Tuesday, November 21, 2017

I Ate My Way Through California

Coming home at least 10lbs heavier (or maybe more) after a 2-week trip is no surprise when your family and friends kept bringing you to nice restaurants and insist that you try this and that. While I tried hard to eat healthy and minimal as much as possible, what they say about the servings in the US are all true - portions are HUGE! So after a series of food coma from eating too much, I learned a valuable lesson when dining in the US: always order the medium!

Spires Restaurant
22327 Wilmington Avenue
Carson, California
Tel.: (1310) 830-8170

Ham & Swiss on Rye

French Fries

Turkey & Ham Sub

Ruby's Diner
Citadel Outlets
Los Angeles, California
Tel.: (1323) 382-7829

Strawberry Lemonade

Cobb Salad

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Shake


Sarku Japan
Level 3, Santa Monica Place
Santa Monica, California
Tel.: (1310) 656-7788

Beef Teriyaki Bento Box

In-N-Out Burger
3411 W. Century Blvd.
Inglewood, California
Tel.: (1800) 786-1000


Cheeseburger + Hamburger

Zia Valentina
The Original Farmer's Market
6333 W 3rd Street, Los Angeles, California
Tel.: (1323) 934-3660

Smores Waffle Shot

Pier 39, 2 Beach Street
San Francisco, California
Tel.: (1415) 391-4737

White Clam Chowder

Fish & Chips

Crab & Shrimp Sandwich

900 North Point Street
San Francisco, California
Tel.: (1415) 447-2846

Sea Salt Caramel Quake Shake

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Baguio Eats: Foggy Mountain Cookhouse

Nestled along the residential community in San Carlos Heights, Foggy Mountain Cookhouse is one hidden restaurant you shouldn't want to miss when in Baguio. Dining is strictly by reservation only so the only way you can book a table is upon Chef Babes' confirmation. Before making your reservation, check out the menu first thru their Facebook page as you also need to inform them of your order/s along with your name, number of companions, date and time of your visit.

Don't expect an immediate reply as Chef Babes is one busy man. I guess luck was on my side when I booked a table for Sunday lunch when I only sent him a message the night before. Along with his confirmation is the direction going to his place. Of course, there's Waze to help you reach it too.

The restaurant's location was literally the veranda of Chef Babes' ancestral home with several tables placed side by side. I get that the theme was homey and rustic but a little restoration here and there could vivify and liven up the mood especially with an amazing view like this.

What we ordered

Flat Bread with Hummus - Complimentary

CS and I arrived an hour earlier than our scheduled lunch to which the staff apologized as our pre-ordered dishes will be available on our original arrangement. He then offered to serve the complimentary basket of fresh pita bread + hummus for appetizer while we wait.

Brick Oven Roasted Boneless Leg of Lamb - Php700.00

Marinated overnight with Moroccan spices then slow-roasted to perfection, this leg of lamb that's drizzled with feta cheese and lemon zest salsa, was well seasoned and served with delicious Middle Eastern vegetables. Not my type as I prefer a more tender version than this chewy cut.

Porchetta - Php550.00

One of Foggy Mountain's bestselling dishes, Chef Babes' version of this Italian roast pork has ultra crispy skin with tender and tasty meat that made even more delightful with Mediterranean herbs, red wine reduction sauce and raisins. Served with rice, it can easily feed up to 2 hungry stomachs.

Despite its slow service and parking issues, Foggy Mountain Cookhouse is still considered a beloved gem in Baguio City. A must-try especially if you're looking for something new and different from the usual dining spots in the City of Pines.


Foggy Mountain Cookhouse
172 St. Joseph St., San Carlos Heights

Purok 24, Baguio City
Benguet, Philippines
Tel.: (63916) 767-4687

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Bay Club Room at Solaire Resort & Casino

Renowned for its majestic view of Manila Bay, Solaire Resort and Casino is the first development that broke ground in June 2010 at PAGCOR's Entertainment City located along Bay City in Paranaque. The massive complex covers a total of 8.2 hectares that houses 2 five-storey hotels which features 800 rooms, suites and villas, gaming area, the Theater at Solaire, dining and retail establishments, a grand ballroom, 8 function rooms, 2 board rooms.

Before Okada Manila came into the picture, I envisioned Solaire as the creme dela creme of casino hotels in the Philippines. I've been to the property several times in the past, mostly for lunch at Fresh, but this was the first time I am checking in for an overnight stay. Just one night because the bay club room commands an extravagant rate of about Php16,000 a night when I booked thru Agoda. Same price could probably get us 2 nights in a deluxe room but we wanted to try Solaire's club lounge and we thought it was worth the indulgence. Besides, we made no other plans but to just spend the entire weekend lazing around in bed.

The elevator to the rooms require a key card so you have to approach the front desk at the ground floor for assistance. Upon seeing that we are booked in the club floor, the staff left her post to bring us to the club lounge for check in. Service was fast and efficient, took us less than 10 minutes before we were ushered to our bay club room facing Manila Bay. My initial reaction upon seeing the room was, eto na yun? Guess I set my expectations way too high basically because we paid a fortune for it. But what the room lacked in the wow factor department, it lived up in the ultra comfortable king-size bed, size of the bathroom and the L'Occitane amenities.

Other room features of the 43sqm club room include:

  • Floor-to-ceiling windows with a panoramic view of Manila Bay
  • 1 king-size bed or 2 double beds with 350-thread count linens
  • iPod docking station
  • L’Occitane bath amenities and Boca Terry Bathrobes
  • Complimentary pressing for 2 pieces suit or dress per day
  • Complimentary daily shoe shine service
  • Access to the Bay Club Lounge
  • Complimentary wireless internet
  • Complimentary use of poolside day beds (subject to availability)
  • Guaranteed early check-in at 1200H and late check-out at 1500H
  • Concierge services
  • 10% discount on laundry services
  • 10% discount on food and beverages at any of Solaire's 3 signature restaurants

Pros: Room with a view of Manila Bay, access to the club lounge, modern and cozy room, spacious bathroom with L’Occitane amenities, flexible check-in and check-out time, accommodating and hospitable staff and the hotel's convenient location with ample parking space.

Cons: For Php16,000/night, I was expecting to be blown away the moment I enter our bay club room. Yes, the room was comfortable and modern but it was short of amazing. I've seen better deluxe rooms in other 5-star hotels in the country at a much lesser price.


Solaire Resort & Casino
1 Asean Avenue Entertainment City
Tambo, ParaƱaque City
Metro Manila, Philippines 1701
Tel.: (632) 888-8888
Website: www.solaireresort.com
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