Monthly Archives: January 2016

Tipsy Pig Gastropub

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Before heading off to grandma’s house, my family and I had lunch at a resto in Capitol Commons, called Tipsy Pig. Tipsy Pig is a restaurant/gastropub that is popular for their vast array of craft beers and signature drinks. But as most of you may know, I didn’t come here to try out their drinks – I came here for the food, which has grown to become as popular as their brews.

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Oh, how I love a good, spacious, well-lit interior.

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Menu: Bar Chow, Salads, Soup, Pasta, Sandwiches and Bites, Pasta, Big Plates and Mains, Desserts

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French Onion Soup – Classic onion soup, with gruyere cheese and a baguette. Perhaps the biggest bowl of French onion soup I’ve had so far. Kinda reminds me of a delicious bowl of warm ramen or pho.

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Beef Tapa Al Olio – Tipsy Pig’s breakfast tapa topped with olive oil with garlic over pasta and fresh parmesan cheese. Has a wonderful, sweet finish to it. I was supposed to order this for takeout, but I ended up gobbling the whole thing up. It was just too good. A must-try for pasta fans.

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My other meal was the Tipsy Twister. This is a crispy chicken wrap that consists of deep-fried spiced chicken tenders, tomatoes, lettuce, jalapeno peppers, wrapped in a flour tortilla and served with fries and a white garlic dipping sauce. The jalapeno was quite overwhelming, but other than that, it was still a lovely dish.

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Mom and dad had the Tipsy Kare-Kare – Roasted pork belly served with peanut sauce, grilled eggplants, greens, and shrimp paste. Unfortunately this dish didn’t really tickle their tastebuds since they prefer their kare-kare with loads and loads of peanut sauce.

Price aside, I would readily go back to Tipsy Pig if given the chance, since there are still a couple of dishes I want to try. The food in this restaurant is so flavorful and the sizes of the servings aren’t too bad, although you might want to bring some company when you’re planning to have lunch or dinner here.

Ambiance/Interior: 5/5
Staff/Service: 5/5
Food: 4.5/5 (taste) 5/5 (presentation)

Tipsy Pig Gastropub is located at Capitol Commons, Meralco Ave cor Shaw Blvd Kapitolyo, Pasig. Tel no: (02) 570-4620. You can also find them at Bonifacio Global City. Links: Facebook.

The FIAH Katipunan Pizza Crawl, Part 2: The Sicilian Pizza

(Previously, we started off our pizza crawl with a trip to Cebu’s own Calda Pizza, to try out their thin-crusted, homemade goodness. Their pizza was surprisingly decent, but is Sicilian Pizza better?)

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Our next stop in search of Katipunan’s best pizza place is Sicilian Pizza, a casual resto formerly known as The Sicilian. The ingredients that they use for their food are super-fresh, and attempt to capture the true essence of Siciliy, and their native cuisine.

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Interior. Again, it’s not exactly the most crowded restaurant out there. But hey, at least the place looks clean, and even reminds me of a fast food restaurant at times.

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Menu: Classic Favorite (cheese margherita), Signature (pepperoni and Italian sausage, Sicilian pizza), Original Pasta (chicken alfredo, lasagna al forno), Sicilian Pastarrific (chicken scampi), Main Course (Sicilian chicken), Salads (Sicilian salad), Sandwiches (chicken salad sandwich)

Only ordered two non-pizza dishes from this resto, and both of them happen to be pasta, since they didn’t have appetizers on the menu…

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Carbonara – Creamy white sauce with mushrooms sprinkled generously with parmesan cheese and bacon slices. There was way too much pasta, and the sauce was a bit bland too.

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Fettucine Pesto – Fettucine topped with shrimp in creamy pesto sauce. This dish was pretty great, except I could barely taste the teeny-tiny pieces of shrimp.

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And here’s the star: The White Pizza!! This consists of Sicilian Pizza’s freshly-rolled dough, with cheese and white sauce, hence the name. The crust itself was pretty good! It had a lovely balance between chewiness and crispiness. And even though this certain flavor only uses a handful of ingredients for their toppings, it’s still an awesome piece of pie.

My experience here at Sicilian Pizza was slightly better than I thought. I feel like if they continue to branch out, they can probably be as big as Greenwich or Pizza Hut, at least. This resto is a great option if you’re looking for a cheap place to eat some decent pizza.

Crust – 5/5
Flavor – 3/5

Ambiance/Interior: 3/5
Staff/Service: 4/5
Food: 4/5 (taste) 3/5 (presentation)

The Sicilian Pizza is located at 216-B Katipunan Avenue, Blue Ridge, Quezon City. Tel no: (02) 682-0000. Links: Facebook.

