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Calderón Cocina Tapas y Bebidas

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Spanish cuisine is surely close to Pinoy‘s heart. And why wouldn’t it be? Ever since the Spanish settlers in the 16th century lived in our country, their dishes highly influenced our own Pinoy local cuisine. So spotting Calderón, an authentic home-style Spanish restaurant in a quaint, cozy hole-in-the-wall setting in San Juan is like finding a precious gem that’s truly to be treasured!

Calderon Paella{ Paella Valenciana Php700 }

*Of all the dishes, Paella Valenciana is the only one I missed to capture. So photo credits to Dude For Food!

I first heard of this resto from a friend who wanted to set a girl’s night out but didn’t push through. So when we got an invite to sample their luscious dishes, my heart skipped a beat! It’s meant to be — Calderón’s meant to satiate my Spanish cravings!

IMG_2489_dpp_1200_sahagun{ Paella Negra Php500 }

Between these two rice dishes, Paella Negra has got to be my favorite. And this one tastes really good! I suspect I love this especially because of the garlic mayo!!!

IMG_2493_dpp_1200_sahagun{ Bacalao ala Vizcaina Php280 }

IMG_2495_dpp_1200_sahagun{ Pollo Iberico Php800 }

We’re lucky to be served with this famous bestseller, roast Spanish chicken recipe, which would normally require you to order 1 day in advance. The meat is tender and flavorful with all those garlic and herbs, slowly cooked together with the chicken. It’s totally worth ordering in advance to be enjoyed on your next foodie date!

IMG_2497_dpp_1200_sahagun{ Sangria Calderon Carafe Php700 }

We dined here on a weekday, but having a sangria in hand made me feel like I’m enjoying the night away on a weekend! How could I be so lucky?! *laughs*

IMG_2498_dpp_1200_sahagun{ Chuleton en Calderon }

*Now available in 8oz and 14 oz sizes.*

Another surprise of the night — first dibs of this amazing Chuleton, which at the time we dined was still not part of the menu, but is already part of their menu as I write this post. Premium Wagyu beef + seasoned with salt  and pepper = ahh-ma-ziiing Chuleton! Another new favorite!

IMG_2500_dpp_1200_sahagun{ Patatas con Aioli Php250 }

This dish in a small bowl is surprisingly perfect when paired with Chuleton! Try it as a pair, I’m telling you! MUST-TRY!!! It’s cheesy and malinamnam!

IMG_2502_dpp_1200_sahagunCheers to good food with good company!” has become my favorite line. *smiles*

IMG_2508_dpp_1200_sahagun{ Cangrejos ala Calderon, seasonal Php1000 }

A must-try for crab lovers. This specialty was cooked in lots of garlic, tarragon, olive oil and infused with lemon. This is worth getting your hands dirrrty!

IMG_2512_dpp_1200_sahagunMy date for tonight. Thanks my B for the wonderful photos yet again. *wink*

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IMG_2516_dpp_1200_sahagun{ Fabada Asturiana Php300 }

IMG_2521_dpp_1200_sahagunAnother first dibs on their new dish, Roasted Bone Marrow. Heavenly, sinfully good! Enough said.

IMG_2526_dpp_1200_sahagun{ Pasta de Chorizo Php220 }

The egg on top was a surprising element in this chorizo pasta.

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IMG_2531_dpp_1200_sahagunMany thanks to Calderon’s dynamic team — (L-R) Chef Rafa Ysip, Angela Melo, Marmi Perez and Monchet Carballo for a delicioso dinner.

IMG_2535_dpp_1200_sahagun{ Churros con Chocolate Php250 }

Another classic Spanish postres (desserts) — thick chocolate against soft crusty bread peppered with sugar. Classically good!

IMG_2545_dpp_1200_sahagun{ Torrijas con Helado Php250 }

A sweet ending to a sumptuous dinner, indeed.

Calderon Cocina Tapas y Bebidas
403 F. Calderon Street
San Juan, Metro Manila
Call 238-2264 for inquiries.

Red Garlic Bistro Cafe: Flavors from around the world

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For my first “exclusive” invite, we went to try a sampling of dishes from the vast menu of Red Garlic Bistro Cafe. I’m delighted to know that they are offering distinct flavors from almost all over the world, inspired by the owners’ friendship and travels worldwide.

IMG_1697_dpp_1200_a-stormy-sky{ Santiago Chili Taco Poppers Php255. Freshly hand-picked chili fingers from Ilocos, stuffed with Mexican taco filling wrapped with ed jalapeno dough. }

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This is one of their bestsellers and I MUST AGREE! The taco shell doesn’t crumble down after every bite (it was a bright idea to use pizza dough as taco shell!), it’s spicy enough to crave some more and you gotta love the Mexican filling and pepper mill dip sauce made from scratch! Really “for-the-win”! And nobody knows the recipe aside from Chef Jacq!

