Pino Resto Bar

Before the lazy virus attacks me again, I am maximizing the things which I wanted to write about for some days now. 
 
There is a fairly familiar resto which was introduced to me by a close friend several years ago. This is where we used to hang out whenever we had heartaches and problems to mull over. 
 
The place is not only cozy, it actually served really, really good food. Their bagnet menu is to die for. And yeah, the giant margaritas!
 

Anyway, back to this cozy little haven. The place is called Pino Resto Bar. The first branch is located in Malingap St., Teachers’ Village, Quezon City. I haven’t been there for a long time though ever since my friend left the area. 

Last week, I met with a friend in Makati and we had lunch. Much to my surprise, Pino has finally opened a branch in Jupiter Street! Happiness! 
 
They are actually in their “soft opening” week but there were already a lot of people. There is an area in the restaurant, called Pipino, where only vegetarian stuff is being served — we did not want to eat there. Haha!
 

Adjacent to the main restaurant is Pipino where only vegetarian food is served.

Adjacent to the main restaurant is Pipino where only vegetarian food is served.

 

 

One wall is covered with cute doodles. I wonder if WeeWillDoodle was the one who created it.
 
I was checking out what was new on the menu and I found this. Coffee-crusted Beef Belly. Doesn’t that sound appetizing? For people like me who love steak and coffee, you are in for a yummy treat. 
 

It just melts in your mouth! Two thumbs-up!

It just melts in your mouth! Two thumbs-up!

 

And this best-seller of course, Bagnet with Bagoong.

And this best-seller of course, Bagnet with Bagoong.

So if you are looking for somewhere new to eat in Makati (or if you haven’t been to this place in Quezon City yet), visit Pino and I am pretty sure you will love it!

Hmm.. coffee-crusted beef belly. 
 
Happy eating!

Basix, Dusit Thani Manila

I am not a foodie. However, I like certain kinds of food – steaks, pork, Japanese food and despite the fact that it is not good for me, oysters.
 

Last week, I got invited to a victory party and they were hosting it in Dusit Thani Manila. And once again, Basix did not disappoint. 

Basix does not only serve these favorites I mentioned above, they also offer a wide variety of desserts for any of you who has a sweet tooth. 

 

Maguro sashimi always make my day. Ahh, and miso too!

Maguro sashimi always make my day. Ahh, and miso too!

 

The bad thing about me and buffet is that we really do not bring out the best in each other. I can only accommodate at the maximum, hmm, three tiny plates (and that already includes dessert!). So it’s actually sayang. Oh well.

 
Here are some info about Basix, Dusit Thani Manila — 
 
T: +63 (2) 238 8888
E-mail: dtmn.basix@dusit.com
 
Opening Hours: Open daily for 24 hours
Breakfast Buffet – 6:00 am to 10:00 am
Lunch Buffet – 11:30 am to 2:30 pm
Dinner Buffet – 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm
 

 Happy eating!

Reminiscing the Ramen Experience

Last February, I was able to visit Japan for the first time. Together with some media friends, we visited the CP+ expo in Yokohama (more on the trip in the next posts). 

Before heading to Yokohama though, we visited this ramen place in Dazaifu in Fukuoka. I have never really liked noodles and I was a little bit disappointed when I knew that this was lunch already. The place was in a very small area. It was very surprising though that people literally were making a beeline outside of this restaurant!


We arrived inside and sat at the noodle bar which faced their kitchen. Since we did not know any Japanese and the waitress did not know any English, we communicated through sign language. She just asked us to choose the kind of noodles and the spiciness that we want and point our option on a menu board that she was holding (the noodles were categorized into stiff, soft, or something like that).  After that, she disappeared. 


All the Japanese variations plastered on the wall. Of course, we had no idea what they meant.

All the Japanese variations plastered on the wall. Of course, we had no idea what they meant.

   
After several minutes, this was presented.

The Ultimate Ramen. Dazaifu, Fukuoka Prefecture.

The Ultimate Ramen. Dazaifu, Fukuoka Prefecture.


It was the best noodles I have ever tasted! This is not an exaggeration because all of the guests were very satisfied and happy after that lunch. Hmmm… ramen.


I keep on thinking if it was just comforting to eat noodles in the middle of such a cold weather that’s why we enjoyed it so much. Or it was just meant to be that me and the ultimate ramen had to meet.


Ten months after, me, Ronald, Chonx and Jason (together with Aby) reunited to begin the search for a replicate ramen experience here in the metro. Jason recommended this very controversial ramen house in 811 Arnaiz Avenue, Pasay Road — the Ukkokei Ramen House.


Much to my stomach’s dismay, we were waitlisted — number five to be exact. We waited for around twenty minutes to be accommodated. Upon surveying the place, it was somewhat similar to the authentic restaurants in Japan. Good start!


Chonx, me, Aby, Ronald and Jason

Chonx, me, Aby, Ronald and Jason

This was so exciting! There we were, with two agendas in mind: (1) to test if this ramen house can match the “ultimate ramen” we tasted in Japan and (2) to check out if the place was worthy for the hype it was getting. (This place was by the way closed down last August and just reopened last September).

I ordered Ukkokei Miso Chashu. There were several ramen “concoctions” to choose from. Jason got the specialty of the house, the Tan Tan Men (hopefully this is the name, LOL; if I am not mistaken) while the rest ordered the Miso Chashu with Buttercorn and the Curry Ramen.


Ukkokei Miso Chashu

Ukkokei Miso Chashu

 

Our orders came almost immediately. The verdict — to quote Jason — “Believe the hype” —  this could be the local version of THE ULTIMATE RAMEN! Now, I have tried several ramen from Little Tokyo located at Pasong Tamo where my office previously was located and then, the Ramen Bar of course, but this one from Ukkokei is probably the best that I have ever tasted 🙂 


And the verdict, Mr. Ninja?

And the verdict, Mr. Ninja?

So there you go. If you have some cravings for authentic Japanese ramen, this could be it. Ukkokei does not allow reservations so I am afraid that you could not escape THE line when you go there especially during dinner time. 


But as they always say, good stuff is worth the wait! What do you think? 

The Coron Island Tour Part II

Coron / Busuanga has become one of my earmarked vacation places. The crystal clear waters, the flourishing flora and fauna — it is really a great place to relax. I have previously blogged about the first part of our Coron Island Tour which happened on the second day of our trip. For the first part of this tour, please click here.

 
Our next stop was the seven islands known as the Siete Pecados. I have a vague memory of these islands; I remember back in 2000, when ship travel was still the more common way of transport from Bacolod to Manila, this was included in the route and I often counted these seven islands.
 
According to Andrew, our tour guide, Siete Pecados means seven sisters. Based on a legend, there were seven sisters who left home on a stormy night and were never found.  Their family seached and searched to no avail. One day, their parents prayed to the gods to let them see their daughters once again. Days after, these seven islands sprouted out of nowhere. 
 
So that’s how the story unfolded and became part of the local history.
 
Anyway, going back to the trip — the following pictures portray the seven islands. I wasn’t able to bring a camera with a lens that is wide enough to take a picture of all the seven islands together so please bear with me.
 

 
We stopped here for a moment and got a chance to swim with the fishes. This time around, it was a really pretty marine sight. These shots were taken by a Canon underwater camera – PowerShot D20.
Coron
 
After some minutes of snorkeling, we headed back to the town and dropped by Maquinit Hot Springs. I was actually very hesitant at first to take a dip because the water was extremely hot, but hey, since I was there already…
 
Unlike other hot springs I know, this one has a more “mellow” sulfuric smell. While my husband enjoyed his little hydrotherapy, I just stayed for a few minutes and got out because I could not stand the temperature. 
 
After this pit stop, we then visited the souvenir shop before heading back to the island We finished at around 4:30 PM. I haven’t bought anything from the souvenir shop though Edzel got himself some local cashew nuts to bring back to Manila. 
 
It was a very exciting and adventurous day. I wish I could have gone to the other places as well. In any case, it just makes me look forward to visit Coron once again. 

The Coron Island Tour Part I

“The newt play the flute, The carp play the harp, The plaice play the bass, And they soundin’ sharp The bass play the brass, The chub play the tub, The fluke is the duke of soul. The ray he can play, The ling’s on the strings, The trout’s rocking out, The blackfish she sings, The smelt and the sprat, They know where it’s at, And oh, that blowfish blow! Ha-ha” – Sebastian, The Little Mermaid

A lot of people who I have talked to seemed to be pretty curious with our Coron trip. I think people have been wanting to go but some might have thought that Coron is only for divers because it is, in fact, very popular with its wreck and reefs dive spots. Truth be told, this was also my hesitation at first, but to set the record straight, this island is for everyone who wants to relax and have a good time. For beach-lovers, this place is heaven.
 
On our second day at Coron, we have decided to go on an island tour. It was only practical for us to get the package offered by El Rio. The itinerary was: Barracuda Lake, Kayangan (for some, it’s Cayangan) Lake, Siete Pecados and Maquinit Hot Springs. Looking at several tours offered by the resort, there still seems to be a lot of places which we could have gone to such as the Calauit Safari Farm, Culion and several other islands. But due to lack of time, we settled with the Coron Loop Tour instead.

Boats for the tours leave the Coron wharf. There are several tours leaving towards the different scenic spots the whole day.

Our lovable certified tour guide, Andrew of El Rio.

Our lovable certified tour guide, Andrew of El Rio.

Our first stop was Barracuda Lake. They said that this lake was inhabited by barracudas before, thus the name. There was nothing much to do here except enjoy its beautiful waters and the surrounding sceneries. This place though would be very enticing for divers.

Barracuda Lake.

Barracuda Lake.

Limestone formations under the water.

Limestone formations under the water.

Andrew shot this one of me and my husband. He took this with a Canon PowerShot D20.

Andrew shot this one of me and my husband. He took this with a Canon PowerShot D20.

I took this shot of the divers frolicking below.

I took this shot of the divers frolicking below.

After Barracuda Lake, we moved to Kayangan Lake (Cayangan). We trekked for several minutes before we arrived at this enclosed beauty. This is where our tour guide set up our lunch also.
 

The trek to Kayangan Lake.

The trek to Kayangan Lake.


This place is so pretty. You can snorkel here but diving is not allowed.

This place is so pretty. You can snorkel here but diving is not allowed.


The view from the top

The view from the top

This concludes Part I of the Coron Island Tour. Up next, the trip to Siete Pecados and the Maquinit Hot Spring.
 
Also visit the following posts to check out the accommodations and the amenities of the resort we stayed in : Chronicling Coron, El Rio Y Mar Part I, and El Rio Y Mar Part II.