Sunday, October 26, 2014

RECIPE: Healthy Century Corned Tuna Empanada


Filling: 2-180grams Century Corned Tuna, drained
1 cup grated cheese or cheese cut into long cubes

2 Cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/3 cup shortening
1/2 cup cold water

All purpose flour for dusting
Oil for frying

For filling: Mix Century Corned Tuna with grated cheese

Procedure: To prepare crust: Mix ingredients in an electric mixer at low speed. If you don't have one, you can do it manually but have patience because you need to incorporate the butter into the flour to make a good dough. Once particles are fine, toss in 1/2 cup cold water. Mix again until dough holds together and can be formed into a ball, dust flour onto wax paper. Place dough on top and sprinkle with flour. Place another sheet of wax paper of top. With small rolling strokes, roll out dough starting from the center toward the edges until dough is about 1/4-inch thick. Cut 4-inch rounds using a cookie cutter. Fill dough rounds with 1 tablespoon of filling. Fold over and flute edges to seal. Deep-fry empanada pieces in hot oil until golden brown. Drain on paper towel. 

Makes 10-12 servings. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Tornado Peri-peri Chicken Opens its Cubao Branch + Food Review

To be perfectly honest, I knew nothing about Peri-Peri Chicken except that they are supposed to be "spicy". I have heard about this chicken dish but had never eaten such until now. So I do not claim to be an 'expert' on this subject I'd be tackling on this blog post as I do not have any comparison nor authenticity issues. What I can only share with you is my personal experience in dining at Tornado Peri-Peri Chicken at their newly opened second branch in E. Rodriguez corner Los Angeles Street in Cubao, Quezon City (Their first branch is located in Maginhawa Street, Diliman, QC). 

"The secret of Tornado's Peri-Peri Chicken lies on its secret sauce which was perfected by my business partner who happens to be a Chef," says co-owner, model and TV personality Arianne Bautista. "But to match the goodness of our secret sauce, we make sure that our chicken undergoes the three important steps in making Tornado Peri-peri chicken: marination, roasting and grilling," adds Arianne. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Goyangjhip Korean Restaurant Food Review in Angeles, Pampanga

What started out as a joyride turned out to be another food trip. That's exactly what happened to us when I've been invited to join my good friend and boss Aileen Nevynny as she tried traversing and exploring the northern part of the country while practicing her driving skills on unfamiliar roads and intersections. We ended up having lunch at Goyangjhip Korean Restaurant in Angeles, Pampanga initially to try on their samgyupsal. 

I was surprised to learn that there's a long stretch of restaurants in that area, particularly those that catered Korean cuisine. The whole stretch would remind one of the bustling Tomas Morato in Quezon City where restaurants abound. Going back to our lunch that day, we were welcomed by the Korean owner of Goyangjhip Restaurant. Of course, I don't understand Korean except for the basic "Annyeoung Haseo!" Although I am a huge fan of their healthy and spicy cuisine. We were served with banchan. These are sets of appetizers/starters which include kimchi, beans sprouts, leeks and other veggies, zucchini etc. 

We had ordered a soup base called Sundubu (Php200) which was made from soy. It actually looked more like grounded tofu. The soup itself was bland if you wouldn't put the special kind of sauce that's served along with it. Goyhangjhip staff patiently explained to us that you need to incorporate the special sauce into the tofu-like mixture to create the Sundubu soup. Along with the special sauce, sundubu tastes good although with hints of chili. 

Next, we've had Jeyukbokgum, another spicy dish made of pork (Php400). This is what I like best with Goyhangjhip, when you order this dish as well as their japchae, you can ask for another serving for FREE. Yes, that's how generous the Korean owners were at Goyhangjhip. In fact, the waitstaff even said proudly, "Ma'am, where else can you find a resto that gives a second serving for free? Only here at Goyhangjhip!" Finding out about that promo, we grabbed the opportunity and ordered their japchae as well. 

Since Aileen wasn't that familiar with Korean foods (she's more into French and Italian as well as other European dishes), she has allowed me to order for this particular lunch. I figured the best way for her to enjoy dining at Korean restaurant was for her to experience samgyupsal. So I had ordered Samgyupsal (Php200). If you're a Korean fandom, you'd know what Samgyupsal is. It's actually a D-I-Y grilling of pork along with other veggies such as onions, garlic, some chili etc. where you put the thin slices of pork into a lettuce and put some gochujang paste and salted sesame oil into it before wrapping it up and taking it into your mouth. Their samgyupsal's also good. The Korean owner instructed the waitstaff to turn the grill off when the meat was at its medium rare. But like most Filipinos who prefer having their meat well-done and hated seeing "pink" on their meat, we said we wanted it a bit overcooked; so the Korean allowed us to cook our meat a little bit more. 

