Saturday, June 25, 2016

Best ever goto, halo-halo and more at Little Quiapo

I'm a lover of the classics or anything that is old - music, houses, things, and yes, restaurants! With the latter, I get to enjoy history and food at the same time which, to me, is just 
great as I love both. I'm an old soul, I just believe so! 
Last week, I got to eat again in one of those restaurants that have admirably stood the test of time. It's Little Quiapo, which has been around since 1949. Imagine that - 69 years and counting - a feat considering the very stiff competition in the restaurant business these days.
It was a perfect weekday for going out of the office for the afternoon break - not sunny and not rainy either. My food buddy and I hailed a cab and in a 
few minutes, we were there in Little Quiapo near the 
Philippine Heart in Quezon City. 
Our afternoon snacks:

Palabok, P93.
This was my friend's order which she loved. I thought I would not like it because it seemed to me that there was too much sauce but I did approve of this palabok when I tasted it. It was packed with flavors from squid, chicharon, tinapa, and shrimp which are the usual ingredients of this pancit. And look at the whole lot of toppings! No wonder this 
is one of Little Quiapo's bestsellers.
Goto, P110.
This was my order that I loved every spoonful of. The consistency of the porridge was perfect - not watery nor too thick. And there's a lot of tender goto or tripe chunks plus toasted garlic to top it all off, making my lugaw taste really good. Was this the best goto I've ever had? 
Might as well be!
Tokwa con Tokwa, 1/2 order, P64.
I love fried tofu and buy it often at our office cafeteria. We even make this at home. But I don't know what's with Little Quiapo's own version because it's sooo good! The difference, I believe is in the tokwa itself - freshly made and perfectly deep fried - it's firm but soft and 
a little crunchy all at the same time.
Halo-halo, regular, P100.
I'm not a fan of this Pinoy cold dessert/snack and in fact I rarely eat it but I really loved this one which was my friend's order that she offered me to taste. This halo-halo isn't like most I've had before --it's much more tasty, I honestly don't know what they put into it. Very creamy, too! I think I'll be going back to Little Quiapo real soon to have 
an order of this halo-halo just for myself.

                                                               Inside Little Quiapo 

Little Quiapo is at #90 Malakas St., Barangay Pinyahan, Diliman, QC

Pay Little Quiapo a visit the next time you're in Diliman area, folks! Whether at breakfast, lunch, merienda or dinner time, there's something to satisfy your Filipino food cravings here. Aside from what we ordered which are best for afternoon snacks, there's also crispy pata, lechon kawali, rellenong bangus, kalderetang baka, and so much more, that you can pair with rice for a full meal. 
Happy eating!

* Prices are from Zomato. Not sure though, if those are up-to-date. 
I lost my receipt. Sorry!

Monday, June 20, 2016

KANDLE Cafe: My perfect hangout place

Heavy traffic causing you to be late for work is one of those things that could easily ruin your day. But earlier this June, slow moving traffic on Quezon Ave. in Quezon City as I commuted to work turned out to be some sort of a "blessing". The driver of the UV Express I was riding utilized the side streets to avoid Quezon Ave., and passed by Mother Ignacia going towards Edsa. It was there that I saw Kandle Cafe, which garden setting drew my attention. 
If you knew me, you knew as well that I dislike wasting time and it applies to food. Haha! In less than a week, I was already there - at KANDLE Cafe - with my food buddy in the office. We fell so much in love with this very lovely place that has both indoor and al fresco seating. 
And then, our orders came. We fell in love once more! They serve food so beautifully your eyes will have a feast even before your tummy does. 
Our orders:
KANDLE Burger, P250.
The sunny side up egg nestled in a hole on top of the burger bun and the purple and orange strips of sweet potato fries were in a race catching my attention. Who would have thought about carving a round hole on a burger bun and then stuffing a teeny-weeny egg (quail's, I suppose) into it? How ingenious indeed, I just thought. As fries, sweet potato or kamote is a lot healthier than potato, especially for diabetics like me. And going back to the hamburger, there's more to it than the looks - the beef patty is perfectly grilled (was it really?) - more than medium rare but not yet well done so it's very juicy and tender. Perfectly spiced, too! Also, the patty is thick, so even if it's small in diameter than most burgers you meet, 
it's enough to make you stuffed.  

Arroz Caldo, P125.
You won't find a bowl of rice porridge as lovely and colorful as this elsewhere! And if you're wondering what's hanging over it like a bridge, well, it's bite-sized pieces of tripe skewered by two crunchy strings of pasta! If this isn't food art at its best, I don't know what it is!  If this arroz caldo isn't meant to go inside the tummy, I just might decide to have it framed to adorn a wall. Tee-hee. And the taste? My friend raved and so did I when I tasted it. Aside from having those things not meant to be put in a bowl of a regular arroz caldo (chorizo, greens, etc.), this one's also milky! However, there's not much of the grains you would expect from lugaw, because there's so little of rice. We then understood why it's in the Soup category on the menu. Well, my friend wasn't complaining because she wasn't really hungry as she had 
lunch not too long ago. 
Banana Walnut cake, P40./slice
This one didn't disappoint either. On the contrary, we loved that it's moist, chewy and delicious without being too sweet. It helped the arroz caldo soup make my food buddy feel full. 
Iced Latte, P140.
Though this had a deep coffee flavor, the kick was just right it didn't give me heartburn nor insomnia. I could say for sure that this was the best-tasting iced latte I've ever had. I would definitely want to go back to Kandle Café even just for this one reason.
Muffin and cakes.
Inside KANDLE Cafe
Breathe in some fresh air in the garden. We got a table in one corner here and it was just perfect. I love the company of plants! 
Kandle Cafe is at 113 Mother Ignacia Avenue, South Triangle, Quezon City

Kandle Cafe is one of those third wave coffee shops, which number is growing these days, thanks to Pinoys' love for a cup of joe climbing a level higher as time passes. A third wave cafe is one that's serious in its business, making each cup of coffee an artisanal masterpiece rather than just another cup of caffeine fix. 
But here at Kandle Cafe, it's not just coffee that's artisanal, even the food. Each dish is masterfully executed and plated. Good coffee and good food that you can enjoy in a nice, cozy place, there's just nothing to complain about but everything to rave about and crave for. One visit definitely asks for a second. 
And in case you're wondering about the name, I learned from the father 
of the owners, Mr. Jimmy Ong, that KANDLE stands for the first letters of his children's names as well as of his business. As my friend and I were leaving, Mr. Ong greeted us and we had a nice chat, so we learned a few things about their cafe. He told us that it was his children's (one of whom is a chef) first business venture so he and his wife are also very much hands on to help out and guide their kids. KANDLE Cafe, he said, opened last April and they're still in the process of improving their menu. 
Well, don't waste time before you haul yourself off to this great hangout place. Whether you're with family or friends, or going solo to read a book or do some work, there couldn't be a better venue than KANDLE Cafe.
Happy eating!

Today's Word: Psalm 27:13

Are you praying to GOD for a need? I'm sure we all are. There's just so many things to need or even want as we go on living and sometimes, it's impossible to get or achieve it without the help of the Lord. Whatever we're asking from GOD - financial blessings, help in business or in passing an important exam, physical healing or restoration of a broken relationship - let us trust Him to meet our need even if sometimes, it takes time. I've been asking GOD for something for over three years now and it hasn't come. But Psalm 27:13 touched my heart during one of my devotions and I knew GOD was speaking to my heart. I knew He will answer my prayers while I'm here in this present life. My blessing may take time to come, but for sure, it's coming and I'll just have to continue seeking GOD and believing that He is faithful and He will deliver. 
GOD bless you today. 

(Thank you, for this photo)

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Quezon Filipino + Spanish Buffet at Fisher Mall

In my previous post, I shared how my office friends and I love to eat buffet style and that we've been to several eat-all-you-can restaurants. One of those places we've been to and enjoyed was Quezon Filipino + Spanish Buffet at the relatively new Fisher Mall in Quezon City. There, it was the simple but classy interiors that immediately impressed us. White (or was it off-white?) was the dominant color, making the huge room bright and airy. And then, as we began lunch, we found out the dishes were all well-executed and high in quality. The spread wasn't really extensive but the quality and taste made up for it. I wasn't able to snap at each and every dish but I'm showing some to give you an idea of what to expect at Quezon Filipino + Spanish Buffet.

Appetizers and salads
Lechon belly, Lechon Manok; Paella, Bangus Inasal, Pork Barbecue

Kare-kare; Embutido; Fried fish

L-R: Pinakbet; Escabeche; Chicken Hamonado

Pork,Chicken and Bangus Sisig

Dessert station 

Soda and juice dispenser; Brazo de Mercedes; Turon; Fresh watermelon

Soft ice cream which my friend topped with sweetened langka; Halo-halo


Buffet rates are shown in the poster

Spanish cuisine is embedded in our own as a result of over 300 years of the Spaniards' rule over our country. Paella, escabeche, hamonado and many other Spanish dishes are already a part of our holiday or fiesta spread. And Quezon Filipino + Spanish Buffet owners obviously know we Pinoys have embraced Spanish dishes as part of our own cuisine. Putting together both countries' cuisine in a buffet restaurant is
 one sound idea, I just think so.
Everything I tasted among the dishes was good I couldn't think of what was best. But because Kare-Kare is one of my top favorite "ulam" (viand) of all times, I'd say I enjoyed it the most. Even the desserts I all liked but the turon, leche flan (that I failed to take a picture of because it's always "sold out"!) and 
brazo de Mercedes were tops for me. 
Try Quezon Filipino + Spanish Buffet, folks! It's perfect for a lunch or dinner out with family and friends where you get to enjoy good food and value for money.
 Happy eating!  

Saturday, June 4, 2016

7 Flavors Buffet in San Juan

My office friends and I love having lunch outs in buffet restaurants. We've been to popular ones like Vikings, Buffet 101, Yakimix and Dad's, and also to less popular ones like Primero Casa Filipino and Quezon (Posts on these two coming up soon!). 
Recently, I learned about 7 Flavors owned by my favorite celebrity chef Boy Logro of the Idol sa Kusina fame and talked my friends into going. Of course, I prevailed. Haha! It was kinda hard going to Greenhills from Quezon City with the traffic and all but nevertheless, we were there for lunch one Wednesday last May. The place was pretty impressive from the outside but was rather simple on the inside, particularly the second floor, which is the buffet area. The first level houses a cafe and has prettier interiors than the second. Upstairs, the buffet spread, however, looked delicious 
although not so many dishes were available.  
Here were the dishes that made up the buffet spread on that day:

Different kinds of salad

Clockwise from bottom left: Meatballs with tangy sauce; Seafood paella; 
Chicken with asparagus; Fish fingers ala Orly
Clockwise from bottom left: Kare-kare, Meatballs with tangy sauce; Seafood oriental; 
Napoleon vegatables; Soy tofu 
Clockwise from bottom left: Fried chicken; Porchetta; Pancit canton and tonkatsu; 
Salmon head hoisin
Desserts - Halo-halo; Brownies; Cream puff; Mango tapioca; 
Blueberry panna cotta; Mango panna cotta; Cupcakes

As you may have noticed, the buffet spread is a mixture of Filipino, Western and Spanish cuisines. I wasn't able to taste all of the dishes but among those that I did, it was the kare-kare, seafood paella, tacos and porchetta that I liked best. And of these, the tacos was tops for me and my friends. The taco shell they used was their own, not store-bought. And the ground beef was very flavorful. It was so good especially when you top it with lots and lots of cheese. Yummy!
Among the desserts, my favorite was the mango tapioca because while it was delicious, it also was not too sweet.

Did you know this? I didn't know about astringet till i saw this. I always thought astringent was used to clean the face. Hahaha!
Chef Boy Logro on his cooking show Idol sa Kusina being shown on TV

This is the cafe on the ground floor. (Sorry, I didn't make a good shot 
of the buffet area on the second floor)

Waiting area outside the lobby
7 Flavors Buffet is at 196 A. Mabini Street, San Juan, Metro Manila

By the way, lunch here costs P400. from Monday to Thursday and P600. on Fridays to Sundays. Weekday dinner is P500. and P600 for weekend (Rates from Zomato). Like most buffet restaurants, they have a birthday promo where the celebrant gets to eat free of charge when he/she dines with five companions 

and until 7 days after her/his natal day. 
Going there is easy if you're coming from the Greenhills Shopping Center and going to San Juan, passing thru Wilson St. After Cardinal Santos Medical Center, look for A. Mabini St. and turn left. 7 Flavors is at left when you're already on 
A. Mabini, just a few meters from the corner of Wilson St.
For inquiries, call 5430325 / 7210653/ 5036750 or visit their Facebook page.
Try 7 Flavors, folks and enjoy. 
Happy eating!