5 reasons why you should have your date night at Sammy’s Cainta

Sure, the restrictions from the pandemic may have prevented you going out on grand dinner dates with your beloved for several months but that doesn’t mean that you have to settle for lackluster date nights, right?

Sammy’s, Cainta

Sammy’s, Cainta

Sammy’s, Cainta

Certainly not when Sammy’s provides the perfect venue for wining and dining with your special someone. Let me tell you why:

1. It’s quite a hidden gem.

There’s a reason many romantic adventures take place in some out-of-the-way locale. Physically separating you from the normal hustle-and-bustle of your daily life will help bring your focus to just you and your partner.

Sammy’s, Cainta

Sammy’s is located inside a subdivision in Cainta, but still accessible from Metro Manila, so you can easily have that quick romantic escapade with your special someone.

Sammy’s also complies with safety protocols set by its LGU so be sure to fill up the health declaration form and follow physical distancing while you’re there!

Sammy’s, Cainta

2. Its decor sets a romantic mood.

Owner Chef Sammy Isidro and his wife Dorothy converted the second floor of their house into a cozy restaurant.

Its high ceilings give it an airy feel, while rustic lamps and fixtures that glow with warm lighting make it an intimate setting.

Sammy’s, Cainta

Sammy’s, Cainta

Sammy’s, Cainta

Sammy’s, Cainta

Large windows provides a view of the lush foliage outside which as a backdrop for your romantic adventure.

Sammy’s, Cainta

Sammy’s, Cainta

3. Its Indonesian-inspired cuisine is simply extraordinary.

Chef Sammy and Dorothy spent seventeen years in Indonesia which certainly influenced the food the Sammy’s serves.

Sammy’s, Cainta

Sammy’s, Cainta

Sammy’s, Cainta

Sammy’s, Cainta

These include:

Beef Konro. A large cut of beef rib slow-braised for hours until tender and drizzled with a flavorful sauce made with its own drippings. This dish is good for sharing.

Sammy’s, Cainta

Sammy’s, Cainta

Sammy’s, Cainta

Mie Goreng. Also known as Bakmi Goreng, this hearty dish is made with stir-fried noodles in a sweet and savory sauce tossed with herbs and strips of scrambled egg.

Sammy’s, Cainta

Sammy’s, Cainta

Sammy’s, Cainta

Nasi Goreng. Indonesian-style fried rice flavored with the traditional sweet soy sauce called kecap manis and other seasonings, then served with fried egg, krupuk (traditional cracker) and chicken satay.

Sammy’s, Cainta

Sammy’s, Cainta

Sammy’s, Cainta

Beef Rendang. A delicious and slightly spicy dish made with beef braised and slow-cooked in coconut milk seasoned with herbs and spices until the liquids evaporate and the meat takes on its caramlizes, becoming dark brown and tender, and infused with rich flavors.

Sammy’s, Cainta

Sammy’s, Cainta

Sammy’s, Cainta

Martabak Manis. One of Indonesia’s most popular desserts which consist of a thick pancake made with condensed milk, crushed peanuts and sesame seeds. The Choco-Cheese variant has been my favorite since I tasted it two years ago, while the newly introduced Cheese-and-Corn is a delicious new discovery.

Sammy’s, Cainta

Sammy’s, Cainta

Sammy’s, Cainta

Sammy’s, Cainta

With exotic yet flavorful dishes such as these, your dinner date is sure to become a gastronomic adventure !

Sammy’s, Cainta

Sammy’s, Cainta

Sammy’s, Cainta

Sammy’s, Cainta

4. You get serenaded after your meal.

Did you know that Chef Sammy is also known as The Singing Chef?

He and his wife spent seventeen years in Indonesia as singers in Hotel Mulia Senayan Jakarta, where they showcased the Pinoys’ vocal talent to an international audience.

Sammy’s, Cainta

Sammy’s, Cainta

They treat their guests to a song or two after dessert, and their duets are so nakakakilig!

5. You can have your favorite dishes delivered to your home.

Sammy’s now delivers via Grabfood, so if you want to relive your Sammy’s experience at home, or if you’re simply craving for Indonesian flavors, you can just grab your smartphone and tap away!

Chef Sammy also operates Sammy’s Cookin’, which provides catering services as well as deliver cakes, pastries and other sweets to foodies within Metro Manila.

Sammy’s Cookin’ To order, call 0939 1483960.

Sammy’s, Cainta

Sammy’s, Cainta

So even in the midst of a pandemic, you can still find the time and the place for a little romance, thanks to Sammy’s.

