hotel,

Marriott Hotel (Pampanga)

12:22:00 PM Phantasm Darkstar 4 Comment(s)

Clark Marriott Hotel has just opened this September 2018 and we were invited for an overnight staycation in this luxurious haven. 

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casual dining,

Ruben (Pampanga)

9:56:00 AM Phantasm Darkstar 0 Comment(s)

During The KTG's weekend staycation in Pampanga at the Best Western Bendix Hotel, we dined at Ruben for dinner and brunch and our experience with their dishes and cocktails was amazing.

Ruben is a cafe, restaurant, and bar located at the ground floor of Best Western Bendix Hotel in San Fernando, Pampanga. It is inspired by its namesake, Ruben Patawaran and his endless love for travel, food, and good company.
Upon entering Ruben, while it is festive and ornate, you still experience a warm homey feeling. You would easily want to bring friends and family with you so you may share this unique Ruben experience.
Ruben aims to deliver the best specialty coffee and cocktail experience through quality and fresh ingredients. It is your comfy nook from morning 'til noon--read a book, hold a meeting or have a boozy brunch with your friends. At night, they turn work hours into happy hours with signature dishes and cocktails from around the world that will have you saying, "Salut!" for the rest of the night. 
Here are the dishes that we tried (I already combined the dishes that we had for brunch and dinner):
Soup
Creamy Spanish-Style Garlic Soup. Creamy and garlicky soup broth. It's so good but there is something about this dish that makes it mysterious. It tastes like it has shrimp broth in it. 

Salads
Arugula and French Cheese Salad. Arugula leaves with French cream cheese, cherry tomatoes drizzled with pesto dressing. I don't usually put salads as part of my top picks/favorites for a resto; this one is an exemption. It's really good. The pesto dressing is underneath. Don't forget to mix it well. 
Doña Dita Salad. Prosciutto, French cream cheese and grilled chicken tossed with seasonal greens and cherry tomatoes with a citrus vinaigrette dressing. Doña Dita's favorite. I love prosciutto. I like the mix of flavors and textures in this salad as well as the citrus vinaigrette. It's a good balance.

 Starters
The Best Nachos in Town. Nachos with cheese, beef chunks, salsa, jalapeños, and garlic cream sauce. Topped with melted mozzarella. 
Fried Spanish Sardines. Spanish sardines breaded and deep fried to a golden crisp. This is one innovative dish, I would say. Breaded sardines. Cool! 
Mojito-Style Ceviche. Fresh tuna chunks with lime juice, cilantro, and mint. Mixed in a shaker, tableside. It's like a margarita ceviche. Nice. 
Calamares. Light and crispy squid with 2 dips: garlic cream and marinara. 

Paella
Seafood Paella. Paella topped with shrimps, mussels, squid, and clams. This paella is overflowing with seafood. Yum!

Specials
Ruben 6-Hour Beef Caldereta. A Ruben signature dish. Ruben's take on the caldereta with 6-hour braised beef ribs, red wine, and tomatoes. Tender beef and rich in flavor. 
Sizzling Crispy Pork Belly Adobo. Slow roasted pork belly with Ruben's adobo sauce, deep-fried potatoes with garlic and tomato confit. Topped with salted egg. Their version of adobo is good. The pork belly is tender and the salted egg also complements the adobo well.  
Lechon Pork Belly with Truffle Lechon Sauce. Roasted crispy pork belly with a special truffle lechon sauce. This one is really crispy. Also classy because of the truffle lechon sauce. It's amazing!
Sizzling Corned Beef Sinigang. A twist on a Filipino classic. A deconstructed sinigang dish with corned beef brisket and gravy garlic confit. The first time that I tried sizzling sinigang was at Locavore. The dish itself is good but the idea of calling it sinigang makes me look for the sour taste that isn't garlicky. 
Salmon Fillet with Beurre Blanc. Pan-seared salmon fillet with creamy butter sauce on top of mashed potatoes, spinach and French beans. I love the texture of this one. I'm not a fan of cooked salmon but this one got me. It's tender and buttery--like it melts in your mouth. It's good.

Wraps and Sandwiches
Ruben Cheeseburger. An all-beef burger with lettuce, tomato, cheddar and crisp shoestring potatoes in a buttery brioche bun. Served with French fries. Sating and good. 
Cuban Sandwich. The Classic Cuban Sandwich. A freshly pressed baguette stuffed with roasted pork, forest ham, mustard, pickles and oozing cheese. Served with tostones. I love this one. Tastes good. 

Pasta
Mac and 6-Cheese. Includes mozzarella, cheddar, gouda, edam, parmesan, and white cheese.
Aligue Pasta. 100% Aligue cooked in coconut milk, cilantro, and lime topped with half a river prawn. This is my favorite pick among the pastas served. Careful though, you might have an increased blood pressure.
Creamy Chicken and Chorizo Pasta. Grilled chicken breasts and chorizo in a cream sauce. 
Signature Caldereta Pasta. Ruben's beef caldereta served pasta-style.

Signature Cocktails
For Mikko's Girl: Bourbon whiskey, ginger, basil, lemon, honey, red wine. Joe Malone: Gin, lemon, Violette syrup, egg white, soda water. Ode to Ruben: Scotch whiskey, coffee-infused vermouth, orange bitters, sugar. Dixie Dust: White rum, coconut rum, lime, pineapple syrup, pandan. I had the Dixie Dust and it tastes great. You can call it "traydor" because I barely noticed the alcohol in it. The drink looks like it has pixie dust--glittery. The pearls also burst in your mouth. Kinda cool.

Coffee. We had this for breakfast. You can have either iced or hot. Both tastes great. 


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bbq,

Yoshimeatsu

7:35:00 AM Phantasm Darkstar 0 Comment(s)

Went on a lunch date with my foodie bestfriends at this newly-opened restaurant in Tomas Morato and it exceeded my expectations for a Korean barbecue.

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angeles,

25 Seeds and Cafe Fleur (Pampanga)

4:56:00 AM Phantasm Darkstar 0 Comment(s)

The Pampanga weekend vacation of The KTG (we stayed at Best Western Bendix Hotel) has led us to have a feast in Chef Sau del Rosario's 25 Seeds restaurant where he launched his new "samsaman" package on his menu. Afterward, we had more dessert and coffee in Cafe Fleur.  

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AirAsia,

AirAsia Red Hot Seat Sale is Back!

1:19:00 AM Phantasm Darkstar 0 Comment(s)

Promo fares from as low as P16* are up for grabs now!

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hotel,

Best Western Bendix Hotel (Pampanga)

4:55:00 AM Phantasm Darkstar 0 Comment(s)

This month The Kain Tulog Gang (KTG) went on a road trip to the Philippine's Culinary Capital, Pampanga, for a weekend indulgence of the manyaman food in Pampanga. We stayed in this hotel during our short getaway from Manila.

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bgc,

FOO'D Introduces New Items on the Menu

8:57:00 AM Phantasm Darkstar 0 Comment(s)

Glad to be back at FOO'D! This time, for a looloo app rendezvoos, to try out their new menu.

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AirAsia

AirAsia Launches #ToIDwithLove Relief Fund for Indonesia

3:14:00 AM Phantasm Darkstar 0 Comment(s)

SEPANG, 12 October 2018 - AirAsia today launched a relief fund to provide support for Palu, which was struck by an earthquake and tsunami on 28 September 2018.

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alcohol,

Feed Your Passion: Gayuma

1:22:00 AM Phantasm Darkstar 0 Comment(s)

We have been invited to the soft opening of Gayuma in Poblacion. It was a night of fun and learning as we had tarot reading sessions, enjoyed good food, and we even learned a simple spell. 

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casual dining,

Tittos Dos Años: Tittos Latin BBQ & Brew Turns Two

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

Tittos has recently celebrated their second anniversary and along with it are new dishes on the menu. 

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AirAsia,

AirAsia is Keeping Fares Low, No Fuel Surcharge on All Domestic and International Flights

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

MANILA, 2 OCTOBER 2018 – AirAsia, the World’s Best Low Cost Airline, announced today it will not add fuel surcharge on domestic or international fares, staying true to its commitment to provide unparalleled low fares.

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american,

An Afternoon Delight with J Cuppacakes

8:49:00 AM Phantasm Darkstar 1 Comment(s)

We were recently invited to a private foodie meetup at J. Cuppacakes (www.jcuppacakes.com). Together with other food and lifestyle bloggers, we had a baking workshop where we learned how to make the perfect cupcake and decorate it like a pro. 

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alcohol,

NIU by Vikings Opens at The Podium

10:27:00 AM Phantasm Darkstar 0 Comment(s)

NIU by Vikings has finally opened at The Podium! We were invited to try out their most recent branch and it was an evolved buffet dining experience.

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buffet,

Hotel Benilde Maison De Lasalle

5:07:00 AM Phantasm Darkstar 0 Comment(s)

Amidst our busy schedule, we managed to have a short staycation at Hotel Benilde (www.hotelbenilde.com) through an invitation. It was just the perfect time for us to unwind in after a chaotic week.

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Discovery Primea,

Celebrate World Paella Day at Restaurant Tapenade (Discovery Primea)

10:33:00 AM Phantasm Darkstar 0 Comment(s)

Discovery Primea celebrates World Paella Day in honor of the iconic rice-based dish, a delicious representation of Spanish culture and cuisine.
September 2018 – Known for its extensive menu of flavorful Mediterranean fare, Restaurant Tapenade at Discovery Primea celebrates Spanish culture and traditions with a 4-day feast beginning on September 20, showcasing the noteworthy flavors of this iconic specialty dish.

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alcohol,

Cocina Peruvia

8:47:00 AM Phantasm Darkstar 0 Comment(s)

It's my first time to try out Cocina Peruvia at the new Podium Mall during a foodie meetup and I was really impressed by their Peruvian dishes. 

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casual dining,

Shi Lin

6:43:00 AM Phantasm Darkstar 0 Comment(s)

Shi Lin has always been my go-to place whenever I'm at The Podium and craving for dim sum. Recently, I have been invited for a looloo rendezvoos at their branch in the new Podium mall. Even before, it was #AlwaysDelicious. 

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alabang

A Hotpot of Culture: Six US Foodie Hubs at Festival Mall

12:26:00 AM Phantasm Darkstar 0 Comment(s)


Ever recall that table full of glistening, golden breakfast goodies in one of those American shows you watched on TV or online? Pancakes stacked a mile high or steaming eggs and bacon smiling up from a plate? Or maybe you’ve come by an episode where the protagonist is gorging down on an authentic slow-cooked beef burrito, or a crunchy taco shell where juicy pork, onions, tomatoes and jalapenos are tumbling free.

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asian,

Best of Boracay: Manila Pop-Ups

12:37:00 AM Phantasm Darkstar 0 Comment(s)

This recent holiday, The Kain Tulog Gang had our lunch get-together at Hole in the Wall in Makati and we tried out four Manila Pop-Up restaurants from Boracay. Best of Boracay Manila Pop-Ups bring you Boracay's best restaurants. This is in line with Boracay's closure--the restaurant owners brought their staff here to help them out as well as the crowd's favorite dishes from the island. The pop-ups are extending their stay at Hole in the Wall until September 30, 2018.

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