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. ^_^
We were in Market! Market! and we decided to eat at a Chinese restaurant since it was almost Chinese New Year the time we were there. We chose from the restaurant directory right at the entrance of the mall, near the car park, and we spotted Hap Chan! I’ve never been disappointed eating at a Chinese Restaurant anywhere so I knew it was going to be a good lunch, and I was right!
About the Restaurant
Hap Chan in Market! Market! is located right outside the mall. I’m not familiar with Market! Market! mall so I can’t describe accurately where it was but it’s in the ground floor, near one of the exits of the mall with the cool rock water fixture.
Somehow, the outside of the restaurant looked so inviting. I don’t know if it’s because it looked so festive with all the lanterns and lights, or if it’s because of the 2 huge round tables outside the restaurant that were just waiting for people to occupy them.
We were welcomed at the door (everybody was so polite) and we were seated immediately (that was around 2PM). We chose to be seated on the couch type seats, instead of the huge round tables which were for big families. It was just me and Mario that time. Although the seats were comfortable, there wasn’t a lot of space between the seats and the table. Mario’s big tummy chest had little wiggle room but we didn’t switch places. He was too lazy and too hungry to do that.
Other than distance to the table issue, everything else was perfect. I love the solid furniture (tables and chairs). They’re just like the ones I see on TV at Chinese Restaurants in New York! The chairs, especially, are the same things I’ve seen a couple of nights before we visited in one of the food shows at TLC. Because of the bulky-looking furniture, it made the place look small and cramped, but it wasn’t like that at all. There was enough room to stand, go to other tables, socialize, or share some stories with folks at the other end of the table. It’s almost old-style looking that gave me a feeling that Jackie Chan was going to jump into one of the tables and do his moves, just like in his movies that involve restaurants.
What We Ordered
I’m glad that although they had an extensive choice of food on their menu, the way they presented it wasn’t overwhelming. I wanted to order sea cucumber but I’m sure Mario would be scared to try and it might just be wasted, so we stuck to safer choices – Minced Pork w/ Eggplant (I almost always order this in a Chinese Restaurant if they serve this), Braised Taufu w/ Asado, Yang Chow Fried Rice, and Hong Kong Iced Lemon Tea.
Minced Pork w/ Eggplant (230php)
You can never go wrong with ordering Minced Pork w/ Eggplant! Hap Chan’s version is skinless eggplant! The eggplant was perfectly cooked and it’s still a mystery to me how they were able to peel off the skin without subjecting the eggplant meat to a lot of stress and end up mushy, because their eggplant had the perfect texture and firmness. They probably used a blowtorch and ice cold water to peel of the torched skins…. ^_^ Or maybe not blowtorch… I wanted it to be little more spicy but the mild heat was good enough for Mario. It was a tad salty for Mario, but it was perfect for me. ^_^; Serving size wasn’t bad either (good for 2-3 people).
Braised Taufu w/ Asado (210php)
Ah, yet another hit! Although we both agreed we liked the Minced Meat w/ Eggplant more, this dish wasn’t trailing far behind. I love how the Chinese put so much flavor into everything! The winning ingredient for me in this dish was the Taufu! It was still moist and soft at the center, by which you can tell that they used quality tofu, and the outside was firm and properly browned. Oh I love when a restaurant pays attention to these little details. I hope they read this so they know that people appreciate the good value they put out on the table, but being in the business for a long time, they probably already know. As for the rest of the dish, the sauce was mildly sweet (which is ok), the Asado was a little tough (which is a minus), and the mushrooms are juicy (a definite plus)!
Yang Chow Fried Rice (195php)
This one was just ok. I don’t remember anything special about it, but what I do remember is how it looked so plain compared to the photo on the menu. In hindsight, it would have probably been better if we had ordered plain rice for P30 each.
Hong Kong Iced Lemon Tea (70php)
I don’t usually include “normal” drink selections and Iced Tea is quite normal in a restaurant but I really liked this one. Mario ordered it, but I, of course, get a sip (or 2) before he takes a sip. ^_^ He lets me take a sip first so that we can discuss the taste… Ah, yes, we are a match made in heaven. Anyway, this is more tea than sugar, plus hints of lemon. I can still taste the bitterness of the tea and it wasn’t drowned out in sugar which I liked very much. Next time I’ll order that for myself. I just wished they had bottomless options.
FREE HOT TEA!
We love the whole experience. We enjoyed the hustle and bustle ambiance (every once in a while it’s a welcomed environment), we loved the old China town feel with some modern fixture, we love how quick our orders arrived and how polite the crew were, we love a couple of our orders and even the humdrum Yang Chow Fried Rice couldn’t dampen our mood. The serving size was also good! We’d love to go back and try the rest of the dishes on the menu! Especially the sea cucumber dish!
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.
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.
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.)
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 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.
Bagoong Rice (P135)
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. ^_^
XL Liempo BBQ/Orig with UNLI Rice (P99)
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!
Bottomless Iced Tea (P35)
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.
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.