Saturday, January 21, 2006

Brooklyn Pizza

Rating: 11100

The Philippine pizza market, about 10 years ago was probably dominated by Pizza Hut and Shakey's. You had the thick crust camp on the Pizza Hut side, and the Shakey's thin crust lovers on the other. And then you would have the more pinoy pizzas like Magoo's, 3M, your highschool cafeteria's ham and cheese pie heated in an oventoaster (pinoy pizza is going to a new level with Greenwich's sisig pizza, I was hoping it would come with egg).

Lately, there's been a move towards "New York" style pizzas, which have shown up one way or another on Pizza Hut and Shakey's (American Style pizzas, etc.). For this, I guess we have Yellow Cab to thank for. (another parenthetical aside, don't you notice, that especially with food, Manila food tends to copy and overcopy to death.. take Zagu and the other pearl shakes that followed it, most notably Shakes Bomb.. or Shawarma, or Lechon Manok..)

Anyway I had read about Brooklyn Pizza in the newspaper the other week, so I decided to give it a try myself. Securing a pie was not easy, as they only deliver to limited areas in Alabang and Makati. But after much haggling I was able to convince the Makati branch to deliver to Malabon. (By delivering to someone I knew in Makati who was going to Malabon..)

Delivery took 45 minutes for two pies. Pies are 18 inches wide, and here's the flyer so I don't have to type out the rest of the info:
The pizzas. I had one slice deluxe (which has all the toppings) and one slice white cheese (which is not kesong puti, as my sister believed it to be.). The taste is closest to S and R, not really Yellow Cab, and so is the size.

Those two slices are making me consider skipping dinner right now. Of course, the travel time from Makati to Malabon must've affected the quality, so I guess I'll have to wait when they open in Ortigas.

At around Php480 for a whole pie, and about 8 slices per pie the price is about 60 per slice. Not bad value considering Pizza Hut sells theirs at about same price with lesser diameter (then again, thicker crust plus stuffing, etcetera).

I guess Brooklyn Pizza's approach is less frills. Limited selection of flavors, and limited delivery area, with no guaranteed delivery time (they tell you over the phone how long they think it will take). Looks like they're targeting a niche, and choosing to avoid the 800 pound gorillas. With Yellow Cab expanding rapidly (they've got branches everywhere, but it doesn't look like many are doing extremely well), it'll be interesting to see how this strategy pans out (no pun intended).

Overall, the tag "we make New York pizzas, not New York-style pizzas" made me have expectations that were hard to live up to.

New York size yes, but I'm not sure about the New York flavor. Put it in the office rotation, for variety, and should be good for lunchtime blowouts as the carbs tend to be filling.

Singapore to Manila on Tiger Airways

Rating: 11110tiger airways
I booked a red eye round-trip flight right before new year from Singapore to Manila on no-frills, low-cost airline Tiger Airways and I must say that all in all it was a pleasant experience.

The experience started off with online booking on their well designed and easy-to-navigate website. I kept on getting a system error message on the first couple of tries and the website advised me to try again after some time. Minus points for this snafu! Anyway I gave it a rest, tried again the next night was successful! (Note that as of this writing, they only accept VISA or Mastercard so sorry na lang if you have an Amex or Diner's Club.)

Since I booked at the last minute, the round trip cost me about SGD 350-- cheaper than flying PAL or Jetstar but this is still a bit expensive for a budget airline. If you book some months in advance, the price of a ticket could go as low as SGD 9.99!

From Singapore
Check-in was straightforward-- you just show them your passport, they tick your name from their list and and issue you a hand-written boarding pass.

The Airbus A320 left on time from Changi airport, the crew was friendly and the cabin was neat and tidy-- everything you'd expect from an airline! The part that made it low-cost is you had to buy your food (about SGD 8 for sandwiches and SGD 2 for drinks). The seats were relatively spacious and the leg room felt just like a typical economy-class. It could get a bit uncomfortable but hey it's only a 4 hour flight and as in all flights, it won't hurt you to stretch!

The plane landed at Clark Airport where you'd have to alight from the plane and walk on the tarmac. There's a bus from Clark to Megamall that costs about Php350 but just get some friends and relatives to fetch you so you can save yourself the hassle.

From Manila
The experience from CRK was a bit different-- check-in was again very straightforward but the plane departed an hour late!

TIP: Make sure that you're within the 15kg weight limit for checked-in luggage and 7kg for hand carry since they follow this to the letter!

Since there was no sky bridge so you would have to climb the stairs (while lifting your hand-carry items) to get on the plane. This isn't a problem for most of us but some of our elderly passengers could have a little trouble.

I'm tempted to say some more about my experiences at Clark airport but I will save that for another entry since I'm reviewing the airline not the airport!

In Summary...
Four pawikan points because it has everything you would expect from your typical airline. Before you book, I recommend that you check the price of other carriers! I just booked a round trip flight on Jetstar so let's see how that pans out. In the meantime, check out other passenger reviews for Tiger.

You may also want to read my other experiences flying from Singapore to Manila and back in my review of Jetstar and review of Cebu Pacific Air.
You could also try which is updated twice an hour with reviews from other Pinoy bloggers, celebrity bloggers, chismis and news.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Hooters, Clarke Quay, Singapore

Rating: 11000
Just came from Hooters Singapore and this is definitely a much, much more conservative version of its original counterpart in the US.

When you enter the restaurant, there were two waitresses hula-hooping with not much success and the sad part is none of the patrons were even minding them! (It felt like one of those shows on the street where you're compelled to throw some spare change.) I'm not a master hula-hooper myself but I'm certain a little practice won't do them any harm.

Supposedly this place is famous for their girls and the sex appeal however I think on the night that I went, they sorely lacked the latter. Our waitress (clad in sports attire) didn't even engage us in conversation! She just gave a bored "what's your order?" so much for "delightfully tacky yet unrefined"!

I'm also pretty sure it's called Hooters not because they have big eyes but that doesn't seem the case in this Asian version! Man In a Suitcase was very generous when he described the ladies as "willowy"-- I'd say they were slender, lean, svelte and thin as we'd expect most Asian women to be. Bottom line is, if you're expecting well.. umm.. hooters, then this could be a bit of a disappointment.

However I was surprised to see that the place was pretty packed! Was it because of the food? I tried their legendary spicy chicken wings (which was disappointingly mild), steak (it was tender and tasty) and prawn/chicken/fries combo but frankly, nothing great.

In my opinion, this place was riding on its Hooters name alone whose essence and personality I think has been diluted. I give this two pawikans but bonus points for the great conversation I had that night and for our table which was right beside the river!