My Reviews

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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Lucca Bakery

3.0 Stars
Bakery
3

Yesterday, I had my last coffee and cake for 2018, which was otherwise my first at Lucca Bakery.

I was craving again for the 17-layer Valrhona chocolate cake at Workshop Bespoke Bakery (inside Le Petit Souffle). But alas, when I came there it was not on hand (one had to ask about its availability).

So I decided to check out other cafes at the Mega Fashion Hall that I had not tried before, so my short search led me to Lucca Bakery.

Just before doing the usual new year's eve errands, first I wanted to sit down, cool my heels and have a nice cup of coffee and sweets.

Lucca had the 5-layer chocolate cake (₱185 per slice). It looked decadent and looked like it was a dark kind of chocolate cake (dark chocolate fan here).

I was also eyeing at their chocolate mousse cake (₱150) that was also displayed at the counter. I could not decide for myself, so I had to ask one of the crew members which one of them was the more delicious and more decadent chocolate cake. Without hesitation, she said the 5-layer cake, so I ordered that, thinking that it could be even just as close as delicious as the Valrhona cake (since they pretty much looked similar).

I also ordered a cup of cappuccino (₱120).

At first bite, it was just okay. But after eating a few more forkfuls of the cake, I found out that it was too sweet. Not just a bit -- it was quite sweet.

The cake itself was dense, but otherwise it was nothing special that would make you go "wow." It was just like the other cheaper cakes, dinaan lang sa laki. I tried to finish the cake but I had to take it out instead.

Well, I was kind of duped lols. If you are a serious dark chocolate lover, I won't recommend this cake... maybe I otherwise would, to fans of sweeter chocolate/milk chocolate.

As a result I didn't need to sweeten my cappuccino, although I was served with a shot glass of heaping brown sugar.

Service was typical, although it was a bit slow, considering that there wasn't a lot of customers at the time and they only needed to make coffee... hahaha. Pero na-"Lucca" talaga ako sa cake na yan, akala ko naman dark chocolate ehh 128516 I expected a bit way too much, I guess.

Happy new year to everyone! 127878127878127878

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Sangkap Filipino Restaurant

4.0 Stars
Filipino
10

The last |ooloo event that I attended for this year was not really a regular rendezvoos, but a Christmas/year-end party and a get-together of some of the active |ooloo reviewers. It was held last December 19 at Sangkap Filipino Restaurant in the Portico area, Oranbo, Pasig City.

It was my first time at Sangkap, and also my first time to be in the bit more secluded portion of Pasig City. Kind of laid-back area, which I liked.

It was a fun-filled event with where we played a couple of games like the human bingo and the Family Feud, where big, BIG prizes awaited lucky winners. I (and my team) didn't win, but it was okay, as everyone really enjoyed it and had fun. However, things took to a more bittersweet and emotional turn where... okay, I don't want to elaborate on it, baka magiging emotional na rin tong review ko eh hahaha. :')

So let's go straight to what our Christmas party dinner consisted of:

🔹Cebu Lechon Sinigang
One of Sangkap's most popular dishes, the taste was the classic sinigang. However, I loved Sangkap's spin to it as they included crispy pork belly and the thick tamarind-based sauce, instead of the usual boiled pork and soupy base. This one was an instant favorite!

🔹Tapa Rice
Fried rice topped with beef tapa. The beef pieces were tender and tasty.

🔹Pinakbet
Classic pinakbet with the usual vegetables thrown in -- okra, string beans (sitaw) and squash, cooked in shrimp paste (bagoong).

🔹Chicken Inasal sa Gata
Bacolod-style chicken and winged beans (sigarilyas) meticulously cooked with coconut milk. The sauce was delicious!

🔹Fried Chicken
Also a favorite. It proves that one doesn't need any breading to make any chicken a crispy, juicy and delicious fried chicken. It was served with fish crackers.

