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Posts Tagged ‘Banawe

These past few weeks, my parents and I have become regular patrons of UCC Vienna Café along Banawe. I admit that it’s not exactly the most affordable place to dine at, but sometimes when we’re in need of some peace and quiet, it’s one of the places to be. This post will show you some of the items we’ve enjoyed…at least the ones I managed to take a photos of. :p

UCC_clubhouse sandwich photo clubhousesandwich_zpsddf618fe.jpgThe Clubhouse Sandwich: one of the most popular types of sandwiches around. I normally don’t order this type of sandwich when eating out, but decided to do so when I last visited UCC. This was worth its price tag of Php200+ because it was huge and was generously filled with bacon, tomatoes, lettuce, chicken, egg mayo spread, etc. I didn’t manage to finish the entire thing and took half of the serving home for breakfast the next day.

UCC_kani shrimp sandwich photo kanishrimpsandwich_zps399f12e7.jpgDad’s favorite sandwich from this place: the Kani and Shrimp Sandwich. Toast bread filled with kani (crab sticks), shrimp and alfalfa sprouts.

UCC_katsudon photo katsudon_zpsd2434148.jpgOnce during a visit, Mom was feeling very hungry and wanted to eat something with rice. UCC Vienna Café in Banawe offer rice bowls, one of which was this Chicken Katsudon. It was served piping hot and managed to satisfy Mom’s hunger.

UCC_salmon spinach pasta photo salmonspinachpasta_zps8e610203.jpgOne other time, Dad decided to order a pasta dish. He got the Salmon and Spinach Pasta in cream sauce. You’re usually given a choice of having your pasta cream or tomato based. I’m a bigger fan of the tomato based ones; Dad always goes for the cream based ones.  I remember him enjoying this a lot, telling us that the flavors were all very mellow but still very delicious. Glad it passed Dad’s standards!

UCC_fried chicken spaghetti photo friedchickenspaghetti_zps628a8f41.jpgAnother type of pasta dish which appealed to us was UCC’s Fried Chicken Spaghetti in tomato sauce. I remember really liking this one, since I found the tanginess of the tomato sauce marry nicely with the salty bacon. The chicken chunks on top were also served VERY hot, which is a big plus, especially when one’s starving.

UCC_halo halo photo halohalo_zpse0ae1d7c.jpgIt’s summer here in Manila and the heat has been pretty nasty. Mom saw her favorite dessert on the menu and ordered it without hesitation. UCC Vienna Cafe’s Halo Halo was pretty to look at. Generous scoops of mango and ube (purple yam) ice cream, leche flan, macapuno and more purple yam sitting on top crushed ice with milk and a layer of kaong (sugar palm) at the bottom. It satisfied Mom’s desire for something sweet.

UCC_red velvet photo redvelvet_zpsba00560d.jpgMore often that not, I enjoy having my cup of joe with a slice of cake. I’m a big cake fan and would rarely say no to a slice of it. During one of my visits to UCC, I decided to sample their Red Velvet cake. My parents and I thought that the presentation was really good, even if wasn’t the most elaborate of all. What we liked most about the cake was that it was moist and very dense. It was also not too sweet. A slightly sour raspberry syrup, if I’m not mistaken, was also put on the side to add a nice touch. We managed to eat the entire slice in just a few minutes, leaving the plate spotless.

UCC_splenda tiramisu photo splendatiramisu_zps96f3b676.jpgIt’s very rare to find a cake made from Splenda here in Manila. When we saw that UCC had a tiramisu cake made from it, Dad was really happy! We order him a slice of it whenever we’re there so that he could enjoy the post-meal sweets with Mom and I. He likes this as much as the Guiltless Chocolate Desire from The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf.

UCC_caramel macchiato photo caramelmacchiato_zps2559f41b.jpgI love ending my meals in UCC with a hot cup of coffee. In the photo above is their hot caramel macchiato, which I found to be way better than the one from a more famous chain of coffee stores. When I don’t feel like having the caramel macchiato, I like enjoying the simple café latté or UCC House Blend.

 

**UCC has a lot of different branch with different names. If you’re within the Banawe area, try dropping by UCC Vienna Café which is located at 690 Banawe Street, Bgy Sienna, Quezon City. They also have free wifi for those who always want to stay connected.

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When things are hectic at the store and the parents and I no longer have the time and energy to cook our own meals, we head to the nearby Banawe area in search of food. Apart from having numerous car repair stores, Banawe is known for being the place where restaurants (mostly serving Chinese food) are found left and right. We’ve visited a lot of these places over the years, but only return to a handful of those which offer quick hot meals to satiate our grumbling tummies. KimPo Tea House 鑫寶茶樓 is one of those places.

KIMPO_Mulberry Juice photo MulberryJuice_zpsc5699e71.jpgKimPo has a pretty long list of drinks and food which you could select from. I normally settle for hot tea when eating at this restaurant, but there was one time when my curiosity got the best of me and I ordered a bottle of Mulberry Juice (Php65.00).  It’s supposed to have a lot of health benefits, including treating skin problems, enhancing one’s immune system, controlling cholesterol and blood sugar levels, preventing the common cold, etc. It was a mix of tartness and sweetness, which resulted to my Mom enjoying it more than I did.

KIMPO_soya milk photo SoyaMilk_zpscf640e6f.jpgOne other time, I decided to order a bottle of soya milk. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I can drink soya milk anytime of the day. It doesn’t necessarily have to be for breakfast. This brand was pretty good, but it already has sugar mixed in it. Those who prefer to have them sugar-free would have to pass.

KIMPO_halo noodle soup photo HaloNoodleSoup_zps63be5d82.jpgDad enjoys eating noodles and whenever he’s feeling hungry, a good bowl of hot noodle soup is usually the answer. His favorite at KimPo? The Halo Halo Noodle Soup (Php147.00). Before I go on, just a tidbit for my non-Filipino readers: “halo halo” is the Tagalog term which means “mixed”.  This dish has several braised beef brisket slices, pork wantons, vegetables and chicken chunks on top of springy noodles. Dad enjoys everything about this, except the beef brisket since it’s a little on the sweet side. Those usually end up getting eaten by Mom.

KIMPO_noodles photo Noodles_zps1cec570f.jpgHere’s a photo of the noodles, which Dad and Mom have only positive words for. If I remember correctly, KimPo didn’t use the same type of noodles before so it was a good thing they switched to this.

KIMPO_pata tim photo PataRice_zps382a9863.jpgKimPo, like most Chinese places here in Manila, offer a wide array of rice toppings. One of my Mom’s go-to items is their Pata Rice. To be honest, we all agreed that ordering this is a hit or miss since there were times when the meat had a very slight foul odor, which affected its taste. The usual explanation I hear about this is the meat probably came from a male pig / boar. I don’t think everyone notices that faint smell, but for those who are sensitive to it (like my Mom), it can be pretty disturbing. To be fair, this doesn’t exclusively happen when dining in KimPo. You may experience the same when eating at other places as long as you’re eating pork.

KIMPO_spareribs rice photo SpareribsRice_zps3900d852.jpgAnother type of popular rice topping is the Spareribs Rice (Php125.00). I know a lot of people which love eating pork steamed with black beans or tausi. I, for one, am a big fan of this and try to order this whenever it’s on the menu. These chunks of pork spareribs are steamed with black beans until they’re very tender. The sauce gets absorbed by the rice once they’re placed on top, resulting to the delightful meal we enjoy. I personally prefer the spareribs rice from another tea house, but my Mom doesn’t seem to notice any differences.

KIMPO_white chicken rice photo WhiteChickenRice_zpse4262f29.jpgOne of my favorite things to order is their White Chicken Rice (Php120.00). It’s a quarter of a chicken, steamed and topped with ginger sauce. It’s not something extraordinary since it’s one of the things we usually serve in our own store, but for a quick fix, this version from KimPo isn’t half bad. I usually end up sharing the chicken with Dad, so it’s really worth its price.

KIMPO_KP Chicken photo KPFriedChicken_zps10df6ec2.jpgIf you don’t feel like ordering any of the rice toppings, there are many other stuff you could order à la carte. One time, I was so tired I wanted us to get home quickly and get some sleep. My parents don’t approve of skipping meals, so I had to order something. I ordered the half serving of their KP Chicken to share with the parents. This was supposed to be their signature fried chicken, which was served with shrimp crackers and banana ketchup. We found parts of the chicken meat too dry from being in the fryer too long. The shrimp crackers were, thankfully, good.

 photo YangChowFriedRice_zpsf204e2fe.jpgIf you’re craving for some carbs, we recommend ordering KimPo’s Yang Chow Fried Rice (Php100.00). A serving of this is good for approximately three persons. We’ve ordered this several times and, most of the time, it turned out to be nicely cooked. Dad can eat this without having anything else with it.

For us, KimPo is really a reliable place for a quick and satisfying meal. In addition, most of the servers here already know my parents and I since we visit this place regularly. I don’t think we have encountered any service issues here. One thing to take note of: they don’t have a very big space, although they still manage to seat a lot of people. Sadly, they don’t have a private function room so if you get seated next to a huge group who’s celebrating an occasion, it can get really noisy.

**If you want to try them out, you can visit Kimpo Tea House at 706 Banawe Street, Barangay Sienna, Quezon City.

Last night, my Dad wanted us to go out and grab some tea. He wanted to try one specific milk tea store along Banawe which we’ve never been to yet. When we reached the place he had in mind, we were unable to get any parking space and decided to look for another place to visit. There are so many milk tea places in Banawe, it’s almost impossible not to find a place which didn’t have vacant parking spaces.

A minute or two later, we spotted Lucky Tea. I remembered wanting to try this place out months ago, but it always slipped my mind when I think of milk teas. We easily secured a parking slot and entered a store with a bright and relaxing ambiance. The team member who took our orders was really helpful when we asked several questions regarding their drinks and their specialties. A big plus! 🙂

Lucky Tea_symbol photo LuckyTea_symbol_zps8eddaaf8.jpgDad and I loved the entire feel of the place. This Chinese character Fú (), which means “Luck”, was very eye-catching. I found it so nice that I’m thinking of having my Chinese surname made into something like this and then plastering it on one of the walls of my future home. :p 

Another thing we all liked was the fact that Lucky Tea offers sugar-free drinks. This made Dad very happy. 🙂 They use a certain brand of natural sweetener which is okay for diabetics. Other milk tea places usually just recommend that we order a drink with 0% sugar level since they don’t have any other options to offer Dad. Whenever this happens, Dad has to either settle for a bland (or bitter) tea OR personally dissolve a packet of Splenda into his drink once it’s been served. I’ve seen numerous servers hesitate when we request them to mix the sweetener in the drink for us.

Lucky Tea_drinks photo LuckyTea_drinks_zps1cbc0ddd.jpgHere a snapshot of our teas(from left to right): Mom’s Kiwi Fruit Tea with Big Tapioca Pearls, my Almond Milk Tea with Egg Pudding and Dad’s (Iced) Oolong Tea. We all enjoyed our drinks, although Mom said she should have requested for more than 50% sugar level since it was still a little too bitter for her.

Lucky Tea_mojos photo LuckyTea_mojos_zps5f5a3f57.jpgBoth Dad and I are snack junkies, so we couldn’t really pass up on any munchies even though we’ve already had dinner prior to our visit. I first ordered a serving of Chicken Chops and was informed that it was out of stock. We decided to split Dad’s order of Mojo Potatoes (Php70.00) among the three of us instead.

It took several minutes for the potatoes to arrive at our table, but it was definitely worth the wait. It was piping hot and crispy! The three of us all agreed that it was delicious, but was a bit costly because the serving size was very small. Mom and I enjoyed dipping the potato slices in the sweet & spicy sauce served. We liked this simple snack so much that we ordered another serving after we finished off our first basket. 🙂

Lucky Tea is definitely a keeper! I’m looking forward to our return so that we could try the other items on their menu. I noticed that they also serve tea eggs, so that’s going to be one of the things I’ll be checking out soon. 🙂 Really glad we’ve finally found another place where we could hang out during our free time. ♥

**Lucky Tea is located at #749 Banawe Avenue, cor. Sct. Alcaraz Street in Quezon City. Check out their Facebook page or their website for more information. 🙂

It’s been quite a while since I was able to eat out AND have my camera with me. Work has been taking up most of my time and despite having more flexible working hours, I feel like I’m more tired than ever. Don’t get me wrong: I’m happy to have something that keeps me busy. I guess checking out new restaurants would just have to involve a bit more strategic planning than before. 🙂

I did have a chance to sneak in a bit of internet browsing a couple of days ago and learned about Katsu Cafe. I was delighted to learn that a new establishment has opened near our residence. It wasn’t long before I had the chance to try their food when my schedule (miraculously) freed up and The Boyfriend and I were looking for someplace to eat dinner. I was only able to take photos using my phone during that time and, as much as I love my awesome Motorola, the photo quality was just not up to par.  When my family said they wanted to try Katsu Cafe a day after my first visit, I made sure I brought my trusty Nikon with me.

Katsu Cafe_tempura set photo KastuCafe_tempuraset_zpsa0cf4047.jpgDad initially asked for the Seafood Set, but was informed that it was still unavailable. He decided to go with the 3-piece Ebi Tempura Set instead. Dad said it was so-so. The serving size was also too small to satisfy Dad’s appetite.

Katsu Cafe_beef curry photo KatsuCafe_beefcurry_zps71b4f177.jpgMy brother and sister-in-law went with the same dish: a serving of Beef Curry. They thought it was a little too salty, and tasted similar to the store-bought kind.

Katsu Cafe_katsudon photo KastuCafe_katsudon_zps1d36b2ca.jpgMy Mom and I chose Katsudon for our mains. Mom said the sauce was a little too sweet for her so she didn’t enjoy hers so much. Fortunately, the meat was better than the one from the tonkatsu set The Boyfriend had during our first visit.

I loved how the place looked inside. It’s very industrial, no-fuss, uncluttered; Kind of reminded me of being inside a Muji store. The only downside was that their acoustics still needed some improvement, if it’s still possible. During our visit there, just one group of rowdy teenage boys turned the entire place from relaxing to one which we couldn’t wait to leave. You could hear their entire conversation and it was just too noisy. 😦

We also noticed that service was a little slow and it’s mainly because they only had two servers during weekend lunchtime. It was noticeably challenging for the two of them to keep up with the customers. There were times when both of them were nowhere to be seen, and the entire dining area was left unattended. I noticed there were CCTV cameras placed all over the area, but in my opinion, it might still be better to have someone watching over the customers at all times (both for security and for quality of service delivered). 🙂

Overall, the food was just okay for us. Again, the serving size is on the smaller side, so it’s a better fit for those who have smaller appetites. Everyone in our group seemed to prefer the food from another famous tonkatsu place, but I wouldn’t mind heading back if I needed a quick fix. 🙂

**Katsu Cafe is located along Maria Clara Street, near Banawe in Quezon City. You can also visit their branch along Katipunan Avenue.

Here’s the thing: I’ve heard about Gavino’s Donuts from my brothers many times before, but we’ve never actually been able to try any of their stuff. My laziness to go out and look for their store at Greenhills Town Center is one of the many reasons to blame. Imagine my surprise when I heard from my Mom that Gavino’s was opening along Banawe! Now that it’s so near our place, there’s really no excuse not to try them, right?

Gavino's Logo

I asked my parents to drop by Gavino’s and grab some donuts on their way back from the wet market this morning and here’s what we were able to try:

Gavino'sMom bought a box of six donuts, or pon de rings as they’re called(we’ve already eaten two so you don’t see them in the photo anymore :p).

I don’t know the specific names of the ones Mom bought, but let me just describe them for you. There was the simple glazed, cinnamon, 2 of the glazed chocolate, glazed green tea and a chocolate with rice crispies on top. When I took my first donut out of the box using my fingers, I noticed how light and soft it was. Pretty weightless, actually. Biting into it revealed a texture that is soft and chewy; a cross between your standard doughnut and a mochi. I had my Mom try one of the donuts and she was amused with the texture as well!

Another thing we noticed was that these donuts weren’t too sweet. The glaze was, for obvious reasons, but the rest of the pastry wasn’t. There was a nice balance to them. My personal favorites are, by far, the simple glazed ones. I learned that they also offer sour cream, M&M’s-topped, and peanut butter pon de rings! Only a few of the reasons why I should head out and buy more of these snacks! 🙂

***Gavino’s Donuts have stores/kiosks along Banawe, Q.C., Il Terrazo and Greenhills Town Center. You may visit their Facebook page here.


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