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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Tampopo Japanese Restaurant, Singapore

James and I were in the mood for some Japanese food, so after going around a mall to scout for some choices, he decided to bring me to Tampopo restaurant. It was pretty crowded, considering it was not strictly lunch hour (It was around three in the afternoon already), so they told us we could only be seated immediately if were willing to stay in the counter (bar?). This was fine with us, and it also gave us a front row view of the busy chefs.



According to the menu, as well as some blogs that James read, one of the specialties of the restaurant was what they called "Maguro Head Meat", or sashimi made out of the meat of a tuna's head. We had some of that, and I was surprised to find out that the taste of the very red meat was quite bland compared to regular tuna sashimi. I guess I was expecting it to taste different, partly because it was much brighter red, and also because it came from the head, the meat of which usually tastes different from the rest of the body, at least in my opinion.

Maguro Head Meat

I also ordered their Baked Scallops with Cheese, mostly because I like both scallops and cheese, and having both in one dish is always a treat. There was an egg on top of this dish, and as you can see from the photo, the whole thing looked like one giant sunny side up egg. I liked the taste of it, but I thought the scallops were a little too small. There weren't very many of them either.

Baked Scallops with Cheese

We also had some agedashi tofu, which we ordered to take the place of rice. We avoided any more carbs (only for that late lunch) given the fact that we had been eating and eating and eating lots of carbohydrates for the past few meals.

Agedashi Tofu

Rice or no rice (except for that which was in the sushi), we still ended up with the usual distended stomachs. In fact, we no longer had any dinner that night because we were just too full from our late lunch at Tampopo.


Tampopo Japanese Restaurant
#B1-50 Liang Court Shopping Center
(basement, off Meida-Ya)
Tel: 6338-3186

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

My low-carb lunch at Grams

Once in a (very) rare while, I try to go on a low carbohydrate diet, especially when I've particularly overindulged for an extended period of time. This makes eating out even harder for me, as this narrows down my choices further as a pescetarian. Since I eat lunch a lot of times at Grams Diner at the office, I had to figure out what to order, as I normally have their fish with garlic rice (yum!).

I've found a good meal to fulfill both the seafood and low-carb requirements, but I have to request it specially. It's their Caesar Salad with Calamari.

Caesar Salad with Calamari

I really enjoy this, although the garlic, as always from this kind of dressing, lingers on in my mouth (and hopefully not my breath). I've had this several times, and I did notice that the amount of calamari changes from day to day. Oh well, it's a made-to-order dish and I should just be glad to have a low-carb alternative.


Grams Diner
ELJCC Bldg. Sgt. Esguerra cor. Mother Ignacia
Quezon City, Metro Manila
Philippines
Tel. No. (02)412.2871

Monday, November 23, 2009

Dessert at Momo Cafe, Eastwood

After a huge lunch in Blufish, we still felt like having some dessert, so we went to nearby Momo Cafe. My sister-in-law and I had the Toblerone Torte and the Snickers Fudge.

Toblerone Torte

Snickers Fudge

I'm a Snickers lover, thus, the choice, but I liked the Toblerone Torte better. The Snickers Fudge didn't taste as fresh as the one that I had at their sister restaurant Chelsea in Serendra. I still had a lot of it though.

My nephew got a cupcake, which he then proceeded to play with. He ate it all, of course.

My nephew and his cupcake

I'm curious to try their main dishes. The next time I find myself in Eastwood, maybe I will.


Eastwood Mall Veranda
Eastwood Mall
Orchard Road
Bagumbayan, Libis
Quezon City
Metro Manila, Philippines

Phone Numbers
+63(2)900.1006
+63(2)900.1007

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Rice Fest at Kanin Club, UP-Ayalaland Technohub

My L.A.-based sister-in-law Liz and my nephew Aidan recently came home for a two-week visit, and as is wont to happen in family reunions, a lot of eating was bound to be had. Every chance I had to see them ended up in having a (big) meal, and I just resigned myself to the fact that their vacation was going to be fattening not only for the balikbayans.

Aligue Rice

One afternoon, I met up with them along with my other sister-in-law Tintin and her cute little son Raffy at UP-Ayalaland Technohub to have lunch at Kanin Club. We wanted them to have a lot of good Pinoy food while they were here, and a place where rice is the centerpiece certainly seemed as Pinoy as one could get. I had heard a lot about this restaurant, but never quite got around to trying it, mostly because I’ve been trying to cut down on carbs and the name of this restaurant clued me in to the fact that it’s probably not the easiest place to go hi-protein.

But… since Liz and Aidan were on holiday, we considered ourselves to be on holiday as well. And as we all know, rules, particularly those pertaining to diet, are suspended when one is on vacation.

So, we decided to eat whatever caught our fancy on the menu. There were so many seafood choices on the menu that I didn’t know where to start. After much deliberation, we (or should I say “I”) decided to have Seafood Kare-Kare, Binukadkad na Tilapia, Tinapa Rice, and Aligue Rice.

Tinapa Rice

Their rice is understandably the star of the menu, given the restaurant’s name. Our choices turned out to be very good. How can you go wrong with aligue anyway? I particularly liked their tinapa rice though. With all that fried garlic on top, I had to stop myself from finishing the whole bowl (which I think was actually good for four or five people).

Seafood Karekare

I thought their seafood kare-kare was excellent. I am always on the lookout for this seafood version, because I loved kare-kare (the meaty kind) when I was a child. I’ve missed eating this dish, because the veggie or seafood versions I usually get to early rarely give me the same satisfaction that I remember getting back in the day when I used to eat meat. BUT this seafood kare-kare is certainly one of the best versions I’ve tasted. It was not too fishy, yet it was still very tasty.

Binukadkad na Tilapia

I like their tilapia too, since it was cooked in my favorite way- deep-fried to a crisp. So crunchy, I ate some of the bones!

We were all very full after that meal, and had the leftover rice for takeout. Kanin Club is definitely not the place to go to if you’re on a diet. But, to paraphrase their menu, the food is soooo worth the extra exercise you’re going to need to burn off those calories.


Kanin Club
UP-Ayalaland Technohub
Quezon City, Philippines

Friday, November 20, 2009

Cav Wine Shop and Cafe, Bonifacio High Street

Having wine with good friends is always a treat, especially if you have some good food to go with the vino. Cav in Bonifacio High Street is the perfect place to catch up with old friends, and this is one of the preferred places to meet, when my Australia-based friend Gigi decides where to go when she wants Chi and I meet up with her when she visits. (One very important consideration is that she lives at the Fort when she is in Manila.)

We had their wine flight, or three tasting portions of their wine. I chose the white, as I now get migraines from red. Then we had some cheese, gambas, and their crab cakes to go along with the wine.

Cheese Platter
Crabby Patties
Gambas al Ajillo

I like Cav, not just because of the wine and the food, but also because of the ambience. It's very conducive to chatting and enjoying yourself on a girls' night out. One thing I don't like about it though is that the exhaust is not topnotch. I don't mind that there is smoking inside the place. What I do mind is that the smoke just re-circulates inside the place, enough to make my eyes water as the night draws on. With better exhaust and ventilation, I could stay there longer, instead of having to call it a night because of smoke overload.


Lot 5, Quadrant 8
Bonifacio High Street
Fort Bonifacio Global City
Philippines
(632)856.1798

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Siam Thai Cuisine, Cebu

My fellow Manila-based friends and I were in Cebu for a short visit, and our Cebuano friends recommended that we go to Siam Thai Cuisine. I love Thai food so I was excited to try the restaurant. However, when it was time to order, I was a bit disappointed that some of the items on the menu were not pescetarian-friendly.

First, I tried to order their Prawn Patties, (one of my favorite things to order in Thai restos) but apparently, they add pork to it. So, scratch that. Then, I wanted to have another of my favorites, which is Pomelo Salad. Again, they told me that they add pork to it. I was determined to have the salad, though, so I still ordered it and told them to remove the pork.

