City of Dreams Manila opens a VR Zone and Food Park

City of Dreams Manila is changing the landscape of entertainment and dining as it unveils The Garage.The new attraction is a VR Zone and food park that enables guests to delve into the immersive experience of virtual reality entertainment and delight in a wide range of casual dining choices from the carefully curated selection of food and beverage trucks and trailers set in a comfortable, air-conditioned space.

Bandai Namco Amusement from Japan, one of the world’s leading video digital entertainment development companies, provides the virtual reality experience at the VR Zone.

“The Garage is City of Dreams Manila’s latest attraction featuring unique entertainment activities in partnership with Bandai Namco Amusement. With their creativity and cutting-edge technology, we are honored and delighted to partner with them, and together blaze a trail in delivering extraordinary entertainment experiences that go beyond gaming and recreation in the Philippines,” Kevin Benning, City of Dreams Manila’s Chief Operating Officer said.

The virtual reality experience provided by a leader in video digital entertainment development is complemented by quality food and drink choices offered by 10 of the hippest and contemporary food and beverage partners including the resort’s own talented staff. This concept, curated all in one place, makes The Garage a first of its kind in the country — “setting us apart from the rest,” adds Benning.

“Bandai Namco Amusement is honored to partner with luxury integrated resort City of Dreams Manila and bring to this exciting destination our first VR Zone entertainment facility in Southeast Asia. We hope to bring outside of Japan an immersive, multi-sensory and fun activities to Filipinos and foreign guests with our unique VR activities at The Garage,” Kunihisa Yagisita, Bandai Namco’s General Manager stated.

Set in a 2,714-square meter cool and comfortable space located at the upper ground floor, The Garage stands out with its modern industrial interiors catering to a 563-seating capacity. Designed by award-winning Paris-based creative design agency, Malherbe Design in collaboration with Westar Architectural Interior Design, a group known for its strong sensitivity to contemporary design aesthetics, The Garage is further given life and vibrancy with graffiti works of two prominent names in the street art scene: Kookoo Ramos and DeeJae Paeste.

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#graffiti that graces one of the walls of the newly opened #VRZone and #FoodPark @thegarageatcod. It helps set the mood for enjoyment among gamers and foodies. Wanna chance to check out the VR games available for free! Like and tag a friend in the comments under the giveaway posts here and at @sandundermyfeet, @herlculis, @hungryherl and @foodventuresbyfrapao. Be sure to follow all our accounts to qualify! #TheGarageAtCOD #VRZoneCOD #GamesGastroGalore #cityofdreamsmanila #virtualreality #bandai #bandainamco #VRPark #virtualrealitypark #virtualrealitygames #gaming #gamers #mariokart #skirodeo #philippines #itsmorefuninthephilippines #wheninmanila #wimadventures #virtualrealityworld #virtualrealitygames #virtualrealityexperience #virtualrealitygaming #virtualrealityarcade

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Game of a lifetime

The Garage’s VR Zone features a new generation entertainment facility that offers an exhilarating and startling experience with top-of-class VR technology.

One of the exciting activities at the VR Zone is the famed Mario Kart Arcade GP VR, which was developed by Bandai Namco Amusement under license from Nintendo. The three-minute Mario Kart Arcade GP VR enables one to choose to play as one of the characters: Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, or Yoshi; step right into the action-packed world of Mario Kart universe; and race until the finish line through a course filled with traps such as giant Piranha Plants and Thwomps or large stone creatures that attempt to crush the players. This highly sought-after game can be played by up to four persons and is open to enthusiasts 13 years old and above.

For those seeking a different kind of thrill, the Hospital Escape Terror, which can be played by up to four participants, is described as a ‘horrifying experience unlike ever before’. This immersive horror room game is open to thrill-seekers ages 13 years old and above. Hospital Escape Terror’s players have the goal to escape and survive altogether the dark, cursed, and abandoned hospital within nine minutes while being restrained on a wheel chair.

The two-minute Ski Rodeo on the other hand, is a steep downhill ski simulator that lets a player ski a vast snowy mountain course with sharp slopes and steep drops at an immense speed with the goal to finish at the fastest time possible or within the allotted time. This heart-dropping game, which can be played in pairs, is open to individuals with a height of 140 cm and up.

