Nuffnang

9/30/2007

Jammin' in "Jamaica"

6 comments

"A Jamaican patty or pattie is a pastry that contains various fillings and spices baked inside a flaky shell. Technically, it is a beef filled turnover. As its name suggests, it is commonly found in Jamaica, and is also eaten in other areas of the Caribbean, most notably that of Haiti, in which the pastry is thick and crispy essentially a turnover. It is traditionally filled with ground beef, however, fillings now include chicken, vegetables, shrimp, lobster, soy and cheese " --wikipedia



Liv's amazing discovery: Cheesy Beef Patty -healthily stuffed with ground beef and melted cheese which oozes out so freely it makes me glad to know there's something cheesier than me (eh Vicki?;p).



I found another food place I used to love when I was a teen. It's now called Jammin' Jamaica. I remember this place as "Jamaican Patties" or was it just "Jamaica" formerly located in the now leveled SM City Annex. It survived for quite a while serving (and I believe in the process popularizing) Jamaican Patties here. Long before I saw or heard about the other more popular and widespread jamaican patty store, I was hooked on Jammin' Jamaica's first. I remember it used to be on the 2nd floor near the Annex cinemas which made it a constant movie companion.



Last weekend Liv and I came across this place in SM City "The Block" grounf floor and though sporting a different look with a different or should I say expanded menu I immediately knew I was staring back into the past. How? Simple really, I figured no other resto would think of naming their food "Beef Pinatubo". It's aptly named too. After the Volcano in Central Luzon which erupted in the early nineties, this favorite jamaican patty of mine delivers volcanic chili and even though I've happily seen it's re-emergence in The Big Chill fruit shake stand in Eastwood Cinema (whooping with joy) a few months back, I didn't know they re-opened their restaurant as well..



New things on The Block:



Pizza:



I tried the thin crust Bacchanal pizza with spicy hungarian sausages, black olives, garlic and onions. It was just ok. The crust was as thin and crisp as I liked it to be but for the price of P180 I wish i'd just gotten 4 Beef Pinatubos.





They have burgers now as well. "Kingston Burgers"




I never imagined how much better Jammin Jamaica's was than the other would-be jamaican patties which have proliferated. The generous stuffing and the amazing flavors they offer is just several notches above the rest. Now with an expanded menu that would cater to more types of people along with the kick-ass old school patties which they've come to be known for, I just pray that J.J. is here to stay.


"We're jammin...

To think that jammin was a thing of the past;

Were jammin, And I hope this jam is gonna last...." --Bob Marley

9/27/2007

Bellini's -- the hole-in-the-wall just got bigger

4 comments

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I've been holding back from sharing my errr our love for this hole-in-the-wall resto in Cubao. I've tried keeping it all to myself...but with some prodding from Ruy I finally decided to share this with you guys. Bellini's is an 8-year-old Italian restaurant old by Roberto Bellini, a former paparazzi. I know it sounds weird but it's true!! Here's the funny part, despite the fact that Bellini is Italian, it's actually Luisa (his Pinay wife) who created all the dishes. According to Bellini his mother was the one who taught Luisa how to cook. Okay, I just realized I'm divulging someone else's family info here...wehehhe.




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Ruy has been craving for pizza but we've never gotten around to eating one as it's hard for me to eat in pizza parlors because I'm not into pizzas. We decided to finally give in to Ruy's craving and headed to Bellini's.




The great thing about Bellini's is that it's an Italian restaurant which offers people a whole lot more than pizza, lasagna and carbonara. I actually go to Bellini's when I want real Italian food...not the kind that's always drenched in canned tomato sauce like those in fast food restos.



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Upon entering Bellini's we were surprised to see that it's bigger than how we remembered it to be. They have expanded and so the resto is now made up of 3 sections/areas.




We were immediately greeted by this waiter who surprised us with his command of the Italian Language....magnifico!! This waiter was not only very proficient in the Italian language he was also wonderful when it comes to his people skills and service. He immediately led us to the empty table and got our orders.




