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I Scream! #icecreamfordinner


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!


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.


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!


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.


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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KEEp on Eating: WEE NAM KEE

wee nam kee

For the longest time, I abstained from ordering Hainanese Chicken, having associated it with the “sick person’s food”. With bland memories of pallid chicken – steamed, bleached and taste-free – I feared investing in food that would remind me of the days I missed school.

trinoma hainanese restaurant

Now I wonder where I got the idea that Hainanese Chicken was like that, since it offers quite the opposite: exotically spiced, tender and palatably friendly.

Having Wee Nam Kee, right at the top floor of TriNoma certainly calls for more than a wee bit of excitement. I reckon it’s the only Hainanese place in the locale which makes it a top destination, so to speak. 

Hainanese restaurant quezon city


hainanese chicken quezon city

While Hainanese Delights is the more convenient-food court version (though no longer in TriNoma), I was delighted to learn that Wee Nam Kee’s Hainanese Chicken can be ordered in the steamed and roasted variants! That is, if you order the larger size. Don’t that that would be reasonably available for the plated meals.

Hainanese chicken trinoma wee nam kee

Imagine enjoying this chicken in 2 versions, with the smothering of Hainanese sauce-ginger!

It makes this eating experience twice more fun. I never thought that Hainanese Chicken would be curiously sweet, with a subtle hint of hoisin and secret spices that actually make it quite zesty sans the sauce.

Did I mention it was tender without being overbearingly soft?

Seafood Crispy Noodles Wee Nam Kee

While others would love to eat this with the traditional rice, of course I would go for my kind of carbs: Seafood Crispy Noodles!

Seafood crispy noodles are always a staple in these types of restaurants, and Wee Nam Kee is no exception. The generously topped noodles are the usual Chinese seafood fare, but sans the salty surprise. The flavor from the chicken was enough to carry over to the noodles to provide that consistently mild and comforting Hainanese experience.

Wee nam Kee Hainanese Chicken


It was comfort food enough, without having to go through the stereotype ramen craving, which can be denting to the pocket, if you know what I mean.

 Wee Nam Kee deserves its own line, albeit beside the competitive Yakimix. Now I know what I want, in case I get sick, and it does not involve soup and asparagus! 


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Beets Please: California Pizza Kitchen

Food pizza restaurant manila review

I have abstained from eating at California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) for the longest time, albeit not related to utensil hygiene or rude service, but from a domestic altercation memory best left be buried in my metal abyss.

It would seem that I have gotten over that trauma—though unfortunately for CPK, it has become associated with adverse heart palpitations and childhood doom. Which partially explains why whenever someone asks about CPK, I always forget that a branch exists in Trinoma. For this idiotic lapse, I apologize.

To make up for my unforgivable food-related blunder, I have thus decided to write about CPK, but of course, expect the usual candor.

 Quezon City Pizza Restaurant

What is fabulous about the CPK Trinoma branch is that it’s located in a remote and private section beside Mango Tree Bistro, at the al fresco wing, but way quieter. Of course that peace was shattered when one of the patrons gave the shrillest squeal I have even heard—too alarming for a mouse but too short for a siren—so yes, it was certainly produced by a real girl.

Why she did that, it will forever be buried in the CPK CCTV archives, but no, it wasn’t me. She beat me to it. Boo.

Before you continue reading, let me just warn you that I went to CPK for the SALAD and not the pizza. Yes, I had on that pseudo diet mindset that evening and wanted to have my share of dessert, and so to please both my body weight and palate, I opted for salad. Blame the math.

While it’s just silly to go to California Pizza Kitchen and not eat pizza, it’s just like going to a bar and drinking water. Yes, I do that. I admit, I am not fun company.


And so, for the salad I will give you 2 kinds: Like and I-tried-to-like-but-just-can’t.


Let’s start with the bad news: Chicken Moroccan Salad.

 j.anne gonzales blog

In an effort to have “everything on it” this salad does the job. It literally has a smorgasbord of toppings, some of which you have never tasted in your life. Imagine beets. I thought beets were for old or sick people, and here they were, topping the salad like purple rhinestones on a crown of green. There were dried cranberries, avocado, almond slivers, dates (eww to the highest level) –the chicken was drowned by these festive tops.

Funny thing is, I forgot the dressing, whatever it was and the chicken, so it became a fruit-and-nut salad explosion. It also caused quite an explosion in my belly. Vroom-vroom. Biofitea, begone.

Then comes the promise of a return to CPK: The Original BBQ Chicken Chopped.

 jenina gonzales vegetarian salad

Now this one’s a winner, just by going through its name and composition (chopped lettuce, black beans, sweet corn, jicama, cilantro, basil, crispy corn tortilla strips and Monterey Jack cheese). Right? It isn’t just that it’s made up of the greatest toppings on Earth, it’s the way they’re tossed and come together in this Mexican fiesta of a salad. If all salads were like this, who needs pizza, huh?

Trinoma California Pizza Kitachen

All right, I lied a bit. I did have pizza, but the simplest kind, not the fancy, gourmet, artsy type that hipsters would order. Just the simplest version to appease my simpleton craving for mozzarella cheese. And yes, they do have that kind as well that goes by the conservative name: Traditional Pizza.

I did not make that name up.

Traditional Pizza is just mozzarella cheese on top. Rather than torture my arteries with mozzarella sticks, I went for the pizza instead. Good choice (pat on the head, lazy black me). It was chewy and comfort food tears-in-my-eyes satisfying.

The Chicken Moroccan Salad went on top of this pizza to balance its horrific and unknown ingredients. It was my hope to blanket these aliens with mozzarella presence. Kinda worked too.

sandwich quezon city trinoma

There also was another strange presence on the table, which was another traditional looking piece of homemade bread (I forgot the name of this Chicken Sandwich), but sadly was not mine. I could only click and salivate from my end. The happy diner was happy until the last bite, so I take it was a poultry success of a sandwich. It was the most Instragram-genic of the dishes as well.

Maybe next time.

But before anything else—note to self—there is CPK in Trinoma. Now don’t go driving off to U.P. Town Center for pizza. The parking there is just horrible.

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Falling off the Mango Tree

lazy black cat food blog quezon city

First time I ate at Mango Tree, I was up high in Thai bliss I even came up with an equally action packed title, Swinging by the Mango Tree  (@BGC).

That was because I ate for free.

The second time around, the experience was not rocking, rolling, or even swinging; it was not even close to repeating! Yep you guessed it right, I paid for my meal, this time at Mango Tree Bistro Trinoma.

Me, the thrifty semi vegetarian paid quite a price for this meal, so it was far from swinging by the tree and more of digging for spare change. With an economy like this, it’s time I embrace the Third World, live in acceptance and spend in penury.

The cost of my meal could feed a family of 10 in today’s GDP and so forgive my extravagance. As a form of penance I will abstain from milk tea for 10 days, a day for each family member.

And to think all I had was the Pomelo Salad, Pad Thai Jay and Red Chicken Curry.

trinoma salad thai restaurant

The Pomelo Salad has quite the complex presentation, with its pomelo-shrimp headdress, lettuce bed, onions, carrots and a smorgasbord of dressing flavors. Enough to battle with a Sinulog mask, it was very exquisite tasting and a creation of marvel. Even pomelo haters will be awed by this construction. However for the penny pinchers, you are probably better off eating a pomelo drenched in ACV and a wee bit of lettuce—roughly the same banana!

quezon city thai food restaurant

Pad Thai Jay offers the vegetarian pad thai but with the egg net that egg-maniacs can’t say no to. This elaborate 80s ‘do is also probably the reason why the dish costs quite a lot for mere rice noodles—unless inflation has reached only the fish sauce industry at this awful proportion! I understand the pomelo but pad thai? While the noodles were delectable and very enriching, I believe it’s time to finally learn how to cook my own pad thai jay.

jenina gonzales blog food

The chicken in red curry was—how do I say this without sounding so lame—ho-kay.  It was positively mediocre—the chicken chunks were standard, the curry was mildly spicy but could do more with that curry tang. There were vegetables swimming in the same sauce but were the least enticing. While the curry went well with the savvy noodles, they would surely do well with rice—note for the rice eaters, a vast group that dropped me off their subscription list.

While the dishes were extensively and craftily made, those seeking to protect their pockets are probably better off dining elsewhere. If you’re on a date though, well that’s another story. But if flying solo, don’t fall off the mango tree like me.

Learn to cook pad thai at home—or in my case—go one flight up, Banana Leaf!

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Pes-Tokyo Bubble Tea Dinner

trinoma japanese food

Creamy pesto is a sat-fat binge I can only afford on special occasions when I feel immune to dairy. Munch punching the menu of the newly opened Tokyo Bubble Tea in Trinoma was promising since they offer the Tori Pesto Spaghetti amongst other Japanese delights. Despite the lure of the Seafood Udon and Scallop Pasta, stubbornness led to la fee verte.

Sprinkled with nori strips, drizzled with wasabi-mayo and topped with chicken Yakitori slices, the Tori Pesto Spaghetti was a trip to Tokyo obesity. This was discounting the fact that the sauce was already creamy pesto, well balanced and mixed on un-al dente noodles. All in all it was hmmm-kay, given the small serving and attempts at creating a manga epic out of this dish presentation. The flavor was largely created from a smorgasbord of Saizen-Konbini products, so the Japanese flair is fairly evident.

lazy black cat japanese food

To add to your disappointment, I had water to drink so don’t expect any bubbly beverage reviews.

The yakisoba was so-so, yet the unnamed rice dish seemed to delight Ossan. I am partly grateful to Tokyo Bubble Tea for its sprightly ambience and free wifi and so instead of Sayonara, I say Ja ne (see you later!)


They do have a Green Tea Cake I have yet to try, ja ne!

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California Salad Kitchen

Sometime I wonder if I could just stick to being a salad blogger, you know, hop in the green bandwagon and wave off that organic finger while I’m at it.

Imagine, my order would usually end at page 1 of the menu, right next to appetizers. I could spend the rest of my idle time, tapping my fingers in disdain as my companions decide on poultry or fish, what siding to go with that or if it ought to be whole wheat or flour. Make up your mind, someone’s hungry!

cpk trinoma

At California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) which I would like to rename CS (salad) K since I partook in no form of pizza during my last visit, hence leaving me with guilt should I use the word pizza. Pizza? Pizza!

Salad chosen was the Original Bbq Chicken Chopped Salad because Mexican was my craving, and the salad’s smorgasbord of toppings ought to emulate any form of fiery fiesta flavor! Well fiery is a bit of an overstatement, but the smorgasbord sums it up: jack cheese, tortilla strips, chicken, tomatoes, green onions, black beans, cilantro, corn, etc.

The presentation was so coherently managed, I ended up eating black beans and corn – which I normally hate ingesting in real life. The overall dressing is ranch, but the chicken is doused with a barbecue sauce so when you mix the entire batch, you get a sweet-herb-creamy dressing that guarantees fullness that warrants no need for any form of dessert, calorie and waistline-wise.

CPK trinoma salad chicken

Overall, the salad’s effort at presenting a Mexican masterpiece fares better than other local versions, since it partially captures the “original” tangy chicken flavor and the cilantro effect is amazing. Chopped and ready-to-eat, it makes solo eating quite fun and effortless.

For not craving any more pizza, mozzarella sticks or pasta, other than this festive salad, I’d say this dish is quite the success in the salad-only pursuit. Price-wise, it may be a bit steep, but this can be addressed by some beggar jobs on the side.

All for salad. You know I’d do anything just for the greens.

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Seeing Stars: Dakasi (Trinoma)


Being a constant labyrinth, I don’t suppose I will ever memorize Trinoma’s tributaries and tenants—despite my infamous boast of being its daily patron. To prove my case, I never knew J.Co was open until I noticed hordes of orange boxes that clouded my peripheral vision with citrus sights. And, our dearly beloved Cibo unexpectedly disappeared, to be replaced by a ribs place. All these happened during my watch, so much for retail omniscience.

Getting lost may have its points too. I stumbled upon the soon-to-open sign of Army Navy (Trinoma Foodcourt—who eats there?), and mindlessly followed the brightly shining Super Mario star that led me to Dakasi. For those new to this strange-sounding store, it is not a cousin to Saizen but more of the striving youngest sibling of Gong Cha and Chatime. Enough with the clues, it’s a milk tea placemore of a stall—that has no other USP than having the Eiffel Tower on its cup. It does not hail from Paris though.

From High and Guangzhou Post

The first time I had a cup of Dakasi, I was verbally struggling in the underground mall in China. This time, everything is in English, and so if I couldn’t get my order right, blame the Eiffel Tower. Oui?

For comparison, it was a necessity that I order the Matcha Brown Rice Milk Tea (which I had in China). Another petty craving was the Yakult Green Tea, which I felt was fitting since all these were in conjunction with Trinoma’s “going green” campaign. Show your love for Mother Earth, bring a big bag. 

In the absence of the language barrier I was finally allowed to utter “25% sweetness” and expect 100% comprehension from the cashier.

It was almost perfect until, “Ma’am you should try that in 100%. You will not enjoy the full taste of the tea if it’s only 25%,” the sugar-loving cashier urged as if I wanted to get into her red bull mode.

She did not know whom she was dealing with though. With my self-made allergy to sugar, if I could have it my way, I’d go for Zero % but of course couldn’t give them the shock treatment on their soft opening. I do have a soft spot for Super Mario.

So I just gave her the look, and a “No.” That’s me being short and sweet, she’ll recover.


At 25% sweetness, the Matcha Brown Rice Milk Tea is fairly flavorful and maintains the strong matcha taste (and color). Compared to Chatime and Serenitea counterparts though, it has a creamier texture, but not as silky smooth as Moonleaf (sedimentation occurs to which I have no qualms though). Had I gone for that horrendous 100% sweetness, this would be like sipping melted matcha ice cream. Delicious but will require one hour of carrying groceries with my bare arms. This is Quezon City, no plastic bags allowed.

The Yakult Green Tea is another story—watery and derives the flavor from Yakult which is not exactly the best tasting yogurt on the planet. Going for the 100% sweetness level might not remedy the flavor, and Dakasi ought to incorporate more fruit into this drink. This drink falls below my yogurt-tea drink standards since counterparts from Chatime and Happy Lemon are much more enjoyable and cheaper, and they’ve become part of my honorary to-crave drinks list. The Chatime Yogurt Green Tea, in particular, has that subtle citrus flavor that even at 30% sweetness, can suffice as the perfect dessert.  

Of course that’s just 2 drinks out of their vast menu, and with the Buy 1 Take 1 promo on their soft opening, I’m bound to make this a daily ritual until I become known as the “Lazy Black 25% Sweetness Cat” or more believably, that “annoying and demanding girl”.

 Oh and they offer chocolate pudding as a sinker, so how about that for super?

Dakasi is that middle stall near Marks and Spencer and Healthy Options, and if you get lost still, allow your humility to sink in and consult the concierge. Don’t expect mushrooms to guide you to the end of the level.

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Death by Parvati Chocolate

Deprived of chocolate for what seemed like eternity, it was time to wave the white flag of fake fitness and resume the choco-haulic hoarders association.

As always Parvati (Trinoma) was the prime choice, on account of its location and hypnotic freezers—which aren’t entirely chilled—especially the cookie section. I tried to hide there once, so yes, I make a valid witness.

In no mood for cheesecake or the timidity of carrot cake, the orders were down to The Dome and The Decadent Cocosugar Chocolate Cake (Sugar Free). Competing in terms of cocoa intensity and swirly frosting, this mash-up should bash any depth of depression.

Guess the name: That Orbit, Mega Eclair or Choco Chow

The Dome, upon closer look, manages to bear strange similarities with a giant éclair and for the more imaginative, a bowl of dog food. The shimmering frosting and the chocolate chips that adorn the fringe can certainly torment the hungry, though in real life, I’d rather it be classified as a Baby Dome. Or how about The Orb?

Chocolate all over and with that nutella cream at the center, The Dome is what you eat when you are depressed, anorexic or dying of low blood sugar. The first few bites can certainly bring that chocolate bliss that can kill any sweet urge for decades. After the return of the common sense though, there are points to ponder as well: the chocolate cake relies on the cream for that moist effect and without it, remains as a boring block of chiffon.

The chocolate frosting is all right but could do with a bit more cocoa surge, while the chocolate chips are not as value-adding in terms of the taste factor. Thanks to that creamy center, The Dome justifies its compelling name, and with a less appealing core, would just be reduced to That Orb.

The Chocolate Cake that brings a new meaning to the word Decadent.

With a name so long, you’d probably expect an equally lengthy ode to The Decadent Cocosugar Chocolate Cake (Sugar Free), but I’ll spare you the burden of reading and summarize my usually wordy thoughts.

The chocolate cake is stiff, devoid of any form of “moist” or softness, and lacks any form of acceptable flavor despite christening itself as a decadent cake. The swirly icing is a tad too sweet but nothing gratifying. Whether the cake was old or kept in a bin of rice grains, its dehydrated form was certainly thes death of my taste buds.

While The Dome wasn’t exactly Willy Wonka variety, it at least had a shred of palatability to revive my pending death from the Sugar Free Chocolate Cake.

Still, I apologize to the cheesecake; I will never abandon you ever again


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Red Velvety Goodness

I have never really figured out how Red Velvet came to be or why it was named as such. Why it’s so strikingly red, when it can be brown or peach colored and renamed as Caramel Velvet? It does have a nice ring to it though, wouldn’t you say?

How about Maroon Mayhem? Indulging!

However Red Velvet has become quite a universal madness, from cupcakes to ice cream to lipstick shades. While I’ve never been that fond of red food, having associated it the Neolithic medium rare steak, I did fancy the Red Velvet Cake from Christina’s Kitchen.

Bought from Parvati (Trinoma), it was 100% red and with no hint of pink. For certain, Revlon would have a hard time replicating such a gorgeous and seamless shade of red. Muy rojo!

As for the “velvet” side of it, the cake was pure smooth and spongy goodness. While not bordering on the heavy cake consistency, it was greatly complemented by its cream cheese frosting. Not too buttery and by no means my-dentist-will-kill-me sweet, the light frosting and soft, light cake create that seamless Red Velvet cake, whose name or color I will never question again.

I’ve never described a cake as seamless, so I suppose this is one makes it to my books.

But I still think that someone ought to consider Maroon Mayhem. You do that, all right?


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Three pointer at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf

Anything that suggests a cluster reaching the number three is normally dismissed as trouble: triplets, 3-in-1, triumvirate, three’s a crowd. Oh, and there’s the Triple Decker Cheesecake at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf (CBTL).

Three's so not a crowd with this one.

No need to sense troublesome presence of calories and saturated fat, not to mention sugar – three whole layers of it – as they smack you right in the face with their creamy temptation! However it’s best to disregard these upsetting numbers especially when a slice is loaded with layers of fabulous cheesecake, guaranteed to kill any craving. The topmost dark cookie portion is a wonderful find and best kept as “the last bite.” The coffee layer may be a nuisance for insomniacs (like me) but this issue was easily addressed with good ‘ol water. Lots of it. Or decaffeinated tea, of course.

I wouldn’t recommend sharing this with anyone, as a bite less and you’re sure to scowl. Compared to Starbucks, Conti’s and some Parvati miniature bestsellers, this one’s a hefty serving—all fun, all cheesecake, all yours.

Or mine.

Then there’s this Chicken Chipotle Sandwich on the side, which took forever to prepare. I spied cucumber and one big chunk of panini—a kid’s jaw can’t get through that threshold. Since there was nothing special about the sandwich, except that it was sprawling with greens, we’re better off splurging on sweets when in CBTL.

CBTL in Trinoma provides a park-like venue for the bored or hungry—wide and overlooking Mindanao Avenue. Beside Peking Garden and Kimpura which are rarely filled—more space for everyone’s enjoyment and a breather compared to the top floor Starbucks which is forever congested in human haze. 


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