30 April 2012

Another newly opened establishment at the Alabang Town Center is Hapadog.

Since both Earl and I are fond of Japanese cuisine and I love sausages, I was very interested in trying out their menu. The perfect opportunity came when we watched The Avengers last week and we trooped over with friends to buy snacks for the movie.

First of all, this is like a hamburger - eat with care as it's messy! I'm a klutz so it was no surprise when my first bite had the toppings falling on my shirt. And only after a few adjustments was I finally able to munch without getting sloppy and concentrate on what I was eating.

The Korokke Dog had a nice soft crunch to it thanks to what seemed to be fried mashed potato coating, but other than that we uninanimously decided that Smokey's Hotdogs tasted much better. Not to mention they're cheaper too.

Hmmm... In theory, it looks and sounds appetizing, but the reality is unfortunately the opposite. The problem was the hotdog itself. It's like a cake - no matter how nicely decorated, if it doesn't taste that great, then it will not matter how it looks. My suggestion? Change the sausage to come up with a better end product.

What was nice was the Lychee Iced Tea - definitely light and refreshing with an actual lychee dropped in. The Ramune, on the other hand, is basically Japanese soda (we got the apple flavor) that reminded me of a fruity version of Sprite. Interesting is probably the most that I can say about this drink. It can be either good or bad depending on your taste.

Bon Chon

24 April 2012

My expectations of this place were rather high as it debuted in the country with a lot of hype and both their Makati outlets were always crowded. Wanting to know what the fuss was all about, we paid our first visit to this chain restaurant last year at their Greenbelt branch.

We ordered the Wings Ricebox which contained four wing pieces and rice figuring that we would initially go with the basics. The verdict? Earl liked it, but it was just okay for me - not bad though somehow lacking something. We both agreed that the meal felt like a light snack as opposed to dinner. Maybe we ordered the wrong thing? We decided we'd return to try the other items on their menu.

It was a busy Saturday night when we popped in Bon Chon's latest branch at the new wing of the Alabang Town Center. The place was packed, but we got a table fairly quickly and this time, we had friends with us so we were able sample more food items.

Caesar Salad - Php 125

Chops Ricebox - Php 145

Bulgogi Wrap - Php 125

Wings Ricebox - Php 145
Kimchi Coleslaw - Php 45

Thigh Ricebox - Php 145

The latest score? Pretty much the same with Earl liking it and three of us declaring that everything we ordered was just "okay." And I think I know what it lacks now - sauce. I like dunking my chicken in a lot of sauce. As for the rest, I prefer KFC.

Iloilo: Tatoy's & Smallville Commercial Complex

16 April 2012

Dinner during our second night was at Tatoy's Manokan and Seafoods Restaurant - one of the reasons we're in Iloilo to begin with. Unfortunately, this was another disappointment. We were not able to order what we really wanted (i.e. crabs and oysters) due to my Mom's sensitive stomach, and nothing we did order was anything to write home about.

This is one of the restaurants that Iloilo is known for so maybe we were expecting too much. Another option we were considering was Breakthrough (which is just nearby), but my sister read a blog where the author was charged more because they were not locals (you can read the details here). We didn't want to take any chances, so we nixed that idea. Too bad though because my Mom's friend swears by that place.

Our meal was followed by a nightcap at the Smallville Commercial Complex where our hotel is located, thus we were able to experience a bit of Iloilo's weekend nightlife.

What I was surprised and most amused by was the Go Mart convenience store. Here in the Philippines, almost all villages have a sari-sari store (think tiny shop selling a variety of goods that's situated in front of the owner's house), where the locals can grab a beer and sit on one of two benches located on either side of the store front. What I saw was the bigger and more upscale version of that scenario.

See that small store at the left? Their clientele is on the right - people buy a beer or soda, maybe a few snacks, sit down and attend to themselves:

Go Mart keeps profit up and costs down by charging the following fees:

Iloilo: Nothing but Desserts

09 April 2012

If there's one thing I love, it's dessert. So I was excited to find a shop called Nothing but Desserts just across the street from our hotel.

Hmmm... the cake was bit dry and so was the cake portion of the Strawberry Trifle. The gelato tasted a bit weird, but that was probably because we got the mixed flavor combination (I'll stick to just one flavor next time).

Strawberry Trifle - Php 110

Chocolate Decadence - Php 65

Combination Gelato - Php 75

What we did like was the Crocanti which comes in three flavors: White Chocolate Pecan, Semi Sweet Walnuts and White Chocolate Pistachio. And at Php 1 per gram, that's my version of affordable.

Iloilo: Trappist Monastery, Deco's & Madge Cafe

02 April 2012

As mentioned in the previous post, we were in the city mostly to eat. I must say that is this the first vacation I've ever had where we mostly watched a lot of television while waiting for the next meal.

Though we did go to the island of Guimaras to visit the Trappist Monastery.

This involved a ferry and a very bumpy tricycle ride. When we got there, we had ourselves prayed over by the monk and then it was straight to their gift shop.

Lunch was at Deco's over at the La Paz Market. I'm not sure if we were expecting too much, but this was not the best Batchoy we've ever had. We all ordered the Extra (Php 65) along with their Puto Manapla (Php 5) which didn't taste too great either. I would have skipped mentioning this part, but this soup is one of the dishes that Iloilo is known for and Deco's is one of the places to order it.

On a more positive note, my sister loved the Iced Coffee (Php 30) over at Madge Cafe. She liked it so much that she bought half a kilo of their ground coffee beans for Php 250. This place is also at the La Paz Market and just a few steps away from Deco's.

It was started by the present owner's grandmother over 60 years ago, and the mugs you see in the picture aren't just decor - all the regular customers get their own mugs with their names written on it.