Sunday, May 20, 2012

Cha Dao Tea Place: Part 5 of The Great Maginhawa Food Trip

This post is the fifth of a five-part series called The Great Maginhawa Food Trip.
Part 1: Tomato Kick
Part 2: Friuli Trattoria
Part 3: Cocina Juan

We've finally come to the end of the series! It's been a fun ride, and it'll be some time before our next post, making this the perfect time to check out some of our older posts! ;)

Anyway, our final course for The Great Maginhawa Food Trip is none other than a cool glass of pearl milk tea at Cha Dao Tea Place.

The small shop consists of a counter where they serve their specialty tea drinks, as well as several little tables where you can just sit and chill with your friends. In fact, the tiny store is full of students studying and holding meetings. There's not much room, but the bright tea-green walls, light wooden furniture, and quiet atmosphere make you feel calm, relaxed and refreshed, the perfect space for you to unwind. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Sancho Churreria: Part 4 of The Great Maginhawa Food Trip

This post is the fourth of a five-part series called The Great Maginhawa Food Trip.
Part 1: Tomato Kick
Part 2: Friuli Trattoria
Part 3: Cocina Juan

We're now nearing the end of The Great Maginhawa Food Trip, and our fourth installment features a little, old-fashioned cafe called Sancho Churreria Manila. What is a churreria, you ask? Why, a store that sells churros, of course! And excellent churros, at that!

Even before entering, the glass panels already make the store look very warm and inviting, with sunlight streaming through from outside. The interior isn't very spacious, but the displays of yummy goodies as well as the cozy furniture and decor help you feel right at home. The store was packed when we were there, with people having important business meetings, long overdue reunions with friends, or maybe just some lazy afternoon coffee. I never wanted to leave.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Cocina Juan: Part 3 of The Great Maginhawa Food Trip

This post is the third of a five-part series called The Great Maginhawa Food Trip.
Part 1: Tomato Kick
Part 2: Friuli Trattoria
Part 3: Cocina Juan

UPDATE: As of September 2013, which is when I last visited Maginhawa, Cocina Juan is no longer open for business. You can check their FB page for updates!

Part 3 of The Great Maginhawa Food Trip is about Cocina Juan F. Gallery. The F. Gallery part refers to the restaurant's double function as an art gallery, with its walls displaying some paintings and other pieces by local artists. I'm not an art critic, so I'm not going to comment but even to my unrefined eye, the art is certainly interesting. (I'm not that sure what the F stands for but I'm assuming it's "food".)

Cocina Juan, one of the more unique finds in Maginhawa, serves Nicaraguan food. I'll wait here while you look up Nicaragua on Google... Good? Okay. Nicaragua, as you might have learned already, is a country in the Central American region, which is right between North and South America. Easy, right? It's also right below Mexico, which explains some of the menu options in Cocina Juan, which seem to be Mexican-inspired, if not actual Mexican dishes. What sets Central American food apart is their use of meats, grains and various herbs and spices. Their cuisine was also influenced heavily by the Spanish, much like Filipino food.

Now enough history/geography lessons! It's time to focus on Cocina Juan and their fantastic food! 

The restaurant itself is a cozy little house, brightly-painted and with assorted foliage covering the front, so much so that it might be hard to catch the tiny signage in the front. Just make sure to watch out for the big red chili pepper when you look for this location.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Friuli Trattoria: Part 2 of The Great Maginhawa Food Trip

This post is the second of a five-part series called The Great Maginhawa Food Trip.
Part 1: Tomato Kick
Part 2: Friuli Trattoria
Part 3: Cocina Juan

Our second installment in The Great Maginhawa Food Trip is all about Friuli Trattoria, a cute little Italian cafe that serves pizza, pasta and desserts, and prides themselves on their "Genuine Italian Cooking".

