Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Popcorn Heaven - Garrett's

It's December already!!  How else are you going to start it with but with a sweet bang!  Since we all know December is that time of the year when your gym's exercise routine gets lost.  It is also the time when you lose control with spending and when your waistband just miraculously expand with non-stop Christmas parties. My sweet treats started right in the first week of December when I saw the blue stripes logo of Garrett's at Dalma Mall in Mussafah.

Imagine my delight when I saw the shop.  Garrett's finally here in Abu Dhabi!  I don't have to run to Dubai just to have those sweet and salty popcorn.  Who could resist caramel covered popcorn while watching tv or a movie?  Garrett's leveled it up by adding nuts like almonds, walnuts and cashew.  Or if you want the old school type they also have the buttered popcorn and they also have the cheese if you prefer salty type of popcorn.  However, if you are like me who eat sweet and salty alternately, you can always the Chicago mix.  This is a combination of the caramel and cheese popcorn.  I'm not a big fan of cheese but it will do for the salt requirement.  The buttered popcorn was just too salty for my liking.

So, if you feel like indulging in good quality popcorn, visit Dalma Mall's Garrett's Popcorn.

You can never go wrong with that blue tin container (or pink tin container if you're in Singapore) - worth every penny, even Oprah voted this as one of her favorite things.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Asian Záhuò diàn

The winter chill is slowly creeping in the city.  This means that the a/c can start taking vacation from over-cooling the houses of Abu Dhabi.  Colder weather means hot chocolates and warm soups.  When I say warm soups, I meant those spicy Chinese noodles.  Ah, I miss my days in Singapore.  I can have noodles anytime of the day.  So how do we cope with cravings such as this?  Yes, we go to the shabu-shabu.  But, if moolah is a bit tight the best option is to make your own at home.  I don't mean buying those instant noodles with Chinese characters you can not read.  I meant, make it from scratch.  The noodles, the dumplings, the meatballs, and the vegetables.  So where to get all these?  Where else but at the Chinese grocery!

The Signage - Chinese LLC 02 491 9508

A friend showed me the place a few months before.  And what I have discovered was something that will keep me coming back to the store whenever the nostalgia for noodles and anything Asian hit me. 

The store with a huge Baqala signage and a smaller signage that reads Chinese Store is next to Beijing Restaurant along Salam St..  It is exactly in front of a bus stop.  If you will be taking the cab you can tell the driver to take you to the bus stop of HSBC bank along Salam St.,

Every time I visit the store, new items are displayed and it just makes me smile.  I remember, during the Autumn festival, they have tons of mooncake displayed.  I was so overwhelmed, I ended up buying nothing.  But I got some mochi instead.  They have all kinds of instant noodles if you are feeling lazy but want to eat noodles.  Fresh vegetables and noodles are also available and amazingly cheap.  They have all kinds of Asian condiments that you could think of.  Even refreshments that I used to see in Singapore but never dared to try are also being sold.  Frozen goods are also plentiful, I highly recommend buying those handmade frozen dumplings.  I can't get enough of those.

Instant Noodles (sorry its blurry)

Aisle of Asian Vegetables

I will be posting some pics, but I apologize if its not that good, since I was a bit hesitant to take some pictures, the lady at the store saw me taking pictures and she was eyeing me suspiciously.  Do come and visit the store, it was like Little China in there.

My loot! Vegetable Dumplings, Egg Noodles and Instant Noodles

Monday, November 25, 2013

Breakfast for Dinner

Wouldn't you just love to have breakfast for dinner?  I mean, pancakes and all those deliciously oily stuff for an evening meal.  I know its not healthy, but you don't get to do that everyday.  Well, I guess not everybody anyway.

On one of our spontaneous road trips, we found ourselves craving for a good hearty breakfast.  You know, the kind of meal where everything is fried and a guarantee that will have your blood pressure shooting out of proportions.  Unfortunately that was already 6 pm, something fried and oily from fast food chains just don't make the cut.  And then we found the restaurant of all restaurants for big time breakfast meals - IHOP.

I was so happy to finally have pancake for dinner.  We usually don't get to do that.  Knowing Filipinos, rice is the common denominator in every meal.  As my husband always say, a meal is not a meal without rice served on the plate.  Anyway, since we were in breakfast land, I was able to muscle him to order pancakes and breakfast meals and skip the side of rice.

It took us some time to choose what to order.  The menu just goes on and on.  And we can't seem to decide which one to pick.  My husband ordered the breakfast sampler, two bacon, two sausages, two turkey hams, two eggs, a hash brown and two fluffy pancakes.  While I ordered the Pick-a-pancake combo - two eggs, two bacon, hash brown and two fluffy pancakes.  I'm not a huge fan of pancakes with flavors so I went with the buttermilk.  There were four syrups on the table, might as well try each of it and it goes well with the basic pancake recipe.  The winner is butter pecan.  It was just so perfect with the pancake. I'm a bit disappointed with the pancake, maybe because I wanted it to absorb the syrup but not dissolve with it.  Maybe I'm just comparing it with Mcdonald's pancakes or even my pancakes.  I prefer my pancakes fluffly and yummy but don't crumble.

Pick-a-Pancake combo

Breakfast Sampler

The Syrups! Old Fashioned, Blueberry, Butter Pecan and Strawberry

We would have ordered more, but we have already reached our quota for sinful goodies for one week.  I guess, we just have to visit IHOP again to try out more of what's in their menu.

Sad to say, IHOP is only in Dubai, I do hope they would open one soon in Abu Dhabi.

For the menu of IHOP click here

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Indian Night at Kebabs and Kurries

Ethnic restaurants have always drawn me like a firefly drawn to a lamp.  Unfortunately, I don't always get the chance to actually dive into it.  Partly because my constant meal-mate is not as adventurous as I am and partly, I'm scared myself, especially if the restaurant is known to be for boys-only type.

While I am still into the Indian cuisine (I think I'll never get enough of their food, promise!), we visited Kebabs and Kurries at Souk Central Market.  We had a hard time looking for the restaurant as it was actually located at one of the entrances of the mall.  I'm not entirely sure which one but its right next to where a guy makes handmade bangles and other hand intricate jewelry.

It was a Friday night and it was not packed.  Two tables were already occupied.  One table was obviously tourists and the other was occupied by an Indian family.  The staff immediately seated us and gave us the menu.  Good thing I have already checked the menu online so we could give out our orders immediately.  We ordered chicken biryani (what else??) and kadhai chicken.  For drinks, we ordered iced tea and mango lassi as this was highly recommended by the staff.  While waiting for our order a bread basket was serve with some dippings - mint and yoghurt.

Bread Basket with mint and yoghurt dipping

The food took some time to arrive, hence, the bread basket was empty after a few minutes of waiting.

The mango lassi was good.  Too rich for my liking.  The chicken biryani was good while the kadhai was not that memorable.  It just tasted like the Indian style buttered chicken.  It was not so spicy so it was okay.

The serving was enough for two people.  But if you are really hungry, you might end up ordering more.  I guess, another bread basket would have been good as there was enough sauce from the kadhai to dip into.  The food, the service and the price of the food was all in all a B-.

I would still visit this place just because the place is comfortable and the price was reasonable.

For the menu click here.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Eid Al Adha 2013 of the Homebody

It has been a week that has passed since the busy Eid Al Adha holidays.  While most of the working class are nursing holiday hangovers, I am still busy finishing my to-do lists.  For a homebody like me, the holidays do not really mean a thing anymore, but an excuse for me to go out of the house and do something crazy-ish.

A few weeks before the big holiday some friends were asking me what are our plans for the three-day holiday.  Its one of the anticipated holidays of the year here in Abu Dhabi so why not do something extravagant.  I am such a killjoy because I opted not to go out and do excursions, instead we did our Christmas shopping in advance.  Yep, you read that right, Christmas shopping in October, I even started wrapping up some of the gift I have already bought. For those who are not an expat, December is the busiest time for all couriers all over the world, I think.  At least it is here in UAE.  Last year, a colleague informed me that if I want my balikbayan box to arrive just in time for Christmas I have to send the box by September.  Yikes!

Back to the holidays, we went to Dubai Outlet Mall to shop.  We were not prepared to see the outlet mall full of Filipinos who were also shopping.  Like shopping crazy.  We spent the entire day shopping and believing me it was not enough.  We have to do some pit stops at Emirates Mall to pick up my baking ingredients.  The second day activity was the same.  While most of my friends were relaxing at the park enjoying the cooler weather, my husband and I had to do more buying.

On the last day, we took a break and decided to have brunch at the beach.  The last time I went to the beach here in Abu Dhabi was 3 years ago.  July 2013.  So in the morning, I made breakfast burritos, corn dogs, store-bought fried chicken and fried rice and went to the beach.  We took gate number 2 as this is the part of the corniche where there are bungalows.  Unfortunately when we got there, all are occupied. We settled on a nearby grass and opened our blanket to start our little picnic. 

But after some time, a cottage was available and we moved our stuff under the shade.  Advice for those who are considering going to the beach in this area, if you have food, its better if you bring your table and chairs.  Although blankets and mats are okay there are ants.  Just to avoid biting into them, its better to bring something to put your food at.

By lunch time the beach was not so saturated anymore.  It was a nice day to relax and enjoy the breeze and people watch.  We stayed there least two hours. Yes, i know not much time to totally get a decent sun tan, but the heat was just a bit too much already.

By the way, the entrance fee was AED 5.00 for kids and AED 10.00 for adults.  Grilling was not allowed in the area.  Gate number 2 is the entrance near the Tiara Express kiosk.  It is also the entrance in front of the intersection with the Chevrolet Showroom.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Changi Airport Must-Know Spots

More on Changi Airport information.  One post is just not enough.  If you are taking a cab going to the airport, the cab driver will ask you which terminal will you be getting off.  In case you don't know which terminal to tell the driver, below are the airlines operating per terminal:

Terminal 2:

Air India - AI                         Air India Express - IX                    All Nippon Airways - NH
Asiana Airlines - OZ               Berjaya Air - J8                             Cebu Pacific Air - 5J
Etihad Airways - EY               Firefly - FY                                   Hainan Airlines - HU
IndiGo - 6E                            Korean Air - KE                           Lao Airlines - QV
Lufthansa German - LH          Malaysia Airlines - MH                  Mandala Airlines - RI
Pal Express - 2P                    Philippine Airlines - PR                   Royal Brunei Airlines - BI
Scoot - TZ                             SilkAir - MI                                   Singapore Airlines - SQ
Southeast Asian Airlines         Sriwijaya Air - SJ                           SWISS - LX
Tiger Airways - TR                TransAsia Airways - GE                 Vietjet Air - VJ

Terminal 3:

China Eastern Airlines - MU                                    Sichuan Airlines - 3U
Garuda Indonesia - GA                                           SriLankan Airlines - UL
Jet Airways - 9W                                                    Transaero Airlines - UN
Qatar Airways - QR                                                United Airlines - UA
Saudi Arabian Airlines - SV                                     Vietnam Airlines - VN

* Airlines not listed operates from Terminal 1.

Services in this airport are endless.  Some of the services listed on the guidebook are as follows:

*  Fly-Cruise:
     -  Available at Terminal 3, Arrival Hall.  If you are embarking on a cruise ship from the airport you can check-in your baggage at the Fly-Cruise Counter 48 hours prior to the departure.  Baggage will be delivered directly at your cruise cabin.

* Left Baggage:
   - Available at Terminals 1,2 & 3 Departure Transit Lounge and Public Area. If you plan to go and explore either the airport or the city and you don't want to carry too much stuff you can leave your things at the Left Baggage Counters which is available 24 hours for a certain fee.

*  Medical Services & Pharmacies:
   - Available at Terminal 1, Departure Transit Lounge; Terminals 2 & 3, Departure Transit Lounge and Public Area.  For medical requirements there are counters to provide you the necessary medicines and assistance.  Airport Clinic Emergency Hotline is +65 6543 2223.

Passengers' needs are also provided by the airport.  Too bad I didn't check all of it as I was too lazy to read the guidebook while I was there.

For families:
-  Children's Play Area - Terminals 1,2 & 3 Departure Transit Lounge
-  Family Zone - Terminal 2, Departure Transit Lounge
-  Baby Care Room - Terminals 1,2 & 3 Departure Transit Lounge

For Leisure:
- TV & Entertainment Lounges - Terminals 1,2 & 3 Departure Transit Lounge
- Free WIFI - Terminals 1,2 & 3 Departure Transit Lounge and Public Area
- Free Internet Access - Terminals 1,2 & 3 Departure Transit Lounge
- Spa, Massage & Foot Reflexology - ( Terminal 1 -  the Fish Spa & Reflexology; Terminal 2 - The Ultimate Spa and TranSpa; Terminal 3 - My Foot Reflexology)

For Others:
- Shower Facilities - Terminals 1,2 & 3 Departure Transit Lounge
- Powder Room - Terminals 1 & 3, Departure Transit Lounge
- Prayer Room - Terminals 1, 2 & 3 Departure Transit Lounge
- Special Needs - Terminals 1,2 & 3  Departure Transit Lounge and Public Area
- Laundry Services - Terminals 2 & 3, Public Area
- Free Rest Areas - Terminals 1,2 & 3 Departure Transit Lounge
- Smoking Areas - Terminals 1, 2 & 3 Departure Transit Lounge

And lastly, here's the layout.  Hopefully it could help you roam the busy floors of Singapore Changi Airport.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

What You Don't Know About Changi Airport

While I was sorting out papers from our pile.  Correction, piles.  We have tons of papers filed in "creative" ways everywhere in the house.  Anyway, while I was sorting I saw this small booklet I got when I was in Singapore Airport waiting for my flight back here in Abu Dhabi.  I was scheduled to fly around 10 pm, unfortunately on that same day my sister had a doctor's appointment at 7:00 pm -ish so they need to send me off earlier.

I have never stayed long on airports before because I usually well, just go.  I don't like lay overs.  Plus I'm a non-revenue passenger.  We usually don't have that luxury.  As much as flying with a high travel class is absolutely amazing, being bumped off in case the flight is full is the complete opposite of amazing.  Sigh.  Life of a NR passenger.  But hey, I'm not complaining!

grabbed from

Back to the booklet.  It was all about the airport - Changi Airport for that matter.  I just realized that I have missed a lot.  While I was killing time, I was just roaming around and thinking of buying some stuff that are small enough to shove inside my backpack while trying to connect to their wifi.  I don't know what seems to be the problem because I just can't.

So I just roamed around, while looking for the loo, I found some internet stations.  I was able to let me family in Davao and my husband in Abu Dhabi know where I am currently at.  I can't stay long there because they don't have seats.  It was intended for short term use only.  So I went back to listless walking.

I got tired of walking so I looked for some lounge chairs where I could sit and read my book. Unfortunately, where ever I go chairs are occupied.  I don't want to go to coffee shops because its too far from my designated gate.  I ended up sitting by the departure gate area, where most of the passengers were sitting on the floor.  If you can't beat them, join them.  To make this post longer (*sheepish grin*) here are what I have discovered from the booklet I got from the airport, which is too late by the way.  But for you potential Changi airport bystanders here are some helpful information.

Below are free services at Changi Airports' Transit Areas:
    -  Avail of the 550 internet stations all around the airport.
    -  Free WiFi access airport-wide (I can't...I just can't)
    - Watch movies at the Movie Theaters in Terminals 2 and 3
    - Play and Enjoy Xbox 360, Playstation 3, MTV booths and LAN Gaming at the Entertainment Deck
         at Terminal 2
    - Watch worldwide news and sports at  TV & Entertainment Lounges
    - Relax at Foot and Calf Massage Stations
    - Stroll at the various themed gardens
    - Make art creations at the Art Interactive Zones
    - You can do local telephone calls
    - Have the kids run around at the Children's Play Area
    - If you are staying longer than 5 hours, take the 2-hour Singapore tour.  Look for the Singapore
          Tour booths in level 2 of Terminals 2 and 3.

The airport's layout will be shown and more information of Changi Airport on my next post.  Hope this could give you an introductory activities while killing the time during one of your transit time in Singapore city.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Royal Treatment

Thai cuisine has always been on my top list of go-to food whenever I feel like binging.  I have tried cooking Thai but its always a disaster, so I rather have it ordered than cook it myself.

A have this voucher expiring soon and its from Royal Orchid.  I was not so keen in using it because the name of the restaurant doesn't ring a bell.  While I was feeling a bit adventurous, I checked the net for any information about this Royal Orchid Restaurant.  Lo and behold, I was surprised that this restaurant has received a number of awards. 

(got the picture from roundmenu)
So we decided to try out the place.  The restaurant is located behind ADCB bank corner Salam St and Electra Street.  It is also near ADNOC with the Marry Brown fast food.  We wanted to make that night a little bit special with a bottle of red, that's why we opted to eat dinner at home (by the way, alcohol is not normally served here).  Around 6:30 I called to make the order and to pick up the food.  I was informed that they will only open around 7 pm.  So they will not be taking any orders until then.  When we went there, there's no customer yet, I was greeted with two lovely ladies, and immediately accommodated me.

The ordering didn't take much time.  I was informed that it will only take 15 minutes.  We have to buy something else, so I told them I'll just come back.  A few moments later, I received a call from them informing me that my order is already ready.  When I got to the place, they were already waiting with my order.

from left to right: paking duck, lettuce, lemon chicken and pad thai.

I must say, the service is excellent.  At home, when the table was set and ready to go, we dug in.  We ordered Lettuce wraps with Peking Duck, Honey Lemon Crispy chicken and Chicken Pad Thai.  All of it are amazing.  We couldn't stop eating until there was none left.  There's only a few Thai restaurants in the city and most of them are not so good except for one place - Taste of Thailand in Al Ain Palace Hotel.  They have authentic Thai food but quite expensive.

The food, the price, the service - Royal Orchid is something one should visit whatever the occasion may be.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Making a Good Choice at The Choices,Yas Island Rotana

A recent opportunity lead us to Yas Island on a sunny Friday afternoon.  As much as we want to laze around and sleep practically the whole day, the brunch service of Yas Rotana hotel is only from 12 noon to 4 pm.  We have to make the most of it.  Besides, who could pass up a chance for an international buffet?

Yas Island is a short drive from Abu Dhabi city.  This is where Ikea (weeho!), The Ferrari World, Yas Waterworld and the Formula One racetrack is located.  Locating Yas Island Rotana was easy because it is situated on the part of the island near the race track.  If you are coming from Abu Dhabi you can take Corniche Road thru Mina Road.  Once you are in Yas Island, follow the signage that states Yas Leisure Drive.  It will lead you to all the hotels in Yas Island - Centro, Crowne Plaza and Radisson Blu.  The drive was tricky, because the main entrance is a bit narrow and you won't easily notice it.  Both Yas Island Rotana and Centro share the same driveway.

The parking is at the basement of Centro hotel and doesn't have an entrance to the Yas Island Rotana hotel.  So you have to pass thru the Centro hotel before you get to the Yas Island Rotana.

The Choices restaurant is just one of the restaurants of the hotel and its located on the ground floor, opposite the main front desk.  Friday brunch is always a jam packed day for the restaurant.  We had to make a reservation a week ahead.

We arrived there around 1:45 pm and it was already buzzing with hungry diners.  Most of the diners were hotel guests and some expat's family.  I was so ecstatic because they have a counter for Ethnic food.  And they have chicken biryani! The international menu was impressive.  Especially the roasted meats.  I love their roasted chicken.  It was juicy and tasty.

my biryani!
I nearly overlooked the salad bar, because it was situated opposite the mains.  I was hoping that the arrangement of the salad would be right next to the mains.  Unfortunately, the sushi bar was around the corner next to the mains.  Hohum.  Plus, there's not much salad ingredients and dressings.  It was a bit of a letdown.

They also have a crepe station and you can choose whatever topping you want..  I was sort of hoping for a pancake or waffle station since its a brunch.  I was not so happy with the dessert station.  Yes, they have the chocolate fountain which is a hit with the kids, but there is nothing appetizing with chocolate dripping (Sorry, I'm not a chocolate lover).

About the dessert bar, while I was checking what they were serving.  There's not much that could fix my sugar craving.  So I got some chocolate pudding on a shot glass, some banana beignets and some French macaroons.  Although, they serve some mini cakes, I didn't get some as they look too dry for my liking.  I like my cake dense or fudgy.  Hey, I'm choosy when it comes to cakes, so no judging.

I didn't take much pictures as I felt too embarrass to take some.  All in all the dining experience in The Choices restaurant was incredibly scrumptious.  The service was also good.  Everybody was accommodating.  And the plates were cleared immediately.  A lot of the staff roam the floor to assist diners in their needs.  A must visit if you feel like splurging on good food with a classy ambiance.

Monday, September 30, 2013

The Biryani Experience

The first time I had Biryani was way back 2005 while I was doing my post-graduate study.  One of my classmates suggested we try this Persian eatery near the campus.  I was a bit hesitant since I was not that adventurous with food yet.  Since I don't want to be the killjoy of the group, I tagged along.  Majid's is a small eatery serving Persian food locally prepared everyday. 

The kababs, the yoghurt and the biryani were a delight to the tongue.  It is something you'd definitely be ordering again and again.  Before I could go on though, let me tell you what a biryani is.  Biryani is a dish based mostly with basmati rice mixed with different spices.  The dish is usually accompanied by chicken, mutton or fish.

A few months back, my sister and her family took me to Ras, an Indian buffet in Singapore.  It was everything I hoped for and more.  I had biryani for like three rounds!  And by the time I was in the middle of my second serving, my mouth was already burning and a thin sheet of sweat was already forming on my upper lip.  I love it!

Since I came here in Abu Dhabi, I have tried a few biryani but most of them are just plain forgettable.  Only a few that I could remember which I would definitely be ordering from again.  The first one is Green Darbar.  We discovered this place when we were living in Tourist Club area.  It was cheap but very filling.  One serving is already enough for two people.  And one weekday night I had a Biryani 101 crash course.  It was mouth burning, tummy filling and culturally enriching dinner.

Where else can you find all types of Indian food in one place?  Yes, the food court, but not just any food court, its at the food court of the extension of Madinat Zayed.

For our main meal - the biryani - our biryani guru lead us to Biryani Hut.  We had the Malabar Chicken Biryani and the Hyderabadi Biryani.  The prices for this biryani range from AED 14 and up.  Depending on the protein you will be choosing.

the feast

As part of our menu, we also had, Beef Fry, Dahl and Paneer Masala.  Our guide informed us that there are two ways to prepare beef fry the dry one and the wet one.  We ordered the dry one, I figured it would be spicier.  But actually its not.  The dahl is a vegetarian dish made of lentils cooked in their special spices. The winner of the night is the Paneer Masala.  It is a cheese dish cooked in a spicy masala sauce.  This made an absolute fiesta inside my mouth.  I simply love it.  It was burning hot and its sauce.  Plus it made me eat more rice than what I would have liked.

Hyderabadi Chicken Biryani

Malabar Chicken Biryani

The Malabar Chicken Biryani was highly recommended by our guide, and true enough, it was good.  It's not as what I usually have but its good.  Perfectly go well with the Paneer Masala.

Dahl and Beef Fry

Paneer Masala (I know it doesn't look appetizing - but looks can be deceiving!)

Our night ended when I could not swallow more rice anymore.  As much as I want to shove more paneer into my mouth, I just can't feel my tongue anymore.  The minute that it happened I can't wait to go home and gurgle some milk to take away the burning sensation.

It was a good mouth torture, but I will definitely do it again and again and again...besides, I always have a carton of milk standing by.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Rustic Dining at Le Pain Quotidien

While I was browsing the photos of my phone, I came across pictures of one of those dinner dates me and my husband had ages ago.  This dinner is one of the most memorable because it was the beginning of my affair with tartine. 

Blogging world, I would like to introduce to you the restaurant that makes my heart and my tummy do a flip-flop - Le Pain Quotidien.  Yes, I know it will take a lot of getting used to in pronouncing the name.  I practiced it in my head and a hundred times while taking a bath before visiting the restaurant.  Still, didn't nail it. It came out like I was talking and chewing something very very sticky at the same time.  It is actually read as "Le Pan Ko-Te-De-An."

The restaurant was right next to Starbucks in Al Najda St., at the ground floor of Twin Towers on the 13th street, this was January 2013.  Before we went there, I have already checked their menu to check what they offer and the price range of the shop.  I was prepared to have a three-course meal (had to skip lunch for this).

The place is just perfect for casual dining. Rustic and homey.  The place gives you that feeling of being in a great place that offers quality food.  The staff are warm and friendly and even helped you pronounced the words on the menu.

We ordered lemonades for drinks which arrived on time.  For our entree I ordered Chicken Mozzarella hot tartine while husbandry got the soup of the day.  The soup was good, just perfect for a cold night.  Perfect for winter time.  As for the tartine?  Well, what can I say.  It was love at first bite.  I just plainly love it.  I want to order more and forget about my main. The crunch of the bread plus the juicy chicken and cheese.

Homemade Lemonade

Soup of the Day: Corn and Mushroom

Chicken Mozzarella Tartine

For the main he got the Fisherman's pot and I got the Chicken chowder.  My husband enjoyed the meal but he was already full after the bowl of soup.  So he was not able to finish everything off.  As for my main, it was sort of dry.  The bread complements the chicken.  It was a bit salty for the creaminess of the chowder.  For dessert we only ordered one because we are already so stuffed but we just need to close the meal with something sweet.  Unfortunately, it was not that good.  My husband liked it because it was chocolate but nothing spectacular.

Chicken Chowder

Fisherman's Pot with Rosemary Potatoes

Chocolate Dome

In the end, the star of the night is the Tartine.  Hands down.  We ended the night a cup of Joe from the next door. 

Spoiler:  the branch here in Abu Dhabi has already closed the last we checked - July 2013.  We have to go to Dubai just to have those darn tartines.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Davao's Burger Trail

Before grilled burger patties came into the scene of Davao's gastronomic crowd, we were all contented with what Mcdonald's and Jollibee's burger offered.  It was nothing sensational.  That's why I don't usually order those burgers just because I don't like the taste plus the rumors that those patties were made from cultured organisms. 

copied from

Then entered Space Burger, first taste of those grilled burgers just made me fall in love with beef in a weird way.  Way back, when you want good burgers, Space Burger is the place to go.
copied from

 Over the years, burger joints opened and tried to compete with the "grilled" patties.  Before I left Davao for Abu Dhabi, Brother's Burger opened.  I was working for an American company and my all American boss just can't stop gushing about the steak burger of Brother's Burger.  To quote "it's exactly how American burgers should taste." 

copied from yahoo images

I think had his lunch there 2-3 times a week since it opened.  It's amazing he didn't get a a coronary with all those beef juices running into his veins.  Curious that I was, I decided to give it a go.  Since it recently opened the waiting time for the burger took an hour before you get what you have ordered.  For me, it was just too bland for my liking.

By 2012, another burger fever hit Davao and that is Gino's Burger.  I should give it to Gino's their patties are absolutely huge.  It was forgettable.  Then on my recent home coming, another burger joint was suggested by my brother.  It was advertised everywhere and I think they have 2 branches in Davao City.  One is along Quirino avenue and one is along Quimpo Boulevard near SM City Davao. 

So, one lunch break, I convinced my brother to sneak out for lunch to try the burger.  The venue is exactly what the name of the joint- backyard.  Plastic tables with the basic condiments as centerpiece.  They have a weekly promos so when were there the price for the fries were 50% off.  We ordered the Cheesy Bacon Burger and BB Philly Cheese Steak Burger.  We also ordered Jalapeno poppers as side.

The Menu - you can actually customize it!

The verdict:  on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, it was an 8.  The burger was good, especially the buns with black sesame on top.  They even buttered it lightly inside.  It was just messy to eat.  So if you are planning to impress a girl on a date this is definitely not the place.  The Jalapeno popper is a letdown.  I was expecting a whole jalapeno stuffed with cheese then fried, but instead it was just a cheese fritter with bits of jalapeno inside.  But all in all it was good.  For the menu of Backyard Burger click here.

Tips on ordering...have it cooked medium my brother say it just gives you all the right juice to complete the burger.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Razon's Halo-Halo in Davao

Summer in the Philippines means beach, bikini and big servings of halo-halo. 


Halo-halo in vernacular means "mix."  This famous snack is exactly what it is called.  It is a mix of different texture of fruits, beans, pinipig topped with shaved ice and evaporated milk.  And if you feel like tipping the weighing scale more, a scoop or two of ice cream.  This is Philippine's version of Singapore's ice kachang.


On my last trip home, I keep hearing rumors that the recently opened Razon's in Gaisano Mall boasts the best halo-halo in the Philippines.  I have only tried a few halo-halo in my life since I'm not a big fan of the beans in it.  It is the basic ingredient of the halo-halo.  And if I have the choice, I would take that out from my glass.  That is also the reason why I keep on coming back to Aling Froping's in MTS in Davao since I can customized my halo-halo.  Like I could choose whatever will be "mixed" inside my glass.

So one rainy afternoon, we finally had the chance to test this so called "best halo-halo in the Philippines."  The shop at the 4th level of Gaisano Mall was small.  Small tables are cramped on the available space.  In fairness, the place is always packed.  Maybe because it could only accommodate a small crowd. 

Anyway, we ordered three halo-halo which costs Php 50.00 each.  I must say, it was not difficult to dig in.  The ice was incredibly smooth.  It was simply presented topped with two slices of leche flan to sweeten it up.  But my praise of this halo-halo stops there.  I was a bit disappointed that, there's not much fruit and beans (even if i don't like it) underneath all those glorious ice.  The ube jam was not even visible. 

All in all, the halo-halo was just "blah."  I would have enjoyed more Chowking's halo-halo than that from Razon's.  Even if it was loaded with lots of gelatin and beans, still I would be scooping a lot of contents.