Wholesome fare at Kenny Rogers Roasters, SM East Ortigas

While Kenny Rogers Roasters has languished in its home country to the point of declaring bankruptcy, the chain is still going strong in the Philippines.

I guess its signature healthy and wholesome flavors – from its wood-fired rotisserie chicken to its homemade cornbread muffins – have found a foothold in the Pinoy palate.

The fast-food chicken restaurant which was introduced in the country in 1995 already has a location that is quite near to me – SM City East Ortigas.

I’m glad to know that whenever I have a craving for juicy roasted chicken or those hearty cornbread muffins, with a side or mac n’ cheese or corn n’ carrots, I can just head on over to the branch in the nearby mall.

Now if only they’d take care of those shaky tables…

Kenny Rogers Roasters Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Samgyeopsal for lunch at Oh My Korean Grill and Chimaek

Again, another Korean food joint that set my heart all a-flutter.

Located just a stone’s throw away (if the stone couldn’t get far because you have a particularly limp arm) from my office, the newly opened Oh My Korean Grill and Chimaek resto features an arresting light pine and dark wood facade and industrial minimalist interiors with some K-pop accents.  Since it’s newly opened, it doesn’t that greasy-smoky smell that seem to permeate other Korean grill joints, and worse, gets transferred to your clothes by the time you leave the restaurant.

Chimaek, in case you’re wondering, is a portmanteau of “chiken” and “maekju,” the Korean word for “beer.” So chimaek simply means “chicken and beer,” probably a good idea for harassed office workers at the end of a stressful day.

It’s not a good idea, however, for office workers out on their lunch break.

So, together with a couple of friends, I ordered the following:

  • Samyeopsal (Php250). Thick, fatty slices of pork belly meat.
  • Chadolbegi (Php300). Thinly slice beef brisket
  • Plain rice for each of us

While the meats were being grilled at the next table (thankfully, so that our group won’t smell like barbecue when we get back to the office), we were served soup and banchan, side dishes, of kimchi, soy potatoes and dried anchovies.

Once cooked, I wrapped some bits of the meats – seasoned with salted sesame oil and soybean paste, together with some rice and thin slice of raw garlic, in the lettuce leaves provided.  To add some kick to each bite, I added some of the spicy kimchi inside the wrap.

The service was quick and efficient, and the staff were warm, polite and helpful.  I’m looking forward to trying out its other offerings, particularly those with cheese: the Cheese Kimchi Bokkeumbap (kimchi fried rice with cheese and veggies) and the Cheesy Ramyun (Korean ramen with a twist of cheese).

Oh My Korean Grill and Chimaek Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my posts about other Korean restaurants:

Why not try your hand at cooking Korean food at home?  Check out these recipe books on Amazon.com!

Want to try some recipes today? There’s no need to leave home to shop for ingredients.  With Honestbee, just order your groceries online and you’ll get them delivered right at your doorstep at your preferred time. Use this referral link and get Php500 off for a minimum spend of Php2,500.  You can download the Honestbee app on iTunes or Google Play.

If you’re in the US and an Amazon Prime member, sign up for a free trial of Amazon Fresh to get your groceries delivered to you.

A fortunate mistake at Auntie Anne’s, SM Hypermarket Pasig

So let me set the scene: there I was at SM Hypermarket with my daughter (#ExhibitA) all set to do some grocery shopping when we decided to have dessert at Auntie Anne’s.  She ordered an Original Pretzel (Php65) because she all about the basic but still good kind of pastry, whatever that means, and a Chocolate Dip (Php25). I on the other hand was supposed to order my usual: an Almond Pretzel (Php80) and a Caramel Dip (Php25).  However, I caught sight of these almond crunch-covered pretzel sticks so I ordered those instead, thinking they would just be cut-up versions of the pretzel that I love.  It turned out, what I actually ordered was a pouch of Almond Cream Cheese Stix (Php90)!

Imagine my surprise when I bit into the warm and chewy, baked-from-scratch, almond-crunch covered and caramel-dipped pretzel and I got a taste of the mildy sweet and slightly tangy melted cream cheese inside the pretzel sticks! The experience combined three of my favorite things: almonds, caramel and cream cheese.

Plus, since I presented my BDO Rewards Card, I got 10% off on the total bill!

This is one mistake I don’t regret making.

Auntie Anne's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Origin stories in the Marvel Super Heroes Storybook Collection

Yesterday, I arrived at National Bookstore’s #BookBingeBazaar at SM Megatrade Hall 3 even before gates opened, ready to binge on books.

While I didn’t find any of my favorite genres (Regency and Highlander romances or Biblical fiction) as most of the books on display are for teens and kids, I chanced upon some gems such as this Marvel Super Heroes Storybook Collection priced at only Php275.

Being a #MarvelCinematicUniverse geek, I just knew I had to get it, either as a gift for my son (in whom I want to encourage a love of reading) or as the start of my Marvel memorabilia collection.

It’s a hardbound, 300-page tome that contains 20 origin stories of popular Marvel comic book super heroes: individual members of the Avengers and the X-men, as well as of the Fantastic Four and the Silver Surfer.

The stories are presented with colorful illustrations and in large font and language style suitable for preschool age kids. I can see myself holding storytelling sessions with this book.

The storybook is published by Marvel Press under the Disney Book Group. It helps to expand the Marvel experience outside of the comic books and movies and introduce the Marvel characters and their universe to new audiences and future fans.

For kids who are outgrowing fairytales, this is a great book to read. For adults who are also Marvel fans, it’s a great piece to have as a part of your collection: a touchstone to the stories that have shaped much of today’s popular culture and a link to the stories you grew up with.

Today is the last day of National Bookstore’s #BookBingeBazaar which is part of the book chain’s 75th anniversary activities. It features books priced at Php75, Php175 and Php275 each. Held at SM Megatrade Hall 3 at SM Megamall, the bazaar is open from 10am to 10pm.

Missed the book bazaar? Click here to buy The Marvel Superheroes Storybook Collection on Amazon.com.

Carbo-loading at House of Lasagna, SM Megamall

I decided to try a new restaurant reservation app that comes with discounts. After braving the crowds and lugging the books I bought at the National Bookstore #BookBingeBazaar at the Megatrade Hall, I was in the mood for some carbo-loading and chance to rest my feet.

I chose to book a table (all by my lonesome) at House of Lasagna because I love lasagna (it’s among the few popular pasta dishes that my mom has not been able to master so I was deprived of it when I was young), and it offers a 20% bill discount right around lunchtime.

This resto is located at the lower ground floor of SM Megamall Building A, quite near the foodcourt. The place may seem small but it can seat around forty people or so. The mall’s airconditioning is not as strong here so I opted to sit at one of the outer tables, which has a couch that is too low to eat comfortably from the table but this location did afford me some good lighting to take #foodporn pics. (And really, which one is more important, hmm?)

I ordered its best-selling Beef Lasagna (Php295) served piping hot from the oven with some freshly toasted garlic bread on the side, and a plate of Southern Fried Calamari (Php220).

The beef lasagna has a creamy and cheesy bechamel sauce that frames the al dente cooked noodles and savory meat sauce. It does have a strong herby oregano taste which sometimes overpowers the cheese (not always a good thing for a cheese lover like me).

The calamari, on the other hand, is has the right blend of tenderness and firmness that shows it was properly cooked. I liked the blend of spices and the texture of its coating: it’s not too bready and has a peppery taste.

The lasagna is a bit rich and heavy on the stomach so I took half of my order to go.

I had trouble getting the wait staff’s attention for water refill and bill out requests but I don’t mind that too much.

With the discount, my bill came out at Php412, a bit steep for a single person but worth it if the orders were for sharing.

House of Lasagna Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Food nostalgia at Classic Savory, SM East Ortigas

Pinoys have an interesting relationship with food, particularly the tastes they have grown up with. A lot of the appeal of classic Pinoy fare has to do with the memories associated with the flavors you encountered during family gatherings and celebrations: the pancit canton that was your lola’s specialty, the turon that you used to munch on with your cousins for merienda and so on.

Such nostalgia came into play when Hubby and I took a break from shopping and errands, and dined at the Classic Savory branch at SM City East Ortigas.

This food chain started as a panciteria by the Ting brothers in post-war Manila, primarily serving lomi to its mostly Chinese clientele, before it introduced fried chicken to its menu, thereby attracting more Pinoys to its offerings.

That blend of Pinoy and Chinese flavors were present in the combo meal (Php485, good for 2 persons)  that we ordered.  It consist of a half chicken, pancit canton, fried rice, salt and pepper spare ribs, special turon and iced tea.  Given its price and the mix of flavors, I think this is already good value for money.

Classic Savory Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my reviews of other Filipino restaurants:

Want to learn more about Filipino cuisine? Check out these books on Amazon.com!

Want to try some recipes today? There’s no need to leave home to shop for ingredients.  With Honestbee, just order your groceries online and you’ll get them delivered right at your doorstep at your preferred time. Use this referral link and get Php500 off for a minimum spend of Php2,500.  You can download the Honestbee app on iTunes or Google Play.

If you’re in the US and an Amazon Prime member, sign up for a free trial of Amazon Fresh to get your groceries delivered to you.

Instant Roast Beef for family celebrations, thanks to Chef Resty!

To me, roast beef is in the same level as lechon .  It simply adds something extra to the celebration or family meal.  When I hotel or restaurant buffets, I would ignore some of the food items but definitely not roast beef.

There are times when I would crave for it or would like to serve it during a holiday meal but it’s a bit hard to DIY, or at least achieve the taste and texture that I’m looking for.

That’s why I’m ever so thankful that Chef Resty’s Roast Beef Carving Station reopened its stall in SM Hypermart Pasig.  With this stall so conveniently located near my place, I can order some roast beef for take out to enjoy at home after a bout of grocery shopping.

What I like about Chef Resty’s roast beef is its right blend of texture and flavor, brought about by several factors: high-grade Angus beef brisket marinated in herbs and spices then slow roasted for hours to achieve a juicy and tender meat.  Its rich buttery gravy was also made from its pan drippings, a perfect foil for the roast beef.  I usually order a side of

For a family meal, I usually order 700 grams of roast beef (at Php130/100 grams), sides of herbed marble potato and corn and carrots (Php20/serving) and just have rice prepared at home.

This way, the family gets to enjoy a gourmet roast beef meal at less than Php1000.

Chef Resty’s Roast Beef Carving Station Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato