Monday, October 28, 2013

Izakaya Nihonbashi Tei

A darling of the foodie community, Japanese restaurant Nihonbashi Tei has been reviewed to death by so many food blogs all over the internet, but of course, I don't want to get left behind! There are already several branches of Nihonbashi Tei around Metro Manila and they're always packed to the brim, not only with Japanese-food-loving Filipinos but even Japanese nationals as well! I suppose that's how you know that a place is really authentic, right?

A brief backgrounder: There are so many different kinds of Japanese restaurants. You have the sushi-ya (sushi shop), ramen-ya (ramen shop), tonkatsu-ya (tonkatsu shop), etc. which are specialty restaurants that serve a specific dish. However, there is also the izakaya (of which Nihonbashi Tei is an example) which is technically a pub, where people gather to drink sake and make merry. Food served are also complementary to alcohol, (basically pulutan) such as grilled meats, rice, noodles, and sashimi.

Stepping into any one of their branches will transport you to traditional Japan, with wooden and stone decor and flooring, Japanese characters lining the walls, and most importantly, quaint little rooms where you get to sit on the floor and dine on low wooden tables (although these are smoking rooms). If that doesn't get you in the mood for some delectable Japanese cuisine, then I don't know what will.

What I love about Nihonbashi Tei is that they don't skimp on ingredients. Their salmon sashimi has the largest slices I've seen, their miso soup has fresh briny clams in it, and their spicy tuna maki is HUGE.

That being said, let's get on with the show!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Cozy Afternoons at Cafe Xocolat

If you are ever in the Katipunan area, and you find yourself looking for a place to:
  1. treat yourself to some nice comfort food
  2. spend a lazy afternoon catching up with an old friend
  3. just chill out and curl up with your laptop or book while enjoying a nice cup of hot chocolate
... then Xocolat is the place for you!

I can't believe I've never blogged about this place. This is definitely one of my ultimate go-to place, and why shouldn't it be? A small, cozy cafe converted from the sala of an old house, Xocolat definitely has that homey feel that makes me want to stay here all day. In addition, with the friendly staff, eclectic decor and of course, the consistently good food, I kind of wonder why I haven't just moved in already (well, they're not open 24/7 for one).

Xocolat's comfy vibe makes it the ultimate chill-out place

The food... oh, the food. Obviously, for a place named after the world's favorite food, Xocolat offers excellent chocolate. Their signature beverages and cakes are some of the most decadent chocolate offerings this side of town. Because of this, you'd think that those exotic creatures called people who don't like chocolate won't have any reason to come here, but actually, Xocolat offers so much more. The menu is a labor of love, carefully crafted to bring you all the best comfort food.