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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, December 4, 2011

Daily Quickie: PizzaHut Tuscani 4-Cheese Lasagna Pizza

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.

Although Pizza Hut is not paying me for this, I have decided to try all the flavors from their new Tuscani line of pizzas. After the Supremo which my dad loves, the Roast Beef which we felt so-so, and the 3-Cheese Bacon and Spinach which was my favorite, we ordered something again from their Tuscani line. This time though, we had Pizza Hut's new festive flavor for Christmas, the 4-Cheese Lasagna Pizza (P549).


I loved the 3-Cheese Bacon and Spinach for being so cheesy, so I was excited that this flavor has 4 types of cheeses -- Parmesan, mozzarella, cheddar and cream cheese. The cheesiness level was so satisfying! Beneath the layer and blobs of cheese, this pizza is actually a lasagna, complete with flat pasta, bits of meat, herbs and a tomato-based sauce.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Happy Lemon: Yummy Rock Salt & Cheese Drinks

Milk tea and fruit tea stores these days have been popping up like mushrooms in different parts of the metro. Although Happy Lemon is another beverage spot boasting quality tea drinks, it is a Chinese store worth visiting. Branded to offer the world's yummiest drinks, Happy Lemon did not fail to impress me with their line of Rock Salt & Cheese beverages.

Green Tea and Coffee, both with Rock Salt & Cheese

I first came across Happy Lemon at Eastwood. Its unbelievably long line of eager customers caught my eye. Why would these people take the time to get in a line as long as EDSA just to order a drink? (Of course, I'm just exaggerating with the EDSA thing!) Although I was curious to what the fuss is all about, I didn't have the time nor the patience to line up during my first Happy Lemon sighting.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Adventures of Tintin: The Premiere Screening

Although my blog is full of food reviews and random shiznits, I personally consider myself a semi-movie buff. Back in 2008 when I was in my first year college, I'd be in SM Cinemas every week, or even twice or thrice a week just to catch the latest movies. Occasionally, I'd even make short (and poorly written) movie reviews back on my old Multiply webhome. But even though I have watched a lot of movies this year, I wasn't so interested in reviewing them. Not until now.


Getting free invites for a premiere screening was a good way to induce me to finally writing a movie review. Thank you so much to Pinoy Exchange for the tickets. (No, they didn't just give them to me. I won 2 tickets through an online contest at PEx.)

Honestly though, I never knew so much about Tintin and his adventures. He's a familiar comics character for me, but I wasn't able to read this Hergén masterpiece nor watch the numerous film renditions since I was probably too young (or even unborn) back then. But since the premiere screening for The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, is not only free but will also be shown in an IMAX theater.. I was sold!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Corniche: Buffet & View at Diamond Hotel

After my date and I started our November with a buffet dinner at Manila Pavilion's Seasons, I saw an announcement by Diamond Hotel that they'll be offering 50% off from their lunch buffet rate from November 22 to 30, to celebrate Corniche's first year anniversary. Even if our bellies are already bulging because of indulging in too much food these past few weeks, who are we to not be attracted by this gracious offer?

Diamond Hotel is not a stranger to us anyway as my date have visited this 5-star hotel a couple of times already, while I on the other hand, have spearheaded our high school graduation ball held in Diamond Hotel's luxurious 27th floor function room. So to end our November, we graced Diamond Hotel's lovely buffet dining area that is Corniche.

We arrived a little late for lunch, about 12:40PM already. But upon entering Corniche, we were greeted by very courteous and pretty attendants who led us to our seats. This was the first time that we'll be dining here, and although the wide space of the dining area is a little too overwhelming, we were excited to try out the food offerings while indulging in the sophisticated and refreshing ambiance of the hotel restaurant.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Daily Quickie: Starbucks' Bottled Frappuccino Light

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 week our family friend who shared us the delicious Roasted Chicken from S&R, gave us another set of treats from the same members-only warehouse shopping destination.

This time though, it's not another viand item but sweet snacks -- a canister of Royal Dansk Luxury Chocolate Wafer Cookies and a set of four bottles of Starbucks' Bottled Frappuccino Light in Mocha.


The Royal Dansk canister wasn't such a big deal for me and my lil sis since we are used to Royal Dansk's butter cookies, but the Starbucks set was unexpected. I didn't even know that Starbucks has bottled frappuccino beverages for sale.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Burgoo: Everything for Sharing

Intro is a little non-food related. You can skip to the 2nd paragraph if you like.

Last Friday was a challenge for me. I had to meet with a friend for a fun shoot at Mandaluyong, go run some errands, and attend a blogger event in the evening. I wasn't able to do the third on this list though. 5:30PM on a Friday is always equated to heavy traffic, I should have known better. We hit the road by riding a bus, but eager to attend the event on time, we got off and boarded the MRT -- Wrong move. We initially planned to get off at Quezon Ave., but the super crowded sardine-like train where I was literally crushed and squished got the best of me. My energy got drained, my sweat was cold, and I felt like I'd almost faint. When the train arrived at Cubao station, I asked my date that we get off already. I couldn't take it anymore. Even if I rode the MRT a couple of times in the past, this was by far my worst squished experience. After sitting at the station's platform to rest, we decided to just stay in Cubao and get something to eat. (Honestly, I don't know why I almost fainted in the train. Maybe it was a combination of hunger, stress, B.O., and the mere fact that I was squished to my limits.)

My date and I walked to Gateway and dined at the first enticing restaurant we saw. Back then, it was Burgoo -- an American family casual dining restaurant boasting of good quality food at good-for-sharing portions.


Although we love eating out, it was actually the first time that we entered this food spot. Being so hungry and a little nauseous, I wasn't really paying attention to the restaurant interior anymore. I tried to take photos of the place, but I think the shots I took weren't all that good.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Daily Quickie: PizzaHut Tuscani 3-Cheese Bacon & Spinach

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 having a taste of Pizza Hut's Tuscani Supremo, as well as the Roast Beef flavor, I finally got to try the third most raved pizza in the Tuscani line -- 3-Cheese Bacon & Spinach (P519).


This pizza is simple yet really good. With only spinach, bacon with bechamel sauce, and 3 cheeses -- parmesan, cheddar and mozzarella, it left me very satisfied. I actually finished 3 slices which is quite a lot considering we ordered it in a 14-inch Super Family size.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Ristorante Bigoli: Big Food, Small Budget

The title may sound wrong (grammatically) or weird, but it's the reality! For years, Ristorante Bigoli (formerly Fazoli's) in Eastwood has been saving my date and I from suffering with empty stomachs whenever we're on a tight budget.

Just recently renovated, the old and gloomy facade of Fazoli's was already upgraded to the bright and inviting storefront of the new Ristorante Bigoli. Same menu, same good service, but with a different name and a new management.


Ristorante Bigoli is a fast-food restaurant specializing in pasta, pizza and other Italian goodies. And whenever our Italian cravings are kicking in but we're on a limited budget, Bigoli is our top-of-mind choice.

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 NiceCakeWorld.com; 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 -- thepurpledoll.net, 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.