Friday, December 12, 2014

Katsu Sora (Trinoma)

Beloved and I had dinner at Katsu Sora. This katsu place is located right beside Hokkaido Ramen Santouka, and I believe they have the same owner or franchisee, at Trinoma's alfresco area. This place is a direct competition of Yabu, one of our favorite food places, specializing it katsu. But does it offer any competition at all?

One big thing we noticed is that they are also a buffet. No, they don't offer unlimited katsu. Instead, they have a salad, soup, and rice buffet with their sets. The last one we can forgo, but Beloved and I were quite piqued due to the first two. After investigating the menu, we also learned that while they offer the sought-after kurobuta, or Japanese black pig, they offer an even more premium Iberico, which, I believe, is also black pig, but from Spain.

Because of that, I opted to try out one of their most expensive items in the menu, the Iberico Pork Set (655 Php). Beloved ordered their Menchi Katsu Curry Set (350 Php), which offers a sampling of all of the different kinds of pork they offer (Iberico, Kurobuta, Shimofuri, and Sakura). I also ordered their Calamansi Sprite (70 Php), because I like Calamansi and I like sprite, but I've never thought of combining them in one drink.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Nanbantei (Bonifacio High Street)

Beloved and I had dinner at Nanbantei. This Japanese restaurant is located at Bonifacio High Street, a place we rarely go to. According to Beloved, this is not the only branch of this place, and her uncle frequents the same restaurant's Greenbelt branch, which is another place we rarely go to. This place specializes in yakiniku, or Japanese barbecue. What differs from the norm is that this place isn't a buffet like YakiMIX or Sambo Kojin, nor is it a barbecue place where you grill stuff on your table. Instead, it's just your typical sit-down restaurant specializing in yakiniku.

Most of their menu consists of these yakiniku offerings, basically meat or veggies on stick, grilled Japanese-style, each having two pieces per order. However, they also serve platters which are collections of their yakiniku offerings for a cheaper overall cost. We ordered their Best Sellers Platter (985 Php). We also ordered two different kinds of their rice offerings. Beloved got their Yakimeshi or Japanese Fried Rice (110 Php) and I got their Shiitake Rice (100 Php) because it sounded interesting. Because they also had a promo on their cocktails, taking 50% off the price, we got those as our drinks: Japanese Mojito (175 Php normally) for me and Hibiscus Mojito (150 Php normally) for Beloved.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Hokkaido Ramen Santouka (Trinoma)

Another ramen place? Sure, why not. Beloved and I had dinner a couple of times at Hokkaido Ramen Santouka at Trinoma. This relatively new ramen place opened its doors at Trinoma's fourth floor alfresco area, replacing our old tambayan Timezone Arena. Good old days.

Anyway, our first time was a couple of weeks ago with friends. Since that was a bit unplanned in Beloved and my part, we weren't really sure what to order there. Luckily, our friends have been here a couple of times and, to my surprise, they recommended not their ramen, but their set meals. They actually have quite a few, pairing up ramen with salad, dessert, and another main dish. Most of their stuff in the menu were the usual Japanese fair, such as tonkatsu, Japanese curry, and ebi fry. However, I found one item unique, which was why I went for that. I ordered their Set J (470 Php) with shoyu broth. Beloved ordered their Set G (470 Php) and added 20 Php for their kara-miso broth. We also ordered their Kurobuta Gyoza (240 Php) because the sets didn't look very filling for us (very big disclaimer for normal eaters here).

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Hot Star Large Fried Chicken (near Katipunan)

Beloved and I had afterbrunch, or perhaps more of a brinner (dinner as breakfast, coined by me), at Hot Star's somewhat newly-opened Katipunan Branch. It's not actually at Katipunan itself, but on one of the side roads, F. dela Rosa to be precise. From the title, you can probably assume what it serves: Large Fried Chicken.

Now, I'm not virgin to this place. Our office had lunch here the day before, and I've seen how Large their Fried Chicken was. I didn't order their chicken and rice combo, however, and instead opted for their chicken sandwich. While hefty, it wasn't as huge as the chicken that came with their rice meals.

