grub + travels + perspectives

Favorite Things #13

1. Our newest feline visitor
2. Travel Factor Magazine's maiden issue! <3
3. Shut up and make some pizza! (Wall of doodles at Project Pie)
4. Nose pore strips
5. Starbucks' Bacon and Cheese sandwich was a little bit more than bacon and cheese
6. Home. <3 (Cup of Swiss Miss Milk Choco…

Truth Thursdays: I See You

"I see you."

"Of course, you do see me. I am here in front of you."

I imagined that would be what you'd say when I tell you those two words. Of course. Now, I feel silly.

What you don't understand is that I see you and everything you do. I hear you and everything you say.…

Cupcakes by Gremlins

A couple of months ago, Charm went to Cupcake by Gremlin's physical store in Maginhawa. And because she was such a thoughtful friend, she bought a box for us. Sweet. <3
After we've all got a taste of the cupcake(s) of our choice, I asked them to write their feedback so I could compile i…

Bag of Beans

Most of us dread Mondays for the sole fact that it is the start of another work week, as if the weekend is a temporary escape from the reality that is life. On a Sunday night, I always get to read tweets or Facebook statuses that read: "Monday na naman bukas." in a tone that resonates defeat. Since we're night owls, the work week doesn't start until Monday night.

We thought of shaking things up on this certain Monday morning so we decided to have breakfast (turned brunch) at Bag of Beans in Olivarez in Tagaytay City.

The first Bag of Beans branch is located in Mendez Crossing West, still in Tagaytay. Since this would just be a quick brunch, we didn't want to go out of way so we just went to the more accessible branch, the one in Olivarez, which was around an hour away from Bacoor.

There were no other customers when we got there so I had the opportunity to take lots of photos. The interiors are very rustic, everything is made of wood as if it's a house that belongs to a craftsman. The cozy ambiance is just perfect with the cold morning weather.

Their pastries
We were looking around and we spotted the balcony. The set-up was very intimate with tall chairs and tables overlooking a wide stretch of greens and blues. It was very uplifting and relaxing.

Never mind the cold wind blowing
The greatest view. How can you not fall in love with that?
Channeling my inner Pocahontas. Cue background music: Colors of the wind. LOL

On the table:

Breakfast Sampler (PhP 380)
Okay. I should have had an inkling that, this being called the Breakfast Sampler, the serving would be huge. Should I have known, I wouldn't have ordered that extra cup of rice you see there. Hahaha. But then again, it's breakfast food so, challenge accepted!

Apartment 1B One Rockwell Center

I saw Apartment 1B's Rockwell branch on my way to work one night, when the cab driver took another route to avoid the horrible Friday EDSA traffic. I've always had a mental note of checking out Apartment 1B's first branch in Salcedo Village but never got to. I was really glad when I knew about this other branch which is easier to locate.

A few days after, we went there to have breakfast. The place is quite small (I guess they're sticking to the apartment vibe) but they had a second level which has more seats to accommodate guests. Almost all the tables were occupied so we were guided to the second floor.

View from the stairs: first floor
Second level
The pieces of furniture chosen and the overall aesthetic felt very cozy and homey, like you've known this place for a long time. I love that they were able to inject a sense of familiarity to the place. They even got a big couch on one side with the TV hanging above it, and lampshades and comfy chairs. Although in my opinion, there were too many tables placed on the second floor for such a small space.

As I've said, the plan was to have breakfast. But when we were handed the menu, my eyes just zoomed in so many things, I forgot the warmth and comfort that breakfast food brings. There were just so many dishes that appealed to us!

SoulPancake Sunday: Crowd Studies - A Playlist

01 // Jamiroquai - Virtual Insanity 02 // The Beatles - Here Comes The Sun 03 // Radiohead - Karma Police  04 // Dishwalla - Counting Blue Cars 05 // New Radicals - You Only Get What You Give 06 // Little River Band - Cool Change   07 // The Postal Service - We Will Become Silhouettes  08 // Kansas…

Thoughts + Office Space

Thank God it's already Saturday. I'm here sitting in front of my desk, contemplating about a lot of things. Sometimes it's just damn exhausting to go through a day and not go insane. You have to keep on changing your perspective about things. You always have to rise above. I sometimes …

Torch Restaurant

Choosing a place to eat after work has always been a dilemma for me and some of my friends at work. Of course, we'd always like to try something new but we also have to take into consideration the location since not all of us would have the same travel time when going home. We've been to Kapitolyo a couple of times and we wanted somewhere new. So, I guess, Greenhills is the next best place to go, right?

