Noms

Rediscovered Love for Tapa King
Tapa King has been around for quite a while. I remember taking a break from sleepless college thesis nights, walking to the nearest 24-hour Tapa King branch (just across the street from the condo), getting an order of the spicy Tapa Queen, and enjoying the fifteen-minute break from programming. Since then, partly because of logistics (no branch within a walking distance from my house), I’ve stopped making Tapa King a midnight habit.
Just recently, because of a snafu with dinner reservations (including a power outage), I ended up on a date in Tapa King at the cozy complex of Santana Grove, Sucat. That night turned out better than it would have been had the original plans pushed through. That night has made me rediscover my past love for the royals of the tapa world.
Not much has changed from the red and white-themed fastfood restaurant. The prices have slightly increased, but all the rest- the menu, the interior, and the table settings are nearly the same as it was years and years ago. One thing that’s new(-ish) on the menu is the Tapa Flakes-
Tapa Flakes (p130)
A change of pace from the typical tapa, Tapa Flakes is shredded bits of the classic Tapa King tapa fried to a light crisp and served with sinigang, fried egg, and a side of tomatoes and onions. It was delicious and it’s become a current favorite but the highlight of that meal wasn’t the tapa. What stole the show instead was the hot, chocolatey and homey champorado
Tapa King’s Champorado (p50)
Champorado is breakfast nomz for most, but because nights are much cooler now that it’s closer to the yearend, a hot bowl full of this chocolatey snack seemed like a perfect match for the night. And perfect it was. I know I rave quite a lot more than average but this champorado is seriously the best champorado available commercially.

The Tapa King champorado is nothing like the instant champorado, those watery ones with a bit of cocoa added as an  afterthought that they pass off as the real thing. This is like the champorado that your lola made for breakfast back when you were a kid and requested to make more chocolatey- but better. At Tapa King, you can have a bowl of hot, chocolatey champorado at anytime of the day without hassling your grandma. Tapa King is the best!

Etc.

Yummy Christmas Goodies At KunehoCrafts
UPDATE: KunehoCrafts Christmas Goodies Price List is now up.  

Only a few weeks left before Christmas and once again, I’m still not quite done with my shopping. Every year, I resolve to have my gifts ready before the Christmas rush begins but each and every time, I hit a snag somehow and end up joining the throng of last minute shoppers, elbowing my way through the frantic crowd.

I actually still have no idea whatsoever what to give some people (wish everyone had wishlists, including my mother). At least I already know what I’m getting my friends, that’s one thing off my list. If we’re friends, I’m getting you some special Christmas goodies from KunehoCrafts (surprise!).

Bunnies make the best desserts
KunehoCrafts makes the most delicious desserts (guaranteed!) and they’re offering some of their more famous concoctions for Christmas this year. The specialty, and also the bestseller, is the very festive Christmas Candy Cookies-
Nothing says Christmas like red and green

Christmas Candy Cookies, according to the official Facebook album, are sweet, melt-in-your mouth cookies with real candy cane pieces, chocolate chips, and walnuts (optional). A festive treat for kids and kids at heart this holiday season. I’ve had some of these treats before and they’re fantastic. I’ve a soft spot for candy canes, specially at Christmastime, and these are like candy cane cookies. Yum!

KunehoCrafts’ Chococheesecake brownies

KunehoCrafts also have fudgy Chococheesecake Brownies- The perfect marriage of cheesecake and chocolate brownies! Soft, dense and super fudgy, these brownies are made doubly good by genrous dollops and swirls of rich cheesecake. I don’t know about you, but that sounds good to me.

Candied Ginger in Chocolate

Ginger in chocolate? Yup, that’s right. Weird? Wait until you try it- A spicy, unnusual treat to warm up the holidays! Real ginger bits, sliced paper-thin and candied before being dipped in milk or dark chocolate. Savor the smooth flavor of the candy before getting a delightful bite of spice in the center of the confection.

Chocochip & Oatmeal Cookies

Like hot chocolate on Christmas morning, KunehoCrafts’ Chocochip & Oatmeal Cookie is simply a classic- soft, chewy cookies with chocolate chips, rolled oats, and walnuts. Together with a glass of milk, this is the perfect Christmas snack. Geez, just writing about it makes me wish I had some now.

