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09 December 2013

Step up to the world’s best-selling Scotch whisky - Johnnie Walker Red Label

by Brian K. Ong

Who would have thought that the JOHNNIE WALKER RED LABEL is the world's best-selling Scotch whisky? With almost half of Johnnie Walker sold around the world being the Johnnie Walker Red Label, it shows how much people throughout the world love the label.

I personally thought it was the Johnnie Walker Black Label which held the distinction, but I was proven wrong. Probably, for Filipinos, it is the perception because the Black Label is the more popular drink marketed among the labels.

Now, Diago Philippines wants us to step up to the Johnnie Walker Red Label, the pioneering blend that saw Johnnie Walker reach-out from humble beginnings in a little grocer’s shop to become one of the world’s first truly global brands.

Starting December 1, this ‘Pioneer’ Blend is made more accessible to Filipino consumers - the 1L bottle of Johnnie Walker Red Label is now available for only PHP 650 SRP, and the 750mL bottle for only PHP 490 SRP in leading supermarkets.  With this new price range of the Red Label, Filipinos can now enjoy this special blend that is perfect for casual get-togethers or "inumans," as we Filipinos would love to call it.

To celebrate this special announcement, Johnnie Walker hosted a fun and interactive mentoring session dubbed as the "Johnnie Walker Red Label Academy," Johnnie Walker Global Brand Ambassador Tom Jones took us on a journey through the rich heritage and unique enjoyment of Johnnie Walker Red Label.

“Nothing typifies the Walker’s journey more than the Pioneer blend, Johnnie Walker Red Label. The story of this blend exemplifies the bold ambitions of the Walker family,” shares Tom Jones. “The Walker Family needed a whisky that travelled well - one with a depth of flavour even when mixed with ice, water or soda; one that would transcend cultures, tastes and climes.” This led to the creation of ‘Special Old Highland Whisky’ – later to be known as JOHNNIE WALKER RED LABEL.”

With a powerful combination of spicy smoky malts and lingering lighter grains, Johnnie Walker Red Label is a youthful upstart of a whisky, packed with excitement, energy, big bold flavor, and versatility. It is vibrant on the tongue, crackling with hints of spice, then notes of malt, vanilla and peat—finishing with the lingering smooth, smoky signature of Johnnie Walker.

The genuine and bold taste of Red Label is wonderful on its own, but also really adds character to a variety of cocktails and mixers. Johnnie Walker brand ambassador Tom Jones provided different recipes on how Johnnie Walker Red Label can be best enjoyed.

Johnnie Red Soda – The Perfect Serve
1 part of Johnnie Walker Red Label
2 parts of Lime soda
Optional: Orange Twist
Pour the whisky into an ice-filled glass, top up with lime soda and rim the glass with orange twist.

Johnnie Ginger
1 part Johnnie Walker Red Label
3 parts Ginger Ale
Lime wedge garnish
Combine in an ice-filled glass and stir. Add a lime wedge garnish for additional zing.

26 November 2013

Napa Valley Winemaker Ed Sbragia Visits Manila

Napa Valley Winemaker Ed Sbragia Visits Manila
by Brian Ong

Napa Valley icon and Beringer's Winemaster Emeritus Ed Sbragia visited the Philippines for the first time last week to meet local wine enthusiasts in Manila. Happy Living Philippines, the exclusive importer and distributor of Beringer Wines, took care of this special occasion, with a wine pairing event at Cav Wine Shop and Cafe in Bonifacio High Street.

Ed Sbragia is recognized globally for his significant contributions to Napa Valley. He is the only winemaker in the world to receive Wine Spectator’s “Wine of the Year” award for both a red (1986 Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon in 1990) and a white (1994 Private Reserve Chardonnay in 1996) wine.

Only the 6th winemaker since Beringer was established 137 years ago, Mr. Sbragia spent more than three decades of his career working with the oldest continuously operating winery in the Napa Valley. He is also behind the Sbragia Family Vineyards, a small winery which has been a lifelong dream of his.

“We have been inviting Ed to the Philippines since we brought in Beringer in 2000. It is an honor to finally be able to show him Manila and introduce him to the growing Beringer fans,” shares Kathy Yao-Santos, Happy Living Philippines Marketing Director and COO. 

Chef Markus Gfeller prepared a special menu last November 20, the evening that Mr. Sbragia graced Cav Wine Shop and Cafe in Bonifacio High Street. More of the food and wine pairing on my next post. Meanwhile, a portion of the proceeds from the dinner was donated to the victims of typhoon Yolanda.

Of course, I wouldn't let the night end without having a photo with the winemaker himself, Mr. Ed Sbragia. :) Cheers!

Beringer Wines are served in major hotels and restaurants. Among the retail outlets that carry the brand are Cav Wine Bar, Gourdo’s, S&R Membership Shopping, Unimart, Rustans Supermart, SM Supermarket, Landmark Supermarket, Metro Gaisano Supermarket, The Tinder Box in Cebu, Culinary Connection/La Vetta Restaurant in Cagayan de Oro, Iloilo Supermarket and Altura’s in Bohol. Inquiries are welcome at 8956507 – 08, 8960336. Email or log on to for more information. 

15 September 2013

Jofer: Seoulia Manila

Seoulia Manila
by Jofer Serapio
photos by Frey Serapio

My cousin was set to take her board exam the following weekend (she passed!), so we decided to have lunch at a Korean restaurant while she still had her sanity intact. There were four of us, including my sister and my cousin's sister, which explains the excessive amount of food. Seoulia Manila is one of my sister's favorite restaurants. My cousin and I weren't new to the restaurant but her sister was. Ironically enough, our cousin who was the "ultimate number one fan of everything Korean" couldn't make it. More for us then.

This dragon is the first thing you'll see when you enter the restaurant. Supportive critter, ain't he?

Various side dishes
They come free with every meal. Just like in Korea.
Bulgogi | PhP 350
Spicy grilled beef with japchae noodles and vegetables
Japchae | PhP 220
Sweet potato noodles with various vegetables and meat
Dokbokki | PhP 160
Spicy rice cake with Korean kikiam and vegetables
Ramen | PhP 79
This dish is actually good for two people. 
It's also served in a pot.
Geran Mari | PhP 160
Special egg roll with vegetables
Kimbap | PhP 100
Korean sushi with vegetables and beef
It tasted as good as it looked. This was the most popular dish in our table.
Samgyeopsal | PhP 250
Grilled pork belly
This dish came with a plate of lettuce and two dipping sauces: ssamjang (bottom) and gireumjang (top). My cousin's sister was actually a bit disappointed with this dish because she was expecting bacon. She was new.
Kimchi chige (kimchi jjigae) | PhP 180
Kimchi soup with tofu and pork
Red Iced Tea | P25
The kyotkyot napkin holder I wanted to take home
As I was making a joke (or was it?) about taking this lovely and super *~kyot~* napkin holder home, the manager (who was - surprise! - Korean) overheard me and actually attempted to give it to me for free. She was that kind! Of course, I didn't want to take advantage of her kindness, so I opted to just let the napkin holder go. Like they say, if you truly love someonething, you have to set them free~

Seoulia Manila
St. Thomas Square, P. Campa St., Sampaloc, Manila
Telephone: (02) 7086932 | (02) 505-8122

25 August 2013

Exchange Students in Japan: Filipino Performance for the Panasonic Scholarship Summer Seminar

Exchange Students in Japan: Filipino Performance for the Panasonic Scholarship Summer Seminar 
by Tiffy 

Every year, Panasonic scholars gather somewhere in Japan for all the scholars to meet. And every year, we have to make a cultural performance and battle it out with other countries for the coveted trophy (that we give back to them at the end of the night). 

Just so you know how well the Filipinos do

We usually go to where we're having the summer seminar a couple of days before so that we can practice. This time, we went to Kyoto first so that we can include our fellow scholar who had to finish his interviews and experiments before we go to Mie Prefecture for the actual event. 

Our amateur performance:

14 August 2013

Therese in the Philippines: Uncle Cheffy

I've been in the Philippines on summer vacation for the past month now, and what that means is... Eating and more eating! One of the restaurants I went to is Uncle Cheffy, located in Lucky Chinatown Mall.

Since I was only with my mom that time, we couldn't order a lot of food just for the two of us. We went with their all meat barbecued panizza, for which they are famous for, and their New England pot roast beef paired with a cup of rice.

