Posts Tagged ‘restaurants

18
Nov
13

BURGER COMPANY GOODNESS!

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Although I was privileged to live and work for 3 years in the so-called, gastronomic state of Malaysia that’s the island paradise of Penang, where dishes from multi-cultural races of Malays, Chinese and Indians directly exposed my palates and satisfied my curiosity for flavors that were previously so foreign to me, I honestly have been craving for some good Western staples! It isn’t because the usual fast food joints, restaurants and local eateries there don’t serve quality burgers but after 2010, I can count the times I had a bite on really tasteful beefy burgers.

So when a fellow Filipino blogger, Richard of http://www.talesfromthetummy.com invited me to sample Burger Company in Quezon City, along with other foodie blogger friends, I had no hesitation to go. I noted the date of the invite as early as a couple of weeks before I came home to Manila.

16 November 2013, Saturday. I arrived the earliest at Burger Company at 11:30AM, that gave me extra time to appreciate the newest burger food place in Quezon City. I captured a few shots of their little corner with colored post-its left by diners who already enjoyed what’s-on-their-menu. I liked the place in an instant as it’s very casual, modest and non-intimidating. Staff was also courteous and customer-friendly.

Then not long after, Richard arrived and the gang came, one after another, in full force and I’m guessing, with huge appetites for burgers. It was such a relaxing afternoon-meet over delicious burgers and some starters. :)

We checked out the menu and surprisingly to me, Burger Company doesn’t only serve Angus Beef Burgers and Chicken Burgers but also Rib Eye Steak for a very affordable cost. However, my brain’s satiety center didn’t entertain the steak but my craving for beef burgers!

Here’s what we sampled.

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Parmesan Fries. American Fries tossed in parmesan cheese.

Don’t be fooled by my photo above. That serving of Parmesan Fries was already almost half as we ate it first prior taking a shot, hehehe!  It’s that good!

Then second to land on our table was one of a personal favorites. Nachos! Burger Company’s version made it even more enticing! Corn nachos were served in a big basket for sharing, and apparently, it’s not the usual yellow but red and dark brown! Topped with cheese sauce, ground beef and sour cream, served with tomato salsa; I simply couldn’t get off my fingers off it. I liked it a lot!
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Nachos Overload. Yummy!

If it’s a toss between Fries and Onion Rings, I’ll always choose the latter. Call me weird or something but I frequently dip it in mayonnaise (Do you do that too?). What made Burger Company’s 8oz Onion Rings different from what I usually eat, it’s crispier and nice sans my favorite mayo-dip.

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80z Crispy Onion Rings.

I thought I had enough of spicy and hot dishes in Penang that made me develop an aversion to chili-flavored foods. Wrong! I was weak to resist and tried at least one of those bacon-wrapped jalapeno fritters, served with tomato salsa. It has cheese filling too!

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Bacon-Jalapeno Fritters.

Those may be artery-clogging, or in our vocabulary – atherosclerosis and hyperlipidemia-inducing, but only when ingested religiously. It won’t harm if you just sample it for craving’s sake! Tee-hee!

Served next was obviously, the king of fries at Burger Company.

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Fries Overload. American Fries topped with cheese sauce, ground beef and bacon.

The happy problem at Burger Company was choosing what to order from their impressive menu. I passed up on the Chicken Burger and tried one of the Angus Beef Burger varieties. I’m happy to sample, Double Striker’s Burger! It tasted as great as it looks on photo!

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The Striker’s Burger (double). 

With lettuce, tomato, double Angus beef patties, cheese, double bacon, crisscut fries, champignon mushroom and cheese sauce, the Burger Company’s Double Striker’s Burger made a home run victory on my taste buds! Sarap!

Now, here’s a shameless rundown of what my foodie blogger friends enjoyed. Just a WARNING though – Get yourself a cold glass of water before scrolling down further; and you might want to control salivating too. Indulge on the photos! :)

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Hawaii Five-O. Lettuce, tomato, Angus patty, grilled and seasoned pineapple, cheese, chipotle aioli, red onions.

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Mexican Chipotle. Lettuce, tomato, Angus patty, cheese, braised chipotle, sour cream.

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Cajun Chicken & Blues. Lettuce, tomato, cajun chicken fillet, cheese, bacon, gorgonzola dressing.

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Green Chile and Sour Cream. Lettuce, tomato, Angus patty, cheese, pickled green chile, sour cream.

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Cheese Classic. Lettuce, tomato, Angus patty, cheese.

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Bacon & Cheese. Lettuce, tomato, Angus patty, cheese, bacon.

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The Volcano. Lettuce, tomato, Angus patty, cheese, bacon, chipotle aioli, battered onion rings.

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PB&J. Lettuce, tomato, Angus patty, cheese, homemade peanut butter, bacon jam, bacon, Louisiana BBQ sauce.

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Gorgonzola & Mushroom. Lettuce, tomato, Angus patty, cheese, sauteed oyster mushroom, gorgonzola.

And there’s more variety to choose from on the menu! What looks delicious to you?

Just when you still have appetite and stomach-room for more, as mentioned, Burger Company also offers Buffalo Wings. They served 3 flavors to us but I only tasted the mildest one. Not bad actually!

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NY Classic Buffalo Wings.

I usually notice and like little and nice details even on a restaurant’s menu. The Burger Company may have a simple menu, but the names and flavors of their dishes, sauces and whatnot are all well-thought-of.

Quirky Names on the Menu. The 6-piece-Buffalo Wings is named Bantam Weight (PhP 135), 10-piece is called Medium Weigh (PhP 195), 14-piece tagged as Heavy Weight (PhP 260).

Burn, baby, burn! The choices of flavors for the Buffalo Wings that will surely challenge your spice tolerance include :

  • Classic Series (New York Classic, Firefighter’s Pride, El Nino, Global Warming),
  • Signature Series (Carribean Surf, Chili & Lime, Smoked Chili, Cocoa & Chili, Asian Samurai, Salt & Vinegar),
  • BBQ Series (Louisiana, A&W, Mexican).

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Strawberry Milkshake.

To help you wash down those burgers and chicken wings, beverage menu includes local sodas, Imported sodas (A&W, Dr. Pepper, Cherry Coke), Sola Iced Tea, Home-brewed Iced Tea, Lime-Aid (lemon soda with fresh lime juice & syrup), Soda Float, Milkshake. Drinks cost from PhP 35 – 125.

Desserts include Fire & Ice Cake (Chocolate decadent cake with a hint of chili at the end), Chocolate Chocnut Mousse, NY Cheesecake, Apple pie at affordable prices of PhP 100 – PhP 130 per serving.

On Going Promo :

JR. Burger Boss – Just add PhP 80 to your favorite burger, and choose from a solo order of American, Crisscut or Parmesan Fries, or Buffalo Trax- their spicy crisscut fries, and a glass of Home-brewed Iced Tea (upgrade to bottomless for PhP 40, Soda Float for PhP 80, or Milkshake for PhP 80).

Burger Boss – Just add PhP 165 to your favorite burger, and choose from a solo order of Fries (American, Crisscut, or Parmesan or Buffalo Trax- their spicy crisscut fries), 4 pieces of NY Buffalo Wings with your choice of signature dips, and a glass of Home-brewed Iced Tea (upgrade to bottomless for PhP 40, Soda Float for PhP 80, or Milkshake for PhP 80).

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Spot where I left this blog’s mark. :)

So next time you find yourself somewhere at the heart of Quezon City, craving for delightful and affordable burger goodness, bring your taste buds to Burger Company!

Burger Company | 72B Scout Reyes corner Mother Ignacia Avenue, Brgy. Paligsahan, Quezon City, Metro Manila | Operating hours 11AM to 11PM | follow them on facebook : /BurgerCompanyPh | on twitter @BurgerCompanyPh | on Instagram @burgercompanyph | Visit them, indulge and please do let them know that you read about Burger Company here on docgelo.com :)

GOOGLE MAPS BURGER COMPANY
via Google map.

Special thanks to our fellow blogger, Richard of http://www.talesfromthetummy.com for the invitation, Alvin Ong of Burger Company for accomodating us, and of course to the foodie gang that I met, thank you very much for such satisfying and fun afternoon!

>><<

08
Jul
13

WINE & DINE BUFFET DINNER AT SARKIES, E&O HOTEL PENANG

I’m no food and wine connoisseur but I absolutely trust my senses and personal favorites. I’m also proud that my young and beautiful family acquired their very own personal preferences. We’re all grateful for the chance to experience again, another delightful challenge to our taste buds and appetites.  Last weekend, July 6th, 2013, Saturday, we went back to Eastern & Oriental Hotel Penang for another casual yet memorable gastronomic feast at Sarkies! With the warm and friendly service, remarkable of E&O, we felt so home already!

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My wife, Tina & our son, Gabby at one charming corner of the Heritage Wing, E&O Hotel, Penang.

We were there to try their Wine and Dine Buffet Dinner that’s offered at Sarkies every Friday and Saturday. Free flow of red and white wines, beer and fruit punches. Children in tow could also indulge in fruit blends and other beverages that perfectly paired Sarkies’ buffet spread.

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Red or white? a can of beer, perhaps?

But why do we love Sarkies at Eastern & Oriental Hotel Penang? 

Allow me to count the reasons in random order.

Elegant Yet Casual Ambiance.

Either al fresco dining with the priceless view of the Malacca Strait and the tropical Malaysian breeze caressing you while you indulge during sundown, or dining inside the airconditioned areas near the spread, it’s always a visual treat to see tasteful interiors patterned after the history of this heritage hotel. Fixtures and furnitures are simply impressive!

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The Live-Kitchen-Stations

It’s entertaining to see how chefs turn your choice of ingredients into a culinary masterpiece! Sure, it’s a common thing among food & beverage outlets in other hotels but what makes that of Sarkies different from the rest is the friendly service of their staff, from the ones handling the pans to those courteous staff who sets and clears up the tables.

Talking about Live Kitchen Stations, Tina delighted herself with a tasteful bowl of koay teow soup, filled with freshest seafoods that the chef whipped up from those raw ingredients she selected at Sarkies’ Noodle Station.

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Go Local!

Even Malaysian dishes are cooked, grilled, fried and whatnot upon request. Beef or lamb chops, chicken satay, anyone?

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The freshest and the widest variety of seafoods on this side of Malaysia!

Mostly are imported with great quality and taste! Tell me, how many hotels around offer these kind of seafood goodness? Alaskan Snow Crab Claws, Spanner Crab (those hairy curacha crabs we call back home are a new addition to the seafood spread at Sarkies) Poached Black Mussels, New Zealand Mussels, Duo of Gravlax, Norwegian Salmon, Barramundi or Asian seabass, Oysters on Ice, Prawns to name a few.  All for a dinner price that’s surprisingly reasonable; far better than what our family sampled from buffets in premier hotels back home. Sarkies’ seafood choices are simply glorious!  Continue scrolling down,  just be mindful not to drool. :P

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Quick Refills! Eye-candy!

The spread is frequently refilled; you won’t see any station screaming for generous and quick refill; no need! Furthermore, the presentations of dishes are simply enticing!

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Favorite of locals and foreigners alike!

Res ipsa loquitor. Back when I was having my haywire med-school days, I learned this Latin phrase in Legal Medicine that literally means, “the thing speaks for itself.”  Apparently, each time we get a chance to dine at Sarkies in E&O, we see hungry patrons -both local and foreign alike packed the dining areas once the doors open at 7PM for dinner. A proof that Sarkies’  food choices, service, ambiance and all are worthy of thumbs up!  

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If you’ve been following this blog for quite some time now, you should expect that this is the part when the site shamelessly displays what we wolf down! For what purpose, you may ask?  Must there be a reason for everything we do? Life is damn short so cut the logic and just indulge with this visual feast! Inhale deeply. Exhale forcibly. Get yourself a tall glass of cold water and you know the drill: Thou shall not drool! :P

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Some are used to prawn and steak or lobster and steak version of Surf and Turf. Here’s my own Surf and Turf plate – I paired that very tender and delicious Roasted Beef with Cheesy Baked Scallops (which I think, was a dish considered upon our family’s suggestion the last time we had dinner at Sarkies; blog post HERE!). Sedap!!! Sarap!!!

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We also sampled Sarkies’ lobsters! It was generously served at our table by the staff. One may find this lobster dish on the dry side, particularly when you prefer those steamed and juicy ones but this from Sarkies was made more flavorful with the special gravy that came with it (not in photo); that dip/gravy was a fusion of mint, assam or tamarind with other secret herbs according to our taste buds. 

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We also enjoyed those savory chops of roasted duck! Those duckie slices tasted they’re cooked in two ways. Both delicious, you wouldn’t wish it to be wrapped anymore.

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After our 8-year-old-son, Gabby finished his handsome plate of Roasted Beef, he also had Angel Hair Carbonara served directly to our table upon request to the Chef.

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Heavenly Desserts.

Sarkies has Ice Cream Bar that looks nothing but classy with those dark wooden shutters as backdrop (you don’t get that Heritage-style interiors from an ordinary food place), cakes and pastries that could challenge the foodie in you!

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Our dessert plates…

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Such a friendly dining place!

Best of all, Sarkies provides a non-intimidating venue where special and memorable moments beyond our home are made!

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We’re happy diners! :)

Gabby met Dylan, son of one of the hotel’s managers. This boy’s presence and his mom and dad made our dinner extra-pleasant! People of E&O Hotel Penang, in general are the friendliest!

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And by the way, we brought along with us THE well-traveled, Manila’s Heritage expert, Ivan Man Dy of OldManilaWalks.Com who revisited Penang for this year’s George Town Festival. Tina and I were so glad that Ivan also found everything at Sarkies at par with his standards (or I bet, even beyond his expectations!).

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Ivan Man Dy (center) went wacky with Sarkies’ authentic Chicken Satay! Visit Penang again and savor more of Sarkies & the rest of E&O, Ivan!  We certainly spent good time during that dinner at Sarkies!

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I had Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 from Australia Utah. Cheers! :)

Special thanks to Ms. Eileen for the invites and of course, to the people behind Sarkies at E&O Hotel Penang for this wonderful dinner!  For each time that we go to E&O and its F&B outlets, remarkable moments are always experienced!

*Wine and Dine Buffet Dinner at Sarkies, every Fridays and Saturdays, 7PM-10:30PM. RM 148++ (or US$ 46.15 per adult), RM 65++ (or US$ 20.27 per child) with free flow of wine, beer and fruit punch.

Check out the other offerings at E&O’s food and beverage outlets :

eastern & oriental hotel penang
eastern & oriental hotel penang
eastern and oriental hotel penang

Sarkies is also having Jamuan Buka Puasa from July 9 to August 7, 2013 at 7PM-10:30PM, with rates of RM 96++ per adult and RM 48++ per child from Sunday to Tuesday and rates of RM 110++ per adult and RM 65++ per child from Wednesday to Saturday. Spend breaking of the fast during this year’s Ramadhan season at Sarkies in E&O!

For more details and to make your reservations, contact : Sarkies at Eastern & Oriental Hotel, Penang | website : www.e-o-hotel.com/sarkies

This blog’s other posts about Eastern and Oriental Hotel include :

19
May
13

1885 : E&O HOTEL PENANG’S FINE DINING RESTAURANT

Memorable. It was one of our most unforgettable dining experiences ever. We’re eternally grateful!

05/17/13, Friday, Eastern & Oriental Hotel Penang, Malaysia. My family and I were fortunately invited by E&O to a 3D2N luxury accomodation at one of the five-123-square-meter-Corner Suites, among its 117 units of 55-square-meter-Superior Suites located at the newly built, Victory Annexe wing (our experience & views on the hotel suites, other F&Bs & facilities  plus our personal recommendations will be on a separate post on this blog series about E&O).

On top of the many exclusive privileges for guests at Victory Annexe that my family and I enjoyed, such as daily breakfast in either Sarkies at its ground floor (which we already sampled previously; blog post HERE!) or in Planter’s Lounge at its 6th level that also serves evening cocktails, E&O was more than generous to invite us as well, to a weekend family dinner at the hotel’s fine dining restaurant, 1885.

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My son & I at the living room of E&O Hotel Penang’s Corner Suite before heading to dinner at 1885.

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My wife, Tina & our son, Gabby at the hallway connecting Victory Annexe Wing & Heritage Wing.

1885 is located at the ground floor of the historical Heritage Wing of Eastern & Oriental Hotel Penang, which is a few-meter-walk from where we checked in. Stepping inside the restaurant felt surreal; the atmosphere was absolutely different. I silently observed Tina and Gabby’s reactions when all of us allowed the moment to just sink in. It was truly an amazing treat for the three of us!

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“Named for the year that the E&O Hotel was established, 1885 offers classical yet contemporary cuisine in an elegant environment in the finest traditions of colonial fine dining.

The selection of inventive fusion dishes from our accomplished chefs, accompanied by a superb selection of wines, marks 1885 as the perfect choice for an enjoyable dining experience.

Traditional English Afternoon Tea is also served in this elegant setting. Candlelit tables, starched linens, silver service, and attentive staff create a magical experience.” ~sourced from http://e-o-hotel.com/1885/

Every table was set simply in tuned with the E&O’s theme : Timeless elegance.

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The view from where we sat.

A set menu was specially prepared for us courtesy of the Chef, who happened to be on a special assignment in another Malaysian state that night. Nonetheless, the 6-course-meal was obviously well thought of and was nothing short of impressive.

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The set menu for Tina & I.

One of the strongest points that impressed us with 1885 was the fact that they provided a kiddie-dinner-menu for Gabby. Believe me, having  separate adult and children’s menus means so much for a family of diners! As in our case, Gabby got to exercise his decision making when he trusted his very own taste in selecting between choices from appetizers to entrees and desserts.

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Waiting for our orders was never an issue since we’re entertained by a very soothing and relaxing music that further enhanced the over all ambience of 1885 and of course, made our lovely epicurean experience even more remarkable. A pianist was playing pieces from our wonder years! Love songs commonly heard on the radio during late 80s and 90s were beautifully played on the piano throughout our 7PM to 11PM dinner.

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I didn’t expect 1885 to be filled with diners that night but tables were almost packed. I may have underestimated not the restaurant itself,  but the choices of guests when it comes to eating places in Penang. It was a great proof that there’s really a market for high-end and quality-dining amidst the volume of affordable hawkers in this Malaysian gastronomic paradise!

Our dinner kicked off with a variety of breads on a basket carried by waiters from table to table.

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Herbed and salted butter on bread never fails to stimulate!

Tina and I opted to have different entrees. The choices were usual but the plates were extraordinary.  It was a toss between seared fish and baked steak. In as much as I wanted to dunk my fork on a handsome slice of Wagyu Fillet Mignon, I allowed Tina to have it since she liked it over the cod fish and I thought, she’d eventually share it with me, and she did, hehehe!

Because we’re having fish and beef dishes, white and red wines to complement everything were mandatory. I like! :)

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The service of 1885 staff was impeccable. They were highly courteous, quick and attentive. Kudos! To us, they deserve a raise! :)

Not merely because we’re far from being wine connoisseurs (well, surely we’re not!) but I personally have confidence with established restaurants’ recommendations. So when one of the staff asked us of what wines we like, we threw the question back to him politely. With a smile, he instantly suggested Fire Road Pinot Noir 2011 from New Zealand and LFE Chardonnay 2012 from Chile.

