Friday, September 28, 2012

S&R Pizza and Clam Chowder

S&R is a famous grocery in the metro which is usually known for their local and imported products sold by bulk. Personally, this is one of my favorite supermarkets because here, I can find imported chocolates and toiletries that are not available in the local stores.

Aside from their well-known grocery image, S&R also sells snacks exclusive for S&R members. My favorite is their Pizza Garlic Shrimp (2 big slices -99 pesos) and Clam Chowder (65 pesos).

Who's game for a gastronomic overload? Pizza and Clam Chowder ready to serve!
The  Pizza Garlic Shrimp pizza has ample amount of toppings. It is cheesy but not super. Also, the pizza sauce is well-balanced with sour, sweet, and salty flavors. It has a thick crust which will really make you full. 99 pesos is definitely worth it especially if you are hungry.

S&R's Clam Chowder is indeed one of the best in town. It is fully loaded with clams and potato so one order can serve as a dinner for a health-buff person It is not super creamy so you will not be tired of its taste right away. This is my "must-order" item in S&R paired with a glass of bottomless drink (usually Coke Zero/Light).

So what are you waiting for? Hurry to the nearest S&R now!


Cheers,
Captain Food

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Hungry Pac's Cheesecake

Hungry Pac is a famous cake store in Ayala Malls (Alabang Town Center, Trinoma, Glorietta, etc). They are famous for their simple yet super moist and chocolatey Chocolate Cake. Lately, they are also selling the classic New York Cheesecake!


First bite and I fell in love. It is not like the normal cheesecake which has the texture like its just out of the refrigerator. Instead it has a mamon like softness but is super fine like cream cheese. I assume this is the type that is being baked because of its consistency. As for the taste, it has the right balance of sweetness and cheese flavors, which melts in your mouth. 

Reasonably priced at 65 pesos, this treat can surely capture your heart and taste buds. Try it now!

Cheers,
Captain Food

Monday, September 17, 2012

Alba - Spanish Restaurant in the Heart of Makati

One of our colleagues in work, recently celebrated his 5th year work anniversary. Fortunately, we got invited in the celebratory lunch. In the spirit of fine dining and courage to try something new, we all decided to try Alba, a Spanish restaurant in Polaris Street Bel-Air, Makati.

First step in the place makes me feel like I am in a classy home of a Spanish general. the interiors are  delicately furnished plus, the place is soothing because of the background feel-good music.  If you dine here, wearing a dress will indeed make you feel like a princess.

Elegant furnishings and paintings
A basket of bread is being given to customers as a welcome snack.  Is it good? Yes- it is freshly baked. Actually, because of its goodness, I even requested for a refill.

free bread that is super fresh and yummy!
We ordered several dishes from appetizers up to main course, as follows:


Croquetas de Pollo ( Croquettes of chicken served with Aioli sauce. ), 170 pesos

creamy mashed potato, chicken and cheese inside
For those who are not familiar, Croquette is a breaded snack composed of mashed potato and meat inside. Alba's version has a creamy taste so i assume that they mixed cheese or cream with it. Overall, this is a perfect appetizer. Crunchy on the outside but mushy on the inside.


Champignon Al Ajillo (Button Mushrooms in Olive oil, garlic, and chili pepper), 150 pesos

Chunky and tasty mushrooms for health buffs out there!
I'm not a fan of mushrooms because of their distinct taste that is left in the tongue. Upon having a bite of this dish, that perception was changed. Because of the light and blended mix of the spices used in the mushrooms, all you can taste is the meat-like flavor, and the soft and chewy texture of the mushrooms.


Calamares Al Aji Oli (Grilled Squid with Olive Oil and Garlic), 190 pesos

Fresh squids
Just grilled squid with a slightly creamy sauce. Nothing special with the taste. The consistency of the squid meat is fine though since it was rightly cooked and not rubbery.


Tortilla de Gambas ( Shrimp omelet), 290 pesos

Can you see those fresh and spiced shrimps? Yummy!
You might think that this is just like a normal omelet- but No. The egg seems to be flavored with several "secret" spices, which made it delicious. A plus factor is that the shrimp toppings are big, fresh, and tasty! But if you are tired with eggs every morning, just try ordering something different.


Mahi Mahi Frescas (marinated fresh mahi-mahi fillet in olive oil, white wine, vinegar, and garlic), 180 pesos.

Simple and healthy mahi-mahi dish
The dish sounds super healthy right? Imagine having fish marinated in a healthy blend of olive oil and vinegar. As for the taste, it is ok, but not really impressive. The taste can be similar to a normal fish marinated in vinegar. The good thing with this though is that you cannot trace the tangy flavor of fish due to the added spices.


Ostras a la Rockefeller (6 pcs.baked New Zealand oysters on the half shell, pinach, and cream cheese), 680 pesos

Just my type. can you give me more?
Baked mussels with cheese is really adorable right? This is one of the food that I can eat a lot without feeling full at all. Alba's version is one of the best I've tried since it is not super buttery, and has just the right cheese flavor.


Paella Marinara (saffron rice with variety of seafood), 490 pesos

Even a non-rice lover like me fell in love with Alba's Paella
Paella is the most famous Spanish dish known to man. Alba never disappointed us with their house specialty. The rice is mega flavored and you can definitely eat it on its own! The seafoods added both pretty presentation and under the sea taste of freshness. We are able to finish this big serving of Paella, and our favorite part is scooping off the toasted rice in the pan since it has a crunchy and spiced up characteristic.


Cochinillo Asado (oven roasted suckling pig), 470 pesos

Spanish version of the local Lechon
This is like eating a healthier version of lechon since it oven baked. One more good thing is that the fat within the skin looks like it was squeezed out. One reason I can think of is due to the oven baking process done to the pork. This dish is sinful but ultra crunchy and tasty ( not too salty). 

That ends our Alba lunch experience. As for the question of me going back to Spanish restaurants- definitely Yes. It was my first time, and I really enjoyed it. Alba will surely be one of my top food choices next time I ran out of places to eat.

Cheers, 
Captainfood

Sunday, September 16, 2012

2nd Rockwell's Ultimate Taste Test- Captain Food's Top 10

Trying out over 40++ food stores??? Sounds exciting right? No wonder why Ultimate Taste Test is one of the most-awaited events by super foodies in Metro. If you can remember, last year, my friends and I got the chance to attend Ultimate Taste Test 7.0 (click here to see the post). Now, I tried it again while bringing my family! Food tripping is indeed fun with your loved ones!

My evaluation card. halfway through the event.
Now, let me share with you Captain Food's Top 10.  If you can just imagine how hard it is to choose the top among all of the stores I've tried- it's like squeezing your brain and tastebuds over and over again.

TOP 10. MARIA'S ILOCOS EMPANADA

crispy and well-textured crust...
Maria's Ilocos Empanada has a crispy, flavored, well-textured crust. It's unique feature is that the ingredients (egg, longganisa, veggies, and cheese) inside are pre-mixed unlike the original which is placed one by one. Also they added cheese to make it creamy. Overall, it's good, but I still prefer the original wherein you can taste separately the eggs, longganisa, and veggies.


TOP 9.BAKE BUDDY'S RED VELVET COOKIES

love the chewy cookie with semi-molten white chocolate chips

Yes, this is a cookie and not a cupcake. The girls of Bake Buddy found a way to turn the famed dessert to a bite-size goodness. The cookie is moist, not too sweet, and flavorful. What I love about it is that the white chocolate chips partners well with the chewy red velvet base. It is priced quite high though at 100 pesos per box of 4 pieces. You can try to contact them if you can have discounts for bulk orders.


TOP 8. PANZAROTTI

Panzarotti with its healthy and tasty dips
Panzarotti is like a folded pizza or what they call Calzone. We are able to try the all-meat variety, and it has indeed enough fillings to satisfy the flavor you are searching for. To make it extra special, you get a dip of your choice- my personal preference is the combination of Blue Cheese and Pesto- healthy and creamy at the same time. The store is quite famous since it has stalls in food markets like Distrito Makati, and also has one in Alabang Town Center's foodcourt.


TOP 7. MOSHI MOSHI'S GREENTEA CHEESECAKE

super duper cheesy!

If you love cheesecake, you will surely love this. Baked with a perfect crust which doesn't break easily, and a super fine creamy cheesecake, it will sureply capture your sweet cravings. My only comment is that it highlights the Green Tea flavor but can't seem to find a trace of its taste in the cake. Nonetheless, try it out! Good thing is you get to have the antioxidants of green tea without sacrificing the taste! Price is 1500 pesos for one cake, and you can have a free door to door delivery once you order 2 cakes. 

TOP 6. SAINT'S ALP BLUEBERRY SHAKE WITH CHOCOLATE CHIPS

healthy drink for the brain!
Blueberry is the top brain food due to its loads of antioxidants. So make sure to regularly drink this blueberry shake goodness with a hint of choco chips whenever you are around Katipunan. It is not too sweet, and exhibits a fine texture and mixture of blended ice and crushed blueberries. You can even see the bits while drinking it. A must try for health buffs.


TOP 5. BAYANI BREW'S MYSTERIOUS JUICE DRINK- TALBOS NG KAMOTE JUICE!

Surprisingly delicious talbos ng kamote drink
If you are wondering what the pink juice is, it's none other than Talbos ng kamote juice! Yes- the usual green, leafy vegetables in your kitchen was made surprisingly this pretty by our farmers (after brewing, talbo extract turns into pretty pink) from the Gawad Kalinga Enchanted Farms. Does it taste good? -Answer is....YES! It's super delicious. The moment I drank it, I though it's a mixture of calamansi and pomelo. Looks can really be deceiving right? Nonetheless, do not forget to try this super refreshing drink. It costs 35 pesos for one bottle, but if you have plans to have bulk orders you can get it for 24 pesos! (COOL!). 


Just like what you can see in the picture, It is available in pandan flavor. Buy this all natural drink now so you can also help our Gawad Kalinga farmers!

TOP 4. CARLO'S KITCHEN-CRUNCHY BELLY

Crunchy and Yummy!this is one of my favorites everytime I eat in food markets.
This sinful snack from Carlo's Kitchen has truly catched our palates. It makes me fall in love with the crispy chicharon like texture plus the real meaty goodness.  You can truly remember and put into actions the Filipino saying- "Masarap and Bawal".  In the end, don't worry, as long as you eat it in moderation, nothing bad will happen to you.

TOP 3. THE CHEESESTEAK SHOP'S CHICKEN STEAK SANDWICH

Cheesesteak with lots of mixed cheese!
The meat may look simple in the picture, but beware of its killer taste! The Cheesesteak Shop offers a really cheesy and meaty sandwich for everyone. it is also topped with pickled bellpeppers which adds the sour sweet kick. If you are clueless on what can be a great lunch, do not think twice in ordering this! Yum yum!


TOP 2. DARK CHOCOLATE MOCHI FROM MOCHI SWEETS

Dark Choco Mochi -love at first sight and taste
Mochi is a very famous dessert nowadays. Mochi Sweets is a totally new store trying to join the mochi crave in the market. Their flavors are unique and delicious like dark chocolate, green tea, and the like. I was able to try out 2 flavors. (a) Dark Choco Mochi- is super chocolatey but not too sweet. It also has a good texture-freezes finely, so if you chop it, you get a perfect cross section just like the one in the picture. (b) Green tea mochi- is simple and light tasting, and you can definitely taste traces of healthy antioxidant drink. A ball (size approximately same with a golf ball) has a price of 70 pesos- same with its competitors. If you have the time, try their Mochi and have a sweet time. Here's a shot before I munch on a mochi piece...

me with yummy mochi! Photo by: Jon Zuniga

TOP 1.  MASATAMI SHAVED ICE -SWISS CHEESE

Deadly Cheesy!Can I have more please?pretty please???
Masatami is the super winner of over 40++ stores during the Ultimate Taste Test! One spoonful and my heart really melted together with their Swiss Cheese flavor! It has a really flavorful and natural blend which pairs well with the fine shaved ice presentation of the product.  My family and I had a consensus decision in making this the top1 of our UTT experience.

Shaved Ice in action
While it's true that Shaved Ice is a normal thing now in the food industry, Masatami was able to separate itself from the commoners by having unique, and truly flavorful varieties. If you are curious, just try their product in their stores (they have a stall in Mall of Asia). Fortunately, I was able to have a picture with the  pretty and youthful owner of Masatami.
Me with Masatami Shave Ice's Owner
So, that ends our Rockwell's 2nd Ultimate Taste test. We are definitely going back again next year! Cheers to Our Awesome Planet and San Miguel Beer for having once again a great food event.

Here's a souvenir family photo (Photo by: Jon Zuniga)
Mom, Dad, Lei, and yours truly
Cheers, 
Captainfood


Monday, September 3, 2012

8 Spices- Truly Authentic Thai Food

8 Spices is a classy Thai restaurant along Scout Borromeo, South Triangle, Quezon City. The place shows a sophisticated and private aura which is perfect for a serene and hearty meal together with your friends. 

For those who are wondering- the name "8 Spices" actually came from the eight spices that the restaurant uses to give that delectable flavor in each dish.


The first dish served is the ever famous Fried Chicken Pandan.


Their rendition is superb. It was able to excite our taste buds because the chicken is well flavored inside out. Also, the native, leafy traces of Pandan leaves mixed through the chicken skin resulting into a burst of Pandan flavor. Even though this dish is common in local restaurants, I can say that this is still different, unique, and of course authentic.
Ratings: 4.8/5

Next is the Pomelo Salad. At first, i thought that this will be composed of salad greens, pomelo, and balsamic vinegar. But after serving, here it is-


It is made up of course of Pomelo chunks, fresh Shrimps, and loads of "Latik" (fried coconut milk). The dressing is quite hard to describe but it seems like it is composed of coconut milk with traces of vinaigrette. The Latik adds a kick of sweetness with the sour base of pomelo. It is quite spicy (I love it), and super tasty. On the first bite, it may seem odd because of its unique mixture of flavors, but after a few seconds, you'll start to appreciate how it personifies a true Asian appetizer.
Ratings: 4.8/5

For the main staple, we had 2 types of rice- (1) Baked Pineappple Rice with Seafood in Chili Paste, and (2) Bagoong Fried Rice



Ok- so both dishes seem to be a lot of rice right? So let us review it one by one:

(1) Baked Pineapple Rice with Seafood in Chili Paste- presentation wise, this is a sure winner. Served inside a hollow pineapple, it appears almost like Spongebob's house in Bikini Bottom. Kiddin' aside, this rice exhibits a mild trace of sweetness with a slightly sour after taste. I wasn't able to fully appreciate it because I'm more into salty foods.
Ratings: 3.5/5

(2) Bagoong Fried Rice- the crowd favorite. The salty flavor seems to complement everyone's palate because you can definitely eat it on it's own. I also loved the fact that 8 Spices used a home made authentic Thai Bagoong (imported from Thailand), and not the usual ones being sold in the market. Super thumbs up! Considering the fact, that I seldom eat rice, but when I tasted this dish- i just said to myself--- "Screw diet". 
Ratings: 4.8/5


For the main course, we had the well-famed Beef Rendang-


This dish is the specialty of 8 Spices-as it really used the 8 Spices from which the restaurant is named after. The preparation of the beef and overall process takes more than 24 hours to complete- a true product of hardwork! No wonder why it is super delicious! the beef is tender, the curry is just right without being too strong, and the mixture of flavors all combines into one gentle, beef curry dish. A must try!
Ratings: 5/5


Next is the Bangus Sisig- though there are a lot of renditions on local restaurants, this version I must say is unique and superb! Yum yum yum!


If you are on a diet and still wants to try some tasty food, Bangus Sisig is the right choice for you! The Bangus is blended with a special mixture of sauce and spices, with a mildly spicy flavor, cooked in a hot sizzling plate. The skin becomes crunchy after a while which is a sure delight. Try to squeeze some calamansi to add a sour kick. Same with Bagoong Rice, this is a crowd favorite. Do not forget to order this when you visit 8 Spices.
Ratings: 5/5

And of course, our last main course- Crispy Whole Catfish with Salt and Pepper,


I am not a fan of Catfish because usually it tastes like soil. But after trying this, there was a sudden change of heart. The catfish tastes clean, and fresh! The plain flavors of salt, pepper, and crispy breading topped with salsa all paired well with the gentle flavor of the fish. Just be careful for the catfish is quite thorny. I didn't super liked it though because it is too plain for me which seems like a normal fried fish. 
Ratings: 3.9/5

Of course, this entry will not end without having desserts right?

Black Sticky Rice, 


This is like the high-class Thai version of the local "Biko". The difference is the grainy yet smooth texture of the black sticky rice. Also, it is not too sweet which is a must for every dessert so you can eat a lot. Lastly, it is topped with Thai Leche Flan with a toasted sugar coating on top. The whole piece is rest on top of coconut milk syrup. The mild combination of rice and milk results into a yummy dessert. Yummy!
Ratings: 4.7/5

The last and definitely not the least, the Heart-melter, the Star of our lunch, is the Thako,


This is the Thai version of Maja Blanca upgraded to the nth power! Once you take a bite, you can taste a bit of heaven for the coconut and milk mixture all melts slowly and perfectly in your mouth. It is served chilled- a perfect ender for all of the tasty dishes you had in your meal. I cannot say more, you just have to taste it to experience its greatness! 
Ratings: 10/5 (Yes, it exceeds our expectations).

And that's it, our 8 Spices experience, by the way, here is a shot of their chef who made all of these delectable dishes-


Super thanks to Openrice for this Eat's a Date event! You can also visit their site to see how you can join us in our future foodtrips...

Special thanks to Jon Zuniga for all of the wonderful , sharp, and yummy pictures.

Cheers, 
Captainfood