Monday, July 21, 2014

Sometimes, I just want to put life on a hold and press "pause".  For some reason, I just want to stop and chill a bit before I can go on and press "play" and it goes on.  On time, I feel like that I just randomly do something out of the ordinary.  This time, I went to the nearest hotel just to have some snack. It was a bit odd that the cafe had no label or signage at all.  I wouldn't have known its name Caliber Cafe if I hadn't asked.

caliber cafe
I've been to Armada Hotel once but that was for Raja Thai Cuisine.  This one is more cozy and elegant so I was taken by surprise.  No idea what star of hotel Armada Hotel is.  But, the cafe looks grand don't you think?

caliber cafe
I loved the red cushioned seats which I wouldn't mind seating on for hours while enjoying their fast and reliable WiFi.

Food

Soups & Salads
traditional caesar salad
Traditional Caesar Salad (335 php)
I had the Traditional Caesar Salad which looks good right?  It is!

Desserts
I'll be honest.  I came there to escape the intense hot weather and was craving for something cold like halo-halo.  But upon glancing the menu, they didn't have that so I had these instead.
chocolate salami
Chocolate Salami (95 php)
I loved the creativity they put on the Chocolate Salami so I ordered one.  It was a delicious rich dark chocolate with marshmallow and cashew nuts.  It was so good!  I love the plating too. 
 
angel caramelo
Angel Caramelo (105 php)
The Angel Caramelo is creme brulee.  It was nothing out of the ordinary.


Tsinoy Foodies Verdict
If you're looking for a good hotel cafe with an elegant and cozy ambiance and good WiFi, definitely put Caliber Cafe into consideration.  The price is standard for a hotel cafe.  The service is top-notch too. 

Tsinoy Foodies Review Rating Caliber Cafe Menu
Ambiance Soups | Salads | Main 1 | Main 2 | Filipino
Pizza | Pasta | Sandwiches
 Desserts | Beverages |
Taste
Service
Price
=Favorites or Recommended 
Caliber Cafe at Armada Hotel
Business Address 2108 M. H Del Pilar, 
Malate, Manila, Metro Manila
Business Hours 6 am-10 pm
Payment Options   Cash
Service Charge 10%
Budget/Person 300-1,000
Free WiFi Yes
Unlocked Foursquare Perks None
Contact (02) 526-0888
Other  Website | Facebook Fan Page
Armada Hotel Map  Like This Post? Subscribe here                               

Friday, July 18, 2014

So far I've loved my every encounter with Capampangan Cuisine and I'm yearning to try more of them.  Thus when I was invited to Pinac by fellow blogger Animetric, I instantly accepted. 

pinac
After all, it's actually my first time to encounter Capampangan Cuisine from Candaba Pampanga.

pinac
Given it's exquisite and sophisticated native Candaba Pampanga vibe, I had the impression that it's a fine dining restaurant with intimidating prices.  But upon glancing at the menu, I was proven wrong.  I also noticed that big groups are dining there.

Lunch Specials at Pinac
lengua con setas
Lengua Con Setas (255 php)
The
Lengua Con Setas is braised ox tongue, sliced button mushrooms, roasted garlic and shredded parsley in a creamy sauce hinted with red wine.  It is served with garlic rice, pan roasted buttered carrots and string beans creamy.  I'm an avid fan of lengua dishes.  This rendition does not disappoint as every bit of the ox tongue was tender and delightful to chew.  The flavor especially on the salty side is a bit strong so it's a great partner with the sidings and garlic rice.

beef salpicao
Beef Salpicao (265 php)
The Beef Salpicao is stated to be beef tenderloin cubes in buttered Worcestershire sauce.  Some of the beef bits were tough to chew.  Perhaps people in Candaba Pampanga enjoy bold flavors since the sauce of this is even more powerful than the Lengua Con SetasIt is also  served with garlic rice, pan roasted buttered carrots and string beans creamy. 

Ensalada
fried quesong puti ensalada
Fried Quesong Puti Ensalada (145 php)
The Fried Quesong Puti Ensalada has fried quesong puti which looked like croquettes on top of the mixed greens, sliced tomatoes and cucumber.  It is served with a bagoong vinaigrette.  Even for a veggie and salad like me, I found this dish quite dull.  I only wanted to eat the fried quesong puti and leave everything behind.

Pampagana 
lumpiang ubod taquitos
Lumpiang Ubod Taquitos (185 php)
The Lumpiang Ubod Taquitos is juliened palm of heart, shrimp, shitake mushroom, beans on a bed of fried wontons.  It had a very flavorful peanut sauce which made me feel like I was munching on crunchy peanut butter.  I loved it because I'm a crunchy peanut butter addict.  I spoon and eat those plain or put them everywhere I can put them even on bananas. =p  But to give a fair and objective feedback, I can't help but feel that this is subordinate to Oriang's Lumpiang Hubad in Pastry Cups.

crispy hito balls mustasa buro
Crispy Hito Balls, Mustasa at Buro (235 php)
The Crispy Hito Balls, Mustasa at Buro is my favorite among the dishes we tried.  To eat it, slice the Crispy Hito Balls into half and then place it on the Mustasa with some Buro (fermented fish) It is also served with bagoong vinaigrette but I prefer to eat this without that so I can taste the Buro more.  I love Buro!  I usually have a jar of it snuggled in the fridge.



baked oysters with crispy kangkong
Baked Oysters with Crispy Kangkong (235 php)
The Baked Oysters with Crispy Kangkong is a great choice.  The baked oysters are large in size, cheesy and succulent.  The crispy kangkong is deliciously crispy too.

Asan (Fish)
adobong hito sa alagaw
Adobong Hito Sa Alagaw (185 php)
This is my first time to encounter catfish cooked like the Adobong Hito Sa Alagaw.  I found the sauce to be too salty.  As a big fan of catfish, I'm quite saddened by this because I can barely appreciate the distinct taste of the catfish itself.  I can still recall the days when we would buy fresh live catfish which will be netted out of an aquarium every time we would go to Rustan's Supermarket.  But, now its very rare to encounter one.

Pista
pinacs crispy pata
Pinac's Crispy Pata (645 php)
Pinac's Crispy Pata is one of the best pork knuckle or crispy pata I've tried.  It's said to be poached for 6 hours then fried.  The skin is so crispy and the meat is so soft and tender!  It is served with their Atsarang Capampangan.  It is a pickled eggplant, ampalaya and kangkong which had a tangy and sweet tones that successfully masked the bitterish flavor of the amplaya.


smoked tadyang yellow mango chutney
Smoked Tadyang with Yellow Mango Chutney (625 php)
The Smoked Tadyang with Yellow Mango Chutney is a 750 grams of smoked beef ribs on a bed of yellow mango and corn salsa.  For the price, this huge chunk is a bargain!  I found the flavor to be intensely sweet eat it with the salsa and rice.  My companions who are fond of sweets enjoyed it.  It was soft but not the fall of the bone type. 

Mayumi
suman mangga tsokolate
Suman Mangga at Tsokolate (140 php)
The Suman Mangga at Tsokolate is aesthetically appealing.  Unfortunately, the slightly crunchy and chewy fried suman, sticky coconut jam-textured tsokolate and sliced ripe mango failed to complement one another and appease my tastebuds. 

brazo de mais salabat
Brazo De Mais at Salabat (185 php)
I'm not much of a braso mercedes or meringue fan but I liked the Brazo De Mais at Salabat.  The soft meringue is filled with creamy custard with corn bits.  It was served with a lightly sweetened Salabat or ginger tea.  The two seem to complement each other well. 

brazo de mais salabat
Brazo De Mais (185 php)
The custard filling was creamy with a slight graininess like pastillas or yema.  It was fun to chew with the bits of corn.

dulce de leche
Dulce De Leche Cheesecake (195 php)
Everyone loved the Dulce De Leche Cheesecake.   It had a whipped cream laced with caramel on top then a sweet custard or yema-like cheeesecake and crust on the bottom.  Is it me or is it very similar to Forget Me Not's Dulce De Leche Cheesecake?

Drinks

Cold
kamias calamansi shake
Kamias Calamansi Shake (85 php) and Cucumber Mint Dalandan (85 php)
The Kamias Calamansi Shake is sweet and fizzy.  I liked the Cucumber Mint Dalandan because of its cool minty flavor that matches the refreshing dalandan zest well.

Giveaway!
pinac gc
To let you try their awesome dishes.  I'll be giving away 1,000-worth of Pinac GC. 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Other Reviews at UP Town Center
Cafe Shibuya
Casa Verde
Dulcelin Gourmet
Ginza Bairin
Lucca Bakery
Tokyo Tonteki

Tsinoy Foodies Verdict
If you're looking for a presentable place to dine for Candaba Pampanga dishes, try Pinac Heirloom Capampangan Cuisine especially if you enjoy flavorful dishes.  Their selections are affordable and portions are great for sharing.


Tsinoy Foodies Review Rating Pinac Heirloom Capampangan Cuisine Menu
Ambiance Almusal sa Lanang | Sabo | Ensalada |
Pampagana | Pista | Sinigang | Baka | Asan | Babi |
Manok | Paro at Ulang | Alimango | Gule
Noodles | Naci | Lunch specials
Mayumi | Drinks |
Taste
Service
Price
=Favorites or Recommended 
Pinac Heirloom Capampangan Cuisine
Business Address 2F UP Town Center, Katipunan Ave Loyola Heights, 
Quezon City, Metro Manila
Business Hours 11am-11pm
Payment Options   Cash
Service Charge 10%
Budget/Person 200-500
Free WiFi No
Unlocked Foursquare Perks None
Contact (02) 5775-9450
Other 
Disclosure: This is a sponsored event but it does not in any way obscure my objectivity.  

Pinac Heirloom Capampangan Cuisine Map  Like This Post? Subscribe here    

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Kapitolyo really has a lot of dining options.  This time we're out to try some ramen at Ramen Cool.  

ramen cool
We've heard a lot of raves about this huge ramen house.  Unlike other restaurants in Kapitolyo, this is no hole-in-a-wall but a really nice, spacious and cozy full-blown restaurant.  It even has a parking area.  But, still not enough due to the numerous diners that are rushing in during peak hours.


ramen cool

It's got bright lights and interiors with savy Modern Japanese influences.  There are more private rooms too.

Food
red and orange roll
Red and Orange Roll (235 php)
The Red and Orange Roll is a maki with fresh tuna and salmon sashimi  and crabsticks.  The size is huge.


gyoza
Gyoza (115 php/5 pieces)
The Gyoza is plump and juicy.  For the price, it's a bargain. 



rcool ramen
RCool Ramen (260 php)
The RCool Ramen is a big bowl of chashu ramen.  The egg is over-cooked.  The chashu was tender but it also had a lot of fats.  The ramen broth is very light.  The noodles were not too soft and not chewy nough to enjoy.


nabeyaki ramen
Nabeyaki Ramen (235 php)
The Nabeyaki Ramen is a big bowl of nabe ramen with tempura shrimp, seafood, egg, carrots, onions and leeks.  The flavor was too light for me.  I didn't like it. =(
 
miso ramen
Miso Ramen (175 php)
The Miso Ramen is a big bowlful of miso ramen with butter, corn, chashu, crabstick and egg.  Again, the egg is over-cooked.  This has a nice miso blend.  This is richer in terms of flavor compared to the other ones we ordered.


tempura ramen
Tempura Ramen (195 php)
The Tempura Ramen has a mild sweet broth with tempura shrimp and eggplant.  My little sister enjoyed this.


Tsinoy Foodies Verdict
The cool things about Ramen Cool are the affordable pricing for their hefty ramen servings (ladies can share) and great ambiance.  But, their ramen felt lacking in terms of substance.  The broth base was dull and lacking in flavor.  It felt as if they skipped the vital boiling preparation of making a ramen broth and relied heavily on the seasoning (i.e. soy sauce, miso etc.)  Their noodles is also one of the worst I've encountered. 

Tsinoy Foodies Review Rating Ramen Cool Menu
Ambiance Menu 1 | Menu 2 | Menu 3 | Menu 4 |
Menu 5 | Menu 6 | Menu 7 | Menu 8 |
Menu 9 | Menu 10 | Menu 11 |


Taste
Service
Price
=Favorites or Recommended 
Ramen Cool
Branches Kapitolyo
25 East Capitol Dr Kapitolyo, 
Pasig City, Metro Manila

SM Manila
3/F SM City Manila,
Ermita, Manila, Metro Manila
Business Hours 11am-11:30pm
Payment Options   Cash
Service Charge
Budget/Person 150-400
Free WiFi No
Unlocked Foursquare Perks None
Contact (02) 636-0972
Other  Facebook Fan Page
Ramen Cool Map  Like This Post? Subscribe here                               

Monday, July 14, 2014

Last March 21, 2013, In-N-Out had a Pop-Up store in Bonifacio High Street for a day.  People were expecting In-N-Out to expand here in Manila but it affirmed on December 2013 that it had no plans for expansion or franchising.  On February 16, 2014, it was not In-N-Out but CaliBurger which opened its first branch in Century City Mall
 
caliburger century city mall
CaliBurger Century City Mall
The arrival of Caliburger in the Philippines has received mixed criticisms.  There are some loyalists of In-N-Out who crave for the next best thing who were happy with it.  Others, complain that it can't match the quality they expected or that it's too pricey.  (Perhaps, since the In-N-Out pop out store appeared to be cheaper in price). 

I wanted to check it out for myself.  Thus, I've dined at their two branches.  I hope you don't mind if I merge it in one post.


caliburger century city mall
CaliBurger Century City Mall
CaliBurger Century City Mall occupies is a spacious area at the fourth floor.  They offer a very wide and trendy indoor area with a large screen showing how happy people are with their products.  Since it was very chilly inside during night time, most diners prefer to seat outside in the soft lofts with a nice city view.  So don't be surprised if you gaze through its glass window and find only a few diners eating there, they are all dining outside. =))

CaliBurger Timog Ave
Caliburger Timog Ave is located infront of GMA Station.  It is a walking distance from GMA-Kamuning LRT Station.
 
caliburger timog avenue
CaliBurger Timog Ave
Both branches have a lively tropical beach theme with colorful tables and chairs.  They adopt a pay as you order system.  Upon payment, you'll be given a yellow green or orange buzzer so you know when your order is ready.

Food

Burgers
bbq bacon cheeseburger
BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger Beef (195 php)
Caliburger recently introduced a new product called the BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger.  It's an upgraded version of their classic Cheeseburger (which I still prefer) with bacon and sweet BBQ sauce.  I recommend this for those who are fond of sweet stuff. 

Meals (Comes with Fries and Unlimited Drinks)
cali cheeseburger
Cheeseburger Meal B Beef (245 php)
The Cheeseburger Meal B Beef is a single patty cheeseburger.  Upon ordering, I was asked if I wanted my onions raw or grilled.  I choose the latter.  
 
cali double cheeseburger
Cali Double Meal C Beef (345 php)
For a more fulfilling meal, the Cali Double Meal is a great choice with its double patty.  This is my kind of meal. 

cali double cheeseburger
Cheeseburger (left) versus Cali Double (right)
I liked that their buns are very light, fluffy and soft.   The Certified  100% lean grass-fed Angus beef patty was juicy and tasty.  I didn't find it bland like the other feedbacks I've encountered when checking-in on foursquare.  The melted cheese, lettuce, grilled onions, tomatoes and wild-style sauce were a great complement.  I personally have not tried In-N-Out burger.  But for me, this is a reasonably priced good burger.  Sure, the patty is thin.  Well, so are those from other burger joints

The Fries (50 php) have a thicker cut but I liked it that way.  

We enjoyed the Onion Rings (50 php) more!  It's quite unfortunate that they are not offered as an alternative for the fries for their meals.  We had to order them separately. 

cali sweet wings
Cali Sweet Wings (95 php/4 pieces)
My family and I are not fond of sweets so we didn't enjoy the Cali Sweet Wings.  I somehow wished it had a bit of spiciness to it.  Perhaps, its the same sweet BBQ sauce as that of the BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger.  On the bright side, it was crunchy.

Drinks

Unlimited Drink Choices (Soda, Red Icea Tea, Dalandan Juice, Pink Lemonde  and Cucumber Lemonade) (75 php)
 
Dalandan Juice, Pink Lemonade  and Cucumber Lemonade (clockwise)
The best choice is the refreshing Cucumber Lemonade.  Next is the Dalandan Juice.  The Pink Lemonade is the sweetest.

Milkshakes
Chocolate, Vanilla and Strawberry Regular (120 php)
Neapolitan (120 php)
If you're not ordering their meals, I highly recommend their Milkshakes.  I got tipped that like In-N-Out they have a Secret Menu which contains the Neapolitan (a combination of all three flavors).  This is a pretty good milk shake!  Loved it. =)  

The one above is the one I ordered from Caliburger Timog Ave during lunch time.  It was really cold and more ice cream than a drink.

Neapolitan (120 php) *sorry for the poor quality photo grabbed from my IG
This is the Neapolitan I ordered from CaliBurger Century Mall for a late dinner meal.  Notice that the consistency is more diluted and very liquid?  I hope they'd meet in the middle for a cool, thick but easy to sip milkshake.

Tsinoy Foodies Verdict
We enjoyed dining at CaliBurger.  The burgers are good.  It's not the type I'd crave or line up for but I'd gladly pursue it if conveniently available.   I heard they also have the Wild Fries on the Secret Menu (add 100 php to the meal).  It's a bit pricey but I heard it's worth a try.   I'm gonna try that next time.   I also suggest this place as a nice hangout with its perfect night city view, cozy lofts,  fast and reliable WiFi and unlimited drinks.
 

Tsinoy Foodies Review Rating CaliBurger Menu
Ambiance Menu
Taste
Service
Price
=Favorites or Recommended 
CaliBurger
Branches
Makati
4/F Century City Mall, Kalayaan Avenue,  
Makati City, Metro Manila

Timog Ave/Tomas Morato
118 Timog Avenue, Across GMA Network Center, Sacred Heart, Quezon City, Metro Manila
Business Hours Mon-Thu, Sun: 10 am-10 pm
Fri-Sat: 10am-11pm
Payment Options   Cash
Service Charge
Budget/Person 250-500
Free WiFi Yes
Unlocked Foursquare Perks None
Contact (02) 403-8554
Other  Facebook Fan Page
CaliBurger Timog Ave Map  Like This Post? Subscribe here                               

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