Sunday, December 2, 2012

Birthday Blues at Super Bowl of China

I usually get that dreaded birthday blues every year, but that feeling starts to fade the moment I see my friends...drinking, laughing and having fun! I also spend my birthdays with my family...treating them out to a special dinner so I make sure that I choose a good restaurant for us. I was not able to make any plans this year because of an unexpected incident that occurred just a few days before my birthday. I still tried my best to celebrate my "supposedly special day" by watching a movie with my friend...then dinner with my mom and son. My friend told me that the food at  Super Bowl of China is good and affordable too so I decided to give it a try. It is located at the 2nd floor of Trinoma near the entrance and fountain area. We were lucky that day because there was a "light and sounds" show that night at the fountain area. The waiter was friendly and the place looked nice, but the smoke coming from the cooking area bothered me a lot because the fan beside me ventilates it inside the restaurant.

We were given a bowl of prawn crackers or more commonly known as "kropek" while we wait for our order. We finished it up fast because we were hungry and still have to wait for around 15 minutes to get our food ready. My kid enjoyed eating kropek because it was crunchy. (camera

The first thing I checked out were their condiments...they got chili...check! sauce...check!..and Chinese vinegar...must try!
First up was the Vegetarian Spring Roll...I was expecting to see more of a Vietnamese-style spring roll, but it was more of a  Pinoy-style spring roll...or locally known as "lumpiang prito". There are 3 pieces of spring roll cut in half served on a plate and that is already worth P95. I could have bought that for only P5 or P10 each at small eateries and they even have tofu or beef inside the spring roll...sheesh! 
I ordered Roast Chicken Toppings, which I shared with my kid thinking that they have a huge serving...but I was wrong. It was only good for one person. The chicken was dry and can't even see any chicken drippings/sauce smeared on the rice. Speaking of the was tough like it was scraped out from the bottom part of the rice cooker. The half part of the chicken was also more of bones than meat so basically my kid and I only ate 2/3 of the chicken in that little bowl.
My mom ordered Steamed Chicken and Mushroom Toppings. She was also disappointed with the taste of the chicken. She said it was quite rubbery and it has no taste at all. She gave my kid a few portion of her food while she forced herself to eat some of her dish. I tasted the chicken, and she was right so I used the condiments to add flavor to what I was eating. There were also quite a few chicken skin parts that were awful to eat. 
We were supposed to order dessert after our meal, but decided to skip that because of our bad dining experience at Super Bowl of China. I don't know if we were unlucky to choose the wrong meals...or the food there were just really not good! I was glad that my mom and kid were with me during my birthday because the food surely did not cheer me up. 

After paying our bill, I looked for something to eat that would make me smile again. We were walking towards Toys R Us and saw Red Mango.

Oh yes! The perfect solution is Red favorite frozen yogurt with blueberry and cheesecake never fails to make me feel good. My mom and kid also love this dessert so we were all happy.  
Next year, I would definitely look and even try a restaurant first before I spend my birthday there. Lesson learned! 

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Friday, November 30, 2012

Jonas: Pasosyal Na Pares

Answering a "college entry"-like exam as part of a job application was quite draining so I wanted to treat myself to a satisfying meal after that. I met up with my friend at Robinson's Pioneer and checked out the restaurants in that area. When I saw Jonas Pares, I remembered what my niece told me "masarap daw dyan" (with so much excitement in her voice). That was enough to convince me so I gave it a try and see why people are crazy about this restaurant.
It was like a "carinderia"-style resto because you have other choices of dishes laid in front of you. Since Jonas is famous for its pares, then I MUST give that dish a try. 
I was quite shocked when I saw the price of the Beef Pares. Is it really worth P124???
If it was this expensive, then I really hope they are damn good. The meal included rice and soup.
The big bowl was  only half filled up with beef pares and there are not even spring onions sprinkled on it. The meat which included fat and litid parts tasted bland maybe because the sauce was not that thick. Usually when I make Beef Pares, the sauce is thick and I just serve soup stock beside it so the diner have the option if he/she wants to pour that over the pares. I remember that's how Cocoy's Pares House serve their Beef Pares. We used to eat a lot there when I was still a kid...hopefully I can visit that resto again to see if it still tastes like it used to.

The rice was also a disappointment because when I saw the huge bowl, I was like whoa! But, when I saw the content, I ended up saying "sigh". I finished up my meal maybe in less than 15 minutes and did not even feel it hit the bottom of my stomach.  
The drinks are also way too expensive. I ordered Mango Shake and I think it was more than P50. I was hoping to see a tall glass with thick fresh mango shake, but it was served in a small plastic cup and quite watery.
My friend and I were really disappointed spending almost P200 each for a "pasosyal" na pares meal. I know what a good pares is and not going to be carried away by all the hype of Jonas Pares anymore. I would rather sit down in a small carinderia and pay only around P50 for a might actually taste better than this.

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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Ersao Looks Cute But There's Nothing Cute About Its Food

Since me and my friend have eaten at almost all the restaurants in Wilcon City Center (Visayas Avenue), we decided to try something new. Ersao restaurant located on the ground floor has a really cute design and I saw its wide selection of milk teas and shakes so we decided to give it a try. 

They have condiments area placed near the counter, but I was not able to try any of them because my kid does not like spices. I was also lazy to go to the I just settled with the chili sauce and soy sauce.
I ordered Beef Topping which was worth P130. I asked the order taker if their beef was really tender because my kid can't chew that well and she said yes...but I was disappointed because it was not that tender and the taste was also bland...I could make better beef stews than this. 
My friend and I shared the Adobong Tofu (P45), Steamed Dumplings (P50) and Pork Chao Fan (P110). 
If they think that adding chopped spring onions on the fried tofu would make it look special, then they are wrong..because it tasted just like any fried is not even that crunchy. The sauce is a bit spicy and sweet. I would have been happier eating Tokwa't Baboy than this. 
The Steamed Dumplings have a soft filling so I let my kid eat this rather than the beef topping. The sauce was thick and a bit sweet which I did not like so I dipped the dumplings in chili sauce and soy sauce with calamansi. I actually ate only a little of this cos I was forced to finish the beef topping.
The Pork Chao Fan has a huge serving so I think among the three orders, this is surely worth it. It tasted good, but I prefer the rice to be stickier.

Ersao is famous for its milk teas and shakes so it is a MUST to order one. My kid loves Mango Shake (P60) so we ordered that. It was good and even has huge pearls inside. I think you need to pay additional for the pearls..can't remember though cos I did not check my bill. 
If you would ask me if I would dine here again, then I would have to be honest and say "No!". Sorry, but there are some meals that are overpriced and did not taste good at all. I can maybe get a short drink here while waiting, but won't risk dining at Ersao again. Actually my friend had a tummy ache (her sister said it was food poisoning) the next day and she told me that this was her last meal...but she did not complain anymore. The only thing cute about Ersao is its interiors and that won't fool me anymore :)
Here is Ersao's Menu for those who want to still try this place out. 

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Take Two on Bacolod Chicken Inasal

This was my second time to visit Bacolod Chicken Inasal this year because of the voucher I bought online. My first was at the Trinoma branch and the second was at the Quezon City Circle. We went there Friday night because that was the last day of using the voucher. After several stressful day, this was the best day to end a weekday...a relaxing stroll at the park, satisfying dinner and watching the mesmerizing colorful fountain. I live near QC Circle, but I really don't go to that place much...maybe I should start making that as a habit.
Bacolod Chicken Inasal can be seen in this circular strip of restaurants beside Tropical Hut.
The restaurant is spacious and even has a second floor for private dinners and functions. I really hate dining in restaurants where you get bumped all the time by other diners or have a hard time passing by because the tables and seats are close to each other. The festive decors highlight the Philippine culture. 

As usual we ordered our all-time favorite Petso worth P99.50 and garlic rice worth P35.50. The chicken was good and the rice is not just plain rice topped with toasted garlic because the rice itself was cooked in garlic. The size is average because I have seen other chicken inasal bigger than that, but it was enough to keep me satisfied. I was happy that they are complete with condiments (vinegar, soy sauce and the chicken oil). 

We thought we won't get satisfied with our orders so we added Pancit Efuven worth P165. It looked tasty using flat noodles garnished with vegetables and topped with fried scrambled eggs, but it lack flavor. The calamansi was not enough to make this dish more tasty. 
If movie awards have their star of the night, then the star of my meal is the Sago't Gulaman worth P69.50. I think this was one of the best Sago't Gulaman I have tasted in the country. The sweetness was perfect with enough crushed ice and filled with huge sagos. This actually made my meal seem delicious even if the chicken and pancit were mediocre. The Sago't Gulaman made my night!
Even if the food was not that awesome, I had a pleasant dining experience at Bacolod Chicken Inasal because the staff were friendly despite of using a voucher. I had bad experiences using a voucher in restaurants where they overcharge you once you exceed the total amount. They don't have a service charge or additional taxes so I only paid the excess amount and they even let my mom use her senior citizen card on that...very nice people :) I just left them a tip for their good service.
After dinner, my kid and I hanged out at the fountain area...which was a great stress reliever. 

Directions to Quezon City Circle: 
Coming from EDSA, turn right to East Avenue and ride any bus, jeep or FX going to Fairview or Lagro. Go down in front of the City Hall where there is a tunnel walkway heading to the park. 
Coming from Fairview, ride any bus, jeep or FX going to Q. Avenue, East Avenue or Kalayaan Avenue. Go down after the PUV turns right reaching the circle. There is a tunnel walkway heading to the park. 

You will see tourism and history pics of Quezon City exhibited at the walkway. Of course the EPAL ads of Mayor Herbert Bautista would surely catch your attention...tsk, tsk, tsk...does he really have to do that? If he used his own money for that project, then he has every right to do so, but if it came from our taxes, then it would be a real shame to put your face and credentials in that area.

There was a guard stationed in the tunnel walkway plus the place was clean so I felt safe walking down there. It was a far cry from what I remember when I was younger walking the underground walkways in Manila. If you are looking for a cheap place to relax and unwind in Quezon City, then make sure to visit QC Circle. 

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Friday, November 16, 2012

F.I.S.H. Is More Than Just A Seafood Restaurant

F.I.S.H. which stands for Fiesta Island Seafood Hub is more than just your typical seafood restaurant because first of all, it does not only serve seafood dishes, but also offers all sorts of Filipino cuisine and even has sashimi and baked oysters. This restaurant is also a perfect place to hold your personal events and company gatherings having KTV rooms and function spaces.
My friend invited me over to F.I.S.H. for dinner because her voucher was about to expire that day. It was my first time to visit that place because the last time I went there it was a different restaurant so I was quite impressed with the changes. F.I.S.H. is located along Visayas Avenue corner Congressional Avenue and it was easy getting there because I live nearby.  
There was a separate area for regular diners which is air-conditioned and have cable TV. I like the interiors because it gives that homegrown feel using native decors.

And of course there are fish decorated all over the restaurant and aquariums at the lobby area.

My friend ordered Kare-Kare which is worth P345 (good for 2 to 3 people) served with bagoong on the side. The Kare-Kare has a nice presentation, but when it comes to taste there is nothing extraordinary about it. The bagoong was a little too sweet for me and I prefer it spicy like the bottled Barrio Fiesta brand.

For dessert, we ordered Leche Flan worth P75 and I think it was good. There were strips of coconut on top which added a uniqueness to its taste. The flan itself is not that rich because some only use the egg yolk in making the flan, but others who want to save up use the whole egg and I think they used the whole egg on this one. Using Muscuvado sugar instead of white sugar would also make leche flans more richer and tastier. In other words, I have tasted better leche flans. 
My overall dining experience was good because the place was pleasant and food were nicely presented. It is a little pricey compared to other known Filipino/Seafood restaurants considering their remote location. I think they should lower the price so that more people would dine in there and just increase it once they have established a name for themselves.
Here is the menu of F.I.S.H. but there's no price so check out other websites for that.

Wait! My story is not yet done because as we were about to leave the restaurant, we saw this nice little shop across the lobby/waiting area called Our Kitchen so we decided to check it out. 
It was a really nice shop filled with all sorts of goodies perfect for Christmas giveaways like bread loaf, cakes, sylvanna balls, cookies, mini cupcakes, meringue etc. There are also coffee beans, bottled sardines, bagoong and more stuff sold in that store. Those who don't have time to cook would surely be delighted with the list of packed meals available in Our Kitchen which can feed up to 4 people. 

I bought the banana walnut loaf worth P115. It was placed in a nice box so you can give it as a gift anytime. The bread was good and price is reasonable. 

We chatted with the cashier and she told us that F.I.S.H. and Our Kitchen are sister companies managed by different chefs. The concept of Our Kitchen is very interesting. Check out the product range of Our Kitchen.

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