Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Fisherfarms Gourmet Baked Rellenong Bangus (Milkfish) by Chef Reggie Aspiras: A Healthy Feast for the Holiday Season

Filipinos are naturally foodies who love to get together and eat food with much gusto. And now that it's holiday season, we usually receive parties and gathering invitations left and right particularly among distant and extended relatives and circle of friends. So what can we serve at our very own table come Noche Buena time without feeling the guilt and adding too much to our waistline? Fisherfarms has the perfect alternative to all the calorie and fat-laden Christmas feast such as suckling lechon, turkey and fried chicken--Gourmet Baked Rellenong Bangus (Milkfish), a creation of renowned chef Reggie Aspiras. It's a whole lot healthier, yet it's also truly delicious. 

Kimukatsu: Home of Flavored Katsu + 25 Layered Pork Cutlet

Upon arriving at Kimukatsu, I knew right away that I'm bound for some Japanese dishes the minute I saw the Samurai Sword and soldier outside the door. But I was still surprised to learn that they serve seven different flavors of tonkatsu here, namely: Plain (Standard Kimukatsu), Cheese (filled with savory cheddar cheese), Negi Shio (Spring Onion flavor), Yuzu Kosho (Japanese taste of Yuzu fruits and green chili pepper), Ume Shiso (Sour Plum Shiso Leaf), Garlic (Minced Garlic Kimukatsu) and my ultimate favorite, Black Pepper (Coated with high-grade black pepper). 

What makes Kimukatsu extra special? They had what they call as "mille feuille"--thinly sliced kind of pork folded over many times. Such delicate layering concept had made them famous for their 25-layered select pork cutlet. I love the fact that Kimukatsu flavors stretched from the inside to the outside of the katsu. 

The Yuzu Kosho had that mild spicy kick that grows slowly and becomes more intense as you eat it. The Cabbage Salad goes well with the goma dressing. There were three  choices for the dipping sauce: pink Himalayan salt, sesame seed/tonkatsu and Ponzu sauce. 

Kimukatsu's Japanese koshihikari rice (short grain rice) served on insulated wood container  locks the temperature and moisture of the rice. Thus, a fellow food blogger once described them as "shining, shimmering splendid". I had no intention of eating rice during the BHS Food Crawl, but I was glad I did upon the advice of my fellow blogger. The aromatic mound of Japanese rice at Kimukatsu was perfect for whatever choice of tonkatsu. The rice was warm and fluffy. 

The unlimited miso soup were also available in two options/versions: the Shiro (white one) and Akai (red one). White is the standard or sweeter and milky and is said to be for female and children while the red miso soup which is stronger and bolder in terms of taste is believed to be for male. 

Overall, I love Kimukatsu because it shows variety in its tonkatsu flavors. They are bursting with colors and flavors. You have a lot of options. Kimukatsu were fried to perfection--crispy panko coating and deliciously tender meat. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Midea’s Microwave Ovens: A meal-maker in many delicious ways

Far from just being a heater of leftover foods, ovens are wonderful meal-makers that can make dining such a delight at any time of the day.  FP-61MMV020LETH-S

Press Release:  One of the best and most appealing aspects of the Midea’s modern microwave oven is its speed.  It is a welcome appliance for many of us with a very busy worklife and who may not have the luxury of spending hours in the kitchen to cook a multi-course lunch or dinner.  In just a few minutes, we can conveniently heat into ready-to-eat meals  the frozen packed meals we bought from the supermarket or yesterday’s  rice and viands we did not entirely consume.
However, that is not all that there is to it to a microwave oven.  Chefs, homemakers, and the more adventurous kitchen whizzes have found in the Midea microwave oven an important appliance that helps them prepare nutritious and delicious meals that are likewise captivating to the eye and filling for the stomach.

Let’s start with breakfast.  Bacon, a favorite staple during morning meals, gets that extra crispness once they are heated in the Midea microwave oven.  Meanwhile, those who love their eggs have another option instead of just frying and boiling them; they can create a more luscious salad by first separating the yolk from the white, and then using the oven to warm them slowly in a bowl filled with vegetables.   French toasts with that yummy marmalade to add that extra sweetness are another well-loved dish that can  be made with the microwave.

Meanwhile, other meals that usually take some time to cook or bake can be prepared in less than 15 minutes.  One example is corn on the cob; after being stripped and washed, it can be heated to perfection in just six minutes, instead of the usual 45 minutes that it would have taken had this been done in the traditional way.  Vegetables can also be steamed instead of fried, which again makes for a quick meal but with the nutrients preserved.

“Midea’s microwave ovens are known for their efficiency and the help they provide to the diner and the cook,” says Mr. Phillip F. Trapaga, General Manager.  “But they have their creative aspects as well.  We encourage our customers to explore that side of our microwave oven to bring innovation to the kitchen and, in so doing, create delicious meals for themselves and their families.”

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Tampopo Food Review: The Best Place to Go When You Crave for Both Ramen + Tonkatsu

Tampopo. What's in a name? The name's catchy but it sounded a bit strange. But we got in just the same, curious that this restaurant is co-owned by popular basketeer and TV Host cutie Chris Tiu. We were served with Premium Black Pig Ramen or Kurobota. 

A short history with an illustration can be found on Tampopo's menu. Black pig/korubuta is considered healthier, more juicy & more marbling in it. It came with aji tamago or soft boiled egg. Korubuta belly deluxe with corn & tasty egg was runny and delicious tasting. The broth's perfectly balanced with spices and the sweetness of the corn kernels. 

The milky broth was delicious. The Deluxe Tampopo shoyu ramen's milky brith was made out of pork bones broth straight boiled in 48 hours where its gotten its milky texture. Noodles came from Kyushu, from the Southern part of Japan. The thinly sliced meat was juicy, tender and flavorful. The broth exploded with flavors--the meat, almost melt-in-the-mouth. I've just had one more savory ramen experience to remember! I also fell in love with Tampopo's tonkatsu. It had a sweet taste which came from its donburi sauce according to the waitstaff. In fact, it tasted better than what. I've just had last time at Yabu. If you can't decide between having a ramen or a tonkatsu, Tampopo is your best bet because they serve both ramen and tonkatsu to satisfy your cravings! I don't know if i'm just not that particular in ramen, but I liked Tampopo ramen more than Ippudo's. I am certain I'd come back to Tampopo's soon to try other stuff from their menu.

Tampopo are located in Promenade, Greenhills and Bonifacio High Street Central. 

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

Monday, December 8, 2014

Cue Modern Barbecue at Bonifacio High Street: A Dining Spot for Hardcore Meat Eaters

Looking for a place to dine and enjoy good food in Bonifacio High Street? Why not try something new?Try Cue Modern Barbecue. Conceptualized by the famous Moment Group, Cue Modern Barbecue serves not just barbecues but a whole lot of good food, mostly for meat-eaters though. With elegant façade and interiors plus a wide range of meat on its menu, it is a dining food spot for hardcore carnivores. We were served with complimentary popcorn while we waited for our food. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Tamayaki Food Review in SM North Edsa: Discovering the Takoyaki that's Big in Size and Filling

Takoyaki (たこ焼き or 蛸焼?) is basically a ball-shaped Japanese snack made from wheat flour-based batter and cooked in a special takoyaki pan. It is usually filled with minced or diced octopus (tako), tempura scraps (tenkasu), pickled ginger, and green onion. Takoyaki are brushed with takoyaki sauce, similar to Worcestershire sauce, and mayonnaise. The takoyaki is then sprinkled with green laver (aonori) and shavings of dried bonito (katsuobushi). There are many variations to the takoyaki recipe, for example, ponzu (soy sauce with dashi and citrus vinegar), goma-dare (sesame-and-vinegar sauce) or vinegared dashi. I actually grew up eating takoyaki because my late godfather who's part Japanese introduced me to it. During that time, there was only one store that sells yummy takoyaki. It had been imitated by other takoyaki kiosks but it had never been replicated. Unfortunately, although the said takoyaki stall is still around up to this day, its quality is no longer the same. Hence, I've been in search of th kind of takoyaki I've grown to love all these years. So when I was invited to try Tamayaki at SM North Edsa Main Building, I got pretty psyched up about it! 

I first heard of Tamayaki when my college buddy Rose, who lived next to its main branch in P. Guevarra Street in San Juan City told me about it. She knew about my search for the kind of takoyaki I've had as a young child. But as fate would have it, I never had the time to visit the said place until after I've had tasted them for this food review. 

I love Tamayaki's bright and well-lit restaurants. With my favorite color purple, you could say I am biased. But it also had shades of bubble gum pink plus one of the cutest and comfy chairs in tamago (egg) shapes. Tamayaki does not only offer takoyaki in various flavors and fillings, it also has an array of bubble teas, milk teas and fruit drinks. So while I was there, I've tried on their milk teas with rice balls, pearls and popping yam balls. The rice balls tasted like what tiny glutinous rice balls (in the vernacular, we refer them as "galapong") and they perfectly complement the taro based drinks. The other bloggers liked the Macha Tea with Red Azuki Beans. I'mn ot a fan of green tea so I chose to stick to Wintermelon Milk Tea with Pearls.  The pearls are chewy and not too sweet. Oh, and just like in any other bubble teas, you can choose to have your drink from zero sugar to 100% sugar. So drinking milk teas will not be a problem for the health conscious. 

