The Harry Potter theme park at Universal Orlando had just opened last June 18 and I so badly want to go. Not only because I’m a theme park junkie, but this feverish want need to go is mostly because I’m a massive Harry Potter fan.
I’m the kind of fan who reserved her books months in advance, lined up excitedly in the bookstore at opening date (even with a reservation), locked up in her room on the first day to finish the book (coming out only for meals and bathroom breaks), discussed it with fellow Harry Potter nerds, read the book again exhaustively over the next week, and discussed it even more extensively the weekend after.
Teasers of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter had been first leaked out as far back as five years ago, with the website showing just a splash page of the opening date. And now five years later, fantasy has come to life. The magical world of Harry Potter has been replicated for us Muggles to experience IRL!
Landmarks such as Hogwarts, Honeydukes, Three Broomsticks, Ollivander’s, among many others are now attractions at Universal Orlando, Florida. What is interesting to note, is that they made sure that the food served in the park have actual references from the books. The menu has been designed specifically for the park, and food items were concocted based on the descriptions in the books (and all of them have J.K. Rowling’s approval!).
Like this one-
Butterbeer is mentioned fairly often in the Harry Potter books. Harry and his gang always have some when they’re in the Three Broomsticks (and that time where they held a meeting in Hog’s Head). And although it isn’t alcoholic, it made Winky the house elf, quite drunk and out of it. I imagine it to be something like our very own Cali Shandy- non-alcoholic, fizzy, and underage kids get it when they’re in bars.
They’ve recreated this drink and those who’ve tried it say it tastes like shortbread cookies and butterscotch. Mugglenet.net describes it as a chilled mug of bubbling amber liquid topped off with a white fuzz. “It was thick, then rich, then cooler and thinner at the bottom.”
Strawberry and Peanut Butter Ice Cream
You may wonder if this was in any of the books, as I did when I first heard about it. Reviews say it can be found in Prisoner of Azkaban, while Harry was walking with his friends along Diagon Alley. I checked, it was indeed mentioned, although briefly. The Strawberry and Peanut Butter Ice Cream is getting surprisingly a lot of note. The numerous praises for it read “The flavors blend together just perfectly!”, “It surpasses any ice cream with peanut butter.”, “It’s like magic!”, “Freakin’ delicious!” and “It’s too die for!”. This one is definitely something to look out for when you visit the park.
Other notable food choices are: The Great Feast (a huge platter good for four to six people that consists of four big pieces of chicken, four slabs of ribs, many cobs of corn, seasoned vegetables and potatoes), Cauldron cakes (spongy, chocolate cake filled with gooey, chocolate-y fondue with a chocolate handle), Shepherd’s Pie, Fish and Chips, among many others. Also fun to try are the sweets and candies from Honeydukes like a recreation of Chocolate Frogs (which of course do not jump or behave like a frog in any way) and Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans.
There seems to be a wide variety of ingenious and well-thought out food selections at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando in Florida that it makes my mouth water just reading and writing about them. Too bad the Philippines is a million miles away from Florida, it’ll take a while before I can actually visit the place and try out Butterbeer or Chocolate Frogs. In the meantime, I’ll fatten myself up with everyone else’s pictures and stories!
*all the pictures are not mine, they were ganked from the Internet
If you’re Pinoy, I bet you’ve already tried these bite-sized, peanuty, chocolate candy bars at least once in your life (if not, shame on you ^_~). These candies have been part of many Filipino childhoods, it was most definitely part of mine. I remember buying chocnut every afternoon from the sari-sari store near our house or from the school canteen when I was a kid. Up until now, I still get some every once in a while, specially since I transferred to an office where they’re readily available.
Nowadays, there are many brands to choose from, they vary only very slightly in size, taste and texture. This post will be an attempt to compare the two more popular brands today- King Choc*Nut and Annie’s Hany- and conclude which brand is the best.
Heft (1 point)
Hany is visibly bigger.
Took side-by-side photos to compare their size. While they’re of the same height, you can clearly see that there is a significant difference in the length and thickness. Choc*Nut is thinner, but it is longer while Hany is short but it is pretty thick. By the feel of it, Hany seems to be noticeably heavier than Choc*Nut. (Edit: The packaging says that Hany is indeed heavier at 12g as against Choc*Nut’s 10g)
Hany wins! (Choc*Nut-0; Hany-1)
Texture (1 point)
Hany wins again! (Choc*Nut-0; Hany-2)
Side by side.
Taste (3 points)
Now this is where the difference counts the most, yes? Any two things can be similar but there would be nuances that can make an entire world of difference. In this case, the dealbreaker is the sweetness. Hany is sweeter. Much, much… much sweeter.
What we love about the chocnut of our childhood is the peanut-y/chocolate-y taste that we grew up with. Choc*Nut perfectly fits the bill. Hany, being super baduper kaduper sweet, unfortunately masks this peanut-y/chocolate-y taste, instead, the sweetness overpowers its supposed flavor. Also, as pointed out by an officemate by the name of Bernie, Choc*Nut doesn’t have that unpleasant sweet/sour aftertaste that Hany leaves you with.
Choc*Nut wins! (Choc*Nut-3; Hany-2)
Which wins the chocnut war for you? Choc*Nut or Hany?
When the boyfriend asked me to go with him to get his new monitor from a store somewhere at BF Parañaque, I asked him if he knew where to find it. And when he said it was right next to Sinangag Express along Aguirre Street, I perked up right away. The thought of a warm sinangag meal on a rainy morning always cheers me up.
The dining area was dimly lit, which was fine because we were there in the morning when there was light outside. They also had no airconditioning, but the place was cool because it just rained and there was a light breeze. But the tables and chairs were nice and solid and didn’t feel like a typical fast food joint.
The classic Tapsi
Special Pares (p75)
The beef was soft but it was too stringy, I was expecting it to be served in chunks just like regular pares. It was also too sweet and a tad too oily and it didn’t have that sesame seed-y taste that I associate with pares. Perhaps it was because I expecting it to taste differently that I didn’t like the dish so much. Rating: 3.5/5
All in all, it was still a nice visit at Sinangag Express. Good food, cheap prices, big servings, friendly staff, clean environment. Sums up to a pretty good dining experience for me.
Big Daddy’s Chicken’s sign says HELLO! EAT HERE!
See that big chicken slab?
All in all, it was a yummy and very filling meal for less than one hundred pesos. Sulit!
The idea for Big Daddy’s Chicken came from Taiwan’s famous street food called Ji Pai. These are huge pieces of fried breaded chicken chops that can be bought from food carts along the streets for cheap. It turns out that the ones from Taiwan are even bigger, looky-
Taiwan’s famous Ji Pai are insanely huge.
Instead of going for the usual coffee to cap off the night last Saturday, we decided to get some gelato ice cream from Caramia Gelateria inside Amici Restaurant along Tomas Morato. We made our way along the restaurant-lined street which was busy as usual, bustling with cars and people at quite a late hour, finding Amici near the landmark circle of scouts.
Happy counters at Caramia Gelateria
Here’s what we got:
Ice cream cake-
It turns out that this ice cream cake is made of chocolate, strawbery, and banana gelato topped with strawbery and chocolate syrup. It’s a gelato banana split! I liked the combination of the 3 flavors, and the zing that the syrup gives. It took a good long while to finish this one, savoring each bite takes some time.
It’s always a good experience every time I visit Caramia Gelateria. Besides gelato ice cream, their gelato cakes are also delicious, affordable AND healthier than regular ice cream cakes! ^_~ You can check out the price list and descriptions on the Caramia website. Next birthday party I’m going to, I’m bringing one of these!
The promo has been running for a couple months already, but this is a heads up, just in case you hadn’t heard of it yet. From April 30, 2010 to April 29, 2011, Burger King will be giving away a FREE Whopper Jr. every time you get a Whopper Jr. Combo Meal and upgrade your meal to large fries and large drink.
On date night, after walking around Greenbelt 1, 2 and 3 and checking out all the restaurant menus, my date and I settled on an old favorite. We found ourselves settling in for a nice evening at Kitchen in Greenbelt 3.
The table setting and the service water bottle.
That’s their service water bottle on the left, laced with mint (I’m not so sure if they’re actually mint) leaves. On the right is the table setting, with unusually large utensils. I spent a good amount of time arranging and rearranging the assortment of table knick knacks for photos while waiting for our order.
The breadwinner includes four pieces of lightly toasted bread and assorted dips. I’m not familiar with their fancy names, so I’ll just attempt to describe them. The red dip is tomato based with clumps of tomato and some seasoning in it. The green one had the texture of pesto, it looked like crushed basil leaves with herbs in oil. The mustard colored one is mushrooms in oil. And lastly, the yellow one is grated cheese. The serving size was on the small side but it tasted good. Rating: 3.5/5
My date ordered the Undercover. This is basically chicken pandan with pandan rice and sweet chili sauce to taste. It was total pandan overload because he paired it up with bottomless pandan iced tea. Good value, huge serving size, great texture, fantastic taste. His rating: 5 out of frickin’ flippin’ 5!
Going Bananas and the uniquely presented bill
The description on the menu which read something like- bananas packed in graham cracker crusts topped with a swirl of cream -sounded promising. When it arrived, it looked like it would be super sweet, like those cakes you can get at coffee shops. It was a delightful surprise to find out that the middle part is actually (very) chilled bananas with no cream or sugar, but the graham cracker crusts were enough to sweeten it. It wasn’t expensive too, about 80 pesos an order. Rating: 5/5
If I were to choose one word to describe Kitchen over at Greenbelt 3, that word would be ‘subtle’. From their logo, the simple letter ‘K’, to their minimalist gray restaurant interior, to their friendly but never overbearing staff, to the tasty but not overpowering flavors of their food. But make no mistakes, subtle doesn’t mean Kitchen is dull, bland or boring. Quite the opposite, actually. I can honestly say that Kitchen is one of the better restaurants (and affordable too!) I’ve been to, ever.
Meals are about 200-300 peseos per person, but these are huge meals, and each plate is good for sharing. They have great service, good ambiance, fantastic food, large servings and reasonable prices.
Total Rating: 4.75 of 5
Best restaurant reviewed as of yet, at a reasonable price. Great nomz!
*again, I am sorry for the very grainy photos, used my phone’s camera. I always don’t have the good camera with me when I go to places worth taking pictures of. -_-;