Elegant buffet spreads at Marriott Cafe

Thanks to a credit card promo, we were treated to a buffet lunch at the Marriott Cafe for my mother-in-law’s birthday.

The place is very elegant and well-appointed and the buffet spreads featuring cuisines from various countries were aesthetically presented. The staff were courteous and attentive as well.

Being a card-carrying carnevore, my favorite station is the grill, I got myself some steaks (“Cuts of the Day” were juicy and well-marbled) and various smoked meats and sausages.

I also gorged myself on desserts. The cafe has quite a selection of tartlets, cakes, cookies and pastries as well as a chocolate fountain which is a hit with the kids.

Dining here is an experience I won’t mind repeating. (But I’ll probably wait for another promo!)

Buffet prices are:

  • (6:30 am to 10:30 am, daily); Php1,450
  • Lunch (12:00 pm to 2:30 pm, Monday to Saturday): Php1,900
  • Brunch (11.30 am to 3:00 pm, Sunday): Php2,500
  • Dinner (6:00 pm to 8:30 pm, Monday to Thursday, Sunday): Php2,100
  • Dinner (6:00 pm to 10:30 pm Friday to Saturday): Php2,500

Marriott Cafe is located at the Manila Marriott Hotel, 2 Resorts Drive, Newport City, Pasay. For reservations, call 02-9889999 or visit the Resorts World Manila website for more details.
Marriott Cafe - Manila Marriott Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Affordable Chinese feast at Kopi Tiam

This cozy resto in New Manila is actually known for offering affordable versions from the original North Park menu.

We recently welcomed my parents home with a sumptuous dinner in Kopi Tiam. The place is located along C. Benitez Street, past Camp Crame from EDSA. The part of Boni Serrano leading to this place was pretty dark and I had my doubts on whether we were in the right location. Fortunately, Hubby chanced upon the signage and we were soon assisted by a friendly security guard into our parking space.

The resto’s interiors were clean, well-lit and had a modern Asian feel.

To satisfy a hungry party of 9, our orders were:

  • 3 orders of large, fresh and nutty vegetable rolls or lumpiang sariwa (only Php93 per roll!)
  • 2 platters of Yang Chow Fried Rice because no Chinese food meal in my family is complete without it (Php188 per platter)
  • 2 plates of Lechon Macau, another family favorite (Php258 per plate)
  • Brocolli Garlic, just so we can say that we had another veggie dish (Php168)
  • Salt and Pepper Spareribs, always a safe bet (Php223)
  • Garlic and Beef Cubes (Php268)
  • Chami Noodles (Php288), and
  • Nestea Tower (Php250)

It was a comfy and tasty feast for the whole family; we were able to enjoy the relatively quiet ambiance and the service was fast and efficient.

Plus, given all our orders, total bill was at Php2,368!

I’m looking forward to dining here again and trying out the kopi beverages and desserts.

Kopi Tiam by North Park is located at Horseshoe Village, C. Benitez Street, New Manila, Quezon City. For reservations, call 02-7235674.
Kopi Tiam by North Park Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my reviews of other Chinese restaurants:

Why not try your hand at cooking Chinese dishes 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.

In good Burger Company

Along Scout Reyes in Quezon City, quite near my workplace, is a burger joint known for scrumptious burgers and finger foods. Burger Company is also known for board and card games you can play while waiting for your food or buy to add to your collection.

My favorites here include the Mushroom and Gorgonzola Burger as well as the resto’s famous crispy Bacon Dippers.

Recently, it introduced new additions to its menu:

  • The Gamer’s Platter, which includes its famous Bacon Dippers, Cheese Bombs, Chicken Firecrackers and Buffalo Wings. Perfect for hungry gamers!
  • Burgerrito, a savory and zesty combination of an all-beef burger patty enclosed in a flour tortilla together with nacho hash, picante sauce, pico de gallo, sour cream and chopped lettuce.
  • Curry-inspired dishes such as the Hambagu Kare and the Menchi Katsu Kare, served with a sweet-ish curry sauce over steaming hot rice.

With this expanded and varied menu, Burger Company has a lot more to offer to hungry gamers and folks hankering for a hearty meal.

Burger Company is located at the corner of Scout Reyes and Mother Ignacia Avenue, Paligsahan, Quezon City. For reservations and inquiries, call 02-9492269.

Update: The Burger Company Facebook Page recently announced that it will close its doors on December 15.  Beginning December 1 until its closing day, it will grant 20% discount on burgers and drinks to diners.

23561699_748009018743356_1208308143792591842_n

Burger Company Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Your place in the world

You have been a good boy and got good grades last grading period so I let you have my old smartphone to play with during your school break.

“This is my phone?” you asked.

“Yes,” I answered. “But I will get it back from you on Sunday night because you have school again on Monday, okay?”

You nodded and sat down on the couch beside me, happily tapping and scrawling through your game apps.

At nearly nine years old, you appear much the same as other boys your age, average in height and average in build. However, you are three school grades behind. You speak almost exclusively in English, not with the finesse of your sister at the same age, with some broken words and almost always a lilt at the end, but well enough to be understood by your teachers and the school staff. I was told that you have few friends because the other mostly Tagalog-speaking kids have trouble communicating with you. When you fight with your sister, you go straight to me or your daddy, saying “Ate (Big Sister) did this” or “Ate said that” and are content to let our simple admonishment of your sister stand. While other boys your age would have made their moms crazy with worry by sneaking off to bike or play basketball with their gang in the streets, you are content to stay home, watching cartoons on TV or playing with your phone. Other kids would pester their parents for the latest toys and gadgets but not you; you are happy to play with your old toys or imagine yourself in a fort when you’re actually surrounded by your pillows. At family gatherings, while you often sit by yourself, again with your phone or with your favorite-at-the-moment toy, your cousins would be running about roughhousing and making noises that irritate you.

There was a time when a quiet, mild-mannered, English-speaking Filipino boy would be called the ideal son, but not now. Not when everyone knows, because we felt no need to hide it, that you are in the autism spectrum.

You were around four years old when we noticed something different about you. Your sister was already speaking straight sentences at that age but you were still into grunts and pointing. Your teachers complained that you can’t sit still in class, that you would stand up and walk around. You were very sensitive to noise and textures; I now realized that you hated the Kiddie Halloween party held at my office because the music was so loud and your Dracula costume felt like it was chafing you. It was almost impossible to give you a haircut; you would squirm and throw tantrums whenever the barber and his clipper would go anywhere near you.

You were around five when you were diagnosed and I felt like the ground was pulled beneath me. This is not something that can be fixed by a quick visit to the doctor or a few drops of medicine. This is something life-long. It frightened me.

I was so scared it took another six months before I pulled you out of your mainstream pre-school and got you into speech and occupational therapy. I bought you games and toys for much younger kids, thinking those would hasten your learning. I even relented when your devped prescribed you with Ritalin. Still, you were improving at what seemed to me at a snail’s pace.

I worried. I worried that you will never catch up with your peers. I worried that the costs of your doctor’s appointments and treatments would be overwhelming. I worried that I would not have what it takes to support you emotionally, financially or in whatever way you needed. I worried that should anything happen to me or your dad, you wouldn’t be equipped to deal with life on your own. Mainly, I just worried. Period.

Then, everyone got into action. Your dad and I rearranged household priorities to free up your yaya to spend most of her time with you, particularly when you go to school or therapy. Your grandma recommended a school nearer to our place that has a good special education program. Your uncles and aunts became understanding when you would not immediately answer them or when you would say something out of turn. We moved into a house where you can have your own room that you can retreat to, with subdued colors that won’t irritate or distract you. Your dad and I tried to be as involved in your school and in your inner world of games and cartoons as much as we can, given our busy and demanding careers. Your grandparents also pitched in by fetching you or attending school events when we can’t.

It has been four years since that fateful diagnosis. I have seen how you tried to navigate the world, how you tried to find your place in it. I have seen how you picked up new concepts or try to undertand more complex ones. You try your best to speak Tagalog whenever we prompt you. Far from the aloof and isolated stereotype of autistic kids, I have seen you approach other kids, waitresses, security guards and teachers in an open and friendly manner.

At my last meeting with your teacher, she was amazed at your improvement after months of working with a special ed tutor we got for you. When I see you with your younger cousin, you play and roughhouse that I had to tell you boys to tone it down. You have been off Ritalin for almost two years, and your devped recommended to discontinue your occupational therapy. You qualified for academic and conduct awards last grading period and your teachers and I are hopeful that you will be able to transition to Grade 1 and go on from there.

We still have a long road ahead of us. I still worry but not as much as I used to. Because you have come so far and you will go farther, bravely, not because we’re pushing you but because you know that you have a place in this world. As much as I can, I’ll help you find it.

My not-so-Happy Cup experience

My officemates and I tried out this new milk tea shop along Mother Ignacia Avenue because we’re suckers for something new and the place is trending because of the Gonzaga sisters. Sadly though, it was not a very happy experience for us.

It started out well enough. We liked the cozy and quaint decor. With its glass windows, well-lit interiors and mostly-whote decor, the place looked bright and airy. It even had a smattering of cute bric-a-bracs which made it an Instagrammable location.

The service and the product, however, are a totally different matter. First, for the most part, there was only one guy handling order-taking and beverage preparation so the line and the wait for the drink were quite long. He had a companion but, for some reason, she decided to step out and do other chores during a busy lunch hour.

Second, I chose Taro as my pearl cooler drink as I thought it would be safe choice. Unfortunately, it tasted like pinipig (and I hate pinipig!), and the pearls did not have the consistency I was expecting. I guess at P60, the drink was cheap enough but it was still a disappointment.

I’ll probably give this place another try and will probably order the Wintermelon tea that I’ve been hearing good things about. Hopefully, my sad opinion of Happy Cup will change.

If you want to give it a try, Happy Cup is located at 141 Mother Ignacia Street, Quezon City (near the ABS-CBN Compound). I hope your experience is happier than mine.
Happy Cup Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Satisfying Japanese fare at Ariake

Japanese cuisine is characterized by fresh ingredients prepared in accordance to the season as well as simple yet artistic plating.  Both are present in Ariake such that it’s among our group’s go-to lunch places for a Japanese meal.

Among its dishes that I recommend are:

  • Crunchy Tuna Sashimi (Php255) – raw tuna mixed with tempura flakes and a special dressing
  • Ebi Tempura (Php180 for 3 pieces)
  • Beef Teppan (Php355) – cubed tenderloin steak with sauteed vegetables
  • Tokyo Style Ramen (Php250) – shoyu-based soup, pork slices, boiled egg, leeks and cabbage

Ariake is located at Unit C Barretto Building, 284 Tomas Morato Corner Scout Rallos, Sacred Heart, Tomas Morato, Quezon City.

Why not try your hand at preparing Japanese cuisine at home?  Check out these recipe books from 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.

Quick and Easy Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe


Ever since Hubby got me a convection oven, I have been scouring the net for baking and roasting recipes so I can maximize my new toy. This weekend, I decided to bake my family’s all-time favorite: chocolate chip cookies. I tweaked some items in the recipe I found (I added walnuts and tweaked the ratio of brown to white sugar).

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups softened unsalted butter
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts


Procedure:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 190-deg C.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well-combined.
  3. Mix in eggs and vanilla.
  4. Fold in flour and baking soda until mixture forms a smooth dough.
  5. Fold in chocolate chips and walnuts until evenly distributed.
  6. Scoop the dough into balls into a baking tray lined with butterred wax paper. Bake for 12 minutes.

Yields 96 4-inch cookies.

Want to try this recipe 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.