Chewy Junior – Revisited at Home

Like This!

FaceTweet it!

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!

The Wandering Boots_Chewy Junior_QD_01

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

The Wandering Boots_Chewy Junior_QD_12

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 The Wandering Boots Rating 4 SMALL

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.

The Wandering Boots_Chewy Junior_QD_04

1 BOX of 6 (all Premium flavors) / P303.45 The Wandering Boots Rating 4 SMALL

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.

The Wandering Boots_Chewy Junior_QD_07

Deluxe Mini Puffs (8pcs) / P104 The Wandering Boots Rating 5 SMALL

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.

The Wandering Boots_Chewy Junior_QD_19

 

OVERALL

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.

The Wandering Boots_Chewy Junior_QD_13

 

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

CONTACT INFORMATION:

Quick Delivery:  http://www.quickdelivery.ph/

Delivery Hotline: 2121212
Order Online: www.quickdelivery.ph

Chewy Junior Website:  http://www.chewyjunior.net/

Chewy Junior Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/ChewyJrPhilippines

The Wandering Boots

* GC provided by QD for blogging review purposes but the whole article
is 100% the opinion of the writer and was not influenced by the company.
Advertisements

Manang’s Chicken – Velvet Sundae Launch

Like This!

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! The Wandering Boots_39

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. The Wandering Boots_Manangs ChickenLocating 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.

The Wandering Boots_Manangs Chicken
I also commend the crew for being super friendly, proactive, and helpful that day.
The Wandering Boots_Manangs Chicken
Spacious aisles, comfy seats, and nice bright lights all contribute to a good dining experience. You can see the other food bloggers here in the photo.

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.

The Wandering Boots_Manangs Chicken
Click on the image for a bigger photo.
The Wandering Boots_Manangs Chicken
Click on the image for a bigger photo.

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) The Wandering Boots Rating 4 SMALL

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.

The Wandering Boots Manangs Chicken
Looks like egg on red sauce looking at the photo, doesn’t it? Well, don’t let that fool you! The moment you mix everything together, you get creamier and ‘cheezier’ spaghetti. Personally, I would have loved to add one more serving of cheese. I wonder if they’d allow that. I would really pay extra for it.
The Wandering Boots Manangs Chicken
I think the price and the serving size is fair. using the plate it was served on, the spaghetti serving looked small, but it was actually just the same as McDonald’s and Jollibee’s serving size. It’s just that the plate was too big and created an optical illusion that the spaghetti serving was small.

Manang’s Chicken Wings (4pc Wings Only P99 / Solo with Rice P117 / Meal P135) The Wandering Boots Rating 5 SMALL

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!

The Wandering Boots Manang's Chicken Wings
Well, somehow, the presentation is always a little off for me. The plate was too big and too, ummm. flat?… So the wings just sat on the plate looking like something’s missing because they really didn’t fill-up the spaces on the plate. But I guess what’s more important is the taste, and they tasted great!

Garlic Pork Liempo w/ Rice (Solo P89 / Meal P109) The Wandering Boots Rating 3 SMALL

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.

The Wandering Boots Manang's Chicken Wings
Although the liempo was thin, and everything is chopped, the pieces are uneven in size. While some pieces are small enough that you don’t have to bite off a part, the others were big and because it was tough, it was a battle between teeth and pork.

Crispy Chicken Sandwich (Solo P49) The Wandering Boots Rating 4 SMALL

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.

The Wandering Boots_Manangs Chicken
This was around as big as Mario’s fist, so that means bigger than the average Filipino fist because he has really big hands. My hands look like dwarf hands compared to his.
The Wandering Boots_Manangs Chicken
They seem to be very fond of using coleslaw on their burgers, which I’m not a big fan of, but Mario surely is.

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 Wandering Boots Rating 5 SMALL

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?

The Wandering Boots_Manangs Chicken
Absolutely the best all-natural potato chips I’ve tasted! Really crispy, and even if the flavor is just salt, it’s sooooo addictive! Ahhhhhh! Just looking at the photo and writing about this makes me wish I have a bag of these right beside me now!
The Wandering Boots_Manangs Chicken
The dip to the left is, of course, the Creamy Cheese Dip, and the one on the right is the crowd favorite Garlic Mayo Dip.

The Ultimate Crispy Chicken Sandwich (Solo P109 / Meal w/ Chips P135) The Wandering Boots Rating 4 SMALL

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.

