July 30, 2012

The Works Bistro- IL Terrazzo, Tomas Morato

It's been a while since we last dined in Il Terrazzo Tomas Morato. Normally when we do, our choice would only be Omakase or Banapple.

Fortunately, we had to chance to visit Il Terrazzo again and chanced upon this new restaurant called The Works Bistro.

Salad Harmony (Solo-P95/ Sharing P155)

Salad Harmony is a song to the mouth that gives a medley of flavors and texture. A fruity and nutty combination with crisp lettuce, almond slices, chopped tomatoes and egg, sliced grapes, sprinkled with Parmesan cheese tossed in sweet balsamic vinaigrette. 

Wings & Rings (P205-6pcs./P110-3pcs.)

Wings & Rings from the name itself is a basket of BBQ buffalo flavored chicken wings paired with crunchy onion rings. The wings were coated in a sweet and tangy blend of bbq sauce while the rings were fried in a nice crunchy batter coating. A bit oily but both were quite good.

Pizza Azzuro (10"-P315/12"-P405)

July 26, 2012

Basilico "An Italian-Inspired Restaurant"- A Hidden Gem in Pasig

Two friends united by their passion for food traveled their way to find the perfect formula in order to come up with an Italian cuisine that would best suit the Filipino taste. Thus, the establishment of Basilico Restaurant.

Basilico derived its name from the word "basil"- a commonly used herb in Italian cuisines. Don't expect authentic Italian dishes as Basilico is an Italian-inspired restaurant that infuses extraordinary flavors and taste to Italian classic dishes. 

We were privileged to try out this humble place in Pasig where we rarely pay a visit. We were unfamiliar and hesitant with the place giving us second thoughts if it was worth the drive. 

At first, parking was a problem as there was no parking area around. We were lucky enough to get a spot in front of the establishment on a Monday night. 

Nevertheless, we were warmly welcomed by Renelee Javonillo, co-owner of Basilico Restaurant, who recommended most of their best-selling food items on their menu. 

Chicken Peperoncino (P215)

A must-try in visiting Basilico is their Chicken Peperoncino which is their own version of baked chicken wings in special Java-Cayenne Pepper Sauce. It was a love at first bite when I sinked my teeth into these crispy coated wings bursting with sweet and nutty taste. Plus, a tad of spice coming from the cayenne pepper making it extra flavorful.

July 24, 2012

Jawbreaking Day at Zark's Burgers Taft- Spam, Bacon, Triple Patty and Cheese

I admit, I'm not into burgers. Beef burgers to be specific. It's not that I don't eat burgers but as much as possible I try to stay away from the guilt that I'd be feeling afterwards. 

But when I received an invitation for Jawbreaker Day at Zarks's from The Pickiest Eater himself, I just couldn't say no.

The Jawbreaker Day is a momentous event at Zark's wherein they sell their Jawbreaker Burger for  an affordable price of P150 instead of the regular price P250.

They also have this Jawbreaker Challenge wherein customers who would be able to finish this burger in 5 minutes get it for FREE and of course they also get unlimited bragging rights. 

You see, I'm more of a sidekick than a superhero. I've pushed and encouraged friends to join various eating challenges and I was there cheering for moral support as they participated in the respective challenges. Yes, I was the annoying "friend" who became more like a distraction than a motivator. The one documenting and laughing her heart out with the ridiculous looks of her friends. >:) 

Never in my life have I imagined that one day, I'll become the superhero who'll be digging into this triple patty burger with spam, bacon and cheese at Zark's Burger in Taft. 

Throw away the forks and knives 'cause you have to eat this huge 5-inch tall burger the fun and proper way- with your bare hands.  

Il Piccino Trattoria & Gastronomia- A Secret Romantic Date Place in San Juan

Il Piccino is a hidden restaurant tucked in the heart of San Juan that gives personal dining experience to its customers and guests. 

If you are not familiar with the place, you wouldn't even thought that there's a hidden gem inside this ancestral home of Chef Natalia Moran

Looking for the perfect date place that creates an intimate and romantic mood? Then Il Piccino is the  perfect setting for you and your special someone.

Dining is by-reservation only so it is advisable to call at least one day ahead. They are open for dinner during Fridays and Saturdays but can also accommodate reservation any day of the week as long as a group reservation of 6-20 persons is made. 

