I heart Pepper Lunch!


Jeff and I left early from work at 2 pm and headed to Ortigas area to meet someone. But before we head to San Miguel Avenue, we were on to our target at the lower basement of Shangri-la Mall, Pepper Lunch! Yes, you read that right, Pepper Lunch opened its second branch aside from Powerplant Mall in Rockwell. We intended not to eat lunch at the office to savor our first taste of Pepper Lunch.

Pepper Lunch in Shangri-la Mall


The store is well-lit and spacious, there were 3 or more group of diners inside Pepper Lunch.We were greeted at the entrance and led us to the counter where we chose our orders. Knowing what to order, from bloggers’ recommendation, we ordered Beef Pepper Rice (Php 235) and Salmon Pepper Rice (Php 312). Each meal comes with drinks but they also have ala carte meals which is a bit cheaper.


A few minutes later, we already heard the sizzling sound and true enough, the Beef Pepper Rice was served. The server offered to mix it for us but we declined because we took photos of it first. It’s piping hot, smoke comes out from the plate and I can smell the peppery taste. I’m starting to feel hungry, soon enough, my Salmon Pepper Rice was served. I am almost tempted not to cook my salmon because I can see that it’s fresh and the salmon is in its most pink color.

Beef Pepper Rice (Php 235)

Salmon Pepper Rice (Php 312)


What’s exciting about Pepper Lunch is you get to cook your own food your way! Make it well-done, medium-rare, it’s your call. “Sizzle it your way!” Season your meat or fish with the honey brown sauce or garlic soy sauce according to your taste. Another secret is to mix it immediately after serving, at the center of the plate, there’s a surprise butter sauce, spread the love all throughout the rice and the veggies. Be careful though, the plate is heated up to 260 degrees Celsius so be careful when mixing.

instructions on how to cook your steak

4 steps to yumminess:
1. You can cook both sides of your steak on the plate as the beef is raw.
2. When the steak is ready, please put a steak sauce (Amakuchi or Karakuchi/Honey Brown Sauce or Garlic Soy Sauce) on it.
3. You can place the cooked steak on vegetables so that it will not be overcooked.
4. You can also cook the vegetables on the plate. Then you can taste it with a steak sauce (Amakuchi or Karakuchi).

I can’t determine what makes my order so delicious…. is it the fresh salmon? the perfectly cooked Japanese rice? the sauce? the patented sizzling plate? or the pepper perhaps? I don’t know, maybe it’s the excitement of preparing your own dish and seeing it transform from uncooked to perfectly cooked. I would give Pepper Lunch a perfect score in the taste department.

yummy!


As for its price, it may not be that affordable but this is because all of their ingredients are imported. The unique experience also adds to its charm. Another food adventure for a food-lover like me. Check out their menu below:

Pepper Lunch Menu


Pepper Lunch has branches at Power Plant Mall, Rockwell and Shangri-La Plaza Mall.
Website: http://www.pepperlunch.com.ph/

Another frozen yogurt place: Red Mango, Trinoma

Remember the very first time I tried frozen yogurt at White Hat? After that, I became a frozen yogurt lover. As much as I wanted to try Lulubelle’s, it’s too far from where I live and work so I just settled with White Hat. But as frozen yogurt becomes more popular, Red Mango enters the scene. Red Mango is popular in the United States and I’m sure it will also be a hit in the Philippines.

Red Mango signage
Red Mango opened its branch at the 3rd Level of Trinoma, in front of Toys R Us and Fitness First. Of course, this frozen yogurt lover can’t wait to try it and so we went. I was surprised to see that they have Green Tea flavored yogurt, but they also have the original one. They also have Yogurt Smoothies, organic coffee and tea and waffles.
treat yourself well… yogurt is good for you!


I had a 6 oz. Green Tea yogurt, for the toppings, the lady in the counter suggested that grapes and crushed Grahams goes well with Green Tea yogurt. Jeff ordered Kiwi Yogurt Smoothie. A 6 oz. green tea yogurt is Php 120, the original flavor is Php 115. Just add Php 20 for 1 toppings, Php 30 for 2 toppings and Php 40 for 3 toppings. Yogurt smoothies are Php 125.
6 oz. Green Tea frozen yogurt with grapes and crushed Grahams

Kiwi Yogurt Smoothie

Red Mango’s yogurt is creamy, I can’t taste the tartness that I expected for a yogurt. The combination of crushed Grahams and grapes was a hit for me. The Yogurt Smoothie is more delicious when you mix the dollop of yogurt on top. In comparison, White Hat offers more variety for toppings while Red Mango is limited to fruits and cereals. For the taste, I think both of them are a winner! Try them for yourselves.

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

Jatujak – for your Thai cuisine craving


Want some piece of Thai cuisine without being too pricey? Jatujak Thai restaurant offers something new to our palates. In celebration of Mother’s day, I treated my mother for lunch. We went to The Block at SM North Edsa and surveyed the mall first before deciding where to eat. We chose between Martabak, Mexicali and Jatujak. We chose Jatujak because we were enticed by the interiors of the place, purple-yellow combination. We didn’t have trouble ordering despite the “alien names” of the food because they provided a description of the food and some pictures. Markings of the menu if it’s spicy, house-specialty and vegetarian is an added bonus. We ordered Shrimp Tom Yum for the soup, Bagoong Rice, Chicken Pandan and Thai Iced Tea. All of them are their house specialties. The Tom Yum soup is delicious! It has a nice blend of sour, sweet and spiciness. The spiciness is just right, you know it’s spicy but won’t leave you asking for a glass of water. This is perfect to consume while it’s hot. Thai food is not the same without Bagoong Rice, Jatujak’s version is served with shredded pieces of mango and sweet pork bits on the side. This is the best Bagoong Rice I’ve tasted so far. An order of Chicken Pandan has 4 pieces of chicken meat wrapped in pandan leaves with sweet/spicy sauce. The chicken is tender and the aroma of pandan makes me hungry even more. Thai Iced Tea is served in a tall glass, it is iced tea with milk served cold which makes a great complement to their spicy but delicious dishes.


Chicken Pandan (image by Jay Lara from http://guides.clickthecity.com/metro/?p=1382)

Bagoong Rice


Most of the servings of their food is to share, that’s why the prices are reasonable enough because they served delish Thai food! A meal for two (Tom Yum+Bagoong Rice+Chicken Pandan+2 Thai iced tea) costs Php 800 (aroung US$ 19).

Jatujak is located at 4th Flr. of The Block, SM North Edsa, near Inasal Chicken Bacolod. They have branches in SM Mall of Asia and SM Megamall.

Hooters Philippines

This has been a long overdue post, we visited Hooters on May 1, 2008 just to catch the Hooters girls from the US before going back to the US. So yeah, here it goes. After months of waiting, hubby got excited after hearing the news that Hooters Philippines is now open in San Miguel by the Bay, at the back of Mall of Asia. Since it’s a holiday, a few of our “male” officemates tagged along (of course!). Out of curiosity and eager to know what a Hooters restaurant and “girls” look like, off we went albeit the distance from Quezon City. After a long walk inside the mall area, we crossed the street to San Miguel by the Bay and walked to the end of the strip of restaurants leading to Hooters. The place was packed with customers and girls wearing those either white or black tank tops tucked in with a very-very short orange shorts. Apparently, those girls wearing black tank tops are the Hooters girls from the US and those wearing white tank tops are the Manila Hooters girls. The restaurant looks busy as girls are always hurrying themselves taking orders, serving the food and entertaining the customers. Entertaining means posing for the cameras whenever guests asked them to and doing their dance/song number every 30 minutes. Of course, guests were very eager to take pictures with the US Hooters girls than the Manila Hooters girls. We enjoyed watching the US Hooters girls perform their dance/song number, the girls from Manila were shy and if they happen to dance or sing, we noticed that they’re not doing their best.

Hooters girls from the US

Hooters girl, Heather, performing


The food’s taste is so-so considering the price. Their famous Chicken Wings is Php 375.00 for 10 pcs. The Blue Cheese Burger I ordered is a little bit on the dry side. Their french fries definitely needs some salt.

Manila Hooters girls


The Manila Hooters girls definitely needs some more training not only when doing the dance/song numbers. The most important thing they need to know is customer service. I remember one girl called me as “Ate”. My officemate and I can’t help but laugh about it, it’s as if we’re eating in some “carinderia” to be called as “Ate” instead of Ma’am.

So don’t be a brat okay?

Nonetheless, the Hooters experience was fun as we experienced something new in our dining escapades. But when asked if we’ll come back to Hooters again by any chance, the answer is No. Especially now that the US Hooters were gone and all that’s left are the not-so-attractive girls (see the picture) and the food is far from special.

Souvenir shirts featuring their slogan, “Delightfully tacky, yet unrefined”

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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