Friday, June 23, 2017

Hearth and Heat at The Carvery, Park Hotel Alexandra

Fire up the grill!

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For the past weekends since April, buffet diners of The Carvery have been enjoying a very indulgent meat buffet where the meat are carefully roasted over the restaurant's brand new Argentinian Grill. What makes this different from all other barbecue pits or grills is that it has an adjustable platform allowing the chef to control the heat depending on the type of meat being grilled. He can raise the platform higher for those that shouldn't be in close contact with the fire and lower for those that should have a smokier flavor. It also evenly cooks the meat as all are laid down on the platform and are cooked in one go. As you all know, the secret to getting that perfect barbecued meat lies on the wood being used to cook. Chef Robert Chan specifically made sure that he uses a mix of firewood -- Hickory and Mesquite to bring out a distinct flavor that we later got to enjoy in our cuts of meat.

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For our preview dinner, we got to try a good selection of roast meats and an equally impressive spread of sides. Let me start with the Hickory Pulled Pork with Fried Bun. My friend V has been raving about this saying that this has been everyone's favorite so far. I personally am not too wild over pork but one bite and I immediately knew what she loves it. The shredded pork literally melted in my mouth and I love the addition of slaw inside the fried bun. It's served in bite-sized portions so I can imagine one having more than 4 buns in one sitting.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Staycation Files: Back at F1 Hotel Manila, Taguig City

There's really something about staycations that I love so much. Some would tell me that they don't see the point of staying that night at a hotel especially when you have a home in the same metro. Yes, that's true but sometimes it's just good and healthy to take a break from your regular routine to unwind and simply do..nothing.

So, a week after our return to Manila, Paul and I joined our blogger friends for a fun weekend staycation at F1 Hotel Manila. We're no strangers to this hotel as we had the privilege to stay here 2 years ago. This time, we're back with our friends from the KTG and after our LuzViMinda lunch, we all headed up to our respective rooms to rest up until dinner time.

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Checking in was a breeze as we were directed to the Premier Lounge. It's located also at the same level as the hotel's check-in lobby only you get a dedicated staff to assist you and while waiting you can even help yourself to some of the snacks and drinks available.

Monday, June 19, 2017

LuzViMinda 2017 at F1 Hotel Manila, Philippines

"Ang hindi marunong lumingon sa pinangalingan ay hindi makakarating sa paroroonan." (He who does not know how to look back at where he came from will never get to his destination) - Dr. Jose P. Rizal, Filipino National Hero
Today is the birthday of our country's national hero and if I must say, one of my personal favorite heroes in history too. I still remember reading the entire book on his life when I was in university much too quickly that I finished the entire book even before the semester began. It was such a joy learning about Rizal's life and his works. His death was pretty dramatic too. He was shot by firing squad at Bagumbayan (now known as Rizal Park / Luneta) at the young age of 35. That's exactly how old I am this year and for him, he has traveled the world, wrote a lot of captivating novels (I love Noli Me Tangere) and has tried his best to fight the government for the freedom of the Filipinos. Not a lot of 35 year old individuals can say that they've done that much nowadays. So, hats off to you Dr. Jose Rizal!

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In line with his birthday, June is also the month of our country's independence so F1 Hotel Manila prepared a mouthwatering line-up of delectable dishes from the three main islands of the Philippines -- Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao or was we call it, LuzViMinda. We have 7,107 islands and the entire nation is surrounded by huge bodies of water. That said, we have an abundance of seafood, local produce and some parts have amazing meat products too. I tell you, you'll never go hungry here in the Philippines.

As Paul and I have recently relocated back from the Lion City, this was a perfect welcome for us as we got to enjoy most of our favourite dishes plus a lot more from all over the country. Running until the end of June, F1 Hotel Manila tapped three distinguished chefs namely Chef Mikel Zaguirre, Chef Dennis Uy and Chef Kalel Chan to prepare an interesting repertoire of dishes to represent the different provincial specialties from their assigned island.

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Chef Mikel Zaguirre represented Luzon and aside from featuring popular heirloom dishes, he gave it a twist and gave it his own creative interpretation. Our favourite was the Adobong Short Ribs sa Gata. It was the bomb! Melt-in-your-mouth short ribs cooked with coconut milk, soy sauce and lots of garlic. This dish will make you want to have rice to go with it..lots of rice, in fact. This was definitely one of the best dishes in the buffet spread so make sure not to miss it.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Back Home in Manila : Festa Italiana at Cucina, Marco Polo Ortigas

I'm aliveeeeeeeee!!!

This is probably the fist time in 10 years that my blog has been this quiet but I got a couple of good excuses reasons why. First of all, Paul and I have been busy the past few months as we have decided to finally relocate back to Manila. Yes, you read that right. We're finally back home and we haven't been happier. Don't get me wrong, our life in Singapore was nothing but a dream come true but every good chapter should have an equally good ending and so we have decided to close that chapter just at the perfect time as we await to start a new one. Secondly, speaking of opening a new chapter. I'm so excited to share with you all that another dream of ours is about to unfold in the next few months, Paul and I will be welcoming our bundles of joy. That wasn't a grammatical error. We prayed so hard for almost a year and God answered our prayers by not only blessing us with one but with two beautiful babies whom we're both so excited to meet. Yes, we're expecting a pair of twins! It was surely worth the wait, don't you think? So there you go, this pretty much explains my inactive blog activity but since I'm back home, I promise to catch up and share with you all of our food discoveries not only in Manila but in Singapore as well. ♥ 

Let me start by telling you about one of the most recent dinners at Cucina at Marco Polo Ortigas. If you remember early this year, Paul and I got to visit Cucina where we enjoyed a wide variety of dishes from their mouthwatering paella to their Filipino and Asian dishes and of course, their great choice of desserts too. So, when we got an invite to have a taste of Cucina's latest promotion featuring the specialty of visiting chef Andrea Delzanno, we made sure not to miss it.

Chef Andrea Delzanno is from Marco Polo Hong Kong and he has lived in Hong Kong for a decade. He comes from the Northern part of Italy so you'll see a lot of seafood, creamy dishes in the line up coming from his hometown but Chef Andrea also told us that he has included a couple of dishes from the Southern part of Italy as well such as those that makes use of tangy marinara sauce and veggies.

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For starters, indulge in a delicious and refreshing masterpiece of Tomato and Buffalo Mozzarella Cheese Salad. Otherwise known as a Caprese Salad, it's a very simple antipasti which everyone will surely love. Sadly, I sat out on this one as preggy women can't take soft cheeses so.. boo! My dining companions all enjoyed it though so I highly recommend that you don't miss this.

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There's also the Mixed Seafood Salad with Lemon Dressing is perfect for all seafood lovers out there. It's an assortment squid, shrimps and mussels tossed in a light and citrusy lemon dressing.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Intricate Japanese Dining at Kaiseki Yoshiyuki, Forum The Shopping Mall

Throughout our years of non-stop eating, it’s no secret how much Paul and I love Japanese cuisine. This is actually one reason why we decided to visit Japan last year as we just wanted more, more and more! One thing that I love about the Japanese way of cooking and preparation is how they make every single thing look so pretty. Regardless if it’s just a piece of rice cracker or it’s something more elaborate like a sashimi platter, there’s a lot of thought and creativity poured into each item making your dining experience truly memorable.

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A few months ago, Paul and I were invited to try Kaiseki Yoshiyuki, which is located adjacent to Horse’s Mouth at The Forum Mall. Heading there gave us this sense of mystery, as there wasn’t any big, flashy signage directing you to the restaurant. Instead, you’ll just see a modest sign beside a big black door. Open the door and you’ll be led inside the restaurant. The interiors of Kaiseki Yoshiyuki is so beautiful that I can't help but admire the wall decors down to the plating on the table. All seats face the counter allowing you to directly interact with Chef Yoshiyuki as you watch him prepare your dish.

Chef has prepared a complete 9-course Spring-themed dinner (S$328++) for us but since I currently have strict dietary requirements wherein I’m not allowed to take anything raw, he was so kind to prepare several alternative dishes just for me. I really appreciate this and love how personalized the service is.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Themed Buffet Nights at J65, Hotel Jen Tanglin

It's no secret how much I love buffets! I guess every foodie does. It's the perfect way to dine with a big group of friends and everyone will somehow be able to find the dishes that they love. Also, it's the perfect opportunity to fill your tummy with the best and yummiest things in life.

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So, when Paul and I were invited to try J65's themed buffet nights, I quickly gave a resounding YES! From now until the 25th of May 2017, diners of J65 will be able to try a wide-variety of specialty dishes based on different themes assigned to a specific day:

Sundays/Mondays: International Buffet
Tuesdays: Colours of Asia (local specialties)
Wednesdays: Lobster Rock n Roll
Thursdays: Live Barbecue
Fridays/Saturdays: Seafood Mania 

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We love seafood so we went on a Saturday to indulge. In true Hotel Jen's fashion, one thing that I love about the buffet spread is how interactive most stations are. There are several local dishes where you can unleash your inner chef and DIY your very own Kueh Pai Ti or mix up your own bowl of Rojak.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

O Mamma Mia lands in Singapore!

Growing up, pizza has been one of my favorite comfort food. I guess I've told you about this before and I hope I haven't bored you out. It's about my regular afternoon snack routine with Pan where we would order a box of our favorite local pizza together with a bucket of mojo potatoes and we have been having this for close to 30 years. This has been our signature sisterly bonding activity and just recently, Pan and I did this again when I was back home for a wedding last January. Yes, not even a fully made up face and my long gown can stop me from enjoying our favorite snack. I have a strong feeling this practice is meant to last a lifetime and we'll continue to have our pizza afternoon sessions for decades to come. I can't wait for Pan and I to also share this tradition with our little ones for them to hopefully love pizza that way we both do.

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Anyway, since I've moved to the Lion City, I got to admit that I've always been on a hunt for the best pizza in town that's affordable and easy to have access to. It has been four years since and I'm thisclose to accepting defeat and believing that delicious commercial pizza is not just one of Singapore's forte. That was until Paul and I chanced upon O Mamma Mia, which recently opened at Clementi Mall. As we descend the escalator, we immediately smelled the delicious aroma of freshly baked pizza and everything that comes with it -- tomatoes, basil, the works! Guess this didn't only attracted us but pretty much most of the mall goers as there's a permanently crowd in front of the restaurant. Sitting capacity is very limited as I feel that O Mamma Mia meant for customers to just choose their pizza and pasta and have them to go. 

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Checking out the line-up, I was also surprise that each slice goes below S$5 and it's not a tiny slice, mind you. It's one that can definitely fill you up for a good afternoon snack or if you want something light for lunch. Majority of the pizza flavors go for about S$3.90 so I noticed a lot of the customers would get more than 2 at a time. There are 15 flavors available but this rotates on a regular basis so you'll probably see 6-8 at a time. As for the pasta, there are 5 different types of pasta noodles to choose from and you match this with your choice of sauces too. The pasta dishes are priced slightly higher than the pizza but wait till you see the serving size, it's HUGE! Price ranges from S$7.90 to S$8.20. Still very reasonable if you ask me. 

Now, let the tasting begin! 

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