My Reviews

Genki Sushi

5.0 Stars
Japanese
10

About two weeks I was invited to a PR event at Genki Sushi, SM Aura Premier branch to try their new collection of dishes with a truly Filipino twist:

- Yakimeshi Chahan (₱170)

Japanese fried rice with egg, meat and vegetables. This was like Chinese yang chow.

- Gumoku Chahan (₱190)

Japanese fried rice with egg and vegetables and topped with chunks of tuna, salmon and shrimp. This was the better fried rice to me. :)

- Kyuri Unagi Udon (₱160)

A well-balanced dish of rich, savory, salty and fresh elements. I liked this dish.

- Japanese Tuna Adobo (₱180)

Succulent tuna adobo with donburi rice and topped with with Japanese mayo, whole kernel corn, strips of nori and leeks. As a fan of adobo, I super liked this one! Never thought that the rich and sweet-ish Japanese mayo would go well with the already-savory adobo. But it worked splendidly here.

- Minced Pork (₱250)

A mixture of minced pork belly, wasabi mayo, white onions and topped with tanugi, leeks and a wedge of lemon. This was like our sisig, but it used pork belly instead of the usual pig head and lemon instead of kalamansi. This was level-up sisig where you could enjoy all the crunchy and savory goodness. The lemon provided the aroma and acidity, while the wasabi mayo brought the heat to this dish. I'd say this dish was well-balanced.

- Minced Seafood (₱250)

A mixture of minced salmon, tuna, shrimp, sriracha mayo, white onions, and topped with leeks and egg on the side. This was the favorite of the majority, and I liked it too. I like sriracha (or anything spicy or with heat) a lot so I enjoyed this dish as well.

***

Aside from trying the new dishes, we also enjoyed their regular dishes and their best sellers. Among my favorites are Fried Salmon Cheese Roll, Seared Salmon with Black Pepper, Tuna Salad Gunkan, Hana Sushi, Green Tea Ice Cream and unlimited hot matcha drink!!! <3

It was actually my first visit to Genki Sushi and it was an eventful and delightful experience.

Thank you Genki Sushi and to Bella J. who extended the invite! Nice to see you again as well as Herl C. and Camille S.

More details about the dises on http://asecretfanfare.blogspot.com

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Tsujiri

4.0 Stars
Dessert
3

I missed having matcha!

So recently I visited Tsujiri again to have my matcha fix.

127811 Matcha Overload (₱275)
I thought this dessert was out-and-out matcha stuff. But when I took a look at the cake closer, it was actually chocolate.

The cake was a little dry to me, but the melted matcha chocolate disc and the matcha soft serve made up for it. Yummy!!!

127811 O-Matcha Cappuccino (₱150)
The bitterest matcha drink I've ever had, so far! I expected this to be a bit sweet because of the cream on top of it, but this turned out to have no sweetness at all. It was bitter through and through. And I loved it! Before, I used to hate matcha for its grassy and bitter taste, but now I love it because of the same reason.

This was almost like a ceremonial matcha drink. Well actually, Tsujiri does have the pure and plain ceremonial matcha (₱140). This O-Matcha Cappuccino was already bitter, a perfect foil to sweeter desserts like my Matcha Overload.

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Snow Panda

4.0 Stars
Dessert

Last na 'to. Promise. 128516128516128516 #BlackSugarTigerMilkTea

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Snow Panda

4.0 Stars
Dessert

Snow Panda has recently caught the brown sugar craze and this time it has introduced its own brown sugar drink concoction -- they don't call it "brown sugar" but "black sugar" -- Black Sugar Tiger Milk Tea for only ₱100 (22 oz).

As someone who loves sweetened milk teas in particular, I loved the "dark" sweetness of this drink. The brown, or black, sugary-ness stayed throughout, even after shaking it. This is even better than Chatime's brown sugar drinks! Actually, it is so far my second time that I have ordered this drink.

On my first order, the only complaint is that the pearls were not cooked enough, that's why they came out hard and too chewy. The pearls slightly improved on my second order, but I wished they should be a little softer.

In any case, I am happy with the drink. I don't need to go too far and suffer long lines at other milk tea shops that particularly offer brown or "black" sugar drinks. Happy na ako dito sa Snow Panda. I hope it stays on their menu.

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Picnic Grove

4.0 Stars
Park
9

To be honest, this is my first-ever visit to Picnic Grove. 🏞 Really! I cannot remember myself having gone there on any of the school field trips when I was still a student.

Entrance only costs Php50 per head and you're good to go!

It was also the first time we took a ride on a Ferris wheel. 127905 I thought the Ferris wheel is the park's most recent addition. For Php150 per head, we felt really short of it, as it only had one turn for us and we were asked to alight from the pod immediately. Bitin!

Picnic Grove has some things in common with Mines View Park in Baguio. Aside from the elevated location, cool temperatures and pine trees, both also have their own souvenir shops as well as food stalls. The difference is that Picnic Grove is much bigger, and from my experience, less crowded (we went there on a weekday).

As I was wont to do when visiting tourist spots, I ended up picking up lots of litter in the park. Yep, it seemed clean from a bird's eye view, but looking closer at it, Picnic Grove was almost like a dumping site. Much more frustrating is that people didn't seem to care and even went on to just listlessly throw away more trash.

Some of the items I picked up (and disposed of properly). I tried to pick up as much as I could:

Plastic bottle caps (there were LOTS of them)
🔸Plastic bottles
🔸"Curly Tops" box
🔸Plastic bags
🔸Empty / half-empty plastic cups
🔸Plastic utensils
🔸Empty tetra packs
🔸Cigarette butts
🔸... and so on and so forth

People may say that the government or even just the park's management should implement stricter measures regarding proper garbage disposal. But to me, if you have a genuine concern for the environment, no other individual, no other entity, not even the government, will tell me on how to dispose of my own litter properly. I mean, I cannot stand the sight of litter strewn around, and what's more disappointing is that a lot of people ignore them. I find it incredible that they're just okay with having a picnic with such eyesore surrounding them.

Well, apart from that, I had a pretty good time there at the park. It offers lots of activities and amenities such as cottages, horseback riding, fish spa, zip line, cable car and bike rentals aside from the Ferris wheel and souvenir shops. Plus, an open glade which is the picnic area itself.

Of course, the highlight of this trip was the breathtaking vista of the iconic Taal lake and volcano.

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BLK 513

4.0 Stars
Frozen Yogurt

Matcha! BLK 513's signature charcoal-activated frozen yogurt dressed with my choice toppings - fruits and nuts and "matcha cheesecake" sauce, as far as I remember. The cone was also flavored with matcha, also my choice.

As for the matcha factor, it was not so much, just slight. But I liked BLK 513 anyway! It made me full without feeling guilty 128523

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Rose and Grace Restaurant

5.0 Stars
Filipino
4

We would usually see Rose and Grace whenever we pass by at Sta. Rosa-Tagaytay Road, but we thought it was a fancy restaurant so we didn't bother to come in. Until recently.

Turned out it was just like any "turo-turo" eatery, only with more elegant interiors that evoked old Filipino architecture.

Everything was fast and easy. As soon as we chose our table, the plates were being laid out there immediately.

We ordered Bulalo with vegetables (₱460) and rice. Our orders were served fast.

It was more like nilagang baka because we didn't have the bulalo itself (the bone marrow), but it was so delicious! The soup was flavorful already but since I wanted something more to tickle my taste buds, I added my own serving with bulalo's classic partner -- a condiment of fish sauce (patis) with kalamansi.

Aside from the big serving bowl of bulalo, we also had smaller bowls of the beef broth -- panghigop ba.

The beef was super tender, even the tendon! Their bulalo was the best! Even better than those we had in Tagaytay. And cheaper too.

Rose and Grace had a canteen-like setting. Much of their food was already displayed at the counter so you will be able to look at and choose.

They also sold pasalubongs, both local and imported stuff. They were openly displayed at the dining area.

Fast service, great and delicious bulalo. Fine ambiance, to boot. 128077

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Krispy Kreme

4.0 Stars
Doughnut
2

I got to try their newest flavors, both matcha - Classic Matcha and Matcha Pistachio.

They were slightly more bitter than their green tea Kitkat one, which I liked. They were not too sweet as well.

I paired my doughnuts with cappuccino.

I'm kind of missing their cheese-filled doughnuts. Krispy Kreme, can you bring them back, please?

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Metro East Burger Station

3.0 Stars
Burger
3

We had the "Antipolo" burgers, which had gravy in them. We also had cheesy French fries, and two glasses of iced tea.

The taste and texture of the burgers left something to be desired. The beef patty was not as "beefy" as I expected it to be. Rather, it was kind of mealy, I suspect it had extenders or something. The fries were good, but they were nothing special.

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Max's Restaurant

3.0 Stars
Filipino
4

I had the Max's Group of Restaurants "Delightful Deals" stubs/coupons and I used Max's deal of Buy 1 Get 1 Chicken Sisig Rice Meal with Sago't Gulaman for only ₱169. I shared this good deal with my date.

The chicken sisig came with rice and a fried egg. The chicken sisig itself was good, it had heat (from the siling labuyo) which I liked, but I thought it was a little bland so I added it with Worcestershire sauce.

I liked the Sago't Gulaman; it was very refreshing. Although I am not much a fan of sago or pearls, I like Max's sago in their drink. It was not too chewy and it even tasted a bit sweet.

Apart from the BOGO deal, we also ordered two Buko Pandan's. But from the first scoop, I realized that I won't be able to finish this (it was too rich and creamy for me), so I gave it to my date (yes, he finished both Buko Pandan's hahaha).

I still have another Max BOGO Chicken Sisig Rice Meal stub, and I will definitely use this (as well as deals from the other restaurants like Yellow Cab, Krispy Kreme, Dencio's, Teriyaki Boy, etc., well, hopefully) before the date of redemption expires (this coming January 25).

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