The Wandering Boots_Manangs Chicken
Post-card chicken sandwich anyone? ^_^
The Wandering Boots_Manangs Chicken
You couldn’t see it from this angle but there’s a decorative toothpick that keeps the chicken and the top half of the bun in place, but my chicken wasn’t centered. In anycase, the chicken was indeed crispy, and coated generously with their famous sauce. Again, I’m not a fan of the slaw but I don’t dislike it, but Mario really liked it so I guess you can’t please everyone? ^_^; As long as Mario’s happy, I’m happy. (oooooh, so cheesy!)

Velvet Sundae (P45) The Wandering Boots Rating 5 SMALL

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.

The Wandering Boots_Manangs Chicken
Photo sample of Chocolate Lava Cake taken from kingarthurflour.com.
The Wandering Boots_Manangs Chicken
Well, of course they’re not normally served on top of a yummy decorated plate, but the cup serving is real. As you can see, the divisions of the swirls are not visible anymore because the ice cream has started to melt, but somehow the chips remained solid and are nice good bites (swimming in a mini-pool of fudge).
The Wandering Boots_Manangs Chicken
This shot lets you see the layers…

Overall

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.

More Photos:

The Wandering Boots_Manangs Chicken

The Wandering Boots Manangs Chicken
Here’s me, Mario, and Jill Borja, the president and CEO of Giabella Foods Corp. She really knows her chicken… She practically grew up eating the now growing in popularity Manang’s Chicken!
The Wandering Boots_Manangs Chicken
As Manang’s Chicken says, “Thank you!” on their last presentation slide during the launch, I would like to say “Thank you!” to Manang’s Chicken for adding spice to the fast food industry in the Philippines and introducing their family recipe to the rest of the people in Metro Manila, and for making an effort to think up of new food ideas and doing them really well!

Contact Information:

Website:  http://www.manangschicken.com/

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/manangschicken

Branches:

ORTIGAS
AIC Gold Tower, Garnet Road, Ortigas Center, Pasig City (near Emerald/former NU107)
Monday-Saturday – 9:00 am to 10:00 pm
Sunday – 9:00 am to 6:00 pm
Delivery: 584-8848, 871-5037, 0922-8427759

KATIPUNAN
G/F One Burgundy Plaza, Katipunan QC
Monday-Sunday – 9:00am to 10:00pm
Delivery: 921-5907, 0922-8164271

TAFT AVE
One Archers, Taft Ave.
Monday-Friday – 9:00 am to 10:00 pm
Saturday – 9:00 am to 6:00 pm
Sunday – closed
Delivery: 254-0842, 0922-8164272

MAKATI
Glorietta 4 Food Choices
Delivery: 400-4673, 0932-8626742

MEGAMALL
SM Megamall Food Court
Bldg. A, Lower Ground Floor

SM NORTH EDSA
Upper Ground Floor, The Annex

TOMAS MORATO
Unit 2&3, Lansbergh Place
Monday-Thursday – 10 am – 10 pm
Friday-Saturday – 10 am – 11 pm
Sunday – 10 am – 6 pm
Delivery: 376-5058, 0932-8627350

BF Homes Paranque
President Ave

WEEKEND MARKETS:
Mercato Centrale/Midnight Mercato @ BGC
Fridays: 10:00pm to 3:00 am, Saturdays: 7:30 am to 2:00 pm, 10:00 pm to 3:00 am, Sundays: 7:30 am to 2:00 pm

Soderno in Molito Alabang
Fridays and Saturdays 6:00pm-3:00am

The Wandering Boots

Impressca – Take Your Healthy Habit To The Mall

Like This!

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.

The Wandering Boots _ Impressca 13
How can you not want to eat there! Remember, I love my space when dining so open space is really all the space you can ask for! The seats are comfy with the cushions and all. One feedback is that some tables (coffee tables) are too low for me... That's part of the reason why I opted to seat at the back with the higher table. I don't like bending to reach for my food too often.
The Wandering Boots _ Impressca 10
Table still too low for me, but I do love the seats! I took this photo while seated at a much higher seat, not cushioned but still comfortable, and with a higher table. Good to have choices of where you want to sit. I would have also liked to eat at the counter with the high stools (you can see that in the other photos).

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!

The Wandering Boots _ Impressca 11
Prices are healthy for your pocket too! ^_^ So that's a plus to me. Click the photo to get a bigger image.
The Wandering Boots _ Impressca 12
Remember the Wedy's salad bar? Well, now it's Impressca's Load all you Can for P99! I want to try that next time with Mario... ^_^ And you can see the high chairs/stools in the background.

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.

The Wandering Boots _ Impressca 01
Here's the salad and the iced tea. I was waiting for the sandwich to be served.

Tuna Pimiento with iced tea or coffee (Regular P80 / Double Deli P100) The Wandering Boots Rating 4 SMALL

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.

The Wandering Boots _ Impressca 06
A good pair of healthy wings! Just what I needed to recharge a much needed energy for the rest of the day.

The Wandering Boots _ Impressca 08

The Wandering Boots _ Impressca 02
Here's the red iced tea that came with it. Cute little cup that looks more like an ice cream cup than a drinking cup. Something about the color of the tea and the green logo makes you think of Christmas... ^_^;

Cheesy Fruit Salad (P59) The Wandering Boots Rating 4 SMALL

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.

The Wandering Boots _ Impressca 09
If the serving's too small for you, you can try the "LOAD ALL YOU CAN for P99" promo that they have.

Overall

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.  ^_^

The Wandering Boots _ Impressca 03

Contact Information:

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/IMPRESSCA

The Wandering Boots

Tribu Express – A New Chicken is in Town

Like This!

Mario and I, together with other food bloggers, have been invited to have dinner at Tribu Express (Commonwealth branch).  The restaurant is located conveniently near the supermarket inside Ever Gotesco.  Incase you haven’t been to Ever Gotesco, it’s the structure/mall that looks like a castle from outside.  ^_^  Yes, just like Chocolate Lover in Cubao.  Mario and I don’t always take the trail north of Metro Manila so we don’t always discover new foodie finds that I know I’m missing that’s why when we were invited to this dinner, we both made an effort to attend.

The Wandering Boots _ Tribu Express 05

SIDE STORY:  “My rush hour Friday MRT experience (the gruesome and detailed account of that sorry Friday)”

Introduction:  We live in Paranaque, and because of a shortcut we know to Makati, I planned to meet Mario there (after his errand) 3 hours before the  event thinking that was enough time to make it to Commonwealth, QC at 7PM (so that means we were at Makati around 4PM).  After a quick errand in Makati, we got stuck in traffic.  Because we value time and appointments, we decided to ditch the car (park it at Park Square 1) and take the MRT to Q. Ave.  Smart, right?  Well, I don’t know…

At AYALA MRT Station:  We arrived at AYALA MRT station (via the connecting “bridge” or hallway from SM Makati) and we positioned ourselves, along with 20 or so men, at one of the expected places where one of MRT’s door should be when it stops at the station.  The idea was to push the people in front so that they would get inside the train, and that would have at least gotten some people off the cluster and then we, the people at the back, could have gotten nearer the door for the next train.  But every one of the 4-5 trains that stopped at our station was jam packed!  I can’t go to the women’s cart because I didn’t want to leave Mario behind.  And, even in the women’s cart, ladies were pushing and shoving each other just to get in, but there’s always several more who are left behind because the train just couldn’t take even 1 more passenger.  After 30 minutes of that, we decided to go to the opposite side and head to the last station south (Taft Station) and we’ll just hitch a ride to North from there (thinking there are fewer people there being the very first station before a train leaves for the north route.

At TAFT MRT Station:  We were very wrong in thinking we have finally escaped the sardine can situation of Ayala Station.  Apparently, 3/4 of the passengers going to Taft were also just hitching a ride so that they’d be sure to get a seat or at least be in the train when it leaves to take the route to north.  And as luck would have it, we had to transfer trains twice because one of the trains’ doors couldn’t close anymore (tech issue) and on the other train, we were at the women’s cart – I was with Mario (we didn’t know because there weren’t any signs).  The moment we got out of the women’s cart, the rest of the other carts are full.  To make this very long story short, we were an hour and 5 or 10 minutes late for our appointment.  But the owner, Steffi, PerCX’s Bless, and the other bloggers, were sooo kind to wait for us for a quick chat before the mall closed.

