Archive

Manila Eating

So how embarrassing is this. This post has been in my drafts folder since July. But better late than never right?? This is yet another Greenbelt Series post, please read my first one on Mr. Jones if you haven’t yet. So…Bizu. This establishment has been around for quite sometime now. And I can say it holds a special place in my heart. It catered the food during my 18th birthday. It was the place Frank and I would go to after school on some afternoons when our cousin still worked at the original Greenbelt 2 street side spot. And just a lot more memories, too many to share but one thing in common from all of them: the food.. always delicious.

A two separate occasion post once again.

    1. the three musketeers brunch with Holly: trying new things at Bizu

Bizu’s menu looked more diversified from what I remember comparing it to the last time I was there (and the last time was probably back in high school before I left for the states..). Too many interesting things caught my attention. Here’s a run down of the things we ordered, all of which were new to us, or dishes we’ve never ordered before. We were excited!


Soup: Classic French Onion Soup- Red onions, beef stock, croutons, gratinated emmenthal and gruyere= very straightforward, clean flavorful onion consomme which is normally hard to achieve, props to Bizu for mastering this.

Appetizer: Three Dips & Baguettini- Mushroom duxelle, spinach and cheese, chorizo, and tomato rosemary, mornay sauce, melba toast= my favorite would have to be the chorizo and tomato which offered more of a complex combination of flavors.

THE BRUNCH DISHES:

“Brunch” dish 1: Braised Lamb Shanks in Red Wine Jus
Slow-cooked braised lamb shank, red wine sauce, whole roasted garlic, mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables
= The lamb was fall off the bone tender while the mashed potatoes were creamy yet not too cloying.

Brunch dish 2: Eggs Florentine
Farmer’s ham, two poached eggs, blanched organic spinach, fresh muffin, hollandaise sauce
= I always focus on the hollandaise sauce for Eggs Benedict and this did not disappoint. Some sauces tend to be too thick almost to the consistency of bechamel, this one was just right!

Brunch dish 3: Breakfast Croque
Smoked bacon, blanched asparagus, gratinated gruyere, two sunny-side up eggs, sourdough bread
= pretty light breakfast dish.. would have preferred some type of sauce on it though 😉

Brunch dish 4: Smoked Salmon Crepe
Smoked salmon, shallots, sunny side up egg, grated mozzarella, dill, mesclun, lemon vinaigrette
= lemon vinaigrette was a great touch to bring the whole dish together, the citrus flavor was just what the salmon needed to complement the eggs and crepe itself.

    2. lunch with ladies of the family: ordering the classics

Right after my brother’s wedding, a get together was in order for the ladies of the family, in attendance: my cousin who was on holiday from Australia, cousin-in-law, my sister-in-law and me. My cousin used to work at Bizu and we were both on a reminiscing vibe that day that we ordered our usual favorites. P.S. Don’t you agree with me that my cousin-in-law, Steph is probably the sexiest pregnant woman you’ve seen?? She ate almost everything from that lunch! This post is so delayed she already gave birth last month.. 😀

Salad: Waldorf Salad- Mesclun, grilled chicken slices, apple, orange, mango, grapes, toasted walnuts, celery, shaved parmesan, honey orange yogurt dressing= everyone should know what a Waldorf Salad is. I actually had my very first one here in Bizu and it still hasn’t changed- the combination of the fruits in vegetables in this dish is balanced with the chicken. And that dressing… Definitely an awesome default salad dish!

Chicken: Cordon Bleu on Mushroom Carbonara- Roulade of chicken, forest ham, mozzarella, wild mushroom carbonara= this was the usual after school snack I shared with Frank. Grew up loving this carbonara since its mushroom flavor really shines through in this dish. And the real star of this dish, the cordon bleu, a tricky dish to prepare is done perfectly here in Bizu.

Rice: Mushroom Ragout- Mushroom ragout, rice pilaf, bechamel, gratinated mozzarella= hmmm probably the only dish I was disappointed in since this one lacked flavor and it was a little dry for my taste. There was no individual photo for this but you can see it in one of the pictures in the collage 🙂

Dessert: Macarons- Pistachio, Mango and Chocolate PLUS Pain Perdu with Maple Syrup and Vanilla Ice Cream= The chocolate macarons from Bizu are my favorite! The chocolate ganache is chocolate heaven in bite size form. Perfect chewy texture and never crumbles apart unlike some that have failed to reach this high level of macaron delicious standards. And the Pain Perdu! What a discovery! This was a free dessert given to my cousin by her friends at Bizu. Oh my, I was full and ready to pop but as soon as I took a bite of that Pain Perdu, I was glad I did. The fluffiest French toast I have ever tasted. YUM.

Bizu Patisserie & Bistro
G/F Greenbelt 2, Esperanza St., Ayala Center
Makati City, Metro Manila
Philippines
(02) 757-2498

Advertisements

I’ve always wondered about Terry’s in Salcedo Village, Makati. I used to live on the same street on LP Leviste and would pass by the restaurant with their rather small sign barely being noticed by the public. The first time I was able to dine at the restaurant was earlier this year and was surprised to find out that they served Spanish food. Not knowing any background information, who would have thought that an establishment named “Terry’s” served Spanish food? But they do and they do quite a good job of it.

Reflecting on my first dining experience at Terry’s, I realized that I wasn’t really able to try their signature dishes. So I’m back with my fellow musketeers, my brother and Sam. I was expecting this culinary adventure trip to be an exciting one for us. I’ve also been curious about the gourmet items that they have for sale. If you go up to the very top level, they actually have a mini deli with more items such as truffle oils, Spanish almond cookies and olive oils. How convenient for their diners to know that their food must be made from the best quality ingredients such as those found in their store, huh?

On to their menu. As you can see, they have a wide range of selection for tapas and other Spanish influenced dishes. As my eyes wander up and down, examining the different items, I made a mental note to make sure to attempt to try as many of their appetizers as I possibly can. Maybe two or three each visit? Everything just sounded so heavenly. My curiosity started getting the best of me and I knew future visits were already on the horizon.

The orders.

Gambas al Ajillo– I always make sure to order this appetizer if offered. Such a classic Spanish tapas dish that one should never overlook.. One has got to see whether the balance of technique and tradition in terms of flavor is there. Garlic galore. This dish was light, thanks to the excellent quality of the olive oil.

Scallop and Prawn Croquettes– When I was younger, I had a phase where I was obsessed with croquettes. Those little balls of flavorful bechamel potato fritters always satisfied me. And now I see scallop and prawn in a croquette?? I just had to have it! Anndd.. was somewhat disappointed with the flavor. This was bland and lacked the seafood essence I was looking forward to. Oh well, I will try the other flavors next time!

Manchego Dumplings– Because I am a cheese lover. And definitely a Manchego cheese lover at that. This appetizer was a gift. And really they were. They looked like tiny little presents in their wonton pockets that I was almost too scared to cut open. But I put emphasis on the word ‘almost’ since of course, it didn’t take me long enough to dive in and relish the divine salty combination of the manchego cheese and salami.

Paella Negra– It wouldn’t be a complete Spanish cuisine experience without Paella. The musketeers and I always try to order Paella Negra. There is just something about the distinct flavor from the squid ink that makes the dish special. Terry’s version did not disappoint but it didn’t amaze us either. We would have preferred more flavor from the seafood and more paella crust from the bottom of the pan… every paella enthusiast should know what I’m talking about!

Super-Cochinillo Confit– *SIGH* literally, I sighed just now.. thinking about this dish.. really, you are going to be left speechless with this dish. OK, everyone has to know this cochinillo is a WINNER. It is soo tender, it had just the right amount of crisp from the pork skin. The fat. The fat is even delicious. I have no words again. And that Muscobado syrup.. the whole dish was just ‘Super’, its name very fitting to its actual taste. Just go and order this!

Marquesa de Chocolate– Come dessert time, we weren’t really sure if we even wanted to order any given the quantity we just had for dinner. No regrets of ordering this even though we were ready to burst because there’s always room for chocolate. It is somewhat tricky to describe this dish because we didn’t really know what it was. It was basically like a frozen chocolate pudding. Really rich, really satisfying. Since it was frozen, it allowed for the dinner to end on a surprisingly refreshing note after such heaviness was consumed.

Terry’s Selection
G/F Lafayette Square, Salcedo Village
Makati City
(02) 889-3198

The saddest thing happened. I accidentally deleted pictures from my brother’s wedding reception. I promised a post on this where I’d share my thoughts on the food but I’m so sorry that this had to happen. Luckily, I was able to steal pictures of some of the food from my cousin. I will make sure to give him credit 🙂

Wedding reception food. It’s really not the type of food people look forward to eating. Just like airplane food. It’s one of those meals where you really have no choice but to eat what’s in front of you, especially if it’s a sit down dinner rather than a buffet. This time around, I actually had and made a choice. I was part of the menu tasting committee (yes, I made a committee name) that chose the dishes for the occasion.

The reception was held at the Sofitel. Just to give you a short version of how the tasting session went down: the couple gets sample menus, you choose 2-3 menu sets, schedule a tasting menu session with the manager/events coordinator of the hotel and choose. What I really liked about the whole system was the option to mix and match and suggest small variations of the dishes while still keeping the essence of the whole dish intact.

The menu.

Appetizer. New Asia Tuna Tartar, Yuzu dressing, crisp vegetables and Wakame cracker.- this dish reminds me of Japanese Tuna sashimi salad without the mayo. The tuna was fresh and the Yuzu dressing made the whole dish special, adding so much flavor to such a blank canvass.

Soup. Idaho potato and leek cappuccino. Shellfish and tomato dressing, feta walnut spring roll and basil oil.- I learned that a cappuccino soup basically is a cream based soup, usually with a frothy skin surface mimicking that of its coffee namesake. The basil oil was our suggestion during the tasting. It made such a huge difference, cutting through the creaminess of the soup with the sweetness from the basil.

The palate cleanser. Lemon and mint sorbet.- We were pretty disappointed with this one. We were so impressed with this palate cleanser during the tasting. At the reception though, the peppermint extract overpowered the whole sorbet that you can barely taste the lemon. If you don’t quite understand the picture, the sorbet is served on top of a bowl of dry ice to keep it from melting too quickly.

Main 1. Pan Seared Chilean Seabass, chive sauce with “Aglio-Olio”.- Seabass was cooked perfectly, leaving the fish flaky and juicy, allowing the natural richness of the fish to shine. The chive sauce was great addition and the aglio-olio pasta complemented the fish well.

Main 2. Peppered chicken fillet, red wine jus, potato gratin, vegetable bundle.- we were worried about this one since it’s usually the chicken or steak dishes that are easily ruined. Fortunately, this came out so juicy and tender. My favorite component of this dish: the potato gratin. Oh sweet heaven. This potato gratin, layers of thinly sliced potatoes, cream and cheese. Delicious.

Dessert. Fresh mango cheesecake with Greek yogurt ice cream and pistachio nuts.- this was a winner at the tasting and it still was at the actual reception. This cheesecake wasn’t too heavy. Sometimes I do prefer a rich cheesecake, compact with creamy cream cheese goodness. But this time around, with a heavy meal served, a dessert on the lighter side was just perfect.

Well, that was dinner! Sorry again to disappoint you as I lack the pictures to go with these descriptions. I hope people planning a wedding to be held at the Sofitel find this post helpful though. Just a reminder, quality is always variable from the time of tasting to the reception. Understand that quality is sometimes sacrificed to serve all the guests at each event. For my brother’s wedding, we had 800 guests. Considering that amount of people, I still think the overall dinner service was successful.

P.S. Don’t think I forgot to share my update on my weight loss journey of fitting into my bridesmaid dress. I’ve attached my brother’s wedding video here so you can go look for me. I think aside from dinner, I was pretty successful, too. 🙂 And thanks to my cousin Marc Lee for the pictures!

Congrats to my brother and sis-in-law! As my dad said at the reception, obviously intoxicated, time to make babies and he wants 8 of them! Good luck! 😀

INTRODUCING: The Greenbelt Series. I decided to start a series of posts dedicated to restaurants in Greenbelt since I frequent the establishments of this shopping complex. I live literally 5 minutes away, which makes it an automatic go-to spot for meet-ups with friends. If you are unfamiliar with Greenbelt, it is one of the Ayala Malls located in Makati City. It has come a long way, branching out to 5 different Greenbelt zones but all in one convenient area.

So to start off the series, I’ll be writing about Mr. Jones in Greenbelt 5. I was still studying in the states when I saw pictures of the restaurant on Facebook. The decor was very suggestive of what type of food could be served. It gave off a classic American diner feel which was reinforced by the mention of milkshakes as part of the menu. After having tried the restaurant several times, I was asked to describe the food and I knew I was ready to answer. It was classic American diner food with a Euro/Tex-Mex twist, basically taking comfort food to a higher level.

As I mentioned before, my friend Holly is a consistent eating partner of mine. No matter how much we love eating, we cannot order too much food just for me to have several dishes to write a post about. So then I decided that some posts are going to have to discuss more than one visit per restaurant. Find their menu here and more descriptions here.

Mr. Jones dinner with Holly:

Old Fashioned Grilled Cheese and Alphabet Tomato Soup– reminded me of my college days when the dining halls served this combo on Thursdays. Cheese could have had a sharper flavor, would have wanted it more melty and gooey. Soup was delicious though!

Wicked Truffled Mac n’ Cheese– I’ve actually had this a couple of times before. It’s not the best mac n’ cheese I’ve had but it’ll solve any cheesy craving you have. The truffle flavor is also pretty subtle that it doesn’t overpower the whole dish.

Mr. Jones brunch with the three musketeers (please get on with the lingo):

Tater Tots 3000 to the Max– so this was supposed to be 3 kind of stuffed tater tots and sadly, they all somewhat tasted the same. These were lacking in flavor but the different dips that was served with these came to the rescue.

Even Better “Yankee” Pot Roast– this was surprisingly good. Surprised why? Pot roast can easily end up dry with no flavor. But this was an exception since this pot roast was so tender. The potato puree had really good consistency, fine and light, the way it should be.

U.S. Beef Ribcap “Tapa and Garlic Overload”– probably one of the best beef tapas out there. Only complaint we had during this particular visit though- eggs were cooked well done when we all know all ‘silogs’ should come with over-easy eggs. (Well ok, most of the time and based on preference)

Chocolate Marshmallow Shake and Strawberry Shake– personally cannot complain much about milkshakes. Although the chocolate one could have been more chocolatey but it was still really good.

Mr. Jones
1/Lvl. Greenbelt 5, Legaspi St.
Makati City, Metro Manila
Philippines
(02) 501-3111

Why hello there people! Sorry I haven’t been posting anything for the past three weeks or so. It was the brother’s wedding two weeks ago and boy was it a crazy and stressful time for the family! I’ll make sure to post about the event and the food sometime soon. So here I am again, back on blogging mode. This is one of several Manila Eating posts lined up in my drafts folder and I figured now’s the time to publish this.

Another dinner with friends. Va Bene Pasta Deli. Where exactly? Well, it’s on the second floor of a Petron station complex. Pretty strange location don’t you think? Yes. The food though.. not strange at all but delicious. Yes delicious indeed. 🙂

THE MENU. I got to scan this flier they had at the restaurant because they do deliver. Click on the picture to enlarge. More info about them here.

THE ORDERS.

Stuffed Portobello with spinache, gruyere cheese and mixed lettuce: a good version compared to the usual style made with oregano stuffing which tends to overpower the natural flavor of the portobello mushroom.

Toscana soup with pancetta, maltagliati pasta and basil pesto: slightly on the saltier side maybe caused by the pancetta but still an overall good summery soup or perfect for a rainy day. The basil pesto was a nice touch that broke through the flavors of the tomato soup base.

Buffalo Mozzarella with tomatoes, capers, anchovies and mixed lettuce in balsamic reduction: the mozzarella cheese was fresh tasting and creamy delicious! It just melts in your mouth… The balsamic reduction brought the whole dish together and added so much flavor.

Organic Eggs Tagliolini with Portobello mushroom, white wine cream sauce and truffle oil: can’t really complain about this dish. For one, it has truffle oil and I’m a sucker for the stuff. The bite of the fresh pasta was just what I was expecting. The white wine cream sauce was on the lighter side, which I was happy about since some cream sauces tend to cross the line towards becoming the consistency of bechamel 😦

Rolled Spinach Canelloni with smoked ham and light tomato cream sauce: this was such a treat. The dish is baked which gives the top a wonderful cheesy crust which contrasted well with the creaminess from the sauce and spinach filled canelloni.

Prawn Capellacci in prawn bisque, fresh tomatoes and basil: if you’re into raviolis then you are going to appreciate this capellacci. What I love about filled pastas is that you just know you’re in for a surprise. And this one was certainly pleasant.. distinct prawn flavor inside the pasta as well as in the prawn bisque sauce. The basil puree/oil drizzled around the plate definitely had a purpose of breaking through the one note seafood flavor.

And there you go. Our dining experience at Va Bene. The place is quite small so reservations are highly recommended. Come earlier since everything is made fresh, most dishes might be gone later during the night.. We learned that the hard way when we were saddened by the news that they were out of pizzas for the night. That and probably the slow service were our only disappointments. So I guess we will have to go back for that pizza! 🙂

Va Bene Pasta Deli
2nd Floor, Petron Gas Station, Edsa Corner Pasay Road,
Dasmarinas, Makati City
(Across Dusit Hotel, Edsa side)
5569442 or 09173456869

I love peanut butter. Funny thing though, I used to hate it. I wasn’t a big fan of nuts at all when I was little. I hated them mixed with other things. On ice cream, brownies, other desserts. Ick. It wasn’t until freshman year of college that I learned to appreciate the peanut.. through peanut butter. I ate it almost everyday- pb&j’s, plain pb on white bread, on apples.. Yeah, now I think I know how I gained the “freshman 15” (more like 30..) When I started baking again after moving into my apartment, I started baking with nuts. Pecans. Walnuts. Almonds. Peanuts. From then on, my life changed. I was a nut in love.

I’m sure you remember my friend from Holly from my first baking with friends post.. Well she and I eat out a lot together. She’s the easiest to get together with since we live in the same city. “Holly, pick me up, I’m hungry..” She will be at my condo’s lobby in 10 minutes.. that is if she’s ready to go, maybe in an hour (or two) if she’s not. So when Holly found out about this place Peanut Butter Co. that serves unusually creative peanut butter sandwiches, we were sold. However, it took maybe a couple of months until we finally got to try the place. We thought their only branch was at SM North Edsa and well, we live in Makati, so it was going to be a pretty far drive. But through some miracle of a grapevine, we discovered that there was a branch at Paseo Center. After such great discovery, the next weekend I was back in Manila, we decided to have our late lunch there.

I was really excited to try this place out since it reminded me of a very similar establishment in New York, coincidentally named Peanut Butter & Co. (note the very slight difference in name). I’ve never been to the place but I’ve seen it featured on tv as well as have tasted their dark chocolate peanut butter that my roommate bought once. So now I was curious as to how similar this local peanut butter place is to the New York counterpart.

The menu. The sandwiches are divided into categories of “All-Time Favorites”, “Hot Sandwiches” and “Sweet Sandwiches”. I believe the link doesn’t show the comprehensive menu they have at their branches. There are a lot more sandwiches on their menu aside from the ones available through the link. Aside from their sandwiches, pastas and other snacks incorporating peanut butter were also offered. Our Awesome Planet provides a much more detailed picture of the menu as well as reviews on the other items. So with all this variety.. which ones to choose?? Holly said she was hungry and wanted to share three sandwiches. I was starving myself, so why not!

It was more economical to order whole sandwiches than halves of each kind so we had to choose wisely and agree on them. We thought we were smart to order from each category- the Elvis (an All-Time Favorite), the Sesame Fish Fry Sandwich (a Hot Sandwich) and the Marshmallow Peanut Butter Sandwich (a Sweet Sandwich). Holly was tempted to order wings.. she’s addicted to chicken wings! But I had to remind her that we already had three sandwiches and that if anything, the specialty should be exactly that, the sandwiches. We can try the other crazy dishes some other time!

We really thought the food wouldn’t be enough when they were served at our table. This is it?? We were soo hungry, we didn’t know if the sandwiches would fill us up. But they did. Oh yeah, they did. These sandwiches were made with huge slices of white bread and we should’ve figured that peanut butter would be heavy. We didn’t even finish a whole one of each. I think we only ate half of each sandwich.

The Elvis was probably the most filling since there were bananas and bacon in the sandwich. I would have preferred the bacon crispier and slightly sweeter.. maybe candied bacon would have worked well in this sandwich that would have given a better contrast against the natural saltiness of the peanut butter.

The Sesame Fish Fry was such a delightful surprise because I would never have expected such an odd combination to taste so well together. The fish was fried to perfection which I was worried it would be soggy, but I’m glad it was deliciously crispy! The sesame peanut butter used in the sandwich was a great touch since other flavors of peanut butter might be too overpowering for the fish.

The Marshmallow Peanut Butter was quite a disappointment. I love marshmallow fluff. And I guess I was expecting more flavor from this sandwich since I knew that it would be a challenge. Since marshmallow has a very distinct simple sweet flavor on its own, there’s always an opportunity to play around with it. I would have wanted layers of flavor.. maybe more of a vanilla flavor from the marshmallow which would in turn make the peanut taste stand out more.

Overall, there’s no question that these sandwiches are imaginative in concept. However, flavor wise, I think the peanut butter flavor could be stronger. My other friends have given me rave reviews regarding their other dishes such as their pastas. I’m pretty sure Holly and I will be back to try those sometime.. The store was similar to its New York city counterpart in that they sell all their flavored peanut butters. I was tempted to buy a jar but realized I probably should try their dishes first and see if I like them.

THE THREE MUSKETEERS. Or Pigs? Who are we? Well this foodie group consists of me, my younger brother and his girlfriend Sambie. We eat together. A LOT. Since my brother’s still studying in the U.S., he craves for all sorts of food whenever he’s back. So Sambie and I gain a few (ok, more than a few) pounds when he’s here since we eat out to satisfy those cravings he’s been having while abroad.

This dinner was actually a while back.. Hmm.. I’d say around July 2010? I thought I’d blog about this just in case a lot of you haven’t tried Goose Station and was wondering how my experience was. First, the menus. There were the 5-course Express and the 10-course Full Degustation menus. Since we wanted to feel a little healthier about dinner, we opted for the Express menu.

OVERALL: food was great. No real violent complaints. The 5 course menu was well worth the money for the quality of the food and concept. Here are some of the pictures of the most memorable dishes we had:


Eggs Benedict: was definitely good with the truffle oil, but somehow became too overwhelming


The 24-hour steak: did taste like it had been cooking for 24 hours since it was very tender and moist, though with the P950 supplement charge.. we just weren’t sure the size was well worth the money.


My order: the lamb ribs with gnocchi. We thought this was probably one of the better dishes of the night, taste and quantity wise. Was very satisfied with this dish. The lamb was tender and the gnocchi pasta was cooked perfectly.


And on to the DESSERT: the best one, we all agreed, was mine again 🙂 It was the brioche bread pudding with bits of bacon. This actually came with a chocolate sorbet that was also sprinkled lovingly with some more bacon bits then drizzled with some maple syrup:

Other comments: the place is quite small so reservations are highly recommended. It was purposely styled not to be an intimidating place to eat at and that I think they pulled that off quite well considering the food might be considered as so.

The Goose Station Signature Restaurant Inc.– Ground Floor, W Tower
39th St., Fort Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, Philippines
Telephone: +632 556 9068

%d bloggers like this: