Classic Pinoy streetfood at Casa Calle, SM Megamall

Do you remember your first taste of streetfood?

The varied shapes, colors and textures, the interplay of sweet, salty, sour and spicy, plus a hint of the forbidden (because didn’t our moms warn us to keep away from these back then?) and that feeling of comfort when you bite into them, these are part and parcel of our early street food experience.

Casa Calle, SM Megamall

Casa Calle, SM Megamall

Casa Calle, SM Megamall

While those good sensations associated with street food remain to this day, that feeling of prohibition hardly applies now, especially when street food is elevated to the level that Casa Calle brings them to.

Casa Calle, SM Megamall

Casa Calle, SM Megamall

This stall located at Eatogether Food Hall in SM Megamall serves up, not just Pinoy comfort food faves, but also welcome tweaks on our favorite street food, such as:

Inihaw Platter (Php380). Various meat and sundry parts marinated in barbecue sauce and charcoal grilled to smoky perfection such as two sticks each of Pork BBQ, Isaw Manok (chicken intestine), Bulaklak (ruffled pork fat), Tenga (pork ear) and Betamax (coagulated pig’s blood). This promo bundle is available only during Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Casa Calle, SM Megamall

Casa Calle, SM Megamall

Casa Calle, SM Megamall

Lugaw Special (Php95 for small | Php115 for large). Savory rice porridge with bits of meat and tripe, a hard-boiled egg and garnished with toasted garlic and choppef green onions.

Casa Calle, SM Megamall

Casa Calle, SM Megamall

Casa Calle, SM Megamall

Tokwa’t Baboy (Php90). Crispy bits of pork belly tossed with fried tofu and chopped chilis and onions in a vinaigrette made with vinegar and soy sauce.

Casa Calle, SM Megamall

Casa Calle, SM Megamall

Tokneneng (Php35). Hard-boiled duck egg covered in orange batter, best enjoyed when dipped in spiced vinegar.

Casa Calle, SM Megamall

Casa Calle, SM Megamall

Sizzling Beef Pares (Php188). Cubed beef brisket sauteed and stewed with garlic, onion and ginger, and seasoned with star anise. This viand is paired with garlic fried rice (hence the name “pares”) and served on a sizzling plate.

Casa Calle, SM Megamall

Casa Calle, SM Megamall

Casa Calle, SM Megamall

Turones ala Mode (Php155). Banana and langka slices encased in lumpia wrapper, them deep-fried, and served with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream and garnished with sesame seeds and chocolate sauce.

Casa Calle, SM Megamall

Casa Calle, SM Megamall

Casa Calle, SM Megamall

Get ready to rediscover your love of Pinoy street food here.

Casa Calle, SM Megamall

Casa Calle, SM Megamall

Casa Calle, SM Megamall

This Casa Calle branch is located at Eatogether Food Hall, Second Floor, SM Megamall Building A, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City.

Another branch is set to have its grand opening soon at 163 Aguirre Street, BF Homes, Paranaque City.

Disclosure: I attended a food-tasting here together with fellow foodies. All food items mentioned here were served for us to sample the fare and elicit our honest feedback.

Hawker Lane Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my posts on other stalls at Eatogether Food Hall:

Bring home happiness from the north with Bantay Bread

Baked goods do tend to elicit a feeling of happiness. From their appetizing scents wafting to our nostrils, the sight of them laid out on the table to their sweetness as we bite into them, baked goodies sate our hunger while also calling to mind fun memories from our childhood.

These kinds of baked goodies are what Ilocos-based bakery Bantay Bread specializes in.

Bantay Bread

This family business started out in 2010 as a local panaderia supplying morning pan de sal to its patrons.

In response to the changes brought about by the pandemic and its resulting community quarantine, the family behind Bantay Bread set about pivoting their business to operate in their new business environment.

Bantay Bread

First, they expanded their product offerings to include much-loved Pinoy desserts, some of which my family and I were recently able to sample. These include:

Kabayan. Bite-sized butter muffins shaped like the Pinoy salakot. My daughter – a middle-aged Asian tiger mom trapped in the body of a Gen Z girl – developed a liking for it as it is not too sweet.

Bantay Bread

Bantay Bread

Bantay Bread

Hopiang Baboy. A Filipino pastry, that contrary to the name, actually does not contain pork meat. This flaky pastry is actually filled with onions caramelized in pork fat and combined with flour, sugar and milk. Hubby likes to munch on these during his coffee break.

Bantay Bread

Bantay Bread

Bantay Bread

Pianono. Interestingly, this pastry is actually named after Pope Pius IX whose nickname was Pio Nono. Of course, we Filipinized its name to pianono. It is a sponge cake roll with a sweet buttercream filling. I recall having this as my baon for recess when I was in grade school. My son – a sweet tooth like me! – likes having this for dessert.

Bantay Bread

Bantay Bread

Bantay Bread

Another way Bantay Bread was able to pivot its business is by expanding its availability beyond Ilocos. In Metro Manila, for instance, Bantay Bread fans can just contact these local resellers to order the objects of their baked good cravings.

  • Marikina: +63 916 7760087 or +63 927 8657119
  • Parañaque: +63 917 8438012
  • Alabang: +63 917 8068027
  • Pasig/Fairview: +63 908 8887417

So if you’ve got a hankering for home-grown Pinoy baked goods for merienda, dessert or for munching on anytime of the day, bring home some happiness from the north and get a box of Bantay Bread.

Bantay Bread

Bantay Bread’s main branch is located at Buquig, National Hi-way, Bantay, Ilocos Sur, open daily from 8am to 7pm. For inquiries or to apply to be a reseller, call or text +63 917 7007696. For more details on its product offerings and availability in your area, follow Bantay Bread on Facebook and Instagram.

Disclosure: Product samples were provided to elicit honest feedback.

