Quick snack time at Turks, SM North EDSA

So, here’s the deal: I’ve got some Turks GCs and my friends from #SaanSaPH and I are in the mood for a snack.

Turks, SM North EDSA

What to do???

Why, share the wealth and #MakeItATurksDay for everyone, that’s what!

At 10am and waiting for our first foodie meetup for the day, yes, we’re feeling just a wee bit peckish. So, off we went to the Turks stall at the SM North EDSA Foodcourt to get ourselves a small Beef Pita Doner each.

Turks, SM North EDSA

Turks, SM North EDSA

This tasty little snack is made of 100% pure beef, infused with Turks’ signature doner recipe and grilled to juicy goodness, served with freshly cut cucumber, tomatoes and onions, doused in cheese, garlic and hot sauces and wrapped with a slice of cheddar cheese in a warm, freshly baked pita bread.

Turks, SM North EDSA

Turks, SM North EDSA

You might think that there’s only one way to enjoy your Beef Pita Doner, but no! You can have it with all the bells and whistles (that is, all the veggies and sauces it usually comes with) like I did, sans onions, sans the sauces, or just all meat wrapped in the pita. Really, how you enjoy your wrap is your call.

Turks, SM North EDSA

With our hunger pangs chased away by our quick snack, our merry group went about our merry way, merrily tasting, noting and picture-taking what the day had to offer.

Turks, SM North EDSA

Photo Credit: Russell Vargas

Turks, SM North EDSA

Photo Credit: Shishi de Leon

Thanks to Turks for the GCs!

Turks is one of the country’s most successful and fastest growing brands in the food industry with over 400 branches nationwide.

This Turks branch is located at Food Court, Lower Ground Floor, Main Building, SM North EDSA, Bago Bantay, Quezon City.

Another branch located nearby is located at Second Floor, SKY Garden, SM North EDSA, Bago Bantay, Quezon City.

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

Check out my reviews of other restaurants serving Mediterranean food:

 

John Lloyd Cruz first endorsement appearance after 2 years: Is he coming back to the limelight?

Photos and videos of matinee idol John Lloyd Cruz have been surfacing after being on hiatus from the showbusiness since 2017.

Cruz, one of the most bankable actors of the Philippine cinema and very effective endorser once again proved that his fans are still waiting for his return. In a teaser video, which lasted only for a few seconds and only shows the back shot of Cruz’s, and posted in the Facebook page of the number one selling shawarma Turks a few weeks ago had been viewed 3.2M times, shared almost 800 times and gained a huge number of comments.

Without any clue in that teaser video, his fans already assumed that it was him in the video. Actress Bea Alonzo on her Instagram also posted a screenshot of that teaser video, which garnered almost a million likes.

This Monday morning Turks finally revealed in the 1-minute and 17 seconds video of Cruz showing the actor walking through different destinations, which somehow depicts Cruz’s sojourn. The video is very simple, yet there’s drama the way it was created, and in a very subtle shot, he stopped and took a bite of a Turks pita donner.

The rugged look of Cruz in the Turks video titled Ang Pagbabalik is way too far from his guy-next-door image and a lot of people in the industry are asking if this signals his return to the limelight. His fans are still wondering about the life he’s been living since his hiatus.

According to Turks president Gem L. Zenarosa that during the course of his talks with Cruz, they never talked anything about his showbiz career or plans. He added that he got Mr. Cruz as the latest ambassador of Turks because of his great confidence working with Cruz.

“I am really grateful that John Lloyd trusts our company, he is a brilliant and very creative young man. Aside from acting we have discovered some of his remarkable talents,” Zenarosa stressed.

The Ang Pagbabalik according to Zenarosa is actually about Turks Small Pita Doner, which will be available again in all its branches.

“John Lloyd is the best endorser for this because like him, despite his absence in the showbusiness for a couple of years, the warmth and love of his fans for him never dwindles. With our Small Pita Doner we believe that our customers will be happy to know that it is back in our menu,” Zenarosa explained.

