Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Market Cafe at Hyatt Manila

It's quite unusual for us to go to the other side of the metropolis for food. No, that's not true. When I think about it, we've gone everywhere in search of a good meal. So it was only a matter of time before we ended up at Market Cafe inside Hyatt Hotel in Manila.

I know most people won't believe me when I say that I don't really like hotel buffets. I really don't. To me, eating in a hotel buffet is more a sport rather than a meal--it's really just a very silly test of human endurance and blind gluttony. Given the option between a nice plated meal and standing behind hordes of Chinese tourists all making a beeline to the carving station, I prefer the former.

The Market Cafe at the Hyatt Hotel in Manila, however, is a very nicely edited version of a buffet. They do have the spread one would expect in a regular hotel buffet, but the stations also give diners the option of ordering freshly prepared food items delivered to their tables. My friend Francis David took us there for lunch and it was nice to see that the choices, varied as they are, are not too overwhelming.

There's an Indian Station with Lamb curries, basmati rice, naan bread and mango chutney.

A Dessert Station which features a gelato counter, cakes, pastries and a chocolate fountain.

A Carving Station which serves roasts.

And Japanese Station with maki rolls, sushi, sashimi, tempura, etc. I had two plates of these!

My absolute favourite was the Mango Pavlova. Will definitely go back there again!

Monday, 22 November 2010

Loco Frio

Boracay is about tanning yourself silly and getting plastered. Loco Frio is perhaps the only kiosk on the beach I can think of which fully understand this.

The idea is very simple. Six different flavours of virgin frozen drinks, optional shot of liquor (at about PhP 50/shot) and you're good to go. Nothing beats getting drunk on frozen cocktails on the beach after your buffet breakfast.

Love these tumblers, too. They charged PhP 250 for a frozen cocktail (price includes shot of liquor and the 600 mL tumbler). Refills only cost PhP 150 (so PhP 100 for no liquor). Had a look at their Facebook page and under Discussion there's a link to Franchising. Nothing mentioned there, just three excited girls asking to bring Loco Frio to their shores.

Grab one when you're in Boracay. Actually, keep grabbing until the people around you start looking attractive. Enjoy!

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Toyota Classics 2010

Friends are our best assets, and their value greatly improve when they work for a law firm who represents Toyota Philippines, and therefore gets lower box tickets for a truly fantastic concert.

Pedro and I haven't been to a show in CCP for what must've been at least a year so we were pleasantly surprised when we got an invite from Atty AOA and Atty JGP to watch this year's Toyota Classics offering. And cocktails start at 6:30.

The food was provided by Barbara's. Or was it Tamayo's? I can't remember now because when I thought about taking note I was already slightly drunk, and these days it doesn't take much for me to get there. Whoever it was, they did an excellent job. The waiters kept the wine and other drinks flowing, they served roast beef and mash and the food was very, very good indeed!

Now I must say I'm a bit concerned about the performance before getting inside the Main Theatre. I was having flashbacks of the Julia Duncan performance during the 2008 Toyota Classics. So it was quite a relief to find out that the Orchestra Citta di Firenze, tenor Leonardo Melani and our very own soprano Maria Rachelle Gerodias were prepared to give an outstanding, extremely polished performance.

During the intermission we went back to the cocktails area for more food. The lawyers arrived late from Ortigas and were famished so we were more than happy to accompany them. The wine flowed again. The roast beef, mash and gravy kept coming. Then we were ushered back to our lower box seats.

All in all the performance and the entire evening turned out quite well. Even FVR and Mrs. Ming Ramos approved.

Thanks Toyota Philippines, Atty AOA and Atty JGP!

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Inaugural Dinner

No, no. We weren't invited to the Malacanang Palace reception.

I was really looking forward to our little Clark food trip with the DHRIM team but it got called off at the last minute. People backed out, the weather forecast looked grim, and I really just wanted to stay home and watch the inauguration on television. And I did just that.

