Anti Plagiarism

28 January 2011

North Park - Manila Ocean Park Branch

This is so long overdue. December 26th, 2010 was the day that Hubby and I went to the Manila Ocean Park. After all the misadventures that we had in two of the restaurants there, we finally landed at North Park Noodle House.

North Park Noodle House
Manila Ocean Park Branch
G/F Manila Ocean Park
Roxas Blvd. (behind Quirino Grand Stand), Ermita
Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines

Phone Number: (63 2) 567-2767


 
I know for a fact that North Park is a very common place for most people. But there are several things about this particular branch that I would love for people to know about.

When we got to North Park, the place was overflowing with customers, we had to get a number and wait for seats that day. The guard on duty was really great, he got our names and gave us a number.

While waiting for a seat, we looked at the menu outside and decided our meal from there.

We didn't wait for a long time, I'd say after five minutes or so, we were called and led to our table. When we were seated, the guard immediately called a free member of the crew and told our server to place the menu on our table. Efficient, wasn't he?

Since we already decided what to eat, we immediately placed our orders and sat patiently to wait for our meal. The best thing about the experience, even with so many people in the restaurant, we didn't have to follow up on any of our food. The waiter served everything on cue and on time. Really efficient!

The first thing on our table was the soup that we ordered

It was quite good. Not too salty and one could really taste the dimsum that was part of the ingredients. The broth was still hot, which helped a lot in warming our hungry bellies.

For our main meal, we got the Yang Chao rice, which when we saw, we thought we couldn't finish. But then again, with no breakfast and a VERY late lunch, we were able to finish the entire serving easily.

The broccoli was something probably made in Chinese Cuisine heaven. The vegetables were cooked to a crunchy consistency, but without the gummy feel of most vegetables. The mushrooms were not bouncy, it was easily cut by our spoons and forks. The oyster sauce was not too thick to make you grab a glass of water once it gets into your mouth.

The fish was fried to a golden brown crisp. Although, I think it could use a little more lemon for added flavor. But overall, the serving was tasty, and I can say this without bias because the lapu-lapu was the last dish that was put on our table. Meaning, I already satisfied my hunger and the food didn't taste good just because I was hungry.

To summarize our whole experience

The service was fast, efficient and the crew members were friendly.

The food is something that you can live by, not spectacular, but it will surely give you the idea that you are eating a Chinese meal.

The cost, not to hard on the pockets. We only paid less than Php1,000 for everything on our table, including two glasses of iced tea.

Overall experience, it was very satisfying. 

Update: 07 July 2017: Sorry for the missing photos. My images used to be hosted on Photobucket and Now I can't download them to transfer them to another site so I can show them again here.






Nilagang Baboy - Pork in Simple Broth

I know that everyone knows how to make nilaga, but I'd like to share a few of my tweaks to this wonderful dish.


What you'll need:

1K Pork
1 Medium cabbage quartered
4 medium potatoes, skin peeled and quartered
2 medium carrots, skin peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
3 stalks of leeks, cut into 1 inch strips
1 tablespoon of pepper corn
1/2 a teaspoon of grounded black pepper
1/2 teaspoon of powdered cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon of dried basil leaves
1 bay leaf
1 medium onion quartered
2 cups of water
salt to taste

What to do:

1. Boil the pork in two cups of water, along with the pepper corns,salt, dried basil leaves, bay leaf and onions
2. When the pork is tender, add the potatoes and carrots
3. Once the veggies are cooked, add black pepper and cayenne powder. Boil for two minutes.
4. Lower the heat and place the leeks and cabbage on top of the meat. Cover and let simmer for one minute. Let the steam from the broth cook the leafy greens. This will help ensure that the vegetables retain their crunchy feel.


5. Serve during cold days over hot rice and enjoy!

Update: 07 July 2017: Sorry for the missing photos. My images used to be hosted on Photobucket and Now I can't download them to transfer them to another site so I can show them again here.





21 January 2011

Vegetable and Tofu Curry

The third and last Thai Dish from our New Year's Eve dinner.


What you need

1/4K of tofu, diced
2 medium eggplants (cut in half then slice diagonally)
10 pieces of young corn
5 string beans, cut into 1 inch strips
1 onion chopped finely
3 pieces of garlic minced
1 pack of Thai yellow curry paste
2 tablespoons of oil
1 cup of coconut milk
powdered or fresh cayenn pepper and salt to taste

What to do

Follow the instructions on the pack of the curry paste.

In a separate pan, saute garlic, onion and tofu in oil until the tofu becomes light brown. When the paste is cooked, add coconut milk, let simmer for about 1 minute then add the vegetables, simmer for another minute then add the sauteed tofu. Bring to a boil for about 2 minutes using medium heat.

Serve with rice.

Update: 07 July 2017: Sorry for the missing photos. My images used to be hosted on Photobucket and Now I can't download them to transfer them to another site so I can show them again here.





It just got Old

Before I get started, I'd like to welcome y'all to my newly renovated kitchen. I hope you like your stay here. Now, on to business.

The Old Spaghetti House, Ali Mall
G/F Ali Mall, Araneta Center, Cubao
Quezon City, Metro Manila
Philippines
(02) 913-7410


It has been said that in order for a dining experience to be great, one need not spend an arm and a leg. The only thing that is needed is good food and time to appreciate what is on the table.

The 6th of January 2011, hubby and I decided to try dishes from the Old Spaghetti House (Ali Mall Branch).



The facade and decor lent a vintage atmosphere to the place and boy, did it look really good. Cozy, warm, welcoming, seemed like a good choice over some other fastfood places in the mall.

So, we got settled in one of the corner seats, comfortable and like I said, cozy. The waiter gave us the menu and we scanned it, until we found some fish dishes. It was a little past 11AM, so we were thinking of brunch. We first ordered the fish fillet dish, but the waiter sadly informed us that they DO NOT have any fish dishes for the rest of the day. Urgh! Time to look for another meal.

Second choice - hubby ordered the chicken meal, I got one of their lunch meal combos and a strawberry shake.


When the chicken meal was placed on the table, hubby's first reaction was, "This is it? I mean really, this is all that I'm paying more than Php150 for?"


My meal was the beef a'la pobre with pasta, rice and salad. What were my first thoughts when I saw my meal? "Is this a salad? One piece of leaf cut in half, a pinch and I mean a pinch of grated crunchy thingies?"

Okay so we were hungry and we dug in, sue us. LOL





My meal came with a glass of iced tea which I gave to hubby, so I can order a glass of strawberry milkshake.

Here's our take on the food:

The Pan Glazed Chicken that hubby ordered is something that anyone, and I mean anyone can make in their own kitchen. Given the chicken was soft, but it was bland with a capital B. It's nothing memorable and as per hubby's words, he hated it. I got a bite or two and yes, I have to agree that there was nothing tasty about it.

My beef a'la pobre was too salty and the pasta on the plate, again bland with a capital B. The salads on our plates was nothing but a leaf with no special taste to it. Again, urgh! And the pasta, I thought they named the restaurant The Old Spaghetti House for a reason. I thought the saving grace of the meal that I ordered would be the pasta, unfortunately, it was its downfall.

Are you now wondering why the milkshake looks a little purple? Fear not, it's not because there's a conspiracy between the colors of my adobe photoshop to make it look like purple yam and the lighting conditions of the restaurant.

It looks that way because it was pale to begin with. I tried to adjust the colors, but it keeps showing up that way, so I just left it alone.

The color reflects the tastelessness of the milkshake. It's so watered down that I did not taste a hint of strawberry or milk. I wasn't able to finish it because of the not so good taste.

Would I recommend it? No, I'd say that you can go to another place that serves better tasting Italian food than this restaurant.

Value for the money? There's none. I would just make my own pasta and cook at home instead of going here.





Update: 07 July 2017: Sorry for the missing photos. My images used to be hosted in Photobucket and Now I can't download them to transfer them to another site so I can show them again here.

16 January 2011

Thai Cuisine Inspired Crispy Pork

I was inspired to make Crispy Pork last New Year's Eve


What you'll need:

For the Pork

1K Pork Kasim
1/4 cup salt (or salt to taste)
1 teaspoon whole black pepper
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried basil
3 cups of water
cooking oil for deep frying
cilantro for garnish

For the dip

1/8 cup of water (used in boiling the pork)
1/2 cup cane vinegar
2 tablespoons fish sauce (patis)
1 teaspoon whole pepper
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cucumber sliced diagonally
2 tomatoes
3 sprigs of fresh spring onions
1 medium red onion chopped finely
*optional cayenne pepper to taste

What to do:

1. Boil the pork with all the ingredients in a pot until tender, drain set aside.
2. When the pork is dry enough, deep fry in cooking oil until crispy (golden brown)

For the dip:

1. Combine water, vinegar, fish sauce, whole and ground black pepper and cayenne pepper, simmer until vinegar is cooked.
2. Add sliced cucumber, tomatoes and spring onions, simmer for one minute.

Serve hot over steaming rice.

Update: 07 July 2017: Sorry for the missing photos. My images used to be hosted in Photobucket and Now I can't download them to transfer them to another site so I can show them again here.

14 January 2011

The Banana Leaf at the Podium

Banana Leaf 2/F The Podium
Contact Information: (02) 687-6808 / 687-6818
Website: Banana Leaf Philippines

The 8th of January, hubby and I decided to buy him a very late Christmas gift. We went to a store in Guadalupe, Makati City and bought the newest addition to his collection and afterwards went to The Podium in Ortigas Center, Pasig City.

Our destination in The Podium, a restaurant that serves Malaysian, Singaporean, Indian, Vietnamese, Indonesian and of course Thai food.

We arrived a little before 7PM and we were welcomed by well trained staff and led to a table near the bar.

They have great choices on the menu, but since we are still fixated on Thai cooking, we decided to look for Thai Food on their menu.

What we had:



This small basket of prawn crackers is given for free to the customers. I guess so that you don't get impatient while waiting for the food to be served on your table.

It may not be as crunchy as how we wanted it to be, but then again, at least there was something on the table which helped stave off our hunger.

Salad:



What can I say? It was a cold salad, served with a special sauce which from what I could tell was made from mango syrup with a hint of something that I can't really put my finger on.

It was heavenly! The semi-ripe, sweet-sour taste of the mango blended perfectly with the roasted chicken. The vinegrette/sauce was made from something that was not too sweet and not too sour ingredients either. The best part, it was mildly spicy.

Thefried rice is very different from what I am used to. I associate Thai fried rice with shrimp paste, mangoes and eggs, but this one from Banana Leaf reminded me of Yang Chao and Thai Bagoong Rice all rolled into one.

We could have eaten this even without any viands, but of course that would be a little tacky, wouln't it? (lol)

Hubby wanted something with a lot of protein, so he went for one of the pork dishes. It was roasted and from what we tasted, we agreed that the pork was juicy and that it did not harden even if it was exposed to the restaurant's cold A/C.

The pork was slightly crusted on the outside, but beautifully tender and juicy inside. The dip was made from shrimp paste and it was mildly spicy and it wasn't salty.



I had my favorite dish, chicken curry. This one was tasted, uhm, yummy. That's quite an understatement, it was delicious! Although different from what I ate from Mango Tree Bistro, I would say that there were similarities as well. The Banana Leaf version of the dish was a little more saucy and slightly sweet because of the herbs.

The only thing that I looked for that day was some extra cayenne pepper. Have I mentioned that I LOVE spicy food? (lol) But overall, the style and presentation although different, the taste had the same quality that I was looking for in curry based dishes.

For drinks, we both ordered the Thai Ice Tea. This is where my preference clearly showed. I tried the Thai ice tea of Jatujak, Mango Tree Bistro and recently Banana Leaf, and with all conviction I would recommend the Thai Ice Tea of Mango Tree Bistro. What I didn't like about Banana Leaf's version of the drink, it was way too milky. I was not able to taste the tea because my palate was overwhelmed with the flavor of milk and the blandness.

From my experience I could say, that if you want to try the Thai ice tea of Banana Leaf, it would be on your own risk.

Unfortunately because of the serving size of the dishes, we were unable to try any of their desserts. We resorted to eating our salad again after the main course as there was an ample portion of it left on our plate.

To put everything in a nut shell:

The place is cozy and please, don't be surprised when no one puts any plates on your table because the plates that you would be using are literally just banana leaves placed on top of the paper placemats.

The service is fast and very efficient.

The ambiance, well at least the Podium branch is quiet and set up for meals for either two people or a whole family.

Food quality is good. It was well prepared and the presentation was not spectacular, but you couldn't help but to start digging in, once you get a whiff of the food.

Drinks, again try the Thai ice tea at your own risk.

Value for money, we only paid Php1031.00 (roughly $20.00) for everything that was placed on our table.

Would we visit the place again? Definitely, but we might try their other branches located at different areas around the Metro.





Update: 07 July 2017: Sorry for the missing photos. My images used to be hosted in Photobucket and Now I can't download them to transfer them to another site so I can show them again here.

07 January 2011

Flying Pig - Eastwood City

It was a quiet morning, the first day of hubby's long vacation last December. We were thinking of going to the supermarket to shop for our Christmas Eve dinner.

Before we started on our errands, we decided to give the Flying Pig a try. Our feet and appetites brought us to the Eastwood City branch of the restaurant.



When we got there, the lunch rush was just about to start thank heavens. We were able to choose our seats and get comfortable as we asked for the menu from one of the crew members.

Our order consisted of the following:



The Banging Bagnet for me. When I saw the serving, my first thought was, Holy Pig! (yes, it wasn't holy cow that day!) How am I going to finish everything? Yes people, the serving was quite big.

Did I finish it? Yes, good thing it was brunch. We didn't eat breakfast at home so there was more than enough room for the delectable pig in front of me. The bagnet was served with two dips, the usual Mang Tomas dip (or something similar to gravy) and of course, spicy vinegar! All I could say is that, I thought I was flying with the flying pig at the first bite. Delicious!

How about hubby?

He got the grilled pork. Oh, don't be deceived by what you see. Hubby was telling me that he was having a hard time finishing it all up. The grilled pork was served with a side dish of steamed vegetables and let's just say that when I tried his food, I was glad that I am not a vegetarian. It was tender and juicy, not the usual dry, flaky grilled dish.

Are you now wondering why we had a hard time finishing everything up?

We went to the Flying Pig on a Monday and during weekdays, the restaurant serves their rice meals with the soup of the day and a glass of ice tea.

Before the main course was set on the table, we were given the soup of the day, a small bowl of tomato soup. When I first tried it, I thought it wasn't that delicious. But after the third spoonful, I started to appreciate the taste of the soup. Especially when I started eating it with the bread that they served. Oh, oh, yummy!

If you're not in a hurry and you're around Eastwood City, drift on over to the Flying Pig. They serve these great rice meals, with the free drinks and soup of the day during lunch hours, Monday to Friday.

I can't wait to head on over there again one of these days to try the items on their menu. Oh and before I forget, the soup and the main course were served with a good gap in between. Enough for one to savor and enjoy the food without feeling pressure to finish it all at once to get to the next food item.












Update: 07 July 2017: Sorry for the missing photos. My images used to be hosted in Photobucket and Now I can't download them to transfer them to another site so I can show them again here.

Thai Sakoo with Sweetened Coconut Milk

Hubby and I went on a Thai food binge last December and I promised myself that I'll put Thai food on the dinner table come New Year's Eve.

Here's the first of the Thai food recipe that I experimented on in my own kitchen.


What you need:

1/4K of small sago (I used the big ones, since the grocery ran out of the small ones. Colored sago works best, since the coconut milk is white, the contrast would make it look appetizing.)
1 cup of water
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup of thick coconut milk (canned or freshly squeezed)
2 or 3 fresh mint leaves

What you need to do:

1. Wash the sago and drain it well.

2. Put the water, sago and 1/4 cup of sugar in a sauce pan. Bring it to a boil. Turn of the heat when the sago becomes crystal clear.

3. Set aside the cooked sago and put the coconut milk in a separate sauce pan. Simmer the milk until it becomes thick over low heat, stirring in the sugar while the milk simmers carefully. When the milk becomes thick, drop one fresh mint leaf.
4. Let the milk cool a little. Assemble the dessert in a goblet. Put sago in the bottom, top with a little milk, then add sago again, top with a little more coconut milk. For added garnish, top with fresh mint leaves.

Serve warm.






Update: 07 July 2017: Sorry for the missing photos. My images used to be hosted in Photobucket and Now I can't download them to transfer them to another site so I can show them again here.

04 January 2011

My Best Tasting Experiments of 2010

I've been experimenting in my kitchen for the longest time, but last year I got more bold and daring when it comes to cooking.

I decided to imitate the dishes that I have tried from the different restaurants that hubby and I have gone to or take inspiration from recipes found on labels of the ingredients and give it my own twist.

Here's a summary of the recipes that I have tried and those that have fared well so far. (for the full recipe, please click on the recipe name. Thank you so much for visiting my kitchen and I hope to share more recipes with you this 2011)

1. Chicken in Olive Oil with Salsa
The inspiration of this dish was the restaurant named El Pollo Loco. Hubby and I decided to stay away from fried food and the restaurant served grilled chicken with fresh tomato salsa, which we fell in love with.

I don't have a grill at home and I can't grill everytime we crave for this type of chicken dish, so I decided that instead of frying the chicken, I'll boil it and then sear it in Olive Oil.

Hubby was not disappointed and neither was I.

2. Stir fried vegetables with tofu

Healthy and something that was inspired by a magazine article that I've read sometime last year.

It was delicious and it went well on its own or even with rice, should you want a slightly heavier meal.

3. Soft Tacos

Hubby and I had been on an Indian/Mexican/Mediterranean food binge last year. Spicy food is one of our favorite meals and tacos were the easiest to make which could satisfy that craving.

By the end of year, we went on a Thai food binge and I think I have at least three dishes that I could share from trying these Thai restaurants. I can't wait to see how my menu would grow this year and of course, since the skills in the kitchen were freely given to me, I would be sharing the recipes with you freely as well.

Cheers, to a healthy and delicious 2011!

03 January 2011

My Best and Worst Restaurant Experiences for 2010

I've always been a fan of good food and when I say good food, I mean something that would make me crave for more of what ever it is that I'm eating. And also, making me want to go to the location of the restaurant regardless of its distance from where I live.

2010 was a great year for hubby and I. We went to different restaurants and even decided to go to places that are quite far from where we live just to sample the restaurant's offering. Here are the top five must try food places that we've been to. (For the full reviews, click on the name of the restaurant)

5. Jatujak - SM Mall of Asia (also with branches at SM Megamall and SM City North)

Photobucket


I would say that this restaurant was an accidental find. Hubby and I were hungry going around Mall of Asia and we were willing to try anything. We decided to go to this small restaurant and we found out that the Thai food they serve is absolutely delicious!

4. The Flying Pig - Eastwood City Branch

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I have yet to write a full review of this restaurant, but if there's one thing that I've got to say, their food was worth the wait and the money. And we didn't have to spend too much for the things that we ate that day. Can't wait to go back there to try their other dishes.

3. North Park - Manila Ocean Park Branch

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Many may say that North Park is a common place to eat in, however with all the food misadventures that we had on the 26th of December, North Park Manila Ocean Park branch exceeded all our expectations. The staff was well prepared for the influx of customers because of the holidays and we didn't have to wait for our food for a very long time. Great service, good food and reasonable prices, another note worthy dining place to visit again.

2. Mango Tree Bistro - Trinoma Mall, Quezon City

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Not as expensive as I thought the place would be and the food was carefully prepared. A place that would be good for either a family or a dinner date for two. The staff members are friendly and the food is placed on the table on time.

1. Top Spot goes to Banapple Pies and Cheesecake with branches in Il Terrazo - Sct. Madrinan cor Tomas Morato, Quezon City, two branches along Katipunan Avenue

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I think hubby and I have been there for the nth time already and we're not finished with the food items on their menu yet. 2011 would surely bring our feet back to this lovely and quaint restaurant. I also think they have a new branch somewhere. I think we have to drop by the newest addition to their growing branches.

Their signature Banoffee pie is so heavenly that I can't help but get a slice everytime we visit any of their branches. My other personal favorite among their line of desserts is the Cherry Cake, marvelous!

There are restaurants that I would love to visit this 2011, and the first three that goes to the top of my list are:

Banana Leaf
My Thai
Chilis

I hope I can go there real soon. Can't wait to try these restaurants, visit the old haunts and give you guys an update.

And of course if there are good things, then there must also be the not so desirable ones.

For the where not to go list (based from my experience with their quality of service and the food) here are the three not so appetizing places:

3. The Chocolate Kiss Cafe - along A. Roces Avenue in Quezon City

The service was really slow. The crew members were not so alert to what their customers' need and the food, well, the pasta that we had was swimming in a combination of water and sauce, the cakes were either dry and flaky or too sweet and for the price, it's not worth it.

2. Pancake House in Manila Ocean Park

We went there on a Sunday, the 26th of December. Given that there were so many customers, the management should have alloted more crew members to be on shift that day, however, there were only two members of the dining crew present and our table was not cleaned even after minutes of waiting for someone to clear it up.

A customer complained about their food, according to his complaint, the food was served raw. When I turned my head to look at their table, I saw that there was still blood on the chicken - urgh!

1. The worst place to go to when you're hungry is MakanMakan Asian Food Village - Manila Ocean Park

They boast of having food from Asian countries, but their Thai menu is only one page long. We waited 45 minutes for our food, but it was not even prepared because the waiter forgot to forward our order to the kitchen and left it with the cashier.

The manager is not so quick witted either, he's slow to resolve the customers' problem, but very quick to ask us to pay for our drinks. No plates, no food. Poor service.


My post for YUMMY SUNDAY

02 January 2011

Thai Media Noche - Update

I made some Thai Crispy Pork and Vegetable with Tofu curry. I also made some yummy sago dessert which I tasted over at Mango Tree Bistro.

I'm happy to say that the dishes were superb! (At least hubby thinks so. LOL)

anyway, I'll be sharing the recipes in the days to come.

I hope everyone had a good new year!