Friday, December 20, 2013

Kenny Rogers Roasters Bacon Wrapped Christmas Feast

Christmas is only five days away and I don't have anything planned for noche buena! I'm not for cooking during the holidays and prefer the ready-to-eat meals (read: take out). Last Christmas, I found myself weirdly attracted to Kenny Rogers Roaster's Maple Roast Chicken - it was sweet, juicy, and that maple sauce was addicting!

This year, they've come up with an ever more elaborate ruse to keep me coming back for them all holiday season long, and it's even better that the damn Maple Roast Chicken! I was out in Tagaytay on a food trip that involved a trip out to Breakfast at Antonio's for Burnt Syrup and Lemon Curd, and Filipino treats at The Good Shepard, and we stopped by the newest Kenny Rogers at Sky Ranch for a spot of lunch, and to check out the awesomeness that is Kenny's Bacon Wrapped Christmas Feast!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Chef Edward Bugia Unveils New Dishes at Pino Resto Bar

When in the Philippines, one must eat Filipino food!

I love how Filipino cuisine can taste so different yet be so familiar at the same time. It's not quite Spanish. American, or Malay, but the best of all cuisines, I must say. And when it comes to Filipino restaurants, only a handful of places in Metro Manila really do it for me: Sentro, Abe, and Pino Resto Bar.

Chef Ed Bugia takes simple Pinoy favorites and puts his own spin on them, giving them a lot more flavor, or borrowing the recipe from his mother or grandmother, giving the dishes a nostalgic feel of how one should prepare any sort of food - with a lot of pride and a lot of love.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Brownies! Unlimited Comes Out with 12 New Flavors

My favorite brownie company from my high school is at it again, and they've come up with more brown-tastic flavors! I have lots of warm, fuzzy memories of sharing a box of Brownies! Unlimited with classmates  and giving these out at school Christmas parties. 

With that in mind, International Brownie Day is right around the corner and Brownies! Unlimited is getting ready to serve it up with 12 better, bolder, freshly made brownie combos that promise to satisfy any sweet tooth out there. Brownies! Unlimited revamps their range of choices and packaging to deliver another batch of treats that emerge as the go-to snack for any occasion.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Robert Mondavi Wines are the New Affordable Luxury

With Christmas parties in full swing, bringing a bottle of wine as a host's gift can get pretty daunting, especially if you know nothing about wine and your host is a self-proclaimed connoisseur, or really is one - then you're in trouble! Wines can also be quite expensive, which would make anyone think twice before purchasing a bottle to give as a friendly gesture or to enjoy at home.

My go to bottle of vino nowadays that seems to make everyone happy and happens to also easy on the monthly wine budget is anything from Robert Mondavi - I have developed a special fondness for their whites and their Moscato - and lo and behold, I got invited to their exclusive wine tasting to celebrate the brand at Greenbelt 5, compliments of Future Trades International.

Christmas Gifts for the Beach Babe

Holy Cheesus, Christmas is only nine days away! Living in the tropics has its perks, one being it's always sunny most days, and a beach is never too far away. For the surfer girls and the weekend warriors who disappear to sandy shores whenever they can, these are the must-haves on your Christmas list. Well, they are on mine!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Sensational Steak Date Nights at Solace!

On going on most first dates here in the Philippines, I always end up at one of the many malls that proliferate the landscape of Metro Manila. And that's, well, sad. I understand that in this country guys think that term "wine and dine" means taking your girl out to one of the many franchised restaurants that crowd the strip, but it's not, and it's boring. And tacky. And just shows me how lazy you are that you couldn't think of a better date than to bring me to a mall for dinner and drinks.

The ideal dinner date for me is someplace private, preferably away from the mall and away from the crowds of people. I enjoy my dinner conversation as much as I enjoy the food, and it helps when I'm not straining to hear you over the blaring music or loud guests at the next table.  I think you would, too.

