Balay Dako by Antonio’s…

Balay Dako by Antonio’s

“Family is like music, some high notes, some low notes, but always a beautiful song.”

I’m so glad to have brought my family to dine at Balay Dako… It just occurred to me that when they planned going to Tagaytay, I instantly thought of bringing them nowhere else but at Balay Dako.

And because me, my son and her girlfriend were outnumbered by oldies, what we ordered were those that are a little “healthier”, even if I wanted a lot from the menu to try for myself, please take a look:

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Gela just enjoyed nibbling on these dessert from Ilo-ilo: Piyaya.
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While I enjoyed the ube turon
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I was quite disappointed with the halo-halo, I think they lack some of the ingredients.
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The oldies wanted fish, so we had sweet and sour fish for them.
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My son opted for the salt & pepper spare ribs.
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We ordered for the green mango salad too

I actually can’t figure out what matches it. We just had the beef shanks soup (“Bulalo” in Filipino), and normally green mango salad fits best with fried food.

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Their paella.
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Mama and nanay (her yaya) about to start on their fresh lumpia when I asked them to smile first. =)
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Their lumpiang sariwa.

I still want to try more from their menu, I’ll come back soon. =)

 

Menu Photos courtesy of: http://antoniosrestaurant.ph/balay-dako/#menu-section

I’ve tried most of their desserts, so we can always go out and find another, there’s a lot of places in Tagaytay where you can find a good one to get your sweet cravings. So it’s like hopping from one place to another, besides Tagaytay is a very beautiful place. You wouldn’t mind just looking around.

 

 

 

The Black Pig

The Black Pig
“Good food is good mood.”
Coming across an article that featured restaurants with the most beautiful and impressive interiors, being a designer,  it has drawn me to see them up close and personal. Neil’s Kitchen was in that list though I’ve been there several times and I must agree that their interiors is not just beautiful, their food is awesome too. The next that caught my attention from the list is The Black Pig.
It is a few blocks away from Neil’s Kitchen. It’s in Alabang too at the second level of Commerce Center. Without the heat of the sun, it is walking distance for me. The Black Pig’s facade isn’t too attractive as the whole place from the outside isn’t well- lighted. But the welcoming smiles of their attendants will compensate for that which kept my brain engaged.
Since Jen already commented:”The placed looked gloomy.” This is because they opted to use hanging lamps and pin lights on selected areas.
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Rustic..
Upon entrance, it is only the time I began admiring the place from the interiors, their furniture, lighting system, the colors that they’ve chosen, the vigilance of their attendants to the table wares (made by a known potter from Laguna), cutlery and the food itself. 
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Floor decal..

 

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Call cards..

 

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Looked Moroccan to me. =)
There are some touches of green elements which add life to the whole place. What will caught your attention is definitely the bar.
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Awesome..

 

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There’s the famous bar..

 

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I liked that swing door going to the kitchen..
It exudes order and class by the use of black and brown finishes. Usually, most bars looked untidy even if the items are properly arranged due to the fact that you see everything from it: sorts of bottles, glass, machines, some bars are even with baskets of fruits displayed on the counter like so much is happening in it. At The Black Pig, you will see the clutter though it will not sore your depicting eyes.
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Coasters made from Guava tree..

 

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All corners are inviting..

 

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And we choose this.

 

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Not yet peak time when we visited..

 

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That chair…

There’s even a guide for drinking wine.

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Very useful especially with me who doesn’t drink any liquor at all.

A cool utensils rack.

 

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Very orderly..

When it comes to food. We had a three course meal altogether which started with a green salad:

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I enjoyed this fresh treat..

I am training my palette with fresh greens and it’s followed by a slow-cooked chicken dish:

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Chicken please. =)

and home-made ice cream for dessert.

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Ube for me and caramel for Jen..

We had the feel of drinking Al fresco with that refreshing raspberry iced tea.

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Al fresco..
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Raspberry iced tea..

According to the attendants, peak time is usually dinner time onward because they serve alcoholic drinks too.

During the afternoon, if you wish for a less crowded place to have lunch or snack. The Black pig will give you that. It is ideal for business meetings too. For the overall experience, dining there, the ambiance, service and carefully prepared food is recommendable.
I suggest that you try it, when you’re heading to the south. They’re located at: Commerce Center Building, Filinvest Ave. corner, E Asia Drive, Filinvest Corporate City, Alabang, Muntinlupa, 1781 Metro Manila

Spatzle Euro Market Cafe

Spatzle Euro Market Cafe

“What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?” ~Vincent Van Gogh~

Just recently, I wrote about this restaurant in Alabang which I found one of those places to drink and dine with the best interiors.

And again recently, I discovered another just a few blocks away from my work place. It’s sitting there for years now, when the new wing was constructed and it’s been a while that I have been to this mall.

True enough, anybody or any designer can create a space, though not all can come up with something enticing from the first look, that’s why if you rate a place, there is an allotted score for ambiance. Spatzle has the modern country feel. It is very welcoming.

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We got our choice. =)

Shangri-la Edsa mall is a 15 minute drive from work. It can offer you a wide array of choices when it comes to dining. Some of our most favorite Japanese restaurants are there, some French, Mediterranean, Chinese, Italian and of course Filipino restaurants.

This time, we know for a fact that shopping can get so tiring and we ended up hungry like wolves.

We learned earlier of this place that’s new to us. Spatzle Euro Market Cafe serves European cuisines with cool interiors, not too stiff and casual enough to literally enjoy another dining experience after a hard day’s work and shopping, and if I may I not miss to mention, the disappointment of getting something you really want when it is out of stock. Come on Jen, let’s eat!!!!

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Food and non – food merchandise.

So we headed right away to that part of this mall where the food spots are. Spatzle is situated in a corner, before reaching it, we came across a few, with barkers outside. However, we already know where we’re heading.

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I’ve always liked chalkboards.

Jen knew too, I do not like it, I mean “hard-selling” because it makes me doubt, why the place isn’t packed.

And even if at Spatzle, there are only a few tables occupied when we arrived, the more it encouraged us to get in since a crowded place only means longer waiting time for them to spread your orders. Besides, the open air feel is very inviting. And there are no barkers. =)

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The hexagons unified the rest of the place. From those upholstery, floor tiles, wall-mounted cabinets and tables.
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Hexagons here and there. But not tiring.

It didn’t took us long as well to place our orders. Yes, we’re hungry, and whatever angle I choose, our orders seems to be too much for 2 persons.

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We opted to share with one another this tongue twisting delight: the “Tarte Flambe Monte blanc”. Which toppings I especially liked, the paprika flavored potato chips, which they call as “Paprika chips”.

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Pizza was my first love. Or anything that looks and tastes like it. =)

I had the “Bacon mozza logs” 

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Honestly, I can only consume 2 at that time.

and Jen got a burger: the “Spatz haus burger”. One of their best sellers.

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USDA Angus burger for Jen.

We had “Watermelon slush” sweetened with wild honey to soften, in anticipation, the savor of all that we will consume in the next few minutes. We were offered to try their desserts, however, we were so full after digging.

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Watermelon slush.

After digging with no holds-barred kind of way, we knew that we will visit a second time. They pulled it off well. We both liked what we’ve chosen and enjoyed all the other extra ingredients thrown in it. We actually checked and eyed others from the menu. We will definitely come back. =)

PS:
I will get the bacon mozza logs once again. Since Mozzarella cheese in particular is like a happy pill for me! Yum!

Another PS:

I found it cute that they have sanitizers along the cubiertos comin’ in handy too. =)

Spatzle Euro Market Cafe is located at:

Level 5, East Wing, Shangri-La Plaza, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City.

Niña’s Kitchen in Biñan, Laguna

Niña’s Kitchen in Biñan, Laguna

“Everyday may not be good, but there is always something good in everyday.”

Niña’s Kitchen is probably one the most talked-about restaurant in Laguna. Or becoming if I may say. It is a residential house which ground floor they turned into a commercial one, serving Filipino dishes (with a tweak) from breakfast to dinner.

I have been seeing it every so often from social media threads lately and out of curiosity, I dragged Jen one Sunday afternoon.

What made it more famous than its’ competitors is because it was endorsed by our former Ms. Universe since the owner is a friend (and a classmate) of hers.

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Photos and memories..

The most photographed item that they offer per my research is the “suman sa lihiya (lye)”. So it was my first reason why I wanted to visit their place. My mom used to prepare this before, and I really miss it. She is old already and can’t perform usual tasks anymore.

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The place is snug, there are decorative objects equally distributed in the garden,

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there’s even a bike with a basket holding a bouquet of flowers, which created a country-feel and very laid-back scenery. Relaxing and thought-provoking as well.

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The dining area is quite huge, which can hold more or less 50 guests. There are actually three separate rooms to dine and we chose the one in a corner. The space outside is huge too.

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It leads to the front yard too though it stays unopened and the entrance for guests is the one in the main dining hall where the counter and kitchen is situated.

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Jen and I both sitted in the tufted bench beside that gorgeous red door.

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On your left upon entrance is the stairs with quotes that I spotted in several blogs. So I made sure we have a picture on it. #thisthingwithstairs

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The decors that are equally distributed in every corner were hints that most of which were from the owner’s many travels.

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We’re supposed to order pasta and burger, but they’re no longer available. According to the attendant, there was a surge earlier. When we came before dinner time, only three tables were occupied giving me the liberty to take photos of items that are interesting to me.

We then chose pizza with pepperonis and still they’re no longer available. We ended up ordering the one with mushrooms. Jen ordered for the churros and I got my suman sa lihiya.

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As a disclaimer, the attendant warned us that the pizza must be consumed immediately. The pizza is good, a healthy option since it is meatless. But true enough, in all fairness, we were warned, the pizza dough got firmer, and it’s no longer chewy to the bite.

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The churros for me is over-rated, there is nothing special to it except for that mint leaf, just as how you expect churros to be, while the chocolate dip is good, it didn’t remind me of a brand, and only a good chef can do it or it is home-made. =)

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The Filipino way of gathering is skillfully interpreted in this place. Local favorites infused with some internationally known dishes and a homey ambience. Huge tables, family pictures, souvenirs, hanging plants, a Sto. Nino to guard the place, the greenery, makes-up for the over-all cozy feel.

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Surely, we can celebrate some occasion here with friends and family. Or maybe even if without something to celebrate. =)

It is located at:

Lot 32 Blk. 8, Silmer Village, Biñan, Laguna. You can call them at: 0915-649-3952

 

“S” for Silantro – Another Fil-Mex on the rise

SILANTRO Fil-Mex Cantina

The name of this restaurant is very intriguing even if from its’ name, we would know already that it is Mexican.

The only difference is that another term of coriander which is cilantro starts with a letter “C” and not with a letter “S”, so that made it intriguing. What would differentiate it from other Mexican joints?

And our search for a “To die for” nachos is obligatory. There are some amazing places we’ve spotted, still, we yearn to be satiated by something new.

The nearest Silantro from our place is in Alabang. So we headed there one weekend.

It was not a surprise to witness a long queue when we arrived. I have been seeing it several times on social medias.

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Patience is a virtue.

Most of them are in big groups, and since we’re only two, a very vigilant attendant was able to squeeze us in inside. He asked if we’re good with the counter and we don’t mind.

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Our spread was overwhelming. Their portions are bigger and per my high-school’s friends’ recommendation, yes their nachos is great.

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I doubt if we can consume these..

Jen’s Silantro’s quesadillas even came with french fries. While my burrito came with three different dips. All of them didn’t compromise my palate.

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While they didn’t use ground meat on the nachos but cubed beefs, cut smaller than the usual, making the sauce tastier and irresistible, their version of the cheese sauce is thicker since they mixed mozzarella with it. Veggies are sufficient too and the corn tortillas tasted like home-made and very crispy.

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Highly recommendable. =)

It was a good decision to try them but we will be choosy with the hours on our next visit. We heard that they are usually congested.

By the way, the interiors is modish too. Their theme is a combination of rustic and industrial. Raw floors, there are wall decals, impressive lighting fixtures and my favorite, they resorted to Machuca tiles to accentuate their floors.

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They deserve a second visit, we have a lot to try next time. We thought of the shrimp skewers. =)

No wonder that their branches are increasing lately.