Tag Archives: Starbucks

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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Piece of Cake

cake dessert manila

Of course we know that nothing in life is just a piece of cake. Either it’s a box, a giant slice, a mouthful – but never a wee bite!

Turns out I’ve been hoarding photos in my phone (you hoarder!), which have never seen the light of day. Oh those calories! They need to be let out, to tease and to torture others, not just me!

And so here’s the cake collection as of late, a bit of gelato, but mainly sweets and those treats that keep you up at night.

Starbucks Classic Chocolate Cake: Always a classic, decadent and available. The best pick-me-up for doomsday. Isn’t that everyday?

Manila philippines best desserts

Starbucks Toffee Nut Slice: Invented that holiday name since I forgot its ultra long name that even the barista cannot remember. Cheap and not too sweet, Starbucks’ budget friendly response to the hungry Scrooge–that was me!

lazy black cat manila blog

2nd’s Frozen Hazelnut Cheesecake: Topped with a Ferrero ball, it gets creamier and creamier after every bite. More foamy than hazelnutty, feed only to the underweight.

2nd's Bonifacio global City

Village Tavern Carrot Cake: Oozing with cream cheese, the cake is carrot comfort saviour. Moist and chunky, rabbits will go wild and die of OD – on sugar. Good thing I’m more of a cat, you know.

dessert bonifacio highstreet

New Orleans Bourbon Street Mudpie: Zero ice cream, 100% cake.The sweetness level goes overboard so either have the beer or the cake; make no mistake of having both, especially on date night!

fort bonifacio bar dessert

Starbucks Guilt Free Cheesecake: Looks bland but the amusing layers offer vanilla, chocolate and oreo. For a sugar free creation, that’s quite a spectrum and a let’s-pretend-I’m-on-a-diet treat!

Sugar free cake

Caffe Ti Amo Waffle and Gelato: For an often-overlooked joint Caffe Ti Amo has become a haven for the hiding, criminals and anti-socials who linger in Greenbelt 5. The gelato is spectacular, simply because they offer Green Tea. That’s it. Oh, and they have a rocking chair. Beat that.

Greenbelt 5 dessert

makati food

That’s it for my recent phone uploads. It’s been a blast and I look forward to more leviathan servings of cakes this year–starting tomorrow!

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Starbucks Asian Dolce Latte + Classic Tuna Dill Melt

starbucks landmark

Coffee may be made up of beans (aka plants, Mother Nature’s ill begotten son) but that doesn’t make me a coffee connoisseur. If any, I am the anti-thesis of a cup of joe (bitchy and bland), which makes my non possession of the most coveted Starbucks planner my secret pride.

starbucks coffee manila

How I ended up with the newly introduced Starbucks Asian Dolce Latte is a long story filled with tardiness run-ins, barista showdowns and arm balancing acts. Quite adventurous but not worth the narration.

To cut this epic short, I found a coupon for a buy-one-take-one Asian Dolce Latte redeemable at the Trinoma branches and since the Bakemon has been triggering my insomnia, this was just perfect.

Let me explain the complexity of the drink: Asian because it is being launched only in Asia, Dolce for this sweet milk concoction that was made for the Asian taste (except me because I hate sweet) and Latte because of the milk composition—non fat thank you very much. The Asian part is stressed because the espresso shots are double the amount because Asians need to perk up because we tend to rise early and work hard. Of course that was a joke because as far as I know, I’m one heck of a lazy cat and no amount of caffeine will turn me into a powerhouse employee of the month.

To properly assess the drink, I only have a line to impart: A strong dose of rich coffee coupled with the sweet velvety and creamy milk close to condensed; it is best paired with eggs or plain toast in the morning. That’s what I think, though I paired mine with a hefty tuna-cheese-lettuce-egg sandwich on wheat with loads of mustard. Perfection.

starbucks to go

Of course being the usual sadist to myself, I ordered my Asian Dolce Latte in reduced form because I feared the cream would cause a sensation in the toilet. So here’s what I really ordered (customized), but to enjoy this unadulterated, do not ever copy me:

One grande iced Asian Dolce Latte, no whipped cream, half the dolce for the 100% lazy J.Anne, to go!

Will I ever buy this drink again? Maybe if a coupon magically finds itself in my back pocket. But if say, magic isn’t for real (it is, right?), then I’d best off use my P160 for the Starbucks Classic Tuna Dill Melt.

tuna dill melt sandwich manila

I warn you though that the Classic Tuna Dill Melt is not for everyone, especially those who hate boiled egg!

classic tuna dill melt philippines

 That killer sandwich on what tasted like rye bread contains tuna dill salad, egg, cheese inside and mozzarella cheese on top (flavored with paprika). For me, this is Lenten Friday protein salvation for the suffering. It beats the grilled cheese sandwich when I’m looking for that “something else” inside and the egg-cheese combination makes its properly filling.

For those who can’t stand the sight (and taste) of that hardboiled egg yolk, give it to me instead!

I promise to pray for you in return.

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Starbucks Sandwich Brigade

People often rush to McDonald’s or 7-11 for their quick lunches, which I agree, is the epitome of convenience. I choose not to follow suit though, since to be honest, I don’t seem to eat majority of what they sell, except for hot fudge sundae and 7-11’s perfect  Cavendish banana.

At only P12, who can resist that?

And so while office folks rush to the golden arch, I rush to the green minded orb, Starbucks. So far, I have been finding their sandwiches rather delectable, with gouda cheese, pesto and even fish and chips as part of the rotating filling roster.

Starbucks Chicken Fajita Wrap

Very dubious in appearance is the Chicken Fajita Wrap that cannot even afford its own plastic wrapper and is placed alongside the pastries. Studded with bell peppers that look like candy from afar, one is sure to doubt of Fajita is meant as a synonym to gummy. However this roll is wrapped with cream cheese, bell peppers, fiery chicken fajita strips and one comfortingly soft roll – it’s quite a mucho Mexican steal for P95!

The flavor is amazing and delightful, the barista was right when she told me, “Believe me, it’s so good you’ll be back for more.”

Maybe tomorrow.

starbucks its just cheese

Then comes the It’s Just Cheese, the ultimate cheese sandwich  on rye with 9 different types: Gruyere, Emmenthal, Feta, Provolone, Cheddar, Mozzarella, Edam, Gouda and Monterey Jack . Beat that, quattro formaggio! After this cheesy affair, cravings are sure to cease and a long dream with cows is in process. Goes well with milk, but tea is recommended. We may not wake up from dreaming of too much cows.

While I’ve been trying to get off the frap wagon, there are still reasons for visiting Starbucks, and they require nothing with whipped cream or non fat milk and long name calling.

Pardon me for being such a grinch because I don’t suppose I’ll be contributing to those Starbucks planner sticker collection anytime soon.

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High and Guangzhou

Lazy Black Cat goes to Guangzhou

And just when I thought I was skilled in the art of communication, a trip to China brought this so-called proficiency to shame where my non verbal gestures deemed useless and my well enunciated English, inept.

Guangzhou tan' residence
 Illiterate in the land of international cuisine, Renminbi and hoisin, it can be quite embarrassing to succumb to the global goods (in short, Mcdonald’s and Starbucks) and English speaking retailers, or what sounds like English. Hear me though; once the locals start serving you hot water to drink and almost send a vacuum to your hotel room (itwas just a voltage inquiry, for the love of Lao Tse), it’s best to stay safe, sound and IBS-free. ate

Good thing Peko and Poko are spelled in English. And Glico. And LotteGuangzhou Bullies

In the territory where the Watson’s lady couldn’t tell Bi-o-re from Ni-ve-a and nearly tore my arm off trying to whiten my wrist, it’s best to stay silent. Keep quiet, look, click a bit and eat what was ordered in English.

