10 Great Places for Lobster in Manila (Spot.ph)

(This feature was published in Spot.ph last January 31, 2019)

Lobster is probably one of the most sought-after crustaceans in the world, whether it’s part of a surf-and-turf dish or the main entrée, perhaps for its hefty size and succulent meat. And since it’s a bit hard to find in the Metro, you’d be surprised that there are actually places that serve this tasty shellfish. Luckily for you, we’ve done all the scouring and listed some places where you can find this indulgent treat.

Bun Appetit

Manila may be thousands of miles away from Maine, but Bun Appetit makes a mean Lobster Roll (P695) that’s the next best thing to having one in New England. Though a tad bit pricey, the lobster-stuffed buns are worth the price tag since their sandwiches don’t scrimp on filling. You’ll get about a hundred grams of high-quality, sweet lobster meat on a buttery bun—the perfect vessel for this delicate seafood dream. A dash of tasty seasoning and lemon zest brings it all together, setting the standard for great lobster rolls in the Metro—no wonder this weekend-market cult favorite has planted permanent roots at Rockwell’s The Grid.

Read the rest of the article HERE.

This New Hong Kong Café’s Egg Tarts Are Worth Lining Up For (Spot.ph)

(This feature was published in Spot.ph last January 16, 2019)

Food is good enough reason to fly all the way to Hong Kong—after all, the nation’s cuisine is an intriguing mix of East and West thanks to their rich history and culture. One of the great things that resulted from this cultural mishmash is what they call “cha chaan teng,” or tea restaurants, which you can find scattered all over the island.

Established in 1940, Honolulu Café is the original and oldest tea restaurant in Hong Kong. Then known as Honolulu Ice Parlour, this pioneer Hong Kong coffee shop has been serving up their signature egg tarts for over seven decades now, and Manila is finally getting a taste of it.

Their first Manila branch at SM Aura will transport you to any of Honolulu Café’s outposts around the world, having a consistent style that’s more youthful than most traditional tea houses in Hong Kong.

The restaurant’s vibrantly painted yellow walls are adorned with modern Chinese typography and drawings, while random splashes of green and blue accentuate the place’s fun and casual ambience.

Honolulu Café’s famous Egg Tart (P50/piece) has a near-perfect, glossy, yellow center that’s surrounded by a golden crust—judging by its looks, you’d instantly know the sweet treat is buttery and flaky. And after one bite, you’d stop wondering why people line up for hours just to have a taste of its delicate pastry and creamy custard made with egg yolk.

Read the rest of the article HERE.

10 New Breakfast Places to Try in Manila (Spot.ph)

(This feature was published in Spot.ph last January 13, 2019)

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. After all, how can you kickstart your day with an empty stomach? Whether you’re into healthier stuff like granola or toast, or prefer the more filling rice meals, you’ll find your favorite morning treats at these new spots around the Metro where you can have breakfast like a king.

Manam Cafe

You must be living under a rock if you haven’t tasted Manam’s famous sisig yet. Luckily, the new Manam Café at Mega Fashion Hall, also offers the famous dish, which you can have for brunch through the House Crispy Sisig Silog (P265), served with garlic rice, eggs, and a special salsa. Aside from the typical -silog favorites, like tapa or corned beef, Manam Café serves an appetizing Ube Champorado (P155), a creamy take on the classic that will sweeten your morning.

Essential Goodness, for the Pilgrims.

While Poblacion is now well-known for being home to some of the hottest bars and dining spots in the Metro, it’s also a heritage district, in part due to all the colonial-era churches that were built in the area. The neighborhood has practically turned 180 degrees over the past few years, but there’s a new rooftop restaurant-slash-bar that pays homage to its roots—Essential Goodness, for the Pilgrims. The name may conjure up images of novels or films, but it is, in fact, an all-day breakfast concept by chefs Nicco Santos and Quenee Vilar (of the now-defunct Hey Handsome). Get a little bit of everything through their Essential Breakfast (P325), a hearty plate of English bangers, bacon, eggs with pesto, rye toast, and potato confit.

Read the rest of the article HERE.

10 No-Fail Places for Filipino Desserts in Manila (Spot.ph)

(This feature was published in Spot.ph last December 20, 2018)

No meal is ever complete without dessert. In Tagalog, they call this sweet end to lunch or dinner panghimagas. Filipinos love sweets, as evident in some of our most popular dishes (Hello, Pinoy-style spaghetti and pork tocino!), and we typically always have something delightfully sugary to cap a meal. No wonder the country has hundreds of Filipino desserts to choose from—and it’s great news that more and more chefs are experimenting with native delicacies. Make your way to these sweet spots when your sugar cravings strike—we’ve listed some places with great Filipino desserts in the Metro.

Manam Cafe

Manam Café is the younger sibling of Manam, whose claim to fame is their watermelon sinigang and crunchy sisig. But what’s new at Manam Café, aside from their youthful décor that features fun pop art and vintage Filipino ads, is their decadent Pinoy desserts that mix traditional with modern. The Choco-Nut Tart (P235) will remind you of your favorite childhood choco-peanut treat, while the Calamansi Tart (P220) has a delicate yet crisp crust filled with a creamy, gooey, and tangy center. For more familiar flavors, the Ube Sticky Roll (P115) or the Tsokolate Sticky Roll (P115) is a fun take on Western sticky buns. There’s also the Frozen Mango Brazo de Mercedes (P265), a literally cool take on the classic merienda.

Read the rest of the article HERE.

9 restaurants where balikbayans can have their fill of delicious Filipino food (GMA News Online)

(This feature was published in GMA News Online last November 27, 2018)

Holiday season is balikbayan season, and often the first thing our returning loved ones want to do is get their fill of good ol’ Filipino food.

For everybody’s convenience, below are a few of the best and most dependable Filipino restaurants in Metro Manila you can take them to. Happy eating!

Milky Way Cafe

Originally an ice cream parlor when it first opened in the 1950’s, MilkyWay Café has evolved into an elegant, full-fledged Filipino restaurant that offers the best of Pampango cuisine.

Order the Crispy Hito (P445), deep-fried catfish with tomato and cucumber salad, mustard greens, MW bagoong or the no-fail Lechon Kawali (P795), lechon de leche accompanied by liver sauce.  The Adobong Pato (P395) is a rich dish comprised of duck breast that will require you spoonfuls of rice and dessert.

Enter the quintessential Filipino treat, Milky Way Halo-Halo (P175). Since 1962, this tried-and-tested creation gives pleasure to its diners with its delicious medley of preserved fruits, ube, pinipig, and leche flan on shaved ice with milk. If that’s a little too much, get the Milky Way Ice Cream (P175/2 scoops). Our pick is avocado, always and forever.

Read the rest of the article HERE.

10 Most Romantic Restaurants in Makati (Spot.ph)

(This feature was published in Spot.ph last November 26, 2018)

Whether you’re going on a first date, celebrating your anniversary, or simply treating your special someone, food will always be at the center of the occasion. Couple it with excellent ambience and you’re in for a memorable dining experience. It might be time to bring out your fancy clothes and check out this list of romantic restaurants that would impress your date while in this side of town.

Blackbird

Part of Blackbird’s charm comes from the fact that they’re located at the historic Nielson Tower, which was built in 1937. The space was once the country’s first commercial airport but has now been revamped into a contemporary European and Asian restaurant, managing to maintain the structure’s original Art Deco design. A lot of natural light comes in during the day, while the high-ceiling interiors become elegant and glamorous at night—Blackbird might be the perfect place to wine and dine with your special someone. Indulge in their dreamy Lamb Cutlets with Potato Gratin (P1,280) or juicy Jack’s Creek MB5 Wagyu Striploin (P1,120/100 grams), with mushroom and spicy peppercorn sauce. You can even linger with some of their signature cocktails or your choice of libation.

Read the rest of the article HERE.

A dozen must-tries in Yeah! Yeah! Chinese Cuisine (GMA News Online)

(This feature was published in GMA News Online last October 18, 2018)

You won’t see any striking red lanterns, ostentatious gold figurines, or traditional décor in Yeah! Yeah! Chinese Cuisine, but its menu reveals classic favorites and new creations that you would be enticed to try.

This homegrown brand, which opened just last July, brought in two chefs from China to conceptualize and curate its offerings that range from roasts to dimsum, noodles and more.

In place of the customary Chinese interiors is a considerable space filled with modern furnishings that include upholstered booths by the window, as well as wooden slat accents in the ceilings and dividers.

During daytime, you’ll enjoy the natural light passing through the big glass windows, putting spotlight in your food. At the other end of the establishment, you’ll see roasts on display in a glass case.

First-time visitors may feel overwhelmed when browsing through the extensive menu, so we’ve created a shortlist of must-try dishes for you.

Read the rest of the article HERE.

Your Guide to No-Fail Dining Spots at Uptown Bonifacio (Spot.ph)

(This feature was published in Spot.ph last October 12, 2018)

There’s no shortage of trendy dining concepts in and around the Fort area, and Uptown Bonifacio has quite a selection all under one roof. Whatever you’re craving–Italian, Spanish, or Asian–each is just a stone’s throw away. Let your taste buds explore our list of exciting mall-based food choices in this side of town.

Flatiron 1771

Whether or not you’ve been to New York City, you’ll fall in love with the cool vibe of this NY-inspired restaurant that has an al-fresco bar to boot. Flatiron 1771’s cuisine is a mix of modern American with European and Asian influences, much like the melting pot of cultures that is the Big Apple. On date nights, you can splurge on their Prime Rib with Toasted Fat (P500/100g) or dare to take on the Truffle Carbonara with Chicken Skin Crackling (P390) for something heart-stopping. You can also stay for after-dinner drinks and enjoy a cocktail or two while watching the mall’s dancing fountain.

Read the rest of the article HERE.

What to expect: The Garage VR Zone and Food Park, City of Dreams’ latest concept (GMA News Online)

(This feature was published in GMA News Online last October 11, 2018)

What used to be a luxury integrated resort’s car parking space is now a lifestyle entertainment complex like no other.

Picture a 2,714-square meter space — approximately the size of five basketball courts — that houses more than just a food court, more than just an amusement area, but a combined space that features both.

Welcome to Garage VR Zone and Food Park, City of Dreams Manila’s newest food and entertainment concept.

The first of its kind in the Philippines, the Garage is the only virtual reality zone and food park—with food trucks to boot—that is set in an air-conditioned space.

“The Garage is City of Dreams (COD) Manila’s latest attraction featuring unique entertainment activities in partnership with Bandai Namco Amusement,” shared Kevin Benning, COD’s Chief Operating Officer. It’s the perfect place for both foodies and gamers of all ages to convene.

Read the rest of the article HERE.

10 Restaurant That Are Worth The Drive (Spot.ph)

(This feature was published in Spot.ph last September 7, 2018)

Sometimes you just need a respire from chaotic city life and get some R&R. And because there’s bound to be worthwhile food stops in the nearby towns, going for a road trip to recharge your batteries isn’t that bad–hey, it’s the next best thing if you missed that seat sale. So whether you’re headed east, north, or south, key in any of these must-visit, out-of-town restaurants on your navigation system and let your palate do a bit of exploring. After all, you can’t travel on an empty stomach!

Burrow Cafe

Any city-dweller would love the change in scenery at Burrow Cafe, where their garden-like setting will make you feel like you’re outdoors even if you’re not. Here, you can enjoy a lot of tasty meals like Tender Beef Tapa, which lives up to its name. Made with fork-tender yakiniku-style Japanese beef, it’s served with garlic rice and milky scrambled eggs. After that, linger some more for their coffee and desserts–the Dayap Creme Brulee features a soft and creamy custard with a zing of citrus and fresh-fruit slices. You’re sure to end up lounging in their comfy hammocks after that filling meal.

Read the rest of the article HERE.