Friday, June 27, 2014

Mesclun Bistro

A few months ago, Hubby and I were wandering around Eastwood Mall.  Tired of the usual restaurants, we ventured outside to see if they had something else to offer.  After walking around, we found ourselves standing in front of Mesclun Bistro.  Call me ignorant, but I've never heard or read about the restaurant before (research shows that apparently, this is already their third branch).  The menu looked good enough, so we went inside to try it out.  Here's what we had:

French Onion Soup (Caramelized onions, beef broth, gruyere, emmenthal)
 Beef broth indeed.  The entire French onion soup tasted more like beef broth than onion soup.  Too overpowering.

Sisig Spaghetti (Pork sisig, light cream sauce, chicharon bits)
 This was my favorite of all.  If you love sisig and you love pasta, then you'll definitely enjoy this one.  I know I did.  The cream sauce was really light too - less guilt!

Three Mushroom and Spinach Cannelloni (Portobello, shiitake, button mushrooms, truffle oil., spinach, cheese, pomodoro sauce)
This was pretty good too.  We had to send it back though... the menu says truffle oil but we couldn't smell anything when it arrived at our table.  When it returned, truffle heaven!

House Cured Corned Beef (House cured corned beef, cabbage, potataoes, carrots, cooking broth)
 Another fail.  Hmm... makes me think that beef is not Mesclun Bistro's strong suit?  The beef was not so tender, and the taste was ho-hum.  I think we've had enough beef broth for one day.

Accompaniments of the House Cured Corned Beef (Pommery-mustard horseradish and rice pilaf)

Four Cheese Pizza (Cream sauce, mozzarella, fontina, gorgonzola, goat cheese)

The Four Cheese Pizza was pretty good too.  I enjoyed chewing on their thin crust pizza.  Can't wait to try out their other pizzas.

Overall, there are definite hits and misses for Mesclun Bistro.  We loved the pizza and the pastas, but the other beef based ones are not so good.  Confession:  a few days after we tried Mesclun Bistro, I suddenly craved for their Sisig Spaghetti and went back for it!  Yum!  3.5 out of 5 stars!  

Mesclun Bistro is at Ground Floor, Eastwood Mall, Libis, Quezon City

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Le Jardin

For our 2.5 years anniversary as a married couple, Hubby took me to somewhere special:  Le Jardin.  This was actually way back last March, but I just realized I haven't blogged about it till now.  Sorry!  Anyway, a few weeks before that day, Hubby mentioned that his friend was opening a new French restaurant at the Fort.  He saw the place a few days after it opened, and was both intrigued and excited to try the place out.  Knowing me, once you say French, visions of truffle and foie gras began swimming in my mind.  There is no way I'm going to say no.  Happy tummy, here I come!

Bar area

Dining area

Choose from one of the three dinner courses!

Cold appetizer

Warm appetizer



Hubby and I were two hungry people.  Besides, it was already 8:30PM when we arrived!  So each of us went for the 5 courses.  We agreed to order differently from each other and share so that we'd be able to taste more of what Le Jardin has to offer.  Here we go!

Freshly baked bread

The brioche had great texture.  It tasted more like cake than bread, which was more than ok for me.

Truffled eggs
Oh god... I still cannot take my mind off Le Jardin's truffled eggs until now.  The scrambled eggs were extremely smooth, and there was a very distinct truffle aroma.  Two of my favorite things together = BLISS.

Soupe de poisson provence (Fish soup - French riviera style)

The fish soup had a light taste reminiscent of the lobster bisque.

Assiette de trois foie gras (French duck liver three ways)

Not much fan of the terrine, but the spring roll thing is very good.

Tartare de crabe (Crab Tartare)

Very fresh!

Lasagne d'agneau (Lamb lasagna)

A different twist to the usual lasagna, and the flavors in your mouth is just divine!

Coquille St. Jacques, puree de pommes de terre aux truffes (Seared scallops, truffled mashed potatoes)

Loved the truffled mashed potatoes, there's a hint of truffle in every spoonful!  The scallops were also pretty juicy.

Pauponette choux confit de canard (Cabbage stuffed with duck confit, foie gras sauce)

In my opinion, the foie gras sauce and the cabbage do not complement each other.  But separately, it's a dream.

Fresh lemon sorbet
A definite palate cleanser.  I wish they had a drink version of this!

Filet d' espadon, sauce vin rouge, fondue de poireaux (Swordfish with red wine reduction, leek fondue)

When the swordfish arrived at out table, my initial thought was that it looked tough.  Biting into it told me otherwise.  The fish was tender!  I don't like the texture though, but hey, different fishes, different textures.  Can't do anything about that.  

Joue de boeuf et foie gras poele (Braised beef cheek topped with pan seared foie gras)

The beef cheek was very soft, and the foie gras?  It was cooked perfectly - not too raw and not overcooked.

Cheese platter

Not much a fan of these cheeses, but we were told that each cheese was aged differently.  Hubby, the cheese monster, seems to like it though.

Fondant chocolat (Moist chocolate lava cake)

Yes.  This tasted as good as it looks.

Tarte Tatin (Classic French apple pie)

This was ok.  I just wish we went for a more exciting dessert.

Lemon Cheesecake

Probably the creamiest (and the best!) cheesecake we've ever tried.  It's light, refreshing, and oh so good!

Overall, Hubby and I were very, very, very happy with Le Jardin.  It was indeed one of the best meals we've had in our life.  And I say this with no bias whatsoever!  Though prices are not for the faint of heart, I can say that the quality of the food is superb and well worth the money.  Would definitely go back again and again.  5 out of 5 stars!

Le Jardin is at The W Fifth Avenue, The Penthouse, 32nd St cor 5th Ave., Fort Bonifacio, Taguig

Monday, June 23, 2014

Triple O's: Now Open in Manila!

Wow, the weekend just flew by, didn't it?  So how did you guys spend it?  If you were to ask me, the weekend was spent in Megamall because dear Hubby, who is a devoted statue collector, wanted to go to the ToyCon, which was held just this Friday-Sunday.  Actually, all was not lost because even if I spent my weekend there, I got to try out the newly opened Triple O's!  Yes, Canada's burger joint is now here in the Philippines!  

View from the outside


Our messy tray!

Bacon Cheddar

Monty Mushroom

So how were the burgers?  Hubby ordered the Bacon Cheddar, while I had the Monty Mushroom.  Wasn't able to try his burger, but the patty is just the same anyways.  He complained about it though...  The bacon was tough and the patty was a tad dry.  I myself loved the sauce and the earthy mushrooms inside my burger, but I share the same sentiment when it comes to the patty.  The bun, on the other hand, was pillow-soft.  We're kind of on the fence about it... Guess we'll have to go for round 2 before we finally decide if we like it or not!  But as for now... 2.5 out of 5 stars!

Triple O's is at 3/F, SM Megamall Atrium, EDSA corner J. Vargas Avenue, Mandaluyong City

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

LA Eats: Lawry's The Prime Rib

And now we've reached the end of my LA series.  No worries, I saved the best for last.  For our last night in LA, Dad wanted to go somewhere special.  Our parents had traveled to LA last year, and a friend had treated them to dinner at Lawry's.  Must have been some dinner because my Dad doesn't usually crave for steak.  We were only too happy to comply when he said he wanted to dine in Lawry's.  Score!  I myself have never tried Lawry's before, but I've heard great things about them.  Fond memories of steak in the US were always associated with The House of Prime Rib in San Francisco, because we almost always go to SFO whenever we travel to the US.  But hey, I'm always open to trying other restaurants!  Let's see how Lawry's compare with The House of Prime Rib, shall we?

Salad mixed in front of you
 The server will mix the salad in front of you.  Watching her do the spinning and tossing was fun!

The Famous Original Spinning Bowl Salad
...and here's the finished product.  Crisp lettuce and superb Lawry's exclusive vintage dressing.  Not a salad person but this left me wanting for more!

Prime Rib!
Lawry's Prime Rib, is also cut in front of you.  The chef will wheel in the huge portable cart which contains your prime rib and all the sides.  Just look at that.  Mouth-watering!

The Lawry Cut

We each ordered the Prime Rib dinner, in different cuts.  I had the Lawry Cut, which is their traditional and most popular cut, in medium well doneness.  The plate includes mashed potatoes, creamed corn and Yorkshire pudding.   And how was it?  Fantastic.  Took me back to the good 'ol House of Prime Rib days.  The prime rib was tender, but I guess I got spoiled by too many good prime rib that I found the aroma a bit lacking.  It was good nonetheless; just look at those juices!  Yum!  The sides were something too.  The creamed corn was sweet and really creamy, and the Yorkshire pudding was crispy on the outside and oh so soft on the inside.  4 out of 5 stars!

Lawry's The Prime Rib is at 100 N La Cienega Blvd, Beverly Hills, California, United States of America

Monday, June 16, 2014

CashCashPinoy Strikes Again! (Scam, Scam, Scam)

As of writing this, I am positively livid and seething as to how this supposedly "deal" site is scamming all of its members.  Why?  Let me count the ways.  If you're a regular reader of this blog, then you might be familiar with my post regarding their travel scam.  No?  Let me refresh you by clicking on this link.  Well, if you think they stopped there, think again.  After writing that post, I've had some people comment on how CashCashPinoy has scammed them, and a friend even told me that his officemate bought a "supposedly" authentic Lacoste bag, except that when it arrived, it wasn't.  Pure fake.  Today, I've had the pleasure of experiencing another one of their schemes.  Thank goodness I can proudly say that I haven't fallen victim yet.  I called and asked about the deal first before going ahead and purchasing it.  Guys, ALWAYS call the merchant before buying any deals.  Ask all the questions that you have, so that you won't have any regrets afterwards.  

Going back, today CashCashPinoy sent me an email regarding their Sofitel Manila Dining Experience deal.  Usually, whatever email that comes from CashCashPinoy immediately goes to the trash.  But today what struck me was that they were offering 40% off at any of Sofitel's Restaurants, including Spiral.  My birthday is coming up next month and I was thinking of treating the entire family to Spiral for my birthday dinner.  But I had a few questions like "do they limit the number of people who are availing the deal?" "is the day I want already fully booked?" and "do I need to pay any other charges other than the deal amount?".  So I called up Sofitel for clarifications.  Well the answer to my questions 1 and 2 were no, which was a good thing.  But question #3 came up and I was told that since I want to use the voucher for dinner, then I am to pay an additional Php215 per head.  HUH?!  Before going any further, I would like to show you the deal in question.  Please read thoroughly and tell me what you think:

So... what do you think?  Did you see, in ANY part of the deal wherein it states that you'd have to pay an additional Php215 per head?  Because I surely DID NOT.  Look at the part encircled in red.  It says that the deal is valid for Spiral for lunch during Monday to Friday, then dinner Monday to Thursday.  If you were me, what would be your understanding of this?  It means that as long as you buy the voucher, then you can use it M-F lunch, and M-T dinner.  Right?  Well, according to Sofitel, since there is a difference of Php215 from lunch to dinner, the deal holders will have to settle the difference with the hotel if they want to dine during dinner.  That particular part was NOT mentioned in the deal.  And when I told them that it wasn't mentioned, the reservations officer then pointed out to the clause that I highlighted in the blue box.  For me, when you say "any amount in excess of the voucher price", it means that when you incur any additional expenses like drinks which is not part of the buffet, THAT is the one that you'd have to settle directly with the hotel.  Actually, Sofitel is not the one to blame on this.  This is purely CashCashPinoy's sheer genius (if you can call it that).  The only fault Sofitel has is choosing CashCashPinoy to advertise their deal.  You see guys, it's not about the money.  I mean, if you are paying for Php1590, what is another Php215 right?  My point is, instead of just stating the additional charges clearly in their ad, CashCashPinoy chose the twisted route of scamming their buyers into thinking that Php1590 is all you have to pay for a great lunch or dinner.  This is beyond low.  Somebody please share this post so that it goes a long way and people will not be duped into buying from CashCashPinoy.  I personally will start boycotting this company from now on.  You should too.

Thursday, June 12, 2014


Interrupting my LA series for something so important that it cannot simply wait:  SALE.  Yes, the sale season is upon us again.  Been eyeing that dress?  How about that bag to match it?  Time to whip out your credit cards and/or smash that piggybank to reward yourself for being so patient.  Wondering what stores are on sale?  Read on:

Yup, all these three stores go on sale starting TODAY.  So celebrate your independence and shop, shop, shop!  Happy Independence Day and happy shopping!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

LA Eats: Maggiano's Little Italy

During our trip to LA, we met up with Hubby's Aunt and Cousin who were based there.  The Grove is one of the places which is on my must-visit list, and I was only too happy when they told us that they're taking us there.  Yay!  For those who are not familiar, The Grove is an outdoor shopping/leisure place, with a select mix of restaurants and shops.  Good thing we went, the place is absolutely beautiful!  We went around and took about a million photos!  And after all the photos and going around for a bit, it's time for dinner.  Hubby's Aunt made all the dinner arrangements, and told us that we're going to an old favorite - Maggiano's Little Italy.  Italian?  I'm so there.

Caesar Salad
A traditional Caesar salad of romaine lettuce, croutons and shaved parmesan. Served with Caesar dressing.

To start off, we had the Caesar salad.  The vegetables were fresh and crisp, and the Caesar dressing was perfect.  It's not too overpowering, yet you taste a bit of it in every bite.

Calamari Fritte
Crispy calamari, served with marinara sauce

The calamari was tender to the bite.  I've always loved this appetizer so this was a sure win for me.

Stuffed Mushrooms 
Jumbo mushroom caps stuffed with spinach and topped with seasoned breadcrumbs, served in a garlic white wine sauce

Now this, was a pleasant surprise.  The button mushrooms were oh so earthy and juicy, and the spinach-breadcrumbs mix stuffed inside it provided the perfect balance.  We had second servings of these.  Would have had a third if only there weren't more dishes coming!

Chicken Parmesan
Breaded chicken breasts baked with Provolone cheese and marinara sauce, served with spaghetti marinara.

Er... this was fine.  Never liked chicken breasts, because I always find them a bit dry and tough, but plus points for Maggiano's since they made it a bit more tender than the usual.

Mushroom Ravioli Al Forno
Ravioli stuffed with mushrooms served with alfredo sauce

White sauce + ravioli stuffed with mushrooms?  You cannot simply go wrong with this one.  It's THE perfect combination.  Absolutely yummy!

Our Famous Rigatoni 'D'
Rigatoni pasta, herb-roasted chicken, mushrooms and caramelized onions, tossed in a Marsala cream sauce.

While ordering, I initially thought that this was a tomato-based pasta.  Surprise, surprise!  Another cream-based pasta!  But who am I to complain?  White sauce + me = LOVE.  The cream was very light, and the mix of all the other ingredients just works.  Maybe that's why they called it Our Famous Rigatoni 'D'!

Grilled Salmon with Lemon and Herb
Fillet of salmon topped with a lemon cream sauce. Served on a bed of orzo with spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, and parmesan cheese.

The dishes of the night would have been perfect... except that they came up with this.  The salmon was overcooked and dry.  Oh well.  At least the other dishes were exceptional.

Creme Brulee
Rich and creamy vanilla custard with a hint of citrus, caramelized sugar crust, topped with fresh strawberries.

The creme brulee was ok, have tried better ones.  I think they put too much sugar, which made the crust a bit thick.


Ladyfinger cookies soaked in espresso and coffee liqueur layered with Mascarpone, dusted with cocoa powder and served with chocolate shavings

Maggiano's tiramisu was pretty good.  Soft and moist.  I liked this better than the creme brulee.

Overall, we liked Maggiano's Little Italy.  Their appetizers and pastas are the bomb!  Wouldn't mind going back for more.  Thanks to Hubby's Aunt for the wonderful recommendation!  Oh, how I wish I was back in LA!  4 out of 5 stars!

Maggiano's Little Italy is at 189 The Grove Dr. Suite Z80, Los Angeles, California, United States of America