Tag Archives: Makati

Chihuahua Mexican Bar: Dog eat Dawg

Salad make your own makati

Dawg. Live like a gangsta, might as well speak like one, ayt? But that title hits the restaurant spot on—everyone knows what a Chihuahua is, right? When you’re eating at Chihuahua Mexican Grill and Margarita Bar (Greenbelt 2)—you got it—you’re gonna be eating like a dog, un perro.

Like the doggie bowl, concave metal contraption when Taco Bell’s little best friend eats from, if he has a home, well that’s where they serve your grub at Chihuahua.

Greenbelt 2 bar restaurant

I’m not one to complain though, since we’re gangsta. Heck, if you make me eat with my hands—uh oh, I’ve got my limits—no gracias. I like my utensils clean and spiffy but that gigantic metal bowl –cum-chamber-pot, why not?

It’s Mexican food and lo siento, I forgot my poncho-bib.

Enough gangsta talk, since I’m already getting a headache from the misspelled red-underlined words.

jenina gonzales food blog

Chihuahua Mexican Grill is a Mexican joint where, when you enter, you see the strangest folk, corporate beagles playing Uno Stacko—and having a crap of fun out of it. They must have been there way too early, so they were probably wasted as well. I like to go with the latter theory because getting high on wooden games and posting photos on social media as if this was the most fun thing on Earth, is not really NOT a fun thing to do on Earth.

Now if the guy at the next table were to photobomb their wholesome game with his unwholesome finger, now that deserves a “Like!” from me.

No, it did not happen though. Boo.

Greenbelt bar mexican

Now I have to talk about the food because it was what we went there for, not the games or photos of weird people flooding the walls or those pretentious sluts. Stop talking. Concentrate. Food.

The food is served Chipotle or Ristra’s style, the one where you fall in line and order what you want. The create-your-own Mexican meal so that if your food sucks, you have no one to blame but yourself.

It’s kind of pricey from an average worker point of view, but the restaurant has to pay off a lot of entertainment and leisure costs to get Uno Stacko loving weirdos to keep on coming back. Now if it were poker night. Hmmm..

Mexican hang out makati

Since it was a late dinner, I opted for the Chicken Salad.  As simple as that. That doggie bowl comes with fresh lettuce topped with guacamole, queso, pico de gallo, salsa, beans, corn kernels and lean marinated chicken.

It’s the condiments table that makes up for the flavor and aye carumba! experience – jalapenos, pico de gallo, all sorts of chili and tomatillos! Oh yes. I could live with that.

tacos nachos mexican greenbelt

And then we have Nacho Grande: A colossal mound of nacho chips topped with queso, chili, guacamole, pico de gallo, salsa, sour cream, grated cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese, and jalapeños.  Good enough for one and happy enough to forego the burrito.

I’d say, if I had a second time around, I’d choose a lazy lunch hour for that Mexican visit – with daylight to see my food, more time to burn off the carbs and ample idle time to enjoy those tomatillos!

B-ADDENDUM: I did manage to return to Chihuahua for that lazy lunch hour. Unfortunately the chillin’ part backfired as we were met with equally languid service and lack of pico de gallo and other condiments. It was like the place was wiped clean (or kitchen bare) the night before and we were left with chicken scraps (literally) and an absence of fresh produce. With this uncool experience, I have learned to make my own nachos at home. Mexican food craving, solved!

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La Petite Camille: Vietnamese Fill

food blog manila philippines

Who’s Camille? Beats me. Might be the French inspiration of the place, after all La Petite Camille (Greenbelt 5) specializes in Vietnamese-French fusion, and not cupcakes as the name might suggest.

 lazy black cat review greenbelt

Sure the place is flooded with yellow and white furniture, a pleasant and proper domicile for those little Camilles, but the food is more of Vietnamese and where the heck is the French?!? Well as far as what we ordered, yep, it’s really Vietnam all over. No forks needed, just chopsticks (or hands) please.

I still question the French part, but with a fill of Vietnamese noodles, I had no time to process gastronomic fusion, nomenclature and whatnot and just had to dig in when the food came—or is it stab in?

 vegetarian food greenbelt makati

It’s funny how the appetizer, the Fresh Spring Rolls, came in last. The French influence is apparently absent in terms of the order of food service because they massively screwed up and served everything in reverse. Merde, eh?

