The big siomai at The Big Little Store at Gilmore

The Big Little Store at Gilmore

I want to share with you a little secret, I found a Chinese restaurant that serves yummiest siomai in the most unassuming place, inside Gilmore IT Center. Gilmore is a haven for desktop and laptop computer shoppers because prices of computers are cheaper compared to malls. Many of us might think that going to Binondo is the best bet for Chinese dimsums and delicacies such as siomai. I thought so too, but when my husband, Jeff, and I visited Gilmore at Quezon City, we discovered and tasted our now favorite siomai at The Big Little Store at Gilmore. Jeff is not adventurous when it comes to Chinese food or any other cuisines so we ordered the safest in their menu, their siomai.


4 pcs. siomai for Php 56.00

At Php 56.00 per order, it has 4 huge pieces that surely filled us up. We poured chili sauce and soy sauce much to our liking, we like it spicy! The siomai has bits of mushrooms and shrimps in it that’s why it’s more tasty. One order is truly satisfying.


we want it spicy!

We will be visiting Gilmore again next week and I plan to try their fresh lumpia and other dishes. I hope they’re as good as their siomai.

The Big Little Store at Gilmore is located at the ground floor of Gilmore IT Center.

How to get there: Ride the LRT Line 3 (Purple Line), alight at Gilmore Station and walk towards the Gilmore IT Center.

A new dessert haven for chocolate lovers, Heavenly Chocolates

After enjoying our Italian food at Bellissimo, we decided to cap the evening with dessert. And so we headed to the newly opened dessert place along Roces Ave. called Heavenly Chocolates, which I learned from Shopcrazy.com. The place is quiet and relaxed, perfect way to enjoy your drink of hot choco or cold chocolate drinks. Before we even get to order, the attendant gave us free taste of the Sachi Nama chocolates. We were given bite-sized chocolates that we immediately ate and boy, had I known that the chocolate was this good, I could have eaten it little by little to savor the flavor of the chocolate. The texture is so smooth it melts in your mouth quickly. The texture reminds me of Meiji Melty Kiss chocolates. I wasn’t able to take pictures of the Sachi Nama chocolates because even my officemates munched them at once. They sell these chocolates at Php 350 per box and they come in different variants too.

inside Heavenly Chocolates


Heavenly Chocolates menu

Each of us ordered different drinks, one ordered Dark Chocolate hot drink (Php 80) and the rest of us ordered the Rated R21 drinks (Php 135), Mexican Mocha and Marula Malt, which contains chocolate liqueur.

sinful Dark Chocolate

refreshing cold chocolate drinks (Php 135 each)

I liked the taste of Mexican Mocha over the Marula Malt. Mexican Mocha has a deep chocolate taste while Marula Malt is on the sweet side and not too chocolate-y for me. The owner is generous enough to give us samples of the chocolates that will be arriving in their shop soon. We immediately picked each chocolate pieces we forgot to take photos of them first (oops!). We were given a dark chocolate and milk chocolate variant. I preferred the dark chocolate because I find the milk chocolate a tad sweeter for my taste.

dark chocolate and milk chocolate pieces


We were eager to try their Chocolate Pasta but it’s not available at that time. Their specialty cakes will also be available soon so this place deserves another visit and hopefully, they’ll be in full blast to serve all things chocolate.

Heavenly Chocolates
Roces Center, Roces Avenue, Quezon City
just near Taste of LA Cafe
Contact nos. 6662208 or 0915-7882105

One cozy afternoon at Bellissimo Ristorante

Bellissimo

It’s a Friday and we left early from work, we decided to have a snack/early dinner along Tomas Morato. We are craving for pasta so an Italian restaurant comes to mind. At the corner of Scout Castor corner Tomas Morato is a sign pointing to Bellissimo Ristorante (a restaurant owned by Cesar Montano), just beside Pen Pen Restaurant. We headed to a pathway that leads to the restaurant, upon opening the door we were greeted by the waitress and lead us to our seats.

Bellissimo’s bar


Cesar Montano’s paintings at the second floor


The restaurant is cozy with wooden tables and chairs, a homey ambiance for an Italian restaura
nt. We were given the restaurant’s menu, clueless on what to order, I asked the attendant of their house specialty and she said that it’s the Spaghetti alla Pescatore, a tomato-based pasta with seafoods. Our officemates ordered their second specialty which is the Spaghetti Aglio Olio, an olive oil-based pasta with seafoods. While waiting for our food to be served, the attendant suggested to check out Cesar Montano’s paintings at the second floor. They also served our complimentary bread while waiting along with the tomato sauce and pesto at the side. I wished they served it with Parmesan cheese too but it’s okay, the pesto sauce is good!

