Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Hong Kong Emperor: Casual Chinese Food Fare

As much as I want to veer away from Chinese restaurants, my roots still haunt me. Having a mom who only eats Filipino and Chinese cuisine, each celebrated occasion is bound to end up at a Chinese restaurant.

Last month was no different. Even without an occasion, we were bound to dine at Hong Kong Emperor Seafood Restaurant since it was an easy-spot for my mom when we looked for a lunch destination at SM Mall of Asia.

Although I am suffering a moderate Chinese-food-fatigue syndrome (I only made this term up!) I was still impressed by the classy ambiance of Hong Kong Emperor Seafood Restaurant. The interior is filled with gold and white, and some browns here and there. The lovely chandeliers were also a delight to gaze at.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Bo's Coffee: Coffee, Tea and Halloween Cookie

SM Mall of Asia has been my go-to mall for several years now. I have strolled inside its main atrium, explored its entertainment mall, and enjoyed the scenic sunset at the San Miguel by the Bay. However although I have dined countless times at different restaurants and chilled at various cafés, there are a lot of food and beverage establishments that I often pass by but have ignored. One of them is Bo's Coffee which I have been meaning to try for quite a while already.

Bo's Coffee is located in SM Mall of Asia's entertainment mall, beside the hard-to-miss activity area, and in front of Dolce Gelato -- one of my ultimate favorite Gelato stalls. So for the 4 years I have been going to MoA, it's funny how I have never tried Bo's Coffee.. Not until now.

It was last Friday that we got to try Bo's Coffee. We were in the area waiting for the start of Lee's National Denim Day for Philippine Fashion Week. And what can people who came 2 hours earlier do? Yes, chill first and let time pass in a coffee shop.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Daily Quickie: Nesvita Choco Malt Cereal Drink

Daily Quickie will be a short tag on the title which I'll use for blog entries about food I'm snacking at home, work or anywhere.

It's been cold and raining for the past 2 days. And to keep me warm in today's drizzling morning, I had hot Nesvita Choco Malt cereal drink. I'm not really a breakfast person, although I know eating a heavy breakfast has a lot of benefits. So a mug of a hot beverage is already enough for me.

Nesvita with my Donkey's offspring-printed mug from Universal Studios SG
Being a chocolate lover, Nesvita Choco Malt does not really do a great job in satisfying my chocolate cravings. But what do I expect from Nesvita's "healthy" branding?

Daily Quickie: PizzaHut Tuscani Roast Beef

Daily Quickie will be a short tag on the title which I'll use for blog entries about food I'm snacking at home, work or anywhere.

During the Halloween-All Saints'-All Souls' Day long weekend, our family ordered again from Pizza Hut. This time we had another super family-sized Tuscani pizza, Roast Beef (P549) flavor.

After reading several raves about this Tuscani flavor, I recommended it to my family. However, upon the very prompt arrival of the Pizza Hut delivery guy, my lil sis was a little disappointed and so was my dad. They liked the Tuscani Supremo more.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

PFW: My Dear Friend at Lee National Denim Day

Last Friday, I was fortunate enough to witness not only Lee's collection for Philippine Fashion Week's Spring Summer 2012, but also to be graced by the works of budding designer-contestants in Lee's National Denim Day -- one of the biggest student fashion design competitions where one of my dearest friends had partaken.

Ronn Wong, a 20-year old Fine Arts student at University of Santo Tomas, is a true artist who dreams big and shoots for it. Even before we went to college, he already exhibits strong determination in pursuing what he truly desires. That's why when he announced his participation in Lee's National Denim Day, we were all ecstatic and excited to see him and his works on the runway.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Frostings: Cake in a Cup

Although I am someone with a sweet tooth, I've never really found myself going gaga over cupcakes. I have heard a lot of good cupcake stores in the Metro, Cupcakes by Sonja included, but I never understood the joy some people get from munching on these personal-sized cakes.

Being a thoughtful sister though, I bought a few cupcakes from Frostings in SM Mall of Asia last Friday as pasalubong to my younger teenage sister. She's a big chocoholic so I got her the premium flavor Belgian Chocolate (P60), along with regular flavors Mocha Cashew Cake (P45) and Double Dutch (P45).

Monday, October 31, 2011

Chatime: Tea Time at MoA

Being a big bubble tea brand, not only in Taiwan but also in other parts of the world, it was already expected that Chatime will gain a following in the country. And being a milk tea lover, I cannot let another Taiwanese milk tea store be left untried. So after seeing a branch of Chatime at SM Mall of Asia, we didn't hesitate to enter the already-crowded-store.

It might be a little trivial, but I love Chatime's color scheme -- purple, white and some green. I find it modern and edgy.

Going back to our Chatime experience, there were a lot of people flocking at the counter to order, and this made me even more excited to try out their milk tea. However, upon checking their menu, I was actually overwhelmed by how wide their beverage selection is and had become unsure if I'll get something else instead of the plain milk tea.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Bubble Tea: Tokyo Milk Tea Place

Last Thursday, I went out to give something to a friend and after the short trip, rode back the MRT to North Avenue station. Having eaten only a light lunch throughout the day, my stomach was already rumbling. So instead of going straight home, I walked to SM The Block to grab something to eat -- there I chanced upon Bubble Tea.

Before the rise of Taiwanese Milk Tea stores and stalls in the country, there were only restaurants, fast food chains and cafés like Bubble Tea offering milk tea beverages along with their food items. So upon seeing its inviting storefront, I immediately went inside.

There were only a few people dining at Bubble Tea during that late afternoon. However, there were a lot of yuppies coming in to order beverages for takeaway. Seeing that their drinks are their bestsellers, I asked first for a large Royal Milk Tea (P125) while still browsing their food selection.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pancake House: All-Day Breakfast for Dinner

"Breakfast is the most important meal of the day." I have heard and read this statement lots of times already -- from my parents, friends and even health magazines and websites. They say that breakfast is the meal that fuels our body to perform its best.

Although there are studies supporting this claim, I usually tend to skip breakfast. However even if I do not eat my morning meals, I very much love the breakfast food items that I eat them at any time of the day.

A few weeks ago after missing breakfast for the nth time, I was craving for some pancakes while also starving to eat a rice meal. We were in Bonifacio High Street that night, and it was a good thing we chanced upon Pancake House. I had already eaten at this casual dining restaurant but have not yet tried anything aside from their pasta and pancakes.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Daily Quickie: Pizza Hut Tuscani Supremo & S&R Chicken

Daily Quickie will be a short tag on the title which I'll use for blog entries about food I'm snacking at home, work or anywhere.

It's a norm in our family to order from Pizza Hut whenever our parents wouldn't be around. So yesterday when our mom left us with merienda money, we automatically logged on to Pizza Hut's online ordering website and chanced upon their Tuscani selection, Pizza Hut's new line of pizzas endorsed by the Philippine's pride, Shamcey Supsup.

We ordered the Tuscani Supremo (P549) along with a bottle of Pepsi to avail of the free Hawaiian Pizza.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

King Chef: A Royalty Feast

Being born from a Chinese dad and a Chinese food-loving mom, I tend to veer away from Chinese or Cantonese restaurants for fear of taste fatigue. However, last night was a special case as I went out with my dad and a few of our family friends.

We were supposed to meet up with a few more people, but since most of us were already hungry, we decided to grab something to eat before hitting the road. Since we were already in Banawe Quezon City, we stopped by at King Chef for some dimsum.

King Chef signage along Banawe Street
It was my first time at King Chef, so I was overwhelmed by the really happy crew who greeted us in. (Yes, he was smiling SO BIG.) He courteously led us to a table on the restaurant's 2nd floor since all of their smaller tables at the ground floor were full. We were just a group of 4, so their table which can sit up to 12 people was too big for us.

We initially planned to just order some dimsum. However, we ended up ordering soup, some viands and a bowl of plain rice. Most of the food items we ordered were recommended by our server. And while waiting, we enjoyed their complimentary peanuts and house tea -- a staple to any Chinese restaurant.

Gong Cha: A Lovely Milk Tea Experience

Hailing from Taiwan, Gong Cha-- a beverage store offering tea, milk tea, coffee and juices, is an instant hit after opening a branch here in the country.

