It was lunch time and although we grabbed apples for our late breakfast (breakfast-on-the-go) on the way to SM Megamall, we knew we had to eat even though we were not starving. We parked in Building B, and we went to the basement to walk all the way to Building A where the food court was when we saw, KKK – a Filipino Restaurant.
Note: to all vegetarians out there, if you’re looking for places to eat, you can go to a Filipino Restaurant and you’re sure to find dishes that are meatless, or dishes you can easily request to have the meat taken out. Just be conscious that a lot of Filipino dishes have Bagoong (Shrimp Paste), so you can either let that slide, or be strict and have that taken out as well.
We’ve eaten in KKK (Mall of Asia) before and we didn’t blog about it because we just had an ok experience or a few notches below ok. Food was, ummm, ok, place was, ummm, ok… Price was, ummm, higher than most for the serving size. That was many years back when we were still eating everything! Now, I think it’s time to document a new experience. But, mostly because there’s very few options for vegetarians it’s not practical to pass up on opportunities to blog about them.
About the Restaurant
The restaurant was spacious and every nook and cranny was optimized to incorporate Filipino decoration, almost to the point of having too much. Very good still, a lot of opportunities to take photos for Instagram or your daily (hourly) Facebook shoutouts. They also hid (or tried to hide) their counter by designing a jeep in front of it. A full-sized 1-side jeepney with more decors on top of it.
I’m sorry, dear readers. I don’t have a photo of the menu but their website has everything and here’s the link to the vegetables part (gulay) but the price is not updated. That’s also one of the reasons why we decided to eat here. They have a part of the menu dedicated to vegetable dishes. We always look for that. I meant to take a photo of it after we were done eating, but I forgot since we were in a hurry to go somewhere else.
We decided to order just 1 viand (ulam) and share it since when we asked what the serving size of their viands were, they said everything is for sharing. And we were also gearing up for a special dinner with friends that same day.
Chicharon / FREE (starters)
We didn’t order this. As you know, we’ve started to be vegetarians and we had no idea we were going to be served this while waiting. But since it’s served, I tasted it just to let you know how it tasted – plus it’s bad to waste food. Honestly, the chicharon tasted a little bit overcooked (burnt almost) and wasn’t something we’d probably have a refill on even if we weren’t vegetarians. BUT, the vinegar (sinamak) it was served with was SUPERB! Almost made me want to ask where to buy one but decided not to because we used to make sinamak at home and I’d like to share how we make ours here someday.
Laing sa Gata / P220 (for sharing)
It was served in a round sizzling plate (smaller than the ones used in sizzling plate in Korean restaurants), with an uncut piece of chili. The description from the menu reads “DAHON NG GABI NA MATYAGANG NILUTO SA GATA AT SILI”. Well, the gabi leaves were certainly cooked, umm, but were probably a little overcooked. I’m not sure if the whole theme was “do it well – well done”. It tasted bitter and salty, but I’d take salty any time of the day. I love salty food. Was it enough for sharing? Yes, it was. Because it was in the salty side, we had some left over. I also noticed that towards the end of the meal, the sizzling plate was sooooo oily you can fry an egg in there (and saute some onions before that). It probably was the oil from the coconut milk. The taste wasn’t something we’d rave about, but if you’re a vegetarian, eating with someone, looking to share a meal, and really hungry, this is ok.
I wouldn’t say it was a bad experience, but I also wouldn’t say it was awesome. There were a lot of great things and mostly they were about the place. It was spacious, clean, and interesting. There are a lot of things to look at and to take pictures of. But it ultimately is about the food. The food was ok, not bad, and not rave worthy. I’d love to try their other “gulay” dishes next time.
I hope this experience doesn’t turn people off from wanting to be a vegetarian or thinking about taking that first step. Just like being a omnivorous foodie, you’ll have good days and bad days in trying out restaurants. It is an adventure!
Without any doubt, if you are trying to avoid meat, then sandwich restaurants, or sandwich bars (whatever we call them) are the best way to go when dining out. They are sure to have meatless options and one of our “go to” sandwhich restaurants is Subway.
About the Restaurant
I don’t know if this is a strategy but Subway manages to find the smallest nooks in malls and decide to build their restaurant there and have nothing but a few sets of tables and chairs. The area where you get to line up for your turn and see your sandwiches assembled is really too small and gets cramped up when 2 or 3 customers line up and order at the same time. Honestly, during that bit of the processed (the ordering), unless you have the store to yourself, is not comfortable. During the rush service (breakfast, lunch, and dinner hours), sandwiches will be sitting on the chopping board while you wait for your turn to pay at the counter. Assembly is pretty fast but when one customer order for 2 or more subs, then it creates a bottle neck in assembly and the cashier. Other Subway branches have tables outside the restaurant, but still not enough to seat most people who come to buy during service hours. I guess it’s ok since you can really eat the subs while standing up, walking around, or even just take them back to the office, or wherever. We like to dine in, but if we don’t have a choice, we take our subs to the food court. :) Plus side to all the Subway branches we’ve visited so far, they’re all clean.
About their Menu
We’ve always been fans of subway and with fast food prices going higher, Subway’s P99 subs are looking like cheap deals. Every once in a while they also have P69 promo (6 inches) and this month’s promo is Ham. Yep, so no use for vegetarians, but very cheap for those who want to eat subs made with freshly baked bread and crisp fresh veggies.
By the way, I asked if I can order the promo Ham (for PHP 69) and then just request to not have any ham on my sub and just have veggies, instead of ordering Veggie Delite for PHP 99, they said no. Because those are two different subs, and that’s why they have Veggie Delite as an option. Tsk… I’ll try again next time.
Their subs are divided into 3 price ranges (6 inches) — the P99s, the P120s, the P150s.
The 99s are:
Ham (currently sells for P69 – promo)
B.L.T. (Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato)
Veggie Delite (yep, that’s how they spell it)
The 120s are:
Italian B.M.T. (What BMT stands for or what it could stand for is explained here)
Sliced Chicken and Ham
The 150s are:
Steak and Cheese
If you want to make them 12 inches (foot long), you just have to pay an additional of 95PHP instead of the full price of another 6″ sub. I think that’s a sweet deal. So if you’re ordering for 2 people and you are getting the same sub, just order a foot long, and request to have them cut the sub in half. They’ll wrap them separately, and you can choose different sauces for each 6″.
Before anything else, you’ll have to choose from 4 bread options (Honey Oat, Italian, Parmesan Oregano, and Wheat). We always order Honey Oat but incase they run out of it (or if it isn’t ready yet), the rest are ok. Honey Oat bread has a crunchy sweat exterior, coated by oats and honey (of course), and a soft interior. We, always order Veggie Delite footlong (so that’s 99PHP + 95 = 204PHP) and just ask them to cut the sub in half. Most of the times, if you order Veggie Delite, they’ll ask you if you want cheese in your sub or not. This is incase you are Vegan. We like cheese in ours, then we request to have the sub toasted before they add the veggies. They’ll then ask you if you want all the veggies in. We want all veggies, and request them to be generous with pickles and bell peppers. Our sauce of choice is Sweet Onion, but sometimes I switch it up to Chipotle Southwest (spicy) or a combination of Oil and Red Wine Vinegar.
Veggie Delite tastes yummy! A big factor is the that the bread is freshly baked, the bread’s crust is crunchy, and the veggies are fresh and crisp. You hear and feel the crunch in your mouth and have a full load of all the ingredients in each bite since they make sure to spread the veggies evenly.
We order 2 12″ subs and have them both sliced into 6″ subs and then have the 2 subs to go (take out) on separate bags. For Mario and for me, our lunch. It’s hard to come by vegetarian meals under 100PHP. Scrap that! It’s hard to come by vegetarian meals when we’re dining out, and Subway branches are few, so we stock up for lunch and dinner even. ^_^
We’ve always enjoyed going to Subway and we tend to overlook the long line during certain times, and the lack of tables and chairs. I find that the price has become much more affordable and don’t remember that they have changed price the past few years. I just wish there are a lot more Subway branches.
1. You can request to go easy on certain veggies, and be generous with some. Take note that if you listen to other people’s orders, they request to leave out certain veggies (that you like) and even to leave out cheese! So don’t be shy, the veggies you are adding to your sub, are veggies other people opted not to have. Subway isn’t losing money on that.
2. You can have more than 1 sauce to your sub. Mix and match and see which ones you like. You don’t have to just choose one. I haven’t tried 3 sauces but I don’t know how 3 would taste. ^_^; I’m curious but not that curious. Let me know if you tried mixing 3.
3. Go to their branch outside the service rush hours (12-1PM, 6-7PM), otherwise, make sure you pack extra patience in your bag.
I really wanted to go back and see how Chewy Junior is doing now after its soft opening when we first sample their cream puffs and pizza last year. It’s a good thing that despite the gloomy weather, we can still have our cream puff fix because Quick Delivery delivers Chewy Junior!
About the Delivery
We placed our order online a few days before the date when we actually wanted it delivered. So this is an advance order. We set the delivery time to 5:30PM but the order arrived even earlier, 5:00PM. I guess getting your food earlier is always better than later. ^_^ We received everything we ordered, we just had to change one of the flavors 1 day before the delivery because it wasn’t available.
What We Ordered
We ordered almost every flavor except for Strawberry Cream Cheese because it wasn’t available. The best way to go is to get the boxes so you can save around P100 if you were getting purely Deluxe flavors in a box of 12, or save P43 in a box of 6! If you really want to include some Premium flavors in the box, you just have to add P10 per piece premium flavored cream puff. We ordered 1 box of 12, 1 box of 6, and 1 box of Deluxe Mini Puffs.
1 BOX of 12 (all Deluxe flavors) / P460.95
I have to say, opening the box of Chewy Junior was like opening a box of toy. As soon as we opened it, we were so intrigued by the swirls, colors, and sprinkles. We tried guessing which one was which in terms of flavor and it was fun! We ordered 2 of each of the following flavor in the Deluxe choices:
– Almond Sweetheart
– Chocolate Almond Crunch
– Blueberry Cream Cheese
– Cheese Lover
– Chewy Original
– Cookies N’ Cream
The crowd favorites were the 2 flavors with Almond shavings, and the other 2 with cheese. ^_^ Chewy Junior really lived up to its name. The dough was really chewy (good for some, and not for others – it depends on your chewing power, I guess). I love that they were generous with their filling in all the flavors.
1 BOX of 6 (all Premium flavors) / P303.45
The flavors we chose were:
– Dulce de Leche Ensaymada
– Java Chip Cookie
– Premium Triple Chocolate
What we liked in this set were the Dulce de Leche Ensaymada and Java Chip Cookie. One thing I really like about cream puffs is that they aren’t too sweet, but then Mario, the one with the very sweet tooth, thinks that the Premium Triple Chocolate was the best for him and then of course the combination of saltiness and sweetness with the Dulce de Leche Ensaymaa was a hit. These were Premium flavors alright.
Deluxe Mini Puffs (8pcs) / P104
These are the smaller versions of the full-sized puffs. I prefer these bite-sized goodies over the full-sized puffs because I get to sample more flavors without really getting full. Just 1 or 1.5 of the big ones and I’m done. But these little babies, all 8 I can finish all on my own. But of course, smaller size, smaller flavor portions so you don’t get to really taste the flavor, you can just get a sneak peak of it. For snacks and if you’re buying for a group, I would recommend getting the mini puffs.
From the ordering online in advance, to the last bite was a treat! From the last time I ordered online, the website has improved in terms of simplicity and ease of use, speed, and ability to customize orders even in bundles like the boxes. I remember before that it would take time to add/remove certain items from the order.
As for Chewy Junior, being biased since I really love cream puffs from the start, I think their twist in flavors and the right amount of sweetness for the fillings and toppings are spot on. I don’t know if I’m in-love with how really chewy the dough is, but I guess it’s part of the fun. The big ones are tough to divide between 2 people without ruining the look. So for me, the small ones are the better option if you decide to bring home treats or take them to your friend’s house.
We were invited to attend the launch of Manang’s Chicken newest dessert – Velvet Sundae – at Tomas Morato, Quezon City. It was sooo much fun and really worth the trip from Paranaque to Quezon City even with the many MMDA road re-blocking projects that created major traffic issues even on a weekend. I always like to do a little research before I actually go to any planned trip to restaurant or an event and the history of Manang’s Chicken and their continued (and may I say) exponential growth upped my excitement!
About the Restaurant
Manang’s Chicken started as a concessionaire at Mercato Centrale back in 2010 and because of its unique and addicting sweet and spicy chicken sauce, it has become one of the favorite food stalls at Marcato (specially raved by famous designer, Rajo Laurel). The success at Mercato then inspired Jil and their whole family to make their family recipe into a multiple store restaurant which is continuously opening new branches almost every month since its first store opened in 2011. Locating the Tomas Morato branch was easy, especially since it had that big sign right at the arch of the building. We arrived there at 1PM, which was at the end of the lunch service and since it was Saturday, offices are closed, and except for the surplus of bloggers, there were only a few patrons finishing up their lunches. The restaurant was spacious, clean, and bright. We only had 1 issue with one of the tables. It was the most unstable, shaky table I’ve ever seen. It wasn’t the leg of the table that was the problem, but the point where the legs and the actual table top joined was either not screwed tight or whatever was needed to be done. Anyway, the quick fix was rest either Mario’s or my elbows on the table while eating to stop it from shaking.
About their Menu
Their food choices are simple, yet very unique. While sometimes my eyes twinkle when I am presented with a lot of food options in a restaurant, I often prefer a simple menu that serves a few variations of the signature dish, and then a good enough number of options for people who would like to order outside the restaurant’s specialty. Manang’s Chicken is a very good example of the simple yet complete menu, offering variations of its signature chicken recipe (wings, 1 or 2 pcs with rice, a barkada set, and chicken in a bun), and options for those who want to order something else (pasta/noodle options, beef, fish, pork, chips, salad, and dessert). The price is also mid-range or same as most fast food chains in Metro Manila.
What We Ordered
Since we were an hour early and haven’t had our lunch yet, we decided to eat our lunch there so that we can have taste of the chicken recipe that made them famous. Mario ordered Cheezy Spaghetti Meal (P69), Manang’s Chicken Wings – 4pc Wings Only (P99), Chicken Sandwich Solo (P49), and I ordered Garlic Pork Liempo w/Rice (P124).
Cheezy Spaghetti (Solo P49 / Meal P69)
Genius! So far, this is the first restaurant I’ve ever seen that uses cheese sauce instead of the usual grated cheese! I’ve done this several times at home, actually, but instead of cheese sauce I use Quickmelt cheese (try it!). This makes a whole lot of difference in the spaghetti experience because it makes the sauce creamier than the usual, and you always have even amounts of cheese every fork full of spaghetti and sauce.
Manang’s Chicken Wings (4pc Wings Only P99 / Solo with Rice P117 / Meal P135)
You should remember in Manang’s Chicken, whenever you order their chicken (in any form or shape – burger, wings, cuts, etc), you will be asked if you want the chicken in its original sauce (not spicy), mildly spicy, or extra spicy. Well, Mario did the ordering at the counter and he ordered everything ‘mildly spicy’. It’s good, I have no complaints, but I would have wanted to try the other 2 versions of the sauce. Yeah, well, I know I’d get a chance to sample the other levels of spice on a later date (now that their BF branch is open). I’ll blog about it when I do. This is what made them famous in the foodie world and I totally understand why! It’s different from the oily, basic, fried chicken in other similar fast food chains. It’s sweet with a good kick and even with the sauce dripping all over the chicken, the skin was crunchy! I think, that can only be possible if the chicken is served just a few minutes after it’s been fried. Great!
Garlic Pork Liempo w/ Rice (Solo P89 / Meal P109)
I love pork so my go-to dishes are liempo, sisig, bopis, etc… And also, I love garlic so after reading this on the menu, I know I have to try it. Well, I think I expected the usual grilled liempo, then again, I forgot I wasn’t in a grill restaurant… There were lots of garlic bits, which I liked, but the pork itself was a little bit tough for me and really dry. It was fried, but wasn’t crispy enough so I had to fight with my food a little bit. Would I order it again? Hmmmm… Probably not. Clearly not their specialty.
Crispy Chicken Sandwich (Solo P49)
This is a perfect snack on-the-go! Mario got that impression as he was eating it (before he even had the chance to read the description of the product on the little product folder we received when we entered the restaurant) and it was exactly how it was described in the folder! Imagine that! I think if the customer got the impression that the chef or the restaurant owner wanted to put across with just the food and pricing, then it’s a job well done for them. The sandwich used pandesal baked in a real ‘pugon’, old-fashioned way. It reminds me of the a small village bakery where we used to buy our pandesal from every morning and they are “pan-de-pugon” and have a distinct flavor and crunchy outer top shell, and when you take your first bite, the wonderful flavor just hits you like several hundred years of pugon pandesal history. This is the same thing, only that the pandesal is bigger so that it could accommodate the chicken. You still have to choose from original, mildly spicy, and spicy for the chicken sauce. Mario chose mildly spicy.
What We Were Served
During the event, we were treated to a couple more new products, one was of course the Velvet Sundae they were launching, and the other was the Ultimate Crispy Chicken Sandwich, and aside from that, we had unlimited Manang’s Chips which were sooooooooooooooooo good!
Manang’s Chips with dip choices: Garlic Mayo (recommended) and Creamy Cheese dips (Small P30 / Large P49)
The first bite was just wow! I can’t believe how crispy the chips were and not oily at all! I know these were deep fried in really hot oil so that they’d be crispy, but even hours after they were put in the bowl, they’re still crispy like they came out of the fryer just minutes ago! Unbelievable! You can also see that they’re real potatoes, skin and all! Warning! The chips are highly addictive especially that wonderful Garlic Mayo dip! We didn’t really care too much for the Creamy Cheese dip. We didn’t order these, so I don’t really know what their “small” and “large” sizes look like, but no matter, I think they’re worth it! I just wish they had a BUCKET option!!!!!!! Or a BAYONG version! Do I need to start a signature campaign for this?
This is the leveled-up version of the Crispy Chicken Sandwich that we ordered. I think it competes with the Zinger except that it’s a lot more saucy, and it has coleslaw. Definitely not a snack order… It’s a lunch type of meal. Very filling. Has the same sauce that made Manang’s Chicken famous and of course an option of either the original sauce, mildly spicy sauce, or the spicy sauce.
Velvet Sundae (P45)
Heard of chocolate lava cake (which is my dream to make one so that I can have that anytime I want)? Well, Velvet Sundae was Manang’s Chicken’s version of it without the steep price, and the fancy restaurant vibe. I personally call it potted lava cake ^_^ but that’s just me. The verdict? Oh wow! At the surprise price of P45 which was then revealed when everyone started digging into their own sundaes, I think it’s a steal! The cake was super moist (not at all packed and pounded or heavy). It was also very warm! As in warm to the touch, and the ice cream was melting really fast because of that. The chocolate chips were crispy (if that is ever a correct word to describe the chips but you get the idea). The chocolate chips were really just that, crispy, and everytime you bite on one, your teeth don’t sink into the chocolate chips because they don’t seem to melt as quickly as the ice cream does. Ah, so difficult to explain but if you try it, you’ll say, “Aha! Now I know what she was trying to say!” ^_^; And the texture of the whole thing is so interesting as long as you get a little of each ingredient in one spoonful – moist warm cake, crispy chocolate chips, cold vanilla ice cream, and sweet fudge.
I’m just so happy to have gotten to know this wonderful restaurant and their wonderful chicken and POTATO CHIPS, plus be there when this “potted-lava-cake”, I mean, Velvet Sundae was launched! Would I go to their newly opened BF Homes branch? Absolutely! Not a doubt in my mind, we’ll be back in one of their branches! They also do deliveries but I think they have different numbers for every branch. The good thing is that they don’t have a minimum amount to order delivery, they just charge you P40 for each order no matter how much you order.
So I find myself in the northern parts of Metro Manila, hungry, and craving for anything with the color green, anything devoid of or has less preservatives than the usual processed food, and I though my search was in vain but I found it! A perfect little place at SM North EDSA The Block called Impressca, impressed me… ^_^ Honestly, it’s hard to find a restaurant that mainlines salads and sandwiches. All other restaurants list them under appetizer and do half-@$$ jobs making one, or giving awesome choices and prime ingredients for prime price too (or charging too much that would make gasoline price hike blush). Impressca is a perfect in between… Good simple choices, basics covered, and fairly priced.
About the Restaurant
It’s located at the 4th Floor of SM North EDSA The Block. You’ll see it immediately when you get off the escalator. It’s a big size kiosk and the seats are out in the open. It looks so inviting with the comfy couches, seats, nice clean floors, clean kiosk, everything neatly tucked away except for the display of greens and fruits. Every nook has a purpose, and even part of the kiosk is a counter with high stools where people can also eat when the soft couches and seats at the side and back of the kiosk is taken.
About Their Menu
Sandwiches, salads, pasta, fruit juices, smoothies, shakes, tea – in all the healthy colors of green, red, yellow, white, and orange. If you want something with chicken, they have it (Chicken Salad), something with ham, they have it (Ham and Cheese), something with fish, they have it, (Tuna Pimiento). Check out the great ensemble yourself!
What I Ordered
I was originally craving for a healthy sandwich so I was looking for the sandwich kiosk I passed by in the same area earlier that day, but for the life of me I couldn’t find it anymore. That’s when I found Impressca and saw that they offered sandwiches too (from afar, you’d think it’s all salads). So I ordered Tuna Pimiento which came with a choice between iced tea or coffee (I chose iced tea), and I also ordered their Cheesy Fruit Salad.
Tuna Pimiento with iced tea or coffee (Regular P80 / Double Deli P100)
Usual tuna sandwich using wheat bread (which fills you up really fast and keeps you feeling full for a good number of hours), cucumber, fresh greens, tomato, mayo, and onions (I think I tasted onions). Nothing special about it really, but somehow I felt so satisfied and full even though I came there like I haven’t eaten since morning (this is lunch time), and yes, I wasn’t able to eat breakfast that day.
Cheesy Fruit Salad (P59)
Serving size for this one is small. I didn’t really taste the cheese in the salad too much, but what I love is the many slices of apple! It was like every fork full had 2 slices of apple. I think I made a pretty good combination of orders that day because this finished the meal perfectly. Sweet in a fruity kind of way (not sweet like sugar, but natural tasting sweetness), and light cream.
I wish there are more kiosks like this, serving healthier options and specializing on salads and sandwiches. I enjoyed my meal and although it looked like it wouldn’t really drive my hunger away, surprisingly it did! I walked away feeling full, healthy, and satisfied. Actually, I walked away wishing they had a branch at MOA! I’ll be trying their “LOAD ALL YOU CAN” option for the salad but I’ll make sure to bring Mario along with me when I decide to do that. ^_^