31 May 2013

Oceano Acuatico Restaurant

Our Acuatico escapade was a blast. If you read our experience in my other blog, you’ll notice I have not mentioned about what we had. Of course food completes an escapade so I’ll share here our food experience. Acuatico resort only allows in-house food, though we were able to sneak-in few snacks, we still relied on Oceano, Acuatico’s Restaurant, for our main meals. 

Oceano Acuatico is located at the second floor of the hotel. It is overlooking the whole place, which gives you the panoramic view of the resort’s beauty and the beach as well. Oceano offers buffet and sit-down a la carte meals. They also offer complementary coffee and tea, all day, all night. Plus it can be delivered anywhere you want.

Oceano Facade
There is also a floating bar in the middle of the pool, this offers extensive selection of beverages. 

Acua Floating Bar
Mango Shake (P90) from Acua Floating Bar
For our 1st meal, our lunch, we opted to avail of their buffet (P550+/adult; children 7-12 years old pays half the price; and 7 below are free of charge). We wanted to order a la carte but the wait staff advised us that it would take 45 minutes to an hour to prepare the food. She suggested further that we should order in advance if we really want an a la carte meals.

                                                               Lunch Spread
My Plates

Table Set-Up
So for dinner, since we know better, we called-in our orders in advanced and we were told that they’d call us once our food was ready. After 45 minutes of no call, we followed-it up, the wait staff informed us to wait for another 15 minutes and after 30 minutes they called us and informed that our table was set and our food was ready. As we seated, our respective food were delivered to our table. But 3 orders, mine included, were still not delivered. So we asked and we waited and asked again. 

After roughly 15 minutes of waiting for food and feedback, I decided I should talk to the officer-in-charge. The supervisor, though knew nothing about the incident, was very apologetic. He was requesting for a little time to talk to his staff but I said we cannot wait any longer, it was almost 2 hours since we placed our orders. So right there and there, he decided to give us complementary buffet (which was actually P600+/adult). 

My Plates and Mr. M.'s Sandwich (P290)
Oceano Acuatico also prepares elegant dinner set-up by the beach upon request, P2100/person. It is a sit-down, set-menu with personal butler. The supervisor was busy attending as a butler here that’s why he was not able to attend to the concerns of the main restaurant. 

I don't want to invade their privacy
Our breakfast was complementary with our accommodation. 

My take: We have no complain as with regards to the food. Although the buffet spread was not as extensive, it still delivers quality food which can satisfy any guest. The only fall back was the presence of fly. The supervisor told us that the flies were really their big concern but it also seasonal. He said, it might be because it’s the harvest season (May-June) for mango farms around their resort. And in-fairness, flies were also present in the whole Laiya stretch. He also said the resort is already installing air-conditioners in Oceano to address the problem.
Tip: As we learned from the wait staff, place your order in advance if you are to settle for a la carte.
The verdict: Courteous staff, good food, great ambiance. Oceano delivered. 

30 May 2013

Cakes and Cupcakes by Cookcakesbyliz

For those of you who have cake and cupcakes needs, you may want to try Cookcakes by Liz. Liza the baker/entrepreneur is a good friend. She enrolled in a baking class, practiced for a while and then quit her day job to concentrate on her passion for baking. I can say she’s pretty well in her craft. She customized and works within your budget and very easy to deal with.

I personally tasted her chocolate alcapone cupcakes when I ordered for my son’s 6 month celebration. 

She also baked the cake for my niece’s 1st birthday. 

I can say with conviction that it was good and will surely please everybody. Here are some of her samples.

Again, for your cakes and cupcakes needs, freshly baked and affordable ones, contact Liz del Rosario at 0939 9375990. You can follow her on instragram: cookcakesbyliz for more photos/updates of her cake and cupcakes goodies. 

Disclaimer: Not a paid post.

28 May 2013

Penne Pasta Spaghetti

I am a pasta lover. I eat cooked pasta with ketchup as a kid, that’s spaghetti for me already. But when you grow older, you became meticulous about your favorite dish. You become specific and particular of every details of it. Okay, I shouldn’t talk in the second person when it might be only me. But yes, as I aged, I became so hard to please when it comes to pasta. This recipe is actually my mama’s but I improved it a little to fit my taste. 
500 grams penne pasta (cooked per package instruction)
500 grams Spaghetti Sauce
¼ kl ground pork
¼ kl hotdog
1 big can mushroom
Onion, garlic
Salt and pepper
For white sauce:
1 bar butter
1 small can evaporated milk 
1) Brown the ground pork. Add the hotdog, let it fry a bit.
2) Set the ground pork mixture around the pan. Let the oil drain into the middle of the pan, leave just enough oil for sautéing.
3) Sauté garlic and onion. Combine it with ground pork mixture. Add mushroom.
4) Add spaghetti sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
5) Add the cooked penne pasta. Mix evenly.
6) In a separate pan, melt butter and add evaporated milk. Simmer.
7) In very low heat, pour butter mixture in the spaghetti. Simmer for about 5-10 minutes.
8) Serve hot. 

My take: This proportion always works best for me, although my mama would always argue (she uses ½ kilo pasta : 1 kilo sauce). Cheese in this recipe is optional, the white sauce mixtures takes its place. 
Tip: If cheese is available, I put it directly on the pasta while it is still in the strainer. 
The verdict: This recipe is always a hit, though I really don’t share the works (it my trade secret). But then again, different stroke for different folks (literal meaning) applies. hehe 

26 May 2013

Choco Jelly Fruit Salad

Let me share a simple dessert you can prepare for any occasion and/or plainly to satisfy your sweet palate. I know we all have our own version of preparing fruit salad, so be ready for that. And if you’re familiar with the Black Sambo recipe then you’re in the right track. This dessert is so simple I could just tell you to mix all together and that’s it, but I would be the worst food blogger if I tell you that. lol So let me count the ways. 
For Fruit Salad
1 medium can Fruit Cocktail
1 bottle Nata de Coco (optional)
1 box Nestle Cream
½ box Condensed Milk
For Choco Jelly
2 packs Knox Unflavored Gelatin (melted in ½ cold water)
1 big can Evaporated Milk
½ cup sugar
½ cup Hersey’s Chocolate powder (melted in 1 cup hot water)
1) In a low fire, mix milk, sugar and melted chocolate.
2) Add melted knox gelatin.
3) Continuously stir for about 10 minutes.
4) Set aside and let it cool for about 1 (inside freezer) to 2 hrs (inside frige).
5) When its set, cut into cubes.
6) While waiting for the choco jelly to form, mix all the ingredients for the salad.
7) Add choco jelly.
8) Chill and serve.

 My take: The jelly gives a soft contrast to the crispness of the fruits. It also gives a (sweet)-choco distinction to the sweetest of the fruits and the condensed milk. It also serves as an extender. 
Tip: You can use fresh fruits of your choice. Nata de Coco is the family’s favorite so we make it a point to add a bottle. 
The verdict: Mr. M. asked the total cost of this dessert. If you know him well, you’ll know that, that means do this more often. J   

24 May 2013

Toge Guisado with Tokwa

This is yet another simple and healthy dish I mustered. We are on the run for vegi-based dishes nowadays since our baby boy is starting to eat solid foods. We tried to incorporate vegetables in our food at least every-other-two days (the needed food introduction interval for babies) for Master E. to sample. But this particular vegi-dish was not really intended for him. Lol 
Toge (bean sprout)
Pechay (Chinese cabbage)
Tokwa (tofu), cubed
Garlic and onion
Oyster sauce, salt and pepper
Cooking oil, water 
1) Season tokwa with salt. Fry and set aside.
2) In a pan, sauté garlic and onion. Put toge and add water, let simmer.
3) Add pechay, simmer until cooked.
4) Season with oyster sauce, salt and pepper.
5) Add fried tokwa. Serve.

My take: One-stop-meal. It has all the nutrients you need, protein from toge, vitamins B, C, B1, B6, K and A from toge and folate from pechay. 
Tip: You may opt not to fry tokwa to make it more nutritious. 
The verdict: So easy you can cook this with eyes closed.hehe 

23 May 2013

Snacks at Army Navy, Trinoma

We were at Trinoma last weekend for a quick buy. Apparently, it was not as quick as we perceived it to be and since we had an unsatisfying lunch, we decided to grab some fixins. As we were deciding where to eat, we passed by the Food Choices (Trinoma’s glorified term for foodcourt at the second floor. hehe). The 1st thing we saw was Army Navy. We thought this is the moment! 

He ordered Double Burger (P210), it has 2 pieces of quarter-pounder beef patty with lettuce, sliced tomatoes and onion tucked in a bun with black and white sesame seeds. I on the other hand had the Classic Burger (P165) which is basically the same, only I had single quarter-pounder beef patty. 

Double Burger
Classic Burger
We also had Crunchy Tacos Double (P160) - hard shell tacos filled with meat, tomatoes, onions, lettuce and cheese.

For our drinks, he had Minute Made (P50), while I had Vanilla Milkshake (P99). 

My take: Looking at their menu board, Army Navy was more of a Mexican food joint to me because of the of presence of Mexican foods like burittos, tortilla, tacos and quesadilla. The only American (origin) food I saw were fries, milkshake and burger - which we personally loved. The burger may not be as huge as the other fancy burger joints offers but it was oh, so juicy and tasty. It was grilled to perfection. You may have noticed that their burger do not have any sauce, it’s because its patty was already flavorful and blends perfectly with the bun. I also liked how it stayed warm until my last bite, it must be because it was wrapped in a foil. 
Tacos and milkshake were of different story. The taco for me was way too bland. It was a challenge adding lasa to fit my liking. It was disappointing enough to see my milkshake in a disposable plastic cup but I let it pass since we were in the foodcourt, worst their vanilla milkshake was nothing far from a tunaw na sundae. 
Tip: Save the best for last. When I saw that Mr. M. was not satisfied with his taco, I put down my burger for a while and finished my taco immediately. So the last thing on my mind was how good my burger was. 
The verdict: It was the burger we’re after, after all, so we’ll definitely go back. But we’ll make sure next time, we’ll dine in a detached chain in order for us to experience the most of what Army Navy has to offer.

20 May 2013

Lunch at BonChon, Trinoma

Mr. M. and I wanted to try BonChon for some time. Maybe fate has its way, we always tend to forget it whenever we’re considering establishments to dine-in. But last weekend, since we intended to eat our lunch-out, we kept BonChon in mind as we left home, I was excited for my 1st experience. 

BonChon is at 1011B Level 1 of Trinoma. I was surprised that Bonchon has a regular fast food set-up, I thought otherwise. Since the kids were with us, I asked Mr. M. to order anything for me. I just emphasized that it must not be the same as his’ so we could share and sample on different food. And as a must for us, order juice instead of sofdrinks for Miss L.. I was again surprised that they don’t have any juices, they only served softdrinks and iced tea, both not good for our little girl. 

Mr. M. had Thigh (Chicken) Ricebox in Soy Garlic 2 pieces for P145, this comes with a drink, he had Mountian Dew. 

He got Shrimp Ricebox for me with rootbeer for P145, also in Soy Garlic variant. 

He also got Large Potato Fries P60 for Miss L. to munch in. The little girl saw me taking pictures, borrowed my phone and took this photo.

My take: The chicken was crispy and tasty from the outside, but unfortunately I cannot say that the inner meat taste the same, their serving was too small for the price too. While the shrimp has a good soy garlic-y taste, it became too bland with the rice. I don’t like the fact that the rice was malata too. It just destroyed the taste of the whole meal. The fries were okay, not far from the Jollibee’s version though. 
Tip: If you’re dinning with kids, make sure to bring their own water. 
The verdict: We will go back again, but definitely not anytime soon. 

17 May 2013

Cauliflower with Kikiam

Our craving for kikiam was the reason for the invention of this dish. It is a simple side dish/viand which is healthy and economical. 
Garlic, Onion
Cooking Oil, Salt and Pepper, Oyster Sauce
Water, Corn Starch 
1) Fry kikiam. Set aside
2) In the same pan, sauté garlic and onion.
3) Add cauliflower and water. Season with salt and pepper and oyster sauce. Simmer until cauliflower is tender.
4) Add dissolved corn starch. Add the fried kikiam and stir until you reached the desired consistency.
5) Serve hot. 

My take: It is like chop suey minus the elaborated entourage. It can be eaten as is, or as a viand but is best paired with fried meat of your choice. 
Tip: You can add or use broccoli instead. 
The verdict: Simple, healthy and delicious meal, as easy as 1 2 3.

08 May 2013

Tortang Talong with Giniling

Mr. M’s all-time favorite dish. I can say that because he always orders it at a single glance. He even orders this from the canteen once he heard it's available, even if we already have baon for lunch. But even if this is his favorite, it is seldom seen in our dining table because 1) he can’t cook it and 2) I don’t want to cook it as often because 1) I do not eat it (vegetable, that is) and 2) it’s too complicated to cook. But during last Sunday's grocery, he grabbed all its ingredient and ordered me to cook it without giving me a chance to say no. So that night, armed with a lazy butt, I cooked Tortang Talong with love. J 
Talong (eggplant)
Egg (preferably 1 egg : 1 eggplant)
Giniling of your choice meat (ground meat)
Oil, Garlic, onion, salt and pepper

1) Sauté garlic and onion. Add giniling, season with salt and pepper. Continuously break the meat apart until it turned to brown. Let cool and set aside.
2) Grill the eggplant.
3) While grilling, beat the egg in a wide bowl. Add some salt and pepper.
4) Once the eggplant is soft, remove from fire and peel it.
5) Flatten the peeled eggplant in the same bowl of the beaten egg.
6) Fry the dipped eggplant (with egg) and add a spoon of sauteed giniling, top with beaten egg to make sure the giniling sticks to the eggplant.
7) Fry both side. 
My take: Eggplant and giniling are oil frenzy. I should have armoured myself against all the talsik ng mantika from the pan. Also eggplant absorbs oil a lot. 
Tips: Use paper towel to absorb the oil from the omelette. Toyo-Suka-Bawang mixture as sawsawan is the most suited dip for this. One of my officemates suggested to asked your suking barbeque-han to grill the eggplant to save you the hassle. My eggplants are gas grilled, btw.
The verdict: It was a hit both with Mr. M. and in the office (the next day). I was not even able to take a picture because they didn't give me the chance. And most of all, I was able to finish half of the eggplant.hehe

05 May 2013

Buffet at Yakimix, Trinoma

Yakimix is at the least of my list for food to try because 1) Not really a fan of Japanese cuisine; and 2) I find it expensive considering I will be the one to cook. Lol But since someone was willing to shoulder 60% of its buffet price, I grabbed it right away.

My highschool friend Reythiel was home from Qatar, she is Master E.’s godmother. She asked me to meet her to hand me her gift for E.. Since she’s back, might as well invite other friends for a mini get-together. Yakimix in Trinoma (4th Level near Cinema) was our chosen spot to dine and chit chat.

I heard that Yakimix often has long lines, so we sent a friend ahead of us to line for the group. She was already seated when we arrived there. Yakimix in Trinoma was quiet huge, with 3 rows of buffet spread. The 1st row, was for raw meats. The 2nd was cooked foods, the 3rd for salads, soups and others. There was also a separate table for dessert. Drinks were also free-flowing and included in the buffet price of P620.

I chose the ready to eat foods and left the cooking on the smokeless grill to the girls.

My take: I think this was my 1st Japanese food sample. I was surprised that the foods were on the spicy side, which falls in my criteria. Their buffet spread was somehow extensive too. I just noticed that they were slow in refilling food especially those of the crowd’s favorite like tempura.
Tip: Make reservations.
The verdict: Yakimix is a good choice if you’re into Japanese food.