28 January 2013

Sentro Selene

Last Sunday, one of our friends celebrated her 25th birthday. Her boyfriend arranged an intimate gathering at Sentro 1771 to surprise her. Since this was a surprise dinner party, we didn't know what kind of food to expect. We were just asked to go to the place by 7 PM.

Since Gus and I had prior engagements, we arrived a bit late. They were already having some appetizers, most of which were skewered meat. Dinner started with a green mango salad and grilled bbq minis. Unfortunately, we were so hungry, we forgot to take photos of all the food.

Grilled BBQ Minis

The Grilled BBQ Minis were a bit too overpriced for me since the meat on each stick were sliced thinly. Then again, we were in Greenbelt. The price was not unusual.

After the appetizers, we ordered our drinks. Gus and I tried their Unlimited Homemade Sago't Gulaman. Yes, it was unlimited. For P90, this wasn't bad at all. The drink was not too sweet, but it wasn't that bland too. Sometimes, sago't gulaman tend to be too sweet because they put too much syrup in it (to make up for the loads and loads of ice they put on the pitcher or glass). But this one was just right. It was a very refreshing drink.

Unlimited Homemade Sago't Gulaman

27 January 2013

Pink Guava: Something Different

A few months ago, Gus and I saw this interesting new place along Quezon Avenue. With all the milk tea and coffee shops popping out of every corner, we thought it would be weird to name a milk tea or coffee place with a name of a fruit. After speculating for weeks, we decided to check it out.

Pink Guava is NOT a milk tea or coffee place. It's more like a trio -- juice + coffee + milk tea bar. Their specialty is guava juice mixed with different other juices. They do have other drinks like milk tea and coffee, but their most famous drink is the Guava Lychee.

21 January 2013

Baby's Day Out: Rockefeller, Greenbelt 3

Last Saturday, we had a get together at Rockefeller. I had just finished meeting a friend in Rockwell, and my sister mentioned she was in Greenbelt with our niece so we decided to meet up.

My sister has a certain liking for oysters so we found ourselves in Rockefeller for dinner. We didn't really plan on eating, but since it was a little past dinner time, we decided to grab something to eat as well.

In case you haven't noticed, I love buffalo wings. Even if Rockefeller is known for its, well, oysters, I still tried my favorite -- their version of buffalo wings. (I never really liked oysters in the first place.) Anyway, for an oyster "bar," Rockefeller's version of buffalo wings wasn't bad. It was actually great! Not too spicy, not too sour, just the right combination of spices and peppers. It was flavorful for buffalo wings, actually. Most of the wings I've tasted were either too spicy on the outside, too sour, too spicy and sour, but all the same bland on the inside. But Rockefeller's is one of the exceptions. The flesh of the chicken was also bursting with flavor. It complemented the spicy skin very much. 

17 January 2013

Lay Bare: BARED!

This isn't really a review but more of a rant. I have been a loyal customer, a patron, of Lay Bare Waxing Salon since my college days. I would frequent their first Katipunan branch whenever I needed unwanted hair removed. I was so impressed with their service that I've sworn to no other waxing salon but Lay Bare.

For those of you unfamiliar with the brand, Lay Bare is a waxing salon that uses cold wax in its treatments. They also offer threading for those who are still afraid to try waxing. Their salons have private rooms, regardless of the service that you're availing. Each room is kept orderly by a specific therapist. The wax therapists are well-trained and very friendly.

At least that's what I experienced in their Katipunan branch.

After I graduated, I barely had time to visit their Katipunan branch. I had to try other Lay Bare branches. The first one I visited was their branch in Megamall. I booked an appointment online, received my confirmation e-mail, and went straight to Megamall during my free time. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to have anything done. All I got was a rude therapist who told me they couldn't accommodate me because they had no clean towels available. I asked them why they sent me a confirmation e-mail if they couldn't accommodate any clients that time. Again, rudely, I was informed that they had no telephone line to inform me that they wouldn't be able to accommodate me. Sensing my growing hostility, a manger stepped in, and to my surprise, gave me the same treatment. She was just as rude as the therapist, and to make things worse, she told the therapist to just accommodate me, after telling me there were no clean towels available! What towels did they plan to use on me? I left the salon and quickly filed a report to their head office.

After the whole Megamall incident, I discovered that Lay Bare also had a branch in Podium, which was more convenient as it was nearer my office. I decided to try it, and I was happy with the result. The place was clean and orderly, the therapists were very friendly, and the service was done well. Just the way Katipunan does it. Unfortunately, it was not the case for my second and third visit. On my  second visit, I received a rather less-than-welcoming greeting from the therapists. The room where they took me looked dirty -- the beddings hadn't been replaced (you could still see powder marks on the sheet), the pillow was also dirty, and there weren't any folded towels on the mattress. Was I going to lay on a sheet used by another person who had an unknown service done? Eeck. I went through the process and once again reported the incident to Lay Bare.

Assuming that something had been done based on my report, I once again went to their Podium branch as it was the most convenient branch for me at that time. Unfortunately, nothing was done. The room I got wasn't prepared and ready for another client, yet the therapist brought me there. The service wasn't excellently done, nor was it near good, to be honest. I still saw some hair strands (apologies for revealing too much information) that weren't supposed to be there (since they were supposed to be waxed off). Apparently, this was the therapist's idea of getting the job done -- with stray hairs still visible. But this wasn't the worst part. When I was about to pay, they asked if I had a smaller bill. I told them I only had P150 and a whole P500 bill, which was the bill I handed to them. Instead of giving me my change, they kept on babbling about how they didn't have enough small bills to give me. After about five minutes of just talking amongst themselves about how they didn't have change, showing me the P500 bills they had, one of them started asking the other therapists if they can shoulder my change for the mean time. 

Two things: 1) You don't continue showing the customer that you don't have change, as if by some miracle your customer will come up with a smaller bill she does NOT have. 2) Instead of wasting everyone's time, making the customer feel uncomfortable, why not look for change right away? Why wait for a couple of minutes before actually looking for change? This was by far the WORST experience I've had.

The fourth incident wasn't as bad as the third, but it still affects the way customers see Lay Bare. This happened in their Congressional branch. Since it was the holiday season, and Lay bare Katipunan closed early that day, I decided to look for nearby Lay Bare branches. I decided to call first because they might have closed early too, but thankfully, they were open. Since I was in a rush, I asked the receptionist if they had a full house. She told me that they did NOT. I confirmed by asking if there was a waiting line. Once again, I was told that there was NO waiting line. My boyfriend and I quickly drove to Laybare, only to find a LONG waiting line in their CRAMPED space on the second floor. I didn't mind the small and less-than-inviting space they had (I felt like they just forced the whole shop into that small space). What bugged me was the fact that the receptionist told me a whole different story than what was in front of me. One or two people would've been fine, compared to the NO WAITING LINE she told me, but there were about six people in the salon when I got there. That's far from none. 

I don't know what's going on with Lay Bare's management, but it seems like the Katipunan branch is the only branch left with superb service and cleanliness. Their rooms are still well-maintained and clean whenever I visit, the receptionist and other staff are still friendly as ever, and you wouldn't catch them chit-chatting in front of customers in wait. The quality of their other branches, on the other hand, is just unacceptable. I actually tried one more branch, their Scout branch, and sad to say, I was also frustrated with the service. It felt like the therapist did not know what she was doing as that was the most painful waxing service I got, considering my high tolerance for pain. She kept on patting the wax, pulling it SLOWLY 1/4 off my skin, then putting the wax back again to pat it, then finally pulling it completely off my skin, ever-so-slowly. I'm not a waxing therapist, but I've had so many waxing sessions to notice if someone knows what they're doing or not. These experiences were so frustrating that I finally decided to look for another waxing salon I can frequent in case I couldn't go to their Katipunan branch.

What's happening to you, Lay Bare?

16 January 2013

Josephine Restaurant: Before and After

Tagaytay is our go-to/quick vacation spot whenever we feel very stressed and toxic. Last year, Gus and I decided we needed a break from our heavy workloads and a trip out of town was the solution. I was craving for some juicy, crunchy crispy pata and hot bulalo at the same time, so we knew Tagaytay was the place to go.

Based on our quick research, Josephine is the most frequented bulaluhan in Tagaytay City. I know there are more famous bulalo houses in Tagaytay, but given the time that we had, Josephine's was the #1 most recommended by people we knew. So we drove all the way to Tagaytay just to grab a hot bowl of bulalo.

Unfortunately, when we got there, they didn't have bulalo anymore. It was understandable, given that we got there at around 9 PM already, but still disappointing. We decided to order the closest thing to bulalo we could have: Beef Nilaga.

It wasn't bulalo, but their beef nilaga still made the trip worthwhile. The soup was served hot, with generous portions of both beef and vegetables. The serving was big enough for four people to share. Aside from the beef nilaga, we also ordered crispy pata.

Their crispy pata (Crispy Pork Knuckles) was good! The skin was really crisp, and the meat, soft and juicy. It was flavorful inside out. Plus, their soy-vinegar dip was done right, it complemented the pata well. 

So, we might not have gotten what we went there for, but it was still a really good meal. Josephine does live up to its reputation -- excellent Filipino food. We enjoyed our meal so much that we decided to have dinner there again, this time, during our anniversary weekend. For our Josephine Experience Part 2, read ahead. :)

15 January 2013

Burger Bar

A few weeks back, one of my good friends mentioned this new burger joint in Makati. She didn't really say anything about it, except that one of our friends ate their a few nights before. Since Gus and I are such foodies, we decided to check out the place. The photos we saw online made our mouths water that they were enough to convince us to go to Greenbelt 2 just to try it out.

If you were one of those people invited at their launch, you probably know which burger joint I'm talking about. Burger Bar. It opened just a couple of weeks back, and I've heard people talk about it already because of their special patties. So what's the fuzz about this place?

Burger Bar boasts of making their own patties, and allowing its customers to customize their burgers by choosing the patty and other toppings they want. It's actually an interesting concept, allowing your diners to choose the kind of beef they want in their burger patty. I grew up making my own burger only by choosing the toppings or add ons I like, but never the patty. That was something new to me.

On the Green Side: Zark's Burgers

This has been a long overdue entry. Last year, I treated the family to one of Manila's most famous burger joints. If you are green-blooded, I'm sure you know which burger joint I'm referring to. This place is famous among the La Salle crowd, though it has won the hearts of people all over the metro because of its exciting, adventurous, and gigantic burgers. This has become a go-to burger joint for those who live around the area, and for those who find themselves in the Manila area.

Zark's is a burger joint along Taft Avenue, which is famous for its mouth-watering, reasonably priced, gigantic burgers. I found out about this place because of my brother, who unfortunately, is green-blooded. He said there was a famous burger place near his school that sold really delicious and big burgers. He has tried this place before but he really wanted us to try it and taste it for ourselves. So, when I got my first bonus from work, I decided to take the family out and try Zark's.

Zark's is a relatively small burger joint on the 2nd floor of Archer's Nook. I say small because the place is definitely small for the volume of people that eat there everyday. Theplace was jam-packed even if it was a Sunday. The place had a diner feel to it. There was a bar, where the drinks and orders were placed; a TV that was set on a sports channel, and booths on the sides. The decor was mostly green -- framed jerseys of famous La Salle players and pictures of satisfied customers on the walls. After waiting to be seated,we were given menus and the journey to picking only one burger started.

Ye Dang Korean BBQ Restaurant

After trying and discovering several authentic Korean restaurants in Manila, the boyfriend and I finally decided to try one of the most talked about Korean restaurants in Manila -- Ye Dang. But we just couldn't find the right time to do so. It was always closed whenever we'd get there since it closes earlier than the restaurants around it. After trying to reach the restaurant before closing time several times, I was finally able to try Ye Dang. Sadly, Gus wasn't available because of work so it was just the family and I.

14 January 2013

Taiwanese Invasion: ChickenZilla

I guess by now, you know how much Gus and I love food. A few days ago, we decided to drop by Banchetto Forum after work to eat. We had something in mind already since we've been going to Banchetto for quite some time now. We had regular food stalls we'd go to for certain dishes, but we would still go around at least once, to see if there was anything new. (We usually discover new food spots whenever we're out, or whenever we visit old places.) Like always, something caught our attention. CHICKEN CHOPS.

The first time I tried chicken chops was almost a year ago. I discovered this chicken chop shop inside Theater Mall in Greenhills. I know fried chicken is very common in the Philippines but because of my obsession with Chinovelas and everything Chinese, I was instantly attracted to chicken chops.

What are chicken chops anyway? A chicken chop is a big fillet of chicken, breaded and fried, then peppered with chili and your choice of spice. It's like a big chicken fillet, but instead of gravy, different spices are sprinkled all over the breading to give it flavor. This is apparently a big hit in Taiwan. A common snack that the Taiwanese have everyday, so I was instantly hooked.

 The photo above is NOT mine.
The image is courtesy of this website.

13 January 2013

Food for the Skin: Skin Food's Tea Tree Cleansing Foam

Last year, I found out that I could get a privilege card from one of the Korean make-up stores I go to if I  had an accumulated purchase of *censor* Your purchases must be within six months of each other. This card entitles the bearer to a 10% discount and other membership benefits, and considering the price tags on their products, members who get any discount will surely be thankful for it, no matter how small.

Anyway, I only had about two weeks until my big purchases expired so I decided to go on a blind shopping spree. I got two tubes of BB Cream, but I still needed a few more pesos to complete the requirements so I just grabbed the first product I saw on the shelf in front of me -- a facial wash. Not bad considering I could've snatched something I wouldn't be able to use much, like an eyeshadow palette or mascara. 

Introducing Skin Food's Tea Tree Cleansing Foam.


07 January 2013

B. Wings: The New Buffalo Joint in Town

A few weeks ago, Gus and I discovered this new buffalo place. Actually, it wasn't really a place. It was a stall in the newly opened Manda Centrale near Greenfield District in Mandaluyong. We accidentally discovered the new food bazaar on our way home (since we took the inner route instead of the usual J. Vargas route to EDSA), and decided to stop by since we were already there. As most of you might know through experience, the smell of good food is enough to make anyone hungry or salivate. We ended up craving for some meat. Steak, to be exact.

Once we went in, our craving turned to cravings. We wanted beef, steak, shawarma, Japanese food, soup, and everything else that caught our eye. After a while, Gus decided to get steak and shabu-shabu from two different places. I wanted shawarma but we weren't able to find a stall that sold one so we had to go around one more time to find something for me. We saw this new buffalo wings place the first time we toured the place, but we weren't really interested in it. But the second time we passed by, we just couldn't ignore their staff. They were so nice, we just had to stop and take a look at what they had. 

He offered us one whole chicken wing to taste, while introducing us to their different kinds of wings. Aside from this fellow's very accommodating disposition, the name of their spiciest wing made us even more curious about this new wing place. They called it the "Obama." Out of curiosity, I decided to order that. Unfortunately, the orders got mixed, I think. Instead of the Obama Wings (original name: Barack Opakpak), I was given the Black Mamba.  

05 January 2013

Kupo's Pamper-Me-Day: Vanity Fur Mobile Pet Salon

Our dog spent his 1st birthday last 30 December, alone and dirty in the garage, running after every single thing that moves. Since he really enjoys staying dirty, covering himself in dirt after we bathe him, I decided to bring him to a pet salon for his monthly grooming instead of tiring myself only to find him dirty again. Because Kupo, our beloved pet, is a big dog, I couldn't just drag him to the groomers. Fortunately, I discovered this mobile pet salon via a coupon site.

04 January 2013

L'oreal: Total Repair 5 Daily Repairing Treatment

I've been having my hair treated since I was a freshman in high school, and I don't really remember what my natural hair texture was. Since I decided not to have my hair straightened last year, I focused on trying to fix it. I wanted to see if it was easier to manage my natural locks than have my hair straightened every year, and use a straightening iron everytime after my natural hair grew back. But of course, once you have your hair treated, you can't avoid damaging it. It may not be noticeable, but trust me, even the shiniest and softest hair maybe already damaged.

Anyway, I used to have hot oil treatments at home but these hot oil treatments were a little messy and complicated. I needed to wrap my hair in a warm towel for 20-30 minutes before rinsing it with cold water. After I heard about new hair product of L'oreal, a hair repair treatment, I decided to try it and see if it could replace the tedious hot oil treatments I did weekly. Here is L'oreal Paris Total Repair 5 Daily Repairing Treatment.

03 January 2013

Lucky 88: Beeswax Lipbalm

This is actually an unexpected and short review. I don't normally write about lip balms but this was an exception.

A decade ago, I found out that I was allergic to a certain lip balm brand. I felt like my world crashed because 1) my lips were always dry, and 2) it was the only brand I knew, trusted, and used. To this day, I still don't know why I suddenly became allergic to it after years of use. After that incident, the only lip balm I was able to use was from another brand. Even expensive lip balms didn't work. I'd develop a severe case of windburn after even just one application. Since then, I only stuck with one lip balm. That, or the good ol' petroleum jelly. But all this changed during Christmas. 

My brother bought everyone two gifts for Christmas. A funny/prank gift and a serious one. For my fun gift, he bought me a lip balm. 

02 January 2013

Physiogel Intensive Cream

I haven't been able to take care of my skin in the past couple of weeks. There was just so many things to do that I had forgotten to take care of my skin. As a result, my skin went from healthy to dry in just a couple of weeks. My heels were the worst. It was so dry that the only thing missing was an actual crack in my skin. Thankfully, I noticed it in time and decided that I had to get back to my skin care routine no matter how busy I was. Unless I really want to see a crack in the next couple of days.

Since my heel had become so dry already, I knew that tons of lotion and petroleum jelly was the only solution. But, I remember hearing my mom mention one of the products I got from my November BDJ Box. She said something about it being a known skin moisturizer, though she hasn't tried it yet. So I immediately grabbed my box and went through each product, looking for a cream or lotion or anything that was for the skin. That's when I saw the tube of Physiogel.