Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Mazza Shawarma is located in Hampton Gardens Arcade

You wouldn’t think much of it at first, given the fact of its seclusion from the usual kiosk or mall stalls around the Metro, but Mazza Shawarma stands out on its own at the Hampton Gardens Arcade along C. Raymundo Avenue in Maybunga, Pasig City. And I’d have to say, you really need to try out the foods they serve and dine here in order to understand what makes it a standout and different from the rest. 

At Mazza Shawarma, Eight inches Shawarma goodies filled with real bite-sized beef and vegetables.

There was a time when shawarma had become sort of a fad among Filipinos. It was in the late ‘90s, shawarma stands seemed to have sprouted like mushrooms—that anywhere you go, you’re most likely to see a shawarma stand. But as expected, the shawarma crazed had long died down, especially since most shawarma stalls used thinly sliced marinated Carabao meat or locally known as “cara-beef” instead of the real beef. Cara-beef isn’t really a good beef alternative because it tastes like some kind of rubber band—not really chewy. I must have lost my interest in eating shawarma a long time ago. Well, that’s what I thought, until I came across something as good as Mazza Shawarma! 

Okay, so what makes Mazza Shawarma different? Forgive me for raving so much about our latest food discovery.  Unlike the other kiosk-style shawarma from the malls, Mazza Shawarma does not scrimp on ingredients, they use high-quality bite-sized beef and on each bite, one could easily identify and enjoy the bursts of flavors and spices, thus making your Persian dining experience a memorable one. 
Keema at Mazza Shawarma

The Keema goes well with either rice or pita bread. It is pretty addicting, so I am now giving you some kind of warning. The kebab regardless if it’s grilled chicken or beef is also a great meal. What I like about it, it’s grilled just right, not too burnt or overcooked. Plus, there are more choices to choose from on their menu. I even saw ice cream pita bread sandwich! I’d like to try that one on my next visit. 

Beef Kebab at Mazza Shawarma are grilled just right.

The owners, Mr. Aris Carino and Ms. Karen Dulay, both culinary graduates of Center for Culinary Arts created their own shawarma recipe as well as their special garlic sauce. It had that sweet, garlicky flavor in its every drop. The beef aren’t too thin either—they were bite sized and the good news, I don’t know how they do it, but it doesn’t leave any of that strong pungent after taste like most shawarma recipes do. So you could actually bring your date at Mazza Shawarma and eat your fave Persian food without thinking about how your breath smells like and if you’re lucky, still get to a goodnight’s kiss later. How’s that for a real treat, right?

Chicken Kebabs for the health-conscious.

Bloggers enjoy the pita dip and all the yummy delish goodies at Mazza Shawarma.

As with most Persian restaurants, they also offer other yummy treats such as Keema, grilled Beef and chicken kebab, pita pie with garlic dip, hummus and jalapeno infused hummus dip, grilled barbecue chicken, and my favorite—their mouthwatering 11 inches Shawarma Pizza! It tastes like my favorite pita pie, only bigger and good for four persons at an affordable price of P135.  It has bite-sized beef toppings generously spread on the crust. It’s crispy on the sides, crunchy (it had strips of cabbage on top), and oh-so-yummy cheesy with the garlicky sauce all over it! As I write this down I could feel myself salivating…I’d definitely come back to Mazza Shawarma. I just wish the cabbages on top will be covered again with more cheese before it’s put on the oven so that it won’t have to fall each time you take a bite. OMG! I’ve been raving about this shawarma pizza for days now! My blogger friends who also had a taste of this pizza had been tweeting on Twitter how much they miss this pizza, that’s how good it really is!

This is everyone's favorite crunchy, crispy and tasty eleven inches Shawarma Pizza!

Jalapeno hummus dip and garlic dip goes well with these pita breads for a perfect snack. 

Mazza Shawarma owner Ms. Karen Dulay, bloggers Aylin Vedad, Marco Demo, Rain De Ocampo and the author.

Oh, my, I wish I had all the space so I could further elaborate why you guys should come and visit this place, but perhaps you should visit the place yourselves and discover what makes it different.
By the way, Mazza Shawarma has free Wi-Fi for dining customers (great for bloggers like me.) and it has a flat-screened television too.
Be sure to come early as this place gets quite packed in the late afternoon to evening, the restaurant can only accommodate 28 people per turnover (that includes 9 people seated outside in the smoking area). Mazza Shawarma also offers take-out and delivery (only for nearby areas) aside from dine-in.

Come and visit Mazza Shawarma. I assure you it’s worth all the effort and the trip. I’d love to see this place expand in the next years to come. I’d like to help them spread the good news that there is such a lovely place in Pasig where people can find unbelievably delicious and affordable Persian food.

Security Blanket thanks Mazza Shawarma owners Mr. Aris Carino and Ms. Karen Dulay, the friendly staff of Mazza Shawarma and Mr. Marco Polo Demo.

Mazza Shawarma is located in Unit 2 Hampton Gardens Arcade, C. Raymundo Avenue, Brgy. Maybunga, Pasig City
Tel. Nos: (02) 404-9874
Operating hours: 11AM-10PM; Monday to Sunday
Like Mazza Shawarma on Facebook and follow them on Twitter @Mazzashawarma

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


Black Canyon Coffee opens its first branch in SM Southmall.

Black Canyon Coffee, one of the most successful names in coffee and dining in Thailand recently opened its first branch in the Philippines. With over 220 branches in Thailand alone, not to mention their other branches across Asia, it’s good to know that they have opened a store in our country. Located at the Food Strip wing of SM Southmall in Las Pinas City, Black Canyon Coffee has a cozy interior with blends of browns and colorful pastels. Their interiors alone will tell you right away that the foods and specialty drinks they serve aren’t boring—because they’re not your usual coffee shop.
A comfy and friendly ambiance with cool green and yellow pastel colors amidst browns.

Just like any coffee shop, they do offer pastries, sandwiches and other sweets.

What makes them different from other casual coffee dining place is that they do not serve only coffee and pastries. Black Canyon Coffee helps relive the rainy season with a wide menu of delicious comfort drinks and International and Thai food delights sure to leave anyone wanting for more.

An appetizing fill of Grilled Pepper Salmon Salad will surely help brighten your day. Generous slices of peppered salmon on a bed of green lettuce with julienned carrots on top with dressing on the side.

Appetizingly healthy Grilled Peppered Salmon Salad

Everyone will surely enjoy Fried Prawns with Tamarind Sauce served in an appetizing new way. It’s hard to resist that deep-fried crispiness served with sweet and tangy tamarind sauce.

Fried Prawns in Tamarind Sauce
Their award-winning Pad Thai

For variety, try their award-winning Pad Thai and spicy Tom Yum soup. It’s comfort times two. Eat both meals with gusto and your stomach will thank you for it. If you’re in for something really spicy, order their Green Seafood Curry, it’ll definitely wake you up on a sleepy afternoon. I should know for in my case, it just did! And I had to tell you this, I’ve instantly fell for their Pad Thai—it’s generously filled with shrimps with a sliced green lemon for that sweet and nutty taste you’d surely love.

This Green Curry adds a bomb to your palate!

Speaking of love, I super love Black Canyon Coffee’s Cranberry Frappe—they’re just right, not too sweet with generous cranberries on it. You could also try their Mexican Iced Coffee served on a really cute shoe glass. It had Kahlua (a coffee-flavored liqueur) on it, so it must be really good. I vow to order it the next time though. For non-coffee drinkers, there are iced teas, green teas, milk shakes, and fruit smoothies for you to choose from. There are actually 24 specialty coffee drinks and 40 special beverages available, so you’ve got plenty of options. You see there’s really more to look forward to each time you visit.

My Cranberry Frappe: two thumbs up!

Next on my list to try: Mexican Iced Coffee

Mocha Glacier

New Orleans Chicken

Finally, find more comfort in a variety of choice for a sweet ending to cap off your delicious meal: Premium Chocolate—chocolate ice cream with a bar of chocolate topped with whipped cream, Tin Roof—vanilla ice cream topped with a pretzel with whipped cream and chocolate syrup or Fruit Salad—strawberry ice cream with different fruits and syrup with whipped cream.

Chocolate Overload: Premium Chocolote perfectly ends a meal.

Tin Roof

Fruit Salad

I was able to ask its owner, Mrs. Wilma Dy (President of Royal Thai Food Philippines) if there were certain foods that had to be tweak in order to suit the Filipino palate. She said there was none for customers can be assured that Black Canyon Coffee prides itself on its very strict and consistent standards, so what we have in the Philippines are as the same taste as it is in Thailand. And best of all, the prices are very affordable and the serving are really generous. 

Black Canyon Coffee Philippines owner Mrs. Wilma Dy.

So, forget the usual coffee shop, here’s Black Canyon Coffee giving you reasons to enjoy good life with a belly full of happy comfort food and yummy drinks.  I can assure you, it’s worth all the travel to the South. But in a few years time, I could already foresee this business thriving more and perhaps expanding to a place near me, perhaps somewhere North. True to its promise, Black Canyon Coffee is a drink from paradise…available on Earth.J

Black Canyon Coffee is now open at the Food Strip of SM Southmall, Las Pinas City.
For further information, please email blackcanyonph@gmail.com

The author, all smiles after having one of the finest Thai meal she has encountered. 

Disclaimer: I am not compensated for this post. Opinions expressed are 100% my own.
Security Blanket thanks Mr. Azrael Colladilla, Mr. Rob Yatco and Black Canyon Coffee for the invite. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012


If you’re looking for some modern Asian-fusion cuisine to satisfy your gustatory cravings in a cozy place, Cerchio Grill and Lounge in Scout Limbaga near Tomas Morato is your best bet.  With cozy interiors and uber comfy couch chairs, minimalist design with a touch of Zen, Cerchio Grill and Lounge is truly perfect for that lunch meeting with a client, Friday gatherings or weekend hangout with your closest buddies, or simply a family place to dine and relax. The upper part of the restaurant is also really good because it has an extension veranda where smoking diners can stay and dine in al fresco.
The food was really good. The pumpkin soup was deliciously creamy and perfect to start off your meal. The Peri-peri chicken also tastes good although there were some parts that tend to appear a bit dry, but overall, it perfectly goes well with their signature rice. And besides the creaminess of pumpkin soup somehow compensates the dry parts of the chicken.
If you're in for an al fresco dining, Cerchio's upstairs will be more apt for you.

Soft comfy chairs + pipe in music + good food= great dining experience!

The buffalo spicy wings add a bit of lemony zing into your palate. I find their wings spicy and I honestly do not recommend it to kids, I do not personally think they will appreciate this spicy buffalo wings; they might not tolerate the level of hot chili. Surprisingly, I saw a kid diner who seemed to enjoy it so much that he licks his own fingers as he bites into the hot wings. I admire that chubby kid—he’s red-faced and all but he doesn’t seem to mind as long as he digs into that basket of spicy buffalo wings.
Nice + cozy interiors is always a plus factor.

Good food, what else can I say?

Anyway, there’s more you can eat, order and explore here at Cerchio Grill and Lounge. There’s the Singaporean crispy squid on a bed of fried vermicelli, fried herbed and crusted dory fish that goes well with a choice of either creamy aioli tartar sauce or vinaigrette balsamic vinegar with cilantro and minced tomatoes as a dipping sauce.

Cerchio Grill and Lounge is located at #76 Scout Limbaga St. Tomas Morato, Quezon City.  It’s one block away from the T. Morato Boyscout’s Circle, on the side of Congo Grill. 

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

Thursday, June 21, 2012


June 21, 2012--MasterChef  Pinoy (Philippine) Edition Screening
Venue: Oceana Restaurant, SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City
Call Time: 8:00 AM-3:00PM

The minute we arrived at Oceana, we were surprised to see more than 1,000 people waiting for their turn to be interviewed. My friend Abby, whom I’ve accompanied to the MasterChef Pinoy Edition screening/audition was the 1,834th applicant! She had butterflies on her stomach that she wanted to back out at the last minute upon seeing her number. It was my job to encourage her and so I told her that we'll get pass this soon. We just need to be patient enough and persevere. You see, I believe so much in my friend's skills, talents and potentials. And I am not saying this just because she is my friend, I am such a foodie so I know whereof I speak. My friend Abby does not have any culinary background yet she has traveled the world as part of her work. She used to be an international cruise photographer for five years. And in doing so, it had given her the privileged to taste almost all the cuisine there could possibly be. Add her passion and zest for cooking and anything culinary, well, she's a perfect candidate for MasterChef Philippine edition. 

The tarpaulin says:

The qualifications of the Masterchef Pinoy Edition:
You must be 18-50 years old
No culinary degree or diploma
No cooking experience in a restaurant (casual and fine dining)
No teaching experience in a cooking class or demo
And bring your specialty dish (any dish will do!)

The more than 2000++ crowd of hopefuls for the MasterChef Philippine Edition

There were lots of hopefuls (around 2000++) all waiting for their turn to meet the chef judges at the holding area. Some were doing their finishing touches on the plating or food presentation before they line up in preparation to the actual food taste screening. Viands of different kinds were all wafting in the air. There were Filipino cuisines such as Chicken Pork Adobo, Afritada, Steak, BonChon style Fried chicken, Desserts, Pasta dishes in all kinds of noodles, plus other international cuisines.

Aspirants look for their specialty dishes and making sure everything is in order before they present to the judges. 

There were two microwave ovens for the applicants' use if they opt to reheat the food before they serve it to the food tasting chef judges. But my friend Abby chose to have a cold pasta instead. 

Mrs. Dulce Agrabioso of Fairview had traveled all the way to SM MOA for this event.

It felt like fiesta because there were different viands, dishes and cuisines to choose from. Only you're not allowed to eat them right away. But after the judges had shortlisted the participants, some of them would just give away the food to the crowd. That's why I've said it looked and felt like a fiesta--because some foods were given for FREE! 

Applicants lining up with their specialty dishes.
I somehow pity those who did not make it because they had probably exerted too much effort by preparing the dish and going to SM Mall of Asia so early in the morning. Some were probably up by 2AM just to get the dish done and in time. Actually, my friend Abby herself only had an hour of sleep. And we had to wait for long hours, we've been there for almost 9 hours before she had her dish presented to the judges. 
One-on-one interviews during the screening process.
Abby's Sophia Loren Al Torno

It was a good thing that Abby made it. My friend Abby brought along with her an Italian-inspired specialty dish called Sophia Loren Al Torno pasta. It is a fusilli pasta dish infused with the refreshing zest of lemon, chunky tuna with Italian parsley, thyme, garlic and drizzled with olive oil. Abby named it before her favorite Italian actress named Sophia Loren. It looks pretty simple yet when you taste the said dish, it’s really refreshing but never overpowering. It had the perfect balance of flavor, texture and taste. It actually cleanses the palate. And I am not saying this just because Abby is my BFF. I am praising her recipe and specialty dish because it really was delicious and quoting what the judge chef said, “This dish is very refreshing!”
Participants go crazy as they rush and cram for the final touches of their food presentation.
The Oceana was still jampacked even during sunset.

 Abby did passed the said grueling screening and audition. She said she did not expect that although we both hoped and prayed for God’s will. But that’s not the end of her journey though, but it’s only the beginning. For in the next few weeks or months, she will again undergo other screening, and hopefully, she could make it until the last where she had to allot 6 to 15 weeks of taping for the Masterchef Pinoy Edition on ABS-CBN to be hosted by Judy Ann Santos-Agoncillo.

To my good friend, Abby, here’s hoping you could make it to the top finalists. I’m with you all the way, dear. Good luck and my prayers are with you! Keep it up and congratulations! I am so happy and proud of you! J

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Mr. Kimbob's Budget-friendly Korean Meal at SM Megamall Foodcourt

If you guys are searching for the cheapest Korean meal in this side of town (in between on North and South actually),  then Mr. Kimbob is the perfect place for you. Located at the ground floor of SM Megamall Food Court, Mr. Kimbob offers a variety of Korean specialty at an affordable price. Starting off at Php 69 (VAT inclusive), this plate consists of the following: four Japanese Nori wrap rice sushi-like rolls with vegetables slices, a small serving of Korean's spicy starch treat (I'm sorry I forgot what it's called) and Korean's favorite Chapchae noodles. Although this meal does not come with a drink (but it should, given the fact how spicy the red sauced starchy treat was), it is already filling and it's really tasty. You should give this Korean meal a try especially on a rainy day. 

There's more to explore at Mr. Kimbob in SM Megamall Foodcourt. The only thing i hate about this store was the cashier. I wish she could be a little friendly to her customers. I had been going to this Korean kiosk twice, but during those times, it's as if her smile was worth a million that she couldn't give me one. If the owner of Mr. Kimbob would read this, please hire someone else if the lady at the cashier can't even afford to smile at her customers. i wonder what was wrong with her...

Well, still, I admire Mr. Kimbob's food and will continue to do so despite of the not-so-friendly-cashier personnel that they had. So my advice, if you guys would like to try this food, make sure to have patience because that lady at the counter might not be so friendly.  It's a good thing that the food compensates well for the restaurants frontliner's attitude. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Gimme Four Fingers Crispy Chicken: Tasty and Crunchy Chicken Goodness at Every Bite

Four Fingers Crispy Chicken with their signature rice with Nori bits.

Okay, so it looks exactly like the more popular Korean soy/spicy chicken that has hit Manila by storm. But the Singaporean brand, Four Fingers Chicken may also be one of the fastest growing chicken-based restaurants in the country today. 

Not exactly a copycat of its Korean counterpart, Four Fingers has an awesome list of menu on its own. I love their twice-fried chicken because it’s really crispy and tasty, just right. I also like their rice with bits of Japanese Nori wrap or Japanese seaweed.
Friendly staff and well-lighted counters are what makes 4 Fingers Crispy Chicken better.

The only thing I don’t seem to like from Four Fingers Chicken was the metal-thing they used as plates. I know it’s supposed to make the meals stay warm, but it sometimes looks as if you’re eating on a dog’s plate. I still dine at Four Fingers Chicken because of their delicious meals; I just do not like the plate they are using. I just wish they could find a different alternative to that. 

A wide variety of choices to choose from--not just chicken.

The signage will make you stop and enter this restaurant. 

Fashion and lifestyle bloggers frequent this place. 

Even lovers would hangout at this cozy place.

But apart from that thing, I see nothing wrong with Four Fingers Crispy Chicken. The ambiance is good, the place seems so relaxed and it’s a great place to actually hangout with a couple of friends. Nice bright lights, graffiti walls and clean interiors—not to mention great, healthy foods + friendly food attendants (who knows exactly how to help customers as they know their products and the food they have—again, to me that’s an added customer service!), Four Fingers Crispy Chicken is the newest addition to my favorite places to eat out in SM North Edsa. Overall, I'm giving it a two thumbs-up!

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

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sebastian's Uniquely flavored Ice Cream

Sebastian's Sapin-Sapin and Taho flavored Ice Cream
I always say that I am not too fond of sweets—especially not with the Filipino delicacies. Please don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy our own delicacies such as rice cakes (biko, bibingka, suman) but I seldom eat them because they make my stomach full. They could be a meal’s replacement anytime. But have you guys ever heard of unusual ice cream flavors? I’m not referring to the liquor kind, but the ones that sell Filipino delicacies as its flavors. Yes, Mangga’t Suman (Mango and rice cake), Sapin-Sapin (colorful glutinous cake), another take on Filipino staple Taho (Soya) and even champorado (chocolate rice porridge) as its flavors!

Sebastian's Champorado Flavored Ice cream

I accidentally learned of Sebastian’s unique delicacy-flavored ice cream in an event hosted by AyosDito.ph held at COWO Asia in Ortigas several weeks ago. And I’d have to say I am quite impressed. It was the first time I heard of them and also the very first I tried on their ice cream. 

See these mini sago pearls on my spoon that comes with the Taho flavored ice cream?

Sebastian’s Sapin-sapin ice cream initially looked like Halo-halo because it’s really colorful.  But upon my first scoop, I knew right away that they perfectly got how the real sapin-sapin tastes like. Then, I tried on their champorado ice cream—it not only looks like a real champorado, it actually tastes like one—although a bit too dark for my taste. It had chunks of rice bits that are actually somewhat crispy, complementing its taste more for the added texture. The taho ice cream is a pretty good spin, imagine the goodness of real taho, frozen and added with mini sago pearls, it’s refreshing! But the most favored by all was the Mangga’t Suman—I guess it’s way too good because I was not able to get one. But friends could attest, it is to-die-for! It had that sweet and tangy of real mango and the sticky sweetness of suman. No wonder it had gone so fast during the said event.
Sebastian's Uniquely Flavored Delicacy Ice Cream goes well while making your blog. 

My verdict: If you’re a big fan of Filipino delicacies, this one’s really for you. But if you are simply curious on how it tastes like, I suggest that you share a scoop with a friend because after sometime, there’s a possibility that one gets to become “umay” or “sawa”, (read: you might not be able to finish eating this ice cream by yourself), either because of the huge serving or the stuff this ice cream is made from. Anyhow, Sebastian did a good spin on our Filipino delicacy favorite by creating unique ice cream flavors.
If you’d want to try these yummy ice cream treats from Sebastian’s, get yours at only Php100 per scoop at their kiosk branches in The Podium, Ortigas and at the SM North EDSA.

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