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.