LEARN: Types of Noodles


Because of this quarantine, it seems like everyone has been enhancing their skills set. right? It may be working out, baking, yoga, social media marketing or . . . yup, cooking! And guilty as charged, I may have cooked pasta five to six times already or once a week.

Ergo, being interested to learn more about it is no surprise. (I got this from webstaurantstore website)

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DRY OR FRESH PASTA

  • Dry Pasta – It is made from flour and water. The noodles are put through a drying to process to eliminate moisture.
  • Fresh Pasta – This is made from four and eggs for extra moisture.

PASTA COLORS

  • White – made from 100% durum wheat semolina
  • Brown Wheat – made from whole wheat flour (higher nutritional content)
  • Tri-Color – This includes spinach and tomato infused noodles.

PASTA SHAPES

  • Angel Hair Pasta (left) – cooking time of 3 – 5 minutes and is best suited  for lightly tossed sauce such as tomato, olive oil, butter or light cream.
  • Capellini (upper right) – cooking time of 3 – 5 minutes and best suited for chunky pomodoro sauce, hearty tomato and meatballs
  • Spaghetti (lower right) – cooking time of 9 – 11 minutes best tossed in the sauce matched with tomato, pesto, meat and seafood
  • Fettuccine (left) – flat egg noodles with cooking time of 10 – 12 minutes best matched with Alfredo, cream cheese, tomato and meat.
  • Linguine (right) – flat noodles with cooking time of 10 – 12 minutes paired with tomato, pesto, olive oil and seafood.
  • Fusilli (left) – short thick spiralized pasta with cooking time of 10 – 12 minutes best tossed in a sauce or to make a cold pasta salad. The ideal sauce are Alfredo, thick cream, tomato and meat
  • Rotini (right) – Cooking time of 10 – 12 minutes paired with tomato, cream, vinaigrette and meat. The difference between the two is Fusilli is twisted pasta while rotini is produced into a twisted shape.
  • YUP. I DON’T KNOW HOW TO DIFFERENTIATE THE TWO. HELP ME OUT?
  • Penne (left) – small tubed pasta with cooking time of 10 – 12 minutes best paired with chunky tomato meat sauce or heavy cream
  • Rigatoni (right) – short tubed pasta with cooking time to 11 – 13 minutes best paired with chunky tomato meat sauce or heavy cream
  • Macaroni (left) – with cooking time of 6 – 8 minutes best for baked dishes, salads and soups.
  • Ziti (right) – cooking time of 6 – 8 minutes best for baked dishes and light sauces such as tomato and olive oil.
  • Cavatappi (left) – cooked in 9 -11 minutes best used in baked dishes with sauces like pomodoro, pesto, sun dried tomatoes, broccolli, mushroom, creamy and hearty sauces
  • Farfalle (right) cooked in 9 -11 minutes best used in baked dishes with sauces like pomodoro, pesto, sun dried tomatoes, broccolli, mushroom, creamy and hearty sauces
  • Lasagna (left) – cooked in 6 – 8 minutes best for cream, cheese, vegetables and meat
  • Pot pie (right) – cooked in 12 – 15 minutes used best for broth, celery, onions, carrots and peas
  • Gnocchi (left) – cylindrical shaped usually made with potatoes, cooked in 10 – 20 seconds best with tomato, cream, pesto, cheese and meat.
  • Orzo (right) – rice shaped noodles cooked in 10 – 12 minutes best paired with tomatoes, olives, cheese, olive oil and broth.
  • Shell (left) – an open cavity shaped noodles cooked in 10 – 12 minutes best for baked dishes and paired with tomato, cheese, meat and vegetables.
  • Tortellini (right) – ring shaped pasta cooked in 9 – 11 minutes paired with Alfredo, cream, cheese and tomato

PASTA PAIRING GUIDE

  • Light Cream Sauce – use long and thin noodles
  • Seafood Sauce – finer noodles like angel hair pasta
  • Tomato Based Sauce – Long and Thin shapes
  • Vegetable Based Sauce – shorter and chunkier noodles
  • Bolognese or Chunky Sauce – tube like noodles
  • Oil or Butter Based Sauce – Stuffed Pasta
  • Pesto Sauce – curved, textured or rigged pasta

PASTA COOKING TIPS

  • Add 1 tbsp of salt per 1 lb of pasta
  • Add 1 tbsp of oil per 1 lb of pasta
  • Frequently stir pasta while cooking to avoid clamping

 

Which ones did you use already? Care to share some recipes? ❤

LEARN: Wine and Cheese Pairing


Ever since the quarantine, we’ve been entertaining ourselves at the comfort of our own home. Thus, we’ve been drinking wine 2 to 3 times a week with a whole side of junk food!

So I decided to learn a little bit more and I wanted to leave this here so I can keep coming back to my page whenever I need to:

Who else loves a good wine? ❤ 

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Personally, I like Semi-sweet, Sweet and Rose.

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TYPES OF CHEESE

Fresh Cheese – unaged, unripened, rindless, and has the same bright, white color on the inside, out. It has the highest moisture.

  • Mozarella – Soave, or any red or white
  • Feta – Rose
  • Ricotta – Prosecco or Fume Blanc
  • Cream Cheese – None
  • Mascarpone – None
  • Cottage Cheese – None

Soft Cheese – Ripened anywhere between 0-30 days, soft cheeses contain a high moisture content, a usually higher fat content, and therefore has a more pudding-like paste. Best served at room temperature.

  • Brie – California Merlot or Chardonnay
  • Camembert – Cotes du Rhones
  • Chaource – Chablis, Sancerre, or Champagne
  • Chevre – Sauvignon Blanc or Spanish Albarino

Semi-Soft Cheese – Treading into the denser, earthier, and the tiniest bit more pungent-tasting, semi-soft cheeses are lightly pressed into molds to create a more rubbery outer texture, but leaving a delicate, custardy, soft center.

  • Havarti – Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir
  • Muenster – Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Belgian ales, lagers, porters, stouts
  • Provolone – Chianti, Pinot Grigio, Lagers
  • American Cheese –  American-style IPAs
  • Taleggio – Saison, Pinot Noir, Rose

Semi-Firm Cheese – start to take on more developed notes, ranging anywhere between more floral, more fruity, and even developing an aroma of freshly browned butter. Semi-firm is not meant for grating or spreading, but rather shredding or slicing.

  • Cascaval – Light red wine or brown beer, such as a pilsner
  • Cheddar – Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, Cabernet, porter, mead, or amber ale
  • Edam – Pinot Grigio, Riesling, Chardonnay, Shiraz
  • Emmental – Merlot, Riesling, Champagne, Beaujolais, light lager, or stout
  • Gouda – Cabernet or Shiraz
  • Gruyere – Spanish Sherries or southern France reds

Firm Cheese – Best for grating or thinly slicing, this dry-textured cheese takes away the thick-cut meltability you’d get from fresh to semi-firm varietals, but gives back a potent, deeply savory flavor

  • Asiago D’Allevo – Orvieto or Soave
  • Grana Padano – Gavi, Chianti, Barbaresco, Barolo, Lambrusco, Amarone
  • Manchego – Stout, Porter, Sherry, Riesling, Whiskey
  • Parmesan – Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz, Chardonnay, Merlot, or Sangiovese
  • Pecorino – White Burgundy, Nebbiolo, Pinot Noir, Rioja

Blue-Veined Cheese – the best of both worlds: rich and creamy like a soft cheese, yet pungent and perfumed like a firm.

  • Fourme d’Ambert – Merlot, Port, Riesling
  • Gorgonzola –  Zinfandel and Sauternes
  • Roquefort – Riesling, Port, Sherry, or ice wines
  • Stilton –  Porter, Stout, Sherry, Elderberry, Cabernet Sauvignon

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GENERAL TIPS:

1. Pair with equal intensity. 

  • Wines over 14.5% ABV are more intense and taste better with more intensely flavored cheeses.
  • Wines under 12% ABV are less intense and match nicely with more delicately flavored cheeses.

2. Bold wines best pairs with aged cheeses.  

As cheese ages and loses water-content, it becomes richer in flavor with its increased fat content. These two attributes are ideal for matching bold red wines because the fat content in the cheese counteracts the high-tannins in the wine

3. Match super funky cheese with sweet wines

The sweetness in the wine helps balance the “funk” in the cheese and makes it taste creamier. Also, the “stink” of the cheese will help balance the sweet taste of the wine.

4. Sparkling wines are incredible with soft, creamy cheeses

Sparkling wines have high acidity and carbonation, which offer a palate-cleansing effect to creamy, sticky cheeses

5. Wines and cheeses that comes from the same place pairs well. 

You’ll do well to trust the local traditions and match wines and cheeses from the same region together.

6. When in doubt, get a firm, nutty cheese. 

One of the safest bets and most popular choices with all styles of wines is a firm, nutty cheese. The cheese will have enough fat to counterbalance tannin in red wine, but enough delicacy to compliment delicate whites.

Excited to host a dinner in our new home. ❤

**webstaurantstore, winefolly

EAT SAN JUAN: CO/OP


2015! 2015 when I first learned about this place and I have been meaning to go since then. The boyfriend always says yes, but never really remembers most of the time. :/ so I was extra happy when we tried this as a surprise.

After visiting our place to check for renovations, we ate lunch. ❤

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Love the exteriors and how it is so well-lit inside. It’s a lifestyle store with a cafe inside. (Although the cafe has the bigger area. 😛 ) You can find some unique pieces, books, stationary, figurines and some decor.

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It’s a self service cafe. You’ll see the counter when you enter the store. It has this chalk board counter menu that makes it look friendlier than usual. But the servers are quite nice actually.

We ordered the Shrimp Diablo for Php 390

The dish is okay but nothing special. It’s a tomato based pasta, that’s it. Although, volume was shrimp was generous enough. You have to add a bit of salt, pepper and parmesan too.

I ordered the Aglio Olio for Php 340

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I thought the dish is a no brainer, meaning it would be safe – a good taste no matter what. I was wrong. It lacks something. :/ We had to ask for additional oil and parmesan too. But it’s still missing something.

Jude insisted we order Onion Stack for Php 240

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This dish saved the reputation. The Aioli Dip is THE BOMB. ❤ The onion rings are good! No matter how big it looked, I swear it’s not all flour!

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I’m disappointed. I have been waiting to eat here and had really high expectations especially when I saw their price range. They are a bit expensive. The pasta serving is huge but sadly, the taste did not justify their price.

No. I won’t be eating here again. :/ On second thought — a quick meeting will do. A coffee and an onion stack would be nice. ❤

TRAVEL: Japan Day 5


It’s our last day in Osaka and it makes me really sad to be leaving this place. But since we have an afternoon flight, we decided to have a free day. We didn’t really have any concrete plan.

First official business: Leave our hotel and drop our baggage so we can still roam around. It’s our first time to ride their cab! We never really did during our stay. We hopped from one place to another by using their trains.

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And we dropped our bags off. It’s a good thing Jude read this somewhere. We also saw this in Namba, in the underpass in the ‘malls’ / stores that you pass by going to the train but we felt it wasn’t that secured so we did some research. And we ended up here, just outside one of the train stations. (so it’s a plus)

Then we head to Dotonbori for Lunch. ❤ We decided to try some maki and sushi to fully experience authentic Japan. We picked Nigiri Chojiro, Conveyor Belt Sushi. It’s also one of the top restaurants in Yelp.

Ofcourse he had to order the set / sampler one. He says it’s really good and tasted fresh.

Me, on the otherhand ordered a which is also good. Nothing fancy, nothing special either. And we were also amazed how the order process go, since you order it from a computer. What’s more amazing is how much they trust their customers.

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Because we had Japanese for Lunch, of course I was not full. 😛 Who would be? I only ordered Tuna Yakiniku! :/ Ergo, I was eager for some dessert!

We asked our friend, Yelp for some best desserts in Dotonbori and was glad we were just a block away and to our surprise, there was a LONG line for takeout. We went inside and they still had a sit down area on the second floor.

Rikuro Ojisan

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We had to wait for 10 minutes to be seated. The wait was okay. It was nice to wait in the stairway rather than on the streets because of the weather. 😛

When we were finally seated, we ordered their set which comes with 1 pastry and a coffee. (I forgot how much). We ordered one each since they have a minimum amount for you to be seated and dine.

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I don’t normally eat cheesecake but it was fine. Hubby liked it and I was able to finish my chocolate slice. We both had some coffee to go with our pastries.

Next Stop: Shisekai Area

On the way to Tsutenkaku Tower, we passed by a certain area similar to Dotonbori. I wanted to stroll and try different food stalls but he reminded me that we had limited time. :/

Tsutenkaku, a symbol of Osaka is 64 meters in height. It reminded citizens of the famous Eiffel Tower in Paris.

There’s a lot to see inside the tower. There’s no point going in one of the tallest buuilding if you won’t, at the very least look at the view from the highest point, right? So here we are, admiring the view from the top.

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They have a separate floor for a dining area and for souvenirs too.

But most importantly, we lined up to have a glimpse and touch Mr. Biliken. 

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We were told that Mr. Biliken bring luck and happiness to those who touches his legs! ❤ After a short trip to Shinsekai, we had to rush back to the airport to have some dinner before our flight.

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We had five days of Japanese food so by this time, I was craving for some Chinese, and Chinese it is! I absolutely love YANGCHOW rice. ❤ I can eat it everyday! We also had some hot shrimp salad. ❤

This is our last train ride back to the airport. Thank you so much, Japan! I fell in love. Now I know why everyone wants to keep coming back. ❤ ❤

EAT MAKATI: NONO’s


We were expecting heavy traffic on the way home since the government will be announcing a Lockdown. So before we starve to death, we decided to kill time in Nono’s in one of the buildings in Valero Street.

Everybody was a tad more cautious. It was 7 in the evening, and I was the second to arrive.

We ordered what I thought was delicious the last time I ate here. Penne Pasta with Mixed Vegetables

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I don’t know if it’s the power of having to eat someone else’s food, food being free or if branches cook differently but the last one was more pleasant. :/ It’s good nonetheless.

We ordered Nono’s Homestyle Fried Chicken for Php 565 – Two pieces of crispy boneless fried chicken fillet with country style gravy and honey served with dinner rolls, corn on the cob and a choice of fries or rice.

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Fries is okay but what surprised me how good HONEY is paired to chicken. HONEY. I never thought of that! But it blends perfectly! Chicken was crispy, fried at the best temperature, fries were seasoned well but the  corn for me was bland!

For Dessert, we ordered Nono’s Chocolate Oblivion

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Are you familiar with dream cakes? It tasted as such. ❤ But a little more moist. I love the powdered cocoa on top. Unfortunately, I didn’t like the one — on the crust area.

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Glad to be able to spend time alone with the husband before the community quarantine. How are you holding up so far?

TRAVEL TAGAYTAY: Nurture Wellness Village


I have been wanting to go here. Luckily, some of our good friends gave this as our wedding gift. ❤ We were greeted warmly by the receptionist and was offered welcome teas.

They also have this wood theme to their surroundings down to their furniture and displays. Reception area and their restaurant is open air so it’s windy. ❤

We tried the Glamping Package. Their Glamping Site is situated in their garden where you can also find the bonfire area. Inside the tent, you will find a queen size bed, 2 pillows, towel, a table and 2 chairs, and a dresser. It also includes a set of coffee / water station and a switch! (thank god)

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Thumbs Up: It’s air conditioned but it gets pretty chilly at night given the standard temperature in Tagaytay already.

Downside: The tent has no locks and you can practically hear the conversation of the tents nearby and you have a common restroom (about 20 steps away from the tents)

We also tried their Signature Massage. ❤

Massage comes with the usual washing of your feet and the nice thing that’s different with them was they include a hot/warm bag during the massage where they place them underneath your pillow in the stubborn areas such as lower back and shoulders. ❤

At night, we brought Ruffles, Maltesers and Wine – our usuals during a movie marathon.

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For Breakfast, there’s a stub that they give out during the registration. Service was a bit late. The breads  were served first with butter paired with lugaw.

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For the mains, they served sweet and sour fish, scrambled eggs and what seemed like kaldereta / afritada.

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I don’t know exactly why they would serve sweet and sour fish and afritada during breakfast. :/ I prefer longganisa, bacon, hotdog, ham or even local viands such as danggit or pusit or dilis. that’s why we both didn’t enjoy the breakfast. 😦

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Still, Thank you for the memories, Nurture and Wellness. ❤ and our Second Glamping Experience.

EAT TAGAYTAY: The Farm at San Benito


The Farm at San Benito has a reputation for being a place to improve overall well being, one’s mental and physical health. They have what they call their five pillars which are Diagnose, Cleanse, Nourish, Repair and Sustain.

But it comes with a price, understandably. And this is something too expensive for us already. But just to get a taste of what they can offer, we went there for a 4 Course Vegan Lunch which we purchased from Deal Grocer.

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The place is quite nice and true to its promise, it was very peaceful. It’s full of greenery and free from distraction.

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We were escorted to their Alive! Restaurant, featuring a cabin like place. Sunlight is coming from all corners. ❤

Soup – Mung Bean (Php 200) with 87.4 calories – Braised mung beans with bitter gourd, malabar spinach and moringa leaves.

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It tasted Miso, but for me, it was bland. I cannot really distinguish what but it was lacking something.

Salad – Fern Salad (Php 200) with 54.6 calories – Freshly picked fern leaves tossed in Calamansi juice, tomatoes and onion.

Surprisingly, I loved the Calamansi juice! I love anything sour so probably, that’s what it was. This is the best course for me. I can this eat again. ❤

Main – Tofu Steak (Php 400) with 216.5 calories – Grilled Tofu served with coconut soy, balsamic and coco nectar sauce topped with fresh onion rings and a choice of mashed potato or brown rice.

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UHHHH. Just a little background – I tried a tofu meal in Wilflour and I absolutely loved it. So with my personal assurance that it would taste okay, I ordered this tofu steak and to my surprise, I hated it. 😦 the tofu was bland and a bit hard. I guess they didn’t soak it in water. They have this coco nectar sauce which tasted a bit like barbeque, which helped, A BIT. I didn’t even get to finish 1 slice of tofu. I gave it to my hubby.

Main – Chickpea Omelet with Creamed Carrot and Spinach (Php 400) with 363.3 calories – Chickpea Omelet filled with potato and carrots served with cream of carrot and cream of kale with a dash of extra virgin oil

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This, not so much but because it has egg, I liked it. and I also eat carrots and spinach so it was fairly okay. It was not delicious but if I were really hungry, I cannot really finish this compared to the Tofu Steak.

Dessert – Mango Sansrival (Php 300) with 344.8 calories – Frozen mango with coconut milk on a bed of ground chocolate chips topped with coconut cream

I was a bit hesitant and unwilling to try this because there’s a lot of coconut in the description and if you remember, I really don’t like coconut. But this tastes exactly like any mango sansrival. It was delicious, even. ❤

Although I enjoyed the Fern Salad and the Mango Sansrival, I don’t think I will be willing to eat here again. :/ It’s a waste for me because I really expected that they could create a really delicious vegan mains but I was disappointed.

We enjoyed strolling though. And oh, BTW. We didn’t know this when we visited but when you buy their lunch in Deal Grocer, it’s like a free trip for the day. You can use all of their amenities, swimming or join activities for the day.

 

EAT ALABANG: Da Gianni Cucina Italia


In this laidback neighborhood in Alabang, there’s this place called West Gate. In this, you’ll find secret gems that will feed your hungry palate. And by gem, I mean Da Gianni. ❤

We are having our late lunch on a Sunday at 2:00 pm and the restaurant was still almost full when we got there. I had to pick the one nearest the window for a good lighting. (hihi). The place looks posh with brick walls and wooden tables.

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We were given the typical appetizer at first. ❤

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We ordered Quattro Formaggi for Php 535 – Four Cheese topped with Truffles

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I’ve had A LOT of Four Cheese pizzas in my life, it’s been a favorite variant of mine and this, I have to say is my favorite out of all my favorites. ❤ It’s just oozing with goodness.

We also ordered an Oil Based Pasta, Gambas Aglio Olio for Php 450 – Olive oil and garlic

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The Chef had to improvise. If you see their menu, they don’t really have an aglio olio dish with shrimps but we requested it. The Chef happily obliged. We just asked that we be informed of the cost first. And they definitely delivered. The pasta is PERFECT. ❤ Good is an understatement. Every bite is heavenly. ❤ ❤ ❤

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With this, we also ordered 2 Wines by the Glass, Trebbiano D Abbruzzo Doc, a sweet white wine for me and Rosato Salento, a rose for the husband.

A perfect lunch to end our weekend. Definitely not our last. ❤

TRAVEL: Japan Day 4


For our fourth day in Japan, hubby got us another Klook Tour: Kyoto and Nara Day Tour! I’m excited to meet the deers since they always seem so friendly. ❤

Since we were joining a Group Tour from Klook, our Pick-up Location is in VIP Villa in Namba at 7:50 am. But the hubby wants to be on time, and when I say on time – it means an hour early. We were there by 7:00 am! And I guess other guests had the same thing in mind since several joiners were there already. (And I noticed that almost half of our group are Filipinos too. Haha)

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The drive from Namba to Kyoto was about 2 hours so even though we got up so early, we had time to take a nap. 🙂 First Stop: Kinkaku-ji Temple. (or what they call Golden Temple) Entrance Fee is 400 yen. (but since we got this from Klook, it’s free already)

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The Golden Temple was previously a retirement home but became a Zen Temple. The top two floors are completely covered in Gold Leaf. AND, the temple has burned down several times already. Can you believe it?

I love how peaceful the whole place is. The temple is surrounded by a pond in the middle of a garden full of trees and plants. No wonder it used to be a retirement place.

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But before you get to the temple, you will pass by this house that used to be the living quarters of the head priest. See? It really is surrounded by lovely trees! especially in autumn. ❤

Next Stop: Kasuga Tai-sha

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This place is the most celebrated shrine in Nara and is dedicated to the deity responsible for the protection of the city. It is also one of the most sacred places since a lot of the Gods are enshrined in the place. On the way to this place, our tour guide taught us on how to honor the place: (as seen below, the husband is trying).

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Next: Arashiyama Bamboo Grove

One of the most famous landmarks – the sky high bamboo groves are truly instagrammable. But unfortunately, we didn’t know that we needed to pay extra to go inside the road (at the back of hubby) to get a good picture. As I said, one of the most famous, thus it attracts CRAZY number of tourists!

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We don’t have a good photo to show you the giant bamboos that fill this place. BUT!!! Along side the road leading to it, there’s a LOT of food stands and stores on the road. So we managed to try  the following:

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Husband tried the Ichigo Daifuku – It is a Japanese confection, a mochi filled with bean paste, split into two and a fresh strawberry is placed within. The hubby liked it. ❤ I tried it too but I don’t really eat strawberries. Sooooo. . .

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I normally won’t go for Gyoza since I feel like the meat usually is dry. But this is good. ❤ The sauce is perfect, it was soft and the meat was not dry. Thumbs Up!

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I was pretty excited that there were ice creams in sight but as I looked closely to each store, they were all offering BAMBOO flavored desserts. I don’t eat Matcha and Green Tea so you know where my hesitations are coming from. BUT, I still wanted to try this Bamboo Flavored Soft Ice Cream – and it tastes exactly as matcha. :/ so the hubby finished it by himself.

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We also managed to try Grilled Crabs and Rice Cakes too. There’s a bunch of stores lined up in the streets and I’m a bit overwhelmed. We both wanted to try everything. 😛

Since we consumed most of our time binge-eating in the street, we decided to eat our late lunch in one of the restaurants in front of the parking, so we can see our bus. And obviously, we ate Tempura – the safest order. 😛

Another Stop: Fushimi Inari Taisha – It is famous for its thousands of Vermilion Torii Gates.

It is the most important shrines dedicated to Inari, the god of rice. Also, You have to be really patient – since there are so many tourists here too. You can never really get a shot with no one there to ruin the shot. 😛

Fun Fact: The thousand gates are donated by different individuals — and their names are written on the gates. One gate costs around 400,000 yen.

Our Last Stop: Nara Park

A very large park home to hundreds of deers. ❤

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Like I said, it is home to deers, roaming around freely. ❤ You can interact with them! Deer Crackers are sold at 100 yen for 10 crackers!! And it’s so fun! They are so tame and it seems like no matter how many tourists are there to feed them, they always seem to be hungry.

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The deers are said to be messenger of Gods. At first, I couldn’t decipher which of them are fawns or which of them are the older ones. But after some research, I read that their antlers are removed every October. (so that’s why!) – Antler Cutting Tradition – for safety reasons.

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Another fun fact: Deer Crackers are just wheat flour and rice bran. And all of the profits from the crackers are used for the sole purpose of protecting the deers.

Before we left for Nara, we also found a good spot:

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Going back, I think everyone went back at around 6:30 pm and we left by 7:00 pm. There’s also a store where you can buy your souvenirs even deer shaped chocolates too! ❤

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It’s been good, Nara and Kyoto. ❤ I cannot wait to go back and explore you more! We got back at around 8:30 pm and since it was late, we went to dinner straight.

Dinner at Matsusakagyu Yakiniku M (The restaurant is quite famous so they require reservations.)

A winner in the 2018 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice awards for restaurants, ranking number 1 in Japan, and number 5 in Asia.

We first heard about this place from a friend who is pretty well traveled. We were warned that it is quite pricey — and it is. I believe this is our most expensive meal in our entire stay in Japan.

We ordered the Matsusaka Tasting Platter for 3,000 Yen – 2 pieces for each type of beef. The Beef that’s included are Sirloin Steak, Kyukyoku and Haneshita.

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You will be the one to cook this on grill in front of you. We were taught to cook each side of the beef for at least 2 minutes for the perfect taste. You are also given different sauces to go with it.

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I LOVE MEAT. and I’m amazed how tender the beef is. ❤ it’s so flavorful. Although it’s not quite filling since we shared this, did not regret this as we really wanted to try one of the best in Osaka. ❤

And because we only shared 1 rice (you know how we Filipinos love our rice), the hubby still wanted to eat. We ended up trying Okonomiyaki. We were trying to find a particular place, famous for its Okonomiyaki but we failed.

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We ordered the Pork Okonomiyaki with Big Size Octopus for 550 Yen with Draft Beer at 430 Yen.

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I don’t really eat Okonomiyaki. But I tried it – hubby says it’s good. The size is huge too!

Okonomiyaki, when translated means ‘grilled as you like it’. It’s a Japanese Pancake with cabbage, flour, eggs and variety of meat.

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And that ends our Fourth Day! 😀 We are pretty productive, don’t you think? Sad to be leaving tomorrow. 😦

EAT TAGAYTAY: Balay Dako


Balay Dako has been around since 2015. They are serving purely Filipino Dishes with Tagaytay as its beautiful backdrop. But I only recently was aware of it early 2019. We were pretty busy last year so we were not able to try this one, not until now.

It’s a bit intimidating. The place looks posh and expensive (and it is, actually). But there are also some reasonable entrees on their menu.

The place was packed around 4:00 pm. I was expecting only a few will be there but surprisingly, they don’t have dead hours (good for them). The waiters were attentive and we didn’t have to wait long for our order to be served.

We ordered Sisig na Pusit for Php 410 – Grilled cubes of squid mixed with housemade mayonnaise, garlic and onions served in a hot iron plate.

Meh. It’s not that bad BUT, I would definitely ignore this next time. I don’t particularly think it’s worth its price. Nothing special. One thing praise worthy about the dish is that it was not like ‘chewing gum’. (Or probably because it was already sliced into cubes.

Next, we ordered Binagoongang Baboy for Php 380 – Pork Belly stewed and sauteed in fermented Shrimp Paste

THE BEST! I told you! HAHA. It’s such a given for us to order this. And we were not mistaken. UGH. Their version is so, so good. I love that it has enough oil but not too much. ALTHOUGH, I hated that there’s a LOT of fat. :/ BUT, I will definitely order this again. ❤ Pure love.

We also ordered the Inasal na Pecho for Php 170 – Grilled Chicken Breast marinated in Vinegar, lime juice, black peppercorn and annatto oil.

Hubby LOVES anything chicken so when he requested this, I just had to. (though I don’t like chicken inasal). I had a taste of this. Again, nothing special. It was alright.

We also tried one of their icecreams – Cookies & Cream ❤ It’s really good too!

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If we had to, I’ll never forget to order the Binagoongang Baboy again and try some of the Sugpo Dishes. ❤ I especially want to try the Piniritong Sugpo at Sarsang Itlog na Pula and Lechon Kawali. It looks yum! 🙂

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Finally ticked this one off. ❤

TRAVEL: Japan Day 3


Of all our planned itinerary for our Osaka Trip, I think this is my husband’s most awaited day. Why? We are going to Universal Studios, Japan! ❤ It’s his first time in Universal and more importantly, there’s a Harry Potter themed park!

We were lined up by 7:00 am and I am not over reacting when I tell you that you really need to be there by 7. It’s as if everyone was thinking the same thing, the lines were crazy long already. BTW, We bought our USJ Tickets from Klook too. They have a special ticket that allows bearers an earlier 15 minutes time ahead. It means they get to enter the park at 7:45! and man, it’s a huge difference!

By the time they opened the gates? Everyone, and I literally mean EVERYONE was RUNNING. So yes, we ran too. Haha. Our first stop? Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

In the world of Harry Potter, there’s a walking tour where you can see the different classrooms and corridors of Hogwarts. At the end of the lane, you can enjoy the Forbidden Journey, a 4k  HD ride that lets you join harry during a quidditch play! If you still want a more thrilling ride, you can to the Flight of Hippogriff, a roller coaster ride that takes you to Hagrid’s Hut. It’s a must experience for you to pass by Ollivanders where you can witness how the wands pick you. And tip? they actually choose a lucky wizard among the tourist and the chosen one gets to go home with a wand! You can also eat at Three Broomsticks Restaurant to get the full experience of Harry’s World.

And never, should anyone forget to try the Butter Beer! You can find it anywhere in the Wizarding World.

Luckily, the butter beers comes in Hot or Cold variety. And since it was freezing that time, we chose Hot Beers. ❤ It’s their signature non-alcoholic drink in butterscotch flavor. You can also get it in a collector’s item souvenir stein. ❤

Second Attraction? Jaws. The iconic giant, man-eating shark attacks during the boat tour. And contrary what one may think, no. You won’t get wet.

And because we were damn hungry already, we ate at Amity Landing Restaurant in the Jaws Land.

By the time we finished eating, it was raining. :/ We had no umbrella but because we wanted to maximize our time and we have our jackets on, we walked.

 

Next Up: The Flying Dinosaur. We chose not to engage in this ride because we were both scared. Haha. We heard that there was a 25.9 meter drop to escape the dinosaur!

And Of course, I managed to squeeze in some sweets! We tried this chocolate churros from one of the stands. They also have some Matcha flavored churros.

Next Attraction: Minions

The lines in this Minions ride is crazy!! It took us about 45 minutes to actually get inside. There are 2 rides here: Despicable Me Minion and Freeze Ray Sliders! Both are bearable for the scaredy cats like us. 😀

And here, we are transported in New York, one of my favorite places. ❤ For our next attraction: The Amazing Spiderman 3D

Thank you, Universal! You will always be one of the places that we will visit every time we return to Osaka! ❤

Since we finished early around 4 in the afternoon, we chose to binge eat our way to Dotonbori. First Stop: Ichiran Ramen

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The most iconic symbol of Japan (I guess) and their most famoust – Ichiran! It’s a good thing we didn’t go there during dinner time. ❤ We had no trouble getting in. It’s freakin good and I’m now a believer! It’s so good!!

And as if that’t not enough, we went straight to Atchichi-Hompo.

The line was long but it was fairly quick. The takoyaki is made right in front of the customers. I don’t really eat them but my husband says that it tastes authentic.

We then tried the BIG ass grilled crabs of Kani Doraku. The place was packed! If standing is not an issue and you don’t plan on dining in, it’s a good thing they have a stand where you can just order the grilled crabs.

It’s HUGE. It doesn’t taste any different but it sure was delicious. ❤

On our way back to our side, we simply had to take a picture with the famous running man!

To spare you the curiosity, The Glico Man was famous because it was marketed as a wrapper of an energy bar – where when you eat them, you can run for 300 m! (In case you were wondering).

And before we went home, we tried the Turkish Ice Cream. It’s one of the must try desserts in Dotonbori.

There’s a whole show of trickery before you can actually taste their icecream! I’ll spare you the details so you can enjoy them first hand. But really, the ice cream was so good! I didn’t mind eating the ice cream even though it was freezing cold.

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This may probably be one of my favorite days because we were able to cross so many food on my bucket list. ❤ The day was so tiring but I love that we were able to visit so many places and tried a lot of food. ❤

TRAVEL: Japan Day 1 and 2


We finally tied the knot! ❤ and for our Honeymoon, we visited Osaka, Japan. We nearly had no time to do our respective research but the husband managed to get us a few tickets through Klook.

HOTEL: Best Western Hotel – It’s only a 2-minute walk to the train station. There’s also a family mart beside  the station. It’s a quite neighborhood.

Day 1 – We arrived in Osaka at around 9 in the evening and got lost. We still had to learn how the transportation system works. Thus, we arrived at our hotel at around 11 in the evening.

And like I said, there’s a convenient store nearby. For dinner, we purchased the items below: (spicy seafood noodles, 2 chicken fillet, 1 box of rice and 1 stick of chicken skin)

Day 2 – We are up and about at 7 am. we head to Osaka Castle Park. We then had the opportunity to try another set of breakfast at a convenient store just outside the park. We were able to try the Melon Pan, Maple Syrup Pancakes and their store coffee.

You can already take lots take of pictures in the garden. The garden is absolutely beautiful especially when we went the there as the trees are already in various colors.

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Inside the Castle Museum, you can try-on a battle armor they used to wear before. It’s the Kabuto Helmet and Armor.

The Nishinomaru Garden is a lawn that houses miles and miles of trees, a tea house and the Osaka Guest House.

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The Osaka Museum of History is just across the Osaka Castle.  It opens from 9 am – 5 pm.

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It shows life sized ancient times of trading, shopping exhibits and local villages.

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And because we had a deadly long walk, we were heavily starving by this time.  The hubby searched for the Top 1 restaurant in the area and we ended with Tokumasa Moronomiya.

Dubbed as having the Best Curry Udon in Osaka, we just had to try it.

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We both ordered the sets. The sets run from 600 – 900 yen. We ate Beef Set Curry Meal and Tempura Curry Meal Sets both for 900 yen. I was doubtful about the curry udon since I’ve tried some before and I didn’t like it. The curry udon was flavorful and so filling. The Beef Yakiniku was really good. I finished my rice meal. The tempura was good too.

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We were so full and I was really happy with my order. We then decided to take the cruise of Aqua Liner Cruise in Yodayabashi Pier.

The Aqua Liner Cruise can be boarded in 4 different locations. The glass roof of the boat can be lowered when passing some of Osaka’s lowest bridges on route. It also explains the history and other landmarks. The river is lined with different colorful trees which makes it the perfect scenery during the cruise.

And since we already had our rest during the cruise, we then walked to the center of Umeda to see the HEP Five Ferris Wheel. The Shopping Mall is open from 11 am – 9 pm, the restaurants are open until 10:30 pm and the ferris wheel is open until 11 pm.

The HEP Five is home to 7 floors of clothing stores, an amusement floor on the 8th and the famous ferris wheel on the 7th floor.

The highest point is at 106 meters above the ground and has 52 seater gondolas. It offers an amazing view of the Busy area of Umeda.

For Dinner, we head to the famous Dotonbori Area, home to the best food in Osaka. We searched for the must try dishes in Dotonbori and of the top is Kushikatsu. The Kushikatsu Daruma is one of the best out of the bunch.

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Kushikatsu means deep fried skewered food. We tried the 1800 Yen set. This is a set that includes some beef, shrimp, rice cake, asparagus, quail egg, pork cutlet, chicken meatball, sausage, cheese, chicken karaage and sweet potato. It is dipped with thick tonkatsu sauce.

Everything practically tastes the same but I especially like the beef, sausage and cheese. It’s a bit filling but not particularly full. I can still eat. I’m glad we tried this. ❤

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We ended the night strolling the streets of Dotonbori and mentally ticking the food that we want to try the next day. And oh, this is probably my favorite place. Dotonbori is alive, it’s full of people and you can already see the culture and practices of the locals. It’s full of tourists too and it reminds me a bit of the Times Square in New York, everyone doing their own thing, everybody busy with something.

And that’s where we end our first day. ❤ ❤ ❤

EAT ANTIPOLO: Yellow Bird Cafe


Normally, we don’t celebrate heart’s day. But as years passed, I wanted to. I don’t mean bouquets and chocolates. (chocolates would be nice) HAHAHA. I mean spending time, just the two of us with my now, hubby.

And as others would fear, Valentine’s Day fell on a Friday and Pay day. It just means, Manila Traffic plus raging hormones on the street, rush hour triples the traffic. So, Jude planned for a Breakfast Date. He just told me he’ll bring me somewhere. And hell, I didn’t know that it was still on, so excuse my bare, no bath face and hair.

We arrived at this quaint cafe in Antipolo. It’s Instagram friendly, and by this I mean the place is picture perfect. It’s pretty both inside and outside. You’ll want to take a picture of every corner.

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Crunchy Okoy for Php 155

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My hubby is pretty excited about this. And now I know absolutely why. The okoy was thin and crispy. The shrimps doesn’t hurt my throat (which usually does at most places). It can be eaten as an appetizer and as a viand. (which I did). Must try!

Homemade Beef Tapa for Php 165

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All of their breakfast plates comes with garlic rice and 2 eggs. He loved this. I tasted the beef. It’s okay. I wouldn’t usually go near a tapa. I hate how dark and extremely marinated it is. But this one is okay. It wouldn’t be my go-to but I can eat it.

Bacon for Php 165

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It comes with 2 eggs too which I had requested to be scrambled. I’m a bit disappointed with their bacon. I like mine crispy but this one is far from it and it’s bit on the thick side. It’s not bad though. The rice, I like.

Hazelnut Coffe for Php 145

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Nothing special. It tasted like a regular flavored coffee. It didn’t even taste like hazelnut but it’s okay. I’ll order this again.

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Overall, I guess I’d like to come back. I’d probably order a Spam for Breakfast or Shrimp Scampi or Spicy Sardines Pasta or Beef Bulgogi and Macadamia x Hazelnut for Coffee next time. I can already imagine it. ❤

Thank you for bringing me here, babe. ❤ Next time ulit please. 🙂

As for Valentine’s, I wanted to give him something since it’s our first as Husband and Wife. ❤ and I wanted to mess with him, thus ‘WANNA SCREW?’ and ‘WANNA BANG?’ plastered outside the paper bag. I decided to give him (3) shirts.

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I also received my perfectly favorite stargazers. I will never get tired of them. Thank you so much, baba. I love you. ❤

EAT SUCAT: Mesa


If you’re from the south, then you’d know that the recent developments of SM Sucat is      l – o – n – g overdue. The building is practically dying. People just go there to eat. I myself prefer not to go there except for errands and last minute dining issues.

Enough blabbering. For dinner, we ate at Mesa in the new wing of SM Sucat. There was a long line outside. This is beside Ramen Kuroda – both had long lines. (good for you, guys!)

For Appetizer, we had Tinapa Roll wrapped in Lettuce for Php 175

Diced smoked fish with tomato, onion and salted egg.

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It’s not woahhh but this one is good. 🙂

Sisig in a pouch for Php 220

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An appetizer that can be a viand. A bit salty for me but delicious nonetheless.

Baby Squid in Olive Oil for Php 375

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Tender and flavorful, even if it’s only in olive oil. Gummy? Not.at.all.

Mesa Braised Beef for Php 385

Version of Rendang in coconut

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They say Beef Rendang but for me it tastes like Kaldereta. A really, really, really good kaldereta. ❤ I love this. This is my Mom’s favorite. I guess mine too. 😀 The sauce is a viand on its own. ❤

Binagoongang Baboy ni Kaka for Php 295

Pan fried pork belly sauteed in shrimp paste with grilled eggplant

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I’ve always loved a good Binagoongang Baboy and I must say, this is a Big Thumbs Up! It’s the perfect mix of meat and fat. This doesn’t look appetizing but wait til you have it in your mouth! I can finish this whole serving and I’ll be more than okay if we only ordered this one. ❤ not shared, of course. HAHA

Pinakbet with Bangus Belly for Php 225

Stewed vegetables in shrimp paste topped with milk fish belly

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I’m not a fan of milk fish unless it’s fried. And I’d like a pinakbet with a lot more shrimp paste. This is okay, I’ll eat it but it’s not something I’ll order if I had the chance.

Overall, the Braised Beef and the Binagoongang Baboy is definitely a must try. ❤ Looking forward to eating here again. ❤

EAT LASPINAS: HAVANA


The South is alive! and C5 extension is creating a buzz, thanks to the family who is making it happen. Apart from the political side of their family’s reign, I commend his impeccable eye for business opportunity and strategy.

Still, good job for developing this side of town! The area is actually complete and it’s been easier to shop around. We have a church, a bunch of fast food for easy go-to meals when we don’t have the time to cook, a grocery, an events place and a handful of family restaurants being built in the area.

One of them is Havana. My dad has been mentioning this place since he wants us to experience the ‘live’ band. (as if we haven’t yet). But, of course you have to give in when the adults suggests it, to save argument.

It’s best to phone them for a reservation. (good thing, we did). We watched a lot incoming customers turned down because the place was packed!

We ordered the following:

Nachos Grande for Php 295, Sizzling Hungarian Bites for Php 305, Tostadas for Php 190, Beef Quesadilla for Php 210, Gourmet Tapa for Php 265, Sizzling Squid for Php 385

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Of which, I only got to take a picture of (2). THE SERVICE WAS SNAIL SLOW. The food was served after an hour. GAD. Service was really bad. Most of the waiters were avoiding eye contact. I don’t know if they were just jam packed but nonetheless, I think an hour of serving time is too much.

It’s a good thing I really liked their sizzling squid. It was savory and it was very tender. The quesadilla was good too.

We also ordered Smirnoff Mule for Php 95, San Miguel Pale Pilsen for Php 95, Amaretto Sour for Php 190 and Margarita for Php 235. 

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I think they are a bit on the pricey side. Although of course, there’s the ambiance of live music you are paying for.

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There were 2 bands. I don’t know them both and the crowd was not joining in at first. I guess it was a good thing they decided to belt out Ben & Ben. By this time, they captured the crowd.

I hope Havana invites other bands too. The place is okay, food is okay, service is bad, band is alright.