Tag Archives: dessert

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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Bros and Ho-Bing Korean Dessert

philippines bingsu

It was never about the Korean craze or the way first timers can easily mistaken this as hoe-pen.

When in Megamall, the number 1 rule (or goal) is to find the spot with the least number of people, and if you do, don’t think twice, grab that seat and eat!

And so we found Hobing Korean Dessert somewhere in the Fashion Hall, overlooking the center area without much patrons.  It was a dead cold spot, made even more frostbite-worthy by our 1 bingsu each rule. 

The Choco Cookie Bingsu is sure to give you the chocolate high to last you till Christmas. The smooth bingsu is what keeps you shoving for that sweet sensation.

dessert megamall

The Strawberry Bingsu was so delicately presented, I ate with the same premeditated and patient pace.

dessert megamall

 

In between were more strawberries, you just have to give a bow of appreciation to the creator of this berry delightful ice masterpiece.

manila bingsu where

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

italian restaurant manila qc

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

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

where to eat quezon city italian

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

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

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

pizza pasta quezon city

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay creamy, stay dreamy!

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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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Have Some NomNomNom

nomnomnom blog review lazy black cat

It took me years before I could finally eat at Nomnomnom Happy Food, never mind if I live in the very same Quezon City. Actually, it was THAT long since they moved to their new posh location along Tomas Morato, which is quaint, dainty but still small.

 comfort food vegetarian manila

Of course during predictable circumstances, I would do the impulsively dumb-founding, and in this instance, NOT order salad. Why I did that, I still cannot fathom. But with Nomnomnom’s exquisite and gluttony-inducing menu, a few might understand the behavior.

Going back to gluttony-inducing, I believe the all-white interiors and book pages-cum-wallpaper décor, have created my inept and deprived state. Hence, fried food!

 mozzarella sticks nomnomnom

We had 2 appetizer choices, both of which are fried! Not a sign of happiness; more of stresssssed!

The Mozzarella Sticks were served with 2 kinds of slurpy sauces that seriously make you scoop, slurp and scoop even more! There was a lot of that sour cream and salsa to get us till the next appetizer.

Oh darn I forgot to describe the mozza sticks! They were chunky cheese rolls, made chunkier by the batter. Hmmm-kay would’ve been OKAY! if they had served this right after cooking. In short, the cheese did NOT ooze at all, which is the benchmark for cheesy perfection, in general.

fried ravioli vegetarian appetizer

It must be the NomnomNORM to serve the appetizers with 2 sauces/sidings – which I cannot complain about. The Fried Ravioli (Cheesy Kangkong and Shrooms inside) was just as deep fried as the mozza sticks, and went well with the chopped tomato salsa and yogurt (?) sauce. You can actually mix and match the 4 sauces and still enjoy your mishmash meal.

The ravioli had that musty taste about it, which I blame the shrooms for! Either that or the Kangkong did it. Still, the cheese saved the day; oozing not needed in this scenario.

restaurant vegetarian quezon city

For a change, I ordered Seafood Cartoccio all because I wanted my pasta to be baked and served in foil! I don’t get that a lot at home, except for leftovers. That Seafood Cartoccio came with tomato sauce, shrimp, clam and squid. If I were a clam lover, this dish will disappoint. About half the shells were closed and experience tells me never to pry open these nasty shells.There are no girl-opens-clam-and-gets-the-pearl stories that happen in real life, just a messy plate and tomato splattered dress!

Good thing I like shrimp more – but the shrimps were hmmm-kay too, not so fresh but at least they were easily de-shelled! The pasta was warm and cuddly, the type you eat after a long day at work and intend to eat un-hurriedly. What wonders foil makes!

seafood pasta nomnomnom tomas morato

The Tomato Aligue Pasta was not mine but gleamed its orange hue for the world to see! The pasta though took long to serve. At first we thought that Aligue has become a complex cooking ingredient, but it would seem otherwise, it came in a breeze! Waiter forgot about the order, I think, or perhaps he just hated saying the word Aligue.

What is it even, crab fat?

Still, despite its jaundice appearance, the pasta was more tomato and less crabby and was topped with what looked like Eden cheese. If you’re gung-ho for aligue, don’t expect that crab fat to jump off the plate. If you want a creamy aligue-tomato pasta though, go for it–and make sure the waiter jots it down.

