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garbagekid
This is garbagekid living in San Martin de Porres. I am a IT Business Consultant, work in Fort Bonifacio . I like to hang out in Fort Bonifacio . I also love Casual Dining.
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Categories : American | Fast Food Shop | Burger

 
Side story – so I have been relatively inactive nitpicking on places to go to for great food these past, oh say, three or four months maybe? After being stuck right front center of a hotly contested tiff late last year, I have been on a sabbatical in as far as giving a few of you folks ideas on the best places to dine out – reason being its your girlfriend or boyfriend’s birthday, you treating your mom to your first pay check, or just being plain simple hungry and you have no clue which places can give you the best bang for your buck. Cut to a few weeks ago – I know for a fact that our dear old friends over at Openrice Philippines have been regularly arranging get together nights for Openricers – old and new, regularly for some time now. In fact, the very first Eat’s a Date, I did get an invite except that it was the middle of workday so I had to beg off. More than the food, I regret missing the chance I had to finally shake hands with a few of my fiercest reviewing(*ahem ahem*) rivals (of course now, I guess we all feel like elder statesmen to the new crop of Openricers strutting their stuff). I did manage to attend one other Eat’s a Date after that – it was dinner so I had no excuse whatsoever to not be there. I thought that would be the last invite I’d get from them, being the lazy prodigal Openricer that I have been for some time now. Lo and behold, I still got an invite to another Eat’s a Date meet up – this time the GPS says its going to be at CBD right smack in the heart of Makati’s Central Business District.

Now listen – the old adage that a burger is still a burger no matter how you cook it is just plain wrong. CBD which stands for Cheesesteaks, Burgers and Drinks– relatively young in as far as the conciousness of your everyday Joe is concerned, makes an emphatic statement just to prove that saying as incorrect. And the amazing thing about it – not only do they bring it, they throw in wicked cheesesteaks and the most amazing pastries and drinks to boot. That being said, let’s take a wandering sidetrip through the streets of this new foodie hub find – and no, they got no color-coding so its free to order away at anything that catches your tastebuds.

 
The first thing that gets your attention immediately upon sitting down and cozying up inside a restarurant is how the whole look feels like – truth be told, this is the second time I have been at CBD and the first time I was here, the simple lines, the muted color scheme, the bright interiors all lined up perfectly to give you that warm cozy welcome impression. The livery of CBD is as simple and direct to the point as you can get – for some understating it would simply not work – but for CBD’s, it essentially meant its here to be in business – no fuss, no beating around the bush – just good old fashioned great food embodied by their green and white. The interior seating is a mix of wooden tables, plush green couches and light brown colored chairs. There is a part of the dining area that is accented by simplistic lamps hanging from the ceiling. One wall depicts the colors of the country’s Central Business District hued together with a few notable items that can be had via CBD’s menu. Another side of the wall has a line of wallclocks depicting timezones from a few significant centers of commerce from around the globe – do we hasten to conclude if the stock market had anything to do with such a neat concept? The place accomodates diners who either want to stay cool indoors airconditioned, or those who prefer to stay outside and dine al fresco. The service was mighty efficient – I am happy to report too that once again, their best foot forward was evident that night – see the thing is I had a chance to compare my first regular visit with them and this visit, being it an Openrice Philippines event. The level of service shown was almost the same if not equal to the first time I had been here. I guess the only differentiating thing was the fact that this time around, they were happy to explain to us the food we were partaking in. Alright – enough of the small talk – lets talk brass tacks.

There were a bunch of people actually that got invites to this dinner gig by Openrice so the amount of food – if it could be measured in decibels – probably was near break-your-eardrum level. Seriously, there was a lot. The wife, being an part-time Openricer herself, tagged along for the night. We already had an idea what was really good – like I said a while back, this wasn’t our fisrt time here. I knew for a fact that their hickory smoked beef brisket was absolutely divine – and ordering it again was being too safe. I had to go for one their burgers – the Chicago Peppercorn Burger immediately caught my attention (being a self-confessed anything spiced by peppercorn lover that I am), so I immediately placed an order for it. The wifey wanted to wrestle with their Bacon Cheesesteak Sandwich. Right before we got what we asked for, we were served with a few of their notable sides – their CBD Buffalo Chicken Strips, their Curly French Fries, their original fries and their take on Onion Rings. Among the fares I mentioned, top honors go to their version of Buffalo styled chicken strips – the sauce in particular that coated the chicken was so good especially when paired with the dip that went along with it. Runner up has got to be their Curly Fries – the crispy batter was loaded with flavor that foregoing ketchup or mayo would be understandable.

 
The night did belong to a the headliners me and the wife ordered though. The peppercorn crusted burger was a homerun – obviously inspired by a way steak can be cooked, this rendition of this famed all-American sandwich was a rendition that any burger lover would certainly enjoy digging his taste buds in. The patty itself was cooked perfectly, - it was seared on the outside while retaining that moist and juicy inside. The crispy onion rings that went with their in-house steak sauce placed on top was an explosion of flavor and texture and walking away from it became so difficult bite after bite. The Bacon Cheesesteak sandwich on the other hand, was a chock-ful of thinly sliced premium beef, a good amount of bacon and loads and loads of melted cheese – a little slice of sandwich heaven if the wife had to describe it according to her.

 
As a final treat, and one that truly ensured this to be a fantastic gastronomic event, CBD whipped up a batch of their own version of that favorite diner drink - milk shake – with a huge twist – they mixed in your favorite cake with scoops of ice cream and viola!, calling it Shake and Bake! We got the Apple Pie Shake and Bake – after one sip of that creamy sweet concoction, I found myself at a lost for words on how to describe how good it tasted. If milk shake tasted this sinfully good everytime, this could become illegal trust me. As if that wasn’t enough, we got served with a few new entries to their menu – another reason for those with sweet tooth like me to visit CBD – their own version of their Apple Walnut Cake, their devilishly red and yummy Red Velvet and that wonderful Dulce de Leche Cake that all made me sigh like I had gone to dessert heaven! This was not a period to the statement CBD has got what it takes – this was an emphatic exclamation point.

 
The night ended accomplishing the purpose it had sought – that good food goes extremely well with good people, and yes, meeting up and finally putting a face to the person across the internet page that seemed like bitter rivals to me at one point in time that i was a fledgling Openricer. This could not have been possible at all if not for the hardworking people inside the kitchen of CBD and those who are painstakingly looking after Openrice Philippines. Did I hear the bell ring? I guess its time for another bullrun towards CBD and the blue chip choices to make from their a-lister of a menu.
 
Other Ratings:
Taste
 5  |  
Environment
 5  |  
Service
 5  |  
Clean
 5  |  
Price
 5

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Categories : American | Steakhouse | BBQ/Grill | Burger

Hiatuses are always needed – whether it be taking a break from work, as we all are working-class citizens that have no choice but to wake up in the morning to head out to our own respective daily grinds, or from churning out food reviews that might come in handy for other people who are on the look out for a good eat without busting a holethrough the pocket.

 
After agonizingly hitting away at the laptop keys for what seemed like an eternity late last year, I went on a sabbatical to basically recharge and regroup before hitting the food review alley once again, albeit on a non-proffesional way like so many other fellow open ricers do. Coming out of the wood work once more, I surmised its about time to dust off my writer’s *ehem* cap that has been catching cobwebs in one corner, what with a pretty grand dinner planned by Open Rice and Tender Bob’s for a few lucky souls – me included – just last night.

So here goes nothing.

 
My first run in with Tender Bob’s was at the old food court up in Glorietta I think. I could be wrong. Or was it at the Enterprise Center Food Court? Anyhoo – from what I can remember, they served plated food and yes, steak was their main fare then, made affordable for us small fry office goers so it became a viable option for lunch or dinner. If my memory does not betray me, I’ve never been back to Tender Bob’s much after I left Makati for Taguig.

 
Cue last week – I got an invite from Open Rice for their Eat’s a Date thing. Backgrounder – I was pretty much frustrated I could not make it to the one they had over at a restaurant in Ortigas. One, it was lunch time on a work week – so sneaking out of the office was pretty much not an option. Two, well Ortigas is still a bit of a distance from Taguig – so I had to pass. What I regret most about that was I did miss out in finally getting to meet my contemporary openricers if you may allow me to put it that way. None the less, after finding out that the sequel to that very successful undertaking would be held at Tender Bob’s in the heart of Greenbelt at dinner time, I had no reason to pass off this time around.

 
There’s regular make overs and then there’s like awesome ones. From a modest, almost too low key stall of the Tender Bob’s I can remember, they have now fully taken on a complete dining experience comparable to a few great American Restaurants we have around the city. The place was not grandiosly huge – it was made up of two floors, with the second floor provisioning for private functions that the establishment accomodates. The ground floor is well lit with an obvious leaning towards a western feel – like them old saloon type diners we see on old american wild wild west movies. Wood finishing is used generously thoughout. The upper floor can be split up in two multipurpose rooms – one is good for about forty people, and the smaller one is just right for a more intimate group of twelve.

 
Service was pretty top notch last night. I am surmising that this is how they do it on regular days taking into account the fact that they were graciously hosting this event. Service was quick, courteous and right down pat. If this is how it’s done at Tender Bob’s everyday, then a lot of other restaurants need to take their cue from them and learn.

 
Great night indeed. And what could be greater than the fact that for some reason, it got me to start hitting the keyboard again to share such a good gastronomic experience to everyone looking for that one good eat – maybe I could help point directions!

P.S. So what's a food review without the food right? Its up next!
 
Date of Visit: Jun 14, 2011 

Other Ratings:
Taste
 5  |  
Environment
 4  |  
Service
 5  |  
Clean
 5  |  
Price
 5

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Categories : Chinese | Casual Dining

The other day was our customary head-home-for-the-ol-homestead day. Previous to that, it was my mom in law’s birthday. We gave her a surprise party she probably wont be forgetting anytime soon inviting all those who were dear to her heart without her knowledge. We pulled it off spectacularly. After the guests went home, a select few stayed on at the house in Paranaque to play a few games of friendly mahjong while my dad in law’s sister and her family drank the night away on another area of the house with much banter and laughs. We ended up all going to bed early morning of the following day. My mom and sister requested I drive them for another round of Christmas shopping so the wife and I were forced to set our alarms quite early despite the seeming lack of sleep. By 10 ‘o clock in the morning, we were headed out to Valenzuela to pick them up. The shopping debauchary lasted well into the day. By the time they were done, it was already around 3 PM and most of Sunday had slinked away already. We headed home after and had quite a late lunch. By 4 PM, most of us had retreated to each one’s room for a needed power nap. I slept til around 5 I think while the wife got up by 6 PM. I told my mom we had to head out already because we were meeting a few friends over at the Ayala UP Technohub in Commonweatlh for dinner.

Looking For A U-turn…

The drive from Valenzuela to QC was quick. In about 20 minutes or so after leaving the house, we were in the general vicinity of Commonwealth. The problem was I had overlooked the fact that the U-Turn slot closest to the Ayala UP Technohub was underneath the flyover right after you pass by the main INC church (or before? I cannot remember at this point). To keep it short, we missed the shortest route to our destination adding up a few more minutes to our driving time. Luckily though, the moment we reached the parking area, there were a few slots available, immediately we took one. Our couple/friends were right behind us so it felt like the reason for getting delayed by a good 5 to 10 minutes was justified.

Le Ching For Me = Never Tried

There were a few good choices within the complex. I was familiar with a number of restaurants but was also foreign to a few that looked exciting and new. Mel graciously recommended Le Ching – and proceeded to telling a story about how it is one of the best Chinese restaurants around, tracing it’s roots back to Greenhills. The place was bright and inviting from the outside. Circular orange lamps dangled from their ceiling adding to the glow of the already bright interiors of the place. There was ample seating inside and outside. Might I add, I found the seats outside pretty comfortable, almost as if the seats are embracing you because of the way they are shaped. We were taken cared of immediately when someone came out of the restaurant to hand us each our own copy of their menu. There were a few items that caught my eye but those will be put to the back burner in the meantime as I found out later on…

Toppings…


After going through the menu, I asked our friend Mel what he recommends. He excitedly told me that this place has got the best Chicken Mushroom Rice around. My imagination went into overdrive immediately about how it would look and taste like based on the enthusiastic thumbs up given by my friend. As such, I ended up ordering what he recommended (which was also his order by the way) while the wife got their Beef Brisket Rice. Mel’s wife got for herself their asado siopao – apparently she could not eat anything heavy that time owing to the dinner they had before going to QC. After a few minutes of waiting, our orders came. My order in particular came in an aluminum container, almost like a cup that you can use for drinking water. It was stuffed with sticky rice and topped with a heaping of falling off the bone chicken with mushroom. It smelled fantastic. The wife’s order likewise came in an identical container that my order was in. It had huge chunks of beef on top with steaming hot rice at the bottom. Digging in, I found that the chicken was literally falling apart, like it was cooked until it was it’s softest. The meat was so tender and moist and the flavor of the mushroom mixed in with the sauce that coats the chicken pieces was just fantastic. A word of caution though – since the chicken has literally been cooked away for good measure, there will be small pieces of its bone that gets mixed up with the meat. Just make sure you don’t chew or bite on them so that the whole experience does not get ruined by a rogue piece of sharp bone ok?

Sure Comeback

Well we can say this is as perfect a dinner as it gets. I mean really – no wonder my friend and a whole lot of other people think that this is the place to get the best chinese inspired food around. One – the taste is close to being authentic. Two – it has a history of providing good food that is worth the value of your hard earned money. Three – and this maybe exclusive to the branch here at the Ayala UP Technohub, the place itself and the polite and attentive service. How does it get better than that right? Questions, therefore, that seek to ask if we will be coming back for more of that Le Ching goodness is now moot and academic. We just signed up for another night with them in the near future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
Other Ratings:
Taste
 5  |  
Environment
 5  |  
Service
 5  |  
Clean
 5  |  
Price
 5

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Categories : Café/Coffee Shop | All-day Breakfast

I used to be a temporary resident of Makati. There was a time before, I knew the roads and the goings on in and around the Central Business District like the back of my hand. I guess that’s what you pretty much get for working a good chunk of your professional life within the area. Almost three years ago, I got a pretty amazing offer from my present company, signaling the end of my days being a regular of the concrete jungles of Ayala Avenue. For one, I have grown a bit weary of the daily grind – traffic snarls and hefty parking fees – so I really welcomed the move to somewhere that was less crowded (although it has noticeably gotten worse these past few months where traffic is concerned within Fort Bonifacio but still liveable) and a tad bit more open spaces that the eye can see. Recently, owing to the nearing Christmas rush, the wife and I found ourselves getting acquainted with the sights and sounds again of the area. We had been roaming around looking for gift ideas at the same time seeing how the foodscape has become over at Makati. After a couple of hours that included a trip to Glorietta 4’s food court, looking for bargain gadgets at the electronic fare in the main atrium, we decided to rest our weary feet, grab some coffee and puff a few. We made a mental list of the possible coffee shops that were within walking distance from us. We deemed it best to proceed to UCC Park Café.

Cityscape Goes Further Up.

On the way to UCC, we noticed a few shops we were familiar way back then had already closed shop and new ones have taken their place. The old Tower Records (which I enjoyed passing time at not so long ago) had been replaced by a bookstore. A coffee shop that was beside it previously is now occupied by a clothing line outlet. Walking along the sidestreet towards UCC, you can’t help but notice also the amount of construction that had gone on while we stayed away the general area of Makati. From our vantage point in front of the seemingly “old” 6750 building, we could see sky scrapers in the general direction of Greenbelt reaching further up as if 50 storeys is still ain’t high enough. We crossed the street and settled in one of the many tables that UCC has set up for their al-fresco patrons. They have a relatively small airconditioned section. Most of the UCC’s real estate is occupied by its outdoor amenities. As most UCC branches, they provide an electronic gadget to get the attention of those taking the orders of customers. Oddly, our table did not have one so we had to resort to the old “wave your hand to get the attention of the attendant” route. It was a perfect night explaining why the giant umbrellas strategically placed between tables were kept closed. Surprisingly, when we asked for some paper towels, it was the security guard who brought us some, personally handing it to us and not one of the attending personnel. The expanse of the open area bordered by Makati Shangrila, 6750 and Glorietta itself looked huge. Really, the airconditioned area of the coffee shop actually gleamed from afar where we were seated – like this majestic ruby of an oasis in the midst of a wide desert. The whole area itself was separated by a hedge of low lying shrubs that were neatly manicured – at least providing a bit of distance from the actual sidewalk and the area itself of UCC.

Hot and Cold…

After a pretty heavy meal, the wife and I were ready to wash it down with something while getting a puff here and there. UCC’s menu is pretty diverse so if you are a first timer, you could easily get lost among the many items (yummy all at that) that they have. Being that we were stuffed to high heavens already, the wife asked for a cup of their brewed coffee while I got something a tad fancier – their Honey Calamansi Frozen Iced Tea – a mouthful right? Anyway, I did not have any problems saying what I wanted to order nor did the wife. The girl who took our orders seemed a tad bit indifferent to us – tired? Distracted? A smile from an attending person to a customer would go a long way really. I hope UCC understands that. It’s not fun getting served by someone who looks like he or she has lost a bet on Manny Pacquiao right? In any case, it’s not a deal breaker to us, but then again, that’s just us. The coffee was served in one of these cool circular glass containers which I only see in UCC. The only comment the wife has – a serving of their brewed cup of coffee is too little. To think you are paying a rather premium price, one would normally think they need to be given more. But heck, that’s UCC. We have had coffee with the countless times already and they have served brewed coffee the same way over and over again – in those small circular glass containers. Personally, I think it wont be changing soon. The frozen iced tea was ok – I was expecting something a lot better tasting but to put it bluntly, in my opinion, it came up a tad short. I wish they could have put a little more Calamansi Juice and maybe a dab more of honey to sweeten the whole thing up. Likewise for a pretty steep price, you can get a better tasting iced tea somewhere else. But of course those are just drinks. Try out their hot meals and sandwiches and I am pretty sure, except with how much they cost, you would come out a happy camper. They make a mean risotto and that wickedly sinful but delicious Cliffhanger… Yum.

Overpriced Oasis?

I really think UCC goes borderline on this one. I mean, if you have tried out the other good stuff from their kitchen, you would probably go “Every buck is worth it”. But honestly, I think they just come out too darn expensive with their other items. True story – one time I had a plate of their fresh fruits and a drink, it set me back somewhere in the range of 400 – 500 bucks. For a plate of fruits and one drink, I am not even kidding. I guess those who can afford UCC are familiar with how much it would cost them. I do think they make good food and sometimes, it’s a pity because not many people are able to try it out because they end up feeling like a pauper after a visit. We know good things come at a price. But please don’t make it insanely expensive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
Other Ratings:
Taste
 4  |  
Environment
 5  |  
Service
 4  |  
Clean
 4  |  
Price
 3

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Savoring Life. Smile Dec 07, 2010   
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Categories : Chinese | Casual Dining | BBQ/Grill

I had been killing time roaming around the mall. I had arrived earlier than expected at the designated place me and the wife agreed to meet up at. I had come from my office from McKinley Hill Fort Bonifacio while she would be coming from here work over at Ortigas Center. It was around 7 PM already. She sent me an SMS informing me may have to wait a bit more because they were rushing to finish something before they all leave the office. With the extra time afforded me, I tried sampling as much as I can with the different food stalls around the area. At one point I got tired of walking around, I decided to sit down by the circular food court, take a breath, let my legs catch up a bit. I had started thinking about where we should go for dinner. From where I sat, I saw Savory. The restaurant gleamed from afar with the bright interiors. A steady stream of people stepping out after a good dinner and those coming in to get settled for theirs was constant. I sent the wife a text message telling her “Let’s have dinner here at Savory.” She replied in the positive.

Lights, Wood and Red.

The restaurant wasn’t new – it has a reputation among the older generation of Filipinos. They did not scream “Try Me!” hence, they relied on word of mouth and positive feedback from our moms and dads, even our grandparents. Try asking them what they think of “Savory” and you will, in most case, get a nod of approval from them. The store makes use of wood generously. The façade is adorned by strips of panels that look like wood, almost trying to imitate the old Chinese restaurants we see in those kung fu movies of years ago. Both the chairs and tables are wood finished. The façade of the restaurant is painted in white – so it acts as the perfect backdrop to the livery of the name “Savory” since its all red, and the back of the signage is lit up giving it feel that it’s actually floating in thin air. The interiors though, offer a stark contrast to the outside of the place. There is a generous use of the color red on the walls. The counter is adorned with seemingly small blocks of tiles artfully placed against one another, the different hues making it a pleasant sight to look at. The service is good. The moment we set foot upon the restaurant, we were assisted by one of their crew manning the floor and led us to where we wanted to sit down. We were quickly given the menus so we could immediately identify what we wanted. They were polite and courteous, but weren’t the type who would start conversations with their customers.

Main Reason

We scoured their menu – it’s not actually the first time we were having dinner at this branch. This is probably our 3rd or 4th time to dine in with them. We thought about ordering separately (since they have solo meals – a treat because it more or less had a portion of the most famous dishes in their arsenal that is good for one), but when we saw they had a special that was good for two, we immediately and without much hesitation went for it. There are actually three special sets that were good for two. We got their half chicken combo that had fried shanghair rolls, a serving of pancit canton and two cups of rice. We thought that the other two were a little bit too much for us to finish up, so we had to go the more conservative route and get the special that we thought had the right amount of food. The meal did not come with drinks. We had to order our own separately. The wife got her usual diet cola while I went for their Tropical Cooler which I have taken on a pretty good fancy ever since I was able to try it. I like their play on the use of different fruit flavors and how it beautifully combines with one another. Refreshing indeed. The chicken, as usual, was tender, moist and flavorful. It has a bit of difference with the fried chicken that comes from another famoust chicken house. There is a distinct difference to them. This chicken has an obvious affinity to how the Chinese do it fried. Although both chickens are cooked without any batter or breading, the smell and the texture are quite different. If you still can’t figure it out, then the sauce that comes served with it all but confirms what inspired it. I enjoyed the shanghai rolls immensely. I also thought the sauce used for dipping the shanghai rolls struck a perfect balance with the sweetness and sourness. The pancit canton was likewise good, nothing out of the ordinary really.

Savored.

There isn’t anything that we did not like with the dinner at Savory’s. It was almost too good to be true. While I personally feel and this is my honest opinion, that the other fried chicken place serves a better version, it is worth noting that Savory has a few aces up it’s sleeves. For one, they serve a wicked Yang Chow fried rice. On top of that, I think they have the best shanghai rolls around or one of the best at least. And that tropical cooler – I think that is one of the best tasting drinks anywhere else period. These are all personal opinions of mine. You can form your own once you have given taken them out for a spin. You can agree or disagree with how I felt but one thing is for sure, eating is not just savoring the saltiness, or the sweetness, or the spicyness of food – it’s about savoring the love that went into preparing those dishes and how they are supposed to make us smile after every bite. At least that night, I can say – I savored.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
Other Ratings:
Taste
 5  |  
Environment
 5  |  
Service
 5  |  
Clean
 5  |  
Price
 5

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