🔹Pancit Malabon
The sauciest pancit malabon I have ever tried! This was good for 2 to 3 people. It was kind of hard to get portions of it -- the thick and glassy rice noodles, the sauce, and other ingredients, all at once -- and to eat as well, but it was nevertheless delicious.

🔹Piniritong Hito
Would you believe, it was my first time to try hito or catfish? To me it was more like tilapia but much bonier, and sometimes going to the somewhat pork-y texture in some parts (at least to me). I liked it.

🔹Stuffed Inihaw na Pusit
The squid's texture was just right, not rubbery or chewy. Stuffed with salted egg, which made for a rather strange combination but it worked.

🔹Tortang Talong and Embutido
As the name of this dish implies, you'll get tortang talong and embutido. These two are surefire favorites on the table separately, but I could not imagine them being served together as one dish. However, Sangkap made sure that they would work together very nicely. It was served with creamy white sauce. It was also one of my top favorites.

🔹Halo-Halo
The biggest halo-halo I've ever seen, so this was obviously good for sharing. It was my first time to see a halo-halo served with a scoop of chocolate ice cream and chocolate sauce, so a nice a different twist.

I would like to thank |ooloo for inviting me to this really special Christmas party. Roegan T. , Bella J. and Gwen I. , thank you! I won't forget this evening. *sniff, sniff* :')

Thank you too to Mr. Harvard AlwaysHungryPh P. for sponsoring this event. 128522

Belated happy birthday EJ B.! Sending you my credits here too... 128522

It was great to see and meet you guys and everybody else once again. 128522

Wishing you all happy holidays and a happier and more prosperous 2019!

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Soban K-Town Grill

4.0 Stars
Korean
7

Unlike Japanese, I am mostly unfamiliar with Korean cuisine. I am a simple eater and the sight of the array of side dishes on the table confounds me. I belong to the minority of Pinoys who are not immediately taken by the Korean wave -- K-dramas, K-pop, Korean actors and singers (save for "Goblin" and its lead stars, Gong Yoo and Kim Go-Eun!) as well as Korean cuisine. I guess you won't have a hard time convincing Filipinos enamored with Korean pop culture to try Korean food!

On the other hand though, I want to have at least one Korean restaurant experience especially those Korean grill restaurants. A couple of months ago I was given the opportunity to have my first Korean grill experience at Soban K-Town Grill in Eastwood Mall.

At first, I thought that Korean restaurants would be way too much beyond any average person's budget. But it turned out to be the opposite. Soban K-Town actually offers affordable set meals that will fill your tummy without making a big dent to your pockets.

We tried the "Mega Meat BBQ Set for 4" priced at ₱2,000+

- Unlimited rice, soup and side dishes

- 1,200 grams of premium meat consisting of
* Fresh beef belly
* Marinated beef belly
* Fresh pork belly
* Soy garlic pork belly
* Chili bean pork belly
* Fried chicken

It was fun to watch the meats being grilled and seared on a heated pan, and under the exhaust tube that was suspended from the ceiling.

I loved the fresh beef belly, the chili pork belly and the soy garlic pork belly in particular. The layers of fat made these meats so flavorful. The side dishes won't be complete without kimchi. Although I don't have much experience with Korean cuisine, I otherwise love kimchi. The bone marrow soup was also a favorite. I got to experience wrapping the meat and kimchi with fresh lettuce for the first time.

I regretted not trying the fried chicken and desserts, because I was off to another foodie event at the time.

The ambiance was casual.

I was seated on a table for six (overall, I thought we were 12 at the event). Although the BBQ set was intended for four, it was more than enough for us, even though the meats were not unlimited. It was a satisfying meal, overall.

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Creamco Creamery

4.0 Stars
Dessert
2

To cap off our |ooloo rendezvoos at The Pallet food park last month, Creamco Creamery provided the sweet ending.

For me who has a sweet tooth, no meal should ever end without some "dolce."

As the rolled or "fried" ice cream trend has come to the fore once again, there have been several fried ice cream stalls popping up in various areas of the metro like mushrooms. Compared to regular ice creams, fried ice creams are much pricier due to the procedure (the ice cream mixture is laid out, mixed, scraped and rolled on a metal plate that is chilled by either liquid nitrogen or electricity), presentation and the assortment of toppings (which are otherwise optional).

They offered three (I think three, as far as I can remember) ice cream flavors for us to sample, each priced at ₱140:

🔹Pocky Road - Oreo, Nutella and Pocky Sticks

🔹Hazelnut Dreams - Banana and Nutella

🔹Fluffy Bunny - Kit Kat, marshmallows and chocolate sauce (I wasn't able to take a pic of it).

All were delicious, what can I say from an ice cream lover? Although we really had to eat them or else the ice cream would melt quickly. The sweetness of the ice cream itself was just right as it was added with much sweeter toppings like Nutella (despite calling myself as having a sweet tooth, I am not a fan of Nutella because it is too cloying and too overrated, so I could do without it).

Creamco Creamery also offers Frozen Macchiato, whose flavors range from Mocha to Salted Caramel Popcorn to Madagascar Vanilla Bean.

Thank you once more to The Pallet and to |ooloo, and to Creamco Creamery!

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Antojitos

4.0 Stars
Mexican
2

Another |ooloo rendezvoos review on The Pallet food park. This time it's another stall named Antojitos.

They served us nachos and quesadillas. I forgot to take a picture of the quesadillas, but managed to try them despite myself becoming full.

Antojitos specializes on the fusion of Filipino and Mexican cuisine, and one of the perfect examples of this was their quesadillas. They didn't scrimp on the fillings; instead, they generously filled them with Filipino beef mechado and three kinds of cheeses. Result was a delicious melange of flavors, which proved that quesadillas can be a versatile snack.

Their nachos were standard nachos, consisting of salsa, chili con carne, cheese sauce and cilantro piled on top and between tortilla chips. Well, due to our prolonged picture-taking, some of the tortilla chips became soggy, so it's really best eaten when hot and fresh. Other than that, the nachos were delicious. The meat was tender and moist, and the fresh-tasting salsa provided the perfect foil to the more intense flavors of the nachos.

Thank you The Pallet, Antojitos and |ooloo!

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TakoHub

5.0 Stars
Mexican
4

I am not a food connoisseur nor a too testy and discriminating kind of diner (well, most of the time). Whether authentic or fake, I enjoy all takoyaki's I've tried, as long as they taste good.

But of course, I don't expect takoyaki's from the cheaper stalls to be authentic, or complain that they use too much extenders or flour (even the batter itself tastes good!). I will still be happier and more satisfied when I'm eating takoyaki that is made from real octopus, though. 128025

Takoyakis are a usual sight at malls, food sections at groceries and food parks, like here at The Pallet. Yes, this is another |ooloo rendezvoos review on one of The Pallet stalls, and this time it's TakoHub.

TakoHub serves authentic takoyaki (courtesy of Jin-Zai Takoyaki, as the label appeared on the plates; I had been to Jin-Zai and the takos there were good). That explains why their stuff is not so cheap -- a standard three-piece tako meal costs ₱100. But that's okay! At least they were real octopus, and those were huge balls! Hahaha! All of the tako dishes we tried were all tasty.

At first bite, I could already tell that these were fresh octopus, never fake, dehydrated or frozen (or at least, frozen for too long), etc. They were so soft and tender. The takoyaki's were loaded with sweet sauce, Japanese mayo, green onions, bonito flakes or cheese. All were really, really good and the flavors were quite well-balanced. Fortunately, I'm not allergic to octopus (and there was nary a shrimp or prawn in the takoyakis served to us), so I enjoyed the tako's very much.

Thank you again to The Pallet, TakoHub and |ooloo!

