Posts Tagged ‘cakes

27
Jan
14

KETTLE AT SHANGRI-LA PLAZA EAST WING : INSPIRING COMFORT FOOD

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My recent (food) trip to East Wing of Shangri-la Plaza proved that it has become one of the best dining districts not only in Mandaluyong City, but in entire Metro Manila. It’s fertile with upscale and creative restaurants that mostly offer gastronomic treats and joy particularly to those with discriminating taste. I’m glad that I finally got the chance to understand the reason behind why Kettle, a fresh comfort food place, located at its 5th level, continues to draw attention from foodies and casual diners.

While it is easy to appreciate Kettle’s friendly ambiance, relaxed interiors and attentive and efficient service, for they are a perfect combination and an attractive stimuli to the eyes and the palates, it is Chef Chiloy’s culinary expertise that turned Kettle in one corner of East Wing into a sensational restaurant. Every muted ingredient from the plates that we sampled was apparently transformed into an impressive dish!
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Water, Lemon Iced Tea, Green Iced Tea, Peach Iced Tea. Thirst-quenchers!

In a tropical and at times humid Manila atmosphere, Kettle’s beverage menu is absolutely refreshing! My vote goes with Green Iced Tea and Peach Iced Tea (PhP 149+/carafe). Young and kiddie diners, as well as the health conscious ones, will surely be biased with Kettle’s Fresh Fruit Shake; while those with matured preference will certainly be interested with the restaurant’s wine and beer list.

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Pork and Potato Strips.

Pork and Potato Strips (PhP 339+) from the appetizer choices won me in a heart beat. I lost for superlatives to describe those bite-sized and  crunchy pork belly tossed with fresh potato strips, fried without grease miraculously and flavored with fried herbs and red pepper aioli, but it’s actually addictive! It kept us nibbling almost incessantly. I repeat, ADDICTIVE! Go figure.

Here’s a macroscopic shot of that genius potato fries. Believe me, it tastes far better than it looks!

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Another appetizer we had was Baked Brie (PhP 389+).

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Baked Brie.

Served with side salad and balsamic syrup, this puff pastry with forest berries jam appeared really light and interesting but not at par with Pork and Potato Strips as being Kettle’s best appetizer on my book.

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Buttermilk Fried Chicken.

Kettle’s brilliant expression of the usual comfort food, fried chicken left all of us in awe and wonder. From its crispy and lightly battered skin (Sinful. Spells HYPERLIPIDEMIA, I know!), the tender chicken fillets in huge fractions were gloriously seasoned to perfection! They’re beautiful and ultimately delicious sans condiments! However, for complete Kettle experience, you need to dip a chunk of that happiness to its country gravy and drizzle it with cajun honey, toy it in your mouth, swallow smoothly then dunk your fork to those equally tasteful honey glazed cornbread muffins. Bliss! :) For that moment, Kettle’s Buttermilk Fried Chicken (PhP 519+)  melted my worries and stress away and made me forget all the fried chicken versions (including my favorites!) that I’ve tasted from other restaurants and fast food joints here and abroad. It was that sublime!

Hallelujah!

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If Buttermilk Fried Chicken victoriously convinced my heart and soul that there’s logic behind its being famous from Kettle’s menu, Miso Glazed Salmon (PhP 559+) from the menu of entrees placed second on my list.

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Miso Glazed Salmon.

This warm and cold dish of Pan fried Norwegian salmon, marinated cold soba noodles, mango cilantro salsa reminded me silently of my weeks in Tokyo; it must be because of the soba and my undying love for salmon.

I love how Kettle incorporates sandwiches on their menu. Although I understand that it’s neither an economic nor a social priority, it gives the Filipino taste buds that live and thrive on rice meals, a chance to sample Western favorites like Reuben, Angus Beef Burger and more. Indirectly, eating such foreign sandwiches once in a while, may inspire and stimulate the wanderlust in us to dream and travel more and explore the other parts of the globe!

Talking about sandwiches, if you’re into grilled cheese, this one’s for you…

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Kettle Grilled Four Cheese.

It may not look much but this Grilled Four Cheese (PhP 329+) sandwich made of English loaf, Gruyere, Fontina, Cheddar, Parmesan, Sweet Totato Jam, Basil Crunch may seem delightful for those who favor grilled cheese. Best part of it, they served it with Sweet Potato Fries that’s not oily too.

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Shrimp Po’Boy.

It was my first time to take a bite at a Louisiana classic, Shrimp Po’Boy (PhP 419+). This sandwich made of soft Ciabatta roll, Cajun breaded shrimps with remoulade, served with simple but heavenly sweet potato fries was satisfyingly good if you like your food textured with a kick of spice and a subtle play of flavors.

If Miso Glazed Soba from Kettle magically reminded me of my 2 weeks in Tokyo, and Shrimp Po’Boy made me want to explore the ports and restaurants in New Orleans someday, Corned Beef Hash (PhP 519+) is a reminiscence of our days in Las Vegas where we indulged in fantastic breakfast buffets.

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Corned Beef Hash.

What made Kettle’s version of Corned Beef Hash different from those I had in USA ages ago was the fact that it’s loaded with chunky and house-made corned beef and not merely the usual shredded beef strips. One may find it a bit salty, but to people like me who prefer saltiness on food (oops!), this meal served with fried potatoes, fried egg and gravy, with a choice of rice or toasted bread, is another comfort-food-hit!

On the sweets department, Kettle offers a short but effective dessert menu, just enough to satisfy some toothsome craving and end a unforgettable dining experience.

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Banana Cream Pie (PhP 149+).

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Pineapple Upside Down Cake (PhP 189+).

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Caramel Cake (PhP 189+).

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Checkered Cake (PhP 209+).

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Peach Trifle (PhP 269+).

Of the five desserts that we tasted, Checkered Cake and Peach Trifle stood out for me. I found that clever marriage of Red Velvet and Chocolate united in one cake in a checkered fashion a sure winner! It’s very light and far from being irritatingly sweet. Excellent! And I am partial too with Peach Trifle simply because of my preference with peaches. It is noteworthy that Chef Chiloy’s beloved mom, Ms. Vilma Santos (not the famous local actress), employs her very own creative culinary prowess on each dessert-masterpieces at Kettle. Inspiring, isn’t it?

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More than an indulgent meal, I enjoyed common comfort foods made extra-remarkable from Kettle (read : Buttermilk Fried Chicken!); dishes reminiscent of my few travels and those favorites that appeal sensibly to the palates as well as the heart.

When you have a chance, go pamper your taste buds at Kettle!

Have you tried dining at Kettle? How’s your experience? What are your favorites from Kettle?

*Special thanks goes to Chef Chiloy Santos of Kettle and Richard of Tales From The Tummy  for the invitation.

Kettle | 5th Level, Shangri-la Plaza Mall -East Wing | Monday to Sunday, 11:30AM to 9:30PM | Phone No. : (+632) 6547077 | website : http://kettleph.com/

>><<

01
Dec
13

HARINA ARTISAN BAKERY CAFE : NEW DELICIOUS ON THE BLOCK

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Admittedly, I’m an adult who still feeds myself like a child. Sigh. :)  I like sampling a volume of foods in considerable minute amounts to satisfy my taste buds and my always-hungry-appetite.  I never lose that wonder and usually smile my widest when delightful dishes pass my palates. Anything delicious makes my tummy happier, calms my mind and eventually, melts my worries away!

Last Saturday, 30 November 2013, I consider myself lucky blessed to be invited to Harina Artisan Bakery Cafe to sample and review their offerings while they are still on their soft opening. Initially, I thought, this new food establishment simply bakes and sells breads and pastries that’s no different with other commercial bakeries and coffee shops around. I believe I underestimated them! My apologies. :) It’s amazing to learn that people behind it still opt to make their breads hand rolled, bake everything the traditional way, and avoid the use of any chemical additives! That’s absolutely good reason for the many homeowners living within White Plains and nearby areas, and people who usually pass by Katipunan Avenue Extension in Quezon City, to be happier!  That’s a reason to drop by Harisan Artisan Bakery Cafe!

Like a child who craves for something cheesy and chocolatey, I loved how Harina Artisan Bakery Cafe enticed all of us with its first appetizer. Bread sticks with cheese and chocolate dips!
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Bread Sticks with Cream Cheese and Chocolate Dips.

Their bread sticks aren’t perfectly molded and shaped like those commonly bought from the groceries because it’s not machine-made but as mentioned, hand rolled. They’re available in Parmesan (PhP 120), Onion & Sour Cream (PhP 100), Plain Cheese (PhP 100) and Milk & Butter (PhP 100) flavors. Take your pick. Believe me, these bread sticks are to-die-for! They’re fine sans dips actually; but even made fancy with cream cheese and yes, chocolate dips! Yummy!

If the bread sticks tickled my taste buds, the second appetizer was more impressive!  It’s called Bloomin’ Bread and it appears like a flowery humongous cheesy loaf! The incredible size cetainly fits the appetite of an entire family of 5 or a group of friends! Definitely to share!

Bloomin’ Bread. Crusty pull-apart Italian loaf filled with basil puree and an assortment of melted cheese. Served with a dip of balsamic vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil.

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Bloomin’ Bread.

To wash everything down, they served Signature Iced Tea (and coffee after meal).  Thirst-quencher! I think I had 3 refills! Harina Artisan Bakery Cafe also has on their menu, Red Iced Tea, Frozen Hot Chocolate (hmmm!) and Apple Pie Smoothie.
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Signature Iced Tea.

Then, the brunch became heavier gradually.  Here we go!

Chicken Caesar Sandwich. Grilled Cajun chicken & lettuce in Caesar dressing topped with poached egg, bacon and parmesan cheese on baguette.

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Chicken Caesar Sandwich.

Before anyone could make any query or imagine crazy things, I’d like to make a disclaimer that all plates that appear on photos on this blog post were shared and mostly, bread dishes were sliced for sharing. You don’t think I consumed everything, do you? Remember, I emphasized, I’m a grown up with a childish appetite! :)

And what do I think of  that Chicken Caesar Sandwich? Excellent! The bread is crusty but soft inside, chicken for me, was well-seasoned, balanced with lettuce with Caesar’s dressing, poached egg was nice, bacon was crispy and salty – the way I like it -oops! And it’s served with greens and fries. A whole meal in one!

Moving on, one of the most sinful french toasts landed on our table! Oh-em-gee! :P

Strawberry-Cheesecake Stuffed French Toast. Cheesecake-filled brioche topped with whipped cream and strawberry preserves.

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Strawberry-Cheesecake Stuffed French Toast.

Thankfully, before reaching the age of 37, I learned to make French toasts during my years abroad with my family, but I only dipped them in milk, sugar and eggs before frying. This Strawberry-Cheesecake Stuffed French Toast from Harina’s definitely a must-try! I enjoyed a fraction of it. If you’re a kid or a kid-at-heart who loves strawberry and cheesecake and french toasts, this sweet creation is for you!

Honestly, at this point, I was discreetly struggling with my satiety center in my hypothalamus that was trying to tell me that I’m already full.  So I tried my very best to convince my neurons in my brain that I needed to taste and eat some more. However, it must have been begging me to stop eating. *insert virtual laughs here*  For whatever it’s worth, I savored more! And I liked it! :D

Yet another bacon-bread was brought to our table. I repeat, BACON (Read my lips : Praise Him!) !!!  People from Harina called it Breakfast Tart.

Breakfast Tart. Puff pastry shell with cream cheese, spinach, baked tomatoes, bacon and eggs.


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Breakfast Tart.

I loved everything on that Breakfast Tart. Sue me! Guilty as charged! :D

Then one variety of french toast wasn’t enough. So ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, *drum roll, please*, presenting…

Peanut Butter, Banana and Chocolate Stuffed French Toast. Wheat honey walnut French toast stuffed with creamy peanut butter, sliced banana and chocolate spread.

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Peanut Butter, Banana & Chocolate Stuffed French Toast.

I didn’t dunk my fork into that Peanut Butter, Banana & Chocolate Stuffed French Toast, not because I don’t like its flavor; Heaven knows I love peanut butter, banana and chocolates and French toasts, hehehe! but I needed to rest for a while, took some photos, walked around a bit, went for a bladder break (not bowel break, you naughty you!), did little things to aid my digestion. Surely, I can bet my last cent on it, that French toast is also decadent!

An apple-salad-sandwich was served next.


Waldorf Sandwich.  Flaky pastry with filling of chicken, red and green apples, celery and chopped walnuts in mayonnaise.

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Waldorf Sandwich.

While my 4 table mates were sharing a piece of that Waldorf Sandwich, I refused with a smile. Again, not because I didn’t think it would satisfy me but I’m already satiated. Hashtag : Grateful! :)

Like other meals that call for sweet ending, dessert plates were served. Miraculously, I gained my appetite. Ding, ding, ding!

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Strawberry Cream Brownies.

My verdict about Strawberry Cream Brownies? Mouthwatering. Luscious. Heavenly!

Just when I thought the menu for the day was all served, and while I was sipping my cup of coffee, the friendly and attentive staffs of Harina Artisan Bakery Cafe came out like Santa’s elves, bearing plates with that overhyped offspring of croissants and doughnuts. Cronuts! They call it Laminated Donuts in slightly smaller pieces compared to its actual retail size. I asked one of the crew if it’s baked or fried (as I just tasted baked cronut recently from another famous store), the staff replied to me in a blink that their cronuts are fried! Hooray! Not as healthy as baked, but in my own opinion, more flaky and divine!

Guess what flavor I dunked my fork into?
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Cronuts! Chocolate, Peanut Butter and Blueberry Cheesecake Laminated Donuts!

I only tried the Peanut Butter Cronuts and I fell in love! Need I say more?

