Wednesday, September 30, 2015

First bite of Downtown Cookies

We were in Robinsons Magnolia one afternoon and chanced upon the kiosk of Downtown Cookies. Their cookies looked interesting and appetizing, at least enough to make us buy 4 kinds.

The cookies were soft and moist, just a tad too crumbly.

First one was the Soho: a cookie with dark chocolate, hazelnut, and peanut butter. We couldn't sense the darkness of the chocolate and the hazelnut. The peanut butter component was notable, but it wasn't consistent; we were able to taste some bitter peanut flavor.

Next, the New York Chiptail, made with white chocolate and macadamia nuts. This one was delicious! We liked the balanced sweetness and the pronounced buttery flavor. And it was teeming with macadamia! We didn't feel shortchanged at all.

On to the next cookie, the Yankee. This cookie had the classic pairing of bacon and maple syrup. Yummy! The bacon added just the right amount of saltiness that tempered that more rounded and deeper sweetness of the syrup.

Last on our plate, the Shibuya, made with matcha and white chocolate. It had a good mixture of flavors. We thought the earthiness of the matcha would dominate the whole treat but it was nicely toned down by the chocolate. Yum!

Based on our first bites and nibbles of these cookies, we wouldn't mind coming back for more.

Downtown Cookies is at the food court of Robinsons Magnolia.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Quick bite at Hattendo

We were in the Mega Fashion Hall one afternoon, and we were about to go home when we chanced upon the kiosk of Hattendo, a store selling chilled cream buns from Japan. We've tasted a variant of this product before and we liked it. So we were happy to get another chance to try and buy more cream buns.

Hattendo's buns are soft and of high quality, and these buns are bland enough to effectively highlight the filling. There are 7 fillings to choose from: Custard, Whipped Cream, Matcha, Mango, Chocolate, Chestnut, and Azuki Red Bean. Any of these fillings are smooth and velvety, and they're not too sweet. Among the flavors, the only one we did not try is Chestnut (we were too full to eat more buns). 

The Whipped Cream is bland and a little heavy to the tummy, kinda like eating a block of pure fat. The Custard has a notable egg flavor that is a little weird. The Matcha's taste is strong enough to be enjoyed for green tea fans. The Mango's fruit flavor tastes artificial. The Chocolate is the best! The chocolate filling is like chocolate mousse, with a subtle sweet flavor. The Azuki Red Bean has little bits of red bean that are fun to nibble at. Its flavor however needs to be more pronounced to be enjoyed.

A bun costs Php 120.

By the way, kudos to our store attendant Romeo for being fun and accommodating!

Hattendo is at the Mega Fashion Hall.

First sip of LoyalTea

We were in Mega Fashion Hall one morning and dropped by LoyalTea to learn about its tea products. The store attendant Maricar was gracious enough to let us sample of their concoctions, allowing us to try one variant from different tea groups.

For our green tea, we tried the Highland Green Tea. Its flavor was like that of a toned-down matcha, quite pronounced.

Next in our cup was the Pu'er Tuo Cha. Pu'er belongs to the black tea and generally has a strong flavor. Maricar told us that their variety has sticky rice and this component added some sweetness and nuttiness.

Next, the Big Red Robe oolong tea. This one was a little bland at first, then a slightly bitter earthy aftertaste followed. 

Lastly, we had a cup of Fruit Tea: dried bits of apple, pineapple, and rosebuds. This one was delicious! Its sweetness was vibrant but not cringe-inducing. And we figured that this tea would be good hot or cold.

After tasting, we couldn't help but buy some their tea concoctions, most especially the Fruit Tea, our new favorite. And based on what we've tried, we would definitely come back to have more LoyalTea.

A big shout to the store attendant Maricar for being accommodating, knowledgeable, and fun!

LoyalTea is on the 4th floor of The Mega Fashion Hall, in front of Vikings.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

First slice at Paper Moon

We were in TriNoMa one afternoon looking for a different kind of dessert to cap off our day. So we decided to drop by Paper Moon to try their unique sweet offering: mille-feuille.

Mille-feuille is a treat made with layers of crêpe, and Paper Moon offers different kinds of it. First on our table is the Classic Mille-Feuille (Php 225 per slice): alternate layers of thin and smooth crêpe and custard. Delicious! The crêpe are perfectly made, while the custard is smooth and not too sugary. The top of the mille-feuille, which is slightly burned (probably with a blow torch), adds the right amount of sweetness.

Next, the Mango Mille-Feuille (Php 225 per slice): it's the Classic variety dappled with slices of mango. It's not mango season now in the country so some of the fruit slices of the mille-feuille are sour, which is not really a problem because this sour taste adds some vibrant contrast to the custard. 

On to the next, the Chocolate Mille-Feuille (Php 255 per slice): layers of crêpe with layers of chocolate cream. This one is really good! The chocolate is smooth and subtle, it is like eating chocolate mousse. It is perfect with coffee. Yummy!

Aside from the delicious slice of mille-feuille, we have a piece of the Chocolate Chiffon Cupcake (Php 125). The cupcake itself is a moist and soft chocolate chiffon cake that has a sweet cream center that tempers the bitter chocolate flavor of the cubes of chocolate cake on top of it. Good and sophisticated contrast of tastes!

The dessert items here seem pricey at frist glance. But considering the quality and the taste, one will definitely not feel shortchanged. As for us, based on our first try, we will definitely try more sweets and come back to this place. Mille fois, peut-être ?

Paper Moon is on the 5th level of TriNoMa.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

First bite at Tenya

Place: The restaurant's decor is clean and simple (like their food). The place has comfortable feel and has good air conditioning. The music however is too loud and doesn't fit the ambiance of the place.

Food: Generally delicious and of high quality!

First on our table is the All Star Tempura Soba set (Php 455): salmon, squid, black tiger prawn, kani stick, haricots verts, enoki mushroom, and kakiage (similar to the Filipino okoy, made with onions, celery, and shrimp) tempura, served with a bowl of rice, tempura dipping sauce, and a serving of soba noodles (hot or cold) and its sauce.

All the tempura items are fried perfectly, golden and not oily. They are all coated with a batter, Tenya's pride, that is light and bland enough to highlight the natural flavors of the fresh seafood and crisp vegetables. The must-eats are the prawn (juicy!), the salmon (buttery!), the kani (probably the best out there), and the kakiage.

The tempura sauce has a balanced flavor; no component is overpowering.

The soba noodles are firm. And its dipping sauce has a satisfying sweet-salty flavor. Yummy!

Next on our table is the Buta Kimuchi Tendon (Php 295): pork belly tempura and kimchi over Japanese rice. The pork is well seasoned, juicy, and tender. Its cut though makes the pork harder to bite into and heavy to the tummy; one may feel bloated after a few bites. The kimuchi has the right level of acidity and heat.

Lastly, the Potato Salad (Php 95): potato salad with Japanese mayonnaise. It has a good mix of textures, smooth with very small chunks. The taste though is a little disappointing; it's too bland. Some chili flakes will make it better.

For our drinks, we have the house tea that is delicious, earthy and rounded.

Price: Considering the kind of ingredients used, the taste, food quality, and serving size, we find the food here fairly priced. And there is no service charge!

Service: OK! Our servers are attentive and very warm.

Tenya is on the 4th floor of SM Megamall.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

First bite: New Snack Bento Sandwiches

New snack offerings from Tokyo Tokyo!

First off, the Cheesy Beef sandwich (Php 70): thin slices of beef, topped with cheese sauce and fried tempura batter, nestling inside a buttery hotdog bun. The beef, although tender, is a little bland. The cheese sauce is a little salty. The fried batter adds the needed layer of crunch.

The other sandwich is the Seafood Kani sandwich (Php 70): thin strips of kani, with salad greens and mayonnaise. It tastes OK. There's just a little too much mayo. 

One can have these sandwiches served as on a Snack Bento, with a side dish (nori fries, onion rings, or potato balls) and a drink. This set costs Php 130.

Try these sandwiches and judge for yourself.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Quick sip: Duo Cocoa Mocha and Dark Caramel Latte

They are the newest concoctions of Starbucks, and Starbucks Card holders can have a taste of these treats from 12 September until 14 September. The said drinks will be available to all starting 15 September.

The Duo Cocoa Mocha (Php 155, Tall): it's mocha with a special chocolate sauce, chocolate whipped cream, and cocoa bits. Now, THIS is how mocha should taste. Nice mix of coffee and GOOD chocolate flavors. It's not too sweet and not too milky.

The Caramel Latte (Php 160, Grande): latte flavored with a new dark caramel sauce. The caramel flavor is deeper and more pronounced than the usual caramel sauce of Starbucks. It's quite delicious.

Aside from these new drinks, Starbucks is offering a limited edition Starbucks Card starting 15 September. To view its design and for more info, click here.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Quick bite: The Famous Bowl

So KFC decides to put in one bowl all of, what it thinks, are the customers' favorites (Fun Shots fried chicken, mashed potatoes, corn, cheese, and gravy) and packages this mixture as the Famous Bowl.

To be fair, the bowl of "goodies" does look appetizing. But the taste? Well, it's infamously salty. But for Php 50, hey, you get what you pay for.

Try it and judge for yourself.

Quick slice: Decadent Chocolate Cake

It's by Big Al's Cookie Jar.

Imagine a moist chocolate cake, covered with a luxurious chocolate sauce...Sounds sinful, right? Well, every bite confirms it. Each morsel of this cake is filled with a not-so-sweet, high quality chocolate flavor that is satisfying to the palate.

Decadent indeed.

Try it!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Quick bite: Chicken Fillet ala King

Something new from McDonalds!

It's a fried chicken fillet topped with a creamy sauce.

The cream sauce is sweet and milky; it tastes like corn soup. The sweetness complements the saltiness and the spiciness of fried chicken. Not bad, honestly.

An order costs Php 55.

Try it and judge for yourself.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

First sip at Recession Coffee

We were in the New Eastwood Mall this long weekend and dropped by Recession Coffee inside the shop of The Digital Walker. This small coffee corner is being talked about because of its payment scheme: you pay for your coffee with money you can shell out. The coffee here has no fixed price; if you only have Php 50 to pay for your coffee, then the cashier will take your Php 50.

We were able to try some of Recession's caffeinated concoctions and dessert offerings.

The coffee variants we tried were the Flat White and the Café Latte (both the hot and cold). What we noticed was the bold and deep flavor of the coffee, making every sip pleasant and satisfying. Also, it wasn't acidic. Plus, the milk used was of good quality.

Despite the delicious taste of their coffee, because of the small serving size, we were willing to pay only Php 120 for each cup.

Time for dessert! First on our plate was the #LoveWins Cake (Php 150): it's a rainbow-colored (the LGBTQ color) cake with chocolate cream layers. The cake itself was moist. The chocolate cream was milky and sugary. The cake didn't taste bad, but it wasn't good enough to merit its price.

Next, the Honey Ombre Cake (Php 130): chiffon cake with honey-flavored cream. Same with the #LoveWins kind, the cake itself was moist. The honey flavor however was non-existent; all we could taste was sugar. Not worth the price!

Lastly, the Brownie with Matcha Cream: brownie with matcha frosting. The brownie was dry, really dry. The matcha cream though tasted authentic, earthy and not too sugary.

Recession Coffee's corner is spacious enough. It is also stylish, with its wooden furnishings and trays. It's too bright though.

Recession Coffee is on the 3rd floor of the New Eastwood Mall.