Gong Cha's wide menu of delightful beverages
I first saw Gong Cha at SM Mall of Asia's Entertainment Complex beside TimeZone. It was always filled with customers, but being a milk tea lover, I didn't hesitate to try it out. I remember, the first thing I've ordered from Gong Cha is their Milk Tea with Pearl Jelly at 50% sugar level. And even with less sugar, their milk tea still has that slight sweetness over its smooth and silky consistency. It was love at first sip.

Daily Quickie: Binggrae's Pangtoa & Master Siomai

Daily Quickie will be a short tag on the title which I'll use for blog entries about food I'm snacking at home, work or anywhere.

Last Friday, I went to my university to return the academic attire (toga) we rented and claim some photos from our graduation ceremony. I went to the Animo Food House (our university's main canteen) to grab something to eat. Although I didn't know a single soul in the canteen, I still enjoyed my Binggrae's Pangtoa Cookies 'N Cream -- a Korean brand of ice cream sandwiched in soft chiffon cake.

Pangtoa Cookies 'N Cream (P50 at Animo Food House)

I used to buy this all the time during my second and third year in the university. I also like the Pangtoa in Cheese flavor.

Sambo Kojin: The Kitchen God

After the rise of Yakimix Smokeless Grill, Sambo Kojin also a yakiniku smokeless grill followed suit and became an instant hit to buffet lovers. Boasting Korean-Japanese food fare, the smokeless grill buffet's first branch in Eastwood, Libis slowly but surely attracted a crowd.

I remember when it was still a little new, weekend dinner doesn't need a reservation as you can surely start pigging out at their buffet without the wait. However, as Sambo Kojin realized its title "Kitchen God" -- Sambo stands for God, and Kojin for kitchen, reservations for weekend dinner became a must.

Tuna and Salmon sashimi and assorted maki

A few weeks ago, we dared to enter the Kitchen God's lair without reservation on a Saturday night. And as expected, the waiting area was packed. We were 9th on the list and it took over half an hour before we were called up.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Yakimix: A Smokeless Grill Buffet

Recently, there have been tons of buffet destinations within the Metro. However, the first smokeless grill buffet that I dined at was Yakimix.

Always fully-booked at their Macapagal Ave. branch, it was a nice move that they opened a branch at SM Mall of Asia -- my go-to mall. After dining at Yakimix MoA several times, they have also put up a branch at TriNoma -- another one of my go-to malls.

Please excuse the quality of the photos. These were taken with a point-and-shoot camera.
Salmon sashimi, some sushi and assorted maki with a bowl of Crab and Corn Soup

Whenever we're dining at Yakimix, I always start with my comfort food -- Salmon sashimi, sushi and assorted maki. I also go for hot soup, and Yakimix usually offers Hot and Sour Soup or Crab and Corn Soup.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Sebastian's: An Ice Cream Haven

Although there are tons of frozen yogurt, sorbet and gelato stores, nothing still beats ice cream -- a rich and sweet treat that I love ever since I was a child. As a kid, I've loved Nestle and Selecta ice cream. However, as a young adult now, I'm loving Sebastian's ice cream.
Sebastian's at SM The Block

I discovered the heavenly dessert that is Sebastian's ice cream back in 2009 at SM The Block. It was not a big desserts cafe, but an ice cream stall with a few comfy chairs and coffee tables in front of the escalator. Although it doesn't have the laid back and relaxing ambiance I would want from a desserts place, the ice cream was sensational and have kept me coming back again and again.

Sunshine Award 2011

 Thank you so much to Bee of Before I turn 25 for giving me this blog award.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Groupons: Basics & Where and what I bought

Groupon sites are the new trend today. And why wouldn't it boom -- it's a great way to save money on service and product purchases, and can be easily accessed at home or in the office.

What's Groupon?

For a complete newbie with Groupons, here's a more detailed explanation:
"Groupon is derived from group coupon. It is a deal-of-the-day website that features discounted gift certificates usable at local or national companies." (from Wikipedia)

"Groupon features a daily deal on the best stuff to do, see, eat, and buy in cities around the world. There is a new deal each day and you can sign up for daily alerts or visit the site each day. These deals can be tricky – first it has to meet a quota. Meaning the deal is not good until a certain number of people sign up for it and buy it – the collective buying power. If that number is not reached, you are not charged. If it is met, then the deal is live and rolling! Anyone can buy." (from Frugal Coupon Living)

As I personally put it, Groupons are basically websites offering e-coupons for restaurants, services, shopping goods, etc. The deals in groupon sites usually have really big discounts -- 50% and sometimes up to 70%. This whole groupon system includes a merchant or vendor who will offer discounted items/services, a groupon site who will act as a broker, and us who are the consumers.

