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.

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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.

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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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Wee Nam Kee : OpenRice.Com Review

rsz_1mbp_pinkMy Hainanese Chicken destination restaurant has been different, but for this food experience, we opted to try Wee Nam Kee whose bestsellers include Hainanese Chicken. This restaurant has all the traditional Chinese resto feel and surroundings. It may be missing the lazy suzan on round tables and the speakers may be playing mainstream pop music, but the food will remind you what an authentic Chinese restaurant is all about. Don’t get confused if you have associated Hainanese with other Asian countries, that’s because Hainanese which has been derived from Hainan China can almost always be ordered from other Asian countries. As if this is not confusing enough, Singapore has Hainanese chicken as its national dish, it is like our very own Adobo in the Philippines.

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20151117_12030820151117_11595820151117_115944So what is Hainanese Chicken?  At Wee Nam Kee, you have an option to go with steamed or fried chicken served with rice, chicken bone stock and specially flavoured Hainan chicken sauce. Not known to many, you can actually ask for an extra bowl of Hainan chicken sauce everytime you order Hainanese chicken.

Another must-try is Crispy Mantou Bread with Condensed Milk. Ever look back to using condensed milk as bread spread? This is the real deal, yummy bread dipped in condensed milk. On your next visit, you can go and add in Curry Noodles. It is curry with all the right flavours.

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Serenitea : OpenRice.Com Review

rsz_1mbp_pinkFood spots have always had stories and relevance with my relationships and friendships. Serenitea has been a constant food spot with my work friends. If you are a milk-tea lover like me, I am sure you have gotten creative with adding milk tea concoctions over the most sumptuous and delish food. Long before I have discovered wintermelon milk tea with Yakult, mine has always been classic wintermelon milk tea. These milk tea always come with pearls, but I usually order it with full sugar, and with nata de coco add-ons. Also, I never take my milk tea with a lid, I like it machine-sealed. That way, part of the milk tea experience is putting my hand on the Jumbo glass and shaking it well before I sip. I know that milk tea has received bad rap because of bad news but milk tea has never ceased to satisfy my cravings.

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Over catch up conversations, it is common to see us gulping down peppered tofu or pepper corn. Just go easy on chilli and if you are sharing with friends, make sure you set aside your portion because their chilli can give quite a punch. If you are ready for heavier dish, you can go for chicken chops. Just be conscious of what you are taking in, it is served with sticks you can use to eat, helping yourself to it becomes so easy, you can lose track of the amount of food you take in.

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