There were 6 slices of panizza, enough for two people. We really liked it because it was cheesy and crispy. There were also good bits of BBQ although we didn't really like their meat. They also gave us an extra set of fillings for free. If you ask for another set after that, you'd have to pay extra.

After that, the roast beef and the cup of rice arrived. The beef they used was fatty and there weren't a lot of pieces so we were sorta disappointed with that. The sauce and the couple pieces of root vegetables were yummy though!

All Meat Barbecued Panizza | 235 PhP (medium), 450 PhP (family)

New England Pot Roast Beef | 280 PhP

All in all a good meal! Yum!

Have you been there? Any other recommendations? My mom and I are thinking of going back there to try their grilled oysters and other panizza flavors! You can also cross-order food from Kusê, a Filipino restaurant because they have they are in the same location (same owner, perhaps?)

Address: 3rd floor Lucky Chinatown Mall Binondo, Manila
Contact #: (02) 708-9576
You can email them at or add them on Facebook!

07 August 2013

Wrong Ramen, it's so right!

Wrong Ramen
by: Brian Ong

Wrong Ramen is one of the must try ramen places in Manila. Not only does it offer mouth watering ramen concoctions you would crave for, it also offers a sleek ambiance you would wish it was the interiors of your own pad.

Going back to the mouth watering ramen concoctions, Wrong Ramen's Tonkotsu Ramen is something that would blow your mind with its rich, deep and milky pork bone broth, served with sliced pork chashu that melts in your mouth. For me, this seals the deal!

If you love something spicy, the classic Tantanmen Ramen is for you. It is made of a bold sesame broth with ground pork and shredded chashu. What's there not to love about this spicy heaven in a bowl?

If you are looking for an appetizer, try Wrong Ramen's Chicken Akuma, Japanese fried chicken in asian buffalo sauce. It is sprinkled with sesame and gives a kick in every bite. 

Something different but breaks the taste of your food is their Sweet Potato Iced Tea. Yes you read it right. It has a hint of taste of that of a sweet potato but it is also sweet and refreshing. A must try! :)

For Wrong Ramen's menu, check out the photo below.

Wrong Ramen
Burgos Circle, 1634 Fort Bonifacio
+63 2 823 8249

25 July 2013

Filipino Exchange Students in Japan: Crispy Pork Belly

Filipino Exchange Students in Japan: Crispy Pork Belly
By: Tiffy

Both my roommate and I just barely started learning how to cook. So when our Kuya Victor asked us if we wanted to have lunch, we kind of forced him to cook everything by asking him to buy ingredients for us when they were at the grocery.

"Ano gusto niyo pabili?"  ("What do you want me to buy?")
"Kahit ano!" ("Anything!")

So he really did buy "anything" and ended up cooking them! Sneaky!

If you're craving for crispy pork belly, never fear! It's apparently very easy to cook (although I've never tried)! 

Just buy liempo at your local meat shop, boil it until cooked, and sear (fry in super super hot oil) it. The sause is just garlic, soy sauce, sugar, and vinegar (up to how you want it to taste like--I prefer super garlic-y and vinegar-y ones). 

What other Filipino food is easy to cook? Help! 

05 July 2013

Brian Ong: Sweet Patti Cakes by Patti Grandidge-Herrera

Sweet Patti Cakes by Patti Grandidge-Herrera
by: Brian Ong

One of the more reliable go-to places to buy exceptionally good comfort food (and in my opinion, best desserts) are the kitchens and stores of the home-cooks and home-bakers. These "kitchentreprenurs," have a high standard for quality and taste, and are usually teeming with passion for their creations. That is why when I get to find them, I make sure to share these great finds to my friends.

One highly recommended recent find is that of Patti Grandidge-Herrera's Sweet Patti Cakes, which offers premium home-baked creatively designed cupcakes and treats that would tickle your taste buds and other senses. 

"No one can resist a box of playfully sweet and utterly enchanting cupcakes," its website describes of their heavenly cakes in a cup. Truly, with 12 existing flavors to choose from, you are taken into a play of taste and flavors, which marries well, and would not disappoint.

Recently, I chances upon Patti's Instagram post of a creatively designed cupcake topper, made especially for dog lovers like herself. Her dog, Truffles, was also celebrating her 3rd month birthday. I wanted to do the same for my mini dachshund, Kiwi, who, back then, was also celebrating her 6th month birthday. 

I messaged Patti right away because besides the fact that I really wanted to try her cupcakes for the longest time then, it was a timely treat for Kiwi. :)

Finally, when the box of Sweet Patti Cakes arrived in my office, I was excited to bring it home to Kiwi! Look how she was when she saw the treats. But more importantly, Kiwi's owners had the best time eating all the yummy cupcakes.

Now, Patti just released three new additional flavors of Sweet Patti Cakes (Vanilla Vanilla, Vanilla Chip, and Vanilla Royale) in celebration of her three delicious cupcake making years, satisfying every customer and cupcake lover coming her way.

Do check out Sweet Patti Cakes Website and Facebook page for more details and how to order.

12 June 2013

Brian Ong: A Bite of the Sandwich King

A Bite of the Sandwich King
by: Brian Ong

Who would have thought I would be meeting the Sandwich King himself, Jeff Mauro, the winner of the Food Network Star's 7th season, and the host of Sandwich King on Food Network (US/Asia). The other night, I had the chance to talk to him in a private function, together with other food bloggers.

We were introduced to the Sandwich King, and the premiere of a new season of his show. We also had some lessons on how Jeff "makes any meal into a sandwich and any sandwich into a meal." It is not just putting meat in between two slices of breads, but it also takes some consideration on color, texture and imagination.

He's such a character beyond his sandwich making skills. He's down to earth, entertaining and creative. He definitely knows how to capture his audience, that's probably why he became successful in bringing mouthwatering and tasty sandwich meals and an awesome show together.

After showing us a few tricks up his sleeves, we were able to do and replicate some sandwich creations he made. This is my version of his Brisket Sandwich with Smoked Mozzarella. Slow cooked juicy beef brisket, red cabbage slaw, onions, several slices of homemade smoked mozzarella, with mustard. With carrot cranberry salad on the side. I would prefer this in between a baguette or sourdough, but all in all, it's an amazing bite! Try it :)

Catch Jeff Mauro's The Sandwich King, Wednesdays, 8pm on the Food Network, brought to you by Cignal. Be sure to watch the Season 3 premiere this June 19, 8pm. Jeff also appears on $24 in 24, premiering on Food Network Asia in the 4th quarter of 2013.

23 April 2013

Baguio: World Food Expo Northern Luzon

For the third year, the World Food Expo Northern Luzon will be held in Baguio.

This time, WOFEX will be held at the Baguio Country Club.  From May 2 to 4, 2013, be sure to visit the best annual food expo in the region. WOFEX provides excellent opportunities to source, network and learn from the many products on display and the different seminars and cooking demos... all for free! 

22 March 2013

Therese in Taiwan: Dot Dot 點點

Dot Dot 點點 (located in the Shida 師大 area) is a restaurant we ate at when some of my relatives from the Philippines came to Taiwan to visit. Since we were a big group, 14 to be exact, I asked my cousin to reserve seats! The restaurant isn't that big, so we were divided into 2 tables - and naturally, what happened was all the adults sat together, and all the younger ones sat together. Whew!

Tables beside us

We ordered a LOT, and when the orders came, we got confused with who ordered what, so we ended up just sharing with each other! I wasn't able to take a picture of everything, especially the ones that were served in the "adult table". Oops!

We chose from the omelette 蛋捲, hamburgers 漢堡, and toasts 軟法. They also have appetizers, salads, soups, rice toppings, etc. The omelette comes with a small salad, fresh fruits, bread, fries, and a drink. Hamburgers and toasts come with fries and a drink. Prices range from 220-250 NTD (~330-375 PhP).

Yum! The servings are pretty big, so you'll most probably be full after. After dinner, you can walk (and shop at the same time) in Shida night market to help you digest the food!

Facebook page: Dot dot 點點食堂

Operating hours: Mondays-Sundays 11:00-22:00
Location: No. 2, Alley 13, Pucheng St. Daan District, Taipei, Taiwan (大安區浦城街13巷2號)

If you're taking the MRT, you can get off at MRT Taipower Bldg Station Exit 3 (台電大樓捷運站3號出口)
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