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Friday, October 21, 2016
POP TALK GUESTING: It's a Burger Kind of Day After All.

 You guessed it right. This guy is going to be on National Tv again. For the second time in around a year, Mr. Food In The Bag, aka me, will be on the Lifestyle Tv Show POPTALK.
Airing on OCTOBER 22, 2016 Saturday at 8pm on GMA NEWS TV (Channel 11), Kuya Tonipet, a celebrity, a random guest reviewer, and I would be checking out burger places in the metro.
 Aside from burgers, we get to taste different dishes from these three restaurants.
 Of course, you have to tune in to find out what happened to me during the show.
Hope you get to watch POPTALK this Saturday (TOMORROW) on GMA NEWS TV at 8pm! Let me know what you think about it. Thanks guys!

5 Things I Learned from Guesting on POP TALK


Disclaimer: Wrote this based on my experience. Was invited to guest for the show. Some of the photos here are not mine (with watermarks). They are from the Gma News and Public Affairs Team and Poptalk as well.
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TRA VINH: Vietnamese Dishes in Quezon City

There seems to be a perception that VIETNAMESE CUISINE is healthy and a bit bland. At TRA VINH, they try to change that misconception. Serving delicious and fresh dishes, TRA VINH is surprisingly good.
Located in the BANAWE AREA in Quezon City, this seems to be the only legit Vietnamese Restaurant in the district. The concept originally came from a Vietnamese Partner currently residing in Australia. There a number of TRA VINH restaurants are open. Authentic as can be, most of the secret ingredients are flown in. Meanwhile, the meat and vegetables are bought daily in the morning from the market to ensure the freshest ingredients are used.
Starting the meal with the some of the small plates could be your undoing. Remember this is a Vietnamese restaurant. You came here for the soup! Although, a compelling reason to visit this place is also that they serve other non soup dishes that are delicious and affordable. Better yet, just try out everything. Having a lot of choices from the menu gives the diners perspective on how Vietnamese cuisine is not just about banh mi and soup.
You could go for the Fresh Spring Roll. This is made only upon order.  The deep fried stuffed chicken is plumped up by the added meat. The home made shrimp wrap encloses a sugarcane to give it a sweet natural flavor. The Pomelo Salad is a standout as the crunchy crackers gives it a different texture profile.
Two dishes that are almost the same but different are the SALT and PEPPER PRAWN and FISH.
One might think that TRA VINH uses the same ingredients to marinate and produce both products. Thankfully, they don't.
Thus, the flavor between the two differ. The PRAWN has a more bold and peppery taste. The Fish, on the other hand, has a salty flavor that is absorbed by the meat.
A SPECIALTY of this restaurant would be the VIETNAMESE PANCAKE.
Accompanied by an assortment of vegetables, you get to create your own wrap. Use the different green leafy vegetables as a vehicle for your pancake. Place a bit of sauce inside and take a bite. It gives a fulfilling experience.
For the main dish, the noodles are your best bet. You get to pick between soup based and dry ones.
Admittedly, the one with soup has a more authentic flavor and feel. Although, the dry noodles aren't that bad at all. Accompanied by freshly cooked spring rolls and pork barbecue, you won't go wrong with this. When ordering for a Pho, ask the staff based on your preferred flavor and maybe they could make it happen. Also, one might notice the different sizes of each bowl. Don't be overwhelmed, you could definitely finish it.
A surprise crowd favorite would be the Fish Stew. This is almost like your normal "sinigang" but it has a bit of sweet tone to it. Contrasting flavors of the herbs and spices makes this dish a must try.
The dishes are generally on the sweet side. This might be because of the side sauces served. For the price point, you can be assured of its competitiveness. Thus making TRA VINH worthy of a visit when in the area.

Unit 3, 109 NS Amoranto Corner Cordillera Barangay, 
Maharlika, Banawe
Quezon City, Metro Manila

Disclaimer: Wrote this based on my visits. Was invited to a food tasting and also returned on my own account.
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Monday, October 17, 2016
ATELIER VIVANDA in BGC: More Than Just Steaks.

 Imagine a huge slab of meat greeting you as you enter a restaurant. One of the first thing that you look at when you enter a restaurant is the menu. At ATELIER VIVANDA, theirs is a simple and straight forward. They bring out an uncooked piece of meat to make you salivate and order everything on sight.
Located in Forbes Town Center near Burgos Circle, ATELIER welcomes you with warmth and an amazing ambiance. A circular staircase leads you to the second floor where a private room is also located.
Atelelier Vivanda does pretty well in the starters section. For soup, the pumpkin and the cauliflower are excellent choices. Not too creamy and has texture.
Two must order dishes would have to be the TRUFFLE FRIES and the MUSSELS. In true French fashion, the mussels were cooked in white wine, herbs and garlic. Partner it with bread and you have a great dipping experience. More so when you do it with the Fries. Cheesy but not too much, the Fries are excellent finger foods while waiting for the other dishes.
Mains are the star of the show but side dishes are the supporting cast.
Guests could opt for a sampler of three different accompaniments. The staff suggests sauteed potatoes, pommes darphin and pommes dauphines. The Pommes Dauphines are crowd favorites. These crisp potato puffs are a joy to eat. The darphin is like a hashbrown. Strands of potatoes are mashed together and deep fried. If there was one side to pick, it must be the GRATIN. The layer upon layer of potatoes are nicely stacked together with a bit of cream. It makes everything delicious.
Surprisingly, ATELIER VIVANDA has a plethora of main courses. They offer duck, seafood and even LAMB. The grilled lamb is simple. Cooked with a bit of oil, there was a hint of gamey flavor in it. The kitchen must have wanted to bring out the natural flavors of the meat.
The HOLSTEIN BEEF RIB would be your top choice. Steak is steak, as one friend would say. This was served huge and juicy. There was a bit of drippings still coming out. Once it was placed on the table, patrons would smell the richness of this dish. This is definitely for sharing.
Admittedly, the price point is a bit on the high side. This is expected as steak is not an everyday meal. The service was attentive and on point. It was also good to note that they started serving lunch meal sets to entice the public to give them a visit not just on special occasions.

Forbes Town Center,
Forbes Town Road
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City,
Metro Manila

Disclaimer: Wrote this based on my experience. Was invited to try out the dishes.
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Thursday, October 13, 2016

 It's that time of the year again when you see traffic getting worst and people starting to think about Christmas. But before anything else, it's OKTOBERFEST. Another reason to celebrate, be merry and get together with friends and loved ones.
 At CITY OF DREAMS, they opted to celebrate OKTOBERFEST at CHAOS NIGHT CLUB. From October 7-16 at 7pm to 11pm, guests are treated like royalty with all the delicious German fare prepared for them. Aside from that, entertainment is provided by local bands and also a couple of drinking games and raffle await diners.
 As you enter the night club, you can't help but wonder the grandiose fixtures and the huge entrance. It seems you are transported away from the metro into something more relaxed, different and yet fun.
As you are assisted to your seats, you pass by an array of stations which serves different dishes that would definitely whet your appetite.
 Since this is OKTOBERFEST, a long list of imported and local beers are free flowing and part of the buffet. Different craft beers to Ales and drafts are served to the guests.
 A line of dishes like spatzle, red cabbage strew, bread dumplings and roasted potatoes with onions are prepared for the feast that awaits everyone.
 It's meat overload. GRILL HAXE or roasted pork knuckles is accompanied by roasted farm chicken and a traditional Munich style roasted suckling pig.
 You are able to distinguish the smooth flavor of the roasted pig and the sauce makes a difference.
  Aside from the meatloaf, one must not skip the bacon.
 This BACON is not your ordinary fare. It is well cured and seasoned to perfection. It has a bit of sweetness in it and is delicate. You would definitely enjoy this with a cup of steaming hot rice and some eggs.
Since this is OKTOBERFEST, a good number of SAUSAGES were brought in and presented to the crowd.
Bratwurst, Weisswurst, Nurnberger, Knacker Bockwurst, Thuringer, Wiener Wurstchen, and a lot more were prepared. It's quite a thrill to taste different types of sausages that gives you a number of flavors and texture. Accompanied by sauerkraut and different mustards, you will definitely have a great time savoring each bite.
 German desserts were also on display. The BAVARIAN APFELSTRUDEL is the crowd favorite. This had vanilla sauce, rote grutze and creme chantilly. Rice pudding, ginger bread, cakes and toffee apples were also there for the taking.
Included in the buffet are different cold cuts, salads and a number of bread selection perfect to go with any of the dishes. Overall, one would definitely have an amazing time drinking and eating the night away at CHAOS' OKTOBERFEST CELEBRATION.
"Oktoberfest at Chaos Nightclub is at Php 2,400 ++. Discounted admission rate of Php 2,000 ++ is offered for a table reservation of 20 persons"

CRYSTAL DRAGON at City of Dreams
Indian Food Festival at The Hyatt
NOBU'S Luxurious Sunday Brunch
5 Dishes to Try at the Cantonese Food Festival 
Cafe at The Hyatt: 2 Culinary Food Festivals

Upper Ground Floor, City Of Dreams Manila, Asean Avenue corner Roxas Boulevard, Entertainment City, 
ParaƱaque City,  Metro Manila
Please call (632) 800 80 80 for inquires and reservations.
Website/ Reservation

Disclaimer: Wrote this based on my experience. Was invited to this event.
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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

A few days back, a gathering of food focused individuals happened at the new 49B HEIRLOOM KITCHEN. Here, food was the center of the show. Cousins came together to showcase their delicious ideas.
Located along Scout Gandia, 49B HEIRLOOM KITCHEN can now serve a lot of diners all at the same time. With enclosed spaces, private meetings and functions could be done here.
Once seated, Nards of LEONARDO'S LECHON showcased one of his newest ideas. Chicharon with different flavors. The SALTED EGG is somewhat on the sweet side. A little tame for me but would work wonders on top of rice. The tamarind and salt, on the other hand, is straight to the point. The Tamarind is imported from Bangkok making it a bit more shocking to the senses compared to our local version. It really wakes you up with each bite.
Another cousin created the CURE ARTISAN BACON. The bacon are all made with love and respect. Flavors would include the original, honey maple and spicy honey maple. Believe it or not, having the bacon on top of a quesadilla brings childhood memories back to life. The honey maple isn't too sweet and is just right. Trying out the spicy version makes your tongue go wild with the spices. Don't worry though, it isn't too hot.
The main event would have to be LEONARDO'S DRUNKEN LECHON.
This baby was drenched with PEDRO BREW. Marinated perfectly, the skin and the meat inside carried a spice filled flavor.
The meat was moist and soft. The skin was crunchy good. It actually didn't need any dips or whatever because it was that delightful.
Chef Erica of HEIRLOOM KITCHEN brought out new dishes that went well with this Filipino themed lunch.
This POTLUCK PANCIT is covered with floss and everything you could think off. According to her, this was actually what they used to bring during school lunches and affairs. Her mother would cook and use all the ingredients she could find to make a delicious pancit.
Technically, you could say that this FERN SALAD is healthy but adding some crunchy bits on top just made it even more delicious. The vinaigrette was sweet and had some sour components in it. This made it work well with the greens, tomatoes and the salted egg on the side.
When this weird looking healthy dish was placed on the table, people tend to overlook it. Apparently one bite in and it should not be the case. The WINGED BEANS or Sigarilyas was cooked in coconut milk to give it a bit of sweetness. This dish was perfectly executed. Delicious.
A visit to 49B HEIRLOOM KITCHEN would not be complete without the cookies. These cookies could make all your sorrows go away. One bite in and you'll understand why.

This collaboration between Heirloom Kitchen, Leonardo's Lechon, The Cure, and PEDRO BREWS gave Filipino Cuisine a pat in the back for doing a job well done.

Leonardo's Lechon at 49B Heirloom Kitchen

146 Scout Gandia, Brgy. Sacred Heart, Quezon CityMetro Manila
Parking is available. (632) 653 3711
Opens at 11am Closed on Mondays.

89 J. BASA St. San Juan
Metro Manila
(02) 724 3068 / (02) 725 8618 / (02) 725 6071
0917 8833391

THE CURE: Artisan Bacon
Pop-up store at the Ayala Alabang
Saturday Morning Market.
Infront of De Lasalle Zobel.
Along University Ave.

Disclaimer: wrote this based on my experience. was invited to this event.
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