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Fire Road Pinot Noir 2011, New Zealand.

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Luis Felipe Edwards Chardonnay 2012, Chile.

It was indeed, a fine dining but our conversation remained casual. Gabby discussed his wishes on how to celebrate his upcoming 9th birthday in his school here this October; he already had ideas in mind from the cake, to his requested fried chicken fillet strips with home-made gravy for his mom to prepare for his classmates and teachers, and the gifts that he’d like to receive -what else but toys!

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While Tina & I were savoring wines, the little boy wonder was gulping iced water. :)

One by one, our plates arrived on our table.

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Amuse Bouche.  This bite-sized hors d’œuvre was Ratatouille; rich with tomatoes and veggies. With no overpowering flavor, Tina and I found it just fine.

Between Tomato Soup and Creme of Mushroom, Gabby chose the latter and he liked it a lot, leaving his soup bowl empty in few sec.

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Creme of Mushroom Soup, Buttered Crouton

The greens came in next.

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Rocket Salad. Cherry Tomato, Herb Ricotta Cheese Crouton Cracked Black Pepper

Must have detailed shot…

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I asked my wife if she like it the way I do and we’re both on the same page. Cheesy and crunchy leaves with mild hints of anchovies. The fusion was effectively tasteful!

If Gabby had Creme of Mushroom Soup, Tina and I had the Lobster Bisque.

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Lobster Bisque. Lobster Fricassee, Garlic Bread Croutons. We both love seafoods; no explanations needed.

Then it was time to cleanse the palates.

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Sorbet

The test of patience and understanding happened when a wait staff committed mistake in mentally jotting down the orders. Between Carbonara and Bolognese Pasta, our little-big boy told the waiter he likes the former. After several minutes of waiting, a pasta plate with red sauce landed on our table.

Gabby to Tina : “Ma, is this Carbonara?”

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Pasta Bolognese

We looked at each other and without wasting a minute, I called the attention of the waiter. Told him that our boy wants Carbonara and not Bolognese. The staff apologized, took the plate and positively replied that he’ll prepare another plate with Carbonara sauce; he even asked us if he can use Rigatoni. To me, that’s being customer-friendly!

Gabby’s choice :

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Rigatoni Carbonara

Tina and I saw how Gabby literally devoured his Carbonara. It was even piping hot when Gabby had his fork with pasta to his mouth, one after the other. We were in awe watching him eat. It must be that good!

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Baked Wagyu Fillet Mignon. Anna Potato, Lotus Tempura, Spinach Shallot Glaze

Detail shot…

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1885’s Baked Wagyu Fillet Mignon passed Tina’s disriminating taste! She had it medium-well and even commented to me that it nearly tasted her favorite fillet mignon dish that she ate in one of the most regarded restaurants in Tagaytay City back home. She shared to me a generous chunk and I effortlessly understood her praises for the dish. It must be the quality of beef plus the meticulous method of cooking. The potato side dish was not merely chopped and fried but was creatively done in thin and layered servings.

My plate :

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Seared Cod Fish. Sauteed Soba, Beans Sprout, Tempura Prawn, Sesame Soya Dressing

The cod fish was well seasoned; neither bland nor too salty. It perfectly complemented the crispy prawn tempura. What made the dish soared to the highest heavens was pairing it with sauteed soba. I only hoped for another similar plate that night! ;) And the waiter’s recommendation of chardonnay? I never had a doubt.

Gabby thought of having Single Scoop Ice Cream over Trio Flavored Ice Cream from the kiddie menu.

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Vanilla Ice Cream 

If Gabby only had the very common yet classic, vanilla flavored ice cream, 1885 prepared a uniquely textured and bitter-sweet dessert plate for Tina and I.

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Toffee Mascarpone Cheesecake. Maple Sauce, Cinnamon Cherry, Almond Shortbread

It’s hard to fake it; we liked every plate from the very first one to our dessert. Just look at the smile of my lovely wife. Naks! :D

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At this point, we’re almost struggling with satiation. Tina and I told the wait staff that since our Corner Suite has coffee making facility, we had to let go of having coffee at 1885. However, we got a word that they already began brewing it, so we happily gave in. What’s a pretty meal without coffee ending (or to some, tea) anyway?

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Freshly Brewed Coffee (or selection of Gourmet Tea)

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The happy diners!

Before writing this, I asked Tina and Gabby of their honest comments with the service, ambiance and food of 1885 and I got no negative response. I only heard from both of them, “Masarap!” or in Bahaya Malaysia, “Sedap!”

We wish to come back for some English Afternoon Tea next time.

Thank you very much, 1885 at E&O Hotel Penang! :)

>><<

STAY TUNED for MORE of this E&O BLOG SERIES!

1885 | Eastern & Oriental Hotel | 10 Lebuh Farquhar, 102oo Penang, Malaysia | Operating hours : 2PM-11PM (daily), English Afternoon Tea is served from 2PM to 5PM | website : http://e-o-hotel.com/1885/

*While this is a sponsored blog post, the words are all mine unless quoted, and were never influenced by anyone.

17
Apr
13

MELAKA! MALACCA! FOOD PORN!

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*My family – Tina & Gabby at Restoran Famosa, Jonker Street, Malacca

Our three days and two nights unplanned trip to Malacca was made memorable not only because of the sights that we enjoyed exploring for the very first time but more so,  tasting its local dishes and a few personal favorites.  So many foods, so little time! I wished I did a little research prior to the trip and of course, it could’ve been better if we stayed longer. Nonetheless, we’re grateful and wouldn’t mind traveling 7 hours from our current base in Penang to revisit Melaka when time, chance and budget allow.

To say that Malacca is a food haven is absolutely an understatement. Similar to George Town, Penang, Malacca is a gastronomic paradise! Almost every corner has something to delight even the ones with most discriminating taste. Here’s this blog’s usual shameless display of what we feasted…

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*Chicken Rice Balls from a restaurant in Melaka Sentral Bus Station

The moment we arrived in Melaka Sentral via 2-hour-and-19-ringgit-bus-ride from Larkin Bus Station in Johor Bahru, Tina, Gabby and I decided to do the first in the list of our priorities. EAT! While the kiddo was busy buying his 7-11 slurpee and I attended to our luggage and backpacks, the wifey scouted a few restaurants inside the bus station complex and selected one. That awesome moment happened! The very first time for us to eat Chicken Rice Balls that, correct me if I’m wrong, uniquely Melaka.

I’m guessing those rice balls paired with steamed chicken meat, were boiled in chicken stock. I liked it, Tina did not. To each his own.

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*Chicken Chop and Noodle dish with name that slipped my memory but with a delicious taste to remember! Naks!

After several minutes and camera clicks in front of Christ Church Melaka, we crossed the street and saw this stall by the Melaka River selling freshly fried Spiral Potatoes. It was 3-ringgit and sour cream flavored happiness for Gabby! :D

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*Savoring his Sour and Cream Spiral Potato from Melaka!

Second day was Easter Sunday and after having simple but incredibly charming dining experience at The Baboon House Malacca (blog post HERE!), we effortlessly killed time by doing crazy things (Tina was Instagramming) and sipping milk teas and iced blended fruity drinks from Ochado. Refreshing! Best, they got free and fast wifi too! :D

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*I left a mark on the graffitti wall. :)

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*Instagram moment! :)

Go try Ochado whenever you find yourself in Melaka! It’s easy to spot as it’s located at the corner where Jonker Street begins.

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*Cappuccino, Mocha and Iced Blended Chocolate from Casa Del Rio Cafe.

After dinner at Restoran Famosa in Jonker Street, we opted to stretch more our last night in Melaka. We walked and walked and next time we knew, we were all seated inside the very romantic and hip, Casa Del Rio Cafe.

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*Romantic and relaxing ambiance by the Malacca River.

Located by the Melaka River, in the facade of the premier hotel, Casa Del Rio, we were never intimidated by its stylish and inviting interiors; surprisingly, prices were even pocket-friendly than our favorite Starbucks Coffee. The menu’s promising too! They serve breakfast meals, lunch and even steamboat buffet for dinner.

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*Hollywood legends and icons on the walls! If only walls could talk…. Don’t you just love this corner?

Tina had cappuccino, Mocha for me, Iced Blended Chocoalte for Gabby. They also have cakes and other dishes but we’re very satiated with the dinner we had at Restoran Famosa.

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Just before sitting inside Casa Del Rio Cafe, we had our dinner at Restoran Famosa along Jonker Street. Here’s what we ordered :

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*Beancurd in Oyster Sauce.

Tina found it too salty while it’s fine with my palates. I also liked the consistency of the beancurd!

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*Roasted Chicken.

Either roasted or steamed, ayam or chicken is almost obligatory to eat when you’re anywhere in Malaysia.

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*Chicken Rice Balls from Restoran Famosa

They’ve got smaller versions of Chicken Rice Balls compared to the ones we had in Melaka Sentral. Restoran Famosa’s menu had it at 30 sen (cents) each.

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*Pork Barbecue.

It was a consensus decision to order Roasted Pork. When we did, the waitress told us, “Finished!”  The next best thing was to order the second best, BBQ. It was a different flavor compared to BBQ we have in Manila. It was like the common pork asado or Chinese pork something in Chinatown eateries in our country.

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*A simple Easter Sunday Malaccan Family Feast! :)

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*My plate!

No Malaysian meal is complete without chilli sauce!

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*Hotta! Hotta!

The highlight of our Malaccan food tripping was to taste their version of Cendol. To start with, I loved it. I fell in love it on the first scoop! Sorry Cendol in Penang Road, I liked you but Melaka Cendol won my heart and taste buds! Presentation-wise, each bowl looks clean and hygienic, the ingredients composed of red beans, finely shaved ice and that green thingy-cendol, were all better tasting than, dare I say, the one in Jalan Penang.

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The difference lies on their use of Gula (sugar) Melaka…
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Caramelized Gula Melaka in coconut milk : Killer combination! It reminded me of muscovado or unrefined brown sugar from my country. Sarap! Sedap! Delicious!
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*Yummy!!!

We loved everything we ate in Melaka! We cannot wait to go back to eat more! :D
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*Follow Tina on Ig @teenasantos, follow me on Ig @iamdocgelo ;)

This is NOT a sponsored post.

*This Melaka Blog Series includes :

 

 

17
Mar
13

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s my dessert plate :

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are the other Dining Offerings at E&O Hotel Penang :
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MARAMING SALAMAT ~ TERIMA KASIH ~ THANK YOU VERY MUCH to :

>><<

24
Nov
12

7ATENINE

7atenine

The quirky name of this restaurant-bar in one of the premier serviced apartments located at the heart of Kula Lumpur is enough for me to be interested. Who would not be enticed with 7atenine? I think it’s pretty neat name for a chill-out place. Glad I found time to drop by during my solo-3D2N-visit in Malaysia’s capital.

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Before your imagination soars high, I didn’t drown myself into spirits nor alcohol at 7atenine. I passed up sampling one of their beverages because number 1, I think it’s too much as I already had from the other bar (blog post HERE!) and number 2, I’m not alcoholic anyway. I mean, I need not explain myself but I only drink on rare occasions and of course, during social gatherings (Now, I remember those days back home when I was frequently invited for events like wine & food pairing. Ahhhhh, the perks of blogging!).

7atenine

“7atenine is an award winning International restaurant & supperclub where ‘you never know who you’ll meet’. Located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, her cool, stylish & contemporary ambience is accented by splashes of fuchsia & turquoise. 7atenine has 2 realms of recreation…. Sevenspoons dining on the mezzanine & the Supperclub on the ground floor. Cosmopolitan cuisine is complemented by a premium range of alcoholic beverages ranging from champagnes, wines, cocktails by our award winning mixologists to local & imported beers and liquor. pulsating retro remixes and house beats permeate the atmosphere cementing 7atenine as a firm favourite amongst chic night birds.” ~Sourced from their website : www.soulsociety.com.my/7atenine

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Doesn’t it look like a great place to chill out, savor the good house music and indulge? With only my appetite in tow and with no reservation which I don’t promote, I brought my feet to 7atenine and enjoyed a couple of choices from their menu.

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Linguini Seafood, RM39++ (USD 12.75++ ). Tossed with sautéed scallops, prawns, mussels & squid.

One word : DELICIOUS!

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Despite a number of must-try-entrees from 7atenine’s menu, I knew I was craving for something like seafood pasta. And bingo! They have Linguini Seafood on their list. The pasta’s al dente; the dish was perfectly tossed with non-greasy oil and my favorites from the sea. The entire plate was wonderfully seasoned. I was a happy diner! :)

With nothing in mind to wash everything down but cold water,  I also ordered a dessert. And I thought Lady Luck was really on my side because I spotted another personal favorite from the list of sweets.

Linguini Seafood + Mango Sticky Rice
Who says Italian and Asian favorites make a bad combo? Hell, no! :)

Mango Sticky Rice. RM19++ (USD 6.21 ). Steamed glutinous rice, served with mango & Häagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream.

One word : HEAVENLY!
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Don’t let my photo deceive you; it’s a generous serving! I disregarded the petty fact that the mint leaves used as garnishing on top that irresistible vanilla-flavored Häagen-Dazs scoop had insect-bite-holes; it was never an issue since I removed it and didn’t munch it anyway. What mattered to me was my love for that tug-of-war between the cold ice cream, the piping hot glutinous rice cake soaked in coconut milk and the pleasant taste of mango slices (but not as great-tasting as Philippine mangoes!). For a while, I forgot all stress and hassles accompanied by living away from the comforts of your own country and simply I felt I was in cloud 9!
The service’s quick and attentive. The ambiance and overall appeal are laid back and almost impeccable! Thumbs up for 7atenine! :D
7atenine | The Ascott, 9 Jalan Pinang 50450 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | www.soulsociety.com.my/7atenine
*This is NOT a sponsored post.

*This Luxurious Kuala Lumpur Blog Series includes :

18
Oct
12

EDELWEISS CAFE

I didn’t plan to eat alone in this beautifully restored 150-year-old shophouse along the very quaint, Armenian Street in GeorgeTown, Penang but the opportunity presented itself. I’ve been passing this restaurant almost once or twice a month every weekends for two years now but never I was enticed to pay it a visit until last week.  After I did an errand for Gabby’s school project, I took a stroll on a late Sunday afternoon from Chulia Street with a sole expectation to capture some more picturesque corners. My feet led me to this non-Halal-Western restaurant, Edelweiss Cafe.

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The chalk on blue board menu seemed like a magnet!

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The moment I walked in, it felt like a step back in time.

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I paused. Took a 360 turn and absorbed the killer ambiance.  And just like that, the ginormous mirror and all its reflections blew me away!

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An absolute breather from the usual fastfood dining experience.

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From floor to ceiling inside Edelweiss Cafe, there’s nothing but extraordinary. How do you describe dining amidst this mighty Tower Clock?

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It’s love at first sight. :)  The hand movements of the Tower Clock are controlled by this mechanism…

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Amazing.

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I could just imagine how the bell rings.

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I always have conscious efforts to keep punctuality running in my veins; I know that and people who know me best are also aware of that. What I realized after my Edelweiss Cafe experience was the fact that over and beyond believing in the cliche, “Time is gold”,   I actually adore massive timepieces too. Fascination costs nothing, isn’t it? ;)

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Lovely corner…

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Lovelier…

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Loveliest…

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Next time I get a chance to go back and dine here, I’ll probably choose to sit and while away time in this spot with Tina and Gabby…

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The view from where I sat…

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I’m not alcoholic but the beverage menu and the gorgeous bar are inviting too.

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I passed up; perhaps next time. Instead, I savored every sip of their cappuccino.

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Dunking my fork and cutting with steak knife this Pork Belly Baguette served with Fresh Garden Salad and French Fries on a paper cone was definitely the highlight of my Edelweiss Cafe visit. :)

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Did I already tell you that their French Fries are thin as shoestrings but crispy and a bit spicy? It’s made special by a dash of dried chili rather than the usual salt. I liked it! I left the cone empty! :P

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At this point, I really missed Tina and Gabby. :(  The experience was definitely incomplete without them.

After a hearty meal must have dessert. I asked the friendly wait staff about their bestseller. He suggested Apple pie with Vanilla ice cream. I am believer! There’s a lot of pretty thin slices of apple neatly arranged in layers on the crust; perfectly complemented by that scoop of the most classic flavor. The photo doesn’t give justice.

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For the moment, all my stress and fatigue and worries and problems were all melted away.

Life isn’t easy but still sweet. :)

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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

22
May
12

PENANG SPICE TRAIL : ENTICING SENSORY EXPERIENCE

When I arrived in George Town, it took me about five minutes to figure out the location of the office of Ministry of Tourism Malaysia-Penang branch in Beach Street.  I asked a traffic officer and a man guarding a building across the street about its location but I didn’t get a positive response. I found out later the office was newly transferred in the area. It came to mind that my adventure for that day had started early. Luckily, taking few more steps, a warm smile and a friendly welcome greeted me at the office’s lobby. I felt so home and was surprised that Ms. Jaime Yeoh  knew my name and my recent win for blogging from their office’s Head Quarters in Kuala Lumpur.  I randomly exchanged thoughts with her about being a traveler and being a tourist, and the so many possibilities that Penang can offer.  Little did I know that I was already speaking  casually to the Director of the Penang branch of the Ministry of Tourism Malaysia herself.

Exclusively invited participants arrived in the office few minutes past 8AM. I was introduced to a variety of people who are directly involved in the Tourism industry in this part of Malaysia. Our group of around 40 were composed of hotel managers, travel agency representatives, people from Tourist Guide Association of Penang (I hope I got their group’s name right), some journalists and photographers from the media and of course, a bunch of Penangite bloggers.  We were all invited to be introduced and to experience the new tourists’ package called the “Hot and Spicy Penang – The Spice Trail”.

Here are my insights, suggestions and a few tips about the program…

As a tourist, I want to see, taste, smell, hear and feel the place that I am visiting. As a traveler, I want to discover,  experience and immerse myself with the culture, traditions, history and lifestyle of the people and place I am exploring. The Penang Spice Trail offers all that with fascinating diversities from Malay, Indian and Peranakan or Straits Chinese all represented in the package.

From the brief orientation at the office’s AVR, we were immediately led to the streets of Penang on foot.

*Suggestions :  It would be better if you include an audio-video presentation of somewhat like a synopsis-introduction of the Penang Spice Trail to the participants during the orientation. Also, weather forecast for the day of the tour should be noted.

*Tips :  Bring umbrella and fans, wear your sunnies and sun visors and apply that much needed SPF lotion because the tour would involve some walking and strolling in and out of George Town other than riding the very comfy Bas Persiaran or tourist bus.

The tour was professionally guided by the amusing and spontaneous, Ms. Joann Khaw.  She kept the participants engaged and well-informed with everything about spices, its history relating to the island and the rest of Asia and lots of pertinent facts.  She was never boring and was so candid to burst into laughter and shared smiles with us. She really caught my attention when she mentioned that the Spice expedition to the Southeast Asia was halted when the Portugese, Ferdinand Magellan was killed in an island in The Philippines.

Our first pit stop : An old building with history that dates back to the Spice trade and industry in Penang. I so appreciate the fact that it’s preserved with its structure built with mixed concrete, steel and wood.

After brief discussion on the Spice trade and history in Penang, we strolled back to Jalan Pantai or Beach Street. What’s interesting with this tour package, it’s informative not only of spices and herbs but with almost everything in George Town. Case in point, I learned that when a building has inscription of a year, like that 1886 in the building shown on the next photo, the year indicates the year the building was completed.

From Beach Street, we went to Little India via this quaint alley called Lorong Che Em or Che Em Lane…

Et voila, Welcome to Little India…

Having been to Little India in George Town for a countless times, it still never fails to amaze me. The structures, the aroma of spices and herbs either being sold as raw ingredients or that distinct olfactory stimuli from Indian restaurants will surely draw and entice your noses to try and sample them. Not to forget the loud and lively Bollywood music that lords the parallels of Little India.

That day, I also developed my appreciation for wooden shutters! We were told that this building with gorgeous wooden shutters (on the next photo) is currently undergoing restoration.

It was only a few steps across the Indian restaurant we sampled for breakfast.

I have professed on this blog my family’s love affair with few Indian dishes, as well as this blog has documented some of our gastronomic adventures in Restoran Kapitan located at the junction of Pitt Street and Chulia Street in Little India. That morning, my taste buds were exposed to another Indian restaurant, the Sri Ananda Bahwan.

My Sunday breakfast : Teh tarik or Milk Tea, hot and Cheese Roti which I enjoyed with 3 Indian dips.  Flavorful and made me crave for more

I was looking at a young family (who brought their grandparents with them) devouring an interesting Indian food. The Tourism officers noted my fascination and they ordered one for me. I told them I surely cannot finish one with its humongous serving but I really wanted to put my fingers on that Roti Tissue.

It was my first time to see such towering delight! I was like a kid silently jumping for joy! The moment could have been happier if I was with Tina and Gabby; I’m sure my little kiddo would also love this! Roti  Tissue is a crunchy and crispy, hand-tossed larger and thinner version of  the traditional, Roti Canai. It’s also called Roti Helikopter or Helicopter bread apparently because of its incredibly creative presentation. It can be eaten with jam, sugar, or ice cream or in our case, it was served with condensed milk. A perfect ending to a simple but flavorful breakfast! A must-try in Little India!

*Suggestions : It would be better if the Ministry of Tourism-Penang Office would constantly check or delegate another office to keep an eye on the hygiene and cleanliness of restaurants, not only in Little India but the rest of the island. Delicious foods would appeal more tasteful to travelers, tourists and even local and expats if dishes and beverages are prepared and served with utmost cleanliness. Some restaurants barely offer table napkins or at least tissue to diners.

From Sri Ananda Bahwan restaurant, we walked to another alley in Little India. There were more wooden shutters for me to appreciate, and more wonderful sights to see. I particularly liked this amazing tree whose leaves and branches are not common to me. Pretty, is it not?

One of the parallels of Little India is China Street (Okay, it sounded like we toured around Asia with just few steps. Unless you’re from other planet or somewhere in the outer space, you must have heard of MOTOUR’s tagline, Malaysia Truly Asia! It’s Truly Asia in this part of Southeast Asia!) In China Street, we found ourselves inside the V. Kaleespari Grinding Mill which they had it open only for the tour (read : remember, it was Sunday?).

For me, this is one of the highlights of the Penang Spice Trail. Tourists and travelers would definitely be interested in something they never see and experience on a daily basis. And of those things is being inside a Milling factory.

Spices, spices, and more spices!

I salute this man who was grinding chili on a Sunday morning. He could have enjoyed the day off with his family but he gladly reported to work just to accomodate us in the tour.

Chili grinder, baby!

We only stayed for few minutes inside the Milling factory, enough for us to practically see how some spices are processed. Then we walked along China Street again. There were more wooden shutters and century-old structures to love. :D The day was even lovelier because the sky was intensely blue and the sun was in its mightiest; at least we didn’t have downpour!

An inspiring day, is it not?

One more shot with those beautiful wooden shutters and that handsome tree…

At the heart of Little India, we were ushered to this store that sells, what else but spices!

*Tips : Take note tourists and travelers, we were told that this spice shop is the friendliest among the many spice stores in Little India. They allow you to ask queries about their commodity even without you buying. Photo-ops are also free! :)

After that Spice Milling factory and Spice store visits, we needed to go inside this art exhibit gallery while waiting for our tourist bus. It was an extra treat for us!

Inside this art gallery are tons of inspiring objects. I instantly found this corner with art and photography books, a guitar and piles of colored masterpieces very inspiring! Is it not too cozy?

While our tourist guide, Joann further explained things about spices, I found more fascinating things like this wooden staircase.

“PENANGism”

Here we were on this central spot of the art gallery having an engaging talk about spices, spices and spices…

Joann came so prepared like a girl scout and brought several samples… The most interesting spice to me at this point of discussion was the Betelnut which of course, can cause Nasopharyngeal cancer. It’s commonly chewed by Southeasian people including native Filipinos in the Northern Philippines.

On our way to our tourist bus, I saw this Kedai Kopi or Coffee Shop… Do they serve peace and joy with their drinks? I must sample!!! :D

A stone’s throw away and we reached the Goddess of Mercy Temple in Kapitan Keling Street. The shrine is located beside this pastel colored structure. It caught my attention because it blended well with the hues of the clouds and the sky!

The roof of Guan Yin Temple…

From George Town, our Bas Persiaran took us to Penang Botanical Garden…

It’s my second time in this place; the first time was with Gabby almost a year ago, while Tina was taking her “me-time” at a salon in the mall. I love how lush and textured the trees here.

Mr. Michael Langdon (center) spoke to us about the history of spice trade in Penang and how it evolved through the years. He also pointed out how several species of spices and herbs have grown and were kept in Penang Botanical Garden.

Other than the spices and herbs and century-old trees that may lure tourists, there are a lot more this flora-and-fauna-theme park has to offer…

I found this tree with uniquely charming bloom too interesting that I decided to make a separate blog entry about it soon. For now, enjoy this solitary shot…

Time flew so fast that I didn’t feel hungry until we were brought back to George Town in a restaurant called, D’ Dapur located in Union Street near Beach Street. They specialized in Malay cuisine.

*Suggestion : It would be better if the proximity of location in the itinerary will be well thought of, so traffic jam particularly during rush hour can be avoided, thus time could be stretched.

We had Indian food for breakfast, Malay for lunch! :D

This bright yellow wall was the view from where I sat. Eye-catching, isn’t it?

Here’s the table where I had my lunch with newly met fellows. Wait till you see the photo below when it was filled with Malay dishes…

A detail shot of the view of the corner from where I sat…It appears to me a father-and-son-bike. And you?

Now, these were the HOT & SPICY MALAY CUISINE we sampled…

Can anyone identify those dishes ?

My Filipino taste buds were intensely stimulated by these Malay dishes! I was sweating profusely on my nape as I taste everything on the table. To my surprise, one of the Chinese-Malaysian bloggers in our table commented to the manager of the restaurant that overall, she found the dishes not that hot but rather SWEET! It was a statement to reckon with; a comment to ponder!!! Kidding aside, I understood her point. For someone whose palates have been accustomed to HOT & SPICY dishes, any local Malaysian can easily tell which is authentic from which is not. The manager of D’ Dapur reasoned out that the dishes they serve were already tailored to the tastes of foreingers.

In all fairness, the set meal that was served per table had veggies, seafoods, rice of course, chicken, tofu, and teh tarik or milk tea to complete. The proportions were huge for sharing and spices and herbs made everything tasteful and… spicy! :D

God is alive because they followed the hot and spicy meal with a heavenly dessert. A truly Malaysian sweet treat, Cendol! This reminds me of Halo-Halo from the Philippines, although ours have more ingredients while Cendol, in my opinion is a simpler version. It was a glorious ending to a hot and spicy meal! A perfect one to sample even from hawker food stalls in Penang…

My personal serving of Cendol… Refreshingly sweet! :D

*Suggestions : It would have been better if the chef himself came out from the kitchen (D’ Dapur in English means “Inside the Kitchen” according to my Malaysian students) to explain every dishes and feature the spices he used in cooking. There was no set menu found on the table to introduce the name of the dish to a foreigner like me. The dishes were nicely presented and the facilities of this restaurant including the toilet and a peek into the kitchen proved that they give importance to cleanliness and hygiene.

I also suggest for the restaurant to prepare the set menu with names of dishes, description and include the ingredients highlighting the spices used in preparartion. That way, the diners particularly non-Malaysians would have better appreciation of the Penang Spice Trail.

After that spicy and hearty lunch, we hopped on the tourist bus again and few minutes after, I saw this by my bus window…

We were brought to the Tropical Spice Garden which is not to be missed if you’re into this Penang Spice Trail! It’s my second time there after I brought my family there last year.

*Tip : It’s better for visitors and tourists to go with the guided tour inside Tropical Spice Garden, this would maximize their visit.

I learned a lot from the tourist guide unlike when we had D.I.Y.-tour I had with Tina and Gabby last year. Do sample their in-house restaurant, Tree Monkey and if you have extra time, enroll in their cooking class which highlight herbs and spices of course.

*Suggestion : Remind tourists to wear something casual and easy, comfortable enough to cover the arms and legs and the feet so as to avoid the pesky mosquito bites. Although the free citronella oil spray at the entrace of this tropical paradise was offered, I still had another memorable mosquito bite at my antecubital fossa from Tropica Spice Garden.

I appreciated that almost all species in Tropical Spice Garden has its label complete with Scientific Name and common name, plus its use as a plant, as a herb or medicinal plant or just plain cooking spice and its sources.

It was only during that Penang Spice Trail that I learned about the Pinang Tree (the palm tree on the next photo). I know that Pulau Pinang or the island of Penang’s flag has a palm as a symbol but I had no idea what species of palm tree this state was named after until I joined this tour. Informative, I tell you!

Behold, a tropical beauty at its finest…

This tree that exfoliates spontaneously exposing its nearly scarlet bark is used as an ink to design Malaysian batik.

While that ordinary looking plant beside our knowledgeable and cool tourist guide is poisonous! I think most domestic houses, private and government offices have that as their indoor plant but it was only last Sunday that I learned that it has toxins and is very lethal. Do you such info? I was totally out of the loop! :D

*Suggestion : Be cautious to observe timetable. Some tourists and travelers want an on-the-dot-schedules. Others may also prefer to have the tour guiding in their native tongue. I remember touring California ages ago, from LA-San Francisco-Fresno-LA, our tour guide then spoke and explained everything in 4 languages – English, Italian, Spanish and French. He did that impressively! However it may add up to the cost of the tour.

The last part of this Penang Spice Trail was way beyond my expectations. We were all assigned to different spa in various hotels in the island. This part of the tour package aims to highlight the Peranakan-Inspired Spa treatment. To me, it completed the package because all the 3 large communities in Malaysia are well represented–We had breakfast and toured Little India. Lunch was at a Malay restaurant that featured Malay cuisine where spices were used and the day ended at a very relaxing note in a Peranakan-Inspired Spa (representing Chinese community).

I, together with 7 other fellows were brought to Rainbow Paradise Inn Beach Resort in Tajung Bungah to experience Samporna Spa…

*Suggestion : Remind tourists who would avail of this package to bring extra clothes.

The massage with aromathic oil followed by application of mud really put me to sleep for few minutes. It was indeed relaxing!

Samporna Spa also has jacuzzi…

A group of four to maximum of six can unwind in the jacuzzi and enjoy a sip of their favorite red or white wine… I only had the massage then hit the shower after an hour. It was so invigorating after all the walking and a whole day of tour in the island… Thank you, Saporna Spa! Thank you, Rainbow Paradise Inn Beach Resort! Thank you, Ministry of Tourism Malaysia-Penang Branch for the invite!

Penang has its unique charm with its rich culture, heritage and diversities in food, people and places. This Penang Spice Trail offers a variety of options on how to enjoy and maximize one’s stay in the island. Avail of the tour packages via your chosen hotel in Penang, ask your designated tourist guides or personally visit/email/call the office of Ministry of Tourism Malaysia-Penang branch for more details about these.

Are you enticed to take the Penang Spice Trail? You’ll definitely savor every step!  ;)

Visit their facebook website via https://www.facebook.com/MOTOURPenangOffice. Special thanks to Ms. Jaime Yeoh and her staff and to fellow blogger, Willy Wah for the invite.

*My blog post last year about Tropical Spice Garden via http://docgelo.com/2011/04/03/amidst-lush-greens-good-food-mosquito-bites/

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!

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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!

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This Blog Series Includes :

 

15
Jan
12

CHRISTMAS BREAK 2011 FOOD TRIP

Our Christmas Break 2011 Series includes :

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Foreword : You might need a glass of cold water when you browse this post. You have been warned, haha! :D  *Most dishes are NON-HALAL too. Obviously, this is another gastronomic entry however, allow me to remind you again that I am not blogging food exclusively, but family and fun too. Go ahead, indulge and feast your eyes! :D

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The Christmas season in my country is all about family togetherness, friendly celebrations and homecoming particularly to those Filipinos who are residing and working abroad. Yuletide is such a perfect time for all those fun pursuits. It’s such a big blessing for us to be able to come home again after almost 2 year of being an expat-family here in Penang. Our hearts and stomachs remain loyal to the Philippines indubitably.

The following photos with brief descriptions essay some of the fantastic digestive feasts we savored with our families and friends during the entire 21 day-break (including holidays and weekends) we had in Manila.  Don’t ask me about their calories, we’re not counting, haha! :D

At Via Mare in Greenbelt 3, Tina, Gabby and I enjoyed Filipino dishes….

Crispy Binagoongang Baboy served with Pakbet side dish (Crispy Pork Belly with Shrimp Paste and veggies).

Via Mare's Beef Caldereta was Tina's choice; sarap! :D

Our late-lunch-heavy-merienda included…

Wild Mushroom Soup for Gabby

Puto Maya : glutinous rice served with panutsa syrup and riped mangoes.

Gabby's personal preference : Shooters-a trio of guinumis, mais con yelo and halo-halo. The kid has his own taste, do you agree?

Via Mare's famous Bibingka : buttery, fluffy and served with salted egg (or kesong puti) delicious!

It’s only every Yuletide season when leaves of poinsettias become vividly red; lovely, aren’t they?

And poinsettias are lovelier at the facade of Manila Peninsula. :D

…where Gabby was overwhelmed with holiday cheers

…where we dined with one of our good friends of almost 2 decades, LG who also stands as one of Gabby’s dutiful godparents.

At the LOBBY of the Manila Peninsula, dinner included another set of Filipino favorites…

Kare Kare (Ox Tail and Veggies in Peanut Sauce served with Shrimp Paste) : one of my favorites!

Pancit Guisado

Lechon Kawali

And an Oreo-flavored sundae dessert for Gabby

Moving on to our other indulgence, at the Podium in Ortigas, we were treated to a Chinese dinner by my dad-in-law at …

I am proud to belong to a beautiful family…oh yes, that’s something to be proud of!

Must have soup…

then a prawn dish selected  from the menu by my sister-in-law.

And despite no one’s celebrating a birthday (except for Baby Jesus!), must have Birthday Noodles…

Tender slices of beef and mushroom on a bed of broccoli’s always a winner for me. :D

Hakao or shrimp dumpling cannot be missed.

Our beloved kid ordered Four Seasons to wash down everything. Have I told you he has his own taste? :)

Gabby and his cousin, Raphael loved the dinner.

Then one lovely weekday afternoon, we found ourselves in the middle of Ayala Triangle in Makati City.

At last, after having a long thread at the inbox in facebook, we finally arranged a meet up with our good blogger-friends around the area of their offices in Makati City.  The lunch was set initially at Banapple, however the place was packed, so we had to look for Plan B : Wee Nam Kee.

It’s our (Tina, Gabby and I)  first time to dine at this Singaporean-inspired food place, where Hainanese Chicken Rice is the bestseller.

Hainanese Chicken cooked two ways : Steamed and Roasted; sarap pareho! And we ordered LARGE! haha :D

Dyan, one of the most bubbly blog buddy I have suggested we try Cereal Prawns when we visited Singapore last year. However, we didn’t have the chance back then, and luckily, it’s available to sample at Wee Nam Kee. Another yummy!

Here are our pretty lunch dates at Wee Nam Kee :

Tina & Gabby with blog buddies, Marian, Dyan and Grace

And we had another version of Birthday Noodle. Sarap din! :D

Two days before our flight back to Penang, I attended to the invitation of Ivan Man Dy of Old Manila Walks a personal FREE Big Binondo Food Wok along with other BIG TIME food bloggers (read : For the nth time, this may be a food post but I am not into an exclusive food blogging).  After that almost 4 hours for pigging out at Manila Chinatown, I hurried to meet my family and my sister-in-law with our Med school classmates and great friends, also godparents to Gabby –doc Shiny and doc Mitch at Peking Garden, TriNoma Mall in Quezon City.

At around half hour past 6 in the evening when I arrived, they’ve already ordered and all I had to do is eat. But because I just came from another food trip, I was still satiated and had more appetite in catching up with them and our lost times.

On our table at Peking Garden :

Forgive me, I failed to get the names of the dishes from the menu; as I mentioned, I arrived when there were already food on the table. :D

Spareribs, obviously. It tasted better than it looks.

Fried chicken that’s nothing special to rave about.

They also selected Yang Chow Fried Rice and yes, Birthday Noodle again. However, if I can call the attention of Peking Garden with this post, or the concerned diners in the TriNoma branch, then I’d like to ask them the reason why their waitresses have to get the used plates from their diners’ table IMMEDIATELY, as in, IN A SNAP, iyong tipong hindi pa tapos kumain, kinukuha na ang plato. Why?  Never do that to your paying customers, okay?  I believe it’s disrespect. Why in a hurry? May lakad kayo? LOL! I swear, of all the food places I’ve featured here on my blog, my family and I will never set foot in Peking Garden TriNoma ever again, seriously.

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There was no lack of excitement in all the moments amidst gastronomic feasts we shared with our families and friends. Our vacation was made complete with such wonderful experiences. We look forward again to another holiday when we can extremely stretch the time to bond with our love ones. :D

23
Dec
11

CHRISTMAS BREAK 2011 : EN ROUTE TO PINAS

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

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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! :)

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

22
Jun
11

GASTRONOMIC ADVENTURES : PART OF OUR LIFESTYLE

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

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

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

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

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

Noodles for Gabby…

Seafoods for Tina…

Must have Peking Duck and Smoked Chicken…

Entrees of seafoods and mushrooms are always comfort foods!

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

The Golden Rule : Always make room for desserts!

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

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

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

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

Blessings indeed, come unexpectedly.

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

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

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

———————————-

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

G Cafe, G Hotel
168A Persiaran Gurney 10250 Penang, Malaysia
Tel +604-2380000
03
Jun
11

WHEN MAN CREATED COOKING OIL…

our intake has been more palatable.
Do you ever ask the staff of a restaurant before making your order if the oil that they’re using in frying has less cholesterol or is zero-trans-fat ?  If so, you’re highly conscious  giving a great thing for your health and the staff, if and when knowledgeable about their menu must be commendable!
Do you consider the type of cooking oil when you do grocery shopping? Preference includes olive / extra-virgin olive oil, canola, safflower, truffle and walnut oil for salads, sesame oil for most Chinese cuisines, palm oil (which is so cheap in Malaysia!) and the list goes on…

deep fried prawns wrapped with shoestring potatoes. Unlike the usual ebi tempura, the prawns weren't covered with thick batter but with thin potatoes served with fries --lipid & carbo overloading!

We love fried food. I know, it’s unhealthy (but our cells need fats too, you know! *sounds like pacquiao*  the key is “everything should be in moderation.” –easier said than done though).

fish be with you! fish and chips

Sinfully delicious!

Fridays' shrimp with tartar sauce

Fine, I don’t practice what I preach but can you blame me? My family and I are too weak to resist fried foods, haha! :)

cajun chicken fingers + fries + HONEY MUSTARD SAUCE = wow, anytime!

But we eat veggies and fruits in between to cleanse excess oil in the gut. the key is fiber, fiber, fiber!

Apparently, anything grilled, blanched, steamed and poached has less untoward effects compared to fried.

salmon pasta

cheesey soup adds up to the calories!

french onion soup

These artery-clogging dishes can put anyone at risk to develop cardiovascular disorders IF and WHEN taken frequently. Remember the cliche, “anything in excess is bad!”.  You are warned. I admit, my family and I are sinners. But we know how to repent! haha! :)

thankful for all the blessings!

Enjoy your weekend everyone! Happy eating! :)

11
Oct
10

CLINIC CAFE

My ever dearest Tina,

Of course, you’re the first whom I thought of when we saw and decided to dine at Clinic Cafe in Plaza Gurney last Saturday. I certainly know you’d like this themed restaurant too. My friends here and I are now planning to put up similar food place in Manila if given a chance to save for its capital.

Honey, being an Operating Room Nurse that you are, I know you’ll like the OR lights for the dining table, he he he. But seriously, I know too that you’ll be amaze with the bay view outside the resto.  I’d like to take you and Gabby here when I find time and means to bring you here; but with how things are going now, question is, when? hmmm…

I know some people might feel different with the entire concept particularly those who are not in our same playing field, but if Malaysian diners loved it and the non-medical businessman-owner had his risks in introducing Clinic Cafe to Penang market (so far they only have two branches at the moment; one in Plaza Gurney in Penang Island and the other is near Sunway Carnival Mall in Butterworth) I think it would be a nice idea if we bring the same themed resto to Manila or at least take some inspiration from it. *wishful thinking*

The doctors in us were like kids fascinated at those wheel chairs and hospital-ward-like areas that provide an entirely unique ambience and totally amazing dining experience.

Would you dare eat your fried rice and crispy prawns on a kidney basin? Or drink iced lemon tea and cold water from an Erlenmeyer flasks ? Cute ‘no?

The food and drinks were not only affordable but indeed a must-try! Yummy! :)

Caesar’s salad…

Chicken cutlet with ketchup on a syringe! :)

Non-spicy chicken wings…

Twas a nice early Saturday dinner for all of us!

How I wish we already have the budget to bring the dream resto to life, hahaha!

So do you think it’ll be a hit in Manila?

Oh you know how Pinoys can be so meticulous and choosy when it comes to food and dining; but the sure thing is, since we’re all foodies in the medical field, everything will be served delicious and sterile, he he he…

I love you, ‘ney! Give Gabby hugs and kisses for me. :)

—————0

Here’s there fb account –> Clinic Cafe

28
Jul
10

THUNDERBIRD RESORTS, LA UNION (part 1): THE SUBLIME EXPERIENCE

Few weeks ago, I received an irresistible invitation via email to join a 3-day-bloggers’ tour and experience the only 5-star-hotel with world-class accomodation in Northern Philippines. The timing was too perfect because it gave me an ample chance to enjoy an ultimate vacation few days before I join the league of Filipino doctors and fathers working abroad.

Dramatically set in a poetic cliff of Poro Point Freeport Zone and overlooking South China Sea, THUNDERBIRD RESORTS is more than a luxurious leisure and recreation facility.  It offers a slice of Santorini-experience without leaving the country.  Its Mediterranean-inspired architecture, hotel service and amenities at par with international standards are worth the 6-hour-trip from Makati City to its location in San Fernando City, La Union.

An absolute feast for the senses.

Picturesque design…

The Grecian dome ceiling  is a welcoming attraction at the reception area of the hotel.

Breathtaking view from the lobby.

Santorini Lounge near the lobby provides a relaxing area where you can view the pool and crystal blue sea.

Who would not appreciate this?

Spontaneity in details makes this resort distinctly beautiful.

Bravo for being kid-friendly! :)

I like the idea of having the FIESTA CASINO and VEGAS CAFE located a bit far from the main hotel; making the entire experience more comfortable for guests with children.

More than having a casino, several restaurants within the hotel and the vicinity, an amphitheater and recreational facilities, THUNDERBIRD RESORTS is an event center.

Momentous celebrations like a romantic wedding proposal that eventually leads to bride walking down the aisle with the scenic view as the wedding backdrop, or probably just an intimate family gathering or a company team building, THUNDERBIRD RESORTS is a perfect venue for simple to grandiose activities.

Take a peek at one of the most comfy beds in a spacious deluxe room I slept on…felt like waking up in Santorini. :)

The rooms have verandas that give the visitors a priceless view of South China Sea.

And did I already tell you that I got to drive a golf cart when we visited their greens?

photo taken using my point & shoot cam by ace photographer/travel blogger & my roommate, estan cabigas of langyaw.com

The hills are alive at The Cliffs Golf & Beach Club, Thunderbird Resorts…

Do you play Golf? …I don’t. :)

Wonderful view at the greens…

Thunderbird Resorts have been existing in other countries like Peru, Costa Rica, Panama, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and has been operating in the Philippines for 5 years now; the first in Asia before it opens another resort in India soon.  Thunderbird Resorts Philippines has 2 branches, one in Poro Point Freeport Zone, San Fernando City, La Union (the one we enjoyed) and in Binangonan, Rizal.

Thunderbird Resorts in Poro Point, La Union offers Pitter Patter promo that runs from June 1 to September 30, 2010.  An ultimate vacation lifestyle experience that includes a relaxing resort stay, delicious breakfast for 2, 15-minute massage, unlimited internet access and more for as low as PhP 4,800 nett/weekday and PhP 5,300 nett / weekend. Reservations recommended. Details are subject to change without prior notice.

For more details, please contact their Makati Office at tel # (63-2) 886-5555 located at 18/F Salcedo Towers H.V. Dela Costa St., Salcedo Village, Makati City.

Thunderbird Resorts Rizal at tel# (63-2) 651-6888 located at Eastridge Avenue, Binangonan, Rizal.

Special thanks to the management and staff of Thunderbird Resorts, Poro Point, La Union for their warmest accomodation, to Ms. Nica Serrano for the invite and to my fellow bloggers who joined this tour, Ann (thanks for the referral), Kristel, Vince, Hanna, Sol, Betty, Oggie, Estan, Ferdz, the experience was incredibly fun!  Salamat!

————————<@

*This is the first of a 3-part-blog-series.

Up next:  Gastronomic adventures in Thunderbird Resorts, Poro Point, La Union.

25
Jul
10

ASIAN INDULGENCE

My family and I have been busy the past few days attending to our friends and family gatherings. It’s always nice to reconnect with them especially when long and casual talks and delicious foods are involved.

Since my mom-in-law is here until end of this month, with my brother-in-law from San Leandro, California, there has been a lot of eat-outs almost every weekend since they arrived 3 weeks ago.

One blog-worthy feast we had was held at ZONG, at the Fort. For one, it was our first time to dine there that made me and my wife a bit excited to try their specialties that were much raved by its loyal patrons.

Sister-in-law sponsored this dinner making it more fun! LOL!

Finally, we got to taste the much talked about pan fried chicken cooked with salted egg and served on a bed of crispy prawn chips.

CHICKEN in SALTED EGG YOLK. Classic chicken leg quarters pan fried with salted egg. SARAP! I love how the chicken was fried to perfection and fused with saltiness of the red egg. It was heaven every bite! :)  Definitely, a-must-try!

clockwise : Yang Chow Fried Rice,  Braised E-Fu Birthday Noodles and Sauteed Beef and Broccoli in Black Pepper Sauce.

It was absolutely love at first bite at ZONG. :)  My wife and I like every dish we ordered. The Sauteed Beef and Broccoli in Black Pepper Sauce is another hit! I like its mild kick of spice perfectly blended with the crunchiness of the broccoli and the tenderness of the beef slices. Yum! :)

It’s a happy-sad feeling that I’ll be leaving this week for work in Malaysia but if given a chance again (when I come home) to choose from the countless food places at Bonifacio High Street, definitely, ZONG will be on top of my list.

Zong’s prices and menu here!

ZONG,  The Fort Strip, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City, Metro Manila.

——————————–<@

Other than my in-laws, one of my long time friends of 17 years and counting is also home for his every-three-month-work break.  Rob (of SENSORY REPLAYS blog)  religiously treats Tina, Gabby and I with another great friend, LG for lunch or dinner every time he leaves his paramedic-work in  a rig  in Middle East.

The first of his treats (yes, there was second, and third recently which are worthy of another post soon) was at a Japanese restaurant that Tina and I so like.  It’s KIMONO KEN in Shangri la Plaza.

Long before my 14-day-TOKYO TRIP last March, my family and I have been keeping a love affair with Japanese foods. Just look at this blog’s right side bar, and you’ll note that we really frequent Japanese restos in the Metro.  Tina and Gabby like Ebi and Kani Tempura while my meal in Japanese food places isn’t complete without any of my favorite 3S : sushi, sashimi, sukiyaki.

Take a peek at our Kimono Ken feast…

SUSHI MORIAWASE

GRILLED SALMON and EBI TEMPURA

SEAFOOD YAKISOBA and SHOYU RAMEN

KANI TEMPURA and GOMOKU RAMEN

SUKIYAKI, another personal favorite!

Burp! :)

Nothing beats awesome moments with family and friends amidst gastronomic indulgence.

Enjoy your new week, everyone.

It’ll be a whole new universe for me beginning Thursday midnight this week as I take this blog and you (yes, you!) to my new work place as I teach in a Medical College in Penang, Malaysia.

03
Jul
10

CHOWDER X MONGOLIAN BBQ

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

and voila!

Do you like Mongolian barbecue?

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

How’s your weekend?

Enjoy the new week, everyone!

02
May
10

FOODIES’ WALK AT BGC WITH IVAN MAN DY

One doesn’t need any motivation to join a FREE food tour in Serendra, Bonifacio High Street and the Fort Strip with Ivan Man Dy of Old Manila Walks. The event, which is a part of BGC (Bonifacio Global City) Passion Fest 2010 doesn’t happen on a daily basis at those upscale restaurants and bars so when I found out about it, I didn’t waste a minute and pre-registered on-line a week prior to the event and off I went to its second-day food tripping (the first was held April 24, 2010 that featured Cupcakes by Sonja, Zao, TGI Fridays, Pasto, Yoh-Gurt-Froz and The Establishment).

May 01, 2010, Saturday –It was indeed a glorious day! The sun was up and my excitement was high. I think I was the earliest foodie to show up at the Concierge booth of  Bonifacio High Street at half hour past 10AM to claim my slot for the event!  The 4-hour gastronomic tour started at around 2PM in Serendra.  I am amazed at how the culinary walking guru, Ivan Man Dy gets to know his participants on a first-name basis (with full recall of my blog posts from Tokyo!) and be inspiring effortlessly.

“Food nurtures creativity” he said. With that statement, I know we’re all in for an entire afternoon of nothing but wholesome fun!

Our first stop was CUPCAKES by SONJA.  My family and I have tried Sonja’s Cupcakes  before;  my palate has been familiar of what this hole-in-the-wall and quaint food place offers. 

RED VELVET VIXEN -Traditional Southern cupcake made with Belgian cocoa and cream cheese icing (certain percentage of sales goes to Red Cross); 

MELT-IN-YOUR-MOUTH FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE CUPCAKE – Dense Valrhona flourless chocolate with rich velvety texture dissolved in your mouth with pure sublime flavor.

VANILLA SUNSHINE -A classic and fluffy cupcake topped with either vanilla or chocolate buttercream.

CHOCOLATE OVERLOAD -Rich, moist Valrhona chocolate cupcake filled with creamy ganache and topped with velvety chocolate cream.

CHOCO CREAM PIE – Rich, luscious Belgian chocolate cream in Orea crust and topped with mouthful of whipped cream and sprinkled with Oreo bits.

A breath away from Sonja’s Cupcakes is MISS DESSERTS that also offers deliciously divine sweet treats.

ALMOND EXPRESSO CHEESECAKE -Almonds compliment the creamy with just the right coffee and caramel taste.

ULTIMATE BROWNIES -Rich chocolate brownies with a generous amount of walnuts and semi-sweet chocolate chips then drizzled with just a touch of caramel on top to make it the ultimate brownie.

BUTTER CAKE – Melt-in-your-mouth butter cake that’s good on it’s way or slightly warmed with a scoop of your favorite ice cream.

I only sampled a couple of those bite-sized goodies from Sonja’s and Miss Desserts and saved room for more!  I told you before, it’s not a problem for my appetite if sweets come first. *grinning*

Our second stop in this foodie wonderland was a Hawaiian-themed restaurant, POLU KAI GRILL. 

“Inspired by the tropical island beach living, POLU KAI GRILL has made a mark for serving the best of Pacific Rim Cuisine. Generous slabs of ribs and the sweet freshness of seafood are best enjoyed in the laid back luau interiors of the restaurant.”

What we sampled :  SPAM MUSUBI -Hawaii’s favorite snack! Spam sushi with Teriyaki glaze;  SURF and TURF -Grilled Prawn and Sausage Skewers; FISH & FISH -Juicy, golden fried Cream Dory with Tartar Sauce;  PINEAPPLE SHAKE -Fresh Pineapple Shake served in a pineapple fruit cup (but the resto ran out of piña cups so mine was in a glass; nonetheless refreshing and refillable!)

My attempt at plating those POLU KAI yummies :

Every dish was fine! The Cream Dory with Tartar sauce is more than a reason to visit Polu Kai again and again.

We had that required group photo shots every after restaurant stop which I wish to copy and post here;  credit the photographer when they upload it somewhere.

Ivan and the organizers made sure that foodies can burn calories by walking about 2 to 10 minutes from one food place to another. From Polu Kai, we left Serendra and crossed the lane to Bonifacio High Street to head to our third digestive feast : ITALIANNI’S.

Italianni’s is also a common favorite. As you may know, it’s Italian in taste but definitely American in servings.  I shared table with fellow young bloggers, Cher and Alex  whom I’ve been with in other blogger’s event.  We sampled CLASSICO PIZZA, SHRIMP MUSHROOM LINGUINI, DALANDAN JUICE and that herbed FOCACCIA BREAD.

One thing that’s remarkable with Italianni’s, other than the great foods they serve or at least with our experience with it, is the restaurant crew’s commendable service. A manager hopped from table to table to make sure everything’s being enjoyed at its very best.

Several steps from Italianni’s is our fourth delightful pit stop : 

THE STOCK MARKET and ICE CREAM BAR.

My very first dining experience at The Stock Market was truly one for the books; I was invited to judge last year’s Century Tuna’s Bloggers Cook-Off where my family, Tina and Gabby got to joined in the fun. 

STOCK MARKET FRESH HARVEST SALAD with PINEAPPLE VINAIGRETTE.

Fibrous fruits and crisp veggies don’t fail.

Tasting NEW ENGLAND CLAM CHOWDER and FORK-TENDER SHORT RIBS with sauteed BEANS & CORN RISOTTO :

What I like best with The Stock Market and Ice Cream Bar is its efforts in innovating dishes from natively grown produce that surely reaches table as fresh as you can imagine.

ICE CREAM BAR inside The Stock Market offered refreshing flavors out of several Pinoy favorites :

Three young male interns who are currently doing their Summer stint with the said restaurant served every table with these four samples to share :  SUMAN at MANGGA flavored ice cream, CHAMPORADO and RASPBERRY flavored ice cream, SAGO and MANGO SORBET and FROZEN YOGURT.  Ahh, what a way to spend merienda!

I particularly liked the Suman at Mangga flavored ice cream! I swear it has the lightest mango flavor in ice cream that I’ve tasted and the hint of suman served as a great compliment! Plus it was plated with one of the best-tasting suman+muscovado sugar which according to the owner, is made and supplied by a community in Batangas.

Second to the last food trip stop was TRIO located at The Fort Strip.

“Integrating the concept of a modern Italian bistro, pizzeria and wine bar, TRIO RESTAURANT specializes in classic Italian entrees, authentic thin crust pizza, homemade pastas, and freshly made desserts.”

CAPRICCIOSA PIZZA -Salami, smoked ham, tomatoes, mushrooms, olives, basil, mozzarella and egg.

I’m giving my 2-thumbs-up for Trio’s  CAPRICCIOSA PIZZA! If you want your pizza thin crust with simple toppings, this one is a must-try!

Other interesting dishes from Trio are :

TENDERLOIN and PORTOBELLO RISOTTO–Pan-seared tenderloin on a bed of portobello risotto drizzled with truffle oil and

CANNELLONI –Oven baked cannelloni with beef and spinach stuffing topped béchamel crème sauce and parmesan.

Our final food trip destination was fitting for Saturday chill out. 

We had a few drinks at AMBER ULTRA LOUNGE where the ceiling and lights are sleek and funky and the music is surprisingly ear-friendly.

Care for a CHOCOLATE MARTINI ?  It’s a Russian Standard with nutty liqueur and cacao with real CHOCNUT for garnish.

Does STRAWBERRY MOJITO appeal to you?  Muddled mint and strawberries make this one an instant favorite from Amber…

If you must know, I’m not alcoholic. My wife and I rarely drink.  But I’m definitely not a a party-pooper and would not pass the chance of trying these bottomless shots from Amber; remember it ain’t FREE on ordinary days!

Of the 3 drinks we’ve tried from Amber, I like this the most –COCO LYCHEE SMASH.  It’s a stylish Asian delight, Coconut Vodka with muddled lychees, lychee liqueur and its juice.  It’s the lightest in my taste.

Did I already tell you that we’ve tasted spicy BONELESS BUFFALO WINGS too?

Needless to say, it was one of my gastronomic adventures to remember! :D

Special THANKS to Mr. Ivan Man Dy for being a gracious host, fascinating food tour guide and a very inspiring person.  Sa uulitin po!  Thank you also to Bonifacio Global City for organizing this PASSION FEST 2010.

Here are photos courtesy of my bloggers’ event buddy,  Cher (Thanks, Cher!)

————————————–<@

  • CUPCAKES by Sonja, I C 03 Serendra Piazza, BGC, Taguig, Tel No. (63-2) 915-2936 /856-0308.
  •  MISS DESSERTS, I C 04 Serendra Piazza, BGC, Taguig, Tel No. (63-2) 856-1429.
  • POLU KAI, G/F Shops at Serendra, BGC, Taguig, Tel No. (63-2) 856-0355 / 901-1841.
  • ITALIANNI’S, Quadrant Bldg 5 1E14 BGC, Taguig, Tel No. (63-2) 856-4094.
  • THE STOCK MARKET, Bonifacio High Street, Tel No. (63-2) 856-6301.
  • TRIO, 2/F Fort Pointe Bldg.,BGC, Taguig, Tel No. (63-2) 884-1601.
  • AMBER ULTRA LOUNGE, Unit F, Fort Entertainment Complex, Tel No. (63-2) 887-6838.
29
Apr
10

ANOTHER MEAL AT MANN HANN

There’s never a dull moment for my family when it’s chow time.  Whether we’re enjoying home-cooked dishes or dining out, our choices remain simple. 

And one of our favorite mall-based restaurants is Mann Hann.  We like it for their unpretentious Chinese dishes with Pinoy taste and their casual and never intimidating ambiance.

Upon browsing my files, I found pictures of our late lunch from Mann Hann in TriNoma several weeks ago. 

Although it drizzled a bit today at some places in the Metro, it’s still Summer and Halo-Halo is just perfect whether for lunch, an afternoon snack or for some, even as an after dinner dessert.

Any guess who among us requested for Halo-Halo that time?

I remember Tina suggested a noodle dish, so we opted for Seafood Chami…

  

It’s a little greasy but the taste is just flavorful!

We also had that much required Yang Chow Fried Rice for extra Carbo-loading… (for what? nothing, LOL! we just felt we like to eat fried rice even if we’re having noodle dish too! Mann Hann’s version doesn’t disappoint).

That time, we passed on one of our Mann Hann favorites, Spicy Squid which is always serve with Chinese Bagoong (now, I’m craving!), and favored another crunchy delight, Lechon Macau…

I know, I know… you’re counting the calories and cholesterol levels!  OK, we’re guilty of savoring those sinful foods! LOL!  But we also try to eat fruit and veggies on a daily basis; lots of them, actually to help washed out those artery-clogging lipids *defensive*.

 And yes, Gabby had one of his comfort foods…

  

Why do we like Mann Hann? Gabby’s smile says it all.

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Mann Hann / TriNoma Mall, Quezon City (also located in other malls).

23
Feb
10

BLUE TO WHITE

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

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

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

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

18
Jan
10

SEVENTH HEAVEN

Despite the mild U.R.T.I. (Upper Respiratory Tract Infection) and a ton of uncertainties I’m experiencing, God knows how grateful I am to Him and for all the love and support from my family and closest friends that Tina, Gabby and I are getting; it’s just overwhelming. :D

Allow me to keep my hopes high and let’s all start the new week with wonderful things.

On the last quarter of 2009, my family and I were invited to HAAGEN-DAZS BRANCH OPENING in ROBINSONS PLACE MANILA where we received GCs. :D  We enjoyed and shared with you via this blog our first experience with HAAGEN-DAZS FONDUE.  Then weeks  after, it was followed by MORE VELVETY ICE CREAM MOMENTS.  And this will be the third but definitely not the last of those heavenly pleasures.

:) Have you been to Seventh Heaven? 

Well, we haven’t too, but not  long ago, we’ve tasted it at least…  

SEVENTH HEAVEN, PhP 680+.  Seven scoops of Haagen-Dazs ice cream of your choice, fresh seasonal fruits adorned by sweet strawberries and rich chocolate sauce, served in a mist of indulgence. 

Scooping those balls of ice cream with little spoons and looking at each other’s faces while enjoying the plate together spelled another family bonding moment for us. 

The only difficulty lies on the selection of the flavors.

My wife, Tina, our son, Gabby and I chose our 7 :  

:) Vanilla,

:) Dark Chocolate Orange,

:) Cookies and Cream,

:) Macadamia Nut,

:) Vanilla Caramel Brownie,

:) Choc-Choc Chip,

:) Cappuccino Truffle.

This ice cream creation was just too divine for words.  I actually ran out of superlatives to describe the slow-melting-process and the delightful taste of each flavor, LOL :D

Sure, we like yogurt and gelato but cannot resist ice cream temptation, can you? 

Worries are forgotten when moments are shared with the family especially with ice cream!

:)  Have a great week everyone!

:)  God bless us more!

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Haagen-Dazs SM Megamall Atrium, 2nd Level Mega Atrium, SM Megamall Complex, Ortigas Ctr.

11
Jan
10

SUBLIME BURGER EXPERIENCE

Lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, onions, catsup, mayonnaise, mustard, buns and patties. What makes a hamburger really special ?

Our family (Tina, Gabby and I) with my brother, JC had a great lunch in SM Megamall Atrium yesterday! It was a bit different from our usual Sunday meals for we savored great tasting burgers and surprisingly delicious other treats from BROTHERS BURGERS.  It wasn’t  my first time to taste BB but nevertheless, was excited to try their latest offerings.  

One may not resist the poster at this burger joint that says : BROTHERS BURGER, Burgers By Design introducing DESIGNER BITES for only PhP 285!  Each Designer Bite set comes with your choice of French Fries or Onion Rings… These Mini Designer Burgers are perfect for small cravings!  The only problem is the difficulty in choosing a set of yummies! :D

Tina and JC considered ordering  regular huge-sized burgers, while I had done the same,  I also gave in to my craving to try these Designer Bites. And it took me few minutes at the counter to select from the 3 sets;  then finally….

SET 2 : LAMB BURGER, SANTA FE, and BISTRO won my palates!  I love this set, particularly the Santa Fe! Every bite has a distinct taste that you’ll surely enjoy. :D   The other 2 sets that you may try are : 

SET 1 : Bistro, Ranchero and Blues Brothers

Set 3 : Santa Fe, Ranchero, and Blues Brothers.

Santa Fe has the half-pound flame grilled patty accompanied by tangy and hot jalapeño rings, chili, chopped white onions, three types of cheese, farm fresh lettuce and tomato, with all that spicy bounty contained within a toasted Kaiser bun.

Blues Brothers, a Brothers classic of half-pound flame-grilled patty topped with creamy blue cheese, golden sautéed mushrooms, crispy honey cured bacon, tangy Dijonnaise dressing, farm fresh lettuce and tomato –all between a Kaiser bun.

The Bistro, where the natural sweetness of caramelized onions, sautéed champignons mingle with the sourness of Dijon mustard and the brackish creaminess of Brie cheese, on top of the freshly grilled Half-pounder in a Kaiser bun.

The Ranchero has crunchy onion rings, crispy strips of honey-cured bacon on the freshly grilled Half-pounder, smothered with the smokin’ sweetness of Texan barbecue sauce. Tempered by fresh garden lettuce and tomato, it’s an interesting mix of textures that will surely delight.   

Burgers continue to be the banner products of Brothers but there are other items in the menu worth trying like Brothers Cheese Steak, Crispy Fish, Fried Crispy Chicken, and Grilled Chicken.  Options for dessert are brownies, Chocolate Chip Cookies, and Cool Bites. Also recently introduced are the Chicken Fajita Sandwich, Roast Beef Sandwich, Vegetable salad, Brothers Signature Pasta and soup. 

We ordered Vanilla, Strawberry and Chocolate Shakes, Lemonade and Iced Tea–all refreshingly good!

What really surprised us were the desserts from BB.  Indubitably, their premium burgers are superb, but the sweet treats that tickled our taste buds were also far from being less.

BB’s Home-Made Choco Chip Cookies, PhP 55 is soft and chewy-melt-in-your-mouth chocolate treat!  Tina and Gabby loved it! Honestly, it’s one of the best cookies we’ve tasted!  (the cookie-monster-in-me was unleashed!)  BB’s brownies, Php 40 also doesn’t disappoint.

Another must-try from their menu are the HOT BITES and COOL BITES! :D

HOT BITES, PhP 90 are tender chicken strips with crispy breading that comes with sauce of either gravy or teriyaki.  The serving was big enough to be shared by 2 or even 3. And since we’re so fixed with our burger-indulgence, it was one of those we had to take home. :D  

COOL BITES, PhP 80, is a Vanilla Ice Cream sandwiched in Oatmeal Cookies! We all like it! I personally love how different textures of this sublime dessert blend so well in one decadence!

Now, if those delicious Mini Designer Bites will make you crave for its real-sized counterparts and more, I suggest you shouldn’t supress the urge of tasting any of these burgers…

WAGYU BURGER, PhP 350+.   My first bite on this Designer burger patty sans mayonnaise, catsup and everything took me to pause for few seconds and analyzed -what makes this Wagyu Burger special above the rest?  Its tenderness was expected. Its grilled Wagyu Burger taste, impeccable! :D

My brother JC was overwhelmed with what he order…

BLUES BROTHERS BURGERS, PhP 265+.   I cannot blame him for being biased with his plate.  It has sliced button mushrooms and bacon strips that were combined in wonderful unison with lettuce and that BB hamburger. 

On that moment, I was hoping our stomachs have botomless pits, lol.  Because she was already full, Tina’s order had to be join our HOT BITES as another to-go…. 

BLACK ANGUS BURGER, PhP 250+.  Just like the other Brother Burgers patties, this Black Angus’ that we had for breakfast on Monday morning was tender and juicy absolutely perfect for meat-lovers!

We love Brothers Bugers! We love their French Fries, Onion Rings and their desserts! Next time, we’ll try their pasta and others. :D

So what makes a hamburger really special ?  I think it’s in the purest flavor of its burger patty;  in particular harmonious symphony with different textures of other ingredients inside a bun. 

….Hmmm, makes me want to grab another bite, don’t you?  :D

———————————-

BROTHERS BURGERS, 4th fl. Bldg B, SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City.

Visit their website –> here  for their menu and list of branches.

Special Thanks to Ms. Nadal for the invites to try Brother Burgers’ latest offerings! :D

09
Jan
10

CELEBRATORY MEAL AT PL

If you’ve been following this humble site for some time now,  can you easily spot my wife and our kid’s photo on that wall ?

I’ll make it easy… Can you find the photo below from the pictures above?  Nyek, lalo ata gumulo! LOL :D

There was NOTHING SPECTACULAR about our 6th Wedding Anniversary except for SPECIAL MOMENTS that Tina and I shared with who else but our bundle of joy ~Gabby! :D 

After Tina’s morning shift duty from a private hospital in Quezon City, we hailed from Gateway Mall to Shangri La Mall for a much-needed PEPPER LUNCH MEALS!!! :D 

We’ve tried Chicken Pepper Rice before but our palates have been partial to those tender and juicy thin strips of beef!

Tina had her usual Beef Pepper Rice while I had Double Beef ! :D 

 

I’ve been craving for that Double Beef Pepper Rice because it has been monthssss since  our last PL experience

We’ve also favored Amakuchi a.k.a. HONEY BROWN SAUCE over Karakuchi or garlic soy sauce. 

The flavor of honey brown sauce + butter in the middlemost portion of the serving + dash of freshly ground-only-outer shells-of-pepper = delicious craving satisfied! :D

While wer’e enjoying our D-I-Y cooking, Gabby was engrossed with his KUROMITSU ICE CREAM :D

Our 5-year-old son must have thought that Santa Claus and his reindeers’ job is already done but not for the people behind PL.  The season of gift giving isn’t over yet!  Before we enjoyed our PL meals, I’ve browsed this HP @ PL PROMO so we participated almost effortlessly!

I just clicked my cam while Tina and Gabby were having fun; finished our meals as evidenced by these before and after photos…. :D

and asked the friendly staff on how-to sample the HP touch screen photo printer after I gave our cam’s memory card. They’ve printed two copies of the chosen pic taken at PL;  At the back  of one of the copies, I was required to write my name, and contact details and in a matter of seconds, my family’s photo was posted on their wall as an entry for their HP @PL promo where 2 lucky winners will bring home 2 of HP’s wireless Photosmart Premium Printer and Pepper Money! (I WANT!!! *greedy!*). While the other copy of the photo was ours to keep. Isn’t it sweet ?  :D

I therefore conclude that  —

1.  We’re  grateful for those 6 wonderful years of togetherness and we’re looking forward, of course, for more anniversaries!

2.  We had another happy dining moments at PL with high hopes to win a new HP Photosmart Premium Printer and Pepper Money!

_____________________________

Pepper Lunch, LG Level Shangri La Plaza, Mandaluyong City.   Also in Power Plant Mall, ATC and G5.

PS : When are you having PL branchesssss in Quezon City areasss ? Can’t wait!

20
Dec
09

HAVE YOU TRIED TESSIE TOMAS SALAD ?

My wife, Tina, our preschooler son, Gabby and I joined my our 2 good best friends of 16 years and counting for a casual get together 6 days before Christmas.  We came from different places but all hurdled the holiday rush going to SM Megamall just to catch up with our 7PM dinner.

After few SMS of where to dine, my suggestion was honored. :D  Finally, we have tried CHEF’S QUARTER in Mega Atrium. 

I’ve been longing to try and taste some of their dishes after I’ve read their reviews from broadsheets and on-line. 

We saw the place was packed except for the table outside the restaurant so we decided to occupy it while waiting for Rob who was caught in traffic from Pasay City.  Our friends asked me if I’d like to avail of Chef’s Quarter’s eat-all-you-want spread but out of nowhere, I beg off.  I opted their ala carte. Perhaps those CQ’s dinner and merienda buffets could wait some time. :D  Just before we were given the menu, I’m already sure of what to choose. 

For Salads, Chef’s Quarter has Trio Salad (prawns, escargot & mushrooms on lettuce in balsamic variation), Frut de Mer (spiced seafood and pomelo in sesame vinaigrette), Foie Gras Salad (goose liver on green apple ragout in raspberry honey sauce), Caprese Salad (baked buffalo mozarella, plum tomato, basil and toasted garlic), and Caesar Salad (romaine lettuce tossed in lemon-anchovy dressing with garlic croutons bacon bits and parmesan cheese). 

Those salads appeared to me as must-try but I and our friend, LG particularly singled out TESSIE TOMAS SALAD “OLD TIME FAVORITE” for our starter.  I guess we’re both interested on how the name of a local celebrity made these seafoods on bed of greens quite attention-grabbing on CQ’s menu.

On my plate :

 

TESSIE TOMAS SALAD “OLD TIME FAVORITE”,  large / to-share PhP 595+.  A combination of Roasted prawns, Marinated Salmon, Shiitake Mushroom with Mesclun Salad in French Creamy Balsamic Dressing. 

While others considered this salad as ordinary or found nothing unusual, I instantly fell in love with it. :)  Perhaps because I really like no complexities and I’m just biased to its ingredients.

I don’t know about you but I’m a loyal SEAFOOD fanatic.  I love SHRIMPS from its little variant used to prepare a Bagoong Alamang or shrimp paste to its larger sized prawns; so it wasn’t difficult to like this at all.  Tessie Tomas Salad-large size has FOUR PRAWNS that were roasted in almost perfection; they’re succulent and plump. :D 

While Gabby was still picky on food and was not at all interested with salad, I served Tina and LG their share of the prawns and asked our benefactor for that dinner, Rob, if he wants one.  Quietly, I was jumping for joy when he passed up; that made two prawns landing in my plate!!! :D  

FRENCH ONION SOUP, PhP 150+. 

Rob was the only one who ordered for a soup. It comes with two small pieces of bread and butter but was served several minutes after the bowl of the soup was brought to our table. There was no apologies from the wait staff so they just gave themselves a minus-point. But let me clear that everything was served within 20 minutes after ordering except for those breads. 

 STIR FRIED PAELLA SEAFOOD, PhP 430+ large order / to-share.  If you must know, I also love this Spanish dish.  Although CQ’s version may not be the most flavorful but it doesn’t disappoint either. All of us were satisfied with this platter and despite its HUGE serving, I personally felt short, actually and would crave for more, LOL :D

CHEF’S QUARTER PASTA, PhP 420+, large /to-share serving.  Fettucine tossed in mild spicy vegetable pangritata with prawns.

What can I say? This pasta plate has prawns again! It was raining calcium and iodine last night, LOL! :D  Actually, Tina considered sharing her order with us so instead of having a steak which Rob doesn’t eat (read : he hates pork and beef), she agreed on my suggestion for this pasta which Gabby liked as well.

ICED TEA, refillable PhP 75+.   Refreshing, but I was expecting a more uniquely tasteful house blend.

BELGIAN CHOCOLATE FONDUE, PhP 350+.  Mallows and fresh fruits.  Gabby personally hand-picked this dessert from the menu.  It was OK but suffered comparison with the BEST FONDUE that we have sampled to date.  I think we’ll order their cake slices on our next visit.

Service was good but not great; maybe because staff was busy more on refilling the buffet spread and a little bit less attentive on the ala carte diners.  The place was a bit small especially when cramped during peak hours.  Nonetheless, Chef’s Quarter deserves a second and many more visits because of the quality, taste, cleanliness and presentation of their dishes.

We spent more than 3 hours of chatting over fine foods on our table.  Other than the dinner treat, Rob and LG who both stand as dutiful godparents to Gabby, gave our son their advance Christmas gifts.  THANK YOU!  Tina and I had a little something too for them.  What a night of friendship and family bonding experience! :D

Have you tried dining at Chef’s Quarter ? 

—————————–

CHEF’S QUARTER, Level 3 Mega Atrium, SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City.

16
Dec
09

WHERE’S THE SHRIMP?

:D Do you dig seafoods ?  What about Thai cuisine ?

12 December 09, Saturday –My family and I met up with our good friend, Rob at our usual meeting place of 16 years and counting, where else but Shangri la Mall.  Rob, who works as a paramedic-nurse in a rig in the middle of nowhere, comes home every 3 months for his days off.  He treated us for a lunch and to another family-kiddie fun activity which I opted to post soon.  Hours after we kill the afternoon, we had grande cups of Starbucks and a slice of cake for Gabby.  Then our friend had to leave for an errand before dusk. 

My wife, Tina and I were already eyeing a restaurant when we’re having frapuccinos.  It took me no sweat to convince her to eat dinner there so that we can just freshen up and immediately hit the sack at home (it’s also our common logical defense for being lazy to prepare dinner at home).  What I like best about my wife is her weakness when it comes to food!  It’s our kyrptonite, LOL! :D I know she’ll wry my neck for this but  it’s one of the reasons why I so love her, naks! :D  Food effortlessly binds us together! (babaw!)  

And so mutually, we decided to have our evening meals at CRUSTASIA’s THAI SHRIMP HOUSE. :D 

Yes! Tina, Gabby and I had pig-out again-on a dinner buffet! :D It’s a guilty pleasure but heck, what’s a holiday season without a feast? hehe.:D Important thing is we’ve enjoyed every moments together  bite!  

We’re honest to state that we cannot be biased with Thai cuisine, for my wife and I cannot handle too spicy foods.  We just like it mild. Never to forget that as a family, we always put Gabby’s preference to food as our priority or at least there should be something that he can munch as we enjoy our meals together; best,  Gabby still eats for FREE in most buffets including this one. :D  Although Thai cuisine doesn’t top our list of favorites, how can you say no to seafoods ?

Crustasia and Red Crab are known for freshest seafoods cooked into Vietnamese, Singaporean and Thai dishes .  It was our first time to try their buffet and unsurprisingly, we were delighted. :D

On the spread …

Starters include salad, sushi, soup, a cripy-pita-like bread, and what won my palate were those  Thai spring rolls, Spareribs, Siomai and Chicken feet. :D

On my plates :

Perhaps unlike you, I am not fond of Chicken feet.  The first and the last time I’ve tasted them was in NZ when my cousin’s relative drove us to her favorite Chinese resto; I ‘chicken-out’ to say no to Chicken feet! :D But Crustasia’s version isn’t bad! It was tasteful actually; so with the Spareribs.  They may have the smallest bite-sized Siomai in the Metro but believe me, they’re one of the most delicious! :D  And those Thai Spring Rolls ?  I fell in love with them, LOL. :D

 

I was thankful that there was soup on the spread; even though it wasn’t Tom Yum, it’s enough to warm our tummies.  The spread has less dishes compared to other restos and hotels but volume isn’t always essential in a buffet but tastes.  For meat lovers, one cannot resist Crustasia’s Angus Beef Shortplate – it’s so tender, flavorful you’ll be asking for more!  Look at my surf and turf plate :

There were 2 choices of rice – the common steamed and Nasi Goreng, an Indonesian-Malay-Singaporean fried rice.

Because Tina passed on the salad, she never failed to eat greens with that dish called Lohan Mixed Vegetables that she coupled with Nasi Goreng and a few slices of Angus Beef and a piece of crab.  Her comment – She should have paired the viands with steamed rice! Not because Nasi Goreng wasn’t done right but it’s almost a complete meal like paella sans ulam! :D

Above on the left was Tina’s Nasi Goreng + her choice of viands; on the right my second plate for the entrees :  I got few slices of White Chicken in Ginger Sauce – I like it’s tenderness and it’s less gingery which I favor;  I also tried Salt and Pepper Porkribs -which wasn’t bad either;  Nasi Goreng and can’t get enough of those Angus Beef Shortplate! :D

Pasta lovers won’t be disappointed in Crustasia’s Thai Shrimp House’s dine-all-you-can!  On the buffet table :

Seafood Spaghetti and Chicken Pad Thai…

Char Kway Teow and our sampler plate of those pasta.  It isn’t Crustasia’s but just me : my personal taste still partial to Chinese noodles, Italian pasta and our very own Pancit Malabon, LOL :D

I think the only dish on the spread that we didn’t try was Catfish in Caramel Sauce. I find the name bizaare, sorry. :D  The crabs were so-so; they were tiny in size -I’m not sure if it’s because of the season or was it because it’s an eat-all-you-want.  The crabs were simply cooked with sotanghon however, if diners would like to order ala carte, there are lots of choices from their menu.  On our future visit, I’ll try to sample their Crab Maritess, the one sauteed in olive oil, white wine, garlic and chili.  

To end the buffet, desserts cannot be missed!  Some tropical fruits and panna cotta in 2 colors, some fritters and tiny pudding topped with sesame seeds.

We ordered 2 refillable glasses of iced tea (at only PhP 49+ each) and paid PhP 790+ only for 2 buffet plates.  All in all we paid PhP 968.34; not bad for an eat all you want dinner :D  They have lunch buffets too!   

I was almost impressed with the dishes on the spread and I think it’s a steal for its price but I wonder why there were no shrimps included in the buffet.  Did they run out of shrimps last Saturday or do they have to rename their restaurant ?  Just asking! :P  I know we can order any shrimp dish from Crustasia’s ala carte menu but can you blame me if I thought of looking for some from the buffet spread?

For more of Crustasia’s Thai Shrimp House menu, view here .

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CRUSTASIA’s THAI SHRIMP HOUSE, The Ledge, 6th fl, Shangri La Mall, EDSA, Mandaluyong City.

24
Nov
09

SMOKELESS GRILL, SUSHI AND MORE!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I got few sushi and two slices of sashimi :D

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

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

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

On our table :

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

20
Nov
09

PINOY COMFORT FOOD

My family and I like Japanese and Italian foods but indubitably, we love Pinoy dishes the most!  Nothing beats the combination of rice and viands that are very Filipino. :D

In as much as we usually less favor anything that can be easily prepared at home, my wife, Tina with our son, Gabby and I still welcome the thought of eating ordinary Pinoy dishes in food places where we haven’t dined before or at least in restaurants that we have tried and tested  tasted that are known to satisfy our palates.

Few days ago, we had a chance to taste few of our favorites in a restaurant named after a group that sparked the revolution in Pinoy history…

KKK actually stands for Kataastaasan, Kagalanggalangan na Katipunan  Kainan sa Kalye Kanluran because its pioneer restaurant is located at West Avenue, Quezon City.

The branch in SM-Mall of Asia is not that huge but it’s adequate enough to accomodate hungry diners’ cravings for our very own cuisine.

The interiors boasts of a poster of our national heroes appeared to be brainstorming over a grand feast. The walls were also adorned by woven bamboo-like material drooping gracefully.   

Upon receiving KKK’s simple laminated menu, I was ready to order two local dishes that I so love.  The first on my list was…

SINIGANG NA SUGPO, PhP 358+.  I’m one big shrimp/prawn fanatic! I like them buttered, grilled, steamed and yes, in sour stock with veggies. I guess other than the famous adobo (that I know originated from Mexico), sinigang is one viand that every Pinoy tongue is familiar with. And KKK’s version of Sinigang na Sugpo did not disappoint. The huge hot bowl contained 5 huge prawns to our delight! The veggies were still crunchy and were cooked with the plump prawns to almost perfection!

Here’s my lion share…aren’t those prawns a beauty? LOL! :D

My other all-time favorite Pinoy dish is Kare-Kare or Beef and ox tail in peanut sauce. I could have ordered it as well if I did not consider Tina’s choice….

KALDERETA SAN MIGUEL, PhP 280+.   It’s described in the menu as “baka niluto sa cervesa”.  Those beef cubes were so tender that once you dunk your fork into it, it shreds off effortlessly.  Its tomato sauce with carrots and potatoes stewed (with beer, hence the name?) to a creamy but not-so-thick base.  We only wish for its serving to be more than enough to meet one’s appetite :D

While Tina and I were sharing bowls of our comfort foods, Gabby was also enjoying his take on the sweets…

LECHE FLAN NA GATAS NG KALABAW, PhP 68+.     The use of Carabao’s milk made this dessert different from the usual leche flan, plus it’s  topped with macapuno strips.  Although Gabby had to asked me to scoop those macapuno strips out of the flan for he, I think, at an early age is a purist. :)

For our drinks, Tina had her usual serving of agua while Gabby and I ordered these..MANGO and BUCO JUICE!  I liked KKK’s  chilled coconut but I liked it better when the wait staff didn’t hesitate to give in to my request in a blink and made a small opening that gave me the moment to scrape its chewey soft pulp. And I tell you, I missed doing it when we were in Boracay last month. 

Other than the quantity of the Kaldereta, we’re happy with our lunch at KKK. :D  On our next visit, I’ll make sure we get to taste that Kare-Kareng Baka and I’ve heard that Adobo ni Jake Espesyal is another must-try. 

We join the owners and staff of KKK in saying yelling their battle cry- “Huwag matakot, Maki-Kain!!!” :D

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KKK Comforts of Pinoy Food G/F Entertainment Mall SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City / Tel # (63-2)556-0755. with branches at Level 3, Midtown Wing, Robinson’s Place Manila / Tel # (63-2)567-2186.  Kainan sa Kalye Kanluran 74 West Ave., Quezon City /Tel # (63-2)371-9099.

11
Nov
09

MORE THAN A GRILL PLACE

Other than great-tasting food, enticing ambiance, impeccable service, location and figures on the menu, my wife and I always look for family-friendliness in any food place.

IMG_5195Because we love our Kindergarten son, Gabby so dearly, he’s our topmost priority of course, particularly in choosing a place where we can chow down;  either in a  turo-turo, a fastfood joint or a restaurant in hotels or somewhere, there should always be something for Gabby to munch and/or to keep him busy.  

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Before heading to the Century Corned Tuna Bloggers’ Cook Off at The Stock Market where I was invited to be one of the foodie-judges, we had our late lunch at TEXAS ROADHOUSE GRILL in Bonifacio High Street last Saturday.  It was our first time to eat there and you know our expectations.

We’re really really ready to grab a bite at something for it was past one in the afternoon already.  As we’re quickly ushered in to our table; we immediately browsed the menu and we’re offered dried peanuts as appetizers while waiting.  Luckily, not too long after we ordered, the cowboy and cowgirl wait staffs of Texas Roadhouse Grill brought to our table these…

IMG_5211WILD CHEESE FRITTERS, PhP 200 but we got it for FREE because we have a coupon stapled at their flyer valid until 15 November. KIDS also EAT FREE every weekend at Texas Roadhouse Grill but since we availed of this promo already; we only got one freebie.  No worries, for cheese sticks are one of Gabby’s favorites.  It’s a bunch of fried mozzarella sticks in marinara sauce.  It’s a really good starter! :D

While Gabby was enjoying his wild cheese fritters, Tina had this…sweet soy marlinSWEET SOY MARLIN, PhP 385+.  It’s a great serving of grilled Blue Marlin drizzled with melted garlic butter, served with Texas rice and fresh veggies.  I, of course tasted what’s on Tina’s  plate and like her, I was amazed at how they grilled the fish into almost perfection!  It was so flavorful I almost forgot it wasn’t my plate, LOL :) One thing that I like best with most restaurants is when they serve freshly blanched veggies that they cut and sliced themselves.  I am so partial to those who try to avoid using instant corn and carrots that are readily available at most supermarkets. :)

It was definitely a late lunch for us without red meat because I also chose seafood to pig-out.shrimp and salmon skewersSHRIMP and SALMON SKEWERS, PhP 420+ .  Three skewers of juicy shrimp and salmon, grilled and seasoned with Roadhouse herbs and spices. Served on a bed of Texas rice and fresh veggies.  The cowboy-server was so compelling that their dishes are best served with sauteed mushrooms, so I requested an add-on; but little that I know it’ll cost me PhP 95+, a  price that’s equivalent to 3 cans of button mushrooms already!  Ayos lang,  it really complemented my plate well. 

If you’re a frequent reader of my posts, you know by now that I do love almost anything with shrimps. I like it buttered, steamed and yes, grilled.  This plate of shrimps and salmons + veggies and lemon butter sauce was my HAPPINESS last weekend! It may be pricey yes, but a sure treat to someone who likes seafood so much.

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Of course, a better way to cap a nice meal is to have a sweet ending.

Gabby’s choice for our dessert-to-share :   cowboy chocolate cakeCOWBOY CHOCOLATE CAKE, PhP 220+. This is described in their menu as the most decadent chocolate cake in the West. Rich, moist chocolate cake; you’d ask for more! It’s topped with vanilla-flavored ice cream coated with melted chocolate. It was so heavenly! (that my wife told me its price sky-rocketted to 7th heavens! She meant was there are some who offered almost the same kind of dessert for less)  :D  Good thing about this was the fact that Gabby liked it.

The place is cozy; we like the  tavern look made up of wooden planks and swaying doors to the kitchen and toilets. One side of the resto has the bar where one can enjoy a good drink while watching a nice play at their flat screen TV. 

The wait staffs clad in plaid long-sleeved shirts with scarves and in boots were commendable for being courteous and smiley.

We dined there at Texas Roadhouse Grill with other families who were also enjoying their weekend.  It’s enough proof that it’s a good place not only to hang out with friends but a venue where wholesome family fun can be enjoyed. :o

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TEXAS ROADHOUSE GRILL, Bldg 1 Bonifacio High Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.  Tel # (63-2) 856-1547 / 856-2499.  Other branch at Ruby Road, El Pueblo Real de Manila, Ortigas, Pasig City. Tel # (63-2) 635-6715.  

 

21
Sep
09

DUSIT THANI : REVISITED

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who can resist the beauty of Umu?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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What’s a Japanese restaurant without sushi and sashimi ?

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

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Basix has this relaxed and cool ambiance…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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YAM SAI KRAWK BACON THOD : Spicy Bacon Wrapped Sausage

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

My Thai plate had a bit of everything…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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DESSERTS from TOSCA : DIVINE!

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DESSERTS from BASIX : SUBLIME!

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

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

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BENJARONG SWEETS : EXQUISITE…

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DESSERTS from UMU :  TOOTHSOME…

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

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

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

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

19
Sep
09

A QUAINT RESTO : REVISITED

Our munch plan for my birthday : 

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

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

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

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

Check out how enticing  the interiors is…

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enough, and on with the food… :D 

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

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

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

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

What’s an Italian dining without pizza?

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

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

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

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

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

IMG_3723TIRAMISU : GELATO CAKE, PhP 170+

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

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

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

Abangan! :D

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

01
Sep
09

NOT OUR USUAL MEAL

Guess what type of food we had for dinner on a lazy Monday-holiday…

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After a brief phone conversation in the morning and few text messages until afternoon, I, my wife Tina and our son Gabby were invited by our good friend of 16 years and counting, Rob to a dinner in one of the restaurants at the Atrium of SM Megamall.  He’ll depart again to middle of nowhere by the end of the week after his official days off so he had to see us and feed us; LOL, before he bids temporary good bye for another 3 months of medical work that gives him his bucks.

Because our host doesn’t eat meat and practices Pescetarianism by choice, seafood and no-meat diet should be present on the menu every time we’re eating with him. WE ARE NOT COMPLAINING!  We love seafood!!! But that night it was only him who had such craving, or was he?  I know it’s unusual, but believe it or not, I wan’t craving for anything.  I just went with the flow and trusted Rob’s preference.

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Enough with the guessing game. I know I’m no good at that :D

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OK, we had our first chow at THE KEBAB FACTORY.   It’s our first time there but Mediterranean food is never new to our palates.  I’m a fan of beef or chicken shawarma.  There was an episode in the life of Gelo & Tina when we became so addicted to shawarma that we had it for almost a week as late afternoon snacks  to the point that we got so umay or found it  ‘sickening’.   But after few weeks, we craved for it again, lol and had tasted so many varieties from food stalls on streets and groceries to high-end hotel restos like CIRCLES EVENTS CAFE at MAKATI SHANGRI LA  where the chefs also serve such dishes to bakeshops like BreadTalk where they also sell Naan. 

Going back to The Kebab Factory, it was almost empty of customers when we got there that late Monday afternoon but as our son’s ‘magnetic powers’ with diners worked again; as everywhere we eat he attracts more clients.  With less than half hour, TKF was filled with hungry stomachs craving for something different.

Here’s a peek of  what we had…

3PAPADUM  MASALA,  PhP 65 +.  Fried lentil wafers garnished with onions, tomatoes and coriander.

I ordered this appetizer. It’s marked as one of the bestsellers of TKF on their menu and the logic got into me after trying it.  The wafers were thin but crispy and were perfectly served with dips of  yogurt and hot sauce.

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I wanted to compare  Naan of Breadtalk and Circles with that of TKF so I aslo ordered its kind…5

GARLIC BUTTER NAAN, PhP 65 +   Traditional leavened Tandoor bread with garlic…  Not bad either.

6HYDERABAD  CHICKEN  BIRYANI, PhP 200 +  The famous city known for its authentic chicken simmered in rice with the rich array of spices.   Tina and I shared this dish and again, we can tell that this was satisfying.

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I only remembered that I’ve watched an episode on Asian Food Network long ago, on how to prepare this Hyderabad Biryani when we got home.  And now that I’ve tasted the dish, I can tell that it’s truly flavorful and perhaps next to paella which tops my list of rice dishes,  I think given few more exposures, I can learn to love this too.

A visit to The Kebab Factory isn’t complete without trying one of their kebabs on skewers…

8BEEF  KEBAB, regular PhP 225+ / also available at 1 skewer for PhP 115 +  Mouth watering minced beef kebabs cooked in a Tandoor oven.   It was Tina who chose this and Beef Kebab doesn’t disappoint.

As for our pescetarian friend, here’s what he ordered that he genererously shared with us as well…

9SAFFRON  RICE, PhP 120+.  Long grain rice cooked with butter with delicious aroma of saffron.  

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VEGGIE MEAT KEBAB, PhP 250.  This plate got mixtures of flavors. There was a little bit of sourness we tasted which I guess, was part of its character.

11PRAWN TANDOORI, PhP 480+.  The plump shrimps had that lingual stimuli from those unfamiliar flavors that were fused in one dish. It’s neither spicy nor bland.  The taste was good but far from standard and new to my tongue.

Except for the Persian lamps and nicely woven comfy chairs which are far from being eye-sores, the ambiance at The Kebab Factory is typical and casual.  Entire staff was discreetly attentive, although constant smiles would help soar their service to the highest heavens. Food was served after  10 to 15 minutes after order which was good and the taste of what’s in the menu isn’t bad either.  

Considering that our friend, Rob has been eating similar food at his work site, nevertheless, our tongues are still bias with our staples and with the few Italian, Continental and of course, Oriental.  Although we found the food at The Kebab Factory as uniquely tasteful and a bit new to our senses, to nicely put it- I think it would probably take more gastronomic adventures partial to Mediterranean food before it tops our list.

Do you like Persian food? :D

The Kebab Factory, 2/F SM Megamall Atrium, Julia Vargas Avenue, Mandaluyong City.

22
Aug
09

CELEBRATE !

In less than 30 days, I will be officially a year older; hopefully a year wiser and happier. 

Every single day, I am grateful for everything. 

I guess happiness and fulfillment do not come from the parties we have, but on how we share our moments with our love ones and how we inspire them and others.

This year, I thought of celebrating my day by putting more MEANING into it.   However, since I’ll be working 5 days straight on the week of my birthdate, and on THE DAY itself,  I’m skeptical if I can still push through with my plan.  Don’t you wish your birthday falls on a holiday?  Nevertheless, I still want to make this year a different one.  Is this a sign of maturity, literally? :D

Anyway, before I turn thirty three on the eighteenth of next month, I am sharing with you what I had last year.

I went to work as usual that day, but because I was on a budget and got nothing to treat my colleagues at work, I just bought some pastries from Le Couer de France on way to work and gave it to the staff.  I was surprised to see that my coordinator came to office that day earlier than expected just to set up a powerpoint slide on our LCD projector screen with birthday greetings for me.   That was sweet. :D  

Then at the table were our office T-shirt, and the biggest birthday greeting card I have ever received in my entire existence.  The card which I am keeping until now contained well wishes of my colleagues and my bosses. That was sweeter! :D 

The day went on with my usual lectures on Medical-Surgical topics but as I call for a lunch break, two of our nurse-reviewees then reported back to class late.  I was clueless that they were caught in traffic or something on way back to the center after they had purchased a cake for me. 

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Then after my lecture ended in the late afternoon, the entire office staff and our bosses came in with another chocolate cake, pancit, tubs of ice cream and cold soft drinks.  What a way to end a tiring day!  C’mmon, not everbody is valued at their office but in ours, everyone is regarded as special – not only on birthdays but on a daily basis.

My birthday last year did not end without celebrating it with the people I love dearest; who else but Tina and Gabby.  I met them in TriNoma mall early evening to have dinner after my long day at work.  We were with our two friends, Rob and LG who dined with us in T.G.I.Fridays…

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Sans party treat and other expenses, don’t you wish everyday is your birthday?

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How do you celebrate your birthday?

22
Aug
09

YOGURT LOVE

My family (referring to Tina & Gabby) and I have glucose levels going haywire lately.

Good thing we know how to control it (referring to our craving, lol). :D

We usually dwell on Starbucks with venti cups of white choco mocha frappuccinos and caramel macchiato beside a slice of heavenly cake or corned beef pandesal and we still long for more cups and dose of caffeine, but our sweet tooth also desires for more sublime desserts…

We’ve been enjoying both the regular and Italian ice cream called gelato…

–>click on photo and view post about it.

GELATONE's GELATO

GELATONE's GELATO

AMICI / CARA MIA's gelato

AMICI / CARA MIA's gelato

Then, there was a day we began to look for great-tasting yogurt…

Golden Spoon : Yogurt that tastes like Ice Cream

Red Mango frozen yogurt

Red Mango frozen yogurt

RED MANGO's green tea and original frozen yogurt

RED MANGO's green tea and original frozen yogurt

Yoh Gurt Froz

Yoh Gurt Froz

Tina likes fro yo of YOH GURT FROZ over others for their CHILLED/FROZEN toppings that don't melt the yogurt quickly. :D

Tina likes fro yo of YOH GURT FROZ over others for their CHILLED/FROZEN toppings that don't melt the yogurt quickly. :D

Last weekend, we got to taste WHITE HAT FROZEN YOGURT from their branch at Shangri la mall.

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Our four-year-old son ordered regular sized yogurt from White Hat with KITKAT chocolate wafer toppings..

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I had blueberries, mandarin oranges and kiwi as toppings while our friend Rob, enjoyed heaping cup of cherry-topped White Hat yogurt.

The staff at the counter was sweeter than her yogurt when she handed me a discount promo card…

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White Hat staff should be trained more on how to properly topped those yummy yogurt so it won’t spill and would still be appetizing once served.  We also finished those cups and enjoyed till the last scoops, nonetheless.

Then this afternoon, we went to Il Terrazo in Tomas Morato for lunch (I’ll post it soon) and after that hearty Japanese pig-out,  Gabby asked his mom and I to buy him what else but yogurt, this time from FYI…

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Gabby had his favorite Kitkat-topped yogurt again!  Note that FYI’s kitkat yogurt was crushed to bits as against to The White Hat’s kitkat cut into cubes-toppings.  I don’t know with Gabby’s  but Tina and I liked what we shared…

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This is FYI’s yogurt topped with maltesers and almond chips, sarap!

Do you like yogurt too ?

HAVE A SWEET WEEKEND :D

19
Aug
09

HALF BLOOD JAPANESE

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With my usual craving partial to Japanese food, I wouldn’t mind being reborn even as a half-blood Japanese, lol :D

I noticed that my palate has been biased with Japanese food. I share this craving with my wife, Tina and our preschooler son, Gabby who favors kani tempura so much; he even enjoys eating it with bare clean hands and dipping it in tempura sauce.  Tina and I are partial not only to ebi and kani tempura but to sushi and sashimi and soups like sukiyaki and more.  

Over the past few weeks,  Tina usually comes home from work with 2-packs of takoyaki as her pasalubong to us.  And lately, if not Italian or Chinese, we’ve been dining out in Japanese restaurants – from HANA in Little Tokyo where we enjoyed sukiyaki plate, takoyaki and ramune or flavored ice shaving  to KAGURA also in Little Tokyo where we first tasted okonomiyaki.  We’re also loyal patrons of SAISAKI in Glorietta 3 and had tried ZENSHO  buffet in Tomas Morato.  Even fastfood stall like  KARATE KID did not disappoint my craving.  Of course, on the top of our list that we have tried is UMU in DUSIT THANI Hotel.  I swear, Umu’s one of the finest, that we have to experience it again soon.

Our last Sunday’s lunch was nevertheless, special.  We revisited KIMONO KEN; this time at the basement of Shangri la Mall in Mandaluyong City.  We first dined at this casual Japanese dining place a couple of years ago at SM The Block and since then, I’ve regarded it as one of those that offer best-tasting and affordable Japanese food.  

The pictures can only speak for itself, but the experience of tasting food and dining at Kimono Ken would be another story.  Service was fair, wait staffs were all attentive, courteous and quick.  Ambiance was always casual but with zen-inspired cleanliness and order.  With Kimono Ken’s great tasting food and value for money, without even charging extra charge for service,  they’re true to their tag line, Enticingly Japanese. For Less.

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KANI SALAD, PhP 160.   A  chilled plate of crunchy cut lettuce, thinly sliced cucumber topped with generous volume of shredded kani strips with fish roe tossed with flavorful dressing.  It’s simply a must-try!

I have been craving for a good-tasting seafood ramen for the past weeks now, and I was content with Kimono Ken’s GOMOKU RAMEN, PhP 200. 2

The serving was good for 2 to 3 persons; the salt-based soup perfectly blended well with the shrimps, boiled egg, some chicken slices and noodles.  The waitress even offered a small bottle of  chili powder as an optional spice.   Tina enjoyed this ramen too.  But I also liked her beef rice bowl served with fresh egg.

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GYUDON, PhP 195.  We both love eating Japanese rice.  It has thicker grains and sticky consistency when boiled; so flavorful when cooked or topped with dish like this.  Gyudon is a rice toppings of sweet-soyed beef with leeks and other ingredients that fused in that delicious bowl.  I’m lost for words to describe the wonderful experience of eating it. :D I can consider it another “I-can-eat-this-everyday!” -meal.

 Gabby ordered a glass of iced tea, PhP 40. And I’ve tried sipping KIMONO KEN’S SPECIAL, PhP 75.  

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KIMONO KEN’S SPECIAL is a slush mixed of orange and mango but the taste is more than that mango-orange; it’s not that tangy but sweet and refreshingly similar to four seasons.  I guess everything’s reasonably special in Kimono Ken.

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CHICKEN CHEESE ROLL, PhP 160.  With fried chicken rolls topped with melted cheese, how can you go wrong?

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MANGO TEMPURA A LA MODE, PhP 100.  This was Gabby’s plate.   He ate the ice cream but did not finish the mango tempura.  This was probably because  he’s used to crab tempura instead of mangoes, and he was also craving for his favorite fastfood meal – McDonald’s fried chicken happy meal that we gave him after eating at Kimono Ken.  Nevertheless, this dessert perfectly ended our hearty lunch last Sunday.  

Thank you God for another opportunity to enjoy Your blessings with my family.

How was the start of your week?  May we have great days ahead! :D

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KIMONO KEN, Garden Court LG Level, SHANGRI LA, Mandaluyong City.

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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.

08
Aug
09

GABBY’S CHOICE

A couple of days ago, we had to go to Landmark in TriNoma to buy stuffs to fill in the fridge at home.  But since it was half hour past 4 in the afternoon, we decided to munch on something as late merienda/early dinner before heading to the grocery shelves.  

I had a short list of restaurants in mind to satisfy my own craving for some delights but I became too submissive when our four-year-old son Gabby called the shots.  While walking towards the escalators, he told us that he wanted to eat a specific favorite at one of the common resto that we frequent.  Since we just weaned Gabby from bottle-feeding several weeks ago (I know it’s quite late but what can we do? we’re just parents) and is now still adjusting with the sipping cup that he uses whenever he drinks milk, Tina and I are always excited to give in to his personal food preference.

Look how he candidly expressed his excitement to order the food that he wanted…

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While I was wearing a blue shirt that day, they’ve conspired to wore politically-significant-YELLOW.

I think it’s a small hint of maturity for our kid that at a young age, he begins to have personal preferences towards food and starts to distinguish fastfood yummies from restaurant’s entrees.  I also consider this as a result of our brain-washing  motivating him to become a chef one day; which Gabby already disclosed since his mom allowed him to watch Iron Chef America on cable TV and of course, as we bring him to few hotel buffets and various restaurants, he developed his good taste for good food.  We wouldn’t mind if he becomes a chef one day; we’re actually excited with just the mere thought of having a chef or a restaurateur in the family.  Isn’t it obvious that we really love eating  :D

Last Thursday, our son was craving for a pan pizza of a particular pizza place…

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I like Pizza Hut’s pan pizza too.  Mahusay pumili ang anak namin!   But I was surprised with what Gabby favored. It’s 3-cheese pan pizza sans toppings!!!!  Not even a single chopped mushroom was seen covering those cheeses. 

It’s a cheese lover’s delight. A pan pizza of only cheddar, mozzarella and parmesan, family size costs PhP 429… Sarap, but my palate was looking for some toppings…

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I was happy that Gabby volunteered to eat on his own plate of his own preference but I did not allow the chance to pass without trying again my own Pizza Hut favorites which I know are Tina’s favorites too…

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CAESAR SALAD.   With crisp romaine lettuce, bacon crumble, parmesan cheese, and herbed croutons tossed in Pizza Hut’s own caesar dressing served in chilled plate,  how can you not start your meal right ?  The price too, was very reasonable at PhP 79 a plate.

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GARLIC BREAD.  Toasted bread with garlic parsley butter, PhP 55.   Happiness is affordable at Pizza Hut! :D

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Then we ordered one of our favorite pastas from their menu….

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GARLIC SHRIMPS and MUSHROOMS. Spaghetti tossed with sauteed shrimps and mushrooms, in garlic-butter sauce; PhP 119.   It’s so delicious that I can eat it everyday. :D

Gabby also ordered his preferred drinks- Iced Mocha.  Once in a while, we allow him to sip a small dose of caffeine and his other favorites are the frappuccinos of Starbucks.  Calories, calories, calories….

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After that hearty meal, we burned those calories by pushing carts at the grocery….

Till our next foodtrip. :D

28
Jul
09

ABOUT LAST WEEKEND

IMG_2955Last Saturday, after a quick stop at my folks’ place in Pasig, I brought my family -Tina and Gabby to Eastwood Mall in Libis, Quezon City.   Look how crisp the interiors of the Eastwood Mall is…2Other  than having those functional and stylish lounges, Eastwood Mall boasts of having mall butlers clad in black suits who’ll offer to carry your paper bags throughout the duration of your shopping.  Although we haven’t bought anything yet from our previous visits there LOL :D,  and still to try the cinemas (we commonly go to the Eastwood City cinemas – haven’t watched a movie yet at Eastwood Mall cinemas),  we usually go there for few reasons :  to get a load of Starbucks, for my preschooler son to enjoy Timezone and what else but  to CHOW! 

Perhaps, next to Glorietta & Greenbelt in Makati, Shangri la mall in Mandaluyong,  and Gateway and TriNoma in QC, this Eastwood Mall is becoming one our favorites.  Why not?  it isn’t as crowded as Isetann Recto (patawa lang po). :D

Before deciding where and what to eat, we asked Gabby to pose as I click the cam.  He knew he had so many photos taken already from this site from our previous visits hence the awkward smile…

   

From its exteriors, a row of upscale restaurants always appear so inviting however last weekend, Mr. Kurosawa won our votes.

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It’s one of the chain of restaurants that the local celebrity Marvin Agustin partly owns.  One similarity between John and Yoko in Greenbelt 5, SUMO SAM in Shangri la and Power Plant Malls, with Mr. Kurosawa besides being contemporary-Japanese in the menu,  is the interiors.  All of these food places have hip and edgy atmosphere having subdued lighting, the evident constant use of purplish hues, and lots of things in black  which I like.  The servers too, wear dark sexy short dresses in heeled shoes/boots;  and you won’t expect any kimonos and obi belts just like in traditional Japanese resto. 

I like the idea of glowing Japanese posters up in the ceiling…

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My wife and I noticed food is basically the same.  Their menus probably only differ in covers, but has less variations.  I don’t know about your palate, but IMO, one thing is sure – the food in those three spots are delicious if you welcome a fusion of taste between the East and the West,  however a bit reasonably pricey.

We  keep coming back to  SUMO SAM  once in a while because I personally like this dish that we’ve also tried ordering at John and Yoko, now tasted the plate in Mr. Kurosawa —> SEAFOOD OMELET RICE, PhP 228. 

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Tina and I both agreed that Mr. Kurosawa’s version of Seafood Omelet Rice is BETTER than Sumo Sam and John and Yoko. The Japanese rice is stickier; the taste yummier.  Common among the 3 restos : generous servings for this dish.

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The serving was too large for our appetite (honestly) that we have to asked the wait staff for us to have it as to-go.  OK, I admit we have huge appetite but far from being gluttons we failed to finish this favorite because we sampled another hit from Mr. Kurosawa…

The pizza that we enjoyed after the last bite is  called IWO JIMA, PhP 279 …

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It’s thin crust pizza which I like, and what made it uniquely savory from most pizzas we’ve tasted was the presence of sweetest mango cubes as one of its toppings.  Imagine the saltiness from cheese had married the sweetness of mango bits. It’s Euro-Japanese on a plate!   That  one last slice I had came from this good-for-three servings…

IMG_2971If my taste buds served me right, the mango and cheese combo in IWO JIMA pizza was also mixed with cubes of chicken teriyaki and sesame seeds.  It’s so flavorful enough for you to forget worries of daily living, lol :D IMG_2979Another must-try from the menus of either Sumo Sam, John and Yoko and Mr. Kurosawa, are  the 3 -colored-iced teas.. They’re in green (lime), red (calamansi), and my favorite – in blue (dalandan)…

They’re refillable until whatever volume you can handle at PhP 108.

Apparently, we liked our merienda last Saturday; look how my wife and our son smiled after being satiated…:D

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MR. KUROSAWA, G/F Eastwood Mall, Libis, Quezon City.

26
Jul
09

FACEBOOK THAT BINDS

When I became a daddy tatay-doc to my son at the age of 28 about five years ago,  I never thought that one day, an on-line social network would be a source of wholesome fun and family bonding.   Now that almost everyone is into facebook (including the Pope, no less), our family is not an exception.  Initially, I was clueless about facebook, until my wife Tina and our 4-year-old son Gabby opened their individual accounts and introduced me to facebook applications that unobtrusively led to uncontrollable addiction!  We’re simply hooked especially to its applications – RESTAURANT CITY and FARM TOWN.  But we make sure that Gabby gets to play it only after his preschool homeworks and reviews are all done.  It serves as his reward whenever he performs well in his studies.

In Restaurant City (RC), a player is given the basic requirements in a food place : a couple of tables and chairs, a stove and a set of menu – one starter, a main dish and one dessert.  As diners come and eat at your virtual restaurant, you earn coins that are needed in feeding your wait staff and cooks; coins are also useful in acquiring additional decors and other essentials of a  restaurant. Upgrades and innovation can be done not only to your menu as recipes are completed by trading an ingredient with your facebook buddies but also modification to your restaurant’s  interiors and exteriors is also exciting  thing to do.  In short,  everyone can be a restaurateur and a foodie at RC which my son, wife and I want !!! :D

Since our son Gabby, at his young age, already professed his dream of becoming an iron chef one day, enjoying RC at Fb is a pleasurable means of motivation and inspiring him more to pursue his aspiration. I think with Gabby having fun with his virtual restaurant and as we gradually exposed him to actual grand buffets in few hotels, and in various restaurants and fastfood hopping, we’re sure he’ll soon develop his own appreciation of food and everything about it, and most nice things that life can offer. :D

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This was my virtual restaurant’s former exteriors.  I named it Chef Docgelo’s;  it’s an upscale carinderia, lol, with a viking’s roof before.  It took me a week before I got bored with it so I had it renovated by means of several ‘left-clicks’ at the mouse and transformed it into an all-glass food place…

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But I still maintain the same interiors…

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I put two ponds (made of water-tiles) surrounded by plants and awards in between a walkway to the main mess hall.

Look how diners are satisfied and satiated with the dishes I serve, lol…

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It was Tina who first discovered RC and introduced it to me and Gabby.  Below is her restaurant’s present exteriors with a roof of a submarine that she bought with her virtual coins for 9,000 I guess.

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 Cool, isn’t it?  Now the interiors of my wife’s food place called TINA-PIE-yan, looks like this…

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I know you’ll find our son’s restaurant the grandest cutest! I can’t blame you. :D

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Because we have 2 laptops and 2 broadband connections -one with a cable and a prepaid broadband access, we can play fb’s applications all together simultaneously.  This idea of using internet as a source of family bonding had won my entry 3rd place in one of the local bloggers I follow, Anton Diaz’s Our Awesome Planet Digital Daddy Contest (see previous post below). 

As we improve our restaurants, we maintain healthy fun competition.  Actually, we help each other by trading ingredients to further our menus.

And did I already tell you we’re also in Farm Town?  Here’s the little hacienda I maintain…

I had several plants and trees that bear fruits and crops. I have to catch up with my colleagues and friends with FT. 

Do you also enjoy facebook applications ?  

Please excuse me as I update my Farm Town and Restaurant City…

16
Jul
09

ANOTHER FIRST INDULGENCE

Last Sunday, my wife Tina, our son Gabby and I went to TriNoma mall in Quezon City to have our almost-weekly grocery shopping.  But before pushing those two grocery carts shelf after shelf, we enjoyed our lunch at this small but very charming cafe.

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One thing that I and my family share and enjoy so much is our own passion towards eating good food.   It doesn’t need to be pricey although I personally developed the preference to that flavorful and appetizing dishes;  it must be  deliciously stimulating not only to the palate but to the senses too.  I guess my wife was severely infected.  :)  I am also bias with good plating and nice presentation of food combined with fair ambiance.  And surprisingly, all of these we found in CAFE MARY GRACE  in TriNoma. 

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It was our first time to dine in this quaint food place and it was far from being unpleasant. I like the homey atmosphere and that very inviting interiors. With the use of well-polished wood furnitures and interesting tables with notes and wonderful comments from diners written in different stationaries and some in colorful cards adorn the glass table tops.  One may easily notice that no table is alike in CAFE MARY GRACE  because of this well-thought-of concept.

3Tina and I were delighted that our preschooler son, Gabby was beginning to feed himself with adult food.  He’s still picky on solid food and usually prefers chicken from Mcdonald’s.   But last Sunday, he asked for two dishes – a soup and a dessert.  So we ordered SEAFOOD CHOWDER, PhP 137 for him…  

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While I had my own plate of  SPICY LEMON SCAMPI,  PhP 268.80.   I  like it,  sarap,  but I certainly wish that they have a BIGGER SERVING to satisfy my HUGE APPETITE.   Nonetheless, it was really worth a try! :)

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SPICY LEMON  SCAMPI is made of fresh pan-seared shrimps atop linguini  noodles in a sauce made  of lemon juice, chili flakes, minced garlic and extra virgin olive oil.

