Thursday, February 26, 2015

What's New : The Cheese Steak Shop in Singapore

This is a classic story of when a foodie dream came true.♥  

Exactly 3 years ago in (almost always) sunny Manila, The Cheese Steak Shop opened its doors to the hungry public of the Philippines. That was the time when my taste buds were elevated to higher standards of cheese steak sandwich appreciation. "This is the REAL thing" my mind has been telling me. I've later found my favorites such as the Breakfast Cheese Steak paired with a cup of crunchy onion rings.  I knew that when we left Manila, this will be one of those restaurants that I'll miss terribly. Oh for two years, I continued to long for that delicious piece of cheese steak sandwich that's packed with thinly-sliced tender beef and a generous serving of veggies. How I wish they'd come to Singapore.

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Just like that, my wish was granted! A month ago, Paul, O and I went to Kallang Wave Mall to check out the newly opened Cheese Steak Shop. O hasn't tried the one in Manila but hearing how Paul and I continue to rave about it, I can sense that he was pretty excited to try it out himself. Yay for fellow foodie friends! Since we missed Cheese Steak Shop very much, we went a little overboard in ordering our food. It was pretty much a case of "oohh I want to try this..and that...oh and that too...how about this..." you get the gist.

Check out what we enjoyed during our lunch at Cheese Steak Shop Singapore that day:

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Playing Favourites : Cibo (Philippines)

As a food bloggers, friends and even strangers would come up to me and ask one common question: What is you most favourite restaurant? What may seem like an easy question to some is actually one that has left me stumped a couple of times as I rack my brain like it's some kind of a filing cabinet as I try to recall all those amazing, I-could-die-now dining moments.

After having the privilege to dine in hundreds of restaurants in the Philippines alone, I realized that finding my favourite restaurant wasn't exactly all about focusing on the swanky and classy ones that serves caviar, foie gras and a lot more dishes most of us could hardly pronounce properly. It's all about being extremely comfortable when dining in there that it will definitely be the one that I'd automatically go to when I'm feeling down or when I'm just craving for a surefire good meal.

That said, one of my favourite restaurants in the Philippines is none other than Cibo. I have been a loyal fan of Cibo for more than a decade already and I always end up ordering the exact same things every single time. I loved it so much that I can easily give my order without opening the menu. Let me share my Cibo must-haves with you all.

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Patatine Fritte (Php. 155)
I always start my meal with this amazingly good platter of crispy potato chips with Cibo's signature garlic aioli sauce. I believe the potato chips aren't store bought as it has this perfect thickness (or thinness if you will) that makes every piece so crunchy and crazily addicting. Now, the garlic aioli sauce is another thing that we love. Creamy with a slight hint of tangy flavour, we just love dipping every single piece into this before popping the potato chip into our mouths. The mere thought of it now is starting to make me crave for it again *drool*.

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Spinaci Zola (Php. 255)
Together with the potato chips, Cibo has successfully made us eat our veggies with gusto. Served piping hot so you'll always be reminded by the server to be careful and keep your fingers away from the white ramekin. We always manage to finish up the crostinis with a few more spinach dip leftover. The trick is to spread it on to the garlic bread that comes with the pasta or not to be shy and to scoop it up with your spoon. Yummy!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Valentine's Date 2015 : Alt. Pizza in Suntec City, Singapore

I have to admit that I am very sentimental most especially when it comes to... LOVE. Who can blame me? I grew up thinking that once upon a time, a dashing prince will just sweep me off my feet and we'll live happily ever after. Despite this, I would also hope that no wicked witch would come our way but I don't mind having talking tea cups, 7 friendly dwarves (seriously, Fran?!) or a sassy fairy godmother who can instantly give me a ride and a make me a nice looking gown too.

....Well, at least that part about finding my prince charming became a reality but I don't think the others would materialize anytime soon...maybe not ever. *sigh* That's life!

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So, for the past 11 years, my prince, who knows me so well, would ensure that Valentine's Day would be extra special for us. This year, we took the weekend off to have a nice hotel staycation complete with dinner and a movie date too. Nothing extremely fancy as I'm not really a fan of degustation dinners where you'll have to pay so much to eat something that's just as small as a rubber eraser. We just wanted something casual, relaxing and of course, a place that serves good food.

Our movie date was at the new Golden Village Cinemas at Suntec City so we opted to just choose among the restaurants in the mall. We went for Alt. Pizza after hearing raves from fellow bloggers and friends here in Singapore.

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Alt Pizza, which stands of Alternative Pizza, is a local modern pizza bar that's the brainchild of Chef Matthew White who used to be part of Extra Virgin Pizza. What makes Alt. Pizza different is the option for customers to create their own pizza. Indeed, no two customized pizzas will ever be the same as you'd get a wide selection of meats, cheeses, veggies and even sauces. For those who wants to play safe though there's more than a dozen different pizza flavors to choose from.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Of Sugar and Spice : Sweet Incantations Confectionery in Cebu City

"Sugar and spice, and everything nice, That's what little girls are made of."

