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Spectrum Lunch Buffet at Fairmont Makati

There are many hotel buffets in town, but Fairmont Makati's Spectrum is definitely one of the must-try splurges! Check out this post and tell me I'm right.

Filipino Comfort Food with a Twist at Namnam

Tired of the usual Filipino fare? Then, head on to Namnam at Greenbelt 2 and be amazed at their modern take on our local cuisine. Just look at this Sinigang na Beef Short Rib and Watermelon!

Healthy and Vegetarian Cuisine at Corner Tree Cafe

Health-conscious or not, Corner Tree Cafe sure serves tasty vegetarian fare. Even my guy who's not into healthy eating can attest that he had a great time!

Smoked BBQ Ribs at Big Daddy Jay's All-American BBQ

What's better than BBQ ribs, you ask? Smoked BBQ ribs! Big Daddy Jay's takes ribs seriously and even spends up to six hours slowly smoking these magnificent-tasting BBQ.

Japanese Pon de Ring Donuts at Gavino's

If widely-available donuts fail to satisfy you, why not check out Gavino's Japanese donuts? They're composed of small and chewy balls made from mochi flour that form rings. Truly addicting!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Mad For Pizza: Create Your Own Pizza at Il Terrazzo

If you've been with me for quite a while now, you probably already know how much I love my pizzas. Whether I get them for free, or more often -- not, pizza has been a staple for my family's weekend chill out sessions at home. But although I already have my favorites from different pizza chains, I can't deny that I sometimes want to create my very own pizza flavor. And thank God there are restaurants now that spoil pizza lovers to this extent... One of which is Mad For Pizza in Il Terrazo just along Tomas Morato.
Mad for Pizza Il Terrazzo

Located on the 2nd floor of Il Terrazzo, Mad For Pizza is a new, homegrown pizza shop that doesn't just let you choose from a menu of pizzas, but instead, lets you customize your own pizza. From the dough, sauce, and toppings, you're your pizza's own boss!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Jade Dragon: Chinese Michelin-Starred Dining at Crown Towers

Just the mere mention of Chinese food when I'm about to dine out can make me go, "oh, no no!" But it's not because I don't like Chinese cuisine. Actually, my system has probably run on Chinese food for so long that I really have to veer away from it now to try other cuisines. However, when we were brought to Jade Dragon at Crown Towers Macau for lunch, I had to take off my Chinese food pseudo-restrictions. I needed to!
Jade Dragon Crown Towers City of Dreams Macau

Well, I don't know about you... But if someone tells me they'll bring me to a Michelin-starred restaurant, I'll just have to be flexible. Like, eat gluten even when I'm on a paleo diet, or even go all-carnivorous even when I'm a vegetarian. Umm, not that I am. But I'm sure you already get the point. I just can't pass up an opportunity like this.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Ippudo: World-Famous Ramen Now in Manila!

Only less than a hundred days before Christmas! And as we're in the midst of the "ber" months, the weather has undoubtedly continued on with the rainy, ramen season. So although there have already been a lot of players in the ramen market the last 2 years, we wholeheartedly welcome yet another addition -- the long-awaited Ippudo from Japan.
Ippudo now in the Philippines

Famous for their Hakata tonkotsu pork broth, Ippudo already has tons of ramen fans waiting for their first Philippine outlet in SM Megamall to finally open doors. I mean, who wouldn't be excited to get a taste of their ramen? With really impressive credentials -- over 80 stores in Japan, and outlets in New York, Singapore, Seoul, Hong Kong, Taipei, Sydney and Kuala Lumpur, and not to mention its founder Shigemi Kawahara revered as Ramen King, even I wouldn't mind queuing up at the country's first Ippudo.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Detalle Bar + Kitchen: A Secret Chill-Out Gem in Ortigas

Whenever my friends and I want to hangout, we usually prefer establishments with a chill, laid-back vibe. Unfortunately, we end up in noisy bar-restos, or more often than not, in equally loud coffee shops. Earlier this year though, I finally found a perfect spot to bring my friends for our much needed get-togethers. It's a not-so-mainstream, or secret if you may, chill-out gem in the heart of Ortigas called Detalle Bar + Kitchen.
Detalle Bar Kitchen Ortigas

With my friend Ronn in tow, we happily checked out Detalle Bar + Kitchen located in the corner of Meralco and Julia Vargas Avenues. We were really excited to pay it a visit, as just one look at its Facebook page, and we knew we'd love the interior and feel of the place. And know what? Even from the outside, we can already see the clean lines and industrial theme of Detalle that we oh-so-love. So let's head inside now, shall we?

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Tous Les Jours: Freshly-Baked Breads and Cakes Now in Trinoma

You guys might already know my most favorite cuisine. (Clue: Starts with a J) But if you ask me what my favorite type of food is, I won't hesitate to tell you that it's "carbs". Yup! The type of food almost everyone is scared of is actually my favorite of them all. Whether it be rice, pasta, pizza or breads, it'd be hard for me to resist! So when I received an invitation from one of my favorite bakeries, I didn't think twice and gave a big "Oh yes!"
Tous Les Jours Everyday

This French-Asian bakery called Tous Les Jours, which originated from Korea is no stranger to me and my family. Since I first saw their SM North EDSA branch open back in 2012, I already became a fan, bagging a few breads whenever I'm in the area and even getting myself and my family cute and pretty cakes for several special occasions.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Nail Cocktales: Hand and Foot Pampering at Bluebay Walk

Call me a late bloomer when it comes to nail kaartehan. But ever since I first applied nail polish, my nails were almost never seen naked. So when I received a timely invitation to visit this new nail salon in Bluebay Walk, I didn't even thought of passing up the chance.
Bloggers at Nail Cocktales Bluebay Walk

Located at the 2nd floor of the retail cluster of buildings in Bluebay Walk, Nail Cocktales is a chic paradise for women (and even men) who loves glamming up their nails. Since it's not too "out there" unlike most nail salons inside the busy and bustling malls, Nail Cocktales also offers more privacy for an uninterrupted hand and even feet pampering.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Ginzadon: Japanese Meets Korean at Resorts World Manila

It's no secret that I'm in love with Japanese food. If you ask me to choose just one type of cuisine I'll have to eat forever, the answer's a no-brainer. Japanese cuisine. But when it comes to Asian fare, I can't deny that Korean food is steadily closing in from behind. So when I got the chance to visit this Japanese and Korean restaurant at Resorts World Manila, both my palate and my tummy were seriously giddy for the meal to come.
Ginzadon Resorts World Manila

Located at the second floor of Maxims Hotel in Resorts World Manila, Ginzadon which name is a combination of "Ginza" (a district of Chuo in Tokyo, Japan) and "don" (money in Korean), is a Japanese and Korean, not fusion, restaurant. Yup, they don't serve Japanese-inspired Korean dishes nor Korean-inspired Japanese dishes here. They really carry a wide menu with a selection dedicated to Japanese fare, and another portion for Korean gustatory delights. And although the concept of a Japanese and Korean restaurant in one was initially a little odd for me, I have to admit, Ginzadon definitely makes life easier for people who crave for both Japanese and Korean food.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Lose weight, the healthy NaturHouse way!

Being a food blogger, I would be caught lying if I don't admit that I too have problems with controlling my weight. With all the food tasting events I willingly and happily attend on top of the usual flavorful, sinful dishes I eat on a daily basis, it would be impossible not to pack on the unwanted pounds. Actually, in this day and age where a fast-paced, modern and internet-dependent, yet sedentary lifestyle is the norm, you can call yourself one of the lucky (or really hard-working) ones if you don't already sport a ballooning waistline.

Weight Loss Tips

And unfortunately, weight loss doesn't come in a one-size-fits-all dress. Some people turn heavily to all kinds of slimming products and fad diets to no success, while many still have the "to start working out" on their must-do-but-never-have-done list. There are even some who try their hardest to squeeze in some exercise time on top of trying to eat more healthily, yet would still find themselves hitting a plateau on their weight loss goals.

And while you might not share this same belief, for me personally, the key is not really "to lose weight" but "to eat and live healthier" with an added bonus of losing weight.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Crystal Jade Shanghai Delight: Weekday Dimsum Dinner Buffet

As much as I love me some Peking duck, steamed lapu-lapu, and sweet and sour pork, when it comes to Chinese cuisine, I can easily pick dimsum as my top favorite. And you know why? Because of the variety. While I'll need reinforcement when eating Chinese main dishes, with dimsum, I can manage an order of a few variants on my own. And on top of getting to try more, one of the best parts is dimsum's fairly affordable!
Crystal Jade Greenhills Weekday Dimsum Dinner Buffet

But for those who want to indulge not just in variety, but also in quantity, here's a good news! One casual-dining Chinese restaurant in Greenhills that goes by the name of Crystal Jade Shanghai Delight is currently offering a Weekday Dimsum Dinner Buffet in celebration of Singapore (its country of origin) National Day. Yup, no need to wait until late in the evening to enjoy eat-all-you-can dimsum! Available from 6PM to 9:30PM, you can now feast on dimsum delights for just P488+ until the end of August.

