El Chupapi, Tomas Morato

The Philippines and Mexico have a lot in common: both colonized by Spain in the 1500s and linked across the seas by the Galleon Trade, linkages in the two countries’ culture and practices are bound to occur.

One such linkage is found in food.

Filipino and Mexican cuisines are both heavily influenced by Spanish culinary traditions but are still grounded on local tastes and ingredients.

It would take only a little leap, then, to add Filipino twists to Mexican food and come up with exotic viands made familiar and palatable to the Pinoy palate. And so we have Fil-Mex cuisine such as the food that can be enjoyed at the recently opened restaurant in Tomas Morato called El Chupapi.

El Chupapi, Tomas Morato

A hole-in-the-wall taqueria along Scout Albano Street, El Chupapi offers a place where workers from nearby offices and local residents can enjoy a quick and easy lunch or some after-hours pica-pica with their favorite cerveza (which usually happens to be San Miguel Beer, and you can’t get any more Pinoy than that, hahaha!).

Step inside and you’ll be welcomed by vibrant colors that characterize Mexican culture, most notably the mural of Santa Muerte that occupy an entire wall.

El Chupapi, Tomas Morato

El Chupapi, Tomas Morato

El Chupapi, Tomas Morato

El Chupapi, Tomas Morato

El Chupapi, Tomas Morato

I’ve experienced both kinds of dining opportunities at El Chupapi: first, when I joined my team mates in a post-work Anti-Burnout get-together; and second, when I grabbed a quick lunch here together with my office buddies.

Among the Fil-Mex dishes I have sampled here are:

Fries Overload (Php180). A mixture of ground beef and melted cheese poured over freshly made French fries. This is great for sharing and mindless munching (like I often do)!

El Chupapi, Tomas Morato

El Chupapi, Tomas Morato

Tacos Locos (Php149 for 2 pieces). My friends and I took advantage of an ongoing Booky Buy One Get One deal for these meaty and cheese hard-shell tacos so we got four tacos for the price of two.

El Chupapi, Tomas Morato

El Chupapi, Tomas Morato

Salmon and Cream Cheese Aioli Soft Tacos (Php175). Two pieces of pan-seared salmon fillets on top of shredded cabbage and onions, doused with garlic mayo to be rolled inside a lightly toasted tortilla.

El Chupapi, Tomas Morato

El Chupapi, Tomas Morato

Chicken Wings (Php195 for 6 pieces | Php360 for 12 pieces). Tender and juicy chicken wings flavored with your choice among four sauces: Mango Habanero, Garlic Parmesan, Salted Egg and Mexican Barbecue. Thanks to a lucky decision to have lunch here on a Wingsday Wednesday, my friends and I got twelve pieces of El Chupapi’s wings (6 pieces Garlic Parmesa and 6 pieces Mexican Barbecue) for just Php195. These go so well with steamed rice.

El Chupapi, Tomas Morato

El Chupapi, Tomas Morato

El Chupapi, Tomas Morato

El Chupapi, Tomas Morato

Dessert Quesas (Php180 each). Sweet takes on the classic quesadilla – Blueberry Cream Cheese and Himalayan Salted Caramel (which was quite salty) – topped with a hefty dollop of vanilla ice cream. Both serve as great bookends to a satisfying Fil-Mex meal.

El Chupapi, Tomas Morato

El Chupapi, Tomas Morato

My friends and I are quite satisfied with our El Chupapi experiences in terms of the quality of food and pricing. I also appreciate its Buy One Get One offers that help more people enjoy its offerings without being to heavy on the wallet.

El Chupapi, Tomas Morato

El Chupapi, Tomas Morato

So, how about popping by in Tomas Morato and giving this Fil-Mex resto a try?

El Chupapi is located at No. 7 Scout Albano Street, South Triangle, Quezon City, open Mondays to Saturdays from 11am to 11pm.

El Chupapi Fil-Mex Bar & Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my reviews of other restaurants serving Latin American cuisine:

Grilled meats from all over the world at Skewered, Festival Mall Alabang

Grilling has long been associated with breezy summer nights and friends gathered to feast on good food while making new memories together.

That’s how I found myself spending a sultry Sunday afternoon down South in Alabang together with my fellow foodies.

The host of this lively gathering is Skewered, the nautical-inspired eatery that brings together grilling traditions from many parts of the world.

Skewered, Alabang

Skewered, Alabang

Skewered, Alabang

Skewered, Alabang

Skewered, Alabang

These traditions were exemplified in the feast they laid out for us, which include:

Shrimp Tacos (Php229). Marinated and grilled shrimp served in soft taco shells.

