Just across Forbes Town Center, Downtown and Halsted is a nook for good food and art. It’s a place with an an urban ambiance that inspires interesting conversations and memorable moments with friends and family. Going there is like taking an imaginary plane and entering one of the cool gastropubs abroad.
There restaurant also serves as an event place for artsy-urban events during off-peak hours.
The restaurant’s food does justice to the thought that’s been put to the funky and picturesque interior of the place. Here are some of the things I got to try in my fun food night with the Team Aldous troupe (Hi, guys!).
The soup, which we started with, was creamy and flavorful. It was nothing too filling that would remove your appetite for the next course, rather, it excited you for what was coming next.
Moving on to main courses…
If you’re a fan of unique pastas, then you might want to try his one. I love how the chorizo is the glue to all the flavors of the pasta without dissolving the taste of the other ingredients.
It’s probably the most memorable thing I had for the night. I just love how tender it is! You have got to try this.
I probably convinced you already to try it by saying that it has peanut butter. Add smooth, creamy cheese into the mix, and you’ve got yourself a winner!
Last Thursday (April 19) was a time to C.E.L.E.B.R.A.T.E.
It as the birthday of my blogger friend, Aldous. He is also the founder of #teamaldous, a food blogging team that I am a part of. Happy birthday!! 🙂
He celebrated his birthday with #teamadlous at Solstice by Cafe’ Ilustrado.
Pic c/o Solstice
Pic c/o Solstice
Pic c/o Solstice
The outside of the restaurant builds excitement and anticipation even before you enter. The all-glass facade creates a chic, NY-type look, which I feel, is very attractive to bystanders in the area.
Go in and you’ll find yourself in the middle of a modern, but classily designed restaurant. It has a very accommodating feel, but at the same time, its design practically tells you that you’re in for a gastronomic treat.
Now for the food…
Did the food live up to the restaurant?
This is one of my favorite food blogging events, simply because the food was amazing, and they served a lot of it [brb, going jogging!].
One of the first things I tasted was the Truffled Hummus with Homemade Sourdough Pita and Crudites. Warning: it is highly addicting. I had to stop myself from eating too much before the main courses arrived. The dip goes well with either the pita or the vegetables. It could make a good beer pairing in my opinion.
Their Aligue Pasta is to die for, though it’s better if the dish is divided and conquered. I love how the pasta has both the fresh taste of the sea with aligue and the sweet taste of tomato.
Bagnet with KBL (Kamatis, Bagoong and Lasuna) Sauce is waaay good. Give it a go if you need comfort food after a long day at the office. Its salty-sour Filipino taste will get you every time!
My drink was Coconut Water with Strawberry. When I saw this in the menu I was kind of skeptical if it would taste good, but I’m so glad it’s what I ordered! The milky sensation of the coconut water goes perfectly with the sweet, refreshing taste of the strawberries. It’s perfect for the hot, summer weather that we have here in the Philippines.
Finally, there’s dessert. Go for their Caramel Macchiatto cake, which is basically like the coffee drink morphed into a cake. I love it! ❤
Solstice Bistro and Boulangerie is now called Solstice by Ilustrado, a merger of two great culinary brands offering modern continental and heritage Filipino-Spanish cuisine. This is coupled with a well-curated selection of wines and spirits located at the ground floor of 8 Rockwell, one of Makati’s chic urban communities.
A merger of two well-loved culinary brands.
Solstice draws inspiration from the success of One Way Restaurant, once touted as among Makati’s best-kept secrets. Ilustrado, on the other hand, brings with it its rich history and heritage, with its status as one of the well-established household dining destinations in Manila’s famed walled city. The new management has taken this as a challenge as they reinvented the restaurant’s menu just this year adding new recipes and covering multiple cuisines. They also complemented the refreshed menu with a selection of fine wines carefully chosen to complete the gastronomic experience.
For Reservations, please call (+632) 802 1891 or (+63 977 748 8861), from 11AM to 11PM daily. Follow @solsticebyilustrado on Instagram, and like facebook.com/SolsticebyIlustrado/ for updates.
Earlier this year, I have had the pleasure of trying the newly opened Tim Hortons at Uptown Mall, Taguig. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that—1.) they served sandwiches! and 2.) their prices were relatively affordable. I also love the cheery ambiance of the store.
It is always exciting to try something new. (It’s kind of my thing, which is why I am a writer and blogger. haha!).
While my personal order was their Iced Latte (which was good by the way), I couldn’t help sipping from my cousins’s Frozen Hot Chocolate. That, you have got to try!
Eating at Tim Horton’s was a yummy and satisfying experience. There will surely be a next time!
I love trying out restaurants, which is why I am lucky to be part of Team Aldous. I have been a part of the group for almost a year now and it’s been great so far! Aside from the fact that I was able try good food from really accommodating owners, I was able to meet new friends from the blogging community.
For our 2016 Christmas party, we celebrated at Xiao Nan Men, a Chinese Restaurant at Z Square Mall, Banawe. The restaurant is a casual dining restaurant that’s built a following despite its somewhat off tangent location. It spacious enough, making it appealing to families and groups of friends.
The food was good, though I wish they had bigger servings. I liked their lapu-lapu, beef w/ bell pepper fried rice, and scrambled egg with special sauce. My highlight of the evening was lapu-lapu though, because I hand’t had it in a while.
The food was freshly cooked—which is always a good thing. I hate it when restaurants microwave their food.
Xiao Nam Men’s food is reasonably priced, averaging from PHP 200-250. Not bad, right?
You can view their menu at the link.
It’s been a great year Team Aaldous! Looking forward to many more moments together.
In the heart of Eastwood Mall, Libis Quezon City (2nd Floor) is a gem of a Korean restaurant, Soban K-Town Grill. I’ve actually passed by this restaurant a couple of times, but sadly didn’t get to try it.
From the outside, the restaurant looks super industrial, as if you’re eating in the city streets. Super cool! The fences separating one table from another set the look of the place.
Unlike my sister (Instagram: @lizeatingadventures), I don’t crave for Korean food or smokeless grills that much. After eating in this restaurant (thanks to Aldous for the invite), however, my affinity to Korean food has dramatically increased. Surely, I will eat here again!
Not only is the food good, but the staff is very efficient and helpful. This one is actually the pioneer branch—-thumbs up for a job well done!
The restaurant is under The Happyfoods Group (the same people—sisters Diana Tan-David, Donna Tan-Ng and Dorothy Tan-Dee —who brought Sariwon Philippines). They developed the concept of Soban K-Town Grill with Sung-Rah, an award-winning restaurateur from Korea. The owners were very kind and accommodating during our time there.
Here are a couple of the things I tried as well as my notes on them:
K-taco – It’s fresh lettuce, kimchi, sour cream, cheese, and your choice of Korean barbecue meat. Yum!
Kimchi Fried Rice – I’m happy that it isn’t too spicy. It’s a refreshing take on fried rice, something I’ll surely try again.
Kimchi Fries – I’m a sucker for well-cooked fries! So good with kimchi.
Japchae – Believe it or not this was my first time to taste this famous Korean dish.
Grilled Pork and Fresh Beef Belly – Sadly, I wasn’t able to taste their pork (I’m allergic and was feeling under the weather during that day), but their beef belly is definitely my favorite! I love how fresh it taste! (and also it having just the right amount of fat)
Boneless Fried Chicken – Sooo, sooo good. I love how fresh their food is (in general). I also appreciate the extra flavor that the sesame seeds give.
I’m looking forward to visiting this restaurant soon! What an experience.
Christmas, a time for giving, is just around the corner. If you want to help our less fortunate, buy yourself and your loved ones Team Aldous Food Blogging Group sweatshirts. All the proceeds will be given to charity. How to order? Simply drop us a message at https://www.facebook.com/teamaldous.
Looking for a casual, affordable place in Quezon City where you can pig out after a long day at work? Well, search no more because Bossing’s Grill at Ali Mall, Cubao has got you covered. Bossing’s Grill is brought to you by the same people who brought to you the famous Uncle Cheffy.
The UC Group is composed of: UNCLE CHEFFY – The Best Brick-Oven BBQ and Panizza; KUSE – Traditional Filipino Cuisine; Larry & Mau Diner; Bossing’s Grill; Market Basket– Modern Dampa; Chefs’ Barrel– Dining and Pub and the CHEFS QUARTER CATERING SERVICES.
The restaurant has a rotating menu, but there are the regulars such as their signature Bacon Sinigang (how unique is that?). Here is a sample of what you might see if you decide to pay them a visit.
To go straight to the point, their food taste like your typical comfort food. It’s not award-winning, but it will definitely satisfy your cravings and appetite for the night. If you’re looking for a place to hang that serves super low-priced Filipino food, this place is for you. Super sulit sa 299! 🙂
I’m a big fan of worcestershire sauce. I love mixing it with grilled steak and sukiyaki, and sometimes with ketchup for friend chicken. We actually have a bottle of it at home, so I am very familiar with worcestershire’s rich sweet, salty, and sour taste. Yum! Yum! Yum! 🙂
Attending the culminating Manila leg of the Lea and Perrins Countrywide Cook-off (now on its 3rd year and 2nd national leg) was an amazing eye opener for me. Last Saturday (October 29) , 12 talented finalist battled it out at Enderun. The special ingredient to make their dishes, gising na gising sa sarap ? Lea and Perrins WorcesterchireSauce of course! Now I know that I can creatively use Lea and Perrins WorcesterchireSauce on much more dishes than I am used to.
The lively event, hosted by Ms. Kristine Dera (90.7 Love Radio), was very engaging even to the other attendees (including relatives and family of the contestants, media, agencies and people from Lea and Perrins, people from Getz Brothers, etc.) because of the live feed of the hot kitchen, and also the different games and video presentations. I am happy to say that I won in one of the games wherin ingredients of various dishes were flashed and the audience were ask to guess the dishes that ingredients created. My dish was Chicken Barbecue! I got to take home a gift pack. Yay!
Another thing that I liked about the event was that I was allowed to enter and watch the contestants in action. (very iron chef vibes). Here are some of contestants side by side with their entry.
Here are all of the the dishes that were entered in the competition.
2nd Runner Up
1st Runner Up
Area Grand Winner
As with all competitions, no matter how good and talented all the contestants are, there has to be named winners. So for the Lea and Perrins Manila Leg, here are the winners.
(Apart from taking home a trophy and a gift bag, the area’s grand champion, first runner-up, and second runner-up each received P25,000 pesos, P15,000 pesos, and P10,000 pesos, respectively. The money prize is exempted from tax.
The 12 finalists were chosen from some 50 aspirants who joined the pre-judging event at Robinson’s Galleria where they presented their signature dishes.
The culminating activity of the competition is the Metro Manila cook-off. Prior to this, the caravan of Lea & Perrins: Isang Kutsara Nationwide Cooking Challenge Year 2 visited six cities namely, Albay, Cagayan De Oro, Davao, Iloilo, and Cebu,
Each area had its own cooking grand champion and first and second runner-up who won tax-free cash prizes, a trophy, and a special gift bag.
Non-winners were given consolation prize money, a plaque of participation, and exclusive gift packs from Lea & Perrins.)
I definitely enjoyed this event and look forward to the next one! 🙂 🙂 🙂
Maraciano’s (owned by Marvin Augustin and partners—same brains behind Sumo Sam, John and Yoko, Balboa, Akira, etc.) recently relaunched their original Italian-American menu last July. Marciano’s is named after the great Italian-American boxes, Rocky Marciano.
The restaurant’s interior is sophisticated but welcoming, like something people would probably see in uptown NYC. It has a laid back feel that’s perfect for long conversations with friends and family.
This is what I ordered: Meal: Joe Dimaggio Beef Stroganoff Drink: Lychee, Lime and Honey
What I think: (click pictures to read my input)
It first the taste came out as something very peculiar. As I drank it though, it grew on me, and at the end I decided that I liked it. The drink is good for cleansing the palette while eating.
This has to be the one of the best Beef Stroganoffs that I have tasted—ever, ever. I love how they seasoned the tender beef. I tried to dissect what they put, but sadly couldn’t. It’s not overwhelmingly creamy, which is a good thing for me because that’s how I like my cream-based pastas. Props to the chef! Two thumbs up.
As trivia, the head chef of Marciano’s, Gorgio Bucciarelli, hails from Italy. The pasta that they serve are made fresh daily, and can be either made out of lemon or spinach. How cool is that? (Note:One of the best-selling pastas is the Legally Blonde, but sadly I couldn’t try it because I’m allergic to shrimp.)
The staff of the restaurant are very friendly, efficient, and accommodating.
All in all, my gastronomic experience was very satisfying and enjoyable. I’ll definitely be back.
If you’re a fan of Kapangpangan cuisine, then you might want to give this restaurant a visit. UP Town Center, Katipunan has a huge selection of restaurants to choose from and I am glad to have tried this delicious treat! <Yay! Thanks Aldous for the invite>! This is their only branch. UP Town Center has a number of restaurants that are only available in this particular mall which makes the mall awesome.
The restaurant is not small, but just as a side note, when they open another branch, I hope they add 1 or 2 function rooms where people can celebrate birthdays with family and friends. The restaurant has a homey, family feel with Filipino touches all around it. As a trivia, some of the restaurant’s wood is actually from old Pampanga churches (cool, noh?).
Let me give you a tour via the mosaic gallery below (click the images to enlarge 🙂 )
FYI, Pinác offers a buffet option during lunch, so lucky for you if you’re near the area. 🙂
NOW FOR THE FOOOOOOD REVIEW:
To start of, let me just say that I’ll definitely be back. 🙂 They have a ton of dishes to choose from:
Their Deep Fried Chicken Skin with Potato Chips is so addicting. It’s definitely crispy, but not hard on the teeth. I like how it’s flavorful, but not overly flavored. Good job! ❤
Their Sinigang na Bangus sa Bayabas is a winner! It’s very fresh and tasty that it made me consumer 1 1/2 cups of rice. <Oh no!haha> My only comment is that I wish they would have taken out the seeds. We had to take them out while eating, which was kind of a hassle. Overall, however, awesome job 🙂
Crispy Tadyang is one of my favorite Filipino dishes. I try to eat it in moderation though because of the fat content. However, whenever I would like to indulge myself in a Filipino meal after a long day, this is my go-to dish.
Piñac doesn’t have this exact dish, what they have is Smoked Tadyang with Yellow Mango Chutney (I am allergic to Mango so I had it taken out—which they gladly did). It was a really big serving (we took some of it home). I really love contrast of the soy sauce with the vinegar vegetable mix. I must admit, I missed the crispiness of the beef, but overall I was super happy with this one.
Makeover moments never get stale. As a little girl, I felt the magic when Cinderella transformed into a princess and astonished all the people at the ball as she makes a grand entrance.
Fast forward to the 20th – 21st century and you have a long string of makeover movies. The fairy godmother may no longer be there to wave her wand, but the magic of a makeover is still present. Deeper than the makeover though, is the woman the character becomes after the makeover. From early 20th century London to the modern day New York City, let’s take a journey and see how makeovers have generously worked their perpetual magic for us women.
Sabrina (1954): Sleek and Sophisticated
This is one of Audrey Hepburn’s timeless classics, where she plays Sabrina Fairchild, daughter of the driver of the powerful and business savvy Larrabee clan. From a simple, gawky and lanky girl, she reinvents herself as a sophisticated fashionista showing-off her new-found French style.
FASHION MOMENT: Fresh from cooking school in France, she arrives and shocks David Larrabee (the man she has had a crush on forever, played by William Holden), with her new look. Audrey Hepburn is famous for her iconic fashion statements in her movies and this particular film does not disappoint. In the movie, she returns to the States in shades, wearing a black skirt and blazer with a white scarf tied over her head. David’s reaction in the scene when he realizes that it was actually Sabrina Fairchild, the woman who practically grew up in his garage, earned a laugh from its viewers. The new Sabrina that exuded humor and confidence in clear contrast to her previous shy and fearful character displays the power of a makeover.
The movie ends with the classic twist of Sabrina falling for Linus Larrabee (David’s brother played by Humphrey Bogart) instead. Disappointing? Not at all, the movie left me delightfully rooting for them get together. After all, who can resist Humphrey Bogart aside from Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca?
My Fair Lady (1964): The timeless Princess- do
In the movie, we are taken into a free fashion show set in the early 20th century. Timeless pieces which have been reinvented through time and have inspired many designs of today are manifested in the entire film including the famous white, lace serpentina gown that Eliza Doolittle wears to the horse race. From a flower girl with dirt all over her face, she metamorphoses into a regal beauty. This is one of the best makeovers in movie history.
FASHION MOMENT: Her entrance in the queen’s ball is a dream of millions of girls all over the world. Who wouldn’t want to play princess for real? The transformation was complete. Eliza entered the room in a Greek-inspired flowing, beaded, ball gown with delicate pleats at the center. Her hair was pulled back, with a diamond crown to complete the look. She had every head in the room turned, including the queen’s.
The queen was so impressed in fact, that she asked Eliza to dance with her son; the crown prince. She even manages to fool the Zoltan Kaparthy; the Hungarian phonetics expert, who usually can tell if someone’s faking their social status. After screening her, he finally concluded that she was a Hungarian princess in disguise, “Her English is too good…which clearly means that she is foreign.”, as retold by Professor Higgins after the ball.
Pretty Woman (1990): Dressing like a Lady
…and so the princess at the top of the tower was rescued by her prince and they lived happily ever after.
This was the version of the fairy tale that we knew. Never did we expect Cinderella to be rescued from Hollywood Boulevard, as professional escort; Vivian Ward (played by Julia Roberts), proved otherwise. In this witty, romantic picture, Vivian meets her prince charming in the person of powerful and rich business executive; Edward Lewis (Richard Gere).
FASHION MOMENT: She bloomed into a lady, worthy of a balcony sit in Broadway. When she meets Edward for the Broadway show, it was a 180 degree turnaround from what she previously looked like. From the blonde wig that she was wearing at the beginning of the movie, her hair was now dark red and pulled back. She also had traded in her black mini-skirt and worn-out leather boots for a red off-shoulder, figure flattering dress and white gloves, giving her a really refined look. Everyone in the hotel lobby looked at her in amazement as she walked side by side with handsome Edward.
The graceful beauty that she gained through the makeover shone even brighter when she decided to quit being an escort and chose to live a better life.
Head Over Heels (2001): Smoky-eyes that captivate
The makeover gets a little bit funkier in Head over Heels, a romantic comedy starred by Monica Potter who plays Amanda. After having broken up with her boyfriend, she suddenly finds herself renting an apartment with four models, who give her the makeover of her life.
FASHION MOMENT: This movie emphasizes the use of smoky-eyes being the make-up’s focal point. The look mixed classic and vintage fashion by combining a long black dress with a feather collar with detailed silver jewellery. The incredible overhaul was able to kill the history nerd look, giving her a more daring and eye-catching one. This definitely made her the belle of the ball. What a good makeover it was, after all, she got the attention of Jim Winston (played by 90’s heartthrob Freddie Prinze, Jr.), who fell head over heels in love with her.
Although the makeover was indeed a success, Jim knew better and saw Amanda for who she was as he gives her his full attention saying, “You’re not like most of the women I see in these parties.”. Makeover moments aren’t the “end all, be all” of the story, it’s only the beginning, but it gives you quite a good start anyway.
Devil Wears Prada (2007): Runway Galore
The road to beauty is not always an easy one. Take it from Andie Sachs, played by Anne Hathaway in this addicting film set in a world headed by cold-hearted editor-in-chief, Miranda Priestly where how you looked – did matter. From an idealistic and somewhat naïve girl wearing what looked like her “grandmother’s skirt”, she evolved into a woman that had a thousand dollar wardrobe including Valentino, Jimmy Choo, andChannel as her second skin.
FASHION MOMENT: Andie shocked Emily when she entered the office in knee-high black, leather Channel boots, a white-outlined black, wide-collared, blazer on top of a grey mini-dress, backed-up with a chic bangs and highlights, and completed with a layered gold necklace. This left Emily(Emily Blunt), bitter with envy. We all witnessed how her confidence skyrocketed, as she dealt with fashion Runway’s fashion gurus with ease and charm. This earns Miranda’s very rare nod of approval.
At the end of the movie though, we see Andie Sachs quit. Truly, it was proof that Andie, after having faced a lot of challenging moments at Runway that almost ate her up alive, had transformed. Far from the submissive self that she previously was, she now had the courage to say, “Enough!”, to the most powerful person in fashion.
Do you have a favorite makeover movie? I’d love to hear about it!