Check out my previous adventures with Sammy’s:

Sammy’s is located at 14 Raspberry Bend Street, Valley View Executive Subdivision Phase 3, San Juan, Cainta. The restaurant is open Tuesdays to Sundays for breakfast from 8am to 10.30am, lunch from 11am to 1.30pm and dinner from 6pm to 9pm.

Seating is strictly by reservation so call +63 939 1483960 to book your table. You may also use the same number to order from Sammy’s Cookin’.

You can also hold intimate gatherings such as birthday shindigs, proposal dinners, engagement parties and wedding or baptismal receptions (with a maximum guest count of twenty) at Sammy’s.

Sammy’s, Cainta

For updates on its menu and offers, follow Sammy’s on Facebook or Instagram.

Sammy's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Culinary journey at Pandan Asian Cafe, Tomas Morato

Part of the fun of traveling is the eating the local food. By tasting the signature dishes of the locale – see what flavors the people savor, how they use available ingredients and more – you get to learn much about their culture and history.

Sadly, I haven’t been able to travel to our neighboring countries in Southeast Asia, as other priorities got in the way. However, there is a way to get a taste of Southeast Asian flavors, thanks to Pandan Asian Cafe.

One of the recent ventures by Chef Mike Sarthou (or more widely known as Chef Tatung), Pandan Asian Cafe brings iconic Southeast Asian dishes to Quezon City’s dining public.

Pandan Asian Cafe, Tomas Morato

The resto is situated where Lazat Fil-Asian Restaurant & Bar used to be. It maximized the place’s open and airy layout, adding vibrant greens from decor and plants, which add to the feeling of freshness.

Pandan Asian Cafe, Tomas Morato

Pandan Asian Cafe, Tomas Morato

Pandan Asian Cafe, Tomas Morato

Before the pandemic made itself known, I had lunch here with my officemates. Our Southeast Asian meal consisted of:

Nasi Goreng (Php285).  The Malay version of fried rice with chicken, eggs and vegetables and distinctly flavored with sweet soy sauce called kecap manis.

Pandan Asian Cafe, Tomas Morato

Orange Chicken (Php450).  A variation of General Tso’s chicken wherein battered chicken is served drenched in fruity orange sauce.

Pandan Asian Cafe, Tomas Morato

Pandan Asian Cafe, Tomas Morato

Salt and Pepper Squid (Php340). The Chinese version of fried calamari wherein squid pieces are covered in light batter, then deep-fried to become crispy on the outside, tender and chewy on the inside.

Pandan Asian Cafe, Tomas Morato

Pandan Asian Cafe, Tomas Morato

Sticky Rice (Php210). Traditional Thai dessert of sticky rice in coconut cream sprinkled with sesame seeds and served with mango slices.

Pandan Asian Cafe, Tomas Morato

Iced Vietnamese Coffee (Php160). Also known as ca phe da, it is made by allowing hot water to drip through medium to coarse-ground dark-roasted Vietnamese-grown coffee beans into condensed milk then stirring with crushed ice.

Pandan Asian Cafe, Tomas Morato

I’m glad with the break from the usual lunch fare that Pandan Asian Cafe provided our group. I just found the portions a little small.

Pandan Asian Cafe, Tomas Morato

During the ECQ, the resto temporarily halted its operations but re-opened last July. It also expanded its offers to include party platters of its best-selling dishes for takeout or delivery.

So if you feel like expanding your culinary horizons, drop by or order a food tray to go.

Pandan Asian Cafe is located at 76 Scout Limbaga Street, Laging Handa, Quezon City, open daily from 11am to 11pm. For inquiries, reservations or delivery requests, call +63 2 83550998, +63 2 83515279 or +63 917 7748999.

Pandan Asian Café Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Four reasons why Sammy’s in Cainta is a hidden gem worth uncovering

The areas east of Manila are home to many noteworthy restaurants that satisfy the discerning foodie’s need for great food and beautiful surroundings.

Sammy’s, the rustic restaurant tucked away in one of the inner subdivisions in Valley Golf, Cainta, has a lot more going for it.

Curious yet? Read on to discover four reasons why this hidden gem should be brought out to the light of day for everyone to enjoy.

One: The warm welcome.

Sammy’s is located in a fairly hidden street in the Valley View Executive Subdivision, one of the residential villages inside Valley Golf in Cainta, Rizal. Together with my foodie friends from #WeLoveToEatPH and #SaanSaPH, I was able to locate the place thanks to Google Maps and to the cute signboard made of corrugated steel that hangs outside the gate.

Sammy’s, Cainta

Sammy’s, Cainta

Sammy’s, Cainta

Sammy’s, Cainta

When the gate opened, we were greeted by the smiling Chef Sammy Isidro and his lovely wife Dorothy. And boy, do they have a lot of fun stories to tell! (But more on that later.)

Two: The beautiful place.

The restaurant is actually located at the second floor of their house. A high ceiling decorated by hanging Edison lamps and large windows that let in lots of natural light give the room an open and airy feel. While the area is just big enough to seat twenty to twenty-four people, the layout makes it seem much bigger.

Sammy’s, Cainta

Sammy’s, Cainta

Sammy’s, Cainta

Adding character to the place is its decor which is a cross between rustic and industrial. Polished pine wood tables and woven hemp place mats complement the black and white ceramic ware and clear glassware. Clocks made of bike parts adorn one wall, while a light fixture made of pipes accent another.

Sammy’s, Cainta

Sammy’s, Cainta

Sammy’s, Cainta

Even the washroom is visually appealing: check out that kawali sink!

And the lush greenery from the trees outside provide a verdant backdrop for all of these elements, and, of course, the delicious dishes that Chef Sammy whips up in the kitchen.

Three: The delicious Indonesian-inspired food.

Sammy’s serves a carefully thought-out curation of Asian cuisine influenced, no doubt, by the seventeen years the couple spent in Jakarta. (Doing what there? Again, more on that later, I promise!)

Sammy’s, Cainta

We were served these delectable dishes:

Sammy’s Breakfast (Php390). This big-enough-for-two meal consists of Chef Sammy’s favorite breakfast meal items which include Pinoy classics such as beef tapa, tocino, longganisa and danggit, accompanied by garlic fried rice and omelet.

Sammy’s, Cainta

5-Hour Pork Belly in two ways…

With Laing and White Rice (Php290). A lean piece of pork belly is roasted at low temperature for five hours to achieve a tender texture and a smokey flavor. It is placed on a bed of homemade laing, the Bicolano staple made of taro leaves accompanied by steamed rice.

Sammy’s, Cainta

In a Cubano Sandwich with Kamote Fries (Php250). Showcasing the versatility 5-hour pork belly, Chef Sammy uses it in a hearty Cubano sandwich together with pickles, cheese and a tart sauce in a crisp Cubano bread with kamote (sweet potato) fries on the side.

Sammy’s, Cainta

Konro with White Rice (Php530). In this Indonesian version of braised beef, big chunks of flavorful ribs are slow-cooked for hours in its own drippings, thereby concentrating its flavor. By the way, this giant serving is also big enough for two.

Sammy’s, Cainta

Nasi Goreng (Php190). In this Indonesian take on the fried rice, precooked rice is flavored with kecap manis (a sweet kind of soy sauce), shallots, garlic, shrimp paste and tamarind, and made heartier with the addition of juicy pieces of chicken satay on skewers and krupuk crackers.

Sammy’s, Cainta

Mango Crepes with Vanilla Sauce (Php160). Chef Sammy first tasted this dessert when he was a waiter at La Scala years ago and his fond memories of it drove him to include it in the menu of his own restaurant.

Sammy’s, Cainta

Banana Bread French Toast (Php140). Slices of homemade banana loaf are dipped in a rich egg mixture then lightly toasted, making this dessert extra decadent.

Sammy’s, Cainta

Martabak Manis. This thick pancake dish popular in Indonesia is filled chocolate sprinkle, crushed peanuts, cheese and condensed milk. It’s not yet on the menu but given our enthusiastic reaction to it, it definitely should be.

Sammy’s, Cainta

Fresh Fruit Shakes: Ripe Mango Shake (Php140) and Banana Milk Shake (Php130).

Sammy’s, Cainta

Hot Bicolano Tabrilla Chocolate (Php65). This cup of decadently thick hot chocolate made from single-origin tabrilla from Bicol is perfect for lazy Sunday mornings when you just want to luxuriate in its sweet comfort… or any other time, really.

Sammy’s, Cainta

Sammy’s, Cainta

Four: The singing chef… and his wife!

And now for the low-down: Chef Sammy and Dorothy spent seventeen years as singers in the Hotel Mulia Senayan Jakarta, where they exemplified the musical prowess of Pinoys to the hotel’s international clientele.

In between his singing gigs, Sammy achieved his Diploma 1 at the Jakarta Culinary Center.

Now that they have their own establishment back home, Chef Sammy and Dorothy still break out into song from time to time, but mostly as an extra treat for their dinner guests after dessert has been served.

Imagine a Valentine’s Day date, an intimate proposal or an anniversary celebration with these two singing in the background. (Kilig time ahead!) 😍😍😍

So given all these reasons, I think it’s high time that Sammy’s become a prime destination for foodies, and not just for those living east of Manila. Don’t you agree?

Thanks to Chef Sammy and Dorothy for an awesome dining experience for me and my foodie buddies!

Sammy’s Cainta

Sammy’s, Cainta

Sammy’s, Cainta

Sammy’s, Cainta

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.

Sammy's 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 blog posts on breakfast joints around the metro:

Something new brewing at Caffe Freddo, BGC

For a coffee lover like me, that morning cuppa signals the start of a new day, and that mug in the afternoon is all I need to pick me up from the post-lunch slump.

I also look forward to trying out new brews and coffee concoctions. It’s actually amazing how coffee is versatile enough to be mixed and matched with new ingredients to come up with an exciting new beverage.

Last night, together with my fellow foodies, I trooped over to Caffe Freddo in Bonifacio High Street to find out what the cafe has been brewing as part of its Philippine Independence Day offering.

Caffe Freddo, BGC

The new Ube Freddo (Php150) localizes Caffe Freddo’s coffee experience by adding the very Pinoy flavor of ube (purple yam) to the Freddo, the cafe’s signature iced coffee drink which contains a double shot of espresso and sweetened frothed milk. The resulting purple concoction makes for a pretty and Instagrammable drink. It joins the cafe’s roster of imaginative Freddo flavors which already include Mocha, Chai, Matcha and Coco starting June 12.

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Along with the Ube Freddo, we also got a taste of the cafe’s carefully curated Modern European brunch menu which included:

Appetizers

Crunchy Calamari (Php240). Crispy battered squid rings served with basil and lime mayo.

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Spring Rolls (Php260). Shrimp and corn-filled spring rolls served with coriander tomato dip.

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Dried Figs Burrata Flat Bread (Php380). The dried figs add a sweet element that complements the savory flavors from burrata cheese, caramelized onions and the arugula in this flatbread.

Caffe Freddo,BGC

Panzanella Salad (Php290). Fresh flavors abound in this mixture of kale, watermelon, cherry tomatoes and croutons tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette.

Caffe Freddo,BGC

Mains.

Nasi Goreng (Php330). Chicken satay served with Indonesian spiced shrimp, vegetable fried rice and fried egg.

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Beef Tagliatelle (Php350). Pasta tossed in beefy tomato ragu and basil.

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Aglio Olio (Php350). Spaghetti tossed in virgin olive oil, garlic and spiced bacon.

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Soy Grilled Salmon (Php480). Salmon topped with wabiko cream and served with wasabi mashed potato.

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Fried Chicken Confit (Php320). Crispy fried chicken served with cole slaw.

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Croque Madame (Php320). Smoked ham over a brioche toast and a layer of gruyere cheese, topped with a fried egg and mornay sauce.

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Desserts.

Mango Granita (Php220). Succulent cubes of mango mixed in strips of fresh coconut, crumbled macaroons and coconut milk.

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Greek Yogurt Panna Cotta (Php220). Light and tangy panna cotta served with blueberries in a pinot syrup.

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Sans Rival (Php220). The classic Pinoy cake made of decadent layers of buttercream, meringue and chopped nuts.

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Choco Paradise (Php190).This rich chocolatey confection is perfect for those craving for chocolate after a meal.

Caffe Freddo, BGC

With its slew of dishes, coffee offerings and cozy atmosphere, it’s easy to see why Caffe Freddo has become a prime foodie destination.

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Thanks to Pat of ThePatKidInside for extending the invitation!

About Caffe Freddo

Caffe Freddo prides itself in offering a very unique selection of coffee, not found anywhere else in the metro. The coffee selection is all specially brewed from premium coffee beans of Bluestone Lane from New York City. Strategically located in the busy commercial business district of Bonifacio High Street, Caffe Freddo has refreshingly inviting interiors, with its off-white distressed brick walls, ample seating good for 50 people, and columns with hand-painted coffee plants in vibrant hues of green and red. Caffe Freddo is cozy enough for group meet-ups and family dining.

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Caffe Freddo, BGC

Caffe Freddo is located at The Spa Building, 9th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City, open Sundays to Thursdays from 7am to 11pm and Fridays to Saturdays from 7am to 12 midnight.  For inquiries, call +63 9988479410.

Caffe Freddo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - ZomatoDisclosure: Together with my fellow foodies, I was invited to join a foodie meetup held at this restaurant. Food items mentioned here were served to allow us to sample the fare and were not paid for by the attendees, including myself.

Check out my blog posts on breakfast joints around the metro: