This post existed two months ago, but my site was hacked and my host wasn’t able to back my data up until this point. Kat, a reader, pointed out that my data was still up on my RSS feed, so I copied my text and filched all my pictures—again—from Flicker, which I thank the Lord for existing.
I honestly think this may have affected my desire~* to update this blog, but we can’t do anything about that now, so I’m moving forward. :)
These updates are getting done so slowly. I think that the thing I DO NOT LIKE about traveling is picking out the photos. I love taking pictures and actually having footage, but it’s just the picking of the photos that drives me up the wall. I know that traveling doesn’t “require” photography, but I like having photos and videos to remember trips by. :)
In any case, let me show you our fourth day in Japan! But first, a random photo I forgot to post the last time:
“Santos” — A reflection in one of the shops in the Namba area. OK, moving on—
My travel buddies. :)
Isa said, “Hey Carina, o! Look, makeup!” So mean. :(
We left Hostel 64 (luvvvv of my hostel life) for Kyoto! We took the Keihan Line, instead of the JR Line because the hostel we were staying at in Kyoto is nearer a station on the Keihan Line. Thanks to Hostel 64, who pointed this out to us! The trip to Kyoto from Osaka was under ¥500. I can’t remember exactly how much but it wasn’t a scary price at all.
The train was a bit packed, however, so for the duration of a little over half an hour, we were jostling inside a full train car, standing up with bags and trolleys.
I can’t explain how wonderful it feels like, stepping out of a train station into a road next to a river, dotted with cherry blossom trees. :)
In case you don’t follow me on Twitter or Instagram, I just got back from Japan! I went with Sarie, Isa, and Barby, and we explored Osaka and Kyoto. We were also there for the sakura festival, which was magical to say the least. Sarie had been to Osaka a long time ago, but it was the first time for the rest of us.
My beautiful best friends. :)
Airline silliness with Sarie.
Weak attempt at funniness.
Kansai Airport! Hello, Osaka!
This is going to be a long post, so click-through if you want to see! :) Inside: Kuromon Market, Cat Cafe, All-You-Can-Eat Yakiniku
A brief update on the awesome lunch we had at Spiral, thanks to the Manila Food and Wine Festival. I’m not really big on buffets, unless it’s a breakfast buffet. I don’t really know why. I think it’s because I’ve had so many bad experiences where I tend to overeat “to make the most out of it,” and I just end up feeling bloated and horrible.
This time around, though, I was careful not to stuff my face with food and just eat carefully-selected items that I knew I would enjoy even a little bit. Sarie and I went to Sofitel for lunch on a Monday, which was the last day for their promo in partnership with MFWF. I had some kind of stomach virus the week before (I suspected amoebeasis) and was only able to get well that Monday, which I felt was kind of serendipitous, but anyway. If you’re curious about the Celebrity Chef Food Truck Battle, head on over to Sarie’s post.
Being the cheese fiends that we are, we started with the cheese room. Yep, they had a cheese room!
Oh, bresaola, we meet again.
My cheese plate. I grabbed an assortment of cheeses and meat. They had reblochon (!), but their gouda was my favorite. I also added a cracker, some snails, figs, and almonds for good measure.
Here’s a piece of steak and a piece of lamb. It was a pity that they didn’t save the drippings for some sort of sauce, but the pepper salt and herb salt were a nice addition to the meat.
We were seated by the spiral staircase and honestly had a pretty good view of the entire place. I hadn’t been back here in a long time (maybe three years?) so it was nice to see how they renovated and fixed it up. The layout is better than I remembered!
Beautiful oven where they bake their thin crust pizza. I didn’t get a chance to taste these, as I was very overwhelmed with the food selection, but the pizza looked a lot like the ones we had in Italy. :)
Lamb and ham. Sarie tasted the lamb, but I was too full by the time she got a slice that I didn’t get to taste it.
Sarie’s beautiful Indian plate. This selection was alright. The papadum was my favorite of the bunch.
More flavored salts!
And, I couldn’t not pass by the Japanese station. We both had teppanyaki, though Sarie opted for some yakitori while I got myself some tempura. I love mixing my own tempura sauce because I like putting tons of ginger for that lovely little kick.
Anyway, a big thanks to Maui and the MFWF team for sponsoring our lunch. Again, if you’re interested to read about the Celebrity Chef Food Truck Battle, head on over to Sarie’s post. I hope they do this again some time soon, as I really wanted to see the food truck battle, and they offered some really good deals, especially for people like Sarie and me who love eating out.
Ack, apologies that I didn’t have this up sooner. I was (or, still am) nursing a stomach bug. No cause for alarm—I think I’m on the mend, just in time for the Manila Food & Wine Festival this weekend!
This four-day event (Feb 22 to 25), divided into four parts, is the perfect weekend escape for food lovers. The MFWF starts off with a Food Truck Cook-Off on Friday, February 22, at the SM Mall of Asia grounds. It will feature creative concoctions of some of the country’s biggest celebrity chefs like Robby Goco (who will be serving Porchetta: the Italian Lechon) and Sau del Rosario (Jumbo Dumplings with Fried Rice). The trucks start serving at 5PM and end at midnight.
For the duration of the MFWF, over a hundred participating restaurants are giving amazing deals–up to 50% off—on their meals. Click here for all the participating restaurants, to see if anything tickles your fancy.
There are also Culinary Classes scheduled across the entire festival (which means you can take more than one!). I’m taking a class called “From Flabs to Abs” by Nadine Tengco so I can learn more about 350-calorie meals. Other classes include artisanal ice cream and French macarons. Click here to learn more about the offered classes.
The last part of the MFWF is a Gala Dinner featuring a five-course meal by Chefs Par Excellance Paul Lenz, Area Executive Chef, Makati Shangri-La Manila and Bruce Lim of the Asian Food Channel. This specially created menu will use locally produced ingredients from small organic farms through out the Philippines.
Now, onto the Awesome Part, I’m giving away 2 Manila Food and Wine Festival Shirts and 1 Food Truck Festival Pass.
Post a comment stating your favorite food. Please use a valid email address as it will be used to contact you if you win.
You may enter more than once, but be sure to make each comment different. :) Winners will be announced and contacted tomorrow, Feb 21. Good luck!
If you want to book tickets on your own or for the other events, click here.
Contest is closed.
Full Disclosure: This post was sponsored.
I first tried Yabu about a year ago, and I’m happy to report that the quality has stayed the same between then and now. One difference is that they added new dishes to their menu, including salmon katsu, branding these dishes with their special brand of Katsu magic.
Yesterday, they launched three new flavors for Yabu fans to try:
- Soft Shell Crab Katsu Set
- Menchi with Cheese Katsu Set
- Menchi with Cheese Curry Katsu Set
The Soft Shell Crab Katsu Set (phew!) is comprised of two decent-sized pieces of soft-shell crab. It’s a bit oilier than the other dishes I usually get, only because soft-shell crab tends to be a bit flimsy and crispy than meaty. Never you mind, though, it’s delicious as expected.
It also comes with this magic sauce—the ponzu-layu sauce!
Ponzu is a tangy Japanese sauce. La-yu is a wonderful concoction of sesame oil and chili. Together, though, WOW.
The Menchi with Cheese Curry Katsu Set (phew! Again!) is pretty fricken’ great. Prior to the dinner, Sarie, Michelle Ayuyao, and I were puzzled at what looks like to be the trend of putting cheese in dishes that they do not normally belong to. And we saw this. But it was amazing. We get it, now.
Menchi is basically a ground meat cutlet or croquette. In this case, it’s a croquette, with cheese inside, swimming in Yabu’s standard curry. Which is already good anyway. Holy cow, this is pretty good. I like my curry “Very Hot,” but spotting a new condiment on the table, I couldn’t help but mix it with my food anyway.
Notice anything different about this La-Yu bottle? Well, I’ll tell you anyway. It’s got a red cap instead of the standard yellow-orange cap! Why mess up something already awesome, right? Wrong! You do that to make it even better.
Chili-babies swimming in la-yu! Yum.
If you haven’t already tried the appetizers in Yabu, you should really check out their Wakame, or seaweed. I know it doesn’t look like your typical nori, but it’s really good. You get some roe, too, which I like.
Sarie has a post up on Yabu as well. Go check it out, because she is a food fiend, too!
In case you haven’t already heard, there’s a new branch in Mall of Asia, which just opened today! If you live near or are around the area, you should really drop by. I love Yabu, and a bunch of people also seem to love it too. I can’t even eat in their Megamall branch on Sunday anymore. It’s just too full!
Aside from new digs at the biggest mall in the Philippines—it’s still the biggest one here, right?—they’ve got new digs up online, too! Check out Yabu’s new website:
It’s got their menu (and yummy pictures of yummy food!) and general restaurant information, but it’s also got links to blog posts and reviews, as well as a healthy dose of original content, in their new section, Journal. I loved perusing their new website.
Good job, Yabu! Now, let me settle into this enormous food coma I now have.
To shake off the feeling of displacement that I’ve illustrated here, here’s a post about where I ate yesterday. Which is: Ukokkei Ramen Ron, an almost cult-ish ramen haven for ramen nuts! It closed down for a while, but now it’s back in business, and would you believe it was both mine and Sarie‘s first time to eat there last night?
We got the Tantanmen ramen (Php 390), which is one of their more “special” items. I don’t really know what that means, but it’s not on the menu (it’s on the wall) and it sure tastes special. The broth is thick, flavorful and rich, and the noodles were superb. Sarie and I are doing splitsies now because of mutual weight gain, but the serving was more than enough. We had the gyoza as well, but it’s nothing worth noting.
The ramen, though. You must try it at some point in your life. Judging from the color of the broth, I’m thinking they used a lot of la-yu, the sesame chili concoction that I eat with everything. The waitress said it was a mix of miso and sesame, so you can imagine the potential party in your mouth.
On another note, I don’t know if it’s notable or anything, but I’m going to say it anyway. I’ve decided to try something different! No, it is not to dress in a manner that will make me more likely to be assaulted on public transport, but just to dress “better.” Of course, I don’t know if it is actually better in an objective way, but hey look—color!
My clothes are from Primark, which is a super cheap, kind of trendy apparel chain in London. I don’t normally like wearing rompers because it makes me feel like a giant baby, but I liked this one a lot, even though it takes quite a long process to um, pee. I also love this sweater, because duh, it is trés cool. My headscarf is from a super cute Etsy store, Chichi Dee, which is also based in London.
Meet my cute watch! I got it in Venice, and though I don’t normally wear watches with faces this big anymore, I am quite enamored with it. It’s by Fullspot and the idea is you can mix and match the straps and the faces to suit your personality and mood. Apparently, they’ve started selling these babies in RONAC last month, so I have to check out which colors I can get from here in Manila, because I only got one other watch strap (a grey-white). I checked the price point and it doesn’t seem to be that big of a difference. I’ve got my eye on some of the animal print faces.
For kicks, Sarie has captured how I apparently look like when we eat together:
And to end, please please please grab a copy of the October issue of both Rogue and Preview, on account of well, me!
Preview has included me in their Creative It List for 2012, which I think was awfully nice of them. :) The photo was taken by Everywhere We Shoot, and the words were written by the wonderful Karen Bolilia. Thanks to both of you, as well as the Preview editors and the rest of the Preview team.
And! My first contribution to Rogue’s Columns section, which is on the Golden Age of Television and why we (the Philippines) are not a part of it. Thank you to Clinton Palanca for helping me out on this one. Snaps for Paulina Ortega, my seatmate for all of (college) eternity, for putting my words into pictures.
I would appreciate it if you guys grabbed a copy of these issues because they are both quite special things to me. That said, Arrivederci! I shall see you all in my next installment of The Great European Backlog of 2012.