Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Power of the Pub

From the shining beer tap handles to the old snooker tables, a true pub has a unique feel to it. When you are travelling the world you should seek out the pubs and meet the locals. You’ll be happy you did.

The first thing to do is to ask someone in the area what their favorite pub is. If possible, get them to show you. You’ll be well received, I promise. I don’t know how many friends I have made in front of the beertaps by just saying hello. The drink they are enjoying is usually a great starting point. If you find a pub that prides itself on the quality of their drinks, then it’s even easier.

You should make friends with the bartender. The easiest way to do this is to pay as you go, with cash and tip with each drink. But we don’t want friendship to be based on money do we? My favorite tactic is, if it’s a slow night or a sleepy pub, ask the bartender to make you his favorite drink or a drink they haven’t made in years. This is best done with serious bartenders rather than college kids just trying to make a buck. You can also order something interesting but don’t make it something difficult. You don’t want to annoy them with complicated drinks. Some bartenders get annoyed at anything more complicated than pouring from the beer taps. It’s time to find a better pub if that’s the case.

Find out what the house special food is and order it. Especially in the United Kingdom, pub food is an experience you will never forget and will always crave. Right now I am craving curried crisps with onion gravy. For the foodie, you have to experience it. Don’t turn your nose up just because it’s not a 5 star restaurant. You need to be open minded. Remember the first time you tried something you never thought you would like and it sparked your lifelong love of interesting food? Go back to your roots and explore a bit. The pub won’t disappoint.

This post is contributed by Wailing Soul who loves to write about food and drinks.

Lazy Night? There's Kitchen Knight!

A few months ago, I won five Kitchen Knight meals from a contest of Pinoy Exchange as the sole contestant.  Kitchen Knight was relatively knew at the time and no one knew what it was.  Kitchen Knight is a night time food delivery operating only at 6:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m.   It is aimed at providing better food options to BPO, call center and other graveyard shift employees.  Before Kitchen Knight came, most of the night shift employees have to make do with the meals provided by 24-hour fast food and convenient stores which are unhealthy to eat everyday.  

I was glad to earn the five Kitchen Knight meals because I knew it can rescue us whenever we were to lazy to cook.  Ordering was simple.  We called 519-5555 and stated what we wanted.  Kitchen Knight was so nice to compromise with by meeting at Vito Cruz because during that time our area was not yet included in their delivery area which was limited to Makati and Fort Areas.

The food came in styro foam packaging with the Kitchen Knight logo.  They also provided plastic spoons and fork.  It's been a long time since we ate in styro foam perhaps because because this is not eco-friendly.  I hope they change it to an environmental friendly alternative.

Spicy Seafood Basil (85 php)
The Spicy Seafood Basil came with a large cup of rice garnished with sliced vegetables and shrimps, seafood bits and basil in chili sauce.  Having tried Thai food many times, I was expecting the usual red chili sauce.  But, I guess this is a mild version.  

 Bibimbap (85 php)
The  Bibimbap was the complete with fried egg, zucchini, mushrooms and vegetables.  It also came with the Gochujang sauce.  This was the best among all our orders.  

Chicken Bulgogi (85 php)
My sister is such a Korean fanatic.  We've literally eaten at almost all Korean restaurants in our area more than once because of my little sisters strong persuasiveness upon us.  I feel sad for her that the Chicken Bulgogi was not as we all expected.  We were looking forward to the sweet, fragrant and flavorful chicken bulgogi marinated in sweet soy sauce and sesame oil and then grilled.  But, the Chicken Bulgogi came in a thick sweet sauce.  I hope they get to improve this.  

Tsinoy Foodies Verdict
Kitchen Knight offers Asian cuisine at a reasonable price which is already inclusive of delivery.   In terms of price and standard, it is a pretty good alternative to limited choices of canteen food, fast food and convenient stores that you get tired of eating every single day.  The serving size is just right for a late night meal.  

Tsinoy Foodies Review Rating
=Favorites or Recommended 

Kitchen Knight Menu 

Kitchen Knight 
Business Address
8893-D Sampaloc St., San Antonio Village Makati City, Makati City Makati, Philippines
Business Hours 6pm-3am
Payment Options Cash
Service Charge

Budget/Person 75-150
Contact (02) 519-3333 and 519-5555
Other  Facebook Fan Page | Website

Kitchen Knight Restaurant Map *credits to Kitchen Knight

Monday, January 16, 2012

Mr. Choi Kitchen: My Favorite Chinese MSG-Free Restaurant

I guess you would not find it surprising for me as a Tsinoy (Filipino-Chinese) to love Chinese food.  One of my favorite casual dining restaurants is Mr. Choi Kitchen at Robsinson's Place Manila.  Whenever I am left home along and I am to lazy to prepare a meal, I would always invite Kurt to go to Mr. Choi Kitchen.  But, sometimes I also dine there with the family.

Mr. Choi Kitchen has a simple ambiance embedded with Chinese influence.  The place seemed to be follow a brown and orange color pattern.  It has wooden tables paired with wooden chairs with orange cushions.  Like the typical Chinese Restaurant, you get to hear the chatting sound from the nearby tables.  During weekend peak hours, you'll see tables being filled up and waiters scrambling to deliver the orders.


 Hot & Sour Soup (75 php)
As a frequent customer, I already know what I want without looking at the menu.  I always order the Hot & Sour Soup.  It is actually one of my favorite soups.  Mr. Choi Kitchen's Hot & Sour Soup is delicious.  It has no extra ingredients compared to other restaurants.  But, they are consistently able to balance the hotness and sourness.  

Wanton Soup (75 php)
My sister was not feeling well that day so we ordered her a Wanton Soup.  It was good like the typical wanton soup.  The taste was just right and not overwhelming with spices.

Seafood with Nori & Tofu Soup (75 php)
The Seafood with Nori & Tofu Soup is a seafood broth based soup with tofu, mushrooms, nori (seaweed), shrimp and vegetables.  It is very flavorful and soothing.

Healthy Dishes
Soft Beancurd w/ Mix Mushrooms (185 php)
My family is a fan of beancurd and mushrooms so naturally, we ordered the Soft Beancurd w/ Mix Mushrooms.  Like most dishes at Mr. Choi Kitchen, the orders are good for sharing so its best to come dine there in groups.  The Soft Beancurd w/ Mix Mushrooms is very delicious.  The beancurd is really soft and smooth.  It also had a generous amount of mushrooms.   It has my favorite thick sauce composed of oyster sauce and starch.  
Fresh Scallop w/ Brocolli (260 php)
Every Chinese I know loves scallops.  We love dishes with scallops even when they are simple like Mr. Choi Kitchen's Fresh Scallop w/ Brocolli.  We were happy with the soft scallops.  It was delicious!  Of course, the brocolli is an excellent source of vitamin C and I'd love to eat them too.  

Fried Rice and Rice Toppings
 Fookien Fried Rice (210 php)
The Fookien Fried Rice is my favorite fried rice.  I can apply the famous Filipino advertisement line "Just the rice is already a viand" ("Kanin palang ulam na") with the Fookien Fried Rice.  I love Mr. Choi Kitchen's Fookien Fried Rice because the are very generous with the thick sauce and the ingredients.  It has a lot of mushrooms and scallops.  

Tsinoy Foodies Verdict
Mr. Choi Kitchen offers Chinese dishes at affordable price.  It's a place you can never get tired of eating at.  They have a lot of items in their menu.  You can decide the food you want to order depending on your budget.  It's best to dine at Mr. Choi Kitchen in groups because of their large order size but they have individual meals too.  

Tsinoy Foodies Review Rating
=Favorites or Recommended 

Mr. Choi Kitchen Menu 
Menu 1 | Menu 2 | Menu 3 | Menu 4 | Menu 5

Mr. Choi Kitchen
Business Address
G/F Robinsons Place Manila,
Pedro Gil cor. Adriatico St., Ermita
Manila, Metro Manila
Business Hours 10am-9pm (mall hours)
Payment Options   Cash
Service Charge

Budget/Person 100-250
Contact (02) 522-4987
Other  Facebook Fan Page
Mr. Choi Kitchen Map

Brownies Unlimited: Christmas Surprise Pre-Assorted Box of Brownies

Kurt and I have known each other since childhood.  But, he keeps everything to himself so I don't know what he does and when he feels like coming to visit.  On a few good days, he comes over and brings me surprise treats.  Of course, I'm very thankful!  Last Christmas, he brought a pre-assorted box of brownies from Brownies Unlimited for me and my family.  

brownies unlimited
pre-assorted box of brownies (125 php)
It's not my first time to encounter Brownies Unlimited.  I've tried their other variants before.  Brownies Unlimited are located on most SM malls and even non-SM malls.  I've tried them at a couple of parties and we've tried bought some before too.
New York, Dulce de Leche and Triple Chocolate
For these the New York, Dulce de Leche and Triple Chocolate, the only difference they have from each other are their toppings.  The winning component of Brownies Unlimited's brownies is the soft and moist texture of their brownies.  I think their Brownies are similar to a chocolate fudge.  Every bite is sweet, rich and chocolate-y good. 
triple chocolate  style=
Triple Chocolate
The Triple Chocolate has a chocolate and white chocolate syrup on top of the chocolate brownies.  I find this too sweet for my taste because of all the chocolates syrups.  I prefer the other two I guess I'm use to eating plain brownies with less toppings.  

Tsinoy Foodies Verdict
Brownies Unlimited Brownies are pretty good.  It can be easily bought at your nearest malls in a neat packaging at an affordable price.  It's perfect as a gift or take home treat ("pasalubong") even when you're on a tight budget.  It can be also be served during parties.  

Tsinoy Foodies Review Rating
=Favorites or Recommended 

Brownies Unlimited Menu 

Brownies Unlimited
SM City Bacolod
SM City Bacoor
SM City Baguio
SM City Baliwag
SM City Batangas
SM City Bicutan
SM City Cebu
SM City Centerpoint
SM City Clark
SM City Cubao
SM City Dasmarinas
SM City Fairview
SM City Harrison Plaza
SM City Iloilo
SM City Lipa
SM City Lucena
SM City Makati
SM City Mall of Asia
SM City Manila
SM City Marikina
SM City Marilao
SM City Megamall
SM City Naga
SM City North Edsa
SM City Pampanga
SM City Rosales
SM City San Lazaro
SM City Sta. Rosa
SM City Southmall
SM City Sucat
SM City Taytay

SM Super Center Molino
SM Super Center Muntinlupa
SM Super Center Valenzuela

Festival Supermall
Robinsons Galleria
Robinsons Place
Business Hours mall hours
Payment Options   Cash
Service Charge

Budget/Person 15-150

Other  Facebook Fan Page | Website

Sunday, January 15, 2012

My Last Meals at Mexicali Restaurant (Robinson's Place Branch Closed)

Located in between the Midtown Wing and Pedro Gil Wing of Robinson's Place is Mexicali Restaurant.   As the name Mexicali implies, they serve California Burritos and more.  California Burritos are a sort of fusion food derived from the Mexican Burritos.  There are two kinds of California Burrito.  One originated from San Diego California and the other is from San Francisco California.  Mexicali serves San Francisco California Burritos characterized by having rice, sour cream and guacamole and usually wrapped in foil.

Mexicali Restaurant's ambiance projects a happy Mexican feel with its colored wooden chairs and Mexican inspired wall designs.

I will be sharing with you the my last two visits at Mexicali Restaurant.  I hope you don't mind if I make one review for both.

First Visit
During our first visit, we actually intended to claim our El Gourdo Burrito deal from 500PesoDeals.com but the female manager was insisting that the five vouchers we bought worth 1,000 php (200 php x 5) was only claimable for El Gourdo Burrito meal (worth 345 php).  Naturally, we didn't want to be at a loss and ordered something else instead and decided to clarify the matter over at 500PesoDeals.com first.  You can check my entry "Food Trauma from Mexicali Restaurant and 500PesoDeals.Com" for full details (see separate entry)

sopa de ajo
Sopa de Ajo cup (garlic soup) (45php)
The Sopa de Ajo is a clear soup with garlic bits.  We ordered five of this since everyone in the family except for me ordered this.  They just love the aromatic natural taste of garlic.

shrimp bisque
Bisque de Camaron Cup (shrimp bisque) (55 php)
I ordered the Bisque de Camaron Cup.  It was rich and creamy in flavor.  In fact, the shrimp flavor is so strong that it is best eaten with the Nachos.  I personally, enjoy dipping it into the soup while munching on it.

pollo al carbon
Pollo al Carbon California (225 php)
The Pollo al Carbon is grilled chicken bits with vegetables, beans, Mexican rice, salsa and sour cream wrapped in large soft flour tortilla.  My little sister ordered this.   This was her favorite and usual order.

shrimp burrito
Grilled Shrimp California (355 php)
The Grilled Shrimp is grilled shrimp bits with vegetables, beans, Mexican rice, salsa and sour cream wrapped in large soft flour tortilla.  My family says this is the best Burrito variant so we had four orders of this.

Combo 7: Enchilada & Burrito (359 php) 
I always order Combo 7: Enchilada & Burrito whenever dining at Mexicali Restaurant because I have a huge appetite and I could choose the type of Enchilada and Burrito I want.  I chose Grilled Vegetables Enchilada and Grilled Steak Burrito.  I always try to balance my meal with meat and vegetables.  The Grilled Vegetables Enchilada is soft tortilla filled with vegetables topped with their secret ranchera sauce and sour cream.  I used to love their enchiladas.  It was really good.
shrimp burrito
Grilled Steak Burrito 
The Grilled Steak Burrito is tasty tender steak strips with vegetables, beans, Mexican rice, salsa and sour cream wrapped in large soft flour tortilla.  I loved the texture of their large soft flour tortilla.

Second Visit

My family was disappointed on how the manager of Mexicali Restaurant handled the situation previously and how we were ignored and neglected by 500PesoDeals.com.  I had to force my family to come back to Mexicali with me because I could never finish 5 El Gourdo Meals all by myself.  I apologize for the lack of photos since I didn't bother to bring a camera because I'm sure everyone was not in the mood for it.  After a series of email exchanges with 500PesoDeals.comI was optimistic that everything will go along smoothly.  I even promised my family that.  so when we went to Mexicali, I handed the vouchers to the staff.  They looked puzzled and no one seems to know about it.  I was looking for the manager who apparently was absent.  We had to search the internet for the Mexicali Head Office contact and after a long process we had our five orders of Grilled Chicken El Gourdo Burritos.  The staffs looked unhappy as if forced to serve our orders.  We had four for dine-in and one for take-out.  The take out was also for me since my two little sisters did not want to eat at Mexicali again.  We were waiting for the 16 oz Iced Tea as stated in our vouchers but when we asked for it, the servers were also unaware of it.  To convince them, we surfed the internet and show them the deal through our tablets.  After a while, they agreed to serve our 16 oz Iced Tea.  Despite the good food, my family went home tired and disappointed with Mexicali Restaurant
White Hair on my El Gourdo Burrito
(*pardon the crappy photo taken by mobile phone)
As we went home, I decided to watch a movie as I ate my take home Grilled Chicken El Gourdo Burrito.  As I was eating my Grilled Chicken El Gourdo Burrito, I suddenly felt a hair dangle around my tooth.  I observed that some parts of the white hair was still inside  my Grilled Chicken El Gourdo Burrito so I pulled it out with both hands one hand pulling after the other since it seemed to be stuck with all the ingredients.  I was so disgusted, I felt like I could cry. 

Update (January 2014): This branch is now closed.  Check out their other branches instead.

Tsinoy Foodies Verdict
Mexicali Restaurant serves flavorful food with generous amounts of ingredients.  We've dined at Mexicali Restaurant at Robinson's place and Mall of Asia many times before.  However, due to our sad experience twice as cited here (see separate entry), we got so disappointment in terms of customer handling, lack of restaurant management and communication and unhygienic food, I don't think we can ever come back to Mexicali Restaurant ever again.  Dining out for us is for fun and convenience but our last meals at Mexicali Restaurant was not.

Tsinoy Foodies Review Rating
=Favorites or Recommended 

Mexicali Restaurant Robinson's Place Menu Menu 1 | Menu 2 | Menu 3 | Colombian Coffee | Complete Menu 

Mexicali Restaurant Robinson's Place
Business Address
2nd Lvl., Robsinon's Place
Padre Faura Wing, M. Adriatico St., Ermita
Manila, Metro Manila
Business Hours 10am-9pm (mall hours)
Payment Options   Cash
Service Charge

Budget/Person 150-360
Contact (02) 400-6869
Other  Facebook Fan Page | Website
Mexicali Restaurant Robinson's Place Map

Paris Delice: Cozy French Fastfood in the Midst of the Busy City of Makati

In the midst of the busy City of Makati is a humble and cozy French fast food restaurant named Paris Delice.  It is located among the tall buildings, bars, restaurants where employees can easily stop over everyday.
paris delice 

Paris Delice is marked by its Mini Eiffel Tower Structure.  According to the signage posted on its glass doors, it is offers Free WiFi spot and it also delivers in the Makati Area.  

paris delice
Like in Paris, you cannot smoke inside the cafes so there is an outdoor area.  Despite being outside, there is a shrub blocking the view from the street so you still have your privacy.

Paris Delice is a self-service style of restaurant by paying your orders at the counter.  It has a cold storage for its desserts, salads, dressings, organic yoghurt, fresh juices and other beverages.  They also offer two kinds of hot soup.  While we were dining, we actually saw a lot of foreigners who comes in to get what they want, pay at the counter and leave.  They already know what to get and what to do so I'm guessing they are all regulars.

paris delice
Paris Delice has a clean white look with French paintings for sale and photographs of their tempting food items hanged on its walls.  

Food Offerings
paris delice praline

paris delice patries
According to Chef Alfredo Peralta, the ingredients for their pastries and also some prepared bread are imported from Paris.  Their pastries are authentic French because they are using the same flour as other French restaurants.
paris delice fresh juice

paris delice organic salad
The desserts look delicious don't they?  Hopefully I'll get to taste some of them on my next visit.

paris delice salad
Paris Delice package their salads in large see-through containers so you can check out how rich they are with ingredients.  

organic yoghurt
Paris Delice uses organic vegetables and milk sources from our local organic farms.  Wow the raspberry vinaigrette looks delicious!

Food We Ordered
The food we tried was a courtesy of Openrice Eats a Date and Paris Delice so we were served samplers which are not same size if ordered.  
Tartiflette Panini, Classique Panini Legumes Roti Panini and Salad Verte
The Tartiflette Panini is composed of a Tartiflette, Bacon, Onion, Reblechon Cheese.  It's my first time to encounter a Tartfiflette and would certainly like to taste it more in the future.  Classique Panini contains some Parma Ham, Mozzarella Cheese, Tomatoes and Pesto.  Everything goes well together.  I love it!  The Legumes Roti Panini is also delicious with its Roasted Vegetables, Feta cheese and Mozzarella.  I enjoyed the Salad Verte with vinaigrette and caramelize walnut.  The light vinaigrette was complemented by the tasty caramelize walnut.

pulet au pistou
Poulet Au Pistou (half order)
The Poulet Au Pistou was a pasta with slices of chicken breasts and dried julienned tomatoes in pesto sauce.  The pesto sauce was light in taste but complimented by the chicken and the dried tomatoes, it was perfect.
mini tarts
Mini Choco Banana Tart and Mini Lemon Tart
The Mini Choco Banana Tart was chocolate syrup with slices of banana.  I found the Mini Choco Banana Tart too sweet.  I loved the Mini Lemon Tart.   The light tangy lemon taste was contrasted by the caramelized sugar on top.  The texture was smooth too.  

Tsinoy Foodies Verdict
Paris Delice offers quality food with the best ingredients.  There offer high quality cheese, freshest organic vegetables and more.  Because of their high-quality, imported and organic ingredients, prices may be higher than average.  I noticed that some of their menu items comes in sets to offer more savings to their customers.   On the other hand, Paris Delice beverages are priced similar to popular coffee shops.   But, Paris Delice advise coffee orders to be in the morning.  Considering that they offer FREE WiFi with quality food, it is the perfect business meeting and hang out place.

Tsinoy Foodies Review Rating
=Favorites or Recommended 

Paris Delice Menu Sandwiches | Salads | House Pasta and Breakfast | Panini | Coffee and Beverages

Paris Delice
Business Address
1 Juno Street corner Makati Avenue, 1209 Manila, Philippines
Business Hours 7am-10pm
Payment Options   Cash
Service Charge

Budget/Person 150-350
Contact (02) 798 0740
Other  Facebook Fan Page | Website

Paris Delice Map

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