casual dining,

Ramen Cool (Kapitolyo)

4:00:00 AM Phantasm Darkstar 1 Comment(s)

I always pass by Ramen Cool whenever I am in Kapitolyo since it is located at an intersection close to where I work, but I never tried it before. After a random weekday morning workout at Ace Water Spa, I decided to look for a restaurant which was just walking-distance away from Ace and I ended up trying out Ramen Cool. 

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american,

Papa John's Pizza (SM Megamall)

5:09:00 AM Phantasm Darkstar 0 Comment(s)

Had a meeting with EMT batchmates and decided to have late lunch at SM Megamall. We were looking for a restaurant with a good deal for a group meal and came to stumble upon Papa John's Big Time Holiday Feast promo. We decided to give it a try since when it comes to pizza, Papa John's is one of the places I love to dine. 

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buns,

Tuan Tuan Chinese Brasserie

1:40:00 AM Phantasm Darkstar 0 Comment(s)

My mom was craving for congee one weekday afternoon when we went shopping at SM Megamall. We tried to search for restaurants in the mall which serves congee and we ended up trying out Tuan Tuan. 

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casual dining,

Linguini Fini

11:59:00 PM Phantasm Darkstar 0 Comment(s)

I had some pasta craving recently when I was shopping at SM Megamall. On the lookout for something new, I decided to check on my Zomato app for an Italian restaurant with a good rating and that is suited for my budget. I ended up trying out Linguini Fini with my mom.

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casual dining,

Locavore

8:06:00 AM Phantasm Darkstar 0 Comment(s)

It was due to a hype and total curiosity that we decided to dine at Locavore on Sunday noon after church. I had some expectations and I felt enthusiastic about eating here because I have seen Locavore on television as well as on my Instagram feed most of the time. Unfortunately, my experience was disappointing.

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american,

Charlie's Grind and Grill (Greenhills)

8:51:00 AM Phantasm Darkstar 0 Comment(s)

It was after a tiring prenuptial photo shoot with our client at Ronac Art Center that we decided to have a late lunch at Charlie's Grind and Grill.

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beanleaf,

Beanleaf (Sampaloc)

7:28:00 AM Phantasm Darkstar 0 Comment(s)

After my master's class my best friend invited me to have a small talk and chill at Beanleaf which was just across the street. It was my first time to try this place since I always head straight home after school.

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C' Italian Dining,

C' Italian Dining: Cruising Going Places Manila Bulletin x Zomato

4:02:00 AM Phantasm Darkstar 0 Comment(s)

Cruising Magazine is celebrating their sixteenth anniversary and they partnered up with Zomato which brings us, Taste #TravelForFood. As Filipinos who celebrate our special milestones in life by eating, they came up with a concept of eating at sixteen (16) different restaurants each week, trying out different cuisines, and making you feel like you have traveled the world through different dishes but without leaving the Metro. 

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burger,

Tambayan 101

3:32:00 AM Phantasm Darkstar 2 Comment(s)

Have you ever had that long break between subjects in your college life and one of your common problems is what to do or where to stay while passing the time? Going home to have a long nap during your break isn't an option because it's far from your school and you wouldn't want to spend most of your time in traffic? Well, if you happened to be near Taft, we just discovered this new chill spot near De La Salle-College of St. Benilde which is perfect for those long breaks.

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#bloggys2015,

Bloggys 2015 - I'm Nominated!

10:11:00 AM Phantasm Darkstar 0 Comment(s)

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beef,

Sultan Mediterranean Grill

2:15:00 AM Phantasm Darkstar 6 Comment(s)

Weekend get-together with co-foodies has brought us to try out a Mediterranean restaurant in Salcedo. 

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casual dining,

Hokkaido Ramen Santouka (Eastwood)

8:43:00 AM Phantasm Darkstar 0 Comment(s)



When it comes to ramen, Hokkaido Ramen Santouka has been my place to be. One Saturday night after my masters class, my sisters and I decided to have a quick dinner at their Eastwood branch. 

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casual dining,

Nori Sushi Burrito x Yakitori

9:51:00 AM Phantasm Darkstar 0 Comment(s)


I always pass by Nori whenever I am in Kapitolyo but from the outside, I always thought that it was a Japanese restaurant about to open real soon. I only found out that they are already functioning through my boss who decided that we dine there for lunch (he knows I'm a blogger. Lol). 

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bgc,

L!FE (LIFE) Yoga Center

9:35:00 AM Phantasm Darkstar 0 Comment(s)


Last weekend, I was convinced by my sisters (who do yoga) to try it out for the first time. Aside from them, I also have friends who do yoga as their workout but it never crossed my mind that I would try it someday since my workout preference is more on Muay Thai and swimming. In spite of having doubts in my head, I decided to give it a try since I always find it nice to try something new. 

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cafe,

A New Kind of Delicious

2:29:00 AM Phantasm Darkstar 0 Comment(s)


Last week, I received a promotional email from Starbucks, sending me an early access to two of their new beverages, the Duo Cocoa Mocha and Dark Caramel Latte (when you pay with your Starbucks card), from September 12-14, 2015.

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american,

Rue Bourbon (Salcedo)

3:42:00 AM Phantasm Darkstar 0 Comment(s)


Working in Manila could be very stressful especially due to the traffic problem that we have been experiencing lately. It's about time that we unwind with our friends and pass the time at a good bar on a weekend. Last week, we decided to try Rue Bourbon (Salcedo Branch). 

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beef,

Feta Mediterranean

9:20:00 AM Phantasm Darkstar 3 Comment(s)


I have tried Mediterranean dishes a couple of times and met some people who love it; but I haven't been well aware of their dishes. Dining at Feta with other foodies has given me not only a good eat but also a learning experience. 

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beef,

Shawarma Bros (BGC Stopover)

11:11:00 PM Phantasm Darkstar 0 Comment(s)


It's not my first time to dine at Shawarma Bros since their concept resto at C. Raymundo, Pasig is just near my place. I used to dine there whenever I would crave for lamb meat (they also serve beef and chicken). Started as a food truck, Shawarma Bros just opened their Flagship Restaurant at the BGC Stopover and we just can't miss this.

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beef,

Gloria Maris Greenhills (Dim Sum)

1:16:00 AM Phantasm Darkstar 0 Comment(s)


My family are very fond of Chinese dishes and as a celebration for my parents' 23rd anniversary, we decided to dine at Gloria Maris Greenhills.

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finger food,

Kue Kacang Siput (Snail Nut Cake)

12:33:00 AM Phantasm Darkstar 0 Comment(s)


In celebration of the Eid al-Fitr, majority of our Indonesian classmates went back to their hometown. When they came back, they brought home this delicacy from Indonesia as a "pasalubong" (souvenir) to us Filipinos.

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bar,

FHM Bro Con After Party at House Manila

10:26:00 PM Phantasm Darkstar 0 Comment(s)


Last July 11, 2015 the FHM BroCon and 100 Sexiest Victory Party was held at the SMX Convention Center. The BroCon kinda like your usual convention events, only this time you get to meet the FHM girls. We skipped the convention and the yearly FHM fashion show and headed on to House Manila where the after party is being held.

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ayala,

Hokkaido Ramen Santouka (Glorietta)

10:18:00 PM Phantasm Darkstar 0 Comment(s)


The rainy season has come, and what comes best during rainy days is a bowl of ramen. My craving for ramen has brought me to Hokkaido Ramen Santouka in Glorietta which was recommended by a friend who is also a foodie.

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casual dining,

Green Pastures

1:50:00 PM Phantasm Darkstar 1 Comment(s)



Looking for organic? How about wanting to try organic? Good organic food restaurants are hard to find nowadays and there are only few of them in Manila (compared to the number of high-in-fat fast-food chains and high-calorie restaurants.. eeeek!). I've got good news! Green Pastures is just in Ortigas (they also have a branch in Eastwood, Libis, Quezon City).

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antipolo,

Fuze Resto Lounge

11:51:00 PM Phantasm Darkstar 0 Comment(s)


Shabu shabu has been a craze for Manila foodies and we have recently discovered a good resto-lounge in Antipolo. Along Soliven Avenue in Masinag, comes Fuze Resto-Lounge. For those who  also love to go on a food trip at Lilac Street in Marikina, Fuze is near to that place and you just can't miss this!

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american,

California Pizza Kitchen Pizza Wars Grand Finals (Philippines)

4:56:00 AM Phantasm Darkstar 3 Comment(s)



Pizza has been my favorite food ever since I was in grade school; and I have also been fond of watching cooking shows and cook-offs. This week, I got invited to the grand finals of the first-ever Pizza Wars in the Philippines (and also the first Pizza Wars done outside the United States!) and I have never been more excited to attend such an event. I used to just watch these things on television, but this time, I had the chance to be part of the main event and experience it first hand.


California Pizza Kitchen opened their first restaurant in Beverly Hills in 1985. Former federal prosecutors Rick Rosenfield and Larry Flax combined their passion for food with fresh high-quality ingredients to create innovative, hearth-baked pizzas such as The Original BBQ Chicken, Thai Chicken and Jamaican Jerk Chicken, cooked in an open kitchen. The restaurant gave California a place in the pizza pantheon alongside Chicago and New York. Their California twist on global flavors resonated with guests, and almost immediately, CPK became a bustling spot for business and family gatherings.

Global Restaurant Concepts Inc., a Filipino-owned company, brought the world famous brand in the Philippines. In 1998, the first CPK restaurant outside the United States opened its doors in Glorietta 3, Ayala Center, Makati City.


California Pizza Kitchen in the Philippines has begun another adventure—the Pizza Wars. Being the first location outside the United States, managed by Global Restaurant Concepts Inc., it seems well-timed that they are also the first international franchise to carry out the pizza chef competition.

CPK has been recognized as a casual dining restaurant offering interesting food selections and classic dishes brought to a whole new level. Well-known for their hearth-baked gourmet and artisan pizzas and seeing the set off of the first ever pizza challenge, really warrant them to be the pizza authority.

"The pizza chef competition inspired our cooks to be more passionate with their craft and be beyond imaginative at once. They were up for the challenge and the opportunity to be acknowledged alongside their innovation," said Archie Rodriguez, President & CEO of GRCI.

The competition started off with a store level elimination wherein the cooks presented their original creations to their team and some regular guests. Each store selected one representative for the semi-finals. From the ten entries, top 3 chefs & original recipes were chosen to move to the finals. 

And now, to share you what happened during the finals...


Held at The Bonifacio Global City branch of CPK Philippines, the place is all set for the main event. With VIPs, bloggers, and guests invited, the place is a full house. 


Ms. Luisa Del Rosario (Sr. Operations Director, Global Restaurant Concepts Inc.) welcomes the guests and gives us a brief information about the main event. It was also mentioned that if we are able to vote for the winning pizza, we would take home that pizza as well.  


Introducing our finalists: Romel Panaligan from CPK Alabang; Lea Castillones from CPK Eastwood; and John Chloe Oplejeda from CPK TriNoma.


Our finalists, creating their ultimate hand-tossed pizza.


It's fun to watch them help each other out with their pizzas in spite of the competition.


I'm pretty excited to taste those pizzas...


Spinach Artichoke Dip for our appetizer.



Wonderful view on our table with the three pizzas for us to taste.

Presenting the entries:


Steak Mushroom + Truffle Pizza by Chef Leah Castillones. Truffle sauce, mozarella, fresh mozarella, wild mushrooms, topped with grilled steak and scallions. I find this pizza indulging and the combination of truffles, steak, and mushrooms are just perfect.


Farmer's Choice by Chef Romel Panaligan. Roasted squash base with cinnamon,  topped with mozarella, fresh mozarella, grilled eggplant and zucchini, red onions, cherry tomatoes and desiccated coconut. The taste of the cinnamon is not distinct, just enough to give the pizza a good aroma and to neutralize the taste of the squash. It's the first time I had a squash-based pizza with eggplant as one of its toppings. The ingredients complemented each other well and the taste is great, which also made me vote for this.


The Elvis Pizza by Chef John Chloe Oplejeda. Inspired by the King of Rock & Roll’s favorite sandwich, comes a dessert pizza. Peanut sauce base, mozzarella, crispy bacon, and banana topped with candied walnuts and peanut butter gelato. The combination of the ingredients are good as well as the taste, although I think I would prefer this better as a crepe and not as a hand-tossed pizza. I find the presentation very creative as well.


Mr. Archie Rodriguez (GRCI President and CEO) and Ms. Luisa Del Rosario (GRCI Sr. Operations Director), having a good conversation with the guests and conducting a survey on our preferred pizza.


Selfie with a co-blogger. :)


Judging time. Chef Leah was the first one to go. She enumerates the ingredients and demonstrates how her Steak Mushroom + Truffle pizza is made. 
Her inspiration: Family and Children. She explains that most kids these days do not prefer vegetables and this inspired her to create this pizza (with the help of her CPK Eastwood team) which suits the taste of all ages and is also healthy.


The judges (L-R): Celebrity Chef Mr. Rolando Laudico, Mr. Griffith Go (CFO of GRCI), Mr. Archie Rodriguez (GRCI President and CEO). The chefs are judged according to their creativity, execution, taste, appearance and marketability of their creation.
Their comments: Because of the truffles, the pizza is expensive to make, which would also be expensive on the menu.

 

Next up! Chef Romel. 
His inspiration: His province and their garden in their backyard. Coming from Iloilo (province), he creates his Farmer's Choice pizza to help our local farmers by using their harvests as the main ingredients. 


Apparently, our judges were speechless for a moment. 
Their comments: The pizza is aromatic and it brings back memories. The pizza could make a lot of vegetarians happy; and according to Chef Laudico, "not in my wildest dreams that I thought of using pumpkin puree as a pizza base." Such creativity.


Last but definitely not the least, Chef Ople.
His inspiration: None other than the King of Rock and Roll, Mr. Elvis Presley's favorite sandwich, the peanut butter sandwich with banana and bacon.


Judges' comments: It's very creative and there is a temperature contrast with the pizza which makes it unique. There is saltiness and sweetness but they recommend the pizza to have less bacon since the cheese is also salty.


As the judges rate the chefs, we had another snack from CPK, the Brocolli Sun-Dried Tomato Fusilli. Tastes good! :)


Finally, the moment that we have been waiting for. 


The judges explain that it has been a close fight; and the winner is... 


Chef Romel Panaligan of CPK Alabang!
Candid moment, looking very happy as he receives the award.


Chef Romel gives his speech with Chef Laudico beside him, also looking very happy for Chef Romel's victory.

Fun Fact: Chef Romel has been with his CPK family for 15 years already. He started out as a dishwasher and a utility man. Something that Chef Laudico could relate to, since he also started his career as a dishwasher.


Chef Romel Panaligan with the Judges.


Mr. Daniel Wilson (International Franchise Brand Ambassador), Ms. Luisa Del Rosario (Sr. Operations Director, GRCI), Mr. Archie Rodriguez (GRCI President & CEO), Chef Romel Panaligan (1st CPK Philippines Pizza Wars Grand Winner), Chef Rolando Laudico (Celebrity Chef), Mr. Griffith Go (GRCI CFO)


Congratulations, Chef Romel Panaligan!


Of course, I wouldn't miss having a picture with the grand winner. Such a humble person.


As well as with one of my idols, The Rocker chef, Chef Lau. ^_^


Finally, because I voted right, I'm going home with a box of the winning pizza. Yay! :)


Interested to dine at CPK Philippines? Here is their website for more information.


Click to add a blog post for California Pizza Kitchen on Zomato

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