Thursday, October 29, 2009

Michael Jackson's This Is It (Movie Review)

Michael Jackson This Is It movie poster The man is all about love.

My husband and I trooped to the Power Plant Cinema last night to attend Skycable's premiere showing of Michael Jackson's This Is It. We got really good center aisle seats and although I had already seen the trailer I still was not quite sure what to expect.

Michael Jackson's This Is It is a collation of footages taken from rehearsals for his sold-out series of concerts in UK which was supposed to take place in July 2009. Everything was put together to complete a two-hour documentary style behind-the-scenes look at what was supposed to be Michael's final curtain call.

Sadly, this is the closest I'll ever get to watching a Michael Jackson concert. Watching him perform is nothing short of enthralling. The magic is still there. It never left, it merely went into hibernation when the king of pop chose to fade into the background during the last several years. This Is It shows the world just how consummate a performer and artist Michael Jackson is. He is extremely hands-on, and he doesn't stop until perfection is achieved. "I want it to sound the way I wrote it," he'd tell the band. He would also work on refining the choreography of his back-up dancers. This is a man who knows what he wants and will stop at nothing to deliver what he promised.

I marvelled at what an ornate production was in store for his fans. No expense was spared, this would have been the concert you just had to watch in this lifetime. Often I would wonder if his 50-year old self could handle the rigorous demands of the show but if ever there was a shadow of a doubt he did not show it. He was dancing side-by-side with people in their 20's and he was nowhere near being left behind.

Fans will be treated to Michael Jackson's latest renditions of his most popular songs like "Smooth Criminal", "Thriller", "I Just Can't Stop Loving You", "Human Nature", "Beat It", and "Billie Jean" among several others. His voice and his moves are truly one of a kind. Even after a long absence from the stage, this is definitely still the legend that is Michael Jackson.

Throughout the film, Michael would talk about how one should always do everything with love and for love. "I'm going to sing the songs my fans want to hear," he is recorded as saying. Since this would have been his last series of concerts, he was really determined to give it his all... and his all he gave until he drew his last breath.

The film ends with Michael singing "Man in the Mirror", which was also how his memorial service ended. I was once again saddened at the loss of one of the greatest artists who ever walked the earth. I just wish he could see how much he is missed.

Check out videos and stills from Michael Jackson's This Is It at the official website by clicking HERE.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Dare to be Fit 'n Right with Del Monte!

Del Monte Philippines launched its Dare to be Fit 'n Right campaign last October 23, 2009 at Taste Asia in SM Mall of Asia.

Del Monte Fit n' Right I was greeted by the sight of Del Monte Fit 'n Right centerpieces and balloons which adorned the venue. I've always thought of Fit 'n Right juice drinks as just another one of those low-calorie diet drinks for guiltless indulgence, but it's actually a lot more than that.

Albeit we were given a whole lot of Del Monte Fit 'n Right reference materials, I'll make it short and sweet as not to put my readers to sleep. Fit 'n Right food and beverage products contain L-Carnitine, a substance that is naturally found in our bodies. L-Carnitine helps burn fat, so with supplementary L-Carnitine, proper diet, and regular exercise, one can achieve ideal body weight and lead a healthier life.

Coach Jim Saret at the Del Monte Fit 'n Right launch Sports scientist and master coach Jim Saret amazed us with a brief demo of how you can be fit by working out for only four (4) minutes a day. Through Fast Intense Training (FIT) , you can burn at least 400 calories in a span of four minutes.

Impossible! I used to work out in a gym and a full hour on the stair climber machine only burned 300-350 calories, whereas an hour on the treadmill burned even less.

FIT demo with Coach Jim Saret at the Del Monte Fit 'n Right launchThe FIT workout is characterized by fast bursts of intensive exercise. In four minutes, you do a combination of push-ups, squats, lunges, crunches, and body weight lifting. One of the best things about the FIT workout is you don't need equipment that are costly and would most likely just end up as clutter in your house.

So here it is, the formula to getting fit and right fast: a sensible diet -- that means cutting down on fatty food and eating more fruits and veggies, Del Monte Fit 'n Right drinks and snacks to pump up your metabolism, and a few minutes a day for your FIT workout. Be warned though that since Del Monte Fit 'n Right products are not sugar-free, they are not recommended for diabetics. We were assured that Del Monte is doing something about it though, and so sugar-free Fit 'n Right products are probably not so far behind.

Ever since I had kids, I've never really lost the extra pounds I gained from the pregnancies. I don't have time to go to the gym because I'm a hands-on working mom. The FIT workout is perfect for me. I'm determined to stick with the formula and see results!

Dare to be Fit 'n Right Fun Run 2009 Del Monte's Dare to be Fit 'n Right campaign will culminate in the Dare to be Fit 'n Right Fun Run 2009 which will take place on November 22, 2009. Registration fee is P300 inclusive of singlet, race bib, and Del Monte products. You can register at:
  1. CEMG Office – Unit 3A Vernida I Bldg., Amorsolo St., Legaspi Village, Makati City - look for Marianne Tapales (892-5842 / 0915-5498282)
  2. Dare to be Fit ‘n Right booths at Bonifacio High Street and SM Hypermarket in Mall of Asia, Sucat, Pasig, and North EDSA
  3. Fitness First branches on November 16, 2009

Part of the proceeds will go to the victims of typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng, so not only will you be helping yourself become healthier, you'll also be helping others get back on their feet. Aside from cash prizes up for grabs for race winners, everyone who runs will be entered in a raffle for a Lenovo laptop.

Check out Del Monte Fit 'n Right on Facebook.

FIT can burn four hundred calories in four minutes... can you just imagine how much more calories you'd be able to burn if you did say... fourteen minutes? Forty minutes?

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Have a fun and educational Halloween at Nido Fortified Science Discovery Center!

Still looking for a good Halloween activity for your kids? Why not drop by the Nido Fortified Science Discovery Center?

Halloween at the Nido Fortified Science Discovery CenterOn October 31, 2009 kids can participate in Nido Fortified Science Discovery Center's "Tales of the Creepy Jungle" Halloween activity.

There will be free face painting and tattoos, hourly costume awards, and a trick-or-treat activity. Take part in scientific experiments like the Spooky Fog, Screaming Balloon, Slime-making, Noise Money, and Cup of Sound. Be among the first to experience two of Nido Fortified Science Discovery Center's latest interactive exhibits -- Fear Wall and Bug Rug.

Kids who come in their Halloween costumes accompanied by one paying customer can enjoy free entrance from October 30 to November 1, 2009.

Nido Fortified Science Discovery Center,
SM Mall of Asia, Mall of Asia Complex,
Pasay City 1300, Philippines

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Monday, October 26, 2009

The SM Mega Atrium Launch and my Sony Cyber-shot TX-1

SM formally launched the Mega Atrium at the SM Megamall last Oct. 20, 2009. The launch was hosted by TV personality and model Angel Aquino. She personally toured members of the media around the Mega Atrium with a number of SM's officers.

Mega Atrium at SM Megamall
Fashion show at the Mega Atrium, SM MegamallThe launch culminated in a fashion show by the boutiques which opened shop at the Mega Atrium, including Promod, 5cm, Espada, Aldo, CMG, and GForce among many others.

Fashion show at Mega Atrium, SM Megamall
Bloggers with SM's Henry SyThe event was attended by the SM patriarch himself Henry Sy. He stayed until the end of the event and entertained photo requests from attendees.

The Mega Atrium at SM Megamall spans 16,000 square meters and four floors of shopping space. It offers a wide array of dining, retail, and lifestyle service establishments. The Chapel of the Eucharistic Lord and Services is also located at the Mega Atrium's fifth and topmost level.

Aside from the buffet spread and cocktails, premiere ice cream parlor Haagen-Dazs indulged guests with free-flowing Choco Hazelnut Brittle ice cream, one of their latest flavors. I for one am not too fond of chocolate ice cream but this one is rich, creamy, and infused with bits of chewy and crunchy hazelnut brittle. Simply divine!

Sony Cybershot TX-1 digital camera in pinkThis event was made even more special by the fact that it's the first ever blogger event to be covered by my Sony Cyber-shot TX-1 digicam. I was surprised at the sheer quality of the photos delivered by this tiny digicam, currently the slimmest model in the world. I set it on Intelligent Auto (iAuto) mode and wow, it did everything for me! It knew when to switch to macro, when to apply backlight, and so forth. All I had to do was click away! Even more surprising was the fact that I did not have to do ANY Photoshopping afterwards, whereas every time I used my old digicam I always had to brighten, adjust the contrast, saturation, etc. This cam is just unbelieveable...

Find out more about the Sony Cyber-shot TX-1 by logging on to

Sony is giving away a Sony Cyber-shot TX-1 in a photography contest that I will be promoting in this blog so stay tuned. :)

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Goodbye my Toshiba Satellite A135-S4527...

Toshiba Satellite A135-S4527 I bought my Toshiba Satellite A135-S4527 laptop from the US back in 2007. I used it for everything -- writing, blogging, office work, and gaming. Yesterday morning when I pressed the power button, it refused to turn on.

There were no symptoms prior, everything was in good working order. It never hanged, never blinked, never slowed down... so I thought it must be power switch failure.

I brought it to the official Toshiba Service Center in Makati early this afternoon. There, the tech guy got the exact same model and deftly took my laptop apart in front of my eyes. He interchanged my parts and the other laptop's parts until it was determined that my motherboard was dead. It was going to cost around P17,000 to replace it. The laptop cost me around P25,000 so it wasn't worth it anymore. I had the guy remove my hard drive so I can get a SATA enclosure and retrieve all my data. He told me everything else is still working, so I could probably sell the laptop parts to repair shops. He said spikes in our electric current probably caused the early death of my motherboard so if you want to prolong your computer's life, it's best to invest in a good AVR or UPS.

I'm now in the market for a laptop. I can't be without my own computer. I'm currently using hubby's netbook at the moment but it is ill-equipped for my purposes. I have many projects and commitments at stake (including blog entries that need to be published) and I really must get a replacement right away.

Please bear with me through this temporary setback dear readers and partners. :(

Toshiba's official service center is here:

Tricom Dynamics, Inc.
2/F Metro House Building
345 Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue, Makati City
Tel No: (632) 890-6525 to 32

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Warehouse Sale -- up to 70% off on toys, games, and LCD TVs!

Gentle Star Trading Corporation's warehouse sale schedule and location mapWe're more than halfway done through October already, I'm sure most of us are already planning to or are in the process of working on that Christmas list.

Gentle Star Trading Corporation, the distributor of imported games and toys from Hasbro, Radica, and Summit among many others, will be holding a huge warehouse sale from Oct. 23-25, 2009 and Oct. 30-31, 2009. Everything will be 30% to 75% off. I've seen the list and most items are 50% off.

Toys and games from Hasbro, Summit, Radica, Sakar International, National Geographic The items pictured above are just a few of the cut-price toys and games at the warehouse sale. Incredibly, there are toys P100 and below among the hundreds of things in Gentle Star Trading's inventory. That Tetris Tower 3D you see above has gone from P925 to P650. That Sorry Nostalgia version board game above has gone from P2,299.75 to P750 -- and the same is true for other classics like Clue Nostalgia and Risk Nostalgia. There are also puzzles, a number Barbie items that Richwell did not carry, science toys, educational toys, and numerous games like Othello/Reversi, 20 Questions, and a whole lot more.

Hanspree LCD TVsHanspree LCD TVs will also be sold at 50% off the retail price.

Gentle Star Trading Corp.
Level B FMF Business Center
126 Pioneer St., Mandaluyong City

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Saturday, October 17, 2009

One of my worst meals ever at Steak MD

*This establishment is now CLOSED.*

As much as possible, I prefer sharing positive food and dining experiences. In this case, I felt so cheated that I can't help but blog about my horrid meal at Steak MD. I'd like to help keep other people from throwing away their hard-earned cash like I did earlier this afternoon.

My hubby and I needed a quick lunch so we decided to stop by good old Steak MD. I just blogged about them a couple of months ago, pleased with their Pack-Up Meals which we also had for lunch back then.

Price rollback steak at Steak MDSitting down, we noticed this standee propped up on the table. It said "Steak MD Price Roll Back". Basically, you pay P150 for a T-bone or a Porterhouse steak which comes with a choice of mashed potatoes or rice. We asked the server what the difference was between this steak and what they regularly serve. She told us this was just slightly smaller but it was the same steak. Okay, so we decided to order two. Hubby also ordered sisig and two sodas since they serve only tap water and use tap water for their iced tea.

We were served complimentary bowls of clear soup to tide us over until our order came. When the steaks were finally served, I thought that the size was quite close to Steak MD's regular serving. I wondered how they could offer it for P150 when the regular cut cost around P220.

Normally, I can slice Steak MD's steaks without using a knife because they're tender. For the Price Roll Back steak (I'll refer to it as PRB steak for short), I had to saw off pieces with a steak knife which was really quite strange since the steak was so thin. It was so rubbery you couldn't possibly eat it with just a fork and spoon. When I finally ate a piece, there was an unpleasant after-smell akin to a cross between low grade meat and a dishrag. There wasn't even a hint of their famous "rub" which made their steaks so flavorful. I tried to eat as much as I could since I already ordered it but I really could not stomach the pale, rubbery meat and the gross odor. Double-dead meat perhaps? Maybe -- although it's illegal to sell double-dead meat, you can actually buy double-dead meat from the market at a lower price compared to fresh quality meat. I thought it was just me but my hubby also could not finish his order. I took what... 3 bites of the steak and consumed not even a fourth of the rice? It is NOT the same steak they normally serve.

The sisig didn't fare much better. When the dish came, I was shocked at the large chunks of liver and assorted pig parts which greeted me. I'm appalled that they didn't even bother to chop the sisig components finely as to even resemble a normal order of sisig. We've had sisig here before and it wasn't like this.

We decided to get the bill and just walk out rather than torture ourselves by trying to eat what we ordered. Total bill for two P150 steak meals, an order of sisig, and two sodas? P505. Another shocker. I felt swindled. I reluctantly whipped out the exact amount from my wallet and swore that I would never ever set foot in this restaurant again. No wonder all their other branches closed already.

Steak MD
Creekside Square,
Tomas Morato, Quezon City

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Keirra and the White Forest Cake

One day, a little girl named Keirra was dreaming of cake. She didn't want just any cake. She wanted something special... but she didn't know exactly what that special cake was!

Keirra dreams of cakeLucky for her, a fairy came along. She was a good fairy, and she liked making children happy by granting their wishes. She waved her tiny little wand and POOF! Puffs of colored smoke filled the table. Keirra smiled excitedly. She didn't know what kind of surprise the fairy had for her.

Keirra and the Red Ribbon White Forest CakeOh wow! After the smoke cleared there was a yummy-looking cake with lots of cherries on top in front of Keirra. It was called the White Forest Cake. It was covered with white chocolate pieces and inside was soft vanilla chiffon with even more cherries in between layers. Keirra was giddy with excitement and couldn't wait to take a bite.

Keirra and the Red Ribbon White Forest CakeMommy sliced the cake so Keirra could eat. It was delicious, just like how she dreamed her special cake would be. But the fairy had already disappeared, so Keirra asked mom if she could ever have another cake like this again. Mom told her that all they had to do was drive to the nearest Red Ribbon branch to get another White Forest Cake. This one is a birthday gift from the fairy, since Keirra turns 5 this very day.

Thank you Red Ribbon for making Keirra's birthday a truly special day! There may not have been a fairy, but there definitely was magic in the way the White Forest Cake put a big smile on my little girl's lips. And that is just priceless.

Happy 5th Birthday Kei!

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Mango Sansrival from San Lo's Famous Empanadas and Tortas

Who would've thought that a gas station was one of the best places to get absolutely divine desserts?

Mango Sansrival from San Lo's Famous Empanadas and TortasI love cakes and pastries but I hate Sansrival. It's almost always too sweet that it makes my throat sore. Thus, the fact that I'm devoting an entire post to this Mango Sans Rival from San Lo's says a lot.

I got several yummy cakes for my birthday a couple of days ago, but this particular one stood out from the rest of the pack. I was told to keep it in the freezer, which I did. Come dinner time, I took it out and had a slice.

Mango Sansrival from San Lo's Famous Empanadas and TortasNothing could've prepared me for the heavenly experience that is putting a spoonful of San Lo's Mango Sansrival in my mouth. The frozen cream didn't taste like a stick of salted butter like most Sansrival frostings do. It tasted exactly like slightly sweetened frozen cream, which complemented the equally frozen sweet-sour ripe mango cubes perfectly. Underneath were layers of toasted meringue with bits of chopped almonds and pecans plus more cream in between. There really aren't enough words to describe how good San Lo's Famous Mango Sansrival is.

Now this is a Sansrival that actually lives up to it's name, since sans rival is French for "without rival". I've never met a Sansrival that I loved until I had a bite of San Lo's Mango Sansrival. The only downside of this dessert is that our freezer is much too powerful for it, so slicing it is like trying to slice a brick. Solution: Bring it down to the refrigerator before dinner so it softens a bit.

San Lo's Mango Sansrival is available in two sizes:
  • 8" x 4" = P385
  • 8" x 8" = P760
Last year, my sister gave me a chocolate cake from San Lo's for my birthday. It was equally divine -- super moist, fudgy chocolate cake blanketed with thick, rich chocolate frosting and then topped with milk chocolate thins sprinkled with cocoa powder... there's even a thin layer of creamy milk caramel in the middle! Talk about delicious, sinful, and decadent... totally mind-blowing. Too bad my laptop containing the photos got wiped out earlier this year...

I've heard great things about San Lo's empanadas and tortas too. :D

San Lo's Famous Empanadas and Tortas
Petron Station, EDSA cor. Arnaiz Ave.,
DasmariƱas Village, Makati City

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Friday, October 9, 2009

The 2009 Philippine Blog Awards Night

It was quite a shock to me when I found out that this blog of mine was named as one of the finalists in the 2009 Philippine Blog Awards' Family and Living category. I just started blogging for real here on blogspot last February 2009. I used to post everything on Multiply. I didn't even know there was an official award-giving body for blogs. Although I'm a permanent fixture on the computer and the internet, I'm relatively new at blogging.

Me standing in front of the 2009 Philippine Blog Awards' photomosaic
Animetric's World on Philippine Blog Awards 2009's photomosaicSince I was a finalist, a screencap of my blog became part of the 2009 Philippine Blog Awards' photomosaic.

Truth be told, I really wasn't expecting to win. For starters I'm not exactly socially relevant. I don't make dramatic statements that make people sit up and take notice. I just write about whatever I want and post stuff like contests and freebies I know my readers would be interested in. Nothing deep and profound there... so yes, I was really astonished to say the least when I saw my blog listed as one of the finalists.

2009 Philippine Blog AwardsThe awards night was held at the PETA Theater in Quezon City. It was every bit like the awards shows I'd see on TV. It was hosted by RJ Ledesma, but since I was seated quite far from the stage I couldn't really take any good photos of the people on it. I had a great time catching up and chatting with blogger friends from all over. :)

Anyways I'd like to congratulate all the winners of PBA 2009. I'm not one of them but becoming a finalist and getting to be part of this prestigious event is good enough for me... for this year at least. Hehehe. Now that I know there is something like this I'll try my very best to be better and actually be deserving of an award next year! :p

Log on to the official website to view the complete list of finalists and winners by clicking HERE.

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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Unilever's customer service via e-mail

Since I have thick and coarse hair, I can't live without conditioner. One of the products I use regularly is Cream Silk reSHAPE Standout Straight conditioner.

Last month I availed of a buy one take one promo from Watson's in V-Mall. I used up the first tube and then moved on to the next. When I dispensed the product on my palm and tried to work it in my hair, there was a strong plastic-ky chemical scent. Now I've used Cream Silk reSHAPE often enough to know that this was not normal. I got scared and just washed off the conditioner from my hands.

At the back of all Cream Silk tubes is Unilever's Customer Service Hotline 588-8800. I tried calling but it would not connect, I always got a fast busy tone. I tried again the next day, while I was able to get through a recording informed me that the person I was trying to reach is unavailable and that the voice mail is full. Thus I resorted to the Customer Service email address that was also indicated at the back of the tube.

Replacement Cream Silk conditioner tubes from UnileverI normally use email as a last resort because based on previous experience, a phone call is always better since you actually get results when you talk to someone. I have tried complaining about bad buys before via email and I would usually get no response. Still, I had no choice in this case so I decided to give their customer service email a try.

A few days after someone from Unilever got in touch with me via the contact number I indicated in the email. He told me that he would have a courier pick up the remaining conditioner I had and then bring over the replacement. Another day or two later JRS Express arrived and I got two tubes as a replacement plus an apology letter. They said they would have the sample analyzed to determine what was wrong with it.

In the far-flung past, there were many instances where I just let bad buys slide. All this changed when I got married and had a family of my own. By then I had more important priorities than just living for myself and thus I also have to manage the family budget as best as I can.

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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Enchanted Kingdom's 14th Anniversary Treats!

Enchanted Kingdom officially turns 14 years old this October 2009, as it first opened its gates back in October 19, 1995.

Mardi Gras mask and programme from the Enchanted Kingdom EK 14th Anniversary Media PreviewI attended Enchanted Kingdom's 14th Anniversary Media Preview held at the Via Veneto Grand Ballroom of A-Venue Hotel Suites. Each of us were given a copy of the programme and a Mardi Gras mask upon registration.

Enchanted Kingdom EK Circle of ArtistsOpening remarks were made by Enchanted Kingdom President and Chairman Mario Mamon, followed by an audio-visual presentation and a production number from Enchanted Kingdom's Circle of Artists. The production number consisted of dance performances by costumed artists representing Enchanted Kingdom's seven themed zones. Enchanted Kingdom Vice President Cynthia Mamon then unveiled EK's plans for the last quarter of 2009.

Fireworks display at Enchanted KingdomHere's a rundown on what's happening at Enchanted Kingdom:
  • From October 1-31, 2009, Enchanted Kingdom will offer a special anniversary rate of P320 on weekdays and P380 on weekends for Regular Day Passes. This is to commemorate the original ticket price when EK initially opened in 1995.

  • October is a pretty good time to go since it's not so hot anymore and it's the month when the weekly elimination rounds of EK's 2009 Annual Sky Wizardry Fireworks Competition is happening. Basically, you get to experience a double dose of spectacular fireworks all weekends of October! Meanwhile, the 2009 Annual Sky Wizardry Finals will take place on October 24.

  • Kids and teens aged 0-19 are also welcome to join the Mardi Gras Halo-ween from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2, 2009. They can get a chance to enter the park for free if they come in full Mardi Gras costume.

  • Students can avail of the Student Sembreak Anniversary Blowout. Upon presentation of a valid school ID or certification of registration / enrollment, you can enjoy a special discount on Regular Day Passes at P275 on weekdays and P335 on weekends from Oct. 1 to Nov. 15, 2009. Exclusive for students, a maximum of 2 tickets can be purchased per ID per day.
From now until December 18, 2009 the Park is open Thursdays to Fridays from 12NN to 7PM and Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays from 11AM to 9PM with Fireworks Display at 8PM.

Enchanted Kingdom
Sta. Rosa, Laguna
843-6074 to 78

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Monday, October 5, 2009

Singaporean food trip at Tao Yuan Restaurant

Since I hail from a Chinese family, majority of parties I attend serve Chinese food -- be it birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, and the like. It doesn't help that both my hubby and father-in-law are Chinese food nazis so you can more or less imagine how often we eat at Chinese food.

Luckily for me, Tao Yuan Restaurant specializes in Singaporean cuisine, so the dishes are not at all like the usual fare you'd find in lauriats.

Peking Duck at Tao Yuan RestaurantThe first thing we ordered was Peking Duck served three ways (P750 for half, +P100 for being served three ways). The first way is pictured above left -- slices of tender Peking Duck with shiny crispy skin to be wrapped in thin and round pita-like bread with sticks of carrot, cucumber, and green onion. Alas, we should have been ordering the much talked about Hainanese Chicken of Tao Yuan Restaurant but the Peking Duck being served at the neighboring tables proved too hard to resist. The second way is pictured above right -- Peking Duck ribs fried with lots of crunchy minced garlic and chili peppers. The dish is similar to Salt and Pepper Spare Ribs, a popular short order in most Chinese places. The third way is the usual ground Peking Duck meat to be wrapped in cabbage leaves -- I neglected to take a photo.

Singaporean Chili Crab and Yang Chow Fried Rice at Tao Yuan RestaurantNext up were the Singaporean Chili Crab (ordered by the grams, thus I have no idea how much it cost) and the Yang Chow Fried Rice (P198 for the small size). The Singaporean Chili Crab was basically one huge crab drenched in sweet spicy chili sauce then served with fried mantou bread on the side. It was delicious to say the least, even our 8-year old son loved it. The bread and the chili sauce go so well together. The Yang Chow Fried Rice "small" serving was big enough to feed 3 adults and 2 kids, so I'd say it's quite a steal for P198.

Lapu-Lapu with Mango Sauce and Singaporean Spare Ribs at Tao Yuan RestaurantLapu-Lapu with Mango Sauce (pictured above left) and Singaporean Spare Ribs (pictured above right) are both not found in the menu, thus I also have no idea how much they cost. Lapu-Lapu with Mango Sauce is a nice break from the usual Steamed Garoupa in Soy Sauce served by traditional Chinese restaurants. For starters the fish is deep fried to a crisp and then topped with fresh mango strips served salad style on a bed of tangy sweet sauce. The Singaporean Spare Ribs are actually cubes of pork basted in honey and sprinkled with sesame seeds. From experience, spare ribs are usually full of bones and hard to eat. The server assured me this is not the case with their Singaporean Spare Ribs and she was right. There weren't any bones and the meat was so tender our kids devoured them like there was no tomorrow.

Grass Jelly with Lychee and Mango Mousse at Tao Yuan RestaurantTao Yuan Restaurant provides complimentary dessert to patrons, in our case it was the Grass Jelly with Lychee (pictured above left). Grass Jelly, more commonly known as black gulaman here in the Philippines, is a hit-or-miss type of thing. Either you like it or you don't. I thought it was a good ending to a very flavorful meal since it was not sweet and it felt like a neutralizer for all the tasty dishes we had for dinner. The kids hated it though, so we took up the server's offer for a variety of cup desserts. She had a total of three types of cup desserts, all new and yet unnamed since they were in the process of testing them that night. My guess is the one pictured above right is Mango Mousse Cake. The cup desserts weren't really anything special but the kids liked them better than the Grass Jelly with Lychee.

Never ever go to Tao Yuan Restaurant without a reservation or you'll have to stand at the door area and wait to be seated for a loooong time. There are hordes of Chinese nationals from other countries in this restaurant which is a good indication of how delicious and authentic the food is. As soon as a group leaves, another group replaces it so there is hardly an empty table in the house. Ambiance is typical of a Chinese restaurant -- crowded and boisterous. It's great for group dining since the servings are for sharing and the prices are very reasonable for the high quality of food you are getting.

Special thanks to our Ninang for introducing us to Tao Yuan Restaurant.

Tao Yuan Restaurant
508-512 Gen. Malvar cor. A. Mabini St., Malate, Manila
522-7009 or 10

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Sunday, October 4, 2009

Quick and affordable meals at Yamazaki Japanese Grocery!

Authentic Japanese teishoku meals for below P200! Plus you get that fresh feeling of fullness after eating natural unprocessed food. Welcome to Yamazaki Japanese Grocery / Hoka Hoka Ramen and Bento -- I don't know which name to call it since all those names are plastered across its white signboard. Their calling card simply says Yamazaki though, so for the purposes of this blog post Yamazaki it is.

Hamburg Steak Teishoku at Yamazaki / Hoka Hoka Ramen and BentoSee that complete meal pictured above? That's the Hamburg Steak Teishoku (P185). For less than P200 you get a generous helping of authentic Japanese rice, miso soup, a thick and juicy all-beef burger patty topped with a fried egg plus salad and spaghetti on the side, pickled vegetables, and meat appetizers. You don't even have to order a drink since hot or cold Mugicha (Roasted Barley Tea) is served for free.

Gyuyakiniku Teishoku at Yamazaki / Hoka Hoka Ramen and BentoPictured above is the Gyuyakiniku Teishoku (P175) which was what I had. It was okay, my main complaint being the beef wasn't as tender as I would've liked and it had a lot of cartilage or litid which made some parts of it tough to chew. Another favorite of mine is the Shake Shioyaki Teishoku (P185, not pictured here) which consists of grilled salmon, steamed rice, pickled vegetables, and miso soup. It's just like the traditional Japanese breakfast I miss so much.

Onigiri at Yamazaki / Hoka Hoka Ramen and BentoAside from full meals, they also have a variety of ala carte Japanese dishes that make for great snacks. I like their Onigiri (P135, pictured above), rice balls covered in sea weed and filled with salmon chunks or pickles and served with a small piece of fried chicken. There's also Gyoza (meat dumplings), Korokke (potato croquettes), Sushi, and Tempura among others.

Take-out menu at Yamazaki / Hoka Hoka Ramen and BentoYamazaki also has a special take-out menu, which is partially pictured above. If you thought prices were reasonable, ordering to go brings them down a notch lower. The Onigiri I ordered for dine in cost P135, whereas it only costs P115 for take-out and they pack it in a styrofoam container. The same goes for all the other set meals -- all prices are lower if you order them to go.

The fact that Yamazaki's patrons are all Japanese all the time is a good indication of the authenticity of the dishes they serve. Almost half of the restaurant's area is a grocery selling various Japanese goods ranging from pastries to instant noodles to chocolate bars to pancake mix. There's a pretty wide selection food and drinks for Japan-o-philes like me.

Yamazaki Japanese Grocery / Hoka Hoka Ramen and Bento
2277 Fernando St. cor. Pasong Tamo, Makati City

Yamazaki is located right across Plaza Fair in Makati Cinema Square.

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