Saturday, September 20, 2014

McDonald's Delight 500 : Grilled Chicken McWrap

Peer pressure [n]: social pressure by members of one's peer group to take a certain action, adopt certain values, or otherwise conform in order to be accepted. (Source)

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I know, I know... I'm too old to be "pressured" by my peers but when it comes to food, I have a good circle of friends whom I trust for their recommendations. Included in this circle is my friend I. She's a foodie herself and is a great cook too. She's someone who got an amazing taste in food and so far, I've loved every single recommended restaurant that she has brought the NKids to. So, when I began talking about McDonald's Grilled Chicken McWrap (S$5.40 a la carte / S$7 meal) and how it's one of the healthier options on McDonald's menu, I knew I had to give it a try. All the more when she and C would bring home these McWraps to enjoy for breakfast or to bring to work the next day.

So, over lunch today, Paul and I decided to head over to McDonald's for me to finally try the McWrap. Look how big the packaging was. I was actually surprised as I was expecting that this won't be very filling judging from the picture on the menu board. It's about a foot long, pretty much like a sub sandwich.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Lola Cafe + Bar in Sct Lozano, Quezon City

During our recent ninja-like visit to Manila, Paul and I agreed that we will try to spend every meal with our families. So, aside from celebrating Papa's birthday and being E's "accomplices" to Pan's surprise engagement, Paul also wanted to treat both families out for an advance blow-out for his upcoming birthday! Of course, he left the responsibility of choosing the restaurants on my hands. No complains here! I happily took out my growing Evernote list and went through it to choose which restaurant would best suit my family's discerning taste.

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I chose Lola Cafe + Bar in Quezon City. I've been hearing quite a lot of raves from fellow bloggers and friends about this homey cafe-bar located within the maze-like Scout area and luckily, Kuya M has such amazing sense of direction that he quickly found the restaurant with ease. 

We went there for lunch so the place was quite empty making it so easy for us to secure a long table for our party of 8. How I wish though that the long table was at the ground floor as it was quite a challenge for my grandparents to go up and down. 

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Mommy helped us in ordering and since we were feeling quite hungry already, our meal began with a huge platter of Veggie Hummus (Php. 150). Served with a generous amount of crunchy pita bread (or I'd call it pita chips), this is a cool twist to the traditional hummus as this has a stronger eggplant taste and the pita bread has a very familiar taste which we're all dying to identify. Pretty good and it surely passed my healthy-eating Mommy's taste. 

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I also got the Camembert Cheese (Php. 350) which is deep-fried and topped with caramelized onions and crostini bread. It was just a-okay as I would have preferred the cheese to be baked instead and to have more caramelized onions which will surely give the dish a nice sweet flavor in contrast to the salty cheese. I honestly was expecting more from this dish given the expensive price tag. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Italian Lunch at Dolce Vita in Mandarin Oriental, Singapore

How I wish I can enjoy my lunch while enjoying this view every day... 

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Well, there's no harm in dreaming right? At least this "dream" became a reality one fine day when I joined a couple of food bloggers for a nice Italian lunch at Dolce Vita in Mandarin Oriental Singapore. This was to give a warm welcome to Chef Omar Bernardi, the restaurant's new Chef de Cuisine.

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Chef Omar Bernardi began his culinary career in some of the top Italian restaurants back in his hometown in Milan, Italy. Restaurants such as two-Michelin-starred San Domenico Ristorante and one-Michelin -starred La Terezza dell'Eden among others became Chef Omar's training ground as he continued to hone his kitchen skills and created a number of gastronomical delights in the process. He later moved here to Singapore in 2011 and has recently joined Mandarin Oriental Singapore.

What's a chef welcome without good food right? For lunch that day, we had a feast! Chef Omar has specially created a 4-course lunch meal for us and I couldn't stop thanking my lucky stars for this opportunity. Yay!

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For starters, we had a basket of warm bread and a trio of spreads -- basil cream, tomato pesto and tomato cream. I couldn't choose which one I like best as all are so yummy! Instead I would alternate them so you can just imagine how many rolls of  bread I ended up eating.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Blackbird Makati at the Nielson Tower

Despite living miles away from home, I'm lucky that I have the Internet and really good friends who keep me updated on the latest happening back home. No, I'm not talking about shameless gossips about poor innocent people but being a true blue foodie, my friends would update me on the latest restaurant that just opened or is currently on everyone's must-eat list. Then, I also have my sister who keeps tab on the newly opened restaurants as well. See, with my friends, my sister and the Internet combined, I got all my foodie news bases covered.

So, months before I flew home for my ninja-like visit to celebrate Papa's birthday, Pan and I were already discussing on where to have dinner this time. You see, my dear Papa is such a creature of habit. Once he loves a certain restaurant, trust that he would want to dine there as often as possible. Lucky for those restaurants as once they win his heart, they automatically get his undying loyalty too. Sadly though, one of his favorite restaurant has closed its doors late last year so we had to go back to the drawing board to decide where to take him and the entire family out for his birthday. 

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Then we heard about Blackbird at the Nielson Tower

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Nielson Tower was formerly called Manila International Air Terminal back in the 30s and was in operation up until the 40s. Today, it's now one of the hottest fine dining restaurants in the city owned by Chef Colin Mackay. The name of the restaurant was said to be after a certain aircraft that Chef Colin loves very much. It's a good thing I learned about this interesting trivia or else I would have probably told my family that the restaurant was named after a famous Beatles song which would have made Papa happy either way since he loves the Beatles very much. 

Another interesting trivia that my sister shared as we were on our way to the restaurant was the shape of the building. If you view it from the top, the Nielson Tower is shaped like an airplane with a left and right wing plus a cockpit too. Awesome! I just love restaurants with so much interesting stories to tell. 

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Look at the interior! Since we went for dinner, the lighting wasn't so good but I just love the classy black and white designs and that gorgeous spiral staircase in the middle. Can you spot my soon-to-be brother-in-law E? :)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Tai-Parfait : Taiyaki Ice Cream Cone in Bugis Junction

Recently, I received an email from a dear reader whom I'll call V and here's what she wrote:

Dear Franny, 
My nephew who just moved to Singapore said he heard of a taiyaki served as an ice cream cone somewhere in Singapore. Wonder if you could find it and show how it looks like?

Here's my reply:

Dearest V, 
Your wish is my command! Thanks to your email, I now found a new ice cream place to visit every time I'm in the Bugis district. This blog post is for you
Love, Franny ♥ 

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Paul and I met up with a couple of friends from high school over lunch yesterday and luckily the restaurant was just a few blocks away from Bugis. I told Paul about V's email and he was very supportive and was game to search for this interesting taiyaki-meets-ice-cream-cone concept that V has mentioned in her email. A quick research brought us to the basement of Bugis Junction where we found Tai-Parfait. Tadahhhh!

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First things first, what is a Taiyaki? This is a fish-shaped waffle filled with normally azuki (red bean) or any kind of custard. In Manila, we're probably more familiar with the Korean Ice Cream brand Melona that sells these Taiyaki filled with azuki and ice cream.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Ladies Night at Hi-So in So! by Sofitel Singapore

I love my job.

There, I said it for the world to read. I'd say that I've been really blessed in the career front. Throughout my 9 years ride, there have been a lot of dreams that came true -- working for two brands that I love, being part of the company that I've been dreaming to work for since college and to have the opportunity to move to that one country that I'm so in love with and to work for such a dynamic and amazing organization. It's too early to sum everything up as I know I have a lot more to go but there's really nothing more than I can ask for at the moment. Okay, fine maybe to reach the top level someday (hahaha!)

No matter how stressful my load can sometimes be, I think I've somehow mastered the art of what we corporate folks would call "work-life balance." For me, going home to enjoy a good dinner with Paul is enough to push all my stressknots away. Blogging has always been my release as well as meeting up with friends, trying a new restaurant or hanging out by the pool. I also believe in taking mid-week breaks. Be it going out for dinner, catching a late night movie or hanging out with my colleagues.

Just a few blocks away from my office is the newly opened So! by Sofitel. I'm very familiar with Sofitel but it was my first time to walk into So! and I quickly noticed the difference from the classic and very posh look, huge spaces and tall ceilings to one that's screaming FAB and CHIC in very corner. Coloured furniture pieces, pretty ladies and handsome gentlemen clicking their heels as they walk down the runway hallway, So! gives a very cool and fun vibe perfect for the younger yet still affluent market. I took the lift up to the top floor where Hi-So was located.

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Hi-So is an open air bar where you can chill and sip in your own cabana-like booths. The best time to be here would be during the evening where the temperature is cooler and you can just enjoy Singapore CBD's skyline. I somehow feel bad though enjoying my glass of champagne as some employees from the nearby offices are still hard at work even past 10 in the evening. Hope this would be inviting enough for them to take a break and to enjoy a glass or two as well.

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This was the view that greeted me. Look at the pool made with golden tiles! It's like Midas just did some laps into this pool and it's not glistening gold. So pretty!

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Every Wednesday, Hi-So treats all ladies to a free welcome glass of Ruinart Champagne and should one glass be not enough for you as I trust that you'll definitely want more -- each glass only costs S$10 all night long. I'm no expert drinker but the Ruinart Champagne was really good. It was so suave as how I'd describe it and it was light and sweet too. I barely kept count of the number of champagne glasses I had that evening but I just have to say, I went home a really happy and relaxed woman.

Here are some bar chows that you can enjoy with you drink:

Friday, September 12, 2014

Little Hiro : Hawaiian - Japanese BBQ & Grill in Bukit Timah

The day when Aloha meets Konichiwa. 

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Last Sunday, the NKids went out again for another food adventure and this time, our tummies brought us to the Bukit Timah area. The fastest way to get here is to take the MRT to Botanic Garden and as you go up from the station you'll see a number of interesting-looking restaurants perfect for a nice Sunday brunch. So far, we've tried to restaurants in this area and both were good and worth the trip. For this particular food trip, we went to try Little Hiro which is a relatively new burger restaurant owned by the same group who runs Island Creamery -- a local ice cream parlor serving Singaporean flavors.

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Condiment Party!
Little Hiro has been on my list since the start of the year so I was just so happy when C suggested that we have lunch there. I love the very chic, beach-happy look of the restaurant's exterior. For some reason, I was reminded of the movie 50 First Dates. Mahalo!

I have to say that the menu was extensive and a bit confusing. C had to guide us on how to best understand the menu. Basically, there are four main categories -- Deluxe Hawaiian Grill, Teppanyaki Rice Plates, Ramen Burgers and Big Island Burgers. In addition to that, they also have awesome entrees, super sides and drinks. After going through the menu and staring at it for more than 10 minutes, I went for the Sanzoku Double Hamburg Steak (S$8.50) which comes with butter rice. Very interesting! I only have butter rice with a kebab so it's a first for me to have it with some hamburger steak. Actually, this dish is more a mix of Japanese and Persian for me. :P 

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Let me start by talking about the butter rice, I love that they used something like a Japanese rice so the consistency was slightly glutinous but the grains were well polished. I loved it! It was creamy and tasty! Moving on to the burger steak, sadly I wasn't as pleased with it as I was with the rice. The beef patties were quite thin and it was dry. I somehow concluded that the chef pressed way too hard on the burgers while grilling that all the juices have dried up. Nothing spectacular about this, sadly.

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