Twist Comfort Food + Difference

Just when you think that the Tomas Morato, Quezon City food scene has been saturated, up comes this new restaurant called Twist which brought eager diners a new feast for the eyes and mouth.

 ImageThe place looks cozy, the food tastes great, and the service is excellent. I’m sure this will be one of the new favorite hang-outs of couples and friends alike.

It’s hidden in the second floor of the building right beside Il Terrazzo. There’s several other restaurants there, too. We have yet to try the others, but we’ve already developed a soft spot for Twist.

ImageTheir trademark placemats has Paris written all over it.

When people ask about the food from Twist, I guess the best description would be fusion comfort food. There’s a mixture of Filipino, Italian, American, and French all over their menu.

ImageThey have the French Onion Soup

Image…and Seafood Caesar Salad

Other appetizers which looked good but we didn’t order were the Chorizo Sliders and the Twist Croque Madame.

Image Hands down our favorite was their 1000 Ways to All-Day Breakfast. It’s served with garlic brown rice and two eggs cooked to your liking, plus your drink of choice – either apple or orange juice, coffee, or tea. Then you could choose three of either USDA Beef Sukiyaki Tapa, Honeycured Porkloin Tocino, Maple Beef Belly Bacon, English Corned Beef, Limepeel Tinapa, Naked Longganiza, or Airdried Seafood Bounty.

We had the bacon, corned beef, and tapa that night. The bacon was crunchy and sweet and oh-so-delicious! The corned beef and tapa were really good too, and despite their HUGE servings, we couldn’t get enough of this.

ImageSee what I mean about the servings being HUGE? Their Herb-Grilled Pork Chops is one of those dishes good for sharing. Although a friend of mine found it a bit hard, we liked it anyway.

ImageAnother crowd favorite is the Artisanal Cheese Macaroni, which everybody finished off happily.

ImageThey gave us generous servings of their Filipino-Style Tulingan, too.

ImageWe couldn’t resist ordering a side of Truffle Fries. We didn’t taste the truffle much; in fact, it was coated heavily in cheese. But it was good nonetheless.

Dessert is not something to be missed here.

ImageThe Tiramisu Chocnut is yummy, but in my opinion the chocnut flavor was overshadowed.

ImageGoat’s Milk Panna Cotta is something I’d like to order again and again. Light and not sweet, it’s a refreshing dessert to cap off any meal.

ImageFeel like a kid again with the Famous Twist Cookies with Goat’s Milk. They have Speculoos, Kimchi Nutella, matcha blanco, honey walnut oats, triple xocolat, and lemon peel cheesecake cookies. It’s served hot with the flavors oozing out of the cookies.

ImageThe Twist Coffee is an Italian blend, with hints of Benguet and barako. It’s a fun sight to see.

ImageImageWe’re so happy to have tried out Twist, and I thank my cousin Sarah for making this recommendation. We’ll be back for more good food!

 

Twist Comfort Food + Difference is located at 2/F Pos Building, Tomas Morato Avenue corner Scout Madriñan Street, Tomas Morato, Quezon City.

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Green Pastures

If you haven’t tried this restaurant out, don’t hesitate. Just try it. You won’t be disappointed.

Since Shangri-la’s East Wing opened its many culinary doors, I’ve heard people rave about the food from Green Pastures, and told myself that a meal there is a must. But Francis and I put it off several times, often being distracted by the other options in the mall.

One Saturday evening, when he asked where I wanted to eat, I just blurted out Green Pastures. I told him to get a table while I contemplated a very important decision inside a store. After 15 minutes of “contemplating,” I found him in the restaurant’s waiting area with several other people, still unable to get a table. We sat there for another 10 minutes salivating over the dishes we saw people eating, and by then our appetites have been thoroughly whetted.

Their menu is printed on plain paper and attached to a clipboard. There are no pictures – just names of the dishes and the description and corresponding prices. We found it difficult to order, but our waiter happily walked us through everything.

For starters, our waiter recommended the Autumn Sunrise salad.

ImageI fell in love with the name and with the salad itself! Francis and I devoured this like salads were running out by the second. The combination of blue cheese, sweet potato chunks, and candied walnuts with the greens worked really well for us. It was light and fresh and the perfect start to what would be an extremely satisfying meal.

ImageTheir Pinoy Egg reminded me so much of Kinder eggs, with a surprise hidden inside every chocolate egg! We loved the surprise that was waiting for us inside this duck egg wrapped in longganisa and served with fresh fern salad.

ImageBeing a HUGE fan of french fries, I had to try out their Duck You! (Pretty brazen name, don’t you think?)

I’ve read from blogs and other articles that they have amazing duck fat fries, but I’m afraid I’m not going to join their bandwagon.

ImageFrancis chose this Al Funghi Pasta, which was good, but not quite good enough (compared to their other dishes), if you know what I mean.

ImageLastly, we had their Blue Ribbon Burger, described in their menu as “grilled freshly ground Kitayama Wagyu shortrib, chuck and brisket with malagos roquefort blue cheese, grilled brioche.”

And it was served with fries too! We ordered way too many fries again.

ImageFrancis fell in love with this juicy baby. He devoured his half of the burger in record time!

ImageWe absolutely LOVED our Green Pastures experience, and we are sure to be back to try out other dishes (and maybe order a few previous ones!).

Organic food? Hell yeah!

 

Green Pastures is located at 4/F Shangri-la Plaza Mall, East Wing, Mandaluyong City.

Telephone: 654-3219

Ramen Daisho

Expectations were high for Ramen Daisho, one of the newest ramen joints in the metro, since a lot of people have been comparing it to Ukokkei Ramen Ron. It even ranked 2nd in a well-loved food blogger’s 10 best ramen places in the metro. Plus, when we got there on a Sunday evening, the restaurant was packed with only two tables left.

DSC_0429They even have this description Ukokkei on their paper place mats.

DSC_0430Their menu was great since it was pretty straight to the point. Both of us ordered their regular-sized Miso Ramen, a half order of Beef Curry, Chahan, and Gyoza.

DSC_0431First to arrive was their Beef Curry, which fell into the not bad category. I have to note that there were  only a few beef pieces in the curry. Maybe it was because it was only a half order, but it really felt like we were only eating curry sauce with the rice, since the beef was practically nonexistent.

DSC_0432The Chahan came next, and this was the highlight of our meal, at least in my opinion. Francis didn’t think it was anything special, but I loved every bite of it anyway.

DSC_0433We ate the Chahan with their Gyoza.

DSC_0434I really liked their Chahan and this picture proves how much I enjoyed every bite!

DSC_0435The Miso Ramen came in last, and we were very eager to dig in immediately. But we noticed sadly just how oily the ramen was! We had to scoop out the oil first before eating.

DSC_0436Proof of oil.

The soup was very reminiscent of Ukokkei Ramen’s, I’ll give them that. But the noodles, the chashu, and everything else paled in comparison.

I wish we had been a bit more adventurous that night and ordered other ramen variants instead of our usual.

 

Ramen Daisho is located at Unit 2, Sunshine Square, Liberty Center, 312 Shaw Blvd. Mandaluyong City.

Telephone: 774-0036

Al Bacio Ristorante Italiano, Angeles City

It feels kind of awkward to eat someplace where there’s no one else eating or hanging out, but Francis and I have found so many gems of restaurants that have this diner-impaired scenarios.

And it’s not because the food isn’t good or the service is lousy. It’s not because the restaurants look like dumps or the prices are unreasonably unreasonable, either. Far from it. You have to wonder why those places aren’t as popular as other restaurants with sub-par food. We can’t understand it ourselves.

I always kid Francis that it seems like we reserved the whole place to ourselves, and I guess that’s how we like to look at it. A more special date for us.

One such special date is in this cozy restaurant in Angeles City – Al Bacio.

ImageThe place was empty, save for us and the waiter.

ImageIt’s actually an ideal date place, don’t you think?

ImageMakes you want to indulge in romantic fantasies! Like you’re in a movie set and the mafia will suddenly barge in and go on a shooting rampage because of your date. He he he! Kidding! 🙂

ImageThe GODFATHER!!! Don’t let that smile fool you! He’s RUTHLESS!!!

Anyway…

ImageAl Bacio has one of the yummiest complimentary breads we’ve ever tasted. Even though we ordered a lot, we can’t help ourselves from eating a piece, then another, then another…

The Caesar Salad was good too! No problem finishing off this starter!

ImageThe delicious complimentary bread was already a prologue to how amazing the pizza will be. And so it was no surprise how this Quattro Formaggi Pizza blew our minds and more!

It was simply incredible! They didn’t scrimp on the cheese and the crust was perfection!

And unlike other pizzas, even after it got cold, it was still delicious. I should know – I was still gobbling this thing up then.

ImageThe Spinach Ravioli cooked in butter and garlic was just okay for us.

ImageWe preferred thieir Homemade Pasta with Prawns in Mushroom Sauce. Creamy and flavorful, and the pasta was cooked so well too!

ImageNaturally, after all that garlic, we needed some of these Sencha Natural Green Tea Mints, bought from one of my favorite online stores, Taste Central!

Check out the Chinese proverb and words of wisdom by Lao Tzu.

 

Al Bacio Ristorante Italiano is located at 442-21st St., Josefa Subd. Malabanias, Angeles City.

Telephone: (63)45 892 0252

Massimo’s Farm

A blessed 2014 to all!!! 🙂

Each one of us bid 2013 goodbye and embraced 2014 in our own way, and I guess for most of us, we celebrated it by sharing good food with family and loved ones. All thoughts of dieting (ha! As if we were ever serious about it anyway!) flew out the window once the holidays came. And even though we’re a couple (or a LOT) of pounds heavier now, it’s all worth it since we got the chance to gain it all with the people we love best.

I’m sure each one of you has a fond food memory created during the holidays. It could be that moment you got your first bite of crispy lechon skin – that CRRRUNCH! Or that moment you went a trip down memory lane as you tasted your Mom’s special dish. Or maybe it’s that unforgettable explosion of chocolate-y goodness when you gobbled up that Rustic Chocolate Torte from Purple Oven. Drooooool. It could be anything!

And as I recall all the good eats we’ve had last year, I can’t help but think fondly of our meal from Massimo’s Farm in Tagaytay.

There are a lot of things I love about that place. The food is really something to write home about, and Chef Hazel Lu-Galvez makes the freshest, best-tasting salads! The chef personalizes every meal, so it’s always something new every time you eat there.

Another thing is that it’s not as congested as the other good restaurants in Tagaytay, so you get to soak in the cool breeze and appreciate nature minus the crowds.

Image

 

The place is cozy and quirky and playful all at the same time!

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We’ve gone there only twice, but I’m pretty sure there will be more visits in the future.

You have to set an appointment when you want to eat there. Chef Hazel will either e-mail or text you the menu she intends for that day. For our recent trip, we had this:

ImageHam and Lentil Soup

I was expecting clear soup, so this creamy broth was a surprise. We both liked it very much.

Image The Salad of Romaine Lettuce with House Vinaigrette has got to be my favorite dish here. It doesn’t look like much, but you will appreciate how the greens were seasoned evenly so each bite tastes just right. The flavors will not overwhelm or underwhelm you. I love that she added more texture by adding the seeds and nuts too. And the bread with hummus on the side was yummy too!

I’m no salad eater like Francis, who gobbles greens like there’s no tomorrow, but Chef Hazel’s salads makes me want to eat nothing but!

ImageWe both chose the US Slow Roasted Angus Beef Belly over her Mediterranean Cod with Rice Pilaf, never mind that we just had steak the night before. The serving was quite generous, and the meat was so soft that chewing was almost unnecessary! Though it was good, I wish I had opted for the fish, just for variety’s sake.

ImageThe meal capped off with Brownie ala Mode, a dessert so simple and assuming but oh-so-delicious! Massimo’s Farm’s gelatos are very light and flavorful.

ImageThey were sweet enough to share fresh mulberries from their garden too!

If you’re curious about our previous menu, here it is:

ImageWe started with Spinach Soup, which whet our appetites for…

ImageThe BEST Caesar Salad I’ve ever had. It didn’t even matter that she had to remove the bacon bits then because we gave up meat during the Holy Week. This salad was perfection itself!

ImagePesce alle Milanese, a fish recipe from Milan which is highlighted by its crispy coating. Chef Hazel studied in Paris and France for quite some time, so her dishes are very evident of her culinary background.

ImageWe also had gelato back then! With carrot cake.

After an extremely satisfying meal, you could take a walk around her garden. Kids would definitely love running around the area, and there’s even a trampoline for them to play with!

 

Massimo’s Farm is located at J. Toledo Street, 4118 Silang, Cavite.

Text Chef Hazel for reservations at: 0917-5208887 or 0927-8475034.

 

Bulalo Republik

As I write this down, the country is being ravaged by Super Typhoon Yolanda, dubbed as the world’s most powerful typhoon. I am praying that everybody will be safe and spared from her wrath.

Yolanda brings back memories of storms which hit our country earlier this year. It was mid-June, and I was still very dedicated in attending my Bikram Yoga classes. Attempting yoga in a very heated room is particularly enjoyable when it’s raining hard outside. The BYM studio in Quezon City has floor-length windows and you could gaze upon the lighted streets of Timog and Tomas Morato.

As soon as class started, it started raining really hard. It only took that whole class or 90 minutes for the flood to quickly rise. I was stuck in the studio since nobody dared braved the floods to pick me up.

Nobody, that is, but Francis a.k.a. my knight in shining armor. Never mind the rain! Never mind the traffic and the floods! I just have to sit tight and wait because he will pick me up.

It took him over an hour to reach the studio. He was tired and fed up from the traffic, while I was just plain hungry.

My knight in shining armor wasn’t going to take me home all starving, so he gallantly took me to Bulalo Republik in Roces. The place was small and has no air conditioning, but given the weather, it was great to dine al fresco.

My 90-minute workout (and probably even more!) went out the drain with that one meal, but it was totally worth it.

ImageTheir Family-Sized Bulalo was absolutely delicious. It was served steaming hot and so perfect for the weather! They weren’t stingy with the ingredients either, and this made for one very satisfying soup!

ImageTheir Sizzling Pork Sisig is another delight. It was crunchy and flavorful; it was a shame I had to share this dish with my knight in shining armor, otherwise I could have happily finished it off myself!

ImageFrancis being Francis just had to order some vegetables, and that night he decided on their Laing, which was a yummy coconut dream.

Naturally, we each had a single serving of rice, which was very bitin! We never had the chance to go back, but hopefully our next meal here would be soon. I would like to give their Sinigang na Bulalo a try!

 

Bulalo Republik is located at 97 Don Alejandro Roces Street, 1103 Quezon City.

Telephone: (02) 5859348

Spätzle Euro Market Cafe

Shangri-La Plaza Mall’s East Wing is the new “eat” place to be, with several hot new restaurants dominating the scene. But it seems like every time we go there, we end up eating at Maple. Not that I’m complaining, though. I love Maple. But one particular evening, before watching Captain Phillips, we decided to try out Spätzle Euro Market Cafe.

We decided it would be a quick, light dinner. It was half past 5 p.m. when we got there, and Spätzle was already half full. It looked both rustic and modern at the same time, with wooden tables and some matching wooden chairs, some black-and-white deco chairs. The restaurant is brightly lit and looked like a well-stocked pantry.

They have provided each table with their very own hand sanitizer, which was very thoughtful of them. But no matter how clean my hands were for the meal, it didn’t help that there were wood flies?? or whatever those tiny flying things are called everywhere! Spätzle tried to shoo them away and provided our table with candles. But they just didn’t leave us alone! Those darned flies were the only downside to our meal.

ImageFrancis and I ordered the New Potato and Mushroom Chowder Soup for starters. It wasn’t served hot, but the soup is a refreshing take on chowder.

ImageWhen I saw this, the first thing that crossed my mind was John Keats’ “A thing of beauty is a joy forever.” And isn’t their Monte Blanc Tarte Flambe just one of the most beautiful things ever??

Another question: How can you make people love a certain dish more? By adding potato chips to it, that’s how!

Our waitress said that this item isn’t on their menu yet, but I sure hope they add it soon. This potato chips masterpiece has a very thin, crunchy crust, topped generously with cheese, mushroom, spinach, sausages, and bacon bits. You can’t go wrong here – it’s my favorite from Spätzle! Francis won’t admit it, but he loved this too, since he ate more than half of his share!

ImageThese Artisanal Sausages are also something new, and not in their menu yet.

According to our waitress, Spätzle’s sausage platter features a curry sausage, Italian sausage, and the Thuringer (did I get this right?) served with a side of fries. For its sauce, they gave us mustard and horseradish.

The sausage platter was just okay for us. I liked the traditional Italian sausage the best; I guess the other sausages were too complicated for my liking. But if you want something to fill up your tummy and fast, go for the sausages.

ImageThe Homemade Italian Meatballs Roesti gave me another John Keats moment. I’m really a sucker for potatoes, particularly the fried kind!

The roesti is a national Swiss dish, and I think it best to describe it as a fried potato pancake. They eat it for breakfast, but I think it’s good any time of the day!

Spätzle’s version is fun to eat. It’s crunchy and goes well with the sour cream drizzle and gravy on the side. If I were to eat this at home, I would drown it in sour cream and gravy. Or I would eat it with a McDonald’s cheeseburger or as a side to pumpkin and tomato soup.

Aside from meatballs, you could order your roesti with sausages, chicken and fresh mushrooms, or just have the plain roesti with sour cream and lemon. I forgot how the meatballs tasted like. I was too enamored with the roesti.

I’ve heard mixed reviews about Spätzle, and I’m glad our experience here was a positive one. Next time we eat here, we’ll be sure to order something different. With the exception of the Monte Blanc Tarte Flambe, of course.

 

Spätzle Euro Market Cafe is located at the 5/F East Wing, Shangri-La Plaza Mall, EDSA corner Shaw Blvd., Wack Wack, Mandaluyong City.