Mendokoro Ramenba

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Right behind those huge glass doors is a quaint little ramen shop which, despite its nondescript appearance, is always garnering so many customers daily. Mendokoro Ramenba is a relatively new ramen shop located in Makati’s hip and fancy Salcedo village. If you have been to Alabang’s famous Ramen Yushoken, then this is pretty much the same thing. And for those who haven’t stepped foot inside Ramen Yushoken, like myself, then we’re in luck – At least we’ll finally get to see what the hype is about, without having to travel a bajillion miles away from home.

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Not much going on with the interior – Then again, I guess this is the restaurant’s way of gently reminding you that you came here for the food, not to ogle at pretty decorations.

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Here’s the menu. They like to keep things simple.

Okay, so here’s what you have to do the minute you step inside the restaurant – You line up at the counter, give your order, and pay up. The person at the counter will hand you a slip that tells you where your seat is located, along with your order. Since there’s only one huge table found in the center of the entire restaurant, you’re going to have to wait a while before you can get seated.

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Gyoza. One of the best ones I’ve ever tried, probably because of the fact that I got to see this dish prepared before my own eyes.

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Tantanmen for dad. According to him, the broth didn’t have enough spice in it, plus it was too oily.

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Mom had the Shoyu ramen.

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I had the Shio ramen. What’s so surprising about Mendokoro Ramenba’s ramen is that the noodles are quite chewy and thick (not as thick as udon, though), as compared to the ones served in other ramen joints. It almost felt like I was eating Chinese noodles instead. But this, plus the milky taste of their broth and the fresh ingredients, is most likely the reason why Mendokoro’s ramen stands out from the rest, and will most likely occupy a spot on my ‘top 10 ramen joints’ list.

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Three extra pieces of Chashu pork. Look at those grill marks, though! These fine slabs of roasted pork, along with the gyoza, compliments the ramen nicely.

According to some blog posts that I have read about Mendokoro Ramenba, the dining experience here is just about as close as you can get to an actual Japanese ramen shop. I’m really glad that the owners of Ramen Yushoken decided to open up a restaurant here, so we can at least get to see what it’s really like. I’ll be sure to come back to have another bowl of Shio ramen too.

Ambiance/Interior: 3.5/5
Staff/Service: 4.5/5
Food: 5/5 (taste) 4/5 (presentation)

Mendokoro Ramenba is located at V Corporate Center, Soliman St Salcedo Village, Makati. Tel no: (02) 215-1751. Links: Facebook.

Nav Modern Thai Cuisine

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Nav is a Thai restaurant found in the Kapitolyo – Except it’s a couple of miles from the usual strip of restaurants found in that area. It takes its name from its owners – Two brothers and a chef, who previously worked in People’s Palace (You guys might remember me doing a review for that resto early last year). What sets their Thai food apart from the others is that they gave it a distinct sweet flavor that was proven to be a hit with the Pinoy crowd.

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Menu: Rice (Khao phad pla duk), Homemade curry (Nav chicken curry, penang curry, yellow curry), Starters (Son-in-law eggs), Soup (Tom yum goong, tom yum thalay, Thai laksa), Salad (Som tam, yam som, yam pla duk foo), Specialties (Crispy tilapia, pad see ew, chicken cashew, morning glory, string beans with minced meat, stuffed squid, wok-fried squid, grilled beef slab, wok-fried tilapia), Desserts.

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Chicken Satay – Marinated and grilled chicken skewers with two sauces. SOOOOO GOOD. I heard that the satay in this restaurant is one of the best ones here in Manila, and I have to say that they’re right.

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Grilled Beef Belly Wraps – Beef, vegetables, and herbs on cabbage. Didn’t really enjoy this one because it had too much veggies in it… Could use a little bit more beef, in my opinion.

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The rice that we tried out was the Khao Kluk Kapi – Fried rice with shrimp paste, sweetened pork, green mango shreds, and topped with a sunny side-up egg.

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Of course, no Thai meal is complete without Pad Thai – Rice noodles with shrimp, chicken, and eggs. The serving size was small, so it’s perfect for me. Hehe. Pretty good! The noodles had this nice springiness to it, too.

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Naked Pandan Chicken – Juicy, marinated chicken in pandan essence. Didn’t like this one either – Had this weird, sweet aftertaste to it. Plus the dipping sauce is a bit too tangy/sour for my taste.

Nav’s food is just excellent, and the pricing isn’t that bad too! You can tell everything here was freshly made. In fact, I think I have yet to find a restaurant in Kapitolyo whose food I didn’t enjoy that much. Hehe.

Ambiance/Interior: 4/5
Staff/Service: 5/5
Food: 5/5 (taste) 4/5 (presentation)

Nav Modern Thai Cuisine is located at 16-C United St Kapitolyo, Pasig. Tel no: (02) 655-8395. You can also find them at SM Megamall. Links: Facebook.

The FIAH Katipunan Pizza Crawl, Part 1: Calda Pizza

So I have been thinking about doing this thing for a while, and I’m so glad it finally pushed through – I’m doing a four-part series here on my blog called The FIAH Katipunan Pizza Crawl, in which I visit a couple of pizza places in Katipunan, and try out their bestsellers. This was partly inspired by Buzzfeed’s Feast Mode Hunger Squad food crawl videos. I know this isn’t technically an actual food crawl, but I was just astounded by the amount of pizza restaurants found in this part of town that I wanted to try all of them.

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The first pizza restaurant that I decided to go to is this Calda Pizza, in Blue Ridge. Calda Pizza is a restaurant that had its origins in Cebu, and is known for making Italian-inspired pizza with some really fresh ingredients. According to their official Website, their pizza is supposed to be the best Pinoy-style pizza out there.

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The interior is a bit… Hmmmm. The seats seemed really old too. I’m assuming that they specialize mostly in deliveries because of the different-sized pizza boxes that I found right beside their front door.

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Chicken Pasta. Sorry to be blunt here, but ‘bad’ is a huge understatement when it comes to this dish. Or maybe it’s because I’m not a fan of red sauce.

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Solo Pack – 1 piece chicken with rice.

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Wedges. At least these were decent.

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… And lastly, the reason why we came to this restaurant – The pizza! This is their bestseller, the Calda Speciale – With tomato sauce, ground beef, mozzarella cheese, ham, salami, pepperoni, bacon, mushrooms, pineapple, onions, green bell peppers, tomatoes, black olives, and roasted garlic. This was pretty much the highlight of our meal, although a couple of slices left me feeling a bit queasy after. Still, the Calda Speciale is a lovely piece of pizza pie. The crust isn’t paper-thin, and there’s a lovely balance of flavor coming from all of the toppings.

Personally, I thought that half of the food in their menu seemed similar to something I would see in one of those cheap fastfood restaurants. I mean, it’s delicious, but there’s really nothing astounding about them – And that includes their pizza.

Crust – 3/5
Flavor – 4.5/5

Ambiance/Interior: 2/5
Staff/Service: 3/5
Food: 3.5/5 (taste), 3/5 (presentation)

Calda Pizza is located at 223 Katipunan Ave Milagrosa, Quezon City. Tel no: (02) 421-0908. Links: Official Website || Facebook

Burgers & Brewskies

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Burgers and Brewskies is a burger joint with two locations – One in Burgos Circle, and one in Estancia mall. This resto is getting plenty of attention from foodies thanks to the interesting foodstuffs that they place inside their burger creations, like jicama sticks and a slab of mac and cheese, for example.

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Menu: Starting Line (B&B sausage platter, B&B nachos, bacon chicharon), B&B Signature Burgers (call the nurse, walk of shame, hector salamanca, call the ER), Wing It (buffalo wings, spicy sriracha, angry Korean), Kid’s Grub, Bar Grub, B&B Burger Bowls, Side Kicks, Happy Ending

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Kandi – Roasted garlic aioli, B&B cheese sauce, onion confit, and spiced candied bacon. First of all, I was expecting their burgers to look really big… Almost as big as the ones found in other upscale burger joints. But they weren’t, and that’s a relief. They weren’t too small either. I loved the softness of the bun. The patty itself could use a little more salt, but it was still amazing, and really juicy. Meanwhile, the three strips of bacon had the right amount of sweetness + spiciness, and served as the icing on top of the cake—er, burger.

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Neat – B&B’s take on the humble cheeseburger. Has roasted garlic aioli, B&B cheese sauce, and onion confit.

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Salt & Pepper wings – Seasoned with Chinese Five Spice, with a sweet and spicy vinegar dip. These wings may look simple, but they’re packed with so much flavor.

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Curly Tails – Mac and cheese with bacon. Tasted a bit like ordinary mac ‘n cheese to me. My dad loved it though, which was quite surprising.

I was already expecting great things from this burger joint, and I’m glad that my expectations were correct. Can’t wait to come back.

Ambiance/Interior: 4/5
Staff/Service: 5/5
Food: 5/5 (taste) 4/5 (presentation)

Burgers & Brewskies is located at Estancia Mall, Meralco Ave., Ortigas, Pasig. Links: Facebook || Twitter || Instagram: @burgersandbrewskies.

Takashi Japanese Cuisine

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Takashi is a Japanese restaurant that got its name from its chef – Chef Takashi Kawasaki. Chef Takashi has been living here in Manila for the past three years, and is a graduate of one of the most prestigious culinary schools in Japan. He started working in the restaurant business since he was 18, which I have to say, is quite impressive. Chef Takashi’s main goal for his restaurant is to serve good Japanese food with his own unique, personalized twist.

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Menu: Ramen, Appetizers, Mains, Toppings, Extras, Donburi, Drinks.

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Spam Gyoza – Chef Takashi’s original creation. I find it interesting that this dish had ‘Spam’ in its name, because it was the number one thing that the dish lacked. It felt like I was eating regular gyoza instead – Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course. Oh well.

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Spicy Spam Maki – With spam, mango, and cream cheese. Well at least this dish had spam in it <_< Anyway, it’s pretty much my favorite dish of the entire meal. Loved the combination of the sweetened spam, and the cream cheese. Not as spicy as expected, but still had a bit of kick to it.

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Tori Karaage – Crunchy, bite-sized juicy pieces of fried chicken. This may look appetizing, but… Blaaaahhh. I could barely finish it. Not only was the chicken bland and tasteless, it also didn’t have a dipping sauce. Ugh. What’s up with that? -_-

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Ebi Tempura – Shrimp fried with the restaurant’s homemade batter. This was pretty good.

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Cha-han – Takashi style fried rice. One of the few decent dishes that we got to try.

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Spicy Seafood Ramen – With fresh seafood and hot chili. This is what my dad ordered. Got to sip a bit of the soup, and it had a nice, creamy finish. And unlike the Spicy Spam Maki, this one had me chugging down some water afterwards.

I honestly have mixed feelings regarding our dining experience here at Takashi – Although I did end up enjoying some of their dishes, like their ramen, the spam maki, and the fried rice… The rest of the food looked appetizing, but literally lacked flavor. If I were to come back, I would stick to their maki and probably their ramen too.

Ambiance/Interior: 3/5
Staff/Service: 5/5
Food: 3.5/5 (taste) 3/5 (presentation)

Takashi Japanese Cuisine is located at Pioneer Centre, 8006 Pioneer St Kapitolyo, Pasig. Tel no: (0905) 510-9554. Links: Facebook.

Buffalo Wild Wings

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…. And we are starting off 2016 on an energetic, ultra-loud, deep-fried and tangy note with a review on Buffalo Wild Wings, located in Estancia. Buffalo Wild Wings, an American franchise, started out in 1982 thanks to two guys named Jim Disbrow and Scott Lowery, who moved from NYC to Ohio. Since there weren’t any decent chicken wing restaurants in Ohio, these two decided to take matters into their own hands and open up their own chicken wing shop, with its own range of sauces. Thus, Buffalo Wild Wings was born. The one located here in Estancia is the very first Asian franchise of the restaurant.

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Interior. It was pretty much the only restaurant open during that time, so naturally, it was packed. It was loud – Very loud, in fact, as one would expect from a joint like this. Not just from the customers/staff, but from the pounding music as well. I’m not the partying type, but I can assume that this is as close as it gets to being inside one of those hip bars/lounges in BGC or Makati.

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Menu: Shareables & sides, Thin-crust flatbreads, Savory salads, Beefy burgers & satisfying sandwiches, Kids meals, Wraps & buffalitos, You-deserve-it desserts.

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This pretty drink right here is the Cherry Limeade, made with Sprite.

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Mozzarella Sticks – Fried cheesy goodness served with marinara sauce. They were served cold so the mozzarella lacked gooeyness. -_-

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Italian Pepperoni Flatbread – This is the resto’s version of oven-baked thin-crust flatbread pizza, filled with shreds of cheddar jack cheese, queso cheese, and mozzarella-provolone. Also topped with slices of spicy pepperoni. The crust was nice and chewy and I loved the zing of the pepperoni slices, but we should’ve ordered another flavor instead.

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And lastly… Hand-Spun Wings!!! These chicken wings were definitely as fresh as can be. You can choose from Buffalo Wild Wings’ assortment of different homemade sauces and dry seasonings, ranging from Smilin’, to Screamin’. There were so many flavors that I wanted to try, but in the end, I picked their Honey Mustard sauce. The wings come with its own set of carrot sticks, celery stalks, and ranch dressing.

All in all, it was delicious. Unfortunately though, like most other American buffalo wing franchises that I’ve been to, Buffalo Wild Wings’ food is a tad bit overpriced, especially since the servings are small. It’s a shame really, since I do have plans to come back here to try more chicken wing flavors + Their other dishes like their burgers, nachos, and fish tacos.

Ambiance/Interior: 5/5
Staff/Service: 5/5
Food: 4.5/5 (taste), 4/5 (presentation)

Buffalo Wild Wings is located at G/F Estancia Mall, Meralco Ave Oranbo, Pasig. Links: Official US Website || US Twitter || US Facebook || PH Facebook.