Sunday, September 30, 2012

Yabu (The House of Katsu)

Place: Nice modern furnishings, sexy lighting, fun comic strip decor.  Just gets a little cramped and noisy during lunch time.

Food: Ordinary.  We ordered different Katsu sets: the Chicken Special (Php 330), Salmon (Php 435), and their bestseller and high-end dish, the Kurobuta Katsu (Php 515).  We also had an Original Katsudon Set: Rosu Katsudon (Php 315).  Each came with a bowl of miso soup, a cup of rice, a generous serving of shredded cabbage, a bowl of fruit (watermelon), and a small serving of pickled cucumber.  We had the house tea for drinks.

The miso soup was good, very hearty and flavorful.  The rice was well-cooked and of high quality.  The shredded cabbage was fresh; one can eat it with either of two dressings: Shoyu (soy-based vinaigrette with a hint of sesame flavor) and Goma (sesame flavored mayonnaise).  Both were delicious and nutty.

The pickled cucumbers were yummy and not too acidic.  The watermelon slices were delicious, refreshing, and, best of all, seedless.

The house tea had good rice flavor, very earthy.

As for the meat items, well, they were all fried perfectly and were firm.  The batter was light and didn't overly covered the meat.  The taste?  The chicken was juicy and well-seasoned.  The salmon was perfect; it was fresh, buttery, and not too fishy.  The Kurobuta (pork from the Berkshire pig, allegedly the world's finest) was juicy, had a pink color (compared to ordinary pork), and had a slightly sweet taste.

The Rosu Katsudon had a well-fried piece of pork that was well-seasoned and juicy.  The sauce though had an unpunctuated taste, leaving us a little unsatisfied. More mirin, perhaps?

At Yabu, one is given a small bowl of sesame seeds that is ground and mixed with katsudon sauce.  This concoction will serve as the dip for the meat items.  It's a tad too tart, but the sesame seeds added a layer of depth and earthiness.

The dishes weren't not bad.  It's just that they're ordinary and forgettable, making their prices unreasonable.  We've eaten good katsu dishes at much lower prices.

Must-eats: Salmon Katsu

Price: Considering serving size and taste, prices are a bit unreasonable.

Service: Our server, Jun, was very knowledgeable about the dishes and friendly (but not familiar).  Waiting time though exceeded the acceptable 15 minutes.

Yabu (The House of Katsu) is on the ground floor of Robinsons Magnolia.

Friday, September 28, 2012

KFC Koffee Krushers

KFC presents a new set for its refreshing line of drinks: the Koffee Krushers, specifically the Tiramisu and Coffee Jelly Krushers.

Both drinks are made of a creamy, vanilla-ice-cream-tasting base, then coffee syrup, then specific add-ons (Graham cracker bits and cheesecake powder for Tiramisu and coffee jelly for, well, Coffee Jelly). 

The new drinks have authentic flavors and are delicious.  The Tiramisu really tastes like the famous dessert, just a tad too sweet.  We love that Graham cracker bits though for the added layers of taste and texture.  The cheesecake taste complements the coffee syrup well.

The Coffee Jelly is more bitter, has a deeper flavor.  The coffee jelly cubes are chewy and had hints of arnibal (the one used for taho).  This variant is really good, a nice alternative to those expensive cold coffee drinks sold at classy coffee shops.

An order of a Koffee Krusher costs (Php 65).  Try it.   

Dole Dried Mango

Craving for mangoes but the fruit is not in season?  Or are you simply looking for healthier snack alternatives?  Well, try Dole!

These dried mangoes are soft, sweet, and DELICIOUS!  And no artificial aftertaste.

Dole's Dried Mango is probably the best one out there.  

Try it!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Uncle Cheffy

Place: Clean, good rustic furnishing.  A little too bright though, with the glass walls and al fresco location.

Food: Delicious.  We had the Uncle Cheffy Salad, Spaghetti Alejandro, Tiuey Noodles, the All Meat BBQ Panizza, and Dalandan juice.

The Uncle Cheffy Salad (Php 230) had fresh crisp lettuce, fried potatoes, crispy pork belly, topped with alfalfa, smothered with a dijonaise dressing.  It's good, flavorful.  The dressing just had the right tanginess and didn't overpower the whole salad.  The best part of the salad was the pork belly: well-seasoned, perfectly fried. Especially the skin! Yummy!  The salad is perfect for a satisfying lunch; one has meat, veggies, and carbs all in one dish. All bases covered.

Next, the Spaghetti Alejandro (Php 130): spaghetti noodles with tomato sauce, chorizo, pimiento, and Edam cheese.  Noodles were cooked al dente and the chorizo was delicious and not too sharp. The sauce has an unpunctuated, slightly tart taste. This dish is surely not for those who want some sweetness in their pasta because there is no hint of that here.  

The Tiuey Noodles (Php 120) had flat noodles, tender cubes of beef, shiitake mushrooms, and cilantro confetti, all covered with a savory sauce.  Now this one's a winner!  What we loved was how the strong cilantro flavor was tempered by and incorporated into the sauce; it's really good!  And to think we HATE cilantro.  The beef was almost buttery and was well-seasoned, and the mushrooms added some earthiness and depth to the dish.  YUM!

Lastly, the All Meat BBQ Panizza (Php 235).  Flatbread with lots of cheese, pork and chicken barbecue, beef teriyaki, onions, and a hint of basil.  DELICIOUS!  It had a good combination of sweet and salty.  What's unique about Uncle Cheffy's pizza, or panizza, is that one can put salsa, arugula, and alfalfa on it and roll it.  Kinda like pizza spring roll. =)  Unique, delicious, and fun, just how good pizza should be.

As for our drink, the Dalandan Juice (Php 70), it's really good; it had authentic, fruity flavors, and wasn't sugary sweet. Refreshing!

Other Uncle Cheffy dishes we've tried: Seafood Lovers Panizza (delicious and not a hint of strong fishy flavors; it wasn't malansa), East meets West Panizza (good marriage of sweet from mangoes, salty from salted eggs and cheese, and savory from Parma ham and salami), Barbecued Tuna Belly (fresh, well-cooked tuna, over creamy rice), Memphis Barbeque U.S. Beef Rib Finger (tender, tender, tender well-marinated meat, with salad and YUMMY marble potatoes) and Asian Fried Rice (very strong garlic flavor).

Must-eats: all the Panizzas mentioned, Tiuey Noodles, Uncle Cheffy Salad

Price: Considering taste, quality, and serving size, food is a tad pricey.

Service: Needs a little improvement.  Some of the waiters were inattentive and a bit lost.

Uncle Cheffy is on the 2nd floor, al fresco, of Robinsons Magnolia.

Monday, September 24, 2012

A trip down memory lane: the Magnolia Flavor House

So we were at Robinsons Magnolia yesterday and we were so excited to see the Magnolia Flavor House. Still standing!  You see, the last time we had desserts inside this cute ice cream house/diner was in the early 90s.  So we could hardly contain our giddiness as we approached the place.

As soon as we got seats (the place was packed!), we ordered the classics, the Banana Split and the Peach Melba (both Php 240).

The Banana Split had three scoops of creamy Magnolia ice cream (chocolate, mango, and strawberry), chocolate-covered bananas, topped with whipped cream, chopped walnuts, marshmallows, chocolate syrup, and, of course, a cherry.  All this goodness was sitting on top of choco flakes.  Absolutely delicious!  And the play of textures made the whole thing fun to eat.  Plus, one spoonful made us 6-year-olds again. *SIGH*

The Peach Melba had three scoops of ice cream (mango, strawberry, and vanilla), sliced peaches, caramel sauce, whipped cream, chopped walnuts, and, of course, a cherry.  Just like the first dessert, this one was delicious.  The sweetness was just right (the caramel was really good).  And yes, a spoonful turned us into kids again.

Another thing we loved was the decor of the place: fun colors, cute furnishings, and the diner ambiance. *SIGH* Memories...

The Magnolia Flavor House also offers classic diner fare: burger and fries, baked mac, etc.

The Magnolia Flavor House is beside Robinsons Magnolia, along Aurora Blvd., Quezon City.


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Starbucks Salted Caramel Mocha

Starbucks offers a new drink: the Salted Caramel Mocha.

Imagine: the sweet, slightly burnt taste of caramel and the deep flavors of mocha married with salt.  Really yummy!  The salt brings out the flavors of the drink; it's like good ice cream in a cup.

Just a tip: just keep stirring because the salt settles at the bottom of the cup.

Try it.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Lucky Me Curly Spaghetti Korean Style

It's instant spaghetti noodles with Bi Bim Myun flavors.

First off, we have to mention that the noodles are good and firm, they're of high quality.  As for the taste, well, for those who like their instant noodles hot and a little pungent, this one's for you.  As for us, we tasted bagoong (shrimp paste) and we didn't like it.

Although we appreciate the effort of Lucky Me to serve a manifold set of instant noodles, we won't grab this variant again.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A word on Conti's

So Conti's has been around for a long time but we haven't had a chance to drop by a branch and dine. Until earlier. We visited the Katipunan extension branch, found parking space, and had lunch.

Place: Clean, modern, classy, and well lighted.

Food: Ordinary.

We ordered the Symphony Salad, Chicken Roulade with Saffron Mushroom Risotto, Chicken Teriyaki, Conti's Baked Salmon, Salmon Salpicao, and Callos. For dessert, we had the Viennese Mocha Torte and the Tiramisu Cheesecake.

The Symphony Salad (Php 195) had salad greens, diced apples and tomatoes, and sliced grapes, all smothered with a reddish vinaigrette. It was OK; the ingredients were fresh and crisp and the dressing had the right tanginess. It was appetizing.

Next is the Chicken Roulade with Saffron Mushroom Risotto (Php 235, plus Php 30 if you want risotto). It's chicken with a spinach-cheese-caramelized-onions filling and gravy. The meat component of the dish was good; the chicken was juicy and well seasoned, and its filling had a good mixture of flavors. The gravy had good consistency but had hints of flour taste. Now the risotto, or what should've been risotto: the rice was flavorful and delicious. The thing is, it wasn't risotto. It was fried rice. Deception much? And to think we paid an extra Php 30 for it. Tsk tsk...

Now, the Chicken Teriyaki (Php 195). The fried rice was good, so were the sautéed vegetables. As for the chicken, well, the liquor flavor was a tad too strong; it overpowered the other tastes of the sauce. Well, at least the meat was tender.

Conti's Baked Salmon (Php 355) had a big slice of Norwegian salmon with a cheesy crust and a serving of paella rice. This one was a bit of a let-down. The crust was delicious, but the salmon's fishy taste was a little too strong. And the paella rice? It tasted like rice with cheap spaghetti sauce.

The Salmon Salpicao (315) was OK. The fish cubes were well-marinated, fresh, delicious. And this confused us a bit because how come the salmon for this dish was good and the one for the Baked Salmon wasn't? Consistency, please.

The Callos (Php 235) was OK. The tripe was tender and the sauce was flavorful; tasted like the dish was simmering all day.

As for the dessert, the Viennese Mocha Torte (Php 95) was O-K. The mocha component was delicious, but the chocolate cake and meringue parts were ordinary, a little boring. On the other hand, the Tiramisu Cheesecake (Php 95) was delicious. Every part was perfect, from the crust, to the cheesecake itself, to the coffee cream, the whipped cream, even the chocolate powder. Yummy!

Other Conti's treats we've tried before: Choco Overload Cake (gave us chocolate orgasm) Mango Bravo (ordinary, taste wise. And too much cream!), the Tuna and Chicken pies (delicious!), and the Cheese Puffs (Yum!).

Must-eats: Tiramisu Cheesecake, Tuna and Chicken pies, Cheese Puff, Choco Overload Cake.

Price: Considering food taste and serving size, prices are reasonable enough.

Service: Excellent. Waiters were attentive and friendly. And the 15-20 minute waiting time was observed.

Conti's Bakeshop & Restaurant is along Katipunan Ave., Brgy. Blue Ridge, Quezon City.

Pancit ni Mang Juan

Jack 'n Jill presents its line of instant noodles infused with local flavors: Pancit ni Mang Juan. It has three variants: Tinapa with Calamansi, Sweet & Spicy BBQ, and Adobo.

First off, the noodles are of good quality; they're firm and quite tasty. Second, the tastes of the different variants of Pancit ni Mang Juan are surprisingly authentic. The Tinapa with Calamansi has the right balance between the fishy and citrus flavors. The BBQ tastes like the ones sold on the street: sweet, smoky, with a little kick. The Adobo captures the essence of the classic Filipino dish: salty, a little sour, with hints of pepper and laurel. Really delicious!

Perfect partner: rice. Seriously. Carb on carbs. YUMMY!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

A word on Cha Time

We were in a mall one time and were looking for something refreshing to drink and something to munch on. So we stopped by Cha Time and had some tea and food. We ordered the Lychee Yogurt QQ for our drinks, and the Pepper Salt Chicken Chops and Annato Rice Pilaf for lunch.

The drink was good, delicious, and refreshing. The tartness was just right, and one could really taste the authentic lychee flavor. The slice of orange was a good addition, taste wise and visually. The tapioca balls (sago) were well cooked and had the right chewiness, so were the nata strips.

The Pepper Salt Chicken Chops were also good. Crispy, well seasoned, and juicy. It had hints of curry flavor that made the dish more interesting than the usual fried chicken. The Annato Rice Pilaf had a gorgeous yellow orange color that made it truly appetizing. It had the right blandness and subtle garlic flavor that complimented the chicken.

It wasn't our first time to visit Cha Time. We went to another branch months ago to try their yummy Pearl Milk Tea.

Cha Time is on the 2nd floor of SM City Marikina.