Let’s try TENYA

Let’s try TENYA

“Enjoy! Life is Delicious!”

To eat is an activity that we Filipinos are fond of. We dine to bond, to chat, to be relaxed, to cherish moments and look forward to the next “eating out” together.

As diversed as we are, we are adventurous and fearless to try new things, we appreciate different cultures and cuisines. One of ours is Japanese food along with the rest of the world’s offerings.

Jen and I’s favorite are Italian and Japanese food, of course we love our own Filipino dishes too. Jen recently fostered a penchant for Korean dishes which I couldn’t support since I am not into too spicy food. =)

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When Festival Mall did an expansion last year, Tenya is one of those exciting restaurants which occupied the expansion wing – The Water Garden. Strategically located at the entrance and just a short walk from Civic drive, Alabang.

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They’re in Indonesia and Thailand too. And more than 200 branches in Japan.

We opted to try it out usually due to our cravings. We’re in sync this time, usually, we craved differently so we had to decide whose wish will be granted. =)

Tenya’s interiors maintained the image of a typical Japanese restaurant with lanterns bearing some significant characters, always eye-catching you can’t help but look-up.

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That Zen feel (less is more), the unique atmosphere, minimalist approach and often uses neutral color scheme and natural woods with touches of bright colors like red, yellow or green.

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The wall calligraphy added the space a modern bibe and cascades commitment.

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Tenya’s offering boast its’ expertise in tendon. Mr. Yoshio Iwashita, opened a restaurant way back 1989 which provides a more affordable offering since tendon are expensive, and so the menu says. =)

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Tendon, also known as donburi (a bowl of rice with toppings),usually a complete meal, with everything on it, shrimp tempura, fish, vegetables,
squid, or any meat will do, topped on a steamed rice that comes with a special dontare sauce.

So I got the one with a poster outside. The Ultimate crab tendon teishoku. It comes with a special “aligue” (crab fats) sauce.

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Jen had the Jo tempura soba/ udon teishoku.

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Mine is with a miso soup while Jen’s Udon came with 2 Black tiger prawns, kani stick, green beans, sweet potato and eggplant tempura.

For sharing, we also tried their rendition of California maki.

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That dressing tasted like Kewpie…=) While their batter is so tasty.

We truly enjoyed mixing our own sauces. Their claim that theirs are the freshest is very distinct. The servings are just good enough, and the taste just met our expectations. We weren’t disappointed at all.

Due to the season, they just had a hard time attending to requests per table as swiftly as they can. As they only have 2 attendants when we came. There were times when people from production area are the ones serving our orders. Even the Security Officer is extending a hand already. Probably due to lack of personnel.

If I can also suggest, using pitchers with cover that might fall off is also not recommendable. It might spell trouble.

Over-all, we’re still wanting to come back here. =)

And it’s good to know that they are in the following locations:

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http://www.tenya.com.ph/store-locations

Itadakimasu! (spoken with a silent “u”!) =)

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Luna Cafe…

Luna Cafe…

“Coffee and friends, make the perfect blend.”

On my way to work, I spotted this newly-opened coffee shop in our hometown. Luna Cafe. It looks cozy from the outside, and I saw some splashes of the color pink inside. I instantly wanted to pay visit and check their menu so I scheduled it immediately over the next weekend.

Facade… They’re on the second floor.

I have been on the look-out for a coffee shop ala “Starbucks” that’s just near my place, like a rendezvous. I think this one’s the nearest so far. I have a leaning with “Picked” but it is 2 rides away from where I lived. And Starbucks is an hour drive from home.

Luna Cafe happens to be sitting beside another coffee shop. I just wondered why the owner of the place allowed tenants in similar businesses, it should be offer a variety as they will both benefit from it, looking at it, the other coffee shop looked gloomy, there was no guests at that time. While there are 2 tables occupied at Luna cafe.

Their interiors is the typical shabby looking, modern take of whats’ eclectic since they combined industrial chairs with girly and chic pieces, there are even flowers mounted on their walls that are made of papers. It actually added charm to the place or could be, because I just love the color pink.

My instant favorite is this wall. It inspired me to mount photos of those personalities that somehow inspired me and impacted my mindset, the likes of Mother Theresa, Frida Kahlo, or maybe even a photo of Madonna along my own portrait. Ahaha

Jen got quesadillas, as always, it has become her favorite. I tried the chipotle, because It reminds me of someone very special looking for chipotle when he visited the Philippines a few months ago.

Quesadillas..

We also wanted to try the mozarella logs, which also reminded us of the mozarella logs from Spatzle. I think I want to go back.

 

One of Cafe Luna’s best sellers are their artisanal coffees, intricately prepared in an artistic way, good to look at but you will always wonder if you’re going to eat all those decors since they are edible. Or should I leak the dripping chocolates on the sides of the mug.

I had avocado and Jen had their best seller specialty coffee: Cadbury Nutella.

The serving time was a bit longer than usual, so I again questioned what if it’s peak time. Jen asked me to not complaint and told her I will complaint, I am just sharing my views just with her. Or maybe they should have this standard spiel of informing their guests prep time of each item that we ordered.

