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Saturday, July 7, 2018

Pho 2000 in Ho Chi Minh City

During our short trip at Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam, we got to dine at one of the popular pho restaurants in the city: Pho 2000 across Ben Thanh Market. 

We went to the original Pho 2000, which is located above Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. The other branch is located a block away from the original branch. 

What made Pho 2000 popular is because former U.S. President Bill Clinton dined at the restaurant back in 2000. In fact, there's a framed photo of Clinton's visit on the wall and the exact table where he dined with his daughter was market with the dishes they had during the visit.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Rustic Mornings by Isabelo

Six years ago, I went to Isabelo Garden Restaurant for one of the most memorable dinners I ever had. On the same year, Portia Dee Baluyut (the owner) opened Rustic Mornings to cater to walk-in customers during the day while keeping Isabelo Garden open for dinner and for reservations only.  Eventually, the owner closed Isabelo Garden and focused on Rustic Mornings.

I remember that the garden looked almost magical at night, but it looks just as majestic during the day. My friends and I got seated in the outdoor area, but there's an indoor area if you prefer a more private space to dine. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2018


I wish I know the exact words to describe how I felt when I heard the news that you were gone. I keep on wishing that it was a horrible joke, but at the same time, I have to accept the truth. 

Tony, why?

I cannot remember when I started watching your shows, but I remember you drinking a bottle of San Miguel Pale Pilsen while eating sizzling sisig in Pampanga and lechon in Cebu. On how I badly wish that I can take Augusto's place. 

In a world where the most mediocre people disguise themselves as celebrities when all they can do is use Photoshop and Snapchat filters heavily, you showed that even the most admired people have flaws. In fact, that is exactly what you did until the end. 

Although I don't agree to everything you say, I admire your courage in calling things as you see them, not caring about going against the grain or calling bullshit on outrageous food trends. 

I can still see how your eyes twinkled when you finally met your culinary hero, Chef Paul Bocuse. At one time, you'd eat the finest dishes with the most renowned chefs in France and you'd be cooking food for your crew while sailing on a boat in the middle of Borneo the next. 

One day, you're walking the streets of New York and be somewhere in Congo the next. I could imagine how fulfilling your job was, that I wished that I could have your career. Didn't I realize the exhaustion and the pressure that comes with the work you did. Or the danger. Or the lack of stability in the other aspects of your life due to being on the road most of the time. 

Tony, I wish I knew you knew how you inspired foodies and travelers like me to go see the world. 

I wish you knew how you inspired me to experience the world and to speak my own truth. 

Tony, thank you for shining your light on the world when you are stuck in the darkness. 

Your stories will continue to live on. 

Photo from alux.com

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Dinner at Mamou 3.0

My first attempt to dine at Mamou 3.0 wasn't successful: my friend who called for reservations received a confusing text message that was supposed to ask us if we wanted to reserve for the first or second sitting for dinner. Long story short, we went to another restaurant serving ribs instead. 

This second attempt was a better experience, although I wasn't sure if my friends walked in or reserved for a table beforehand. 

We started with the famous Lorenzo's Truffle Cream Pasta (Php 395). We followed it with Grilled Salmon Steak (Php 595) and a single Angus Ribeye USDA Prime Grade Steak (Php 1990). The steak comes with two choices of sides. We had white steak rice and baked mashed potatoes for our sides. 

Lorenzo's Truffle Cream Pasta

I found Lorenzo's Truffle Cream Pasta delicious but I prefer a creamier pasta with a stronger truffle flavor. However, I love that it the pasta they use is spaghettini, because I like thin pasta. 

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Elait: Rolled Ice Cream with a Heart

When I went back to Manila for vacation, I was looking forward to try not only restaurants that I haven't visited before, but also food stalls that serve interesting food. And one type of food that I'm always interested in is ice cream. That's why when I saw Elait, it wasn't difficult to choose this place to eat dessert. 

I have a deep appreciation for made-to-order ice cream (such as the now-closed Kool Kids Ice Cream), and Elait does exactly that and more. Aside from creating rolled ice cream from scratch, Elait creates social impact by employing people from the deaf community in the country. In fact, there are sign language guides in the shop to help you communicate with the staff properly. 

Learn sign language while waiting for your ice cream :)

Friday, May 18, 2018

Vanderlust Bistro + Patisserie in Tomas Morato

My friend Lovelee and I met up for a cozy dinner at Vanderlust Bistro + Patisserie in Tomas Morato area. This small restaurant was inspired by the owners' travels to Europe, hence the diverse European offerings - from savory dishes to the desserts. 

The ground floor serves as the bar and cafe while the mezzanine floor is mostly used as the dining area. While waiting for my friend, I ordered a Latte (Php 120 for piccolo, Php 140 for medio). 


As soon as my friend arrived, we ordered appetizers: Arancini Al Margherita (Php 138 for 3 pcs, Php 248 for 6 pcs) and Jamon Serrano Croquettes (Php 138 for 4 pcs, Php 248 for 8 pcs). 

Arancini Al Margherita

Thursday, April 26, 2018

The French Crepe Company + Wanderlust Ice Cream in Los Angeles

During my short trip to California, my friend and I drove to Los Angeles for a weekend trip. This was my first time in L.A. so I was excited to do tourist stuff. Fortunately, I was able to try to visit some foodie spots in between. 

The Grove in LA
After doing an early morning trek to the Griffith Observatory, we went to The Grove at Farmers
Market for brunch. The Grove is an outdoor mall and a popular tourist destination because it is also the same location as the original Farmer's Market. We walked around Farmer's Market and ended up getting brunch at The French Crepe Company in the Farmer's Market, partly because it wasn't as crowded as the other food stalls and also because most of the staff are Filipino. :)

Beef Stroganoff Savory Crepe
Waffle Sorbonne
I ordered a Beef Stroganoff Savory Crepe ($11) with Caffe Latte ($3.40), while my friend got a Waffle Sorbonne ($9), and we both ordered extra bacon.

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