Monthly Archives: February 2012

Crave Rave : Shakey’s Half and Half

When it comes to fast and on-the-go pizza, Shakey’s would have to be my ultimate favorite.  I like it especially THIN and crispy so I get to savor every bit of each toppings and I don’ t get full that quick.  We’ve been dining in Shakey’s for ages and I feel kinda lame that I just found out about the Half and Half pizza just recently.  We always come across the dilemma of picking the pizza flavor even though we only have either Manager’s Choice or Pizza Bianca.  I’m so glad that they thought of doing Half and Half and that we don’t have to choose anymore because we can have both!

Now, does that look delicious or what?  Pizza Bianca (creamy white sauce pizza) on top, Manager’s Choice (Shakey’s #1 Flavor) in the bottom.  I’m lovin’ their pizza plate too (cute)!  This one is in Large size selling at P313.oo because it’s thin crust.  For the two flavors that you picked, they will take the price of the more expensive one.  Lucky us, both flavors have the same price. 🙂

You may check Shakey’s Website for their complete menu, branches, and delivery.  There are lots of Shakey’s all over the Metro so you sure won’t miss it!

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Sunday with Sumo Sam

We love Japanese Food, LOVE!  It might not come as a mystery since I’ve posted a few entries before on Japanese food here, and here.  We do tend to compare new-found restaurants to those that we have had the chance of experiencing before.  Some of them we like, some we don’t like (and sometimes hate.. 😦), some are just ok, and some we loooove!  A few weeks ago, we tried out Sumo Sam in Greenbelt 3 because we have been wanting to find out if the food is good or not.

Before I jump into my verdict, let me tell you more about lunch that Sunday.  We were pretty early for lunch that day so we were sort of the first customers.  It was different than the Rockwell branch which is full most of the time.  The place looks a bit enticing, with mirrors all over, quite comfy seats, and dim lighting.  Service was fine but we got our food after 30 or so minutes which is a bit long considering we were the first and only customers at that time.  The food nonetheless was good (from the name itself, Sumo Sam is a mix of Japanese and American food).

We had Gyudon..

The sauce in itself was OK, nothing extra special.  It tastes like any other good Gyudon that I’ve tasted before and it has tons of rice (wasn’t able to finish this one up, too bad).

..and Grilled Teriyaki Salmon

This was really good.  The salmon was grilled to perfection and the Teriyaki sauce complimented it very well.  It’s quite small in proportion but that’s alright considering it tastes this good.  We paired this one with their special Garlic Rice. Yum!

All in all, the experience was fair enough.  We were satisfied with what we ate and the service provided by their crew.  Value for money is not that good since it’s kind of expensive.  It’s way cheaper (and sulit!) in other authentic Japanese Restaurants where they serve the best rendition of Japanese cuisine.  I can say that I’ll go back to this restaurant again, but not anytime soon. 🙂

Sumo Sam Branches:
 
Power Plant Mall (02) 729-6292
Shangri-la Plaza Mall (02) 637-5704
Trinoma Mall (02) 901-3262
ABS-CBN (02) 623-7255
Greenbelt 3 (0947) 357-4348
Greenhills Town Center (02) 895-7532

Crave Rave : Mochiko Mochi Ice Cream

Ice cream has always been my fave comfort food eversince I can remember.  I know most of us just have a weak spot for these creamy and cool concoctions (even though it makes our clothes shrink..lol) and we just can’t resist having them once in a while.  As I’ve blogged here before, Mochi Ice Cream is one of the cutest, most delicious, and unique versions of ice cream I’ve ever tasted.  I’m glad we can now just grab them like candy as they are now available in most stores and supermarkets.  One of the best brands of Mochi Ice Cream that I’m so much fond of is Mochiko.  They have 12+ different flavors including Azuki, Black Sesame, and Green Tea!  Aside from these, they also make new flavors depending on a special occasion like Valentines Day, where they recently made the limited edition Vanilla Rose flavor.

We found about Mochiko via Mercato Centrale.  It’s one of Manila’s famous Midnight Food Markets where lots of people flock over to get a taste of the many varieties of delicacies, desserts, and drinks (too many choices, too little stomach space!).  Mochiko has been dubbed as a Certified Mercato Favorite.  These cute little babies sell for P70 each/P400 for 6 pcs.

My favorite flavors from Mochiko are the Strawberry..

..and of course, Caramel!

Cool right?  And they also have an awesome slogan saying, “Good things come to those who wait“.  This is because you have to wait for a few minutes until the mochi is soft enough to the touch before eating it to have that perfect Mochiko experience.  My mouth waters just thinking about it!

Mochiko is available in these following branches: 

Mercato Centrale
Bonifacio Global City 
 
Unit 3, Cliffhouse Tagaytay
Maharlika East, Aguinaldo Highway
Tagaytay City
 
FICC Summer Cafes
– Alabang Town Centre (GF, near the cinema)
– BF Paranaque (#40 Aguirre Ave)
– Boracay (D’Mall Plaza)
– Marquee Mall Angeles (2F, below the cinema)
– Subic Freeport Zone
 
Check out their Facebook page to know more about Mochiko as well as new and upcoming branches.

Celebrating Love (and Good Food) this Valentine’s

Valentines Day means so much to most us like Christmas or any other special holiday you might think of.  Although it’s not really considered as a holiday, people, especially those that have significant others, look forward to this much awaited celebration.  As early as the last week of January, flowers, heart-shaped balloons, mugs with hearts, and any other Valentines day stuff flock our malls and stores.  It might look much like a cliche if you see people holding bouquets of flowers around but deep inside there’s this happy (and sometimes fidgety) feeling of having to celebrate this day with someone special.  Most of us also spend this day with our friends and family because really, is there a greater love than this?

And of course, what better way to celebrate this day but with FOOD.  Restaurants too get a buzz on people flocking over to make this day extra special.  It’s not just the florist or the novelty store or the chocolatier that gets super busy during this day.  Most of the memorable moments we had in our lives took place in our favorite restaurant; fiance’s proposal, engagement party, birthday party, wedding reception, baby’s christening, of course Valentines Day, and so much more.

I’ve narrowed the list down to some of the BEST restaurants or shall I say Romantic Restaurants that we have here in the Metro (trust me, the list goes on and on and on…).

Owned by Chef couple Roland and Jackie Laudico, Chef Laudico Bistro Filipino is a world class fine dining restaurant with modern Filipino cuisines.  This one is truly a Pinoy restaurant at heart.  Serving the finest in traditional Filipino cuisines combining the best world famous ingredients with the freshest local finds, this restaurant is exceptional in so many ways.  The service is just perfect and the owners are heart-warming and accommodating too.  You won’t go wrong for sure!

It does have a nice interior that will absolutely set the mood.

Details:
Ground Floor net 2 Building, 3rd Avenue,
Fort Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
For reservations or inquiries
Telephone: 856-0634/0541
Mobile: 0917800CHEF (2433)
email: cheflaudico@yahoo.com
 

Lolo Dad’s

Lolo Dad’s cafe has been in Manila for more than a decade now and it still continues to give that surprising satisfaction to customers.  It is owned by the Ayuyao family and Head Chef Ariel Manuel (husband of owner Carminia Ayuyao Manuel).  The name itself adds a homey feel as it came from a cute little family story.  Their famous Tasting Menu is good enough reason for you to pick up the phone and get reservations immediately.  It’s composed of different mouthwatering cuisines complete from appetizers to scrumptious dessert.  Sample menus include the exceptional Foie Gras, the finest Steak, palette-cleansing Sorbet, as well as the best house wine.  What more can you ask for?

Details:
899 Pres. Qurino Ave. cor. Leon Guinto St., Malate Manila
Phone Number : (63 2) 522-2941, 524-2295, 526-7151
Cellphone Number : +639228125971
 

Beurre Blanc

Beurre Blanc (French for White Butter) serves one of the finest French – Mediterranean cuisines in the Metro.  This is owned by the Chef’s Quarter group of restaurants under the tandem of Larry Cortez and Chef Mauro Arjona.  Located just in the heart of Resort’s World Manila, this is an ideal dining choice after going to the movies, or watching a play, or even playing in the casino, so you have that cozy and feel good experience.   The interior boasts of a ceiling covered with large scale Fresco paintings, classic chairs and tables, plus an immaculate fountain smack in the middle.

Details:
2/F, Newport Mall, Resorts World Manila Newport Boulevard Newport City, Cybertourism Zone Pasay City, Pasay
Phone: (+632) 836 4342/ (+632) 659 4020
 

Casa Armas Tapas Bar y Restaurante

Now who doesn’t want a good dose of authentic Spanish food?  Casa Armas has been well known all around the Metro with it’s several branches for the warm and indulgent Spanish delicacies it brings.  Best to experience Spain within their classic and perfectly polished interiors which is perfect for any intimate celebration and get-together.  You gotta love their Spanish and Tapas specialties for they are truly the best.

Details:
Casa Armas Tapas Bar y Restaurante, Jupiter St.
132 Jupiter St., Bel-Air 2
Makati City, Metro Manila
Philippines
(02) 897-3605
 
Casa Armas Tapas Bar y Restaurante, Malate
573 J. Nakpil St. cor. J. Bocobo St.
Manila, Metro Manila
Philippines
(02) 523-5763
 
Casa Armas Tapas Bar y Restaurante, Greenbelt 3
G/Lvl. Greenbelt 3, Paseo de Roxas, Ayala Center
Makati City, Metro Manila
Philippines
(02) 757-4961
 
Casa Armas Tapas Bar y Restaurante, The Podium
1/F The Podium, 18 ADB Ave., Ortigas Center
Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila
Philippines
(02) 687-3663
 
Casa Armas Tapas Bar y Restaurante, Trinoma Mall
3/Lvl. Trinoma Mall, EDSA cor. North Ave.
Quezon City, Metro Manila
Philippines
(02) 900-0449
 

La Cocina De Tita Moning

Such a different experience it will be by visiting La Cocina de Tita Moning as you will be in a flashback into the 1930’s era.  Dining in an pre-war ancestral home  that serves the finest in Filipino and contemporary dishes must be the new edge to put into a small gathering for lunch or dinner.  The interior is pretty much like a museum with the preserved items from the past but it still has it’s life and gleam because of the way the place has been taken care of.  Simply a one of a kind fine dining experience.

Details:
La Cocina de Tita Moning
315 San Rafael Street, San Miguel District, Manila
Tel. Nos. 632.7342146, 632.7342141
Mobile: (overseas): +63917.5383490; (Manila)  0917.5315203
Email address :talktous@lacocinadetitamoning.com
 
 

Sala

Yet another famous fine dining restaurant in Makati, Sala gives a laid back vibe perfect for the hustle and bustle around the city.  Sala is well known to be one of the finest European dining places in the Metro.  The location along Ayala is convenient for those who are working so that they can easily drop by and have great food after the stressful day they had.  Another good instance is for those who have to work during Valentines so they can just place a reservation and come by after.

Details:
6752 Ayala Avenue corner Makati Avenue, Makati City, Philippines
+632 750 1555 / +632 893 0242
email info@salarestaurant.com
 
 
For more details on their Menu and Prices, just visit their websites that I have linked on each title. 🙂
 
photo credits–
  • cheflaudico.com.ph
  • lolodads.com
  • pickypescetarian.com
  • ouraweseomeplanet.com

Smoke

I remember the days when I was just a happy-go-lucky girl who went to beaches more often than ever, enjoying the sun and the sand, frolicking in the shore, and doing lots of other fun summer stuff.  Oh, how I miss those days.  Now, I’m practically stuck in the city, working my ass off (i’m an IT Engineer working in Makati), being busy with things that don’t really put a smile on my face (except blogging!).  I wish I can have the luxury again and go out, have fun, forget the hectic life I’ve been burrowing myself in for the past few years.  Enough said for the rants, be best to rave on good (or should I say GREAT) memories of the past.

Boracay as some of you might have known is one of the best and most famous beach here in the Philippines.  I always cherish the moments we’ve spent when we were in that island.  It is truly magical!

photo credit : wayph.com

One of the best things about Boracay is of course, the FOOD!  This restaurant is the first we ever tried when we first got to Boracay.

Smoke is one of Boracay’s famous restaurants that serve Sizzling Food in Sizzling Plates.  It’s located in Station Two inside the restaurant packed D’ Mall.  We went for this one because it’s cheap and yet delicious!  It mostly reminds me of the sizzling food that we used to have (almost everyday) when we were in college.  Simple with a Filipino touch because Pinoys just love things Sizzling (true that!).

We had two of their best sellers, the Sizzling Spareribs

Love that sauce!

This one tastes really good because of the special sauce that they added to the pork.  We have this one with rice of course. 🙂

.. and the Bicol Express

(candlelit! how nice..)  The Bicol Express is famous of course from Bicol province for it’s spicy flavor because of the chunks of chili peppers incorporated in the dish.  It is made of pork cuts cooked in coconut milk and the spicier, the better!  We had ours at mild spicy flavor (still HOT though!).

Aside from these two, we also ordered the Lechon Kawali (Fried Pork Cuts)

Their version of the satay sauce went well with the fried pork.  Yum!

I still can’t believe that we had a full delicious meal for less than 200 Pesos each. That is considering you’re in Boracay.  We all know that tourist spots almost always sell goods a bit more expensive than usual.  This is perfect for tourists that are on a tight budget.  We do make it a habit to have lunch or dinner here whenever we are in Boracay.  It’s nice to feel at home and feel the sand in your toes at the same time. 🙂

Giant Tacos Anyone?

The last time we were in Subic, we stopped by a cafe that locals deemed famous in town and a definite must try.  With a name that’s very simple, The Coffee Shop in Olongapo isn’t best known for it’s Coffee but for their Humongous Tacos (no kidding!).  Okay, so their tacos aren’t called humongous tacos in their menu rather dubbed Jumbo Tacos (oh yes..).

We weren’t really expecting this big of a taco but what about that?  Jumbo Tacos indeed!  This was served with their homemade Hot Sauce and Sour Cream.  Add it up with their brewed Iced Tea shake and you have yourself a fulfilling meal right in front of you.  My plate looked like a battle aftermath when I was halfway into my taco (seriously, they’re messy to eat) and felt full already.  I had to rest it out for a few minutes before I started attacking again. hahaha

Aside from Tacos, they also serve Viands for Lunch and Dinner, salads, sandwiches, desserts, and of course coffee!  We tried out their clubhouse sandwich too (like the Taco hasn’t killed me yet).

This is yummy too!  In the end however, we were not able to finish everything up (i’m not on death row so I’m not going to eat like I am haha) so we had to pack it and take it home.  We’ll certainly go back to this place when we’re in Subic again. 🙂

The Coffee Shop is located in Barrio Baretto, Olongapo City.

Sango! The Burger Master

Sango, a Japanese word meaning Coral which I’m not quite sure how it relates to the restaurant but hey, the place looks really nice and inviting.  This was our second time to eat at Sango! in Powerplant Mall.  The place is quite cozy and unique because of its Japanese Anime theme.  When you first enter, you’ll get the impression that the place looks huge but then you’ll notice that it’s only because of the mirrors (good marketing technique <wink>).

(If you notice that there’s no one dining but us, that’s because it’s almost closing time..)  I loved their ‘Anime‘ corner with the LCD that shows Japanese anime (oh lookie..One Piece!) and a collection of Japanese manga.  I’m not sure if they allow you to grab and read one but it would be cool if they do! haha

The menu is OK, much like what you usually see in burger shacks but it has several varieties with a Japanese twist like the Teriyaki Burger, Katsu Burger, Curry Burger, and more.  They also serve a wide selection of Hotdog sandwiches, Rice Meals, Salads, and also Fries to pair with your burger.  Most of the burgers have a single serve and a double serve to give you an option based on your hunger level (and your capacity too).  You can check out their complete menu here.

I went for one of their best sellers which is the Yakiniku Rice Burger.  Though I’m not really a fan of Rice Burgers, I like how their Yakiniku Beef tasted.  I must admit, it was kind of hard to chow down the whole thing because the rice patties keep falling apart.  I ended up finishing it with a spoon and fork just like any ordinary Yakiniku Beef rice meal.  Glad I ordered it though!

We also had the Egg Teriyaki Burger and it was delicious too.

Value for money is OK since we really did enjoy what we ate and paid less than 500 bucks for it.  It’s something worth trying since there aren’t many Japanese Burger restaurants here in the Metro.

anatomy of the Master Burger

Sango! The Burger Master has branches in Makati (Powerplant Mall; Creekside Mall) and QC (Tomas Morato).  Be sure to check it out! 🙂

Fruity Pebble Macarons by The Novice Chef

I just can’t resist sharing this newfound blog that I have tons of fun reading because Jessica is just too amazing!  She has many many recipes on her blog, The Novice Chef, but this sort of recent one is totally worth passing on.

I’ve been seeing (and have been absolutely attracted to) Macarons in most of the classy pastry shops here in Manila but I never tried it, not once before because it’s just too expensive (yeah I know, I’m cheap like that).  But a friend of mine once gave me a Vanilla Macaron and that just ended my cheap-ass-ness. haha  Now, everytime I pass this pastry shop, I just have to buy at least two pieces of different flavors!  They might be small in proportions but they fill your mouth just SO much that you keep asking for more.  Thank God I’m kinda watching my diet (as if) and my budget. lol

This recipe from Jessica of the Novice Chef is extraordinary since she used cereal to spice up the classic Macaron.

How I wish I can be a talented chef or pastry chef or whatever in the future.  I’d really love to try making these but as she mentioned in her post, Macarons are really tough to make.  It takes time, a great amount of patience, experience, and of course talent to be able to create a perfect batch.  For now, I’ll settle with looking at them and imagine eating them. hahaha

Here’s the recipe from thenovicechef:

Fruity Pebble Macarons

Yield: 24 Macarons

Macarons are always a hit with their crisp crusts and soft, chewy insides…but once you add the childhood favorite of Fruity Pebbles they are out of this world!

Ingredients:

For the Fruity Pebble Macaron shells:

75 grams powdered fruity pebbles, sifted **
75 grams almond meal, sifted
200 grams powdered sugar, sifted
100 grams aged egg whites
28 grams granulated sugar
5 grams powdered dehydrated egg whites

For the Fruity Pebble Buttercream:

1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, room temperature
1/2 cup powdered fruity pebbles (about 1 1/2 cups run through the food processor)
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

For the Fruity Pebble Macaron shells:

Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat.

In a medium bowl, sift together powdered fruity pebbles, almond meal, and powdered sugar. Set aside.

In a stand mixer, whisk egg whites at medium-low speed until it starts to foam like bubble bath water. Begin slowly sprinkling in the granulated sugar and powdered egg whites as you beat. Then increase the speed to medium and beat until a firm meringue forms.

Remove meringue from stand mixer, and gently fold in the dry ingredients (fruity pebble mixture) with a rubber spatula. You will have to break the meringue to do this, but be careful not to overmix. To test the batter: Place a small amount of the batter on a plate. If the tops flattens on its own you are good to go. If there is a small beak, give the batter a couple more folds.

Using a pastry bag with a plain round tip, pipe small rounds onto prepared baking sheets. Leave an inch between macarons to allow for the batter to spread. Once all the macarons have been piped, pick up the baking sheet with both hands, and holding it level, tap it firmly onto the counter several times. This will bring up any air bubbles in the cookies. Then let the cookies sit for 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the humidity levels. You will know they are ready to go into the oven when you can touch the tops without it sticking to your finger.

Once the macarons are ready, preheat the oven to 290 degrees. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until they easily pop off the parchment paper (or silpat). Remove macaron shells immediately from baking sheet and cool on a wire rack. Once cooled, fill with desired filling and store in an airtight container, in the refrigerator, for 24 hours. Then let warm to room temperature before eating.

For the Fruity Pebble Buttercream:

Cream the butter, vanilla and powdered fruity pebbles in the bowl of a stand mixer. Slowly add the powdered sugar and scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl thoroughly after each addition. Pipe onto a cooled macaron shell and sandwich with another shell, repeat until all shells are used.

**To turn Fruity Pebbles into powder, puree in a food processor (or blender). Be sure to sift the powder to ensure there are no missed pieces. Also, weigh the Fruity Pebbles AFTER being processed in the food processor, not before. 

 

Awesome right?  It’d be great if you could share your Macaron-making experiences too!  Kudos to Jessica of The Novice Chef! 😀

Vizco’s and the Famous Strawberry Shortcake

Wow, here I am with yet another Baguio foodscapade. 🙂 Baguio, along with Vigan (blogged about this here) has been my fave Northern destination because it’s so versatile when it comes to food.  You can go for several dishes may it be Filipino, Italian, Chinese, American, Mongolian, and a lot more because Baguio has it all.  We have visited this city several times now and it has been close to our hearts.

One of my favorite restaurants here in Baguio would have to be Vizco’s Restaurant and Cake Shop.  Along with all the many restaurants and shops lined in the famous Session Road in Baguio, Vizco’s stand out because of their delicious cakes and pastries.  All-time favorite would have to be the Strawberry Shortcake.  As I blogged about here before,  Baguio holds the biggest strawberry farms in the Philippines.  The berries grow beautifully because of the cold weather.

See?  Fresh strawberries on top and bits of it on the center.  I just keep coming back for more!  If it weren’t for the 6-hour travel from Baguio back to Manila, I would have taken home a whole cake for sure.  haha

Aside from their lovely cakes (which I sadly wasn’t able to take photos of, fail!), they also serve the finest Pizza and Pasta.  We’ve had a couple of these during our first few visits but the last time, we had these..

Beef Stroganoff

So sorry I forgot what this pizza is called.. looking at it pretty much says everything about it though..  (reminds me of authentic Neapolitan pizza.. yum!)

Value for money is good since it’s not too expensive and yet their food is delicious (i must say).  Best to give it a try yourself when you get the chance to go to Baguio.  Session Road is Baguio‘s Central Business District  so you won’t miss it!

photo credit : life.georgeputong.com

The building you see here has been renovated so it looks so much better now.  Will take photos next time 🙂

We’ll be going back to Baguio this coming month-end because of their yearly Flower Festival or better known as Panagbenga.  I’ll take photos as usual so I can share them with you.  This is a fun event because townspeople and even tourists (mostly from Manila) all gather up to watch and join the festivities.  When we first came here, I found this site very helpful for all you need to know about Baguio.  To give you a glimpse of how many people flock over, here’s a photo from last year’s event:

Craaaazy right?? haha..  That’s what makes it more fun 🙂

Crave Rave : Little John’s Baby Back Ribs

Again, I profess my love for baby back ribs.  They’re just so irresistible!  (especially when they’re cooked perfectly plus a well made sauce to top it off) This time I go for Little John’s Baby Back Ribs with rice and coleslaw on the side.  You just can’t get enough for sure.  Most of the diners here order the same thing, Baby Back Ribs!

Little John’s Convenience Post is located at Camp John Hay and it serves the BEST baby back ribs in Baguio.  It’s quite a cozy (with the homey feel) restaurant given the small space and cute wooden interior.  They also have this wall of fame kind of thing consisting of drawings that past customers made with their place mats.  For each table, they have a wooden cup that has several crayolas for you to doodle around in your newsprint paper place mat.  Kiddie stuff but adults enjoy it for sure.  Most of the best artworks were displayed in their restaurant.

Whenever we’re in Baguio, we make sure to drop by Little John’s just to get a good dose of their superb baby back ribs. 🙂  Aside from that, they also have a wide selection of meals (mostly American dishes) that are also good.  Value for money is OK since the meals are quite cheap and the taste is all worth it.  (Meals would cost around P200 ($5))