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Monday, January 22, 2018
MUST EAT IN SAN DIEGO: DIfferent Dishes To Look Forward To

San Diego, located on the on the Pacific coast of California, is a world-famous tourist spot for sunshine and surfing, the glorious beaches and great parks. There is an endless number of museums and art galleries that can keep one busy for hours. However, San Diego is famous for its pretty robust food scene along with perfect beaches and best weather. The real way to find the pulse of a city is to know its culinary scene and where to go and what to eat. Once you have planned the vacation and booked at one of San Diego Vacation Rentals, you are all set to go and explore the city, its tourist spots and fantastic restaurants, cafés and bars that serve a variety of cuisines from Mexican to Japanese. Enjoy those great picturesque views of the Pacific amidst the friendly residents and diverse culture and culinary scene.
San Diego’s barbecue is Texas-style, and it is hard to resist the slow-smoked piece of meat that only gets better and better. You will love the well-seasoned pork ribs with a great crust, and fall-apart juicy meat served with red rice, beans, and collard greens. Visit Coop's West Texas Barbeque for those juicy pork ribs.House-baked focaccia served with awesome sides such as gorgonzola mousse whipped and drizzled with aged balsamic or black olive pesto and bell pepper conserva. Bruschetta isn’t bread but is a meal that will keep you full for hours. You can have it with Sicilian caponata which are onion, olives, sautéed red bells steamed celery, vinegar.Head for Swami’s Café to nourish yourself with an açai bowl. The dish is sure to give you a bit of a cleanse before you head for a swim to the beach. The spacious two-story restaurant is one of the popular breakfast places, and the servers are friendly. Everything is super fresh, and apart from their famous acai bowls, they serve turkey burger, wraps, and veggie burger. It's definitely a healthy paradise for conscious eaters.
If you are looking for 100% dessert perfection, then you are sure to find it at Extraordinary Desserts. Everything they make is indeed insta-worthy, and it is sure a delight to look at as well as feast on those whole cakes, breakfast pastries, and small tarts. Having mini desserts means that you can taste more of everything. Their Blueberry Cheesecake Coffee Cake is a must! San Diego has a ton of Japanese themed restaurants that serve delicious takes on this oriental cuisine. Sushi Ota, a Pacific Beach sushi restaurant is undisputedly one of the best sushi places in San Diego. The combinations are just the beginning of a very adventurous sushi journey. One can try beef sashimi, live uni and more. The best part is that one can meet Chef Ota and watch the sushi masters at work and see how they make sushi. 
 If you're up for something hot and steamy, you might want something with soup. Enjoy Udon Hot Pot from Robataya Oton, which is a traditional Japanese Robataya that comes complete with tatami seating. You sit on the ground in front of a lowered table and get that Robata sushi served in small plates and special hot pots. The udon and pork belly hot pot is cooked at your table, and you get transported to Japan for a short while.Fish tacos are as favorite in San Diego as pizzas are in New York. moreover, if you are looking for the best fish tacos, then head for Blue Water Seafood Market & Grill. Made from fresh fish and marinated in spicy chipotle and served with corn tortillas from El Indio, the taste is simply heavenly! Enjoy them with cheddar cheese, cabbage, onions, white sauce and you can add more avocado.Little Lion is one of San Diego’s top culinary spots and serves the best waffles made from fermented batter overnight. You will love the incredibly light and crispy crumb of the waffle served with fresh whipped cream, berries and maple syrup. You can also enjoy kale salad with pomegranate seeds or a Dijon truffle vinaigrette with house-made croutons and Parmesan. If you want something unique, Cucina Urbana is famous for their Organic polenta served with Ragu. They use house-made ricotta for the pork shoulder as well as shallots, carrots, onion, garlic, chard, and beet tops. The polenta is made with milk, vinegar, mascarpone, whey, Parmesan stock, and garlic.Everything has Sriracha at Slater, and one can pick from Sriracha caramelized onions, Sriracha bacon slices, Sriracha mayo, Sriracha slaw and Sriracha drizzled atop. The burgers are simply delicious. Sriracha burger blends in the orange-colored Asian hot sauce and is served with the chain’s trademark half bacon and half-beef patties. The Sriracha burger is the specialty burger that is served here.

Another remarkable experience would be Lolliwaffles. If you want to know what Lolliwaffles are, you need to go to the Great Maple in San Diego. The breakfast menu here is indeed unique and serves Lolliwaffles which are waffles on sticks. Other than that, you can enjoy Chorizo Scramble Melt, and their freshly baked maple bacon doughnuts are simply heavenly. Plus, there is a variety of Bloody Marys to pacify anyone’s palette, and you must try their Great Maple Honey Mule and Watermelon Lemon Presse Mimosas.Getting an Italian-style coffee is just the perfect way to java-jump-start your day. Visit Caffe Calabria, which is a quaint, Italian-style coffee shop and the long line outside the café is an indication of the popularity of this joint. Every latte has a beautiful design, and they roast their own beans. Try out their range of finger foods and Italian pastries along with their silky espressos.San Diego is one part of California that's very scenic. Not just in the literal sense but also in terms of food. It's quite the place to visit.

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Saturday, January 20, 2018
EAT 9707: Makati's Newest Rooftop Restaurant.

It's the new year and because of that, I try to do something new. Maybe brave traffic and problematic ride sharing app bookings during rush hour. It all boils down to a new experience. New Year, new me. When I was invited to go to EAT 9707, I was feeling hesitant. It was in a part of Makati where I haven't been before. If you know me personally, I tend to shy away from anything Makati. If it's near Edsa, okay. But, if it's in those one ways and small back streets, I'm definitely thinking twice before going.
Yet, I found myself booking a ride. Something different I told myself. Successfully booked a grab after 40 minutes of waiting and found myself in the quieter part of Makati. EAT 9707 is actually on the 6th floor of a building along Kamagong Street in Makati. It's an open air place that shows a different view of the Makati skyline. It's more of an after work place to hangout and chill. Aside from the different alcoholic drinks that they serve, they offer a bunch of bar chows and dishes that would tickle your fancy.
Starters could either be deep friend spam musubi bites or their special nachos or a mix of popcorn nuts with truffle and honey. It's something that you can see everyday and are given twists.
Of course, they also offer MAIN EATS for guests that would like something heavier. It seems that the dishes here have some hint of Japanese influence. The Salpicao is made with Kikkoman but retains a very garlicy sauce with a bit of red wine thrown in the mix.
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There's even a SPAM TONKATSU CURRY OMURICE. It's a mix of something savory, oily, and rice that makes you enjoy your drinking session. Partner it with beer or one of their delicious and creative cocktails and you're good to go.
Grill wise, they have these Mama's Famous Pork BBQ and some chicken wings as well. Personally, I believe the Pork BBQ was heavy flavored. It would make you want to order rice and dip it in vinegar sauce just so as to balance it. Not bad just a matter of preference.
If there was one dish to get it should be the SYFU'S KATSU BURGER. One look at it and you might dismiss it as something similar to a fish sandwich from a fast food chain. How wrong I was when I took a bite into it. This burger is very deceptive. It's katsu breading and juicy meat inside. The wagyu worked well with the wasabi mayo.
There are also dessert offerings as well. Banana Tempura, Azuki Bean Waffle Sandwich, and even a Banana Rum Cake.

EAT 9707
9707 Kamagong St.,
Makati City, Metro Manila.

Disclaimer:Was invited to try this restaurant out. Wrote this based on my experience and opinions.
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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

If there's one place that beer drinkers would love to visit when in BAGUIO, it would be the BAGUIO CRAFT BREWERY. Located along Marcos Highway, it's super easy to spot this watering hole.
Divided into three distinct areas, the over all feel of the place is homey and chill. There's a bar on the 2nd floor and third floor. Also, they even have a speak easy just for those people that like cocktails.
The second floor has a more complete lineup of drinks. Once you enter, they ask if it's your first time and they teach you about the different beers that they have. They could even let you have a free taste just so that you could get what you want. Personally, I prefer the third floor just because there's a viewing deck somewhat.
Food wise, their dishes are pretty good. They are mostly marinated with some type of beer and are best partnered with your choice of alcohol. The ISAW or intestines has a sweet and savory flavor good for light beers. It's actually similar to BALOT or duck embryo. Although, the balot is a bit spicier.
One could also never go wrong with the fish and chips. Soft fish and crispy beer batter. Goes extremely well with their offerings.
Most of the beers here are made in house. One thing to note though is their ordering system. Usually, they would ask you to pay every time you order. For someone that likes drinking and keeps on going back and forth, I would suggest to open a tab instead. You just have to leave your valid ID with them so that you could pay at the end of your drinking spree.
If you are into INSTAGRAM Follow me @foodinthebag.
I enjoyed my visit to BAGUIO CRAFT BREWERY. Although some might say that the food and the drinks are a bit expensive, the experience and the flavors are pretty much at par with what you could have in Manila and abroad. Amazing stuff at this BAGUIO BREWERY.

Open daily at 1pm
120 RKC Building, Marcos Highway, Bakakeng Central
Baguio City

Disclaimer:Visited on my own time. Paid for our meal. Wrote this based on my experience.

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Friday, January 12, 2018

PARADISE DYNASTY has been my go to restaurant whenever I am craving for some XIAO LONG BAO. I'm pretty much thankful that they recently opened their second branch in the Philippines at the newly renovated PODIUM MALL in ORTIGAS.
Located on the second floor, PARADISE DYNASTY has a bigger and more spacious area to accommodate its guests. More often than not, the restaurant is full during lunch time as it caters to the nearby office workers.
One look at the kitchen and you realize why their XIAO LONG BAOS are amazing. They are cooked when they are ordered and are prepared fresh. The chefs undergo a rigorous training and are there to make your food amazing and delicious.
Now, visiting PARADISE DYNASTY means that you NEED to order their famous 8 flavored XIAO LONG BAO. These babies gives you variety and intends to make your tummy jump for joy.
If you're someone that always frequent their first branch in S MAISON, you'll enjoy their new restaurant more. Here, they have introduced a few dishes that aren't available in the other branch yet. It's something that makes a visit to Podium worthwhile. There's this salted egg deep fried chicken dish. It's not overly flavorful that you can't eat it alone. It's actually the perfect snack as you can just pop it in your mouth. There's also the egg buns. Black siopao like buns that has an egg liquid filling inside. When you pop it open, the flavors just bursts out.
Aside from the usual Jelly Fish with Seafood and the Stir Fried Beef, they now have a chicken dish thatis mixed with nuts and is cooked like chow fun. Also, they have a new vegetable dish in the form of Spinach with glass noodles.
Traditional favorites though are still a must order when visiting PARADISE DYNASTY.
Aside from the original XLB, you could go for something bold like the Poached Fish in Sczechuan Chili Oil.
Don't forget to order the Stir-fried Shredded Pork in Black Bean Sauce. It's served with Chinese Crepes that makes it more amazing to eat.
You should also get the RADDISH PUFF PASTRY as it brings everything together.
Thank you very much Paradise Dynasty for opening up north.

2nd Floor
The Podium Mall
ADB Avenue,
Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong,
Metro Manila.

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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

To be honest, I am having a hard time writing about my recent experience in FLAME RESTAURANT, Discovery Primea Makati. Not because the food and the service was lacking. On the contrary, everything was perfect. It's difficult for me to look for a way to start writing about something I truly enjoyed. They just blew me away.
It wasn't the first time that I've set my foot inside FLAME. I've been here more than a couple of times before but never for lunch. Surprisingly, the crowd at FLAME was pretty good. A couple of power meetings on one side while leisure dining on the other. It's a mix of the Makati office workers and some expats as well. The view on this 16th floor restaurant is also a welcome treat. Once you enter Flame, you are greeted by a floor to ceiling light fixture. Quite impressive way to welcome guests.
After taking your orders, bread with some butter and infused olive oil are served to start things up. There's actually an affordable lunch set menu during weekdays that comes with a starter, main, and dessert plus coffee or tea.
Two choices from the appetizer course would be the YELLOWFIN TUNA TATAKI and the GRILLED OCTOPUS SALAD. The Yellowfin Tuna Tataki has Japanese flavors infused in it. Having edamame, wakame, and bonito flakes on top of the seared tuna makes it a welcome treat. The Grilled Octopus Salad was very straight forward. It wasn't chewy but has that bite that you look for in seafood dishes.
FLAME seems to be big on Asian Flavors using Western Techniques. It uses the best of both worlds that it lets your tongue dance with joy with every bite that you take. 
 For someone that is trying to start the year with healthy dishes, the SOFT SHELL CRAB TEMPURA might do the trick. It's very simple yet done right. The crab is crunchy enough that you could just tear a leg off and have a go at it. Partner it with the Saigon Herb Salad and you have a nice delicious start.
BUT if you want to really have some fun, you have to go for the FOIE GRAS CHAWANMUSHI. This is comfort food to the highest level. There must have been some secret sorcery happening in the kitchen. The Dashi broth was rich and decadent but not overpowering. The pudding like chawanmushi was straight on light and it did help that there was a generous piece of FOIE GRAS on top to balance everything out. If I could have this at home on a rainy day while watching netflix, my life would be set. If you're someone that likes something familiar, you might want to go for the CRISPY PORK BELLY DOUGHNUTS. Don't let the name fool you. These balls are deep fried snacks perfect to take anywhere. Partnering it up with the butterscotch miso dip and you're good to go.
Going back to the POWER LUNCH SET, two options from the ENTREE MENU would be the BRAISED LAMB and the ADOBO US BEEF SHORT PLATE.
The ADOBO US BEEF SHORT PLATE was just amazing. Served with egg noodles, the beef was tender and had the right amount of adobo flavor. The BRAISED LAMB is a genius take on the Filipino dish Kare-Kare. The rice is bagoong flavored while the peanut sauce went great with the juicy lamb slices.
To warm things up, the CHILI LOBSTER SPAGHETTI gives you a jolt of spiciness. Not over powering and just right, the sriracha bisque went well with this pasta creation.
A dish that Chef Luis is very proud of, FLAME'S HAINANESE CHICKEN is filled with flavors and has just everything you would look for in a chicken dish. The cornfed chicken gives it it's yellowish color. The meat was marinated just right that combined with the rice, you get a playful sensation in your mouth.
A visit to FLAME is not complete without ordering the famous TAKE OUT LOBSTER FRIED RICE. Served with a take out box, the lobster fried rice has a mix of pork, 63 degree egg, and lobster remoulade. The flavors are bold and rich that you would like to end your lunch with a siesta.
Dessert could be this COCONUT PANNA COTTA. Quite light and not overly sweet, the panna cotta is a wiggly dessert ball that's playful and a great way to end your lunch meal.
If you're like us that ended lunch around 4pm, you might want to head on over to the outside bar of DISCOVERY PRIMEA, still on its soft opening, EDGE is quite a treat.
Stocked up with a lot of options, you won't go wrong with whatever they serve you. You could even ask the bartender to make you something that you prefer or you could check out their signature drinks.
With a view of the Rockwell, BGC, and Makati Area, FLAME is the perfect place to have your lunch time getaway. Here, you're able to enjoy a quick one or go the full monty and just relax and be fed amazing dishes. That was one heck of a meal that it's making me crave for it all over again.

FLAME: Discovery Primea

16th Floor
6749 Ayala Avenue,
Makati City,
Metro Manila.

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