I have read so many positive reviews about My Kitchen by Chef Chris. Housed at The Oasis Hotel near Paco Park, the restaurant is just a five-minute drive from where we live. I’m not sure what took us so long to try it out, but I am thinking that it must be the intimidating price range of their food. That’s why when I saw an online voucher being offered by Deal Grocer, I immediately told Joie about it. We bought two vouchers, and we got to redeem them a couple of weeks before the deal ends. Haha! If I remember it correctly, we got a 50% discount on their rolled pizza selection.

I called the restaurant the day before to make a reservation. When we arrived the following day for lunch, I noticed that every table has a RESERVED sign on top of it. I also noticed that a lot of the guests were voucher holders.

The restaurant is facing the hotel’s swimming pool. This made me really happy because my photos turned out quite well because of the natural lighting. But I think the boys were happier because they were able to do some “sightseeing”, haha! :p

Anyway, Boyet and I arrived earlier than Jeff and Joie. As soon as we were seated, the waitress served us with small bowl of complimentary freshly-baked bread. The bread’s crust is a bit crunchy, but its core is very moist. It goes perfectly well with the pesto dip. The first bowl served to us has 4 slices of bread. Boyet and I ate a piece each, and we left the remaining two pieces for Jeff and Joie. But when they arrived, the waitress served us this bowl. I think the waitress saw the way I looked at the bread! :p

bread, my kitchen by chef kris
Complimentary Bread

We scanned the menu and got really surprised with the many choices of panizza staring back at us. We got two vouchers so that meant that we were entitled to two orders of panizza. Good thing that the waitress told us that we could have their “half and half”, meaning we can get two flavors of the rolled pizza in one order. We just asked our server what their bestsellers are, and we started choosing from there.

my kitchen by chef kris, panizza
Miguel / Pancetta e Chippoli PHP790

Miguel has sausage, sundried tomatoes, mushroom and olives. I liked the spicy kick of the sausage. It’s perfect with the hint of sweetness of the tomatoes and the pungent taste of the olives. Pancetta e Chippoli is a straightforward choice. Topped with only bacon and caramelized onions, this choice is the true testament that there is beauty in simplicity. Anything with crispy  bacon is absolutely divine. So what more if it’s mixed with caramelized onions? It was indeed a perfect marriage of sweetness and tanginess.

Pamela is topped with salami, ham, bacon, fried garlic and chili flakes. This will surely be a hit to all meat-lovers. I loved that every bite of the panizza gives you protein overload, and not to mention that spicy and garlicky punch at end of every bite. The Formaggi e Erbette is infused with different kinds of herbs – sage, parsley, oregano and marjoram. The citrusy and earthy flavors of the herbs mixed with four kinds of cheese – gorgonzola, parmesan, cheddar and mozzarella, orchestrated a very unique and delightful treat to my taste buds. In other words, ang sarap! :p

panizza, my kitchen by chef kris
Pamela / Formaggi e Erbette PHP790

Did I like the panizza? Yes, of course! But... yes, there is a BUT to it. The crust is soft enough making it easy for us to roll the panizza. The edge has a slight crunch which adds another layer of texture. When it comes to flavor, I have nothing but praises for My Kitchen. However, each panizza costs PHP790. If not for the vouchers, I don’t think I would be willing to shell out that much, considering that the panizza of Focaccia can compete very well with it. In addition to that, I asked the waitress if the serving of arugula and alfalfa is unlimited. I love putting tons of alfalfa and arugula to my panizza so I was a bit disappointed when we were told that it was only limited to two servings.

Thinking that the two servings of panizza would not be enough for the boys’ big appetites, we decided to try out other choices from the menu.

Spaghetti con Frutti di Mare, My Kitchen by Chef Chris
Spaghetti con Frutti di Mare PHP720

Spaghetti con Frutti di Mare is like sea in a platter. This pasta dish has a generous serving of salmon, dorado, snapper, prawns and mussels. That alone is enough to explain the hefty price tag of this dish. Every bite is like a burst of different kinds of flavor inside my mouth, with the saltiness of the capers, the mild acidity of the tomatoes and the pungent taste of the olives. I had initially mistaken the olives with something else. “Ay, ano ‘to? Ahhh, parang pickled ubas! Ay, duhat yata?! Ah, ok fine, olives pala!” Bwahahahaha!

I know that salad is usually served at the beginning of the meal, but ours arrived last. We decided to make a last-minute addition for lunch. Joie suggested we get the Rustico Salad.

My Kitchen by Chef Chris, Rustico Salad
Rustico Salad PHP540

Sitting on a bed of lettuce and arugula are chunks of tasty grilled chicken. The sweetness of the pear slices balanced out the strong flavors of the thin strips of red onions. The arugula gave a much needed contrast to the subtlety of the lettuce. The salad also has walnuts which added texture at every bite. The sour cream dressing was a bit bland for our liking so we asked for more. The dressing may have fallen short when it comes to flavor, but the grilled chicken definitely made up for it! The chicken is very flavorful, it made me forget that I was eating salad.