So don’t look for photos of snakes, chicken feet and rabbit heads. I never said I was the adventurous kind.

Guangzhou Grocery Partial Haul

For heaven’s sake, I couldn’t even order a decent milk tea without getting a line to form behind me. In real life, it’s Lost in Translation, sans the enjoyment, Bill Murray and all the fun in between.

But of course, a girl’s gotta eat.

Starbucks in CHina

Starbucks was an imperial haven for the foreigners with English speaking baristas who obligingly heated your food and perfectly understood the necessity of non fat and NO whipped cream. The Smoked Chicken Salad was Asian inspired and very filling, it was like dining near home.

I never thought I’d call Starbucks a second home but I’m loving that green logo.

Starbucks Smoked Chicken Salad

Mcdo Guangzhou

Mcdo Chicken Wrap

McDonald’s Guangzhou has subtitled menus beside the cashier (not the one in front). Bring a magnifying glass though as it can be a tough debacle with the photos, text and cashier. The Chicken Wrap is worth the wait despite attempts at failed gestures. Spicy, flavorful with cabbage and spinach wrap, I’d swap our local Mcdo for this Chinese counterpart anytime!

The Lamington Cakes were rather popular, and while I never got the chance to research their history, content and cultural significance, the McCafe version (chocolate, strawberry and vanilla flavored) was rather endearing and for once, I found myself enjoying coconut. The coconut shavings provide the texture for the smooth cake within. Hail Lamington!

mcdo guangzhou2

The Spaghetti House mayhem caused me to spend 80 Yuan for dinner. Turns out they had a menu for the middle class variety but no, they decided to feed me baked lobster pasta for dinner despite my pauper get-up.

Ah yes, it must’ve been my royal English, especially when I inquired, “Do you have OR?”

Very queenly indeed.

???????????????????????????????

The Dakasi milk tea fiasco caused a line so long I was glad I couldn’t understand swear words in Chinese. And I had the gall to order the longest and most peculiar drink in fine print. Now that’s taking my sweet time and sweet my green tea with brown rice milk was. Sweet yet utterly memorable.

After all saying “50% sugar” would certainly take another 10 minutes and a line 10x long!

Dakasi in CHina

Bruce Lee Logo-bearing Kung-Fu is a fastfood place frequented by local kids. Cheap, convenient and serves hefty meals, I understand why a lot of folks coop up in this joint. Congee, rice meals and noodles are common menu items but they do have that curious looking almond jelly that could make local giant Chow King shudder with its lack of Chinese authenticity. Boo-yah!

kung fu congee

kung fu almond jelly

Kung Fu Guangzhou

Guangzhou Sheraton’s Breakfast Buffet wasn’t that bad either. With fresh tomato juice, smoked salmon and fried noodles as part of the morning roster, what’s not to love about this place? Oh yeah, just that they forget what water is. H2o? Agua?

Chaa (“tea”) then.

Sheraton Guangzhou Breakfast BUffet Sheraton Guangzhou Breakfast Buffet2

    Sheraton Guangzhou Breakfast Buffet3

Delightful cheese selection and cereals, soy milk, the crunchiest melon I have tasted in the East – if I could live on breakfast alone, it would be here!

Of course nothing ever goes according to plan, there’s lunch, dinner and that obligatory midnight snack. Too many to mention, here’s a smorgasbord of stuff I may have eaten, sniffed or clicked by accident.

Don’t ask for details, or all you’ll just get is a “Meow!”

Dimsum Dismay

dessert or main dish

Guangzhou Unidentified  Lauriat Food items

 

Though I never got to say it back then, here’s my chance, despite the opposite placement.

Nihao, Guangzhou!

tan's Residence guangzhou, china

It was good while it lasted. Now I’m back to teabags and local ramen. Ah well, the price to hear decent English once again.

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Starbucks Hoji-what?

The local plebeians have found their drinking pleasure in the conveniently sprinkled milk tea joints all around Metro Manila. I for one am guilty of this menace, and have adopted the milk tea jargon of “no pearls”, “less ice” and my favorite, “zero sugar.”

The last spiel has earned me gawks and sneers that the cashier will certainly mark as the zaniest she has encountered in her front-office life, but if I had the time, I’d certainly have told her, better my decisive and time-saving action than the band of kids behind me dishing out statements that sound like “Ummm”, “Hmmm” and all other rhymes. It seems that it will take her forever to get them to order, unless they head for cover at the nearest McDonald’s. 

Yet again I digress from my feature photo. Starbucks Hojicha.

I have not been to Starbucks for a while, and curious about this Hojicha drink which has been flooding my dreams and consciousness, I’ve decided to finally confront this poster drink.

Resuming an upper class stance, I’ve decided to drop the hoi polloi Moonleaf mindset, put on my best English and go for “One Grande non fat Hojicha Frap with Earl Grey Jelly for J.Anne!” and since it was lunch, that chicken pesto on panini which looked quite enticing in that flat presentation.

The Hojicha came sans the cream, sugoi! But that was the best part out of this hoj-experience. If I were to rename this gloriously presented drink, it would be: 110% Sweet Earl Grey Frap, further sweetened by the Earl Grey Jelly. This is best partnered with something horribly bland and crisp, and I am glad I went for panini than the Oreo Cheesecake that was winking at me from the chiller.

In terms of the tea flavor, the Hojicha is certainly the supreme being that perhaps contains 10 teabags worth of tea which would please the Queen of England. 

Being used to mildly sweetened to bland drinks, the Hojicha certainly blasted my system to hyper-sugar mode—though I needed it at that time, reliving Tom Hanks in his The Terminal experience. Other than this outlier experience, I believe that should I have a tea fix, I would resume to my eternal favorite, the one drink that will never let me down, despite horrendous exams and long drives: Green Tea Frap without whipped cream.

 As for that chicken pesto panini, the actual name escapes my mind. Perhaps my subconscious decided to bury it in my mental oblivion since it wasn’t that spectacular to begin with. I’ve had other better tasting and worth recalling Starbucks sandwiches and this surely isn’t one of them. Filled with chicken, pesto and cheese, it was hmmm-kay but not dream-worthy.

 Especially when it’s something I can replicate at home. 

 But still, I am sure glad I didn’t go for that Oreo Cheesecake or the bathroom would’ve been my destination and not China. 

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Konnichiwa, Green Tea and Blueberry Cheesecake

Last time I took a walk in broad daylight, I was met with eerie-strangers-holding-fraps in every corner, which led me to think that this Starbucks Hojicha has come to haunt me.

“Ho-ji-cha!” Ho-ji-chaaaa!” Yamero! (Stoooopp!!)

All right then! Alas, before the fear could drive me to get that hoji-cup, I heard strange stories about the Hojicha + Earl Grey Jelly (too sweet, tastes like the forest) that made me ditch the drink and go for something more solid, green and table-worthy.

Itadakimasu!

Konnichiwa, Green Tea and Blueberry Cheesecake! For a cheesecake and green tea lover, this was something I could not run away from. Best of all, it doesn’t have those annoying adzuki beans that really leave bad teeth stains.

Top layer consists of that white chocolate (?) that more jelly-like than creamy. It had that very strange flavor I could not detect, but it would seem strange if I suddenly asked Starbucks for the ingredient listing of a slice of cheesecake. And so let’s just call it that white viscous layer that needs a knife to cut through.

The “mantle” is the best part, green tea-infused cheesecake, to be followed by blueberry cheesecake. The green tea cheesecake was remarkable, but rather sweet in the Hojicha fashion—a valid “sweet” reference, I believe. Little bits of blueberry floated on the other layer, which would be a welcome for those looking for fruit, jelly or just the color purple.

Lastly, the graham crust remains a staple (green tea-graham would be asking for too much but would be something I would love to taste), but I did spy nuts in some bites. Nuts and graham may not be the best combination for me, but I waived this slight transgression since the green tea cheesecake is something I’ve been waiting for a long time. Finally!

On the side, Starbucks also has that Purple Yam Cake (ube) with layers of Macapuno and Adzuki Beans. It’s 100% purple (check) but with ube (no way), macapuno (what is this, halo halo?) and adzuki (stains, stains, stains) that make up the cake (what it’s not cheesecake?) I’ll pass.

Kekkou desu! (No thanks!)

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Starbucks Cold Chicken Soba Salad

Our household thrives mainly on noodles and salad (and the occasional roast chicken), but putting them together in one dish has never materialized because I found the combination rather cold, squirmy and altogether bland. And add weird as well, since the thought of cold macaroni salad continues to bring shivers in our tropical home.

The thing is, I’ve never had decent soba. Ever. It’s a pity really, since whenever we pass by the Asian aisle in the grocery, I hold the raw product in my hands, perpetually clueless and broke to even shoot it in my basket.

Having no proper benchmark for soba is such a shame, especially when I take pride in being a noodle-lover. Of all places to take pity on this plight, it had to be Starbucks, which was rather strange – slurping on noodles while everyone else was being normal and sipping on their frap (which I happen to be allergic to).

The Cold Chicken Soba Salad is a combination of greens (not just iceberg lettuce, fantastic), chicken strips, shiitake mushrooms,  soba noodles and that awesome soy-sesame dressing. Normally, I try to be a refined diner and digest my meals slowly, but the dressing prompted me to disregard my morals and dump the whole cup on the noodles. Never mind the black sesame seeds creeping on everything it touched; it was don’t-talk-to-me-while-I-eat and don’t you forget to respect the soba. The entire serving was light, satisfactorily soy-savory and something I would love to have for lunch everyday. 

Unfortunately I’ve spotted this salad in hordes, but only in Starbucks Magallanes, which can really be annoying to the northern dwellers.

Of course I’ve considered a solution, but it involves huge backpack, so I don’t suppose anyone would go along with this plan. Anyway, it was good while it lasted.

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Starbucks Finds

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Starry-Eyed at Starbucks

When gluttony kicks in, it doesn’t matter where you are or whose birthday it is. It’s all about what we want to eat. And make it now.

Caught in Starbucks, the only natural reaction is to hoard the most breathtaking cakes. Forget the fruits or the oatmeal cookies, it’s all about creamy chocolate bliss. Unfortunately for my brother’s wallet, there were 3. What the hell, it’s our dad’s birthday!

 


Heaven on Earth (P130) 5 layers of chocolate, mousse and cream—made more divine by its glossy chocolate top that sheens with the floral overlay. The celestial aura makes it the perfect gift, but a bite will make you decide otherwise. The chocolate cake base is light and fluffy, which complements the overly creamy middle layers and the fudgy peak. A gift from the gods indeed!

Concorde (P120) Embodying its aviation namesake, the Concorde inspires action, marvel and French style. Each bite embraces an assortment of textures and chocolate intensity, you’ll be in awe until the very last bite. Chewy and toasty on the outside, the meringue provides the protective and addictive crust. Finding our way inside, the chocolate mousse is just as luscious and satisfying. This is one delirious flight I’d ride all over again.

 

Sugar-Free Trio (P160) You’ll never settle for the regular chocolate mousse again, after indulging in this sugar-free delicacy. You wouldn’t even know it was sugar-free, unless you read the label (or I blabbed about it). The cream and mousse are mildly sweet yet decadent enough to satisfy those sweet urges. The chocolate base is a remarkable surprise, as it strays from the conventionally boring cake and delves into something more sinister—a firm, semi sweet cookie crust. It’s a surprising sugar-free triple threat that I’d keep all for myself!                                                              

Best part of all, no need to travel far for this chocolate fix. Trinoma alone hosts 3 Starbucks, not to mention the Landmark branch. Plus there are a couple more spotted on the way home. Ah yes, the stars have aligned indeed. 

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