Crystal Jade Shanghai Delight Greenhills
Crystal Jade Shanghai Delight at V-Mall, Greenhills Shopping Center
Of course, as a dimsum lover myself, I just can't this let great deal pass me by. So a few days ago, with my good friend in tow, we braved the heavy traffic going to Greenhills to sample the dimsum treats at Crystal Jade Shanghai Delight, located just beside the ground floor entrance of V-Mall inside the Greenhills complex in San Juan City.

Crystal Jade Shanghai Delight Greenhills Weekday Dimsum Dinner Buffet
Weekday Dimsum Dinner Buffet Items;
Click the photo to enlarge menu.
There are a total of 15 items (plus hot and iced tea) you can order again and again at will. And while Crystal Jade Shanghai Delight may not carry a very extensive variety for their dimsum buffet, compared to hotel restaurants offering the same promo, the former is definitely more affordable. Just make sure to finish everything you'll be ordering, else you'll have to pay for surcharge (the original amount of the item you didn't finish).

Insider Tip: You can order by piece. Just tell your server. *wink*

Weekday Dimsum Dnner Buffet

Like other dimsum buffets I've been to, we were given a menu-slash-checklist with all the items available for the eat-all-you-can promo. And here are the items we got to try...

Cold Cucumber with Minced Garlic in Sesame Oil
✓ Cold Cucumber with Minced Garlic in Sesame Oil
While this dish is simple, it's also a great appetizer to start the dimsum fest with. Cucumbers sliced in small but chopstick-friendly pieces, then tossed in sesame oil with minced garlic. Light but slightly savory. Perfect as a starter or even as a palate refresher.

Crystal Jade Xiao Long Bao
✓ "Xiao Long Bao" or Steamed Soupy Pork Dumpling
When I heard about Crystal Jade's Weekday Dimsum Dinner Buffet, one thing that came to mind was, "this is a perfect time to hoard xiao long bao!" And true enough, I wasn't the only one thinking this, as the Xiao Long Bao is the most ordered item from the dimsum buffet. And why the hell not? This small bundle of meat and soup proves to be one of the best in town. It may not have skin as delicate as I would've wanted, but it's definitely one of, if not the soupiest xiao long bao I've ever had to date! Yum!

Foodie Tip: To best enjoy the xiao long bao, bite off the excess skin on top to let the steam out. You can then add the ginger and black vinegar, and indulge.

Pan-Fried Carrot Cake with Dried Shrimp & Preserved Meat and Xiao Long Bao
✓ Pan-Fried Carrot Cake with Dried Shrimp & Preserved Meat
Plus a bonus up-close photo of the Xiao Long Bao
Now, I don't know how this item got its name, but it's clearly a radish cake. And while I don't really care about the why's and the how's surrounding its name, one thing I do care about is how it tasted. And it tasted really good! Every piece had a nice crisp surface, while the inside was soft and chewy. You can also pick up the hint of savor from the dried shrimps and preserved meat amidst the refreshing notes of the grated radish.

Pork Dumpling with Hot Chili Sauce
Pork Dumpling with Hot Chili Sauce
For spicy pork dumpling lovers, here's the answer should you want to keep a whole order for yourself. You need not mix a spicy concoction of soy sauce and hot chili 'cause the dumplings have already been soaking in hot chili oil. But if you still want to amp up the heat, then feel free to dump more chili to the serving dish. Or if you're like me who can't forgo the hint of saltiness, then dip them in soy sauce with some calamansi juice.

Crystal Jade Siew Mai
✓ "Siew Mai" or Steamed Pork and Shrimp Dumpling with Crab Roe
Ah, Siew Mai. The poster child of dimsum! Also lovingly known as siomai, this steamed pork and shrimp dumpling topped with crab roe is not only a delight to the sight, but more so for the palate. Like any good siomai, each piece of this dimsum favorite packs a burst of real meaty goodness. Juicy, tender and flavorful, this is another winner in my book.

Minced Pork Dumpling with String Bean
Minced Pork Dumpling with String Bean
While I've been eating more vegetables lately (check my Instagram), when it comes to dimsum, I usually find myself gravitating more towards meat. So somehow, it was quite a surprise to find a pork dumpling that also has string beans in it. And while the taste is more pork than string bean, the inclusion of the vegetable is a nice and healthy addition. And the skin... Soft, chewy and elastic -- the perfect casing to any filling.

Deep-Fried Spring Rolls
Deep-Fried Spring Rolls
Boo me for not getting a shot of these spring rolls' filling. So let me just share with you through words how juicy and meaty it was, as every bite was an explosion of familiar succulence! But while the filling is very enjoyable, what I appreciated more was the deep-fried wrapper. It was thinner and more delicate than the usual. And whether you eat a piece or two, or even three, I doubt you'll easily get taste fatigued.

Pan-Fried Shanghai Pork Buns
✓ Pan-Fried Shanghai Pork Buns
Truth be told, I'm not a fan of siopao or anything similar. But I guess my lack of access to really good ones is the reason to blame for my shaky relationship with 'em. Good thing I came across these pan-fried Shanghai goodness! Similar to fried siopao, their bottoms are crisp while the inside remains soft and moist. The filling on the other hand, which had the perfect ratio to bun, was comparable to bola-bola but minced and loads better!

Steamed Chicken Feet with Black Beans Sauce
Steamed Chicken Feet with Black Beans Sauce
While chicken feet might not be a good sight to see for many, when it comes to dimsum, this is definitely a classic! Drenched in rich and savory black beans sauce, these chicken feet were super soft with an almost gelatin-like texture. And while eating a piece takes effort (with sifting through the small bones), it's definitely a chore I'd gladly accept.

Steamed Spare Ribs with Black Beans Sauce
Steamed Spare Ribs with Black Beans Sauce
Back when I was younger, I'd already be super happy and content with a bowl of plain white rice and an order of this dimsum item. And while it's been years since I last did that, I surely wanted to ask for rice upon tasting this rendition of steamed pork spare ribs with taro. Every piece was super tender, moist and succulent. And while the black beans sauce added more savory flavors, it wasn't anything overbearing, but harmonious.

Congee with Salted Pork and Preserved Egg
Congee with Salted Pork and Preserved Egg
Apart from the dimsum items, when you avail of the dimsum buffet, you can also order this Congee with Salted Pork and Preserved Egg which is a truly comforting savory porridge. Add a drizzle or two of black vinegar or hot chili oil, mix it, and this simple bowl becomes an even more interesting item perfect for the rainy season.

Avocado Milk Shake with Sago (P125) and Noodle with Spring Onion Oil
Avocado Milk Shake with Sago (P125) and ✓ Noodle with Spring Onion Oil
The Noodle with Spring Onion Oil is probably the dullest-looking bowl of noodle I've ever seen. But ironically, it's also one of the best I've ever tasted. Seriously! Served with a separate bowl of rich superior broth, the soft yet firm and chewy (al dente) egg noodles in this dish is drenched with hot spring onion oil which is a famous technique in Chinese cooking. And while you may think the spring onion oil wouldn't make a big difference, I have to say, it really does! Even with just a little broth (or even none), the noodles tasted so savory! So if you ever visit Crystal Jade Shanghai Delight, do try this!

Crystal Jade Shanghai Delight Vmall Greenhills

Priced at P488+ per person, this Weekday Dimsum Dinner Buffet is available from 6PM to 9:30PM, Mondays to Fridays (including holidays) for the whole month of August. So if you'd love to indulge in eat-all-you-can dimsum plus select appetizer, congee and noodle, with free-flowing hot or iced tea, then hurry before this promo ends!

THE VERDICT

As a dimsum lover, this visit to Crystal Jade Shanghai Delight has really left me craving and wanting for more. Even if variety is quite limited, they've really made it up through offering good quality and value. Every dimsum item included in the Weekday Dimsum Dinner Buffet we got to try was enjoyable. There were even a good number of standouts! And I couldn't even be happier with the appetizer, congee and noodle they chose to be part of the promo. So for P488+, I'd say this is good value. You get to eat dimsum all you want in a nice restaurant ambiance, and with a prompt, friendly and courteous service.

Taste - 4/5
Ambiance - 4/5
Service - 4/5
Price - 4/5
Overall Value - 4/5


Crystal Jade Shanghai Delight, Greenhills Shopping Center
Unit 117-121 V-Mall, Missouri St., Greenhills,
San Juan City, Metro Manila, Philippines
(02) 570-5233

Friday, August 8, 2014

Clara Olé: The New Quality Cream-Based Sauces

If you've been following me on Instagram, which you totally should, then there's a good chance you've seen how often I cook pasta. And while it does reflect my relationship with this Italian favorite, the main reason why I always make pasta is because it's relatively easy to prepare, especially with ready-made sauces from one of my favorite brands.
Clara Ole Cream-Based Sauces

Whenever I'm hungry and craving for a flavorful and filling food that's easy to whip up, I'd always find myself boiling some pasta and checking the pantry for a pack of Clara Olé sauce. I think I've already tried the majority of their sauces. And let me tell you, they're definitely high quality! Unlike other ready-made sauces that have a chemical taste screaming fake, Clara Olé's sauces taste all-natural. And among pasta sauces in local grocery stores, I can easily say with conviction that Clara Olé is my number one favorite!