Sunday, October 5, 2014

Greg & Sally Tree Garden Cafe in Marikina City

When one think of a garden-inspired dining haven, your involuntary neuron will always register Sonya's Garden. Nothing beats the organic entrees of Sonya's but if you would like to settle for a neighborly ambiance, one may stop by Greg & Sally Tree Garden Cafe in Marikina. 

Marikina has been a treasure trove of fine culinary experience, and Greg & Sally is one of those iconic experiences, where the restaurant is nestled within the lush greeneries inside the garden enclosure.

The dining space is a little squeaky but there's an open air area that will provide a windy comfort of an organic breeze. 

Calamansi & MInt Juice and Dalandan & Tarragon Tea(Php60 each). You can read short stories while waiting for you order. We were given about 20 min as preparation lead time. I particularly like "Run Kuting Run!"

Glazed Pork Cop(Php120) - port chop marinated with special barbecue sauce served with rice.

Gourmet Tinapa(Php175) - Tinapa flakes served with a side of Talinum salad, egg and rice. Obviously, or order of someone with a Kapangpangan descent, my Baby Lovey. 

Talinum salad to blend with the Tinapa. 

Peppered Steak Premium(Php190) - pork steak marinated in special spices, served with mango salsa and steamed rice. 

Maybe because they are trumpeting organic inclination that I felt that the food tastes generally bland. Good thing is that Baby Love's order had a salad to compliment the taste and I requested for a toyomansi to thicken the taste of the steak. 

But for its price, what more could you ask for. And with Baby Love frogging my heart out, what more can I say. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Should you jump into the bandwagon?

In one of our meaty discussions with a colleague about innovation technology, from floppy disk to zip drives, from PCMCIA WIFI to SD WIFI, from a PDA to smartphone, from WAP to 3G, and every changes in the technological nook, we came across a discussion whether migrating from a laptop into a chromebook device for an enterprise use is an innovative move, or whether it is a sound innovation, here is my thought on the matter: 

What I like (grins):
  • IT folks can spend more time doing infrastructure improvement rather than maintenance program. That means they don't have to waste an awful lot of time tinkering on your corrupted application, error codes, ghost processes, and re-imaging your drive. Chromebook is a browser-based device and everything pretty much sits in a web-based content. 
  • Team effort spans across technology-based endeavor and that includes collaborative scenarios. Chromebooks reinforce this value and empower a user to have an enriched collaborative opportunities with colleagues and business partners. 
What I don't like (grimaces):
  • It is heavily dependent on a stable internet infrastructure. And business applications are not necessarily built this way. Users will have to file a vacation leave at the PeopleSoft, developers are working on SAP Netweaver, business analysts rely heavily on offline reports toolkits. Unless huge business applications tread on going online as their future roadmap, we will have to wait for that technological maturity to fully maximize end user experience
  • If a company has a lousy policy on cloud transformation, then it has a lousy security safety nets on cloud infrastructure as well, which makes storing your employee productivity a monumental risk than it already is in an offline environment. So the solution, strengthen the cloud security measure(including policy and governance) first, and only then can you be feel safe into the "cloud 9" of any cloud-based device. 

Should one jump into the bandwagon? It doesn't really matter. What matters is that one should have an anticipation mindset on its future consequence.

In my case, innovation is neither the heart of what I want,  nor does any revolutionary first dibbs. I value more on the maturity and readiness, the one that I am certain that the few benefits outweigh the flurry of risks. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Tampopo at Bonifacio Global City

If one were to google(it's amazing how internet buzzwords have evolved into an urbanized action word) Tampopo, he will be sashayed into a Wikipedia page of a Japanese iconic comedy film which then became an inception of what has become today's Japanese craving for a ramen. 

It has become an inspirational wellspring of a popular ramen chain of the same name. A brainchild of Mr. Takaaki Takagi, director and founder of the Food Concepts, one of the emerging players in the Japanese food and beverage industry in Singapore, Tampopo is now steaming and twisting ramen in our dining scene with the business genius of a young celebrity and entrepeneur, Chris Tiu. 

And just like in the movie, the entrepreneurial spirit of the business partners went great lengths for its ramen product, remaining faithful to both Hokkaido and Kyushu way of making noodles. 

The four vultures of the diningscape. 

House iced tea.

Sui Gyoza. Tastes ok but I'm beginning to taste all Gyoza tasted this way.

Deluxe Tampopo Black Pig Shabu Ramen. All four of us ordered this because for the first timers like us, the rule of thumbs is that we can never go wrong with the best seller. Savory, and a bit spicy, but smooth nonetheless. And the broth is made from pure pork bone soup. 

Tampopo is a culinary experience that will bring you to the balanced taste of ramen, not too salty, not too spicy, and not too buttery. 

They also have other things in their sleeves, like Tongkatsu, Soba, Dumpling, Salad, Edame, Karaagi, among many others. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Josephine's Restaurant in Tagaytay Revisited

Tagaytay used to be my Lazarus pit--- my immediate recharging station and a quick escape from the flurry of a corporate ruffle.. until... BL and I got together, things changed, and I already found my solace in her. 

Calculating from the time we started dating to the time we got married, that means that I haven't been into Tagaytay for some two years already. And in that short traversal of time, things changed. It is now teeming with an urbanized capitalization gradually burgeoning into a city amidst a countryside. 

Establishments sprouted like mushrooms, the modern air blends with the windy breeze, and the mountain ridges grace the sprawling homegrown commercialization that is ought to entice tourists and escape artists like me. 

For such a small place, who would have thought it is now hailed by two branches of Starbucks already. And these were huge Starbucks, two of my favorite outlets so far. 

We were cruising along the highway with a literally starved stomach, so we were looking something that can also literally fill us up. First criteria, it must have a Crispy Fried Pork Shank(Crispy Pata as how it is fondly called). First stop was at Leslie's but they're so uber-crowded and we were number 21 of their waiting queue. So we moved to Josephine's Restaurant. Of course, it has a lesser crowd, a little more expensive than Leslie's, and has a more upscale amenities than Leslie's. 

I already blogged about it here

Mutya ng Cavite. Description here

The dear dips

Chicharon Bulaklak(deep fried pork intestines).

Sinigang(seafood stew)

Lechon Kawali(deep fried pork belly).

Crispy Kare Kare(oxtail stew with crispy pork shank).

Pork Sisig(I don't know the English equivalent but this is mainly hyper-marinated pork jowls, ears and liver, grilled, broiled, and chopped, topped with egg and pork rinds). 

Spring roll.

The result? Satisfaction guaranteed. We felt drowsy out of the volume we stuff into our gastric space that we then went looking for a coffee or tea bar.

Till next sojourn Tagaytay. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Stacy's at Bonifacio Global City

"All things bright and beautiful" hinges this classic American themed restaurant. No, it is neither like Johnny Rockets nor Mr. Jones. Think of it as Martha Stewart's humble abode, drenched with vibrant, joyous and homely feel. Or maybe the astute description of it is maybe everyday Sunday. One inexorable reason perhaps is their endless 60's playlist, like The Beatles, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, etc. 

Quaint archaic American home design with little kiddie nook makes it more cutesy than it already is. It seemed like a life-sized dollhouse, first impression to boot. The tables, books, and the toys were coherently displayed, adding a warmth exude to the ambiance. 

The heart-friendly dishes awaits you like you're a member of a family that is Stacy's. Restaurant and Cafe.

Cakes and pastries. 

Cupcakes in pastel colors. 

An appetizer which is a mix of glazed pretzel, marshmallows and popcorn. 

Strawberry Iced Tea.

Spicy Lemon Shrimp Scampi with Angel Hair.

Granny's Picnic Bow - chunks of chicken and pork belly carefully simmered in a special honey vinegar concoction, air dried, flaked and refried. Indulgently topped with laguna, white cheese and served with roasted garlic rice, fluffy scrambled egg and mango-tomato salsa on the side. 

And they're reasonably priced. Don't fret, she's just looking for a change for our parking fee. 

So if you want a dining sphere that ushered you to a 50's-60's dimension with a feel good tapestry, white wicker chairs, pink kitchen appliance, baby colored aprons, yellow dandelions, lime green decors, dusty classic books and toys, this is just the right spot for you. 

Balkan Yugoslavian Home Cooking at Bonifacio Global City

Normally Serbia comes to mind whenever I am on a clandestine operation where the epicenter of conflict is at Belgrade. Or anywhere within the radius. Oh wait, me being a notable globe-trotter, with espionage mission stretching to almost all corners of the globe, from CIA's headquarters to tropical Jamaica, from the crisp backdrop of Swiss Alps to the bohemian city of Prague, is just a figment of my wishful thinking. Maybe I am James Bond personified in my other lifetime. 

The closest thing to reality to that Serbian jet-setting is a Serbian cuisine. Balkan Yugoslavian Home Cooking is a brainchild of former DLSU UAAP Player Marko Batricevic. He is most reminded(and heralded) as part of the team that brought a winning crown of DLSU last UAAP 2007 finals. But for the culinary connoisseur, he is remembered as the person who brought the Yugoslavian culture close to home. 

While waiting for the food, you can browse around pictures framed and hanged to the walls, showcasing a graphic diorama of how the Serbian home is like, their way of life, their culture, their political upheaval, their challenges and triumphs and their breathtaking landscapes. Things that are only an inch away of my dream. 

Back to reality.

Real Leaf iced Tea.

Chicken Batak - grilled boneless chicken thigh stuffed with mozzarella cheese, served with Jasmine rice. 

Stuffed Pljeskavica - grilled Serbian patty served with homemade sauce, tomato, lettuce, onion and french fries. 

I ordered the beef variant because it is what sets the rest of the patties you can find in any deli. It has a distinct texture and taste(although leaning towards the salty side), but it is tender all the way from top to the inside, with a little dash of fat. 

If you want a slice of Serbia, the place might just be meant for you. 

Shrimp Bucket at Bonifacio Global City

The last time I splurged on shrimp is either in Paranaque's Dampa or in Greenbelt 3's Bubba Gump, sometime around 2002 when blogging isn't a buzzword yet a social phenomena. I can't recall exactly which was the latest. 

But that may have to change now that I am located within the proximity of the shrimp haven in town, the Shrimp Bucket. It's a hole-in-the-wall restaurant, with a bit of a hip, casual and reassuring ambiance for comfort and well… calorie-driven cravings. 

Being a food connoisseur myself, I thought that I have tasted all forms of shrimp concoctions already-- barbecued, boiled, broiled, baked, sautéed, pan-fried, deep dried, stir-fried and a lot more wok method.. until. 

Shrimp with Salty Egg Special Sauce.

Shrimp with Mardi Gras Sauce and hefty mixture of ground meat. 

The boy band...

They also serve mussels, cereal shrimp, deep fried baby squid, chicken/shrimp lettuce wrap, salad with roasted sesame dressing, kani and shrimp salad, and a lot more. 

The shrimps are placed in a plastic bag where they are left to be smothered by their selected sauces a la pop corn to its flavored powder. The buckets are there so you can place all your non-comestibles, and not messing up your plate. 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Banapple Pies and Cheesecakes at Il Terrazzo

The quaint favorite among many dining patrons of all walks of life is something that eludes me. For one, parking along their two branches in Katipunan is horrendous. And two, the place is always jam-packed and my aversion to swarming crowd just didn't help me entice to saunter around. 

Luckily, it was one of those days where we have nothing to do but take a leisurely week-long rest. So we headed off to Il Terrazo to have our fill early that morning. That way we can be assured of our seats. Luckily though, I found out that that branch is not really that crowded. Or probably the entire place(mini mall) is. 

The place is Banapple Pies and Cheesecakes. Entering, one will immediately mesmerized by the vibrant hues and esoteric interior that is both whimsical and buoyant, slightly bordering on the feminine side. The bar displays cakes and pastries that will immediately make you mouthwateringly crave with endless intensity. 

But unlike other casual dining places, in this place, you have to order at the counter, and this is what we got. 

Chicken Breast Parmigiano-- tender fillet of chicken breast encrusted with a Parmesan crumb mixture, topped with a rich stewed tomato sauce and melted mozzarella, served with glazed butter carrots. 

And mine is an all-time favorite. 

Hickory Smoked Barbecued Country Ribs-- extra tender country ribs grilled in hickory smoke, glazed with homemade hickory barbecue sauce and served with corn relish. This is what I usually order for a take out. 

Saying that the place is teeming with virtually anybody from all walks of life because for students they have relatively affordable prices, for professionals, a quick gastric stuffing before or after a day's work, for an athlete, a gargantuan serving, and for elderlies, a classic traditional, non-conforming taste. 

Frequently Asked Question

In one of my speaking engagements, someone from the audience asked me what most people ask in the majority of my talks. So I said, it's about "why do they care." He was surprised because it's not about something that is drawn out from the abysmal recesses of scientific perplexities. It's not about whether or not proton is stable. It's not about why the Higgs exist or why does the top quark interact strongly with Higgs than how the electron does. Or where does high energy neutrinos coming from. Or why is the universe mainly made of matter and not anti-matter. Or why does B-Mesons decay a tad slower than an anti B-Messon. 

The question about "why do people care" is philosophical rather than empirical. And this is the same question most legislators rationalize the budgetary weight between scientific research against infrastructure. The question is itself a reason of our state of being, as it is to our state of nationhood. That's the reason why we only have .01% funding on research as opposed to 2% in any of our Asian neighbors from total national budget. That's the reason why our intellectual workforce tends to make an exodus and work for other countries in exchange of a well funded scientific endeavor and top of the line research facilities. That's the reason why economy has been relatively slow as compared to Malaysia, Thailand or Vietnam. That's the reason why most of our household products are from China, our clothing apparels from Vietnam, our hygienic products from Thailand or Korea, our basic commodities from our Asian neighbors. And that's similarly the reason why most of our country's energy source is derived from foreign supply. Further augmenting the case, that is the reason why science as an engine of progress, and technology as an accelerator of economy, never took off in our homegrown development.

I bet our public school system is still teaching obsolete modules of academic resource. I bet they still teach old textbooks that says Atom is the smallest unit of matter. And that Quarks and Leptons are far from their grasps. Or that there are only three states of matter- Solid, Liquid or Gas. And Plasma, Bose-Einstein condensate and Dropleton are not yet within their realm. Or maybe their visual aids still include Pluto in the planetary roster. 

We produced a wealth of artists, singers and sportsmen, who help funnel cash flow to the economy, but we also need scientists to build our own nation of intellectual capital. We need excellent urban planners, we need IT professionals who does not only know how to design but code, we need doctors in the biotech research, we need agricultural scientists to ensure abundant and safe produce from our countrysides, we need business leaders who does not only speak business but script programs, we need industrialists who are not only good managers but good technology-enablers as well. 

Reckoning from it, the question therefore about "why do they care" is not a question rather than a hint(or subtle declaration) of indifference. It's not about asking why do they care, it's about devaluating altruism and never care at all. 

And we mustn't. 

Tong Yang Shabu-Shabu & Smokeless Grill at SM Megamall

In my frequent visit of Tong Yang Shabu-Shabu & Smokeless Grill(mostly in Jupiter Street though), this is the only time that I have to pay a subPhp500 for a grand smorgasbord experience. And probably one of the cheapest at that(some of them are Don-Day, Red Crab, H&E Rockstar, Something Fishy, CCA Kitchen by Cravings, Dulcinea, Celina's to name a few).

For the gourmand in us, they unveiled a Weekday Lunch Buffet Special Promo Eat and Drink All You Can for only Php399. Before the promo wanes at Aug 16, the culinary vulture in me yearns a fervor burning to try it out. 

Buffet window is 11AM to 2:30PM, and although I am already at the 7th in the waiting list, there's no stopping me now. 

The soups I ordered, in twofold set, Sinigang and Spicy, are a bit bland so you really have to know how to mix it with their existing condiment. 

And here is what it is now.

Demure breakfast.

On for lunch.

And more. 

And the no-holds-barred grilling. 

Ready to eat dishes to stuff while still grilling. 

And finally. 

It's a race against the clock as they are about to close for their lunch window promo, so not in the pictures are the salads, Halo-halo, and ice cream concoctions I made(separately). Not only do they offer refillable juices, they also have a draft beer.

They offer Chinese and Japanese delights like sushi, maki, tempura, dimsum and dumplings. Heat up the pot with your choice of six kinds of shabu-shabu soup base-- chicken, Filipino sinigang, Korean Kimchi, vegetarian and the spicy variety of sate and Taiwan mala. For your grilling delight, they have shrimps, crabs, sliced meats, lobster balls among many others to choose from. 

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