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!

chinahouse george town penang

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!

chinahouse george town penang

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

chinahouse george town penang

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.

chinahouse george town penang

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!

chinahouse george town penang

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

Untitled

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).
chinahouse george town penang

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.

chinahouse george town penang
chinahouse george town penang
chinahouse george town penang
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!!!

_______________________

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.

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

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

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

soup

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

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

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

HYPERGLYCEMIA  : REDEFINED

desserts 0

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

desserts 8
desserts 9
desserts baskin robbins
Who knew my family and I could enjoy an eat-all-you-want Baskin Robbins ice cream? I don’t know about you, but for jologs like me, it’s a big deal already! A BIG PLUS for this buffet actually! ;)
So my sweet tooth became happier again with every scoop of Baskin Robbins included in the buffet spread. I had Mint Chocolate Chip and Vanilla which are two of my favorite flavors, I also had Strawberry Sherbet and Green Tea. I was content with just the scoops sans toppings and syrups. I’m a purist when it comes to ice cream or at least in this occasion.
desserts g cafe g hotel penang baskin robbins
While Tina was in bliss with her gummies toppings over her Baskin Robbins…
desserts g cafe g hotel penang baskin robbins 1
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!
desserts 10
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!
desserts 5
How about a munch-all-you-want macarons? Heavenly. Just heavenly.
desserts 3
The birthday boy loves cheesecake…We all do!
desserts 4
Mini Cupcakes, FTW!
desserts 6
I’m now lost for superlatives to describe these…*drooling*
desserts 7
desserts 2
desserts 1
One of Tina’s dessert plates… yes, one of them! :)
desserts g cafe g hotel penang 2
While here’s a shameless display of mine…
desserts g cafe g hotel penang 1
After a great and hearty meal, must have coffee.
coffee
And before you forget it’s Gabby’s 8th birthday celebration, here’s the documentation of that special moment…
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G Cafe at G Hotel became uberly generous again in granting my request to provide a FREE birthday cake with a candle for Gabby to blow. Thank you so much, G Cafe! …And just so you know, Gabby held the bread knife to slice his birthday cake just like a CIRUJANO would do an incision; we didn’t coach him to do so. :)
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The necessary family portrait…
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2
Happy 8th Birthday, son! WE LOVE YOU VERY MUCH!

___________________

*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




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