Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Old Spaghetti House (SM North EDSA)

The other day, me and my friends decided to spend our college week celebration at SM North. After exploring the 3 buildings of the mall, we decided to eat at The Old Spaghetti House which is one of my family's favorite restaurants. That and my friends weren't in the mood for Japanese. The Old Spaghetti House obviously specializes in pasta, plus they have a wide variety to choose from. They have pastas in specialty sauce, white sauce, red sauce, plus other unique pasta dishes. You can also substitute the paste with fettuccine (flat noodles), penne (cylinder-shaped), or angel hair (also known as Capellini, which means very thin hair) for an additional (10.00php) or the whole wheat spaghetti pasta for (25.00php).

I ordered my usual, which is the Japanese Wasabi Alfredo Fettuccine for (195.00php) and their new Matcha Green Tea for (95.00php). Ivy ordered the Thai Bagoong Pasta for (155.00php) while Dustin got the Pepper-crusted fish with spaghetti in Sun-dried tomato pesto for (195.00php). They both got iced tea (45.00php; non-refillable one) for drinks. We also ordered the Carbonara Wrap (110.00php) out of curiousity.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Mr. Chow (SM North EDSA)

Beloved and I ate at Mr. Chow last night. This Chinese Chowking clone can be found at a somewhat hidden corner where Sbarro and Red Ribbon is located, at the first floor of the City Center of SM North EDSA just across the Hypermarket. This place used to be where Mann Hann was, if I'm not mistaken, and I find it a bit funny that it's replaced by another Chinese resto.

Admittedly, this is no Mann Hann or Hap Chan or whatever usual Chinese tea house, where orders come in more than a hundred pesos good for two to three.  This is more like Chowking, where every order is portioned individually. A good thing that comes from this is all their menu items come in sub-100 Php prices. These items are your usual Chinese fast food stuff, basically everything that Chowking has, from dimsums, to noodles in soup, stir-fry, and even crispy varieties, to viand-topped rice. The last one is somewhat special in that they come with eat-all-you-can Yang Chao Fried Rice at 98 Php, and that tag includes a viand of your choice.

Even though I wasn't a rice lover, I was pretty hungry considering I haven't eaten yet that day. Also, 98 Php seems like a fair deal even if the rice-all-you-can wasn't to be taken advantage of. So both of us ordered one of each. Mine was their Pork Asado Rice Toppings and Beloved's had their Beef Brisket Rice Toppings at 98 Php each. Because of the price tag, I wasn't expecting a whole lot.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Army Navy (SM North EDSA)

Yesterday, Beloved and I had lunch at Army Navy. We always pass this by at SM North EDSA's Sky Garden, and I always get teased by the sight of the three-patty three-quarter pound burger they humorously call the "Bully Boy Burger". Sadly, every time we pass by, we're either too full or are just really passing by. I did get mixed reviews here, but they all agree that the B.B.B. is big as advertised. Finally, we got the chance the other day for some reason.

Anyway, Army Navy specializes, aside from the said three-patty three-quarter pound burger, in burritos and sandwiches. Apparently, their portions are able to fill up a military personnel, hence the name. Their menu are also mostly eaten by hand, making it more appropriate. Also, the names of their menu items are mostly patriotically American and are mostly alliterations or puns, making them fun plays on words.

So, we got the said Bully Boy Burger for 235 Php. After deciding between a "starving sailor", which is what they call their sandwiches, or the burrito, we settled for the latter. We got the Steak Breakfast Burrito for 180 Php. In addition to that, we also asked for an order of their Freedom Fries for 60 Php, a large Vanilla Milkshake for 99 Php, and a large Libertea, which is what they call their iced tea, for 55 Php.

Kanin Club (UP-Ayala Technohub)

On the same day we ate the notorious Lechon Pizza from Pizza Hut, me and my friends continued on and had dinner at Kanin Club with a larger company. I've heard plenty of positive feedback from this place, but was never inclined to try it because of the first word. I'm not a rice lover, period. Because of the name, I expected rice to be the specialty. However, a friend insists that the Crispy Dinuguan here is a must try. And because it was a pretty large company, I decided to tag along.

I find out that it's a Filipino restaurant. As such, I expected that this is a great place for large parties. There were ten of us when we went in. Their menu is filled with typical Pinoy favorites, usually with some sort of twist, and plenty of variations of rice from plain to brown to chorizo to insert-Filipino-style-of-cooking-rice-here. I eyed a couple of dishes that I wanted to try out. So I ordered their Crispy Liempo (142 Php), which was listed as an appetizer. I also asked for their Adobong Kangkong (97 Php) because the idea of eating a Double Down for breakfast, Lechon Pizza for lunch, and another pork dish for dinner sounds like it would kill me in my sleep. Finally me and a friend shared an order of Sinigang Rice (224 Php), apparently good for 2-3.

Pizza Hut - Lechon Pizza (SM North EDSA)

Me and my friends ate at SM North EDSA's Pizza Hut Bistro for lunch the other day. I know I said I wouldn't blog about popular restaurants such as this one as there's basically a Pizza Hut on every other main street of Metro Manila. However, this instance is special. We went there for their Christmas season promotion: the Lechon Pizza.

For my non-Filipino readers, lechon is basically pig roasted over open fire. It's mostly famous for the deliciously crispy and dangerously greasy skin that everyone fights over during festivities. The Lechon Pizza boasts a lot of the said delicacy over a bed of cheese. For many, this idea is greeted with a face of disgust. For me, this is greeted with a huge smile on my face as it sounded like something I must try the first time I heard of it. I had a very hard time convincing someone to try it out with me, because the idea of eating an entire 10-or-14-inch pizza topped with the unhealthy and Muslim-repellent topping sounds suicidal. Finally, last Saturday, I managed to convince a couple of my friends to try it out.

Anyway, they offer a 799 Php promo which includes a 10-incher of the Lechon Pizza, a salad, a pasta, and two glasses of wine. Because we thought 10-inches is a bit too small to share over three people, we ordered the 14-inch Lechon Pizza instead for 499 Php.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Fiorgelato (Timog)

When we had breakfast at Marina, Beloved and I noticed that a nearby place also serves breakfast-all-you-can at a competitive but a bit more expensive price. A couple of months later, we get to try it out. Beloved and I had breakfast at Fiorgelato. It sounds like a gelato place, and it is. But apparently, this one is found below a hotel (I think) that they were assigned to provide breakfast for their patrons (I believe). So, don't expect any ice cream in this one.

