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25 February 2011

Pino Restobar

Pino Restobar
39 Malingap St., Teachers Village
Quezon City, Metro Manila
Philippines


(02) 441-1773


I was invited by one of my online buddies to join them for a Food Trip last February 6th. We were supposed to go to Van Gogh is Bipolar, however, we were not able to find its location. With Asmodeus at the helm, he suggested that we go to Pino Restobar to satisfy our gastronomic needs.

When we got there, the waiter helped us to fix the tables, so that it can accommodate 8 people. The menu was given and we started to talk about what food to get.

First on our list was from Pino's vegetarian menu


Lemongrass Tofu Skewers with Guava-Chili Sauce and Alfalfa. After the first bite, we all agreed that the dish was not delicious. The menu said something about chillies and guave, but there was no discernable taste of guava anywhere. If you were to ask me, it looked more like those bottled catsup sauces. After a few weeks of thinking and disecting the taste, I realized that the reason I personally did not like it was, there was a taste of something artificial in it, something like gluten substitute.


Mini Sisig Tacos, the next item on our table. I can't say anything about this. It was great! The mix of sisig with mini taco shells was a little short of perfect. Maybe, since the restaurant marketed it as tacos, they should have put a little spicy salsa into the mix, that would have made it taste real good. The size is good for two bites of an average diner. And the best part, it wasn't so messy to eat!


Jenn ordered the Fried Eggplant, Adobong Kangkong, and Brown Rice served with Nilasing na Mangga. . I tried a couple of bites and all I can say is, there's nothing spectacular about it. They mentioned adobo, but the question asked that night was - "Where's the adobo part?" A very ordinary dish, something that you can easily make at home.


Binusog na Pusit with Kesong Puti. We had two plates of this dish and it was quite good. Although, I wish there was more kesong puti inside to make the taste stand out. But overall, it was edible and it tasted quite good with the provided dip.


Bacon and Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts. It tasted similar to chicken cordon bleau. The cheese they used was more of the regular cheddar cheese and it was quite hard inside the chicken breasts. I wish they used the quick melt version of the cheese, it could have given the dish a little more punch. By the way, the bacon was scarcely there.


Kare-Kareng Bagnet. It was quite good. The bagnet was crispy on the outside and inside, it was quite tender and juicy. The only thing that was missing that time was a tad of shrimp paste. The sauce was bland and with a tad taste of sweetness, a little shrimp paste would have balanced out those elements.


Wasabi Onion Rings. The only thing I can advise you is, make sure that you eat it with the provided dip to get a good taste of the wasabi. The onion rings just lacked in the wasabi flavor department.


Flavored beer. Our "host" for the evening, Asmodeus, told us that the restobar serves flavored beer. When we got there, most of us ordered a glass of different flavors, there was a glass each of strawberry, peach and watermelon beer. The thumbs up went unanimously to the strawberry flavored beer. I don't drink, give me one bottle of San Mig Light and it would last me the whole night. But, that night I was able to drink two glasses of strawberry beer (roughly a bottle and a half) and I didn't get drunk!

Overall, the experience was good. Some of the food may have lacked in flavor, but it was definitely worth the trip. Probably, the next time I go there, I can ask for some condiments to compliment the dishes that I would order.








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.

23 February 2011

Focaccia Bread

Hubby and I tried the comercially available packs of focaccia bread last Christmas and from there, we fell in love it. We love the onion and herb flavor, but the cheese focaccia bread was not so bad.

But did you know that:

Focaccia is related to pizza, but not considered to be the same.

By far the most typical focaccia is simply baked dough topped with olive oil and a simple herb like rosemary or sage, and salted with coarse salt.

Focaccia doughs are similar in style and texture to pizza doughs, consisting of high-gluten flour, oil, water, salt and yeast. It is typically rolled out or pressed by hand into a thick layer of dough and then baked in a stone-bottom or hearth oven.

Focaccia is used extensively as a sandwich bread outside of Italy.
Information sourced from Wikipedia



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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.

18 February 2011

Pork Parmigiana

This recipe was inspired by one from Food Magazine. The pork slices tasted heavenly because of the melted mozzarella and parmesian cheese toppings. Oh, and the home made marinara sauce - better than buying tomato sauce.

What you'll need

*For the marinara sauce

3 tablespoons of olive oil
4 garlic cloves crushed
1 medium onion, chopped finely
1 small pouch (6oz) tomato paste
1 big (16oz) can of diced tomatoes, undrained
3 teaspoons of dried basil leaves
salt to taste
sugar to taste

*For the Pork

2 cups of marinara sauce
bread crumbs or breading mix
salt and pepper to taste
2 eggs, beaten
1K of pork chops or pork cutlets (1/4in thick slices)
3 tablespoons of olive oil
3 tablespoons of butter (or margarine, depending on your preference)
slices of mozzarella cheese (available at local grocery stores)
grated parmesian cheese (also available at local grocery stores)

What you need to do:

*Prepare the marinara sauce

  • Heat olive oil in a pan, over medium heat. Saute garlic and onion, until onion is caramelized.
  • Add the tomato paste, saute in garlic and onion. Add the canned tomatoes along with the juice, sugar, basil and salt.
  • Cover the pan and simmer over low heat.
  • Stir occasionally and cook until sauce thickens (roughly 20mins).

*Prepare the pork

  • On a plate, mix bread crumbs, salt and pepper. (If you're using the pre-prepared breading mix, you can take out the salt and pepper to avoid over salting your pork).
  • Dip pork into beaten eggs, coat with bread crumbs/breading.
  • In a skillet, fry the pork in olive oil and butter until both sides are golden brown.
  • After the pork is cooked, place the cutlets in a skillet and spoon marinara sauce over each cutlet. Top with grated parmesian cheese and mozzarella slice. Turn the heat to low, cover the skillet and cook until cheese melts.

Transfer the cutlets onto a plate, serve 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.


                    

17 February 2011

Dolce Premium Italian Gelato

I first heard, or rather read of gelato when I read the book Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. From that time on, I always thought about it and prayed that there's someone selling this dessert here in the Philippines.

My prayers were answered when hubby and I went to SM Mall of Asia. After dessert and a little walking around, we found this


Dolce serves the closest thing to real Italian gelato.


And according to their website, the company only makes a small batch of gelato per flavor. Aside from gelato, they also serve sorbets, perfect for the health concious.


It is claimed that Italian gelato tastes better than most, if not all ice creams with less the fat.

Not easy to believe right? However, after hubby and I tasted the gelato from Dolce, I can safely say that it's true. Dolce's gelato tasted twice better than regular ice cream but without the sweetness of sugar.

If you're interested to try a better alternative to ice cream, without losing the feeling that you are eating some, try going to Dolce and I promise you won't regret it.

Dolce Premium Italian Gelato has stands in SM Entertainment Mall, Mall of Asia, Pasay City. Another at the 2nd floor of Festival Mall in Alabang near Florsheim and Quickly. You can also check them out at the 3rd Floor of Rustan's Makati. Try checking out SM City North Annex as well if you're within the area.





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.

13 February 2011

Chicken in Thai Green Curry Sauce

Curry a dish that is so good that every country has their own version of it.

Recently, hubby and I got hooked on Thai dishes. Let me tell you about the two wonderfully similar, yet different curry versions that we have tried.


In time for your Valentine's Day or post Valentine's Day dinner with your loved ones, you can check out two restaurants which serve good, authentic Thai dishes - Banana Leaf at the Podium or Mango Tree Bistro at Trinoma Mall.

About the two curry dishes, both are actually good and quite affordable, but like with others there are certain pros and cons to it. If you prefer your curry to have less sauce, you should go for the one from Mango Tree Bistro, because as you can see, the one from Banana Leaf is quite saucy.

Here are the pros of the one from Banana Leaf

Taste, there's nothing to say except that it was good.
Size of serving, good for two to three people
Sweet basil taste was evident which gave it more body and flavor

Pros of the one from Mango Tree

Chicken fillet serving, easy to eat because there are no bones and skin.
Taste is really good
Not too much sauce
Served with optional cayenne pepper

Cons of Banana Leaf serving

Quite saucy that you have to be careful so that you don't drip sauce on your clothes.
Chicken is served with skin and bones.
Not too spicy and there's no cayenne pepper served with it.

Cons of Mango Tree Bistro

Serving is quite small, may be finished by one or two persons (depending on the appetite)
Little taste of basil

Even with the cons, I suggest that you try both versions. For a more romantic atmosphere though, visit Mango Tree Bistro and for a more family oriented dining, Banana Leaf is the place to go.

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.

12 February 2011

Eggs and childhood

One of the memories that I have is associated with eggs and it's quite funny, at least to me.


Before I went to school that morning, my mom told the maid that if she's still not home when I get home, the maid should cook some omelet for me. Easy enough, right? The reason for the simple meal was, the maid didn't know how to cook.

Before giving the said instructions, my mom asked the maid if she at least knew how to cook a simple omelet. The maid was indignant, and answered mom proudly that she can cook simple things, including an omelet. So mom and I left the house, me for school and mom for her sister's house.

Fast forward to lunch time. I arrived home from school, terribly tired and hungry. When the maid saw me, she immediately prepared to cook the omelet. When she served it to me, I tried eating it. After one spoonful, I started crying and stopped eating. My mom arrived a little after lunch and asked me if I had eaten lunch. I cried again and answered her in the negative.

Mom stormed to the kitchen and asked the maid for some explanation as to why I have not yet eaten. The maid explained, told my mom that I cried and stopped eating after she served the omelet. I remember my mom's face when she saw what the maid cooked for me.

She asked, "Is this hotcake? I said cook omelet." Yes, the omelet looked like overcooked hotcakes. Apparently, the maid beat the eggs too stiffly, thus the hard omelet. Good thing mom had something for me in her bag, so I munched on it while waiting for the perfect omelet that my mom made and still makes to this day.

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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.

11 February 2011

Spicy Chicken Lollipops


It's rare for me to plan a week's worth of food. I usually just buy things and take it from there. However, this week, I decided to try out something new - Planning.

One of the dishes that I made was this. Spicy Chicken Lollipops.

What you'll need

1K of chicken lollipops (I buy the ready made lollipops from the grocery store)
1 240mL of canned calamansi juice
3 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 teaspoon of dried thyme
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
3 tablespoons of powdered cayenne pepper (add more for a little more spice or lessen for a mild kick)
1 pouch of spicy chicken breading (or ordinary breading if you want)
1 teaspoon of ground black pepper
cooking oil
(no need for water since the pre-prepped calamansi juice has some)


What you need to do

Marinade the chicken in calamansi juice, soy sauce, dried thyme, garlic powder, cayenne pepper and black pepper overnight and put inside the fridge.

Take out the chicken out of the fridge 30 minutes before cooking it.

Coat the chicken with breading before cooking and deep fry it in a pre-heated pan with cooking oil.


Drain excess oil on paper towels and serve with hot rice or eat it as finger food.




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.



Chocolat - Food for the Gods

Sometime last year, I know I blogged about Chocolat as one of my favorite places to eat dessert in. And I also promised that I will write a more extensive review about the place. Here it is.

Last Sunday, February 6th, my friend Jenn, along with her sister and I met with a couple of new friends for a food trip. We had dinner at a restaurant along Malingap Street and decided to have dessert at Chocolat, Sgt. Esguerra branch.



There were 8 of us in the group, but unfortunately, Andrew is not so fond of dessert that he decided to skip it. We had a total of 6 different cake slices on the table which we all decided to taste.

First up


I was the only one who didn't order chocolate cake that time. I decided to go with their New York Cheesecake and if there's one thing I could say about it, it had that "melt in your mouth" feel to it. The texture is smooth, there was no grainy feeling of cheese and the cream, it was not heavy but really balanced out the sour taste of the cheesecake. The graham crust provided it with the right amount of sweetness, but not the rough texture common to some if not all cakes with the same crust.



My good friend Jenn got a slice of their Kahlua cake. It was a chocolate cake which was laced with Kahlua liquer and as you can see, topped with small bits of chocolate kisses.

I had a bite or two of this sinful cake. It was tasty and spongy, definitely not dry, however, it was too sweet.


This classic chocolate cake had some hazelnut spread filling and had one hazelnut chocolate cube on top of it. I tried a bite or two of this as well, and the first thing that came to mind was the lack of hazelnut flavoring. I can't say that it wasn't good, but it could have been a lot better if there was a little more hazelnut to give it that aroma and the flavor.


This slice spells death. Death to one's resolve to stay away from the calories and the sin of consuming the whole slice alone.

Death by Tablea, a chocolate cake with bittersweet icing made with native cacao and condensed milk. It was pure heaven! I had about three bites of this sinful slice and I fell in love with it. My new friend though had a different opinion. He said that it could be better if there was more tablea flavor to it. But in my opinion, if the bakers put more tablea, it would be quite bitter and difficult to swallow.

Not in the photo, Bailey's chocolate cake, Php65/slice. Classic chocolate cake soaked in Bailey's Cream liquer, topped with sprinkles. This was another slice to die for. Soft, moist, not too sweet, devilishly delicious and great on the palate. It satisfied my craving for my share of chocolate fix!


All of us had a mug of hot chocolate to go with our cakes. If you're asking if it was good, YES it was! It was made from tablea and if you don't stir it from time to time, you would lose the richness and thickness of the chocolate, because it will settle to the bottom of the mug. Did it go well with my cheesecake? I was surprised that it did justice to the slice that I ate.


Oh and before I forget, when we got there, I immediately rushed to the counter to order half a box of that sweet, but with the right amount of sour lemon taste lemon bars. I took it home as my "pasalubong" or my take home gift for hubby.

The reason for these cakes being so good is that the establishment only bakes a limited amount of cakes everyday. If you need a large or customized order of their cakes, please get in touch with them three (3) days in advance. During the holidays, please contact them seven (7) days in advance. And if you want specialty cakes, please check with a specific branch if they have it on stock, you may need to pre-order the specialty cake of your choice in some of their branches.

To get in touch with them:

Chocolat
Website: www.chocolatecakes.multiply.com

With branches at

Xavierville Avenue
Llanar Bldg., #77 Xavierville Avenue cor B. Gonzales Street, Quezon City
Tel. #: 9289304

San Juan
#205 P. Burgos cor A. Mabini Addition Hills, San Juan
Tel. #: 7260330

SM Mall Of Asia
G/F North Parking Bldg. Pasay City
Tel. #: 5560188

Sgt. Esguerra
1st Floor Courtyard Bldg.,
#26 Sgt. Esguerra Avenue, Quezon City
Tel. #: 9237584



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.




05 February 2011

Pot-Pot a childhood memory


Photobucket
from: http://allianceonline.co.uk/

*When I was a child, it wasn't french fries inside this cone, it was those cheap cheese curls from street vendors...


I remember when I was a child, I would always hang out by the terrace of my grandmother's house. Patiently, I waited for the "potpot man" to arrive. I guess, the reason they called these cheese curls "potpot" is because of the horn that the vendor used those days. They made a funny sound that's similar to "potpot".

The men who sold these cheese curls would most often than not ask for broken plastic items in exchange for a small paper cone of potpot, or if you don't have any, they would sell them for about Php1.00. The cones that they used were made from old newspapers or torn pages of old telephone directories.

I don't see any of the old potpot vendors anymore and even if I do, I would probably be wondering now if these cheese curls are actually safe to eat. But then again, I'm here, aren't I?

My first post for

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03 February 2011

Baked Nachos

January 25th, hubby requested that I make something Mexican for our anniversary lunch and dinner.

For lunch, I made some soft tacos and chunky tomato salsa (The recipe for the chicken filling and the salsa can be found HERE) and for dinner, it was a couple of servings of baked nachos.


I make nachos at times, but this is the first time I "baked" them. I was inspired by the nachos that my friend's brother made when I attended the pre-valentine party last year.

What you'll need

1 250g box of nacho or taco chips
1/4 kilo of lean ground pork (ground beef or chicken will be fine as well)
5 cloves of minced garlic
1 medium onion finely chopped
1 small pouch of tomato sauce
2 teaspoons of basil
1 teaspoon of powdered cayenne pepper or 2 pcs. finely chopped fresh cayenne pepper (Add more if you want it fiery hot. I personally use 2 and half teaspoons of cayenne pepper powder or 3 to 5 pieces of the fresh ones)
1/2 block of grated cheese
1 tablespoon of olive oi
salt and pepper to taste

To prepare

1. Saute garlic and onions in a pan with olive oil.
2. After the onion has caramelized (turned clear) add the meat.
3. Once the meat is cooked, season it with cayenne powder, basil, salt and pepper.
4. Add the tomato sauce and simmer on low heat for three minutes.

5. Arrange nachos on a baking pan (I used the flat "baking" pan of the oven toaster), put some meat sauce and top it with the grated cheese.

6. You don't need an oven to make this, just put the pan in a pre-heated oven toaster, "bake" for 3 minutes.


7. Serve with the chunky salsa 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.


Kangaroo Jack (now closed)

We have been passing by this establishment for quite a few months now and hubby and I found it quite interesting.

Last January 23rd, after a whole day's photowalk for me and a game for hubby, we felt so tired that we decided to eat out instead of preparing something at home. And there it was, Kangaroo Jack.

When we got inside the restaurant, we immediately noticed that there was a platform, or a mini-stage for a band. I think the restaurant provides live entertainment during dinner hours to their patrons. On the ceiling, there were huge boomerang hanging, which obstructed the lights a little. Inside, the place was cozy, but lacked good lighting.

After we read the menu, we called in one of the staff and placed our orders.

For starters:

The serving was quite small and the taste was just okay. The dip tasted like those pre-made, pre-packed Honey-Mustard dips. It tasted fine, but not something that would make you say, WOW!

Our main meal


This was hubby's food. The gravy was not too thick, it was just right. The steak was not gummy and it smelled good. As we all know, beef can sometimes smell a little, but this one had a pleasant odor to it. It was tender, not gummy. You don't need to fight tooth and nail just to bite into it. The taste was ordinary, but it was well prepared.


The fish was delicious, but it lacked on butter and lemon. However, one can't complain about the way it was cooked. It was tender and juicy, most of all, it wasn't oily. Save the heart!
Both dishes were served with a little bit of vegetables, i.e. slice of corn on a cob, some carrots and a slice or two of string beans. Don't be disappointed with the taste of the vegetables, they looked steamed, instead of the usual buttered veggies.

We weren't in a hurry so we decided to have some dessert.

Your eyes are not deceiving you and there's no conspiracy between my camera's settings, sensors, LCD, Photoshop 7 and the lights of the restaurant. Yes, you are seeing something red drizzled on the crepe, which was mango by the way.

The filling was mostly at the center, so the spread ends were empty. The drizzle was mainly for color, as I did not taste anything from it. But the ice cream and the cold crepe really made our day. It was refreshing. The slices of mango inside were fresh and they were not too ripe nor were they a little raw. It was sweet! The crepe didn't have any additional sugar to it, so one can taste the mango slices without the grainy sugar feel. The vanilla ice cream only gave it the proverbial "cherry on top".

Overall, Kangaroo Jack may not have served the best tasting meals that I have tasted, but it was definitely worth it.

If you are on a budget and you want to take your date to a restaurant instead of the usual fastfood joint, I recommend Kangaroo Jack. For what we ate, we only spent less than Php700.00 (roughly $12.00) and we had a complete meal, from starters to dessert, plus two glasses of iced tea.

Kangaroo Jack
008 Araneta Coliseum
Araneta Center, Cubao, Quezon City
Telephone Number: 406.9916

(Landmarks would be: Near Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, beside Mang Inasal, fronting Farmer's Plaza)

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.