Tuesday, January 22, 2013


Calling all gourmands, food aficionados and loyal fans of Yoshinoya! Yoshinoya, home of the popular beef gyudon huge bowls announces their Yoshinoya Beef Gyudon Eating Contest, which is now on its 4th year. This is one exciting gastronomic challenge that foodies out there should not afford to miss.

Bloggers had their own Yoshinoya Beef Gyudon eating contest. I thought I’m quite glutton enough, but since I am on a no-rice diet since the turn of the year (And I do hope to be able to stick with it. J), I realized I could not eat more than one bowl. It was difficult to eat when under pressure. I saw how my fellow bloggers were in near teary-eyed and red faced because it was hard to breathe as you try to swallow everything on the bowl in five minutes. That was indeed tough! And to think women competed equally with men! I thought that was quite unfair. But it was really fun and worth the experience. In the end, Florencio Jusay Jr., better known in the blogosphere as FPJ, won the challenge (Hey, but he was 2nd placer last time!) Well, what can I say? So much for that, let’s get on to the real challenge. 

Bloggers gamely joined.

The favorite Beef Gyudon Bowl from Yoshinoya.

 Yoshinoya, the country’s most popular fast-food chain that specializes in all-time favorite Japanses fare, had their very first eating contest way back in 2008, held at the SM Megamall branch. This year, as more participants are expected to sign up, more beef gyudon lovers are expected to accept the challenge.

Bloggers understands the mechanics of the contest.

 The contest will be composed of two challenges, open to all male and female participants 18 years old and above. There will be Qualifying Rounds in different Yoshinoya branches to be held from Monday through Friday at 10:30AM and 11:30AM, and then 6PM and 7PM from January 21 up to February 15, 2013.

Blogger Florencio Jusay Jr. wins!

Here’s how to join: 

 Pay the necessary purchase fee of P199 at the counter, fill out the registration form, and sign a health and release waiver. Customer must also present a valid ID (School ID, Company ID, Driver’s License, SSS ID, GSIS, NBI Clearance, Postal ID, Voters ID, or Passport) to the store manager.
For the qualifying round the beef bowls must be consumed within the store. The customer who finishes the most number of bowls or who has the least amount of leftover food in 5 minutes wins the challenge of the day. The names of the four fastest challengers will be on display at each store’s Leader Board and will be updated every time a new record is set. 

Some of the bloggers who joined the eating contest. The author is the one on the center wearing white. 

Richard Mamuyac prepares for the contest proper.

Once the weekly qualifying rounds are done, all qualified participants will be notified via phone call or email and are automatically entered in the grand finals, which will be held on February 23, 2013, 1PM at the Glorietta Activity Center in Makati City. 

During the final match, finalists will compete by eating the most number of bowls in 15 minutes. The top three finalists with the most number of bowls consumed and the least weight left after 15 minutes will be declared winners of the Yoshinoya Beef Gyudon eating challenge.
First placer will receive a whopping P100, 000, second placer will bring home P50, 000, and third placer get to have P25, 000. Non-winners will each be given consolation prizes of P2, 000 worth of Yoshinoya gift certificates.

So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and signup now! Hurry, big prizes are in store for the grand champion! Who knows, it could just be YOU! J

Security Blanket thanks Mr. Richard Mamuyac, Yoshinoya and AMPR for the invite. 

Monday, January 21, 2013


We have been seeing Max’s Restaurant’s latest advertisement via its television commercial featuring its newest brand ambassador, Coco Martin. But it was only recently when we were invited to attend a press conference where Max’s formally introduces Coco as their new brand ambassador that we got to know the interesting story behind it. “Coco captured our attention because of his life story. In a lot of ways, he shares values that are inherent to Max’s—passion for what you do and love for Filipino family. This is how Max’s story unravels everyday,” shared Edgar Allan Caper, Marketing Director for Max’s Restaurant.

Great things start from small beginnings. This was exactly the case with Coco Martin. Life wasn’t exactly a bed of roses for someone like Coco who was raised by his Grandma. Before Coco became an actor, he was a working student. Unknown to many, Coco worked as young server at Max’s Fairview branch in 2001. And it was his experience at Max’s that has actually paved the way for this humble thespian to be discovered. One of Coco’s customers saw his potential while he’s busy serving Max’s mouthwatering home-cooked dishes to diners. The said customer who happens to be a talent scout asked Coco for an audition for one of the leading television networks in the country.

 “I was supposed to be launched at the same time as Heart Evangelista in Star Circle way back then. Heart was among my batch mates. But then I decided to heed my grandma’s advice to finish my studies first even if show business beckons me. After tucking in a degree in hotel and restaurant management, I could no longer ignore the lure of the limelight—I guess I had been at the right place and time,” shares Coco during the press conference.

Max's Marketing Director, Edgar Allan Caper.

 Coco consistently strived to make a mark in the showbiz industry. It’s no surprise though that Coco has now become a household name for everyone. In fact, his fame has crossed over to countries in Europe, Asia and North America—thanks to The Filipino Channel.

“We saw in Coco a great Filipino story of perseverance and hope with which Max’s was also built on. We see a great connection between Max’s and Coco and that’s why we believe we have found the perfect partner for Max’s. That is, apart from the survey we’ve done with TNS. The response had been phenomenal—across all demographics and territories,” added Caper. 

 “I had long wanted to endorse anything that’s related to food. But there have been no offers. I felt that maybe because I’m jologs (read: too ordinary looking) and not tisoy (read: mestizo looking),” relates Coco. “I had long waited for this endorsement. So when my manager told me that Max’s seemed interested with me, I had never been this happy—knowing fully well that I’ve once worked for Max’s. This endorsement and my becoming Max’s new brand ambassador felt like coming home,” enthuses Coco. “Plus, I am so familiar with Max’s menu having previously worked with them. When people would ask me Max’s specialty, I always tell them it’s their spring chicken!” adds Coco.

Apart from Max’s famous fried chicken, Coco says he loves Max’s kare-kare, caramel bar and ube decadence but his ultimate favorite remains to be crispy tadyang he had tasted in the States. Unfortunately it is only available in selected Max’s branches in the US.  “I wish the crispy tadyang would be available here in the Philippines soon,” says Coco. 

Max’s TV commercial was helmed with no less than the man who made Coco Martin an award-winning Indie actor, himself an award-winning director, Brilliante Mendoza. “We prepared for this project by really understanding the message of Max’s. We want to translate this through a stimulating story that tells the parallelism of Max’s heartwarming story with Coco’s own journey towards success and fame, as well as his struggles. I feel honored to be part of this project,” said Mendoza in an interview.

The parallelism between Coco Martin and Max’s echoes that hard work reaps its benefits. And we say, there couldn’t be a better brand endorser for Max’s than Coco Martin. J

Purple Plum Fairy thanks Max’s Restaurant, Bright Ideas, Mr. Bobby Simborio, and Ms. Kim Sanchez. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013


If there’s one thing that’s closer to homemade recipes just like Mom does in the kitchen, it has to be at ManilaBake.  Yes, baked goodies are created with tender loving care, using both traditional and modern process and methods with only the best ingredients.  It is an artisanal shop, where the baker as the artisan uses his skill and attention to details in creating quality baked goods for his customer’s satisfaction and health. 

I so love the concept of artisanal baking where I get to enjoy little nibbles in an unhurried atmosphere surrounded by family and friends. With drink in hand such as a cup of houseblend coffee and armed with stories and jokes, every bite of bread or any pastry gets more enjoyable especially when accompanied by the ringing of laughter. 

Pan De Sal with Barbecue filling

SeryeCafé Filipino, the Filipino restaurant we’ve grown to love over the years, opened Manilabake in July of 2012, when a portion of Serye’s commissary was transformed into a bakeshop. Thus, Manilabake became Serye’s to-go bakery café at Blue Ridge A. Thanks to their clients’ positive feedback. Manilabake was born out of necessity, the owner; Ms. Gretchen Lim wanted to share her passion to eat healthy (with occasional indulgences, of course!) With Manilabake’s heavenly breads, desserts and pastries—made and sourced locally, and are preservative-free, to boot.
Serye Café Filipino brings authentic artisanal baking using local flour and locally sourced ingredients via Manilabake—plus the pastries and pasta dishes they have come to be known for—to the throngs of students and offices from nearby universities and offices. On top of all that, they’ve done well in having the bakery café as an alternative to the neighborhood coffee shop and one stop goods-to-go as guests and customers get to bring home heaps of freshly baked treats as pasalubongs. 