Thai Pomelo Salad

When the dish arrived, it didn't look like much of a pomelo salad anymore, just pomelo with a few bits of shrimp and onion and some vinegary dressing. I did wish it had some peanuts so eating it would have been more pleasurable for me.

Heart-shaped Rice

I wasn't really happy with what I ordered so I mooched some Tom Yum off one of my friends. It was a good thing that the serving was plentiful, so she didn't really mind sharing. The Tom Yum tasted good, so I did not leave the restaurant totally unhappy.

Tom Yum

If I find myself in Cebu, I probably wouldn't go back to Siam, mostly because they add pork to some of my favorite Thai dishes. It's a good thing Cebu offers a lot of other alternatives, as there are many other Thai restaurants to visit. Places where prawn patties are made only of prawn.


Siam Thai Cuisine
The Terraces
Ayala Center Cebu
Philippines
Tel. No. (032)417.1318

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Can't get enough of Laguna Garden Cafe, Cebu

During my recent trip to Cebu, my friends and I just couldn't get enough of Laguna Garden Cafe. It almost seemed as if we wanted to have each and every meal there.

Turon

We would usually start in the morning, with intentions of having (only) breakfast there. However, it is a very pleasant place to hang out in, so we'd end up having merienda there as well.

Like in my previous entry about Laguna Garden Cafe, I had a lot of SMT (Suman, Mangga, at Tsokolate) this time. Their hot chocolate is just too good to pass up, and it really goes very well with the suman and mango.

Actually, I had a lot more to eat there during this trip. My favorites were (aside from SMT), their pancit palabok (with pork removed), and their turon, which I requested to be served with vanilla ice cream. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to take pictures of most of what I ate, mostly because I totally forgot about taking photos when the food arrived and just went straight to business.

The best thing was, the waiters and manager didn't kick us out even after we'd been sitting there for five hours. For that, I declare their service simply excellent.

I have so many fond memories of this place... having way too much SMT, watching the Ateneo-UP game on their TV while having even more hot chocolate, and just spending quality time with my friends in this well-lit, very comfortable, and cozy cafe.


Laguna Garden Cafe
Ayala Center
Cebu City, Philippines

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Dinner at Abuhan Tres, Cebu City

I spent All Saints' Day weekend scuba diving with friends in Southern Leyte, with Cebu as our jumping off point. We all flew in to Cebu from Manila, took a boat to and from Leyte, and flew back to Manila from Cebu. We luckily had some time to sample some Cebuano cuisine before heading for home.


Some new-found dive friends suggested that we try the "best pochero in Cebu", which could be found in a restaurant called Abuhan Tres. Of course, I was not interested in pochero, since I doubted they'd have a seafood version. But, I agreed to go with them because I was sure there would be some pescetarian fare on the menu.


We were all tired from the dive trip but determined to go to the place, so although our eyes were all getting droopy, we took a cab and rode off in search of the restaurant. Thankfully, it was easy enough to find, since we were all famished.

My friend and dive buddy Zara decided to just share dishes, so we could try more of them. We ordered the Kilawing Tangigue to start. I thought there was too much sauce, but the taste was all right. Kilawin in general is too sour for me, but Zara enjoyed it and polished it off when I was all vinegar-ed out.

Kinilaw na Tangigue

Then we had some Adobong Kangkong for our veggies, and some Sizzling Squid with White Sauce. I had most of the kangkong, which I liked because of the large amount of garlic in it. Squid is Zara's favorite, and so we both enjoyed that dish. At first I was rather wary of how it would taste because I don't remember if I'd ever had white sauce with my squid, but it turned out pretty tasty.

Adobong Kangkong

Sizzling Squid with White Sauce

The waiter had a pleasant surprise for us in the middle of our meal- he told us that because our bill reached the P1,500.00 mark, we could get a free "mixto", which meant a combo of various dishes. We chose the appetizer mixto, which had calamares, crispy kangkong, and lumpia.

After all that food, we still had some room for dessert, so my friend Anjou and I decided to split a Brownie ala Mode, which we ended up sharing among five of us. It was so good though that we just had to have another one.

Brownie ala Mode

We all left the place happy. My carnivore friends enjoyed the pochero and declared it worth the trip, and for me the highlight was the surprise chocolatey treat to top off the meal.


Abuhan Tres
Unit 108 i2 bldg.
Asiatown I.T. Park
Cebu, Philippines, 6000
Phone: 4123025

Monday, October 19, 2009

Good Ol' Old Spaghetti House

I first ate in Old Spaghetti House with my climbing partner Angel several years ago. She said I simply had to try their giant chocolate chip cookie, which I of course did. Since then I would eat there once in a while, when I felt like loading up on carbs.

Gourmet Tuyo Spaghetti

I recently discovered their branch at the Ayala Technohub in Quezon City, with my friends Isabel and Zara, during an all-day girl-bonding session. I had their Fish Fillet Provencal with Garlic Fettuccine, which the restaurant touted as part of their sports menu. I liked it but preferred the gourmet tuyo spaghetti that Isabel had.

Again, I had their chocolate chip cookie, which satisfied, as always. Old Spaghetti House is such an old reliable. Comfort food at its best. If the pasta won't do it for you, the cookie surely will.

Giant Chocolate Chip Cookie


104 Retail Center
UP Ayala TechnoHUB
Commonwealth Avenue, Diliman
Quezon City, Philippines
Phone: 487.TOSH, 508.6979

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Goodbye Meal at Starbucks, Changi Airport, Singapore

Our flight back to the Philippines was very early in the morning, so Gigi and I set off for Changi airport barely awake. We weren’t even able to say goodbye to our gracious host James, because he was still asleep and couldn’t be awakened via phone (He was sleeping in another room and we didn’t want to wake his roommate).

Cheese and Tomato Bagel

After checking in, we still had some time to kill before our flight so we decided to have breakfast in Starbucks. Or at least, I did. Gigi just had some water. I like eating in different branches of this coffee chain, because the food they offer varies from outlet to outlet. Sometimes they have surprisingly interesting food, and in Changi, this proved to be true.

I had their cheese and tomato bagel with my coffee. What I really liked about this simple sandwich is that it had arugula, which is hard to find and quite expensive in the Philippines. I enjoyed eating the sandwich with the chips that came with it. (To heck with calories- my holiday was about to end.)

The melted cheese on tomato on a bagel toasted just so proved to be an unexpected airport treat and a great way to end my food hunt in Singapore.

Starbucks
Changi Airport
Singapore

Friday, October 09, 2009

Food #03 Vegetarian Restaurant, Singapore

I love places like Food #03, a vegetarian restaurant in the Little India area in Singapore. James brought Gigi and I there so we could taste his favorite Tempeh burger. I've seen similar places in other cities, where, along with vegetarian fare, they also have cause-oriented posters on the walls (or in this case, on their door.)


Their menu pretty much spelled out their beliefs. It said the restaurant saved electricity and water, which meant there was no airconditioning, and water was only provided upon request. It also said they didn't use microwave ovens, which are considered evil. And of course, they re-use and recycle.

I ordered their Dugu burger, which had oyster mushrooms on top of their Tempeh burger. I liked it, but maybe only because I'm used to eating vegetarian dishes, and often encounter this kind of taste. Gigi wasn't a big fan though.

Dugu Burger

As I said, I do like places like this restaurant, where the people are still idealistic, hoping and believing that they can still change the world, one meal at a time.


Food #03 Vegetarian Restaurant
Post-Museum
109 Rowell Road
Tel. No. 6396.7980
www.food03.sg

Thursday, October 08, 2009

A break from bingeing at TWG Tea Boutique

After a particularly calorie-laden lunch, Gigi, James and I decided to walk around the mall to burn off some of it, then have some tea to try to digest it better. We went to TWG Tea Salon and Boutique, which proclaims itself as having the finest teas in the world.



The servers were very helpful when it came to recommending teas. They asked us what our preferences were, and they had recommendations with accompanying explanations as to why a particular tea would suit a person's taste. I had some black tea from Ceylon, which I was very happy with. James had some caffeine-free black tea so as not to disrupt his sleep cycle.

Sipping tea at TWG Tea Boutique was a refreshing break from all the eating we had been doing. Not surprisingly, though, after spending some time sitting there, we were soon ready for yet another meal.


TWG Tea Boutique
Takashimaya Department Store
391 Orchard Road, Basement 2
Singapore 238873

TWG Tea Salon and Boutique
ION Shopping Mall
2 Orchard Turn, #02 - 21
Singapore 238801

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Cafe Iguana, Singapore

On our first night in Singapore, James brought Gigi and I to a place by the river to have a few drinks. We chose Cafe Iguana because of its ambience and the interesting-sounding items on the menu.


Although we were planning on having a few drinks, we ended up eating a lot of things instead, with just a token margarita. I ordered the portobello fajitas, mainly because it's very hard to find anything with portobello mushrooms in Manila, so I try to have some when I can get it.

Portobello Fajitas

James had the red snapper enchiladas, although I ate half of that. Gigi was a good girl and didn't order anything for herself. As a result, I ate most of the calories consumed during that evening.

Red Snapper Enchiladas

What I liked most though, were the nachos. They were crispy and very tasty. Also, the nachos were not the store-bought tortilla chips that restaurants in Manila often serve you when you order this dish.

Nachos

Thus ended day one of our visit to James. One drink, and a whole lot of food.


Café Iguana Riverside Point
30 Merchant Road
#01-03 Riverside Point
Singapore 058282
Tel: (65) 6236 1275

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Food hunt in Singapore- Famous 49 Katong Laksa

I recently went on a short holiday with my Sydney-based friend Gigi to visit our Singapore-based friend James. Since Gigi is my eating partner, I expected this trip to be basically a series of (big) meals, and, really, this outlook was right on the money. I was excited to sample a lot of different dishes, since their cuisine is a rich mixture of Chinese, Malay, and Indian food.

I do believe we started eating almost as soon as we stepped off the plane in Changi airport. Though that might be a slight exaggeration; we actually started to eat as soon as we met up with James at his apartment.

James was insistent that we try three of his favorite Singaporean dishes during our visit. One of these was seafood laksa, which I also enjoy. He brought us to an unassuming place, called Famous 49 Katong Laksa, which according to James and the newspaper clippings on the wall, was the place where seafood laksa was actually first served. Luckily, this place served all three of the dishes he wanted us to taste, so we easily hit three birds with one stone.


I read some reviews written about this place, and a couple of them mentioned that they got nasty bouts of diarrhea after eating the laksa here. As far as I know, none of us had this problem, and we all agreed that their version really was excellent. The coconut milk-based soup/sauce/gravy was very good, and the taste was better than that of a version I had at a hotel along Orchard Road.

Seafood Laksa

James also asked us to try rojak, which is a fruit and vegetable salad dish. It had bite-sized pieces of pineapple, cucumber, deep-fried tofu, and was topped with chopped peanuts. Since I like pretty much anything with peanuts in it, I thought this dish excellent as well.

Rojak

The other thing that James made us try was otah, which is a kind of fish cake. It was wrapped in banana leaf, which was then grilled over a charcoal fire. The cooking process gave the cake a smoky flavor, which I liked.

Otah

At first this meal doesn't sound like we ate too much. But considering it was only 10:30am when we went to the place, it was quite a lot for a late breakfast. I'll write about what we ate the rest of the day later on.

Famous 49 Katong Laksa
49 East Coast Road
Hock Tong Hin Eating House
Singapore

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Terry's (Terry Selection) at the Podium, One of My All-time Favorite Restaurants

I have long loved dining at Terry Selection, now simply called Terry's, at the Podium. For the past few years, whenever I felt I deserved a celebratory meal, Terry's was (and continues to be) the first restaurant that sprang to mind. The place, aside from being a Spanish restaurant, is also a gourmet store similar to Santi's.

