MU Noodle Bar : Taking Noodles to a Classy Level

Among many restaurants in the newly- renovated wing of Glorietta, MU Noodle Bar is an eye candy.

With lavish interiors and dim lighting, everyone who passes by just could not help but be curious.

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The interiors are carefully planned with an array of both high and low tables and chairs, carefully chosen high-rise and mid-rise lamps strategically placed on the wooden decorated cieling.

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The Menu of MU Noodle Bar concentrates on Starters, Short Orders and of couse, the speciality Noodle Soup.

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As I scout the orders of people surrounding our table, every table has a bowl or two of the noodle soup. Getting a hint of its size that is big enough for two, I decided to order just one bowl for me and JP to share. We were not frustrated.

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We equally loved the presentation and taste of the BEEF Noodle Soup (Php 220) we ordered. One has a choice between thick (udon style) or thin noodles and Miso (Japanese soup) or Soy based (the waiter said it was the specialty) soup. We went for thin noodles and soy based soup.

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The soup arrived straight from the stove (I suppose). It was still very hot and obviously boiling. Once the soup bowl touched our table, the aroma of authentic Chinese noodles wrapped us. Pretty like the smell of Hong Kong noodle houses or authentic Chinese restaurants found in culturally rich alleys. Smells and tastes sooo good.

The soup was rich, as what JP said after his first sip. And the next best thing I can remember, the beef meat was so tender it literally cuts into pieces in the boiling soup.

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JP has the habit of ordering food that are more than enough to feed us both. He orders and we eat like kings and queens. After the soup, we were served the Appetizer: Chilled Tofu (Php 160), MU Baked Oyster Cake (Php 180) and Kaw Chay Rice (Php 70).

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The Chilled Tofu was yummier than I expected. The plate had a generous serving of tofu slices (around 10 portions) each portion with a surprise of Century Eggal slice in the middle. It was topped with Pork Floss shreds and sweet sauce. Delicious!

I honestly think that for a Starter, finishing a plate is already filling. It could then be shared by 3 or 4 persons to be a light appetizer.

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Of all the food we ordered, I fell inlove (at first sight and even after) with the Baked Oyster Cake. The presentation was lovely. It looks expensive really but you’ll be surprised that a dish which looks so glorious and tastes so good like that is just 180 php! I am a cheese person. I probably fell inlove with the dish because apart from it having oysters + it was baked + cheese ontop = heaven. ♥

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JP and I walked out of MU Bar with bulging bellies and Happy wallets. We even have a bag to go of the Oyster Cake we couldn’t finish. SULIT!!


MU Noodle Bar

2nd Floor Glorietta 2,
Hotel DrAyala Center, Makati
Tel. No: 556-8739

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Crazy Katsu: For the Chill Days

There are a lot of hole in the wall restaurants along Aguirre Avenue in BF Homes, Paranaque. Looking for a place to dine in could be a tough job.

For late lunch on a Sunday afternoon, JP and I were in the mood to try a new restaurant in the neighborhood.

The problem: we don’t know exactly which one
The catch: we had to drive around the whole stretch of Aguirre Avenue twice and back just to scout and choose where to eat
The verdict: we ended at Crazy Katsu!

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Although the restaurant does not look much attractive from the outside, which looks like just another hole in the wall restaurant, we decided to try it because of recommendations we have been hearing from friends.

Crazy Katsu has its first branch in Quezon City before they decided to branch out (which is good for people in the South like me!)

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We immediately ordered the restaurant’s specialty (as suggested by our server) – Chicken Katsu (php 145). The food when it was served looked magnificent. The play of colors in the plate would make one’s tummy grumble in excitement. True enough, our eyes did not deceive us. The Chicken Katsu lives up to the title of being Crazy Katsu’s house specialty.

The breading of the chicken was crispy and filling. The portion of the Chicken Katsu was more than enough for one. I even had to share it with JP who equally appreciated the texture and the taste of the chicken.

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As for JP, he had Katsudon (Php 150). It was served in a bowl, with a combination of crispy pork fillet on sweet sauce and egg ontop. It was okay for its price but it could have been better. Maybe just to be at par with the Chicken Katsu. But it was filling and delicious, nonetheless.

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What we like best with Crazy Katsu was the ambiance and minimalism of the restaurant. It mirrored Japan’s obsession for clean lines and clear spaces. The restaurant’s ambiance complemented our motto for the day: A Chill Sunday Afternoon.

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Gwapo. CHILL.