Check out my blog posts on other small enterprises and startups in the food business:

Home-grown and heritage dishes at Anonas Bistro

Now more than ever, we harried denizens of the metro look for comfort whenever we can, right?

Well, what’s more comforting than feeling the warm welcome of home?

That’s what it felt like to enter this newly opened restaurant in Anonas, Quezon City.

Anonas Bistro, QC

Anonas Bistro, QC

Sure, the hustle and bustle of the city may stay just outside its doors, but inside its premises is a haven for your spirit.

“We want this experience to be like going home to your lola’s house in the province,” shares co-founder Lucien Aquino. “You’re with your family, your lola is cooking your favorite food in the kitchen, and you feel right at home.”

Anonas Bistro, QC

The place certainly calls to mind the familiar comforts of our beloved ancestral homes in the province that we enjoy spending time in again and again.

Anonas Bistro, QC

Its outdoor seating area is surrounded by lush greenery. Sheltered by a large mango tree from much of the sun, it affords diners a comfortable al fresco setting for their meal. In the evenings, lighted lamps adorn the mango tree giving diners whimsical lighting for their dinner.

Anonas Bistro, QC

Anonas Bistro, QC

Anonas Bistro, QC

Anonas Bistro, QC

Anonas Bistro, QC

Anonas Bistro, QC

Anonas Bistro, QC

Anonas Bistro, QC

The two-storey residential house was renovated by builder/contractor Lucien and his co-founder Roman Ignacio, updating the structures and finishings to current standards and for use as a restaurant. Its dining areas are furnished with heavy wooden tables and chairs, shipped all the way from Ilocos. The walls, on the other hand, are decorated with artworks by local artist Ronan Rosacay as well as other homey bric-a-bracs.

Anonas Bistro, QC

Anonas Bistro, QC

Anonas Bistro, QC

Anonas Bistro, QC

Anonas Bistro, QC

Anonas Bistro, QC

Anonas Bistro, QC

Anonas Bistro, QC

Anonas Bistro, QC

Completing the transformation of this space into a homey Filipino restaurant is Chef Severino Palunday. He brings with him a considerable thirty years’ worth of culinary experience as a sous chef in a European cruise liner.

Anonas Bistro, QC

From his kitchen, Chef Sev whips up traditional and home-style Pinoy dishes, that make use of fresh local produce, just like the ones your lola makes, but infused with the techniques and methods of an internationally trained chef.

Anonas Bistro, QC

Anonas Bistro, QC

Anonas Bistro, QC

His menu includes:

Soup of the Day. Usually a cream-based soup that the chef whips up from choice ingredients. It is served with every meal.

Anonas Bistro, QC

Creamy Tofu (Php135). A savory appetizer made by combining crispy fried tofu, aromatics with cream.

Anonas Bistro, QC

Anonas Bistro, QC

Dinakdakan (Php315). An Ilocano dish in which pig parts such as ears, liver and face are boiled until tender, then grilled and sliced thinly. Flavorings and chilis are then added to complete the dish.

Anonas Bistro, QC

Anonas Bistro, QC

Fried Lumpiang Ubod (Php195). A Filipino appetizer (or ulam in my case) which julienned ubod (or heart of palm) are sauteed with chopped meat and vegetables, encased in lumpia wrapper and then deep-fried and served with a spiced vinegar dip.

Anonas Bistro, QC

Anonas Bistro, QC

Gising-gising with Shrimp (Php275). Otherwise known as ginataang sigarilyas, this Kapampangan dish is made with chopped winged beans in coconut milk spiced with siling labuyo, garlic, onions and shrimp paste. Chef Sev serves it with plump shrimp.

Anonas Bistro, QC

Anonas Bistro, QC

Pork Belly Roll (Php380). Pork belly is seasoned and stuffed with aromatics and flavorings, then oven-roasted until the skin becomes golden brown and crispy and the meat is tender. Chef Sev serves it with mashed camote and a buttery gravy.

Anonas Bistro, QC

Anonas Bistro, QC

Kare-Kare Ox Tail (Php480). A viand made with stewed ox tail, tripe and other offal in a sauce made from roasted peanuts, onions and garlic, colored with annato seeds and then thickened with ground rice.

Anonas Bistro, QC

Anonas Bistro, QC

Turon Ala Mode (Php160). A dessert made with fresh ripe banana slices encased in lumpia wrapper and then deep-fried until golden and crispy. It is then topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Anonas Bistro, QC

Anonas Bistro, QC

Mango Shake (Php120).

Anonas Bistro, QC

Avocado Shake (Php120).

Anonas Bistro, QC

Ampalaya Apple (Php120).

Anonas Bistro, QC

Whoever said that Filipino food lacks color and character obviously has never encountered Chef Sev’s takes on Pinoy food classics.

Anonas Bistro, QC

So if you’re looking for a place where you can come home to good food and a good homey vibe in Quezon City, Anonas Bistro is your best bet.

Anonas Bistro, QC

Anonas Bistro, QC

Anonas Bistro is located at 145 K-6th, East Kamias 1102 Quezon City, open daily from 10am to 10pm. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 995 1200969 or email anonas.bistro@gmail.com.

For more deets on Anonas Bistro, visit its website or follow it on Facebook and Instagram.

Disclosure: I attended a food-tasting here together with fellow foodies. All food items mentioned here were served for us to sample the fare and elicit our honest feedback.

Anonas Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my reviews of other Filipino restaurants:

Breakfast with the parents at Almusal Cafe, Katipunan

With all the restrictions from the lockdown since last year, my folks may have been nursing a case of cabin fever. Stuck at home for months, with only a few short trips out to break the monotony, I suspect they may have been feeling blue.

So with my daughter #ExhibitA as my co-conspirator, I set out to find a way to cheer up the parental units.

We decided to treat them to breakfast at a new breakfast joint I chanced upon on Instagram: Almusal Cafe.

Almusal Cafe, Katipunan

The name says it all doesn’t it?

Almusal Cafe has has been serving comforting Filipino breakfasts – albeit with a New York or Aussie twist every once in a while because of its expat owners. It opened its doors just as the metro was loosening its restrictions on dining out and mobility and was transitioning to a general community quarantine. To me, this restaurant serves breakfast food that act as reminders of better days past and better days to come.

Almusal Cafe, Katipunan

Almusal Cafe, Katipunan

Almusal Cafe, Katipunan

What better place to bring my parents for some breakfast and bonding, right?

For one thing, Almusal Cafe boasts of lots of greenery at its outdoor seating area that will surely excite, not just plantitos or plantitas, but also any suburbanite longing for a break from quarantine.

Almusal Cafe, Katipunan

Almusal Cafe, Katipunan

Almusal Cafe, Katipunan

Its interiors are also well-appointed, sporting couches where you can lounge while having your coffee and dining areas where you can eat your breakfast in comfort.

Almusal Cafe, Katipunan

Almusal Cafe, Katipunan

Almusal Cafe, Katipunan

Our group enjoyed Pinoy breakfast classics with a few welcome touches of the unusual. Check them out:

Kesong Puti Grilled Cheese Sandwich (Php370). The soft and un-aged white cheese made from carabao’s milk is partnered with sundried tomato pesto on sourdough bread and served with potato crisps on the side.

Almusal Cafe, Katipunan

Almusal Cafe, Katipunan

Almusal Cafe, Katipunan

Beef Belly Tapa (Php380). Beef belly slow-cooked for a day then served chimichurri sauce on top of mixed red and white rice.

Almusal Cafe, Katipunan

Almusal Cafe, Katipunan

Almusal Cafe, Katipunan

Ultimate Fried Chicken (Php450). Two fried chicken fillets served with elote, country-style gravy and hot honey.

Almusal Cafe, Katipunan

Almusal Cafe, Katipunan

Almusal Cafe, Katipunan

Shrimp & Arugula Croissant (Php580). Fresh shrimp is tossed with arugula and cherry tomatoes in a light and creamy aioli and served in a toasted croissant with potato crisps on the side.

Almusal Cafe, Katipunan

Almusal Cafe, Katipunan

Almusal Cafe, Katipunan

Long Black Coffee (Php100).

Almusal Cafe, Katipunan

Strawberry Mint Iced Tea (Php120). Freshly picked strawberries blended with mint leaves and tea.

Almusal Cafe, Katipunan

Peach Basil Iced Tea (Php130). Iced tea made with peaches, fresh basil and lime.

Almusal Cafe, Katipunan

Cold Mocha (Php170). Malagos chocolate mixed with a double shot of espresso.

Almusal Cafe, Katipunan

With great food, great surroundings and great conversations over our meal, I had a memorable breakfast experience with my folks; one, I hope, that ushered in some good cheer in their hearts.

Almusal Cafe, Katipunan

Well, it certainly made for a brighter start of the day for me!

Almusal Cafe, Katipunan

Almusal Cafe, Katipunan

Almusal Cafe, Katipunan

Almusal Cafe is located at The Pop Up Katipunan, Xavierville Corner Katipunan Avenue, Loyola Heights, Quezon City, open Tuesdays to Sundays from 9am to 4pm. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 917 1371510.

To know about its latest promos and updates, follow Almusal Cafe on Facebook and Instagram.

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

Check out my posts on other breakfast places in the metro:

Classic kakanin from Ka Mely’s Bibingka

So much of my childhood merienda memories involve kakanin – native delicacies usually made with glutinous rice, sugar and coconut milk.

You would think that we would have run out of ideas on what to make with kakanin at some point, but, no. We Pinoys have a extensive plethora of snacks or desserts that fall under this category.

Ka Mely’s Bibingka

After doing a bit of grocery shopping with Hubby, I happened upon a stand selling products from Ka Mely’s Bibingka, Atbp.

This Cainta-based food business got its start when the Alcantara family matriarch Amelia – also known as Ka Mely – decided to expand her Bibingka-selling business to include the production of native delicacies. Today, it is a well-established food manufacturer with three physical stores as well as regular resellers.

Ka Mely’s Bibingka

Ka Mely’s Bibingka

I had the idea of introducing kakanin the kiddos for our afternoon snack, so I brought home:

Bibingka (Php180 for small). The rice cake made with sticky glutinous rice topped with caramelized sugar and coconut cream.

Ka Mely’s Bibingka

Ka Mely’s Bibingka

Ka Mely’s Bibingka

Suman sa Ibos (Php10/pc). The most prevalent suman variant which is usually unsweetened and wrapped in palm leaves. I have two ways to enjoy this suman: one is at room temperature and dipped in sugar, another is lightly fried in vegetable oil until the outside is slightly crispy but the inside is still chewy, then slathered with butter and sprinkled with sugar.

Ka Mely’s Bibingka

Ka Mely’s Bibingka

Ka Mely’s Bibingka

Suman sa Lihiya (Php25/pc). A suman variant which is made with lye-treated glutinous rice which is usually served doused with latik, or caramelized coconut milk.

Ka Mely’s Bibingka

Ka Mely’s Bibingka

Ka Mely’s Bibingka

Sure these snacks are practically all carbs but they made for a good intro for my kids for the wonders of Filipino delicacies!

Ka Mely’s Bibingka

Ka Mely’s Bibingka

While I got my kakanin from a kiosk, you can have your kakanin delivered to your home by ordering from Ka Mely’s Bibingka, Atbp on Facebook or Instagram or calling +63 2 85155467, +63 917 8533766 or +63 908 8876992. Payments via BDO bank transfer, GCash or COD (via pabili service) are accepted. Ka Mely’s Bibingka Atbp products are delivered from Cainta, Rizal to anywhere in the metro.