Other than those that were served to us to sample, Harina Cafe has All-Day-Breakfast menu that includes classic favorites like :

  • Eggs Benedict, Biscuit and Gravy, Vegetable and Cheese Omelet, Pork ADOBO & Kesong Puti Omelet (Love to try that!),
  • Adobo Pulled Pork, Pancakes, Muesli with Fruits, Biscuits, Muffin Sampler (3 flavors),
  • Sides of eggs, bacon, breakfast sausages, Canadian ham, plain rice, garlic rice, French fries.
  • Big Breakfast (PhP 290) – Vegetable and Cheese Omelet, A choice of Canadian ham, BACON (I love ‘em!), or Breakfast sausage and roasted pineapple, served with toast.
  • They also serve STEAK and EGGS reasonably priced at PhP 450.
  • Hot beverages like Cafe Americano, Cafe Latte, Cafe Mocha, Cappuccino, Hot Chocolate and Hot Tea.
  • Cold beverages mentioned above,
  • Rice Meals like Homemade Corned Beef (I love Corned Beef too!), Lukban LONGANISA (FTW!!!), Bangus Belly,
  • And an assortment of breads (from Pandesal, Spanish breads, muffins and more) and cakes!

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Cinnamon Rolls.

The child in me would like to thank God for making my Saturday, the last day of November this year, a very pleasant one. Amen!

And to Harina Artisan Bakery Cafe, Maraming salamat po!

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Harina Artisan Bakery Cafe | 118 Katipunan Avenue Extension, White Plains, Quezon City 1110 | Store Hours : Monday to Sunday, 6AM to 9PM | Phone No. (+63-2) 3526721 | facebook : https://www.facebook.com/harinacafe | Follow them on Instagram : @harinacafe

Thank you, Harina Artisan Bakery Cafe! Special thanks goes out to Ms. Nana for the invite! :)

>><<

24
Jun
13

MODS CAFE, MALACCA, MALAYSIA

Shortly after I received an invitation via email from Quayside Hotel and Halia Inc. Restaurant and Coffee Bar in Malacca to bring my feet and family there, to sample and review their tasteful but affordable hotel and the contemporary delicious eatery by the river, I began googling some sites in Malacca that we haven’t dined and explored yet, as our first trip there last Easter Sunday was so unplanned and spontaneous.

Since Malacca is one of Malaysia’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites, I included a few cultural spots and museums in our itinerary. I planned to bring Tina and Gabby to Baba-Nyonya Museum in Heeren Street but personally found out that the Auntie wearing traditional Kebaya at the door was unpleasant and unwelcoming, photography not allowed and admission rates too steep. I also had a mental note to check out Stadthuys Museum at the Dutch Square but eventually learned that it’s closed for renovations. Gabby wanted to visit that big galleon ship -the Maritime Museum which is located a few steps away from our hotel but unbelievably run out of time to do it. What we didn’t miss was to go to a few of Melaka’s charming dining places. First on the list was the visually interesting Mods Cafe at Temple Street.

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At Mods Cafe, Temple Street, Malacca, Malaysia. Our family’s second visit to Melaka :  June 21-23, 2013.

Thankful to the strong wind and sea breeze that reduced the haze (due to slash and burn farming of Palm trees in Sumatra) to a tolerable and minimal air pollution index in the afternoon, we strolled our way to Temple Street (Jalan Tokong) still with masks on. We arrived at Mods Cafe and saw its steel door half-closed. Good thing there’s an empty table to accomodate the three of us in this hole-in-the-wall charming coffee shop.

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A 1978 VW Kombi Campervan in Hippie floral orange parked inside served as the coffee bar at Mods Cafe.

Visiting Mods Cafe and ordering a few from their menu was a triple treat for us. Tina and I are coffee lovers (read: never a day without caffeine dose!) and of course, we love attractive coffee shops too. As for our kiddo, Gabby, lucky him as he was exposed again to another inspiration that hopefully fuels his very young dream of becoming (ehem, here we go again!) a chef, hotelier, and a restaurateur someday.

Let these photos (which are mostly taken by Tina herself) speak why Tina and I had the urge to visit Mods Cafe and became overly fascinated with it.

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We’re born in 1976 and growing up in the 80s exposed us to these VW minivans in the streets back home. Seeing one after a few decades in vibrant floral orange transformed into a coffee bar, complete with cash register and still able to roll on the streets as a mobile coffee shop was so awesome! The 1978 VW Kombi Campervan parked inside Mod Cafe, together with a barber shop, a few bikes and other eye-catching European things of the past really stand out among the other dining places in Malacca.

“Mod (from modernist) is a subculture that originated in London, England, in the late 1950s and peaked in the early to mid-1960s.” via WikiIt was the owner’s idea, A-bert Khow (the one in salmon-pink shirt on photos below) to introduce Mod subculture to Malaysia almost 3 years ago via Mods Cafe. It was A-bert himself, with his crew, Loi and Joey who made our coffee directly from that cute Kombi. :)

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Iced Chocolate  for Gabby, Caffe Mocha for me, Expresso Macchiato for Tina.

Our verdict : The prices (Iced Chocolate RM13, Caffe Mocha RM12, Expresso Macchiato RM8)  are competitive with mainstream coffee shops. Blends are also strong and flavorful served with local Nyonya cookie but honestly, it wasn’t the best Mocha I’ve tasted. They have limited menu that goes with the coffee as they only have iced fruit smoothies, cheesecakes, tiramisu, without breads, sandwiches and other dishes common to more commercial coffee shops. As for service, I suggest they should be more customer-friendly; smiles and a little conversations would be appreciated. Nonetheless, it’s the ambiance and the extraordinary theme of Mods Cafe that I think, work best to their advantage.

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Have you been to Mods Cafe in Malacca? How was your experience?

Mods Cafe | 14 Jalan Tokong, 75200 Melaka, Malaysia | Tel # +6012 756 4441.

*This is NOT a sponsored post.

This Blog Series about our second visit to Melaka includes :

07
Jun
13

JAPANESE DINNER + FRENCH DESSERTS IN SINGAPORE

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A taste of Paris in Singapore at Antoinette.

25 May 2013, Saturday. Singapore. Perhaps of all the posts I made about food on this blog, this one’s the most satiating because it’s filled with gratitude; the dinner happened because of a humble appreciation and ended giving all of us a perpetual inspiration.

I already forgot the date and the specific blog post where I randomly featured one of our ordinary family day outs, one weekend in Pizza Hut; it must be in Prangin Mall branch in George Town, Penang. If you must know, Pizza Hut and KFC are two of my family’s ultimate favorites. KFC’s an almost default fast food choice for Tina and I, particularly on Fridays when we have 2-and-a-half-hour-lunch-break, because a branch is located a few minutes away from where we currently work. While Gabby’s always delighted at Pizza Hut’s all cheese pizza deluxe, sans toppings, made with cheesy lava stuffed crust the same way he loves KFC and its gravy.

The said unsponsored blog post was incidentally read the Culinary Manager of Pizza Hut, KFC and Taco Bell for Northeast and Southeast Asia who happens to be a fellow Filipino based in Singapore (Bravo for his achievements, Mabuhay for his humility!).

I only learned that Dennis read it when he personally sent his words of thanks for blogging about Pizza Hut via email (I hope he’s fine about mentioning his name without his surname, as he begged off not to be publicized on this blog – the reason why I didn’t include our group photos together with Filipino foodie-couple bloggers now based in Singapore, Fran and Paul). Frankly, comments of readers on my posts are one of the reasons that fuel me to blog, more so, if readers and loyal blog followers would take efforts in sending me an email; it’s like icing on the cake! It’s something petty to others but very fulfilling to me.

Fast forward to my 6th blog anniversary post last May 8th 2013 where I blogged that my family and I were invited by two sponsors to revisit Singapore, Dennis emailed me again, but this time to invite us for dinner as according to him, it’s his way of appreciating my blog post about their product. Initially, the invite sounded like too good to be true because gratitude nowadays is a rarity but his act of kindness and generosity proved my cynicism was wrong. More than his professional achievements (he’s also a dentist, btw), we perceived him as someone who always keeps everything in a low-key, totally opposite of the magnitude of his status. And for that, we were blessed to have met a new friend who’s so inspiring!

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En route to our dinner, we saw an impressive Oriental mural at MRT Station, Tajong Pagar, Singapore.

He was even gracious to ask us of our food preferences and suggested choices of a Chinese, Japanese and French restaurants. We ended up with a simple but a happy and memorable dinner at Hakumai at International Plaza Building in Anson Road, and perfectly ended the night with sublime desserts in a very quintessential French dining place in Erskine Road, Antoinette.

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Like authentic dining places in Japan, Hakumai’s entrance is humble and unassuming.

We reached the place few minutes earlier of our 7PM reserved dinner at Hakumai via a very quick ride at MRT from Bugis.  Not long after, Dennis arrived, followed by our blogger friends -husband and wife, Paul and Fran Ang of www.frannywanny.com. The dinner was so casual, friendly and very welcoming! It was one of those nights you wish would happen again soon! It was that good! :D

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私の家族 (my family) : Gabby and Tina

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Hakumai’s appetizers : some tasteful salmon and blanched greens

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Gabby’s dinner : his favorite, Ebi Tempura; less the battered chili

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Hakumai Sushi Gozen. Tina’s beautiful bento came with 9 pcs of assorted Sushi, 4 pcs of Salmon Mentai Maki, Truffle Sauce Chawanmushi, Botan Jiru, Salad and Fruits, SGD 38++

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Sashimi Gozen. My delicious choice was served with Mixed Sashimi, Tempura Moriawase, Hot Soba, Truffle Sauce Chawanmushi, Salad and Fruits, SGD 29.80++

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Must have detail shot of my bento. Those sashimi were stunning! Fresh and tasteful.

Fran, Paul and our host, Dennis had varied choices as well that looked equally appetizing. I was personally awed by the fact Hakumai sources their fish for sashimi and sushi from no less than, Tsukiji Market in Tokyo. Not to forget that Hakumai’s  Singaporean Chef Gary, Dennis’ good friend, really prepared everything so well! Needless to say, we had nothing but one of our best dinners to date.

We washed down everything with iced green tea and soda for Gabby. Then Dennis generously asked us to pick a flavor of sorbet each.

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Sorbet from Hakumai. The hands-down-favorite was that tangy orange sorbet. I have no words to describe its uniquely unforgettable flavor!

After our dinner, Dennis took us to Antoinette for desserts. The place was small but the offerings were grand and divine!

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Ma famille (my family) : Gabby and Tina at Antoinette

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Le Macaron D’Antoinette.

“Antoinette : Milk chocolate earl grey tea ganache with raspberry confiture
Tahiti : Tahitian perfumed vanilla cream
Charlotte : Vanilla cream with strawberry coulis
Chloe : Citrus yogurt with yuzu
Britanny : Caramel with fleur de sel
Praline : Milk chocolate with crispy hazelnut biscuit
Pistachio : Pistachio cream with chopped pistachio
Rose : Rose petal cream
Violette : Violet flower cream
Sesame : Black sesame cream with toasted black and white sesame seed
Grand cru : Bitter dark chocolate
Passion : Milk chocolate passion fruit ganache” ~via www.antoinette.com.sg

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What we sampled from Antoinette, courtesy of Dennis…

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Macarons. Lavishly delicious!

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I wish I got this dessert’s name.  It looks so whimsical.

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Kyoto. Green tea mascarpone mousse, chestnut cremeux, almond cremble, green tea finger sponge.

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One of the richest chocolate slices I’ve tasted.

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Antoinette. Milk chocolate mousse, infused with earl grey tea, chocolate biscuit, dark chocolate earl grey tea cremeux, raspberry coulis, earl grey tea crumble.

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Hot Chocolate. We all had glasses of cold water while Gabby savored hot chocolate and Dennis his dose of caffeine.

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Strawberyy Shortcake. Japanese shortcake sponge, kirsch syrup, fresh strawberries, creme chantilly.

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We’re happy diners! Photo taken by Paul Ang, the better half of Fran. Thank you, Paul and Fran!

Words are not enough to thank Dennis. I am also pleased to introduce Tina and Gabby to Paul and Fran that night. It was really awesome! We hope to see them again in the near future! Thank you very much! :D

*This is NOT a sponsored post.

*Most photos on this post were taken by my lovely wife, Tina. :)

*Ingredients of what we sampled from Antoinette were sourced via  www.antoinette.com.sg while that of Hakumai were taken from their menu.

This post is a part of Singapore Blog Series May 2013 :

11
Nov
12

WE GOT FREE BRUNCH @ CHINAHOUSE

10 November 2012. Saturday. Between Victoria and Beach Streets, George Town, Penang.

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Hats off and thank you very much to the 567 facebook buddies who voted for my photo entry at ChinaHouse Shoot and Win contest. Whether you clicked ‘like’ voluntarily or voted with force and coercion, hahaha!  it became one of the 8 finalists! Maraming Salamat po! :D Congratulations too to the 2 Chinese-Malaysian winners!

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Despite I didn’t win that Langkawi getaway, we devoured a FREE brunch at ChinaHouse and for that, I am so grateful!!!

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It’s nice to indulge once in a while with your love ones and even nicer if it’s FREE!
Now, try to spot Gabby amidst that heavenly table…

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Bingo! I felt I won the jackpot when I saw that spread again! Salivary glands and gastric acid secreting cells were all stimulated. Judgment on what to order was the biggest problem. It took us a while to decide from the menu.  So while waiting for our food and having difficulty of choosing desserts, I cannot get enough of it and snapped my camera a countless times on that table filled with cakes and pastries! Here’s a few of my captures of that mouthwatering ChinaHouse spread…

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Is it not happiness? ;)

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We texted and called Tina who opted to stay in our apartment to get some extra hours of rest and do motherly and wifely duties at home (read : household chores).

I noticed it didn’t take a while for our choices to land on our table. Let the pig-out begin! :P

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Gabby ordered two plates. First was Toasted Banana Bread With Fresh Banana and Cream.

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While I enjoyed the tasteful Homemade Beef Sausage & Scrambled Egg Muffin with Tomato Relish.