Besugo a la Bilbaina

Whenever I go there, I try to bring a friend, not only for social purposes, but because there are two dishes that I always want to have in the restaurant. It would be a bit much if I always had two entrees for a meal (calorie-wise and peso-wise), so I try to convince my friend to split them with me so the two of us could have a bit of both dishes.

The first of these is called Lenguado a la Mantequilla. As the menu describes, "A tangy lemon and butter sauce with capers enhances the delicate flavor of these sole medallions". The second is called Besugo a la Bilbaina, and again, according to the menu, "True to this Bilbao-style recipe, carefully pan-fried almond halves and garlic slivers are used to top juicy white snapper medallions".

Now, this is one time when the "mouth-watering-ness" (yes, I just made up that word) of the menu translates into the actual thing. Just reading the description of the dishes makes me positively Pavlovian, and when the servers deliver them to my table, they taste just as the menu promised. Both of these give me such pleasure that I can hardly give up one for the other. (Hence, my sharing strategy.)

If I find that I have no choice but to have only one, though, I choose the Besugo, because of the advantage of having almonds. ( I love nuts in my meals.) Also, it has garlic rice, which I prefer over the Lenguado's sliced potatoes.

The best thing about Terry's is that after I receive so much happiness from the entrees, there is still something to look forward to- dessert! And not just any dessert... even its name has a touch of the royal about it. Marquesa de Chocolate is the perfect ending to such an excellent meal.

I always make sure I ask the servers if it is available as soon as I sit down, because sometimes, they run out, and I get so disappointed to find out AFTER I'd had my meal, and then I feel that my Terry's experience was incomplete. I rank this dessert among my top five, and I sometimes have two servings, even if it makes me feel like a glutton.

Overall, I find that Terry's is an old reliable, if I want to have a great meal. I would recommend it to anyone, particularly the abovementioned dishes for seafood lovers, and of course the Marquesa, for anyone with a sweet tooth.


Lower Ground Level
The Podium
18 ADB Ave.
Ortigas Center
Mandaluyong, Metro Manila
Philippines

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Lunch Specials at Uno Restaurant, QC

Yet another reason I love Uno Restaurant is that they offer lunch specials that are not offered on their menu. Aside from the fact that they change their menu every quarter, this is another way they can keep things exciting and new for their regular diners. Their specials usually have either soup or salad, plus a choice between two main courses. One of these is usually fish, which is why I look forward to Uno's specials.

This particular afternoon, the soup and one main course were pescetarian friendly. I had their fish and vegetable veloute, and the pan-roasted grey snapper with fennel and garlic.

Fish and Vegetable Veloute

Actually, after having some of their delicious bread to go with the soup, I was bit full already. But I dug into the snapper with relish, because it was perfectly done as far as I was concerned. One side was crunchy and well-done, which is how I often like pan-roasted fish.

Pan-roasted Grey Snapper with Fennel and Garlic

For once, I didn't have any of their dessert. It would really have been too much of an indulgence if I did so. Carbo-overloading is bound to happen at Uno, because their bread is so good, and their courteous servers always replenish your bread basket once it's running low. If you want to enjoy their dessert, you have to consciously hold off on the bread. But, really, it's darned difficult to do so.


Uno Restaurant
195 Tomas Morato cor. Sct. Fuentebella
Quezon City
Philippines
Tel. no. (02)374.0774

Friday, August 28, 2009

Aresi Restaurant and Bar

Around ten years ago, Aresi Restaurant was near ABS-CBN. I liked going to that restaurant because it had ambience, the food was good, and it was reasonably priced. At that time, actress Gloria Romero's daughter Maritess Gutierrez was the chef. After a few years though, they closed up shop, and from what I heard it was because of issues with the ones who were leasing the property.

I missed having Aresi around. I distinctly remember looking forward to having their shrimp risotto, ale-battered fish, and mushroom soup. I heard that they still had a branch in Subic, but that is too far for Manila-bound me.

I was therefore very excited when I heard that Aresi had opened again, this time in Il Terrazzo, still along Tomas Morato. I went there with some friends to check it out and see if it was still the Aresi that I so fondly remembered.

When I got there, I saw that the ambience felt a little bit more formal and upscale. The interiors were on the dark side, with dark wood and browns dominating the place. I excitedly opened the menu to see if my old favorites were still there. Sadly, they were not, except for the mushroom soup, which I ordered. I also had their four cheese pizza.

Mushroom Soup

The mushroom soup tasted exactly like it did years ago, but the serving was noticeably smaller. As for the pizza, it was good except that I thought it could do with more cheese. As you can see from the photo, the cheese didn't really extend all the way till the end of the crust.

Quattro Formaggio

What really hit me as the biggest change in the restaurant were the prices. Obviously, with inflation, they would have increased compared to when I used to go there years ago. But I realized that with their upscale interiors came upscale prices as well. It seems like the restaurant's target market has changed, since the casual dining feel has changed to that of fine dining.

Would I go back there? I'm not really sure. All I know is that the Aresi of yesterday, with its to-die-for shrimp risotto, is no more.


Aresi Restaurant and Bar
2nd Level Il Terrazzo
35 Tomas Morato corner Scout Madrinan
Quezon City
Philippines
Tel. No. (632)332.1941 or 332.1942.

La Maison, Trinoma, Quezon City

I was going to have dinner with my parents at Trinoma, and I wanted to go to a place I'd never been to before. I was still at the office running late for our date, and I hadn't decided where to eat, so I hurriedly checked the Internet for a place we could try. I came across the restaurant La Maison, and according to some blogs (at least the first two I stumbled upon), they had "good creamy mussels" and "excellent service".

Seafood Bounty

As usual, my parents were there ahead of me, so I went straight to business and ordered. We had the Lobster Bisque, the Chinoise Crab salad, and their Seafood Bounty (which had the creamy mussels previously mentioned).

Chinoise Crab Salad

I am sorry to say, but the dishes were a bit disappointing. Well, except for the mussels. First, about the soup. I actually liked the taste of the bisque; what I didn't like was how watery it was. It was pretty much the consistency of, well... water (like I said, WATERY).

Lobster Bisque

The Salad also tasted okay, but the leaves were quite soggy. Finally the Seafood Bounty, which consisted of creamy mussels, shrimps, fish, and calamari. We finished only the mussels, and took home most of the rest. This is pretty telling, considering I rarely leave a dish uneaten. The shrimp was a bit tough, and the fish and calamari were not particularly memorable.

What I did like about the place was the service of the staff (the blog I read was right about that), and also the complimentary black bread they gave at the start of the meal. Unfortunately these things are not enough to convince me to ever go back to La Maison.


La Maison
Trinoma Mall
2nd Level Trinoma
EDSA corner North Avenue
Quezon City, Philippines
Tel. No. 916.6351

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Surprise birthday party, food from Kuchen, cake from Estrel's

My friends from the defunct show Alas Singko Y Medya very thoughtfully threw me a very small surprise lunch for my birthday. They told me to meet up with them at the news makeup room, and when I got there, they turned on the lights and sang the happy birthday song. They even had a cake with a candle for me to blow out.

Yeng ordered the food from Kuchen, a home-based catering business. I liked the eggplant parmigiana, although I thought the pieces were a bit too large, thus making it hard to cut and eat using plastic utensils.

Spaghetti Vongole, Eggplant Parmigiana

Kate brought dessert. I always enjoy having Estrel's caramel cake, but I probably don't get as excited as others do about eating it, because it's been a part of almost all of our family gatherings since I was a small child. I think I'm somehow related (I'm not sure if it's by blood or by affinity) to "Tita Estrel", as we referred to her as children. Like any typical child, I probably said petulantly, "Caramel cake again???" after the nth reunion which had this as the featured dessert.

Estrel's famous Caramel Cake

At any rate, a big lunch like that is a great way to celebrate one's birthday, especially if it's unexpected, and organized by some of your best and most trusted friends.