Something tasty and artsy comes your way in Downtown and Halsted, BGC

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!).

Mushroom Soup 

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…

Chorizo Pasta 

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.

Lengua Skewers

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.

Choco-Peanut butter Cheesecake 

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!

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A Very Happy Birthday @ Solstice by Cafe Ilustrado, 8 Rockwell

Last Thursday (April 19) was a time to C.E.L.E.B.R.A.T.E. 

  1. 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!! 🙂
  2. He celebrated his birthday with #teamadlous at Solstice by Cafe’ Ilustrado.

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!].

Photo by Janessa Erin

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.

Photo by Janessa Erin

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.

Adobong Bagnet
Photo by Janessa Erin

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!

Coconut Water With Strawberry
Photo by Janessa Erin

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! ❤

About Solstice: 

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 for updates.

Christmas at Xiao Nam Men, Z Square Mall

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.



Visit BAO on the block for an Asian street party in your mouth

Recently, I’ve had a chance to try an interesting take on Asian cuisine at Bao “on the block”.  The thing about their menu is that although it is dominantly  Chinese-based, the people behind this awesome food spot put their brains together and fused hints of other asian cuisines  namely Japanese, Korean, and Filipino.


Here is copy of the menu that I got from their Facebook page.

<look how creative their Bao Special’s names are! 🙂 🙂 🙂 )


Particularly interesting (and addicting!) was their fish wasabi, which makes the dish subtly hot, but not to the point of distracting you from enjoying the meal. It’s available both as a Bao and a rice bowl. I think it was a good decision to include rice, since we, Filipinos, will always be on the lookout for rice.

Both made me feel like I was eating a giant sushi so,” yay!”, for that!


Fish Wasabi—Rice Bowl. 
Fish Bao with You


Also, their Deep Friend Ice Cream Bao  is winner! 🙂 Crunchy meets creamy is always a good idea 🙂 Maybe in the future they can even do the ice cream themselves…and explore different flavors!. That would make the dish even more interesting.

Deep Fried Ice Cream Bao


My only comment is that I wish the food were less oily. I’m a fan of crispy fried food, but without the excess oil.

To go straight to the point, their menu is comfort street food—casual and addicting. Their are different types of food, and I’m happy for share that for me, this hangout has found a deserving spot in the comfort street food we crave for after long day’s a work.

Operating hours: 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Call 0995 783 9797
Sgt. Esguerra Ave, Diliman, Quezon City, Metro Manila

Tara na sa Bossing’s Grill!

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.

Bossing Grill, Cubao Menu
image from


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! 🙂

Marciano’s has one of the best Beef Strogranoffs I’ve tasted! Yum!

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)


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.

Visit them in Greenbelt 3 (Level 2)


Pinác UP Town Center: A wonderful Kapangpangan treat.

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. 🙂

from their Facebook.



To start of, let me just say that I’ll definitely be back. 🙂 They have a ton of dishes to choose from:

From their Facebook.  You can just zoom it. 🙂

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! ❤

Deep Fried Chicken Skin with Potato Chips

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.

Smoked Tadyang with Yellow Mango Chutney
Suman, Turon & Panna Cotta, and Flat Top Smores. Smores is deifinitely my favorite.




Super yummy Lamb Sharwarma at Shawarma Bros, UP Town Center Katipunan


I love industrially designed restaurants. ❤  Obviously, when I saw how Shawarma Bros was designed, the photography enthusiast in me did a happy dance and I took a bunch of pictures! Let me give you a tour of the place via the mosaic gallery below. I even took my OOTD  (outfit of the day) here, which you will see at the end of the entry. haha!

The concept of Shawarma Bros actually dates back to the school years of the owners. They played basketball during their free time, and almost always after, they would eat shawarma. Cool, huh?

This one (UP Town Center, Katipunan) is now their 4th branch, plus a food truck.
Other branches include: Venice Grand Canal; Bonifacio Stopover, and Raymundo Pasig.

Note: Their food truck is scheduled on a weekly basis. The schedule is posted on Instagram
and Facebook accounts. They are also available for events and private bookings.
Book through: (02) 631-655

Here is their menu: 



Everything is super yummy (I tried all three— beef, chicken, and lamb— ), but their Lamb Shawarma Rice mixed with their chili tomato was soooo,sooo good (their are other sauces to choose from, see menu). What I like about their Lamb Shawarma is that it hadsjust a right amount of fat and flavor, nothing too much that could have made me feel bloated. Their chili tomato, on the other hand, sauce simply enhanced the flavor of the meat instead of covering it. Good job!

I have yet to try their burritos…I’ll have to do another entry on that.


Visit Shawarma Bros in FB:
IG and Twitter: @shawarmabros

Thanks to Aldous, of #teamadlous for the invite.




For this particular, outfit I put on a classy square top. I love how it didn’t make me look fat (or too fat).  I guess you can I also channeled Ms. Audrey Hepburn’s style for this OOTD by sticking to simple lines and designs. I, however, wanted to feel tall that day, so instead of wearing ballet flats, I wore a pair of loafer heals. 

Yayoi PH: Easily one of the best Japanese restaurants I’ve tried.

Their very techie menu.

I recently got invited to the launch of the first Philippine franchise of Yayoi Ph. The experience was a sweet, “techie” one, what with their cool ordering system (it’s via I PAD, sooo cool!). The restaurant features simple wood, utilitarian interior. I wish the restaurant were bigger and more spacious, but that’s only because I’m a fan of big spaces. The restaurant did a good job of making use of the space they had. The layout caters to all sorts of customers: big groups, solo restaurant goers, families, and small groups.

The staff, on the other hand, are efficient, helpful,and friendly.

The restaurant serves authentic Japanese cuisine, which in my opinion, was nothing short of excellent. This is easily one of the best Japanese restaurants I’ve tried so far, and I’ve tried a couple. I highly recommend trying out the place.

As of this writing I have tried two of their dishes. I am still daydreaming about the one I had earlier—their WAFU BURGER!

Their WAFU burger set is tender, juicy and expertly cooked. I love mixing it with their side dishes, Japanese pickles +Salad. I also love how everything is fresh and served to a generous amount. (Super sulit!). 

No kidding, I ate all of it! Note: Need to exercise tomorrow. Miso palang, winner na! I love the sweet-salty soy sauce that they put. 

….and another picture just because I want to share how awesome it looks like. (and I love taking pictures!) 

Way to go Yayoi PH. Easily one of the most memorable Japanese restaurants. Can’t wait to try more!


A girl’s gotta love pearls! I love how pearls can transform a look from casual to classy just like that. The mix of black & pink make the look edgy, but with a touch of girl (and softness). Don’y you love mixing up looks and making them work for you?