Birthday Lunch at Lola Cafe, Tomas Morato

I’m blessed to have coworkers who like to celebrate milestones with a good meal.

An officemate’s birthday falls within a few weeks of mine so two of our former bosses decided to treat us out to a joint birthday lunch.

And for that, Lola Cafe is our best bet, considering its proximity to our workplace, its Instagrammable modern interiors and its menu of imaginatively prepared homey dishes.

Similar to other restaurants in the Tomas Morato area, Lola Cafe was built from a renovated house. It boasts of a sizeable parking area (a big plus in this vicinity), a high-ceilinged bar area, and a dining area that combines the old architectural layout with a modern black and white aesthetic and a refreshing view of the lush green space outside.

Lola Cafe, Tomas Morato

Lola Cafe, Tomas Morato

Lola Cafe, Tomas Morato

Lola Cafe, Tomas Morato

Lola Cafe serves Filipino food that makes use local ingredients in imaginative ways such as:

Crispy Tinapa (Php220 for solo). Tinapa, bits of ripe mango, kesong puti tossed in romaine lettuce and arugula with slightly sweet and citrusy honey dalandan dressing.

Lola Cafe, Tomas Morato

Baked Tahong Express (Php220).  Baked mussels generously topped with mozzarella, garlic, Bicol Express sauce and green chilis.

Lola Cafe, Tomas Morato

Tartufo (Php295 for solo).  Spaghetti noodles tossed in a cream sauce with truffle oil and portobello mushroom.

Lola Cafe, Tomas Morato

Shrimp Aligue (Php295 for solo). Spaghetti noodles tossed with plump shrimp in a rich  and decadent cream sauce of crab fat and kesong puti.

Lola Cafe, Tomas Morato

Lola Fried Chicken (Php310 for solo). Juicy pieces of chicken thighs in garlic butter sauce.

Lola Cafe, Tomas Morato

Prawns in Aligue (Php420 for solo). Succulent poached prawns in a spicy sauce of crab fat, chili garlic and lemon butter.

Lola Cafe, Tomas Morato

Mango Pavlova (Php160). Crunchy cashew meringue and bits of mango layered with chantilly cream.

Lola Cafe, Tomas Morato

Kesong Puti Cheesecake (Php220). A rich cheesecake made of kesong puti topped with bukayo (sweetened coconut strips) and salted latik (caramelized coconut cream).

Lola Cafe, Tomas Morato

These delicious dishes, Lola Cafe’s attentive staff and the awesome company helped to make that birthday lunch truly memorable.

Lola Cafe, Tomas Morato

Since Lola Cafe is a Zomato Gold partner establishment, and all four of us unlocked or Zomato Gold privilege, our group got some of our food orders for free!

Zomato Gold provides members with 1+1 (Buy 1 Get 1) deals on food or 2+2 (Buy 2 Get 2) deals on drinks. All you have to do is sign up for a Zomato Gold membership here. Use my code JELLYB to get 20% off the membership fee.

Lola Cafe is located at 99 Scout Lozano Street, Laging Handa, Quezon City, open Mondays to Thursdays from 11.30am to 10pm, Fridays to Saturdays from 11.30am to 11pm, and Sundays from 10.30am to 9pm. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 2 5012620 or +63 917 8176045.

Another branch recently opened at the Fifth Floor, The Podium, ADB Avenue, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City.

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

Check out my reviews of other Filipino restaurants:

Mother-Daughter Milk Tea Break at Macao Imperial Tea, SM Manila

After attending a KIX channel event at SM Manila Activity Center, my daughter #ExhibitA and I looked for somewhere to rest and relax before braving the traffic going back home.

We spotted this branch of Macao Imperial Tea after going up a couple of floors. There was a long queue at the counter but we saw some hope of getting some seats at the back. (Which we did, thank heavens!)

Macao Imperial Tea, SM Manila

Macao Imperial Tea, SM Manila

#ExhibitA ordered a Grass Jelly Milk Tea (Php110) and while I got a Cheesecake and Pearl Milk Tea (Php120).

Macao Imperial Tea, SM Manila

Macao Imperial Tea, SM Manila

Macao Imperial Tea, SM Manila

Macao Imperial Tea, SM Manila

My daughter’s Grass Jelly Milk Tea had a slightly bitter and herby aftertaste while my Cheesecake and Pearl Milk Tea, on the other hand, had a subtle sweetness with some rich frothiness from the cream cheese (which is actually one of my favorite things).

Despite the crowd, we were able to enjoy our drinks in relative comfort, and in a trice, we were ready to journey on home.

This Macao Imperial Tea branch is located at Fourth Floor, SM City Manila, Ermita, Manila. Other branches may be found at:

  • RTT Building, Tomas Morato Corner Timog Avenue, South Triangle, Quezon City (read my review here)
  • Ground Floor, Unimart Supermarket, Oranbo, Pasig City
  • Ground Floor, Circuit Makati, Olympia, Makati City
  • Calle Bistro, Ground Floor, Ever Gotesco Mall, Commonwealth Avenue, Old Balara, Quezon City
  • Fisher Mall, Quezon Avenue, Del Monte, Quezon City
  • 780 Banawe Street, Banawe, Quezon City
  • Second Floor, Lucky Chinatown Mall, Binondo, Manila
  • Third Floor, Main Mall, SM Mall of Asia, Mall of Asia Complex (MOA), Pasay City
  • 308 Aguirre Avenue, BF Homes, Parañaque City
    Macao Imperial Tea Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Carnevore Food Trip at Fat Daddy’s Smokehouse, UP Town Center

There’s something so primal about grilling food, particularly meat. Harking back to cavemen days when it was discovered that cooking food in an open flame makes it more tender and taste better, grilling has now become an advanced study in itself, with specialized tools and techniques to satisfy the most discriminating tastes among grilled food fanatics.

Fat Daddy’s Smokehouse began as a venture among siblings – right in the backyard of their house in Marikina. Having discovered the unique flavors and distinct styles of the American southwest when it comes to grilling, smoking meats in particular, they determined to bring that kind of cooking back home with them.

From its flagship store in Marikina, to this bigger store in UP Town Center in Quezon City, the Fat Daddy’s has certainly come a long way. This newer branch boasts of a spacious seating area, fun and playful decor as well as a showcase of meat rubs, condiments and sauces that the restaurant owners developed while perfecting their barbecue techniques. It is an ideal place for fun family dinners and boisterous barkada get-togethers.

Fat Daddy’s, UP Town

Fat Daddy’s, UP Town

Fat Daddy’s, UP Town

Fat Daddy’s, UP Town

Together with fellow bloggers, I was invited to attend a foodie meetup held here where I was able to sample many of Fat Daddy’s signature dishes.

Buttermilk Fried Livers (Php210)

Who would have thought that I will be munching on – of all things – chicken liver! But this is not your ordinary fried animal innard dish; the chicken livers are marinated in buttermilk, deep-fried, coated with Fat Daddy’s home-made barbecue rub and served with piedmont and Alabama sauces.

Fat Daddy’s, UP Town

Jera’s Ultimate Pulled Pork and Bacon Nachos (Php330 for half serving/Php600 for whole)

A humungous pile of nachos, pulled pork barbecue, smoked bacon, salsa and sliced jalapenos, drizzled with oodles of homemade cheese sauce and Alabama barbecue sauce.

Fat Daddy’s, UP Town

Hot Pork Poppers (Php175)

Imagine biting into thinly sliced pork belly dried to a yummy crisp and coated with homemade piedmont sauce.

Fat Daddy’s, UP Town

Chef Pat’s Ultimate Cheese Dip (Php250)

Bless Chef Pat’s heart for this! Melted cheddar and mozzarella mixed with beef and onion make for a great dip for toasted bread and tortilla chips.

Fat Daddy’s, UP Town

Crispy Fried Pickles (Php185)

Panko- and corn crust-coated dill pickles are deep-fried and served with Alabama-style barbecue sauce.

Fat Daddy’s, UP Town

All those appetizers sure did their job: whet our appetites for more… because more certainly came.

The star of the show is undoubtedly the Holiday Feast Platter (Php2,699, good for 4 persons). The family’s holiday dinner will no doubt even be more festive with all its hearty inclusions:
Smoked Ham
Smoked Pork Ribs
Roasted Chicken
Barbecue Pulled Pork Salad
6 Pieces Salted Egg Chicken Wings
2 Slices of Chocolate Cake
Plain Rice
4 Glasses of Iced Tea
2 Extra Sides: choose from Southern Potato Salad, Buttered Veggies, Coleslaw, Sauteed Beans and Bacon and Chicken Macaroni Salad

Fat Daddy’s, UP Town

Fat Daddy’s, UP Town

I would have let this story end right here, being so full from the carnevore feast laid out for us, I was approaching food coma.

But, no, they just had to bring out dessert.

O. M. G.

Sweet saints above! Whatever good I ever did to deserve a taste of the Cajeta Cheesecake (Php155/slice) – a sinful variation of the dulce de leche – and the Caramel Drizzled Banana Pudding (Php170/slice) – moist butter bread drizzled with caramel and topped with home-made vanilla ice cream – I’m just glad the powers-that-be were around to see it.

Fat Daddy’s, UP Town

Fat Daddy’s, UP Town Center

The other delectable dessert treats we were able to gorge ourselves on include:

Pecan Pie (Php250)

Fat Daddy’s, UP Town Center

Bacon and S’Mores Dip (Php250)

Fat Daddy’s, UP Town Center

Spicy Chocolate Cake (Php125)

Fat Daddy’s, UP Town Center

Pineapple Carrot Cake (Php125)

Fat Daddy’s, UP Town Center

My foodie adventure at Fat Daddy’s Smokehouse was a feast for carnevores capped off with treats for sweet-tooths like me.

This Fat Daddy’s Smokehouse branch is located at the Ground Floor, UP Town Center, Katipunan Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City. It is open open daily from 9am to 11pm. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 2 7174482.

Fat Daddy’s original store is located at 171 Dao Street, Marikina Heights, Marikina City, open weekdays from 12 noon to 9pm and weekends from 11am to 9pm. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 995 5832237.

Fat Daddy's Smokehouse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclosure: Together with other food bloggers, I was invited to attend a foodie meet-up held in this restaurant.  All the food items mentioned here were served to allow us to sample the fare and were not paid for by the attendees, including myself.

Discover great food by great cooks at Meals.ph

With our busy schedules and so many responsibilities, preparing something good for a family meal or a gathering can be quite a challenge. Don’t you sometimes wish that you could just have someone to do all the marinating, basting, slow-cooking, grilling and baking for you?  This will leave you so much time to do all the other stuff you need to do but still assures you and your near-and-dears a great meal.

Food delivery services recently started becoming popular as it connects us busy working moms to restaurants from which we can order food to be delivered to our homes.

But sometimes, we crave for food that only good artisanal home cooks can give.

Enter Meals.ph.

Meals.ph is the brainchild of young entrepreneur Macky Sy who envisioned creating a platform that helps people find great home-cooked meals near us as well as help home cooks earn a little extra by selling their meals online.

Through the website, you can navigate the tabs to find vendors for specialty meals (according to cuisine), meal plans (with options for per-day and per-week orders), catering for events (party trays), desserts, ready-to-cook/eat meals, as well as sauces, side dishes and snacks.  You can also just use the search bar to find a specific dish you’re looking for.

When you’ve selected your dish, click “Order” to initiate the order process, wait for the vendor to acknowledge, then settle with the vendor regarding the terms for payment and fulfillment of your order.

Note, though, that these terms vary from vendor to vendor, and the availability of dishes varies from area to area.

If you find yourself too loaded with tasks and would like to leave the cooking to someone else, why not check out some of Meals.ph’s vendor partners.  Especially with the holidays coming, get yourself to enjoying more time relaxing and having fun with family and friends, and maybe help support some of these budding entrepreneurs as well.

Kitycups

The person behind Kitycups is part-time accountant/financial advisor Kristine Rodriguez.  She started by baking simple cookies and eventually grew a business out of her hobby.  Her venture specializes in cakes and sweets and she hopes to establish a factory for her food business someday.

On a side note, I recently treated myself and the kids to one of her Dreamcake Chocolattas and we loved it!  Watch out for it among my future posts. 🙂

Nikita’s Pastries

Niki Alfaro, on the other hand, works full-time on her business, Nikita’s Pastries, while taking care of her mom who has a heart condition. This home baker decided to put up a home-based business that will give her the time and flexibility to be available to her parents while providing her with an independent income. She dreams of one day opening her own restaurant or bringing her business with her to the US. Check out her cheesecake cups; those are her specialty.

FoodAllMighty

When Cristina Bustos is not at her job, working as a supervisor in a BPO company, she occupies her time with cooking but she hopes to go full-time on her side business someday. Her FoodAllMighty party trays, particularly the baked lasagna, are a boon to those who are assigned to bring viands for the office potluck or the clan get-together.

Shoreline Barbecue

Men seem to have a special relationship with grilling and artist, entrepreneur and doggy daddy John Muyargas revels in this. Having worked his way up from waiter to chef in an Italian-American resto in Dallas, Texas, he brings Tex-Mex flavors to his local customers through his Shoreline Barbecue trays. His immediate plans involve steadily growing his business and sharing the love.

Migu Migu

Carlos Cabigao pulled himself up from the multiple challenges that his family encountered and set out building a business. He first started with baking until a friend suggested he try making spreads using flavored butter. His White Truffle Butter is a definite must-try.

With so many great cooks ready and willing to prepare gorgeous and delightful food for us, and with a service like Meals.ph that connects us to the best among them, it just make sense to free ourselves from the stress of holiday cooking.

Check them out at Meals.ph!

You’ll be also glad to know that Meals.ph already has a mobile app.  Download it from the App Store or Google Play, check it out, and tell Macky what you think. 🙂

Mom-and-Daughter Dinner at The Chocolate Kiss Cafe

Despite the resto being a fixture in many an Isko or Iska’s memories of college days in the UP Diliman campus, I have, ironically, only eaten at The Chocolate Kiss Cafe twice in my life, and both times took place years after I graduated.  This is probably because my student allowance can not accommodate a meal at the poshest (at the time) restaurant in the campus.

The most recent instance was after attending the #KahayupanSaDangal exhibit at the nearby Bulwagan ng Dangal.  My daughter and I decided to have dinner at #ChocKiss (as the kids call it nowadays).

Although there was ample parking space around the UP Bahay ng Alumni where the resto is located, it was sparsely lit.  Even the walk to the second floor lacked proper lighting.

The resto’s interiors, however, were amply lit and had a cozy atmosphere.  Covers of popular music were played live by violinist Royce Aviguetero and guitarist Bobot Mabalot in the background as we dined.  On the walls were displayed whimsical and colorful artworks by Ang Ilustrador ng Kabataan (Ang INK) member Yas Doctor.

We split orders of Ceasar Salad (Php210), Beef Salpicao (Php315) and a slice of Chocolate Chip Cheesecake (Php145).  The salad lived up to “the good stuff” positioning of the resto; the resto’s own-recipe Ceasar Salad dressing gives good flavor to the greens, bacon bits and croutons. The beef dish was passable: the cubes of ribeye steak were tender, well-seasoned and were well-complemented by the garlic rice and steamed veggies.  The cheesecake, however, was a bit of a letdown: the chocolate chips distract from the rich flavor we expect from a New York-style cheesecake, resulting to a too-sweet cake.

We were supposed to order the Carrot Cake that ChocKiss is known for but the last remaining slice was already reserved for another diner. But hey, that’s what next visits are for, huh?

The Chocolate Kiss Cafe is located at the 2nd Floor of the UP Bahay ng Alumni along R. Magsaysay Street (across the UP Film Center), UP Diliman Campus, Quezon City.  For reservations, call +632 433 1140 or +632 434 3577 or email goodstuff@thechocolatekiss.com.

The other branch is located at the 2nd Floor, Urban Turf, UP Town Center, along Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City.  For reservations, call +632 946 3276.

Click here to visit The Chocolate Kiss Cafe website.

.The Chocolate Kiss Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bingsu treat at Hobing Korean Dessert, BGC Stopover

Bingsu treats have grown in popularity in the metro, especially now with the searing summer heat.  Bingsu is a Korean dessert characterized by shaved ice sweetened with condensed milk and topped with fresh fruits, yogurt, ice cream and bits of yummy baked goods.

While the fam is exploring options for lunch in Bonifacio Global City during a particularly hot summer day, we came across this branch of Hobing Korean Dessert and couldn’t resist having our dessert here.  After eating our lunch at nearby Tenya Tempura Tendon, and, eager for something cool and sweet to counter the hot and humid weather, we proceeded Hobing.

Despite being billed as the Korean halo-halo, bingsu is best enjoyed when the shaved ice and toppings are not all mixed together.  This allows you to enjoy the varying textures and flavors that went into the bingsu.

We ordered a large serving of Mango Cheese Bingsu (Php320), thinking that a regular serving will not satisfy all of us.  What we got was a delectable and prettily presented confection: finely shaved ice  flavored with mango syrup, surrounded by huge cubes of ripe mango and topped with rich New York Cheesecake bits, vanilla ice cream and slices of roasted almonds.

We are definitely eager to try Hobing’s other bingsu offerings soon.

This branch of Hobing Korean Dessert is located at the 3rd Floor of BGC Stopover Pavilion, Rizal Drive cor 31st Street, Bonifacio Global City. Other branches of Hobing Korean Dessert are located at:

  • Lucky Chinatown Mall in Binondo
  • SM Megamall in Mandaluyong
  • Glorietta 4 in Makati
  • Jupiter Street in Makati
  • Eastwood City Walk in Quezon City
  • SM Aura Premier in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
  • Ayala Malls the 30th in Ortigas Center, Pasig
  • SM North in Quezon City
  • Banawe Lifestyle Center in Quezon City
  • SM City Marikina in Marikina City
  • U.P Town Center in Quezon City
  • SM San Lazaro in Manila
  • Ayala Fairview Terrace, Fairview Quezon City

Check out my rundown of bingsu treats in the metro.

Hobing Korean Dessert Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Recipe: Frozen Mocha Cheesecake

My mom discovered the recipe for Frozen Mocha Cheesecake several decades ago and it has become a family favorite. We whip it up every year, particularly during special occasions and clan get-togethers. I decided to make it in time for our New Year’s Eve celebration tonight.

The original recipe is closer to this, but over the years, we have changed some ingredients depending on what is easily available or cheaper to buy.

Ingredients:

For the crust:

  • 30 pcs Hi-Ro chocolate biscuits, crushed (remove white filling prior to pounding with mortar and pestle) (Note: You can buy pre-crushed chocolate biscuits in some baking supply stores but these are usually available per kilo.)
  • 1 100g stick Dari Creme butter, softened
  • 2 tbsp white sugar

For the filling:

  • 2 225g packs Magnolia Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 300ml can Alaska sweetened condensed milk
  • 2/3 cup Clara Ole chocolate syrup
  • 1 tbsp Blend 45 instant coffee dissolved in 1 tsp hot water
  • 1 250ml Alaska Crema All Purpose Cream (you can use whipping cream as a more indulgent – or expensive – alternative)

Procedure:

  • Combine all crust ingredients and press into the bottom of a 9-in spring form pan. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add in condensed milk, chocolate syrup and dissolved coffee.
  • In another bowl, whip all purpose cream until fluffy. Fold into the cream cheese mixture until evenly distributed.
  • Pour the mixture into the crust. Sprinkle some crushed chocolate biscuits on top as garnish.
  • Put into the freezer for 6 hours until set.

Enjoy!

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