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
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

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

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
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.


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