Sunday, July 26, 2015

Top Picks at Bayleaf Hotel

Recently work brought me back to Bayleaf Hotel in historic Intramuros. For my previous posts, you can go here, here, and here.

The most memorable item I associate with the hotel's 9 Spoons Restaurant is their pritchon.

For this visit they tinkered with the filling--the lechon bits are heftier, with the skin crunchier. This was a hit with me and my colleagues.

9 Spoons
9th Floor The Bayleaf Hotel

The hotel's newest dining outlet is the Rafaelle Woodfired Pizza Restaurant. I was smitten with

the Gamberetti, made of white shrimps, preserved lemons, garlic, chili, and almonds. Best consumed while still warm, it was garlicky and seductive. 

For dessert I had Dolci Al Cioccolato--warm chocolate cake with vanilla cream.

This reminded me of choco lava cake. Dig in while warm. The cake itself was mild, with the parts touching the hot plate tasting richer and darker. The cream makes the dish brighter. I finished the plate clean.

Rafaelle Woodfired Pizza Restaurant
Third Floor The Bayleaf Hotel

I now have a new favorite from the hotel's Cioccolata Churros Cafe--the brownies.

It was crunchy on the outside and moist inside. It was subtly sweet, and generous with almond slivers. No need for cream or caramel drizzle, as long as it is served warm. 

I should also add that the Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato (BLT) Sandwich was also good--they didn't stint on the bacon, which was fried crisp. Unfortuntaely, I have no picture to show, and so a future visit is in order. 

Cioccolata Churros Cafe
Ground Floor The Bayleaf Hotel

If you're considering holding a function in the hotel, opt for homegrown snacks. Their fried lumpia, sapin-sapin and suman sa latik are so good. 

The Bayleaf Hotel
Muralla corner Victoria Streets
Intramuros, Manila
(+63) 02 318-5000; (+63) 02 328-3170

Friday, July 24, 2015

Project Pie's Pizza Variant 6

I've been hearing about Project Pie since last year, and so when the opportunity came to drop by their Makati branch, I took it. The appeal of the local franchise is the option to build your own pizza, but since we were not feeling DIY that day we opted for their regular offerings. 

Of the two variants we tried, I was partial to number 6, a perfectly balance pizza made of grilled chicken, sliced onions, cilantro, mozzarella, Gorgonzola (veined Italian blue cheese), and BBQ sauce. I love how creamy, funky, and salty the toppings were from the blue cheese, and sweet from the barbecue sauce. 

In my next visit I'll create my own pizza. I hope it's good as the one featured here.

Project Pie
Ground Level, Park Square
Palm Drive, San Lorenzo
(+63) 917-8536308

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Globe's Fresh Lumpia

One day my office-mate offered me this treat all the way from Quiapo--Globe's  fresh lumpia.

I lost no time wolfing it down. It was garlicky, sweet, and sensuous. I never though lumpia would be this taste this good, and you can have it even without the sauce. Inside the casing are the usual heart of palm with carrots, lettuce, and muscovado sugar.

Note: eat immediately, as it easily spoils. 

Globe Lumpia House
740 Raon St., Quiapo, Manila

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

My Favorite Pastries at Cafe Mary Grace

I love Cafe Mary Grace for its consistency and good service. You can check out my earlier posts here, here, and here

I first heard about the resto from my friend Teeny, who was raving about the ensayamada of the soft dough and the right medley of sweet and salty. You can request to have it grilled to intensify the flavors. 

Many of my friends were also mad about the mango bene, which reminds me of a very good tiramisu. The lightly sweetened cream tied all the elements together.

If you ask me I love the strawberry shortcake the most. It had just the right mix of sweet and tart and was generous with slivers of candied strawberry. The sponge was moist and the cream not too cloying. It was also Instagram-worthy: very pretty. I used to hate sponge cakes, but this is different from the sorry dry sponge cakes I had. 

'Til my next post. :)

Cafe Mary Grace
Robinson Place Manila
Midtown Ermita

Friday, March 27, 2015

What to Eat and Where at Robinsons Place Manila

My Singapore-based friend gave me this advice: if you can do work, shopping, fun, and worship within your immediate environs, then you're all good. This is true here in Metro Manila, where traffic has made going from one city to another a nightmare. My base has been Manila for some time, and my default mall is Robinsons Place Manila. For today I'm posting my favorite Robinsons Place Manila restos.

1. Ramen Nagi 

This is my favorite ramen place du jour--I have eaten all the main variants, and I'm waiting for the seasonal variants to pop up. Pictured below is the seasonal Bonito Ramen.

For the full article, go here

2. UCC

Before Ramen Nagi opened its branch at Robinson, this was my go-to place for ramen, specifically the Tan Tan Mien Pork Bone Soup. I also love their Halo Halo Cake.

For the full article, go here

3. Cyma's

I remember the first time I ate at the Greek resto chain Cyma at their Rockwell branch, and I was smitten. My favorites are the Spinach and Artichoke Fondue (pictured below), Grilled Marinated Octopus, the Skolatina (Molten Lava Choco Cake), Tonno Salata (Tuna Salad), Yemistes (Stuffed Peppers), and the Flaming Mangoes. 

For the articles, go here, here, and here


When dining in groups and you have the cash to spare, this is for you. I'm mad about their pork dishes and meat samplers (pictured below). I always order their potent Mojitos and lovely Caesar Salad.

For the full article, go here

5. Arya

I haven't been to the Middle East, but I have a fair idea of what to eat via Persian Resto Arya. I fell in love with their Lamb Biryana (pictured below) and their Couscous Salad.

For the full articles, go  here and here

6. Banana Leaf

Some of our Southeast Asian neighbors offer heady cuisines, but for the novice balance is achieved through matching dishes that go together well. I usually pair my favorite Malayan Beef Curry (pictured below) with the delicate Japanese Eel Fried Rice. Yum!

For the articles, go here, here, and here

7. Cafe Mary Grace

I usually drop by Mary Grace at odd hours--it's hard to get a table during dining primetime. I stand by their Scampi Pasta, Vigan Longganiza Sandwich (pictured below), and Strawberry Shortcake. 

For the full articles, go here and here

8. Pepper Lunch 

I'm not a fan of hot plates, but I love Pepper Lunch's Molten Choco Lava Cake (pictured below) and salads.

For the full article, go here

9. New Bombay

For those who are partial to sweet-sour desserts, head over to New Bomabay and order the Lassi. My favorite is pictured below, the Almond Lassi

For the full article go here.

10. New Zealand Natural Ice Cream

If there is any reason to break your diet, then the calories must be worth it. I love New Zealand Natural's Hokey Pokey ice cream variant for the lovely taste and texture.

For the full article, go here

Robinsons Place Manila
Pedro Gil St,, Ermita Manila

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Ms. Polly's Award-Winning Chocolate Cake

Last December we were gifted with one amazing chocolate cake: it was moist, slightly bitter, no too sweet, very chocolatey. I'm not a fan of chocolate cakes but this is an exception: the icing is slightly sweeter than the body, driving one not to waste even a smidge.

Ms. Polly's Specialty Cakes and Desserts
16 Milan Street Merville Park Subdivision
(+63) 02 824 7612

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Buffet Love at Marco Polo Ortigas' Cucina

Last December was a dizzying dervish of parties and get-togethers. Buffets are popular for these gatherings, and one resto I was keen on trying was Marco Polo Ortigas' Cucina. I've tried Marco Polo Cebu and Davao (click here and here) before, so I wanted to know how the Ortigas branch measure up against them. 

I took a page from my friend Rush and started with the soup station. I had a tasty, spicy soup with flavorful mussels, siomai, shrimps, and ham, freshened by calamansi. I dialed up the heat with chopped red-eye chilis or labuyo. Finished it off with a topping of sliced boiled eggs. This was yum--a fortuitous beginning.

Next I had tasty rib-eye steak in pepper steak sauce coupled with sweet cherry tomatoes--a nice pairing. 

The pork chops were moist and the pizza, which has been sitting on the counter for quite some time, was still flavorful. 

The pork and beans was just lovely and the seafood stew was divine.

Another winning platter: slipper lobster, mussels, and shrimp which I dipped in vinegar. 

Of the excellent gelato, I was partial to pistachio and vanilla which I topped with mango and blueberries.  

Of the pastries, I love the choco tart the best--rich dark silky balanced by tart strawberries--but Marco Polo Davao's version is more exquisite. 

24F Marco Polo Ortigas Manila
Sapphire Street cor. Meralco Avenue
Pasig City
(+63) 02 7207777 local 6622

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Tagaytay's Marcia Adams's Tuscany for Grilled Orange and Vanilla Ice Cream

This is my second visit to Marcia Adams. Per usual, the food was great. Each course entitles one to an appetizer, a main dish, and a dessert. I've already featured my favorites here. For this visit I was impressed with this dessert combo: grilled orange + vanilla ice cream + mint + honey = delicious!

Can't resist taking a picture of the Amalfi Prawns, which I also featured here.

Marcia Adams's Tuscany
JP Rizal Street, Tagaytay City

The Ramen Variants of Ramen Nagi

The first time I ate at Ramen Nagi was truly unforgettable. I've never been back to the place but fortunately, after a few months a branch nearer my place of work opened. I set out to choose a favorite from the menu, but up to this point where all the variants are excellent choosing is difficult.

Red King
This variant (pictured below, right) has a tasty, complex broth: both sweet and spicy, and the fresh leeks add another layer of heat. The broth alone was enough reason for the visit. The thin noodles were perfect for absorbing the flavors. I was drenched in sweat after the meal--always a good sign.

Bonito King
This is a seasonal variant (pictured above, right), and I was glad I ordered it. Bonitos are medium-sized relatives of tuna. The bowl arrived with the strong aroma of  fish and spicy powder. I love the option of choosing the heat level--my bowl had just the right amount of spiciness. The raw leeks cut through the rich, gamy broth. This is one excellent variant.

Green King 
I had low expectations with this variant, but it works--the broth was dense with flavor. I love the instant hit of umami from the cheese and herbs. Dialing the heat up prevented this from being too cloying. Sarap!

Ebi Ramen
Another very flavorful, seasonal variant. I requested that they make the sauce and broth light and dialed the heat level to seven. I was perspiring after the meal and quite happy.

Black King
After a prior attempt that had too much garlic it overpowered the dish, I was able to get the combo right: I requested that they make the garlic, sauce, and broth light and I had the spice level dialed to eight. The result was a flavorful, balanced ramen.

Ramen Nagi
Padre Faura Wing
Robinsons Place Manila
Pedro Gil St,, Ermita Manila
(+63) 02 353 5063

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Top Posts of 2014

I've been blogging semi-regularly since 2012 and I haven't come around to writing year-end highlights. This time I'll do something different and post the top five posts of last year. Rounding the line-up are posts from out-of-town, features on ramen (yes, I'm obsessed), and a write-up on a cake shop. Links to the full article are provided. Here they are:

1. What I Ate in Bacolod and Iloilo. Click here for the full article

2. Dining in Cebu. Click here for the full article

3. Menya Genki Tonkotsu Ramen House for Pirikara Tonkotsu Special. Click here for the full article

4. Ramen Nagi's Black King Butao Ramen. Click here for the full article

5. Becky's Kitchen Prune Walnut Cake. Click here for the full article.

So that's 2014's top five posts. I hope you continue to join me in my eating adventures this 2015. Thank you, dear readers.