Just like Cruz who is seen to have a different image since he last appeared in the big screen, a clear indication that the actor is recreating himslef and exploring different grounds, Turks is also doing the same thing to keep its customers excited whenever they visit a branch.

In time for the release of Cruz’s endorsement video, Turks also released to the market its newest offering — Turks Rice Bowl, which is a complete meal. You can choose beef or chicken for your rice topping, and it is priced at Php50. The Small Pita Donner on the other hand, is priced at Php35.

Turks Doner Bowl

Turks Pita Small Doner

“To keep up with the demands of our customers, Turks continues to improve our menu and offerings to satisfy the discriminating taste of our loyal patrons,” Zenarosa stressed.

John Lloyd Cruz now joins the roster of endorsers of Turks such as Piolo and Inigo Pascual.

For more details, visit Turks’ FB Page.

Product details and images provided by Turks in a recent press release.

Relaxing Sunday brunch at Noor, BGC

The day was warm with the sun shining down brightly from blue skies unmarred by clouds as I made my way to an area of Bonifacio Global CIty I seldom find myself visiting.

Megaworld’s Lifestyle Malls Forbestown Center (also known as Burgos Circle) is home to many new concept restaurants, cafes and dessert places. It is a wonder how I’m seldom here but that can soon be rectified. 🙂

This particular Sunday morning, I was headed to one restaurant in particular: Noor Modern Mediterranean. The place may look quite posh with its well-appointed modern interiors and the tasteful display of art and wine bottles throughout the premises but the overall vibe is one of freshness and warm hospitality. Its second floor dining area features a green wall as its focal point and floor-to-ceiling windows that affords a view of Forbestown Center as well as lots of natural light which will become quite handy when we do our food photos later on.

Noor, BGC

Noor, BGC

Noor, BGC

Noor, BGC

Yep, this hip and happening resto is to be the setting of a relaxed and banter-filled gathering among myself and my fellow foodie friends from #WeLoveToEatPH and #SaanSaPH.

Firstly, we were warmly welcomed by Noor’s Isreali-born Chef Or Hakmimi, who brings to the table the Mediterranean culinary influences he grew up with. The chef also espouses a friendly and casual dining atmosphere for his establishment; in between his adventures in the kitchen preparing Noor’s signature dishes as well as new ones he is experimenting on, he takes the time to chat with his guests and share more about his philosophy when it comes to food.

Noor, BGC

Noor, BGC

Foremost among his rules of thumb is the preference for having at least three flavors and textures in the food he serves, “so it won’t be boring.” He is right, too. Each bite of Noor’s dishes presented us with wonderful complexities: smokeyness, tartness, a hint of spice and more.

These complexities are in evidence in the brunch feast he and his staff laid out for us, which include:

Salmon Tartare. Not yet on the menu, this dish is made of thinly sliced chilled salmon topped with roe and served on crunchy black sesame seed-studded phyllo cones, an awesome start to the meal!

Noor, BGC

Noor, BGC

Cauliflauer (Php300). I read somewhere that this dish is life-changing and I can definitely agree! Cauliflauer are deep-fried and tossed in ceasar aoili and parsley.

Noor, BGC

Noor, BGC

Moroccan Shrimp (Php480). Succulent shrimps grilled then served on a bed of tatziki (a Greek yogurt-based side dish flavored by mashed vegetables, dill and olive oil) together with charred eggplant.

Noor, BGC

Noor, BGC

Lamb Baklava (Php470). Ground lamb sauteed in olive oil and spices encased in sheets of sheer phyllo dough baked to a lusciously crispy golden brown. Served with sesame dressing and a raspberry sauce, its combo of meaty savory and tart fruity flavors is a winner.

Noor, BGC

Noor, BGC

Chicken Skewers (Php590). Tender and flavorful chicken pieces, grilled together with onions and bell peppers and served with Syrian Basmati rice and seared tomato.

Noor, BGC

Noor, BGC

Shawarma Tacos (Php630). A triad of shawarma variants – roasted chicken with tahini, tomatoes and amba aoili; roasted fish with tsaziki, coleslaw and cilantro; and roasted mushrooms with garlic aioli, sumac onions and parsley – served open-faced on warm pita bread. These are best eaten by hand! (A bit messy but that’s part of the experience!)

Noor, BGC

Noor, BGC

Noor, BGC

Noor, BGC

Noor, BGC

Knafe (Php390). A classic Arab desert made of shredded buttery phyllo pastry, ricotta cheese, rose water syrup and yogurt ice cream topped with chopped pistachios. That interplay of warm and cold inside my mouth, together with the sweetness and rich buttery flavor is quite decadent. My only regret is that I have gone through forty plus years in life and I’ve only tasted this heavenly dessert today.

Noor, BGC

Noor, BGC

Almond Creme Brulee (Php330). A mildly sweet, creamy almond cream custard garnished with raspberry sauce and mint.

Noor, BGC

Noor, BGC

All of these dishes are made from scratch in the kitchen by Chef Or. Ingredients are locally sourced and the produce are organically grown in local farms.

Chef Or and his staff also served us with the resto’s signature cocktails to complement the dishes and to add to the day’s happy vibe.

Noor, BGC

Gypsy Mango (Php380). Rum mixed with organic mango liquor, fresh mango and cilantro. A perfect drink for this summer day!

Noor, BGC

Cinnamon Fashion (Php340). A version of the Old-Fashioned cocktail made by muddling sugar with bitters and adding some brandy, but here, it is garnished with a cinnamon stick.

Noor, BGC

Built to Spill (Php350). A blend of bourbon, ginger root and mint leaves.

Noor, BGC

Noor (Php390). The resto’s house-recipe cocktail made with gin, freh basil, cucumber, fresh lemon juice and tonic water.

Noor, BGC

Flavored Soda Water. Sparkling water flavored with juices of sweet fruits such as lychee, passionfruit and strawberry to quench our thirst and refresh our palates.

Noor, BGC

With such a lavish spread of good Mediterranean food, refreshing cocktails that kept us in high spirits and the company of great friends, it was a very enjoyable Sunday brunch!

Noor, BGC

Noor, BGC

And here’s some good news: did you know you can get free drinks at Noor, thanks to Zomato Gold? 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.

Noor is located at Unit F133, Forbeswood Heights, Burgos Circle, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, open daily from 11am to 12 midnight. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 956 1563426.

Noor 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.

Holy Shawarma brings an affordable yet authentic taste of the Middle East to Marikina

Remember that scene at the end of the Avengers movie when Tony Stark suddenly had a craving for shawarma? One of the most iconic moments from the movie is the after-credits scene which shows the superheroes munching on some shawarma in a store which miraculously stayed open despite the chaos of Battle of New York.

After biting into the juicy and smokey meat wraps at Holy Shawarma, you would understand why.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Shawarmas were derived from the Turkish doner kabap, a way of roasting stacked slices of marinated meat and cutting off pieces as they cook. It is served sandwiched inside a piece of flatbread along with hummus, tahini and sometimes fried potato strips, or piled high on a plate accompanied by tabbouleh and slices of tomatoes and cucumber topped with yogurt.

The name shawarma is the Arabic version of the Turkish word cervirme which means “turning.” This refers to the meat turning on a rotisserie; today, shawarma stores in the country use a motorized spit to slowly turn the stack of beef or chicken pieces against a heat source, evenly roasting the outer layer which are then sliced off.

Normally, you can enjoy this savory delicacy in food courts and tiangges but now, denizens of the beautiful city of Marikina can enjoy their meat wraps in relative comfort in the newly opened restaurant Holy Shawarma.

Holy Shawarma, Marikina

Holy Shawarma, Marikina

Holy Shawarma, Marikina

Owner Mon Tolentino shares that the store’s name is akin to an expression of joy or surprise which he hopes to elicit from his patrons with his food; something like “Holy Shawarma, that’s so good!”

