What La Mesa Lacks (12.25.11)



I have raved much about our repeating lovely experience in Mesa at the Megamall Atrium branch and it was one of the restaurants you sure will be proud taking the entire family along so by Christmas day we went to their sister restaurant, La Mesa Grill.



Kare-kare is a staple food for Filipino-based restaurants so we got that. It was served on a shallow plate unlike the usual deep clay pots standard for the dish.



We also had their mixed platter with chicken, pork and seafood. I reckon this is a better choice than order so many dishes and have the usual issue of take out. It is just okay with fair sized appetites so better order twice of it if you must. As for the taste, well, just your typical grilled food smothered with marinade sauce.




Then the rice. Tinapa and Laing are both winners at Mesa so we ordered them both (would have loved Bagoong rice too but sister is allergic). They are good but they weren't as tasty back in Mesa. Maybe the scrimping of ingredients not sure.




I promised that when we get to finish everything we will order dessert and this is where it got nasty.

My sisters got leche flan and I got the Palitaw w/ chocnut. Leche flan was served easy but mine took around 30 mins to materialize on our table. What was annoying was that we basically told each waiter/waitress that we are waiting for it and no one can give us a definite answer why it's taking so long. As you can see from the pictures the sun is still up and when my order came, sun has almost set.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with the food it's totally fine but how we were served this day is just too awful I will not visit this branch JUST FOR THE SERVICE alone. Fine, I ordered food that MAY take long to make but come on, this is just palitaw, ONE ORDER. It will not take 30 mins just for this. And EVEN if their chef will take that much time JUST to serve us this dessert, it does not make up for the reason that this is such an inconvenience they might just have put some warning to their menu or have their all so 'competent' waiters/esses tell us. I'm so angry at this ordeal that I haven't even taken a photo of it. And you know what? They only panicked when we asked for the tab. Guess they're too scared they have to pay for that dessert in case we left and complained not to pay for it.

There is no way I'm going back to this restaurant at all. I'd just stick to the Mesa I know because no dining is a good experience when the service is that awful.


United Steaks of Disappointment (12.29.11)


While looking for somewhere to eat at Gateway we came upon a restaurant just a stone's throw away from the mall. We haven't seen anything interesting on their directory so we walked over there to take a look.

Unlike other steak joints out there, they are branding themselves as fast food. So don't expect 'to be seated' nor ask for the menu, just stand right there on the cashier to place an order and pay.

How they will ever cook steak that fast is a wonder to me not to mention how the price is truly cheap. For less than 150 you already have a meal of steak with rice and drink of your choice. That's a far cry to the usual cost of 1000 up.

Knowing my BF, he always splurges us both with so much food (hence our weight gain) so he went for the combo meal good for 4. Even the one who took our order had a quick shock when he placed the order. The meal cost was 699 for 2 patties, 2 ribs, 4 glasses of soda and 4 cups of Java rice for 699php.

A minute or two in the wait my regrets start. For an extremely hot day, we just realized that their aircon doesn't work. It doesn't help that they've raised their blinds up to let in more sunshine. When we finally caught the attention of their waitress, she just said that it failed for some reason (thank you Captain Obvious) and 'someone' is already fixing it. What's more annoying is that they haven't had back up of any sorts.

The rice came first. Seeing it with that tiny bowl of thin soup makes me want to snatch my bf and run away. By this alone we now have an idea what we are expecting.




And then came the saddening serving of ribs and patty in one plate (2 pieces each). The ribs are hard to slice and chew. Both doesn't have any memorable taste like as if there ain't no definite recipe they're trying to achieve and what's that sour taste of the meat?

Next served were the chopped wings with a cob of corn. They didn't even bother chopping the corn for share so if you're eating out with a bunch of friends it would be really inconvenient for anyone to man handle the sharing part.

The spicy wings on the other hand was the only redeeming dish there is on the combo, although the breading is spread out too thick. If that doesn't bother you then you might enjoy ordering this more.

There's just too many red flags in this restaurant I really don't enjoy the entire experience I hope management will resolve in the future. Here are keypoints:

1. Their waitresses are much more occupied with their own gossips than our needs, they're not even friendly when we asked to have food for take out (we decided to give it out to street children after).

2. Speaking of take out they just shove everything on one styro box like as if it's pig feed (maybe to save on styro costs).

3. They don't have any plan b in case the aircon doesn't work.

4. Their food is not well tended, and the sour taste could only mean that it's been out of the fridge for too long.

5. They ought to have a pitcher instead of manually serving us our drinks straight from the bottle, they didn't bother to even add ice.

6. While I don't have any say to whatever annoying music they choose to listen to, at least have the decency to tune it a bit down, so they'd be able to hear us more since their counter is obstructed by a wall you will need good luck just to catch their attention.

Verdict? Will not come back ever.

SNAP: BPI E-Prepaid Credit Card (12.23.11)


Friendly Guidelines: Before asking anything, kindly check the UPDATES section which is at the bottom of the original post (please be guided that this was a post last year) and the COMMENTS section for some Q&As. Thanks!

Friendly Guidelines PART 2 (4.12.2013) : I know that this maybe the post that have the most traffic on it, but guys, please please please, back read the comments before asking me anything. I'm honestly getting tired answering the same questions over and over. I'm really sorry if this sounds too mean, but I don't get paid for this, okay? I need to sleep too. It annoys me that I can't reply to your queries but it is inconvenient for me too. So if I haven't answered your question, it only means you need to read the ENTIRE POST and the ENTIRE COMMENT section because the answer literally sits there. Just have patience and you won't even need to ask me anymore. Sorry guys in advance.

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Okay so it may sound weird but I'm one of those people who does not own a credit card. I do own a handful of debit cards (all active anyway) and that's what I use for all cashless transactions. I also have Gcash for Multiply suppliers and anywhere it's accepted but there are just some times that a CC is what you need to make a valid transaction. But it is really disappointing that debit cards that I currently own just doesn't register with Paypal, hence, it's inconvenient for me to buy apps, book flights or even hotels online. So when I heard of the ePrepaid Credit Card of BPI I was eager to sign up.



SIGNING UP


I don't enjoy personal banking. Like as in physical. I do visit banks to transfer funds in different accounts but that is something that could not be helped*. So since most of my transactions are online, I also applied this via web.

You need to visit bpiexpressonline, find the Prepaid link and you will be directed to a form where you are required to fill important details for your record. Do not forget to tick the card that says ePrepaid which also gives you the option to choose what color your like for your card to be.

After everything is filled up, you only need to print the page that says Print this page (but I also print screened the notification message just for sure) printed it out ready. Don't forget this when you claim your card.


CARD PICKUP 

I applied on a Sunday, called them on a Monday and it was already there. I forgot to bring any IDs so I went the next day. Do prepare a photocopy of your valid ID in case the branch you're on doesn't have a photocopy machine. After presenting my card, I was told to pay a fee of 500 php (which I thought was initial load but wasn't) and that's it. I'm off to go.


CARD ONLINE ENROLLMENT

How easy it was to own one but it took me another day just to load the card. The reason why it is is because BPI has this online enrollment rule that whenever you attempt to apply your card to your online account, you have to present your application to them personally. Which in this case, I did the next day, only to learn that it will take atleast 2 weeks for it to be registered on my online account. Thinking that this is another hurdle, I tried mobile banking but that didn't work out either.

So the only option left for me was what I dreaded. Over the counter loading.

CARD LOADING

So while I wait for it to register on my online account to make my life easier to move funds, I went to the bank again just to load.

If you've ever been to BPI lately, they now have machines that replace deposit slips and physical queues that once your number is up the teller automatically knows what transaction they are to encounter.

It does look easy but it's a bit hard for ePrepaid cards because it's not an obvious option on the machines. What was taught to me was to choose third party merchant and use the card number as reference.

On the actual counter where I'm going to pay the teller, I was lucky that she was able to ask someone who knows how to deal with this loading business. She got it all right after the instruction given to her. She even confessed refusing to accept previous transactions before since they don't know what to do with it. I was just really lucky that I was the first they did accommodate. My load came the next day.


BALANCE CHECK

To check for balance, all you need is to text 2274 on the ff format: BALECCARD NUMBER and whoala! Normal service tax rates apply which is 2.50 I think.  


While could always apply a real line credit card, there is con to owning a real one at all. Here are all the reasons why I chose this Prepaid option:

1. No Annual Fees
   There are some stories of being able to dodge the payment of annual fees by threatening to cancel accounts, having good credit standing, befriending the agent and a dozen more options but still, the other fees attached to your cc, like not being able to pay on time, are still payments not be reckoned with. On this card, you only get to pay 500 for 2 years and that's it. You don't even need to worry about interest rates since you have already paid for the credit you are using.

2. Worrying about the usage
   You won't exactly over use it right?

3. Security
   The reason why I packed myself with debit cards is because in the case of it being in the hands of a malicious being, there is no way for them to know what my pins are, making them useless. With this type of card, while I cannot withdraw the amount, I could simply load the card exactly of what I needed, that if they plan to use it without my permission, it will be of no use to them as well since it doesn't have a credit left.

4. No CC agent
   Yay! I remembered how my mom used to be harassed by CC agents who are endlessly annoying. None of them on my card!

5. For as long as it's a Mastercard...
    You can use it anywhere. I haven't tried it on a store but I will surely do when the need arises (I'd keep using debit cards unless not accepted) so for now I'll have to settle on online shopping and booking.


I haven't tried tying it up with Paypal but so far it has served me the 1st time (booking a hotel for tomorrow). I have yet to try it on purchasing apps (maybe when connection is better) and other stuff but I guess since this works like any Mastercard CC out there it certainly has to work. Will give you updates on this next time! (Just check updates below)



** UPDATE (4.1.12) **

I've been successful in adding this to Paypal Philippines and from there I was able to make a purchase from an international seller in Ebay and even pay for Android Apps. So much win!

** UPDATE (4.23.12) **

Payment

I'm successful in paying for this in Watson's and Teriyaki Boy although if they look at you funny just tell them to at least try.

Reload

For easier reload and less hassle, enroll your primary bank account (obviously has to be BPI) on your Globe handset then enroll this card as well (you have to enroll for it online and then wait for at least a week before you can actually reload this :-).) and whoala you can now reload your card anywhere you are! Best of all it won't take 24 hrs to reflect on your balance but just mere seconds :-D

Paypal

Find the E-prepaid to paypal blog here

** UPDATE (6.24.12) **

Pancake House didn't honor it (phew, at least I have cash!). It does work though, which I tried multiple times at SM Department Stores & Watson's outlets

** UPDATE (03.08.12) **

Just received an email from BPI, it looks credit limit is increased:


Screenshot from BPI email


** UPDATE 8.5.2012 **

Here's the Paypal Update: http://www.misstinapie.blogspot.com/2012/08/problem-solved-bpi-e-prepaid-to-paypal.html

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*Current Payroll of mine is in Megalink and all banks under that umbrella does not allow online transfer interbank inspite of being in that particular 'group' which is currently offered by Bancnet. They allow it's member banks (but not to any Megalink banks) in moving funds in several bank accounts for as long as they're on the group of banks (2 Bancnet, 3 Megalink personal accounts) takes extreme effort just to fund.

Shorties: Chickens (12.21.11)





The first thing I do whenever I walk out of the house is to look at the sky. No it's not to know if the sky has already fallen so I'd have a good excuse to bail out in the office but it's my gauge how late it was. Today it was blue. Instinct tells me that for as long as there's not much heavy traffic, I can still arrive before 9.

So there I was opening the gate, getting out, then closing it again. When I turned around my morning nemesis was there, staring. It's the neighbors' chicken.

One of my other habits and a good way to start the day is to chase half heartedly the neighbor's chicken, that is if he's around. It's fun, no one hasn't scolded me yet and we both get a minute of exercise. They usually fly in panic anyway so I won't be bothered accidentally kicking it. 

I'm not sure how he came to be in a subdivision property but I guess not owning too many it can pass off as a pet. And since he's allowed to roam I kind of think it's proper to give him a name. Let's settle for Roger. 

It's not that i'm saying I know a Roger who is a coward and it doesn't mean that all Rogers are cowards. It also doesn't mean all chickens can be Rogers it's just that he look like a Roger. Whatever that means.

So anyway, there's Roger alright. Staring at me. I know i'm late but he looks like he's up for a challenge. I think he recognizes the girl who kept on chasing him whenever he's loitering. He's probably thinking i'm some hall monitor and there's a good chance he'd called me a Roger as well. I stood straight and looked at him. I accept. And since i'm the aggressive one, I took one step towards him. It was startling. He didn't move.

Usually, that act alone is enough for him to flinch. But he didn't this time and it's puzzling why. I took another step and he didn't move a muscle! What?! What sorcery is this?! Has Roger evolved?

Brain neurons run incredibly fast that we get to have flashbacks, memory surges and recollections faster than a snap. At that moment I remembered a graphic novel. The one about chickens. Elmer.

Elmer is a graphic novel by Mr. Gerry Alanguilan and one of the most unique ideas out there. I've seen a lot of him from local comic conventions and he's one of the popular ones here and abroad. One of his works is Elmer. A unique alternate world where chickens have learned intelligence and became one of us. On the book they were now regarded as humans. Good luck making a movie out of that Pinoys!

At that point I began to imagine Roger growing a brain. Well of course he does have a brain, but what i'm trying to say is that he's beginning to become more  intelligent. He's standing up for his right of loitering without some nosy human chasing after him just for kicks. I was thrilled. A worthy opponent. So I stepped another. And another. He's still staring at me. 

Sorry, our encounter have to wait, I can't shrug off why people relate cowardice and dumbness to chickens. Yeah based on experience their initial response to an encounter is flight but this is not the case for mommy chickens. They do fight back that's why I don't chase mom chickens because i'm so sure to be clawed. And what about cock fights huh? If they're so coward why are they even took out to fights?

And for the degrading 'chicken brains'. What? Chickens have more chance of living alone than your average domesticated pet. They're rare to find for a road kill, they can scavenge their food and they're a bit hard to catch since they can both run and fly.

Of course they fly! When in great fear they can fly as high to perch on a tree way above your head. By the time you're up there they're already down and clucking away and you're still figuring out how to get down from that tree. See? They have outwitted you already. How is that dumb now?  

Back to Roger I wonder what he thinks. He's probably thinking 'oh I forgot my spur' or 'i'd make this long so she'd be late' or 'i'd reclaim my territory wooh' but then he's probably thinking of other things all together and he's so concentrated with his thought he didn't really notice me. 

Inching more towards him he took a side step. Aha! So you've noticed me now, eh? I took one more just for luck and he started to move. I deliberately stomped my feet to increase his panic. Roger took his tiny feet and went on running, with me on his tail. I was fast closing in and Roger learning this without looking back his arms started to spread out...

Just how do they know how far you are from them without looking is a mystery to me.  You can trick a person by just being too overly quiet and they won't notice your presence but it's a feat to do that with chickens. They know you're near, they know when you intend to catch. It's possibly a chicken radar of some sorts. Or we could smell weird to them. That's possible. We know how they smell but we must stank in their own standards. That's the closest I can think of anyway.

So Roger started to spread out. I can almost kick him but I didn't. I may injure or worse, kill him so I let him end our little encounter once more. He started to lift off the ground so I stopped on cue to not hit him. And although it's quite funny seeing his bottom making it hard to fly straight, I still marvel at their ability to just fly out of a difficult situation and wonder what he thinks. Cluck cluck cluck cluck?










Image: http://cartoonnetwork.wikia.com/wiki/Cow_and_Chicken

PB Co. : A Nutty Affair (11.26.11)

 

One of my favorite foods has got to be nuts. So when CashCashPinoy offered a voucher for PB Co. I immediately secured my own sets. We eventually get to use it for take out last Nov. after a series of connected and weird decisions. :-D

When I got home, my sister who was supposedly to share the food was way ahead in dreamland so I’m off on my own. I wasn’t able to eat it on the way so I obliged myself to stuff everything in or else it will be stuck in the ref for days and days and no one will dare touch it anymore. I was so lucky too that my hot choco was still warm even if I’ve rode it home with me from MoA to Cavite.

We have 600 worth of vouchers and we both have the same individual orders for all three. They don’t have a meal for it yet so we made the best out our vouchers. I think we also added a few pesos though which means prepare your wallet for the visit.

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The hot choco wasn’t strong and it is the best hot choco I had to date. I hope the recipe stays uniform the next time I visit. What’s also good is that you can get this baby anytime. No need to wait for breakfast offerings!

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Instead of fries, they have this mojos that are neither salty nor sweet. It was okay for awhile and then I was literally shoving it in my mouth. Maybe it would taste different if it wasn’t cold.

IMG_0669

The burger has nice buns, a fairly sized patty not to too thick or thin. Imagine your regular burger with a sweet surprise of nutty sauce. It doesn’t taste awkward or over power the burger at all. I could tell that if I weren’t so sleepy it would have been a nicer experience because at that time though my thoughts were already drifting towards the bed.

I was able to take a peek on their menu that most of them are complemented with peanut butter that is a good reason to take a bite on them all. If for anything the burger is something anyone should try even once for their life though if you’re not venturing to peanut butter pasta (which I’d try next time yay!). What’s also good is that not all people appreciate peanut butter that their initial reaction would be to simply pass by the store-- so no long lines or lack of leg room when every table seems taken at other restaurants during lunch. Oh well. More for me!

Concert: Richard Marx: Now & Forever (12.9.11)


IMG_0937 The only photo I was able to take :-( I was more concerned in saving all his videos though :-)

While most Pinoys only knew him due to his ballads, there is more to Richard Marx that most of us dismiss without even knowing. For one, the guy is a songwriter. And by songwriter, he’s not just composing tunes, he’s behind a lot of songs most of us aren’t aware of. And his music is so 80s it’s enough to know I’m rubbing on the good side of Reagan.
It was one of those days that are just unbelievably grid locked. My bf was extremely late and when we met up at Araneta my face is squished in anxiety. It’s already 8 and we are still finding our way out of the mall. So it was a huge relief when we got there and the line is still ongoing and not an act was there at all. We were able to go to and fro the dome and order 2 Baconators and still no act. And wait, guess who the does the opening act? Hahahaha.
I never thought the organizers would have even thought of Aiza Seguerra. Here we are talking about Richard Marx who is not given that much credit for his capability as a musician and then we have an opening act who is given too much credit. What’s saved her is that he is accompanied by Mike Villegas, a virtuoso who does all the guitar playing while she does the voice and the acting. Never mind that she wore a guitar. Listening carefully will just reveal how hers was just props**. So anyway after her set list we were told that Marx will come out 15 mins later--- to the misery of the seniors who were also in.
While 15 mins is already a long time, it was nothing compared to how long he was on stage. Reviewing my videos, he started at 9:41 and bowed around 11:33 pm. The stamina of that guy is just too amazing. He didn’t even have a lot of people on board, just his companion who goes on and off the stage at some songs to accompany him while he plays the guitar.
The first time I heard his voice live I swear I had goose bumps. It’s just too wonderful to listen to and it is the real deal, unlike most artists nowadays who are so fond of voice alteration equipments. It is also amazing how he was such a funny guy, that with almost every song he has his share of stories and jokes it’s not hard to imagine how he is a wonderful guy at home. One of his jokes was ‘there’s a lot of beautiful people here. and women too’.
One of the preparations I did prior to the concert was listen to his songs so that I won’t be clueless to what the rest of them were. I mean his album was released when I was still a baby so there are a lot of songs of that I’ve no idea of. He sang most of his hits, like Angelia (which he pressed the one from the back requested even though it’s not), Hazard (the song his wife was SO right with), Right Here Waiting (after startling us by singing the first lines of Pokerface: ‘Can’t read my, can’t read my…’ ), Now & Forever (awww). He also sang songs he’s written/collaborated like This I Promise You (N Sync), The Best of Me (Cliff Richard) , amongst others – and we’re so lucky to ever experience since he’d rarely sing that in public. It was really convenient for us to have chosen the lower seats than patrons’ since I was able to just place the camera on my lap and steady it towards the stage due to his almost non-stop performance.
In his concert I also observed how he’s a family oriented guy, mentioning his wife and his father (with a tribute) and his kids lovingly. He even sang along with the video of his well talented 3 boys, who he taped at their home playing different instruments. He was saying about an album they’d come up and by that sampler I could guess that if it may not be a hit (since most prefer Gaga nowadays), would surely be a good one.
I know I have disdain for artists who suddenly comes to Manila to save up for pension but his interaction with the audience is so comforting and warm it felt anything but malicious. There are a lot of foreign artists here who were just too concerned with claiming their fading career back but the quality of their music has not even upgraded, and they just kept on singing their songs over and over again. And here we are with Marx who is still active on the industry he was born in (his father was a musician), and not just recycling. I do hope he comes back. Perhaps with his entire family too. Better save up already :-D



** As much as I wanted to own the observation, it was all the observation of the bf who has an exceptional set of ears and a fan of really good music. This was strengthen later when I talked to my officemate who said that Villegas is indeed Aiza’s ghost guitarist.

TME: Train: Wake up the Happiness! (12.7.11)


IMG_0841
Choochoo!!
To be honest I’m not a fan of the band BUT I am a huge fan of the San Francisco Album. I can totally sing the entire song list but I doubt anyone could stand my amateur voice :-P.  Other than that I think the only song I knew from them is Drops of Jupiter, and comparing that particular song to their style in the latest album it’s at both ends of the spectrum.
And so we went. The seats were around the same area as in the Script, only a row higher, BUT directly in front of the stage. This is the first time I’m bringing my new baby camera to test in an extremely low light condition.
The opening act was Six Cycle Mind. I’m not really particular about OPM bands so I didn’t know they changed vocalists. I don’t listen to them that much but the former one had a voice that were way easier to remember.
Parachute came first which is a bit weird as the opening of the set (not one of their happy songs) but at least it’s from the album I’m familiar with. The next songs were then a combination of all the rest of the albums combined. I was able to listen to their entire discography but that wasn’t enough for me to remember the entire thing.
The dome didn’t have that much of an audience, and it’s a bit disappointing not everyone was able to experience how hyper Patrick got in performing. He bonded with the audience as much as he could. He got audiences to participate in singing, even have some of them on stage to sing along. He also had a game up on his sleeve making a few girls fight for an autographed guitar.
One of the highlights of the night and probably one of the reasons why fans flocked in the first place was listening to ‘Marry Me’ live. Earlier during dinner I told Reagan how my officemates and I speculated if by any chance one of the audiences suddenly does stealing the spotlight off of the band to publicly propose to their beloved. He was teasing me what there may be a chance that it’s him but knowing him all too well I won’t be anticipating anything yet :-D
So anyway, after singing the song they will only get to chance to sing ONCE a year and ONLY to this part of the tour, which is, ahem, Shake Up Christmas, Patrick started to strip off his vest. Not a second after I yelled ‘take it off’ he took out a white shirt and said, ‘Let’s get married’; and this was the cue the crowd was waiting for to strain their throats some more.
What was surprising was he suddenly jumped off the stage and started walking right INTO the crowd. Reagan came back teasing me again on how I should be worried that he might be the one doing the proposal since Patrick is fast approaching our way. It wasn’t until he turned right to make a circle of the entire Patron area that Reagan’s teasing stopped; thank goodness.*
Last song was Drops of Jupiter. It was just a so-so song to me before but listening to it live, and how sentimental he performed the song it added some depth to it that it for a while I got the habit of listening to it for sometime.
But for that good part we have to trade off with the length of the program. It’s as if it’s not even an hour (without the opening act of 6 Cycle) and by 1030 we’re already out of Araneta. If it was the cost of their per hour, or it’s just their style we can’t do anything about it; but anyway, they’ve compensated through the performance alone and that’s what’s important right?
The band said how Manila is one of their favorite spots to visit, and I don’t have any means to prove that but if by any chance they’d visit for a 3rd time to promote their upcoming album and if it’s as good as the San Francisco stint, there is a huge chance we’d try to hit the patron seats (This year around 4k+). Besides, I may get lucky that they’d finally play Half Moon Bay at that time so it’s something to be looked forward for. I’m so convinced of Patrick’s ability to entertain a crowd that it is a good enough reason for the ticket price. Besides, it is rare for someone so famous to pick up your own camera and take a photo of both you just for kicks. Mind that he’s doing it WHILE singing. If you even close your eyes it’s impossible to recognize he’s not still and seating! How could not that be a good enough reason right?!

*Of course we’re not ready yet! Come onnnnnn!!

Urban Adventures: Resorts World Manila in a day (10.29.11)


Resorts World Manila


Haven’t been to RWM before so the showing of the musical Sound of Music is a good alibi to visit the mall situated on an area inaccessible to most people. Which is by the way a good thing, because then it’s not too crowdy.

Entrance
It is our first time after all, so you can’t blame us for not, in spite of the taxi dropping us off at the entrance to not enter through there first. We both saw from outside the Casino logo and we instantly walked to the right thinking we were there by mistake. Luckily they have another entrance on the farthest side, used by those from the parking lot.

We wanted to walk around but before anything else, we headed upstairs, looking tor the cinemas. We found it alright, but we are already 20mins late.

Casino
We now have plenty of time to look around and one of the places we went was the casino. Both of us haven’t seen or been into one in real life so it was an entirely new experience for us and what we found was how it resembles so much of what you normally see on TV. They have zombie-glazed eyed people, smoke lingering on the air with just one exception. I haven’t seen young sexy people in gorgeous gowns and suits. I guess in real life seniors abound in casinos more than what popular media makes us believe. 

Lunch
There are so many restaurants around the area it took a lot of thinking on my part to stir my bf to one that took my attention the first time we approached the escalators. It had this curious chairs with pictures of people in exaggerated make-up,
It didn’t stop on the chairs though, because their menus are also something to giggle on, dishes named after actors and movies which totally confuses your judgement on what to order to finding what your favorite movie tastes like.  I sure will come back when I’m prepared (forgot the phone with a camera) to review

Cinema
Priced at 200, it’s as if you’re paying for less people and comfortable chairs. They don’t have nice movies for the Ultra cinema house, our main target (priced at 500, unlimited drinks & popcorn plus butler) so we will just try it next time. There was a bit of technical issue at the middle of the showing but it was handled easily so that must have only been an isolated event.

Newport Theater
Right after the movie, we were able to find the entrance of the theater just in time before Sound of Music actually started. I haven’t watched any musical for a long time so this have made us all smiling from ear to ear. They’ve thought of everything, chairs, lighting, sounds and the actual musical of course! The costumes, the transition of backdrops are worth the ticket you’re paying it for.
What only irritated me that time was seeing an old woman 2 seats away from me recording the musical on her Ipad! The nerve. Sign says no recording and here she is being difficult. It would have been good telling in on her to the guards but I’d rather not exert the effort to someone who doesn’t know how to read.

We will surely come back next time, not sure if we’d ever try the casino but hopefully the Ultra cinema.  There are also a handful of restaurants there we would love to try and who would not like the idea of going somewhere not hogged by too many people? See you there next time!


Note: Yeah no pics due to the forgetfulness of the author T_T

A Cheesy Affair in Tapella (10.15.11)

 

Tapella, if you haven’t been there yet, is obviously because of it being on the farthest side of Greenbelt. Who knows if it ever gets a full house but around lunch time you can expect all the rest the tables for your choosing.

Let’s start with croquettes shall we?

Below is Cocido Meat Croquettes. It is really crunchy and cheesy no one will get tired of each batch. I don’t even mind if they have no dips because the fusion of the breading and soft insides are enough to ask for more.

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Creamy Seafood Paella is good as well, we ate even the burnt sides attributed to the melted cheesy rice. The sad thing about it is how it was so long to prepare, and I’m telling you it is a really a very long wait. The serving is also tiny, that if you have a fair appetite, you wanted to have a bowl for yourself and not to share as the waitress told us. I mean it is ‘small’ size, but we asked which is good for two people and this is what they actually recommended.

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And because we’re running out of time (we still have to watch a movie) but are still hungry, we opted for dessert. They didn’t have the menu for it, but they showed us a platter of various desserts currently available and we chose this slice of what our waitress called as crepe—which I always thought was that dessert where they fold in half with fruits and cream inside of it. This was not it (or maybe this is the actual crepe they use on the fruit kind) Each bite of this is really fluffy and the sauce poured over it provides a fairly sweet taste, a lot closer to leche flan only less creamy.

 

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While the food is good, it would add to the restaurant’s image if they:

1. Serve larger portions

2. Have nicer waitresses with fast response time (we joked how me & bf can actually run away not paying)

3. Clean their white fabric chairs which looked like it was never changed since their opening.

Walking Through Lorenzo’s Way (10.8.11)

 

Still in the hunt for the best Baklava in town, we ended up going to Lorenzo’s way. Last time wasn’t as good as I anticipated and I really am serious of knowing where I could ever buy the closest to the ones our cousin sent to us who used to work in Turkey.

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For appetizers they served us with vegetarian sticks or as they named it, Teriyaki Mushroom and Tofu Kebab. For every skewer you get pieces of tofu, mushrooms, peppers and onions one on top of each other, drizzled with teriyaki sauce. If you’re not even remotely fond of munching whole button mushrooms, don’t even bother.

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Below is a dish called Coco Loco Prawns. It reminds me so much of one of my favorite food, Ginataang Alimasag and is a really far deviation of it. Coco Loco Prawns is a bit spicy (just look at that green chili right there), the sauce is creamy and it is reeking with seafood goodness. What’s so hard to understand about it is that although I love prawns, I’m not loving this as much as I do with every other prawn dish.

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Must be the high blood

Race Course Road Fish Curry is my attempt to order anything with fish on it. First pieces were wonderful until I grew tired of the semi-curry taste. I’ve been eating curry in different places but this is the first time that it tasted a bit differently. You can notice how the color isn’t as dark as most curry around right? I guess it has to do with the usage of fish.

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 The anemic fish curry

If the best flavored rice is somewhere called Mesa, there is so much less to what to love in their bamboo rice. I’ve been trying so hard to mask the strong flavor off the rice by pouring sauces from the two dishes aforementioned above but this was just too much. I’d rather go with plain rice. And the pungent odor as well. Whatever they put on this is for me, really just too over the top.

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After the rest of our plates were removed, they now served the only dish we ever came here for. The Baklava.

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While we can do without the ice cream on the side, the still warm baklava on cold ice cream enhanced what’s already good with the dessert in the first place. It is even cut the same (although I remember having squares, diamonds, etc) and sure as hell worth the wait. It is a bit on the pricey side yes but the only other alternative would be going to Turkey so this is by far, much more cheaper than that. By now I’m already satisfied with what I was given but perhaps some other restaurant out there exists with their own version of baklava. But for now whenever the craving exists, I now know where to go.

I have so much expectations on Lorenzo’s way but out of all the dishes presented I am not impressed at all; and although I’m not in charge in paying (grin) it’s hard to be willing to pay that much when all the time my taste buds are complaining.

Pepper Lunch: Hot. Literally. (9.10.11)


I still don’t get what’s the deal with “Pepper” being in the name of a hot plate restaurant (there’s also Sizzling Pepper Lunch) and not find Pepper in your plate (atleast Heaven ‘n Eggs are trying with the eggs). I remembered having dinner sometime ago in Sizzling Pepper Lunch and it was a so-so experience. The trick is the same with all of those hot plate restaurants, the pour of gravy will make you feel like your food is being cooked by the so called hot plate.

If you work near the area, or know Megamall that much, you would know that the area where Pepper Lunch and Bon Chon were previously rented by Kaya Restaurant. No one misses it as far as I’m concerned but my point is, of the two that replaced that mainstream Korean foodchain, Pepper Lunch prices are not as easy on the everyday lunch out as much as Bon Chon* is. So instead of shamelessly asking my lunch buddies to try it one time (the blame of spending too much on a day would be endless) I went there on my own when I was rendering OT.

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Can you see how smoke trails up of the dish?!!

I’m not yet convinced on how the hot plate would be able to cook my food so I ordered the easy to cook fish. If you may look at the photo, it is still raw but flipping it over, even just once for less than a minute, you will see how it changes color from raw to cooked right before your eyes. It is also served with no dancing gravy so no trick is needed to convince you that the plate is indeed hot for food to be cooked.

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A bit expensive though.
Next came their ice cream. I have been noticing how most restaurants now offer this  freezed delights (ice cream with toppings) this was the first time I was able to truly enjoy a cup. It was a bit huge though, but the taste of the toppings and the ice cream itself is something to be reckoned with.

Service is really good, they automatically reserve a good seat for you once you are in queue for your your order (self service), place is clean and the waiters are also friendly (I have one of them buy me the ice cream). The only thing that will hit the review star down is the price (for everyday lunch I mean) and how truly hot the plate is. They are so serious about making the plate in that cooking temperature that the plate was on my table for 20 minutes and it is still too hot for my tongue (hence the ice cream).

Verdict: Will come back next time.


*I ranted about my first time eating in BonChon but I was able to come back and choose the ones that are sure not to have any disappointing blood stains—the chops or the fish meals. At times I also order the huge burger.

EVOO Overload at Cyma (9.3.11)

 

It’s been days. I’m craving for baklava. My cousin once worked in Turkey and she usually takes home those sweet baklava treats with nuts. I don’t miss nuts that much since we can buy it here (although expensive—pistachio, walnuts, almonds, etc) but baklava… oh man. I could never find that taste elsewhere.

I shared this craving with Reagan and he was all game with us finding the authentic baklava I love. I was even thinking of going to Turkey which costs roughly 70k which is well, feasible, until we go to the part that the minimum requirement for a trip there is 15 people; in other words, I really must find one here in the Metro.

Since he’s a better googler, he was first to find that Cyma does offer such food. So we went there, all for the sake of me reuniting with my favorite dessert and him, to know what the fuss is about. We also haven’t dine hire yet so it’s another alibi.

Instead of getting set meals, we ordered what we think are Greek and at the same time safe. We’ve contemplated the menu and had a laugh on how to properly pronounce the names of the food (don’t worry they provide an English description) and started with Devilled Eggs. Always heard about it but haven’t really tried it anywhere before so I suggested it as our appetizer. Although the devilled eggs I’ve seen before aren’t presented like this, the ones on our plate were sweet and there are a few parts that stick to the gums. I will note that experience next time I order that elsewhere.

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Eggs-a-swimming

Moussaka came next which was another dish I deliberately ignore at the cafeteria due to the eggplant on it. But as you can see below, I don’t have much choice but help my man finish this serving made for sharing. I was telling him that it’s not that bad (I was worried with the eggplant taste) and I don’t recognize the vegetable on my mouth until he told me he picked those away before serving me. Aww. Sweet!

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For someone who does not like Cheese that much, that sure is scary.

I wasn’t up for fish today or seafood (I still haven’t recovered from last time at Clawdaddy’s) so I just ordered the Chicken Adobo- Greek version. Although I don’t believe that this is indeed a Greek version of this Filipino dish, I assume that it’s the closest description they can make up to put in their menu and I was right. It wasn’t anything like the Adobo that I knew, starting from the looks to the taste. They have also served almost half a chicken it’s impossible to not share it with.

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I can feel the oils building up in my heart.

And lastly, the sole reason of why we ever came here in the first place. The Baklava.

IMG1242 :-(

As I’ve said earlier, I know what I know about Turkish baklava (Like Spratlys, there are a handful of countries claiming the origin of Baklava) and this is not it. I don’t know if I was able to hide my dismay (in spite of a really huge chunk good for at least 3-4 people mind you) but this is not the Baklava I know. This is wet, and huge, and too sweet and no filo bread and a thin layer of the crushed nuts. No, no, no. This is not it! If it’s the Greek version again, they have totally ruined it. This steroidal version of the dessert I love is really awful.

I have always imagined going to Cyma being a good place to try Greek food and they may have the best of intentions it’s just that all foods served today are just by taste, too overpowering. I doubt that having rice or bread will change it but they could hold too much of EVOO in all of the dishes—everything is just too oily. I’ve tried Go Greek before, and although it’s not much of a classy place, the taste of the dishes served there are just right. Not that I’m saying Cyma isn’t any good, but come on. It’s as if you forgot we are thought to eat the dish.

Urban Adventures: MIBF 2011 (9.18.11)

 

Before this day, I had no plans of ever going because I wasn’t allow to buy any book at all by my boyfriend. He knows I have too many unread books and he insists I finish all of them before I buy new ones. But I was able to have an alibi, all thanks to Alexander Yates.

I have first heard of his book, I think a few weeks back on an NBS newsletter (so what if I’m only subscribed to PB and NBS newsletters?!!) which I now rarely look at due to “the ban” but then he’d do book signing and being his first attempt as a writer, I could not resist being one of his audience while there are still a few of them out there. There is always a pleasure for me to be able to get to be the first one to hear of it so I slightly hinted that I MAY go to the fair if I didn’t get lazy.

So I went there with a plan:

1. Buy Moondogs

2. Have it signed by Mr. Yates

3. Go home.

I was there around around 230 so I had a lot of chance going to and fro elsewhere but I managed to just stay on the NBS Booth. Besides, the machine that reads loyalty cards are busted on the only cashier that has the shortest line so I still have to fall in queue on customer service. I also get to pick a prize since my purchase is around the range; I got bookmarks. While waiting, they came:

100_1875 I can’t still figure out how they managed to put a person inside that Doraemon. I’m already ‘tall’ for this mascot.

Kids and moms alike went crazy. Especially the kids who I could only imagine how thrilled they were seeing the cat on TV come alive. They are (mascots I mean not the moms)  the reason why I bought the Doraemon set (I took it as an alibi that I will give it to him as a gift*).

So anyways when the crowd dispersed I stayed on that particular area (if you look behind Doreamon a poster of Moondogs is there) since this is where the signing will take place. A few minutes later, Alexander Yates came. I stood there for awhile until I grew weary of waiting (he and his friend are busy discussing something) so I decided to walk around the booth until 3pm is up.

While I roam around I was able to find collections. It’s probably just me but I enjoy having book collections since the series are uniformed in size and texture. Last time I tried to follow a series which didn’t do well in sales I had a hard time getting the last of the trilogy; much more disappointing that one of them, the very last copy is in hardbound :-(. So to as much as possible I revert to collections. And they are selling it really cheap if you wane the popular demand.

I was able to browse through so many books and I was telling him how I feel so tortured being around so many of them. And unexpectedly, a miracle happened. He told me to buy anything I want!! I got so excited I started thinking how I would be able to carry out my plans of taking a lot of them babies home.

But before I get to buy anything else, I realized I was stripped of all cash. I don’t have a cc and they currently don’t accept debit cards so I was to wait till the book signing was over which happened like 30 minutes after the designated time.

100_1879 Alex currently explaining what “moondogs” mean.

After the small talk where Alex basically talked about the book, we finally went to the actual book signing. I was eyeing how many of us there were and all I can see is just me and this woman on my left. Kind of disappointing but at least I know the line won’t be that long. I was surprisingly the first in line (it’s so embarrassing I feel like some stalker) and I was shocked that he talked to me. I’ve never had a foreigner sign a book before but I never experienced it(talking) to signing artists locally so this have shocker have greatly added to his appeal, in my book anyway.

100_1886 Thanks!!

After the book signing I was off to abuse the privilege. I have proof that he said that I should buy whatever I want so after dumping my bag and the books I recently purchased (Moondogs & Doraemon collection) I went to the nearest ATM machine I could find and went back to roam around.

I remembered a friend told me that when he receives a hefty amount of cash to burn the first thing he does is he fills himself up. I thought I should do the same so I had lunch first at the catering service at MIBF itself. After that I tried going lane by lane to find books of my fancy.

One of the reasons I have piles of books is when I get to a sale/book fair I tend to buy books that are, well, on sale. I (used to, a little bit of it now) rarely buy them because I knew the author or proved that they were good, hence the titles I have are usually unknown. And since I buy them blindly, there really are times that a good synopsis at the back or the more drastic, a beautiful cover (Before Ever After by Samantha Sotto ; Bride Stripped Bare by Anonymous) is all it takes for me to take it home. It was only recently that I tried buying each and every book that has a strong fan base to add to my collection no matter if the audience target are kids (Percy Jackson ; Doraemon) for as long as I have every intention to read it, hence the easy-to-read-ones (which is why I still can’t get myself in buying the Devil Wears Prada books housed in a cute shoebox—the only reason why I want to have it, while every nerve in my body telling me I won’t be enjoying the books themselves).

I already have my eyes on the Percy Jackson and Hunger Games Set but it was only after I came back that I also bought Trash, Numbers and the 60th Anniversary Edition of LOTR in one thick paperback. What also appealed to me is it’s the very last copy in the booth and in really good condition. Good thing I haven’t read it yet. Ilustrado wasn’t also in my plans but the synopsis so far is interesting enough to buy.

Walking around, I was able to find a shelf of leather bound books in small sizes of different literature. I was about to get a handful of them (price is only 250 but actual payment ha less 50 pesos) but it’s a dismay that the ribbon bookmarks aren’t all in a good condition. I only got the Lewis Carroll 2 in 1 (Alice in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass) and Hans Andersen Classics. I was thinking how this would look cool in my shelf when I get to own  many of it (plan to hoard next year when good book condition exists).

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There were also a few celebrities who came this day to sign books, Tado, Lourd De Vera (extremely long line I didn’t bother) and David Pomeranz are those few I was able to spot. Yes you read it right. David Pomeranz. You’d be surprised on what he’s currently promoting. No, it’s not a new album or a music related book, not even an autobiography. He’s now a Dianetics guy. No way you say. My reaction is the same. I know right?

No university press books this time (I still have most of them unread in my shelf) and nothing out of the ordinary. No Filipino authors from the old days (yes to The Woman with 2 Navels, No to Catch Me a Firefly (really dreadful)) but I still think I have a good haul this time. It would have been perfect if I was able to spot the Coelho collection I don’t see in PB Mega anymore.  Better be prepared for next year when I think is the only time I can buy new books. Goodluck to me finishing it all haha!!**

 

 

*Not. I won’t be discussing it here but there’s no need for me to give it to him. :-)

**So far I’m still finishing Watchmen XD

TIB: Megatent September Sale 9.4.11


This is going to be short. I will just rant on a simple event that happened today.
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I have managed to turn away from sales for as long as I can muster (probably a few months) but since our youngest sister was in need of some new clothes (they have a new school policy of semi-formal during Wednesdays which here wardrobe lacks terribly of) so I thought that this will be a good alibi. So we went, shopped, and reduced my current accounts to something something pesos (my sisters were so excited they get to buy too much stuff—to the dismay of my wallet of course).
I was growing tired of the place since there were only a small number of exhibitors (this is compared to the one I went to last year in MOA) and totally dampen my want to shop. So after the fifth time we went around, and was sick seeing the same old stuff all the time, I urged them to call it a day and retreat at Mega to wait for our father.
But before we got out, we were held up by the guards of the tent asking us to show to them our receipts. It hit a vein so I snapped sarcastically, “Go look for yourself”, intentionally shoving my  bag (other than my bag, I brought this SM shopping bag, the white one, to put all the bags I’ve accumulated since I hate carrying too much stuff) on his table. It was so irritating that I almost blurted out swears  I could ever come up. F*** whatever protocols they have but has it ever occurred to them HOW SOME OF THEIR EXHIBITORS DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT ISSUE RECEIPTS?! So what is this now? That maybe, in all these plastics/paper bags we have, WE SHOPLIFTED ANY MERCHANDISE?! How dare them. I’ve been to numerous sales and this is the only time I’ve ever experienced this. If they were sincere in ever finding anyone stealing anything, WHY NOT HAVE MORE GUARDS ROAM AMONG THE EXHIBIT HALL huh?
NO, I won’t back to whatever stupid sale they’d ever do in the future.
I will stick to MOA or MEGAMALL or ANY OTHER SALE WHERE THEY DO NOT ask for any receipts and where there are plenty more exhibitors AND with no guards asking some stupid request.

Flavours of China (again and again) 08.14.2011

 

It has become tradition that every second week we go out to grocery. And more often than not, it also means we are out to eat out. One of our favorite restaurants would have to be this one, Flavours of China.

What I usually liked about Chinese restaurants is the Yang Chow Rice. It’s always lovely to eat and the servings are usually such as this. It’s as if they have too many rice cookers cooking at the same time just to keep up with the volume of this baby.

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Caramelized pork with walnuts is also nice, although you can get by with a slice or two. And yes, this dish really have walnuts on it. Lots and lots of it.

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This hotpot also packs so much taste this was the first one to have been fully consumed. It was simple and the ingredients are well cooked. We also had their fried chicken, which is surprisingly none too oily; it was so unlike this chicken chain that won’t hold the oil you feel like getting to hospital afterwards.

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Full cost of meal? 1165 pesos. That also includes a pitcher of iced tea and 4 pieces of buchi. Not bad compared to their 999 meal promo. The only complaint I have of this restaurant is it’s long preparation time. But who would not forgive them when the food is just too wonderful? And so we’d come back for more and more and more…

Coming back to Ramen Bar (7.30.11)

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The second batch of Food Adventure food trip hasn’t made both of us satiated so without hesitation we went straight to The Ramen Bar. Last time the only food that was served to us were kakuni buns and not a bowl of ramen which is obviously it’s specialty. I know for a fact that my boyfriend will not let any ramen opportunity go so we pondered on the offerings in the menu.

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  There are so many choices in ramen alone but only one stood out, which we also knew was the house specialty. R.B.S. #1.

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Okay so it doesn’t look very much appealing. Not anything like the colorful ramen bowls we are so familiar of. There aren’t no food arrangements, no familiar naruto slice on top. I was trying to break a smile when it was served and I was getting a bit scared that I may not enjoy it. But I can’t back out now, so I dipped my spoon and into my mouth. IMG1191

One of the reasons why I”m not fond of noodles is because it’s always too hot or too cold. I could never make it to the right temperature and blowing air into my food at every spoonful is a much extended effort to eat. But what was served in front of me was ready to eat and I was slurping away. And you know what? I enjoyed it. The flavor is so rich you can taste so much in sip. What was also amazing was how the pork was so tender you don’t even need to bite it at all.

Too bad I didn’t get to finish the entire bowl (it was huge) but we had our shares to go. It was so worth the 380, it is truly a good idea to try out the rest of the ramens available. I wonder if they’d ever make an R.B.S. #2…?

Voucher Series: 60% off deal at Shiro Shiro (8.13.11)

 

I’ve been lingering in voucher sites for some time now and this is the first time I bought a food voucher (the first and only one being the Flip offer) to try. The best pick so far that pushed through (buffet meals would only frustrate me) was a 5 course meal from Shiro Shiro—it’s Japanese, we haven’t eaten there yet and it’s cheap. In other words not hard to convince the bf.

As usual we came in late from our reservation. I was frustrated at our demise (stuck in traffic, I have to call to move the reservation) only to find out that we really have no table competition at all. There was only one guy at that time (lunch hour) and it looked like the 100+ customers who bought the vouchers have no intention of coming in today.

We gave our printed out voucher to the waitress who was clueless on their OWN OFFERINGS. We even logged in (lucky they have WiFi) just to check what package we’re getting. And when we chose one of the sets, it was even unfortunate that it wasn’t available so we settled for the Okinawa Set. They should have at least prepared a print out of the menu yet they haven’t. What, they expect all of their customers to remember the sets?? There’s absolutely no reason why they don’t come out prepared for this.

IMG1218 No one’s around so they let us choose this comfy table and seats.

Inspite of lack of customers, our food came out just as if the house is fully packed; but when the food came, the intervals of the dishes served are not as long.

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That’s stir fried veggies as side dishes and a couple of potato chips. Notice that the dip for it is mayo. I never tried it before but I never thought that the two complement each other.  IMG1207

Not much of a stretch to your good ol’ asparagus wrapped in bacon.

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The salad was perfect. The crispy fish in greens are a nice play of flavors in the mouth, together with that yellow sauce. Although it quite missed the sharing part. (Yeap, that’s already for sharing)

IMG1211 This would have been better if it was served in rice. The flavor was just too intense to finish it without anything else. I think at this time I was already munching on my part of the tamago.

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If it were the Tokyo set, it would have been ice cream, but instead we were stuck with fruits.

The original deal was supposed to be priced at 1000 php but the voucher discount slashed a huge chunk of it and we only paid it for 399 pesos. What the deal hasn’t told you was that, no rice is included in the set, and no drinks. What you see up there, the tamago sushi and the iced teas are only add-ons we opted to make. The thing is, it hasn’t established this impression that will make you come back because there was nothing in the package that is not found anywhere else, for instance, those fruits. Sure, 399 is already a deal for 2 people but claiming that this was previously 1000 pesos is a stretch.

While I may not know if catering to only a few customers at a time where lunch is served a normal occurrence, I would suspect it the case given that the promo was supposed to drive in more people. But seeing how they come unprepared (no printed menu of the promo set ; 1 out the 3 sets not available), add to that that their dishes are not something you will come back especially for,  I suspect a lot of them voucher customers will not be excited in coming back at all. The location is not exactly that accessible and really, they ought to be any more convincing. We all know that location is really important in setting up a business but it only takes a few recommendations to spread the word around. :-)

 

The actual deal: http://www.metrodeal.com/index.php?dealId=MjY1