Monday, October 31, 2005

LZM Lutong Bahay, Magallanes Square, Tagaytay

Rating: 11000
From the time we arrived, It took a solid hour and a half (ninety minutes) for us to get seated and for the first of our dishes to be served. This place is about a third of the size of Pampanga's Fisherman's Grill but unlike it, they couldn't seem to have a system in place to serve its guests efficiently:

  • Because the place was full when we got there, it took us 15 minutes to grab the attention of the servers just to *ask* them if they had seats enough for our party of 15.
  • We had to get our own utensils and distribute it among ourselves
  • The ulam came piecemeal-- i.e. they did not serve everything simultaneously
  • You had to follow up everything! They couldn't get it right the first time!
For its reasonable price, the food is so-so. Nothing spectacular but it'll hit the spot. If you don't mind waiting, this is the place to bring your barkada or big family. There must be something about this place for it to attract so many people.

Order their huge boneless Bangus which was the best among the viands we ordered. We spent Php2600 for our party of 15-- not bad and we were all busog, too! Do not order the exhorbitant pitcher of Iced Tea which costs 170! Those four pitchers cost us over 600 pesos!

The reasonable price and pwede na food would have been enough to merit this three pawikans. However, the long wait and sungit servers did not make this a pleasurable dining experience. They didn't issue us an Original Receipt, too. Makes me wonder if they are tax mapped.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

The Brown Paper Bag, Libis

Rating: 11110
Situated in that small eskinita behind Citibank Tower at Eastwood City, Libis, is a small hole-in-the-wall eatery called The Brown Paper Bag (not to be confused with Brown Bag). You won't miss it along the rows of other carinderias because it's the only one that plays music. The day I visited, it was jazz but it varies day to day (chill out, rock, new wave, etc...) the only thing they don't play is R&B (the chef has a thing about r&b).

This is a place to get an affordable lunch or a place to unwind after a long day's work. In fact, you can see people drinking beer almost 24/7 as the call center people who work in the area troop here at the end of their shifts.

The food is a fusion of many things-- Japanese, European, lutong bahay and it is surprisingly good given the very affordable php50 - 100 price per dish. The portions are a bit too small for me but then again I eat a lot.

I spoke with the owner/proprietor who is known as "tita" and she is a very charming and personable woman. Her son who studies at the CCA concocts the dishes while she runs the whole place. The cozy interiors were designed by a Fine Arts student and the whole place emits this cool, steady and intimate vibe.

Because of Oktoberfest, beer for the whole of October costs only Php20!

I'm giving this four pawikans because of its Saguijo-ish no-frills feel, tasty food, music and cheap beer. Minus points for smelling like stale cigarette smoke after eating inside (eat in the open-air area instead!).

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

C'est Si Bon, Alabang Revisited

Rating: 11110
Since I wasn't too happy with the duck I ordered last time, I decided to give this restaurant another chance and ordered their Surf and Turf-- Steak and prawns.

This time, it did not disappoint. The meat wasn't tough; it was cooked just right and the prawns were-- well I love prawns and these were perfectly grilled. Bonus points for the two sauces that came with the Surf and Turf-- it really made the dish.

Minus points for the lone fly that kept circling our table. I told the waiter to do something about it-- so he got another candle and placed it on our table. (and i thought those candles were for the place to look romantic!)

Monday, October 24, 2005

Fisherman's Grill

Rating:

tucked in the nondescript roads of san fernando, pampanga is an eatery named "fisherman's grill." as it is a popular venue for wedding receptions and baptisms, free parking spaces in front of the restaurant is a rarity; however, you may deposit your car in its sister establishment, "fisherman's car wash," conveniently located right across the street.

don't wear red or you might be mistaken as one of the friendly waiters who are only to willing to make your dining experience memorable. service is fast and efficient.

try the sizzling sisig, which has just the right amount of pork, liver and onions. the tokwa't baboy, which is liberally mixed with green bell peppers and red onions, will go well with this. those who are watching their cholesterol will not go wrong with the deep fried plapla, whose crisp skin and tender meat will surely please your palate.

a little less than a P1,000 will bring you 9 kinds of ulam, 7 cups of rice, and 6 kinds of drinks. while "fisherman's grill" has a good, inexpensive, broad selection of food, it is not exactly a place where you would take a date used to the likes of C'est Si Bon.

this guest blogger gives it 4 giraffes for taste and 2 for sanitation!

Doom, the movie

Rating: 11110

Based on the original first person shooter game, I'd give this movie four pawikans with plus points for the wrestling-inspired brawl and the cool first-person-point-of-view (just like in the game!) sequence at the end.

The acting is so-so and the plot strays from the original game storyline (go to hell, shoot demons) to a much simpler: go to mars, save humans. There are big guns, big explosions, cool visual effects, rumbling sound (watch it in a THX theater) and macho pa-pogi shots of The Rock.

It's entertaining and you don't need to think: exactly what we need on a slow Monday night.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Peacepipe

Rating: 11100
Last night, I had a chance to listen to this up and coming Pinoy reggae group, Peacepipe, at San Mig Pub, Alabang Town Center.

Composed of rhythm guitarist and vocalist Jeck, lead guitarist Marion, bassist Ian, drummer Owen, bongo-ist Rani and a trumpet and trombone, I would say that their music is a cross between reggae and Carlos Santana.

That night, they did not emit the steady and laid-back vibe of a typical reggae group as the original songs that they played were fun and upbeat and the sets had a "bouncy" feel. Within all songs that night were riffs and leads from Marion who sounds a lot like Santana. Great guitar playing but I need to get used to Santana-ish solos in reggae. I would have loved to have heard a trumpet or trombone solo but all we got that night were guitars.

They sound a bit "thin", I think a keyboardist would be an excellent addition to the band. I give this three pawikans, plus points for percussionist Rani and the gusto he has when hitting the bongo.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

C'est Si Bon, Westgate Complex, Alabang

Rating: 11110
C'est Si Bon is a fine dining restaurant (but you can come in shorts!) that recently opened in the Westgate Complex, Alabang (plus points for free parking). It's easy to spend a two hour dinner in its laid-back, feeling-at-home and steady atmosphere while watching the crawling traffic across the street.

If you haven't noticed by now, i'm particular about service and C'est Si Bon definitely doesn't disappoint. Plus points for the polite, discrete and very accomodating waiters. It felt like dining in a five star hotel minus those little scoops of sorbet that are served in between courses.

I'd rate the food a 4/5-- To whet your appetite, I recommend the shrimp and salmon salad (big enough to be shared by two people). The baked french onion soup was good but I think they should have served a small sorbet to "cleanse my palate" for the main course.

It was my first time to order a duck and it tasted..well, duck-y. A very powerful umm.. duck taste (next time, i'm trying the steak). The seared sole fish was just a teensy bit too salty for me. Their mango topped, baked cheesecake just rates a 3 on the pawikan cheesecake scale-- it felt too "heavy" for me, had a hint of lemon and the mangoes weren't sweet.

Come here for a leisurely date, take your time to eat and expect to pay a steep Php1000 - Php1300 per head for a full course meal.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Restaurant Le Bellevue, Manila Diamond Hotel

Rating: 11111
With an excellent view of the bay and its glorious sunset, Manila Diamond Hotel's fine dining Restaurant Le Bellevue at the 27th floor offers an intimate and cozy ambience worthy of the coveted five pawikan points.

The service is superb with the waiters being "there" but unobtrusive (or maybe because we were the only guests at the time). Our waiter presented our main courses with a flourish-- exclaiming "Voila!" as he pulled off the food warmers covering the plates.

Expect to splurge Php1000 - 1500 per head.

Try the Saffron- scented infused cream of scallops for starters and for your main course, lamb cutlet (yummy!) or the charcoal grilled salmon. Be sure to get there by 5:30 so you can watch the sunset!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Gardenia Bakeries Flavored Bread


Rating: 11111
This is my all time favorite breakfast and snack. At 115 calories per slice, it will give you the much needed energy to last all throughout the morning or an hour at the gym. It's always fresh and in some villages, they will even deliver a loaf to your house-- well worth the hefty Php40-50 per loaf.

My current favorite is the new Amazing Black Forest Loaf-- it even has cherries! If this isn't available, try the Chocolate loaf although make sure you bring a tissue because the chocolate will leave marks on your hands.

Whoever thought of the "so good you can eat it on its own" tagline is a genius as it sums up the excellent bread from Gardenia Bakeries.

Pho Hoa


Rating: 11110
I had lunch in Pho Hoa's Eastwood City, Libis branch and I was pleasantly surprised that the food was very good-- from the outside, this Vietnamese restaurant doesn't look too appetizing and the menu could use a little redesign but don't let looks deceive you. Dishes typically cost from Php150 - 250 and the portions are reasonably sized.

Try their pomelo shrimp salad, the spicy/garlic-y beef tenderloin served on a sizzling plate and their fried noodles. Four pawikan points™ for the good food but minus points for the restaurant's plain look.