The Jelly List: The best of my foodie adventures in 2019

As we enter into the new year, it’s nice to look back on what made it so special.

I was lucky enough to take part in foodie meetups and special events that opened my eyes to new ways of enjoying good food.

Here are ten that are especially memorable:

1. Teavana TEA-volution Seminar at Starbucks, SM East

TEAvolution, Starbucks SM East

Starbucks is always associated with coffee but I learned that it also has a lot to offer when it comes to teas.

Last February, I joined the Teavana TEA-volution Tea Tasting Seminar, a Tea 101 if you will, where Starbucks Tea Master Jonas Velgado took my fellow foodies and I on guided tour through the history of teas, the tea-growing regions of the world and three flights of tea tasting which included full-leaf brewed teas and tea lattes.

Read more about it here.

Starbucks branches may be found all over Metro Manila.

2. Summer Menu Launch at Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Ombu Kusina has a modern take on Filipino cuisine: infusing classic Pinoy dishes with new and exciting cooking styles and influences. These help to make Pinoy cuisine fresher and more relevant to a growing number of foodies, who are looking for their next food adventure.

Last March, it launched its summer menu which included new takes on the Pinoy classic halo-halo, which made use of the use of flavored ice: the flavors are infused into the ice, resulting to a more intense taste and creamier mouthfeel. I’m glad that my favorite among the three halo-halo flavors – the Tres Leches – have been included in the regular menu.

Read more about it here.

Ombu Kusina is located at the Ground Floor, Sequioa Hotel, Mother Ignacia corner Timog Avenue, South Triangle, Quezon City, open daily from 6.30am to 10.30am. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 2 84411789.

3. Sunset Dining at Padi’s Point, Antipolo Sumulong

Padi’s Point, Sumulong Highway

The original Padi’s Point along Sumulong Highway in Antipolo is known for its magnificent sunset views. It has long been considered a landmark in the area, with families, barkadas or even couples, making the trek up from all over the city to this restaurant to enjoy the chill ambiance, the homegrown food served here and, of course, the amazing scenery.

Padi’s Point offers a wide array of homegrown dishes that are best enjoyed family style.

Read more about it here.

This Padi’s Point branch is located at Alpha D Compound, Sumulong Highway, Santa Cruz, Lower Antipolo, Rizal, open daily for 24 hours. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 2 83443028.

4. Breakfast at Sammy’s Restaurant, Cainta

Sammy’s Cainta

Sammy’s serves a carefully thought-out curation of Asian cuisine influenced, no doubt, by the seventeen years the couple spent in Jakarta where the chef obtained his diploma at the Jakarta Culinary Center in between gigs as singers in the Hotel Mulia Senayan Jakarta.

Sammy the Singing Chef and his wife Dorothy even serenede diners during dessert!

Read more about it here.

Sammy’s is located at 14 Raspberry Bend Street, Valley View Executive Subdivision Phase 3, San Juan, Cainta. The restaurant is open Tuesdays to Saturdays for breakfast from 7am to 11.30am and for dinner from 7pm to 10.30pm, and on Sundays for breakfast from 7am to 11.30am. Seating is strictly by reservation so call +63 939 1483960 to book your table.

5. First taste of isaw at Mang Ding’s, Marikina

Mang Ding’s, Marikina

The Filipino street food scene is quite storied and vibrant, a showcase of the Pinoy’s creativity and resourcefulness.

At Mang Ding’s Pinoy BBQ, diners can rediscover Pinoy street food, touted as MASARAP, MALINIS and MURA, in a pleasant al fresco setting.

Here is where I had my first taste of isaw (grilled pork and chicken intestines looped in skewers).

Read more about it here.

Mang Ding’s Pinoy BBQ is located at Block 3, Lot 13, C. Buenviaje Street, Santo Nino, Marikina City, open Mondays to Wednesdays from 4pm to 11pm and Thursdays to Sundays from 4pm to 12 midnight. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 917 1659872.

6. Brunchin’ at the Beach at Saltitude, Anilao

Saltitude Brunchin’ at the Beach

Anilao in Batangas is home to all sorts of fun beach activities: swimming, diving, snorkeling and windsurfing, just to name a few.

Aside from their proximity to the clear sparkling sea, those activities have another thing in common: they do work up quite an appetite.

Fortunately, Saltitude Dive & Beach Resort recently launched “Brunchin’ at the Beach,” a brunch buffet experience that takes place every Saturday, from 6am to 12.30pm at its Mingle restaurant.

Read more about it here.

Burrow Cafe is located at the Antipolo Beehouse, 113 Beverly Hills Drive, Beverly Hills Subdivision, Dolores, Taytay, open Wednesdays to Thursdays from 8am to 4pm and Fridays to Sundays 7am to 4pm. Although walk-ins are welcome, table reservation is highly recommended through email (burrowcafe@gmail.com) or mobile (+63 917 6229795).

7. #ZomatoXListerine Foodie Meetup at Kusina Moderne, Poblacion

Kusina Moderne, Poblacion

Kusina Moderne offers classic dishes we grew up with but prepared using French cooking techniques and presented in a deconstructed manner, adding a veneer of sophistication and excitement to familiar viands while still remaining affordable for families and friends to enjoy.

During a foodie meetup hosted by Zomato and Listerine where my fellow foodies, I tasted Kusina Moderne’s unique take on Filipino food and I also learned the importance of mouthwash, especially among foodies.

Read more about it here.

Kusina Moderne is located along Caceres Street, Poblacion, Makati, open Sundays and Tuesdays to Thursdays from 11am to 10pm and Fridays to Saturdays from 11am to 12 midnight. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 927 0830688.

8. Foodie Meetup at ICHO Japanese Restaurant, Greenhills

ICHO Japanese Restaurant, Greenhills

ICHO is named after the gingko trees in Japan. Known to be highly resilient as they can withstand pollution and salt in their native environment, they also beautify their surroundings and as well as provide nourishment and medicinal benefits.

ICHO brings the metro’s diners a piece of the serenity that gingko trees have come to symbolize through its calm and peaceful premises with which to enjoy the restaurant’s flavorful food creations.

Read more about it here.

ICHO Japanese Restaurant is located at 6 Annapolis Street corner Purdue Street, Greenhills, San Juan City, open daily from 11am to 2.30pm and 5.30pm to 11pm. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 2 85350020 or +63 917 1346027.

9. Night out at Tiyo Craft Kitchen & Bar, Tomas Morato

Tiyo, Tomas Morato

Tiyo serves a thoughtfully curated menu of local fare which takes the best representations of Philippine regional cuisine and painstakingly uses traditional ingredients and cooking methods, and yet has reinvented and served these dishes with a modern flair.

And the craftsmanship does not stop with the food. Tiyo’s bartenders also whip up exciting craft cocktails for the thirsty but exacting diner. These concoctions are designed around local spirits, highlighting their unique flavors while demonstrating their versatility.

Read more about it here.

Tiyo Craft Kitchen & Bar is located at Second Floor, CKB Centre, Tomas Morato Avenue Corner Scout Rallos Street, Laging Handa, Quezon City, open Sundays to Mondays from 4pm to 1am, Tuesdays to Thursdays from 4pm to 2am and Fridays to Saturdays from 4pm to 3 am.  For inquiries or reservations, call +63 932 8642593.

10. Foodie Meetup at Bistro Charlemagne, Ayala Malls Manila Bay

Bistro Charlemagne, Ayala Malls Manila Bay

I introduced my immediate and extended fam to the joys of dining at Bistro Charlemagne in Ayala Malls Feliz and the in-laws at its branch in Solenad, Nuvali early last year. Since then, we have enjoyed its Asian fusion cuisine time and time again, making this resto our go-to place for intimate family celebrations or get-togethers.

And now, with the opening of its third branch in Ayala Malls Manila Bay, it just got easier and more enjoyable to meet up with family and friends in the South for great food and great times.

Read more about it here.

This Bistro Charlemagne branch is located at Lot 2, Third Floor, Cinemas Building, Ayala Malls Manila Bay, Entertainment City Paranaque, open Mondays to Thursdays from 10am to 10pm and Fridays to Sundays from 10am to 11pm. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 2 79149082.

Many thanks to all the restaurants that hosted foodie meetups and my fellow foodies who extended their invitations!

Looking forward to more exciting foodie adventures in 2020!

What’s your “best of 2019”?

Check out my other Jelly Lists:

Rediscovering Filipino comfort food at Kusina Moderne, Poblacion

Do you remember the food served during your family’s get-togethers? The recipes passed down from your great-grandmas? The dishes that your mom and titas magically put together in the kitchen before calling everybody in to partake of the meal?

These are comfort food: down-home cooking that evoke a feeling of well-being. They may not be haute cuisine nor even exciting at times but they do call to mind the joys of childhood and family.

At Kusina Moderne, the recently opened restaurant in Poblacion, the comfort food passed down through generations of Filipino families are elevated through imagination and technique.

Kusina Moderne, Poblacion

Tucked away in one of Poblacion’s side streets, Kusina Moderne is a hidden gem for ardent foodies to discover and share.

The restaurant’s modern yet warm interiors welcome guests into an exciting gastronomic experience: wood tables, benches and chairs provide color contrasts to the industrial-type unpainted concrete walls and exposed ceilings, and diners can take a peek into what goes on during food preparation through the open kitchen. Small bric-a-bracs and potted plants add some personality to the space, evoking the feeling of home even in such a modern setting.

Kusina Moderne, Poblacion

Kusina Moderne, Poblacion

Kusina Moderne, Poblacion

Kusina Moderne offers classic dishes we grew up with but prepared using French cooking techniques and presented in a deconstructed manner, adding a veneer of sophistication and excitement to familiar viands while still remaining affordable for families and friends to enjoy.

Kusina Moderne, Poblacion

Kusina Moderne, Poblacion

During a #ZomatoXListerine foodie meetup, my fellow foodies and I got a taste of Kusina Moderne’s menu items such as:

Mechado Tacos (Php195). Honestly, I almost never eat mechado unless my mom prepares it but this reimagining of the braised beef dish is so refreshingly different from its usual iterations. The tender shredded beef seem to melt in your mouth in a burst of flavor enhanced by the addition of guacamole, cilantro, sour cream and pickled onion, with a satisfying crunch with every bite thanks to the fried wonton wrapper which takes the place of the taco shell.

Kusina Moderne, Poblacion

Kusina Moderne, Poblacion

Adobong Pusit (Php195). Sauteed squid heads on a bed of garlicky squid ink adobo sauce. Never have I seen adobong pusit served as prettily as this!

Kusina Moderne, Poblacion

Kusina Moderne, Poblacion

Embutido Scotch Egg (Php195). Your tita’s embutido gets a makeover with this dish: a runny soft-boiled egg is placed inside chicken embutido, and deep-fried theb served with banana ketchup.

Kusina Moderne, Poblacion

Kusina Moderne, Poblacion

Lumpiang Sariwa (Php200). In this classic merienda dish, sauteed veggies are wrapped in freshly made crepes and served drizzled with sweet and savoury peanut sauce.

Kusina Moderne, Poblacion

Kusina Moderne, Poblacion

Sotanghon Soup (Php345). A rainy day favorite, this Pinoy-style chicken noodle soup is made with thin glass noodles and sauteed veggies in flavorful chicken broth served with a soft-boiled egg.

Kusina Moderne, Poblacion

Kusina Moderne, Poblacion

Halaan Soup (Php395). Manila clams in a clear broth flavored with chili leaves, ginger, corn and kamote tops, and served with garlic toast.

Kusina Moderne, Poblacion

Kusina Moderne, Poblacion

Isda Tanigue (Php395). The tanigue or chub mackerel is often served plainly fried in Filipino dinner tables but this version it is served seared, sandwiched between a bed of pureed vegetables at the bottom and a medley of chopped and sauteed carrots, papaya, cabbage and pumpkin on top. If this was served to me when I was a kid, I would have eaten more fish and veggies!

Kusina Moderne, Poblacion

Kusina Moderne, Poblacion

Tuna Belly with Chimichurri (Php450). Marinated tuna belly is broiled then charred for that smokey flavor, and well-complemented by its chimichurri sauce.

Kusina Moderne, Poblacion

Kusina Moderne, Poblacion

Binagoongang Baboy (Php395). Roasted pork belly drizzled with binagoongan sauce and served with strips of green mango and radish salad on a bed of pureed roasted egg plant.

Kusina Moderne, Poblacion

Cheesecake Flan (Php175). Graham cracker crust topped with smooth and creamy leche flan served with mango bits, sliced walnuts and Marie biscuit crumbs giving this dessert nice contrasts in flavor and texture.

Kusina Moderne, Poblacion

Kusina Moderne, Poblacion

Sans Rival (Php215). This dessert is definitely without rival. How else can you describe balls of meringue studded with chopped walnuts and filled with buttercreama and served with a dollop of vanilla ice cream?

Kusina Moderne, Poblacion

Kusina Moderne, Poblacion

With these creative reimaginings of classic Pinoy dishes, Kusina Moderne adds a bit of excitement to its comfort food.

Kusina Moderne, Poblacion

Kusina Moderne, Poblacion

Check them out for yourself!

Many thanks to the management and crew of Kusina Moderne for the warm welcome and awesome food, and to Zomato and Listerine for making this event possible!

Kusina Moderne, Poblacion

Kusina Moderne, Poblacion

Oh, and watch this space for my blog post on the importance of mouthwash for foodies, coming soon!

Listerine x Zomato

Get a free dish when you and a friend dine at Kusina Moderne, thanks to Zomato Gold! Zomato Gold provides members with 1+1 (Buy 1 Get 1) deals on food or 2+2 (Buy 2 Get 2) deals on drinks. All you have to do is sign up for a Zomato Gold membership here. Use the code VOLT0979 to get 10% off the membership fee.

Kusina Moderne is located along Caceres Street, Poblacion, Makati, open Sundays and Tuesdays to Thursdays from 11am to 10pm and Fridays to Saturdays from 11am to 12 midnight. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 927 0830688.

Kusina Moderne Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclosure: Together with other foodies, I attended a foodie meetup held here wherein food and drink items were served to allow us to sample the fare. These were not paid for by the attendees, including myself.

Check out my reviews of other Filipino restaurants: