Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Cafe Juanita, Pasig -- Nice Dinner in a Home-y Setting

A friend recently celebrated her birthday. We had dinner at Cafe Juanita in Pasig. I've never heard of the place so I really had no idea what to expect. When we got there I was surprised by how nice the facade of the restaurant looks. It looks like a house built a few decades ago. It's white and has a lot of glass. It also has lots of plants in front which makes the place really pleasant.

Cafe Juanita - White house with lots of glass.

Once inside you will notice it has a home-y feel. It looks like a typical "grandma's house" (is it Lola Juanita's house?). It has lots of antiques and lots of lights. Cloth of different colors and texture are draped in various places in the house.
Inside Cafe Juanita.
Lots of lights and cloth all over.

We were so hungry so as soon as we got to our reserved table we ordered chicharon bulaklak as 'starter'. I don't want to call it appetizer because that's something we didn't need anymore that time. The Cafe Juanita's chicharon bulaklak is crispy. It's golden brown so you know they did not overcook it just to make it crispy. It's a bit salty though but I didn't mind because they have vinegar as dip anyway.

Chicharon Bulaklak.

Then we ordered Kare-kare ni Juanita, Crispy Pata, Pinakbet and fried fish.

The Kare-kare ni Juanita is one of the best I've ever had. The sauce is thick with just enough peanut sauce -- the sauce is not overwhelmingly buttery. The meat is tender and the vegetables were cooked just right. The sauce is really good -- you can use the Filipino saying "sabaw pa lang, ulam na" to describe it.

Kare-kare - the bowl looks small but it actually contains a lot.

The Crispy Pata is also good. Lot's of meat. I say this because I've had experiences in other restaurants where the Crispy Pata they serve is made of more bones than meat. Anyway, I love the crispy skin.

Crispy Pata.

The Pinakbet at Cafe Juanit is different from other Pinakbets I've eaten. For one it has tomatoes. I don't know about you but I'm not used to eating Pinakbet with tomatoes. But it was good. The vegetables are crispy which is how they should be. It has lots of string beans though (I don't like string beans. Shhhhh...this is a secret).
Pnakbet - see the tomatoes I'm talking about?

The fried fish is what I love the most. I think it's Laguna Fish on the menu. It has thin fish meat that tastes great. They serve this fried fish with a dip that makes it even tastier. Its also served with fried rice and steamed vegetables. It's consider "single order" but it's good for sharing.

Laguna Fish.

Overall the Cafe Juanita dinner was very good. Nice food shared with nice friends in a nice place.

Next up: Dessert at Classic Confections. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Papa John's - Pizza-all-you-can (Eat all you can pizza)

I was at Papa John's (University Mall, De La Salle University, Taft Ave., Manila) last Tuesday. It was the last day of their pizza-all-you-can promo (eat all you can pizza) for P 199.00. You can avail of the promo form 6-9 pm only. We arrived at around 7:20 pm. There was a long line waiting outside. We were number 17 on the list. We got  in at around 8. I was afraid we will not be able to eat much because we only had an hour 'til the 'deadline'. What made me even more concerned is that they do not serve the pizza fast. They were actusally 'pacing'.

They first served pepperoni pizza then carbonara pizza. Then the third flavor was garden fresh and the last is Hawaiian pizza. My friends liked the pepperoni. I like it too because the pepperoni was crispy probably because they had the pepperoni bacon thin. But I liked the carbonara better. It of course has white sauce/topping with lots of onions and meat. I thought it was shawarma flavored actually.

Over all the experience was good. I mean I had 7 slices so I was really happy.    

Now I'm waiting for the eat all you can promo of The Old Spaghetti House (TOSH). I saw it yesterday on facebook. A lot of people were posting/sharing the TOSH eat all you can promo. I wonder if it's true. 

Vegetables and Fruits -- Homemade Costume for Nutrition Week Celebrations in Schools (updated - July 2013)

July is touted in the country as Nutrition Month. Schools, private and public, incorporate everything about NUTRITION in their lessons and school activities. The usual activities are slogan making, poster making and essay writing contests. In some schools they do cooking demos. Some invite professionals to do demos while others utilize their home economics or livelihood education students. In other schools they have what they call the nutrition parade. They ask students to wear costumes that show the concept of good nutrition.

An easy way to make a homemade costume for your child is to make a vegetable or fruit headdress. To do this you just need to draw (or print if you're not that good in drawing) big versions of vegetables or fruits using cartolina or cardboard.Then cut the figure out and attach to a cap or hat. To be consistent with the vegetable or fruit you've chosen, let your child wear a shirt of the same color as the one on his head.

Another option is to make a bigger version of the one described above to have something that your child can put over his body. You actually need to make two cutouts for the front and the back. You just need to connect them using wide garter, string or piece of cloth so your child can wear the costume over his shoulders like a spaghetti-strapped dress.

Another variation would be to make a big illustration of  a fruit or a vegetable. Then cut a hole in front -- just big enough for the face. You can use a piece of  garter so your child can wear it like a mask.

You can also attach real fruits and vegetables on a big hat. This is more authentic. But be mindful that this is a rather heavy nutrition week costume. lol

If you have enough budget there are also costume stores where you can buy ready made vegetable or fruit costumes. There are also dressmakers who will be willing to make a dress for your kid.

If you have old fairy tale/cartoon charater costumes, you can also use them for nutrition week. So how exactly do you relate them to nutrition week? Just be creative. Here are some tips to do it. If your child has
 (1) Bumble bee costume: make a big jar of honey (see Winnie the pooh's jar as pattern)
 (2) Snow White: let your child carry a basket filled with big red apples
 (3) Cinderella: let her carry a pumpkin (don't make it into a wagon lol)
 (4) Butterfly costume: let her bring squash flowers (available in some wet markets)
 (5) Robinhood: let him bring a sack full of French bread.
 (6) Little Red Riding Hood: let your child carry a basket of bread and cheese
 (7) Bugs Bunny: oh I'm sure you know what to let your child bring.
 (8) Mickey Mouse: let your child bring cheese, what else :)
 (9) Minion: let your child bring bananas (yeah, they have the same color, hihihi)
 (10) Ironman: remember that scene where Ironman was eating donuts? If  you do, then you know what to let your child bring. ;) 

There are so many things you  can do to make vegetable or fruit costume. You just need some creativity.

Note: Click here for new Fruit and Vegetable Costume Ideas.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Creamy Mango Sauce Recipe

We all love fried food. Fried fish, fried chicken, fried pork chops, fried bacon, fried eggs, fried hotdogs, etc. But eating fried food everyday can be boring. So what many people do to vary the taste is to change the dip or the dressing. Common dips are soy sauce and calamansi mixture, lechon sauce, mayo and tartar sauce.These are all  good but I have another suggestion. You can try creamy mango sauce for anything fried. Here is my simple recipe for creamy mango sauce.

Creamy Mango Sauce


1 ripe mango
1 small can of all purpose cream
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 small calamansi


1. Peel the mango and scrape the pulp.
2. Make a smooth puree using a blender. Set aside.
3. Pour the all purpose cream in a bowl.
4. Mix the garlic powder.
5. Squeeze the calamansi.
6. Add the mango puree. Mix well.

This creamy mango sauce is good for just about anything fried but it is best for fried cream dory, fried chicken fillet or fried pork chops.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Vikings - A Feast from the Sea (Luxury Buffet)

I've been hearing about Vikings for a long time already but I never had the chance to go there. Good thing a friend invited me to have dinner at Vikings for her birthday. She was supposed to treat us there on a Saturday but I could not join them so she moved it for Tuesday.

There were a lot of people outside. The waiting list was very long and it was only 5:30 in the afternoon. It was not a problem though because the birthday girl reserved a table for us.

When we entered I felt a sudden rush  of excitement. The place is huge. It can accommodate a lot of people. There are various sections for different kinds of food. Naturally it was the area for Japanese that caught my attention first. Good thing the table reserved for us was near that area.

Anyway, here are some pictures I took.

This tuna is really big. The salmon looks small next to that giant tuna but it's still the biggest I've seen so far. You know the fish is fresh because of the sweet taste.

Tuna and Salmon
Lots and lots of Japanese food. They come in all sorts of flavors and designs.

The next picture is my first plate from the Japanese section.
Other sections

Salad and others =)
Chef's Salad - just one of the many kinds of salad they have
Cold cuts
Another salad
Cauliflower, broccoli and bacon
Suaje (shirmps) - another favorite
Assorted caviar
There are also food food from the grill. You can also select fresh seafood to be grilled.
Grilled meat
Fresh seafood for grilling
For those who love dessert you'll  truly enjoy the desserts section.
Chocolate, strawberry and ube fondue

and some more cake
For you Halo-Halo
You  can have crepe made right in front of you.
Other desserts include fresh fruits, bibingka and puto bungbong.

During weekdays buffet dinner is P 888.00 and lunch is P 688.00. Weekends (Friday -  Sunday) buffet  dinner is P 1088.

If you eat there on your birthday, your dinner will be 'on the house'. All you need is to present your ID and have at least one friend with you. (They need at least one paying person.) Aside from the free dinner, the service crew will sing the Happy Birthday song to you. You'll also get a free cake (yes, different from the cakes you can find at the dessert area).

Building B, SM By the Bay
Seaside Boulevard
SM Mall of Asia Complex
Pasay City

*Additional notes regarding reservation: Reservations can be made via phone call but you need to do it one to two weeks before the date of your visit. To be on the waiting list you need to go there personally. They will not include you on the list if you just call them. I actually tried this once and they really did not give in. I requested very hard but they were firm about it.