Monthly Archives: November 2016

Charlie’s Grind & Grill

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It took me a while, but I finally got to try Charlie’s Grind and Grill burgers! This place has earned the praise of my cousins who are huge fans of their freshly-grilled burgers, and have ranked it as one of their top burger joints. Their testimony just made me want to visit the place even more. Good thing there weren’t too many cars around Ronac building, so it wasn’t too difficult to park unlike the last time we went there.

Charlie’s patties come in two different varieties: Black Angus, and Wagyu. Their Wagyu beef is made from pure grass-fed cattle raised in a family ranch, while the Angus beef is made from choice select USDA cattle. Both patties are dry-aged for 15 days, and are freshly ground daily.

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Sloppy Wagyu burger. ‘Sloppy’ is right – This burger pretty much has everything in it but the kitchen sink. In fact, it’s so huge I had to resort to eating the entire thing using a knife and a fork. Hehe. The flavor of the meat was drowned out by the amount of sauces in the burger, not to mention the fried egg’s yolk. Still a good burger all in all, though. Loved the soft potato buns too.

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Mom and dad shared these three little Black Angus Sliders. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to try even just one burger since I was too busy with my Sloppy Wagyu… Not to mention my dad ended up finishing them all. -_- But as you can see from the pics, the sliders are just regular old cheeseburgers, without anything special added.

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Sweet Buffalo Chicken Wings. My only complaint with this dish is that the meat was too dry. Other than that, the sauce was fairly decent.

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Super-addicting Garlic Parmesan Fries. These were way too delicious, but if I’m not mistaken, their fries are cooked in lard? Yikes.

I like to say that Charlie’s Grind and Grill is a burger joint in its purest form. No frills, no special ingredients added – Just pure, beefy goodness. I wasn’t a fan of their wings, but I would come back for their fries and burgers. I’d love to try other stuff on their menu too.

Ambiance/Interior: 3/5
Staff/Service: 5/5
Food: 4.5/5 (taste), 3/5 (presentation)

Charlie’s Grind and Grill is located at G/F Ronac Art Center, Ortigas Ave Greenhills, San Juan. Tel no: (02) 477-5021. You can also find them in Kapitolyo and Legaspi Village, Makati. Links: Facebook || Twitter || IG: @charliesgrindandgrill.

Cab Cafe

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We finally came back to Kapitolyo after a while, and ended up having lunch at Cab Café. Cab Café first originated in Bacolod under the name ‘Café Bob’. Later on, they reached Metro Manila’s shores by opening up a branch in Cubao with a new name. IIRC, their branch in Kapitolyo is their second one here in Manila. I like cafes and I like Kapitolyo, so this place is just perfect for me.

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Cozy-looking interior, like most Kapitolyo restos.

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Cakes and pastries.

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Roast Beef sandwich – Thinly sliced roast beef, mushrooms, onions, and gravy on the side. Honestly, this is pretty much everything that I’ve been looking for in a roast beef sandwich – Small yet paper-thin slices of meat, nicely toasted bread that wasn’t too thin or thick, and a good combo of mushrooms/gravy. I even enjoyed the fries.

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Crispy Fried Lumpia.

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Spicy Spanish Sardines and Eggs – Served with a fried egg and rice.

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Chicken and Pork Adobo – Chicken and pork adobo, a fried egg, rice, and atchara. I thought it was a little bit on the greasy/fatty side.

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A slice of Strawberry Shortcake. Had to settle for this since their bestseller wasn’t available (Chocolate Pistachio Cake).

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Choco Crunchies for my drink. Not too icy, and not to sweet either.

That was pretty good! Their sandwiches and cakes are a must-try, for sure. My mom didn’t really like the adobo and sardines though – Maybe that was just a mistake on our part. We should probably try something else when we get another chance to eat here – But I’ll be sure to fill my stomach again with that delectable roast beef sandwich.

Ambiance/Interior: 3/5
Staff/Service: 4.5/5
Food: 4/5 (taste), 4/5 (presentation)

Cab Cafe is located at 18 East Capitol Dr Kapitolyo, Pasig. Links: Facebook || IG: @cabcafe

East Cafe

Okay, sooooo… Prior to this review, I had no idea that this restaurant even existed. I ended up in Shang with my family today, and I was pretty much stumped since I have reviewed almost all of the Shang restaurants included in my handy-dandy list. And at the same time, I won’t be able to leave the house the next day because of work-related things, so I couldn’t postpone the review to tomorrow.

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… Luckily, East Cuisine was there to the rescue! This is an Asian resto owned by chef Him Uy De Baron – Yep, the same guy behind Nomama, I am Kim, and Makansutra. The reason why this place is so new to me is because it’s located inside Rustan’s department store – The only time we ever get to step inside that place is when we’re doing our Christmas shopping. Other than that, I just like looking at the pretty displays by the entrance of the store. The shops/shoppers intimidate me too much. >_<

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Menu: Starters, Mains, East Style Maki, Noodles, Salads, Sashimi, Sandwiches, Sushi, Donburi, Dessert, Sides.

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Tonkatsu Sandwich – Deep fried pork loin with special sauce on wheat bread. The katsu itself was a bit tough, but I still finished the whole thing. Comes with a side of sweet potato fries.

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Pork Gyoza – Ground pork in sesame oil with cabbage wrapped in pot sticker. Not bad!

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Shrimp and Pork Wanton noodle soup – Fresh egg noodles with shrimp and pork. According to mom, the broth was a tad too salty for her liking.

Since they’re still relatively new, I’ll be giving them another chance – I’m pretty sure they can improve the quality of their food. And they should, considering their location. But for now, everything just tastes ‘meh’ to me.

Ambiance/Interior: 3.5/5
Staff/Service: 4.5/5
Food: 3/5 (taste), 3/5 (presentation)

East Cafe is located at Rustan’s, Level 2, Shangri-La Plaza, Ortigas, Mandaluyong City. Tel no: 6334636.

The Pig Pen

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Of course our trip to Tagaytay wouldn’t be complete without stopping by Nuvali/Solenad on the way home. I was worried that we were going to come in really early again, but we got there just in time for lunch break. We couldn’t find the original restaurant that we were supposed to visit, so we ended up here at The Pig Pen, a place that specializes in European-inspired cuisine. The Pig Pen is owned by the same people behind The Black Pig gastropub, located in Alabang.

(BTW, I forgot to mention in my Silver Bucket entry that this Tagaytay trip was primarily the reason why I skipped my usual weekend review for Nov. 12-13.)

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Menu: Soups salad and veg, Sides and extras, Bar bites, Seafood, Meat and poultry, Pigpen signature sandwiches, Group meals, Solo plates, Sweet things, Drinks.

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Chicken Mole – Chicken thigh that’s crisp to the bite, with coriander leaves, onions, and mole sauce for a signature Mexican taste. This is actually the first time I got to try mole sauce, and I could really taste the hints of dark chocolate. It goes really well with the slightly spicy onions. And as for the chicken? The meat was very flavorful and juicy, and the skin was nice and crispy. Not greasy at all.

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Cool and refreshing Hibiscus Iced Tea for my drink. I love a good hibiscus iced tea.

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Our appetizer/dessert in one photo: Banana Cheesecake and Pumpkin Soup (roasted pumpkin soup sprinkled with crispy bacon bits). The pumpkin soup could use a little more flavor. The cheesecake was amazing though – It may look tiny, but the flavor was super rich, and I absolutely loved the caramelized banana slices on top.

Officially adding The Pig Pen to the list of organic/artisanal restaurants that I really enjoyed. The food here is amazing! I know I’ve already reviewed plenty of great restaurants in Nuvali/Solenad/Sta. Rosa area, but this one is definitely included in my top five.

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

The Pig Pen is located at Solenad 3, Nuvali, Laguna, Don Jose, Santa Rosa, Laguna. Links: Facebook || IG: @pigpencafe.

Silver Bucket

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My mom’s friend got hitched in Tagaytay, and as a result, we ended up staying there for two days. I grabbed the opportunity to visit Twin Lakes, and had an early dinner at this seafood restaurant called Silver Bucket. This restaurant specializes in fusion seafood dishes. It even had boxing legend Manny Pacquiao grace the resto’s ribbon-cutting ceremony when it opened its doors last year.

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Lovely interior.

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Menu: Appetizer, Salads, Pastas, Soups, House specialties, Grill.

Unfortunately though, we only got to order two dishes since a lot of the stuff that we wanted wasn’t available during that time (probably because it’s the weekday so there weren’t many customers around). Sigh.

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Chicken Katsu with steamed rice and a wonderful Japanese-style curry sauce.

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Super creamy Chicken Alpredo pasta (Yes, according to the menu it’s ‘Alpredo’, not Alfredo).

Crappy service aside, the food was surprisingly great! I guess the best place to come here is during the weekends or holidays, when the entire Twin Lakes area is packed with visitors. I might give this place a second chance if time permits.

Ambiance/Interior: 4.5/5 [too many flies buzzing around]
Staff/Service: 3/5
Food: 4/5 (taste), 4/5 (presentation)

The Silver Bucket is located at Twin Lakes, Tagaytay-Nasugbu Highway, Tagaytay, Tagaytay City. Links: Facebook || Twitter.

Xiu Fine Cantonese Dining

When Café Lugang’s Greenhills branch closed down last February, I was saddened, to say the least – Even though I’ve already done a review on it a couple of years back, and I could still dine at one of their many branches scattered across the metro. When I first stepped inside, I was really marveled by how spectacular the place was, and the deliciousness of their cuisine. For me, it was honestly one of the most memorable dining experiences I’ve had in this blog. It’s a shame that all good things must come to an end.

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Then, Xiu came into the picture – Based on the reviews that I’ve seen, this place was just as spectacular as Lugang was, so I pretty much had high expectations for it. Xiu specializes in Cantonese cooking, and has often been called a little piece of Hong Kong in Connecticut (Connecticut street, that is).

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Classy interior. Not gonna lie, I was slightly intimidated at first, because everyone looked so finely dressed. And check out that stonefish in the fish tank!

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Menu: Appetizers, Traditional roasted specialties, Soup, Traditional rare delicacies (shark’s fin, abalone, sea cucumber, fish maw), Chef’s specials, Live seafood, Seafood selection, Beef and lamb, Pork, Poultry, Healthy dishes (seasonal vegetables), Rice, Noodles, Dessert, Drinks.

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Sweet and Sour Pork. The pieces of pork were just the right size, and had a good balance of fat and meat.

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Premium Soy Sauce HK Chicken in Clay Pot. Chicken meat was very tender, but I still had a bit of difficulty removing the tiny bones. Also, I love that the soy sauce wasn’t too overwhelmingly salty – It even had a slightly sweet aftertaste to it.

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Yangzhou Fried Rice.

I had such high expectations for this restaurant, but unfortunately, they all fell flat. I mean… The food is decent enough, yes. I just find it so ridiculously overpriced? Maybe we just ordered the wrong dishes yet again. In my opinion, the food at Café Lugang was so much better (the food there is pricey as well, but at least it’s worth it), and I probably won’t be coming back to this restaurant for a long while. Sorry!

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

Xiu Fine Cantonese Dining is located at 115 Connecticut Street, Greenhills, San Juan City. Tel no: 02 6507189. Links: Facebook