Nuffnang Ads

25 December 2009

Tiffy in Japan: A Christmas Nonholiday

A Christmas Nonholiday
December 25, 2009
Tiffy in Japan

Merry Christmas everyone! I'd love to say the same for me but as you can see, it's a nonholiday for me. Christmas is not a holiday in Japan. If anything--it's a day for couples to go out and have a date. Yes, it's a date day.

So what did I do this Christmas? Well, work, of course!

Work means part-timing at a conveyor-belt-type sushi restaurant at Nagoya Station (name intentionally not mentioned). To this day, I still have no idea how the manager agreed to let me work here, but I am so not complaining because...

I get to take home sushi.

It's not the usual  ¥100-per-plate sushi restaurant. This one had different colored plates that had different prices. It ranges from \150 to \1000 per plate! Woah, right? The sushi is better than that of cheaper places, of course! 

And so even though I didn't get to celebrate Christmas, being able to take home this much sushi (for free) is so worth it. 

They don't usually let us take home the leftover sushi (company policy, ya know)--they throw out the leftover sushi. I think that it's the same for most restaurants. It's to stop employees from intentionally making a lot to be able to take it home. And trust me--we do throw the sushi out. It makes my heart hurt just thinking about all the sushi that just goes to waste (or goes to the rats tummies).

New Year is a holiday although I have work on New Year's Eve. 

See you then! 

06 December 2009

The French Baker Lunch

The French Baker Lunch
December 6, 2009
by Brian Ong

After coming from The Manila Auto Salon 2009 at the SMX in Pasay, my dad and I decided to have lunch in SM Mall of Asia, specifically in The French Baker. Since I was a kid (or as long as I have known so), The French Baker's already serving quality breads and bake-shop items, which I enjoyed as I grew up.

"The French Baker has built its success out of its Founder and President Johnlu G. Koa’s vision for innovation: to take the idea of the neighborhood bakery to the next level, allowing every Filipino to enjoy freshly-baked, high-quality, and affordable breads," as its website tells us how this 20-year-old-industry came to be.

We ordered Caesar Salad, Soup in a Bread Bowl and Clubhouse Sandwich. All three are delicious and really filling. The prices of the dishes are quite affordable.


"Caesar Salad - Romaine and iceberg lettuces tossed with creamy dressing, fresh tomatoes, bacon chips, and parmesan cheese."


"Soup in a Bread Bowl - A best-seller! The French Baker’s soup of the day, served in hollowed-out crusty bread. Enjoy the soup and eat the bread too!"


"Clubhouse Sandwich - Chicken, ham, bacon, and cheese on white bread, served with potato chips and a side salad of greens drizzled with honey and balsamic vinegar."

22 November 2009

Fit for a King

There are only few instances, as reality goes, where one returns to a single place consecutively in order for him to dine; especially if he has very varied options for different places to choose from. There are also only a few instances wherein one remembers the taste, the aroma, the ambiance and the overall experience whenever one sees images of what he ate, long after the said experience. Such an instance would be when I had a couple of meals at The Blue Elephant Cooking School and Restaurant in Bangkok, Thailand.
Surasak BTS is strategically located between the Sala Daeng and Saphan Taksin BTS stations. Sala Daeng provides access to the famed Silom Road, whereas Saphan Taksin would be where the Central Pier is – the pier where visitors to Bangkok board express ferries to visit the country’s crown jewels such as Wat Phra Kaew, Wat Pho, Wat Arun and the Grand Palace.

Located right when you step out from Exit 2 of the Surasak BTS (Skytrain) station, the structure housing The Blue Elephant is immediately seen boasting its century-old architecture, looking somewhat French, yet distinctly Thai.

Once you show up at the door, you are welcomed wholeheartedly by the establishment’s staff, gently doing a wai (known in India as Namaste) and greeting sawasdeeka and sawasdeekrub. One is then led to appreciate the beauty of the building’s interior, embellished with cultural icons such as intricate paintings and sculptures. From the anteroom, an old but bold staircase gallery can be seen towards the left, while the dining area can be sighted straight ahead. Upon entering the dining area, one is led to a selection of tables. Once picked, one is sat on the table to his liking and is offered the drinks menu.

