Clark Marriott Hotel

December 03, 2018 Phantasm Darkstar 2 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)

December 03, 2018 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):
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. 

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.

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. 

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

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. 

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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