Bonete breads
 The light interiors and comfy atmosphere seem tailor-made for customers coming in for a quick and light snack or simply craving for their comfort foods. I’d say Manilabake had a homey feeling, but the shop also a traditional and cozy vibe.

Of course, the shop succeeds in keeping the warm, family-friendly environment that makes Serye Café Filipino known for. Using natural and fresh ingredients, Manilabake whips up a menu good from morning breakfast ‘til late afternoon merienda. They sell packs of baked goodie treats great for grab and go. 

Calamansi Loaves

Chocolate Marble Slices

I was busy exploring the charmingly quaint store and upon entering the store, you’ll get a fresh whip of the enticing aroma of the newly baked breads. The bread from Manilabake is so good, especially when paired with a hot cup of coffee or tea. They use unbleached, chemical-free flour and their own sourdough. They sourced their eggs farm-fresh, their wild honey from Palawan, muscovado from Sultan Kudarat, tablea chocolate from Malagos, cashews from Bataan, longganisa from Vigan, buffalo mozzarella from Nueva Ecija and coffee from Benguet and South Cotabato.

As a pastry chef, I am glad to learn that Manilabake allow their hand-shape dough’s to be fully developed both in flavor and structure (proper fermentation period). In fact, according to them, for their Pan De Sal alone, it takes about 12 hours of fermentation! This is so because Manilabake’s motto is “good bread comes from good baking.” 

Bonete and Sesame breads

Honey Pie

 Manilabake breads are baked in a charcoal-fired, hot ceramic oven that naturally gives the proper moist heat that dough’s need and make them into caramel colored rolls or loaves. Try their filling breads such as bonete, bonuelos, sesame breads, dinner rolls, their variety of loaves, brownies, equally yummy cupcakes, cookies, muffins, pies, and empanada, apart from their huge Pan De Sal (also available in wheat bread).

Unique and naturally flavored Calamansi Polvoron

 Manilabake's Biscotti


My family and I truly enjoyed their Muscovado cookies. Not too tough and not too sweet, these delicious cookie bits will certainly be the perfect pair for any kind of tea or coffee. It is indeed a taste of heaven in every bite. I think I could finish off an entire cookie jar and be called a “cookie monster”. Cookies had never been this good! I highly recommend you get your own jar when you come and visit Manilabake.

Muscovado Cookies

 Although Manilabake also offers meals, they aren’t as extensive as the ones on Serye. Here, meal portions are meant for sharing especially with comfort foods like their popular Shepherd’s Pie (Mashed potato and mashed sweet potato blanket with a la Cuban filling), Chicken Pot Pie (Tender chicken simmered in San Miguel Beer, topped with homemade puff pastry) and Champorado (made from Tapol—highly nutritious, wild, glutinous purple rice served with coconut milk).
Chicken  Pot Pie

Shepherd's Pie ala Cubana

Speaking of their champorado, I’d like to commend Manilabake for coming up with an old-style champorado, the one that’s been said to be Dr. Jose Rizal’s favorite as a child. Yes, according to reports and several books, our national hero, Jose Rizal enjoyed tapol tablea champorado with coconut milk as he was growing up. And unfortunately, nowadays, it is difficult to find that version since most champorado uses evaporated milk instead of coco milk.  So am really happy that Manilabake serves this kind of meal on their shop. 

Tapol Champorado with coconut milk

I also like their version of Vigan Longganisa pasta—creamy, meaty, savory.  You would think that the cream in the sauce and oil from the longganisa would make this too rich but it is surprisingly less overpowering than I had expected it to be. There’s a bit of sweetness and saltiness in the longganisa that offsets the creaminess, making this dish the perfect guilty pleasure. 
Vigan Longganisa Pasta

Chocoholics will be happy to know that Manilabake serves the ultimate chocolate and coffee dessert with Manila Mocha Cake. Imagine a slice of Manila Mocha with its towering chocolate and coffee layers. It’s a sure treat for chocolate and coffee lovers. 

Mocha Manila cake slice

Not being a sweet tooth, I am normally indifferent to cakes.  But I liked their Macapuno Pandan Cake, with texture so soft that melts in your mouth and the subtle sweetness of milk, butter, pandan and cream plus the coconut shavings stole my heart. I am also surprised with Manilabake’s calamansi (read; Philippine Lemon) cupcake—you could actually taste the zest and taste the zing, truly refreshing! Best paired with Manilabake’s house blend coffee. 

Grissini with sesame seeds, cheese and chili.

After all the rich food we indulged in, there’s this wonderful cup of herbal—fruit tea from Daude Tea gave me just what I needed and wanted—a warm soothing drink reminiscent of mangoes.

Daude Mangga tea

Overall, I’d say I’d give Manilabake a thumbs-up, except maybe there were items that may be quite expensive for me. But for most items on their shop, I’d say it’s worth your every cent. So if you want to experience Manilabake by SeryeCafé Filipino, come and visit them at 206-A Katipunan Avenue, Blue Ridge A, Quezon City. Operating hours is from 6AM-9PM, from Monday to Sunday. Deliveries are free within five-kilometer radius. For orders, call (02) 509-1973 or (0916) 4984547.

Security Blanket thanks Ms. Nana Nadal and Manilabake owners Mr. Alvin and Ms. Gretchen Lim. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

McVitie’s Digestive marks 120th year of making great-tasting biscuits

Around the world, McVitie’s Digestive cookies celebrated its 120th birthday, and this extraordinary biscuit created by Sir Alexander Grant of McVitie’s in 1892 based on his own unique formula is looking forward to more celebrations.

Over the years, McVitie’s Digestive biscuit has become one of the most loved biscuits in the world where it is sold in more than 100 countries. Its popularity is truly astonishing, particularly in the United Kingdom where it continues to enjoy its lofty status as the number one biscuit brand.

To commemorate this important milestone, McVitie’s Digestive biscuits embarked on many celebratory activities to promote the brand further, one of which is a free trip to several places in the United Kingdom like York and Scotland via the in-store and Facebook campaign, plus several in-store promotions and product samplings and even a change in their product packaging. 

Truth of the matter is there is probably no secret as to why McVitie’s Digestive is loved the world over, even after 120 years. It may be the fact that McVitie’s Digestive is best suited to every occasion – whether eaten as a tea time treat in Britain, with cheese in Sweden or with coffee for
breakfast in Italy.

Many people are also still discovering new and innovative uses for McVitie’s Digestive biscuits, one of which is that it serves as a great base for a scrumptious cheesecake.

Or perhaps McVitie’s Digestive’s appeal lies in its great taste and wholesome nature, which is made according to the McVitie’s delicious secret recipe. Made with wholewheat, McVitie’s Digestives are a source of fibre, contain no artificial colors or flavors, and are free from hydrogenated vegetable oil, which makes them a guilt-free choice!

“Filipino biscuit lovers are glad to note that McVitie’s Digestive is one product they can partake on during their morning, afternoon or even evening snack time fare, with a taste that fits the Filipino palate, and it’s healthy, too,” explains Jose Nilo Chincuanco, General Manager of Delfi Philippines.

For further details, please visit the McVitie’s Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/McVitiesDigestives) or go to http://www.mcvities.com

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


Fans of Mediterranean cuisine could all attest that one of the reasons why that part of Katipunan area had been filled up to the walkway with parked cars lined up to the very end of the bustling road had to be because of Hassan Kabab and Steak. Sure, we all know that Katipunan Avenue may have been a long stretch of fancy restaurants, a hole-in-the-wall and numerous food establishments but we could assure you that Hassan has its own number of loyal clienteles or regular customers given its seclusion from that dark alley across Quirino Memorial Medical Center, just beside Blue Ridge Barangay A.

Hassan Kabab and Steak is an al fresco dining area with accessible free WiFi (WiFi hoarders alert!) for their guests. WiFi is excellent so sharing photos of what you’ve eaten as well as connecting with friends online while enjoying your food won’t be a problem. They have steaks, keema, kebab, and a wide variety of food choices at really affordable prices! Imagine getting a tall glass of lassi (plain yoghurt shake) for only Php75? Two or three persons can share the huge glass of lassi alone. For shawarma, they have three options: chicken, beef and lamb. 

But what probably makes this hole-in-the-wall a cut above the rest is probably because they have a lot of specialty sauces that pleases each diner's appetite. They've got loads of dippings and sauces like Herbed Garlic, garlic pepper, chili sauce, cheesy garlic, hot sauce etc. These sauces adds some kick and flavor to any order you make at Hassan's. You just got to mix and match these sauces to get that perfect flavor you wanted and thereby making your hassan dining experience truly a memorable one. 

I highly recommend Shawarma Pie, good for eight slices at eleven inches. And for only Php155 per order, it perfectly suits your budget. It also comes in another variant, with Kebab as topping. (cheaper by Php10). Compared to Kebur's Pita Pie, Hassan's shawarma pie is definitely better tasting and bigger but more expensive although reasonably priced. 

And look how sweet the Hassan staff when we dined during Christmass? They sent in their Christmas greetings by means of the original yoghurt sauce on our pie. I really find it cute!

Hassan Kabab and Steak is on Katipunan Avenue in Quezon City, infront of Quirino Memorial Medical Center, near Blue Ridge Baranggay A main entrance. Operating hours is from 11AM to 5AM. 

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


In cooking, no matter how simple or festive the dishes are, it is important to look at the quality of the ingredients—from the freshness of the meat and vegetables to the fineness of the herbs, spices, and seasonings. Quality is the key to making every meal delectable.

Soy sauce, for instance, a primary cooking ingredient, does a lot of wonders to food. For that reason, it is important to always use a high-quality brand. In choosing your soy sauce, you must look at how it was made: naturally-brewed or chemically-produced.

Chemically-produced soy sauce brands are made from several ingridients such as corn syrup, salt, caramel coloring, and other additives. While it adds saltiness and color to dishes, it doesn't automatically bring out the savory flavors in food.

On the other hand, naturally-brewed soy sauce unleashes all the natural flavors of the other ingredients in your dish while enhancing its color and saltiness. This is what Kikkoman does to your food.

Kikkoman Soy Sauce has been in the market since the early 1900’s. Being an all-purpose soy sauce, it is the perfect partner in creating dishes with a flavorful harmony—a perfect balance of sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami flavors. 

Cooking with Kikkoman provides limitless possibilities. You can use it to marinate meats for frying or for grilling. It also works great as a dipping sauce for these fried and grilled dishes. You can mix it with calamansi or vinegar or even just a pinch of sugar for a yummy sauce. It is also your main ingredient for scrumptious Asian dishes such as Teriyaki, Korean Beef Stew, Hong Kong Chicken, Stir-Fried Noodles, Hainan Chicken, and of course, our very own Adobo.

Kikkoman Soy Sauce is also very useful in improving the color and flavors of various soups. It is the perfect ingredient to lend a little extra taste and an enticing color to mushroom and vegetable soups, while just a few small teaspoons of it can unleash the superb savoriness of seafood in your chowder.

And just because soy sauce originated in Asia doesn’t mean that it can only be used for Asian recipes. It works perfectly well with recipes from all around the world. For umami-rich pasta, you can add a dash of Kikkoman Soy Sauce to your tomato-based or cream-based pasta.  It also adds flavor to salads and salad dressings. Salsa, citrus, and Caesar salads are just among the many salads you can create with Kikkoman.

There are endless possibilities with Kikkoman Soy Sauce. Turn your Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and of course Filipino dishes into something extraordinary with Kikkoman. You can also try it with Italian, French, Spanish, American, Persian, Thai dishes and more. Even ordinary rice can be made more special by adding a few drops of Kikkoman, turning an Asian staple into something that can be eaten by itself.

A meal can be so much more with the right ingredient. Sometimes, that right ingredient, that key to unlocking all the best in a dish, can be found in the obvious.