Snacks at Mary Grace Greenbelt

It’s my first time in the area. I was so impressed with how they dressed the place up to the point that it’s embarrassing! It’s Shabby Chic plus The Secret Garden. The mix of old world charm, restored distressed pieces, foliage in pots and the magic of mirrors and metal crafts sure did work. Obviously I skipped the taking pictures part altogether. Firstly, I wanted to take pictures not when I have just been to a yoga session. Secondly, I wanted my other lens. Thirdly, I swear I’ll be back and when I do I’ll be quite hungry!

I got an order of Iced Mocha which was a bit disappointing because it was a bit sour. Weird right? Also I was under the impression that it wasn’t an ice blended beverage but as you can see it’s more like shake than coffee to me.

However I did enjoy the cassava chips especially the onion dip. How they did it, I don’t know. I just know it’s a fabulous yet simple dip that I would experiment on in our kitchen. Even the cassava chips weren’t bad. They’re thin, mildly-flavored, crunchy and original. Actually I never ordered food from Mary Grace before because I’ve always seen them as a coffee shop/dessert place. I usually order the specialties so I completely forgot trying them out. Or maybe I’ve forgotten about it. Let me check on that. haha.

(Guys, can we please have a retake? this looks like a 1 by 1 ID session!) Anyway, I had snacks with Evan and Perry and I thought we weren’t even halfway our stories. Damn! Hope to see them again when I visit Makati or as I’ve told Evan, they should come to Quezon City. hahaha. Cheers!

Kaffir at The Collective

I initially wanted to finally try out Wabi Sabi even though Evan has tried it a couple of times but it was crawling with people that day. I had to look f0r another joint and since we were in a hurry and I am not very familiar with food joints in Makati, I simply asked Kaffir, the one sitting just beside the noodle house, if they have vegan options. Evan said they didn’t have anything for vegetarians before but apparently they altered their menu. hurray! I got fresh Vietnamese spring rolls, red curry with tofu and string beans and pad Thai. They were okay I guess but the Pad Thai tasted more like Lucky Me pancit canton, seriously (which is actually fine with me, haha!).

Evan ordered the curious green drink that I wanted to try but he finished it before I had the chance to sip. He assured me that I did not miss anything. Actually it wasn’t a leisurely lunch because I came from a workshop and we have a scheduled yoga session at 2pm. I am known to stuff myself when I try out new joints but I had to play it safe for yoga.

Anyway I loved Kaffir’s random items on sale. That kinda made up for the beer that I wanted to order that was only for display. They have Srirachas, I love Sriracha shirts, coffee drips, coffee beans and snack items. The best thing about it is they’re not at all expensive. I mean you’d often hear me rant about how expensive everything is in shops at The Collective. The coffee drip is 150 pesos and the Sriracha shirt with a Sriracha bottle is 450 pesos. Yummy. I have to go back to secure one so I can tell Phil I already have a birthday/anniversary gift. hahaha!

I loved the vintage “posters” lined, the framed Asian art, the guitar and many others. One last thing, they cook the dishes so it takes some time before your order arrives. I say 20 minutes meal? and the problem is when another group ordered before you. Anyway, just order ahead and take a look around The Collective first so you won’t get pissed. Cheerio!

QKebab E. Abada Katipunan

We blew our budget early on so we had to settle for something fairly accessible and not very expensive. We ended up at Qkebab a new shawerma place at Esteban Abada Katipunan. I want to applaud their attempt to try something different with the kebab thing then again the attendants didn’t have an idea how it works. There’s supposed to be a make your own kebab thing going on but they didn’t really let us choose what we want so I guess that was that.

The beef basmati was like the usual I’ve tried only it is more expensive. I was kind of excited about the Australian ribeye selling point but if it shredded into bits I doubt if it matters. There was also nothing special about the Greek salad.

I initially ordered for some lentil soup and Turkish salad but I was told they didn’t have stocks. The attendant also had that confused look asking a person in the kitchen every so often so I don’t think they really know what they’re doing or what they’re serving.

I forgot what they called this little wrapped thing because well, I didn’t find it notable. It came with the fries. All in all I’d say skip it because it’s too pricey for a basic shawerma place. Their place is cozy indeed and they serve your food quickly but it’s not enough. They have great hot sauce but really will you go to a place for just that? I say go to Ababu along Xavierville Avenue and order Barg to satisfy your Mediterranean cravings. It’s okay to wait a bit longer even if you’re sitting near the grill if it is for something good.

Trattoria Italia at Eastwood (formerly Balducci)

Mama Maxi visited us on Father’s Day so we ended up celebrating it with Honky’s family including Pj’s mom. We were supposed to try out Il Pirata and were surprised that the “ship” vanished into thin air replaced by TGIF. So we went back to Trattoria Italia even though we thought Ma wouldn’t enjoy it very much.

We ordered a platter of cold cuts and cheeses because Phil and I both felt like spoiling ourselves. As we shared an order of pasta, I thought it was worth it. I have been eyeing that on the menu for so long and I am thrilled that it is a third I tried from Italian joints that offer such an appetizer. You can say I like numbers. I just hope they named each of the cheeses and meats so that we will know what our favorites are.

Trattoria formerly Balducci have very big servings of pasta so you can actually request a dish to be split. This, I think is only applicable to pasta. I expected a huge serving for the 190 peso mushroom soup that Phil’s mom ordered but I thought it was a rather small serving.

<- What’s up with the chili oil? I often find heat quite strong in Italian joints but this is quite ineffective.

Oh, here’s a photo and I am the one behind the camera!

We were quite early and we ordered right away so we didn’t have problems with our food. Honks and the rest arrived a bit late so I thought it was understandable that their orders took some time considering the place was flooded with families celebrating father’s day. But yeah, I suppose the restaurant could have done better in preparing for the occasion. Extra hands maybe?

mushroom soup, spinach and ricotta ravioli, seafood marinara in cream, gnocci (there were two other orders but since those arrived late, I didn’t want to pester those who ordered ’em)

There’s nothing fancy with the soup and I found it too pricey. I loved the hint of truffle oil in their ravioli but I thought it was a bit dry. The fettucine Ma ordered was heavenly and I bet my dad would love it even if he is not a fan of cream-based pastas. Everyone of us found the gnocci too heavy. Is it really supposed to be like that? I tasted more flour than cheese.

And of course the platter of goodies that made the trip worth it despite the fact that boorish little me still haven’t learned how to eat olives.


Banana Leaf at Trinoma Garden

I have tried Banana Leaf several times before so I wasn’t too thrilled when they decided that’s where we’ll eat. Anyway Karla and Choi seldom eat out so I should be more giving. They all loved it and that’s what’s most important.

Sikhay loved the banana leaves and I think most Filipinos will do too. If I had my way, I’ll eat like that everyday.

Singaporean chili mussels,chicken crispers and some kind of noodle viand (I’ll ask pa what he ordered)

I loved the noodles. I don’t know if it’s because it’s the first time I tried a noodle viand again after Pad Thai. The mussels would have been perfect only if the dish wasn’t so expensive. The chicken was too dry for my taste but I like it that their crispers have a touch of ginger. It lends a very Asian appeal to it.

Below, Thai pomelo salad, Malaysian lamb curry and stir fried veggies

Gone are the days that I am impressed by pomelo salad mainly because I have been whipping up my own dose at home. Theirs have carrot and their shrimp is not as tasty as fresh ones so yeah, I can do better. haha! I am not a fan of curry but their lamb curry was alright. The veggies had pockets of salt and it seemed like they were simply steamed so nothing much there.

Nasi Goreng and Vietnamese Fried Rice

I’ve been told this is their best seller. It’s Thai milk tea and it’s really rich. It reminds me of those milk bars I used to have way back elementary days. So yes, if you see it as an after meal refreshment it’s great. By the way when we ordered we told our servers numbers corresponding to the dish but when her repeated our orders he named each without an ounce of difficulty. He knew the numbers by heart. so cool. Cheers!

Dayrit’s at Tomas Morato

Phil brought me roast beef from Dayrit’s as there is a branch near his office and I was disappointed so he never brought it up again. Some friends were raving about the Dayrit’s chorizo macao and I felt cheated that Phil didn’t tell me it’s a deli. But anyway Phil also had no idea. Thanks to Mikee and Nikki for telling me about it.

So I skipped the roast beef and opted for callos. Phil on the other hand stuck with a classic favorite, Dayrit’s burger. The callos was a little bit different than what I often have. It’s a bit too pale and the sauce is not as thick as I expected. I thought the garbanzos were overcooked and I wanted bilbao because I don’t like it sweetish like macao. So I ended up not getting macao after that dish.

The burger is a meaty helping indeed but it is very Filipino. What I mean is that it is very close to the sweet thousand island dressing used for Jollibee or any of the burger joints with buy one take one promos and etc. not really my cup of tea. One bite and I’ll never order it again.

I think I’ll still try their goods one of these days. There were a lot of customers who ordered some kind of sizzling pasta. It smelled absolutely fantastic so I’m gonna satisfy my curiosity soon. They don’t exactly have a wide selection but I like it. It feels homey and I think that’s really a plus.

For lazy people, I see a lot of quick fixes there. Cheers!

Green Coffee’s Dark Mocha FSC

My longest running diversion is making myself as busy as I can. This may sound simple for some but I take it very seriously. I have a list of things to do, places to go to or foods to try so that whenever I find a lull it won’t be much of a problem and soon I’ll be buzzing around as busy as ever.

So to avoid a tantrum, I finally had Phil try FSC which translates to Fine Salt and Cheese. I heard Green Coffee’s bestseller is actually the milk tea FSC. Phil found the dark mocha more intriguing because we’re more of coffee drinkers and because we’re crazy about Starbucks’ dark mocha. It is indeed expensive at 170 but if you still wish to try it you can simply share it with someone. I am not joking when I tell you that it really is heavy.

While I am not fond of rich tasting foods or drinks I am an absolute fan of the contrast of flavors; this drink being sweet, bitter, salty and tangy at the same time. I super recommend it to people addicted to cheeses. If you do not like coffee they have FSC alternatives for the taking. I am thinking of trying one or two more. You can find them at Tomas Morato. They’re beside David’s Tea Place. Boy am I glad that Elaine, Fia and Jodi told me about this place.

and oh I almost forgot, they have a lot of vacant chairs and it’s not as loud as the typical coffee shops out there. Cheers!

Choi Garden at Annapolis Greenhills

It is a little bit weird for me to opt for a Chinese restaurant for our anniversary dinner but it has been so long since a joint as such satisfied me so I thought it’s time to find the best(or at least something better than the usual). I was eyeing Peking Garden as I have always been apprehensive to eat there because of their pricelist but Rocky suggested that we can also try Choi Garden especially that it is more accessible than going all the way to Trinoma after the visit to the archery range.

Rocky overdoes ordering all the time because of two reasons. One, he is comparing Phil and I to his parents (when in fact we are far from being 6 footers) and two, because he feels like we should try as much as we can because it’d be a long time before we get the chance to visit that restaurant again. Yes yes, just like us, he is irrationally extravagant.

<- dimsum combination platter (240 pesos)

I almost did not take notice of the dimsum platter that we ordered because it came after the duck. and well, I said I wanted to eat in a chinese restaurant but what I mean to say is that I want to eat duck.

1/2 roast duck (800 pesos)

Other than my roasted goodness I let Rock do the talking and decide what he wanted to order. Phil, well, does not count in situations as such. hahaha! As of the moment I am craving for duck again even though it was just last night. I hate it that many establishments end up taking it out of their menu. I dunno what it is exactly but somehow it is getting more and more inaccessible.

steamed lapu-lapu (small)

According to Rock, he orders the staples in Chinese restaurants so that he can compare what it is that makes one more expensive than the other. The problem is that his staples are not exactly mine. I’d rather order Taosi Spareribs than that salt and pepper dish. We also ordered a small platter of Yang Chow and Phil and I both got a bottle of beer.

salt and pepper spareribs (small – )

Oh the verdict? It is not as expensive as we thought (thank god!) but their servings are meant for big groups. I am pretty much satisfied with the helping of duck and all the rest were good too. Rock thought the steamed fish could do better especially that it was more expensive than most he has tried. As we ordered the small size, each of our orders (except the duck) was for 3-4 people. and to think that they missed Rock’s order of beef broccoli. Can you imagine how much we ate? Here’s to our 7th year (and roast duck)! cheers!

Gandiva Cafe at Julia Vargas (Vegetarian)

So the first agenda for the very long day was to try out archery at Gandiva Cafe and Archery Range. It’s on our list of things to try and we finally found them after seeing them at White Plains so long ago so we didn’t want to wait any longer.

Since they have a vegetarian cafe, we are all currently in the mood for trying out new stuff and we didn’t have anything to do while waiting for our turn, well we just had to sample their goods. We ordered cheesli peppers (I’ve been trying different versions of this and so far all of them is good), veggie supreme pizza and mushroom trio. When I called to make reservations I asked how much their fare is and I was told that it’s actually cheap. Hmmm, I guess cheap for them.

Though I heartily enjoyed the chili cheese sticks, the pizza was very far from what you’d call decent vegan fare. veggie pizzas at the usual pizza joints are far better. I would’ve understood if they didn’t use cheese for the pizza but they have cheese so it’s a bit off for it not to be tasty still. I think they forgot salt and spices. It was too dry, too bland and I honestly can whip up something better (minus the pizza dough). They have all the fancy ingredients yet they still failed to ace it. somehow the flavors were just as is and not a whole new dish. well, I hope they know what I am talking about so that they can do something about it. It would be such a shame if vegan joints end up closing down because their only customers are vegetarians who have no choice.

Anyway, this is just the pizza I am talking about. Perhaps I will try other options but who can blame me if I am not exactly hyped about it. What I am hyped about is a possibility of trying archery again. Where are those coupons I can get for cheaper visits? Cheers!