After our reservation, they sent us their set menus for the month so we could choose which set we would like to have. 

Their set menu could also be found on their Facebook Page.

To sample a variety of their menu selections, we decided to choose two different sets from their menu. 
We chose Il Menu Calabria (P1008) and Il Menu Siena (P896).

Upon entering the place, you will be warmly welcomed by someone in chef's jacket as she leads you to your seats.

Christmas lights illuminate the place while several plants gave a relaxing and enchanting vibe of an alfresco dining experience. 

Complimentary warm bread with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and Parmesan cheese were initially served on the table while waiting for our courses to start. 

July 21, 2012

Octoboy Japanese Sizzling Pizza - Tomas Morato

Remember my post about Octoboy before? In case you haven't here's another review of the Japanese restaurant that serves one of the best and authentic Takoyaki Balls and Osaka's famous sizzling pizza- Okonomiyaki.

I was more than excited when we got the chance to visit Octoboy in Tomas Morato again not only because I miss their takoyaki balls and okonomiyaki but also because they're offering a new set of items on their menu.

Octoboy is owned by Mr. Giovanni Cheng who wants to revolutionize Japanese cuisine by providing  their customers with quality food made with premium ingredients along with excellent service. 

We were sampled with Octoboy's all-time favorites and some of their new and best-tasting offerings.

To start off, we were served with Edamame beans which were seasoned with salt for taste. It was an interesting appetizer to munch on as not to bore customers while waiting for the main courses.

Edamame (P100)

I remember the first time I've tried this and had no idea how to eat it. I chewed on the pods without peeling off the skin. After learning the right way of eating it, I couldn't stop myself from munching on this healthy treat. 

Although it was seasoned with salt, the beans were not salty at all after peeling the skin off. They were just like nuts that I keep on popping to my mouth. 

I guess by now, everyone is familiar with these ball-shaped Japanese snack that can be found in every mall, train station and food court. 

Octopus Takoyaki (P120)

Takoyaki balls are made up of flour batter that consist of octopus pieces and veggies. But due to the fact that octopus costs a lot more than squid, most, if not all, food stalls use squid instead of octopus.

However, Octoboy boasts to serve takoyaki balls with pure fresh octopus that would completely melt your heart. 

I've tried a good takoyaki from Moshi Moshi but it doesn't comes close to the taste of Octoboy's. I guess it really pays to spend a little more for such a premium delicacy like this Takoyaki. 

Ocotoboy's Takoyaki comes in six large pieces of this soft and delicate treat. Each ball is infused with so much flavors that burst and melts in your mouth bite after bite. The bonito flakes on top and the drizzles of mayo and okonomiyaki sauce made it richer, creamier and tastier as you finish the whole thing. 

Aside from the usual okonomiyaki sauce that goes with it, Mr. Cheng recommended that we dip the takoyaki balls into their black vinegar sauce to prevent redundancy in taste. A good tip since after  finishig our takoyaki, it left us craving for more. 

Chicken Okonomiyaki (P300)

July 19, 2012

KFC Streetwise Cheese Top Burger

Have you watched this Youtube video of the KFC Cheese Top Burger Spoof Commerical on Jimmy Kimmel's show?

At first, I was doubtful about the existence of this so called Cheese Top burger and thought it was just a joke made by netizens. 

Turned out, the burger actually exist and according to the fast-food chain, sales for this Streetwise burger is beyond expectations and so the burger would be seen on their menu for some time.

The commercial above and even ad posters gave me an impression that the cheese was rich, creamy and melted on top of the bun. 

I was looking forward to finally try this controversial burger that received a lot of raves and hates over the net few weeks ago. 

First tried my luck in KFC Trinoma but they were sold out. Finally, we bought one from KFC Lucky Chinatown Mall in Binondo. 

July 18, 2012

Big Daddy's Chicken 大雞排 - "Taiwan's Famous Crispy Chicken Chop"

Our Current Addiction: Big Daddy's Chicken

We've heard and seen for ourselves the Taiwanese crave that is going all over the country today. Milk tea kiosks and cafes could be seen in every corner of the streets, while Taiwanese snacks could be found on the shelves of grocery stores and local supermarkets. There are even some Taiwanese restaurants that are making name for themselves in the Metro.

