Monday, December 26, 2011

Buffet 101: Eat-All-You-Can at the Other End of the Bay

Everyone is already familiar with Vikings, the luxury eat-all-you-can buffet at San Miguel by the Bay. However, it has been overly crowded and reserving for a table has started to be a problem. And with the continuous rise of the buffet trend in the food industry, another eat-all-you can player enters the buffet arena just at the other end of the bay, aiming to get a share from the Vikings goers. Yes, it's the newly opened Buffet 101 (from the owners of Yakimix) just near Microtel.

Buffet 101 is also branded as a luxury buffet. It has an interior almost at par with 5-star hotel restaurants -- with lavishly decorated space, posh ambiance and elegant decors.

A few days before Christmas eve, my date and I went to the eat-all-you-can restaurant as early as 2:30PM to reserve for a 5:30PM dinner for two. Yes, we're too excited to dine at Buffet 101. Who wouldn't be anyway as this sophisticated luxury buffet has already been creating a buzz on the internet even if it only started serving customers last November 29.

Fast-forward to our Buffet 101 dinner, it was a nice thing we were already waiting for its posh entrance to open even before 5:30PM. We were able to grace the lovely-decorated space before hungry diners started to flock. (Good for me, I got to take tons of shots before plates were half empty!)

Although there were less food stations unlike its rival, Buffet 101 also offers a lot of gustatory delights. There were a variety of meal starters, a fair share of Japanese cuisine, an array of Chinese foods and dim sum, a set of cooked dishes, some cold seafoods, a grilling and carving station and of course, the desserts section.

They had different kinds of breads, cheeses, soup with puff pastry, salads and other hors d'oeuvre. They even had fries and nachos, as well as other international finger food favorites.

I also checked their humble Japanese station. It had some sashimi, assorted maki, ebi and kani tempura, cold soba and miso soup.

Although their Japanese section only had a few items, their Chinese station on the other hand, was pretty interesting. They had different dim sum items, a live suahe station and even Peking duck.

I'm not really fond of cooked dishes in eat-all-you-can buffets, but my date found interest in Buffet 101's cooked foods.

I, on the other hand, found myself staring and drooling over their seafood delights. They had shrimps, fishes, crabs, mussels, oysters and other yummy sea creatures.

For barbecue lovers, they have a selection of grilled items -- beef, chicken and pork barbecue, as well as grilled liempo (pork belly). They also have some striploin and ribeye beef, as well as lamb chops by order.

And for the perfect meal enders, they have fresh fruits, pastries, a chocolate fondue and other yummy-looking desserts

Like its rival, Buffet 101 also prides itself by offering unlimited drinks from coffee, tea, fresh fruit juices, smoothies, sodas and even draft beer.


It's been several weeks since our last buffet adventure, so we let our hearts out and got everything we fancied. Of course, I started my buffet dinner with generous servings of my Japanese favorites -- salmon, tuna and tako sashimi, unagi nigiri, California temaki, some ebi tempura, and a hot bowl of miso soup.

My date also went crazy on the Japanese offerings and got each of every maki, along with some sashimi. And while all the sashimi looked and tasted fresh, the makimono on the other hand, tasted ordinary.

Even though I already filled my tummy with tuna and salmon sashimis, I still grabbed a small serving each of the tuna and salmon appetizers.

Both appetizers didn't only look enticing, but tasted good. The tuna was soft and a little tangy. The salmon with dressing on the other hand, tasted savory and was even nicely complemented by the veggies.

Being a shrimp lover, despite and in spite of hypersensitivity, I got myself a small bowl of freshly steamed suahe from Buffet 101's live suahe tank.

The cooked suahe had a beautiful orange-salmon color, and they tasted amazing! They were a little salty and sweet. Even without any sauce, their natural flavors can already stand out on their own.

My date and I both got some Chinese food fare too -- some Asian cold cuts, spareribs, siomai, chicken feet, wrapped Peking duck and other dim sum items.

Buffet 101's Chinese offerings are quite abundant both in quantity and in taste. They were good for being an eat-all-you-can buffet selection.

Since my date is a big eater of cooked foods in buffets, he didn't miss the cooked dishes in Buffet 101 and got himself a generous plate of various items which he willingly shared with me.

And while I check the smoothies section afterwards to get some watermelon and mango shakes, I didn't know that my date was already doing a major food hoarding that will jeopardize our buffet eating strategy. Yes people, he went around, got everything he liked and dumped them on our table. First, we savored some baked mussels and baked oysters with cheese.

While I am a fan of baked seashells with cheese, the cheese pimiento-ish taste of the mussels and oysters threw me off. It was good, but it was tiring on the taste buds. My date also got us a plate of grilled meat, one with barbecue sauce and one with garlic mushroom gravy.

Both were quite good, except that I was already becoming too full. We also got to sample the striploin beef, ribeye beef and lambchop. All cooked to medium doneness.

Everything on this plate tasted great. All three kinds of meat were tender, moist and flavorful even without the sauce. However, parts of the meat were too charred. Although I love grilled items, the charring was just too bitter for me.

We also have more plates of Japanese and Chinese food items that I wasn't able to take photos of. Since the night passed by so quickly, we forced ourselves to just finish everything my date grabbed. So unfortunately, after a few hours of pigging out, we were too full to try out any from the desserts selection. We promise to go back to Buffet 101 really soon though to sample the food items we missed, especially the delicious-looking desserts.


Although I love eating at buffets, I understand that offering so much food is equated to a mediocre-tasting selection. However even though everything was quite ordinary, I enjoyed the eat-all-you-can dining experience at Buffet 101 especially because of the freshly-cooked suahe and for the affordability.

The food selection at Buffet 101 is less when compared head to head against Vikings. But if you know you can't eat a lot anyway, and wouldn't mind missing out on frozen yogurts, then Buffet 101 can be a really good choice.

Taste - 3.5/5
Ambiance - 4.5/5
Service - 4/5
Price - 4/5
Overall Value - 4/5

Buffet Rates as of 2013:
Monday to Friday Lunch - P6990
Saturday Lunch - P799

Sundays and Holidays Lunch - P1,050
Monday to Friday Dinner - P950
Saturday, Sunday and Holidays Dinner - P1,050

Children Fixed Rates
Kids below 4.5ft - P499
Kids below 3.5ft - Free
Vat inclusive and no service charge.
Buffet is inclusive of drinks.

Buffet 101
Bldg K, Seaside Blvd. (near Microtel)
San Miguel by the Bay, SM Mall of Asia Complex
1300 Pasay City
(02)556-2888; 556-3888
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Christmas Giveaway Winner

Season's greetings to everyone! I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas yesterday. Anyhow, thank you so much for joining The Purple Doll's Christmas Giveaway. It was overwhelming how in a span of almost 10 days, there were 71 entries. However among this number, only 45 qualified for the raffle as not everyone followed the directions carefully.

After manually checking each and every entry -- verifying if the participant's Facebook post is public, if The Purple Doll's Facebook page is tagged, and if the participant publicly follows this blog thru Google Friend Connect, I've encoded the qualified names to Random Picker, a free online random generator.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Daily Quickie: PizzaHut Tuscani Gourmet BBQ 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.

Within 2 months, I finally tried all the Pizza Hut Tuscani flavors! After the Supremo, Roast Beef, 3-Cheese Bacon & Spinach, 4-Cheese Lasagna and Premium All-Meat, we ordered the last pizza under the Tuscani line -- Gourmet BBQ Chicken.

Pizza Hut's Tuscani Gourmet BBQ Chicken boasts of its gourmet BBQ chicken toppings, with honey BBQ sauce, olive oil roasted bell peppers and red onion. It was a simple combination of chicken and veggies so it was not too enticing for me and my lil sis who are big on bacon, pepperoni and beef.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Aristocrat: Home of Filipino Comfort Food

Last weekend, my blogger friend achie Kay teased me of how it's a sin to have never eaten at one of the famous local restaurants in the country, Aristocrat.

Although I've never been to the lair of the Chicken Barbecue pioneer, I have seen its seven-decade-old flagship branch along Roxas Boulevard for countless times already. They have also been putting up branches in the Metro's biggest malls, including SM Mall of Asia where my date and I usually hang out. So when we saw the familiar green and red storefront of Aristocrat, we didn't pass up the chance.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Seattle's Best: A Beginning of Something Special

One weekday afternoon, I found myself just craving for some quick snack and a refreshing cup of coffee or tea. Of course, I first thought of Starbucks since I still have a few more stickers to go before I fill in all the slots on my card. However, its branch at Trinoma's 2nd Level was just jam-packed. I wouldn't want to eat and drink standing, so I just opted to get some snacks from Seattle's Best instead.

Seattle's Best has been often thought of as one of Starbucks' direct competitors. However, if my research serves me right, Seattle's Best had been acquired by the owners of Starbucks in 2003. Although owned by the same company, Seattle's Best exudes a different vibe as a coffee shop. Its Trinoma branch, although not as hip and as crowded as that of Starbucks, is very cozy and seems like a good place for friends and family to hangout while enjoying their wanted (or needed) dose of caffeine.

Its walls are of wood and brick with a dominant red and brown color scheme, just like most coffee shops in the country. However, what I like more about Seattle's Best is that I can enjoy whatever I plan to order without having to suffer from coffee shop-goers' loud chattering. Yes they may have teen and yuppie patrons who eat and drink in groups, but the crowd here is more other-conscious.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Serenitea: Not Your Ordinary Cup of Tea

Last week after our tasting at Bar Dolci in Burgos Circle, my date and I spotted a popular milk tea destination -- Serenitea.

Serenitea has been one of the most raved tea places among my circle of friends and online buddies. Although it has been in the market for 3 years already, I haven't tried any of its tea selections yet. (I know, it's such a shame since I call myself a tea lover!) So even though my date and I already consumed tons of sugar that evening, we didn't deprive ourselves of Serenitea's offerings.

Although it was a midweek night, Serenitea's apple green and white colored humble shop was full of tea and milk tea lovers alike. From what seemed to be college students and fresh-from-the-office yuppies, everyone looked like they can't wait to get their hands on their favorite Serenitea drinks.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Yabu: An Authentic House of Katsu

It's not a hidden fact that I love Japanese food. Sashimi, makimono, teriyaki and everything Japanese will surely satisfy me. However as much as I love J-cuisine, I can't seem to develop a liking for the breaded, deep-fried pork that is tonkatsu. But not until I've tried Yabu.

Yabu: House of Katsu is a new Japanese katsuretsu (cutlet) restaurant in SM Megamall The Atrium's 2nd floor. Since it opened its doors to hungry customers last November 11, it had been flocked by diners wanting quality katsu dishes. I had been reading tons of reviews and all of them (yes, all) are nothing but praises of how wonderful Yabu's katsu dishes are. So without hesitation, my date and I made our way to try out Yabu's offerings one weekday lunch.

I got to SM Megamall a few minutes after 1PM. Good thing my date hasn't arrived yet, since Yabu was jam-packed and we would've waited for free tables should my date have met me earlier. It was a few minutes past 1:30PM when my date finally came. Although there were still a lot of diners in the restaurant, we were courteously attended and seated.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Let's Help the Sendong Victims

I've known that there will be a typhoon coming this weekend, but never did I imagine that it will cause a great loss for our fellow Filipinos in Cagayan de Oro and parts of Mindanao and even Negros. I work on the computer for many hours each day, and usually skip watching the news both on the television and on the internet. But upon seeing news articles and photos of victims from the catastrophe the Tropical Storm Sendong (international name Washi) brought, I cannot simply ignore it. I may have a fever now, but these people are suffering far worse than the cough and colds I am enduring. Their case cannot be healed simply with over-the-counter medicine. They need PRAYERS, DONATIONS, and SUPPORT from fellow Filipinos.

I don't know who took these photos. If you do, please let me know so I can properly credit the owners. Thanks.

It'll only be a few days before Christmas, but these people have been suffering from great loss. As of 1 a.m. on Sunday, the Red Cross reported 436 dead and 162 missing. This number have probably gone up already and will keep rising until more data are collected. Evacuation centers are also filled with more than 35,000 people already needing food, clean water and clothes. Let us do our part and help them. Below are a list of organizations currently accepting donations, compiled by Ms. Eggplant.

1. Red Cross: to help, send RED to 4143 (Smart) and RED to 2899 (Globe). * Smart subscribers may send financial help to the Philippine Red Cross through text. To donate, cellphone users should send RED to 4143. Valid donation amounts are 10, 25, 50 and 100 and will be charged to the subscriber’s prepaid load or postpaid bill. * Globe subscribers may send help to Red Cross. Just text RED and send to 2899. Valid donation amounts are 10, 25, 50, 100 (For ex, RED 10).

2. SMART Subscribers * Smart subscribers all over the country may send help to those affected by typhoon Sendong. Smart Money users can instantly transfer funds through their mobile phones to the official Baha Fund account number 5577 5130 6822 1104. Donors may also deposit cash to the same Smart Money account number in any Banco De Oro branch nationwide or through Hapinoy and Cebuana Lhuillier outlets. * SMARTCares: Subscribers may donate to #Sendong victims via text. Just send RED to 4143. Valid donation amounts 10, 25, 50, 100.”

3. Globe Subscribers Through GCASH, text DONATE and send to 2882.

4. Iligan Bloggers Society through One For Iligan allows you to donate $1 for the Iligan flood victims of typhoon Sendong. * One for Iligan is a Google doc that tells you how you can donate at least US$1 via PayPal * Contact points SITE: http//:iliganbloggers.comEMAIL: iliganbloggers@gmail.comFB Fanpage: * How to else to help?The group Iligan Bloggers Society says that aside from paypal donations, they are also asking for canned goods, noodles, bath and laundry soaps, toothpaste, rice, used clothings and slippers.

FB Fanpage:

6. Xavier University, Tabang * Any help -- food, clothes, books, bottled water, others -- can be sent to Fr. Eric Garcia Velandria SJ, coordinator of Sendong Operation, KKP Office, Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan, 9000, Corrales Ave. Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines. According to XU-CSG President, GemGem Tero, food and clothes donations are more needed. Account Name: Xavier University Bank Name: Bank of the Philippine Islands, CDO Divisoria Branch Account Number: 9331-0133-63

7. Armed Forces of the Philippines The Civil Relations Service AFP at Camp Aguinaldo is accepting donations. It will fly donations/relief goods via C130. Contact details: Situation Awareness Center (SAC), CRS AFP, Camp Aguinaldo, QC Landline: 912-6615 CP Nr. (0917)2471252 Focal Person: Lt. Col. Rolando Rodil, Operations Officer

8. Department of Social Welfare and Development Volunteers are needed at DSWD Cagayan de Oro (Masterson Road, Upper Carmen) to repack and deliver relief goods. Call 09066150095 @DSWDserve

9. The Oblate Missionary Foundation (OMF) accepts donation for the victims of Sendong. Email us: Call or text us 0644212652/09177204604/09228366422 You can send food items, drinking water, used clothing, blankets, medicines, cash and what you have to the following dropping centers.

10. Panday Bulig Relief and Rehabilitation Center Tabang Mindanao Center 12th-22nd streets, Nazareth 9000 Cagayan de Oro CityT/F: +63 (88) 856 6413E: for Ms. Beryl Tranco)

11. Rural Missionaries of the Philippines Northern Mindanao Sub-Region Room 01, Kalinaw Lanao Center0016 Bougainvilla Puti, Villaverde9200 Iligan CityT/F: +63 223 5179E: rmpnmr@gmail.comW: for Ms. Ida Melody Bucog)

12. Drop Center in Metro Manila c/o StartArt Project 10A Alabama st New Manila Quezon CityMobile:+63926 7112450 For cash donations, please send to this account: Bank Name and Address:Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI)Quezon Avenue branch, 9200 Iligan City, Philippines Account number: 009359-1348-08 Swift Code: BOPIPHMM Account Name and Address: RMP-NMR Inc.

13. TV5, Cash donations may be sent through the following accounts: TV5 Kapatid Foundation Inc. BDO Savings Account No. 005310-410164 and Bank of the Philippine Islands Savings Account No. 1443-05333-2 | Donations in kind like food, clothing, utensils, blankets, mats, water containers, and medicines may be sent to News5 Aksyon Center, TV5 office in San Bartlolome, Novaliches, Quezon City. For inquiries, please call News5 Aksyon Center hotline - 938-6393.
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