Ka Mely’s Bibingka

Ka Mely’s Bibingka

Check out my blog posts on other small enterprises and startups in the food business:

Hassle-free party food from Kitchen City Frozen Meals

Restrictions from the quarantine that’s still in place in the metro precludes many of the celebrations and gatherings we used to enjoy.

Before the pandemic, people would get together to toast to birthdays, promotions and almost any reason under the sun.

Nowadays, many of us have to make do with Zoom parties or virtual meetups.

But unless you’re all partaking of the same delicious meal during your party, it just doesn’t feel the same, does it?

Well, a solution to this problem is actually just a few phone taps away!

Kitchen City Frozen Meals

Kitchen City is under one of the country’s biggest food concessionnaires servicing schools, hospitals and corporate offices for more than twenty years. To ease the kitchen woes of busy homemakers or virtual party organizers, it also offers cooked viands for delivery that are ready to heat, just in time to be enjoyed for any occasion.

Kitchen City Frozen Meals

During my mother-in-law’s birthday, she treated her kids and their families to hearty meals from Kitchen City which included:

Laing with Crispy Pork Toppings (Php250/600g). The much-loved Bicolano dish made with shredded gabi leaves cooked in rich coconut milk spiced with siling labuyo, garlic, bagoong alamang and ginger, topped with crispy pork pieces.

Kitchen City Frozen Meals

Kitchen City Frozen Meals

Gising-gising (Php250/600g). A classic Kapampangan dish also known as ginataang sigarilyas wherein winged beans are chopped then cooked in coconut milk spiced with siling labuyo, onions, shrimp paste and garlic.

Kitchen City Frozen Meals

Kitchen City Frozen Meals

KC Signature Hawaiian Baby Back Ribs (Php550/600g). A tangy and savory dish made with pork ribs, ketchup, pineapple juice and brown sugar.

Kitchen City Frozen Meals

Kitchen City Frozen Meals

Beef Morcon (Php425/600g). Filipino-style beef roll made with cheese, hotdogs, eggs and celery all rolled up in a thin slice of beef then braised in a rich tomato sauce.

Kitchen City Frozen Meals

Kitchen City Frozen Meals

All three households celebrated MIL’s special day with these tasty dishes. All we had to do was heat up the dishes, serve and dig in!

Kitchen City Frozen Meals

Now you know, there’s no need to sweat it out in the kitchen to whip up tasty party fare. Just order from Kitchen City and let it take care of the rest.

Kitchen City Frozen Meals is located at Lot 86 Bagsakan Road corner Avocado Street, FTI Complex, Taguig City, Philippines. For orders, call +63 2 6924601, +63 977 4774990, +63 927 758764, +63 917 5150873, +63 923 7295767, +63 956 7811517 or +63 909 0917437. You may also course your order through its website or at goodfinds.ph.

Get a free palabok platter with your Mang Inasal family size chicken order

Stressed over what to have for Noche Buena?

Not to worry, Mang Inasal’s got your back with its Take-out and Delivery Blowout.

If you missed this promo when it was first offered last November, you’ll definitely be happy to know it’s back just in time to save us from our Noche Buena woes.

Mang Inasal Chicken + Palabok Platter

As a treat for its customers, Mang Inasal is treating customers who order a Family Size Large Paa or Pecho Family Size for takeout or delivery with a complimentary family size platter of Mang Inasal Pancit Palabok. These servings are good for four people, definitely enough to satisfy my hungry fam.

Mang Inasal Chicken + Palabok Platter

Mang Inasal helped make the Ilonggo dish chicken inasal more accessible and popular in the metro. In this dish, chicken pieces are marinated in calamansi, pepper, vinegar and annato, then grilled over hot coals while being basted with the flavorful marinade until the chicken becomes smokey, juicy and tender. I tend to favor the paa (chicken leg and thigh) over the pecho (chicken breast) as I find this part juicier and more flavorful but other people find the pecho more to their taste. Chicken inasal is best enjoyed with garlic ricr, toyomansi and doused in a lot of chicken oil.

Mang Inasal Chicken + Palabok Platter

Mang Inasal Chicken + Palabok Platter

Mang Inasal’s Pancit Palabok, on the other hand, is made of thin rice noodles in a thick golden sauce topped with chopped spring onions, slices of hard-boiled egg, bits of chicharon (pork rind), pork slices and flakes of tinapa (smoked fish).

Mang Inasal Chicken + Palabok Platter

Mang Inasal Chicken + Palabok Platter

With my recent order of Mang Inasal Family Size Large Paa, I also received the Pancit Palabok Platter, all for only Php396!

Mang Inasal Chicken + Palabok Platter

This offer is available until December 28 only so don’t let it pass you by!

To allow more people to enjoy this amazing deal, customers can only avail of three orders of Mang Inasal Family Size Large Chicken Platters per transaction.

For delivery, course your orders via GrabFood, FoodPanda or LalaFood.

For takeout, visit your nearest Mang Inasal branch or send a message via Facebook.

Mang Inasal Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my reviews of other Filipino restaurants:

Bold takes on Pinoy dishes at Soleras, Banawe

Banawe is known as the go-to place for car parts and Chinese food. This newly opened Filipino restaurant is setting out to change all that.

If you ever thought that Pinoy food lack imagination and pizzaz, you are in for quite an eye-opener at Soleras.

Soleras, Banawe

Soleras, Banawe

Situated at the ground floor of hardware and construction store BuildPlus in Banawe, Soleras provides shoppers and walk-in diners another welcome dining option within the premises (the other one is the steak and pizza restaurant Megawatt). Similar to its sister restaurant, it takes its name from the solar panels that serve as its tables and provides a casual vibe among its diners as well as a convenient location within the store.

Soleras, Banawe

Soleras, Banawe

In line with the New Normal, Soleras operates with safety protocols already in place, such as:

  • Requirement for face masks and face shields for all customers
  • Mandatory temperature check
  • Contact tracing (either via paper forms or via a QR code for an online form for greater convenience and less contact)
  • Positioning of diners one seat apart for physical distancing

What really sets Soleras apart from other Filipino restos is its fresh and bold take on classic Pinoy dishes, tweaking ingredients or presentation in ways that produce “awesome-thentic” and “gastronomically exotic-citing” viands that will excite discriminating tastebuds and sate hungry tummies, all while not breaking the bank.

Soleras, Banawe

The stars aligned and my luck held because I was able to sample them together with my fellow food bloggers – Anj of AnjColumna.com, Jen of SandUnderMyFeet.com, Nix of IEatAndIWander.com and Chryz of Chryzpontaneous.

Soleras, Banawe

Together, this intrepid group of titas feasted on Soleras’ signature dishes such as:

Espesyal na Bulalong Lugaw (Php280). Lugaw (glutinous rice porridge) has long been a Filipino comfort food, especially during chilly or rainy days. Flavored with garlic and ginger and accompanied by bits of meat, hardboiled quail eggs and chopped scallions, this offshoot of the Chinese congee is best served hot, all the better to warm our tummies during cold days. Soleras kicks the awesomeness level of this dish up a notch with the addition of bulalo (beef shanks with bone marrow), making the dish extra special indeed.

Soleras, Banawe

Soleras, Banawe

Keso Dinakdakan (Php290). Dinakdakan is an Ilocano delicacy similar to the Kapampangan sisig. Our ancestors up north are not wont to waste any food item so they grilled and finely chopped “unwanted” pig parts such as cheeks, ears, liver and tongue, then tossed them in a tangy dressing together with minced ginger, onions and chili peppers. Soleras added tiny cheese cubes to the mix which lends more richness to the dish.

Soleras, Banawe

Soleras, Banawe

Angus Pares (Php145). I was late in joining the Beef Pares Appreciation Society, having only developed a liking for this dish last year, but I sure am making up for lost time. Beef Pares is so named due to the pairing of slow-braised beef stew with sinangag (garlic fried rice). I go crazy over spoonfuls tender bits of beef and melt-in-your-mouth tendon and garlic rice. The people behind Soleras – bless them! – improved on perfection by using Angus beef in their version of this dish, including a decadent roasted bone marrow, and made the dish available to pares lovers like me for only Php145! Woah!

Soleras, Banawe

Soleras, Banawe

Pancit Sampler (Php185 for small | Php499 for medium | Php699 for large). The pancit is another example of how we Pinoys took a Chinese influence (noodles in this instance) and made it our own. Soleras updates the usual sauteed noodles with meat bits and veggies by adding the distinct flavors of known Filipino dishes such as Sisig, Bicol Express and Pares.

Soleras, Banawe

Soleras, Banawe

Pritong Itik (Php225 for small | Php345 for medium | Php450 for large). Instead of the usual fried chicken, Soleras instead serves crispy fried itik (native duck). The bird is first simmered in water with salt, ginger and other aromatics, then properly dried before deep-frying until golden brown.

Soleras, Banawe

Soleras, Banawe

Ginumis (Php185). For dessert, we had an Ilonggo version of the halo-halo (shaved ice dessert) made with sago pearls, gulaman (cubed gelatin), pinipig (toasted pounded rice), coconut milk and sugar syrup.

Soleras, Banawe

Gulaman (Php85). Our drinks were the classic samalamig (sweet chilled coolers) made with sago pearls and gulaman topped with shaved ice and flavored with muscovado sugar and pandan leaves.

Soleras, Banawe

Thanks to our Soleras sojourn, my friends and I were able to rediscover our appreciation for Pinoy food. Thanks to Midz of GastronomidaPH.com for extending the invitation!

Soleras, Banawe

Why don’t you take a break from your usual ulam, head on to Soleras and get a fresh perspective on Filipino cuisine?

Soleras, Banawe

Soleras is located at 686 Banawe Street, Barangay Siena, Quezon City (beside Megawatt Pizza & Steak), open daily from 10am to 10pm. For reservations and inquiries, call +63 917 1827583 or send a message on Facebook. Soleras also delivers via Grabfood (together with Megawatt).

Disclosure: Together with fellow food bloggers, I was invited to sample Solera’s offerings.  All the food items mentioned here were served for us to taste the fare to facilitate our honest reviews and were not paid for by the attendees, including myself.

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

Check out my reviews of other Filipino restaurants:

Piestang Pinoy from 121 Restaurant

Ooh, we’re right smack in the middle of the holiday season, and I bet you’re missing the experience of going back to the province, getting together with the relatives for the annual family reunion and gorging yourself on regional dishes while joining the merrymaking of the town fiesta, right?

Well, that’s currently not possible, and, somehow, substituting a real clan get-together with a virtual party over Zoom just doesn’t feel the same.

After all, is it a real party if you all can’t partake of the same tasty delicacies?

Well, how about letting the guys at 121 Restaurant whip up a fiesta for you and your folks?

121 Restaurant

With its Pyestang Pinoy platters, you can relive your festivities virtually with well-loved Pinoy dishes with servings sizeable enough for a big family meal (Pambahay, good for 10 people), an office party (Pambatalyon, good for 20 people) or for a whole clan (Pambarangay, good for 50 people).

Take the Ati-Atihan (Php292 per person), for example. This hearty meal brings the energy of the famous Aklan festival with its inclusions of:

Grilled Liempo.

121 Restaurant

121 Restaurant

Lumpiang Shanghai.

121 Restaurant

121 Restaurant

Pancit Bihon with Canton.

121 Restaurant

121 Restaurant

Biko.

121 Restaurant

121 Restaurant

Other Pyestang Pinoy variants include:

  • The Kadayawan (Php274 per person): Pork Siomai, Bangus Tempura, Pancit Bihon with Canton and Sapin-sapin.
  • The Higantes (Php335 per person): Lumpiang Shanghai, Pancit Palabok, Marinated Fried Chicken and Biko.
  • The Sinulog (Php370 per person). Grilled Liempo, Grilled Porkchop, Lumpiang Shanghai and Pork Siomai

Each Pyestang Pinoy Set is served with rice. Free 2-liter Coke provided for orders good for 20 people and more.

121 Restaurant

If you feel like gifting someone with a scrumptious taste of home, you can send them a Paborito Box (Php459), single servings of Pinoy faves conveniently packaged in one box. Choose from three variants such as:

  • Luzon: Lumpiang Shanghai, Nachos, Porkchop, one slice of Biko and one piece of Polvoron
  • Visayas: Pork Siomai, Cheesesticks, Pork BBQ Sticks, two pieces of Polvoron
  • Mindanao: Lumpiang Shanghai, Empanada, Buffalo Wings, Monggo Soup, one pack of Peanuts and one piece Polvoron

So if you’re hosting your fam’s virtual reunion, you can all be one in merrymaking and feasting on favorite Filipino dishes with 121 Restaurant’s Pyestang Pinoy.

121 Restaurant

To order your Pyestang Pinoy sets or Paborito Box, call +63 2 7577 7557 or +63 917 3296997, email sales@121resto.com or order online.

121 Restaurant

Payments via cash on delivery, bank transfer or G-Cash QR code are accepted. 121 Restaurant delivers in Makati, Mandaluyong, Pasig, Pasay, San Juan, Taguig, Paranaque, and Quezon City.

Disclosure: Product sample was provided to facilitate a feature story.

121 Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my reviews of other Filipino restaurants:

Sarap ka-pares from Pares Retiro

What can I say?

After I realized I could just have my fam’s faves from Pares Retiro delivered to my home, I just can’t get enough of it.

Pares Retiro, Cubao

Truth be told: I haven’t eaten at a Pares Retiro outlet yet. All my encounters with its much-vaunted pares offerings were all through delivery: the first one was at work when my officemate and I ordered from the Pares Retiro branch in Tomas Morato via LalaFood, and the succeeding ones after the pandemic hit when its offerings became available in our neck of the woods via GrabFood’s Long Distance Delivery.

Pares Retiro, Cubao

In fact, our orders don’t really stray from our tried and tested favorites:

Classic Pares Meal (Php223). Pairing slow-braised, tender beef pares with garlic fried rice is surely a stroke of genius. The result is a delicious dynamic between sweet and savory that we Pinoys go crazy over.

Pares Retiro, Cubao

Pares Retiro, Cubao

Pares Retiro, Cubao

Pares Tendon Meal (Php217). What will make the classic pares dish made even more irresistible? Well, the addition of melt-in-your-mouth pieces of litid, that’s what! Those chunks of imported US beef tendon just adds flavor and texture to the dish.

Pares Retiro, Cubao

Pares Retiro, Cubao

Pares Retiro, Cubao

It’s a rare occasion when my entire family all wholeheartedly agree on the merits of a particular dish or restaurant, but Pares Retiro’s Classic Pares and Pares Tendon Meals have more than earned that distinction.

Pares Retiro, Cubao

Now, if only they will open a branch nearer to our home so I won’t have to pay as much for delivery!

Pares Retiro, Cubao

This Pares Retiro branch is located at SM Hypermarket, EDSA Corner Main Avenue, Cubao, Quezon City, open daily from 9am to 6pm. Pares Retiro delivers via GrabFood, LalaFood and via Pares Retiro’s website.

Pares Retiro, Cubao

Download the Grab App and get a discount on your first food order when you use my code: GRABJELLYBEANS.

Use this link to download the FoodPanda app and get Php100 off your first order.

Pares Retiro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my reviews of other Filipino restaurants:

Tapa Box delivery from Tapa King

Sometimes, the stars align and everyone in the family agrees that they just had a good meal.

This Sunday, after running morning errands and lunchtime looming just a short hour away, neither Hubby nor I were in the mood to handle the stress of meal prep and cooking.

Well, I thought to myself, this looks like a job for my food delivery apps!

So off I went, tap-tap-tapping on my phone, looking for food that I can have delivered for the fam’s Sunday lunch. My criteria is that the meal should appeal to the fam’s collective taste in food, not be something we recently ate (for variety), and should cost below Php1,000, delivery fee included (because payday is still a few days away!).

Lo and behold, the solution to my dilemma was at my doorstep less than an hour later.

The fam’s meal consisted of five sets of Tapa King Classic.

Tapa King, L&Y Plaza

Tapa King started as a hole-in-the-wall business in 1987 in Makati CBD. Today, it’s a chain of restaurants with presence, not just in the Philippines but also in Singapore and the United Arab Emirates. Despite recently undergoing a brand refresh and store makeover, it remains true to its original intent: to serve homestyle Pinoy comfort food – tapa.

Tapa is basically marinated beef, stir-fried in oil and, when served with fried egg and garlic fried rice, forms the iconic tapsilog (tapasinangagitlog).

The Tapa King Classic is the formerly known as Tapa King (yes, there were also a Tapa Queen and a Tapa Prince). It is tapa cooked the traditional way, seasoned with spices that bring out the beef’s natural flavors. With fried egg and garlic fried rice included in the order, it is a deliciously satisfying meal.

You can have it as a solo meal at Php169.

Tapa King, L&Y Plaza

Tapa King, L&Y Plaza

Tapa King, L&Y Plaza

Or you can choose to have all the meals in the 4-in-1 Box (Php678) be all Tapa King Classics. You even get solo bottles of Pepsi to go with your meal.

Tapa King, L&Y Plaza

Tapa King, L&Y Plaza

Tapa King, L&Y Plaza

Tapa King, L&Y Plaza

Tapa King, L&Y Plaza

In our case, I opted for both so the whole fam – myself, hubby, the kiddos and yaya – can all enjoy our own Tapa King Classic. Thanks to a a GrabFood free delivery promo, my total bill came in at just Php847.

Tapa King, L&Y Plaza

Thanks to Tapa King, I escaped lunchtime stress. Now, on to worrying about dinner…

This Tapa King branch is located at G/F L&Y Plaza E. Rodriguez Ave. Brgy. Ugong, Pasig City, open daily from 6am to 8pm for dine-in, takeout and delivery. For inquiries, reservations or orders, call +63 2 82916254 or +63 915 0611117, or course your food delivery via GrabFood or FoodPanda.

Download the Grab App and get a discount on your first food order when you use my code: GRABJELLYBEANS.

Use this link to download the FoodPanda app and get Php100 off your first order.

Tapa King Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my reviews of other Filipino restaurants:

Hot soothing goto from Goto Believe, Kapitolyo

We’ve been inundated with quite a lot of bad hits lately. Faced with the pandemic, still raging across the globe, and the spate of typhoons that battered our country, we sometimes want to curl up somewhere warm and comforting.

That is what goto brings: the comforting warmth that fills the tummy and soothes the soul.

During a particularly rainy day, Hubby decided to have goto for our merienda.

Goto Believe, Kapitolyo

Also called arroz caldo con goto (which roughly translates to “rice soup with tripe”), goto is made with glutinous rice infused with ginger. Afterwards, thin strips of boiled tripe and other proteins are added to the porridge before the dish is garnished with a hard-boiled egg, toasted garlic and diced scallions. It’s great for chilly rainy days or for chasing away a hangover.

Goto Believe, Kapitolyo

In our case, our goto snack is something to slurp on as we binge-watch some K-dramas during a rainy day.

Hubby ordered our snack from a relatively new goto place called Goto Believe which reinvents the classic porridge.

Our meal consisted of:

Goto Heaven (Php108). Hot ginger-infused rice porridge with strips of tripe, beef tendon, innards and meat.

Goto Believe, Kapitolyo

Goto Believe, Kapitolyo

Grilled Chicharong Bulaklak (Php126/2 sticks). Crispy and flavorful ruffled pork fat in skewers.

Goto Believe, Kapitolyo

Goto Believe, Kapitolyo

These are not the healthiest of food combinations but that’s why they’re comfort food, right?

Goto Believe, Kapitolyo

If you want to have your own bowl of comforting goto delivered right to your doorstep to chase away the rainy day blues, order online or via GrabFood or FoodPanda.

Download the Grab App and get a discount on your first food order when you use my code: GRABJELLYBEANS.

Use this link to download the FoodPanda app and get Php100 off your first order.

Goto Believe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my reviews of other Filipino restaurants:

Pinoy-style fried chicken delivery from Max’s Chicken

In this blog, I’ve covered various ways to enjoy fried chicken: from Korean- and Japanese-style then all the way across the globe to Southern US-style.

But particular attention should also be given to the fried chicken that’s near and dear to many a Pinoy’s heart: the fried chicken from Max’s Restaurant.

This restaurant had its beginnings in post-WWII Quezon City, when Stanford-educated teacher Maximo Gimenez befriended the American troops stationed nearby and would invite them to his home for a drink or two. This led to Maximo opening a cafe catering to the GIs.

The fried chicken recipe which would become the restaurant’s claim to fame across generations was created by Maximo’s niece, Ruby, who managed the kitchen.

Today, Max’s Restaurant is The House That Fried Chicken Built. It is where people go to for a taste of simply delicious juicy and flavorful fried chicken, as well as other Filipino dishes.

And luckily for me, it delivers!

One Saturday when I was in no mood to cook, I decided to cook for the fam’s lunch, I decided to just order our ulam from Max’s Restaurant via FoodPanda.

So, having asked my yaya to cook lots and lots of rice, the fam and I lunched on:

Regular Chicken (Php575). A whole chicken cooked the Max’s way. At first look, the chicken looks quite small, but don’t worry; it packs a lot of flavor. As in, sarap to the bones, as they say. Of course, this dish would not be complete without its perfect complement: Max’s house banana ketchup!

Max’s Delivery

Max’s Delivery

Vegetable Kare-Kare (Php425). Max’s vegetarian take on the classic Pinoy dish. Lightly blanched veggies immersed in a rich peanut sauce and served with Max’s house bagoong. Since the sauce is quite flavorful, this dish is a great way to induce the kiddos to eat veggies.

Max’s Delivery

Max’s Delivery

While it was a simple meal, it was quite delicious, one I’m looking forward to having again soon!

Max’s Delivery

Max’s Delivery

To have your Max’s Pinoy-style fried chicken and more delivered to your home, call +63 2 88879000, order online or via Food Panda.

Use this link to download the FoodPanda app and get Php100 off your first order.

Max's Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my reviews of other Filipino restaurants:

Comfort food delivery from Pares Retiro, P. Tuazon

Lately, we’ve been craving for comfort food, right?

Now more than ever, we’re looking for that feeling of well-being and fullness that comfort food brings.

Pares Retiro, Cubao

Pares Retiro, Cubao

An example of Pinoy comfort food that I was happy to rediscover is beef pares. This dish is braised beef stewed in a savory-sweet sauce and served with garlic fried rice, making winning combo indeed!

For me, the benchmark for beef pares is the one I tasted prior to the quarantine, when my officemate and I had our lunch delivered from the Pares Retiro near our office. I guess that’s why this resto chain was dubbed the best pares in town. I get cravings for it sometimes since then.

Pares Retiro, Tomas Morato

However, I’ve been stuck at home for the past few months and the nearest Pare Retiro is too far for delivery.

That is, until GrabFood made Pares Retiro in P. Tuazon available for long-distance delivery. Yey!

I found out about it when Hubby gave in to his late-night cravings and had some beef pares and bone marrow delivered for us to devour in between episodes of the K-drama we’re bingeing on.

Pares Retiro, Cubao

Pares Retiro, Cubao

(Spoiler Alert: they were gone in mere minutes that I haven’t been able to take decent pictures!)

That late-night taste intensified my craving for the dish again so I decided to order from Pares Retiro via GrabFood for our dinner.

Tonight, the kiddos and I feasted on:

Classic Pares Meal (Php208). That winning tamdem of beed pares and garlic fried rice. The slow-braised meat is fork-tender and the sauce has the right dynamic between sweet and savory that goes so well with the garlic fried rice.

Pares Retiro, Cubao

Pares Retiro, Cubao

Pares Retiro, Cubao

Pares Tendon Meal (Php214). The classic pares dish made even more irresistible with the addition of melt-in-your-mouth pieces of imported US beef tendon that adds flavor and texture to the dish.

Pares Retiro, Cubao

Pares Retiro, Cubao

Pares Retiro, Cubao

Bone Marrow (Php189). Roasted bone marrow flavored with herbs and spices. Add a bit of bone marrow to each bite of pares and rice and you’ll see why the fam and I got obsessed with it. I only wish there was more of it.

Pares Retiro, Cubao

Pares Retiro, Cubao

Pares Retiro, Cubao

These dishes are not high-brow nor elaborate. Instead, they are simple dishes that give us comfort especially during these trying times.

Pares Retiro, Cubao

This Pares Retiro branch is located at P. Tuazon Corner 17th Avenue, Cubao, Quezon City. It delivers via GrabFood, LalaFood, FoodPanda and Pares Retiro’s website.

Pares Retiro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my reviews of other Filipino restaurants:

#QuarantitaTreats: Pinoy and proud bubble tea drinks from Boba Unibers

Rain or shine, it’s always a good time for a boba tea.

These delish concoctions can give us a much-needed sugar boost to get us going, or refresh us after a hot or grueling day.

Boba (“bubble”) gets its name from the chewy pearls made of tapioca soaked in sugar syrup that look like dark bubbles which add texture to your drink.

Boba teas originated from Taiwan in the 1980s when the smaller pearls were used for milk teas. An enterprising shop owner then decided to use larger pearls in a bid to make his offerings stand out.

Boba teas then made their way across the globe and soon established a foothold in the Philippines with new shops offering all sorts of bubble tea variants opening every month.

The newest of these boba tea shops is Boba Unibers, managed by twenty-seven-year-old Jacques Michael Buenviaje together with his partner, twenty-six-year-old Katrina Mikaela Laygo.

Boba Unibers

Both were working in a five-star hotel in BGC when the pandemic struck the metro. They decided to leave their hotel jobs and forge new paths for themselves, which, luckily for us boba tea lovers, includes launching Boba Unibers.

As you can discern from their business’ moniker, #PinoyPride infuses their business and product concept.

By incorporating local flavors and ingredients to their boba tea offerings, they bring milk tea fans like us fresh ways to enjoy our favorite drink while tapping into our sense of nostalgia (plus they also help local farmers by sourcing their coffee beans and muscovado from them).

Being good to the environment is also high on their list of priorities. Not only do they eschew the use of single-use plastics, they also made use of reusable glass jars and edible straws (made with rice and tapioca) which scored major points with my environmentally-aware daughter, #ExhibitA.

Now let’s talk about Boba Unibers’ drinks, shall we?

Wintermelon (Php75). Made with BU’s special tea blend, caramel-y wintermelon syrup, milk, house syrup and boba. #ExhibitA reserved this boba as soon as she saw it.

Boba Unibers

Taro (Php75). Made with BU’s special tea blend, taro, milk, house syrup and boba. A creamy masterpiece of a drink! (And cutely light purple too!)

Boba Unibers

Champorado (Php85). Made with BU’s special tea blend, tablea rice milk, house syrup, powdered milk and boba. Who would have thought that our favorite chocolatey breakfast item would taste so good in boba tea form? My son #ExhibitB snatched this up as soon as I was done taking photos.

Boba Unibers

Pandan Yema (Php85). Made with BU’s special tea blend, milk, pandan yema syrup and boba. A mix of the mild taste of pandan and the milky salted caramel-like taste of yema made for a candy-like sweet drink.

Boba Unibers

Salted Pistachio (Php110). Made with pistachio syrup, caramel sauce, caramel syrup, Kievit and Lipton Tea. This milky and slightly nutty drink will satisfy pistachio lovers.

Boba Unibers

Cold Brew Milk Tea (Php85). Made with BU’s special tea blend, milk, cold brew coffee and boba. This woke me right up from my mid-afternoon stupor.

Boba Unibers

These are just a sampling of the many possibili-teas that Boba Unibers has launched into the milk tea stratosphere, with more flavors to come as Jacques and Katrina continue to experiment with new flavors and ingredients.

Boba Unibers

So #quarantitas (or #quaranTEAtas?), let’s help these young entrepreneurs raise our flag and bring the spotlight to the unique flavors we Pinoys love by supporting Boba Unibers.

Boba Unibers

To order, call +63 906 3485071 or message Boba Uniberse on Facebook or Instagram. Cashless payments via GCash, Metrobank and BDO, as well as cash on delivery, are accepted. The jars of milk tea can be delivered from Cainta to Rizal and Metro Manila areas via GrabExpress, Lalamove, Mr. Speedy, Angkas and Joyride (to be shouldered by the buyer).

Disclosure: Product samples were provided to facilitate an honest review.

Check out my blog posts on other small enterprises and startups in the food business: