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It’s not the destination…

27 Sep

I was supposed to go to the land of Bagnet a.k.a. Ilocos, with my mom and three friends for the long weekend.  We’ve been planning this for over a month, prepared our itinerary and reserved the hotel where we were supposed to stay.  The night we were supposed to leave, a super typhoon struck Ilocos. Are we a lucky bunch or what???

L.O.S.E.R.S.? Not!

Determined to push through with our plans, we drove until the province of Tarlac where we braved practically zero visibility and strong rains.  After a stopover breakfast at the walang kamatayang McDonald’s which for some reason turned out to be some wacky affair (I think they put something in the longganisa), we decided safety was more important than eating bagnet and seeing the Bangui windmills (waaaah!!! 😦 ) so we headed home.

But before you call us a sorry bunch, we did a little detour to the town of Malolos in Bulacan and checked out the historic Barasoain Church where the first Filipino Republic was first inaugurated.   The nice discovery was, was that there was a museum at the building beside the church.  So it we didn’t just to church viewing after all. Ha!

Barasoain Church

Eilleen suggested we eat at Chocolate Kiss.  While we we in Diliman, we passed by UP and went around the school and stopped at one of the buildings. I thought Eilleen and Joy simply wanted to tour us around their campus, until I realized Chocolate Kiss, or ChoKiss as it’s commonly known, is actually inside the campus.

It’s a popular hangout for faculty and some students evidenced by the fact that the place was full despite it being a holiday.  Needless to say, it was so worth dropping in to.

Chicken Kiev. Winner!
Aligue Pasta
Fish Teriyaki
Mushroom and Tofu combo
Chicken & Pork Adobo
Drink-all-you-can iced tea

I had the chicken kiev, onion soup and bottomless iced tea and paid just a little under P400.  Not bad for a yummy, hearty, meal.

We were a bit bummed we didn’t push through to Ilocos but still had a fantastic time looking for other great places to go to.  Just goes to show that it’s not really the destination, but the journey, that’s important 🙂

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DIY dishes a.k.a. Me, cooking

13 Jun

I love eating out and trying new restos.  But I realized that eating out all the time can be pretty costly when  some of the dishes I love are actually pretty simple to make.

Out of nowhere, I was suddenly hit with the inspiration to cook.  This was around the time the end of the world/Judgement day announcements were getting louder and louder.  I wondered if it was a sign that I should quickly go about this project before the world ended, or if it was instead what would happen to someone who ate what I cooked. 

My choices were limited though as I was only able to work on very simple recipes (you know, stuff even 5th graders could prepare).  Hey, if it was ME preparing it, it was DEFINITELY easy.  Oh, and I didn’t follow any recipes in making any of the dishes below.  Recipe books and I don’t really get along 😉

Here’s the verdict:

Tacos: Win!

finished tacos

here's the good stuff inside

Hey even my parents loved this, so yeah, it was pretty good.  I think that made it my favorite in this batch of experiments.

Coleslaw: Fail

coleslaw - so so

It tasted a bit bland so something was definitely missing from this coleslaw.  Then again, considering I didn’t follow any recipe…

Nasi Goreng fried rice: Fail

nasi goreng with barbeque. hey, they loved it 😉

My friends liked the Nasi Goreng but I didn’t.  Maybe I’m just not a Nasi Goreng girl.

Pho: Win!

almost authentic Pho

I would like to thank Thu, my brother’s Vietnamese girlfriend who visited a few months back, for telling me how to make this.  Of course, this cannot compare to the one made by a real Vietnamese (her), but was ok for a first try.

Hotdog: Win!

easy breezy yummy

Hey, I put in everything I want in a hotdog.  How can it not be a winner???

So my little experiment was a mix of hits and misses.  It’ll get better with practice, and maybe an actual recipe to follow next time, yes?  Let’s see.

The Chicken Rice Shop arrives

14 May

I like Hainanese chicken. Really.  So when I read an article about a new chicken rice shop opening nearby, I just had to try it.

Together with two galpals, we sought out The Chicken Rice Shop which opened in Robinson’s Place Manila the day after I read the article.  We arrived around 630pm, just in time for dinner.  There were only a few diners present so we had our choice of seats.  The place is casual, clean and well-lit.

store signs

Btw, I have to apologize this early at the poor quality of the photos since I just used my camera phone.  Photoshop can only do some much to improve an already fuzzy picture.

Naturally, I ordered the Hainanese chicken.  They had a meal for P248 which included rice, soup, vegetables, a personal order of chicken, 2 pcs of Nyonya Pai Tee (fried roll containing chopped veggies and meat) and a drink.  I was happy to find out later they didn’t scrimp on the serving size.  I love veggies so getting a whole plateful, and not just a small side dish which I expected, was a pleasant surprise.  I hope it’s not just because they’re newly-opened. A pretty good deal, I must say.  I finished everything except for the rice only because I’ve been trying to limit my rice intake (that’s as much dieting as I can do) 😉

set meal: nyonya pai tee (foreground), veggies, hainanese chicken, plus rice, soup and drinks

Galpal #1 had the Curry Laksa (sorry, no picture) which had just the right amount of spiciness and was great with rice, even if it was just the sauce.  Galpal #2 meanwhile had the crispy noodles with chicken.  Between the two, I preferred the curry since it was tastier.

crispy noodles with chicken

We asked the waiter was was in some of the food on their menu and he gave the convenient answer that he doesn’t know since all the sauces and marinates already arrive pre-prepared.  Still, I think they should be informed so they can competetently answer customers like us who actually want to know what goes into the food we eat.

It’s been open only around three weeks when we visited and they showed the common difficulty of most newly-opened stores: slow service.  We came in when there were only a few people so our food arrived fairly quickly.  When the place became full later on, we could hear the diners near us complaining why they their food hadn’t arrived yet.  Even we weren’t spared when our bill took some twenty minutes to arrive and maybe another fifteen minutes before they gave us back the credit card slip for signature.  Good thing we weren’t in a hurry to go home or it would’ve totally spoiled an otherwise good dining experience (the long bill only partially spoiled it).

I hope they’ll be able to retain the good quality of their food and serving sizes even when they become more established.  Some stores decrease their serving size or the food doesn’t taste as good as they originally did.  Good luck Chicken Rice Shop, I’ll see you again 🙂

Kaos and Old Penang: i ♥

14 May

When my brother was about to leave for Vietnam, I wanted to treat him and the family before he left.  So off we went to Resorts World to watch Kaos, the “Las Vegas meets Broadway” show which a friend highly recommended. And man, this was one show I enjoyed immensely!  The fantastic costumes, features and stunts were a sight to behold!

Early in the show, the acrobats from China swinging to the tune of Where is Love made me teary-eyed, beautiful as the scene was.  I think that was my favorite, simply because of how beautiful and delicate it was.   I didn’t want it to end.

The Human Time Machine was one of my mom’s favorites.  How this duo ran, hopped and skipped even blindfolded while balancing on this contraption also amazed me and made me grip my armrest every now and then.

My friend raved about the bare-chested duo, who she said she could watch exclusively, even if she missed the whole show.  That duo from Belarus definitely had amazing balance and flexibility.  How one guy managed to balance the other guy upside down, just using their shoulders and neck WITHOUT the use of their hands was truly spectacular.  And yes, their abs were wonderfully sculpted.  Naturally.  There was no shortage of bromance here 😉

The finale, of course was the sphere where motorcyclists would enter one after the other, with the audience gasping each time a cyclist would be added to the sphere.  It brought out the child in my senior citizen mom 🙂

The show boasts of lions and tigers.  But really, these animals were overrated.  They didn’t do anything special.  They just appeared in the cage and ate a piece of meat.  So much for being wowed by the wildlife.

After a fantastic show, we moved on to Old Penang, suggested by my brother.  He’s never tried it but wanted to since I think he was after some Malaysian/Singaporean fare.

Upon seeing Hainanese Chicken on the menu, I was done.  I just added an order or Char Kway Teo while my brother had some Nasi Lemak and Teh Tarik which he loved, loved, loved.

some Hainanese Chicken loving

Char Kway Teo

Nasi Lemak

I looooved how juicy, tasty and plump their chicken was.  The noodles were good too, but I was too busy enjoying the chicken.  Their food tasted authentic compared to other restaurants.  I love discovering restaurants serving great food that I really, really like.  A fantastic end to an already fantastic day 🙂

Photo credits: spot.ph, our awesome planet

Bacci no more

22 Apr

After not seeing each other for almost a year, my Nihongo classmates and I met up for dinner at Bacci, the Italian Restaurant along Paseo de Roxas in Makati. It was 7pm and I was famished! Since my friend recommended the place, I assumed it must be good.

Missy & I were the first to arrive and ordered soup. I wanted onion soup only to be told about two minutes later that out of the six or seven soups on the menu, only three were available, and that didn’t include my onion soup.  So I chose the mushroom soup instead.  The deal was, when my friend, who arrived later, ordered onion soup, it was suddenly available! WTF? When I asked why I was told earlier it wasn’t available, the waiter mumbled something unintelligible. Go figure.

Mushroom soup...so so

I was glad to have ordered soup because by the time the main dishes arrived, I was hungry again. Do NOT come here when you are hungry and intend to be served quickly. It also took AGES before the food arrived, and the place was far from being full.  Their complimentary bread (with some forgettable dip) offered little respite since there were about seven of us and only five slices of bread.

complimentary bread with some forgettable dip

chicken with the blank pasta

I ordered some chicken dish served with “pasta blanco”. Yep, turns out pretty blank.  E.g. what’s good about this dish? -blank-

My friend said they frequent this place since it was affordable and the food was decent.  I didn’t bother asking what they usually ordered since I had no plans of returning.

Spent a lot for a dinner I did not particularly enjoy which also left me still feeling hungry.   I think the not-in-stock-but-turns-out-is-available-onion soup and the long serving time spoiled it for me early on that evening.  One thing’s for sure – sayonara Bacci.  I’m not coming back.

Variety at Bistro Laudico

21 Mar

It was a month in the making and did not disappoint: lunch at Bistro Laudico at the Fort.

My friend Beth suggested the restaurant to us after enjoying it about a month ago.  I’m glad she did.  The buffet was definitely worth your money.  At P860 per head (P788+10% service charge), you had a pageful of dishes to choose from,  to eat to your heart’s content.  But lest you get too greedy, you’ll have to pay P100 PER DISH just in case you plan to have any leftovers.

The bad: salads were unavailable and I wasn’t able to try all the dishes on the menu.

The good: with 5 people in our group, I was able to try a lot of them.  Alright!

Here are some pics to make your mouth water 🙂

Appetizer: Angus Tapa Wrap

Appetizer: Pork Sisig Shooters

Tastes like your regular sisig, but I loved the presentation!

Appetizer: Ubod Lumpia Cone

 

Taba ng Talangka Pizza

Among all the pizzas, I liked this best. The kesong puti pizza was a tad too salty for my taste.

Main course: Wagyu Estofado

The just-right-sweetness of the sauce and the tenderness of the beef made this dish my favorite of the day.

From the Grill: Salmon Fillet

I loved this! It may not look like much but the mashed sweet potato goes well with the salmon which was cooked just right.

Dessert: Suman Panna Cotta Savarin

Since I don’t have much of a sweet tooth (sue me!) I really liked their panna cotta. Btw, this is not their usual size. This is their birthday treat for one of my friends.  The halohalo shertbet was also a winner.

the full buffet menu

I love how Chef Laudico gives puts puts Filipino food to a higher level with his creativity not only in taste, but also presentation. I MUST go back and try all the other dishes! Join me? 🙂  You can contact them at:

Telephone: +632 856-0634/0541
Mobile: +63 9178002433
Website: Bistro Filipino

Food tripping

20 Jul

I told myself I’d post these as soon as I got home from these restaurants. Guess again.  But I feel these restos are worth featuring since they have good food and great value for money, hence this post.

 

Recipes
2nd Level Greenbelt 3

Gising gising - an all-time favorite

Chopped string beans with ground pork with coconut milk and some chili.  The coconut milk contrasts well with the green chili.  I had this the last time I went to Recipe’s last year. Glad to know the taste and serving size did not seem to change. My mom & I weren’t even able to finish this so we took the rest home.

Garlic chicken

Chicken fillet in garlic sauce. Yum 🙂

Chicken bbq

This was definitely grilled over charcoal since I could still taste the smoky flavor. And since my mom & I love veggies, we finished the side dish quickly too.

I didn’t know how big the servings were when I ordered, and turned out it was actually good to share. The two chicken dishes already came with rice and drinks and were priced at only around P170. The gising gising cost P160. Fantastic value for money!

 

Las Paellas
Festival Mall

Tomato soup

I’ve always wanted to try their paella but my mom said she doesn’t like it. Thing was, their paella was good for four – too much for just me only. O well, I’ll try something else.

It was raining so I wanted some soup. It was nothing to rave nor rant about. I finished it all, still 🙂

Lapu-lapu Romana

Fish and mushrooms in tomato sauce.

Chicken Schnitzel

My mom ordered this made me try.  I liked it more than my own order.  The creamy sauce worked well with the chicken.

The prices were also very reasonable. Around less than P250 for each meal.

 

Il Gallo Nero
Tagaytay

Now this is the hands down, runaway winner in this batch of restos. Il Gallo Nero (translation: The Black Rooster) is located in the 1/F of Alfonso Hotel in Tagaytay and owned by Pipo Fernandez. I read somewhere that the resto has an Italian chef, hence the great, authentic dishes.

We met Pipo himself as well as his Japanese wife and their little angel Anna. When he found out we spoke Japanese, he gladly put in a mix CD of Japanese songs. After a while Utada Hikaru’s voice floated around the resto.

According to Pipo, the veggies they use are grown in their own farm also in Tagaytay. The meats are imported from the US while the cheese and other ingredients are imported from Italy, so that their dishes will turn out authentic. I must say, the food was amazing!!! Some of the noteworthy personalities that have already visited this place included veteran composer/musician Ryan Cayabyab and tv host/writer Julie Yap Daza.

Tomato soup

I read in Julie Yap Daza’s article she tried and liked the tomato soup. So I figured I’d try it too. It was good. Plus Pipo offered some focaccia bread to go with it. My friend Krisha meanwhile tried the mushroom soup. Contrary to the usual mushroom soup which would normally include a few slices of button mushrooms, Il Gallo Nero’s mushroom soup was swimming with lots of chopped mushrooms and tasted really home made. I told myself I’ll definitely try it next time.

Pizza Margherita

Their pizzas were thin crust, 18 inches in diameter. Our group of 6 just ordered one. Together with the pasta dishes we ordered, one was enough.

Penne with squid

June & I shared the penne with squid which had a generous loading of capers, sun dried tomatoes and of course, squid. The others ordered two more pasta dishes which were also good for two. Krisha had pasta with gorgonzolla cheese which she made us try. I loved it too (ok, so I loved everything we ate there).

I saw a couple order salad and thought it looked really good as well. It seems I have my orders set for my next visit. There were six of us (three guys and three girls) and we ordered three pasta dishes, one pizza, two soups and six drinks which made us so full, we weren’t able to finish some of our pasta. Total bill: P2,100 which averages 350 per head. Great value considering the food was excellent, plus I love Tagaytay – it’s my second home.

Apart from the items on their menu, they also have daily specials written on a blackboard. The resto is open from 10am until 10pm (I think). You can reach them at +639156413013 for inquiries and reservations. Enjoy! 🙂