I already had my eye on Torch since last year (it was a part of my To Dine In List), so I quickly suggested it to my friends. Another thing I liked about Torch was that they're open as early as 7:00 AM, which is just perfect for us night owls! There aren't a lot of great food joints that open this early. Believe me, we run out of options!

Arrived there around 9:00 AM and we were starving.

One of the perks of having the night shift is that you get to steer away from normal lunchtime queues, food crew gets to assist you better and things are not in a hurry. I also get to take better photos of the place since there's not much people around. Hehehe.

On the table:

Gambas Pizza (PhP 329.95)
Cheesy Mashed Potato (PhP 89.95)
I found these really delicious. I don't usually go for spicy food but I thought the Gambas Pizza had just the right amount of heat in it. The crust is thin and crisp, perfectly complementing the spice and flavors of the pizza. I suggest you try it because it's absolutely wonderful. It goes the same for the Cheesy Mashed Potato. Eventhough it's named mashed potato, there were still chunks of potato giving it great texture, as opposed to those mashed potatoes that looks and feels like baby food. I love cheese and this dish definitely didn't fell short on being cheesy. Very satisfying!

My {Maring + Habagat} Weekend

The past weekend has been quite interesting. Cavite, my hometown, was in the spotlight due to the heavy downpour that caused massive flooding to the majority of the province.

I took a day off last Friday to spend some time home since I wasn't able to the previous week. All Saturday morning, I …

Now Playing: Brooke Fraser feat. Aqualung - Who Are We Fooling

Turned twenty one on a day that we met / Terrible shoes, implausible dress / It's funny how sad the funny things get as you grow older
Cause real love / Is hard love / It's all we have / It's a break-neck / Train wreck / It's all we have
This beautiful tangle that's bruising us …

DIY Camera Strap

If you're tired of the same, generic strap that comes with your camera, here's a quick fix. I found this easy peasy tutorial, over at Free People, on how you can make your own camera strap from, say, a scarf or any fabric with your favorite pattern on it! A nice way of spicing up the boring black strap while at the same time, showing a bit of your personality and creativity.

There's tons of ways you can personalize your camera strap. There's the use of metal chains, woven fabric and even bits of leather from your old boots! I liked this one because this is the most uncomplicated (haha) process and it doesn't involve any kind of sewing (hurrah).

What you'll need:

A lightweight, small summer scarf (cut it to preferred size so that the camera would fall on the desired spot)
A patch of leather
A hot glue gun
A pair of scissors
2 D-rings
2 lanyard hooks

Perfect mornings.

Waking up to cuddle weather. Drizzling rain. Alone in bed. Subtly whistling wind. Burying yourself under a thick blanket but leaving your toes to show. Bake with Anna Olson on cable TV. Big shirts. No pants. Spam, scrambled eggs and garlic rice. A bowl of hot noodle soup. Extra cup of rice. Ice co…

Travel through taste buds

One thing I like about trying new food is that I get to get a glimpse of a country or culture through their cuisine. Of course, nothing beats actually being on that foreign land and absorb it's beauty and wonders but experiencing its translation in terms of their cooking will suffice for me... for now. I have a confession though: I am not that risky when trying new dishes. Most of the time I stick to what I know and what I like. That's one of the reasons why I prefer dining out with my friends because, unlike me, they are always ecstatic to try new cuisines. Which, in the end, is also a good thing for me.

This past couple of weeks, eat outs were at a bunch of different restaurants which was kind of like a little foreign journey adventure for our palates!

Korean: Happy Han Bapsang 

We found this restaurant a few months ago when we first discovered a branch of Moonleaf located in Ortigas Home Depot. I was so happy to find a Korean restaurant near the office because I've been craving for Korean dishes for so long. I first got taste of authentic Korean food from a little restaurant called Suwon Galbi (in Calamba Premiere Industrial Park in Brgy. Batino, Calamba) located near the Samsung Electro-Mechanics plant where I did a short stint as an engineer (~those were the days~). I've been craving for Korean food ever since. </3

This hole-in-the-wall joint is currently offering unlimited samgyupsal for PhP 300 (omgz ~destiny~)! We were so hungry that day so we were so happy with the news. The unlimited samgyupsal includes 5 different banchan (sides), a serving of pajeon (green onion egg pancake) and what I think is a leak soup. I absolutely love pajeon (T_T)! We also ordered 3 servings of rice.

I don't know why but that day, the food crew did all the cooking for us. Service was really quick and they were very accommodating with all of our requests. The interiors were painted orange with a streak of roller-brushed white paint in the middle that made the place look unfinished. The fixtures were very basic, nothing grand. They even have an aquarium of live eels which we stared at for a good 5 minutes. Hahaha.

The samgyupsal is lost somewhere in that table
We were full and happy and the samgyupsal won't stop. Haha. What more can we ask for?

Happy Han Bapsang is located at Ortigas Home Depot, Julia Vargas Ave., Pasig, Metro Manila
Next to Ministop and Moonleaf Tea Shop

Persian: Behrouz Persian Cuisine

Having Mickey D's as the only open fast food chain near work is always a bummer. The food gets tiring and the other options we have are only Ministop and 7-11. So one time, Ian and I decided to head to Metrowalk to have a lunch here at Behrouz. Since I am not familiar with the menu and we had to be quick, he ordered Chelo Kebab Kobideh for the 2 of us, an extra order of grilled tomatoes (because tomatoes are just delicious) and ox brain which I didn't try. Haha. 

The Chelo Kebab Kobideh (PhP 270) is comprised of 2 pieces of beef kebab served covered with a heap of hot Basmati rice and 2 grilled tomatoes. So the photo above is my half of the serving. We both also ordered a glass of Greek yogurt shake.

I am a rice person so I found it really great there was that much rice per serving. The beef was grilled perfectly and very tasty. I actually think this dish is perfect for me because it has all the components I would enjoy in a meal. I would definitely come back to try their chicken!

Behrouz Persian Cuisine is located at Ground Level, Metrowalk, Meralco Ave., Ortigas Center, Pasig City
Contact Number: (02) 638-6318

Quick Bites: La Union's Halo Halo de Iloko and Sea Nymph Surf Cafe

Last April (~so long ago~), a few friends and I retreated from the life of skyscrapers, graveyard shifts and endless traffic to go to San Juan, La Union, where our main aim was to relax, reflect and learn to ride the waves (optional). Since I do not even know how to swim, I will not even pretend to like the idea of trying out surfing. I passed on that opportunity and focused my attention on finding and dining at a local restaurant that will represent the taste of La Union.

We had the most horrible bus ride going there (yes, talking about you, Partas bus line!), arrived there just in time for sunset and spent our first night curled up in our beds with a documentary about aliens lulling us to sleep.

The next day, of course, was a different story.

We had our breakfast at Sea Nymph Surf Cafe which is located next to Sebay. Nothing fancy, nothing grand. But I noticed that a lot of people go here to eat. My friend, Muffet, always talked about Sea Nymph's pancakes with bacon and cream cheese, so we went there and ordered that.

Not bad, I think, for it's price (around PhP 100, I forgot). This might not be Pancake House-level or whatever restaurant you go to, to eat pancakes, but the key is to stuff in more bacon! Also, I liked that fact that they use Maya Hotcakes (lol, support Maya!) that's why the pancakes were so fluffy. The cream cheese? Almost non-existent but I'd still have this anyway.

For our late lunch, I just randomly picked this out of their menu. This is called Asian Pork Liempo. I was thinking of something grilled so I was surprised when this was served. But this is one of the best pork dishes I've ever tasted, no kidding.Or it's just that I've never tasted anything quite like this before. You get the point. It really tastes good. It's got that Korean cuisine vibe to it and the anise made the dish fragrant and even more flavorful. It was pure win on so many levels. This dish stole my heart and my stomach.

As per recommendation by friends who frequent La Union, we went here to have our dinner. It was our last night there so we wanted the dinner to be extra special. I had no idea before that Halo Halo de Iloko was featured in a local channel's program. They just told me bagnet dishes here were great. Okay, that was enough reason for me to try this place.

Favorite Things #12

1. Beer kegs! We found actual beer kegs at Brotzeit.
2. Persian food! Chelo Kebab Kobideh from Behrouz. This actually came with a  tall glass of Dogh (Greek yogurt) shake. Delicious.
3. White tea and ginger scent.
4. Such great heights.
5. My favorite scene from Before Sunset, my favorite out of t…

Wildflour Cafe + Bakery's Cronuts

Or Wildflour Cafe + Bakery's croissant donuts rather.

There was the cupcake craze, the milk tea craze and now, the Cronut invasion?

For a little background, Cronuts began making news in this side of the world last June, I think. Or at least that's when I first started hearing the buzz about it. I read an article in Pepper.ph about the mania around this hybrid pastry in New York, selling price of $5, and I got to admit, the photos of all the long lines I've seen and the uniqueness got me interested.

Why did it gain such a following?

Chef Dominique Ansel (of the namesake bakery that launched Cronuts) was, for one, innovative. Croissants and donuts are already delicious on its own, and this combination of the two was certainly a genius move. (We'll never really know if Ansel was the first one to come up with this idea but if he's not, he seemed to be in the right place at the right time.) It was something you've never heard, seen or tasted before so it's natural that people would certainly try it. Then, all the exposure through the social media even made it more popular as it spread like wildfire from New York to Manila (if you also got someone like Anthony Bourdain to try your food, it's almost a done deal). I think the limit of 250 pieces a day also pumps up the want to have it exceedingly more.

Then the wave of Cronut clones followed. Not everyone can be in New York so, I guess, this is a good thing, right?

Wildflour's: The First of Many

Around early June, Wildflour The Fort's Facebook page posted this picture which I suppose was an announcement that the Cronut has indeed arrived at our shores. But Wildflour calls this croissant donuts to avoid infringement because Ansel has apparently filed for a trademark for the word Cronut, which he first coined.

Read here about how Anna Lorenzana-De Ocampo of Wildflour Cafe + Bakery replicated Ansel's creation.

We were able to swing by Podium around the end of last month because I was craving for Cupcake Lab's cupcakes. On the way up, I saw Wildflour Cafe + Bakery and kinda kicked myself (mentally) because I totally forgot this branch. I've been waiting for the cronuts hoopla to die a notch down before trying it out myself.

Aah. Heaven.
We went to the counter and can't find any cronuts displayed so I had to ask if they were serving it that day. They were serving the croissant donuts at specific times of the day only. And at the time I went there, it was 1:00 PM - 1:30 PM. We were 30 minutes early so we bought cupcakes and wandered a little before coming back. I was surprised to find a line building up considering Wildflour's space was small.

Kanto Freestyle Breakfast

Two words: extraordinary carinderia.

If you're looking for laid back ambiance, comfortable chairs and interiors with personality, you won't find it here. They never promised that. The place is indeed true to its name. But if you're those type of  people who would go out of their way to get their hands on good food, this is one of the places you would like to be.

There's so much the world wide web has written about this place so it really, really got me intrigued. That plus the fact that I can eat breakfast three times a day. So, was it worth all the rave? Read along.

We had no idea where San Joaquin Street in Mandaluyong is so we took a cab going there. We were dropped off a few blocks away because we were greeted by ankle-deep flood and road excavations. So we had to take a pedicab to cross the flood and still had to be dropped off nowhere near Kanto because of the excavation. Foursquare was of no help, too. Haha. The pin was definitely in the wrong spot. It was a good thing I caught sight of the blue signage (see photo above) and recognized it from all the photos I saw online.

We happily marched towards Kanto. We were hungry!

Most of the comments I read online was that service was slow and the place is always jam-packed. Luckily for us, the place is empty when we got there! But I have to say, after we got settled, people in groups were slowly creeping in.

Too bad their Eggs Benedict was not available that day. It's what I've been meaning to order.

On the table:

Spam and Eggs (PhP 90)
I know spam tastes the same no matter where they serve it. Hahaha. But I just love to eat this bundle. This is my ultimate comfort food. I love the tomato pesto! It adds an interesting flavor to this traditional breakfast meal plus it's a nice pop of color!

July Wrap Up

As I am typing this blog entry (on Notepad, silly! haha), I just read an e-mail from someone regarding something I overlooked at work. I'm not going to make any excuses for my shortcomings. I know I share the blame, but imagine my horror when I saw that copies of the e-mail were also sent to m…