Monday, April 30, 2012

Tres ♥ ♥


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Published on Manila Bulletin Sunday Lifestyle Section on April 29, 2012


The Way Real Food Should Taste Like


If not for my visiting Vancouver-based Uncle R, we wouldn't even have braved the traffic and traveled all the way to SM North.

Then we wouldn't have known about this gem of a restaurant. 

Tres Filipino and Spanish Cuisine.

“The way real food should taste like,” its menu cover states proudly.


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So why Tres?

Tres because all dishes served in the restaurant are the labor of love of 3 master chefs whose combined experience exceeds… wait for it… 60 years! (That’s 20 x 3, by the way) 

Tres because you get 3 choices for sinigang, 3 choices for kare-kare, 3 choices for vegetables, 3 choices for merienda… you get the drift.

And Tres because all prices end with the number 3. (VAT inclusive, yes!)


I leave the ordering to the rest of the group, who dine at this place so often they’ve memorized the menu like the back of their hands. I swear they ordered almost everything on offer. My heart is so happy it does little cartwheels.


We start off with some Ampalaya Ensalada and my oh my, what a surprise! The very thinly sliced bitter gourd is not bitter at all. Tossed with strips of fresh red onion in a 
super refreshing sweet, vinegary dressing, and then topped generously with crispy dried baby shrimps, this salad does wonders 
to whet my appetite (not that it needs any more whetting), but you know what I mean… WOW.


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Ampalaya Ensalada



There’s a bite to the Beef Salpicao but it's all good. Really tasty and garlicky I can lick its image on my 
computer screen and finish a bowl of hot steaming rice. The Gambas Al Ajillo is another garlicky thing. I find the shrimps a bit mushy tonight but that’s just me. The dish is wiped out in just a few secs.


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Beef Salpicao 



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Gambas Al Ajillo



I am told that the Pancit Lomi is a recipe handed down from generation to generation in the restaurant proprietress’s family. In our home, lomi is always brown and thick, but here at Tres, they do it differently. The egg noodles are swimming in a large bowl of yellow liquid together with fish balls, shrimps and vegetables. I like that it doubles as soup, and a hearty one at that.


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Pancit Lomi



Not everyone is in love with the hito fish. I know that for a fact because I am not. But when fried to a crisp and dipped into a creamy coconuty sauce, it evolves into something special. The Crispy Ginataang Hito with kamote chips should be proclaimed our local Filipino Fish & Chips.


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Crispy Ginataang Hito



All layers of pig belly fried to a crunch… that’s the lechon kawali part of one of Tres’ bestselling dishes, the Dinuguang Lechon Kawali. I love that the 
pork blood stew is served on the side, this way you can drizzle it shyly over the meat 
or pour heavily if you love the yummy brown gunk. How much I love it? My plate looks like an aftermath of Ondoy.


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Dinuguang Lechon Kawali 



The Lamb Adobo meat is a bit tough, but its gamey flavor mixed with the garlicky-coconuty adobo sauce is so tasty it possesses the power to make you forgive.

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Lamb Adobo 



I’m glad our group ordered the Crispy Kare-Kare, a new take on the original version full of tender and gelatinous beefy things. This one uses beef kalitiran deep fried to a chocolate brown, served with neatly arranged veggies 
and an awesomeness sauce made from peanut and toasted rice flour. Delicious.


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Crispy Kare-Kare



Of course, we still get our tender and gelatinous beefy things in the form of Callos, a flavorful and hearty stew of ox tripe and ox face in rich and sticky, pimiento-sweetened and paprika-spiced tomato sauce.


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I’m sure no one at our table wanted to eat any more meat, but because of an ongoing promo, that sinful 33-peso plate of Crispy Pata is just too hard to resist!


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Crispy Pata 



Finally, we have something healthy to balance out the indulgent meal – vegetables! My favorite kind is any kind cooked in coconut cream. And Tres’ Gising-Gising is a beautiful balance of sweet, creamy, crunchy and spicy. Hands down my favorite dish of the night.


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It’s amazing how the people at Tres think of the littlest details to make eating experience special for diners. Like the Kalkag Rice. When other restaurants serve plain old garlic rice, Tres serves garlic rice covered in kalkag, crispy dried baby shrimps so tasty they take the garlic rice experience to an all new level.


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Kalkag Rice



And the Banane Turon’s got ube in it and is served with a super fragrant warm langka dipping sauce. I inhale the whole thing and smile blissfully.


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Banana Ube Turon with Langka Sauce



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My young eat mates :)



Tres is located at SM City North Edsa, 2/F Annex Building, Quezon City, Philippines. You may call 352-7030 for reservations. Check out their facebook page Tres Cuisine for specials and promos.


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Queens Crystal Garden Restaurant ♥


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The menu is longer than a KTV song list. 

Queens serves EVERYTHING, from classic Indian dishes to pizza to tempura to nasi goreng to Szechuan mock duck!

Good thing the birthday girl Frances ordered ahead for the party.

If I had to do it, I'd end up ordering everything… and eating everything.


She sticks to the Indian basics.


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Dhal Curry



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Butter Chicken



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Palak Paneer



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Rogan Josh



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Mixed Grill Platter



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Kulfi for dessert


 I still love Kashmir the best.


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Happy Birthday, Frannie!
(I know this is many years late :P) 


Queens Crystal Garden Restaurant: 146-B Jupiter Street, Bel Air, Makati City. Tel: +632 895 1316

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Australia Dairy Company 澳洲牛奶公司 ♥


Look what we had to go through to get some breakfast this morning.






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And more lines



When you are face to face with this milk product display, be happy, you know it's almost your turn.


Australia dairy

Kowloon Dairy Fresh Milk and Egg White Steamed Milk



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Turnover's quite fast, you'll be seated in no time. Just be warned that it's a bit chaotic inside.
Waiters are not very pleasant, but they are fast and efficient.



If you go before noon, you can avail of the Breakfast Set, eat slowly, and order again the Tea Set when the clock strikes 12.

(That's what we did.)


Breakfast Set:

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Buttered toast with scrambled egg 炒蛋吐司


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Ham Macaroni Soup 火腿通粉



Tea Set:


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Buttered Toast with ham and scrambled egg 火腿炒蛋吐司


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Chasiu Macaroni Soup 叉燒意粉



Honestly, aside from the eggs which are really fluffy and eggy, everything else is blah.

I don't understand what all the fuss is about.


I'm just happy both sets come with my favorite Hong Kong drink:



Cantonese style milk tea 奶茶. I take it hot and with no sugar.



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Of course, we cannot leave without trying the specialty - Egg White Steamed Milk 馳名蛋白燉奶.
It is alright, I like Yi Shun's sans egg white version better.



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Good morning and afternoon, Hong Kong!



Australia Dairy Company 澳洲牛奶公司: G/F, 47-49 Parkes Street, Jordan, Kowloon, Hong Kong. 佐敦白加士街47-49號地下. Tel: +852 2730 1356


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Zi Ma Lu Dao Dessert House 芝麻綠豆甜品屋 ♥


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It is 1:50am and we drag our butts from Elisa's cozy white couch to this busy little dessert joint called Zi Ma Lu Dao (in English, Sesame Green Bean).

Thank you Jesus for eating places that stay open until 2am.



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Kevin, Victor, Me and Elisa
(And too many celebrity photos on the walls around us)



We come here because of this:

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Their sesame dessert won some Gold Award back in 2005.
They make sure everyone knows by posting a copy of this on EVERY table.



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Sesame Egg White Steamed Milk 芝麻蛋白燉鮮奶
There are instructions on how to eat it, too.
1. Do not mix
2. Eat the steamed milk first
3. Then eat the black sesame
4. Mix and enjoy the combined flavors



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Here's my Step # 4 photo
It's just okay, nothing to rave about. Next time I'll stay in Elisa's couch.



We order other things, too:

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Mango Pomelo Sago Soup 楊枝金露



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I forgot what this one's called (it's 2:08am forgodsakes!)


Zi Ma Lu Dao Dessert House 芝麻綠豆甜品屋: 16B Man Tai Street, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong

紅磡民泰街16號B地下. Tel: +852 2330 7978

Honeymoon Dessert 滿記甜品 ♥ ♥ ♥


The best thing about summer?

Cold, sweet, creamy soups!

In Manila, we have halo halo.

In Hong Kong, there's Honeymoon Dessert.


My favorite things to order:


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Durian and Grass Jelly in Vanilla Sauce 榴槤白雪涼粉



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Grass Jelly in Vanilla Sauce with Green Tea Ice Cream 雪山白雪涼粉



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Mango Pomelo Sago 楊枝甘露



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Mango Pomelo Sago with Green Tea Ice Cream 雪山楊枝甘露



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Mango and Grass Jelly in Vanilla Sauce 芒果白雪涼粉



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Red Bean Soup with Grass Jelly and Vanilla Ice Cream 雪山紅豆涼粉



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Mango Pancake 芒果班戟



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Chocolate Glutinous Dumpling 巧克力糯米糍



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Durian Glutinous Dumpling 榴槤糯米糍



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Sweet Ball in Almond Soup 湯丸配杏仁茶



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Baked Mashed Taro Sago Pudding 焗荔茸西米布甸



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Elisa, Sherylou and Me
Guess who ate the most? ;)



Honeymoon Dessert 滿記甜品: Many locations across Hong Kong. See all branches here.



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