According to our ever-reliable source Wikipedia, Friuli is actually a region in northeastern Italy famous for their local cheese, cured meats and wine, while Trattoria refers to a small casual dining restaurant where "prices are low, and the emphasis is on a steady clientele rather than on haute cuisine. The food is modest but plentiful (mostly following regional and local recipes) and in some instances is even served family-style (i.e. at common tables)." With this, I'd have to say Friuli Trattoria definitely lives up to the standards of its namesake. The staff service is informal and friendly. The interiors are warm and cozy with the checkered tablecloths and the Italian themed decor. The food is excellent, as I shall soon further expound. And this is a place I'm sure I'll want to go to again and again.

It's a-me, Mario!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Tomato Kick: Part 1 of The Great Maginhawa Food Trip

If you live in the Quezon City area, you've probably heard of Maginhawa Street, that artist-culture-foodie haven located in UP Village, Quezon City. A nice quiet street by day, a crowded youth hub by night, this place boasts some of the most unique food finds this side of town!

Because Maginhawa's not-so-hidden treasures cannot be contained into one post, I'll be covering five of Maginhawa's best in this series which I dub The Great Maginhawa Food Trip. (Which, I know, is a ridiculous title, but there are just no other words fit to describe the sheer awesomeness of the Maginhawa experience.)

Just a quick teaser of the upcoming posts in the series ;)

This post is the first of a five-part series called The Great Maginhawa Food Trip.
Part 1: Tomato Kick
Part 2: Friuli Trattoria
Part 3: Cocina Juan

For this post, we'll be starting off with one of the most well-known spots in Maginhawa: Tomato Kick.

A popular watering hole for students of the University of the Philippines, Tomato Kick has a laidback casual vibe that makes it the perfect hang-out. When you see the sign, you'll probably have trouble finding the entrance as we did, but it's actually on the second floor.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Another Side of Manila: Mofara's Halal Food Haus

Strangely, I have never been to Quiapo, despite having lived in Manila for my whole life, so some time ago, my friends decided to take me on a Quiapo adventure. We visited a few churches, took a look at some fascinating ancestral houses, shopped for handmade souvenirs under a bridge, and also dropped by the Muslim mosque as well as the neighboring shops. I was eventually led to this quaint little eatery, Mofara's Halal Food Haus, that served halal Maranao cuisine. Something new and different? Excellent!

(Fun facts: Maranao refers to the people of Lanao, a predominantly Muslim region in Mindanao.)

Mofara's, a small open-air restaurant that's the exact definition of "hole-in-the-wall", also served non-Muslim, regular cafeteria fare, but why would we want to try that? We quickly ordered several exotic-looking dishes to try by pointing them out in the display case in front of the store, and eagerly took our orange seats to wait for our orders.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Hallyu Experience at Yedang Korean BBQ Restaurant

So... it's been a while (ahem, understatement of the year) but for my first post in a little over 6 months, I'd like to review another Korean restaurant, Yedang Korean BBQ! I suppose the Korean BBQ craze has died down already, which doesn't mean that it's no longer popular, but rather that it's become so common that it's now a mainstream cuisine in the Philippines. Which is of course, a wonderful thing, because that means Korean BBQ is here to stay! :)

(To explain the title of this post, Hallyu or "Korean Wave" is a term used in Korea to describe the sudden popularity of Korean culture internationally, whether it be Korean food, music, dramas, etc.)

Yedang is located in one of the more densely Korean-populated areas of Metro Manila, Ortigas. It's a popular Korean restaurant, and it's seriously packed! We went there around lunchtime on a weekend, and it was full. Unlike other Korean restos that aren't as well-known, which are usually filled with Korean nationals, Yedang had a mix of both locals and foreigners, a fact that only attests to its popularity. The restaurant is also wide and spacious, making it great for large groups.

(I actually visited Yedang about a year or so ago (this post is super delayed) so I have no idea what it's like now, but I certainly hope they're still around.)

Don't worry, those silver tubes will not suck out your brains. They are actually extractor hoods (I know these are called something else but I just really can't remember right now) that will absorb the smoke that comes from the grills. The staff pull them down right before grilling the meat so that our hair and clothes don't smell like meat after the meat (although not 100%, of course).
(I apologize for the slightly creepy photos. Had to blur out faces for privacy purposes, you see. I mean, how would you feel if I suddenly posted your photos on this blog when you don't even know who I am?)