Harry Styles “lights up” with groundbreaking new album, Fine Line

Harry Styles’ sophomore album, Fine Line is finally arriving on December 13,
2019—just in time for a Friday the 13th release.

Fine Line includes previously released tracks “Lights Up,” “Watermelon Sugar,” and latest single “Adore You,” whose cryptic marketing campaign sparked tremendous buzz for weeks. The second studio release also reunites Styles with producers Jeff Bhasker, Tyler Johnson and Kid Harpoon, who refined the overall sound of his debut album.

A “brazenly honest” record

On Fine Line, the former One Direction star opens up about “constantly dancing in and out of desire and destruction,” as Entertainment Weekly puts it, and exploring his more brazenly honest side in terms of the songwriting process leading to the final touches of his newest album.

“For me, it doesn’t mean I’ll sit down and be like, ‘This is what I have for dinner, and this is where I eat every day, and this is what I do before I go to bed,” Styles shares in a recent Rolling Stone interview. “But I will tell you that I can be really pathetic when I’m jealous. Feeling happier than I’ve ever been, sadder than I’ve ever been, feeling sorry for myself, being mad at myself, being petty and pitiful — it feels really different to share that.”

The thematic vulnerability that comes with Styles’ 12-track release earned glowing reviews from international music critics. NME praised the record for embracing the nostalgic sound of his previous self-titled record and combining it with “soaring pop sensibilities.” British bi-monthly magazine i-D called it “another confident exercise in Harry Styles’ ongoing genre cross-over.” DIY Mag dug deeper into the gripping nature of his songwriting, proclaiming that it is a “compelling document of an artist coming to life.”

Upcoming tour

After his much buzzed, sold-out concert in Manila last May 1, 2018 at the Mall of Asia arena, the British pop singer is also preparing for his upcoming 2020 world tour, ‘Love On Tour’ to promote the release of Fine Line. Full list of dates and all ticket information/on sale info is available on Harry’s official website. Asia (possibly Manila), Australia and additional tour dates to be announced in 2020.

Harry Styles’ Fine Line will be available from Friday, the 13th of December on all other digital platforms worldwide via Sony Music.

Album details provided in a recent press release.
This post contains affiliate links.

Gotcha Fresh Tea, Greenhills

Well, here’s some good news for milk tea lovers: Australian milk tea brand Gotcha Fresh Tea has set up shop in the country.

In a small cafe outside Virra Mall in Greenhills, milk tea lovers can drink their fill of Gotcha’s offerings which include signature milk teas, premium milk teas, healthy fresh milk, black sugar, maple sugar, cheese foam teas, collagen teas, coldbrew and yogurt teas.

Gotcha Fresh Tea, Greenhills

Taking pride in its slogan “We farm our own tea,” Gotcha handcrafts and brews its drinks made from a single tea plantation in Mount Alishan Taiwan in its bid to guarantee product consistency and quality.

It also champions earth-friendliness with its reusable cups, a worthy advocacy in my book.

Gotcha Fresh Tea, Greenhills

During the shop’s Grand Opening, I was treated to one of Gotcha’s drinks, the Oreo Cheese Macchiato (Php145) in which the tea flavor is tempered by the creamy milk, with added mild saltiness from the cheese topping as well as sweetness and texture from the crushed Oreo cookies.

Gotcha Fresh Tea, Greenhills

As far as dessert drinks to go, this was ok but not particularly exceptional.

My friends, on the other hand, were able to try out other flavors such as:

Strawberry Yogurt (Php130).

Gotcha Fresh Tea, Greenhills

Peach Collagen Tea (Php140).

Gotcha Fresh Tea, Greenhills

Taro Milk (Php135).

Gotcha Fresh Tea, Greenhills

There was great variety when it came to drink options but given its cafe setup, offering food items would be a good move.

Thanks to Kian of Kian Ventures for extending the invitation for this event!

Gotcha Fresh Tea, Greenhills

Gotcha Fresh Tea is located at Ground Floor, V-Mall, Greenhills Shopping Center, Greenhills, San Juan.

Gotcha Fresh Tea Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclosure: Together with fellow food bloggers, I attended this resto’s grand opening where drinks were served to enable us to sample the fare and to facilitate honest reviews. Said drinks were not paid for by the attendees, including myself.

Check out my reviews of other milk tea joints:

A fresh take on milk teas at Brown Cafe, BGC

It sure looks like the milk tea craze is here to stay, if the sheer number of stores opening in the metro offering copious varieties of the drink is any indication.

And then another milk tea brand joins the fray: Bangkok’s very own Brown Cafe has opened a take-out counter in Serendra, BGC to give the locals fresh and exciting choices for our milk tea.

Its menu simply teems with crave-worthy drinks: from original milk tea, fresh milk lattes, cheese macchiatos and more, choices abound for milk tea lovers ans connoisseurs. Each cup is made from freshly brewed tea leaves and its wondrous array of bubbles – which includes flavors such as original, collagen, brown sugar, peach, strawberry, mango, lychee, rainbow low cal and exclusive-to-the-Philippines ube – are all made inhouse.

Among Brown Cafe’s claims to fame are its Rainbow Low Cal Bubble Teas, made with fruit-infused teas accompanied by its colorful Rainbow low-calorie bubble sinkers.

Brown Cafe, BGC

The Anchan Strawberry Latte (Php140 for cup | Php155 for reusable tumbler) features a combination strawberry with the edible blossom anchan, more commonly known as the butterfly pea in a creamy latte.

Brown Cafe, BGC

The Melon Niu Niu Latte (Php140 for cup | Php155 for reusable tumbler), on the other hand, is a taste of summer with a sweet melon flavor that flavors the creamy milk.

Brown Cafe, BGC

So if you find yourself in BGC and want to try something new to quench your thirst, pop by Brown Cafe’s take out counter and treat yourself to one of its milk teas.

Brown Cafe, BGC

Brown Cafe, BGC

Brown Cafe is located at Ground Floor, Serendra, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, open daily from 10am to 10pm.

Brown Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclosure: I visited Brown Cafe during its mini blogger get-together where drinks were served for free to facilitate an honest review.

Check out my reviews of other milk tea joints:

Holiday kakigori flavors at Shari Shari, BGC

Given that we’re in a tropical country, we shouldn’t have to wonder why ice-based desserts have so much appeal.

Even now, having entered the supposedly “brrrr” month of December, we can still find the metro’s heat and humidity quite oppressive.

Yes, icy desserts are definitely the way to go, and luckily, all kinds of these frozen treats are readily available in the metro.

The kakigori, for example, is fairly new to Pinoy foodies. This shaved ice dessert originated from Japan and has been around since the 11th century when blocks of ice saved during the stockpiled during the winter months are shaved to a snow-like consistency and served with sweet syrup to the aristocrats during the summer months.

Today, icy treats are a lot more accessible to us year-round, thanks to technology (yey for refrigeration!).

And with specialty shops like Shari Shari, we Pinoys get to have a taste of authentic kakigori.

Shari Shari, BGC

Shari Shari, BGC

Shari Shari, BGC

This dessert shop was founded in Hong Kong but soon found its way to the Philippines. It opened its first shop in Serendra, BGC where it serves bowls of its signature shaved ice desserts. Using special ice custom-made from different kinds of water, shaved with a special machine imported from Japan and flavored with syrups made fresh everyday has allowed Shari Shari to offer kakigori with the look, taste and texture consistent with those in Japan.

Shari Shari, BGC

Shari Shari, BGC

Shari Shari, BGC

Shari Shari, BGC

And you would be amazed at the sheer variety of flavors possible with the kakigori: from fruity versions like strawberry, melon, mango and banana; classic dessert flavors like chocolate; to more exotic variants like Coffee Tiramisu, Earl Grey Milk Tea and Matcha Cream. There’s something for almost every sweet craving at Shari Shari.

Plus, be sure to check out Shari Shari special holiday flavors available beginning December 1:

Pistachio Raspberry topped with whipped cream and a candy Santa. This combines the nutty taste of pistachios with the sweet and fruity tartness of raspberries.

Shari Shari, BGC

Shari Shari, BGC

Shari Shari, BGC

Choco Hazelnut topped with whipped cream and a chocolate gingerbread man. Dessert lovers would really go for its combination of nutty and cocoa flavors.

Shari Shari, BGC

Shari Shari, BGC

Shari Shari, BGC

Every spoonful is a burst of icy sweetness in my mouth, a great way to relax and cool down, warm weather or not!

And what a sweet and cool (or icy!) way to get in the holiday spirit!

Shari Shari Kakigori House is located at Ground Floor, Serendra, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.

Shari Shari Kakigori House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclosure: I visited Shari Shari during its mini blogger get-together where the holiday kakigoris were served for free to facilitate an honest review.

Check out my reviews of other dessert shops in the metro:

Dreamin’ of my avocado at Avocadoria.PH, Greenhills

What a lovely time to be alive!

We inhabit a period of time when we can enjoy the previously highly seasonal avocado.

Now practically ubiquitous, the avocado has made its way to salads and sandwiches. For me, however, nothing beats avocado for dessert.

Luckily, we now have Avocadoria.PH which hypes up avocado desserts, and how!

Avocadoria.PH, Greenhills

Take its Avocado Dream (Php90), for example. It’s made of creamy avocado ice cream stuffed into an eco-friendly avocado shell and topped with a humungous ball of pastillas truffle which serves as the avocado seed. This dessert is both visually arresting and tasty.

Avocadoria.PH, Greenhills

Avocadoria.PH, Greenhills

Plus, avocado is quite healthy, too! Check out how it can be good for you:

  • Contains vitamins K, C, E and Folate
  • Is rich in antioxidants and heart-healthy fats
  • Contains more potassium than banana
  • Supports liver function and eye health
  • Is high in dietary fiber

No wonder then that the avocado is my favorite fruit and desserts made from it are among my faves as well!

And wouldn’t you know it: there’s an Avocadoria.PH kiosk in V-mall where I was loitering about so I got to enjoy this dessert quick and easy!

Avocadoria.PH, Greenhills

Why don’t you give it a try?

This Avocadoria kiosk is located at the Second Floor, V-Mall, Greenhills Shopping Center, San Juan.

Other kiosks may be found at:

  • Quezon City: Eastwood Citywalk 2, Robinsons Galleria, Ali Mall Cubao, Farmer’s Plaza, Robinsons Magnolia, UP Town Center, Fisher Mall Del Monte, SKY Garden SM North EDSA, Waltermart North EDSA, Ayala Malls Cloverleaf Balintawak, SM City Fairview, Robinsons Novaliches, Ayala Fairview Terraces, Ayala Vertis North
  • Manila: Robinsons Place Manila, SM City San Lazaro
  • Pasig: Ayala Malls Feliz, Ayala Malls the 30th
  • Makati: Ayala Malls Circuit, Philamlife Tower Salcedo, San Lorenzo Place Condominium
  • Marikina: SM Marikina, Ayala Malls Marikina,
  • Mandaluyong: EDSA Central Pavilion, Forum Robinsons
  • Taguig: Market! Market!, Food District Signatures on the 5th
  • Paranaque: SM City Bicutan, Victory Food Market Baclaran, Ayala Malls Manila Bay, SM City BF
  • Caloocan: SM Center Sangandaan
  • Malabon: Fisher Mall Malabon
  • Valenzuela: SM City Valenzuela
  • Las Pinas: SM Southmall, Vista Mall
  • Alabang: Alabang Town Center, Starmall Alabang, Ayala Malls Southpark

Avocadoria.ph Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my reviews of other dessert shops in the metro:

4 reasons to update your home furniture over the holidays

The holiday season and the transition to a new year presents us with many reasons to makeover our homes.

Updating our home furniture is a great way to usher in some good vibes over the holidays and gear us up to face the new year.

If you find yourself vacillating on whether to replace your old furniture with new ones, here are reasons that should get you started:

1) You get to update your home’s style.

Your style preferences – may it be modern, minimalist, shabby chic or retro – may have changed over the past year and replacing your old furniture will allow your home to be more in line with your personal style.

Also, you wouldn’t want to present your holiday visitors with stained or run-down furniture, would you? Getting new pieces will help you come up with a more presentable home for hosting get-togethers.

2) You get ensure your family’s continued comfort.

Your little ones may have outgrown their old beds or the couch may be sagging in places. Updating your furniture will allow you and your family to enjoy that feeling of solace and relaxation again which is what being home for the holidays is all about.

3) You get to maximize your home’s available space.

Replacing your old pieces with dual-purpose or space-saving furniture may improve your home’s flow and use of space.

4) You get to take advantage of awesome sales.

If you’re worried that doing a home makeover will put a strain on your budget, well, fret not.

From December 13 to 15, Sogo Home and Office Center will hold an Installment Madness in its 15 branches where furniture shoppers can avail of 0% interest on installment for a minimum purchase of Php12,000 using any major credit card.

SOGO Installment Madness

With this promo, buyers can update the pieces in their living room…

SOGO Installment Madness

SOGO Installment Madness

… dining room…

SOGO Installment Madness

SOGO Installment Madness

… bedroom…

SOGO Installment Madness

SOGO Installment Madness

and more!

PLUS Buy Now Pay 2020 offer on all major credit cards will also be available.

SOGO Home and Office Center has been providing furniture at Everyday Low Prices since the early 1990’s. Today, it boasts of over 15 locations in Metro Manila and nearby provinces that offer everything you need for your home at incredibly low prices. From room packages, Buy 1 Take 1 Deals and great offers across furniture categories such as sofas, dining sets, beds & mattresses, decors and office furniture, SOGO Home and Office Center has everything you need for your home.

True to its tagline “Everyday Low Prices” SOGO Home and Office Center makes sure that it’s always affordable to furnish your home. Payment options through cash, card installment or even financing aim to help young professionals that are starting to build their dream houses, newly married couples that starting new family and even those families that are renovating their homes.

For more details, visit its website to check more of Sogo’s products or you visit any of its branches near you.

METRO MANILA BRANCHES:

4F 168 SHOPPING MALL, MANILA CITY
Tel# 8-708-4932 Cp# 09369912289

LGF ALIMALL CUBAO, QUEZON CITY
Tel# 8-912-6603 Cp# 09369912288

2F DOÑA CONCEPCION BLDG. ARNAIZ AVE., SAN LORENZO MAKATI CITY
Tel# 7-728-5760 Cp# 09369912295

2F AYALA MALLS MARIKINA CITY
Tel# 8-638-1004 Cp# 09266565721

LGF AYALA MALLS SOUTH PARK, ALABANG MUNTINLUPA CITY
Tel# 8-541-1270 Cp# 09055196370

2F CW HOME DEPOT COMMONWEALTH, QUEZON CITY
Tel# 8-277-6935 Cp# 09173465637

Level 3, AYALA MALLS CIRCUIT, MAKATI CITY
Tel# 8-425-2430 Cp# 09770971985

LGS RIVERGREEN RESIDENCES, STA. ANA, MANILA CITY [EXHIBIT]
Tel# 8-523-1449 Cp# 09770971987

4F ROBINSONS METRO EAST, PASIG CITY
Tel# 8-647-5901 Cp# 09369912290

2F ROBINSONS FORUM, MANDALUYONG CITY
Tel# 8-687-9816 Cp# 09369912291

2F ZABARTE TOWN CENTER, CALOOCAN CITY
Tel# 8-962-4186 Cp# 09369912292

PROVINCIAL BRANCHES:

3F ROBINSONS GALLERIA SOUTH, SAN PEDRO LAGUNA (NEW)
Tel# 8-353-6598 Cp# 09959609219

GF ROBINSONS PLACE DASMARIÑAS CAVITE
Tel# 8-425-0791 Cp# 09154080962

4F ROBINSONS PLACE IMUS CAVITE
Tel# 8-425-0783 Cp# 09266680727

2F CW HOME DEPOT IMUS CAVITE
Tel# 8-245-9497 Cp# 09055196332

Promo details provided by SOGO Home and Office Center in a recent press release.

Bench Cafe opens newest branch in Trinoma

The clothing brand Bench has been around for as long as I can remember. One of the “proudly Filipino” enterprise success stories, it has been a major player in local fashion and has even expanded its sphere of influence to that of a lifestyle brand with its personal care producrs, skin care services and hair salons.

It even ventured into the food business, notably with the opening of the first branch of its eponymous restaurant Bench Cafe last year.

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Fast forward to today and Bench Cafe has already opened its fifth branch at Trinoma Mall in Quezon City. Such speedy growth is proof that its concept of combining traditional and modern takes on Filipino food works and has found its place in Metro Manila’s highly competitive food scene.

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

The cafe held a special preview for bloggers the day before its Grand Opening. Together with my fellow foodies from #WeLoveToEatPH, I got a taste of how Bench Cafe’s Chef Carlo Miguel melds local flavors together and updates classic Pinoy favorites such as:

Binagoongan Ceasar (Php149). Romaine lettuce with dilis and croutons tossed in a creamy dressing made with bagoong (shrimp paste) and queso de bola.

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Tinapa Cones (Php129). Homemade lumpia wrappers formed into crispy cones and filled with tinapa (smoked fish) mousse and salsa.

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Gising Gising (Php195). A spicy dish of chopped beans cooked in coconut milk and chilis.

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Sisig Skillet (Php249). Pork cheeks and belly cooked in two ways and served topped with calamansi foam.

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Fried Chicken (Php480). Whole spring chicken fried to a golden brown with crispy flavorful skin and juicy meat served with a honey patis sauce.

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Dancing Fish (Php400). Crispy butterfly tilapia doused in escabeche sauce.

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Pancit Guisado (Php239). Stir-fried noodles with shrimp, meat and chopped vegetables.

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Silogs (from sinangag or “garlic rice” and itlog “egg”) are breakfast staples for many Filipinos. Bench Cafe serves these with garlic rice, fried egg and homemade atsara. The silog variation we’ve tasted here is the Tendon Silog (Php199) made with melt-in-your-mouth beef tendon in pares sauce.

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bongalmusal (Php349). If you’re ever at a loss on what to have for brekkie, this hyped-up silog meal serves up everything you could want! Spam, US beef tapa, tocino, daing (dried fish) and corned beef. Best of all, this dish is good for two so do share it with someone special.

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe also introduced Bench-Tos which are glamourized takes on the fare available at a Pinoy turo-turo. This small roadside eatery is where diners point out the food they want and a serving is placed on their plates. Bench Cafe updates this concept by merging it with the Japanese bento – the chosen viand is served on a tray along with vegetables, homemade salsa and atsara as well as steamed Ifugao rice. Variations of this offering that we tasted include the Bagnet Kare Kare (Php339) which has a rich peanutty sauce that has no need for bagoong to have flavor, and the Inasal Liempo (Php299) which is Bench Cafe’s take on the Visayan grilled pork belly.

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

To cap out meal, Bench Cafe serves up its own takes on dessert classics with the smooth and creamy leche flan it dubbed Flan B (Php185) topped with macapuno and Classic Turon ala Mode (Php49).

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench also applied its own twists on the popular dessert called Halo-Halo, which consists of sweetened fruits and other fixings topped with shaved ice and served with milk. Its variations include White (Php85 for 12oz | Php129 for 16oz) made with coconut shaved ice with garbanzos, caramelized banana, leche flan, nata de coco and coconut ice cream; Mango Otap (Php90 for 12oz | Php109 for 16oz), mango shaved ice with crushed otap, mango puree, cream and fresh mango cubes; Ube (Php95 for 12oz | Php149 for 16oz), ube halaya and palm beans added to the White Halo Halo; and Mais con Hielo (Php60 for 12oz | Php100 for 16oz), corn- flavored shaved ice with milk and kernels of sweetcorn.

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

I had a great time discovering fresh ways to enjoy the food that I grew up with at Bench Cafe.

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Many thanks to the management and staff of Bench Cafe for having us and to EJ of #ILoveToEatPH for extending the invitation.

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

Bench Cafe, Trinoma

This Bench Cafe branch is located at Ground Floor, MRT Wing, Trinoma Mall, Bagong Pagasa, Quezon City, open daily from 10am to 9pm.

Other branches are located at:

  • Second Floor, Bench Flagship Store, Bonifacio High Street, 9th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
  • Level 2, Greenbelt 3, Ayala Center, Greenbelt, Makati City
  • Ground Floor, Padre Faura Wing, Robinsons Place Manila, Ermita, Manila

Bench Café Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclosure: Together with other foodies, I attended a foodie meetup held here wherein food and drink items were served to allow us to sample the fare. These were not paid for by the attendees, including myself.

Check out my reviews of other Filipino restaurants: