Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Spanish Iberico Pork Tonkatsu at Tonkatsu by Terazawa

The tonkatsu scene seems to have taken a backseat to the overwhelming ramen craze that has taken over the fair city of Man-illa. I have still to understand why noodles has taken over the imagination of Filipinos, willing to shell out a little under P500 for a bowl of broth, noodles, and porcine part. The only noodle god I recognize and worship is the Black Butao of Awesomeness.

And then there's the tonkatsu scene with the humble breaded pork cutlet done every which way. I've had the Hire, Rosu, and Kurobuta, but I was curious to taste Tonkatsu by Terazawa's Spanish Iberico Pork version. So - my curiosity needing to be satiated - Jericho and a few of our friends went to The Bistro Group's katsu baby in Greenbelt to see and taste the difference for ourselves.

Read more on The Bistro Group's other restaurants:
All Night Happy Hour at Village Tavern
Bulgogi Brother's New Barbecue Specials
Modern Shanghai's Guide to the Xiao Long Bao
Celebrating Chinese New Year at Modern Shanghai
Saturday with the Bulgogi Brothers

Monday, February 24, 2014

Sexy Comfort Food at Borgo Café in BF Homes Parañaque

While the flourishing foodies of the north have their gems at Teacher's Village, the foodies down south have the ever-growing restaurant scene in BF Homes Parañaque to be proud of. Every so often, Jericho and I like to hop in the car and head on over to the humongous subdivision, perusing the long street that is Aguirre Avenue for the latest café, bistro, tuck shop, or balls out restaurant that we had yet to try.

We try to mix it up every time we venture out there, as there really are a lot to choose from - from quaint little bakeries to the more established watering holes. There's always something for everybody! Lately, we discovered Borgo Café, a restaurant that serves comfort food with a very healthy twist. This hole-in-the-wall has great promise and is definitely one of the few along the strip that we'll keep coming back to!

Read more on restaurants in BF Homes Parañaque:
Ritchie's Diner: Classic American Favorites at BF Homes Parañaque
Mediterranean Made Simple: Sophia's Cusina at BF Homes Parañaque
Super Cheap Korean BBQ at Chang Teo
Dim Sum Delights at BF Homes Parañaque's Mandarin Palace
Don Limone at BF Homes Parañaque

Friday, February 21, 2014

Enjoying a European Brunch at Hatch 22 Café & Bakery

Being the sucker that I am for brunch, meeting up with friends for just that on a lovely Thursday morning was just the excuse I needed to check out the Heusaff siblings' restaurant, Hatch 22. It had opened at the Rockwell Powerplant a few months ago and I had yet to check it out. Jericho, on the other hand, came along in the hopes of being able to make googley eyes at Solenn. And to try the food. But mostly the googley eyes at Solenn part. Haha!

I initially thought Hatch 22 was a very American kind of bakery-cum-café, but was pleased to be proved wrong. Not that I have anything against American food, I was just looking for something a bit different. I found most of the food (and the drinks) quite European in terms of flavor and presentation, which I realized was probably the influence of two of the owners being Fil-French. Duh.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Getting Very Cheeky at Pink Panda #WhereIsPinkPanda

Where is Pink Panda? That's the question that has been going around for the past two weeks, so Jericho and I made it our life's mission (at least for this week) to discover where the hell the new Pink Panda Southeast Asian Diner is and what kind of food they serve.

As it turns out, Pink Panda is located right next to the A. Venue mall, at the Y2 Residence Hotel. We almost passed right by it, but stopped to admire the quirky bamboo furnishings and decor only to see the small pink sign outside. So that's where it was! We went through the bamboo door, having no idea what we were in for, taking a seat by the comfortable, tufted blue booth. As it turns out, this place has me written all over it: It's cute, cheeky, and neon pink!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Ogetsu Hime Opens at SM Aura Premier's Skypark

The people behind Dad's and Saisaki have a surprise for everyone - and that's their newest baby Ogetsu Hime! After giving Filipinos a taste of Japan at a pocket-friendly price, the group is now introducing how Japanese food should really taste like at the Skypark level of SM Aura Premier.

Named after the goddess of food, Ogetsu Hime serves high-grade sushi and sashimi, makimono, robatayaki, tempura, teppanyaki, and sukiyaki. The only thing they have seemed to have left our are the katsu, ramen, and dessert!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

My Top 10 at Pinoy Eats World's Romantic Eats

I had been wanting to check out JJ Yulo's Pinoy Eats World since it first launched last year, but the thought of schlepping over to Podium for an afternoon of perusing food, food, and more food, was enough to make me snuggle even deeper into my duvet in a pseudo food coma.

But when I was told that Irene from my foodie fambam would be selling her delectable cheesecakes at Pinoy Eats World's Romantic Eats this weekend, Jericho and I made the effort to go over to Podium Mall so support her as well as our good friend Cecille Chang's Silk Road.

The second floor of Podium was set up with flowers and a big sign, ushering curious customers in to take a peek at what everyone had to offer (there were a whole lot!). From everything to organic cotton candy to  classic Thai favorites with a twist, there was a little bit of everything for everyone that weekend.

Here are my top 10 vendors from the weekend's Romantic Eats:

Friday, February 14, 2014

Celebrate a Sweet Valentines at Rastro

With the popular malls and Bonifacio High Street filling up with couples on Valentines day, the trend this year seems to be to celebrate at home, to go out either the day before or the day after, while others would rather celebrate the Hallmark holiday sometime in the month of February, not necessarily on the 14th, which is pretty smart. And if your ideal romantic evening consists of sharing shucked oysters, delicious cocktails, great food, and good music with your special someone, then I suggest you bring your date to Rastro.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Haven of Comfort Food at Speakeasy Makati

The newest place to fulfill your comfort food cravings - and swing back a few choice cocktails while you're at it - is at Chef Mike Santos' Speakeasy in Makati. As the Head Chef and part-owner of the restobar, Mike trained under Chef Cyrille Soenen of Brasserie Cicou, before putting up his own place, putting an elegant spin on some of the classic comforts we all know and love.

Being a total fan girl for Anglo-American comfort food (i.e. lots of bread, lots of cheese, lot of potatoes), I was excited to check this place out with some of my other foodie friends one hot afternoon.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Unboxed: Crumpler's Boom Camera Strap

As much as I love my FujiFilm XM-1, I hate the flimsy camera strap that came with it. The leather case looked really, really nice online, but after using it a few times the webbing started to fray, and the clasp kept slipping, resulting in a few screams of terror followed by miraculous split-second catches as my camera plummets to the ground, lens first.

Last week, Crumpler changed all that when they sent me their latest Boom Camera Strap (P650) to try. It was a happy surprise. There I was, minding my own business, when I got a knock at the door and the delivery dude handed me a small package I wasn't expecting. So it's goodbye to accident-prone camera strap and hello sturdy, colorful Crumpler strap for yours truly!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Sweet, Sweet Romance with Angel's Pizza Pasta Combo

I've been busy and feeling under the weather lately so it was a nice surprise to get a delivery from Angel's Pizza Pasta Combo this Valentine's week. And when I say sweet, I mean really, really sweet. I mean I got a lot of love. So thank you for the big hearts, Angel's Pizza!

Angel's Pizza Pasta Combo is giving out a sweet treat this whole month of February! Get three Cadbury chocolate bars in Dairy Milk, Fruit & Nut, or Cashew & Cookies for every Family-sized Heart-shaped Thin Crust Pizza (P599).

Friday, February 7, 2014

Pet-Friendly Chili's at Alabang Town Center

Making the most of the cool weather a few weeks back, Jericho, Justice and I went out to take Mr. Wiggles to run around Molito for a bit of exercise and to work up an appetite. As it turned out, by the end of it all we were the ones that got hungry, so we trooped over to the nearby Alabang Town Center for an early dinner.

Since we had our furbaby in tow, we sought out the pet-friendly restaurants in the area, which are mostly the new, free-standing restaurants, and Chili's seemed to be a nice place to hunker down for a few hours and enjoy a couple of plates of good grub. Plus, the waitstaff weren't afraid of the bouncy fluffy puppy, and even went so far at to play with the little guy, which was a great sign. A table outside for three and a half, please!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Unboxed: Nude Audio Studio 5 Bluetooth & Lightning Dock Speaker

I thought somebody had sent me a rice cooker when the courier arrived with a big square box in his hands. Too light to possibly be a rice cooker, I was surprised to discover this was the new Nude Audio Studio 5!

After getting over the initial shock of having a what I expected to be a portable speaker, this has turned out to be one of the most gorgeous and best-sounding speakers I have ever tried. I'd give this three thumbs up, as the sound from the Studio 5 nicely fills up my studio apartment - it sounds like I have a home theater system installed when I use this to watch movies or play music.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Tasty Dumplings - a Binondo Favorite!

My good friend, Jericho, and I celebrated the first day of the Year of the Wooden Horse in Binondo for the first time ever. Maybe it was because this year's celebrations seemed to be one of the most festive we've had these past few years (up yours, Lim!), but we just had to come out to Manila to see it for ourselves.

And of course, with all the walking comes all the eating, and my form of comfort food (and what seems to be turning into tradition) when in Binondo is having a meal at Tasty Dumplings. Aside from the food being pretty good - with Taiwanese-style pork chops the size of your head - it's also quite friendly for people on a budget. Or people who want to order a lot.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Quartz Hunting at World of Crystals, Binondo

When I was working for JP Morgan, a clairvoyant-healer friend of mine gave me a small crystal shard as a gift. "Keep it in your wallet so it will never be empty," he said. I really didn't believe in it at first - I mean, it was just a piece of semi-precious stone as far as I was concerned - but true enough, I always had money in my pockets. He forewarned me that once the crystal was done helping me, it would either break or just disappear, and again, after a year of keeping it in my wallet, it just disappeared one day. Whether it fell out of my wallet or got misplaced, I don't really know, but that gift opened my mind to the wonders of keeping and nurturing these shards of powerful energy.

Over the next couple of years I came across many other gifted and awake friends who either help educate people about crystals, clean crystals, scry with them, or use large crystals to help with meditation, and energy flow at work or at home. I took it all in, but have never yet thought of owning another quartz crystal until Chinese New Year in Binondo. After taking a shortcut and getting slightly lost around Ongpin, Jericho and I came across World of Crystals, and something in me just said I had to go in. I was like an Indigo kid in a crystal candy store!

Monday, February 3, 2014

A Tasting & More at Olive Tree Kitchen & Bar

Chef Rob Pengson has done it again. After his very successful venture with The Goose Station and his wife's Shine Bakery in SM Aura Premier, Rob opened Olive Tree Kitchen & Bar late last year, and I have been itching to try it ever since I accidentally salivated all over their Christmas menu.

So when Richie invited the rest of the foodie fambam and I to check out their degustation menu and more, I was counting the days 'til I would step foot into the new restaurant! We ended up having such a marvelous time (it was a really long dinner!), and after that awesome night of experiencing OTKB's tasting menu and then some, I've been left to guessing what ingredients went into what, so pardon me when I start a sentence with "I think this is..."

With flavor combinations that are almost an art form with the way everything comes together in harmony, no wonder this place has turned into another of chef Rob's overnight successes.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

8 Reasons Chinese New Year in Binondo Reminds Me of NYC

Kung Hey Fat Choi! Xin Nian Kuai Le! Gong Xi Fa Cai! Xing Ni Ju Yi! However you want to say it, Happy Chinese New Year!

I had a blast on Friday as Jericho and I headed to Binondo, both dressed in bright red, to ring in the Year of the Wooden Horse with the Filipino-Chinese community. This would be the first time I'd be celebrating Chinese New Year, and what's a better place to do it than at one of the oldest and biggest Chinatowns in the world. Roaming around Binondo, Ongpin, and the nearby side streets, I was pleasantly surprised to see how very like New York this small city-within-a-city actually is.

Here are eight reasons why I think celebrating Chinese New Year in Binondo reminds me of New York City: