Category Archives: Smorgasbord

Gain and Simple: Simple Lang

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Tempted to entitle this “Pain and Simple”, I had to stop myself before I give you the wrong impression about the place.

Yes, I was in pain when we ate at Simple Lang, but no, the food did not cause the malady. I was in pain before I learned that we were having dinner in this strangely named place, and with the power of Salonpas and friendly company, I enjoyed dinner rather pain-free.

Simple Lang (Ayala Triangle) is truly named such, and it is rather difficult to type this as my fingers default to the small “L” for lang—if you know what I mean. “Simple Lang” is best translated as “It’s simple”pertaining to the simplicity of the food or perhaps imbibing the comfort food aspect of Filipino favorites.

 

Well, whatever the case may be, there is nothing simple about it or its menu items. Simple is fried fish or grilled squid, but here, we get fancily named items with equally superb plating—and I can’t complain about that! I would just abhor the idea of walking all the way to Ayala Triangle just to get a dose of fried tilapia, which in all honesty and simplicity, I detest.

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To start off, we had Crispy Ukoy and Green Mango because it had that promising Thai twist. Also, most appetizers had meat in them or had exotic specimens I was not interested in at the moment (Gising Gising, Laing or Alugbati—please do not ask for a translation!) The Ukoy was a tad too hard, we feared it would further displace my already painful shoulder. I managed to shove big chunks in my mouth and let my teeth suffer instead.

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The MBT – Monggo Bagnet Tinapa was customized for my dietary preference, placing the “B” (bagnet) on the side. The result was a creamy and heartwarming monggo soup with slightly bitter tinapa flakes. The bagnet-on-the-side became an added viand—a win-win idea!

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The Super Pla Pla came in its gigantic fried glory. It was a leviathan beast with less fish meat than expected. Most of the mass went to the deep fried enlargement (aka pinaputok or “burst”) which translates to ummm… crisp air! The “buro” (sauce) on the side formed a love affair with my peers, but the evident rice grains scared me away. More for them! All I wanted was to pinch the pla pla until extinction—no buro required for me!

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The Calamansi Honey Fried Chicken (sorry, blurred!) was typical in taste and more honey than calamansi (sour). The fried garlic did wonders to this otherwise greasy dish, but I would suppose for the Filipino variety—toyomansi-based fried chicken will always be the supreme flavour! Add more garlic and forget buro!

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All those fried and flavourful viands only contributed to a sweet yet light craving. Ice cream and cheesecake were crossed off the list since Banapple was infinitely filled so we settled with the in-house Turon Bites. This was partly due to our noisy table neighbours who must have not seen one another in 10 years. Boisterous as hell, we couldn’t help but stare at their table every second or so and spotted those pointy sticks!

The turon bites were simply fried banana and mantou morsels drizzled with condensed milk. The barbecue sticks added to the novelty, and the milky bread, I had to forego. The banana bites were enough for me!

Simple Lang attempts to mend my long lost love for Filipino food. It did part of the deal by getting me to eat (with seconds) the monggo soup sans the bagnet. There is still that greasy after-taste that comes with most dishes, so my best refuge would be a long walk or a cup of tea afterward.

Still, with other choices in the Ayala area, there will be other cravings—maybe for more turon?

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I Scream! #icecreamfordinner

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For a string of lonesome weeks, I had #dessertfordinner and #icecreamfordinner on Friday nights.

My night cap and stress killer and tear-catcher, the shoulder to cry on and the punching bag to abuse with my profanity—that was ice cream!

And so Ice Cream Nights was formed. Yes, I did scream for ice cream—scream so loud, getting a sore throat was imminent, but I do not care.

It was fattening and an act of gluttony, especially if I had dinner #2 at home, but #dessertfordinner was the Friday norm.

In St. Marc Café, two visits were warranted since I went through a “cone” phase. For some reason, I dreamt of waffle cones and detested plastic cups!

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The Rikyu was fine since it came with a side scoop of matcha ice cream. At the bottom of the cone was the excellent surprise of frosted flakes! Of course they were too sweet the first time around, so make sure you have access to water before you burst into chatter, laughter or near-death choking fits.

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Madonna came next and was bathed in frozen chunks of strawberries and chocolate syrup. The strawberries were fine but my hangry side wanted more oomph and juice, and the chocolate syrup tasted like Hershey Brown Cow—making the cone really sticky that I felt like a 5-year old!

Not sure if I was more stressed than usual because I finished the cone even before we reached the end of the parking lot. This is the part where I eat at home again.

Oh Madonna, you small and sticky, girl!

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Rita’s Italian Ice is a Greenhills favorite, but I really am not fond of the “ice”. Love the custard, hate the ice. Hence, I had to order the custard swirl sundae cone.

Too embarrassed to walk around licking a large cone, I had it inverted on a cup “to go”. Lovely. Just look at it!

It took so long to finish in the car, we were nearly halfway through EDSA northbound. Worth every lick! Haha!

Last but not the least is the newly opened Honey Crème in Trinoma. Found at the GF near Gourdo’s, it’s so new, the aircon doesn’t even seem to be working yet (or not even installed? Haha).

I had it to-go but in reality, there’s no to-go plan or cover or paperbag, so it really seems that I was just talking to myself.

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The guy who concocted my Organic Multi Grain Cup did not seem like an enthusiastic creator and left me as I was asking about the “take out” method. Hmm.. I guess they want us to eat it in their Purgatory tables. I ate it while walking and tried not to finish it before reaching the parking lot again!

It was a tiny cup for P175! The grains were supposed to be a mixture of health seeds and nuts but all I could detect was polvoron-like sesame grains and honey.

It was okay, but it was too damn small for its price. When I got home, I ate a big bowl of salad with Doritos. Hunger not solved!

That’s it for Ice Cream Nights! My next target is BLK 513 at Megamall, which is likely to happen in 2017 given the traffic and mayhem. Anyway, there’s Rita’s Italian Ice in UP Town Center in case of emergency and Jamba Juice in Trinoma has a new peanut butter banana split—will do for now.

 

 

 

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BOXPARK MNL: Eating Outside the Box

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Welcome to District 1 (QC), BOXPARK MNL! To grace our ghetto district with a food park is a gracious gastronomic sign!

Northern foodies will finally have options other than Cocoy’s Pares, a Veneto and our string of lechon manok stalls.

For 2 consecutive Saturdays we scoured BoxPark MNL along Congressional Ave. for early dinner fares. Unfortunately we missed Cajita churros on both accounts—so 2 points for Mr. Diggins for being the consistent dessert provider.

Points also for the hasty service, Mr. Diggins, so we start off the gastro-journey with you.

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Mr. Diggins serves ice cream with waffles, with 4 topping/flavours to choose from. We consistently bought that Black Bay because it seemed like the best choice.

Come on, can’t go wrong with chocolate popcorn and syrup!

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I had tried the Great White as a novel choice, and whilst the pretzels did look pretty, my heart still lingers to the Black Bay. With the very filling waffle, cooked on-the-spot, a good deal at P95!

We normally eat at the Thai Food table, since it has a roof (#Nona) and that cozy corner garden ambience. This explains why most of the purchases went to this stall, but don’t get me wrong, they were all worth it—including the wait!

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We loved the Pad Thai since it was quite a steal at P100, had shrimps and loads of tofu. The flavour was acceptably Thai (and not too overwhelming), it was filling on its own and only gluttony would dictate buying from the neighbors. The Thai Fried Rice was the rice counterpart, but I really find noodles the more enjoyable carb option.

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The lady cooks the food upon order, which can take some time during peak hours. Luckily Mr. Diggins kept us company during those waiting hunger pangs.

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The chicken tenders came from 1957 Chicken Stop and had gravy and cheese dip choices. From the looks of the cheese dip, you could guess it was diluted Cheezee whilst the gravy is the normal one. The chicken tenders were, well, tender and fresh, and partially reminiscent of a slight KFC peppery flavour.

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Colonel Frank’s serves hotdog sandwiches with a twist, but my brother was not interested in any innovative venture and just wanted to enjoy a plain dog on the brioche. He got what he wanted (no idea how he communicated this plain jane request), but was not too happy with the bread (he was expecting French flair) and the hotdog (had better)—which is probably why Colonel Frank’s is best enjoyed with the mac and cheese on top.

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Pie Guys opened a bit late (or we came too early) so the Mashinator (Pulled Pork) came in during dessert time. With spuds and pie forming the crowning glory, it was comfort food variety that was really filling. We had to bring home the other half of the crown.

Last but not the least is the Mexican place with the longest name: Plaza de Taqueria Mexicana Cantina. The “Taqueria” held quite a queue one early Saturday afternoon because it was one of the few stalls open.

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The Taqueria, that day, was quite busy: the orders didn’t come at the same time (forgivable), the girl kept on referring to the enchilada as “chalupa” (so we thought it was the wrong order) and they forgot my fish tacos (but pretended not to).

While I have no idea how the back kitchen operates, I could imagine it was topsy-turvy with folks calling everything and each other “Chalupa!” Kaloka.

While the food items certainly looked lip-smacking delectable, they were more mediocre than their beautiful plating.

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The nachos were hmmm-kay and the fish tacos held tiny fish chunks and more salsa.  The salsa was spicy great, but the portion was on the pequeno side.

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The Quesodilla seemed pretty comfy in its wooden block, but when a slow eater finishes it in a jiffy—you know someone wants to have dessert ASAP!

While I haven’t tried everything in BoxPark MNL (Cajitas huhu), our initial verdict that that we shall come back for Thai Food’s Pad Thai! And if we have room for dessert (wait, we always do!) it’ll be Black Bay by Mr. Diggins.

Goodie, finally a QC foodie destination right along our ghetto Congressional Avenue! Finally a spot on the map!

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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).

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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

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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!

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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.

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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).

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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!
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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!
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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.
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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.

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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).

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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.
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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.
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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!

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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!
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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.
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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!

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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.
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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.
Falafel

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 taste.com.au 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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