Skewered, Alabang

Oyster Gratin (Php229). Three large fresh oysters, grilled and topped with house-made aioli gratin.

Skewered, Alabang

Garlic Enoki Mushroom (Php149). Baked enoki mushroom served with house-made garlic sauce.

Skewered, Alabang

Grilled Talong (Php129). A whole eggplant, grilled then coated with house-made garlic sauce.

Skewered, Alabang

Singaporean Shrimp Satay (Php199). Skewered shrimps, marinated and grilled, then served with the traditional peanut sauce.

Skewered, Alabang

Torched Beef Salpicao (Php349). Beef salpicao served hanging, torched at the table and drizzled with butter sauce.

Skewered, Alabang

Veggies Skewer (Php169). Two sticks of mixed marinated and roasted vegetables.

Skewered, Alabang

Skewers: Chinese Beef (Php41), Chinese Lamb Php45), Chinese Pork (Php36), Chinese Chicken (Php36), Meat Balls (Php36).

Skewered, Alabang

Meat Platter (Php1,299). A carnivore’s dream come true: 200g Wagyu beef brisket, half of a roasted chicken, 150g Lechon Pork Belly, 3 pcs of Taiwanese sausages, and choice of 2 sides from among coleslaw, buttered corn, house salad, fries, mac n’ cheese and steak rice.

Skewered, Alabang

Skewered also laid out home-grown dishes served with international flair, such as:

Tapa Rice (Php299). Savory rice flavored by beef tapa topped with fried eggs and tomatoes.

Skewered, Alabang

Seafood Paella (Php439). The offshoot of the Spanish rice dish made with a creamy tomato base, fresh shrimp and clams, drizzled with aioli and served in a traditional shallow pan.

Skewered, Alabang

Sizzling Lechon Sisig (Php279). Classic Pinoy roasted pork cooked and served as a crunchy and spicy sisig.

Skewered, Alabang

Gambas al Ajillo (Php239). Plump shrimps sauteed in garlic and served sizzling.

Skewered, Alabang

Sinigang na Hipon (Php319). The sour soup dish of shrimp in a tamarind-flavored broth.

Skewered, Alabang

Beef Brisket Nilaga (Php329). Smoked wagyu brisket cubes served in a flavorful nilaga broth.

Skewered, Alabang

Kare-Kareng Lechon (Php399). Roasted pork served in a rich peanut sauce together with crisp vegetables.

Skewered, Alabang

Wagyu Corned Beef Kaldereta (Php409). The house-made wagyu corned beef prepared as flavorful caldereta with veggies.

Skewered, Alabang

Beef Hofan (Php239). Stir-fried and flambeed rice noodles mixed with beef bits and chopped vegetables.

Skewered, Alabang

Pad Thai (Php349). The classic stir-fried rice noodle dish served wrapped in a delicate egg omelette.

Skewered, Alabang

Spaghetti Aligue (Php319). Spaghetti noodles tossed in a rich crab fat sauce and served with a freshly grilled shrimp.

Skewered, Alabang

To cap our meal, cater to our craving for sweets and to quench our thirst, prettily designed dessert drinks were served (with reusable metal straws at that!).

Frappes (Php159 each): Caramel, Cookies and Cream Frappe and Chocolate

Skewered, Filinvest

Strawberry Shake Special (Php189). Strawberry milkshake overloaded with a strawberry Pocky stick, marshmallows, strawberry pretzels and a scoop of strawberry ice cream.

Skewered, Filinvest

Choko Shake Special (Php199). Chocolate milkshake overloaded with a chocolate Pocky stick, M&Ms, mini marshmallows, KitKat stick and a scoop of chocolate ice cream.

Skewered, Filinvest

Halo-Halo Frappe (Php199). The all-time Pinoy favorite shaved ice dessert given a fresh twist.

Skewered, Filinvest

Skewered does a good job in curating and putting its fresh takes in various dishes. While the pork dishes tend to be salty, the beef dishes are marked by juiciness and flavorfully tender texture.

Despite the plethora of food it served during this foodie meetup, there are more waiting to be discovered and tasted. I won’t mind coming back here for more foodie adventures with my friends.

Skewered is located at Ground Floor, Water Garden, Festival Mall, Filinvest City, Muntinlupa, open daily from 10am to 4am with Happy Hours at 3pm to 7pm. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 2 8216745, +63 928 1796025 or +63 945 2476249.

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

And guess what? Since this is a Zomato Gold partner establishment, you can get some of your food orders for free!

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.

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.