Tickets are available on site. Single player ticket price is available at P450 nett; while packages are available for those playing in groups or pairs: P800 nett for two persons playing Ski Rodeo; P1, 200 per person for three activities; and P1, 600 nett for a group of four persons playing Hospital Escape Terror or Mario Kart GP VR.

Gastronomic Galore

Going hand in hand with the one-of-a-kind entertainment experience, The Garage’s VR Zone is offering a selection of 10 food and beverage trucks and trailers: Hokkaido Ramen Santouka, Katsu Sora, Pink’s Hotdog, Little Flour, El Chupacabra, Pizza Grigliata, Farmacy, Chocol8, The Roaster and Juiced. The casual dining experience is also enhanced with the sustainability drive of City of Dreams Manila: only eco-friendly, biodegradable and compostable plates, utensils and take-out bags are used at The Garage.

Hailing from Japan, Hokkaido Ramen Santouka’s well-loved ramen is characterized by its mild, pearl-colored Tonkotsu soup which is carefully prepared by taking the time to simmer the pork bones before adding vegetables, dried fish, kelp and other special ingredients. This exceptional soup with thin-noodle ramen, and perfectly topped with mouthwatering slices of Char-siu pork and pickled plums is meant to be savored to the last spoonful.

Another food truck specializing in Japanese cuisine is Katsu Sora. A household name in the metro for good tonkatsu or Japanese deep-fried pork cutlet, Katsu Sora’s  secret to their naturally tender, marbled, and flavorful tonkatsu is the use of only premium pork meat. The restaurant is known for serving dishes that use four kinds of world-class pork that are of the highest quality: Iberico, Kurobuta, Shimofuri, and Sakura. Their Iberico and Kurobuta Tonkatsu sets are served with their famed Juugokokumai rice, a premium rice blend that includes white rice, corn, barley, millet, sesame seeds, and black beans.

Los Angeles’ most popular hot dog stand, Pink’s Hot Dogs has been hailed by multiple publications as the number one hot dog in America. A staple in Hollywood since 1939, their lip-smacking hot dogs especially the iconic “The Hollywood Legend,” which is a medley of Pink’s eponymous hotdogs with chili, cheddar cheese, mustard, and chopped onions, are sought after by everyone. This legend continues in Manila since opening their first store in 2016, and is offered together with other American favorites such as burgers, fries, nachos, and more.

Little Flour Café by the highly successful Wildflour Café + Bakery, is known for its well-loved and locally-inspired Filipino rice bowls, delicacies and grilled items.

El Chupacabra is a casual street taco bar serving a delectable array of Mexican-influenced dishes for lunch and dinner, as well as uniquely tweaked versions of popular local plates. Apart from Mexican-style street tacos, El Chupacabra is also known for burritos, enchiladas, and grilled chicken sticks.

Pizza Grigliata serves nothing but hot, freshly-made artisanal pizza to deliver a different kind of pizza experience that stands out from the rest. Uniquely prepared, Pizza Grigliata’s pizzas are handmade from scratch everyday using thin crust dough topped with the freshest ingredients which are torched and grilled.

Farmacy takes us back to the time of classic turn-of-the-century ice cream parlors. Satisfying the sweet tooth of guests, Farmacy is known for serving fresh homemade ice cream “the right way,” and for serving an extensive array of comforting treats such as milkshakes, sodas, coffee, and pastries.

Alongside the well-curated food and beverage outlets at The Garage are City of Dreams Manila’s own exceptional outlets: Chocol8, Juiced and The Roaster.

Chocol8 features handcrafted chocolates in a number of shapes and forms, and are enhanced with special ingredients such as fruits, nuts, and spices.

For those into healthy concoctions, Juiced offers a variety of freshly squeezed smoothies, slushies, and juices daily; while The Roaster is the go-to outlet for an array of gourmet coffee creations made from freshly roasted Philippine beans. In keeping with the resort’s sustainability campaign, the beans are sourced from coffee growers and farmers in various communities supported by the Philippine Coffee Board, Inc.

The Detox, Smoothies, and Sluhes

The bar at The Garage offers a wide selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages for guests to pair their choice of food from the trucks and trailers.

