Casa Verde : OpenRice.Com Review

rsz_1mbp_pinkThe first thing that greets you when you land in Ayala, Cebu mall is its gigantic H&M hanger right in the middle of its central garden. Apparently, Cebu will see its first H&M shop, its first SM Seaside, and the grand sale at the newly opened Robinsons all on the same day. That’s good news for consumer Cebuanos, it will surely be traffic everywhere as people decide where to troop to with fam and friends.
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20151125_140908But we weren’t in Cebu for shopping, but for work, both good reasons to visit Cebu. Since we only have technically two days and a half to stay in Cebu, we made sure we made all the best food stops while we were there. First stop, its famous homegrown restaurant Casa Verde. I’m not new to Casa Verde, have tried their huge steaks and ribs servings the last time I was in Cebu. For this visit, we tried Brian’s Ribs. Two huge ribs serving plated with rice and corn/carrots on the side. No wonder waiting line at Casa Verde can be too long on peak eating hours, despite the fact that there is The Suite Room on Ayala’s upper floor, a more posh sister restaurant of Casa Verde. Remembered a better version of Brian’s Ribs, though, from my last visit than what was served today, meat was harder to bite/slice than what I can remember.
20151125_14085820151125_135648You can either dine al fresco or dine in the comfort of airconditioning indoors. We opted for the fresh air outside and also tried their French fries and their chocolate milkshake. I definitely thought we ate something that would cost us more than a thousand bucks from Manila but it was just a little over than Php500.00 combined. Good value for money.

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Chika-an Sa Cebu : OpenRice.Com Review

rsz_1mbp_pinkThere are five things I loved about Chika-an sa Cebu. Eversince I have started this food project for OpenRice.com, I didn’t realize I have developed a different taste for food and a different take on the places we visit. Now my mind easily associates flavours and taste with any spot in the Philippines. Today’s food experience is no different.

20151125_180408#5 Unlimited Rice

If you are ready to go for sumptuous dinner with unlimited rice, just like how Pinoys love their dinner, Chika-an sa Cebu gets this correctly. Their initial serving of rice is, I will have to say, a very big serving of rice, it is so surprising to know that unlike all other restos who offer unlimited rice and scoops the rice off a bucket, they leave you a big bowl of rice on your table that they refill unlimited.

20151125_140242#4 Unlimited Drinks

Their unlimited drinks do not taste like they had more water than tea. Also, all servers proactively ask and offer to refill your glass as soon as you drink half of it.

20151125_183412#3 Soups are served Hot

Their Sinigang na Shrimp has the ultimate Pinoy flavour, shrimp size is bigger than usual and count is also generous, says a lot about seafood fare that Cebu can offer.

20151125_183419#2 Baked Oysters are the Best

Served yummier with cheese and special flavour. This dish is certainly rice-friendly, you know how some dishes would unconsciously push you to eat more rice with it? This is that type of baked oysters.

#1 Cebu Food Experience

Cebu food experience is never complete without the flair from everything around you. All servers are clad in Pinoy costumes, makes you think they can do folk dances anytime. Their birthday surprise song is also different from Manila’s, it was really surprising and kinda worked like a mini-flash mob prod.

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Crazy Crab : OpenRice.Com Review

rsz_1mbp_pinkVisiting Cebu always means good news to me. Although with Cebu work assignments, I get to miss my kids and my hubby, I maximize my visits and decide to have meaningful fun the best I can get. This includes planning the best food experience. And so, I realized that at least for the last three Cebu visits, I always made sure I drop by Crazy Crab. So why do I keep going back? Read on.

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I keep going back to Crazy Crab because they have a longer list of crab flavours available. For our last visit, we tried black pepper, sweet and spicy, coconut milk crab and garlic crab. Especially preferred garlic crab, it is your home-made steamed crab flavoured with garlic. Even without sauce or condiments, crabs are tasty.

When we got there, there were no medium sized crabs available, only the large ones, they pick out the live crabs from the kitchen, then weigh them on your table for costing. As soon as you get your pick, they head back to the kitchen to prepare your orders.

We also got to try baked scallops. With our hands clad in plastic gloves, we dove right to our plates and enjoyed them all with rice. The walls around the restaurant are a conversation piece, with crab shells used as notepads for visitors’ personal messages. Deliciously different restaurant in Cebu.