Together with fellow foodies and bloggers, I was invited to visit this store and sample its offerings. Our group of nine bloggers settled ourselves in the store’s seating area and got ready to get our fill of the shawarma and other Middle Eastern delicacies.

We were welcomed by the glorious aroma of roasting meat as the store’s crew bustled about to prepare our food.

Holy Shawarma, Marikina

Holy Shawarma, Marikina

Holy Shawarma, Marikina

Holy Shawarma, Marikina

For starters, we snacked on some French Fries (Php25/plate) and Dynamite Wraps (Php65/plate). The fries are crisp and not-too-salty; I may have single-handedly polished off a plate of these. I had a bout of anxiety prior to biting into the Dynamite Wraps – large green chili peppers stuffed with ground beef and cheese – but it turned out to be quite tasty; the spiciness of the chili peppers framed the flavors of the cheese and meat quite well.

Holy Shawarma, Marikina

Holy Shawarma, Marikina

Afterwards, we feasted Beef Kebabs (Php200/plate) and Chicken Kebabs (Php180/plate) which were well-complemented by the buttery Shawarma Rice (Php120/plate).

Holy Shawarma, Marikina

Holy Shawarma, Marikina

Holy Shawarma, Marikina

The real stars of the show, of course, are the meat wraps: Beef Shawarma (Php80/piece) and Chicken Shawarma (Php80/piece). Those savory slivers of meat are wrapped in warm pita bread together with sliced tomatoes, onions and cucumbers, a strip of cheese and drizzled with garlic sauce and hot sauce. Each bite into these wraps was like going on a magic carpet ride: the warm flavors trigger feelings of comfort to the soul.

Holy Shawarma, Marikina

Holy Shawarma, Marikina

Holy Shawarma, Marikina

We washed down these strong-flavored food with refreshing Mango Shake (Php80/glass).

Holy Shawarma, Marikina

Holy Shawarma, Marikina

So, if you’re a superhero done vanquishing a frightful foe, or just a regular Joe looking for a filling snack, drop by Holy Shawarma for some holy-shawarma-that’s-so-good and affordable food.

Thanks to Holy Shawarma for having us and to Marikina Foodies for extending the invite!

Holy Shawarma, Marikina

Holy Shawarma, Marikina

Want to bring a friend over? Enjoy beef or chicken shawarma food for two along with iced tea for only Php165!

Going solo? Why not go for a Shawarma Meal of composed of Shawarma on a plate with buttered rice together with iced tea for only Php110.

Holy Shawarma is located at 113 Gil Fernando Street corner Mayor Chanyungco Avenue, Santa Elena, Marikina City, open Tuesdays to Thursdays from 2pm to 10pm and Fridays to Sundays from 3pm to 12 midnight.

Holy Shawarma 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. Food items mentioned here were served to allow us to sample the fare and were not paid for by the attendees, including myself.

4 Things to Like About The Pallet, Poblacion

The area of Makati called Poblacion, previously known as the city’s red light district, has evolved into a pretty happening place. It has given rise to concept restaurants, quick chows and bars that offer Makati workers and residents alternative choices for dining, hanging out and entertainment away from the usual malls.

One such place is The Pallet.

The Pallet, Poblacion

A food park located at the corner of Dona Carmen and Jacobo Streets in Poblacion, backroads to Kalayaan Avenue, The Pallet is an off-the-beaten track venue.

For my first-ever Looloo Rendezvoos, I was invited to check this place out and experience the various possibilities it affords to its patrons. I found a lot to like about it so I summarized them down to a list which will hopefully help fellow foodies discover a new favorite place to hang out and dine.

No. 1: Ample parking space and helpful security guard.

Having braved the rush hour all the way from QC, I was relieved I didn’t have to worry about where to park my car. Manong guard was quick to assist me in finding a spot and guiding me while I park.

No. 2: Chill surroundings.