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That tomato relish was the bomb! It complemented my breakfast plate so well that it made me forget about the importance of calorie counter. Got yah! I’m not on a dietary regimen (yet). In as much as I want to give importance to health as my license and profession dictate me to do so, indulgence ruled over those moments! I was too weak (again) to resist! Resistance is futile once more! LOL! :)

Gabby’s second plate was Yoghurt, Fresh Fruit Salad with Granola & Honey. Sugar and sweetness overload!

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Our wonder boy didn’t finish everything he ordered; I guess like me, he was overwhelmed! No problem as it’s a part of my Daddy duties to finish the plate whenever needed *insert evil grin here*.

Before ordering desserts (yes, we still had room for sweet endings!), Gabby walked to the shelves and got some kiddie books. He initially browsed the very educational (kidding!) Pokemon!

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then he shifted his pure and young attention to a more serious, morally uplifting hardbound, “Walter the Farting Dog”, LOL!

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Not long after, our appetites were ready again! Gabby had few fork-dunks on Chocoholics’ Chocolate Cake; the rest of its slice was our takeaway for Tina.

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Over and beyond those multiple cakes and pastries, I succumbed to the decision of having Tiramisu again. It’s really unforgettable the first time I had it, thus a repeat was a must!

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ChinaHouse’s Tiramisu, now officially known as one of my kryptonites! ;)

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To wash everything down, I had Fresh Orange Juice while Gabby didn’t finish his glass of Strawberry Smoothies. Water in a cute capped tall bottle was provided free (FYI, other restaurants in Penang charge a few cents for iced water).
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After our 112-ringgit-hearty-brunch, Gabby and I went to the first floor (yes, it’s ground floor first here in Malaysia) to see the art gallery of ChinaHouse.

chinahouse george town penang

Luckily, it’s opened as it was otherwise during my first visit. There’s an on-going-art-exhibits of various local artists of which one’s entitled, Circus, I think. Pardon me as I didn’t get the other titles of the show.

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chinahouse george town penang

It’s almost past noon when we left ChinaHouse.

chinahouse george town penang
chinahouse george town penang

Gabby and I agreed that Tina will like ChinaHouse too. And with that, it’s a conclusion that it won’t be our last to dine-in at ChinaHouse; we shall be back one day with my loving wife.

chinahouse george town penang

Thank you so much, ChinaHouse! You’re one of our family’s best food finds in George Town, Penang! :)

*For my first blog post about ChinaHouse, click  THIS!!!

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CHINAHOUSE | 153 & 155 Beach Street & 183B Victoria Street, George Town, Penang.  http://chinahouse.com.my/

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.

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G Cafe offers different themed dining every night and it was our second time to try their International Cuisine-BARBECUE NIGHT!
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There were grilled prawns, grilled lamb, grilled fish, and grilled squid…
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Roasted lamb, anyone?
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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!
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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!
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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

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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

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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.
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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!
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Mini Cupcakes, FTW!
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I’m now lost for superlatives to describe these…*drooling*
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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.
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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

 

05
Jun
12

PAYDAY CASUAL DINNER DATE

It was supposed to be a spur-of-the-moment-dinner date with Tina that she thought of, just after we received our pay last month. It’s a RARE and remarkable moment (she’ll kill me for this!) when my wife asked me via our personal emails (how sweet! hahaha!) if we could go directly after office hours to Sunway Carnival Mall in Seberang Perai, Penang (that’s in main land as she didn’t want to take the ferry ride to the island–worried that she might have another vertigo attack). I am too weak to resist! :P

Then, her maternal being melted into bits after she received a phone call from Gabby at lunch time. Our kiddo who’s currently enjoying his 2 week-school holiday asked his mom, “Mommy, pwede ba ako sumama sa date nyo ni Daddy?” (“Mommy, can I go with you and Daddy on your date?”) Tell me, how do you say No to such query?  So, I was like, “OK, Let’s just ask Mommy (my mom) to bring and accompany Gabby at the bus stop so he can instantly hop on the bus (we’re riding from work as it passes by our place in Butterworth), anyway, I’m planning to go out with Mommy the next day (which never materialized).” 

And there you go, we had our Friday-payday-FAMILY dinner DATE at one of our favorites, NANDO’S!

Gabby was only 4 and half months old when we first dined at Nando’s in Botany Mall, Auckland, New Zealand back in 2005. And since our taste buds were accustomed to our local Pinoy love-favorite, MAX’S Fried Chicken and also to one of our default choices, KFC (which Tina and I consider as lifesaver on days when we don’t favor the menu at our present office’s cafeteria and Gabby’s favorite too!), we found this Portugese-South African casual food place, Nando’s as fresh to the palate and uniquely tasteful! Too bad that as of this posting, no one has ever brought Nando’s yet to our beloved, the Philippines. Hypothetically speaking, if money isn’t an issue for Tina and me, we could have pack our bags and luggages and head home to franchise Nando’s or, Old Town Coffee & Restaurant, or Restoran Kapitan or Roti Boy (which deserves a separte post) –those are my family’s favorite food places here in Penang. Oh, well, that’s only me wishing upon a star! But seriously, that’s how we like Nando’s; a bit pricey but money’s worth, definitely! :D

Caramel Cheesecake was the first to arrive on our table at Nando’s, Sunway Carnival Mall. Oh yes! Without asking us, the wait staff delivered the dessert prior to the entrees. Not a problem to us anyway, but apparently, it may spoil someone else’s appetite. Nonetheless, it wasn’t difficult for Gabby to choose this dessert; the boy, like his parents know his palate so well.

For the nth time dining at Nando’s, Tina, Gabby and I opted for Lemon and Herb rather than braved our tongues at their mild, hot or extra spicy Peri-Peri Chicken; we just had Lemon and Herb chicken even as toppings of our Caesar’s salad. But Tina and I savored their Garlic Peri-Peri sauce to spice up our grilled chicken a little….OK, fine, with only Lemon and Herb, kami na ang duwag! :P

I’m such a potato-boy! I like potato salad and those baby potatoes! Coleslaw is also a no-brainer order for me, hahaha! :D

While you can obviously tell who chose corn on the cob and fries, his mom went for grilled veggies and some humongous fries too.

At Nando’s or wherever we dine and the food on our plates are all just secondary. What matters most is the moment spent with the family. Now that’s cheesy! :D

*BEHIND THE SCENES : Tina made another video and pressed FFW to make it chipmunkie; you may want to peek at what actually happened on this dinner. Watch and see how Gabby struggled with his chicken, hahaha! :D

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. :)

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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. :)

07
Mar
12

OUR HONG KONG DISNEYLAND TRIP 2012 : GLORIOUS DAY 2

18 February 2012, Saturday.  Tina, Gabby and I woke up early from one of our restful sleeps in Disney’s Hollywood Hotel and excitedly prepared for our Day 2 in the Happiest Place on Earth! 

It turned out to be  glorious! :)

From Disney’s Hollywood Hotel, we hopped on the resort’s shuttle bus and headed to Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel. We had a table reserved under our names at Enchanted Garden Restaurant for our breakfast buffet and Meet and Greet with the Disney characters! Everything seemed so thrilling particularly for Gabby!

As we went down directly to the  basement of the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel where the Enchanted Garden Restaurant is housed, this beautiful space greeted us…

Enchanting, indeed!

We came in too early at 8AM (read : apparently excited!) and found from the Cast Member at the door of the restaurant that our table would be ready at around 9:30AM (so that’s the time that was reserved to us!). Without a hint of worry, we went out the door from the restaurant and spent time almost unnoticed in this perfectly manicured garden at the back of Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel.

The gazebo looks inviting as a perfect venue for couples to exchange “I dos”.  Imagine a wedding with all your favorite Disney characters led by no less than Mickey Mouse! Amazing!

A more interesting part of the garden is the hedge maze that Gabby, Tina and I tried finishing…

This is called, “Mickey Maze!” :)

Our kid totally enjoyed every second inside the maze…

Spot us in the Mickey Maze…

Let’s play “Hide and Seek!”

More cheesy but priceless bonding moments in Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel…

Must be so happy? You bet!

After almost an hour at the garden, it’s time to freshen up and hit the tables and the spread. On way to Enchanted Garden Restaurant, we spotted super cool and nice things.

Exhibit #1 : Wooden high chairs for kiddos. They made me smile.

Exhibit # 2 : A room near the Enchanted Garden Restaurant will surely entice parents and their little daughters…

In “My Little Princess”, little ladies may be transformed into a Disney Princess of their choice.

This was just a “one proud daddy scene.”  The moment reminded me of our wish (I and Tina’s) to give Gabby a little sister. (read :If it will come, it will in His time.) :)

Exhibit # 3 : Spotted Cinderella at the lobby of Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel with Alyanna and Mika (the beautiful daughters of Dennis and Thammie who were with our group in this HKDL trip).

Finally, a walk under those trellis! Splendid!

Being ushered to our reserved tables and seats felt surreal! Not that we’re excited to binge eat, hehe! but the ambiance exceeded our expectations!

The spread had Asian and Continental breakfast favorites. Everything looked tasteful and a must-try. There was more than enough for us to savor and be energized for another whole day at the park!

And then a thought popped out…

You don’t go to Hong Kong without sampling good bowl of noodles

and some tasteful dim sum and dumplings.

You just dont.

I just wished they had toyomansi (soy sauce + lime/calamansi) for the dim sums.

And because it’s Disneyland, Enchanted Garden boasts of Mickey Mouse figures in their waffles and pancakes! These made me stare at my plate for several minutes before I dunk my fork and knife at them. :)  I had some of the goodies in pair, yum, yum!!! :D  One of my plates had waffles, pancakes, hash browns and french toasts. Appreciate if you won’t calculate the calories! This is when my weakness in Math comes to be most useful! hehe!

The next set was mostly Tina’s and my plates. I had no chance to take photos of Gabby’s because he’s preoccuppied with excitement and huge appetite. ;)

Known in local Filipino TV series, “My Binondo Girl as”Amethyst” that Tina religiously followed online (Malaysia has no TFC!) and more popular as a fashion blogger-celebrity and sister to Liz Uy, we met the charming and beautiful, Laureen Uy.

One Stellar Moment

More stunning episodes happened as some of the best loved Disney characters went to our table for us to take photo-ops! Diners of Enchanted Garden need not to queue to have memorable pictures with Mickey, Pluto and Goofy (and other characters). It’s another VIP treatment that we enjoyed in Hong Kong Disneyland!

Widest and sweetest smiles from my family as we posed with Pluto and Mickey…

Must have one more shot with Pluto…

After that one-of-a-kind-breakfast experience at Disneyland Hotel’s Enchanted Garden, it was time to explore and enjoy Hong Kong Disneyland Park again!

To those who are planning to experience HKDL for the very first time and have doubts if you can enjoy it in one whole day, actually, you can! But would you not wish to double the fun if you can be there on 2 consecutive days?

Weather forecast checked : 14 to 16 degree Celcius. We loved the climate; we didn’t have a downpour! God is truly great!

We wore various hats : A Cast Member volunteered to take our family pic just before a quaint door in one of the pastel-colored structures at Main Street, U.S.A..

Hot. Fresh. Delicious!

Then our feet brought us to Tomorrowland!

As Tomorrowland intends to give park goers a creative experience of being in the future, the moments became nostalgic to us. :)

Here’s how we looked five years ago…I guess only pounds and kilos of happiness were added! ;)

Inside the Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters ride, we have been warned. :)

We had FAST PASSES to this awesome ride!  It was so cool when Buzz Lightyear himself introduced us to Astro Blasters!

Emperor Zurg! :P

Shooting robots. robots and more robots! We liked it here!

After that exhilarating Astro Blaster ride, we trooped to the largest restaurant in the theme park with over 800 seats, the Starliner Diner and grabbed a lip-smackingly good fried chicken and fries for lunch!

Over and beyond the food, what Tina and I liked was the fact that Hong Kong Disneyland’s Starliner Diner prioritizes sanitation and cleanliness by providing plastic gloves given inclusive of the food tray. You’ll find them folded and pack neatly with your tray. So eating chicken with hands was no-worries at all!

One more time on this car, Gabby! :D

2007 on the left ; 2012 on the right –Take a look at Gabby’s Then and Now photos and appreciate what 5 years have done!

Another ride within Tomorrowland available with Fast Passes is Space Mountain. We gave our Fast Passes to Laureen and her friends as we’re not fond of rollercoaster rides (read : Tina has Vertigo, Gabby’s still uncomfortable and cannot ride alone and I might throw up!). But if you’re adventurous and somewhat fearless, by all means, Space Mountain will surely give you the thrill!

We bid goodbye to Tomorrowland and strolled our way in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle to watch the Flights of Fantasy Parade for the second time! That 30 minute Hong Kong Disneyland parade really left us in awe!

Just before the parade started, Tina thought of a clever strategy. Since we didn’t have priority pass to the musical, The Festival of the Lion King, she suggested that together with Gabby while I am still drowned capturing the parade on photos, they will head to Adventureland just before the parade ends. In that way, while people are still busy watching the parade, they’ll be the first on the queue to that another must-see-musical..And true enough, it was a wise move.

The Festival of The Lion King at Adventureland

The scene became more fascinating after the stage lights were turned off. Let the show begin!

“It’s the Circle of Life

And it moves us all

Through despair and hope

Through faith and love

Till we find our place

On the path unwinding

In the Circle,

The Circle of Life….”

It’s visually stunning! The songs and their voices are overwhelming too. We have seen this musical at HKDL more than a couple of times already and performance gets better and better! My particular favorite was the gorgeous air stunt of this lady-bird character; the act was so graceful; almost breathtaking!

These live musical shows (The Golden Mickeys and The Festival of the Lion King) make Hong Kong Disneyland specially different from the other Disney Theme Parks!

Then, it’s Gabby’s time for some Mickey Mouse ice cream! Sarap!

Few more steps, we found oursleves in Liki Tiki…
These “leaky” tiki jungle poles squirts water like fountains; look how our little one enjoys the drizzling effects…

Playing with tribal percussion instruments entertained Gabby to the fullest!

Tina and I are the happiest when he’s happy.

OK, so we left Adventureland with a smile and moved on to Fantasyland with even wider smiles!

This Pixie Dust area where Tinker Bell usually drop by for photo-ops wasn’t existing yet way back in 2007 (Gabby’s first trip to HKDL).

Time for some Mickey’s PhilharMagic! This colorful 3D movie adventure about how Mickey Mouse lost his wizard hat and what Donald Duck has to do with it never fails to amuse us. You never get tired of great attractions in Hong Kong Disneyland!

3D glasses on!

Our last Fast Passes on our hands were for the The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh...Gabby was only 2 years old when he first rode the track to the story of Winnie.

Cinderella’s Carousel has 60 graceful, prancing horses!

I learned that last year’s celebration of the 5th Anniversary of Hong Kong Disneyland, Tink had showered Sleeping Beauty Castle with her pixie dust… The effect is even more magical at dusk!

After Winter Must Come Spring… Is it Spring yet? :)

Smiles and blooms perfectly blend…

Ahhhhh… another stupendous day at Hong Kong Disneyland is about to end…

Thank You, Lord for another magical day!

We made sure we remember this trip not only through photos and video but mementos and souvenirs from HKDL shops itself. Other than the Disney character-hats that we bought, Gabby got himself a rubber Mickey Mouse wrist watch (When we got into the hotel room, he received a gift from one of our new friends in our group–a lego writs watch with Buzz Lightyear design! Thank You, Ms. Elizabeth for such generous gift!).

Before exiting the shop, Gabby called my attention, “Daddy, picture!” hence, this…

Before 7PM, we left Hong Kong Disneyland Park with almost a heavy heart. It’s our last day in the park and surely we’ll miss all the fun!

Thank you for the memories, HKDL!

We had our last dinner in Hong Kong at Disneyland Hotel’s WALT’S CAFE. I’m almost lost for superlatives to describe how great the overall gastronomic experience we had. First thing came to mind : The dinner was EXCELLENT!

I think diners of Walt’s Cafe can opt to enjoy their meals at the lobby…

I checked the reservation and we’re instantly led toward the end of the restaurant where everything seemed perfect.

This is the beautiful corner reserved to our group. Isn’t it divine?

Looking at my photos after the trip made me wish I have sampled a bottle of their wine…

The view from our table… The ambiance and the look of that by-gone era was almost ethereal!

The smiles to live for….

Now, let’s get down to business. We loved everything we chowed down; starting with this crusty bread that looked like a hot air balloon when you work your imagination; it’s baked to perfection and can be enjoyed sans butter.

Gabby favored one of Mickey’s Kid’s Meal -Oven Baked Ham and Cheese Macaroni with carrots and green peas, fresh fruit salad and a choice of drink; our kiddo got himself a hot chocolate.

For Tina, she savored, Grilled US Beef Tenderloin and Simmered Beef Short Ribs with Mushroom and Pinot Noir Sauce, HK$ 268.

Let me tell you, I had a great time from browsing the menu to having a taste of everything my family had. Here’s my preferences and recommendations from Walt’s Cafe..

Chicken Breast Fillet with Poached Crab Meat with Papaya and Mango Salad served with Honey Lime Scented Dressing, HK$ 128.

My palate was satisfied with its texture and flavors. The fusion of  freshest and sweetest fruits complemented well the crunchiness of the greens. And the Chicken Breast Fillet? Heavenly!

I requested the wait staff to provide extra small plates so I can share my order with Tina and Gabby. I also sampled one Walt’s Cafe’s soups -

Double Boiled Black Mushroom with Kam Ha Wam Soup, HK$ 78.

The soup’s tasteful. I like the flavor of the Chinese ham and the black mushroom. Beautiful combo! The mushroom was shaped into Mickey Mouse’s head too! Amazing!

Then for my main entree, a huge plate was served first with one of the prettiest veggie side dishes I ever had…

To people who think amusement parks and their resorts only offer fast food junkies, think again!  Hong Kong Disneyland’s Corner Cafe and Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel’s Walt’s Cafe proved it otherwise. Their menus are beyond sumptuous! The ambience, sublime!

Seafood Platter for Two. (Grilled or Poached. I wanted it grilled). Lobster, Scallops, King Crab Legs, Squid, Salmon, and Cod Fish with Lemon Dill “Beurreblanc” and Crustacean Sauce, Assorted Garden Vegetables, and Boiled Potatoes. HK$ 538.

One word : Outstanding!

Just take a look at that lime gorgeously wrapped with golden tulle and ribbon; wonderful!

The entree, Tina, Gabby and I shared….

We cannot be grateful enough! :)

Moving on to desserts…

My choice : Penny’s Bay Mango Pudding with Mango Puree.

Tina’s sweet preference : White Chocolate Cheesecake with Raspberry Coulis

Gabby’s dessert plate was the most divine!

Oreo Cheesecake never tasted this great! :D

It’s one FUNtastic dinner to end one glorious day of everything that this blog gives reverence for :

FAMILY. FOOD. and FUN!

———————

I cannot help but marvel at the immense scale of blissful experiences we had in Hong Kong Disneyland! That 3-day-2-night vacation extremely gave us unforgettable memories that Tina, Gabby and I will cherish forever.

Hong Kong Disneyland spells H-A-P-P-I-N-E-S-S! :D

Thank you so much, Hong Kong Disneyland!

*Up Next : The concluding post of this Hong Kong Disneyland Series! Stay Tuned!

———————————

This Blog Series Includes :

 

23
Dec
11

CHRISTMAS BREAK 2011 : EN ROUTE TO PINAS

*This blog series includes : Christmas Break 2011 Day 2 : ULINGAN, TONDO

—————-

16 December 2011, Thursday night.  I arranged a pick up from our place in Butterworth to Penang International Airport via SMS with an Indian taxi cab driver whom we frequently call whenever we need a ride prior to departure and arrival.  He came at around 7 in the evening and with the expected rush-hour-traffic jam, we arrived before 8PM at the terminal.  Dropping of our 49 kilo-luggages and bags was such a breeze because I did the online check-in already and had our boarding passes printed from the web days prior to our flight.  And because we’re on a very limited budget and value practicality above something else, we went home via Malaysia’s budget airline, Air Asia (May kamahalan na din ang nakuha naming ticket kumpara sa karaniwan at promo airfares dito –humigit-kumulang PhP 35K kaming tatlo, one way from Pen-KUL, then KUL-CRK).

I set to use my annual work leave in spending Christmas season in Pinas. I didn’t go home or utilized my paid days off else where (read : our breaks in Paris, New York and London *kidding!* I wish but we only went to Kelantan, Malaysia, Singapore and  Hatyai, Thailand this year were all enjoyed during public holidays) but saved it for the yuletide. After all, it is Christmas that Tina, Gabby and I consider as the most wonderful time of the year, the happiest season of all!

Despite Penang is only1545 miles away from the Philippines, there’s no direct flight yet to connect my current work place and our home. So it’s either you fly Singapore or Hong Kong first –which would cost you your arms and legs at this time of the year, or either take the cheaper but longer route by the bus or train or fly from Penang to Kuala Lumpur first that we usually do.

At the Penang International Airport which has on-going renovations (hey look, NAIA 1, terminals outside our country are on the road to improvement, and you?) we had dinner from one of Gabby’s favorite fast foods. It was a simple delight to have twister fries and quarter pounder before a flight. :)

After dinner, the waiting period began. Our local flight from Pen-KUL was supposedly 11:15PM but was delayed for 30 minutes. What can we do but bear with the waiting game. Are you fond of waiting for your flight/s at the airport?  I do except when it’s not on time. I mean, I maybe impatient at other matters but killing time at the terminals for me is not that bad.

We safely reached KL-LCCT after 45 minute flight. Everything’s fine except the looooong walk from the tarmac to the airport itself. The fatigue and lack of sleep were gone withe the sight of this heavenly food place that we’ve been wanting to try…

The Low Cost Carrier Terminal in Kuala Lumpur may not be one of the best, perhaps not even included in top 10 great terminals in the world and in my opinion has also its share of inconvenience but nontheless has decent choices of food places. We passed on Starbucks Coffee, Mary Brown Fried Chicken (Malaysia’s answer to KFC), and some other few but we failed to resist the charm of Theobroma Chocolate Lounge.

the ambiance is casual and inviting.

Forgive us for indulging chocolates before 2 in the morning. Sinful is it not? :D

Look, everything looked nice and tasted great too but they served the knife & fork with its tips exposed and the handles wrapped with tissues and before you wrongly judge Theobroma, let me inform you that this is a common practice in restaurants around Malaysia; and frequently, availability of tissues is a rarity in hawkers too! (read: I am not a foodie expert neither have a degree in culinary but my common sense dictates me that it’s best to wrap and cover the  parts you’ll put in your mouth rather than expose and drop it directly on the table. Spell HYGIENE and CLEANLINESS, people!).

Moving on…Tell me, how can you resist Theobroma’s Belgian Waffle with Ice Cream?

Me speaking to the waiter : “What are your bestsellers here? What can you recommend?”

Waiter pointing to the menu he handed us : “Ah, eto po ang masasarap, ok po ito, iyan…”

Me : “Ah, Kabayan! Saan kayo sa atin? Ano ba masarap dito?

the eyes tell you that they're sleep deprived but hungry. hehe! :)

Our verdict : The waffle’s tasteful! The strawberry slices rippled with chocolate were divine. And it’s so amazing that the scoop of ice cream took several minutes to melt which made us ask ourselves, is it gelato?

Gabby went to the counter and checked out the cakes. I believe he wanted Oreo chocolate cake but we were served with Orange Chocolate slice. We did not complain; I felt there’s no need to because we also wanted to sample such flavorful combo.

Gabby’s taste buds were a bit purist. When he wants chocolate, he wants nothing else. In fact, our kiddo doesn’t want any nuts when eating anything chocolate. But the cake was a delight for me and Tina. It reminded us of one of Haagen Dazs’.

Tina asked our kabayang-waiters (we talked to 2 of them-one serving us and the other at the counter) their recommendations. One of them highly suggested QUEEN OF ROCK AND ROLL.

Me asking Tina :” ‘ney, design lang ba iyong nasa cup or chocolate ripple talaga?

Tina : “ano ka ba, chocolate!”  –tapos ngumiti iyong waiter sa clueless moment ko.

We trusted our kabayang-waiter and the suggested cup doesn’t disappoint! Queen of Rock and Roll (left photo below) went to Gabby and he loved it! That chocolatey creamy drink indeed rocks! :) While Tina opted for a coffee-chocolate blend called MADAME ESKIMO which was beautifully served with a coffee bean on top. My lovely wife, despite sleep deprived was happy! :)

Thumbs up for Theobroma's blends!

As for me, I needed to have something warm; I settled for FLAT WHITE.

Sarap! Nakakawala ng antok!  Someone should bring home Theobroma Chocolate Lounge to NAIA Terminal 1 please!

The prices are comparable to Starbucks Coffee. Service is efficient. Goodies are yummies! :)

The Air Asia check in counter didn’t open until it was past 4AM. Maraming PASAWAY sa pila na ibang lahi. SINGIT! I didn’t allow them to get in over my queue. Our international flight from Kuala Lumpur to Clark Field, Pampanga was scheduled at 6:45AM. And so I thought, di ba 4 hours dapat bukas na ang airline counter kapag international flight?

Waiting, waiting and more waiting.  After few bladder and bowel breaks, yikes! (hey, it’s part of morning rituals, right?), we decided to spend our last hour prior to the flight and our few remaining ringgit in OLD TOWN WHITE COFFEE restaurant also in LCCT.

Tina and I had a plate each of this noodle dish that the name slipped my memory.

I may have forgotten its name but the taste was etched on my palate. Sarap! It’s so comforting to eat hot noodle dish in the wee hours of the morning.

I was fortunate enough to avail of our RETURN FLIGHT on the first week of January 2012 last April 2011 at its promo sale. It only costs me PhP 8K nett for the 3 of us with 40 kg check in luggage and I think that’s a steal! :) However, due to tight budget, I only purchased our airline tickets from Pen-KUL, then KUL-CRK last week of November for our Dec 16-17 flight. Understandably, most of the aircrafts servicing Malaysia-Philippines route are alreay full because of the  holiday season and prices of tickets are expectedly steep than usual. Nonetheless, come hell or high waters, Tina, Gabby and I have to spend Christmas in the country we call HOME.

From the arrival area of Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA), we claimed and paid our reserved bus tickets from the friendly ladies of Philtranco bus liner kiosk located at the lobby. I googled their website and did the reservation via email; a ticket from DMIA to SM Megamall (even up to Pasay City) costs PhP 400/pax.

The trip was only an hour and a half and everything went OK except for the traffic from Balintawak in Caloocan after NLEX to EDSA then Ortigas approaching SM Megamall. But hey, it ain’t home without the traffic! *pun intended*

The next morning, we savored one of our missed breakfast meals…

Nothing spells the Christmas celebrations better than spending it in your home country with your love ones. Walang katulad ang Pasko sa Pilipinas! :)

From Tina, Gabby and me, Maligayang Pasko po at Manigong Bagong Taon! :)

11
Dec
11

RECYCLED GEMS

Never underestimate things from rubbish for you might find gold in them.  I told Gabby this while we walked our way towards Armenian Street in George Town after alighting the ferry from Jetty. The little-big boy, at first was puzzled until I simplified what it means.

I was surprised when our 7-year-old wonder boy is already familiar with the triple R -recycle, reduce, reuse. Apparently, his mom and teachers have been doing their duties wonderfully. Our casual father-and-son conversation became more meaningful when we spotted several used bath tubs now serving as plant boxes lining the street. Whoever thought of that must have been so environmental-friendly.