Anyway, I just took photos of each corner to kill time, I even went out and took this pretty windchime, a hot air balloon, which is made of glass. It’s sound is so pacifying as soft wind came in that late Saturday night.

Their line-up isn’t pricey and I think is worthy for another visit when boredom at home hits me or should I need a little change in my environment. Anyway, it’s just 15 minutes away from home.

Cafe Luna is located at: Pacita Avenue, corner 16th avenue, Pacita Complex, San Pedro, Laguna.

Some photos courtesy of: http://www.decobake.com.ph/luna-cafe

Little Flour Café

Little Flour Café

“Love doesn’t just sit there like a stone, It had to be made like bread, remade all the time, made new.” ~Ursula K. Le Guin~

It was just accidental that I discovered Little Flour Café, it is the brainchild of Wild Flour Cafe, that charming country-style bakery which instantly became famous for the Cronut (Crossant + Donut) craze as they were the first one to do it, but I remember a hotel in Makati did Dossant (Donut + Crossant) too. Still, they captured the discriminating taste of Filipinos (4 branches in less than 3 years) but with some tweaks that are intentionally executed to create a signature distinction, still, both has achieved the same recognizable theme.

Very country-side signage.
“Off-mall.”

However, it saddened me when the “Pistachio Au lait” isn’t available during our visit.

Originally, I was eager to witness how those chairs were hung and instantly created a different and unique form of art.

One of my fascinations.

It isn’t peak yet, there are a few guests in some tables, so I was free to have my photo taken with those hanging chairs. You know how much I love chairs!

It’s almost lunch, so we kinda have like a brunch:

I had my mushroom bowl, it is packed with roasted mushroom, pickled vegetables, grains with fried egg. It is a bit spicy for me but I can manage. Besides, I am in front of half a dozen sweets ordered for me by my other-half.

My mushroom bowl…

They also do coffee art. You can even request your name be spelled on it. =)

Latte art. =)

These pastries that we personally choose from the display area, with an attendant who helped us decide by describing each and what sells best, so we came up with 5 different items. Both of us love “ube” (purple yam) so we get that one too. They call it “Ube Bomboloni”. Bombolini are doughnuts in Italy.

Neatly arranged goodies.
Are those flowers for sale too?
There are jams too. =)
Almost half a dozen goodies in front of us.
A very simple menu board.

There is a waiting area furnished with different types of chairs, in anticipation of guests waiting to be sitted while waiting during peak hours.

Nice chairs.

With its’ cozy interiors and well-appointed furniture, it is surely a place to linger with both colleagues and friends. And of course with a loved-one. =)

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PS

They also have special wines and beers. =)

But no Blue moon. =( Just Stellas.
Little Flour Café is at the ground level of World Plaza Building, 4th Avenue, corner 31st. Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig

         You can contact them at 02-777-7383. They’re open from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm                 daily.

CALIFORNIA PIZZA KITCHEN – Taking Italian food seriously like Italians do

California Pizza Kitchen – Taking Italian food seriously like Italians do

“Italian food is all about ingredients, and it’s not fussy and it’s not fancy.”~Woflgang Puck~

At Alabang Town Center, there is a wide array of Italian restaurants which you can choose from, such as Italiannis, Brooklyn Pizza, Amici, Cibo to name a few. When one I frequented. California Pizza Kitchen. It has been there as long as I can remember. I even have a photo with a friend at CPK more than 10 years ago.

So what’s the secret of a place to keep on thriving and remain strong despite of the numerous newly-constructed restaurants which offers the same products like they do.

Yes, CPK originated in the USA, created and owned by Americans, who put some tweaks on this traditional Italian dish and really took it seriously.

I think they do not stop researching for trends, they update their menu and they give out promotions during occasion constantly.

Their nachos now are colored when more than 10 years ago it’s just the usual yellow orange-colored chips. The ingredients they used are fresh and even the condiments are always updated, when it’s just Tabasco in the past years, they sense the demands of picky eaters and Sriracha or Cholulas are always ready on their tables.

Even the logo speaks for a thousand descriptions bringing you to this state where the legendary palm trees abound among other famous trees in California, from there to almost every part of the globe including the Philippines. =)

cpk logo
From 1985 to 2012 to present. =)

And of course not to forget mentioning the training they provide to their people extensive enough to keep customers coming. They keep this ROCK principle (rock philosophy: respect, opportunity, communication, kindness). Allowing their people to be inspired while at work.

So these are some of what they have in their menus:

I am not so much a fan of barbecue flavored stuff, but this hand-tossed pizza had me craving for more. I am used to pepperonis, so this one is new to me, and I really liked it. It is flavorful but not tiring and its’ spiciness is something I can tolerate. I’ve shared before I am not into spicy food, but this one is okay with me. =)

bbq pizza

The usual item that we asked to “advance call” is the nachos, we had this dip I so love, I wanted to do it at home. It’s their spinach artichoke dip, healthy and fun to eat too.