Starting Anew

After 17 grueling-but-fun years of studying, I have finally graduated with a degree in Marketing Management last October 15. Although I did not get any awards, it was nice to finally hear my name being called to get my diploma. Despite of the long hours wearing a very uncomfortable 3.5-inch heels I had to endure, the joy of finally graduating is incomparable.

Thanks to my blockmate Haze and his brother Joseph Yuso, for the photo.
However, this end is only the beginning.

It was funny how most of my friends didn't only greet me with a "Congratulations!" but also with a "Welcome to bum life!" Although 2 years in pre-school, 2 years in kinder, 6 years in grade school, 4 years in high school, and 3 & a half years in college is difficult and tiresome, I don't plan to become a bum for too long.

Our revised thesis paper was submitted last August 24, marking the end of our Marketing Management course and the beginning of my bum mode. And with almost 2 months of bumming around at home and hanging out at malls, I've got tired of it already. Yes, it's good to stay in bed as long as I want, eat as much as I want, watch TV and surf the internet as long as I want, and sleep as late as I can. But, it's hard to watch my savings go zero. And it's as tiring to do the same routine everyday.

And with that, I'm now starting to move forward.
  • I'll start waking up as early as 8am.
  • I'll restart the 30-Day Shred Workout that I didn't finish.
  • I'll start doing some business-related work for my dad.
  • I'll try to cook more healthy dishes.
  • I'll sleep earlier, and make sure I have at least 8 hours of sleep.
  • I'll reflect on my priorities, actions, goals and life.
So although this sounds cliché and cheesy, "World, I'm now ready!"

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Daily Quickie: Goldilocks' Mocha Cake & Lipton Milk Tea

Daily Quickie will be a short tag on the title which I'll use for blog entries about food I'm snacking at home, work or anywhere.

After posting my Conti's review yesterday, I immediately had a strong craving for Mango Bravo. But since TriNoma is a 40-minute or 1-hour (if rush hour) drive away from us, any cake will be a good quick fix.

And today, my mom bought a Mocha Roll from Goldilocks.

I just love Goldilocks' cakes. The sponge base is soft and tasty, but I always leave the icing though -- precautionary measures against diabetes.

Vikings Luxury Buffet: A Feast by the Bay

For a while now, buffets have been booming. After Yakimix and Sambokojin, now enters a new player in the buffet battle arena -- Vikings Luxury Buffet which is located in the San Miguel by the Bay area near the harbor.

Vikings' location is not that strategic and easily accessible from those who are coming from SM Mall of Asia as it will take quite a while of walking to get there. However for those who have cars, it'll be easier as they're not only at the roadside, but also offers ample of parking space.

The interior is luxurious, at par with hotel buffets. The ambiance is really nice, sophisticated and relaxing. The buffet tables are nicely decorated, and the food presentation is enticing.

Before, weekend dinner is at P888+. However after adding grilled steak to their spread, they are now charging P1,088+. And since we are paying a tad higher than expected on a Saturday night, our expectations were higher as well.

Vikings Signage

Conti's: Home of My Favorite Mango Bravo

For the past few years, I have been reading and hearing a lot of raves about Conti's. It's been on my "next food destination list" for a while now, although I never got the chance to dine here.. Not until now.

The nearest branch of Conti's from our place is at TriNoma. Although it's located at the road side of the mall, somewhere I don't usually go to, we still made our way to the famous Conti's so we can learn what the raves are all about.

Upon seeing the store at first glance, I thought it was just a small pastry shop. Good thing though we peeked inside, or else we wouldn't see that there is a dinning area after the pastry counter. Nearing the store front, the guard courteously greeted us and a crew attended to us.

Curious what would taste good among the wide array of their menu choices, it took us a while before we decided to go with Buffalo Wings as a starter, along with two pasta dishes.

