Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Lutong Bahay: Birthday Noodles

Lutong Bahay will be a short tag on the title which I'll use to feature home-cooked food, either in our own home or at a friend's house.

It's been exactly a week after my little sister spent her 17th birthday. However, it's funny how one of her closest friends just gave us a pot of home-cooked Birthday Noodles yesterday, wishing my sister a belated birthday and long life. (This particular friend is also my sister's college classmate now.)

My attempt on plating the noodles

Although I find it a little funny that her friend gave this a week later, even when they see each other everyday, it's still very thoughtful of her to give this traditional Chinese birthday offering.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Cafeccino by Dome: A Peaceful Café-Resto

There's only one place in Eastwood where my date and I would head over to whenever we're up for a quiet conversation over some food and drinks -- Cafeccino by Dome.

Owned by the same company who put up Dome Café in Shangri-la Plaza and Legaspi Village, the same wide array of menu, coupled with good customer service can be expected from this peaceful and cozy café. Definitely a perfect place for people who want to escape from the noise and clatter in overcrowded restaurants.

Cafeccino by Dome can boast of its homey interior -- comfy couches, casual café chairs, antique statues, and a ceiling with various-but-all-beautifully-framed mirrors around its simple yet elegant chandelier.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Cerveseria: Estuvo Delicioso!

Dinner last Friday was made extra special as I had a great time with some blogger friends at Cerveseria -- a Spanish cuisine and tapas bar spearheaded by Chef Gilbert Pangilinan, mastermind behind the famous Neo-Japanese restaurant Kai.

Whole, unsliced Pollo Iberico

It was my first time at Cerveseria and although its exterior is nothing to fancy about, what lies beyond its doors is a different story. Upon entering, my date and I were greeted with a warm and cozy Gothic dining area with dim lights courtesy of their candle wax-coated chandeliers. Their interior boasts of a black and brown color scheme, contrasted with pop of reds here and there.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

California Berry: A Guilt-Free Dessert

Last month, I saw a deal offering at one of the top-selling groupon sites, Ensogo. P80 for a large-sized yogurt with 3 toppings regularly valued at P160, I'm sold!

Although I love the sweet and creamy traditional ice cream, there's no doubt that I also fancy the tart and tangy low-calorie, non-fat frozen yogurt. They're not as good as my sweet desserts, but offers cold and refreshing confections minus the guilt.

After a hearty dinner at Gumbo last Tuesday, my date and I followed it up with a trip to California Berry to consume our Ensogo vouchers. The transaction was hassle-free and the staffs were all friendly.

Overwhelmed with the topping choices ranging from fruits, dried nuts, chocolates, candies and other goodies, I just opted for their pre-made selection and ordered the California Berry Special which is plain yogurt with mangoes, strawberries and kiwi.

California Berry Special (P155 value)

As expected, the tartiness of the frozen yogurt greeted my taste buds, coupled with the sweet and tangy fruit toppings. I love how the fruit toppings came in a generous serving, unlike other frozen yogurt stores who give pretentious serving of add-ons. Their fruit toppings were also fresh.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Gumbo: Discounted Steak Dining

If you're a regular reader, you'd know by now that I am hooked in getting money-saving resto deals from group buying sites. So having chanced upon a Gumbo deal at Deal Grocer, who am I to not be enticed?

It has already been more than 2 years since I last experienced a wonderful dinner at Gumbo, with a steep price tag attached though. But with Deal Grocer's offer for Gumbo's Grilled Angus Ribeye Steak (8 oz.) with 2 Choices of Sides, I saw a good opportunity to pay Gumbo a sooner visit.

Gumbo is a casual dinning restaurant that I've always associated with fancy feathers and jester hats. For years, I have always got a promo coupon from their hatted staffs whenever I pass by any of their branches. However, as colorful as the staffs' heads are, entering their restaurant is a different story. The SM The Block branch of Gumbo welcomes its diners with a cozy bistro ambiance. Their interior exudes a warm atmosphere with a brown and olive green color scheme over a dim lighting -- comfy and classy!

We were warmly greeted by the waiters and even the managers. And it's really a delight to dine when restaurants aren't jam-packed, as all the attention is yours. (KSP much?)

Gumbo boasts of its New Orleans flavors. However as much as I'd love to order seafood and their famous Jambalaya, my date and I deemed it unnecessary since both of us are to enjoy not 1, but 2 steak plates of our own. (Yes, I always buy 2 coupons! *wink*) After presenting our vouchers, we ordered for additional Buffalo Wings (P345), and 2 Bottomless Iced Teas (P80 each).

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Lutong Bahay: Dad's Special Empanada

Lutong Bahay will be a short tag on the title which I'll use to feature home-cooked food, either in our own home or at a friend's house.

Yesterday was my sister's 17th birthday. And to deviate from the usual meal celebrations, my little sister just wanted some home-made Special Empanada (meat pie) to give to her friends.

This batch of Special Empanada is made by our dearest dad. Using a recipe handed down for generations, it is the meatiest, juiciest and crunchiest meat pie I had ever tasted.

Inside the special crust are the oozing meat fillings -- pork, shrimp, mushrooms, potatoes and veggies. And although I'm not a big meat pie eater, I can't get enough of my dad's very filling Special Empanada which usually replaces my lunch and even dinner.

Daily Quickie: Starbucks' Banoffee Pie

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.