My Kitchen by Chef Chris has some hits and misses. Some swept us off our feet, but some didn’t. The rolled pizza are really good, but once again, I am not sure if I am willing to come back and pay for the original price. So yeah, thank God for Deal Grocer! :p


My Kitchen by Chef Chris
The Oasis Hotel (near Paco Park)
1032-34 Belen Street,
Paco, Manila


* All photos were taken with a Nikon D60
I think you will agree with me that there are times when the comments section is more interesting than the actual post. I am guilty of checking the comments section. First, I get curious as to how other readers perceive a certain article, especially the controversial ones. And second, well, I just want to be entertained! Kaso lang, madalas, may mga comments na mapapa “Putragis!” ka na lang sa inis e! =))

For so long, may isang universal comment na banas na banas ako. At eto ay ang walang kamatayang FIRST! Ano teh? May contest? Paunahan mag-comment?! So bale, anong premyo mo nung nauna ka sa thread?! Consolation prize lang ba kapag SECOND o kaya THIRD?! =))

lonely-computer-guy-046
 Eto, may message si Ninong Jackie Chan para senyo!

kv5slg
Kaso sa kasamaang palad, na-dethrone ang FIRST! May bago ng nakakabuwang na comment sa internet lately.

ariel finally meme
Apparently, sobrang laking big deal na 7.50 na lang ang Ariel. Sobrang big deal na kahit ang balita ay tungkol sa love life ni Kris Aquino, may bearing ang price reduction ng Ariel! Bwahahahaha!

Eto si Ateng! Payapa akong nagbabasa ng comments o kaya nanonood ng Forevermore, tapos susulpot na lang basta basta! Oo na! Alam ko na! 7.50 na lang ang Ariel!!!

Finally-Ariel-1-size-2

*** Photos grabbed from the internet.
Coron will forever hold a special place in my heart. It was probably the most tiring trip that I ever had, yet it was also the most memorable one. The breathtaking beaches and underwater creatures that we saw after an entire day of island-hopping, the mouthwatering food and the warm smiles of the people of Coron certainly made our trip full of fun. I also think that a great part of why our Coron trip became extra special for us was because of the people behind Centro Coron Bed and Breakfast! They did not only give us a place to stay, they also took very good care of us. (Read my review of Centro Coron Bed and Breakfast here.) Their place may not be at par to that of a five-star hotel, but their personalized service is impeccable! So imagine how surprised I was when I received an email from the people of Centro Coron three years after. They told me that we can have a 3d/2n accommodation at Centro Coron for free! Unfortunately, I had to let their very generous offer pass. I have more pressing matters to attend to so traveling needs to take a back seat. I asked them if I could give it away to a reader, and they gladly obliged!!! So, I’m giving it away to one lucky reader!

DSC_1530Photo taken 3 years ago


One lucky reader will get a free 3d/2n accommodation for two at Centro Coron Bed and Breakfast. This includes daily breakfast and airport transfers. Offer is good until December 31, 2015. One month reservation is required. Please note that airfare is not included. (Wala po akong pang-abono, haha!)

To join:

1. Like the Facebook pages of Centro Coron Bed and Breakfast and jE’s AnAtOmY. (1 entry)
2. Follow @dahwanderer on Instagram. (1 entry)
3. Share this post on your Facebook account. Make sure your posts are set to PUBLIC! (1 entry)
4. This is the most important step so don't forget to do this. =) Leave a comment below with your name, Instagram handle and hyperlink of your Facebook post.
5. To gain more entries, you can share this post on your Facebook account up to 3 times. Just make sure that all your posts are set to PUBLIC. If you wish to share it more than once, just REPLY to your previous comment, and put the hyperlink of your Facebook post.


Contest ends on April 5, 2015!
Our office will be transferring to Makati a few months from now. And because I am with the company of foodie team mates, they agreed with me that we needed to try as many restaurants as possible before we bid BGC goodbye. We listed all the restaurants that we had yet to try, and we would try to cross one out every Friday. The first that was crossed out from our list was Shrimp Bucket. I don’t know why it took us that long to try it out. We had been to Mozu, which is just across the street, countless of times before, but we never really paid attention to Shrimp Bucket. After working in BGC for more than three years, I finally set foot in Shrimp Bucket.

With only a few seats, I have to say that the place is a bit cramped. But one of the waiting staff told us that they have a bigger space at the second floor. The flag-bearer of Shrimp Bucket is obviously their shrimp dishes. But looking at their menu, I was actually quite impressed that they also offer other kinds of seafood. Meat-lovers need not to worry because they have quite a few selections, too!

We had chicken wings for starters. Guests have three options - Plain Salted, Buffalo and Belachan. We all agreed to go with buffalo wings.

shrimp bucket (3)
Chicken Wings PHP225

The wings were gone in 60 seconds! (Okay, probably 120 seconds if you include the time we took to Instageeee it, haha!) But believe me when I tell you that the wings are divinely delicious! As soon as I had my first bite, I had to stop to wait for the rice to be served! Ang sarap ulamin! It has the perfect tanginess which will suit both the bold and the weak-hearted when it comes to level of spiciness.

The Crispy Belachan Pork was a big hit for all of us. The pork is deep-fried giving it its very crispy texture. And then it’s coated with a thick bagoong sauce. It has the perfect blend of sweetness and saltiness.

shrimp bucket (1)
Crispy Belachan Pork PHP255

I specifically loved that pungent kick in the end which is obviously brought by the bagoong. And to make things even better, the dish is topped with tons of crispy garlic! My taste buds were doing a happy cartwheel each time I get a bite of this awesome dish!