And now, Taiwan's Famous Crispy Chicken Chops finally landed in the country under the name of Big Daddy's Chicken

I first tried Big Daddy's Chicken in the food court area of Greenhills Theater Mall and I completely became addicted to it. I would crave for the large deep-fried crispy chicken fillet almost everyday.

Their Chicken Chops is worth (P95) and has six (6) delicious and mouthwatering flavors that you could choose from.
Original, Lemon, Chili, Nori, Plum and Wasabi

These flavors are all-natural aromatic spices generously sprinkled all over the chicken fillet to enhance the taste and turn it into a simply addicting snack. 

Then, they will then chop it into bite size pieces to make it easier for customers to enjoy this yummy and healthy treat. In our case, we went the traditional way of enjoying it by eating it as a whole. 

July 17, 2012

Sariwon Korean Barbecue- Galbi and Bulgogi in Bonifacio High Street

Korean culture and lifestyle is being embraced by Filipinos these days as they wear Korean fashion, watch Koreanovelas, of course eat Korean food.  

I myself was hit by the Korean craze when I started to become addicted in some heartwarming, tear-dropping Korean series and films. My family is also into Korean groceries where we would buy some delicacies, chips and even Korean ingredients for a Korean food fest at home. 

We would normally drive to places in search for a good Korean restaurant and find the perfect bulgogi and barbecue in the Metro.

Imagine my excitement when I heard that a new Korean Barbecue house is one of the few restaurants that sprouted in BGC earlier this year. Sariwon Korean Barbecue may be a fairly new restaurant but it was easily embraced by Filipinos in our country.

A normal weekday night at Sariwon is still packed with diners and loyal patrons. Imagine what a weekend night would be like. They are currently on soft opening but diners continue to flock this place for an authentic Korean BBQ feast.

Our Sariwon Korean Barbecue experience started with some tabs that expanded into tissue wipes when hot water was poured on it. 

Followed by a variety of complimentary Korean side dishes called banchan for us to try while waiting for the main courses.

The first appetizer was a plate of fresh lettuce with shredded cabbage and sliced cherry tomatoes in sesame vinaigrette dressing. Series of banchan classics followed such as kimchi, bean sprouts and anchovies. 

What interests me most was the sweet mashed potato and pumpkin which is not normally served in other Korean restaurants that I know of. I also love the crispy roasted anchovies that was a bit sweet and spicy. 

To start our Korean barbecue adventure, we were served with Sariwon's best-seller for grill choices- Galbi.

Galbi literally means "rib" that is generally made of marinated beef short ribs.

Sariwon offers Galbi and Seng Galbi with the former being less expensive as it has been pre-marinated and the latter being freshly marinated.

Beef Galbi (P545/280 grams)

Being pre-marinated in their Korean base sauce, the marinade infused the meat with juicy flavors but at the same time retained its freshness and tender texture. 

July 13, 2012

Chubby's Rib Shack- Solaris One Makati

A few days after a month long vacation, D and I went to Chubby's Rib Shack in Makati to finally taste what they had to offer. 

When I still had this hangover for American food, I was craving for some good ol' barbecue and Chubby's Rib Shack seemed the perfect place to be. 

I love the cabin-like interior of the place that has wooden ceilings and walls to create a Texas-shack inspired ambiance. The place gives off a cozy and country feel to it that make it seems like you are in an original barbecue house.

We learned that Chubby's Rib Shack was actually the "little brother" of Buffalo's Wings N' Things which serves one of the best buffalo wings in the Metro.

Their menu selections was quite limited but you are free to order from "big brother" who is just beside Chubby's.

Pulled Pork Nachos (P149)

We had some pulled pork sandwiches and tacos before but it was our first time to try a Pulled Pork Nachos. Imagine your favorite nachos drizzled with melted cheese but instead of the usual ground beef toppings, they serve it with a generous amount of sweet and tangy barbecue pulled pork pieces.

The Big Daddy! (P184)

We just can't get enough of this appetizer when "The Bid Daddy" came. It was indeed big with slow smoked pulled pork, coleslaw and cheese sauce in between two big and crunchy Texas Toast. The toast was thickly sliced with an aromatic glaze of garlic flavor. 

July 11, 2012

Cova Tapas Y Sangria - The New Bar in Town!

A new bar just hit the town! Cova Tapas y Sangria along Jupiter St. in Makati is the new face of modern Spanish bar. 

