Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Make Me Blush Nail Spa & Beauty Lounge

I am so thankful that Jane of my foodie family has pseudo-adopted me. She is the best! Not only do I finally feel like I'm not alone living in the south, I also like that I suddenly have two sisters that I can get all girly with! Case in point: we schlepped all the way to Quezon City from Alabang to try Make Me Blush Nail Spa & Beauty Lounge! Oh, I also have a super cute brother now, too, but he's too busy with his darling girlfriend to come out with us a lot. You know how it goes.

Friday, April 25, 2014

A Bowlful of Laughts at Ramen Nagi

Whenever I think of Hong Kong, images of duck (the peking kind, not the Disney), pork buns at Tim Ho Wan, dimsum at at Lin Heung Tea House, Temple street night market, and of course, the small but always packed Butao King Restaurant along On Lane Street.

The Black Butao King had always done a great job of warming my tummy on cold, snowy nights in Hong Kong, so I was ecstatic to learn my favorite noodle place had finally come to the Philippines! My happiness, though, was cut short when I learned how long the lines and the wait time was for a bowl of ramen! I gave it a few months, thinking the lines would shorten eventually, but I think they just got longer when people found out the Philippine franchise lived up to it's Chinese counterpart.

Jaz and Eric of EricJaz Foodies had already been there a couple of times, and were raving about how good the ramen was, and I just couldn't take it anymore. I had to go there. I had to get my ramen fix. Good ol' Mama J was also in the mood for a spicy noodle fix, so off we all went to Butao King's Pinoy sister, Ramen Nagi.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Chairman Wang's Prime Beef Noodle House

While on a three-day weekend staycation with my foodie family at Bellevue Manila and B Hotel respectively, the guys who lived up north made the most of their south side trip by trying out some of the newer restaurants in the area. Molito, especially, is slowly turning into the go-to place for good grub down south. The lone Starbucks store over there now has lots and lots of company, with new restaurant concepts and old franchises popping up left and right.

One of the new restaurant concepts is Chairman Wang's Prime Beef Noodle House. Recently opened, we headed over there - Jericho, Justice, a few other friends, and I - curious to see what kind of Chinese food they served (aside from the obvious). In truth, I was expecting it to be some kind of high-end Chowking joint, but was pleasantly proved wrong. And then some.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Sunday Brunch at Caviar Restaurant & Champagne Bar

I had paid Caviar Restaurant & Champagne Bar a visit a month ago, enjoying a marvelous dinner and giving the chef a big hug in sheer joy of finding my new favorite fine dining restaurant in Alabang, I promised myself that I'd be back soon to try their Executive Lunch and Sunday Brunch. The Sunday Brunch was a bit tough, being that it's usually just me and good ol' Jericho going out and the brunch requires at least four people to enjoy the family style meal.

Nevertheless, somebody must've heard my pleas as our Bellevue staycation included a special Sunday brunch with the rest of my foodie fambam at Caviar. So yeah, I was all giddy Saturday night, dreaming of all the good food we'd be in for the next day. Yey!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Getting the Scoop at Carmen's Best

I read somewhere that “... everyone knows that ice cream is worth the trouble of being cold. Like all things virtuous, you have to suffer to gain the reward.” I think the same applies to making it.

I met the Ice Cream Man himself, Paco Magsaysay, during a Carmen's Best event hosted by the fun folks of Nuffnang. He was soft-spoken, friendly, and very proud of the new flavors he was unveiling for us to taste. And why wouldn't he, Carmen's Best Artisanal Ice Cream has been raved about ever since Paco started selling them in pints, at times made to order, as they run out in the shops so fast, out of his home in Alabang.

When I mentioned we'd be having a long bloggers weekend in Alabang, Paco offered to give us a tour of his facilities (before they move it to a bigger location), and we were very honored to have been invited into his lovely home. We went on a Saturday night, with most of my friends bringing their kids along - or in Jane's case, having her kids represent while she stayed entertaining a guest at Bellevue - Paco broke out the soft serve ice cream machine, as well as a few other treats for us to enjoy while we chatted away about ice cream.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Supersized Games & a Poolside BBQ at The Bellevue Manila

My foodie fambam and I spent a luxurious 3-day weekend at the Bellevue Resort and Hotels properties in Alabang a few weeks back, staying at the business-friendly B Hotel while enjoying all the amenities of the family-oriented Bellevue Manila. We have The Queen of the South, Jane Go, and BHR's owner, Ryan Chan, to thank for such a wonderful time!

One of the highlights of our weekend was definitely our time by the pool at Bellevue. Of course, once the kids jumped in, there was no coming out, and while the parents looked on, we entertained ourselves with some of the other activities (and munchies!) around the pool.

You'll see what I mean...

Thursday, April 17, 2014

My Pink Wasabi's Kashi Makis

When The Queen of the South, Jane Go of Sugar & Spice, throws a staycation, not only does she make it so epic that everyone has to roll home, she makes sure that everyone goes with a little something more than fond memories!

Take, for instance, Chef Anna Chua's Kashi Makis from My Pink Wasabi! Anna dropped by for lunch with us at Prime Cafe at B Hotel and handed out boxes of her famous Kashi Maki! I had been wanting to try these babies out for so long, but just haven't had the time to head on over to The Collective in Makati for a box. Good news for us Southern folks, she's considering opening up a branch in Alabang, so I'm crossing my fingers I'll be seeing more of her around soon.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Dim Sum All You Can at Bellevue Hotel's Phoenix Court

Ever since I discovered the crazy beauty of dim sum buffets in New York's Chinatown, I have been trying to fill a void in my greedy, greedy soul for something much like my experience in the States. After two years of searching, I think I have finally found it in Phoenix Court in the The Bellevue Manila in Alabang of all places!

This is so much better in so many ways, as you don't have to stand in line for over an hour with a bunch of hungry tourists and irritated locals while waiting for your party to be called, you don't have to share a table with anyone, and although the dim sum does take a while to get to your table, you're pretty much assured that no other has gone through them in the kitchen who may or may not have sneezed on the basket you see before you.

Now that would be unfortunate.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

An Epic Alabang Staycation at B Hotel

I love staycations!

Getting away from it all without having to leave the city allows you to enjoy the best of both worlds, and this was definitely the case when I checked in at B Hotel in Alabang, which was just a stones throw away from where I live. This was convenient for the weekend-long staycation, as I could still check up on Mr. Wiggles every night, make sure he has enough water in his bowl and gets fed and walked, before heading back to hotel to get some shuteye.

This was one epic staycation, and I have the Queen of the South, Mama J and her fambam, to thank for for having me over and treating me to some Bellevue hospitality.

Monday, April 14, 2014

A 4-Course Dinner at Le Jardin Cuisine de Gils of Trois Gourmands

I heard about the French dining concept from Vietnam the guys behind Huat Pot were bringing to Manila early on, but had read quite a few mixed reviews online from the folks that tried the place during it's dry run. Whatever people were saying online, the idea of a lush, bringing the indoors in, restaurant concept on the penthouse floe of W Fifth building in BGC left me feeling like a giddy little girl, and I was dying to go up and experience the place for myself.

Jericho and I decided to have dinner Le Jardin with our friend, Mike, one evening, and after sitting down to an beautifully executed meal, and long, interesting chats with the owners, the waitstaff, and the chef, discovered there were a few misconceptions about the place. First off, it isn't a fine dining restaurant, hence the unclothed tables and super casual set up (the servers have buttons with their names on them!). No formal dinner jacket required - heck, you can even come in shorts if you'd like, although they do draw the line at flip flops and banana hammocks. Second, they don't do degustations - you can go to their neighbor for that. What you get at Le Jardin is a full-course meal, served the right way, which can sometimes be mistaken for formal dinner service.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Back for More at Pink Panda Southeast Asian Diner

I've been back to Pink Panda Southeast Asian Diner more than a few times now, and this place just keeps giving me more reasons to come back. Maybe it's because they aren't afraid of using chili in their dishes, which I love. Maybe it's because the Malaysian and Singporean flavors remind me so much of the fun times I had with my dad, exploring those countries with him. Maybe it's because it tastes all too familiar to the Filipino palate yet also somehow different.

There's something about Pink Panda that always has me coming back for more, and this time, I was determined to bring a few of the guys from my foodie fambam along with me.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Vikings Luxury Buffet at Megamall #EatLikeAViking

Although Vikings Luxury Buffet has been around for a while - with their first branch at the Mall of Asia, which then expanded to SM Marikina, and North Edsa - I hadn't yet step foot in the sprawling buffet place, but not for lack of trying, They are just always so full and the waiting list is always so long (I'm referring to the MOA branch), I always end up giving up and just looking for another place to eat. As you can tell, patience isn't one of my virtues.

So when the newest Viking Luxury Buffet place opened in SM Megamall, I told myself I was definitely going get in on that before it got too crowded! I figured that going there for lunch on a weekday would have less of a crowd and invited Jericho, his sister Justice, and the good ol' Dude For Food, Gerry, to come with. The Vikings tag line is #eatlikeaviking, and I was pretty confident Gerry would definitely represent in that respect!

On weekdays, lunch goes for P688/person and dinner is P888/person. On the weekdays and holidays, lunch and dinner are both P1,088/person.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Dude Food at The Southern Kitch

After moving back to Las Piñas from Bonifacio Global City last year, it was so frustrating for me to have to take a tricycle or car almost everywhere - 7-11, grocery store, fruit stand - when back at The Fort this was all just a walk (albeit a long one) away. And being a foodie, the proximity of decent restaurants is a must - which unfortunately are few and far between in this area, which is why I always end up heading over to BF Parañaque for new places to try.

But things seem to be looking up for me in the restaurant department, with a few good places popping up here and there. One of the recently opened restaurants at BF Resort Village is The Southern Kitch, a comfort food joint that offers dude food. Now, I don't exactly know what dude food is, but it was something definitely worth checking out, so Jericho and I headed over there one afternoon to check them out. And we were not disappointed.

Monday, April 7, 2014

A Makimono Dinner at Ogetsu Hime

Jericho, Justice and I were left to our own devices on a Wednesday afternoon, so when one of Jericho's clients backed out of a photo shoot last minute (check out his portfolio here and e-mail him for a quote), we somehow ended up walking around SM Aura Premier looking for a place to eat.

Initially, the gameplan was to finally go and check out Ramen Nagi, but the lines were so long! Still craving for Japanese food, we ended up walking around the Skypark some more and parked our butts at one of the booths at Ogetsu Hime for a lot of their makimonos and teppanyaki.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Olives Restaurant at Thunderbird Resort Rizal

With Semana Santa just a few more days away, it seems as if everyone's been busy planning a trip either out of the country, out of the city, or into a hotel suite - anywhere to get away from the doggone heat! For the people down south, this usually means Tagaytay or Batangas, while for people up north it's Antipolo or Baguio thereabouts. Hehe... I'm obviously not a Northman.

I had never been to Binangonan before (gasp!), so when Olives opened in Thunderbird Resort Rizal, a quick trip up there was in order. We were supposed to take Jericho's car, but the trip up was way too far for us, coming from Las Piñas, and Jericho wasn't in the mood for the long drive, so we took one of the free shuttle service that regularly picks up and drops off people there.

The honest truth was, I wasn't expecting much. I mean, what else is there to see in Binangonon anyway? But it seems I had underestimated the city up on a mountain, as what I saw turned out to be one of the best excuses to head up there whenever an occasion or the heat warrants it.

Friday, April 4, 2014

A Luncheon with Rockstar Chef Todd English

When living in the Philippines, Middle Eastern food can be hard to come by. Really, really good Mediterranean restaurants are few and far between. As far as restaurants in that region goes, I like to head over to Al Batra in Makati when I need an Arabic fix and there is always Black Olive in Capital Commons for when I want something a little more Mediterranean. I have yet to try Greek Kouzina, but I've been hearing some nice things about them, too.

So, with that empty part of my life tummy to fill, you could imagine how pleased I was when I got to sit down to lunch with rockstar chef Todd English at the Raffles' Long Bar one afternoon. He had just opened Todd English Food Hall and is adding a little something special to Spectrum's buffet line up this month, so the kind folks at Fairmont Makati rounded up a few people to say hello to Todd and give it a go. This is actually very apt, as Todd English's Food Hall in New York is at historic landmark, The Plaza, which happens to be managed by Fairmont.