Friday, July 25, 2014

Boqueria Restaurante Chocolateria

Ever since its opening, SM Megamall's Fashion Hall boasts a number of restaurants exclusively available in their mall (as of writing).  One of them is Boqueria Restaurante Chocolateria.  My friend DQ and I found ourselves in Megamall one night and decided to go for someplace new.  Spanish has never actually been one of our go-to restaurants, but the Boqueria seemed interesting enough from the outside so we decided to give it a go.  Here's what we had:

Albondigas con Foie Gras (Foie Gras Meatballs)
Yum!  I can really taste the foie gras inside each and every meatball! 

Chicharrones (Crispy pork belly with red wine reduction and white wine vinaigrette)
We had this sent back the first time around because the skin was not crispy at all.  When it came back, it was crrruuuunchyyy to the nth level!

Lengua Estofada (Slow cooked ox tongue in special sauce)
Meh.  Didn't do anything for me.

Callos (Ox tripe with Spanish chorizo, garbanzos and bell peppers)
A little bit on the salty side.  Had better ones in other Spanish restaurants.

Churros with Milk Chocolate
Now this, was good.  It sent me back to my childhood Dulcinea days wherein I'd go grab a quick bite with my mom during summer afternoons.  Love that the milk chocolate taste was full-on too, no shortcuts here.

All in all, I could say that Boqueria Restaurante Chocolateria is pretty good.  We weren't impressed with all the dishes, but there was not one dish that had a failed mark.  Well, at least according to my standards.  LOL.  3.5 out of 5 stars!

Boqueria Restaurante Chocolateria is at 3/F SM Megamall, Fashion Hall , Julia Vargas Ave., Wack Wack, Mandaluyong

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Big D' s Smokehouse

One Sunday, while the cats were away, the mice went out to play.  Kidding!  The parents were out of the country, so the kids decided to eat somewhere different - Big D's Smokehouse.  Word on the street was, this place has some of the best ribs in town, so we're out to find out if this is true.  And since all three of us (Brother, Hubby and Me) are all rib-monsters, everyone was excited to try them out.  Bring on the ribs!

Dirty Fries
French fries topped with pulled pork, cheese sauce, salsa and more pulled pork.

Nothing special with this one.  It was basically fries topped with a lot of cheese and then some meat.

Start Up Nachos
Light and crispy chips topped with beef or pulled pork, salsa and cheese sauce.

Now this, was way better than the fries.  The chips were light and crispy alright.  The toppings were actually the same with the dirty fries, but somehow this one works and the other one doesn't.  Go figure.  Only comment was that the cheese was cold, probably pulled out from the fridge.  Would have loved it more if entire thing was warm.

Hush Puppies
Combination of cheddar, mozzarella and parmesan with roasted pimientos for that smokin' kick, deep fried and served with garlic ranch dip

As for the hush puppies, we really couldn't figure out what we were eating.  I was half expecting cheese oozing out from these mini nuggets, but nope.  None of that.  Doesn't taste like cheese either.  Fail.

Monster Tacos
Full 9-inch monster goodness with shredded lettuce, cheese, salsa and more cheese

Basically the tacos version of the nachos.  LOL!  I can't believe we ordered three dishes that more or less comprises of the same ingredients!

Smoked Soft Bone Ribs

Famous classic slow cooked BBQ ribs.  Tender slab of ribs, dry rubbed and basted in signature BBQ sauce.

And for the main event, our full slab of ribs.  This was my first time trying out the soft-bone version of the ribs, and I must say, I was really impressed.  The meat was tender and the sauce was full-on BBQ goodness.  Those who do not appreciate ribs because of the number of bones in it will find Big D's version to be the answer to their prayers.  There was zero hard bones in it, and the best part?  You can actually eat the soft bone!  Yum!

And the verdict?  There was definitely a couple of hits and misses, but I'd have to give the ribs a 4 out of 5 stars.  Absolutely finger-lickin' good.  Value for money too!  Will definitely go back for them and also for the nachos.  

Big D's Smokehouse is at 2/F, POS Bldg., Sct. Madrinan, Tomas Morato Ave., Quezon City

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Outfit of the Week: Dressing Down

My day 2 outfit in Hong Kong.  It was hot this time of the year in Hong Kong, so I made sure that all the clothes I brought for the trip were comfortable and breathable.  Confession:  on my lazy days, my go-to outfit would always be a tank top and slouchy pants.  I love the fact that it's easy to put together, yet it doesn't look like you made zero effort in dressing up.  It's also a good thing that most retail stores have put out their versions of the drawstring-waist slouchy pants for the season -  it makes it so much easier that you have lots of options from solids to printed to florals and everything in between!  Just jazz it up with some accessories (no accessories for me in this photo, didn't have much luggage space!  LOL!) and you're good to go!

Top:  Forever 21
Pants:  Mango
Bag:  Givenchy
Shoes:  Birkenstock

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Why I Would Never Order from '' Again. Ever.

Last Saturday night, I ordered from Chowking's delivery website for the first time.  The order went smoothly, and by 8:26PM, I received the order confirmation through email.  (see below)

After more than 30 minutes, Chowking's customer service agent called me up, only to tell me that my orders were NOT processed. When I reprimanded her about why she called only after 30 minutes, she even countered that it was barely 30 minutes since I ordered.  I am very sure of the time because I took note of it when the order was placed.  It was already past 9PM when she called.  Even said that the reason why they weren't able to call was because of the bulk of orders.  Is that supposed to be MY problem?  Furthermore, she tells me that the reason why my orders were not processed was because the minimum amount for delivery was Php500, since the order will come from the Mandaluyong branch. She says the order minimum was really Php200, but since it will be all the way from Mandaluyong, the minimum has increased to Php500.  Huh??  I asked her how come the order will come all the way from Mandaluyong, when in fact the delivery address I provided was in San Juan?  She claims that the nearest branch would be Mandaluyong.  What?  Is there no Chowking store in the entire San Juan area?!  I even gave out a couple of branches in San Juan, since she, as customer service, seem to not know where the existing branches are.  She put me on hold, then came back to tell me that the branch was closed because it was already 9PM. I placed my order 30 mins ago.  If the order was processed by that time, then the stores wouldn't have been closed, would it?  Also remember that she claims that I ordered barely 30 minutes ago? So why were the stores closed then if I received my order confirmation at 8:26PM and it was barely 30 minutes?  In the end, all they customer service agent can say is "pasensya na".  How on earth will I make pasensya if everything was their fault, and I, the customer, is on the losing end due to their negligence?  After the conversation was over, I went to check my email and there was a delivery confirmation saying that my order was already on the way (see screenshot below).  This was sent at 8:49PM, more than 10 minutes before the agent called.  The order never arrived. 

So this is my question: Is this how a reputable fast food giant is supposed to treat their customers?  Simply put, if they cannot fulfill an order, then I suggest that they NEVER make a delivery website in the very first place. Such a disappointment.  And yes, I stand my ground when I say I will never order from their website again.

Thursday, July 17, 2014


The moment I saw an Instagram post about Yanagi's Tempura Maki, it looked so mouthwatering that I rounded up my family and took them there the soonest possible time.  Japanese food has always been a no-brainer in our family.  So the moment I told them I wanted to try out a new Japanese restaurant, everyone was all-in!  Good thing too, because if somebody opposed, then I'd most likely troop over there myself and eat to my heart's content.  Don't judge me, pictures are my ultimate weakness!  

Salmon and Shime Saba (marinated mackerel) sashimi

Kani salad (crab meat, lettuce, cucumber salad with flying fish roe)

Wakame salad (fresh wakame seaweed, cucumber salad with goma dressing)

Ebi tempura (prawn tempura)

Tempura maki (thick roll with prawn tempura)

Yanagi maki (california maki with grilled eel)

Wakadori (spring chicken with teriyaki sauce)

Yasai itame (sauteed assorted vegetables)

Soft shell crab (deep fried soft shell crab with ponzu sauce)

Snake River Farms US wagyu sirloin steak

Kaminabe (boiled assorted seafood and vegetables in paper pan)

It is obvious that we're a couple of very hungry people?  LOL!  Yup, we managed to finish everything we ordered, and it was just the four of us.  You read that right, FOUR people ate all of that (insert sheepish smile here).    And the food?  Oh it was all good, although not extremely spectacular.  There was one standout though, can you guess which one?  Nothing else but the very main reason I dragged my family all the way to Midas Hotel.  Tempura Maki.  Ahhhh...  imagine the crunchy shrimp tempura enveloped inside the softest Japanese rice, topped with a mix of cheese, mayonnaise and huge scoops of fish roe!!!  Literally, scoops!  Different colors too!  The moment I tasted it, I knew Tempura Maki will never be the same again.  At least for me.  The service could use a bit of work though, but if it's food we're talking about, 4 out of 5 stars!

Yanagi is at the Midas Hotel & Casino,  2702 Roxas Blvd., PICC Reclamation Area, Pasay City

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Roots Market Bistro

Early last month, Mom, Brother and I found ourselves in Promenade, Greenhills during lunchtime.  Tired of the usual favorites, my Brother suggested that we try out the newly opened Roots Market Bistro.  No one objected, so Roots it is!  Besides, who'd say no to try out a new restaurant, right?  Anyway, the three of us weren't really hungry, so we agreed to just order something light and share it among ourselves.  This is what we had:

Salad Rian

Grilled prawns, orange segments, feta cheese, mesclun, cranberry vinaigrette

Sponach and Mushroom Omelette

Baby spinach, mushrooms and gruyere served with house salad and pain de mie
Cream of Cauliflower

Baguio fresh cauliflower, spring onions, slivered almonds, croutons

Tomato and Corn Soup

Served with parmesan tuile and wanton crisp

Pumpkin Soup

Jalapeno crema

More than double (pork) chop

Potatoes, mustard green, tomatoes

I'll keep this short and simple.  The only dish worth remembering was the "more than double (pork) chop".  That's it.  Everything else was forgettable and underwhelming.  The pork chop, on the other hand, was brined perfectly, tender and oh so juicy.  So yes, that might be the only thing I would go back for.  2 out of 5 stars.

Roots Market Bistro is at G/F, Promenade II, Annapolis St. cor. Missouri St., Greenhills Shopping Center, San Juan

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Outfit of the Week: Going Back In Time

Presenting:  my teeny-bopper outfit.  LOL!  When I first laid my eyes on this jumper, I really wanted it.  But I wasn't too sure if it would be age-appropriate for me.  I texted my friend KL and asked, and her reply was a resounding yes!  Hence, you are seeing me and my outfit in this post.  Blame KL if you have been forever traumatized.  Haha!  Kidding aside, I wore this on the plane on our way to Hong Kong.  I love how comfortable the jumper is!  And since my gladiator flats have not seen the day since the LA outfit post, I figured I might as well make the most of out it!  First time I wore a hat too!  Not to shabby, eh?  Hope you guys like it! 

Jumper:  Mango
Top:  Forever 21
Bag:  Givenchy
Shoes:  Forever 21
Hat:  Zara
Sunnies:  Forever 21

Friday, July 11, 2014

Gyu-Kaku (Japanese BBQ Restaurant)

On my recently concluded birthday last week, I celebrated my birthday 4 times.  Once with my family, once with my in-laws, once with my girls, and once with my guy best friend.  I only got to document one.  BOO!  Blame it on the crazy diet I went on a few weeks before my birthday.  It made me want to eat everything on sight!  So it's a good thing I remembered to document this one before gobbling up everything, LOL!  The restaurant?  Gyu-Kaku.  I've seen this Japanese BBQ restaurant for quite some time now, almost always when I pass by the Fort.  But it's only when they opened in the new East Wing of the Shangri-La Plaza that I finally decided to try it.  It wasn't even planned, I had a craving for meat that day and this was the restaurant that seemed to be the answer to my craving.  Here we go!

Kaisen Chijimi
Korean style seafood pancake

Truth be told, I'm not even sure if this is a Japanese or a Korean restaurant.  They definitely have some Korean food injected into their menu, but I was a happy camper when I saw that they had the Korean pancake, one of my go-to orders whenever in a Korean restaurant.  Although, I regretted it immediately after my first bite.  It was wayyyyy spicy!!!  Yes, spicy with THREE exclamation points!  Gahhh my tongue!  And to think that the server told us that it wasn't supposed to be spicy at all!

Fried Octopus
Deep fried octopus fritters served with Thai chili sauce

After the episode with the spicy Korean pancake, the fried octopus was a welcoming sight.  It was yummy and crunchy, and the Thai sweet chili sauce was the perfect accompaniment.  Not too spicy either.

Ishiyaki Bibimbab with Egg
Rice, minced chicken, seasoned vegetables topped with shredded dry seaweed and sesame seeds served in sizzling hot stone bowl

Another dish that failed us.  The rice in the bibimbab was tough to chew, and thus, hard to swallow.

Karubi (USA) - Shio (Salty)
Short ribs tha is known as the "king of yakiniku" popular for its sweet flavor and tender textures

For our mains, we had two kinds of beef.  The USA Karubi and the Wagyu Karubi.  I wanted to try out both and see the difference for myself.  The first one we tried was the US Karubi.  Just look at that marbling!

The US Karubi

US Karubi ready to eat!
The meat was tender, although the aroma of the beef was a little light.

Wagyu Karubi (Wagyu Oyster Blade) - Tare (Sweet)

High marbling cuts melts in your mouth with its rich flavor and juiciness

This was the second plate.  We saved the best for last.  And yes, it really was the best.  I was a bit hesitant when the server laid down the plate on our table.  The meat was too dark!  And the marbling was less than the US Karubi one.  Might it be less delicious too?  It appears that my initial thoughts were too premature because one bite proved that the Wagyu Karubi was actually really good.  The meat was tender and the aroma was really evident.  I also liked the sweet marinade better than the salty one.

Gyu-Kaku Ice Cream

Vanilla ice cream topped with soya bean powder and Japanese brown sugar syrup

For our dessert, we were given a complimentary scoop of Gyu-Kaku ice cream.  I was pretty excited to read that it includes soya bean powder, but strangely, I never tasted the soya bean powder at all.  It tasted like normal vanilla ice cream with brown sugar syrup.

Overall, there were definite hits and misses with Gyu-Kaku.  Lesson learned is that we should just stick to the restaurant specialties and steer clear of the other dishes.  3 out of 5 stars.

Gyu-Kaku is at Mid-Level 2/3, Shangri-La Plaza East Wing, EDSA cor. Shaw Blvd., Mandaluyong City

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Cafe Shibuya

Remember my post about Red Onion Cafe?  That was the very first time I set foot in UP Town Center.  Despite all the hype about the place, I never actually found myself wandering around the Katipunan area, thus, it took me this long before I actually saw the place myself.  The dinner at Red Onion finished quite early, and since I was already there, the glutton in me was not about to pass up the chance to try another restaurant in the area.  Yup, I went for dinner #2 at Cafe Shibuya (cue the oink oink sounds!  LOL!).  For the longest time, I've been hearing raves about Cafe Shibuya and how heavenly their dessert toasts are.  Naturally, I wanted to try it out and see for myself.  And these were the orders:    

Below Zero Chocolate Frappe
Made with Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate

The moment I saw that the chocolate frappe was made with Ghirardelli milk chocolate, I knew I had to have it.  Images of cold and creamy concoction began swirling in my head, and I was almost sure that I'd reach chocolate nirvana.  Erm... apparently, this was just a dream (or a hallucination) because with just one sip, all my hopes came crashing down.  In just two words, I will sum up what it tasted like:  bland and watery.  Sheesh.  Goodbye chocolate dreams.

Japanese style boneless fried chicken topped with grated radish and sauteed onions

Tasted fine, but nothing special.  I've had better karaages in my life.  And this one is definitely not one of them.

Truffle cream with prosicutto
Rich truffle cream accented by shiitake mushrooms and premium quality prosciutto

If you're a regular reader, then you probably already know that I cannot simply pass up anything that has the word truffle in it.  This was no exception.  And once again, disappointment.  Yes, there was a slight hint of truffle on the pasta, but tastewise, it did nothing for me.  And do you see the small sliver of meat in the middle of the dish?  Yep, that's about all the prosciutto there is.  Oh well.  On to the next!

Mango caramel dessert toast
Diced mangoes served on top of a crumbly Graham cracker crust and vanilla cream sauce.  Served with vanilla ice cream

Looks good, doesn't it?  All this time I never gave up hope that I'd get to the better part of the meal because after all, Cafe Shibuya is known for their desserts and not their entrees.  Was I right?  Well, sadly, no.  The toast wasn't as soft as I'd like, and it's basically a thick toast smothered in cream and topped with mangoes, graham cracker bits and ice cream.  Something I can definitely make on my own at home.  Sigh.

Overall, I guess you could say that I was disappointed with Cafe Shibuya.  Sure, the food was not bad, but it wasn't blow-your-socks-off amazing either.  Far cry from the raves that I've read everywhere.  Good thing I've already had a satisfying meal in Red Onion Cafe, or the night would've been a complete bummer.  2 out of 5 stars.

Cafe Shibuya is at UP Town Center, Katipunan Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City

Monday, July 7, 2014

Outfit of the Week: Ladylike

Back from a week long hiatus.  Sorry!  Last week has been quite a busy one.  Went to Hong Kong (again!) and came back just in time to celebrate my milestone birthday!  Guess I'm no longer as young as I'd like, but hey, there's more to life than just a number, right?  Anyway, for my birthday, this is what I wore.  I've had the skirt forever, but wearing it out for a none-event would be too dressy, so it's a good thing I remembered it as I was planning for my birthday outfit.  Call me vain and all, but I believe birthdays are special and it's the one single day in the whole year where you can be a princess or a queen (yup, this old gal still believes in fairytales!)  So to be a princess, one must dress like one.  I'm not saying that the outfit should look princessy, but it should at least make you feel like one.  And for me, this is my princess outfit.  Love the old world glamour that the skirt exudes.  It's proper, yet it doesn't make you feel like you're wearing your old aunt's clothes.  LOL!  But seriously, if I could wear this everyday, I would.  In fact, I still have a couple of midi skirts in my closet that have yet to see the light of the day.  Hmm.. maybe I'll wear them out one day, just because.  :) 

Top:  Details
Skirt:  Sabrina
Clutch:  YSL
Shoes:  Bakers

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Red Onion Cafe

I am so late.  This what was was running through my mind the moment I stepped into Red Onion Cafe.  Late?  Yup.  Who knew traffic would be horrible and that I'd get lost on my way to UP Town Center?  I cursed myself inwardly and put on my best face forward in hopes that A. someone would come later than me and B. they are not halfway through their dinner yet.  What on earth am I talking about?  Let me go back to the very beginning:  a few days before the said dinner, I received an email from Aldous, a blogger who was organizing a media/blogger food tasting event at Red Onion Cafe.  As I always say, I'm open to trying out new things, so I quickly said yes, and looked forward to the dinner.  When I arrived, seems like everyone was already there.  I gave a sheepish smile and apologized for the time.  I plopped down on one of the seats and quickly went into full blogging mode.

Red Onion Cafe

Double Fried Sweet & Sour Pork
The first dish that I got to try from Red Onion Cafe was the double fried sweet and sour pork.  It reminded me a little bit of the Korean fried chicken because the outside was nicely crisp while the insides were tender.  And since it was sweet and sour (my favorite), I guess I would have to say that this one really hits the spot.

39 Spices Beef Noodle
We're all familiar with beef noodle soup, but this was my first time to try 39 spices beef noodle.  39 spices!  Whoa.  The taste?  Spices galore!  Hey, it wasn't called 39 spices for nothing!  The flavor was ok for me, but some who are not too keen on spices might find the flavor a little heavy.

Sichuan Mala Chicken
Spicy!  Spicy!  Spicy!  The Sichuan Mala Chicken was spicy alright, and since I'm not a spicy food eater, I didn't enjoy this dish thoroughly.  My other tablemates seem to like it though.

3 Cup Chicken
Always been a fan of the 3 cup chicken while growing up, so when this dish was served, it stirred up fond memories of my childhood.  Why 3 cup?  Because the main ingredients in making this dish consists of 3 different cups namely sesame oil, Chinese rice wine and soy sauce.

Walnut Shrimps
One of my favorites that night., was the walnut shrimp.  The walnuts were crunchy and sweet, while the shrimps gave a good bite.  The mayonnaise was not too overpowering too, making this my ultimate dish.

Ginger Mahi Mahi
Me and ginger, we are not friends.  But I liked the way Red Onion Cafe cooked theirs, in such a way that the ginger aroma was not too much for non-ginger eaters like me.  Oh and the mahi mahi?  Perfectly cooked. 

Mango Taiwanese Snow Ice
Didn't enjoy this one that much...  I feel that the taste of the mango was lacking.

Red Bean Taiwanese Snow Ice
Although the mango snow ice wasn't that good, I liked the red bean version.  You can really taste the red bean in every bite!  That's probably the Chinese in me talking.  LOL!

And how can I forget?  One of the owners who was with us that night, Mr. Mark Endaya, introduced to us Red Onion Cafe's official noodle shaver.  Adorable!  Care to think of a name for this chef?  

Overall, I liked the dishes in Red Onion Cafe.  Although they do not have the usual Taiwanese dishes we're accustomed to (namely, xiao long bao, which we were told will be coming up in the next few months), they manage to produce great tasting dishes without veering away from its Taiwanese roots.  Will definitely be back to try out the other dishes!  4 out of 5 stars.

*Special thanks to Mr. Mark Endaya for the great dinner, and to Aldous for the invite!
*Although this is a special blogger food tasting event, all opinions and views are mine, without any bias whatsoever.  Just saying!  

Red Onion Cafe is at UP Town Center, Katipunan Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City