The Spicy Pork Belly is a dish infused with so many flavors. Although in my opinion, this may have paled in comparison with the Crispy Belachan Pork, this dish is still savory enough to deserve a spot at our table. Every bite of this dish is like a symphony of different kinds of flavors that give my palates such a delightful treat.

shrimp bucket (4)
Spicy Pork Belly PHP 265

And now, let’s go to the highlight of our meal! What’s the point of going to Shrimp Bucket without trying their infamous shrimp?! A pound of shrimp cost PHP560, quite pricey, but you’ll definitely get the worth of your every cent! Guests can choose among their different special sauces. They have The Mardi Gras, Salty Eggsperience, Coco-SOL, Frenchy Lemon Pepper, The Spaniard and Coco-curry. The waitress who attended us suggested that we get their bestseller – Salty Eggsperience. After our meal, I wanted to hug her for suggesting this to us!!!

shrimp bucket (2)
Shrimp PHP560

This dish is cooked to perfection. Each piece is undeniably tasty! You’ll get that distinct salty and pungent flavor of the salted egg, plus the natural briny taste of the shrimp. Would you believe that this dish is so good that one of us literally got another serving of rice and ate it along with the sauce that was scraped off from the plastic bag?! Kulang na lang dilaan namin! Actually, gusto ko ngang tumira sa loob ng plastic bag sa sobrang sarap! Bwahahahaha!!!

Suffice to say, we all went back to work with a smile drawn to our faces. And our tummies were definitely bursting. Without a doubt, Shrimp Bucket gave us one helluva gastronomic treat!


Shrimp Bucket
Ground Floor Grand Hamptons Tower 1,
31st Street Corner 2nd Avenue,
Bonifacio Global City,
Taguig City


* All photos were taken with an iPhone 5
Fated to Love You is currently being aired in ABS-CBN. My curiosity was piqued the moment that a teaser of this KDrama was first shown. My curiosity grew even bigger when my girl teammates would rave about this non-stop.

Fated to Love You is the story about a pushover, Kim Mi-Young (Jang Na-Ra). She’s the type of girl who does not know how to say NO. Kinda, uto uto, in short. She has become a laughing matter at work because everybody is treating her like their own personal assistant. In some twist of fate, she meets a rich but very eccentric guy, Lee Gun (Jang Hyuk). On the day that Lee Gun was supposed to propose to his then girlfriend, he had an “accidental” one-night stand with Mi-Young that led to a pregnancy.


I know, I know. The story is a big cliché. That was exactly how I felt while I was watching it. I’ve seen other Korean Dramas with the same plot. Much to my surprise, another cliché was injected in it – AMNESIA! It was such a bummer when the drama led to that point. Although the story of Fated to Love You is not as refreshing as I hoped it to be, I have to say that the performances of the lead actors very well compensated for the story’s weakness. Jang Na-Ra is just too cute for words! I also loved how she transformed from a meek Post-it girl to a strong-willed and sophisticated woman. She has shown great vulnerability after going through a series of hearthaches. Jang Hyuk’s over the top portrayal of a weird (almost borderline crazy) rich guy is actually funny and very amusing. I initially thought that it was the only thing that he could offer, but I was so amazed when he started to show his soft side towards the end of the story. Another favorite performance of mine is that of Choi Jin-Hyuk who plays Daniel, Mi-Young’s knight in shining armor. I first saw him in Grandpas Over Flowers Investigation Team. Daniel is the typical third-party-guy-always-waiting-for-his-love-to-be-reciprocated. And incidentally, Choi Jin-Hyuk did very well in making it hard for the audience not to choose him over Lee Gun!

The supporting cast was great, too. Most of them are just simply hilarious! I think that alone was enough for me to keep watching it even if I was slowly losing interest in the middle of the story. I’m just really glad that the funny and kilig moments were everywhere to keep me focused. Another strength of this KDrama is the chemistry of the two lead actors. I bet you have already seen a TV series or a movie that has too many flaws but you still keep on watching it because the lead actors are just too adorable. Well for me, Fated to Love You is one in that list. Despite its flaws, I have to say that Fated to Love You is a poignant KDrama injected with tons of fun and kilig! =)
Last month, our family celebrated my younger brother’s birthday by having dinner in one of our favorite restaurants – Focaccia. Years ago, my brother could not stop raving about this restaurant in A. Venue Mall. We finally got to try it last year, and we came back once again simply because the entire family fell in love with it.

Focaccia serves Italian dishes, but what made them really popular with the foodies is their wide array of mouth-watering panizza. Though the restaurant is a bit small, the hanging lamps, bright red walls and quirky fixtures gave the place a cozy vibe.

Aside from their panizza, the next thing that made us really excited about our return to Focaccia is their complimentary bread! This freshly-baked focaccia bread goes really well with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar dip! Try it with Parmesan cheese for another dimension of flavors.

DSCN0402Complimentary Bread

While we were waiting for Abes and Kate, my parents decided to get a plate of appetizer. We had a serving of their Calamari Fritti. We were just expecting it to be just an ordinary plate of calamari, but we were dead wrong! The calamari is fried to perfection. We didn’t get any rubbery pieces of squid. Plus, the aioli sauce is to die for! Until now, I’m still not convinced that this should pass as an appetizer. Gusto ko sanang mag-rice e!!!

DSCN0400Calamari Fritti PHP240

I was tasked to choose among the different variations of rolled pizza from their menu. If there is Quattro Formaggi in the menu, then I would definitely be getting it. I was planning to get it, but I saw Sette Formaggio in the menu! Four cheeses vs seven cheeses?! It’s a no-brainer!

