essentials,  pricey train fares  and other expenses.  Remember, Tokyo is the most expensive city in the world!  And EVERY MOVE IN TOKYO COSTS  A  YEN! 

At some nights,  I bought salad and a cup of dessert -sweet and fruity; in addition to my main dishes.

I love that salad set; it’s a combination of potato topped with kani strips, mac and cheese topped with boiled egg, and some cold salad made of cucumber and other veggie strips. I like it so much that I bought it for 3 or 4 times when I was there! :)

I like how Japanese are so keen on their calorie-intake.  Most if not all purchases, contain calorie counts to guide those diet-conscious consumers (not me! LOL!).   Like this Fish and Tamago bento that costs Y498 had 675 kilo calories.

I also found this bacon-wrapped rice so easy and convenient to eat; a real-whole-meal-in-one!  Not to mention it’s few of the things in Tokyo that comes in affordable price…

Their iced tea doesn’t taste that sweet even if it’s flavored.   But their coffee is something else, sarap! :)

Here are proofs that I also cooked and cooked and cooked in my room to save, save and save…

Ugh, the agony of staying abroad on a budget!  We all had to buy our own frying pan and syanse , cooking oil, soy sauce, some dozen eggs, (canned goods like spam for my colleagues) and chicken nuggets from convenient stores and groceries.

Still from Remy’s,  I was able to cook some Aussie Beef slices that I bought for a cheaper price (compared to local price in Manila).

Those rice patties wrapped with nori were already tasteful at Y120 (PhP 60) each at regular price;  I just can’t eat them sans ulam. :D

On one of those nights, I had Gyoza, Y260 (PhP 130)  and nothing more;  then the next night I had pig-out again by buying another microwavable dinner from Remy (I really love that store in Gotanda!).

That set on the right of 4-piece-fried chicken and fries (Y580) were so huge that I had it for dinner and breakfast too!

My lunch with my colleagues were also remarkable.

Rememeber I showed you this Sukiyaki set on one of my first letters to you…

This Sukiyaki set that costs Y1000 (PhP 500) was a lunch treat from the 2 Japanese guys I met there.  It’s one of the best-tasting Sukiyaki that I’ve tried.  Yummy!

Here are the other lunch sets that I had from a buffet spread of one of those restaurants…

One afternoon, I had salad, miso soup, desserts and an assorted tempura plate all for Y950 (PhP475 ).  Then another lunch time, I had salad again, miso soup, desserts and a burger steak plate all for Y850 (PhP 425).

In Tokyo,  one of their famous and affordable 24-hour fastfood chains, more like of our Jollibee or McDo here is Yoshinoya.  I know we haven’t eaten in Yoshinoya here in Manila, but my first take on it in Tokyo wasn’t that bad.  For a Y500 coin (PhP 250), you can have a set meal with Japanese tea in less than 5 minutes; really convenient especially on nights when I was too lazy to shop or cook for dinner (read : it was always single-digit-celsius when I was there; was always a “bed-weather” before and after dinner!).

Is it not too obvious that Sukiyaki is one of my favorites ? LOL! :D

Remember I told you that our colleagues also treated us in aYakiniku lunch buffet near Ginza Street; the resto is called Don.K! (pronounced by Japanese as donki).  It’s like Yakimix that we have sampled in SM Mall of Asia.  The price per head was just similar with Yakimix;  Buffet at Don.K! per pax costs Y1000 for lunch and Y3000 for dinner.

 At   TOKYO DISNEYLAND 

and  TOKYO DISNEYSEA , my late lunch and dinner sets were simple (but quite expensive too at Y790 and Y1450 with lunch box)

 

My last lunch at Tokyo was with Doc B.P.S  when we were in  Akihabara.   It was good that a day before my flight back home, he introduced me to a common Japanese eatery that requires diners to choose from a menu display of  plastic food on the window and pay via vendo machine (due to lack of cashiers); get the stub and hand it in at the counter…

I found this dining system very efficient and wish we could have the same here in Manila.

Katsudon at Y455 (PhP 227.50)  for my last lunch in Tokyo…

You may drool and burp now, hehehe!  :D

I may have had the best tasting sushi, sukiyaki and bento boxes in Tokyo, but every dining experience was still less without the two of you, naks!  :D

These foods may be authentic Japanese but nothing beats home-cooked foods shared together on our very own table.

I love you, ‘ney and Gabby.

Here’s to more simple indulgences together!

:D  Tatay-doc

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To my Kind Readers,

There will be more of my Tokyo experience that I’ll share with you on my next posts .  Thanks for following this series.

-gelo

26
Mar
10

LETTERS FROM TOKYO #7 : YAKINIKU BUFFET

Edited : Thank you to this blog’s reader, Ms. Ces Orquiola, for identifying the Yakiniku Buffet featured on this post. I stand corrected, the name of the restaurant isn’t Don. K! but  Karunesutehsyon Ginzaten (literally “karne station” according to Ces) located at Ginza nine Building No. 3 B1, 8-10, Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo point. Don.K! is the superstore that has this super size sign board. Not that I blame my Filipino colleagues then but they also called the buffet restaurant, Don K! Or I just missed out the name. Sorry readers! Thank you again Ces! I really appreciate the email! :)

Dear Tina and Gabby,

Of course, you’re the first 2 people I miss when we went here…

Don.K! (pronounced by Japanese as donki and not what we think) is a superstore where Karunesutehsyon Ginzaten, the  YAKINIKU buffet restaurant is housed at its basement, located near Ginza Street, Tokyo.

Gabby, remember when we dined at YAKIMIX at SM Mall of Asia few months back where you had fun time grilling our food on the spot ?  Don.K! Karunesutehsyon Ginzaten  is like that; however I find our local version of Yakiniku more Pinoy-family-friendly. Why?  The moment we’re on their long queue last Sunday and paid Y1000/pax (or PhP 500/pax;  I and nurse Ruth were treated by our consultants :D) , the wait staff immediately warned us that we only have ONE HOUR TO EAT. That applies to every table, FYI.

Yes, dining experience at Don. K! is limited to an hour only. Unlike in Yakimix where we started our dinner then at 5:30 PM and ended at almost 10PM, hahaha! (Erratum : Don.K!  Karunesutehsyon Ginzaten lunch buffet starts 10 or 11am and ends in 3pm; we arrived at past 1pm and had a table reserved; we  got in at around 2pm so we only got an hour left to eat. BUT IT’S NOT ONE HOUR DINING ONLY. Sorry).

But what can we do with Don.K! rules except to follow. Nevertheless, it was another remarkable gastronomic adventure!

On Don.K!‘s Karunesutehsyon Ginzaten’s spread…

Freshest & crisp greens with several dressings to choose from…

On my gluttonous plate …

I liked their potato salad; one of the best I’ve tasted so far.

Yakiniku literally means ‘grilled meat dishes’ ... Here are the large bowls of raw meat all waiting to be grilled…

I know Holy Week is just around the corner and we’ll miss eating all these until Easter.

There were also some noodle and rice dishes… I like the noodle with fresh bean sprouts… yummy!

Here’s what we got to grill…

Price for lunch buffet inclusive of drinks (sodas, juices, coffee) is Y1,000 but for dinner it’s a whopping Y3,000/pax!  I don’t have idea what Don.K! Karunesutehsyon Ginzaten serves for dinner but don’t you think it’s expensive compared to their lunch?

There were pork, chicken and fish to grill too but beef slices were on top of our list.  However, I didn’t see any sushi or sashimi at Don.K! Karunesutehsyon Ginzaten.

One of the doctors got samples of what he thought as chicken skin; only to find out that it wasn’t;  it’s some part of intestine, probably the omentum or something (read : chicharong bulaklak?).

Grilling time!

No Coke for me us, remember?  So I settled with Minute Maid OJ ….

The beef slices after grilling were delicious!  So tender I almost thought a friend’s statement about cows in Japan are given frequent massage to somehow ‘tenderized’ their meat (?) is true…

Although there was a chocolate fondue, and my colleagues enjoyed those huge mallows dipped in tasteful choco fountain, I favored peaches and pineapples for dessert!

Sarap ng lunch namin but again, it made me miss you more.  Kain tayo buffet ulit pag-uwi ko. :D

I miss you both; I love you.

:D Tatay-doc.

23
Feb
10

BLUE TO WHITE

In response to a colleague’s invitation for lunch, we headed to Glorietta 3 about a couple of weeks ago.  I+Tina=Gabby were treated to one of our favorite pig-out places : Dad’s Ultimate Buffet (includes Saisaki + Kamayan). 

We noticed they’ve changed their old blue plates for the crossover/ultimate buffet to immaculate white. I’m not sure if it’s only for that day or only for that branch.  Nevertheless, the eat-all-you-want spread remains the same–satisfyingly good for affordable price than others.

These were digested several days before Ash Wednesday. *defensive*

If you’re Catholic like us, do you also observe little sacrifices like porkless days during Lent ?   We usually avoid meat on Ash Wednesday, and all the Fridays that follows until Black Saturday.  Our menu during Fridays of Lent typically consists of Ginisang Monggo, Paksiw na Bangus, Chopsuey, Fresh or Fried Lumpia, Tinapa, Ginisang Mais or Suam, Lugaw+egg and the like.  Last year, Tina prepared Lumpiang Shanghai using Tilapia fillet instead of ground pork.   We don’t skip meals or fast literally; we only lessen our intake. Then of course, we try to feast again on Easter!  What about you?  What do you eat during Holy Week ?

25
Jan
10

10 YEARS MORE TO A CENTURY

:) FAMILY + FEAST + FUN = Sundays never get better than this! 

Yesterday, January 24, just before the clock strikes 12 noon, my wife, Tina with our son Gabby and I were already at the venue to attend my paternal Lola Tentay’s 90th birthday celebration with almost all of our relatives from my dad’s side.

Yes, there was the queen of the Pinoy feasts ~ lechon (roasted pork), courtesy of my cousin, Dr. CSM from New Jersey and a simple lunch buffet to everyone’s delight.  Check out my glutton’s plate, lol :D  (click photos to drool more  enlarge)

My dad got the lechon plate for us to share :D  Nevermind the cholesterol content; a reunion like this doesn’t happen on a daily basis!

Our Tita/Ninang Glo with her husband, Tito George who both came home from LA, Ca sponsored and provided us color-coded T-shirts with embroidered logo for the occasion. Yellow for all apo (grandchildren) and mga apo sa tuhod (great-grandchildren) and red shirts for all of Inang Tentay’s children.  The venue :  Calumpang Gymnasium in Marikina City. 

Who would have thought that this gym was deluged few months ago by the unforgettable Typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana)?  The Calumpang gymnasium is located literally along the Marikina River…

The simple spread was provided by a relative-caterer, Martha’s Plate.  The feast was unpretentious; nothing fancy but deliciously satisfying! :D

 

There were Chicken-Shrimp Sotanghon, Fresh Lumpia, Fish Fillet, Chicken Pastel, Beef Morcon, and of course, a cake!  Everyone had Buco-Pandan for dessert (which I forgot to capture).

After lunch, our balikbayan-uncle hosted the program with more than greetings and well wishes for our Lola but fun parlor games too! There were games for everyone!  Even the guests participated and all had nothing but cheers and widest smiles!  BTW, Gabby had his share on stage with his 5-stanza poem that garnered applause. Tina and I are so proud of him! :D

 

The reunion-birthday party could have been happier if all our love ones abroad could come home especially my mom in UAE; and our relatives whom we visited in NZ before but now all living more comfortably in Melbourne.  Nevertheless, it was indeed another family gathering to remember. 

We all went home with similar wishes for our good Lord to bless our Lola Tentay with more years to be with us.  

:) Aren’t you proud as a Filipino that we value family and family-ties?

Till our next family-bonding moments!

24
Nov
09

SMOKELESS GRILL, SUSHI AND MORE!

Last week, everything was unplanned when my family and I had a glutton’s gastronomic adventure from breakfast at Starbucks Coffee and lunch at Filipino restaurant, KKK,  to ultimate dessert at  HAAGEN-DAZS and ending the day at YAKIMIX!  

My wife, Tina, our son, Gabby and I, all came with hungry tummies with my youngest brother, JC  for dinner to this buffet-and-grill-all-you-want-restaurant that we’ve been wanting to try for several weeks now.  Initially, we planned to try it months ago as we spotted Yakimix in their branch along Macapagal Avenue in Pasay City near those seaside-’dampa’ restos. But unexpectedly, after long hours of strolling in SM-Mall of Asia last week, finding difficulties in deciding where to chow down from so many choices, we’re just lucky to find Yakimix’s  posters at the entrances of the mall as one of its newest food places. 

We had to wait for few minutes when we came to Yakimix-SM-MOA before 5:30PM as it re-opens in the evening.  When we’re ushered in to our table, we saw this impressively spacious buffet place…

This was just one view taken from where we’re seated. Another section is available to accomodate, more or less 60 to 70 pax inside and few more tables are outside catering to those who prefer al fresco dining.  Believe it or not, before we get to taste our first choices from the spread, the place was packed in a heartbeat…

I know you’ll agree with me that whenever an oriental food place is full of chinky-eyed diners, then it verifies the taste of Japanese and Chinese foods it offers. :D  That was so apparent when we dined at Yakimix; the more we got excited to try all dishes at the buffet table.

I got this plate filled with raw seafoods and marinated meat for us to cook in our smokeless grill at our table…

Soon after the wait staff smeared oil on the grill and turned it on, our little ‘chef’, Gabby became too busy :P

Obviously, our son enjoyed cooking for us :D  Look at his ‘masterpiece’…

We’ve tried Shabu-shabu few times before and still enjoyed Yakimix for it’s purely grilling pleasure.  Everything was browned by Gabby to almost perfection :D

There were more seasoned cut meats and seafoods on the buffet spread; skewers which we failed to sampled; there’s always a next time. :D

It may not be the best Sukiyaki in town but it satisfied my craving for that sweet and salty Japanese soup. For me, UMU in DUSIT THANI, Makati City serves the best Sukiyaki.  My brother, JC had the other bowl of Hot and Sour soup which was also just OK.

I got few sushi and two slices of sashimi :D

On Tina’s ONLY plate :  ebi tempura, fried unbattered prawns, california maki, bacon-wrapped shrimps,  crab sticks, mushroom and veggies,  and according to her, the best among she tasted from Yakimix were those “seafood balls” .  I cannot agree because I failed to bite at them :(

On my plate : almost the same thing but I got to try the noodles.  There were more on the spread that we passed on simply because we’re so satiated already. And unlike what you might be thinking, we don’t have bottomless gastric pits, LOL.  :D   There were just so many dishes, but so little time! :D

There were salad bar, fresh tropical fruits and yes, cakes and pastries too, mostly from Red Ribbon and Goldilocks. :)

On our table :

Yakimix offers Selecta Ice Cream included in the buffet! Gabby went several times to the dessert table for these ice cream sprinkles…

Although I found Yakimix’s dishes plain and ordinary,  it gets our nod because of its wide-array of choices, better traffic of diners and spacious ambiance.  Our drinks were refilled at an instant even without asking, but nothing special for the commonly tasting instant juices and iced tea.  Far from the other blog reviews of Yakimix-Macapagal branch,  service at SM-MOA was quick and friendly exceeding my expectations.  :)   Yakimix’s buffet costs half as hotel buffet prices and can surely give Dad’s Saisaki Kamayan Ultimate Buffet a stiff competition.

Another reason to give Yakimix a try :  where else can you find an eat-all-you-want-Selecta Ice Drops ? LOL :P

We’ll visit their branch in Tomas Morato, Quezon City whenever possible because it’s closer to our place. :D

Have you been to Yakimix?  How’s your experience ?  :)

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YAKIMIX /Unit 122-126 Ground Floor SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City /

Yakimix Weekend Buffet rate : PhP 580 per pax; bottomless drinks at PhP 55.

PS : Gabby ate for free :D (children below 4 feet get to dine free of charge)

25
Oct
09

BORACAY SERIES : A FOODIES’ PARADISE

This is my 4th post in a series.

I felt I gained 10 pounds  kilos after our brief family break in BORACAY  last week. :D  You can’t blame me, the island itself is an epicurean paradise; there are tons of gastronomic temptations…

Can you resist this?halowichCOUPLE ICE, PhP 260.  This is one of  Red Bean Halowich’s refreshing delights.  Thinly shaved ice available in  2 flavors- either milk or mango serves as the base.  We chose mango ice.

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Toppings include corn cereals and red mung beans and a ton of tropical fruits -slices of bananas, pineapples, mangoes, watermelons and cherries with a huge swirl of vanilla soft ice cream.       

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The moment we walked through D’mall in Boat Station 2 and saw Red Bean Halowich’s window display, we never had second thoughts of entering their airconditioned restaurant to try their iced sweet treats. We only ordered that big bowl and a glass of iced tea for Gabby.  Couple Ice, second to their biggest serving, is huge enough to be shared by 2 to 3 people.   The bowl reminds me of Red Mango’s, except that Halowich’s is more enormous in size and contains ice, not frozen yogurt.  Nevertheless, we love it.  Ask my family. :D

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While Halowich offers the best alternative to the famous Pinoy Halo-Halo,  ARIA  for us (my wife Tina, our son Gabby and I) is another must-try restaurant in the island.  A vibrant and relaxing vacation in Boracay is never complete without tasting the best pizza and best pasta from ARIA CUCINA ITALIA.

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The fast and friendly wait staff who attended to our table told me that Aria is owned by an American restaurateur with some foreign partners; they also co-own Cafe del Sol, a coffee shop beside Aria and a Japanese restaurant located in the middle of D’Mall.  

This was my plate from Aria…

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Gabby was asking for pizza on our second day at the beach.  As we try not to eat anything that can also be found in malls and Italian restaurants and fastfoods  in Manila, we sat in Aria and gave in to our son’s request.  We ordered…IMG_4570QUATTRO FORMAGGI, PhP 475 +.  It’s hard to overlook Aria’s finest woodfire oven-baked pizzas.   Aria’s version of four-cheeses pizza is light yet satisfying and flavorful.  The amazingly delicious crust is topped with four different cheeses : pecorino, feta, parmesan and mozzarella.  :D  Gabby had his smile up to his ears when the pizza arrived at our table.

IMG_4565BOSCAIOLA, PhP 370+.  A creamy sauce of mushroom, ham and parmesan cheese on pasta of your choice.  We had the white sauce on penne. Wow, sarap!  

There are many choices in Aria’s menu that are worth a try.  There are insalata or salads, meat dishes, antipasti and other flavors of pizza and variants of pasta.  Did I tell you already that Aria has wine selection too ?

What to have for dinner in Boracay ?

A few meters from the shore, as dusk comes to the island, beach front restaurants transform the coast line into a seafood and meat buffet, al fresco dining.    

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What’s a  BORACAY VACATION without sampling the freshest catch from the sea?  The spreads, which include fruits and some desserts, mostly cost PhP 250 per pax nett, excluded of drinks.  While the price of the buffet is so affordable, would you believe that a 1.5 liters of Coke regular costs PhP 140 (regular Manila price around PhP 37 to 40 only).  But heck, we have to try the seafood buffet here even for a night. 

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The gluttons in us had two rounds of the spread and a plate of watermelons and few servings of maja blanca and other kakanin and that’s it.  Yes, the crustaceans are fresh; there were garlic and boiled rice even some pasta and fish dishes include Lapu-lapu and Tuna; there were grilled pork liempo and fried chicken too; there were adobong pusit (squid), crabs, baked oysters and mussels and shrimps which I like the most but sorry there were the usual “lutong-bahay” taste.  In simplest terms, there’s nothing special about the buffet we had. 

My wife and I have this ordinary rule of thumb when dining out : we try to eat something reasonably priced, that can’t be prepared easily; something gourmet, or unusually present at our table at home.   And even though we’re satiated after that seashore pig-out, I still felt a bit disappointed. Perhaps, I was expecting more from the spread.  At any rate, try it as well, you might like it.  As what I usually post here, ‘to each his own’.

What’s best with our eat-all-you-want- dining in Boracay or elsewhere (including hotels in the Metro), our 5-year-old son still eats for FREE :D  Although he only ate soup and few servings of fruits, we’re still happy that we didn’t pay a cent for his plate.   

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Another must-try in Boracay is LEMON i CAFE  located at the heart of D’Mall in Boat Station 2. This resto boasts of all-day-breakfast ala carte menu, delicious entrees and of course, desserts.

On the afternoon of our first day in Boracay, Gabby was looking for McDonald’s or Jollibee for his favorite staples.  To no avail, I and his mom asked him of other food he wanted to chow down.  Thankfully, he pointed to a cake on a glass window display from Lemon i Cafe.

IMG_4327TIRAMISU, PhP 120+.    This is one of the best Tiramisu I’ve tasted, hands down. :D  Gabby’s picky palate likes it too.

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For most travelers like us whose budget isn’t sky’s the limit,  finding affordable food places that offer combo-meal that also doesn’t disappoint is so comforting. 

D’Mall also has ANDOK’S that offers budget-friendly meals like… IMG_4660PORK SINIGANG, PhP 69.   Andok’s big bowl of sour soup of pork and veggies is surprisingly delicious!  The string beans, kangkong and tomatoes are  fresh. FYI, we haven’t had anything from Andok’s in Manila other than its grilled chicken + gravy + atchara or pickled papaya. Now, we know that there’s more of it than lechong manok.

IMG_4339SIZZLING SISIG, PhP 145.  Lipid-rich Sizzling Pork Sisig is one of Pinoy food favorites.  Since we don’t eat it on a daily basis, I guess having it on a plate during a (self-declared) holiday is logical enough (*defensive*).   Tina and I like this, malinamnam!  (tasteful, compared to other restos’).

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We also sampled Andok’s PORK BARBECUE, PhP 22 per stick and Gabby was delighted with Andok’s LECHE FLAN, PhP 34.

And I almost forgot, our brief stay in the Boracay was made special each morning with FREE breakfast inclusive of the package we availed from ESCONDIDO BEACH RESORT.  A plate of toasts, fried egg, butter and strawberry marmalade plus a cup of coffee is quite simple but good enough to start our days in the island.  1

When you have a chance (again) to be in one of the world’s best beaches, take your vacation to the fullest by defining your digestive pleasure. If  without dietary or health restrictions,  go ahead, by all means, INDULGE! :D 

Up next :  More Boracay posts…

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.

13
Aug
09

PIG-OUT MONDAY

Oops, we did it again! :D

Three days ago, I brought my family to one of our favorite malls – Glorietta, to claim our free buffet plate from Dad’s,Saisaki,Kamayan Ultimate Buffet as we have completed another promo card.

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After completion of ten validations (one signature for each visit —> read : yes, we’re a regular patrons), a FREE CROSSOVER BUFFET PLATE  can only be claimed Mondays to Thursdays, lunch or dinner.  FYI, it was our second time to finished a “Happy Diner” promo card.  As the cliche goes, the best thing in life is FREE. :D

Since I was off the whole day last Monday, and my wife Tina was done with her work around 2:30PM,  together with our son Gabby who’s more excited to eat his favorite kani tempura, we headed to G3 in Makati.

However, we came too early for dinner so we decided to munch on something light as late afternoon merienda before pigging out at Saisaki.  Tina wanted to have Taro Ice from Quickly at the Foodcourt of Glorietta 3 but it wasn’t available, so she and Gabby settled for Chocolate Ice also from Quickly.  While I’m not sure of what to eat, Tina suggested for us to have dimsums. Immediately I thought of President’s Tea House. 

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We only ordered Japanese siomai – a piece of crab stick wrapped in nori, Asado siopao and of course, Hakao or shrimp dumplings.  I eat anything with shrimps, lol. :D

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The Hakao of President’s Tea House does not dissapoint;  its moist-melt-in-your-mouth wrapper was just perfect to embrace those plump shrimps. And the Japanese siomai also is a must-try.  I can’t say anything bad with the Asado siopao; the dough was just finely steamed; its filling-delicious.

After that quick bite, we took a stroll around the mall just to burn those few calories (as if we’re too health conscious, lol), and awited for 6PM, dinner time at Dad’s, Saisaki, Kamayan.

This was my first plate from Saisaki, sushi and few sashimi :D  I like Saisaki’s Tamago rolls; I want to learn someday how those sweet fried eggs are rolled into its form :D

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Tina also had similar choice…6

Not too long, my wife came back from the spread with these deep-fried Ebi and Kani Tempura –yummy!

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For a buffet price of PhP 455 at the Ultimate Buffet (crossover from Saisaki to Dad’s to Kamayan), it’s already a steal compared when one orders Tempura as an entree from other Japanese resto.   We paid half price for Gabby.

Gabby was delighted munching his favorite Kani (crab) Tempura and sipped some of these bowl of creamy rich seafood chowder from Kamayan, while I didn’t pass the chance to taste Saisaki’s Sukiyaki again…(read : i like them both,lol).

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Just before we thought we haven’t had main dishes yet, we’re almost bloated.  But heck, we went there to pig out, so on with the deglutition, lol.

We had some fibers in between.  Then I got my turf and surf plate - I had few rings of calamari seasoned with pesto (it was overpowering and too salty, sorry.), a slice of roast beef with pepper mushroom sauce,  a thin slice of Dad’s original ham with sweet sauce, and my buffet in Dad’s isn’t complete if I didn’t taste lengua.  It’s only in Dad’s that I get to enjoy this dish. Dad’s lengua is always tender, flavorful with its mushroom gravy.

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I and Tina were not into Kamayan that much, as we’re into Saisaki and some of Dad’s dishes. Because we’d like to taste something different from home-style cooking whenever we dine out. But we cannot resist Kamayan’s puto bumbong at bibingka served with coconut shavings and muscovado… I don’t know about you but just like most Pinoy, we like it too! :D

While Tina and I shared the unbeatable tandem of bibingka and puto bumbong, Gabby was busy eating his plate of pasta with tomato cream sauce topped with bacon bits from Dad’s.

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Gabby ordered bottomless iced tea but more than the beverage, he was more excited with what comes with the drink.  He asked the waiter politely if he can choose from the many colors of those stuffed insects and he favored a red bug.

A satiating dinner would not be complete without a stimuli to my sweet tooth.  The scoop of mocha ice cream was sweet, but my family’s hearty smiles were sweeter. :D

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23
Jul
09

FOOD PORN PROMO

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It was like all the constellations of stars and the galaxy of planets in the entire universe conspired that our overdue plan to dine at SPIRAL in SOFITEL PHILIPPINE PLAZA MANILA  finally pushed through last Tuesday.

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It was another gastronomic experience; a real feast to the sense!

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Anorexia was never in my vocabulary but  food enthusiasm!  I am just grateful that I am married to a nurse who thinks and eats the same wavelength as I do.  :) And thank Heavens we’re blessed with a son who at his young age, already developed the appreciation for good food (He wants to become an iron chef someday).   My wife Tina, our four-year old-son Gabby and I have been to some of Manila’s remarkable open-kitchen-buffets in hotels and a mall  (click each item to view my previous posts)… 

1. CIRCLES EVENTS CAFE at MAKATI SHANGRI LA HOTEL

2. DUSIT THANI’S  FAMILY SUNDAY BRUNCH

3. HEAT at EDSA SHANGRI LA HOTEL

4. DAD’s ULTIMATE BUFFET inludes SAISAKI and KAMAYAN

It’s hard to compare one with the other because all of them are a delight to the senses.  I know that to spend more than usual these days is considered vulgar for the fact there’s global economic crisis, but life is damn too short to let these beautiful chances pass.  We’re just fortunate to experience these beyond words (gluttonous grin) :D   Going to open-kitchen-buffets in hotels has been a little scary for me, because it’s habit-forming, lol.  But can you blame me?  

I first learned about Sofitel’s SPRIAL Mad Mondays and Thrifty Tuesdays  50% discount promo from one of the blogs I follow.  And it was really a perfect timing to EAT, CELEBRATE and BE MERRY for one of our colleagues will depart to Riyadh next week to work as a medical practitioner; so it was like a despedida for her but on a dutch treat, (read : KKB / kanya-kanyang bayad, lol).

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promo ad photo sourced from chuvaness.

Sofitel’s SPIRAL + 50% discount + family & friends =EUPHORIC BLISS!

Tina made the reservation for 5 adults and one kid (our son/their godson) exactly 7 days prior to our dinner date.  We met our friends and at around 4:30PM, we’re at Sofitel lobby already. Since we’re an hour and a half early before the buffet opens, we took Gabby at the pool side and had a stroll to while away time (scroll down to view former post below).

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My wife reserved the best spot in Spiral – the Chinese section!  Since it was still unpacked with hungry stomachs,  I took time to roam and click my point-and-shoot cam  (note to self: I should save for a DSLR).  Below is the immediate view where we’re seated. Looks like Iron-Chef Kitchen-come-alive! (another note to self : Why didn’t I think of becoming a chef?  Life isn’t over yet)  :D

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Here’s my first plate…

8I spared the salads and grabbed some Oriental stuffs — steamed and fried dimsums and peking duck were really appetizing.  The wrappers of steamed dimsums were just perfect! It wasn’t too mushy.  Hakao or shrimp dumplings had generous fillings….I love those plump shrimps!  There were also those yummy chives or kuchay a.k.a. vegetable dumplings…Spiral’s siomai is also a must-try. Sarap!   …Here are Peking duck and some other Chinese roasts…

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Tina had some cheese, cold cuts and those delicious super-thin-crust pizza. I swear those pizza slices are to-die-for! I may have tasted only a piece but I surely know my palate. :) If there’s one reason to go back to Spiral, definitely it’s there pizza!11

After few laughs and bites, I had my second plate : California maki, Philadelphia rolls, tuna and salmon sashimi, and some crustaceans…

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I was disappointed with the spreads where I got this plate. There were FEW choices of SUSHI. The New Zealand mussels tasted bland. (Read : I hate to compare but in CIRCLES EVENTS CAFE at MAKATI SHANGRI LA HOTEL, their mussels rock!!! ).  I like it flavorful with some herbs and spices, instead of just a squeeze of lemon.  And trust me, we’ve been to Auckland, New Zealand for seven week-vacation before, mussels there really are the biggest!  Despite my discontentment, my wife still sampled Spiral’s seafoods to taste it herself…

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 Here are the spread of those shellfish and sashimi…

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Commercial muna :   While people across ages and colors begin to fill Spiral, guess who we spotted ?  There were few celebrities like Ali Alejandro (son of Hadji) and tables adjacent to us had a local basketball superstar Marlou Aquino who was towering at 6 feet 9 inches might, and seated behind him was Buddy Zabala, a band member of a legend in Pinoy Pop music what else but E-heads!  My wife was too shy to ask them a photo-op with Gabby and neither I have the nerves to do it, so I just took this photo while our son Gabby was busy with his desserts without disturbing anyone.

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Moving on… Let’s turn more into Japanese with these sake display and some tempura…

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If you have read some of my previous posts, you probably know now that one of my favorites is SUKIYAKI… And Spiral’s does not disappoint.  It has the marbled tender beef slices, delicately thick glass noodles, warm delicious broth, some veggies and tofu, ahhh…just writing about it makes me drool… :D

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Our son likes KANI (crab) TEMPURA so much, but there was none; there was only EBI (shrimp)…

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I like Spiral’s version of Ebi tempura, I guess my wife agrees as well. The batter was thin, wasn’t too oily. 

This was my surf and turf plate…24With some cold cuts and Chinese roasts, I had spoonful of paella with tiger prawn and sausages and 2 thin slices of roast beef.  I like paella while my wife doesn’t favor it.  Spiral’s paella’s also good as their roast beef;  however the mushroom sauce of the beef was less buttery.   

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All of us were almost satiated but no one resisted the sweet treats…

29

My sis-in-law, doc bibs had this plate… A crepe of mixed berries served with a scoop of berry-flavored ice cream, and a slice of cheesecake with tropical fruit toppings.  I failed to taste the crepe but she told me that she didn’t like the berries-with-chocoalte drizzle medley .. “To each his own.”

Now, this was my sampler… isn’t it drool-worthy  gorgeous?  30

I like that pinkish dessert at the back of my platter; it’s called Sugarfree Raspberry Panacotta – simply sublime. 

It’s never disturbing to grab a bite at each sweets because most of them were sugar-free even tasted sugarless for real!  And what’s best with desserts of Spiral, they’re in tiny bite-sized servings so it allows you to consume more and more and taste more and more… lol :D 

31

This was Tina’s plate. That small pumpkin-shaped dessert was from the Chinese section; it’s made of glutinous rice somewhat like kakanin to us Pinoys. 

There were mostly cheesecakes which I like best.  But as I was looking for some variety they somewhat tasted similar. :(

32  34

33  36

Gabby munched on these delectable treats on the left, while the photo on the right shows Sprial chocolate fondue – as if one is not enough! you have the options of dipping fruits and mallows at  melted white or usual chocolate! Two thumbs up according to our son. :)  

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We didn’t end the nice dinner without photo-op with doc shiny who will leave the country for FAR better earnings.

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Note to doc shiny :  Good luck shine, bilangin mo na ang mga buhangin sa Riyadh, lol… Don’t forget to buy us Saudi Gold and more of it! Papicture ka din sa kamelyo, lol :)

Doctors All : my dates last Tuesday…

IMG_0008  IMG_2914

With all of those delectable desserts and whatnot, nothing beats the sweetest smiles of my family.

LOVE KO ‘TO…. :)

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Till our next food adventure;  happy eating ! 

Burp :)

SOFITEL PHILIPPINE PLAZA SPIRAL, CCP Complex, Roxas Blvd., Pasay City / (63-2) 832-6988.

For Mad Mondays, Thrifty Tuesdays promo that runs until July 27-28, we spent PhP 1122 nett per pax. My son ate for FREE as per usual local hotel buffet ruling for kids age less than 5. :) Kids rule!!!

02
May
09

BREAKFAST @ SEASONS

Since I did not to set any great expectations to our bed and breakfast stay at Manila Pavilion on the last day of April, there were no disappointments; I was content with everything from service to facilities and most especially with our first meal of the day before checking out.

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Seasons is one of the restaurants in Manila Pavilion Hotel and Casino located at the far left end of the lobby.  The interiors wasn’t grand but impressive, the staffs were discreet but attentive.  There were few open-cooking stations at Seasons, but food was nearly- impeccable, enough to jumpstart your day.  I can’t say anything bad.  We were just happy with it.

24

And so these were our gluttonous  plates …

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30  26

689  36

Of all the plates I had from Seasons, nothing beats the freshest fruits in the morning… 

28  311 

There were no mangoes and dragonfruit but lots of watermelons, papaya, pomelo, and pineapples…

These vitamin and fiber-rich fruits came from this spread…

33  34

I’m amazed with our son Gabby that he was not surprised seeing different colors of people dining with us.  We left him most of the time at our table when Tina and I went to look around for few more bites…

37  38

These were the spread at the few but distinct stations of Seasons Breakfast buffet…

Bread, anyone ? From French toast, pancakes, waffles to hot crepes and omellets cook-on-the-spot…

39  40

Cereals and milk or pastries,  perhaps ?

412  42

What about congee and other oriental hot yummies ?

43  44

I don’t know about you, but I like sardines (L) alone, or with bread or rice, anytime of the day!

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Care for chicken liver pate or strawberry jam or marmalade perhaps to your bread? 

What about some green salad, your choice of dressing…

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Daing na bangus (L) (dried milkfish).  Surprisingly, these japanese rolls (R) were gone after few minutes…

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And now Seasons’ breakfast entrees need no more labeling…

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That was an overload!   Juice or Coffee ?  Burp!

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Dining is such a good family bonding experience, isn’t it?

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And a wonderful productive day always starts with a happiest morning…

 

——————–

for details of Seasons and Manila Pavilion Hotel and Casino, click this .

Thanks again Filipino Registered Nurses Advocates Foundation, for that memorable prize!

More power!

01
Apr
09

BLUE PLATES

Yesterday, Tina & I decided to bring Gabby to
Dad’s, Saisaki, Kamayan’s Ultimate buffet in Glorietta.
It’s been awhile since we had those “blue plates” (read : used for crossover buffet).

I like their HAPPY DINER’s promo card that entitles the bearer to one FREE BUFFET after completing 10 validations. Being frequent patrons, we already claimed one free buffet few months ago & at present we only need one more “blue plate” to complete a new HAPPY DINER’s promo card.

Here’s a quick peek at what we had on those blue plates…

my plate

my plate

My first blue plate was almost full of jap rolls, kani tempura, tamago rolls,
& grilled pork slices & squid skewers…
I also had sukiyaki which was OK, hot
& was served with a smile from the jap cook station,
it was sweet and bit salty, with tender beef slices, glass noodles & some veggies
but that of Umu in Dusit Thani (read my former post) was to-die-for,
perfectly marbled beef served with delicious broth sent me to the seventh heavens.

my wife's

my wife's

Tina requested for EBI TEMPURA and one of the waiters brought this to our table…

to share

to share

I also had slices of Dad’s ham, roast beef, & lengua in mushroom sauce,
(fyi, I only eat lengua in Dad’s) coupled with paella…

carnivorous plate

carnivorous plate

Little bit of Asia…

asian mix : jap rice, roasted pork, crispy kangkong, sweet n spicy dilis

asian mix : jap rice, roasted pork, crispy kangkong, sweet n spicy dilis

Kamayan’s pride : Bibingka served with coconut shavings, margarine & muscovado..

yummy!

yummy!

Our four-year old son Gabby had these on his plate as starters…

immediately sweets!

immediately sweets!

Gabby also had one glass of refillable iced tea that came with a colorful fish stuffed toy.
All in all of our 3 blue plates (crossover buffet/dad’s ultimate buffet) + bottomless iced tea inclusive of all taxes & charges : PhP 1421.
(we only paid half price for Gabby).
It’s a steal, don’t you think?

———————-
Dad’s, Saisaki, Kamayan
2nd Floor, Glorietta 3
Ayala Center, Makati City
Tel # (63-2) 892-8897; 892-8898.

19
Mar
09

WE’RE IN HEAT!

No, my wife isn’t ovulating now, lol.
Neither one of us has fever.

I’m so glad with our dinner last night, well, not quite.

The HAPPY PART :
My wife Tina, our 4-year-old son Gabby & I got a chance to dine with my sister-in-law Doc Bibs and her hubby Nurse/Chef Jun with their baby Raphael. We seldom see each other, blame our busy schedules. It was recharging after a long day at work seeing a 14-month-old kid eating adult foods with a big appetite. =)

The NOT-SO-HAPPY PART :
I was disappointed with the buffet stations at HEAT, Edsa Shagri-la Hotel.
Most of my favorites were not included in the menu.
I know it’s bad to compare open-kitchen-dining in hotels since they all have something special to offer but I can’t help it. =( Last February we got to try Circles Events Cafe Buffet in Makati Shangri-la Hotel and only last Sunday we were delighted in Dusit Thani’s Family Sunday Brunch (see my previous posts) and last night’s dinner in Heat just didn’t top my list, sorry.

is it ON or OFF ?

is it ON or OFF ?

The CAST :
Gabby & I…

we had no choice but to smile for the cam =)

we had no choice but to smile for the cam =)

I & Tina…

the queen and I.

the queen and I.

my in-laws

my in-laws

The PLOT :

enough reason to try dining at HEAT

enough reason to try dining at HEAT

The HORS D’OEUVRE :

cold cuts, anyone?

cold cuts, anyone?

salad in waiting

salad in waiting

another shot

another shot

a closer look

a closer look

ANTIPASTI…

cheese, dips and lots of them

cheese, dips and lots of them

want some carbo-loading?

want some carbo-loading?

more of appetizers...

more of appetizers...

The JAPANESE STATION :
Although it looks good on photos, it actually lacked lots of things essential for it to be more interesting.
I asked the staff if there’s SUKIYAKI (read: 3 days ago I tasted the best Sukiyaki in Umu of Dusit Thani (refer to previous post) with the most tender beef & perfectly seasoned soup; there was none in Heat.
Next thing I looked for : TAMAGO ROLLS but for the second time I was unsuccessful.
Then I asked for TEPPANYAKI station and it didn’t surprise me to know that again there was none.
I was also craving for EBI & KANI TEMPURA but I only found MIXED TEMPURA which were mostly VEGGIES
at the ORIENTAL/CHINESE section where Peking Ducks are also served.

I asked the staffs at that station : “Sir, Do you have EBI and KANI TEMPURA?”
Two of them replied : “NAKAHALO NA PO DYAN

where in the pile of those MIXED TEMPURA are EBI & KANI ?

where in the pile of those MIXED TEMPURA are EBI & KANI ?

Paging the management of HEAT :
There’s always room for improvement and I think your resto has lots of potentials,
in all fairness.
You would’nt want be SECOND BEST
to either Circles of Makati Shangri-la,
Umu, Tosca, Benjarong & Basix of Dusit Thani or
to our yet-to-be-experienced : SOFITEL’S SPIRAL, right?

At anyhow, we enjoyed each other’s company.
For now, feast your eyes on what Heat has to offer :

turning japanese!

turning japanese!

jap station : take 2!

jap station : take 2!

where are the tamago rolls? grrr...!!!

where are the tamago rolls? grrr...!!!

will you dip them in wasabi?

will you dip them in wasabi?

My ANTITHESIS to HEAT’S JAPANESE SPREAD…

eyeLOVEthoseCHOPSTICKS!!!

eyeLOVEthoseCHOPSTICKS!!!

Tina had her share…

MINIMALISM

MINIMALISM

Near or part (?) of the japanese station are the seafoods.
Tina’s seafood plate :

there were different sauces to spice 'em up.

there were different sauces to spice 'em up.

That plate was mine :

SURF and TURF, baby!

SURF and TURF, baby!

Those yummies came from these…

seafood calling

seafood calling

can anyone identify the other seafood beside those crabs? it looks like mussels but are not.

can anyone identify the other seafood beside those crabs? it looks like mussels but are not.

more of iodine & calcium-rich seafoods...

more of iodine & calcium-rich seafoods...

The CARVING STATION :

bovine pleasures

bovine pleasures

bloody hell, it's medium rare! i prefer well-done.

bloody hell, it's medium rare! i prefer well-done.

CHINESE FOODS:

one of Beijing's famous dish : PEKING DUCK

one of Beijing's famous dish : PEKING DUCK

STEAMED DELIGHTS

STEAMED DELIGHTS

Tina’s oriental choices…

my wife's dimsum & dumplings, peking duck & corn & crab soup

my wife's dimsum & dumplings, peking duck & corn & crab soup

And my chinese food on a jap plate…wow, mali!

i intentionally did not match the colors of my chopsticks, aren't they an eye-candy?

i intentionally did not match the colors of my chopsticks, aren't they an eye-candy?

oriental dishes : i want!

oriental dishes : i want!

much needed break in betweet stations called for roughage

much needed break in betweet stations called for roughage

MOVING ON…
There was also a MEDITERRANEAN STATION
where curried beef, chicken etc were up for grabs but we resisted.

persian treats

persian treats

instead, Tina opted to try the lamb chops, grilled fish, shrimp & veggies…

this plate looks delish!

this plate looks delish!

while I went to queue at the NOODLE STATION…
The line was short and the people waiting were pleasant. =)
After the noodle-lady handed a bowl to me when I was the one next in line, I got to choose my noodle : from vermicelli, flat noodles, egg noodles etc.. then the add-ons from leafy veggies to chicken/pork/beef strips and ofcourse the soup-stock. I had a mixture of chicken broth and spicy shrimp with a little bit of everything and voila…

i had to say the noodle-lady was so efficient & friendly =)

i had to say the noodle-lady was so efficient & friendly =)

choices of veggies and noodles (there's the canister of colored chopsticks again!)

choices of veggies and noodles (there's the canister of colored chopsticks again!)

This was the result of my select-all-that-apply-ingredients-to-my-noodles :

my own D-I-Y hot soup : not bad!

my own D-I-Y hot soup : not bad!

AND NOW, PRESENTING…
HEAT’S OWN VERSION OF
“SWEET DREAMS ARE MADE OF THESE…”

sweet treats

sweet treats

The selection of desserts was a sight to behold. However, in my own opinion, the tastes were not that impressive as they look like. Some were bland and most have the same gustatory stimuli…

they're wow for the sight but not for my taste buds, sorry

they're wow for the sight but not for my taste buds, sorry

more than meets the eye? err, taste buds?

more than meets the eye? err, taste buds?

But I found mango pastries/tarts delicious…

i admit i liked those yellow ones...

i admit i liked those yellow ones...

My sweet tooth called for these…

i tasted 'em all !  =)

i tasted 'em all ! =)

Never to miss the two chocolate fountains…

do you prefer it white ?

do you prefer it white ?

or do you like it dark ?

or do you like it dark ?

Tina only had few of them…

few were chosen

few were chosen

want some churros or creme brulee perhaps?

want some churros or creme brulee perhaps?

I was looking for MUSCOVADO or at least the usual brown or white sugar to couple my bibingka but again there was none! Sayang!

bibingka   a.k.a. rice cakes

bibingka a.k.a. rice cakes

my bibingka tasted odd without sugar (muscovado) =(

my bibingka tasted odd without sugar (muscovado) =(

Halo-halo station for those up with “heat”…

summer won't be complete without these

summer won't be complete without these

There was no teppanyaki station at the japanese section but the teppan was seen for frying ice cream…

fried ice cream

fried ice cream

A wooden canister of TAHO was near the churros and creme brulee station…

doc bibs tried some taho...=)

doc bibs tried some taho...=)

peculiar combination : taho & churros =)

peculiar combination : taho & churros =)

Gabby's sweeter than those treats =)

Gabby's sweeter than those treats =)

Nevertheless, that dinner was memorable only because we had fun eating together

one for the books

one for the books

but I still do wish that there would be great improvements in HEAT.
There should always be value-for-money!
Oh, I forgot, we ordered HEAT ICED TEA JAR
unknowingly (because we did not ask and did not check the menu)
for a whopping price of PhP600 !
We paid PhP 1,210 per pax plus service charge PhP 544
plus VAT 12% PhP 652.80
plus L.tax Food PhP 53.24
plus L.Tax Bev PhP 18
These made me insomniac that night!
tsk tsk tsk =(
It’s very unlikely with other HOTELS that offer OPEN-KITCHEN DINING BUFFET
on a NETT CHARGE! (Dusit Thani’s Sunday Brunch offers buffet inclusive of drinks : iced cold green teas, lemon grass juice, 2 kinds of wines plus freebies for kids).

What was good with HEAT : Buffet comes with FREE COFFEE / HOT TEA.
Kids below 5 (?) also eat for free.

FYI HEAT stands for HEALTHY EATING AMAZING TASTE.
was it really amazing?
ugh, c’mom!

HEAT
Edsa Shangri-La, Manila
1 Garden Way, Ortigas Center
Mandaluyong 1650, Metro Manila

16
Mar
09

DUSIT THANI’S BRUNCH : A FEAST FOR FAMILIES

Foreword : There’s a huge gap between gluttony and food enthusiasm.
It’s best to treat oneself to anything that is never a daily routine.

It was like an amazing race to four awesome buffet stations.
I am still into it until this post.
It was such an experience.

After dining at Circles Events Cafe buffet at Shangri-la Makati last February, this morning we headed to Makati to try the much talked about Family Sunday Brunch Buffet at Dusit Thani Hotel.

My 4-year-old son Gabby at the lobby of Dusit Thani Hotel, Makati

My 4-year-old son Gabby at the lobby of Dusit Thani Hotel, Makati

Tina & I miss Dusit Hotel. Our wedding reception was held there when it was still Dusit Hotel Nikko five years ago; we had it in its two of three grand ballrooms along with our more or less 200 guests. And so when I introduced Tina to the lunch buffet that the newly renovated Dusit offers every Sunday, she also became excited to go back and see changes that transformed Dusit Hotel Nikko into Dusit Thani now. We hopped blogs to blogs to read feedbacks and comments of diners who already tried it, we viewed photos taken from the four participating high-end restos before we push through with our gastronomic want.

These are the four participating restaurants in the Dusit Thani Family Sunday Brunch…

dusit

The cost of this digestive feast of epic proprotion is PhP 1450 nett inclusive of access to Umu, a japanese restaurant, Basix a Continental-Asian resto, Benjarong – thai and Tosca – Italian. Children 5 years old and below get to eat for FREE. And kids above 6 years of age get to have 50% discount. What makes it different from other EAT-ALL-YOU-WANT and OPEN-KITCHEN hotel dining is that in Dusit, it’s also DRINK-ALL-YOU-CAN complete with not only teas, juices but also wines!!! How good can it get? Plus, kids once fed and full already can be left SAFELY by enjoying parents at Dusit’s KID’S ZONE where they can watch cartoons, have face painting, coloring activities, play-dough and other arty crafts. The brunch buffet starts at 11:30AM until 3PM, enough for you to go through the four buffet stations either using the grand spiral staircase or the lift going from the lobby to the mezzanine where the other two restos (Benjarong and Tosca) are located. These things are well-thought of by the management, I guess, to cater to the Filipino Family bonding moments.

After paying at the cashier near the entrance to the lobby, the diners get to have these wristbands as passes to the four participating restos.

All for the glory of digestive feast and family bonding.

All for the glory of digestive feast and family bonding.

Directions to the restos are provided to diners by these road signs… clever huh!

question is : Where would you go first ?

question is : Where would you go first ?

Since we google the web first for info about this dining extravaganza, we decided to make UMU, the japanese restaurant as our dining “base” and had a table for three reserved under my name the night before our brunch.

follow our leader : To UMU !

follow our leader : To UMU !

I so like the interiors of UMU. In fact I was speechless when we entered it until we were guided to our table. It’s far different from the usual japanese-oriental restos. There are japanese caligraphies written on black tablets glued on the walls. The upholsteries of seats are in bright colors to blend with UMU’s cozy atmosphere overlooking Dusit’s jap garden.

UMU's fine oriental interiors

UMU

Here’s a closer look at those really cool jap wooden panels…isn’t it a beauty?

can someone translate?

can someone translate?

Tina, Gabby and I were seated in a table across this japanese roll station…

care for some maki and sushi? i want !

care for some maki and sushi? i want !

FOODIES : like father like son

FOODIES : like father like son

my lovely wife Tina to whom I share my life & my food enthusiasm.

my lovely wife Tina to whom I share my life & my food enthusiasm.

First plates of the first couple of this blog :

Tina's plate of some grilled tuna & skewers with jap rice

Tina

what's cooking here for doc gelo?

what

I started with jap soup : SUKIYAKI = yummy!

I started with jap soup : SUKIYAKI = yummy!

Gabby started with desserts immediately, why not?

Gabby started with desserts immediately, why not?

Those sweet treats came from this station :

sweets for sweet

sweets for sweet

Waiters at Umu offered glasses of iced cold green teas for reshrements before I and Gabby walked few steps from our table to Umu’s TEPPANYAKI station.

manong, puro seafoods pls! =)

manong, puro seafoods pls! =)

After choosing few pieces of tiger prawns, salmon, lapu-lapu and mung bean sprouts, i transferred my plate to the chef on the teppan.

TEPPAN = flat iron grill

TEPPAN = flat iron grill

my teppanyaki, sigh.

my teppanyaki, sigh.

Tina's teppanyaki plate. more veggies, plus beef & seafoods!

Tina

Other japanese yummies in Umu :

tamago rolls, shrimp cakes,tofu steak, kani sticks, mashed potato.

tamago rolls, shrimp cakes,tofu steak, kani sticks, mashed potato.

ebi tempura : a bit salty for us.

ebi tempura : a bit salty for us.

Then we asked the waiter at Umu to reserve the table for us and promised to come back from other stations after 15 minutes. As we went out of Umu, we found several things happening at the lobby. We made Gabby pose beside a pretty woman dressed in Thai playing good music with her Khim. We also saw 2 staffs geared in carnival attires : a man standing on stilts and a woman doing some balloon arts.

the beautiful lady dressed in thai was playing the string instrument, KHIM

the beautiful lady dressed in thai was playing the string instrument, KHIM

Gabby is tall for a four-year-old kid but his height is no best than this man's.

Gabby is tall for a four-year-old kid but his height is no best than this man

photo-op with the balloon maker

photo-op with the balloon maker

2nd pit stop : Benjarong, Dusit Thani's thai restaurant

2nd pit stop : Benjarong, Dusit Thani

Benjarong is at the mezzanine floor of Dusit Thani. One can take the grand spiral staircase or just the lift. The buffet spread of Bejarong is at the mezzanine lobby. I got myself some Thai delicacies and a glass of iced cold LEMONGRASS JUICE which I like!

the entrance to Benjarong

the entrance to Benjarong

inside Benjarong

inside Benjarong

We’re saving some more stomach-space for food from the other stations so we passed on the Pad Thai and curries and Thai soups but there are lots of them than you can imagine. A few more steps and cocktail tables and we saw Tosca, the Italian resto.

follow the leader to the next pit stop.

follow the leader to the next pit stop.

At Tosca, the very first buffet spread you’ll see has these sweet desserts…

resistance is futile!

resistance is futile!

A closer look at one of those : a cheesecake with dark chocolate…

never to miss this cheesecake.

never to miss this cheesecake.

Tina admired the taste of those little white cups with fruit toppings for what’s inside : FLAN.

one shot is not enough

one shot is not enough

chocolate mud pie topped with vanilla ice cream from Tosca

chocolate mud pie topped with vanilla ice cream from Tosca

want some cold cuts or bread?

want some cold cuts or bread?

freshly baked pizza as you request at the lobby of Tosca

freshly baked pizza as you request at the lobby of Tosca

Italian food goes well ofcourse with wine. Best about this, it's included in the Family Sunday Brunch. that's a big WOW!

Italian food goes well ofcourse with wine. Best about this, it

a little bit of everything : Mimosa and RasVery wines and flan from Tosca, a mocha sweet treat and rice-based pudding and a glass of lemongrass juice from Benjarong.

a little bit of everything : Mimosa and RasVery wines and flan from Tosca, a mocha sweet treat and rice-based pudding and a glass of lemongrass juice from Benjarong.

certainly not the least : Basix !

certainly not the least : Basix !

What’s in store for the buffet diners at Basix :

appetizers from Basix

appetizers from Basix

for seafood lover : a sight you can't resist

for seafood lover : a sight you can

Tina missed out to take photo of the baked Lapu-lapu that was also offered at the carving station of Basix

roast beef, anyone?

roast beef, anyone?

Can’t have enough of desserts? Here’s more :

sweets from Basix

sweets from Basix

Tina opted to try hot sweet crepe. Her choice : Blueberry, Strawberry & Mangoes.

want some crepes?

want some crepes?

After cooking for few minutes, we’re back in our table at Umu to enjoy the food we got from Basix.

mallows & grapes dipped in chocolate fountain, cheesecake and berries & mangoes crepe

mallows & grapes dipped in chocolate fountain, cheesecake and berries & mangoes crepe

my plate from Basix : Singaporean Chili crab, Seafood curry, Carbonara, Ham & Potato salad

my plate from Basix : Singaporean Chili crab, Seafood curry, Carbonara, Ham & Potato salad

more smiles for the cam, taken at Umu.

more smiles for the cam, taken at Umu.

Gabby was so excited to play at Kid Zone. So we endorsed him there while we headed for few more food hunting… While at the Mezzanine and enjoying Tosca and/or Benjarong, one can see how the little ones are doing at the Kid Zone where parents like us can leave their children to play, watch cartoons, have some face painting, do some art crafts like do-it-yourself colorful sand art in a bottle and photo frame to bring home as giveaways. What more can you ask for? The kids can be left safely under supervision of trained staff after the parent(s) signed info/instruction sheet. It was so professional of the staff to call me on my mobile 2x after i missed the first to inform me to fetch Gabby by 2:30PM.

kids are guaranteed safe in Dusit Thani's Kid Zone

kids are guaranteed safe in Dusit Thani

My wife Tina & our son Gabby with the carnival people of Dusit Thani

My wife Tina & our son Gabby with the carnival people of Dusit Thani

We left before 3PM and I must say it was an overwhelming experience to revisit Dusit Thani with such gastronomic pleasure.
Two thumbs up for it!
Sigh.

DUSIT THANI MANILA
Ayala Center, Makati City

eyeREALLYloveDusit =)
already missing UMU now…

01
Mar
09

AFTER THE WIN

The morning after Gabby’s win from his declamation contest, Tina, Gabby & I went Eastwood City, Serendra & Bonifacio High Street just to have another weekend of family bonding.

We went to Something Fishy in Eastwood to avail of their buffet breakfast. It wasn’t our first time to dine there but after today, I’m not sure if it’ll be our last.

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I & Tina are very picky on food taste & service. Both of us are very particular on courtesy and smiles from waiters & resto staff. It makes dining a better experience if all of the crew is as pleasant as the food they serve. The service crew & staff of Something Fishy Grill & Bar did not offer a smile or welcoming gestures except for their security guard who also serves as their door man. IMO, the food on the buffet table of Something fishy was not that impressive. It’s just too plain for me & ordinary or something like “you-only-get-your-money’s-worth” kind of thing. It’s perhaps one of the cheapest eat-all-you-want-breakfast at PhP 114 per pax, exclusive of drinks, inclusive of charges, offered from 12MN till 10AM. We gave it a second shot after our rush buffet breakfast there a couple of weeks ago thinking that there might be changes on the menu list or at least a little improvement. We were disappointed because we were wishful thinkers hoping there would be new addition to their buffet menu list, but there was none. There was NO corn cereals, bacon, ham, fresh fruits, fish fillet, longanisa, tocino, pan de sal & other Pinoy breakfast favorites. Although I admit there are many food choices offered at their breakfast buffet, the taste is just mediocre for me. The fried eggs contained NO salt at all or at least there should have been a salt & pepper at the tables, the daing na bangus was less salty as well, the beef tapa was too oily, the palabok (or was it pancit malabon) was too bland. The price is ofcourse affordable but it should not discount the taste or the food quality. I believe there is always room for improvement & I just wish this establishment will consider doing this.

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Moving on from a not-so-impressive dining experience, we walked around Eastwood City & made Gabby pose for some photos before goint to Serendra…

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Then at around 7:30AM we were in Boni High Street already. Since most of the shops there open at 11AM, we took a stroll, read the Sunday broadsheets (FYI, I read Manila Bulletin, PDI, Phil. Star every Sunday AM), did some people-watching, just enjoyed the morning….

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Tina took this photo while I was scanning the papers & Gabby was busy with his gameboy…

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care for some green telephones? these tubes conduct sounds from end to end…

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The fountain that looks like something from outer space. I so like it. Neat and edgy !

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Bonifacio High Street also has these unusual but creative & playful stuffs, something for kids and the kids at heart…

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Wish we have puppy(ies) to walk here. We both wanted a PUG, but aren’t sure if we can maintain it.

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EYESOLOVETHISBANNER!!!

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If God wills it one day, Tina & I with our kid(s) will have our own place in Tagaytay or wherever, definitely we’ll find a space for this trellis…

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We found a store that sells toys, mostly collectible items & I just love these YODA icon and bubble heads…

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These are sold in this store…

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Our bonding is not complete without getting a dose of caffeine from wherelse but Starbucks Coffee…

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We allowed Gabby to stroll alone, even tested him of what he’ll do when we leave him. We left him walking ahead of us in Serendra & we hid from him. When he found out that we’re out of sight, he quickly ran back towards where we were. What a reflex from a 4-year-old kid. Tina & I were glad to see he did not cry nor panic given the situation.

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This is one of Ramon Orlina’s glass sculpture masterpieces which serves as a fountain & Serendra’s public attraction…

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We tried CUPCAKES by Sonja in Serendra for the first time & liked it !!! The place, though small, is attractive with retro interiors in pastel colors. The cupcakes are good as they look. But again there were no smiles or kind gestures from the staff. I feel sorry for them because they’re not as pleasant as their work place & work gears…

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Tina had the PEPPERMINT PATTY cupcake, PhP 68 (the one with pink whip, the base was tasty but the cream whip was too sweet), Gabby had the VANILLA SUNSHINE cupcake, PhP 55 (the one with a powder blue whip), & I had the PISTACHIO BERRIES & CREAM, PhP 85 (the one with white whip & green cupcake with thin slices of strawberries in between); we all agreed it’s the BEST among the 3, so yummy, flavorful & not to sweet… I did not expect cupcakes can be this yummy!

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The fridge of Cupcakes by Sonja is so hip in its light blue color…

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They bake their cupcakes just before store’s opening and flavor it with these sweet treats…

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And just before going home, we went to a public toilet in Serendra right across where Cupcakes is located & Tina can’t resist but to document how Ayala management keeps everything at its best. Even restrooms are posh, similar to toilets of premium hotels, fully airconditioned, clean, well-maintained with supplies of tissues & liquid soap with sensors, even had a landscaping of some greens at the center…

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All in all, we ended the 2nd month of the year grateful to the Lord for everything & we’re happy & hopeful to start the month of March. =)

15
Feb
09

TASTING the WORLD @ CIRCLES!

My wife, Tina prefers dining somewhere rather than receiving flowers or anything mushy from her ex-boyfriend, ehem, that’s me, her husband for five years now :D  We don’t usually go out on a date during Valentine’s ever since, not only because she dislikes the part, but I, too don’t give in to cupid’s requests for it’s just too traffic everywhere when it’s hearts’ day.

But this year, we decided to celebrate it a couple of days earlier; not with flowers, neither a movie-date but with most interesting thing that we do as a couple, and that is enjoying good food and savoring best dining experience. It need not to be expensive, but for the ocassion, I went out my way to plan ahead for the budget was quite steep compared to our usual eat-outs.

We went to CIRCLES EVENTS CAFE in Makati Shangri-la with our four-year-old son, Gabby. I must say, I surrendered to the fact that CIRCLES offers one of the best, if not the BEST open-kitchen-hotel-buffets here in Manila. It’s comparable to buffets in hotels abroad. I remember the buffets in hotels in Vegas that I had with my family several years back. Circles buffet is similar to those, or perhaps even better. One can truly TASTE THE WORLD at CIRCLES for its varied international cuisines. There were Asian- Chinese, Japanese, Filipino stretch, there’s also Mediterranean food section, American and ofcourse the sweetest section is left for the gustatory cravings.

The price of PhP 1,639.40 net per pax is a bit expensive, but it’s reasonable in Circles! I’m not a culinary or a food expert, but I did appreciate how a dish in every stations at Circles buffet had been prepared with so much effort to stimulate not only the palate but the eyes as well.

I ran out of superlatives to describe how delicious the buffet in Circles is. It’s simply superb! Highly recommended! I’m just so glad that Tina & Gabby liked it too.

Here are the photos of our gluttonous romantic early valentine’s date that we enjoyed to the fullest and we can’t resist but to plan for our next visit…c”,)

The lobby of Makati Shangri-la Hotel…

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My son Gabby, who at the age of four, dreams of becoming a chef, as he sometimes watches Iron Chef on cable, now begins his exposure to the art of cooking and sublime dining…

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The signage of SINFULLY CIRCLES bakeshop & patisserie at the entrance of CIRCLE EVENT CAFE…

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Now, the food stations. Beginning with CHINESE CUISINE… dimsum, dumplings steamed or fried, cooked to perfection! Simply divine…

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JAPANESE section offers freshly prepared seafoods – from steamed lobster & tiger prawns, seasoned huge mussels, oysters to maki, sushi, sashimi and other jap rolls…appetizingly delicious!

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the MEDITERRANEAN food section…

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Care for some CHICKEN SHAWARMA? Freshly made by the Persian chef as you make your request…

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A portion of CIRCLES EVENT CAFE’s CARVING STATION…tender every bite…

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The most attractive section of the buffet… Make sure there’s still a gastric room for most of these treats…SWEETEST TO NONE!

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Don’t they look heavenly? CAKES were refilled swiftly by efficient and friendly staff…

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CHOCOLATE FONDUE…

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Now, these were our plates…

Tomato soup : creamy!

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My first plate : fresh cold salad, bread and butter…

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My chinese-asian platter : steamed sea bass, fried chicken dumpling, vegetable/kuchay dumpling, ebi tempura, pork siomai …

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Tina’s Asian plate : tiger prawns and lobster, dumplings and Japanese rolls…

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my seafood and jap preference… i so like the plate! The mussels are to die-for! I just can’t explain its herb-seasoned taste, simply superb!

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my attempt to try Mediterranean dishes : chicken shawarma, mutter paneer, naan, roti chanai, and there was also chicken kadai… spicy curries galore!

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while Tina opted to mix Persian shawarma and American beef steak and veggies…

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Now, let me show you the best part of our dinner : DESSERTS!

This was my first platter of sweetest things from Circles.
Makes me salivate and gives me reason to forget hassles,worries,whathaveyou…sigh ^_^

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Tina’s desserts…

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We tried to be subtle for the camera first, resisting the immediate sweet temptations for few seconds…

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Can’t get enough of those sweets…

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while Gabby was content with those sweet treats…

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Before asking for the bill, we requested a waiter to take a shot for us…

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We didn’t get to taste pizza, pasta, and other dishes for we were full already. It will give us reason to go back and experience again the joy of dining at Circles Event Cafe…
It was one of those few shared moments when eating was never a necessity but a pleasure!

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What made our Valentine’s this year extra-special was the fact that we are complete and happy.

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I SO LOVE YOU ITY & GABBY !!!

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11
Feb
09

PIG-OUT FAVORITE

FOOD TRIP = satisfying your taste bud’s cravings for affordable/reasonable yummies.

Dad’s Ultimate Buffet with Saisaki & Kamayan in Glorietta is one of our favorites in casual dining. It serves a long stretch of food items from Western, Japanese and Filipino specialties. We’ve tried their other branches but it’s the one in Glorietta that we’re a usual patrons because of it’s diner-friendly simple arrangement of what to eat. I, Tina and Gabby usually dine here whenever our domestic budget allows it to satisfy our gastronomic cravings. We’ve completed already a frequent-diner’s promo card that offered a FREE ADULT-PLATE after 10 validations regardless of number of visits (1 validation = 1 adult buffet plate). Each CROSS-OVER (Ultimate) BUFFET PLATE costs PhP 500 plus tax inclusive & for kid’s buffet plate PhP 200 plus also tax inclusive. Their Merienda Buffet from 2PM to before 6PM price is at PhP 139 plus.

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Here’s a list of my favorites :

Dad’s :
1. Lengua. very tender and the mushroom sauce is simply delicious.
2. Assorted seafood kebab in pesto. 2 of my favorites : pesto & shrimps in one dish!
3. Garlic mushroom. an always good appetizer.
4. Salads : potato, fruit, ceasar’s, apple & walnut.
5. Pasta
6. Nachos & dips.
7. Carving station : ham, turkey, roast beef with gravy/sauces.

Saisaki :
8. California maki
9. Tamago maki
10. Ebi tempura. lots of it..sinfully delicious!
11. Kani tempura. my son Gabby’s favorite!
12. Japanese rice.
13. Grilled pork in bacon wrap.
14. Cakes & pastries : blueberry cheesecake, creme brulee, creme puffs, chocolate cakes are a must-try.
15. Ice cream : vanilla, mocha, chocolate, strawberry.
16. FRUITS : watermelon, pineapple slices to aid in digestion as we pig-out

Kamayan :
17. Assorted seafod cream-based soup.
18. Bibingka. melts in your mouth, served hot with muscovado sugar, margarine & coconut shavings.
19. Crispy fried kang-kong with mayo dip.
20. Embotido.
21. Sisig.
22. Kare-kare.
23. Halo-halo.
24. LECHON !!! with their hot sweet & spicy gravy.
25. Buko-pandan
26. Maja

I just wish I can have a larger stomach-capacity to try these yummies every visit (GLUTTON’S WISH!).

10
Feb
09

OUR ISLAND COVE ADVENTURE

It’s natural for mothers to constantly make efforts for family bonding. And my mom is no exception. She usually schedules trips, eat-outs or anything for us to do or to go somewhere and enjoy. On the same month of last year, she booked a hotel accomodation for 3 days and scheduled a trip to Baguio for us to experience Panagbenga Flower festival. This year, we agreed to go to Island Cove Hotel & Leisure Park in Binakayan, Kawit, Cavite; a small town of about an hour drive from Manila (less the traffic). My parents went there 2 weeks ago to celebrate the anniversary of their elopement. We saw their photos taken from their overnight stay and did not expect that our whole family will be there 2 weeks after.

Last Saturday, February 07, we were fetched before 5AM to catch the buffet breakfast at Something Fishy at Eastwood City, Libis, Quezon City. The buffet breakfast is offered from 12MN to 10AM daily at PhP 114 pax exclusive of drinks; reasonable price for a wide variety of breakfast yummies. It’s a favorite not only of families but most employees usually call center agents around the area. Something fishy’s buffet breakfast includes arroz caldo, mami, sausages, mini pancakes, beef tapa, boiled and fried rice, fried scrambled eggs, palabok (local pasta with rice-based sauce), pancit canton (chinese noodle), tinapang bangus (smoked dried milkfish), adobong manok, kakanin (rice cakes) like bibingka, biko or some call it sinok-mani, and maja and others.

As we were escorted by the staff to our reserved seats for 11 adults and 4 kids, my brother’s fiancee’s eyes quickly spotted Sam Milby as he dines with his friends. And before he went out of the resto, my mom, as candid as always did not miss the chance and asked for a souvenir shot from Sam with my son Gabby and niece Kelly who are frequent viewers of his teleseryes. One of Sam’s friends was nice to volunteer to take the picture for them.

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After Eastwood City we headed straight to Kawit, Cavite where Island Cove is located. It’s a leisure park stretched in a 36-hectare island with swimming pools, animal land that includes an aviary, a butterfly house, a monkey & aligator farm, recreational facilities for badminton, volleyball, basketball, tennis, billiards and even a gym. It also has function rooms, bars where concerts are held, a spa, playground for kids, and a 96-room hotel other than the 17 cottages where one can relax. I also found out recently from a broadsheet article that the managing director of this tourism spot is the TV celebrity & former Congressman Gilbert Remulla. No wonder Island Cove is apparently well maintained to be a place where one can commune with nature.

I was so impressed with the cleanliness & availability of facilities; never expect to find electric sockets even in cottages & huts to plug in mobile phones, laptops and other electronic gadgets. Island Cove is also a wi-fi area so I got to check my e-mails and did some updates on my social networks. My favorite part of Island Cove is the Fishing Village where we had our lunch in a hut on stilts, enjoyed the sea breeze, while being serenaded by roving local string band and singers. Those dining and resting areas on huts on stilts are the best part of Island Cove where one can feast on Filipino food and get to breathe fresh air and think of nothing but enjoy nature. It’s really a relaxing sanctuary. I really appreciate that I had a chance to forget my worries at least for a day when we were there. You have to experience it, or at least, enjoy first my photos here…

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I tried feeding the ostrich myself with leaves I found on the ground…just for a photo-op of a kid-at-heart

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Ostrich remains to be the biggest flightless bird and probably with the biggest avian egg as well…

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My 4-year-old son Gabby & his 7-year-old cousin KC : who’s taller err, longer than crocs & ostrich ?

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And here’s the ultimate gateway to relaxing dining experience : the entrance to the Fishing Village…

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That’s our hut #20 on stilts ….

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What’s a Fishing Village without trying to catch something to grill or fry; but luck was not on our side…

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Gabby with his Lolo Ben (my dad) did some fishing…

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Three generations of f