Friday, December 11, 2015

California Pizza Kitchen's #CPKNewMenu2015

Last month, I had the privilege of being one of the invitees to CPK's New Menu Media Launch.  California Pizza Kitchen, or CPK, has always innovated themselves; coming out with new menu items every year.  This year is no exception.  With the theme 'California is a state of mind', not only does it remind you of the adventure, but also of the delicious and diverse food that California has to offer.  And I'm one of the lucky ones that get to try it first!  So... let's get started!

New Items 2015

Apple Grape Combo Shake
I was offered a number of new drinks, and this was what caught my attention.  Good choice too, because I loved it!  Whoever thought of combining this is a genius.

For starters, we had the Mexicali salad.  The name is spot on.  I loved how they innovated the salad and had us eat it nacho-style.  Just scoop up a bit (or a lot!) of the salad into the tortilla and eat!  Or you can also opt to crush the tortilla and mix it into the salad.

Fruit N' Nut

Mixed fruits, nuts, avocado paired with orange herb vinaigrette.  I have just one word for this: refreshing.  This is perfect for those who are not so fond of salads.

Vegetable Primavera
My first reaction:  Meh.  After eating a forkful: Oh wow.  LOL.  I don't know how, but what seemed like a boring pasta has managed to be oh-so-flavorful.  Not normally a fan of oil-based pastas but this one has me converted.

Now, we're talking.  A bit spicy, but tolerable for people like me who can't stand spicy stuff.  And they sure didn't scrimp on the tomatoes.  Chunkful of tomatoes in every bite!

Steak Mushroom + Truffle Pizza
My favorite of the entire lunch.  If you've read through some of my posts, you'd know that I'm a true blue truffle lover.  But steak + mushroom + truffle?  What sorcery is this?! I'm hooked!  Definitely going back for this one!

Caramelized Apple, Bacon + Gorgonzola Pizza
A mix of sweet and savory.  My seatmate cannot stop gushing over this, and I must admit it was pretty good too.  Bacon lovers will definitely dig this.

Baja Shrimp Pizza
This one, I felt, had too much going on.  But it really does live up to being a Mexicali pizza, with a mix of bold flavors and all.  If you love spicy, then the jalapenos will hit the spot.

Salted Chocolate Cake with Caramel Sauce
From the looks of it, the cake looks dry.  But I was surprised to find out that it actually wasn't.  And for those who are afraid that it might be too sweet, fear not!  Because it isn't.  The hint of salt perfectly complements it too.

Queso de Bola Cheesecake
If you love queso de bola, then this is for you.  Imagine slivers of thinly shaved Queso de Bola incorporated with the creamy cheesecake.  Oh the texture!  Trivia:  CPK wanted to inject a bit of Filipino into their desserts and had a well-known Filipino pastry chef come up with this queso de bola cheesecake.  Truly Filipino indeed.

So... the verdict?  It's been quite a while since I've been to CPK, but I'm glad to know that it's still the same CPK I've loved over the years, and with new scrumptious dishes too!  My favorites include the Steak Mushroom + Truffle Pizza, the Fruit N' Nut Salad and the Vegetable Primavera Pasta.  But don't just take my word for it, go try them out and let me know your favorites too!  

California Pizza Kitchen is at Unit 2302-2304, Mid-level 2/3, East Wing, Shangri-la Mall, Mandaluyong City.  They also have branches in Alabang Town Center, Bonifacio High Street, Greenbelt 5, Greenhills, Power Plant Mall, Mall of Asia and Century City Mall.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Online Shopping in the Philippines


So... Black Friday and Cyber Monday just went by.  Have any of you managed to score some great deals during these once-a-year ultimate sale extravaganza?  If you live in the States, then lucky you!  As for us in the Philippines, sad to say that not all retail merchants have participated in the said event.  Blame it on the lack of Thanksgiving holiday here.  LOL.  Kidding aside, even if we don't get to enjoy that much perks here, I can say that things have definitely shaped up for us in the past few years.  Case in point?  The existence of online shopping sites like Zalora and Lazada.  Admit it, these are the top two brands that pop up in your mind when you put Philippines and Online Shopping together in a sentence.  I've bought from both.  But being a crazy-for-fashion girl, I always find myself clicking through Zalora every chance I get.  So much fashion choices!  And not only that, they also have your favorite brands up on their site.  An example?  I totally love the Mango collection at ZALORA.   They probably have almost everything a girl (and boy!) needs, sartorial-wise.  Much, much better than going to the mall, if you ask me.  Heck, you won't even have to fight anyone for that elusive parking slot!  

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

What's Happening This Weekend (November 14-15)

So sad.  I committed to a full-day event this coming Saturday so I can't attend any of these.  Ah, the regret.  But for you lucky ones who are still in search of places to go this weekend, you're in luck!  Check out the different sales/bazaars that are happening this weekend:


Source:  @thecaravanph IG

Source:  @thegourmandmarket IG

Source:  @spectrumfairmanila IG

Gah!!  I'm a sucker for these things, and all I can think of is that I simply CANNOT pass it up.  Guess will just have to go on Sunday then.  Until then, please don't finish all the stocks ok?  Leave some for me!  LOL.  Happy shopping and happy eating! (PS.  Please check out the dates.  Some of them happen only on Saturday and Sunday while some of them include Friday.)

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

What's Happening This Weekend

H&M Philippines Turns 1:


H&M Philippines is turning 1 on October 17 and they're giving out surprises to the 1st 100 shoppers!  All you have to do is make a minimum purchase of PHP 1,500.  As simple as that!  Promo runs in all H&M stores, AND on October 17 only.  

H&M SM Megamall | H&M SM Makati | H&M Robinsons Manila | H&M Robinsons Magnolia | H&M SM North EDSA | H&M SM Fairview

SM Megamall Sale:


Robinsons Malls Giant Sale:


62nd Manila FAME:


Debenhams Mid-Season Sale:


On October 15, Debenhams will have an exclusive preview sale open only to loyalty cardholders.  First dibs on great merchandise at up to 50% off!  Sale will be open to the public on October 16. 

So many things happening, so little time!  Now, where do I go first?  Wherever it is, I'm pretty sure everyone will have one heck of a weekend!  See you around!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Who's Up For A Mid-Season Sale?

Yes, yes, I am still alive.  Delinquent blogger speaking.  Sorry!  Been caught up with so many things lately that I haven't been able to update this blog.  But hey, I'm back and I've got sale news to share!  Heads up RSSI fans:  Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and all your other favorite RSSI brands (Warehouse, Burton, River Island, Dorothy Perkins, etc) will be on SALE.   How's that to brighten up your mid-week slump?  

So what are you waiting for?  Ready your wallets and make your closet happy with fresh new finds!  See you!

Friday, July 10, 2015

OOMA Japanese Rice Bar

I've always heard about Mecha Uma at the Fort, but never had the chance to try it out.  Guess there was really no occasion, nor do we find ourselves hanging out at the Fort.  Hence, no Mecha Uma.  Boo.  So it was great news to me (and to all of us) that Chef Bruce Ricketts of Mecha Uma partnered up with The Moment Group and opened up OOMA Japanese Rice Bar at the Mega Fashion Hall!  I, of course, spared no time and went straight to SM Megamall the moment I found out that they were already open. 

OOMA Japanese Rice Bar from outside

Here's good news for us who are more budget conscious,:  OOMA's price range is more affordable than those of Mecha Uma's.  Way, way more affordable.  Yay!

And here's what we had:
Gratinated Mozzarella and Cheddar Cheese, Scallion, Togarashi, Unagi Sauce

Uh... not impressed here.  Sure there were lots of fancy "add-ons", but it did nothing to amaze the palate.  Plus, the gyoza skins stuck to each other, making it hard not to destroy it when prying them apart.

Scallop and Tuna Aburi Maki
Torched Scallop, Tuna, Cucumber, Sesame Seeds, Nori Crumbs, Scallion, Teriyaki Sauce, Spicy Mayo, Kimchi Aioli

Again, lots of add-ons, but nothing spectacular.  The pieces were teeny tiny and the rice did not resemble Japanese rice at all (so it's probably not).  Makes you feel like you're eating budget maki. 

Hanger Steak
Sous Vide Hanging Tender, Sauteed Mushrooms, White Truffle Oil, Sweet Potato Mash, Crispy Baby Potato, Pickle Dressing, Ponzu Butter

Now we're talking.  We actually bumped into an old friend who ate ahead of us and he recommended that we get the hanger steak.  I liked that they did not scrimp on the truffle oil (I could smell it in every whiff!) and that they incorporated sweet potato mash.  The meat was also tender (well, most of them are but not all),  The dislike?  There's a bit of a sour taste to it, probably from the ponzu butter, which I feel did not complement the dish at all.

Unagi Maki

Broiled eel, Cream Cheese, Fried Shallots, Toasted Rice

And lastly, is the unagi maki.  Same complaints here.  Small bite sized pieces, bad rice.  Unagi was practically nonexistent.  Oh well.

Overall, I really hope that our experience with OOMA was just the typical birthing pains of a new restaurant.  Aside from the hanging tender, nothing else we had that night was worth going back for.  There are, however, a couple more other dishes I'd like to try, but I think I'll wait a while first before going back.  1.5 out of 5 stars. 

OOMA Japanese Rice Bar is at 3/F, Mega Fashion Hall, SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Rustan's Great Summer Sale 2015

Sale season is definitely upon us.  This is what I got from my email today:

Interested?  But wait, there's more!  Are you a Citi Cardholder or a FSP2 member? If the answer is yes, then you're in luck!  Rustan's is having an exclusive preview sale from 8AM to 10AM  on June 12, 2015, meaning you'll get first dibs before the sale opens to the public!  You know what that means right?  Shopping time!  See you there!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Mango Summer Sale 2015

The month of June can be a lot of things.  The start of school, the end of summer... pretty sad stuff right?  But don't worry because the month of June also means that the end of season sale is upon us once again!  And the start things off, Mango is having theirs starting tomorrow!  Yes, in less than 24 hours you get to shop to your hearts' content at up to 50% off!  Are you in?  I know I am!  See you there!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

On Health and Fitness

Every day on the internet, countless articles have been coming up, reminding us to take care of our bodies.  Admittedly, I have scrolled through most of them without even giving a second glance.  Also, I haven't been exactly taking care of my body the way I need to - binge eating, late nights and all.  But late last week, an acquaintance passed away because of health complications.  He was young, yet gone too soon.  This suddenly jolted me to the reality that every single day, there is this danger that we have to face- that if we do not take care of our health, the consequences are going to come sooner than later.  There is this popular saying that goes "take care of your body and it will take care of you".  This is indeed true, and I believe in it a hundred and one percent.  Our body is all we have.  We are born into it, and no matter how we like it or not, this is what we'll have to deal with for the rest of our lives.  So how do we go about it?  Here's how:

Yes, everyone needs to work.  Heck, how are we supposed to survive without money?  Not all of us are trust fund babies.  BUT, there is work and there is crazy-stressful-unhealthy work.  Every single time, we hear of how great employees go the extra mile,  There is no problem with that.  But when you begin to realize that going that extra mile is beginning to take a toll on your health, then it's time to stop or switch your gameplan.  Spend time with your loved ones.  This is one of the best stress-busters.  Remember that we work because we want to better our lives and the lives of those we love.  Make them feel that they matter by doing simple things such as taking the weekends off and leaving your work in your office.

Food can be both our friend and our worst nightmare.  Remember the quote that says "too much of anything is bad for you"?  Yes, this applies to food too.  If there's substance abuse, then there's food abuse.  Eating might be part of our everyday lives, but there's something called portion control.  Eat, but eat in regulated amounts.  And choose your food wisely.  

Growing up, I've never been fond of exercise.  Even now that I'm *cough* older, the last thing I would want is to spend my precious time at the gym when there's a million other things I'd rather be doing.  BUT, I grudgingly admit that the best way to take care of your body is to exercise.  Tone up those muscles and boost your heart with cardiovascular activities.  Exercise need not be boring.  Hate the gym?  Then try dancing!  There's a ton of dance workouts on the internet that you could follow.  All you need is your willingness and a good pair of shoes.  And since we're at the subject of shoes, why not check out ZALORA and their extensive selection of shoes?  Lots of great styles to choose from!  So pimp up those kicks and start your way into a healthier new you!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Dean & Deluca, A Second Time Around

After trying out Dean & Deluca in Rockwell, we immediately went back the week after.  There is just no possible way we were going to miss out on trying out the other dishes!  Besides, the parents were away when we first dined in Dean & Deluca, and we wanted them to try out the pizzas too.  So... here's our Dean & Deluca experience part 2.  Enjoy!  

Creme Brulee Croissant
Flaky goodness with the right amount of creme brulee filling.  

Banana Wheat Muffin
I didn't like the Apple Cider Blueberry Muffin last time, so I was a bit hesitant in ordering this.  But it turns out, it was quite moist and is bursting with banana flavors!

Kougin Amann
Ahhhh... Kougin Ammans have always been my weak spot.  And Dean & Deluca's version hits right on the spot.

Butterscotch Sticky Bun
Too sweet, but expectedly so.  Reminds me of the cinnamon rolls I've loved as a child.  It was a gooey, sticky, happy mess.

Grilled US Duroc Pork Chop with Chorizo-Corn & Apple Salsa
The pork chop was tender, but not as tender as I've imagined it would be.  The chorizo-corn and apple salsa was too much for me.  Would've preferred a less festive accompaniment.

Pesto Pasta with Shrimp, Calamari, Dried Tomatoes and Piquillo
When it comes to pastas, our family prefers it to be cooked well done and not al dente.  We like our pastas really soft.  And this pesto pasta was perfect for us.  It was soft without being mushy, and the sauce was prefect!

Truffle Parmesan Steak Fries
Ugh.  I hate it when I order something with truffle and it comes out either completely void of truffle smell, or with an extremely faint truffle smell.  Dean & Deluca's truffle parmesan steak fries was the latter.  I could barely detect the hint of truffle in the fries. 

Braised Beef Stew with Mushroom, Vegetable and Mashes Potato
The beef was tender, but the serving size was too small.  Not so impressed with this one.  The mashed potatoes, on the other hand?  De-li-cious!

BBQ Braised US Beef Short Ribs, Roasted Garlic, Bechamel Sauce, Caramelized Onions, and Chimichurri Sourdough Pizza
As with last time, the BBQ Braised US Beef Short Rib Pizza was thin, crisp and chewy.  A bit lacking on the the meat though.

Not in photo:  Parma Ham, Rocket Leaves and Parmigiano Sourdough Pizza, which we inhaled and completely forgot to take a photo of.  The parma ham was sooooo good!  And unlike the BBQ braised US beef short rib pizza above, the amount of parma ham was just right.

Dutch Apple Pie

Huge, huge chunks of apples in this Dutch Apple Pie.  I found the crust to be a wee bit thicker than my liking, and it was a tad too sweet too.  But then again, I'm not much of a fan of apple pies.

So... on the second try, there were also hits and misses at Dean & Deluca.  But overall, it was more hits than misses.  There's still a few more things on the menu that I'd like to try, so that means I'm definitely going to be be back sometime soon.  4 out of 5 stars!

Dean & Deluca is at the G/F, Rockwell Edades Tower, Poblacion, Makati City

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Make Your Own Havaianas (MYOH) 2015

When I say summer, what's the first thing that comes to your mind?  The sun and the beach?  Well yes.  But let me add one more thing to that list:  The Annual Make Your Own Havaianas (MYOH) Event!  Yup, it's that time of the year again to spruce up your flip flop wardrobe and kick up your creative juices!  This year, the theme is everything and anything Hawaiian!  Before I start shaking my bon-bon and do the hula, let me show you what happened during today's private selling event:
The MYOH 2015 Commemorative Pair
MYOH 2015 Entrance

Choice Sheet (Front)
Choice Sheet (Back)
MYOH 2015 Pins

Assembly Area

And finally...
Every purchase comes with this adorable mesh tote!

Curious about my pair?  Here's what I chose:

Don't miss your chance!  The MYOH 2015 will be open to the public starting tomorrow (May 7) till Sunday (May 10) at the Glorietta Activity Center.  It will also be available at select Havaianas retailers nationwide! 

Perfect timing too!  If you're still at a loss and couldn't figure out what to give Mom for Mother's Day, then why not go grab a pair (or two) and show her how special she is?  Aloha!