About the Restaurant

While our dinner was at Ever Gotesco, Commonwealth, QC, the  first branch of Tribu Express  (Tribu Grill) is actually in California, USA and it was a hit there that they decided to put up branches here in the Philippines.  The concept is community or family dining that’s why the very name of the restaurant is a play on the term “Tribo” (tribe) which is a group of people, or also same as a clan.  The term “tribo” is usually used to define ethnic communities that’s probably why their logo is like a hut where most of the Philippine ethnic groups live.  I actually think it’s a very good name for a restaurant especially if we consider that tribes have very strong family/community bonds and Tribu Express would like to focus on being a type of restaurant where families, friends, and groups can bond over good food.  The place didn’t feel “finish” to me but it was clean and, for some reason, made me felt like I was eating at home, perhaps because it had a very casual vibe to it.

The Wandering Boots _ Tribu Express 03
The restaurant entrance (which is really near the mall's supermarket), is very open and inviting. The bright orange sign stands out among the other restaurants in the area.
The Wandering Boots _ Tribu Express 04
I really love restaurants with lots of space where you don't have to hear what the other patrons are talking about in the other table, or if Mario's long legs aren't cramped up in the small space under the table. In Tribu Express, we didn't have any problem with that. The tables were properly spaced apart, there's more than enough space for people to move around and get water or condiments from the dedicated condiment table.
The Wandering Boots _ Tribu Express 16
They also had a separate room at the back of the restaurant that you can reserve for a group or family lunch/dinner. I'm not sure if that closes completely for a more private room feel, or if that door at the center stays open.

The Menu

Mario, being an iced-tea person, the first thing he noticed was how affordable their bottomless iced tea was!  At P35, it’s a steal!  And yes, if the drinks are affordable, then expect that everything else on the menu is priced good enough so that not one, not two, but a whole “tribu” can enjoy.  (Cheesy moment!  I’ve probably watched way too much Home Shopping Network shows.)

The Wandering Boots _ Tribu Express 15

The Wandering Boots _ Tribu Express 14

The Wandering Boots _ Tribu Express 20
The star of the show, their fried chicken with 10 dips to choose from!
The Wandering Boots _ Tribu Express 12
Community size is good for 3 - 4 people. In my world, that means good enough for Me and/or Mario. ^_^

The Wandering Boots _ Tribu Express 13

The Wandering Boots _ Tribu Express 18

The Wandering Boots _ Tribu Express 19
I actually like this ad... ^_^

What We Were Served

We were served 2pcs TFC (Tribu Fried Chicken) and UNLI Rice for P99, Bagoong Rice for P135, and something that didn’t look like anything on the menu, but was probably the XL Liempo BBQ/Orig with UNLI Rice for P99.  We were also served a couple of glasses of iced tea which Mario really liked.

2pcs TFC and UNLI Rice (P99) The Wandering Boots Rating 5 SMALL

The chicken skin was unbelievably crunchy!  It reminded Mario of chicharon.  The meat was not as salty as the Mini-Stop chicken I love (because I really like salty food), but I guess for other folks, it was flavorful enough.  It was a pleasure sampling this dish.

The Wandering Boots _ Tribu Express 09
Huge chicken parts with unlimited rice! Imagine that! We were served 3pcs probably because we were guests. But even with only 2, for 99PHP it would be super worth every peso together with the unlimited rice.

Bagoong Rice (P135) The Wandering Boots Rating 5 SMALL

I’ve never had bagoong rice served with pork, mangoes and tomatoes (ensalada style but the bagoong is mixed in with the rice), and scrambled egg.  Although anything with preceded or followed by the word “bagoong” to me is delicious, this was exceptional.  It’s like a full meal on its own!  You could just order this and you’re done with your lunch or dinner!  It’s definitely meant to share between 2 or 3 people (depending on how hungry you are).  In my best day, I can probably take on the whole thing, and a TFC on the side.  ^_^

The Wandering Boots _ Tribu Express 06
Sorry dear readers... If you notice, the lower left part is out of shape... Well, I actually almost helped myself to this dish, then I remember to take a picture! It was a perfect square with toppings of mango, tomato, pork, and scrambled egg. You know how I love salty stuff so this was like a magnet to me!

XL Liempo BBQ/Orig with UNLI Rice (P99) The Wandering Boots Rating 5 SMALL

That’s what it tasted exactly, a BBQ Liempo.  The sweet marinate caramelized in the burnt edges are my favorite but really, I couldn’t play favorites in any of its parts because the whole thing tasted great!  The diet deity must be carefully guarding me from these temptation (unli rice with delicious barbecued pork in sweet marinate) because if Tribu Express had a branch near Paranaque, my hopes of losing a few lbs would be done for!

The Wandering Boots _ Tribu Express 11

Bottomless Iced Tea (P35) The Wandering Boots Rating 4 SMALL

I needed to include this in the review just because Mario kept talking about how good it tasted and how affordable it was compared to other similar restaurants.  I don’t have a picture though, but I’m sure you know how iced tea looks like.  ^_^;  But between Mario’s fave iced tea from Wendy’s and Tribu Express’, he still likes Wendy’s more.  Still, for affordability, this earns a high score in his card.

Overall

The effort (going through all that MRT drama) was well worth it.  If I lived in QC and happen to be doing my weekly grocery at Ever Gotesco Commonwealth, I would definitely eat at Tribu Express.  But if you’re the person who only eats half orders of rice in all meal times, then you may not be able to get the most of your peso here or you can order from their FISH & CHIX menu which has solo priced orders.  Next time, I would probably try their inasal as it’s one of the restaurant’s specialties aside from the Tribu Fried Chicken, and the vanilla sundae cone for P10 because I’m a sucker for vanilla ice cream.

The Wandering Boots _ Tribu Express 21

Contact Information:

Stef Santana
Tel no. : 990-1302

The Wandering Boots

The meal was provided by Tribu Express for blogging purposes.
The contents of this review is 100% my honest opinion.

Sambo Kojin, Japanese Korean Smokeless Grill – Yakiniku Eat-All-You-Can!

Like This!

There’s nothing more fun when meeting with friends than meeting over lunch at a restaurant that offers unlimited food.  But we were introduced by my brother and his friends to Sambo Kojin and now we know that there’s still such thing as “better than unlimited food”.  Sambo Kojin offers more than just stuffing you up with the abundance of Japanese and Korean Yakiniku choices, they also give you great ambiance, great desert table (which is also unlimited), and great service from everyone in their staff (service crew, chefs, valet, supervisors).  Ah… words aren’t enough to express the wonderful time we had at Sambo Kojin so let’s go on with the rest of the blog and the photos… ^_^

The Wandering Boots_Buffet

About the Restaurant  The Wandering Boots Rating 5 SMALL

Apparently, there are 2 branches already, and we went to their EDSA branch which is along the South bound lane of EDSA, very near Barrio Fiesta.  If you’re coming from the North, like Quezon City, just take EDSA, and it’ll be on your right (Landmark: huge Barrio Fiesta signage) way before you reach Robinsons mall.  And if you’re coming from the South, let’s say Makati, you’ll have to take a U-turn somewhere near the White Plains area… Argh!  Showing the map would be much better, right?  ^_^;

The Wandering Boots_Buffet
Zoom In
The Wandering Boots_Buffet
Zoom Out

It was my brother’s treat and he made a reservation for 11AM.  When we got there, valet was waiting for us (for free).  We were among the first customers of the day and very friendly female staff greeted us at the lobby and we were escorted to our table on the 2nd floor.  Once the door opened on to the dining area of the 2nd floor, we were greeted by some 7 – 10 staff with a loud “Irasshaimase!”  That’s the Japanese greeting for customers who are coming in a business place whether it’s restaurant or spa, etc.  Because we were among the first customers to arrive, we got a good look of the whole place without the hustle and bustle of other enthusiastic lunch batch customers.  The whole place is super spacious, very clean with the white leather chairs, cream and white covered walls and beams, polished brown wooden floors, black granite tables, and the very prominent and inviting buffet table which was well organized, very clean, and always stocked up (never empty).

The Wandering Boots Sambokojin buffet
Clean table, clean grill, black granite table, comfortable chairs... Ah... such a wonderful place to have lunch!
Sambokojin
A few more customers are starting to come in. My brother and Mario in this photo, and you can see how well lit the whole place was. The white/cream walls and the perfect lighting made the place look bigger. No fancy shmancy giant paintings or what not. Just everything that buffet-ers need, great food, huge and clean place, and friends.
Sambokojin
I like that there's a fair distance from the buffet area to the nearest set of tables and chairs so that those who are getting food aren't disturbing any of the customers who are also enjoying the whole experience.
Sambokojin
See how really clean, spacious and just relaxing the place is? Yes, it's a buffet restaurant, but it also feels like a cafe where you can also catch-up with friends, tell stories, etc.

About the Service  The Wandering Boots Rating 5 SMALL

Don’t be scared even if it’s your first time because as soon as you get to your table, an assigned Sambo Kojin staff will take care of your every need.  He/she will ask you if it’s your first time or not, regardless, he/she will still explain the buffet price, about the leftover charge, the sauces, etc.  They’ll also be the one to turn on your grill.  Ask away!  You can call the attention of any of the crew for water, request for spoon, etc., and they’ll be on it and fulfilling it ASAP.  The chefs were also very polite, fun, and accommodating!  They were quick to refill and I never found myself staring at an empty plate even though it seemed that people were getting food faster than it took for people to refill the serving plates.

Sambokojin
Chefs hard at work making sure there's a constant supply of everything for everyone.

About the Food  The Wandering Boots Rating 5 SMALL

We came there on a Saturday, so the buffet price was P595 per person (plus P100 if you have leftovers).  You pay for your drinks and they have a separate menu for that.  Each table is given a tray of 6 different sauces which you can use for everything, we highly recommend the Sambo Kojin sauce.  We were also given a Sambo Kojin Rice, there weren’t a whole lot and we failed to ask if we can get more but it was delicious!  Reminded me of Adobo Rice except that it was a little sweet and they used Japanese rice.  Ahhhhhhh!  There was a great number of different sushi and sashimi to choose from, various bacon wrapped goodies, different tempura choices, lots of meats and different parts for you to grill (fancy some tongue?), unlimited curry, salad, and crazy fondue desert, fruits, ice cream, and cakes!  Did I miss anything?

Sambokojin
Do you think you'd be able to taste one of each from this section? Here's the meat and veggies section you can grill. Very well disguised, you won't see at first but the plates are stacked below the buffet counter.
Buffet
Closer look... ^_^ Mushrooms!!!
Buffet
Here comes the sushi/sashimi section! All your appetizers can be found here too! Their kimchi was superb!!!
Buffet
Wonderful colors... Say hello to the world, Shiitake mushrooms!
Buffet
Here's where the deep fried goodies are... Tempura (all kinds of them), plus tonkatsu.
Buffet
While waiting for your grilled stuff to cook, have some perfectly cooked dishes first!

Buffet

Buffet Sambokojin
Tired of photos of meat? Well, have a salad!
Dessert anyone? Fondue forever!? Cakes galore?! Where's the ice cream!?
Buffet Sambokojin
Ice cream!

There’s just too many photos to post everything individually so I decided to just show them in a slideshow…  Enjoy!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Overall

I love the whole experience!  It was a very interactive lunch (getting stuff, grilling them, turning them at the right time, etc).  You would think that because most of the food were unseasoned (or so I thought), you expect them to be bland after grilling, but that’s not the case.  Their tempura was exceptional and the desert table was something I wish I had left more room for.  ^_^

Fun fun fun!

It's the waiting time that sometimes frustrates you... ^_^; It's faster to devour than to cook.
But it's also during those lag/waiting times that you get an opportunity to share a few laughs, and loads of stories with your friends or family.

QUICK TIPS:

1)  Call for reservation a week before, especially if you plan to dine on a weekend or holiday.  This place gets packed full easily on a weekend.

2)  If there are 6 of you, check if you can reserve 2 sets of tables good for 4 (total of 8 chairs) so that you also have 2 grills.  This makes for more meat grilling, less waiting time in between, ummm…, feeding sessions?  But if you can’t get 2 grills for 6 folks, that’s ok.  1 will do.

3)  Request for grill clean-up when all the skins start sticking to the grill, especially the delicate fish meats/skins.  ^_^  Making me hungry just thinking about the food there…

4)  Go easy on the tempura.  I know it’s tempting to just dive in a plate full of deep fried battered meat or veggies, but that will fill you up really quick and won’t give you a fighting chance to sample the other goodies they have to offer!

Contact Information:

Eastwood Citywalk QC (Tel. 421-0145 to 46)

Greenhills Mandaluyong City (Tel. 726-4466 or 726-4520)

Hours:

Mon – Thurs:      11:00 am – 2:00 pm / 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Fri – Sun:              11:00 am – 2:00 pm / 5:30 pm – 10:00 pm

Price

LUNCH (Mon to Fri) No Left Over Price is P 495 (with left over add P100 only)*Except for Holidays

LUNCH (Sat & Sun) No Left Over Price is P 595 (with left over add P100 only)

DINNER (Mon to Sun) No Left Over Price is P 595 (with left over add P100 only)

For children- No Left Over Price is P 295 (with left over add P100 only)