Juju Eats Podium: First Try!

I’ve been biased with Juju Eats since the beginning because I am not for extreme diet plans though I don’t want to preach so here I try to look at it from different perspectives. I found it too tasty and I found myself thinking if I should order more greens just so it won’t be as rich. Either that or I should have requested the dressing to be on the side. The ready-made salad I had was roast pumpkin.

But let’s face it, a restaurant/food joint that is all about salads catering to the mainstream is something awesome. I can complain about a hundred and one things but it is still far better than the regular fast food. I hope they do survive the competition.

This being all the rage is also good for introducing salads to people who normally wouldn’t eat vegetables and for kids it’d be a good start. I also love their DIY salad bowls. People who are finicky suddenly can enjoy salads because they can opt out of onions, celery, green pepper or whatever it is that they can’t take. For me however the best thing about it is trying out grains and veggies I am not so familiar with. I’ll experiment with those very soon.

I hope they can be more explicit about the nutritional content/caloric count though most especially that they have claims of “a well-balanced diet without rice and pasta” plastered on their walls. I think people can be misled. I don’t need to make calculations to know that the half order I had was fattening even with the kind of exercise I do. The greens were weighed down by bacon, walnuts, 3 tablespoons of feta cheese and 4 tablespoons of sweet balsamic dressing (I’m eyeballing here). And while I don’t care about calories, I think many people who will eat there would.

Still, it’s promising. Next time I visit I’ll have my camera with me!

Snacking at Green Pastures (Shangri-la Mall)

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Joints boasting of going organic rarely intrigue me because I’ve been exposed to it ever since I was young. Besides, that also translates to a very expensive meal. It was Green Pasture’s impressive selection of local coffee grounds showcased on the chalkboard in their coffee bar that initially drew me. The menu looked really fancy and more importantly, promising. Instead of “beverages” they put in “liquid provisions” haha. Seriously though, a lot of vegetable dishes always interest me. Plus they have stuff you don’t normally see in mall restaurants. “Stuff” means words I cannot spell nor pronounce let alone know the meaning of. But isn’t that when you are most curious?
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We were still full but since we were already there we decided to order an appetizer and a plate of dessert with our coffee. I got a cup of Mt. Matutum while Phil got iced coffee SUMIYAKI which were served with coco sugar and coco sap syrup.
The coffee was okay but far from phenomenal. The plate of dessert indeed was fun playful with flavor, temperature and textures. It was both sweet and sour, hot and cold, creamy and crumby. But I’ll probably never order it again. Why? Because it didn’t have that explosive thing going on. I just didn’t find it special.
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Mt. Matutum (105 pesos), SUMIYAKI iced coffee(125pesos), Apple Tarte Tatin (195 pesos)
The appetizer however is the reason why I am writing. The fried cauliflower in soy garlic glaze served with Sriracha mayo is a dish that will make people smile. Expensive yes and I’m not too sure about the nutritional content especially that it’s deep-fried and very tasty but who cares! I was thinking it was going to be close to Green’s mushroom fries or vegetable tempura dishes in Japanese restaurants but I was so wrong. The glaze was indeed very close to Bon Chon’s except maybe a lot better. Yes a lot like Korean fried chicken except it’s not chicken. Vegetarians can finally taste what that Korean glaze is all about. And yes children can be fooled into loving cauliflower (minus the sauce of course). Don’t get me started with the dip or this post will never end!
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Korean Fried Chicken (185pesos)

This cauliflower thing got me convinced that there are a lot of surprises waiting be lived at Green Pastures. Keep me company and let’s split the bill? Pretty please.

Vegetarian Food in Manila

So technically speaking this omnivore has been to 10 vegetarian food joints in Manila. Why go on such a spree you ask? Well, I just happen to like collecting. Anyway, I haven’t sampled any dishes from Bodhi for a long time so maybe I have to try it out again before I can compare it to the new age vegan joints. It’s been too long ago for Green Halo too so let me visit again before I finalize this list. Chances to check out that carinderia in Coron is bleak especially that lately I can’t even afford to go out of town and finally that vegan joint in the third floor of C.O.D. has been closed for years so I have to scratch it out my list.

This leaves me with 7. My top pick is Greens. Their wide selection, clean taste and ultimately original recipes will impress you. When I say clean taste, I mean a dish is not cheated by overpowering a certain taste or flavor. For instance tofu sisig may be flooded in soy sauce and hot sauce. For burger steaks, it can be smothered in thick and salty gravy so you can’t really tell whether or not it’s beef or tofu in there. Their soups however are too thin and bland while their desserts need a makeover.

My next pick is Vegetarian Kitchen because even if it’s a bit pricey, the big serving makes up for it. The flavors are also adventurous so it’s far from being a boring vegan destination. Third, I pick Corner Tree Café. While the size of their serving does not justify the price, the ambiance of this nook in Makati is perfect for a spontaneous fancy eating place spree.

I like Cafeteria Verde too despite some confusion if they’re really 100% vegan. Pipino, Gandiva Café and Blissful Belly, all had promising menus and interesting dishes that got me curious. However all three did not deliver. It was either too bland, too thin, too watered down or simply too weird to be appreciated.

Again I’m not exactly a vegan, but I do love eating and I have enjoyed several vegan affairs. I also do a lot of experimenting in the kitchen and if I may say so I do just fine.

*I have recently tried Dr. Tam’s and I loved it so I’ll squeeze it in here somewhere in the future alright. I know I have posts of some of these restos but lemme put those links up another time. Cheers!

Fiery Dynamite (cheese sticks with green chili)

Dynamite is a kind of cheese stick. It’s deep fried with flour, breadcrumbs or lumpia wrapper with green chili for that unmistakable kick and explosive goodness only for the adventurous. Phil, my boyfriend, told me over breakfast that he wanted to try more of that dish which is perfect as a beer match. I told him it’s fine with me but before that we have to see how far we’ve gone.

  1. Gandivas  is the second best here. Despite not liking the other items on their menu. Their dynamite was quite perfect. The intensity of the chili was not as consistent (some are bland and some are super hot so it’s always a surprise) but the presentation, the texture and the perfectly melted cheese made up for it.
  2. Penpens got bits of tinapa in it and while I also do this little recipe at home it wasn’t that good because it needed more cheese and it was too damn greasy. (Draining it before serving might be a good idea especially that it’s too hot to eat right away anyway)
  3. Allys  is also wonderful with bacon wrapped around it but this is not for me. Cheese, which is commonly salty in the Philippines, simply is too much if you pair it with another salty helping. There has to be more filler in there (think Wendy’s baked potato served with melted cheddar with bacon bits, that’s one big potato right?).
  4. Gayuma ni Maria’s also uses lumpia wrapper in place of breadcrumbs for the cheese sticks. The taste was perfect but the texture wasn’t. It was more of chewy than crunchy so maybe they deep fried it without making sure the oil is hot enough for that crisp.
  5. Corner Pub (somewhere near Hundred islands) this, unfortunately, is the best in this list, the kick of the sticks were just right, it’s got the right amount of cheesiness and they nailed the texture, not overcooked crunchy but far from feeling rubbery and the serving was big for its price. I say unfortunate because it’s so far.

Phil tried Goodah’s but since I haven’t I’m not including it in my list. He says he didn’t like it that much because it had ground meat that kinda “interfered” with the creaminess of the cheese and the heat of the green chili and the whole point of “dynamite”. Fiery yes?!

Cafeteria Verde – Robinson’s Galleria

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I sampled the nachos and the paad thai. oth were tasty but I was particularly impressed with the nachos. Of course they had to settle for ordinary cheese but I am guessing that changing the cheese would make the dish spectacular. Supposedly both shouldn’t have meat or seafood but my lips were itchy so I asked the attendant if they used fake shrimp paste or real shrimp paste. The person said it’s real bagoong. I do hope they’re joking because I really thought most of the dishes didn’t have meats. Not that I am a vegetarian but maybe they’d get into trouble in the future if they don’t orient their attendants well. I regretted that I wasn’t able to order more because I was by myself. The menu was quite expensive and many items were intriguing so I probably should have another go. Also, I did not have my camera with me that time so the photos aren’t that pretty.

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Slowly, healthier options are multiplying. It is still far from being perfect or accessible but it’s a start. Cheers!

Vegetarian Kitchen!

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Evan picked Vegetarian Kitchen at Mother Ignacia and I’m glad he did! I’m pleased because it’s something new and even more so because it did not disappoint.

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We got spinach and cheese wraps for appetizers and I sampled pumpkin soup. Both were quite tasty and refreshing. It will probably be on the vegan-but-non-vegans-will-enjoy lists if ever there is one. Evan got the Kaldereta and enjoyed the peanut sauce that came with the spring roll side dish. Phil got fish sticks. I opted for Korean beef stew. I loved it every step of the way but I would definitely rave about the danggit. That one is a sure winner for everyone.

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Happy healthy eating everyone!

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!

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!

Tomas Morato: Greens

It’s always stressful for me to decide what to order in a favorite resto because as much as I want to try something new, I know I would regret not ordering what I was craving for in the first place. Oh! Such a long sentence. Anyway, expect longer sentences for this post as Greens is the best vegetarian restaurant I’ve tried. It is the first and only vegan restaurant that actually made me crave for gluten. And gluten is, let’s just say, my enemy when it comes to vegetarian cuisine. So after a long time, I finally satisfied my cravings and went there to celebrate a friend’s birthday. It was  perfect considering we came from Ace Water Spa that morning.

I wasn’t able to sample Mitzi’s eggplant (up there) but I did try a lot Don’s soy “chicken” (below).

It was surprisingly addicting and it surpassed my love for the rellenong “bangus” (below) at least for that day.

Below is the very popular appetizer called fried mushroom. Basically it’s oyster mushroom in batter fried into a crisp so I wouldn’t really call it healthy. I can actually eat about 3 or 4 orders of this and still not be full so I think the serving is too small for 90 pesos or something like that. I do know that oyster mushroom is expensive and spoils easily so I guess that’s why it’s a bit pricey. Anyway, I really love the idea and I would love to experiment with other kinds of mushrooms both cheap and expensive so I’d have more options. And perhaps do better than serve it with watered down ketchup? This viand has a lot of potential!

If my weakness is relleno, phil’s is barbecue. It is a bestseller and the same recipe is also used for their “beef” broccoli. Most people would rave about that but I am not a big fan of bbqs so it’s natural that I’d skip ordering it. Speaking of skipping viands, I do not recommend soups from Greens. For some reason, their soups are bland, watered down and basically lack spices so if you want soup, ask me to make you a batch. haha!

People shouldn’t really listen to me when I talk about dessert as it’s not my passion. I think the carrot cake was okay but the mango custard could definitely use some hint of sweetness. The mango is already a little bit sour so it should be balanced out by the custard but it basically tasted like basic jello. The caramel custard sounds like salvation but let’s not jump into conclusions. You’ll hear from me if it’s a feast. I did not take a picture of the Lassi which Mitzi ordered but I liked it. I am actually considering to order it instead of coffee next time even if I never really liked yoghurt drinks or any other shake for that matter.

Rather barbaric but I’m more of the soda or beer kind of person. Cheers!

Coron: Vegetarian Options

This post is a compilation of vegetarian food options available in Coron Palawan. As to why an omnivore would do something like this, who dare ask?! hahaha!

Let’s start with the sign that started it all. This is a food joint you can find when you walk to the market from National Highway. Maybe it’s Real street I can’t be sure but I do know it’s near Seadive Tourist Center. I wasn’t able to sample anything there but it certainly looks promising!

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Next, Coron Galeri is one of the groups responsible for arranging your tours and tours often come with free lunch. I was just about to ask what happens if they have a vegetarian guest but I saw the sign up sheet. I gotta say that I am impressed.

I guess they have encountered a lot of vegetarians especially that there are so many foreigners in Palawan. When I inquired what they actually serve, I was told that it’s often sauteed vegetables in season and salads. Below are vegetarian side dishes that came with our lunch but we didn’t actually sign up as vegetarians. I’m thinking that a bit of curry/ketchup/teriyaki or something would all make these simple side dishes quite grand.

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From Coron Bistro along National Highway, I saw French onion soup (request to omit the cheese), vegetarian sandwiches and vegetarian pasta. Phil ordered vegetarian pizza but it has cheese. I suppose you can also ask them to skip that. Actually I think there are many viands that can easily be converted to a vegetarian meal but you have to order in advance and maybe explain it thoroughly.

Most of what you order will be prepared or cooked fresh so it wouldn’t be much of a bother to make such requests. I wouldn’t advise it though if there is a long queue.

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Manneken Pis is also a bit like Coron Bistro. They have vegetarian sandwiches, pasta and pizza. I love it that you can choose what to put in your sandwich because people really have different tastes when it comes to veggies they put on their sandwich. I hate cucumber in mine for instance. For breakfast, they have muesli, pancakes and a wide variety of fruits. I bet there are other things I missed so do check it out when you go to Coron.

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If you got tired from Italian and Filipino cuisines, there’s also Amphibiko which serves Japanese food. They have teriyaki tofu, tofu in salt and pepper and vegetable tempura. I bet it will be a very satisfying meal if you ordered tempura and teriyaki together!

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Foodtrip is a carinderia near the market. Facing the tourist center it is towards your left. There they have fries, sizzling mushroom, lato (seaweed) salad, green salad and vegetarian vegetables. I think the others would be good for snacks but I wouldn’t recommend their salad unless you would be pairing it with something else because their dressing is not very good. I’d go for the sizzling mushroom and vegetarian vegetables because they have good chopsuey. I’m assuming it’s close to that. I also saw a lot of vegan pasta options but I wasn’t able to try their pasta so I dunno if it is any good.

It was a short trip so I was not able to do much but I suppose this will do for now and I suppose there will be other times to round up everything vegan in Coron (perhaps with a lot of help from others who’s been to or who’s planning to go).

For Evan