Wednesday, March 25, 2015


Korean food has always been one of my favorites.  Had my fair share of good and bad Korean food, ranging from the cheap fastfood ones to the expensive ones that can be found in places that you have to specifically go to.  So one random night in Capitol Commons where Hubby and I were looking for something different from the usual (no noisy crowd), we decided to try eum•ma•ne. 

Half Moon Mandu Dumplings
Four pieces of pan fried dumplings fried to a crisp with a juicy pork and beef filling

Never tried Korean mandu dumplings before.  And on the first try, I must say it tastes quite fantastic.  The outside was crunchy and the insides were a mix of ground meat and vermicelli, which were pretty good.

Baked Bacon and Cheese Mandu
Korean pork and vegetable dumplings smothered with a rich Mornay sauce and bacon then "gratinated" with more grated cheese.

Was not impressed with this one.  We had our hopes up after trying out the mandu dumplings, so we thought this was going to be even better.  Sadly, it wasn't.  There was just too much going on.  I felt that the flavors did not mix well.

Bulgogi Ribs with Sweet Potato

Slow baked and grilled Bulgogi pork ribs doused with miso barbecue sauce served with sweet potato and Korean pickle salad, fresh kimchi salad and seaweed dusted corn on the cob.

Now THIS, was a pleasant surprise.  When we ordered this I initially thought that this was going to look like the usual Korean beef stew.  I even thought they got our order wrong when this arrived!  eum•ma•ne's version of the pork ribs, was fall-off-the-bone-tender and really really flavorful.  2 thumbs up!

The verdict?  I'd give eum•ma•ne 4 out of 5 stars.  A fair warning though:  This is not your usual Korean restaurant.  They call it modern Korean, so don't expect the usual fare you'd find in normal Korean spots.  There is no banchan (free appetizers) here either.  But hey, if you're up for something different, go give eum•ma•ne a try!  

eum•ma•ne is at the Ground Floor, Estancia Mall, Capitol Commons, Pasig City

Friday, March 20, 2015

Ogetsu Hime

Early last month, Hubby and I were both craving for Japanese food.  It just so happens that he passed by Ogetsu Hime just a few days before and saw their advertisement for Matsusaka Beef.  Matsusaka Beef, as we have tried in Osaka way back in 2013, is the best beef in the world.  Well, at least according to our tastebuds.  So at the mere mention of Matsusaka, it takes very little to convince me to go.  Ogetsu Hime, as I have found out, is from the same owners of the Saisaki Group, but on the higher end.  Let's go to the food, shall we?

Otoro Sashimi
Like the Matsusaka Beef, the Otoro Sashimi was also one of the unforgettables we've tried in Japan.  It's really great that Ogetsu Hime serves the harder to find Japanese food for us here in Manila who are pining for it.  Sadly, Hubby finds Ogetsu Hime's Otoro Sashimi not as good as the one he tried in the land of the rising sun.  But hey, this was the next best thing.

Ogetsu Hime Roll
The roll was good, although the quality of the rice failed.  It was not as sticky and as chewy as the Japanese rice we've known and loved.

Gindara Teriyaki
Haven't had gindara teriyaki for a long time, so we opted to order this to counter the upcoming "evil" dish.  LOL.  Well I'm glad we did!  It was everything you could ever ask for in a fish.  Soft, moist and extremely delicious.  They cooked it perfectly!  The teriyaki sauce wasn't too sweet either so it complements the fish amazingly.

Matsusaka Atsui (Thick Cut)
I was disappointed when our Matsusaka Beef arrived.  Before cooking, we were showed a full piece and the marbling was glorious.  Sadly, when it was served, it was all chopped up AND overcooked.  Plus, it had more fat than meat.  So we returned this and asked them not to slice the replacement.

Matsusaka Atsui (Thick Cut, Part 2)
Looks far better, don't you think?  But wait, let me show you what the cross section looks like.

Cross Section of the Matsusaka Beef.

YES.  This was the Matsusaka Beef we've come to love.  Even when cooked, the marbling is still very obvious.  And it tastes exactly the same as the one in Osaka!  I have died and gone to Matsusaka heaven.

So the verdict?  I'd give it a 4 out of 5 stars because of the other two dishes.  But if it were just the Gindara Teriyaki and the Matsusaka Beef, then I'd give it a full 5 stars.  Finally, we don't have to fly all the way to Japan just to taste the best beef ever!

Ogetsu Hime is at the 5F, SM Aura Premier, C5 Road corner 26th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Fab Food Finds: Uncle Tetsu's Cheese Cake

A month and a half ago, before Hubby and I started our diet, I chanced upon Uncle Tetsu's Cheese Cake at The Podium.  Ok, ok,  Maybe not CHANCED but rather, I DEMANDED Hubby to drive me to The Podium because I wanted to try out Uncle Tetsu before we go on a monthsss-long diet.  LOL.  Dieting is like prison for me, so I ate pretty much whatever I wanted in the days winding down to D-Day.  Plus, I'm always a sucker for IG posts saying how good something is, so if whoever says it's good, then I gotta try it! 

Uncle Tetsu's Kiosk at The Podium

Taking a peek at the box

Ta-dah!  Look at Uncle Tetsu stamped in the middle of the cheesecake.  Cute!

A closer look.  Doesn't it look so fluffy?

So... did Uncle Tetsu live up to the hype?  Oh yes.  Very much so!  I ate it two ways.  First, fresh from the box.  It was moist, airy and fluffy.  Makes you feel like eating clouds!  Second way was warmed up 10 seconds on the microwave.  It was literally melt in your mouth!  I.  Can't.  Stop.  Eating.  Goodness, there are only two Japanese cheesecake shops that can make me forget my name and Uncle Tetsu is one of them.  I have no words.

It's sad that I only had the chance to try out the original flavor, but trust me when I say I will be back to try out the chocolate one once this annoying diet is over!  5 out of 5 stars!

Uncle Tetsu is at the 2F, The Podium Mall, ADB Ave., Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Gourmade Happiemeal Diairies: Day 5

And finally, we get to Day 5.  Final day for my one week's worth of Happiemeal by Gourmade!  Lost another 1.2 lbs!  Wheeeee!  Loved the food so much that I'm actually sad that the 5 days had passed by so quickly!  

Friday's Menu

Friday's Food

Breakfast:  Chicken Embutido with Quail Egg
The real deal!  If you're a fan of embutido, then you'll surely love this!  Love the sweet-salty combination of this well-loved dish.

Lunch:  Beef Kebab
Happiemeal by Gourmade really know their meats.  I've raved about their meatballs yesterday, and today is no different.  The beef kebab is also as delicious.

Dinner:  Tuna Cheese Burger
Ooooh.  This is possibly my favorite of all meals.  I popped it in the microwave for 30 seconds, and out came the softest bun with a non-fishy-smelling tuna burger.  The portion was pretty big too!

Snacks:  Papaya and Banana Mini Muffin
I liked yesterday's apple muffin better.  The banana muffin wasn't as moist as I expected it to be. 

In the end, I managed to lose a sum total of 7 lbs in 5 days.  I say that's a very, very good thing - given that the food is mostly yummy and carbs are incorporated into the meals.  This goes to show that you actually can eat everything as long as it is taken in moderation.  Would I do Happiemeal by Gourmade again?  Oh yes!  In a heartbeat!   This is what I call dieting without feeling like you're on a diet.  In my opinion, it works way better than eating diet food that's bland and boring.  With Gourmade, you don't have to worry about that.  As a matter of fact, the only thing you'd have to worry about is when the next meal will be!  So guys and girls who want to jumpstart their diet, or who just want to eat healthy without worrying about gaining weight, I suggest you give Happiemeal by Gourmade a try!  You won't regret it :)

For more information about Happiemeal by Gourmade, visit their Facebook page at

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Gourmade Happiemeal Diaries: Day 4

Day 4.  Lost yet another 1.2lbs from yesterday's weigh in.  I am still in awe as to how I could lose about a pound a day while eating great tasting food.  Not bad, I must say... not bad at all!

Thursday's Menu

Thursday's Food

Breakfast:  Mini Pancake with Choco Cream Cheese and Caramelized Banana
The pancakes tasted so-so, but I can't taste the cream cheese in the choco cream cheese spread at all.  The banana, on the other hand, tasted more like kamote (sweet potato). 

Lunch:  Chicken Teriyaki with Sauteed Mixed Vegetables
One of my favorites.  The chicken teriyaki was marinated nicely, and gives off a good flavor.  Sauteed mixed vegetables is also tasty.

Dinner:  Baked Meatballs Wheat Pasta in Tomato Sauce
The wheat pasta was dry and not so appetizing, but the meatballs more than makes up for it.  It was meaty and oh so flavorful!

Snacks:  Chebap and Apple Muffin
Chebap, as it appears, is Vietnamese corn pudding.  It's basically coconut milk with corn and tapioca pearls.  Tastes heavenly.  The apple muffin, on the other hand, was also really delicious.  I heated it in the microwave for 30 seconds, and it came out moist and a bit chewy!  

For more information about Happiemeal by Gourmade, visit their Facebook page at

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Gourmade Happiemeal Diaries: Day 3

Day 3.  Lost a whopping 2.4 lbs from yesterday!  My initial reaction when I stepped into the scale was "Am I dreaming or is the scale broken?"  Turns out, neither.  I am 100% sure I'm fully awake when doing the weigh-in, and I weighed myself again to check - and yes, I lost 2.4 lbs! 

Wednesday's Menu

Wednesday's Food

Breakfast:  Tapa Breakfast Burritos
Loved the Tapa Burritos.  It's basically rice, tapa and a bit of cheese. The serving was just right too.

Lunch:  Marinated Blue Mackerel in Garlic and Olive Oil with Mung Bean
Again, hated the brown rice, but I liked the garlic.  It added the flavorful twist needed to spice up the boring brown rice (LOL, can you tell how much I hated the brown rice?).  Mackerel was a bit tough and dry.

Dinner:  Chicken Melt Sandwich
Tasted like nornal chicken sandwich.  Wish the chicken pieces were bigger though.

Snacks:  Cassava Cake and Shortbread Biscuit
My initial reaction when I saw the cassava was "are they sure this doesn't exceed the calorie count?"  It felt like cheating, because it tasted like normal cassava cake!  The shortbread biscuit was pretty good too!

For more information about Happiemeal by Gourmade, visit their Facebook page at

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Gourmade Happiemeal Diaries: Day 2

Day 2.  Lost 1.8lbs.  Wow.  1.8 lbs overnight is a lot!  There's nothing more satisfying than seeing the pounds melt away before your very eyes.  So, bring it on!  Here's what I'm having for Day 2:

All stacked up and ready to eat!

Tuesday's Menu

Tuesday's Food

Breakfast:  Savory Oatmeal with Chicken and Poached Egg
Wow.  Tasted like arroz caldo, yet it's healthier since it's made of oatmeal.  They also cooked the poached egg perfectly.  A bit runny, yet not too raw.  Just the way I like it!

Lunch:  Coq Au Vin with Crushed Potatoes
Grrr... this was strike two.  The crushed potato was spoiled, kind of like what happened to the pad thai last night.  It was already sour when lunch time came around.   Shame, because the tomato sauce was quite tasty. 

Dinner:  Tuna and Chili Pasta and Garlic Bread
Didn't taste much garlic in the garlic bread.  As for the pasta, I'm usually afraid of tuna because of its usual fishy smell (AND fishy breath after!) but this one was not too fishy at all.  My only complaint was that the tuna wasn't enough to cover the whole serving of the pasta.

Snack:  Choco Oatmeal Cookies and Pineapple
Meh.  The choco oatmeal cookies was a real downer.  Tasted old, like it was baked a week ago.

For more information about Happiemeal by Gourmade, visit their Facebook page at

Monday, March 9, 2015

The Gourmade Happiemeal Diaries: Day 1

After all the holiday pig-outs, all the restaurant hopping, and all the "trying-for-the-sake-of-trying" gluttony that happened...  hard as it may be to admit, but the pounds have piled on and it's time to jumpstart that diet.  AGAIN.  If you've read about my Lunchbox Diet Diaries last year, then you'd know that I've already tried this kind of diet.  Yes it worked, but the lazy me did not continue with it, happily went back to my wayward eating habits, and thus, hello unwanted pounds!  Well, this time I'm back with a vengeance and plan to go through with the diet no matter what!

With so much diet food delivery companies around nowadays, it might be hard to choose which one is for you.  This time around, I only had two things in mind.  First, is that the price must be budget friendly.  And second, is that they must come highly recommended by friends/acquaintances.  Guess who passed those standards?  Happiemeal by Gourmade!

So, what's Happiemeal by Gourmade?
Happiemeal by Gourmade is a diet delivery service that delivers calorie counted meals 5 days a week.  At 1200 calories a day, they give you 3 meals and 2 snacks for Php 2000 (plus Php 300 delivery charge for my area).  Need a higher calorie intake?  Gourmade can adjust to your calorie needs by offering meals at 1500 and also 1800 calories.  Plus, they also offer a pescetarian (only fish as meat) menu.

My Happiemeal!

Monday's Menu

Monday's Food

Breakfast:  Tortang Talong and Tinapa Fried Rice
Not much a fan of brown rice, but the tortang talong was delicious!  They managed to mash up the eggplant so finely that you could barely tell it's eggplant.  It's kind of like eating egg frittata.

Lunch:  Beef Salpicao with Garlic Rice
Just when I thought that the tortang talong would be the tastiest meal of the day, here comes the beef salpicao!  Again, couldn't say I liked the brown rice, but the beef salpicao blew me away!  It was very tender, and very flavorful!  The sweet-spicy flavors was a party in my mouth!

Dinner:  Pad Thai
Guess we should have put this in the refrigerator, because there was a certain smell to it when we ate it for dinner.  It was a little bland too.

Snack:  Banana Dipped in Chocolate
"Is this even diet food?"  That was my first reaction when I bit into the banana dipped in chocolate.  I was half expecting tasteless bland chocolate but nooooo.  It tasted like normal milk chocolate bars that melted.  Could not resist scraping the rest of the chocolates at the bottom of the container even after the bananas were long gone.

So how was my first day?  It was hit and miss.  With the exception of the pad thai, all the others were really delicious.  I mean, if diet food tasted this good, then sign me up for the next few weeks, or even months!  Looking forward to greater meals for the days to come!

For more information about Happiemeal by Gourmade, visit their Facebook page at

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Outfit of the Week: Feelin' Like A Schoolgirl

I am way beyond my schooling days, thank you very much.  And I will probably never go back to school again.  Guess I'm never one of those who really enjoyed studying.  It's just that I loved the jumper so much and when I matched it with a simple button down, it made me feel like a schoolgirl again.  For a second, at least.  LOL.  Looking back at the photo, I now realize that the shoes and the bag are a little off.  Oops.  But hey, fashion is experimental.  Somedays you get it, somedays you don't.  But life goes on :) xoxo

Top:  Marks & Spencer
Jumper:  Marks & Spencer
Bag:  Chanel
Shoes:  Forever 21

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Paparazzi at the Edsa Shangri-La Hotel

"It's a surprise."  That's what Hubby said when I asked him where he was taking me on Valentine's Day.  "Nooooo... You have to tell me!  I have to wear something appropriate!"  was my reply.  "Just wear something nice."  He countered.  Hmpf.  Ok fine.  I gave up on the guessing game and just did as I was told.  The restaurant?  Paparazzi at the Edsa Shangri-La Hotel. *insert wolf whistle* I was impressed.  Why?  First, I had a number of guesses as to where he was taking me on this day of hearts, but I never thought about Paparazzi.  Second, fine dining restaurants - on Valentine's Day nonetheless - is definitely not cheap.  So I prepared myself for a night full of gastronomic delights.

Valentine's Day Menu
As with other restaurants, Paparazzi only prepares one menu during Valentine's Day.  No ordering from the regular menu.  The only choice you have is whether to get Main Course A or Main Course B.

Moet & Chandon
Oooh, fancy.  Rose petals + Champagne.  Life is good.

Complimentary Bread
Served with balsamic and olive oil dip.  I took one bite but didn't bother with the bread.  I was too excited for the food to come!

Crispy Fried with Raspberry Vinaigrette

Loved the presentation.  And it was the first time I've tried oysters with raspberry vinaigrette, which was delightful.  It takes out the fishyness of the oyster.

Tartare of Marinated Tuna with Capers, Lemon and Primo Olive Oil

I tried.  But no.  Took one tiny forkful of this and pushed the plate towards Hubby.  Nope, still won't eat the raw stuff.

Zucchini and Basil Cream Soup with Ricotta Beignet

Cream soup, yet it was not heavy at all. 

Campari and Orange Granite with Candied Orange Peel


Manzo Per Lui
Roasted Tenderloin of Beef with Pan Seared Foie Gras, Roasted Pumpkin, Spinach and Truffle Jus

The night was so far, so good.  That is, until this plate arrived.  There were a number of things that did not sit well with me.  Let me enumerate thee:  1.  The server failed to ask us how we would like our steak to be done.  It arrived medium to medium well, and Hubby had to return his because he likes them medium rare.  2.  The tenderloin, as pretty as it looks in the picture, sadly does not taste as good as it looks.  Contrary to the name, it was not tender at all.  In fact, some parts were what we would call "cottony".  3.  The foie gras.  Let's play a game of spot the foie gras, shall we?  No, it's not that thing perched on top of the tenderloin on the left.  It's actually hidden behind the carrots.  And let me tell you, it was thin as a potato chip (no exaggerations!) and as little as about 2 inches by 1.5 inches.  Way below industry standard.  It was served cold and overcooked too.  I spoke to the manager about it and they replaced it with a different one yet it was exactly as bad as the first one.  Sheesh.  As if that wasn't bad enough, we spoke to the manager again and expressed our disappointment with the food, and they promptly offered the replace it with a better one.  We took the offer, only to be disappointed again when the replacement looked and tasted exactly like the first plate.  They can do no right, can they? 

Chocolate Cone filled with Iced Nougatine Parfait, Raspberry Jelly and Mango Pearls

Unlike the disaster of a main course, this was actually pretty good.  In fact, this was the only thing that saved the dinner.  The chocolate cone was thin yet holds up the cream inside, while the mango and raspberry gives off the sweet-sour taste to balance off everything.

Complimentary Chocolates

Nah, did nothing for me.

So the verdict?  I was actually pretty shocked when I saw the bill.  It was definitely not cheap, yet the food did not warrant the price.  At all.  "For Php 5000/person, I should get the whole freakin' foie gras.  Not a sliver."  I told Hubby.  And I made him swear never again to take me to a hotel on Valentine's Day.  Ever.  1 out of 5 stars.

Paparazzi is at the Edsa Shangri-La Hotel, Mezzanine Level, Tower Wing, 1 Garden Way Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Erwin's Gastrobar

Two Saturdays ago, Hubby invited me to go to the newly opened City of Dreams Casino.  I've never been there, but heard great stuff about the food.  Truth be told, I only agreed to go because of the food and nothing else (yes, forever a foodie!)  As luck would have it, we got stuck in traffic for close to 2 hours on what should have been a 30-minute journey.  It was already about 4 in the afternoon when we got there, and I haven't eaten anything that day yet!  If you've already been to the City of Dreams, there's a whole floor of different restaurants for you to choose from.  But the one that piqued our interests was Erwin's Gastrobar.  Guess why?  Because we saw the words "Wagyu Chuck Eye" on their menu.  And for two hungry people, this might as well be the holy grail!  LOL!

Wagyu Chuck Eye
Certified Wagyu Chuck Eye Steak served with Peppercorn Sauce

Voila!  The very dish that made us try Erwin's.  Absolutely no regrets here.  The Wagyu Chuck Eye was absolutely tender, almost bordering on marshmallow levels.  It's funny how both mine and Hubby's eyes widened when the steak touched our hungry mouths.

