Wine pairing class explores tasty combinations of wine and pizza

In vino, veritas.

In wine, there is truth.

Well, the truth is, I didn’t have much appreciation for wines. Similar to most Filipinos who reached adulthood without any exposure to wine culture, I have decided that wine just isn’t for me. What few sips I’ve had of the stuff were, for some reason, not pleasurable for me.

However, after joining a Food and Wine Pairing class organized by Wine Story Academy, I realized that maybe, similar to many things in life, I just haven’t found the right wine for me. Also, by partnering wine with one of my favorite kinds of food – pizza, supplied by Pasto Cafe and Bar – I was able to explore how the right combination of food and wine brings out the best in each other.

Food and Wine Pairing, Wine Story

The class was held at the Wine Story outlet in EDSA Shangri-la Mall, an upscale retailer of fine and rare wines. Wine Story Academy’s Wine Education Manager Carla Santos guided our group through a set of five different wines to be tasted together with five different pizza flavors.

Food and Wine Pairing, Wine Story

Basic Principles in Food and Wine Pairing

The conventional wisdom in food and wine pairing is to pair red wines with red meat and white wines with white meat. However, according to Carla, there are more factors to consider, not the least of which is your own preference.

To find the perfect food and wine pairing, we need to strike a balance among the following characteristics of the food served:

Weight. How heavy (or filling) does the food feel in your mouth? It is a good idea to pair a filling kind of food with a fuller-bodied kind of wine.

Intensity.  How strong does are the food’s flavors?  You would want to taste both the food and the wine’s flavors so take care that one does not overpower the other.

Flavor.  The ingredients and method of cooking, as well as dips and sauces incorporated to the dish also contribute to the flavor of the food which needs to be considered.

In choosing the perfect wine for the dishes, one must consider the following wine profiles:

Sweetness. It is the first sensation – it may not necessarily be a sugary kind of sweetness but more of a fruity kind – as the wine hits the tip of your tongue. All but the very driest of wines will have some sensation of sweetness.

Acidity.  This is what makes the wine crisp and refreshing.  You will feel it as it makes your mouth water.  A wine with too much acidity will be unpleasantly tart while one with too little will feel flabby or flat.

Tannin.  This is the mouth-drying  substance found in wine.  Too much tannin will make the wine taste hard and bitter while too little will make it seem soft and innocuous as fruit juice.

The Tasting

The evening’s featured wines, curated by Wine Story Academy, include:

Tenuta Sant’Anna Goccia Pinot Grigio 2017 (Veneto, Italy; Php1,000).  It smells of acacia flowers and exotic fruits.  The taste is marked by a total absence of tannin, resulting to a fresh and floral flavor.

Sand Point Chardonnay 2015 (California, USA; Php1,300). Possesses an aroma with peach and pear notes.  It is a soft wine with low acidity and fruity flavor.

Urban Riesling 2015 (Mosel, Germany; Php1,350). It has a clean, fresh and flinty bouquet and smells of tangerines.  It is off-dry, with a crisp and semi-sweet taste.

The Winery of Good Hope Bush Vine Pinotage 2018 (Stellenbosch, South Africa; Php1,050).  Its aroma is one of blackberry and plums accented by hints of oak and mocha.  It tastes ripe and juicy.

Food and Wine Pairing, Wine Story

Cardinalices Rouge Grande Reserve 2015 (Rhone Valley, France; Php1,000).  It has a fruity aroma with some spicy notes and marked by a strong and complex flavor.

Pizzas paired with the featured wines were provided by Pasto’s EDSA Shangri-la Mall branch and presented interesting flavors that we mixed and matched with the wine.

Food and Wine Pairing, Wine Story

Vegetariano. This pizza is marked by the earthy smokey flavor of assorted roasted vegetables such as eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers and garlic. I find that the light and fresh Pinot Grigio works well with this pizza.

Food and Wine Pairing, Wine Story

Napolitana. Sliced button mushrooms and savory achovies make this a strongly flavored pizza. For me, the Pinotage’s acidity stands up well to its saltiness.

Food and Wine Pairing, Wine Story

Di Carne. This is an all-meat extravaganza with Italian sausage, smoked ham and pepperoni. The Cardinalices’ bold and strong flavors complement the meats in this pizza.

Food and Wine Pairing, Wine Story

Gamberi Fritti. A crispy battered shrimp tops the artichoke salsa and lemon aioli in this pizza, with spicy chili flakes. The low alcohol and the refreshing acidity of the Riesling manages the heat from this spicy pizza.

Prosciutto Cotto. Caramelized onions added some sweetness to the pizza along with the earthy smoked ham, asparagus and mozzarella. The soft and fruity Chardonnay complements the pizza’s flavors.

Food and Wine Pairing, Wine Story

Wine tasting tips

This food and wine pairing class is an eye-opener for me. Not only did it show me the versatility and variety of wines but it also helped grow my appreciation for how they can enrich the dining experience. For those who are planning to go to a similar wine tasting affair, here are some things to remember:

  • No brushing of teeth or smoking right before class. Tobacco and mint will affect your sense of taste.
  • Avoid wearing heavy scents such as perfume, cologne or scented hair spray. These will affect your sense of smell.
  • Hold the wine glass by the stem. This keeps fingerprints off the bowl (so you can see and appreciate the liquid in all its splendor) and prevents your hand from heating the wine.
  • Prior to tasting, take a sniff to get an initial impression of the wine’s aroma, then swirl for a bit to bring out some more of its scent. This will contribute to your fuller appreciation of the wine’s flavor.

Many thanks to Mike Lord Raymundo of the Pasto Group and Bar Craft Concepts for extending the invitation!

Food and Wine Pairing, Wine Story

Food and Wine Pairing, Wine Story

For more details about the wines and pizzas featured in this wine class, visit their respective social media sites:

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

To help develop the Filipino palate for wine, the Wine Story Academy offers the following classes next month:

  • April 6: Intro to Bordeaux (Php3,000 per person)
  • April 13: Wine 101 (Php2,000 per person) and Sushi and Wine Pairing (Php2,500 per person)

Say hello to a great summer with Ombu Kusina’s Flavored Ice Halo-Halo

Summers are for great times with great food, and spent with great friends.

Together with my fellow foodies, I experienced what certainly seems to be the start of a great summer.

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

In a recent Foodie Event hosted by Ombu Kusina, it launched its newest and coolest offerings: three new scrumptious halo-halo flavors!

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

The halo-halo is a favorite Pinoy dessert made of crushed ice, evaporated milk and other sweet ingredients such as nata de coco, beans and coconut strips, served layered on top of each other, but then mixed together so that each spoonful is a mixture of sweet ingredients and the crushed ice. Ombu does its own take on this classic icy treat, with three flavors, available only during the summer, at only Php160 each. These include:

Milk Tea. The milk tea craze has surely hit the country and how! Now this exotic drink which originated from Taiwan flavors the Pinoy halo-halo through the use of brewed Earl Grey black tea.

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Mango. Fresh ripe mango are pureed, mixed with milk then frozen to create mango-flavored crushed ice, served with the usual halo-halo ingredients and toppped with succulent mango cubes.

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Tres Leches. As the name implies, the crushed ice is flavored with three kinds of milk and topped with creamy leche flan. This is my favorite among the new halo-halo variants.

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Ombu’s Chef Griffin Oraiz explained that what sets Ombu’s halo-halo treats apart from similar offerings from other restaurants is the use of flavored ice: the flavors are infused into the ice, resulting to a more intense taste and creamier mouthfeel.

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Ombu also showcased some its signature dishes which are well-suited for the summer, such as:

Suzi Wong Sandwich (Php270). A three-layered sandwich made of ham, cheese and pickles between four slices of butter-toasted crusted bread and served with house-made deep-fried purple camote chips.

Ombu, Tomas Morato

Tinapa Croquettes (Php240). Tinapa (smoked milkfish) is combined with a creamy bechamel sauce and sauteed onions, then coated with breadcrumbs, deep-fried to a crisp golden brown and served with a house-blend special garlic mayo dip.

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Three-Cheese Pizza (Php420). Mozzarella and cheddar cheeses are combined with the local kesong puti, a home-grown cheese made of carabao’s milk, on top of a crisp oven-baked pizza crust.

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Tokwa’t Baboy (Php260). Tokwa (tofu) are cut into cubes, fried and served with hearty pork chunks in a house-blended spicy soy vinegar sauce. This is actually a great complement and a traditional companion to the next dish which is the…

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Arroz Caldo (Php130). The traditional Pinoy version of rice porridge with chicken pieces, it is highlighted by the use of cured, soft-boiled “ramen-style” eggs that adds a different dimension of flavor to the Pinoy merienda staple.

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

These dishes and the seasonal halo-halo flavors all adhere to Ombu Kusina’s 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.

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

And if that isn’t reason enough for you to hie on over to Ombu for a taste of its innovative and flavorful dishes, how about this: use my code – VIPBeingJellybeans – when you dine in and get 10% off your food bill!

Check it out and let me know what you think!

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 441179.

Read my review of a previous visit to Ombu Kusina here.

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

Disclosure: Together with other 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 reviews of other Filipino restaurants:

Good food and good vibes at Mama Lou’s Italian Kitchen, Ayala Vertis North

For an oft-stressed-out office worker, lunchtime is a sacred hour: an opportunity to leave one’s desk and devote time to good food and good vibes. What will make it even more enjoyable? The company of good friends!

That’s what happened last Tuesday when, together with a group of officemates, I traipsed off to Ayala Vertis North to treat ourselves to yummy Italian food at Mama Lou’s Italian Kitchen.

The resto got its start from a real kitchen in a family home in BF Homes Las Pinas. The couple Richard and Malou Tremblay decided to open their doors to guests in 2010. Though remaining family-run, the venture has since grown into Mama Lou’s Group which is comprised of two Italian concept restaurants: Mama Lou’s Italian Kitchen and Nonna’s Pasta & Pizzeria. Both eateries continue the tradition of providing guests the feeling of comfort and happiness of coming home to good food.

This Mama Lou’s branch is occupies a sprawling space with seating good for small and large groups. Our group opted to sit outside as we found the air-conditioning inside to be a bit too cold (Side note: I just know I will miss the cold weather of late January when the summer months come in).

Mama Lou’s, Ayala Vertis North

While waiting for our food, we were given bread that we dipped in olive oil, balsamic vinegar and parmesan cheese.

Mama Lou’s, Ayala Vertis North

For starters, we have Mozzarella Sticks (Php225), fat pieces of cheese breaded and fried to a crisp golden brown on the outside and a yummy gooey cheesy inside, well complemented by a side of rich tomatoey pomodoro sauce.

Mama Lou’s, Ayala Vertis North

Mama Lou’s, Ayala Vertis North

An Oriental Salad (Php325) gave us a taste of freshness with crisp greens topped with slivers of ripe mango, apple slices, crabstick meat and drizzled with Mama Lou’s special sesame dressing.

Mama Lou’s, Ayala Vertis North

A new dish, Lucio’s Truffle Pasta (Php350) was a decadently creamy delight with a rich hint of truffle oil while Spaghetti Seafood Olio (Php350) and Vongole Olio (Php295) gave us a healthy taste of the sea.

Mama Lou’s, Ayala Vertis North

Mama Lou’s, Ayala Vertis North

Mama Lou’s, Ayala Vertis North

Mama Lou’s, Ayala Vertis North

A 14-inch combination of Frutti di Mare and Pizza Margherita (Php550) served with arugula and alfalfa made our meal even more filling.

Mama Lou’s, Ayala Malls Vertis North

Mama Lou’s, Ayala Vertis North

The Pan Fried Beef Scaloppine (Php395) was late in reaching our table so we weren’t able to enjoy the dish as much as we would have liked.

Mama Lou’s, Ayala Vertis North

That said, it was a great lunch experience with friends, one I wouldn’t mind repeating.

Mama Lou’s, Ayala Vertis North

Plus, since three of us unlocked our Zomato Gold privilege at this resto, we got three of these dishes for free!

Want to score a similar discount? Zomato Gold provides members with 1+1 deals on food or 2+2 deals on drinks. All you have to do is sign up for a Zomato Gold membership here. Use my code JELLYB to get 20% off the membership fee.

This Mama Lou’s Italian Kitchen branch is located at Level 1, Ayala Malls Vertis North, Bagong Pag-asa, Quezon City, open Mondays to Thursdays from 10am to 9pm and Fridays to Sundays from 10am to 10pm. For reservations and inquiries, call +63 2 4269196.

Other branches are located at:

  • Second Floor, Evia Lifestyle Center, Daang Hari Road, Alabang, Muntinlupa City (open daily from 11am to 11pm; Tel No.: +63 2 8006315)
  • Block 1, Lot 36 Tropical Avenue corner Tropical Palace, BF International, Las Pinas City (open Sundays to Thursdays from 11am to 10pm and Fridays to Saturdays from 11am to 12 midnight; Tel No.: +63 2 5191977 or +63 917 5156262)
  • Second Floor, Ayala Malls the 30th, Meralco Avenue, Ugong, Pasig City (open daily from 11am to 9pm; Tel No.: 63 2 7208519)
  • Upper Ground Floor, Ayala Malls Feliz, Dela Paz, Pasig City (open Sundays to Thursdays from 10am to 9pm and Fridays to Saturdays from 10am to 10pm; +63 2 7442425)
  • Ground Floor, UP Town Center, Katipunan Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City (open Mondays to Thursdays from 11am to 9pm and Fridays to Sundays from 10am to 10pm; Tel No.: +63 2 9585563)

Mama Lou's Italian Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my reviews of other restaurants offering Italian food:

Hidden gem of Italian Cuisine: Cucina di Francesco, Libis

When you think about food places in the Libis area, chances are this Italian restaurant hidden away from the busier sections of the metro has escaped your notice.

Cucina di Francesco got its name from the name Francesco Forgione, the name that Saint Pio of Petrelcina, more affectionately known to devotees as Padre Pio, was born with.

Incidentally, the restaurant is located in the same compound as St. Pio Chapel, so I would imagine families fresh from Sunday mass coming in for lunch.

In this instance, however, I took my fam here on the way to our weekend staycation.

From outside, the restaurant presents a comfortable, homey and welcoming facade.

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

Inside, the place is bright and cheery, with large windows letting in lots of natural light and large hand-painted murals giving the premises an eclectic vibe. There are more seats to dine in on the second floor, while the third floor is mainly used for events.

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

I booked our table the night before via Zomato. We were a few minutes late but I called the resto to apprise them of our arrival time so our table was waiting for us when we arrived.

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

My daughter #ExhibitA, who’s trying to eat healthy, requested for a salad so we ordered a Ceasar Salad (Php180). The focaccia croutons, fresh microgreens and rough-chopped walnuts delectably add to the taste and texture of this classic dish.

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

Our little boy #ExhibitB, on the other hand, is a well-known pizza monster. We got him a Tre Formaggi (Php350) whose lethal combination of bleu cheese, emmenthal and mozzarella on top of creamy bechamel got my baby reaching for slice after slice.

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

Hubby got himself a Pasta Puttanesca (Php195). The sauce made from olives, anchovids and capers in fresh tomato sauce makes this a tasty pasta dish. (Hubby liked it well enough but insists that his mom’s version tastes better.)

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

We split orders of Lasagna al Forno (Php260), a meaty baked lasagna with bechamel cheese sauce (which I found a bit dry) and Italian Beef Stew (Php485), a dish made of beef chunks, Italian sausage and vegetables braised in tomato wine sauce and served with parsley rice.

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

All in all, I wouldn’t mind another visit to Cucina di Francisco and checking out more of its Italian viands. The place certainly is charming and even has free WiFi! Plus, the wait staff are also friendly and accommodating.

It’s quite near my home and is easily accessible. Since it is a free-standing resto that shares a sizeable multi-level parking lot with the church, I wouldn’t have to stress myself in looking for a parking space as opposed to the likely scenario if I were to visit a mall-based eatery during mealtimes.

Cucina di Francisco, Libis

It also employs persons with disability, such as those in the autism spectrum. This is an advocacy near and dear to my heart, being a parent to a child with special needs myself.

For those who are artistically inclined, Cucina di Francesco also serves as a venue for art and crafts workshops on weekends in partnership with Maartsy such as Plush Keychain Making and Acrylic Flower Jewelry Making in January 26 and Mandala Coffee Painting and Doodle Art with Lettering on January 27. For inquiries, call +63 2 9175861785.

Cucina di Francisco is located at RER Compound (St. Pio Chapel), 188 E. Rodriguez Jr. Avenue, Bagumbayan, Libis, Quezon City, open daily Tuesdays to Thursdays from 8am to 8pm and Fridays to Sundays from 8am to 9pm. For reservations, call +63 2 5349935 or book your table via Zomato like I did. 🙂

Cucina di Francesco Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Here’s some trivia for you: Did you know that puttanesca translates to “in the style of a whore” in Italian? While some food pundits would attribute the name to seedier origins, some food historians date the sauce back to the 1950s when Sandro Penti of Rancio Fellona were requested by hungry late-night patrons to “Facci una puttanata qualisiasi” or “Throw together whatever.” Which was what the good Penti did with what he had at the time: tomatoes, olives and capers. The rest is history. More on that here.

Check out my reviews of other Italian restaurants:

8 Reasons you’ll want to take your familly aboard Anchor Point Diner, San Rafael

Ahoy there, mumshies!

Feel like you might want to take a break from always running a tight ship and treat the family to some tasty burgers, pizzas and pastas?

Well, then… When you dock at the newly opened eatery along San Rafael Street in Mandaluyong’s Barangay Plainview, you will find plenty for the family to love.

Anchor Point Diner, San Rafael

One: The resto’s interiors leading to a seaside adventure.

The resto is situated in a converted two-story house festooned with nautical-inspired furniture and artwork, inspired by Chef Junjie Templo’s stint as a seaman chef and further refined by the San Rafael branch co-owner Cathy Donato – Miaque’s design sensibilities.

Anchor Point Diner, San Rafael

Anchor Point Diner, San Rafael

Anchor Point Diner, San Rafael

The best thing about the resto’s design is that diners can interact with the decor. Take a pic of yourself as a ship captain in the outdoor deck, make-believe you’re climbing up waterfalls in the hallway, or let your kids have a go in the rocking horse. If you let your inmer child out, there won’t be a dull moment here.

Anchor Point Diner, San Rafael

Anchor Point Diner, San Rafael

Anchor Point Diner, San Rafael

Plus, check out the washroom with a wall-to-wall painting of a seaside dock! Who would have thought going to a resto’s restroom would be so entertaining!

Anchor Point Diner, San Rafael

Two: Yummy munchies while waiting for your meal.

Start of your meal with some appetizers – platters of fries or nachos with oodles of cheese, peppers, onions, meat and other toppings!

Anchor Point Diner, San Rafael

Anchor Point Diner, San Rafael

Three: Its Burger Varieties.

Pinoy families have grown to love burgers and here, there’s enough variety and affordably priced items to have you and your fam coming back for more. Check these out: the crunchy chicken sandwich Captain’s Crave (Php109), fresh veggies and all-beef Anchor Point Burger (Php129), burger-with-bacon Quarterdeck (Php139) and so much more!

Anchor Point Diner, San Rafael

Anchor Point Diner, San Rafael

Anchor Point Diner, San Rafael

Anchor Point Diner, San Rafael

Anchor Point Diner, San Rafael

Want to prove your burger mettle? Take the Black Out Challenge (Php450 with fries | Php480 with nachos). Finish this monster of a triple patty burger and its accompanying sides in five minutes and it’s free. You will also have the honor of joining Anchor Point Diner’s Hull of Fame!

Anchor Point Diner, San Rafael

Anchor Point Diner, San Rafael

Anchor Point Diner, San Rafael

Four: Its Chicken Meals.

There’s nothing like chomping down on a juicy piece of chicken and at Anchor Point Diner, there’s plenty to choose from: from its original recipe Chicken Fritoz (Php99), savory Garlic Parmesan (Php119), spicy Texas Wild Wings (Php109) and my new fave Teriyaki Chicken (Php109).

Anchor Point Diner, San Rafael

Anchor Point Diner, San Rafael

Anchor Point Diner, San Rafael

Anchor Point Diner, San Rafael

Feeling extra hungry? Get a Bucket of Ten for only Php250! That should fill up the fam’s tummies!

Five: Pizzas and Pastas

Hearty and filling, these crunchy-yet-chewy thin-crust pizzas (made with hand-kneaded dough and baked fresh everyday) and yummy pastas will sate the fam’s hunger while making your taste buds happy!

Choose from two pizza sizes – Sailor at 9 inches and Captain at 12 inches – and from four yummy flavors – English Margherita (Php149 | Php199), Hawaiian Sunset (Php169 | Php219), Vegan Garden (Php179 | Php229), and of course, my absolute fave, Triple Cheese (Php189 | Php239).

Anchor Point Diner, San Rafael

Anchor Point Diner, San Rafael

Anchor Point Diner, San Rafael

Anchor Point Diner, San Rafael

Pastas come in two flavors: Shrimp Olio (Php129) and Italian Bolognese (Php99).

Anchor Point Diner, San Rafael

Anchor Point Diner, San Rafael

Six: Best value combo meals!

Despite the ala carte dishes being priced quite affordably already, these are further mixed and matched into combo meals with iced tea that not only give you a variety of flavors in one complete meal, but also super savings. Prices for single-person combo meals range from Php129 to Php259.

Anchor Point Diner, San Rafael

Anchor Point Diner, San Rafael

Anchor Point Diner, San Rafael

Anchor Point Diner, San Rafael

Anchor Point Diner, San Rafael

Plus, a family of four can dine on a combo of chicken, pasta, pizza, rice and drinks for only Php550, while a group of six can do the same for only Php859.

There’s so much food variation when I dined here, I nearly went into a food coma! (Special thanks to my fellow foodies who pulled me back from the brink, hehehe!)

Anchor Point Diner, San Rafael

Seven: Cap off your meal with decadent dessert frappes!

There’s a special treat for the family member who has a sweet tooth: dessert drinks in your choice among three yummy flavors at only Php95 – Rock & Load for chocolate lovers, Strawberry Kiss for strawberry fans, and the frappe that truly captured the taste of summer at sea with its zesty sweetness and refreshing cucumber juice, Sweet Innocence.

Anchor Point Diner, San Rafael

Eight: It’s home-grown.

Anchor Point Diner is all-Filipino, originating from Mataas na Kahoy in Batangas. It has since expanded further in the region to include branches in Sto. Tomas, Dagatan and Tanauan.

This first branch in Metro Manila is located in Barangay Plainview, Mandaluyong City. It will also serve as the commisary for all Metro Manila branches.

Interested in taking part of its further growth as a franchisee? You will benefit from the use of trademarks, staff training, procurement program, opening assistance, operations manual and more already developed by the team. The first step to getting on board is to contact Mr. Junjie Templo or Ms. Eds Lamela through the touchpoints below:

  • Tel. Nos: +63 977 8877708, +63 43 4612634, +63 917 8641297 or +63 2 7192691
  • Email: franchise.apd@gmail.com, templrm15@gmail.com, eds.bgmcorp@yahoo.com, Exec.Assistant@bgm-corporation.com

There are just so many reasons to hie on over to Anchor Point Diner and go on a voyage of good food and good company with the family. So what are you waiting for?

Anchor Point Diner is located at 43 San Rafael corner Buenconsejo Streets, Plainview, Mandaluyong, open daily from 11am to 12 midnight.

Anchor Point Diner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclosure: Together with other food bloggers, I was invited to attend a foodie meetup held at this restaurant. All the food items mentioned here were served to allow us to sample the fare and were not paid for by the attendees, including myself.

Modern Filipino Cuisine at Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Lately, restaurants touting “modern Filipino cuisine” have sprouted up all over the metro.

But what is modern Filipino cuisine?

Simply put: it is the flavors you grew up with but broken free of traditions surrounding them, even incorporating foreign influences. It is composed of tastes and textures familiar to you but applied and presented in exciting and novel ways. In short, this is not your grandma’s cooking.

Unless your dear Lola is part of the visionary team behind Ombu Kusina, of course.

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Ombu is a modern Filipino restaurant located along Mother Ignacia Street in Quezon City. Having recently revamped its interiors, it also recently launched its special holiday dishes. And your friendly neighborhood Jellybeans is among the lucky foodies who were able to attend its exclusive food tasting event.

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Ombu’s newly renovated premises are simply impressive. White subway tiles serve as an elegant backdrop for light-colored plush seats, darkwood tables and the feast laid out for us.

And said feast consisted of Ombu’s signature dishes such as:

Dilis Rice (Php80 per cup: Php170 for sharing). Your favorite sinangag (garlic fried rice), lightly flavored and topped with salty crispy fried dilis (anchovies).

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Salted Egg Spaghettini (Php260). Al dente spaghettini noodles tossed in a sauce of salted egg yolks, sprinkled with tomatoes, diced cucumber and salted egg whites. The salted egg sauce was evenly spread throughout the noodles and the cucumber provided a fresh contrast to the sauce with every bite.

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Sisig Pizza (Php520). The classic pork sisig and egg tops a thin-crust pizza drizzled with garlic sauce.

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Binagoongang Talong (Php300). Fresh eggplant and lechon kawali served with a thick bagoong (shrimp paste) sauce. While I found the sauce a little too thick for my taste but the crispy fried pork belly is just yummy and went well with the Dilis Rice.

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Seafood Mix Laing (Php290). Taro leaves wrapped around a mix of shrimp, crab meat, onion and lemon grass, slowly cooked in light coconut milk.

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Also part of the feast are Ombu’s seasonal dishes such as:

Adobochon (Php440). Flavorful roasted pig with tender meat and crispy skin served with adobo sauce on the side.

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Flaming Chicken (Php340). Tender and juicy chicken flambed right before our eyes.

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

For dessert, we had Frozen Brazo de Mercedes (Php180). Delightful layers of frozen soft meringue alternating custard filling, ice cream and graham cracker crust.

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

The dishes were expertly prepared and given a fresh twist by Ombu Kusina’s chefs.

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

So for a great taste of modern Filipino cuisine, check out Ombu Kusina.

Disclosure: Together with other food bloggers, I was invited to attend a foodie meetup held at this restaurant. All the food items mentioned here were served to allow us to sample the fare and were not paid for by the attendees, including myself.

Ombu Kusina is located at Ground Floor, Sequioa Hotel, Mother Ignacia Street, Brgy. South Triangle, Quezon City, open daily from 6.30am to 10pm. For reservations and inquiries, call +63 2 4411789 or +63 922 8149086, or email omburestaurant@yahoo.com.

Thanks to SandUnderMyFeet.com for extending the invite

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

Check out my reviews of other Filipino restaurants:

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.