Category Archives: Food and Restaurants

8Cuts Burger Blends at UP Town Center

There are days when I wish I was back in school at the Ateneo. Back then our choices were very limited – Full House, Kamirori (remember the ice cream crepe??), Abuelo’s, Sweet Inspirations (note to self: go back for tapa and Mongolian BBQ), liempo or porkchop at the Covered Courts. Now Katipunan Avenue is a virtual food hub. Bad for traffic, yes, but the choices are awesome. UP Town Center just opened up in the area just past La Vista and there are a bunch of restaurants worth a try.

8Cuts Burger Blends invited me to try out their menu. What an awesome excuse to trek to one of my favorite areas of the metro and meet up with friends on that side of the world.

8Cuts is run by the same group behind Burger Bar (which I’ve never tried. But I’ve heard lots of good things about it), so I was very excited to try the food.

You can choose a burger from the Tributes specials, or make your own. You can choose the meat blend for your burger according to your taste. They’ve even got a vegan patty. I love sides so we ordered a couple as well.

There are more items on the menu – pasta, chicken, sandwiches, etcetera. There’s something for anyone in case a person or two in your group doesn’t feel like a burger.

So we got the skin-on steak fries, the sweet potato fries and the onion rings.

I am addicted to the onion rings. I need to eat them again soon.

For burgers it was the Four Cheese, the Piggy and the Rising Shroom. Among the three, the Shroom was my favorite.

VG also ordered their Salted Caramel Shake. I had a sip. YUM.

And then there were the desserts. Die. Caramel Vanilla Bread Pudding, Molten Chocolate Bottoms, and the Blueberry Cheesecake. So heavenly!

What I liked about 8Cuts Burger Blends:

  • Relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere.
  • Reasonable prices
  • Great desserts
  • Plenty of options for anyone

Thank you for the invite 8Cuts Burger Blends! I’ll be back with Basti and my family. My little brother will love it there, I am so sure of it. (Well he’s not little, he’s 32. But he’ll always be little to me)

It was nice seeing my makeup girls Val, Abie, VG and Marj.

Thank you 8Cuts for accommodating our looooong lunch and pardon to the college students who found the “titas” so noisy.

Till next time!

Cantonese Food Happiness at Jasmine New World Hotel

If there’s one thing common to all SoMoms events, it’s our obvious love for food. Oh, we love to eat. Some more than others. (Yes, that’s me)

Patty issued out an invitation to the SoMoms with these keywords: dinner, Chinese food, Jasmine, New World Hotel. My answer: Yes, yes, pretty please, yes!

I had missed the first invitation to Jasmine a couple months back, and I was really looking forward to this night out with some of my favorite ladies.

This was our menu:

And these were the dishes for real.


Top: Tropical Fruits, Golden Scallops, Waguy Beef Roll; Deep Fried Fish Fillet, Salted Egg Yolk, Steamed Egg White; Fried Rice, Diced Chicken, Chinese Sausage. Bottom: Four Treasure Soup with Conpoy; XO Prawns, Sotanghon in Claypot; Beef Short Ribs, Black Pepper  Sauce.

These are some of the menu items that make up the Jasmine New World Hotel Fine Cantonese Signature Sets. Headed by Chef Wong Kam On, this is a chance to have an authentic Cantonese dining experience.

Jasmine launched their signature set dishes a while back, and will feature them till August 2013. The set menus are good for a minimum of two people and feature some well-loved Cantonese dishes that are so familiar to us Pinoys, plus a few items here and there that aren’t that common and makes the meal a unique experience. The prices range from PhP750++ to PhP1,450++ per person.

They also have this lunchtime Eat-All-You-Can Dimsum thing for only PhP660.++!!! Oh one of these days I have to try that out. I looooooove dimsum.

Stuffed and happy.

The SoMoms with New World Hotel’s Nini Icban. (Thank you Nini!)

Thank you for having us for dinner Jasmine! It really was such a wonderful evening.

Basti Loves: Made In Candy

In the middle of all the holiday rush last December, we were able to sneak in a visit to Made In Candy at the Powerplant Mall. (Thanks Jackie Go for the introduction!) It was super super interesting that I found myself buying candy for Basti and my nephews, met the owners and scheduled another visit to see how the candy was made.

It was so much fun to watch! We arrived to catch the tail end of a batch of smiley candies. It was so cool to see a huge block of candy being stretched into the thinner strips and cut to size.

I stayed around to watch the process for the monkey candy. We saw how the candy was placed on the preparation block, colored, stretched and kneaded by the candy chefs and pieced together like a puzzle to form the design. You can see it somewhat on the side over there in one picture.

My nephews really enjoyed our little “field trip”.

As for the candy, the kids love it! I was concerned that they loved it too much and were eating it like popcorn. But then Arthur of Made In Candy assured me that the ingredients are all natural – fruit extracts and whatnot – and I could be a little more assured that they’re not eating all junk. I myself liked it a lot, and I’m not a big fan of hard candy. It’s fun to get a bottle of assorted designs and try to guess the flavor from the color. It’s even more fun checking if you’re right, over and over again.

You can buy the candy in small and big bottles, and packs of assorted candy or just one kind.

They make fun-shaped candy and lollies too!

(PR photo)

Made In Candy also takes orders for customized candy – what a fun idea for wedding favors, your birthday, or even a company campaign!

(PR photos)

They have a promo for a batch of customized candy going on at the Made In Candy / Philippines Facebook page! The contest is only till February 7, so go and like their FB page. Perfect for V-day!

Visit Made In Candy at the Powerplant Mall.

New Resto! Madeca at the Podium

I first met Audrey and AJ Dimarucot in birthing class. The kids that were spawned then are Gia and Basti, born two weeks apart, milk sharers (my milk, hehe) and playmates. They are the creative and hip couple behind googoo&gaga, a brand that doesn’t really need any introduction (it being SO AWESOME).

Recently, Audrey and AJ, with some other partners, went into the food business and opened up this Fil-Mex nook at The Podium called Madeca. The name is derived from “Manila De Acapulco.”

Basti and I went after his Hepa-A shot visit for a little mommy-and-son bonding, and to finally get a taste of this food that I’ve been salivating over on Instagram.

The Dimarucot touch was all over Madeca. I love the details – the palette coasters, the throw pillows, the carved wooden block order numbers, the mojito jars with paper straws!

I’m not a super huge fan of Mexican food. I like it enough, but there’s something too smoky about it that I can’t eat very often. #notafoodwriter. I like that Madeca boasts its food as Filipino-Mexican, something that’s more palatable to me. The menu items read like this: Sisig Burrito, Lechon Kawali rice, Dalandan Mojitos. Yum!

Our food for the day: Chips and Salsa, Spinach and Mushroom Quesadillas (Spinach changed to cheese just because), Lechon Kawali Rice, Madeca Special Iced Tea and the Banana Fritters dessert.

Basti really liked the chips. I did too. The salsa has some heat, but Basti could take it.

This is my lechon kawali rice. The Mexican flavor was there but it didn’t overwhelm me.

The quesadillas were soft and the cheese was oozy, the way I liked it. It came with a side of chips and salsa too.

This was really yummy iced tea. Refillable. That’s Audrey in the background.

No picture of the banana fritters because Basti ate it so fast. (Yes, I just blamed it on the kid)

Basti’s date for the afternoon is little Sjofn. Audrey’s little girls went off to Kidzville before we could take a pic!

Thank you Audrey for having me and Paola for a wonderful loooooooong lunch. Till next time at Madeca!

Disclosure: Madeca treated us to the iced tea and fritters. All other items were paid for by me.

More information can be found on their website at





Basti Loves: Fruit and Veggie Juices from Tipco!

Actually, it really should be, “The Painter and Basti Loves” Tipco! My two boys are absolutely obsessed with this juice brand.

I first heard about Tipco from one of my bestest friends in the whole wide world, Carina. She served me a glass of Tipco broccoli juice when we were hanging out one time and I was so surprised that it was so yummy and refreshing! I never forgot it.








Fast forward to my married life, and me trying to insert some healthy goodness into our everyday menus. The Painter loves juice. We actually want to buy a juicer, but the thought of cleaning it everyday scares the beeswax out of me. I bought him a carton of Tipco broccoli juice and the rest, as they say, is history. Our absolute favorite is the broccoli juice, and I like to add variety by buying a couple of other flavors each week.

When Michelle of My Mom Friday asked me if I could come to a luncheon hosted by Tipco, I was saying yes before she stopped talking.

The lunch was at Alex III on Wilson, a great familiar setting for a really comfortable gathering. It was nice to see familiar faces, and meet new ones.

photo courtesy of My Mom Friday

We met and got to know the people behind Tipco Philippines. They’re really nice and funny. It was very easy to get comfortable and have a great afternoon.

photo courtesy of My Mom Friday

From the presentation, I learned more about Tipco that affirmed our obsession with this particular juice brand.

  • It’s the number one juice brand in Thailand. It has no preservatives, no added sugar, no coloring and no flavoring.
  • I love the fact that there’s no added sugar. All the sweetness comes naturally from the fruit in the juice!
  • They have 22 flavors. TWENTY-TWO. When I told Orley this, he said he wanted to try all of them.

Drinking veggie and fruit juice is a great way to pack in important vitamins and nutrients in your diet. And because it’s in liquid form, it’s more easily absorbed. Well for me, it’s just over-all easier because I can get Basti to drink his daily requirement of fruits and vegetables without too much drama. He LOVES Tipco. My issue before was because it’s natural and preservative-free, we could never finish a whole carton between the two of us before it went bad. (The Painter not included – he can finish a carton a day, and that’s controlling himself already) So I’m so happy that they’re coming out with small sizes for toddlers. Basti can finish this size so easily. No waste!

photo courtesy of My Mom Friday

They have a great promo ongoing. If you buy three 1 liter packs of Tipco juice on a single receipt, you get to join their raffle for trips to Boracay, Puerto Princesa, Cagayan de Oro (white-water rafting!!!) and the Grand Prize – Bangkok! The geek that I am, the coolest thing I thought about the raffle is you don’t have to fill in any raffle stubs and drop them off in tambiolos. All you have to do is visit the Tipco Juice Philippines Facebook page, click on the Tripaway 2 Promo box on their profile page and find the mechanics and raffle entry online! How convenient! I’m going to start saving my receipts because this promo runs all the way to September 30, 2012. You guys can still make the first draw on August 10 for the Cagayan de Oro trip! Stock up on Tipco now!!

Thank you to the local distributors of Tipco, Transaxion Unlimited, for inviting us to the lunch and for all this Tipco goodness! The Painter and The Painter’s Son are particularly grateful!


Tales of the Spa Fiend: My Early Mother’s Day at Nurture Spa Village Tagaytay

The spa fiend strikes again – in Nurture Spa Village, Tagaytay! This time with Basti in tow.

We’d prepared for the visit to Nurture Spa Village weeks and weeks ahead. The only way I could tag along this road trip was if Basti could come along with me. At the last minute, my yaya-for-a-day (i.e. my mom’s maid) was suddenly let go. I got an even better deal; my mom came along instead! And because of that, my trip to Nurture Spa became a really special mother’s day treat!

We wanted to relive our high school days when the whole batch would bus it to Tagaytay for our yearly retreat. Hindi naman malayo sa highschool, diba?



Michelle, Martine (thanks for organizing!!), Jen, me, Basti, Neva and my mom!

Nurture Spa Village is no ordinary spa destination. They are distinct in offering “ecotherapy” or healing by and through nature. Their level of quality service is evident in the careful training of their staff and therapists. While they use international brands such as Algotherm and Biodroga, their massage oils and room amenities are especially blended by their partner, Spa Essentials, using only the best materials available. More than just a spa, they also have wellness packages that use natural healing methods. It is also a place that is distinctly Filipino; the staff are dressed in uniforms made out of Ilocano handwoven fabric, the treatments have names such as Aruga, Ginhawa and Maharlikang Lubos.  It’s a really special place, and the world has noticed. They were named as one  of the 28 Most Relaxing Spas in Asia by CNN Go (June 2010), and one of the Top Seven Spas of the Philippines by Asia Spa Magazine (May-June 2010 issue).


There were wonderful touches of inspiration everywhere that lent to the overall experience of Nurture Spa Village.


We were welcomed by a band playing traditional Filipino instruments, and a spot of tarragon tea that helped us shake off the road trip from our heads. At the pavilion is where the socialization happens. I particularly loved the sungka areas. It was my favorite game when I was a kid.

We were shown their organic garden areas where my mom and Martine gamely picked the ingredients for our lunch and snack salads.


I had to take pictures of the buildings because this is exactly how The Painter and I envisioned our future farm resthouse. I totally loved the outdoor facilities where you can have your facial or footspa. I could sit here all day! You can choose to stay in a standard room with names like Pag-Ibig, Payapa and Revive. Nurture Spa is famous for their Ulog accommodations, which are actual huts from Banaue.


Basti enjoyed being there and couldn’t get enough of the greenery and the fresh air. He loved the giant chess set and was only too happy to finish off what remained of our chocolate fondue.


Speaking of food, the meals were YUM. The best items on their menu are the ones that have ingredients that come from the garden. I loved the salad and the yummy dressing, and the Kakaibang Lumpia which I didn’t take a picture of because I ate it all. Just before we left, they let us sample two items from their raw food menu. Even junk-foodie me couldn’t resist these yummy rolls and choco balls. My beef steak, though good, paled in comparison to all the other healthy-yummy-freshness menu items that were enhanced by the whole Nurture Spa environment. I dare you to read their menu and not think yummy thoughts.


I think what I like most about Nurture Spa Village is that while they promote wellness, organic eating and natural healing, they are also accommodating to the ones who still drink Coca-Cola people like me who are not quite ready to embrace the whole lifestyle yet. I was glad to see meat, coffee, soda and sweets on the menu too! (And yes, they have beer!)

It couldn’t have been a more perfect day. Both my mom and I had massages (which were excellent, by the way), ate some great food, and got a chance to take the city-boy-Basti for some fresh air. It was a great day for bonding with my mom and I’m so thankful I also shared it with some very cool girlfriends. I would highly recommend this place for a Mother’s Day treat! Come for the day or stay the night. Either way, you’ll come out healthier and happier than you did coming in.

Thank you Ms. Cathy Turvill for treating us to a wonderful day at Nurture Spa Village!

Read what my spa-mates had to say about our day!

Dainty Mom:
Manila Mommy:
J and the Three Boys:
My Mom Friday:

Previewing The Bayleaf Hotel

My siblings and I are a crazy lot. One of my brothers, Carlo, is a bit loony and a total Star Wars freak. He has a Darth Vader Potatohead.

And oh yeah, he’s an outstanding chef.

After working at The Legend Hotel and at the Pico de Loro Resort, my brother is now taking the helm at The Bayleaf Hotel in Intramuros, Manila. After our Sunday pig-out at our grandma’s house, the whole family decided to pop-in and see what’s going on.

There’s going to be a cafe on the ground floor specializing in churros.

Here’s the lobby, the terrace (spectacular view of Manila!) and the hallway. My sister and I were going for a The Shining-esque effect.

The premier rooms are decorated in four color schemes. Teal is my favorite.

The bathrooms are gorgeous. As Carlos Celdran mentioned in his Facebook status update, they have a budget. Cecile would approve, I think.

They also have a superior suite and twin rooms. All rooms will have WiFi. We couldn’t take a peek at the Presidential Suite because it’s not done yet.

And finally, we went to the Penthouse lounge for refreshments. I had the best iced tea I’ve ever had. I cannot wait to taste my brother’s menu!!

We also took a look at the kitchen. We saw this appetizer display thing-y.

The Bayleaf is also home to the culinary and HRM school of Lyceum. At the back of the hotel is the very nice looking staff canteen, which will also be open to anyone who wants a good, affordable meal. I like the idea. There’s a McDonald’s back there too.

The hotel promises 3-star prices, 4-star amenities and 5-star service. Knowing my brother’s track record, it’s going to be a great place to stay, relax, and most especially, EAT. It opens in September. Bro, you better invite me to the launch. I wanna taste your food!!!


The Week In Treats

The whole week was entirely about indulgence. I’ve been a little cranky and I decided to lift my spirits with some pick-me-ups to alleviate my grumpy self.

First, sustenance.

I ordered milk from the Milk Man.

Two liters of whole milk and a liter of choco milk. Pure, preservative-free goodness. Now I’m not that big of a milk person (being lactose intolerant does that to a person) but I love chocolate milk. I threw in the whole milk because I do love cereal, and The Painter likes to drink milk. This milk changed me. It was creamy, smooth and smelled divine. It turned my frosted flakes into a spiritual experience. Basti likes it too. Today I got another order of chocolate milk, strawberry yoghurt and fresh cheese!

Next, the sweets.

I picked up a whole box of Custaroons and a bag of Gourmet Sugar-Coated Cookies from Gigi Gaerlan’s Custaroons.

I was in the mood for sweet, creamy and heavy and when that’s the calling, Custaroons is the answer. These are really sweet so I can’t eat more than 2. The cookies, however, are sweet, light and chewy. They’re not super sweet that I feel guilty finishing off a couple at a time, and offer Basti a few bites too!

And then yesterday I picked up some french macarons from The Cookie Jar.

I first got a taste of these macarons from Paola Loot and have been craving them ever since. I buckled up a sleeping Basti in the car seat and drove to Quezon City to pick them up. I ate half a box on the way home. I will use traffic as an excuse.

Then finally, the satchel.

I ordered my Frannie & Vinnie satchel a few weeks back and it finally arrived yesterday!

I’m quite happy with it. It’s very well-made, and so so cute! I’m going to keep using it and using it until it gets all beat up. If and when I get my iPad, I think a black 14″ one would be a great carrier.

Did all these treats work? You bet. I’m all cheery (because of the sugar), plump (because of the milk) but stylish (because of the satchel). Har har.

The New Pizza In Town

I  loooooooove pizza. I’m not going to pretend to be a culinary expert because my taste ranges from flaky crusts with prosciutto and mushrooms to the Pinoy pizza with fake ham and sweet sauce that sells around the corner. Of all pizzas, pepperoni and cheese are my ultimate comfort toppings. A close second would be Shakey’s mushroom or garlic and cheese pizza on a thin crust. One bite of that and I go straight into 1983.

Basti and I stayed at my mom’s house the night before our flight to Cebu. While Basti was having his pesang tilapia with rice and pechay,

We had this:

Papa John’s is along Annapolis, before OB Montessori when you’re coming from Edsa. My thoughts:

  • I prefer thin crust, but I found I didn’t mind Papa John’s soft, bread-y crust.
  • Pepperoni and cheese were abundant
  • You can skip the pasta. Both the carbonara and the arrabiata I ordered were forgettable.
  • I liked the pepperoni pizza more than the all-cheese.
  • The Best Part: A butter and garlic dip for your pizza crust ends. Guarantees no crusts left behind!

Daz all. We paid for our pizzas, just saying.