Saturday, August 09, 2008

Cafe Laguna, Ayala Center Cebu


Review by - ckice168
I just had merienda at Cafe Laguna Ayala Mall Branch:

Dishes:
1. Fresh Lumpia (bamboo shoots)
2. Pandesal with Keso Puti
3. Fried Lumpia (bean sprouts)

The dishes were pretty good for a merianda, but the Kesong Puti is not worth it. Soo small for 2 cute pieces of bread with a slice of cheese 2mm thick... I would have thought for 85buck(I think or was it 80) the cheese would have been thicker. Well at least enought for me to bite into... The Fresh Lumpia is always a hit. "Secret's in the Sauce". Fried Lumpia was a bit of a let down. Too oily and it seemed a bit overcooked when I got my order.

This is not my first time eating there for merienda and I have to say, the ambiance is a lot better than the previouse location, underneath the escalator but really, food has deteriorated as of late.

Ratings:
Food = 3.5 of 5
Ambiance = 4.5 of 5 (doesn't get any better inside a shopping mall!)
Service = 4 of 5
Price = 3 of 5 (the pandesal was a let down)
Overall = 4 of 5

Would I be back: Yes!
Did I tip? Yes (27php) sukli!

Poolside Resto - Marco Polo Plaza

Review by - ckice168

here is another one for merienda I recently had at Marco Polo Plaza(Cebu City, Philippines).

If there is anyone from Marco Polo here, please heed!

Poolside Resto, with the brick oven for pizza.

Dishes had:

Bruschetta
Pizza Marco

It was around 4pm. By that time you would expect that oven to be at least warmed up and hot. Anyway. The bruschetta came out first. It was a so-so dish. I noticed that the dough was not properly cooked. But being a bruschetta, it was still edible. Why? Because bruschetta is made with out a topping first and topping added later. So the dough was able to rise, a little and still made the impression of the dish edible. The pizza on the other hand was a sad story. Due to toppings and sauce, it was clear that the pizza was flat and all out horrid. Not to mention it was very bland. Knowing a thing or 2 about baking, I was pretty sure they cooked the pizza in a cold oven. The proper pizza should be cooked and done in less than 5minutes. That means it has to be hot to allow for the bubbles to form on the crust, which also gives its crunchyness.

I told the staff never to allow a customer to order a pizza if the oven wasn't pre-heated to the proper temperature. It just disgusted me to think that a 4star establishment could serve a pizza that way. I remember in Abaca, we ordered the pasta and the staff politely said that the fresh pasta was too thick and the Chef Hyatt refused to serve an imperfect pasta. That's quality control.

Anyway,

Food 1.5 of 5
Ambiance 4 of 5 (would have been a 5 but the pool area can get a bit noisy with kids...)
Service 5 of 5
Price 2 of 5 (it ain't cheap with the +++)
Overall 2.5 of 5 (service is still good and the ambiance still saves the day)

Would I come back: Yes (But never for pizza again!)
Tip, yes: 50php

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

iSTORYA visits a Children's Home - June 7, 2008

The Children's Joy Foundation , a non-government, non-profit organization continues to help out children-beneficiaries maintain their stability in all aspects of their lives in the physical, mental, and in the spiritual in facilitating growth and development to help them become responsible citizens of our nation. All these help in developing and nurturing the child's personality in an environment where love and peace abound. Many children are staying with the foundation for temporary shelter, training, and education under the supervision of the foundation staff. They need financial assistance to finish their education and earn a degree so that they can take care of themselves independently. You can be an advocate in this endeavor.

Help us in reaching out to them by bridging the gap. Join us this Saturday.

Children's Joy Visit

For more info, follow this discussion in our forums.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Mangrove Planting May 31, 2008 Dumlog, Talisay

You like seafood? Seafood is a great source of protein and is high in Omega 3 fatty acids which are heart-friendly, reducing the risk of heart disease and taste so very very good.

Do you know that A HECTARE OF HEALTHY MANGROVE TREES can help PRODUCE ABOUT 1.08 TONS OF FISH PER YEAR? And do you know that mangrove trees can LIVE UP TO MORE THAN A HUNDRED YEARS?

Can you imagine how much seafoods that is?

But the reality is during the last hundred years, the Philippine coastal areas LOST 300,000 HECTARES of mangrove forest. It is estimated that all mangrove forests in the Philippines could be gone in less than 40 years. It can happen in your lifetime! There will be no more seafood for you and your children.

BUT WE CAN DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! Join iSTORYA.NET and the Coastal Conservation and Education Foundation in its weekend effort to restore a mangrove forest in Dumlog, Talisay.

Mangrove Planting Poster

For more info, follow this discussion in our forumshere

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Sky Angel Cowboy



I found this video very touching. It has deeply touched me because it tells of God's love.

Just recently I have had a breast mass removed and although the biopsy result said the mass was benign, the biopsy also found out another condition which the doctor said which places me at a higher risk compared to the majority. We are part sad and part happy with the result. We are now dwelling on the positive side.

Everything falls according to His Plan. God does not give us anything we can not handle. I know, He is always there for me. Just as what Logan said "run to him". I am and I have always been. He has been my solace ever since.

Spice Fusion

Spice Fusion
SM City Cebu
North Wing


This photo is the Spice Fusion BTC Branch, Banilad, Cebu City
Photo from - jamiesamui

My hubby and I ate there with my sister-in-law and her hubby, a late lunch last Friday, April 4, 2008. at first it was ok because we were the only ones served. Our orders arrived promptly (the roti, their version of pochero, and the noodle dish) but when the diners kept on coming the service started to change drastically (requests for extra bowls, utensils and plates had to be repeated - to different servers). Late lunch usually takes us about an hour tops(including the check-out, paying, etc,). But for that late lunch, my golly! it took us two hours! Due to the confusion of the dessert and the inefficiency of the server or the miscommunication between the server and the kitchen. I ordered a coconut pudding, my hubby ordered the almond pudding, my sis-in-law and her hubby ordered the crispy pata sort of dish (pork dish). The server came back and said that both puddings are not available. We changed our orders to mango roll and their version of halo-halo. After a couple of minutes the server came back again and said that our first order of dessert was available, then we said okey We will stick with our first order. Then minutes passed, again he came back and said that the coconut pudding was not available so I said I'm okey with the mango roll. When the orders arrived, the coconut pudding was served and the server said it was the almond pudding. we said no, he insisted, we also insisted and asked for the menu and showed him the picture. Thus our point was proven correct that what he served us was actually the coconut pudding (are they not familiar with what they are serving?). so I said, okey! I will take this pudding and cancel the mango roll. They'd rather cancel my pudding that was already on the table than cancel the mango roll that was still being prepared in the kitchen. Quite confusing isn't it?! Then the pork dish still wasn't served and my sis-in-law had to go to the counter to follow it up. Then, the correct almond pudding arrived. After a couple more minutes the pork dish arrived. It took us around 30 or so minutes just to wait for our dessert and the pork dish to be served. To top it all off, when the bill arrived, we were billed more than we ordered, we ordered for an ice tea and had it canceled and changed with coke. The bill has the coke and the ice tea, no cancellation occurred. We had to point it out to the cashier for our bill to be adjusted and for us to be refunded.

It was one stressful afternoon for us. I also missed my doctor's appointment just because of that lousy mistake.

We were still good to them amidst what has happened. The refund that they gave to us, we gave it back to them as a tip. Hoping that the said gesture will ingrain in their minds to give proper service that is due to dining patrons and touch their conscience that the dining patrons are giving them what is due to them (tips).

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Pan Fried Tuna Steak



Sides: Grilled Tuna steaks are very versatile. Serve them over a salad as a casual meal. For a special occasion, serve them with roasted or grilled potatoes, topped with herb butter.
Serves 4
Ingredients Directions
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
3 clove garlic minced
2 Tbsp minced ginger root
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
1/4 cup sesame oil
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp chili pepper flakes
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
3 Tbsp chopped cilantro
4 8oz yellowfin tuna steaks (1 1/2" thick)
Marinade (30 minutes to 2 hours before serving)
Mix all ingredients on the left (except tuna) in a non-reactive bowl that is just big enough to hold the steaks in one layer.
Add the steaks and turn them to coat. They should be sitting very tightly in the bowl.
If you don't have the bowl of appropriate size, just pour the marinade into a large zip loc freezer bag, add the steaks, squeeze all the air out and close the bag.
If marinating only for 30 minutes leave the fish at room temperature.
If marinating longer than that, keep it in the fridge removing to room temperature 30 minutes before cooking.



Set a large frying pan on med-high heat.
Remove tuna from the marinade and dry on paper towels.
When the pan is hot, pour 2 Tbsp of oil from the marinade into the skillet.
Add tuna steaks to a pan. Shake the pan couple of times so that steaks don't stick. Sear 2.5 minutes on one side. Flip and sear 1.5 minutes on the other side. This will cook 1/4" of tuna on each side and leave the rest rare. If you like your tuna more cooked through, cover the pan, turn down the heat to medium and cook flipping the steaks half way until desired doneness.


1 tsp chopped rosemary
Sprinkle the steaks with rosemary, pour the pan juices over them, or top with garlic herb butter, and serve.

from - http://www.helenrennie.com/recipes/fish/grilled_tuna.html

I modified this recipe into this:

Juice of 2 Kalamansi
3 clove Garlic minced
2 Tbsp minced Ginger root
1/4 cup teriyaki Sauce
1/4 cup sesame oil
1/8 cup vegetable oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp crushed peppercorns
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried thyme
4 8oz tuna steaks (1 1/2" thick)

Procedure:
I followed everything posted above ^_^ with a bit of revision.
I marinated the steaks for 30 minutes.
I did not wipe the steaks with paper towels, i just let the excess marinade drip
and cooked it well done.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Siknoy Noodle House

Siknoy Noodles
Near Cebu Doctor's University

We arrived late for the dinner. The food was already ordered and all we had to do was wait for it to be served :-) Mommy D' and Mommy Gwyn ordered for all of us. We had Shrimps, Patatim, Pancit, fried rice and Soup (mommy d' and mommy gwyn, help me out here on the names of the dishes...hehehe). The food arrived just on time for our hungry tummies :-) The place does not have any airs or pretensions, it is so simple, like a typical hangout for students out for a very affordable meal. The meal was really SWAK sa budget...hehehe...P300 per head (i think this is because we ordered for a second plate of shrimps). The place is quite cozy and clean, we stayed long and enjoyed the place.

Food and price - 5/5 very affordable and very delicious
Place - 3.5/5 quite out of the way, if you are not familiar with the place you might get lost. we almost did.
service - 5/5 prompt

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Don Merto's

(the inside - where we had dinner, our table was the one near the aircon. the sliding glass doors where closed making the space more confined)

Don Merto's
Casa Escaño
photo: from Flickr.com

I called for a reservation and the one who answered was very accommodating and very polite. The place looked very homey. Courteous staff and very attentive. They had eat all you can on steak for that night (thursday) for P600+. If you want it ala carte the Jimmy's Steak is P800. We did not get the steak. We ordered the Herbed chicked and the canalones instead. The canalones is a dish wherein pieces of chicken are wrapped in pasta or some sort of big noodle and smothered with cheese. The herbed chicken had some peppercorns and a taste of sweetness. The garlic rice that we paired with it was also yummy. We were not able to savor the dessert that the place had the offer, the kitchen closed quite early (IMHO around 10pm) We left the place at around 11pm. the place was not crowded, but it was quite noisy though. due to the small space (we stayed inside) the other table had a very hearty conversation so the result is that the whole place seemed to reverberate.

food - 4 - we were not able to have our dessert.
place - 3.5 - if a lot of people are inside and are having a hearty conversation, you will find it hard to hear each other talking.
service - 5 - very courteous staff
price - 4 - for what we around price range per person is around P300. if you get the eat all you can steak price range will be around P700+.
overall - 4/5 - we plan to come back and stay on the terrace side instead of inside. we will be trying the steak and the dessert.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Tinderbox - A Restaurant Review


Tinderbox
Archbishop Reyes Avenue cor. Bauhinia Drive
Banilad, Cebu City
Photo from - Tinderbox

My Hubby and I went there on our monthsary for dinner. It was a weekday, so the place was not crowded. There were just around 3 diners including us. The place is simple and it has a delicatessen counter crammed with heaps of cheeses, hams and sausages. The place is very accessible. The ambiance was nice. The attendants are really familiar with their menu and are really courteous. Our food arrived by course and it did not take long for it to arrive on our table. Very good presentation and very yummy =). The attendants are really quick, once we were done they immediately cleared up the dishes that we've cleared up, which is good because it clears the table for the next dish. We did not have to call their attention, they were very attentive. Very good service. Even the security guard was very okay. It was raining when we went out. He immediately opened a big umbrella for us. The price per person depends on the dishes that you order. It would range from 300++ per person.

Place - 5/5 very accessible.
Service - 5/5 very good. attendants are very attentive and very knowledgeable.
Food - 5/5 very yummy. you really get what you pay for.
Price - 4/5 quite expensive if you really are a hearty eater. just like us...hehehe we spent around P500/person

overall experience - very good. we plan to go back there again...still saving up for that next date...hehehe

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Alibyo - A Spa Review


Located at the 2nd level I2, Asiatown IT Park
Photo courtesy of the web

To love life one must enjoy life. So, here is my first post about enjoying life =)Pampering oneself is one way of enjoying life and at the same time giving your body a time to relax and unwind and for an hour or two be free from all of the cares and worries. =)

To quote what I have read from the paper, their piece about the place =)

The Visayan term alibyo, which means relief or alleviate, will take on a bigger meaning in a few days. A new boutique spa will open on Sunday, Nov. 18, at the second floor of the i2 building at the Asiatown IT Park. And you guessed it right—it’s called Alibyo.

Proprietor Johnie Lim and his wife Flor (they own the franchise of Body and Sole) say that the spa specializes in traditional Filipino hilot, which is currently being promoted by the Dept. of Tourism itself. Why not? If Thailand has its Thai massage, why can’t the Philippines have its hilot as a kind of massage?

So what differentiates Alibyo from the other massage spas in the metropolis, including Body and Sole? It is very Filipino. Better still, check it out.
- from Sun.Star -

My Review


Hubby and I went to Holiday for some foot massage last December 12, 2007, because we also wanted to avail of their buy 1 take 1 promo. alas, they already had their last call. So we racked our brains for some ideas and we thought of ALIBYO. this is a newly opened spa located at I2. I think this opened just last November. Off we went to try their services.
We availed of their 2 hour massage. Upon entering the Spa the front desk was all smiles already, Gives a very good first impression. He was also very knowledgeable about the services they offer. He also gave some suggestions on what is good. The spa is also quite different from the other spas, it is well lighted with very old and rustic setting(like you are being transported to the old era). The seats are made out of wood, the table is inlaid with raffia mat. the attendants wear Spanish era type of clothes(filipiniana). air-conditioning is just the right temp, not too hot and not to cold. The attendants are also very accommodating, they are all smiles. I did not see any of them loitering the reception area. When we came out after the massage and they saw us, they immediately vacated the reception area.

Before the massage the First thing they do is they wash your feet with ground coffee and water. Upon entering the common room for the massage area, You can smell the incense burning. On a side note, I like the comfort room, it is clean and nice with a little touch of zen. We were ushered to the couple's room, unlike the other couple's room that we've been to, this room has no divisions. It is a room with two beds and its own air-conditioning unit. The bed is quite firm and when i placed my head inside the hole of the bed, my nostrils were greeted with the scent of potpourri. a very wonderful smell, light and relaxing not intoxicating. Their kind of massage is quite different from what we have been used to. Good massage for the night which gave me a good night's sleep afterwards. (*thumbs-up*) =)

After the massage, we were treated to a glass of drink of our choice and some home-baked cookies (the extra service they give when you avail of their services). I had the Alibyo signature drink, which is iced tea with a hint of pandan leaves. My Hubby got the Salabat with honey, hot ginger drink with a hint of kalamansi and honey, Wonderful concoctions they have. We also availed of their 50% off coupon for the next visit. Well, the front desk gave us a choice: 20% discount for the services we have availed for the night or 50% discount on the next visit and we chose the latter. =) (this is their Christmas special promo, valid until the 31st of the month only).

over all rating 4/5. hubby found his therapist quite slow with his massage but the pressure was consistent though. He had a comparison with the therapist that massaged me. =)

for the 2 hour massage - P600 per person. just reasonable for a 2 hour pampering. =) They do have other packages that you can choose from.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Casa Verde - A Restaurant Review

Casa Verde
Photos from the Web

It is an ancestral house converted to a restaurant which serves baby back ribs that are tender and to-die-for! Also try their Callos. For dessert, indulge in their death by chocolate. Prices are reasonable.
Address: 69 Ranudo Extension in Ramos
Phone: (+63 32) 253 6472
- from USC -

Went there just last December 28, 2007, Friday, after about a quarter of a year of not having been there. The place was packed and we had to wait for our reserved table.

They have maintained the quality and taste of the ribs but sad to say the beef and mushroom bliss I ordered was not. It smelled of uncooked meat and some pieces of beef were still pinkish. My dish was not cooked well. I lost my appetite after seeing runny pink juices oozing from the beef. I just asked for some of the baby back ribs that my hubby ordered just to finish off my rice. The death by chocolate was better, it was not as hard as a rock, like the one we had the last time we visited the place. The death by chocolate they had is composed of ice cream with a chocolate cookie base and covered with hardened chocolate. Yummy! The baked Alaska failed my expectations. The baked Alaska was composed of 3 flavors of ice cream with spongecake as base and covered with a meringue.The ice cream was not that many, maybe around just 3 scoops of it. 1 for each flavor. What made it look big was the meringue that did not look like one. The ice cream was indeed covered but with a runny hastily beaten egg white that did not even reach its hard peak stage. it was slightly torched and NOT baked. Yuck! Eww! It was disgusting, honestly. We just dug for the ice cream and the cake. I was greatly disappointed with the baked Alaska.

this is how it should have looked, but sad to say it did not :(

the meringue here is firm and cooked. which looks very appealing and yummy.

what we had was something like this but was torched a little bit.

see the difference?!

Food - 3/5 due to my order that was quite unappetizing and the baked Alaska that did not meet my expectation of how a baked Alaska should look and taste like.
Place - 5/5 Accessible and the temperature of the room was just right, not hot and not too cold.
Service - 3.5/5 Our reservation was not listed on the reservation list. I still had to look for the person who I talked to before our reservation was honored. We waited and our friends started arriving and we still did not have our table.
Price - 5/5 very affordable and reasonable.

My overall rating for the night - 3/5