I'm not a full-fledged Starbucks convert, yet for the past 5 days, I have already ordered 1 grande frap, 3 tall iced drinks and 3 pastries from Starbucks. (Should I be considered a Starbucks patron now?)

And yesterday was no different as I spent another lazy afternoon at Starbucks, TriNoma. I claimed my free tall drink (Iced Cranberry White Chocolate Mocha this time!) courtesy of Starbucks' Customer Voice Receipt -- an automated receipt-printing system where a customer can be invited to evaluate his/her Starbucks experience thru an online survey and be given a free tall drink. (Whew! That was mouthful.) And to go with my free drink, I ordered their Banoffee Pie (P110).

It's my first time to try this, and I love it!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Purple Doll's 1st Month!

My blogsite, The Purple Doll, is celebrating its 1st month today! And since I'm such a weirdo, I gave it a non-reality-existing cake.

Original photo from; editing is by yours truly.

On the 13th of October 2011, about the same time, I purchased this domain and setup this blog. I initially wanted to just return to the blogging world after years of inactivity. But I was never really sure what type of blog I wanted to build.

After a month of happy blogging, I found myself driven to write more about food. So although my url --, doesn't sound like a food blog, I'm happy that it has become a diary for my food and restaurant adventures.

For the 32 days that I've been posting entries here, I am also grateful to have met amusing characters -- bloggers who I truly admire for their personalities and of course, their blogs.

I know it's weird to celebrate such a small milestone of my blogging journey. But nevertheless, I find it important since I've learned a lot not only about the blogging world and its community, but also some things about myself.

So to friends, online buddies, blogmates and to the random people who just accidentally landed here.. Thank you!

Matsuri: A Hearty Japanese Feast

In Japanese, Matsuri means festival. And true enough, it was indeed a small yet a hearty festivity to dine at Matsuri, a Japanese restaurant in Tomas Morato, offering ala carte buffet where you order all you can and eat all you can.

It was a very fitting occasion last Friday as I invited my date to celebrate his successful triumph over the hardest 5-year academic endeavor he's been into. And since both of us love Japanese food, Matsuri was the perfect spot for a "feastive" celebration.

The restaurant's interior boasts of its cozy yet classy ambiance over a romantic dim lighting, although most of the tables are for big groups. The walls and chairs also have an interesting woven detail giving off a down-to-earth, homey atmosphere that goes well with their brown and black color scheme.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Luk Foo: Quick Chinese Fix

For regular readers of my blog, I will look like a big liar for always telling that I try my best to veer away from Chinese cuisine. However as much as I honestly avoid eating anything Chinese, being born Chinese, will deem it inevitable.

Last Sunday was like any other Sundays, except that we weren't able to prepare and cook for dinner. And what's a family without cooked food by 6PM to do? Yes, eat out. Ours though was in a Chinese restaurant as expected.

We live within the sunken industrial CAMANAVA region, and my parents are quite impatient when it comes to eating out. So instead of checking the resto-filled areas in Quezon City, we just settled for Luk Foo Cantonese Kitchen in Monumento, Caloocan.

We are already regulars in this Chinese restaurant. My dad would often eat lunch here with some friends. My mom would normally grab a takeout order of Pancit Canton for merienda. My date and I, on the other hand, would usually order cold cuts and dimsum for late evening dinners.

Daily Quickie: Starbucks' PB Twirl & Peppermint Mocha

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.

I finally got to visit Starbucks last night to try their Christmas offerings. Don't get me wrong. I'm not really a big Starbucks person as I prefer CBTL for their tea lattes. (I even collected 24 stickers last year just to get their CBTL Giving Planner!) However, I arrived in Tomas Morato a tad earlier than I expected. So I just hit the nearest coffee shop.

I didn't have breakfast nor lunch yesterday, so I tried their Pecan Butterscotch Twirl (P85) which was a light yet filling flaky spiral roll stuffed with aromatic cinnamon and creamy vanilla pastry cream.

Funshoot: Casual Monday with Jen

Fashion shoots are not new to me. Back in 2008, I'd usually get together with friends and join fashion shoots. I even made an account at Model Mayhem to broaden my horizon... But as a model-wannabe.

However having a passion for photography, fueled more by my not-so-recent acquisition of Candice -- my Canon EOS 550D, redirected me to the other side of a fashion shoot... Behind the lenses.

This blog actually documents my journey as I get to know Candice and her potentials -- through food shots. But to further make my relationship with Candice deeper, I tried shooting subjects other than plates of gastronomical goodness.

Photos are shot using Candice + EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS kit lens

Last Monday, I had a funshoot with a friend and high school classmate, Jen. I know these shots are far from great, not good even. But I tried.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Seasons: Eat-All-You-Want at Manila Pavilion

Being a groupon addict that I am, I never let a good deal pass whenever I spot one at group buying sites. I love saving money and getting the most out of it, especially in food deals. That's why when I saw Ensogo's deal for Manila Pavilion's Seasons restaurant, I didn't hesitate to purchase since I still have some money anyway.

However as much as I love food and buffets, I see to it that I do enough research first before trying out a new food destination. Although Seasons is situated in a reputable hotel, I've read some reviews that it doesn't offer a wide variety of food, but we still gave it a try since 50% off in a hotel restaurant is a steal anyway.

We arrived at Manila Pavilion less than an hour before their dinner service. The hotel lobby was spacious and feels very welcoming -- definitely a comfortable waiting area for hungry diners like us.

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.
Copyright © 2014 The Purple Doll. Customized by Sumi. Designed by OddThemes