Anyway, while Fiorgelato's All-You-Can breakfast is at a pricier 150 Php, I wanted to find out if it's worthy as a substitute from the usual McDonald's/Jollibee/Burger King/insert popular fast food place as breakfast here, as Marina was. Of course, with the "All-You-Can" placed with it, I was expecting for it to do so.

I was a bit disappointed to find out that the selection was much, much less than Marina's. But they do provide free drinks—orange juice, milk, or coffee, and it's not just per glass. Still, the food choices, which is what matters, is not that many. We dive in hoping that the food's good, at least.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Mango Tree Bistro (Trinoma)

Beloved and I had dinner at The Mango Tree Bistro, which is a newly-opened restaurant at Trinoma, taking part of the floor area of Powerbooks at the third floor, last night. This is a Thai restaurant with a dimly-lit interior making it not the coziest place, especially for solar-powered bouncing cow bearing denizens. Of course, I doubt you'll be one, and if you go here, you're probably craving for a rarity in the Metro that is Thai cuisine, or are just curious. We happen to be the latter.

The only Thai food I know of and have tasted is Pad Thai, or the stir-fried noodles, and their Satay, or grilled skewered meat similar to the Pinoy barbecue you can find in almost every other corner on highly-populated streets in the metro. I believe Thai food is similar to Filipino food—just substitute white rice to rice noodles. Honestly, I'm pretty much in the dark, so I thought it would be an eye-opening experience despite seeing the menu beforehand and learning of the extravagant prices.

Anyway, their menu is hard to pronounce, but they were described in a way that is easy to understand. My suspicions were half true, as there were plenty of dishes similar to Filipino food and a lot of rice noodle dishes. The other half shown that they still have a lot of stir-fried rice variations and curry. Because I thought it was a safe choice, we ordered their Pad Thai Goong (350 Php), which is stir-fried noodles with prawns. Our main viand choice is their beef curry—the Gaeng Ped Nua (380 Php). Finally, we also asked for a plate of their Pad Phak Ruam Mitr (180 Php), or stir-fried veggies.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Bite Club (Katipunan)

Beloved and I had dinner at Bite Club last night. You know how I always mention how every other burger joint I've reviewed has a variation of the phrase "isn't the biggest burger I've had"? Well, this place offers it. I've been a fleeting customer of this place, more so when I was still living at Project 4. Mom introduced me to this place, and the first time I tried their burgers, I fell in love. Not really because of how they taste, but more on how big they were. I find it a bit sad that it's empty when we got there. The reason probably is they happened to be located at the wrong side of Katipunan Extension with their sign blocked by a tree when you're coming from the University Belt. Being on the way to Libis at a somewhat obscure place doesn't really do justice to the sheer size of their burgers. Ah, but I digress, on to the nomnom.

Their smallest offering are your usual quarter pound sized ones priced reasonably at around 100 Php. The next one is a third pound, almost twice the price, but with melted cheese inside. This second one is my particular favorite. Their third and final size is a huge pounder. I've only ever tried this once while it was still priced at a bit more than 200 Php, which tells how long since I've first tried this. Now, this XXX, which is what they call the said pound burger now (used to be Burger-X), costs at a somewhat pricey 325 Php. Then again, maybe not. This is a pound of meat, four times more than the regular ~100 Php burger. In addition to that, you can top your burger with choice toppings. You get a non-premium one for free, and you can add them for 10 or 25 Php, depending on what kind of topping. We topped ours with caramelized onions for free and added blue cheese for 25 Php. Because I know how big it was, that goes for it for our meal. Oh, we also ordered their House Fries for 65 Php. Also, we had their Strawberry Shake for 60 Php to push it all down.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Gelatissimo (Trinoma)

After our wonderful dinner at Cyma, Beloved wanted to have dessert, so we passed by the newly opened Gelatissimo at Trinoma, just a small walk away from Cyma. Because I said this was a dessert and its name pretty much says it, perhaps I don't need to say what this store specializes in. But I will. Gelatissimo is a gelato cafe. And it's not just the usual small-stall gelato shop or ones found within an Italian resto. This really is a cafe. This is the Starbucks of gelato. Of course, being the Starbucks of gelato, I expected this to be pretty expensive as well. However, since we did spend a bit on Cyma, I guessed spending a bit more on Gelatissimo wouldn't hurt, so I let Beloved have her way.

My suspicions were correct. This was indeed an expensive cafe. Their smallest serving of gelato—a small single cup—costs 110 Php. Luckily they offer a 15% discount to students, which we were, bringing the tab down to 93.50 Php. That's still plenty lot, though. They do offer a lot, and I mean a lot, of different varieties. Their selections were basically twice from your usual gelato places. If I counted right, there were at least seven different chocolate-related flavors, and that's barely a third of their menu.

Anyway, Beloved had their Green Tea Gelato. The server asked if she had tasted it, and she said no. They then gave her a plastic spoon to try it out. After tasting it, she confirms that it was the flavor she wants. Shame, I thought, because you can practically try out all the flavors before choosing the one you want. And there's my smart nomnom tip for this entry.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Cyma (Trinoma)

Beloved and I had dinner at Cyma last night. This Greek-specializing resto is located at the fourth floor alfresco area of Trinoma where pretty much all of the expensive high-end restos are located. We went here because Beloved wanted salad. Yeah, I know. Anyway, I was really reserved from going here because I have no idea what Greece cuisine is all about. The only Greek food I know of is gyro and the only other Greek-specializing restaurant I know of is Go Greek!, which I haven't yet tried but heard praises from their salads. I assume that this place has great salad, so we readied our wallets hoping for the best.

As expected, the menu consisted of pretty expensive items. What I found interesting was these Greek specialties, apart form the salad, seemed similar to the usual Persian/Mediterranean fare. They have gyros, which are basically Greek shawarmas, and souvlakia, which are Greek Shish-kebabs. Because the latter was at least a hundred and fifty pesos more expensive, I ordered the former—the Mixed Meat Gyro for 200 Php. Beloved wanted fish, so she had their Roasted Cedar Planked Mahi-Mahi for 250 Php. As for the salad, which are available in solo, sharing, or family sizes, we ordered their Tonnos Salata for 460 Php. Note that we had a hard time choosing the salad because everything sounded so good.

Friday, October 29, 2010

San Seh Noodle House (Timog/Tomas Morato Rotonda)

Last mornight, Beloved and I ate breakfast at San Seh Noodle House. This cozy little place is located at the rotonda of Timog Avenue and Tomas Morato. We were there at around 4am in the morning because we broke our body clocks and became nocturnal for the past week. Hungry, we were deciding between the more popular fastfood usuals, Chowking or McDonald's; or 24 hour pizza places open in the area, Yellow Cab or Shakey's. We noticed that this place was open as well, so we risked trying it out.

We expected this place to specialize in noodles since we saw their chef hand-pulling noodles from the front window. It was pretty entertaining to watch and good to know that we're getting our noodles freshly made. So we ordered just that—a couple of bowls of their Braised Beef Noodle Soup for 125 Php each. They do serve non-soup noodles such as stir fry, but that part of their menu we didn't touch. We did have an order of their Sharksfin Dumpling for 55 Php.

Dezaato Pan (Tomas Morato)

After dinner at Sushi Katsu, we went to Dezaato Pan for dessert. Dezaato Pan is a cafe that serves bread, coffee, gelato and the most aesthetically-pleasing cakes. It's usually beside a Tempura Grill restaurant. Dezaato means `dessert` while Pan means `bread` in Japanese. I decided to go here because of the parfait but sadly, the Tomas Morato branch didn't have it. Instead, I got their Green tea gelato while Inggo got the French Vanilla gelato for (55php) each. There are other unique flavors which was priced a bit higher than what we've ordered. I also got the Choco Otaku bread for (50php) for takeout. The bread here is self-service similar to Bread Talk. Oh, and the bread gets a 30% discount if its past 7pm.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sushi Katsu (Tomas Morato)

Beloved and I had dinner at Sushi Katsu earlier tonight. This might just be one of the few remaining Japanese restaurants we've yet to try. I've heard some positive feedback from a couple of friends, so I'm expecting something. However, Japanese restaurants are usually the same old stuff with some kind of specialty or gimmick. Because it's in the name, I assume that the sushi here is higher than par. We've passed by here a couple of times in the past couple of months, and both those times, the place was closed. Tonight, however, it was open. Although we weren't really feeling like sushi, Beloved in particular wanting curry, we decided to take the opportunity to try it out.

Their menu was a bit more expensive than the competition. Also, there were a lot of stuff in their menu I find exotic to the usual Japanese restaurant menu in the Metro. In particular, they have Salmon Toro (250 Php) or salmon belly sashimi there. They also serve horse meat sashimi, which I don't know if it's legal in this country. We ordered the former because we were craving for raw fish, but didn't the latter because it was pretty expensive. Beloved ordered for herself their Chicken Curry Omurice (280 Php), and I ordered for myself their Hiyashi Tempura Soba (300 Php). For our drinks, beloved had their Iced Tea (70 Php) and I had their Cold Japanese Green Tea (70 Php).

I was surprised that their Japanese Green Tea came in a jug. It's definitely the drink to order when you're here, but maybe the hot incarnation. It was basically water with a sudden kick of bitter green tea. Beloved's drink was also not your usual instant sweetened one—in fact, it was a bit sour.

In addition to our drinks, I guess everyone receives complementary Miso Soup. It was quite hot and had that soothingly salty taste, perhaps more soothing than the usual miso soup from your usual Japanese restaurant.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

World Class Persian Kebab (Tomas Morato corner E. Rodriguez)

After the event we went to last night, me and Beloved and our friends passed by World Class Persian Kebab. I've never heard of this place before even though we've basically eaten at every affordable place at Tomas Morato. My friend says this is the best place for Persian food at extremely affordable prices as well. He also mentions that this place is open 24 hours. When we got there, I realize why I've never seen this place before. It is located at the corner of Tomas Morato and E. Rodriguez, the side of Tomas Morato we have little reason to go to. Perhaps this visit to World Class Persian Kebab would give us reason now.

The menu comprises of the usual Persian/Mediterranean fare—kebabs and shawarmas made of chicken, pork, or beef, and random ox parts like the brain and tongue. Because I wasn't very hungry, I just had their Beef Shawarma with Cheese (50 Php). Beloved, after seeing the ox tongue in the menu and because she loves lengua, ordered that for herself (80 Php). While I wasn't hungry, I certainly was thirsty, so I tried their Mango Yogurt Shake (45 Php), and beloved had their Watermelon Shake (30 Php).

Our drinks arrived first, and I must say, this is one of the more delicious and refreshing shakes I've tried. The mango is there for the sweetness, and the yogurt adds a sour kick to the thick concoction. Beloved's loved hers as well, noting that they actually use fresh fruits in their drinks.

Slice n' Dice (Timog)

Beloved and I went to an event last night. But, before going to the venue, we passed by a nearby Slice n' Dice steakhouse nearby. I've eaten in this franchise before at different branches—particularly the Visayas Ave., Kalayaan, and Katipunan branches, so I pretty much know what to order and what to expect. I've also eaten here while they were still named "In n' Out", so I pretty much know that this place has been around for quite some time. The particular branch we went to is found at Timog Avenue at the section closer to GMA. This is basically a budget restaurant specializing in T-bone steak. The prices are quite affordable with generous serving sizes, so it's always one of those places we go by every once in a while.

While the gist of their menu is the T-bone steak, they do have sides and other dishes. Beloved ordered for herself their Cream Dory with Rice and drink (132 Php). I ordered their regular T-Bone Steak (99 Php), which doesn't come with anything. That in mind, I also ordered their Sirloin Rice with a drink (62 Php) and mistakenly ordered the larger serving of their Kangkong Stir Fry (95 Php).

Monday, October 11, 2010

Johnny Rockets (Tomas Morato)

Earlier tonight, Beloved and I ate at Johnny Rockets. This burger place has been a "want to go but I know for sure this is gonna be an expensive place" kind of resto in my list. Heck, I've never gotten the opportunity to see the menu even though there's a Johnny Rockets at Eastwood and practically all other restaurants provide prices for their food outside to lure you in. Just that is a sign that this is gonna be an expensive place. What made this a "want to go" place was, aside from being a burger joint and me being a burger aficionado, the fact that they serve eat all you can fries—another food item I can practically fill my belly with. Anyway, another branch opened up at Tomas Morato just recently. For some reason, Beloved and I took earlier tonight the opportunity to try it out.

As expected, their menu is filled with burgers. I was also overjoyed with the fact that all their burger items come with said all you can eat fries. They boast that their patties were 1/3 pound ones, and they do have quite a few selections varying in different toppings. The downside is their cheapest burger and fries combo is a little less than 300 Php. That was expected by me, anyway. After a hard time deciding, I just went for their Rocket Single (345 Php), and Beloved had their #12 (335 Php). Our drinks cost a whopping 110 Php each for Lemonade and Iced Tea. They're refillable, though. My father once said to me that this place has the best shakes and malts, but seeing as they're priced almost as expensively as our food, we decided to pass on that.

Octoboy (Tomas Morato)

Beloved and I had dinner at Octoboy last night. This is a relatively new Japanese restaurant in Tomas Morato that specializes in okonomiyaki or Japanese pancake/omelette with random stuff on it. It is found at the second floor of the newly-renovated place where Grilled Tomato is. Beloved heard from a friend that it's pretty good here. Also, Beloved thought that their mascot is cute, so we took the opportunity to try it out.

We discover that Octoboy was in a dry run, but it didn't bother us unlike the time Bubble Tea was since we didn't have a loyalty card for this resto—not that they offer any in my knowledge. Also, while their okonomiyaki pretty much defines their menu, they still have the usual Japanese staples such as donburi and sushi. Because we wanted to know if this place can be considered to fill our cravings of raw fish, we ordered their Salmon Sashimi (180 Php). Of course, we ordered their okonomiyaki. After a hard time choosing, we went for their cheapest and probably most authentic one: their Octopus Okonomiyaki (285 Php). Finally, thinking we needed some sort of starch to go with the pancake, we decided to also order their Chicken Yakiudon (355 Php). Our drinks were a couple of cans of soda charged double its worth that it's not worth mentioning and would probably skip the next time.

I was pretty disappointed in the amount of Salmon Sashimi they gave us—just six not-so-thick slices from the fillet. I'll admit that they're pretty fresh and has that creamy, melt-in-your mouth texture that I crave for in sashimi.

Their Chicken Yakiudon arrived in a sizzling plate. Don't be fooled by the utensils—those are used for serving. So, yes, it's a pretty damn big plate, good for maybe two to three. The chicken was superb. It had a strong smoky flavor and tender meat coated in a crispy exterior. The noodles were pretty good as well. They had a very mild sour and very mild sweet flavor in every noodle. My only complaint with this dish was the slab of red ginger, certainly not my kind of palate cleanser and this dish certainly didn't need any.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Frostbite (SM North EDSA)

When Inggo asked me what I want as my reward for passing my thesis, I answered "ice cream". So we looked for an ice cream shop at SM North Sky Garden yesterday, after dinner at Koryo. We settled for Frostbite because I was too tired to walk. Frostbite uses the brand "Fruits in Icecream" for their creations. They have Coffee Bun with Icecream, bibingka, waffles and the like. I chose their Caramelo bowl for 90 Php.

Koryo (SM North EDSA)

Beloved and I had dinner at Koryo last night. This is a newly-opened Korean barbecue resto-bar at SM North EDSA's Sky Garden that kept handing out free garlic potatoes in front of their joint. The transparent glass let us see the flames from their grill, which made it quite appealing. However, the fact that this is Korean=kimchi makes me have second doubts. I cast these doubts aside and hoped that their flavors would be on the sweeter half of Korean food, rather than the spicy side.

The way of ordering here is similar to school canteens or cafeterias—you choose your meal and pick the side dishes visibly kept on warming trays. The meal choices, as expected, consists mostly of barbecued meat. However, there were also a few selections of udon soups. I ordered for myself their Beef and Chicken Barbecue Combo (195 Php). My order comes with a couple of scoops of seasoned rice and a couple of side dishes, and I picked their Fish Cakes and Garlic Potatoes. Beloved ordered their Seafood U-don (225 Php)—yes, it really had a hyphen in its name. Our drinks were large non-refillable Iced Tea for beloved and Mango Juice for me (55 Php each), although they did have quite generous servings.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Marina (Timog)

Beloved and I had breakfast at Marina yesterday. Marina is a seafood bar and grill, which makes it pretty ironic that we went here for breakfast. I haven't personally tried said bar and grill portion of the place, but I saw a tempting advertisement at Timog boasting a 120 Php breakfast buffet promo at said branch. Still, I thought it was pretty doubtful since I knew Marina was a seafood grill, and I thought they would serve refurbished leftovers from the night before. However, I cannot deny that 120 Php is pretty much cheaper than any other available breakfast place that can actually make us full, so we decided to take advantage of it.

It probably needs no introduction, but we dug straight in. It was actually only 119 Php for the buffet and we also had the option to add 25 Php for free-flowing coffee, which we also partook of.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Miguelito's Fried Ice Cream (SM North EDSA)

While wandering around SM North EDSA's annex after dinner at Persia Grill, me and my friends passed by an interesting stall at the 5th floor. The stall was called Miguelito's Fried Ice Cream. The thought of "fried ice cream" wasn't really weird for me, because I've had deep-fried ice cream before—ice cream wrapped in batter then deep fried. However, I soon learn that this was no deep-fried ice cream—this really was "fried" ice cream, and the thought made me very interested. Upon learning how cheap it was, we decided to try it out.

There were plenty of flavors to choose from—practically anything you can find from the peddled dirty ice cream and some of the common ones you get from Selecta or Nestlé, such as double dutch and black forest. The main difference is they come in powdered form. The server blends it with water and then "cooks" it on a cold pan, spreading it out onto a large, thin pancake shape. The mixture freezes and then scraped into rolls of ice cream. You then get a choice of syrup and one topping for the 25 Php cup, again, with plenty of choices to choose from. I had a cheese-flavored one with caramel syrup and rice crispies.

Persia Grill (SM North EDSA)

My friends and I celebrated one of our companion's birthday at Persia Grill on SM North EDSA's Sky Garden a couple of nights ago. I guess it's pretty obvious that this place specializes in Persian food, such as kebabs and the likes. What made us decide to go here was a promo involving beer, bongs, and food. And, yes, I did say bong, as in the one you smoke weed in. Except Persia Grill's bong doesn't have weed in it, just the water and the smoke.

Anyway, we ordered for our group the said promo which includes, as I've said, 6 bottles of beer, a bong called Shisha, and Nachos for 499 Php. We also ordered individual meals for ourselves. Weirdly named rice meals dominate the menu, and the rice they use are long grained ones. Because I was quite interested in said rice, I had for myself an order of their Lamb Biryani for 295 Php. My friends ordered kebabs, which is relatively affordable at only 199 Php.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tempura Japanese Grill (Trinoma)

Beloved and I had dinner at Tempura Japanese Grill the other night. It's been a while, and I guess I was wondering if it was still the pretty darn good Japanese restaurant we always found it to be. Okay, actually, we were just looking for a place that served bottomless drinks and wasn't feeling Bigoli. Also, Beloved mentioned that she tried their bacon-wrapped asparagus here and found it better than the one at Kimono Ken, so I guess I wanted to try that.

We soon find out that they were out of bacon, and we didn't get to try out their Ebi-Aspara Bacon Maki. So instead, we ordered their Gyu Aspara Maki (180 Php). Of course, we had to order their Tempura, and go 5 pieces for 300 Php. Beloved also wanted Miso Soup (50 Php), so we ordered one. We also ordered a couple of their Chahan, or fried rice, for 55 Php each. Finally, aside from the bottomless iced teas (65 Php each), we also asked for an order of their Temari Sushi (115 Php).

Monday, September 20, 2010

Icebergs (Trinoma)

Me and my friends went to Icebergs a couple of days ago. This is one of those I've-passed-by-this-place-a-lot-of-times-before-but-never/rarely-tried-it places—for me, at least. I think the number of times I've been here can be counted in one hand. From its name, you can assume it specializes in ice cream, which it does. The branch I always pass by, especially when I was a child, was the one in SM North EDSA. But the place it's in is pretty obscure that me and my lola, whom I always go with to go grocery shopping there back then, don't get to visit it. That, and my family has a history of diabetes. That doesn't stop any of us from eating ice cream, though.

Anyway, the branch we went to was the one in Trinoma. Similar to SM North's Icebergs branch, this one is also in an obscure place, surrounded by apparel stores that you wouldn't think there was a food place here. I also thought it was pretty funny that despite this being an ice cream store, the place features other foodstuffs, specifically Pinoy favorites such as sisig. Because I was hungry, I decided to try out one of their "all-time favorites"—their Golden Lechon Kawali (178 Php). The reason I got that was the rice, which I found interesting. I upgraded the plain rice that comes with the meal to their Yellow Corn Rice for 32 Php. Because Icebergs is an ice cream store, I also got one of their desserts—their Caramel Flan con Hielo (118 Php)—after a very hard time deciding.

My meal came first. Don't let the picture fool you—there's actually a lot of rice and a thick cut of meat. My friends were laughing at the fact that the pork was extremely oily on the side down, teasing that I would certainly die young. Nevertheless, I will admit that this is one great piece of pork. The fats toasted just right to retain its delicious flavor while still having enough juices keeping it from being dry. The atsara is a welcome addition to the plate as well, making for a great palate cleanser. Sadly, the rice, which was the reason I ordered this plate, wasn't really that great. I expected a buttery flavor, but it just tasted a bit plain. The only difference, aside from the color, is the random bits of corn every now and then.

Teriyaki Boy - Sushi Fest (SM North EDSA)

Last Friday, Beloved and I had dinner at Teriyaki Boy SM North Annex. Now, if you've been following our food adventures, you'll probably wonder why we went here despite having terrible experiences in this particular chain. Apparently, Teriyaki Boy's SM North Annex branch is having a "Sushi Fest" promo wherein you get to eat as much sushi as you want for only 250 Php. Despite not knowing the quality of Teriyaki Boy's sushi, we risked going there because of how much of a steal the promo is. We also had to go on Friday because the promo runs only on weekdays.

Anyway, after going to the branch, we learn additional details regarding this Sushi Fest. In addition to being able to order as much sushi as you want from 10 different choices, you can also order a plate of sashimi 50% off. We decided to take that offer up as well, and ordered their Shake (salmon) Sashimi which is originally 190 Php for a plate, but because of the promo is now only at 95 Php. As for our first orders of sushi, we asked for their Tamago (egg) and Maguro (tuna).

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Yellow Cab (Katipunan)

Beloved and I had dinner at Yellow Cab's Katipunan branch last night. This time, she's the one in doubt whether or not I should write a review about this, since this is another well-known pizzeria, perhaps third to Pizza Hut and Shakey's, and perhaps tied in third for Domino's. There's a Yellow Cab branch practically anywhere, at all malls, all major roads, and other populous area. Despite that, I still find Yellow Cab special, and perhaps my favorite popular pizza place among the three I've mentioned. I love their pizzas for the oiliness of their cheese, which I find much more flavorful compared to the other two. However, I don't just go here for their pizzas, and the reason we went last night was because I was craving for this other reason. To find out, read on.

It's been a while since my last Yellow Cab visit. Nine out of ten times I go here, no matter what company I'm with, we usually end up ordering their Four Seasons pizza. This is basically a sampler of four of their best flavors, and three out of four I like a lot. This time, we didn't. They've added something in their menu maybe a year ago that I haven't tried yet but have been wanting to try out—their Dear Darla Pizza. This is a thin crust pizza with minimal toppings meant to be rolled with alfalfa sprouts and arugula leaves, similar to the pizzas in Uncle Cheffy. I was pleased to find out that this pizza is much cheaper than their regular ones, so we managed to order their second size, a 14 inch Dear Darla (435 Php). As for what I was craving, this item in their menu I fell in love with the first time I tried it. Ever since then, I never fail to order this one whenever I go to Yellow Cab—their Twice-Baked Potato Halves (195 Php). Our drinks were a couple of Sola Iced Tea (45 Php); raspberry for beloved and lemon for me.

Kitchen of Cakes and Coffee (SM North EDSA)

After dinner at La Mesa Grill, me and Inggo looked for a place to hang out at Sky Garden since we didn't want to go home yet. We ended up at Kitchen of Cakes and Coffee which is just a few steps away from La Mesa Grill. It's a small coffee shop that specializes in cakes and coffee, obviously. What made me choose this store from all the shops in Sky Garden is that they serve Alamid Coffee, which is the Tagalog version of Kopi Luwak or Civet Coffee. I didn't order that one because it costs (185php) a cup and didn't have the budget.

Instead, I ordered a slice of Crème brûlée for 60php, Iced Thai Milk Tea (80php) for me and Iced Green Milk Tea (80php) for Inggo.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Lamesa Grill (SM North EDSA)

Earlier, Beloved and I had dinner at Lamesa Grill in SM North EDSA. It's kinda funny why we ended up here. Beloved was craving for soup, so we first started going towards Yoshinoya. While at the Sky Garden, we passed by Marina, and beloved started craving for sisig. We almost decided to eat there, but I thought it was weird to eat at a seafood grill and then order pork sisig. We ended up going to the next Filipino resto that served sisig, which was Lamesa Grill from the path we took. Do note that there are many bar-and-grills at Sky Garden that specialize in Filipino food, and Lamesa Grill is just one of them.

Beloved said that Lamesa Grill is the same as Mesa, except this one specializes in the grilled stuff and is a bit cheaper. I do notice that they also have the "boneless crispy pata" in their menu, which I thought was pretty unique when I first saw it, so I guess this sort of confirms what she said. Aside from that, the rest of their menu is similar, but there's noticeably a lot more grilled stuff from seafood to meat. Of course, other Pinoy favorites that goes well with beer are present including sisig, so we ordered that—Pork Sisig for 170 Php. Learning from the past Filipino restaurant experience, we decided to go for variety and ordered a healthy plate of Adobong Kangkong with Garlic for 115 Php. To add variety, we also ordered a special rice—their Seafood Rice for 150 Php. Finally, because we weren't drinkers, we asked for a couple of glasses of their Bottomless Iced Tea priced at 65 Php which was nothing special, but I guess reasonably priced.

Friday, September 10, 2010

OMA (Scout Fuentabella near Tomas Morato)

A couple of nights ago, beloved and I had dinner at Oma. Oma is a semi-Filipino bar and restaurant at one of the junction streets of Tomas Morato. Why I call it semi-Filipino, read on. Anyway, Beloved has been bugging me to go here after learning the names of the two soups in their menu. However, every time we pass by, it's either under renovation, closed because it's a Monday, or still not open because the sun's still up. Finally, after deciding to eat at Burger King, we happen to pass by and see it open so took the opportunity to do so.

Why I call Oma a semi-Filipino bar and restaurant is because they have either your Filipino favorites such as sisig and Pinoy stews such as sinigang, adobo, caldereta, et cetera, or your usual bar menu such as finger foods, pasta, and pizza with a Filipino twist. The Filipino twist usually comes with the use of kesong puti, specifically in their pasta and pizza. If that's not enough, they also name their menu items with common Filipino first names. Also, because this was a bar, I expected elevated prices from your usual restaurant.

Beloved was somewhat disappointed in learning that they replaced one of the soups, Iñigo, to a different one. Also, the other soup, Ramon, although was still in the menu, wasn't available the time we went. So, yes, we didn't get to order my entire first name. We did learn that half of Beloved's first name was available in a form of pasta, so we got that: an order of Paulina (255 Php). In addition to that, we also got a pizza: one Clara for 320 Php. For our drinks, because we weren't really much of drinkers, just got ourselves a couple of glasses of Bottomless Iced Tea for 60 Php each; no cute or silly names here.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Kenny Rogers Roasters (SM North EDSA)

Beloved and I had early dinner at Kenny Rogers a couple of days ago at SM North EDSA. You know, I'm pretty torn about writing this one. For one, Kenny Rogers is borderline fast food, and I don't really review fast food places simply because I wouldn't want to bore people writing countless entries about McDonald's. Unless it's an obscure place nobody knows about and I feel that everyone should, I draw the line there. Second, and more importantly, I believe everyone knows this place and I bet everyone has tried it at least once. I usually write about the more unknown places I don't see advertised on the tubes or paper. It was beloved that swayed me into writing this, as our particular stay here was a somewhat interesting one and that the number of times she'd been here is less than half the number of fingers on one of her hands—and both her hands have a full set of five. So with that, I shall continue.

Kenny Rogers specialize in, obviously, roasted stuff. Once, they were known only for their roast chicken and baby back ribs, but through the years they've started diversifying their menu. They boast that their food is healthier than usual since they're all roasted or grilled. What made our particular stay here interesting was our choices. Beloved ordered for herself their Low Calorie Meal (185 Php) and I got their High Fiber Meal (185 Php). We also grabbed a half-dozen box of their Corn Muffins (70 Php).

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Yogi Berry (SM North EDSA)

Beloved and I met up with our friends who were waiting at Yogi Berry. They were having yogurt from the said store, and we learn that they have a pay-by-weight style similar to Qoola. We also find out that the store is much, much cheaper than my comparison, and even to your regular yogurt store. I guess it also doesn't hurt that this would make my blog have another yogurt entry even though I'm not particularly fond of the dessert. With those facts jotted down, we head to the self-service counter.

Like Qoola, they have several flavors—melon, blueberry, raspberry, strawberry, and your plain classic yogurt. I expect these flavors to come and go depending on the time, day, and maybe mood of the manager/owner. Because my favorite flavor (green tea) was not in the choices, I went for their plain yogurt, filling my cup halfway through after learning my lesson from my first self-serve yogurt experience. Beloved got their melon flavored yogurt.

Great British Take-Out (SM North EDSA)

While waiting for beloved at SM North EDSA a couple of days ago, I happen to pass by this small store at the Sky Garden which piqued my curiosity. When beloved arrived, we went back here because I was pretty hungry as I haven't eaten yet that day. Great British Take-Out boasts that all their items are below 100 Php. Since it has "take out" in its name, has Austin Powers references in their poster, and we were catching up with our friends to go to a movie, I thought this was a perfect place to try out.

Their menu really did consist of stuff under 100, but it was a bit brow-cringing that their top items were 95 Php. The price was still pretty fair, despite that. Their specialty were finger foods with chips (fries). I ordered their Shaggy Fish and Chips, priced at 95 Php. You get to choose what kind of chips and dip to go with it. I got their randomly chose their hand-cut fries and honey mustard sauce.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Yogreat (Dapitan)

While waiting for my thesis adviser the other day, I decided to go to the Dapitan side of UST since I was craving for yogurt. I planned on going to California Berry since it is nearer to my building, but I ended up at Yogreat because of the heat and my budget.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Oki Oki (Trinoma)

Today, beloved and I had lunch at Oki Oki. This Japanese restaurant has been at the main entrance of Trinoma ever since the mall's incarnation as far as I can remember. However, all these years, we never ate there. Why? Perhaps because it eludes an unappealing atmosphere from its shabby interiors and unwelcoming look. The number of customers we find eating there wasn't enough to sway us in as well. Even though it never seem to have a lot of customers, even after all these years, this particular restaurant is still there. Finally, after the said years pass, we finally mustered enough courage to try it out.

We did manage to take a peek at their menu before coming in, and we did see that their prices were comparable, maybe a bit more expensive to other Japanese restaurants we've tried. Their menu is also a bit laughable, with a lot of spelling mistakes and inserted messages I can only guess were pranks played by the menu encoder. They do boast they serve the "largest tempura in town". Seeing that message, I was inclined to try it out. However, I also wanted to try out their other stuff, particularly their sashimi, and their menu basically has every Japanese dish you can think of. Luckily, they do serve bento boxes which comes with tempura among other stuff, with your choice of main teppanyaki dish. So I ordered their Executive Bento C (495 Php). Beloved had a bento box as well, their Executive Bento B (380 Php). As for our drinks, beloved had their Refillable Iced Tea (80 Php) and I had a pot of their Hot Green Tea (50 Php).

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Gumbo (SM North EDSA)

Beloved and I ate at Gumbo last night. This is a New Orleans style restaurant in SM North EDSA the Block which specializes in, well, gumbo and the likes. I've eaten here a couple of times, and at both times, I found my food a bit spicier than I would've liked it. But it was okay—I guess that's what's New Orleans cooking is about. In addition to the spiciness, all their food seems to come from the sea, if not sausage. Beloved and her family frequent this place because they love seafood. Anyway, because beloved was craving for crab, we decided to go here.

It was actually my first time dining here, but I've tried their Jambalaya (basically New Orleans paella) a couple of times. Their items are basically good for at least two, maybe up to five if there are plenty of viands. Anyway, we ordered that—their petite-sized Seafood Jambalaya (395 Php) cooked mild. As for the crab, we ordered their Bayou's Stuffed Crab (495 Php), which the waiter warns me was spicy. After nodding it off, we ordered Refillable Iced Tea for our drinks (80 Php each), which came at once and was quite delicious; not too sweet like the usual instant-sugary ones.

They gave us complementary bread as we wait for our order. It was crunchy on the outside and soft and tasty on the inside. The garlic-oil dip they gave didn't do a lot, but the bread in itself was okay.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Pepper Lunch (Greenbelt)

While at Greenbelt a couple of days ago, beloved and I found ourselves having a late lunch at Pepper Lunch. Apparently, this is the restaurant is what borne Sizzling Pepper Steak that we frequent a lot. According to beloved, this restaurant uses superior quality ingredients so I should expect premium prices. Similar to Sizzling Pepper Steak, this is a Japanese teppanyaki restaurant where they put meat on a hot plate and you do the "cooking" on your table. Anyway, because we were in the area and most of the restaurants were closed in the afternoon, we ended up going here.

Unlike Sizzling Pepper Steak, Pepper Lunch uses a fast-food style counter to take orders. While I expected a huge price difference, it wasn't really that much with their non-premium meat. Their Beef Pepper Rice, which is a common item on the two comparable restaurants, are priced equally. We didn't order that, though. Beloved got for herself their Curry Beef Pepper Rice (218 Php). As for me, I took one of the premium items seeing as I probably won't be going here again and wanted to make the best of it. I ordered their Shimofuri Pepper Steak (610 Php), which I don't have any idea what it means but I liked how the beef has a lot of marbling so I got that. I also got their Yakiniku Sauce (30 Php) for the heck of it. For our drinks, beloved got for herself their Orange Juice (40 Php) and I had Hot Green Tea (40 Php), both are given right away from the counter fast-food style.

Kimono Ken (Tomas Morato)

Beloved and I ate at Kimono Ken last night. This is a Japanese resto, which you can probably guess from its name, at Tomas Morato. We didn't plan on eating here, but the restaurant we were planning to go to was closed on a Monday, and so was the next one we were planning on going to. It also wasn't the first time we ate at this restaurant, although this was the first time at this branch. I don't really remember anything spectacular from this resto apart from their expensive (although somewhat good) sashimi which I vowed never to try again even if I have cravings. In addition, I cannot remember what else I've ordered here, so I guess it'll be pretty fresh apart from the sashimi fiasco. Anyway, due to the circumstances and hunger, we ended up here.

Seeing their menu, I find out that they haven't changed the prices and servings for their sushi and sashimi. Their sushi costs over a hundred for two pieces and their sashimi two hundred or more for a measly amount. That fact in mind, we didn't order any. Their other menu items seemed decently priced in contrast. Beloved ordered their Beef Curry (200 Php). After a hard time deciding between tempura, which looked very good seeing all the other tables having them, and their ramen, the latter won just because I wasn't really craving for rice. So I ordered their Shoyu Ramen (195 Php) and their Bacon Asparagus Maki (170 Php) to compensate for the hunger. For our drinks, beloved had their Kimono Ken Special (75 Php), and I had their Iced Tea (40 Php), both non-refillable drinks.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Aveneto Pizzarea Ristorante (Trinoma)

Yesterday, for lunch, beloved and I ate at Aveneto. This is one of the more overdue nomnom adventures we've had, since we've been here more times than I can accurately remember. And if you're a mall-goer or live in the vicinity of Visayas Ave., you've probably at least heard of this resto, if not have eaten in it. If not, well, you can probably assume from its name that it's Italian, and it is. Being an Italian restaurant, they specialize in pizzas and pastas, but also have some nonstandard Italian fare ranging from their appetizers and their hero sandwiches (then again, maybe the latter is also Italian). This restaurant has a lot of branches, and I've been to most of them. The particular one we ate at yesterday was their Trinoma branch. When we go here, it's usually full because it's dinner time. Their lunch hours are the opposite of that, and we were practically the only table when we came in.

Aveneto is a place you don't go alone, or even on a date. You go here in groups of maybe at least four simply because of the serving sizes. This is one of the places me and my friends go to when there's an occasion and have no particular place in mind because it's a pretty good value if you're in a huge group. Their pastas are good for at least two, and their pizzas, even the smallest, can be shared by four (assuming you ordered pastas on the side). A good thing, though, is that like most Filipino franchises, they allow taking home of your leftovers with no extra charge. That thought in mind, we decided to order a pasta, a small pizza, and a couple of appetizers. Beloved wanted their Deep Fried Crabsticks (190 Php), and I wanted their French Fries (55 Php). Because their appetizers platter, which contains cheese balls and chicken wings aside from the aforementioned, has less crabsticks than she wanted, we just ordered them separately. As for our pasta, we ordered their Seafood Pasta Parmigiana (250 Php) on thick noodles, which is basically seafood pasta in red sauce. Our pizza of choice was their small Vegetarian Pizza (240 Php), because it was basically the only choice we had that has mushrooms, no seafood, and sounded complementary to what we ordered. Their Refillable Iced Tea is priced at 65 Php, and we ordered one for each of us.

Monday, August 9, 2010

YakiMIX - Revisited (Tomas Morato)

Beloved and I ate at YakiMIX last Saturday for lunch. We were supposed to go there the night before because it was my birthday. We didn't take the risk of going because it was pretty late at night when we prepared, so we delayed this date for the next day. We came in about fifteen minutes before it opens (which is at 11:00 AM). I was pretty excited because of unlimited sashimi and bacon, but I also decided for myself to try out their cooked food. Oh, if you can't understand what I'm talking about, kindly read my review of the last time we went here.

Anyway, because we came in early, we were seated immediately. However, we weren't the first ones there. There were already a couple of tables full and a lot more reserved. This just exemplifies how popular this place is. We had to wait a bit more before the buffet actually opens. Whether it was luck or not, we notice that we only had to pay 499 Php as opposed to the 580 Php we paid when we had dinner here. This cheaper tag was the price of their lunch buffet on Mondays to Saturdays. If the lunch buffet is actually any different from the dinner, we were about to find out.

As usual, we went in for their raw stuff first. We were surprised to find out that there was no tuna sashimi, one difference. Luckily, the salmon was still there, and was enough to make us happy. Both of us got a generous amount, and beloved also got some of their tamago and kani sashimi.

As for me, I went to their cooked stuff to try them out. Although I already tried their tempura before, I noticed that when I turned around, there was no more of the shrimp tempura. I did get a couple of pieces from the assorted basket. In addition to that, I tried out their jellyfish, yakisoba, fried rice, roasted duck, lechon kawali, and chop suey.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Santorini (UST)

Every other friday night, me and my blockmates eat at Santorini because it is the only time we get to bond due to thesis. We went there again for merienda last friday to celebrate Bebs' birthday. Santorini is a Korean restaurant located at P. Noval (beside Jon Clark Cafe) which is loved by CFAD and UST students alike. They have posters of different K-pop groups; a tv that only shows korean shows and music videos; plus a bulletin board where you can post your thoughts and fanart.

I ordered their Bibim guksu noodles (150php) and Chamchii (100php) to share with my blockmates. Ivy ordered Korean pancake (100php) while Dustin ordered their Sogogi (100php). We ordered their Magnolia fruit drinks for (10php) each, plus they have free water. They also serve kimchi for free while waiting.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Friuli Trattoria (Maginhawa Street)

Beloved and I ate at Friuli Trattoria for dinner. Yes, I know I said it'll be a while before our next nomnom adventure. But because Starcraft II's Southeast Asia server lags like hell, it didn't really take plenty of my time. Anyway, Friuli is an Italian joint found in Maginhawa St., one of the closest pizza places from home. It's also our family's restaurant, so I might be a bit biased. I hope you trust that I won't be despite saying that this is my favorite Italian place, as I'll try to back that claim up. I've basically tasted everything on the menu, but recently, they've renovated and added a lot of brewed coffee-based drinks on the menu. It's also been a while since we went here, so we did.

Friuli boasts an affordable menu with some not-so-common varieties of pizza. There's also pasta, which basically comes in two white, two red, and one green varieties. I'm not really big into pasta, and when I do order pasta, I just get the Pesto. But they say they're good as well, especially the Putanesca. I'm digressing, so I'll just say it straight: you go here for the pizza. While we usually order the more affordable ones because of the mantra I follow: pizza is about the crust and not the toppings; we decided to order one of the more premium ones: Spiced Romano (229 Php) because I sort of missed it. Because we're not ordering pasta, we just got their Mozarella Sticks (130 Php) as a side. For our drinks, I had Italian Soda (50 Php) and beloved tried the Iced Caramel (75 Php), one of the newer coffee-based ones. That's it for our meal, and if you add it all up it comes less than 500, which is quite affordable comparing it to our usual food adventures.