Truth to be told, it really seems like girls or women have this on-going love affair and fascination towards dessert, agree? So, when I met up with fellow blogger Justinne for a double dinner date in Cebu City last December and we both agreed to have dessert after, our ever supportive and loving partners just willingly went along with the plan. After all, they know better than to stand in the way of true love dessert.

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I'm so glad that Justinne and her beau Luis knew just the perfect place to take us to. Located close to Ayala Center Cebu, Sweet Incantations Confectionery is a cozy looking shop that specializes in cupcakes and homemade ice cream. I totally love the minimalist interiors of this cafe -- black chairs, marbled top tables and wooden serving plates. Simple yet classy!

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We were the only customers that evening which is rare as Justine and her beau L told us that we went perfectly after the holiday rush so not a lot of people are out during this period or most went overseas. No complains though as I'm happy to have the place to ourselves...that and the server's undivided attention bwahaha!

Monday, February 16, 2015

High Society Cafe at The Shoppes @ Marina Bay Sands

To celebrate Valentine's Day, Paul and I booked an overnight staycation at Marina Mandarin Singapore. Anyway, let me tell you more about that in my next few posts. Allow me to skip and talk about the lunch that we had the day after Valentine's Day.

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Since we had a hearty breakfast at the hotel, lunch for us was at 2pm. We got two Groupon vouchers from cousin J for High Society Cafe at The Shoppes @ Marina Bay Sands so we decided to check the restaurant out since we were already in the area. To be honest, I had no idea where the restaurant was as it was only Paul and his cousins who went and ate there before. After walking for about 10 minutes, I spotted the restaurant. It's funny that I don't recall seeing this before perhaps it was overshadowed by the Cold Storage and The CD Shop beside it. The best landmark is to look for Cold Storage and Toast Box which is located across the restaurant.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Huat Ah! : Revisiting Chinatown Food Street, Singapore

Huat Ah!

This is probably the first Singlish phrase that I've learned when we moved to the Lion City exactly two Chinese New Years ago. As half of the city went overseas and the other half were busy visiting families, we took this time to make our visit to IKEA to quickly furnish our new place. All around us, people were tossing shredded vegetables while screaming " Huat Ahhhhh!!" I had no clue what they were doing then but who would have thought that this would be one exciting practice that I always look forward to every Chinese New Year -- Lo Hei. Paul and I loved it so much that we even brought back packs of Yu Sheng Salad to share this "veggie-tossing" practice with our families in Manila.  This is just one of the many things I love about Singapore and the Singaporean culture.

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Another thing we love (and we're pretty sure the rest of the world do too) about Singapore is the yummy hawker heritage. Many have been saying that hawker centres won't be around for long but I do hope it will stay for generations to come. What's there not to love after all? Personally, nothing beats enjoying a plate of Chicken Rice or freshly made Cheese Prata at a neighboring hawker centre for a really reasonable price.

When it comes to Chinese New Year, the place to go would definitely be Chinatown! It's here where you can easily get your fill of bak kwa (there's about 4-5 different brands available), pineapple tarts, prawn rolls, more snacks and sweet pastries too! Well, of course, you can also buy packs of hong bao (ang pao) and home decors at a cheaper rate too. Beginning mid of last month, Chinatown has been so busy with shoppers filling up the streets till late at night. After all that shopping, then we just got to eat right? Then it's time to check out Chinatown Food Street which will be open till 2AM until the eve of Chinese New Year (18 February 2015). Ready to cater to the needs of all hungry shoppers, all stalls will be open to serve your favorite Singapore hawker dishes.

Here are my top 10 recommended dishes (in no specific order) to try in Chinatown Food Street:

Friday, February 13, 2015

#FrannyCooks Recipe : Cheezy Garlic Tuyo and Mushroom Pizza

At the start of the year I made two major resolutions and I vowed to finally make sure that I accomplish them. First is to start a fitness regimen and to get healthy while the second is to cook more. It may sound contradicting but you see, I realized that being able to cook my own meals means I can have full control of the amount of oil, salt and sugar that goes into each dish. This way, not only will I be able to hone my domestic goddess kitchen skills, we can eat healthier too.

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With that, #frannycooks on Instagram was born. I'm no Julia Child or Giada de Laurentiis (although I wish I am as pretty and hot as her), however that doesn't stop me from being creative with my cooking. Thankfully, I've moved forward from the usual pasta or egg dishes that I've been making all these years. I'm someone who loves challenges and on nights when I know that Paul will be working late, I take that as a challenge to be able to surprise him with a good meal.

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I also hate wastage so another challenge is also to use up all leftover ingredients in the fridge or in our kitchen cabinet. So far, that's how I plan our meal. I would think of the things that we have and would start researching on different possible dishes that I can make. So far, I've managed to make my very first Beef Stroganoff which Paul happily ate and last night, I made my first homemade Garlic Tuyo & Mushroom Pizza using that pack of Garlic Tortilla Wrapper and White/Yellow Cheese that I bought the other day.

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