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We started out with Melanzane e Mozzarella a la Griglia which is an eggplant dish. It's actually grilled eggplants brushed with a thin layer of pesto sauce and then covered by chopped tomatoes, bacon and melted mozzarella cheese. I ADORED this dish, past tense because I only adored it from the time I tasted it up until Ruy asked me for the price. It actually costs 180 pesos for 4 slices of eggplants!!! Oh lala...I think that's insane for something which was probably made with one piece of eggplant. I did love it so much so I'm now thinking of copying it at home.



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We then had Pizza Napoli one of the few varieties of pizza I can actually eat. It has a paper thin crust which makes the pizza delightfully crisp. Each slice is so thin I actually suggested that Ruy put one on top of the other to make it thicker (what can I say, my husband's a growing boy and needs his serving of pizza...hehehe). This pizza is layered with tomato sauce, capers, mozzarella and anchovies. It's simple yet delicious. It doesn't fall into the trap of just piling on the toppings to make the pizza good. For 180 for an entire pizza good for 2-3 people, it's not a bad buy at all.





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Pasta Tricolore a la Rustica. Naks. How authentic sounding is that right? I was expecting pasta in 3 colors but all we got was plain spaghetti. I'm still bewildered as to why it's named Tricolore. Now, useless trivia aside, this was an okay dish for me which became wonderful when drizzled with their special Olive Oil with Chili. 220 pesos




For our Carne we chose the Pollo a la Diavolo which is basically grilled chicken. The herb and chili were barely discernible unless you dip the chicken into the drippings. When I dipped the chicken into the drippings and drizzled the olive oil with chili over it....I was in love. Half a grilled chicken costs 200 pesos...almost like the prize of half a supreme chicken in Chowking...Imagine how affordable that is!


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We ended our meal with a slice ofOrange cake. YUM YUM YUM. Served warm with crystalized orange peel on top...Writing about it now makes me want to eat some more...haaay. It might seem a bit pricey at 100 per slice but it's actually a very big and heavy slice. I have yet to finish one entire slice on my own in one sitting. (This is my current life goal...I've listed it as one of the things I have to do before I die)




Other favorites which we weren't able to order during this particular dinner (due to a small stomach and wallet size wehehe) are: Osso Buco Milanese, Rissoto al Funghi, Rissoto Fruti di Mare, Spaghetti a la Cartoccio and Panna Cota




For those interested, Bellini's can be found in the Marikina Shoe Expo in Cubao. It's right across the old Rustan's building, on the same side as COD.


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p.s.
When you order their main course they give you a small glass with their sweet wine

Desktop Tag

We were tagged by Jen so...


Here's our desktop.


It shows a photo which Ruy took of the moon over Marikina. I LOVE this photo. We're tagging everyone found on our links.


Note: Copy Starts Here!
Desktop Free View Instruction:
A.Upon receiving this tag, immediately perform a screen capture of your desktop. It is best that no icons be deleted before the screen capture so as to add to the element of fun. You can do a screen capture by:


[1] Going to your desktop and pressing the Print Scrn key (located on the right side of the F12 key).

[2] Open a graphics program (like Picture Manager, Paint, or Photoshop) and do a Paste (CTRL + V).

[3] If you wish, you can “edit” the image, before saving it.


B. Post the picture in your blog. You can also give a short explanation on the look of your desktop just below it if you want. You can explain why you preferred such look or why is it full of Icons, things like that.

C. Tag five of your friends and ask them to give you a Free View of their desktop as well.

D. Add your name to this list of Free Viewers with a link pointing directly to your Desktop Free View post to promote it to succeeding participants.

iRonnie - I Set No Corner

Thess - Thesserie

Rebecca - Skippy Heart

Knoizki - A Dialogue With K

Beng - Kauderwelch- domlawrenceOSB-




Alpha @ my blog


Ruy and Olivia @ A Taste of Married Life

9/26/2007

Sevilla's Bulacan

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When I get requests from family for locally made sweets (usually when we have relatives visiting from the States), there's only one place I go and it's not that far from Manila. Sevilla's in San Miguel Bulacan. Having relatives in Nueva Ecija and Isabela, I've been exposed to Sevilla's sweet treats for as long as I can remember because Sevilla's stores have always been a favorite bus stop over. With the occassional relative who would bring pastillas and macapuno candies from the province back when my developing body's need for everything healthy (it's made from milk!), yummy and edible was insatiable, I would always be left "bitin" with no means of getting more of the scarce milky prize... It drove me crazy.. The difference in freshness and the plumpness of the candies from Sevilla's compared with the others, to me, was pretty obvious and I definitely appreciated good quality food even as a kid.





So needless to say, when I finally grew up to be a big guy with a job that regularly sees me passing practically at the doorstep of Sevilla's, I of course made sure to enjoy that fact. =)




These macapuno balls have always been a staple and much anticipated pasalubong. It's very easy to stuff in backpacks when travelling and easier to hide under the pillow if it's "bawal" for you. LOL.


This white thing is pastillas in thick concentrated form. It's good for making pastillas sandwich or eaten as is. I never imagined pastillas could be enjoyed by the spoonful. It's just crazy...



They also have chicharon with laman (also another bulacan specialty), macaroons, sugar coated sampaloc plus a lot more and I guess as a brilliant way of taking care or "giving back" to their most loyal sweet-toothed customers like myself, they have wisely come up with these bottled goodies.


Pickled ampalaya (bitter melon). Perfect!
Sevilla's is along the main highway going to Nueva Ecija. Taking the Sta. Rita exit from the NLEX, turn right after the toll booth heading towards the direction of Baliwag Bulacan. Keep going straight always taking the main highway. From the the exit it usually takes an hour.

9/23/2007

Moment of Glory

0 comments

Liv and I have just proven that we are truly 80's kids. Check out our test result...

Dekada Otsenta

Makes me want to sing....

Rising up
Back on the street
I took my time, took my chances
Went the distance now I'm back on my feet
Just a man with the will to survive

It's the eye of the tiger
In the heat of the fight
Rising up to the challenge of a rival....

EXPLOSION!

9/22/2007

Re-Visiting Chateau Verde

6 comments







Last Saturday, Liv had the most brilliant idea of having dinner in Chateau Verde. It's been around 6 years since we've last been to the place and nothing seems to have changed! The food was still good, the service great, the tables, the set up, everything... The best part about the seeming suspended animation in that hidden part of U.P. Diliman however were the prices. Haha! Then again it might be because the last time we were there was when we still didn't have jobs. Hay, it just brought back memories... Come to think of it, Liv and I ended a "cool-off" here once (i don't think she still remembers though). I remember it was one evening when we went out to decide our fate as a couple after a week of isolation from one another and serious soul searching for a reason I can't remember. I took her there where it was quiet and secluded. We went in to the Chateau's "hidden" pathway weary and confused and walked out with a glimmer of hope after having agreed to give it another chance. Now after many years we're back as a married couple... =)


An obscure, camouflaged entrance leads to this pathway.



The pathway leads to this door which takes you to the dining area.




For starters we ordered baked oysters and Caesar's Salad. They gave us toasted bread with a basil (and ground almond i think) in olive oil dip which was good because i needed a little padding for my stomach before I ate the oysters. The basil dip was great. They used to serve this basil dip mixed with tomatoes and garlic (I remember because i copied it and managed to impress Liv's mom with my version. A very important thing at the time because I needed to win "son-in-law points").





The oysters were just as i remembered. Succulent and fresh. Cheese stretching and butter dripping slowly as the oyster flesh is detached from its shell. There's nothing distinct in terms of flavor except the fact that everything just harmonizes in my mouth with bursts of fresh oyster juice, buttery sauce and chewy cheese.

The serving size of the Caesar's Salad was bigger than we expected. This of course was a welcome thing considering we were very hungry people that evening. The only thing I didn't like about it is that the lettuce leaves were not fresh and crisp. Some leaves give off a steamed/cooked texture.



I got a fillet mignon to satisfy my craving for meat and shared it with Liv. It was pretty good. Topped with chicken liver (if I remember correctly or some other bird liver) and embraced by bacon around the side like a sinful, illicit love affair of beef and pork. The flavor was okay, the meat could have been more tender although it was tender enough.


Hey, for the price of P270 it's excellent fillet mignon. Excellent.





Manicotti: rolled pasta with cottage cheese, meat filling topped with mozzarella cheese. How could we go wrong with that? Unfortunately, after the masterful intro, counterpoint and solo of the preceding courses, the Manicotti turned out to be a discordant third playing what should be a major chord for the grand finale. Thankfully, it got drowned out by the applause... It just didn't deliver the delight each individual main ingredient suggested. As opposed to the synergistic masterpiece of elements that was the baked oyster dish, the Manicotti left me with the taste of just tomato sauce and the texture of the rolled pasta. I didn't find the flavor nor texture of the beef nor the cottage cheese in my mouth which was funny because they were quite visible to my eyes.

Overall this dining experience was one of the best I've had in a while. Chateau Verde with its unique "secret place" setting and ambiance in laid back U.P Campus offers quite a wide variety of gourmet food for people on a budget. Our dinner cost us around 800 bucks with fresh fruit shakes. Happy.
In life's increasingly speedy pace and at the rate people are trying to change, improve, develop, reconstruct, make u-turn slots, flyovers... Its nice that there are still places which have remained the way they've always been to give us a glimpse of the past which has led us to where we are now. Even providing a point of reference on how much we've changed in terms of expectation, taste, appetite, and even in our lives. It's nice to have a dinner that makes me realize that the good food from the past has gotten better with fond memories of what has been and enjoyed with my wife with whom I share the amazing taste of married life.


9/20/2007

Anniversary Places for 10k

3 comments

10k is definitely more than enough for 2 people to spend on an anniversary. If you are lucky enough to have this much here are some options for you....


1. Seven Suites

  • hotel and observatory in Antipolo
  • owned by the group who owns Cravings.
  • has a restaurant with a wonderful wonderful view overlooking the metropolis.
  • the resto served okay food in the past but i heard that it's better now (under new management or something like that.
  • they have an observatory you can use to gaze at stars (awwww)
  • it's usually empty so you'll really feel like you own the place.
2. Vieux Chalet

  • If you're after isolation.
  • An annex of the Vieux Chalet resto
  • Rico said they offer massages for the people who reserve with them
  • They have a package with meals
  • Vieux Chalet is also in Antipolo

3. I Love Boutique

  • This wonderful and very expensive (IMO) place is the ultimate in luxury
  • serves a mean churros
  • has wonderful toiletries which the men would not understand but the women would love
  • What the men would understand is their plasma tvs...wow

4. 8 Waves

  • This is in Bulacan and would be good if you actually want to do some activities during your anniversary.
  • It comes with a breakfast meal from Pancake House
  • It's something different and would best fit the more active couple

5. Batangas Resorts

6. Any of the hotels in Manila

7. Any of the motels in Manila (i know this sounds sleazy...but hey married couples would benefit from this every once in a while...wahahha)

All of these places cost so much less than 10K!!!

9/17/2007

Homerun Hotdogs -- No Strikes with this Hotdog

10 comments

Okay, Ruy and I appreciate good and gourmet food but we're junkies at heart. Yup, if it's bad for us we certainly like it. =) We found this hotdog stand that sells hotdogs which are sooo bad for us that they're sooo good...HOMERUN HOTDOGS.

While going through their menu my eyes were instantly drawn to their sloppy hotdogs. These beauties are hotdog sandwiches loaded with so much of the bad err good stuff.







My order is called Garlic Cheese. I was actually having a hard time deciding between their triple cheese (cheddar, melted cheese and cream cheese) or their Garlic Cheese. I wanted the Triple Cheese for 2 reasons, 1. I adore cheese and 2. It had cream cheese, i've never had cream cheese with my hotdog before. (this is sounding sleazy). I decided to have the best of both worlds by having the Garlic Cheese with extra cream cheese...woohoo. Garlic Cheese originally has garlic sauce, sweet pickle relish, spicy-sweet ground beef and melted cheese. I chose to have a frankfurter with those topings. Check out the picture of my order below.





Ruy, as usual, opted for the spiciest item on the menu. It's called, Hell's Kitchen. He chose the hungarian sausage and loaded it up with pepper, spicy-sweet ground beef, onions and other ingredients to add that oomph to this item which is not for the weak of heart...err tongue.


What I love about these hotdog sandwiches is the fact that it's substantial. In other hotdog sandwiches the bread is so heavy you become full just by eating it, while the weiner is sooo small it's swallowed up by the bun. Here, the bread is airy enough not to distract you from what you really paid for, the hotdog and the toppings. I was telling Ruy that the bread is just their as a holder. =)

I know eating this is not healthy, hell the owner knows this fact as well (they have an item called heartstopper and it has egg and cream cheese...etc), but if you would eat it once in a while and then eat nothing but one cob of corn for a week...i'm sure you'd be okay. =)

Here's a list of their sloppy dogs:

  • New York Supreme -chili, cheddar cheese, onions, relish, tomatoes
  • Heartstopper Supreme - fried diced egg, whole bacon strips, cheddar cheese, melted cheese
  • Texan BBQ - spicy beef, cooked onions, tomatoes, BBQ sauce
  • Hell's Kitchen - spicy hot beef, fried red and green pepper, onions, dash of Tabasco, garlic mayo sauce
  • Boston Bacon Cheese Melt - wrapped bacon, melted cheese, grated cheese
  • Garlic Cheesesteak - creamy garlic, ground beef, pickled relish, cheddar cheese
  • Triple Cheese Overload - cream cheese, melted cheese, cheddar cheese, bacon bits
  • Guacamole Sloppy Dog - avocado salsa, dash of grated cheese
  • Hawaiian Special - pineapple salsa, dash of grated cheese
  • Homerun Pizza Dog - homemade pizza sauce, grated cheese, spicy beef

If you choose the frankfurter, it would cost you 69 pesos; while hungarian sausages would cost 79 pesos.

Homerun Hotdogs

Foodcourt

2nd Level

Trinoma Mall

9/15/2007

Coney Island Joe's (From New York to Pampanga)

3 comments

Another interesing Pampanga food place I've come across would be Coney Island Joe's.



A hotdog/burger joint with roots stretching all the way from Coney Island New York in the U.S. of A. Coney Island Joe's brings with it an authentic American touch and a family legacy that began sometime in 1932. According to the owner Martin Rosenfeld, he is among the Rosenfeld siblings who have pursued the fastfood heritage left by their father, and while his brothers have maintained their original place in Coney Island and expanded all over the U.S. and even Tel Aviv Israel, Martin Rosenfeld married a Filipina and saw fit to continue the family business in Angeles Pampanga.




I spotted Coney Island Joe's doing a survey for my work when I came across a prominently displayed 3 sided banner which said "EAT AT JOE'S". Checking my watch, I found that it was around lunch time and decided to heed the call.



I left my car around a block away and had to walk a bit as the parking area in front of the store was occupied by a tent which serves as an extention of the restaurant in the evenings. Upon getting closer however, a shadow of doubt crossed my mind when I saw that the establishment the sign was pertaining to had only a tiny, "private" looking entryway which was practically covered with posters and partially blocked by a cellphone reloading booth (i think). Taking a deep breath and two steps back to re-assess my destination and enduring some curious stares from people who probably noticed my confusion, I went in. Thankfully, I was right.


I stepped in and found myself in a small dining area much the size of a tiange stall in Greenhills. It had three tables with one occupied by an open laptop permanently stationed in one corner of the room (I found out later that this was used for a long distance phone call service/rental through VOIP which they offer). A small bar counter divided the dining area from the kitchen.






I immediately took care of business and asked the attendant for the specialties. Later, I ended up chatting with the owner, Martin Rosenfeld who was the self-proclaimed resident shmoozer.




The Grilled Chicken Breast On a Bun was good. The chicken was juicy and tender which is what I look forward to when eating chicken filets (a little more sauce wouldn't hurt though). The P50 price was the best part of it though.






Okay, I would say that this is one of the tastiest buffalo wings I've tasted and according to Martin, it's because they use the original buffalo wings recipe (as learned and passed on by their father).

Coney Island Joe's serves New York's world famous Sabrett hotdogs (which can be served with sauerkraut) as well as authentic White Castle Burgers (2 for P35!) which are shipped to Martin by his brothers. Along with these regular shipments also come a lot of his other cooking ingredients. They also boast of 75 year old original recipes such as the "Grilled Breast Of Chicken On-A-Bun" and Buffalo Wings which I had.






Martin's principle of making their authentic American food available to the average person is quite evident looking at the prices on the menu. He proudly states that Coney Island Joe's is a place where "A family of four can eat at P200". I agree.



Coney Island Joe's definitely provides excellent value for money for adventurers of Angeles Pampanga. And although it isn't the typical place to eat if you're looking to have a "serious" meal, it is a great place for merienda and hanging-out (they serve beer usually paired with their french fries). Not to mention the entertaining conversations provided by Martin.



Coney Island Joe's can be found at Stall 8, Fields Ave. Balibago, Angeles Pampanga with a branch in Mac Arthur Highway across from Angeles University Medical Center emergency room (next to Manson Drug).


















9/10/2007

Bretto's Deli (Ruy's Perspective)

1 comments

I feel like I should continue with more Bretto's details which caught my eye too so I'll go ahead and do just that. =)



My roast beef sandwich - it was big, it had lots of veggies it had a decent cut of meat AND it had horseradish cream which they were nice enough to let me have free reign with! Woohoo! Except the beef could have used more flavor for me as well. Specially if one is to finish caveman-like amounts like the ones they dish out (not that I'm complaining). All in all, the P220 I paid was damn well worth it (notice how Liv's hand turns into a child's holding HALF the roast beef sandwich). And if what we were served is an indication of everything else they serve in Bretto's, I definitely wouldn't mind coming back to Pampanga over and over again.


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Other roast sandwiches on the menu:


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Make your own Subs- Another fun thing for me.=)



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After drooling over most of the food in the menu I wanted to eat too, I decided the food I most regretted not having space in my tummy for (after my roast beef which I wasn't even able to finish) were the meat pies. Yup. They're the ones in the pictures from Liv's entry. I uploaded the page of the menu covering these wonderful looking golden brown, fresh off the oven meat pies as well...

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Bretto's Fine Meat and Deli and Restaurant and Coffee Shop (whew!) can be found at 506 Don Juico Ave. Clarkview Angeles (The street parallel to the main road going to SM Clark).

Pampanga - Bretto's

0 comments

On our way to Pampanga I gave Ruy several criteria as to our food place and on top of my list are:



  1. Restos you can't find in Manila
  2. CLEAN CLEAN CLEAN
I guess that would explain how we ended up in Bretto's. It's a tiny hole in the wall place along Angeles . The place from the outside can be described as non descript at best. It would be too easy to miss this place so make sure that you keep your eyes peeled for that Bretto's sign.



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There was no decent parking space (except for a lot right across the street) so Ruy had to park the car as I scanned the menu.


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Stepping inside the first part of the restaurant is like stepping inside a Santi's store. Practically the same merchandise only a bit cheaper. The best part is you can actually choose from any of their merchandise, have it cooked any way you want and they will serve it to you. We found out about this too late so we weren't able to do this.


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Ruy ordered a roast beef sandwich which was GINORMOUS!!! They were also extremely generous with their sauces which of course made Ruy very very happy. I just had to steal some of Ruy's fries cause they looked so yummy...and they were!

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I ordered one of their crock pot dishes. I ordered this because it reminded me of a certain point in my childhood when my mother was obsessing over her crock pot. The particular dish I had was the swiss steak. What you can see here is half of the HUGE serving. I can't believe this only costs 200++ pesos. I would have wanted more flavor with the beef but it was a good dish nonetheless.


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They said their specialty were their cheesecakes so I decided to give it a try. I wanted the blueberry variety but the waitress refused to serve me the one they had cause she said it's not as fresh as it was supposed to be. That really made me happy because I've been victimized by establishments who continued to sell their spoiled products. I settled for the Cherry Cheesecake instead.

I am a cake snob and for that reason I didn't like this cake at all. It was just too plain and too simple. Nothing special.

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They have these yummy looking pies which I wasn't able to taste because we were sooo full.


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Here's a page from their menu.


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