Magically happy lunch at Coldlayers Cafe, Fisher Mall

Have you ever had that moment when, quite unexpectedly, the stars aligned and the universe brought forth your deepest, yet unasked for, wish?

Well that’s what happened to my friend Ruby and me as we were deciding where to have lunch on this hectic Monday. Having exhausted most of Zomato Gold partner restaurants in the Tomas Morato area, I was already resigned to eating cafeteria food or venturing out to the food stalls near our office, but no! Ruby’s muse whispered in her ear that we should go to Fisher Mall for lunch.

And wouldn’t you know it! One of the hidden desires of my heart (or my tummy, I’m not entirely sure which), is to dine at Coldlayers Cafe, one of the restaurants in Fisher Mall. This eatery, as luck would have it, happens to also be a Zomato Gold partner restaurant.

Ever since I saw posts from my fellow foodies of Coldlayers Cafe’s signature snow ice desserts, I’ve been dying, partly of envy towards the other foodies, and partly of my desire to try those icy treats.

Cold Layers Cafe, Fisher Mall

Cold Layers Cafe, Fisher Mall

Cold Layers Cafe, Fisher Mall

So we heeded the voice of Ruby’s muse and off we went to Fisher Mall, straight to the cafe, where, in the colorful resplendence of the resto’s interiors, akin to magical beings of yore, we unlocked our hidden powers, that is, our Zomato Gold privilege.

And what have we unlocked, you may ask?

Well, comfort food that filled our tummies and warmed our hearts, that’s what!

Cold Layers Cafe, Fisher Mall

The Cheezy Meat Lasagna (Php285), for example, is a filling meal enough for us two, what with alternating layers of lasagna smothered in a hearty meat sauce and rich creamy bechamel sauce, topped with melted parmesan and cheddar. Yummy!

Cold Layers Cafe, Fisher Mall

Cold Layers Cafe, Fisher Mall

How about the Chicken Cordon Bleu (Php280), then? We loved these juicy, herb-crusted chicken fillets stuffed with melted cheese and ham, complemented by a cup of garlic rice (yeah, carbs on carbs!)

Cold Layers Cafe, Fisher Mall

Cold Layers Cafe, Fisher Mall

And of course, those are just preambles to the main event, the piece de resistance: Coldlayers Cafe’s flavored ribbons of ice! Called Snow Ice, these treats are made fresh in small batches daily using only the freshest natural and locally sourced ingredients, and stored for no more than three months. Containing 0% butterfat content, snow ice treats have more intense flavors than ice cream, and use two-thirds less sugar too!

Cold Layers Cafe, Fisher Mall

Cold Layers Cafe, Fisher Mall

Being a self-confessed chocoholic, I got myself a Secret Affair (Php210). This is made of dark chocolate snow ice topped with crunchy brownie bits, chocolate cereal, nuts and a chocolate wafer stick, then drizzled with chocolate syrup.

Cold Layers Cafe, Fisher Mall

Cold Layers Cafe, Fisher Mall

Ruby, on the other hand, got a Sweet Surrender (Php210), a Horlicks snow ice sprinkled with malty horlicks powder, then drizzled with chocolate syrup and served with fresh tapioca pearls on the side.

Cold Layers Cafe, Fisher Mall

Cold Layers Cafe, Fisher Mall

From start to finish, this has been a truly magical happy lunch, filled with good food that chased away our Monday blues and energized us to forge on until the workday is done. (‘Cause we work hard for the money!)

Cold Layers Cafe, Fisher Mall

And thanks to Zomato Gold, we got the Chicken Cordon Bleu and the Sweet Surrender for free!

Want to score a similar discount? Zomato Gold provides members with 1+1 deals on food or 2+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.

This Cold Layers Cafe branch is located at Third Floor, Fisher Mall, Quezon Avenue, Del Monte, Quezon City, open Sundays to Thursdays from 10am to 9pm and Fridays to Saturdays from 10am to 10pm. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 2 3611431.

Another branch is located at Second Floor, Evia Lifestyle Center, Daang Hari Road, Almanza, Alabang, Muntinlupa City.

No time to visit the stores? You’ll be happy to know that Cold Layers delivers via Honestbee.

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

Check out my reviews of other places that offer icy dessert treats!

Recovery comfort food at Chelsea Kitchen, Mega Fashion Hall

After a bout of workouts at Gold’s Gym, my daughter #ExhibitA and I went to Megamall for some errands.

For our post-workout recovery food, we settled on Chelsea Kitchen in Mega Fashion Hall. We have never eaten here before but we’ve always been curious about its offerings.

Chelsea Kitchen is part of the Raintree Restaurants Group, a restaurant family that complements the lifestyle and preferences of the metro’s foodies.

The restaurant’s open concept and bright yet homey decor is a beacon for hungry denizens looking for yummy comfort food.

Chelsea Kitchen, SM Mega Fashion Hall

#ExhibitA took the lead in choosing the dishes for our meal while I finished off my errands at the mall. By the time I came back, the food was already served and waiting for us to dig in.

We started off some Mozzarella Stuffed Mushroom Risotto Balls (Php195), battered and deep-fried balls of cheese, risotto and mushrooms served on top of a cream sauce.

Chelsea Kitchen, SM Mega Fashion Hall

Chelsea Kitchen, SM Mega Fashion Hall

We also grazed on an order of Caesar Salad (Php250), fresh crisp greens tossed in with bacon bits, anchovies, capers, grated parmesan, red onions, focaccia croutons and doused with parmesan ceasar dressing.

Chelsea Kitchen, SM Mega Fashion Hall

Chelsea Kitchen, SM Mega Fashion Hall

Our mains consisted of an order of Fried Chicken Parmigiana (Php320), large pieces of chicken steak crusted with herb crumbs, smothered in white sauce and melted mozzarella, and a platter of Wicked Truffle Mac N’ Cheese (Php395), a fresh and decadent take on the lunchroom classic using four different kinds of cheeses , Canadian-style smoked bacon, button mushrooms and green peas, made even richer with a few drizzles truffle oil.

Chelsea Kitchen, SM Mega Fashion Hall

Chelsea Kitchen, SM Mega Fashion Hall

Chelsea Kitchen, SM Mega Fashion Hall

We thoroughly enjoyed refueling our bodies with Chelsea Kitchen’s tasty offerings and we look forward to trying its desserts (hopefully when our diets allow it!)

Chelsea Kitchen, SM Mega Fashion Hall

Chelsea Kitchen, SM Mega Fashion Hall

Chelsea Kitchen is located at Ground Floor, Mega Fashion Hall, SM Megamall, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City, open daily from 10am to 10pm. For reservations and inquiries, call +63 2 9586777.

Plus, since both of us unlocked our Zomato Gold privilege at this resto, we got the Chicken Parmigiana and Risotto Balls for free!

Want to score a similar discount? Zomato Gold provides members with 1+1 deals on food or 2+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.

Chelsea Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my reviews of other restaurants that offer comfort food:

Yummy Lunch Break at Blue Rocket Cafe, Paligsahan

On one of our last lunch breaks prior to the holiday break (and still high from our country’s Ms. Universe win – yey!), my officemates and I decided to venture a bit farther our than our usual haunts.

We settled on Blue Rocket Cafe + Kitchen, a cozy yet cheery cafe along Scout Reyes a few blocks away from Mother Ignacia Avenue.

Blue Rocket Cafe, Paligsahan

Blue Rocket Cafe, Paligsahan

The place boasts of homey and rustic interiors accented with brick-lined walls, eclectic wall art and green decor. If you’re hankering for a photo opp during your mealtime, this resto is the perfect backdrop. The chill vibe and the colorful surroundings also make it a great venue for #TitaConferences (I seem to be gravitating towards this kind of place lately, hehehe!). The resto is even cheerier now with all the holiday decor and tchotchkes.

Blue Rocket Cafe, Paligsahan

Blue Rocket Cafe, Paligsahan

Blue Rocket Cafe, Paligsahan

Blue Rocket Cafe, Paligsahan

For our group’s happy lunch, we ordered:

Wagyu Beef Sticks with Peanut Sauce (Php325).  Juicy cubes of marinated wagyu beef served on sticks with peanut sauce.

Blue Rocket Cafe, Paligsahan

Blue Rocket Cafe, Paligsahan

Sirloin Stroganoff Pasta (Php315).  A rich cream-based pasta generously topped with bits of grilled beef sirloin.

Blue Rocket Cafe, Paligsahan

Blue Rocket Cafe, Paligsahan

Creamy Tomato Pasta with Chicken (Php255).  Spaghetti noodles doused in a rich tomato and cream sauce and served with grilled chicken.

Blue Rocket Cafe, Paligsahan

Blue Rocket Cafe, Paligsahan

Honey Garlic Wings (Php195).  Six pieces of flavorful, crispy-on-the-outside and tender-on-the-inside chicken wings covered in honey garlic sauce.

Blue Rocket Cafe, Paligsahan

Blue Rocket Cafe, Paligsahan

The dishes were promptly served, piping hot and in servings large enough to satisfy our group.

Blue Rocket Cafe, Paligsahan

And since two of us who are Zomato Gold members unlocked our privilege in this resto, we were able to enjoy Sirloin Stroganoff Pasta and the Honey Garlic Wings for free!

What a lovely way to enjoy one of last opportunities for a happy lunch for the year!

Blue Rocket Cafe, Paligsahan

Blue Rocket Cafe is located at 79 Scout Reyes corner Scout Lozano, Paligsahan, Quezon City, open Mondays to Thursdays from 11am to 10pm and Fridays to Sundays from 11am to 11pm.  For inquiries or reservations, call +63 2 9317769 or +63 932 7346705.

No time to visit the resto? You’ll be happy to know that Blue Rocket delivers via Honestbee. Simply place your orders here.

Blue Rocket Cafe + Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Want to score a similar discount? Zomato Gold provides members with 1+1 deals on food or 2+2 deals on drinks. All you have to do is sign up for a Zomato Gold membership here as soon as slots open. (They tend to get snatched up pretty quickly so be sure to sign up as soon as slots become available.) Use my code JELLYB to get 20% off the membership fee.

Flavorful and familiar dishes at Banapple, Tomas Morato

Eating out with coworkers who are not among your usual lunch companions presents quite a quandary: trying to find a restaurant that will appeal to the varied tastes and preferences of such a diverse group.

Banapple

Banapple

We solved this dilemma by going to the nearby branch of Banapple and took advantage of its various home-cooked style comfort food such as:

Soup of the Day (Php105). A freshly made, hearty and creamy mushroom soup to fill the tummy and warm the soul.

Banapple

Sirloin Garlic Beef Tapa (Php280). Tender beef slices marinated in a sweet yet garlicky marinade and served with seasoned garlic rice and creamed parsley eggs.

Banapple

Breaded Fillet of Cream Dory with Honey Thyme Mustard Sauce (Php255). Crispy herb-crusted fresh fish fillets drizzled with warm honey thyme mustard sauce and served with butter carrots and served with seasoned garlic rice.

Banapple

Bacon Fried Chicken Steaks with Milk’Shroom Gravy (Php275). Creamy milk and mushroom gravy smother crispy chicken fillets and topped with bacon bits and served with corn relish and seasons garlic rice.

Banapple

Pan-fried Pork Loin with Herb Mushroom Gravy (Php265). Tender pork slices and are seasoned with herbs, pan-fried, smothered with a thick herb and mushroom gravy and served with glazed butter carrots and seasoned garlic rice.

Banapple

At over Php250 per order, these rice meals are not cheap. While quite flavorful and familiar, the dishes have a tendency to provoke a feeling of “umay,” there being so much of a particular taste that you just grow tired of it.

Still, these are not too shabby for a resto that started as a small operation, baking pies and cakes for family, friends and referred food establishments.

Also, as I’ve mentioned several times before, Banapple’s claim to fame, for me, would always be its desserts. The Banoffee Pie (Php135 per slice, Php965 for whole), in particular, is a delightful confection. I brought a whole cake home recently for my dad’s birthday. The graham cracker crust is well-formed and compact. The caramel filling is rich and decadent while the bananas inside are sweet but still has a firm texture. The cream topping is whipped stiff and in shape, allowing it to hold thick dark chocolate shavings.

Banapple

Banapple

Banapple

This Banapple branch is located at the Second Floor, Il Terrazzo, Tomas Morato Corner Scout Madrinan Street, South Triangle, Quezon City, open daily from 9am to 11.30pm. Other branches can be found at:

  • SM City North EDSA, Quezon City
  • Gateway Mall, Cubao, Quezon City
  • Ayala Malls Cloverleaf, Balintawak, Quezon City
  • Blue Ridge, Quezon City
  • Robinsons Galleria, Quezon City
  • Ayala Malls Feliz, Dela Paz, Pasig City
  • Tutuban Center Malls, Tondo, Manila
  • Ayala Malls Marikina, Marikina Heights, Marikina City
  • Ayala Triangle Gardens, Salcedo Village, Makati
  • Market! Market! Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
  • Ayala Fairview Terraces, Novaliches, Quezon City
  • Tuscany, McKinley Hill, Taguig
  • President’s Grove, BF Homes, Paranaque
  • Alabang Town Center, Alabang, Muntinlupa

Banapple Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Plus, you’ll be happy to know that when you dine in at Banapple with a friend, you can get a free dish via Zomato Gold. Zomato Gold provides members with 1+1 deals on food or 2+2 deals on drinks for dine-in guests. All you have to do is sign up for a Zomato Gold membership here as soon as slots open. (They tend to get snatched up pretty quickly so be sure to sign up as soon as slots become available.) Use my code JELLYB to get 20% off the membership fee.

Hearty Pre-Holiday Lunch Mom & Tina’s, Tomas Morato

On our last day at work prior to the long weekend, a friend and I decided to treat ourselves to Mom & Tina’s for lunch.

This resto started as a pastime for a mother and daughter team. It has since grown into a bakery cafe business with four branches in the metro, all aiming to cater to their diners’ cravings for the comforting flavors of home-cooked meals and freshly baked goodies made from heirloom recipes.

In keeping with its theme of providing the comforts of home, its premises have a homey country-style decor with comfy furniture and seats with rustic table toppers. Floor-to-ceiling windows with roman shades provide lots of muted natural light that’s comfortable on the eyes and also great for foodie shots.

For our pre-holiday meal, we split orders of:

Soup of the Day (Php140). This creamy and hearty starter is made fresh and served with two freshly baked rolls.

Meat Lasagna (Php265). Alternating layers of beef, Bechamel and tomato sauce, baked then served piping hot.

Shepherd’s Pie (Php295). This is one of my favorites among Mom & Tina’s offerings: ground beef and mushrooms sauteed in a delicious sauce, then covered with mashed potatoes.

For dessert, we indulged in a Beehive Cupcake (Php80) and a Carrot Cupcake (Php70).

Yeah, we basically loaded up on carbs but at we went back from lunch with full tummies and happy moods.

Mom & Tina’s food are prettily presented and served with a warm smile by the wait staff. I guess my only complaint is the relatively expensive charge for extra butter.

This Mom & Tina’s branch is located at 58 Sgt. Esguerra Avenue, Bgy. South Triangle, Quezon City, open daily from 7am to 11pm. For inquiries or reservations, call +63 2 3323080 or +63 2 3323579.

Other branches are located at:

  • FRDC Building, 106 E. Rodriguez Jr. Ave., (C-5), Pasig City (open daily from 7am to 10pm; Tel: + 63 2 9140833 or +63 2 5711541)
  • G/F Unit 14 Tropical Palms Condominium, Dela Rosa St. cor. Perea St., Legaspi Village, Makati City (open daily from 7am to 10pm; Tel: +63 2 8404299 or + 63 2 8943598)

Mom & Tina's Bakery Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Haven for coffee and comfort food lovers: Little Owl Cafe, New Manila

Hidden away in New Manila is a haven for lovers of coffee and comfort food.

Renovated from one of the previously worn-down houses along Broadway Avenue, Little Owl Cafe is nestled among lush greenery. Started as a coffee shop but now a full service cafe, it serves food that features a fusion of Italian and Asian cuisines that professionals working in the area or families residing nearby can enjoy.

I was recently invited to a Blogger’s Dinner at this restaurant where I was able to sample some of its delectable offerings:

Omelette Chorizo Rice (Php270). Part of the resto’s All-Day Breakfast Menu, it consists of homemade longganisa rice, delicately wrapped in a thin omelette and topped with onion gravy and aioli.

Sisig Tacos (Php210). Three pieces of soft-shell tacos topped with crispy sisig and a savory liver aioli sauce. A great start to the meal!

Glazed Cauliflower (Php210). Cauliflower covered in a sweet and spicy soy glaze then deep-fried to crispiness. A great way to get the kids to eat their veggies!

Truffle Mushroom Pasta (Php350). Al dente noodles tossed in a rich homemade mushroom sauce made with three different kinds of mushrooms – shiitake, enoki and shimeji – topped with fried enoki and drizzled with truffle oil.

Shrimp & Aligue Pasta (Php330). Pasta noodles tossed in a creamy tomato sauce incorporating shrimp aligue and served with plump grilled shrimps.

Beef Tapa & Cheese Sandwich (Php295). A Pinoy take on the Philly Cheesesteak which showcases savory slivers of beef tapa, it is accompanied by a hefty serving of crisp shoestring fries.

Chicken & Waffle (Php270). Chicken thighs covered in batter then fried to a crisp then served with sriracha coleslaw over cheddar waffles.

Lechon Kawali Bibimbap (Php320). The classic sweet-spicy Korean fried rice served with sauteed mushrooms and spinach accompanied by deep fried pork belly and fried egg. A great combination of Pinoy and Korean flavors!

Chicken Satay (Php280). A bowl of Indonesian- inspired fried rice served with grilled chicken thigh and its trademark peanut sauce.

Beef Rendang (Php420). Tenderchuck slow-cooked in aromatic spices and coconut cream. A little too spicy for me but a sure winner for those who like their food with lots of kick!

Kimchi Salmon Sinigang (Php420). Salmon belly and loin seared then served in a spicy and sour soup.

Iced Mocha (Php170). A rich yet refreshing blend of chocolate and coffee flavors, it is among the Toby’s Estate beverages served in this restaurant.

https://flic.kr/p/QyJGPJ

Pink Owl (Php180). A fruity cocktail of vodka, lychee, watermelon and mint. A suitable drink to chase away the workday stress.

Little Owl Cafe’s food offerings provide its diners with an adventurous break from the everyday meals but with enough familiar flavors to make them appealing to those with more conservative tastebuds.

Its premises are well-appointed, tastefully furnished and prettily lit, great backgrounds for foodie shots and group photos.

Since this resto is conveniently located a short distance from my workplace, I definitely can drop by again for dinner with friends after office hours.

Little Owl Cafe is located at 65 Broadway Avenue, New Manila, Quezon City, open Mondays to Saturdays from 11am to 10pm and Sundays from 8am to 9pm. For inquiries, call + 63 917 8181468 or +63 2 5012036.

Little Owl also accepts bookings for special events such as weddings, birthdays, holiday parties, press conferences and more, with function rooms that can be reserved for a minimum consumable amount.

Little Owl Cafe 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.

Recipe: My Mom’s Kare-Kare

Most Pinoys are fiercely loyal to their mom’s adobo. Not me, though. I can appreciate, even like, versions of adobo other than the one I grew up with.

My mom’s signature dish that remains unmatched in my opinion is her kare kare. Oh, yes! Here is where my loyalties unequivocally lie.

The irony is that when I was a kid, I didn’t even like kare kare. I found the idea of eating parts of animals other than the meat and skin unthinkable (and you should see the ingredients while they were still uncooked!). I also found the orange sauce weird, used as I was then to the brown hued sauces of adobo and mechado and the lightly-tinted broths of nilaga or tinola.

Then the time came, right around high school, when my palate began to mature and I started to develop a taste for the unusual, that I decided to give this dish a try.

Ooh, those bits of meat and cow innards so tender they melt in your mouth! That bright orange peanutty sauce that can already be considered a viand even if just accompanied by veggies (sarsa pa lang ulam na)! Put those together in a heaping spoon with steaming white rice and my mom’s home-made bagoong (shrimp paste) and I’m in heaven.

I recently made my mom give me this recipe (she had long ago given up trying to teach me to cook the more traditional or effort-laden dishes) by saying that her granddaughter, #ExhibitA, should start learning how to make it by now.

Ingredients:

  • 1 kilo beef cheeks
  • 1/2 kilo beef tripe and intestines
  • 1/4 kilo ground peanuts (Note: you can substitute this with peanut butter but try to find one that’s sugarless)
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • achuete (annato) seeds
  • 3-5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 small onions, chopped
  • 1 small bunch of pechay (Chinese cabbage)
  • 1 small bunch of sitao (string beans), cut into 2-inch slices
  • 4 eggplants, sliced
  • 1 small puso ng saging (banana flower bud), sliced
  • salt and pepper

Procedure:

  • Clean and boil the beef cheeks, tripe and intestines separately for 15 minutes in a pressure cooker.  Chill overnight in the refrigerator and scoop out the fat that forms on top.
  • In a small pan, lightly toast the flour, then remove from heat.
  • In a casserole, saute garlic and onion, then add meat, tripe and intestines. Add a bit of the water used to boil the meat. Add the toasted flour and crushed nuts, then stir the mixture.
  • Add in the banana flower, string beans, and egg plant.
  • Soak the annato seeds in hot water.  Strain and add to the stew.
  • Stir the mixture until thickened to your desired consistency.
  • Add the Chinese cabbage and season to taste.

Serve hot with freshly cooked white rice and bagoong.

This recipe serves 6 at 570 calories per serving.  That’s quite a lot but you don’t get to eat this everyday anyway.

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.