 A-li-guet it?

dessert nomnomnom

To make my stay worthwhile, I needed a a full course, and so it was imperative to order dessert. Since I have been staring at the chiller the entire time, I had made up my mind to order the Turtle Pie. Of course earlier, I thought it was just some Chocolate Mousse type sans the cream but no, Turtle Pie it was!

Great, more “slow” references.

I opted this over the crepe cakes that the girl claimed were the bestsellers. The cakes looked plain and too pale, and the mango-cream combination did not seem to suit my palate after the tomato-on-my-dress episode! The Chocolate Cake looked like a little devil, but the Turtle Pie looked maleficent–so we know who the winner is!

The Turtle Pie was just a chocolate cream over an Oreo crust. Topped with some walnuts and caramel and chocolate sauce, that was it! I was glad to have brought it home (yes, I still had some EQ left) and stored in the fridge for a mega breakfast dessert. It got better and more firm. Would I try it again? Not sure, not with Banapple and others over at Il Terrazzo and it would seem that sweets are not the core products of Nonnomnom.

drinks food nomnomnom

Anyway, Nomnomnom has so many other dishes and creations that I WANT to try. Forget dessert.

I could actually live off on its appetizer listing alone – with all those ravioli offerings! Plus, with pasta and pizza, this definitely necessitates future visits.

Oh dear, I even forgot to mention. They have salad! Uh-oh, who to invite next? 🙂

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Swensen’s Ice Cream Brings Summer High

opening swensens Sm the block

As implicitly outrageous as it sounds, Swensen’s Ice Cream brought me to an absolute #SummerHigh given its recent opening at SM North The Block.

SM the block ice cream

 

Ice cream sundae sm north

Imagine a hop away from home, and we get instant access to Swensen’s lovely and positively sinister sundaes and cones.

Right at the 2F, near Forever 21 *sigh* and the parking lot – logistically perfect!

philippines food blog

The Swensen’s stall at The Block was launched this May and was well attended by bloggers, shoppers, kids and all sorts of passers by.

Seriously, passers by were not only curious, they got their free cones (first 50) while others really dug in and savoured the various flavours that Swensen’s has to offer.

swensen's sm north line

ice cream flavors swensen's

When we say “flavours”, yes, I mean like loads of choices, you can’t possibly settle for with just one scoop! They have Green Tea, Cantaloupe, Strawberry Cheesecake, Reversible Chocolate, Cookies and Cream and a whole aisle more!

swensen's ice cream quezon city manila

Swensens ice cream flavors

 

swensen's review ice cream

Swensen's ice cream sm the block

Since the place was fairly new though, we had to christen the event with photos, face paint (for the kids) and the usual ribbon cutting ceremony.

I admit, this was my induction in the blogger event realm, and it couldn’t have been better!

Swensen's opens at Sm north the block

swensens old couple

Swensen's kids forever 21

What could be more exciting than having ice cream for lunch?! IKR.

Swensens Manila Philippines

swensens SM north ribbon cutting

The owners and manager were accommodating and just as excited as everyone around. I was tempted to run to Forever 21, but the cling of the ice cream was more intense.

Ice cream fever beats retail therapy. Anytime.

Swensen's launch manila

Swensen opening ice cream sundae

But the real scene stealers were the staff. They were enthusiastically gracious and cool under the pressure of simultaneous orders and inquiries.

SM Swensen parfait

Swensen's happy staff

No, they didn’t flip the whipped cream canister or juggle the Maltesers – although sometimes I wish they slammed the ice cream scooper to announce the next order – but they were efficient and prompt.

Managing crazy orders while prepping the sundaes, floats and what-not was an acquired skill, and they fairly succeeded, on their first day! Bravo!

Swensen's sundae on the spot

Swensens oreo sundae in the making

Swensens oreo waffle blast

The ice cream-bar-man was so used to the clicking and stop-right-there-let-me-Instagram-your-work-in-progress that this outside chaos did not hamper his cream-splashing, nut-sprinkling world of ice cream creation.

Seems like Willy Wonka’s protégé has found better employment at Swensen’s.

Swensens ice cream toppings

Agile and courteous, the sundaes were served fresh from the ice cream bar and still pristine in its frozen state.

Swensen's the earthquake sundae

The Earthquake was massive and everyone that it passed by literally fell off their seats.

When it reached its destination, it certainly caused quite the uproar—but I am happy to report that it left the table in still one piece. I believe the lady who ordered this was never the same, after having left the store, in a state of chocolate high.

Swensens menu 2

Other varieties cater to different flavor and size preferences. Swensen’s Ice Cream has the kiddie servings for the little ones who like their sundaes pink, adorned or just wee enough to carry around! With names like Little Prince and Sweet Princess, I had to stop myself from ordering one for myself.

Swensens the hurricane

The Hurricane is perhaps next to The Earthquake, in terms of size, but don’t underestimate the secondary tempest.

The usual faves Banana Split and Coit Tower are just as resplendent and offer alternatives to the massive sundae bundles.

Swensen's frozen choc malt fantasy ice cream sm

With the signature whipped cream and chocolate dipped cherry and Swensen’s wafer, each serving is sealed with the Swensen’s seal of superbness.

swensens ultimate sundae experience menu

Other creations are sure to haunt you, and first timers will have to go through the menu several times. We understand. I had to take photos to help me decide, remember, change my mind and finally decide!

Swensens menu 1

Imagine that there is one page devoted to Chocolate Fantasy! Decisions to be  made.. More on that later.

Swensen's ring a ding sundae

Swensen’s has the Supreme Sundae poised on supremely tall glasses, one of which is Ebony and Ivory Sundae (ice cream layered with toppings and syrup) which looks so magically glorious. That Ring-A-Ding at the top is neapolitan-inspired, can’t wait to get a taste of all those colours!

The Waffle Sundae offers a break from the usual fruits and nuts with its awesome waffle siding—perfect excuse for breakfast!

Swensen's waffle sundaes manila

Ice cream floats and sundaes are offered to traditionalists and prefer to chill on the “light” side, while there’s the Walk-away sundae for those on the go and need a quick ice cream fix!

Swensens menu 3

The Basket Sundaes are perfect for the basket case as myself—one who wanted a lot going on in her sundae! I went for my usual favorite companions in the world: Oreo and brownies = Oreo Brownie Basket Sundae.

On a bed of waffle cone, Oreo and chocolate ice cream aligned with chewy brownies and topped with Oreo bits. What a wonderfully crisp affair!

The brownies were just perfect and almost stole the act—until the ice cream merged everything into a flavorful creamy show.

Oreo waffle blast sundae swensens manila

Last but not the least comes the Chocolate Fantasy Sundaes, a whole page devoted to chocolate and other complementing toppings.

Enough with the Oreo, my other weakness seemed to be waving at me: Maltesers. Oh my Maltesers!

Swensen's Frosted Choc Malt Fantasy

 The Frosted Choc Malt Fantasy is chocolate everything and topped with Maltesers. Enough said.

Nothing beats chocolate except for chocolate with Maltesers. Chocolate lovers will go nuts (they have Chocolate Crunch, by the way) with the choices, and the creations will not disappoint. You will find yourself licking the spoon and wondering when your next visit will be. Why not next serving, while you’re still at it?!

Swensen's toppings ice cream review

Swensen restaurant blog review

The Swensen’s menu is certainly a dessert trove of delightful ice cream treats. One visit is never enough and like me, you will find yourself planning what to eat on the next visit which is probably tomorrow.

The place may be small—easy to locate though at The Block—but is big on serving sweet joy and creamy serenity. There’s something about a Swensen’s sundae, that finishing if off gives you a kind of high—the good kind though. Maybe it’s summer or my childhood memories. Or maybe it’s a Swensen’s Ice Cream secret.

In case you find out, do tell.

SM Swensens ice cream review

Swensen’s Ice Cream has branches at SM Mall of Asia and Eastwood Mall—so you know where to find me.

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Ilocos Series: 4. Unclassified Food Trips (Johnny Moon & La Preciosa)

 

ilocos norte travel laoag

Last in the Ilocos Series comes a smorgasbord of food—by smorgasbord, I mean like a hodge-podge of delicacies, best to name then Unclassified.

To spare you from more chaos, I have refrained from making breakfast posts, since they are not particularly interesting and are eaten out of obligation. And they could bore the city lights out of you.

 johnny moon la preciosa review

Back to the Unclassified, the remaining untackled Laoag restaurants were chosen out of hunger and logistics: Johnny Moon Café and La Preciosa.

 Pagudpud Blue Lagoon

As a finale/bonus/more Unclassified, there is also our Pagudpud Paluto Take Out Lunch Special—a name so long can only describe the choice left for travelers who never plan!

 review johnny moon ilocos

To start off, here’s a bit of trivia we got from the Juan Luna House tour guide:

The restaurant Johnny Moon is not an attempt at creating a cool-sounding joint; it’s an alias for Juan (Johnny) Luna (Moon), who is an Ilocano local.

Juan Luna Self Portrait ilocos

Here’s Johnny!

C-O-O-L. I will admit, even I hadn’t thought of that!

Still awed, we walked to Johnny Moon for dinner.

 Johnny Moon Review Ilocos Norte

Because of a parade (Ilocos Norte-cum-Flores-de-Mayo-cum-local-fiesta), most roads surrounding the Capitol were closed so we had no choice but to walk to Johnny Moon.

We actually had no idea where we were going and asked nearby vendors—who magically brought out a crumpled map of Laoag and directed us spot on. Amazing, these northern folk.

 Johnny Moon Cafe Ilocos Interios

Johnny Moon, as per the tour guide, boasts of the bagnet sandwich and bagnet empanada, which sadly, I met with a pork-er face. If she only knew I was after Juan Luna, she could’ve made up a Spoliarium Sandwich that could’ve gotten us to Johnny Moon sooner.

Having walked to Johnny Moon was a perfect excuse to have double carbs (or triple, including dessert), for dinner! I don’t regret choosing this place for our finale dinner in Laoag; it was Luna-art all over and the food just affordable!

 ilocos pasta

First was the Laureana Pasta Verde which is malunggay pesto with tinapa flakes topped with what seems to be danggit.

Fishy never became this awesome, seriously.

I absolutely love the texture that the crushed danggit provides, while the pesto gives off that comfort food vibe perfect for Juan Luna’s ‘hood. The serving is good for one—but enough to tackle other dishes—wink, wink!

 bagnet empanada

The Ilocos Empanada has 4 variants, if I recall. Two, I can’t really eat but must be bestsellers (longganisa and the winner, bagnet), the plain one and vegetarian. The difference between vegetarian and plain is the egg, and since I love breakfast for dinner, plain it was!

A newbie in the Emapanada-eating society, I had no mighty expectations and just recognized that orange-y crust that can only indicate something interesting inside its crisp, deep fried shell. For P40, I can afford the letdown.

A letdown is certainly was NOT, though. Oil aside, the empanada was delectable and the uncanny ingredients (papaya shavings, bean sprouts and egg) were a melancholy combination. Supposed to go with catsup (no thanks) or the famed Ilocos vinegar (amazing!), I savored it in its bare glory—yummy! This was my first empanada ever and I’d say, I’d be back for more—if Ilocos wasn’t so darn far!

Oh and if you were to ask me to design my own empanada, it would be the plain jane with cheddar cheese. Awesome! I can just imagine the melted cheese erupting after the first bite—purr-fection.

 dessert laoag

Being the finale, dessert cannot be overlooked. While I was already full from the carbo loading, I still went for the Johnny Moon Banana Split with Dragonfruit Ice Cream.

It was a creamy and fruity break from the oil and sodium, and it was a delectable ending for a tiring evening. While I can’t say that I can actually detect the full flavor of the dragonfruit from that wee serving (approximately a scoop), the entire experience was artfully satiating.

La Preciosa Laoag Review

You will notice that organization and order do not exist in my world, since I started with Johnny Moon (last dinner) while I neglected the 2nd dinner, so here goes: La Preciosa.

La Preciosa was chosen for its logistics, and more importantly, because it was recommended online—somewhere with a photo of a huge slice of carrot cake! Sold!

Of course before dessert, dinner had to be served.

 La Preciosa Ilocos Menu

We had more fish for dinner, the fried Bucto (appetizer), Boneless Bangus and Crispy Dinuguan (for the meat eater).

 seafood restaurant ilocos

The Bucto was meant to be a giant version of fried dilis, but I found it absolutely so huge, I think I only managed to eat a handful. Or maybe because the fish head did freak me out and reminded me of well, severed fish heads. I try not be visually un-inspiring, but even the lazy black cat knows when to say “no” to too much fish heads.

 Crispy dinuguan La Preciosa Review

fish ilocos laoag

The Boneless Bangus was my main course and was just so-so. I mean, how else could I possibly describe boneless bangus, huh?!

Don’t remember picking stray bones, so that makes this worthwhile, but the opposite of adventurous.

If any, you should be chucking a book at the monitor for the boredom I may be causing you. I’ll understand.

 la preciosa dessert

Which brings me to the highlight, the Carrot Cake.

The carrot cake can be spotted from a distance because it literally floats in a crown of shredded carrot. The cream cheese frosting holds all those carrot stays into this boulder of beta carotene goodness. Further scrutiny shows that the cake itself is studded with walnut and not much of carrot (seriously, no orange in the batter), but not that it matters—unless you hate raw carrots!

La Preciosa shines in the dessert-pasalubong department, and that carrot cake continues to radiate its orange shreds in my phone archives. Impossible to delete.

La Preciosa has other interesting looking cakes in its menu, just as visually resplendent, but I regret having been born with only one stomach. Maybe in the next life—9 stomachs too?!

 Welcome to Pagudpud Sign

Last but not the least is the longest entry in this post: the Pagudpud Paluto Take Out Lunch Special!

The story behind it:

Blue Lagood/Pagudpud was utterly filled with people; no cottages would take us in and we had to seek shelter in the remotest resort (so remote, its name is negligible). The only recourse for hunger is to go to the main “Paluto” section (near Hannah’s) and take out whichever fish we fancy.

 Blue Lagoon

It was a kilo of Dorado that caught our eye, grilled—with an awful waiting time of 45 minutes! Someone got extra hungry and bought a paluto-longganisa from a nearby vendor, while I had a banana. Boring, as ever.

paluto where to eat pagudpud

The Dorado was decently sliced and grilled, with a siding of tomato and onion—on the house. It tasted fresh and self-sufficient on its own, though a bit of kalamansi-soy sauce on the side did wonders as well.

From my tone (and awe), it may seem that I do not frequent Dampa in Manila—you got it!

Still, eating freshly grilled fish by the sea—in that remote cottage—was just so zen-inspiring and calming. Lunch on the sand, sans the unruly tourists, turned this Pagudpud meal into a stellar picnic.

pagudpud food

So this ends my Ilocos Series. It was a grand adventure, that turned me into a lazy BRONZE cat.

The color will pass, but the memories, always online and in my mental map of things to remember.

 Rocks shadow selfie

There were a lot of wrong turns, lost moments and spacing out while driving (not to mention a Buscopan incident), but all in all, it was a Labour Day Weekend, wonderful and well spent!

Now, back to reality, mates! Till the next holiday!

 

Ilocos Series: 1. The Sights

Ilocos Series: 2. In the Brick of Time

Ilocos Series: 3. Ilocan-Pizza and More

Ilocos Series: 4. Unclassified Food Trips (Johnny Moon & La Preciosa)

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Cheap (and not so) Sightings

cheap food manila snacks treats

Some people aren’t really poor; they just go by other names like stingy, misers, self-serving, on a budget and my personal favorite, penny pinchers! We have to face the fact that not everybody has a lavish budget to soothe their gastronomic needs. There are other priorities in life, we get that.

Cleaning through my stuff, I realise I have my share of cheap sightings, worth taking photos (and keeping for a very long time). There are a few pricey grub, but they were all one-time meal,s so none were written about and just used up precious Android memory space.

 So here’s a collection of the cheap and not-too cheap foodstuff that managed a smile on my face and oh-so shallow pockets!

Here’s to penny pinching and more to come!

ice cream oreo dessert

Forget BLT and Reuben. Oreo + DQ = The Sandwich.

greenbelt frozen yogurt

Red Mango Green Tea Parfait has everything perfect in it, on it and is just it!

spaghetti factory food italian glorietta

When in a hurry, Spaghetti Factory can be a so-so lunchy.

tuna dill melt

Starbucks tuna dill melt is so lenten friendly, you can be a sinner for lusting over it.

J.Anne Gonzales Blondie Bar

Sonja’s Blondie Bar is far from dumb. It’s… black, white and to die for!
dessert chocolate cake

Cafe Mary Grace Chocolate Cake: Php100 with change and that awesome filling

bon chon chicken manila

Unbeatable BonChon Chicken Chops and Chap Chae Korean combo

sweet coffee starbucks

Starbucks Asian Dolce Latte: Sweet, sweet and just sweeeeeeet!

philippines taco bell

Ti Amo Taco Bell. Who doesn’t?

american food manila

Chili’s Appetizer Sampler: Best served with good lighting and endless chatting!

seafood pesto sandwich guy

The Sandwich Guy Seafood Pesto: You will regret being a slow eater.. like me!

jamba juice healthy snacks

Jamba Juice Steel Cut Oat:s: The reason why my fridge now has 3 kinds of oats

tea starbucks yummy

Hands down, the best reward in life is Starbucks Green Tea Frap, Grande without Whipped Cream for my forever misspelled name. Purrfect.

subway philippines tuna

Subway with Tuna and mustard is just the best anti-stress lunch, next to green tea frap.

S&R ice cream tillamook

Tillamook Mudslide makes me forget gelato and vegans exists. I love moo!!!

seafood ramen x centris

The only seafood ramen I can eat: Spicy Chikuwa Ramen. Red not because of #filter but because it’s a fiery pit of chili. Sit beside a firehouse. Be safe.

fruit shake manila

Last but not the least, Jamba Juice is love, lust and life in one. Acai Supercharger for sad days, Orange A-Peel for sick days and Banana Berry any day!

Now that I mention it, not everything is cheap or awesome discoveries. Heck, I just unloaded my memory on this post for random sightings.

Promise the next post will be more… educational and relevant. Yeah right.

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Bono Noche! (Bono Artisanal Gelato)

review bono jenina gonzales

A stranger once posted on my blog and called me stingy. Lucky guess. It’s just like saying “You’re smart, lazy black cat!” and yes, I won’t complain. Now if you call me a little bad thief, ah well, that depends.

Back to stingy. This penny-pinching side of me hasn’t gone away till now, the hangover from Christmas over spending and that mindless gluttonous spree.

 Dessert sweets SM Aura

Despite my hankering for premium gelato, I have not come close to getting a darn scoop of Bono Artisanal Gelato, because I always end up comparing it vis-à-vis other similarly priced items: Jamba Juice, Starbucks Chocolate Cake, 4 Hot Fudge Sundaes, a bag of Baked Doritos—catch my drift? And I always end up buying the others.

 milo dinosaur Bono gelato

Luckily the Year of the Horse galloped by with a generous heart and thrust a Bono Gelato-Valentine’s Promo to the unsuspecting crowd at SM Aura (I suppose the other branches as well). The rationale was to eat the gelato with your sweetheart, but with an appetite for dessert that can match a family’s, I took this promo as a calling to my penury stricken wallet. In short, all mine.

 food trip manila taguig

P180 for 2 scoops (originally P250), so long as a scoop was one of the 3 chocolate flavors mentioned. Okay, I don’t remember the other 2, except for the one I chose, Milo Dinosaur! Who can resist Milo Dinosaur in Bono Gelato form? I literally grew up draining Milo from the can and eating every crumble, bit and speck.

 Speculoos bono gelato

So it was Milo Dinosaur, and pardon the cliché, Speculoos. The reason why I chose Speculoos is, humbly speaking, we have not tasted “Speculoos” except for a Speculoos Cookie (from Belgium, I think). As for the Trader Joe’s spread and all its evolutions and imitations, nay! Loser. Dieting loser.

The Specu-Milo combination was a splash of old and new sweetness, and being the 80s kid that I am, Milo rules. Speculoos is overrated, with cookie butter bits as expected. It went well with the heart-shaped wafer though, but being the biased old-school patron, Milo made me think of home—when it was still home sweet home. However for Speculoos, it was sweet with a spicy kick, so it’s still something noteworthy and deserves an ooooh on the first bite.

You can just imagine how long it took for me to fall asleep right after. The hangover from the smooth richness of the gelato was invigorating and if any, made me do anything BUT sleep.

Bono Artisanal Gelato is the premium of all those who consider themselves on the same gelato pedestal, and with the way the creaminess just haunts you while awake is a testament to its superiority.

If given the chance, the money or the promo, I will go for a Red Velvet-something else combination. Maybe that Movie Night everyone is talking about.

And if you’re an insomniac like me, treat it like tea and have it earlier during the day. Bono noche!

 cronuts taguig SM aura

On the side, my bro had a box (of 3) of Bronuts, still at SM Aura Premiere. He just had his Amaretto from Bono Artisanal Gelato the other day so he was not as deprived as his stingy sister.

 

While enjoying my supreme scoops, he flicked a bug from that blueberry cronut. That’s one down. (Actually it went to our other brother). The other one was the floss that went to our maid (seriously, she’s a foodie), while he devoured the oreo right in front of me. Perhaps, it was hmmmm-kay but next time around, don’t ever question the gelato. Never.

 

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