The Ups and Downs of Chateau Royale

It wasn't your normal weekend as my blogger group had our annual team building at Chateau Royale. They are known as the biggest resort in Batangas so that elevated our excitement for the trip. It's pretty accessible too since it's only a 2 and a half hour drive away from Manila. Was it good or was the place as big as its hype? There's only one way to find out as I re-implement my review format of giving the good bits an up and the bad bits a down. What are we waiting for? Let's up the downs!






When we got there, we were served lunch at The Floating Restaurant. It's a place where you can feed the fish but the ponds were too dirty. Some irresponsible guests were throwing trash instead of food to the poor fishes. Maybe maintenance ought to do something about that? As for the food, we had chopsuey, roasted pork and roasted chicken. The food was alright but what bothered me were the ants that quickly piled up to our table. The servers hardly did anything about it too so this gets a down.




After that, we put our stuff in our nice room located on the third floor of the resort's Skylight Hotel. By the way, parking isn't a problem at the resort as there are LOTS of parking spots all over the place. Back to the room we had, it's a nice room with cable TV, fridge, sofa, drawers and a comfy restroom. The rooms cost 12500 for 2 pax with the promo rate at 5218. For every additional person, there's an additional fee of 1100. I loved how clean the room was when we first entered and all the useful amenities so this one gets an up.



Afterward, we headed straight to the best attraction of the resort - the Wave Pool. The waves are scheduled to happen 5 to 6 times a day so keep an eye out for that. It's not possible to request for an earlier or later time slot though so remember the schedule. I loved the concept of the wave pool as I saw how fun other guests had with the waves. There were also a lot of fun pool toys perfect for the whole family. Up!






Below the wave pool is the most interesting part of the resort because there's an aviary there. We got to interact with some cool animals including peacocks, parrots, deers and an ostrich. It was too bad the peacocks weren't able to show their colors since it was rainy season but they surely will if you stay during summer. Since I'm an animal lover, any opportunity to get up and close with them is always a great time. Up!







One place you shouldn't miss when you're at the resort is the spa as it's more than just a spa. Other than massage rooms, it's also equipped with a jacuzzi, a gym and an indoor pool. Wow, talk about a spa that's a dream come true. We found ourselves staying here for several hours. One giant up for this one.







The next day, we had the breakfast buffet at The Orchid. It was a quaint fine-dining restaurant and the choices were good too. There were beef tapa, hotdog, omelet, pancakes, pancit canton. All of them were nice choices and I couldn't count the number of times I went back to the buffet table. Up!



For the adventurous type, there's the rock climbing activity. When we got there, it looked a bit scary since there weren't any rocks, just a bunch of holes. I think this is a seasonal activity and you'll need to call someone if you want to try it. That's not a good sign because what if someone wants to try it on the spot? He'll need to wait for that person to arrive? It's a shame how an awesome activity like this needs to get booked ahead of time. Down!






Last but not the least, we took on the awesome challenge of completing their obstacle course. It's so awesome that a resort in Batangas has their own obstacle course perfect for team building activities. Now I know why there were so many companies booked on the same weekend as us. This one certainly gets a giant up.



Ups -     Downs -  2


Overall, it's a HUGE resort with so many amenities. In fact, I think I forgot to mention some since there's so many of them. I guarantee one weekend won't be enough to enjoy all the things to do here. Not only is it ideal for company team buildings, it's also great for couples and families looking for a break from the city.



Chateau Royale
Visit the Official Website

The First Sundays by Merry Moo at Corner Market



Sundays is an interesting concept by ice cream brand Merry Moo. Why Sundays? From owner Kelvin Ngo himself, the reason is "we wanted to reconnect with customers by giving them a more complete ice cream experience." They definitely achieved that. I remember buying ice cream from their stalls before and they took it to a whole new level with this one. Now, there's an option to add homemade toppings and opt for the ice cream to be placed on a craft cone. There's even soft-serve ice cream. I guarantee Merry Moo fans will be wowed by Sundays.


Avocado


What's great about Merry Moo is they use fresh local dairy from Laguna to make their unique ice cream flavors. Good thing, they also showcase local flavors such as the flavor I chose which is Avocado. From the moment I tasted it, I loved it just like all of their flavors.


