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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!

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!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Let's Talk Drinks: Food and drinks pairing that work

Food and drink go together naturally, like salt and pepper, sun, sand and sea, or Hall and Oates. Whether you are serving pink champagne as drinks for special occasions, or red wine at dinner, choosing food that compliments the flavor of the drink – and vice versa – will up the pleasure you can take in both. Certain textures, weight and flavor of drink pair naturally well with particular foods. As a general rule, you want to serve a beverage that roughly corresponds to the weight of the ingredients you are using. So, for instance, pink champagne suits oysters because they are both light and fresh, while sweeter wines suit desserts as the sugary taste of each match with one another. So whether you are looking to match non-alcoholic drinks with food, or out to find the perfect partner for an alcoholic tipple, let me share with you some food and drink pairings that actually work.
Food and Drinks Pairing

Mussels and Muscadet

Traditionally mussels are cooked in dry white wine, with onion and a dash of cream, so it makes sense to drink a similar kind of wine when savoring them. And to that, a Muscadet is ideal. Mussels can also be cooked in beer or cider, and the same rule applies –- match the tipple to the cooking liquor.

Monday, August 4, 2014

mezza9: Serving International Favorites at Grand Hyatt Macau

Aside from being a city of gaming and shopping, Macau is also a destination for dining. For the three days we've stayed at City of Dreams Macau, we've been spoiled to nothing short of gustatory delights. And for a taste of widely varied international favorites, there's no better place to dine in but at mezza9 in Grand Hyatt Macau.
Mezza9 Grand Hyatt Hotel Macau

Taking inspiration from the famous mezza9 at Grand Hyatt Singapore, this Macau version, located at Grand Hyatt Macau's third level, also offers different wining and dining experiences all under one roof. From contemporary Western to colorful Pan-Asian flavors, mezza9 has them all -- Macanese, Grill, The Sushi and Sashimi Bar, The Wok, The Steam Basket, The Deli, The Pâtisserie, The Wine Cellar, and Bar. So for couples and groups with varying tastes and different sets of cravings, this is the place to be.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Crown Spa: World-Class Spa Experience at Crown Towers

Back in college, a friend who knows a thing or two about massages told me that my shoulders and neck are so tensed and stiff. And the first time I had a body massage, my therapist also said the same thing. Fast forward to 2014, every massage therapist I came across with shared the same comments. So when I got the chance to visit Crown Spa at Crown Towers Macau, I immediately knew I have to try their body massage!
The Spa at Crown Towers Macau

While I'm no spa virgin, I have to admit that this is my first time at an upper-class spa. Unlike the other spas I've been to, Crown Spa is revered as one of the most luxurious spas in Macau, winning the World Luxury Spa Awards for four years straight from 2011 to 2014. It was also bestowed with Five-Stars by the Forbes Travel Guide earlier this year. So knowing the spa holds all these prestigious titles, I can't deny that I held really high expectations (despite lacking experience) upon going in. However, I was surprised, and still am, that amidst the expectations, Crown Spa managed to blow me away.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Hard Rock Hotel Macau: Rock 'N Roll Lifestyle at City of Dreams

Last week, I received a good news that I was so excited about. And if you've been following me on Instagram, you might've noticed my crazy and very rare IG posting streak. I was blessed to join the media fam tour of a premier leisure and entertainment resort in Macau -- immersing in its city-inspired beauty, enjoying its electrifying entertainment, and indulging my palate with outstanding food the place offers. And it's none other than at the integrated entertainment destination of Macau, City of Dreams.
Hard Rock Hotel Macau

While the Cotai Strip in Macau, where City of Dreams is located, houses a good number of hotels, City of Dreams Macau is actually already a home to three -- Crown Towers, Grand Hyatt Hotel, and Hard Rock Hotel. If it isn't that obvious yet, I got to stay at the latter, which while not as luxurious as the other two, is still as chic, stylish and indulging. And actually, among these three, I'd say Hard Rock Hotel oozes with the most attitude. If the mere sound of its name or its widely-known logo aren't enough to convince you, maybe its promise of a rock 'n' roll-themed lifestyle (and hopefully, my blog post) can.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Kettle: A Potful of Comfort Food at Shangri-la Plaza East Wing

The not-so-new wing at Shangri-la Plaza has become home to many of Metro Manila's busiest restaurants. And while I still have a long way to go before I can finally shout "Huzzah! I've tried all of them," let me share with you one of my favorites among those I actually got to visit. It's an American comfort food haven interestingly named Kettle.
Kettle Shangri-la Plaza East Wing

Like a classic type of pot it was named after, Kettle holds different kinds of comfort food, one of which got two thumbs up (Might be more if they have extra thumbs!) from bloggers and foodies who've already been here. Actually, prior to this visit, I've already heard and read a great deal about Kettle. If you don't live under a rock, you might've actually seen netizens raving and posting photos of the resto's famous Buttermilk Fried Chicken. But after getting a real taste of Kettle, which kitchen is helmed by Chef Chiloy Santos, I learned that this restaurant is a great fried chicken spot and more.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Princess Hazel Salon & Spa: A Royal Treatment + Giveaway!

Girls will always be girls. No matter how simple we claim we are, there's no denying that at one time (or many times) in our lives, we've dreamt of becoming a princess. And while I didn't necessarily become a princess per se, I definitely felt like one at this posh, royalty-themed salon nestled in Quezon City called Princess Hazel Salon & Spa.
Princess Hazel Salon & Spa

Located at Unit 203 of Pacific Century Tower, Princess Hazel Salon & Spa is the brainchild of Hazel Uy, the princess behind the salon, who's a cosmetology alumna of the Center for Aesthetics Studies. And while the salon is off the beaten path, it surely adds to the place's charm and ensures clients get uninterrupted royal pampering and treatment.