 

We tried one of the pastas too, vegetable primavera, which is also a healthy option.

veggie pasta

The flat bread with four cheese dip: hearth-baked mozzarella, queso quesadilla, smoked Gouda and Velveeta is so addicting.

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I learned from the Restaurant Manager that Velveeta is a brand name compared to an American cheese, which texture is softer and smoother than a processed cheese. It is supposed to be consumed in moderation due to its’ high sodium content and preservatives.

While Gouda cheese is all natural from cow’s milk. Aside from the calories it’ll add to your diet, and fats, it’ll give you a little amount of calcium too. So, not bad.

The menu says “green mango salad” though I had yellow mangoes in it and I didn’t bother to contest it, it tasted really good, crunchy, fresh, a little bit funky like I’m a veggie lover all my life remember?

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Anti-oxidants. =)

So if you happen to visit Alabang Town Center and loves Italian food, you will have a lot of choices, and I’d like to personally recommend that CPK would be one of them. Happy eating!

You can find them in the following addresses:

  1. Alabang Town Center
  2. Greenbelt 5
  3. Bonifacio High Street
  4. Shangri-la Plaza Mall
  5. Century City Mall
  6. Promenade Mall
  7. SM Mall of Asia

You can also find them from time to time, offering promotions at Metrodeal (http://www.metrodeal.com/) if you want to enjoy great deals.

 

Purple Beetle…

PURPLE BEETLE

“Where focus goes, energy flows.”~Tony Robbins~

It all started with this photo.

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Courtesy of: http://www.imgrum.org/media/1276837540570395942_1725691340

This is probably one of the most beautiful dream catcher that I’ve seen. It isn’t a painting, it isn’t a drawing, but a photo of a real dream catcher (s). Not just one but several dream catchers put together creating a very beautiful masterpiece. I’ve always thought and assumed that it is somewhere not near, maybe in a different country.

Then one day, while browsing for hotels to stay out of town, I came across this cafe in Lipa, Batangas. It’s called Purple beetle.

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A graffiti of a native Indian struck me, with all kinds of dream catchers surrounding it. Colorful feathers here and there. As I went further, a very familiar window captured my attention. It was that window with the dream catchers I’ve seen months ago. I couldn’t believe that it is here in my country.

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If I can only “DIY” this! ❤

As if running out of time, I immediately asked Jen to visit Batangas because I really wanted to see this cafe. There have been many blogs about it, though I really wanted to see it myself.

We were able to squeeze it with our busy schedules. Just recently, we decided (finally – after contemplating if we can do it) to go to the gym regularly. Adding up another activity that we try to manage inspite of our conflicting schedules tons of work in the office and at home.

We took a bus from Alabang, and it took us less than 2 hours to reach Lipa, Batangas. I must not forget to mention that I admired the town for its’ cleanliness, the roads are very organized, bus stations are situated in just one location giving comfort to commuters and tourists alike.

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Lipa City never felt like a province to me. I saw McDonalds one block after another, I saw a total of 3 McDonalds in Lipa. It was funny, because in my own hometown, I am happy that our village is in front of McDonalds, however, the next is an hour ride from its’ location. Very province right?!

The main roads in Lipa are a bit wider too, and before we reached our destination. It was inspiring to discover that Purple beetle is sandwiched by known restaurants like Army Navy, two very popular coffee shops: CBTL and Starbucks, and you will be surprised
to witness that despite of the competitors surrounding the place, their tables were seldom empty. When we arrived, we even have to wait for some tables to be vacated and we never had the chance to choose spots we like. I don’t mind, I’m just after that window with the dream catchers.

They also sell boho stuff: of course dream catchers in all sizes, hairdresses, boho tops and dresses, tasseled bags, shawls, and mandala spreads.

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Let’s take a look at their menu:

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We opted to have nachos salad and quesadillas which they called “Pizzadilla” because it has toppings too. I had my purple slush and Jen had coffee.

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Much as I do not want to be too transparent in my blogs. The place is just hype, famous among Millennials (Coachella type), but they need to make another study when it comes to the food that they’re offering.

The pizadilla, since it has toppings and fillings at the same time, tasted nothing but salty. No feel of the other ingredients due to its’ saltiness. The tortilla wasn’t able to balance it, apparently, my palette normally requires salty taste from time to time, but this one I couldn’t tolerate.

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In all my travels, several times I’ve proven that a picture can literally speak a thousand words. One can look so beautiful in pictures, when in reality, it is not that pretty if not disappointing. Honestly, the photos enticed me. The likes of Sonya’s Garden, Prado farm weren’t that pretty in reality. They were pretty in their own terms, but they didn’t have that “wow” factor. That feeling of satisfaction that you’re happy you came.

Jen was too positive to tell me that out of the many travels we’ve made, the disappointments are very few. That most travels made us happy because it surpassed our expectations. One piece of advise is to seek opinion of those who saw a specific place already. And you’ll never go wrong. Besides, it is always been a part of the adventure. Usually, it is not the place, it is the adventure itself.

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PURPLE BEETLE  is at Ayala Highway, Lipa City, Batangas Philippines 4217. You can send them email at: hello@purplebeetle.com.ph with telephone number: 0998-855-7732.