Monday, February 28, 2011


It was a Sunday full of errands and with an early start. In the evening, I got my reward—dinner at Kaya. I so love the Jap Chae. It’s so addicting! Love the bulgogi and spicy kalbi, too. And I had fun toying around with the DSLR.


Jap Chae

Spicy kalbi

Korean beef stew

Something sweet to end the night with

Power Plant Mall, Rockwell Center

Phone Number: 898-0934 to 35

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Best thing I ever ate

Last weekend, I found myself watching Food Network’s Best Thing I Ever Ate: Totally Fried on Lifestyle Network. In between Bobby Flay’s French fries and Giada’s donuts, I found myself thinking about my own best things. I’d have a hard time cutting the list down to 10 so I opted for 12, but even with the additional slots, I feel like my list is inadequate. What’s on your list?

  1. Katre’s Angus bacon

  2. Truffles by Trufettes du France

  3. Cebu lechon

  4. Gianduja chocolate from Leonidas

  5. Royce’s chocolate-covered potato chips

  6. Truffle oil French fries from Balducci

  7. Peking duck skin crepes from Choi Garden

  8. Buffalo wings from New Orleans

  9. Callos from Sonya’s Garden

  10. Sukiyaki from Imahan

  11. Sans rival from Chocolate Kiss

  12. Wagyu steak from Kikufuji

Then there’s the hot chocolate from Dulcinea, sisig from Trellis, etc.

One cannot divine nor forecast the conditions that will make happiness; one only stumbles upon them by chance, in a lucky hour, at the world’s end somewhere, and holds fast to the days…

Willa Cather

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Dinner to end a challenging day


After a dispute with the bank that dragged on till past office hours, I had to treat myself to a nice dinner. That late into the night, there were very little options, so thank God for Taste of L.A. They have the best callos (next to Sonya’s and that of my friend’s mom) but I had callos recently so I went for the lazy beef fondue and pritchon. I go to the restaurant quite frequently so I have tried those dishes countless times and they never disappoint. Since there were four of us, we also ordered the cheese pizza, which has the thinnest pizza crust in town. It simply is divine, with generous chunks of cream cheese on top. It rivals that of Capricciosa’s for the top spot, the latter with blue cheese, which I also love.

Lazy beef fondue


Cheese pizza

171 A. Roces Ave. cor. Tomas Morato

Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines

Phone: 374-2461

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Best Buffalo wings ever

There’s nothing to thank other than necessity and a sweet dose of good karma for my discovery of the best buffalo wings ever. I went for an evening run in Boni High Street. When I finished, I was hungry and had a sudden craving for buffalo wings. Texas Roadhouse was the obvious choice since I was parked nearby but I decided to check out the other restaurants in the row and ended up at New Orleans. I ordered buffalo wings to-go and drove home oblivious to the treasure I had with me. Luckily, there was no one else at home, which made it an even more surreptitious discovery. I freed the wings from its Styrofoam box and aluminum foil wrapping and took a bite. The crisp, moist flesh had that precarious balance of sweet, savory and hot. The dip was equally perfect, thick and redolent of blue cheese. I licked my fingers and helped myself to all of the six large pieces.

New Orleans Bourbon Street Steaks & Oysters

B6 Bonifacio High Street

(02) 856-4326

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Coming Up Roses

The Valentine’s Day menu I would have loved to sample. Most of the entrees at Cafe 1771 were gone by the time we arrived so my friends and I had to move to Chelsea Market where…

We had this (pork chop)

And this (baby back ribs)

And this (roast chicken)

And this

And this.

1st Level, The Podium

18 ADB Ave., Ortigas Center

Phone Number: (63 2) 914-0006

Oh, Tokyo! Part IV

It was either Disneyland or Akibahara-Ginza-Science Museum. The pull of Mickey and Minnie was just too strong.

Pressed against the glass in the first car of the very crowded JR Yamanote Line on a Monday morning, I took this picture.

The romantic DisneySea harbour behind me

Superbly talented street musicians

Galileo’s room

Because of the long lines, we didn’t get on as many rides as we wanted at Disney. So really, the highlight of my day was having dinner at this place.

Gotta love the Japanese for their attention to detail

I ordered the specialty, sukiyaki. The server showed me how to prepare. The blue jar contains sweet-salty soy sauce and the white one contains water, which you use to balance out the taste.

After pouring soy sauce into the pan, she added the meat.

I cooked the veggies, noodles, tofu and other ingredients the same way.

The server will ask you if you want whisked raw egg as dipping sauce. And God bless the Japanese for their rice.

Imahan is located at the food court of Takashimaya, which is truly a foodie haven.

Oh, Tokyo! Part III

Our Tokyo city tour was scheduled on the third day. Same drill as the day before – pick-up at Keio and rode to Hamamucho station where we boarded our assigned tour buses.

Barrels of sake donated to the shrine

Our first stop was the Meiji Shrine, a sprawling Shinto shrine in central Tokyo.

You have to wash your hands and mouth before stepping inside the main temple complex.

Lucky to witness two weddings. Here’s the first one. Japanese wedding gowns are so fashyon!

Wedding No. 2. The bride and groom and their entourage sauntered so regally to the middle of the courtyard, oblivious to the throngs of tourists and visitors offering their prayers.

The Imperial Palace where the Emperor and Empress live is off-limits to commoners but visitors are allowed to tour the East Gardens. Me at the entrance.

Dwarfed by giant slabs of stone

In love with the lovely autumn colors.

Yellow trees! Who needs yellow ribbons on oak trees?

Our next stop was the Asakusa Kannon, the biggest Buddhist temple in Tokyo.

The devout wrote their prayers on paper, then rolled and tied them up onto a string as offering.

Joining the throng of devotees

Leading up to the main temple, there were stalls selling food and souvenirs. I loved watching one lady make takoyaki. She’d pour the batter onto a hot mold and flip the balls deftly with chopsticks to cook the other side.

As we were about to leave the temple grounds, I saw a Buddhist nun. I asked to have my picture taken with her and she obliged.

View over Western-style lunch. Nice break from Japanese food!

Steak and hash brown

Fish and shrimps

Dessert plate

Tokyo Bay cruise after lunch

View of Fuji Broadcast Center in Odaiba from the boat

Our final stop was in the city of Odaiba, a high-tech urban area with lots of elevated walkways. It was built on reclaimed land. It’s a wonderful place for young people (read: teenagers) to hang out. The Statue of Liberty in the background was, like New York’s, a gift from the French government.

Oh, Tokyo! Part II

Pick up at Keio Plaza

Because I couldn’t bear the thought of going to Japan and not seeing Mt. Fuji, I booked a tour with Sunrise Tours. Pick-up service at my hotel was not available but the main pick-up point in Shinjuku, Keio Plaza Hotel, is a 10-minute walk.

We drove by the Tokyo Tower, which is actually taller than the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

It took us 40 minutes to get to the Hamamucho bus station where we disembarked and exchanged our vouchers for stickers and were assigned our buses tour guides.

Saw this giant billboard of Tommy Lee endorsing Boss – not Hugo Boss but a local coffee brand often found in vendo machines and grocery shelves.

On the bus, I met Yoko, our tour guide, who spoke very good, intelligible English. After two hours, I finally had a glimpse of Mt. Fuji!

Snow-capped Mt. Fuji

Late autumn is a good time to visit. In the summer, the snow melts, so Mt. Fuji doesn’t look quite like the mountain we see in most travel photographs.

We were caught in weekend traffic so, instead of going straight to Mt. Fuji, we stopped for lunch here.

My bento box contained a scoop of Japanese rice (the packet on the lower left side is shisho powder that you mix in with the rice), tuna and shrimp sashimi, Japanese omelet, grilled salmon, deep-fried shrimp and all sorts of treats. We had green tea sherbet for dessert.

When we finally got to Mt. Fuji, we made our stop at the 4th station because the 5th station, which is the closest you can get via bus and has all the souvenir shops, was closed. But after 10 minutes or so, the fifth station was opened. Here I was at the Torii gate of the 5th station.

The beautiful autumn colors of Lake Kawaguchi.

Me lining up for the cable ride to Mt. Tenjosan. Lake Kawaguchi is behind me.

Another view of Lake Kawaguchi while queuing up for the cable ride.

We took the bullet train back to Tokyo.

Me with the best guide in Tokyo, Yoko.

Dinner at Katsukura in Takashimaya

Japanese beer

Pickles. Ewww.

Crush the sesame seeds to release the flavor.

Mix with the sauce provided and use this as dip for your katsu.

My ground beef katsu.


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