In Makati, I've found Solace Wine & Dine, the restaurant at One Greenbelt Hotel, to be the perfect place for a dinner date. It's a walk away from the comfort zone of the mall, the restaurant isn't intimidating with it's modern, minimalist design, and their food is enough to impress any discerning date, without having to max out your credit card.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A Crazy Night at Chihuahua Mexican Grill & Margarita Bar

When a night of unadulterated fun, lots of margaritas, TexMex, and drunken debauchery is what you're looking for, head on over to Greenbelt 2 and seek out Chihuahua Mexican Grill & Margarita Bar! I had the pleasure of enjoying a nightlong dinner there with my equally crazy (and loud!) foodie friends.

Carnivale Set to Open at Venice Piazza

Great foodie news to everyone who works and lives in Mckinely Hill, Taguig! The Venice Piazza Mall at McKinley Hill is home to Carnivale- the newest night food market by the Mercato Centrale group! Carnivale will be open every Thursday and Friday starting December 12 (Thursday) 6pm - 3am starting December 12, 2013!

Monday, December 9, 2013

My Grown Up Christmas List 2013

Christmas is only a few days away and while all of us are still reeling from the earthquake in Bohol and the super typhoon that devastated Cebu, I'm trying to jumpstart my Christmas spirit by putting together a Christmas wish list that would have me indulge in my materialistic fantasies of what I could get myself with all the holiday sales before being pent up with guilt and and buying relief goods to donate at Villamor instead.

My spirit feels a lot lighter by giving,everyone carries a Christmas wish list, and this is mine for this year:

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Dessert Series: The Blue Kitchen's Chocnut & Flat Tops Butters

Cookie Butter seems to be the Christmas gift of choice this year, with Biscoff now being available at all leading department stores. What started as a cult fad has now turned into a nationwide frenzy for the creamy (or chunky!) cookie butters, with people sandwiching them between pieces of bread, baking them into cupcakes, or eating them right out of the jar!

I discovered The Blue Kitchen was one of the first stores to carry the in-demand jars of special butter, as well as the Trader Joe's version. Yet what most people haven't found out yet is as a purveyor of Filipino delicacies, it also carries the local Chocnut and Flat Tops Cookie Butters! I took two of the bottles home to try when I passed by their Rockwell branch a few weeks back, and am very happy to report that both bottles are at least halfway done.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Maki Moto: Oishi Japanese at BF Resort Village

I wish Las Piñas would be a bit more adventurous with the food choices. Between the roast chicken stalls, popular franchises, and tapa joints, there aren't many places one can go to when craving for good food. Which is why I think Maki Moto at BF Resort a godsend. Not only do they have pretty good Japanese food at very affordable prices, it's also just a walk away from Jericho's place!

Jericho and his sister Justice were looking for Japanese chow a few weeks ago, while I was on the prowl for buffalo chicken wings one Sunday night, so we headed over to our friendly-neighborhood Japanese hole-in-the-wall for some good grub.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Koko Buri Opens in Bonifacio Global City

The Korean chicken house from Pampanga has come to Metro Manila, opening its newest store at Bonifacio Global City. I had heard some really good things about this place from friends who had tried this over in Mabaclat when they went up to Pampanga. Passing by the newest food destination at BGC, the Forum, Koko Buri piqued by curiosity, and being the self-proclaimed Queen of Korean Chicken Wings, I just had to check this out!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Cocina Juan: Fil-Nicaraguan Cuisine Along Maginhawa

It's amazing how much the foodie industry has changed in the span of 10 years. Back then, the only places you can get a decent bite to eat at aside from the popular franchise restaurants were either Italian, Chinese or Japanese restaurants. Nowadays, Indian cuisine is starting to getting popular, people are starting to appreciate the churrasco culture of Brazilian cuisine, and Mexican cuisine has found a place in our lives, more often than not as hangover food, but that's beside the point.

Nicaraguan cuisine is also something that never existed in the Philippines 10 years ago, at least not until Thomas Adviento, the owner of Cocina Juan, set up shop along Maginhawa Street. The Fix-Mex stop evolved into a Fil-Mex-Nicaraguan hang out ever since Jay came back from South America and had fallen in love with the food there.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Dessert Series: McDonald's Holiday Sweet Pleasures

We've seen a lot of trends in the food industry this year. From the rise of the Cronut, to Speculoos, and salted caramel, well, everything, players in the food industry are finding it difficult to keep up with everything! McDonald’s has joined the bandwagon by celebrating the holidays by letting you indulge in any of this year’s delectable Holiday Sweet Pleasures.

