Friday, May 30, 2014

MEET THE ROBO CHEF AT RED ONION!



           Chinese Food, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.. Hehe.. Sorry but Chinese food and I go a long way back. The very first restaurant I ever remember going to was a place in Los Angeles called "Ho Ho's" when I was 5 years old. Even at a young age, I was enthralled by the wonderful mixtures of sweet, salty and sour, all in one bite.  The place is probably no longer in open, but the lasting impact it had on my palate has remained, and in fact, is stronger than ever.  

       I heard about a Chinese restaurant opening in U.P. Town Center, that features a Robo-Chef that slices their noodles for them, and I was immediately intrigued. Though their claim to fame is obviously their noodle dishes, there was something in their menu that caught my eye, and I couldn't stop dreaming of it.. 

       What you see above is me holding two plates of "Double Fried Sweet and Sour Pork" from Red Onion. 


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

BE AFC'S FOOD HERO!


            Hey guys! Here's your chance to become a TV Star, doing two things you love most: EATING AND TRAVELLING! Sounds like an awesome gig, right? Well, The Asian Food Channel is looking for their next star.. and guess what? It could be you! 

Monday, May 26, 2014

HAIL TO THE KING CHEF, BABY!


         I've declared my love for Chinese food time and time again in this blog. My food blogger friends have been wanting to go on a Binondo Food Trip around for quite some time now, but we've never had the time. I have to admit that I am totally clueless around the Manila area. If you asked me right now how to get there, I wouldn't know where to start. I know there is a treasure trove of Chinese restaurants in the area just waiting to be discovered, which is why I've always had the area in my cross hairs.

     I felt a good place to start would be King Chef Seafood Restaurant at Lucky Chinatown Mall. 

DULCELIN GOURMET: FROM GOURMET DISHES TO DESSERTS!



             The very first time I heard about Dulcelin's food was during the early days of Mercato Centrale. Every had been raving about their Mango Torte, but me, I was more interested of the slab of Kurobuta Pork that was on display. Since this was only a stall of a food market, I only got to experience this awesomeness only during the weekends.  


          The Dulcelin name continued to grow, but with the Mango Torte at the front and center of it's popularity. Although I must admit, the torte is arguably one of the best desserts in the land, I'm actually more into the savory stuff. Every time someone would rave to me about their cakes, I would be quick to jump in and say, "But you should try theif meals!".

          After years of waiting, Dulcelin Gourmet has finally opened a restaurant at the U.P. Town Center! 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

KFC + CLOVER CHIPS = KFC CRISPY CHEESE CHICKEN!

kfc and clover chips



           I would first like to say that KFC is one of my favorite fastfood chains. I like their original recipe chicken and lots of gravy (though admittedly I liked the gravy better years ago). So when I was browsing Facebook a few days ago, I was intrigued upon seeing their new KFC Crispy Cheese Chicken using Leslie's Clover Chips! A very unusual combination which of course immediately called my attention.

Friday, May 23, 2014

OLE! IT'S TGI FRIDAY'S TEX-MEX MENU! -RINAZ

tostada nachos


HOLA!!!

        Not too long ago I had a fun Mexican night with Richie and another blogger friend, little miss Kat from the new up and coming blog, A View From The Leftie. It was a cool relaxing night at TGI Friday's at Bonifacio High Street with lots of stories accompanied with the Tex Mex menu of Fridays! Yes, they now have a special menu dedicated to addicting Tex Mex food that's perfect to share with friends! (Just in case some people are not familiar with Tex Mex, it means cooking or recipes from TEXas / MEXico. Ooooooh!)

Thursday, May 22, 2014

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, RINA!


          Let's take a break from the food posts for a second. I would like to tell you all a little story. 

         Once upon a time, there was a guy who had just broken up with his girlfriend of nearly four years. He and his Ex did not have the most harmonious of relationships, but for some reason it managed to last much longer than it should have. It actually was to end a year earlier, but his perseverance.. Or perhaps, his (stupidity) inability to let her go, won his Ex over. 

   Throughout their relationship, the Ex must have called it quits on him close to a hundred times, but they would always end up back together. One time, after they reconciled from one of their nearly every other day fights, the Ex told him, "I wonder when it will be you, breaking up with me?".  He swore that despite the fact that his Ex could break up with him without so much as a second thought, he would only ever do it once. And that would be it. And he hoped that it would never happen.

   Sadly, that day had come. For the first time in their three years and nine month-old relationship, The guy was the one that told her it was over. They loved each other, no doubt, but sometimes, as cliched as it sounds, love isn't always enough. It was clear that they simply could not get along. Mistakes were made, and as his idol, Eddie Vedder once sang, "Some words when spoken, can't be taken back". 

      He met his Ex during a point in his life when he needed someone most. His heart was broken into a million pieces by yet another woman. She saw the sadness in his eyes, and he saw the kindness in hers. Within weeks, his Ex changed his outlook in himself.. and life entirely. 

     You must understand.. She was the campus crush. This was the girl that would make Varsity Basketball players stop practicing and peer through the gym doors whenever she would pass by. He was a fat schlub that women would never usually give a second glance. Yet with his wit and humor, he managed to win the heart of his "Dream Girl". His self esteem seemed to be attached to the fact that the most beautiful woman in the world (in his eyes) was in love with him. When they were together, he was on top of the world. It was quite fun watching the jaws of those hulking Varsity players drop to the floor as he walked past them in the gym with his arm around his ex. Whenever they passed by them as they practiced, he would give them a knowing smile, almost like it was his way of saying, "Yup, believe it.". But every time they broke up, he would feel worthless, not having the slightest clue what he would do with himself if they had broken up.

    This time, however, it was different. He was still absolutely lost on what to do with himself, now that he was the one to tell his Ex that they were over. But he knew one thing for certain. It was time to move on. 

    He sat at his desk, alone in his empty office. It was around 8:30am, no one else there apart from the cleaning lady. He couldn't sleep so he might as well do something productive with his time like leave for work early to beat traffic.

     Then his phone rang. It was her. They had promised each other that they would have no contact for the meantime, as he felt that if he heard her voice again, he would turn to putty once again in her hands. He started at his phone as it vibrated around his desk, unsure of what to do. "I should pick it up", he thought to himself, "She might need me for something". "But she isn't your problem any more!", another voice snapped back at him.

      The guy closed his eyes, and said a little prayer, asking for a little guidance. Answering the phone might be a show of weakness. Meaning it might prove to her that he was still under her power. But then he thought, "What if answering it would be a show of strength?". Talking to her like nothing happened, after their emotional goodbye might mask the fact that he was all torn up inside. 

   "Answer the phone now", a voice told him. "Answer it for the very last time." 

    So, against his better judgement, he answered his phone. "Hey.", he said cooly. "Hi", she said, rather business-like. "Oh don't worry, I'm not calling about 'Us'", she said, cooly. "Alright", he said, a little confused. "What is it you want then?" "Well, remember a few months ago, I told you the sister of my friend and her group needed a place to do their On The Job Training so they could graduate?" He had no idea what she was talking about, but didn't want to start a fight. "Okayy...?", he replied, totally lost. "Well, you told me that they could complete their OJT hours at your office. So can the seven of them start on Monday?". Even more confused than ever, the guy was at a loss for words. He told her that he didn't have the power to authorize the hiring of an intern, let alone SEVEN of them! 

      The argument began getting head, with the Ex insisting that he had made an earlier commitment and that she would look bad with her friends if the guy reneged on his word, as he tried to clarify that nothing was set in stone, especially if it was something "last minute". Realizing he had no way of winning (again), he sighed and said he would see what he could do before hanging up. Just before the guy put the phone down, his Ex said to him, "Just do this for me and you won't hear from me ever again, ok?".  

     The guy went to his bosses with his fingers crossed, and hoped for the best. He had no idea how he was going to convince them.. out of nowhere, to hire 7 interns, that would be ready to begin in three days. Long story short.. and even the guy himself isn't sure how he managed to pull it off.. but they agreed to get all seven. 

     The guy let out a breath of relief, and send his Ex a text message, saying "They can start on Monday.". Within seconds, the Ex replied, "Thanks. Don't worry, you won't hear from me again."

     Monday morning came, and promptly at 10am, seven women came through the doors of his office. Because he had a lot on his mind and had not slept the night before, (The Ex called late that night, asking him to fulfill yet another promise that he supposedly had made months earlier) he didn't seem very interested in getting to know them. 

    But as his head became clearer, he realized that there was something about one of them that piqued his interest. Maybe it was her beaming smile that lit up the room. Or perhaps it was her bright eyes that seemed to gleam into the very depths of his soul. Whatever it was, the guy couldn't help but smile. Because for the first time in nearly four years, the he felt smitten with someone else rather than his Ex. 

     This reaffirmed it for him. He was truly ready to move on. 

      And that my friends, was how I met Rina. 




Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO TIM HO WAN MANILA


      It was May 20, 2014. 2 A.M. I was tossing and turning in bed because my cough and cold made it impossible for me to sleep. But apart from that, there was something clawing at me in the back of my mind. 

      This was the day that Tim Ho Wan would finally be opening their doors in Manila. 

       Memories of that moment my teeth sunk into that pillow soft BBQ Pork Bun began dancing once again in my mind. It seemed like it was forever, but it was only just three weeks ago when I finally made a visit to the most affordable Michelin Star Restaurant in the world, during our family visit to Hong Kong. 

     It was probably one of the most amazing pieces of food I've ever tried in my entire life. And now, it's available in Manila. 

     So I woke Rina up at 8 in the morning, telling her to get ready, because I wanted to be among the first in Manila to try the food of Tim Ho Wan in the Philippines. 

   Considering that the mall opens at 10am, and Rina, Rain and I arrived at Tim Ho Wan by 10:10, I thought we would be the first in line. I was wrong. 
     
   There were around 20-30 people ahead of me. This was a Tuesday and I was "coding", which meant I needed to get back on the road by around 3pm. I was a little concerned that I might miss out on my chance to try Tim Ho Wan on its first day..

    Then something funny happened. Anton Diaz of Our Awesome Planet and RJ Ledesma appeared out of nowhere, and asked if I wanted to join their "Mega Food Tour", where we would be allowed access to Tim Ho Wan One Hour before it was to open to the public. 

    I would have been insane to say no to that! 

Monday, May 19, 2014

THE FLAVORS OF LASA BISTRO


      Going to the South is always fun (Once you get past the traffic, that is), and I'm really intrigued by the selection of restaurants that have sprouted around the area. The restaurant scene has got me so interested, ] I plan to set a few days to go on a Food Trip around Alabang (I'm compiling a list as we speak) later in the year. 

      During our Staycation at Crimson Hotel, my blogger buddy, Richard aka Tales From The Tummy, invited us to try Lasa, the new restaurant of Chef CK Kalaw of X046 fame, which had just recently opened at Commerce Center. I trust Richard's taste in food explicitly, and he had nothing but good words for X046, so I knew we were in for a treat!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

A WONDERLAND OF DESSERTS AT CHEZ KARINE

chez karine

        Like everyone else, I like desserts. And drinking tea made me appreciate desserts more, especially macarons. Because the sweetness really balances the bitterness of the tea. And there's a nice little place where you can go to enjoy different varieties of pastries and a whole bunch of good macarons. And that's a French patisserie inspired by flavors of America and Asia. It's Chez Karine (pronounced as "shei kareen") 

Chez Karine Megamall


        Chez Karine opened a second branch at the SM Mega Fashion Hall not too long ago. It's a simple relaxing place where I can imagine bringing my girlfriends for an afternoon of tea / coffee paired with some fine pastry.

chez karine macaron

        Chez Karine makes fresh pastries everyday so you can be sure that the quality of the desserts served here have excellent quality. If I'm not mistaken they have over 16 flavors of macarons from Dark Chocolate, to outrageous seasonal flavors like Matcha Red Bean and more. (See complete list of flavors on the menu at the end of this post). One macaron is P55.

chez karine macaron

        We were able to try four amazing flavors. The matcha red bean, the red velvet, black sesame and... wait for it... MAPLE BACON

chez karine macaron

        It's the yellow one in the picture. It's maple-sweet and you can taste the hint of bacon flavor from the filling. The matcha red bean is perfect for green tea fans. I have a couple of friends who might enjoy this. I liked it too. The matcha taste is not very overpowering. The Black Sesame gives off a rich toasted nutty flavor. I like this because it's not too sweet. The red velvet on the other had has a good amount of cream cheese spread in between. Another sweet and salty macaron for you right there. 

tiny macaron

        They also have gift boxes containing these tiny macarons! Look, it's even smaller than my bag hook in the picture! Cute as a button!

macaron ice cream

        But there's a special kind of macaron that they serve that is definitely perfect for the summer. And that's the Macaron Ice Cream (P70). (I know right?) Same exact size as their macarons but in between is a very thick layer of delicious ice cream. It's like an ice cream sandwich with macaron buns. It comes in dark chocolate, salted caramel, and vanilla bean. For me it's a toss between vanilla bean and dark chocolate. Recently I've been finding the salted caramel flavor too sweet. Not just with this one but with other salted caramel pastries.


        And then recently, for the summer, they released their Strawberry Macaron ice cream! This looks really delicious and refreshing! I wonder if it's here for a limited time? Must try it soon! (photo grabbed from Chez Karine Facebook)


hokkaido cake chez karine

        Another one of their new pastries is the Hokkaido Cake (P70). A Hokkaido cake is technically a Japanese chiffon cake. A super soft cake backed in a paper cup. And Chez Karine's hokkaido cake is just that. Really soft and fluffy, with a lightened vanilla bean pastry cream filling! And then dusted off with pearl sugar.

Photo from Chez Karine Facebook
        Just very recently they released another Hokkaido Chocolate Hazelnut Hokkaido Cupcake (P70)! A light chocolate chiffon filled with hazelnut praline cream, topped with pearl sugar and mini chocolate chips. I'm a chocolate lover so I'm pretty excited to try this one


        If you like fruity and tarty cakes, try the Neopolitan (P185). This pretty little pink cake is made up of raspberry mousse, and then stuffed with vanilla and chocolate bavarois, and the outer bottom is a chocolate sponge cake with almond joconde, and then topped with a fresh fan of strawberry. If you're having a pink and brown themed party, this is the dessert to serve!

mango caramella

        This yellow layered cake is Chez Karine's Mango Caramella (P165). Enjoy layers of  freshly made mango mouse, mango jelly, a thick layer of caramel mouse, and the brown layer is a chocolate sponge cake. It's one of those cakes that is more of fruity with a little sweetness.

classic chocolate cake

        Say hello to Chez Karine's Classic Chocolate Cake (P160). A good bet for dark chocolate lovers. Moist, soft, and very chocolatey. Can't go wrong with this!

Chocolate Earl Grey Igloo

        This pretty chocolate dome cake is the Chocolate Earl Grey Igloo (P200). Again, made up of dark chocolate mousee, with earl grey mousse, and a chocolate biscuit base. The marriage of dark chocolate and earl grey is quite interesting. 

royal pudding

        When you drop by Chez Karine, don't skip out on these adorable tiny bottles filled with Royal Pudding (P110). It's one of Chez Karine's flagship product. It's just so adorable! Plus of course, it's good! Very light! It's soft set custard pudding with a dark caramel base. They currently have six flavors. Three of which are classic ones that are vanilla, muscovado, chocolate, and then other half is Horlicks, earl grey, and coco sugar. 

blueberry cream cheese pudding

Their new flavors are blueberry cream cheese pudding,

cereal milk pudding

 ... and Cereal Milk Pudding which I can't wait to get my hands on. I love cereal stuff!

Chez Karine also sell pastries, Panna Cotta (also in those small adorable bottles), honey toasts, drinks, and more! Drop by their store at the Mega Fashion Hall or at Serendra and experience a wonderland of scrumptious desserts!

chez karine menu
Chez Karine dessert menu, as promised! Again, from Chez Karin's Facebook

Like Chez Karine on Facebook so you can be updated with their latest creations!: Chez Karine Bakery

Friday, May 16, 2014

EL CANGREJO CRAB SEAFOOD AND STEAK BISTRO



        Somewhere hidden in the heart of Quezon City lies a bistro of the best of both worlds. Land and sea.. Steaks and seafood! And served fresh everyday! It's El Cangrejo Crab Seafood and Steak Bistro. It's a good hidden place to hang out with friends and maybe occasionally see some stars from the nearby television networks dining, if you're lucky.  


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

OSAKA OHSHO: THE GYOZA ELITE


        In one of my earlier posts, I wrote that I wasn't too fond of Japanese food. I'm not exactly sure what happened, but owners of Japanese restaurants seemed to take that as a challenge, and I've gotten quite a few invitations to dine at Japanese restaurants since then. 

     I'm honestly not into the hardcore Japanese food. My other food blogger friends roll their eyes at me when I tell them I don't eat Sushi, Sashimi, and practically anything with Nori. Quite unbecoming of a Food Blogger, I know, but what can I do? I don't call myself "The Pickiest Eater In The World" For nothing. 

     One of the reasons why I was looking forward to trying Osaka Ohsho was because I had seen the menu on a stroll around the then newly opened Megamall Fashion Hall, and it was one of the first restaurants that was already operational. What I liked about the menu was how it seemed to stay away from the more exotic dishes, and it stuck to the more commercial friendly Japanese food, such as Teppanyaki, Stir fry, Pork Cutlet, and Sukiyaki, to name a few. 

    But of course, the one thing that stood out was the bold claim that Osaka Ohsho makes to its customers..

      That they are the home of the "World's Number One Gyoza". 

Monday, May 12, 2014

VILLAGE TAVERN'S CHAR-GRILLED WAGYU BURGERS!


           In a country where rice meals dominate practically every dining table, I, on the other hand, have had a long standing love affair with Burgers. Even I am left baffled at how I seem to be powerless against the allure of a mouth-watering slab of meat, snuggled between two soft buns (And YES, I'm still talking about food, you perv). 

       From the first time I tried it, Village Tavern has been one of my favorite restaurants. Bistro Group Executive Chef Josh Boutwood never fails to leave me in awe with how he elevates your dining experiences with his culinary concoctions. 

      This time, his creations hits close to home, as Chef Josh has come up with some Char-Grilled Wagyu Burgers that left me and my taste buds (we are separate entities) spellbound. 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

CALLING ALL BROS: BRONUTS OPENS IN SM AURA PREMIER


bronuts sm aura

        It was at the 2013 Ultimate Taste Test that Richie and I first took notice of them. Their booth was filled with scrumptious croissant doughnuts, unlike any we had seen before. Let's face it, it's hard to miss a booth filled with delicious and a sinful-looking donuts staring you in the face. It was definitely one of the most popular stalls that day. And due to insistent public demand, they have finally opened their very own kiosk at SM Aura! 

      Friends, in case you haven't heard of them yet, let me introduce you to,  BRONUTS! 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

HANAMARUKEN RAMEN: THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS


             You could say that I'm genuinely a happy guy. I went through some tough times last year, but you would never know it from reading my blog, which I felt should be dedicated to positive things in life. 

         Obviously, apart from my family, something that makes me happy is food. And becoming a food blogger has given me the opportunity to be surrounded by delicious food on a consistent basis.

        Is there any question why I'm so happy? 

        A few months back, I had the opportunity to dine at a restaurant that offered me Happiness in a bowl. My constant pursuit of happiness made it impossible for me to decline such an invitation. 

       A few days later, Rina and I, joined by my other food blogger friends, made our way to Trinoma, to find our happiness at Hanamaruken Ramen. 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

MAGOSABURO AT THE FORT STRIP - RinaZ

magosaburo

        If you happen to walk by The Fort Strip area a lot, you would have probably passed by this nice place with high ceiling and mesmerizing chandelier. That's Magosaburo. An authentic Japanese restaurant known for their top grade Wagyu Beef. Opened in Japan in 2009, it has finally reached the shores of the Philippines.


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