Saturday, April 28, 2007

Coffee at Coffee Dream

  • Cafe
  • Drinks between Php50-Php115
  • Located at the second floor, Hypermart area, SM Mall of Asia
Sit down. Take a sip. Dream.

Coffee dream does give you that vibe with their very cozy sofas and dreamy lighting and wall paper. Bad choice of music though, at least that time that we went there, playing on the speakers are noisy and indiscernible gibberish that they usually play in cheap bars or discos. Hardly the kind of music you'd expect in a cafe that encourages you sit back and relax with a cup of coffee.

They have a few cakes in the show case which you can buy by the slice- rocky road (Php80), Blueberry Cheesecake (Php90), Banana Loaf (Php50), Carrot Loaf (Php50), Dark Choco (Php80), Banana Walnut (Php80)- but we opted for good old fashioned pan de sal. Can't go wrong with pan de sal (Php8 per piece)

A short brewed coffee costs Php50, which to my opinion is a bang for the buck.

The brew here was pretty good. The most expensive drink is at Php115 for the tall glass- Creamy Irish Chill, Frothy Caramel Chill, or Irish Latte Chill.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Pepperoni thin-crust pizza by Pink Pepper

  • French cuisine
  • Italian cuisine
  • Accepts credit cards
  • Located at the second floor, Sea Side area, SM Mall of Asia
I had my birthday dinner in Pink Pepper. The selling point was their family combo which included a whole chicken, salad, and choice of pasta good for four people- a steal at Php700. We added pepperoni thin crust pizza (Php280) and my sister ordered bottomless mango ice tea for Php85.

We all loved the food. There is something about the simplicity of the flavors that made the food quite extraordinary. The fried chicken was lightly seasoned and cooked perfectly. The dressing in our salad was delicate with the right amount of acidity. The thin crust pizza was very delicious and was a good complement to the carbonara pasta.

The whole combo meal really was good for 4 (unlike other restaurants that can't seem to get the servings right). After the meal, we felt full without feeling like we over ate or ingested too much grease. I'm glad I chose Pink Pepper for this special day.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Beef Bulgogi by Chosun (by CH)

  • Korean cuisine
  • Meals between Php125-Php235
  • Accepts credit cards
  • Located at the ground floor, Entertainment Center, SM Mall of Asia
  • Tel. No. 556-0573

Chosun serves Korean barbecue and noodles. I had dinner there with my mom and my cousin last Friday (We got drawn in by the flyers they were handing out by the elevator). We ordered Beef Bulgogi (Php165), Fish Fillet Bbq (Php185), Fish Fillet Bake (Php125), and Chapchae (on promo for only Php99 until May 30, 2007). I've always loved Korean beef stew (Kalbi Jim), unfortunately they were fresh out so I'd have to try their Kalbi Jim another time.

The service was good. The waiters/waitresses were very attentive to our needs and they were nice enough to teach us how to prepare and eat the Korean Bbq wraps, complete with visual aids. While waiting for our orders, they served Korean corn tea, which I really liked. I thoroughly enjoyed the side dishes they served for free as well-- kimchi, one tasted like achara made of potato strings, another tasted like curried slices of fishcakes, and tamago slices. Those yummy little freebies made the wait (though short) well worth it.

The Bulgogi came with fresh green romaine lettuce (for wrapping), carrots, and bagoong-like sauce. I've never had it as a wrap before. It was really good. I also liked the fish fillet. It was very tasty and I love the way that it sort of melted in my mouth. And the chapchae was a perfect complement to the more substantial meals. I wasn't a big fan of the fish fillet bake though. I admit to having ordered it for looks. It looked, er, cute.

Chili by The Soup Kitchen

Finding good soup in the Philippines is not an easy task. And by soup I don't mean the nilaga, sinigang, or tinola kind. So the next time you crave for a chowder, troop to The Soup Kitchen at the Glorietta in Makati City.

The Soup Kitchen has a wide array of delicious and hearty soups from, from Shrimp Gumbo to Clam Chowder. It's almost heartbreaking to to choose just one (well, you can always get two quarter bowl sizes of two different flavors).

My absolute favorite is the Chili (don't for get the cheese and nacho toppings, please!). It has just the right spiciness and with generous amounts of ground beef, tomatoes, beans, and bell peppers, a quarter bowl is a meal on its own.

They also have delightful sandwiches and salads to go with your choice of soup. And the breads... they are the softest, yummiest buns- white, raisin, wheat, etc.- you can find. They bake em there fresh everyday.

Ebi Fry by Yasubei

  • Japanese cuisine
  • Meals between Php180-Php580
  • Located at Powerstation, Macapagal Blvd.

Yasubei Family Restaurant is currently my favorite Japanese resto in the Metro. They serve authentic Japanese food with good ambiance to boot. I particularly love their ebi fry set (Php280) which includes rice and miso soup. I keep meaning to ordering other items in their menu each time I go there but I always end up getting the Ebi Fry. The Shoyu Ramen (Php180) is a favorite and we just can't get enough of it. Luckily, it comes in a huge bowl- good for sharing or for one with an equally huge appetite. For sides, try the ever popular gyoza (Php180) and california maki (Php160). Very delicious.

They do not scrimp on the quality of their ingredients here and I promise you the prawns will not disappoint. The sushi and sashimi are expertly prepared in their sushi bar and are made from the choicest and freshest seafood. Don't forget to try their Japanese Rice tea while there. It's free.

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts

The very first Krispy Kreme donut shop in the Philippines opened in Bonifacio High Street this year. Its very first customer camped out at the shop the night before the grand opening and won a year's worth of free donuts.

It's a treat for everyone with a sweet tooth. The brewed coffee is good, too.

Corned Beef by Breakfast at Antonio's

On January 7, 2007, mama, papa, and I dropped off my brother to school in La Salle Dasmarinas. We heard mass in Tagaytay City and had breakfast at, well, Breakfast at Antonio's. It is a pretty long drive. But the food, the ambiance, and the view is worth the trip.

Contrary to the name, Breakfast at Antonio's, aside from their all day breakfast menu, also serves lunch and dinner. On their beverages menu, try their thick hot chocolate. It is not for the faint of heart though. For the less adventurous ones, they have all sorts of fruit juices and shakes, and the brewed coffee here is good, too.

When I went back here with Robin, I tried their Cajun beef bowl. It's spicy-hot and hearty.

For Robin, who's a big fan of corned beef, ordered- what else- corned beef. But there's nothing ordinary about the corned beef here as it came in this huge chunk of flaky melt-in-your-mouth beefy goodness.

Chicken a la Kiev by Bag of Beans

Last Good Friday we went to Tagaytay to escape the heat. Traffic was light going there so the drive was pretty relaxing. We originally planned to go to Starbucks (In my defense, going Starbucks in Tagaytay really is different than going to Starbucks in Manila. There is that spectacular view of the Taal Volcano, for example.). When we got there though, almost every eating establishment was full. But we were lucky enough to get a parking spot in Bag of Beans so we decided to have lunch there.

We got this cozy little cottage which was obviously meant for a crowd and, too bad for that crowd, the three of us ended up hogging it for three hours. I realize though that that was a little inconsiderate of us, considering that the place was packed and the stream of customers was nonstop.

That can't be helped though. Our little spot was perfect. There were plants and windchimes all around. The temperature is pleasantly cool despite the summer weather, no airconditioning necessary...

... And the food was very good. My sister had roastbeef. Robin had grilled tuna belly. And I had chicken a la kiev. My meal reminded me of my favorite restaurant in Katipunan, Full House. (I felt really bad when they closed down, in 2004 I think. I had spells of having dinner there every single day of a week ordering the same food: chicken a la kiev with extra garlic cream. How the garlic butter bursts out of the perfectly crusted chicken at the first slice is quite a sight, I tell you. Nothing comes close to it, not even the one in Bag of Beans.)

Afterwards we ordered freshly baked Braided Bread (it came with yummy blueberry jam and whipped butter) and bottomless brewed coffee (Php95). We pulled out our mobile devices to check for Globe Visibility and Smart 3G signal and in no time, we were taking pictures and surfing the net over afternoon bread and coffee.

I must admit, we just couldn't leave hi tech even for supposedly an afternoon of nature.

You can find Bag of Beans along Aguinaldo Highway, Tagaytay City in front of the Swiss Chalet row of town houses. It's past Taal Vista Hotel and the old Tagaytay Market. It's a bit easy to miss, so look to your right after you drive past the market.

Top 8 Places to Eat Authentic Japanese Food in Manila

While we waited for our turn in court last thursday, I chatted up my Japanese speeaking client's interpreter. I asked her what Japanese restaurants here Japanese in the Philippines actually like to dine in, and she graciously made me a list:

1. Hatsuhana Tei - Malate
2. Kagayaki - Tomas Morato, Q.C.
3. Ipponyaki - FCIE Dasmarinas; Langkaan; Laguna Eco Park (not technically Manila, but it's in the same island)
4. Niko-Niko - Little Tokyo, Makati
5. Kabukiza - Malate
6. Oki-oki - Mall of Asia
7. Sakae - Mall of Asia; The Fort, Bonifacio Global City
8. Tajima - Harbor View, CCP

Chocolate Cakes by Chocolat

Spent the afternoon in Chocolat at MOA today with Robin and my sister. Very cozy place. Aromatic brewed coffee. Sinful chocolate cakes.

This is how our receipt looked like (plus twelve percent VAT):
"Classic Chocolate slice 41.96
Choco Hazelnut slice 49.11
Choco Caramel slice 49.11
Spanish Hot Chocolate 44.64
Brewed Coffee 35.71
Iced Lemon Tea 31.25
Bottled Water 22.32

'Don't wreck a sublime chocolate experience by feeling guilty. Chocolate isn't like premarital sex. It will not make you pregnant. And it always makes you feel good.' Thank you. Come again. This serves as your OFFICIAL RECEIPT."

Find Chocolat at Unit NP 115 G/F North Parking Bldg. of the SM Mall of Asia.
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