As I dig into my first basket of Tamayaki's Seasoned Octopur Takoyaki, I couldn't help but be amaazed that although this might not exactly be the kind of takoyaki I've had as a kid, this is the closest thing to it. Rich in filling (unlike other cheap 'takoyaki' stalls that only had veggies as filling), Tamayaki Takoyaki had a balanced filling inside--you could even see the 'octopus' and the seaweed when you try to sort of 'dissect' the insides of the takoyaki balls. In fact, that's probably the most effective way to see how each variety of Tamayaki takoyaki balls differ from one another. You see, when you just see them, they all look e same on the outside. But when you cut them, it's the only way to know what kind of takoyaki that is. 

What's great about these Tamayaki Takoyaki balls are its crunchyness. I find it amazing that it is crunchy on the outside but soft and yummy on the inside. The spicy herbed mayo also added some kick for those who like their takoyaki balls spicy. It had a hint of curry too at some point. 

I was very fortunate to have been able to try Seasoned Octopus Takoyaki (Php115), Kani and Shrimp (115), Kani and Mozzarella (115), Grilled Steak (125), Mussels and Cheese (125), Ham and Mozzarella, and my personal favorite, Korean Pork Barbecue (95). As their tagline says, "Takoyaki never tasted so good", they're just being true to their words. 

After eating four Tamayaki takoyaki balls, we came to point that we were surprised to feel that we're full. That's because Tamayaki Takoyaki balls are the biggest takoyaki balls I've had ever encountered on my search of my beloved takoyaki balls. 

More than the awesome takoyaki balls, Tamayaki is one creative restaurant that's gaining popularity for its wide range of innovative set or flavors of milk teas, refreshing fruit juices and takoyaki balls. It's the first of its kind  to operate in the Philippine market (other takoyaki are either stalls or kiosks only), targetting the busy working set and youngsters who wants to satisfy their cravings for Japanese takoyaki and milk teas.

Visit a Tamayaki Branch :

SM City North EDSA
SM City Fairview
Fishermall Quezon Avenue
P Guevarra Street, San Juan (Main Branch)

Check out their social networking sites:

Monday, December 1, 2014

Auntie Anne's Pretzel Perfect Kitkat Wind-Upz Food Review

I've always been a fan of Auntie Anne's Pretzel Perfect ever since high school. There's nothing like the scent of freshly baked pretzel aroma wafting in the air. It has an enticing aroma that seems to call your name as you pass by their store. I used to watch in delight as a teenager that my pretzel's made right before my eyes by Auntie Anne's baker. It's also through Auntie Anne's where I've tasted America's favorite lemonade drink which goes well with their pretzels. Pair any Auntie Anne's pretzel with their equally yummy dips--the pretzel + the dips complement each other. So when I was invited to try Auntie Anne's latest product offering, I immediately said yes. I mean how could I say no to my all-time favorite pretzel? 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Hearts and Bells Special Cakes for Special Events, Binondo Manila

Baking runs through my veins, so I was pretty psyched up when I've found out about Hearts and Bells--high-quality special cakes made for special occasions. Although I don't have a sweet tooth, I sometimes feel the need to have my sugar fix. Since Christmas is just around the corner, since I came across Hearts and Bells, I figured their products will be a great gift and giveaway goodies for your loved ones and friends. 

What is it about Hearts and Bells that made it so special? A simple bakeshop that produces one of the most lovely looking cakes and divinely luscious special customized cakes, Hearts and Bells wants to share its gift not just in the culinary field, but also in design in general. Hearts and Bells has been delighting its clienteles with its freshly baked and handmade cakes since it was established way back in 1997. With its overwhelming selection of gourmet specialty cakes and sketching service for personalized and customized cakes as well as handmade cake toppers, you can never go wrong with Hearts and Bells specialty cakes.

What do I love about them? Their cakes are available in six different flavors, namely; Tropical Carrot Cake, Devil's Food Chocolate, Rosy Red Velvet, Heavenly Vanilla, Mocha Espresso and Banana Nut and Chocochip. So basically, as a consumer, you have more options to choose from.  Having tried their specialty cakes, I'd have to say that Hearts and Bells' are soft and fluffy. They're not that sweet too. The filling blended well with its chiffon or pound base cake. There's butter flavor in the mouthfeel. Cake decoration wise, they can do anything from simple yet elegant to something totally fabulous! Price is pretty reasonable too.

Hearts and Bells are also made-to-order cakes. It has no preservatives and best consume within 3 days from the date of purchase. Best eaten at your own pace, undistracted and slowly with a cup of your favorite arabica coffee or warm tea. Taste is unadulterated. And for someone who knows a thing or two about baking, I know that Hearts and Bells do not scrimp on their ingredients. I could not find words to describe it. But once the candles were blown out, expect Hearts and Bells special cakes to be gone in minutes. Yes, and I am not exaggerating here, I am speaking from experience. 

I love Hearts and Bells' Mango Cake. Every bite is a whole mouth full of cake, making the price worth it as they are definitely full of flavor. They aren't overly sweet and doesn't make one feel disgusted ("umay" in the vernacular) even after eating a lot. You know how some cakes are either too hard or too fluffy and the toppings are almost non-existent? Hearts and Bells are far from those ordinary cakes I've mentioned. Here, even the toppings are so flavorful that you will savor them with every bite. Their Mango Cake is very deceiving because it looks like a very simple cake on the outside. The outside is a bit firm. The inside is a bit moist and cakey, just perfect. But then again, don't be fooled by its looks. Hearts and Bells Mango cake is one that will WOW your family and friends. This will certainly knock your socks off! It's very light and delicately sweet. Absolutely divine! 

I believe that Hearts and Bells deserves to have some recognition. They do well to go out of their comfort zone and experiment with trendy flavors and cool cake designs you that you can imagine. Hearts and Bells' quality cakes are also impeccable, quantity is delectable and delight is just phenomenal! Hearts and Bells knows exactly what is good when it comes to baked goodies. I simply can't get enough of their Mango cake. My goodness. I haven't tried everything yet but I love everything I've tried so far. Their frap bars, butterscotch and cream cheese bars are also the best! I know they do more damage to my waistline but I can't help but chomp up with all their awesome baked treats. 

Nowadays, they also offer Desserts Buffet spread which cater to kids and will definitely satiate anyone with sweet tooth. With several theme parties, the dessert buffet can be arranged depending on the party theme. Sink your teeth in soft marshmallows, chocolate wafer sticks, milk powder sticks, frosted butter cookies, sour candy jellies, gummy bears, cherry flavored gum balls, yema balls, cake pops, mini cup cakes, gourmet bars, and even Hearts and Bells' chocolate, custard, caramel and mango cakes to go with it. Fill your guests' stomach with splendid and mouthwatering sweet feast. 

Hearts and Bells also have other pastries to choose from, they have banana loaf, cream cheese bar, frappuccino bar, butterscotch bar--among many others. 

Hearts and Bells does not only focus on their cake design but on the taste as well. They assure quality both visually and on its palatability. When one mentions the brand Hearts and Bells, then you must know you're special because they carefully crafted confection catering to kindred hearts in love or just about crazy with cakes or anything sweet.

I only wish I had known them then when I had my birthday bash. My cake then wasn't this good. Well, I guess I just have to find my groom first so that I can have another spectacular cake for my wedding day from Hearts and Bells. 

If you find yourself salivating, simply lusting for sweets, Call Hearts and Bells--you can never go wrong. 

Hearts and Bells is located at 934 Alvarado Street, Binondo, Manila
Call (02) 242-0599/ 244-0255

Connect with them through Facebook: www.facebook.com/heartsnbells
Instagram: @heartsnbells
Email: heartsnbells@gmail.com

Disclaimer: I am not compensated for is post. Opinions expressed are my own. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

RECIPE: Century Tuna Vienna Sausage Corndogs

I've always liked eating corndogs as a kid. At parties, this is what my Mom would usually prepare. But nowadays I find them too expensive for Php50 per stick. Fifty bucks will already buy you a decent rice meal at your favorite fast food joint. So why in the world will you buy a corndog when you can buy an entire meal with the same amount? That's why I'm really grateful that Century Culinary Circle from the makers Century Tuna brand came up with awesome healthy recipes including my childhood favorite corndogs with a twist. Here, I am sharing them with you. Enjoy and just like me, relive your childhood favorite food! 

The Village Tavern Food Review in Bonifacio High Street Central Taguig

Village Tavern is an international franchise, owned and operated by The Bistro Group. Village Tavern brings North Carolina's vibrant vibe. Unbeknownst to many, Village Tavern was established way back in 1984 and it was a franchise from The Bistro Group. The restaurant was under Bistro Group's executive chef Josh Boutwood.  As you enter the restaurant, you'll feel right at home with the well-lit, classy ambiance and red booth comfy chairs and cushions. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Wholesome Table Food Review: Farm-to-Plate Healthy Restaurant inBonifacio High Street Central, Taguig

"In this lifetime, you will only have one body and if you are what you eat, then eat right and eat well. The Wholesome Table is here to help you do exactly that," says the paper tray which you can find along with similar statements adorning their walls. The Wholesome Table claims to be Antibiotic-free and Nitrate-free. They are unprocessed, raw, fresh, organic, cold-pressed and superfood. They have the farm-to-plate concept. Conceptualized by health advocate couple Bianca Araneta-Elizalde and Juan Elizalde, The WholesomeTable uses local and organic ingredients without sacrificing the flavors. Elizalde's goal is to make sure her customers get a delightful dining experience at her restaurant sans any guilt feeling later. 

Patio Vera Marikina Food Review

It had taken quite a while to review again for Open Rice. And I'm glad to receive an invite from them again after a long time. This time, we were invited to review a Marikina restaurant called Patio Vera. Tucked inside the heart of Marikina's bustling mix of commercial + residential neighborhood, Patio Vera is an oasis to begin with. It's like discovering a secret place just like Frances Hodgson Burnett's old classic, The Secret Garden. Patio Vera is a quaint romantic restaurant. Imagine dining to heirloom family recipes in an eclectic setting. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014


With the approaching holiday, I'm sure most of us have been planning what dishes to serve our guests or what special meals should we prepare for the traditional Christmas eve dinner. But have you ever thought what you can make out of the usual leftover foods after Christmas? Well, here's another healthy recipe for holiday makeovers courtesy from our friends at the Century Culinary Circle called Century Tuna Risotto Balls.

Yes, you can still make something fabulous out of food leftovers such as rice. And apart from good 'ole sinangag or fried rice, they could be made extra special by coming up with risotto balls! Here, I am sharing with you the recipe so that you can do this delicious, nutritious and healthy recipe with your holiday leftovers. Your family will love this even a day after their sumptuous holiday dinner. Just make sure that the rice isn't spoiled yet before doing this to avoid possible food poisoning. But this Risotto balls are really winners when it comes to taste. 

RECIPE: Century Tuna Risotto Balls


1 Tablespoon oil
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup onions
2-180 grams Century Tuna Flakes in Oil, drained
2 cups cooked rice
1 tablespoon chicken powder
1/4 white wine
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs
1 cup breadcrumbs

Marinara Sauce:
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup minced garlice
2 cups chunky tomato sauce (canned diced tomatoes with tomato sauce)
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper


In a pan, sauté bell pepper and onions until caramelized. Add the tuna and stir to break chunks. Add cooked rice, chicken powder and white wine. Set aside. Let cool. 

Mix in Parmesan cheese and form into small balls. Dredge in flour, egg and breadcrumbs, then deep fry into golden brown. 
For the Marinara sauce: In a pan, heat olive oil. Sauté garlic and tomatoes. Allow to simmer until thick. Add salt and pepper. Lastly add basil leaves and remove from fire. 

Makes 28 balls. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Paella Festival 2014 at Marikina City Hosted by Song and Lydda's FoodService

Marikina City will get a taste of Spain this month as Song and Lydda's Food Service holds its first ever Eat-All-You-Can Paella Festival which will be held on November 21, 2014. It will be held from 5:00PM onwards. The said event, dedicated to unite paella aficionados and fellow foodies to promote the Spanish Paella dish. The event will be happening at the Kapitan Moy Main Hall, J.P. Rizal St. Marikina City. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

RECIPE: Bangus Ala Madrilena

Tired of the same old boring dishes you have made at home? It's time to try and experiment on new dishes that your families will surely love. Here's another healthy holiday alternative from the Cenutry Culinary Circles. This time, we'd be cooking something different, and it's no longer made from tuna--but from Bangus (Milkfish). We're going to use Century Gourmet Bangus Fillet Spanish Style for this recipe. Yes, and the Spanish name of our dish came from its Spanish-style Bangus itself. So get your cooking pans and ingredients ready and let's cook this healthier alternative to Spanish dish called "Callos". This is healthier because we'll be using fish that's rich in Omega-3 (good for the heart) rather than the old Callos recipe using ox tripe. Try this dish and you'll never regret doing it.