Category Archives: Food

Date Night Diaries : Celebrating our 6th at Terraz

6 years.  It seems like such a long time, but really, it doesn’t seem that long ago.

I’m talking about my wedding anniversary, ofcourse, which the hubby and I just celebrated recently :).

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The downside of getting married so soon after the holidays is not having the time to properly prepare for it :(.  I would have wanted to get the H a simple token, and to book a table at a nice, romantic restaurant, but unfortunately, exhaustion and back-to-work duties prevailed.

Nevertheless, I guess what is most important is that we found time within the day to celebrate our special day–just the two of us :).

For dinner, we chose to eat at Terraz, the new restaurant at the Zuellig Building. We had also considered dining at Stockton Place or at The Black Pig, but I guess the proximity of Terraz, and the lure of being able to explore the Zuellig Building won out.

Located at the 3rd floor, Terraz is operated by Raintree Restaurants, the same company that owns and operates Chelsea, Stella, Momo, Rocket Room, Mr. Jones and Saboten.

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I found the ambience to be very casual, bright and inviting, with clean and streamlined furnishings that were quite comfortable to sit on :).

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Here is what we had for dinner :

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I decided on the freshly made pappardelle pasta with arugula and grilled chicken, while the hubby got the pork ribs “bento”, with bibimbap rice and steamed vegetables.

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Simple, but yummy food :).  I just wish the slivers of grilled chicken on my dish were a bit bigger, although the pasta was already quite substantial and filling :).

For dessert, we had the Ube Tres Leches with Sago (tapioca pearls) on top.  We originally wanted The Impossible Cake which is Chocolate Cake with a layer of leche flan, but opted for something we thought to be healthier.  Hahaha!  The cake itself was okay–light and not too sweet–but I thought the sago as a topping was a bit strange.  It did not add much to the dessert, so I actually just stopped eating it altogether.

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Terraz has simple and good food, but to be honest, it pales a bit in comparison to its sister resturants.  We enjoyed our food, nevertheless, although maybe we’ll try a different dessert next time :).

So that’s how the hubby and I celebrated our anniversary.  Just a quick, quiet dinner to mark the passing of 6 good years :).  Mental note to self to start planning our celebration much, much earlier.  Hopefully we can even plan an out-of-town getaway next time! :)

TERRAZ MEETINGS & BISTRO 3/F Zuellig Building, Paseo de Roxas corner Makati Ave. Telephone Number : +632 625-4831/32 ; Open daily from 11AM-11PM

P.S. Before heading to Terraz, I came home from work and found this HUGE flower arrangement waiting for me from the hubby!!!  Isn’t it beautiful? :)

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Foodie Friday : Victorino’s

Christmas celebrations are always a good excuse to eat out :).

Just recently, my team decided to have our annual Christmas lunch and despedida for colleague G, at Victorino’s, one of the newer restaurants that just opened in Quezon City.

Specializing in Ilocano food, Victorino’s is one of those old houses that was transformed quite beautifully into a dining establishment.  At the ground floor, one can find the main dining area, a small area for selling Ilocano wares (blankets, dish towels, brooms, etc. etc.), a display of Heny Sison’s delectable desserts, and more Ilocano delicacies that one can purchase to take home (longganisa, bagnet, snacks, coffee, and more!).

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The second floor houses the function rooms, perfect for private get-togethers or work meetings :).

Navigating the Christmas traffic to get to Victorino’s was quite challenging, and by the time we finally arrived, we were quite famished! To say that I was more than ready for a good meal was an understatement :).  Hahaha!

Ordering on a hungry stomach wasn’t quite a good idea either, as we ended up ordering much more than we should have!  Hahaha!  You’ll see below all the food we had, and I didn’t even post what we had for dessert!  Ayayay!

Anyway, we decided to skip the appetizers, and immediately went for soup and the main course instead.

We started off with an Ilocano specialty called Lomo-lomo.

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It’s a brothy type of soup with bits of meat, chives, and egg.  It is perfectly flavorful and very comforting :).

We also ordered kinirog, another Ilocano specialty rice with bagoong, longganisa, egg and pindang.  I love that it had such a generous topping of salted fish on top :).  As they say, kanin pa lang, ulam na!  This is the type of dish that I can have all to myself, if I just wasn’t watching my carb intake :).

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For our mains, we got 2 (yes, 2!) servings of Ilocos Best, a dish combining both bagnet and longganisa.  Can you say deadly?  Hahaha!  Did I mention that you should never order food on an empty stomach? ;p

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The bistek was also really good…

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…and the Prito na Tilapia was crispy, fresh and did not disappoint :).

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We also unanimously loved the Poqui-poqui, a grilled eggplant dish sauteed in onions and tomatoes.  It’s really a very simple dish, but so yummy and healthy! :)

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Overall, we had a very pleasant dining experience at Victorino’s :).

Two thumbs up for the restaurant ambience and decor (especially the native wood antique furniture), and another two thumbs up for the food!  Special mention goes to the kinirog and poqui-poqui, two of our favorite dishes that day.

Victorino’s is most definitely a welcome addition to the foodie scene in Quezon City.  It’s nice to have a restaurant that not only specializes in Ilocano dishes, but also makes available some specialty products that are sourced from the Ilocos region.

Should you have any balikbayan friends in town, this would be a good place to take them, especially if you want to give them a taste of Filipino food in a pretty, relaxed setting :).

VICTORINO’S, 11th Jamboree Street corner Scout Rallos, Quezon City, Telephone Number : +63 917 833-4148

Dine For A Cause : #YolandaActionWeekend #ReliefPH

If you’re thinking of dining out this weekend, why not try one of the establishments listed below.  These generous food purveyors have pledged a portion of their proceeds this weekend to relief efforts of The Philippine Red Cross.  It’s a simple way of showing your support for the victims of Supertyphoon Yolanda, as well as your solidarity with the rest of the country, as together, we work to help rebuild afflicted areas in the Visayas region.

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Foodie Friday : Pi Breakfast and Pies

As I was looking through my iPhotos, I realized I hadn’t posted pictures of my lunch out with K at Breakfast and Pies.  It’s the newest restaurant from the Pino Group, and is in fact located right next to their restaurant on Malingap Street in Teachers Village, Quezon City.

Because it was a Payday Friday, my colleague K and I took advantage of our newly replenished bank accounts to have lunch out.  We’re also quite sawa of the selection of restaurants in our building complex so venturing out of our neighborhood and trying something new was also a welcome break :).

When we got to the restaurant, I immediately had the feeling that I was going to enjoy my experience there.  Why?  Maybe it had to do with my first impressions of both the exterior and interiors of the restaurant.  For some strange reason, I can never trust a restaurant that makes use of an “ugly” font for its signage. Weird, right?  Hahaha!  But knowing that super creative Alessa Lanot of Life After Breakfast was part of the team behind Pi Breakfast and Pies, gave me a lot of comfort that I wouldn’t have to worry about typefaces or graphics or ambience at all.  In fact, despite the cramped space, I loved the simple, industrial and homey design of Breakfast and Pies.  It actually reminded me of a New York neighborhood bakery :).

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This “chandelier” was my favorite feature.  I thought it looked so cool!  They kind of reminded me of baking whisks :).

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The white brick walls also added to the chic “New York” feel.  Haha!  I love this look so much, I’ve actually been contemplating painting our brick wall at home white too!

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Ofcourse the baskets of bread that were on display made my mouth water!

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I also loved the choice of cutlery, and the wooden “plates” that the food was served in.  It’s small details like these that give a restaurant a good impression in my book :).

On to the food :

Both K and I decided to have the Beef Sirloin Tapa.

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When it arrived at our table, I was pleased to see a good sized serving of beef strips, sitting on a mound of orange-colored, kimchi-flavored rice.  Yum!!!  And the egg, which was a 6-minute soft-boiled egg, looked like it was cooked to the right doneness.

The first thing I did was to pierce the egg, and to watch as its golden yolk slowly rolled out, and covered the beef with its silky goodness.  Nothing like delaying gratification just a bit more, to make sure my dish had equal parts of egg, beef and rice.  Hahaha!

To be honest, I was a bit hesitant at first to order this particular menu item because of the kimchi rice.  I’m not such a fan, not just of the taste, but also of the spiciness.  Surprisingly, however, the combination worked and was actually very good!  The tapa was soft and nicely flavored, and the rice had just a subtle tinge of the kimchi taste.  And it wasn’t spicy at all!  I probably would have wiped everything off of my plate, if the rice just wasn’t so sticky.  Eventually, after a couple of bites, I could already feel it sitting like a lump in my tummy :). Hahaha! But that’s a good thing :).

On to the dessert!

It was actually very difficult to choose from the selection of pies that were there. Initially, K and I were going to try the Crack Pie, but because we had already indulged ourselves with the Beef Tapa, I thought we’d try to balance it off with a “healthier”, lighter dessert.  So instead, we went for the “fruitier” alternative, the Banana Cream Pie.

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*Sigh*  It definitely did not disappoint.  In fact, it was yummy, creamy, crunchy, and the taste of sweet bananas was present in every bite.  It’s a good thing K and I decided to share a slice.  Contrary to what  I was originally expecting, this was actually a rich, filling, but thoroughly satisfying dessert :).

The verdict?

K and I definitely enjoyed Pi Breakfast and Pies!  We are so excited that there is another wonderful new restaurant that is close enough to the office for us to visit from time to time.  There are also so many wonderful items on their menu that I can’t wait to try!  Looking forward to the next Payday Friday lunch out! :)

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Pi Breakfast and Pies is located at 39 Malingap Street, Teachers Village, Quezon City.  It is open daily from 7AM-10PM.

Food-Tripping in Baguio

Gosh, it’s been ages since I last visited Baguio.  15 years to be exact :).  So when my good friend M invited us to join her for a weekend getaway to the City of Pines, the H and I (along with my cousin A, and her husband, D) didn’t really have to think twice :).

I’ve been hearing and reading a lot about the gastronomic adventures one can look forward to in Baguio.  While the sights have not really changed much in the last 15 years (except to look a bit older), the dining scene apparently, is alive and kicking.

This got me really, really excited!  I mean, who doesn’t love eating, right? Hahaha!  Well, I obviously do :).  So before our journey, I did a little research, and listed down all the places I wanted to try :).  Thankfully, we had enough number of days, and enough number of meals to do so.  Hahaha!

Here is a run-down of our favorite Baguio eats :

1. Cafe by the Ruins

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Photo courtesy of pasahera.com

The first stop on our culinary escapade was Cafe by the Ruins.  I guess a trip to Baguio is not complete without stopping by here.  This oldie but goodie is located on Shuntung Road.  While it is one of the city’s must-try’s, can you believe I’ve never even set foot in it?  As in ever?  Where have I been, right?  Hahaha!

So the minute we arrived in the city, we pretty much made a beeline for the restaurant (we were also quite hungry na!).  We chose to have their various specialties such as the Baguio bagnet, duck, crispy tapa, and some chicken sotanghon soup for the little girl.  We also tried their Rizal’s Tsokolate-e, which was surprisingly a bit different from what I was expecting.  I was hoping for a thick, creamy, and steaming cup of hot chocolate to warm my belly.  This version, although good, was a bit runny and not as milky as I would have wanted.

Our food, however, was both yummy and satisfying.  I love that it was served with healthy mountain rice, a side of tomato relish, and a generous serving of ulam. 

For our first meal in Baguio, I’d say Cafe by the Ruins set the tone just right. Even in terms of ambience, I thought it was very charming–with the “old”, antique-ish looking wooden furniture, the work of local artists that were on display, the light fixtures hanging from the ceiling, and the walls or ruins, ofcourse, that inspired the restaurant’s name.  I also loved how open and maaliwalas the place felt :).

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Photo courtesy of ourawesomeplanet.com

Needless to say, we enjoyed our experience there very much :).

2. Hill Station

Dinner that evening was spent at another Baguio must, Hill Station.  Located right underneath SM Baguio on Upper Session Road, Hill Station is recognized as a Miele Best Restaurant in Asia.  Impressive, right?  It’s offerings are influenced by the chef’s travels throughout Europe, America, and Asia, so it has quite an interesting and varied menu selection.

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Both the H and I decided to try their recommended pasta dishes–the seafood carbonara, and the spinach and mushroom ravioli.  Both were equally good, but I have to say the carbonara was my favorite of the two :).  There was a spice in the ravioli that I couldn’t quite identify, but that made the flavor very unique and unlike other ravioli’s I’ve tried.  You could totally tell how fresh the pasta was, too, made from scratch in Hill Station’s own kitchen.

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I would definitely love to come back to try some of the other dishes, such as the Cambodian coriander and garlic chicken, as well as the Moroccan-spiced ribs that my cousin-in-law, D, had (he said it was yummers, by the way :)).  We decided to go a bit “light” with dinner that night and didn’t order too much so as to save our tummies for our last course–dessert!

But before I move on to the next restaurant, I have to give special mention to the ambience at Hill Station.  I loved it for its elegant simplicity, for its homey, easy vibe.  I loved the huge windows that surrounded the entire dining area, and the two staircases leading to the second floor.  I actually felt like I was eating in someone’s living room!  Hahaha!  The dimmed lights also made it feel quite romantic, but at the same time, it is conducive for family dining as well :).  Too bad it didn’t have a fireplace.  That would have sealed the deal for me :).

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Hill Station is also right next to Mt. Cloud Bookstore, by the way, another must-visit in Baguio :).

3. Choco-late de Batirol

For dessert, we decided to try another one of Baguio’s classic restaurants–Choco-late de Batirol in Camp John Hay.

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I was surprised to see that it literally looked like a shack in the middle of a forest! Hahaha!  Granted, however, it was hard to miss since it was pretty much the only establishment on the road :).

What I loved about this place was how rustic it looked.  It had so much personality!  Tables were either made out of wood in a local design, or made out of bamboo slats.  Each table had a woven runner, obviously made by the native artisans.  I love how they made use of and are proud of their indigenous accessories and tableware.  It definitely added so much charm and uniqueness to the interiors of the restaurant :).

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Their choco-late was also very good, although similarly runny like the one we had earlier at Cafe by the Ruins.  It made me conclude that Baguio tsokolate probably really has that consistency :).

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4. Ketchup Community

On Day 2 of our Baguio getaway, we did a lot of sightseeing.  We decided to take the little one to see all the places we used to frequent when we were younger.  At around lunch time, we found ourselves at Wright Park, so we decided to try an interesting place just across the street called Ketchup Community.

Ketchup Community is precisely a community of restaurants enclosed within one location.  Each establishment there serves a different type of cuisine such as American, Thai, Filipino, Italian, etc.  If you find yourself without a particular craving, that’s not a problem at Ketchup Community because you are welcome to cross-order from the other restaurants, just as long as 50% of your meal comes from the restaurant where you are sitting.  Cool, right? :)

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That afternoon, we decided to try Canto.  I was sold when I saw how mouth-wateringly yummy their burgers looked…and their ribs, too!  I can’t tell you how long it’s been since I’ve had a burger!  Hahaha!  Because the H isn’t particularly fond of eating them, I find myself craving for a bite, every so often.  This was one of them times!  Hahaha!  And thankfully, Canto’s burger was very flavorful and soooo gooood!  It hit the spot!  I have to admit I enjoyed the bun a little too much too :(.  Ayayayay!  With the side of fries that I devoured almost entirely, this meal unfortunately turned into a carb-fest as well.  Tsk, tsk!!!!

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Aside from the burger, I was also attracted to the open seating of Canto, which allowed us to take advantage of the pleasant weather.  Coming from a stormy and foggy first day, the sunny but cool climate we enjoyed that day was precisely the Baguio weather we were looking forward to :).

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5. Mama’s Table by Chef Vicky Tinio-Clemente

I’d been hearing a lot about this private dining experience in Baguio, and I’m glad we were actually able to take part in it during this trip.  My friend M’s mom, Tita L, happens to be a good friend of Chef Vicky, so she arranged for a special 5-course meal for a group of us (we were 26 in all!) at her residence.

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The fog was already quite thick as we made our way up the mountains, and it seemed like we were driving to a very secluded destination.  When we finally arrived at the home of Chef Vicky, it was so dark, save for the light that illuminated her front porch.

It definitely didn’t prepare me for the what greeted us, as we entered the front door…

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What a sight to behold right?  From the grand fireplace, to the high ceilings, from the huge floor to ceiling windows, to the very large, cozy sofas at the center of the room, Chef Vicky’s weekend family residence is one of those places that instantly make you feel at home.  Aside from the beautiful interiors, I love how homey and intimate it felt, despite the size of the room.  I immediately felt so comfortable, and at ease, like I’d been there a million times already.  Chef Vicky’s home provided such a wonderful venue to enjoy amazing food, and equally amazing company! :)

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Unfortunately, my iPhone crashed that same night so pictures of the first part of the meal–the appetizer spread–are gone forever :(.  Huhuhu :(.  I am so bummed because the appetizers were not just good, but were also so prettily presented on the table.  We had a variety of spreads to choose from such as an artichoke dip, kani spread, chili, and a selection of cured meats, crisp breads, and even chicharon!  Everything tasted soooo good!  I actually had to discipline myself just to try a little of each, so I wouldn’t ruin my appetite.  I couldn’t wait for the rest of the evening’s meal :)!

Luckily, though, I was able to take pictures of the four other courses using my camera.  This is what we feasted on that evening :)…

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Everything from the soup to the dessert was cooked to perfection! I kid you not!  The mushroom soup was creamy, and I loved that it was laced with truffle oil.  YUM!!!  The salmon was cooked just right, and was nicely complemented by the roasted squash.  The roast beef was very tender and soft, simple yet satisfying.  I loved the salad with its fresh greens, crunchy nuts, and refreshingly sweet orange slivers.  And to think I’m not really such a salad person.  Hahaha!  Despite the fact that I devoured each and every dish, the meal was so nicely paced that I didn’t feel at all full, and definitely had room for dessert :)! Or does that mean that my stomach has expanded already?  Que Horror! :(

5. Chaya

For our last meal in Baguio, we had lunch at Chaya on Legarda Road.

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Chaya is a charming old house turned Japanese restaurant.  I love the dark wooden walls that are reminiscent of many old homes in Baguio, as well as the quilts that adorn the walls.

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But the star of this restaurant is most definitely the food!

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We were so excited to try it out that we ended up ordering so much–Chirashi, Chicken Teriyaki Salad, Chicken Teriyaki, Salmon Sashimi, Mixed Tempura and Sukiyaki!  To wash it all down, I couldn’t resist ordering their Green Tea shake too!  It was sooooo yummy!

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To say we enjoyed our food is an understatement.  We LOVED it!  The tempura batter was light and crisp, the soup of the sukiyaki was not too sweet and very comforting, the salad had a wonderful, tangy dressing that was quite refreshing, the chicken teriyaki was soft and had a nice glaze to it, and the sushi was fresh and served in huge slices.  What more could we ask for, right?  And the cherry on top was that everything was sooo reasonably priced!

We definitely ended our trip on a high note with Chaya!

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So there you have it, six of Baguio’s best culinary gems :).  Should you find yourself in the City of Pines anytime soon, do take the time to check them out!  I am sure, like us, you will be truly delighted!

Hong Kong Highlights Part 3

Ok, guys.  This is the last post in my Hong Kong series :).

We scheduled an 830pm flight out of Hong Kong so we practically had the whole day to explore and shop for last minute pasalubong.  I love that our hotel room came with an option for late check out, so that really enabled us to make the most of our remaining time there :).

First up on our agenda was a semi-late breakfast (Marco Polo has a wonderful buffet selection!), and then a trip to the Peak Tram.  In all the times I’ve visited Hong Kong, I’ve never quite made it to this top tourist destination.

Getting there was pretty easy.  We took the MTR and got off at Central Station, then walked uphill towards the Tram’s Lower Station.  We actually got there just in time as lines were already starting to form (actually, I advise an early start if you plan on riding the tram.  I think we were just lucky that day that the lines were not that long :))

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The trams arrive every 10-12 mins.  After about a 40 minute wait, we were able to get on board!

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It was pretty cool riding this very traditional means of transportation.  I didn’t feel all woozy even though we were climbing up to such an incredible sight, and the views of the harbor were truly breathtaking!  A enjoyed it very much too!

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When we finally got to the peak, we took a couple of minutes to look around and take pictures.  We decided against going up to the observation deck as we felt we would practically be seeing the same thing, just with an unobstructed view.

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If we had more time, I would have loved to go around the mall (apparently there was a Coach outlet there!).  This time, however, we opted to head back down to Kowloon side so we could go back for some last minute purchases, and we could have lunch somewhere closer to our hotel.  We got back just in time to do both. And that pretty much was how we ended our Hong Kong holiday– or so I thought!

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Unfortunately, because of the bad weather in Manila, our 830pm flight was moved to 3am.  When you are traveling with a child, 3am flights are practically impossible!  I almost started to hyperventilate just thinking of waking up early and dragging my sleeping child to the airport.  Such a hassle!

Instead, the hubby and I decided to spend the night in Hong Kong, and to re-book ourselves for a 9am flight going home.  Sounds more reasonable, right?  But expensive too!  Hahaha!  While we were lucky that there was an available room for us at the Marco Polo Gateway, we could no longer get a discounted rate because of the short notice.  At that point, however, I didn’t really care anymore. I just wanted to get settled in, have some dinner, and get some rest!

Having an extra evening in Hong Kong, proved to be a blessing.  First of all, we heard that some flights that departed were diverted to Clark, Pampanga because of the heavy rains in Manila.  If that happened to us, I would probably be freaking out!!!  We also heard that many passengers had difficulty getting cabs that evening because of the floods.  Thank goodness we didn’t have to deal with that!

Instead, we were able to stay another night in a very comfortable room, and had dinner in a nice restaurant–BLT Burger–to celebrate the eve of the little one’s birthday :).  In all the years I lived in New York, I unfortunately never had the chance to try this restaurant out.  Funny that I finally did– in Hong Kong! Hahaha!

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Although the burger was nothing extremely special (we got The Stripper aka a burger without the bun), it was seasoned well, and you could tell the beef was of really good quality :).  And by that time, I was a bit tired of all the cantonese food we had eaten, so this was a welcome break and hit the spot–especially the french fries! :) Hahaha!

This trip to Hong Kong was a bit quick, and I have to admit, it was the first time that I actually felt bitin about our stay.  Hopefully next time, we’ll be able to plan something longer–there is still so much to see and do!

It was a much needed vacay, though, and I’m glad we had the chance to leave Manila even for just a couple of days.  While I honestly cannot say I feel rested and recharged, I think what’s more important is that I feel truly blessed :).

Hong Kong Highlights Part 2

While I was glad (and lucky!) that my family was out of the country during the time typhoon Maring battered Metro Manila, we were actually not spared from rainy weather in Hong Kong either.

On our one and only full day to go around the city, it showered for most of the morning, and into the early afternoon!  Boo :(.  But eventually, the sun started to peek through the clouds, and we were off to explore the Nan Lian Gardens and Chi Lin Nunnery at Diamond Hill.

I love that Hong Kong is such an easy place to teach children about travel :). Because it is convenient to commute and go around via MTR, I took the opportunity to make our journey a ‘teachable moment’ for A.

A at the MRT

She learned about maps, and enjoyed pressing the screen to choose our destination…

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…and she also loved inserting the MRT card to enter and exit the station :).

Finally, we arrived at Nan Lian!

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A at Nan Lian

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A in front of the Pagoda

For those of you who have not been here, it is a must-see that I highly recommend :).  It’s kind of like a hidden patch of green, amidst the tall buildings and concrete jungle that is Hong Kong.  It’s a wonderful place to stroll through and enjoy at a leisurely, relaxed pace.

The highlight of the park is this golden pagoda, built in the Tang Dynasty style. The striking orange bridge that leads to it makes it even more of a sight to behold!  Very picture worthy!

I also read that each element in the 3.5 hectare garden (as in every rock, plant, hill, body of water, tree, etc.) was meticulously placed according to very specific rules and methods.  Talk about discipline!  But the results are a beautifully manicured space for the public to enjoy :).  And we certainly did!

Right next to Nan Lian is the Chi Lin Nunnery.

A at Chi Lin

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The nunnery is basically a huge complex filled with temple halls, Buddhist relics and lotus ponds.  The vibe here is very serene.  Some people were there to pay tribute to Buddha, while others simply soaked up the beautiful, elegant wooden architecture.  It was lovely, and I can say my family truly appreciated every aspect of this place.  It was unfortunate, though, that because Chi Lin is a place of worship, photos were not allowed inside the temples :(.

As dusk started to settle, we left Chi Lin and headed back for Tsim Sha Tsui. After a quick, early dinner at Ippudo (this is a MUST for the H), we headed for the Victoria Harbor waterfront, to catch the Lights and Sounds show by the promenade.

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Since we were also already in the area, we decided to cap off our day with a walk along the Avenue of Stars.  It’s basically similar to a Hollywood Walk of Fame with statues of various movie paraphernalia and sculptures of famous Chinese actors on display.  Along the path one can also find hand prints and autographs of stars set in cement.

A in front of the Movie Reel

A in front of the Movie Clicker

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A on Bear

A with Bruce Lee

While we didn’t really know or recognize many of the stars that were honored along the Avenue, we did enjoy the stroll and the view of the Hong Kong side skyline :).  So many beautifully designed buildings!!! :)

So that’s basically what we did during our second day in Hong Kong.  I love that everything we did was new, and not part of our usual Hong Kong itinerary :).  In my next and last post, I’ll talk about what we did on our last day.

Wait for it! :)

Hong Kong Highlights Part 1

August is always a good month to escape Manila.  There are a lot of long weekends to choose from, and it also happens to be my daughter’s birth month :).

Last year, we took the little one to Hong Kong.  We took her to Disneyland, went food-tripping, and did some shopping.  This time around, we decided to make the trip a bit more educational, opting to sightsee, rather than to spend our time at a theme park.  Ofcourse shopping and eating are always part of the itinerary :).

A goes to Hong Kong

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We decided to take an 8am flight out of the Philippines, and arrived in Hong Kong at 930 in the morning.  Everything went smoothly from the moment we left our condo, to the minute we arrived at our hotel for the next 3 days, the Marco Polo Gateway.

It’s been years since I last stayed at this hotel, and I was glad to see that everything was nice, modern, and newly refurbished!

I also super love the location!  Because it is on Canton Street, not only is it just across Silvercord Mall (home to Din Tai Fung, Ippudo, and near H & M), but it is also conveniently connected to the Harbor City Mall!  All the shops are practically a stone’s throw away!

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When we got to our room, I was happy to discover that it was a nice size, perfect for our little family.  I was thrilled that the bathroom looked so clean and brand new!  It totally passed my standards with flying colors!  Hahaha!

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After we unpacked and had gotten settled in, lunch was in order.  We decided to give our friends at Din Tai Fung a visit, especially since I was craving for some soup dumplings.  They never fail to hit the hungry spot!  Hahaha!  I also needed to fuel up for the whole afternoon shopping session that was to come after our sumptuous lunch :).

A at Din Tai Fung

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A feeds herself

The Fam Bam

Since I’d rather not bore you with shopping details (I was on my best behavior! *Read : I didn’t really buy much :)), let me end this post by sharing about the restaurant where we decided to have dinner.

By this time we were exhausted and chose to eat close to home.  Prior to our trip, I had been researching the blogosphere for some recommendations, and this one came from Jin of Jin Loves to Eat.  We decided to eat at Canton Deli, located at the 3rd floor of the Harbor City Mall.

They serve very traditional cantonese dishes, and since we were in Hong Kong, we thought, “What the heck, might as well eat authentic Chinese food!”.  Hahaha!

While the ambience was nothing to rave about (although they did have these cute bird cages suspended from the ceiling), the food was quite good!  Since it was a bit late, the hubby and I decided to just share some soup and beef tenderloin cooked chinese style.

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I was pleasantly surprised at how tasty everything was :).  The soup had a good amount of crab chunks and corn.  The beef had slices that were thicker than I was used to, but it was very soft and flavorful that I did not mind at all!  Definitely, we enjoyed our meal very much :).  I would have wanted to try other stuff on the menu, but because it was already very late, we decided against it :).  Hahahaha!

If you ever find yourself in the Marco Polo/Harbor City Mall vicinity, do give Canton Deli a try :).  While it’s not the type of restaurant that’ll blow you away, the food tastes pretty good, and it is very conveniently located as well :).  We walked away that evening with pretty happy tummies! :)

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Anyway, since this is already pretty lengthy, in my next post, I’ll talk naman about the places we visited, and the sights we saw in Hong Kong.

Hope you guys will stay tuned! :)

Foodie Friday : VASK

If there’s anything I look forward to, it’s a mid-week night out to make the rest of the work week feel like it’s going by faster.  Hahaha!  All the more if the night out is spent in the company of close family and friends, amidst good food and a cocktail or two :).

A couple of weeks ago (yes, this post is that late.  Hahaha!), that is precisely what my cousins,  the H and I, and my good friend M did.  We finally tried VASK, one of the newest restaurants to hit the BGC food scene.

To describe VASK in a word, I would say it was unexpected.

I arrived, for example, thinking that we would be eating in a very chichi restaurant, but was surprised at how casual the dining area actually looked.  Though the lights were dim, and the furniture modern and sleek, I could not help but feel like I was in a slightly upscale cafeteria.  I think the Mickey Mouse-esque design of the ceiling had a lot to do with it.  Hahaha!

I have to give props to VASK for the Darth Vader statue at the foyer, though.  Again, unexpected, but a nice kind of unexpected :).

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That night’s crowd was also a mixture of various types of people–expats, locals, a much older older crowd and some thirty-somethings.  It was nice to know, however, we were neither the oldest nor the youngest guests of the evening :).

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On to the food…

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VASK had two different menus–a traditional tapas menu, and a selection of new basque cuisine dishes.  We decided to get a selection from both.

For appetizers, we started with the Huevos, Hongos y Cebollas (62degrees sous vide egg, porcini mushrooms, garlic, breadcrumbs, port wine sauce, onion foam), the Pulpo a la Gallega (octopus, potato, olive oil, paprika), and the Salpicon de Marisco (prawns, octopus, mussels, olive oil, red wine vinegar, onions, marinated red bell peppers).

All were really good but the Huevos was the one that surprised and impressed us the most.  When it arrived at our table, it pretty much just looked like foam. Hahaha! :)  But when each one of us had a chance to try it, we all agreed that it was the best starter of the night :).  The mix of the ingredients wonderfully worked together, producing the most flavorful and delicious dish.  Proof that looks can definitely be deceiving!  Hahahaha :).

For the main course, we had the house specialty Txuleton (US Angus Prime Ribeye, 28-day Dry Aged), the Scallops and Black Ink Risotto, and the Manitas y Callos a la Bizkaina con Chorizo (pork knuckles, tripe, chorizo, onion, dried pepper).

While the Callos was okay, both the Txuleton and Scallops were quite yummy!  The Txuleton was cooked to medium doneness, and had a nice, crispy seared exterior.  The meat was also very soft and tender.  The serving was quite big though–it was enough for everyone in our party of seven to have a couple of bites each :)!

Scallops and risotto are a favorite combination of mine, and I’m glad that VASK’s version did not disappoint.  In fact, our table was pleased with the size and “fatness” of the scallops.  Obviously, this restaurant makes use of the choicest and freshest ingredients :).

For dessert, we decided to try everything on the menu, and split it 7 ways.  Hahaha!  We had the Arroz con Leche (rice, cinnamon, milk, caramel ice cream), Leche Frita (milk, cinnamon, chocolate rum ice cream), Torrija (brioche, milk, anise ice cream), and the Hot Chocolate Cake.  According to our server, though, the Torrija and Chocolate Cake are the bestsellers.

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My picks?  Hands down, the Chocolate Cake and Leche Frita!  Sadly, the Arroz con Leche was underwhelming, while the anise in the Torrija was too strong :(.

Speaking of strong, the cousins and I enjoyed VASK’s version of sangria a little too much that night.  Hahaha!  While it tasted a lot like juice, it sure packed a punch!  On my second glass, I was already feeling a slight, but very nice buzz :).

And now for the verdict…

Despite the mixed feelings I have over its ambience (and you know how much this matters to me :)), I enjoyed our dining experience at VASK.  I highly recommend all the appetizers we ordered, especially the Huevos, Hongos y Cebollas.  Trust me, you will not be disappointed :).

For the mains, if you are in a group, try the Txuleton and pair it with a couple of orders of the Scallops.  You are sure to enjoy a meal that is not only well-cooked, but also of high quality :).

Lastly, if you’re looking for a traditional spanish cocktail to enjoy your meal with, VASK’s sangria is yummy and buzz-worthy (pun intended).  Hahaha!

Cronuts

So while the bulilits were having fun at KidzVille, the grown ups decided to crash at Wildflour and have some cronuts!

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Finally, I got to taste what all the hype is about!

To be honest, I actually enjoyed it more than I thought I would :).  I’m not really a fan of croissants, so I was never really interested to try out or line up for this particular hybrid. But since the SIL ordered a couple, I eagerly dug in, and was pleasantly surprised to discover that it was yummier than I expected :).

Knowing that it is supposed to be a cross between a croissant and a doughnut, I was a bit thrown off that the cronut was chewy, rather than light and flaky.  But that’s a good thing :). Although I prefer my pastries to be more dense, soft and moist, I was actually relieved with the cronut’s consistency because I actually dislike the flakiness of croissants.  It doesn’t give me much to sink my teeth into. Hahaha!  It can also get a bit messy, which is usually a turn off for me.  So I’m glad that despite its flaky layers, the cronut was dense enough to give me the feeling that I was actually biting into something more than air :).  Plus points! :)

Another thing I liked about the cronut was that is was also not that sweet, considering the amount of sugar and glaze it came with! Hahaha!  The cream inside helped to balance the sweetness, and provided a different texture as well. Again, while I’m not a fan of bavarian cream doughnuts, the cream in the cronuts, I thought, was well incorporated, and enhanced its taste, and the overall experience :).

But even after all the pluses I mentioned above, and after trying out different flavors (chocolate, dulce de leche, berry, and I forgot the other one), I still think I prefer a good old fashioned donut to a cronut any day.  I’m loving the innovation, though, and I wonder what the next one will be :).  A declair (donut + eclair)? A crupcake (croissant + cupcake)?  The possibilities are endless!  Hahaha!

Actually, while I enjoyed having the cronut for merienda, I think I enjoyed the ambience and decor of Wildflour Podium even more!  Hahaha!  Despite the tight space, I loved the design elements and its overall look :).  Special mention goes to the machucca tiles by the register area.  Soooo pretty, that I just had to take a requisite foot photo :).

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Have a happy hump day, everyone! :)

WILDFLOUR CAFE + BAKERY is located at the Ground Floor of The Podium Mall, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong, Metro Manila.  Telephone Number :  +632 571 8588