Tim Hortons in Manila

Because I’ve tasted the original Tim Hortons coffee during my short visit to Vancouver almost a decade ago, of course I got curious whether the one established in Manila tastes the same. I’ve been wanting to go since they opened shop last year, but the branches were out of our way. And my heart skipped a beat when we saw they opened one near MOA, yay! Finally, tried it last Friday and I wasn’t disappointed.

I actually got an overload because they were offering their signature brewed coffee for free (just because the branch recently opened) for every order. And since we already have iced coffee for our combo orders, we were Tim Hortoned till the next day, which was mighty fine with them. Love their coffee as it already has cream and sweetener. Just got their cheese panini and the hubby got the Italiano bagel, which was a lot of work if you ask me, but he seemed to have enjoyed it. We also shared a chocolate dip donut. Next time I’m having the biscuit and bagel with cream cheese.

Katsuyasu Restaurant

Yesterday, the folks celebrated their 46th wedding anniversary. Wow! We hope to reach that far, too.

The husband and I went home early to take them out to dinner. There’s a relatively new place in town about five minutes away from home that we have been dying to check out. It’s a Japanese restaurant called Katsuyasu, and if you know us, we’re major Japanese food fans. Last New Year’s Eve, when we brought a maki platter at a different restaurant, the owner kind of, without naming names, badmouthed nearby Japanese restaurants by saying that the new ones are only copying hers, and hers is the only authentic one around. So that piqued our curiosity even more.

So what better time to try it out than this anniversary celebration?

Since it was a weekday, the place was practically deserted. When we arrived, there was only one other table filled. I liked the modern feel of the whole place–it was airy and bright. I hope they can sustain this in the long run. Also, the staff were very courteous and nice despite very ugly reviews earlier on. Good job that the management decided to do something about this. The comments were kinda glaring, and if I had read those before we came, might not have tried it at all.

It was like ramen since we all had ramen except for mama who had yakisoba. And because ramen runs through my blood and is in the top 5 things-I’m-glad-were-invented, I am elated that the kids are beginning to like it as much too! Yay! Aside from ramen, we had our regular favorite salmon sashimi, kani salad and California roll. Price was great, too, because the servings were larger than usual.

Ushering 2018

New beginnings and new chances at life are given to us again as we stepped onto a new year. Always praying and hoping that things would be better, brighter and more bountiful than ever. We greet the new year with a renewed sense of purpose. I am just plain happy and content that we are all together.

And my masterpiece for this year hehehe

Because I received a cheese board over Christmas.

And had an impromptu get together with one branch of our family. Great reason for the great-grandchildren of Mamay Asio and Nanay Angge to bond over food and toys.

Rainbow Dreams Cafe

We had lunch on Christmas Day at Rainbow Dreams Cafe along the stretch of Maginhawa Street in Quezon, which is famous for being littered with rows of concept restaurants and specialty establishments. I came upon a post a couple of months before, and decided to delight Mischa with its cute concept of unicorns/my little ponies (up to now, it is still not clear what they are. lol).

Also ran into one of our colleagues who was spending Christmas there alone. Poor guy haha (seriously though, he doesn’t mind).

From the get-go, it was clear that the employees there were not happy to be on duty on Christmas day. Their Facebook page said the cafe was open at 12:00 noon, and it was half an hour past when we got there, and they weren’t ready yet. And their patrons could use some smile, but nada. There was also another family there, and just like us waited for them to get their acts together. It really seemed like they were dragging their feet. I would have thought that they would have some Christmas spirits left in them but it looks like they left these at home Oh well.

General review of food–zilch. Presentation was all they could boast of. But they were even serving it sloppy. Some of their plastic glasses had some cracks in them that water was spilling on the table. It took me at least three calls to their server to mop it up to no avail. We just decided to move on to the next empty table so they would deal with the mess later. I didn’t want to make a fuss so as not to spoil the day. So we just lapped up the tasteless dishes and took photos for posterity and that’s it.

Nachos

BBQ chops

Honey garlic wings

Crispy fish fillet

Chicken with sriracha

Carbonara

Rainbow smores

Milkshakes

Dagupena

Because I try as much as possible to try things, especially food and restaurants, whenever I am in a new place, We searched and asked around for the best dining experience in Dagupan City. Our cursory review of the Net and referrals led us to Dagupena, one of the oldest and well-known in the city. We got quite a laugh when we realized that Dagupena is not really in Dagupan, but located in the neighboring town of Calasiao. We thought we got a little ripped off by the tricycle fare, but I would like to think that the needs of the family of the tricycle driver is much greater than mine so there you go.

And because Dagupan City is Bangus (milkfish) city, we just had to have bangus! While I don’t normally like bangus because, number 1, it has more bones or tinik than you can imagine. You spend almost all of your time removing them than actually eating, and by the time you’re done, you might have already lost your appetite. Number 2, sometimes it kinda tastes like mud. But the bangus I had here was yummy, juicy, and more importantly, boneless! Haha. Seriously though, it had a sweet, savory tang to it that made me enjoyed it. We paired the sizzling fish with the national food in the Philippines, which is sinigang. The two were a perfect blend in the mouth. We capped it off with dessert (I had sansrival ice cream).

Despite it being a weekday when we came, the restaurant was full, and the service seemed slow. It seemed to me that the crowd was a mix of well-off locals and tourists like us. The lighting could also be improved, as well as the ambiance in general. But the place is still being patronized, maybe because of its long history in the business, and its reputation precedes it. It really could do more but the food really wasn’t so bad.

Red Platter

I and some colleagues, during a recent trip to Naga City, dined at the Red Platter. It was recommended by our hotel’s staff as one of the best places to eat in the city. Looking at its interior, with the way it was built, it seemed to me like it was formerly an ancestral house, which was turned into a restaurant. I like entrepreneurs who do this to maximize idle real properties. It even had weathered Machuca tiles that enhanced the 20th century look of the place. The dining different areas looked like they were formerly sitting areas or family rooms. The restaurant is perfect for family style meals or intimate conversations.

And because we were in Bicol, we just had to try the sili-infused meals. Unfortunately, there was no Bicol Express Pasta that day, and that was the one I was looking forward to. Bummer! And my favorite crispy pata is a little letdown. But! This might be because I have already searched far and wide for the best ones, and this version might be good enough for some.

Laing cordon bleu

Crispy pata

Salted egg fried chicken

Sinigang na salmon belly

They also have a bakeshop showcasing cakes and a whole lot of pastries, specializing in pili, a local product of the Bicol region.

Coffee Table

One quiet afternoon in Naga City, I took my girls out for meryenda. We ventured into a place called Coffee Table in the lifestyle center of the city. It was nice haunt for meetings and quiet conversations. Located in the same building as a hotel, it fairly attracts students, professionals and anyone in the neighborhood looking for a place to unwind.

I was actually gunning for their specialty Bicol Express Pasta, but too bad that it was not available. So I settled for the seafood pasta and the super hot sili affogato. I almost didn’t make it the next day. lol. It was soooo spicy! I must have drunk 2 gallons of water in one sitting.

Sili Affogato

Matcha green tea

Seafood Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes

Tuna pasta

Cookies and cream crepe