Sunday, March 31, 2013

Made in Candy at the Powerplant Mall

Happy Easter, my dear readers!!!

Today, we will be heading to church to attend the Easter Sunday Mass and later on will also be having lunch with the entire family. Next to Christmas, this is probably the next big religious holiday where families get together and spend time with each other. For those with kids, they're most likely headed to any of the major hotels and shopping malls to take part of the fun Easter activities lined up. I know for a fact that my niece Julia will surely enjoy this day as she just loves joining Easter Egg Hunts! She's barely 5 years old and yet she has become an expert in searching for those eggs and always ends up with lots of yummy candies which were inserted inside. 

Speaking of candies, let me share with you one ambition that I have. A few years ago, I really wanted to be a lolliologist. Not that I wanted for it to be my main profession, but I'm really interested to learn how to mold and create rock candies. Well, it's not too late for any dream to come true so I'm still keeping this one in my bucket list. 

made in candy 7
A few months ago, my family and I chanced upon Made in Candy. It's located right at the middle of the Powerplant Mall and what drew us towards the shop are the rows after rows of rock candies. Look how colorful and yummy looking they are! 

made in candy 2
As we girls were going through the shelves searching for what flavor to get; Paul and Papa were busy watching the lolliologists or Candy Artisans, as they're called at Made in Candy, prepare a mixture for their next candy creation. 

Made in Candy actually originated from Singapore. It's the first rock candy brand in Asia. The first time I came across these yummy candies was during Len &Tim's engagement party as they gave out packs of customized T ♥ L candies to all guests. Not only did it looked good, it had a delicious strawberry flavor too. I got so addicted to it that I had to consciously stop after my 3rd candy every day so as not to go beyond my normal sugar level. I loved it so much that I was actually bugging Paul that we should consider bringing in the franchise for this here in Manila. 

made in candy 1
Obviously, someone moved and thought quicker than we did that less than two years after that, Made in Candy finally opened its first shop here in the Philippines. They even sent me a bunch of candies and lollies to try!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Mall Schedule and Restaurants Open this Holy Week 2013

In observance of the Holy Week, I will resume publishing my entries by Easter Sunday (March 31, 2013). Meanwhile to all my local readers, do spend this 4-day weekend to reflect and to communicate with Him. ✞

However, should you suddenly feel hungry in between your Visita Iglesia today or after your Good Friday mass tomorrow, here are some of the establishments and malls that will stay open this Holy Week. Hats off to the men and women behind it who's making this sacrifice to work on a holiday just to be able to serve both you and me.You guys rock! \m/

SHOPPING MALL HOURS

1) Ayala Mall
March 28 (Maundy Thursday) – Mall Closed
March 29 (Good Friday) – Mall Closed
March 30 (Black Saturday) – Regular hour
March 31 (Easter Sunday) – Regular hours

2) Robinsons Malls
Maundy Thursday:  Robinsons Luisita, Tagaytay, Pangasinan and Palawan: Regular Mall Hours
Good Friday: Robinsons Luisita and Tagaytay: Regular Mall Hours
Black Saturday & Easter Sunday: Regular Mall Hours for ALL

3) SM Mall of Asia
MOA

4) Powerplant Mall
powerplant

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Go Light with Lucky Me! Lite

*SPONSORED POST*

It’s true when they say that being a mother goes on for a lifetime. I’m 30 and having been married for 3 years, this doesn’t spare me from receiving my mom’s endless reminders on a regular basis. We used to live under the same roof and even Paul would also be part “beneficiary” of her daily reminders to eat healthy, avoid fast food and to exercise. Readers of this blog must have noticed that I would always describe my Mommy as a very healthy eater. Well, she really is. I got to hand it to her as she can stare straight at a bag of chips while saying NO. No hesitations, no double takes. She makes sure that we have fruit and veggies for both lunch and dinner and for Christmas, she even gave me a free pass to her gym in hopes that I would finally start a more active regimen. It’s no wonder that she maintains a very sexy 23-inch waistline and still finds the need to exercise for health reasons. How I wish, I got that specific gene type from her.

Going back to exercising, I would try…I really would but my busy schedule in Manila has always given me sufficient excuses not to visit the gym. Eating out has been so convenient as well that I fail to realize that it’s not doing any good to my body. This realization came in just a few weeks ago when Paul and I relocated to the Lion City. One big change is that I have to bid goodbye to the luxury of having a car and being driven around the city as we have to commute all around town on a daily basis. From riding the bus to the MTR, we have to walk at least 500 meters to the nearest bus stop. On the first few days, I seriously thought I wouldn’t survive life here.

