Tag Archives: BGC

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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The Perfect Pint (Or in my case, Shake)

bar drinks bgc review

Misplaced and helplessly dry, I found myself trying to “conceal” my lack of liquor in The Perfect Pint (BGC). The name alone suggests what the place serves, and albeit there is an ice cream reference that perhaps only I could detect, The Perfect Pint is obviously more of a pub than a creamery.

where to go bgc

The placemat alone present a graphic process flow of beer drinking behavior and Beer 101 trivia. If I say my beer is stout and hoppy – you’d best nod your head and not laugh. And yes, there’s wheat as well. Look at that fiber potential.

j.anne gonzales blog

Being the strange one though, I ordered the closest thing to liquor that a no-beer drinker could possibly get her hands on, Grape Shake! It was gorgeously sweet with wee bits of grape peels floating all over the glass. It alternated as dessert as well, given the sugar fix.

gastropub bgc

Of course the arrogant one who could not find the Arrogant Bastard Ale went for the next thing on the list: IPA / India Pale Ale. In that huge glass of frothy perfection, even Taco Tuesday becomes The Tuesday. The Katipunan Signal No. 1 looked more like coke float with coffee hints – not too much appeal for the arrogant ones.

lazy black cat blog

The Fish and Chips were deep fried and went with the unusual sauce pairing, what seemed to be thick ranch/sour cream. While it was no malt vinegar, it was a comforting dish, and if only the sauce came in unlimited ceramic spoons – then I would say, come back for more!

Appetizer drinks fort bonifacio

The Buffalo Wings came with what we’d expect, bleu cheese on the side. This time, the bleu cheese consistency was watery, too thin to even coat the chicken. Oh and I almost forgot – it came with vegetable sticks – 3 minute carrot and celery sticks each! It wasn’t the best in the house, but looking at the pizza on the other table, hmmm.. I suppose the carbs might be the next hit!



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Skippy’s Bar and Grill: Ripper Tucker, I Reckon!

the forum bgc australian bar restaurant

If you bludgers want to bog in and get some Ozzie grog and footy, Skippy’s (The Forum, BGC) is the boozer for you.

It’s a spiffy joint for earbashing, billiards and booze. There’s a roo on the wall too—so give it a burl why don’t ya?

Skippy's Bar and Grill Sports Bar

Seriously, Skippy’s Bar and Grill located at the Forum BGC is the dinky-di (real thing) if you are looking for Aussie grub and drinks. It’s the place you go to after work to unwind, grab a pint, watch a game or just get the billiard table humming. It’s at the GF of The Forum, BGC, so if you want to run on the grass or just get some sun, you’re at the right place!

What’s ripper about Skippy’s is that they’ve got nightly bands too on a rotating basis, so if you’re tired of balls and bar fights, you can just chill or sing along (if they let them blokes). The place is practically adorned with Australian relics, road signs and whatnot, it’s like taking a dive Down Under, and that’s even before the grub came.

Skippy's restaurant fort bonifacio band

Skippy’s Bar and Grill specializes in Australian food, which I knew nothing about beforehand. I had imagined skewered roos or beer battered vegemite—or anything with vegemite for that matter—but they’ve got the usual fares, like pizza, salad and meats with some Australian flare—deep fried, heavily battered and big on breakfast!

australian food manila philippines

If you’re big on drinks, Skippy’s menu will also not disappoint. It probably allots a half its menu pages on drinks, cocktails and liquor. Non alcoholic drinkers (like me!) will go crazy too over the choices on fresh fruit shakes and juices.

Personally, that freshly squeezed lemon juice was just so “Good onya” it went well with the deep fried fares.

drinks bar forum bgc

Skippy’s is not just a bar with a billiard table; its TV screens are dedicated to showing sports shows, including the World Cup. Did I say World Cup?

Indeed the bar intends to stay open during the wee hours to show the 2014 World Cup because there are a lot of fans, and heck, a lot of them who are already sick of streaming and eating just popcorn!

aussie food drinks manila taguig


But back to the food. As mentioned, Skippy’s has this whole barrage of Aussie food and snacks, it’s not just a footy affair. It’s got breakfast, salad and even rice meals; craving of any sort, including lamb or tapa, is guaranteed to be solved.

Here’s a quick peek on the roster (in no particular order):

breakfast menu fort bonifacio global city

Breakfast platters for the hungry!

Big Breakfast has 2 eggs, bacon, sausage, baked beans, tomato, mushrooms, hash brown, toasted bread, and butter. Basic Breakfast is, well, a subset of the big one, as it depends on your appetite. Not limited to mornings.

 j.anne gonzales blog review Skippy's

Drinks Galore! Too many to mention but personally, as a boring drinker (aka non alcoholic), the fruit and juice selection is sufficiently well stocked.

The Greens are in. Part vegetarians and dieters have something to rejoice about with the salad selections.

salad bgc forum fort

Skippy’s Salad – Fresh lettuce, veggies with egg, grilled chicken and cheese, served with homemade dressing.

vegetarian fort restaurant bgc

Green Salad – Fresh lettuce mixed with assorted green vegetables and tossed with cheese, ham and egg, served with home made dressing.

lazy black cat food review restaurant

Spicy Chook Fingers – Coated breast chicken fillet fingers. Best served hot and eaten with… your fingers!

j.anne gonzales lazy black cat blog manila

Potato Scallops – Such wondrous deep fried spud creation. Golden crisp and sprinkled with sea salt, it’ll be your number one spud serving!

food where to eat fort bonifacio

Chicken Parmigiana – Tender cheese and crumbed chicken are topped with homemade tomato sauce and grated cheese. This one was a winner since it combined all that cheese and chicken goodness with chunky fries–comfort food variety!

Here’s more to feast your eyes on:

pizza pasta skippy's bgc

Shawarma Pizza

australian food manila philippines review

Aussie Burger

food review the forum fort bonifacio

Shepherd’s Pie – Homemade pie from fresh ground lamb and vegetable, oven baked

appetizer skippy's bar and grill

Dim Sims

Skippys baby back ribs

Baby Back Ribs 

Skippys Sirloin Steak

Sirloin Steak

It’s a lot to bog in, yeah?

Give Skippy’s a burl and while at it poke some balls or chill with the band. It’s a sport bar for real, right in the middle of BGC–with a live band inside and grass outside, so it’s got all the elements of fun and frolic.

If, like me, you insist on having Vegemite Sanger (Sandwich) on the menu, you can make suggestions in their FB page or Instagram account.

I reckon, with Skippy’s own set of sanger, desserts and whatnot, you’d forget about Vegemite entirely. I sure did.


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S&R, Sacrifice and Sore Throat

While watching a game at Emperador Stadium, a family walked past us bearing (well, more of flaunting) their S&R paper cups. In a totally unrelated event to follow, a couple shared our bleacher and brought out that yellow box that screamed S&R FRIED CHICKEN.

What a sick joke. That’s it. We just had to take the bait.

After the game, we just had to pay a visit to S&R at BGC. The pizza was calling, and no more Nolita—no more money!

BGC gourmet pizza

Bonifacio highstreet pizza

In the last game, we had dinner at Nolita and for some reason, I found the Cheese Pizza ultra salty, so I had to go for a quick Jamba Juice breather after.

Back to S&R, since it was Lent I fell prey (or pray?) to that Tuna Margherita Pizza heavily advertised in-store, my inner pesky-torian just screaming to be satisfied. While my companion basked in the glory of 2 slices + fries, I had my sacrificial tuna slice.

Unlike the fabulous photo that gleamed of grease and tomato puree, my pizza was on the dried out side. It was just, tinapa dry, sans the gourmet flair.

What the heck is tinapa in English?

 bgc s&r grocery

While the cheese was studded with herbs and basil, the fact that the sauce and cheese were not as resplendent as expected made this pizza a letdown and so if I were given a second chance for my Lenten slice, I’d have gone for that Shrimp Pizza. That one has the juicy shrimps that turns sacrifice into gluttonous sensation.

The cheese pizza, is still, hands down, el cheap-o magnifico! Best cheese pizza for its price!

And so, with this disappointing dinner, I had to atone by giving in to dessert by another heavily advertised treat: Cheesecake Factory Chocolate Fudge Cake.

S&R cake chocolate

I was slightly dyslexic at first glance and read it as chocolate fudge cheesecake—way, way better huh?! But my eyesight returned and reduced this to a mere chocolate cake. With fudge. Given its price (about P130/slice) and brand, I expected way more! Like five thumbs up, I’m getting the whole cake next time around!

Instead, I got a killer sweet cake with no hint of dark fudge; it was more of sugary brown icing on standard chocolate cake. If there were secret fillings of custard or deep dark chocolate or even pockets of cheesecake or choco chips, then I’d have gotten a smile of some sort. But no, it was sweet all throughout, with no layers of varying degrees of sweetness. Since I ate this straight—no water, a little chit-chat—I got a sore throat after!

This must be what you call punishment. Oooh.. I can’t wait for Easter! By then, I can have all the Blue Bunny in S&R! No more cakes!

On the side, I am glad I could spend time burning off my idle time calories from this Sole Skate. Saw this on sale, bought it and now, where else but to try it out in one of those BGC empty streets! Instead of kicking balls, at least I can ride my wheels.

skating manila


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To be or to Chelsea

serendra restaurant

Having a collection analogous terms, “Chelsea” can spur quite a debacle in our household.

Imagine the common name, like say, Chelsea Clinton or Chelsea Dagger. Then here comes the futbol fanatic saying he adores Manchester United and that Chelsea FC is bleh. All right, understandable.  Not to be forgotten, we next get a smothering list of London and NY related places, which are more than a handful.

Oh, the Chelseas of Webster! No wonder Wikipedia can’t get enough of you!

lazy black cat review restaurant

But really now, being a food blogger in Manila, when I say Chelsea, it can only mean one thing: Chelsea Market & Café, at Serendra, Bonifacio High Street (there’s another at Podium). Sure, it’s a copycat version of the “real” Chelsea (NY) but what can I do, I live in the Pacific so I have to make do with what I can access logistically.

To be honest, I did not want 2013 to end without having visited Chelsea Market & Café. What a silly wish, you might wonder, but for a northern dweller like myself, trips to BGC can be quite arduous. Luckily I did get my wish –  that was 3 days before the New Year –  one cloudy Saturday (or the last for 2013), we finally hopped in our car and decided that yes, Chelsea it is!

jenina gonzales blog food

I did make a reservation 2 days before, but the bookkeeper seemed to be lost in his own battle with his body piercings, so that reservation was made in vain (and his chunky planner may have been a spells book in disguise, I did not bother to inspect). Good thing we were quite early and managed so secure a couch adjacent to the IKEA wall. If IKEA were to partner with a restaurant, this would be it.

Bonifacio Highstreet restaurant cafe

Before orders were made and inquiries tossed around, let me tell you that the place already screamed of slow service. It was in the air—oh, and my nefarious instincts are rarely wrong! Slacking pace—New Yorkers would have a riot on this objectionable trait!

When the order taker finally came to mind—perhaps perked up a bit with a sip of Red Bull—our orders came crashing in. The hunger we kept to ourselves suddenly materialized and out came words like pizza, confit, warm water, cheese, red wine, and no, make it 5 cheese! It was a mess of a notepad.

appetizer chelsea market cafe

To top off the chaos, my auntie decided to twist things a bit more—had the pasta sauce changed from pesto (Oven-Roasted Seafood and Tomato Cream Pesto) to Marinara. It was an entirely new dish—and the chef permitted this common abomination we like to call Seafood in the Red. Really now, it was just a bit of Ragu mixed with seafood and voila, customer service at its finest! As for gastronomic satisfaction, I leave that to the lucky diner—not me!

appetizer chelsea serendra

For starters we had a wee serving of the Warm Gorgonzola Dip with Vegetable Sticks and Potato Wedges. I am not kidding when I say “wee” since each vegetable type must equal 4 servings and not a sliver more, except for the caper—but who likes capers? The potato wedges came in a bit of abundance in proportion, so we thank the chef for this oily bounty. The gorgonzola dip was warm and creamy with this hearth flavor, but with a very small amount of vegetables for dipping, all that good cheese was left to waste.

salad chelsea fort

The Roasted Garlic Portobello Mushroom Confit came in a surprise platter because what landed on our table was a nest of arugula—lovely! Underneath the rocket forest came the sweet and succulent Portobello which made hearts out of our eyeballs for a nanosecond. With pesto spritzes, shaved cheese and cherry tomatoes, this made the gorgonzola dish hide in the shame of its scarcity.

pizza pasta fort restaurant

The Pizzas (All Meat and Five Cheese) came in thin crust variety and were consistently topped with arugula. Now I know whose pantry to raid when the arugula stocks in groceries are depleted, which is like, always.

