My Reviews

The Wholesome Table

5.0 Stars
International
6

I’ve always wanted to try The Wholesome Table. Their earth-friendly concepts of organic food production and sustainable agriculture attract me, not to mention their commitment of serving fresh and natural food.

I had lunch here last week before trying Pablo. The restaurant is very homey yet rustic. I immediately felt the comfort as my friend and I were seated on the couch area. After quickly browsing their menu, we ordered the following.

** Poke Bowl (450php)
This was served with brown rice and raw salmon. I loved that freshness of the salmon which was well complemented with the Japanese mayo. The taste of the onion was evident in a good way. This meal was filling.

**Grass-fed Beef Burger (490php)
This order has 100% grass-fed beef patty with emmental cheese , tomatoes and greens. I had this cooked well done, but surprisingly the patty was still juicy and soft. The burger was delicious! This was served with Parmesan fries which I didn’t like, tbh.

Service was impeccable. While trying to do a flatlay with our orders, I accidentally hit my glass of water. It was still full. It tumbled down, and yes, it created a mess. I was apologetic for being so clumsy, but the server managed to clean the area in the most polite way. Great job! +1 star for that excellent customer service.

I really liked to try their pastries as they’re on the display. However, knowing that I’ll have dessert at Pablo made me disregard the idea. Their cookies and cupcakes seem delicious tho.

P.S. Their menu has symbols – V (vegetarian), VGN (vegan), GF (gluten-free), DF (dairy-free), NF (nut-free).

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Pablo

4.0 Stars
Dessert
6

Pablo created a buzz in the foodie community last year when it opened its first store in Robinsons Manila. I've been bugging my friends to try but Rob Manila is too far from us. So when I knew that Pablo opened in BGC, I jumped with glee.

Although I've read mixed reviews about Pablo, I still want to try and judge it myself. Anyway, I went here last week with Edison A after our mini photowalk around BHS. We decided to try the following.

** Soft-served Cheese and Matcha ice cream (125php per cup/cone)
I tried the matcha flavored one, and I liked it. The matcha taste is evident and I can taste also the cheese part. It's like matcha cheesecake in a cone. My friend tried the cheese one as he likes to go classic. I wasn't able to try this, but he said it's also good.

** Chocolate and Cheese mini tarts (125php for the chocolate / 100php for the cheese)
Between the two, I like the cheese one better. I'm not sure but it's kind of sour. It was cheesy (as it should be), but I found the cheese tarts from Lava more delicious. The chocolate cheese tart didn't taste good for me. It was not smooth, and I didn't like the combination.

I find it really convenient that Pablo in BGC has mini versions. I haven't tried their regular cheesecakes yet, but I'm sure that I will anytime soon.

P.S. They still don't have the mini matcha cheese tarts as of now, but the staff said that it will be available soon. 1285399889

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Frankie's New York Buffalo Wings

4.0 Stars
Wings
9

I've been waiting for the opening of Frankie's in Crossroads BGC as their chicken wings are really tasty without the hefty price tag.

Frankie's New York Buffalo Wings opened 2 weeks ago and since then chicken lovers are flocking to this restaurant beside Balkan. Cindy S and I decided to have dinner here last week. Upon entering, I noticed that the place is well-decorated. It has this rustic vibe perfect for late night hangout with friends.

** Frankie's Classic Buffalo (188php / 348php)
I chose the spice level to be just mild (🌶) as Cindy is not a fan of spicy food. However you may opt to set it at spicy (🌶🌶) or super spicy (🌶🌶🌶). If you want a familiar taste of good ole buffalo wings, then go for this one. Be sure to partner this with the classic as well - bleu cheese dip. A perfect match.

** Salted Egg Wings (half dozen)
When I initially tried this at their SM Aura branch, I remember liking it too much. However for this visit, I agree with Cindy that the salty egg taste was not evident. There is something that's missing. Nevertheless this tasted good. I mean the chicken meat was tender and the serving was really generous. I guess this is what Frankie's is known - big delicious chicken wings. No free dip on this order though. It's still good to try.

There are a lot of instagenic spots in this branch. But due to a lot of diners, I wasn't able to snap all those. Anyway, we'll be back for sure!!!

P.S. Beers here are cheap - only 49php per bottle.

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Mindoro Beach

5.0 Stars
Great Outdoors
4

I've been to Vigan thrice already but I never heard that there's a beach there. Admit it, Pagudpud will always be the swimming destination in every Vigan-Laoag-Pagudpud itinerary.

I went to Vigan last time for a weekend wander with Cindy S and Edison A. We liked this trip to be as DIY as possible so we didn't book a tour beforehand. While I was browsing for must-try in Vigan, I accidentally discovered that there's a black beach in the far end of the city. The pictures that I saw in the net were amazing so I suggested to add this to our itinerary.

We hired a tricycle to tour us around Vigan. Our last stop should've been Baluarte, but I asked the driver to go to Mindoro Beach instead. Luckily, he agreed. It's 15-20 minutes only from the city proper. It's not a popular tourist destination. In fact, we were the only tourists in this visit.

It's true. Mindoro beach has black sand. Black as in black. However we were not able to swim here as waves were too strong. That may be the reason why there are a lot of concrete wave stoppers in one area of the beach. We got contented taking beautiful photos of the place.

This was my first time to experience black sand beach and it was amazing. Though the sea was not so calm during this visit, Mindoro beach still gave me peace and serenity. It's a good addition to my Vigan trip.

P.S. No entrance fee! 128513

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Urbiztondo Beach

5.0 Stars
Great Outdoors
4

La Union is said to be the Surfing Capital of the North. That is because of the growing popularity of surfing specifically in San Juan.

Urbiztondo Beach in San Juan LU is all about surfing. In the stretch of fine brown sand, you'll see a lot of signages for surfing lessons and board rentals. Turning your head 180 degrees, you'll see a lot of surfers, beginners and pros alike, enjoying the waves.

I arrived at La Union around 3pm from Baguio. Since it was already late, after check in at Flotsam and Jetsam, I just decided to try the restaurants around Urbiztondo. Although surfing is life here, I felt contented watching the sunset while sitting in the sand with my pen and notebook. With that scenic view, sound of waves, and sand on my feet, I wrote about my thoughts about my solo trip and plans for my future travels. I also planned to try surfing the next day. I just stayed overnight here.

My stay was short but sweet. I know that 1 day in LU is not enough with all the things you can do, and all the restaurants you can try. I promised myself that I'll be back. Soon. Very soon. Even I go solo again. That's the good thing about Elyu, I went here alone but I never felt like I was.

P.S. To go to Urbiztondo Beach via Baguio, just ride any bus going to Laoag or Vigan. I know Fariñas and Partas bus lines have this route. You can also ride the same bus lines from Manila. Partas has terminals in Cubao and Pasay. Just tell the driver that you'll go to Urbiztondo Beach in San Juan La Union. The beach-front resorts are just along the highway, so you may be dropped off next to their gates / doors. You're welcome. 128517127754

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Le Petit Soufflé

4.0 Stars
Fusion
7

I suggested this place to my team one weekend as we’re having our R&R in Mystery Manila in Century City Mall. I know that this place won’t disappoint.

We entered the restaurant with all smiles as the place wasn’t so packed yet. We chose to be seated in the couch area for better lighting. I was initially looking for their Squid Ink Rice but the server told me that it’s not available that day. SERIOUSLY?! Well, that made me really sad. I remember I was in food heaven the first time I tried it here. Anyway, we just had the following instead.

** Vegetarian Soba Pasta
I’m not a vegetarian nor a veggie fanatic but I loved this one. The soba pasta was nice and firm and the mixture of zucchini, eggplant and bell pepper in shoyu sauce was delicious. It’s a light meal perfect for diet-conscious people like me. Okay, kidding.

** Truffled Hamburg Meatball Spaghetti
This is heavier compared to the soba pasta due to the big serving of Japanese hamburg meatballs. The truffle sauce was creamy but light in taste. You can enhance the taste of this pasta dish by adding freshly ground pepper.

** Porc Bourguignon
This good for sharing meal consists of red wine-stewed pork served with garlic Japanese rice and egg. I was able to taste this and found it really delicious. I just think that everything is overwhelming. It’s so tasty!

** Hambagu with Japanese Ketchup and Egg
The bomb in this visit! I loved it. It was filling and really flavorful. The seared Japanese burger patty was complemented by the Tonkotsu ketchup. And what made this meal complete for me is the sunny side up egg. I liked that it was not cooked well done. All these ingredients were perfect with the Japanese short grain rice.

The service, as usual, was impeccable. The staff were so attentive to our needs. The place, as always, is good and bright. Just minus one star for their Salted Egg Caramel Parfait. I ordered this because of the term salted egg – it’s addicting, However their parfait’s version is rather disappointing. No trace of salted egg, for me. It was just a salted caramel parfait. Even my officemates didn’t like it so much. Anyway, I still like most of the item in Le Petit’s menu.

P.S. I’ve always loved Le Petit Souffle’s ambiance. Very sweet and classic. Yung pwedeng pang-date. *wink*

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Vigan Heritage Village

5.0 Stars
Landmarks
5

When visiting Vigan, it’s impossible not to stroll around Calle Crisologo.

Calle Crisologo is one of the famous historical sites in Vigan, Ilocos Sur. The whole street consists of Spanish-inspired houses that can immediately transport everyone to the Philippine-Spanish colonial era.

My friends and I arrived in Vigan around 7pm one Saturday night. Since we cannot go anymore to the other tourist destinations within the city, we decided to see Crisologo street at night. Though most of my friends suggested to go here during daytime, I prefer going here midnight. I love the contrast of the yellow light from street lamps and the old, antique-looking houses in the cobblestone street. Though there are a lot of commercial restaurants already in the area (Max’s, Mang Inasal, Famous Belgian Waffles, to name a few), I love that they still preserve the design of their place. From the famous restaurant Café Leona to the far end Legacy Super Club, I must say Calle Crisologo is a must see in Vigan.

We also had the chance to go here after our breakfast in our hotel. In the morning, there are a lot of Kalesas willing to tour you around the city. I’m not sure regarding their rates, as I haven’t inquired. However based on my other visit here 2 years ago, a tour around Calle Crisologo will just cost 50php.

There are a lot souvenir shops here if you want to bring pasalubong to your friends back in Manila.

P.S. You may want to eat Ilocos empanada in the stretch of Calle Crisologo. Cindy S told me that the one from Irene’s is good. 128518

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Misty Lodge and Cafe

5.0 Stars
Hotel
9

I discovered Misty Lodge while I was searching for a nice place to stay in Sagada for my "ultimate" solo North trip last month. I kept reading about it and learned that it's one of the most beautiful and instagenic lodges there. It's actually no. 1 in Tripadvisor. So why not, I told myself.

I messaged them in Facebook asking if there's a room available on my preferred dates. Sigrid replied to me instantly with a yes. She told me a room for one costs 350php per night. Really cheap, right? Well I immediately made a payment thru BPI online transfer, then voila! All set to go.

I arrived in Sagada at around 11am. I texted Sigrid if I can check in early, and she affirmatively replied. Misty Lodge is quite far from the Tourist Center in Sagada. It's actually 20min walk! No PUVs here. Good thing Sigrid suggested that someone from Misty could pick me up using their service vehicle. When I entered Misty for check in, I was amazed by how beautiful it is - rustic yet homey, cute but classic. Its wood design made it pleasing to the eyes. Misty has a fireplace probably because of Sagada's natural cold weather. This made my stay all the more relaxing.

While waiting for my room to be fixed, I browsed their cafe's menu and decided to get their Bacon Lovers burger. I liked how my burger patty was cooked. It was not raw nor too cooked. It was juicy! However I found the bacon bitin for it to be for bacon lovers. Nevertheless it was good meal!

My room was a standard one. No lavish lampshades, no microwave, no vault, no coffee maker. Just a bed, a cabinet, a chair, and a vanity table. And oh, no private CR. Well, I just paid 350php. Not really expecting anything posh. I found my room to be comfy, enough for me to sleep and relax. Most lodges in Sagada actually have the same set-up. Though their CR is shared, it was clean. Sigrid and the rest of the staff in Misty were friendly. They even asked me if I wanted to join them for sunrise at Kiltepan Peak.

For breakfast the next morning, I ordered their home-cured sirloin beef (tapa) + Alamid coffee. The tapa meal was delicious! The meat was soft and really flavorful. The taste is not similar to Jollibee's or Rodic's, but it's still good. The coffee was strong, I had to put cream and sugar to balance the taste. It was served in a beautiful coffee press.

After check out, I asked one of the staff if we could again use the service vehicle for me to catch the bus going to Baguio at 9am. Being friendly and accommodating he is, he agreed.

Sagada will always be fun to visit as you can do a lot of things here. I'll be reviewing some here also. 128513 Misty Lodge may be far from the town proper but I can assure you that the long walk along the high way will be worth it.

P.S. Misty Lodge and Cafe also serves home-made yoghurt ice cream. I heard their version is delicious!!!

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Arca's Yard

5.0 Stars
Café
9

Baguio is one of the few cities I'll never get tired visiting. I've been here countless times but every visit didn't fail to surprise me.

I'm fond of reading must-try lists especially to the places that I'll go to. And I must say Arca's Yard is included in every blog site and top 10 list for restaurants to try in the Summer Capital. I've made some research on how far Arca's from the city proper. It's located at Ambuklao Road, near Tiptop. There's no PUJ that passes Arca's so the only way to go here is via private car / taxi. With that in mind, I immediately concluded that going here must be easy - just ride a cab. But my problem is how would I go back to the city proper after dining here? Are there a lot of taxis also in Ambuklao Road? How far it is from Tiptop where I can ride jeepneys? Thanks to Ruth S for giving me tips. 128539 Actually there are taxis along Ambuklao Road. In fact, I didn't have a hard time getting one after dining here. If riding jeepneys is your thing, you can walk back to Tiptop terminal and there are jeepneys you can ride going back to the city proper. Just ask the people at Arca's and they will happily help you just in case you still need more directions. 128541

Anyway I was excited to have breakfast here one Thursday morning. In fact, I was the first customer as I arrived here 10 minutes after their opening time. 128514 The staff greeted me with smile while showing me the way to the restaurant. She asked me where I want to stay and I politely said that I'll still look around to find my spot. Arca's is relatively big as it has 2nd floor where the mini library is located. It's safe to say that I love every corner of this restaurant. After taking several pictures of the place, I settled outside for a brighter spot. Off to the food, shall we?

** Crispy Lemon-Orange Chicken (240php)
This sweet and savory dish became an instant favorite of mine. It tastes different from North Park's Lemon Chicken because of the orange twist. The chicken meat was crispy on the outside but really soft and tender inside. It came with a cup of rice with garlic flakes on top. Serving was really generous.

** Kamote Pie / Sweet Potato Pie / Arca's Docto Pie ala mode (95php per slice)
They said that this is their best-seller, so I must try this. Quite interesting for me. The pie was not too sweet, which I liked. However it's too heavy as a dessert. The ice cream on top can balance out the cloying factor. This is really something new to try! The next time I'll be here, I'll just order this and skip the rice. 128513

I did not have any problems with the service as I literally owned the whole restaurant during this visit. However I think if the restaurant's full, calling the attention of the servers might be a struggle. Well they have bells that you can ring if in case you need assistance like water refills and photo sessions.

I truly enjoyed Arca's. It's more than a restaurant for me. It's a sanctuary. I'm happy I visited this early in the morning when it's not too crowded yet. I found the place very relaxing with all the pillows and cool spots everywhere. I haven't had the time to check the books in their mini library but reading a novel plus hot chocolate in this serene place is a good idea. You're welcome. 128513

P.S. Arca's Yard is open from 9AM to 7PM.

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Providore

4.0 Stars
Café
5

Brunch with your best buddies is always a good idea. Last Monday, Cindy S, Edison A and I decided to have our Holiday brunch at Providore.

As I enter the restaurant, I noticed that Providore has a section for goodies. Some of the interesting stuff that can be bought here are Jacob's Praline Peanut Butter, fragrances such as Alaala, Yakap, and Lambing, and items from Herman & Co. Providore also has a bakery which cookies, revel bars, and croissants can be bought.

Cindy S and I were the early birds and while waiting for Edison A, being the usual late he is, we ordered the following.

DRINKS

** Providore Punch (175php)
This was a bright red drink probably because of the cherry syrup and watermelon juice. This tasted a bit sour as it also contains pineapple and passionfruit punches. It was a refreshing drink perfect for a cool down after hours of Christmas shopping.

** Cafe Mocha (160php)
I don't think Providore specializes in coffee as their version of Mocha is disappointing. I was not able to find fusion of coffee and chocolate in this drink.

When Edison arrived, we browsed the menu and we had the following.

APPETIZERS

** Zucchini Pecorino Fries (175php)
I ordered this one as I found zucchini fries interesting. I'm not really a fan of vegetables as appetizer but these zucchini + malagos pecorino cheese fries were delicious. Really not salty, so better dip it in its buttermilk ranch dressing.

** Beer Battered Seafood "Cocktail" Platter (595php)
This was very instagenic. All those seafood were appetizing. My favorite was the mozzarella stuffed shrimp. I didn't know that cheese will go well with shrimps. Crab and corn cream balls, calamari, crispy baby tawilis, beer battered fish bites, and blue swimmer crab were also included in this platter. This is good for sharing. This also came with 2 dips + 1 small bottle of Louisiana hot sauce.

MAINS

** Crab and Avocado Egg Toastie (320php)
Tbh, this tasted okay but the bread was a struggle to eat. I'm guessing that they toasted it too much. Nevertheless the poached eggs on top were perfect! The avocado and crab meat were also good.

** Steel Plate Cooked Garlic Butter Salpicao Steak (395php)
Cooked medium, these U.S. beef slices with garlic, butter, onion and olive oil surely was the winner in this brunch! The beef was cooked perfectly as it's soft and tender. The sauce was flavorful and the butter + garlic combination made it all the more delicious. This order is made for that order of extra rice!

We didn't have dessert here but their Housemade Leche Flan and Warm Brownie Skillet seem interesting. The service was generally fast. I like that the restaurant is bright as this is perfect for foodie shots.

P.S. They are open as early as 8AM for breakfast.

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