Saturday, August 30, 2014

First bite: Potts Point Café

We were strolling around Eastwood when a restaurant caught our eye: Potts Point, a restaurant/café that serves Australian organic coffee (Delano). We decided to go in and try their caffeinated concoctions, as well as their savory fare.



We tried the Smoked Salmon and Spinach Eggs Benedict and the Australian Grass-fed All Beef Burger for brunch. Then we had a cup of Organic Hot Chocolate and a serving of Affogato, along with a piece of Belgian Chocolate cookie.



The Smoked Salmon and Spinach Eggs Benedict (Php 385) was delicious. Fresh crumpets (English-muffin-looking, caky pancakes) topped with flavorful ham, poached eggs, and salty smoked salmon, all smothered with a heavenly hollandaise sauce. All the components blended together perfectly, resulting to a clean-tasting dish. Each bite was satisfying, both to the palate and the stomach.



Our next dish, the Australin Grass-fed All Beef Burger with Australian Cheddar, Pickled Beets, Olive Oil Aioli, and House-made Brioche Bun with Baked Sweet Potato Wedges (Php 385). The patty was thick and meaty, although a bit dry and salty (it was served medium-well.). Good thing the pickled beets and aioli tempered the saltiness of the beef. The brioche was a delight to eat because it was fresh. Another delight were the sweet potato fries; they were sprinkled with cheese and came with ketchup, so good contrast and play of flavors.



Now to our drinks. First off, the Organic Hot Chocolate (Php 140): it was creamy, had ample good chocolate flavor, but a tad too sweet. But we liked the little chunks and nibbles of chocolate at the bottom of the cup. Then, the Affogato (Php 155): delicious and velvety vanilla ice cream with a shot of organic coffee. We tasted the two components separately and both were good; the ice cream was not too sweet, and the coffee and a full, robust, deep taste. And together? Delicious.



Lastly, we had a piece of Belgian Chocolate (Php 60). The cookie was soft, buttery, and teeming with chocolate, and not too sweet.

Price: The prices on the menu are VAT-inclusive, but there's a 10% service charge. All things considered, the food here is a little expensive. But the coffee drinks, we think they're reasonably priced.



Place: Nice homey and rustic decor. They need to work on the exhaust though because we left the place smelling a little like our food. Nevertheless, the café is conducive to chats and catch-ups, even dates.

Service: Our food was served promptly. Our waitress, the manager, and the chef were all nice and warm.



Potts Point Café is on the 2nd floor of the Eastwood Mall, Veranda area.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Quick bite: Seoul Fried Rice

It's Bon Chon's latest rice variant.

It's fried rice flavored with a sweet, dark sauce (oyster sauce?) and chili flakes, served with ground beef, then topped with green mango slivers and sesame seeds.



It's tasty and has a good mix of sweet and savory flavors. What it lacks though is heat; the chili flakes are so small and too few that the rice doesn't have any kick, which is unfortunate because if it were spicier, it would go well with the fried chicken, especially the Honey Citrus variant.

An order costs Php 45.

Try it and judge for yourself.  

Quick sip: Banana Raspberry Frappuccino

A Starbucks cold concoction made of a cavendish banana and raspberry syrup.

Surprisingly, it tastes OK; not great, but it's not bad. Its sweetness is just right, not sugary, but fruity, with hints of tartness. We expect it to taste like cough syrup but it doesn't. Each sip is refreshing and satisfying.




A Grande size costs Php 170.

Try it and judge for yourself. 

Mango Coconut Sans Rival

Another new dessert treat from Starbucks.

Sans rival with layers of mango cream, sprinkled with desiccated coconut.



First off, it looks good, classy and clean. And the taste mirrors the look! The dessert's flavor is good and clean. The mango component is authentically fruity. The meringue's cashew taste is pronounced and well-complemented by the coconut and the mango. The dessert also has a nice chewy texture, couple with the smoothness of the cream and a little bite from the coconut. 

A slice costs Php 125. Quite pricey.

Try it and judge for yourself.   

Monday, August 25, 2014

First bite at Earth Kitchen

Known for serving good organic food, Earth Kitchen has been creating quite a buzz among health-conscious food lovers. And it is this buzz that made us drop by and try their fare one afternoon.

We tried four items on their menu: Mushroom Ravioli, Braised Pork Belly Soft Tacos, Beef Kebab, and a pitcher of Fresh Dalandan Juice.



The Mushroom Ravioli (Php 370): fresh pasta envelopes filled with a creamy concoction of kesong puti, shiitake, button, and milky mushrooms, smothered with a creamy and buttery sauce, topped with pili nuts. It was delicious. The woodsy flavor of the filling was subtle yet punctuated. The grated quezo de bola of the sauce added the right amount of bite and saltiness to the dish. The pasta was also well cooked and well seasoned. The pili nuts were negligible tastewise, but its crunch was a good texture addition.



Next, the Braised Pork Belly Soft Tacos (Php 250): tender pork, mixed with cucumbers, cilantro, and crushed peanuts, laced with hoisin sauce, all nestling on fresh, soft tortilla. Nice mix of textures and crisp flavors. The sauce though was just a tad too sweet. Good thing the vegetables tempered this sweetness.



Then, the Beef Kebab (Php 360): tender, really tender, boneless beef from the ribs, served with tzatziki, a creamy cheesy dip, grilled vegetables, and organic Ifugao rice pilaf. Now this one was delicious! All the components complemented each other really well. Actually, we couldn't choose which part of the dish was our favorite. The beef was moist, juicy, and well marinated. The tzatziki was vibrant and refreshing to the palate (although we doubted whether yogurt was used for it). The dip was amply salty and had good thickness. And the rice was perfectly spiced.



For our drink, we tried the Fresh Dalandan Juice (Php 240). It was dalandan juice, all right, but we highly doubted if it was fresh. It reminded us of Tang, with a little less sugar.

Price: Based on taste and serving size, we found the food overpriced (we suspect that the term "organic" is being used as an excuse to make food too expensive).

Place: The place is bright with natural light, cool with its high ceiling, and quaintly furnished with rustic decor.

Service: The waiters were alert and efficient. We just wished they smiled more.



Earth Kitchen is along Katipunan Ave., at White Plains, Quezon City.   

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

First taste at the Early Bird Breakfast Club

We were at Eastwood one morning and decided to have some breakfast food for lunch. So we dropped by Early Bird Breakfast Club to try their much talked about fare.




Our first dish: the Chorizo and Mushroom Risotto (Php 465). Creamy risotto with chunks of meaty sausage and slices of mushroom, topped with a parmesan cheese crown. This dish was a little too much for the palate. The sausage was too salty (they're not Spanish chorizo, for REAL Spanish chorizo has a deep red color and has smoky sweet flavor from roasted red bell peppers). Even saltier was the cheese crown! It ruined the whole dish. 



Next, the Lemon Butter Bangus (Php 325). Fried bangus on garlic rice, topped with poached egg, [allegedly] flavored with garlic lemon butter, served with a relish of red bell peppers and carrots. Another disappointment. The overall flavor of this dish was not punctuated. The fish, although fried perfectly, wasn't seasoned. The garlic rice was bland. The relish would've been better had it had tomatoes.



Our third dish was the Tenderloin Tapa (Php 375). Tender slices of beef, smothered with a sweet sauce, served with garlic rice, egg, and an apple-cider vinegar dip. This one's O-K. The beef was flavorful, and its dip complemented it. Too bad the fried rice was bland, but the egg was creamy and delicious.



The last dish we tried was the Sunny Salpicao (Php 325). Sautéed chicken and mushrooms, served with fried rice and egg. Yet another salty dish! Good thing it went well with the, again, bland fried rice. This dish made us drink glasses of water.

For our drink, we tried one of the restaurant's signature concoctions: the Nutella Hot Chocolate (Php 145). It had good consistency and was served hot. But the Nutella flavor was too much, making the drink diabetes-inducing.



Considering taste and serving size, food here is expensive.

Other comments: the place is beautifully decorated. The chairs though are too soft to be comfortable. Also, there are flies. As  for staff, they are friendly and alert.

Because of our first experience, we decided that our first visit would also be the last.



Early Bird Breakfast Club is at the Eastwood Mall.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

First bite: The Cookie Creamery Co.

We were in the mall afternoon and were looking for after-lunch dessert. We chanced upon the nook of The Cookie Creamery Co. and decided to try their sweet fare.



The place offers cookie sandwiches (gigantic cookies with either ice cream or frosting filling). We tried a couple of these sandwiches: we had Red Velvet cookies with cream cheese ice cream as filling, Peanut Butter cookies with an espresso-cream cheese frosting as filling, and Classic Chocolate Chip cookies filled with salted caramel frosting. The we ordered a cup of coffee, which came with a Double Chocolate cookie.





In general, the cookies were good; they're of high quality, moist, and not sugary. Their flavors were authentic, although the Red Velvet was just a tad bland. Our favorite was the Peanut Butter; it was yummy! As for the cream cheese ice cream, it was indeed creamy and had subtle hints of cheese flavor. We loved the frosting fillings more, especially the salted caramel one! That was a winner. There was good balance between the salty and sweet components. The other one, the espresso-cream cheese also was well balanced; not one ingredient was overpowering the others. It had good texture too.





The coffee was not bad; it's like the one from McDonalds, only a tad less robust. But we liked the fact that it wasn't acidic. And good presentation too! Classy.



An ice cream cookie sandwich costs Php 75, while a frosting one costs Php 55. The coffee costs Php 65 (comes with a big cookie). Prices are very reasonable, considering the quality and serving size of the cookie sandwiches. Hey, if you're on a date and on a budget, you can share one cookie sandwich and have a sweet, romantic, and inexpensive dessert treat.



The Cookie Creamery Co. is on the ground floor of SM City Marikina.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Quick sip: Tiramisu Frappuccino

It's Starbucks's Italian Roast Blend, mixed with bits of biscuit, topped with cheese-flavored whipped cream.

Is it good? It's O-K. The drink would be better if the coffee component had more body and had a deeper, more bitter flavor. The biscuit bits are tasty and fun to eat. The cheese-flavored whipped cream? Well, we can taste cream, but no cheese.



A Tall order costs Php 180. Pretty pricey.

Try it and judge for yourself.

Monday, August 11, 2014

First bite: Kalookies

We went to the Sweet Endings dessert fair at TriNoMa yesterday and drooped by the booth of Kalookies. We've heard a lot of buzz around their cookies and decided to give them a try.



There were a around 6 cookie variants to choose from. We bought a piece each of the Kalassic (Hershey's semisweet chocolate chips and Nutella), Checklit Chip Cookie (chocolate chips, Nutella, Hershey's chocolate, and peanut butter), and the B&W (Hershey's semisweet chocolate chip, white chocolate, and Nutella).

We liked the cookie itself; it was soft and chewy, and its taste had the right balance of sweet and salty. As for the toppings, some of the chocolate didn't taste good (stale? not delicious after all that heat?). What was yummy though was the peanut butter; it was not too saccharine and there was deep, authentic peanut flavor.



The Kalookies were generally OK. Their flavors however were not unfamiliar; we have tasted similar cookies before. And that is the main reason why we're not really going gaga over these cookies. And with the 40-peso tag on each Kalookie, we are really thinking twice before buying again.



For more information on Kalookies, visit them at www.kalookies.com.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Spicy Gangnam Chicken

It's KFC's latest chicken offering.

Fried chicken coated with a hot soy-garlic sauce.



Is it good? Well, not bad. The soy-garlic concoction is flavorful, its taste punctuated. The heat is just enough to whet the appetite. Too bad though that only the skin is smothered with it; the meat of the chicken is a bit bland. And although it doesn't taste bad, the Spicy Gangnam Chicken isn't as good as the "Korean fried chicken" offered by other restaurants (Bon Chon is still the best).

An order (Php 99) comes with a serving of butter rice (the perfect partner) and a side dish.

Try it and judge for yourself.

Café Blanca

We were in the mall one afternoon and saw that Kopiko organized an event to promote its latest caffeinated concoction: Café Blanca.




It's creamy and sweet. We just wish that the coffee component was more bitter. But compared to the instant coffee mixes of Nescafé, this one is better because it's not diabetes-inducing.

Try it and judge for yourself.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Chunky Asado Siopao

It's Chowking's latest addition to its Chinese fare. How is it different from their original asado siopao? This one [allegedly] has bigger chunks of meat with its asado filling.

Is it good? Yes. The filling is flavorful; it has a pronounced but not overpowering ginger flavor. The meat pieces are indeed big yet tender. The bun is still soft and of high quality.



Our only complaint? The siopao is too small. In fact, while we're eating, we heard two customers say "Ito na yung large?!"

The Chunky Asado Siopao costs Php 33.



Try it and judge for yourself.