Then at about 1 pm we found ourselves with nothing to do. So we thought we'd go for a little drive. Apalit, Pampanga's town fiesta today. Hmmm. Carry on. Then we suddenly decided to drive to Clark. Pedro wanted to get a few bottles of wine and I just didn't feel like cooking. I made a batch of homemade yoghurt last night thinking I might cook us some Indian curry but in the end I just wanted to sit down and be served.

Pedro was quite hungry when we got there so we decided to play it safe and go somewhere we already know. VFW Post Canteen it is! We thought we deserved a treat (Noynoy's inauguration today!) so we got a couple of beers and ordered food. Picture on top is Pedro's Burgundy Pot Roast with Mash and Corn. Below is my Homemade Meatloaf with Rice and Corn. They were both delicious, sorry for the crappy pictures.

Then dessert! I ordered the Short Stack, two pancakes with butter and syrup. And a cup of brewed coffee. Pedro had another bottle of SML and Cherry Pie with Vanilla Ice Cream.

I inhaled my pancakes so fast I didn't even get a chance to take a picture. Even Pedro's plate's picture is blurred. He literally was going to stab my hand when I attempted to get a bit of vanilla ice cream off his plate.

It was a very good inaugural meal indeed. Total: PhP 905.00. Not bad considering it includes desserts and beers.

I saw this bizarre thing on ANC the other day. Two kids, one from CCA Manila and the other from Enderun, explaining to the host their Inauguration Dinners. I thought Noynoy's team actually hired culinary students to do the food for the event. It turned out that they were just plugging their schools and presenting what they WOULD serve if they were hired by Noynoy's team.

The Enderun kid was very clever with his locally sourced ingredients and local flavour done to suit a more polished palate. The CCA boy, on the other hand, was going to serve Noynoy steak and chocolate tart. He even said that because the chocolate came from Belgium, it should be pronounced Tart Chokolah. Not sho-ko-lah but CHO-ko-lah . I love it when they are pretentious and not getting it right! I thought, you're serving food we can get from Burgoo during such an historic event? Come on.

VFW Canteen
381 Santol Rd. Cor Pinatubo St.
Clarkview Subdivision, Angeles City
(045) 892 2408

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Wensha Spa

I was a member of The Spa near Eastwood for the longest time so I never had to bother trying out new spas. I've been hearing about Wensha Spa from my friends and how they have a buffet thrown into the package. That really threw me off. So I planned about going there for the longest time and finally did when John came back from Morocco and I thought we'd give it a try.

Nothing like those Arab hammams John goes to in Morocco. Actually I'd be very interested to find out if there's any here in the Philippines. Anyway, the cheapest massage goes for PhP 680, which includes 6 hours in the facility, a buffet/shabu shabu and an hour massage. I wanted to try the Ventosa massage (yung may basong may apoy PhP 880) but I was told that the queue is quite long so I just got the most basic one.

Because it was Saturday night it was quite busy. There was a long list for the massage and I was starting to worry that we might get our massage in the morning already. Luckily I found the girl who has the list, chatted her up and John and I got in very quickly. Charm really goes a long way. Weheheheh.

I haven't had a massage for about a year and it felt awesome. It's like the world and its worries just melted away. The masseur used Ginger Oil and the pressure was just right. I still miss Remy my The Spa masseuse who knew exactly how to beat me up. Anyway...

After an hour, we proceeded to the buffet. They had quite a good spread. Rice, Fish fillet in some brown sauce, Chicken in some brown sauce, Pork in some brown sauce, Shabu Shabu ingredients, Ice cream, Iced tea and orange juice. Not bad. I mean, the food is the kind you eat in very uninspired restaurants, but after almost an hour on the wet floor and an hour of getting massaged we were starving. For PhP 680 it really was great value.

Wensha Spa is open 24/7 and is located beside Victoria Tower on the corner of Timog Ave and Quezon Blvd. I discovered a Fujimart next door, too!