Back to the Fresh Spring Rolls, because they came in last, we were already filled with the main dish noodles, and to spy more rice noodles popping from these carefully wrapped rolls was not too enticing. Still, with the hoisin sauce the rolls were made bearable. But having to shove that large a roll, when I was already full, was quite the challenge! If only they served that first, I’d have something better to write about.

 seafood restaurant makati

The Salt and Pepper Cuttlefish was served somewhere in the middle. I needed a few chunks before finally narrowing down its taste; it’s similar to the shrimp balls we eat in Chinise restaurants. You know that taste, right? Those awesome prawn balls that burst with crunchiness on the outside. That breading plus soft cuttlefish in the inside is La Petite Camille’s version. The sauce—we can do without. Better off with calamansi and soy sauce instead.

 Vitenamese French restaurant manila

The Stir Fried Rice Noodles with Chicken does not look appetizing but is greatly more delectable 10x over its looks. On the blander side—which greatly favors the health conscious—it’s got vegetables, egg and succulent chunks of chicken. A hungry person can finish a serving, which is what my brother did. Goes well with that cuttlefish for thatprawn-y flavor on the side.

 j.anne gonzales blog

Pad Thai with Prawns was the other noodle dish. With the same noodles and toppings (more or less), I had a difficult time differentiating the photo from the previous dish. Then I realized that this has a siding of nuts—which they graciously set aside rather than sprinkle on top!

Having requested a mildly spicy serving was a smart idea because I did not need a water fest so far from home. The Pad Thai is (expectedly) sweeter and more flavorsome than the Stir Fried noodles. While I adore Pad Thai, having the latter as comparison makes me go for the Stir Fried Rice Noodles. Think of it as a toned down version of Char Kway Teow. Not bad huh. Still, the Pad Thai is great and “al dente” and so French-approved.

 jenina gonzales blog food review

4 dishes and 2 diners—so it would be accurate to say that the meal came with a large bill! With no time (or money) for dessert, it was all right. The meal was ultimately filling and I remember the first bites of the noodles were interspersed with Mmmm and “I need to take a photo of this!” 

Still, if the appetizer came at its properly appointed time, I’d have been more satisfied and at ease. Imagine having Hoisin for dessert. Weird.

Or is that how they eat in France? Oui?

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Yabu: The House of Cat-su

japanese restaurant katsu

I can really think of a lot of jokes that revolve around Yabu. Add in the House of Katsu part and you’ve got yourself a comic fest. Bu-ya! Okay, I will stop now.

While I understand that Yabu: House of Katsu has been around for quite some time, I have never really visited the place because someone once told me:

“You have nothing to eat there! You don’t eat rice and pork—you’ll only eat the cabbage that’s free!”

Well partly true, but that’s getting ahead of my story.

Katsu japanese makati

Yabu, true to its household name is a place for katsu. However, it serves other forms of meat and seafood and so, caters to a larger market base, including vegetarians, pescatorians and this new breed we call children. It offers katsudon and curry, kiddie meals and edamame!

Tempted to get Chicken Salad + Edamame for the appetizer combo, we ended up with nil because the Glorietta 5 branch apparently did not have edamame. And I thought Ayala Malls were going green. No more appetizer.

Being a glutton, I ordered my own set. I’ve observed couples sharing a set/meal—probably because they are rice eaters, rice eaters on a budget or are just on a diet—but I like to keep the bento tray to myself. #selfishglutton

vegetarian japanese food

Of course that doesn’t mean my order was all that great. The Vegetarian Katsu Set is probably the last thing you will order in Yabu’s entire menu. Heck you’d probably stuff yourself with goma sauce than eat vegetables, which include a wee eggplant, a naked bell pepper and “where’d that tofu go?” silken tofu strips x 2.

Without the cabbage to fill me up, I’d say this vegetarian meal was not too great and quite a rip off for someone who’s used to eating vegetables by the hordes.

Let’s not forget the other components of the set: miso soup (not bad), pickles (eww), fruit (watermelon slices, so-so), unli rice (bye) and unli cabbage (Love it!).

I had 3 refills of the unlimited cabbage strips. 3 dressings are made available (goma, shoyu, and wasabi).  There was also a dollop of this spicy Japanese mustard on the katsu plate and the katsu sauce itself—and all these made their way in my nasty cabbage nest. This cabbage patch was what made my meal #awesomeandgreen and #totallysatisfying. Add in a #megaburp too!

chicken japanese makati

Perhaps next time I should really try its core meal like Chicken Katsu or Oroshi Katsu (in photo), huh?

Seeing how divinely full my companions were, I’d say I made the wrong choice (#feelingdiet). Should there be a next time, I’d go for chicken, dory and an egg.

I did say I was a selfish glutton.

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Red Mango Purr-fait

Normally, when one visits Red Mango, the idea of ordering a parfait is unlikely. We admit that we are partly feigning a healthy façade by opting for frozen yogurt, to be topped with fruit perhaps. But like others, I succumb to words like parfait and overload, especially when photographed with what seems to be loads of granola.

Granola—who says no to that?!

So ta-dah, here goes, the Green Tea Parfait, aka the Red Mango Frozen Yogurt dumped with everything within scooping distance!

greenbelt frozen yogurt

Going for green tea flavored yogurt (of course, green me), the parfait contains—get ready for the line-up—granola (my selling point), banana, red beans, oreo, more granola and a surprise, mochi! Somehow the parfait ends up having a sakura theme with the adzuki-green tea-mochi combination which was greatly pleasurable for me.

A bit of an overload though—yes there is such a thing and it’s this parfait—I ended up no longer scooping much of the frozen yogurt since there were too many bits and morsels to chew and swallow. Still, it was an enjoyable cup with varying degrees of texture and sweetness—kind of like a guessing game! Imagine my amazement when the mocha came popping out of nowhere. Bliss!

So if you end up staring at the photo and deciding between parfait or plain—it’s easy, do you want toppings with yogurt or the other way around?

And if you’re gung ho for granola like me. Well that’s a no-brainer!

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To Bistro or not to Bistro (Ravioli)

lazy black cat food blog

To bistro or not to bistro? (Bistro Ravioli, Glorietta/Greenbelt)

That is the question.

And the answer actually depends on you.

If you ask me though, I give it a maybe.

For starters, finding this little hole in the wall of Glorietta was a pain because it was literally a wee hole in the wall. All right, more like the shelf you DIY on a wall when you make the New Year’s resolution to clean up your room—that’s how accidental and cramped it looked.

The good thing though is that while I was painstakingly typing this, I learned that the Greenbelt 1 branch has opened, giving Bistro Ravioli more breathing space and hopefully, less looking like Harry Potter’s room and more of a restaurant which it really is.

If you’re walking from Glorietta though, the “walk” can be torture especially during rush hour.

As for the food, if you think that ordering Ravioli is your saving grace, the answer may vary depending on your appetite, gourmet expectations, company and budget—the last 2 equally important to taste!

j.anne gonzales pasta italian

The waiter-server-or-perhaps-manager suggested their bestseller Italian Sausage Ravioli in Romesco Sauce which I opted not to follow because I’m part vegetarian, and even if I do eat meat, I don’t want a meaty ravioli. It just doesn’t seem respectful to eat ravioli alongside blatant meat.

Better seafood like that Salmon Ravioli in Saffron Cream Sauce which my companions ordered and enjoyed quite well. The slightly yellowish tinge might have contributed to their amusement since they likened the saffron to what strangely sounded like curry. Hmmm…

glorietta italian restaurant

As for me,  the eternal green beckoned and I ordered the Spinach and Feta Cheese Ravioli in Pasta Sauce, which when unearthed, revealed roasted tomato slices peeking from the bottom—that for me was a delightful present. Topped with pesto and bathed in pomodoro, this beats team saffron anytime.

At first glance this P245 dish seemed too little for hungry me, but after engulfing loads of carbs—three quarters through the meal, a sense of fullness developed. Did I mention that I even donated my garlic bread to the hungry?

Sans the garlic bread and extra order of pizza (boo, I know), Bistro Ravioli’s ravioli was filling enough on its own. The flavor was all right for that hole in the Glorietta wall joint and I did manage to enjoy the burst of spinach-feta goodness. Of course other more expensive restaurants would offer the more gourmet ravioli but at least this offering was not ordinarily mainstream, if you know what I mean.

If I return, it would be in that Greenbelt branch (hello sunshine and air) and I might try that Salmon in Saffron Sauce. There’s also that three cheese ravioli. And there’s pizza too.

Oh dear, someone better get hungry fast.


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Soi What? (Soi, New Glorietta)

j.anne gonzales food blog

Once I get a craving for Pad Thai, there’s no stopping me. Pad thai seems to be my 2013 comfort food which people close to me may find strange since I dislike peanuts, abhor fish sauce and have never been to Thailand—like that matters—but I just felt like adding it.

What’s more alluring than pad thai is pad thai with that crafty egg net. As I tell my peers, who can say no to egg served so artistically? I would welcome that with an open mouth and an empty plate!

soi thai restaurant lazy black cat

Soi Thai Restaurant at the new Glorietta (that’s what they call it, I swear) serves Thai food, which personally I did not care about, since I only went for the egg-netted-pad-thai. Turns out, the Vegetarian Pad Thai is not bedazzled with that lusty egg net! So if you are after the egg like me, go for Chicken Pad Thai, which thank goodness, we had the proactive gluttony to order.

That evening, we were advised that the Pad Thai noodles would go from fettucine flat to rounded slim—about twice the diameter of vermicelli. Like I care.

j.anne gonzales blog manila

When the noodles came though, it seems that I do care. The thin noodles were interesting to masticate but then again, you go looking for that flat chewy presence that makes pad thai, well, pad thai. Plus the serving seemed so miniscule, I could finish a plate and still go for other dishes and 2 kinds of dessert (which I did in retrospect). The sauce was ho-hum in sweetness and the tofu barely there. At least the chicken chunks were on the average size. Of course the egg did not make that big of a difference and only made an ooooh impression for the photo op. After the first bite, I could honestly say that I would not be dreaming of this anorexic noodle dish for the poor, much less crave for Soi more.

thai food glorietta makati

The Seafood Curry though was interestingly something I couldn’t stop eating, until the very last morsel of curdled curry. It was a bizarrely arranged dish that somehow tasted so well. Even the onion tasted so damn good! Imagine that.

chicken new glorietta restaurant

The Pandan Chicken and Grilled Squid did not deviate from their expected taste, so they were both on the safe side. Turns out I am not quite a fan of grilled squid—not sure if it was me or does grilled squid just taste so raw? Must be all the burnt calamari I’ve been eating.

seafood glorietta restaurant

Oh, and half of the pandan chicken was chicken skin so if you’re a skin-hater like me, consider it bit of a rip-off. Rip off the pandan leaf to unveil a rip-off. Nice.

Soi Glorietta was packed that Friday night; I imagine people really love the noodles and rice which seemed to flood the other tables. Since I only came for the pad thai and was met with an anorexic dish that had more nuts than soy, I’d say better luck next time. With noodles that thin—pho hoa skinny—I’m better off going to the gym.

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Cold Soba Nights

 soba tempura japanese

The search for Little Tokyo (Pasay Road) has been a long and winding road and the best way to get there is not to plan at all.

That’s how I got there.

Just say: “I want Ramen” and like Harry Potter’s Room of Requirement, the mysterious door appears in front of you! Then you go through this drunken sakura alley and next thing you see is Little Tokyo with the takoyaki ladies and the la-la-lanterns. Pick your choice dining place and eat like it’s the Meiji era.

 japanese food lazy black cat

How we ended up at Hana was a combination of accident, timing and good lighting. Since this was an unplanned trip, I never had the chance to research on where to eat, much less how to read signs in Japanese. However the takoyaki lady in Hana who also alternated as waitress and direction giver found the opportunity to seat the wanderers and so we obliged.

makati japanese food 

No reason can explain why I did not order the takoyaki balls which are quite a steal at P120. Perhaps this gives us a good reason to return. Unplanned of course!

j.anne gonzales little tokyo

Sumimasen for the blurry photos. The place was dark.

The tako karaage was supposed to serve as the pescatorian appetizer (domo) and was ungreasy and very tender, despite the form of the animal it originated from. To be dipped in salt, ah yes, quite an under the sea re-enactment.

 Japanese Food Makati

The Tempura Soba was the highlight of my meal, warm and sweet—just perfect for my cold! With perfectly fried tempura and chewy soba noodles making the ensemble, it was a fabulous dish for anyone in search of the perfect noodles! Sadly for me who cannot just delight in ramen (because of the pork stock) the soba offers the better alternative.

With the noodles so hauntingly rich and the flavor bursting with soy wonder, I believe there is nothing little about Little Tokyo.

jspsnese food makati little tokyo

And yes, I ought to come back. “Eat again, I must,” as Rurouni Kenshin would say.

As for me, Ja ne! See you later!


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Kenji Tei: Ramen Night!

Hontou ni? Ramen houses must hate me; what a sad way to treat the cat that came up with Ramen Night at Kenji Tei (Greenbelt 5).

greenbelt 5 ramen

With the prevalence of chashu and pork shio and all that animal fat, it seems that ramen night was not made for vegetarians. But still, I persist. I cannot end ramen night without enjoying a single noodle sliding down my throat.

makati japanese greenbelt jenina gonzales

And so after interrogating the waiter to the point of almost unearthing Kenji Tei’s soupy secret, we managed to come to an agreement without having to resort to yaki soba, which I pointed out is a big no-no.

Cold ramen. It is summer anyway.

The Hiyashi Chuka (Cold Ramen) with sesame miso dressing (Hiyashi Goma Miso) came with pork slices which I asked to be magically turned into more veggies. The result is a chilled half bowl topped with tamago, cucumber and tomato slices. The presentation was lackluster was the flavor was sublimely sour and perfectly meat-free. The noodles were firmly chewy and drenched in sesame-miso, was absolutely apt as a summer salad!

The cheese gyoza seemed to be quite a hit, though sadly its pork composition could not be managed, altered and totally removed. Ah well, it was interesting watching others delight in this fried delicacy. Other shots of the dinner.

lazy black cat japanese restaurant

Japanese Greenbelt 5

makati japanese food

And of course what inspired Ramen Night.*sigh* Itadakimasu!

jenina anne gonzales

Look at my birthday note! Arigatou, Miji-kun!

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Cucina Andare: What the Truck!

Coming across Cucina Andare at the Glorietta open area was kismet; closing hours evicted mallrats and drove them to the open field. From afar the vicinity appeared like a lackluster Sunday congregation, but the sweet smoke from barbecued somethings said otherwise.

Cucina Andare has the same vibe as the usual Mercato/Mezza Norte stalls, since not all fares are offered from trucks. While I was scouring for anything Mexican or green, my gastronomic senses failed me, or maybe it was because I just hated looking up to read the menu. With this imaginary neck brace, there was no choice but to seek refuge in the tent of stalls.

No mother trucker for now anyway. Not until I get this laziness fixed.

Sen Lek Lazy Black Cat

At the sight of the pad thai stall, my earlier quests were dispelled. Forget the greens and cheese, the noodles supersede my prior demands—as I am going through the pad thai phase which hopefully will end in the next quarter unless poverty gets the better of me.

To simplify things—yes I like the proprietor’s thinking—there is only one variant (pad thai with chicken and shrimp) and a fixed price (P100). Away with the menus and the do-you-want-chicken-or-shrimp conundrums. Promote efficiency so that the chef need not think much and revert to his mindless musing. Less sweat too.

Sen Lek J.Anne Gonzales

The pad thai is rather hefty in its wee bowl and the toppings are grandly selected: chicken, shrimp, egg, tofy, green onion and bean sprouts. Topped with garlic, peanuts and sugar as a final offertory (I preferred to abstain from the last 2 items) this is one steaming bowl of thai bliss. With all flavors present but not that overpowering, this is quite a catch for a locally prepared pad thai.

Sen Lek J.Anne Gonzales

Having no place to sit we ended up feasting on the grass. Carabao grass, sans the ants and other biological matter. What the truck, this was probably why I’m going for seconds the next time around!

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Bubba Gump: Run, Fried Food, Run!

bubba gump greenbelt shrimp

Bubba Gump‘s mission is to spread forth shrimp in all forms of batter, cooking method, shape and dip. But it does have a secondary task – unknown to most –  to bless all diners with an oily fried fiesta – only those sane (and fast) enough should Run, From-the Fried-Food, Run!

Which brings us to the convenience of placing newspaper-cum-blotting-paper on every dish to act as those oil absorbing sheets that do better jobs than the pint-sized Gatsby. If you thought this was mainly for aesthetic purposes and that “My name is Forrest Gump” feel, then bask in your naive ideals. It blots and absorbs all those artery-clogging grease, well enough to make Mama proud.

bubba gump onion rings

The onion rings started the meal, laden with texture and batter, with 3 types of dip. Onion lovers will detest Bubba Gump’s version with its miniscule onion slices, but for the rest who couldn’t care less about onions, this one’s for you. The batter is lip-smacking tangy, folks would eat it on its own. With the oil, don’t forget. 

bubba gump bbq lazy black cat

The ribs + chicken barbecue looked incredibly glossed up, readers would most likely hate me for for taking photos and not a bite. Well I did have a shred of chicken and let’s just say, the sauce does all the work.

bubba gump shrimp sampler lazy black cat

The shrimp platter ( I have no idea what it’s called!) showcased 4 types of shrimp courses, 3 of which were terribly fried and 3 dip varieties, which the waiter meticulously tried to explain like a rambling chef. Unfortunately for him, Instagram was more interesting and had better sense, so in the end, I discarded the dips entirely. 

From what I recall, there was the heavily battered tempura which was blasting with so-so appeal especially without any sauce. Then there’s the coconut batter and what seemed to be the steamed variety, which should appeal for the local taste buds.

With everything fried, including the leviathan fries, this ought to be one of the rare times when a “normal” person would crave for something outrageous like a salad. Trust me.

bubba gump lemonade rum

Or there’s that strawberry lemonade with rum. That should do the trick.

Or you can do as I do, Run to the dessert place, Ruuuuuun!!!

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