New Dining Choices At the SM Mega Atrium

Recently, people from the press and online media were invited to celebrate the relaunch of the newest addition to SM MegaMall– the Mega Atrium. A niche mall within the iconic SM Megamall, it has 16,000 square meters and has four levels, housing 32 specialty restaurants. You’ll find a mix of casual and fine dining restaurants co-mingling with one another.

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Krispy Kreme Chocolate karnival

Krispy Kreme recently launched the Chocolate Karnival during a launch at it’s Bonifacio High Street branch. It’s latest offerings of chocolate glazed donuts were presented to the public with a show of stilt walkers, jesters, magicians, and games-truly a fun, carnival atmosphere.

KK Poster Choco Karnival
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A Krispy Kreme-filled evening invited a some bloggers to have a community meet-up at the Krispy Kreme factory at the Bonifacio High Street in Global City, Taguig. We were welcomed by’s Cathy, Trixie and Karl, who I always bump into during events. Also present was Mark, Krispy Kreme’s Marketing Manager, who told us about the company’s plans for the rest of 2008 and 2009.

It turns out that on the 14th of November, they will be opening their ninth store in the Philippines at the Gateway Mall in Cubao Quezon City. Like all Krispy Kreme openings, the first customer will get a year’s supply of Krispy Kreme donuts. The tenth store will also open later this year, this time at Glorietta Mall in Makati.


Mark also said that they plan to open six more stores in 2009, including stores in the south of Metro Manila. I asked whether the expansion would include opening factories in Cebu and Davao, and he replied that they will look into it. He was surprised when I told him about the Cebu and Davao bloggers asking their friends and relatives who are flying in from Manila to bring them boxes of Krispy Kreme. And it’s not just the bloggers — in all the flights I’ve taken locally, there would always be one passenger carrying a box of Krispy Kreme.

We were also surprised to find out that some of the doughnut variants we have here are unique among the Krispy Kremes in the world. Doughnuts like the Hershey’s and Reese’s doughnuts are actually the initiative of Krispy Kreme Philippines, and because of their efforts, delegates from other Krispy Kreme teams around the world are coming over to Manilato learn about KK Philippine’s marketing secrets. Oh the sweet taste of success!

Everyday is your birthday!

Following the success of their previous charity fundraisers, White Hat Italian Frozen Yogurt is now on their third, with celebrity couple Patricia “Shaan” Bermudez-Hizon and Vince Hizon.

The Hizons will be scooping frozen yogurt for their chosen charity, the Everyday Is Your Birthday Foundation. For almost 8 years, EIYBF has provided a way for people to share their blessings with the needy. It encourages people to celebrate their own birthdays not just through the usual way of splurging on a big party with friends & family, but to also share the greatest gift of LOVE, to the less fortunate. Half of the day’s revenue will be donated to the EIYBF.

So if you’re at the Mall of Asia this Saturday (October 25), why not drop by White Hat, give their yummy Italian frozen yogurt a try and help make a difference.

Dialogues at Starbucks with Lori Baltazar

I’ve been to two Dialogues twice before; it goes without saying that I enjoy these talks that Starbucks organize every two months. This month’s theme is education, and last Saturday, they tapped Lori Baltazar of to share her thoughts and experiences on food blogging and photography.

Dialogues at Starbucks 01

Lori started of by telling us about herself, her background and how her food blog came to life. It was her passion fervor for food that pushed her to writing and blogging about the one topic she loves most. For Lori, blogging is not just about writing whatever comes to mind. Each post entails much research, usually done right in her personal library of over 400 cook books and several reference books (which includes a descriptionary). Her hardwork can be clearly seen in her blog: each post are detailed and written so lyrically that you find yourself craving even before you reach the last paragraph.

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One thing that I vividly remember about Lori’s talk on food blogging was when she said to “trust your taste.” She advises us to be honest with what we think about the food we are reviewing, and not force ourselves to like it, just because everybody else like it. I found myself agreeing, and shamefully admitting to myself that I am guilty of it more than a couple of times. Another thing I remember was to not go to a restaurant when you’re in a bad mood. Again, I agree — bad mood more often than not, affects the general feeling you have about a place, thereby losing your objectivity.

On food photography, Lori shares these pointers:

  1. Know your camera
  2. Use natural light
  3. Rotate the plate
  4. Use the lowest ISO you can manage
  5. Macro function is your best friend
  6. Be discreet. NO flash.

And here’s Lori talking about macro and using flash:

Afterwards, there was a coffee pairing: Starbucks brews paired with a savory wrap and two desserts. The Organic Shade Grown Mexico was paired with the Basil and Tomato wrap (I forgot exactly what it was), the Colombia Nariño Supremo with the Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie and the Komodo Dragon Blend with the Mocha Sans Rival (so good!).

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Dyanie, Lori and Me

The dialogue, the coffee and the pastries weren’t the only things that made this event memorable: I also met one of my readers, the dearest Dyanie who sent me a package of goodies back in August. Yup, couldn’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Greenwich Pizza Party with John Lloyd

Greenwich invited members of both traditional and new media to formally launch their new Gourmet Overloaded pizzas a couple of weeks back. Instead of a formal press conference, we were treated to a pizza party with Greenwich endorser, John Lloyd Cruz.

Greenwich Overloaded Pizza Party 03
John Lloyd with the Greenwich team

Greenwich’s Rufino branch was packed with media people, eagerly waiting the pizza and John Lloyed. At 4 pm, the guest of honor was ushered in, and camera flashes filled the room. After the introductions and raffle, the pizzas were brought out: Hickory BBQ Chicken and Grilled Beef Shawarma.

Greenwich Overloaded Pizza Party 01
Greenwich Overloaded Hickory BBQ Chicken Pizza

The Hickory BBQ Chicken Overloaded Pizza was packed with toppings, and in one whiff, and you know the pizza’s bursting with flavor. And it was. The Grilled Beef Shawarma was the winner in my book, though. It was able to capture that shawarma flavor I’ve been hankering for. So much so that I had to resist the urge to roll the pizza slice and it shawarma style XD

Greenwich Overloaded Pizza Party 02
Greenwich Overloaded Grilled Beef Shawarma Pizza

And to further prove that I hardly pay attention, I learned that afternoon that the Greenwich Overloaded pizzas are available in thin and thick crusts (which it turns, Ryan already blogged before). I’m partial to thin crusts, but in Greenwich’s case, I highly recommend going for the thick crust version. I find the thick crust softer than the thin crust, and are actually not that thick. I also found out why their pizzas aren’t as oily as other pizzas: they use olive oil!

Greenwich Pizza

Delivery Hotline: 5-55-55

Lisa Leung at Tang City

Top Singaporean chef Lisa Leong flew in to Manila recently to demonstrate the uses of MCT products by hosting a cooking demo at Tang City in Glorietta. Aside from being a top chef, Chef Leong has long been an advocate of healthy living and healthful eating.

Lisa Leung at Tang City 05

Normally, when we hear healthful food, we think of bland, and tasteless food. Well, Chef Leong came to show us that healthful food can also taste great.

mct coco powder

During the event, she demonstrated how these products can be used as substitutes to other ingredients. By the way, most MCT products used in the demo are coconut based, such as the MCT COCOS Powder- which is a good substitute in recipes calling for coconut milk or cream-and the SUPER COCO Organic Virgin Coconut Oil.

Lisa Leung at Tang City 09

She first made some Kaya, a Singaporean jam, using the MCT Cocos Powder and the COCOS Pandan Coconut Oil. These were then served for us to sample on some hot, toasted bread. That was the first time I’ve had Kaya, and I have to say, I loved it! It was so good.

Lisa Leung at Tang City 02

Next, Chef Leong made a rice dish called Nasi Lemak, again using the MCT COCOS Powder and the COCOS Pandan Coconut Oil. These were served with the usual sidings.

Lisa Leung at Tang City 04

Another Singaporean delight she made was the Dancing Singapore Laksa, her take on the traditional Laksa. It was basically the same, except that she used the Dancing Chef Laksa Paste, the MCT COCOS Powder and the COCOS Pandan Coconut Oil.

Lisa Leung at Tang City 07

For dessert, Chef Leong made some Jingle Glass Jell-O, again using the MCT COCOS Powder in place of the milk. It looked pretty much like the Stained Glass/ Cathedral Windows Jelly we’re used to.

Lisa Leung at Tang City 01

And, she also baked a delicious Pandan Cake using a rice cooker! How awesome is that?!

Lisa Leung at Tang City 08

Who says you’d have to deprave yourself just to be healthy? This array of New Asian Style cuisine by Lisa Leong proves to us why great-tasting, healthful food is far from being a myth.

brown rice tea

This cooking demo is made possible by Team Asia Corporation, the leading distributor of Highlanders Brown Rice Tea, Super COCO Virgin Coconut Oil, and Nano Wellness Cards in the Phillippines. For inquires, please call (02) 723-4461 to 64; email, or visit their website :

Chowking's Chao Fan (Fried Rice)

chow fan sampler

Good news to all Chao Fan lovers like myself!

Chowking now has four variants of Chow Fan: Spicy, Beef, Pork and Yang Chow. I love all four, but I have to say that the Yang chow– with Chinese chorizo, shrimps, chopped vegetables and fried egg–, and the Beef Chao Fan–packed with a rich, beefy flavor, beef bits and chopped vegetables–are my faves.

chowking's siomai

Do you want even more good news? Even though there’s a rice crisis, they still managed to make it affordable. Chowking Chao Fan goodness starts at PHP 39.00.

chowking's lumpiang shanghai

I’ve always loved Chao Fan. It’s something that I order whenever I eat at Chowking. Already great on it’s own, I often pair it with a plate of sweet and sour pork, or a serving of either siomai or lumpia.

The Freshest Picks At PICK Manila

Two weekends ago, I was invited to this weekend market out in Manila. I love going to the market, especially weekend markets because of the wide selection of products available. There’s cooked food, fresh meat and fish, poultry, produce, clothes, home ware, even pets on sale.


At the back of SM San Lazaro in Manila is Celadon Manila, a leisurely residential community by ALVEO Land Corp. Every Sunday for the month of September, Celadon Manila plays host to PICK Manila– the first lifestyle weekend market in city.

LCRV (Leche Flan)

If you are a foodie like myself, you’ll be able to go on a food trip with the big mix of culinary delights they have to offer– form Filipino staples like embotido, relleno, aligue (crab fat)–which I had to stay away from (a bit hard, but I managed)- leche flan and other native delicacies to international fare like Japan’s sushi and Italian sodas.


They even sell organic products like organically-grown brown rice and herbs. Gourmet items, foreign and local, like honey and coffee are also sold by some stalls. Fresh fruits and baked products like breads and cakes are also available.

i am the queen, you are the bee.

For the fashionistas and home make-over lovers, PICK Manila also offers a showcase of some of the most novel and exciting finds. Shoes, bags, tops and fashion jewelery for the stylish urbanite and intricate home decor made of glass, wood, and fabric inspired by different cultures for the interior-savvy. I spotted a little wooden decoupaged case and a nice big lamp, both of which were just screaming for me to take them home.

HBA (Pillow)

Though I wasn’t able to take home the box and lamp, I did manage to snag myself a bag of Kalinga coffee which everyone has been raving about. I also bought some fruit and baked goods.

Fudge cookies 2

If you’re not doing anything tomorrow, why not check out PICK Manila. Head on over to Celadon Manila and experience it yourself.

PICK Manila is open on Sundays from 7AM to 2PM.

CeladonManila is a development by ALVEO Land Corp. Please visit: for more information.

* Promotional photographs were provided by the concessionaires through ALVEO Land Corp.

UCC: More than just coffee

Though not a hardcore coffee drinker, I enjoy going to coffee shops mainly for the pastries. I was quite pleased to find out that apart from having good quality coffee, UCC Vienna Cafe also serves sumptous meals and desserts.

UCC Vienna Cafe 8
Coffee: The perfect drink for those who oversleep.

After tasting UCC’s much lauded coffee (house blend, Sumiyaki and Blue Mountain), we were treated to some of their best selling dishes.

UCC Vienna Cafe 9
Spicy Seafood Soup Spaghetti. Repeat that 5 times.

First to arrive was the Seafood Soup Spaghetti. Sounds weird? Spaghetti noddles swimming in tomato sauce, with a generous topping of plump shrimps and squid. It was a rainy Tuesday morning, and the hot soup with just a hint of spice was the perfect way to warm up.

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Japanese Salad

The Japanese salad served next had a generous serving of greens, deep fried seafood to satisfy those who don’t like veggies, with Japanese mayonnaise as dressing.

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Sumiyaki Eel

Next we had the Sumiyaki Eel — eel fillet marinated in a special sauce and lightly fried, then topped on pasta with creamy white sauce. The marinade gave the eel a strong flavor that complimented the cream-based sauce.

UCC Vienna Cafe 17

There was also Yakiniku, serve on top of rice. Yakiniku is thinly sliced beef, marinated and grilled. Like the eel, the meat also had a strong flavor, and goes really well with lots of rice!

UCC Vienna Cafe 18
Hamburg Curry Rice

Last was the Curry and Hamburg with rice. Japanese Curry, unlike its Indian and Thai counterpart, has the curry flavor, sans the spice (or not as spicy). The hamburger was thick and juicy — how hamburgers are supposed to be.

Of course, it didn’t end there!

There were cakes galore, paired with fresh fruit shakes!

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Blueberry-Banana, Mango-Kiwi, Apple-Strawberry, Mango-Orange, Strawberry-Kiwi — Take your pick!


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Very moist Tiramisu


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Apple pie with HALF an apple!


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Chocolate-y Chocolate Cake


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Japanese Cheesecake, Caramel flavor


Still not done, we were then presented with UCC’s coffee jelly, and yes, even more coffee!

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Coffee Jelly~~~


UCC Vienna Cafe has branches in Thomas Morato (Quezon City), Connecticut Street (Greenhills), The Podium (Ortigas Center), SM Mall of Asia (Pasay), The Block at SM North EDSA (Quezon City), The Clubhouse at Corinthian Hills (Quezon City), Rustan’s (Makati) and SM Pampanga (Pampanga).

UCC Cafe Terraces has branches at the Forbes Town Center in Global City, Paseo Center in Makati, Rockwell Drive in Makati, Westgate Center in Alabang, Robinson’s Midtown in Manila and Trinoma Mall in Quezon City.

UCC Park Cafe is located at the Glorietta Park in Makati.