Inside Indonesia (Jakarta and Bandung)

Travel Jakarta and Bandung Indonesia

When most foreigners flock to Bali, we decided to take on the adventurous route to Jakarta and Bandung in Indonesia.

 

Admittedly the idea was impulsive, and the timing, as I would later learn, not the best.

 

Apparently we visited during the peak of Ramadan. Think of it as the week before Christmas. Everyone was on holiday, shopping and fasting, and I stood out like a bandaged thumb in a more Bali-appropriate attire.

 


It was crazy, noisy and well, I got all that immersion into another ASEAN society.

Don’t expect that just because you’ve been to Vietnam or Thailand, that you’d get an easy peasy time getting around town. NO!

Still, If I could name the top 11 most memorable experiences in Indonesia, they’d be:

Monas
1.   National Monument in Merdeka Square. Iconic and splendid! It was
just so hot that June morning, so it was a click and run moment.

 


2. Istiqlal Mosque. The grandeur was just overwhelming; it was a first for me to ever enter a mosque! Istiqlal, by the way, means Independence. My first attempt was not permitted due to attire violations. The second attempt went smoothly.

 

Tip 1: Wear decent clothing. (Don’t be hard-headed like me.)
Tip 2: Bring a plastic bag to place your shoes, in case you don’t way to pay the persistent vendors outside the mosque.
Tip 3: Bring wet tissues if you feel iffy about the barefoot tour. I was too courteous to wear socks inside, so the wet tissues saved the day!

 

3.   St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral. Of course a must visit for every Catholic, plus it’s right across the mosque! The church was being
cleaned during this period but we got to say a prayer to an Asian-looking
Mary.

NAtional Museum 1

4.   National Museum. Everything about Indonesia’s history, archeology and geography is here–all 6 floors! To be honest we got so tired halfway, you need at least a day if you want to explore it all.

 

A lot of the materials/copy are in Bahasa, so I skipped a lot of relics. The top floor is the winner – not to miss is the awesome jewelry section!

The place is not air conditioned, and you could not bring water inside too – so drink up before and after you visit.

volcano crater

5.   Tangkuban Perahu. Moving to Bandung, our first stop was this magnanimous stratovolcano. Per Wikipedia, its last eruption was in 2013 so it’s quite active. I honestly thought we’d get the chance to trek on or very near the crater, but it was a touristy trek. Still, the weather in Bandung is much cooler than in Jakarta, and the view was spectacular.

 

I could linger there all day and not get tired! Our drone couldn’t get over the view as well.

tea 2

Not to be missed in this was the side stop for the Tea Plantation. Pretty!

 


6.   Keraton Cliff –  This Bandung Keraton cliff was another highlight of the trip because we got to ride motorcycles to and from the mountain! Here we got another ultra cool spot and a breathtaking view of the heights. There is also a camping site. Visit early so that you can have the deck to yourselves (no photobombers).

 

7. Lembang Floating Market – Last stop in Bandung! Food, fun and fish!

 

Sadly when when we got there, it was nearly sunset, so we were not able to explore the mini park. Instead, we ate to our heart’s delight with an awesome spread of rabbit satay, gado-gado and banana fritters!

train pt kereta
8.   PT Kereta Api – The 4-hour train ride from Bandung to Jakarta was 
filled with so much view of plains and ricefields, it was like a Luzon (Philippines) tour on tracks.

 

The beauty of the timing (Monday before Ramadan) was that there were barely people in the train.

 

We could literally move from one seat to another, while taking videos of the sights. There was also free food! I got tofu and chicken.

Food colony 2

9. Plaza Atrium Mall – The Plaza Atrium mall in Jakarta was not your usual luxury city
mall. It was busy, noisy and had the food court named Food Colony that we kept coming back too.

Food colony

Weird, huh? We barely eat in the food courts in Manila but the draw here was that everything was Indonesian food that we wanted to try (satay, fried duck, fried fish, durian shakes, ketoprak and karedok).

The latter 2 were vegetables and noodle dishes doused with peanut sauce, so everything was flavorful and healthy.

Did I get my peanut fill? Yes. Did I eat there again? Yes!
View from hotel heef
10. Heef Hotel. Our hotel was quaint, very IG friendly because of strategically placed cute chairs, wall decor and a transparent elevator. I never got the chance to take photos because either it was dark or I was too tired to remember!

The breakfast buffet spread was simple and very Indonesian – I say very local because it didn’t have eggs or cereal – what you’d expect from a Western friendly buffet. Vegetarian-wise, it was filling but Westerners expecting for a full-on continental breakfast may find the other fares too exotic.

McDonald's 2

11.  Last but not the least, McDonald’s. It has always been my rule not to eat fastfood in other countries, but in Indonesia, I broke the rule twice – ate at KFC (2x) and McDonald’s (1 very big meal).

KFC was NOT noteworthy because they have NO gravy!

But, McDonald’s was a delight because they had all sorts of sidings (sambal and fried shallots) that were so cute and appetizing in the photos, we bought them all just to sample them!

McDonalds Apple BAnana Pie

The sambal did not go well with my fish and chips, but the shallots rocked. The tartar sauce was just mayo, but it was having ICED MILO in the menu that made McDo here the overall winner! Plus they had World Cup decor throughout the restaurants while in Manila, no one seemed to care about the World Cup.

Turns out I haven’t posted about the food, uh-oh! More on those soon! I must tell you about the gado-gado, durian shake and rabbit satay! Stay tuned.

 

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The ELYU (La Union) Conquest

lazy black cat goes surfing

With just one day in San Juan, La Union, we had to do everything we wanted in less than 24 hours!

 

First stop, Bahay na Bato or Kamay na Bato in Luna, La Union. Waze was super helpful to locate this Korean-inspired museum of stone sculptures bordering on the weird and “green”.

Of course my favorites were the strange little ones. Hey there.

Lunch was a Gefseis Greek Grill. Chicken and Lamb Souvlaki and Grilled Octopus!

IMG_1079

The souvlakis were authentically tasty and mildly spicy. The grilled octopus was tinier than expected, but perfectly seasoned, so no complaints there.

Goes well with beer or yogurt shake on the menu. Perfect!

surfing la union urbiztondo

Highlight was a surfing lesson at the beach. At P400/hour, getting #stoked was well worth the bruises and salt water ingested.

If I get another vacation, it would be to surf all day!

Thanks to the DJI Spark for the awesome drone shots.

Dinner was at Se-bay simply because it was overlooking the sunset and sea. One by one, the surfers bade the waves goodbye. What a sight.

The food though – Chicken in a Basket and Sisig – not so much of a fill.

Breakfast. This one, I totally forgot. It was a colorfully painted cafeteria-like place along the national highway that served all sorts of “logs”.

You name it: tapsilog, bangsilog and longsilog on the photo. A perfect breakfast cap for the surfing weekend.

Will I come back? You betcha elyu! Just wait!

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Heisenberg visits Gino’s Brick Oven Pizza

ginos brick oven pizza

When you try a Breaking Bad stunt without a proper Heisenberg approach, you end up fleeing Market! Market! like sad Jesse Pinkman.

But enough of crystal talk, getting choked out of the scary place led us to the only comfort of life in nearby Serendra. Thank God for Gino’s Brick Oven Pizza!

gino brick oven serendra

Nothing could better than Sunday Funday Pizza, and to add that this was our first visit to Gino’s Brick Oven Pizza.

First rule was no pasta! So we ended up with:

Buffalo chicken pizza

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

Let’s just say that it was sweeter/tastier than our expected flavor. Also the chicken strips were marinated and shredded so they looked like corned beef! I was expecting slightly larger chicken breast strips but the little strips gave more impact on the flavor.

Maybe next time they should bring the pizza to our table right ASAP. A little delay deprived us of the smoke and cheese porn! The mozzarella cooled quite fast.

stracciatella pizza

Stracciatella Pizza

This was a salad on pizza and just lovely to look at! Topped with cloud-like stracciatella, first instinct was to spread it all over the pizza. Next was to mix it with the buffalo chicken pizza to temper its flavor.

This pizza was as delectable as it was pretty and the arugula lent to just the right tang.

ginos brick oven pizza serenda

All in all, I would like to go back and try the other pizza flavors at Gino’s. Again, I’m still dubious if I wish to try the pasta because I still have loads of other pizza variants to try.

Till our next Breaking Bad mission!

 

 

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So you think you can cook: The Cook by Hongleepark

the cook review festival

First question: Who is Hongleepark? This question was never answered to this day, so any shout-out might help.

the cook by hongleepark

Second question: Does The Cook exist? Sadly this was not answered too. However I feel that The Cook was out on the day we ate.

Third question: How was the Bingsu? Isn’t that a popular Korean dessert? Now, I’m beginning to sound like a useless blogger. No. I did not try the Bingsu that day because I was so stuffed from the spaghetti.

Which brings me to what we ate, can we talk about these instead?

the cook additional salad

Additional Salad – The Cook named it this way so please let’s not question his naming authority. It’s got the essential salad components drizzled with homemade garlic dressing. The dressing was too light and tasteless, I had to pour parmesan cheese to give it more tang.

I suppose this is what you call a basic salad, and if I were to revisit, would order pizza instead. There’s way too much corn!

Seafood Olive Spaghetti – Described as spaghetti in olive oil with fried garlicky squid, shrimps and clams—I’d say the pasta was high on the seafood level and lacking again on the taste department.

