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 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.

#PampangaFoodCrawl: 7 Must-try Dishes

San Fernando, Pampanga is only about two hours ride from Manila.  It is usually a place my family and I pass by on the way to our hometown of Bataan.  While I may have visited the city once or twice over the past years (and usually on business), I have never thought of it as a foodie destination.  (I admit now that this notion is a bit odd, considering that Kapampangans are known for their culinary skills.)

Fortunately, I recently took part in the Giant Lantern Festival Bloggers Tour organized by the city’s Tourism Promotion and Caravan Sub-Committee, YALLA Book of Coupons and the Giant Lantern Festival Foundation, Inc.  Together with fellow bloggers, I toured San Fernando’s heritage sites and learned about the city’s thriving Christmas lantern industry and annual competition.  Plus, our group was treated to an EPIC seven-stop food crawl of the city’s top restaurants.

I can hardly keep myself from talking about all the great foodie finds discovered during the tour, so I wrote a curated list of the “absolute must-trys” that represent the various cuisines available in San Fernando, Pampanga.

Check them out and try to include these restos in your itinerary on your next visit to the area.

Baked Goods: The Original Cheesebread at L.A. Bake Shop

L.A. Bakeshop prides itself on being the “Home of the Original Cheesebread.” And, oh, its artisan cheesebread is really worth boasting about!  When served while still warm from the oven, it emits a sweet cheese-y smell that has you salivating.  Bite into it and the soft fluffy sweet bread gives in to the explosion of cheese flavor in your mouth. Enjoy it for breakfast together with L.A. Bakeshop’s Spanish Bread and Tsokolateng Batirol for a truly indulgent start to your day.

LA Bakeshop

Price:
Cheesebread: Php180 (box of 30 pcs)
Spanish Bread: Php210 (box of 30 pcs)
Mixed: Php195 (15 pcs cheesebread, 15 pcs Spanish bread)

L.A. Bakeshop is located along MacArthur Hi-way, Dolores, City of San Fernando, Pampanga, open daily from 7am to 9pm.  For inquiries, call +63 045 4360153 or +63 916 2623098.

Italian: Shrimp Bisque Fusili at Parmisano’s

An exciting take on the Pancit Luglog, this dish features al dente fusilli pasta tossed in a creamy shrimp sauce, topped with onion leeks, plump shrimp, soft-boiled egg and bits of savory chicharon.  What a fun way to enjoy a local classic!

Parmisano’s

Price: Php286

Parmisano’s is located at KM 78, San Agustin, City of San Fernando, Pampanga (across Vista Mall), open Tuesdays to Sundays from 12nn to 9pm.  For inquiries, call +63 045 4027639.

American: Grilled Beef Steak at Meats and Match

For the true-blue carnevore like me, there is nothing like the taste of freshly grilled steak. Sourced from local farms, cooked to medium doneness and served on a sizzling plate together with mashed potatoes and buttered corn and carrots, the meat is tender, juicy and oozing with flavor.  I love it when its accompanying gravy has caramelized a bit below the steak, adding a more intense flavor to every bite.

Meats & Match

Price: Php194

Meats and Match is located along McArthur Highway, Dolores, City of San Fernando, Pampanga.  For inquiries, call +63  998 9888917.

American: Double Smoky Mushroom & Cheese Burger at Roberto’s

Two juicy flame-grilled meat patties topped with a flavorful mushroom sauce and accompanied by crisp greens inside a warm burger bun. Crispy battered onion rings and tartar dip are served on the side.

Price: Php450

Roberto’s is located in Dolores (beside the Jose B. Lingad Memorial Regional Hospital), City of San Fernando, Pampanga, open daily from 10am to 9pm. For inquiries, call +63 998 9888914.

Seafood: Bag of Fresh Catch at Orange Bucket

Steamed or boiled crabs, shrimps and mussels in a savory-spicy Cajun-style sauce. It’s best eaten by hand and you can expect to be messy so take advantage of the disposable gloves and bib provided by the resto (it’s a lot more fun that way anyway).

Price: minimum order of 300g
Crab: Php540
Shrimp: Php450
Mussel: Php270
Clam: Php60

The Orange Bucket is located at the Erazone Square, Kalahi Business Road, Bgy San Isidro, City of San Fernando, Pampanga, open daily from 11am to 11pm. For inquiries, call +63 045 4022611, +63 906 2468000 or +63 998 8597750.

Filipino: Sizzling Sisig at 4MD’s Manukan at Ihaw Ihaw

Since Pampanga is the birthplace of the sisig, a Pampanga food crawl would hardly be complete without it. This dish is made in the traditional way: boiled and chopped pig ears and cheeks, seasoned with vinegar, and served on a hot plate with roughly chopped onions. I found this version dryer than other sisig I’ve tasted (which usually incorporate mayonnaise), but it did not detract from the taste.

Price: Php175

4MD’s Manukan at Ihaw Ihaw is located along MacArthur Hi-way, Dolores, City of Pampanga, open daily from 11am to 11pm. For inquries, call +63 045 9633283.

Dessert: Chiffonelle at Cafe Noelle 

Made from the recipe crafted by the chef’s family matriarch, this dessert treat is composed of classic chiffon cake with a decadent yema custard filling and butter icing. It’s simple and light on the tastebuds but absolutely wonderful.

Price: Php140/slice; Php 980/whole cake

Cafe Noelle is located at the Greenfields Square along MacArthur Hi-way, Sindalan, City of San Fernando, Pampanga, open daily from 10am to 10pm.

The #PampangaFoodCrawl helped to open my eyes to the many gustatory delights available in the city of San Fernando and I look forward to my future trips up north so I can explore more of the city’s dining possibilities.

Planning a trip up north? Check out these restos and be sure to head out and experience more of what makes the city of San Fernando, Pampanga unique.  Check out my previous blog posts on the city:

Disclosure: Together with other bloggers, I participated in a tour and food crawl sponsored by the city government of San Fernando, Pampanga. The experiences provided and food served were not paid for by the attendees including myself.

Zomato Tagaytay Food Crawl Third Stop: Siglo Modern Filipino

The last and final stop of our Zomato Tagaytay Food Crawl was held at Siglo Modern Filipino. Located along the Tagaytay – Calamba Road beside the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) and right across Picnic Grove, Siglo is the restaurant attached to the View Park Hotel Tagaytay.

Siglo (which translates to “century”) is so-named in honor of 100 years of evolution of Philippine food, from the Spanish and Latin influences brought by the colonizers, as well as flavors from China, America and Southeast Asia which found their way here via trade.

Siglo synthesizes a century’s worth of Filipino culture and cuisine from all over the country,  and supports the local economy by using ingredients sourced from local farmers.

It also seeks to preserve heirloom recipes – dishes that your great-grandmother might have cooked and using ingredients like adlai and siling labuyo that she might have used – while still innovating on the classic Filipino dishes through modern techniques and added creativity.

The restaurant is quite small (can seat at most 50 diners) but it has a lot of charm. Ethnic-inspired furniture and decor abound, and its advocacy for the appreciation of Filipino cuisine is apparent in the use of traditional materials and design.  When you sit down and wait for your order, you can amuse yourself in puzzles and trivia that feature Filipino food courtesy of the placemats used.

Siglo Modern Filipino, Tagaytay

Siglo Modern Filipino, Tagaytay

Siglo Modern Filipino, Tagaytay

Siglo Modern Filipino, Tagaytay

Siglo Modern Filipino, Tagaytay

My fellow foodies and I were served the Blockbuster Bilaos, hefty servings of themed Pinoy delicacies with dishes representing different locales in the country.  These are best shared among a group of 4 to 6 people.  Bilaos are flat and round-shaped implement used in separating rice grains from other particles like chaff, dirt and small pebbles.  When I was young, the rice that was delivered to us had a lot of impurities so my yaya and I oftentimes had to pick the impurities from the rice (hence the term “nagpipili ng bigas“) that was laid in a bilao.

Siglo Bilao (Php1,800)

This bilao features native Tinola, classic Kare-Kare, Crispy Tawilis, Pancit Pusit and Siglo Salad.  These are all heirloom recipes of Filipino dishes collated by Siglo’s team during their travels.  For me, the standout among these dishes is the Pancit Pusit; it had the distinctive salty-sour garlicky taste of Adobong Pusit which I absolutely love.  I would have eaten more of this were I not afraid of going home with black teeth (it would have been worth it, though!)

Siglo Modern Filipino, Tagaytay

Barkada Bilao (Php2,200)

This bilao boasts of timeless classics that barkadas (groups of friends) crave for when they’re hanging out such as Regular Bulalo (a staple in Tagaytay), Crispy Sisig, Calamares Frito, Himagsikan Wings (Siglo’s version of spicy buffalo wings in which the chicken pieces are glazed in shrimp paste and honey sriracha sauce) and gising-gising.

Siglo Modern Filipino, Tagaytay

Luzviminda Bilao (Php2,400)

Named after the portmanteu of the Philippines’ three major island groups – Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao – this bilao features dishes representing bestsellers from north to south, serving as a quick culinary tour of the country.  It includes Bagnet Ilocos, Chicken Binakol, Seafood Kare-Kare, Lumpiang Shanghai and Ubod Salad.  The standout in this bilao is the bagnet with its savory tender meat and crispy crackling skin.

Siglo Modern Filipino, Tagaytay

Siglo Modern Filipino, Tagaytay

All the bilaos come with steamed rice and fresh fruits.

Siglo Modern Filipino, Tagaytay

We washed down our food with a refreshing Pomelo Amaranth Juice which is not part of Siglo’s menu but is actually the welcome drink of View Park Hotel.

Siglo Modern Filipino, Tagaytay

Siglo Modern Filipino is located at the Ground Floor of View Park Hotel, 3500 Tagaytay-Calamba Road, Sungay East, Tagaytay City. It is open Sundays to Fridays at 7am to 10pm and Saturdays from 7am to 12mn.

Siglo Modern Filipino Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclosure: Together with other Zomato foodies, I was invited to attend a foodie meet-up held in 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.

Check out my reviews of other Filipino restaurants:

Work-related hang-out at UCC Park Cafe, Glorietta Complex

Whenever I’m Ayala Center and I pass by this free standing resto amidst the park greenery, I always thought of it would be a great place to hang out in after a bout of shopping.

So far, I haven’t been able to just chill here as during both instances I’ve been are work-related.

Still, I have been able to try its sandwich offerings:

  • Grilled Cheese Sandwich (Php280). Three different kinds of cheese (cheddar, gruyere and mozarella) on buttered toast.
  • Cliffhanger Sandwich (Php250). Chicken, bacon, scrambled eggs, mozarella cheese inside fried custard-coated bread.

I didn’t care much for the side of marinara sauce that came with the sandwiches but I found the sandwiches themselves rich and filling.

The Cafe Americano (Php120) gave me a good pick-me-up. The muscovado sugar gave it a different kind of sweetness.

Thanks to my generous workmates, I was able to sample its other dishes:

  • Pasta Carbonara (Php260). Spaghetti noodles in a white sauce with sauteed bacon and onions, topped with a poached egg and parmesan cheese. I found this pasta a little too wet for my taste.
  • Garlic Seafood Pasta (Php450). Spaghetti noodles with shrimp, cuttlefish, mushrooms and scallops sauteed in garlic and olive oil. This seems to be a light and more preferable alternative to heavily sauced pasta dishes.
  • Crispy Wings (Php320). Fried marinated chicken wings served with garlic dip and fries. A bit forgettable but at least I got some more meat to go with my sandwich at the time.

I wouldn’t mind coming back to try out some of its more unusual food items such as its Cheese and Spinach (Php280) appetizer and Pulled Pork Grilled Cheese (Php320).

This UCC branch is located at Glorietta 3 Park, Ayala Center, Makati.

UCC Park Café Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Seafood Haven at Crab ‘n Crew

The folks invited us to try out this seafood resto in Project 6.  It is located in a small building along Visayas Avenue.  There is ample parking space but given the seemingly universal appeal of its #CrabAllYouCan for only Php699 offer, be ready to wait for your table like we did.

The resto’s interiors have an industrial feel to it with multiple hanging lights and black and white photos providing accents to the decor.

Our group ordered a Mussel Bag (Php420/100grams) and a Butter Bag (Php999, consists of seafood and corn on the cob bits), which we ate with our hands (making use of the bibs and gloves provided.)

I like how the mix of textures from the crabs, prawns, mussels and oysters and their respective sauces made for hearty meal.

The wait staff are also friendly and attentive.

Crab n' Crew Restobar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sumptuous Seafood at Shrimp Bucket

Shrimp Bucket is where my officemates and I go when we feel that we deserve a very happy lunch. For one thing, we eat here fairly often despite the pricy menu or we make our pleasure so evident that the friendly wait staff can recognize us on sight and already know what we will order.

The resto’s interiors have few decor but the most interesting are the bucket chandeliers. There is ample seating for around 30-40 people.

We plan our outings here ahead of time (usually to coincide with payday), so we usually have a lot of time to fantasize about our signature orders:

  • 1 pound of shrimp with Salty Eggsperience sauce
  • 1 pound of Mussels with The Mardi Gras sauce (slightly spicy with yummy chorizo bits thrown in

These sumptuous seafood dishes are best eaten family-style with steaming hot rice. Do take advantage of the bib and plastic gloves provided by the resto so you can eat with your hands to really enjoy the experience without worrying about making a mess or dirtying your clothes.

I have tried some of the resto’s other offerings such as the pan-fried fish fillet in soy ginger sauce and the crispy belachan pork but the combination of the Saltjy Eggsperience shrimp and the Mardi Gras mussels is still unbeatable for me.

This Shrimp Bucket is located at the 2nd floor of Il Terrazzo, Tomas Morato cor Scout Madrinan Street, South Triangle, Quezon City.

Other branches are located at the following:

  • 2nd floor of Ayala Malls the 30th along Meralco Avenue in Pasig
  • Along Missouri Street in Greenhills
  • Ground floor of Grand Hamptons Tower 1 along 31st Street in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
  • Ground Floor of UP Town Center along Katipunan Avenue in Diliman, Quezon City
  • Circuit Makati in Olympia, Makati

Elegant buffet spreads at Marriott Cafe

Thanks to a credit card promo, we were treated to a buffet lunch at the Marriott Cafe for my mother-in-law’s birthday.

The place is very elegant and well-appointed and the buffet spreads featuring cuisines from various countries were aesthetically presented. The staff were courteous and attentive as well.

Being a card-carrying carnevore, my favorite station is the grill, I got myself some steaks (“Cuts of the Day” were juicy and well-marbled) and various smoked meats and sausages.

I also gorged myself on desserts. The cafe has quite a selection of tartlets, cakes, cookies and pastries as well as a chocolate fountain which is a hit with the kids.

Dining here is an experience I won’t mind repeating. (But I’ll probably wait for another promo!)

Buffet prices are:

  • (6:30 am to 10:30 am, daily); Php1,450
  • Lunch (12:00 pm to 2:30 pm, Monday to Saturday): Php1,900
  • Brunch (11.30 am to 3:00 pm, Sunday): Php2,500
  • Dinner (6:00 pm to 8:30 pm, Monday to Thursday, Sunday): Php2,100
  • Dinner (6:00 pm to 10:30 pm Friday to Saturday): Php2,500

Marriott Cafe is located at the Manila Marriott Hotel, 2 Resorts Drive, Newport City, Pasay. For reservations, call 02-9889999 or visit the Resorts World Manila website for more details.
Marriott Cafe - Manila Marriott Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato