Thursday, November 25, 2010

My mom's favorite haunt: Je Suis Gourmand, The Fort

My mom and baby sister are "experience" people-- they don't mind shelling out money (or, in my sister's case, my parents' money) for experiences. Say, better seats, nicer hotels. I, on the other hand, am stubbornly a "thing" person. I wouldn't mind sitting in cattle class for 1,000,000 hours so long as I have more money to shop with. Anyway, the EATING EXPERIENCE is where we're all happy and pleased. They get the experience, and I get the thing (in this case, the food). Am I making any sense here? :)

One of my mom's favorite restaurants (for that wonderful EATING EXPERIENCE) is Je Suis Gourmand. It's really epic, and you'll see why in a bit!!! :D

Friday, November 19, 2010

Cyma & Golden Spoon, Shangrila Plaza

A month after stepping onto Australian soil, I had a craving. A craving for Cyma's Greek Food. I have to admit that I'm quite biased- Cyma is one of my favorite restaurants here in the Philippines. They serve really fresh and flavorful food that is really notable.

The Greek Food scene in Australia just isn't happening. I mean there are some here and there but not even one that's really striking. I've heard of Medusa in the city a couple of times, but the thing is, the feedback just doesn't reel me in.

After 2 hours in the gym, I just had to pig out one way or another. But, in all fairness, I still kept my so-called diet, sorta. I usually order a salad or the lamb with orzo. Trying my very best to stick to my diet, I had to have either pork, chicken, or fish with a ton of carb. Since Daryl told me the pork chops are worth trying, I actually went for it.

I love the crusty cheese top
For starters, my friend and I had a Spinach and Artichoke Dip served with baguette and wholemeal pita. I'd say the artichokes were canned ones, it's close to impossible to actually get your hands on fresh and vibrant ones here. It wasn't that good but it was a good effort to make a dish such as this. But there just wasn't anything really flashy or special about it. I'd go for the hummus and baba ghanoush hands down.

Admittedly, I would have this any time of the day
The pork chops that I had were around three quarters of an inch thick. Upon ordering, I was quite on the fence about it since it could be potentially dry and bland. But then once my dish was served, I was in awe, I made the right choice. The chops were grilled to perfection, wonderfully tender and succulent. The side of backed potatoes had that slight give once you initially bite into it which made it remarkable.

Angel hair loaded with cheese
My friend opted for the Solomo's Angel Hair which was obviously a pasta dish. It had a red sauce base and flaked salmon. I'd say I wasn't such a big fan cause it turned out really heavy and the flavors of salmon just didn't shine at all.

Belgian Chocolate and Raspberry Cheesecake

Simply tart with toasted muesli
Afterwards, we had dessert at Golden Spoon. The only good thing about Golden Spoon would probably be the fact that most of the frozen yogurts that they serve are non-fat. I had the belgian chocolate alongside the raspberry cheesecake. My friend opted for simply tart with toasted muesli. The yogurt wasn't great, we probably went there just because we just had to have some frozen yogurt and White Hat was closed already. The yogurt was far too sweet and it melted rather fast.

The food that night wasn't that great, but there was definitely some spanking company which made it all worthwhile.

Unit 638, Level 6
Shangrila Plaza
Mandaluyong City

Golden Spoon

Unit 104, Level 1
Shangrila Plaza
Mandaluyong City

Chelsea, The Fort

Sembreak's over now, but when it was only just beginning, my friend Acosta and I went to the Fort for a whole day of celebration! We went to The Spa, and it was epic. But of course we had to EAT first!

We were tired from the whole week (month?) of academic hell and didn't really feel like taking any risks, so we headed to ye old Chelsea for tried and tested comfort food!

As always, they gave us complimentary bread. Pesto focaccia, served with a whole roasted bulb of garlic, and an olive oil + balsamic vinegar + parmesan cheese dip. Tasty! Are you a garlic fan? I definitely am! I LOOOOOVE roasted garlic (Myron's makes good ones too!) and I don't give a poo-poo about garlic breath so I thoroughly cleaned out the bulb!

The bread was chewy and flavorful! Yum. And of course the combination of olive oil, balsamic V, and parmesan never fails, so we had quite a fun and happy time out of this, especially since we were STARVING.

Acosta ordered her beloved beer, to go with LUNCH.

Isn't she pretty when she covers her face? Joke
She also had butternut squash soup. I tried it and it was really tasty and heavy!

We split mains. The dishes in the pictures you are about to see are already split. Chelsea has really huge serving sizes! Main # 1 was citrus-rosemary roasted pork belly. It was served with a chili cranberry apricot chutney, mashed potatoes, and roasted garlic baby asparagus served with rosemary olive jus! (I am quoting the menu here, thus the DETAILED description).

If you're a pork lover (which I am!) this is for you! I loved how crisp and non-oily it was! I also loved the chutney. 

Main #2 was seabass. Verbatim from menu: Herb-walnut crusted Chilean seabass with rosemary-orange beurre blanc, mashed potatoes, and braised asparagus. Oh, how I hate menu-speak! When they make everything sound maarte. Hehe, reminds me of someone I thoroughly dislike!!! Anyway. :-) The seabass was epic!!! Perfectly cooked and melt-in your mouth.

I was so full! So we proceeded to Muji (everyone knows you can't get a massage on a full belly) before we went to The Spa. I didn't know picture-taking was forbidden (HONEST!) so I managed to take pictures before the guard informed me, very nicely, about the picture-taking policy.

I've never really been a Muji fan, but I get why some people are addicted to it! Kudos to the Muji people for their BRILLIANT marketing.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Melo's, Quezon City

Did you miss my blogging voice? Here I am again, after a ginormous loss (the passing of my gorgeous grandmother, may she rest in a very luxurious and happy heaven) and a crazy trip (Chloe made me walk 8 km/h for really really REALLY long distances. Insane! Hehehe! Love her to bits).

So anyway, one meal that I've yet to blog about-- Melo's with my mother, sister, and brother! Melo's is this old-school steak place that's near Piandre in Timog. They serve really good steak!

First up, they gave us some pate with crostini. I don't eat pate (I am deathly afraid of liver) so I cannot give a fair verdict of it, but my siblings and mom loved it! They loved the crostini too! I didn't bother to try it anymore as I am not really a dried bread fan. :-P

Of course, there was also the standard bread and butter. The bread at Melo's is really margarine-y and a tad rich and sweet for my taste. I like my bread heavy, nutty, and full of seeds! YUM!
Soup comes with orders of steak. The soup of the day was vegetable chowder. It was really rich and creamy and very good!!! There were tiny bits of veg and I'm guessing they used fish stock to make it.

For my main, I split two orders- a halibut in green sauce and a wagyu ribeye- with my sister. The green sauce is actually sauteed spinach in cream. The fish was a bit below my expectations, texture-wise, but the sauce was lovely. The ribeye was wonderful. I could have eaten tons of it. I was so glad I split it with my sister (as opposed to just ordering the fish for myself). It was everything I imagined it to be! Maybe/I hope that's what true love is like-- everything you imagined it to be. :-)

My brother and mother both ordered wagyu ribeye. I didn't bother taking pictures of their plates anymore as their beef looked just like mine!

Can I just share, that I am in a very happy place in my life right now. I feel like life is about to unfold in front of my eyes and I am very much looking forward to the entire adventure! I know my grandmother is always with me and guiding me every step of the way.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I have a thing for ginger

Anybody who knows me quite well would know that I have a thing for GINGER. I reckon ginger is very much underrated, much like bread. Did you know that you could make Brown Bread Ice Cream? Well, more on that next time! I must mention that Brasserie Bread makes fantastic bread.

As you probably may know, I am head over heels in love with the Bourke Street Bakery. Each and every time that I'm there, they usually have the Raspberry Brulee Tart opposed to the ginger one. I've got nothing against raspberries, I actually love them, just not as much as ginger. Given that thought, it would be nice if there were a raspberry-ginger brulee tart.

Who could possibly turn down a beauty like this?
The Ginger Brulee Tart looked fabulous to say the least. Once I dove in, the custard was silky smooth with the slightest hint of the gingery goodness that wasn't overpowering in any case. There wasn't that immense heat that a lot of people associate with ginger, but in it's place, there was a sweet, sweet warmth that just hit the right notes. And who could perhaps neglect the crisp caramelized brown sugar on top? This treat is certainly blissful.

Other gingery things that I adore include stem ginger cookies, the gingerbread man, ginger chocolate (Green & Black's FTW), shortbreads, ginger sesame sauce- the list goes on and on.

Bourke Street Bakery
633 Bourke St
Surry Hills 2010 NSW

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Cafe Sopra, Waterloo

Obviously there hasn't been any posting action on the blog recently, and trust me, it's been a busy few weeks. For starters, there were stressful final projects that needed to be handed in, and let's just say we got reunited in Australia. Those twelve crazy days were some of the most memorable I've had. Eating out meal after meal, and consuming mounds of Greek Yogurt, that's paradise, dear! And from here on now, it will be like exploring our epic food journey.

One of the best restaurants we went to was Cafe Sopra in Waterloo. It's located a floor up from Fratelli Fresh on Danks Street. Once you walk into the market per se, interesting things are all around. I just couldn't stop looking at all the goodies on the shelves, they really piqued my interest. After all, Italian is my cuisine of choice cause it has a lot of robust flavors that I adore.

When we got to Cafe Sopra, it took them quite some time to sit us down. It was around 2pm, but there was still a fair crowd of people dining there- definitely a good sign. The look of the place I'd say is very rustic, it wasn't at all pretentious which is one of the things that I really liked about the venue. We took a good look at the menu cause there were just far too many amusing things that we just couldn't seem to decide. We settled splitting a salad and pasta. Oh, and we had a glass of champagne each just for the sake of being indulgent.

Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Cavalo Nero, Parmesan, Poached Eggs, and Crisp Pancetta
The salad was nothing short of fantastic. It hit all the right spots, and yes, it's definitely worth trying. Wait, I shall correct, it's TO DIE FOR. You'd never think that a salad could actually be this tasty. For one, I'll admit, I'm not the biggest fan of brussels sprouts just cause I couldn't cook them right. They turn out really bitter and off. But the brussels sprouts and cavalo nero in this dish provided sweetness and freshness. It was then contrasted by the saltiness of the parmesan and the crunchiness of the pancetta. Finally, it was topped with two perfectly poached eggs. This salad made my best friend a poached egg believer- what a life changer.

Ze Pasta
The pasta on the other hand was good but not as exceptional as the salad. It had al dente fusili, compared to the fusili that they serve in restaurants, the so-called rings on this one were tightly coiled together. They caught the sauce flawlessly. The sauce was pretty much a standard red, with a tinge of spiciness toward the end. Tasty, but it didn't jump off the plate. 

It was really pretty <3
I'd definitely go back to Cafe Sopra, they had a stunning selection of food that's mostly organic. And what they served really suited my taste- job well done! I couldn't resist posting a lovely picture of this overwhelmingly huge bougainvillea shrub that was spewing flowers left and right. 

Cafe Sopra
7 Dank Street

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