June 28, 2012

Kuppa Roastery & Cafe- Fort Bonifacio

Kuppa Roastery & Cafe in Fort Bonifacio is a fairly new cafe in the Metro but it has long been making a name in Bacolod City where it originated. 

Taking pride in the fact that it came from a family that knows coffee, Kuppa is also the first cafe to introduce in-house coffee roasting in the Philippines.

My initial impression about Kuppa was another cafe which serves coffee and the usual food selections in majority of coffee shops in the Philippines. 

And truly, first impressions don't last as the moment I stepped into Kuppa, I was completely awed by the spacious and brightly lit room that doesn't look like the "usual" coffee shops around at all. 

Discussing further the history of Kuppa was Ms. Karen Lo-Tsai, the first and only professional cupper and certified Q grader in the Philippines. Mr. Kevin Lo on the other hand, demonstrated the whole process of coffee roasting using their Probat coffee roaster.  Talk about a family that really knows coffee so well! 

Moving on with Kuppa's food selections and menu offerings, first served were their tasty and warm sandwiches.

Prosciutto and Pumpkin Sandwich (P265)

Thin slices of prosciutto and honey roasted pumpkin with pesto sauce, sandwiched between fresh and warm ciabatta bread that was toasted to perfection. This is one of my favorite sandwiches from Kuppa. The sweetness from the pumpkin slices and the saltiness from the prosciutto made a great combination and balance of flavors.

Ham & Jam Sandwich (P265)

Another great combination of sweet and salty flavors is Kuppa's Ham & Jam sandwich that is made up of smoked ham, brie and raspberry jam. Although I prefer the previous sandwich over this one, I still dig this sandwich cause the brie and jam blended perfectly well. 

Insalata Kuppa (P240)

A bed of organic salad greens and arugula topped with walnuts, grapes and bits of bleu cheese drizzled with reduced balsamic dressing. The salad was light yet the toppings packed this dish with a nutty, earthy, sweet and tangy fusion of flavors.

June 21, 2012

Pipino Vegetarian Restaurant by Pino- Go Vegan!

If there's one thing that I missed during my US trip, it would be the healthy selections of food we tried before I left Manila. Few weeks back before my departure, I've got to try Sugarleaf, Quantum Cafe and lastly Pipino Vegetarian Food by Pino that offers a variety of hearty and delicious food choices. But, there's something in Pipino that differentiates itself from the other two restaurants. 

Pipino Vegetarian is a place not only for vegetarians but also for vegans as well. Meaning, all of Pipino's dishes are plant-based and do not contain any animals or animal by-products. 

Located at the second floor of Pino Resto Bar in Malingap St. Teachers Village, this vegan place is a frequent hangout of vegan students and residents near the area. 

I felt excited the moment I realized that we were eating purely vegan food but at the same time worried that I may not like the taste of vegan meals.

We started with some refreshments of Pipino Shake (P80), Lemongrass Ginger Cucumber Cooler(P80) and Pino Iced Tea (P35)

The worried feeling completely banished the moment first course was served to us. 

Wicked Walnut Salad (P165)- Mixed organic greens with dalandan balsamic, candied walnuts, cherry tomatoes and walnut parmesan cheese

My next visit to Pipino will definitely include another order of this vegan salad. I love the play of citrus flavors from the balsamic vinaigrette and the sweet and nutty taste from the candied walnuts and parmesan cheese. Take note, their parmesan cheese is made out of walnut since they are not allowed to put animal by-product to their dishes. Interesting right?

Veggie Tempura (P80)

An assortment of carrots, eggplant and sweet potatoes deep fried in tempura batter served with soy mirin. Pipino's version of Veggie tempura is somewhat similar to my favorite Kakiage tempura I'd usually order in Japanese restaurants. 

Tofu Lemongrass Skewers (P145)

June 18, 2012

The Frazzled Cook- Mandaluyong

Aside from Cookbook Kitchen, I also wanted to try out The Frazzled Cook in Mandaluyong. I don't know but there seems to be something in both restaurants that I'd be willing to visit even if it was far from our place. Finally, the day has arrived.

If you're not familiar with Mandaluyong area, the place is quite hard to find. I suggest you do some research or check out the place in google maps before planning a visit. Yes, I'm saying that cause we missed the street where we should be turning. 

We visited during dinner time so the streets were dark making it harder to find the place. At last, we found the bright yellow signboard that holds its name. 

The quaint restaurant dazzled us with a bright chandelier that illuminates the place. The non uniformity of the wooden tables and chairs (that might even be older than our age) reminds me of ancestral houses people would visit to see their grandparents. It feels so warm and cozy with cute pieces of collections and vintage postcards on the wall. 

Shrimp and Squid Croquettes (P275)

For appetizers, we got these croquettes that are made up of shrimp, squid and sticky rice breaded and deep fried until golden brown. This is a must-try in Frazzled Cook! I'll definitely order this again on our next visit.

Paella Negra (P400)

A visit to Frazzled cook wouldn't be complete without an order of their paella. We went for the Paella Negra which was topped with shrimp, sausage, egg, bell peppers, squid and green peas. Honestly, I wasn't that much impressed cause the paella lacked the squid flavor. We should have gotten the Seafood Paella instead as the waiter suggested. Oh well, lesson learned. Next time we really should listen to the waiter's recommendations.