Buffalo Wings (P195)

The Buffalo Wings tasted okay. It stayed faithful to its promise of being juicy and zesty, although I've tasted better buffalo wings.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Green Tomato & Angelati Italia: A Heavenly Combo

I love eating pasta dishes and I'm always on the lookout for good yet affordable Italian restaurants. So after reading several raves on different forums, we didn't hesitate to dine at Green Tomato the moment we saw it in Shangri-la Plaza.

There were only a few people dining at Shangri-la Plaza's 6th floor during that Sunday afternoon. When we went near the restaurant's area, the waiter promptly attended to us and accompanied us to our table. The menu was overwhelming since there were a lot of choices in their pasta selection. And our server was kind enough to help us pick out our pasta choice. He shared with us a few of Green Tomato's best sellers -- Sundried Pesto and Shrimp Salsa Penne and Pepperoni and Onions Spaghetti.

Sundried Pesto and Shrimp Salsa Penne (P280)

Ramen Bar: Noodle Soup for the Hungry Soul

Even if I love Japanese cuisine, I don't have a great fondness for ramen. This is also true for other Asian noodle soups. I guess despite how comforting hot noodle dishes can be, I still haven't learned how to appreciate them yet. However, upon spotting the newly-opened Ramen Bar in Eastwood, I didn't think twice and just went in to give it a try.
ramen bar at eastwood ramen bar menu

Since the date and I visited Ramen Bar during a lazy afternoon, we got to enjoy the relaxing ambiance and easy-going atmosphere of the cozy ramen house. The restaurant has a Japanese ramen stall-inspired interior with a soft yellow lighting. Its walls are also adorned with cute drawings which were created by the talented Ms. Pearl.

Although Ramen Bar may seem like a humble ramen destination, our server shared that it can get packed during lunch and dinner hours. Some customers even line up outside just to dine in the restaurant. Good thing we're quite lucky to get a good seat when there were barely any customers yet. However, by the time the clock struck 5pm, we were quite surprised to see a lot of patrons coming in.

kakuni buns chahan fried rice

And although I personally don't line up just to eat in a restaurant, I do understand why regulars of Ramen Bar do so. The resto's ramen is indeed good, and they also serve other items like appetizers, rice bowls and even dessert. For the 2 instances we've visited Ramen Bar, we already got to try their Kakuni Buns (P180) -- 4 pieces of pork belly goodness wrapped in a special white bun. Among the small plate offerings, we also ordered a serving of Chahan (P80) which is fried rice with eggs and leeks.

Nicer Sapporo Miso Ramen sapporo miso ramen

But of course, being in Ramen Bar, the true star of the establishment is their ramen offerings. For our 2 visits, we've got to sample the Sapporo Miso Ramen (P320) which is my personal favorite. This big bowl of hearty noodles has a miso-infused tonkotsu ramen with tamago, naruto, negi, chasyu, butter and corn.

shoyu ramen

The date on the other hand, ordered the Shoyu Ramen (P280) on our first visit. This one has a soy-infused tonkotsu ramen which makes it a little salty and more flavorful than my miso-based bowl. Topped with tamago, naruto, negi and chasyu, this hearty bowl of shoyu is perfect for a rainy or even a chilly weather. Another version of shoyu ramen that we got to try was the R.B.S 1 (P380) which comes with kakuni.

tempura ice cream

From what I know, Ramen Bar currently offers only one item for dessert and it's their Tempura Ice Cream (P120). This sweet treat has a creamy vanilla ice cream encased in a deep-fried batter, and is served with a chocolate wafer stick and chocolate syrup on the side. For one who's an ice cream lover, I definitely dig how this sweet and crunchy treat tastes like. And after a very filling bowl of ramen, this is truly a great meal ender.


As someone who's not too fond of ramen or any other noodle soup, Ramen Bar has successfully converted me into a believer and a ramen lover. For a simple merienda session, or even for a full meal, the ramen selection at this ramen house can truly satisfy taste-wise and portion-wise. Prices of ramen items may seem steep in general, but that's because the noodle soups come in a really big bowl good enough for 2 people to share. However, for someone who has a big appetite like mine, it's only good enough for myself. I say no to sharing my bowl of ramen.