I'm glad Aileen and Kuya Rani (her family friend and driving coach) enjoyed our Koreal lunch at Goyhangjhip. We went back into the road satiated and ready for another joyride. My verdict? The meals at Goyhangjhip was truly affordable and nutritious. Our lunch would be sum it all up into three words--   너무 맛있어요 : neo-mu ma-si-sseo-yo "It's very delicious". So the next time you find yourself in Angeles, Pampanga, you might want to check out Goyhangjhip restaurant. 

For more information about Goyhangjhip Restaurant, you may reach them at 0916-3338608 or call 070-8869-8241.

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

Monday, October 13, 2014

Foodies are in for a savory treat with Ministop’s Spam Onion Kariman

During our overnight stay at the Tune Hotel-Quezon City two months ago for a hotel review, I came across another food discovery as we were searching for a decent breakfast since the said hotel accommodation didn't include meals on it. Luckily, Ministop, one of the country's leading and fastest-growing 24/7 convenience store chains was located nearby. Ministop's best-selling Kariman is a personal favorite . I was happy to learn that they are now offering a twist on Filipinos' classic favorite Spam by introducing the Spam Onion Kariman. So instead of getting my usual pizza-flavored Kariman, I bought myself their Spam Onion Kariman curious on what it tastes like. True enough, it did not disappoint me. I had enjoyed it so much. 

The Spam Onion Kariman is made with soft crumbed Kariman bread with Spam bits, caramelized onions, and cheese filling, cooked to crisp crusted golden-brown perfection. Honestly, I'm not really a fan of Spam (although I know that most Filipinos are), but eating this Spam Onion Kariman from Ministop was indeed a sure treat for me. I remember going back to our hotel room with a smile on my face as I munched on the Spam Onion Kariman. It had that somewhat sweet taste due to the caramelized onion and that huge Spam meat flavor that most Pinoys loved. In fact, Ministop's Spam Onion Kariman made me think twice about my abhorrence with Spam. I'd love to eat Spam Onion Kariman again anytime! And for only Php26 per piece, it's enough to fill your tummies. It's perfect for people-on-the-go and those who lead a rather fast-paced lifestyle who wants to satiate their hunger. 

Get your hands on a Spam Onion Kariman for only P26 to get your quick fix of sweet, meaty, and cheesy Kariman goodness. Available at all Ministop branches nationwide.
Disclaimer: I am not compensated for this post. Opinions expressed are my own.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Jollibee celebrates World Teachers’ Day with exclusive treats

A teacher’s dedication and hard work go a long way in shaping the future of every student. And there’s probably no better person to thank them for all their efforts than the students themselves.
In celebration of World Teacher’s Day, Jollibee lets students pay tribute to their mentors with an exclusive treat. From October 1 to 10, students will get free specially-designed postcards which they can use to greet their teachers and let them avail of special discounts and freebies. The postcard entitles teachers to a P9 discount on the 1-pc. Chickenjoy Super Value meal, and 3 pieces Peach Mango Pies, free, with every purchase of the 6-pc. Chickenjoy Bucket Favorites!

Students can also thank their teachers, past or present, via an online promo. Simply follow @jollibee on Instagram, take a selfie with their favorite teacher and upload the photo along with their personal thank you message. They can tag @jollibee and use the hashtag #Thankfie for a chance to receive surprise treats.

This Teacher’s Day, express your gratitude to the educators who have taught valuable lessons on and off the classroom, and who have treated you like their own. Visit any Jollibee store nationwide or follow @jollibee on Instagram.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Slammin' Mini Burgers + Fries with Dips Review at Promenade, Greenhills

I was out on errands with my nephew whom I consider as my son, Kyle, when he suddenly said he was hungry. It was a good thing that we're near Promenade in Greenhills, San Juan. It seemed like a perfect opportunity for us to discover new foodie joints in the area. So we went inside the said mall and we ended up at Slammin' Mini Burgers. We were attracted with the visually pleasing and colorful designs on its walls. They seemed to have a very cool + fun ambiance. I was looking forward to sample their take on the American burger classic in miniature version. However, don't underestimate these burger sliders as they are all made from 100% pure beef patties. Sure, these goodies may be "small" in size but they're certainly big on taste. Two Slammin' Mini Burgers actually add up to more than the average quarter-pounder, and a triple order is more than 1/3 pound burger. 

The genesis of Slammin' Mini Burgers was owner Patrick Dy's quest for a truly great cheeseburger. After seeing the comedy film Harold and Kumar's search for the White Castle burger in the movie Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle. Dy thought it would be nice to have something similar here in the Philippines. Hence, Slammin' Mini Burgers was born. Eventually, they aim to become the number one mini burger concept in Asia. With all of that said, did the mini burgers live up to the high expectations? Yes, it did. It was as good as I had hoped and better than I had anticipated. 

Slammin' Mini Burgers are absolutely the cutest and irresistibly tastiest burgers I've ever had in this side of town. It's easy to fall for those cute little buns, as they are so innately lovely, taking pictures before biting into one becomes mandatory. Even at times when Kyle and I find ourselves in hunger, we both take patience as he understands that his aunt was simply doing her 'job' as a "food blogger". 

I opted to try their Black Box creations comprised of John Candy, Big Kahuna and Romeo + Juliet. The meal came out quickly as expected, and we grabbed a seat inside to see what we've got. We've had the Black Box limited edition creations, it had mini burgers with catchy names such as John Candy, Big Kahuna and Romeo + Juliet. We've ordered a triple and among the three, I so loved their John Candy Slammin' mini burger. It's made of 100% all-beef patty, oozing cheddar cheese, candied honey cured bacon, sautéed onions, and salted caramel. I wish they'll be having this as a regular thing on their menu.  Big Kahuna, on the other hand had the same 100% all-beef patty, cheddar cheese, honey cured bacon, pineapple chunks, Sriracha mayo and teriyaki glaze. Romeo + Juliet had 100% all-beef patty, cheddar cheese, honey cured bacon, strawberry jam and salted butter. 

The Burger Breakdown...

The Beef: Quality beef is where it starts with any burger for that matter. I forgot to ask if they locally sourced their beef or they use imported ones. While the blend was proprietary, it tasted and felt like a blend of Brisket, Sirloin, and a bit of Chuck. It had a pleasant, but not overbearing taste. The beef was richly beefy with a strong presence of iron and complex steak flavors. Each patty was perfectly juicy. It delivered a savory rush of wet awesomeness with each bite. Burger was lush and dense while presenting just the right amount of chewy resistance. The quality of the beef was simply exemplary and as good as any of the best burgers that I have sampled. I was astonished to get mini burgers of such high quality in such a small food kiosk. 

The Seasoning: Salt and pepper were applied liberally, and in perfect proportion, to the exterior of the thick, pub-style burger patty.

 The Sear: The beef was very juicy, and this resulted in a sear that was less than epic. Still, the sear provided crispness and a nice shift in texture. The flat top was hot enough as evidenced by the thin layer of Well-Done beef enveloping the remainder of the patty. The beef was so flavorful and well-seasoned that a crisp sear was not missed or even needed.

The Preparation: There was a precise level of care, which was apparent in everything about the burger. The handling, the cooking temperature, and the presentation all suggested that great care was given to detail and the kitchen maintained high standards.

The Cheese: It was gooey, savory, and served to lend a creaminess to the already decadent bite.  

The Bun: The bun was a proprietary brioche-esque affair. It was moderately yeasty and just a little savory. The bun was otherwise relatively invisible, and it got out of the way to let the spectacular beef be the star of the show. The bun was nicely toasted, and it lent a bit of crispness to the edge bites.

I fell for Slammin' Mini Burger's John Candy at first bite. These had a lovely combination of honey cured bacon and caramelized onions + salted caramel with sweet and smokey flavors. They were perfectly flavorful. I happen to really enjoy these awesome Slammin' Mini Burger's John Candy mini sliders and I found these to be truly exceptional. It was terrific! 

The two other flavors from the Black Box Limited Editions had the same patty and bun but with a host of other toppings. Big Kahuna had pineapple chunks, Sriracha mayo and teriyaki glaze. The pineapple chunks balances the spice of Sriracha mayo, the crispy candied bacon on a slab of creamy cheddar cheese, all straddling on a small pound of ground all beef patty, grilled for medium to maximum tenderness and for optimum juiciness. 

Meanwhile, Romeo + Juliet had strawberry jam and salted butter to provide other flavors and textures. Kyle enjoyed this one because it's got the sweet yet tangy taste of the strawberry jam and a bit salty too. Both were spectacularly complex and wet mouthful as well. But sorry because I simply just couldn't get over with John Candy. 

