Thursday, January 28, 2010

Fancy Crepes, Cakes and Coffee

This is yet another entry about a resto in Il Terrazzo. The reason why I've been going there so often is that I'm trying to spend as much time as I can with my friend Yeng, who is soon transferring to another network, and she likes that place. Parking is relatively easy, and there is some variety of choices available to the diner.

This particular afternoon, we decided to go to Fancy Crepes, Cakes, and Coffee, because we wanted to stay in the open air to enjoy the relatively cool weather. This place is perfect for dining al fresco, because the seats are soft, and the umbrellas give you the illusion that you are actually outdoors. After going through their menu, I decided to have their Cheese Thrills Crepe.

Cheese Thrills Crepe

According to the menu, it's a "soft, stringy, crumbly, sharp bouquet of Parmesan, cream cheese, mozzarella, and cheddar with basil oil, topped with rondelle of tomato". It sounded so appetizing and perfect for a cheese lover.

However, the reality didn't quite meet the expectations. I thought that there was simply not enough cheese to go with the crepe. It looked like a small lump of cheese paste stuffed into the crepe. Also, it was not as "sharp" as I had hoped, and tasted a little on the bland side. In my disappointment, I ended up eating most of what Yeng ordered, which was some tuna pasta.

Tuna Pasta

The pasta was a lot more flavorful than the crepe that I had. I also liked that the pasta was colorful fusilli, which made it more interesting to eat. It's a good thing that Yeng decided to eat after all (she was supposed to have just coffee), or I might have left the place disappointed.

What I really like about the place, though, is the way it's physically set up. The couches that curve, as well as the umbrellas, add to its intimate feel. So that even when there are people occupying the other tables, you still get the feeling that you and your friends can have a private conversation about anyone or anything without being overheard.

Fancy Crepes, Cakes, and Coffee
Il Terrazzo
Tomas Morato Avenue
Quezon City, Philippines

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Old and new favorites at Pancake House

Pancake House is a part of many Filipinos' lives. As a child, I remember that I was always excited when my parents told me we were having lunch, usually on a Sunday, at this restaurant. My favorites way back when were their tacos, their roast chicken sandwich, and the chocolate marble waffle.

Years later, after I stopped eating chicken and beef, I had to start eating other things on the menu (although I continued having the waffle). I usually had bangus, or just the waffle. A few years ago, Pancake House had a change of menu, and expanded their list of offerings considerably. This made me very happy, because there were now things other than bangus that I could have.

I was last there with my friend Yvette, who was in town for a short break from her job as a UN worker in Lebanon. After a game of badminton, we decided to treat ourselves to the comfort food of Pancake House.

We first tried to order the smoked tangigue salad, but unfortunately, the server said they didn't have the fish. So we settled for their shrimp mango salad, and it was the first time that I ordered this in Pancake House.

Shrimp Mango Salad

The greens were crisp, and shrimp and mango always go well together. I particularly liked the nuts on it, though. I wish the salad had more of this.

Then, I ordered their fish rolls. This is my current favorite in the restaurant. Whenever I go scuba diving in Batangas, I stop by with my friends at the Pancake House along SLEX on the way home, and this is what I always order. I like it because the serving is generous, and the rolls are crunchy.

Fish Rolls

Again, I topped off the meal with their chocolate marble waffle. I simply love love love this. Spreading the peanut butter, then the whipped butter, then drowning the waffle in syrup... it's a ritual that builds up my excitement at eating this treat.

Chocolate Marble Waffle

My friends often tease me about how excited and happy I get whenever I find out we're going to eat in Pancake House. What can I say? I associate the restaurant with happy childhood memories, and because I end many a dive trip with a meal here, I've come to associate it with happy adult moments as well.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Fish Kiev at Chocolate Kiss Cafe

The first time I ate at Chocolate Kiss Cafe was more than ten years ago in UP. Since then, I've gone there a lot with friends, usually those who also went to UP. It's a nice place to catch up with old friends, because it's cozy, and what you eat is truly comfort food. I've often sat there for hours, just chatting, gossiping, and laughing over lunch, coffee, or dessert, or maybe all three at the same time.

A couple of years after my first visit to Chocolate Kiss, I discovered that the family of one of my climbing friends, Ina, runs the restaurant. No wonder the place has such good vibes- Ina, her brother Ruben, as well as their mom are all such pleasant people.

Over the years, my usual orders would be one of the following: their daing na bangus, eggplant parmigiana, or pesto penne (with sans rival for dessert). Recently, though, when I went to their branch along Roces Avenue, I discovered something relatively new on their menu- Fish Kiev.

Fish Kiev

When I stopped eating chicken many years ago, one of the dishes I started to miss was Chicken ala Kiev, which was a staple of my childhood. I missed seeing that rush of butter as I cut into the chicken fillet. So I was very happy to see that Chocolate Kiss had a fish version of it. Eating it gave me as much pleasure as I remember getting way back when I still ate chicken.

This dish just gives me another reason to keep going back to Chocolate Kiss Cafe.

Chocolate Kiss Cafe

91 A. Roces Avenue
Corner Scout Tobias
Quezon City, Philippines
Tel. No. (632)412.7876

Ang Bahay ng Alumni
University of the Philippines
Diliman, Quezon City
Ground Floor
Tel. No. (632)433.3872
2nd Floor
Tel. No. (632)434.7430

Monday, January 11, 2010

Night out at Pasto, The Fort

I recently had a great night out with my dive family. It was a long, long night, and we kicked it off at Pasto at The Fort. We were all just supposed to meet there before we went on our bar crawl, while maybe having a beer as we waited for our group to be complete.

However, we ended up eating more than we intended. We had a couple of pizzas, and some pasta as well. My friends are very considerate when it comes to ordering food when I'm around. They make sure that there are pescetarian-friendly dishes so that I can share it with them. In this case I had a lot of the Quattro Formaggio Pizza.

Isabel, whom we fondly nickname our "dive mother", is very reliable as far as ordering pescetarian-friendly food is concerned, mainly because she orders a lot of sweets, (which usually don't have meat of course). She ordered some chocolate cake, which was a bit dry, but otherwise okay.

It was a nice way to start off our night... pizza, pasta, and chocolate cake. As the night wore on, I was glad that none of those had any adverse reaction to the beer I eventually consumed.

Pasto, The Fort
Ground Level, Fort Pointe Bldg.
Bonifacio Global City
Fort Bonifacio
Taguig City, Metro Manila

Friday, January 08, 2010

Banapple Pies and Cheesecakes

It seems like I'm meant to do the rounds of the eating places at Il Terrazzo. My office friends Chi and Irene invited me to join them for lunch along with other officemates at Banapple. I've visited their other outlet along Katipunan Avenue, and although the pasta I had in the past (I think it was pesto) was not particularly memorable, I wanted to come along for the dessert.

I planned to have some fish, but Banapple served only dishes with Cream Dory. Since I have yet to check reports that Cream Dory fish, particularly those imported from Vietnam, are contaminated with sulfuric acid and potassium hydroxide, I've been keeping away from this fish.

So I opted to have their Pasta Magnifico, which is basically olive oil and garlic. This is one of my favorite kinds of pasta, and their version was okay, with the garlic browned enough for my taste. The serving was pretty big, so I finished only one half of it on purpose to make space for dessert.

Pasta Magnifico

So when it was time to have sweets, I wasn't bursting at the seams yet, and I had enough space for my Banoffee Pie. In fact, in our group, I was the only one who finished her dessert. Everyone else was too stuffed from their main course to thoroughly enjoy their pastries.

Banoffee Pie

I like eating Banoffee Pie because it gives me a false (deluded?) sense of having had a healthy dessert. It has fruit, right? It must be healthy then.

Banapple Cakes and Pastries
Il Terrazzo
Tomas Morato Avenue
Quezon City, Philippines

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Meeting for "coffee" at T.G.I.Friday's

As the title of this blog implies, I planned to have coffee at T.G.I.Friday's. I had good intentions, I really did. My friend Yeng invited me to have some coffee one afternoon, and we ended up at this restaurant. We also ended up NOT having coffee but eating a rather heavy afternoon snack (merienda).

After looking at the menu, all those glossy pictures made us decide to eat instead. Specifically, to eat shrimp. We tried one of the new items on their menu, the Shrimp Mango Quesadilla. When it was brought to our table by the server, we were a bit disappointed that there was more mango than shrimp in the quesadilla. Yeng pointed this out to the waiter (she's a very assertive person), who promised to pass along the feedback to the kitchen.

Shrimp Mango Quesadilla

To satisfy our unsatisfied urge for shrimp, we decided to have some of their Friday's Shrimp (I think we had the 12-piece version). Along with the shrimp were a lot of french fries, so we it was a rather sinful dish. Fried battered shrimp + fried potatoes + tartar sauce = megacalories. We washed down our food with diet soda, which was our only way of doing damage control. At least we didn't add sugar calories to the fat calories, right?

Friday's Shrimp

So, again, no coffee; instead, fried food. I think I'll postpone working on my new year's resolutions for next week.

Tomas Morato
Quezon City

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Jack's Loft, Il Terrazzo, Quezon City

On the last few days before the holidays ended and we of the working class had to go back to work on January 4th, I kept busy meeting up with friends. I had plans to have coffee with my diving friend Toto. But again, my plans to have only a cup or two of coffee were foiled by the sheer availability of other sources of calories at our meeting place.

We met up at Jack's Loft at the Il Terrazzo complex in Quezon City. When I got there, Toto was already having coffee (as planned). However, when he asked if I'd had dinner, I suddenly thought that having something to eat would be a good idea. I ordered their penne with tomatoes and cream.

It was marked as one of their house favorites, and I understood why. This is a pretty basic recipe, but it worked, along with the crushed chili flakes that were in it. The menu warned that it was very hot, but I thought that the heat from the chili flakes was just right.

Of course, having a cream-based sauce, this dish was a source of mega-calories and fat. I thought that I was justified in the consumption of all this because I found myself having a few beers after that meal, and having something so fatty in my stomach probably helped in my not having a hangover the next day.

So... pasta and beer. I should just give up on planning to have just coffee with my friends.

Jack's Loft
Il Terrazzo
Tomas Morato
Quezon City, Philippines

Saturday, January 02, 2010

New Year's day at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf

After a very hectic new year's eve, I decided to slow down on January 1st, and limit my activities to having coffee/tea with some girlfriends that evening. We decided on Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf at UP Ayala Technohub. At first I thought of starting the year right by having just tea that evening, to somewhat counter the excesses of the holiday season.

However, when I got to the counter, I looked so indecisive that the server helped me out by asking if I wanted some Salmon Scramble, which they offer as an all-day breakfast meal. She was so convincing that I ordered some, along with Ginseng Peppermint Tea.

Salmon Scramble

My friends Isabel, Zara, and Jan all just had something to drink, so I was the only one having a belated (and second!) dinner while we chatted about what happened over the holidays. I tried not to feel guilty and just decided to enjoy my food.

Although the eggs were a bit dry, I thought they were worth the calories. I liked the preserved fruit that went with it, and I had the butter and jam on my bread as well. I figured that I might as well go whole hog (no pun intended), since EVERYone knows new year's resolutions don't apply on the 1st of January. This year, New Year's day officially falls on January 4, which is the first day of work. All resolutions take effect on this date. Including one of mine that says "No more second dinners."

Here's to many more meals in 2010!

The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf
UP-Ayalaland Technohub
Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City
Tel. No. (632)738.4770