Although on the latter half, I found the dish filled with shells and missing clams.. hmm..

the cook hongleepark festival alabang

Maybe we should’ve ordered the tomato-based pasta, since this is what the Koreans in the other table ordered and they seemed quite pleased with their lunch.

Ah well. We will be back for some Bingsu this summer! By then, we hope to know who The Cook is!

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Are YO hungry for FALAFELS?

I’m always hungry, and with Yo Falafel! sprouting in the Greenbelt cinema area… I was suddenly hungry for… you guessed it, falafels!

Because the Falafel Yo! branch in Vertis North may never open, so I had to succumb to Makati cravings. I trekked over 1 km, under the near-summer heat just to get to Greenbelt on a random Monday, have my falafel to go, and walk back to work for another 1+km.

I suppose that day, I was far from being my usual lazy!

Enough with the chatter, and on to the main menu.

I had ordered the Original Falafel Yo at P159, and since it was a moody Monday, my order came with free Pita Fries. How cool is that?

 

My walk back to the office did not dislodge any of the falafels or fries – yes I walk fast but careful – so I was still take an awesome photo.

 

The Original Falafel Yo was filled with about 6 falafels, fried eggplants (I counted 2), pickled onions, cabbage (a kind of coleslaw) and a Mediterranean flavor coming from onions + tomatoes.

I took out the chili because it scared the hell out of me. The entire thing was difficult to eat it without getting my hands really messy!

Every bite was bursting with flavor, and being the neatness freak, I’d have a difficult time eating this inside a movie theater!

The pita fries was a gigantic serving and came with hummus that was topped with what seemed to taste like barbecue sauce. I’m not a fan of the barbecue powder (maybe garlic or garlic and cheese would go better with the falafel) and the barbecue-y sauce. The fries were totally filling; I couldn’t finish them on my own!

I’d say the walk was worth it, and the presentation was perfect. I love how my random Monday walk rewarded me with free fries!

The flavor, in my opinion, would be very appealing to the Filipino palate that loves sweet and salty and “barbecue”.

I however would favor more greens and hummus, in the future, and less of the salty Pinoy tang. If there would be a dominant flavor, oh please let it be garlic, tomatoes and let those falafels shine! Oh and lastly, wheat pitas! =)

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Viet-nom nom nom: The Ho Chi Minh Food Trek

ho chi minh food

Welcome to our Ho Chi Minh (HCM) Food Trek! I say food trek since we spent a great deal of our HCM vacation on foot. This was of course, our mental and financial preference – a perfect excuse to always eat some more!

As for the Banh Mi on the main photo, this was taken at Illy at the HCM Tan Son Nhat airport terminal and turns out, it has meat spread (aside from the chicken strips)! So sorry, I had to ditch this one for the carrot cake you will see later.

Note: Sorry guys, white meat only for this cheeky traveller so most of the stuff I ♥ were on the green side!

This post is just a summary of the awesome meals we had in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam! I am so bad with Vietnamese words, so pardon the typo and forgotten “names”. I tried!

Pho Ha

First stop was PHO HA at 2am in the morning. The place, let me tell you, was neither posh nor air-conditioned, but my, the pho was absolutely heartwarming and oozing with greens (which for me is such a rare treat).

pho ha 2pho ha

It would be odd to say that the chicken pho tasted legit (because this is Vietnam, duh). But truly, I haven’t had this herby and succulent flavor in any of the phos in Manila, so yes, I slurped the darn bowl since we were walking back to the hotel.

Duc Vuong  Hotel 

Interestingly, our hotel’s breakfast spread isn’t too bad. It has spaghetti, cornflakes, green beans, eggs and of course, chicken pho! Surprisingly, the hotel pho is not bad!

duc vuong pho

Black and Brown Coffee

Too early for the War Remnant Museum, we had our first authentic Vietnamese Coffee at Black and Brown Coffee. Perfectly rich, warm and sweet – this is something I could never replicate ever!

We just had a bit of a “lost in translation” moment with the waitress who could not understand napkin, tissue, paper, charading it did not help either – so we just grabbed it from the counter!

vietnamese coffee

Singapore Food Restaurant

After visiting the Mariamman Hindu Temple, we were famished and ate at the place right in front of it! Our commitment to pure Vietnamese food was broken when I indulged in Seafood Noodles.

Still it wasn’t so bad, especially when a cockroach asked me how my meal went and disappeared at the next table.

singapore food

Oh, they have free wifi, so we were able to take an Uber back to the hotel.

Sense Market

This one is one of those places that I could not remember, except for a photo of a mall-like structure that says Sense Market. However inside is like a food park where names and noodles just flooded my photo folder.

sense market

Confused and hungry, all I can remember was ordering a Vietnamese Omelet with 4 kinds of mushroom. It came with so much more – greens in a bilao! I wanted to bring them all home!

Vit Gay Restaurant (but searchable also as Duck Slim in Google)

This one I totally forgot. The key words I used in Google were “duck”‘ “Pasteur” and “in front of Saigon Centre”. 20% helpful. Luckily, googling duck curry and duck misua did the trick.

This place supposedly specializes in “duck” dishes. Well guess what, they can make that claim! Both duck dishes were rich and flavorful. I’m not normally a duck person, but that misua was like the perfect “duck pho” if you ask me.

Mekong Delta Tour: Mekong Tien Gang or Mekong Rest Stop

mekong delta tour menu

We went on a 1/2 day tour of Mekong Delta and lunch was included in the package. The place was literally named Mekong Rest Stop but it was  an outdoor place with a fish pond, so it wasn’t that touristy.

mekong delta tour

As the menu shows, we had 8 dishes, but my favorites include the Fried ball sticky rice (it was like tikoy with a crunchy crust below) and Crispy fried “elephant ear” fish. The latter was craftily placed in a roll with greens and vermicelli noodles – but I was too hungry to take a photo of the finished rolls! =(

Lastly as part of the Mekong tour, they let us sample that bee pollen with honey and banana chips, with a list of so many medicinal benefits and life changing blah-blah. Well the blah-blah seemed to have worked because we bought 3 packets of the bee pollen!

The one on the right are Cassava slices from our Cu Chi Tunnel tour. A filling snack!

Yamamoto Mattcha Cafe

Yes, they spell matcha with 2 letter Ts.

Lost and tired in Saigon Center, I just needed to have a matcha break. Found this Yamamoto place that had soft serve. In my honest opinion, it was on the expensive side but thank goodness, the rich matcha flavor made up for my price pain point.

Airport – Illy

Last but not the least, the waiting time in Tan Son Nhat Airport was like hours! We wanted to sleep in the pods but could not check in because we were too damn early.

hcm airport

Had to burn the remaining cash with the banh mi I wasted, beer and my precious carrot cake. Carrot cake = dinner!

All in all, the HCM Food Trek was totally awesome. If I would come back for just the food, it wouldn’t be a lie!

Lazy Black Cat’s Top 3:

  1. Pho Ha – Chicken Pho
  2. Vit Gay – Duck Misua
  3. Mekong Rest Stop – Crispy fried “elephant ear” fish

 

 

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My Silantro Love

Silantro Fil-Mex | UP Town Center

silantro head.png

Not to mess with the English dictionary but let us start by clarifying that “cilantro” is Chinese parsley, otherwise known as coriander; whereas “Silantro” (with an S) is the Fil-Mex restaurant that is the subject of the blog post.

When you say Fil-Mex + UP Town Center, only one place comes to mind: Silantro. Synonymous to lines, QC, cheap treats and expansion wishlist, this place is a haven to the northern foodies craving for vegetables disguised with Mexican flavors.

papis fritas silantro uptc.jpg

Papi’s Fritas

nachos silantro.jpg

Nachos

As to the presence of cilantro in all of Silantro’s dishes may be a question reserved to the chef.

In my incessant munching in between sips of water, what stuck in my gastronomic memory were bits of onions, salsa and the occasional cheese. So much for Mexican food savant.

lamb tacos silantro.jpg

Lamb Tacos (Completo)

chicken tacos.jpg

Chicken Tacos (Medio)

Rather that describe each dish, which by the way consistently offered that signature Silantro flavor (in a positive way), I’m learning to be concise in my writing. On point. Let’s give it a try:

Silantro’s dishes give out that much awaited Mexican punch, in a price and atmosphere that are most acceptable for the Pinoy palate. I fully appreciate the mucho serving size without sacrificing flavor.

The intensity of the zest, flavors and salsa, coupled with the heaps of vegetables (lazy black cat approved) gives it a health edge as well. All in all, the queuing was all worth the wait.

While not much can be done about the queuing time, a girl can just wish that this can be managed. How? Well that’s not my problem. =)

silantro up town center.jpg

Oh, here’s what we ate:

Nachos, Papi’s Fritas, Lamb tacos (Completo), Chicken tacos (Medio

Wishlist-wise, do open a branch in Trinoma or The Block. We absolutely hate the parking system in UP Town Center. It is a labyrinth and a burden to the hungry and impatient.

 

 

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Do’s and Dohtonbori

Neko

DO say “Konnichiwa” to Maneko Neki and Daruma-san!

If you are lazy and blessed with non-cooking abilities like me, DO try Dohtonbori for that wonderful grilling experience.

I had my omelettes cooked by the waiter, which is part of their service for the lazy ones who refuse to get their pores steamed early in the day.

Our visit at Dohtonbori SM North was perfect timing–early enough to get front seats and before the noisy, lunch time crowd set it. DO sit where it suits your fancy; in our case, near the pitcher station, and since it was a steamy session with the grill, our tiny glasses had to be refilled a gazillion times.

DO order the Quattro Formaggi. The 4-cheese omelette is perfect for non meat eaters. It also offers that creamy and homey touch that makes you want to put your feet up and watch anime all day. Drizzle it will whatever sauce on your table, and it just gets better!
Omelette Yakisoba Dohtonbori

DO also order the Omelette Yakisoba. While it does have meat in it, I had ours cooked on the side. Ta-dah what we got was a meatless Yakisoba!

Cooking YakisobaPerfectly cooked and seasoned–it was all worth the wait! I drizzled all the condiments on our table and each bite just got better and better. The noodles were chewy and lent that texture needed for balance the omelette’s softness.

Mixing it with the Quattro Formaggi was also a good idea!

CAlamari

If you’re just into the omelette experience, you DO NOT need to try the Fried Calamari. The 9 squid pieces were just mediocre, heftily breaded and with a sauce that was nothing extraordinary. If you wish to splurge on the Dohtonbori experience, you’re better off with anything cooked on the grill!

Am planning the next visit–now that the rainy season’s begun and the pores won’t be as angry as Daruma-san =)

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Grub a Bite or Two @GrubHubPH

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1 Grub Hub Visayas Avenue

Being a Quezon City girl, it’s fun to see interesting food place popping in our locale. From food parks to expanding malls, QC is becoming a destination, and we’re not just talking Maginhawa here.

 

2 grub hub wall mural 2

Moving further up North, one of the new eye-catching fixtures is Grub Hub. More like a sprawling green food warehouse, it brings together the artsy vibe with refreshing murals and a happy mix of feasts. If you’re familiar with F.I.S.H. (47 Congressional cor. Visayas Ave.) it just sunk one day and next thing we knew, Grub Hub sprouted its awesome stalls and became a corner favorite of the locals.

4 grub hub mural 4

Open everyday from 11am to 11pm (until 1am on weekends), parking can get a little bit of a challenge. While you can park at the adjacent China Bank (outside office hours), best to visit while it’s early and you get your choice of seats.

5 grub hub junkyard

Seat choices? For real! Depending on your mood or #cotd (craving of the day), you have a range of seating locations to suit your fancy.

There’s the Junkyard that welcomes you with recycled décor, tire seats and artsy tables. By recycled, we mean the previous décor from FISH, reused for this new set-up. Organic art—my kind of place!

7 Grub hub the greenhouse

Then there’s the enclosed air-conditioned space called the Greenhouse. If you opt for a cooler place with plants and peace, this one’s for you.

Alternatively, there’s the Hippieyard, complete with nipa huts and lanterns and the only thing lacking is the sand on your feet. Doesn’t matter though because the Godzilla mural makes up for the trippy-tropical vibe.

10 Hobbit hole day

Not to be missed is the Hobbit Hall where all your food selections are lined up in the hobbit-fashion.

Hop from one stall to another and feel like Frodo going on a picnic. 

11 grub hub mural 3

Good grub

The hub has about 17 food stalls that cater to cravings of every hungry niche—Japanese, Mexican, sweet tooth, vegetarian, bacon, pulutan-questors, budget-watchers and of course, the barkada bundle.

We were not able to eat from all stalls, but here’s a quick glimpse of what Grub Hub has to offer and the top 3 interesting items I spotted from their menu.

Of course, let me start with the places where I bought from, ate and conquered.

12 noble comida stall

Noble Comida

Top Picks

  1. Nachos P195 (Reg), P245 fiesta – Nacho Chips with beef, salsa and cheese sauce
  2. Chicken Quesadillas P145
  3. El Coco Pollo 4 pcs 195, 8 pcs 375 – A unique union of chicken and coconut breading

The first thing I look for in any food park is Mexican food! Anything that rhymes with nacho, goes well salsa and just bursts with aroma calls out to me. So imagine my delight to find every Mexican fantasy I have under one roof – nachos, tacos, quesadillas and pollo dishes that you just have to try.

The cheese quesadilla was such a steal for P125—with a creamy filling and just perfect with salsa. On its own, it can already serve as an awesome meal. The Nachos are such a hit with the kids—I must have seen an order every time I passed the stall. Oozing with cheese and with the right crisp, this is the perfect choice for a grande group!

15 st micks wing bar facade

St. Mick’s Wing Bar

Top Picks

  1. Salted Egg with Curry leaves
  2. Teriyaki
  3. Sriracha Honey

If you’re in the mood for flavored wings, then St. Mick’s just wings it. While they boast of the naked chicken which is delectable enough, plain and unadulterated, they have interesting flavors that you may be interested to try, depending on your mood for the day.

16 st micks sriracha honey wings

We tried the Sriracha Honey wings (P180 / 8 pieces with dip) and got gigantic pieces that offered a delightful sweet crunch. A bit mild on the spiciness level though, so this would be enjoyed even by the kids. The creamy garlic dip that came on the side was a watered down version of the bleu cheese dip we’re used to, but manages to do the job of tempering the wing’s robust flavor.

17 Chillout cooks grub hub

Chillout Cooks

Top Picks:

  1. Anti Depression P229 – Deep fried chocolate hazelnut marshmallows pie + 2 magic brownies + 3 deep fried vanilla glazed cinnamon Oreos
  2. The Original Fried Pie P99 – Pepperoni, mozzarella cheese, Chillout cooks secret sauce, and special herbs
  3. Munchies P249 – The Original Fried Pie + 4 Cheese Fried Pie + Vanilla French Onion Rings

This is Bob Marley meets the deep fryer. Think One Love served in greasy pans. The fried pizza is their thang and their Chillax Menu ought to bring you happy trippy thoughts with the power of magic (seriously they have magic brownies).

Their signature Fried Pizza took longer to photograph, than the actual eating of less than 5 minutes.

The Cheesy Cheese Bombs, I painstakingly tried to preserve. However, the longer it took, the colder the cheese got and at the end of the meal, we were left with 90% dough and.. where’d the cheese go? Best to eat within 5 minutes of serving too!

Papa Beer

Top Picks

  1. Beer Battered Crispy Greens – P65 single, 125 bucket
  2. Chicken Poppers 120
  3. Grablets Crablets P160

The Papa has interestingly named dishes that just beckon you to go for a beer and order any tongue twisters. Grablets Crablets, Onion Rims, Pare Calamare. Glad to see beer battered greens—that’s something new in my list—and boy were they filling! The batter has that sweet-spicy flavor that could really go well with, the Italian Cremosa from Café Fratello (sorry, not a beer drinker).

 

The Pare Calamare was cooked just right, perfectly soft, that it could be eaten sans the sauce. The batter of the calamare was milder and toned down, which would be my preference since I had other flavorful dishes to eat this with.

23 aji sushi stall

Aji Sushi

Top Picks

  1. Cheetos Roll P139– Spicy tuna, cream cheese, bacon, crushed Cheetos mixed with Japanese mayo topped with Cheetos
  2. Golden Dragon Roll P159 – Eel, tuna, ebiko and cream cheese mixed with spicy mayo
  3. Ebi and Vegetable Tempura– P200

When you see Cheetos and Tonkatsu under one roof, you know you can’t possibly skip that place. Aji Sushi offers a not-so-usual take on the favorite Japanese goods. From Alaska Roll to a variety of tempura combos, you can get your Japanese fix here.

 

We ordered the California Maki, Crazy Maki and Fire Roll—all lined up and seamlessly handcrafted. The rice was freshly cooked, that lent to the fresh steaminess of the maki. The Fire Roll was tuna drizzled with chili oil, so no wasabi was needed to get you all fired up! In terms of flavor, a hint of citrus may have livened up the rolls a bit, but for their price, the taste is fairly reasonable.

Café Fratello

Top Picks:

  1. Horlicks Coffee Chocolate Malt Fratccino P120
  2. Oreo Pretzel Cream Frappe P150
  3. Matcha Creamy Milk Green Tea Fratccino P120

Café Fratello specializes in crafting frappes and their own concoction, the fratccino. If there is a brotherhood of creamy goodness, this would be it. I spotted Horlicks and Matcha in the menu, so count me in this… sisterhood. To top it all off, they also have a cookie frap (+cookie to any frap). Isn’t that just sweet?

26 Fratello Blueberry Italian Cremosa

The Italian Cremosa flavored with Blueberry was so large, it took 2 of us to finish that fruity cup! Very refreshing especially in the summer heat, the cream also doubled as a dessert!

27 brooks grub hub

Brook’s Burgers

Top Picks

  1. Chicken Chimichanga P180 – Deep fried burrito topped with chicken, garlic sauce and cilantro
  2. Beer Battered Fish and Chips P160- 1 whole deep fried beer battered cream dory, served with fries and your choice of dip
  3. Grilled Cheese Sandwich Burger P200 – 1/3 lbs pure beef patty with cheese sauce in between 2 grilled mozzarella and cheddar cheese sandwiches *served with our special marinara sauce

Cheese lovers, unite! With deep-fried varieties, fries and cheesy goodness overflowing from Brook’s, you ought to stop and just smell the cheese. My brother stopped and ate the cheese (with his grilled cheese sandwich burger) and fries, but sadly, failed to finish that one last bite. Maybe he was full or maybe… is there such a thing as cheesified?

28 Brooks Old Fashioned Cheeseburger

While typing the menu items, I wonder about that missing marinara from the photo. Looks like someone forgot about the sauce!

Hokkian Kitchen Co.

Top Picks:

  1. Siomai Platter P449
  2. Salted Egg Prawn P239
  3. Chicken Siomai P80

If you’re in the mood for Chinese food, then this place has that wide range of the usual favorites from Cereal Prawns to a Dimsum Platter!

Yang Chow rice is an available option and goes well with the Orange Chicken. The Pork Siomai serves as the rightful pairing for the sweetened chicken. The beef noodles my brother got though was lacking on the “heating” and flavor department, so best to stick with the unbeatable fried rice and dimsum combination.

 

32 Sub Zero gelato

Sub Zero Gelato

Top Picks

  1. NY Cheesecake
  2. Mint with chocolate chips
  3. Strawberry

The only thing that can top a gelato is brownie-topped gelato! From interesting flavors that range from cereal to matcha, the decision even gets more complex when deciding what to top it with.

Mang Larry’s Isawan

Top Picks:

  1. Isaw Manok
  2. Tenga
  3. Gizzard

If you’re from UP, you can relate to 2 things: the food and the queue! From the Hobbit Hall, you can already spy the line and that can only be for the P10 street food. From everyone’s go-to isaw to the adventurous gizzard, you can’t possibly leave Mang Larry’s with just a stick.

Yzzy Eats

Top Picks

  1. Bacon Fried Like Chicken – P165 regular / 85 solo
  2. Parmesan Chick Stick – P75
  3. Japanese Chick Stick – P75

If you keep on hearing BFLC, it’s not a secret code, it’s just their well-known “Bacon Fried Like Chicken”. Use the lingo and enjoy that specially seasoned bacon that gives off our favorite fried chicken feel. If bacon’s not your go-to comfort food, have a chick stick—flavored or plain—and this time the chicken’s the real deal.


Chica’s Chicharronia

Top Picks

  1. Chili Garlic Sisig Squid P175
  2. Crispy Pata with Chicha Flakes P495
  3. Chicharon Bulaklak Platter P150

So many C’s in the menu makes you c clearly that chicharon is the special-c! Everything is crisp and fried, and makes the perfect barkada destination. If you’ve got a pescatorian in the bunch (hint, hint) there’s c-food in the menu for you too!

Papa Natz Pizzeria

Top Picks

  1. Shrimp Parmigiana P319
  2. Margherita P239

The family was gung-ho to try out the Shrimp Parimigiana when we arrived at 11:45am. I was so excited to order the biggest pie the minute I stepped into the Hobbit Hole, so imagine the disdain when I was told that the oven would be ready in the afternoon (literally, in a matter of hours). And so to this day, I will wonder how the Shrimp Parmigiana pizza will taste like and photos in Instagram will always haunt me like a brokenhearted past. #ilovepizza #ireallydo

Porchetta MNL

Top Picks

  1. Chicken Chimichanga P180
  2. Meaty Lasagna Roll up P160
  3. Chef’s Porchetta in ciabatta bread, salsa verde, garlic mayo – P169

Take “porchetta” as the key word, and you know what to expect, a meat fest bathed with Italian flavors. Looking closely at the menu though, the pasta dishes cater to greens

Wicked Kitchen

Top Picks

  1. Gluttony – Soft and chewy freshly baked chocolate ship cookie, ice cream, whipped cream and choco syrup
  2. Greed – Skillet s’mores melted chocolate, puffed mallows, graham crackers P188
  3. Envy – Chocolate milk shake

The Wicked Kitchen whips up the 7 deadly sins in their most delicious form. If you cannot decide between lust or envy, it’s okay to let Gluttony to take over. Best when shared though, so that you can have a taste of more than one—and have greed for last

Joey’s Charcoal Grill

Top Picks

  1. Lamb Shoulder rubber with own blend of Garam Masala with Chimichurri Sauce + Rice P270
  2. Classic Porterhouse/T-Bone with Gravy + Rice P250
  3. Miso Marinated Salmon Belly with toyomansi + Rice P120

It’s a grill that specializes in steaks, so if you’re feeling extravagant and don’t feel like indulging in street food, this lamb’s for you.

Big Tummiez

Top Picks

  1. Churros Ice Cream Sandwich P125
  2. Churros with Ice cream P135
  3. Churros with Matcha Dip P99

Big Tummiez specializes in churroz, and makes any churro fantasy real! Seriously, if you’ve ever envisioned making sandwiches or flavored filling/dips, this place will just haunt you until you give in.

Mrs. Lumpia

Top Picks

  1. Taco Platter topped with mozzarella cheese and served with salsa P199
  2. Beef Shawarma with Shawarma Rice P139
  3. Chicken Shanghai with Sausage Rice P129

Lumpia is just one of the dishes that Mrs. Lumpia has up her sleeve. With kebab meals, beef shawarma, lasagna rolls and lots of other rolls (lumpia), this stall has a smorgasbord of affordable meals that the missus can boast of.

Miggy Piggy

Top Picks

  1. Bacon Belly in Chimichurri P150 – Deep fried bacon cut pork belly in chimchurri sauce topped with salsa
  2. Chori Friedwich – Deep fried buns with chorizo patty splashed with our BBQ sauce
  3. Lechon Kawali P150 – Our take on the classic Pinoy comfort food topped with salsa served with Mang Tommy

Take the 2nd name “Piggy” and you got yourself a mix and match of pork favorites that you can possibly imagine. The Chori Friedwich alone will trigger that impulse to order ASAP, but no worries since sharing seems to be the Grub Hub code.

6 grub hub junkyard2

 

Hub a Seat

All in all, the Grub Hub PH experience was insanely clouded with so many choices that no human—no matter how hungry you are—could find satiation with just one visit. As much as I felt that I still had room for chicken poppers or churros, the tummy simply turned its back on me

Some tips for those who wish to visit Grub Hub:

  1. The early bird doesn’t always get all the worms. By early, I mean opening time. The food park opens at 11am and we were there at 11:45 am on a Saturday. Papa Natz Pizzeria needed hours to pre-heat the oven, and Aji Sushi required an hour to steam the rice.
  2. Hate late. Arriving late also has the downside—not finding a parking spot. So if you live close to the area, we found that riding a bike (may not be an option for a lot) or taking an Uber may solve the parking dilemma.
  3. Bring change. Yes, just like the jeepney that displays “Barya lang sa umaga.” (Change only in the morning), that rule applies here as well. I had difficulty getting change to my P1,000 bill and it was absolutely troublesome for me and the sellers.

33 grub hub greenhouse

  1. No water, no problem. They have a beverage bar where it is actually recommended to buy drinks from. Bringing in other store-bought drinks is a no-no so just best to order their yummy iced tea in mason jars.

34 Hokkian kitchen flatlay

  1. Bring a friend or five! Seriously, going on a date is typical but bringing in the clan will be more beneficial since you will get the chance to try out more dishes from potentially all the stalls!3 grub hub mural
  2. Stop and Stare. While there’s a lot of the commotion in the food sector, find the time to admire the beauty of the place. The artistic murals, painted tables and fantastic lanterns are all IG-worthy as well and deserve a clap, a loving pat or just a camera click or two. I have a ton stored in my phone!
  3. Green minded? If looking for vegetarian or semi-healthy treats, don’t worry. I recommend the Crispy Greens from Papa Beer, the Margherita Pizza from Papa Natz Pizzeria, Mac and Cheese from Brook’s, and the Cheese Quesadilla from Noble Comida. Wicked Kitchen, Sub Zero Gelato and Café Fratello will solve your sweet tooth cravings, so this grub’s definitely for anyone and not just the meat eaters!

 

 

 

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Le-zy Black Cat goes to Le Petit Souffle

century city mall

What I liked about the Le Petit Souffle menu was that it was brimming and skipping with cats.

How do you like it meow?

century city mall restaurant

Admittedly out first visit to Le Petit Souffle (Century City Mall) was redeemed only by the catty menu.

It warranted a second visit because the parfait was not available (tsk, tsk) and it was my priority over the souffle. Hence, we had no choice but to settle with the (slightly delayed) souffle par-tay.

le petit souffle dessert

The Valrhona Guanaja Souffle (adorned by my cats), sank after a few minutes of photo ops. I never had the chance to dig in to its full-bodied souffle grandeur. It tasted like the lighter sister of the angry lava cake.

where to eat makati, dessert

The Matcha Valrhona Ivoire Souffle came heaps of minutes later. Either they whipped up a second batch or forgot all about our green order.

no no souffle

We were not much of a fan of the Frozen Souffle (Souffle Glace). The citrus hints just overpowered the Vanilla Bean, and the flowers did not help calm the raging palate.

where to eat restaurant century city mall

Luckily, visit #2 gave us a chance to sample the savory treats.

vegetarian food makati

My heart goes to the Vegetarian Soba Pasta which was the opposite of the overpowering vanilla bean-citron souffle. It was light yet hearty and still paved the way for dessert. And look at the mushrooms! Love it!

le petit souffle makati

The Squid Ink Rice was a carby feast for anyone who wanted an adequate balance of rice, seafood and egg. It was too filling for one, and a pleasant to-share dish since sharing the black teeth makes lunch even more spectacular. =P

le petit souffle dessert

Last but certainly not the least, finally, the Matcha Parfait makes it appearance after lunch!

This is what matcha desserts ought to be made of!  Perfectly creamy yet matcha-filled, this one was worth the wait. Those Pepero sticks were an added bonus too!

A bit on the pricey side, but this little cup is sure to make the trip to Le Petit Souffle worth the traffic, the wait and the 2nd chance.

 

 

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