Friday, April 21, 2017

First Bite: Bistro United

I miss living close to Kapitolyo, one of the best food havens in the metro. Though it’s technically just 20 minutes away from where I live now, the traffic makes it seem a far away land. But good food conquers all and I found myself in front of this new restaurant in Kapitolyo one Tuesday afternoon. 

Hello, Bistro United.
This new restaurant by Chef Mia of The Round Table is one of the handful delectable additions in Kapitolyo. 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Love at First Bite: Hook by Todd English

I'm so thankful that I live in a country that has access to several kinds of seafood. However, some of my favorites cost me an arm and leg (at times two legs). But that was about to change thanks to this new Todd English concept called Hook. 
Hello, Hook
Just like the other Todd English restaurants, Hook has dark interiors and a bit of pub/bar vibe to it but with a touch of class. 
I was first greeted by a beautiful showcase of seafood ranging from humongous fishes in different colors to the freshest oysters I've laid my eyes on. 
Eric welcomed us and ushered us to our table and suggested that we try the Three Tiered Seafood Platter (PHP3,500) and (Not) Paella (PHP750). As clueless diners, we let him surprise us with his choices. 
While waiting for our food, we were given glasses of champagne to pair with our meal. And it was a pretty good way to cap the week. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

First Bite: SUSI

SUSI has captured my heart ever since I saw a bunch of its mouthwatering dishes on Instagram and Facebook. However, I hardly frequent Burgos Circle and eventually forgot about visiting this quaint restaurant. It was until a few weeks back when I finally spotted SUSI. I had no plans of dropping by though as I was expecting a hefty dinner from another restaurant which recently opened. But I was still hungry after what I would describe as a disastrous dinner and ended up craving for more food. And if that’s not a sign to visit SUSI, I don’t know what else to call it. 
Hello, SUSI!
We were greeted by smiling faces behind the counter and were immediately ushered to the dining area on the ground floor which was dimly lit. 
Since R and I were trying to catch a movie in Uptown, we just ordered desserts and went with Eat Your Feelings (PHP245) and Willy Wonka (PHP295) for a quick chocolate overload to help drown our sorrows. 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

First Bite: Plaza Brew

It sucks to be in such a gorgeous city yet not know where to eat. I tried to look online but there are not a lot of sites that offer restaurant suggestions. And since we wanted to maximize our day and not waste it looking for a place to have lunch, R and I settled with the café beside The Plaza.

Hello, Plaza Brew!
This café was still in its soft opening when we visited. Aside from the other table near the counter, we were the only diners during lunch. I’m not sure if locals find the place intimidating given that it is right beside a hotel or if they are not adventurous enough to try a new restaurant. 
R wasn’t really hungry then but I was so I ordered Beef Kebab (with an option of buttered rice or pita bread PHP220, add PHP20 for iced tea or orange juice) and Green Tea Latte (PHP120, over ice).
While waiting, R took advantage of the complementary wi-fi. I, on the other hand, went crazy with some of the nifty displays of the cafe
Service was quick and our drinks were served in less than 10 minutes. My plate of kebab was served a couple of minutes later. 

Monday, April 17, 2017

First Bite: AM:PM Brunch Bar and Cafe

I hardly frequent San Juan as traffic there gets too insane at times. I still remember the times when I get stuck in standstill, no thanks to a certain school. But thanks to Waze, I discover new routes in order to get around its small streets filled with good food finds. And a few weeks back, I discovered this new restaurant that offers everything from breakfast to bar chow that is worth braving the traffic for.

Hello, AM:PM Brunch Bar and Cafe.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Second Bite: Brad and Pits Ribshack

It has been a crazy for me since I left the corporate world. I was painting a picture of a very relaxing and carefree life but it turned out that I became busier than ever with meetings, shoots, and events. I’m not regretting my decision to become a full time blogger and freelance marketer though as I finally got to become my own boss. And to reward myself on taking the big jump, I feasted on some succulent ribs (at very pocket friendly price, coz, you know, I’m still kind of jobless). 

Hello, Brad and Pits Ribshack
It was my first time to visit Brad and Pits’ Kapitolyo branch and it gives the same vibe as its Marikina branch. However, this one is more spacious and has more parking space for diners. Its private function room is also slightly bigger and it has its own bathroom too. 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

First Bite: Main Street

I always see Main Street whenever I pass by Tuscany. I also noticed it while making my rounds in Kapitolyo when I hunt for new restaurants. But for some reason, I was never lured to pay this restaurant a visit. It may be because I was in the mood for something else whenever I see it or perhaps because of the several lukewarm reviews about its food I've read online. But food gods paved the way for me to find out myself if I'm missing out or not at all. 

Hello, Main Street

I was greeted by a well lit black and white signage and a dining area with warm yellow lights. The brown tables, lovely natural stone tiles and tan couches added warmth to the space making it quite homey and quite fitting in Kapitolyo. 
We were in for a treat as we were served a lot of dishes! 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

First Bite: Tittos Latin BBQ & Brew

I’ve been hearing a lot of great reviews about this South American joint in Kapitolyo. I got so curious that I always drag people and convince them to try it out with me. But my first two attempts were not successful. The first one was because of parking and the second one was because we were too full from our first stop. But third time’s the charm.  

Hello, Tittos Latin BBQ & Brew! (Finally.)
The spacious restaurant is one of the few that offers a handful of parking spaces in Kapitolyo. But on a good day, the place gets really packed and you’d be lucky if you could score one of the “double parking” spots. Inside, you’d be welcomed by vibrant colors and very South American murals. 

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

When in Bataan: Bataan World War II Museum

While researching for things to do in Balanga, Bataan, R spotted a review on the Bataan World War II Museum which is just a few blocks away from The Plaza Hotel. R’s interest in World War II grew ever since we visited Corregidor last December 2015. And after watching all the documentary and series focused on WWII, we both became even more fascinated with the bravery and perseverance of the soldiers and made us thankful for being alive during this time of relative peace. And since we had nothing else better to do, we decided to drop by the small museum

Hello, Bataan World War II Museum.
It is quite easy to miss this small museum as it is located behind Balanga Elementary School compound which is being renovated. At first, we thought that the museum was closed given that we dropped by on a Sunday afternoon. Luckily, it was open. 

Monday, April 10, 2017

When in Bohol: Bohol Bee Farm

I’ve never been a beach loving person till a few years back when I was dragged out of my house to bask under the scorching sun. The usual me would dread the idea of being burnt black and having to cut down on carbs just to look decent in photos. But for some reason, it became a lot more interesting. I’m not sure if it has something to do with getting older but the relaxing sound of the water hitting the shore or boat and having a carefree life (for at least a few days) were just some of the things I look forward to whenever I visit an island. Of course, good food is also in the picture. And a trip to Bohol is not complete without visiting Bohol Bee Farm. 
Hello, Bohol Bee Farm.
This popular dining destination in Panglao has been a favorite of tourists and locals alike. Aside from its spacious restaurant, the huge compound also houses a nursery of herbs and various plants, spa, and several cottages as B&B accommodations. There are also water sports equipment available for rent for those interested to enjoy the sea.

Friday, April 7, 2017

First Bite: Cicada Tapas & Bar

It is always fun to visit Cebu as it is turning into a foodie destination with new concepts opening here and there. But there are a few classics that I missed out from my previous trips and I made sure that I’d drop by a few of them during my last Cebu visit. And for R’s late birthday celebration, we opted to have lunch at Circa 1900. 

Hello, Circa 1900!
We were greeted by beautiful two ancestral homes (turned dining halls) as soon as we entered the restaurant's huge compound. 
Unfortunately, Circa 1900 was closed when we visited and will be closed throughout our stay in Cebu. On the bright side, its tapas restaurant, Cicada was open and we could dine there instead. 

Thursday, April 6, 2017

First Bite: Sakura Terraces

Chaya is my favorite Japanese restaurant in Baguio and I was excited to share this wonderful find with R’s parents. I had no idea though that a lot of locals and tourists also know my secret Legarda Road gem. The place was packed on our first night in Baguio and we were gently turned down to dine there for dinner when the front host found out that we didn’t have any reservation on its busy night. I had to think of another restaurant quick before R’s parents turn from hungry to hangry. And the first restaurant that came to mind was Sakura Terraces.

Hello, Sakura Terraces!
This restaurant has been highly rated on its Facebook page and looloo. There was even one Japanese reviewer who mentioned that Sakura Terraces offer the real deal while giving Chaya a very low rating. I then thought that Sakura Terraces might be my new favorite. 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Second Bite: Backyard Kitchen + Brew

I've been a fan of Chef Ed Bugia's Pino and Pi Breakfast & Pies restaurants for years and I was so giddy to try Backyard Kitchen + Brew back in 2015. And it was a memorable experience at that as one year later, I could still remember its succulent baby back ribs and delightful cheddar chips till now. But just to make sure, let's do a second take on the baby back ribs.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

First Bite: Sunrise Buckets

I’ve never been a chicken wings fan as I always feel that I get less for paying the same amount for a piece of chicken. I’d always go for breast or thigh as these parts have more meat. This is also the reason why I’ve never been interested to try Sunrise Buckets. But I guess I’m fated to dine here as this is one of the food stops of Food Hop 2017 by Zomato and The Grove by Rockwell.

Hello, Sunrise Buckets!
We were greeted by interiors in nautical theme and a retro looking open display chiller filled with various canned and bottled drinks.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Love at First Bite: Vampire Penguin Shaved Snow and Desserts

Summer is here and I now have the perfect excuse to eat cold treats 24/7. Halo-halo, bingsu, ice cream, you name it, I’d most likely want it. And a few weeks ago, I discovered a new favorite. It comes with an adorable mascot and an interesting name.

Hello, Vampire Penguin.
An adorable Vampire Penguin greeted us as soon as we approached its store located at Ayala on 30th. A display shelf with the different flavored ice, toppings and macarons were among the first things we noticed as we stepped inside the corner store. 

Its name sure made a lot of diners curious. Thankfully, Leo, one half of the duo who conceptualized Vampire Penguin, was there to entertain all our silly questions. He enlightened us by sharing a little story about themselves and how related it is to Vampire Penguin.

Friday, March 31, 2017

First Bite: Sugar Factory

I love sweets and I can't resist it when someone offers me some. And when I got an invite to visit Sugar Factory, I replied with a big, fat YES. Indulging in huge milkshakes and childlike creations always sound like a good idea. 

Hello, Sugar Factory.
I was greeted by a well-lit and spacious dining area that seemed to be a combination of a fancy diner, Vegas and candy land. 
Since we were a huge party of foodies, we were moved to the second floor dining area which gave us a nice view of the whole place. On the other hand, the second dining area is a bit cramped and it was hard for us eager (and aspiring) food photographers to move around and take photos of the fun dishes served to us. But if you're there to simply enjoy the food, you'll be fine. 

An Imperfect Paradise: Les Maison d'Itac

An imperfect paradise would best describe Les Maison d’Itac, a humble resort located at the less popular part of Cebu.

Hello, Les Maison d’Itac.
We chanced upon this resort while checking Deal Grocer for our Cebu hotel accommodation. Since we saved a couple of thousands from our airfare and figured that a 3D2N accommodation with full- board meals and transfers for PHP15,000 sounded like a steal, we bought a voucher the same night we saw the deal. 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Noodle Heaven: Nadai Fujisoba

One clear sign that you love Japanese food is when you crave for ramen on a hot day. I get that a lot and I just can’t help it. I need my noodle fix before I go crazy and one of my go to places is Nadai Fujisoba. 

Hello, Nadai Fujisoba.
I still remember the delectable bowl of udon I had from its High Street branch. Its delicate broth taste and delicious tempura left quite an impression. This time around, I was in the mood for more than a bowl of noodles

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Beat the Heat: Seol Bang

Summer is here and so is the detestable unbearable heat it comes with. But summer is also the perfect excuse for me to indulge in cold treats every day. And it was timely that I spotted a new favorite bingsu place. 

Hello, Seol Bang!
It’s not hard to miss this new dessert shop if your goal is to just have your photo taken by the picturesque “Venice Grand Canal”. This place is located a couple of meters away from on the selfie stick zone of the mall and that instantly warrants +10 points from me as I do not have to dodge phones and sticks on my way here.

Monday, March 27, 2017

First Bite: Kushikatsu Daruma

No double dipping! Finally, one restaurant said it. 

Though I'm not very strict with the no double dipping rule, I still cringe whenever someone I barely know dips his or her bitten food in the communal sauce. I guess that is what Kushikatsu Daruma wants to avoid... a sudden lack of appetite due to what kids call "cooties". Then again this newest addition to Uptown Bonifacio's roster of restaurants have to mess up a whole lot before I lose my appetite for its mouthwatering offerings.
Hello, Kushikatsu Daruma

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Restaurant Love: 7107 Restaurant

I’ve been a fan of 7107 Culture + Cuisine ever since I visited it last year. I still remember the lovely pesto pasta with sweet tocino dish I ordered as if it was from yesterday’s lunch. As much as I would like to dine here again, my busy schedule was against my plan of visiting this colorful restaurant sooner. Thankfully, one weekend finally cleared up and I was able to drop by for more delectable local fare with a twist!
Hello again, 7107 Culture + Cuisine!

Friday, March 24, 2017

First Bite: Sweet Ecstasy

I have been dying to visit Sweet Ecstasy ever since I heard that it serves really good burgers and that its taste is very close to In-N-Out's, a well-loved burger joint in California which also had a few pop up events here in Manila. I was ecstatic when I found out that they have a branch in Uptown Parade. However, all the negative reviews from that branch made me hesitate. Hence, it took me longer to try this joint’s famous patties. Thanks to an event at Miriam College, I finally had a chance to visit its Katipunan branch.

Hello, Sweet Ecstasy!
Located at the second floor of Regis Center, I had an impression that this place will be packed by students and residents around the area. I dropped by around 12:30 p.m. and surprisingly, the place only had two tables occupied. I guess it is busier on weekdays. 
Since I had to go to Banawe at 2 p.m., I quickly ordered Cheeseburger (PHP195) and Ginger Ale (PHP150). 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

First Bite: Hanamaruken

I have been hearing a lot of good feedback about this ramen joint at The Grove. It made me curious when two of the foodies I know and trust mentioned that this is their favorite place for their noodle fix. However, I could never seem to find time to visit as I usually head elsewhere. Luckily, I got the perfect opportunity to drop by last Saturday.
Hello, Hanamaruken.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Night Cap: The Penthouse 8747

People close to me know that I'm far from being tagged as a party person. Born as a certified tita (aunt), I have now graduated as a full-fledged Lola(grandmother) of Manila. But such did not discourage me from visiting a Great Gatsby themed bar that offers a magnificent view of the city. Okay, it was also because I was intrigued with its bar chows. The foodie remains more influential than the lola in me. 

Hello, The Penthouse 8747
The place, as it is aptly named, is located on the topmost floor of Lepanto building. Though the lift would not bring you all the way to the bar's main entrance, you just need to take one flight up to reach the reception adorned with gold accents and chandelier. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Food Find: Köök Manila

I find it interesting how much I’ve changed over the past few years. Before, I’d make sure that I have plans on weekends and that I get to visit at least five restaurants to serve as my content the following week. As I grow older (with matching aching joints and slower metabolism), I now value staycations and enjoying my alone time in the comfort of my own home. And one staycation got extra special when I got a sweet treat from Köök Manila.

Hello mini vacation with Köök Manila!

I hurriedly went home as soon as the clock hit 6 pm and I placed the vacuum-sealed Greek Chicken in the sink to thaw as I prepare my cookware.
Since I do not have an indoor griller, I decided to pan-fry the chicken sans the oil. Though I do not recommend this as it took me quite some time to cook the chicken, it still gets the job done. Best to puncture or slice the chicken to make sure that all parts get cooked. (Mine took longer than it should have because I wanted my chicken to look pretty when I take photos of it. Priorities.)

Monday, March 20, 2017

Second Bite: Raging Bull Chophouse & Bar

It’s always fun having R’s sisters around as it means endless feasts! For last November’s visit, D was particularly excited with Raging Bull, Shangri-La at the Fort’s well-loved steak place, especially after finding out that this restaurant offers superb cocktails aside from its famous grilled meats. Soon, I found myself on my way to the posh hotel for one heavy lunch.
Hello again, Raging Bull Chophouse & Bar
The frustrated interior designer in me was tickled once more by Raging Bull’s sophisticated interiors. The combination of dark browns, blacks and whites never gets old. 

R’s family did the ordering and they chose Raging Bull Salad (PHP375), Maryland Crab Cakes (PHP475), Tomahawk Wagyu (PHP7,950) and Ribeye (PHP3,100). The kids asked for something to snack on while they wait for the meats and H ordered Josper Bone Marrow (PHP685) for them.
First served was the complementary Raging Bull bread and butter which we finished in just a few minutes as we were famished. 
I noticed that Raging Bull added mandarin oranges to its usual Mesclun mix, Gorgonzola, hazelnuts and Granny Smith apple slices topped with cider vinaigrette. I’m not complaining though as I love those small citrus goodness which went well with the delectable Gorgonzola cubes, nuts and greens. 
The Maryland Crab Cakes were good as always. I loved the contrast between the crunchy coating and the soft shredded crab meat filling. 
Josper Bone Marrow was served next which the kids fought over! It was just so funny how they argued on which bone marrow was bigger and who deserved it. They only kept quiet when they each got their portions. I wasn’t able to try this one as they literally licked the bone marrow! It must be that good.

A beautiful platter of ribeye was soon served and we feasted on it. 
Just like before, I paired my meat with various salts in order to fully appreciate the taste of the steak. Cooked medium in order not to dry up its juice, each bite was packed with flavors that made me sigh and my tastebuds sing hallelujah. 
The perfectly grilled meat was wonderfully complemented by grilled pumpkin slices, cream of spinach, buttered corn and mashed potatoes. I didn’t attempt to get rice as I’ve had too much carbs from the start of the meal. 
The Tomahawk Wagyu was served after and it was gigantic! The MS 5+ grain-fed meat had that divine beefy taste which you could get by simply getting a whiff of it. 
As my eyes sparkle at the sight of the huge piece of meat with a bone sticking out, R sliced me a portion and I began to indulge in the premium steak
It was succulent and barely required effort to chew. It was an instant crowd favorite though for some reason, I prefer ribeye more. 

As we continue to bring out a more sophisticated version of cavemen, I took a sip of my cocktailMonkey Business (PHP400). 
The blend of Monkey Shoulder pure malt, homemade rosemary syrup, Griottes cherry juice and Whiskey barrel bitters was a bit too strong for a noontime drink. I got a bit woozy after reaching half of my glass. I guess I’m just not used to drinking anymore. 
But if you happen to fancy this drink, do watch the barista prepare it as it is very entertaining.
To cap our meal, we ordered Granny Smith Apple Cobbler (PHP340) which was absolutely perfect! I loved the crunchiness of the apple slices and how well it went with the puff. It was sweet yet not so sweet, making it great too for elders. 
And since it was R’s birthday weekend, we were given a complimentary cheesecake which was pretty good as well. It had great consistency and the berries were love. 

Overall, it was a pleasant lunch. I can’t wait to go back for more steaks! 

Raging Bull Chophouse & Bar is located at 3rd Floor, West Wing, Shangri-La at the Fort, 30th Street corner 5th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City.