JASMINE RED SIGNATURE ICED TEA

The Garage is open daily from 10 AM to 2 AM. For more information, call (+63 2) 800-8080 or email guestservices@cod-manila.com or visit www.cityofdreamsmanila.com.

Details provided by The Garage in a recent press release.

A big Italian Family Lunch at New York Slice by Motorino, SM Pasig

Lately, I’ve had little time to spend with my extended family.  My parents just moved in to their newly renovated house over the weekend and with all the general hustle and bustle, my mom was not up to cooking the usual Sunday lunch.

I ended up recommending New York Slice by Motorino in SM Hypermarket Pasig as it was very accessible to us and has a sweet Metrodeal offer (more on that later).

It is located along the row of restaurants near the SM Hypermarket’s main entrance facing Tiendesitas.  The seating inside the store proper is quite limited but there are extra seats outside the store that can seat larger groups, particularly our party of seven.

New York Slice by Motorino, SM Hypermart

New York Slice by Motorino, SM Hypermart

New York Slice by Motorino, SM Hypermart

I took advantage of a Metro deal offer that entitles me to Php500 worth of food orders at only Php299, with the option to buy and use more than one Metrodeal voucher. With this awesome deal, I admit we went a little crazy with the sheer volume of our orders, which included:

Pizzas

Motorino Special (Php135/slice).  Pepperoni, Italian sausage, olives, bell pepper, onions and mushrooms.  This was the preferred pizza of Hubby and my brother who wanted their pizzas to have meat and lots of toppings.

Honey & 3-Cheese (Php135/slice). Honey, cream cheese, mozzarella and parmesan.  This pizza was for me and my little boy to satisfy our cravings for cheese and something sweet, all in one go.

Veggie Special (Php135/slice). Mushroom, onions, bell pepper, olives, oregano and olive oil.  This was the preferred pizza for the older folks, a healthier option than the others.

New York Slice by Motorino, SM Hypermart

Pasta

Spaghetti Bolognese (Php169).  A classic choice for the party members who are not as adventurous, food-wise.

New York Slice by Motorino, SM Hypermart

Alfredo with Bacon (Php169). A meatier take on carbonara but a little to sauce-y for me.

New York Slice by Motorino, SM Hypermart

Alfredo with Shrimp (Php189). The preference of my dad who likes seafood.

New York Slice by Motorino, SM Hypermart

Creamy Mushroom (Php159). A lighter and more vegetarian option than the other pastas we ordered.

New York Slice by Motorino, SM Hypermart

Krunchy Krispy Wings

Garlic Parmesan (Php269/6pcs).

New York Slice by Motorino, SM Hypermart

BBQ Glaze (Php439/10pcs).

New York Slice by Motorino, SM Hypermart

Both wings are quite tasty and went well with our pizzas and pastas.

Thanks to the Metrodeal vouchers I availed of, I ended up paying only Php2,200+ for Php3,600+ worth of orders.

This New York Slice by Motorino branch is located inside SM Hypermarket, Frontera Verde Drive, Ugong, Pasig City, open daily from 10am to 9pm.  Other branches are located at:

  • Ground Floor, South Parking Building, SM Mall of Asia, Mall of Asia Complex (MOA), Pasay City (open daily from 10am to 10pm)
  • Rockwell Business Center, Ground Floor, Sheridan Corner United, Highway Hills, Mandaluyong City (open daily from 10am to 8pm)
  • Eton Towers Makati, 128 Dela Rosa Street, Legaspi Village, Makati City (open Mondays to Fridays 11am to 10pm and Saturdays to Sundays 11am to 9pm)
  • Ground Floor, Market! Market!, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City (open daily from 10am to 10pm)
  • 2A-2 Ground Floor, ATC Corporate Center, Alabang, Muntinlupa City (open daily from 11am to 10pm)

New York Slice by Motorino Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Italian lunch at Amici, Ayala Triangle

After taking care of my morning errands in Makati around lunchtime, I was faced with the challenge of finding somewhere to eat. Fortunately, I espied the branch of Amici among the eateries inside the Ayala Triangle Gardens.

Amici started out as a canteen that caters to the employees of the Don Bosco Printing Press. At that time, it was called Amici di Don Bosco (Friends of Don Bosco). Its menu then consisted of coffee and gelato which later expanded to include wood-fire oven baked pizzas and homemade pastas. The reputation of this restaurant serving tasty and authentic Italian food prepared by priests grew and attracted more and more customers. Today, Amici has 9 branches in Metro Manila, a recognized institution when it comes to authentic Italian pizza, pasta and gelato.

For my lunch today, I opted to munch on two flavors I have been craving for: truffle pasta and chocolate.

Linguine al Prosciutto e Tartufo (Php370)

One of Amici’s best-sellers, this is the resto’s version of a truffle pasta. Linguini pasta are cooked al dente then drenched in a masterful blend of prosciutto, truffle oil, porcini and shitake mushrooms. The smell of truffle oil may be overpowering to some but I didn’t mind it one bit. I found the serving portion a bit too large so I left half to take home to my daughter #ExhibitA; Amici’s dishes are #BestWhenShared anyway.

Turtle Pie Gelato (Php95 per scoop) by Cara Mia

Rich dark chocolate with drizzles of caramel and studded with pecans. I found the scoop a bit small but, well, as a wise woman once told me, quality is never cheap. I treat getting myself a gelato at Amici as a sort of indulgence or reward for myself.

The place is clean and well-lit and has a busy and energetic vibe given the lunchtime crowd. That said, I found the service very warm and accommodating: I was seated very quickly, and given garlic bread to munch on while waiting for my order.  Also, my water was refilled without my having to request for it and my request to have half of my pasta wrapped for takeout was immediately done.

This Amici branch is located at Ayala Triangle Gardens, Salcedo Village, Makati City and is open weekdays from 10am to 10pm and weekends from 12nn to 8pm.  For reservations and inquiries, call + 63 2 6216111 or +63 977 4596625.

Other branches are located at:

  • Don Bosco School, A. Arnaiz Avenue, San Lorenzo, Makati City (Tel: +63 2 8221111, +63 916 9227972 or +63 906 1234456)
  • Second Floor, Alabang Town Center, Alabang, Muntinlupa City (Tel: +63 2 4039373, +63 917 8946897 or +63 917 8218988)
  • Third Floor, Mega Atrium, SM Megamall, Ortigas, Mandaluyong City (Tel: +63 2 6361340, +63 2 6361341, + 63 947 2998417 or +63 906 8463051)
  • Ground Floor, 101 Missouri Square, Missouri Corner Connecticut Street, Greenhills, San Juan City (Tel: +63 2 724 4804, +63 2 724 4806, +63 936 7190592, or +63 908 9901506)
  • Bellagio Square, Tomas MoratoAvenue, Laging Handa, Quezon City (Tel: +63 2 3766458, +63 915 6272060 or +63 905 1958506)
  • Ground Floor, The Block, SM City North EDSA, Bago Bantay, Quezon City (Tel: +63 2 709 5545, +63 906 7243019 or +63 916 7890754)
  • Ground Floor, UP Ayala Technohub, Commonwealth Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City (Tel: +63 2 709 0999, +63 995 1693154 or +63 936 2935257)
  • Ground Floor, The Oracle Hotel & Residences, 317 Katipunan Avenue, Loyola Heights, Quezon City (Tel: +63 956 6031048 or +63 935 4402663)

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

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An array of brick oven-baked Neapolitan pizza at Amare la Cucina in Baguio

Pizza Napoletana, better known as Neapolitan Pizza, originated from Naples, Italy, hence the name. Its preparation involves fresh ingredients: basic flatbread dough, tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, olive oil and fresh basil. It is normally sized at 10-12 inches, making it closer to a personal pizza.

During our weekend getaway in the City of Pines, the fam met up with relatives at Amare La Cucina. Its claim to fame is its wood fire brick oven Neapolitan-style pizza made with fresh dough.

Its name translates to “love the kitchen” – the same passion for food and experimentation that drove owner Edmark Bustos to open his own restaurant which is now the default destination for extraordinarily good pizza in Baguio.

Our group consisted of two families with kids ages 5 to 18 years so finding dinner choices that will satisfy everyone was a challenge. Fortunately, Hubby, with the help of his cousin, chose a winning menu:

Beef Carpaccio (Php300).  Thinly sliced raw Beef Tenderloin with extra virgin olive, finished with shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano and salt and pepper. This was more for the adults in the group. It went particularly well with the beer that the dads in the group ordered.

Mozzarella Dip. Melted seasoned mozzarella cheese served in heated pans where you can dip thin slices of flatbread. This was very enjoyable for the kids, especially my little boy who loves cheese.

Chicken Skewers (Php350). Grilled chicken pieces served with a tangy sauce. This served as our main protein for the meal.

Margherita Pizza (Php325). Pizza made with plum tomatoes, mozzarella, extra virgin olive oil and basil.

Tre Formaggi (Php440). Pizza made plum tomatoes topped with herbs and three types of cheeses – mozzarella, cheddar and parmigiano reggiano.

White Pizza (Php405). Pizza made with mozzarella, bacon, garlic, extra virgin olive oil and a dash of oregano.

Foie Gras (Php595). Pizza made with mozarella, basil, white truffle oil and foie gras (duck liver).

Mint Iced Tea (Php85). Refreshing blend iced team infused with fresh mint.

After dinner, we stopped by the all-women art exhibit we chanced upon earlier, and admired the artworks by local contemporary female artists.

Amare La Cucina is located at EGI Albergo Hotel, No 1 Villamor Drive, Brgy. Lualhati, Baguio City. For reservations, call + 63 916 3321522.

For Manilans who want to sample its offerings without leaving the metro, the resto opened a branch located at 91 East Capito Drive, Brgy. Kapitolyo, Pasig City. For reservations, call + 63 929 8237313.

Trivia: Did you know that until the 1700s, pizzas were not topped with tomatoes? When tomatoes first arrived in Italy, they were mainly grown and used as ornaments. They were also thought to be toxic until Italian peasants started putting them on top of their flatbreads.

To learn more about Italian cuisine, check out these books on Amazon.com!

Love books and reading? Try Kindle Unlimited on Amazon. Get your first month FREE.

No Kindle device? Download the Kindle App for FREE to read your favorite books anytime and anywhere.

No time to read? Listen to your favorite books instead while you drive, run, shop, and more.  Try Audible for free for 30 days and get two free audiobooks.

A happier lunch experience at the new Friuli Trattoria

A trattoria is an Italian-style eating establishment, a happy medium between a ristorante and an osteria in terms of formality. Friuli Trattoria, named after a region in Northeastern Italy, serves signature Italian dishes such as pastas and brick-oven pizzas.

I already tried out Friuli Trattoria’s Maginhawa branch but was not terribly impressed with the service nor with the food so when my daughter was hankering for Italian food for our Saturdate lunch at UP Town Center, I had some misgivings before agreeing to eat here. I was won over by the relatively lower prices in this joint compared to the other Italian restaurant in the area (Cheapskate Mommy strikes again!).

We were lucky to find a table for two given the sizeable lunch time crowd. I was also pleasantly surprised by the friendly and relatively fast service of the wait staff. We didn’t have to wait long for our order:

  • Pesto Spaghetti (Php175)
  • Mushroom Pizza (Php220)
  • 2 cans of A&W Cream Soda (Php60 each)

The combination of flavors was just right and the meal was satisfying for the both of us (although we did save some room for dessert elsewhere;-)). The total bill amounting to just Php515.

I had a better experience here compared to the Maginhawa branch and I wouldn’t mind bringing my family for a quick Italian lunch of we’re in the area.

Friuli Trattoria branches are located at:

  • 2nd Floor, UP Town Center, Katipunan Avenue, Diliman, QC
  • 79-A Maginhawa Street, Teacher’s Village, Quezon City

Friuli Trattoria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Italian Food Trip at Friuli Trattoria

My coworkers and I decided to take advantage of the relatively lighter traffic and held one of our (in)famous happy lunches in Maginhawa Street. We opted for Friuli the consensus among the group was in favor of Italian food. We ordered Bacon and Egg Carbonara, Tuna Carbonara, Puttanesca, Mushroom Pizza and Cheesesteak Pizza. IMHO, the pizzas are ok but I’ve tasted homemade pasta better than those served here. Plus, I can’t believe they charge P10 for 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese!


  
  

Check it out on Zomato!