Together with the package of living on our own comes having to do our own household chores. I’m blessed that Paul is a natural in the kitchen and that assures me that I’ll never go hungry for life. However, there are just nights when I suddenly can feel my tummy rumbling and not even a piece of cracker could tame it. These are the moments when all I want is a bowl of noodle soup. It’s not as heavy as a burger but it definitely could satisfy your hunger. What I love about Paul’s instant noodle soup is that he would gourmet-ized this. Instead of just dumping the noodles in the boiling water and serving it once ready, he would add an egg and some fresh fish balls too. I tell you, he must be a Chef in his past life!

lucky me 1
Look what came in the package straight from sunny Manila! A couple of packs of the new Lucky Me! Lite in two yummy flavors. I love the baby pink packaging of the Chicken na Chicken flavour as well as the blue matte feel of the Beef na Beef Instant Mami Noodles. It reminds me of the noodles being sold in Korea where they normally have a matte packaging instead of the usual glossy type. Very premium looking, in my opinion.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Snack Time : Kirby's Chicharon Manila

It's Monday and I hope this simple entry will chase all our Manic Monday blues away. :)

Last week, a white bag was delivered to our home. I've been working from home for the past days and I've come to accept the fact that it is not as fun and easy as it sounds. Sure, I don't have to wake up extra early to get dressed, prepare my breakfast and to walk 500++ meters to our bus stop + 3 blocks to get to my office building but I still get very preoccupied with the never-ending work load that comes my way. Don't get me wrong, every day I thank my lucky stars for allowing me to land into this new career that I really love. Finally, the line between work and play is starting to get narrower and narrower each day.

kirby chicharon manila 1
Going back to the mysterious white bag, while it simply has a red sticker in front, the name alone was enough to elicit a couple of whoops and cheers from the members of our household. Who wouldn't cheer after all when the label says : Kirby's Chicharon Manila.

Yes, for a family who generally tries to eat healthy on a daily basis, this bag just landed in the right place. We're a chicharon-loving family and it came just at the right time that everyone was at home to welcome it with open arms.

kirby chicharon manila 2
Opening the bag, we were all so excited to see two vacuumed-sealed plastic bags filled to the brim with crunchy chicharon. It's the kind that we all like. It has just the tiny amount of laman (meat/fat) and more skin. We love how neatly it was sealed and that there was zero greasy feeling as we held the bag. This is perfect for those who plans to take this to their relatives and friends abroad.

The chicharon was not very salty and it was indeed very crunchy still. We had this after dinner one evening and everyone agreed that it was less oily compared to other chicharon brands in the market. Indeed, Kirby's Chicharon got everyone's thumb-up sign after enjoying an entire bag in one sitting.

Kirby's Chicharon is cooked, sealed and shipped all the way from the land of chicharon -- Carcar in Cebu. This is really the go-to place for the best chicharon in the country thus every trip to Cebu is not complete without me hoarding all the yummy-looking bags of chicharon that I can find. Luckily though, this chicharon is now available in Manila so that saves us from having to book a plane ticket should we suddenly crave for it in the middle of the day. There are two sizes available: 100g (Php. 130) and 50g (Php. 70). The price is very reasonable and all you have to do is to add in the shipping cost and your bag of Kirby's Chicharon will immediately be delivered to you the next day.

For more information, you may contact Kirby's Chicharon Manila at +63-917-5543325 or email them at kirbys.chicharon.manila@gmail.com.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Cookie Butter Showdown : Biscoff vs. Trader Joe's

Manila has seriously turned into a foodie mecca. Gone are the days wherein people are contented with the limited choices of restaurants and they would visit the same ones week in and out. Today, food trends are flying in and around the city, a good number of foodies would roam the streets in search for the latest find and one would go beyond the 7,107 islands of the country in order to satisfy his/her tummy with the yummiest thing out there.

We're a rice eating country but lately people are starting to buy more bread and to bring a sandwich to work is the next in thing. Why is that?

cookie butter biscoff 4
If you ask me, I'm pointing to these two bottles as the main culprits -- meet Trader Joe's Speculoos Cookie Butter and Lotus Biscoff Spread.

cookie butter biscoff 3
Trader Joe's Speculooos Crunchy Cookie Butter (Left) + Lotus Biscoff Spread (Right)
It all happened so fast, one day Peanut Butter and Jelly ruled the land and the next day it was these two spreads fighting for the limelight on the sandwich scene. In the words of the Iron Chef host, which sandwich spread will reign supreme?

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Taste Central : Online Shopping at its Finest

It's no secret how much Paul and I loves...as in LOVESSS Deal Grocer. It's the only deal site that we make sure to visit on a weekly basis. Online shopping is no joke after all. I don't shop that much and I really am extra cautious especially when I'm using my credit card to pay. The last thing I want is to fall victim to credit card frauds. That's why we stay loyal only to websites that we trust.

A few weeks ago, as we were browsing through the DG site, we noticed that whenever we click on any of their food or home products, we get directed to a whole new website. Initially we thought it was a mistake but as we looked closely at the new page, it says : The Official Retail Partner of Deal Grocer

taste central
The website is called Taste Central and it goes beyond offering price offs for restaurants or travel deals, it gives you a whole new shopping experience as you can buy home, food and fashion items with just a few clicks! It's perfect for people like me who do not like going to the mall and yet is in dire need to update her wardrobe from time to time. 

Call it fate when I received an email from the cool folks of Taste Central offering me free shopping credits to give their website a try. Of course, I said yes! I've been eyeing that bottle of Truffle Salt for days and this was the perfect chance to grab it before it gets sold out. 

Paul and I browsed through the website and were impressed that it was very organized and the choices were all good! It made choosing quite a challenge as we wanted a lot of things! 

Finally we went with two items:
taste central

Camden Spendid 4-pc Sheet Set (Php. 3,795)
This is perfect as we have to stock up on more beddings and linens now that we're living away from home. 

taste central
Sabatino & Co. Truffle Salt (Php. 1,000)
This is to give in to my truffle addiction! I can't wait to sprinkle this on my fries, potato chips, pasta, scrambled eggs and more! 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Swensen's Ice Cream & Sundaes in Eastwood Mall

Ice cream is such a happy food. Back when we were kids, our parents would always use ice cream as an incentive for getting a good grade in school. A tub of ice cream has always been a staple too during birthday parties and happy family occasions. This is probably why eating a simple cone or cup of ice cream brings back such happy memories for me.

Summer is really here as the temperature has been steadily rising the past few days in Manila and every afternoon is starting to be more and more an ordeal. It doesn't help being surrounded by trees too as the air alone is very warm. Well, we can't do much about the weather but we can definitely beat the heat by eating some...ICE CREAM!

swensens 4
One Sunday afternoon, I invited my family out to try Swensen's. This is a US-based ice cream parlor that has branches around Asia such as Thailand and Singapore. We're so happy that Swensen's finally made it to our shores! In fact, it has actually been here since 2010 if I'm not mistaken but their first branch was in SM Mall of Asia which was sooooo far away from home. I'm glad that they opened their 2nd outlet in Eastwood Mall which is now more accessible for us.

swensens 6
My entire family loves ice cream! Even my Dad who stays away from chips and deep-fried items always gives in to ice cream and chocolates! I love the diner feel of this ice cream parlor. Wish the waiters would also dress the part similar to how it was back in the 70s.

swensens 5
The menu had a lot of photos of the items available and I tell you, everything looked so good that it took us a couple of minutes of debating, order switching and negotiating until we got our orders finalized. I think our server let out a silent whoop as soon as we told him, "that was all, thank you."

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Watami Japanese Casual Restaurant in the New Glorietta

I love Japanese food!

Next to Chinese, it's one cuisine that I don't think I'll ever get tired of eating. I guess as lot of you will agree with me especially when we're talking about the freshest cuts of sashimi, beef yakiniku and sukiyaki that melts-in-your-mouth and the most heart-tugging bowl of ramen too. Japanese do take their food seriously and this is one reason why they have created a fifth sense called umami where all delicious flavors come together as one.

Someday, I wish to visit Japan and to have a week-long gastronomical adventure where I can stuff myself silly with all the sushi and unagi (eel) that my tummy can handle. Thus, when I received an invitation to try the newly opened Watami Japanese Casual Restaurant at the New Glorietta mall, I immediately replied with a big and happy YES! YES! YES!

Just a side note, on our way to the restaurant, Paul and I were amazed at how pretty the new Glorietta mall was. I know we've just been away for a month and we can't believe the number of changes happening around us. To date, there's the new Glorietta mall as well as the East Wing of the Shangri-la Plaza. Together with these newly opened wings comes a wider array for food choices! For a while there, I had to remind myself why oh why did I leave Manila again.

Going back to Watami, I like the modern Japanese vibe. We went on a Saturday night and there was a small waiting line outside. Luckily, we didn't have to wait long as our table was readily available within minutes. We were joined by friends Abet and Joan for our much-awaited double date as the last one was months ago.

watami 5
Our meal began with Watami's signature Deluxe Assorted Sushi (Php. 395). This was highly recommended by our friendly and efficient server Diane and we quickly agreed to try this. I loved it! It came with two salmon sushi, two grilled scallop sushi and two ebi sushi. I love the grilled scallop sushi the most as it was my first time to try grilled hotate with sushi rice. Yummy!

watami 6
We also tried the Watami Salad (Php. 350) which I find to be very refreshing. For those who wants to try something aside from the sashimi and sushi, I highly recommend this. It had a mix of chicken strips, shrimps, nori sheets, a scoop of tuna mayonnaise all on top of a bed of lettuce and broccoli. Some says it should have grapes in it but I don't recall tasting any fruits in our salad that evening.

watami
Moving on to our main dishes, we tried the Self-Grilled Short Ribs (Php. 295) however being lazypokes, we requested our server to do the grilling as we're more ready to do the eating. I really didn't know what to expect from the short ribs thus I was taken by surprise on my first bite. The meat was so tender and it was literally bursting with all the right flavors. This was my favorite dish that evening and to this day, I can't get over at how good it was. I think I will be heading to Watami in Singapore to have this again soon. I pray they won't disappoint.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Eat All You Can at Chef Laudico Guevarra's, San Juan City

"What's new here?"

That was the first thing I asked my sister when she picked us up from the airport a few days ago. Pan exactly knew what was the new that I was referring to and she filled me in on the newly opened restaurants that have been creating buzz around town. As she spoke, I was busy listing down the restaurants as I can't afford to miss out on a great restaurant to try given my very short visit.

guevarra laudico 1
One of the newest restaurant was just located just a stone's throw away from home. It's called Guevarra's and Chef Rolando Laudico is the man behind it. I really admire Chef Laudico and I'll never forget the night when I dined at Bistro Filipino a few years ago. Unlike Bistro Filipino though, this one has no a la carte menu and it's a complete buffet service restaurant.

I wasted no time and immediately invited my friends D and S out for our much-awaited catch up dinner at Guevarra's. It's a good thing that D was able to make reservations as the place was packed on a Thursday night. While I normally feel eerie towards old houses, the way Guevarra's was set-up made me admire how pretty this traditional Filipiniana home was converted into. It was well-lit, OPM music was blaring (yes, literally blaring that it was quite hard to have a good conversation) from the speakers, air-conditioning was just right and there was zero eerie feeling at all. In fact, it made me feel like I was attending a grand aunt's lavish birthday party.

guevarra laudico 2
The buffet spread was located at one side of the restaurant. It's a good thing that there was hardly a line making it so easy to get and go back as we please. Admittedly, I'm not a big fan of Filipino food and can be quite picky towards it. As I surveyed the spread, I literally skipped most of the spicy and raw items. I know, such a party pooper!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Bag Review: Crumpler Haven Camera Pouch

People always have this misconception that girls spend more money in shopping that guys do. I definitely beg to differ. Shopping to girls is like a good diet, yes we do shop more frequently but for most women, we spend less in terms of peso/dollar value than our better half does. Just like eating, we eat more frequently but we take in smaller quantities each time.

Paul and I are not major shopaholics as we only hit the malls here in Manila whenever we need to. It's a different case in Singapore though as we spend more time at the mall to eat, do our grocery shopping and to familiarize ourselves with our new location.

Going back to shopping, Paul rarely buys anything but when he does, it's something that he has thought long and hard about it. We all know that he is truly passionate and is talented in photography and that alone is a big investment already. While other guys his age would probably spend money on watches, shoes or toy cars, he has his eyes set on his camera and its accompanying gears. Well, I'm not complaining as I know taking photos makes him very happy.

Once a week, he would take his gears out and would patiently clean them. He takes very good care of his camera and ensures that it's stored in a very secured location at home where the temparature is alright and it's away from dust too. For the longest time, he has been lugging around a huge bag that initially came with his first camera. I would tease him that he looks like an ice buko vendor due to the size and weight of his camera. Finally he gave in and invested in a new bag for his babies. Of course, only one brand came to mind when he was scouting around for the said bag and that's CRUMPLER.

crumpler 1
Thus, a few months ago, we headed to the Crumpler store in Bonifacio Global City for his new camera bag. Even buying a bag came with some thorough research, he spent a couple of nights on his tab weighing the various bag options available. Finally, he decided to get the Crumpler Haven (L) Camera Pouch (Php. 2,250).

Friday, March 15, 2013

Snack Time : Jollibee Tuna Pie and Kitkat Chunky

We're back in Manila for a really quick visit and I was so thrilled to see a couple of surprises waiting for me at home.

Here's a quick note of thanks to the kind folks who sent these yummy treats to me!

jollibee tuna pie
Jollibee Tuna Pie

It's lent and I practice abstinence. This means that I stay away from eating meat every Friday. I got to admit though that I've cheated once twice when we were in Singapore. It couldn't help it, the mouthwatering plate of Boneless Hainanese Chicken Rice was calling out my name. Kidding aside, I really tried but was faced with two circumstances that I just had to have that piece of juicy pork/chicken/beef sitting in front of me. Anyway, I hope I'll be able to stick to my sacrifice now that I'm back home at the moment.

I was so happy to receive this pail filled with Jollibee Tuna Pie. Aside from the Jolly Hotdog and Burger Steak, this is one of my Jollibee favorites. I'm so happy there's a Jollibee branch in Singapore that just opened last Tuesday. Hooray!

kitkat chunky
Kitkat Chunky

Despite being quite toxic lately, work has been really fun. I honestly never thought the day would come when my work is starting to feel like play. I love what I'm doing and I really like the people I work with too. Really thanking my lucky stars for all the blessings that has been coming our way. On crazy, hectic days, I seek refuge in food. I realized that recently when, after a busy day at work; Paul noticed that I've been munching non-stop even after dinner time. Well, staying true to their promise, I love having a bar of Kitkat nearby. I'm not a big fan of chocolates but I just love the Kitkat Chunky in White. Paul loves the Original Kitkat Chunky as well as the one filled with Peanut Butter.

The Kitkat Chunky comes in four flavors : Original, White, Peanut Butter and Hazelnut Creme.

Thank you to both Jollibee and Kitkat for the yummy surprises! :) Home sweet home. ♥

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Galileo Enoteca Deli in Eastwood Citywalk

Back then, our birthday celebrations would normally be held at American bar and grills like Chili's or Friday's. Those were the days where we would get drunk over bottomless iced tea and fill our tummies with unlimited tortilla chips, chicken fingers and pasta. We're indeed getting older are starting to have a more *ahem* refined and mature taste.

four musketeers
Best Friends since 1996! (We miss Cami!)
This year, my best friends have been celebrating their birthdays quite differently. It began with Estee's  birthday dinner at Beso Cucina Vinoteka where we traded in our usual bottomless iced teas with a carafe of Sangria. After Estee, it was Trina who turned a year older. We celebrated her birthday at Galileo Enoteca Deli located at the Eastwood Citywalk.

I've been to Galileo Enoteca Deli's branch in Mandaluyong a few years back. I remembered enjoying their cheese and cold cuts platter very much. Thus, I was very excited when Tre told me that we're having dinner at their newly opened branch in Eastwood.

We got there a bit late but still just in time. I love my friends for waiting for us before ordering as they wanted to make sure we get to eat all at the same time. Believe me, this practice is pretty rare nowadays. Our dinner began with their Complimentary Bread and Dips. I wasn't able to take a photo of it as we were so hungry by the time we got to the restaurant but I have to tell you that the bread was so good. It was slightly crunchy outside and really pillowy soft inside. There were two dips served -- tomato marinara dip and the usual Olive Oil/Balsamic Vinaigrette dip. I loved both dips and would alternate my slice of bread with each.

galileo enoteca 1
For starters, we had a plate of Italian Breaded Calamari with Lemon (Php. 400). To be honest, I think this was too pricey as I wasn't that impressed with the calamari. It was very thin and a bit too oily for me. Sure, it was extremely crunchy but I could hardly appreciate the flavor (or the lack thereof) of the calamari. Skip this and go with the Cheese Platter instead.

galileo enoteca 3
We tried the Insalata Caprese (Php. 430) too. This one, I liked very much. The serving was very generous and the slice of the buffalo mozzarella was impressively thick. We were all very happy with this.

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Fireplace at the Hyatt Hotel & Casino Manila

Paul and I are fans of deal sites. I guess, it's quite obvious given the amount of restaurants that I've reviewed already after purchasing a discount coupon from Deal Grocer, my favorite deal site. We love it because we see it as a win-win solution. We both love to try new restaurants and when we get an offer that will allow us to dine for just a fraction of the regular price, we both agree that it's worth a shot. In case the food turns out to be bad, then at least we won't feel so bad for wasting our hard-earned money over it. If it turns out to be really good, then we go home feeling like champions.

fireplace hyatt 2
As such, it has been a habit for us to check Deal Grocer on a weekly basis. A few months ago, we spotted an offer that will finally allow us to try the much talked about steak of The Fireplace in Hyatt Hotel & Casino Manila. We've tried all of the other food establishments in the hotel except for this one. I guess, we were just waiting for the right time to have our steak date here. The deal was worth Php. 3,100 which was admittedly still quite pricey despite the fact that the original price was Php. 4,135. However,after reading all of fellow food blogger Jin's entries about The Fireplace, we knew that it was now or never. Anyway, before Paul could change his mind, I hit the "Buy Now" button.

We decided to have our Christmas / New Year dinner at The Fireplace. Since we know that the holiday season will surely make Manila so traffic, we agreed to push our dinner date to January where the road situation was light and easy breezy. The deal is inclusive of a Wagyu Tasting Plate which consists of Australian Wagyu Beef Tajima, American Wagyu Snake River Farm and our very own Kitayama Philippine Wagyu Beef Striploin 6+. The set also comes with one order of sidings and the choices were: oven-roasted vegetables, marbled potato, risotto or the popular potato gratin. 

fireplace hyatt 1
Before I proceed and talk about our steak, let me go back to the start of our meal first. Upon arriving at The Fireplace, we were swiftly ushered to our corner booth. I love the over-all feel of the restaurant. As the name suggests it, there was a huge bronze fireplace by the bar. 

After getting our orders, we were served a loaf of complimentary Walnut Bread and butter. I was so happy to see that they made use of Beurre D' Isigny butter at The Fireplace! It's one of my favorite butter brands after having it for the first time at Impressions a year ago. The bread had tiny chopped walnuts in it making it even yummier. I just love biting into the tiny chunks of nuts as it made a good contrast to the silky and creamy butter that I've generous spread on top of it. 

fireplace hyatt 4
I love starting my meal with bread and soup! We shared a bowl of Cream of Forest Mushroom Soup which was pretty good. While not the best in town but it surely warmed our tummies for the main course ahead. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Back at The Cheese Steak Shop in Amorsolo, Makati

Paul and I love sandwiches. Back when we were dating, there was actually a period then when we would go to Subway every so often and share a footlong sandwich. Our staple variant was the one with shredded kani sticks with mayonnaise. We loved it so much that we were both so sad that they decided to remove it from the menu permanently. I guess our regular patronage wasn't enough to keep it up on the menu board for a long period of time.

Aside from Subway, we also love bun sandwiches -- beefy burger for him, crunchy and deep-fried fish sandwich for me. However, when it comes to Cheesesteak sandwiches, there's only one place in Manila that has won our hearts and loyalty. That's the Cheese Steak Shop along Amorsolo street in Makati. More than a year ago, we first visited The Cheese Steak Shop back in their first location along Arnaiz road. The move wasn't too drastic as they literally moved just a few block away. This store had more parking spaces but it can still be extremely crowded during weekdays. This is the reason why we always make it a point to eat at The Cheese Steak Shop during off-peak hours on weekends.

On our last few days in Manila, Paul and I met up with fellow bloggers Spanky, Richie and Roch for a fun Cheesesteak lunch. We tried two of their newest products -- the Breakfast Cheesesteak (add Php. 100 to your choice of Cheesesteak) and the French Dip Cheesesteak with Au Jus sauce (Php. 320 / Php. 520 / Php. 850).

cheesesteak shop 1
I love breakfast food thus I was so excited to try the Breakfast Cheesesteak. We got a 10" Bacon Beef Cheesesteak (Php. 520) and requested that this be upgraded breakfast-style. What makes the upgrade so neat is that it also comes up any vendo drink of your choice. Look! Our 10" Cheese Steak came with two sunny side up eggs. This is indeed perfect to be shared by two. After splitting this in half, I began to dig in. I love how the yolk dramatically runs along the side of the Amoroso bun and in the process soaking up the beef as well. It made it extra creamier and I loved it! Paul was reminding me that we have another cheesesteak to try so I really have to pace myself. I can't help it, as much as I wanted to just take a small bite, one bite led to another and the more I ate, the more I enjoyed the Breakfast Cheesesteak. Before I knew it, my plate was empty.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Beso Cucina Vinoteka in Bonifacio Highstreet Central

This year, my friends and I are turning 31! I'm still in major denial that I'm no longer in my 20s and I'm getting inch by inch closer to the big 4-0! Oh nooooo?!?! Well, age is indeed just a number and what matters is you are still young at heart. Agree?

Last January, we celebrated Estee's birthday by having an intimate dinner just us girls. We had it at the newly opened Beso Cucina Vinoteka at the Bonifacio Highstreet Central. Aside from ramen, more and more Spanish restaurants are opening left and right. I'm not complaining though as I loveeee good paella and a wide array of tapas.

beso 1
Estee's birthday celebration began with a carafe of Red Sangria to toast for a fun and fab year ahead for my dear friend. I'm no drinker but I liked the sweet and mild taste of the sangria.

beso 2
To go with our drink, we had a couple of tapas to get our meal started. Estee ordered the Gambas (Php. 380) and I have to say that this had to be the biggest gambas shrimp that I've even had in my life. Normally, shrimps in gambas are so tiny that you just have to pop it inside your mouth and it won't take more than 5 dainty bites to mush it all down. I was quite impressed by the size of the shrimps served at Beso Cucina Vinoteka. It definitely made the Php. 300+ price tag worth it. The shrimps were fresh and had a very good bite into it. Yum!

beso 3
We also had the Jamon, Chicken and Manchego Croquetas with Aioli Sauce (Php. 410). Oh, this was love at first bite. I've had a number of Spanish tapas before but this one was just so good. I guess it had all the best things -- chicken, ham and cheese + garlic cream sauce. It was a surefire winner.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A Mix of Flavors at Mesclun, Linden Suites

Who would have thought that you can actually find really good food at the 2nd floor of a business hotel that's located right at the heart of the Ortigas Central Business District (CBD)? That was one of our realizations after having such a yummy lunch at Mesclun in Linden Suites last January.

Last January, Paul and I have been eating out non-stop with friends and family who were so sweet to spend some quality time with us. I actually wasn't planning to say yes to dining invitations anymore given the state of our social schedule. However, the girls behind Mesclun were just so sweet (and persistent hehe) that we just have to say YES to their email/Twitter/Facebook invite (beat that!). Well, I honestly am glad I did. 

We have been to Linden Suites before to attend a work-related event as well as to be surprised by our own friends and my sister as they threw us a joint bridal/stag party in one of their suite rooms a few years ago. What I love about Linden Suites is that they have ample parking spaces at the basement levels of the hotel. No need to worry about having to leave your car out in the side street all night long. 

I'm so happy that all in-house guests of Linden Suites won't have to worry where to eat as they got Mesclun right inside the hotel! How convenient! We left the ordering to the Mesclun team and were surprised that they ordered a feast! Oh boy, coming from a buffet dinner the night before, we were indeed not ready for this. But, then again, we are not the kind who backs down so armed with our utensils, we digged in and ate with gusto. 

mesclun 7
Lunch began with our choice of drinks. I tried the Power Shake (Php. 160) while Paul went for the Fresh Watermelon Shake (Php. 155). For a tall glass of freshly blended shake, I find the price very reasonable. The Power Shake was a mix of veggies and fruits making it a great detox drink before I started to attack the sinful dishes coming next. It was very refreshing too! 

mesclun 6
We were given a loaf of complimentary bread which was also very yummy! Mesclun is operated by Chef Katrina Kuhn-Alcantara who's also the talented lady behind Chuck's Deli. Thus, it was no surprise that the bread served in Mesclun is equally just as good. 

mesclun 8
To go with our freshly baked bread, we shared a bowl of Cream of Mushroom Soup (Php. 215). I love how you get to bite into tiny chunks of mushroom yet the soup remained so creamy. The addition of the truffle oil simply sealed the deal for me. It was one of the best soups that I've had in town. We loved it so much that we even made use of the bread to mop up the remaining soup at the bottom of the bowl. 

mesclun 10
Mesclun has two different menus for lunch and dinner. One of the differences that I noticed was the omission of appetizers in the lunch menu. If you're the type who loves starters, then I suggest you visit Mesclun during dinner time. One appetizer that you shouldn't miss is the Buffalo Balls (Php. 395). This was one of their house specialties and just to give you an idea on how good it was -- this dish was wiped out in less than 5 minutes! 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Roomie Tales : Lady Satin Pillowcases

Once in a while, a food blogger has to let go of her spoon, fork and chopsticks and to start getting domesticated outside the kitchen (and the dining room).

lady satin 3
A few months ago, the sweet lady behind Lady Satin sent me a box of white pillowcases for Paul and I to try. I honestly really didn't think much about it as I thought it was just one of those pillowcases found in any home store. It took us a while to use it as initially kept it in our storage box and waited for the right time to open it.

lady satin 1
Well, the right time came recently when we moved to our new home and I figured that it would be nice to start using some of our new bedroom linens as well. On our first night here, I was surprised at how good it felt on my face. I grew up using cotton pillowcases and it was only when I began using these satin pillowcases that I realized how much better these are compared to the ones I've been using for the past 30 years of my life!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Mother's Crepe & Cafe in SM Mall of Asia

Summer is here! I can't believe it's already March which means we're almost done with the 1st quarter of 2013. Time is running on high speed, don't you think?

Anyway, with the heat getting to be more intense outside, all the more I crave for cold desserts. Ice cream, yogurt and our ever-popular halo-halo. Just the thought of it is making me miss Manila more and more. *sigh*

Aside from my dessert bar staples such as creme brulee and a scoop of ice cream, I am also a big fan of crepes. I tell you, I can have crepes at anytime of the day. The savory ones for breakfast, lunch or dinner and the sweet fruity ones in between. This is also why my family and I frequent our neighborhood creperie a whole lot ever since it opened its doors to the public. Let's just say, that's our way of giving our all out support in hopes that it'll be there to serve us forever and ever.

mother's crepe 1
During one of our not-so-frequent trips to the SM Mall of Asia, Paul, Joan (a.k.a. Mrs. Food Alphabet) and I spotted an interested crepe store located at the Entertainment Mall. The store is really tiny that customers had to sit outside to enjoy their crepes yet at 3 in the afternoon, it was filled with what-seems-to-be happy customers enjoying their crepes. Just like a magnet, we were instantly drawn towards Mother's Crepe & Cafe's display window.

mother's crepe 2
Just like most Japanese coffee shops, they had these plastic replicas of their crepes to give all curious passerby like yours truly a better idea of what are the crepe flavors they have available.

mother's crepe 6
We tried the Caramel Strawberry Cheesecake Soft (Php. 255). I know it may be quite pricey for one order of crepe but if it's filled with generous slices of sweet strawberries, a slice of the creamiest cheesecake and caramel drizzle on top, how can we complain? This is perfect for those who loves strawberry cheesecake like me! Next time though, I'll remember to ask the server to not put whipped cream on my crepe as I had to scrape them off before eating it anyway.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Let's Stay in Touch! Frannywanny on Facebook

Hello my dear readers,

I know I haven't been very regular in updating this blog. You see, Paul and I recently have temporary relocated to the Lion City and we have been extremely busy getting used to a whole new life here. Thankfully, we're doing very well and I, personally, have become used to and do appreciate the morning and afternoon long walks to and from the nearest bus station. I'm finally getting that much-needed exercise that I've been forever evading in Manila. Yes, I can hear my Mommy thanking the BIG GUY that I'm finally getting more physical activity. Haha!

It's no secret that I miss Manila very much and while I may be in the land of Hainanese Chicken and Char Kuey Teows, I do miss food back home. Luckily though, I still have a month-long worth of Manila food stories to share with all of you. Once in a while, I'll inject some entries on my food discoveries here too.

Meanwhile, let's stay in touch okay? One way is to like my Facebook page! To ensure that you get regular updates, please click on the "Get Notification" and "Show in News Feed" options under the LIKED box.

See image below:
frannywanny facebook

For readers based in Singapore, do shoot me an email and I'd loveeeeee to meet you!!! ♥

Till then Manila,
Frannywanny
Blog Widget by LinkWithin