Monday, December 14, 2015

MasterChef Asia Season 1 Episode 15: Recap and Thoughts on Episode 15 [FINALE]

Photo from MasterChef Asia FB Page
  • It's finally the MasterChef Asia Finale! In this episode, Marcus and Leong will go on a head-to-head cook-off by competing against each other in three rounds of intense MasterChef challenges that will showcase their abilities as the two of the top home cooks in Asia. The contestant with the most points out of a possible score of 100 will be crowned the first MasterChef Asia champion!
  • It's been very fun covering this show and I hope you continue to read some of the other articles we put out. I promise that I'll cover season 2 of MasterChef Asia as well next year. I can't wait!
  • This will be an intense cook-off. I thought that Marcus, Leong, and Ha all had the skills, techniques, and creativity to win MasterChef Asia. Sadly, Ha was eliminated early on. I don't have any complaints against Marcus or Leong winning the title because they are both very talented cooks. They both deserve the crown. 
  • It's Singapore versus Malaysia! I'm personally rooting for Leong because I think he's the better cook. Marcus, however, is so talented that he can beat Leong with how precise he executes each of his dishes. Marcus is very good with desserts, but I question how well he will do with cooking savory dishes in the finale. Leong, on the other hand, is an amazing savory cook. 
  • Here are the MasterChef challenges for tonight:
    • Mystery Box - 30 points - 60 minutes to cook 1 dish
    • 2-Course Meal - 30 points - 2 hours to cook a salad and main
    • Pressure Test - 40 points - 1 hour to replicate a very difficult dessert

The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf's Toffee Nut Latte and Iced Blended: Masarap o Hindi Masarap?

The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf Philippines recently included the Toffee Nut Latte and Iced Blended in their line-up of Christmas drinks, replacing the very underwhelming Red Velvet Hot Chocolate. They're taking a page out of Starbucks Philippines, who has been serving the Toffee Nut every Christmas season for as long as I can remember. 

I was pretty excited about it because CBTL generally does coffee better than Starbucks. The Ultimate Vanilla is an amazing iced blended beverage and the White Chocolate Dream Latte is a drink I keep coming back for. It took some time (around a month) for them to start serving up the Toffee Nut drinks because of logistics issues, so pardon me for the late review. 

Here are my thoughts on the Toffee Nut Latte and Iced Blended;

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Morganfield's Philippines: The Biggest, Juiciest, Fall-Off-The-Bone Pork Ribs Has Arrived!

Morganfield'sHome of Sticky Bones, has finally opened their doors in Manila! The American-style diner is an extremely popular restaurant in Malaysia known for their huge portions of succulent, fall-off-the-bone pork ribs. 

Funny thing is, they didn't start out in the United States. Morganfield's actually began serving their huge ribs in Malaysia and they have since expanded to Singapore, China, and now the Philippines - certainly one of the fastest growing restaurant brands in Asia. 

We had the opportunity to try out selected items from Morganfield's menu during their opening week, including a variety of dishes including the popular salads, appetizers, mains, and of course RIBS! Here's why you'll love it... 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Taza Fresh Table: Using Fresh, Organic Ingredients to Serve You the Most Amazing Food

Taza Fresh Table is a farm-to-table restaurant by Taal Vista Hotel located at The Ridge overlooking the Taal Lake and Volcano. The restaurant offers international dishes using only the best locally sourced ingredients: duck from Laguna, lobster from Batangas, mangoes from Cebu, coffee beans and black rice from Negros, and organic herbs and vegetables from Benguet, Cavite, Batangas, and the Taal Vista Hotel Garden.

With 95% of the ingredients sourced from different regions in the Philippines, you can expect organic, single-origin, and sustainable ingredients on every plate meticulously prepared by their world-class chefs. The chefs, led by Chef Jayme Natividad, take no shortcuts, serving slow-cooked smoked meats, handmade pasta, and made-from-scratch sauces to make sure you enjoy every dish.

We had the pleasure of trying out a number of Taza Fresh Table's delightful, organic creations and here are the dishes that you shouldn't miss.

MasterChef Asia Season 1 Episode 14: Recap and Thoughts on Episode 14

MasterChef Asia Season 1 Episode 14: Recap and Thoughts on Episode 14
Photo from MasterChef Asia FB Page
  • We're down to the final three MasterChef Asia Contestants! In this MasterChef Asia episode, the contestants had to cook a dish that's a often cooked by their mom but elevated to a MasterChef level with everything they learned in the competition. 
  • The contestants had some inspiration at the start of the challenge with heartwarming messages from their mothers. The home, and especially our moms, serve as our first inspiration with the food we love to cook and eat so it's fitting that the contestants had to recreate and elevate their mom's signature dish. 
  • The contestants had 1 hour to cook 4 portions of the signature family dish. They also have full access to an open pantry.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Experience a Holiday Food Crawl Like No Other With City Savor on December 5, 12, and 19

Experience a Holiday Food Crawl Like No Other With City Savor on December 5, 12, and 19

The same organizers of Valero Eat St., in partnership with Zomato, brings you City Savor - a holiday food fest - on December 5, 12, and 19 at the Sapphire Bloc (Ortigas), Signa Designer Residences (Makati), and Trion Towers (BGC). The list of concessionaires look great so you can expect delicious treats and unique food finds so that you can get a dose of inspiration for gifts that you'll be handing out this Christmas. 

I mean let's face it, food such an amazing gift. I wouldn't mind getting a huge tin full of freshly baked cookies, macarons, or specialty coffee beans! It shows that you want to feed someone, and that's always a great intention! 

Saturday, November 28, 2015

MasterChef Asia Season 1 Episode 13: Recap and Thoughts on Episode 13

Photo from MasterChef Asia FB Page
  • There are only four MasterChef Asia contestants left! In this MasterChef Asia episode, the contestants face their first restaurant takeover. Each contestant is in charge of one cooking up a signature dish from Fresh Les Amis Restuarant, Singapore - one of Asia's best restaurants.  
  • The contestants look great wearing their chef jackets. All the remaining contestants have grown so much throughout the competition. They're putting up a lot more complex dishes as we head into the final few weeks and it's great to see the competition building up.
  • All in all, the contestants will be serving 40 VIPs with each contestant cooking up 20 dishes. They had 3 hours to prepare and cook the dishes.  

Monday, November 23, 2015

A Simple Way to Test If Your Coffee Is Fresh [Video]

By now you should know that if you want to enjoy a delicious cup of coffee, you should only buy freshly-roasted coffee beans and consume it all within 2-3 weeks of roasting. When you brew coffee that's beyond 3 weeks of its roast date, there's a good chance that your coffee is already stale and you lose those delicious aromatics you would otherwise find in a freshly-roasted cup. If you have an Ethiopia Konga or Yirgacheffe that no longer tastes has that fruity taste of fresh berries, you know you have stale coffee.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

MasterChef Asia Season 1 Episode 12: Recap and Thoughts on Episode 12

Photo from MasterChef Asia FB Page
  • We're down to only Five MasterChef Asia contestants! This MasterChef Asia Episode is all about Food and Travel. The contestants had to cook food that tells us of their travel and food experiences across Asia. 
  • This episode is also the first double challenge, where each contestant was first given the task of coming up with a steak sauce that would pair well with a medium rare steak in just 15 minutes. The contestant with the best steak sauce gets 60 minutes to cook and the contestant with the worst sauce gets a terrifying 20 minutes to cook their travel-inspired dish. Everyone else has 50, 40, and 30 minutes depending on how delicious their steak sauce was. 
  • Priya and Jasbir can't eat any beef, so the steak sauce challenge will be extra difficult for both of them. If one of them wins it, that would be pretty impressive.
  • I don't envy the poor soul who has to cook a delicious dish in just 20 minutes. If that contestant isn't going home, It's going to be a miracle. 
  • There is a lot riding on this challenge because the contestant with the most impressive dish gets an Air Asia ASEAN Pass and the winning dish will be the inspiration for a dish served on Air Asia X. As with all challenges, the contestant with the least impressive dish will get eliminated. All the contestants have full access to an open pantry.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Tajimaya Sumibi Yakiniku: Premium, Authentic, Mouthwatering Japanese Cuisine

Tajimaya Sumibi Yakiniku is an unassuming Japanese restaurant tucked away at the ground floor of One Rockwell West Tower. It's location makes it very easy to miss, especially since it's doesn't get as much foot traffic compared to the restaurants located inside Power Plant Mall. If you're looking for premium Japanese experience, however, such as melt-in-your-mouth grilled strips of Wagyu and fresh Japanese Salmon Sashimi then there's no way you should miss dining at Tajimaya.

I had the opportunity to try out a number of Tajimaya's signature dishes and here are some favorites that will surely appease your palate.