Fiery Fiesta at Chichario, Molito Lifestyle Center

Foodies down South in Alabang have another place to discover: the new Chichario Peri Peri Chicken and Cocktail Bar.

Opened in late 2018 by the tandem of Moira and Marco, Chichario sprung out of their love for peri-peri chicken and boisterously vibrant fiesta culture of Brazil. Located amidst wine bars, family-centric eateries and cafes, Chichario offers the young adults – millennials, if you will – in the area a place where they can hang out with their friends and have a few drinks while enjoying good food and good music.

Chichario, Alabang

Chichario, Alabang

The restaurant’s name is a combination of the words of “Chicha” (from “chicheria,” the Pinoy slang for finger-food) and “Rio” (from the Brazilian capital Rio de Janeiro).

Chichario, Alabang

Upon entering its doors into its first floor dining area, you would get the impression that its a family-friendly barbecued chicken resto, but when you go up to its tropical-themed second floor bar area, aptly called “Chicha’s Hideout,” that’s where the party’s at.

Chichario, Alabang

Chichario, Alabang

Well, Chichario really did throw a party for me and my fellow foodies where we enjoyed a sampling of its fiery yet comforting Southern American home-cooking.

Nacho Carnitas. Crunchy nacho chips flavored with sour cream powder and generously topped with flavorful chipotle pulled pork, cilantro salsa and torched mozzarella and cheddar.

Chichario, Alabang

Chichario, Alabang

Soft Taco Carnitas. Two open-faced tortilla wraps stuffed with chipotle pulled pork, cilantro salsa and garlic aioli dip.

Chichario, Alabang

Pollo Asado Quesadilla. Tortilla wraps stuffed grilled peri-peri chicken, cheddar, cilantro pesto sauce and salsa. It is best enjoyed with its garlic aoili dip.

Chichario, Alabang

Salpicao Escobar. Hanger steak further tenderized via sous vide, then cooked salpicao-style and flavored with South American spices.

Chichario, Alabang

Chichario, Alabang

Chipotle Sisig. Instead of siling labuyo, this sisig is spiced uo with chipotle peppers.

Chichario, Alabang

Chichario, Alabang

Half Peri Peri Chicken. Sous vide is again employed to further tenderize these chicken pieces, which are then seasoned with South American soices and grilled to a smokey perfection which makes this dish the star of the show. It is served pre-cut for easy sharing with a trio of house-sauces: chimichurri, pepper sauce and garlic aioli.

Chichario, Alabang

Chichario, Alabang

And what’s a party without a few drinks?

After downing a couple of glasses of Chichario’s House Ice Tea, our group also had a taste of Chichario’s exotic cocktails.

Mojito de Janeiro. Grilled pineapple infushed rum, white rum, mint leaves and guyabano soda.

Chichario, Alabang

El Chichario. A mix of tropical fruits and dark and light rum.

Chichario, Alabang

Frozen Margarita and Mango Daiquiri.

Chichario, Alabang

Chichario, Alabang

Amidst the pulsing music, exotic locale and the fine fiery food of Chichario, my friends and I had a fun fiesta!

Chichario, Alabang

Chichario, Alabang

Chichario, Alabang (photo by Eboy M. Donato)

Chichario Peri Peri Chicken and Cocktail Bar is located at the Molito Lifestyle Center, Alabang, Muntinlupa, open daily from 11am to 2am.

Watch out: offshoots of Chichario’s might find their way in your hometown. Be on the lookout for “Chicha’s” outlets which will mainly serve ceviches and tacos.

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

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

Check out my reviews of other bars and watering holes in the Metro:

Credit for the last photo: Eboy M. Donato of #WeLoveToEatPH and #SaanSaPH

Sultry nights of Fil-Mex food and rockin’ music are comin’ at Bodega Casa Villa, Marikina

In one of the quiet roads of Marikina just off the major thoroughfare that is Gil Fernando Avenue is a burst of vibrant colors, tastes and sounds, a perfect venue for chilling out when the sultry summer nights come along.

Bodega Casa Villa is a Fil-Mex restaurant that seeks to bring the fun and spice of Mexican food to the Filipino palate. This results to a mix of contrasts: spicy dishes and refreshing drinks, a rockin’ and colorfully decorated al fresco dining and bar area outside and a homey yet well appointed setting inside, and signature Mexican dishes using Pinoy ingredients.

Bodega Casa Villa, Marikina

Bodega Casa Villa, Marikina

Bodega Casa Villa, Marikina

Bodega Casa Villa, Marikina

Bodega Casa Villa, Marikina

Bodega Casa Villa, Marikina

The Latin vibe is alive and well in this resto, from the murals and sombreros that adorn the warmly colored walls, the ornate mirrors in the washing area and restroom, to the table napkins that mark each place setting.

Bodega Casa Villa, Marikina

Bodega Casa Villa, Marikina

Bodega Casa Villa, Marikina

Bodega Casa Villa, Marikina

Bodega Casa Villa, Marikina

Together with other local foodies, I was able to try out its Fil-Mex fare, which include:

Mucho Nacho Bodega (Php230). Large piece of crrrrunchy corn nachos topped with salsa fresca, jalapeno peppers, garlic cream, queso sauce, and our very own longganisa and kesong puti!

Bodega Casa Villa, Marikina

Bodega Casa Villa, Marikina

Sinugbang Maiz “Elote” (Php120). A very fresh twist on the grilled corn-on-the-cob (“sinugba” being the Cebuano term for anything grilled), succulent grilled corn are coated with a mixture of mayo, parmesan and cheese powder, then flavored with spices, cilantro and lime.

Bodega Casa Villa, Marikina

Bodega Casa Villa, Marikina

Crispy Dinuguan Burrito (Php250). Hefty rolls of burritos stuffed with rice flavored with dinuguan (Filipino version of blood stew), pork meat and lettuce, and served with bits of chicharon (pork skin cracklings) for added crunch and flavor. These are served with salsa verde and chipotle salsa.

Bodega Casa Villa, Marikina

Bodega Casa Villa, Marikina

Taco Trio (Php295). A triad of soft-shell tacos, each with a different flavorful filling: the Pork Bagnet Sisig, the Chicken Inasal and the Beef Barbacoa. Enjoy these with salsa verde, chipotle salsa and garlic cream sauce.

Bodega Casa Villa, Marikina

Bodega Casa Villa, Marikina

Aligue Squid Pasta (Php275). Cappelini pasta tossed in a decadent aligue (crab fat) sauce along with rings of grilled squid.

Bodega Casa Villa, Marikina

Bodega Casa Villa, Marikina

Stacked Chicken Wings (Php765). A mountain of twenty-four (!!!) meaty and juicy pieces of fried chicken wings doused in three different kinds sauces: Parmesan, Quezo and Chipotle. Have a taste for adventure? Reach into a platter of these without looking at what you’re getting and take a bite. Personally, I love the Parmesan-coated wings.

Bodega Casa Villa, Marikina

Bodega Casa Villa, Marikina

Be sure to check out the bar’s signature cocktails and other drinks while you’re enjoying the food and the live acoustic music.

Bodega Casa Villa, Marikina

Bodega Casa Villa, Marikina

Bodega Casa Villa, Marikina

It sure looks like Fil-Mex foodie adventurers have a new home in Marikina!

Bodega Casa Villa, Marikina

Bodega Casa Villa, Marikina

Hankering for a chill and enjoyable night out with your friends? Take advantage of the resto’s various promos!

Php200/6 Bote. Get six bottles of San Miguel Beer products for only Php200 every Monday.

Taco Tuesday. Buy one get one on all tacos every Tuesday.

Beer-All-You-Can Wednesdays (Php350). Chug down all the brews you can muster, every Wednesday from 5pm to 10pm.

Bring Your Own Bottle Thursdays. Got your signature drink at home? Bring it here as there is no corkage fee, then enjoy it together with your fave Fil-Mex dishes and chill sounds.

Thanks to Fat Girls Day Out for extending the invitation!

Bodega Casa Villa is located at 48 Dragon Street, San Roque, Marikina, open daily from 5pm to midnight. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 2 6451952.

Bodega Casa Villa Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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

Check out my reviews of other restaurants serving Mexican food:

5 reasons to check out Vatos Urban Tacos, BGC

In the mood for a gastronomic adventure? Look no further than Vatos Urban Tacos for good food, cool vibes and a great time. Here are five reasons why you should check this place out:

One: It’s a cool place to hang out in

Located at the ground floor of Net Park Building in BGC, Vatos’ store is characterized, not by the traditionally colorful Mexican decor, but by an industrial, almost steampunk aesthetic. Bare concrete walls tastefully adorned with black and white photos and exposed pipes, lamps hanging from the ceiling giving muted light, dark wood tables and an accent wall of broken bricks on top of the bar were elements inspired by the very first Vatos outlet in Korea. These give the place a cool urban vibe that make it a great stopover after work to eat, have a few drinks and relax.

Vatos Urban Tacos, BGC

Vatos Urban Tacos, BGC

Vatos Urban Tacos, BGC

Vatos Urban Tacos, BGC

Vatos Urban Tacos, BGC

And ladies, those inverted faucets under the tabletops serve as bag hooks!

Two: It’s your intro to #KorMex

Vatos (from the Mexican slang for “men” or “dudes”) was actually born out of the desire of three Korean-American friends – Sid Kim, Kenny Park and Juweon Jonatham Kim – to offer a new type of dining experience in the Asian market. Having grown up in areas of the US where they have access to authentic Mexican dishes, while being fed a steady diet of homemade Korean food by their moms, they came to mix and match the cuisines. These experimentations resulted to exciting new dishes, especially for adventurous seekers of spicy food. These include:

Kimchi Carnitas Fries (Php350). A hearty serving of seasoned French fries, braised pork carnitas, melted cheese and sauteed kimchi topped with chopped cilantro and onions, sour cream and Vatos signature hot sauce.

Vatos Urban Tacos, BGC

Honey Tequila Chicken Wings (Php490). Can something so good be hot and sweet at the same time? Apparently yes, with these meaty chicken wings coated with a sweet and spicy honey tequila sauce and served with deep-fried battered jalapenos and bleu cheese dipping sauce.

Vatos Urban Tacos, BGC

Vatos Cowboy Queso (Php390). For a rich savory taste of the Wild West, dip a crunchy had-cut corn tortilla into this molten dip of cheddar and pepper jack cheeses, black beans, pico de gallo and cilantro lime crema. You’ll surely be coming back for more.

Vatos Urban Tacos, BGC

The Fat Bastard Burrito Bowl (Php560). A filling bowl of Mexican rice and black beans combined with tender bits of carne asada steak, pork barbacoa and grilled fajita vegetables, with fresh Mexican flavors from cilantro onion, cilantro lime crema, fresh guacamole, chipotle salsa and Vatos hot sauce.

Vatos Urban Tacos, BGC

Grilled Chicken Fajita Platter (Php850). Grilled chicken thigh and fajita veggies served on a sizzling hot plate along with Mexican rice, pico de gallo, chimichurri, cilantro lime crema, Vatos hot sauce and warm flour tortillas.

Vatos Urban Tacos, BGC

Korean Pork Belly Taco (Php290 for 2 pieces | Php430 for 3 pieces | Php600 for platter). One of the resto’s much-vaunted urban taco options, this platter, this features pork belly marinated in Korean soy paste, ssamjang aioli, sliced fresh and pickled onions.

Vatos Urban Tacos, BGC

Chimichurri Chicken Taco (Php259 for 2 pieces | Php370 for 3 pieces | Php600 for platter). Spicy chicken flakes topped with a sweet and tangy chimichurri salsa, lettuce, sour cream and Mexican cheese.

Vatos Urban Tacos, BGC

Baja Fish Taco (Php280 for 2 pieces | Php410 for 3 pieces | Php600 for platter). White fish coated with tempura beer batter served with spicy chipotle mayo, pico de gallo and apple coleslaw.

Vatos Urban Tacos, BGC

Three: Why would you go through life without taking a sip of Vatos’ crazy margaritas?

Margeritas are tequila and citrus-based cocktails which serves as refreshing drinks and worthy foils to spicy Mexican dishes. Vatos’ ‘ritas have a nice variety that you can choose one that suits your craving or mood.

The sweetest among Vatos’ margarita offerings is the Sexy Sanchez (Php480), a fruity strawberry margarita served with an upended bottle of Magners Berry Cider.

Grow-a-Pear (Php480), on the other hand, is less sweet though no less fruity being made of passion fruit margarita accompanied by an upended bottle of Magners Pear Cider.

Vatos Urban Tacos, BGC

If the ‘ritas are not your cup of tea (more like alcohol of choice!), how about another shot of #KorMex fusion with the Makgeolitas (Php320)? Tequila meets Korean rice-based alcohol resulting to a sweet and tangy concoction that packs a wallop.

Vatos Urban Tacos, BGC

Four: There’s something for your sweet tooth too!

With all the fresh citrusy and rich earthy flavors, generously infused with a spicy kick stemming from Vatos’ Korean and Mexican roots, capping your meal with a decadent dessert can be quite an indulgence.

Take the Nutella Nachos (Php225), for example. Cinnamon powder and sugar dust crispy tortilla triangles drizzled with hazelnut Nutella sauce. Topped with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream, each mouthful is an explosion of sweetness.

Vatos Urban Tacos, BGC

A new addition to Vatos’ menu, the Bacon Jalapeno Brownie (Php180) is an interesting study of contrasts. Sweetness from the chocolate and candied walnuts, savory from the crispy bacon bits, and spiciness from the jalapeno that was included in the mix for some reason. One bite and I just want to delve into its mysteries, unravel its complexities and discover what makes it tick. Long story short, yeah, I liked it. (Thank you, Captain Obvious!)

