Carbs Overload at Paella Festival 2014

It was such an honor to be one of the media partners of the inagural Paella Festival. It is the event of Song and Lydda's catering owned by Jess Grafilo Jr. I have to hand it over to Kate Villas who was the one who organized the event and hosted too.

With all that paella, it was like we were preparing to run a 10k marathon the next day.  It was definitely a feast to remember. We started off with the Korean Paella which had pork ribs along with the crunch of sesame seeds bathed with sweet and spicy Korean sauce.

My favorite among them all is the Chinese Kiampong Paella as I could eat this all day. It consisted of carrots, radish, shredded bok choy, taro rootcrop, leeks and water chestnuts topped with chicken pork adobo. 

Before your teeth dives into the Paella Negra Marinara, you must keep in mind it will get black because of the natural squid ink. It is a seafood lover's dream come true as it contained  shrimp, calamares, tahong, crab and different spices.

It wouldn't be a Paella festival without the original Paella which is Paella Valenciana. It featured the most ingredients out of all the Paella and that is not a surprise at all. I love myself a little bit of variety so I really liked the Spanish version. Among the ingredients are clams, mussels, shrimp, scallops, calamares, crab, pork lechon and Spanish onions.

We also had some lechon in the buffet. Who wouldn't want this guilty dish? I enjoyed it a lot and had more than I expected.

If you like spicy food then you'll love the Indian Paella. It comes with a lot of seafood as if you didn't had enough of seafood for the night. 

Lilybelle's was on hand to let us try their sumptuous cupcakes. I have to admit I am not a sucker for cupcakes but I loved it. Contact them to sample their delicious desserts.

Oh by the way, did I mention I was one of the media partners of the event? 

Thanks a lot, Kate and the rest of the Paella Festival gang. We're all looking forward to next year.

T.G.I.Friday's celebrates 20th Anniversary with P20 Chicken Fingers on Dec. 11

T.G.I.Friday's is letting everyone know that it is their 20th anniversary as their famous chicken fingers are available for only P20 for only a P250 minimum purchase.

The restaurant has long been known for serving American comfort food including signature burgers, mouthwatering steaks and Jack Daniels Grill specialties.

Head over to one of their 16 branches all over the country on December 11 to avail of this amazing deal. 

Healthy Comfort Food at Crisp on 28th

I got really excited when me and a few bloggers had the opportunity to sample the food of Erwan Heussaff, Chef Peter Ayson, Kate Cruz Hernandez and company's new restaurant, Crisp on 28th. They revealed to us that it was named that way because Crisp means the food is healthier and its not the crispy type of crisp. However, they are not a vegetarian restaurant as they just mean the food is made healthier. I hope I made some sense there.

When I first entered, I noticed the restaurant has such a cozy ambiance. In fact, there were some people who were killing time working on their laptops. It really makes for a chillax place. The servers were also very attentive so I presume they were trained well. You can't help but glance at the cakes they offer too and one of the bloggers took advantage of the cakes being offered at 50% off from 2 to 5 PM. It's like a buy one, take one offer.

The night started off real swell with the Courtyard Salad (P280). It was my first time seeing salad with steak and its a great combination. The steak is even bits of chargrilled hanger steak as it is mixed with greens, cucumber, French beans, walnut, broccoli, roasted beefs, quail egg, herbed croutons and country dressing.

The only thing I didn't like about the Adobo Flakes Plate (P300) is that it contained liver but that's just me since I don't like eating liver. It is hard to see at first what is in this dish but it contains flaked chicken thigh and pork belly adobo, salted egg salsa, brown rice, sunny side up and seared tomatoes. It also has that irresistible aftertaste that will push you to get more.

One of their best sellers is the Roasted Sambal Chicken Thighs (P385). I loved the taste of the chicken breast when it was mixed with sambal sauce. The brown rice, cucumber, okra and sunny side up egg complimented the chicken perfectly. Two thumbs up for this dish.

Another healthy dish is the Smoked Salmon (P450). The fresh salmon is mixed with greens, cream cheese, capers and tamyao. It is truly a fresh catch if you know what I mean.

When me and the other bloggers talked about what we ate afterwards, we all agreed the Longga Plate (P280) was the best among them all.  In fact, it is the best longsilog version I have ever tasted. There's no wonder why Erwan is widely known for his breakfast meals.

Remember when I said Crisp's food are healthier than usual? One good example was when they have kamote fries instead of french fries in their Falafel Salad Bites (P290). When I first tasted it, I knew that I entered a restaurant serving comfort food. The crispy falafel is covered with curried egg mayo underneath Hawaiian bun along with white bean hummus and mixed greens.

The Cheesecake (P190) has a unique taste to it. I won't spoil to what the chef put underneath the cake as I want you to be surprised when you get to try it. I'm sure you are going to love it when you do.

Since Crisp is located at the ground floor of Alveo corporate offices, I can only imagine the real estate agents here buying donuts to relieve stress. It's not going to be a good feeling when you're not selling anything but the donuts would send you at a far place so you would forget that nasty felling. Choose from a wide variety of flavors including Brown Butter, Cereal Glaze, Peanut Butter Jelly, Banana Cream Cheese and Peanut Butter Banana. These amazing flavors can be bought individually for P35 and for 5 pcs at only P150.

Crisp on 28th
G/F, Alveo Corporate Center
28th Street Near 9th Ave
Bonifacio Global City

Ako'y Babalik sa Concho

"Ako's Babalik" is actually a local song by popular band Callalily. It is the perfect song to describe my feelings towards Concho because one, it is co-owned by Callalily members Tatsi Jamnague and Kean Cipriano and two, I will certainly come back in the near future. The other owners are husband and wife tandem Darwin and Kathy Hernandez. It was actually my first time to go to Lilac Street along with my officemates after months of planning.

Lilac Street is one of the streets in the city that is popping up with affordable restaurants. It is quickly catching up with Maginhawa and Kapitolyo as streets that foodies go to in order to eat delicious and affordable food.

I could actually eat the Baked BBQ Chicken (P180) without rice. The baked herb potatoes that were served along with the tender quarter chicken was real tasty.

It wouldn't take two guesses to find out that their house specialty is the sisig. It is available in a serving for 2 to 3 people as the Concho's Super Sisig Size (P280). I loved the crunchiness of the sisig myself.

A great siding to go along with their meat dishes is the Mac N' Cheese (P120). It contains their special cheese sauce along with mozarella cheese. The pan de sal puts a nice finishing touch to this dish that's a great steal at only P120!

A popular dish that's ideal to pair up with beer is the Calamares (P175). You have the option of choosing between a spiced vinegar or honey mustard dip for this dish. I liked its crispyness and I thought it went best with the mustard dip.

The Salpicao (P350) has tender beef cubes with rich sauce, garlic and mushrooms. However, all of us agreed that it is a bit pricey for the taste. Perhaps, a price of P225 would have been more suitable.

Those who like spicy food would be delighted at the Dynamite (P130) because it will surely give you an explosion inside your mouth due to its spiciness. Inside each crunchy wrapper is a mixture of beef, cheese and green chili peppers served with honey mustard dip.

It was my first time seeing Mango Sago served with Vanilla Ice Cream (P90) and it is a combination made in heaven. I could eat several of this in one sitting and never get sick of it.

If I had a hand in naming their dishes, I would have named this Tatsi's Tapsi just because I have a knack for creating creative names for food. Nevertheless, the Beef Tapa (P150) contained garlic bits, plain rice, egg and spiced vinegar that along went well with the classic beef tapa.

Owners Kathy and Tatsi

We had a nice chit-chat with owners Kathy and Tatsi. Kean also came and wanted a picture with us but we were already on our way out so it was pretty bad timing for him. Don't worry, Kean. I'm sure Ako'y Babalik.

48 Lilac Street, Marikina City

Epic Meal Empire premieres on FYI

Epic Meal Empire starts every Thursday 9 PM on FYI. They deliver never seen before recipes to say the least from donut casserole to beer stuffed lasagna. 

Catch this original TV series only on FYI.

Double the Fun at Stella & Rocket Room

If there's one thing better than one delicious restaurant by the Raintree group, it's two. That's exactly the case at Bonifacio High Street with Stella and Rocket Room side by side allowing you to cross order anytime you wish. I hosted a post-Halloween bloggers event at Stella that also introduced three new dishes on the menu of Rocket Room. It was a spectacular treat to say the least.

We started off the night with the Crispy Pork Belly Chips (P250). I loved the fact that it's crunchy and it really went well with the spicy pinakurat vinegar. We actually brought the chef out the kitchen because of how tasty this dish is. He revealed that it actually takes a day to perfect the Crispy Pork Belly Chips. 

The Fire Roasted Truffled Mushroom Pizza (P395) is one of those dishes that are worth waiting for. It is topped off with porcini dust, fresh herbs and malacos ricotta. It is no surprise how this is one of their best sellers. It is great from the first bite up until the last.

We were introduced to three new Tapas at Rocket Room: Spicy Calamari, Chile Lime Chicken and Chorizo Nachos. Out of the three of them, I liked the Chile Lime Chicken the most and it is not that spicy too.

I noticed that Chef Kalel likes to put porchetta and chorizo in the menu of each Raintree Restaurant. I ain't complaining though. Stella's Porchetta (P395) is nicely presented and is perfect to pair with their cocktail drinks. The crunchy and tender pork belly roll is stuffed with double smoked bacon, fennel, herbs with rosemary sultana sauce on top.  The ingredients alone make this dish too tempting.

Another tempting and guilty dish is the Slow Roasted Truffled Beef Belly (P595). I love the fact that it is loaded with roasted mushroom and garlic confit with truffled cabernet gravy on top. The jamon serrano crisp is an excellent addition as it makes this dish a must try.

There are a lot of thing submerged in the Wood Fired "Callos a la Stela" (P495) and you won't find out some of them until you bring them up. The list includes Spanish chorizo, double smoked bacon, beef trip, Garbanzos, roasted bell peppers and roasted tomato. With the delicious sauce, it would be hard at first to figure out which is which but the important thing is that this dish is a meat lover's dream come true.

For some reason, I had a weird craving pizza on that day so I had the Pesto Seafood & Vegetables Pizza (P420) brought out. This dish is really healthy with all seafood (crab, prawns, salmon) and vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower) in it. The lemon on top with all the lemon cream made it even a bigger winner.

By the time everyone was full, out came the Spanish Chorizo Stuffed Prawns (6 pcs for P575). I was amazed that everyone still had room in their tummies for this. I thought it was creative how chorizo is put into each prawn. This has got to be my favorite dish of the night, hands down. I highly recommend trying this out or you don't know what you have been missing.

The term "Save the Best for Last" certainly proved true for this night as Stella's Wood Fired Chocolate Almond Cookie Dough (P195) is simply a dessert made in heaven.  One spoonful of the cookie and I suddenly did not know where I was. Montecado ice cream, salted caramel and rosemary pistachios are put on top of the cookie dough.

Stella & Rocket Room
Bonifacio High Street, Taguig City

Mexican Madness at Molcajete

It wasn't an ordinary Sunday as me and Lina climbed up the Antipolo hill in search of Molcajete. The Mexican restaurant is owned by Chef Melo Perez and his girlfriend Chrizette. They revealed that they both love Mexican food which is why this became their first business venture.

There were a lot of beef, vegetables and cheese sprinkled all over the Nachos (P170). Can you believe that both of us actually finished this entire bowl of Nachos? I ended up using it as my fire extinguisher too for the spicy wings. 

It was pretty hard to choose a favorite among all the dishes that were served because they were all superb but if I had to pick then I choose the Pollo Pesto + Cheese Quesadillas (P160). This also comes with garlic sauce and sofrito and I really recommend dipping it into the garlic sauce as it makes it taste better.

Beware! The Chipotle Wings (P195) is so spicy that it will leave a circle of fire on your lips. I got a little sweaty here as I got a low tolerance on spices but I did like the taste of the crunchy chicken.

I really like the presentation of the Fish Taco (P95). I don't normally like the taste of fish but my eyes lit up on the first bite.

Chef Melo told us that he only put pork shoulder in the Sisig Burrito (P175) which is a good thing since I don't like it when liver is there. It also comes with garlic sauce and tomato salsa but I actually recommend eating this one without any of the two just to savor the original taste.

We ended our lunch the right way with the Rocky Road Fudge Cake (P135). I loved the warmness of the cake coupled with nuts and marshmallows along with creamy Vanilla ice cream on top. The fact that it is located inside a jar is a great idea too.

When you are in the area, I'd highly suggest dropping by Molcajete. I didn't expect much coming in here and I came away wishing they had a branch that's nearer as the location is the only thing that would turn any potential customer away.  The taste is superb and the atmosphere is pretty laid back. The ones who live nearby are lucky though.

Molcajete Mexican Cantina
Village Corner, Beverly Hills
Antipolo City