I found this pasta so delicious that I can probably eat it everyday.  LOL  :)  It’s not irritatingly spicy and has the ingredients that I like best – SHRIMPS!!!   My plate was wiped off in a few minutes. :)

6Each plate of pasta and starters like salad (which we’ll try on our next visit) and soup comes with toasted bread.  Unfortunately, Tina had preference to her order, and disliked mine.  She had this CLASSIC CARBONARA PASTA, PhP 202.68.

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CLASSIC CARBONARA is a creamy pasta with mushroom and lots of bacon bits. 

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For our drinks, we tried Cafe Mary Grace’s home-made iced teas.  Tina had her glass of PEPPERMINT and FRUITS, PhP 75 and I had RASPBERRY ICED TEA, same price.  

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These tall glasses of iced teas were refreshingly bubbly that made me want to  try their other concoctions – SANGRIA and HIBISCUS soon.

On the list of desserts, Gabby singled out MANGO BENE so we ordered it, but few minutes after, the waiter came to our table, apologetic that he admittedly did not inform us that they ran out of that cake.  Sayang, it looked gorgeous on its picture at the menu.  I appreciated though, the courtesy of the wait staff.  So Gabby settled with his second choice – a slice of CHOCOLATE CAKE, PhP 80. 

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It was perhaps a blessing in disguise that we’ve tasted Cafe Mary Grace’s version of the usual favorite chocolate cake.  It has the right amount of sweetness, with caramel filling and that richly thick chocolate fudgy icing that would make you crave for more.   

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These moments are priceless…

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My family’s showing PDA (public display of affection) @ Cafe Mary Grace…

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Cafe Mary Grace, TriNoma Mall in front of National Bookstore, North Avenue cor EDSA, Quezon City.

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…

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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.

11
Jun
09

NEGLIGENCE

I would like to apologize to myself and I hope I’ll accept it, LOL….

Today, we went to my son’s favorite stroll place, Ayala malls in Makati and had late lunch at around 1:20 PM at JOHN and YOKO, a restaurant in Greenbelt 5 that claims to be a fusion of the East and the West (having named after John Lennon and Yoko Ono).  It’s a Japanese resto with a twist – say one of their dishes is called JAPAELLA for example.  

I was so excited to bring my wife Tina and son Gabby there for us to compare its difference from its sister-company, SUMO SAM which we’ve tried several times.   It was already past lunch time but the place was still packed, just a proof that food and service must be really good.  And one of my virtual friends,  Anne had strong recommendation for John and Yoko so there was no hesitation for us to try it.

When we’re guided to our seats by the waitress clad in gray collared uniform and a micro-mini skirt wearing high-heeled boots (whew!) and saw the ambience of purple and orange cozy lights despite the congestion of diners, we’re excited to order.

I chose my Sumo-sam favorite- Seafood omelet (which John and Yoko also has),  Tina had Beef Wagyu rice and Gabby had Kani Nori Tempura.  For our drinks, we had botomless iced teas in red (calamansi), green (lime) and blue (dalandan). 

Then just before our orders were served, I already took nice shots of the plate, chopsticks and table napkin marked with the restaurant’s name and logo.  Ofcourse I also had pictures of our meal for blog posting then enjoyed the late lunch. 

And did we like the food? Yes! Sarap.  Though a little pricey just like Sumo-Sam, and we had to wait for about 20 minutes and the wait staffs were not that smiley, appeared to me they got attitude -I don’t know, still we enjoyed what we ate. Yummy!

We walked through the entire Greenbelt malls, literally – from G5, G3, G2 and G1… also took photos of the lush greens amidst the malls and a chapel in a man-made lagoon… and suddenly the inevitable thing happened!

I ACCIDENTALLY DELETED ALL PHOTOS TAKEN  AND WAS LEFT WITH NOTHING! 

I HONESTLY DIDN’T BREATHE FOR 3 SECONDS AND FELT I HAD MY MOST STUPID DAY EVER!

I was negligent not to click PROTECT on our digicam immediately after taking those shots.

To REGRET was the very FUTILE thing to do now. 

It was such a lesson learned . 

A thing charged to experience.

One for the books.

——————> C’mmon, blame me now.   I am guilty as charged. =(

31
May
09

STEAK MD

Do you like steaks?   Well, we do.   

My wife Tina, our son Gabby and I had our wonderful Sunday lunch at Steak MD.  It’s an affordable steak house made famous by word-of-mouth and ofcourse, virtually by blogs. 

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I first thought that a colleague owns the place because of its name, or a veterinarian perhaps- but it should have been named STEAK DVM, if the owner is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine.   I was wrong and clueless  until we walked in to Steak MD this noon and found out some facts about its nomenclature and got to taste the most reasonably priced delicious steaks. 2A certain Ms. Monibel Juliette Tabora-Dychiao is the proprietor who came out of several flavors of steaks, perfecting its taste by using different herbs and spices in rubbing the different cuts of meat to satisfy the Pinoy palate.   Probably it was the idea behind the name of her resto and I also read from a framed broadsheet article displayed on the terracotta-painted walls of Steak MD that MD was also derived from the initials of her name.   I and Tina were one in saying that she was successful in coming up with steak flavors that can actually TREAT any steak lovers’ cravings.      

On Steak MD’s menu, there are two choices of beef steaks – T-bone and Porterhouse,  in  regular and large orders.  We had no choice but to settle for T-bone since Porterhouse wasn’t available when we ordered.  Then one has to choose the “rub” or the flavor of steak that will go with the gravy. Choices are  :  

Rub Ko To – Steak MD’s original house rub, an original blend of secret spices.

Heart Rub – garlicky gravy good for the heart! 

Atomic Rub – hot and spicy mix.

Ang Cha Rub – sweet and spicy.

Build Me Up Butter Rubyour guess is correct, it’s the buttery gravy.

We chose the one with garlic and the buttery rub.  We told the staff to cook the T-bone as medium well, and the other one as well done

T-bone, large,  Heart Rub / garlic rub, medium well, PhP 295

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T-bone, large, Build Me Up Butter Rub, well done, PhP 295.

4The beef cuts were tender, good to the bite, nothing rubbery, the rubs were tasty;  but comparing the two plates, I’ll order garlic rub and always medium well on our next visit. Yes, since the place is clean, service quick, and especially the steaks are wonderfully cheaper than the other and taste great too,  we’re planning to revisit and try other things on the menu like sisig, fillet na bangus, pork chops, salads, pork barbeque, etc…

We also had sidings with our steaks. We had buttered vegetables and mashed potato with gravy. We also tried Steak MD’s dirty rice – fried garlicky sweet and spicy rice.  Price range of these sidings :  PhP 35 to PhP 50.  But sadly, there was nothing special of their mashed potato. It was far from being creamy-melt-in-your-mouth-buttery expectations we had.  And it was obvious with Gabby’s reaction to it.  He just had one spoon of it and did not finish the plate.  At a young age of four, our son Gabby have tried dining at hotels and different restos, here and few abroad, had somehow developed his own preference to food.  And Steak MD’s forgettable mashed potato didn’t sky-rocket my son’s craving to it to seventh heavens but flopped!  The management has to do something with it.  Otherwise, it’ll affect the other food on the menu.  All clients’ requests should be address aptly, otherwise, some things may be forever marked as negative.    IMG_1673One side of the walls of Steak MD has framed broadsheet articles about the owner’s interviews over the years with journalists who featured her resto. Among these write-ups, I found this one as the most compelling and true! 

IMG_1659Everything we tried from Steak MD was OK except for the mashed potato and the refillable iced teas.  The servings had so many ice on it that it became too diluted already.  Overall, we will go back to and dine at Steak MD whenever we have cravings again for some steaks that are deliciously tender and easy on the budget.

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STEAK MD is located at #74 Creekside, Tomas Morato Quezon City. Tel # (63-2) 448-7114.

27
May
09

PHO HOA

We had our late snack-early dinner at Pho Hoa  in Mega Mall.  It’s a Vietnamese Noodle House.  Do you like Vietnamese food?

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The iced tea in Pho Hoa was served in huge tall glass, and it has very distinct lemony taste! Affordable too at PhP 75.  It was served to our table with a plate of fresh basil and bean sprouts with small slices of lemon as toppings-to-taste for the soup we ordered.

PHO  NAM, CHIN, GAN, BO BIEN (Flank, brisket, tendon and meatball pho), PhP 265.

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The meat in the soup was so tender, the noodles and the broth were tasty.

FRESH SPRING ROLL SHRIMP, PhP 125. 50.   It was good to bite on veggies and vermicelli with shrimps wrapped delicately and served with its perfect dip – a delicious peanut sauce. IMG_1585

IMG_1579I am with my wife Tina and our son Gabby who asked for a vanilla ice cream served in two scoops with chocolate drizzle and a cherry on top (PhP 75).

Service was fast and efficient. Staffs were courteous and served our food wearing smiles and Vietnamese outfits. Nice!  Best of all, Pho Hoa doesn’t have service charge!  We’ll try to visit again soon to try other foods from the menu.  

PHO HOA VIETNAMESE NOODLE HOUSE. Upper Ground Level SM MegaMall A, Mandaluyong City

27
May
09

RED MANGO PART 2

I told you, it can be so addicting!IMG_1543

Left : Original frozen yogurt,  medium (PhP 115) + 3 toppings (PhP 40) : Blueberry, Kiwi, Peaches.

Right : Swirl Yogurt of Original & Green tea, medium (PhP 120) + 3 toppings (PhP 40) : Mango, Kiwi, Peaches.

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It was only 48 hours  and one blog post  when I first tried Red Mango yogurt in TriNoma mall.  It’s a healthier alternative to ice cream and other sweet treats with less guilt on the caloric-sugar-fat-counters.  I so like it that I brought my wife Tina and son Gabby to Megamall this afternoon to visit Red Mango’s branch there and for them to enjoy my present cravings. Expectedly, they love it too!  Who can resist fresh fruit toppings of choice (or you can opt for nuts or choco chips) on an all natural-frozen yogurt ?  It has reasonable price, friendly service, nice comfortable interiors – an option to coffee shops that we also frequent.

One of my blog visitors posted comments on my previous entry on Red Mango and suggested for me to try green tea yogurt on my next visit.  And so I did have a swirl of original frozen yogurt and green tea! Not bad at all!  Sarap pa din! LOL…  

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Here’s a photo of the variety of toppings one can choose from.  Slices of fresh fruits or do you fancy nuts or chocolate and candy bits ? You can have it as one, two or three toppings! It’s cheaper when you have 3 toppings; plus it’s appetizing  & visually appealing.  

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The staff was so pleasing and politely answered my querries. She told me that they have been operating for few months now (where was I during those days? I’m always late on what’s new! LOL).  After their branches in TriNoma, Eastwood malls in Quezon City, and their branch in SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City, Red Mango will invade the malls in Makati soon!  Yipee! We live in Quezon City but we like Glorietta and Greenbelt malls. They are my son’s stroll places.

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Look how nice Red Mango’s serving bowl is! It has the store’s logo at its bottom- a little surprise for the kids and kids-at-heart.  This was my bowl, emptied after 3 minutes!

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RED MANGO MEGA MALL.  Ground floor SM Mega A, SM Mega Mall, Mandaluyong City.

25
May
09

RED MANGO

I like their tag line –  Treat yourself well!   We all have to.  All the time.  

RED MANGO FROZEN YOGURT is a franchise from US that offers irresistable decadent, a better option than other desserts such as ice cream, but i love ice cream so much and cakes too   with less guilt for it has zero fat! 

It was my first time to treat myself well   try Red Mango yogurt this afternoon in TriNoma, after a petty disappointing moment and almost having a bad day.  But when I saw their kiosk with various toppings of fresh fruits and nuts to choose from, i smiled and became so child-like as I was too excited to taste it.  Imagine the toppings include choices of fresh fruits and crunchiest nuts – it was a bit hard to decide the number of toppings (1, 2 or 3) you’ll have per serving (that comes in sizes – S,M,L and family).  Try to CLICK  THIS  for list of toppings you can enjoy with Red Mango yogurt.  

While on queue to the counter for my order, I decided I’ll have mango and peaches (which reminds me of a pie from Jollibee) with the original yogurt (the other option is green tea yogurt), but when I found out they ran out of mango slices, I ordered peaches and mandarin oranges instead as toppings to my yogurt.  

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For nutritional facts of Red Mango yogurt, click this SOURCE.

Sarap!!!  It’s not irritatingly sweet. Nothing hurt my teeth.  It’s also easy on the budget – the small sized original yogurt costs PhP 80, and 2 toppings cost PhP 30.  With this delicious refreshing treat, the only problem that I see with Red Mango yogurt is the fact that it can be so addicting.

24
May
09

C2 = CLASSIC CUISINE PHILIPPINES

Have you tasted BIBINGKA SOUFFLE ?  If you haven’t, read on and enjoy…

“C2 serves the best Filipino food in the country today, bar none, and not just because the portions and the prices make it a steal. The food is good at any price.” – Teodoro L. Locsin, View Quarterly Magazine, Sept-to-Nov. 2006.

My wife Tina and I went to Megamall yesterday to while away time after goint to our costurera who lives quite near the area and does most of our uniforms and blazers. Ofcourse our malling won’t be complete without food!  It’s another chance to eat something new to our palate.  We walked straight to Mega Atrium at the mall’s third level, to look for a dining place that we haven’t tried before.  We’re looking to satisfy our late afternoon-early dinner craving – I just wanted something heavy and to taste something sweet. And after few minutes of being ambivalent, strolling from one resto to another, we read a poster with the above quote at the C2’s entrance. Found it was compelling, so we gave it a try.    

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The interiors was simple, never intimidating, with mirrored walls to create an illusion of space, and contemporary colorful designs in the ceilings.  The menu was equally impressive!  We ordered these…

BAM-I,  PhP 260.  A combination of egg and rice noodles sauteed with shrimps, chicken and Chinese sausage. 

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BAM- I is a dish from Nothern Mindanao and the Visayas, popular in the entire country as miki-bihon/miki-sotanghon(vermicelli) pancit.

GOTO,  PhP 120.   Homestyle porridge of ox-tripe topped with fried tofu, spring onions and garlic chips.

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The fried diced tofu was served separately.  This goto was delicious but only good for one serving.

I’ve tried PANDAN ICED TEA, PhP 60, which had a cool refreshing taste far different from the usual iced tea flavors.  Sarap!!!   And it was served in a bamboo-like tall glass with pandan leaf and calamansi, nice!  My glass here was already half full because I immediately sipped it the moment it was served.   Also look at the seasoning per table – see how appetizing those sleek bottles of soy sauce, patis/fish sauce, and capsicum and garlic dipped in vinegar are.

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And to capped the heavy All-day-merienda we had from C2, we also tried this…

BIBINGKA SOUFFLE,  PhP 145.  C2’s award-winning dessert – light and fluffy blend of coconut custard, salted egg, quezo de bola and toasted coconut…. IT WAS TRULY A WINNER! SARAP, A MUST-TRY!!!

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How innovative! I never thought even with wildest imagination that bibingka (rice cake) can be recreated into a more modern delicious dessert.  I am so familiar with bibingka and have had tasted quite a number of recipes from various restos, but this one is so uncommon and new.  And the waiter politely asked us if it was our first time to try it, and if we already knew how it should be eaten.  He gladly demonstrated to us how C2’s Bibingka Souffle should be enjoyed.  Here’s how…

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We’re told to create a small opening at the bibingka, then pour its sauce which was a mixture of evaporated milk and toasted coconut. Allow few seconds for the mixture to settle inside the bibingka, for the salted egg and the coconut custard to absorb it. See how light and fluffy it is…

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If there’s one best reason to come back for more C2 experience, it’s definitely this bibingka souffle. 

—————–

C2 Classic Cuisine Philippines, 3rd Level Mega Atrium, Building A, SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City.  Tel #s (63-2) 470-1149,  470-1152.  They also have branches at the Ledge, Shangri La Mall, Mandaluyong City,  Powerplant Mall in Makati City, Robinson’s Place Manila, and soon to open Summit Ridge in Tagaytay City.

20
May
09

THERE’S MORE TO HOT NOODLES!

As I’ve tasted stated on my previous posts, we had too much of food tripping last week when we went to a mall.   Tina was encouraged to try for the first time an established Chinese restaurant that offers good tasting dishes that are easy on the budget.

This post was also inspired by one of my virtual-blogger friends, mrs. lavendula whose blog entry reminded me that it has been a while since I last munched at this foodplace where reasonably priced and delicious gastronomic yummies can be enjoyed with a cup of hot tea.

HALO-HALO CONGEE, PhP 130.

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Tina had this congee. I like this too. It’s always soothing to hungry stomachs!  It’s served hot, with eggs, organ meats, and pieces of  thin crackers.  With this alone, one can be easily satiated. 

BRAISED SEAFOOD NOODLES, PhP 185.

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The mushroom, the braised noodles on special oil and seasoning, the seafoods yield delicious oriental dish!

We had these favorites as our hearty dinner last week which were all served fast by efficient and friendly staff of Luk Yuen, MegaMall.  Their other branch that I’ve tried was at Greenhills, between Unimart and Virra Mall near the Holy Family Chapel.  And their service and food were consistent.  No wonder Luk Yuen has a following among foodies and families.   

SPRING ROLLS, PhP 90.

3

Fresh veggies wrapped and fried to crispiest. 

STEAMED SHRIMP DUMPLINGS, PhP 100.

4

Steamed shrimp dumplings or Hakao is always a winner. Luk Yuen’s version has a soft moist wrapper and generous serving of shrimps. I just love anything with shrimp!

JUMBO HONG KONG SIOPAO, PhP 75.

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I am biased with bola-bola siopao than asado only because it has red salted egg.  Luk Yuen’s HK style jumbo siopao reminds me of  Hen Lin’s and Le Ching’s.  We enjoyed this as well but considering the siopao bread, Kowloon’s always wins my vote!

RIPE MANGO SHAKE, PhP 65, ICED TEA PhP 42.     Look how my wife and son enjoyed Luk Yuen…

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1

 

LUK YUEN.  Bldg B MegaMall EDSA Mandaluyong City.

19
May
09

PIZZA HUT BISTRO

Perhaps it has been a couple of years or so when Pizza Hut innovated its chain of pizza parlors into Pizza Hut Bistro offering wide selection from their menu coupled with impressive ambiance.

Do yo like Pizza Hut ?  Well, we do.  I’ve compiled here our recent and past foodtripping at Pizza Hut Bistro, here’s some of our favorites…

CRAB SALAD ROLL, PhP 179                                     GARLIC BATARD, PhP 70

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This is MY FAVORITE :    GARLIC SHRIMPS and MUSHROOM PASTA! Php 175.

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as if one photo isn’t enough!  I just like it so much, I had to post 2 photos of the same pasta from different branches.  It’s spaghetti tossed with sauteed shrimps and mushrooms, in garlic butter sauce!

FETTUCCINE ALFREDO, PhP 145.              SUPREME PAN PIZZA STUFFED CRUST, PhP 235++

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TIRAMISU, PhP 99.                                                           CHOCO LAVA

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