Food blog: KatsuCafe

Been wanting to try this restaurant since Ive been seeing it at the back of Bo’s coffee in Katipunan.

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It’s a really cozy place. A prefect place to be intimate and relaxed since it is pretty small. I think it can hold up to just 50 people.

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First thing that got my attention are the condiments. They gave us grind it yourself sesame seeds in a mortar and pestle which is really cute and somewhat therapeutic. They have sesame oil and that very iconic spice that is a must in every katsu joint.

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Their menu is short and concentrated on the typical Japanese food found in casual Katsu places like this. The average price of the food is about 250php per person.

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We ordered chicken katsu and pork katsu. Both look almost exactly alike. But i actually like their presentation. It costs 195php. pretty decent because it already comes with the soup and the and unlimited rice.

I just have a bit of an issue with the serving size. I always go to another Katsu place and their pork katsu is a way bigger. But hey, can’t beat the bundle of soup and unlimited though.

I’ll surely come back and try their donburi and tempura. Nomnomnom

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Food blog: Ersao

Ersao has been existent for a couple of years now. I first saw this on the UP shopping center about 5 years back. Now this about a year old branch in Marikina offers a completely different experience compared to the one i know of in UP.

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It definitely is a nice place to go to. Very cozy inside and the seats are comfortable.

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Their menu concentrates on noodle soups and rice toppings.  They also have refreshing smoothies and milk teas.

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I was really surprised by the quality of their food. We ordered 3 different noodle soups and i have to say that all of them were amazing and amazingly affordable. We had beef noodles, wanton noodles, and dumpling noodle soups. The wanton and dumplings in were amazing as i think the wrappers are freshly made on site. I’ve tested the best dumplings in Manila in Binondo and i think these would compare to that. Very soft wrappers and very mild flavored ground pork with chives inside. It was definitely a treat!

We also got a blueberry shake which is also really good. Am amazing feature of the restaurant is the condiments. They have a pretty unique tray of basil powder, curry powder and spicy dilis which is like the ordinary Chili garlic sauce but with dilis which gives it another layer of flavor. I enjoyed adding that to my noodle soup.

Would definitely eat here again. Good food and good ambience!

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Food blog: Sinangag Express

If you’re a Southie, from BF Parañaque or at least studied elementary or high school in one of the many schools there, you surely have tried to eat in this very famous tapsilogan. Since college my family and i moved North so it’s actually been years since I’ve last eaten here: yup, Sinangag Express! It’s that very lovely tapsilog and more that me and my high school friends would always go to eat dinner or lunch.

I think this is one of the very few branches up north. And since it opened in katipunan , it never failed to attract diners even if the place is a lot smaller than the ones in the south.

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The menu is the same at the most. They added a bit more like Vigan longganisa silog and Lucban longganisa silig that i have yet to try.

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This is what i came here for. Their ever famous tapsilog. I would always remember that I would have 2 orders of this. It’s so addicting. I also remember that after we graduated high school, our school principal treated us here with all the double orders. Good times!

Years ago The prices were at the 40 range and now, maybe just in the Katipunan branch the prices start at 70. Maybe it was really a long time since the last time i ate Sinangag Express. But it tastes the same. Don’t forget the vinegar and that Chili sauce that are standard condiments on every table.

Go visit! I’d certainly eat here again soon.

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The JPL blog series: The Sausage Project

There’s a new player in the street! About just a week old, The Sausage Project is catching up to the JP Laurel community as one of the most sought after food booths.

Hearing from people’s conversations, The Sausage Project is one of the popular food booths in UP during the annual Lantern Parade last December. And now, it has a regular food booth in JP Laurel.

They serve gourmet sausages in a bun for 69php and on a stick for 65php. If you’re a sausage lover, you might have eaten in Hero Sausages. And yes, The Sausage Project is the cheaper counterpart of that.

They have a selection of a number of yummy sausage. Their popular ones are Hungarian w/cheese, and beer sausage. Yes, BEER SAUSAGE! All of the sausages are jumbo in size.

Like the usual, the sausages are grilled and served in plain white bread. They leave it up to you to put the mayo, mustard and ketchup by yourself. Which I think is good. No reservations on any sauce you love.

For a cheap price, The Sausage Project is putting up much competition to the other booths around it. How I love JP Laurel’s dynamic transformation! The other streets in the area are also starting to put up a fight.

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J.P. Laurel is one of the most underrated food joints in UP Diliman. It is located near the Shopping Center along the road where the post office is on one end, and where the oval field is on the other end.

The JPL blog series: Yaki!!! Takoyaki

I would like to say that I have found the best takoyaki I have ever tasted. It is located in the middle of JP Laurel in UP Diliman: Yaki! Takoyaki

It shares an adjacent stall with the popular UniversiTea.

The prices are fair. 25php for 3 pieces and 40php for 5 pieces. And I have to say, their menu looks cute.

Their operation is very small, as also with the other stalls in JP Laurel. People would usually get a freshly cooked, warm takoyaki, which is good as compared to some takoyaki booths in the malls where I usually get the once-upon-a-time-it-was-well-cooked takoyaki. They don’t cook in large quantities but  in small ones as you can see in the picture.

Their takoyakis are colorful. Very appetizing to eat. The takoyakis are filled with veggies some shrimp and some spices. And they are drizzled beautifully with oyster sauce, mayonnaise and nori bits (we think). The flavor bursts right away. And as I compare it to the other more popular takoyaki places, this one has to be at the top. It’s full of flavor, well-cooked, and generously drizzled with sauces and more. The only thing I don’t like is that they don’t have special utensils for me to eat it with. They have ice cream spoons and toothpicks. But hey, if they’re worth eating, that won’t matter.

I say again, the best takoyaki I have ever eaten!

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J.P. Laurel is one of the most underrated food joints in UP Diliman. It is located near the Shopping Center along the road where the post office is on one end, and where the oval field is on the other end.

The JPL blog series: Lutong Bahay’s Lemon shake

This image shows a whole and a cut lemon.
Image via Wikipedia

Lutong bahay is one of the two oldest canteens in JP Laurel. They are institutions to the point that people would associate the street that is JP Laurel to LB (Lutong Bahay). Lutong Bahay is a regular student-priced canteen that serves ‘lutong bahay’ favorites as well as really tasty pansits and lumpia.

But now, we focus on what we can see outside. The fruit shakes stand.

I never get my fruit shakes here because I thought that there was a better place. But they have something that I have never seen offered in other fruit shake places in UP as well as those in the malls, considering the price. Of course they have the basics like mango, melon, papaya, watermelon and some powdered chocolate, vanilla. But just lately, as I was seeing people pass by from LB, what caught my eye was a lemon-decorated cup that made me really curious.

For 35php you get this wonderful, pretty, sweet, sour goodness that may remind us of the other more sophisticated drinks like Happy Lemon. Well, yes. It is a fresh lemon shake. I have known no other stall that offers this in UP. They even slice and seed the lemon in front of you while you wait. It is good. They managed to balance the sour lemon with the sugar and made it a wonderful fresh lemonade slush. Try!

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J.P. Laurel is one of the most underrated food joints in UP Diliman. It is located near the Shopping Center along the road where the post office is on one end, and where the oval field is on the other end.

The JPL blog series: Chicken bites

Also at the middle of the stretch of JP Laurel is another month old food stall where one can relax and have a good time while munching or devouring on comfort food.

The food stall is anonymous. But still students in and outside UP Diliman buy here occasionally because of the cozy atmosphere brought by the tables and chairs behind the stall. They serve chicken bites, can be plain chicken bites or can be served with rice, rice bowl style.

The chicken bites which we ordered without the rice looks good also considering the generous amount put on the food container. Just by itself, it already is good. They cook it fresh, putting on egg and flour mixture on small cut pieces of chicken fillet. For the sauce, they have gravy, hot sauce, ketchup, and vinegar. Go with the vinegar when eating it without rice. Go with the gravy when eating it with rice.

And since it is a nice place to hang out (we were there for about 45 mins which is impossible in carinderias except those food stalls located in outside areas). And with the adjacent Flavored Fries and another adjacent milk tea place, I can be there all day!

They also have fried liempo on a rice bowl which I should also try next time.

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J.P. Laurel is one of the most underrated food joints in UP Diliman. It is located near the Shopping Center along the road where the post office is on one end, and where the oval field is on the other end.

The JPL blog series: Laurel’s Flavored Fries

The next blog brings us to the middle of the stretch of JP Laurel where all the food stalls are about a month or 2 old. And where the stalls have names that are not catchy, some anonymous, but full of surprises and full of value for money.

It’s named Laurel’s. They have 3 flavors: Texan Barbecue, Sour Cream n Chives and Cheddar Cheese.

Fries that are not NYFD, or Potato Corner, or Mcdonalds, are usually deemed not good. But surprisingly, I would say that Flavored Fries matches NYFD, even surpassing Potato Corner. The quality of the potatoes are really good, they cut the potatoes fresh before the day starts, store it cold, and use it when needed.

And even though the put the regular fries in a disposable coffee mug, the 35php I paid for it was worth it. Since they fried the potatoes at a high temperature, the outside of the fries are crispy, but close to being soft and mushy inside. I’ve never had fries like that before. And since they are newly cooked and hot and steamy, it is such an enjoyable moment to munch on these potatoes. I enjoyed it.

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J.P. Laurel is one of the most underrated food joints in UP Diliman. It is located near the Shopping Center along the road where the post office is on one end, and where the oval field is on the other end.

The J.P. Laurel (UP Diliman) blog series: Owen’s Pasta/Salad/Burger

Since I am nearing 1000 hits in this blog, and just to share my amazement with how things are working out with this blog and my life in general, I would like to give you The J.P. Laurel blog series.

J.P. Laurel is one of the most underrated food joints in UP Diliman. It is located near the Shopping Center along the road where the post office is on one end, and where the oval field is on the other end.

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Let me start this series with the food stall nearest the Shopping Center: Owen’s.

Owen’s is one of the newest food stalls in J.P. Laurel, maybe just a month or 2 months old.

They serve pasta, and burgers. I did not notice where the salads were.

I tried one of the burgers, the Cowboy burger.

They start with their homemade burger patties, which are really good for the price. They also grilled some bell peppers to add some kick to the sandwich.

The burger is really good. And just for 40php, you get your money’s worth. The  Cowboy burger has a generous amount of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, BACON (any burger with bacon is good!), cheese, green bell peppers, and their special dressing that I never got to know what it is made of.

Believe me, the burger is good. And I would like to try the others. Ara and I tried the Jalapeno burger the other day, and it was hot! The jalapenos (i dont think they were really jalapenos) were in a special hot sauce that is not too hot and was dashed with a little bit of sweetness. It’s also good. Try it!

For 40php, this burger joint is really hot. I just wished they had more burger options. I am going to try the pastas next time. More to come!!

Food blog: Chef Laudico’s Casa Filipino

Junior MasterChef Pinoy Edition
Image via Wikipedia

Buffet? Eat-all-you-can? Most of us would think of Yakimix, Cabalen, Saisaki. But for the second to the last blow of eating before the year ends, I took my parents to Chef Laudico’s Casa Filipino at the corner of Scout Torralba and Scout Fernandez in Quezon City.

Most of us know Chef Laudico because of the show Junior Masterchef Pinoy Edition which might have contributed to a boom in his business with his wife. Casa Filipino focuses on solid Filipino dishes we like!

Their menu is as easy as this:

They have 4 buffet stations: Salads, hot appetizers, mains, desserts. I am going to show you pics of those dishes that I like the most.

Their salad station, which has 4 sides, also has 4 different appetizers to choose from. I love the Filipino veggies with the bagoong dressing. They also have lumpiang sariwa, makis on one side and the ordinary salads on the other. The Filipino veggies are to die for.

I forgot to take pics of the hot apps table, but their sisig wrap, lumpia cones are really good. The only problem, maybe true to any buffet restaurants, is the serving temperatures. Of course, some are a bit cool already.

They have around 20-30 dishes in the mains to choose from. Let me start with this ordinary basil, tomato pasta. What I like about it is that, it’s not dry at all. All the chafing dishes have convection warmers beneath them that might have done the trick. The tomatoes are sweet. I enjoyed this pasta.

The pumpkin cream soup is also good. Full of pumpkin goodness without it being too pumpkin-y in a way. Very balanced.

The pakbet is so good I can eat it alone with rice.

I’ve seen this famous Angus beef kare-kare of theirs in other blogs. I could just say wow. The beef is so tender. The sauce is creamy with a subtle peanut taste. The bagoong they use is sweet which gives the kare-kare a different attitude.

A pig will always be the star of a show! And true it is! Their lechon liempo, freshly cooked straight out of the oven and ready to serve is so good, Cebu-style! As my grandfather would say it: never eat the balat without the steam!

Their dessert table consists of a chocolate tablea fountain, fruits, cupcakes, and other pastries. The chocolate is bitter-sweet. Just the way I like it.

Two of my favorites in the dessert station are the maja blanca (top) and the suman panacotta (bottom) which is famous because of its appearance in the Junior Masterchef Pinoy Edition along with Chef Laudico’s wife as the guest chef. The suman panacotta consists of a layer of suman at the bottom and a layer of panacotta (tastes like maja blaca to me) at the top.

We really had a nice time in Casa Filipino. For the price, I would say you get value for your money. It’s the cheapest buffet restaurant that is this good I’ve known so far. This is the place where you should bring your balikbakayan relatives for them to have a taste of real Filipino food.

Happy new year everyone!