My favorite restaurant in the Makati area just got better :) Last January, we celebrated my son's birthday in Je Suis Gourmand ( see Aidan's Je Suis Gourmand Birthday Dinner ) and I've complained about how small the place is. Last June, the place just got bigger and I would dare to say more romantic. I'm glad that they can accommodate more people already because before you would usually need to reserve to eat here at night. They now have two private rooms for celebrating special occasions -- how I wished they renovated earlier :) This is my favorite restaurant because you can't go wrong with any of the dishes you order here. Secondly, I love places where the Chef is always in the restaurant and interacts with his guests. Lastly, it is has a cozy environment conducive for chatting with friends and co-workers. To top it off, the waiters are very friendly and parking is never a problem.
I always love to find secret restaurants. The ones that are out-of-the-way quaint places and you have to find it like having a treasure map with X marking the spot. I also want to surprise my wife every time with these few secret places that's becoming rare these days. I always love it when you really have to drive and maneuover your way through the city maze not knowing exactly where the place is. My wife would start to sermon on how expensive gasoline is but I just had to satisfy my thrill of looking for these places specially if the only clue I have was "it is just along shaw boulevard." Even though we traversed the entire shaw boulevard, we cannot find Cook book kitchen and it is just a stroke of luck when we just happen to pass by the place when we are becoming desperate.
Once you arrive in the place, you would instinctive realize why it is called cookbook kitchen. The place is right in the middle of a residential community in Mandaluyong with a house turned into a cozy restaurant. It was a dream of Chef Gen Capati to open his own restaurant that serves home-cooked dishes and it came true almost one and a half years ago. Beside the restaurant, there is a home-based gym that one of the son is operating and it probably make sense to co-locate them :) The lovely couple is always there with the husband cooking the best sellers of the house and with wife, Liza, manning the cash register and entertaining the guests. We had fun chatting with Liza and I caution you not to start a conversation with her because she has so much stories to tell :)
We were planning to eat healthy food last night, and we were looking for this literally hole-in-the-wall vegetarian restaurant called Latasia Fusion in UP. It is a small carinderia place but there was no parking near it to our disappointment. We did not want to risk to park in the dark specially with the heavy rains so we just decided to drive along Magsaysay blvd to visit the famous Chocolate Kiss Cafe of Bahay ng Alumni in UP. It was our first time there and we were excited to finally get a chance to taste "the good stuff" that it was famous for. The Bahay ng Alumni reminds me of my college days (in another university) and the ambiance of solid straight line structures with tall pillars in the facade of the building. Since Chocolate kiss is hidden at the second floor of the building, we were doubtful at first whether it is open or was it the right place. The ground floor appeared deserted after what appears to be a wedding event that was just finished.
The food was indeed good and we all agreed that the Gamberi Pasta was a sure winner. The small sauteed hot shrimps with large garlic and green chili slices with lemon juice is a must eat dish here in Chocolate Kiss cafe (CKC). The servings are generous and is good for 2. It is a very good value considering that the P210 is a net price already with no hidden additional charges of VAT or service charge. We were also surprised how big the place is inside because you only see a small restaurant in the second floor from the door. On saturdays, you get live piano music to add an overall romantic ambiance of the place which it is famous for. Also, we were happily surprised that they gave my 18 month old son a free chocolate chip cookie which the mom enjoyed eating because her reasoning was chocolates are not yet for toddlers especially near bedtime :)
The only thing that bothered me is the staff, particularly the manager. I would normally start to talk to the one in charge of the place and get his / her recommendations which is usually a lot better than talking to the waiters. To my disappointment and shock, as I was talking to her she told me, "Maybe you should ask the waiter so that we will know if they are trained very well" and then immediately looking the other way. This reminded me of the snobbish treatment one would receive in Fat Michael's. To top it off they have this paranoia about people taking photographs. She said that they were traumatized by a young group of people who took pictures and wrote a whole page bulletin write-up criticizing Chocolate Kiss Cafe. So this cafe is the first No-Photography-Allowed Cafe in my one and a half years of blogging experience and hopefully the last! I still managed to take some photos of CKC's good stuff but I guess this makes it as my first paparazzi photos.
Just one piece of unsolicited advice, the good stuff should be complimented by a good staff !
I await with great anticipation for the opening of Piazza at Serendra. I've been driving along Market Market these past couple of days waiting to see a glimpse of this great place soon to open in the heart of Serendra. I can still remember the excitement of people when The FORT opened in the middle of vast empty land space and it was THE place to be. At that time, it feels good to say "Lets go to the FORT" to your friends who does not have a clue where it is. The opening of Piazza at Serendra will have the same excitement and feeling specially with a few signature stores opening including the Chef Miguels @ Mezzaluna. Also, can you still remember the long line when Go Nuts Do Nuts opened their first branch in the FORT? Sonja's Cupcakes may be the next dessert craze and hopefully will have the same effect. At last, the FORT would have an alternative dessert place other than Cafe Breton, UCC or crepes and cream.
I'm really not connected with Piazza at Serendra, and most of my knowledge about this place is through word of mouth. I've seen a few names like Gaudi, and Zhongnanhai opening here within the year. The opening was delayed in August. A few more weeks, and I'm dying to check this place out. Would you know of any cool restaurant opening here in Piazza at Serendra?
Our Awesome Planet: The Perfect "Dampa" in Seaside Macapagal Blvd! (Dec. 23, 2005)
Foodfor2.com: Dampa at Macapagal Ave - Shylin Tating Restaurant (April 19, 2006)
Have you been plagiarized before? How did you deal with it?
UPDATE 8/22/06 --- Finally the guy revised all the posts already! Even just an apology would do but I guess he is scared. I'm glad he also changed the plagiarized Lori's posts and starting to come clean. The google DMCA complaint did it :)
Caltex Chocolate Cake aka Celine's Bakeshop Choco Midnight Fudge
Sometimes I would come home late from the office and my wife will be disappointed. I always make sure that I have chocolates as pasalubong to appease her heart and tummy --- and usually it works. One day, we had a lovers quarrel and she said that no amount of chocolate in the whole world can fix our misunderstanding. I told myself that this is the perfect time to try out the chocolate cakes of Caltex in Buendia/ Pasong Tamo and Shell Magallanes, which a lot of people are raving about. These gasoline cakes passed with flying colors because both of them are equally very good and my wife was happy :) !
If you would ask me which one is better, I would have a hard time answering. We even tasted the chocolate cakes side by side but still it was a close call. But of course, only one can win the Battle of the Gasoline Cakes!
I must admit that I'm too old for drinking all night at a bar. I was down all weekend and the suspect may be because of that nasty hangover. After drinking 4+ glasses of red wine, 1 tanqueray cocktail, and 4++ bottles of red horse last friday night, I realized that my body can only take so much alcohol abuse in one night. The celebration was all about Romi Garduce's treat to his colleagues which he decided to celebrate at the 6 Underground Bar along C. Palanca in Makati.
The crowd normally arrives around 10ish (as they would say these days) once the front act band starts. So if you want to have the place all to yourself then i suggest that you be there before 10pm. Once the clock strikes 10, the program starts it with two groups of amateur band, working their ass off for free. In exchange, 6UG gives them jam time to showcase their talents. If you are into pinoy rock, then you might enjoy the music. As for me, I find it too loud and felt too old for these kind of stuff :) But I had to hear the music of Mayonnaise band who sang "Jopay". They started to show their stuff by midnight. It was a Red horse night which means most of the bands are sponsored by Red horse. However, only Red horse beers are served at a buy one take one promo for that night.
Even though loud rock music is not my cup of tea, I still had fun listening to them with the company of my officemates. However, I learned my lesson that night on my body's limit in drinking alcohol. This is one of the reason I don't really blog about bars in the metro even though I wanted to include Embassy, Temple Bar and others. Thanks to Romi for the treat last Friday. Check out some images of 6UG...
We were having lunch in Filos last Saturday and while waiting for the food, I make it a point to check out the free city guides available in the restaurant. I got a copy of 24/7 July edition with Tim Yap as the main cover and with Pinoy Big Blogger as one of the headlines. Since the topic is about blogging, I immediately got curious and I thought it would feature the bloggers that covered Pinoy Big Brother. Here is the description of the featured article:
" Pinoy Big Blogger: Gastronomic adventures (and then some) in the Philippine Blogosphere. Gone are the days of the undercover food critic and their covert gastronomic missions. Thanks to the advent of online journals and weblogs (popularly known as "blogs"), just about any amateur reviewer can dish out their unabashed opinions for ... uh... public consumption. We handpicked a few hot blogs you can browse through before dining out. Welcome to the mouthwatering world of Filipino food bloggers! "
We were pleasantly surprised to get handpicked by 24/7 staff as one of the hot blogs around together with my favorite bloggers wysgal (rants and raves), lori (dessertcomesfirst.blogspot.com) and marketman (marketmanila.com). There is also a chat transcript interview with wysgal. Thanks Janine Dario and staff for including us in the list! It is truly an honor to be featured by mag 24/7 which is recommended by the 9th edition of the latest Lonely Planet as Manila's best city guide!!
By the way, Happy 3rd Year anniversary to the staff of mag 24/7 in Aug!! Here is the directory of restaurants and bars where you can get a copy of 24/7 for free. If you run out of copies, I have a few since I hoarded them to share with family and friends :) I'm happy since this is the first time I got mentioned in any printed media.
On Being Discovered: