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.