Vatos Urban Tacos, BGC

Five: It has special treats in store for you as it turns a year old this February.

When you visit Vatos as it celebrates its first anniversary, you’re definitely in for a treat!

Feel like crooning out your signature song while accompanied by an acoustic guitar? Make sure you’re at Vatos on February 1 (Fri), 7pm for its Open Mic Acoustic Night with Dindo and Ryan.

And for all you 80s and 90s kids out there who can’t get enough of the past decades’ great tunes, DJ Erwin Paz will be there on February 2 (Sat), 8pm to play the sounds you’ve been missing.

And, on those days, you will discover that your Php100 bill can get you very far: you can either get a huge glass of margarita, or a pair of scrumptious tacos.

Vatos is a welcome new foodie discovery in itself but with its imaginative fusion menu and anniversary activities, it can become a new favorite.

Vatos Urban Tacos is located at Net Park Building, 5th AvenuelBonifacio Global City, Taguig. For inquiries, call +63 2 4597009 or +63 967 2464781. More information on its dishes and drinks are available at www.vatosph.com.

Vatos Urban Tacos Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclosure: Together with other food bloggers, I was invited to attend a foodie meetup held in 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.

Three things to discover at Tittos, Kapitolyo

Kapitolyo is considered to be the foodie haven of Pasig, the city’s answer to QC’s Maginhawa Street and Marikina’s Lilac Street.

Kapitolyo is the place to be if you want imaginative and extraordinary dining experiences, in establishments that veer off the beaten path when it comes to restaurant concept, menu items or decor.

One such restaurant is Tittos Latin BBQ and Brew.

The brainchild of a group of friends who consider themselves “titos” already (hence the restaurant name), Tittos has a relaxed yet vibrant vibe that appeals to the titos and titas in all of us. From the huge colorful murals, its spacious indoor and al fresco dining areas, its friendly and accommodating wait staff to its huge servings of Latin American comfort food that appeals to the Pinoy palate, Tittos is the place to be for gastronomic adventures and fun times with friends.

Tittos Latin BBQ and Brew

Tittos Latin BBQ and Brew

Tittos Latin BBQ and Brew

Tittos Latin BBQ and Brew

However, there is more to Tittos than meets the eye which I found out when I attended a foodie meet up held there. And since I like to blab about my discoveries, here are things about Tittos that will make you hie yourself off to Kapitolyo stat.

One: It recently launched some new appetizing menu items.

Imagine sharing a meal with your crew that includes gastronomic delights such as:

Tapas de Chipa (Php295). Soft puff pastries served tapas-style with cream cheese, smoked salmon and truffle honey.

Tittos Latin BBQ and Brew

Tuna Tirataki (Php275). A Brazilian take on the Japanese tataki, sashimi-grade tuna is seared and served with a tangy spice mix, fried garlic, and garnished with a delicate black coral tuile.

Tittos Latin BBQ and Brew

La Lucha Salad (Php320). A very healthy salad that mixes in the trendy ingredient quinoa with mixed salad greens, corn, candied cashews, tempura-style oyster mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and crumbled white cheese drizzled with a honey balsamic dressing.

Tittos Latin BBQ and Brew

El Cesar’s Salad Burrito (Php320). In this Latin American deconstruction of the classic Ceasar Salad, lava-grilled chicken mojo is wrapped in flour tortilla together with mixed lettuce, soft-boiled eggs, garlic croutons, fresh parmesan, cherry tomatoes and Tittos’ own house-made Ceasar salad dressing, and served with some potato fries on the side.

Tittos Latin BBQ and Brew

Chiquittos (Php155). Fried chicken taco done as a deep-fried roll accented by white cheese and Mexican crema.

Tittos Latin BBQ and Brew

Garlic Shrimp BBQ Pizza (Php325) and Truffle Pork Pizza (Php345). Substituting the normal pizza dough with a flour tortilla, these pizzas give you maximo satisfaction through either the spicy garlicky barbecued shrimp toppings or the strips of pork belly over bechamel sauce together with melted cheeses.

Tittos Latin BBQ and Brew

Pasta Negra con Gambas (Php375). Squid ink linguine tossed with stir-fried prawns marinated in citrus and garlic bits.

Tittos Latin BBQ and Brew

Blackened Tuna Jaw (Php745). Lava-roasted tuna jaw rubbed with Latin spices served with grilled lime and honey chipotle sauce.

Tittos Latin BBQ and Brew

El Puerco ala Brasa (Php395). Tender slices of pork belly rubbed with dried red chilis then lava-grilled and topped with mole verde sauce.

Tittos Latin BBQ and Brew

Tittos Signature Steak (Ribeye: Php1,750/400g, T-bone: Php1,450/500g, Striploin: Php950/350g)

Pan-seared angus steaks served with torched sofrito butter, crispy beef bits, Peruvian pink peppercorn, lime and Latin gravy.

Tittos Latin BBQ and Brew

Now, with these new inclusions to the Tittos menu, all the titos and titas have great reasons to come together and grab a bite!

Tittos Latin BBQ and Brew

Two: You can look forward to cool events and exciting promos come December

On December 2 from 7pm to 10pm, you can enjoy a Sunday Chill Night with acoustic music artist Tiara Shaye, along with five bottles of local beer and a plate of Nacho El Gigante for only Php399 or unli wine with a serving of Batata Frita for only Php499.

Tittos Latin BBQ and Brew

On December 4 – Taco Tuesday- get a Buy 1 Take 1 deal on all street tacos – Chiquittos, Chicharrones, Salted Egg, Shrimp, Beef Barbacoa, Baja Tuna and Venduras.

Tittos Latin BBQ and Brew

Visit Tittos’ Facebook Page to get updated on upcoming promos and events.

Three: It has a secret bar.

Shhh!

If you’ve ever been at Tittos and wondered what the “Ask for the secret” sign was all about, it’s the bread crumb that will lead you to a secret bar: Rm 16.

Room 16, Tittos

Room 16, Tittos

If you titos and titas ever want to disappear for a while to enjoy a drink (or two… or three…), check it out by seeking the big red vending machine, which, similar the closet to Narnia, leads you to a vastly different place: a speakeasy with subdued lighting in contrast to Tittos’ vibrant lights, and that serves cocktails and drinks with some Latin flair.

Room 16, Tittos

Room 16, Tittos

Room 16, Tittos

Curious about Tittos yet? Come on over to 16 East Capitol Drive, Kapitolyo, Pasig City. Call +63 2 5323414 for reservations. Tittos is open Mondays to Thursdays from 11am to 10pm, Fridays to Saturdays from 11am to 1am and Sundays from 10am to 10pm.

Disclosure: Together with other foodies, I was invited to attend a foodie meetup held in 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.

Haven for coffee and comfort food lovers: Little Owl Cafe, New Manila

Hidden away in New Manila is a haven for lovers of coffee and comfort food.

Renovated from one of the previously worn-down houses along Broadway Avenue, Little Owl Cafe is nestled among lush greenery. Started as a coffee shop but now a full service cafe, it serves food that features a fusion of Italian and Asian cuisines that professionals working in the area or families residing nearby can enjoy.

I was recently invited to a Blogger’s Dinner at this restaurant where I was able to sample some of its delectable offerings:

Omelette Chorizo Rice (Php270). Part of the resto’s All-Day Breakfast Menu, it consists of homemade longganisa rice, delicately wrapped in a thin omelette and topped with onion gravy and aioli.

Sisig Tacos (Php210). Three pieces of soft-shell tacos topped with crispy sisig and a savory liver aioli sauce. A great start to the meal!

Glazed Cauliflower (Php210). Cauliflower covered in a sweet and spicy soy glaze then deep-fried to crispiness. A great way to get the kids to eat their veggies!

Truffle Mushroom Pasta (Php350). Al dente noodles tossed in a rich homemade mushroom sauce made with three different kinds of mushrooms – shiitake, enoki and shimeji – topped with fried enoki and drizzled with truffle oil.

Shrimp & Aligue Pasta (Php330). Pasta noodles tossed in a creamy tomato sauce incorporating shrimp aligue and served with plump grilled shrimps.

Beef Tapa & Cheese Sandwich (Php295). A Pinoy take on the Philly Cheesesteak which showcases savory slivers of beef tapa, it is accompanied by a hefty serving of crisp shoestring fries.

Chicken & Waffle (Php270). Chicken thighs covered in batter then fried to a crisp then served with sriracha coleslaw over cheddar waffles.

Lechon Kawali Bibimbap (Php320). The classic sweet-spicy Korean fried rice served with sauteed mushrooms and spinach accompanied by deep fried pork belly and fried egg. A great combination of Pinoy and Korean flavors!

Chicken Satay (Php280). A bowl of Indonesian- inspired fried rice served with grilled chicken thigh and its trademark peanut sauce.

Beef Rendang (Php420). Tenderchuck slow-cooked in aromatic spices and coconut cream. A little too spicy for me but a sure winner for those who like their food with lots of kick!

Kimchi Salmon Sinigang (Php420). Salmon belly and loin seared then served in a spicy and sour soup.

Iced Mocha (Php170). A rich yet refreshing blend of chocolate and coffee flavors, it is among the Toby’s Estate beverages served in this restaurant.

https://flic.kr/p/QyJGPJ

Pink Owl (Php180). A fruity cocktail of vodka, lychee, watermelon and mint. A suitable drink to chase away the workday stress.

Little Owl Cafe’s food offerings provide its diners with an adventurous break from the everyday meals but with enough familiar flavors to make them appealing to those with more conservative tastebuds.

Its premises are well-appointed, tastefully furnished and prettily lit, great backgrounds for foodie shots and group photos.

Since this resto is conveniently located a short distance from my workplace, I definitely can drop by again for dinner with friends after office hours.

Little Owl Cafe is located at 65 Broadway Avenue, New Manila, Quezon City, open Mondays to Saturdays from 11am to 10pm and Sundays from 8am to 9pm. For inquiries, call + 63 917 8181468 or +63 2 5012036.

Little Owl also accepts bookings for special events such as weddings, birthdays, holiday parties, press conferences and more, with function rooms that can be reserved for a minimum consumable amount.

Little Owl Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclosure: Together with other food bloggers, 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.

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.

Solo lunch adventure at BTW Fil-Mex Kitchen, Tomas Morato

I availed of a Metrodeal offer that gave me a substantial discount on the dine-in food offerings of BTW Fil-Mex Kitchen.  Thus, I found myself walking the short distance from my office to this relatively newly opened resto along Mother Ignacia Street in Quezon City.

BTW stands for Burritos, Tacos and Wraps which sum up the resto’s menu. It Fil-Mex offerings include Burritos in bowls and wraps, Nachos, Quesadillas and Tacos, with some desserts and beverages thrown in.

It has a hole-in-the-wall kind of feel that would appeal to the younger crowd: an inviting facade, bright colorful interiors (with lots of natural light, perfect for photo opps and foodie shots) and relatively affordable fare.  Older fogies like me would have some issue with the restaurant’s entrance which is a bit too high off the ground (and is definitely not wheelchair-friendly).

BTW Filmex Kitchen, Tomas Morato

BTW Filmex Kitchen, Tomas Morato

BTW Filmex Kitchen, Tomas Morato

The lone server (whose name is Jonathan) gamely set about helping me with my order.  The challenge is to fit an entire meal into the Php200 purchase amount covered by the Metrodeal voucher. We ended up with:

Beef Taco (Php170). Ground beef mixed with crisp vegetables and mexican sauces topped with cheese served over two soft taco shells (Note: hard taco shells were not available when I was there). It was served with a side of cheese-topped marble potatoes and some piccadillo. The serving was quite large, and since piccadillo helped provide some zesty counter to the strong flavors of the Mexican sauces in the taco.

BTW Filmex Kitchen, Tomas Morato

BTW Filmex Kitchen, Tomas Morato

BTW Filmex Kitchen, Tomas Morato

BTW Filmex Kitchen, Tomas Morato

BTW Filmex Kitchen, Tomas Morato

Lechelatin (Php40). It’s a milk drink that even Jonathan had trouble describing to me. It has some clumps of small sago pearls at the bottom and is topped by what appears to be Rocky Road Ice Cream.

BTW Filmex Kitchen, Tomas Morato

BTW Filmex Kitchen, Tomas Morato

BTW Filmex Kitchen, Tomas Morato

The tacos are ok – there is a fine blend of flavors among the beef, the veggies and the Mexican sauce.

Lechalatin, however, is problematic for me.  It does not support the Fil-Mex proposition of the resto despite its name and execution may have been a bit hard for a lone server-slash-cook to achieve well.

I would prefer a more traditional Mexican-style chocolate beverage using the Filipino batirol to stay in keeping with the Fil-Mex theme than a confused amalgamation of disparate influences such as the Lechalatin.

Just my 2 cents. 🙂

Oh, and kudos to Jonathan for the great service!

BTW Fil-Mex Kitchen is located at 113 Mother Ignacia Avenue, Bgy. South Triangle, Quezon City.  It accepts delivery requests via SMS to nearby offices and residence through the numbers +63 966 6880494 or +63 999 9092008.  Queries may also be sent to the email happyburrito.btw@gmail.com.

It also delivers via Honestbee.  Register using this referral link and get Php500 off for a minimum spend of Php2,500.

BTW Fil-Mex Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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