Prince Albert Prime Rib

prince-albertNothing beats fall off the bone melt in your mouth cuts of beef. Beef, can be a pretty tough meat but when prepared and cooked in the proper way, can be transformed into a succulent piece of protein. There are only a few places in the city that know how to prepare beef well and one of them is Prince Albert’s Rotisserie conveniently located at the Intercontinental Manila Hotel.

For a fancy night out, dinner reservations at Prince Albert is something worth considering. Not only do the interiors provide a great ambiance but the food is quite astounding. Here, every dish is simple yet elegantly divine.

The Intercontinental Hotel Manila is quite easy to find as it stands in the heart of Ayala. Located beside the ever popular Glorietta mall complex, you will not miss it. With ample parking space and valet service available upon request, this is a place that will not hassle you one bit.
prince-albert-1Upon entering the establishment, all you have to do is walk a couple of steps and you will immediately see the Rotisserie. A small sign bearing the Prince Albert name can be seen up front and a pedestal with the rotisserie menu. You will be welcomed by a courteous hostess and will be seated accordingly.

Every inch of Prince Albert’s Rotisserie spells fine dining but do not worry since there is no dress code. Diners are advised to dress accordingly though. Here, comfort matters but etiquette does too.

A baby grand piano sits on the restaurant foyer and an amazing piano player plays relaxing tunes all night long. The main dining area is quite small but intimate enough for dinner dates and the like. For bigger receptions, there are a number of function rooms that are available upon request but reservations have to be made for both a day in advance.

There are plenty of exquisite items on the menu from salmon dishes to the lobster thermidore but Prince Albert is known for its prime rib. Cooked on the bone, the slow roasted beef is prepared to hold as much flavor as possible. Even if it is cooked for a long period of time, it manages to stay soft and succulent literally melting in the mouth as you take a bite.

prince-albert-2The prime rib is cooked to your liking whether it is rare or well done. Three serving sizes are available with the smallest one being at a hundred and fifty grams which is quite large. This is an ideal order size because the prime rib comes with a number of sides that are surely going to fill you up.

Before the meal, an amouse bouche is served. Usually, it involves a piece of bread with freshly made pate topped off with some cheese. Apart from this, a bread basket containing four to five types of bread is also served.

Before the prime rib is served, a palette cleanser in the form of sherbet is also provided. Then diners are treated to a whole baked potato with sour cream and chives followed by some Yorkshire pudding and horseradish. Then the beef arrives.

Prince Albert
1 Ayala Avenue, Makati City, Philippines

Dim Sum Dining at Causeway Restaurant

causeway-seafood-restaurantJust like the British, there is much significance that is played on afternoon tea by the Chinese. It is actually customary for the Chinese to have tea either during brunch or mid-day. During tea time, not only do the Chinese engage in social exchanges but they also enjoy small bites of dim sum with their hot pots of tea.

The dim sum culture is quite popular amongst Chinese locals and given the influences that they have brought to the Philippines, the dim sum culture is something that people in the metro have also learned to adopt. The difference with Filipinos though is that dim sum bites are not taken as snacks but have become part of full meals. For the people in the metro, eating dim sum can be done any time of the day, morning, noon, night, or even during the witching hour.

There are different cuisines that can be enjoyed but one which is highly popular amongst the locals is Chinese food. This is the kind of offering that people can savor all throughout the day. For a lot of Filipinos, Chinese food is something that they cannot live without.

causeway-seafood-restaurant-1A number of fine dining Chinese restaurants can be found in the metro but it is the simpler joints that most people love frequenting. Although it is a fully operating Chinese restaurant, Causeway Seafood Restaurant is also known for being a great establishment for those hungering for excellent dim sum. Here, dim sum is served all day and there is even a discount offered on the dim sum items at certain hours during the day depending on the branch.

According to the owner of the restaurant, who is part Chinese by the way, they see to it that all of their dim sum is freshly prepared. They have a commissary that is responsible for distributing fresh dim sum items to various locations every single day. Because of this, they only have a limited quantity of dim sum to work with on any given day and this is why hours before closing time, some items may no longer be available.

Dim sum items vary in terms of size and fillings. Some are made with nothing but vegetables while others are packed full of different meats. There are buns and then there are dumplings and then there are simple savory bits as well.
causeway-seafood-restaurant-2The best condiment accompaniment to dim sum includes three ingredients. Soy sauce is one and chili sauce is another. A good trick here is to use lemon juice to balance the saltiness and spiciness out.

Dim sum is best eaten hot, straight from the kitchen. Since dim sum is always prepared in large quantities, the usage of a dim sum cart that keeps them warm is quite commonplace. From this cart, diners can choose from a wide array of dim sum offerings.

At Causeway Seafood Restaurant, the kutchay dumpling is one of their bestsellers. These dumplings are filled with nothing but kutchay or chives and a little bit of shrimp to add flavor. Simple as it may sound, they pack quite a punch and are extremely delectable indeed.

Causeway Seafood Restaurant has a number of branches along the metro and these should be visited by those looking for a quick and affordable dim sum fix. Here, quality is everything and this is why you can rest assured that all dim sum items will satisfy your craving. See to it that you take advantage of their dim sum happy hours so that you can avail of even more discounts as you dine on fine dim sum.

Causeway Seafood Restaurant
8 Acropolis Center, Bagumbayan, Libis, Quezon City
638 9374

Chez Karine and the Metro Macarons

chez-karineFilipinos have a soft spot for sweets. Most of the people in this country live with a sweet tooth. May it be anything from local rice cakes to imported desserts, there is always a Filipino foodie that has a fondness for anything delectable.

Because of the fondness of the locals for desserts, international brands have started entering the Philippine food market. Aside from international dessert franchises, internationally inspired sweets and desserts have also become available. One such confection is the ever popular Parisian macaron.

A macaron is a type of sweet that has a meringue base. It is made using egg whites, granulated sugar, icing sugar, almond powder, and food coloring. A macaron is filled with anything from ganache to jam with the final outcome resembling a mini cookie sandwich.

chez-karine-1This kind of dessert may look simple but it is not that easy to make. The smooth cookie needs to be whipped to just the right consistency and baked in a short amount of time for it to achieve a crunchy exterior with a melt in your mouth element. Bake it for too long and it becomes crumbly but if you bake it for a short period of time, you will end up with something undesirably chewy.

The French macaron is different from the typical macaroon dessert but there are plenty of people that easily confuse these two. In the metro, there are several bakeries that have started offering French macarons. One of the most popular macaron places to date is Chez Karine owned by Chef Karen Yang.

Situated in Serendra, Chez Karine offers a number of different desserts and the right cup of tea or Joe to accompany them but they are known for their macarons. The owner studied pastries at the infamous Le Cordon Bleu and this is why the store has perfected their macaron recipe. Nothing beats the crunch and melt in your mouth consistency of their offerings.

chez-karine-2According to the owner of Chez Karine, they wanted to provide the local foodie market with artisanal pastries and high class teas and coffees. This is why they use nothing but the best ingredients. At first you might be surprised at the prices that they charge per dessert but after sampling these, you will realize that you have received the full value of your hard earned money and even more.

They are known for their outstanding macarons. These tiny things cost 50 pesos apiece but they are simply divine. There are several flavors to choose from as well.

For the macarons, flavors like dark chocolate, lemon, and strawberry are quite popular but other offerings such as the salted caramel and earl grey ones have a following too. Other flavors include pistachio and milk chocolate passion fruit. Aside from the macarons, their pudding selection should be considered as well.

They also offer an assortment of cookies and tarts. Entrements are available as well. You should also give their honey toast selections a try and pair them off with a great cup of tea or coffee to complete the experience.

Chez Karine
1/F Serendra Mall, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, Metro Manila
(632) 804 1889

Caffe Puccini: An Experience of Old Italy

caffe-pucciniItalian food does not normally come cheap. This is because of the good quality of ingredients that such a cuisine demands. There are a lot of places in the metro that claim to provide authentic Italian fare but once you take a look at their prices, you will see just how false their claims are, and once you sample their menu items, this is when you will surely realize the mistake that you have just made.

Italian meals can set you back around three to five hundred pesos per person on occasion. This is why the cuisine is considered by plenty as something that is shared only during special occasions. What they forget is that Italian cuisine is ideal for everyday dining.

Here, you get to enjoy the kind of food that can be shared amongst friends and family members. Although the prices are higher than other food options, spending on these foods, when authentic, is always satisfying. Ending a meal the Italian way is truly something to be experienced.
caffe-puccini-1There are people that love savoring Italian fare for lunch or dinner, while other people prefer to enjoy it during the odd hours of the day. It is a great cuisine to consider for late afternoon meals paired best with different kinds of fine wine. At Caffe Puccini, different types of Italian offerings from traditional appetizers to homemade pasta dishes are available but what they are renowned for is their line of pizzas.

The owner believes in preparing everything at Caffe Puccini the way that his mother did when he was a young lad. Actually, the place is strewn with pictures of his family and of his idols including the late Luciano Pavarotti. He is a strong believer of tradition and this is why his foods take time to make.

Even if this is the case, all of his customers patiently wait for their meals because his offerings are that good. Everything is made from scratch including the pasta and pizza dough and this is why they taste sublime. Also, there is a large wood fire powered brick oven on one part of the store and all bread products are baked here.

caffe-puccini-2There are different types of foods that you can choose from when you browse through the Puccini menu but the pizzas are what you should start with as they are simply divine. The crust is the perfect balance between thin and crunchy and chewy. It has just the right bite and the right amount of char that complements the flavors of the pie.
A multitude of toppings can be chosen from when it comes to their amazing pizzas from vegetarian combinations to those containing an assortment of seafood and meats. One of their bestsellers is the simplest pie available which is the Pizza Margherita which is made to order. This contains nothing but cheese, tomatoes, and basil.

Something as simple as this tastes good when made at Caffe Puccini and this is where you will see just how the use of quality ingredients makes things taste better. They also have their signature Pizza Puccini. This particular pie comes with tomatoes, cheese, arugula, prosciutto, and sausage. Everything is topped off with a balsamic reduction drizzle.

If there is a specific combination of ingredients that you prefer, you can choose to have your own creation turned into a pizza. There are several ingredients to choose from and you can also choose to order the half metro or the metro pizza. Whatever combination it is that you come up with, you can rest assured that it will taste fantastic.

Caffe Puccini
Unit 12, The Fort Strip, The Fort, Taguig, Global City, Metro Manila
(632) 816 3055

Sonja’s Cupcakes: Delight in Every Bite

You see them everywhere. From birthdays to weddings to other special occasions, cupcakes are always part of the event. Maybe it is because they add another element of charm to any party or maybe because they are the “IN” thing as of the moment.

Cupcake mania has spread across the globe and it arrived in Asia a couple of years ago. In the Philippines, there are plenty of cupcake selling establishments that have opened their doors on account of this. One such establishment is Sonja’s Cupcakes located in Serendra.

Because of the current cupcake trend, cupcakes are no longer simply done. Aside from elaborate decors, bakers now use an array of flavors when it comes to the cake bases and the frostings that go with them. With this being said, do not be surprised to see a higher price tag on these delicious little morsels.

Going back to the metro cupcakes, even if there are plenty of different establishments offering their own line of cakes, there is one store that has garnered a lot of publicity within the first week of its launch. Aside from newspaper coverage, Cupcakes by Sonja has also been promoted in blogs and other forms of media. Maybe it was due to the fact that the owner, Ms. Sonja Ocampo, once worked for the prestigious Magnolia Bakery in New York City.

This bakery is quite famous because they were responsible for the re-launch of cupcakes all over the world. Another element that adds to the bakery’s fame is the fact that they have been featured countless times in the ever popular TV series Sex and the City. When you taste the cupcakes that are being offered by this establishment, you will know just why they are receiving a lot of positive buzz.

When you visit the shop, you will see that they have more than 20 cupcake flavors on the chalkboard. Even if this is so, not every flavor is made every day so see to it that you visit the shop several times to get a taste of each one. You can also order the flavors in advance if you wish and they will see to it that you are able to get your cupcake fix.

Out of the options that you can sample at Cupcakes by Sonja, there is a handful that has received rave reviews from their clients. A combination of pistachio cake and almond nougatine make the Pistachio Dacquoise cupcake. Their Sweet Pleasures cupcake comes with a hazelnut crunch cake base topped off with milk chocolate and Chantilly cream.

Then there is the Simply Pineapple cupcake which tastes similar to an upside down cake topped off with almond slivers. Mocha Motion is a cupcake with a chocolate base topped with gooey mocha buttercream. This one is perfect for those who want something that is not too sweet.

They also have their own version of PB&J starting off with grape jelly piped into some moist chocolate cake. This one is topped with an excellently flavored peanut butter frosting. Other excellent flavors that you should try include the Lemon Drop and Strawberry Shortcake cupcakes.

Their traditional Red Velvet Vixen is also a great take on a classic cake and so is their Chocolate Surprise cupcake. These two are the most famous flavors that they currently have on the menu. See to it that you sample their delectable cupcakes and see for yourself just why they are the talk of the town.

Cupcakes by Sonja
1C03 Serendra Piazza, 26th St Fort Bonifacio, Taguig

Quick and Easy Mexican Meals at Taco Bell

Mexican food is often described as quick, easy, and flavorful. Traditionally, tacos and burritos are prepared and served in carts on the streets. This is why Mexican fares are often referred to as street food because you could grab a bite while walking to work or while you head home.

Mexican food is loved by people across the globe because of the simplicity of the dishes and the flavor punch that every bite comes with. With the Filipinos’ penchant for food, it is no surprise that Taco Bell decided to grant local businessmen a franchise of the ever popular Mexican fast food chain. Opening its doors in the latter part of 2004, Taco Bell now has three main branches around the metro and has been thriving for eight years now.

Taco Bell started in the USA when a young marine officer was grabbing a bite to eat. Tired of the usual hotdogs and burgers that were served by fast food joints, he wanted something different. Being an avid lover of Mexican food, he wanted to make Mexican meals readily available for customers without the long wait that usually happened when he would order tacos from a full service Mexican restaurant.

He wanted to change the way the food was prepared without sacrificing quality and flavor and after years of experimentation, he opened the first Taco Bell stand (a drive-thru) in his hometown. The response that the stand received was so amazing that after several months he opened more branches and the rest, as they say, is history. Now, Taco Bell is available in the Philippines thanks to the perseverance of the Philippine Pizza, Incorporated group that is also responsible for the Pizza Hut franchise in the country.

There are a lot of excellent options on the Taco Bell menu but the Tacos and Quesadillas are the most popular amongst the local patrons. They serve both soft and hard shelled tacos here each one filled to the brim with seasoned ground beef, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, and of course, a generous portion of grated cheese. The hard shelled taco has a crunchy nacho-like shell while the soft taco comes with a soft toasted tortilla wrap.

The Quesadillas on the other hand are like Panini sandwiches but instead of the Italian Ciabatta bread everything is wrapped inside a flour tortilla. Here, you get to choose from three flavors: Cheese, Chicken, or Steak. The base is the same for all three and it starts with a blend of different cheeses and their signature jalapeno sauce.

After the chicken or steak toppings are added to the mix, the soft tortilla is pressed and flattened in a Quesadilla machine until the cheese melts. It is then cut into four pieces and is served. Each Quesadilla costs Php 169 (Chicken and Steak) while the plain cheese variety costs Php 129.

You can also get burritos from this place and this is basically a warm flour tortilla that is wrapped around fillings including diced onions, tangy red sauce, imported cheddar cheese, and your choice of beef, chicken, steak, or beans. These items cost around Php 49 to Php 109 apiece depending on the toppings that you choose. Grilled stuffed burritos are also available from Taco Bell and what you will get here is a large, warm, soft flour tortilla wrapped around hearty beans, seasoned rice, a blend of three cheeses, creamy pepper jack sauce, fiesta salsa, and a choice of beans, chicken, beef, or steak.

To enjoy your meal even more, see to it that you give their margarita slush a try. This comes in two flavors: Lime or Strawberry. Do not worry because no alcohol is added making this a drink that can be ordered by the kids as well.

If you find yourself in Gateway Mall, see to it that you visit Taco Bell. It can be found at the ground floor and in the food court. Rest assured that you will get fast, easy, and flavorful meals each and every time.

Taco Bell
Ground Flr., Gateway Mall, Cubao, Quezon City

Steaks at House of Wagyu

There is nothing like devouring a nice big piece of juicy steak that has been cooked to perfection. If you take a closer look, you will see a number of different establishments around the metro all offering steaks each claiming that theirs is the best one yet. Something that you should always remember about steak though is that most of the time, the prices are relative to the quality of beef that you will be receiving so scrimping is not really a good idea in this case.

Paying for overpriced steaks is also unacceptable. If you want to experience eating an excellent steak, you should be critical of the establishment that you choose. When it comes to this, it is a good idea if you read a few reviews on various restaurants before you try them out as these reviews will give you an idea of a restaurant’s offerings on an actual diner’s perspective.

Because a lot of Filipinos love to eat steak, the Melo’s group decided to add another brand to their arsenal in the form of Wagyu Stone Grill. For those who are not familiar with Melo’s, this is one of the best steakhouses in the metro. Melo’s is well-known for serving top of the line cuts of beef to its patrons.

Located at the newly opened Eastwood Mall, Wagyu Stone Grill provides quality cuts of beef to its diners focusing on the ever popular Wagyu variety. Wagyu is literally translated as “Japanese Cow” and this is a type of beef that comes from a certain breed of cattle that has been raised in such a way that the meat becomes susceptible to intense marbling. This is the pricey kind of beef that is commonly described as having a melt-in-your-mouth consistency.

Although the restaurant is located outside the mall on its far end corner, it is a place that you cannot miss. It has an all-glass façade with a glass door leading you to a reception area from which you can see several chillers reserved for their Wagyu beef offerings and high class wines. Inside, you will be welcomed by high ceilings, wooden floors, low lights, and sophisticated yet elegant interiors that carry a brown and white color motif.

Something that you can expect from Wagyu Stone Grill is a completely different steak eating experience as they serve the Wagyu beef raw. What they do is provide customers with their own slab of extremely hot stone and this is what the diners use to cook the steak to their ideal doneness. When it comes to the available cuts of beef, you get to choose from New York Strip, Top Sirloin, or Rib Eye Cut in 220 or 350 grams.

The menu here is quite simple and their offerings are limited to steak, salad, pasta, and seafood. Considering that Wagyu Stone Grill is known for their steak, this is something that you should not miss out on when you dine here. When you order beef, you will get some soup to go with the meal.

The cuts of beef differ when it comes to the marbling of the fat. Sirloin is a great choice if you want something leaner but the Rib Eye Cut is the most flavorful of them all. It only takes a couple of seconds for the beef to cook on the hot stone and if you do not want to do the cooking yourself, the wait staff will gladly help you turn the meat every now and then so it does not burn to a crisp.

Aside from the soup, you also get a side of vegetables and gravy when you get the steak. The trick here is cutting the meat into smaller portions and searing both ends of each piece on the hot stone. Before you eat the cooked steak, see to it that you dip each piece into the homemade mushroom gravy for added flavor.

You will notice that the tender Wagyu is easier to slice compared to other types of beef and you can eat it on its own, without the gravy, as the marbled fat gives off enough flavor. So if you want a completely different steak dining experience, head of to Wagyu Stone Grill in Eastwood City. Take a breather and enjoy a nice piece of steak, you deserve it!

House of Wagyu Stone Grill
Eastwood Mall, Eastwood City, Bagumbayan, Libis, Quezon City

Sandwiches Galore at Chuck’s Deli

There is always something good about being able to get a quick bite to eat. The problem is that quality is often jeopardized when you rely on the offerings of most fast food joints. Even if you get something on-the-go, you should be able to get something that can fill you up without filling your system with a lot of harmful components like preservatives, additives, and the like and this is where Chuck’s Deli comes in.

When they started, the owners of Chuck’s Deli wanted to cater to the yuppie crowd. They wanted to provide people with fast and easy sandwiches that they can take with them to work. They wanted their offerings to be simple but satisfying and this is what they set out to achieve.

They started in the Makati area and have since added a new branch which is the one in Eastwood Mall. It can be found outside on the ground floor. You can’t miss it.

Chuck’s Deli has plenty of avid followers from locals to foodies to celebrities. When you hear the name of the establishment, it normally comes with a complement or a good review from a satisfied customer. This kind of word-of-mouth advertising is what has drawn plenty of people to their doors over time and this is all because they serve nothing but the best to their clients.

Chuck’s Deli is known for the sandwiches that they offer. They are also well-known because of their creation called the Slabwich. For those who do not know what this is, here are the details.

According to the dictionary of Chuck’s Deli, a Slabwich is a signature super sandwich filled with half a kilo of goodness. You might be wondering what the “Goodness” in this sandwich is. When it comes to this, “Goodness” stands for the meat, veggies, and special dressing that go into the sandwich.

They have an assortment of cold cuts and premium cooked meats for their sandwiches and Slabwiches and they can even make a vegetarian one for you upon request. Aside from the excellent fillings and dressings, another admirable element about Chuck’s Deli is that they use high quality bread. Flaky with just the right crunch, their signature bread will truly make your sandwich dining experience one-of-a-kind.

They also have a special contest for those who think that they can finish a Slabwich in under 5 minutes and this is the Slay the Buffy Challenge. You have to eat an entire Buffalo Chicken Slabwich in less than 5 minutes and if you manage to accomplish the task, you get the meal for free and you also receive a special t-shirt. Aside from these, you also get to have your name up on their wall and this is where the bragging rights come in.

For the Slabwiches, the Pilgrim at Php 445 is a must-try. It is a super ciabatta that contains dark or white roast turkey meat, stuffing, cranberry jelly, and gravy. Served with onion rings or fries, this is something that will fill you up good.

Another great sandwich is their take on the ever popular Philly Cheese Steak. While you are at it, order a milkshake to go with your sandwich. At Php 165, you will get a glass of creamy goodness that will make you want to come back for more especially since they use Arce Dairy ice cream for these.

Chuck’s Deli
Eastwood Mall, Eastwood City, Bagumbayan, Libis, Quezon City

Razon’s Halo-Halo

It can get pretty hot in Manila and for a lot of people who cannot stand the heat one of the best solutions is to go get a glass of Halo-Halo. For those who do not know what this is, literally translated it means all mixed up. The Halo-Halo got its name from the way it is prepared since it basically is a glass of local dessert ingredients that have all been combined to create a local cooler.

Although you can get Halo-Halo from a lot of establishments in the metro, most of them fail to satisfy the palette. This is where Razon’s enters the picture as it is renowned for its simple yet amazing Halo-Halo. Using nothing but the finest quality sweetened bananas, macapuno, milk, leche flan, and finely shaved ice, what you get is a cooling local dessert that is next to none.

A little history about Razon’s of Guagua: It is collectively known as Razons Food Corporation which came into existence in November of 2003. Unlike other food corporations, this is one of the limited few that remain to be a hundred percent family owned. As of the moment, there are more than 25 Razon’s branches under the corporation plus a commissary which handles all of its food distribution nationwide.

Originating from Panpanga, the owners want to provide Filipinos with authentic Kapampangan fare. For them, consistency is something truly necessary and this is why you can get your Razon’s favorites from various branches without having to worry about slight differences in tastes and appearance. According to the owners, the Razon’s establishments are extensions of their home and this is why they will not serve anything that they themselves will not eat or enjoy.

Comfort food is what the owners want to provide to their loyal clients. Aside from their famous Halo-Halo, they are also popular for their ensaymada and pansit luglog. These are two other famous snack fares in the metro.

Razon’s has a diverse menu containing plenty of items that can satisfy you all throughout the day from breakfast to dinner. Aside from the pansit and the Halo-Halo, they also have sizzling offerings like bulalo (beef soup) and milkfish. You can also order a plate of sizzling sisig (pork innards) and asado (stew).

All day favorites like the lumpia (spring roll) and puto’t dinuguan (rice cakes with pork blood based stew) are also available. Several nasi-log meals (meals with one viand, fried rice, and an egg) are also on the menu. If you simply adore their pansit luglog, you can also order it by the bilao.

Other more basic offerings like burgers and home fries are also available here if you want something more identifiable. Razon’s also offers bottled delicacies for sale and these are actually great gifting items. An example of which is the bottled crab fat.

Sweets like silvanas go for Php 30 apiece. You can also buy San Nicolas cookies here as well as other tarts and candies. They also have Turones de Casoy which is sold for Php 90 each.

For their ensaymada, there is the regular variety which costs Php 40 apiece. There is the special kind which is Php 45 apiece. You can also buy them in bite sized pieces which costs Php 147 for 12 morsels.

Razon’s of Guagua
Eastwood Citywalk 2, Eastwood City, Bagumbayan, Libis, Quezon City

Pizza, Pasta, Pasto

Italian food is always great if you want something filling and satisfying especially if you are looking for comfort food. In the metro, countless establishments serve various Italian dishes and some even add their own twist to the recipes. When it comes to Italian food, you can get this from fine dining restaurants but you can get your food fast and easy as well and if the latter is what you are looking for then head off to Pasto in Eastwood City.

This is no fine dining joint but it is not a fast food place either. Here, you get to sit down and casually enjoy a fine Italian meal. The minute you enter, you will be welcomed by the red and black themed interiors that give off a modern yet relaxing vibe.

Although the place does not look like your typical Italian restaurant, you can enjoy traditional Italian fares here. From the antipasto to the pasta plates, everything is made the way it should be, using nothing but the finest ingredients and utilizing old school methods of preparation. Also, most Italian dishes are paired with fine wines and Pasto has an extensive wine list that you can order from either by the glass or by the bottle.

Aside from the fine and pricey wine that can be ordered from the Pasto menu, you can also find a lot of food items to go with each sip. Starting with the appetizers or antipasto, they have menu items that intend to prepare the palette for a great meal ahead. One of their antipasto bestsellers is the Carpaccio and this is something that you should really try out.

The Carpaccio is made with fresh tuna slices, capers, onions, and Parmesan slivers in lemon, all served with some aioli and a side of mixed greens. Each serving costs about Php 195 and it is good to share. Another excellent appetizer is the Calamari or deep fried breaded squid.

They also have Crostini here and you can order various dips to go with the crusty and crispy bread. The Pomodoro and the Spinach with Gorgonzola are popular choices. Aside from this, several salad combinations are also available and when it comes to this, a must-try is the Cardini which is their version of the classic Caesar salad.

Soups go for Php 100 to Php 150 a bowl. Pasta plates on the other hand cost around Php 200 per order. They have various pasta offerings including those which are vegetarian, meat based, and seafood based.

If you want to have pasta but wish for something lighter, go with the Frutti di Mare which is Linguine with assorted seafood in an olive oil-white wine reduction. Pasta offerings with tomato based sauces are also great. For more filling options, go with the meat based offerings or those that come with a cream sauce like the Pollo Cremoso.

Pizzas are also available from Pasto and these costs around Php 200 to Php 300 per 12 inch pie. The pizzas here come with a chewy crust that is not to thin or too thick and is cooked in a wood burning oven giving it that char which adds more flavor to the pie. They have the Pasto pizza which basically has everything on it and the ingredients include Italian sausage, pepperoni, smoked ham, olives, tomatoes, bell peppers, mushrooms, and olives.

Heaver entrees, Panini sandwiches, and other more filling menu items are also available at Pasto. They have several desserts as well and these really cap off a great meal quite well. If you ever find yourself in Eastwood City, see to it that you dine in Pasto which is located along Citywalk 2.

Eastwood Citywalk 2, Eastwood City, Bagumbayan, Libis, Quezon City

Mini Pies and Cakes from Baked by Anita

You cannot remove sweets from a Filipino’s diet. Dessert is something that we can have all day every day without guilt. The only problem is that there are plenty of great sweets to devour that we sometimes do not know where to start.

One of the best desserts in the world is cake. May it be for dessert or as a snack, Filipinos will always be game for a slice of good cake. Because of the regular serving portion for most cake offerings, Filipinos normally have to choose and consume one flavor of cake per seating.

Thank goodness Baked by Anita is now available. Baked by Anita offers various cupcakes in miniature sizes which translate to about two bites’ worth per cake. The concept of offering bite sized morsels was a solution that Anita Li thought of to allow people to try more than one flavor of cake at a time without feeling guilty about satisfying their sweet tooth.

While living in the States, she thought about creating her own line of gourmet cupcakes especially since it was a new trend several years ago. Anita Li held tastings in her home with her friends in attendance and after much sampling, her peers encouraged her to make a business out of cupcakes and this was when she packed her bags and set for home. She revolutionized the local cupcake industry the minute she introduced her version of bite sized cupcakes under the Baked by Anita brand.

Using nothing but the best ingredients, Anita Li creates one-of-a-kind morsels that give you that eureka moment with every bite. Instead of choosing to go with basic flavors like vanilla and the like, Baked by Anita focuses on developing various cupcake flavors that will tantalize the palette. They have their regular flavors but they see to it that every now and then they come up with new flavors for their avid followers to try out.

Red Velvet, Cookies n’ Cream, Peanut Butter Truffle, and Chocolate Chip are some of their regular flavors but they also have Valrhona cupcakes that are simply amazing. Aside from these, fruit based ones are also available with flavors including Mango Tamarind, Pink Coconut, Orange n’ Cranberries, Roasted Banana, Sticky Date, Caramel Apple, and Passion Fruit Pucker. Other more unique creations are also available from Baked by Anita starting off with their Wasabi, Saffron & Black Salt, Bacon & Maple, and Black Sesame cupcakes.

Considering that they use top of the line ingredients to make their cupcakes, the price is a bit high. Each sweet treat costs about Php 45. At this price, it is well worth it so do not worry one bit.

Baked by Anita is well known amongst weekend market dwellers because of the amazing cupcakes but they recently added another offering to their list. They now have miniature pot pies that are equally as delicious as their sweet cupcakes. These savory morsels are great for snacking and you can even have a couple of them for a light lunch if you wish.

The crust is flaky just as it should be and the filling is as flavorful as ever. Popular options here include the Spinach and Ricotta and the Truffle and Wild Mushroom. Each pot pie costs about Php 65.

Baked by Anita can be found in Eastwood Mall during the weekends as part of the Weekend Market. They have a stall at the second floor of the mall. See to it that you grab some of their cupcakes and pot pies the next time you visit Eastwood.

Baked by Anita
Weekend Market, Eastwood Mall, Eastwood City, Bagumbayan, Libis, Quezon City

Grill and Eat All You Can at Sambokojin

Eating is an amazing endeavor that is loved by so many Filipinos and there is a certain culture in the country that is completely attributed to this activity. Not only do Filipinos love to eat but they love to eat a lot and this is why buffets are all the rage in our modern day and age. With this comes Sambokojin which is not your typical buffet as this is a place that offers eat-all-you-can deals but the food is cooked on tableside grills by the customers.

Cooking your own food has its perks as you get to dictate what flavors go into the mix. You do not have to settle for standard flavorings and mixes ensuring that you can get a different tasting dish each and every time. Another benefit of this concept is that you get to cook your food whenever you want ensuring that freshness is always achieved.

You might be wondering where the name Sambokojin comes from. According to the owners of the popular smokeless grill restaurant group, Sambo Kojin is known as the Kitchen God. This is no joke as there really is a Kitchen God.

Sambo Kojin is both male and female and it has four arms. It is known as the Bringer of Fire and the Master of the Hearth and Home. Wherever food is present, Sambo Kojin is there guiding the hands of diners as they choose, prepare, and enjoy their meals.

This is an interesting tidbit to know but for other diners, the dining experience that you can get from this place is what they are after. There are other establishments that are offering a similar kind of experience but the problem with their setups is that diners normally smell like the food that they ate when they leave the restaurant. This is why Sambokojin relies heavily on the usage of smokeless grills as these allow their customers to enjoy the cooking process without smelling like food when they are done.

Getting a table during the lunch and dinner rush is somewhat challenging so make a reservation or dine during the odd hours of the day. Upon entering the establishment you will immediately see a smorgasbord of food from raw ingredients to offerings that have been cooked like the tempura and teppanyaki. If you take a closer look you will see that they have numerous chillers for the meat products which are great since you can see just how important freshness is to them.

You get to choose from an assortment of sushi and sashimi to start off your meal and then you can proceed to the vegetables and meat products that can be cooked tableside. They offer nothing but the best ingredients here. You can rest assured that your enoki mushrooms or the prime cut of beef that you are about to grill are of great quality.

There are different sauces on every table. You can use these to flavor your food while you cook them. There is the Sambokojin mix which is quite tasty so see to it that you give this a try.

At Sambokojin, the food concept relies on four separate culinary influences. Here, the food is centered on the Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and Filipino cultures. This is why it is unlike any other Yakiniku house in the metro.

See to it that you pay Sambokojin a visit the next time you head off to Eastwood City. Do not forget to come with an empty stomach. Enjoy!

Eastwood Citywalk 2, Eastwood City, Bagumbayan, Libis, Quezon City

Momo Cuisine

For some people, there are instances when it becomes a challenge for them to choose a particular cuisine to consider when they want to eat. In some cases, members of a family will disagree on whether they should have Italian or American style food for supper. Momo is a restaurant that can solve such problems because the kinds of food that they have on their menu come from various influences allowing them to satisfy the cravings of the people that dine in their establishment.

Momo started operating in the heart of Manila and started serving pizzas and pasta dishes. They recently added a new addition to the team in the form of Chef Khalel who has improved the Momo menu to add other food options from appetizers, soups, and salads to a number of entrees not to mention special in-house coolers and desserts. Momo also transferred to Eastwood City and they can be found on the ground floor of the new Eastwood Mall.

According to the owner, what they wanted to achieve with Momo was the provision of good and quality food through an establishment that can be considered as a modernized version of the classic American diner. This is one of the many goals that they have been able to achieve and it has led to the attraction of more Momo regulars given only several months of operations at the new location. The thing about Momo is that their food speaks volumes and this is something that plenty of their diners can and will attest to.

Starting off with the appetizers, there are several items to choose from and some of their bestsellers include the Melted Crab and Spinach Blue Cheese Dip and Crispy “Nacho Style” Jalapeño Cheddar Cheese Rolls. The appetizers range from Php 250 to Php 300 per order and can satisfy around 2 to 3 people on average. They also have an appetizer sampler if you want to try everything out.

Give their soups and salads a try while you are at it. A must-try is the Wild Mushroom Cappuccino and for the salad, it is suggested that you order the Momo Gourmet. Soups are priced at around Php 150 while the salads go for Php 295 per order.

At Momo, the sandwiches, 12 inch pizzas, and the super pastas are great for midday eating. Since every order is adequately sized, 2 to 3 people can share a plate. If you are hungry, because of the great quality and flavor, there is a chance that you can finish an entire order by yourself.

There are breakfast meals that you can choose from as well from the Grand Slammer to the French Toast and Filipino Plates. These plates are served all day round so you can have breakfast food for dinner if you want. Aside from these, they also offer Jumbo Plates which serve as the main entrees.

They have excellent desserts as well. Try the Chocnut Valrhona cake which incorporates the ever popular Filipino Chocnut with smooth and velvety Valrhona chocolate. Another great dessert is the Cookie Dough Cheesecake.

Aside from the cakes, they also have a selection of cupcakes. They have basic cupcake flavors like Banana, Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Mint, and Carrot. They also have a different kind of offering in the form of the Bubble Gum cupcake.

For the beverages, they have coffee and tea concoctions not to mention refreshers in the form of smoothies. They also offer cocktail mixes that use Momo’s own recipes. Also, an assortment of wines and beers are also available for diners.

Momo Cafe
Eastwood Mall, Eastwood City, Bagumbayan, Libis, Quezon City

Get Your Pasta Fix at Cibo

If you want to eat Italian food, there are plenty of great restaurants that can provide you with something to satisfy your craving. Even if this is so, consistency is sometimes a big problem for these places. There are times when you get excellent fares and times when you are served soggy plates of pasta, this is an issue that you won’t have to face when you dine at Cibo.

Cibo is one of the many restaurants owned by no other than Margarita Fores. She is a forerunner in the metro’s food scene and is one of the many chefs that have dedicated their lives to providing quality dishes through their establishments. Now that you know who is heading Cibo, it will be smart of you to visit their branch in Eastwood City, Libis.

In Eastwood, they can be found at the new Eastwood Mall on the second floor. This particular Cibo branch does not have a typical restaurant setup. What they have is similar to a food kiosk but bigger with the kitchen dead center surrounded by several tables and chairs for their diners.

Like all the other Cibo branches, they also have the steel, orange, and white motif here. Just like the kitchen, they saw to it that all other furnishings are simple yet modern. Diners will automatically get a relaxing vibe the minute they sit down.

Here, you can enjoy amazing appetizers, sandwiches, pasta plates, and pizzas but they also have meat based entrees that can fill you up in a jiffy. Starting off, order some salad and have some soup to go with it. One of their bestsellers is the roasted squash soup that comes with pureed squash simmered with turkey bacon and topped off with their crusty Italian bread.

An excellent appetizer will be the flat Sardinian bread that they serve with melted Mozzarella cheese topped off with slices of tomato, anchovies, and basil. Be careful though as this is served on a hot plate to keep the cheese in its melted consistency. Even if this is good for sharing, most of their diners can finish an order by themselves.

They also have sandwiches here. You can order a Panini with cold cuts or ones which are veggie based. These flattened sandwiches normally come with melted Mozzarella cheese combined with your choice of toppings and every order comes with a side of their homemade potato chips.

A wide selection of pizzas can also be chosen from here. They serve thin crust pizzas that have been baked in stone ovens giving each pie just the right amount of char that enhances the flavor even more. The arugula pizza is a popular choice even if it is a very basic pie, a margherita pizza topped off with fresh baby arugula.

If you are looking for something heavy to eat, they also have various risottos and meat based entrees that you can order. Most of their diners order the roast chicken as well as the thinly sliced beef topped with tomatoes and cheese. These come with a side of rice and vegetables.

Cibo is a great place for coffee and dessert especially since they serve Illy coffee here. When you order a cup of Joe, you can expect smooth coffee drinks each and every time. Also, the desserts that they serve here easily complement the coffee because they have balanced flavor profiles, nothing is too sweet but nothing is bland as well.

Eastwood Mall, Eastwood City, Bagumbayan, Libis, Quezon City

Sweet Treats at La Creperie

Who ever said that crepes can only be eaten as desserts must be out of his or her mind. Also, crepes are not only meant to be consumed as a breakfast meal or snack. What you have here are food items that can be enjoyed all day every day and thanks to La Creperie in Eastwood City we can do just that.

Crepes are renowned as the infamous French street food and there have been several establishments in the metro that live by this tradition by providing fast and on-the-go crepes to interested foodies. Although this is a great concept, it can be hard at times (depending on the crepe that you ordered) to eat crepes on-the-go. This is where La Creperie wants to start changing the market by offering quality and delicious crepes that you can enjoy in a sit-down fashion making your crepe consuming experience more relaxed than usual.

In order to keep the French charm of eating crepes, the restaurant has been designed and decorated to resemble a quaint Parisian café. You can spend hours here eating your crepes as you read a good book or watch people walk by (the way French people do) as you sip a cup of tea or coffee while you type away at your laptop. According to most diners, they like the simple yet elegant and unpretentious interiors of La Creperie.

Breakfast is something that is considered amazing at this place. There are different types of meals that can be ordered from the Le Petit Dejeuner portion of their menu starting with the French toast. Another excellent option will be the French style omelette made with five eggs.

Soups, croques, and sandwiches are also available here and the French Onion Soup is really a must-try. They also have different pastas that you can dig into. Of course there are salads as well if you are looking for something light yet tasty.

When it comes to their crepe offerings, you can choose from either the sweet (Crepe Sucrees) or savory (Les Gastronomique) items. If you want a dessert crepe, you can choose from their line of crepes or simply make your own. For the latter, you will choose everything from the base crepe flavor to the toppings, sauces, and ice cream scoops.

Bestsellers for the sweet crepes include the salted caramel which is called Le Breton followed by the La Christine which comes with strawberry toppings from fruits to sauces. For the make-your-own variety, according to the owners, most customers go with the basic butter and sugar sweet crepe and they flambé this with some alcohol preferably the Grand Marnier. The chocolate crepe with mango and nutella is also a pleaser.

For the savory kind, the Complete is what a lot of diners lover ordering. This comes with ham, mushroom, Emmental and Gruyere cheese, mustard, and is topped off with a poached egg. If you want something extraordinarily delicious, go with the Nordique crepe which comes with smoked salmon, red onion, and dill cream.

Aside from the good food, the impeccable service is something that most regulars appreciate. Aside from the courtesy that the wait staff extends to their clients, you can expect these servers to really know the foods that the establishment is offering. Here, asking for a suggestion on what to order (if you are a newbie) can really be beneficial.

Why don’t you give La Creperie a try today? Surely you will enjoy their crepes, both sweet and savory, and you will be turned into a regular by the end of your meal. So head on to Eastwood City and have yourself a meal that you will be talking about for quite some time.

La Creperie
Eastwood Mall, Eastwood City, Bagumbayan, Libis, Quezon City

Kogi and Bulgogi

Around the world, there are plenty of different foods from different cuisines but considering the top 50 foods according to CNN Go, one of them is something that Filipinos love and this is Bulgogi. Basically, bulgogi is a dish of Korean descent and it stands for marinated barbecued beef, chicken, or pork. In Eastwood City, there is a great bulgogi place that has just been around for a couple of years and it goes by the name of Kogi Bulgogi.

Literally translated, bulgogi in the Korean language stands for fire meat. To prepare the bulgogi, various meats have to be marinated in an assortment of spices. It is then cooked on a grill and eaten with rice or wrapped with pickled vegetables using lettuce or other large leafed greens.

For most Filipinos, they actually consider bulgogi as comfort food and this is the primary reason why plenty of bulgogi restaurants have set up shop here. The thing about bulgogi is that the diners that feast on this amazing foodstuff do so casually. There is no need for fine dining setups and the like to enjoy something like bulgogi.

Because of the casual nature that comes with eating bulgogi, usually you will find Korean restaurants along side streets and not inside a mall. This is why there were diners who were surprised to see a Korean restaurant in Eastwood City. This was actually a good thing because people are constantly lining up to sample what Kogi has to offer.

Most Korean restaurants have tables fitted with grilling equipment allowing the diners to cook their own bulgogi tableside. At Kogi, you have the option to grill meat yourself or have the kitchen do it for you. Even if grilling your own bulgogi is a great experience, there are some people who do not favor smelling like food throughout the entire day.

Traditionally, Korean appetizers are served before the main course and at Kogi, there are 6 different appetizers that are provided free of charge. There are potato pancakes, pickled vegetables, and kimchi of course. These are great in providing your palette with starters that will make your bulgogi eating experience a more enjoyable one.

If these palette starters are not enough, there are other salads and appetizers that you can order. They have excellent meat dumplings here. The Soft Shell Crab Salad is not bad either.

Although bulgogi is their main offering, there are other Korean dishes like the stews that you can try out as well. Their beef stew (Kalbi Jim) is something that a lot of diners patronize. If you are a more adventurous eater, it is suggested that you give the Doenjang-Jjigae a try and what you will get here is their rendition of a soy bean paste stew with clams, potatoes, squash, and Korean tofu.

Aside from this, there is a line of Ramyeon (ramen) and noodles as well as rice bowls called Gui. If you are a veggie lover, try their wraps or Ssambap. If you visited Kogi for the bulgogi then eat to your heart’s content.

Traditionally, bulgogi is made with beef and this is the kind of tradition that Kogi sticks too and this is why they only offer beef bulgogi at the restaurant. You have the option of trying out their Korean marinated beef or something fancier like their US Prime marinated beef. They also have well-marbled premium imported beef for those who are really serious about their bulgogi experience.

Eastwood Mall, Eastwood City, Bagumbayan, Libis, Quezon City

Food from A to Z at Cookbook Kitchen

One of the greatest things about Manila is that there are plenty of restaurants that can satisfy all kinds of food cravings. No matter what cuisine it is that you are looking for, rest assured that you will find a place in the metro. One such place is Cookbook Kitchen which can be found inside the Eastwood City compound in Libis.

Do not expect a fancy meal at this establishment for it runs on the casual dining concept. Even if this is so, do not expect your meal to be ordinary. Here is where you can enjoy good plates of food that will surely tantalize the palette making you want to come back for more.

According to the owners, they want their offerings to be as simple as possible but they want each bite of their food to be as flavorful as possible. They use nothing but the freshest ingredients and steer clear from additives and food enhancers. As they say, if you know how to prepare food correctly, it will taste amazing every single time.

Here, they will give you a storybook-like menu the minute you sit down. There are a lot of things that can be ordered from this book from delectable appetizers down to their sumptuous desserts. Also, they have a series of beverages from juices to sodas to tonics that will help cap off your meal.

The prices are not bad either. For example, their appetizers range from Php 90 to Php 140 per serving with each order being good to share. Some of their bestsellers include the Garlic Shrimps and their Champignon with Caramelized Onions.

They also offer soups and salads which cost about Php 120 to Php 200 per order. Their Purple Soup is something worth trying out and see to it that you also get a plate of their Super Salad. Although portion sizes are good for one, there are some diners who split orders so that they can try more items on the menu and it is suggested that you do the same.

Like other restaurants, they also have various offerings for entrees starting with their fish, beef, lamb, pork, and poultry items. Although these items are great, most diners go for their pasta offerings and their line of homemade sausages. Diners identify these two offerings with Cookbook Kitchen especially since the restaurant puts its twist in the preparation of these offerings.

Pasta dishes cost about Php 180 to Php 250 per plate and this will get you a heaping serving of pasta already. They have basics like Carbonara and Bolognese but it is suggested that you go with their in-house specialties. Their Pasta al Adobo and Vigan Pasta are popular with newbies and regulars alike since these offer a distinct Filipino taste to the Italian favorite.

When it comes to their homemade sausages, every order comes with marinara sauce and rice and costs from Php 260 to Php 360 per order. They have Hungarian sausage, Italian sausage, and the ever popular Kielbasa. What you have here are menu items that are good to share but if you have the stomach space to finish an order on your own, hats off to you.

Finally, there are the desserts which most diners, even those who are already full, consume with every meal at Cookbook Kitchen simply because of the kick that these give capping off a great meal. The Scarlet Cake (red velvet) is something that you should definitely try out not to mention the Strawberry Shortcake Overload. There is also their famous Helen’s Moist Chocolate Cake amongst other desserts that you should try out when you pay Cookbook Kitchen a visit.

Cookbook Kitchen
Eastwood Mall, Eastwood City, Bagumbayan, Libis, Quezon City

Villa del Conte: Ultimate Chocolate

In the Philippines, chocolatiers do not come in numbers unlike in other Asian countries but there are several options for top quality chocolate that can give you an experience that cannot be compared to the consumption of any supermarket grade chocolate bar. Chocolate brands that are becoming more and more popular these days include Royce, Patchi, and Machiavelli but there is a new player and it is called Villa del Conte. It opened its first branch in Shangri-la and now, it can also be found within the Resorts World Manila compound.

Villa del Conte originates from Padova in Italy and thanks to Vincent and Rhoda Aldanese, we now have Villa del Conte in the Philippines. These two are a couple who are very passionate about traveling and luxury and they both love top-of-the-line chocolates. Because of this, when they tasted the creations of Villa del Conte, they saw potential in the brand, encouraging them to make an effort to share their Italian chocolate experience with the Filipinos.

It was several years ago during a pilgrimage to St. Anthony of Padua when they met the family that owns and runs the 75-year-old company. The owners were actually living in a very small town called Villa del Conte hence the name of the sweets. There was no turning back from this point.

Even if these chocolates were top of the line, the kind of chocolates that the royals enjoy, the family that makes them remained as simple as old townspeople. Right now, members of the third generation of chocolate makers are running the business started by a man named Nazzareno Cattapan. His passion was simple and that was to create the finest chocolate using only the best ingredients he could find.

He passed on each recipe to his son, Orfeo Celestino, who in turn passed it on to his son. His son is now a third-generation cioccolato connoisseur. His name is Enrico Nazzareno and he now heads all operations.

You might be wondering what it is about Villa del Conte chocolate that makes it so special. The thing about this company is that it focuses on cacao, the most important ingredient of any chocolate concoction. Other chocolate makers focus on other ingredients: Swiss is to milk as Belgian is to cocoa butter while US is to sugar.

This company relies on nothing but the best cacao beans, which are handpicked from prime locations. They see to it that the cacao beans that they use for their creations have been grown considering the highest product standards available. This is what sets them apart from other chocolate companies.

They are famous for their Praline Balls, which come in either dark or milk chocolate. There are plain ones but the ones with varying cream fillings are the best. You can choose from fillings like coffee cream to the ones that come with crisped rice.

They also have an assortment of Praline Sticks in different fruity flavors with the bestsellers being the Banana and Strawberry flavored options. Also, they have Gianduja, which is basically dark chocolate filled with hazelnut cream and whole hazelnuts. The Ovicini is also good and this is a sugar-coated chocolate egg filled with hazelnut cream.

The store sells the chocolates by the gram and you can have them boxed if you are giving them as a gift. It is best to eat these chocolates at room temperature but they can be chilled. The one thing that you should avoid though is keeping them in the refrigerator for extended periods of time as this will affect the taste and texture of the chocolate.

Villa del Conte
Resorts World Manila, Newport Boulevard, Newport City. Pasay 1309, Metro Manila