The Blue Elephant

Upon opening the drinks menu, one can see a luscious image of Blue Mai Thai, Blue Elephant’s rendition of the classic cocktail comprised of vodka, blue Curacao and exotic fresh fruits. House specialty selections also include Pattaya (fresh orange, pineapple, mango and guava juice), Blue Elephant Ice Tea (heavy gin, rum, vodka, triple sec and lemon juice), and the Blue Elephant Piña Colada (rum, Malibu, pineapple juice and coconut cream served in fresh coconut). Champagne, wine, classic cocktails, Grand Royal Thai cocktails, long shots, mocktails, soft drinks, beers, aperitifs, home-styled vodka, spirits, Thai whisky, whiskies, eaux de vie, calvados, Armagnac, cognac, portwine and sherry, liqueurs, mineral water, fruit juices and freezes were also available. Wanting to sample purer, fresher and cleaner drinks, I opted for the herbal drinks selection. The selection included drinks such as lemongrass and roselle, and drinks I’ve never heard of such as Matoom and An Chun. I believe roselle is the same as, or very similar to, Malaysia’s sirap drink.

Intrigued by the server’s recommendation, I ordered An Chun which is made from butterfly pea. It promised a smooth and refreshing flavor, as well as a cool natural body to it. First sip and it delivered – I was hooked!

An Chun

Since I visited the restaurant on a Friday during lunch time, they had a business lunch set meal. The meal menu, delicately placed on the table in a clothed hardbound folder, read the following:

As an introduction to Thai Cuisine,
we recommend you our well balanced and worthy set menu.
This will allow you to sample a little of several different dishes.


Khang Khao Phuek
A golden deep-fried Taro pastry, served with sweet spices

Som Tam Kai Yang
The popular hand shredded spicy raw papaya salad with grilled chicken


Special Tom Seb Salmon
A traditional north eastern style spicy soup with salmon and fresh herb

Tom Yam Koong
The Thai’s famous spicy prawn soup prepared in a shrimp bouillon. Refined and powerful!

Main Courses

Massaman Lamb
Typical dish from South Thailand of slowly braised New Zealand lamb in medium spicy rich gentle sauce

Ped Saowaros
Slices of grilled duck breast, served “medium rare” topped with Royal Project exotic passion fruit sauce

Seafood Soufflé
All the flavour of seafood with fresh coconut milk and curry paste

Morning Glory
Quick stir-fried morning glory with crushed chilli and oyster sauce

Steamed Jasmine Rice & Wild Rice

Two Scoops of Ice-cream on Your Choice
Star gooseberry, Santol, Black seasame, Wild mulberry, Custard apple, and Chocolate

Impressed, I ordered.

While waiting for the food, I was given a mouthful of fruit cocktail served on a shot glass. To put things into perspective, it’s more of a rich fruit punch than the fruit cocktail that we know as canned by Del Monte.

The starters together with the soup arrived and here’s how it looked like:


I immediately dove into the Special Tom Seb Salmon soup. My eyes widened as I had the first spoon. It tasted somewhat like sinigang but much richer, more flavourful and with more body. The pieces of salmon in the soup were carefully selected belly parts wherein the mixture of meat and the layer of fat is just right, melting in your mouth. The Som Tam Kai Yang was very good as well, providing that tangy taste, increasing one’s appetite.

I finished off the starters with Khang Khao Phuek. It was crisp on the outside, amazingly soft on the inside, full of taro fragrance.

As I was waiting for the main courses to arrive, to my delight, I was served some complimentary snacks. The medley consisted of a mouthful pumpkin soup, a spoon of prawn salad, and their twist of an open fried wanton. I was getting excited!

Complimentary Snack

Upon the arrival of the main course, each dish was introduced and the server, carrying a basket of rice, asked which rice I’d prefer – Jasmine Rice or Wild Rice (brown rice). I chose to sample both. The Jasmine Rice was just awesome – its fragrance, softness and stickiness were right on the spot. The Wild Rice not only looked nutritious, it also tasted nutritious!

Steamed Jasmine Rice & Wild Rice

Both rice can be eaten by themselves without the need for dishes or sauces.

When each of the covers of the main courses were opened, I was surprised with the amount of food in front of me! It was like I was having a feast! It was like, I was really a king!

I took a bit of sauce from the Massaman Lamb and had it with the Jasmine Rice. Needless to say, I was instantly transported to another world! The creamy and rich taste of the sauce reflected the goodness of the lamb it was meant for. The lamb meat itself was so soft and flavourful that it showed how much effort was put into preparing the dish.

Main Courses

The Ped Saowaros was amazing as well with hints of passion fruit flavor both very fresh and very grand – organic food at its best. The Seafood Soufflé provided a rush down my spine as the curry used in it exploded upon contact with my taste buds. The quick-stir-fried Morning Glory had a fresh farm aroma to it and provided for my vegetable needs for that meal.

Stuffed and having the feeling of just coming from a banquet hosted by King Chulalongkorn, I had just a bit more space for dessert. Wanting to try something different, I got a scoop each of Wild Mulberry and Custard Apple ice cream. The former tasted like a light and sweet strawberry ice cream while the latter tasted like custard cake. Just perfect!


At this point, I was just in cloud nine.

The bill arrived in a very interesting fashion – it was in a Blue Elephant jar! They had no problem accepting my BDO ATM Debit Card.

The Bill

The price tag for this meal was 590 THB exclusive of 10% service charge and applicable government taxes. Needless to say, it was worth every cent!

In the next few days, I found myself returning to the same restaurant and welcomed in an even warmer fashion. But, that’s for another blog post. :)


Blue Elephant Flickr Set
Martin Gomez is a guest blogger for Manila Foodistas. He specializes in the culinary flavours of Asia and dreams of becoming a full-time connoisseur.

25 October 2009

Tiffy in Japan | 梅の花

Tiffy's Stay in Japan
Near Fushimi Station

This year summer, I was able to climb Mt. Fuji with six other fellow exchange students. So to earn more money to sustain my love of traveling and eating, I tutor English part time for an average rate of ¥2,000 an hour. One of my students is a guy named Kenji, whose son and wife is being taught English by Rachel, an exchange student from Canada. Before I left for Shizuoka prefecture and then for Tokyo, he planned a dinner get together with Sakiko, this Japanese girl that we met when we had one of our lessons.

Kenji told me that since Japanese people around 40 need to eat healthier, they go to this traditional Japanese restaurants that serve food made from soy beans -- tofu and the like.

To start our meal, they served three kinds of food:

Mineoka Tofu, a tofu-like food made from milk, fresh cream, and arrowroot starch. It tasted more like a dessert rather than an appetizer. It had the mild taste of soy milk (it actually reminded me of the 45%-less-calorie soy milk that I bought in Tokyo) with a sort of jelly consistency.

Ohitashi, boiled green vegetable seasoned with soy sauce and fish stock. I liked it because it's crunchy and it had a slightly sweet-tasting sauce.

Yubani, cold boiled yuba. Yuba is a delicacy composed of fresh or dried layers of the skin of soybean milk. Its consistency kind of reminded me of the layer of skin inside the egg after the hard shell (did that make sense? :o).

Next in line was otsukuri, better known as sashimi. They served up some tuna sashimi with these cubes of white crunchy stuff. I don't really know what it is but it might have something to do with tofu again.

072120094406Meibutsu Tofu Shuumai is a Chinese-style dumpling made with tofu. This one made me miss dumpling. It has a milder flavor than the dumplings that I'm used to eating but it made me miss dumplings all the same.

Chawan-mushi is one of my favorite food! It's steamed egg custard, and this one contained shrimp, mushrooms, dumpling, and ginkgo nut. I'm not sure I liked ginkgo nut. Tastes familiar -- I probably know it by a different name.

OshinogiOshinogi is lotus root dumplings topped with fish stock sauce. I'm not sure if I like this one. It was... sticky. I really liked how it was a little sweet though. By this time, I was a bit full. But I'm not complaining -- good food can be had.

Namafu DengakuNamafu Dengaku is deep-fried wheat-gluten coated with miso paste. Now this one's really sticky. Not watery-sticky like the oshinogi, but more chewy-sticky. I wanted this to be dessert-like -- really sweet. But it wasn't. It had a slight salty taste to it.

Yuba AgeYuba Age is deep-fried yuba roll with ground whitefish. Now let me be frank. I don't know what the hell whitefish is but this dish reminds me of squidball except it's made of fish. We used to add those fish cubes in our shabu-shabu. But this one is nice too! They even gave us lemon and lemon squeezers! Lemon squeezers! To squeeze lemons! Can you believe that?

Yuba GratanYuba Gratan is gratin. And from what I understand, it's probably tofu skin topped with cheese and egg and butter. YUM. I love all things caloric. I couldn't really taste the tofu in this. It tasted really... cheesy!

Yuba SuimonoYuba Suimono is clear soup with yuba. That's the only description it has. Pretty straightforward. Sooooo many dishes, soooooooo little time!

Han-monoHan-mono is savory steamed glutinous rice. And let me tell you, I didn't really like this. It didn't really have a lot of taste. And I don't like eating rice without any flavor and any meat or veggie or fish alongside it. Phooey. And the only food around was the yuba suimono and kō-no-mono. And although kō-no-mono is made of vegetables, I didn't like it. Too... tasteless.

Ko-no-monoKō-no-mono is Japanese pickled vegetables. As I've said, I didn't like it. Maybe I've taken to Korean kimchi too much. I loooooooove kimchi. And this doesn't taste pickled. When I think pickled, I think sour. Maybe I'm too ignorant when it comes to food! Ironic, isn't it?

And my favorite part...


You have two choices. Lemon sherbet or tofu something ice cream -- I didn't really catch the name. The lemon thing is sour (duh), and the tofu thing is sweet. I like!

16 September 2009

Whistlestop 24/7 Redux

Whistlestop, a 24/7 restaurant which started back in 1977, is back after closing last 2005! "We're the only 24 hour restaurant, which offers a wide range of cuisines, and serves nothing but your good old comfort food," Lex Ledesma, the new owner said.


Anton in his blog says, "The memory of Whistlestop is like the memory of Ninoy Aquino -- only those who are 25 years old and above can remember them." That's why I don't really have distinct memories of this restaurant from back when Tina Serna was still the owner. I guess the only thing I can remember is that I have eaten at Whistlestop, maybe back when I was in grade school or high school.

Boneless Buffalo Wings

For starters, I would really recommend that you try their Boneless Buffalo Wings (Php. 220). This treat instantly became my favorite because of its kick and taste. The blue cheese dip complemented the dish. But, if you're not into the spicy and saucy chicken, you might want to dig in their Spanakopitas (Php. 180), fried wrap with 3 kinds of cheese. Heaven.

3 Cheeses

For the main course, I would turn you to their bestseller and the owner's pride, Hainanese Chicken Rice (Php. 195). The chicken meat was tender and juicy. It's really something to be thrilled with.

Hainanese Chicken Rice

Another dish that I enjoyed (I enjoyed everything I ate!) is their Arroz Caldo (Php.110). My dad says they used to eat this in the wee hours back in the days. Now that Christmas is fast approaching and the cold nights setting in, I would definitely order this once again.

Arroz Caldo

Make room for dessert! You might want to indulge yourself with their home-made Banoffee Pie (Php. 150) or the Mango Pannacotta (Php. 95), both really yummy and not that sweet (yey!).

Banoffee PieDSC00748

What's striking besides their simple yet stellar food offerings is their interior. They've painted the restaurant to depict a train station feel, which, in my opinion, is chic and cozy.


Whistlestop 24/7
28 Jupiter St., Makati City (Between Fiamma and Starbucks)
Telephone number: 8961989.
P.S. They also deliver :)

Review and Photo by Bong
Photo taken using Sony Ericsson W760i

23 August 2009

Xtreme Cheese Pizzas for MEN

Greenwich recently launched their Xtreme Cheese Pizzas for MEN - the Philly Cheese Steak Overload, with half-pound of roast beef, double layer of mozzarella and cream cheeses, and the Monster Cheese & Pepperoni Overload, with 100% more pepperoni and double layer of mozzarella cheese.

These new additions are priced the same as their Overloaded Xtreme Cheese Pizzas (Extreme Cheese & Sausage Overload, Cheese Blockbuster Overload, and 5 Cheeses & Garlic Overload) which start at Php 307 for the Rolled-Edge Thick Crust Double and Php 263 for the Thin & Crispy Crust Double, and increase accordingly as per size of pizza (Family, 18" Blowout/Party Square)


I love the mix of the Philly Cheese Steak, a cheesier pizza with roast beef, fresh crunchy green bell-pepper, and of course, the star, the cheeses. It's quite interesting to note though that they have been advertising this on print and on the television as pizzas "for MEN". It might not exclude women from buying and trying their pizzas, but it's quite discriminating and exclusivist in my opinion.

Photos taken by Bong's Sony Ericsson W760i

18 August 2009

Tiffy in Japan | 花茶 Cafe and Dining

Tiffy's Stay in Japan
花茶 | Ka Tja Cafe and Dining
Restaurant across the street from Nagoya City Museum

On my fifth day of my internship last term, we went to Nagoya City Museum and Nagoya Science Museum. After our trip to Nagoya City Museum, we ate at a restaurant across the street from the museum.


And their lunch set costs around ¥600. Pretty affordable.


The lunch came with stuffed meatloaf, rice, and soup. And the place is pretty quaint. It's small and cozy. It looks like a small house turned restaurant. The place can probably only serve 20 odd people at a time.

16 August 2009

Tiffy in Japan | きし麺

Tiffy's Stay in Japan
桜や | Sakura-ya
Restaurant in Kanayama

Last month, right after classes ended, I started my internship with Nagoya Congress Center. The second to the last day of internship, I was assigned at the information center at Kanayama Station. And my boss treated me to lunch.

Since I haven't eaten きし麺 (kishimen) before, she told me to try it. Kishimen is a long flat noodle that is native to Nagoya.


Kishimen isn't really about the flavor more that it's about the noodles :P

12 August 2009

Japanese Burger Master, Sango!

Sango Japanese Burger

I have learned about Sango! from fellow Foodista, Hannah. Quite a lot of times, I heard how she loves and craves for their Yakiniku Rice Burger with Kimchi. This is why when I saw Sango! by chance when I was with my friends after a meeting, I immediately invited them to try it with me.

Sango Yakiniku Rice Burger

I got the Beef Yakiniku Rice Burger without Kimchi (Php 109) since I am not fond of the Korean pickled dishes made of vegetables with varied seasonings. The rice burger is made of beef strips sandwiched in between very yummy Japanese rice patties, with lettuce and some Japanese mayo. I instantly fell in love with this one of a kind burger - definitely a lot better than the rice burgers McDonalds had before in the market.


The Burger Master, as it calls its line of Japanese burgers, is truly one of a kind. You might be skeptical with the concept of Japanese food mixed with American burgers, but I can attest that you'll surely crave for more once you've tried it. It has this evident Japanese balance and quality which you'll truly enjoy.

Next time I would want to try thier Sango Master Cheeseburger. :)

Sango! The Burger Master is located at the Ground Floor of the Pearl Drive Plaza, Pearl Drive St., Ortigas Center. They also have a branch in Makati and in Alabang (where Hannah says serve yummier burgers). You may call them at 636-1991 for deliveries

Review and Photo by Bong

08 August 2009

Tiffy in Japan | The Tower Restaurant Nagoya

Tiffy's Stay in Japan
The Tower Restaurant Nagoya
Sakae TV Tower

Earlier that day, I went to Seto with Kenji and his family (I teach him and his wife and son English) to this glassblowing studio to make our own masterpieces. Sadly enough, on my first try, the guy had to throw away the glass and we had to redo it because I didn't blow into the pole right.


It's really not as easy as it looks. Or maybe that's just me! Plus, that place was soooo hot. It was around 50 degrees in there. But I can't really complain since I love the glass cup that I half-made (I say half cause the guy who was guiding me through it practically did most of the glass-making). So you can say that I now own a glass cup that I made by myself -- a glass that cost Kenji ¥3,200.

After the glassblowing experience, we went to Sakae to have lunch since I had job interview at Oasis 21. I thought that we were going to eat at a place where they sell rice bowls since Yuuka, their daughter, wanted a udon. But no... We went to The Tower Restaurant Nagoya to have lunch.

I wanted to order the pasta set, which costs ¥1,800. But Kenji insisted that I order the lunch set, which costs ¥3,000. I insisted on getting the pasta but then he ordered so I wasn't able to get a word in. I really did want pasta, though :c It wasn't about the price, but oh well!

I'd tell you what's on the menu but it's in Japanese and I was barely able to read the English translations (fancy food terms escape me, I fail) so bear with me D:


This entrée had a sweet-sour taste to it. I especially liked the octopus. It was yummy.


The next entrée had fish sashimi on top of cucumbers surrounded by puréed pickles.


The soup? Mais con yelo, anyone? It was cold, too!


Medium rare pork -- just the way I like it.


And let me just say -- peach is my favorite fruit now.

I wasn't able to see the the Tower Restaurant at night but I was able to find a picture online.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...