Monday, September 24, 2012


You must have heard of this famous old fashioned ensaymada called Eurobake. It's also better known as "inipit" (read: sandwiched custard).  Made of honest-to-goodness cake chiffon with custard filling, Malolos, Bulacan's original "inipit" had become a household word for everyone. A popular snack and pasalubong (giveaways) for most Filipinos here and abroad, Inipit is perfect for an afternoon merienda or baon. 

Inipit in small slices.

Those with sweet tooth will truly appreciate its custard filling because its made from sweetened fresh cow's milk. And as if it's not enough, it also had sugar bits on top. Eurobake's inipit also comes in different flavor fillings that one can choose from: ube (purple yam), langka (jackfruit), among many others. 

And since Inipit comes in small rectangular bite sizes, you can be assured that you won't have any difficulty in swallowing them. They're really divine, almost melts into your mouth. But what I liked best about Inipit is the fact that it's heavenly goodness was made by the women of Malolos centuries ago. Yes, long before all the Ensaymada with salted eggs and cheese have been invented and enjoyed by our ancestors. If there was a pastry that had been part of history, this might be it. 

Among the Inipit available in the market today, I am partial with Eurobake. For me, nothing beats the original. Try a fluffy inipit today and enjoy the good old ensaymada. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012


 Good food has a way of bringing joy and a good conversation to any table, and that evening with friends was no exception. Cyma Restaurant in Eastwood Mall was totally jam-packed that Friday night. But I still decided to become a Mystery Diner with three of my friends. That night, I decided to wear a simple faded orange shirt, checkered tokong shorts and paired them with my violet slippers. My hair swept up like as it has always been. I figured I needed to find out how people will react if I wear casual clothing in such high-end type of mall and restaurant setting.

 The minute we arrived, Jenny, one of the staff, welcomed and ushered us into one of the al fresco dining tables of Cyma Taverna. The Eastwood Friday vibe as well as its colorful skyline were all visually arresting, an early indication of what I had anticipated it to be—an evening of great food, good intellectual conversations and simply enjoying my friends’ company.

Spinach and artichoke fondue with pita breads.

We decided to order Spinach and Artichoke Fondue (Php350) as appetizer. We originally ordered for Horiatiki Salata (Php380)—a traditional Greek village summer salad, but then our server named Jerwin, recommended Roka Salata (Share-Php495). Since it was something new for everyone on our table, we had given it a try. And I’m so glad we did because everyone enjoyed it so much. The salad was awesome! It had none of the bitter lettuce or leaves that we usually find in veggie salads. It had my favorite feta cheese, walnuts, dates and another kind of cheese. It tasted so divine that I felt like I could eat that salad forever and not getting tired of it. My 10-year-old nephew Kyle even loved it when he would usually push his plate if he’s asked to eat vegetables, but not this time because he had actually asked for a second helping of Roka Salata!

My highly recommended Roka Salata!

 At Cyma, I kind of broke the usual fine-dining etiquette by doing a scarpetta—an Italian way of eating custom where you show your appreciation of food by wiping your plates clean. In my case, I wiped all the sauce with the pieces of pita breads until all the sauce is gone.

New on the Menu: Leonides Pasta

 For our main dish, we decided to order something new on the menu. We had Leonides Pasta (Share-Php590); it was no meat red sauce pasta with thinly sliced zucchinis and aubergine with feta cheese. We paired that with glasses of lemonade and Cyma house blended iced tea. The taste was okay, there’s nothing really special about it—just a typical pasta dish. However, we had experienced some itch on our throat. Perhaps this is because of the presence of eggplant on the pasta dish. Even our lemonades and iced teas could not put a stop to the itchy sort of after taste on our throats. But still we decided to finish the pasta despite of the itchy experience eating that because we thought it was pretty expensive for a simple pasta dish.

Kataifi with Vanilla Ice Cream

For our desserts, we had Kataifi made from phyllo dough with vanilla ice cream and some sweetened coconut with nuts on them. This one tasted like Filipino favorite “bukayo” with nuts on them. For those who are not familiar with phyllo dough, Kataifi (Php250) looked pretty much like our typical Filipino Pancit Bihon or vermicelli noodles. But it’s actually a kind of dough that can be stretched into thin sheets that’s used in eastern Mediterranean cooking and pastries.

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Although I enjoyed tasting kataifi, nothing compares to my joy when I had a spoonful of Cyma’s mint choco chip ice cream (Php145). It tasted just as I wanted it to be, hmm…really excellent! It bursts of the peppermint flavors blended with chocolate goodness of the mini chocolate chips—ahhh! It tastes really heavenly!

Overall, I’d give Cyma on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the highest)—I’d give it a 7.5. Why? The interiors were good as well as the ambiance although I wish they would have covered their tables with tablecloths, it would’ve been better. Some prices on the menu were a bit steep, just like the simple Leonides Pasta that we had. Even if zucchinis were expensive, still they could’ve given it an alternative. We were quite disappointed with that dish, plus the itchy eggplant part was a total turn-off. It also made us quite sad when we were told that they did not have WiFi at Cyma although it’s written on the restaurant to Like their Facebook fan page, check in their foursquare and follow them on Twitter. And upon opening my WiFi network settings, I saw an Ektos connection (which I later noticed after bill out written on my receipt that it was owned by Ektos Cyma Greek Taverna Corporation). So how come there’s no WiFi service when there’s actually a network? Whatever that means.

I really wish Cyma would be using tablecloths soon to prevent these markings.

To be fair, we had truly enjoyed the Greek dining experience especially the Roka Salata (I would definitely recommend this to my friends!). If there’s a dish I’d surely come back to, Roka Salata would be it.
I would also recommend that Cyma use crostini breads aside from pita on your Spinach and Artichoke fondue. It would be better if you replace the garlic bread with crostini. The crunch of each crostini would certainly add some kick on the fondue. And when you served them, since the breads are supposed to be dipped in the fondue, serve it with a butter knife instead of a spoon. So that if the customers aren’t into dipping their breads, they could just spread the fondue on their breads without much difficulty.

Kyle, Mommy Rica, Ate Norma (in blue) and Moi enjoy the al fresco dining at Cyma.
Cyma had loads of great tasting dishes. Don’t forget to check out other amazing stuff on their menu such as the numerous choices of mezedes, orektika, homemade gyros and souvlakia souvlaki. For sure, there’s something you’ll love and enjoy. To avoid the hassle, peak hours are during lunch and dinner. The place gets packed with customers that you need to wait from 10 to 20 minutes. Even the receptionist had to help in serving the guests. Once you get there, I highly recommend that you try al fresco dining at their Eastwood branch.

Cyma branches are located in Eastwood Mall, Shangri-La Plaza Mall, Trinoma, Alabang Town Center, Greenbelt 2 and Boracay Island.

Security Blanket thanks Cyma Restaurant, Ms. Bea Reyes, and our server Jerwin.

Friday, September 14, 2012


When we usually come across a restaurant that serves Asian-fusion type of cuisines, the first thing we take note is the authenticity of the food. It has to be the way it is, say for example Pad Thai—it has to have that peanut-buttery flavor that’s undeniably Thai. It shouldn’t be subjected to any tweaks or enhancement just to be able to suit the Filipino palate. So when we were invited to Singapore Food Republic by Nasi Lemak located at the Ground Floor of Commercenter Building on the 31st Avenue in Bonifacio Global City, we were glad to have found an Asian fusion restaurant that truly serves Asian meals just the way it should be.

Singapore Food Republic serves simple honest-to-goodness home-style Asian fusion cooking, all reasonably priced. Mr. HK, the owner welcomed foodie bloggers to his restaurant and he even taught us on how to properly eat and further enjoy Hainanese Chicken. He proudly gave us to sample a small puff of crispy taco-like snack that one needs to fill with lettuce, some vegetables, topped with shrimp and with a dollop of sweet chili sauce on top. It’s actually a D-I-Y kind of appetizer, a signature menu at Singaporean Food Republic. I was surprised because for a small puff of crispy taco/wonton type of thing, it was bursting with flavors and was really delicious. It’s definitely a great appetizer to start your meal. I’m sorry I forgot what it’s called, but you can ask them about it, I’m sure the staff will be happy to give you more info about it since they are the only ones who serve such appetizer. As Mr. HK said, “There have been people who tried to imitate these but they had never been successful in duplicating it.”

The DIY Appetizer

 Among the best sellers at Singapore Food Republic include the famous Crispy Baby Squids (not spicy but sweet), Thai Chicken Curry, Malaysian Chicken Curry, Beef Rendang, Fish Head Curry, Kangkong Sambal, Hainanese Chicken and the Coffee Connoisseur (they’re own blended cold coffee). I had truly enjoyed the Malaysian Chicken curry because the spiciness of the dish slowly comes into one’s mouth upon a spoonful. It makes eating curry dish more exciting. I particularly love the Thai Green Mango Salad—it had all the flavors I ever wanted in it: sweet, salty, spicy and sour. The tangy and zest on the said salad made it really refreshingly good.

Crispy baby Squids

Kangkong Sambal

Hainanese Chicken

Beef Rendang

Coffee Connoisseur

Mixed Veggies Galore

Thai Chicken Curry

Malaysian Chicken Curry

Green Mango Salad

King of Curry: Fish Head Curry

Owner Mr. HK gives his resto a thumbs-up!

Singapore Food Republic also serves Tarik Tea—“pulled” teas at specific times and for those with sweet tooth, they’d be happy to note that they also serve baked muffins and cupcakes in different flavors. Eat here and you’ll get a feast of Asian fusion, surely your stomach will thank you for it.

Security Blanket thanks Ms. Yani Metrado, Mr. HK, Singapore Food Republic, and Ms. Ness Mercader.

Singapore Food Republic by Nasi Lemak is located at the Ground Floor, Commercenter Building, 31st Avenue corner 4th Street (near the St. Luke’s Hospital across HSBC Building), Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


Part and parcel of a great eating experience is first finding out how to get there. Banana Leaf’s Trinoma Branch is that type of restaurant. Although it is part of the mall’s map, it takes a bit of guesswork to get there. Once you arrive at this cozy restaurant at the topmost terraces, you know in your heart that your search efforts have been well worth it. 

The first thing I had noticed was the interiors. Clean, unpretentious, warm and welcoming. You could even opt for al fresco dining. It had none of the lavish, complicated and cold design concepts from restaurants serving Asian cuisines. It could be a perfect place to de-stress with family and friends as you enjoy freshly cooked healthy Asian meals.

Banana Leaf features food that seems to have come out from restaurants of popular international hotels. They offer a wide range of authentic Malaysian, Singaporean, Thai, Indonesian and Vietnamese dishes.  So if you’re looking for some food adventures, you don’t need to travel far because Banana Leaf will take care of it. And to make the experience even better, eat your meals on sanitized banana leaves. FYI, that’s where the name Banana Leaf stemmed from. You could even eat with your bare hands, and simply relish the food + the experience.

I had a sample of the Roti Canai (a Malaysian specialty bread) dipped in either a choice of curry sauce or condensed milk was purely divine. The soft velvety bread had a melt-in-your-mouth goodness. Being a typical Filipino, I liked condensed milk better because with the curry sauce, I knew there’s that desire in me to look for rice to go with it. But dip it in any sauce you like and you’re sure to enjoy it. For me, this Roti Canai was definitely a must-come-back-for item on the menu.

We also tried Singapore’s Hainanese Chicken with its three sauces: ginger oil, chili paste and soy based. The meat was served fork-tender; it literally falls off the bones.

The Stir Fried Oat Prawns Singaporean style was bursting with aroma and flavors. I loved the blend of tastes and textures of this dish. If you are tired of the usual buttery prawn dishes, then this one’s perfect for you.

The Deep Fried Chicken Pandan was a revelation of sorts because of the colors of the leaves (not brown and wilted) and the brown color of the chicken. Served with sweet chili sauce—it’s quite flavorful and filling!

The Thai Green Curry Chicken was simply outstanding. Cooked in rich, thick, coconut milk and green curry served on a bed of sweet slices of eggplant was hands-down a best seller. While most curries are somewhat watery and predictably spicy, Banana Leaf’s take on chicken curry is prepared with just the right amount and consistency to the sauce.  It is naturally sweet (because of the coconut milk) and spicy; this is so far the best green curry I have tasted so far.

 The Pad Thai tastes just the way you’ll have them in Thailand. I instantly fell for Indonesia’s Sambal and Goreng the very minute it tickled my taste buds. Oh, and you should try the Tilapia with Assam Sambal Sauce—it’s definitely a treat! I’m sure it will remind you of our typical bagoong (shrimp) paste, only better and richer in both texture and flavor.  

Stir Fried Clams in Singaporean Chili Sauce

Nasi Goreng

Kangkong in Sambal sauce.

Fried Tilapia in Sambal sauce
 I slurped on Iced Tea Tarik (Malaysian Pulled Tea) that tasted like my favorite pearl milk tea (except that it had no pearl on it).  To finish off the food tasting on a high note, I had a demitasse portion of Vietnamese coffee. Yes, something like Trung Yuen in Saigon, a strong coffee served with condensed milk, but it was good coffee.

Tea Tarik and fresh buko (coconut) juice

Vietnamese Trung Yuen with condensed milk

 “We say that Banana Leaf’s authentic because the main ingredients that we have here are sourced from their country of origin and prepared by Asian chefs in all of our branches. Other restaurants will hire Asian chefs to standardized their menu but we at Banana Leaf make a big investment with our expat chefs who makes sure that every branch will give that unique South East Asian dining experience,” says Banana Leaf’s General Manager Mr. James Aguilar.
Banana Leaf General manager, Mr. James Aguilar

So it comes as no surprise that Banana Leaf has curved a niche in the market as it continues to make loyal customers and Filipino travelers to fall in love with traditional Asian food.  Banana Leaf also managed to be on the Philippine Tatler’s Best Restaurants from 2004-2012—a feat for food establishments nowadays.
Indeed, dining at Banana Leaf will not only bring a delightful adventure for your taste buds but also a wonderful Asian dining experience. J

Banana Leaf branches are located at The Podium, Greenbelt 3, Trinoma and Ayala Center Cebu. For further information: log on to

Security Blanket thanks Abbie Abadiez, Yani Metrado, Mr. James Aguilar and Banana Leaf.
Disclaimer: I am not compensated for this post. Opinions expressed are 100% my own. 


C’mon, admit it, who doesn’t love those sinfully tasty and crunchy fried chicken? It’s really a popular appetizing treat for ages and since it goes perfectly well with almost anything. So it comes as no surprise that Filipinos have found a way to enjoy it with rice, chips, fries or dinner buns. Even more scrumptious is the wide array of dips and sauces that bring out its unique goodness in every bite.  However, we are strongly advised not to eat fried chicken often because of certain health risks since these delish treats are deep-fried in hot oil (read: cholesterol + artery clogging saturated fats). I am personally fond of eating fried chicken. Fried chicken is something that I just cannot resist, regardless if it’s coated with breading or not. So when I first heard of a healthier fried chicken alternative from Stackers Burger Café called “Baked Fried Chicken”—I got really excited because I wanted to taste and see its difference from my favorite fried chicken.

Stackers' Baked Fried Chicken and Fries

Of course, I knew Stackers Burger Café as an establishment that’s been serving huge premium beef burgers in special sauces, shakes and coffee drinks but I had never tried their Baked Fried Chicken which they claim to be 80 percent less oil as compared to the regular fast food fried chicken. I had been curious to find out if it truly rocks—if I could really compare it versus the regular fried chicken. Will it have the same crunchy taste we all love? Will it not be that greasy? Hmmm…it took sometime before I finally had my hands on that chicken. Here’s my experience eating Stackers Baked Fried Chicken. Read on…

Lana Jones, a blogger enjoys her Baked Fried Chicken with her fingers. 

I enjoy eating fried chicken with my hands, even fellow blogger Lana Jones used her hands, so that’s exactly what I just did when I had my first taste of Stackers Baked Fried Chicken. The whole Stackers Baked Fried Chicken experience is not complete without licking your fingers clean and dipping them on a special gravy sauce it is served with—that’s why you better ask for the Stackers waiter to have copious of paper towels or napkins on your table before eating.

The Stackers' Counter--where all the aroma comes from.

The ambiance at Stackers Burger Café in Eastwood City was really inviting, and once can smell the unmistakable aroma of beef patties with mustards and ketchup or the chicken crackling in the oven, and of course, the pleasant sting of the butter-peppered gravy sauce as it hits one’s nostrils.

Baked Fried Chicken with gravy.

Although “healthy’ and “fried chicken” tend to be oxymoronic when put together in a sentence, Stackers Baked Fried Chicken had come up with the idea of baking the chicken which devoid of artery-clogging saturated fats, making it more wholesome alternative to its buttery and oily chicken fast food counterparts. But it’s quite surprising that the chicken does have that delicate crunch while the insides are fork-tender meat that somehow literally falls off the bones. 
I also love the less-guilty feeling as I devour on them. Knowing fully well that I am not ingesting high cholesterol grease. The large cut fries are also very good as they are not too greasy. If you don’t like the gravy, every table at Stackers Burger Café also had large Heinz ketchup, so you can enjoy it your own way.

Stacker's Burger Patties with sauce and veggies.

The Ultimate Burger!

How was the taste? Stackers Baked Fried chicken are tasty and flavorful enough to tickle one’s taste buds. One thing I liked about this, unlike the regular fried chicken at fast foods, Stackers Baked Fried Chicken does not have that icky “bloody raw part” in chicken. At relatively okay price (P205 for 3 pieces/P95 per piece with rice), one can enjoy eating guilt-free crunchy baked fried chicken. Also notable are the variety of drinks and shakes that goes well with the baked fried chicken.  And while you’re at it, sink your teeth to the huge Stackers’ burgers made from 100 percent imported beef patty. 

Stackers' Carbonara Pasta

For coffee addicts, they also have specialty coffee drinks brewed from Arabica beans with different toppings and flavors to choose from. Getting a table, especially when you are in a big group could be cumbersome, but they have a great delivery service and they are open 24 hours so you could either avail of that or drop by during non-peak hours. 

My favorite Strawberry Milkshake

Stackers Burger Café can be found in Eastwood City, McKinley Venice Piazza, Resorts World Manila, Alabang Town Center and at its newest branch in Promenade, Greenhills.

Security Blanket thanks Mr. Richard Mamuyac, Stackers Burger Café and IFoods Inc. President and CEO Mr. Bryan Tiu.

For more details about Stackers Burger Café’s Baked Fried Chicken and information on franchising, call 723-6033 or 0917-8779909 or email

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