Gold Toe

A mysterious package arrived in the mail last week – it was an unlabelled gift. I haven’t waited to open presents on Christmas morning for a long time now (because I am a typical Scrooge) so naturally, I was curious.

Gold Toe
Even Peggy was curious! In the box, was a big personalized Christmas sock with 12 more socks inside. Thanks Gold Toe!

Gold Toe
The socks they sent me were all from their Elements line which is 70% more eco-friendly than most socks in terms of production. I don’t know how they tally the stats but that sounds pretty cool to me. Usually when Gold Toe comes to mind, I think of sports socks – it’s nice to see that they have all these different designs now. I’m usually drawn to striped socks so these were my favorite in the bundle.

Gold Toe
The package label boasts all the perks so there’s this thing called Tencel mixed in the fabric that keeps the socks high-tech. Gold Toe Elements socks are anti-bacterial, they manage moisture, prevent bacteria and are naturally cooling.

Really sweet of them to send something my way this Christmas! Thanks Celina and the rest of Gold Toe. :)

If you’ve been my friend for a while, you’ll know I’m crazy about milk. This is not a paid advertisement. I just am. When I travel, I always hit 7-11 to sample the local dairy. This is how I know Bangkok serves Yakult in 1L bottles. This is how I know Japan’s dairy can be both light and so creamy. Spain’s Cacaolat and Hong Kong’s Kowloon Dairy made me realize that milk tastes better when served in a glass bottle (vs the typical carton). So yeah, enough of that.

Cocio
Cocio is here and it’s nothing short of amazing. It’s an old favorite from Denmark, may well be the best chocolate milk in the world and by an unbelievable stroke of luck, it’s available in the Philippines.

What I like about Cocio is its simplicity. They use just 3 ingredients: sugar, milk and cacao. There aren’t any additives so everything sinks to the bottom and you have to shake it well. I don’t like mixing and shaking stuff so to me, the gratification is delayed yet well deserved.

Cocio
There are two variants: Classic and Dark. I’m particularly fond of the Classic for its balance. It’s light, creamy and I can drink 3 in one go if I’m feeling really fat. It’s not overpoweringly sweet yet the cacao still stands out which is what I love about it.

Cocio
At the launch, they said the Dark variant was exclusive to the Philippines. If you’re looking for a bold, full chocolate taste, this is the one for you.

Cocio
Out of curiosity, I tried mixing the Classic and Dark and heating it up. Something light and subdued melted in with bam in your face chocolate and I was sold. I dub thee The Clark and I suggest you try it this way. Double best.

For all interested readers, Cocio should be everywhere by now. Some friends of mine have spotted it already in Family Mart and Landmark for starters and the rest should follow suit.

Cocio
Thanks to Jiv and the kind folks over at GeiserMaclang for inviting me to the launch. Non-required reading but here’s what the folks at Vice Munchies had to say about Cocio too.

Cocio
Have you tried Cocio yet? If you have, which do you like better? Or are you weird like me and prefer the made-up Clark?

Cable Car BGC
I knew Cable Car to be a drinking place for high school and college kids tucked along Pasay Road in the same building complex as Ukkokei Ramen Ron. Learned about it through friends cause of it’s epic beer pong battles. Being a non-drinker and full-on lola, I was never presented with the opportunity to give the place a visit until Aldous invited me to a blogger dinner there. Yep, a dinner! I didn’t even know they had food.

Cable Car BGC
I think the kind of food they serve here caters to a particular market and it seems to be targeted to young guys who enjoy their food with beer. I swear, everything they served here was full on dude food. It’s the kind of food that guys who don’t cook would probably think of cooking for themselves.

Cable Car BGC
We started with the Sisig Spaghetti (Php 199) which is as straightforward as it gets. Had my doubts about it when it got to the table but I was surprised to find that it’s a strange combo that works. The sisig was generous and crispy too.

Cable Car BGC
The medium Heartbreaker Pizza (Php 650) was served next. It’s an all-meat pizza topped with ham and burger bits. I thought it was on the sweet side.

Cable Car BGC
I thought the Sizzling Seafood Aligue Rice (Php 249) looked pretty interesting but it lacked a bit of flavor in terms of taste. I liked that the seafood toppings were generous but I think this is something you have to eat with meat. It’s a good fried rice base but it isn’t best appreciated alone.

Cable Car BGC
The Buffalo Chicken Rice Melt (Php 199) is drunken comfort food defined. This was a rich dish consisting of buffalo chicken strips, a creamy, cheesy sauce on a generous bed of white rice. This would be awesome if you were drunk and hungry.

Cable Car BGC
Last was the Truffled Tapa (Php 350) which proves to be an interesting dish. You can’t go wrong with Pinoy tapa, two runny eggs, garlic rice with a dash of that truffle essence. The serving for this was generous which is great.

Cable Car BGC
Here’s what it looked like when I mashed it together. Mmm…

Cable Car BGC
To cap the night off, they served us a cocktail each. The Punyeta (Php 110) is what we like to call a traydor or a traitor. It’s the kind of drink that goes down smooth, tastes sweet like juice but will get you smashed as ever once you keep drinking. I don’t drink much so I had a sip.

Cable Car BGC
Here’s a shot of the beer pong tables they have outside. I also saw another game synonymous to battle ship but a giant drinking version. Seems to be the perfect place for college kids to unwind. If you find yourself here and drunk, don’t hesitate to try their dishes!

Cable Car
G/F The Fort Strip,
Bonifacio Global City,
Taguig

2/F 822 Paseo Tesoro Bldg.
Arnaiz Avenue,
San Lorenzo Village,
Makati City

Dotonburi Sushi
I’ll be posting a lot of backlog from my last Osaka trip so this is just a heads up. I get a lot of messages from family and friends asking me what my favorite Osaka food finds are so I thought it’d be convenient to just post them all here for everyone to see.

Dotonburi Sushi
I have no idea what this restaurant is called but we found it when as we were walking around Dotonburi for brunch. It was a brightly lit take-out sushi and sashimi joint where all the fish is freshly packed and refrigerated, just like in the grocery aisles. What sets this place apart from a grocery is that there are stools and high tables on one side where diners who buy their fish can dine. The tables have soy sauce, tissue and chopsticks and the place sells drinks as well.

Dotonburi Sushi
It’s a pay at the counter kind of place. I can’t say it’s a restaurant cause it’s a lot more like a deli with rows and rows of pre-packed sushi and sashimi.

Dotonburi Sushi
There was even a booth where they were selling fresh and grilled oysters for ¥400 a piece.

Dotonburi Sushi
We had grilled oysters topped with soy sauce, butter and lemon.

Dotonburi Sushi
Then we looked through the different rows of fish and picked out the stuff we wanted to try. There was a wide array of sorts, from the affordable to premium.

Dotonburi Sushi

Dotonburi Sushi
I was happy to see fresh slabs of otoro in the mix. It’s the fattiest best part of any tuna and comes straight from the belly. It’s usually pricey but in this fine establishment, Otoro Sashimi was ¥1500 which at Php 550 is affordable.

Dotonburi Sushi
Of course, I ordered it. After paying, you can have it sliced by any of the chefs on-hand. If they’re not prepping stuff for customers, you’ll find them slicing and packing more fish and putting them in more take-out containers.

Dotonburi Sushi
Sake Nigiri and Rolls for ¥500 / Unagi Nigiri for ¥200 / Tamago for ¥100

Dotonburi Sushi
Look at the stripes on the salmon slabs, absolutely gorgeous. Tasted great and fresh as ever.

Dotonburi Sushi
The Otoro was served with hot, seafood miso soup with baby clams. It was the best sashmi I ever tasted. It melts in your mouth just like butter and it’s rich, creamy and just such a dream to eat. I savored every second I had it in my mouth. It’s best eaten with your eyes closed.

Dotonburi Sushi
We also saw that they were filleting a huge tuna by the time we were done eating. It’s some sort of tourist attraction there. There are guys gutting and cutting this huge fish and showing the different parts of meat inside.

Maybe you’ll all laugh at me when I say this was one of the best sushi/sashimi meals I had in my life. Never cared much for ambience and I find that the most unassuming places end up surprising you. What makes this place so special to me is how fresh everything is and the quality of the products and the prices all just don’t add up! It’s too good to be this cheap but I’m glad. Thank you Japan for going above and beyond my expectations every single meal.

It’s strange but I’ve been visiting Osaka yearly for 3 years now and I find that sukiyaki shops are hard to come-by. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of restaurants and food everywhere – but the thing with Japan is that most (if not all) restaurants just serve the same kind of food. If you want sushi, you go to a sushi place, ramen shops will only have ramen, katsu shops will only have katsu, you get my drift. I always stay in the Shinsaibashi area which is just walking distance to Dotonburi and Namba – and I don’t know if it’s just me but sukiyaki restaurants are few and far between. There seem to be a lot of shabu-shabu Japanese hot pot places but nope, not a lot of sukiyaki joints.

The first time I discovered Syabuya Sukiyaki was on one of the last few days of my trip last year. I was hell bent on eating sukiyaki and lo and behold, a google search came up and lead me straight to the mall – Namba Parks.

Sukiyaki Namba Parks
Tried both the Japanese Beef Lunch Set (¥2,037) and got Imported Beef on the side just to try. The lunch set comes with everything in this photo but since it’s a set, this is pretty much your whole meal.

Sukiyaki Namba Parks
I never ordered the Imported Beef again – as you can tell by the photo it’s lean and barely has any marbling.

DSC04113
Their menu is pretty straightforward. You pick if you want Sukiyaki or Shabu-Shabu. Beef or Pork? Japanese beef or US beef? Do you want to eat a set or unlimited? When you pick the unlimited option, everyone in the table has to get the same thing.

Sukiyaki - Namba Parks
I went back with my family and we all got the Unlimited Japanese Beef Sukiyaki Set (¥4,298). This comes with unlimited everything – beef, rice, raw egg and veggies. It’s a steal at Php 1570 if you ask me cause you’d be hard pressed to find unlimited sukiyaki this good at this price point anywhere in Manila.

DSC04115
Just a closer look at the Special Japanese Beef. Check the marbling on that thing! It’s embarrassing to admit but I think we finished twelve of these trays total. Sulit na sulit! Lol.

DSC04116
It’s a full plate but enoki is all that matters. They served us about 4 small extra plates of enoki.

DSC04114
If you’ve never tried sukiyaki, it’s basically a Japanese hotpot stew. You start by letting the soup (soy sauce, sugar, mirin) boil, slowly adding leeks and some onions for a bit more flavor then when it heats up, you dip thinly sliced beef in and swish until it cooks.

DSC04119
What really sets this dish apart is the quality of the meat. Because prep is so simple, the ingredients really do stand out. Just by looking at it, you can tell Syabuya’s Japanese beef is top-notch.

Sukiyaki - Namba Parks
Swish til it’s brown!

Sukiyaki - Namba Parks

Sukiyaki - Namba Parks
When the meat cooks, you dip it in in a separate bowl with beat raw egg and eat it. You can have it alone or with Japanese rice or noodles or tofu or veggies. I particularly enjoy eating it with rice and sometimes enoki. Dipping it in raw egg is a must. It enhances the flavor, adding a creaminess to the bold taste of the meat and the sweetness of the sauce. It just balances everything out better.

DSC04121
This is all the natural oil that came from the fat in the beef. The soup had zero oil in it, just had to take a photo for reasons unknown.

DSC04122
The aftermath. Thankfully they remove the trays of beef every time they see them empty otherwise our table would have a little tower.

DSC04123
The bill!

DSC04124
Sukiyaki Namba Parks
The restaurant is located at the 6th Floor of Namba Parks – it’s in the area where all the other restaurants are so it shouldn’t be hard to find.

Syabuya Sukiyaki
しゃぶしゃぶ食べ放題 しゃぶ家 なんばパークス店
Phone: 06-4396-1729
Namba Parks 6th Floor, 2-10-70,
Nanbanaka, Naniwa-ku,
Osaka-shi, Osaka, 556-0011
Menu & More Info from Gurunavi
Click to see their Japanese calling card!

Sandaya Yakiniku - Makati
I’ve been eating in Sandaya for almost a decade now. It’s the family’s go-to spot for a great Yakiniku dinner. We’re creatures of habit and when we like a restaurant, we go very frequently and end up ordering the same thing. Sandaya’s always been a staple for us and for the longest time I thought I already wrote about it but when I did a quick search today I discovered I haven’t yet. This was so weird to me it’s like a bunch of aliens hacked my blog and deleted it or something I could’ve sworn I’d written about it before.

Sandaya Yakiniku - Makati
Anyway. We just get about 5 orders of CAB Angus Beef Boneless Short Ribs (Php 350 each), a cup of rice each and a side order of kimchi and we’re done.

Sandaya Yakiniku - Makati
We were too excited about the kimchi so this was taken in the midst of the meal.

Sandaya Yakiniku - Makati
I think other than the fact they serve really good beef, their dipping sauce sets them apart. There’s this red paste type sauce (I think its gochujang) and then there’s this light soy sauce based sauce that you mix together. I ask the waitresses for minced garlic to mix in with my sauce for the ultimate one-two punch combo for bad breath. So I mix 2 parts red sauce with 1 part brown sauce and grab a chopstick’s grip worth of chilli and there’s my sauce.

Sandaya Yakiniku - Makati
When I eat in restaurants where I have to cook my own food, I like to pace myself and eat slowly. It’d suck to get full fast and get sick so you might as well soak up the family time and conversation.

Sandaya Yakiniku - Makati
Sandaya’s charcoal grills fire up quickly so cooking is fun and convenient. They give you tongs too so you don’t need to touch the raw meat with the same chopsticks you feed yourself with.

Sandaya Yakiniku - Makati
After you grill it to perfection, you fish it out of the grill, dip it in the sauce and take a big bite with some rice.

Sandaya Yakiniku - Makati
I like it with the fat burnt crisp around the edges. It’s also nice that they don’t slice their beef too thin so it’s still nice and juicy when you bite into it. Other restaurants slice their meat so thin that it shrinks so much when you end up cooking it.

Sandaya Yakiniku - Makati
I highly recommend this place. If you’re feeling carnivorous and want to be satisfied, make that reservation ASAP and you won’t regret it. I have yet to find a yakiniku restaurant in Metro Manila that can top Sandaya. What’s the best yakiniku restaurant you’ve ever tried?

Sandaya Yakiniku - Makati

Sandaya Yakiniku - Makati
The best thing about Sandaya? Your clothes don’t smell like food after eating there. I kid you not.

Sandaya Yakiniku - Makati
Ralph’s is right under it so you can do an alcoholic grocery run after.

Sandaya Yakiniku - Makati
Drive slow when you’re on Pasay Road aka Arnaiz Avenue and watch out for the red sign. Or Ralphs! Or The Love Garden! You’re there!

Sandaya Yakiniku - Makati
This must be the place! Climb the stairs to the 2nd floor and enter this dark door.
Sandaya Yakiniku
Right on top of Ralph’s and The Love Garden
2nd Flr. Colbella Bldg.
910 Pasay Road
Makati City
Phone: 8932039

Operating Hours:
Mon – Fri 17:00–23:00
Sat – Sun 11:00–23:00

La Cabrera 6750

I heard a lot of mixed reviews about La Cabrera when it opened, a lot of which were on the negative side so I wasn’t so bent on trying it. For Father’s Day though my dad really wanted to eat there so I went along with the plans and finally got to try their Argentinian steaks.

La Cabrera 6750
For starters, we ordered the Beef Chicharon Salad because my dad insisted on getting salad and my brother was curious about trying beef chicharon. The dressing had a vinagrette base and I do not like vinegar at all so I didn’t enjoy the salad. To be fair, I sampled the beef chicharon finger food style and was disappointed as well. It just tasted like old oil and flour, nothing beefy about it at all. I think it was fried earlier in the day and left to sit on a wire rack. It wasn’t even hot when it was served to us.

La Cabrera 6750
Any steak order at La Cabrera comes with unlimited side dishes. Here’s the lot of them and how they’re presented. I loved the idea. I mean, who doesn’t love unlimited sides? The sad reality is, RICE isn’t one of the unlimited side dishes served in this restaurant. Maybe that’s not how it works in Argentina but Filipino me immediately looks for rice at the mention of sides and steak.

La Cabrera 6750
Off the menu, they offer Plain Rice, Garlic Rice and Steak Rice. The steak and Steak Rice combo seemed to be the obvious choice and we had no regrets.

La Cabrera 6750
We ordered two huge steaks but I just have one bad photo of them so hear me out. The steak on the left side is the Bife de Chorizo Striploin in 800 grams (Php 2,980) and the one on the right is the Ojo de Bife Ribeye in 800 grams (Php 4480). We ordered both in Medium which might not have been so wise given that they’re served on a hot plate.

Ribeye the cut I always order. I think being so thick, the grilling then hot plate method didn’t work wonders for the steaks. This certainly came out more tender than the Striploin but I’m being generous when I say tender. The Striploin had a particularly tough and chewy consistency. I had to slice them small and thinly to be able to eat to my liking. In terms of flavor, there’s really nothing unique about it. Overall, it’s not terrible but if we’re spending this much I’d rather have steak at Mamou.

La Cabrera 6750
Among all the sidings though, I did discover three that I really liked – I made up names but I think the photos and description will be enough to identify them if you do end up eating there. The best of the bunch was the Carrot and Honey puree, coming from someone who doesn’t really like carrots this was spectacular. I thought the mash was balanced and both the honey and carrots gave it this subtly sweet flavor I couldn’t get enough off. I had 3 to myself that night. I’m not hot on corn either but I kept munching on that one cause it tasted so much like Pork & Beans but better.

La Cabrera 6750
My carnivorous dining companions that night. I think it’s mildly embarrassing that I eat more than my dad. He knows this so he orders a lot when my brother and I are with him. I think the unlimited sides were a big part of why he wanted to eat here in the first place.

La Cabrera 6750
Here’s a photo of me, pre-food. I may look OK but inside I was starving.

I won’t be finding myself back at La Cabrera anytime soon unless my appearance to a social function that requires to be there is mandatory. Don’t think the food is worth the price quite frankly. If steaks the highlight of the restaurant and we ordered the biggest priciest ones, then I expect better – better quality meat that’s cooked to perfection. There were some hits with the sides but the main event was kind of a flop.

La Cabrera Manila
6750 Ayala Ave Business Tower,
Glorietta Complex, Ayala Ave,
Makati City
(63) 905 290 0703
Operating Hours: 11am-3pm and 530pm-1030pm

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