Tag Archives: Vegetarian

My Silantro Love

Silantro Fil-Mex | UP Town Center

silantro head.png

Not to mess with the English dictionary but let us start by clarifying that “cilantro” is Chinese parsley, otherwise known as coriander; whereas “Silantro” (with an S) is the Fil-Mex restaurant that is the subject of the blog post.

When you say Fil-Mex + UP Town Center, only one place comes to mind: Silantro. Synonymous to lines, QC, cheap treats and expansion wishlist, this place is a haven to the northern foodies craving for vegetables disguised with Mexican flavors.

papis fritas silantro uptc.jpg

Papi’s Fritas

nachos silantro.jpg

Nachos

As to the presence of cilantro in all of Silantro’s dishes may be a question reserved to the chef.

In my incessant munching in between sips of water, what stuck in my gastronomic memory were bits of onions, salsa and the occasional cheese. So much for Mexican food savant.

lamb tacos silantro.jpg

Lamb Tacos (Completo)

chicken tacos.jpg

Chicken Tacos (Medio)

Rather that describe each dish, which by the way consistently offered that signature Silantro flavor (in a positive way), I’m learning to be concise in my writing. On point. Let’s give it a try:

Silantro’s dishes give out that much awaited Mexican punch, in a price and atmosphere that are most acceptable for the Pinoy palate. I fully appreciate the mucho serving size without sacrificing flavor.

The intensity of the zest, flavors and salsa, coupled with the heaps of vegetables (lazy black cat approved) gives it a health edge as well. All in all, the queuing was all worth the wait.

While not much can be done about the queuing time, a girl can just wish that this can be managed. How? Well that’s not my problem. =)

silantro up town center.jpg

Oh, here’s what we ate:

Nachos, Papi’s Fritas, Lamb tacos (Completo), Chicken tacos (Medio

Wishlist-wise, do open a branch in Trinoma or The Block. We absolutely hate the parking system in UP Town Center. It is a labyrinth and a burden to the hungry and impatient.

 

 

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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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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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Clearing Out: The Wholesome Table

The Wholesome Table BGCOur first endeavour to visit The Wholesome Table (7th cor. 30th Ave. Bonifacio Highstreet) was met with was not too wholesome, with that one hour waiting period.

Those who know me would know that waiting is a trait I was never born with, and coupled with the adjective “hungry” can only result to disaster.

I did the world a favor by jumping off to neighboring The Village Tavern for dinner. That was the almost visit.

BGC restaurant

The second visit came with a bit of success, partly due to the first timing trauma. Having arrived for lunch on a Thursday at a remarkably impressive 11:30 am, I demanded not only a table, but one with couch seating as well. Early birds deserve the comfy seating, so as not to look dumb, amidst the long wait.

The Wholesome Table restaurant

Lunch was with long-absent peers, so my surreptitious snapshots could not be practiced shamelessly. I only managed a shot of the Eggplant Parmigiana and the complimentary bread. I heard it was potato (hard to believe), but regardless of its root crop origin, it was soft, steamy and righteous enough for the early bird – or anyone who detests carbs!

The Wholesome Table organic food

We also had Chicken Marsala and that Salmon in Basil Cream Sauce Pasta, both of which are kept in the sanctity of my not-too-wholesome belly.

The Salmon Pasta would make a revival on our next visit, but to be accompanied with whole wheat pasta.What I liked about the Salmon Pasta is its light and fresh flavor amidst its salmon and cream components. There was nothing fishy about it.

What is so exciting about this next visit, that I keep on referencing it?

Well for starters, it was a treat so that the orders came shamelessly and excessively. Another was that it was lunch, so we could eat to our heart’s demise and use the “no-dinner” as a pretext (though in retrospect I do remember having dinner still).

organic food bgc

To start of, we had three appetizers, one of which I could not partake in due to its meat content and lonesome serving (3 balls = 4 adults = uh oh).

Lucky them, I managed to forego the Organic Mushroom Fritters. Bathed in tomato sauce, they were supposed to be wrapped in Italian sausage and fried to perfection, but looking at the size, I’d surmise one should be enough.

The Wholesome Table calamari

The Crispy Calamari has that indispensable sauce, but for a group of hungry folks, the ashtray-sized serving necessitated some form of sacrifice.

The Wholesome Table burata

Topped with sweet balsamic vinegar, the Burrata came with a bang and left the table without a trace. I’d swear it never happened!

lazy black cat blog

The Barcelona Pizza, by its name is Spanish inspired and is highlighted by the turkey chorizo, which I feared to try. Never been a fan of chorizo even during my meat eating days, but the shiitake and garlic portion I managed to try were excellently baked into the pie.

The Wholesome Table chicken parmigiana

The Chicken Parmigiana was on the mediocre side, especially if you compare it to its veggie cousin Eggplant Parmigiana.

The parmesan-topped organic chicken was okay, compared to its eggplant-tofu counterpart which was to-die-for!

vegetarian food bgc

The Eggplant Parmigiana  was a tofu joyride in creamy disguise! I will be back for more.

The Wholesome Table chicken

Of course I just had to order the strangest dish in the menu. Ta-dah!

The Ultimate Veggie Burger which I shall describe to the curious: veggie patty of seared mushrooms, zucchini and quinoa, topped with gluten-free, vegan ricotta, onion jam, and field greens.

The Wholesome Table veggie burger

On the side are thin parmesan fries, so it’s a complete meal on its own. The veggie patty may not appeal to the liking of many, since it does not mimic the flavor of meat. Instead, it’s gritty, shroomy with hints of sweetness, while the vegan ricotta offers faint saltiness. While there was no catsup on the side, I felt like it needed a dollop of mustard or relish to get this patty kicking!

Two items I only could stare at (and apparently have no photo proof!) are the beefy entrees.

Graze Land Pizza:  Tomato sauce, grass fed beef strips, baked onions, roasted garlic, fresh mozzarella and grana padano

Grass Fed Beef Tenderloin: Grass fed beef tenderloin fillet with a light demi glaze sauce and served with roasted potatoes

The Wholesome Table tea

On to dessert, which of course was too much – but the gluttons demanded!

The Wholesome Table tiramisu

This odd sandbox is the Tiramisu. Hmm-kay was the general reaction.

The Wholesome Table carrot cake

The Carrot Cake was more like a carrot muffin. Not too moist (was it aged?), the organic carrots, pineapple and raisin combo turned this into a sweet and sour pastry – but tamed by the buttercream cheese. For its price though, I expected a hefty bunny slice!

The Wholesome Table mango panna cotta

The Panna Cotta was the strange one, which I think incorporates a kind of organic yogurt which resulted to grainy panna cotta. It may seem unusual to have un-smooth panna cotta, but you get used to the gritty texture and begin to associate organic with grainy!

All in all, our first reaction to #TheWholesomeTable experience was #expensive for organic meals. In retrospect, we did eat quite a lot and splurged some more for dessert.

After further rumination, perhaps the next visit could be spent on wiser and more sensible meals, such as Eggplant Parmigiana, pizza and a smoothie (which I have yet to try!).

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Into Tahir’s Kitchen

persian restaurant katipunan

Tahir’s Kitchen along Katipunan is painted in blue and white, and could easily be mistaken as a spawn of Vanilla Cupcakes and a shisha. The near-UV blue light is not too picture-friendly and let me warn you that the first batch of photos seemed to have been taken using blue filter. Had to severely edit the photos just to get them back to their realistic state of color.

For a Persian restaurant that ought to be filled with orange-y hues and hints of spice, the blue lights paved the way for what seemed to be an icy meal.

Pardon the metaphor but when Tahir’s is opposite Hassan and Darya – you may end up on the other side of the road, so to speak.

On to the food. Guessing that this was some kind of soft opening, we pardoned the kind waiter for very disappointing words such as, “No falafels today, ” and “We don’t have lava cake yet, ma’am.” Oh Tahir, if you knew I had a weakness for falafel and lava cake – both of which were not available.

On to what were available.

quezon city mediterranean

The Appetizer sampler (Hummus, Green and Black Olives Tapenade, Tzatziki, Tabbouleh (?) + Pita) showcased the dips which is good for the indecisive, but a downfall to learn that not all dips are created equally delightful. Case in point, we gravitated towards the olives tapenade (sooo awesome) and hummus, and left the rest to bathe in the blue light of doom.

meditettanean food quezon city

As much as I love salad, we can always do away with the Mediterranean Salad which is the appetizer sampler in salad form. There was not much novelty as to the taste and the lettuce was not that crisp and lively, so pass.

katipunan restaurant

The Chicken Tandoori was all right. Grilled and tasty but with the same tzatziki and pita bread, you end up wondering why they stock up only one kind of bread. Under the blue light it was getting a bit boring. Good thing the tandoori was a zesty welcome compared to the boring salad.

Tahir's Kitchen kebab fish

The Fish Kebab was presented in the same way as the tandoori, but crumbled once hit by the fork. The saltiness was not addressed by the same set of sauces and pita bread, so it ended up being a seafood mush. Compared to the chicken tandoori, this was not too fun to eat because it slithered on my plate.

And the sauces, say it with me… Again!?!

persian food review

Since the lava cake was not available, we had to settle with the Kulfi Ice Cream which thankfully was a refreshingly novel dessert–one unfazed by the blue hue. Made of homemade yogurt and drizzled with chocolate syrup, it was a redeeming dish and noteworthy in its pure and simple presentation.

However I am a creature of novelty and spicy kicks, and with Tahir’s tamed flavors and atmosphere, this bring down Persian food down to a bland notch.

It may sit well with some folks, but I’d be off to more, say, saucy and zest-filled adventures!

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Binondo Food Tripping

Manila food trippingBeen hearing a lot of buzz and drone on food trips, walking tours and whatnot in Binondo, Manila. Like it’s the new tourist hub of Manila, when everyone has had their fill of ramen and tonkatsu – which is kinda funny since Binondo has been there for like, forever.

Ying Ying Restaurant Binondo Manila

 

I can remember visiting Chinatown when I was a kid, and they were not food trips per se. Actually, my lola never really reached the popularity of that term, but she knew the essence of #foodtriptayo circa 80s, when we frequented Ongpin for Crispy noodles, fresh lapu lapu, century egg, and The Shrimp Balls of my childhood grease. Ah yes, and that was the time that awesome Milo Bar was sold in Manila, chunky and large, not like the ones we have today. #bestchildhoodever

Today though, Binondo remains to be the bustling center for legit Chinese delicacies and products from, where else, China. Of course 168 presents Divisoria merchandise in a mall-friendly fashion, not to mention the construction of Lucky Chinatown for those who just want a basic mall, but Old China is still very much in the air, with the kalesas, structures and of course, the food!

While I’m not food tripping addict, I just happened to pass by and eat. No walking tour or immersion whatsoever. Nothing planned, happened to get hungry so eat, pay and get out.

Binondo Food trip jenina gonzales

Ying Ying Restaurant is a multi-level restaurant that looks ho-hum from the outside, a bit crowded upon entry, and just really bustling with moving people and servers. It’s all right though, so long as you’re seated quickly to avoid headbutting beer bottles or chicken feet.

Vegetable dumpling

The menu is filled with so many interesting items, you will swear there must be an imminent visit. Unfortunately Ying Ying did not have Peking Duck (that day), but there were hordes of other dishes to discover and try, like all sorts of dimsum and single-serve appetizers in those staple saucers.

Ying Ying Binondo Review

Hakao Binondo Manila

The Hakao was delightfully fresh, while that Vegetable Roll was definitely a mysterious pocket of hodge-podge veggies. I spied mushrooms and carrots–and since it goes well with the usual calamansi and soy sauce–just great!

Toasted Noodles Ying Ying

where to eat binondo

The toasted noodles with chicken looked strange, outside its soupy form, so we enjoyed it al dente, bordering on the pancit side. The sizzling oysters is perfect for a lunch siding, or just pulutan. It was so flavorful, it may have contributed to the taste of my pancit-like toasted noodles turning it into a seafood fest.

Mix and match, and yes, end with a cup of tea–or make that two!

 

Binondo restaurant review

Tasty Dumplings is so close to the Binondo Church, it makes sense to have a tasty snack there after Mass.

Now that I’ve typed the word “tasty” twice in one sentence, I take it I’m not allowed to use it in the next paragraph or people might think my vocabulary just went down the drain from eating too much dumplings.

chinese food manila philippines

So this restaurant seems to be known for its breaded pork chop / chicken chop because people seem to order it a lot. It’s the batter, probably like those hoisiny Taiwanese batter that when deep fried, leaves off that awesome crunch. That’s it.

And it goes well with rice or noodles, the latter I purposely chose because would you just look at the size of that bowl?!

My chicken leg noodle order (seriously, the part was specified in the menu) was really filling and contrary to how it looks like, was far from gagging salty.

Tasty Dumplings Binondo

We had that kuchai (?) vegetable siding which looks like dilis but in reality tastes like fermented sweetened stems. Might be an acquired taste, but not for now.

If I were to come back, it would be for the dry noodles or more dumplings this time. As you can see, I am a sucker for dry noodles / pancit, or maybe it’s just the heat.

I know that there are so many other joints to discover and conquer in Binondo, so I should probably call this the first leg of the food trip. Chicken leg. Yeah.

Ah yes, there really should be more than that first leg huh. Maybe some duck, soy milk and like real vegetables. #WillStopNow

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To Tuscano Pizza and Beyond

BGC Pizza

If there is something in life we can never say “no” to, it’s #PizzaNight! Never screw with our pizza nights or you’re sure to get a fistful of dough in your pants or pepperoni in your socks.

There is no better feeling than accidentally discovering pizza joints in Manila that serve reasonably awesome and legit pizzas. Take this Tuscano Italian Wood Oven Pizza over at Burgos Circle, BGC as a classic example. The entire name is a quite a mouthful, it makes me full already!

burgos circle taguig restaurant

Having given up on BHS restaurants where nothing could fulfill our pizza cravings – except for Nolita, but I found its pizza on the salty side the other night, so sorry not for now – we ended up strolling until we ended up at Tuscano’s doorstep.

The place serves the usual Italian fares, but greedy pizza kids only order pizza on #pizzanight – that’s the rule! 

vegetarian pizza seafood

We ordered Tuscan Garden (aka the vegetarian pizza) and Seafood Feast (Frutti di Mare), both pies for sharing. I did have a taste of the compli bread because I was already dying of hunger from that trek.

I know there were only two of us, so doing the math, we should have borne a superfluous bounty, but restaurants always underestimate my appetite based on my foot size and my brother, based on his tattoos. Okay, no sense at all.

To summarize, we finished everything to the last crumb and morsel and yes, I ate the crust which I never do with cheap pizzas.

pizza night manila philippines

All in all, considering two skinny kids finished a “for sharing” portion each, I’d say that the quality makes up for the size.

Imagine the Tuscan Garden brimming with fresh vegetables and what seemed to be asparagus! It was an almighty greenery that vegans will pay homage to!

frutti di mare tuscano pizza

 

It wasn’t about thick gooey dough or cheap cheese; it was about fresh and quality ingredients, meticulously put together for that freshly baked Italian gourmet ride. 

The pizza is crisp and crackling with greens, and nothing is scrimped in terms of freshness. Ah yes, to Tuscano and beyond – and can I not eat mainstream pizza ever again?

Or maybe. it’s time to plan #PastaNight!

Decisions, decisions…

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Chihuahua Mexican Bar: Dog eat Dawg

Salad make your own makati

Dawg. Live like a gangsta, might as well speak like one, ayt? But that title hits the restaurant spot on—everyone knows what a Chihuahua is, right? When you’re eating at Chihuahua Mexican Grill and Margarita Bar (Greenbelt 2)—you got it—you’re gonna be eating like a dog, un perro.

Like the doggie bowl, concave metal contraption when Taco Bell’s little best friend eats from, if he has a home, well that’s where they serve your grub at Chihuahua.

Greenbelt 2 bar restaurant

I’m not one to complain though, since we’re gangsta. Heck, if you make me eat with my hands—uh oh, I’ve got my limits—no gracias. I like my utensils clean and spiffy but that gigantic metal bowl –cum-chamber-pot, why not?

It’s Mexican food and lo siento, I forgot my poncho-bib.

Enough gangsta talk, since I’m already getting a headache from the misspelled red-underlined words.

jenina gonzales food blog

Chihuahua Mexican Grill is a Mexican joint where, when you enter, you see the strangest folk, corporate beagles playing Uno Stacko—and having a crap of fun out of it. They must have been there way too early, so they were probably wasted as well. I like to go with the latter theory because getting high on wooden games and posting photos on social media as if this was the most fun thing on Earth, is not really NOT a fun thing to do on Earth.

Now if the guy at the next table were to photobomb their wholesome game with his unwholesome finger, now that deserves a “Like!” from me.

No, it did not happen though. Boo.

Greenbelt bar mexican

Now I have to talk about the food because it was what we went there for, not the games or photos of weird people flooding the walls or those pretentious sluts. Stop talking. Concentrate. Food.

The food is served Chipotle or Ristra’s style, the one where you fall in line and order what you want. The create-your-own Mexican meal so that if your food sucks, you have no one to blame but yourself.

It’s kind of pricey from an average worker point of view, but the restaurant has to pay off a lot of entertainment and leisure costs to get Uno Stacko loving weirdos to keep on coming back. Now if it were poker night. Hmmm..

Mexican hang out makati

Since it was a late dinner, I opted for the Chicken Salad.  As simple as that. That doggie bowl comes with fresh lettuce topped with guacamole, queso, pico de gallo, salsa, beans, corn kernels and lean marinated chicken.

It’s the condiments table that makes up for the flavor and aye carumba! experience – jalapenos, pico de gallo, all sorts of chili and tomatillos! Oh yes. I could live with that.

tacos nachos mexican greenbelt

And then we have Nacho Grande: A colossal mound of nacho chips topped with queso, chili, guacamole, pico de gallo, salsa, sour cream, grated cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese, and jalapeños.  Good enough for one and happy enough to forego the burrito.

I’d say, if I had a second time around, I’d choose a lazy lunch hour for that Mexican visit – with daylight to see my food, more time to burn off the carbs and ample idle time to enjoy those tomatillos!

B-ADDENDUM: I did manage to return to Chihuahua for that lazy lunch hour. Unfortunately the chillin’ part backfired as we were met with equally languid service and lack of pico de gallo and other condiments. It was like the place was wiped clean (or kitchen bare) the night before and we were left with chicken scraps (literally) and an absence of fresh produce. With this uncool experience, I have learned to make my own nachos at home. Mexican food craving, solved!

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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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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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