Scout’s Honor cookie shop at Hole in the Wall Makati

Lunch today was spent at the Alphaland Place in Makati and then off to Century Mall for the much-ballyhooed Hole in the Wall food court on the 4th level. What can I say, it’s the fanciest of its kind I’ve seen. The place is impressive, reminds one of the dining hall at Westfield Centre in Sydney. It even looks like a country club from this angle…

Hole in the Wall

We came to have dessert and it was perfect that Scout’s Honor Craft Cookie Shop by Chef Miko Aspiras (of Magnum cafe fame) was the first outlet to greet us at the door.I’ve been avoiding sweets (but definitely not the kids) and a lot of people have been raving about this shop so it’s a must-go!

Scout's Honor

Scout Honor’s make-your-own cookie concept is a winner! How can you go wrong with the formula of choose your own cookie dough, add 3 toppings and we serve it to you in 8 minutes? Believe me, these hot-off-the-oven cookies (P120 per order) tasted as good as they looked!

Scout's Honor

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Mendokoro Ramenba

I’ve written before about how I loved my first slurp at Ramen Yushoken in Alabang so a visit to their just-opened sister outlet in Makati City was in order. Same owners, different name & location. The new place is called Mendokoro Ramenba (or Mindoro Ramen Bar as a joking friend would say).

Mendokoro is located in one of the lesser known streets in Salcedo Village which is near the Saturday market. We lined up for 30 minutes because the place wasn’t open yet when we arrived.

Line

Prepare to queue because the place only has 21 seats.

mendokoro

My daughter had the basic shio (salt) ramen at P360. I would recommend this for first-timers and ramen virgins out there. It’s a safe choice.

Mendokoro

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Bacolod chicken inasal paella using Samsung Smart Oven

Everyday am loving my Samsung Smart Oven (and if you haven’t joined my giveaway, please do so now). Yesterday, I tried to deconstruct a version of chicken inasal which is one of my favorite dishes from the City of Smiles. Unfortunately, I only go to Bacolod once in a blue moon. Thankfully, there’s the Samsung oven to the rescue whenever I crave for this treat. No live charcoal involved but just as good.

After marinating the chicken in garlic, native vinegar, lemongrass, achuete oil and other ingredients, I placed the bits in a heatproof dish, turned on the oven’s Grill function and set it to 45 minutes. Voila! I loved the golden color when it came out. The meat was so juicy and tender too.

Chicken inasal paella

I paired the chicken with this inasal paella which also obtained its color from the achuete oil. And you can say that the rice can be the main event itself because it is deliciously flavored by the chicken broth. Perfect for a chill-out holiday alternating between watching movies and the millions on TV gathered around the Pope :)

Life is good. Chicken inasal and inasal paella recipes after the jump:

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Red Ginger 24-hour resto at City of Dreams Manila

Last night found me at City of Dreams again. Bless this place for being a short drive near me :)

It was time to see more of the spots that I wasn’t able to check out the last time. It was dinner time and we were hungry.

The Café at Hyatt City of Dreams Manila had magnificent decor. It was eye-catching all throughout, but the lighting was too dark for what you would expect of a vibrant hotel buffet. As a result, we really couldn’t appreciate all the sumptuous food laid out. If this was a mobile phone, it’s on energy saving mode, LOL

Hyatt cafe

It was even darker in Nobu Hotel and restaurant. From the staff uniforms to the overall ambiance, the whole place smacked of being ‘intentionally black.’ As a result , we decided to have Shiso Tea in the brightest area of Nobu which were the outdoor cabanas.

Nobu cabanas

With martinis priced at P475 and appetizers at P900++, Nobu was kinda out of reach for people like us who have just wasted their Xmas bonus during the long vacay, haha But I was really glad to find out that there’s a place in City of Dreams that’s delightful to the palate as it is to the wallet.

Drum roll: Red Ginger. My new favorite restaurant ;)

Red Ginger

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Samsung Smart Oven giveaway! #annalyn10years

The Samsung Smart Oven is heaven-sent. It is a boon to busy moms who want to have an automated kitchen helper that’s efficient enough to save effort and time. With its yoghurt-making and Slim Fry features, it can very well aid one’s resolution to be healthy in 2015!

All right, I have this trusty Smart Oven at home and have done a few dishes with it. Because this is also a microwave oven, we’re always reheating daily extraordinary food like this liempo (pork belly) rolled & tied into an adobo :)

adobo

The baked chicken with marble potatoes & lots of garlic from last Christmas…

Baked chicken

Am also looking forward to making empanada, quesadilla, quiche and other great stuff in the Samsung Smart Oven, if only there’s more time (oh well, maybe during the long holiday)

But all these constraints is not preventing us from giving one Samsung Smart Oven (retail price: about P14,000) to a lucky reader!

BeFunky

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Hanamaruken ramen at The Grove by Rockwell

I always pass by The Grove Rockwell on my way to Eastwood. From the outside, it looks so quiet and cozy. Finally, one Sunday I managed to drive by and step inside. Who knew that this place has the most beautiful Starbucks layout in the city? You have to see it to admire it :)

Grove Rockwell

But I did not stop by to have coffee or munch on chicken wings at Sunrise Buckets. Somehow I was craving for ramen and finding Hanamaruken was perfect. I was curious to try this ramen joint since it was listed by a Japanese expert as one of the Top 10 ramen restos in Manila (other brands like Ippudo have been added since).

As expected, this Hanamaruken branch had Japanese-inspired interiors, but I swear I don’t know what the inscriptions on the wall mean…

Hanamaruken

I ordered the Signature Happiness Ramen which is the house specialty and the most expensive bowl at P480. The big chunk of pork (the house calls it pork bone rib) was what caught my attention. It looked so massive and I knew that I wouldn’t be able to finish it :)

Hanamaruken

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Kanto Freestyle Breakfast … finally!!!

I’ve always been curious about Kanto Freestyle Breakfast. They serve stuff that the snooty, glitzy-patooty food blogs don’t write about, LOL. Think about blueberry pancakes, eggs benedict and croque monsieur served at dirt-cheap prices. Meaning….below one hundred pesos!

Fortunately, I was in Eastwood City a few days ago. Their branch at the Intrepid Plaza in C5-Libis is right before the entrance to Eastwood. I was happy as bee because finally, I was going to try something that my friends have been recommending to me for a long time (one of those instances where I fell behind in foodspotting, hehe).

The place was so nondescript you wouldn’t even notice it if you don’t look too closely. The view from where I sat: “Love My Six Pack So Much I Cover It With a Layer of Fat” :)

Kanto Eastwood

Everything that my daughters and I ordered cost P99, though the most expensive items on the menu were P115. Kanto’s appeal is how they inject the gourmet touch to the dishes, even while being affordably-priced.

The open-faced longganisa sandwich had lots of onions and generous drizzles of pesto and cheese sauce.

Longanisa sandwich

The three stacks of Goya Chocnut Ganache Pancakes were a treat, mostly because of the finger-lickin’ toppings. Couldn’t have enough of this. A must-order when you’re in Kanto.

pancake at Kanto

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Kick up your holiday dishes with California cheese

A few days before Christmas, we received this fantastic gift from the California Milk Advisory Board. It was in the form of a variety of cheeses and grapes coming all the way from California!

California cheese

Thanks to the wonders of free trade, these high-quality stuff are now available in the Philippines. They are now being carried by leading supermarkets like Robinsons and S&R. There’s something special about California cheese because they come from ‘happy cows.’ Hah!

According to Ms. Reji Retugal-Onal, country representative of the CMAB, “The climate of California and the specialized care given by farmers to their cows allow their milk to attain its premium quality. Milk that meets California standards is said to contain more protein, calcium and other nutrients than the federal standards.”

Anyway, cheese comes from milk and I was surprised that they even make Mykonos Feta Cheese in Kalipornya!This is what I did for our post-Christmas lunch today: some pasta cooked in the cast iron skillet with Scampi, baby spinach, Italian parsley, lemon juice, then deglazed with white wine and topped off with cubed feta. If this looks delish…. it is :)

Pasta with feta

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Mechado recipe using fresh tomatoes!

Mechado, a Filipino-style beef stew, is another one of those dishes that’s good to prepare during the holidays or bring to the potluck.

Guess what? This dish was actually the star of our humble family pre-Christmas dinner tonight. I loved that the mechado is good to pair with both rice and bread, like a French baguette. Reason being the sauce was very savory. What sets this mechado apart is that it only used fresh tomatoes crushed by hand, and not the commercial tomato sauce variety.To balance the acidity, a little ‘panutsa’ was added. Note: panutsa is a lump of sugar shaped like a disk usually found in the local wet markets.

Mechado by annalyn

Using fresh tomatoes is part of an heirloom recipe, or how families cooked mechado in the olden days when commercial sauces weren’t yet available. I got this recipe from The Maya Kitchen when the Reyes women of the famous Aristocrat restaurant did a cooking demo in the middle part of this year. The adobo queen Nancy Reyes-Lumen demonstrated Mechado ni Lola Asiang which is how Aristocrat matriarch Asiang Reyes prepared her mechado. This remains the restaurant’s well-loved bestseller up to now.

How to prepare the mechado –

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9 peso tempura at SumoSam on Dec. 23!

If you love Japanese food, mark Tuesday, December 23 on your calendar because this is the time when SumoSam celebrates its ninth year anniversary and offers Ebi Tempura at a price busting P9 or nine pesos per order!

9th anniv 3 updated

The caveat is that the promo will run only from 4pm to 6pm on Dec. 23 in SumoSam branches. Not only that, participating branches will have one winner who will get a one year supply of ebi tempura for free! Just make sure you fill up an info sheet with your name, address and contact details to participate in the raffle. Winners will be able to claim their free ebi tempura every week from January 1 to December 30, 2015….how neat is that? :)

The second promo happens at the EDSA Shang-ri La Mall branch. SumoSam will be on the lookout for diners who share the same birth date (December 23, 2005) and are also named Sam. Nine winners will be picked and they only have to show a copy of their NSO birth certificate to qualify for one year free ebi tempura.

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