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

Ramen Bar, Eastwood Mall
G/F Eastwood Mall, E. Rodriguez Jr. Ave., Bagumbayan, Libis
Quezon City, Metro Manila
(02) 570-9457

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A Veneto: An "A" Place to Pigout

A Veneto, I learned about this pizzeria in an unconventional way. It was around November last year that our professor in an advertising subject tasked us to make an advertising campaign for this particular pizzeria. I have never heard of A Veneto prior to that, although it was just quietly standing in SM Mall of Asia -- my go-to mall.

What started out as a task ended in a good relationship as I frequented A Veneto even after our project. Throughout the months of dining at this pizzeria, I have already sampled quite a few of their food selection. Their hefty serving of Onion Rings (P165) had always started my A Veneto meal. I have also tried some of their starters -- Baked Mussels (P135), Cheddar Munchers (P160) and Buffalo Wings (P170). However, these three are just mediocre.

Being a pizzeria, I had to sample their pizzas. As of the moment, I have already tried their 10" Pizza Ala Puttanesca (P270), 10" Howie's Special (P240), 10" All Meat Pizza (P260) and 10" New England's Best (P270). Although they boast of being a pizzeria, I find their pizzas a little below average. I dig how their pizzas are thin crust, but the base is just too thin and quite soggy. And even though I have already tried 4 different pizza flavors, I feel like they are quite the same tastewise. Well, maybe with the exception of Pizza Ala Puttanesca.

But despite not being a good pizza place for me, I personally liked their pasta dishes which are very affordable especially for a big serving. My all-time favorite is their Spaghetti Ala Puttanesca (P260) which is an exciting mix of sour and salty. I also like their Oil and Garlic with Hungarian Sausage (P265), Oil and Garlic with Hungarian in White Sauce (P280) and their Classic Carbonara (P255). I have also tried their Baked Ziti with Meatballs (P305) and Fettuccine with Seafood and Asparagus (P315), but both of them are below average for my taste.

Onion Rings (P165)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Pepper Lunch: Sizzle Away!

When I saw Pepper Lunch a few years ago, I thought "okay, here's another sizzling plate from Japan" and I immediately compared it to Sizzling Pepper Steak which was a miss for me despite the raves. But being a curious soul, I gave it a try and I'm glad I did!

I first ate at Pepper Lunch about 2 years ago. I loved everything I ordered but wasn't able to return to dine again since I had a tight student budget at that moment. But this September, Deal Grocer offered a groupon deal for Pepper Lunch -- Only P300 for P500 worth of food. I grabbed the opportunity and sampled a few of the food chain's offerings.

I got to taste the rice meal I ordered years ago, Beef Pepper Rice (P215) which was still as satisfying as before. We also got to sample their Curry Beef Rice with Cheese (P235), Salmon Pepper Rice (P275) and the famous Pepper Steak (P598). Everything tasted great -- tender but cooked meat and flavorful rice in a warm sizzling plate. This is actually why I like Pepper Lunch better than Sizzling Pepper Steak. Although the food selection and overall concept is similar, Pepper Lunch's taste is more appealing for me, and did I mention the sizzling plate really cooks all the meat on my plate? I also love their Kani Salad (P99), it's a little expensive for the portion but it tastes really good!

Pepper Steak (P598)

Sizzling Pepper Steak

I've loved sizzling plates ever since I was a kid, and having to cook your own food in a sizzling plate sold me to dine at Sizzling Pepper Steak. I have dined and sizzled my food in this food chain for several times already, yet my opinion about it remained the same.

I usually order their most popular pepper rice meal, Beef Pepper Rice (P165) as I like beef more than pork and chicken. But upon dining here for countless of times already, I have also sampled their Chicken Pepper Rice (P190). Both sizzling rice meals are so-so for me. And being a hefty eater, I find the serving quite small. I also noticed that their sizzling plates lose their warmness a little too soon than what I would've wanted, so I usually end up with an incompletely cooked meat on my plate.

Along with my often partially-raw meat, I sampled their Egg Drop Soup (P40) which I think is quite good. I have also tried their Crunchy Kani Salad (P125) which is so-so since I've had better, and their Gravy Fries (P75) which is a bit floury and nakakaumay for me.

I don't really dig the taste of their food, but props to Sizzling Pepper Steak for putting up a good presentation of their dishes. This is actually why I was expecting the food to taste really good. The presentation is just so enticing and convincing!

Egg Drop Soup (P40)

Racks: Consistently Delish Barbecue Ribs

Although I don't fancy American food that much, I can't help but give in to barbecue ribs. And for countless times already, whether be it with a date, with friends or with my little sister, Racks has always been here to satisfy my ribs craving.

So far, I've already dined at the SM Mall of Asia, Robinson's Place Manila and Greenhills branches, and I've never been disappointed. Although I've visited in between a few months, there are things that thankfully remain the same. Good food and great service.
Baby Ribs Combo

It's quite funny that whenever I choose to dine at Racks, I can't help but always find myself ordering the Baby Ribs Combo Platter (P316). Probably, it's the completeness of the set which entices me as this platter already comes with a filling barbecue baby ribs, rice and even a choice of side dish. I also got to try the Classic Pork Ribs Quarter Rack Combo Platter (P238) just recently, and it's as satisfying as the baby ribs. With a tender and succulent fall-off-the-bone piece of meat, the special barbecue sauce at Racks completes the foodgasm experience.

Highlands Steakhouse: A Steak Date with Dad

I've always believed I inherited being a foodie from my dad, so I try to savor the moment every time we get to have a father-daughter date. One fine weekend, we spotted the famous Highlands Steakhouse at SM Mall of Asia. Since we've always wanted to dine at Tagaytay Highlands Steakhouse but lack the membership, we didn't hesitate to go straight inside the SM Mall of Asia restaurant and grab a table for two.

The restaurant's interior is quite cozy with dim lighting. The walls, the decor, and even the washroom are consistently of a cowboy theme. Actually, even their servers are wearing cowboy outfits with a matching hat!
Caesar Salad Caesar Salad Closer

Upon checking their menu, we were quite overwhelmed since Highlands Steakhouse has a wide list of items to choose from. In the end, we just opted for their sets which already include a bowl of soup, a solo serving of salad, an entrée, dessert of the day, and a bottomless beverage with a choice of coffee, coke products or iced tea. My dad chose to order the Rib-Eye Steak set (P1,700+) in medium. While I, on the other hand, opted to get the Roast Lamb Racks (P1,500+) also in medium doneness.

Rib-Eye Steak 10oz

After getting our orders, our server brought us two slices of freshly toasted bread along with a bowl each of the Lobster Bisque, Onion Soup and Clam Chowder. As a thick soup lover, I found this bowl very satisfying. The chowder has a rich flavor without being too overpowering. We were also served with Caesar Salad, our salad choice made from fresh vegetables drenched in a tasty Caesar dressing.

Roast Lamb Racks

Our main entrées were served afterwards. Although our meat choices were only of 10oz. instead of the 15oz. standard serving for a la carte, both my dad and I loved our Rib-Eye Steak and Roast Lamb Racks as they were very tender, succulent and flavorful.

Caramel Cake

We really savored every bite of our juicy entrées. And upon finishing, we were served with the dessert of the day, a Caramel Cake which has a soft sponge topped with a creamy frosting and sweet caramel chunks. Although I found the cake quite good, I felt as if this meal ender can be skipped anytime.


True enough, Highlands Steakhouse lives up to its promise of serving quality steak. Even the soup and the salad were actually good. Although my dad and I don't usually spend over 3k with just the two of us, we felt like our money's well spent. Aside from the great food, we enjoyed the very comfortable ambiance which made dining at Highlands Steakhouse more memorable. Another thing we love at the restaurant is the service. Each dish was served right after we finished the previous one. We need not call the attention of our servers as they already know what to do.

Overall, our experience at Highlands Steakhouse was more than pleasant. Even though the price tags are quite steep, the great food, service and ambiance one can get from dining here makes every penny worth it.

