The Jelly List: Healthy Eats in QC

Healthy eating helps promote overall health and wellness by ensuring that we get the necessary nutrients our bodies need.

Well within Quezon City, there is an abundance of wholesome and nourishing, yet also tasty eats.

Check them out:

Salmon Sriracha Poke Bowl (Php230 for regular bowl| Php150 for junior bowl) at Poke Shack

Poke (pronounced as POKE-KAY) bowls originate from Hawaii, where pieces of fresh fish are chopped into small pieces, marinated in flavorful sauces and served on top of freshly steamed rice along with chopped fresh vegetables, nuts and other toppings that add flavor and texture to the dish. This Salmon Sriracha Poke Bowl, for instance, is made with tempura flour mix, ebiko, furikake, sesame seed with sriracha mayo.

Poke Shack, Libis

Poke Shack is located at Ground Floor, Tera Tower, Bridgetowne Business Center, Ortigas Avenue Extension corner E. Rodriguez Jr Avenue, Libis, Quezon City, open Mondays to Thursdays from 10am to 10pm, Fridays from 10am to 11pm and Saturdays from 11am to 8pm. For inquiries, call +63 926 0718992 or +63 929 3173857.

Read more about Poke Shack.

Tantanmen (Php220) at Wabi-Sabi

Inspired by the Dan dan Noodles of Sichuan cuisine, Tantanmen is characterized by its rich slightly spicy peanut-flavored broth, made richer and thicker by miso paste. Here, the traditionally used ground pork and chicken stock are substituted with veggie meat and vegetable stock, and sesame seeds are used to flavor the slightly sweetish sauce instead of peanuts.

Wabi-Sabi, Tomas Morato

Wabi Sabi is located at Ground Floor, POS Building, Scout Mandriñan Street Corner Tomas Morato, South Triangle, Quezon City. For inquiries, call +63 918 9622935.

Read more about Wabi-Sabi.

Traditional Banh Mi (Php185) at Saigon Corner

The Vietnamese took the French baguette and made it their own by adding to the usual cold cuts and mayo/butter spread of the French colonizers the distinct flavors of their local ingredients such as cilantro, chilis, daikons, carrots and cucumbers, bringing about the Banh Mi Thit or the traditional Banh Mi.

Saigon Corner, Tomas Morato

Saigon Corner is located at 40 Sgt. Esguerra Avenue, South Triangle, Quezon City, open Sundays to Thursdays from 11am to 11pm and Fridays to Saturdays from 11am to 12 midnight. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 2 3680795 or +63 998 8491763.

Read more about Saigon Corner.

Vegan Nachos (Php199) at Salamangka

Toasted pita chips topped with ground tofu and drizzled with a mixture of Yummza pesto hummus, lemon and oil served with yoghurt on the side. If you want something healthy to munch on while on a night out with friends, this is your best bet.

Salamangka, Eastwood City

Salamangka is located at Eastwood Citywalk 1, Libis, Quezon City, open daily from 7am to 3am. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 2 5518557.

Read more about Salamangka.

Spicy Tofu (Php165) at HidN Lounge

Tofu cubes stir-fried in a sweet and spicy sauce. This is a great as a starter dish or bar chow. Truth be told: this dish had me reaching for the bowl again and again.

HidN Lounge, Tomas Morato

HidN Lounge is located at 21 Scout Rallos Street, Barangay Laging Handa, Quezon City, open Mondays to Saturdays from 6pm to 2am. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 2 9824422, +63 917 8592355 or +63 917 8850718.

Read more HidN Lounge.

Vechon Belly Rice Meal (Php250) at Pantry by Rub Rack

The Filipino guilty pleasure – the lechon – in this dish is not made of sinful roasted pork. Oh no! It’s made out of vegetables, painstakingly fashioned by Chef Lui to resemble slices of that decadent dish. The resemblance to the real thing in appearance and flavor is positively uncanny.

Pantry by Rub Rack, Katipunan

Pantry by Rub Rack is located at the 2nd Floor, 225 Katipunan Avenue, Barangay Milagrosa, Queson City, open daily from 10am to 9pm. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 929 4886734.

Read more about Pantry by Rub Rack.

Vegetarian Option (Php320) at Pookaberry Cafe

When this dish was initially served to me, I thought this was a pork tapa rice meal. Imagine my amazement when I realized it was made of sauteed mushrooms partnered with rice and crisp veggies. It’s so yummy you won’t believe it’s also healthy.

Pookaberry Cafe, Tomas Morato

Pookaberry Cafe is located at 36-B Scout Ybardolaza corner Scout Rallos Streets, Bgy. Sacred Heart, Quezon City, open daily from 7am to 9pm. For reservations and inquiries, call +63 917 9685414.

Read more about Pookaberry Cafe.

Portobello Mushroom Sliders (Php280) at Pound by Todd English

Every once in a while, I like to veer away from the usual quarter pounders made of beef. These sliders are made of juicy mushrooms accompanied by caramelized onions, fried onions, lettuce, tomato and cilantro aioli. A complex blend of hearty but healthy flavors in every bite!

Pound by Todd English, Eastwood

This Pound by Todd English branch is located at the 2nd Floor, Eastwood Mall, Libis, Quezon City, open daily from 11am to 10pm.

Read more about Pound by Todd English.

Mushroom and Tofu Salpicao (Php180) at 13 Ubay Street

This dish brings a mix of button and shimeji mushrooms sauteed with deep-fried tofu cubes in a garlicky sauce. As good, if not better, than its beefy counterpart in other restos.

13 Ubay St. QC

This resto is located at No 13 Ubay Street, Santa Mesa Heights, Banawe, Quezon City, open daily at 11am to 2pm and at 5pm to 11pm.. For inquiries and reservations, call + 63 2 5796484 or +63 917 8762692.

Read more about 13 Ubay Street.

Bulletproof Mocha (Php130 small | Php140 medium) at UltraKappu

Bulletproof coffee is a drink consisting of brewed coffee, grass-fed unsalted butter and medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) coconut oil, all healthy ingredients that are low in sugar but high in good energy. I didn’t expect to find this so creamy! While it’s not as sweet as my regular coffee drinks, I can definitely taste a certain milky richness.

UltraKappu, Old Balara

UltraKappu is located at 2nd Floor, Bali Garden Residences, Zuzuarregui Street, Matandang Balara, Quezon City, open daily from 11am to 10pm.

Read more about UltraKappu.

Pink Sala Fruit Tea (Php75/Php95) at Jelly G Thai Milk Tea

Sala (also known as snake skin fruit) is a type if palm native to Indonesia and cultivated in other Southeast Asian countries like Thailand. It is a good source of beta-carotene, vitamin C, dietary fiber, iron, calcium, phosporus and carbohydrates. Jelly G combines the sweet pink-hued juice of the sala with black tea and brown sugar as well as a few spoonfuls of popping strawberry balls for added bursts of fruity sweetness.

Jelly G Thai Milk Tea, UP Town Center

This Jelly G Thai Milk Tea stall is located at Ground Floor, UP Town Center, Katipunan Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City (in front of National Bookstore).

So if you’re in Quezon City, check out these options for good eats.

Do you know any more healthy food options? Share them in the comments.

Photo Credit: Header image by Carissa Gan of Unsplash

Yummy and healthy eats at Nomi Cafe, BGC

Being a foodie, I find that when given a choice between what is flavorful and what is healthy, I would usually go for flavor. For me, eating is not just something I do to nourish my body; it is also something I do to calm my mind, soothe my soul or warm my heart.

The thing is: sometimes, there doesn’t have to be a line between flavor and health. At Nomi Cafe, for instance, Japanese food are prepared using fresh produce and premium ingredients to present diners with a meal that whets their appetite while helping them keep themselves healthy.

On our way to our staycation, I took my mom and my daughter to Nomi Cafe in Bonifacio Global City. (Yes, we’re three generations of women out for good food and good vibes!)

We liked the chill, casual and relaxing vibe of the place, from the use of pastel colors, the fun sayings on the walls, to the faux greens under the glass tables that give diners a feeling of nature and freshness.

Nomi Cafe, BGC

Nomi Cafe, BGC

Nomi Cafe, BGC

Nomi Cafe, BGC

Nomi Cafe, BGC

Nomi Cafe, BGC

One of Nomi’s founding partners, Take, was there to tell us more about the cafe’s origins. Take and his friends synergized what they like about their favorite modern Japanese cafes in Kyoto, Osaka and Kyoto, and brought about Nomi Cafe in Bonifacio Global City to a receptive Filipino dining public.

Nomi Cafe, BGC

Nomi Cafe, BGC

Nomi Caf, BGC

We were able to enjoy some of Nomi Cafe’s yummy and healthy offerings such as:

Beef Me Up (Php350). A balanced bowl of sauteed beef tenderloin, roasted garlic, broccoli, bell peppers, mixed greens, olives and soy garlic dressing on top of steamed Japanese rice, this is perfect for my mom who’s into getting more veggies in her meals. If she wanted to, she could have opted to replace the rice with brown rice or cauliflower rice.

Nomi Cafe, BGC

Nomi Cafe, BGC

My mom paired this rice bowl with a Berry Power Up (Php180), one of Nomi Cafe’s low-fat smoothies. This drink is made of strawberry, blueberry and acai shipped from Brazil which are then blended with coconut water and yoghurt. This, and the other drinks we ordered, also make use of earth-friendly bamboo straws which makes my environmentally aware daughter very happy.

Nomi Cafe, BGC

Pork Katsu Curry Rice (Php330). My daughter has been craving for Japanese curry for some time now, so it’s fortunate that she chanced upon this dish. The katsu pieces were tender and tasty and well complemented by the potato, carrots and curry sauce.

Nomi Cafe, BGC

Nomi Cafe, BGC

My baby girl, who also happens to be a matcha connoisseur, opted for a Matcha Weight Loss Smoothie (Php190), a banana smoothie infused with organic match flown in from Japan, to enjoy with her rice meal.

Nomi Caf, BGC

Tantanmen (Php395). In yet another instance that proves my #RamenPhase is here to stay, I opted for this spicy and hearty ramen given the day’s sudden burst of rainfall (which, thanks to the inconstant weather deities, dried up by the end of our meal). Tantanmen gets its richness from the sesame seeds and paste incorporated in the soup flavored with ginger, spring onions and other aromatics. Together with the bits of ground pork and tamago, it presents a complex flavor that I just can’t resist.

Nomi Cafe, BGC

Nomi Cafe, BGC

I got myself a Mango Madness (Php180), made with fresh mangoes mixed with bananas, coconut water and cinnamon to cool and refresh my palate after the Tantanmen.

Nomi Caf, BGC

Nomi Cafe, BGC

Nomi Style Cheesecake (Php250/slice). For dessert, we treated ourselves with this confection composed of matcha cheesecake on a graham cracker crust topped with a rich matcha-flavored mousse.

Nomi Cafe, BGC

Nomi Cafe, BGC

Thanks to the wonderful folks of Nomi Cafe for this fun foodie adventure with my favorite girls!

Nomi Cafe, BGC

Nomi Cafe, BGC

Nomi Cafe is located at Ground Floor, W City Center, 30th Street corner 7th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, open Mondays to Saturdays from 11am to 12 midnight and Sundays from 12 noon to 8pm.

Did you know that if you and a friend dined at Nomi Cafe, you can get some dishes free via 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 my code JELLYB to get 20% off the membership fee.

Nomi - Modern Japanese Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclosure: Our meal was sponsored by Nomi Cafe as a way for us to sample the fare in exchange for an honest review.

Check out my reviews of other Japanese restaurants:

There’s something for everyone’s craving at Pob Stacion Food Park

For quite a while now, the Poblacion area has been reinventing itself from its previous incarnation as Makati’s red-light district and re-establishing itself as its foodie-friendly haven. Here, foodies can explore various options in food and drink spanning various cuisines and concepts.

If you were to pool some of those eateries together and concentrate them into one easily accessible place, you would have the Pob Stacion Food Park. Located at B. Valdez Street, Barangay Poblacion in Makati, a ten-minute walk from A Venue or Century City Mall, the newly opened multi-storey Pob Stacion houses a variety of concept food stalls that give the park’s visitors wondrous choices for their gastronomic adventure or to soothe their food cravings.

Pobstacion Food Crawl

Pob Stacion Food Crawl

Pobstacion Food Crawl

Recently, together with my fellow foodies, I had a taste of what Pob Stacion’s food outlets have to offer. Read on and check out my top picks.

Above Sea Level (Seafood)

As the home of the Giant Butterfly Squid (Php180 with 1 Java rice | Php250 with 2 Java rice | Php350 with 3 Java rice | Php450 with 4 Java rice), they really do serve it up big-time. Lightly battered, well-seasoned and fried to a golden-brown, each enormous squid by itself is good for two people and is best enjoyed with the resto’s vinegar dipping sauce.

If you’re feeling extra hungry or adventurous, add the Seafood Festival (Php380) to your order and bite into mouthwatering crab, shrimps, mussels and corn on a bed of Java rice doused with a buttery crab fat sauce, or the Spicy Squid Sisig (Php180) for a seafood take on the Pampanga delicacy.

Pobstacion Food Crawl

Pob Stacion Food Crawl

Rib Pop (Pinoy-Korean Fusion)

With the Korean food craze firmly entrenched in the Philippine culinary scene, it’s hardly surprising that the two cuisines would mesh together at some point. That point is here at Rib Pop where the best of the two cuisines is highlighted in its Ribpop Sampler (Php400) which consists of its signature dishes: Black Ink Chicken Wings – squid ink bettered fried chicken pieces with spicy tangy sauce, Ribpop Bowl – your choice of rice topped with beef short ribs, and an assortment of banchan – small plates of Korean appetizers.

Pobstacion Food Crawl

Pobstacion Food Crawl

Octoboy (Japanese)

Who would have thought that Takoyaki (Php70 for 3 pcs | Php140 for 6 pcs), balls made of batter filled with chopped octopus meat, cooked in a specially shaped griddle and served with those wriggling Bonito flakes, would be such a hit with us Pinoys? If you’re on the lookout for something quick, cheap and yummy, Octoboy’s Takoyaki is your best bet.

Pob Stacion Food Crawl

Tokyo Tempura (Japanese)

Did you know that tempura, the Japanese method of deep-frying battered seafood and vegetables, was influenced the Portuguese who were residing in Nagasaki in the 16th century? Today, tempura is a mainstay in practically all Japanese restaurants in the country and is even gaining some foothold in Pinoy eateries through localized versions.

Tokyo Tempura’s versions are quick, yummy, easy to enjoy when you’re having a case of the munchies, and with affordably priced options which include Imperial Tempura (Php150 for 12 pcs), Tempura Rice (Php80) and Kani Tempura (Php55 for 6 pcs).

Want some spicy kick to go with your tempura? Add the Chili Cheese Poppers (Php55 for 4 pcs) to your order and take some heat from those tempura battered cheese-filled jalapenos!

Pob Stacion Food Crawl

Pob Stacion Food Crawl

Pob Stacion Food Crawl

Pob Stacion Food Crawl

Pobstacion Food Crawl

Oskar’s Soul Kitchen (American)

If you’re looking for an alternative to your usual fastfood burger, check out Oskar’s Soul Kitchen’s Cheeseburger (Php220) – a quarter pound of ground Wagyu beef patty sandwiched in an oatmeal bun together with cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles and the resto’s signature sauce.

Still have room for more? Add Angus Beef Hotdog (Php140), Fries Overload (Php160), or the Nachos Overload (Php150) to your order and eat to your heart’s content.

Pob Stacion Food Crawl

Pob Stacion Food Crawl

Pob Stacion Food Crawl

Wing’s Lab (American)

How about Wing’s Lab’s sinful take to your flavored chicken wings? Try its American Wings (Php699 with Nachos and Beef) which hits you with its Jack Daniels flavored sauce.

Want something to quench your thirst after those spicy wings? Take your pick from the resto’s refreshing and conveniently packaged Juices (Php60 – Blue Lemonade, Cucumber Lemonade and Melon with Milk). The best part is that you can easily take these handy juice packs with you all over the park and beyond.

Pobstacion Food Crawl

Pobstacion Food Crawl

Authentic House of Curry (Indian)

Get yourself a taste of the exotic with the Authentic House of Curry’s spicy Beef Rendang (Php240) and Lobster Scallop Balls (Php180). These dishes provide a nice South Asian flare to your food park fare.

Pob Stacion Food Crawl

Pobstacion Food Crawl

Cha Tuk Chak (Thai Milk Tea)

While boba milk teas abound all over the metro, Thai milk teas are not as visible, which , for me, is a shame if Cha Tuk Chak’s drinks are anything to go by. From the world famous creamy and silky Cha Yen (Php110 regular | Php125 large), the sweeter, fruitier and caffeine free Nom Yen (Php120 regular | Php135 large), the sweet lemon-infused Thai Ruby (Php115 regular | Php130 large), the refreshing Thai tea with real lemon Thai Emerald (Php115 regular | Php130 large), and the gourmet dark chocolate milk tea given a Thai spin Koko Yen (Php110 regular), among others, you’ll have tasty thirst-quenching options as you navigate the food park.

Pob Stacion Food Crawl

Pob Stacion Food Crawl

Papa Diddi’s (Ice Cream)

And who can forget about dessert? Papa Diddi’s Hand-crafted Ice Cream (Php75 for 1 scoop | Php110 for 2 scoops | Php145 for 3 scoops) come in such unusual yet localized flavors that pay tribute not just to our Pinoy heritage but also to the farmer communities that supply the brand’s all-natural ingredients. From the fruity Mango Pili, the cheesy Queso Blanco with kesong puti and Cheese Closed with cheddar, the chocolatey Chocolate Lovin and Tsokolate de Cagayan, the sinfully indulgent Tres Leches and the chocolate-meets-spicy Davao Meets Bicol, your dessert gives you a cool, culinary trip across the country.

Pob Stacion Food Crawl

Pob Stacion Food Crawl

So if you’re a denizen of Poblacion, or on a night out with friends in the area, do add a stopover to Pob Stacion Food Park to your evening’s itinerary.

Many thanks to Raina of KonyoQueen.com for extending the invitation!

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

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.

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: