The Katsu Wars end at Saboten



Once upon a time, katsu themed restaurants began popping up all over the Metro.  You probably have tried more than one of them.  While that was a long time ago, it is safe to say that war has ended.  It came to a close because none of those restaurants could come close to Saboten. 





We have the Raintree Restaurants to thank for bringing Saboten's mouth watering katsu from Japan to Manila.   Each katsu set comes with unlimited cabbage but every Katsuholic in Manila already knows that even if you don't tell him.  Saboten's version of cabbage was quite impressive if I do say so myself.





The healthy ones would love the fact that the katsu sets also come with unlimited picked vegetables.  These vegetables would fit perfectly with the katsu dishes.





There are two dressings for the cabbage, the sesame seed dressing and the yuzu (citrus based) dressing.   I personally liked the sesame seed dressing but others may have a different opinion.

 



I had the Specialty Course "Yuki" or Snow (P595) and this included pork loin karaage, two deep fried shrimp and one rolled cutlet with the choice of cheese, asparagus or plum.  I asked them what their best seller was and they said cheese so I went with that but I want to try the asparagus one next time.  Apart from the unlimited rice, cabbage, miso soup, pickles and two appetizers of your choice, you also get Vanilla or Green Tea ice cream.  I am so glad I ordered this as my tummy was so happy after a very hearty meal.






I had the Creamy Green Tea (P195) for drinks.  This one nailed it for me.  It is a little too sweet though but I am a green tea fan so I can live with that.  It is like the rock salt and cheese thing with milk tea so it is advisable to not use straws when drinking this one.
 




The Clay Pot Tenderloin Set (P440) is an improved version of the Tonkatsu we all used to love.   There is no doubt this will be the set I will order the next time I come back here.  I love tonkatsu and they really have a nice version of it.  In fact, staring at the dish made me really jealous.

 


The Mille-Feuille Combo Set (P595) sure combined all my favorites into one irresistible package.  Its got one crab cream croquette, one deep fried shrimp and of course a 130g serving of Mille-Feuille.  This combo set is going to win over many fans real soon.
 




Another specialty course that caught my eye is "Hana" or Flower (P535).  The main course is something worth waiting for as it is one tenderloin cutlet 50g and loin cutlet 65g.  It also comes with a dessert of your choice plus unlimited miso soup, pickles, rice and a couple of appetizers of your choosing.  








Both the vanilla and green tea ice cream were on the money.  It would not hurt at all if you chose either one of them for your combo set.





Chocolate lovers would love the Chocolate Hazelnut Cream Cake (P195).  Unfortunately, I am not really a chocolate lover but I still loved it.
 




The Matcha Lychee Almond Cake (P210) is a perfect ending to a long and tumultuous process of trying to finish your katsu meal.  You have to admit it will take you long especially if you are sharing lovely stories with a friend and this cake is the best way to end it.  





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Zambawood - Where Dreams are made of



One day I woke up in a house that is fit for no less than royalty.  I exited the room and saw a wonderful swimming pool with two good looking fountains.  I saw thru the pool that we are just one kilometer away from the beach.  I opened the front door and saw that there is a farm with live animals including a carabao and chickens.  I realized quickly that this is no dream and I am not sleepwalking.  This is Zambawood, where dreams are made of.








Flashback to two weeks ago..


I was supposed to meet with Zambawood marketing officer Sid at a coffee shop in Trinoma.  We met for an hour and talked about how I would be able to organize a blogger event for Zambawood.  I knew this was going to be the blogger event of a lifetime.  




Fast forward to present day..


We arrived at Zambawood and I just could not believe my eyes at this place.  My jaw dropped in amazement as this 24 hectare place is just too good to be true.  It turns out that the owner Rachel Harrison designed the place herself as she is an architect by nature.  Everything from the bathrooms of the bedrooms down to the kubo outside the house would take the breath right out of anyone who decides to stay here.  Words can’t describe how marvelous the interiors here are as you got to see it to believe it.  Their rate of 20k overnight on low season and 24k during high season is worth every penny.









Rachel Harrison is such a nice and humble lady.  There is never a dull moment when she is around.  She knows how to make guests at her lovely place feel right at home.  I saw personally how good of a mother she is to her son Julyan.  












 
For the food, she has 3 chefs who prepare fresh food.  You can be sure the food here is fresh as they get the ingredients from just outside the house where a farm is located.  We had pinakbet, liempo, daing, tinapa rice, galungong and longganisa among others.  I really have to give compliments to all three chefs as everything that was served to us was delicious. Of course, who would not like their free flowing wine?  You got the option of choosing between their red wine and white wine.  




 

Zambawood is so big that I even joked to put up a condominium in the middle.  You can ride the ATV, do yoga at the kubo, jog in the woods and even play paintball.  The number of activities you can do at Zambawood is endless.  You just have to use your creative juices.  There is indeed a reason why a lot of movies choose to shoot here.  









When you decide to go to Zambawood, you are going to stare in awe at this magnificent place.  It is by no means a figment of your imagination. No matter how many times you pinch yourself, this is not a dream.   



 
This is reality.





Zambawood is for real.




Enter your dream vacation. 



Directions to ZAMBAWOOD

(from Zambawood.com)

Only 3.5 hr drive from Manila or 1 hr 45 min from Clark

  • from NLEX: take SCTEX exit (last tollgate of NLEX)
  • from SCTEX: take route going to Subic/SBMA
  • from SBMA tollgate: turn RIGHT into Rizal Highway
  • Go STRAIGHT (past Harbour Point Mall) till you reach the dead end
  • Turn LEFT (on your right is the tollgate to Olongapo City)
  • Turn RIGHT at the first intersection (Canal St)
  • Exit Kalaklan Gate (tollgate to Zambales)
  • Turn LEFT going to Zambales
  • Go STRAIGHT along the path, passing Subic Town, Town of Castillejos, Town of San Marcelino and Town of San Narciso)
  • from Town of San Narciso: turn LEFT right after the San Narciso Town Hall
  • Follow road signs going to CRYSTAL BEACH
  • Drive past Crystal Beach Resort all the way to the end of the road. You will see an iron gate. That is Zambawood






Introducing the Sunshine Spirits at Sunshine Kitchen

After my last visit at Sunshine Kitchen, I was ecstatic when I got an invite from Chef Tanya to come back and sample their new menu items and cocktails. Sunshine Kitchen is one of my favorite restaurants in the country so it did not take long for me to say yes. Tim Walters of Barmans Mix was on hand to introduce the new innovative concoctions at Sunshine Kitchen.  The names of the cocktails really caught my attention and that does not happen often.






The night started off with a Pear-fect drink literally.  This drink contains Absolut Pure Vodka, organic Guyabano and spiced Cardamom. It is the perfect drink to get you started for an evening of great conversation and even better food.





It was paired up with Pan Seared Shrimp & Mushrooms.  The two of them deserve each other and the shrimps were really good.





Next up, it was the Tea-to-tal-er.  The drink contains Tanqueray Gin laced with English breakfast tea Cranberry and sloshed with crisp tonic.  It has that nice after taste that you would crave for.





The Chicken & Mushroom Vol Au Vent tasted so good that I did not see much of it due to the fact that it ran out in a matter of minutes.  You know a dish is good when that happens.





The Sun also Rises is my favorite out of all the drinks that were served.  It has Makes Mark Bourbon, Strong earl grey tea combined with freshly muddled cantaloupe melon.  One glass of this drink won't be enough for me, that's for sure.





Bourbon & Thyme Live Pate with Warm Caramel Apples is a dish for those who are looking to eat a light snack while sipping on that delicious cocktail.





Those who love to get spiced up would love the Outlaw.  It is ripe red watermelon help up with spicy chillies and blasted with 100% Agave, 1800 Reposado Tequilla.  Unfortunately, I have low tolerance on spices so I opted to pass on this drink but I saw the other people who sat with us at the table really had a blast with the drink.





Health buffs would love the Grilled Mushrooms with Feta Cheese Cherry Tomatoes, Mixed Greens and Honey Balsamic Glaze.  I would really recommend this for the vegetarians out there.  I really loved the combination of the honey balsamic glaze and the greens.






The Delux is the type of drink that will make you say "Ahhhh" after sipping on it.  It is Hennessey French brandy and English legend Pimm's #1 flirting with sweet tropical passion fruit.  I got addicted to this drink real fast.





It is paired up with Asian Style Ceviche of Mackarel with Fried Pappadum.  Now, I don't like eating fish but this dish just made me a fan.





The only Sunshine Spirit that's good for two is the Cup full of Sunshine.  It is ideal to drink this with your date using two straws.  It uses local sensation Don Papa Rum, Lai'd on House infused Ginger Casis, Dry Noilly Prat & sun kissed with sweet tropical juices.  Your date is going to be off to a good start when you have this drink.





I love the pizza at Sunshine Kitchen so I was delighted when I found out they have a new pizza item, Mixed Seafood Pizza with Anchovy.  This pizza just made me forget my name because it was that good.  I really recommend it!




I got another taste out of their house specialty, the 6 Hours Slow Roast Porchetta (P550).  Whenever you dine here at Sunshine Kitchen, this dish should already be on the list of food you are going to order.  You don't know what you are missing if you have yet to try this dish.






When a pizza is named after the name of the restaurant then it has got to be real special right?  That is exactly the case with the Sunshine Pizza (P550).  The main ingredient here is Cabanatuan longganisa due to the fact that one of the partners, Myta hails from the beautiful city of Cabanaturan.  This pizza is impressive in so many ways I can't even imagine.




[First Row : (L-R) Cristal, Tanya, Jackie, Tim, Libby Second Row: (L-R) Joan, Kate, Myta and Mel]


I would also have that big smile on Tim Walters' face if I could also have a photo op with the beautiful Sunshine Ladies.  Lucky Tim! =D  There is no doubt I will be at Sunshine Kitchen again and again and again.  I really love this place.



P-Noy expected to tackle administration accomplishments on SONA

image from philstar.com




On July 28, President Aquino is expected to deliver his 5th state of the nation address.  He is expected to deliver the statistics on what his administration has accomplished so far during his term as the president of the country.  However, there are some things that you won’t be able to tell whether they were as a result of his term or if it was from the president before him which is President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.  Aquino can brag about the current improvements of the country since the important thing is telling the people that there are indeed improvements.

During Aquino’s last state of the nation address, he mentioned the fact that his administration gave more jobs to people and free education to the poor.  He is expected to give the statistics on these facts even more on July 28.  You can’t blame the guy since those are major accomplishments for an administration.  It is certainly one thing to tell your peers that you were able to finish school because of the government.  Aquino is expected to mention the progress of the LRT that is supposed to be built along Cavite.  It would be a big benefit for those commuting all the way from Cavite to the city every day.

President Aquino is expected to go back to his targets from last year and see if they were met this year.  Among them were the number of tourists that he wanted to come to the Philippines and enjoy the wonderful tourist spots like Boracay and Sagada.  It would be great to have a number of tourists come over to the country as it would build up the reputation of the Philippines as a nice country to visit in.  There is no doubt a lot of people are already looking forward to the SONA because of the recent happenings in the country.


Escudero: President Aquino should provide a list of projects where DAP went to

image from interaksyon




Senator Chiz Escudero wants President Ninoy Aquino to list down the list of projects where his new program went to.  He wants the president to tell the public the funds were only used for good purposes.  He is right as the president should get the trust of his fellow countrymen and women.  DAP means disbursement acceleration program and it is a program that uses unused funds for the benefit of projects.  Chiz is saying the public needs to have assurance that those funds would indeed be used for the right purpose.


The public is still recovering from the infamous pork barrel scam that got 3 senators in jail including a 90 year old man so the last thing we need right now is something that is similar to what happened.  Nobody knows whether or not President Aquino will indeed reveal the list of projects the DAP went to but he can do that in his speech tonight.  He scheduled a speech to address the public about the DAP ahead of his scheduled state of the nation address that is scheduled to happen on July 28.  A lot of people are anticipating this speech since the DAP hasn’t exactly been something that the public has liked.


Secretary Abad tries to resign from his post as the secretary of the Department of Budget and Management but President Aquino stops that from happening since he is doing a good job with his job.  It has not been a good past few weeks for the president as there were calls for impeachment and demands for an apology.  There is no doubt the president will want to get on the good side of the Filipinos by issuing a public apology in front of national television.  However, nobody knows if the DAP will still continue after that or not anymore.