Erwin's Carnivore Platter
Pork Ribs, Chicken Wings, Beef Sliders, Chicken Poppers and Fries

Unlike the Wagyu Chuck Eye that was an absolute hit, this was a hit-and-miss.  Hits would be the fries, beef sliders and chicken poppers.  Miss would be the chicken wings which were small and did nothing to please our palate.  We're still on the fence about the pork ribs, since half of it was fall-off-the-bone tender and the other half was a bit tough.

Apple Crumble
Apple Crumble with Vanilla Custard and Ice Cream

Oh my.  This was absolutely divine.  The vanilla custard was soft and silky, and the apple crumble beneath all that custard was heavenly.

Lunch on Saturday ended there.  I wish I could say that everything was all good, but we went back the very next day during Sunday dinner and this is when everything fell apart.

Roasted Peppers, Bacon, Jalapenos, Black Pepper Cheddar and Mozzarella in a Toasted Tortilla

Not bad, but I couldn't exactly taste the other ingredients except for the mozzarella and the tortilla. 

Potato Wedges
Hand cut and served crispy, topped with Bacon, Mozzarella and Ranch Dressing

I don't exactly know how you could murder a potato dish, but they did just that.  If there was an award for the worst tasting potato wedges I've tried, this would win, hands down.

Mushroom Risotto

Mushroom Risotto cooked in Porcini stock with Shimeji Mushrooms, aged Parmesan and grilled Ciabatta

...and then there's this mushroom risotto that was half cooked.  We returned this and they claimed that they really make their risottos half cooked!  Who were they kidding?!

But wait, there's more!  Remember the Wagyu Chuck Eye we liked so much on the first try?  They managed to screw up that one too.  On the second try, the Wagyu Chuck Eye was tough and gummy.  NOTHING like the one we had just the day before.  I had to finish the entire order and I make no exaggerations by saying that my jaw hurt after that meal.  Oh and before I forget, the Apple Crumble?  The smooth and silky custard was NOT smooth and silky anymore.  Sheesh.

I'm not even done yet.  The service?  Sucky at the least.  In fact, I'd say sucky would be an understatement.  It was practically non-existent!  Here are the reasons why:
1.  I called in advance to reserve a table, and I specifically requested for a table by the glass windows.  When we got there, not only were all tables by the windows occupied, one of the servers even told me that they don't have reservations!  
2.  When the server started arranging the table setting and the napkins on our table, one of the napkins fell on the floor.  To my horror, she put it back on our table for us to use.  
3.  No one really cares when you need service.  Not even if you're waving your arms like a maniac.
4.  They should rebrand their restaurant as a self-service restaurant.  I finally got fed up and went up to get everything we needed:  forks, spoons, etc.  I went through their cabinets by myself.  Guess what?  No one bothered to come and help.  I therefore conclude that it would probably be easy to steal utensils from them.  Argh.

So the verdict?  I really wished we didn't go back that Sunday evening.  They would've gotten a 4.5 out of 5 stars from me.  But ever since that Sunday dinner, they deserve a 0 out of 5 stars.  And I already consider it as generous for not giving them less.  Seriously.

Erwin's Gastrobar is at the City of Dreams, Asean Avenue corner Roxas Blvd., Entertainment, City, Paranaque City

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Outfit of the Week: Furry Friend

Isn't it exciting when you go out of the country and find one perfect piece that completely makes up your outfit?  This happened to me, and my one perfect piece is this fur vest.  Actually, I've already seen this exact fur vest in our local Forever 21 store, loved it a lot, but thought to myself "how on earth am I going to wear that out in a hot and humid country like ours?!"  So I let it go.  It was a good thing the opportunity presented itself while we were in Tokyo and I saw the vest again.  Let me tell you, the fur was sooooo soft and silky, I couldn't stop touching myself!  Even Hubby too! (ok you people with dirty minds, couldn't stop touching the FUR ok? LOL!)  So yes, no regrets in getting my fur vest, even if I only got to wear it once.  I'm sure there'll be more trips on colder climates soon, and you can bet I'll be bringing it along!  xoxo  

...and this, my friends, marks the end of my Tokyo series this January 2015.  Now, back to regular programming!

Vest:  Forever 21
Top:  Gap
Leggings:  Cotton On
Shoes:  GU
Bag:  Givenchy