New and familiar chicken flavors at Wing Zone, SM Megamall

While my daughter and I were waiting for her newly-ordered glasses from Sunnies Specs, we decided to have a late lunch at nearby Wing Zone.

Wing Zone was started in 1991 by then University of Florida students Matt Friedman and Adam Scott who sought to provide their fellow students who are burning the midnight oil or suffering from late night munchies with an alternative to the usual pizza delivery. They made the kitchen of their fraternity house into their test kitchen, trying out sauces and techniques for preparing their chicken wings. They sold out their first two nights of business.

Wing Zone has restaurants in 25 states in the US, and now, a branch right here at SM Megamall.

It has a spacious dining area with casual, sporty vibe further enhanced by the upbeat mainstream pop music is playing in the background.

Wing Zone, SM Megamall

Wing Zone, SM Megamall

Thanks to an Eatigo offer, we were able to enjoy 30% off on our orders:

Mozzarella Sticks (Php225 for regular). The sticks have a crunchy bite which contrasts nicely with the melted cheese inside, well-complemented by its accompanying marinara sauce.

Wing Zone, SM Megamall

Signature Boneless Bites (Php185 for 6 pieces) with Thai Chili sauce. My daughter ordered the boneless bites – lightly breaded chicken breasts coated with our sauce of choice – because she finds biting through wings bothersome. Recommended by our server, the Thai Chili sauce had an interesting fusion of sweet and sour, plus a bit of a spicy kick.

Wing Zone, SM Megamall

Strips (Php165 for 5 pieces) with Liquid Gold Sauce served on the side. These strips of chicken breast are marinated for 24 hours in a special spice blend, then hand-breaded fresh with every order. I found the Liquid Gold sauce – this resto’s version of honey mustard – a little too smokey for my taste.

Wing Zone, SM Megamall

Considering both boneless bites and the strips are made of chicken breasts, it is notable that they are tender and juicy.

Some areas that the resto can improve on are:

The serving portions. Our entire order fit into 2 itty-bitty plates. Wingzone should consider adding a few fries or other sides to the chicken servings just to add some visual volume to the dishes, perhaps?

Wing Zone, SM Megamall

An efficient way to call the wait staff. The wait staff’s station is located at the back of the store, well away and hidden from the counter where we were seated. I had to stand up and walk to the counter three times – once to request for the bill, second to ask a question about it and third to get the pitcher to refill our water – simply because I couldn’t catch the attention of the wait staff.

Wing Zone is located at the 2nd Floor, Mega Atrium, SM Megamall, Ortigas, Mandaluyong City. For reservations and inquiries, call +63 2 6374149. Another branch is slated to open in Glorietta Mall in Makati soon.

Register to Eatigo using this link and get up to 50% off your food bill in various restaurants in the metro as well as Php150 worth of rewards.

Wing Zone Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Fun Barkada Lunch at Gerry’s Grill, Tomas Morato

Gerry’s can be counted on for no-frills Pinoy food for large family celebrations, corporate lunches or for drinking with friends.

This particular instance, however, saw the brief return of one of my close office friends (the one who went to greener and less stressful pastures), who offered to treat our group to lunch.

So we trooped over to nearby Gerry’s Grill for food and chicka. 🙂

Gerry’s Grill started out as a place where people can have a drink or two, with its first branch opening right here in Tomas Morato. Over the years, the brand evolved into a family restaurant, serving familiar and homegrown Filipino food. Today, Gerry’s Grill has branched out beyond the country, with outlets in the US, Qatar and Singapore.

For our barkada lunch, we ordered a group meal that had most our favorite dishes along with rice and iced tea for only Php1199:

Sisig. Gerry’s is famous for its crispy and savory sisig. It seems like no visit to Gerry’s is incomplete without it.

Gerry’s Grill, Tomas Morato

Pancit Palabok. This brings to mind meriendas in the province.

Gerry’s Grill, Tomas Morato

Kare Kare. With its thick peanut sauce, tender beef cuts and crisp veggies, it served as the main viand of the group meal.

Gerry’s Grill, Tomas Morato

Spicy Chicken Wings. I usually shy away from spicy food but this dish offered a nice contrast in taste and texture to the other viand.

Gerry’s Grill, Tomas Morato

We also added Inihaw na Pusit at Php405 and a combo of two brewed coffees and a yummy moist chocolate cake for an additional Php200.

Gerry’s Grill, Tomas Morato

It was a fun time with a good meal and spent with friends.

This Gerry’s Grill branch is located at the corner of Tomas Morato and Eugenio Lopez Street, Brgy South Triangle, QC. It’s open from 10am to 2am Mondays to Thursday, 10am to 3am Fridays to Saturdays, and 10am to 1am Sundays. For reservations and inquiries, call +63 2 4159514.

Gerry's Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my reviews of other Filipino restaurants:

Want to learn more about Filipino cuisine? Check out these books on Amazon.com!

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A taste of Ilocos Sur at Victorino’s, Tomas Morato

Other than actually going to a place, the best way to experience its culture is through its cuisine. Ilocano cuisine is influenced by the region’s major occupations: agriculture and fishing. Thus, its dishes are simple to prepare, down-to-earth, and uses fresh ingredients.

Considering how long I’ve been working in the Tomas Morato area, it’s a wonder I’ve only been able to dine at Victorino’s just now. Luckily, together with two of my closest office friends, we ventured out to have a taste of Ilocos Sur at this resto.

Located at the corner of 11th Jamboree and Scout Rallos in Quezon City, Victorino’s is a sprawling house converted to a restaurant, with interiors designed to look like a traditional home in Ilocos, complete with old-style aparadors and various bric-a-bracs.

The restaurant’s kitchen is helmed by renowned culinarian and cake designer Heny Sison, who brings with her a fresh take on Ilocano cuisine that embodies how “simple pleasures taste best.”

Victorino’s Tomas Morato 2

Victorino’s Tomas Morato 2

Victorino’s Tomas Morato 2

Victorino’s Tomas Morato 2

Victorino’s Tomas Morato 2

With three hungry girls hitting a stalemate in trying to decide between sharing a meat-veggie-rice or a pasta-pizza combo (all of us basically saying “I have no preference, it’s up to you” to each other in typical girl fashion), our waiter, Lloyd, gamely took it upon himself to break the tie and suggested that we go for the rice combo instead.

(He even took our picture to commemorate our lunch — Lloyd, you the real MVP!)

The winning combo which became our taste of Ilocos Sur consisted of:

Bagnet (Php415). Ilocos’ famous version of lechon kawali, this dish is basically a slab of pork belly broiled to tenderize the meat then deep-fried to achieve that signature crispy crackling skin. It is served with a dipping sauce called KBL which stands for Kamatis (tomatoes), Bagoong (shrimp paste) and Lasona (small purple onions).

Pinakbet Ala Apo Lakay. This is one of the two versions of pinakbet served here. Pinakbet consists of slow-cooked vegetables seasoned with bagoong and topped with bagnet. (We initially disappointed not to find eggplants in the mixture and it took our MVP waiter Lloyd to point out that the plump round morsels there were actually the eggplants – a far cry from the long and thin eggplants we usually see in the markets, right?)

Steamed White Rice (Php45/cup). The perfect palette with which to taste and savor our viands.

Victorino’s Tomas Morato

Victorino’s Tomas Morato

Victorino’s Tomas Morato

Because a good time spent with friends seeks to extend itself, we ordered a Mango Chocolate Torte (Php348.50) (recommended again by Lloyd the MVP), a Heny Sison creation which came to our table as towering layers of cashew meringue, bittersweet chocolate, mango mousse topped with white chocolate drizzles. One of us ordered a Brewed Coffee (Php95), which is, of course, served with the traditional Ilocos sweetener baculicha.

Victorino’s Tomas Morato

Victorino’s Tomas Morato

Despite the hefty food bill, the excellent service, the yummy food and the relaxed homey atmosphere made our taste of Ilocos Sur at Victorino’s totally worth it.

Victorino’s is open daily from 7am to 10pm. For reservations and inquiries, call +63 2 4147465.

And wouldn’t you know it, Victorino’s even delivers via Lalamove!

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

Check out my reviews of other Filipino restaurants:

Want to learn more about Filipino cuisine? Check out these books on Amazon.com!

Want to try some recipes today? There’s no need to leave home to shop for ingredients.  With Honestbee, just order your groceries online and you’ll get them delivered right at your doorstep at your preferred time. Use this referral link and get Php500 off for a minimum spend of Php2,500.  You can download the Honestbee app on iTunes or Google Play.

If you’re in the US and an Amazon Prime member, sign up for a free trial of Amazon Fresh to get your groceries delivered to you.

Quick and affordable Chinese food at Causeway, Tomas Morato

My officemates and I were on our way to Le Ching for lunch when we spied the lack of parking space in that resto.

So off we went to look for another place to eat. Since we were already in the mood for Chinese food, we settled on Causeway Seafood Restaurant.

Even with the number of cars parked in front of the restaurant, the parking attendant still found a way to fit our car in.

Inside, there is the usual hustle and bustle, the busy energy, usually found in Chinese restaurants. The place is not swanky, it may even be considered dingy, but judging from the sizeable lunch crowd and the busy wait staff, Causeway seems to have established itself among a loyal following.

Our group of four shared these Chinese dishes:

Beef Hofan Noodles (Php300 for small). Stir-fried beef with noodles that is oh so greasy but also oh so good!

Fried Spareribs with Salt and Pepper (Php330 for small). Such a simple dish but I seem to find myself ordering this in every Chinese resto I go to.

From the Dimsum Cart: Crab Roe Siomai (Php80), Asado Siopao (Php80), Kutchay Dumpling (Php90) and Seafood Roll (Php85)

It seems like Causeway’s combination of quickly served dishes and affordable pricing is a winning formula, as evidenced by its lunch crowd. The wait staff could be a little quicker in fulfilling refill requests though.

This Causeway Seafood Restaurant is located at 24 Timog Avenue, Bgy Laging Handa, Quezon City (Tel.: +63 2 3762559) with operating hours from 10am to 12mn Mondays to Saturdays and 9am to 12mn Sundays.

Other branches are located at:

  • 8th Acropolis Center, 53 E. Rodriguez Jr. Avenue, Libis, QC (Tel.: +63 2 6389374) with operating hours from 11am to 12mn Mondays to Saturdays and 11am to 11.30pm Sundays.
  • 7 Congressional Avenue, Project 8, QC (Tel.: +63 2 4269032) with operating hours from 10am to 10pm Mondays to Sundays.
  • Banawe cor Linaw Street, Sienna, QC (Tel.: +63 2 5221690) with operating hours from 7am to 12mn Mondays to Sundays.
  • 883 Banawe Street corner Del Monte Avenue, Sienna, QC (Tel.: +63 2 4108690) with operating hours from 11.30am to 2.30pm and 5.30pm to 12mn Mondays to Fridays and 10.30am to 2.30om and 5.30pm to 12mn Saturdays and Sundays.
  • 1266 Benavidez Street, Tondo, Manila (Tel.: +63 2 2304381) with operating hours from 9am to 11pm Mondays to Fridays and 7am to 11pm Saturdays and Sundays.

Causeway Seafood Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my reviews of other Chinese restaurants:

Want to learn more about Chinese cuisine? Check out these books on Amazon.com!

Want to try some recipes today? There’s no need to leave home to shop for ingredients.  With Honestbee, just order your groceries online and you’ll get them delivered right at your doorstep at your preferred time. Sign up using this referral link and get Php500 off for a minimum spend of Php2,500.  You can download the Honestbee app on iTunes or Google Play.

If you’re in the US and an Amazon Prime member, sign up for a free trial of Amazon Fresh to get your groceries delivered to you.

Authentic Sichuan Cuisine at Fantaste, Salcedo Village

Sichuan (also called Szechuan) cuisine, which originates from Chinese province of the same name, is known for its bold flavors, resulting from the variety of seasonings and cooking methods used.

Newly opened restaurant Fantaste brings a taste of Sichuan into the heart of Makati City.  Along with a selected group of bloggers and foodies (as well as my daughter, #ExhibitA), I was able to attend its Grand Opening and sample its many food offerings.

The restaurant’s mascot is reminiscent of Dreamworks’ Kung Fu Panda, chosen because, according to the wait staff, the panda symbolizes friendship, unity and world peace.

Fantaste’s claim to fame is its rice bowls.  These dishes are individually cooked in their own clay pot bowl, topped with hearty servings of viands, accompanied by steamed bok choi and half a salted egg, then doused with a secret sauce upon serving.  Its heated clay pot container maintains the rice bowls’ heat during the entire meal, even giving the bottom grains a slightly toasted crunch and flavor.

Given a choice of which among its twelve rice bowl choices to sample, I opted for the Chicken and Mushroom (Php260) while my daughter got intrigued with the mysteriously titled The Best of Fantaste (Php220).  To be honest, I think I had the better choice, my bowl having a better mixture of tastes and textures.

I overheard from my seatmates (and seconded by my daughter who is more well-traveled than I) that the dishes feature the taste of mainland China’s provinces, rather than the taste we normally associate with Hong Kong which is more familiar to the Filipino palette.  We all welcome the variety that these bring to our dining experience, although some would be an acquired taste: the Red Jujube and White Fungus Soup (Php120) for example, had a seemingly bland broth with explosions of sweet and tartness from the date fruit and the meat flavor of its chicken bits.

The restaurant also has a breakfast menu which we were all also able to sample: the Congee (Php120) and Beef and Lettuce Congee (Php140) which, to me, served as a subtle palette for toppings; the Steamed Vermicelli Roll (Php120) which had a nice spicy kick; the carbo-loaded Yangzhuo (or more commonly known as Yang Chow) Fried Rice (Php160); Pork Ribs coated with Glutinous Rice (Php140); the Dry Fried Noodles with Beef (Php180) which had a nice peanut-ty taste; and the Fried Noodles with Three Shreds (Php180).

Those looking to complete their taste of authentic Chinese food can even opt for drinks imported from the mainland such as Chinese versions of our favorite softdrinks, flavored yogurt drinks and flavored teas.

Given the novelty of its food offerings, I would suggest to the restaurant manager to consider having a menu with pictures and descriptions of the dishes.  That way, the really adventurous foodies would know which items are in line with their palates while the less gastronomically conservative patrons can choose those which more closely align with their taste.

I would also suggest a less upbeat background music: the resto’s offerings are somewhat traditional and some can even be considered medicinal (particularly its herbal teas) .  If the resto would like to capitalize on the health benefits of its cuisine, a more languid and traditional background music would be more appropriate.

Just my two cents… 🙂

Foodies who will journey all the way to Makati to visit this resto should also consider where they can park.  Parking spots are severely limited and the nearest pay parking area charges Php80 for just two hours.

Disclosure: Together with other bloggers, I was invited to attend this restaurant’s Grand Opening.  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.

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

Check out my reviews of other Chinese restaurants:

Filling family lunch at Peri-Peri, Eastwood

Peri-peri (also spelled as piri-piri or pili-pili), is a type of chili that is grown in Southeastern Africa, taking its name from the Swahili term for “pepper.” Also known as the African bird’s eye chili, its cultivation and culinary use was spread by the Portuguese to their Indian territories.

When combined with salt, garlic, lemon, oil and vinegar into a sauce, called the peri-peri sauce, it provides a distinctive flavor to the chicken dish that also bears its name.

At Peri-Peri Charcoal Chicken, the chickens are trimmed of excess fat and marinated for 24 hours to achieve a tender and juicy meat before grilling, giving diners an explosion of spice and smokiness with every bite. Despite its exotic food offerings, Peri-Peri is actually a home-grown brand, part of the I-Foods, Inc. group, and has been in operation for over decade.

During a weekend shopping trip at the Eastwood City Mall, the family stopped over at this restaurant for lunch. We ordered:

  • Mozarella Sticks (Php150), served with marinara sauce and Ceasar dip. These crunchy sticks whetted our appetite for more.
  • Quarter chicken with Java Rice (Php195) for the little boy who is not so into side dishes.
  • Quarter chicken with Java Rice and Coleslaw (Php230) and a side of Hummus (Php65) for his dad.
  • Quarter chicken with Tortilla and Coleslaw (Php230) for me.
  • Quarter chicken with Java Rice and Bacon Mac & Cheese (Php240) for my soon-to-be college girl.
  • A carafe of cucumber lemonade (Php160), a really refreshing thirst-quencher during that hot day.

https://instagram.com/p/BiLlltOnLTI/

The array of side dishes we ordered and the sauces we chose from speak to the versatility of the peri-peri chicken in terms of taste. It can go well with rice or tortilla, accentuated by hummus or coleslaw.

All in all, the variety in taste and texture made for a filling family lunch.

This Peri-Peri Charcoal Chicken is located at 2nd Floor, Eastwood City Mall, Libis, Quezon City. For reservations, call +63 2 4706884.

Other branches in Metro Manila are located in:

  • Alabang: Evia Lifestyle Center along Daang Hari Road (Tel: +63 2 8381016) and Lower Ground Floor, Alabang Town Center (Tel: +63 905 1113747)
  • Taguig: Ground Floor, Uptown Parade, Bonifacio Global City (Tel: +63 2 7174408) and Ground Floor, Venice Piazza, McKinley Hill (Tel: +63 917 4222097)
  • Pasig: Capitol Commons, Shaw Boulevard cor Meralco Avenue (Tel: +63 2 6560518) and in Ayala Malls Feliz, Dela Paz
  • Marikina: Ground Floor, SM City Marikina along Marcos Highway
  • Mandaluyong: Fourth Floor Building A and Third Floor Bridgeway, SM Megamall in Ortigas (Tel: +63 2 9412511)
  • San Juan: Second Floor, Promenade, Greenhills Shopping Center, Greenhills (Tel: +63 2 6558355)
  • Makati: Level 3, Greenbelt 3, Ayala Center (Tel: +63 915 4055614)
  • Quezon City: Third Floor, Gateway Mall, Araneta Center, Cubao (Tel: +63 2 2934947), Ground Floor, UP Town Center, Katipunan Avenue, Diliman (Tel: +63 2 2838917), Ground Floor, Trinoma Mall, Baging Pag-asa (Tel: +63 2 7184391) and Ground Floor, Brittany Square, Belfast Road corner Mindanao Avenue, Novaliches
  • Manila: Ground Floor, Robinsons Place Manila, Ermita

Peri-Peri Charcoal Chicken Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Learn more about South African cuisine by checking out these books on Amazon.com!

Want to try some recipes today? There’s no need to leave home to shop for ingredients.  With Honestbee, just order your groceries online and you’ll get them delivered right at your doorstep at your preferred time. Use this referral link and get Php500 off for a minimum spend of Php2,500.  You can download the Honestbee app on iTunes or Google Play.

If you’re in the US and an Amazon Prime member, sign up for a free trial of Amazon Fresh to get your groceries delivered to you.

Ramen Lunch at Don Bao, Kapitolyo

On our way to a bout of museum visits for our #Saturdate, my daughter and I decided to (again!) give in to our ramen craving and have an early lunch at Don Bao.

The resto is located in the foodie-friendly Kapitolyo area, along a line of eateries near D Ace Hotel. There is limited parking space here so you may want to park your vehicle in the nearby Pioneer Center if there are no more spaces available in front of the restaurant.

The resto’s name is a portmanteau of its main offerings: the donburi, or Japanese rice bowls (such Katsu Curry Don or Special Tendon), and the baos, or Chinese steamed folded buns that can be accompanied by practically any sort of fillings.

It is a quaint restaurant with cheery and colorful interiors, punctuated by cute and playful depictions of the resto’s ninja mascot on the walls and the store’s merchandise.

Thanks to an Eatigo offer, my daughter and I were able to enjoy 50% off on our orders:

  • Gyoza (Php160). The filling was flavorful but the wrapping was not as firm we were expecting.
  • Cheesy Bao (Php125) – I was intrigued by this combination of gyuniku, cheese, onion rings ans spring onions slid into a sliced bao. While I found the contrast of textures between the saucy, crunchy filling and the soft and puffy bao, the slightly sweet taste of the cheese was too overpowering.
  • Tonkotsu Ramen (Php299). I got the regular-flavored variant of this classic ramen flavor (as opposed to the spicier version). The broth and pork belly slice were full-flavored and the noodles were firm.
  • Pork Miso Ramen (Php299). My daughter was pretty satisfied with this ramen order but she requested that the corn kernels be removed (her personal preference).

We found the meal satisfying and a good departure from our everyday meals. Plus, with the Eatigo discount, the meal was made more affordable for us.

This Don Bao branch is located at Victoria Place 1 along Brixton Street, Kapitolyo, Pasig City. Another branch is situated at First Capital Condominium, along Rada Street, Legaspi Village, Makati City. For queries or to book a Don Bao stall for events, call +63 998 8638671 or email donbao.ph@gmail.com.

Register to Eatigo using this link and get up to 50% off your food bill in various restaurants in the metro as well as Php150 worth of rewards.

Want to have Don Bao delivered to your home or office? Download the HonestBee app through this link and get Php500 off purchases of Php2,500 or more.

Don Bao Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato