Seeing the Flight: Wingman UPTC #ThursdayQuizNight

Wingman quiz blogger review uptc

Chicken Wings have soared amongst its finger food brethren that it has become a commodity in the appetizer universe.

Wings with beer, bar delights, or simply finger licking forget-my-date moments are the best way to enjoy those bony numbers.

The only thing that can top this wing bling moment is to enjoy these Chicken Wings in countless various flavours. On second thought, I can top that even more… flavoured wings with spud-delights and Thursday Quiz Night!

What better way to savour those wings while chaneling your inner Google!

Wingman trivia night uptc

Wingman at U.P. Town Center recently launched its Quiz Night, initially unveiling it big time with the Bloggers Quiz Night. Four competing teams became even more competitive as the event was speckled with spuds and wings, and the occasional beer for round winners.

Trivia quiz night qc

Our team, the Kool Kids, with the intentional K, tried to the best of our capacity, life experiences, pop culture knowledge and residual caffeine to answer the trivia questions.

It was a combination of teamwork, effective brainstorming (for some people I just met for the first time) and dexterous handling of the chicken wings (all served with carrot sticks and ranch dip).

Qc quiz night wingman

This was my first time to join Quiz Night, so it was a mixture of panic, mental block and hunger—all happening at the same time. However the Kool Kids were just as cool, so the overall experience was interactive and enjoyable.

I felt quite old though, having guessed ChumbaWumba in a second—while the rest of the team was hmmmm-kay. #90sKid

Wingman_wingman appetizer

The appetizer sampler was a vast collection of sides: onion rings, shoe string fries, potato wedges, and curly twists. The pretty assortment just makes you want to shove everything in your mouth at one point—and drown them all down with beer!

Wingman trivia night up town

Flavoured chicken wings qc

Chicken wings qc up town center

For the chicken wings, Team Kool Kids tried Classic Buffalo (medium), Garlic Parmesan, Mango Barbecue, Jamaican Jerk, and Ragin’ Cajun. Not much into the “sweet” wings, the Classic Buffalo, Garlic Parmesan and Jamaican Jerk made the top choices, while on my next visit, I do hope to try out the Moroccan Chermoula. Sounds intriguing, right?

The wings are bathed in their sinister sauce, and strangely all go well with the ranch dip—especially the spicy ones.

The Kool Kids did not win; we were somewhere in between, so we had no shots or beer rewards. We did get to have awesome fun though, and dessert—so that was a sweet bonus!

Wingman dessert

For dessert, we were graced with the Black Pepper Brownie topped with vanilla ice cream. It’s the type of dessert that you forget the name, then after the first bite, as you fan your mouth in bewilderment, you realize, oh yeah, it’s the black pepper! You can call it the McCormick lava cake, but inside it’s dry and peppery—so eat as much ice cream as you can!

Wingman trivia night

Overall, it was a fun Thursday night experience which deserves to be christened #ThursdayQuizNight.

Try it out if you’re near the area, and get the chance to win shots, or if you’re on the losing end, at least learn some cool trivia on Justin Timberlake.

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Boli-Now or Never! (Bolinao and Hundred Islands Road Trip)

Bolinao & Hundred Islands, Pangasinan Road Trip

bolinao travel philippines

That time we went to Bolinao, Pangasinan was really a disgrace in the road trip society of “anything goes”.

I had a cold, so I welcomed the first northern breeze in a hoodie.. with a major sneeze! How’s that for spreading the germs to the population of 75k?

attractions in bolinao lighthouse

For the ignorant (like me, pre-Bolinao trip), Bolinao is at the tip of the Pangasinan peninsula, so I could proudly claim that I have reached the northernmost point of the country, west-side.

It does have a lighthouse to support that bold claim. And beside the lighthouse is a dilapidated old bunk/house which alternates as a Mexican-horror movie prop, which brings the adequate spookiness when you have the place to yourself. Yes, we did at 6am. How safe.

river malino bolinao
bolinao cathedral

Since “anything goes” was the Bolinao mantra, we did NOT book any room or hotel in advance.

I had with me an outdated blog post of someone who listed room bookings with pre-pre-pre inflation rates, so I was expecting rooms to be 300% cheaper than the actual off-peak rates. Horrible. Good thing we had cash (because there is no ATM around).

hotel accommodation bolinao

We stayed at Punta Riviera Resort because it was the only decent hotel that was available and appeared in view right when I needed to use the bathroom badly.

As previously hinted, the hotel was not cheap by my miserly standards. And so to make up for my sudden poverty, we made sure we maximized the free activities we paid for!
kayaking in bolinao pangasinan

We played billiards and table tennis. We did not swim at the pool (though it was awesome) because it was chilly all throughout and my cold just kept on getting in the way.

Best part was the kayaking in the nearby river. There was some Brazilian feel to it, complete with bugs and getting tangled with the nearby plants. There was no crocodile sighting though, just calm birds, so we made it out of the jungle alive and with just wet feet!
places to see bolinao

Walking along the shore was an imperative activity, as we were scouting for possible hiding places in case of a zombie apocalypse. Since most hotel clients were foreigners, we believe that our speed and familiarity with the terrain would be advantageous to our survival.

We did not find anything fit, just mounds of sand and trees, so just in case, we could always run to the car and flee to Manila.
where to visit philippines

Given that my virus was spreading, laziness was the impending consequence, to explain the lack of sights and attractions visited.

Here is the best effort summary, and a shout out to the floating restaurant (Forgot the name but there’s only 1 anyway) as its grilled Sungayan fish warranted a second visit.

floating restaurant bolinao
where to eat bolinao philippines

The Enchanted Cave was not the most enchanted as surrounding rocks have been fashioned and carved. The cave itself could house a barkada so selfies are sure to contain photobombers (living and not).

Bolinao beach philippines

The public Patar Beach was just scenic, but there were lots of spectators. Still, it was a gorgeous photo op place, and if you don’t mind the crowd, this would be an excellent beach spot.

I mind the crowd though, so in order to create more buzz, I walked through the sand in my Merrells (hiking shoes hahaha) The sand was really hot, so yes they were perfect for making unique sand trails!

Summer vacation hundred islands

After Bolinao, virus free or not, a planned destination was HUNDRED ISLANDS!

Despite its popularity amongst my elementary classmates and how my Sibika teachers always had something cool to say about it, this was my first time to HUNDRED ISLANDS, so I did not expect to see so many boats.

Lingayen hundred islands how to go there

Seriously, there were so many boats, it suddenly dawned to me in between taking meds, that hundred islands = necessary island hopping = save your energy. Typing that was tiring, but the real adventure was 100x more tiring but 200% fun.
boat ride hundred islands pangasinan
Hundred Islands travel philippines

Being a popular tourist destination, there isn’t anything new I can say to old-timers.

I’m pretty sure everyone has seen the view atop Marcos Island, has tried the various jumping points, danced naked somewhere and littered in every island.

what to do hundred islands

Oh my goodness, there is even this Children’s Island that is literally creeping with kids. I had to take a boat to use the bathroom there, and the kids spilled like the crevices and niches, and I had to bully them since I needed my privacy.

Review trip travel hundred islands

The highlight of Hundred Islands for me was the KAYAKING, once again.

It was the only time we got to sail the ocean on our own (away from the boatmen), randomly navigate across islands and attempt to row to China. We failed in the last item and only reached about 3 islands. Maybe next time we can target 5 islands!

Hundred Islands Marcos
what to do in Hundred Islands

Despite the short trip, I have some key takeaways. I do not care if they are cliche or are common sensical, since I need to end this blog post in a semi inspirational way.
Turtle Island lingayen philippines

By the way, my cold had cleared by the time of the Hundred Islands kayak but it could be the sun

exposure blasted all these viruses to bits which is why my tan lasted for 4 months… and counting!