DSCN0414Sette Formaggio (Famiglia) PHP440


This panizza may look plain and unappealing at first glance. But topped with 7 different kinds of cheese – feta, mozzarella, cheddar, romano, gorgonzola, ricotta and cream cheese, each slice of this panizza will surely bring your taste buds an extraordinary treat! I definitely loved the texture of the mozzarella, the pungent taste of the gorgonzola and the richness of feta. I also sensed a hint of sweetness which is probably from the ricotta cheese.

Wanting to have more protein, I suggested we also get Slice of Italy.

DSCN0420Slice of Italy (Famiglia) PHP460

Loaded with ham, bacon and salami, this will certainly be a hit for all meat lovers. It’s also topped with onions, mushrooms and cheese, of course! Though the Sette Formaggio is undoubtedly packed with more flavors, the Slice of Italy has better texture because of the different kinds of meat and the slight crunchiness of the onions.

Wanting to provide my family a balanced meal, I also got a panizza with seafood – Frutti de Mare. This one has salmon, shrimp and squid. I don’t really like the taste of salmon (with the exception if it’s sashimi), but this has got to be an exception.

DSCN0424Frutti de Mare (Famiglia) PHP420

Suffice to say, we all loved the three kinds of panizza. The crust is perfect. It’s not that crunchy making each slice easy to roll, but it’s also not mushy. Guests also get to have an unlimited serving of arugula and alfalfa. But during our last visit, we were informed that they ran out of arugula so they served us lettuce instead. The arugula would have been a better choice, but the lettuce proved to be a good alternative. I was just missing the slight bitterness of the arugula because the lettuce was too subtle.

Aside from panizza, we also had two kinds of pasta dishes. These two were the same pasta dishes that we tried during our previous visit.

DSCN0407Pasta al Arrabbiata (Famiglia) PHP300

This tomato-based pasta dish is infused with different kinds of herbs. Don’t underestimate this. It may strike as a plain-looking pasta dish, but its hint of spiciness will leave you with an unforgettable kick.

But this has got to be everybody’s favorite! The Lasagna con Ragu is the bomb! Its meaty sauce is oozing with cheese! Each melt-in-your-mouth bite gave me that distinct symphony of rich flavors that brought me unexplainable joy. Ang OA, pero ganun talaga kasarap! We were all literally scraping off the sauce out of the plate. Kulang na lang dilaan namin! :p

DSCN0413Lasagna con Ragu PHP280

Just when we thought that we were already done with dinner, Mama suggested we try their ice cream. It proved to be an excellent choice! They carry Fog City Creamery ice cream. We tried the ensaymada flavor, and everybody loved it! It’s not that sweet, and it has that distinct salty flavor from the cheese. I bet they didn’t use ordinary cheese. Mama thinks it’s queso de bola. E ‘di Merry Christmas! Haha! But kidding aside, super sarap!!! Promise!




Focaccia
Ground Level A. Venue Mall,
Antonio Luna St., cor. Makati Ave,
Makati City


* All photos were taken with a Nikon Coolpix S3600
Hello, my dear readers! I can’t believe that a month has already passed since my last Kolokoy Household post! I am really sorry for making this blog take a back seat. I have been experiencing some technical difficulties in this blog, good thing that I got a lot of help from my best friend! In addition to that, Boyet and I have been extremely busy building the Kolokoy Home so that alone is eating most of our free time. Anyway, I’m checking in today for a quick Kolokoy Household entry. =)


ERWAN HEUSSAFF

Boyet: Baby, use Erwan Heussaff in a sentence.
Me: … … …
Boyet: Erwan ko sa’yo! Humanap ka ng Heussaff mo!
Me: … … …

Ang sakit sa gums ng joke!!! Kahit si Erwan, halatang hindi masaya! :p



SILICONE

Boyet: Baby, anong silicone ang nakakain?
Me: E ‘di silocone carne!
Boyet: Bakit??? Bakit mo binasag ang punchline ko?!
Me: Wala na bang mas corny pa dun?!


LOIS LANE

One night while we were watching Forevermore…

Boyet: Alam mo baby, walang sinabi ‘tong si Xander sa’kin e. Wala namang sinabi ‘yang Lois Lane niya sa’yo.
Me: Bakit???
Boyet: Kung siya may Lois Lane, ikaw naman ang Pedestrian Lane ko!

Ano na? Hindi pa ba dumudugo ang gums niyo?! :p


WI-FI

Boyet and I were having dinner when Mama decided to go up to their room.

Me: Mama, paki saksak naman ng wi-fi.
Mama: Langya ka, tinawag mo pa akong Mama tapos inutusan mo naman ako.
Me: O sige, ulit. ELENA, PAKI SAKSAK NAMAN NG WI-FI!
Boyet: Hahahahahaha!!!


EYELASHES

Boyet and I were talking while washing the dishes when Mama overheard us.

Me: Sana kapag nagka baby tayo, makuha ‘yung pilik-mata mo ‘no?
Mama: Bakit??? Maganda ba pilik-mata niyan???
Boyet: Ano ka ba naman, Mama?! Hindi mo ba napapansin na ang ganda ganda ng eyelashes ko?
Mama: Weh? Hindi nga?!
Me: Oo nga, Ma. Ang curly saka ang haba ng pilik-mata niyan.
Boyet: Sa sobrang haba ng pilik-mata ko, abot hanggang ilong!
Mama: Paano nangyari ‘yun e wala ka namang ilong?!
Me: Hahahahahahahahaha!!!


Enjoy the rest of the week! =)
My husband and I took a day off from work to fix some papers related to our housing loan. We then took advantage of this break to check out appliances and furniture for The Kolokoy Home. We happened to be in Makati so we decided to have lunch in Glorietta. Working in BGC for more than three years, we only get to go to Greenbelt and Glorietta once in a blue moon. Already unfamiliar with the place, we just decided to walk around looking for a restaurant “interesting” enough for us to try.

We spotted Mu Noodle Bar. It was a bit dark from the outside so we initially thought that the place was empty. It was only until one of the staff members opened the door for us when we finally realized that there were a few people inside.

The black and brown fixtures, hanging lamps and dim lighting somehow gave this restaurant a quite relaxing vibe. It was past lunch time on a Monday so the place was quiet. Because of this, our orders were served to us in an instant.

DSCN0366
When you try out their noodles, you have the choice between ramen or udon noodles. For the stock, you can choose among miso, soy or milk. We wanted to have rice that day so we skipped trying out their noodle dishes. But because we wanted something to warm up our tummies, we asked the server if we could instead have the “extra soup” from their menu. For only PHP90, we got this very tasty soy-based soup. It was very evident that the stock is infused with different kinds of herbs. After a few sips, we both agreed that it was starting to become a bit salty. That made us really curious how it would taste with the noodles.

DSCN0370 Soup PHP90

We were so surprised when the fried rice was served to us. For only PHP260, this generous serving of beef fried rice is already a steal! Isang bandehado! Nagtataka kami bakit ayaw maubos! Hahaha! We both liked the fried rice. It’s very tasty, and it’s not oily at all. Who needs ulam when you have this?

DSCN0374Beef Fried Rice PHP260

We got to try their very flavorful Black Tofu with Pork. The pork strips are very tender, with the perfect amount of fats in it. I don’t know what they put in it, but the slices of tofu can actually disguise as pork strips, too! It also has bean sprouts which added texture to the dish. I loved how all the various flavors of the different elements of this dish worked perfectly in giving our taste buds such a treat! Guests also have the choice to have this dish with beef instead of pork.

DSCN0392 Black Tofu with Pork PHP230

Now, Mu Noodle Bar’s Sweet and Spicy Spareribs has got to be my favorite among all the dishes served to us! Each piece of the spareribs is generously coated with a sweet and spicy sauce. The meat is tender, and the sauce has the perfect balance of sweetness, spiciness and saltiness. The sesame seeds toppings add a nutty flavor to this dish. Ang sarap, promise! This is my kind of comfort food!

DSCN0388 Sweet and Spicy Spareribs PHP280


Mu Noodle Bar
Level 2 Glorietta 2,
Ayala Center, Makati City


* All photos were taken with a Nikon Coolpix S3600
I discovered Ryu Ramen & Curry at SM Jazz Mall by accident. After a routine medical checkup, my husband and I decided to have dinner. For some odd reason, I was craving for ramen. It was probably because I needed something to help me gain strength because my arm was hurting after I had an injection. We were supposed to go to SM Aura to have ramen either at Ramen Nagi or Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen. We ditched the idea because it was out of the way, and we were rushing to go home. I told my husband that we should just get something quick from drive-thru. He initially agreed with me, but he changed his mind when he saw me cringing from pain. We were on the lookout for a ramen house on our route, but there was none. That was until I thought of checking out SM Jazz Mall. It was our first time to go there so Boyet was hesitant. He said that it’s impossible for a small mall to have a ramen house. I then told him, “Lahat na ng malls may ramen! At saka huwag mong mamaliitin ‘yang SM Jazz. May Vikings nga ‘yan e!” =)) And true enough, we immediately spotted Ryu Ramen & Curry as soon as we parked our car.

I was surprised that Ryu Ramen & Curry was relatively busy during our visit. It was a weeknight so I’m not sure where the crowd came from. Although I noticed that some of the guests were in their pambahay clothes so I’m thinking that their main clientele are the unit owners of SM Jazz. Anyway, the interior of Ryu Ramen & Curry is typical of a Japanese restaurant. It’s minimalist with the colors black and brown on the fixtures. The large hanging lights accentuated the simple setup of the restaurant.

Now, let’s head to the food. I have been to a lot of ramen houses over the past couple of years. In my mind, I have the top two on the list. Topping my list is Ramen Yushoken followed by Ramen Nagi. That’s why it was a bit unfortunate for Ryu Ramen because I really had very high expectations. My top 2 have been in their spots for quite some time. Ika nga ni Vice Ganda, unkabogable sila! Nyahaha!
DSC_0570 Tantanmen Ramen PHP360

I was still recovering from flu at that time so I wanted to have something hot and spicy. Looking at the menu, the Tantanmen Ramen caught my attention. Ryu brags Tantanmen Ramen as one of their specialties. It was the same ramen that I tried when I went to Ramen Yushoken so Ryu’s version had a tough act to follow. This spicy miso-based ramen has ground pork, soft-boiled eggs and two slices of chasu pork. The server told me that I could adjust the spiciness level so she suggested to have it “mild”. By doing so, I have to say that it is more tolerable compared with Ramen Yushoken’s Tantanmen and the “mildest” Red King Ramen of Ramen Nagi. Proof to that is the fact that I was able to finish my bowl, much to my husband’s surprise because he failed to finish his.

What he actually got was Shoyu Ramen. This light salt-based ramen is also topped with two slices of chasu pork and soft-boiled eggs with the addition of bamboo shoots and seaweeds. As expected, his ramen is more subtle. I got a few sips of his ramen and I did notice its earthy flavor which is probably brought by the bamboo shoots.

DSC_0565 Shoyu Ramen PHP345

I just loved the fact that both of our bowls include soft-boiled eggs. When I go to a ramen house, I usually get a separate order of tamago so Ryu has plus points on this. I also liked the smoky flavor of the chasu pork. Unfortunately, the cut is a bit thick so it was not as tender as we hoped it to be.

We also got to try their gyoza. Trying to be a bit more adventurous, we stayed away from our usual order of pork gyoza and settled with chicken and shrimp instead. Guests have the choice to have the gyoza deep fried, but we stuck with pan fried. The gyoza was good, but there was nothing extraordinary about it.

DSC_0574 Gyoza PHP150

So did Ryu Ramen deliver? Hmm, definitely. But it still fell short of dethroning Ramen Yushoken and Ramen Nagi. And oh, please excuse my not-so-clear photos. This was a spontaneous dinner date so I only used a camera phone. Plus, the lighting was quite dim, too. =)


Ryu Ramen & Curry
Level 1 SM Jazz Mall,
Nicanor Garcia Corner Jupiter Street,
Bel-Air, Makati City


* All photos were taken with an Xperia Z1 Compact
I already lost count of how many times that someone asked me if I already watched Crazy Beautiful You. I fell ill on the first weekend of its showing, but I finally got to see it last Thursday. I am not really a big KathNiel fan (Ok, fine! Slight lang! :p), but I started to like them in G2B. I really had very high expectations with this movie because 1) I actually liked them in She's Dating the Gangster (Don't judge me!!! Hahaha!) and 2) everybody around me was telling me how good it is!

Joie: Uy, girl! Super ganda!!! Grabe!!! Sigurado ako maiiyak ka!
Officemate 1: Grabe, Je! Panoorin mo na! Ang galing galing ni Daniel!
Officemate 2: Ate, napanood mo na ba ‘yung Crazy Beautiful You? Nakakakilig, promise!


As clearly depicted from the movie trailers, Jackie (Kathryn Bernardo) is the rebellious daughter who was forcefully sent to a medical mission in Zambales. There, he would meet Kiko (Daniel Padilla) who happens to be the illegitimate son of a mayor.

Let’s get on the positive points first.

Jeff and Joie were more than happy to accompany me and Boyet (siyempre late si Boyet). Believe it or not, it was already Joie’s third time to watch it. I think it was Jeff’s second time. I can understand Joie because she is a big Kathniel fan, but Jeff?! Before I proceed with my “review”, allow me first to tell you why the fact that Jeff watched a Tagalog movie twice was a big surprise for me. First, Jeff is a man of few words. Very, very, very few words, actually! Second, he is not familiar with local actors so I’m pretty sure that he only gets to watch local movies because of Joie. Third and the most important of all, it’s very difficult to make him laugh! But I saw how much he enjoyed watching the movie the second time around. Tumatawa siya!!! And I am pretty sure that he watched it not only because he loves Joie! Haha! Lalayo pa ba ako, e si Boyet nga tawa rin ng tawa. Huwag na natin pag-usapan si Joie. Hindi kasi pwedeng mag-picture sa loob ng sinehan pero para siyang emoticon na tumatawa tapos may heart-heart sa eyes all throughout the movie! =)) In short, the movie is undeniably funny! It may not be worthy of an Oscars, but it is definitely one helluva entertaining movie! Lumabas ako ng sinehan na ngawit na ngawit ang panga ko kakatawa!

Kathryn Bernardo has definitely grown as an actress. I remember cringing while watching one of her earlier films. But now, oh my! She’s really good. My husband told me, “Ang galing ng umiyak ni Kathryn ngayon, ‘no?!” She definitely showed more depth in acting. For me, she was successful in transitioning her persona from a rebellious and selfish brat to someone who is helpless and vulnerable. And more importantly, there was no sign of her being intimidated when put side by side with Lorna Tolentino! And let’s not forget how gorgeous she is on the big screen. Akin na lang yung abs mo ‘teh!!! :p

Hay naku, Daniel Padilla! I already knew that he could act, but he is a different kind of an actor now. Sanay ako na palagi siyang maangas o kaya palaging galit. So seeing the way he attacked his role as Kiko was truly refreshing. It was probably the first time that I’ve seen him as a multi-faceted actor. Bagay na jologs slash jejemon! I didn’t know that he had a knack for comedy! But it didn’t end there. I had never seen Daniel show such vulnerability until this movie! I think the breakdown/confrontation scene of Lorna and Kathryn lasted for more or less 5 minutes. A lump formed in my throat and I felt like I was about to cry. Pero umatras ‘yung luha ko. But when it was Daniel’s turn to confront his father, grabe! Ang ikli ng scene pero tagos hanggang skull! It was soon followed by a scene with his mother (Assunta de Rossi). Nagtitimpla lang ng kape tapos umiiyak! Hanep lang! Tulo uhog ako e! =)) 

Lorna Tolentino is and will always be Lorna Tolentino! Grabe walang kupas! Same thing goes with Gabby Concepcion, of course. The supporting cast did well, too. Although I felt like his potential as an actor could have been explored more, Inigo Pascual actually exceeded my expectations.  May talent naman ang bagets. Magaling ‘yung mata ng bata, anak nga siya ni Piolo! Feeling ko gagaling pa siya lalo. Most of the supporting cast are seasoned actors. But believe it or not, two newcomers beat their asses off. If you have already watched it, I’m talking about those two Aeta girls! Ayyyy grabe! They are very natural, and they are too cute for words. Jenny, the little girl with big hair, is hilarious! I was laughing non-stop during her last few scenes with Daniel Padilla!

The location is simply enchanting. I won’t comment on the cinematography and all the technical stuff that I know nothing about, but I think that the movie was able to capture the beauty of the location. And the song… Nothing’s gonna stop us nowwwwwwwwwwwwww!!! I might be biased because that is probably my favorite videoke song. Hahaha! But each time it’s played, everybody inside the cinema was squealing!

Is there something in the movie that I didn’t like? Yes. Sobra sobra ang eksenang may slow motion!!! I mean, I get it that it’s necessary, but I felt like it was overdone. There were moments when it made me really kilig. Kasi kapag in love ka, talaga namang may slow motion eklavu. But there were parts in the movie that I could not help but cringe.

The main selling point of the movie is undoubtedly the chemistry of Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla. I went to see the movie hoping that I would be getting a much needed dose of kilig. The movie didn’t disappoint because it certainly delivered in that aspect. But what surprised me the most was how the movie affected me as an ordinary moviegoer. Yes, the story is already a cliché – rebel girl meets a boy who would later on change her, boy unknowingly realizes that he needs changing too, illegitimate kid finally gets recognized, parent abandons the kid then they later on reconcile. I may have seen something similar before, but the magic of the movie lies behind how the tiny details tied together all these clichés. I was expecting it to be JUST a typical love story. But I appreciate the fact that the movie focused more on family. It speaks about forgiveness and being selfless. While I was watching the movie, it felt like an emotional roller coaster ride. Patatawanin ako ng pagka jologs ni Daniel at kakulitan nila Jenny at Sheena, tapos biglang iiyak na lang ako?! Baliw lang ang peg! Hindi ko akalaing maiiyak ako sa pagtitimpla ng kape ni Daniel! =))

Was it worth the money? I have to say YES. (Si Joie siguro ang tanungin natin bilang tatlong beses na niyang napanood pero willing pa siyang umulit!) I hate it when people automatically assume that all local movies are basura. Crazy Beautiful You may not be a fresh concept, but it’s a good watch.

Now, my problem is how to take of Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now out of my head!!! =))
Our house was finally turned over to us last February 14! This was what kept us busy while the entire country was going out on dates on Valentine’s Day. Unfortunately, I fell ill the night before. My younger brother “brought in” the virus to our house. Boyet and Papa got ill on the first week of February, and then it was my turn the following week. (Ang lakas ng resistensiya ng nanay ko!) So imagine how depressed I was when I failed to go with my husband during the turnover ceremony. Okay fine, wala naman talagang turnover ceremony. Inabot lang ang susi sa kanya tapos may pinapirmahan! Hahahaha! But I still wanted to be there even if I had already seen the house countless of times before.

What we got was a very bare house. It’s relatively cheap compared with the other townhouse units in Manila. But if we are to compare it with the houses in the South, the price would have been good enough for a single detached house in Cavite or Laguna. Living in the South was our initial plan, but we could not let go of our careers here in Manila. Plus, we thought of the forever increasing prices of gas and toll fees. But God definitely had better plans because He opened another door for us. We discovered this housing project in Manila when we were supposed to make a down payment for a house in Cavite. I definitely believe that God led us to a better place because our new house is just a 5-minute walk from my parents’ house, and the developer of the house that we were supposed to buy in Cavite is facing a lot of controversies for creating substandard houses. I even know someone who decided to refund their down payment after learning about this. (Clue: Sikat sila, promise. Sa sobrang sikat nila, na-Imbestigador yata sila. Haha!)

I am not new to the place where our house was built. I grew up wondering what was behind the galvanized iron sheets in that part of the road. Papa told me that they grew up playing there. He told me that the lot is owned by a Chinese family. I also had some fond memories with it because part of the land used to be a store that sells novelty items. The Chinese lady who used to own it would always give us free candies each time we buy stationeries or school supplies from her. When F4 became famous, our generation would flock to her store to buy those Meteor Garden posters! But now, we are about to create new memories in it!!!

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Buying a house is financially draining. People close to me knows how frugal I am. My mother trained me to handle my finances well. During the past couple of years that we were paying for the down payment, I was feeling extremely proud of myself, and my husband, too! We made a lot of sacrifices just to make sure that our future kids need not to worry about having a roof on rainy days. Now that the house has been turned over to us, our expenses have skyrocketed big time! The construction of our house’s interiors is physically, mentally, emotionally and financially (definitely!) exhausting. My husband and I, along with my parents, would brainstorm on a lot of things related to our house’s construction. Now, I appreciate my parents more. They were generous enough to let us stay in their own house for more than three years. And now, they are still helping us in any way they can. Because Boyet and I need to go to work, Papa is the one who oversees the construction while Mama works as the treasurer. Haha! Papa would think of a lot of things that Boyet and I hadn’t considered before. Dapat pala ‘yung gripo ganito ang valve. Delikado pala ‘yung tiles namin sa stairs. Mas ok pala kung magpapalagay kami ng kisame. At kung anu-ano pa! But more importantly, I have learned to value how my parents raised me. During the three years that we stayed with them, Boyet and I would pay bulk of the house expenses. Of course he is not forgetting his responsibility to his side of the family. But despite of these, we have managed to survive getting our own house. I know that a lot of kids brag of being spoiled by or still getting financial help from their parents. Yes, there were days when my parents would offer help, but I would gladly decline. I was initially thinking that I was doing it out of pride. Niloloko ko pa si Mama by saying, “Duh! Marami kaya akong pera!” kahit gustong gusto ko ng kunin ‘yung tulong nila! But the past few days made me realize that I have been doing it in response to my parents’ generosity. They were generous enough to educate me. They sent me to school to equip me in life. They managed to train me to become financially independent. They were generous of their time. I grew up with Mama and Papa being physically present each time I need help in school, yet they managed to give the space that I needed to still become self-sufficient. They generously imparted all the skills and wisdom that I would be needing as I face life. These only prove that a parent’s generosity is not limited with how they provide. Some are proud that their parents bought them a house. I am proud that my parents taught me how to get my own house. =)

Aside from my parents, I have learned to trust my husband more. After recovering from flu, I faced another “hump” which prevented me from doing what I was supposed to do. My doctor banned me to go out of the house over the weekend. (Don’t worry, it’s nothing serious.) And since weekends are the only chance that we have to oversee the construction of our house, my husband single-handedly did everything. He went to shop for tiles. This was a big deal for me because I have long been struggling with this - I am  too hands-on! ‘Yung feeling ko na kapag hindi ako gumawa, or wala ako during decision-making, feeling ko laging not good enough ang outcome! Ganun ako ka-brat, haha! But being married to Boyet for almost four years taught me that I need to delegate, that I need to stop worrying on the small stuff, and that I need to trust his taste. Haha!

I never imagined that building our own house would be like a roller coaster ride. We’ve been to the lowest of all lows. But now that we are finally near in realizing our dream, we’re definitely on a high! Minsan na-se-sepanx ako thinking that I would be “moving out” of the house that I’ve lived in for 31 years. But I am definitely excited!!! And I certainly didn’t know that buying a house can define someone’s character. Ang dami kong natutunan! Some may say, “Ang yabang naman neto!” Pero, kayabang-yabang naman siguro ‘tong achievement naming mag-asawa, ‘di ba? Dugo, pawis at luha ang pundasyon ng bahay namin! Hahahahahaha!

I can’t wait to create new memories in our own house. I’m still not sure if I have the talent in crafts and interior designing, but I vowed to make our house look more of a home! And I promise to share bits and pieces of it with you. I will try to blog as often as I can so I do hope that you stick around until we settle down with our new setup. =)
I stopped going to SM City Manila a decade ago after I graduated from college. Studying in one of the universities in Intramuros, SM Manila is the closest mall to us. So imagine how surprised I was when I came back to SM Manila years after. There are now more restaurant choices which were not present when I was still in college. I remember getting so fed up at eating in Tokyo Tokyo, McDonalds, KFC and Wendy’s just because my friends and I had no other choice. Yes we could have gone to Robinsons Manila, but that would cost us a jeepney ride. (Mga poorita lang kasi kami kaya nilalakad lang namin ang SM Manila! :p)

Anyway, my husband and I came back to SM Manila last January to get his renewed driver’s license. After that, we roamed around to check out the restaurants. It took us a while to choose among the wide array of restaurant choices in the mall. (How I wished we had the same problem years ago!) But this brightly-lit restaurant with a very inviting vibe won our hearts!

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The Wicked Waffle brags of serving breakfast meals all day. I seriously thank God for restaurants like The Wicked Waffle. Don’t you hate it when places limit people to eat breakfast until 10 AM only? Gusto ko ngang gumawa ng online protest para pilitin ang McDo na mag-serve ng Big Breakfast ng buong araw! Haha!

The ambiance at The Wicked Waffle is very welcoming. The chairs and tables are mostly white with the exception of some brown couches. Parts of the white walls are covered with graffiti which liven out the place even more. And the red accents on the counter brighten up the restaurant’s interior.

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I checked out the menu and could not decide what to get. Of course I was convinced to try out their waffles, but I really had a hard time choosing from their menu. I had to rely to the thumbs-up sign on the menu, the icon used to signify The Wicked Waffle’s bestsellers/recommendations. That was when I finally decided to go with Chunkee Monkee!

The waffle alone is good by itself. But it became even better as it was topped with vanilla ice cream, bananas, whipped cream, granola crunch and caramel fudge. I chose this primarily because I love vanilla ice cream, and I knew that it would be perfect with the waffle. I was just a bit confused because what I think I got were pieces of corn flakes instead of the “granola crunch” that was noted on the menu. But overall, I enjoyed every bite of Chunkee Monkee!

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And once again, my unorthodox husband stayed away from waffles and settled with tinapang bangus. We came to The Wicked Waffle way past lunch time so it was understandable that a plate of waffle would not be enough for my husband’s big appetite.

The bangus is surprisingly big! We both noticed the evident smoky flavor of the bangus. The saltiness is just perfect. Tinapang tinapa talaga ang lasa! Served with rice and fried eggs, this plate is the perfect breakfast for those who would be facing a big day! Look how big that bangus is!!!

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I noticed that the clientele of The Wicked Waffle is diverse. During our visit, there were yuppies and casual diners. But the crowd is composed mainly of students. Some were obviously hanging out, but I saw a few who were seriously studying. How I really wish that The Wicked Waffle was already in place when I was still in college. I’m pretty sure that my best friends and I would have been regular customers!


The Wicked Waffle
Level 4
SM City Manila


* All photos were taken with a Nikon Coolpix S3600