a little bit about travel, a little bit about food, a lot of everything in between; as seen, tasted and experienced by different points of view..

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Chibo Okonomiyaki + Tokyo Milk Cheese Factory

Chibo Okonomiyaki + Tokyo Milk Cheese Factory

Okonomiyaki is a Japanese pancake made of several ingredients. The name comes from the Japanese term “okonomi” which means “what you like” and “yaki” which means “to grill.” And that came from Google, because Google knows everything. There’s a newly opened restaurant that offers this […]

Poke & Co

Poke & Co

My new fave poke place is nestled inside the Lonsdale Quay market, very accessible and convenient from the Seabus terminal. Poke & Co, originally from California, opened in December 2017 and has been a hit since then. Just like every other poke place, ordering here […]

Jaeu

Jaeu

The first time I passed by this restaurant in the expansion wing of Festival Mall, I thought that’s a weird name for a restaurant: Jaeu. How on Earth are you going to pronounce that? Jae? Joe? Zha? So naturally, when I went there to dine (3rd visit, 2nd time they were closed), I was seated by the window (again) and I immediately asked the server how they say the restaurant’s name. And I was enlightened. “Ja-Yoo.” And it meant, Japanese European, yes, it’s a restaurant for those 2 cuisines. When I saw their menu, it wasn’t a full blown fusion restaurant though. They had dishes from the two cuisines, equal parts on the menu.

After having a long look at the menu, since I just had steak yesterday, why not have ramen today? I got their house specialty, Iekei, which is Yokohama style ramen. A ramen with tonkotsu base with a medley of spinach, negi, onion, garlic, roasted chasu, and nori. I added aji tamago for good measure, too. I forgot to remind the server to give me extra hard noodles, but I’m glad that they serve it like that – yes, it’s their default. The broth was fantastic and tasty, warm and very rich. It wasn’t salty, but I thought it would be better if there was a little spice to it. Maybe I should try the spicy version next time.

And another thing that caught my attention was their house Ginger Ale. I made sure to ask this time if they serve it from a can or they make their own. And it’s the latter, so yeah, I ordered a glass because I like anything that reminds me of Canada. However, it was too spicy, bordering on the Philippines’ salabat. I instantly felt like a singer already. I wanted to get Profiteroles but sadly, the co-owner (which is a doctor at the nearby Asian Hospital) informed me that it wasn’t available yet. That should have been my French dish, but oh well. They offered me Crema Catalana which is a Spanish version of Crème Brûlée. The caramel on top was crackling and the custard is very smooth.

Verdict: 3/5
I liked the ramen, straight to the point and no beating around the bush type pf ramen. Simple but packed with flavour, but I’m sure there are better ramen bars out there. The dessert is ok, but I always take a point away from restaurants not having what I want. The ale could be improved flavour wise. Mighty effort for a new restaurant which is still on their soft opening. I like the concept, very Japanese with the murals and European with the sleek, white chairs and tables. The servers are friendly and the owners inspect the plates and talk to the diners. A new restaurant off to a good start.

Epicurious

Epicurious

Eating at Epicurious in Shangri-La is hitting two birds with one stone. Today is MD Paper’s 10th Anniversary and because of that, Scribe organized an event to showcase talented artists and their works, and of course, several brands that are patronized by everyone in the […]

Paradise Dynasty

Paradise Dynasty

Before working on this review, I had to read back to all the Xiao Long Bao posts I did in the past months and check if those were properly rated. Because when I saw my dim sum served to me, I knew in an instant […]

L’épicerie Gourmande

L’épicerie Gourmande

Another French restaurant in the block, L’épicerie Gourmande is at the Riverpark at Festival Mall. It was a sunny day (isn’t it always?) so I decided to sit beside the window. I had a nice view of the amphitheater but further up there was a blocked out part where construction was going on. I wonder what’s that this time, there used to be a huge garden up there. On my table, there’s a small plant pot with basil on it, so yeah, this looks promising.

I ordered the Ratatouille from the mains and because I was moved by the Croque Monsieur, I ordered that too. The Ratatouille came first. I was asked what sort of carbs I wanted to go with it and I chose the baked potatoes. The plate came with a toast that had olive spread, a lettuce leaf for greens, and of course, the Ratatouille. The overall taste was enjoyable, I tried to put everything in one bite and it almost seemed impossible. Haha!

The Croque Monsieur was a disaster. It looked entirely different from the menu, no oozing cheese between the bread slices, no oozing cheese on the top! I thought I’d feel challenged again with this because I make a quite awesome grilled cheese sandwich at home, but the restaurant’s was just too plain and pedestrian.

Verdict: 1.5/5
Oh the restaurant had its own shop inside, when you enter it, you’ll see all the products they’re selling and you have to walk further down and seat yourself in their restaurant. It was cozy and clean. The servers were friendly and I happened to catch the French guy who I take as the owner as he was rummaging through the restaurant and spot-checking all the dishes that came out of the kitchen. I liked the Ratatouille, but make a pass on the other dish.

Pétit Bistro

Pétit Bistro

We’ve been having our fair share of European restaurants in the south and here to take it up a notch is Pétit Bistro, a newly opened restaurant, first of its name, in the expansion wing of Festival Mall beside the Landmark drop-off point. To be […]

Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory

Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory

On the same day after trying that very forgettable restaurant in Molito, I had to look for something nice place that serves desserts. And luckily, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory was nearby! I left my parking spot, yeah, that very tight one, drove around the compound, […]

Torch

Torch

Going back to the South, we get to Torch. A joint serving food from different cuisines. If I read about that earlier, I would have backed out. But ok, for the sake of trying it (and not coming back ever haha!) (hey, that’s a little early for the verdict!). Because how will you like something from the menu if the restaurant itself doesn’t know what it’s best at?

It was around 11am when I arrived at Molito, I saw Torch’s signage at the 2nd floor of a 2-level building on the left side. And then I instantly saw a parking near the pathway.. judging from the car that was already parked on the 2-slot parking, I immediately knew that car went over its allotted parking space. But hey, I’m feeling like the protagonist in a very old Mentos commercial, and I squeezed in my car and was able to park. Now, the question was, since I was too close to the barricade on my left, how will I get out? On the passenger side of course! Haha

I was the first (and only) customer there. I thought to myself, maybe it’s just too early. The whole 2nd floor was filled with chairs and tables, even had a painting on a wall. And then I went ahead and ordered Beef Belly Short Plate. The menu said it’s a slowly roasted US beef, I immediately thought of that beef brisket from a restaurant in SM Megamall.. maybe they’re lucky enough to channel that. They were not. My plate came and it looked like a normal looking dish you’d expect from a carinderia. And the taste? Ugh, do I really have to? It didn’t taste like it was roasted at all, slowly roasted at that! It was a little tough, and so fatty you could have just drank a glass of cooking oil. And the gravy didn’t do anything to make it better, only made it worse, much worse. The garlic rice looked like it was swimming on oil and the vegetables are just ok. Good thing I ordered another dish, the Shrimp Taco – because hey, they said they also specialized on it. And I was so wrong. It’s a sushi style taco! The rice was so vinegary.. shrimp overcooked.. the salsa was ok. It just didn’t work out well.

Verdict: 1/5
I think I’ve said everything I could say above. I can’t wait to move on from this. Please stay clear of this restaurant.

Madeca

Madeca

Madeca has been in Podium ever since I started working at Discovery Suites. But in the 5years I’ve been there, this is just the 2nd time I’m dining at this restaurant, probably because there’s just too many restaurants to choose from. And besides, this is […]

Café Voi La

Café Voi La

Here’s the part2 of the family’s trip to Tagaytay. We get to the breakfast place my sisters chose: Café Voi La. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not pronounced as “vwä-lä”, yes, we asked the server, and he said it’s pronounced as is, “voy-lä” (yes, I […]

Charito by Bag of Beans

Charito by Bag of Beans

Back in 2011, we had our 1st vacation as a family. Everyone enjoyed their time then and my siblings and I agreed to make it a yearly thing. So far, we’re doing a good job there but this year, instead of going on a flight (because CebuPacific doesn’t have those nice Piso sales anymore) and really travelling from point A to point B, we decided to try having a staycation in Tagaytay. And like most trips, all 4 siblings will pay for a certain part of the trip (ex: accommodation, lunch, breakfast) so we’ll be sharing the load hehe. This time, I get to pay last and pay for the breakfast. But this isn’t the review for the breakfast place yet, but for the dinner place, Charito by Bag of Beans. It’s along the Tagaytay-Nasugbu Highway and is just near the Sky Ranch.

My younger sisters searched for good places to dine. When we arrived, parking was almost full, and since it was already nighttime, there were security guards/ushers helping the diners to park. And they did help us park in no time. We walked to the restaurant and were greeted by the receptionist who then guided us in our table. The view was wonderful, we could see the Taal volcano (yes, the one that’s behind that very famous little cone there). The server gave us the menu and left us for a few minutes to decide what to eat. When she came back, since there were 6 of us, naturally, the server had a hard time getting all the orders haha! But she got everything and scurried away to the kitchen. So what were the dishes?

Pumpkin Soup
Carbonara
Grilled Salmon in White Wine & Dill Cream Sauce
Grilled Tuna Belly with Creamy Pesto Sauce
Baby Back Ribs
Grilled Pork Chop “BoB” Style
Roast Beef
Grilled Ribeye Steak
Barako Coffee
Cafe Mocha
Hot Chocolate
Blueberry Cheesecake

There’s a lot of dishes here, I know. I ordered the Roast Beef and I’m going to say right off the bat, for its price, it’s a good deal. The beef was tender and seasoned right. It wasn’t too oily or fatty. I gave away small slices to everyone and they all liked it. My sisters even asked for more haha! The serving was quite big so it was good for sharing. From the list, I’d say the Grilled Ribeye Steak was also good. It was medium, tender, but lacked salt.. it was also the most expensive dish. The Baby Back Ribs tasted great too, sweet and tangy, but my sister wasn’t able to finish it because she ate the pasta first. I know, I told her to just stop eating the pasta because it’s just carbs but she wouldn’t stop lol! The fish and pasta dishes were forgettable, but someone had to try them haha! Good thing it wasn’t me. The fish were overcooked and the pasta just didn’t do anything for me. The worst dish would be the Grilled Pork Chop. My mom sliced them in small pieces for everyone to taste and it just remained in the middle of the table almost untouched. The Pumpkin Soup was so-so, good thing I ordered just 1 for me. The Barako Coffee was exceptional, as expected in these parts. The Café Mocha was ok and the Hot Chocolate was too sweet. I had to add water to it haha I think they may have placed one too many tableas there haha and the dessert of Blueberry Cheesecake was a flop. It was more like whipped cream than cheesecake.

Verdict: 2.5/5
All in all, family had a good time. The place is homey on some parts and good for date night on other parts. Yeah, it’s a large restaurant. It was a good find, just be wary of what to order. Ask for the bestsellers and ask the servers if you have questions. They are very responsive and made the diners feel very welcome. They gave us an extra cake treat for Valentine’s Day haha! Oh and there was a Tokay Gekko in the restaurant! My father saw it just above the cabinet/water dispenser section where I was closest to! Good thing I didn’t see it, because he said it was as long as his forearm haha! Yes, the servers confirmed they had a resident gekko. Ugh.