Thursday, June 21, 2012

Josephine's Restaurant in Tagaytay

Scouring the expanse of the Tagaytay strip where the famous dormant volcano(dormant as of this writing, because there's no such thing as an absolutely and perennially dormant volcano) and a placid lake is located at, I sauntered down at the place's dining haven that serves Filipino cuisine, Josephine's Restaurant

It is just right in front of the hotel that I stayed at, Summit Ridge Hotel, so I just conveniently cross the street and dined in at my heart's delight. 

Josephine's Restaurant resides at the brethren of the ridge where an unobstructed 180degree view will be seen inside the restaurant's huge glass walls. 

The breezy air, the splendid sunset and the tranquil water adds up to the ambiance that is hosted by the Josephine's Restaurant. And the experience even heightened to romantic grandeur when you sit on one of the benches under the lovely moonlight. 

The restaurant is uberspacious, probably it can house in around 300 guests. This has been a famous spot to hold garden weddings, birthdays, and other family milestones. 

I started at 6:00PM, just enough to see how the Sun descended and kissed the horizon. Only two tables, including mine, were occupied then. At around 7:00PM, people started rushing in. But that was relatively few compared to the week end crowd which made the restaurant a dining haystack. 

I started off with the Mutya ng Cavite(Php290 + 10% SC), a thick creamy soup of various seafoods like squid, mollusks, shells, and shrimp. The server said he'd give me half the serving at half the price too since I am just on a lone star quest. But he gave me a bowl that I think is still good for two. The soup in the picture above is just a scope up from a huge bowl. The soup alone can pass off for a viand.

Then a Binagoongang Rice(Php90 + 10% SC)  was served. The server said it's good for two, but then restaurants, all of them, always exaggerate the serving size. It was just good for me. 

Here comes the Samu't Saring Sinugba(Php580 + 10% SC), an assortment of grilled meats, chicken, pork belly, squid, and a fish. But to have a variation of taste, I told the server to ask the chef if the chicken can be prepped barbecue style instead of a plain grill. This is of a platter size so I have to take home some left over. 

While some of the people hurled plethora of gripes on the Josephine's Restaurant for having a less than ideal dining experience, mine on the other hand was pleasant enough. The customer service was rightfully afforded and the food wasn't served in haste. Although there is nothing spectacular about the taste(grilled and bagoong rice always have the same standard taste value), I couldn't complain for its price range. 

Jeepney Pinoy Resto in Summit Ridge Promenade, Tagaytay

Tagaytay's answer to Mang Inasal? Think again. Jeepney Pinoy Resto, serves food way better than your usual rice-all-you-can fancy. 

For one, Jeepney is conceptualized by the same group that brought to you exquisite restaurant chain such as Cravings and hospitality art school ASHA(Asian School of Hospitality Arts). If that isn't enough to assure you of a good meal, vroom your way to Tagaytay and try it. 

At Php99 with unlimited rice, I was surprised at how they forged menus for the budget-conscious dining populace at that same time maintain the quality and quantity of food. 

Jeepney is located at the the Summit Ridge Promenade, a shopping complex just adjacent to Summit Ridge Hotel where I stayed at. 

The interior itself is well-thought of and not just run-off-the-mill decorative highlights, hanging paper lanterns, the jeepney-designed walls reminiscent to InterContinental Hotel's Cafe Jeepney, and the wooden tables are just some to boot. 

Crispy Liempo(Php99) comes with Sunny side up egg, a free Bulalo soup, the restaurant's formulation of Mang Tomas gravy, only that this is better than Mang Tomas, and an unlimited rice. 

Unlike the Mang Inasal's, their Sisig Rice(Php99) has a chicharon on top, and comes along with unlimited rice.

The a la carte Bulalo(Php88) has a very tender meat and a creamy thick soup. 

The reason that swept me here is the fact that all restaurants in the area are jam-packed and you know damn well that I hate crowded places(demophobic, I am). 

Summit Ridge Hotel in Tagaytay

Languishing in corporate prison bars, I am at an atrociously critical point of meltdown and to preserve my mortal shell, I whisked off to Tagaytay to have my staycation, but I'd rather call it birthday sojourn since it was my birthday at the same time. The last time that I circumnavigated the entire Tagaytay landscape was circa 1997, during our college tour. 

Why Tagaytay? First, I'm a cold blooded mammal and I thrive in cold places. And that is why you can never drag me into beaches because beach temperatures could disintegrate my molecular structure. Second, Tagaytay is just a few stretch away from the mainland urban jungle that whenever there are critical work renditions needed, I can just head back in as little as 2hours. 

And third, why Summit Ridge Hotel? It is sitting beside a shopping complex for me to conveniently pick anything up that I wittingly left behind to forerun my light travel, plus a promenade of restaurants and a Starbucks coffee are also located there. 

I stayed at the best spot of the hotel's architectural complex, topmost floor and near the elevator so I don't have to walk far when going down. Aside from the balcony that gives you a glimpse of the breathtaking Taal Lake and Volcano, the scenic elevator alone will also give you a momentary experience. And if you yearn to be rejuvenated, the hotel has a swimming pool, a fitness center, and a spa to boot. 

And you don't need to call the front desk to have your bed linen changed, you simply have to put this card on top of your bed. Yes, but you also have to hang the "Please make up this room" sign in the door knob for them to know that your room is screaming for orderliness. 

Lazily lounging in a couch, laying down in bed while watching Discovery, History, or National Geographics, or doing some editorial work at the Philippine Journal of Astronomy, are what my day is composed of. Of course, it concluded with the regimental nightly rituals of putting on some skin foods for my face. Vanity? No, that is what the "makabagong Adan" / (modern day virility) is all about. 

Welcome cocktail awaits at the Annie's Restaurant for the newly checked in guests, but I didn't get mine. The breakfast buffet is is also taken care of them. They are the same restaurant group that brought to you Cravings, C2 Cuisine, and TCB pastry shop that offered you unlimited cake and coffee for just about Php150. They even have burger challenge similar to Zark's which I simply shrugged off and said "5minutes is a give away." :)

Different from Cravings in Manila, theirs doesn't come with unlimited salad and soup and bread. Even the buffet is not that spectacular as compared to most hotel buffets that i have tried. 

See what I have devoured? Waffle with Cherries, Bacon with Wheat Bread with fresh Strawberries, rice porridge, hotdog and longganisa, an Omelette made by the chef stationed at the omelette section, fruit medley and salad(not in the pic). Only that, plus an overflowing hot chocolate and fresh fruit juices. 

Nonetheless, you don't come in here for the food but for the view. Plus, there are other restaurants to choose from, and having a full tummy would just spoil the fun of trying out other restaurants. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Choi Palace Seafood and Shark's Fin Restaurant revisited

Rewarding ourselves with a hearty meal after a hard day's work, we headed off to Choi Palace Seafood and Shark's Fin Restaurant again to have our fill of the famed Xiao Long Bao. 

Choi Palace Seafood and Shark's Fin Restaurant has been Eastwood's home to an authentic Chinese cuisine where they exalted a brimming pride of having to whip up an extensive menu that spurred as a world's unifying element, everyone's intrinsic love for food.  This is not the first time we are here, in fact, I have chronicled that first shot here as well.

We were surprised by Citibank and we received a special gift for bringing a Citibank Credit Card. 

Our table starts with a ceremonial tea prepping :) and a nut. 

Minced Pork with Eggplant. This is so delicious that this is already a repeat order from the last time we were here. 

Pata Tim

Mantao that comes along with Pata Tim. 

Xiao Long Bao... the purpose-driven dining life here. 

Yang Chow Rice… because we can't live without it. 

Citibank gang, taken at the Eastwood Mall activity plaza, ---apart from the annual fee, thank you for randomly reminding us of our perennially long credit history, and a compounding interest. :)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Market Cafe at the Hyatt Hotel and Casino Manila

I have forged a smorgasbord science for having dined in in upscale and hotel restaurants for most of my lifetime. To the scientific community, this is tantamount to  being able to formulate a Theory of Relativity and proving that in almost all nooks and corners of the galaxy. 

Some buffet settings don't even have my palate scathed and in those times, I would just end up shrugging my shoulders saying "was that all you've got?"

Lately, this science that I have founded was put to an acid test when I took my week-end lunch at Hyatt Hotel Hotel and Casino Manila

Hyatt Hotel and Casino Manila's Market Cafe posits on the concept of market cornucopia where fresh produce of the day were sifted into the household baskets, deals made, and kitchen tips shared among the patrons and sellers. 

With an arrestingly relaxing atmosphere and a cozy ambiance, Market Cafe is a restaurant with a 5-star setting where all the flavors of any culinary destination is  concocted to perfection. 

Assorted breads. 

All sorts of cheese. 

Salami for your bread. 

Wood-fire prepped pizza. 

Sweet and sour. 

Fish in egg creamy soup. 

5-star version of Adobo. We call this "humba" at home, only this one is glamorously done. 

Filipino section. 




Grillables at the live cooking section. 

The heart of the buffet, a US Prime Rib steak. 

Vegetable, fresh and crunchy. 

Vegetables are served fresh. 

Seafood section. 

Korean section. 

Whip-up-your-own salad section.

Japanese section. They're fresh and so inviting. 

Pick any noodles you want and the chef will do it for you. 

Crispy pork belly is done to perfection. A must try. 

Chinese section.

Cookies in jars. 

Pick up any beverage you like. Most of other buffet set up don't have this. 

Ice cream with ice cream toppers. 

All kinds of desserts to choose from. 

Chocolate fountain and other Willy Wonka's sweet emporium.  

Delectable cake in the desserts section. 

Mouthwatering goodness. 

Find this at the desserts section. 

Ice cream, don't leave the table without having it. 


Another one from the desserts section. 

Fruits of all forms and fancies. 

Buko pandan and other Filipino desserts section. 

My favorite seafood. 

From the live cooking section. 

Maki and sushi the Japanese section. 

I requested the chef to make me a garlic butter shrimp and….

….bake some oysters.

A little bit of everything. 

Dimsum at the Chinese section. 

A shrimp tempura. 

A prime rib steak.

A dessert that I just casually picked up inside the chiller like it was my own fridge. 

I told the chef assigned in the cold kitchen to make me a mango crepe with ice cream scoop on top. 

A DIY Halo Halo. 

To conclude my meal is a fruit medley. 

This is definitely one of those restaurants that I want to give thumbs up and stamp a high recommendation rating, especially to celebrate family milestones, deal sealing, contract framing and romantic rekindling. 

For a discounted price of Php995 from Php1,880, it was well worth it, even coming back. 

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