Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Japanese Standard

December 27, 2008
Izakaya Kikufuji
Pasong Tamo, Makati City

Having been to Japan, I think my standards for Japanese cuisine have doubled. Without exaggeration and sounding like a complete asshole, I believe that nothing can compare to the authenticity of the original. Ever since I was a kid, my family would frequent our favorite restaurant Kimpura and we've always believed that it was the ultimate representation of authentic Japanese cuisine. Kimpura was our comfort food. Coming back from Japan, I had the opportunity to go back to Kimpura and compare. I was shocked to realize that the food we had been in love with all this time was only subpar compared to Japan's. Sushi and Sashimi in Japan were both fresher. Ingredients: better. I've never felt so disappointed in my life. After putting something high on a pedestal for that long only to find out that it was not as good as you thought was definitely a bummer. As a result, I do regret going to Japan sometimes.

Kikufuji was nothing different. A subpar performance against the high standard that I put up. It was really nothing special. Yeah, there were a lot of Japanese eating there but it was disappointing. The sashimi we tried was not that fresh. The tuna was not that good and seemed old since it contained a lot of tough tendons in between the meat. Good thing the salmon sashimi was the saving grace. It was far better than the tuna. Better though doesn't mean best. Best sashimi in Manila so far is still at Kuretake in Rockwell. The sashimi they have there will literally melt in your mouth.

Since we were craving for some squid and in any form for that matter, we decided on Squid Teppanyaki. Flavor was ok. Nothing really stood out except for the toughness of the squid meat. The squid was really overcooked. Served on a sizzling plate, you can just imagine how tough it got because of the constant heat introduced to the meat. I never knew squid can actually taste like rubber. The best part of the dish was the Coke beverage we ordered as it helped lubricate the throat and allowed us to swallow "rubber" easier.

The Mixed Tempura, a dish I consistently order, was far from being extraordinary. It was just ok. The only thing left to consider is the serving size which was really small compared to the other Japanese restaurants out there. This is one of my favorite dishes in the Japanese menu but it didn't do wonders for me this time.

Lastly, we sampled the Sukiyaki. Our prayers were answered when we actually liked it. The serving was pretty big. A lot of beef was put into the soup. The ingredients were really fresh and the flavors were incorporated throughout the whole dish. We said to ourselves that finally Kikufuji did something right. Lastly but definitely not the least.

I've tried a lot of Japanese restaurants and only few of their dishes actually stood out. Kikufuji didn't. Being overrated and overpriced was the difference. Not the food. Chefs must bear in mind that real food critiques do not care about the price, they care about how the food looks and tastes. Those are the only factors foodies consider so instead of jacking up the price trying to trick people into thinking high price equates to high quality, they should concentrate on how to make their dishes as close to Japan's as possible. I still believe that somewhere in the Metro, there is still a restaurant worthy of being in comparison with the standard. Until then, let me reset my taste buds and search again.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

As Promised

Ma-Oli Ang Pasko, on its 4th Season, has officially come to an end.

Jela won the dock for just subscribing to my blog and as promised, I personally donated the price value of the dock amounting to Php 3,000 to the charity of her choice under her name.

She chose the Cribs Foundation, Inc. as her charity and here is the receipt of the donation:

Thank you for joining Ma-Oli Ang Pasko. I'm sure the people in Cribs are thankful for your generous donation. See you on Season 5 of Ma-Oli Ang Pasko.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everybody! :)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Timberland In SM Marikina

December 19, 2008
Timberland
SM Marikina
Marikina City

The latest Timberland store recently opened in the shoe capital of the Philippines, perfect timing for your last minute Christmas shopping.

Come visit us at the 2nd floor of the new SM Marikina.

Pictures of the opening can be found here.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Congratulations!!!

And the winner of Ma-Oli Ang Pasko is...

(drum roll)

wafflesnshakes@yahoo.com

Thank you for joining the raffle! I will email you a notification. Congrats and Merry Christmas! :)

Lia's Avocado Cake

December 16, 2008
Lia's
Quezon City

I really don't like sweets. It's not that I eat healthy (you know how I love butter) but I just don't like that overpowering sugar taste that are like little needles on my tongue. Pardon the over exaggeration. I do, however, sample desserts once in a while.

At the office, their favorite part of the meal is the dessert. Almost everyday we would have quite an array of desserts. The viands may be the same week after week but the desserts would be different each and every day. My favorite cake that we would usually have was the Mango Bravo cake from Conti's. That was until now...

