Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Pasto (Eastwood)

There are thousands of Italian Restaurants around the city and most of them claims to have an authentic Italian experience. Honestly, only a few tickled my Italian cuisine fancy. Ive tried dining in at Pasto in Eastwood City to check if the claim is true or not.

I notice that the interior is cozy and welcoming and I love the chic and cosmopolitan design of the place.

Now on to their opulent menu.

Bianca (Php265) - Pizza with pesto, cheese and different types of seafoods such as mussels, shrimp and clams. Two thumbs up!

Romano (Php345) - Crusted chicken breast with spinach and roasted mushrooms in a Gorgonzola cream sauce served with fettuccine.

Parmigiana (Php 325) - Chicken breast stuffed with smoked ham, spinach and mozzarella topped with parmegiana sauce on a bed of penne pasta

Genovece (Php255) - Capellini with shrimps, arugula, pesto and pine nuts in a tomato-cream sauce

Overall I cannot really say "wow" to their dishes. Those were typical pasta and pizza dishes and theres nothing really to rave about. I would still consider going back there some other time but I was not really that impressed.

Eastwood City Walk 1
Eastwood City Cyberpark, E. Rodriguez Jr. Ave., Bagumbayan, Libis
Quezon City, Metro Manila
(02) 911-2768

UCC Park Cafe (Eastwood)

(Photo from Clickthecity.com)

One good thing I love about working in Eastwood is that I do have a lot of choices when it comes to lunchout preferences. One of my favorite is UCC Park Cafe located at Dell Building in Eastwood.

UCC is known not only for its coffee concoctions but also for the Japanese Fusion cuisine they offer. I love it there because they serve all day breakfast! I'm certainly a fan of waffles and sausages and its good to know that I can have it anytime of the day.

Western Breakfast Veal Bratwurst (Php 329)

I also love their fusion pasta offerings. They made new twists to the old favorites and its pretty refreshing to the palate unlike the usual pasta dishes were having on Italian restaurants. What I love about their pasta is that you can taste that its definitely Japanese influenced since they add ingredients such as shredded nori and bonito flakes.

Spanish Sardines Pasta (Php300 +) I forgot the exact amount of this dish.

Japanese Seafood Soup Spaghetti (Php399)

I also love their Curry rice perhaps because I am a fan of curry. Ive tried almost all of their curry rice varieties and one of my favorite is this.

Hamburg Curry with Rice (Php 369)

I have also tried the Katsu Curry rice and The UCC Park Cafe Chicken Rolls Curry with rice. All three are sumptuous! I love the hefty servings of the curry sauce and it does compliment well the flavors of the different dishes.

I dont think I'll ever get tired of having lunch at UCC Park Cafe. The dishes are a little bit pricey but the quality and service is top notch.

UCC Park Café Express,
G/F 1800 Dell Bldg., Eastwood Ave., Libis
Quezon City, Metro Manila
(02) 470-1382

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tracks for Christmas : hOMe for the Holidays Vol 2

OM records never fails to amaze me, releasing the Volume 2 of their hOMe for the Holidays CD this year. These fine Downtempo, Nu Jazz tracks are perfect to be played at cozy Christmas parties, enjoying a glass of wine and fine holiday conversations.


1 Nacho Marco - Blizzard
2 J Boogie - Dance Of The Snowflake
3 Al Velilla - Jingle Beat
4 Montesco - O Holy Night (feat Laurent Caillat)
5 Nacho Marco - Adore
6 King Kooba - Christmas Jam
7 The Mistletones & Rithma - Sunny Night
8 Body Language - Holiday
9 Al Velilla's Tercet - Spread Love
10 The Electric Tabernacle Symphony - Dreaming Of Santa
11 Rithma - Them Things (feat Marisa Guzman)
12 Lance Desardi - Whose Dub Is This

My personal faves are tracks 1 and 3. So if you want something chill to play at your party, then you've already got a holiday soundtrack buddy! :) Merry Christmas!

Thousand Teas (Mezza Residences, Aurora Blvd QC)

After indulging on a sumptuous Japanese dinner at Yutaka Izakaya, me and my folks decided to have some milktea at Thousand Teas at the ground floor of Mezza Residences in Aurora Blvd.

The place is bright but at the same time cozy. Ive passed by this milktea hub a lot of times and I would always see students studying and people taking advantage of the free Wifi. Its well lit inside which makes it very conducive to studying.

We ordered these drinks.

Assam Milktea with Custard Pudding (Php 85+ 15 for the additional custard pudding) and Taro Milktea with Pearl (Php 85 + 20 for the additional pearls)

I was very much disappointed with their Custard Pudding. Its not even a custard pudding but a slab of tasteless gelatine. I had my Assam Milktea with light sugar since I was expecting that the custard pudding will make the taste a little sweeter but I was wrong. Their custard pudding made the Assam Milktea taste horrible. :( The Taro Milktea is also a disappointment. I can barely taste the Taro flavor unlike Spartea's and Ersao's Taro milktea which I think are very good Taro milkteas.

Overall, I think that Thousand Teas contribution to the milktea craze that we are currently having is a fail. Their price range is pretty much the same with other milktea stores like Happy Lemon, Serenitea, Gongcha, Chatime, and the others but their products are of lesser quality.

Thousand Teas
G/F Mezza Residences, Aurora Blvd. cor. Araneta Ave., Cubao
Quezon City, Metro Manila
(02) 708-3919

Yutaka Izakaya (Aurora Blvd, QC)

Me, ma and pa have been drooling for Japanese food 2 days ago while watching TV and seeing the sushi bars in Japan. I then automatically cleared my schedule this evening to have dinner with them and I've thought of the perfect place to get that authentic Japanese food.

I have been passing by Yutaka Izakaya on my way home for as long as I can remember. I have heard a lot of good reviews about this place and even papa told me that he have seen the place being featured at "Ang Pinaka" of Qtv 11.

So tonight, that's our dinner destination!

As soon as we entered the restaurant, we were greeted "Irashaimese!" (welcome in Japanese) by the lovely staff that created a very welcoming atmosphere.

Now here are some photos of the dining area.

We were seated immediately since the place isn't that crowded the time we got in. A very courteous staff gave us wet towels right away and handed us the menu. I noticed that the whole place is lighted with day light fluorescent which made the whole place over illuminated. A more cozy lighting can perhaps make the place's ambiance even better.

Our decisions about the dishes we ordered came in a flash. We know exactly what we want and so we ordered these dishes for dinner.

California Maki (Php 90)

Nigiri Sushi (Php 270)

Nabeyaki Udon (Php200)

Ebi Tempura (Php260)

The food is superb! Considering the price and the serving size, the dishes we ordered were definitely steals. I personally love the Nigiri sushi especially the crabstick salad and the Nabeyaki Udon with its very tasty soup. Moms fave is the Cali Maki which she said was just ordinary. Pa loved everything. Overall we enjoyed that authentic Japanese cuisine experience we had.

Yutaka Izakaya
Ground Floor, Unit X
(beside Central Colleges of the Philippines),
Aurora Blvd Quezon City

Yutaka Izakaya's Facebook Page

Friday, December 9, 2011

Green Halo Organic Store and Cafe (Cubao Expo)

Another gem in Cubao Expo, Green Halo Cafe serves organic dishes for the figure and health conscious. Nope im not one (and I know I must be one) but I dont mind trying out some of these so called organic foods.

I met up my friend Raymund for a quiet dinner and I was the one who lead him to this little cafe. It can sit about 10 people inside but the space is actually a little small. I thought at first that its a cafe that doesnt get visited by people but to my surprise, most of the tables were occupied.

Another nice little place for a date night

I also love their artsy decor and cozy interior.

Lets get the ball rollin. Here are the dishes that we ordered.

Tuna Salpicao (Php 120)

Chicken Rendang Pasta (Php 110)

Calamansi Shake (Php 60)

Mango Shake (Php60)

As soon as the Chicken Rendang Pasta was served, the aroma of the curry enveloped the place. It was heavenly! I was craving for Rendang for quite some time, reminiscing my time in Malaysia a few months back. But I was a little disappointed since the Rendang flavor isnt really present in the dish. Its more like the usual Filipino version of chicken curry made into a pasta sauce. I was expecting the lemongrass, star anise, tamarind and cinnamon flavors of the Rendang sauce but I was thwarted with the lack of its promised Rendang taste. But I can say its a good dish and in all fairness, I did enjoy it. I just hope they do something about the Rendang flavor or atleast change the name of the dish into Chicken Curry Pasta instead.

The Tuna Salpicao is also a little disappointing. It tasted more like of an Afritada or Caldereta than Salpicao.

The Calamasi and the Mango shakes though are good. The Mango shake that I ordered is rich and creamy and I loved it!

Overall, the place is good. Just some confusion on the names of the dishes that claims of something but tasted like something else. If the names of the dishes are replaced perhaps with the name that's actually more suitable with the taste then it would be better.

Green Halo Organic Store and Cafe
Shop 11 Cubao Expo Commercial Center,
Romulo St. Araneta Center,
Cubao Quezon City, Metro Manila
(0916) 231 7061

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Libreria At Cubao Expo - Book and Coffee Lovers Oasis

One thing I enjoy being single is the countless "me time" that I can spend. I was desperate to find a good "me time" place to stay near my workplace for I was tired of hanging out at those crowded cafes full of noisy students and chatting friends. I was looking for a quiet little place where I can sit down, enjoy a cup of coffee and read my book. And baby look what Ive found! BINGO!

Comfy couch where you can sit down and chill reading books

Their extensive collection of books is AWESOME!!!!

A center table provided for readers who wants to put down their books while sipping their coffee

More books!

I fell in love with the place as soon as I entered it. That extensive collection of books made me jump for joy! A dream place that I have been wanting to have was made into reality by someone else! And im grateful!

Whats even more awesome about this place is that they serve brewed coffee for 50 Php and I heard that the Food for the Gods are also a must try. And so I did try it!

Freshly brewed coffee (Php 50) and Food for the Gods (Php20 each)
Food for the gods is definitely godly!

I spent almost 2 hours in the bookstore reading some books that tickled my fancy. Actually bought the Beer book when I left the bookstore. :)

Some books are actually on sale and if I had more time I wound definitely rummage the whole place for more good reads.

Buy 1 Take 1. San ka pa? :)

As I end this entry, I was wondering if I should hit the "Publish Post" button. I dont want to share this place or its not gonna be a "me time" place anymore! But of course I wouldnt want to have it all by myself since this is a great place to chill. So if youre in Cubao Expo, go drop by this quiet rustic little bookstore. :)

Libreria Bookstore
Cubao Expo
Gen. Romulo St.,
Araneta Center, Cubao QC, 1109

Spartea Spa and Bubble Tea (Marikina) - Spa, Milktea and Lotsa Girl Bonding!

I was dying to get a massage and for the longest time, me and my friend Ate Miriam have been planning to visit Spartea in Marikina since we read about it on the internet. A single stop for three of my most favorite things in the world, massage, milktea and ehem hotdogs, I hurriedly went out of work 5 pm on the dot to meet up my friend. We hurriedly drove to Marikina, both of us excited for a lot of chikas and relaxation on hand.

We arrived at the place and luckily there was one available parking space in front. In a flash we entered the place and started browsing their menu and their spa packages.

We decided to have the Spartea Signature Massage (Php 300) but the lady who welcomed us, perhaps the owner of the place told us that they only have one massage therapist available since the other one is on leave. We were about to be disappointed but her guy companion, whom I assume also one of the owners told us that the other massage therapist is on call anyway and they can just call her to be there in 15 mins. Thats what I call customer service! :)

Since we will have to wait 15 more minutes, which we didnt really mind, I decided to sample one of their best seller milk tea since I'm already drooling for one. I ordered the Kiu Milk Tea with Egg Pudding.

Kiu Milk Tea (Medium for Php 60 and Large for Php70)

Kiu Milk Tea is a little too sweet for me, well I know because the egg pudding made it even sweeter. But nevertheless a very refreshing drink.

We were offered to stay inside the massage room so that we can relax and continue our chit chats while we wait for the other massage therapist to come. The massage room can only accommodate customers at a time. Two separate massage spaces is just a curtain apart, so customers can request to have it opened so me and my friends chika moments wont stop while we have our massage.

Finally the massage therapist came and we started almost and hour and a half (I think) of pure relaxation. The Spartea Signature Massage (Php 300) is a combination of Swedish, Shiatzu and Thai massage with a unique touch. I was happy with Ate May's massaging but I thought it could have been better if the massage oil that was used is scented. I love lavender or magnolia oils. It could have been perfect if those were used. Overall, the massage is relaxing. I was even thinking of getting one even before the whole massage routine is done.

All those stretching and rubbing made me and my friend both hungry and sure we were excited to finally devour on some gourmet hotdogs! Japadogs! Yes! JA-PA-DOGS!!! Say it with me. JA-PA-DOGS!!!! Yey!

Cali Maki Dog (Php80) - Crab stick, Mayo, Nori and Mango syrup

Teriyaki Dog (Php80) - Terriyaki sauce, Mayo, Bonito flakes and Nori.

I ordered the Cali Maki Dog and man its totally delish! I love the fusion of flavors, from the sharp taste of the Nori, the sweet Mango syrup and the cold Crab sticks. Its like Japan on a bun! My friend ordered the Teriyaki Dog and definitely had fun watching the dancing Bonito flakes before feasting on it. She told me that she liked the Wasabi Potato Dog better though, one she ordered when she first visited there.

We also ordered hot milkteas (because the massage therapist suggested its good to have hot beverages after the massage)

Yin Yang Milk Tea (Php 50) and Taro Tea Blend (Php60)

What I love about the Yin Tang milk tea is that its really creamy! However, again its too sweet for me. But my friend totally raved about the Taro Tea Blend. She said and I quote, "para kang uminom ng mainit na ube ice cream". :)

Spartea is an awesome place for someone who loves pampering themselves and gettin some gourmet hotdog treats plus yummy milk teas. Most of all, I love how the people behind this establishment treat their customers as kings. I wish they'd branch out to Manila soon. :)

Spartea Spa and Bubble Tea
2/F Bennt Bldg., 67 Lilac St. SSS Village, Marikina Heights
Marikina City
(02) 861-7016