Friday, November 20, 2015

Quick bite: Cheesy Jalapeño Popcorn

Another delicious variant from Chef Tony's Popcorn.

Each kernel is bursting with a balanced flavor from the creamy saltiness of cheddar cheese and the sweet spiciness of jalapeño. Delicious!

Try it and judge for yourself.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

First bite at Ooma

Place: Stylish and cool. The industrial feel makes the place a little edgy. The lighting though is just a tad too dark.

Food: Ordinary. Nothing tastes memorable and worth coming back for.

First on our table is the Scallop and Tuna Aburi Maki (Php 295): scallops, tuna, nori, sesame seeds, and scallions wrapped with rice, topped with kimchi aioli, spicy mayo, and teriyaki sauce. It isn't bad, but we're disappointed to sense a flavor that is flat and common, given all the ingredients of the dish. All we can taste is the teriyaki sauce, none of the kimchi, none of the sesame seeds, none of the scallions, none of the scallops that are [allegedly] torched. Quite a letdown.

Next, the Soft-Shell Crab Taco Maki (Php 199): it's open-faced temaki with a soft-shell crab that is topped with aligue mayo and tobiko (fish roe). Just like the first dish, this sushi creation doesn't taste bad. But we cannot sense the aligue and the roe. It's surprising to us to experience a very clean and simple flavor. This flavor actually makes us doubt if the mayo is indeed flavored with aligue. Also, speaking of the sauce, there is too much of it! Equally surprising to us is the soft-shell crab; it tastes like fried chicken!

Next on our table is the Corn & Oyster Kaki-Age (Php 155): oyster and corn coated with batter, then deep fried. They're served with kimchi mayo and nori salt. The oyster and corn are good. The batter is a little too thick. The mayo dip sure has heat, but we sense no kimchi flavor. As for the nori salt, it is not necessary; each piece is already well seasoned that an additional pinch of salt is too much.

Lastly, the Ebi Tempura (Php 385): Tempura dusted with aonori, served with the classic tempura dipping sauce, aligue mayo, and avocado mousse. The shrimp are fresh, juicy, but a tad tough. The batter needs to be a little fluffier and lighter. The tempura dipping sauce is delicious! The aligue mayo has no aligue taste. And the avocado mousse? Well, we're still wondering where the avocado is.

Price: The food here is like the iPhone: it has fancy descriptions and a stylish presentation, but when it all comes to it, the taste is ordinary, rendering the food overpriced.

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

Ooma is on the 3rd floor of the Mega Fashion Hall.

Monday, November 16, 2015

First bite: Honey & Rum Roast Chicken

It's the chicken offering of Kenny Rogers Roasters for Christmas.

It's roast chicken [allegedly] marinated with honey, mild rum, and herbs. It is served with the familiar Potato Gratin and the new Bacon Corn.

The chicken looks good, golden and shiny. It is moist and tender. And it is very delicious. The thing is however we cannot sense the rum or the herbs. And the honey taste is very faint. In short, the taste of the chicken dish does not live up to its name.

As for the new side dish, the Bacon Corn, it is disappointing. The fresh and crisp corn is wasted because this side dish is smothered with mayonnaise. Why mayonnaise?! Why not butter? Or cheese? Or, better yet, cheesy butter? The acidic mayonnaise doesn't go well with the corn and it drowns the taste of the bacon bits.

All in all, we find this Christmas offering disappointing.

Try it and judge for yourself.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Quick bite: Black Pepper Cheddar Popcorn

It's a new variant of Chef Tony's Popcorn.

Each kernel is filled and coated with a balanced and punctuated taste that features a hickory, smoky, and spicy black pepper component, a salty cheddar one, and caramel undertones. DELICIOUS! It has the right amount of saltiness and sweetness to satisfy the appetite, and enough heat to keep it craving more.

Try it and judge for yourself.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Quick bite: Big Chicken Katsu

It's Tokyo Tokyo's latest chicken creation. It's a BIG piece of chicken fillet, [allegedly] coated with panko, then fried to a golden crisp. It comes in three variants: Original, Teriyaki, and Asian Spice. We asked the cashier about these and she said that the Original is just like ordinary, breaded fried chicken, the Teriyaki is fried chicken smothered with the restaurant's delicious sauce, and the Asian Spice is fried chicken with a special rub. We deemed the first two familiar, so we went for the Asian Spice.

The chicken was moist, juicy, and not too oily. The rub though was too salty and sharp. And the barbecue dip that came with it didn't temper the strong flavor of the chicken for it was also sharp, too tangy. We needed a lot of rice just to mute some of the sharpness.

The Teriyaki variant might have been the better choice.

An order of the Big Chicken Katsu costs Php 169.

Try it and judge for yourself.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

First bite at RUB

Place: Spacious and stylish. The combination of wooden and steel furnishings give the place some character, so do the quotes and pictures of famous on the walls. The slightly warm lighting provides a touch of homeyness.

Food: Generally delicious.

First on our table is the BBQ Chicken Salad (Php 230): lettuce, corn, and bell pepper strips smothered with a salty mayonnaise-based dressing, topped with fried chicken that is drizzled with barbecue sauce, and some fried wanton crisps. The vegetables are fresh. The salad dressing and barbecue sauce complement each other well; the slightly tangy taste barbecue sauce is a good addition to the salty dressing. 

Then, the Family Brunch meal (Php 720, good for 4) that consists of two racks of barbecued ribs and three side dishes. The ribs are tender and moist. Its sweet rub has a punctuated and satisfying taste, nothing too strong or pungent. The Coleslaw is a little watery, but the flavors are balanced. The Buttered Corn is fresh, not mushy, and loaded with butter flavor. Yummy! The Roasted Garlic Mashed Potato is bland and disappointing.

Next is an order of Sprice (Php 75) or Spicy Fried Rice. This one is delicious. It's not oily and its cajun taste is not too strong, just enough to be satisfying.

Last on our plate is the Mussels and Fries (Php 250). Fresh mussels topped with a creamy sauce, served with coated french fries. Everything is bland! What a letdown.

For our drink, we have the House Blend Iced Tea (Php 120, a pitcher for 4). It's refreshing enough. There's a hint of citrus. The brewed tea taste though needs to be a bit stronger.

Price: Considering the taste, serving size, and quality, the food here is reasonably priced.

Service: The service needs improvement. Our waiter is slightly inattentive and is not quite knowledgeable about the food that the restaurant serves.

RUB Ribs & BBQ is on the 3rd floor of UP Town Center.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

First sip of Gusto

Gusto is a powdered vegetable drink mix. It is made with broccoli and malunggay, sweetened with stevia (a natural sweetener). What we tried is the variant flavored with Mango.

The mango taste is authentic but subtle. Equally subtle is the leafy flavor of the vegetable components. The ingredient that's notable is stevia. The plant-derived sugar substitute adds the sweet aftertaste that is also sticky to the throat. This effect is similar to that of sodas with artificial sweeteners.

Try it and judge for yourself.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Quick bite: Monde Dessert Bar Brownies

A new chocolate creation from Monde. It's a bar of chocolate cake topped with chocolate frosting and butterscotch chips.

The cake is a bit bland. The chocolate frosting is too pasty and its flavor is more of sugar than chocolate. The butterscotch chips are the only ones that taste O-K.

Try it and judge for yourself.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

First slice: White Truffle Cheesecake

A new dessert offering by Starbucks.

It's cheesecake with a gelatin top layer and a truffle topping.

The cheesecake itself tastes OK, not too sweet. It however lacks just a little more sharpness. The truffle is not made of chocolate but it seems to be a small cake pop. This truffle tastes like candy.

Considering its taste and serving size, the Php 150 price tag is a tad too much.

Try it and judge for yourself.

Monday, November 2, 2015

First sip: Christmas Panettone Latte

It's the new Christmas concoction by Starbucks.

Your good ol' latte with panettone (Italian sweet bread loaf) syrup and candy sprinkles.

Honestly, we don't like the taste of panettone because it's basically a fruit cake. That entails strong fruit and liqueur flavors. But surprisingly, the Christmas Panettone Latte has a subdued, deep bitterness. And no hint of lemony or raisin flavor. Its sprinkles also have a tame candy flavor. It's quite good actually but it weirdly doesn't taste like a slice panettone.

A Tall order costs Php 165.

Try it and judge for yourself.