Complimentary bread at the restaurant

Spaghetti alla Pescatore

Spaghetti Aglio Olio


Our pastas have arrived and the hungry foodies that we are, we immediately dig into our own pasta dishes. The pasta is perfectly cooked al dente, the sauce is seasoned very well and a generous amount of parmesan cheese on top. Seafoods in the Spaghetti alla Pescatore are mussels, shrimp and squid. I like that the pasta has an ample amount of sauce so that I can truly savor the dish. The Spaghetti Aglio Olio is served with clams and mussels. It has a hint of spiciness because of the chili flakes on it but this dish is really superb. Bellissimo’s pasta dishes are good for two persons
and are priced from Php 200-Php 350. We thought of ordering pizza after the pasta but we decided to make room for dessert. There’s a new dessert place for chocolate lovers along Roces Ave. corner Tomas Morato, just the opposite side of Bellisimo, so that’s where we’re heading and will be the topic of my next post.

Bellissimo Ristorante
105 Unit E & F Scout Castor corner Tomas Morato, Quezon City
Contact No.
376-5746
*Wheelchair accessible, kid-friendly and good for groups

Something for your sweet tooth: Goya Dark Mint, Goya Black & White and Meiji Melty Kiss

A recent trip from Watsons got me overwhelmed with new goodies particularly in their food/chocolates section. You see, when buying toiletries at Watsons, I always end up buying more than what I planned to because of the temptations you see around. And this time, I gave in to everybody’s weakness, c-h-o-c-o-l-a-t-e-s!


Meiji Melty Kiss


1. Meiji Melty Kiss – I was really surprised to see that Watsons already have Melty Kiss. I first tasted this melt-in-your-mouth-goodie when I was in Hongkong last November, 2008. I literally flipped over the racks of chocolates in some stores in Hongkong only to find them in Mannings store at the airport. I brought 4 boxes home and devoured all of them in the shortest time I can remember.


Individually wrapped Melty Kiss


Anyway, the chocolates are individually wrapped so you can control yourself when eating. The chocolate renders an addicting smoothness to the mouth as it slowly melts. It’s not too sweet that’s why you won’t notice you already ate a lot. The downside though is its price, when I bought them in Hongkong, one box costs around Php 80-90. Watsons are selling these for around Php 120 per box.


Goya Black & White


2. Goya Black & White – If you love dark and white chocolates, then this one’s for you. Goya lets you enjoy the goodness of both worlds. The dark chocolate is good, not the bitter type that leaves a sour aftertaste in your mouth. I’m not a fan of the white chocolate though, I can’t taste anything. Perhaps it lacks the sweetness and the milky taste I’m looking for. What’s great is the price, it’s only Php 23.95 per box and the box contains 9 dark/white chocolates.


Goya Dark Mint is love!


3. Goya Dark Mint – This is my best find! Another one from Goya, this brand has really improved since my childhood days, and I’m loving what they have concocted so far. Chocolate with mint variants are seldom seen in local brands. That’s why when I have a craving for mint chocolate, I resort to imported and expensive brands. But now, I can satisfy my craving with the impeccable goodness of dark chocolate and mint at a very affordable price. The mint is not overpowering the dark chocolate, you know that there’s mint but you’re still eating chocolate and not a mint toothpaste flavored with chocolate. One box costs Php 23.95 only and contains 9 pieces of round chocolates.

Rave: Magnolia’s Choco Chip Cookie Dough


Summer heat is always making us crave for something cool to make those hot afternoons bearable. And ice cream is the cheapest escape for kids and adults alike, be it dirty ice cream, gourmet or store bought.

I’ve always been a fan of Magnolia ice cream. I love their Chocolate and Strawberry flavors. Their Limited Edition Choco Berry Truffles is good too! Now, I sooo love their Choco Chip Cookie Dough ice cream which reminds me of Ben & Jerry’s and Sebastian’s ice cream. Choco Chip Cookie Dough is vanilla ice cream blended with cookie dough and sprinkled with choco chips.

I will choose this over Sebastian’s Choco Chip Cookie Dough because Sebastian’s ice cream is too sweet for my taste. Magnolia’s is way cheaper than Sebastian’s too!

*photo taken from http://www.sanmiguel.com.ph/Articles.aspx?ID=1&a_id=642

Sidetrips in Aklan (Sampaguita Gardens, Ramboy’s, Bagobos)

When you’re in Aklan for your Boracay trip and you have time to spare, visiting Jojo’s Christmas Cottage at Sampaguita Gardens in New Washington, Aklan is well worth it. It’s a 10-minute ride from the Kalibo Airport. The highlight inside the Sampaguita Gardens is Jojo’s Christmas Cottage. In here, the motto is “Everyday is Christmas”. The cottage had its share of media exposures and was featured on some of TV shows like Rated K. The cottage houses “Precious Moments” doll collections and various Christmas trees in all forms, themes and sizes. Souvenir items like handicrafts, T-shirts, trinkets and other Precious Moments knick-knacks are sold here.


Jojo’s Christmas Cottage at night

Sampaguita Gardens is sort-of a Mini-Disneyland of Aklan in my opinion. It also has a Thai Spa, Thai-inspired Mr. Butcher’s House, hotel, butterfly garden, coffee shop, function hall and the Oriental Flavors Restaurant for your fine dining experience.

Restaurants:

To taste the best Lechon Manok in Aklan, go to Ramboy’s along the hi-way of Numancia, Aklan. For Caticlan-bound visitors, you can’t miss this place since public transportation always pass this route.


Ramboy’s, Numancia, Aklan

Just beside Ramboy’s is another restaurant called Bagobos. We had our dinner at this place on our first day. We ordered Crispy Pata and Sisig, the Crispy Pata is delicious. But service is really really slow, I’m warning you not to eat here if you’re looking for a quick bite.


Bagobos, Numancia, Aklan

Where to stay and eat in Boracay on a budget

Budget Accomodations:

We all know that tourists from all parts of the world flock to Boracay. And with these, prices of some commodities like food and lodging might be expensive for average travelers like me. First would be the accommodation, beach resorts in Boracay offer varied rates for their fan rooms (cheapest) and the deluxe rooms with air-con, hot water and cable TV. Beachfront hotels have higher rates as well as those hotels found in Station 1. We stayed at Casa Pilar in Station 3. Reasonable rates for a decent cottage, it has its own restaurant and security of the resort is not a problem. Rates of rooms, contact number, email and website are as follows:

Casa Pilar Beach Resort (Station 3, Boracay Island, Aklan)

Deluxe AC: lean season Php 2900 – peak season Php 4000
Superior AC: lean season Php 2400 – peak season Php 3300
Standard AC: lean season Php 2000 – peak season Php 2800
Fan Room: lean season Php 1200 – peak season Php 1800
Tel: (63 36) 2883073
Email:
casa_pilar@yahoo.com
Website:
http://www.casapilarboracay.com/

During our stay, we found a newly built hotel just near Casa Pilar, also in Station 3, called Boracay Sands Hotel. The curiosity in us made us ask for their room rates, the receptionist willingly showed us the rooms and boy, I made a promise to stay in this hotel the next time around. Rooms have 2 double beds, and LCD TV, and a personal ref to boot.

Boracay Sands Hotel (room, pool)
Boracay Sands Hotel (Station 3, Boracay Island, Aklan)
Room rate per night without breakfast: Php 3,850
Tel. no: (036) 2884967 / 4966
CP no: 0927-304-01-31
Budget meals:

Boracay has plenty of restaurants to cater tourists from all walks of life. From fine dining to a simple eatery, you’ll find something somewhere to satisfy your hunger. Andok’s Dokito Frito in Station 3 offers their staple Lechon Manok and other budget meals like Pork Chop, Fried Chicken, Barbecue and Filipino foods. Price of their budget meals starts at Php 49.00. Mang Inasal in D’Mall also has a number of customers because of their cheap but delicious meals. Prices also start from Php 49.00 and up. I ordered Tosilog and Jeff ordered Chicken Inasal when we had our breakfast. If you’re craving for pizza, Yellow Cab has a branch in Station 3 just beside Casa Pilar. They also deliver to your hotels.

Tosilog and Chicken Inasal from Mang Inasal; Yellow Cab

Souvenirs:

For your keepsakes and pasalubongs from Boracay, go to D’Mall to find plenty of keychains and ref magnets for 7 pieces for Php 100. T-shirts that scream “Boracay” range from Php 150-500. On my first visit, I bought T-shirts from “Lonely Planet“. This time, I discovered another store that offers rocking designs called “Metamorphosis“. They sell handpainted shirts and canvass bags for Php 250-580. Just ask for discounts when buying at the store. For summer accessories, sellers can be found at the beach and just choose at your liking from a variety of earrings, necklaces and bracelets offered by the locals.

Metamorphosis Boutique


Accessories and ref magnets a plenty

Jonah’s Fruit Shakes (Station 1, Boracay)

Your trip in Boracay will never be complete without trying out the famous fruit shakes in the island. Jonah’s Fruit Shakes is a refreshing break from the sweltering heat of the sun after walking the stretch of Boracay Island. Aside from the fruit shakes, this humble restaurant also offers meals from seafood, Pinoy food such as pancit, sinigang, etc. and Mexican such as tacos, echiladas, etc.

Mango Banana and Choco Peanut from Jonah’s Fruit Shakes

I ordered Choco Peanut while Jeff ordered Mango Banana. Price range of fruit shakes is Php 75 to Php 150 depending on the combination. The most expensive ones (Php 150) are the Strawberry shake variants. I liked the consistency of the shake because of the fine ice.

Since we’re hungry from walking and exploring the islands, we also ate our early dinner here. If you’re ordering in Jonah’s, orders might take long to arrive so don’t go there with your growling stomach or you’ll die of starvation. Jeff’s Chicken Enchilada was first to arrive, since he’s hungry, I told him to eat his meal at once while I waited for my Shrimp Potato Salad. I waited for my salad for about 20-30 minutes, while Jeff already devoured his enchilada.

Chicken Enchilada

Shrimp Potato Salad

The Chicken Enchilada was good, I know because I got to taste a spoonful of it while waiting for my salad to arrive. To sum it up, you can pass up in trying out their meals but their fruit shakes are definitely a must-try! We even went back the next day to try out a different combination, Papaya Mango and Apple Mango.

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