#Restaurants, Tagaytay

Discover Verbena @ Discovery Suites, Tagaytay

Ready to eat once more?

Cafe Verbena. noun.
1. Resto that is an alternative to Antonio’s but not quite at par;
2. A place with a homey country ambience and free wifi in Tagaytay!
3. It serves contemporary country cuisine by Executive Chef David Pardo De Ayala

This is a good alternative if you want a private dinner place with a country ambiance. The service was very good. I was surprised to see that instead of magazines, they have Filipino great books like Bahura and Manila My Manila (by Nick Joaquin) for reading to pass the time. Since Wifi is free, you can now have a place to check your emails, update your blog, or upload your photos of your Tagaytay adventure. It does not have a clear view of Tagaytay lake but at night, you wouldn’t care anyway.

I’ve got mixed reaction on the food from my readers about this place so I was determined to checked it out for myself. Don’t expect an Antonio’s type of food where the food is prepared as you ordered. I have a theory that if Chef David is not in the house, most of the food are frozen or prepared in advanced so the quality of food is degraded. It is still a lot better than most restaurants in Tagaytay, but since the quality of food is just OK, some would feel that it is over priced. This was our experience and let me know what you think about this place.

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#Restaurants, Food

Bistro Filipino by Chef Laudico — Best Filipino Fusion Food!

 UPDATE March 6, 2014:  This restaurant is now closed 🙁

I can still remember celebrating our first year wedding anniversary last January 2004 at Chef Laudico’s house in Urdaneta, Makati. At that time, it was still a secret or only a few people knew about it. We loved it and I earned a lot of brownie kisses for it. So when I learned that Chef Laudico will be opening a Filipino restaurant in the Fort, I was excited and the timing was perfect for my wife’s Birthday last October 1. Chef Laudico’s Bistro Filipino soft opened last Sept. 27, 2006. After 3 days of operation, it was already a witness to the strongest typhoon that hit Manila in past 11 years, and a Christian wedding/ reception which was celebrated last Saturday (maybe you would know who it was).

Bistro Filipino by Chef Laudico serves Filipino fusion food and these are the sort of food that could take off in the international scene. I saw a lot of expats and sossy people eating here because dining here would costs you around P1,500ish easily. I love the Filipino fusion food by Chef Laudico and the desserts by his wife, Jackie! These are the kind of food that won’t make you feel bad spending that much. The interiors are designed by their mom with contributions from the family which made the whole establishment a true family affair. I’m sure you’ll love this too and Je Suis Gourmand (JSG) would now have a match in the Fort 🙂 It is literally two blocks down from JSG and it is located in Net One building along the same road as JSG. One can just walk whenever one restaurant is full but I don’t advise you to do so because I’m sure that both would be full especially on a weekend.

I know you will love this and they will have a grand opening on October 8, 2006. Here is our experience and share with us your food experience at Bistro Filipino. Thanks to Anna Ria for the tip on Bistro Filipino’s opening.

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#Restaurants, Bonifacio Global City

Aloha Polu Kai!

One of the firsts Hawaiian-themed restaurant in Manila. I did not know what to expect when we would say Hawaiian food but you could imagine how the ambiance would feel like. I think this is the first time I’ve eaten in a Hawaiian restaurant so I don’t know if it really should be hot and spicy or is it a fusion of western and asian food. The restaurant is full of tikis which could be scary for some kids but we were glad that it did not affect Aidan. The waiters would greet you with an “Aloha” welcome and wave a “Mahalo” good bye. The initial feedback from the people that have eaten here is not that positive (see Eye Candy’s Polu Kai reaction). The “tiki” ambiance creates excitement in the dining experience but the food, indeed, needs improvement. I’m sure it would still improve after two months in operation.

Here is the menu so that you can prepare yourselves on what to expect when eating here.
Soup, Salads and Appetizers
Grilled and Main Courses
Pizza, Sidings and Desserts

BTW, just a word of caution, I’ve eaten in most of the Serendra restaurants and you should expect about 20% premium in most of the restaurants here. I’m not sure if the intent is just to attract the upper middle class or rich crowd; or the Serendra rent is really more expensive than most establishments. Check out the food and a detailed look at the restaurant. I’m sure you have eaten here if you have been in Serendra, so let me know how is your experience.

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#Restaurants, Bonifacio Global City

Cupcakes+Sonja: Opening Nights

Cupcakes by Sonja’s Baby Models 🙂 Yummy, Indeed!

At last, Sonja’s Cupcakes finally opened in Serendra last Thursday Sept. 21. They are usually open from 3pm-9pm since the cupcakes are baked in the morning. We usually go at night, but most of the cupcakes (at least the best ones) would be sold by then. The cupcakes ranges from P50-P80 per piece and it is usually addicting that you get to buy two at a minimum. Sonja is getting a lot of trials and repeat customers which signifies that this is a start of something good 🙂 The place is quite homey with the retro bakeshop feel to it which I believe, perfectly matches with the Serendra concept. She is still selling a limited assortment of the cupcakes and usually produces to sell fresh within the day. The cupcakes would only get better over time as the staff would be trained and become an expert in baking the cupcakes.

Have you tried this yet? Let me know what you think.

Related Posts:
>> Sonja’s Cupcakes— Creating the Cupcake Craze in the Philippines?
>> Cupcakes by Sonja: Soft Opening

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#Restaurants, Bonifacio Global City

Mezzaluna-First Night High!

Chef Carlo Miguel chatting with Aidan 🙂

What is the probability of having 4 tables celebrating birthdays at the opening night of a restaurant which also falls on a monday? A slim chance perhaps, but it was indeed a blessing when Mezzaluna opened last Sept. 25 on such rare circumstances. On my mom’s birthday, we again decided to check out Piazza @ Serendra, and we were fortunate enough to eat on Mezzaluna’s 7pm opening night. Also, Baby Lopez with all the owners were celebrating his wife’s birthday and there were two other birthday celebrants on that night. We were fortunate enough that the owners decided to give each table 10% discount and 2 free complimentary desserts! Amazing night, indeed 🙂 Happy Happy Birthday to Momsy and to all the birthday celebrants!

Finally, I was able to taste the culinary delights created by Chef Carlo Miguel. The Chef Miguels (Carlo + brother, Anton who is now in Australia), are famous at one time for catering to special events/ occasions and they usually cooked at the venue itself (could be your own home). I had many failed attempts in the past to schedule such events with these Chefs, and that is why I was so curious to check them out when they opened Mezzaluna in Serendra. This is already their second restaurant and a more upscale version of their first one located in Legaspi Village. Have you been there? It would be nice to know what you think of this restaurant. If this is your first time to hear of this restaurant then let me share with you our experience at Mezzaluna last night.

( P.S. Finally, I got to blog again and get back to the blogging grove. I’m happy that I don’t have any more business trips until December — yahoo! )

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#Travel, Food

Josephine’s Restaurant — a Filipino Resto experience in Central London

I had an argument with my brother before I finally convinced him to go to this only Filipino Restaurant in London. It was a first time for both of us in Central London. We spent two and a half days, going to the different tourist places and usually we eat on the go to save time. We were debating on why do we need to eat in a Filipino restaurant in London. First of all, eating in a restaurant would set us back at least 2 hours and why do we need to eat Filipino cuisine in Central London when I am from the Philippines and going back the next day! Endless discussion but in the end, my argument of loving our own and supporting our fellow kababayans outside our country won. Also, I’ll tell you an open secret, the Londoners have no food that they can call their own — except for Fish and Chips. I hated all the food I ate and I was dying to eat Filipino food. After having the food trip in Singapore, I thought I would also be able to do this here but I was dead wrong! I was already dreaming of eating at least a decent meal in a Filipino restaurant only to find out that there is one and only Filipino restaurant called Josephine’s somewhere around the Oxford shopping area.

If you are a tourist and you only have two days, would you spend the time to eat in a Filipino Restaurant in Central London? Or, maybe I’m just weird.

Josephine’s Restaurant was a 5 minutes walk from Tottenham Court Tube station corner Oxford street. It was the best meal I had in London, and my brother would agree. The food is home cooked Filipino Fusion that could rival Guava or Filos in the Fort. They have been operational for 10 years now this September.

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#Restaurants, Bonifacio Global City

Cupcakes by Sonja: Soft Opening

cupcakesbysonja_soft opening copy, originally uploaded by Our Awesome Planet.

Finally!!! Cupcakes by Sonja is opening. Don’t you wish it was already Thursday? Please say hi, if you happen to see me there.

Also, you might be wandering where have I been and have not been updating my blog. I don’t usually announce in my blog if I will be traveling outside the country with the hope that I can continue to blog. Unfortunately, I now realize that I need to go on blog leave. Anyway, I’ve been to London, UK and I can’t wait to post my experience. Watch out for it!

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Pizzeria via Montenapoleone: The Best Italian Pizza in Town in just 5 minutes

Romana Pizza (P270+). Tomato, Anchovies, Capers, Olives, Mozzarella, Oregano, Olive Oil

This pizzeria has a canteen feel of Amici de Don Bosco, the pizzas are wood fire oven cooked, and owned by an Italian. Finally, another authentic Italian pizzeria in town and it boasts of perfect pizzas in only 5 minutes because they use a high heat imported Italian oven. There is no such thing as crunchy thin crust, or thick crust for Italian pizzas — so expect a soft, chewy and thin crust pizza. The pizzas are great and remind me of Amici de Don Bosco pizza. I noticed that there are only a few burned portions and this is a good indication of how well they cooked the pizza.

As for the pasta, it tasted ordinary. You should definitely leave room for the gelato dessert! It is a simple pizzeria which serves pizza and pasta:
>> Pizza Menu
>> Pasta Menu

Have you eaten here?

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#Travel, Food

SINGAPORE FOOD TRIP: Makan Food that did not make the cut

1. Fish Head Curry — My wife wanted to try this out and so we did. It was just okay, nothing to rave about or maybe we just had too much of everything that night. The huge snapper head served was enough for the three of us but with the other food on the table, it was way too much. There was so much fish meat that i thought it was an endless eating. Cooked in a spicy, tangy, tamarind curry with okra and tomatoes.

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#Travel, Food

SINGAPORE FOOD TRIP: Makan Food Trip – My Top 10 Favorites!

I always dread going to Singapore because I thought the place is so boring and the food is uninspired. I was only exposed to my usual routine of hotel to office and eating in Orchard Road, Clark / Boat Quay, or Suntec City Malls, the usual tourist route. Boy, was I dead wrong.

Singapore is a foodie haven! My taste palette just got expanded when I tasted the best of Singapore Makan delights. In fact, Singaporeans are known for their 24-hour passion for makan — the malay word for “food” or “eat”. Armed with a Uniquely Singapore Makan Delights brochure, a popular book called Makan Sutra (singapore makan bible), and a singapore local foodie, my family went on a makan food trip in Singapore. I now respect and appreciate Singaporeans passion for food and as they say, the best food is found along the streets. That I would have to agree 100%!

Here is my top 10 Makan Favorites! For those who will have a chance to go visit Singapore, you have to seek out these Makan Delights! Just an additional tip if you are going on a Makan food trip: a) bring your own tissue/ water and, b) you can say no to the wet towels and peanuts which usually comes with a fee.

1. Bak Kuh Teh — This is the Singapore/ Malaysia version of our Bulalo. There are two versions the one with clear, aromatic broth that is full of garlic and white pepper and the one with a dark broth full of Chinese herbs that is good for your health. I like the latter one (dark broth) and it is usually served with white rice, yu tiao (chinese fried dough fritters), sliced red chillies in soy sauce, and a pot of Chinese tea.

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