WATAMI – Casual Japanese Restaurant

Watami – Casual Japanese Restaurant

“Japanese food makes me feel particularly good.” ~David Mitchell~

Jen and I haven’t been hanging out lately and when we did. She suggested to veer away from our usual favorites.

After we got the stuff we need from some specialty shops at Shangri-la mall, our feet led us to this casual Japanese restaurant: Watami.

When it’s casual, does it mean that there would be no Geisha’s to serve you, there’ll be no Tatamis but the usual dining tables, still if it’s a Japanese restaurant, I normally think of the sublime execution of an authentic cuisine. Which is why it is one that always fascinates me. Refined, unmatched manner of preparing and serving each entree, this specific Art and not to forget that Japanese hospitality which is popularly known as “Omotenashi”. Lastly, theirs is healthy.

We’ve been to Akira and Sumo-sam in the past so Watami deserves a try. Besides, we haven’t had Japanese food in a while. =)

This friendly barker helped us decide right away after reviewing the menu that’s displayed outside. There was no mention of miso soup from the menu so we asked him if they have my favorite soup and they have it in 2 variants. A plain one and another that is spicy.

This is faultless, all of the restaurants I’ve tried didn’t fail to pour their guests some cup of tea.

Watami is one of the many restaurants under the Bistro Group:
#tastethelove

 – Plank Sourdough Pizza – Conrad Hotel Manila
 – TGIFridays and Italianni’s – with more than a dozen branches all over the country
 – Fish and Co – Mall of Asia and Trinoma
 – Krazy Garlic – Greenbelt 5
 – Bulgogi Brothers – Alabang Town Center, Greenbelt 5, Harbor point, SM Lanag, Mall of Asia
 – Village Tavern – Bonifacio High Street
 – Modern Shanghai – Mall of Asia
 – Tonkatsu – Ayala Cebu
 – Buffalo Wild Wings – Glorietta 1, Conrad Hotel Manila, Estancia Mall, Uptown Mall, Vista Mall Sta. Rosa
 – Texas Roadhouse – Uptown Mall, Conrad Hotel Manila
 – Denny’s – Trinoma, Bonifacio Global City, Eastwood, Vista Mall Sta. Rosa
 – Baker & Cook – Conrad Hotel Manila, U.P. Town Center

Sometimes, it is slightly annoying that while you’re enjoying your food, an attendant will approach you to offer the advantage of getting the Bistro Frequent Foodie card or popularly known as BFF Card.

Photo grabbed from: https://www.bistro.com.ph/

But come to think of it, if I review all of their restaurants, they are the most frequented and been thriving all these years and some of the best restaurants in the country. I must assume that those annoying attendants are one of their most effective Marketing Strategy for a continuous growth and carry one brand after another.

Personally speaking, I have been a regular customer of TGIF and TEXAS Roadhouse. I’ve tried Fish & Co when they still have one at Alabang Town Center. I even got this chance to see some contestants of “American Idol” (Jessica Sanchez’s time) since they held one of their activities at Italianni’s when they had their concert tour years ago.

So even if we haven’t seen and tasted our orders yet, we’re counting on that we will enjoy this early dinner. Later I learned that there are more than 700 branches of Watami all over the Asia Pacific region.

Take a look at what we’ve had:

Chasu rice for me and Jen, special curry Udon with cutlets for Jen and assorted tempura for me. Prior to deciding what to order, I had a miso soup called in advance.

All of these except for my soup were recommended by the attendant who took care of us.

The Chasu rice is truly delicious and its’ flavor matched my tempura. Jen’s Udon is tasteful too but is a little spicy and the hint of curry is just right, it is very mild. I enjoyed my tempura, however, I missed something from the sauce that came with it.

Over all, it was another gastronomic experience. Not to forget mentioning the intricately planned interiors of this casual Japanese resto.

I’ll ask Jen to try the sourdough pizza from Plank and pastries from Baker and Cook soon. =)

Aside from the New Wing of Shangri-la Mall, You can find Watami at the following locations:
– Greenbelt 2
– Mall of Asia
– Uptown Mall

Itadakimass! =)

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Dean and DeLuca

Dean and DeLuca

Courtesy of: https://www.coolfunnyquotes.com/author/anonymous/friends-buy-food-best-friend/

I am visiting my niece’s booth at “The Good Neighbors” at Rockwell Club, Amorsolo Square, Makati City.

It is just a little across Edades Tower and Powerplant Mall. We arrived a little earlier, and when I saw Jen’s eyes, looking at her left and her right in random, she was either saying something like Powerplant mall or Dean and
DeLuca? Instantly, she asked: “Coffee?” And of course, after checking the time in my watch, I just said: “Come on!” =)

As planned, we ordered for our coffee: Cafe Dulce de Leche (the dulce served separately) for Jen and Caramel Machiatto for me.

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We had two kinds of desserts to match it. It was unlikely that we didn’t get blueberry cheesecake this time.

I was totally enticed by that Dutch apple pie,

and as usual Jen had her salted caramel cheesecake.

Over varying topics while devouring on what we’ve ordered, we realized they were too sweet we had to get something like a stasis to balance our palates.

We opted to choose the Pasta E Pomodoro, it is an organic pasta with fresh tomato, basil, garlic in olive oil. It came with a garlic bread which Jen and I shared equally.

The attendant asked if we wanted it with chicken or meatballs, and we both decided to have it done meatless.

It surely balanced that sweetness from our desserts and drinks. Jen liked it a lot, (she consumed all those Arugulas) since it was cooked the Italian way, as her preferences are pastas that are never sweet.

Her salted caramel is something we can tagged as “TDF” (To die for), it is one of of the best salted caramel cheesecake we’ve tried so far, and my apple pie is really good too.

These epicurean treats definitely made us want to go back and we already know what to try next time, we intend to try their branch at Eton Tower, Legaspi Village, Makati City, which happens to be nearer from Jen’s workplace.

Dean and DeLuca, on its’ 40th year originated from lower Manhattan, USA. At present, due to demands, they were able to put up branches across USA: New York City, Washington D.C., Charlotte, North Carolina, Leawood, Kansas, Napa Valley, California and Honolulu, Hawaii. They are also in Japan, Thailand, Singapore, South Korea, Kuwait and United Arab Emirates.

In our country, Dean and DeLuca has two branches: the one at Edades Tower, Rockwell Makati and the one at Eton Tower.

Everything you’ll ever need is at Dean and DeLuca. They’ve got choices for Starters, Salads, they have Quinoa too, they have soups, they offer a wide range of Main delicious dishes, from Sushi and rolls, Grain bowls, Burgers, Sandwiches, Tapas, Pancakes & waffles, Pastas and sourdough Pizzas and of course Desserts, even organic ice cream!

Beverage list is almost endless from Cocktails, coffee and teas, milk shakes and wines (red and white).

They have gourmet and gift items too.

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I’m not wondering why Tatler voted for them. Everything at Dean and DeLuca is sumptuous. =) It instantly became our favorite! =)

 

 

 

Caffera as in Cafe and Camera combined…=)

Caffera as in Cafe and Camera combined…

My life is shaped by the urgent need to wander and observe, and my camera is my passport.” ~Steve McCurry~ (An American photographer).

There is this new place Jen is telling me about, a themed coffee shop owned by a Photography enthusiast like her. It’s name is “Caffera”.

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Second floor of Dona Zenona Suite..
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This you will see upon entry… It is actually already stimulating..
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A vintage signage is displayed too..

And she has been persuading me to see it for the longest time. I am half-hearted to go because it entails more than 3 hours travel from our place. We are in San Pedro, Laguna and the shop is in Maginhawa street, Quezon City. Eventually I gave in due to her beguiling tricks.

And without her knowledge, I am also eyeing to see in person the string of coffee shops, pizzerias, burger stands, name it that were so famous in Maginhawa street paralleled with those you will find in Aguirre Avenue in Sucat, Paranaque and Kapitolyo street in Mandaluyong and the one in Tomas Morato. Most bloggers term them as Foodie’s Mecca.

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Such a unique idea..

And so during the holidays, we opted to plot not just Caffera but some more interesting spots Maginhawa street can offer.

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Now, we’re wondering if we can have this card even if we’re not a resident of QC..

True enough, the place will be loved by anyone who have been fascinated with photography and all the materials needed in pursuing this passion is displayed in all corners. All the accessories, even those that we have might have missed is there. If there is one adjective for this place, it is “inspiring”.

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Touches of Christmas decors were neatly placed around the cafe..
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Right in front of the counter which entice guests like a food porn..
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Lots of vintage cameras you’ll see..

Please take a look:

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Notice the roll of film utilized as label? =)
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I have exceeded my expectations – I wondered if they have cakes in camera shapes..
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The glass window is written with calligraphy..
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A unique way to paint a wall..
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Jen is filled with awe..
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Several models of vintage cameras..
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Collection of emptied rolls of film, a light, camera, action display, vintage cameras..
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An old movie camera.. Most displays are DIYs! =)
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Even the menu is photography inspired: It says FRAPPerture, ISO Amaro, Mugshot coffee, etc.
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Delighted guests can’t help but express their appreciation..
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Even the quotes are all about Photography…=)
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This is my favorite part of the place..
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There’s our coffee drinks. In mugs that were made of camera lens. #amazing
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Don’t you agree?
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Brought me back during college days when we took up a few units of Photography class..
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I can’t help it, I took a photo of their mirror inside the rest room…
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Vases out of lens..

If you want locally-produced coffee beans, brewed with love and passion for photography, sweet yet not too strong iced coffee, then Caffera is the perfect place for you. The ambiance suits both millennials and the not too millennials as well. =)

Being here, you will sense the owner’s passion through the consistency of themed displays painstakingly created so as to come up with such an “inspiring” place.

Caffera Cafe is located at:

Unit 204, Second Floor, Dona Zenona Suites, 54 Maginhawa Corner Mahusay Street, UP Village, Diliman, Quezon City.

CASA QUESADILLA at Maginhawa street…

CASA QUESADILLA

“Mexican food is so full of colour, life and music. It’s like a pinata exploding in your mouth.” ~Kate Mclennan~

Nowadays, finding a TexMex restaurant is as easy as ABC.

Being a fan of Mexican food, Jen and I didn’t have a hard time looking for one should the cravings set in. Filipinos and Mexicans have similarities in culture, food and even language due to our common root. Both countries were being inhabited by the Spaniards. This historical trail is evident up to this very time.

At Maginhawa street, while eyeing Caffera: Cafe and Camera combined. We intentionally treaded the stretch of this famous street at Sikatuna Village in Quezon City to explore and choose food spots we intend visit in the future. Which obviously made us very hungry.

We weren’t surprised to find out that there are a lot of Texmex spots that we can choose from. We opted to try Casa Quesadilla.

It is easy to be spotted.
It is easy to be spotted.

Jen being crazy with quesadillas, immediately entered the multi-colored entrance of Casa Quesadilla. I, on the other hand like quesadillas too but my favorite Mexican food is Chimichangas, though there a few restaurants which offer this, they usually offer Burritos instead. I am good with Burritos but I like Chimis better since the latter has no rice.

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Colorful..

The Casa is like a hole in the wall type of Texmex joint. Still, they have a wide array of recipes to choose from.

We just had quesadillas and nachos salad. Quick and light. It took them less than 10 minutes to serve it.

Quick and light..=)
Quick and light..=)

I had to use the loo, and I have to pass by their kitchen to get there and I can attest to the cleanliness of their kitchen. The loo is clean too.

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They also offer alcoholic drinks and there are 2 groups enjoying their drinks outside while we dined inside.

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Unli beer from 6pm to 8pm..

And much to our content, their food is satisfying, Texmex is like comfort food to me and Jen.

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Now, we’re ready to stride again for our next stop. We passed by a bespoke restaurant on our way to Casa Quesadilla and it honestly looked interesting: When Uan met Sally. While Gourmet Gypsy Art cafe is befitting. =)

Casa Quesadilla is located at Unit 1, 176 Maginhawa, Sikatuna Village, Quezon City

The very popular Maginhawa street..
The very popular Maginhawa street..

STEAM YARD Coffee and Community..

STEAM YARD Coffee and Community..

“Good coffee is a pleasure, while good friends are a treasure!”

My encounter with this coffee shop cum retail/ concept store is by accident while I was waiting for a document in the Municipal hall of Muntinlupa City. The shop’s location is just a stone throw away situated alongside other known establishments. It was raining at that time and I had to look for a dry place to stay.

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Steam yard..
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Front yard of steam yard..
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Entryway..

The calligraphy in front of them lured me to go inside and was instantly amazed by it.

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Fusion of rustic and industrial..
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I see these only on the pages of a magazine..
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Such a looker..

There are more inside, a coffee shop that serves blueberry cheesecake and a dozen of on-line brands lined-up with their beckoning displays.

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Wide choices..
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Though they do not have whip cream..=(
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From first visit, I think I’ve bought a dozen already of various items from food to non-food..

Their items are those of millennials, however, the interiors is an amalgam of industrial and rustic motif. They also infused touches of Harry potter facets. You won’t fail to notice that the crowd they attract are students and young executives and those that are young at heart which includes me.

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Cosmetics!
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Cool shirts to choose from..
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I want this! =)

It was also very obvious that the owners (who are millennials too) are one of those manning the shop, in both areas (coffee shop and retail shop). You will notice it from their zesty appeal. Their above-board earnestness to provide good service to each guest that comes in is very evident.

The rest of the team are well-trained too. The Security officer flashes a bright smile to all those who enter the shop. Indeed, the atmosphere is very positive. There is a force that surrounds it like Harry’s magic and believe me, no one went out empty-handed. Or so I think only for those that I’ve seen.

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She said she will come back too.. Like I said when it was my first time to visit..

Initially, I ordered for a drink, my usual iced cafe latte, a few items I bought out of impulse. And a promise that I will bring my friends there.

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My cafe latte..

Before I leave, they called my attention and handed me with a card that came with a stamp and upon completing the rest of it (total of 10) will equate for a free drink. Not bad for a Marketing strategy, especially when they are just a few months old.

Despite of showing enthusiasm for icons that isn’t Filipino (I’m referring to Harry potter), the coffee they’re brewing is brewed locally.

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All about coffee and more..

There are packed gourmets which ratifies local producers. And honestly, they are packed well with attractive rustic labels.

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Personal consumption or gifts…
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Emmafied…=)
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They have the usual and they have syrups too..
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They have soaps, lotions, balms that are organic..

During my second visit. I purchased more items, for myself, for my soul daughter, for a colleague and tried their meals with cakes over coffee.

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We’re starving..

Jen okayed the place however she is a bit disappointed since their coffee didn’t have provision for those who wanted theirs with swirls of cream.

When we informed them that it might help if they provide it, they expressed their gratitude for the suggestion and assured us that it is under-study.

On my third visit with another millennial, I brought my son’s bff who is almost like a daughter to me, took her a few tops, and we had pasta and cakes over coffee. She is more excited than I due to the fact that she is also a Harry Potter enthusiast.

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We’re done with our orders when we thought of pasta.. Recommendation: more gravy for the steak sandwich..
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Typical marinara.. Recommendation: More sauce for this serving or less pasta..

Maybe we will visit every so often since we liked the idea of shopping and dining in one single place. Another important factor that I considered is that their items are of limited production so there’ll be no worries to see yourself wearing the same dress that the girl you passed by is wearing.

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Cha and moi..

The price, both for food and merchandise is competitive too.