Mad Mark's Creamery and Good Eats: Affordable Steak and Delicious Ice Cream

When you think of steak, you probably think that there's no way you can enjoy a slab of USDA beef without emptying your bank account. Well, it's a good thing that Mad Mark's Creamery and Good Eats is around to satisfy the inner caveman (or cavewoman) in you. I'm not saying it's dirt cheap, but you can enjoy a thick piece of steak and a nice sweet dessert at a reasonable price in this (previously) hole-in-the-wall restaurant.

Mad Mark's remains to be one of my top places for quality steak and good old-fashioned ice cream, and here's why it should be yours too.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Where Can You Find Hario Coffee Products in the Philippines?

Hario is a leading producer of coffee equipment worldwide and for good reason. Baristas and coffee enthusiasts alike trust the quality of coffee equipment made by Hario and you can find thousands of cafes brewing specialty coffee using Hario gear. 

The Hario V60, for example, remains to be one of the best pour-over cones you can get your hands on. The Hario Mini Mill is also one of the most popular coffee hand-grinders on the market today. The Hario Buono Kettle is what you'd normally see being used in countless pour-over demos on Youtube. 

Hario products are very popular worldwide but unfortunately they're not so easy to find in the Philippines. Here are the best places where you can get your hands on some quality Hario products.

Milk Cow: A Taste of Premium Soft Serve Ice Cream

It seems like a lot of Filipinos nowadays are developing a palate for 'premium' delicacies. Trends such as premium ice cream, specialty coffee and tea, artisan cookies, french maracons, and a whole lot more have been hitting the Philippine food scene. Recently, premium soft serve ice cream led by Korean dessert shops Milk Cow and Honey Creme, have been trying to gain steam.

I finally had the opportunity to try Milk Cow's premium soft serve ice cream and here's what you should expect from this Korean dessert store.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Taza Fresh Table: Fresh, Organic Breakfast That's Packed Full of Flavor

Imagine enjoying a hearty, delicious breakfast overlooking the beauty of Taal Lake, basking in the flavors of a meal meticulously prepared by world-class culinary genius, Chef Jayme Natividad. On top of that, you're treated to a dish that's purely organic, where 95% of the ingredients are sourced locally with every ingredient is carefully made from scratch. That's what Taza Fresh Table offers their guests - a world-class dining experience that you will surely never forget.

Taza Fresh Table is located at Taal Vista Hotel, right on The Ridge overlooking Taal Lake and Volcano. Taza is derived from the Arabic word Taaza, meaning 'Fresh'. Taza's breakfast menu is composed of comfort food such as Steak and Eggs, Eggs Benedict, Buttermilk Southern Fried Chicken, French Toast, Homemade Bacon, and Omellete. For only 300 pesos per head, you can upgrade the regular breakfast buffet at Taal Vista Hotel and enjoy Chef Jayme Natividad's carefully curated, organic breakfast menu. I strongly urge you to upgrade. 

Sea Salt: Where Can You Get It in the Philippines?

In the past, I had a really hard time looking for a place that sells affordable Mediterranian Sea Salt in Metro Manila. Sea Salt is what world-class chefs use in their kitchens because it is said to taste better then regular iodized salt. I went to a number of supermarkets and it was a bit frustrating to find out that they either didn't have any sea salt or I found it too expensive.

These supermarkets were Rustan's supermarket, Cash & Carry, Landmark, and SM Hypermarket. I finally found a great place to get sea salt in the Philippines, and here's here I found them. 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

MasterChef Asia Season 1 Episode 11: Recap and Thoughts on Episode 11

Photo from MasterChef Asia FB Page
  • We're down to the top 6! In this MasterChef Asia Episode, the contestants will have to work in teams to come up with an outstanding themed 2-course menu for 2 of Singapore's hottest young fashion designers. 
  • So far, Lennard has won all the previous team challenges. Will he be able to continue that winning streak in this episode?
  • The teams had to cook for the founder of Carrie K Artisan Jewelry Carolyn Kan and the woman behind Elohim, Sabrina Goh. The teams had to sit with the designers and understand each designer's food preferences. They will be judged by how well they can accomplish the brief both in presentation and flavor. 
  • Each team will have to serve one main and one dessert to 25 of the designer's guests. They have 2 and a half hours to plan, prep, and plate food in the MasterChef Kitchen. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Learn From Five Pastry Master Chefs as they hold Masterclasses at the Academy of Pastry & Bakery Arts

It's no secret that I'm very supportive of the Academy of Pastry & Bakery Arts Philippines and their hands-on approach to pastry education. I've been to their Grand Opening Ceremony last August where Managing Director Chef Niklesh and Chef Jean-Louis Arnaud explained why the Academy was formed and what makes this school different from any other pastry school out there. I've also attended one of their classes that I still have yet to review where I was able to learn a lot about chocolate-making. Then, Master Chef Jess Chaim Ko Seen graced us with his presence by conducting a Christmas Pastry demonstration using Selbourne chocolates

The Academy has been growing quite fast and they have had a number of students who are taking classes in the Academy to hone their pastry skills so far. This time, just 4 months after opening their Philippine school, they are bringing in 5 world-renowned Master Chefs to hold masterclass sessions this November 12 to 30, 2015

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Shakey's Weekday Deli-Free Promotion Offers a Free Spaghetti Platter

In my books, free is always good. So imagine my delight when I found out that Shakey's Philippines has another promotion for the month of November (It seems like they have one every month, don't they?). For a minimum delivery of Php 700, you get a Free Spaghetti Platter Coupon that you can avail when you dine-in at any Shakey's store!

This offer is valid only when you order from Mondays to Thursdays and will run from November 9, 2015 to December 3, 2015.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

MasterChef Asia Season 1 Episode 10: Recap and Thoughts on Episode 10

Photo from MasterChef Asia FB Page
  • This MasterChef Asia Episode is all about celebration and innovation as Singapore celebrates its 50th year of independence. Guest judge and Pastry queen Janice Wong graces this episode by showcasing some of her beautiful dessert creations to provide some inspiration to the contestants .
  • It's interesting to note that all of the remaining contestants has cooked a top 3 dish at least once in the competition. Ha leads the way, putting up a top 3 dish for 4 times already.
  • Finally, a dessert challenge! This episode is all about being innovative with desserts so the dessert guru Marcus and French-inspired patisserie Blanche should have this in the bag. 
  • It's not easy to create a plate that has so many complex elements that blend together beautifully.
  • The contestants will be judged based on the story that they put on the plate and how their desserts taste. Each contestant has 2 and a half hours with full access to an open pantry to communicate a story of celebration through their food.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Cafe Seol Hwa's Bing Su is a Tasty Korean Dessert You'll Love

One day. while I was searching for the top rated Korean restaurants on Zomato, I came across Cafe Seol Hwa - a Korean cafe that scored 4.8 out of 5.0 from 82 votes. I looked over the reviews and people were going crazy about CafeSeol Hwa's Bing Su, a shaved ice dessert loaded with a number of toppings ranging from fresh fruits to decadent pastries that's popular in Korea. Simply put, it's the Korean version of the classic Filipino Halo-Halo.

The Bing Su is served in two sizes - regular and large. In my opinion, the regular Bing Su is good for 2 people (even though they say it's good for just one) especially after enjoying a meal. The large Bing Su, on the other hand, can probably feed 3-4 hungry mouths. 

I had my doubts at first, but here's why you should give Cafe Seolhwa and that delicious Korean Bing Su a shot.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Starbucks Philippines Christmas Panettone Latte and Frappuccino: Masarap o Hindi Masarap?

Starbucks Philippines added the Christmas Panettone Latte to their Christmas Drink line-up this year and they didn't bring back the popular Christmas Cookie Latte (which was one of my favorite Starbucks Christmas drinks). I personally enjoyed having a warm Toffee Nut Latte or Christmas Cookie Latte while reading a book during the last holiday season.

Starbucks brought back the Toffee Nut Latte and the Peppermint Mocha so I think my previous review of both these drinks still stand.

Here are my thoughts on the Christmas Panettone Latte;

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Gino's Brick Oven Pizza: Rustic, Generous, and Delicious

It's been over 5 years since I first tried a slice of Gino's Brick Oven Pizza and to this day I'm still raving about how good it is. Back in 2010, Gino's has developed sort of a cult following because of their fresh, rustic pizza that's cooked to perfection inside a brick oven which leaves a slightly charred taste that's a lot less oily. 

I've tried a number of their pizzas, from the classic Margherita to the popular SMEGG, and they never fail to disappoint. Now that they've opened more stores (the most recent one in Bonifacio Global City), it's easier than ever to enjoy a slice of their amazing pizzas. 

Here's why you will enjoy dining at Gino's Brick Oven Pizza. 

Saturday, October 31, 2015

MasterChef Asia Season 1 Episode 9: Recap and Thoughts on Episode 9

MasterChef Asia Season 1 Episode 9: Recap and Thoughts on Episode 9
Photo from MasterChef Asia FB Page
  • This MasterChef Asia takes the contestants to one of the most popular entertainment destinations in Asia - Hongkong Disneyland.  They had the morning off to enjoy the sights and sounds of this magical place before they have lunch at Crystal Lotus restaurant.
  • It was funny watching Ha enjoy some of the rides even though she was afraid of heights. I think we were able to get a glimpse of the contestants that we don't normally see when they're cooking and get to know them a little better. 
  • The teams are faced with their first pressure test (isn't it a bit late into the show?) where they had to replicate one of four Rudolf Muller's award-winning dishes. These are the;
    • Roasted Beef and Veal Tenderloin
    • Salmon and Cod Timbale
    • 5 Spice Veal and Beef Short Ribs
    • Slow Roasted Lamb Loin
  • The contestants had to replicate a Rudolf Muller dish within the time frame. They were given a recipe and all the ingredients they needed to make this dish at their station in the Royal Banquet Hall

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Starbucks x Moleskine 2016 Planner: Collect Stickers Beginning November 2, 2015

The Starbucks x Moleskine 2016 Planner: Collect Stickers Beginning November 2, 2015

Starbucks is known to have the most sought after planner in the Philippines, year in and year out. This year they are making their planners even more amazing by partnering up with Moleskine, the premium Italian notebook brand. I usually collect 2 planners every year, one of which is the Starbucks Planner while the other one is the CBTL Giving Journal.

I don't think I failed to collect a planner over the past 4 years yet. Here's how you can get the Starbucks 2016 Planner.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

MasterChef Asia Season 1 Episode 8: Recap and Thoughts on Episode 8

MasterChef Asia Season 1 Episode 8: Recap and Thoughts on Episode 8
Photo from MasterChef Asia FB Page
  • This episode, the MasterChef Asia contestants had another team challenge at the Changi airport. There was an elaborate scene at the start of the episode where the contestants were asked to head to the airport with uber, so let's just call this 'The Uber Episode'.
  • The contestants were divided into three teams of three with the top 3 contestants in the previous episode as team leaders, each with a stall in Changi Airport to run. The teams had to cook with a certain cuisine (chosen at random) - Indonesian, Japanese, and Vietnamese. The team with the least number of votes will be facing elimination. 
  • The teams had 30 minutes to check out the competition at Changi Airport to observe the food standards and portion sizes in the airport
  • They had 2 and a half hours to plan and prepare their dishes, after which they'll transport the food to Changi Airport for a 1 hour service. They had to prep enough food to serve as much passengers as they can. 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Get Your Udon Noodles Fix at Oudon, Bonifacio Global City

Ramen is a worldwide phenomenon and it's no different here in the Philippines. While it's certainly hard to resist a rich, heavy bowl of ramen we shouldn't overlook one of it's tasty Japanese cousins - the udon. Udon noodles are large, chewy noodles traditionally served in a light broth. If you're craving for udon, book a reservation now to dine at Oudon restaurant in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.You won't be disappointed.

Here are some mouthwatering reasons on why you will love Oudon.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Start Collecting Stamps for the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf 2016 Giving Journal on October 23

Start Collecting Stamps for the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf 2016 Giving Journal This October 23

UPDATE: Check out the 2017 CBTL Giving Journal in an updated post

It's that wonderful time of the year again when our favorite coffee shops start handing out stamps (or stickers) so that we can get one of their 2016 planners. You can already start collecting the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Philippines 2016 Giving Journal stamps this coming October 23, 2015. You can also have a taste of their delicious Toffee Nut Latte and Toffee Nut Iced Blended

It's more or less the same mechanics that they've had in the past and with each giving journal you are helping a scholar from the REAL LIFE Foundation. Here's what you need to get a planner. 

Monday, October 19, 2015

Let C' Italian Dining Woo You With Romance, Elegance, and Authentic Italian

Tucked away along the streets of Salcedo village is a small, intimate Italian restaurant called C' Italian Dining. As soon as you walk in the restaurant, you can't help but think that it's the perfect place for a bit of romance. Beautiful paintings are lined along the walls, tables are arranged to seat at most four, and the lights help create a dim, romantic atmosphere.

C' Italian Dining is the place you bring someone you really want to impress.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Five Occasions That Calls For Food Delivery To Save the Day

Five Occasions Where Food Delivery Saves the Day
Photo from the Foodpanda Facebook Page
Technology today is such a marvel that you can do just about anything at the palm of your hands (with a smartphone in it of course). Smartphone apps are so powerful that Apple actually coined the slogan "There's an App for That" back in 2010 to highlight the versatility of the apps we can use.

I personally check Zomato, an app where you can find trusted restaurant reviews from fellow foodies, every day. I also use a number of apps for social media (Facebook, Instagram, and Flipboard), count my steps using Pacer, shop using Lazada, and of course have food delivered right to my doorstep with Foodpanda.

Pastry Master Chef Jess Chiam Ko Seen Creates Beautiful Christmas Pastries Using Selbourne Chocolates

Master Chef Jess Chiam Ko Seen, a pastry chef with over 18 years of experience and numerous accolades under his belt, meticulously works on Christmas-themed pastries that include triple chocolate cookies, cupcakes with chocolate ganache, and pink macaroons in a demonstration held at the Academy of Pastry & Bakery Arts Philippines.

As a home cook and foodie, it was truly an honor to watch this master pastry chef create beautiful Christmas desserts.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

MasterChef Asia: What's in a Redmart Staple Pantry Box?

MasterChef Asia: What's in a Redmart Pantry Box?

What's in your home staple pantry box? Well, whenever our MasterChef Asia contestants are faced with a challenge to whip up an amazing dish in the MasterChef kitchen, they need some basic pantry staples to help them create the perfect dish.

They are armed with these basic pantry ingredients so that they can create something amazing. You should know better and have these pantry staples in your kitchen at all the time.

MasterChef Asia Season 1 Episode 7: Recap and Thoughts on Episode 7

MasterChef Asia Season 1 Episode 7: Recap and Thoughts on Episode 7
Photo from MasterChef Asia FB Page
  • In this MasterChef Asia episode, the contestants had to cook dishes that would raise money for World Food Day to help feed disadvantaged children around the world. 
  • World Food Day is celebrated every 16th of October and is a day where people around the world come together with the goal of eradicating hunger in our lifetime.
  • I love this challenge and it's great that MasterChef Asia dedicated an episode to promote World Food Day and help raise money for charity.
  • This was an individual challenge, the contestants had to prepare 1 food item in just 2 and a half hours to feed around 150 guests. They had full access to the MasterChef pantry. The contestants had 60 minutes to serve their food and raise donations. The home cook who raises the most money wins the challenge while the cook that gets the least amount of donations gets eliminated.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Thank You for Voting Chef Jay's Kitchen as #2 in the Top 10 Emerging Influential Blogs of 2015

Food is such an exciting topic to write about. We eat at least 3 times a day (most people are guilty of more) and food never gets boring. There is just so much variety in food that there are so many thing we would like to share with you. I started this blog back in September 2014 with the goal of having honest, objective conversations about food with all of you. I'm amazed that in a span of a year, this blog's readers have grown from 0 to over 10,000 per month. Amazing, isn't it?

If You Had to Make an Amazing Dish Using 555 Fried Sardines, What Would It Be?

Maine Mendoza Aldub for 555

Sardines may be known as a poor man’s staple because of it's affordability, but it's also packed with essential vitamins and minerals - making it one of the healthiest things we can eat. In fact, I do whip up a pack of 555 Hot & Spicy Sardines whenever I'm too lazy too cook because I find it to be both tasty and good for you. Of course, 555 Sardines recently signed Yaya Dub as their newest endorser to help encourage more people to eat sardines as part of their daily diet as a great health boost.

Having a daily dose of sardines is good for your heart as it is rich in Omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which have been researched to lower triglycerides and cholesterol levels. Sardines are also an excellent source of Vitamin B12 which is also great for your overall cardiovascular health. Finally, sardines contains high level of Vitamin D that is optimal in bone building and it's also an affordable way to add protein to your diet.

555 Fried Sardines recently held a cooking competition and here are the creative dishes that had sardines as their core ingredient to promote sardines as a regular part of a healthy diet.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

MasterChef Asia Season 1 Episode 6: Recap and Thoughts on Episode 6

Photo from MasterChef Asia FB Page
  • In this MasterChef Asia episode, the contestants is faced with another team challenge. They were split into pairs, and each pair had to cook a dish (from one of five selected cuisines) using a Panasonic appliance and limited ingredients inside some Panasonic refrigerators and some basic pantry staples. 
  • I guess we can safely call this the "Panasonic Appliance Pair Cuisine Challenge" then. Shameless plugging at it's finest!
  • The losing team with go head-to-head against each other in an elimination challenge. 
  • The cuisines were Thai, Spanish, Italian, French, and American. The appliances were a mixer-grinder, rice cooker, a stick blender, juicer, and bread maker. The choice of cuisine and appliance was determined by a knife draw. 
  • Blanche had the first pick for both cuisine and appliance. It's her lucky day today because she chose number 1 both times! 
  • Marcus and Lennard picked the number 5 so they had to cook with whatever cuisine and appliance was left - so that led to them trying to cook Thai food using a bread maker. Tough luck for two of the best contestants in the competition but they still have the ability to create something amazing. 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Celebrate Oktoberfest With Shakey's Philippines October Feast Treat

Celebrate Oktoberfest With Shakey's Philippines October Feast Treat

You can enjoy a FREE Basket of Mojos for every Large or Party size a la Carte purchase of any Shakey's pizza when you dine in at Shakey's Philippines. The promo runs from October 3 to October 31, 2015 .

Monday, October 5, 2015

You Can #EatLikeaViking and #DrinkLikeaViking With Vikings’ Oktoberfest Celebration!

To celebrate Oktoberfest, eat and drink like a Viking at Viking's Luxury Buffet! Drown yourself in unlimited draft beer and Japanese sake this October at Vikings Luxury Buffet.  This treat is already included in their regular prices of  P688 for the regular weekday lunch buffet and P888 for the regular dinner and weekend & holiday lunch/dinner buffet.

Salt Gastro Lounge: Serving Upscale Modern American Food in Metro-Iloilo

Salt Gastro Lounge is another testament to the evolving Ilonggo palate. The interiors is reminiscent of a New York music pub, and the food matches up pretty well with the feel of the plate. Salt Gastro Lounge always has customers lining up for lunch or dinner, which says a lot about the restaurant's popularity. 

Is it just a hype or are they the real deal? Well, here's what I think of Salt Gastro Lounge. 

Bornga Serves Authentic, Delicious Korean Food in Makati City

Bornga: Original Korean Taste is one of the few restaurants currently housed in the new Alphaland Makati Place. People who know me understand that Korean food is not my favorite cuisine. It's probably because I don't like the taste of the popular Korean Kimchi that people are always raving about. I wouldn't eat it even if I won a lottery that would give me a lifetime supply of this dreadful dish (I'm sorry Kimchi lovers).

Popular Korean restaurants such as Bulgogi Brothers and K-pub, in my opinion, were also very disappointing. In light of this, I do try to steer clear of anything Korean unless I have no choice.

I was dragged into dining at Bornga and, surprisingly, I really loved the food. It's the first Korean restaurant I'd ever want to go back to. Here's why I think Bornga has some pretty noteworthy Korean dishes.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

A Binondo Lunch at Shi Lin, Lucky China Town Mall

We wanted to try out a new Chinese restaurant during our trip to Binondo, so we had lunch at Shi Lin. I heard that they serve pretty tasty noodles and they also had some great reviews in Zomato. Little did we know that they actually have branches everywhere - a critical mistake since we wanted to eat somewhere special.

We had some noodles and dumpling, so here's what we thought of Shi Lin.

Noodles Everyday: A Chinese Noodleshop for People Who Love Hand-Pulled Noodles

I learned about Noodles Everyday after stumbling upon a feature from entitled "A Noodleshop Called “Noodles Everyday” Brings a Taste of Binondo to Makati". I live in Makati so the article convinced me to give the place a try. It's said that their chef is a hand-pulled noodles specialist from mainland China, so I was quite intrigued. 

Here's what you can find in Noodles Everyday...

Nihonbashi Tei: Enjoy Authentic Japanese Cuisine

Nihonbashi Tei is my go-to restaurant for authentic Japanese Cuisine. I've eaten here a number of times and the food is just spectacular every time I dine here. I particularly love the sushi and sashimi platters along with the generous Donmono sets. If you're looking for great-tasting Japanese cuisine, this should be on top of your list of restaurants to consider. 

Here's why Nihonbashi Tei remains to be one of my favorite Japanese restaurants.

Sarsa Kitchen + Bar: Have a Taste of Elevated Ilonggo Cuisine

Sarsa Kitchen + Bar wanted to introduce elevated Ilonggo cuisine to Manila palate, and it did just that with amazing success. Sarsa, to this day, continues to be one of the most popular restaurants in Metro Manila. It's always packed with people and the waiting line doesn't seem to disappear. It does help when your chef is none other than Junior MasterChef Philippines judge JP Anglo.

Here's what you can expect from dining at the popular Sarsa Kitchen + Bar.

Farmacy Ice Cream and Soda Fountain: A Nice Place For Ice Cream, Coffee, Soda and Beer

Farmacy Ice Cream and Soda Fountain is the ice cream shop brainchild of the popular Wild Flour Cafe + Bakery next door. It's unique because you can enjoy quality coffee paired with ice cream during the day, and a nice cold bottle of beer or some home-made soda at night. It's definitely a great dessert place to chill in after a having a nice, hearty meal elsewhere.

The people who know me personally understand how much of an ice cream junkie I am, so here's what you can expect from Farmacy Ice Cream and Soda Fountain.

Wildflour Cafe + Bakery: Where Brunch Meets Perfect

Wildflour Cafe + Bakery: Where Brunch Meets Perfect

Wildflour Cafe + Bakery is one of the hottest restaurants in Metro Manila. I have eaten here multiple times and they never fail to impress with their delicious, perfectly-cooked food, amazing service, and comfortable interiors.

I can't get enough of their tasty homemade bread, coffee, breakfast plates, and tartes flambe.They also serve some delicious homemade bread as an appetizer while you are still waiting for your food that I love to butter up and add a pinch of salt so that they're just perfect.  

Saturday, October 3, 2015

MasterChef Asia Season 1 Episode 5: Recap and Thoughts on Episode 5

Photo from MasterChef Asia FB Page
  • This episode features an invention test with a twist. The MasterChef Asia contestants had to re-invent the classic Singaporean Chili Crab. It's going to be a very tough challenge because crab is very easy to overcook but I'm excited with some of the creative dishes each contestant will cook. 
  • The judges were nice enough to invite Celebrity Chef Eric Teo - Singapore's most famous chef and Executive Chef of Mandarin Oriental Singapore - to have a cooking demo of the Singaporean Chili Crab for the MasterChef contestants. A lot of the contestants were clueless on how to make this dish so it was a lucky break for them to see one of the best chefs in Singapore, with over 21 years of experience, whip up such a delicious dish.  
  • The Chili Crab that Chef Eric Teo made looked absolutely stunning! He makes it look so easy.

Four Seasons Buffet and Hotpot: A New Top-Notch Buffet From the Creators of Vikings

Four Seasons Buffet and Hotpot is a new all-you-can-eat restaurant buffet that provides a customizable, fresh and healthy dining experience that serves top-notch dishes. It's brought to us by the creators of Vikings Luxury Buffet and Niu by Vikings, so it's sure to be another smashing success!

They will be opening their second branch in Manhattan Parkview, Araneta Center, Cubao on October 3, 2015 after successfully opening their first branch on SM Mall of Asia last . Great news for Quezon City folks!

Here's what you can expect from Four Seasons Buffet and Hotpot.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Frank & Dean Cafe x Kitchen: A Cool Brunch Cafe and Bar in Bonifacio Global City

Frank & Dean Cafe x Kitchen is a new specialty cafe in Bonifacio Global City that serves a tasty cup of coffee during the day and transforms into a cool, vibrant bar at night. They also serve some really good western brunch platters - albeit a bit expensive. I love the vibrant interiors of Frank & Dean. It feels like a great place to have a nice brunch or to unwind after a long day's work.

I've tried some of their food and here's what you can expect from Frank & Dean.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Dipdenza Coffee: A Cozy Cafe in The Fort Strip, Bonifacio Global City

Dipdenza coffee is a cozy little cafe tucked in The Fort Strip, Bonifacio Global City. They offer a wide selection of coffee, milkshakes, smoothies, desserts and sandwiches in their beautiful little space in Fort Strip. Let me make one thing clear, in my opinion they're not a specialty cafe. Having said that, while their coffee is alright the cozy little cafe is certainly a winner if you're looking for a place to hangout or relax. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Buffet 101 International Cuisine: A Sea of Food at The Largest Buffet Restaurant

Photo from the Buffet 101 FB Page
We went into Buffet 101: International Cuisine with high expectations for weekday lunch. I left the buffet without much breathing space left but not totally satisfied. I was looking forward to a selection of quality steaks, but unfortunately they didn't have any as the carving station was quite limited.

I scoured the place for some noteworthy food and here's what I think of the all-you-can-eat dishes at Buffet 101.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Vikings Luxury Buffet is a Hearty Feast That Will Drown You With Food

Photo from Vikings FB Page
Vikings Luxury Buffet is considered to be one of the best All-You-Can-Eat-Buffets in Metro Manila because they serve a wide variety of cuisines - Japanese, Filipino, Chinese, Korean, Europan and many more - while maintaining a high standard in the quality of the food. For other buffets, it's usually a toss up between the number of choices and the quality of food - not with Vikings. 

I recently had the pleasure to feast in Vikings Jazz Mall Makati. I left with a huge smile on my face and definitely a couple of pounds heavier.