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Showing posts from 2011

In the mood for Chinese- at Dragon 21 Chinese Cuisine & Noodles, Cypress CA

My brother was in the mood for some Chinese food, and was hard pressed to think of where to go since it was about the time for the dinner rush. He was pretty hungry, so Liz suggested that we go to Dragon 21 Chinese Cuisine and Noodles. Her main convincing point was that the place was usually not filled with diners because they were busier with their takeout customers. True to Liz's prediction, there was only one other table of people when we arrived.

As usual, we ordered way too much for only four people. But my brother rationalized that they needed some food to take to work/school the next day, so we could make use of leftovers (if any).

Aside from the meat dishes they ordered, we also had some Schezwan Eggplant (which Liz and I believed only we would eat since the males in the family are quite averse to vegetables).

Schezwan Eggplant

We also ordered some Dragon Seafood, which was described to be "shrimp, scallops, calamari and fish fillet sauteed in brown sauce, atop a bed of a…

Gourmet fastfood at Paul's Place, Los Alamitos CA

Liz attended a PTA meeting early in the morning, but she still had some free time before she reported for work at the clinic at 2pm, so she picked me up to grab a quick lunch. She brought me to Paul's Place, and from what I read about the restaurant, it was supposed to offer "gourmet fastfood".

I liked the ambience of the place. We were seated outdoors, and though it was a bit chilly, it was nice and felt like a good place to have a relaxing lunch and chat with a good friend. They offered some salads, but aside from that there were few choices for pescetarians. So I had the reliable fallback in fastfood places, fish and chips.

Liz did say that their deep-fried mushrooms were a must-have, so I was excited for that. They didn't disappoint. The mushrooms were juicy inside while the coating was crunchy. This resulted in a good combination of textures. The Parmesan sprinkled on them enhanced the taste as well.

Deep-fried Mushrooms

The fish and chips tasted rather ordinary to …

Pizza at the park

It was the weekend, so my brother's family and I went to have a little lunch picnic at Cerritos Regional Park. Having some pizza sounded like a great idea, so we got some at Pizza Hut, where there was a $10-for-any-pizza promo. My brother chose the usual meaty one, and I ordered the Ultimate Cheese Lover's Pizza. We also ordered some Chicken Alfredo for the pasta component of the meal.

The pasta didn't have a lot of chicken, which was good for me, because I was able to eat some of the pasta while not getting any of the chicken meat.

Pizza Hut's version of the ultimate cheese pizza had no tomato sauce, and instead had a layer of Alfredo sauce. This was not really a problem for me. My favorite Ultimate Cheese and Garlic Pizza from Shakey's in the Philippines likewise has no tomato sauce, and I think cheese lovers can handle this kind of cheesy taste overload.

Some may find it a bit much, but then again, it IS called the ultimate cheese lover's pizza. If you genuinel…

Shrimp overload at Kapow Thai Restaurant, Cypress, CA

I'm back in LA, and that means I'm back to pigging out with my brother and his family. Like most Filipinos, sharing meals is our favorite form of bonding. One evening, we were in the mood to eat rice, so we had dinner at a Thai restaurant, where you can't help but have some (or a lot, as the case may be, and was). We went to Kapow Thai Restaurant. I remember eating there years ago (the name is quite distinct after all), but at a different location.

After we had a look at the menu and ordered the food, we realized that almost everything we ordered had shrimp. We had shrimp cakes, tom yum (soup with shrimp), and spicy shrimp fried rice.

Shrimp Cakes

Tom Yum

Spicy Shrimp Fried Rice

The only other thing that wasn't shrimp was their fish fillet with basil.

Fish Fillet Basil

Rice was what we wanted, and rice was what we got. In fact, the spicy shrimp fried rice ended up not being enough so we ordered some steamed rice. I enjoyed everything we had, and we finished all the dishes we …

Denny's, Las Vegas, Nevada

For our last meal in Vegas, I felt like having some greasy American diner food, so I suggested to my friends that we eat at Denny's. They didn't want to eat a hotel buffet breakfast after our gluttonous buffet dinner the night before, so they agreed. We found it easily enough, and we got down to business quickly.

Although it was breakfast for us, I wanted to have some chips. This was born of an unfulfilled craving the night before. I wanted to have chips at the MGM dinner buffet but they ran out of sour cream, so I didn't think they were worth having there anymore. The desire didn't disappear after a good night's sleep, so I gave in and ordered some at Denny's.

Three-Dip and Chips

I also ordered their Tilapia Ranchero, which was described as "white fish fillet topped with freshly made pico de gallo and diced avocado". It was served with smoked cheddar mashed potatoes and dinner bread.

Tilapia Ranchero

The chips were good. The three sauces were cheese (I a…

Breakfast at Peace Tree, Moab, Utah

After a few days of climbing at Indian Creek, we would go to Moab for some civilization and creature comforts. During one of our rare supply/bath/food runs into town, we had breakfast at a cozy cafe called Peace Tree. It's one of those homey places that serve local food and big hearty breakfasts.

I ordered their veggie scramble, which was described as "three scrambled eggs, cheddar and mozzarella cheese, sauteed seasonal vegetables, roasted potatoes, and toast". It sounded huge to me, and it certainly was. Although I was very hungry, I was not able to finish it.

Veggie Scramble

I finished about half of it and had the rest to go. (It was enough for another complete meal.) We had some coffee to top off our breakfast then we rushed off to make full use of our limited time in town. We're sure to come back during our next climbing day off.

Peace Tree
Juice Cafe
20 South Main
Moab, Utah
Tel. No. (435)259.0101

CJ Arthur's, Wilmette, Illinois

Since I only packed a few sets of clothes for my US trip, it didn't take much time until I urgently needed to do some laundry after I set foot in Chicago. My friend Vicky obligingly took me to a nearby laundromat. While waiting for my clothes to attain newly-laundered status, I felt like having a snack.

We went to nearby CJ Arthur's Bar and Grill. At first I thought I wanted to eat something savory, but when I saw that they had some Molten Chocolate Cake, I changed gears and opted for something sweet instead.

Molten Chocolate Cake

I enjoyed eating this cake. It was warm, moist, dense, and just sweet enough. The amount of chocolate "lava" was just enough for the size of the cake. I left that place happy, as I always feel when I think that this cake was done just right.

CJ Arthur's
1168 Wilmette Ave
(between 11th St & Central Ave)
Wilmette, IL 60091
(847) 256-8870

A break from US history at Le Pain Quotidien, Philadelphia, PA

Fil took me to visit historical sites in Philadelphia one afternoon. She said I’d be full of culture by the time the day was done. I don’t know if that aim was achieved, but I did learn a lot about US history at the very least. We went to visit the famous Liberty Bell as well as Independence Hall, where the first US Constitution was drafted.

After a lot of walking, listening to lectures and much photo-taking, I was ready for a snack. Fil suggested we walk around and see what was in the area. After checking out the menus of various other places, we settled on Le Pain Quotidien, a bakery chain. Their name translates to "the daily bread".

They had calorie counts of items on the menu, and that was helpful because I am desperately trying not to gain hundreds of pounds during my visit. (I was also saving some space for a big dinner.)

Le Pain Quotidien sells organic breads handmade daily at their own bakery, and also uses organic ingredients. It all sounded very healthy to me, so I w…

Students' lunch at Smile Cafe, Philadelphia, PA

Felicity wanted me to meet some of her friends from UPenn during my visit to Philadelphia, so she arranged a quick lunch with Rey, her classmate and one of her good friends in her Ph.D program. I met up with them at Smile Cafe, a Thai restaurant, after their morning class. Ph.D students apparently have very busy schedules so Rey could only spare exactly one hour for lunch.

The restaurant offered very reasonably priced lunch meals. I'm assuming this is because they cater to a lot of students. They had set meals at $7.95, inclusive of one entree and two starters. I chose the Shrimp Satay with spring rolls and steamed dumplings. It's a good thing the spring rolls were vegetarian, and the dumplings were filled with shrimp, both pescetarian-friendly fare.

For the price, I wasn't really expecting much of the meal. I was pleasantly surprised at how good the dumplings and the spring rolls were.

Steamed Dumplings and Spring Rolls

I wasn't as happy with the shrimp, as there were jus…

Tapas at Ciao Baci, Little Rock, AR

Holly wanted to bring me to a place where we could have a nice glass of wine outdoors, and she said the perfect place for this was Ciao Baci. When we got there, the inner dining area was empty but the balcony was packed. We joined everyone else who wanted to enjoy the pleasant weather outside.

We were with her friend Robert and we had a few drinks there. Holly and I shared a bottle of wine while Robert had a few beers. The place offered tapas, so I had their grilled shrimp crostini. This is not a very clear picture of it. The balcony was very dark, and we only had one little bitty candle to light our table.

Grilled Shrimp Crostini

I'm not complaining about the lighting though, since I do prefer dim lights when I'm drinking (my eyes get bothered easily by light when alcohol's involved). Not good for taking pictures though. I liked what I had, although I thought the bread was a little hard. It was pretty toasted so it was very crunchy when I bit into it. I would have wanted it…

Light lunch at Panera Bread

During certain days of the week, Liz's work at the dental clinic starts at 2:00pm. This means we can have lunch together sometimes during weekdays. We started off a bit early one day so we could start at 11:00am and have a leisurely meal. We went to Panera Bread Cafe to keep it light.

I really like Panera because I associate it with my happy grad school days at Mizzou. My good friend Felicity and I would hang out at the branch of Panera in the university for hours, me with a mug of coffee, Fil with a cup of hot tea with milk and lots of sugar.

So I equate Panera with long hours of chatting with friends, and that's what Liz and I enjoyed. For lunch, I had a bowl of their Broccoli Cheddar Soup which I've always loved. It's so rich and thick, it's hard to believe it's only 300 calories (according to their nutrition calculator).

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Of course, one reason why I only had soup was so I could have something extremely sugary for dessert. I opted for their…

Dome Cake from Purple Oven

The night before I was set to fly to LA to visit my brother and his family, I had dinner at my parents' house with the rest of my siblings and their respective families. It was kind of a despedida for me, but more importantly, it was a pre-celebration of the 8th birthday of my only niece and inaanak (godchild) Trixi.

As I always do when I'm at my parents' house, I overate. But I particularly had way too much of Trixi's birthday cake, which came from Purple Oven, owned by my friend Jack Colet.

Chocolate Dome Cake

It was a chocolate dome cake and this is how it looked after a few slices were cut from it.

Well, what are birthdays for if not to overindulge in cake? Happy birthday Trixi!

Purple Oven
63 Saint Peter Street
Oranbo, Pasig City
Tel. No. 632.631.4221

YMCA Bldg.
Dau Street
Makati City

Hebrew Cafe, Quezon City

Hebrew Cafe stands where Figaro used to be at Sgt. Esguerra Avenue. I missed Figaro when it closed shop, as it was a convenient place to get some quick pasta and wifi. Now that Hebrew Cafe has taken its place, I don't miss it quite as much.

I like the food in the new place. I particularly like their pasta with shrimp, as well as their sole. The food is reasonably priced too. I think some items were more expensive when they first set up shop, but they've probably adjusted their menu and prices as well.

Some of my colleagues like holding meetings there because there's a smoking area inside the cafe. This can be a downside for non-smokers, of course. But it looks like there are enough smokers for the cafe to make brisk business.

I think a lot of people continue to hold meetings in Hebrew, just like they used to in the old Figaro. This is due to the centrality of its location. (I noticed that a lot of people from different TV stations set their meetings there.)

Sole with Mashed …

Quick lunch at Uno

I had lunch with Chi at our usual lunching place, Uno, and it looked like they changed their menu since the last time I was there. They're still probably changing their menu every quarter. I didn't have the lunch special because the pasta choices looked so good. I had their Shrimp, Basil, Roasted Pepper and Feta Cheese Spaghetti.

Shrimp, Basil, Roasted Pepper and Feta Cheese Spaghetti

Nothing new to report, it was delicious as usual (although I would have loved to have more feta cheese in it). We had some creme brulee for dessert but I wasn't able to photograph it as Chi ate it quickly. (hahaha)

Uno Restaurant
195 Tomas Morato cor. Sct. Fuentebella
Quezon City
Telephone no. (02)374-0774

The Not-So-Ultimate Grilled Cheese Sandwich of Starbucks

I felt duped today. I was so hungry after a meeting that ended almost 2pm, so I went to Starbucks to see if they had a sandwich that could be heated up very quickly. I was so happy to see a poster on their wall about their "Ultimate Grilled Cheese Sandwich", so I immediately ordered it.

I got it in around two minutes, then I sat to get down to business. I sliced the sandwich in half and was surprised to see something that didn't look like cheese inside. There were slices of sausage in it, so I asked the barista if that was really how the sandwich is served. Apparently, the Hungarian sausage is what makes it "ultimate".

Ultimate Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Normally I ask if there is meat in stuff that I order in restaurants, but really, I have never seen a grilled cheese sandwich with anything other than cheese (and butter) so I didn't see the need to inquire. (Also, as I said, I was in a big rush to eat.)

Since I was so hungry, I didn't want to wait to order …

Trying out the new Sumo Sam at the ABS-CBN Compound, Quezon City

I hadn't seen my friend Irene for a while, so I called her to set a lunch date so we could catch up, mostly on office gossip. We decided on Sumo Sam, the newest restaurant in the ABS-CBN compound. It occupies the space that my favorite Cibo used to (I think I'd been secretly hoping Cibo would come back). We both hadn't tried the new place yet, so we went to check it out.

I'd eaten in Sumo Sam before, just not in this particular branch. For this visit, I ordered their Tendon, which is basically one of those "rice toppings" meals. This one was supposed to have tempura shrimp on top of the rice. When it arrived, I was not surprised to see that there were only two pieces of breaded shrimp on it.

Usually, toppings meals scrimp on the meat and go heavy on the rice. This was no exception, although the sprinkling of tempura bits did a pretty good job of covering it. Since there was so much rice, there was not enough taste to go around. It's a good thing that the …

Sunday dinner at Sweet Inspirations

After a tiring afternoon of climbing, I had dinner at Sweet Inspirations, as I often do when I come from PowerUp. The place was packed, probably because of families having Sunday dinner, specifically their very reasonably priced Mongolian Barbecue. I myself have never tried it, because it has a lot of meat. I ordered one of my favorite dishes there, their Aligue and Garlic Pasta.

Aligue and Garlic Pasta

But I also got to try their Pancit Palabok for the first time, which I want to order the next time I'm there. This is motivation enough for me to go climbing again very soon.

Pancit Palabok

I didn't have any dessert though, and this took all of my self-control. I usually order their toffee sans rival before AND after a meal there, so you can just imagine how hard that was for me. Maybe I should just climb more next time so I can justify the calories.

311 Katipunan Avenue
Loyola Heights, Quezon City
Tel. No. 433-4200
Fax. No. 928-2557

Z cooks Salmon and Potatoes

Z has recently been in the mood to cook, and I am one of those who are benefiting from this. This mood came upon her again this weekend, and she asked me if I wanted to try her salmon and potatoes. I never say no to a free dinner so I went to her place to sample her cooking. She wasn't done preparing the food yet when she arrived, and I was already so hungry, so she told me to fix myself an Okazu salad from her fridge.

While I was waiting, she finished preparing some mushroom soup, and soon after, she served up the salmon with mushrooms, garlic and potatoes. I didn't get to take a photo of the soup because I slurped it up soon after I got the bowl. I was patient enough to photograph the salmon though. This is how it looked after she topped the fish with the potatoes.

Z forgot to put the cheese though, so she melted some and poured it on top of the dish. Yum!

I finished the meal with some Clodhoppers that I found after raiding her fridge. Perfect way to end the meal. My complim…

Healthy meals at Pancake House

I had some time to kill at Bonifacio High Street before attending an event so I decided to... what else... eat! I wandered about trying to decide where to have some early dinner, but after walking for fifteen minutes I just decided to go an old reliable, Pancake House.

The servers there always give you a lot of menus when you sit down- one for yogurt, one for steaks, etcetera, etcetera. This time they had a new menu for what they call their "Healthy Hunger Busters". These are meals that are supposed to be high in fiber and anti-oxidants.

The dish called "Salmon cakes with brown rice tabbouleh" caught my eye, so I ordered it. It was described in the menu as "crunchy salmon cakes topped with alfalfa sprouts, served on a spread of brown rice tabbouleh with dill mayo and chopped parsley".

Salmon Cakes with Brown Rice Tabbouleh

I looked up tabbouleh and apparently it's some kind of Middle Eastern salad. No wonder when my food arrived, the server said the bro…

Thai Pan Restaurant in QC

I love Thai food, but when I do have some, I find myself eating way too much rice. This is why I don’t eat in Thai restaurants as often as I would wish. But when Chi told me of a relatively new restaurant called Thai Pan near our office, I had to see how it compared to other restos in the area.

The place had a nice outdoor area, but we chose to stay inside because it was pretty hot. The airconditioning was too cold though, like in a million other restaurants in the Philippines.

We had some crispy catfish and mango salad, which is something that I can’t resist ordering. We also had some stir fried squid and shrimp with roasted chili. Both went perfectly with (lots of) rice, so as usual, too much rice was consumed during the meal.

Crispy Catfish Salad

Stir-fried Squid and Shrimp

For dessert, we ordered some banana fritters with ice cream. I wanted to order the dish with mango, but they were out of stock. The banana was pretty good though. It was fried, it had sugar and ice cream… what’s n…

Chateau 1771 at Greenbelt, Makati

Chateau 1771 is one of my all-time favorite restaurants. I have so many pleasant memories of that place, although I used to go more frequently to their branch in the Ortigas area. I haven’t often been to their branch in Greenbelt 5, dropping by a few times when I’m in the area and in the mood to have their coffee pie.

One late morning, I had to be in Makati for a meeting, which surprisingly (pleasantly) ended after only fifteen minutes. Finding myself with time on my hands and wanting to make the most out of my drive (excursions to Makati are a big deal for someone as lazy to drive as I am), I called my friend Z (whose office is in the heart of Makati) to have some early lunch at Chateau.

I got there earlier than she did so I ordered some Scallops au gratin while waiting. It was described as “scallops sautéed with garlic and parsley, topped with cheese and golden brown cracker crust”. It was heavenly, so it was a good thing that Z didn’t take too long in coming or I would have finished…

Turtle Pie at Sugarhouse

The turtle pie at Sugarhouse is one of my all-time favorite desserts. So when I found myself practically just wandering about The Block with unlimited time on my hands, I went to have some at their stall there.

Turtle Pie

It's the perfect thing to have with coffee, especially when you have all the time in the world to savor it.

The Block
3rd Level, The Block
SM City North EDSA
North Avenue corner EDSA
Quezon City, Metro Manila
Tel. No. 632.385.4540

Classic Italian fastfood at Sbarro

Sbarro has been around for what seems like forever to me, a ubiquitous sight in SM malls. The reason I like this restaurant is that it always has veggie-friendly choices, my favorite being their spinach lasagna. One afternoon, while killing time before watching the final installment of Harry Potter at the Block, my friends wanted some quick pizza and pasta, so I thought of eating at Sbarro.

I hadn't gone there in years. The place looked very different from how I remembered it, but the food was almost exactly the same (they had some new additions to their menu though). The spinach lasagna tasted exactly like how I remembered it, although I don't remember ever having their spinach and mushroom pizza before. What I liked best about the meal though was their garlic bread. Still as garlicky and greasy as it was years and years ago.

Sbarro is not a bad choice if you want your pizza and pasta fast and filling, particularly if you are in a rush and don't want to miss your movie sho…

Shrimp Pasta at Uno

I had dinner at Uno last night with my friends Angel and Kennie, but I wasn't so happy with the pasta that I ordered. It was Spaghetti with Olive and Garlic Cream Sauce. I was expecting the sauce to have more cream. In fact I ordered it because I wanted a really fattening dish, and I guess it didn't have the amount of cream to be fattening enough for my mood.

I was envious when I had a taste of the pasta that Angel ordered, which was Spaghetti with Shrimp, Lemon, Capers, Paprika, and Garlic. Not that it was particularly laden with calories, I just thought it tasted better than what I had.

So today, since I had a lunch date with my good friend and fellow Uno fan Chi, I suggested that we have lunch there. I ordered the Shrimp Spaghetti and left the restaurant much more satisfied than I did last night.

Uno Restaurant
195 Tomas Morato cor. Sct. Fuentebella
Quezon City
Telephone no. (02)374-0774

Last meal before flying- at La Tegola, Mactan, Cebu

I love Cebu, and one of the things I like about it is that there are so many restaurants so close to the airport. That means I can usually have a good meal before my flight back to Manila. This time, we ate at La Tegola Italian Restaurant.

We ordered quite a bit, but then I guess I often overeat when I eat out in Cebu. We ordered Linguine Vongole, Spaghetti al Cartoccio, and Four-cheese pizza. I've eaten at this restaurant before, and these are some of the dishes that I usually order. I particularly enjoy their Vongole.

We devoured everything; I for one am a firm believer in not wasting food. But mostly, our plates were clean because we enjoyed everything we ate.

I'm very likely to return to La Tegola when I'm in Cebu and I have a few hours to kill before my flight.

La Tegola-Mactan
Marina Mall Building
Ibo, Lapu-lapu City
Tel. No. +63 (32) 340.9070