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Gelatissimo : OpenRice.Com Review

rsz_1mbp_pinkSo how can one end the day with a sure smile? Ice Cream! Cebu has the best ice cream to offer. Ayala Terraces in Cebu houses Gelatissimo, you will know right away it is a familiar ice cream destination because there were no available tables, the only way to get one is to wait for your turn. So there are three lines to queue for, the line to pay for the ice cream, the line to get your scoops, and the line to get a table. Since I visited with four other friends, it was easy to do all at the same time.

So in no time, we got our ice cream and we got the best table, too. It is right next to the door where you can see the view from Ayala’s central garden. If you can’t take too much sugar or any sugar for health reasons, you can still visit because they offer sugar-free ice cream! Yep, ice cream that is perfect for everyone!

On our table, we went for two scoop cups: vanilla, mango, original chocolate, American chocolate and chocolate truffle.

We surely ended the night with a smile on our faces. Gobbling down ice cream as a nightcap is divine, just make sure you help yourself to a glass of water right after, though.

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Pepper Lunch : OpenRice.Com Review

rsz_1mbp_pinkSo when you have reviewed almost 40 restaurants and aiming to close the month to get you to 50 restaurants reviewed, how does one keep the enjoyment of food and how does one see different food not using the eyes of a food enthusiast? Listed down today, how to get help ensure you get the best food experience from Pepper Lunch.

20151126_121914Tip1

Trying their Beef Teriyaki Pepper Rice with Egg, make sure you mix everything on your sizzling pepper lunch plate, as instructed. If you end up missing this part, egg can end up fully cooked on the sizzling plate, your rice will not have the full teriyaki flavour or your beef will be too burnt, it will crumple crisp right infront of your face.

20151126_122205Tip2

Tomato Sauce Pasta with Sausage may be served with a generous amount of tomato sauce, make sure you just pour whatever you think you will need for your pasta serving, otherwise, you can find your plate with more sauce than pasta.

20151126_122234Tip3

When sampling Kuromitsu Soft Ice cream, it is best poured or mixed with molten milk chocolate cake. Their ala mode desserts allow customers like us to mix different flavours served on one plate. Outcome? Divine dessert.

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Tsim Sha Tsui : OpenRice.Com Review

rsz_1mbp_pinkWoke up today with a sore throat, realizing that I do not have enough time for breakfast, and needed to rush off to work for an early morning performance review. Just before flying off back to Manila, that’s when I realized I had nothing in my tummy. So off we went to Tsim Sha Tsui (sorry, guys, I do not know how to pronounce this name, I can’t phonetize this in my writing, wink wink). Good thing, most of the restaurant-goers would refer to this resto as TST (that’s easier). The menu looked promising with all of our usual Chinese favourites. So to combat my sore throat, I went for their congee served with hard-boiled egg, paired this with classic pork siomai.

20151127_093150Over conversations with a colleague from work, our chat over food has shifted from the most trivial eyebrow shapes, to Alma Moreno opinions to whether or not we should buy more souvenirs from Cebu.

I originally thought that this restaurant is only in Cebu but was surprised to find out that it is all over Manila, too. If your appetite is up for eat-all-you-can dimsum buffet, head to Cebu Ayala Terraces with your family and friends. Just be ready to sit elbow to elbow with others since tables are placed very near to each other.

20151127_095107They have a pocket restaurant right inside the airport, they provide folding tables to those who are seated at the boarding gate.

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Need Christmas Sweets Options? Read Up.

rsz_1mbp_pinkChristmas is about celebrating the real reason for the season, it is taking the time to thank God for Jesus, the ultimate message of Christmas. Also, it is about celebrating family, friendships and building memories that last. But most moms make the easy mistake of spending all time worrying about the minute details of parties, instead of involving family with preparation for our Christmas celebrations. For this working mom, Christmas is made easier with sweets-on-the-go type of gifts. I remember preparing teachers’ gifts with kids, it was a simple bag of chocolate cupcakes but made special with handwritten cards from my kids.

Christmas cupcake

So to help moms-on-the-go like me to save time and quickly look at the best options for Christmas sweets to give away, I have listed below my best options : sweetest and yummiest treats that do not break the budget. Read on.

Mommy Chi’s Dreamcakes                                                                                         Mommy Chi is a stay-at-home mom who excels at baking right from her own kitchen. She has made quite a name for being the first stop for specialty fondant cakes. So whether it is a birthday, wedding, friends’ meet up or anything imaginable you are celebrating, you can go to Mommy Chi for options and she can help you plan it and bake them for you.

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Jordan-themed-cake
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Hello Kitty themed cake
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Superman cake
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wedding cake – chocolate moist cake with ganache with available sizes Size 6×8 , 7x 3, 8×3 10×3 , 12×5
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Barbie cake with cupcakes

Mindy’s Kitchen Story                                                                                      Mindy is a wife and works full-time in the industry of Training and Development. She finds time to express her creativity in the kitchen and in her baking creations. She is on never-ending project of 51st dates with husband discovering new food destinations. She packages her cookies and cupcakes in creative cups and boxes, it is ready to be given as gifts anytime.

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Honey Lemon Cupcakes in lemon buttercream frosting with sugar sprinkles

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Espresso cookies in dark chocolate

 

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Soft and chewy dark chocolate cookies

 

Mommy Jane’s Go Sweets Mommy Jane is not new to the limelight kitchen, with her son sharing the limelight on the Philippines’ franchise of Junior Masterchef. But she herself excels at baking and creating sweets masterpieces. Whether it is Christmas or not, you can see her with clients left and right who never tire of sampling her sweet creations.

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candy buffet
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yema cake

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Mimi’s Pastimallows Pastimallows are known to be available from the south, but no need to travel far to get the best-tasting pastimallows. Mimi has them fresh from her oven. She got her name from her cute and adorable granddaughter who instead of calling her lola, calls her Mimi. Baking masterpieces always made out of love.

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Yoshinoya : OpenRice.Com Review

rsz_1mbp_pinkWhile all the major roads were closed for the APEC week, this working mom headed to the nearest work site for the full week. It was easy to notice that not too many people flocked to the malls for this week, probably because of the government’s public advice not to go to crowded places for security and safety reasons. So even Fairview Terraces is colder with less people in it that me and my workmates opted to go find the best hot meals for an end-of-day-lunch, yep, days when you would not have any other time to have lunch but at end of day.

image-413cae0aab642572d71133adef8e51799e79e61003c921b093409faadb9b825b-VIronically, there were two restaurants that serve hot meals right next to each other, a Japanese/Korean restaurant and a Japanese restaurant. We decided as a group to go for the latter, Yoshinoya.

I went for the classic beef noodles and one tried chicken noodles. These soups were made more interesting and yummy with corn, hard boiled egg and vegetables. Unlike the usual corn on mini-cobs on our nilagang baka, they served corn scraped off the cob. Would have just loved the soups served hotter than they were, we were going for hot meals, afterall. Paired it with gyoza and unlike any other gyoza, these are steamed grilled and not steamed fried. You can even see faint marks of the grill right off your gyoza.

Try it with other classic Japanese favourites, California maki served with wasabi, red tea or green tea drinks (just make sure you don’t commit the same mistake I did, asked them to serve it without ice, quite a scrape off my throat after-meals with its sugary taste). Cap with choco mousse for dessert.

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TYPE KITA 3: PASS ON THE PASSION

rsz_1mbp_pinkOn December 12 and 13, type lovers and lettering enthusiasts will be in for a treat! The team behind Type Kita will be holding the 3rd installment of their annual typography exhibit! The previous Type Kita exhibits offered visitors with an incredible showcase of local typographic art pieces, on-the-spot workshops by some of the country’s well-known hand-letterers and calligraphers, and for the bargain hunters, a slew of handmade crafts and printed goods from local entrepreneurs.

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The 3rd Type Kita exhibit promises to be even bigger than before, with over 60 participating exhibitors and artists sharing their talent for this event-for-a-cause.

Set during the holiday season, the Type Kita Exhibit will serve as a big Christmas gathering for type enthusiasts around the metro! With live art, demos, art trade and gift giving activities, it’s the perfect holiday feast for type lovers!

Dates[1]

With the theme “Pass on the Passion,” the event aims to foster camaraderie and to strengthen the local type community during the Christmas season by focusing on the value of collaboration and sharing! With this event, type-enthusiasts can give back to the community and share their passion to others as well. Proceeds from the event will be for the benefit of PEARLS- a non-profit organization that aims to provide unprivileged kids with Peace, Education, Aspiration, Respect, Love & Smiles.

 

Activities for the event are as follows:

PASS ON THE PASSION EXHIBIT

For this leg, exhibitors are encouraged to work and collaborate with other artists to share their talent and trade skills as they develop their pieces, strengthening the idea of sharing one’s passion through art.

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ART TRADE/ TOOL SWAP 

Art Trade Manila will lead an art-exchange activity where artists and guests can bring their works or writing tools and trade it with fellow type-enthusiasts. It’s like a massive exchange gift activity but more fun!

LIVE ART

Some of your favorite local letterers will also be invited to paint on wooden panels as part of the live art exhibit. Glass panels will also serve as a big doodle wall canvas!

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And because the venue will be bigger, Zig Philippines will also be displaying large scale art murals as part of the exhibit.

INSTAGRAM EXCHANGE

Type Kita exhibits are also the best place to build your network with fellow type-geeks! To further promote camaraderie, participants will be given name tags for their IG handles so they can easily follow each other and keep connected even after the event!

GIFT AND CARD DRIVE

One portion of the event will allow guests to write Christmas cards, design covers of blank notebooks and leave behind hand-lettered pieces as part of gift kits for the kids of PROJECT PEARLS.

LIVE DEMOS AND ACTIVITIES

Pass on the passion for type with free demos such as lettering, calligraphy, watercolor lettering and many more! There will also be a scheduled film showing, some live art & for the hoarders, there will also be pop-up shops for tools and type merchandise.

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CHRISTMAS POTLUCK

To keep the Christmas spirit alive, they will be holding a simple get-together/Christmas potluck to celebrate the community this holiday season. You may bring food and drinks too if you want to join in the feast!

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What could the Filipino Online Christmas Shopper Buy Next?

rsz_1mbp_pinkMANILA, PHILIPPINES – The overflowing number of products out in the market makes it almost impossible for Filipinos today to decide what the best ones to buy are. Now that the Christmas season is fast approaching, every consumer is faced with a streamline of options from the latest electronics, stylish clothing, fast moving consumer goods, and even in demand sensational items.

Lazada, the Philippines’ One Stop Shopping and Selling Destination, knows the trendiest products out there to be enjoyed by consumers online. In a study conducted by Lazada, Bluetooth watches, GoPro action cameras, laptops, drones and smartphones ranked as the top products preferred by Filipinos to have this Christmas. Filipinos nowadays search for unique finds that are hot, sensational and at the same time worth the money. The infograph below illustrates the rest of the findings.

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Lazada, with its nationwide delivery, makes these products accessible to Filipinos whether they’re in Luzon, Visayas or Mindanao. What makes shopping at Lazada even more advantageous is that you don’t have to experience the heavy road congestion going to the mall in order to purchase what you want. Also, you can buy products and have them delivered to your friends and loved ones wherever they are in the Philippines. And if you’re still thinking of which products are best to give to friends in other parts of the country, below are Lazada’s best-selling products per region.

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55% of Filipinos spend most of their time browsing and researching for products which could potentially catch their interest. In this case, where the consumer doesn’t have anything specific in mind, browsing through categories could help with their purchase decision. Finding the best product within the category list is essential in choosing the right Christmas gift. In a comparative research of Lazada, we found out that for both Google and Lazada, the top-searched categories are Mobiles & Tablets and Computers & Laptops. Below are the top categories per platform.

Filipinos have truly engaged themselves in the wireless world. Lifting data from Google, 65% of Filipinos are actually online shoppers. Filipinos have wide access to the internet with 5 out of 10 being online daily. They usually course their online activity through mobile (the highest), followed by computer and tablet. Lazada has an available platform for each of these means to access the internet and the online shopping community. Filipinos start researching for ideal Christmas presents online as early as July and reaches its peak by November. Moreover, Filipinos consider these top three attributes whenever they shop: (1) value for money, (2) price, and (3) quality – all of which are trademarks of what Lazada has to offer to every consumer

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Filipinos are truly one of the trendiest shoppers. With all the best products and deals in store for them, it is a matter of choosing the best product to give this Christmas. The Filipino Christmas online shopper is not only the best giver but also awaits to receive the best gifts s/he could get during this most wonderful time of the year.

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About Lazada
Lazada 
is Philippines’ largest online shopping mall and is pioneering e-commerce by providing a fast, convenient and secure online shopping experience combined with an extensive product offering in categories ranging from mobiles & tablets and consumer electronics to household goods, toys, fashion and sports equipment. Lazada is continuously striving to offer its customers the best possible shopping experience with multiple payment methods including cash on delivery, extensive warranty commitments and free returns. Lazada mobile applications for Android, iPhone and iPad provide additional convenience to its consumers’ allowing them to shop anywhere, anytime.

For more information, please visit Lazada. For updates on Lazada’s latest innovations, as well as activities, contests and promotions, connect with us via Facebook.