A joint venture between partners Tatyana Guevara and Patrick Hesse, who after graduating from Enderun Colleges flew all the way to Barcelona, Spain to train and learn more about Spanish cuisine.

They finally went home with a bright idea in mind. A plan that came into life with a vision to bring their closest experience in Barcelona to Manila. Hence the opening of Cova Tapas Y Sangria Bar.

Cova means cave which explains the modern and stylish cave-like design of the bar. Its cozy and relaxed ambiance makes it an ideal hangout for people who wants to meetup with friends in a subdued setting.

Cova's menu mainly consist of Spanish appetizers which are called tapas. "Tapa" which means cover or cap is part of the Spanish gastronomic culture.

Moving on with Cova's signature tapas, we learned that Tapas servings are normally good for one to two persons while Racion is provided for bigger groups. 

We started with something that resembles breakfast. A great dish to start and wake up our taste buds.

Huevos Cabreados (P260)

A pile of fried shoestring potatoes topped with crispy chorizo bits and two sunny side up eggs, their Huevos Cabreados truly feels like a breakfast plate in the morning. Freshly made alioli was drizzled on top with spicy brava sauce and pesto dip outlining the plate.

This is definitely my favorite dish in Cova. The right way of eating it is actually mixing everything first to infuse the flavors together. A hearty plate of Spanish comfort food! 

Cap I Pota (Tapa-P250/Racion-P500)

A Catalan specialty that resembles that of the classic Spanish Callos, Cap I Pota is a stew of Ox tripe, cheeks, jamon, blood sausage, tomatoes, sultana raisins and pine nuts.

July 4, 2012

Dimsum at Li Li 利 利 Chinese Restaurant- Hyatt Hotel & Casino

Welcome to the Wine Cellar- One of the private dining rooms in Hyatt's residential inspired Chinese restaurat- Li Li. 

I was lucky to be one of Li Li's guests for a Gongfu tea ceremony and luncheon feast wherein we were served with Li Li's best tasting dimsum favorites. 

The Art of GongFu

The Gongfu tea ceremony is a presentation
based on the tea preparation approach
which originated in Fujian and Guangdong
in the 1940's.

The original term gong fu cha literally
means "skill" or "capability". The tradition
of the Gongfu tea ceremony is to show guests
how welcome they are in a friend's home or
place of business. 

Each gesture and artful movement is done with
deep respect and intention.

Respect for the guest being served...
Respect for self...
Respect for the art of tea.

Before we started the luncheon, we were served with some refreshments that only Hyatt offers. Their Signature Guava Iced Tea is something you should not miss during your stay in Hyatt Hotel. I must admit, it is definitely one of the best iced tea I've had. 

And to begin our dimsum feast, appetizers of peanuts and pickled veggies were served on the table.

Shanghai-style Steamed Pork & Crab Meat Dumpling

July 3, 2012

Moshi Koshi Noodle Boss- Fresh Noodles Everyday

It's rainy season once again. It's time to bring out your umbrella and put on those raincoats and boots. With this kind of weather, what could be better than a hot bowl of noodles made fresh everyday? 

And while I am writing this up, I am currently craving for a bowl of ramen from Moshi Koshi which we just recently tried. 

But since I won't be able to leave work at this time, I'll just have to recall the sumptuous noodle feast we had last week at Moshi Koshi. 

Gyoza (P80/4 pcs.)

A regular appetizer in most Japanese restaurants' menu like Moshi Koshi is their Gyoza- 4 pieces of soft pan-fried Japanese dumplings. It has a firm and chewy wrapper with meaty and tasty filling just right to tease your palate.

To start the noodle feast is Moshi Koshi's best selling noodles.

Moshi Koshi's noodles are freshly made in-store everyday with ingredients imported all the way from Japan.

Suggested eating time for each noodle is indicated for the ultimate noodle experience.

Shoyu Ramen (P185)
Eating Time: 6 minutes

Shoyu Ramen is a soy-based broth with thin and chewy yellowish noodles topped with pork slices, veggies, bamboo shoots, nori and naruto (Japanese fish cake).

I love the firm and chewy texture of the noodles which was just right and al dente. "Koshi" as they say which is the tender and chewy, firm but not hard, sweet state of noodles.

Tempura Soba (P160)
Eating Time:  5 minutes