As Tina usually wants to spend her Sunday at home whenever possible (for she  thinks and I also agree that she deserves a rest before she begins another work week), it was only Gabby and I who went out to the Island primarily to run some errands (we needed to go to a money changer to have our ringgits changed to pesos as we’re going home to Pinas for the holidays, we also had to buy some ingredients for Tina’s home cooked siomai and a few more pasalubongs for our relatives and lastly, I was asked by my lovely wife to bring her old denims for a change of zippers in a repair shop). However before doing all this, I decided to drop by AMELIE CAFE and grabbed the opportunity to expose my kid to something totally different.

that gem in the mirror

Located in #6 Armenian Street beside a famous tourist spot, Cheah Si Sek Tek Tong that we have yet to explore some other time, AMELIE CAFE is a hole-in-the-wall cafe that serves quality Western food in the heart of George Town.

At  first sight, one would not imagine that this tiny food place can provide a charmingly beautiful gastronomic experience. It actually looks like an ordinary carinderia outside, housed at the ground floor of a pre-war building except that its simple facade was made attractively beautiful by those lavish green potted plants and its unique hand-made sign boards express that there must be more than meets the eye. :)

Amelie Cafe is open from 10AM daily except Mondays

Having been an expat for more than a year here in Penang, I completely know that this Malaysian state, particularly in one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites, George Town, offers diversities not only in race, religion and color but evidently in culinary department as well. Like mushrooms in the woods, hawker food stalls, restaurants and coffee shops are having healthy competitions despite they thrive side by side.  Food in this part of Asia is more than substantial but a lucrative business too.

With the commercially available kedai kopi like Starbucks Coffee, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf including the popular local kopitiam and the like, AMELIE CAFE, in my honest opinion has greater advantage above all these giants.

It’s edge –the highly creative atmosphere out of recycled materials.

Take a peek at what we had enjoyed inside…

It’s like we entered a hole-in-the-wall eatery-slash-museum-slash-art-gallery. Amazing’s an understatement! :)

No corner was overlooked; even its humble ceiling deserves a glimpse.

On top of the door were tin plates displayed beneath those water plants (I’ve known them as celia as told by my old relatives; we have some at home in Butterworth cut from the jetty/ferry station) placed in old bottles of various branded fruit jams.

What’s great with all of these decors, I think they’re highly mobile as the owners can move them from one corner to the other making the interiors of Amelie Cafe uniquely different in a snap.

There’s only one ceiling fan without unusual look but nonetheless functional.

Must have that detail shot…

i want to take that dog & cat painting home!

On the left side by the door is a table and this wall…

Who says you cannot create remarkable things out of rubbish?

As we stepped inside Amelie Cafe, we found out that it only has 5 small tables filled with mostly foreigners dining their brunch. Fortune was on our side when we spotted an available table located at the end, just by the kitchen. No worries for Gabby and I because astonishingly, smoke from the frying pan is handled professionally. I didn’t mind being welcomed by the gentle wafting scent of the bacon at late morning; it was so welcoming actually! :)

The limited 5 tables with 3 to 4 stools each do not come in set. Even their plates, cups and saucers never look alike but when put together they contribute to ones’ fantastic dining experience.

Don't let the simplicity of the table and stools fool you; the total dining experience here is more than you can imagine.

The finish of the walls, floor and ceiling was not made perfect but it added to its enticing appeal.

We were greeted by Yen, one of the owners of Amelie Cafe. It’s only Yen and her husband, Hung run the entire show at their very quaint food place. The wonderful duo serve as wait staff, at the same time, do the preparation of food, do the cooking and tender the cashier counter and if chance permits, entertain their diners.  Fantastic! :)  I just failed to ask them if they have formal education in culinary or in related fields nevertheless, I think it’s no longer important as they’ve been managing everything at Amelie Cafe smoothly and successfully.

As Gabby and I sat down, Yen handed in the menu…

menu with hand painted cover, made out of cut-out cartons.

She told us, pointing with her thumb (the way Malaysians do it-not the common use of index finger or for us Pinoys, with a pouting lips, hehe!) to the uber artistic dessert menu board beneath the stairs.

After getting our orders, I asked if they have tandas (toilet), Hung pointed towards the back of the kitchen. The kitchen looks like this…

The Kitchen : Everything's prepared and cooked here. Nothing more, nothing less. Isn't it amazing?

These are some of the artworks located above our table. Other than the use of recycled materials, did you notice the recurrent theme?  Mother Nature must be super happy! :)

Can you spot that solitary little fish inside the jar that was made into its aquarium and a plant vase too?

Humor in recycled art : Old wooden planks nailed side by side painted with fish spines and dog bone noted with “meow” combined with “oof oof !” ….Nice! :)

I believe the couple also did all those colorful pieces. And it looks like they’re also responsible designing the whimsical interiors of Amelie Cafe. How many businessmen do their work with complete hands-on?

With all those eye-catching things, waiting for our orders to be delivered and boredom inside Amelie Cafe didn’t become an issue. After 15 minutes, Gabby and I were already sharing these…

I gave him the liberty to go over the menu and choose whatever he wants. He selected carbonara, hazelnut chocolate parfait and chocolate banana milkshake. That was pure carbo-glucose fix!

After that candid shot, my boy asked me to dunk my fork and eat all those crispy cut bacon strips from the pasta because he doesn’t eat bacon and seldom he likes ham. Sure, I replied to him; I became easily submissive with his wish. :)

As Gabby continuously dreams of becoming a chef, a hotelier, restaurateur someday, I told him that putting up a carinderia as gorgeous and attractive as Amelie Cafe would do. Thinking of owning something like this is more than surreal!

Hazelnut parfait was a perfect ending to our mini-brunch. It came with fresh cranberries that Gabby wrongly thought of cherries. The pasta plate was also satisfyingly good, although minimal in serving and less creamy than usual–the taste actually made the difference. And the milkshake?  Refreshingly delicious!

Honestly, the food doesn’t come that cheap compared to what you might expect. The price is comparable to Starbucks Coffee’s. A little more expensive than the common fast food joints. But hey, you don’t get all these visual treats from those commercial food places.

Then the moment of “must sample their coffee” dawn upon me…

The first sip of this cappuccino was for Tina. Yeehaa! :)  I really wished she’s with us with this (another) extraordinary experience.

The table where we enjoyed everything…

Just before ending our meal at Amelie Cafe, Gabby told me that he liked everything he ate and appreciated all things he saw inside.  Like me, he loved all the artworks, all the delightful clutter including the simple presence of that fish solitarily swimming in that old jar.  The sense of recycling old things and turning them into great use rather than considering them as useless junks was reinstilled in his young mind. The exposure brain-washing, I guess was successful! :)

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

24
Oct
11

FOR THE LOVE OF COFFEE & SNOOPY

As cute and lovely as it gets…

Tina must have been so excited and overwhelmed with all these photos that she borrowed my SD card, copied and  edited them on her laptop, and posted an album on her fb account tagging me and Gabby long before I put watermarks on them and come up with this blog post.  It doesn’t happen usually. And I love her more for doing so, because it affirmed that she appreciates even the little efforts that I do for us to enjoy our days here in Penang. :)

Gabby's hot chocolate from Charlie Brown Cafe

Apparently it’s not only Tina who became happier when I brought them to Charlie Brown Cafe at Straits Quay but more so, Gabby!

It's the first in Malaysia that opened last April 2011. The second branch will follow soon in Kuala Lumpur as told by one of the staff.

Saturday, 22 October 2011.  We hopped on Rapid Penang Bus 101 from Jetty in George Town and got off at the newly opened Tesco in Tanjung Pinang (a enormous supermarket that opened another branch in the island months ago).  We took a 5-minute walk from the bus stop and easily found Straits Quay.

We’re glad that we didn’t get lost looking for it but we all got a bit homesicked. Straits Quay, tagged as “Penang’s First Seafront Retail Marina” reminded us of a lot of places in Pinas. First thing Gabby uttered was, “Mukhang Eastwood!” (“Looks like Eastwood!”).  Tina thought so too. With its facade and its entire structure, it really looks like those upscale condo units in Eastwood City in Quezon City. I had Serendra, Alabang Town Center and Mall of Asia fused in my memory when I first saw Straits Quay. But its lobby and everything behind it told us otherwise…

I don’t know much but every amazing geometric structures incorporated in the interiors will confirm its uniquely Malaysia… Beautiful, is it not?

It aint a quay without these…

and a magnificent looking lighthouse…

I digress. The reason why we paid Straits Quay a visit over those few malls in Penang that became a part of our weekends was to experienced a cartoon-themed coffee shop called Charlie Brown Cafe…

This dining place is more than a coffee shop not only because it serves entrees and desserts too but it’s so picturesque and an eye-candy particularly to kids like Gabby and kid at hearts like Tina and me!

As Tina was more excited than Gabby and me, I gave her the freedom to decide where to sit. And I bet it wasn’t easy choosing a spot because every corner of this cafe is fascinating if you’re a Snoopy fan! Obviously, we all are!

The three of us were all under these gorgeous lights that made us wish we have them too at home. Imagine looking at those colorful Peanut characters before and after you retire to bed. Fantastic!

I knew Tina was really having blissful moments being inside this cafe for the first time because she even got the camera to shoot several photos of the place herself.  Without spoiling her excitement, I got the menu and asked what they want to try.

Spontaneity, I liked it! Even the menu is animated! ...If only we can try everything at the same time, hahaha!

Are you a Peanut-character fan yourself? Did you also grow up browsing anything with Charlie Brown and Snoopy comic strips?
Are you also fascinated with that beagle named Snoopy who sleeps on top of his doghouse instead inside it? hahaha! :P

Snoopy loving Woodstock

Follow those dog paw prints to order! :D
And so Tina had Charlie Brown on her Cappuccino, I had Lucy Van Pelt on my Caffe Latte…

It took us a while before we got our spoons and stir those caffeinated mugs; so wonderfully done you just want to stare at them!

From these chilled display….

yum!

We tried these…

It's so good, i forgot what it's called, hehe!

Gabby wanted a chocolate cupcake with Charlie Brown on top while he enjoyed his mug of hot chocolate drink with Snoopy design.
 Not sure if he’ll able to finish it, Tina requested the wait staff to put it on takeaway cup…
There are a lot of interesting stuffs near the cashier at the counter that will surely catch your eyes and attention and could enticed you more to order, haha!
Everything we tried tasted great! Prices a lot cheaper than other coffee shops. Service was quick, staffs were pleasantly attentive. But to us, the selling point of this cafe over all others around is its entire theme…
Do you play chess? I don’t but I would not mind learning the game with these too-cute-for-words King, Queen, Bishop and Pawns..
This was how Gabby manifested his happiness…
 
We liked the place, we’re glad that we spent our weekend there!
Before leaving Charlie Brown Cafe, we checked out its souvenir shop and got affordable takeaway…

Gabby chose these Snoopy collectibles. Tina and I wanted other versions in various national costumes but just like the chess set, they're not for sale.

Proof that we like Snoopy was this plate that we’re using in our home in Penang; I got a half dozen of this in different theme-countries (Africa, England, Malaysia etc) for FREE from Jusco Supermarket at Queensbay Mall last year.

Even Snoopy barks, "Malaysia, Truly Asia!" hehehe!

It’s definitely not the last time that we’ll be in CBC at Straits Quay! All for the love of coffee and Snoopy, haha! :D

02
Oct
11

ON GABBY’S SPECIAL DAY


“I love you, Ma, I love you, Daddy!”
These phrases never fail to melt our worries and stress away. And now that Gabby is turning 7 years old this Wednesday, 5th October, Tina and I cannot be grateful enough to the Lord for giving us His greatest blessing; we love our son beyond words.

Because his birthday falls on a weekday (we have work, he has school), we decided to celebrate it in advance last weekend. Tina was suggesting for us to dine at T.G.I.Fridays again but of course, the birthday boy’s wish prevailed.

He has been craving for some bites at an all-cheese-pizza from Pizza Hut so we gave in to his request…

He’s a purist when it comes to pizza as his preference is exclusively partial to 3 to 4-cheese pizza; like he really doesn’t like anything on top.
Gabby also favored calamari and garlic bread from the menu…

I maybe a doctor and an educator but I honestly don’t know everything. I’m not sure if the love for great-tasting food (read : huge appetite) can also be transferred via genetics, can it? Gabby might have been blessed with good genes, don’t you think? LOL! :D
My choice : Pizza Hut’s Honey Barbecue Chicken Wings –sarap to the bones! :)

We washed everything down with iced cold water, canned light Pepsi for Gabby (yes, I know sodas are junkie too!), and a tall glass of citrus flavored drink infused with calamansi and champoy at its bottom–uniquely refreshing; an eye candy too!

After that hearty lunch (we didn’t finish everything; we had some slices as takeaway *defensive*), Tina went to the department store and bought Gabby a new shirt while I headed to the mall’s barbershop for that much needed haircut. We met about an hour after, and had some grocery shopping too.
Then the time to blow candles on a birthday cake came; we sat inside Secret Recipe and the rest was momentous…

While waiting for Gabby’s cake, Tina took this photo on a whim. A littly grainy but I just had to post it because Gabby’s too adorable, isn’t he?

Chocolate Indulgence cake landed on our table with a cake slicer and 7 pieces of candles. Our little big-boy didn’t waste time and made his wishes…

The multilayered and richly textured chocolate cake was truly to die for; there’s no other name more apt for it but Chocolate Indulgence. It’s one of our favorites!

At seven, Gabby’s still a baby. He still likes toys a lot! Good thing he knows how to profess what he wanted to receive so we know what to give. Best, it’s afforbale and functional too. Uhm, I think so… hehe..

He could have asked for a remote control aircraft but opted for his second wish. With these, you now have a clue where we’re heading next weekend, if and when weather permits…

We left Queensbay Mall last Saturday with happy faces and full tummies.

The simple celebration continued the next day on our humble abode here in Penang. Tina cooked another irresistible dish – creamy carbonara with lotsa bacon bits on penne, yummy!

We’re joined by my dad whom we picked up from Penang Airport after we spent our entire Saturday at Queensbay Mall. With his Lolo Ben around (who went home 2 months ago to Manila with my mom for some important matters), Gabby will have longer sleeping hours again before he goes to school daily. The birthday boy’s smile reached ear to ear when his Lolo Ben brought out from his luggage a gift imported from Pinas from his Lola Tessie (my mom).

And there was a candle on a birthday cake again; he really enjoyed blowing candles on his cake. There must be something special about it.

What made his birthday preparation this year a bit different from before, he took the initiative and the efforts to pack his simple loot bags for his classmates and teachers on Wednesday (his actual birthday)…

Alone, he segregated candies and packs of chocolate bicuits piece by piece and put them on these loot bags. Such heightened his excitement to share his special day with his Chinese and Indian schoolmates too…

But we made known to him that he’ll only have loot bags as giveaways and no party will be thrown in his school here (read : we’re cutting on expenses, seriously!). Nontheless, it’s fine with him, after all, he understands and loves us so.

Our family life, although far from being perfect has been incredibly special and seems like there’s always an everyday-celebration because we have you, anak! We love you very much, Gabby! :)

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
26
Feb
11

BIRTHDAYS ARE MADE OF THESE

You know there’s a birthday party when there are…

Balloons…

Party hats…

Gifts…

Cakes…

And more cakes…

Venue dressed to the nines…

The Guests…

And of course, the celebrators!

25 February 2011, Friday, Waziria Medical Square, Kepala Batas, Penang, Malaysia.   A few months ago, the institution that we’re working at came up with an idea to gather its community at the end of each month, outside its classrooms, conference halls without any lectures and meetings and office works but to party for our colleagues who were born on each specific month.  

It was the very first time for the Faculty of Medicine to sponsor and host (I was one of the emcees) this monthly birthday celebration.  With only less than a week to plan, we prepared almost everything, rolled up our sleeves, did multitasking even the blowing of balloons for the love of  our jobs.  *bow!* :D

                                         What made this birthday party extraordinary?

How often would you see medical doctors who are educators as well from different countries unite in blowing of balloons? hehehe…

(from L-R) Dr. Mila from Myanmar, Dr. Vivian from the Philippines and Dr. Phoo also from Myanmar

How many companies celebrate their employees’ natal day all at the same time?  How many times have you spent your birthday in a foreign ground with celebrators from various walks of life, cultures, religions and colors?  How frequent can you experience a potluck party of food from different nationalities? (oops, that reminds me I forgot to capture the spread at the buffet table!)  Occasion with elements such as these doesn’t happen even on a yearly basis.

I must admit, I enjoyed it! :D

:D What’s your most memorable birthday celebration?

——————————————-o

PS : Of course, nothing beats special occasions spent with your family and loved ones. :D

23
Dec
10

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

taken at Coffee Terrace, Genting Hotel, Genting Highlands Resort, Malaysia 18 December 2010

 

May you and your family be blessed this holiday season and beyond.

Maligayang Pasko po at Manigong Bagong Taon! :D

————————————————————————————-

27
Dec
09

PLANS AND PLANNERS

On the late afternoon of Christmas Day, soon after we left our paternal Lola’s house in Calumpang, Marikina City, I with my wife, Tina, our son, Gabby and my brother JC went to Eastwood Mall…

Gabby asked for a grande cup of Chocolate frappuccino and a slice of Oreo Cheesecake from Starbucks.  He finished the entire decadent while I shared the Banoffee Pie (one of my favorites!) with Tina.  I also enjoyed Dark Cherry Mocha frap and she had a hot grande cup of Toffee Nut.

Then after several weeks of caffeine indulgence, finally I got my 2010 Starbucks Coffee Planner. :D  It’s probably one of the most expensive planners but one cannot purchase it directly; and can only be redeemed via a completed promo sticker card. 

Each Starbucks Planner Promo Card requires interested patrons to collect 8 stickers (at 1 sticker per cup of any size) of Holiday blends (Toffee Nut, Peppermint Mocha and Dark Cherry Mocha) and another 8 stickers (or cups) from the usual Starbucks beverages.

I’ve been religiously using the planners from Starbucks for 3 years now and found it so functional to jot down schedules, appointments, small notes and whatnot. I am the type of guy who needs to write down important things in order to avoid missing them.  Are we the same who need a pen and paper most of the time ?  FYI, I sometimes suffer from selective amnesia, that’s why, LOL! :D

One of the unique features of  the 2010 edtion is its coffee bean shaped marker which I wish to keep and hope would not be lost throughout the year.

For the 2010 planner, the collector can choose from 3 cover designs  –coffee beans, coffee blender and coffee roaster which I like best. 

The planner also comes with different discount coupons with specified dates. 

Now that I’ve claimed mine, I’m just glad to have another partner (other than Tina,LOL!)  that can aid me to be more organized.

Come to think of it, I have no plans yet for January 08… Hmmm… do you have any clue what’s worth anticipating with the eighth day of the first month of the year?  Abangan! :D

Who does not want to plan for wonderful travels and awesome dining pleasures all throughout the year?  

:D What are your biggest plans for next year ?

:D Can you keep schedules efficiently or do you also need someone or something to put everything properly ?

30
Aug
09

AFFORDABLE INDULGENCE

We needed to go back to our place before lunch time to freshen up after we enjoyed our son’s preschool activity a couple of days ago.  Then, we found ourselves in one of familiar restaurants that we learned to like love  because of its nonintimidating,  family-friendly, canteen-ambiance with delicious and reasonably-priced- but not-so-authentic Italian menu.  It’s none other than AMICI and CARA MIA !        IMG_3463PENNE   AL   SALMONE  AFFUMICATO, PhP 230+

This pasta plate is definitely a winner for us. My wife Tina, our son Gabby and I like its flavorful taste of smoked salmon that perfectly jived in unison with its creamy tomato based sauce.  Its serving is enough to be shared by two.

IMG_3465AI QUATTRO FORMAGGI, PhP 290+ 

It was only our second time to order this Amici’s FOUR CHEESES pizza but it has grown in our palate. It’s our son’s favorite pizza!  Sans toppings and all, it stands out! I like its thin crust made really crunchy and quickly served because of brick-oven baking and the sumptuous taste of combined cheeses is just irresistable. 

A visit to Amici and Cara Mia would not be complete without those heaping scoops of gelato! As I’ve stated in my former post about this wonderful food place, the only difficult thing is to decide what to try- because everything is worth the drool, lol…

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Other than Cara Mia’s wide variety of gelato flavors, they also offer gelato cakes!

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Don’t they look so divine ?

After few minutes of looking at those delectable treats, we’ve finally selected our choices that noon…

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Gabby had Cookies and Cream Gelato cup and I tried Caramel Nougat cup, at PhP 50+ each. 

As if we’re not hyperglycemic yet, we dared ourselves and ordered more Cara Mia yummies…

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Tina’s choice : SPUMONI SURPRISE, PhP 80 per slice.  She liked it. A blend of chocolate and pistacchio with vanilla creaminess of that gelato cake. 

As for me, I finished a bowl of this gelato cake in a few minutes, lol…IMG_3487BANANA BLAST, slice PhP 80.  Who says nothing can be enjoyed less than a hundred pesos?  Presenting to you, the gelato cake that caught my discriminating gustatory sense.  OK, I haven’t tasted them all, but for that moment, I think this one’s superb of its kind. If you like flavors and textures, this one’s perfect. With chilled strawberries and banana-based Italian ice cream mixed with another chocolatey flavored gelato -Banana blast is simply fantastic!  

When we were just ready to go, the waiter asked Tina if she would gladly submit her palate to a free taste-test. Immediately after a nod, the waiter offered this…

IMG_3496PISTACCIOCCOLATO  (Choco Pistachio cake).  How can you resist such beauty? lol…

Her verdict based on APPEARANCE, SERVING SIZE, TASTE and TEXTURE/MOUTHFUL and my family’s smiles…

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It has a canteen-ambiance because of combined wait-staff servings and self-service.  I am not complaining.  I look at it as Amici and Cara Mia’s positive appeal and edge from the others.  Since one has to go to a corner with freezers of ice cubes and pitchers of water for you to bring to your table,  after paying at the cashier counter upon order, I see no complexities but simplicity in dining.  A similar experience we have in the comforts of our own homes.  

AMICI PIZZA PASTA GELATO and CARA MIA GELATERIA, Bellagio Square, Tomas Morato corner Scout Fuentebella, Quezon City.  Delivery (63-2) 818-4444.  

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20
Aug
09

BANAPPLE GOODIES

Last Monday, Tina and I had a free schedule to fetch our son, Gabby from his 8 to 11AM kindergarten class.   We went to the school on the dot but the kids weren’t dismissed until after their 30-minute-rehearsal for their dance performance for the school’s celebration of Linggo ng Wika which was scheduled by their school on a later date, the 28th of this month, next Friday.  While my wife was happy to see Gabby dancing to the tune of a folk song,  I grabbed that waiting period to go to a nearest bank and settled our domestic bills. After which, I went back to them and Gabby was surprised to see us together instead of his yaya fetching him that day. 

After 10 minutes, we were at a mall called Il Terrazzo, along Tomas Morato in Quezon City.  I’ve been reading and hearing about this mall that has Rustan’s supermarket, and a number of affordable and upscale restaurants and food stalls.  One of those is BANAPPLE  PIES  and  CHEESECAKES . 

Since I did my Post-Medical-Graduate Internship at Quirino Memorial Medical Center along Katipunan Avenue  almost a decade ago, I’ve been passing along BANAPPLE’s original branch few steps from that tertiary hospital but for no particular reason,  it took years and a family and Banapple’s second branch for me to try and taste the goodies they serve. 

We only saw a couple of women dining outside Banapple at the second floor of Il Terrazo before noon last Monday.  But soon after we ordered, people came in troop. :D 

Tina noticed that wherever we dine, it always happens as if Gabby’s attracting more customers for the restaurant.  Is this an indication that he has to pursue his early inclination to becoming a chef for us to put up a restaurant years from now?  *wishful thinking*  

Bannaple in Il Terrazo is a small but with homey and charming appeal to families and friends.  Though with limited space, it has high ceiling and is well interiored that gives that welcoming ambiance.  This was the view from where we sat…

                IMG_3317     IMG_3316 

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A huge multi-layered glass fridge keeps the cakes fresh and a smaller one is used near the counter to display those delectable yummies.  

We occupied two round tables and it was delightful to see art on them!  Colored glass marbles were embedded in round cemented tables in different mosaic patterns. These simple details make dining experience remarkable! :D

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We had different cravings that day.  I ordered one of Banapple’s entrees, Tina only had sandwich and Gabby, pancakes.

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 ASIAN CRABSTICK & MANGO SALAD SANDWICH, PhP 100. 

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I was able to taste this sandwich; the salad dressing was OK, slices of mango were sweet, the toasts were nearly perfect but Tina and I were expecting that the crabs sticks are thinly shredded but were not, so it’s quite disappointing.  Another comment from my discriminating wife, lol, she didn’t like the cheese-flavored chips as sidings of her sandwich.  Plain salted potato chips could’ve save the entire plate.

While Tina was partly satisfied with what she ate, I enjoyed mine.

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PAN-FRIED PORKLOIN WITH HERB MUSHROOM GRAVY, PhP 160.   I like its sidings – freshly blanched and seasoned carrots slices. I have high regard to those carinderias and restaurants that prepare their own vegetable side dishes instead of the chilled-readily available carrots and corn packs from groceries.   The porkloin strips fried in olive oil were so tender and its thick gravy was flavorful.  I might order this again on our future visits. :D

Gabby, who was a little tired from their dance rehearsal, ordered pancakes… IMG_3320

BUTTERMILK  PANCAKES, PhP 100.  As expected, Gabby wasn’t able to finish this plate because it’s too much for him. But we were again disappointed with its consistency.  The menu says their fluffy but were not.  It has the poorest pancake consistency. Sorry :(

A visit to Banapple isn’t complete without tasting pies or cakes.  With the variety of flavors, it took us few minutes before finally deciding what cakes to order…

IMG_3331  IMG_3309

1

BANAPPLE’S  BANOFFEE  PIE, PhP 70.   I love Starbucks’ Banoffee pie. But Banapple’s version at almost half the price of Starbucks’ is also satisfying, hands down! :D

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TIRAMISU, PhP 95.  It’s a multi-layered mocha-coffee cake with different textures that’ll stimulate your palate. Sarap!

We didn’t order pasta and only tasted two of the many cakes. With few flaws on what we ordered and with those uniquely delicous cakes that are different from those too-commercialized ones, we’ll definitely visit Banapple again soon.

IMG_3342BANAPPLE PIES & CHEESECAKES, 2L  Il Terrazzo, Tomas Morato cor Sct Madrinan, South Triangle, Quezon City.  The other branch is located along Katipunan Avenue, Project 4 Quezon City.

13
Aug
09

IT’S BEEN A FAVORITE

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Yesterday, we had another remarkable afternoon dining at Conti’s in TriNoma.  Tina, Gabby and I like their food so much that it has become one of our favorite restaurants.  The ambiance is simple, never intimidating;   their patrons- mostly family-oriented; the service is always fair;  prices of dishes-value for money, and the food itself -impeccably delicious!

We first asked Gabby of what he’d like to order and quickly browsing the menu, he pointed out to a cake and a tall glass of iced beverage.

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 Our preschooler son opted to only have desserts. And just like his father, ehem, I guess he has good taste! :D He is sure of what he want, and he’s not “takaw-mata”.  He makes sure that whatever he orders whenever we dine out, he’ll eat it.  Yesterday at Conti’s he ordered for a glass of MOCHA FRAPPE PhP 110 and had a slice of a heavenly cake called BANANALICIOUS, PhP 80. 

Its crust is made of fine graham powder topped with soft cake and cream with slices of chilled bananas in between.  It’s simply hard to resist.

Since I’ve described what our son had for his sweet tooth, might as well continue with what Tina and I shared for dessert….it’s  a slice of my favorite cake from Conti’s…

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In my opinion, it’s a mortal sin to dine in Conti’s without having a slice of MANGO BRAVO, PhP 105. lol. :D  IT’S MY FAVORITE CAKE for few months now. And nothing had replaced its place in my heart palate, lol.  :D

Look how gorgeous those layers of lady fingers a.k.a. broas are! Perfectly fused with just the right sweetness of that cream and chilled slices of mango with minimal drizzle of chocolate. It’s just sublime!

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Prior to being hyperglycemic with those divine cakes from Conti’s, Tina and I enjoyed these plates…

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For our starter, we had RUSSIAN POTATO SALAD, PhP 115.  The plate was served with chilled cubes of potatoes, carrots and red beets that made it pink, sarap!

Tina had this CHICKEN BALLOTINE, PhP 195.  It’s a dish of chicken rolls with ham and cheese stuffing topped with white creamy sauce served with freshly blanched veggies. 

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What is BEST with Conti’s isn’t only the tastes of the dishes and of course their cakes and pastries but moreso, I like the fact that they don’t use commercially available packed corn and carrots.  Don’t get me wrong, we also buy it from groceries once in a while, but I believe that all restaurants should served freshly cut and blanched vegetables as sidings to their entree for the benefit of their clients of course.

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What I HATE about eating at Conti’s is the difficulty of deciding what to order.  It’s not our first time to dine there but  I still had a hard time again in choosing what to chow down.  :D  After several seconds of staring at their menu, pondering, lol.. I finally told the waiter of what I’d like and if the experience yesterday was a lottery, I think I hit the jackpot with this dish…

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ROAST BEEF in MUSHROOM SAUCE, PhP 270.  The beef slices were so tender; the mushroom sauce was flavorful and creamy, even the sidings as I’ve told you, were so pleasant not only to palate; it was just delightful.

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I wouldn’t mind eating at Conti’s on a weekly basis. :D

CONTI’S TRINOMA, P1 Level, TriNoma EDSA corner North Avenue, Quezon City, Tel # (63-2) 900-5013.

They also have branches at BF Homes, Parañaque, Connecticut Street in Greenhills and in Serendra in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.  Conti’s also have catering and food order services : tel # (63-2) 842-5265.

note :  Just the same whenever I feature other food places we enjoy, this post isn’t paid by Conti’s.  

10
Aug
09

JAPANESE BREADS & MORE

IMG_3111This was my tray of Japanese baked goodies that I brought and paid at the counter of Dezaato Pan located at the corner of Tomas Morato and Roces Avenues in Quezon City.  I had them to-go as pasalubong for my son & his mom.  

Dezaato Pan provides free wi-fi access to dining clients. Breads are on display at a glass-topped wooden shelves that somehow prevents contamination of microscopic and air-borne pathogens. 

IMG_3115This is their edge over Breadtalk that has their breads exposed to air.  Another Dezaato Pan advantage is their price; the cost of each bread is  a lot cheaper than Breadtalk’s.  But we love Breadtalk.  We like their bread called FLOSS especially that CHEESE FLOSS; it’s always a must-buy whenever we’re at Breadtalk.  Nonetheless, Dezaato Pan’s goodies also tasted OK but some were not.   I don’t know, probably because my wife Tina and I are too biased with Breadtalk so when we tasted Dezaato Pan’s, it suffered criticisms from my wife’s meticulous taste.

However, if there’s one reason for me to go back to Dezaato Pan, it would be this bread…. I honestly liked this soft bread topped with salty delicious KATSUBUSHI or tuna flakes. The marriage between the buttery bread and its toppings really worked for my palate. :D  This bread is called RYOUSHI OISHI, PhP 42.  Sarap!

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Our son Gabby and I also liked ICHIGO DELIGHT.  It’s like a danish bread topped with strawberry jam; reasonably delicious at PhP 39. 

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I don’t know about your taste, but for me, the next two breads were not that good.  I failed to finish them, and my wife disliked them too.  The one of the left is called KING NIKU PORK NORI SESAME, PhP 45 and on the right is KANI & CORN ROLL BREAD, PhP 39.

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Other than breads, there were cakes too…

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Tina, Gabby and I liked the cakes from Dezaato Pan.. I bought a slice of TRIPLE CHOCOLATE MOUSSE, PhP 95.

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We also got to taste a slice of CARAMEL  GREEN CREPE, PhP 80.  It tasted and smelled like Jasmine flower; uniquely delicious.

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It has layers of different textures; predominantly soft and melt-in-your-mouth consistency.

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Surprisingly, Dezaato Pan also offers more than breads and cold & hot beverages. They also have gelato!!!   

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Those gelato are sold at PhP 70 per 100gms. Again, it’s cheaper than the other gelato but it will  have to wait until my next visit for me taste it.

The service staffs were friendly, and the wifi-ready dining area was comfortable enough to while away time.  There were lots of baked yummies that looked probably go well with coffee; i’ll try some more on my next visit. :D

DEZAATO PAN BREADS SWEETS CAFE, U-5 Thompson’s Square, Tomas Morato, Quezon City.

05
Jul
09

DESSERTS & MORE

What a better way to celebrate weekend is to have a restful day and to give in to one’s craving…

Since he woke up early Saturday morning, Gabby repeatedly asked for a cake until he had his piece this late afternoon when we trooped to one of the restaurants along Tomas Morato in Quezon City.  How can we say NO to our only son’s request when he became so studious the past week in his preschool.  Besides, my wife and I were also too weak to resist (I always say that, LOL…it’s true anyway).

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This wasn’t Gabby’s but my choice.  It’s called LOW-FAT FRUIT MEDLEY (PhP 135), lovely, isn’t it?  Tropical fruits mixed in light and creamy cheesecake mixture topped with slices of fresh fruits in season – thin slices of kiwi, grapes, and mango made into petals. Appetizing to the senses, made me crave for more. :D

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My wife Tina shared generously ofcourse, her dessert – one of the premium cakes called BERRY TEMPTATION (PhP 135). It’s a strawberry cheesecake layered with raspberry swirled cheesecake, it was really tempting indeed. :D 

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Now this is CHOCO DOME CAKE (PhP 160), Gabby’s own slice.  Actually, he had hard time choosing his cake from the wide variety at the counter but the friendly smiley lady-wait staff  named Val  suggested for us to try this Choco Dome Cake which is one of their delicious cakes (a bit pricey than the others) included in their Selections menu.

We availed of their sampler (PhP395)- choice of three cakes for a plate cheaper than per slice. 

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It’s been a while since we last dined at Cheesecake, etc.  We’ve tried their branches in Greenbelt 3, Eastwood City, and in Greenhills but it was our first time this afternoon at their cozy restaurant in Tomas Morato.   The staff were just great; they rendered service with a smile which is one of the satisfying-factors that I always want whenever I order from a fastfood, a restaurant, or a carinderia, LOL. :P  It’s always satiating when the wait staff are smiley and the area clean. 

Gabby loved the slice of Choco Dome Cake.  He enjoyed it so much that he didn’t even bother to taste his parents’ cakes.  Tina and I were happy to see Gabby eating real food. He’s still choosy when it comes to solid food, just like most of his age of  would-be five, who usually still prefer milk, we’re trying hard to introduce to him some adult meals.  

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Spoiling the sweet tooth once in a while isn’t bad, right?  :D   Other than cakes which we had as desserts of  course, we were first busy enjoying these plates ….

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I liked my sandwich. It’s called  HAM IT UP! (PhP 165).  It has toasted wheat bread with lettuce, tomatoes and onions, with mayo-mustard spread in two generous slices of forest ham.  It has this tasty sidings of egg salad that reminded me of what my late maternal grandmother used to prepare as my baon and merienda during those school days before. It’s done with chopped boiled eggs mixed in mayonaise, spiced with pepper, sugar and salt.  I don’t know about you but it’s one of my favorite palaman or sandwich spreads in the entire planet. :D   I swear I’ll make this egg salad again as my sandwich spread for my baon to work.

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Tina opted to have the MELTS (PhP 95).  It’s a plate of two slices of toasted wheat bread with pizza sauce and quickmelt cheesy toppings.  Sarap!  Also served with egg salad on lettuce.

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Other than the many cheesecakes and sandwiches Cheesecake, etc has, they also serve soups and salad, rice meals that include Beef Stroganoff (PhP 185), Boneless Bangus (PhP 185), Chicken Pork Adobo (PhP 175), Pork Sisig with Egg (PhP 165) and Chicken Ala King (PhP 165).  A wide variety of Pasta also are a must-try from their menu, among which are Seafood Pasta (PhP 195), Aligue Pasta (PhP 195) – a must-try next time we dine! and a lot more…

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By the time I asked for the bill, Val gave me a promo card that entitles me to avail of a free cup of brewed coffee plus  a 5% discount on my next visit. How good was that? :D

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:D CHEESECAKE, ETC. / Tomas Morato, Quezon City / Tel # (63-2) 929-0725.

01
Jul
09

COFFEE BREAK

I am biased with Starbucks Coffee. I like their Frappuccinos, twice-blended please- from Java chip, Mocha, White Choco Mocha, Dark Mocha and I love their Caramel Macchiato, iced or hot for as long as it’s venti, it’ll surely make my day.  But I always welcome the chance to get that caffeine dose from other coffee shops (except for two where my wife and I developed the aversion of going to their shops after a couple of unpleasant experiences). 

Since my wife introduced me to Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf  few years ago, I also like some of their blends and their cakes and pastries.  However, we find their coffee a bit pricey compared to Starbucks’ or it’s just really me who is so partial to my favorite, LOL.  Nonetheless, resistance is futile when we really crave for CBTL.

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How can you say no to that delectable multi-layered chocolate cheese cake ? IMG_2370IMG_2377

That melt-in-your-mouth slice of cheese cake was gone in few seconds! LOL.

24
Jun
09

ONE BUBBLY AFTERNOON

When it comes to dining out, my wife and I would often want something that we haven’t tried before, unless we’re not in the mood to be adventurous on food, we’ll just play it safe with some of our favorites.  Browsing the the net to scan reviews of food places is always helpful especially when we’re on a slightly tight budget.  After all, good food need not always to be pricey.

Some of our favorite comfort foods are sushi, sweet desserts such as cakes coupled with iced-cold beverages or coffee.  And all of these we found in one place called Bubble Tea – Tokyo Milk Tea Place. 

Bubble Tea, as of present has two branches at the Metro- one in SM Megamall and the other one that we’ve tried is located at SM The Block.   Bubble Tea offers a fusion of Japanese and Italian/continental dishes all  in one place.  Here’s a few peek of what we’ve tasted from Bubble Tea’s menu.

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I liked this Bubble Salad Sushi (PhP 125).  Since my wife was already satiated from our lunch with another resto, she only tasted one and I ate all remaining 3 sushi, hehehe…sarap!   It has glutinous Japanese rice, slices of mango and crab with chopped cucumber pieces wrapped in nori and topped with mayonaise-like dressing and fish roe; it appeared and tasted like an improved version of California maki.

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We were provided a huge cardboard menu by the friendly wait staff but we also went to the counter to check out other things to try.  Then our son Gabby pointed at his preferred cake at the counter so we ordered.  He’s a bit choosy when it comes to solid food so we usually give in to some of his requests.  He liked this Choco Royal (PhP 80).

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The Bubble Tea’s Choco Royal’s filling has soft-melt-in-your-mouth consistency from different textured chocolates. Gabby’s happy with it, he almost finished the entire serving.  IMG_2409

Ofcourse, what’s a visit to Bubble Tea without sampling their Milk Tea or shakes.  They’re called Bubble tea referring not to the frothy beverages but to those chewy tapioca.  My wife ordered Taro Milk Tea (PhP 85) with extra egg pudding (Php 15) while I tried Choco Milk Tea (PhP 75) with extra egg pudding as well.  We both liked the Taro Milk Tea for being flavorful and I personally prefer it over what I’ve ordered since it has that Jasmine tea aroma that came in perfect blend with the egg pudding and tapioca; it was really refreshing and offered a twist from similar taro pudding and drinks that we’ve tried before.

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Gabby looked excited to sip those two tall glasses of bubble milk teas..

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Other than the varied choices of milk teas and different flavors of iced cold beverages, Bubble Tea’s menu also has Oishi pizza, some choices of pasta and Japanese rice bowls. The service was quick, the staff were courteous and friendly with ready smiles to their clients and didn’t forget to bid us good bye as we left their resto that weekend afternoon.

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Bubble Tea  -Tokyo Milk Tea Place. G/F SM the Block, North EDSA, Q.C.

22
Jun
09

TATAY-DOC’S DAY!

Warning : This post contains gastronomically stimulating photos and you may want to have a glass of water with you while you view. Enjoy…

I celebrated Father’s day with my wife, Tina and our son, Gabby for two consecutive days at two different venues.  Needless to say, I’ve got the happiest stomach last weekend!

After Gabby and I got sick of mild viral infection last week, this year’s Daddy’s day out had more meaning by being thankful that we both regained our health as if nothing happened.  It’s but logical to enjoy the weekend and savor another family bonding moment.  We attended anticipated mass last Saturday afternoon at Greenbelt Chapel  (that I’m posting after this entry) after our hearty lunch in Glorietta 3.   Amidst the countless restaurants in Makati, there’s one spot where Gabby loves kani tempura  the best… yes, our 4-year-old son already prefers crab tempura better than hotdogs and burgers!  So we usually have buffet brunch or dinner at one of the affordable buffets in the Metro, where else but…

 

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That’s my first platter of sushi, tempura and few slices of sashimi from Saisaki.  Dad’s Ultimate Buffet includes Saisaki and Kamayan that offer Japanese and Pinoy food spreads respectively (and continental for Dad’s).  We always have these blue plates which also mean cross-over buffet or access to those 3 buffet sections. 

And just after finding our table at Saisaki, the manager on duty  (ispooting na ispooting in tux, LOL) asked us if we would like our Ebi tempura to be served at our table (so as to avoid stampede at the buffet spread-JOKE!), he got my approval ofcourse!  I was too weak to resist, LOL.

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Then I walked through the open kitchen where I found my favorite Japanese soup Sukiyaki  (I’m not a fan of miso soup, sorry), while  Gabby opted for the thick and creamy seafood chowder from Kamayan.   Take your pick…

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Surprisingly,  SAISAKI was having a theme of SUSHI IN THE CITY (a delicious spoof of sex and the city series) so the spread of sushi and sashimi improved a lot better since we last dined there few months back.  The yummies were presented more stimulating to the palate and to eyes.  If you like these Japanese starters, feast your eyes on this spread… (I repeat : these plates were at spread, not on our table, LOL)

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There’s an art in every roll…

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It’s advisable to call and make a reservation for table/s  or at least to be early before the doors open at 11AM for lunch or at 6PM for dinner buffet.  We were just on time for lunch last Saturday and I’ve clicked my cam on those gastronomic delights.  Those tamago rolls (egg)  are one of my favorites, with California maki and other sushi. The tuna and salmon sashimi were just right at every slice, without that fishy after taste, they were really perfect for soyed wasabi! 

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By mere posting this I’m craving again for those yummy sushi!   Tina had her own preference, this was her plate… 8

I like that shredded crab sticks with Japanese sticky rice and generous slice of ripe mango wrapped in nori;  my wife shared it to me and it was really sarap!

Now if you don’t fancy those sushi and sashimi, I can’t blame you but you should know you’re missing the world, LOL, anyway, you might be interested with the other spread most especially the desserts…

Before those delightful sweets, let me show you the plate I didn’t finish… well, almost. I just stuffed and hid the few slices of left-overs with tissue papers and used chopsticks … This was my carnivorous-protein-rich platter from Dad’s and Kamayan… While on the right was my surprised gift from Enervon prime adult milk given by a promo lady.

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The roasted pig’s skin was crispy as expected. I also enjoyed the salty sweet ham from Dad’s but I was surprised that the staff in the carving station put 3 slices of ham on my plate when I only asked for one. I didn’t notice it because my eyes were glued to the other dishes, LOL.   So I failed to eat them all, sayang.  The roast beef was not that tender. I asked for 2 slices from the medium well-done part but still it didn’t pass my expectation. But the Lengua from Dad’s is always a winner for me.  The slices were far from having gum-consistency and the mushroom gravy was also perfect.  Tina also had ceasars salad from this spread which she shared with me. It’s healthy to eat fruits and veggies in between during buffet dining…

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There’s so much more food in Kamayan but we only had few bites of bibingka with muscovado and puto-bumbong…

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On with those desserts :  This was Gabby’s plate after he munched on those kani tempura.

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His mom got those for him from these plates at the buffet…

10  11 

Tina and Gabby got scoops of ice cream in strawberry, mocha and chocolate flavors.  The scoops were also bottomless however we only had these cups and tasted other favorite sweet treats…

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While Gabby was enjoying these bite-sized cakes and pastries, I got some fibrous fruits from Saisaki and Tina had Buco-pandan from Kamayan…

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When I paid the bill, I asked the manager to validate my DAD’S  HAPPY DINER card (which they hand in to customers after dining) and by doing so, we’ve completed 10 required signatures thus we’re already given one FREE BUFFET on our next visit (Mon-Thurs) before August 19.  Count few weeks and we’re off to Dad’s again, LOL.

After each buffet in Makati, whether it’s on Dad’s Saisaki Kamayan or in hotels (we’ve tried Dusit Thani and Shangri La’s Circles Events Cafe, you may want to hit my search engine here to view those posts) we always try to roam the entire Makati shopping district, LOL, to burn those calories and cholesterol we ingested.   So after that “ultimate” lunch, we strolled Landmark, Glorietta and Greenbelt which I’ll post next…

BURP!

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DAD’S ULTIMATE BUFFET include KAMAYAN & SAISAKI -GLORIETTA 3 MAKATI – (632) 892-8898. 

Ultimate Buffet costs PhP 590 for adults, half price for kids.

28
Apr
09

FANATIQUE

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When I posted something about  BIZU  after Tina, Gabby and I went to their branch at Promenade, Greenhills,  I honestly didn’t expect the owner herself will read my blog and best, drop a comment here .  She personally asked for my contact infos and promised to issue me a BIZU FANATIQUE CARD  for FREE which offers 10% discount valid until 2011, to be claimed few days after I replied to her staff via email from the same branch.  And for that, BIZU is really SWEET!    

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We went to Bizu Promenade not only to claim the card but also to have a sugar boost, 

well not quite;   because some of their wonderful cakes are sugarless, even  flourless.

Take a glimpse at our late afternoon glucose loading…              

 

NAOMI  SUGARLESS :  a combination of sugarless milk & dark chocolate mousse between LAYERS of chocolate cake sprayed with cocoa liqueur.  PhP 195 / 735 / 1,430.

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JOLIE,  SUGARLESS and FLOURLESS :  sugarless and flourless chocolate Kahlua mousse cake with hazelnuts and special chiboust cream.  PhP 195 / 775 / 1735.

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AMOUR : Valrhona orange chocolate mousse in between layers of creme brulee and brownie. 

PhP  185 / 810 /1810. 

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SWEETER than BIZU are moments like these….

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GLUCOSE OF MY LIFE :  my son Gabby & wife Tina, 

naks!  =)

15
Apr
09

CONTI’S

Physiologically speaking, there are three phases of regulation of gastric (stomach) secretion & motility (bowel movement a.k.a peristalsis). These 3 phases are CEPHALIC, Gastric & Intestinal Phases. I’d just like to point out that there is really a scientific basis on how our digestive system is stimulated with the mere sight or an aroma, or taste of food or any beverage. Upon visual, olfactory (smell), gustatory (taste) stimulations, these send signal to the brain activating the “parasympathetic or cholinergic” responses. As result, the parasympathetic neurotransmitter acetylcholine will be release from the nerve endings in the head & elsewhere enough to stimulate salivation, gastric acid secretion, & bowel movement. In short, cephalic phase of gastric secretion & motility regulation is as simple as making the stomach ready for digestion. Getz? Now these medical concepts explain why even as simple as looking at photos of food, we tend to feel hungry or make us salivate, worse drool of hunger, LOL.

Enough with the blah blahs of medicine. My blog is called BEYOND TOXICITY for one reason that I don’t intend to post anything TOO medical & stick to my other interests which include FOOD ofcourse! View the rest of this post & see if there’s truth to CEPHALIC PHASE of gastric stimulation, LOL.

This afternoon, I & my wife Tina (without Gabby this time, he needed to stay home for we went to a wake before we) went to Trinoma mall in Quezon City for a much needed grocery shopping. Before doing so, we decided to eat merienda (afternoon snack) at CONTI’S.

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I like the interiors of Conti’s. It’s relaxed, comfy, in cool yellow & fresh green palettes. The seats & tables are also uncomplicated for the pleasure of simple dining experience. Even the toilet, though small, is adequate with essentials & basically clean. Most of all the foods are special at Conti’s; so affordable too! The entrees are deliciously stimulating, the pastries & cakes, for the lack of better description, look good taste even better (oops, sounds like other food’s tag line!)

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And my wife’s meticulous & picky taste for nice foods was satisfied. We were both content with what we ordered & promised ourselves to eat frequently at Conti’s to try something else next.

These are what we feast on…

PHILLY CHEESESTAKE, PhP 160.
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LINGUINE in PESTO SAUCE with SEAFOOD, PhP 220.
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I love PESTO. I love SEAFOODS. I love them both in pasta. This is simply delicious!

MANGO BRAVO, slice PhP 105.
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This is also lovely. I love anything with mangoes, most especially if mangoes are chilled. This is one of the yummiest mango-based cakes I’ve tasted. Its sweetness is just right. It’s not irritating to the teeth. Makes you not feel guilty of eating glucose-rich. What’s interesting with this cake are its various layers that render different texture to palate. It has the usual icing, & a bit splash of chocolate, & most of all, it has layers of broas (lady fingers). Definitely a must-try whenever you visit Conti’s.

We were looking at the fridge near the counter where they keep the cakes on sale, & my eyes were glued for few minutes at the whole MANGO BRAVO cakes. I politely asked the lady at the cashier counter if I can take photos for my blog of those yummiest mango cakes but unfortunately she was clueless if i can click my cam. So I just told her, “Miss it’s Ok, never mind…” But don’t get me wrong, it was really OK (but it would be better if she said yes, considering this is FREE ADVERTISEMENT for them… I just wish she knows what blogging is, LOL, no pun intended! ) other staff especially the waiters on duty a while ago were efficient with getting orders & refilling our botomless iced teas (Php 70).

We just can’t go without pasalubong for our 4-year-old son Gabby. We opted to buy Conti’s ensaymada, PhP 25 each.
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It’s surely WON’T be our last visit at Conti’s.
Can’t wait to try other food & pastries from their menu.

Burp!

————————————-
Conti’s Pastry Shop & Restaurant
P1 Level Trinoma
Edsa corner North Avenue, Quezon City
Tel No.: (63-2) 900-5013 / 900-5014 to 15.
Mobile : +63 922 881 9127.

02
Apr
09

BIZU !

My wife & I were craving for BIZU cakes last night.
So this afternoon, after our lunch at Le Ching Tea House in Shoppesville,
Tina, Gabby & I went to Bizu Patisserie in Promenade, Greenhills.

We simply love how baked goodies are prepared & presented in Bizu.
It was such a feast to the senses!
I envy those chefs who prepare such delectable works of art.
By mere looking at those sweet treats made me realized more that perhaps
I can be a chef too one day, as my son also dreams of becoming one.
But for now, we’re happy being food enthusiasts.

These are the sweet pleasures from BIZU…

sweet treats not only to the palate but to the eyes as well...

sweet treats not only to the palate but to the eyes as well...

Then another glass stores these macaroons with flavors such as
Caramel, Raspberry, Blueberry, Mango, Lemon, Rose, Coffee,
Vanilla, Chocolate, Pistachio, Cherry Chocolate, Orange & Mint.
Bizu calls it MACARONS DE PARIS !
Gabby found it hard to choose on those colorful flavored macaroons…

spectrum of colors & flavors

spectrum of colors & flavors

Our plates had…
MANGO CHIBOUST for me…
Luscious fresh mangoes crown Bizu’s most famous French-style cheesecake.
I like it so much. Lovely, isn’t it?
I enjoyed looking at it first &
took me few minutes before taking the first bite from this intricate decadent pleasure.
Those slices of mangoes were perfectly chilled before it was shaped into rose petals.

mango chiboust : simply divine

mango chiboust : simply divine


PhP 185/ per personal serving (+ 10% service charge)
also available in larger/whole servings : Midi : PhP 810 / Grande: PhP 1515

BABYLON was the cheesecake Tina enjoyed…
Light raspberry mousse between layers of infused almond sponge with a crème brulee surprise.

looks great, tastes BERRY good...

looks great, taste BERRY good...


PhP 150/ per personal serving (+ 10% service charge)
also available in larger/whole servings : Midi : PhP 545 / Grande: PhP 1330

MACAROONS for our 4-year-old son Gabby….
He chose Blueberry, Pistachio, Chocolate & Butterscotch.
He didn’t finish it all, so I ate 2 of them, lol.

bizu has it as MACARONS DE PARIS

bizu has it as MACARONS DE PARIS


Per piece PhP 35 (+ 10% service charge)
Box of 8 PhP 265
Box of 14 PhP 455
Box of 28 PhP 895

Burp, burp !

Was that heavenly sweet or what?

—————————–
Sourced from http://www.bizupatisserie.com & I quote :
“BIZU was coined from the French word “Bisous”. Translated in English, the word means kiss. “Beso-beso”, the Filipino term for kissing, is one of the most endearing and enduring qualities of Filipinos. We kiss one another to show gratitude, happiness, excitement, love and affection. A kiss inspires. And this inspiration begets energy. This energy, in turn, begets creativity. BIZU was born out of this inspiration. From this inspiration came the unique selection of cakes and pastries that were truly made to inspire.”

BIZU PATISSERIE AND BISTRO
Greenhills
The Promenade, Greenhills Shopping Center
Tel. No.: (63-2) 724-2498 • 726-2496

Greenbelt 2
G/L Greenbelt 2, Ayala Center, Makati City
Tel. Nos.: (63-2) 757-BIZU • 757-4749

BIZU PATISSERIE AND CAFÉ

Glorietta 4
3/L Glorietta 4, Ayala Center, Makati City
Tel. Nos.: (63-2) 757-2086

Alabang Towncenter
G/L Corte Delas Palmas, Alabang Towncenter, Muntinlupa City
Tel. No.: (63-2) 809-BIZU • 772-1917 • 772-1918

05
Feb
09

mi piaci CIBO

It’s very comforting to eat food served with so much preparation & distinctly good taste. Other than chinese food, I & Tina also love italian, or at least for me – perhaps anything with tomatoes, cheese or pesto. I suddenly miss eating at Cibo after swinging into a blog called our awesome planet. We’ve tried Cibo’s branches at Shangri-la, Gateway & Trinoma malls and at ABS-CBN’s ELJ bldg. Although they serve the same menu, if my observation is right, no Cibo branch looks the same but all Cibo interiors are very contemporary which make dining experience more interesting & remarakable. Before having another plate at Cibo, I decided to repost photos of our favorites from the menu…

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