Anyway, they offer four kinds of "Large Fried" meals, named simply "HS" followed by a number. Beloved ordered their HS1 which was their Original Fried Chicken for 110 Php. To this she added 35 Php for rice and drinks and additional 10 Php to upsize said drink. I ordered their HS4 which was their Large Crispy Fish, also for 110 Php. Instead of adding rice and drinks to mine, I also ordered their French Fries (60 Php) and had their Combination Ice Crush (45 Php) for drinks.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Ramen Nagi (SM North EDSA)

Beloved and I had dinner at Ramen Nagi for the last two Fridays. This ramen place is apparently the most-reviewed so far this year. We never had the chance to visit it because of work even though a somewhat accessible one opened shop at SM North EDSA. We only had a chance recently because, for some reason, both of our Fridays became a bit more schedule-friendly.

But that's aside the point. The SM North EDSA branch of this apparently world-famous ramen place is located at the first floor of the City Center, a.k.a. "Main". Since it's very well reviewed (although a bit mixed), we were somewhat prepared on their specialties. Apparently, there are four kinds of broth, easily distinguished by their color. They have brown, red, black, and green-colored broth all named as "kings". Yes, we were weirded out at first with the latter two. We decided to spend two weeks to try out all the kinds of broth.

While there was a slight queue (not as terrible-slash-amazing as Ippudo's), the turnover was very quick. We discover that, similar to most ramen places, seating was communal. They also have a now familiar ordering process where they have the tickets left blank and you fill in your order. This showed how pricey their ramen were. Anyway ordered the Butao King (390 Php) for me (the brown one). My customizations were normal richness, normal special sauce, and light garlic for soup base; belly for pork, and green onions for vegetables as toppings; just one level of spiciness (you can go up to 10) which, according to the instructions, is the suggested standard; and hard noodles. I also added tamago (50 Php), pork shoulder (100 Php), and extra noodles (70 Php).

Beloved ordered the Red King (410 Php), shoulder and green onions as toppings, and 7 levels of spiciness and forgetting the rest of the details. She also added tamago (50 Php) to hers.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Ippudo (SM Megamall)

Beloved and I had brunch at Ippudo earlier today. This world-famous ramen place is among the best, according to fellow foodies, having over 80 branches in Japan alone with a lot more worldwide. Ippudo opened its doors at Megamall's newest Fashion Hall wing earlier this week, making all said foodies rave about it. Knowing the hype it generated will definitely mean a waiting queue, we decided to have brunch here instead of the usual dinners.

To our non-surprise, there was already a queue when we arrived, just before 11am. The provided row of seats wasn't enough and had a good half of the queue standing. Good thing they gave us peeps in the queue a cup of cold tea. We also had the chance to look at the menu and prepare our orders. Unlike other ramen places with complicated menus, listing a bazillion varieties by mixing and matching different toppings to different broths, this place only has three main varieties, differing only in broth. The first is their shiromaru motoaji, which seems to be the "classic" broth. Next is their akamaru shinaji, which seems to be the first broth with blended miso paste and garlic oil. Finally, there's the  karaka-men, which is similar to the second one with a spicy twist. You can get all varieties in either plain; tamago, or with egg; chasyu, or with barbecued pork belly; or special, which has both egg and chasyu. In addition to that, you can also add additional toppings if desired. They also serve other sides such as gyoza.

After an hour, we were finally welcomed inside the packed-full restaurant. We were already decided on what to order. I had their Shiromaru Special (480 Php) and Beloved ordered their Karaka Special (490 Php). We also ordered their Ippudo Hakata-Style Gyoza (195 Php). This is cheaper than the Orishi Ponzu Gyoza, which seems to differ only with the topped radish and spring onions. Similar to Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen, we were asked by our server the desired hardness level of our noodles. She recommended we have it hard, and we did so.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Barkin' Blends Dog Cafe (Loyola Heights, between Katipunan and Esteban Abada)

Beloved and I visited Barkin' Blends Dog Cafe earlier today. This newly opened cafe is one Beloved has been excitedly watching out for. Not because of the "cafe" part, more because of the "dog" part. Beloved is a big dog lover, having two dogs of her own. Here, you get to drink the usual cafe beverages in a room filled with dogs. No, you can't bring dogs in. I also skipped "eating the usual cafe food" because I believe it's not allowed in the presence of dogs.

We were a bit conflicted going here today since it was the opening day. However, Beloved insists that she must see and pet the pug. We went at lunchtime and, as we expected, it was packed with other guests forced to just watch outside while waiting. We decided to grab something to eat nearby and go back.

We got back with the place still full, as expected. There were two rooms, one for the cafe area where you can eat doggie-shaped cupcakes as well as impart with their small menu of coffee- and tea-based drinks and another called the Dog Zone where the dogs reside and only sealed drinks are allowed. Luckily, there was still some space for us in the Dog Zone. To entice us, we were shown a menu of not food or drinks, but of the dogs that you can see and cuddle with inside the dog zone. They charged 180 Php for the entrance to that place inclusive of their most affordable drink. They charged a bit of extra for their more premium drinks. Beloved ordered their Iced Caffe Mocha (180 + 25 Php) and I got their Iced Caramel Macchiato (180 + 25 Php). I wanted to order their Matcha Frapp, but it didn't have whipped cream so I passed.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Nolita (Bonifacio High Street)

Beloved and I had dinner at Nolita. This Japanese-sounding restaurant is apparently an Italian restaurant named after a portmanteau of "North of Little Italy". We ended up here after a recommendation from a friend on where to eat at Boni High Street, a place we rarely frequent, that is up to our budget. We soon learn that it's not really a full-fledged Italian place, but rather specializes in pizzas. Big pizzas.

Because their pizzas are big, they offer them by the slice, and a slice easily filled up an entire plate. While they do offer the entire pie, we thought three kinds would fit both our budget and bellies. One downside was that they weren't really fresh-from-the-oven, and all laid out for the communal customers. With plenty of choices to choose from, we opted for the most curious looking (or sounding) ones. We got a slice of each of their Vegan Eggplant Melange (210 Php), Sausage, Pepperroni, and Mushroom (250 Php), and their Steak and Egg (290 Php) pizzas.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Amici (Tomas Morato)

Beloved and I ate at Amici a couple of times over the past couple of months. The first time was dinner on a whim, looking for what's open. Amici happened to sound satisfying as I was craving pizza that day, and so we went.

For those who don't know, this Italian place serves genuine Italian dishes not limited to pasta and pizza. They also carry risotto, isalata, zuppa, and their own gelato brand among other house specialties, or il favorito dela casa. I wanted to try out their Artichoke and Portobello Flatbread Pizza, but they were out. Instead, we settled for their Truffle Mushroom Pizza (435 Php). Because it felt like it wouldn't satisfy the two of us, we also got their Mediterranean Blue Cheese and Walnut Salad (205 Php) from their selection of insalata. Finally, Beloved ordered their Cafe Mocha (125 Php) because she wanted to.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Domo - Unlimited Tuna Sashimi (Tomas Morato)

Beloved and I had dinner at Domo a few weeks ago. We've been here before and we actually had quite a pleasant experience. The reason we're revisiting was because a week before, we learned that they offered a promotion. We already knew they offer unlimited tuna sashimi, but now, they're offering at a cheaper price. Since we it was now reachable for us compared to before, we decided not to let the chance pass us by.

The cost for this unlimited tuna sashimi, which normally was priced over 1K Php, was priced at 699 Php for this promo. We learn a couple of things: First, this unlimited tuna sashimi promo was different from their usual, more premium unlimited tuna sashimi offering. Second, you can add 100 Php to make this unlimited tuna sashimi promo to a Unlimited Tuna and Salmon Sashimi promo (799 Php). Since we usually like salmon more than tuna, it's an easy addition to spend.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Sweet Spot (Maginhawa Street)

Beloved and I had dinner at The Sweet Spot a couple of weeks ago. This place is one of the first to lease a newly-opened building near the corner where the police station of UP Teacher's village was. I've passed by this place a couple of times before, and noticed that they didn't really offer only sweet stuff, as anyone sane would assume from the name of the place. In fact, I thought one of their items was interesting. Anyway, because we were feeling adventurous, Beloved and I went.

Their menu was quite small, and we learn that this was more of a bistro or cafe than a full-fledged restaurant. Their dishes have a nice ring to their names and they have a wide array of coffee- or tea-based drinks. I ordered their Honey and Whiskey Glazed Pork Belly (285 Php). Beloved got the menu item that I thought was interesting—their Asahi Fish and Wasabi Chips (220 Php). We also ordered their Truffled Cream of Mushroom Soup (90 Php). For our drinks, I settled for their Matcha Green Tea Mint (190 Php) and Beloved asked for their Iced Mocha (120 Php). Note that we didn't get our receipt until later.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Project Pie (Shaw Boulevard)

Me, Beloved, and Const tried out Project Pie for dinner. This is a hot place for foodies being a build-your-own pizza place. What made it hot was the claim that you can put as much toppings as you could possibly can on their pies, hence the "Project" bit.

It was a bit inaccessible for Beloved and I alone, as we didn't have an auto. But with Const, it was a pretty unmissable place to the right side going southward from EDSA. The place was packed and the queue quite long. It promoted a communal approach where you sit wherever and encourages you to sit with strangers. It was actually more of a hassle for an odd group like us because of the lack of vacant seats.

Anyway, as I mentioned, you can build your own pizza using the toppings they offer to your liking at 285 Php per pie. However, they do also offer numbered menu items with preselected ones at a similar price. I ordered their #5, as it seemed to tickle my fancy. I also built one of my own over a red sauce, complementing the #5's white. I made sure I didn't build a gluttonous mountain of toppings like the person before me, which was sadly possible to ask for in this place. Beloved also made her own pie, and Const ordered one of their preselected ones and also made one of his own. Beloved also ordered their Banana Nutella (145 Php), which was simply a dessert offering over their pie crusts. We also ordered Iced Tea (65 Php) which you fill your own from their different iced tea flavors and comes with a one-time refill.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Brotzeit (Shangri-La Plaza)

Beloved and I had dinner at Brotzeit some weeks ago. This German bar that serves mostly beer but also food opened its doors at EDSA Shangri-La. This place proved to be a popular watering hole for some of the classier crowd. However, we mostly wanted to go here for their authentic German sausages. We were aware of how expensive the place was going to be which was why we held out for quite a while. Since it was Christmas-slash-bonus season, we finally had funds to feel safe trying out the place, and we did.

As we confirmed, most of the people here went for the beer, which they serve a lot of kinds of. Neither Beloved nor I were avid drinkers, and only drank on occasion. And if we did, we usually steered clear of the ale or lagers. Feeling adventurous, we tried the two opposite ends of perhaps their specialty beer, the Paulaner Lager and Paulaner Dark Lager (200 Php for a 0.3 liter glass each). The former is the brand and the latter is the color-slash-type of beer. I'm no expert, but I can decipher as much. Since, perhaps unlike the rest of the crowd, we went here for the food, we ordered two kinds of their sausages. Beloved had their Currywurst (430 Php) and I had their Bockwurst (430 Php). We also ordered an appetizer platter that was called Brotzeit Brot (390 Php), which translates to "Best of Brotzeit".

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Taisho (SM North EDSA)

Beloved and I had dinner at Taisho. This small ramen place took over a somewhat unlucky tenancy on SM North EDSA's Sky Garden, having at least two previous tenants before it. Still, it looked like a relatively cheaper ramen place and seemed to be always full. We were lucky to be accommodated immediately when we went.

Aside from the relatively cheaper price (still a bit expensive for the average eater), the place boasts their tonkotsu or pork-based soup, and most of their ramen offerings uses this as their base. They also have donburi or rice-topping offerings, but, since they were flaunting their ramen, we ignored them. With little choice aside from the toppings, Beloved ordered their specialty, the Hakata Tonkotsu Ramen (235 Php) and I ordered their Chasyu Tonkotsu Ramen (295 Php). We also ordered their Gyoza (155 Php) as a side.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Hanuri (Tomas Morato)

Beloved and I had a second dinner at Hanuri a few weeks ago. Yes, you read that right, and if you're curious as to why, find out in a later blog. Anyway, our stomachs weren't satisfied although we already had pleased palates, so we weren't very picky. It was already a bit late at night, so our choices were limited even though we were at the foodie haven of the Tomas Morato area. We noticed the sudden influx of Korean restaurants at the McDonald's side, and one of them happen to be open for 24 hours. Since we know that most modern Korean restos are generally generous with their servings. Since we needed nourishment more than something to tickle our palates; not that Korean food is bad, I just find it monotonous in flavor—either spicy or sweet.

We found that their menu is relatively more pricey than the place I consider to be the best value Korean resto. It's still quite competitive against something like Kogi Bulgogi. One unique item in their menu, which is what we ordered, was their Shabu Shabu (390 Php), which, according to the menu, was good for two. We also ordered a bottle of Soju (150php) for the heck of it.