Monday, May 25, 2015

First bite at Industriya Marikina

Place: Spacious, elegant, and classy. What we like is the decor: a mixture of classic furnishings, modern fixtures, and trinkets of Marikina culture (molds for shoes, shoe leather as chairs, etc.).

Food: Generally delicious. Industriya has a packed menu, offering Japanese, Italian, American, and Filipino dishes. And because we have limited and small stomachs, we ordered only those that caught our fancy.

By the way, while waiting for the dishes to be served, the restaurant serves complimentary Adobong Mani that is sweet, salty, and delicious!

First, a plate of Chicharon Bulaklak (Php 298). Each piece is crispy and perfectly fried. The taste is clean, with just the right amount of salt. The dish is served with a spicy and sour dip that is a mixture of vinegar, soy sauce, onions, and chili.

Then we have some Truffle Cream Pasta (Php 220) just to have a gastronomic glimpse of their pasta fare. It's a cream-based pasta dish with hints of that satisfying truffle flavor. One has three choice for the noodles: penne, fettucine, and spaghetti. The noodles are al dente and well seasoned. The sauce's flavor is punctuated. Also, it's truffle component is not overpowering. It comes with a piece of the restaurant's own foccacia that is a little too soggy and a bit bland.

Now, time for some Filipino classics (We're in Marikina after all!). First off, the Kare-Kare (Php 495). Industriya's Kare-Kare uses ox tail for its meat. The vegetables are fresh, the meat, tender. And the sauce! One of the most delicious out there. The meaty taste blended well with the peanut flavor, resulting to a very flavorful sauce. Warning: this dish will make you eat CUPS of rice.

Then, Crispy Pata (Php 695). Crispy enough on the outside, just a tad dry on the inside. It has hints of herbs and ginger, quite different from the ones we commonly eat (which usually garlicky). It comes with the same dip as the Chicharon Bulaklak.

For dessert, we have a slice of the Mango Crunch Cake (Php 175): vanilla chiffon cake with crunchy biscuit bits, and lots of cream. The cake is a little soggy. We like the texture contrast provided by the crunchy bits. What is missing though is the mango flavor; we can barely sense it. There's crunch, there's cake, but almost no mango.

With the cake, we have a cup of the Café Mocha (Php 99). It has good thickness and velvety consistency. But the taste is more that of very milky hot chocolate than mocha. The coffee component is too subtle.

Price: Considering food quality, serving size, and taste, food here is a just a little overpriced (We can think of other places that offer the same dishes for much lower prices).

Service: Service is OK. Waiters are amply alert. And they look neat and cool. They just need to work on their pronunciation. And they need to brush up some more on the food they offer.

Industriya Marikina is at 23 M.A. Roxas St., Calumpang, Marikina City.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Quick sip: Instant Oats Caldo

Instant porridge from Quaker Oats! The famous oats company has replaced the white rice in the famous Filipino porridge with oats and ground brown rice. Healthy!

There are two variants: Chicken and Mushroom and Beef and Carrot

The Instant Oats Caldo has good consistency; its consistency is similar to that of authentic porridge or arroz caldo, nice and thick. Its flavors are also similar to that of the beloved Filipino comfort food. It even has hints and the heat of ginger.

The Chicken and Mushroom has small bits of shitake mushrooms that add some woodsy taste to the porridge and that are fun to nibble. The Beef and Carrot has a punctuated meaty flavor that makes each spoonful satisfying.

Try the Instant Oats Caldo and judge for yourself.

Quick bite: Fullo

We were in the grocery one afternoon and a "promodiser" asked us to try Fullo. So confident was the lady that she gave us 5 free sticks that she said we're going to enjoy.

Fullo is a wafer stick filled with chocolate sauce. And it is delicious. It is not too sweet. The chocolate filling, although pasty, has good, semisweet chocolate flavor.

Try it and judge for yourself. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Quick bite: Kentucky Specials

KFC introduces five new sides to accompany its fried chicken.

First, the Spiced Rice (Php 45): it is [allegedly] herbed rice with tomatoes and bell pepper. Is it good? Well, it doesn't taste bad. But the thing is, it does not taste as it is described. We can't sense any herb, tomato, or bell pepper. It tastes like kiddie spaghetti, the one they serve in at children's parties. And this side is not actually new: it is the SAME rice you'll get when you order a Texas Barbecue Rice Bowl. Clever marketing or false advertising? Naughty, naughty, KFC.

Then, the three pies (Php 45 each). First, the Chicken Pie: minced chicken mixed with potatoes, carrots, and cream, nestling inside a [supposedly] light butter pastry. Sounds good, right? Well, we cannot taste any of that. All we can sense from the feeling is salt, and from the pastry, nothing. Plus, the pastry is too hard, overcooked.

Next is the Ham & Cheese Pie: a mixture of ham, egg, bacon, and cheese inside a [supposedly] delicious pastry. Another disappointment! All we can taste is salt with hints of smokiness from the bacon. Nothing else! It is blah!

The third pie is the Pecan Pie. Finally, a pie that is not bland! It has a good mixture of textures. The taste? It's O-K, nothing great about it. The sweetness is just right.

Finally, the Wildberry Iced Tea. KFC claims that it is their house-blend tea with a sweet wild berry flavor. Well, they're not lying about the sweet part. But wild berry flavor? There is none. It doesn't have the slight sharpness and tartness of REAL berries.

Based on what we have tasted, there's nothing special about the new Kentucky Specials.

Try them and judge for yourself.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

First bite at Sincerity Express

We were in Robinsons Magnolia one morning and decided to go to the food court to try the fare of the newly opened Sincerity Express, a stall version of the famous Binondo restaurant. Since it is on "trial mode," Sincerity Express had a very limited amount of dishes offered. We tried two noodles dishes, a seafood dish, and, of course, its famous fried chicken.

First, the Sincerity Chami (Php 120, Large): fat miki noodles, stir-fried with lots of shrimp and lots of sauce. The dish was tasty. The shrimp flavor was quite pronounced but not overpowering. The noodles were firm and of high quality.

Then, the Chacanton (Php 120, Large): lo mein noodles stir-fried with meat, shrimps, and vegetables. Delicious! From the taste, one could sense that all the ingredients were sautéed perfectly. Good marriage of meat and shrimp flavors. And the noodles weren't soggy; they were just right.

Next, the Fried Oyster Cake (Php 140, Small). It's basically oyster omelet. Also delicious! Each slice was teeming with fresh, tasty oysters. The cake wasn't oily and was fried well.

Lastly, the Sincerity Fried Chicken (Php 320, Whole): 16 pieces of well-seasoned, golden fried chicken. The meat was moist and flavorful, and the skin, crispy. The fried chicken was not salty and had hints of ham flavor. It came with ketchup and gochujang. We enjoyed dipping the chicken in the latter.

Price: Based on the taste and amount of food we got, we found the fare here reasonably priced.

Service: With only one fryer for the chicken and limited number of cooks, it takes 15-20 minutes to get your order. Plus, the lines get long because of the many Sincerity fans. So, brace yourselves.

Sincerity Express is at the Robinsons Magnolia food court.

Friday, May 15, 2015

First scoop at Milkcow Philippines

We were at the Eastwood Mall one evening and decided to drop by Milkcow to have some much needed dessert.

Milkcow boasts of organic soft serve ice cream from South Korea. We tried some of their ice cream concoctions.

First is the basic variant, the Milky Way (Php 110). It is made [allegedly] from organic milk. And milky it was! In fact, we found it a little too rich. Nakakaumay

Then, the Macao Dream (Php 170): milk ice cream with a macaron and almond slivers. We chose the Red Velvet macaron for ours. The macaron was O-K, nothing great about it taste wise. It was of high quality though. The almonds were crisp but a tad too bland.

Next, the Milky Honey (Php 150): milk ice cream with "natural liquid honey." This one was good. The honey tempered the richness of the milk ice cream. Delicious.

Then, the Milky Pearl (Php 150): milk ice cream with hazelnut syrup, sea salt, and cocoballs. Now this one was given to us too salty. All we could taste was salt and milk! The cocoball was OK; it provided good chocolate flavor and the needed crunch.

Then the Milky Pop (Php 150): milk ice cream with caramel and caramel popcorn. This was the best we had. The caramel had ample depth and sweetness. And the popcorn was popped well, adding texture to the treat.

Lastly, a new flavor, the Choco Puff (Php 150): milk ice cream with dark chocolate syrup and marshmallows. It tasted like Jollibee's sundae, only a little blander. 

All in all, considering the food we had, we found the fare here overpriced. The tastes were not extraordinary enough to merit the prices.

The place looked good. It was a little cramped though, and it needed better air conditioning.

As for the staff, they were attentive and nice. They just need to smile more.

Milkcow is at the Eastwood Mall, Libis, Quezon City.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Buddy's Pancit Lucban

Place: Festive and colorful! The famous Pahiyas festival of Quezon is nicely translated into native and vibrant decor! The counters and kitchen are organized and clean. Equally clean is the wash room.

Food: Delicious, flavorful!

First on our table is a generous serving of Pancit Lucban (Php 195). Firm miki Lucban, smothered with sauce, topped with vegetables and fried pork belly pieces. It is served and eaten with sukang Lucban (NOT calamansi). It's OK, not bad, just a little bland. The acidity of the vinegar makes the taste of the dish punctuated. The noodles are of high quality and the vegetables are crisp.

Next, a plate of the Pork BBQ (Php 375, Junior). The meat is a little tough. The barbecue sauce has a good mix of sweet and spice.

Then, the Chami Special (Php 200). It is similar to that of the Pancit Lucban. The main difference between this dish and the Lucban is the noodles; the Chami has fatter noodles. Surprisingly, the taste of this dish is punctuated, satisfying, considering that their sauces seem the same.

Next, Sisig Pork with Egg (Php 150). Now this one is delicious, oozing with good, meaty flavor. It would be better though if it had more crunch, more texture; it's just a tad too wet.

Then, a plate of Chicken BBQ (Php 160). The grilled chicken comes with a serving of java rice. The chicken's marinade is tasty. It is not as spicy as the Pork BBQ's. The meat of the Chicken BBQ is a little dry. The java rice is delicious.

For drinks, we have Sago at Gulaman (Php 40). It is not sweet, just teeming with good vanilla flavor. Also, the jelly and tapioca balls are firm, not overcooked.

Lastly, for dessert, the Budin or Cassava Cake (Php 60). Smooth, sticky and very good. It has hints of macapuno and it isn't too saccharine.

Price: Considering taste and serving, food here is reasonably priced. No service charge!

Service: The waiters are very attentive and friendly. Waiting time for food is acceptable.

Buddy's Pancit Lucban is at the ground floor of the Shopwise Arcade at the Araneta Center, Quezon City.

Monday, May 11, 2015

First scoop at Rita's

On 9 May, Rita's Italian Ice opened a branch at UP Town Center. We've heard a lot about this dessert place and decided to drop by and give its treats a try.

Rita's offers finely shaved ice with flavor, called Ice. It also has ice cream called Frozen Custard, and Gelati, which is Ice with Custard on top.  Before buying, the staff asked us to try three Ice flavors: Smores, Fudge Brownie, and Cookies & Cream. Then we bought a Regular-sized Gelati (Php 130) with Strawberry Cheese Cake as our Ice and Light Vanilla for our Frozen Custard. We also bought a Regular serving (Php 125) of the Coffee Frozen Custard.

All of the Ice variants had subtle flavors; their sugary sweetness was too pronounced and sharp. Quite a letdown honestly. As for the Frozen Custard, well, the Coffee was OK, delicious. The Light Vanilla had, well, light flavor, almost all sugar. We liked the consistency though, thick and velvety.

All in all, Rita's treats didn't taste extraordinary to merit the high price tag. The ordinary taste also confirmed our suspicion that the hype around Rita's was all made by bandwagon posers and social climbers.

Rita's Italian Ice is on the 2nd level of UP Town Center.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Quick bite of Beni's Falafel

Hidden within Makati City is a place that sells delicious falafel (deep-fried balls made from chick peas). It's Beni's Falafel. It's quite famous among foodies. We've heard a lot about it and so we decide to check it out.

For Php 165, we get a few fat falafels nestling inside a soft bun (like pao) with shredded cabbage and diced tomatoes. It is served with white tahini (sesame-based sauce) and some hot pepper paste. It is YUMMY! Each falafel is fried and seasoned perfectly. Crunchy on the outside, moist and tasty on the inside. Also, the cabbage and tomatoes are FRESH. Adding more layer of delicious flavor is the white tahini, with its hint of nuttiness. For some KICK, a few drops of the hot pepper paste will do the trick.

Rush to Beni's Falafel and try this TASTY Middle Eastern treat. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Quick bite: Triple Chocolate Cake

A new sweet treat from Starbucks.

Moist chocolate cake with layers of chocolate cream, covered with chocolate frosting and chocolate chips.

It tastes OK. It is packed with chocolate flavor. It's just missing some bittersweet taste to make it more sophisticated and luxurious, and to make its price tag justified, for we can think of bakeshops that make the same thing for a much lower price.

A slice costs Php 140.

Try it and judge for yourself.

Quick bite: 3 New Munchkins!

Dunkin Donuts presents three new Munchkins variants: the Jamocha Trickle, Chocolate Trickle, and the Cheese Trickle.

The Jamocha Trickle is a mocha-flavored Munchkin with mocha filling. It tastes OK; the mocha component is pronounced enough.

The Chocolate Trickle is a Munchkin covered with chocolate powder. We like the bittersweet hints of chocolate, providing some balance to the sweetness of the bread.

Lastly, the Cheese Trickle. It's like a micro ensaymada. We just wish that the cheese flavor was stronger than the sugary component. In other words, more saltiness please.

A piece costs Php 9.

Try it and judge for yourself.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Quick bite: McRib

The latest sandwich treat from McDonalds.

Tender barbecued pork, smothered with a spicy and tangy sauce, nestling inside a soft piece of bread.

It tastes OK. It's not the most delicious thing but it will do. We just find it a little overpriced considering we can think of places that serve inexpensive pork barbecue that tastes the same. And the sauce is a bit too much, a little overpowering. And yes, remove those onions and barbecue. Sharpness overload!

One more thing: the bread is a tad too cheap for the sandwich. It's just a long piece of pandesal. How about some brioche? Hehe.

Try the McRib and judge for yourself.