Friday, November 29, 2013

An Awesome Secret Foodies Tour at Tuscany

Tuscany at McKinley Hill is looming with all things gastronomic. Cooking up international flavors from all around the globe, this sizzling culinary sanctuary should be one's to-go place for delectable cravings without having to leave the comfort of the metro.

Megaworld Lifestyle Malls is giving everybody a chance to discover Tuscany's best kept secrets through a mouth-watering degustation tour open to the public this coming month. "An Awesome Secret Foodies Tour," which will run on November 30, December 7, 14, and 21, 2013 from 2pm - 5pm is a degustation tour with 8 stops for P1,000 organized by Megaworld Lifestyle Malls together with RJ Ledesma and Anton Diaz, two of the most influential foodies in the Philippines.

I was lucky enough to get invited to the very first Secret Foodies Tour, so Jericho and I headed over to McKinley Hill, giddy like schoolkids for all the awesomeness that was about to ensure, our tummies ready for the eat-a-thon that was about to ensue.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Lunching & Wining at M Café

A good meal and a few glasses of wine seems to be the norm nowadays. The month of November has brought me to so many wonderful events with good wine, I'm just really happy to be a part of it and taking it as an opportunity to refine my palette.

Another opportunity popped up last week when Jericho and I were invited to lunch at M Café in Ayala, a Raintree Restaurant, to enjoy the good food as well as the overflowing glasses of vino from their partner, Future Trade International.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Wine Christmas by Future Trade Interntaional

I'm not much of an alcoholic. I can appreciate a few craft beers, although overall it's a taste I never acquired, and I like my cocktails on the sweet side - 80% of it being juice or whatever non-alcoholic ingredient is int here and the 20% being just enough to get me buzzed after around 10 glasses. I will, however, admit to being a wino. My bottle of choice is white - a sweet Riesling.

With Filipinos having a better appreciation for wine, Future Trade International has tied up with Raintree Restaurants and are giving away a lot of wine hampers for a very happy wine Christmas!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Mr. Wiggles & Zoey - Why Rescues Rock!

Jericho and I adopted a stray puppy around a year ago. Jericho stumbled upon him (almost literally) when coming home buzzed from a fun night out. He mistook the wee thing for a small plastic bag and was surprised to find the bag had followed him inside. And had little legs. And a snout. And a big smile on his face.

We have been taking turns in caring for him over the past year (he shuttled back from my place in BGC and Jericho's place in Las Piñas for a while) and the little plastic bag has grown into one very happy (and spoiled!) young dog, and he now shares our affections with another small rescue, the ninja maltipoo, Zoey.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Dessert Series: BONO Artisanal Gelato at Aura Premier

I finally popped my BONO cherry. And I loved every minute of it! I had wanted to pay BONO Artisanal Gelato a visit ever since it had first opened at the Podium, but had never gotten around to it. Now with a branch at SM Makati and Aura, the famous gelato store has gotten closer and closer to my 'hood!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Burger Company: Burgers, Wings & Other Yummy Things

Let me let you in on a little secret. When I don't go out to eat, I try to eat clean. I do. Other than meals that consist of sweet potatoes and hard-boiled eggs, there's a lot of green juice and juice fasts that goes hand-in-hand with all the lavish lunches and dinners that I am very thankful to be invited to.

But when I go on a burger binge, all bets are off. This is a rare occurrence, as I rarely find burger joints I really like. Once of them used to be the now defunct Boulevard Diner near Ateneo that had closed up that rivaled my other favorite burger hangout, Charlie's Grind & Grill. So you could imagine how over the moon I was when I was told that Alvin Ong, the owner of Boulevard Diner, had put up the new Burger Company in the intersection of Scout Reyes and Mother Ignacia.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Chef Josh Boutwood Demos New Holiday Dishes at Village Tavern

With the Bistro Group Restaurants' Corporate Chef, Josh Boutwood, garnering the title of "Chef of the Year" at the Philippine Culinary Cup (PCC) held at this year's Word Food Expo (WOFEX) 2013, "The Alchemist" was gracious enough to give a few of us - his adoring public - a taste of him at work... as well as a taste of all the delicious dishes he whipped up that afternoon!

I checked out Village Tavern ith a few friends once particularly sunny afternoon, as we were invited to see Chef Josh's cooking demo that featured three of his award-winning dishes which will also be a part of Village Tavern's Holiday Menu alongside other up-and-coming exciting selections. Horay for great food and cute, talented chefs!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Mercato Centrale's El Sur Opens in Alabang

Great news to all the foodies from the South! The Mercato Centrale group, organizer of the Manila’s most popular night food markets, is bringing back the Mercato Centrale experience to the South!

EL SUR – the newest Mercato Centrale market - will be open in Alabang Town Center (beside Fully Booked) every Friday (4pm – 3am) and Saturday (12nn - 12mn) starting on November 23, 2013!

Kettle Opens at Shangri-la Mall's East Wing

I have to say, Shangri-la Mall's East Wing is starting to give Bonifacio High Street a run for it's money. With a lot of really good restaurants making their debut at the mall, foodies are making their way to Mandaluyong while chefs impress with their simple yet painfully delicious menu.

Jericho and I found ourselves at the newest wing one night with some of our foodie fambam to try one of the newest restaurants on the block, Kettle. The term comfort food is taken to a whole new level, with all of the dishes knocking it out of the park.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Jack Daniels On Stage - Are You In?

This is a story of independence, integrity, and authenticity. Unbeknownst to most, in the 1800's, Mr. Jack Daniel himself started a movement that hundreds of years later, is still practiced and proves to be the catalyst of some of the best musical collaborations.

1866 saw the birth of the Jack Daniel's Distillery which soon turned into the best, if not the only, Tennessee whiskey in the entire world.  He also began the oldest recorded music sponsorship when he and his band, The Silver Cornet Band, started playing at his saloons that were serving Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey.  Ever the supporter of independent music, Jack Daniel's continues its reign to showcase the best music from all corners of the world.

Being a musician himself, Mr. Jack never lost sight of the talent behind each musician and always acknowledged that a lot of the talent came from independent artists.  Hundreds of years later, Jack Daniel's in the Philippines and around the world continues that support by launching localized music programs that support independent music. This year, Jack Daniel’s Philippines celebrates independent music with the “Jack On Stage”.

Yabu: House of Katsu Opens at the Alabang Town Center

My favorite katsu place has finally made it to the Alabang Town Center! I was ecstatic to get an invite from the pretty ladies of Yabu: House of Katsu, inviting me to their newest branch. When in the south, I usually go to Southmall just for this, and the place is always packed with people, so having this at ATC is better - I can hit up the Jamba Juice store after!

So Jericho and I headed over to ATC - his Bedan stomping grounds - to get our katsu on and support one of our favorite local restaurants.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Tokyo Tokyo Celebrates Their New Ramen Dishes + Giveaway!

With the weather getting cooler and the ramen craze in full swing in good ol' Metro Manila, the folks at Tokyo Tokyo has come out with three hot ramen flavors for everyone to enjoy! Each dish is made with a Tonkatsu ot Miso broth that has been simmered for at least 24 hours, with a base of koshi ramen noodles, and topped with fresh ingredients.

If you're like me, and feel that ramen flavors can be a bit daunting, take Tokyo Tokyo's quick and fun Ramen Personality Quiz to find out which ramen would best suit you!

Silk Road Thai Bistro Opens in BGC

I have always been cautious about Thai food, mainly because only a handful of restaurants know how to do it right. Authentic Thai food may come off as too spicy (like wasabi-up-your-nose spicy), and those that try to play on the Pinoy palette just cover the spiciness with too much sugar, coating all the delicate flavors that makes a dish uniquely Thai.

I had almost given up my search for a Thai restaurant that I actually liked, and was about to give up when a very picky friend of mine asked if I'd like to check out Silk Road Thai Bistro - a cool spot that happens to be owned by one of the coolest female chefs in Metro Manila. True enough, when I got there I was greeted by the statuesque chef Cecille, chatting up the table about her latest scuba trips, and travels. Later on I got her hooked on bag shopping on Instagram. I have to say - this is a chef after my own heart!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Mövenpick Resort's Relief + Rebuild for #YolandaPH

In light of the devastation brought about by Super Typhoon Yolanda, Mövenpick Resort & Spa Cebu has decided to help in the relief and rebuilding efforts by donating 100% of all room revenues generated on the weekend when Typhoon Yolanda hit (November 8-10, 2013), and are pledging to donate 80% of all room revenues generated from sales between November 15-24, 2013.
We are pleased to report that the Mövenpick Hotel Cebu Mactan Island did not sustain any major damage due to typhoon Haiyan. The hotel is operating as normal and we look forward to welcoming you. 

From November 15-24, R&R will take on a whole new meaning: Relief + Rebuild. Reservations made on the November 15-24, 2013 with the booking code: REBUILD can be used from November 15, 2013 through May 31, 2014.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Philippine Artists Donate their Art for #YolandaPH

It's such a beautiful sight to see everyone come together and do what they can to help the people devastated by Super Typhoon Yolanda (international code: Haiyan). While the F&B industry gives what it can by donating a portion (or all) of their sales to the victims of the Super Typhoon, the creative community are also doing their part in helping the cause by sharing their talent, photos and works of art.

Book tickets to your favorite show, get your photo taken, or buy your favorite work of art for a good cause.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

#YolandaActionWeekend: The Philippine F&B Industry Unites

This weekend, November 16-17, 2013, local food and beverage businesses have pledged to give a portion of their proceeds to the victims of Typhoon Yolanda coursed through the Philippine Red Cross. Of course, if you'd rather give to the PRC directly, then by all means, go ahead.

We all have to eat, and for those of you who are - like me - allergic to doing the dishes and prefer enjoying a meal at a restaurant instead, this is another great way to help out and contribute to the relief efforts.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) & How You Can Help

Photo Credit:

Just four days ago, the Super Typhoon Yolanda (international code: Haiyan), came through the Philippines and devastated most of the Visayas region - the center of the archipelago - hitting Cebu and Tacloban the hardest. With thousands dead and hundreds of thousands having lost their homes, their livelihood, friends, and family, things don't seem to be getting any better with looters and lawlessness prevailing (we really can't admonish what they've done - they are desperate and are on survival mode right now), as there seems to be no form of government.

The US-based Weather Underground declared Yolanda a category-5 super typhoon that could cause extreme flooding, storm surges and damage infrastructure, and scientists have warned that climate change could intensify extreme weather events such as typhoons and flooding. I think people weren't as prepared as they should have been, not completely understanding what a storm surge was, and underestimated Yolanda's wrath thinking it would be "just another typhoon". This resulted in the chaos that's presently ensuing. In all my years of living in this beautiful country (storms, earthquakes and all), I have never seen such destruction - and all in the span of one night.

The CBTL™ Professional Suite

With over 50 years of setting the standard in quality and flavor, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf continues to revolutionize the coffee and tea industry as it introduces its newest Professional Suite under the CBTL Beverage System line: the Desto and Office One.

Two years since the CBTL platform was first introduced to the market, the distinct cafe experience at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf has been extended and enjoyed within different homes and establishments. Combining innovative technology, functionality, and design, the CBTL system is more than a single cup coffee machine. It's an easy-to-use system that combines the CBTL beverages with the finest in Italian technology perfected by the Caffitaly System.

I got to check out the newest models at the CBTL Coffee Bar at High Street last week, and I have to say, they look pretty badass!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Bar-B-Skew: Southeast Asian-Inspired Street Food

I found out about this restaurant through less-than-ideal circumstances, but am very glad I did. A good friend, who is also a fellow blogger, posted a rant from who I could only call a Parasitic Blogger, attacking the restaurant's owners for "demeaning" the bloggers he invited (read: not acknowledging them as celebrity or top bloggers - which he specifically promised) for an event he "organized" for them (organized meaning he posted on his group's wall, "Hey, who's free to go to this place at this date and this time? First 20 people to reply with their e-mail address gets it!"). Apparently, the amount on the gift certificate that was handed out to everyone wasn't up to his standards. Because being given a P500 gift certificate for a restaurant with an average bill of P300 is outrageous! No, he wanted his "suggested" rate of P1,000 "tokens" per blogger, dammit! Seriously, who even uses the word "tokens" anymore?

This Parasitic Blogger goes around the Metro victimizing new establishments, promising "top" and "celebrity" bloggers (apparently he dines with Anton Diaz - and by dine I assume he means he's seated at the restaurant across the street from Anton), and as we learned from the owner of this establishment, he also charges the most ridiculous rates ranging from "operation expenses" to even "transpo expenses" when he thinks he can get away with it. For this restaurant that also included a new touchscreen phone, apparently. *cough* Samsung S4 *cough* He wants a new phone daw kasi. And because he hasn't gotten what he wanted, he's gone batshit crazy and posted a full on blogerrhea rant about how he's only after "their word of honor" (read: his Samsung S4), going to great lengths to call the restaurant owners cheap. The comments section of that entry is where it gets interesting - he gets a bashing from decent bloggers everywhere who are as outraged as I am at his blackmail and unsubstantiated threats.

My foodie fambam and I were totally pissed at the slander this Parasitic Blogger was willing to spread about the said establishment, that we decided to go to Tomas Morato to check out Bar-B-Skew for ourselves and show the owners some moral support as well as prove that not all bloggers - or blogger groups - are like his.

And guess what? We were more than happy to pay for our meal!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Intimate Dining at Solace Wine & Dine

Looking for an intimate date place with privacy and good food? With the string of Christmas shopping that needs to be done, all the malls are going to be packed with people, and a crowded restaurant with a waiter that can barely hear you from all the chatter and Christmas songs isn't going to help. But don't fret, right across Greenbelt 2 is  Solace Wine & Dine, and it doesn't get as intimate as this place.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Mentoré Coffee + Bar by UCC

I like my men like I like my coffee - hot, strong, and rich. - Anonymous
The guys from UCC Ueshima Coffee Co. have outdone themselves this time. With the opening of SM Aura came the launch of their newest baby: Mentoré Coffee + Bar. I checked it out with a few friends to see how they differed from the regular UCC coffee shops. With an almost entirely different menu, and more ways to enjoy your coffee, I think this is going to be the new place to be for coffee purists and people who want to develop a better appreciation of the second most exported product in the world.

Monday, November 4, 2013

A Simple Birthday Dinner at Mr. Jones

I was kidnapped by Jericho for a celebratory birthday dinner Sunday evening, well kind of. That's not completely true. He drove me to Greenbelt for an impromptu strip session at well, Strip, but they were already fully booked for the evening, so we decided to stick around and have dinner instead. I wasn't craving for anything in particular, I just wanted uncomplicated, comforting food, and Mr. Jones seemed to have all that. Plus, we haven't been there in a while, so it was nice checking out the newly expanded restaurant.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

BPI's More Fun Visa Prepaid Card

My BPI ePrepaid card expired this month, and when I checked BPI's site to get a new one, I chanced upon this! Using the Department of Tourism's popular It's More Fun in the Philippines tag line and tying up with Visa, this prepaid debit card lets you do everything the ugly ePrepaid card does, with a cheaper sign up fee.

More Fun Prepaid Cards are reloadable Visa prepaid cards issued by BPI that can be used to pay for online purchases as well as purchases from accredited shops and restaurants here and abroad where VISA is accepted.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Marriott Hotel Manila: VIP Treatment at the Executive Lounge

I swear, the Marriott Manila is foodie heaven. These guys really go out of their way to make sure you never go hungry (or thirsty!) during your stay. When I had my birthday staycation at the hotel, I was given complimentary access to the Executive Lounge on the 8th floor. This perk usually has an extra charge of P2,000 for two people per day, and gives you access to the complimentary wi-fi at the lounge as well as their round-the-clock treats.

I headed up to the Executive Lounge a little after dinner, not really knowing what to expect, but was curious about what made the lounge sound like some sort of VIP area. As it turns out, it kind of was.

Read more on Marriott Hotel Manila:
Marriott Hotel Manila: A Relaxing Afternoon at Quan Spa
Marriott Hotel Manila: Dinner Buffet at the Marriott Café
Marriott Hotel Manila: The Birthday Staycation
Marriott Manila's Festive Treats: Christmas Hampers
Marriott Manila's Festive Treats: Thanksgiving's Turkey to Go

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Marriott Hotel Manila: A Relaxing Afternoon at Quan Spa

The Marriott Manila really is the ultimate hotel paradise for couples who just want to get away from it all without having to leave the city, busy businessmen who want the convenience of being near the airport as well as a stones-throw away from the bustling hubs of Makati and BGC, or if you're anything like me, a retreat from the real world for at least for a few hours.

Curious about Marriott Manila's spa, I checked out Quan Spa on the second floor of the hotel. Located on the same floor as the pool and the gym, the spa occupies a big chunk of the floor area, mostly dedicated to treatment rooms and the changing rooms.

Read more on Marriott Hotel Manila:
Marriott Hotel Manila: VIP Treatment at the Executive Lounge
Marriott Hotel Manila: Dinner Buffet at the Marriott Café
Marriott Hotel Manila: The Birthday Staycation
Marriott Manila's Festive Treats: Christmas Hampers
Marriott Manila's Festive Treats: Thanksgiving's Turkey to Go

Monday, October 28, 2013

Marriott Hotel Manila: Dinner Buffet at the Marriott Café

The crème de la crème of buffets in Manila can usually be found at the nicest hotels! There really is something quite marvelous about a hotel dinner buffet - whether it be how everything just looks so fresh, watching in silence a the cooks get to work behind the stove or grill, churning out delicious dish after dish, the efficiency of the staff in replenishing the food, and just how visually overwhelming the whole scene is.

A pet peeve of mine at buffets is the very loud family at the next table who hog all their favorite entrées, piling the whole tray of food onto one plate and proudly bringing it back to the table like it was a trophy of some sort, leaving nothing for the next sorry sod in line. Everyone has probably been witness to this ghetto behavior at least once in their life.

Thankfully, you don't get scenarios like that at Mariott Manila's Marriott Café dinner buffet. A very reasonable fee lets you enjoy a wide variety of cuisines, and as much of it as you want, all in the same space. Wonderful.

Read more on Marriott Hotel Manila:
Marriott Hotel Manila: VIP Treatment at the Executive Lounge
Marriott Hotel Manila: A Relaxing Afternoon at Quan Spa
Marriott Hotel Manila: The Birthday Staycation
Marriott Manila's Festive Treats: Christmas Hampers
Marriott Manila's Festive Treats: Thanksgiving's Turkey to Go

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Marriott Hotel Manila: The Birthday Staycation

Before I start my really long entry about my fabulous time at the Marriott, I just wanted to say THANK YOU to the wonderful ladies of Marriott Manila for treating me to a birthday staycation! I'm not the one to throw lavish parties, and would very well prefer to just go out to a nice dinner with close family and friends instead, and this was a nice way of spending my birthday indoors - kind of.

Read more on Marriott Hotel Manila:
Marriott Hotel Manila: VIP Treatment at the Executive Lounge
Marriott Hotel Manila: A Relaxing Afternoon at Quan Spa
Marriott Hotel Manila: Dinner Buffet at the Marriott Café
Marriott Manila's Festive Treats: Christmas Hampers
Marriott Manila's Festive Treats: Thanksgiving's Turkey to Go

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Indulgence by Irene's Tablea Cheesecake

I got an early birthday cake, courtesy of Indulgence by Irene! Known for her sinfully rich Quezo de Bola cheesecakes, she's been experimenting with a new flavor - tablea! I love being the guinea pig for delicious food experiments like these and was very, very happy with the result of the thick, dark chocolate folded into the delicate cheesecake.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Seattle's Best Christmas Coffees + 2014 Dream Journal

Christmas is in full swing in Manila, as Seattle's Best is already getting into the Christmas spirit with their creative and four cheerful Christmas coffees that come in both hot and Javakula! Try out all their newest flavors and collect stickers to get the really posh looking 2014 Dream Journal!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Pepita's Kitchen: Hayop na Degustacion!

I know that Christmas is near when I tend to start eating a lot of lechon. The more lechon I eat, the closer it is to Christmas! Haha! Personally, one of the best lechons in the country can be found at Pepita's Kitchen, and Dedet de la Fuente-Santos, the owner of this magical place and Lechon Diva, had invited a few of my friends and I to try their latest edition of stuffed lechon, along with some very "healthy" courses before the big lechon de leche finale. Talk about lucky!

The Hayop na Degustacion is a very creative 12-course Filipino-inspired degustation celebration ending with a few (yes, a few!) lechons (roasted pigs) filled with some of the most creative stuffing imaginable. We cheated a little bit and had a 13-course degustation, but that was only because we had two lechons.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Seeing Things Clearer with a FujiFilm X-M1

I got myself an early birthday present this year! I had been looking for a compact camera that had the capabilities of a DSLR without the bulk, that had a retro feel to it. I had had my eye on the Leica X2, but other that it being hella expensive, the features aren't as great compared to the likes of a Panasonic Lumix LX7. So there I was, mulling over which one to get, when my good friend Richard tells me of a camera that's the best of both worlds: The FujiFilm X-M1.

Sunday, October 20, 2013 The Beginning of Massive Open Online Courses

I have never been very good at learning the boring, traditional way.

I started high school in the Philippines, I couldn't keep up with the mindless drudgery of memorizing facts, figures, people and concepts. I was used to a hand son approach, where instead of memorizing all the wives of King Henry VIII, we'd color them in or do some other creative art project and the facts and figures sink in that way. Thankfully, I had some pretty great teachers who let me express my creativity in other ways in the form of book reports and projects and the like.

When college came around, I was stuck in a classroom, taking down notes on different theories and concepts and postulating how they would pan out in a utopian society, thinking that this would somehow be important to my future. College became physically painful to get through, and I hated every minute of it. So no, learning in a traditional setting is definitely not for me.

But with the rise of the digital age, comes Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) - where professors and other great minds culminate over the internet, sharing their knowledge to students from all over the world at iversity. The best past about all of this? It's free!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Dessert Series: Dessert Jars

I've been in search of the perfect Christmas gift to give away to my lovely clients, and I think I've found it! Carol Chua, the deliciously creative mind behind Dessert Jars, was nice enough to have me sample all of her flavors and take a few jars home! The flavors she has for now are Mocha Mousse, Green Tea Chocolate Mousse, Orange Chocolate Mousse, Lady Finger Trifle, and a Peanut Butter and Oreo Cheesecake.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Mario's Sunday Lunch Buffet at Tomas Morato

Nothing makes a Sunday morning better than a good brunch out with family or friends. My favorite brunch haunts are Wildflour in BGC, with their mimosas and fabulous Croque Madames, and Sweet Bella in Alabang with their yummy Eggs Benedict with wasabi hollandaise and a pot of their signature hot chocolate after the meal that can't be beat.

Brunch has never really taken off in Metro Manila, but with the classic restaurant Mario's in Tomas Morato offering their Sunday Lunch Buffet, I hope this starts to take off. Not one to be left out when food is concerned, I hiked all the way to Quezon City the first day of the lunch buffet to check it out in all it's naked glory!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Pour Over Coffee at The Cake Club by Diamond Hotel

There used to be a time where I couldn't get enough of coffee. It got me up in the morning, kept me going through the day, and when I had to stay up late to work on projects, it kept me lucid enough to finish whatever it was I needed to do and then up for the rest of the next day. I didn't appreciate coffee as much then as I do now.

Back in the day, it was an energy booster, almost a need to get me going. I didn't care what kind of coffee it was - Starbucks, gourmet, or instant - as long as it wasn't decaf. Nowadays, I've learned to enjoy my coffee - taking in the aroma of the beans, appreciating the deep, dark hue of the liquid gold, and savoring each sip, allowing the flavors to swirl in my mouth before letting it slide down my throat, appreciating the sweet, tart, fruity, chocolate-y, or nutty notes that each blend presents.

So you could imagine my delight when the lovely ladies of Diamond Hotel invited me and the rest of the KTG to sample their newest coffee blends at The Cake Club over in Bonifacio High Street.