MARCIANO’S NIGHT!

My holiday celebrations finally started last Saturday with a dinner I arranged with few of my college block mates. To be honest, we didn’t decide on where to eat before we met up at the mall in Makati so deciding where to eat that night was considerably spontaneous. While I was waiting for them to arrive (COS THEY WERE ALL LATE, LIKE 3 HOURS LATE… I AM NOT KIDDING) I had a couple of hours to spare to check some good places around although I really didn’t get to explore the whole area as there were a lot of people there (it’s Saturday night so you know what I mean). When nearly half of the people I expected to join for dinner arrived, I made sure to encourage them to decide where to eat already. We roamed around for a bit but ended up eating at Marciano’s at the second level of Greenbelt 3.

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Their place wasn’t too filled with people yet but by the time the rest of our bunch arrived, it was so full already that the area where we were eating had nearly no space left for walking servers. The interiors were home-y enough which my good friend and I would rate on a scale of “1 to Mary Grace home-y” at around 6 or 7.

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We ordered two 16″ pizzas for everyone to share and I ordered their Shirley Temple Truffle Mushroom Burger  for myself which was layers of bun, lettuce, tomatoes, burger patty, cheese and mushrooms (in what seemed like light coating of truffle oil), and served with potato wedges. The patty was pretty straightforward as I didn’t get any prominent spices from it which I would always prefer than “overly dressed” patties. At first, I thought the truffle oil was a little too overwhelming but trying out all the components together (LIKE HOW I SHOULD HAVE EATEN IT IN THE FIRST PLACE, I KNOW… I KNOW) mellowed it down quite a bit. The bun they used were almost similar to the dough bakers use for Ensaymada (not too familiar with it) which seemed a little unusual for me but it wasn’t much of an issue to be bothered about.

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The burger wasn’t my first choice though. I wanted to get either their Houston Porchetta or 200-gram Beef Tenderloin with Sausage which were unfortunately unavailable that time. To sway away from my frustrations, I ordered Marciano’s Spinach, Artichoke and Mushroom Dip that was served with a couple of crostini. The spinach, artichoke and mushroom as fully softened and disintegrated leaving a rather smooth texture that just fits so well with the creaminess of the sauce. Their crostini were a little staler than I’d hope and I definitely missed a little of that olive oil taste you’d normally baste the bread with when drying it off.

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We finished the crostini before the dip so I tried to slather the potato wedges that were served with my burger on the dip and boooy it worked so well together. That was as if I didn’t have enough food yet considering the pizzas (Spinach Prosciutto and Truffle Mushroom) I ate PLUS the servings of Joey Tribbiani Meat Lasagna (yes, a friend told me it’s a F.R.I.E.N.D.S. reference) I got to try. The pizzas were okay and to be honest, the lasagna wasn’t too great but I totally like how they stayed true to a typical and straightforward lasagna. Besides, meat sauce, bechamel and loads of cheese are enough to drool over right?

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Closing the night out, I asked for a glass of Sangria which I ended up not finishing up. I am trying to get myself get used to wines and other liquors so I could hopefully understand them better in the future but I’m just not quite there yet.

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Over-all, the experience was great. The whole feel of their place in Greenbelt 3 wasn’t too overwhelming and the interiors surely encouraged people to stay in and get some good conversations going. The price range maybe on the expensive side specially for students with meals ranging from as low as 300.00 to as high as 1,500.00 (goes nearly the same for their drinks and liquors). I personally wouldn’t mind spending some money considering the warmth of the place which is definitely a nice haven to catch upwith friends and/or family (OR maybe romantic dates with special someone). Also, that night I got to catch-up with few of my really good friends, celebrate a rather fruitful year and had a toast for the years after. So there really wasn’t anything that could make the experience less than appropriate. What a way to kick off the holiday celebrations!
Just a tip: they have pretty decent portions for their meals. Their solo option for pasta may be more than enough for one (*coughs* my sister) so choosing the right meals to share could definitely make your experience their a little less pricey. 
Marciano's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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VEGETARIAN WHO?!

I know I have talked about this before (maybe a little more than I should) but now that I’m getting close to some real holiday celebrations, I might as well write something about it again.
About three months (?) ago, I decided to get into something I never thought I’d ever get myself into. I’ve always been an absolute carnivore and it’s always been a struggle to eat vegetables. But having a small part of me that is always curious over a lot of things which leads me to try different stuff on the most random times, I ended up deciding on getting myself into vegetarianism.

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If you’ve been with me since I started the journey, you should know how days went and how much of a struggle the first few days have been. I must admit that right now, this whole system’s not too difficult for me anymore. Yes, there are days when I find it hard to find something to eat but I have this new found excitement to find good food without meat (exploring different food places is super fun too). BUT as exciting as the last few months have been, I know I cannot forgive myself if I let the holidays pass without enjoying the celebrations completely. And honestly, I don’t think I would enjoy the celebrations to the fullest if I would continue depriving myself of meat.

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So with all the holiday dinners, vacations and (possibly) family reunions that are lined up for the weeks ahead, I just know that I need to allow myself to eat meat again. But that does not go without any challenge at all. The challenge for me would be to control the amount of food I’ll be taking in. I have lost a good amount of weight already (blog for that coming soon) so I need to make sure that I don’t gain them back just because I allowed myself to eat meat for a couple of weeks. I don’t know how the next few weeks would go but you can bet that I cannot wait to enjoy the celebrations with all the meat already. I’ll think about how I’ll transition back to vegetarianism (or if I would) once the celebrations are all over. I honestly can’t be bothered to think about right now.

So for the next three (?) weeks ahead, I’ll try my best to write about how the festivities would go for me. Hopefully, I’ll get to sneak in some exciting food features in between too! Right now, I need to start calming myself down because my carnivorous self is just so ready to be unleashed!

 

GIFs are from giphy.com

 

OKONOMIYAKI VIRGIN NO MORE!

I have to admit that I had to let my excitement to review go down a notch first before attempting to write this. I didn’t want to have my excitement affect the way I will be reviewing the first restaurant I’ll be writing about so I needed to calm myself over the last few days. Although, the last weeks have been pretty hectic I still needed to make sure that I’ll be as impartial as possible. So let’s g!

I first passed by Chibo Okonomiyaki when I hunted Uma Uma Ramen down at Maison Mall just across SMX Convention Center in Mall of Asia Complex. I didn’t bother peeking inside their place because I just had my lunch so all I did then was look at the menu and see if I’d want to get something when I come back. And I did without even looking at their entire menu (which is super big by the way). So when I had a set-up at SMX Convention Center again, I didn’t have second thoughts about eating at Chibo Okonomiyaki anymore. I went there alone and I remember being very VERY hungry!

When you first come in to their place, you’ll realize how limited the seats are in a rather dim-lighted place. It can probably fit a little more than 50 people? (I can’t be sure.) But soon you’ll notice the teppanyaki griddles they have installed on each table. When I saw the griddles my fascination escalated quickly. I am such a sucker for places where you can cook your own food. The second time I ate their, it wasn’t any different

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NEW FAVORITES

I never had any experiences with okonomiyaki before so I was very interested in trying one out during the first time I visited the place. I ended up getting their Vegetable Yakisoba, Cheese, Spinach and Asparagus Teppan, and Mattari Okonomiyaki. (Click here to check out how my day went on my daily blog for that day!)

Their Cheese, Spinach and Asparagus Teppan’s pretty straight forward. Half-cooked asparagus stems and spinach are covered with chunky tomato sauce and finished off with melted cheese on top. For sure I have had meals with tomato sauce and cheese but never over vegetables and leafy ones. But I actually enjoyed it although if you do not put it over the teppanyaki griddle you might eventually notice the cheese sitting on top of your vegetables pretty solidly so that’s not too nice.

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Serving the Vegetable Yakisoba, they put it straight on your teppanyaki griddle. But, it’s not for you to cook it. I guess they just put it there so it won’t get cold while you’re eating it. Upon your approval, they will finish it off with some bonito flakes and seaweeds which are both part of the seasonings and condiments on each table. I personally prefer having the yakisoba sit on the griddle for a few minutes so some of the noodles could be toasted a bit more (but make sure to mix it from time to time). It’s a good yakisoba, probably not the best but I love how they’re very liberal with the rest of the components of the noodle dish. I suggest you let them (or do it by yourself lol) add bonito flakes and some seaweeds on your yakisoba because it’s giving more depth to the flavor of the dish. PLUS it’s super cute when bonito flakes dance through the heat!

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And as I have said, I needed to make sure I try one of their okonomiyakis out. I ordered their Mattari Okonomiyaki which had some asparagus, cheese, mochi and pork (which I had them take out). To put this as simple as possible, I LOVED IT SO MUCH. I seriously didn’t realize before how good okonomiyakis can be (I am dreaming of tasting one from Japan soon!). The softness of the pancake with the savory sauces and the ingredients inside it is just so good. It has definitely gone down to be one of my most favorite Japanese dishes of all time!

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The second time I visited their plate, I ordered the same set but added Mushroom with Garlic Sauce and Soba Meshi. My mom said their Soba Meshi is pretty good with very good servings but comparing it to our family’s all-time favorite rice from Kamemeshi, it’s falling a bit short. Their Mushroom with Garlic Sauce is a different story though. I personally loved it even if I wasn’t too sure what species were the mushrooms they served. (Click here to check out how my day went on my daily blog for that day!)

BETTER REASONS

My mom may not have enjoyed eating there as much as I did but I still think it’s a pretty good restaurant especially if you want to stay there longer than normal. Their teppanyaki griddles would make sure your food won’t go cold while you’re having good conversations with your friends and their dim lighting makes the ambiance more relaxing compare to other Japanese restaurants.

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Their servings are relatively good and one order can possibly fill you up pretty well especially their okonomiyaki. The price may not be too cheap (possibly on a mid-level price points) but they’re not using basic ingredients so you know it’s well worth it. Of all the Japanese restaurants there are (and more coming) it’s really hard for any Japanese place to come out as strong as others but I honestly think Chibo Okonomiyaki is a pretty decent competition for others. Just as their name suggests, make sure to try out any of their okonomiyakis and let me know what you think. I cannot fully compare it because it’s the first one I’ve tried so I’ll definitely need your thoughts on this (and of course, I need to try more).

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Over-all it’s a great experience and I’ll most likely come back soon with some friends so I can try the rest of their okonomiyaki offerings!

Chibo Okonomiyaki Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Day 40 – LAST DAILY POST!

We’ve arrived to the day when I’ll write my last daily post. This does not mean though that I will be abandoning this blog anymore. As hassle as this whole thing is, I know I’m doing something I truly enjoy so I wouldn’t let go of this anymore…

My mom and I had a pretty good breakfast. She had fried rice with longganisa and dried fish while I ate our leftover Mattari Okonomiyaki from our dinner at Chibo Okonomiyaki last night. We didn’t bother preparing anything else because we’ll be heading out for a surprise birthday celebration for one of our family friends. When we got there though, I didn’t get to eat much (I think) because, obviously, they wouldn’t adjust their menu for me. Luckily, they had penne with white sauce and mixed vegetables with quail eggs so I still got to eat something. It was a rather intimate party (considering how big our community is) and it seemed like everyone had a lot of fun. Maybe I did to because the time went by so fast. After the party, mom and I headed to the closest mall to finish up on our Christmas gift list which we packed when we got home a couple of hours ago. Before heading home, we grabbed something to eat at Project Pie (again cos mom’s total sucker for good pizzas). We had the usual… mom had all-meat pizza while I had no-meat pizza and we ordered our favorite James’ Project. It’s a salad with mixed greens, candied walnuts, feta cheese, craisins and raspberry vinaigrette. The sweetness of the raspberry is very subtle and getting a serving of all the components makes everything so much better.

It’s been a really good weekend. Probably one of the best in a very long time. There is just something about the holidays that makes me really happy and spirited and excited for a lot of different things. I don’t know how to feel about the fact that I am not longer gonna be posting everyday but I guess this is all for the best. I want to stop compromising my posts just to meet my daily requirements. Keep watching out for my future posts. I’ll make sure to make them better in terms of content and flow. Sleeping happy tonight, yehey!

Day 39 – NEW FAVORITE?

WHAT A GREAT START TO MY WEEKEND! With the chilly weather and having no obligations to work on over my weekend, I woke up feeling super chill and calm. I stayed extra hours in bed because the weather now is super nice, it’s making it a lot more difficult to got out of big.

My breakfast and lunch weren’t any special. I just had a couple of pieces of bread and scrambled egg (with Sriracha) for breakfast and some instant noodles with strawberry smoothie for lunch. I needed to eat less than normal because I planned on bringing my mom along with me for the egress of our exhibit so we could eat at Chibo Okonomiyaki right after it.

After doing errands and buying everything we needed, we grabbed some snacks (Pork Floss Crepe and Nutty Choco Crepe plus Cinnabon) before heading to SMX so I could supervise the pack-up. I stayed there until our client went out already. I brought mom along to what has gone to be one of my most favorite restaurants, Chibo Okonomiyaki at Maison Mall below Conrad Hotel (just across SMX). I ordered Mattari Okonomiyak, and Cheese Asparagus and Spinach Teppan again. I just added Soba Meshi for my mom, Mushroom with Garlic Sauce Teppan and one of their basic Yakisobas. I’ll be featuring more of this and our experience on my first ever review coming real soon!

It’s been a pretty good day. I just really love weekends where I get to eat with my mom and try new stuff with her (although I am not entirely sure if she’s even enjoying hahaha). Tomorrow’s gonna be my last daily blog but I’ll definitely continue posting some entries on this blog. Absolutely pushing for quality posts this time. Just stay with me on this. Things are shaping up really well (I’m coming close to finally getting to eat meat again and idk what to feel)… For now, I wanna enjoy this chilly weather and give in to my bed calling.

Day 36 – A DAY AFTER SPLURGING!

Yesterday, I literally splurged for my lunch out (date with my self cos why the hell not?). I got to Chibo Okonomiyaki wanting to order just one dish but ended up ordering a total of three and for a single meal, I may have spent too much. That was definitely my all-time high in terms of how much I spend on one meal. So with yesterday’s extravagance, I knew I’d be facing this day with a lot less budget (huhuhu) but instead of planning my meals for the day, I just got through it without any plans at all.

 

Rushing to the office, I skipped breakfast. To be honest, I’m getting used to this whole set-up already. Like I feel my body has adjusted to the fact that I have not been eating breakfast much lately so it’s not looking for food when I wake up anymore (or not as much as it did before, at least). My first actual meal was when I got to our exhibit already. I had a quick lunch with one of our project supervisors and I had them choose where they wanted to eat. They had not gotten any good meals over the last few days of set-up as well and I didn’t want to feel like a burden being all too picky with food. They decided to eat at Shakey’s and by the time I got back from getting some cash (some of the few ones I have left) they have already order for our bunch. They got a huge plate of salat, vegetarian pizza, spaghetti (with garlic bread) and fried chicken. I appreciate the fact that they made sure I got something to eat considering the fact that they didn’t even let me pay after eating our meal. The salad was pretty straight forward (though I had to carefully take out some of the ham the had on it) with very generic thousand island dressing. The pizza wasn’t anything special as well. The toppings were tomatoes, mushroom (canned button mushrooms), some cheese and I tasted bits of garlic as well. I didn’t expect much primarily because it’s a fastfood chain so there isn’t much to ask from them. I’d totally choose Yellow Cab’s Garden Special over that pizza we ate earlier though (but are they even comparable…). It was a good meal, I had a couple of slices of pizza, good serving of salad and some bits of bread as well. It was a good way to celebrate finishing our exhibit well.

 

On the way home, I wanted to get something to eat and I ended up buying whatever I saw. I got ice cream, fresh corn, bibingka, vegetable spring roll and microwave popcorn. I bought too much that I’m still feeling super full right now. I didn’t even bother preparing dinner anymore.

 

I just love the fact how people are starting to help me out through this whole process. I am still not completely careful yet and I still get fantasies over meat but I’m very determined to keep going. Although, if I have to admit, I am seriously thinking about easing out of this whole system. If anything, what I want to get out of this whole process is for me to lessen my need for meat. I think the best possible outcome that I could get from this (because, obviously, I can’t do this forever…) is for me to end up inclining on vegetables more. I’ll try to write more about this in a different post but yeah. A lot of thinking to do but I’ll continue pushing (maybe until I stop craving for meats lol).

Day 34 – CORN ALL DAY!

Warning you, the next bits can be a little gross…

 

Whenever I eat corn, my body doesn’t digest it well that I always end up releasing whole bits (or chunks lol) of it in hours. And that’s what I am expecting to happen tomorrow morning upon waking up. I didn’t get to eat breakfast before leaving but not because I got out of bed late. I just didn’t feel like eating something. Well, I did take a small bite from our leftover pizza but that’s very much it. Right after that, I headed straight to our set-up for an exhibit starting this Wednesday.

 

I had a good lunch with some noodles and tofu (AGAIN!) but I didn’t feel enthusiastic enough to take shots of it. For one, I am not feeling this day (or week huhu) and also because I ate with some workmates so it could have been totally awkward if I took pictures in front of people who aren’t used to me taking pictures of my food (so please excuse my pictures in very low quality, I’ll make it up soon). So I skipped taking pictures and got to work after eating. On the way home, I bought a pack of Kettle Corn (sweet and salty variant) because I have been craving for it for weeks now. I also got some fresh corn which I finished even before reaching our house. And my corn-ception did not end there. I had Corn and Mushroom soup for dinner. I’ve had it for days in our storage and it surprisingly, it’s still pretty good!

 

I’m losing it over this daily blogging because I feel bad for writing about stuff that aren’t even interesting but I really really wanna have a journal for my daily progress regardless if it’s interesting or not. But if you’ve been legit reading my posts since day 1 then I am sorry because I’m starting to lose good stories to write about (even my pictures are starting to look bad). But, I’m trying to turn things around quickly. I’m also trying to plan things out in my diet system (vegetarianism), content releases and basically just this whole online journal thing better. It’s gonna be a choice between posting everyday but with very subpar topics (unless, of course, if my day’s really interesting) or to lessen posts but make it more profound and interesting. I’ll try to weigh everything because everything’s becoming less vivid now but I don’t think my motivation to lose weight and be in this whole vegetarian system isnt’ wavering. I’m focused on being healthier (relatively) and achieving my long-time dream of being an actual food (and, possibly, lifestyle) blogger. Cheers for the uncertainties of tomorrows guys!