Taste - 4.5/5
Ambiance - 5/5
Service - 5/5
Price - 3/5
Overall Value - 4.5/5

Highlands Steakhouse, SM Mall of Asia
2/F Unit 213 Entertainment Mall, SM Mall of Asia, Bay Blvd.
Pasay City, Metro Manila
(02) 556-0768

Mr. Kurosawa: A Euro-Japanese Experience

My love for Japanese food doesn't stop at the traditional fare. And with a growing popularity of West meets East types of Japanese restaurants in the Metro, I didn't want to be left behind. So when we spotted Mr. Kurosawa Euro-Japanese Restaurant one evening in Eastwood, I just knew we had to try it right then and there.
Mr. Kurosawa

The storefront of Mr. Kurosawa is definitely catchy, especially for fans of Japanese cuisine. With a stylish and modern interior in purples, reds and whites, it had enticed us to give it a go. However, upon entering, we found the lighting too dim for me and my camera's personal liking. I guess at night, Mr. Kurosawa can be considered as a resto bar, especially since it's located in the hip Eastwood.

Bistro Ravioli: A Taste of Italian in a Wrap

As an Italian food lover, I'm glad that I've finally paid a trip to Bistro Ravioli. Even before I've started blogging, I've already read a lot of reviews about this Italian restaurant. Back then, this ravioli destination was only available at Robinson's Place Manila. Fortunately, my date and I spotted a newly-opened branch in SM Mall of Asia. So being the foodies that we are, we didn't hesitate to give it a try.
Italian Sausage Ravioli in Romesco Sauce (P190)

Bistro Ravioli has clean, white minimalist interior that looked so elegant and refreshing to the eyes despite being simple. As we first walked in the restaurant, the staff were already smiling, eager to serve us. And with this kind of initiative from the service crew, I instantly had a good first impression with the restaurant.

Tokyo Café: A Western Japanese Fave

Even as a youngster, I've already discovered my fondness for Japanese food. Whether it be traditional or Japanese-Western, I'll go head over heels especially if the dishes are good. So there's really no wonder behind my love for Tokyo Café, a Yoshoku restaurant serving Japanese-Western food items, beverages and more. As the it’s a West meets East kind of restaurant, it's menu consists of fusioned salads, soups, hamburgs, sandwiches, pasta, pizza, parfaits, crepes, coffee, smoothies and tea.
Tokyo Café Sign at The Block Demi Hamburg (P185)

I’ve already dined at Tokyo Café several times. And with all my trips, I can definitely say that their hamburg is one of their aces. I still haven’t tried all of their hamburg offerings, but I'm sure most, if not all of them are of really good quality. The meat of their hamburgs is very tender, juicy and succulent. One can eat it as it is and still be contented. But of course, the sauces can add an extra “oomph” to it.

Chaikofi: A Yellow and Black Concept Cafe

Update: Chaikofi closed its mall branches. As of the moment, they can only be found at NAIA - Terminal 3.
Being a curious soul even way back in my college freshman days, I got intrigued by the modern and hip-looking concept cafe that is Chaikofi. Located in Robinsons Place Manila, Robinsons Pioneer and SM North The Block, this cafe drenched in black and yellow boasts of a novel and contemporary ambiance and possesses a strong "feel-good, chillax" vibe. So for a young student, this concept cafe definitely attracted me to pay it a visit. But of course, first impression is never the only impression. So on my first and succeeding trips, I was always looking for the food quality and value for money.

Crab and Mango Salad (P125) Another view of this treat.

I can't count the number of times we've visited Chaikofi, but I'd never forget the Crab & Mango Salad (P125) which we'd always order as it's a harmonious blend of shredded kani, sweet ripe mangoes, lettuce and dressing. It may look simple, but it's one salad that I really really like! However, I think the serving size is a little small for its price.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Purple Doll's New Home

Hi, I'm Sumi -- owner of this blog, The Purple Doll. I have been a blogger since 2006, however I have been moving from one blog to another as I move from one part of my life to the other. I used to own a personal blog entitled, as well as, and (Yes, I really love the color purple!) which had a webhosting problem -- the webhost went down and so did my whole weblog.

My first blog -- MyPurplePanda; sorry for including my cheesy photos.
I didn't know what I was thinking back then!

And as a fresh graduate who likes food, make-up, photography, web & graphic design, and anything random, I created another blog which I plan to keep for as long as I can. This will be the home of my food trip adventures, make-up haul and reviews, as well as a personal diary.

I hope you will find my blog useful and fun to read.
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