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

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

 

Day 38 – LIKE MY MOTHER’S COOKING?

I woke up to a very chilly weather. That should give you an idea how difficult it was for me to get myself out of the bed. When I finally did, I prepped and headed straight to the office. I had a lot of things to accomplish for the day so I needed to get to the office as soon as I can. I skipped lunch but I didn’t feel too hungry probably because of all my preoccupations. My boss and I headed to Bonifacio Global City to attend a meeting where I told him to just leave me there since I’ll still have to eat my late lunch (that was around 4 in the afternoon already).

 

I met with my office mate who also had a meeting around the area and we both decided to get something to eat first before heading back to Alabang. We ended up eating at Kabisera which’s a Filipino restaurant that transforms into a nice and cozy bar at night. She ordered this Vigan Power Bowl that had toasted Vigan Longganisa (local sausage), some cucumber, pickled onion (super loved it), salted egg and fried rice. She seemed to have enjoyed it a lot but she ordered a serving of their Kwek-Kwek (quail eggs in orange batter) which she shared with me. I had their Pancit Luglug and Laing (taro leaves cooked in coconut milk). Their pancit tasted so good with its thick sauce that coats the rice noodles really well. The star of the meal though was their Laing which tasted a lot like the one my mom makes (that’s a compliment). The taro leaves were well cooked and the spiciness from the red chilis made it so much better.

 

Since that was my only actual meal for today, I’d say I enjoyed it more than I should. Their serving maybe a bit small but it’s a darn good restaurant if you wanna get some good Filipino food. I specifically loved the whole ambiance of the place even with their rather dim lighting. Maybe when I come back and I’m not on a strict vegetarian diet anymore I’ll try their meat dishes as well.

 

That was a pretty good end to my work week. The next two days, I’ll be posting my last two daily blog. As I have mentioned last night, it’s not just about being too time-consuming or hassle for me. I just don’t want to compromise the quality of my posts just to get to post something daily. On Sunday, I’ll be posting my 40th and last daily post. From there, I’ll be preparing a list of contents to release a good number of times in week featuring really different stuff. Stay with me, it’ll be fun.

Kabisera Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Day 37 – CHANGE IS COMING!

I couldn’t be happier for everything I ate today. It might have been too much but they’re all pretty good stuff so that’s really good for me (I guess).

 

Today, I had to skip work because I needed to attend to a couple of personal errands and because I try my best to not burn myself out from work. My job requires me to put in some extra hours in a lot of different circumstances so I make sure to use my offset whenever I could so I don’t end up tiring myself too much. Before heading out, I didn’t get to eat something so by the time I got back from my morning errands I was already feeling super hungry. On the way home though, I bought Spinach Lasagna from Sbarro which they served with their garlic bread (I don’t remember having one before but boy it was sooo good!) and Starbucks’ Cinnamon Sticky Buns. I don’t mind spending some credits for food, okay? The Spinach Lasagna was a little bland so I had to sprinkle some iodized salt and add some Sriracha (don’t judge) on it. It’s not even because there wasn’t any meat at all. It’s more of the fact that it really lacks seasoning because I taste the tomatoes and the cream from its sauces but it just didn’t seem like it had the right amount of saltiness to it. Overall though, I totally enjoyed it. A little seasoning would have just made it perfect.

 

After eating, I rested a bit before sneaking in a couple of hours of sleep. It just wouldn’t be an appropriate rest day without some good nap. I had to wake up few hours after though to attend to my lola and make some snacks for my mom (I still had the Cinnamon Sticky Buns so I ate that then). Our afternoon snacks were a little heavy that I decided to just heat some Cream of Asparagus Soup (Campbell’s) and cooked some small pieces of eggplant with oyster sauce, butter, garlic and Sriracha. It was a nice way to cap this night off.

 

Again, I’m super happy that I am finally getting to eat better. Although the past days weren’t the best circumstances in terms of chances to eat but at least I had this day to kickstart my attempt to make my eating habits better. I’ve also been thinking a lot about posting everyday. I’m considering limiting my posts to maybe 2 to 3 times a week. It’s not just about the lack of interesting stuff everyday (although, it’s true that my days aren’t really interesting). It’s just that I feel like I am compromising the quality of my posts because I am too pressured to post everyday. So I am seriously thinking about slowing easing out of posting every night and planning my posts to make it 3 posts weekly at most. It’ll cover restaurant reviews (new category yey), weekly weight updates (hopefully I get to fix our weighing scale already) and basically the changes that are happening to me and my eating habits (if I end up losing the motivation to continue being vegetarian then at least I have other uses for this blog with the new categories coming… but hopefully I won’t quit too soon). Changes are always exciting for me so I’ll push myself to stay in the system for as long as I can. If not, we’ll see how things will pull through.

4 MUST TRY MEAT-FREE DISHES!

Tonight, I am celebrating my first month of being vegetarian.

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Well, it wasn’t the easiest especially for an absolute carnivore like me. I could literally devour a dozen pieces of fried chicken in one sitting (ask my friends who once gave me a bucket of KFC fried chicken as their birthday gift for me). I may have a lot of inconsistencies as well when it comes to my eating habits but I am confident enough to say that I managed to stay within the whole vegetarian system for 31 days now. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? 31 FREAKING DAYS!

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Through those first 31 days of being vegetarian, I got to eat in different places I otherwise would not have eaten at. Among all the foods I got to try, there were absolute standouts. These standouts definitely made my experience less of a struggle and more of a memorable experience for me. So in this post, I’m sharing 4 of my most favorite vegetarian-friendly dishes which I have tried over the last few weeks (I’ll most likely drool while writing this…). 

Shitake Mushroom and Malunggay Burger (The Urban Farm)

I came in their place in BF Parañaque with absolutely no expectations. It was quiet when I got there and I had the place all for myself when I ate. Their menu has some pretty good choices but somehow, I decided to try their burger as soon as I saw it.

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They serve their burger with, what seemed like, sweet potato chips. It was crisp and the sweetness of the sweet potato was definitely coming through (Tip: add a little sprinkle of salt). The star of the show isn’t their chips though– it’s their burger. The patty’s sandwiched in a simple bun with oats on top, lettuce, raw onions (which I took out) and puréed tomatoes. It was a rather straightforward combination, which gives a more distinguishable focus on the bun itself. If you eat the burger without knowing what it was, you’ll definitely find it difficult to distinguish what it’s made of. It maybe a little dry but that’s totally understandable for me. What I love most about it is the fact that even with the prominence of the rest of the ingredients, the patty still holds on its own. You definitely would recognize that the patty is there. It’s not at all bland, maybe not as meaty as regular patties (TOTALLY JUSTIFIABLE) and works so well with everything that’s on the plate (IT’S NOT GREASY TOO)! It was a really great way to start my vegetarian journey.

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The Urban Farm Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Agedashi Tofu (Kenji Tei Ramen House)

I’ll admit: I found it really hard to decide which of the two Agedashi Tofus that I have tried is better. But, I am settling with Kenji Tei’s.

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I’ll have to give it to the tofu itself. I am not sure what type of tofu they used for this because I don’t have any prior experience with different types of tofus. But, if I will have to put my guess on something, I’ll guess that they used silken tofu (WILD GUESS). It definitely tasted like that soy they use in taho, which made it feel weird when I first bit on it. It was a little sweet with distinguishable hints of that soy taste and is very much unlike the regular tofus I normally get from local markets. I also love the fact that the breading wasn’t overwhelming at all. It was still very light and the breading was enough to add a good texture to it. It pairs well with the lightness of their donburi sauce as well. I would have definitely finished the entire serving of it if I didn’t order their Yakisoba with it…

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Mazesoba (Uma Uma Ramen)

I have, for the longest time, shared articles about dishes that are rated by other food enthusiasts. But, I never actually put an effort to visit the places or try the foods they wrote about. Uma Uma was an exception. I guess I read the article about their Mazesoba at the best possible time. I was near the place, I didn’t have anything to blog about yet and I was hungry. So I literally hunted it down!

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On the article I read, they wrote about 7 of the best ramens there is in Singapore and there it was, in all its glory, Uma Uma’s Mazesoba. I read about it and saw that it didn’t have actual meat on it. My only concern was, their broth might be meat-based like how it normally is for ramens, which would be a total deal breaker. Luckily, they didn’t serve it with broth. It was a dry ramen (or whatever that’s called, educate me please) that takes most of its sauce from the runny yolk of the onsen egg. No, I haven’t tried many kinds of ramen yet. Neither have I tried a legit bowl of ramen straight from Japan (BUT HOPEFULLY SOON) but their Mazesoba is by far the one of the best ramens I have tried. The ingredients they served it with worked well together. By paper, it seemed a little too simple but eating everything together was a complete surprise. I particularly love the kick their chili oil adds. It was a good hit.

Anyone would definitely not miss the depth ramen broths’ provide because of how well everything works. Maybe next time I’ll pay for additional soba and onsen eggs…

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Truffle Mac and Cheese (Mama Lou’s Italian Kitchen)

I liked it so much that I could still literally taste it in my head. And I know, I know that it’s probably because truffle’s becoming mainstream lately so I’m probably just too overwhelmed but the thing is… truffle (oil) is one of those ingredients that you need to know how much to put because it could make or break your dish. They finished their mac and cheese with the right amount of truffle oil that did not sacrifice the taste of the pasta on its own at all. I honestly believe that even without the addition of truffle oil, I’d still consider it one of the better mac and cheese plates I have tried.

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Nope, I haven’t tried many mac and cheese in my life yet so there isn’t much to compare it with but I am very bias with dishes that I couldn’t cook myself. I know it’s just basic béchamel sauce with a mix of different cheeses and sometimes finished off with some ground nutmeg so why can’t I cook it myself, right?! See… cheeses are hella expensive here in the Philippines so there’s no way I’ll get to cook my own mac and cheese on a regular day basis (I’ll probably kill more than a thousand pesos worth of cheese to cook a serving alone). So if I were to crave for one, I’d definitely go back to Mama Lou’s and have an order of it again! Let me know if you tried better ones, I’ll make sure to try them when I can!

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It’s been nothing but pure fun. Again, it’s been difficult and I am still struggling until now (it doesn’t help to watch samgyeopsal or mukbang videos late at night). But, I am determined to keep going. I have mentioned over and over again that I am planning to take a break with my diet when I leave the country over the holidays but for now I’m still really motivated to keep going! Hope ya’ll stick with me through this!

Note: Commentaries are written as a food enthusiast and as a self-taught cook. GIFs are from giphy.com and photos are all taken by yours truly. Also, make sure to ask the restaurants’ crews if your food is actually meat free!

If you wish to contact me, feel free to check my contact details on the Contact tab.

 

Day 30 – A LITTLE TOO MUCH!

After a very long time, I got to eat breakfast and fix my eating habit (for today at least). I had some croquettes remaining that are ready to be fried so I had that for breakfast. I cannot even remember the last time I had breakfast before leaving for work! I had it with Sriracha which is always a good thing. Two pieces should’ve been enough but I couldn’t resist so I ate the other two pieces I prepared.

 

Having eaten something good for breakfast, you’d think I’d eat any less for lunch… I didn’t. Initially, I just wanted to get something from Starbucks because I was craving for some coffee but then there was a nearby place with different food places so we decided to get something to eat first. We ate at Café France where I had Creamy Truffle Pasta (because anything with truffle seems good). I had the bacon separated which my office mate enjoyed on my behalf. The pasta was good but truffle is a lot like sesame oil. A little of it makes everything so much better. A little more and it just ruins everything. That’s exactly the case earlier (although, I won’t lie, I finished my plate clean). They may have added a little too much truffle oil when the finished my pasta because that’s all I tasted. Good thing they served it with some garlic bread which managed to cut down the overwhelming taste of truffle that was on my pasta! After eating, we passed by Starbucks and I decided to get their Toffee Nut Latte. I super regret saying yes when asked if I’d get venti instead of grande. I struggled finishing it. It was just too much for me. The rest of the day was fine and I got to go home a little earlier than usual (THANK GOD)! I had a bit more croquettes for dinner and some balut. Good way to wrap this night up!

 

I’m happy that today I got to eat way better but when I wanted to eat better I didn’t mean to say eat more. I ate so much today that it’s probably more than everything I ate for the last five days combined. I’m happy I got to fix my eating habits but I definitely need to watch out what I eat. I’ll try to cook something up tomorrow!

 

And by the way, tomorrow I’m celebrating my first month of being on vegetarian diet. Watch out for a special post tomorrow night. Planning to create a new category for a new set of posts too starting tomorrow. Exciting stuff ahead!