Sunday, October 25, 2015

Tsokolateria (Baguio City)



After the sumptuous meal at Ketchup Food Community, the gang decided to roam around the city and act like tourists while I decided to head back to Upstairs Bed and Bath where we are staying for one night. I asked the cabbie to drop me off along Leonard Wood road so I will be taking the stairs down along Igorot Stairs to the hostel. I was delighted to see Tsokolateria which I thought was new since it was the first time I saw it. I am aware that Pamana and Hawaiian Backyard BBQ are in the area but I was surprised to see a hidden cafe. I was excited to sit down and sample whatever it is that they offer and check on some emails while I wait for my friends to be back in the hostel. I know that Tsokolateria is form the Happy Concept group so I was a little certain that they serve good food.




I was greeted by the friendly staff and let me chose a quiet corner where I can just sit and check my emails. 


My own little quiet nook for that afternoon



I was given a very pretty menu and got very confused on what to order. I was hoping that they have a decent coffee since I haven't had decent coffee for days while we were in Sagada.  I was offered a lot of chocolate concoction since it is their specialty but I opted to go for their Benguet Brew Coffee.


The Menu

Benguet Brew Coffee (Php 180)

I thought the coffee was a little bland. I am unsure if that is a characteristic of a Benguet brew but as far as I can remember, it should be nutty and a little roasty. I was rushing to finish the cup because it was a little chilly when I was there that time. 

As much as I wanted to order food from their menu, I was still full from lunch and just decided to sample their Bibingka which I think would go perfectly well with my Benguet Coffee. At that time, my friend Bon and 2 of his friends joined me. 


Bibingka (Php 250+)

I'm a huge Bibingka fan. I want my Bibingka fluffy and sweet, if possible made from a right combination of rice flour and cake flour, with lots of cheese on top and of course salty egg. Tsokolateria's Bibingka is quite delish. Although the cake is made purely of cake flour, I still find it very tasty. There was a tiny portion of chocolate dip served with the Bibingka which is quite bitin for the serving but still made the whole dish perfect. I would definitely come back again for their Bibingka. 

I asked the server if they sell their own tablea or chocolate batirol. I was surprised to be informed that they just use chocolate tableas from supermarkets. I was hoping they make their own and I was wishing to bring some home for pasalubong. Oh well. Maybe that's something that they can add in the near future. 

Overall, my experience in Tsokolateria was pleasant. I love the ambiance and how relaxed the place is. I wish I was hungry that time when I visited so I could have tried their entrees and other food choices. I shall be back again in the near future when I visit Baguio again. :) 

Tsokolateria
Igorot Stairs, Upper Session Road or Leonard Wood Road
Baguio City, Benguet
Website:  www.happyconceptgroup.com




Ketchup Food Community (Baguio)



My current visits to Baguio would always include an attempt to eat at Ketchup Food Community. Unfortunately, the last 2 tries failed because of either change in plans or a power shut down during a storm. Good thing my very last visit to Baguio after going to Sagada made me and some friends finally try the place.

On a gloomy Monday noon, my friends and I who traveled all the way from Sagada wanted to take a break before they (yes, not including me) go around Baguio city's famous tourist spots. I recommended Ketchup Food Community since I expected that not a lot of people will be dining out on a Monday.

I initially wanted to try Canto's famous Lomo Ribs but the place is packed with diners so we opted to sit at Rumah Sateh, and also because the guy from that restaurant was able to persuaded us to sit there saying they have a roomier and a breezier space.


Canto


Happy Tummy


Rancho


Greem Pepper and Rumah Sate

Rumah Sate

The super jolly and super friendly staff named Kier from Rumah Sate handed us the menu. He told us that we can order from any of the restaurants around since its a food community anyway. I requested a menu from Canto, which is just right beside Rumah Sate and placed our orders in no time. 

We got food from both Rumah Sate and Canto. Since it was a friend's birthday that time, I sneaked out and went to Green Pepper to check if they have a cake or any dessert with candles that we can give to our friend as a surprise. Good thing a lovely Apple Pie ala Mode is available. I ordered one and asked it to be delivered to our table as soon as all our food is ready. 


Complimentary Lemongrass Tea from Rumah Sate

To start, Kier served us complimentary tea from Rumah Sate. It was delish! Perfect for a chilly afternoon in Baguio. 

Beef Kalbi with Rice (Php 150+)

My friend ordered the Beef Kalbi from Canto and ordered extra rice since the meal does not include one. I tried it and the beef was tasty and tender. 


Lomo Ribs - Half Slab (Php 220) 

I have ordered Canto's Lomo Ribs and the half slab was huge! The order came with rice and fresh greens of lettuce, alfalfa sprouts, with light vinaigrette and cubed watermelons. I found the ribs rather dry. I would have loved it if it was served with extra sauce. I don't know if I could ask for an extra sauce but I didn't since we were seated in Rumah Sate and I don't really wanna cause inconvenience to the servers. Overall it was an okay dish, nothing special but sulit for its price. 


Mee Goreng (Php 300+)

Mee Goreng from Rumah Sate is tha bomb!!! We all enjoyed this fantastic dish. Its sweet and spicy and packed with flavors. The shrimps were succulent and the noodles are perfectly cooked! I suddenly remembered eating from the hawker stalls of Singapore and Malaysia! Must order this when dining in Rumah Sate. :) 


Beef Sate (forgot the name and the price)

My other friend ordered this dish since he wants beef. I've tasted it and the meat is a little tough. Although the marinade is really good. The sate came with a sweet peanut sauce and sliced chilies that I loved. 


Strawberry Iced Tea (forgot the price)

We also ordered this delicious Strawberry Iced Tea from Rumah Sate. It was fresh and sweet and refreshing. 


Apple Pie ala Mode from Green Pepper (Php 160)

After finally having all the food on the table, I asked Joren from Green Pepper to deliver the Apple Pie ala Mode to us. We surprised our friend Jessa and sang a happy birthday tune to her! Yay! 

Overall, our experience in Ketchup Food Community is superb. I personally liked the Mee Goreng from Rumah Sate, and Canto's Lomo Ribs isn't that bad. My friends also enjoyed what they've ordered and the Apple Pie ala Mode from Green Pepper brought our meals to a sweet ending. I would love to visit Ketchup Food Community once again to try the other restaurants such as Happy Tummy and Racho. Ketchup Food Community is another must-not-miss place in Baguio. 

Ketchup Food Community 
Canto
Rumah Sate
Green Pepper
Romulo Drive, Brgy Lualhati
Baguio City
(Near Wright Park)
Facebook:  Ketchup Food Community 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Chubby Bibs (Baguio City)



We had a chance to visit Chubby Bibs three months back when some co workers and I visited Baguio for a team planning. At that time, they said they are still on their soft opening that figures out why their service needs some improvement. I will talk about that in a bit. 

After an exhausting 9 hour travel from Manila to Baguio, with a lot of mishaps in between, we arrived at the City of Pines with monster tummies. We were staying down at Jungletown Road and decided to walk along Leonard Wood Rd. to go to 50's Diner. Unfortunately, the place was packed as it was at that a long weekend because of a holiday. We passed by this new nook and I told that group that we can try this one since I figured out that it just opened. 






I don't know if it is right to say that the place is tiny, or I am just huge. It felt like they have tried squeezing in 25 people in a space that can only accommodate around 15 people comfortably. The place has that Baguio homey feel with the log cabin design which I love. 




The gang waiting to be seated

We waited a good 10-15 minutes before we were given seats which at first I found very uncomfortable. The spaces between tables wouldn't really provide you with much privacy, even space to breathe. We were seated at the deep end of the room but eventually asked to be transferred to a table near the door so we can comfortably move. 

The menu was handed to us and we then started picking our orders. All were starved so everyone opted for their Chicken Schnitzel, and also since most of the offerings in their menu were not available that time. 


Menu 1

Menu 2

After placing our orders, we waited for another 30 more minutes before our orders were placed on our tables. 


Speculoos Milkshake (Php 115)

Their Speculoos Milkshake is ok. I am not really a Speculoos fan so I didn't really dig it. My co workers liked it though. 


House Blend Iced Tea (Php 70) 

I ordered their House Blend Iced Tea and liked it. It was not the instant house blend iced tea that most restaurants serve. Instead, it was freshly steeped with a kick of lemon. Sweet and refreshing. 


Cream of Corn Soup (Php 60)

The Cream of Corn soup is like flour and water. Tasteless, bland and unappealing. I wish they have used the instant one. I guess I just had my hopes up. And, uhm, where's the corn?


