Sunday, May 25, 2008


4.5 out of 5 stars

Zucchini's has transferred from the main thoroughfare of Timog Avenue to the quieter corner lot on Scout Tuazon. I have never been to the new restaurant, and being that the last time I've eaten there was when it was still in Timog, I was raring to try out their new location with my foodie friend Noni.

Upon entering, you're greeted with a big wooden wine rack centerpiece. Passing through this is a cozy but elegant room which can seat 40 people comfortably. On the far end wall are comfy banquet sofas, with themed artworks for sale hanging above them. There is also a separate air conditioned room for smokers in the opposite end. And unlike some other establishments, their ionzers work perfectly, so you don't smell the smoke even if the room is enclosed. We were unfortunate to eat here when there was a hurricane, so when we used the latter room post-mealtime, parts of it were dripping water.

Noni and I started with an appetizer, then he got a pasta for himself while I had lamb as main. We were nibbling on our freebie dinner rolls, while raving about their cutlery, oil/vinegar dispensers and pepper mill. Imagine, a pepper mill that can carry a year's supply of peppercorn, it's that big! Or how about an oil dispenser that carries balsamic vinegar at the same time? Table pieces like these can certainly carry a conversation, but of course Noni and I also caught up with a lot of things since we haven't met up in a while.

Bread Rolls

Oil and Vinegar Dispenser-in-One! HUGE Pepper Mill

We started with a Smoked Salmon and Mascarpone Terrine with cranberry-Port wine vinaigrette and apple-pecan salad (375 PhP). Terrine is basically a forced meatloaf cooked in a terracotta dish called terrine, where it is heated, pressed then cooled, with the end result forming a coat of jelly on top. In so many words, it is an extravagant cold meatloaf, usually popular with most high-end restaurants. To be honest, I wasn't fond of terrine in almost all of the times I've tried it. I remember my last terrine disaster was in Red, where I got a lobster terrine, and it tasted so fishy and was surprisingly sour. But this time, Noni just asked me salmon or carpaccio, and I answered salmon not knowing it'd be in a terrine since I didn't bother checking. If I knew otherwise, I wouldn't have ordered it. Thank God Noni didn't tell me, because when the appetizer with salad came to us, it was very, very delicious! The lettuce, apple-pecan as well as the terrine were all separated, with the vinaigrette tying them together as it was drizzled all over the plate. Each of them separately, as well as together, tasted so good. And the different ingredients bounced off one another perfectly. The salmon tasted even creamier with the mascarpone; the apples' sweetness was toned down with its creamy white sauce and pecans; the salad could stand on its own as it was encircled by peppers, olives and cherry tomatoes; and the cranberry-wine sauce gave the salmon a new taste to travel apart from being savory and creamy. Moreover, it was presented so beautifully. My only complaint was that I wish they gave a more generous slice of the terrine, haha!
Smoked Salmon and Mascarpone Terrine

Noni got the Tagliatelle Lobster and Gorgonzola (575 PhP). It's sauteed Pacific lobster in tomato basil cream sauce and gorgonzola cheese. Tagliatelle has the dimensions of a fettuccine, though I think it is a little thinner and thicker. The sauce was so rich, even if it looked delicate. I liked the fact that they loaded it with gorgonzola, so much so that I couldn't even taste the tomato component anymore! At least they weren't skimping on the ingredients. And the lobster...? I mean, how could I say anything wrong with lobster? This pasta is a winner....and I think it could even fit for two!
Tagliatelle Lobster and Gorgonzola

I got the Australian Lamb Chops (990 PhP), with a siding of mashed potatoes as well as the Minted Red Wine sauce and Bearnaise sauce. Bearnaise is basically egg yolk and butter reduced with vinegar. So I was thinking that was probably better than the Minted Red Wine Sauce because it was fattier than the latter. But the waiter's recommendation was correct. The Minted Red Wine Sauce paired better with the Lamb Chops. I was apprehensive about mixing mint with red wine, but it turns out that the mint flavor was very mild and was only there to round off the aftertaste of the lamb. My lamb was succulent and was grilled perfectly. It wasn't so tender, though, that it fell off the bone. By far, the best lamb I've EVER tasted was in Aresi, Subic (review to come). But still, this one tied for a good second or third, along with the likes of Gourmand. My dish also had a generous helping of vegetables and mashed potatoes. I was so full that I didn't even get to eat any of the sidings. I certainly took pictures of it, though, since the presentation was excellent and very creative. There was even a potato slice that was branded with a "Zucchini's" in the center of the plate containing the mashed potatoes.
Australian Lamb Chops

Noni and I were so full that we didn't even bother with dessert. We just sat back and talked some more as our friend Marco followed for some cigarettes and green iced tea at a neighboring bakery. What a great way to eat through summer.... No stress, delicious food, intense conversations and adventurous foodie friends to dine with!

If you're ever in the Tomas Morato area, this is certainly one of the top food destinations to eat in. In all the years it has remained open, it has consistently served good food and the staff is very accommodating. No wonder it has kept a solid reputation among food lovers, to the point that most do not even write about it because it is painfully obvious that it's a great restaurant. So why am I writing about this? It's to urge the handful of you out there who haven't tried it yet to come here already! Haha!

#20 Scout Tuason cor. Scout Castor
Quezon City, Metro Manila
(02) 376-5896

Su, M, T, W, Th, F, Sa: 11:00 am - 3:00 pm
Su, M, T, W, Th, F, Sa: 6:00 pm - 11:00 pm

Saturday, May 24, 2008


My laptop with all the resto pictures is being repaired in the shop. So I'm forced to stop blogging in the meantime.... Yet, it hasn't prevented me from eating out any less. Let the backlog pour!

Thursday, May 15, 2008


4 out of 5 stars

My friend, Anna, texted me a year ago, enthused to tell me about this new restaurant, and that for once she's the one giving me the "new resto" scoop. She just mentioned it as a resto in Wine Depot. There are three Wine Depots in the Metro, namely Ortigas, Makati and Alabang. Since I lived in QC, I naturally thought Ortigas, and shrugged her suggestion off, thinking it was probably some random resto in Metrowalk that I wouldn't bother writing about.

I guess I was wrong to assume too quickly and throw her suggestion out the door. 3 months later [this February] (Pao, I'm not lying because I checked the DATES on the pictures and my phone ;P), my foodie friend, Pach, texted me about several of his resto finds. One of them was Purple Feet. Verbatim, "Anyway, the resto is in wine depot in Reposo St. It's exactly where Pravda used to be. It's good for about 30 people lang siguro. Their specialty is nothing and everything. The entire menu is written on a blackboard. You have your different types of seafood, chicken, pork, and US beef as expected, but the catch is, it doesn't say how it's cooked. Why? It's cause you tell them how you want it cooked! They have a chef that specializes in Indian food, one for Japanese, one for Chinese and another for God knows what :) So your choices are endless. Have 'em cook sinigang na tempura curry if you want, but if you're undecided, you can have them suggest. That's what I did. I had a stuffed squid with bacon and cheese covered with bechamel sauce." With a text like that, reiterating the same restaurant, my curiosity was naturally piqued.

A few days later after Pach's text, foodie Pao and I drove to Makati for dinner (Yes, this resto is 3 mos. pending). As can be seen on the left picture, you wouldn't really notice Purple Feet because there's no sign on the outside --- just the wine depot logo. And when you enter the place, it still looks like a wine depot, only that the back portion was reconstructed to fit a restaurant. I have mentioned before that some restos are smart to build themselves around a deli (terry's, bianca's, etc.). In the same manner, Purple Feet is also smart enough to partner with a winery. That way, wine enthusiasts will be thrilled with the excellent pairings.

Pach's text is Purple Feet in a nutshell. And as reviewed by Anton and Sakai, it uses the unconventional method of freestyle cooking. So far, it is the only restaurant in the city I know that does this. But it wasn't the first. Both bloggers have mentioned Chef Henry Canoy's restaurant in Boni Avenue that used to do the same thing. And I myself remember that resto, called "Henry's" quite fondly. I even brought several of my foodie friends there, being one of the first innovative restaurants of its time to use freestyle when the rest of the city hasn't even heard of the term "fusion"! That was around 8 years ago, but I still remember my favorite appetizer as if it were yesterday! It's these cheese sticks wrapped in nori seaweed then tempura battered. It had 2 sauces drizzled on top --- noni juice and pesto. Apart from that, I remember that that was the first time that I ever tasted ostrich, cooking it by "chef's creation,” and of course, adding a small premium to such freestyle technique. But I’m rambling, and this isn’t even about Purple Feet. Moving on…

As was mentioned, the place can only sit around 30 people or less. The menus are written on chalkboards, much like “Henry’s.” (see first picture above) But unlike ordinary menus, only the kinds of meats and seafood are written down, as well as the wine pairings, salads, appetizers and desserts. They also list the bottles of red and white by the glass in stock. Still, all written on the chalkboards by the wall, of course. You have your normal scallops, prawns, lamb or pork, to a little more daring meat like ostrich and rabbit.

