Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Shawarma Snack Center

I have fallen in love with Persian food, that I have to admit! That is why Kebab and Shawarma have always been part of my "foodie trip" list almost every weekend. The first ever shawarma I fell in love with was Pita Stop's located at the foodcourt in Rob Place, Ermita...Since then, regular cravings for that peculiar taste led me to discover a lot of foodie Mediterranean finds!

Then years later, I was introduced to the wonders of Kebab! :) a dish that would definitely delight any shawarma lover! Coz yep, this meal is served...WITH RICE :) chunks of meat and less veggies too.

The most famous Kebab place I know of so far is Mr. Kabab's @ Tomas Morato. However, since my boyfriend and I are too busy being the medical students that we are, finding the nearest Kebab resto became an ultimate task. And then voila! The SSC (Shawarma Snack Center) located in Adriatico just a walk away from the UP Campus and RPR Manila came into our knowing!

It's a bit challenging to get reviews from the net. However some bloggers mentioned it to be affordy and yummy. Some say they serve Halal food. Actually, when we visited the felt like and looked Mediterranean enough. True enough, customers were also mostly Arabs, Persians, et al.

There are two separate buildings, a small one across the bigger more grotesque resto. We chose to enter the bigger resto. The waiters were Filipino but I think they did not have the habit of "wearing a happy face"... they didn't make me feel "at home" at all. Waitresses looked...tired (?) and wore the annoying "poker face" maybe because we were...Filipino? *wth*

So we were served these 3 triangular deep fried thingies stuffed with spices and beans and a lot more which I do not know of (tastes Arabic). However I can compare the taste to that of pizza flautas+empanada! :) Lemme see: 3/5 stars.

Then we were also given dates. I never knew what dates tasted like until then...and I realized I didn't like it. :)) gave it a try and it was fun though. Nothing lost, it was complimentary anyway. I'd give it 2/5 stars.

Sweet Dates
I read in one blog that SSC had this delectable watermelon I got one to try. And indeed! I was not disappointed at all. :) It was served fresh from the juicer and it was sweet in a not-so-artifical way. Five out of Five stars!
Watermelon Shake
Of course, we would not leave the place without trying out their most bragged about shawarma and kebab! We had the beef kebab and the lamb shawarma! :) Both were absolutely tasty. There was a certain aftertaste though, that which when you get the food into your mouth, you become sure the food is Arabic :) It was "tasty" in a  good way though. Both 5/5!

WE spent around P500-600 all in all and I think it was still reasonable :) A must-try for those who are too lazy to travel to Morato for a plate of a good kebab and shawarma. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Cyma for Lunch

Well, I've been hearing and seeing a lot of posts about Cyma since last June so I told myself I had to try it out soon by hook or by crook!

The reviews and pictures were all-so-good, in fact sounded too good to be true. Browsed through their menu on Munchpunch and viewed the price lists for budget planning (very expensive indeed!).

I kept a list of those which i had to try out based on the most frequently mentioned and commended in blog reviews. Well here's my take of Cyma and some of the dishes i ordered for that day. 

First, I ordered the Spinach Artichoke. I later found out that artichoke was a sort of Mediterranean herb. The dish came with pita bread and some buttered bread. It was a heavenly combination, definitely! The herb-y aftertaste and the starchy bread went well together. 

Spinach Artichoke, around P250-P300 (forgetful me)

Then next we had the Roka Salata salad. The dried tomatoes and candied walnuts were fantastic with the greens and the vinaigrette...however, I think the dried tomatoes tasted too sweet i had to pick them out of my salad during my last few bites.

Roka Salata P330

Up next is what I think was the "STAR of the Greek meal! Yep, indeed Cyma is not a disappointment when it comes to their famous gyros! My boyfriend and I had pork and beef gyros and it was a "spell heaven" dining experience... It was the most luscious serving of meat, veggies, and that special sauce! I loved adding chili to it! 10 thumbs up!!!!

Mixed Meat Gyros P200 (sulit!)
Unfortunately, this last dish is considered one of Cyma's speciaties...and the thing is...i didn't like a bite of it at all. It looked absolutely yummy and rich but I guess the Bechamel sauce was something my palate can't appreciate. This, I think, is one overrated dish on other blog reviews (or I guess it was just me). I was like eating leche flan with ground beef and a red orange sauce that was NOT tomato sauce. Haha. I honestly did not adore it. Obviously.

Moussaka P250
We spent around P1370 for four dishes. I think it was a bit pricey for 2 people! :) The combination of Gyros and Salad or Gyros and Artichoke will satisfy the bellies of 2. The VAT and service charge were what made the bill costly.

I think I'd eat in Cyma again...just to give it another chance to impress me...I suppose I have to explore their other specialties as well before I could find my Cyma-perfect meal :)

Friday, August 26, 2011


Coal Resto Bar and GrillRoxas Blvd.

Harbour Square, Pedro Bukaneg St., CCP Complex, Roxas Blvd.
Manila, Metro Manila

As a tradition, before every Med schoolyear commences, my gay friend and I usually meet up to eat and do some catching up on a lot of things. And this time, we had our date at Harbor Square. It was my first time to try out the place and I really enjoyed the bayside view and the outdoor scenery. 

We had a hard time looking for the prefect resto to try out 'cos most of the food establishments were seen in many other places. We decided we wanted to have a good drink, so we looked at the bistros on the second level. And lo and behold, we got to COAL. 

The place had outdoor dining for smokers and I could imagine how it looked like at night. Fortunately, we were there for early dinner so not much people were around. We chose to be seated inside. The place was nice and neat. The interiors contemporary, with various pieces of blacks and reds. We were brought to a table near the glass window for a better view of the busy Roxas Boulevard. We were both amazed that the seats were Jap style ^^ we had to do some Indian sitting and I think it was cool...and comfy too.

WE were both on a diet so we ordered only a few from the menu.

First, we had pork sisig as the main course, although we didn't order rice. The sisig was just like any other sisig and I think I have tried some other better sisigs than this one. Nothing extraordinary, but not bad.

Sizzling Sisig
Then we got ourselves Pork and Tofu. It tasted as expected. Crunchy tofu. Although i hated that the pork were sliced too big. The tokwa't baboy in Binalot is way better because the pork and tofu are placed in a soysauce-filled bowl so as you eat it you have all the soy flavors in it already. I think even Chowking's pork tofu is also better than this. But of course, this wasn't bad at all's just nothing remarkable.

Pork and Tofu

But something i really liked was their generous serving of baked mussels. And you should have seen the wild cheesiness going on all over each mussel. Definitely one of the BEST! Well, mussels baked this way usually taste the same anywhere, the thing is, this had more cheese and more pieces at almost the same price as others.
Baked Tahong
Something notable about Coal, and something I'd crave for and go back for would be this: their beef and cheese quesadilla! 
Ultimate crunch, generous filling! I loved how the tomato sauce and the veggies inside each piece delighted my palate with every bite. Really good. And for 2 people, it was filling. It was something that can give Mexican restos a run for their money. That Good. Haha.

All in all, the last two dishes made our Coal experience wonderful. The price was reasonable and we did not walk out unhappy or hungry. I will definitely go back for those quesadillas!

Army Navy

My boyfriend and I decided to try out the talked about Army Navy and the branch near La Salle Taft was the most accessible to us. It was located near yellowcab and beside many other food establishments across the university. The branch in La Salle was small, but its interiors were the usual Western army bunk style. A set of condiments were on every table and gave a slight hint of the wonderful treat for the night. The garlic sauce, the chili sauce, the mustard, and the Caramba sauce were all needed, really!
condiments galore!

My friend told me about the Starving Sailor, so that is what I got for myself, while my boyfriend got for himself a burger! Freedom fries were not available during our visit and I was a bit disappointed :(. 

Actually, i was tensed that the reviews may be overrated because looking at the place alone didn't really impress me and I had too many experiences of burgers and sandwiches that looked scrumptious on the outside but tasted ordinary. There was not much interaction with the staff and waiters because you get to order your food in a counter that had glass just like those seen in UPCN aquarium and other offices. 
Where you order and pay and get your food. Self service.
Fortunately, after having our orders served, we were both surprised to find out that the portions were BIG. Big enough for us to half our orders and share with each other, so I got to taste the burger too. 


Starving Sailor had lots of things going on inside! The beef was tender and really rich, it was juicy and you could taste the flavors with just looking at it! It had white onions (my favorite) and green bell peppers and pickles! And the mustard really gave it a tang that matched it perfectly well! Really a must-try.

Starving Sailor that Un-starved me!

The single-patty burger was next! It was awesome too...the patty was beefy and succulent! It was like those burgers in Hotshots that made you bite a big portion a lot. Single patty quarter pounder as it is, half of it made me full all the same.
Classic Army Navy Burger (P135)
We also had cheese quesadillas and they were, as usual, stuffed with cheese. And anything cheese-stuffed, for me, is totally crazy. The only problem is the salsa dip was only placed in a small container, we didn't try asking for more anymore so we have no idea if they charge extra. 

Cheese Quesadilla (P85)
I had really a good dinner that night that I think I'd love to go back to this place. The price was reasonable considering the serving size and the quality of the food. They said the burritos here are good too. We have to try it out some other time because we got too filled up too fast. I can say this poster in Army Navy really was not a deception at all.^^
Mission Accomplished.

Sis Dang

Seaside in Macapagal Avenue has been a favorite spot for friend and family dine-outs because of its 'dampa' style of food service. One gets to buy his own set of fish, seafood, veggies, and meat and the restaurant of choice would cook these for you whatever kind of dish you wish to have prepared. From the many restaurants to choose from, Sisdang has been a family favorite. This restaurant used to be called Sis but rumor has it that the owners had a misunderstanding causing a rift between parties. This led to the birth of Sisdang. Since I was in college, my family frequented this place a lot. And up to now, despite the change of name, they still serve the best baked mussels and calamares I know of!

It's only now when I got into medschool that I was able to document and take pictures of my raved about dishes in this place. This is definitey highly-recommended. Six-stars for ambience, for service, and for the food and cost.

My boyfriend treated his friends to this place and I was the one who decided on what to order. Definitely, all his friends would agree that everything was delicious!

For appetizers, a dose of "ensaladang mangga" with onions and tomatoes matched with "bagoong"  gave us a lot more to anticipate about the dinner! The mangoes we bought were fresh and crunchy which tickled our palates in prep for the main dishes.

Ensaladang Mangga
I suggested our family favorite dishes for shrimp: the one cooked in spicy sauce and the other cooked in garlic and butter. Both had their own twist and character that eating one is not an excuse to not taste the other! I especially love how the garlic and butter dulcified the shrimp shells and how the spicy sauce incited bursting flavors in my mouth. 

Shrimps in Spicy Sauce
Of course, for the veggie servings, we bought 2 huge eggplants and had them grilled. This went perfectly well with soy sauce and tomatoes!
Inihaw na Talong
There was this once when I went out with friends and tried out a different Paluto restaurant in Seaside and they served this tasty and juicy Pinaputok na Tilapia. So I ordered one from Sisdang that night. However, to compare the two versions, I think I like that one from the other restaurant. This lacked the lush the tilapia of the other resto had.

Pinaputok na Tilapia
A five-star favorite for all seasons would be baked mussels! These have been my Pringles during the dinner! Once i tasted it, it was really difficult to stop ^^. The cheese was liberally spread on the oysters and this really blended well with the "seafood-y" taste of the shellfish!

Baked Tahong
And last but not the least, the cream of the crop, calamari in light batter deep-fried to golden perfection! NO sticky wet portions, crisp, and uber piquant! This is why I love coming back to this place. I hate how other calamares are too breaded that they lose the squid-y taste and all you could taste is the breading. Definitely one of the best calamares ever! 

Definitely, I'd still be going back to this place because of it's affordability and delicious house specialties!

Cafe Adriatico vis a vis Abe

My family loves to eat out a lot since it has been a form of bonding for us. One MOA lunchtime, my family and I decided to try out Cafe Adriatico. It looked posh and the ambience was a mixture of classic Filipino and Spanish. The menu in Cafe Adriatico did not appeal to my dad because my dad is a rice person and most of the meals were pastas and noodles or plain-sounding home-cooked dishes. It was then that the waiter offered us a new set of menu from Abe, which was at the other side of the restaurant. This is how we found out that Abe and Cafe Adriatico were owned by the same group of companies! Surprisingly, the Kapampangan-based Abe menu delighted my mom and dad who selected a set of Filipino specialties.

My baby brother, being carnivorous and "Western-influenced", got Cafe Adriatico's Classic Burger served with fries and pickled vegetables. My brother has an appreciation for real beefy goodness and based from his reaction, this piece of burger was for the win!

Classic Burger at P186
For the adults, generous servings of the main course included the following:

Binukadkad na Plapla at P365

Binukadkad na Pla-pla, which was basically a bigger version of tilapia. It was crispy but fleshy portions were still adequate. If not for the special sauce, this dish, in my opinion is nothing remarkable.

Abe's Chicken Supreme at P840

Mom also ordered Abe's Chicken Supreme (house specialty) which is simply roasted chicken with special sauce. Again, for me, there was nothing supreme about it. The sauce, however, helped in making the chicken bearable for me. Although my dad and my other brother seemed to delight in it.

Since we are a family of meat-lovers, a pork dish would never be missed out. Their version of the Filipino crispy pata was called Crispy Tadyang. This indeed lived up to my expectation of it being crispy while still being edible. The serving was good enough for a family of 8 people.
Crispy Tadyang at P476
But for me, the real star of them all would be their version of Pastel de Lengua. The ox tongue was cooked to a tender perfection and creamy sauce was flavorful. Although for this family dine-out, this was my favorite, I must say that still, I have tasted a better version of lengua from Kalye Juan.
Pastel Lengua at P330

Thankfully, i still got to enjoy my lunch because of my Strawberry Daiquiri 

and i got to share the dulcet Chocolate Decadence with my baby brother.

In general, the foodtrip experience my family had was satisfactory. The food here was a bit too pricey to think that some dishes are not that remarkable. Yet, we have to admit that this definitely is not the best Kapampangan restaurant there is. Despite this, the mere fact that we were happily dining together was delectable enough that no meal can be considered to be only ordinary.

Chocolate Kiss

The Chocolate Kiss CafeUP Diliman

G/F Ang Bahay ng Alumni, R. Magsaysay St., UP Diliman
Quezon City, Metro Manila

Being a UP alumna does not make me biased about this restaurant. But it has proven itself worthy of recommendation to friends and foodies all over. The lush greens of the well-renowned UPD campus also adds to the attractive points of this Choco Kiss branch. I would prefer dining here though it's hours of driving away from my home over the branch located in Roces Avenue because of the perk of having to walk around and chill in the campus after a hearty meal. Affordable as it is, a regular meal would not cost a student much for a very decent and near-to-formal dining experience.

There are two cafes in Bahay ng Alumni, one at the ground and the other on the second level. My friends and i prefer dining on the second level because it's what we're used to. The serving size is just appropriate that you would not feel unsatisfied. So far, my dining escapades in Chocolate Kiss have never disappointed me...

The UP Bahay ng Alumni
A corner table for two

Here are some of the usual favorites my friends and i order for that wonderful Kiss experience.

The Fish Kiev has always been my favorite after I first had a try of it last year. I could not get over the crazy creamy filling inside the fish rolls that literally oozes out after every slice. Plus the generous white scallion sauce poured into the dish adds more to the delight of a cream-lover person. Not too creamy, not too salty. Just right! The fish rolls are tender in the inside and cooked evenly to a golden crispy coat on the outside. This is a new addition to their menu after their famous Chicken Kiev which is also definitely a must try!

Fish Kiev with White Scallion Sauce and Mashed Potatoes at P260

Another all-time favorite of Choco Kiss patrons would be the Hickory Smoked Spareribs. The slab of meat is as tender as it could get and cooked just right that the bones would literally fall off to slight manipulation! The hickory sauce is not too heavy and the flavors, not too acerbic. Definitely perfect with rice!

Hickory Smoked Spareribs at P215
One of my friends ordered their Fish Fillet with Pesto Salsa, which was grilled fish served with corn-pesto salsa on Paprika rice. I wasn't able to taste it because i was too overwhelmed with my meal, but according to her the dish was delectable too.

Happy-looking friend with her Fish Fillet with Pesto Salsa at P230
Save room for desserts. This is one good advice to heed. Choco Kiss serves a variety of cakes to choose from. My favorites and recommendations include the famous Devil's Food Cake with chocolate fudge filling and marshmallow frosting, Dayap Chiffon Cake which is flavored with dayap and reminds me of the cakes i used to have during my kiddie birthdays (really my type), and their Sans Rival which is generously served with chopped cashews!
Devil's Food Cake at P70

Sans Rival at P70

Dayap Chiffon Cake at P70
One can opt to go for the Chocolate Kiss Suite with three square pieces of their cakes. This is highly recommended for those who have no idea what to order.
The Chocolate Kiss Suite at P75

These are but a few reasons why i love going back to Chocolate Kiss. If only i was living close to Diliman, Chocolate Kiss would be a staple resto for me! Also, it would be nice to share to visitors of the campus the famed Isawan of Mang Larry. This small mobile foodstand is famous for its exotic tasty and trusted-to-be-safe chicken gizzards and pork intestines perfectly matched with sweet-tinged vinegar sauce. Well, for those who can't bear the thought of eating intestines, Mang Larry also sells pork BBQ. 

Isaw baboy and Isaw manok