Saturday, June 28, 2014

First bite: Banana Chocolate Puff

We were in Mega Fashion Hall one afternoon and dropped by a new Starbucks branch. As we were sipping our coffee, the barista was giving away free samples of one of the coffee shop's latest sweet treats: the Banana Chocolate Puff.

It's light pastry filled with banana slices and chocolate sauce. Is it good? Hmmm, it's O-K. The pastry is fresh and delicious. The chocolate sauce needs more depth and bitter flavor. And the banana slices are a bit overripe and artificial-tasting (like plastic balloons, honestly).

A piece costs Php 75.

Try it and judge for yourself.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Triple O's

Place: Clean and well lighted. The decor though is a bit cheap. The music is a little too loud, but the playlist is nice.

Food: We ordered an Original with Cheese Combo and a plate of the 3 Cheese Pasta with Dippin' Chicken.

The Original with Cheese Combo (Php 430) features Triple O's pride, its Canadian burger, topped with tomatoes, lettuce, cheese sauce, and the Triple "O" Top Secret Sauce (another pride of the joint), nestling between "artisanal" soft buns. The sandwich is then topped with a slice of pickle. 

Is it good? Well, it doesn't taste bad, but its flavors are not mind-blowing. The [too] thin patty is meaty and tastes like the one from McDonalds. The cheese sauce is a tad too mild. The "top secret" sauce tastes similar to good quality ketchup. And the "artisanal" buns? Ordinary, just like ones used at McDonalds. The Chocolate Milkshake is a more expensive and watery version of Jollibee's fudge sundae. And the fries? Well, they're perfectly fried and salted, but nothing special about them, taste wise.

The 3 Cheese Pasta with Dippin' Chicken (Php 275): spaghetti with marinara, served with 2 pieces of fried chicken fillet that comes with a mustard dip. The pasta dish [allegedly] has 3 kinds of cheese: mozzarella, parmesan, and cheddar. We can only taste the cheddar. The marinara sauce is good though; it is not too sour. And we like its chunky texture. The spaghetti noodles are firm, but somehow, one can sense that they are not fresh.

The Dippin' Chicken is O-K; the chicken pieces are golden and well seasoned. The dip is not bad, although its taste is not unfamiliar; it's reminiscent of those mustard dips for fish fillets served at B-class buffet tables.

Price: Considering taste and serving size, food here is overpriced.

Service: Some of the crew members were not very knowledgeable about the food they serve. Also, the niceness of some of the staff members seemed to be a put-on.

Triple O's is at the SM Megamall Atrium. 

Pretzel Chicken Provolone

It's the latest sandwich treat from Wendy's.

A fried chicken fillet, topped with lettuce, tomato, and a big slice of provolone, smothered with honey-mustard sauce, then sandwiched (pun intended) between pretzel buns.

Is it good? Hmmm, it's O-K. The veggies are fresh and crisp. The chicken is light, well seasoned, and perfectly fried. The honey mustard sauce has a good mix of sweet and tangy. The pretzel bun is soft and has a hint of a lemony flavor. But the provolone is bland. We know that that kind of cheese has a mild smoky flavor, but the one in our sandwich tastes like nothing.

An order costs Php 135. Quite pricey for a sandwich.

Try it and judge for yourself.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Shake Shake Fries

McDonalds brings back its flavored french fries: the Shake Shake Fries!

There are 3 flavors: Three Cheese, Kickin' Ketchup, and BBQ.

The Three Cheese was salty and stinky. The BBQ had a weird anise flavor. The Kickin' Ketchup was delicious, with just the right amount of tang. Honestly though, it tasted like barbecue sauce, not ketchup.

By the way, be careful with pouring the flavor powder; a pack contains too much of the stuff.

A bag of Shake Shake Fries costs Php 60.

Try it and judge for yourself. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

First Bite: Bronuts

We were in SM Megamall one afternoon when we saw a little crowd in front of a stall. We decided to check what the “commotion” was all about. We realized that the people were flocking the corner of Bronuts, a food shop that sells croughnuts (the croissant-doughnut) hybrid.


Because of the samples Bronuts was giving away, we were able to try the Blueberries and Cream and Super Floss variants. We then bought a piece of the Cream Cheese and Bacon to bring home.

Were they good? Uhm, no. The bread itself was bland. The flavors were not authentic. From the tiny amount that we were able to taste (because there was barely any filling), the blueberry filling of the Blueberries and Cream was a tad too artificial, and the cream, a little too sugary.

The Super Floss was O-K. The pork shavings had enough meat flavor in them. The Cream Cheese and Bacon was a letdown. First, there was barely any bacon. Second, the cream was not cream cheese; it was sour cream, really sour cream. Finally, those brown bits on top tasted like nothing.

A piece of Bronut costs Php 110, whatever the flavor (if it has flavor).

Try it and judge for yourself.


It’s a new food hybrid from Café France.

It’s croissant and coffee, specifically croissant filled and topped with coffee. 

Is it good? Not really. The bread itself is bland. And the coffee component is not that remarkable; there is no deep, strong, bitter flavor. Only a subtle taste that is closer to mocha than coffee.

Also, the Croffee is difficult to eat. The bread is too hard, just like the “coffee” shell that tops it. One bite or slice creates a mess.

A piece costs Php 45.

Try it and judge for yourself.

Friday, June 20, 2014

L.A. Coffee

It's the latest caffeinated concoction from Kopiko

L.A. Coffee is allegedly Less Acidic than the usual 3-in-1 coffee mix, meaning it's less irritating to the stomach.

Is it good? Well, not really. The coffee flavor is too subtle because this variant packs a lot of sugar. The bitter taste is lost in the mix. No wonder L.A. Coffee is less acidic; it hardly has coffee in it! (Check the ingredients.)

We like the creaminess though...

Try it and judge for yourself. Or just skip this one...

Thursday, June 19, 2014

First Bite: Hanamaruken Ramen

Place: Small but not cramped. The place is also beautifully furnished; the decor is both modern and rustic. The music played in the resto is not loud and relaxing.

Food: The restaurant's main fare features ramen and rice toppings. So we ordered a bowl of Chasyu Ramen and a Happiness Rice Bowl. We also had a mug of Iced Green Tea.

The Chasyu Ramen (Php 280): noodles with braised pork belly slices, swimming in tonkotsu (pork bone broth) with shoyu (soy sauce). It's disappointing. The broth is not hearty and flavorful. Instead, it's salty. In fact, the only tasty component is the tender chasyu; the meat is juicy and sweet. The noodles are tad too soft for our liking, but they are not soggy.

The Happiness Rice Bowl (Php 250): rice topped with Hanamaruken's pride: dark, tender, slow-braised pork rib. Is it delicious? Well, it's just O-K. The ribs have too much garlic flavor! The pungency is overpowering the sweetness of the sauce. If it had the right balance, the dish would be a winner. Too bad it doesn't.

Our drink, the Iced Green Tea (Php 80): it's ice-cold matcha, authentic matcha. It's woodsy and nori-like.

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

Service: Waiters are efficient, friendly, and attentive.

Based on our first-visit experience, we wouldn't mind not coming back to this restaurant.

Hanamaruken Ramen is on the 2nd level of TriNoMa. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Strawberry Cheesecake Super Pop

A sweet snack from Taters y'all!

Popcorn covered with white cheddar and strawberry powders. Is it good? Yes. Delicious. The contrast between the saltiness of the cheese and the tart sweetness of the strawberry flavor gives this treat a punctuated and satisfying taste. The name of the snack is misleading though because a good mix of cheese and strawberry does not a strawberry cheesecake make. Real cheesecake flavor has sharpness, and this one doesn't have it. Truth in advertising, please!

A Minor League size of the Strawberry Cheesecake Super Pop costs Php 55.

Try it and judge for yourself.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Strawberry Cheesecake and Banana Chocolate Frappuccinos

Starbucks has two new drinks: the Strawberry Cheesecake Frappuccino and Banana Chocolate.

The Strawberry Cheesecake Frappuccino (Php 170 for Tall) is the Strawberry & Cream Frappuccino sprinkled with Graham cracker bits. Strawberry, yes (although quite artificial tasting). Cake, yes, thanks to the Graham bits. But cheesecake, no. The drink lacks the sharpness of an authentic cheesecake.

The Banana Chocolate Frappuccino (Php 180 for Grande, the smallest size) is delicious. It has the right mix of the deep, slightly bitter taste of chocolate and the subtle sweetness of a cavendish banana.

Try these new drinks and judge for yourself.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Waffle Deluxe

It's by Nissin.

It's a wafer sandwich with a chocolate filling dappled with puffed rice crisps.

It's delicious. The filling has a good and balanced semisweet flavor. It's soft and smooth texture complements the crunch of the wafer and puffed rice.

But why is the snack called a waffle? Well, the wafers [allegedly] look like waffles. As for us, we don't really care about that. We just like eating it because it is really yummy.

Try it and judge for yourself.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

First bite: KyoChon

We were in Megamall one afternoon and were bored. So we decided to sign up and go to the grand opening of KyoChon, a Korean resto that serves flavored fried chicken.

KyoChon offers four "Series" or variants of fried chicken: Kyochon Original (soy-garlic), Kyochon Honey, Kyochon Red (chili), and Kyochon Soonsal (fried chicken with puffed rice and breadcrumbs coating). We ordered a Small serving of the Original Series, wings (Php 149). Then we ordered some Kimchi Fried Rice (Php 99) and a glass of Barley Tea (Php 70).

The chicken wings were fried well; the skin was crispy and the meat was moist. But the chicken was too salty. And contrary to KyoChon's claim, theirs is not chicken we've never tasted before; its taste wasn't unforgettable and unfamiliar. 

The Kimchi Fried Rice was delicious; good mixture of tanginess and heat. Lastly, the Barley Tea: it was delicious; it had deep and woodsy flavor. We wondered though why we had to pay for this drink when other restaurants (Ramen Nagi, Yabu, Teriyaki Boy) serve the same tea for free.

The waiters were neat-looking and nice but they got our order, even our bill, messed up. More training, we say.

Despite our experience, we're willing to go back to this place and try more of their fare. But not soon; too many KPop fans are flocking the place...Hehe.

KyoChon is in SM Megamall.