Chicken Schnitzel with Spicy Shrimp Fried Rice (Php 145)

The presentation is lovely, but the flavors are lacking. The Chicken Schnitzel is perfectly fried but I wished the special sauce that goes with it made a big impact but it didn't. We requested for an extra gravy (which I think is a just a simple gravy with oats in it) but was told that they do not serve extras. We needed to at least spike up or food with some flavor that's why we just asked for ketchup. 

Overall, our experience is meh. I would want to give Chubby Bibs another shot since it could be that they are in their soft opening that time thus the poor service and the mediocre food. I would love to go back and try some of their other offerings. I just wish it would already be available on my next visit. 

Chubby Bibs
Leonard Wood Road, Baguio City
Facebook:  www.facebook.com/chubbybibs
Contact Number:  0917 932 5882
Operating Hours:  9:00 AM - 11:00 PM

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Absolutely Fantastic Pizza at Amare La Cucina (Baguio City)



It was the coldest Baguio City visit that I have ever experienced. My friend Mond and I are in the middle of the dark and chilly Baguio while electricity is out in the entire city after a great storm. We are in dire need of good food and it was Amare La Cucina on top of our heads. We were having challenges finding the place and google maps wont coordinate as well. Good thing I was able to save their mobile number and contact them. The guy who answered my call courteously helped us with directions and found the place in no time.

We arrived past 8:00 in the evening and there are a few customers enjoying the food. From mere observation, I know that they were having a great time, my friend and I shared the same enthusiasm. We were seated immediately by the person I was talking to on the phone. He handed us the menu and placed our orders right away. We were very much excited to sample what most are saying the best pizza in Baguio. I personally got really interested after seeing their woodfire oven. 


Wood Fire Oven


My friend and I decided to get their Ribs, Pizza con Prosciutto  and Mint Iced Tea.

Ribs (Php 325)

The Ribs were cooked in their woodfire oven and served with fresh crisp vegetables. It was delectable! I love the BBQ sauce they used for basting and the meat is fall off the bone tender. Delish! 


Pizza con Prosciutto (Php 430)

Those people who were saying that Amare has the best pizza in Baguio were absolutely on point! The crust is an epitome of perfection. Chewy and soft and tasty. The combination of fresh basil with the olives complimented the delicate taste of prosciutto. I have never tasted a good pizza for a long time till that night! Indeed one of the best pizzas I have ever sampled in my life. 


Mint Iced Tea (Php 80)

I was never a fan of mint. I find mint pleasing if its a candy but I don't find it too appealing in my food nor my drinks. Their mint iced tea they said is their best seller and I think a lot fancies the drink. I personally didn't like it. 

The service was absolutely fantastic as well. The waitstaff is fast, attentive and very courteous. The food overall is superb! I would definitely come back again to sample the rest of their offerings. :) 

Amare La Cucina
EGI Albergo Hote #1 Villamor Drive, Brgy Lualhati
Baguio City
Mobile Number:  0916 332 1522

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Best Beer Brews in The Tasting Room at Baguio Craft Brewery (Baguio)



Visited Baguio with some of the coolest bunch of people a couple of months back and thought that it was the perfect time to visit Baguio Craft Brewery. I have been dying to sample their brews but never had a chance to do so since 1. Baguio is 4 hours away from Manila, and 2. Last time I was there was with my mom and dad. Both do not drink anymore. Good thing my work team mates decided to go to Baguio for our Team Bonding, and this is one of the activities I planned for us to bond. Come on, who wouldn't bond over good beers and fantastic conversations? :P

It took us about 30 minutes to get there even if its just a few kilometers away from the city center since Baguio traffic is as worse as EDSA traffic. We visited twice during our 3 days stay there and never regretted doing so. There were two guys playing the sax and the guitar on our first night and it was such a treat together with the fantastic brews.

Huge Baguio Craft Brewery sign. (Photo by:  Donyel Yabut)

Live performance that night was exceptional! (Photo by:  Donyel Yabut)

I was excited like a kid on Christmas day. I was going berserk wanting to taste all the brews! We talked to their lovely staff, asking for recommendations and gladly gave us samples so we can discover what suits our taste best. Customer service is also splendid! The staff were chit chatting with us a couple of hours after our first night, and was talking to us like we were old friends when we went back the following day. :) 




Dami dami daming choices! Ahlovet! (Photo by:  Leima Sevilla) 
Knowing how much of a stout lover I am, I went for the chocolate stout (St. Francis the Beareded)  but also tried their American wheat beer (Kabyunyan) and their German amber lager (Bergnebel). The rest of the gang ordered Kiwi flavored beer (Keywheat), Passion fruit flavored beer (Ripe), and Strawberry fruit flavored beer (Lagud). Everyone seemed to enjoy the brews, most specially my friend Mond and I who are both beer enthusiasts!

Craft Beers Galore!

St. Francis the Bearded (Chocolate Stout)

I wanted to take a moment and focus on my most favorite brew in Baguio Craft Brewery which is their St. Francis the Bearded Chocolate Stout which I think deserves a proper beer review. :) 

St. Francis the Bearded (Choco Stout) 
Alcohol Content:  6.3% ABV
Brewery: Baguio Craft Brewery 
Style:  Stout 

The beer pours into a very dark colored liquid with a milky white head, very good retention and lacing. The nose gave off a grainy smell with hints of coffee, chocolate and little bit of molasses. Mouth feel is creamy and silky. It also has a malty finish and moderate carbonation. All in all a fantastic stout! Yaaaaaay!!!

The rest of the brews are also terrific. I also tried their wheat beers and their lagers and both were really good. The fruit flavored beers or lollipop beers as how I call it was a hit with my lovely lady friends. I'm sure non-beer drinkers would also dig that. 

Now here's the gang enjoying the beers. I will certainly be back in there to get more good brews. Know what? You should do to! Go to Baguio and never ever fail to visit this place. :) 



PROST!!!

The Tasting Room at Baguio Craft Brewery 
Ben Palispis Hwy, Baguio, Benguet
Contact Number:  (074) 422 5043
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Baguiocraftbrewery 
Website:  xavierbier.com

Happy Hong Kong and Magnificent Macau (March 2015)

Another post long overdue but here's a round up of my first international solo trip! I have spent my 31st birthday exploring Hong Kong and Macau and it was the best travel experience for me this year! Yay!

After visiting some cities around Asia, I realized that Hong Kong comes second in my list. (Manila will still be the first and forever be my favorite). I love how awesome and convenient their transport system is, I love the food, I love the shopping scene, I loved the weather during my stay, I love everything! 

Here's a summary of all the posts I have for this trip. I hope readers will find this useful.

Hong Kong 


Accommodation: 





I love love love this hotel! Super bango and super pretty lobby! Will definitely stay in this hotel again when I'm back in Hong Kong. :) Oh, customer service is also superb! 


Food:

Good food is never scarce in Hong Kong. You may find good places to eat in every turn and every corner. Here are some of the restaurants I have tried during my trip. 

Ho Hung Kee 

One of Hong Kong's Michelin Star restaurants. Tried the famous Wanton Noodles and was a little disappointed. Should have managed my expectations.





A quaint Cha Chaan Teng in Causeway Bay that serves all day breakfast food. 





Affordable and delectable Roast Goose and BBQ Pork in the heart of Central Hong Kong. 






A Hong Kong culinary institution that serves killer noodles. Yum! 



Street food!

Haven't had the chance to try a lot of street food when I was there but here are some of the things I tried while roaming the streets of Hong Kong. 

Eggets

Clay Pot Rice

Oyster Cake 

I can say that this is one of the best meals I've ever had in Hong Kong. Saw this place near the MTR station  near Temple street night market. Knew it was a great place to eat after seeing a lot of people lining up to be served. 

Been passing by a Honey Comb booth near the hotel where I stayed. Not an ice cream / gelato / sherbet fan but tried it anyway since I keep on seeing a lot of people buying from it. It was a bit cold when I was in Hong Kong and never really enjoyed what I got. Though I can say its quite ok because it is not that sweet. 

Places to Visit:

I totally enjoyed going around Hong Kong. Getting from point A to point B is easy because their transportation system is superb. It was quite a challenge for me thought asking people around for directions since not everyone can speak in English. However, if geared with a map and if you plan ahead, sure things will be a lot easier. 

Some of the places in Hong Kong I have visited are the following: 



Macau

I never had a chance to stay in Macau for a long time since I just almost half a day going around as I wait for my flight back to Manila. But from that very short span of time, I was enchanted and also find the place mesmerizing. It's unique character makes it one of the must-go-to places in Asia. 

Where to eat? Try Wong Chi Kei in Senado square that serves superb noodles.



And here are some of the pictures of Senado Square, Ruins of St. Paul and The Venetian Hotel.


















Well, go pack your bags and book a flight as soon as you can! It is very easy to plan a trip in Hong Kong and Macau and it's much easier to go back again and again. Till my next trip!