I therefore rate CRAZY KATSU as follows:

  • Food: 3.5/5
  • Ambiance: 4/5
  • Service: 3/5
  • Value for Money: 3.5/5

CRAZY KATSU
Aguirre Street, BF Homes, Paranaque
(+632)4350030
11:00 am – 10:00 pm.
http://www.crazykatsu.com

SOI: Thai Food that’s Good on the Palate, Light for the Wallet

There are very few good restaurants (at least the commercialized ones) in Manila which offer Thai food. Personally, I think The Banana Leaf Curry House (proudly boasts of its Philippines’ Best Restaurants 2012 Award) ranks number one. (http://www.bananaleaf.com.ph/). But then again, Banana Leaf do not just serve Thai food. Their menu offers a fusion of contemporary Malay, Indonesian, Singaporean, Vietnamese and Thai food.  So, Banana Leaf being the number Thai Restaurant won’t just do justice to that title.

And then the list just gets relative and mood- dependent after that.

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Not knowing and seeing too many Thai restaurants in the metro, JP and I were curious when we came by Soi Thai Restaurant at the newly- renovated wing of Glorietta. The restaurant looks inviting from the outside because of its cozy ambiance and colorful big lamps hanging on its ceiling.

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As we settle on a table we chose, we were served a small plate of peanuts and few pieces of crackers. There are also mini jars of condiments and spices on each table.

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I flipped through their menu and was happy to see a wide variety of Thai dishes – from appetizers, noodle soup, the favorites: pad thai, chicken satay and chicken pandan, curry dishes and desserts. Finally, an affordable and accessible Thai Restaurant.

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The Thai Hot Milk Tea (Php 55) was served first. The sugar and fresh milk came in separate so I had the liberty to adjust the sweetness. The milk tea was authentic. So good I can’t help but compare it with the commercialized milk teas in the market. The milk tea had a perfect bittersweet flavor, with the sugar and milk playfully blending in with the fresh tea ingredient.

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We decided to order for the Thai staples to have a taste of the authentic cuisine. I was in the mood for spicy food so JP and I agreed on ordering SPICY Tom Yam Seafood with Rice Noodles (Spicy Level : High) (Php 378). There were generous portions of seafood in the big bowl of the soup. The spicy soup got us hooked. It was the kind of spice that won’t tingle your tongue but would rest subtly on your throat for a while. It was good, I must say. The soup was exceptional and I like the generous portions of the shrimps, squid cutlets and seafood portions. However, I just did not appreciate the noodles that much. I have to admit though, I have biases when it comes to noodles. I like the thicker noodles, rice noodles will do, but not the glassy ones like that in our Tom Yum.

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JP’s only comment with the Chicken Pandan (Php 248) is that the serving was too few for the price. On  the contrary, I was satisfied with it. The serving portion, value for money and the taste, most of all justified this specialty of the restaurant. We both agreed that it tastes like little pieces of “Max’s Fried chicken” wrapped in pandan leaves.  The flavor and the crunchiness are altogether unforgettable. It’s golden brown color suggests a burst of flavor in every bite.

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After ordering a SPICY Tom Yam Seafood with Rice Noodles, I decided that to balance out our palate, a curry variant would be best. The Mild- Spiced Seafood in Yellow Curry (Php 288) was served next. The seafood ingredients in the Tom Yum Noodle Soup were exactly those that were placed in the curry dish. Only that, instead of soup, curry paste was added. I was expecting more from it, honestly. But it was okay. I mean, good enough to go with the Jasmine Rice (Php 38). I kind of regret ordering seafood curry only because it is just like the Tom Yum Soup we had earlier, a better choice could have been a beef, fish or chicken curry.

For the service, it was excellent. I’m not sure that only because we were the only ones eating at the restaurant at that particular time, that was why all the waiters’ attention was ours. But then, I enjoyed their prompt service, and accommodating waiters.

I rate SOI as follows: (and will go back keeping in mind what I should order next time)

  • Food: 3.5/5 (with the right combinations)
  • Ambiance: 5/5
  • Service: 5/5
  • Value for Money: 4/5

SOI: EAT THAI, LOVE THAI
2/F Glorietta 2, Hotel DrAyala Center, Makati
(+632) 553-0001

International Women’s Day

I believe that women all over the world should be empowered – in every sense of the word. Especially in the modern world, people should strive not just to eliminate gender discrimination but to adjust every man’s philosophy that women should be loved, cared for and respected. I support the Women’s day!

50 Year Project

Today, March 8, is International Women’s Day. This year the focus is on ending violence against women, which is a human rights violation that affects 7 in 10 women in the world. Below I’ve listed some startling statistics. Please take a moment and read them. I know they aren’t uplifting. In fact they are downright depressing.

* As many as 1 in 4 women experience physical or sexual violence during pregnancy.

* Worldwide, up to 50% of sexual assaults are committed against girls under the age of 16.

*Over 60 million girls worldwide are child brides, married before the age of 18.

*More than 100 million girls are ‘missing’ due to prenatal sex selection.

* Approximately 250,000 to 500,000 women and girls were raped in the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

*603 million women live in countries where domestic violence is not yet considered a crime.

*Up to 7 in 10 women…

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Nic Freeman

Eclectic like its culture, full of flavour like its people, I found the food of Berlin bloomed from a welcomed suite of cuisines at joyfully affordable prices. As I mentioned in my A Week In Berlin post, I was happy to be greeted with the multicultural spectrum the tastebuds in Germany’s creative capital.

Unlike other posts in this Travel.Food.Photo. series, this Berlin edition offers tips for finding yummy street eats, simply because there are so many options… and I want to share the deliciousness.

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Enjoy the belly-warming flavour of currywurst at Curry 7 – Schlesische Straße 7 in Kreuzberg (close to the river, on the opposite side of the bank to the East Side Gallery a.k.a Berlin Wall art).

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Go back for another serve at Falafel , where lamb kofta, dips and salad cost a delicious €4 per plate or less if you eat kofta in a pita pocket. Find…

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PINO / PIPINO : Of Strawberry, Peach, Lychee and Watermelon- Flavored Beers

My weekdays end really late. With classes up to 9:30 p.m. as the latest, I barely have time (and energy) to cook my own meals.

The solution: most of the time I just eat out.

The downside: it could be too expensive and may be way beyond my daily budget. Also, food portions can sometimes be to the excess of what I really need to satisfy my hunger (since I tend to order ALOT when I dine out).

The upside: I get to discover a whole variety of restaurants, enjoy good food with good friends (when I’m lucky, that is if they’re still willing to eat out at a late hour of the day).

And then we discovered PINO / PIPINO.

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This establishment used to have its original branch in Quezon City. Fortunately, especially for me, the owner decided to open a branch in Jupiter, Makati. 🙂 (which is also beside Burger Project, another joint owned by the same owner).

The food we ordered I must say exceeded my expectations.

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Especially for the flavored beers (P95). We’ve had a mug of Strawberry beer and Watermelon beer as well, but of the two, I would say the Watermelon beer tastes (and smells) better. This is the Ladies’ Version of Beers. If there are Ladies’ Drinks, Pino’s flavored beers could be the Ladies’ Beer counterpart.

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The Coffee Crusted Beef Belly was also good. The meat was tender, and the taste of coffee really clings to your palette at every bite.

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The Seafood Kare-Kare was served in a really nice way. The way the vegetables were fixed were too pretty to be eaten. It tastes good too, except that I want my kare-kare to have more sauce in it. And it was served a bit cold also.

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We also had Sisig Tacos (for our appetizers). THE. BEST. And their serving portion was big enough to serve all four of us.

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Rea ordered Kamote Crips. One which resembled Shakey’s Mojos. None of us really liked it, it was a bit salty for our tastebuds.

Yet, overall, Pipino / Pino gave an ambiance good enough for Chill Weeknights with good company of friends over their superb flavored beers. CHEERS!!! ❤

PIPINO / PINO

38 Jupiter Street, Bel-air, Makati City

(+632) 441-1773

11 am to 2 pm – 5 pm to 1 am (Monday to Saturday) and 11 am to 10 pm (Sunday)

How an Unplanned Anniversary Could be More Exciting.

For Valentine’s day, I decided not to give a “conventional” gift to my boyfriend. I mean those rather expensive gifts which you save up for, buy, wrap and hand to your partner during the rest of the special occasions in a year- which include his birthday, Christmas, anniversary, when-you-have-extra-savings days – you know it.Apart from ending up with a happy pocket, I decided to squeeze my creative juices and I ended up making a summary of all the out-of-town places my boyfriend and I have been to since we started going out. The output: a creative Philippine map with mini-me and mini-boyfriend on a plane graphed strategically to the places we’ve been to.

The Anniversary

Being a month after my “creative” gift, I am still so eager to fill up the places with more mimi-me’s and mini-boyfriend icons – so then I suggested, that we spend our anniversary out of town.

Since our anniversary fell on a weekend, we had little time to prepare for it and it was squeezed in between those weeks when he was swamped with work, and I, with schoolwork. So the quickest solution to the circumstance, hello to the nearest out of town destination – TAGAYTAY.

Tagaytay is roughly an hour drive from my house, which is in Paranaque. You just have to take the SLEX and exit through Sta. Rosa, turn right after the tollgate and that road leads all the way up to Tagaytay. (You’ll know you are in Tagaytay after passing by lots of corn/ mais vendors on the road and once you see the TAGAYTAY ECONO INN mark right infront of you.) The long stretch from the Sta. Rosa tollgate to Tagaytay is an adventure in itself. You will pass by Paseo de Sta. Rosa (which is where the sought- after Nike Outlet store, among other outlet stores are found), Nuvali 1 and 2 – Ayala Land’s take in modernizing countryside living, which also houses a lot of outlet stores and restaurants, and the Wake park inside Nuvali. We got to Sta. Rosa a little bit past lunch and since we want to make the most of our  trip, we decided to check out the stores in Paseo de Sta. Rosa and Nuvali and even drove around 10-15 minutes from Solenad’s entrance (the commercial district in Nuvali) to see what the Wake park offers.

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Our anniversary thereby, became a backpacking adventure: spontaneous, fun and adventure-filled.

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Oh, and Mr. Loverboy surprised me with two bouquets (still can’t figure why he gave two), which he kept in the car’s trunk the entire time. 😛

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We ended up eating at Breakfast at Antonio’s. The only planned destination for that day. Happy heart, happy tummy.

For a review on Breakfast at Antonio’s Tagaytay, click:  524728_10151453929482777_1430453516_n

Midway between Lunch and Dinner at Breakfast at Antonio’s, Tagaytay

Breakfast at Antonio’s

We may have had many adventures during our Anniversary, but the filling of the cake was really our plan to visit Breakfast at Antonio’s in Tagaytay. I have passed by this newly- built structure (relatively newer than the original Antonio’s restaurant) a lot of times upon visiting Tagaytay but I have never tried visiting it. The exteriors of the restaurant always reminds me of breakfast houses in the States – IHOP or Denny’s and the comfort food, not to mention the all-day breakfast menus they offer.

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So we got to Breakfast at Antonio’s at a time a little too late for lunch and a little early for dinner. But since we’ve come from a long drive and from the few stops we’ve had, we decided to order heavy food in their menu.

The Ambiance

Antonio’s ambiance is overwhelming. We were greeted by high ceilings, vast dining area and the cold air from the opened windows. The restaurant is predominantly black and white which gives it a classy feel – and which I like. At about the hour of 3 pm, the restaurant was still full of folks enjoying their weekend over a cup of Twinnings Tea or coffee and crepes and pancakes – which I got to observe upon looking at their tables.

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We were escorted by the courteous staff at a table near the big glass windows overlooking the Taal Lake, one of the most coveted seats I must say.

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I love the uniforms of the servants. Men are dressed in crisp white aprons and the women, in a French maid ensemble. As we were handed the menu, as usual, I looked after the pancakes and the waffles. (the sweetthings in the menu), while JP fixed his eyes on the main course, the breakfast menus and the pasta. Oh, opposites really attract, I must say.

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For our first course, we were served the Tropical Fruits Crepe.

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The pastry looked really good and the crepe itself tastes divine. It was perfect except for the filling. I expected more when the Menu referred to “Tropical Fruits,” but I was surprise to have seen Fruit cocktail bits in my crepe with Nutella. Regardless of the filling that was places, I found it very good and tasty still. Not to mention the presentation. It was a five-star presentation. Well, I guess I’m just a sucker for crispy white plates and clean food presentation. How your food looks is a big part of how good it is, afterall. 😉

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The other food came in.

JP got Chorizo & Eggs (P435)  which came with garlic rice, herbed roasted tomato (which tasted like pork and beans minus the pork for me), two eggs (cooked however way you want it)- JP asked for the egg to be scrambled for one and sunnyside-up for the other and two pieces of Chorizo. The set was okay, I didn’t try the chorizo but JP said it was fine. I trust his taste on sausages because he’s really the meat-eater between the two of us.

I, on the other hand, got Mixed Seafood Tagliatelle in Creamed Parmesan (P550) – you can also have this dish in Tomato Basil or Alioli sauce. The sauce of the pasta was too creamy and cheesy. There are however enough portions of the seafood in the dish: two big prawns, generous pieces of crabmeat and clams. I, however, just didn’t like the fact that they used fake crabmeat in the dish. It could have been better if they used fresh seafood. Nevertheless, the dish was filling.

We ended our meal with a cup of Hot White Chocolate. The cup complemented the cold Tagaytay air seeping through the huge windows beside our table.

 

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To share the experience of good food with those whom we left at home, we stopped by Antonio’s very own Pasalubong Shop which sells  freshly- baked breads, different jars of dips, and baked goodies.

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The Chocolate Crinkles (P30 per piece) I must say, are really good. Plus, they put the goodies inside a nice take home box, again in a crisp white paperbag. Signature classy. Signature Antonio’s.

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BREAKFAST AT ANTONIO’S

Tagaytay Ridge
Mobile Number: (+63 917) 899-2866
http://www.antoniosrestaurant.ph/