Friday, September 23, 2016

Love at First Bite: Providore

The huge Providore signage intrigued me for months. It really made me excited because it has been quite a while since a new restaurant graced SM Aura. And the foodie in me jumped for joy when Chef Kalel and Mela of Raintree Restaurant posted that Providore will open this week. And true to their post, it did open today at 6 pm! 

Hello, Providore! 
This casual dining restaurant is the newest concept of Raintree Restaurant, the same group behind spectacular restaurants such as Chelsea, Simple Lang, Kabila, Stella, Izakaya Sensu and Chotto Matte. And just like its sister restaurants, this one was designed to impress. 
The first thing that caught my eye was the lovely wall of products from local retailers such as Nipa Brew, Manila Eat Up, Traydor and Casa Carmela. I really like that Providore decided to partner with these shops and carry its products. It made it a lot easier for foodies who are not fond of shopping online or driving around for a bottle of hot sauce. With this, we get to save more time for eating! (I spotted a few customers considering some of the goods displayed as Christmas gifts. I might do that too.)
It was their first day when I dropped by and a handful of items were not available then. Thankfully, the kitchen had ingredients to whip a Decadent Bone Marrow Burger (PHP450). I decided to get that sinful bun of meat and pair it with a refreshing glass of Kombucha Lime Iced Tea (PHP120). I struggled choosing my dessert as I was alone when I visited. All of the desserts seem to be good for sharing so I settled with what sounded to be the smallest sweet treat they have and decided to end my meal with a plate of Housemade Leche Flan (PHP95). 

Service was quite fast as I was not even done taking photos of the merchandise when my ginormous burger arrived. 
I was greeted by a good 1.5" U.S. beef burger with bacon marmalade jam and wild arugula sandwiched by a soft buttered brioche with spiced fries and oven-roasted bone marrow on the side. 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

First Bite: Cafe by the Ruins

Cafe by the Ruins has been one of the most popular restaurants in Baguio that it became a must-visit place when in the land of ube jams and strawberries. I have tried to visit this place a few times but failed till my most recent trip up North. 

Hello, Cafe by the Ruins!
I have dreamt of dining here for more than a year now. I always drool over its mouthwatering dishes and get mesmerized by the beauty of its interiors I see on Facebook and Instagram. But I was surprised with what I saw when I entered the famous restaurant. 
The place has an ambiance that would make you feel like you’re in the woods dining with pixies and friendly dwarves but with a slight Tim Burton touch. It was poorly lit though and made me a bit paranoid with mosquitoes that I applied insect repellant as soon as we got to our table. We also got a sniff of something not so pleasant during our visit. 
Since we were not that hungry, R and I opted to just order one cup of Rizal’s Tsokolate-e (PHP145) and Chocolate Croissant (PHP100). Service was quick and it was probably because we got there just in time for last call. 
The cup of hot chocolate was quite good as it had a nice and rich chocolate taste to it. It was also thick, perfect for the cool Baguio weather. Unfortunately, it was quite humid that night so I didn’t get to enjoy my cup to the fullest. But I really liked that this cup had a smooth texture unlike the batirol type which was rough. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Bang for the Buck: Go Sushi

I love Japanese food and I simply could not say no to it. And when I was invited by Go Sushi to sample its mouthwatering dishes, I quickly said yes despite it being far from where I live. Japanese food is love after all. 

Hello, Go Sushi
Tucked in the foodie haven called Teachers Village, this sushi place is positioned to be a Japanese take out shop with only a handful of tables for those who prefer to dine in. 

I was warmly greeted by Go Sushi's owner Violy and recommended that we order the following: Crazy Maki (PHP79, 4 pcs. | PHP129, 8 pcs.), Philly Cheese Steak (PHP119, 4 pcs. | PHP189, 8 pcs.), Crispy Tuna (PHP129, 4 pcs. | PHP199, 8 pcs.), California Torch Roll (PHP139, 4 pcs. | PHP219, 8 pcs.), Teriyaki (PHP149), Tonkatsu (PHP179) and Tiger Prawn Tempura (PHP399, 5 pcs.). 
Violy and I chatted for a bit while waiting for the dishes and found out that Go Sushi was her brainchild. It all started when she got too frustrated with the hassle of going to the mall just to satisfy her insatiable maki cravings. The long wait to get parking (not to mention pay for it too), affordable but mediocre Japanese maki and the drive back home through horrific EDSA were just too much for her and that motivated her to start her own Japanese restaurant. She figured that since she's passionate with Japanese cuisine and knows what a customer like her wants, she could make it work. And she did. 
The unbelievably affordable maki plates made me think that it would be a so-so dining experience. I've tried a handful of Japanese restaurants offering pocket-friendly meals and I ended up not going back for more. But Go Sushi made me realize that affordable and delicious Japanese dishes are not like unicorns. Just don't be snooty and expect authentic Japanese dishes as the ones offered by Go Bento are designed for the Filipino taste and student budget. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Burpday Celebration at Buffalo Wild Wings

It was my sister’s birthday last weekend and we originally planned to visit Annam to celebrate. But due to conflict in schedule with last minute events, I had to ask my mom and sister if we could move it to Buffalo Wild Wings so that I could also use my gift certificates for it. Thankfully, they agreed and were supportive of my food blogging activities. And so, we were set.

Hello, Buffalo Wild Wings
It was my first time to dine in this branch despite it being one of the first restaurants to open in Uptown Mall. I guess it was because I already visited its Estancia branch twice and because I’m not really a fan of wings. I’d usually order burger or flat bread here. 

I was an hour late for lunch because the event I attended ended late. To my surprise, my mom and sister were not upset at all. I guess I have to thank the Mozzarella Sticks (PHP325) and Chicken Caesar Salad (PHP465) for it. 
I managed to have a bite of the mozzarella sticks and chicken caesar salad; and both were good but not good enough for its price. The mozzarella was not as gooey and the marinara sauce was not as tangy. The breading though had that nice crunch that creates a lovely contrast against the soft mozzarella
The salad was your usual caesar salad with grilled chicken drizzled with parmesan garlic sauce and caesar dressing. The greens were crisp and the grilled chicken added flavor to the dish. Though the serving size seems generous, the price seemed to be still steep for salad

Monday, September 19, 2016

First Bite: Makansutra

Hurrah for new (and posh) food halls and the blooming food business for giving us foodies more and better options. Thank you too for satisfying not just our tummies but also our insatiable desire for Instagram-worthy walls and overall interiors. But I am going a couple of steps (or sentences) ahead of my review for the latest food hall in Manila, Makansutra. 

Hello, Makansutra
This beautifully decorated food hall in SM Megamall is the brainchild of Chef Him Uy de Baron and Pinoy Eats World's JJ Yulo. The spacious food hall has a bunch of food stalls offering several Asian favorites with laksa as one of the most recommended dishes to date. Unfortunately, R and I were still full from lunch when we dropped by and only had room for drinks and sweets. 
We were like lost kids in Instagram paradise as we read through one menu board after another. After several minutes, we finally decided to go with Pulut Hitam with Coconut Ice Cream (PHP160), Bandung (PHP90) and Lime Barley (PHP80). It was actually easy to decide on which dessert to order as most were not available that time. 
The whole food hall has a pay as you order policy and for now all stalls only accept cash payments. (So make sure you have cash with you when you drop by.) We got our drinks as soon as we settled our bill. 

Friday, September 16, 2016

First Bite: Yayoi Philippines

It is so hard to resist good food especially when your foodie godfather invites you to the media launch of a Japanese restaurant. This time, the invite was for Yayoi, a reputable Japanese restaurant with branches all over Japan, USA, Australia, and now in Manila. 

Hello, Yayoi
I've heard about Yayoi from one of my friends working in Ortigas. He was quite excited to try this place out since he was starting to get tired of the usual restaurants in one of the busiest malls in Manila. And finally, it is open to the public! 
After crawling our way out of EDSA for half an hour, we finally reached SM Megamall and scurried towards Yayoi. And we made it just in time! 
We were greeted by the friendly PR team and owners of Yayoi. We were quickly ushered inside and I couldn't help gush over the mix of traditional Japanese ambiance with its wooden walls and technology through the iPads stationed on each table. (The iPads serve as the menu and platform to place your order.)
After feasting on some Edamame (PHP120), we headed to the photo table and joined other bloggers, media personalities and Instagrammers take some mouthwatering photos of Yayoi's highlighted offerings. 

Our orders were served after the welcome remarks of the hosts and we soon indulged in some serious Japanese dishes. 
First served was the Mix Toji Teishoku (PHP425) or breaded pork loin, deep fried shrimp and sukiyaki beef simmered in special sauce and egg served with rice, miso soup and two sides. 
I loved the sweet and salty taste of the sauce which complemented the succulent katsu and breaded shrimp. I also enjoyed eating the egg base with Japanese rice while slurping some hot miso soup. The tofu side dish helped balance the taste and avoided the main dish from being cloying. 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Restaurant Love: Nihonkai Tsukiji

R suddenly message me, “What are you craving for?” around 5 p.m. last Thursday. (No, I am not pregnant in case you’re wondering.) I wasn’t really craving for anything in particular but it has been a while since I last had uni sashimi. So I replied saying I want a gooey piece of heaven. He then told me that his dad wants to eat out and we’ll eat wherever I choose. Woohoo! Thank you, Uncle H!

It has been quite a while since I last went to this Japanese restaurant! It may not be as popular as other restaurants like Tsumura, Seryna or Senju but this place serves great food!

We were all famished and quickly ordered a bunch of Salmon Aburi (PHP95/piece x 16), Uni Sashimi (PHP320), Salmon Sashimi (PHP375), Sukiyaki (PHP450), Spicy Tuna (PHP360) and Ebi-Ten Roll (PHP375). Auntie and Uncle also ordered Agedashi Tofu (PHP170), Salmon Belly (PHP320), Chicken Teriyaki (PHP275), Salmon Head (PHP275), Nihonkai Special Bento (PHP1,050) and ramen bowl which I failed to take note of. 
Service was quick as always and our salmon aburi was served first. 
It was so fresh and the type that melts in your mouth. I loved that it was torched and the warmth of the salmon was so harmonious with the slightly cold Japanese rice. 
The uni sashimi was the best! Its freshness was evident with its lovely sweet taste and smooth texture. It was love at first bite. I wanted to order another bowl but I was afraid I might get an upset tummy.