Lia's Avocado Cake with Pistachio

I've never really tasted cake this good. The cake interior was really soft and fluffy. The air pockets were almost perfectly positioned throughout the cake layer creating the extraordinary texture. I believe the icing was flavored with real avocados and the magical part was that you could taste actual avocados in every bite. The icing was also perfectly seasoned. It was not too sweet and the flavor relied greatly on the actual fruit instead of sweeteners. The softness of the cake was given texture by the generous topping of pistachio nuts. On top of that, the pistachios also added a nutty-smokey flavor to the dessert.

With creations like this, I sometimes forget my dislike for cakes and sweets. Maybe this one can finally activate my hibernating sweet tooth.

Monday, December 15, 2008

End Of Ma-Oli Ang Pasko

Thank you for everyone who subscribed to my blog to join the promo. The contest is officially closed. The draw will be today (December 15, 2008) so stay tuned for the announcement of the winner within the week. Good luck! :)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Timberland In SM Cebu

December 12, 2008
Timberland
SM Cebu North Wing
Cebu City

Perfect for the upcoming Sinulog Festival in Cebu (January 2009), a new Timberland store opens at the Ground Floor of SM Cebu's new North Wing.

Come one, Come all! Take advantage of our discounts for the Sinulog.

Other photos of the opening can be found here at my Multiply site.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

BOOters

December 7, 2008
Hooters
Mall Of Asia
Pasay City

Looking for good buffalo wings and eye-candy?

It's not at Hooters.

Nothing really special about their "famous" wings...

Not to mention the service crew (not worth taking a photo).

Trannys lurking the Greenbelt area were even better looking than them.

Sad.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Dive And Turf

December 5, 2008
Zuni Restaurant And Wine Bar
Greenbelt 5
Makati City

Greenbelt 5 hosts some of the high-end fashion brands and restaurants in the metro. A meeting with old friends brought me to dine at one of the many restaurants there, Zuni Restaurant and Wine Bar. The place is fairly packed but since it was a Friday night, I wasn't really that surprised. At first glance at the menu, prices were really steep and I had pretty high expectations.

We started the meal with an order of French Onion Soup. I vowed myself to order this each time I see it on any restaurant's menu. So I did. Fortunately, Zuni's version was fairly good. Not the best but passable as one of the good ones. The beef broth base was really intense but I sensed a bit of MSG. My tongue stung a bit whenever I would sample a spoonful of soup. It was either they used a bit MSG or the broth was not homemade. You can buy broth off the shelf and maybe that was what they used. It was flavorful indeed but I don't know if the flavor had a degree of artificial flavoring. Overall though, this was a good hearty bowl of French Onion Soup that I really liked. Basic. Flavorful. And the mozzarella cheese on top was just heavenly!

Our main course was a plate of Porterhouse Steak and Sea bass. We were too hungry at this time so it may have clouded our judgment a bit, but the Porterhouse was really impressive. Cooked perfectly the way I like it: Medium Rare. It is not as thick as I would expect but at least it was good. Very filling. The vegetable side dish was also yummy. The Porterhouse Steak was really affordable since it was very big in serving size and when compared to the Sea bass order, it was Goliath! The Sea bass was tiny. For almost the same price as the Porterhouse, you'd want to expect something bigger. And too bad we got the end cut or tail-end of the Sea bass as the serving part since it was a bit overcooked. The meat was not moist and succulent, the way it should be. Instead, it was really flaky and dry. It must've spent a little too much time in the oven or warmer.

Zuni has one of the steepest prices I've ever seen in the area though I'm not a good judge in this case since I haven't been to the other restaurants yet. Sadly, the dishes we sampled in Zuni were not that extraordinary when you put price into consideration. Nothing really stood out. You can have these dishes at any other restaurant outside the ridiculous price range. I mean, if you are gonna do pricing and mark-ups on the food Zuni has, at least make sure they are above par and not just this average.

Overated?

Try it out and you decide.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Timberland At The Shang

November 27, 2008
Timberland
Shangri-La Plaza Mall
Mandaluyong City

The newest Timberland store opened recently at the Shangri-La Plaza Mall in Mandaluyong City. Thank you for all the people that made the opening a success!

It's not too late for your Christmas shopping so come and visit us in our store. The store is located at the 3rd floor right beside Warehouse.

Some of the pictures of opening can be found here at my Multiply site.
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