A week long break is not enough. If it were enought, I would be raring to go back to work. As of this writing, I’m not. I still have the Monday blues. Can’t wait until Christmas break, and then, of course, summer break which I still have to plan. I’m just glad local elections is 3 days before reporting day to work. >:)
Anyway, so I spent my break eating — the least I need right now, really. Thank goodness for Zumba. I am going to feature 3 restaurants in this blog: 2 of which is my first time to try and the other one, well, I just wanted to finally say something about it.
Uncle Cheffy (Solenad 1, Nuvali)
Crispy bacon Panizza (Half) – 8 small slices
No one has told me about this store, but for some reason, this always full during weekends and holidays. Aside from that, I would see their signs in Ortigas. So I thought, since this dinner is sponsored (not by any brand), might as well try something new.
My sister and I decided to get their best seller: the Panizza. It’s our first time, no one explained how to eat their Panizza, so we thought we’d try to imitate the picture on their drawing. The Panizza came with diced tomatoes, lettuce leaves, and alfalfa. We started placing all the three sidings on our Panizza slices and started rolling. The moment of judgment arrived and we bit into our Panizza. Superb! The crust is perfectly baked, and the cheese is just tasty and perfect with the veggies. It was a pizza sandwich. Imagine eating pizza with lettuce. Interesting. But imagine eating a sandwich with mozzarella cheese and pizza dough as bread, yummy! The Panizza was too yummy we reserved our last slices post entree.
We originally wanted to get the Jr Steak since the price was more reasonable, only to be told that it wasn’t available and that we can order Uncle Cheffy’s steak instead. I asked for the difference because the price is almost double. The server confidently said that Uncle Cheffy’s steak has fat (n.b. BEEF FAT!) and the Jr Steak is just all meat. JUST all meat. But that’s what we want in our steak right? We all know that beef fat does not “melt”. We finally order our Uncle Cheffy’s steak medium well.
Our entree arrived and true enough, it was fatty. The steak was served on a big plate with the grav, some cherry potatoes and some lettuce leaves — at least there was something healthy on the plate. 🙂 Moment of truth: Not bad. It wasn’t the best steak, but the meat did not require much mandibular effort to chew. Just right. I’ve tried steaks at Arthur’s Steak House in Hoboken, NJ years ago, Tony Roma’s and Outback here and it somehow proximates it. But don’t expect a real steak how it should be cooked.
To help the beef fat (which I had to put aside — there goes half the cost of the steak!), I ordered hot pumpkin soup. This is what I regretted to order. It was the sweetest pumpkin soup I have ever tasted. Seemed like the chef thought he placed salt, when he got the sugar instead. The nearest restaurant I get my pumpkin soup fix is at Buon Giorno’s at Cliffhouse, Tagaytay City.
Sweetest pumpking soup I’ve tasted. Looks can be deceiving.
Verdict: Recommended. Just try the Panizza. For that, Uncle Cheffy is already worth visiting.
Rai Rai Ken (SM City Sta. Rosa)
It’s not my first time to eat at Rai Rai Ken, but perhaps my first time since they revamped their menu. With their new looks, it felt more like eating at a restaurant like Teriyaki Boy. The Ramen pictures look yummy and authentic. Of course, to taste is to believe.
We had our usual suspect on our table: a whole order of Salmon Sashimi, Gyudon, Kanton Men, and Veggie Salad. I’ve been to Tokyo and I’ve tried authentic Japanese food so I don’t expect much from Rai Rai Ken. I’ve eaten at relatively authentic Japanese restaurants (not in Little Tokyo) in our area, and I don’t expect RRK to taste just as good. But still RRK didn’t meet the least of my expectations.
The “Whole” order of Sashimi.
First off, the Salmon Sashimi. Fine it doesn’t look fresh and you know it was just thawed out from the freezer, but come on, for a Whole order of Salmon Sashimi, this is more like half.
The “House” Iced Tea
The House Iced Tea. In my experience of “House” iced teas, they’re not Lipton iced tea powder drinks, and they taste like brewed tea with added fruit juice (I’ll never figure out what fruit juice they add on to their iced teas). I took a sip and I knew it was just powdered iced tea (because I rarely drink them for their sweetness overload). True enough, the waiter blatantly answered to my query about their “House” iced tea, saying that it was indeed just powdered iced tea, “pero Ma’am, may fresh calamansi juice po yan.” LOL. As if a squeeze of calamansi will do the trick. No it didn’t do any trick nor treat.
The Gyudon. I don’t know what gave it a sticky consistency, but I didn’t like it. I don’t think raw eggs give it that texture. I have to admit Yoshinoya Gyudon tastes better than this. What’s up RRK? You haven’t scored a bit any higher. I’d rather eat at Tokyo Tokyo (the other Japanese option in SM City Sta. Rosa).
The Kanton Men (No picture). I’m not fond of Ramen or instant ramen in general, but this ramen tasted like high quality instant noodles. Need your Ramen fix in Sta. Rosa, this could at the extremely least satisfy your cravings.
Verdict: If RRK is the only Japanese restaurant at the peak of your Japanese food craving, you can settle with this. They shouldn’t have redesigned their menu. You would start to think that they’ve upgraded also their recipe. I have to say, they just upgraded the looks. Honestly though, I’d rather eat at Tokyo Tokyo if I weren’t craving for any maki or sashimi.
Toast Box (Solenad 2, Nuvali)
Someone told me before that Toast Box is not as good as any other popular toast places in Singapore although TB is a Singapore brand. After visiting our real estate properties around the area, we were famished. To be honest, I was already grumpy, my muscles are shaking, and I could eat anyone up. Both my companions couldn’t decide where to eat and I didn’t want to decide. Finally someone had to be firm. We ate at Toast Box. We ordered Hainanese Chicken, Fish Ball Soup, Prawn Mee, and Kopi.
The Hainanese Chicken is perfect (n.b. my standards). It came with everything you expect from a Hainanese Chicken meal. How I wish though it came with a thigh part instead of the white meat. I don’t like white meat because they are harder to chew, but this one wasn’t hard to swallow. It was cooked well. The ginger seasoning was different — it had bigger shreds. The chili is not the paste type, and looked “home-made”. The chicken broth it came with the meal is yummy! The rice was also very nice, almost close to authentic. When I say authentic, I don’t speak as an expert in Singaporean food though, but I have tasted Chicken rice in SG (who hasn’t?).
Dad was cute. He asked if there was any chili he can put into his Prawn Mee. I had to tell him that with the color of his Prawn Mee, I’m sure he need not put more chili. 🙂 He tasted and agreed that it was indeed chili. I didn’t have the Prawn Mee (remember I’m not a noodle fan), but I overheard my dad commenting that it was a little salty, but that he liked the way he could taste the shrimp well in his soup.
My sister had Fish Ball Soup (the real name escapes me now). It used the same chicken broth that I had in my Chicken set. The fish balls (I tasted this myself) were fishy. It was soft to the bite, and not floury. The soup is light enough for people on a diet — like my sister. 🙂
I love Kopi. I’m just glad that there’s Kopi nearby. I wouldn’t miss my Kopi anymore. 🙂 Nuff said.
Verdict: I haven’t gone to any other toast place, so this has no basis of comparison, and I haven’t taken any of their specialties: Toast. I will definitely go back, even for just Kopi and some toast.
We cannot forget though that the most important part of this whole eating escapade is the bonding I had with my sister and my dad while mom is enjoying time out with her sisters out of town. A lot of relaxing time with the people you love (be it family or friends) is one of the best moments of our lives.
That’s it for my food entry. Remember, I’m not an expert food blogger. These are just based on my standards, and not on chef’s standards. Let’s see if you and I have the same standards. Let me know your thoughts on these restaurants in my comment box.
Bon appetit! Now, where will the next bonding be next? 🙂 Any suggestions?