My Reviews

Dark Specialty Coffee

5.0 Stars
Coffee
10

I’ve been eyeing this coffee shop for some time now. The place is called Dark Specialty Coffee, an original Filipino brand that serves single-origin coffee and chocolate drinks from all over the Philippines and other countries.

What actually caught my attention is the coffee shop’s unpretentious interior. Just look at their shop at the 2/F of SM City North EDSA right beside Onesimus Suits and Barongs, their sister company. It certainly screams “the perfect place to enjoy a cup of joe.”

Don’t get me wrong. I do enjoy Instagram-worthy moments but sometimes people need a simple and cosy atmosphere. People sometimes need a quiet place complete with a lovely cup of coffee, tea or chocolate and maybe a slice of cake or two.

Yep, I’m that kind of person. For me, coffee shops are the perfect place to study, write scripts, read a book even have nice conversations with friends. The first time I laid eyes on this coffee shop I knew right then and there that I’ll get to experience all those things.

Sure enough when I visited Dark Specialty Coffee along with my two friends, I was able to experience that and so much more!

Dark Specialty Coffee offers a great selection of drinks and cakes. Well, they have pastas and handcrafted Pocket Pita but we opted for White Cold Brewed Coffee, Matcha Green and Caramel.

Everything tasted how it should be which is great. And since my two friends also have sweet tooth like I do, we tried a slice of their Red Velvet Cake, Blueberry Swirl Cheesecake and New York Cheesecake. The best is the Red Velvet Cake. There was a medley of mouth-watering flavors which made our taste buds happy.

The New York Cheesecake was good, too but it didn’t dethrone my current number one. What we didn’t enjoy much was the Blueberry Swirl Cheesecake. It was tasty but the consistency was a bit off and it must be because of the Blueberries. Anyway, that slice didn’t affect our experience much. However, I will try that out again along with the pasta. 128521

Are you ready to take that coffee break? Head over to the 2/F of SM City North EDSA - right beside Onesimus Suits and Barongs. :)

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Yatai Yakitori Ramen

2.0 Stars
Japanese
3

It was a Friday night when my friend and I suddenly craved for a bowl of ramen. Since it was already late and didn't want to travel far, we decided visiting this place along Congressional Avenue. We haven't tried eating here before so we decided that was the right time.

We ordered two bowls of ramen – Shoyu Ramen and Tan Tan Ramen. Kuya was friendly and service was fast. The ramen; however, wasn't that good. We were quite disappointed because we heard good things when it first opened. If that was true, it's sad that they were not able to maintain it.

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Chubs Chasers

4.0 Stars
Diner
7

There’s a new addition at The Food Circuit of SM North EDSA. Chubs Chasers, a casual Filipino-American diner officially opened its doors on June 27. If you haven’t been there, the restaurant is easy to find. Just look for a cute, brown teddy bear in a chair!

Chubs Chasers is a brightly-lit restaurant with white brick walls that displays various life quotes. The place is clean, well-ventilated and has plenty of space for diners to move around. If you ask me where you should sit, I would recommend the second couch near the counter. Why? In my point of view, I see two window pane wall mirrors and a beautiful kitchen counter. That simply erases the vision of the mall on the left making it look like you’re eating at home. *Maybe it’s just me. But feel free to try that area. 128521

Speaking of eating, Chubs Chasers menu consists of steaks, burgers, chicken, pasta and sandwiches. Be sure to read their menu because they have numerous good choices from All Day Breakfast to Chubs Chasers Specials.

They even have Exquisite Meat like the Flaming Wagyu Cubes, Premium Steak like T-Bone Steak and Imported Meats like Australian Marbled Striploin. In case you’re dining with your family or friends, Chubs Chaser offers Family Platters. The Sexy Platter which costs Php 999 is good for 4-5 persons while the Chubby Platter is good for 10 persons for a total of Php 1599.

Since I went there with two of my relatives, the Family Platter is too big for us. So, we opted for the following dishes.

Powerpuff Onions (Php 99): These deep fried, battered white onions drizzled with three special Chubs’ sauces is one savory appetizer perfect for starting your meal.

Gourmet Tapa (Php 189): Love breakfast food? Chubs Chasers offers all day Pinoy breakfast one of which is the Gourmet Tapa with crispy garlic served with garlic rice, eggs, pickled onion and sinamak dip. It’s a classic choice. Though it’s good, I would pass on this one because Chubs Chasers has other great specials worth to try.

Salisbury Steak (Sexy Php 179): The Chubs Chasers Special is a good choice. It feature five different dishes all served with steamed rice or mashed potato, string beans, roasted tomato, divine gravy and crispy garlic. We chose the meaty Salisbury in savory gravy served with caramelized onion, buttered corn and carrots. The steak was tender and flavorful; not to mention, it’s a very complete meal.

Pesto Malunggay (Php 149): Linguine pasta sautéed in Chubs Chaser’s very own pesto malunggay sauce made with 100% fresh ingredients topped with roasted chicken bits, Chubs’ sweet sauce, crispy garlic and Parmesan cheese. The malunggay sauce was not evident because it was overpowered by the pesto. Despite that, the pesto malunggay sauce is a melody of flavors that compliments the entire dish.

By the way, Chubs Chasers has quite a selection of drinks. They have dessert drinks, Milkshakes, Fruitshakes and different Iced Teas. We chose the Watermelon Fruitshake and Green apple Iced Tea.

Now the question is, will I go back? For sure! As mentioned, Chubs Chasers has a lot of delicious dishes to offer. Plus, their prices are not that expensive. You just have to browse their menu and see which one suits your taste. Also when I go back with my family or friends, I would like to their their other specials and possibly their Family Platter.

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Almon Marina

4.0 Stars
Sandwich
6

Craving for a simple meal like a warm bowl of soup and sandwich? Almon Marrina serves freshly made everyday soup and salad. They also have a selection of gourmet sandwiches inspired by cities around the world as well as a variety of pasta, Spanish-style slow cooked meals and mouthwatering grilled specialties.

Almon Marina started as a cold seafood & deli store. In 1990, it was turned into a gourmet sandwich shop, salad & deli that we now know. The shop has branches in various malls in the metro but this one is located at SM The Block.

If you’ve eaten here way back and notice something different that’s probably because this is at their new spot. From the front entrance of The Block, Almon Marina is now near the Hypermarket entrance.

I was informed by my friend that this is smaller than the previous space. Honestly, I kind of felt that while dining.

So I checked their past photos and compared it to now. The glass windows and door they used to have gave an illusion of bigger space. Now don’t get me wrong because I love their interior. The beautiful red and brown walls as well as unfinished wall design on the lower part adds character. Even without the windows or door, the place still looks welcoming.

Now onto the food. Almon Marina’s menu offers a wide variety. When my family and I were reading it, we got a little overwhelmed. Just when we thought we have decided what to get, we end up reading another and craving for that. It was a little though but we ended up getting the following.

Gourmet Combination: This combination consists of your choice of “lite” sandwich, soup of the day and a glass or citrus iced tea. They have various choices such as Sydney Special, Petaluma Treat, Manhattan’s Lunch, Almon Marina Special, New York, Boston Club or Pastrami on Rye but we settled for the New York Sandwich. The size is enough for one but can be shared with another person. There is also an ample amount of filling which by the way was very delicious. In addition, the Soup of the Day was perfectly creamy. For Php268, I feel this is a good deal.

Grilled Sausage: Besides the sandwich, we also tried their grilled sausage. Your choices are as follows: Hausmacher, Italian sausage, Frankfurter, Saucisson Venezia and Veal bratwurst which is served with whole wheat bread or rice pilaff and potato salad on the side.

We decided to get the Veal bratwurst served with rice pilaff and potato salad which costs Php245 – quite expensive to be honest! But if you purchase these sausages at the supermarket or gourmet grocers, you will probably pay the same amount for one pack which has four to five sausages. Good thing you’re paying not just for the juicy Veal bratwurst but for the completely delicious meal.

Herbed Salisbury Steak: Besides these two, we decided to get another of their grilled specialty. They actually have various choices such as Kebabs, Norwegian Salmon and Fillet Mignon but the Herbed Salisbury Steak sounds appetizing mainly because of the “herbed” part 128521 This is served with rice pilaff and potato salad.

For Php210, enjoying a mouthwatering tender beef topped with delicious gravy and mushrooms is not bad. It’s simple but satisfying.

What about their drinks? They offer some imported softdrinks and shakes. We ordered their Mango Shake, Watermelon Shake, and of course, my favorite drink of all – coffee! I saw their separate coffee menu and decided to try their Ice Mochaccino. It really woke me up! 🙂

If you’re looking for a simple yet lovely meal or just want to drink coffee and eat snack, add Almon Marina to your list. You won’t be disappointed!

P.S Their potato salad is to die for. Order it alone or better yet, find a combo you like with this on the side! You won’t regret it!
;)

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Mozu Café

4.0 Stars
Café
8

My friends and I booked an overnight stay at The Linden Suites because we will be attending a wedding the next day. Since we all just got off from work, we decided to get a quick dinner and go back to the hotel. Good thing we found a place that’s not only affordable but also at walking distance.

Mozu Cafe features a dim ambiance which you wouldn’t appreciate at first glance. But after a long day at work, you will greatly appreciate the cafe’s private and cosy atmosphere. Moreover, the cafe has a small indoor area and an outdoor seating. Since we were there to eat, we opted for the more private indoor seating. It may not be well-lit but it’s well-ventilated and clean.

Mozu Cafe’s menu is simple. They offer affordable Filipino classics such as Beef Caldereta, Lechong Laing and Pork Belly Bagnet as well as a selection of international dishes. They also offer pasta, sandwiches & salads and All Day Breakfast which includes a serving of egg and rice. This comes with complimentary short brewed coffee if you order from 7am-10am.

Speaking of coffee, they have various Espresso beverages, specialty coffee as well as non espresso drinks, milkshakes and smoothies. We didn’t get coffee but we did try the following:

Buffalo Chicken Crispers (P220) Though their appetizers are good for two people, my friends and I were able to share this dish. The Buffalo Chicken Crispers were good – crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. Their house buffalo sauce drizzle was a little spicy but it works well with the blue cheese dipping.

Crispy Pork Binagoongan (P220) Their version of the classic Pinoy Crispy Pork Binagoongan is packed with flavor and a hint of spice. The green chili and their homemade bagoong really brought out all the flavors. Take note, you might actually need an extra rice for this one!

Besides these, we also tried their pastas.

Classic Bolognese (P170) Pork, tomato sauce and spaghetti. It’s simple but their Classic Bolognese is quite delicious.

Adobo (P185) When you say Filipino food, Adobo is always mentioned. This classic dish is very versatile. In fact, it has several versions such as Adobong Puti and Adobo sa Gata. If you love pasta, you can use a classic Adobo recipe like this one.

Pasta al Ajilio Gambas (P200) Looking for an exciting medley of flavors? Pasta al Ajilio Gambas which is literally shrimp, and garlic pasta will leave your palate wanting more.

If you’re in the area and you want to enjoy a lovely meal, head towards the direction of The Linden Suites. On the back corner of the building which is an almost-secluded area, you will find Mozu Cafe. :)

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Fat Daddy's Smokehouse

5.0 Stars
BBQ Joint
8

This branch opened it’s doors on November last year. Since I don’t live near that area, I haven’t tried eating here yet. But now that I got to, Fat Daddy’s Smokehouse is now part of my go-to places to eat with my family and friends.

The dish that caught my attention was their smoked ribs. They’re so juicy and hard to resist. The reason behind this is Fat Daddy’s utmost importance to time and temperature when cooking their pork spare ribs.

Yes, the ingredients are important, too! But in order for everything to come together, their special dish must be cooked properly. This means that a good rack of pork ribs with the proper thickness is smoked with the right amount of heat for 10 straight hours. This meticulous process ensures that all sides will be cooked on the same level releasing the flavors in each layer.

No wonder you taste perfection in every bite!

Besides their fabulous Smoked Pork Ribs, I also got to try some of Fat Daddy’s Smokehouse appetizers: Jera’s Ultimate Pulled Pork and Bacon Nachos (Half – Php 330), Buttermilk Fried Livers (Php 210), Bacon Mac & Cheese Poppers (Php 195) and Chef Pat’s Ultimate Bacon & Cheese Dip (Php 250).

My favorite in this batch is Chef Pat’s Ultimate Bacon & Cheese Dip. The dip contains two kinds of mozzarella and two kinds of cheddar cheese so get ready for an ooey, gooey goodness. Second is the Buttermilk Fried Livers. I do not like livers; however, I eat it once in a while specially if it’s in Igado because livers are nutritious. After tasting their Buttermilk Fried Livers, I guess I can enjoy eating liver afterall.

For the main dish, the Smoked Pork Ribs is my absolute favorite but there are two others worth trying like the Chicken Wings! Whether you love the classic buffalo or something more spicy, you’ll be happy to know that Fat Daddy’s Chicken Wings comes in five different flavors – Honey BBQ, Honey Mustard, Salted Egg, Honey Sriracha, and Classic Buffalo (Php 245). I personally enjoyed the Honey BBQ and Salted Egg. Though I can’t handle spicy flavors, I did actually love the Honey Sriracha. I just have to prepare my Dr Pepper when I try to eat this next time.

Another dish which you would want to share with your family/ friends is their Smoked Meat Platter (Php 2,400). This huge platter contains all of their signature smoked meats from Beef Brisket to Chicken BBQ, Hot Links, Pork Ribs and Pulled Pork Shoulder. Just what I mentioned earlier with their Pork Ribs, these signature smoked meats are also cooked to perfection.

Ending our lovely meal is a series of sweet desserts and milkshakes. Fat Daddy’s has quite a lot to offer for lovers of sweets. There’s Bacon and S’mores Dip (Php 250), Caramel Drizzled Banana Pudding (Php 170), Pecan Pie (Php 250) and Peach Cobbler (Php 250) as well as Caramel Popcorn Milkshake (Php 195) and Smokey Maple Bacon Milkshake (Php 195).

I found some of them too sweet for my taste but I did enjoy the Bacon and S’mores Dip, Caramel Popcorn Milkshake especially the Caramel Drizzled Banana Pudding! Yes, I love S’mores and I definitely love caramel. 128521

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Lido Cocina Tsina by Panciteria Lido

4.0 Stars
Chinese
10

The first Lido Cocina Tsina branch I visited is the one located in Visayas Avenue mainly because it’s near my place. Little did I know there’s another one close to me.

The Mindanao Avenue branch may not be as spacious as the one in Visayas Avenue but it does have parking spaces and they’re right beside a gas station. Moreover, this Lido Cocina Tsina branch is well-lit, clean and ventilated. Their staff are courteous and friendly, too!

When it comes to food, their Chinese dishes which are adapted to suit the Filipino palate doesn’t disappoint. In fact, they offer many choices which means you will surely find a dish that you will enjoy. They have some Rice Toppings Classico and Rice Toppings Primera perfect for solo diners. But if you’re with your family and/or friends, sharing is way better!

For this food trip, we enjoyed the following:

Hunan Style Lomi

Beef Broccoli

Drunken Lechon Macau

Manchurian Wings

Pugon-Roasted Asado

Shrimp Foo-Yong

Beef with Shallot Fried Rice

Though all these dishes are delicious, there are a few that really stood out. First on my list is the Manchurian Wings. It’s very flavorful and eating it with the Beef with Shallot Fried Rice was pleasant because there was a balance of taste.

Next is the Drunken Lechon Macau. It looks simple but did you know that this was marinated in Chinese White wine and spices for 60 hours? No wonder it’s flavorful and juicy; not to mention, the skin also crispy.

Another dish I love is the Shrimp Foo-Yong. When I eat at a Chinese restaurant, Foo Young an omelette dish is a must-have. This is my first time trying their Shrimp Foo-Yong and I was not disappointed.

For drinks and dessert, we had Four Seasons Shake as well as Buchi and Lychee with Tutti Frutti Jelly. Lido Cocina Tsina’s Four Seasons Shake is oozing with goodness. The only problem was that it took a little while to be served but it is worth the wait!

Now for the dessert. Between the two, I prefer the freshly-made Buchi – it’s warm, soft and delicious. The Tutti Frutti Jelly was good; however, it was too sweet making it difficult to enjoy.

Overall, I had a great dining experience at Lido Cocina Tsina. I will not only choose this restaurant for simple lunch/ dinner with family and/or friends but also for special occasions!

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Dreamland Arts & Crafts Cafe

4.0 Stars
Café
8

Dreamland Arts & Crafts Café, a homey place targeted to all dreamers as well as doers, thinkers, artists and crafters.

Just look at that lovely interior and colorful decorations. Everywhere you look you’ll find something that would brighten your day – dreamcatchers of every color and size, inspirational quotes as well as arts & crafts (that you can buy). Even the tables, seats and stairs don’t break theme.

Indeed, Dreamland Arts & Crafts Café will inspire you to dream and conquer. What’s great about this is they won’t let you conquer the world on an empty stomach! 128521

Take note that the main attraction is their arts & crafts and their food is their secondary offering. Moreover, Dreamland Arts & Crafts Café is not a a fast food chain which means that they cook your food upon ordering. Though it might take a while (depending on your order), you’ll get to eat good food cooked with love and NO preservatives.

The café serves Dreamer’s Starters, Dreamer’s Combo Meals, Dreamer’s Squad Meals, Dreamer’s Heavy Hearty Meals, Pasta-inna-Taza, some Indie Healthy Coolers and of course, some Dreamer’s Delights.

For this trip, we tried their Nachos, Lasagna and Tapa as well as Mango and Mango Banana Shake (no picture).

Despite the warning that they “cook slow”, the service was fast and people were accommodating as reflected in their café’s ambiance. Actually, even if they don’t serve your food fast there are multiple things to do there. You can explore the place, check out the items and take pictures.

What about the food, you ask? Though simple, the food was good and serving ample. But what made the food taste even better was the company that day and the perfect environment Dreamland Arts & Crafts Café provided.

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Manilachon

4.0 Stars
Filipino
7

After all the excitement, I left SM Cinema 2 hurt and honestly, quite hungry. Pretty sure you’ve guessed which movie I’m talking about. Anyway, my family and I were at The Block, SM North EDSA and the first place you would want to check out when you’re hungry is The Food Circuit located at the ground floor.

Why, you ask? Well, The Food Circuit features many restaurants and cafes which means that whatever type of dish you want, you will definitely find it there. So when my grandmother said she was craving for lechon, we checked each restaurant and something caught our eye. We saw an aluminum (I think) silver lechon and below it is a sign that says Manilachon, The Famous Lechon Porchetta.

Manilachon has a simple set up but their strikingly beautiful wall décor/ signage, lights and those two crispy lechon displayed near the entrance made the place so inviting. But what I like even more is the simplicity of their menu.

Want some Lechon Porchetta? You can order the classic or the spicy garlic one complete with rice (plain or Java – go for the latter), salsa, and their signature vinegar for Php 149. Another must-try is Manilachon’s awesome Saucy Ribs with Java Rice for Php173.

Honestly, all these dishes are so tasty and surprisingly tender! It turns out Manilchon’s lechon is BAKED NOT FRIED. In order to melt most FATS AWAY leaving you nothing but lean lechon, it undergoes 4 hours of SLOW COOKING. No wonder it’s tasty and tender!

Sadly, we don’t have that much free time, energy and perhaps even equipment at home. With Manilachon, it’s not a problem anymore! Whether you’re dining solo or with friends/family, you have a place at Manilachon. 128521

So, are you ready to try their Lechon Porchetta or perhaps their awesome Ribs? You can find them at: Ground Floor, The Block, SM City North EDSA.

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Cafe Kumori

4.0 Stars
Café
7

Want some fluffy and luscious Japanese breads and pastries? Try Kumori Japanese Bakery & Cafe’s selection of freshly baked goodies. They only use the best and finest ingredients from Japan with no added preservatives or additives making sure every bite you take is like biting into clouds.

Seriously!

Kumori’s natural and handmade Japanese bread, cakes and pastries are fresh and of high quality. All their products offer unique flavors and textures take their Matcha Butter Bun for example. This is actually the first one we tried. We assure you that every bite was heaven. The bread was fluffy and soft, the texture beautiful and the taste divine.

Moreover, their Butter Croissant, Cinnamon Bun, Cranberry Cheese Bread, Green Apple Bun, Blueberry Brioche, Peach Brioche, Toyohashi Pudding and their famous Hanjuku Cheese and Signature Cheese Tart are worth a try. They really don’t skimp on quality or flavor. Besides bread and pastry, Kumori Japanese Bakery & Cafe also offer coffee, tea and some signature drinks which you can enjoy in their lovely cafe area.

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