Being located in backstreets away from all the hustle and bustle of Makati’s busy streets and surrounded by a residential area, The Pallet has a chill and relaxed atmosphere that distanced me from the usual stresses of work and traffic.

The Pallet, Poblacion

The Pallet, Poblacion

The Pallet, Poblacion

No. 3: Lots of food choices!

Given its relatively small area, I’m surprised at the number and variety of dining choices available. I’ll blog about them in more detail later but suffice to say that the foodie in me got quite excited with The Pallet’s tenants and their offerings. These include:

Mang Jose’s Ihaw Ihaw – for yummy and fuss-free grilled meats and pulutans

The Pallet, Poblacion

Antojitos – for a taste of Mexico from cheese-filled nachos and quesadillas to filling burritos and more

The Pallet, Poblacion

Asian Hawker – for a taste of Singaporean street food from the Char Kwai Teoh rice dish to the creamy Laksa

The Pallet, Poblacion

Uncle Moe’s Shawarma Hub – for a taste of Middle Eastern cuisine from the flavorful kababs to hefty shawarmas

The Pallet, Poblacion

Takohub – it was my first time to see takoyaki balls this huge!

The Pallet, Poblacion

Heath Burger – because healthy cam be tasty too, especially those mushrooms masquerading as chicken nuggets

The Pallet, Poblacion

Ramen Attack – that Tantanmen was a revelation! And the Steak & Rice got me craving for more!

The Pallet, Poblacion

Creamco Creamery – rolled ice cream that’s as pretty as it was sweet and yummy

The Pallet, Poblacion

Inum Bar – cocktails for that relaxed after-work buzz

The Pallet, Poblacion

No. 4: Live music!

On Wednesday nights this November, enjoy live music from up-and-coming artists such as DJ Aryan (90’s Night) on November 21 and DJ SP (Hiphop Throwback) on November 29.

These are just some of the reasons why The Pallet appeals to me. Check it out and see if it might grow to be your favorite place too!

The Pallet is located at 5804 Dona Carmen corner Jacobo Streets, Poblacion, Makati City. For inquiries, email thepalletpark@gmail.com.

Disclosure: Together with other Looloo users, I was invited to join a Looloo Rendezvoos held at this venue.  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.

Unwinding at Manila Hotel’s Tap Room

Taking advantage of a credit card promo, my mother-in-law treated us to dinner at Manila Hotel’s Tap Room to celebrate my sister-in-law’s birthday.

Manila Hotel is a historic 5-star hotel located along Manila Bay. Built in 1909, it is the oldest premiere hotel in the Philippines.

The Tap Room is Manila Hotel’s English pub-inspired bar. Its dim lighting, dark wood interiors, plush seating and soothing jazz music from live performers make it an appropriate place to unwind in with your favorite drink.

While waiting for our orders, we were served with salted peanuts and green peas to go with our drinks (mine was, of course, a double shot of Bailey’s).

Our food orders included:

  • Pizza Manila Hotel (Php550). A thin-crust pizza topped with tomato, mozzarella, Laguna cheese and olives.
  • Slider (Php550). Two cheese-stuffed mini burgers with guacamole and barbecue sauce.
  • Chicken Shawarma Wrap (Php450). Roasted chicken wrapped in a toasted flour tortilla and served with tahina dip, garlic sauce, pickles and French fries.
  • Fried Fish and Chips (Php750). Battered fish fried to a crispy golden brown and served with large cut fries.
  • Deep-fried Calamares (Php450).
  • Buffalo Chicken Wings (Php450).
  • Sizzling Pork Sisig (Php450).

Being located in a 5-star hotel, the Tap Room’s service was top-notch.  The wait staff was elegantly dressed, very accommodating and helpful.  They even brought out a slice of chocolate mousse as a birthday treat for my sister-in-law.

The food was well-presented and well-flavored.  However, given the pricing, hanging out at the Tap Room for dining or drinks is not something I can do too often.

Tap Room - Manila Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato