Saturday, November 12, 2011

My Latest Food Discovery: How I Fell In Love with Tokyo Cafe!

I am always on the look out for culinary creations to feed not just my hunger, but more so my curiosity. And I know I’m the only one hooked on this hunt in my family, thus, I end up this big (read: on the plump side err obese, if you cannot utter the word). But I know there are lots of food lovers out there who find themselves in the same delicious dilemma so to help, I’d like to share my two cents on my latest food discovery which had probably the best-tasting Japanese and European fusion foods available in the country today. Sure, there are thousands of restaurants and food shops to choose from and on top of that thousands of dishes to try. Hopefully, you can try my latest food discoveries. Read on and find out how I fell in love with Tokyo Café.

See that small jigger sized glass? That's how you adjust its taste.
To begin with, Tokyo Café is currently rising as one of the most sought after Japanese coffee shops in the country. The restaurant provides a cozy ambiance, delicious food, and unique Japanese beverages. Oh, and I haven’t mentioned anything yet about the stuff posted on their walls—they’re so cool! I really liked the few words and wisdom on their walls. An example would be something like this: “In Japan, before eating you say, I-ta-da-ki-ma-su, which means, “I receive this gift thankfully.” After finishing your meal, you say, Go-chi-so-sa-ma, which means, “Thank you for the meal.” I’ve always thought it was as simple as Taberu…(read: Let’s eat!)

The crispy and tasty TenJu (Shrimp Tempura) with fresh salad on the side.

A delicious concoction of coffee and chocolate syrup with ice cream.

Another interesting wall post is the Japanese saying Ichigo Ichie, it says, “The true spirit of hospitality is based on the saying Ichigo Ichie which means, ‘treasure every encounter with another person”.  The place provides a laid back environment, very nice interiors and well lighted with touches of colors light green and ecru white.
Coming from a reputable Japanese coffee shop, a native of Tokyo, Mr. Atsushi Yoshizawa found potential in the Philippine market. With his background in restaurant operations, he adopted the same method and ventured into the food business here in our country. Mr. Yoshizawa had trained his staff well for excellent service and uses the Japanese standards of food quality.  He’s also very hands-on, making sure that every food or beverage is served the way they do in Japan. 

Mr Yoshizawa and Ms. Kate Paredes explains how Tokyo Cafe started.

Differentiating itself from a regular coffee shop and a Japanese restaurant, it offers first-class fusion of Japanese and Western cuisine. Where else could you find especially blended coffee and beverages, Japanese tempura, burgers + fries, pasta, and pizza in one restaurant? Others may find it a bit odd, but if you really go to Japan, they really serve pasta and pizza in coffee shops. Maybe we’ve just been used to Western-style when it comes to coffee shops that’s why we would always see cakes, bagels, sandwiches and pastries on their menu. I guess this is also one of the reasons why Tokyo Café is a standout. I’d like to think this setup is perfect for the whole family. When Dad wants to drink coffee, Mom wants to eat Japanese cuisine, older sister is on a diet and wants something healthy like pasta, the kids love fries and the whole family can share in one pizza—you’ll never go wrong dining at Tokyo Café because they’ve got everything! Dining at Tokyo Café is all about being exciting and full of choices in a relaxing atmosphere.
The author preparing her chopsticks before indulging on her Kalbi-Ju.
I’ve tasted their bestselling Ten-Ju or deep fried shrimp tempura (real tiger shrimps) with their signature tempura sauce on a bed of steamed white rice. Here’s what I liked most about their Japanese rice toppings or Ju-Box (set meals)—for every order, there’s a small portion of green fresh vegetable salad as side dish. Making sure that every meal is a balance and healthy one. Unlike other shrimp tempura served in other Japanese cuisine-based restaurants where shrimp tempura had been over coated with batter and flour, Tokyo Café’s shrimp tempura is really a standout because it is tasty up to the last bite. It’s not greasy even if it’s deep-fried. The tempura was very crispy even if it only had very thin flour coating or batter. Surprisingly, from the crispy coating outside, it is very soft and tasty inside. The sauce lent a slight gingery taste. It’s like having my comfort food. I will definitely recommend it to all my relatives and friends.

The tender Kalbi-Ju with a special coffee based ice cream drink.

Tokyo Café’s Kalbi-Ju or thinly sliced beef smothered in original yakiniku sauce is also a must try. The beef wasn’t a challenge to begin with; in fact it was easy to chew. And it came in a generous pile on top of the steamed rice that inevitably made this dish drool-worthy. I just wish they even had more of its yakiniku sauce on the side because I was craving for more. Its got the sweetness and saltiness together in a dish. Had it been gristly, the dish would have been a dentures’ nightmare. Thankfully, it is incredibly soft and chewy.

Perfect meals for those on the budget.

Some of the delicious Japanese set meals Tokyo Cafe meals.

 Unaju is also a favorite among Tokyo Café’s customers. Unaju are pan-fried eel fillets topped with caramelized soy sauce over rice. Other must-try dishes are the Katsu-Ju and Oyako-Ju. Katsu-Ju is deep fried breaded pork cutlet flavored with signature tempura sauce, onions, leeks and scrambled egg on steamed rice. Oyako-Ju are sliced chicken braised in signature tempura sauce with onions, and leeks mixed in tamago (egg) on steamed white rice.
Tokyo Café also had lots of unique Japanese beverages such especially blended coffee drinks like Tokyo Ice, Tokyo Blend, Ice Caramel, and Espresso among many others. If you’re lucky, sometimes they even offer especially prepared beverages like Cherry Blossoms and Peach inspired drinks that are truly refreshing. Drinks and beverages are served with a small jigger glass for additional milk and syrup, giving customers the option to adjust their drinks based on their own taste.
The author at Tokyo Cafe in SM Megamall Bridgeway branch.

There are actually more sumptuous food and beverages to discover at Tokyo Café. I vow to come back to taste some more interesting foods like their pizza and pasta. By the way, it would be great to let you know that the company behind Tokyo Café also owns Parmigiano Pizzeria Ristorante, so you can be assured that their pizza and pasta are awesome in their own right! I immediately fell in love with Tokyo Café. It had more to offer than ordinary coffee shops I usually frequent which only had bagels, sandwiches, cakes and pastries. Tokyo Café will definitely satisfy even those with discriminating palate. More than their great tasting food and drinks, you’ll surely come back for more because of their efficient and friendly service.

The cozy interior of the cafe.

The author at Tokyo Cafe.

Find out for yourselves why I fell in love with Tokyo Café. Drop by in any of their branches: SM Mall of Asia, SM Megamall, McKinley Piazza, Go Hotel in Pioneer and NAIA Terminal 3. Like them on their Facebook page to get updates on their promo and latest offers.

Purple Plum Fairy says Arigato Gozaimasu to Mr. Atsushi Yoshizawa and Ms. Kate Paredes of Tokyo Café. Special thanks to Mr. Richard Mamuyac.


Kenny Rogers New "Honey" for The Christmas Season

Kenny Rogers Roasters Roasted Honey Chicken
 My entire family and I had been avid diners of Kenny Rogers Roasters ever since it reached the Philippine shores back in the late 90’s. In fact, we somehow felt sad when its SM Cubao branch had to close down because it meant we had to look for another place to dine and hangout. But our cravings for its mouth-watering and deliciously good roasted chicken haven’t stopped. So each time we’d want to eat our fave classic roast as well as their variety of side dishes, we don’t really mind driving all the way to their Katipunan, Trinoma and Cainta branches, just so we could whet our appetites.

Known for consistently innovating and creating ways to delight their loyal customers, Kenny Rogers Roasters introduces not just one but five new products that will surely create a memorable dining experience for everyone—a testament to Kenny’s brand promise to provide not only healthy but tasty food choices.
I guess I was fortunate enough to be one of the first few who were able to taste Kenny’s Honey Roast Chicken—juicy and perfectly roasted chicken infused with honey and maple. This new chicken flavor is served with Kenny’s own honey-garlic sauce and definitely goes well with any of their signature side dishes.

We were lucky to have been part of this event. 

The new honey chicken can be ordered ala carte at only P399 for a whole chicken. It can also be enjoyed with Kenny’s Solo Plates, Combo Meals and Group Meals.
As a food blogger, I’ve had this habit called “Zen eating”—enjoying the food’s aroma first before slowly indulging in it. The minute it had arrived on our table, I thought I could smell Christmas already. And I swear I must’ve gone to heaven upon taking a spoonful of Kenny’s Honey Roast. It tasted just like ham—the ones served during Noche Buena. I bet it will be the star of the dining table for the holiday’s feast. My verdict: Kenny’s Honey Roast is so tender, juicy and tasty even without the sauce. But here’s what surprised me the most: Usually, if you tend to marinate or put flavors into chicken, the least to absorb the taste would have to be the breast part. But alas, I don’t know what they’ve done with Kenny’s Honey Roast because every part of the chicken is really bursting with flavor! 

Garlic Parmesan Green Beans is crunchy and half-cooked.

Sour Cream and Chives Potatoes was a hit among bloggers!
 “With the introduction of the Honey Roast Chicken we are raising the bar in healthy eating. It’s our commitment to provide valued guests with smart and unique offers that are truly delicious but not heavy on the budget,” says Meggie Bolinao-Jose, Kenny Rogers’ Marketing Director.
Then, there were the four new hot side dishes that perfectly goes well with any of Kenny’s roasted chicken flavors—Garlic Parmesan Green beans, Sour Cream and Chives Potatoes, Turnip Salad and Aglio Olio.
Garlic Parmesan Green Beans is steamed fresh green beans tossed in garlic butter sauce and sprinkled with grated Parmesan cheese.  My verdict: The green beans have a really nice bright green color, and are probably half-cooked because upon first bite, I knew it was a bit crunchy.
The Sour Cream and Chives Potatoes are baked marble potatoes with skin on and coated in sour cream and chives butter mix. This is actually one of my favorites. It had me thinking of my childhood days munching on Pringles’ Sour Cream variant. It tasted so good that most bloggers that night even asked for some more. I won’t be surprised if this will become one of Kenny Rogers Roasters bestselling side dishes. This will compete with the more popular corn and carrots side dish.
Turnip Salad-healthy and refreshing!
Perfect for Noche Buena this holiday season.

I took photos of the honey chicken in different angles, and each turn I do, I can't help but salivate over its enticing aroma and flavor that is truly mouth-watering.

Slices of the honey goodness of Kenny Rogers Roasters Honey Roasted Chicken.

Crunchy parmesan green beans.

Aglio Olio is a dish in itself, if you ask me, it can also be a complete meal. It is cooked al dente pasta with an olive oil based sauce, with lots of garlic bits and chopped black olives lending its unique taste. Unlike other Aglio Olio pasta I’ve eaten before, this one isn’t too dry yet not too oily—just right. I wouldn’t recommend this to order during a date with your special someone because of its strong garlic taste and flavors though, but I’d say you must order this dish when you couldn’t care less what your breath will be like after emptying your plate. Who cares about bad garlic breath when you’ve just had one delicious meal of Aglio Olio? 

Tasty and healthy Aglio Olio

This was how blogger Dennis Angulo of enjoyed his chicken!

Turnip Salad is best for those who watch their diet.

Last on the latest addition to Kenny Rogers Roasters’ variety of side dishes is the Turnip Salad—a light salad made with crunchy turnip strips, shredded carrots and red cabbage, and thinly sliced cucumber tossed in a sweet and tart mango dressing. It is very light and refreshing, perfect for those who are in a diet. And it complements Kenny Rogers Roasters’ roasted Honey chicken.
By the way, you guys had to hurry because Kenny’s Honey Roast will only be available for a limited time only. Kenny’s new side dishes can be ordered ala carte in regular or large sizes, or matched with your favorite Solo, Grilled or Healthy Plates and Group meals.

We've never had enough of this yummy treat!

Goes well with any fave Kenny chicken with corn muffin.

As part of the Solo Meal

The Four new side dishes!

Blogger Jhong Medina of finds the right angle for his food blog.

Yummy Frozen Yogurts from Kenny Rogers Roasters.

Frozen Yogurt with Brownies

Frozen Yogurts with Fruits

The host that night. (Sorry sir, I forgot your name!)

The lovely lady in photo is Ms. Tina Papera of Kenny Rogers.

Expect more exciting offers from Kenny Rogers Roasters. Christmas Bulk Orders and Set Meal Party Packages are also available for this Holiday Season. Come and try Kenny Rogers Roasted Honey Chicken and its newest side dishes in any of their 41 branches nationwide.
For more details, log on to or call 533-8888 for delivery.
Purple Plum Fairy thanks Ms. Ruth Dela Cruz of, Miss Meggie B. Jose and Ms. Tina Papera of Kenny Rogers Roasters for the invites. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Monde Mamon: Great for our Kids' Baon

Monde's latest product: Special Baked Mamon

I usually have a hard time looking for a healthier snack or school baon for Kyle. And it's often quite unfortunate that what's currently available in the market today aren't as healthy as I wanted it to be. So as parents, it is our utmost responsibility to ensure that what we are preparing for our kids would have to always be the healthier choices. And for someone like Kyle who can't eat sweets with chocolates as it would make him more hyper, it makes my job more difficult.

That's why when I come across a good alternative to homemade sandwiches just like Monde's Special mamon, I am really delighted. Unlike the ones sold in popular cake stores (yes, those that uses color red and yellow), Monde's special mamon aren't as sweet. It's also fluffy and soft but it is more affordable at P23 (for two pieces) and P56 (for 6 pieces). Mommies would be happy to note that it is made from the freshest ingredients,using imported flour and fresh eggs. And since it's made by a trusted company like Monde (who by the way produces Nissin Cup Noodles in the country), rest assured that it is a good quality product.

Monde's special mamon also comes in Mocha flavor. I wish they could also create a sugar-free version of their special mamon. So now, my Kyle enjoys his mamon during recess/breaks at school. And I am at peace in knowing that he's having a good snack instead of worrying for the amount of junk foods he's been loading his lithe young body.

Monde Special Mamon is now available in leading supermarkets and groceries nationwide.

Disclaimer: I am not compensated for this blog post. Opinions are 100% my own.