Sunday, February 28, 2016

Andy's Famous Batangas Lomi & Bulalo on Visayas Ave.

New places to eat in the neighborhood whether at home or work place is always a good thing. The more choices, the merrier! Recently, my office friends and I were excited over a new addition to our list of foodie places on Visayas Ave in Quezon City that we could go to during our lunch and coffee breaks. It's Andy's Famous Batangas Lomi & Bulalo. If you're wondering why Batangas lomi is famous, it's because it has lots of meat ingredients (sahog) like kikiam, 
pork meat, pork liver and ham.
 If you live or work nearby or happen to pass by Visayas Ave., you'll just be as delighted as we are eating at Andy's which is a simple, no-fuss Pinoy eatery for the very good food, huge servings and downright low prices. The only thing you might not like is that the place is not air-conditioned but what the heck, the food is so good that the heat is unlikely to bother you.
Andy's opened on Visayas Ave. last January but we learned about it just this month. Since then, my office friends and I have not let a week pass without eating there. 
So far, we've tried these:

Bulalo, P95. This is the 'litid' bulalo but if you want the meat, you can order it for P145. The soup's so good, it's real Batangas beef goodness!
Lomi, P45. for the smallest bowl. The one pictured here is the bigger order, priced P85. and could already be good for 2-3 persons. I'm not a fan of lomi but I liked this for its balance of flavors, thick soup and having lots of 'sahog'. One bowl is really big, it won't leave you wanting.
Pancit bihon, P70. One thing on this: it's the best! I am a pancit bihon person but I'm quite picky when it comes to my pancit. I don't eat just about any pancit but want the really good one. Andy's pancit, I could declare, is the best-tasting I've ever had. I like its texture brought about by the thin noodles, the balance of flavors and at Andy's, they never scrimp on 'sahog'. There's always a lot!
Pancit palabok, P70. This one's my second favorite at Andy's, next to the pancit bihon. Delicious!
Pancit canton-bihon, P70. This was my co-worker's order. I'm also not a fan of this kind of 
pancit but I could say it's good, too.
Porkloin. I forgot about the price but I think it's around P60. An order has two slices of sizzling pork bathed in gravy. My officemate loved this.
Sizzling pusit, P95. My lunch one time. The squid rings are tender and the sauce is sweet-salty. Quite good, too, and a wise choice if you're avoiding meat.
Tapang Taal, P55. I ordered this out of curiosity as I wondered what tapang Taal was. Well, the meat
is pork instead of beef. It was surprisingly delicious!

Inside Andy's

Andy's at the corner of Visayas Ave. and Road 10 in Diliman, QC

In my 12 years of going to work on Visayas Ave., Andy's is the third restaurant that opened on its site. The previous ones, I surmise, closed down due to slow business. But I foresee Andy's flourishing as it's always jam-packed at lunchtime. And I certainly do hope it's staying for a long time  because it has become our favorite lunch and merienda place for the reasons I've mentioned (good food, big servings, low prices).  Try Andy's Famous Batangas Lomi and Bulalo, folks! 
Aside from their Visayas Ave. store, they also have one in Malakas St.  
Barangay Pinyahan, also in Quezon City
Happy eating!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Matutina's Seafood Restaurant in Tarlac City

If you read my last three posts before Bakers Maison, you'll know that this new one is the fourth in a series that started with our family vacation in a beach resort in Dasol, Pangasinan that ended with a visit to Monasterio de Tarlac. The visit to the monastery was followed by a second one a little over two weeks later in time for the public exposition of the relic of the Holy Cross. These two occasions gave us two opportunities to try popular restaurants in Tarlac City where we passed on our way back to Manila. The first one, which I had shared about, was Tessie's Grills and Roasters. On our second visit to Monasterio, we had lunch at Matutina's Seafood Restaurant, which is popular not only in Tarlac but also in Pangasinan (Dagupan and Urdaneta City), where it originally came from (I think there's also a branch in San Fernando, Pampanga). 
It specializes in seafood as its name says, but offers other dishes as well.  
We ordered a group meal plus one (or two?) other dishes. 
Our lunch:

Kare-Kare. This was what we liked best. Delicious!
Pork barbecue. The meat is tender and tasty.
Crispy shrimps with kropek. Crunchy and yummy :)
Buttered oysters. Least liked. I prefer steamed oysters still on the shells.
Grilled bangus. Good, too!
Okoy. We anticipated crunchy okoy but this did not live up to our expectation.
Binagoongan rice. Just a bit salty. My sister loved this.
Leche flan. I wish it was smoother and creamier.
Brewed coffee. Gave a good ending to my meal.
Iced tea tower that came with our group meal.

 Menu (just two pages of it)

Inside Matutina's

Matutina's Seafood Restaurant along MacArthur Highway, Tarlac City 

All in all, it was a nice, satisfying lunch that we had. The food and service are good, the prices are affordable and the place itself is clean and lovely. No wonder it's popular and was full of customers when we were there. Try Matutina's when you travel to the North, folks! 
Happy eating!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Bakers Maison: Your new bread and coffee place at SM North Edsa

Some brand names have become so popular and familiar that they are now synonymous with the products they represent. Gardenia is just one of those. When you say loaf bread, you almost always mean Gardenia, right? But Gardenia, from now on, won't just mean bread, but also "bakery'" and "cafe". That's right! Gardenia Bakeries Philippines, Inc., (GBPI) has opened three neighborhood bakeries in Pasig, Muntinlupa, and Cabuyao, Laguna. Last Sunday, the company also formally opened its first artisanal bakeshop-cafe that serves really good breads and pastries, sandwiches, and coffee. I was there to cover the event for our news agency, likewise for my blog. I was happy that another good place to have coffee and bread has opened to add to my list of favorites. During last Sunday's event, I, together with the other media personalities present, 
got to try their bestsellers. At once, I knew what my top favorite among the baked products was.
Meanwhile, here are some photos I took during 
the store blessing and opening:

A few minutes before the start of the opening program
Store blessing
Ms. Tessa Prieto-Valdes, the special guest, is flanked by GBPI president and general manager Simplicio Umali Jr. on her right and COO Tomas Rocamora on her left. (My apologies to the gentleman on the extreme left because I wasn't able to get his name. So sorry!)
Inside the store
Display of various breads and pastries with flavors from all over the world

Ms. Tessa gets to taste Bakers Maison's offerings while exchanging stories with Mr. Umali and his daughter-in-law. 
                                                     Some of the breads and pastries


This was my top choice - Triple Cheese Florentine. Delicious!
Cappuccino pistachio croissant - this was the first one that I tasted. After this, my plate became such a mess with all the other breads that I tasted that I decided not to post the photos that followed. Haha!
Coffee to wash down every bit of bread that I ate. The brew's good!

Bakers Maison originated from New South Wales in Australia, where its first store was opened in 1998. In my interview with Gardenia Bakeries Phils., Inc. president and general manager Simplicio P. Umali, Jr. during last Sunday's opening, he explained to me how Gardenia Philippines, Inc. brought Bakers Maison to the Philippine shore as part of its expansion program and to satisfy its desire to offer Filipinos a higher level of enjoyment in consuming bread products.
"Bakers Maison is part of our company - QAF Group," he said. "We belong to the QAF Group in Singapore and QAF owns Bakers Maison in Australia, so we decided to bring Bakers Maison from Australia to the Philippines likewise, because their specialty is artisanal bread. Our specialty in Gardenia is only common loaf bread."
What sets Bakers Maison apart from other specialty bakeshops in the Philippines? Mr. Umali said it offers not just French-style breads but also an infusion of flavors from different countries.
"Basically, our operation will not be French. We will be bringing all the flavors from all over the world - the different types of bread from different parts of the world.. not just France but also from Austria, parts of Europe, Germany, Denmark, Holland, and then United Kingdom, America, also South America, Japan, even 
some Asian flavors of bread," he said.
Later on, he added, Bakers Maison will also be using local flavors but for now, local flavors are mainly used in Gardenia products. The artisanal bakeshop at present, only uses a few local flavors, such as mango. 
When I asked whether they intend to expand the bakery-cafe's menu to include other food items such as pasta, Mr. Umali said: "Our focus will always be on bread. "But sandwiches, yes, we will be expanding the menu on sandwiches. I think we now have almost 10 types of sandwiches and we intend to expand that as we go on..more sandwich flavors, moving away from the traditional sandwich flavors.. something that will enhance the experience of Filipinos in eating bread products."
During the store opening, Bakers Maison also introduced its interactive mobile application that allows users to see the complete list of its breads and pastries, promotions and rewards and even share feedback on the products.
Now isn't that cool? Try Bakers Maison, folks! It's at the second level of SM North Edsa's main building, near IMAX.
Happy eating!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy Love Day!

It's the day when we celebrate love! I haven't been greeting everyone "Happy Valentine" ever since I became a Christian and read an article about the pagan (and lustful!) origin of this celebration. Hey, it's my personal conviction and decision and I'm not imposing it on anyone, but I do honor LOVE on this day, especially its purest form - the faithful, everlasting love of GOD. 
1 John 4:19 says it profoundly and clearly. If GOD didn't love us, we would never know what love is, all the more share it with people around us. Praise the LORD because He does love us like no one on earth can! Today, while we celebrate the day of the hearts, let us not forget to thank our LORD for his love that moves Him to bless us even if we don't deserve it 
as sinners, and to worship Him for all He is.
God bless you today. 

(Thank you for this picture,

Friday, February 12, 2016

Tessie's Grills & Roasters in Tarlac City

I had previously shared about our visit to Monasterio de Tarlac
last New Year's eve where I mentioned that it was both a spiritual and gastronomic trip. Well, this new post much explains the gastronomic part. It was already past lunchtime when we left Monasterio and were understandably hungry. I suggested to my sister that we eat at Tessie's Grills and Roasters that my co-worker had recommended before we left Manila. No objection! Later, I thanked my friend for recommending the place as it is big and perfect for large groups such as ours. Also, the food is good, and they offer plenty of pasalubong items that were perfect for the two balikbayan in our group. My sisters had a grand time food-shopping. 
Anyway, here's what we had for lunch:

Pork sisig
Buttered mixed vegetables
Lumpiang sariwa
Sinigang na salmon
Fried hito with veggies and bagoong
Sinigang na baka sa bayabas
Ampalaya with shrimps
Water with lime
Wine is offered here by the glass

                                                       Inside Tessie's Grills & Roasters

Tessie's Grills & Roasters along MacArthur Highway, Tarlac City

Of all the dishes we ordered, it was only the Lumpiang sariwa that I didn't get to taste. Everything else was good, but I was a little disappointed with the Sinigang na baka sa bayabas because there was no distinct taste of guava. We didn't like the Calamares a lot, too because the batter was soft and we wanted it with a crunch. All the other dishes were good and I especially loved the Fried hito and Ampalaya with shrimps. The ampalaya strips 
were crunchy and fun to eat! 
What else did we love here at Tessie's Grills & Roasters? The prices! We were a big group of 15 persons and our food bill was only P2,600. My eldest daughter, who paid for our lunch, 
couldn't be happier. Hehe..
Check out Tessie's Grills and Roasters when you're in Tarlac City, folks!  
It's a haven of delicious Filipino food - perfect for bringing  
balikbayan friends and relatives.
Happy eating!