Friday, November 25, 2005

O Kitchen, E. Rodriguez Jr. Ave, Libis

Rating: 11110.5O, Kitchen
This one's a bit hard to find. To get here, make sure you're on the same side as Shopwise on E. Rodriguez Ave., libis-- Hang a right at a small eskinita right after Caterpillar, before the big Floor Center. You'll see a single storey, nondescript building to your right-- "O Kitchen".

Though it could use a better name, what it lacks in creativity, the resto more than makes up for it with it's classy, intimate look and food. This would be more at home in greenbelt instead of this small side street!

The pinoy food is delicious and best of all, the plating and presentation is unexpected for its affordable php100 - php150 per dish.

Try their tilapia steak, binagoongang lechon kawali, crispy adobo flakes and grape shake. Their crispy sizzling sisig was more sticky than crispy. The rice is presented artfully (in triangles instead of the usual cup), however it was a bit nakakabitin because of the smaller portions.

At the end of our meal, we were pleasantly surprised when we were presented with a complementary plate of kamote topped with caramelized sugar. Apparently, they do this for all their guests. A classy touch that earns the place four and a half pawikan points.

Monday, November 21, 2005

UCC (Ueshima Coffee Company), Westgate Complex, Alabang

Rating: 11100
After that heavy and satisfying dinner at Zong, we decided to try the dessert at Japan's famous UCC which was located a stone's throw away.

Unlike Starbucks or Cafe Breton, this place wasn't exactly bursting with people. Each table had a little button you could press for service; I found that feature pretty cool and it kinda offset the pre-recorded lecture about the history of UCC that would interrupt the music every so often.

Try their mango panacotta, coffee jelly (with fresh kiwi fruit) or the iced coffee float-- they're pretty good but for the price of about Php150-Php200 (!), they're not *that* good. Our three desserts almost cost as much as our dinner for two at Zong!

I rate this place three pawikan points. The service was excellent but because of the prohibitive cost, I think I'd rather hang out someplace else. (Or maybe next time I should try their meals instead of the dessert.) Check out Yehey's article about UCC.

Zong chinese restaurant, Westgate, Alabang

Rating: 11110
zong chinese restaurant Last night I had the pleasure of eating at another chinese restaurant in the mold of Northpark and Superbowl-- Zong. Located in the westgate complex in Alabang, Zong sits in a stark and squarish, zen-looking building which I mistakenly took for a Japanese restaurant.

It's well-lit interiors, bench-style seats and long tables will instantly tell you that this place was designed for big parties. This is where you could go to have your big birthday libre or office dinner-out.

Since the portions are all for sharing, I'd recommend that you come here with at least a group of four so you can order and try a lot more stuff. Even if you come out smelling like a Chinese restaurant, the reasonably priced dishes, tasty, msg-free (according to the placemats) food will make up for it.

They've got one of the best salted, spicy squid I've ever had however they have a paltry selection of dimsum and the taste is so-so. For dimsum, i'd still go to Gloria Maris.

Their motto suggests that dining there is "an experience worthy of contemplation and remembrance"-- I would beg to disagree-- it's your typical Chinese restaurant; lots of good food, a great venue for long, boisterous meals with family and friends but it's not something i'd meditate over.

I give this four pawikan points-- plus points for the modern, not-your-typical-Chinese-resto look. Check out the Manila Times' article about Zong.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Zuppa, Cyberone Mall, Eastwood, Libis

Rating: 11110.5
This is my all time favorite places to have lunch in Eastwood City. Located on the 3rd floor of Cyberone Mall (right beside IBM Plaza) is Zuppa Cafe, they're open 24 hours and I must say that these guys serve the best rice-toppings.

Each dish costs about Php80 - Php110, the portions are big and it will definitely hit the spot. If you're watching your carbs, you may want to share with a friend. I highly recommend their Thai Bagoong rice (sweet beef strips topped with shredded green mangoes), spicy Bulgogi Gogo and the calamares. I wasn't too happy with their seafood bowl because it's mostly processed food like squidballs, fishballs and crabsticks-- better stick to their non-seafood fare.

This is the place to go to have a quick, no-nonsense, nutritious, tasty and affordable meal and I give this four and a half pawikan points.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Man of La Mancha, Repertory Philippines

Rating: 11111
I watched Repertory Philippines' gala premier of Dale Wasserman's "Man of La Mancha" (a musical based on Miguel de Cervantes' novel "Don Quixote" and directed by Baby Barredo) and what a musical it was!

This play was even more meaningful because it was dedicated to the late Bibot Amador, our very own Woman of La Mancha who requested this as the last show of the season before she passed away.

Everything was beautifully executed! From the very first scene with a rousing Flamenco by
Clara Ramona (plus points for her cool clappers!) to the live musical accompaniment of nothing less than the Manila Symphony Orchestra conducted by master Toti Molina (plus points for the snare drummer), and the choreography (Oh the choreography!) of Douglas Nierras, this play is definitely the best of Rep that I've ever seen (and i've seen the last two seasons!).

The acting of rep veterans
Michael Williams (as Don Quixote), Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo (as Aldonza/Dulthinea) and Robbie Guevara (as Sancho) were flawless (as usual!) but I could sometimes hear a slight Filipino accent from Sancho. The singing was perfect (plus points to whoever trained the whole cast) They really did justice to the music of Mitch Leigh.

It's hard to say what my favorite parts were because I was enthralled all through-out but I remember "Dulcinea" for its boisterous feel and "I'm Only Thinking Of Him" for its vocals.

It seems that each moment was engineered to be a photo-op as the blocking/choreography was always picture perfect. This play is total, absolute eye candy (thanks to
the lush sets by Jun Cumagun and the stage lighting of Lito Borromeo.)

The five pawikan points i'm giving this play doesn't do it any justice. They say it's madness-- "to see life as it is, and not as it should be!" but I think it would be a greater tragedy if you don't come out and see this play.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

"Heaven and Eggs", Eastwood City Libis

Rating: 11000
"Heaven and Eggs" is the newest restaurant to open in Eastwood City, Libis. I've been hearing a lot about this place so I figured i'd give it a try, grab a quick meal and see what the fuss was all about.

I like the stark, white, clean-looking "happy" interiors with its plain white tables and "heaven" theme. The place makes you feel like you're eating at home but what an expensive meal it is! Expect to pay Php300 - 500 per meal.

For starters, the shrimp and orange salad was basically just lettuce, five shrimps and five strips of orange with a cream based topping. It was... so so. My main course was the Mango Adobo Tuna. I'd describe it as bold and different but nothing to die for.

I had their freshly squeezed orange juice which tasted anemic. It was more water with a touch of orange. (I'd enjoy Tang better).

Dessert was the white chocolate cheesecake (which rates a 2 on my pawikan cheesecake scale). The first bite had a plastic-y aftertaste but you'd get used to it. This is a cheesecake that you shouldn't t eat alone. Share it with someone because the taste is nakakaumay.

Major minus points for the unsafe high chair that they let the diners use. It has a short backrest which allowed a little four year old girl slip and hit head first on the floor! We all heard the thud when she hit her head but I'm glad she came out ok. She was crying a lot but she seemed ok.

This place gets a two for me. No gran cosa. Nothing great to experience here. Maybe next time I should try the breakfast.

Check out the other reviews of Inquirer and Manila Bulletin.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Terrazas de Punta Fuego, Nasugbu, Batangas

Rating: 11100
Located in Nasugbu, Batangas, Terrazas de Punta Fuego is one of the more beautifully designed members-only resorts i've been to. They don't allow you to spend the night here but it's an excellent way to spend a day trip.

The best thing I like about Terrazas is the way it looks-- from the pool area, the shower rooms and the cabanas, this place seems engineered for photo ops. The design is functional, too with Cabanas offering privacy and maximum loungability (duyans, soft cushions and centralized beach music).

The crowd is mixed composed of families-on-vacation as well as barkadas-on-a-gimmick.

The beach itself isn't that great-- the sand is ordinary (no boracay-ish white sand here) and you can't see through the bottom of the water. Bring a kite or a volleyball, read a book or sun bathe instead.

Lunch is an expensive affair at Cafe Sol-- an ordinary-tasting meal will set you back Php300-400. This is home to the 1 pawikan point sizzling sisig-- the blandest sisig i've ever had in my whole life. Our lunch (with fruit shakes) for four people cost us Php2000! Next time i'm here, i'll try the php380 buffet instead of ordering a la carte. If you want to save money, walk down the beach and have inihaw with the locals.

I give this place 3.5 pawikan points. Plus points for the architecture, pretty looks and relaxing vibe. If ever you're going, make sure to get there early as the cabanas are first come first served. Leave the place by 6 (because the walkways are poorly lit at night) and then have dinner somewhere in Tagaytay.
If you liked this review, you may also want to read my reviews of White Cove Resort and La Luz Beach Resort.
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