Black Sesame, Sea Salt Caramel, Avocado


What else can I say about Merry Moo? I plead guilty to being a frequent customer who buys their pints at local supermarkets. Their pints are actually more affordable compared to similar brands. Not only that, their ice cream tastes a lot better too.



Merry Moo
The Corner Market, The Podium

Authentic Viet Food at Ca Phe Saigon



After my trip to Vietnam last November, I've been looking for some Vietnamese cuisines everytime I crave for Vietanamese food. They're not only healthy, they're also very delicious. Good thing, I came across Ca Phe Saigon located at the corner of Corner Market (see what I did there?.

Fresh Rolls (P180)

It's not a Vietnamese meal without fresh spring rolls. Inside each one is fresh veggies and shrimp. It's the right appetizer to prepare you for their other food. Don't make the mistake of forgetting to dip it into their homemade peanut sauce too. It's a winner.


Pomelo Salad (P220)

Their best seller is the pomelo salad which is a VERY healthy meal with pomelo mixed with greens dipped in vinegar. The owner of Ca Phe Saigon actually showed us an innovative way of eating the salad. She just scooped some using chicharon. I tried it and wow did it make this dish 3x better.


Vietnamese Dry Nooedles with Fried Rolls (P130)

Out of all the dishes served, this one was my favorite. I can't believe I only got to try this now. Tip: Don't forget to mix it and pour some vinegar. I guarantee you won't notice how much you've eaten.


Basil Detox Juice (P100)

There were a lot of seeds on display at the booth of Ca Phe Saigon. Of course, that means they're the source of their own seeds for their food and drinks. There were a lot in this refreshing and healthy drink that I loved, the Basil Detox Juice. I will definitely come back just for this next time.


Banh Mi (P190)

I'm not that big of a fan of Banh Mi. However, their version consisting of homemade meatloaf, tender pork strips and lots of greens made me a huge fan. Of course, it only helped matters that they used toasted bread.

Lemongrass Chicken (P170)

For those who are used to eating rice meals, they have one too in the form of Lemongrass Chicken. From the first bite, I can sense the chicken was cooked nicely. It was also so flavorful that I was hooked from the beginning. Highly recommended!


Pandan Cake (P70)

What I liked about their Pandan Cake is that it has the right amount of sweetness in it. Yes, it's not that sweet which is always good for those who want to eat dessert but would like to minimize their sweets too. Despite that, it still tastes heavenly.


Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup (P260)

Perhaps, the Vietnamese dish that's the most popular of them all is Pho or Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup. I thought their version hit all the right notes and it's best when added with meatballs. Even better, it's perfect for the rainy weather.


In conclusion, I'll definitely drop by again when I'm in the Podium. It was a stuffing yet healthy dinner I won't soon forget.

Ca Phe Saigon
Corner Market, The Podium

Presentation Rules All at Abuela's

The first thing that impressed me at Abuela's is the presentation of their food. Their servings are in long horizontal plates so you know right away they're good for 2 to 3 persons. If the prices on the menu turn you off, it's because they're good for sharing or for one hungry me.

 Abuela's Chicken Wings

First, we had Abuela's Chicken Wings. Due to all the red chili pepper all around it, I thought it was spicy. Good thing it wasn't! Not only is it very crunchy, it's also very tasty. I couldn't have asked for a better dish to start this dinner. Yummy!


 Bone Marrow w/ Truffled Chimichurri and Jam

I'm actually a fan of Bone Marrow due to how tasty it is due to all the fats. You can only imagine my reaction when I found out jam was also added to the mix. How delightful that was. It proves that you can make something really good if you mix the right ingredients and this dish is a good example of that.

Kilawin

One bite of Kilawin and you'll come to the conclusion that you're eating fresh seafood. That's because yes you are! It's freshly caught seafood of the day with coconut milk on top. It's great to eat this without the feeling of eating by the sea.


 Laswa

One of the newest items on the menu of Abuela's is Laswa. While the name won't delight you, I guarantee the taste will. It's a genuine mixture of seafood and vegetables so it's very healthy too.


 Bagnet w/ Thai Sauce 

Out of all the dishes served to us, the Bagnet w/ Thai Sauce was without a doubt my favorite. I kept on getting one after another as I forgot I had to share it with other people. Yep, it was that good. It was definitely cooked the way bagnet is supposed to be cooked and that's crunchy and yummy.


Mechado Stuffed w/ Iberico Chorizo

The beef in the Mechado is so tender that it melts in your mouth. The best part about this dish for me is the sauce. It's the type that you can mix it with rice alone. 


Pilia Ligat

I'm a big fan of Laing so I was pretty curious how this one tasted. This one has a generous mixture of fish and crab with coconut milk. I have to say it exceeded my expectations.


Jojo's Filipino Curry Prawns w/ Crab Fat Sauce

I don't know who Jojo is but I give his Curry Prawns two thumbs up. I loved the idea of putting crab fat sauce on top of it too. One bite of it and you'll quickly realize you're going to get addicted to it. I know I did.


Molten Lava Cake


Green Tea Cheesecake


Both desserts were pretty good! They both had the right amount of sweetness in them. I had one slice and they were both gone before I could have another. Needless to say, everyone saved enough room for dessert or it was that good. I'd say it was both!

When I come back to Makati (happens more often than I think), I'll definitely come back here. Good food, great ambiance, excellent service and of course magnificent presentation! What more could you ask for?

Abuela's
Somerset Millenium Makati



Nonna's Unleashes New Dishes on their Menu


A lot has happened since my last visit to Nonna's Pasta & Pizzeria. Since then, they've launched a bunch of new items on their menu and I was lucky enough to try them all. To the surprise of nobody, they were all quite good!


 Mussels & Clams in White Wine (P375)

If there was ever a socialite's appetizer, this would be it. It certainly has first-class written all over it. It's also great how chunks of tomatoes were put on top all those mussels and clams.


 Arugula with Burrata Salad (P450)

I never thought arugula and burrata made for such a good combination. I highly recommend this one to those who are addicted to greens.I also loved the nuts spread throughout the salad.

 Hawaiian Pizza (P385)

Nonna's version of Hawaiian Pizza is different from the one we're all used to. For one, they use freshly sliced pineapples on this pizza. Also, it includes a whole lot more including prosciutto, bell peppers and pomodoro. Yes, it's a much-improved version.


 Smoked Salmon and Caviar Pizza (P450)

I never thought I'd see the day I would see smoked salmon and caviar on top of a pizza crust but here we are. I have to give my shout out to the chef for coming up with this recipe. The taste is pretty impressive too.


 Salted Egg Tagliatelle (P265)

The dish that impressed me the most is the Salted Egg Tagliatelle. I don't think I've ever seen a salted egg pasta dish before and this one takes the cake as far as taste is concerned. In fact, it's so good that I'm expecting other restaurants to come up with their own version pretty soon.


 Three Cheese Ravioli (P250)

One dish that's gaining popularity is the Three Cheese Ravioli so I was glad to have sampled Nonna's version. I thought there was a little too much tomato sauce in it though. Subtract a few of it and we have ourselves a grander version given that it's already good the way it is.


 Radiatori Chorizo & Mussels (P295)

I loved the creamy sauce on top of the Radiatori Chorizo & Mussels. The extremely rich flavor is one of the major reasons that will make me order this again.


 Seafood Al Nero (P350)

Seafood lovers will absolutely love the Seafood Al Nero! Just remember your teeth will be colored black after eating it though since it's squid ink pasta. Top it off with freshly cooked seafood and you have something you'll recommend to your friends.


 Nonna's Special Pizza (P450)

Wow, talk about a game changer! Perhaps, the best pizza I have ever tasted is Nonna's Special Pizza. Yes, don't even think twice about ordering it. This masterpiece contains burrata and mozzarella with Pomodoro and basil cream on top. I personally loved every bit of it.


Lemon Maringue Sandwich (P180)

Last but certainly not the least, we ended our dinner with their Lemon Maringue Sandwich. Well, what can I say about this gem? It's definitely the perfect dessert to end such a great Italian dinner.

Having sampled all of that, I'm really glad Nonna's opened a branch that's close to home. I can't wait to try their other new dishes. Given the quality of their food, I'm sure they'll be all worth it.



Nonna's Pasta & Pizzeria
3F Robinsons Galleria