IMG_1707_dpp_1200_a-stormy-sky{ Pear Salad with Walnut and Bleu Cheese Php455. Poached fresh pear in Sweet-Wine with crumbled bleu cheese, dragon fruit, watermelon on top of fresh salad greens, served with Pom-Cran Vinaigrette. }

This is a new dish launched in their new branch in Fort (where they transferred from Katipunan area). Green salads are no longer foreign to me, in fact I’m loving eating salads now more than ever! …And it’s good that food places are offering different takes on this healthy salad by adding more and more fresh fruits with interesting dressings from the usual.

IMG_1712_dpp_1200_a-stormy-sky{ Cajun Style Baby Back Ribs, Half Slab Php699. A choice of a slab rack of pork ribs expertly cooked to ensure they’re fall-off – the bones tender. Then we char-grilled then glazed with our Smoked Tangy Apple Bbq Sauce , served with Mashed Potatoes. }

It’s also good to note that Red Garlic seems to be the only restaurant that offers Beef Ribs. Can anyone confirm that? But from the restaurants I’ve tried before, it seems to be right because we’re always getting pork ribs.

IMG_1720_dpp_1200_a-stormy-sky{ St. James Beef Rendang Php369. Tenderly simmered beef slowly cooked with mix of authentic premium Asian spices and ingredients in Thai coconut milk served with fragrant Jasmine rice. }

An Asian dish that was truly a surprise for me that night. I’m excited with everything with creamy and spicy sauce!

IMG_1726_dpp_1200_a-stormy-sky{ Trio pizza Php659 }

Create your own sample with choice of three kinds of pizza. The ones we’ve tried are Basillica Con Tartuffo Fiorentina – Sauteed fresh mushrooms with grilled Italian sausages, topped with Fontina and Mozzarella, Torre Del Creco (shrimp & arugula) best seller – roasted Italian tomato, basil with sautéed rock shrimp, fresh arugula tossed in lime- vinaigrette garnish with Grana padano cheese and Cinco De Mayo (Five Cheese) – our very own Italian sauce with Mozzarella, Cheddar, Fontina, Ricotta Cheese and Parmesan Cheese topped with special herbs.

Truly a mouthful both for their names and their taste!

IMG_1731_dpp_1200_a-stormy-sky{ Red Garlic Signature Roll Php495. Tamago, softshell crab, ebi tempura and fried tempura roll. }

Japanese is my new favorite cuisine. This is one of their bestsellers and their version is huge!!! Also did you notice that their version has a topping aside from just filling?! And this maki roll comes with spicy mango cream (which they say is Dra Vicky Belo’s favorite). Makis are my new favorite food in the world!!!

And a full meal would not be complete without the sweets. Always, always leave room for desserts!

IMG_1734_dpp_1200_a-stormy-sky{ Lava cake Php275. Served with a choice of Vanilla or Raspeberry ice cream. }

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{ Warm Bread Pudding with Sabayon Vanilla Sauce Php215 }

It’s not only a night of food tasting but also drink tasting too! Check out what they have to offer to quench your thirst and I guarantee you — these mocktails and lemonades are really interesting and colorful drinks that made me feel like I’m on the beach, by the sand, with any of these drinks on hand! O ha, rhyming yun ah! They’re consistent with their fusion theme all the way to the drinks.

IMG_1740_dpp_1200_a-stormy-sky{ Bermuda triangle drink Php160. Mix of orange, mango and cranberry }

IMG_1741_dpp_1200_a-stormy-sky{ Pink sparkling lemonade drink Php155. Pink lemonade with Sierra Mist, sweet and sour and mint }

IMG_1745_dpp_1200_a-stormy-sky{ Blue Margarita drink }

IMG_1750_dpp_1200_a-stormy-sky{ Mai Thai drink }

From Katipunan they moved to Fort and opened last 22 April and one of the “new” things they are trying is converting it into a bar between 10pm-1am with a disc jockey! Perfect partner with their line up of drinks.

Truly, eating here is like traveling around the world because of the different cuisine and variety of dishes you can order from their menu and I think that is part of their “edge”.

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Special thanks to Ms. Bing Benares, Restaurant Manager and Jacq Yap, Chef — for this awesome awesome dinner and drinks! AND photo credits to Brian Sahagun!

Red Garlic Bistro Cafe
Two Parkade, 7th Avenue, 30th Street,
Bonifacio Global City
+02 856 2822

Dining with Uncle Cheffy

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Brian
This is NOT Uncle Cheffy. This is my date on my very first dining experience at Uncle Cheffy and my date today on my 4th time here. I’ve never wrote about this place ever, but having dined here for 4 times in 3 branches, I’ve realized I should.

Drinks
These are our drink of choice while browsing through their menu. Hot calamansi juice has been one of my “healthy” go-to drinks while my B’s choice has almost always been a bottle of cold beer.

Uncle Cheffy's tiuey noodles{ Tiuey Noodles Php140 }

My taste buds have gotten in love with this Asian noodles with beef and asparagus. This bowl is good for one really hungry person, but if you ordered other dish, this is also good for sharing for two. It’s really tasty and filling… and I am craving for this right now as I write this!

Tom yum (sinigang){ Seafood Tom Yang Soup Php120 }

Their version of Pinoy‘s favorite “sinigang” with prawns, clams, mussel, salmon and snapper. My B thoughtfully remembered that I was craving for maasim and I didn’t even thought that they have something on the menu that can satiate my craving. You know that feeling when you just had what you’re craving for? I feel grateful!

Uncle Cheffy's panizza{ Uncle Cheffy Favorites Panizza Php120 }

And this is Uncle Cheffy’s version of Panizza baked on charcoal brick oven with toppings of assorted cheese, herbs and spices.

And the fun part? How-to enjoy Panizza…

How to eat Panizza

Overall, it was a fun, filling and delicious dinner (before heading to our favorite pastime — grocery shopping!). The prices are reasonable for it’s taste and the ambiance is relaxing because I have not encountered a noisy crowd. For those who have overlooked this food place, it’s a must-try!

They have branches in Ortigas, Fort Taguig and Cubao. Check out their Facebook page for more info.

Photo credits: Brian Sahagun

Sweet Ecstacy

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This is my favorite painting amongst those on display at Sweet Ecstacy Milkshake + Cookie place.

IMG_6571Welcome to Sweet Ecstacy!

As promised I will share this Al Galang’s baby, Sweet Ecstacy, with you but since I am running out of time before midnight, here’s a sneak peak for now but I will return tomorrow with a bit of a virtual tour of this quirky arts place + cafe hang out place.

Good night for now. xo

UPDATED: 8 May 2013, Wednesday

I’ve passed by Sweet Ecstacy a couple of times in Cubao X and it seemed like a milkshake place, which I eventually found out that it really is indeed a milkshake + cookie place!

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IMG_6565And currently, they are also serving burgers! Which I have yet to try.. maybe after November *smirks*

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IMG_6568I love the simplicity and casual-feel it exudes with some vintage elements like these posters plus the use of red and white colors. Feels so retro!

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IMG_6580Another element that gave this place an interesting feel are the paintings that are displayed. My B and I love anything and everything artsy and this place seem to fit the bill. Plus a somewhat extensive milkshake and cookie line up under their belt doesn’t hurt. That could only mean frequent visits to try different milkshake + cookie combination, not to mention instant destress session just by admiring the paintings that will be exhibited from time to time.

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IMG_6589And this is what I’ve tried — Nutella + Chocolate Chip Cookie!!! It’s moist, it’s soft, it’s sweet, it’s heavenly! Only thing missing is a cup of fresh milk (if only I hadn’t gulped down a huge glass of warm calamansi juice from the neighboring resto)!

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Milkshake + Cookie place that offers beer? Hmmm… yes… and that’s my B’s preferred drink (instead of milk). *laughs*

Interestingly, they have this Cerveza Negra shake (and part of the top selling shakes!) which I’m urging my B to try, but he refused. I will have to schedule another milkshake + cookie date just so we can try that!

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{ His view }

IMG_6605{ Her view }

Alan’s Grill

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Recently we’ve been pulled towards Cubao X a lot more than I’ve expected and like the usual, we are on the look out for some new place to try. We first saw a place which seemed like a writer’s bar without the library but with the dark sexy appeal to it. Their staff directed us to Alan’s Grill though when we asked where we could dine for dinner.

Alan's GrillIt is a usual drinking place but we realized that there is not much restaurant in this little place where we can eat so we had to settle. And since I missed to eat this pork dish called Chuchifrito from NACI, I’ve been craving for this or something similar and this did not disappoint to satisfy my hunger for pork meat!

Fried chicken{ His: Classic Fried Chicken }

Pork chop{ Hers: Porkchop }

Pale{ San Miguel Pale Pilsen beer }

Marcos and Aquino
We

We chatted the night away, reminiscing about how we started being “friends” and even before we started dating. And boy was I surprised that there are discrepancies on our memories! *laughs* This needs to be resolved before our big day! We don’t want to share conflicting stories about our love life. *laughs*

From reminiscing to appreciating art works… We’re off to Sweet Ecstacy! To be continued tomorrow…

Have a happy Monday! xo