Food Post: Brown’s Gourmet Cafe

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Celebration lunch at Brown’s Gourmet Cafe.

AJ and I were invited to try out selected food establishments at The Portal and The Hub, two (2) of newest dining/retail zones to open at Greenfield District.

I’ve not checked out this place until last Saturday, so imagine my surprise when a saw a new city brimming with excitement and lots of potential!

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The Portal is a well-planned retail zone at Greenfield District with various cafes, bars, dining establishments and specialty stores surrounding the area with an open green space in the middle, while The Hub is Greenfield District’s newest dining strip.

Brown’s Gourmet Cafe, one of the new restaurants to open at The Hub, had its soft opening and we were among the few bloggers invited to try it out.

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You will seriously love this place with its loft-type setting.  The extra floor on top provides a separate dining area for guests who prefer an intimate or small celebrations.

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And now, the food:

Chili-Calamansi Salad + Candied Nuts (P135.00).  It’s good for sharing, so share!

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Mushroom + Spinach Croquette (P90.00).  You might not want to share this (because masarap talaga sya) so if you’re dining in group, better make an extra order of this.

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Roasted Tomato Pasta (P165.00).  You had me at your perfectly al dente pasta noodles.

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Brown’s famous roasted chicken with Mac and Cheese + Parmesan Potatoes (P249 for half-chicken).  A house specialty.

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The thirst quenchers:  Brown’s mixed fruit shakes (P110.00 each).  Mine was the green one, which is a mix of Basil + Ginger.  Other flavors available are Mango + Mint (in yellow) and Mixed Berry (in red).

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If you are a fan of Japanese Omelet Rice (like me!), then you just have to try Brown’s omelet rice meals (called OMM Rice).  There are different flavors to choose from, but all of which are guaranteed to please your taste buds!

My favorite: Beef Bulgogi Omelet Rice  (P170.00), with sirloin beef, Brown’s homemade sauce, leeks and carrots.

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Ang nakaka-intriga at nakaka-adik:  Smoked Fish + Olives Omelet Rice (P155.00).

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We capped our hearty lunch with Brown’s signature desserts:  Deep Fried Cookie Dough (P95.00) and Churros + Blonde Mocha (P90,00).

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Don’t be fooled by the squid ball appearance of their deep fried cookie dough…

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…because inside each ball of this chewy cookie is a gooey chocolate chunk that has a rich taste of cacao.  Truly enjoyable!  An explosion of goodness, I must say!

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Don’t leave Brown’s Gourmet Cafe without trying this cookie dough!

More on our food trip around Greenfield District in my next blog post! I will feature a restaurant that serves authentic Persian cuisine, then a cute Korean-French patisserie for that sweet ending.

Can’t express enough here how excited I am to go back to these establishments, this time to share good food with my family and friends, and also the good cheer of Christmas!

Are you all ready for Christmas, folks?

 

Food Post: Triple O’s by White Spot Burger

Anybody here tried the Triple O’s (by White Spot) burger at SM Aura?  How did you find it?  Did you like it?

You must be wondering why I am asking these questions, when I am obviously writing a food review about it.

Well, I wanted to see if I’m the only one here who wasn’t impressed with the burgers.  They looked very interesting in the menu; we didn’t mind at all the hefty price to taste the “sauciest, juiciest, tastiest best-est burgers around“. But they turned out to be ordinary.

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(Forgive the Star Lord mask; it belongs to my nephew Liam who was with us at that time.)

I had the Bacon Cheddar burger combo (P380.00) while AJ ordered the Original with Cheese combo (P330.00).

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The burgers were so big, napa-“Wow!talaga ako when I saw them.  But for some reason, the dill pickles which should be on top of our burgers (as shown in the flyer above and menu board below) were absent.  Oh well, baka sa picture lang talaga yun or naubos na.  I didn’t bother asking the staff anymore ‘cos it’s not a big deal naman.

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Here’s my super big Triple O’s Bacon Cheddar Burger:

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Verdict:  The bun is soft and fresh, and the melted cheddar cheese is really good.  But the bacon and burger patty left something to be desired, IMO.  I don’t know if that’s just me, or maybe I had different expectations for this burger.

I was actually thinking that it’ll match TGI Friday’s Bacon Cheeseburger which, at P415.00, already has grilled beef patty, melted Colby cheese and really crispy and tasty bacon.  And oh, I could taste the pickles here! May fries on the side rin, so sulit na sulit na pala yung extra P115.00 that I pay. (Triple O’s a la cart Bacon Cheddar burger is priced at P300.00).

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But the better (and cheaper) option would be Wendy’s Baconator!  Two quarter-pound beef patties, two slices of American cheese and six strips of smoked bacon all served fresh in a toasted premium Kaiser bun – for a price not higher than P250.00!

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Hmmm….now that’s yummeee!!!

Overall, I found Triple O’s burger really generous in size but it lacks flavor.  Parang basic bacon cheeseburger lang with extra big patty and extra big burger bun.  Nothing’s spectacular with this one, sorry.

 

Easy and Yummy: Bistro’s E-GC for the Holidays

Bistro finally has the perfect gift for the holidays!

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Introducing the Bistro E-GC and Premiere Card! Your fool-proof gift this holidays for your friends and loved ones.

Just choose the amount you wanna give, click on it, and send. Sending your gift has never been this easy and yummy!

You can use the E-GC and Premiere Card at all Bistro Concept restaurants.

For more details, head on to http://giftaway.ph/thebistrogroup

Disclaimer:

This is press release (PR) that I am sharing with everyone because I am a fan of Bistro Group restaurants like TGIFriday’s, Bulgogi Brothers and Watami (click on the links for my food/restaurant reviews!).  To be clear, I was not compensated for this post.   

 

Enamel Pendants by Radek Aljancic

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If you’ve been following my blog long enough, you’ll know that I’m fascinated with enamel faith pendants.  I was lucky to have caught the tail end of Ms. Daphne Osena-Paez jewelry flash sale in March last year and bought her custom-made St.Paul faith pendant.

Then I chanced upon the website of this European artist where Ms. Daphne sources some of her enamel pendants.  It was truly a blessing!  I shared this discovery in my blog, and learned that there were a lot of ladies out there who wishes to own an enamel faith pendant too.

And this is exactly what I love about blogging.  It connects me to people who share the same interests that I have.  I took notes of those who have expressed interest in ordering from the same supplier, so that I can pool our orders together and then divide the shipping fee among ourselves.  That was the plan.

However, it took a good while before I was able to arrange the group purchase.  I got busy at work and at other things, that’s why.  But last October, me and the ladies finally did it: we placed our orders through the owner himself – Mr. Radek.

All it took was a few emails and our orders were sealed.  What I wasn’t prepared for was my bill from PayPal hehe!  All in all, I ordered 9 enamel pendants for 5 of us in the group.  I’m very grateful to have understanding ‘group mates’ who understood it when I said that I need to pay na my credit card hehe!  Takot k’se ako sa malalaking bills.

Our orders took about 3 weeks to be processed before they were shipped to Manila.  We also opted for a door-to-door delivery via DHL, and agreed to split the shipping fee equally.

Aside from the shipping fee (from Czech Republic to Manila), we paid duties and taxes through DHL.  No need to deal with Customs here; DHL will do it for you.

I can’t tell you how happy I was when I received our enamel pendants last week!  All were painted by hand using ceramic colorants and squirrel hair brushes, then fired in a kiln to shine.

Here they are up close for you and me to marvel at.  Just look at those flawless details!

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P.S.  I included my St. Paul pendant in the ‘photo shoot’ (it’s in the middle) for comparison. This particular one is not from Radek’s shop. I love Ms. Daphne’s colonial-inspired frame, made of 14k yellow gold, which gave it an ornate appeal without losing at all the spiritual meaning of the painted iconography.

Some of us in the group ordered regular-sized pendants, while others opted for the larger medallions.  The details are more pronounced in these pendants.  From left to right:  Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Holy Family, St. Anthony and Our Lady of Guadalupe.  Can you guess which one below is mine ?  =)

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My St. Paul pendant with the other regular-sized pendants:  Our Lady of Manaoag (left) and Our Lady of Perpetual Help (right).

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The back of each pendant has the engraving “Ora pro nobis!” which is latin for “Pray for us!”.

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Just to show you how precise the details were on the pendants, here’s a side-by-side picture of Our Lady of Perpetual Help – in large medallion (left) and regular size (right).  Again, they were painted by hand.  The colors, measurements, proportions and important details of the miniature paintings are intact in both sizes.  Ang galing diba?  You are assured of the same quality of the painting whether you are getting the bigger or smaller pendant.

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Each pendant comes with a certificate from Radek Aljancic, and is stored in individual boxes.

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Radek uses solid 14k yellow gold for the frames.  He has both simple and ornate frames that you can choose from.  The price, of course, will vary according to the amount of gold used.

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Let me thank again the ladies who joined me in this group purchase plan (that was thankfully hassle-free from start to finish): my best friend Pia, Ate Jane, Tala and Mary An (who was introduced to me by Ms. Ellen).

And a BIG thank you to Mr. Radek for being patient with my questions, keeping me updated with the status of our orders and most of all, for sharing with us this rare gift of painting miniature religious icons on enameled pendants.  They are truly precious.

enamel pendants - ceramic jewels with patron saints, Madonnas

Website:  http://www.aljancic.com/

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And now, here’s a little something for those who wishes to own one of Radek’s delicately-painted miniature pendant:  I will be putting one enamel faith pendant up for bid!

How’s that as a good start to your week?  =)

I will be giving the details anytime this week so stay tuned!

ANNOUNCEMENT:

Sorry to disappoint everyone but I decided not to push through with the bidding.  I just can’t let go of the enamel pendant that I’m supposed to sell!

Those interested to join our next group buy (‘cos there’ll be another one, I’m sure of it!) can send me an email for the details.

Thanks for understanding.

 

Enjoying Life’s Little Pleasures at Magnum Manila

Would you believe that AJ and I visited Magnum Cafe 3x last month?  Parang sabik lang sa ice cream, ano?  Hehe!

The first time we were, we tried not only their celebrated dessert menu but their savory dishes as well.  I felt like being transported to one of the scenes in Chocolat, where Vianne prepared a full course menu for Armande’s birthday, and there were chocolates in every dish. That’s how it was done at Magnum Cafe too – everything has chocolate in them  =)    And they are all fantastic!

For the appetizer, we ordered the Cajun Spiced Chicken Poppers (Php 180.00). It is buttermilk brined chicken fillets glazed with spiced honey and white bacon gravy.  You will find a surprise layer of melted rich belgian chocolate under the chicken poppers.   This one’s so good you have to try it.

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AJ and I shared in this bestseller dish, the Magnum Bolognese (Php 300.00).  Slow simmered minced meat with pomodoro, finished with Belgian chocolate shavings.  There’s nothing not to love about this pasta dish.  The chocolate shavings added an interesting sweet and smooth taste to the rich pomodoro sauce.

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Another must-try is the Magnum Burger (Php 400.00) which is one of the best-tasting Wagyu burgers we’ve tried.  1/3 pound Wagyu patty seared and topped with melted cheddar cheese, lettuce and tomato.  It comes with potato fries on the side.

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For dessert, we shared in this Cookie Dough Skillet (Php 300) which is warm chocolate chip cookie dough topped with two vanilla Magnum bars, dark chocolate and chopped pecans.  It goes perfectly well with black coffee!  Sarap!

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Magnum Cafe’s coffee is none other than the luxury Allo Malongo from France.

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On my mom’s birthday, we again found ourselves at Magnum Cafe, this time with my family who wanted to try Magnum Cafe’s pleasure eats themselves.  They found the Cookie Dough Skillet a bit too sweet, but absolutely loved Death by Chocolate (Php 250) which is deep dark chocolate lava cake and chocolate truffle Magnum topped with brownie pieces and chocolate crisp pearls.  This one tastes so heavenly, a total opposite of its name hehe!

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My nephew Liam was in Manila at that time, and had a great time making his own Magnum ice cream (Php 100.00) from the Magnum ice cream bar!

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This little boy, who is a big ice cream fan, couldn’t get enough of Magnum ice cream and requested his mom and dad to bring him back there.

So we were there again 2 days later to also celebrate Juvvy’s birthday!   This time, AJ and I ordered Magnum Waffle Crisp Duo (Php 250).  They’re vanilla Magnum bars sandwiched by crispy-thin waffles half-dipped in Belgian chocolate and sprinkled with almonds and pistachios.

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Since it was Juvvy’s birthday, Magnum Cafe surprised her with this rainbow cake with Magnum bar!

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I don’t know what happened here and why Juvvy became Jubby haha!  Parang jubby-jubby-joo, hehehe!

What Liam did with the rainbow cake:

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Liam to his mommy: “Mommy, the ice cream is baliktad“.

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Magnum Cafe truly shines in bringing pleasure to its customers – ice cream fans or not.  When here, one will really feel that life’s little pleasures indeed remain alive long after being enjoyed.

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Magnum Cafe Manila  |  SM Aura Skypark Dining  |  www.magnum.com.ph