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Showing posts from 2010

Christmas treats at Starbucks

Starbucks enjoys particularly brisk business in the runup to Christmas day, judging from how their branches are packed up to the wee hours of the morning. I suspect this is mostly because so many people want to acquire their Christmas planners. For those who are not familiar with these, well, every Christmas season, people covet these planners, and spend literally thousands of pesos to get one.

This is because you are not able to buy them, you have to fill up a card with stamps. You get a stamp each time you buy a certain kind of coffee from Starbucks, and once you fill up the card, you finally get one. This year, you get to choose from several colors. I chose the silver one. Luckily for me, I didn't have to drink all these coffee concoctions to get my planner. Every year, my friend Chi (who DOES drink all these coffee concoctions), gives me a Starbucks planner for Christmas.

Aside from these planners, another draw at Starbucks during the holiday season is their Christmas-themed of…

A new favorite at Il Terrazzo: Bistro Napa

Bistro Napa is found in Il Terrazzo along Tomas Morato, and it takes the place of Aresi Restaurant in the building. I believe Bistro Napa has the same owners, and they probably just renamed, re-conceptualized and relaunched the restaurant.

I like it better now in its new form. Aresi in Il Terrazzo was a bit overpriced (unlike its earlier incarnation in the early 2000s), in my opinion. It was probably because the restaurant was pretty big, so the overhead most likely was too. Bistro Napa is smaller than its predecessor, and the hole it will burn in your pocket is considerably smaller as well.

I like Bistro Napa not just because of its lower prices. It's also cozier (maybe also partly due to its smaller size) and less stiff than Aresi was. They offer reasonably priced lunch specials, a different one per weekday, probably to attract the office lunch time crowd. This was what we certainly were, when my colleagues and I visited it for the first time.

On my first visit, I had their Citrus…

Nasi Goreng at Cafe Jeepney, Hotel Intercon, Makati

It's that time of year when bazaars are sprouting up right and left, enticing Christmas-crazy consumers to make purchases to wrap and temporarily put under their own Christmas trees while waiting to give them out on the big day. I recently went to one held at Hotel Intercontinental where a friend of mine had a booth selling jewelry. Along with a couple of friends, we wanted to show our support, so we were off to brave the bazaar crowds.

After going around and buying random things I didn't really need and consuming calories I couldn't really afford to be taking in, we decided to indulge in even more at Cafe Jeepney. I hadn't eaten at this place in a long time. I have happy childhood memories of this place, eating breakfast with my family when it was still more famously known as the Jeepney Coffeeshop, and when your tables were inside actual jeepneys.

I chose to have their Nasi Goreng. which according to the menu included fried rice, egg, shrimp crackers, satay chicken, an…

Chelsea Market and Cafe

I found myself at Bonifacio High Street during yet another hot and lazy Sunday, after my friend Z invited me to spend the afternoon browsing the shelves at Fully Booked. After several hours of reading and skimming through dozens of books, we worked up a pretty good appetite which we decided to indulge at Chelsea Market and Cafe.

The place was quite packed, and initially we were seated at a small table where we were practically (and literally) rubbing elbows with the diners at the next table. Thankfully some people left and we got to move to a table that would properly accommodate the amount of food we were planning to order.

I've long intended to eat at Chelsea, and when I finally got the chance to do so, I think I went crazy looking at their menu and wanting to have so many things on it. I first tried to order their Grilled US Halibut Gratinee, which sounded really good on the menu. Unfortunately, it was unavailable. Instead, I ordered the Oven-Roasted Seafood and Tomato Cream Pes…

My "Diver's Breakfast" at McDonald's

Going scuba diving usually entails waking up super early, like three o'clock. This is one of the instances when I don't really mind and I am actually physically able to do it.

One downside of waking up so early is that I get hungry very early too. While I usually have to wait to get hungry for breakfast on a regular day, My tummy starts grumbling around 5:00am whenever I go diving.

So what usually happens is my dive buddies and I head to the most convenient McDonald's to have a mobile meal. I almost always order the same thing there, so I call it my (pescetarian-friendly) "diver's breakfast".

Egg McMuffin without ham

This is simply an Egg McMuffin with the ham/Canadian bacon removed. When I'm feeling extra famished, I indulge and add a hash brown. Not the healthiest of meals, but it fills me up and prepares me for a long day of underwater activity.

P.S. I saw this sign on the restroom of this particular McDonald's, and I thought it was rather amusing.


Miele Guide says Antonio's in Tagaytay is #5 restaurant in Asia

The Miele Guide is an Asian guide to the region's top restaurants. Last year, Antonio's made it to number 17. This year, it's number 5. I haven't been there in years. The last time I was there was when my brother got married a few years ago. I remember that it was a beautiful reception, with excellent food. It's good to know that it remains to be a great resto that Filipinos can be proud of.

The latest guide features 450 restaurants from 16 countries. I hope I get around to checking out the guide one of these days. Below is a list of the top 20 restaurants and a short description of each, which I copied and pasted from the guide's website. It's a good list to have when doing some regional travelling. I hope to get to try some of them out too.

1. Iggy’s

Singapore’s gastronomic icon has been growing from strength to strength since its inception 6 years ago. Already a favourite to critics and gourmands alike, Iggy’s further cemented its …

Back at Angelina Italian Restaurant, Malapascua, Cebu

When I find myself in Malapascua island in Cebu, I just have to eat at Angelina Italian restaurant. I ate there several times during the trip, and my meals were a combination/variation of the following: four cheese pizza, four cheese pasta, squid ink pasta, and dessert.

Four cheese pasta

Four cheese pizza

Squid ink pasta

I forget what this dessert is called. All I remember is that it's some kind of flan (Obviously!).

Except for the inconsistent amount of cheese specifically on the four-cheese pasta, I loved eating at this restaurant. I think all my friends did too. Till the next Malapascua trip!

Angelina Restaurant
Tepanee Resort
Malapascua Island

Just another fabulous lunch at Uno Restaurant

I've sung enough praises for this restaurant, so you don't really have to guess how I feel about Uno. Anyway, I had another lunch date there with my officemates, and again, I chose to go with one of their lunch specials. It's always interesting to find out what the chef has cooked up specially for the day.

I had their tomato mozzarella salad to go with their braised opakapaka fish. It was the first time I'd heard of this fish, which is apparently (after a quick google search) also known as Hawaiian pink snapper. It was also good to learn that this fish is considered an ocean-friendly seafood choice.

Tomato Mozzarella Salad

The tomato mozzarella salad was good, although I could always use a bigger serving. As for the main course, according to their blackboard, the fish was braised with lemongrass, achiote, and coconut cream. I'm not quite sure what achiote is, but after another quick google search, I learned that it's a kind of seed. And I don't know if I'm…

KaLui Restaurant, Puerto Princesa, Palawan

The last time I went to Puerto Princesa in Palawan, I asked around to find out what their best restaurant is. The consensus of many people was that Kalui Restaurant was the must-visit resto in the city. So, my friends and I went to have lunch in the restaurant which (according to its website anyway) is "the most famous and best value restaurant in Palawan".

The place was very pleasant. It had a native look and feel, and you are asked to remove your shoes before entering, so as not to dirty their highly polished wooden floors. We chose our table, ordered our food, then looked around the place while waiting for it to be prepared. The restaurant is relatively big, and they had a lot of native art and decor. It was a very humid day, though, and we were soon sweating as we walked around because the electric fans couldn't stir the air enough to dissipate the humidity.

Our food soon arrived and we got busy with our respective plates. I ordered Fish Cordon Bleu, primarily because …

The Stock Market, Bonifacio High Street

I spent a rare afternoon shopping at Bonifacio High Street with a couple of friends, and we decided to have some dinner at The Stock Market at the end of our spree. I've always been intrigued by this restaurant's interiors, so I wanted to finally try the place out. Apparently, the place is owned by Del Monte Philippines, and is so named because Del Monte sells its "stock" of products there. It's more of a family place that serves American food.

One of my friends ordered a burger of sorts (since I don't eat burgers, it didn't interest me enough to remember the name), then my other friend ordered some pasta with salmon. I ordered their Blackened Fish with Mango Pineapple Relish and Seafood Creole Rice. I think I order blackened fish whenever I see it on a menu. I love New Orleans cuisine, and this is one thing that I almost always end up happy with.

Blackened Fish

I liked their version of this dish, and although I was avoiding carbs, I couldn't resist the …

Girls' Night Out at Taverna Verde, Ortigas

My friend Z told me she and her good friends Jan and Girlie were in the mood for a girls' night out, and invited me to come along. It sounded like a great way to spend a Monday night, so I told her I was in. The plan was to go to Taverna, a bar that Girlie said was a great place to just chill and hang out. We agreed to go there around eight to have time to have something to eat, then have a few drinks after.

When we all got there, the place was empty. I didn't really mind. I liked the place and its high-backed soft cushioned seats. We decided to have some pizza and pasta to start off the evening. I couldn't order any of the pasta because they all had either pork, beef, or chicken. So, for pescetarians looking for their pasta fix, this is not the place to go. Thankfully, they had a couple of pescetarian-friendly pizzas.

First, we tried their Spicy Sardine Pizza. I enjoyed it because the crust was very thin and crunchy, which is just the way I like it. The ingredients also cam…

Mien San Noodle House

I hadn't seen my friend Kennie in a while because she was quite busy the past few months. She suggested that we get together so she could bring me to an authentic Taiwanese restaurant while we catch up. One evening, I picked her up then we went to Mien San Noodle House, which was packed, especially for a rainy week night.

I tried to order some dumplings, but unfortunately, the ones I ordered, or tried to order (prawn or vegetable), had some pork in it. I really hate it when that happens- when the menu says "shrimp dumpling", "shrimp cakes", "vegetable rolls", and so on, and they have pork mixed in it.

I've seen this in several Chinese and Thai restaurants. That's why pescetarians have to ask specifically if these dishes (usually with ground or chopped ingredients) have other kinds of meat, because they fail to mention that there is pork, or sometimes chicken, mixed in them.

Kennie told me to try the Fried Manthou, which she said was usually ser…

A birthday lunch at Zucchini's, Quezon City

I haven't gone to Zucchini's in a while, so when Yeng said she would treat me to lunch there for my birthday, I was all too happy to oblige. I really like eating in this restaurant, so Yeng and I stretched out our lunch (basically by eating too much) to enjoy the place.

To start off our meal, we shared the Barbecue Shrimps Salad (Although it wasn't really a lot and I'm sure we could have polished off one each). It was flavored with wasabi cream sauce and jalapeno vinaigrette. I liked how the shrimps were barbecued. Very tasty.

Barbecue Shrimps Salad

After that, Yeng ordered the Potato Crusted Fish Fillet, while I had the Fillets of Lemon Sole. The waiter, in a sort of warning, told me that the dish I ordered was pretty big. He said the serving was big enough for two. (Two whats, he didn't exactly say. It was certainly not big enough for the two of us.) It wasn't that the serving was undersized, it's more that our appetites were oversized.

Fillets of Lemon Sole


Healthy Desserts at Hui Lau Shan, Hong Kong

I came across some photos that I hadn't posted from a trip to Hong Kong, and I just had to put them up because I remember how much pleasure these desserts brought me. I'm talking about Hui Lau Shan Healthy Dessert, a popular chain in Hong Kong. I remember going to this place as often as I could during my short stay there, judging from the number of desserts I had in the photos below.

Some stalls were bigger than others. In some of them, it was hard to get a place to sit, and I had to take out my order. They offered a variety of desserts, but I liked the ones with mango best. They did have different fruits, while some desserts had rice balls and beans.

This photo below shows the dessert I liked best. It had mango ice cream, mango chunks, and some kind of jelly which, if I remember correctly, was called "glass".

Unfortunately I can no longer remember all the names of these desserts, since I neglected to write them down at the time. When I tried to check the website of Hui…

Shakey's Ultimate Cheese and Garlic Pizza

My favorite pizza place, no contest, is Shakey's (only for the thin crust pizza, though). It must be the crunchy thin crust, oil, and special cheese (some of my friends insist their cheese is what margarine is to butter, but frankly, I don't care). It could also be the happy childhood memories I have of kid's parties held at this restaurant.

Whatever it is, Shakey's is always my first choice when it comes to pizza. When I arrived home after I lived a couple of years away from the Philippines, the first meal I had was in here, and I ordered what I'd usually ordered there for years and years and years... which was their garlic and cheese pizza.

A few years ago, I was very, very happy to find out that Shakey's had introduced a new flavor- ULTIMATE garlic and cheese. I had some as soon as I heard about it. It turned to be just as good as it sounded. If there is any pizza that deserves that name, Shakey's version has to be it.

Shakey's Ultimate Cheese and Garl…

Gigi's birthday lunch at A Taste of LA, Quezon City

Last week, Gigi treated Chi and I to lunch to celebrate her birthday. And as we did for a years back, we headed to A Taste of LA along Roces Avenue. As I mentioned in an entry a few years ago, this place holds some sentimental value for the three of us. We often ushered in Gigi's birthday here while having pizza and wine as we waited for the clock to strike twelve.

This year though, we made do with lunch. We started off with some oysters. Gigi also has a love for cheese, so we had the Oysters Formaggio. They were delicious (as things swimming in cheese inevitably are), and it was such a waste when the cheese dribbled over to the salt that the shells lay on.

Oysters Formaggio

In the interest of diet damage control, I didn't order anything carbo-loaded. Or at least, not till dessert. I had some roasted pumpkin soup, and butterflied shrimps to go with it. I usually enjoy pumpkin soup, and their version was as satisfactory as any other. I also liked the dip for the shrimp, which had…

In praise of Starbucks' Fudgy Butterscotch Bar

When Starbucks landed on Philippine shores in the late 90s, I immediately became a fan; not because of their coffee though, but because of a certain pastry that I found there. It was called "Butterscotch Fudge Bar" at the time, and it made me frequent the Starbucks branch along Tomas Morato, the closest one to our office at the time. I remember that I would bump into my friend Gigi in that branch in the morning, and we would find that we were there for the same reason- to have this particular bar.

Fudgy Butterscotch Bar

I love the random strips of chocolate on the bar, as well as the nuts on it. I like the dense texture when I sink my teeth into it. Some of my other friends find it too sweet, but I think it's heavenly. A few years ago, the composition of this pastry was changed. All the chocolate was placed at the bottom of the bar instead of being randomly found throughout the pastry. It wasn't as delicious as the original recipe, but thankfully they reverted to the o…

Conti's Pastry Shop and Restaurant

Whenever I eat at Conti's I usually end up eating too much dessert (usually Mango Bravo). It is, after all, a pastry shop. So when I do find myself having lunch or dinner there, I force myself to have a light lunch, so I have a lot of space for their delicious pastries. During this particular visit, I started off with some asparagus soup.

Asparagus Soup

The soup was just enough to warm my tummy, so I could get right down to business. I was with my fellow dessert-lover Isabel, so we ordered two desserts between us- Turtle Pie and Mango Bravo.

Turtle Pie

Mango Bravo

I've tried several of their desserts, but I think that so far, Mango Bravo remains my favorite. I liked their turtle pie, but I still prefer the version of Sugarhouse. Conti's Mango Bravo, however, ranks very high among my favorite mango-based desserts. It's so good that I've had to forego the restaurant's main dishes just so I can make room for a big slice of it. Maybe I should eat at Conti's when I&…

Cantinetta, Burgos Circle

I've liked the Italian restaurant Cantinetta since I first tried it years ago. I remember that we featured it in our lifestyle show "F" as one of the year's best restaurants (I think that was in 2004). I'd only been to their branch in Rockwell, so I was glad that I would get to try their branch at The Fort, when some of my friends decided to meet up for dinner there.

Since I hadn't been to Cantinetta in a while, I decided to have my favorite dish there; the very simple but delicious pasta with olive oil, garlic, and chili. I like the size of the servings in Cantinetta. Not too small, but not obscenely big either. Just enough to fill you up. In fact, I had no more space for dessert after I finished the whole plate. Though maybe that was more because I also had a few slices of pizza from my friends' plates.

Penne with Olive Oil, Garlic, and Chili (Aglio 0lio e Peperoncino)

The dinner didn't last too long, because it was a weeknight and a few of my friends …

UCC Coffee Vienna Cafe, The Podium

I recently had an overnight planning meeting with some colleagues, and we had a couple of our meals at UCC Coffee Vienna Cafe at The Podium, which was walking distance from our venue. I like the food in UCC, I just think it's a bit expensive for a coffeeshop. Maybe the prices are steep because of the cost of the franchise. Or maybe it's a prestige thing, which seems to be working out just fine. After all, it's been around for quite a while, so I guess people don't mind shelling out a little more for the goods they offer (myself included, occasionally).

One thing I've noticed though about the few branches of UCC that I've gone to is that the wait staff don't really move all that quickly. Since I hadn't been in a rush during those few times, I didn't really mind. But I figure that if I were, I would be a little upset at their pace of service.

Salmon and Spinach Penne Gratin

For dinner, I had their Salmon and Spinach Penne Gratin. I liked the taste of it,…