KunehoCrafts goodies come in boxes of six, decorated specially for christmas, ready and perfect for gifting. For a complete list of KunehoCrafts goodies, price inquiries and other details, head over to the KunehoCrafts Facebook Album (or if you’re shy, you can contact me through here and I’ll pass on the message). Have an early merry Christmas, loves!

KunehoCrafts Christmas Goodies
Contact Number: 0917 8166772, look for Ms. Lianne
Other Info: Kuneho Crafts Facebook Album

Etc.

Thanksgiving Turbaconducken
Belated Thanksgiving everybody! The holiday isn’t big here in the Philippines, we don’t celebrate it at all, in fact. But in honor of the holiday that turkeys fear the most, we at BaconTunaMelt present to you the TURBACONDUCKEN! *cue lightning and thunder*
It’s not human body parts
What in the name of all that is holy is that, you ask? That was exactly my question when I first saw it so I did some Googling and found out that the people of BaconToday cooked up this.. thing. 


This thing called a turbaconducken is a whole chicken wrapped in bacon, stuffed in a whole duck wrapped in bacon, stuffed in a whole turkey wrapped in bacon. Really.

Not the contents of Dexter‘s trash bags
This picture was taken with the chicken and duck parts already wrapped in bacon, before stuffing them inside the turkey and then wrapping the whole thing with more bacon and then cooking it in the oven for an entire day. Amazing what people can come up with, eh?
After this, Thanksgiving will be a holiday that all edible animals will fear. I now know what to be thankful for, I’m thankful that I’m not one. On that note, imma have me my second KFC Double Down (sorry heart).
Etc.

Sidcor Sunday Market Claims to be the Biggest Food Market This Side of Town
Been hearing many things, some good and some bad, about this Sunday market in Quezon City for the longest time but I haven’t had the chance to check it out. 
Unlike the Salcedo Market or the Legaspi Market, Sidcor Sunday Market is more than just a food market. They have over four hundred stalls selling a wide variety of goods including exotic meats, seafood, plants, clothes, furniture, and believe or not, pets too!
The Sidcor Sunday Market used to be located at the parking lot of the Lung Center but they’ve recently transferred to Eton Centris Walk along EDSA. They’re open from 6am until 2pm every Sunday, it might be better to go as early as possible to avoid the traffic and the midday heat. 
Good and bad reviews aside, it would be awesome to check out the biggest weekend food market in the metro. One of these days, I’ll make the trip to Quezon City and will do a feature on it. (That’s assuming I figure out where it is and I survive to tell you the tale.)
Sidcor Sunday Food Market
Location: Eton Centris Walk, EDSA corner Quezon Ave., Quezon City
Contact Info: 09175131573
Noms

Vegetables and Pizza Dont Go Together. Or Do They?
Before gettting blindsided by crepes the other day, it was pizza that we were after. And soon as dessert was done, we headed to Yellow Cab to order a pie. Their newest offering is the Dear Darla pizza- a nearly vegetarian pizza featuring aragula leaves and alfalfa sprouts as toppings.

Now I like vegetables more than your average joe, but a “vegetarian pizza” sounds a bit off to me. I like my pizzas as meaty as possible and was apprehensive when presented with this thin crust pizza sparsely topped with olives, tomoatoes, onions, cheese and a bit of pepperoni, all ready to be rolled with fresh vegetables. We bought an 18 inch pie for only 635 pesos, good enough for six.

Yellow Cab’s Dear Darla pizza (p635 for an 18 inch pie)
*veggies in a separate container

The name is a reference to the characters from the 90s movie The Little Rascals, Alfalfa and his crush, the very cute Darla whom he liked writing very winsome love letters for. The pizza they were named for is unlike any other in Yellow Cab. The pie is sliced into thin rectangular pieces so you can top it with aragula leaves, then sprinkle with alfalfa sprouts, and roll.

Sprinkle veggies.. ..and roll!

You then bite into the unique pizza roll and savor the goodness of Yellow Cab pizza together with the added crunch of green leafy vegetables. While the presentation is unusual, the taste is superb. It’s the same old Yellow Cab pizza goodness that we love with the added crunch of aragula leaves and alfalfa sprouts.

The flavor of the pizza toppings overpowered that of the vegetables so that you barely notice that you’re eating greens. While the leafy taste is hardly noticeable, the distinctive crunch that the vegetables give surprisingly goes well with the pizza. Fresh vegetables and pizza is a combo that I never thought would work, but it does. Yellow Cab’s Dear Darla pizza is fantastic. Also, it makes me one feel less guilty about eating pizza because of the vegetables.

Yellow Cab Pizza
Delivery Hotline: 789-9999
Noms

Johnny Rockets Is Where The Good Times Roll
Saturday night EDSA traffic is notorious for being almost unbearable. Usually, I don’t mind it, the many vehicles and tempers provide enough entertainment to pass the time. Last weekend was a different case though, the traffic was crawling at half past seven and we were due to attend a birthday dinner of a special little girl on the other side of town scheduled at eight. From Sucat, we were headed for the newly opened Johnny Rockets along Tomas Morato, already late.

Fries all you can, baby!

Thankfully, Johnny Rockets is easy to locate- the flashing lights in the shape of an arrow pointing to the restaurant is hard to miss. It’s a good thing that Johnny Rockets offers a worry-free valet service because cars were double to triple parked along the popular Saturday night hangout when we got there and it looked near next to impossible to find a slot by ourselves.

1950 meets 2010

Upon entering the restaurant, you get startled with the shockingly bright interior (a stark contrast from the night sky outside) and your ears are blasted with music reminiscent of diners of the past (only on bigger and louder speakers). The working jukebox, the costume of the servers, and the distinctly fifties posters all add up to complete the look of Pleasantville in full color.

Now let’s talk about the nomz. Have I mentioned that fries are unlimited? Yup, you can stay for a good two hours and they will keep refilling your plate without question (provided, of course, that you ordered something else besides just the fries). Besides fries, Johnny Rockets also have a ton of burgers. What would a burger joint be without them?

Rocket Single (p345)

This is the Rocket Single and it’s basically your typical burger, Johnny Rockets style- thick beef burger patty with a slice of cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion and mayonnaise (they also sell Rocket Doubles, which is twice the size of this giant sandwich). It comes with an order of fries or a side salad.

Half a Route 66 (p465)

This is Johnny Rockets’ Route 66 hamburger, named after America’s most famous highway, with the same thick burger patty, Swiss cheese, grilled mushrooms, grilled onions and mayonnaise. The one in picture is just half of it, we had it sliced so it’s easier to eat. It also comes with fries or a side salad.

All patties in Johnny Rockets’ hamburgers are made of 1/3 pound of fresh, 100% pure imported ground beef, seasoned and grilled to order. They’re sandwiched between two pretty thick buns too, you have to get down and dirty to eat one properly, like this guy-

Video of the dancing waiters would have been here had I not accidentally recorded in
time lapse mode. Instead, you get this guy attempting to fit a Rocket Single in his mouth.
The noise inside is deafening at times, with music from decades past blaring from thr speakers and the waiters and waitresses performing a little dance number every few minutes or so to songs that would make your granddaddy get up and do a jiggy. There are also booming announcements of birthdays (because it’s everyone’s birthday on Saturdays) and if it’s yours, the servers will treat you to a scoop of ice cream topped with a lit birthday candle and jaunty rendition of the Happy Birthday Song.

 

Let’s get on with more nomz. Besides burgers, the Johnny Rockets menu also has sandwiches, milkshakes, hotdogs, chicken wings- food that can be found in your typical American diner.
Chicken Tenders (p345)
This is my order for the night, Johnny Rockets Chicken Tenders- strips of chicken breast, lightly breaded and fried to a golden brown with your choice of dip (there’s honey mustard and ranch but tomato ketchup best). It also comes with a side of fries or salad. Yes, I chose fries over salad despite the plateful of unlimited fries on the table (dear future grandchildren, this might be the reason why you don’t get to meet me).
Philly Cheese Steak (p395)

The Philly Cheese Steak is a sandwich filled with thinly sliced steak, grilled to perfection (this is copied from their menu), and topped with grilled onions and cheese and served on an authentic hoagie roll (no idea what that is). Too bad, the birthday girl who ordered this sandwich didn’t like the hoagie so much.

Johnny Rockets is a themed burger joint that serves your typical American diner fare and American-sized servings. The price range is too expensive for a daily hangout (which is what a diner is supposed to be) and the nomz are okay at best but it’s a very fun place to experience with its fifties theme, unlimited fries, and friendly servers who even make a big deal when you leave, thanking you profusely and cheerfully waving you goodbye. I had a pretty good time!
Johnny Rockets
Location: 205 Tomas Morato Avenue, Quezon City

Contact Number: 470-2117
Other Info: Johnny Rockets Philippines Facebook Page

Noms

Crepes On The Go at Crepe Delight
Taking advantage of the holiday last Tuesday, Bim and I set out early to get some legwork done. We wanted to take a look around this warehouse in Makati we found online because we needed good chairs and they were selling office equipment at bargain prices. By mid-afternoon, we were pretty happy with ourselves for accomplishing what we set out to do so we headed to the nearest mall, Cash & Carry to get some celebratory pizza.

Nope, we didn’t get pizza here

It was this inviting little crepe stall that we caught sight of on the way to the pizza place. Without so much as batting an eyelash, we walked straight up to the stall and promptly ordered crepes for each of us (and temporarily forgot about pizza). At Crepe Delight you can pick between two kinds of crepes- Crepe ala Mode or Crispy Crepe, and both come in a variety of flavors.
Crepe ala Mode-

The classic Banana + Choco Crepe Ala Mode (p75)

This classic combination of chopped bananas wrapped in soft crepe, topped off with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream and drizzled with chocolate syrup is an irresistable treat. This wasn’t my order, but it was so good that I kept nicking some.

Crispy Crepe-

Bim‘s thumb

Mine was a Peach + Mango Crispy Crepe (p60). The crepe had chopped fruits enveloped in a crispy crepe wrapper with no syrup, whipped cream or ice cream. Although I loved the toasted crepe wrapper that tasted like Iloilo barquillos and enjoyed the delectable combination of mangoes and peaches, I thought the crepe tasted a tad bit too plain. The Crispy Crepe would probably go better with the non-fruit flavors, like tuna and chicken.

The crepe lady that made the afternoon delightful

The crepes are prepared expertly right in front of you upon ordering. Ingredients are prepacked and neatly arranged, their countertop is gleaming, the workarea is neat, and your order is handed to you within a few minutes. These guys know what they’re doing, the people at Crepe Delight sure make crepes right. (In case you were wondering, yes, we remembered to get pizza after.)

Crepe Delight

Location: Food court, Cash & Carry Mall, corner Buendia and South Super Highway, Makati
Other Info: Franchising details

Noms

Thanks to Metrobank, Thursdays are North Park Days
Do you have a Metrobank credit card? If so, you’d be happy to know that by using your credit card, you can claim your North Park’s Special Toasted Noodles every Thursday for free.
North Park’s Special Toasted Noodles (p235) (Picture not mine, taken from here)
How? Just order anything on the menu that has the same amount (or greater) as the  North Park Special Toasted Noodles, and you’ll get the noodles for free. It’s like a buy-one-get-one deal! The promo has been running for a while now but it seems to be little known. But I can guarantee that it’s still ongoing- the first time I availed of it was in July and the last time was just yesterday.
North Park has always been a favorite because there are branches everywhere, the prices are affordable,  and the nomz are good. With this Metrobank deal, it has now become even more so. Because of the promo, North Park dinners are becoming a regular Thursday habit.
Travel

McDonalds of the World: McArabia in Abu Dhabi
Besides social culture, there is also a diversity of culinary cultures around the world. We Pinoys love rice, the Americans go for mashed potato, the Italians prefer bread. Unsurprisingly, this also applies to fastfood stores. McDonald’s, possibly the world’s largest fastfood chain, is one good example. Although they have a preset list of menu items like the Big Mac, Quarter Pounder, and Filet-o-Fish which can be ordered from any branch, each country with a McDonald’s franchise has added their own personal touch.

McDonald’s of the World: Abu Dhabi
Here in McDonald’s Philippines, we have fried chicken, the McSpaghetti and rice meals. We don’t think anything of it and it’s nothing unsual for us; besides, local fastfood chains sell it too, we’re used to it, it’s nothing special for us. But bring a foreigner to a McDonald’s here and he’ll be surprised to find them on the menu (they’d also be surprised at the smaller sized drink cups and french fries, but that’s another story). In other countries, they have different specialties as well, and you’d be surprised at how unusual some are.
McArabia (12 dirhams or 145 pesos)
A trip to Abu Dhabi is the reason for starting this series called “McDonald’s of the World” where we’ll  be documenting different McDonald’s menu items from all over the world (those we’ve been to, at least). Someday, I hope to travel the world and blog about all of them (the following posts on this series won’t be as long and boring as this, I promise). Anyhoots, moving on, I stopped by a McDonald’s in Abu Dhabi and tried their delicious McArabia.
The two flavors of McArabia
Available in McDonald’s in the Middle East, this sandwich comes in two varieties- chicken and kofta (beef). The meat patties are grilled  and served with lettuce, tomatoes, onions and mayonnaise enveloped inside Arabic soft pita bread and wrapped in paper inside a box similar to the apple pie box, but bigger. Not something you’d expect from a fastfood, yea?
I was able to try both, and to me they had a relatively similar taste- peppery, instead of salty. They kind of came across as bland to my Filipino tongue (we like things rich in taste). They both tasted healthy, but that’s not to say that they weren’t good. They were, in fact, fantastic. The beef had a slightly tougher consistency than the chicken and had additional unique spices which were really good, if a bit unusual. I enjoyed both immensely but I’m more a fan of the chicken McArabia, simply for the texture (I love chicken). I really wish that McDonald’s here had healthier choices like the McArabia.

 

Useless fact of the day: I can’t stop myself from singing “Arabian Nights” from Aladdin when I read/hear the word Arabia.
Noms

Perk Avenue: Coffee, Internet, and the We Didnt Start The Fire Wall
It was this coffeeshop that we found one night while cruising along Presidents Avenue in BF Paranaque looking for caffeine (and Starbucks was packed). When I first saw the coffeshop’s signage, I was reminded of Central Perk, that fictional coffeshop where the gang from the TV series Friends hung out. But the  similarities of Perk Avenue and Central Perk end with their names. 
Coffee!
Unlike Central Perk that had a suburban living room look and feel- bright and homey but with a countertop and a cashier, Perk Avenue’s interior resembles something like a dad’s den- with warm walls, dim lighting, easy chairs, and a relaxing mood. It’s a place where you’d want to settle down in a comfy chair, drink your coffee, read the paper, or surf the Internet (yes, they have free and unlimited WiFi).
The counter and wooden chairs in the middle.
Although not seen in any of my pictures, cushy couches are lined up along the glass wall panels of Perk Avenue and there are also tables and chairs outside for people who want to smoke. Connection to the Internet is free and unlimited, you just need to ask for the WiFi password after ordering. Since discovering this nice place years ago, my friends and I have dropped by every now and then just to hang out. This is what perked up our night last weekend-
Brew of the day: Long Black (p75)
Christmas Blend: Vanilla Roast (p115)

Their tagline is cute- “Coffee… Love… best served HOT.” The brew of the day was smooth black brewed coffee, plain and simple but it does the job. The foamy vanilla roast was a good blend that needed no additional creams or sweeteners. Both were good, but I would have liked it better if they served their coffees in thick mugs.

Fudge Brownie (p55)

This fudge brownie is great; it’s moist, chewy and chocolate-y, although a bit too small for its price. Perk Avenue prices are slightly lower than more popular coffeeshops but are reasonable enough considering that you get to hang out for as long as you want in a comfy setting with free Internet and wall sockets (I used to spend Sunday afternoons there, on my laptop with just a cup of coffee when the DSL at home was wonky).

Possibly the coolest thing about Perk Avenue is their “We Didn’t Start The Fire Wall”-

“Harry Truman, Doris Day, Red China, Johnny Ray..”
Covering the wall leading to the restroom are pictures of the lyrics to Billy Joel’s We Didn’t Start The Fire (if by any chance you haven’t heard the song ever, click here to see the music video). Everytime he’s there, the partner in crime never fails to stare at this wall and start singing the chorus in near falsetto (I’m not even close to kidding).
I wouldn’t say their coffees and pastries are particularly exceptional, they’re okay at best. But more than their menu, what sets Perk Avenue a cut above the many coffeeshops we have around is the perks you get- cozy space, comfy chairs, free parking, unlimited internet, really nice interiors, mellow ambiance, and the We Didn’t Start The Fire wall. Plus they serve pretty good coffee too.
Perk Avenue
Location: 27 Presidents Avenue, Tahanan Village, BF Homes, Paranaque
Contact Number: 02-799-41-42     
Other Info: Perk Avenue’s Facebook Page