Sign Me Up for The Food Club

Since I'm such an introvert, I'm currently not part of any clubs or organizations. When I heard of The Food Club though, I immediately shouted: "Sign Me Up!". As it turns out, The Food Club is the newest 5 star hotel type buffet in town. When I got to their 1st year celebration, I was so excited to dive into the buffet like I haven't eaten for days. Of course, taking pictures of the food before someone had the chance to dig in only helped matters. I even ran 30 minutes on the treadmill to help me prepare for this gastronomic journey.

(L-R, T-B) Xiao Long Bao, Turkey, Roast Beef, Dimsum Platter

The buffet is divided into the Asian Kitchen Station, Western Kitchen Station, Cold Kitchen Station and Dessert Kitchen Station. They told us that they never say no to a guest so when a guest tells them she wants something cooked, they do whatever it takes to give her what she wants. Given that it is a buffet, there must be a lot of ingredients in the freezer right? However, if she requests for something absurd then the chef will give her a very smart alternative.

(L-R, T-B) Rainbow Beef, Sauted Kaylan and Clams w/ Tausi Sauce, Butter Shrimp, Buttered Chicken 

The staff at Food Club are so lucky because the buffet is assured to be all new which means there are no leftovers from the previous buffet. That is going to be a monumental task for all of their staff as they have to eat all those leftovers since they are not allowed to take them home. The head chef likes to concentrate on the quality of each dish in the buffet though. He doesn't like a dish that is just half good for them as he could ask his staff if it is already good enough. If they answer that it is good enough even if it doesn't look like it is then they could lose their jobs. Yes, they do exemplify high quality in this buffet despite the fact that there is an astounding number of dishes in the buffet that it is impossible to try them all.

 (L-R, T-B) Chicken Mediterranean, Steamed Fish w/ Lemon, Seafood Pasta, Moussaka

The chef told us that there are some dishes that won't arrive in the buffet until about 11 PM. Once again, he wants to be 100% sure the guest would like it so he doesn't want to give a guest a dish that is just 99% finished. He wants it to be 100% in terms of quality. The highlights of the buffet for me have got to be the Chicken Mediterranean, Roast Beef, Moussaka, Paella Con Carne, Hakaw, Ebi Tempura and Xiao Long Bao which is a dish that you have to request before it gets cooked. Looking back, I can't believe I put all of that and a lot more in my stomach!

 (L-R, T-B) Paella Con Carne, Seafood Terrine, Pollo Ala Gorge, Porkloin

There were loads of meat dishes in the buffet and being a meat lover, that was more than good news. Even the Paella is full of meat! I made the mistake of eating a bit too fast in this buffet and indulging on one too many fruit shakes. Speaking of fruit shakes, there were three of them there and you just have to pour the pitcher into your glass which is an improvement over other buffets where you have to wait for it to be made.  Aside from the fruit shakes, there's wine, coffee, cappuccino, soda and juices here too. The length of the buffet is just right which means it is not that short and not that long either.

 (L-R, T-B) Tempura, Takoyaki, Bacon Wrapped Asparagus, Ham & Cheese

Despite the amount of food in the buffet, the prices are affordable. In fact, Monday to Thursday lunch is only at P650 while dinner is at P850. They have the same price for Friday to Sunday lunch and dinner though which is P950. With a price like that, guests should go after the dishes that are the most expensive when ordered separately. When we asked the chef, which dish is the most expensive he answered it is the whole duck. Unfortunately, he told us this when I was already so full as I wasn't able to have some of that but I will surely make it a priority to go after that on my next visit.

Every buffet deserves a sweet ending, this buffet is no different as there's loads of desserts in the dessert section. There's Crepe Samurai, Bread Pudding, Create Your Own Crepe, ice cream, cookies and even a candy corner. It was certainly one of those days when I was looking forward to finishing the main courses even though that is going to take a while.

Birthday celebrants are allowed to eat for free three days before, during, and three days after their birthday as long as they are accompanied by one paying adult. They can also eat for free for the entire birthday month as long as they are with three paying adults. After hearing that, I sure am looking forward to my birthday.

The Food Club
Building E, Blue Bay Walk
Metropolitan Park, Macapagal Ave, Pasay City

The Best of Raintree's Worlds at Chelsea Kitchen

A lot of restaurants keep on popping up at the Mega Fashion Hall ever since it became an extension of one of the biggest malls in the country.  One of them is Chelsea Kitchen, a restaurant that is made to look like an actual kitchen where you can see what the chefs are up to. The menu combines the best of the other Raintree restaurants like the creamy milkshakes of Mr. Jones and the stone-fired pizza of Stella.

Since it is placed near the entrance of the mall EDSA side, the other bloggers thought it would be a great place to spend time drinking coffee or milkshakes while waiting for friends to shop at H&M. They also thought some guys could just spend time here while staring at all the girls who pass by. Hahaha!

 Salted Caramel (P295)

 Peaches & Cream (P295)

I ordered Salted Caramel milkshake while Ness had Peaches & Cream. Both milkshakes were equally good and I almost drank half of Ness' drink before settling in on my drink. Their milkshakes are extremely addicting and they are well worth the price.

 Mushroom "Chicharon" (P195)

Wow, I remember how I got addicted to mushroom fries when it was being sold at Ping Gu Mushroom Fries a couple of years ago. Chelsea's version is crunchy and we all wanted one bite after another especially with the basil pesto aioli and spiced vinegar dip.

CK Chicken Salad (P250) 

The best part about the CK Chicken Salad is that it gets mixed with peanut plum dressing. It is my first time to eat salad with that dressing and it is truly something I will come back for.

 Meat Parts (P350)

Super Garlic Cream (P250) 

I absolutely loved the super garlic cream pizza. It can be compared to one of my all time favorites White Pizza of Sbarro but I like this a lot better. I actually think I can maul down one whole pizza in one sitting. While this pizza probably won't make you full, the meat parts would because of all the meat in it.

Fried Chicken Parmigiana (P320) 

The Fried Chicken Parmigiana has all the makings of my type of dish. There's melted mozzarella and creamy white sauce on this yummy chicken breast. What's not to like?

Truffled Mushroom Cream & Bacon Spaghetti (P320)

It sure is hard to pick a favorite among all the dishes that were served to us because all of them were equally impressive. This pasta dish is another one of them and all of us were just waiting for the other one to finish putting some of it into his/her plate. I think the truffled mushroom cream can be put into anything and it will turn out good but it turned out twice as good when it was mixed into this bacon spaghetti.

U.S. Roast Beef & Gravy (P495)

The tenderness of the roast beef is just indescribable. I thought there was too much sauce since you can hardly see the meat but that can be solved by mixing it. They certainly have a good reason for their heavy price tag on this tasty dish.

Triple Decker Club Melt (P320)

It is amazing how something as big as this sandwich can be that affordable. This huge sandwich contains egg salad, grilled pesto chicken, farmer's ham, romaine, american cheddar and tomatoes. Of course, sandwiches and fries go together so prepare for the saltiness of the fries here but that doesn't mean it is a bad thing. In fact, it is a really good thing.

Donut Holes (P195)

I blame the warm chocolate sauce that made the Donut Holes disappear in 10 seconds. It was like a magic trick. The dulce de leche inside the donuts did not help either. In fact, I challenge anyone to not get addicted to these donuts. It is just too impossible. You'll be using a stopwatch counting down the amount of time it takes for you and your friends to gulp it down.

Cappuccino Smile (P145)

I love the fact that Chelsea Kitchen serves illy drinks and their cappuccino just took me to another dimension. I know a lot of people would agree that it is just too hard to ruin the smile on that teddy bear's face. However, the cappuccino would get cold if you don't do that sooner. It even comes with 5 pieces of chocnut and that is always a plus.

Chelsea Waffles: Salted Caramel and Bacon (P220)

When I saw they had Chelsea Waffles on the menu, I just couldn't resist it. Oh my! I was not disappointed one bit. I never thought salted caramel would mix so well with bacon. This one is a dessert for the ages. I was actually informed that this was not a best seller. However, I told them that it will become one when me and the rest would blog about it...and everyone agreed.

Chelsea Kitchen
G/F Mega Fashion Hall

Food Coma at Universe Gastrolounge

I recently hosted a blogger dinner at Universe Gastrolounge and it was a giant feast to say the least. All the bloggers were so full since all the food just seem to appear in a matter of seconds. Universe is located where Republiq used to be. One of the bloggers then said it is normal for a club to rebrand itself after a couple of years since people will get tired of it and there are a lot of clubs that keep on popping up in the city.

We were welcomed by marketing girls Marie Shindo and Keigh Jalbuena into the club and I saw the menu is also written on the wall which is a great idea. I was already in party mode but that wouldn't be a good idea after eating that much good food. Let's get right to it, shall we?

 Mixed Mushroom Dip (P220)

Patatas Bravas (P190)

Black Bikini (P295)

We started off the night with the appetizers or the food you eat while trying to avoid getting drunk. The Mixed Mushroom Dip will tickle your taste buds in ways you'd never imagine.  It is truly a dish I'll never forget. I actually thought the Patatas Bravas is a meat dish but when I tasted it, it is actually potatoes in two types of sauce. I would usually think of something else when Black Bikini comes to mind and food would be the last thing on my mind. This sandwich is loaded with goodies that would make you fall in love either way. It is loaded with cheese and jamon serrano mixed with black truffle jam.

 Monte Cristo Benedict (P320)

Patty Melt (P340)

The Monte Cristo Benedict is one breakfast sandwich that's so addicting especially when you see the poached egg on top. It's one dish that you should never let get cold. The Patty Melt is like a tiny cheeseburger and the grilled angus beef patty is so tender that you would know right away it is freshly cooked. The potato chips shouldn't be ignored either. 

Chicken Cobb Salad (P270)

The Chicken Cobb Salad is loaded with blue cheese, avocado, bacon and chicken in ranch dressing. I am starting to shift to being a salad person nowadays since father time is starting to catch up to me.  I just thought this could have used more sauce but that was completely my fault. Otherwise, it really impressed me.

Electric Eel  (P390)

The Electric Eel is one of those rare sushi dishes that I actually liked. Unagi, tempura shrimp, tempura bits and crab salad make up this exclusive Universe dish. I don't think you will find this anywhere. The looks alone will make you curious for a bite. You won't regret it when you do.

 BBQ Chicken Pizetta (P290)

Bad Girl (P290)

Pizza is another dish that will still make you get home safely after a round of drinks. The honey barbeque sauce of the BBQ Chicken Pizetta totally had me hooked. I really wished it was bigger than its actual size. I have no idea why they named this pizza Bad Girl but it could be because of all that anchovies. It's either you like anchovies or you totally don't. It also has red pepper, olives and garlic.

Barbequed Angus Boneless Beef Riblets (P440) 

Meatloaf and Gravy (P390) 

Cafe Rep's Cripsy Bagnet Pork Belly (P295)

Finally, the main courses have arrived. Unfortunately, all of us were nearing our limit of food intake since there were a lot of tummy-filling dishes before that. It did not matter though because all the main dishes were extraordinarily good. My eyes immediately lit up when I got to take a bite out of the crispy crunchy bagnet. You wouldn't even notice that there is rice underneath it with all those veggies on top. The riblets are so tender that I couldn't help but take one bite after another. One of the bloggers actually sliced the meat loaf for all of us and it was really great especially when mixed with the gravy.

 Linguine Vognole (P350)

BLT - Bacon, Linguine &Truffle Cream Sauce (P380)

The pasta dishes both came at the same time with the main courses which is a blessing in disguise because my favorite dish of the night has got to be the BLT. I got nothing negative to say about it as it gave a new meaning to the abbreviation BLT. I will definitely order this again when I get back. The Linguine Vognole contained too many clams and it's because the clams are the main attraction of this dish and they add flavor to the pasta dish.

 Banana Foster Sundae (P230)

Trailer Park Monte Cristo (P240)

We were about to leave because our tummies were so full but everyone's frowns suddenly turned into smiles when the desserts arrived. The Trailer Park Monte Cristo (deep fried peanut butter & jelly) is highly recommended by their staff. When I got one bite out of it, I knew it was love at first sight. It was pretty obvious that everyone liked it because after I finished one piece, I looked back and everything was gone. The Banana Foster Sundae is banana cupcake a la mode. I LOVE banana cupcakes so I was delighted to see an even sweeter version right in front of me. It is just a shame we weren't able to save room in our tummies for these two but once again, that was completely our fault.

Ever since it opened last October 9, Universe Gastrolounge has delighted party goers with its themed nights: "Timeout Tuesday", "Panic at the Disco Wednesdays", "Thank Got It's Thursday", "Finally Friday" and "Don't Stop Saturdays". Of course, you're also getting comfort food at its finest prepared by Chef Aracama. 

Universe Gastrolounge
G/F Resorts World Manila

All photos provided by Universe Gastrolounge

Enjoy Dining in the Sky at Nest Alabang

It's like the clouds are within reach when you are at Nest Alabang. This quaint restaurant is conveniently located on the 31st floor of the Vivere hotel. It is nothing like the Nest that is in Taguig.

Thanks to their marketing girl Marie, I got to meet owners sisters Anina and Crisel Garcia. They were very nice to me and the rest of my blogger friends. Crisel even showed me a nice view of the city when the fireworks were up during New Year's celebration. I was surprised you can see the fireworks at Makati from there.

When I saw this spot, I knew right away it was the perfect spot for your date. It has comfy chairs for two and you get excellent food plus a nice view of the city. I actually told the owners I would only go to the south once a year since I am from the north. However, Nest Alabang completely changed that.

Now, onto that excellent food I was talking about...

I didn't expect much from the Crispy Catfish Salad (P350) and I got a lot more. I guess you should never underestimate anything especially when it is a dish as good-looking as that. It was actually my first time eating catfish but it actually tasted real good. It was really crunchy and it served its purpose of getting my appetite ready for the main courses.

I don't really recommend the 5 pcs Chicken Wings (P350). Why? It is so #bitin! Go for the 10 pcs (P690). The bleu cheese combines perfectly with the mouth-watering crunchy taste of the wings. I actually think one man can devour 5 pieces in one sitting so that can never be enough.

The US beef chunks were very tender in the Beef Salpicao (P490). Served in a sizzling plate, I have to wonder why this hearty dish is classified as an appetizer. Whether, it is a main course or an appetizer, it's still the best salpicao I have ever tasted.

I love Pork Binagoongan so I got excited when I saw in our menu that they are going to serve Crispy Binagoongan (P450) and it is their best seller. It's lechon kawali simmered in shrimp paste and tomatoes with lady fingers with chili. Everything was just too perfect in this dish. I especially loved the crunchiness of the lechon kawali. In fact, talking about this dish just gives me the goosebumps as the awesome taste still haunts me.

The Nest Alabang serves glorious comfort food and the Pan Grilled Chicken & Garlic Steak (P380) is the prime example of that. After tasting this dish, I really wanted to talk to the chef and tell him personally that he is doing such an excellent job. 

I told Crisel at the beginning that I am a carnivore and she told me some good news and it is that the Bistro Steak (P1115) will be served. You can only imagine how happy I was upon hearing that but nothing can be compared to my smile when I first got to taste the steak. It was simply a winner on all levels. In fact, when the steak was down to 1/4 its original size and me and one blogger had an eye on it, I gladly sliced her a small portion......and gave myself the rest.

I was overwhelmed by the amount of fresh clams in the Spaghetti Vongole (P280). That doesn't mean it's a bad thing though as it is actually a good thing. This pasta dish is best served when you sprinkle it with lemon. Pair it up with the meat dishes and you will be drawn in 100%.

If you have yet to find your soulmate, check out the Decadent Molten Lava Cake with Salted Caramel (P220). The melted truffle filled chocolate cake is already good and it gets a lot better when salted caramel is added into the mix. It is definitely a match made in heaven. Ooohlala.

If there was such a thing as a show stealer during the event then the Frozen Bravo (P180) was it. It's hard to imagine how something that looks like that can't possibly taste good, right? Well, how right you are as the frozen version of the classic Filipino dessert not only tastes good with the layers of mantecado ice cream, graham and custard but it would make you crave for it for days.

Out of all the desserts, my favorite has got to be the Mango Creme Brulee (P220). It was the perfect ending to such a wonderful lunch with the beautiful owners of Nest Alabang. With good food, great service and a nice view of the city, what's not to like?

The Nest Alabang
31st Floor, Vivere Hotel