vegetarian pizza bonifacio fort

The Five Cheese Pizza has that star beside its name in the menu, so I figured it should be the better pizza—not! Well, it tasted so-so and hmmmm-kay—for a Chelsea dish. It wasn’t that spectacular and was served not-so-piping-hot. Even the wee slices of apples alongside the arugula could not make a difference—since they were miniscule to begin with. Had I known it would be a mediocre cheese dish, I might have gone for that Greek Panko salad instead. At least the cheese on that one is more, apparent.

j.anne gonzales blog food

When the Southern Style Cornflake and Oatmeal Crusted Fried Chicken came, it looked like something that came from grandma’s kitchen. Still with arugula and potato wedges, the breading is a meal on its own—cracking sweet and oaty! A good pairing with the sickly pizza.

steak salad fort restaurant

Just a photo of the Grilled Roasted U.S. Rib Eye Steak, though nothing can be said about it. If you press for information, call my Ossan, but I really, really doubt if he can give any helpful input. Best he could say is: It did not go with red wine. Because really, it did not go with red wine. I warned you.

fort bonifacio restaurant menu

Despite a heavily starchy lunch, we still went for dessert. A trip to the Fort necessitates the hoarding of more calories, to bring us home safely, and with the chiller so close to our table, EQs are lost as hunger surges once again.

best cheesecake manila

100% mine, the New York Chocolate Chip Brown Cookie Dough Cheesecake. Longest name in the bunch with perhaps a proportionate amount of saturated fat. With cheesecake interspersed with cookies and more cookie dough in the base, it was cheesecake heaven until I finished half the slice. The other half called for tea and a kilometer of walking. Still, I persisted and finished the damn slice. Pretty damn good—but I doubt if I can take on this challenge again!

ice cream gelato dessert bonifacio

The others had the Super Ice Cream Sundae, Nocciola Gelato and that  Four Layer Toblerone Torte.

dessert serendra fort

The Ice Cream Sundae is Super because of the obvious add-ons, most of which seemed to be cream. If you’re a fan of cream and just 2 scoops of gelato, you will delight in this. If you hate cream like me, get a cake.

cake dessert chelsea

The Four Layer Toblerone Torte has repetitive layers of that cake/merengue and crème filling. The novelty is in the height and not the assortment of the layers, if you’re thinking Mango Bravo. If you like uber sweet and Toblerone, go for it. Otherwise, check the menu for something that summons your dark gluttonous self.

lazy black cat review food

Our local Chelsea experience can be summed up as a calorific, overpriced slacker’s meal. The food was on the mediocre side and did not exactly fire stars from my eyes. Whilst we know the ingredients were of the supreme and fresh kind (well I do hope so), the overall package is not worth waiting for again.

So if you’re going to summon New York, that hurry-that-pace-and-move-in-a-flurry because that’s how they are in we-hate-waiting East Coast—then our local Chelsea will freeze you in time and you better pop in a microwave dish instead.

food trip manila

But since I’m in the New Year positive chakra forgiving mood: As for Chelsea Market & Café, you’re almost there; buy a watch with a timer and get back to me once you remember to serve the Toblerone Torte. (Yup they forgot about it.)

Fair enough, yow.

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Mexican Mayhem: Orale Taqueria Mexicana

fort strip mexican

The only thing I hate about Orale Taqueria Mexicana (Fort Strip) is that it is so freakishly far from where I live, that I cannot eat there whenever I want to. Which is like everyday.

orale mexican taqueria fort strip

Logistics aside, Orale is like a modified Ristra’s where chili and salsa are abound and the place looks more like Mexico than a Philippines-trying-to-be-Mexico. It smells like a Nacho Libre setting too.

manila fort strip mexican restaurant

The Nachos are home (or is it store?) made and are crispy grande. By that I literally mean BIG crisp, one where your teeth totter on the brink of falling, but the freshness and queso mucho make up for this headbang. In the end you stuff yourself silly and find the crunch so memorable and yes, earth shaking.

j.anne gonzales mexican food orale

The Pollo Asado Quesadilla and Pollo Asado Enchiladas denote how much we love chicken, yes I know. What a poultry killer. Back to the comida, the chicken is so flavorful and piquant, we don’t regret ordering 2 chicken dishes. Mixed with the vegetables and cheese and loads of carbs, this is one Mexican meal that is far from Third World.

fort strip food mexican manila

They give you all sorts of salsa, it becomes a sauce fest. Even for a minute or two, poverty is eradicated from the world and everything is just grande. Grand, huh.

food fort strip philippines orale

The Burrito seemed just as filling. Ah yes, the diner was at loss of words which should be translated as… zzzzz. Death from beef.

In Mexican food-deprived Manila, Orale is the only haven for authentic Mejicano meals. This makes Mexicali, Agave and Baja Mexican Cantina seem like half breeds. After a visit to this place, Orale has become the new benchmark for Mexican mayhem.

Unless Chipotle comes over to the Philippines. Then that would be just sweet. Grand. Susmaryosep.

j.anne gonzales blog


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Aria Hungry? (Aria Cucina Italiana)

pasta pizza aria manila

Whenever I dine in a restaurant-pitcher-list (like Aria Cucina Italiana BGC), I lean towards ordering the utterly unusual just for the sake of experimentation. While I am not the most adventurous diner, I still tend to be curious of dishes that cannot be concocted in our kitchen, not because of absent skills, but more of the deficiency in tools and ingredients. Cough, truffle, cough.

aria jenina gonzales j.anne

This is perhaps to explain how I ended up with oven baked potato gnocchi topped with simple marinara sauce and without a hint of bread on the side. I’m guessing if they wanted to torture me with spuds, no other carbs should steal that starchy limelight.

potato gnocchi aria

With the ever safe pesto, pansoti and even arrabiata in the menu were all prized prospects, I stubbornly went for the Gnocchi alla Sorrentina. Not a fan of spuds to begin with, not to mention the squashy and boring kind, this was not the best choice for someone who wanted something red, hot and al dente! The marinara sauce was average and nothing fancy loomed in the sauce, making this easy-to-digest dish something for the generous conservative.

Aria Pizzas

The Rucola e Pinoli  pizza (arugula, pine nuts, truffle cream) was the prize order of the day, single-handedly finished by the lucky guy who ordered it. Light, crisp and with that oomph factor, any person could live off on that pizza and consider himself solved for the rest of his eating career.

aria pizza fort

The Quattro Stagioni (4 flavors) pizza has a thicker dough, perhaps the less gourmet version to cater to the plebeian taste. While the pizza’s composition was still grand, cheesy and delectable, having tasted that truffle makes everything else pale in comparison.

The desserts were imperative, despite the starchy redundancy. It did not matter if I was about to start the new year with a an expanded waistline, I hate to leave Aria with a satisfied look; smug is out of the question.

Aria dessert

The Mousse ai Due Cioccolat was a splendid cup of dark and white chocolate mousse and hazelnut to ward off the meal’s not-too-pleasant aftertaste. While looking quite miniscule, it’s all in the presentation. This little cup can certainly fill you up, and no matter how full you feel, you will finish it. Blame the sweet tooth. And the potato.

Aria has been a pleasant ride and more so for those who are hungry for gourmet Italian fares right smack in BGC. Inventive and the usual (by usual we mean pesto, carbonara, etc.) pasta and pizza selections are on the menu and if you decide to deviate as I did, make sure it’s something that you have been dying to taste all your life and want it now.

And so potato gnocchi, you are absolved.

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Surprise Quiz(nos)

Quiznos J.Anne Gonzales

For the longest time I thought of Quiznos as a Mexican joint. Blame the Q and the fact that it sounds like quezo and Quezacotl, the latter of which happens to be a Final Fantasy summon and not a Latin myth as the name might subtly hint.

Since my meek purchase was the salad, this ought to be short and bittersweet. Should I be back in school, this is how I will define Quiznos’ USP: Sandwiches substandard to Subway with no interest in gardening, greens anything that grows from seeds.

Quiznos Fort Jenina

Having painstakingly stared at the menu for quite a long bit, bordering on stalker ogling which did not fit my short dress, I came to the conclusion that Quiznos is a haven for the carnivorous sandwich eaters; everyone else is doomed to starve.

Quiznos sandwiches

Of course they have the option of salad, which I suspiciously fell prey to. Fairly cheap, small bowl, tossed salad and minimal toppings, the Caesar dressing was average but way better than the supermarket variety. Tossed with cheese and chicken bits, this was all right as a siding. If I had been in my hungry self though, normal capacity would be 3 bowls at roughly a total of P250.

Fort Quiznos Lazy Black CAt

Of course at P250 I could always go for a sandwich, but wait, I forgot, everything has meat in it! Even this chicken variant managed to sneak in some bacon for that carbonara effect. How unkind to veggies.

So for this veg-cat, au revoir to Quiznos—which unfortunately has a branch near my Eastwood office. And no Subway.

I guess it’s just me and Quezacotl for now.


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