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Heath Burger

4.0 Stars
Burger
3

One thing I have noticed about the food parks that I have gone to is that they sorely lack healthy meal options. If you are on a diet but still want great-tasting food park fare, The Pallet will definitely have the answer to that.

One of the Pallet's stalls, Heath Burger, serves the usual fastfood fare like burgers and fries. But the difference is that they're the more wholesome and healthy version of their greasy, non-organic and cholesterol-laden counterparts. The ingredients they use are all organic and are all zero trans fat. We had the opportunity to try Heath's fare during our |ooloo rendezvoos at The Pallet food park last month.

For those who shudder at the word "healthy" and would associate it to another word "bland," I assure you that Heath is anything but bland. In fact, their food was surprisingly tasty, and seriously I couldn't tell the difference between their food and the standard non-vegetarian stuff. Aside from non-meat, Heath also serves organically-fed beef, chicken and fish (check out their nice lineup of chicken and pasta meals).

We tried the meatless nuggets, kamote fries healthy beef burgers and burgers with charcoal-activated buns. The meatless nuggets were good, and the taste and the texture was almost akin to those of the usual chicken nuggets.

The kamote fries were my most favorite, a healthy option to the French fries (although they also have French fries, I believe). The charcoal-activated bun didn't taste any much more differently to the usual burger bun, although there was some nice crunch and then softness when you sink your teeth into it.

Thank you The Pallet, Heath and |ooloo!

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Mang Jose's Ihaw Ihaw

4.0 Stars
BBQ Joint
4

Another |ooloo rendezvoos review of one of The Pallet stalls, and this time it's a short and sweet review of Mang Jose's Ihaw-Ihaw.

Classic Filipino BBQ staple. Being a fan of isaw (or well, "IUD"), I was excited when they were brought in to our table. Obviously, it was my most favorite. It was perfectly grilled, and a bit of charred/acrid taste and somewhat creamy texture in every bite of the isaw were my most cherished part of eating it. Masarap lang papakin hahaha.

I also enjoyed their other fare like pork and chicken BBQ, Betamax, Adidas, pork ears, liempo (pork belly) and many others.

The meats and parts were all well-marinated and tender, with a nice charred taste (not too burnt). There were a couple of "sawsawan"'s too to complete these BBQ beauties, like toyomansi and chili as well as vinegar with chopped oinions and cucumbers.

Thank you Mang Jose's Ihaw-Ihaw, The Pallet and |ooloo!

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Asian Hawker

5.0 Stars
Asian
2

I admit to myself that I am rather a boring diner. I lack a sense of adventurousness and initiative to try something new, and instead I have kept myself complacent with the familiar flavors. But if I were given a chance to try something new, I will be more than willing!

And this is the same response when |ooloo invited me to The Pallet last month, in Poblacion, Makati.

Asian Hawker was one of the best things during our rendezvoos. Everything was so new to me yet so familiar too at the same time. And the most important, everything I tried was delicious.

🔸Char Kway Teow - This stir-fry noodle dish had everything that it could easily satisfy your tastebuds and easily fill your tummy. And since this was my first time to try this dish, I could not tell whether it was an authentic recipe or they used something different to provide this dish with a twist. It consisted of flat noodles, and an array of ingredients and vegetables like green onions and bean sprouts that provided a unique taste. It was a bit sweet too.

🔸Laksa - The cold night was perfect for a hearty bowl of noodle soup like laksa. Oh, I have already tried laksa but the cheaper ones. This one was more authentic, of course. The flavors and the amount of spice were just perfect. The curry coconut base was rich but not too heavy, and I was happy that it came with a hard-boiled egg -- my most favorite thing in any soup. Noodles were firm and not too soggy, as well.

I would be forever grateful to this invite because it gave me the opportunity to try other cuisines, such as other Southeast Asian fare (aside from Filipino, of course). Thank you The Pallet, Asian Hawker and |ooloo!

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