Food Trip: Grilled Lemon and Garlic Chicken

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I’ve been inspired to do some cooking in order to spruce up my eating habits. Healthy eating can get you stuck in a rut if you don’t unleash your creative side and try new recipes.

This morning I made a new meal, under the guidelines of the 3333 plan. It was actually quite simple and quick to prepare!

For my fruits, I had half a large pear.

For my vegetables, I tossed some spinach leaves and tomatoes.

For my protein, I grilled a chicken breast marinated overnight in lemon juice, chopped garlic, salt & pepper and 2 tbsps olive oil.

The olive oil made the chicken moist while the lemon made the chicken tasty, versus just grilling it off the bat.

For my carbohydrates, I ate a whole wheat bagel.

It was quick and easy and the preparations were simple. Looking forward to more recipes!

Food Trip: Tea Time at da.u.de

Its amazing how the Philippines is fast-growing in terms of the food industry. We Filipinos like to eat and explore different culinary cuisines from other countries that those food and restaurant chains often find such a good market for it here in the country.

And just like fashion, we also like trends when it comes to our food. When Starbucks came here 15 years ago, it brought with it the coffee craze. Soon dozens of coffee shops popped up and it was here to stay. Then came the fruit smoothies, frozen yoghurts, and last year’s milk tea craze.

The Philippines is generally a coffee drinking country, especially now that Starbucks is a staple in almost every working class Filipino diet. But there are those, like me, who prefer its more dainty cousin – tea.

At the time where the fitness and health craze is here to stay, tea shops are slowly making its way to the Filipino cuisine. There is a market for it here as there is still those that don’t drink coffee – like me.

My fellow foodie and officemate Mia invited me for tea after our regular service day in the Fort. We went to Da.u.de, located along 4th Ave cor 26th St in Bonifacio Global City.

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Its the first Tea lounge to be established here in Manila, launching back last August. It was soon followed by other tea lounges such as TWG.

Its a quaint little restaurant tucked in the business district of Bonifacio Global City. I liked it bright interiors and perfect to spend a semi-cold January afternoon.

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They offered a wide array of tea selection that I was actually overwhelmed on what to select. Although I am a tea drinker, I am not the adventurous sort and mostly stick to green and chai teas. So I decided to stick to my usual and got a green tea option for the meantime.

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It came on a cute tea dispenser where the tea just flows down to your cup when you place the dispenser over it. And I thoroughly enjoyed the tea despite being just regular green tea. It was pleasantly fragrant – I could detect some hints of flowers mixed into the tea and the taste was smooth and not surprisingly overpowering like some green teas served in coffee places. And theres no weird bitter after taste!

I am definitely curious about their other tea choices but I might still stick to green tea or other less decaffeinated options since its the caffeine that makes me not drink coffee in the first place.

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Mia went for their iced tea option, which is their more fruit based tea and ordered the skala fruit tea. I liked how it looked in her glass, using chipped ice instead of regular cubes and the waiter gave her options on what straw to use. True to its very healthy mission, the straws they used were made of paper and came in cute designs. Mia chose the polka dots in honor of new year.

Teas range from about P100-200 depending on the type and size of the drink. Hot tea comes with unlimited hot water. I had a second cup.

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It also wasn’t just a tea place where they served drinks only, but it was also a restaurant, offering gourmet sandwiches such as Bah mi (pulled pork) and salads. Since we needed to shed pounds, Mia and I shared a grilled chicken salad. I just loved the presentation, with fresh greens in the middle and the chicken and dressing served artfully on the side. And it was really good, the sauce was creamy and just right to mix with the salad. The separate option made it easy for me to control how much I placed on my plate. The greens were fresh and crunchy, served with parmesan cheese on top, which Mia declared to be deliciously pungent. The meals range from 300-400 per plate.

I really enjoyed our little tea adventure with Mia and was thrilled that this type of craze has finally hit Manila. I was wondering if the tea habit of the British would be accepted by Filipinos and surprisingly the restaurant had patrons despite the odd hour. Only time will tell.

Hooray for tea!

Food Trip: Chez Karine

I am such an avid fan of desserts! I always scour the metro for the best places to buy sweets and desserts because usually they are ice breakers for clients and friends during parties, or make great Christmas gifts.

Chez Karine bakery is a quaint little French patisserie that opened recently at the Fort. This cute and homey place offers artisanal, seasonal pastries made fresh, from scratch, daily.

The place is bright and cheery and it stands out amidst its next door neighbors, Cupcakes by Sonja and Gelatissimo, which are also fierce competitors and established dessert places in the area.

Chez Karine’s specialties are their colorful French Macaroons, Royal Puddings, Panna Cotta and little cakes and pastries. They also have a wide range of coffee and tea drinks and go well with their pastries.

Here’s their menu below:

For my first visit, I decided to get a box of 7 macaroons, one of each flavor – Dark Chocolate, Earl Grey, Salted Caramel, Strawberry, Lemon, Milk Chocolate Passion fruit and Pistachio, and a box of 3 Royal Pudding, also one of each flavor – Chocolate, Muscuvado and Vanilla.

First of all, I just love their packaging, especially for the Royal Pudding. Their panna cottas also come in the same jars. Their boxes have cute caricatures for an added personal touch. Even their little cakes have specially shaped boxes for them.

As for the macarons, my favorite would be the salted caramel and earl grey. The others are a little on the too sweet side for my taste but their texture is just right. Although I wish they had more flavors to offer.

For the Royal Pudding, the muscuvado is my favorite. The chocolate is a little bitter, probably made from dark chocolate, while the vanilla one is a bit too plain. The pudding has the same texture and creaminess as the Filipino dessert, the leche flan, and even has the caramel sauce at the bottom. But I find this dessert expensive at P100 a jar and contains very little. You are probably paying more for the packaging and flavor.

Chez Karine is a very welcome addition to the Serendra area as another great option for dessert or give-aways. Looking forward to trying out their other menu items!

Food Trip: Cookbook Kitchen

06.24.2012

I always enjoy a good meal where my family can have a lot of choices and choose their favorites.

On our usual Sunday’s out, my family decided to go to Eastwood Mall to spend the afternoon. Since we’ve eaten in most of the places inside the mall, I suggested we take it further to the restaurants outside the mall, but within the vicinity of the commercial area of Eastwood City.

The restaurant I suggested was Cookbook Kitchen, located at the ground floor of Eastwood 1880 Building.

Its amazing at how the food industry grows especially if the food is really good. It spreads like wildfire through word of mouth and through popular food bloggers. Cookbook Kitchen had its early beginnings deep in the heart of Mandaluyong just behind our grandparents house as a simple family-owned restaurant. And by word of mouth, it became popular because of its good food and homey ambiance. And now it has expanded to open its branches in highly populated areas like malls.

Cookbook Kitchen is famous for its home cooked meals, and caters to the palate of those that just want to eat good old comfort food with a slight twist.

We brought Tiffany, our three year old alaga, with us and I was concerned that the restaurant wasn’t so child-friendly. But upon looking at the menu and consulting with the wait staff, they had meals that kids would like. Tiffany chose to have an order of fries served with Honey Mustard sauce and a plate of spaghetti with Italian sausage.

Tiffany loved it, although she found the pasta a little bit too spice so she stopped after a few bites.

For mom and I we decided to share a meal which included their best selling dish Parmesan Encrusted White Fish, which is served baked on a hot dish and served with rice, and their Pasta Al Adobo one of my favorites.

The fish was good, although mom and I found it a bit too ‘runny’ and swimming in the oils underneath the cheese, but its good. The pasta is a take on the classic Filipino food the Adobo (pork cooked with soy sauce and vinegar) and was good as always although I found it lacking in that spicy kick.

Dad went for their shrimp potato salad and their famous pork steak with honey mustard sauce.

The salad was presented beautifully however dad had to ask for more dressing since it wasn’t enough, but he enjoyed the pork steak very much.

My sister tried their pumpkin soup and their Chicken with Zucchini, one of their new dishes.

The soup had the right amount of kick and I liked they topped it off some mozzarella cheese. The chicken took some time to come out, but it was worth the wait. I took a taste and found the chicken tender and grilled just right.

The restaurant was great for a family lunch and I would also suggest it for a dinner date. It was a bit expensive according to dad because it was per plate.

COOKBOOK KITCHEN

1880-A Bldg., Eastwood City, QC.
709.3593

Project 365: I <3 Coconut Juice! (Day 177)

My new Juju! Coconut Juice has been proven to be a good source of electrolytes that helps prevent dehydration! At less carbs than energy sports drinks! I drink it before going to Bikram and after! Yum!

Project 365: I <3 Sundaes! (Day 176)

Indulged in this uber sinful dessert at the newly opened Swensen’s Ice Cream Cafe at Eastwood Mall. Yummy!

Food Trip: H Cuisine

06.15.2012

Because of that disastrous steak all you can dinner, I wanted to get it all back somehow. When my friend Cheson asked Sitti and I out to dinner in the Quezon City area, I suggested this place, which has been much talked about by my officemates.

H Cuisine is located along Scout Rallos just off Tomas Morato, one of the best places for dining in QC. Its actually a small restaurant, but it was very spacious and homey inside with its bright yellow and blue walls.

We were actually lucky enough to have snagged a table on a payday Friday night since usually the place is full of customers.

For starters, we ordered Asian Chicken Salad with vinaigrette to have our share of veggies for dinner.

Their salad was served on a fresh bed of lettuce topped with mandarin oranges, noodles, tomatoes and chicken. The dressing was served on the side but was plentiful so we enjoyed every bite. The salad was good for sharing at a reasonable price of about P188.

For our main course, we ofcourse ordered their famous Angus Beef Belly, their signature dish.

And they didn’t disappoint! Despite the waiter telling us there was a waiting time, it actually didn’t take long for them to serve. The plate was laid over a candle burner to keep the food warm.

The belly was very tender and the demiglace sauce was just the perfect partner for the meat.

We also ordered some other dishes for sampling like their Fish Truffle pasta and Oven Braised Herbed Chicken:

Both were just as delicious and I especially enjoyed the pasta. Truffle oil is just divine.

The food was also reasonable priced at about P200 a dish but the servings were plentiful and was like eating in a fancy restaurant.

Its a place where I’d definitely go back from time to time, and would recommend it for anyone looking for good food in the Quezon City area.

H Cuisine by Hannah Herrera-Bagatsing

#64 Scout Rallos St. cor. Tomas Morato, Quezon City
(one street before Tomas Morato circle if you are coming from E. Rodriguez)
Operating Hours: Daily: 11:00 am – 11:00 pm
Email: hcuisinemorato@gmail.com
Telephone: +632 413-0347

Food Trip: Zero Degrees Ice Bar

06.12.2012

This is probably the first time I will ever write a bad review about a restaurant or a online coupon promo site and I hope this will not happen again!

My friends and I love looking at groupon sites to get the latest promos for vacation spots, food and other lifestyle needs. One day, we chanced upon a promo from MetroDeal about a Steak-All-You-Can and Drinks-All-You-Can with Entrance to The Ice Bar at Zero Degree Manila for P799 instead of P3500 and explore the first ice bar in the country.

We were intrigued because it was steak all you can at that price and we wanted to see the first ice bar in the country.

We arranged to have dinner for 8 of us, during the Independence Day holiday since the restaurant was located in Antipolo City in a town outside Metro Manila. Its located along the main high way and along the mountain side for a great view of the city.

When we got to the place, it didn’t look so bad from the outside but imagine our shock to see the inside.

For our steak dinner, we sat at their al fresco dining area which to me resembled our food court area in the office with its plastic chairs.

The wait staff was also very incompetent. We had to be the ones to arrange our table since it took forever for the nicer located table to be cleaned out. There was only one waitress manning the floor and she couldn’t understand some of our orders.

And speaking of orders….

This is how their steak looks like. I personally asked the waitress to separate the gravy since I didn’t my steak swimming in it and this is what we got. The steak was bland and had the texture of rubber. And it didn’t look like a fillet to me! In fairness, the potatoes were made from real potatoes and the carrots and peas didn’t look overcooked and mushy.

I had trouble eating the steak because it was hard to chew despite requesting it to be medium well. It wasn’t even warm when it was served!

We got a second round and gave up after that because the meat felt like lead in my stomach.I have had better steak at P100 a serving.

Their drink all you can was a major joke because their alcohol was the local kind and a lot were unavailable.

After dinner, we checked out the ice bar. I have only one picture of the place because apparently we weren’t allowed to take pictures unless you pay P300 for a shot of drinks. Are youkiddine me?

Just to describe it, it was a small enclosed space good for about 20 people. There were ice sculptures and couches but very unimpressive. It was cold, but my visit to Korea was even colder.

We left after a few minutes in the Ice Bar, cursing the place and the groupon dealer into tricking us into this deal.

Instead we drowned ourselves with videoke and drinks (at P100 each!!!) at the restaurant down the road.

Lesson learned: Do not trust all groupon sites and deals.

Project 365: I <3 H Cuisine (Day 167)

Had a yummy Angus Beef Belly Dinner at H Cuisine with some of the Angels, Cheson and Sitti. It was a nice change to be in the QC area than the usual Fort area.

Project 365: I <3 Fries! (Day 156)

Sometimes I’d like to indulge myself with good old french fries with sour cream and onion flavor. Yum!