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Pre-movie dinner at Italianni's

I had some time to kill before I watched Taken 2, so I decided to have dinner at Italianni's. I wanted to eat some greens so I ordered their arugula and walnuts salad. Like many other restaurants, they skimped on the arugula. I usually order this salad particularly to have this type of leaf, so I was disappointed that there were probably just two pieces of it that I saw in this dish.

After this I had the shrimp and asparagus alfredo. It comes with bacon but I asked them to remove it from the pasta. It tasted good but I expected a bigger serving. (To be fair the lunch portion of the salad was bigger than I expected.)


I enjoyed my dinner but noted that according to the softdrink index, Italianni's has increased their prices. A can of coke cost P90, which is one of the highest prices I've seen for this type of restaurant. This was not even the bottomless version, just a can (which costs P25 at 7-11 or Mini-stop).

This restaurant is relatively pricey, as similar franchises are…

Sun, Sand, and Surf- Lunch at The Big Kahuna, San Juan, La Union

I was excited to try surfing in San Juan, La Union, but I was just as excited to see what kind of restaurants they had there. I’d been told that The Big Kahuna was a good place to try, so I had my first meal there (lunch). I was also warned that the restaurant had Manila prices, and I found that assessment to be spot on.

The place sits right by the beach, so you can watch surfers catching waves in the noonday sun. Perhaps this view is what justifies the relatively steep prices. The place itself was very cozy; definitely a good place to hang out to have a few beers and relax. The menu was similar to a lot of resto-grills in Manila. We ordered tuna belly and grilled squid with garlic rice. The squid was delicious, but the tuna was a bit overcooked and didn’t taste very fresh.


A "light meal" at Cafe Breton

When I picked up Chi for lunch, she said she wanted to have a light meal. And when she says she wants to eat something light, that usually means she wants to eat at Cafe Breton. I, on the other hand, was famished and wanted to eat A LOT. I was thinking "carbs, carbs, carbs" (like rice or pasta), but I'm flexible. So I just decided to order more than I usually do.

I had a salad to start. I liked their "Salade Bretonne", which had a lot of mangoes, aside from some shrimp and crab. One thing I didn't like though was that it didn't have any arugula, as the menu said it would. The salad tasted fine. It's just that if you say there's going to be arugula in it, there should be some.

After that I had my usual Galette Bretonne, which also had shrimp and crab. I really like this crepe, but it seems too sinful to have two of it in one sitting.
For dessert, I tried their "Funtastyc" for the first time. It had some banana, chocohazelnut spread, van…

New favorite at Starbucks- "It's Just Cheese" sandwich

In my search for stable Internet, I decided to try Wi-tribe postpaid. I've tried their prepaid dongles, and they worked pretty well. So I went to their office along Commonwealth. I signed up for their service, thinking it was a "terminate anytime" arrangement. This was because I went to a Wi-tribe office a few months ago and the sales person advised me to get a postpaid account because it was a no-commitment, terminate-anytime arrangement.

Unfortunately, I was desperate for working Internet so I grudgingly accepted their one year contract which their salesperson said was their new policy for new subscribers, thinking that the speed of the Internet would be worth it. Sad to say, the connection is slower than I experienced with their prepaid service. BUT this blog entry is not supposed to be a rant, so...

 After I was done at the Wi-tribe office, I went to the Starbucks right beside it. I was happy to see they had the "It's Just Cheese" sandwich, which, as th…

Half-off buffet at Radisson Blu Cebu

One thing on Yvette’s to-do list while in Cebu was to avail of Radisson Blu’s half off buffet at their restaurant Feria on Tuesdays. I’d been warned that Radisson’s buffet is not “all that great”, but then again what better time to try such a meal than when it is fifty percent off?

When eating at hotel buffets, I have learned to devise a strategy. This is because my inner glutton is always eager to break out, so to keep it in check, I have to have a buffet plan. It’s pretty simple: I go around and scope out all the kinds of food that the buffet has to offer, then I decide on a theme (Chinese, Italian, Japanese, all-protein, all-carbs, etc.) and stick to that.

After I went around to check out what I could and wanted to eat at the buffet, I found that I had few pescetarian choices. There were fewer seafood choices than I usually see in similar buffets. This made my plan simpler, but only because I had few options. I couldn’t even have a country-themed meal because there were not enough…

Kaya toast at Kopi Roti Katipunan

On this very rainy evening, I had a meeting at Kopi Roti along Katipunan Avenue. I've never been to this place though it's been around for a while, so I looked forward to checking out their food.

When I got to the meeting, I hadn't had time for dinner, so I ordered what appeared to be the most substantial meal: Kaya toast with two soft boiled eggs. I usually just get to eat this when I'm at the PAL airport (at Kaya), so I was more than happy to have it for dinner.


It's a good thing I don't have a sensitive stomach. Some people refuse to eat soft-boiled eggs for fear of contracting some illness, but I don't have such a concern. I enjoyed dipping the toast into the eggs. It tasted pretty much like the version at the airport, and the coffee complemented it.

I wouldn't mind having the same meal again, maybe at the branch closer to my home.


Kopi Roti
226 Katipunan Ave.
Blue Ridge, Quezon City
+63 (2) 439.1546

Baked salmon at Napa Restaurant

One of our other default choices, Napa Restaurant, was where I had my weekly lunch with former officemates. This is the restaurant we like to go to when we have a craving for salmon.

Irene usually wants to eat salmon when she wants to have some fish. I, on the other hand, was in the mood for some other fish so I wanted to have their "Fish Duo" which offers salmon and blue marlin. Unfortunately it was not available, so I ordered their baked salmon.

I try not to eat so much salmon because I suspect most of the salmon available in the country comes from farms. And from what I've read, farmed salmon is bad both for one's health and the environment.    I try to have wild salmon when it is available, but this is probably not the case in a lot of restaurants.

It was very filling, but I still prefer their salmon with capers pasta. For dessert we decided to share two servings among the three of us. We tried their dayap dulce de leche cake. I liked the dulce de leche, but over…

Getting re-addicted to Cafe Breton

Chi and I recently became sentimental and returned to frequenting Cafe Breton, which, years ago, was one of our favorite places to eat. My former favorite, the Dracula crepe (loads of garlic and cheese) has been replaced in my heart (or tummy, to be more precise) by Galette Bretonne, which has shrimp, crabs, and cream among other yummy stuff.


During this visit, I didn't have a dessert crepe. I was in the mood for a lot of ice cream, so I had a banana split instead. And yes, I ate it all by myself.

The problem with eating in Cafe Breton is that one crepe is not enough for me. I usually have two- one for my main course, and another for dessert. (I'm positive the calories in the banana split more than made up for the dessert crepe I did NOT have today.) 
I'm sure this is all not very good for my diet. But no matter, I'm sure I'll continue with this re-acquired habit.

Spinach Grilled Salmon at Burgoo

For this week's lunch with Chi, we decided to go to Burgoo, since we hadn't been there in a while. I ordered their Spinach Grilled Salmon, while she had their Seafood Jambalaya.

I wanted to order the Jambalaya myself but it had some meat in it. I settled for trying some of its rice, which was very tasty. The serving was also bigger than we expected, considering Chi had the regular-sized one.


I was not very happy with the salmon, because the fish didn't taste very fresh and was a little too "fishy". I liked the sauce and the mashed potatoes, but it was not enough to compensate for the fish.


For dessert, we split a Mississippi Mudpie. It was okay, though not something I would put on my list of favorite desserts. It tasted more like a slice of ice cream cake than a pie to me.



Burgoo Bar and Restaurant
310 Tomas Morato Ext.
Quezon City, Philippines 
Tel. No. (632)927.7396

Impromptu Saturday lunch at Uno

My Singapore-based friend James was in town, and it was hard for him to find time for everyone who wanted to see him as his schedule was particularly hectic for this visit. So when he said he had a few minutes to spare before his lunch date arrived in Uno, I grabbed the chance to meet him.

As he was already in the restaurant, I asked him to order for me while I was on my way there. He said the most pescetarian-friendly pasta was called Zucchini and Macaroni melt, so I had him order that for me.

When I got there, the food was ready. As usual, it was delicious. But I had way too much bread (as always), so I could only finish half the pasta. Also, I deliberately didn't finish it because James and I planned to have gelato in nearby Amici. We did, and I felt justified in having two scoops. After all, I didn't finish my lunch, did I?

Uno Restaurant
195 Tomas Morato cor. Sct. Fuentebella
Quezon City Philippines
Telephone no. (632)374.0774

Default lunch at Cerchio

A lot of times, my friends and I find ourselves too lazy to think about where to eat. When Chi and I are in this mood, one of our no-brainer choices is Cerchio. Although not all their dishes are equally good, there are certain dishes there that we know we are going to enjoy.

So for our lunch this week, there we went, and we ordered our usual seared tuna sashimi. Ordering this has caused some problems in the past. We sometimes notice that the serving is not as big as usual (and we should know because we've taken lots of pictures of it). We always point this out to the servers, then they usually oblige by giving us a bigger portion.


I wanted to eat some vegetables, which I tend to forget to eat enough of, so I ordered their kangkong (water spinach) with garlic. This always goes perfectly with their garlic rice.

For dessert, Chi and I split a mango float. Actually, we had space to finish one each, but it seemed too sinful to do so.


So there went another lunch at Cerchio. I just wish …

Desserts and chocolates by Chef Jac Laudico

I'm working for a new lifestyle show called "Follow", which will air on 2nd Avenue beginning July 30. We have been shooting episodes for its first season, and one of the guests we will feature is Chef Jac Laudico of Bistro Filipino. She is a patisserie chef, and she talked about the desserts that she creates for their restaurant, as well as their catering business.

She says that she likes to make desserts and chocolates that are still distinctly Filipino. She brought some of her creations, and of course the best part of the day's shoot was getting to try them all.



She has been focusing recently on making chocolates. This box is labelled "Patisserie Filipino", and the chocolates do have a Filipino twist. The green one is calamansi flavored. Some of the others feature flavors like peanut butter and jelly and dried Philippine fruits. This is what was left of the box that she brought just a few minutes after the shoot.


How I wish all our episodes featured ch…

Zigzag roll at Omakase

Yeng found herself in my area with a couple of hours to spare, so she invited me to a quick lunch. Too lazy to think about where to eat, we went to our default favorite restaurant, Omakase. We ordered our usual favorites, but just to have some variety in our seemingly never-changing list of dishes to eat there, we had their Zigzag Roll. It had soft-shell crab inside, topped with tempura bits and chopped crab with Japanese mayo. It was delicious, as their rolls usually are.


What we thought was strange was that service was very slow that day. The place wasn't even particularly full, but our orders arrived too slowly. We had to follow them up several times before they were actually served. Since that is one of our favorite restaurants in which to hang out, we were a bit forgiving, but I'm sure a lot of other customers were turned off. I hope their slow service won't be a regular occurrence.

Omakase Japanese Restaurant Upper Ground Level, Il Terrzzo Mall Tomas Morato Quezon Ci…

A special doughnut from a special boy

It was Father's Day, so I had lunch at my parents' house to celebrate with my dad. My brother and his family were also there, so it was also a chance to catch up with them. My nephew Raffy said he had something for me (even though I am not a father, and of course, never will be), and it turned out to be a Spiderman doughnut from Krispy Kreme.

He knows that Spiderman is my favorite superhero and he asked his Pops to buy one for me when he saw that they were featuring special doughnuts in honor of the new Spiderman movie.

Technically though, he got the Spiderman doughnut, and I got the one of the spider.


No matter, I was just happy that he thought of me.

Krispy Kreme
The Fort
Taguig City

Pancake House's "Best Tuna Macaroni Salad"

After a tiring climbing session that ended at 9pm, I wanted to have a light dinner. We went to Pancake House at nearby Capitol Greenstreet Complex, which was a new place for me (the complex, not Pancake House). I ordered what the menu calls the "best tuna macaroni salad". I often order this, and I always enjoy it, but this name never fails to amuse me.

                                                             Tuna Macaroni Salad


Pancake House
Capitol Greenstreet Branch
G/F, Capitol Hills Golf Clubhouse
Capitol Hills Drive
Quezon City Metro Manila, Philippines

Inconsistent food at Cerchio

I've been eating a lot at Cerchio lately, mostly because I've been in the mood to eat salads recently and when I'm too lazy to think of what to have, I think of Cerchio's Shrimp Pomelo Salad.

So when Yeng and I were to have lunch and we had not idea where to eat, I suggested the place since I was in the mood for some greens again. She wasn't very enthusiastic about the place because she remembered that the last time we went there, she wasn't too impressed with the food. I asked her to give it another try.

I ordered the Shrimp Pomelo Salad again, then some Pumpkin Malunggay Soup. They both tasted like they always do. However, I also ordered their Seared Tuna Sashimi which Chi and I always order, and it tasted a bit different. It was not seared as well as it had been in the past. Maybe their regular chef had a day off? I was a bit disappointed as it did not taste like I expected it to be.


Shrimp Pomelo Salad


Pumpkin Malunggay Soup
For dessert, I had their Bailey…

Chili Lime Shrimp Nachos at Chili's

I had lunch at Chili's today, and a new item on their menu caught my eye. It was their Chili Lime Shrimp Nachos, and they were described as "crisp tortilla wedges topped with melted jack cheese, cilantro-lime shrimp, tangy-sweet pineapple pico de gallo, with chili lime glaze, and served with sour cream".

I decided to have one whole order for lunch. It was pretty big, and rather pricey at P425, but that's about typical of Chili's prices.

Chili Lime Shrimp Nachos

I really enjoyed the nachos, and finished them all by myself. I asked for an additional order of sour cream because it was just  perfect for it. (The server kindly informed me I would be charged an extra P50 for it.) The sweetness of the pineapple was a nice contrast to the saltiness of the cheese.

I hope they keep this item on the menu. I often find seafood dishes disappearing from menus, probably because they end up being more expensive and therefore less popular. I definitely will have this again in the …

Sumiyaki Coffee Jelly at UCC Vienna Cafe

It was a very hot Sunday afternoon, so some friends and I decided to cool off by hanging out in freezing coffeeshop airconditioning. We met up at UCC Tomas Morato, where the A/C is usually in full blast.

We all ended up ordering UCC's signature Sumiyaki Coffee Jelly. Some of us in fact had more than one. We ended up hanging out for several hours, and our group's loud laughter earned us some dagger looks from the other customers. It's a wonder no one actually complained to management.

Sumiyaki Coffee Jelly
We really enjoyed ourselves, a little too much maybe. Thanks, UCC customers, for tolerating our group's laughter volume.


UCC Vienna Cafe
Ground Level, Unit 101, Tomas Morato Plaza
Tomas Morato Ave. cor. Roces Ave.
Quezon City
Metro Manila, Philippines
Tel. No. (63)(2)928.6964, (63)(2)928.7047

Just another Uno lunch

James was in town, so as usual, I had lunch with him and Chi at Uno. (I think they'd been having lunch there the whole week.) I ordered their lunch special, which was some pea soup and pan fried snapper with hollandaise sauce. James was late, so when he arrived, my food was already being served. He became envious and ordered the same thing.

The soup was filling, but nothing really extraordinary. It went very well with their bread though.

Pea Soup

The snapper, as James described it, "looked better than it tastes". Actually it was a bit tough. The taste itself was fine as far as I was concerned, but the fish was a little hard to chew.

Snapper with Hollandaise Sauce

I didn't take a photo of the Fallen cake that James and I shared for dessert. I think I've posted several photos of that cake here already.

It wasn't one of the best meals I've had in this restaurant, but their delicious bottomless bread and coffee more than made up for it. Of course I'll be back.



U…

Last coffee of the trip at Black Canyon Coffee

After our rather lackluster breakfast at the train station food court, Z and I went to have some coffee at Black Canyon Coffee. It was one of the few places in the station that were open at that early hour.


I was rather amused at their tagline. "A drink from paradise... available on earth." I love taglines that are born of puffery.



I had their "Black Canyon Coffee" as this, I assumed, was the specialty of the house. It was pretty good. I just don't know about the coming-from-paradise part.

Black Canyon Coffee

As it turned out, this was to be the last restaurant that we would visit for the trip, since we had no more time to eat at any of the restaurants when we arrived at the airport. The train we took was very slow, and travelling to the airport took way longer than we expected. I guess that's all right, considering the amount of food we had already consumed the past week.

All in all, it was a good (food) trip, and it was happy eating for the most part. Bye Ba…

Rock climbing in Vang Vieng, Laos

I was so happy to find out that they had rock climbing in Vang Vieng. The problem was I didn't bring any gear with me. Luckily, we found a place called Green Discovery, which offered rock climbing tours, among others. Z and I signed up for the one-day course, which included lunch. They said they brought food for vegetarians, so that was fine by me.

 The next day, they picked us up around 9am and we rode a tuktuk to the climbing area. It was a short ride, and an even shorter approach to the actual rock face (around one minute of walking!). After a tiring morning of climbing several routes, our friendly climbing guides prepared our lunch.


I wasn't able to finish my meal, which was a baguette, some fried rice, and barbecued vegetables. It was pretty good, but it was just way too much for me to finish.


It was good that we had a hearty lunch because the routes we climbed in the afternoon were even harder. It was a great day for me. Outdoor climbing always gives me good vibes. …

Dinner at Arena- First meal at Vang Vieng, Laos

We arrived in Vang Vieng after a four-hour bus ride from Vientiane, quickly checked into our hotel, then set out to explore the town. After a few minutes of walking, we decided to have dinner at Arena, which got positive reviews on Trip Advisor.

It was easy to find the place. It looked rather westernized, and the menu had a lot of western dishes as well. I figured that a lot of those posting reviews on Trip Advisor regarding Vang Vieng are westerners, so it makes sense that such a place would get a high rating. I liked the look of the place, and they had a nice outdoor area, which was perfect for people-watching.

 We ordered Pad Thai with Squid and Fried Rice with Mixed Seafood.

Fried rice with mixed seafood

Pad Thai

Both were satisfactory, although nothing particularly memorable. I liked the rice better than I did the Pad Thai.

Not bad for our first meal in Vang Vieng. I'm certainly looking forward to trying more of the restaurants that line the main road.


Arena Restaurant and Bar

Overeating at Jack's Loft, Quezon City

It was time for my weekly lunch date with former officemates and since it was raining, the basis for choosing a place to eat was whether they had covered parking. So Irene, Joan and I decided to go to Il Terrazzo, also because there were a lot of options there. When we got there, we headed to Jack's Loft. There were no people inside, so it was perfect for us since we had a lot catching up to do and we sometimes laugh a little too loudly for other diners.

Irene ordered baked potato soup, which I tasted. I just sipped some of the soup but I think there was bacon at the bottom of the bowl so it's not something I can order for myself.


I had the Penne in Tomato Cream Sauce, which is almost always what I eat there. I still enjoyed it, as I always do.

Penne in Tomato Cream Sauce

After that heavy meal, we still wanted dessert. And sinfully, we each had one instead of just sharing one or two. We ended up not finishing it because it was just all too heavy.

One disappointment during lunch wa…

The Hungry Games at Italianni's

I had just watched The Hunger Games at Trinoma when I realized I hadn't had lunch yet, so I was, uhmm, hungry. Italianni's was very close to the cinema, so it was an easy choice for a quick very late lunch.

There were so many new interesting items on the menu that I took a while to decide what to have. I ended up choosing an old favorite, as well as a new offering. Their Truffle Fries di Lussi sounded appetizing, so I started with that. Never mind that it's deep fried. I was famished after all. Since I like truffle oil, I was satisfied with this. It was crunchy too.

Truffle Fries di Lussi

For my main course, I had a lunch portion of their parmesan-crusted fish. Again, deep-fried; again, satisfying.

Parmesan-crusted fish

The Hunger Games and a deep-fried meal at one of my favorite chain restaurants. What a great way to spend a summer afternoon.



Italianni's Restaurant
Trinoma Mall
EDSA cor. North Ave.
Quezon City, Metro Manila
Philippines
Tel. No. 63(2)915.3582