Friday, June 26, 2015

Commune: After-Dinner Coffee (Salcedo Village Makati)

After a dinner in the Makati area, my little sister insisted that we should have some coffee.  We googled for a coffee shop nearby and Commune popped up.

commune philippines

I've heard a lot of raves about Commune in the social media.  I was expecting it to have an ambiance like the mainstream coffee and tea shops.  But, it turned out to be quite simplistic.  It intentionally had mix-matched chairs.  

commune philippines
Some portions have high tables with high stools.  I liked the interiors especially the dangling lights.  However, the lack of sufficient air-conditioning made me uncomfortable. 

commune philippines
The cupcakes didn't seem to entice any of us so we didn't try any.

Hot Drinks
commune philippines
Cappuccino (99 php)
My little sister ordered the Cappuccino and requested to have a 3D latte art.  We were happy with the latte art but the coffee was just average.
 

commune philippines
Cappuccino Decaf (120 php)
Cold Drinks
Commune
Iced Cappuccino (130 php)
I ordered the Iced Cappuccino which was very diluted for my liking.


Tsinoy Foodies Verdict
I don't understand what the hype over Commune is.  Perhaps, we should try their food to appreciate?  Or, this turns into something extraordinary during weekdays?  I'll probably only revisit if I'm looking for a hang out place in the area as the price is pretty decent.

Tsinoy Foodies Review Rating Commune Menu
Ambiance N/A
Taste
Service
Price
=Favorites or Recommended 
Commune
Business Address GF, Liberty Plaza, 102 H. V. Dela Costa Street, 
Salcedo Village, Makati City, Metro Manila
Business Hours 8am-12pm
Payment Options   Cash
Service Charge
Budget/Person 100-500
Free WiFi No
Unlocked Foursquare Perks None
Contact (02) 889-2660
Other  Website
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C'Italian Dining: Classy Casual Italian Dining in the Heart of Makati (Salcedo Village Makati)

If you've been to Salcedo Village in Makati, then you have certainly seen C'Italian Dining.  The facade exudes a grand luxurious intimidating elegance

citalian dining
But, to my surprise, "C" in C'Italian actually stands for casual. 

citalian dining
I can easily point out what makes its facade stand out.
  • First, the entire building is made of stone.  
  • Second, it has an enormous maroon dome awning above it's glittering and well-lighted gold entrance.  
  • Third, its sophiscated window pane design.  
  • Fourth, it's usher waiting to open your door.  
  • Fifth, its al fresco area covered with striped awnings and misty effects.

citalian dining
Step in and you'll find yourself even more enthralled by the golden framed paintings, stylish chandeliers, classy and well-polished furnitures and fixtures and tip-top shiny servers.

citalian dining
There's a shelf filled with white plates authographed by distinguished personalities.

Food
citalian dining
Complimentary Bread

C' Original Panizza

C'Italian Dining is the home of the original panizza.  It is their original recipe.
panizza
Jando La Famiglia (500 php)
The Jando La Famiglia is a panizza topped with salami, toasted sliced garlic and sun-dried tomatoes.  It is served with arugula.  You can also spice it up with their chili oil.  All my companions loved this.  This is the first time for them to try a panizza and it surely left a great first impression.

panizza
Kristina La Famiglia (520 php)
The  Kristina is a panizza topped with bacon, ham, caramelized onions, sun dried tomatoes and mushroom.  Having tried the same item in My Kitchen by Chef Chris, I can't help but compare them.  This is the clear winner in terms of price as this is only 520 php (against 790 php).  Both has roughly the same amount of toppings.  The texture is almost the same, but I have a slight preference towards My Kitchen's.

panizza
Rolls Royce La Famiglia (690 php)
The Rolls Royce is a panizza topped with salami, scallop flakes, shrimp and sun-dried tomatoes.

panizza
KarMichael Solo
If you prefer the familiar pizzas, you can order the KarMichael which has olive, ham, green bell pepper.

Pasta

linguine al tartufo e proscuitto
Linguine Al Tartufo E Proscuitto La Familglia (790 php)
The Linguine Al Tartufo E Proscuitto is linguine in rich truffle cream sauce topped with Parmesan, prosciutto and asparagus.  I like that they didn't scrimp on the truffle because I love truffle!  But, the pasta was a bit undercooked for me.  It was a bit tough and dry.

pasta
Linguine Ai Fruitti De Mare La Familglia (590 php)
The Linguine Ai Fruitti De Mare would be my top choice among the pasta dishes I've tried.  It has generous bits of salmon mahi-mahi, and prawns and pieces of imported mussels in extra-virgin olive oil and tangy pomodoro sauce. 
 
penne roberto
Penne Roberto Solo (320 php)

The Penne Roberto is a great option for those who prefer cream-based sauce.  It is penne in gorgonzola and parmesan cream sauce with chicken fillet, sliced garlic and sun dried tomatoes.


pasta
Spanghetti Con Polpette La Familglia (490 php)
Carnivores would prefer the Spanghetti Con Polpette La Familglia with its beef and pork meatballs, parmesan cheese, fresh herbs and spices, roasted in olive oil and braised in pomodoro sauce over the Linguine Ai Fruitti De Mare

Secondi: Poultry
tuscan chicken
Tuscan Roasted Whole Chicken (890 php)
The Tuscan Roasted Whole Chicken is a marinated in extra virgin olive oil, white wine and lemon served with vegetable pilaf rice.  I don't recall having encountered this dish before so I guess the bold flavor took me off guard.  It didn't appeal to my taste buds.  I also fount the chicken meat lacking in moisture.

Secondi: Beef
angus beef flank steak
Angus Beef Flank Steak 1000 grams (3490 php)
As you can see, the Angus Beef Flank Steak is marinated with black pepper, rosemary and garlic, served with caramelized onion roasted potatoes, baked pumpkin slice and rapini topped with red wine reduction.  It also comes with kale as side dish.  For the price, this is unbelievably affordable.  It is also tender and succulent. 

Dolce
lemon cheesecake
Lemon Cheese Cake (230 php)
The Lemon Cheese Cake is a very visually appealing baked lemon cheesecake topped with sweet jellied lemon sauce, almond slivers and cream.  This was swiped clean by my friends.  But, I found it too sweet for my preference.  Having this made me miss My Kitchen's version

tiramisu
Tiramisu (210 php)

I prefered the Tiramisu over the Lemon Cheese Cake.   But, it's not something I'd order again.

Tsinoy Foodies Verdict
I've long heard of C'Italian Dining and have been meaning to visit it n Pampanga.  I'm glad it's already here in Metro Metro.  Now I can have panizza as often as I want without breaking the bank.  Given the amazing ambiance, this is also a great place to bring guest/s you want to impress.

Tsinoy Foodies Review Rating C'Italian Dining Menu
Ambiance Panizza 1 | Panizza 2 | Panizza 3 | Antipasti
Insalate | Zuppe | Potato Gnocchi
Pasta 1 | Pasta 2 | Secondi 1 | Secondi 2 |

Taste
Service
Price
=Favorites or Recommended 
C'Italian Dining Makati
Business Address L' Ermitage Apartments, 115 L. P. Leviste Corner Toledo Street, 
Salcedo Village, Makati City, Metro Manila
Business Hours 11am-11pm
Payment Options   Cash
Service Charge 10%
Budget/Person 800-2,000
Free WiFi Yes
Unlocked Foursquare Perks None
Contact (02) 246-9069
Other 
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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Fika: Affordable Asian-Inspired Food (Old Balara Quezon City)

I always try to expand my foodie horizon.  A few weeks ago, I finally reached Capitol Greenstreet Commercial Center.  It's a foodie haven within Capitol Hills.  It is also a home to Fika, a humble cafe and restaurant run by the First Gourmet Academy - the culinary school located just above it. 

fika first gourmet academy
The set up is quite simple. 

fika first gourmet academy
Table set-up gives you a hint of its Asian flare as Fika provides chopsticks too.

fika first gourmet academy
I found the al fresco area more appealing as  it offers a nice view of the green golf course.  During late afternoon, you can even see the orange horizon because of the sunset.

Food

Appetizers
filipino pork crackling
Filipino Pork Crackling (110 php)
The Filipino Pork Crackling is a the classic oven roasted salted pork rind sticks with vinegar dip presented in a fun twisted and thin form. 

chinese firecracker shrimp
Chinese Firecracker Shrimp (215 php)
The Chinese Firecracker Shrimp is fried shrimp wrapped in rice paper with sweet and spicy sauce.  This is simple but fun to munch.

cantonese pork siu mai
Cantonese Pork Siu Mai (165 php)
The Cantonese Pork Siu Mai is steamed minced pork dumplings drizzled with sesame oil and served with chili oil and soy sauce dip.  Many of my companions where wondering why this is called "siu mai" instead of the "siomai" we usually encounter here in the Philippines.  It's because "siomai" is Fookien-style as many of us Tsinoys here in the Philippines are Fookienese.

indonesia chicken satay
Indonesian Chicken Satay (200 php)
One of my favorite dishes among those I've tried is the  Indonesian Chicken Satay.  For 200 bucks, these huge grilled moist chicken breasts cubes is the wisest option to order.  I highly recommend it.

Salads and Soups
japanese crabstick and mango salad
Japanese Crabstick and Mango Salad (120 php)
The Japanese Crabstick and Mango Salad has a very light and faint wasabi dressing.  I enjoyed this!

japanese shoyu ramen
Japanese Shoyu Ramen (110 php)
The Japanese Shoyu Ramen is unlike the other shoyu ramen that I've tried because it was sweet like sukiyaki.  My friends like it because it has lots of seafood, vegetables and egg noodles.   And, at its pricing, this is one of the cheapest ramens, I've had.

Mains
malaysian fish fillet sambal
Malysian Fish Fillet Sambal (225 php)
The Malysian Fish Fillet Sambal was a bit disappointing for me.  It was an ordinary breaded dory fish fillet with chili and garlic sauce. 

korean spicy stir fried squid
Korean Spicy Stir-Fried Squid (220 php)
The Korean Spicy Stir-Fried Squid had the right blend of sweet and spiciness from the korean chili bean pasta and nutty flavor from the roasted sesame.

thai chicken curry in peanut sauce
Thai Chicken Curry in Peanut Sauce (200 php)
The Thai Chicken Curry in Peanut Sauce is cubed chicken and vegetable simmered in thai curry paste coconut milk and roasted peanuts.  I loved this!

chinese meat balls
Chinese Meat Balls (190 php)
The Chinese Meat Balls is a serving of 3 large pork meatballs and cabbage simmered in chinese soy sauce.  I find this one to be filling to the belly but not so enticing to the taste buds.

cantonese barbecue pork
Cantonese Barbecue Pork (235 php)
If you enjoy sweet and rich flavors, the Cantonese Barbecue Pork  which is roasted marinated pork with sweet Chinese barbecue sauce is for you.

Vegetables
stir fried vegetables
Chinese Styled Stir-Fried Vegetables (95 php)

Rice and Noodles
chinese yeung chow fried rice
Chinese Yeung Chow Fried Rice (195 php)
The Chinese Yeung Chow Fried Rice reminds me of my mom's cooking.  It's hearty and satisfactory.

Breakfast
omellete
Plain Omelette with Toast (100 php)
tapa
Beef Tapa with Garlic Rice, Fried Eggs and Atchara (220 php)
My favorite Filipino breakfast meal is tapaFika's Beef Tapa with Garlic Rice, Fried Eggs and Atchara is really good and has definitely passed my high standard.


Desserts
desserts
Filipino Leche Flan (75 php), Malaysian Cream Pie (75 php), Cantonese Mango Pudding (75 php) and Thai Coco and Pandan Cooler (75 php)
Save room for dessert!  I specially loved the Malaysian Cream Pie.

Drinks
iced cappuccino
Iced Cappuccino (110 php)
Tsinoy Foodies Verdict
If you're in the area and looking for affordable dishes to try, I highly recommend Fika.  The price is unbelievably cheap.  I'm told that its because they don't seek to profit but merely to train their students.

Tsinoy Foodies Review Rating Fika Menu
Ambiance Breakfast 1 | Breakfast 2 |
Vegetables | Rice | Noodles | Salads and Soups |
 Appetizers | Mains 1 | Main 2 |
Drinks | Desserts |
Taste
Service
Price
=Favorites or Recommended 
Fika
Business Address GF Capitol Greenstreet Commercial Center, Capitol Hills Drive, 
Old Balara, Quezon City, Metro Manila
Business Hours 7am-9:30pm
Payment Options   Cash
Service Charge 10%
Budget/Person 100-500
Free WiFi No
Unlocked Foursquare Perks None
Contact (02) 246-9069
Other  Website | Facebook Fan Page
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Monday, June 22, 2015

Bellysima by Mercato Centrale: My Top 5 Picks and New Discoveries (Greenbelt 5)

Last Independence Day, I was invited to taste test at Bellysima by Mercato Centrale in Greenbelt 5.  It has been awhile since my foodie girlfriends Berylle, Sumi and I got together so we agreed to go to catch up.  Due to unforeseen events, Sumi wasn't able to go but Berylle and I came home with lots of goodies.

Top 5 Picks
Everyone who registered were give an empty plate, fork and a top 5 pick sheet.  I'm sharing you mine.

kurikipu
Kurikipu (Facebook Fan Page)
I usually don't rank my picks when I share it.  But, this time I have to emphasize that my number 1 pick is  Kurikipu!  The two guys behind it are culinary geniuses.  I've tried their products: Saba Sa Gata Mini Pie (75 php/piece) , Dayap Meringue Mini Pie (75 php/piece), Fudge Spiced Duo (50 php/piece), Beef Tomato Pasta (100 php) and Tuna Squash Pasta (100 php) and you can't go wrong with any of them.  I guess they are just new entrepreneurs so product packaing and presentation during the taste test was not as appealing as the others.  But, if you get to try their products like I did, I promise that you will understand why I'm very impressed with their food quality and creativity (that can captivate your taste preference). 
greenhouse ph
The Greenhouse PH (Instagram)
I don't know why we didn't get to try the main product of The Greenhouse PH which were detox juices and their Cold Brew Coffee.  But, what really drew us is G Stuff's Kefir Spread (350 php).  Berylle and I bought one. The family loved it very much!  A jar lasts up to 3 months but it's only been a few weeks and it's almost empty.  To be honest, we're just saving it for delayed gratification haha.  It's a great pair to any pastry especially ciabatta.  G Stuff also has flavored coconut oil which was really intriguing for us.  We couldn't imagine what a stir-fried vegetable cooked with Mango Flavored Coconut Oil or Melon Flavored Coconut Oil would taste like.  Have you ever tried that?

salata
Salata (Facebook Fan Page)
Promoting a healthy lifestyle, Salata offers Fresh Organic Kale, Salad Dressings and Crunchy Salad Toppings.  I got a free taste of the Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette (165 php) and fell love at first taste.  I bought one to promote healthy lifestyle for the family.  As of the moment, we haven't had the chance to have a salad so they haven't tried it.  But, I'm sure they will love it as much as I do.

leynas gourmet
Leyna's Gourmet
I forgot the stall that sold the Leyna's Gourmet nor could I find any details about it.  The family has occasional lazy days when we don't want to cook.  We find refuge in bottled good like these.  The Spanish Tuyo (185 php) and Tinapa (180 php) are so delicious I bought some for the family.  On the other hand, Berylle bought the Tinapa and Pork Garlic Chorizo (185 php).  No need to cook if you can have delicious dishes like this in a bottle!

edible cookie dough
Milkman Dairy Bar
Milkman Dairy Bar bring you two comfort foods: Edible Cookie Dough and Cereal Milk that you won't be able to resist.  The Edible Cookie Dough is a non-baked cookie dough so it doesn't have eggs.  I tried the Everything Nice (130 php) and S'mores Nutella (140 php) Berylle loved the Red Velvet (130 php).  While, I liked the S'mores Nutella.  The Cereal Milk is also another hit among us.  It's the milk that's left on the cereal that you love.   
 

Other Great Finds
cocoa monster
Cocoa Monster
The reason why I didn't pick Cocoa Monster as part of my top 5 is because it's already available in the leading supermarkets.  We've been buying these for quite some time now and it's really good!

niji desserts
Niji Desserts (Facebook Fan Page)
I have to admit a bias here.  The only reason why Niji Desserts didn't make it to MY top list is because I'm difficult to please when it comes to brownies.  But, objectively speaking, the Matcha Green Tea was really good and everyone was praising it!

cookie sticks
Cookie Sticks (Facebook Fan Page)
I love the idea of Cookie Sticks.  Their Stookies are really thin crunchy fun to eat biscotti.  They have them in Oatmeal Chocolate Chip, Cookies & Cream, Chocolate Chip, Snickerdoodles, Coco Sugar Oatmeal, Brownie, Almond Butter and White Chocolate Chip.

apag marangle
Apag Marangle (Facebook Fan Page)
The family has been meaning to visit Apag Marangle in Bacolor Pampanga.  I'm glad they now have a branch at Park Square.  I got to try their Nasing Marangle, Humba and Pandan Water.   I have to dine in to try more!

granolee cubes
Granolee Cubes
The Granolee Cubes provides a healthy and crunchy (yes not chewy and sticky) filling snack.  It comes in Green Tea Almond, All Nuts, Cranberry Raisin, Cashew-Butterscotch and Choco-Chip Raisin.

choco loco gourmet of chocolates
Choco Loco Gourmet of Chocolates
I got to try the Chocolate Coffee Nibbles of Choco Loco Gourmet of Chocolates.  Those are really good!

mr montys homemade
Mr. Monty's Homemade
While the Special Siomai didn't impress me, the Mr. Monty's Homemade coconut oil-based saucewere really good and very healthy too.

lokalitea
Lokalitea (Facebook Fan Page)
A lot of culture incorporates tumeric into their cuisine because of its health benefits.  But, we have to admit that the distinct taste of tumeric is not appealing to the Filipino palate.  Good thing Lokalitea thought of making it fun and enticing to drinking with its three flavors: Pandan, Lemon Grass and Calamansi.   I got to taste all three and my choice would be the Pandan because the tumeric taste is very light with this combination.

healthy monsters
Healthy Monsters
/> Healthy Monsters delivers salad in a bottle if you want to commit to a healthy lifestyle.

armanisses kitchen cafe
Armanisse's Kitchen Cafe
Armanisse's Kitchen Cafe offers Nachos Overload (120 php) and Honey Calamansi Juice with Cucumber (35 php/45 php).  The Honey Calamansi Juice with Cucumber is a great thirst quencher.  Try it when you're in the area.


jacobs peanut praline butter
Jacob's Peanut Praline Butter (Facebook Fan Page)
Who doesn't love peanut butter?  If you love peanut butter, Jacob's Peanut Praline Butter is a superior version of it so you definitely have to try it!  Between the two flavors: Hot Chili and Original, I'd go with the former because I love spicy stuff.

blush pastries
Blush Pastriesby H&S (Facebook Fan Page)
I liked the Oreo Cheesecake Cookies of Blush Pastriesby H&S.  The Red Velvet Cookies are a popular choice too.

Support for a Good Cause
irri
IRRI
 The IRRI booth sells various native organic rice.  They are also looking for distributors to help our local farmers.

ef cafe
EF Cafe or Enchanted Farm Cafe (Facebook Fan Page)
EF Cafe offers local healthy and organic food stuff.  We got to try Friggies Watermelon Juice and their Coffee.  Both are really good.  They have the GK Enchanted Farm which is open to public too if you want a farm tour.

Old Finds
bellysima
Some stuffs I've been acquainted with before but are Bayani Brew, Made by Max, Wise Eats, Piper's Pan, Gorgy Balls and Mio Gelati.  I bought 3 jars of Dolci's Coffee Jelly (50 php)!  I mentioned before that it's a family favorite.

So these are my finds at Bellysima.  Share what you like so I may try them on my next visit. =) 
Bellysima is open Friday and Saturday from 10 am til 10 pm at the Glorietta 5 Activity Center.

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