Review trip travel hundred islands

Back to the key takeaways; let’s go with the perfect square, 4:

1. It doesn’t matter how heavy your bags get, bring lots of snacks and food! I swear, Chicken Joy, cheese popcorn and Tortillos made my trip divine. Imagine the island stores selling Skyflakes at P30 and buko juice at P100. Nasty.

2. It doesn’t matter if you overuse your SPF. Underusing it may be your worst decision. I properly used my SPF65 and still became a darkling for months… what more if I ditched the SPF?! I would be hosting a new hue forever!

3. You should really try kayaking. It’s one of the few activities where you are free of the boatmen, kids, zombies and Instagramming idiots. Pure freedom!

4. One trip is never enough. They didn’t call it Hundred Islands for nothing!

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Don’t Walk.. Skip to Mama Lou’s Kitchen!

UP town center restaurantUs Northern folks have been dying to try Mama Lou’s Kitchen for ages and are glad that a branch has finally travelled all the way to U.P. Town Center!

Literally went UP! We have been waiting for you, Mama Lou’s. Skipping music please.

Situated in the same complex as Merkado (the supermarket), Mama Lou’s is quite easy to spot, since it houses (and invites) the most patrons.

What’s not easy to traverse though is the Katipunan traffic, but that’s an entirely different sob story to be reserved for a churros party!
mama lou's italian restaurant

Mama Lou’s Kitchen has the homey Italian vibe, complete with brick walls and  complimentary bread for the hangry. That’s right, if you’re hangry and on a first date, best to calm down and have a bruschetta.lazy black cat blogThe photo stating “Stay dreamy, stay creamy” is no joke. I got it from Mama Lou’s and succeeding dishes will testify to this undying creaminess of a feast. jenina gonzales blog

Starting off with the Oriental Salad, you will realize that this is the “diet” food in the bunch. I speak of diet but it does have a smorgasbord of Asian fusion toppings: kani, apple slices and soy  sesame dressing reminiscent of Kewpie.
mama lou italian restaurant

Bacon Poutine in an Italian restaurant may be a bit left-out but this was received ample Ahhhs probably because it was topped with mozzarella cheese and bacon .

Something you’d want to take along in a movie and eat alone… with all that cheese!

j.anne gonzales blog When the Escargots came, I nearly fell off my seat in excitement!

How sophisticated and they came in their special scooping container–and every bite was filled with a buttery cheesy concoction!

Food coma in the making, and I didn’t even reach out for the equally buttery bread.

pasta where to eat quezon city The Truffle Mac and Cheese is my favorite from our evening roster, since cheesy truffle cream sauce is just something that makes you forget calories and just chew some more.

Seriously that awesome, I could eat it alone and forego dessert. Or maybe eat both!

italian restaurant manila qc

The Spaghetti Seafood Olio is brimming with shellfish and other seafood, so it is just right to serve it oil-based. Buttery oil-based best topped with parmesan still.
italian food katipunan

The “meaty” dishes were just as resplendent and succulent.

where to eat quezon city italian

The Marbled Rib Eye Steak was gone in a matter of seconds, whilst the Chicken Fra Diavalo‘s herbed chicken concoction gives off that irresistible roasted flavour that goes well with the mashed potato.

mama lou's las pinas bf homes Another heavy and creamy dish was the Risotto Tartufo Funghi. Delectable and cheesy, but make sure you bring a giant appetite if you wish to challenge this rice dish!

Pizza is, of course, an inevitable order and with Mama Lou’s roll-it-up-with-alfalfa-and-arugula, the more fun it is to eat!

pizza pasta quezon city

Bianca Pizza, as the name suggests, is the cream-based white pizza made for bacon and mushroom lovers.

where to eat pizza manila Mama Lou’s Pizza has prosciutto, arugula, mango slices and balsamic cream, so that’s like attacking a myriad of flavours in each satisfying bite. On the side, it looks amazing!

Despite an already heavy dinner, there is always room for more cream… yes, dessert!
dessert cheesecake UP town center

The Blueberry Cheesecake was pitted against the Chocolate Cake but the vote seems divided.

where to eat up town center The Chocolate Cake is not killer sweet, as it is tempered by the layers of cream. However the Blueberry Cheesecake retaliates by offering smooth creamy cheesecake for its gooey blueberry topping.

Best to just eat them in alternate bites. Everybody happy!

restaurant up town center Capping off the meal was the Mango Crepe with hints of hazelnut and topped with ice cream.

Don’t forget to order tea, since Mama Lou’s has an extensive offering–so I had peppermint tea!

Now if this meal still does not make us dream of creamy cheesy splendor, I don’t know what will!

Mama Lou’s Kitchen certainly warrants future visits, whether we’re craving for yummy Italian fares or just in plain need of a happy-creamy-gooey meal.

Stay creamy, stay dreamy!

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Peanut Butter War: Powder vs. Creamy

peanutbutter tru nut review

Just to be clear: peanut butter goes best, if not only, on toast. I would rather not muss up its flavour by topping it on pancake, ice cream or a pretentious cookie.

Toast. Is. Enough.

pancake house

Pancake House’s Chocolate Marble is the prettiest swirly double trouble pancake there is. Loved the chocolate swirly thing; peanut butter was too much. You get my point.

Back to toast. To enliven my already lovely breakfast ensemble made mostly of Skippy Natural Creamy + Multigrain toast, curiosity came swooping one day at the grocery and made me reach out for Tru-Nut Maple flavoured powdered peanut butter.

peanutbutter tru-nut maplePowdered. Just add water. But what really made me reach out for this sneeze-causing agent was its dietary wonder: nearly 0 in sugar content and about 50 calories per tbsp. Awesome.

peanutbutter tru nut maple

The taste, well it was not as awesome.

It was bland (understandably) and watered down. It tasted synthetic and lost the “butter” from the PB which is what we live for. I also cheated by mixing it with Skippy, chocolate balls or banana (not at the same time).

Being lazy also, I hated the extra step of the mixing with water that reminded me of Cerelac!

peanutbutter tru nut skippy

And so, upon finishing my jar of Tru-Nut today, I have decided not to re-purchase, since I am not really on a diet, so there is no need to punish myself!

Also, Skippy is a lot cheaper.. so penny pincher loving, no-diet, creamy PB is the way to go for me. On toast. #peanutbutterforbreakfast

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Fall Out Guy: Cheesecakes by Guy

eastwoodm, cheesecakes by guy review

Anything with the word “Cheesecake” is enough to get me off my lazy bum, so a drive to Eastwood albeit Katipunan traffic is tolerable… for the first 10 minutes.

However, the promise of cheesecake is so enticing, we waive all horrible external factors and hum to the sound of dessert.
cheesecakes by guy where to eat

Cheesecakes by Guy was the choice lunch destination because of its novelty and of course, cheesecakes. Before lunch proper, that’s right, we had already ordered the cheesecakes. Not pre-ordered. Ordered alongside our coffee accompaniment.
dessert quezon city

The Red Velvet Cheesecake is a rogue presence and just screams “Order me!” Its cream cheese and red velvet combination is perfect with coffee, though more on the dry side.
jenina gonzales blog food

The Chocolate Cheesecake is meant for those who’ve declared war on their diets. Whilst it does manage to kill off any sugar craving, it is best enhanced by its Iced Cappuccino to temper any excess sweetness. Again, my only comment is that it is a bit high on the dry department.

cheesecakes by guy coffee The coffee drinks are freshly made and perfectly arranged. I asked my syrup to be placed on the side (vs mixed) and that did the job of maintaining the bitter punch which I like with my cheesecake.
eggs breakfast cheesecakes by guy

The Salmon Benedict was a pair of glistening perfection (for the eggs). All right to the taste, but nothing remarkable to comment on. Between cheesecake and this though, you know who the winner will be.
blog cheesecakes by guy

The Spinach and Goat Cheese Omelette was made of purely egg whites, so the omelette was tender and light. As an egg loving person, it was okay but I wonder where the  yolks went. The overall dish is minimalist, so do not expect to get overly full from this protein package – which is why the cheesecakes are there on display!

Overall the Cheesecakes by Guy experience was uniquely filling. I had cheesecake for appetizer, and nothing beats dessert going first! I hope there will be a next time–like the call of the green tea cheesecake!

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Singapore: One Weekend Galore

singapore tour travel

My last trip to Singapore was neither recent nor cliff hanging in excitement, so it makes sense to bury its memories deep in the hard drive.

Right… until I saw a photo of the Gardens by the Bay just this week and realized I have been there, it was spectacular, and I do have an awesome photo to prove that I toured SG… in less than a weekend!supertree grove singapore

Ah yes, with strangers and train rides galore and poop smells from the Night Safari still lingering in my memory, the SG weekend deserves a post albeit very, very late. See if you can guess the date.

Singapore merlion And for those planning to visit Singapore (on your own account), I beg you to stay for longer than just a weekend and to find time to eat real Singaporean delicacies.

Whilst I had my fill of samosas and cereal prawns (no complaints on those), I felt that the trip was not complete without even painfully cracking a single crab claw.

It was that finger licking crab moment which I sorely missed. my first trip to singapore

Since it was supposed to be a business-illegally-turned-leisure trip which was not my fault, the itinerary got jumbled and I found myself wearing smart casual on a Sunday.

But since it was go-go weekend, there was not enough time to complain, let alone charge my phone. Singapore snacks

We started the journey with what seemed to be the educational part, the type where when you get back to work, this is what you tell your boss about – and not the other side trips.

In our case, it was the Google Singapore office. Some kind training gentleman gave us a tour of the working areas, 3 floors of fun and games and food!

I’m sure you have heard of the notorious anecdotes and weight gain stories from Google newbies; they are all true. Google southeast asia office

Not even the treadmills, interactive videogames and fireman poles can counter the calorie gain. 2 food areas/pantry (but in my vocabulary, amazing complex kitchen access) per floor with unlimited you-name-it will make you plan your meals till the next decade. Of course photos are not allowed but I did manage to sneak one of my plates (1 of 3 plates).

After a 20-minute showcase of Google for Business (I listened) and the I-want-to-work-here tour, the business side of the trip was over. I have no other photos to post, was not able to sneak any, and so I just wondered what we were having for dinner.
mystica night safari

The first destination post-Google was the Night Safari. Aboard the evening express, we viewed safari animal in their evening habitat. Since we could not use the camera flash – you got it – no photos from me.

Let me just describe the highlight of the ride: I saw a hyena!

On the downside, the ride got boring since we were awake at 3am; people were falling asleep on the tram and smelling like mammal poop! That was not a sweet way to end the evening.
Singapore chinatown tour The next day promised more adventure (aka walking nonstop). In fact, I remember walking at Sentosa and burning so much calories, I could eat a sack of noodles for dinner. That was all I did, walk, pee, look for interesting snacks to bring home, stop to fix my sandals, walk again. I managed to snag a Gong Cha matcha cup (out of thirst) but finished it in a minute, so there was no joy in that.

Here are some photos of the entire SG City and Sentosa trip:indian town singapore We passed by this quaint town on the way to restaurant #1. It was so laid back and screaming of #TBT so I just had to take a snapshot.
Singapore flying wheel suntec

Oh they did say that going around the Suntec City sign several times was a sign of good luck thing. Months after this SG trip, I can confidently say I’m in worse luck! Seriously :)Singapore sentosa cable car Singapore sentosa

Sentosa required several modes of transportation to get there (including cable car and zzzz bus rides). Once on the island, walking was mandatory and one day is not enough!

Singapore light sound show sentos

The Sentosa highlight was the lights and sound (and water) show in the evening, which was stunning! The storyline was rather cheesy boy-meets-girl-and-travels-through-time, but the effects were marvelous. Oh if only i was not so sleepy!
Singapore outside gardens by the bay

Gardens by the Bay was another not-to-miss destination – even if you’re not into flowers and nature. Singapore inside gardens by the bay Seriously, walking around the themed Heritage gardens and looking up at the Supertrees gives you the Thumbelina-Jurassic World high.

You get wet, misted,  walking around unique flora and fauna, but guess what – never tired! Singapore gardens by the bay

Singapore gardens by the bay christmas Okay, we cheated; we rode the Garden Cruiser Audio Tour. It was a hot day, not even the umbrella could help ward off the heat.
Singapore gardens by the bay trip There was so much going on, from the Flower Dome to the Cloud Forest (with falls). From the colorful medley of the flower fields, we climbed and circled the beanstalk to talk to the clouds. Naturrific!

Singapore tour garden bay Best to follow the Gardens tour with… lunch! The most memorable meal was the deviant lunch where I happily separated from my tour group. Off to Marina Bay Sands which has a Bath and Body Works store (joy!) and Pita Pan.
Singapore marina bay sands A play of words, this Pita Pan serves Mediterranean food at the top of the mall. Just one serving of the Mediterranean platter with Falafel drove me to veggie heaven. Please come over to Manila!
Singapore vegetarian food Admittedly, I ended my high with the falafel treat. I did manage a few more train rides and performed my staple task in a foreign country: visit the grocery! Other than that, it was the same old, walk, ride the bus and catch the late flight home.

Still, if given a second chance to visit SG, I would eat more seafood and pitas. I would  plan my itinerary so that I can visit more towns and cities. I will visit more groceries and lastly, I would get some dessert! Singapore city tour On a final note, we stayed at V Lavender Hotel. It sits atop the Lavender train station so it’s most convenient. The hotel lobby smells of lavender, so if you hate the stuff, don’t book a room there!

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Fa-fa-fa-falafels for #MeatlessFridays

Homemade and partly handmade, my first endeavour at creating falafels was admittedly (and expectedly) disastrous.

The mixture simply would not blend properly, while the hard headed chickpeas decided to revolt and remain hard as ever. The egg and olive oil were not enough to bind the batter, so I considered blood but settled with more oil.

Still, I persevered with a fork and this decided to have a crack at this virtue called patience.

After an HOUR (I thought I could do it in 15 minutes) the patties were shoved in the freezer and later deep fried to tropical tan and uneven crisp proportions.
homemade falafel

Thanks to for the recipe, sans the coriander. I will improve upon the many flaws for the next version!

On a final note, I forgot to make any kind of dipping sauce. Good thing, it goes well with mustard!

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Feelinguini Hungry: Linguini Fini

linguini fini revie


For the longest time, we have lusted over Linguini Fini at the Mega Fashion Hall. Must be the catchy rhyme or the homemade pasta promise.

Nope, it was the rhyme. Linguini Finiiiii. How can you not resist those i’s?

linguini fini compli bread

While I couldn’t drool over the porchetta, pancetta and all other meaty P’s, anything with cheese could suit my fancy. And of course there’s squid!

linguini fini calamari

The Calamari was ostentatiously soft, there was no way you could settle for one, two. Just keep on shoving, but do beware of shoving some chili as well. They do well to garnish but not so much to remedy a sore throat. The dip was just as divine, so scooping is the only acceptable method.

megamall italian

The Bronx Pizza was meat studded, save for 2 plain cheese slices for me (via special request)! For a meat lover, this will do. However for a pizza lover, this was just awright. The dough was not to-die-for, and when I ate my 2nd cheese slice after some time, it was hard and greasy.

While a non pork eater, I could spy chunks of pork fat on the porchetta (5% meat only?) which, I tell you, is no pretty sight (and the pork eater did agree, yes). Maybe next time, stick with the friendly p, Pepperoni!

linguini fini pasta

I went for the basic Pomodori pasta, and learned rather idiotically that linguini fini actually referred to their homemade noodles,as in fine linguini.

After that Aha! moment, we ceased all jokes relating to linguini fini, and if the server was Fini in the flesh, and well, you probably get what I mean, All good. On to the next vocabulary word. (It was digestivo, by the way.)
linguini fini20150226_125514

The Pomodori was a hearty serving of tomato, all twisted in pasta propriety.

The noodles were firm and chewy, and there was a lot going on under that linguini twist. Whilst I relished each bite and delighted in my tomato feast, it was the last few bites that had the clincher.

linguini fini noodle
I guess some strands were just too attached to one another, huh? Sending me their love, in a hard-to-break clump!

Good thing the pizza made me full, so I let this one pass… though with a snapshot to remember them by! Sneaky linguini!

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High Five: 5F Mega Food Hall

megamall food court

Stumbled upon this not-so-secret niche at the 5F of the Mega Fashion Hall. It’s not quite a hush-hush place, since it’s really spacious, but blame me for feeling lazy to get all the way up to visit the ice skating rink.

Megamall Food Hall

I bet Megamall frequent mallers will roll their eyes at my discovery, but let me roll my eyes in return:

The 5F Mega Food Hall is awesome, quiet and my favorite feature is that—you don’t reek of food afterwards!

That is like food hall Heaven for the likes of me! Of course I don’t expect you to feel the same.

SM Mega Food Hall

With an array of tenants that could please even the pickiest eater, I say, any trip to the 5th floor is worth it and warrants a comeback.

Mega Food Hall Tex Mex Nav

Of course I had my cheat sheet beforehand and knew my first destination: Tex Mex. A sucker for anything Mexican and a lover of all things salsa, a taco lunch was necessary.

Tex Mex Mega Food hall

Mexican food megamall

We had the Chicken Taco Salad and Nachos. The Chicken Taco Salad whose name I couldn’t even remember (but I could swear it has the word “pollo”) was okay. I say “Okay” in a sense that when you look at it, you already know how it tastes like.

That’s exactly how it was, mediocre and the straightforward taco salad.

Mega food hall mexican

The Nachos were multicolored and I requested that the beef be separated—a simple request that took some time to process—but at least they got it right!

Despite the overwhelming mix of primary and secondary colors, the entire dish was bland including that awfully yellow cheese sauce. The only flavor that stood out was that of the olives and good thing, olives are friends.

Mega Food Hall Nav

Nav is a neighboring Thai restaurant that serves turmeric! How can you say “no” to that? But I already had the Tex Mex conditioning so I only spied 2 Nav dishes on the spread.


 Pad Thai and Squid (with steak rice, supposedly). The pad thai looked delectably seasoned and the noodles just chewy enough to make you eat slowly and delightfully. The squid tasted like Bon Chon and the rice was devoid of steak. The egg was a curious deep fried presence but sweetened at some point—so some dabbing was involved. Sorry about that.

However with the price range and assortment that the 5F Mega Food Hall has to offer, well, 1) I will be back, 2) I will return, and 3) I shall bring a friend!

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Clearing Out: The Wholesome Table

The Wholesome Table BGCOur first endeavour to visit The Wholesome Table (7th cor. 30th Ave. Bonifacio Highstreet) was met with was not too wholesome, with that one hour waiting period.

Those who know me would know that waiting is a trait I was never born with, and coupled with the adjective “hungry” can only result to disaster.

I did the world a favor by jumping off to neighboring The Village Tavern for dinner. That was the almost visit.

BGC restaurant

The second visit came with a bit of success, partly due to the first timing trauma. Having arrived for lunch on a Thursday at a remarkably impressive 11:30 am, I demanded not only a table, but one with couch seating as well. Early birds deserve the comfy seating, so as not to look dumb, amidst the long wait.

The Wholesome Table restaurant

Lunch was with long-absent peers, so my surreptitious snapshots could not be practiced shamelessly. I only managed a shot of the Eggplant Parmigiana and the complimentary bread. I heard it was potato (hard to believe), but regardless of its root crop origin, it was soft, steamy and righteous enough for the early bird – or anyone who detests carbs!

The Wholesome Table organic food

We also had Chicken Marsala and that Salmon in Basil Cream Sauce Pasta, both of which are kept in the sanctity of my not-too-wholesome belly.

The Salmon Pasta would make a revival on our next visit, but to be accompanied with whole wheat pasta.What I liked about the Salmon Pasta is its light and fresh flavor amidst its salmon and cream components. There was nothing fishy about it.

What is so exciting about this next visit, that I keep on referencing it?

Well for starters, it was a treat so that the orders came shamelessly and excessively. Another was that it was lunch, so we could eat to our heart’s demise and use the “no-dinner” as a pretext (though in retrospect I do remember having dinner still).

organic food bgc

To start of, we had three appetizers, one of which I could not partake in due to its meat content and lonesome serving (3 balls = 4 adults = uh oh).

Lucky them, I managed to forego the Organic Mushroom Fritters. Bathed in tomato sauce, they were supposed to be wrapped in Italian sausage and fried to perfection, but looking at the size, I’d surmise one should be enough.

The Wholesome Table calamari

The Crispy Calamari has that indispensable sauce, but for a group of hungry folks, the ashtray-sized serving necessitated some form of sacrifice.

The Wholesome Table burata

Topped with sweet balsamic vinegar, the Burrata came with a bang and left the table without a trace. I’d swear it never happened!

lazy black cat blog

The Barcelona Pizza, by its name is Spanish inspired and is highlighted by the turkey chorizo, which I feared to try. Never been a fan of chorizo even during my meat eating days, but the shiitake and garlic portion I managed to try were excellently baked into the pie.

The Wholesome Table chicken parmigiana

The Chicken Parmigiana was on the mediocre side, especially if you compare it to its veggie cousin Eggplant Parmigiana.

The parmesan-topped organic chicken was okay, compared to its eggplant-tofu counterpart which was to-die-for!

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The Eggplant Parmigiana  was a tofu joyride in creamy disguise! I will be back for more.

The Wholesome Table chicken

Of course I just had to order the strangest dish in the menu. Ta-dah!

The Ultimate Veggie Burger which I shall describe to the curious: veggie patty of seared mushrooms, zucchini and quinoa, topped with gluten-free, vegan ricotta, onion jam, and field greens.

The Wholesome Table veggie burger

On the side are thin parmesan fries, so it’s a complete meal on its own. The veggie patty may not appeal to the liking of many, since it does not mimic the flavor of meat. Instead, it’s gritty, shroomy with hints of sweetness, while the vegan ricotta offers faint saltiness. While there was no catsup on the side, I felt like it needed a dollop of mustard or relish to get this patty kicking!

Two items I only could stare at (and apparently have no photo proof!) are the beefy entrees.

Graze Land Pizza:  Tomato sauce, grass fed beef strips, baked onions, roasted garlic, fresh mozzarella and grana padano

Grass Fed Beef Tenderloin: Grass fed beef tenderloin fillet with a light demi glaze sauce and served with roasted potatoes

The Wholesome Table tea

On to dessert, which of course was too much – but the gluttons demanded!

The Wholesome Table tiramisu

This odd sandbox is the Tiramisu. Hmm-kay was the general reaction.

The Wholesome Table carrot cake

The Carrot Cake was more like a carrot muffin. Not too moist (was it aged?), the organic carrots, pineapple and raisin combo turned this into a sweet and sour pastry – but tamed by the buttercream cheese. For its price though, I expected a hefty bunny slice!

The Wholesome Table mango panna cotta

The Panna Cotta was the strange one, which I think incorporates a kind of organic yogurt which resulted to grainy panna cotta. It may seem unusual to have un-smooth panna cotta, but you get used to the gritty texture and begin to associate organic with grainy!

All in all, our first reaction to #TheWholesomeTable experience was #expensive for organic meals. In retrospect, we did eat quite a lot and splurged some more for dessert.

After further rumination, perhaps the next visit could be spent on wiser and more sensible meals, such as Eggplant Parmigiana, pizza and a smoothie (which I have yet to try!).

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