Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Taste of Hawaii -- Honolulu Cafe, Coffee and Martini Bar

Last week, after eating at Lutong Macau, we saw this new coffee shop along Jupiter St., Makati City. It is called Honolulu Cafe, Coffee and Martini Bar. The place looks classy from afar. It's at the second floor of a building. It has a terrace for those who want to have al fresco coffee drinking experience.

I ordered their Nutty Hawaiian Latte. It's coffee with Macadamia and Coconut flavors. The mixture of flavors is interesting. Something new for me. I could taste the coconut flavor and I like it since it is not too strong. I can't say the same thing about the nuts. I mean I couldn't recognize it at once but I knew there is something there. The coffee drink is creamy. It has a smooth and at the same time frothy 'texture'. It is actually easy to drink.

If you drink coffee for the purpose of being awake longer to do other things, then this is what you should get. I don't usually get affected by coffee anymore in the sense that I can sleep fast even after having a cup. But with this one, I really had to exert effort to fall asleep -- that is considering it was already way beyond 12 midnight when I went bed. 

The  coffee is relatively cheaper than in other popular coffee shops in the metro. And aside from coffee they also have other cocktail drinks -- it is a coffee and martini bar after all.

The waiter was kind. He assisted us when we came in. He ushered us to the counter. He also helped us choose what to order by describing some of the drinks on the menu.

Honolulu Cafe can be found along Jupiter St. in front of Red Ribbon and Frank Provost salon.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

RED vs WHITE - the White Hat frozen yoghurt

One of the first reviews I made for eat all you can is about a froyo shop -- the Red Mango. I didn't write any new reviews because I liked Red Mango enough for me to stay loyal. However, last Saturday, my friends and I chanced upon this froyo shop in Glorietta, Makati -- the White Hat. We were looking for something to do to kill time because we were going to a party but we didn't want to arrive an hour earlier than time indicated on the invites. So since all of us haven't tried the White hat yet we decided to get in and eat some yoghurt.

A regular cup costs less than a hundred pesos and toppings cost P 20each. But if you want to be more practical you can have their combos. I ordered a regular Cooky Hat combo while my friends got a regular Health Nut Hat. A regular combo costs P 125 -- a regular serving of yoghurt with three toppings. You save some money if you order a regular combo but since it is a 'combo' already, you cannot choose the toppings you really like. You're lucky if the toppings you prefer can be found in one 'combo'. 
Cooky Nut

The Cooky Hat has nuts (walnuts), white chocolate chips (like mini Kisses) and pastry dough (I'm not sure how they call it but it's like a certain kind of pastry cut in cubes).
The yoghurt was too sour for me. I like the sour taste of yoghurt but this one is way too sour for me taste The white chocolate chips and the pastry also didn't help. They were sweet but they didn't help counter the taste of the base. It was good they placed walnuts. It was the only saving grace of the whole thing for me. If not for the walnuts, I would not have finished that small cup.
98% fat free

Oh, I need to say this. Their yoghurt may be sour but it is 98% fat free. Nice for those people counting calories.
Health Nut
The Health Nut Hat my friends ordered had kiwi, nuts, cherry and strawberry (not part of the combo).  They also found it too sour. One of them loves desserts a lot but she wasn't too happy with this one. Hmmm...

The place is small. It could sit probably only around ten people at a time. But no worries because unless you are tired, you really do not need to stay there to eat their froyo. You can eat it while walking. It's in to be seen carrying a cup of froyo.
Seen/Scene on their wall

As said earlier, I like Red Mango. If you think my review is biased because of this, I'd say NOT. I can like them both if they're both good, right? Nobody said I need to be loyal to just one. Unfortunately, I will be sticking with my first choice on this one. So I guess it's RED over WHITE! 

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Best La Paz Batchoy -- in Iloilo and Metro Manila

Last night I had a sudden craving for La Paz Batchoy. I wasn't feeling well so I didn't bother to think of a good place to eat batchoy since I couldn't go out anyway. However, I still felt like having one this morning so just to satisfy my craving I had instant La Paz Batchoy. Well, in my mind I can say I can already stop thinking about La Paz Batchoy because I had one already. Unfortunately, my stomach disagrees. So, where do you think I can get La Paz batchoy?

If I could only just fly off to Iloilo I know I will really be happy. I learned from friends who have been there that they have the best La Paz Batchoy in the Philippines. Hmm...Dinagyang Festival in Iloilo is the next big event in the country. Should I go there to have La Paz Batchoy? Naaah!!!

Anyway, if you are going there for the Dinagyang Festival here are the places where I heard you can have the best  La Paz Batchoy. One restaurant that they say you should try is Ted's Oldtimer La Paz Batchoy. They have several branches in Iloilo City. The easiest to find I think are those inside the malls. Another restaurant that they say serve great La Paz Batchoy is Deco's. They also have several branches in Iloilo City. But if you really want to experience La Paz Batchoy in its simplest form, try those stalls in the market. A friend of mine say that a lot of them serve great tasting Batchoy at lower prices.

Note: Soon I will be able to give you my own/personal reviews of Deco'sand Ted's La Paz Batchoy. Deco's has a restaurant near my office. They have a branch in Southgate Tower found right outside MRT Magallanes station. Ted's has several branches and the nearest to me is the one in SM Mall of Asia.     

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Reyes Barbecue -- Their food and their service

I never learn my lessons. That's what many of my friends say. To some extent this observation is correct. You see, I don't easily give up on certain things I like. Let me give you an example. You've all heard of Reyes Barbecue, right? That's where this post will focus on.

Last December, in one of my trips to Quezon province, I ate at Reyes Barbecue at SM City, Lucena. When I went to the counter to give my order, the lady behind did not say 'Good Afternoon'. She did not say 'Hi'. For crying out loud she didn't even bother to look up and acknowledge my presence. She was I think counting something. She was really focused on what she was doing. But a simple nod would have been enough to tell me to just wait for a moment. After about a minute I said I'd like to order  Grilled Hamburger. She said that's P95. I wanted to tell her I know that because they have a 'menu' screaming  right in front of me. But I kept my cool. I then gave her the money. She then said they'll bring it to my table together with my change. She didn't even bother to ask me if I was going to eat inside the restaurant or take the food out. (Maybe they do not allow 'take-outs').

After a few minutes, my order arrived. I asked the service crew for a glass with ice cubes. She left hurriedly then came back with my request. Sounds good, right? NOT! She just left it on my table with a loud thud. Again she didn't look at me. By the way this is a girl different from the one who took my order. I just told myself to let it go and just enjoy the food. (My review about it later.)

A few weeks ago, I was at SM City, Lucena again. I went back to Reyes Barbecue because all the other restos around were full. Reyes Barbecue has only one customer at that time. This  was the same as my last visit. I actually didn't remember the bad experience I had the previous month until I went to the counter to order. Do you know why? Because the girl at the counter did the same thing. She ignored me. If  I'm not mistaken she is a different girl. Like before, she didn't ask if I was intending to eat there or have the food packed so I could eat somewhere else. In my mind I was fuming mad. Good thing when I left after hurriedly eating my food, a guy near the door said "Thank you, sir!" That gesture made me think there's still hope.

Last Sunday I went back yet again. Remember I said there is hope. And true enough I got a better treatment. For one, the person behind the counter is not a SHE. There was a guy there who greeted me the moment I stepped in front of him. He asked me what I was having. So I ordered Grilled Hamburger. He didn't ask me if it is for dine-in or what but that didn't bother me since I was happy with the acknowledgment . When my food was delivered the crew said in Tagalog "Here is your order sir". I then asked for a glass with ice. He asked me if I'd like him to put water on it. Wow! A total change. Thus, I enjoyed my meal. So here is what I have to say about the food.

First the rice. I like it because it is not too sticky and not to loose. I like sticky rice only when I eat in Japanese restaurants. I do not like loose rice because I can be  messy at times. The rice was cooked well. It  is not oily. I hate it when I can taste the cheap oil many restos use.

Next we have the burger patties. Yum yum! They're thick. Not the kind you find in many fast food chains. I could say they are not pure meat but they are also not full of extenders. I mean you could really taste the meat. And the texture is just right. The meat was not ground too much to the point that you would wonder if it was really meat or some flour mixed with flavorings.

The gravy I can't say anything much about. It wasn't really extra ordinary but it was okay.

It was served on a sizzling plate so the food is hot. The nice thing about it is that the plate is just hot enough so it didn't give the rice and the patties a burnt taste which is what I have experienced in other restos. The smoke also did not last long so I knew the smell didn't get stuck on my shirt. Hmmm!

Overall I could say their Grilled Hamburger is great. The hamburger patties are real -- not some mixture of unidentifiable ingredients pretending to be a hamburger. Now, if only they would constantly give good customer service like what the male service crews did, I would gladly recommend them to all my friends. So caution guys, think twice before entering if you girls manning the counter. Wink!

Friday, January 14, 2011

How to Make Fried Chicken Healthier for Your Children - Healthy Fried Chicken

Children about 5 - 8 years old are hard to feed. They love nothing but fried chicken. Serve them vegetables and they'll tell you they would rather have biscuits than eat them. If you are experiencing this problem, what must you do? How will you take care of the nutrition of your children? Will you just rely on commercially available multivitamins? Will you 'force' them to eat vegetables? Will you let them continue eating fried chicken and just pretend that its going to be okay because they'll get tired of it soon anyway? If you really want to make your children healthy without really forcing things on them to eat fruits and vegetables (which could actually make them hate fruits and vegetables more), here are some tips that you can follow.

Add vegetables through the 'breading'

1. Grate carrots or chop some greens like cabbage and lettuce. Add them to the breading mixture. When you fry the chicken, these bits and pieces of vegetables will also turn brown so your children won't notice them. You can also added finely chopped button mushrooms.

2. You can also try adding corn flakes, crushed cereals, oatmeal to the breading mixture. Sesame seed can also be added.

Make your gravy healthier

In making your gravy, instead of using water or chicken stock for the mixture, use vegetable soup (boil cabbage, lettuce, carrots, celery).

You can also add 'pureed' vegetables in the mixture. You can add these purees as you boil the gravy in a sauce pan. Potatoes will blend well the most. Carrots and cabbage will also be okay. You can also experiment with squash.

Make alternative dips

1. You can use white dips instead of the usual brown gravy. Instead of water or chicken stock, you can use milk when cooking the gravy. It will give a creamier effect.

2. You can also try a sour cream dip. Mix cream, garlic powder and pesto powder. Squeeze lemon into the mixture. 

These tips will help you ensure that your children meet their nutritional needs without getting into heated arguments with them. You are also, at the same time, developing their taste for eating vegetables in the future.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Bon Chon and Wee Nam Kee, Ayala Triangle

I had a great experience last week at the Ayala Triangle. I had dinner at Wee Nam Kee with two good friends but prior to that we had 'appetizer' at Bon Chon (as if we needed appetizer!). Bon Chon serves chicken cooked the Korean way. It looks like your regular fried chicken with crispy breading except that there's a 'glazed' effect. It was probably glazed actually because the breading doesn't crumble when you take a bite. There is a spicy variety which is the one I like. If you love spicy food you will love this one -- really spicy. But for those who can't tolerate the 'heat' , do not worry because there is the regular variety.

bon chon - korean chicken

At Wee Nam Kee we ordered roast chicken, fish fillet with bean curd and tausi. We also had chicken rice and sweet corn soup. The roast chicken is their specialty (we couldn't have enough of chicken that night, lol). It was good because the flavor was not concentrated on the skin alone like how it is with most roast chicken in the market but in the meat as well. The roast chicken was also tender. The fish fillet was also good but the chicken was the  real winner. The sweet corn soup is creamy. It was also heavy on the tummy. One small cup is already filling. Overall, food was great. The only disappointment was the soda. I didn't like the taste of their lime juice. Too sweet. It tasted like it was poured out of the bottle just a few seconds before it was served. Tasted like some cheap juice concentrate. I should have stayed with the tried and tested Coke.
sweet corn soup

fish fillet with bean curd and tausi

roast chicken

Monday, January 10, 2011

a.c. RUMPA, Angeles City, Pampanga (Clark)

There are a lot of restaurants in Angeles City, Pampanga (near Clark) but a good one recommended by many is a.c. Rumpa. Rumpa, I heard, stands for Reserve US Military Personnel Association. It's located at 1037 Surla St., Balibago, Angeles City. From the outside it doesn't look like a restaurant. It looks like a nice little house along a quiet street - well, the house is not really small and street is not really quiet but that should give an idea. If not for the signage and the two sets of tables and chairs outside, you wouldn't know that you can have breakfast, lunch and dinner there even without invitation from the owner.  

The dining area inside is big. Probably it used to be the foyer, receiving room and dining place. It could I think accommodate 30 - 35 people. The tables along the walls are open cubicle types (like those you commonly see in diners) while those on the center are movable tables which is good for big groups of people.

There are a lot of food to choose from. I sampled their barbecue spareribs. The meat is tender. They'll give you a knife along with the spoon and fork but you can actually do without it. The cut is also big. This is probably because they target the Americans living in the area (especially those in Clark). The meat is covered with barbecue sauce that has a good blend of sweet, sour and spicy flavors.

Here is a picture of what I ordered. You be the judge if the serving is really big.

Here on the other hand is how their tbone steak looks like.

 This is how the place looks like from the outside.

The food tastes great. The serving is big. And to top it all, the prices are great. Their tag line says "Where good food is at its lowest possible price." I do not know who cannot not agree with that.

The next time you visit Clark or Angeles City, Pampanga, don't waste time looking for a place to eat. Try a.c.Rumpa.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Lemongrass, ginger and moringa juice

During the Christmas season I knew I was eating too much -- fatty and overly sweet foods. So I decided to sort of fight these 'bad' things by having something healthy on the side -- I was hoping that by doing so, I will be able to fight the problems I was sure I would experience if I do otherwise. I drank 'juice' made from boiled lemongrass, ginger and moringa. I actually loved the taste. The concoction can be drank ice cold or hot but I like it better hot. You may be wondering why I say this drink is healthy. Wonder no more because here are some of the reasons why I say so.

Lemongrass - It is widely used in Asian cuisine. The leave, the stems and the roots can be used for different food preparations. They can be used fresh, dried or in powdered form. It has a citrus flavor. In the Philippines, it is used when cooking rice to make it smell good. It is also used in cooking poultry products and seafood to improve both smell and taste.

It is said to help lower cholesterol so if you've eaten a lot of fatty foods during the holiday season, lemongrass will be a great help. It is also said to be good for the stomach. It helps in proper digestion. It also helps treat gastric irritability. Women  experiencing discomfort or spasms during menstruation can also use lemongrass to relieve the pain.

Ginger is also widely used in Asian cuisines. It is used because it is flavorful and it removes unpleasant odor in food. It is medically used to treat dyspepsia and constipation. Some also use ginger to relieve nausea and morning sickness.

Moringa is used as a vegetable -- leaves and fruit. It is usually mixed with other vegetables in different food preparations like chicken tinola. It is said to have a lot of medical benefits like for diabetes, gout and arthritis. It is also used for cancer treatment.


Restaurants at the Ayala Triangle

The Ayala Triangle is an interesting place to go especially in the evening. It is a place you really wouldn't expect to find at the Makati Business District. The park is clean. There are lots of joggers. And of course there are plenty of restaurants. You'll see there different kinds of people that's why the restaurants also serve different kinds of cuisine. Here are some of restaurants you can find at the Ayala Triangle.

Amici - Italian cuisine.
Omakase - Japanese
Bon Chon Chicken - Korean
Kanin Club - Pinoy
Pho24 - Vietnamese
Wee Nam Kee - Chinese
Golden Spoon

In my next posts I will be writing about Bon Chon Chiken and Wee Nam Kee. I might write also about Amici although I have not really eaten in this branch. The one that I've been too is their branch beside Don  Bosco. If you want to have an idea about Banapple please read my blog posted last December.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

How to Lose Weight Gained During the Holidays

Many of us gain weight after the Christmas season. There are lots and lots of party invitations during this season and one cannot really refuse any them lest they be labeled party-poopers. Of course, all these parties have tons and tons of fatty foods and overly-sweet desserts which no one can deny are all fattening. Beer and other alcoholic drinks are also part of every party and we also know that they contribute to unwanted weight gain. Given all that, I know we are all looking for the best way to lose these unwanted pounds gained during the holidays. I am also looking for one. So here are some of the suggestions I got regarding how to lose weight.

The top diet to lose the Christmas pounds is the no-rice diet. I say this is the top because this is what I always hear every year. Every January I would hear people say I will not eat rice anymore so I will lose weight. This no-rice diet is actually what is more popularly known as No-Carb diet. What you need to do, according to this diet, is to totally remove carbohydrates from your diet so you must avoid rice, bread, pasta, potatoes, etc. Many say they have really lost weight through this method. However, always remember that carbohydrates are part of our basic needs so totally removing them from your diet might just be dangerous. This is probably why there is an alternative to No-Carb diet -- the Low-Carb diet. 

The next one is the Dukan diet. I just saw this on TV a couple of days after Christmas. It was developed by Pierre Dukan, a French physician. It is a high-protein, low-calorie diet. Some internet reviews say it is similar to the Atkins diet. Anyway, according to the internet (again!), Jennifer Lopez used the Dukan diet.

Then there is the HEBA diet which I just heard from a relative. She said she also heard it from a friend. I have not seen it on the internet so I don't think there have been formal studies regarding this. I do not know if this is effective. Anyway, it is called HEBA because you are supposed to eat only hotdogs, eggs, bananas and apples. No! You are not supposed to eat them all everyday. This is how it goes -- hotdogs only on the first day, eggs on the second day, bananas on the third and apples on the fourth. You are supposed to eat only 5 of each. On the remaining three days of the week you can eat anything as long as you do not overeat.

I don't know which one  will work for you but I'm gonna try the no-rice diet. I know I can do it. Yeah right! I can probably do it for a day or two but I'm sure I'm going to go back to my normal diet soon after.

My wish is for you to succeed in your diet. Tell me which one will work for you, okay?