The Fries: Slammin' Mini Burgers' thick cut fries are available in four kinds: For plain fries, Big Dipper (Php85), Double Dipper (Php115), while loaded fries consists of Beefy Supreme (Php125) and Mighty Mushroom Bacon (Php125). I was kind of expecting their fries to be a bit tad oily since they were deep friend. But I was wrong. The fries were nice, peel-on, standard-cut fries. They were earthy, crisp, well-browned, and perfectly seasoned. They were cooked in properly hot oil. The centers were creamy, which suggested that the fries at Slammin' Mini Burgers + Fries were par-cooked. They go perfectly well with an array of dips such as good ol' Sour Cream, Creamy Barbecue, Honey Mustard, Roasted Garlic, Jalapeño, Cheesy, and Hot Bell Pepper. 

Slammin' Mini Burgers + Fries + Dips had a roster of bestsellers on their menu. The All American Slider (Php145, double/Php215 triple) had "onion confit which was steam grilled" to perfection. They also have basics such as Slammin' Mini Cheeseburger (Php125, double/Php185 triple) as well as the popular Bacon Mushroom Melt (Php 175, double/ Php255 triple). If you can't decide on what to order, you can get all three in one plate via Slammin' Trio (Php225) or try The Farm (Php215) which gives you a Slammin' Cheese beef mini burger, Beer Battered Go Fish with Sour Cream and Crispy Chicks with Barbecue Sauce. 

 Kyle and I also had Beer Battered Fish and Chips with Honey Mustard dip. They are deep fried to crispy golden perfection with soft and delectable fish inside. We could've further enjoyed this meal. But I was a bit disappointed after taking a bite though, because the batter instantly separated from the fish right away. Perhaps they should use fresh panko breading instead to somehow hold the fish properly. Nevertheless, it's worth giving it a try. 

Another worth mentioning are Slammin' Mini Burgers + Fries + Dips' line of beverages. They have red raspberry, signature lemon iced tea and blue lemonade in cute little bottles. I love their Blue Lemonade because it had some 'cooling' properties with it. It's refreshing and complements any order from Slammin' Mini Burgers + Fries + Dips menu. 

Cap off your meals with Slammin' Ice Bergs. Kyle and I pretty much fell in love with these colorful ice cream mini buns. What? Yes, they made their own dessert using mini burger buns. It certainly can make you cool down and chill for a while. And at Php55 per piece, it's a sure winner indeed! You can choose from gooey cool chocolate, vibrant vanilla and sweet strawberry flavors. It was sooo good that the ordinarily chatty Kyle went completely silent on me. 

We walked in hoping that we'd get something to fill up our empty stomach and satiate our hunger pangs. We walked out stunned by the fact that a world-class mini burger was being offered to an audience that probably lacked the experience to understand their remarkable good fortune.Insanely good beef prepared meticulously and with passion was at an amazing value. The burgers are a non-fussy result of endless experimentation to achieve a superb level of flavor and quality.
I am planning to return to Slammin' Mini Burgers + Fries + Dips in Promenade, Greenhills soon because I am glad to know that there's a remarkable mini burger waiting for me, all I need to do is to show up. 

Slammin' Mini Burgers + Fries + Dips is located at the new wing of Promenade Mall in Greenhills. You can also find them at Food Choices, Level2, Trinoma Mall; on the 5th Level of Market! Market! (near the Cinema) and soon at the Robinsons Magnolia. 

For more information, follow the, on Instagram @SLAMMINMINIBURGERS and Like them on Facebook

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

Sunday, October 5, 2014

YABU The House of Katsu Opens a branch in Powerplant Mall, Makati City

There have been some 'Japanese invasion' in the food industry as restaurants specializing in ramen noodles and katsudon/tonkatsu had been sprouting like mushrooms that they seem to be found almost everywhere. But YABU The House of Katsu had started the so-called Katsu craze after it had brought the said Japanese concept in the Philippine shore. At first, it all seemed to be such a daunting task for YABU, much like testing the waters on how Filipinos would accept the Japanese katsu dining concept. Surprisingly, Filipinos had welcomed that said concept. And true enough, as proof of how we became a katsu-crazed nation, YABU, now has nine branches and counting. In fact, they've just recently opened another branch in Powerplant Mall, Rockwell, Makati City. 

  Security Blanket's author poses before the Private Tasting signage.

Security Blanket were among the lucky ones who were invited for the "Private Tasting Event" prior to their opening. Yabu takes pride in being meticulous when it comes to details--from using Koshihikari rice to knowing the exact second when they would lift the pork from the bubbling oil. They even promised their customers that if your order wasn't served to you in 20 minutes, it's for free. Or if you're not happy with the taste of the food, they'd gladly replace them or give you a refund. 

YABU also introduced us to YABU signature Cocktails specifically made by Erwan Heusaff for YABU. During our visit, we had the chance to try Jasmine Blossoms which consists of Jasmine tea concentrate, ginger syrup, like juice, wasabi paste and syrup, orgeat, sochu and lime. I find the drink spicy yet invigorating! You can also try, Highball--made of soda water and some liquor, Yabu's Kick--from cayenne, whisky, orgeat,  and lime; or Chie--cayenne powder, sugar and salt, whisky, egg whites, fruit juice, ginger syrup, sake, lime juice and fruit slice. 

                           YABU's Kick--cayenne, whisky, orgeat, casis and lime

Jasmine Blossoms--Jasmine tea concentrate, ginger syrup, lime juice, wasabi syrup and paste, orgeat, sochu and lime. 

We were able to try Yabu's awesome appetizer which includes menchi tamago--coated and deep fried quail egg; tamagotaki--egg omelet with teriyaki glazed sauce; tuna tataki--sashimi with ginger soy lime vinaigrette made from fresh sushi grade ahi tuna, as deep-red and meaty as a steak. It has garnishes such as garlic, ginger, green onions and shiso leaves. But I loved Yabu's Katsu springroll best. It looks just like a typical springroll but it had some kick sprinkled with spicy shichimi togarashi. 

                                                          Menchi Tamago

                                                       Tuna Tataki

                                    Katsu Spring Roll 


                                    Stuffed Chicken Wings with Blue Cheese

                 The Condiments that will make your meals even more delightful. 

             D-I-Y Pounding of sesame seeds brings excitement to the actual meal. 

For Katsu newbie, you've got to learn how to make your own sauce: grind/pound on  the black and white sesame seeds by pestle on the mortar, pour in the special glaze katsu sauce, mix and dip those golden brown katsu +prepare yourself for an awesome meal! 

                                    Tori Menchi Katsu in all its golden brown! 

For those who aren't familiar with katsudon, the word was derived from two words "Katsu" which means cutlet and "Donburi" meaning rice bowl dish. YABU's original katsudon is delicious cutlets dipped in eggs and dredged in fresh panko, served over a bowl of steamed Japanese white rice or healthy brown rice and all covered in a mouth-watering sauce. 

Tori Menchi Katsu Set with miso soup, brown rice, pickles and fruit bowl.

YABU's also known for their Kurobuta or Black Bershire pig. These pigs are considered to be the "kobe beef" of pork due to its rich marbling, softness and flavor. Kurobuta pork had this incredible flavor and softness, sometimes to the point of almost melting in one's mouth. The best part is that Yabu locally sourced their finest and premium pork and delivered fresh to their kitchen. Yabu's premium tonkatsu set is reasonably priced, 120g costs Php590 while 90g is pegged at Php530. These are served with 3/4 inch cutlet made from pork with a trimming of fat and goes with unlimited Japanese Koshihikari white rice/brown rice, miso soup, Japanese pickles, sliced cabbage with your own choice of dressing and a bowl of fruit. 

Tori Menchi Katsu with ham and cheese oozing with minced chicken in golden panko breading.

For the Yabu's private dining, I chose to eat Tori Menchi Katsu Set. Tori (chicken) Menchi is actually made from minced chicken with ham and cheese filling, dredged in fresh panko breading and deep fried to golden brown. Although there's a wide range if options from YABU's menu, I've decided to try Tori Menchi Katsu instead. Bright and golden brown panko breaded chicken that's not thin nor too thick. The size is just right for one person. I was surprised it's not even greasy at all considering it's deep fried. It exudes a crisp golden color and an aroma of deliciousness that definitely whets any appetite. 

I've found out later that Yabu's secret lies in the way their Katsu are cooked. Katsu is cooked at precisely 165 degrees Celsius and the reason why they aren't greasy was that they allow their katsu to rest so that the meat will retain its rich flavors and natural juices + tenderness. 

I no longer wonder why YABU's been hailed and awarded by the Philippine Tatler as one of the Best Restaurants of 2014. Aside from dishing out awesome meals and cocktail drinks, they're very concerned with customers' satisfaction even up to the littlest details, seldom do you find a resto who does that, right? 

Come and visit YABU The House of Katsu in any of its branches: Megamall, SM Mall of Asia, SM Southmall, SM Aura, SM North, Alabang Town Center, Greenbelt 5, Robinsons Magnolia and the newly opened Powerplant Mall, Rockwell. 

For more information, log on to Special thanks to Ms. Erika Lim for the invite. 

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