Chef Dennis by the White Wine Menu

We started with Croquettas (185 PhP). It was 4 huge pieces of croquettes stuffed with potatoes, sausages, mushroom, bacon and cheese. To make it even more decadent, they serve it with cheese sauce, and garnish it with fried basil. The mushrooms were probably portabello, because it had that distinctive smoky and meaty taste. Anything with that AND cheese is a winner in our books, so we devoured this in less than 5 minutes easy.

I also got a house red to match my ostrich, while Pao got iced tea. Apparently, their iced tea AND water come bottled and imported, so I would rather pay for wine and iced tea rather than water which costs even more than some of the cheaper house wines.

Our chef that guided us through what to order was named Dennis Dennison (I’m not so sure about the spelling). When I asked him why Chef Mark Legasto chose the name “Purple Feet,” he said that that was the result of people manually foot treading vats of grapes in the past to make into wine --- purple feet! Going to our orders, Anton’s blog recommends that artists work best if you give them an end result rather than specify the nitty gritty details (i.e. feed me, I’m hungry….I want my food to be exotic….Surprise me!). However, the opposite worked best with us. For example, Pao followed Anton’s advice (without reading his article). He just mentioned Cobbler (400+, probably around 700) and wanted it “Mediterranean.” I, on the other hand, went into a deep conversation with him on my dish:
“I’m getting ostrich.” (400+, probably around 900)
“Yes, ma’am. How would you like it?”
“I don’t know….what do you think is the best cuisine to fit ostrich in?”
“How about Western?”
“Okay…..and that would mean?”
“Mashed potatoes…”
“Huh? That’s it?” Then I went into this long explanation on how much I wouldn't mind paying a lot if only they were quality ingredients. I was implying that it must be more than just turkey . I mean, I was here already, so I might as well go all out.
“Fine, ma’am. We can put in truffled mashed potatoes….”
I started nodding my head. Anything with truffle oil is always good. “Not bad....but just that?”
“How about we add a foie gras dip?”

I probably would have gotten less if I didn’t prod Dennis. Of course, it would probably cost less, but then since you’re there already, you might as well go all out!

Point being, when the dishes got to us, Pao’s cobbler didn’t taste as good, considering that he gave them such a free hand with his Mediterranean dish. It was Mediterranean, all right, with the flavors of olives, capers and peppers standing out of the tomato-based dish. But its flavor didn’t really know where to travel. The cobbler was poached, and had an almost bland taste. Adding tomatoes helped it somewhat, but when you put it on top of risotto, which is equally bland, it leaves you with nothing much for the risotto to soak up. Pao’s cobbler was big, and yet, its presentation was a little messy, as can be seen from the picture. Actually, the only reason why I rated this 4 out of 5 stars was because Pao didn’t like his dish. And in the other blogs I’ve read, they’ve also had their own share of hits and misses.
Mediterranean Cobbler

Good thing my ostrich was a hit (rather than a miss)!!! It was grilled to perfection, the meat very tender in pink in the middle. Since ostrich is very meaty (after all, they grow to be such big animals), it tasted rather like a good piece of steak, with less of the fat (being poultry). It was paired with foie gras dip and mint jelly. It didn’t have that aftertaste associated with lamb, so I didn’t use the mint jelly at all. However, I licked the foie gras dip clean, and was happily eating my mashed potatoes laced with truffle oil. The dish was so good that I told my friends about it. One of them made me text this dish, and got a replica of the same ostrich dish. It goes without saying that she enjoyed it, too.
Grilled Ostrich with Foie Gras Dip and Truffled Mashed Potatoes

To cap off our meal, we got the Molten Chocolate (220 PhP). Yes, we’re suckers for lava cakes. We can’t help it. And this one was just as good as the best of them. It was drizzled with a raspberry and chocolate syrup, and garnished with a chocolate-dipped strawberry. What a great way to end our gastronomic night!
Molten Chocolate

Menu. Red by the glass.
(White by the glass menu is in the picture above with Chef Dennis)

217 Nicanor Garcia (formerly Reposo) Bel-Air,
Makati City
Su, M, T, W, Th, F, Sa: 11:00 am - 2:00 pm
Su, M, T, W, Th, F, Sa: 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Closes 10 pm; Monday to Saturdays

**No need to reserve unless you have much company.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Good Burgers

Named Good Burgers because they're good for your health, these burgers never tasted so delicious and guiltless at the same time! From burgers ranging from 65 pesos to 120 pesos, they are very reasonable alternatives to the unhealthy McDonald's experience. (on average, a person will spend 150 PhP with drinks and fries)

You have several choices to choose from:

1) the bun ---> white or whole wheat bun. I often choose the whole wheat cos it doesn't taste any different from the white.

2) chicken pattie or veggie pattie ---> Wanting to be health conscious, I chose the veggie pattie. Talk about tasteless! I ordered it in two separate ocassions (a year apart) and remembered why I shouldn't get veggie pattie here to begin with. I'm telling you, stick to the CHICKEN is much better!

3) the size of the pattie ---> You choose between good, better and best, with best being the biggest pattie. I just get good and I'm already good (no pun intended!).

4) the toppings ---> I love the toppings in this place because they have the most creative combinations: Cheesy Mushroom, Salsa Mex, Garlic Barbecue, Silly Burger, Herb Delite, Persian Burger, BLT, Caesar's Burger, Bacon Mozza Melt, Margherita Burger and Three Cheese. I personally like the garlic barbecue, persian burger and the silly burger. Though the waiter will always say that the best sellers are the bacon mozza melt and the margherita, they're nothing compared to the other three.

Persian Burger
(Gia's most favorite topping)

Bacon Mozza Melt
(looks unappetizing, but just wanted to show how much mozzarella they put!)

my favorite --- Garlic Barbecue

5) drinks and add-ons ---> I guess since they're a small specialty burger joint, they don't offer much drinks except for the ones in cans and mineral water bottles. If you get take-out, and you're in greenhills or Pasig (near Libis) anyway, it wouldn't be hard to get lemonade somewhere else. Moreover, if you're into spicy food, you'd love the cayenne wedge fries as much as I do! It's not pretend spicy is genuinely and deliciously hot! If you can't take the heat, there is always its regular counterpart. But don't be corny. Get cayenne.
Cayenne Wedge Fries

2 Branches:

(and they put the burgers in aluminum foil, so it stays hot!)
Good Burgers
Greenhills Shopping Center
Level 1 Connecticut Carpark, Greenhills Shopping Center
San Juan, Metro Manila
(02) 723-4663 or 723-GOOD

Good Burgers
(02) 671-4242 or 671-GBGB

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mom and Tina's Bakery Cafe

2 out of 5 stars

I know a lot of people love this place, comparing it to Cookbook Kitchen or some other homey restaurant. I, however, did not enjoy my stay here, as the service was incredibly horrible, and the food nothing to gush about. I would rather look for the nearest Pancake House or House of Minis, which is right around the corner near this place.

I ordered the Roast Turkey (280 PhP), while Pao ordered the Salisbury Steak (quarter for 160 PhP, half pound for 215 PhP). As can be seen from the picture, the turkey serving was a lot. But I guess it’s made to look like a lot, but be tasteless at the same time. They just cover it up with a whole bunch of gravy.

Roast Turkey

And apparently, they did the same “technique” with Pao’s Salisbury Steak hamburger, too! Though I have to admit, his meat tasted better than my turkey (though the turkey’s supposedly the specialty). To make you forget about the meat, why not tandem a big scoop of mash potatoes with an even bigger scoop of rice? If you want to feel full with starch, this place is it!
Salisbury Steak

Speaking of the starch family, their desserts are supposed to be great here. That I didn’t get to try. Maybe I’ll have a better review on them once I’ve tried it. Oh well, at least their green iced tea rocked!
pastries by the counter

Menu. Click to magnify.

Mom and Tina's Bakery Cafe
Pasig Branch
106 E. Rodriguez Jr. Ave.
Brgy. Ugong
Pasig City
Tel: 914-0833
Su, M, T, W, Th, F, Sa: 10:00 am - 11:00 pm

Makati Branch
G/F Unit 14 Tropical Palm Plaza, Perea cor. Dela Rosa St., Legaspi Village
Makati City, Metro Manila
(02) 840-4299
Su, M, T, W, Th, F, Sa: 10:00 am - 11:00 pm

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