Life

Makati Noms: A Compilation of Our Favorite Restaurants in Makati

Since our country’s central business district is home to a gabajillion restaurants, deciding on a place to eat out shouldn’t be a problem for any local. But it is. It’s become such an ordeal that I decided to put up this list of not-too-common restaurants in Makati that I would gladly go back to anytime. Hopefully, I can pick one from this list next time I’m in Makati and need to decide where to eat, before I start pulling my hair out in frustration. Maybe you’ll find this list useful as well.

  1. Insider Sports Bar Makati Ave

    Insider Sports Bar is located at the ground floor of the semi new Tunes Hotel in Makati Ave. Since they’re a sports bar, huge TVs are strewn all over the place showing different sports channels. Their food is tasty and servings are HUGE. Do try the Giant Pork Chop, when they say giant, they really do mean giant.


    Giant Pork Chop of Insider Sports Bar

    Address: Ground Floor, Tunes Hotel, Mercado corner Calderon Sts, Poblacion, Makati

    Click here for our full review of the noms at Insider Sports Bar.

  2. GoTea Milk Tea

    GoTea is an obscure milk tea shop owned by a Chinese local that’s open ’til late even on weekdays. They serve fabulous crepes for a good price and are next to a 7-11 and other restaurants. They gots free parking space too. ‘Tis an excellent place for a nightcap if you’re in the area (heck, even if you’re not).

    Milk tea and crepes at GoTea Milk Tea

    Address: AGS Plaza, Washington Street, Makati

    Click here for our full review of the noms at GoTea Milk Tea.

  3. 8065 Bagnet

    If you haven’t yet tried this bagnet house, haul your ass there the soonest time possible. They’ve got heart-stopping, crunchy, fatty, tasty bagnet in all kinds of flavors, among other things on the menu. Here below is the classic one with a side of green mango and bagoong

    Classic Bagnet at 8065 Bagnet

    Address: 8065 Estrella Street, San Antonio, Makati city

    Click here for our full review of the noms at 8065 Bagnet.

  4. Malcolm’s Burger

    Three wagyu beef patties on a burger? WIN! It’s definitely not for everyday eating, but you gotta try this at least once in your life. They also have other things (with less patties) on their menu and their iced tea blend is lovely.

    Malcolm's Burgers' Tripple Patty Wagyu Burger

    Address: 311 G/F PDCP Bldg, LP Leviste cor. VA Rufino streets, Salcedo Village, Makati

    Click here for our full review of Malcolm’s Burgers.

  5. Relish

    Normally, I don’t like lamb (it’s got a weird aftertaste) and I’d rather not have couscous (it’s like mushed rice). Relish’s Slow-roasted Lamb Shoulder served with couscous has converted me to like both. Relish is a fancier-than-normal place which means it’s an excellent place to take a date. Or you know, business meetings paid for by the client (I KEED!).

    Slow-roasted Lamb Shoulder
    Address: G/F Ponte Salcedo building, Valero Street, Salcedo Village, Makati city

    Click here for our full review of the noms at Relish.

  6. Corner Tree Cafe

    Corner Tree Cafe is a vegeratian restaurant, but don’t let that deter you. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they serve tasteless food that nature prepared. In fact, their Vegetarian Kare Kare served with vegetarian bagoong organic and brown rice is so tasty, I could have sworn they used beef stock (but they don’t). They also serve a mean vegetarian chili.

    Corner Tree Cafe
    Location: 150 Jupiter St. Bel-Air, Makati city

    Click here for our full review of the noms at Corner Tree Cafe.

  7. 101 Hawker Food House

    When this Asian, mostly Singaporean, restaurant opened, it received so much hype from people who were craving for good Asian noms without draining their wallets. Years later, it still holds up. If you’re in the mood for Asian food in Makati, 101 Hawker Food House is a good place to visit. It’s a good old asian restaurant without the frills and fancy, cheap too.

    101 Hawker Food House's Char Kway Teow

    Location: Unit 102, Campos Rueda Bldg., 101 Urban Avenue, Makati
    Contact Number: (02) 886-7329

    Click here for our full review of the noms at 101 Hawker Food House.

  8. TTK Authentic Singaporean Food

    TTK Authentic Singaporean Food is a relatively new find. We’ve seen it a few times before finally deciding to try it. Boy, were we surprised. This little, dinky restaurant along Metropolitan Avenue in Makati serves the BEST Seafood Laksa. Ever! Their Hainanese is also pretty darned good, but the Laksa just overshadows everything else. It’s an awesome place to satisfy Singaporean noms cravings. Specially now that they’ve installed air-conditioners.

    TTK Authentic Singaporean Food's Seafood Laksa

    Address: Metropolitan Avenue, Makati city.

    Click here for our full review of the noms at TTK Authentic Singaporean Food.

  9. Mom & Tina’s

    Okay, so Mom & Tina’s first and original branch is the one in Pasig. The Makati branch however, has become a go to restaurant for for for good old comfort Spanish noms. The place is homey, the noms are tasty, the prices are reasonable and they have to-die-for desserts. I highly recommend the Dark Toblerone Walnut Torte.

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    Mom & Tina's Chicken Alexander

    Address: G/F Unit 14, Tropical Palm Plaza, Perea cor Dela Rosa streets, Legazpi Village, Makati city

    Click here for our full review (sort of) of the noms at Mom & Tina’s.

  10. Yoo-hoo Bar-B-Que

    It’s a grill place with prices so cheap you can afford to eat steak on a regular day. El cheapo noms but el tasty too. It’s a fast food, so don’t expect anything fancy but steak, no matter how it’s served, is still steak.

    Yoo-hoo's T-bone Steak

    Address: Anza Street corner Makati Avenue, Makati City

    Click here for our full review of the noms at Yoo-hoo Bar-B-Que.

Next time you’re looking for a good restaurant to eat at when you’re in Makati, try and check out this list. You and your scalp will thank me.

Noms

Tonkatsu by Terazawa

There’s a new food craze sweeping across the country right now, and it’s something we’ve had in many restaurants for decades – tonkatsu. The innovation came by the way it is served, which is weirdly enough the supposed proper practice in many places in Japan. As proper tonkatsu restaurants pop up around the metro, one in particular caught our attention simply because it was called Tonkatsu by Terazawa. How much more direct can you get? “We serve tonkatsu, recipes are from Mr. Terazawa.”

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Tonkatsu by Terazawa is located where Flapjacks used to be in Greenbelt 2. While they share similarities with other tonkatsu places, they have a few things that make them stand out. For one thing, they don’t have those grinding bowls for sesame seeds. Instead, they have something like pepper grinders that mill out ground sesame seeds. While you might say that isn’t as fun, it’s a heck of a lot cleaner and makes for less waste. It’s easier, too. Turns out, that sesame seed grinding thing came out of practice. In Japan, while parents were frying up the meat, the kids amused themselves by grinding up some sesame seeds. It doesn’t make the sesame seeds taste better or anything.

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Mr. Terazawa

That esteemed gentleman in that picture up there holding the sesame grinder is Mr. Terazawa. He’s actually way more animated in real life than that picture implies. The guy’s like a real life anime character. He had all sorts of tips for enjoying his creations. We’ll get to them later. And trust me, you’ll want to read up to that part.

We started our meal out with some Chasoba Salad. This salad was so good that I may need to append something to an old saying – “You can fix anything with duct tape, ketchup and sesame oil.” I’m not saying the salad needed fixing, far from it. The salad in itself was great but the sesame oil just made it spectacular.

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Chasoba Salad - P190.00

You can’t really have ham and eggs and not have something awesome. Okay, now on to meat of this post. Pun intended.

All their tonkatsu sets are served with five elements – rice, miso soup, pickled veggies, cabbages and the protein. The rice, miso soup, and the cabbage are all unlimited. You can keep asking for them to your heart’s content. I especially like the cabbage because of the dressing, which is also made of sesame seed. Seriously, that sesame seed is some kind of miracle food, I tells ya.

As a fan of miso soup, I can confidently say theirs is one of the better ones out there. It’s so full of good stuff that I cannot immediately identify.

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Deep Fried Prawn Set - 1pc for P575.00, 2pcs for P775.00

While the Deep Fried Prawn Set may look like tempura, I can assure you that is not. Mr. Terazawa explained that tempura tends to use finer grain panko, while Mr. Terazawa uses longer grain panko for everything. He says it retains flavor better.

The deep fried prawns are wrapped in the same panko breading they use on their tonkatsu, so the best way to describe the dish would be to say that they taste exactly like tonkatsu, only with shrimp. The most notable thing about these prawns is their size and origin. They are gigantic! They use jumbo imperial shrimp from Japan.

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Deep Fried Oyster Set - P395.00

Oysters are prepared in a number of different ways. My favorite will always be served raw, in the shell, with vinegar to dip them in. Seeing them deep fried like this was weird at first. Biting into one immediately made me appreciate the value of frying them up. The outside is a crispy shell of breading, while the inside is still soft and gooey, just the way  I like it. Squeezing lemon on top of them gave them that nice citric freshness.

Again, these oysters were imported from Japan and are HUGE. Each order contains five pieces.

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Tokusen Kurobuta Ippon Rosu Katsu Set - 120g for P345.00, 160g for P395.00, 250g for P475.00

And now, ladies and gentlemen, the main event of the evening – the pork tonkatsu. Tonkatsu by Terazawa uses Kurobuta, the angus of pork, comes from original strains of Berkshire hogs from Japan, which they get from the US. The pork meat is aged for 3-5 days, wrapped in white cloth, in a chiller. As it was explained to us, this makes the meat more tender, more flavorful and juicier. Bottomline is they have good pork.

They have two variations – Rosu Katsu and Hire Katsu.

Compared to the Rosu Katsu, Tokusen Kurobuta Ippon Rosu Katsu uses pork loin with a little fat. If you look closely in the above picture, you can easily see the fat at the top portion. Fat on pork makes it super tasty.

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Tokusen Kurobuta Ippon Hire Katsu Set - 120g for P330.00, 160g for P405.00, 250g for P475.00

Tokusen Kurobuta Ippon Hire Katsu Set is made of pork fillets, and is my favorite. Seriously, when my sister and I took our first bite, we looked at each other and said “OH EM GEE THIS TASTES LIKE STEAK!” You can see that the meat is a little darker than the Rosu Katsu, and it just tastes magnificent. It’s so tender and juicy and porky and steaky. I love it.

To enjoy the pureness of the meat better, here’s where Mr. Terazawa’s tip comes into play. First, grind the sesame seeds directly onto the meat to enhance the aroma. Then, instead of using the tonkatsu sauce, dip the meat in some salt. With only the salt, the freshness and flavor of the meat really come out. Sometimes, the tonkatsu sauce tends to overpower and mask the flavor of the meat.

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Prawn, Pork Loin, and Chicken Roll Set - P475.00

You can also order their tonkatsu as a mixed set. This one comes with chicken, too.

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Wafu Negioroshi Katsu Set - P425.00

Wafu Negrioshi Katsu Set is deep fried pork cutlets with onion radish and onions. Honestly, the radish and onions distract me from the goodness of the meat. So, I guess this is for people looking for more flavor to their tonkatsu.

Here’s a special little tidbit – maybe you notice that the breading is a tad darker than your common fare tonkatsu, it’s because their panko has a special secret ingredient. I’m not sure if they’ll appreciate if we share it. Trust us, though, you won’t notice it but you’ll taste it once you’re aware of it.

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Frozen Green Tea - P125.00

To cap off your Tonkatsu by Terazawa experience, try one of their desserts. I’m not a big fan of green tea, but their Frozen Green Tea dessert knocked my socks off. They also have Banana Cream Pie, which I haven’t tried but would probably be good also.

Tonkatsu by Terazawa
Greenbelt 2, Makati City
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Travel

Davao’s Tiny Kitchen is Big on Flavor

And as we start this wet, wet Tuesday, we shall tell you about yet another Davao find from my last trip. The last time, we went on a juicy burger binge at Backyard Burgers. This time, we’ll be talking about a not so tiny Spanish-Filipino restaurant called Tiny Kitchen (according to their FB page, their full name is Tiny Kitchen Creations).

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caption

It was pouring when we got there, but their guard kindly assisted us with an umbrella. As soon as I set foot inside, I was instantly reminded of Mom & Tina’s (incidentally one of my go-to restaurants here in Manila). The interior was homey, decorated in warm yellow, wood, and accented by blues. Right by the entrance is a cake shelf, filled with rows of inviting looking sweet cakes that are sold by the slice, on the shelves and on the counter are jars of biscuits, cookies, and various other baked treats. We’ll go back to that later. For now, let’s talk about the main entries.

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Gambas Al a Jillo (p270), Sopa Rojo (p210), Alicante Ensalada (p265)

For starters, we ordered Gambas Al a Jillo, Sopa Rojo, and Alicante Ensalada. Gambas Al a Jillo is shrimp sauteed in garlic served with lightly toasted herbed focaccia bread. Sopa Rojo is a seafood tomato soup with fish, shells, shrimps, squid, and perterters. Alicante Ensalada is a house special, greens tossed with ham slices, cheese, egg, capers, and special honey dressing. Of the three, I liked the Gambas the best, if only for the herbed focaccia bread. They’re also selling them in packs and I would’ve brought some home if I had space left in my luggage.

Calamari Relleno en su Tinta (p235), Callos Al a Tiny (p265), Pollo Tomate y Rosmaria (p290)

For main entries, we had stuffed baby squid dish called Calamari Relleno en su Tinta, slow cooked beef stew with assorted meats and chorizo de bilbao called Callos Al a Tiny, and chicken stewed in tomato sauce infused with rosemary herb called Pollo Tomate y Rosmaria. The Calamari Relleno in particular was quite tasty, the ground meat stuffing inside the perfectly cooked squid was an interesting combination.

It’s not a complete Spanish noms experience without nomming on good old paella. Last of the main dishes we tried is this gorgeous paella-

Paella Negra (Medium, p770)

Tiny Kitchen has a number of paella options but we settled on a medium sized Paella Negra, a classic paella dish of black squid ink paella rice mixed with assorted seafood. Their paellas need a cooking time of 30-40 minutes and come in six sizes: Extra Small (good for 1), Small (good for 2), Medium (good for 4-5), Large (good for 6-8), Family (good for 10-15), and Party (good for 15-20). Their paella is is nicely topped with a good amount of seafood bits and the rice itself is flavorful enough to eat on its own. I’m no expert on Spanish cooking but this paella is one I’d order again if I could.

Tiny Kitchen’s noms are are rather small for the prices but most were rich and tasty, exactly how Spanish noms should be. Now on to desserts. (FINALLY!)

Yema Cake (p80), Mango Sans Rival (p90), Red Velvet (p110), Marta's Fave (p105), Frozen Mango Brazo (p95)

Oh dear, this portion could totally be an entire post on its own. Tiny Kitchen has a huge, and I mean HUGE, selection of desserts, snacks, and all sorts of sweet treats, it’s insane. Thankfully, we were a big enough group to justify trying out a bunch of them. Here’s our bunch:

  1. Frozen Mango Brazo is the ice cream cake version of the much loved brazo de mercedes where mango ice cream takes the place of the typical sweet egg yolk center. Must try!
  2. Mango Sans Rival is a classic sans rival cake enhanced by the flavor of ripe mango. Super good (and sweet)!
  3. Red Velvet Cake was fluffy, thick, and moist. It was a little too crumbly and had too little icing for my taste.
  4. Yema Cake is my favorite for that night. It’s a simple white fluffy cake topped with a yema frosting that’s not too sweet. Omnom!
  5. Marta’s Fave is a bestseller at Tiny Kitchen. It’s a dulce de leche mousse cake with a milky mousse base topped with a thick cream. It’s delicious, but also really sinful.

One of the disadvantages of a food blogger is that writing about delicious noms usually makes you crave for them. Listing all these cakes from Tiny Kitchen has me licking my lips, darnit.

The good

  • Really tasty Spanish noms.
  • Really delicious desserts.
  • Friendly ambiance.
  • It’s a restaurant, bakeshop, and coffee shop in one.

The bad

  • Fairly small dining area.
  • The staff needs a little bit more training.

The bacon

4 bacons! Tiny Kitchen Creations in Davao City is a wonderful find. They serve a good number of tasty Spanish noms to choose from for lunch/dinner, a huge selection of desserts, and a bunch of baked treats. They’re a little pricey and their staff could use a bit more training (one almost spilled a giant bowl of hot soup on my cousin’s shoulder) but the noms are definitely worth it if you’re in the mood for a tasty Spanish dinner.


Tiny Kitchen

Address: F. Torres Street, Davao City
Contact no/s: (082) 305-9232
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Life

Remember When?

Remember when this was all the rage?

Rebisco Hansel Premium Cheese Sandwich

There used to be a time when you’d open all your social networking feeds and 7 of the 10 new updates would be faces of your friends posing next to a box of the (then) newest sensation. Yup, we did that over crackers. Oh excuse me, ‘sandwiches’.

It happened.

Although there are no longer any selfie photos with these crackers these days, Rebisco Hansel Premium Cheese Sandwich are here to stay. They’re that go to box of cheese crackers that you grab when you chance upon them at the nearby convenience store. You may even recall memories past as you crunch your way through the cheesy buttery biscuits. Maybe even take a photo or two (like I did, haha).

Rich, buttery, creamy, cheesy biscuits.

They actually remind me of Ritz Bitz Sandwiches, which were my favorite snacks from childhood. They’re cheaper too, a box of Rebisco Hansel Premium Cheese Sandwich goes for around 30-35 bucks at your favorite 7-11 or grocery. AWZM!

Press

Earn Stars With Your Starbucks Card, Now Available At Your Favorite Branch!

The Philippines Starbucks Card is now available in all Starbucks branches! Just load an initial consumable load of P300 and you get the Starbucks Card for free and can start using it right away.

The card looks classy, sporting a simplistic design- lime green on the left and transparent on the rightmost side, accented with a simple Starbucks coffee cup.

How the Stars work

It works like a prepaid card where you load it up (in denominations of P100) and use it as your credit when buying anything from Starbucks. You earn 1 Star with each purchase via the Starbucks Card.

  • 1 handcrafted beverage of any size = 1 beverage Star
  • 1 250g whole been coffee = 1 whole been Star
  • 1 12-pack Starbucks VIA Ready Brew = 1 Starbucks VIA Star

What you get for free

  • Any Grande handcrafted beverage for every 12 beverage Stars
  • Any 250g of whole been coffee for every 10 whole been Stars
  • Any 12-pack of Starbucks VIA Ready Brew for every 10 Starbucks VIA Stars
  • A complimentary beverage as soon as you register your card on the Starbucks Philippines Website
  • A complimentary slice of cake during your birth month

From August 7-9, they’re also offering a free p300 load value if you get a Starbucks Card with an initial load of p1500 to make your total balance P1800. It’s a really cool deal. If you frequent Starbucks’, you should definitely get one. If not for anything else, you get a free beverage just for registering, and a free slice of cake on your birth month.

Head on over to www.starbucks.ph/card to find out more.

Noms

The Sweet Ice Cream of Cold Stone Creamery in Manila

Happy hump day, y’all! We’re here to talk about Cold Stone Creamery, a recently opened premium ice cream shop in the Philippines.

Like most new things, we all lapped up this novel new idea like hungry little puppies (we are curious folks) and it was soon a fad. The hype’s all but died down but I still haven’t put up this post, which should have been written about a month ago, after we set up a date to try this not-so-little ice cream shop in Serendra, Bonifacio Global City.

Cold Stone Creamery started in 1988 in Arizona and its success soon led it to expand worldwide. They now have branches in over 20 countries outside of United States, the most recent one in the Philippines.

Cold Stone Cremery in Serendra

What sets Cold Stone Creamery apart from other ice cream shops is their use of a ‘cold stone’ to prepare their ice cream. Instead of a normal counter, theirs is a slab of frozen granite stone counter where they scoop up your ice cream, sprinkle all the add ons, and mix them all up right before serving it to you.

You can select from their standard menu with interesting flavor names such as Birthday Cake Remix, The Pie Who Loved Me, Their Strawberry Blonde, among a bunch of others. If you don’t want a preset flavor, you can also mix your own by choosing your favorite ice cream flavor and adding as much topping as you want to put in.

Watch 'em prepare your ice cream on cold stone.

The cups come in three sizes- Like It (Small, p168), Love It (Medium, p198), Gotta Have It (Large, p228). I chose a Love It size Apple Pie a La Cold Stone in a cup. It had a generous scoop of French vanilla ice cream, with apple pie filling, graham cracker pie crust, cinammon, and caramel. It actually tasted like good old apple pie ice cream.

Other flavors we tried were Mint Mint Chocolate Chocolate Chip (nope, not a typo), which had mint ice cream, an overload of chocolate chips, brownies, and fudge; and Cookie Doughn’t You Want Some which mixed French vanilla ice cream, chocolate chips, cookie dough, fudge, and caramel. All the mixes were on the sweet side and we were all begging for water after only a few spoonfuls.

The plain waffle (p35), chocolate waffle (p45), rainbow sprinkles (p45) waffle bowls are add ons.

The ice cream shop had a perky staff who cheerfully assisted us while ordering. Cold Stone Creamery is conveniently located at a corner of Serendra Piazza, right accross Market! Market!.

The good

  • It’s new.
  • You can create your favorite mix from the variety of flavors.

The bad

  • Way too pricey for just ice cream.
  • Everything was way too sweet, even for ice cream.
  • The ice cream melted way too quickly, even inside the store (more logistics than anything).
  • For the price of their ice cream, water isn’t free.

The bacon

Cold Stone Creamery gets 2 bacons out of 5. To me, the only plus of Cold Stone Creamery is the variety of ice cream flavors, mixes, toppings, and cones available. The number of mixes and matches from all of them is almost unlimited. Other than that, their ice cream is too sweet to appeal to my sweet tooth and way too expensive for just ice cream.


Cold Stone Creamery Philippines

Address: Ground Floor, Serendra Piazza, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
Contact no/s: 846-0460; coldstonephil@gmail.com
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