Officially on Instagram!

1 Nov

7628C4D8-84F8-4DD3-B19F-AC1CB2EA00CC

Due to the fat-induced coma I have had for the past 2 days, I suddenly have that urge to make an OFFICIAL INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT FOR THIS BLOG! I encourage you all to follow me on Instagram: foodietravelscebu

That is where you will get your daily dose of food and travel photos from me while there are no new blogs up here.

Thank you and see you on Instagram!

Advertisements

Welcome to Our Feast!

27 May
Purok Singko Dinners

Mexican Dinner Prepared by Chef Bibo and Chime for their guests

If you are looking for a restaurant review on this post, then I apologize my comeback  after a long hiatus is far from one. Rather, this is a way of getting to know me as a foodie. Here, I will share to you where I am coming from as a food lover and a seemingly mediocre food blogger. I may not write the most prolific food blogs, I may not have the best taste in food, but I enjoy the experience of dining – smelling, seeing, tasting and feeling the burst of flavor in my mouth.

Welcome to our Feast

Goofy cousins and uncles cleaning out the table after a Seafood Extravaganza

The whole foodie experience starts with me being schooled at home in Mandaue City, Cebu on what a good meal should be. I guess, having a Filipino palate is probably the best things a foodie could and should be proud of. With the mix of all the greatest cuisines in the world, we Filipinos have the most complex dishes you almost could not point your finger into; a great mix of salty and sweet, more sour (nope, not even tangy) than our other Asian neighbors, and a huge amount of umami flavor (let us thank the Chinese for that!).

You see at home, our whole family cooks. I do not come from a wealthy family, but we eat and we eat well. We prepare food well too! We are no chefs, but the food experience  of my childhood usually started at dawn when locks of the front door open and my aunt (may she rest in peace) makes an early trip to the wet market and scores for herself some fresh pig’s blood for Dinuguan (Dugo-Dugo in bisaya; Pig’s blood stew) because she doesn’t trust the local butcher to give her a clean container for it.

8

Following our Aunt’s death, our get-togethers are still sinfully delicious.

Every time she came back from the wet market, she kept the kitchen bustling. My aunt was a mise en place expert! She would chop all spices: garlic, onions, fresh mint, bilimbi (kamias or iba) and chilis without the need for additional help. Guys, this was before breakfast could even start. Her secret ingredient to the stew was flour, to coagulate the pig’s blood and you would get chunks of blood when it’s done. Although, I would rather believe that it was her love for cooking that made everything taste incomparably good. Sadly, she had passed away. No more Biko, Budbud, Dugo-Dugo, Humba, Hamonada, Menudo and Bam-i to anticipate on birthdays. Nevertheless, the legacy of good food lived on.

12

Boodle Fight: Puso (Hanging Rice), Lechon Manok (from Manok ni San Pedro no less), Sauteed Shrimp, Tinolang Isda, Grilled Squid, and Grilled Fish. This was put together by my cousins

These are the fond memories of food that I have kept from childhood. At home, we have mastered our own versions of Humba doused in Coca Cola. The Hamonada was always the most tender the meat falls off the bone. The Bam-i (Cebuano’s version of Pancit Canton) had the most ingredients I have ever seen. My mom’s Chop Suey also beats everyone else’s, even that of Majestic. Grilling? Are you kidding me? My cousins make the best marinade and cook the meat just to perfection.  That list goes on and on. Sorry, I might brag a lot here, but the food preparation and the dishes that I have had in my home are what made me a huge (literally) foodie. As they say, everything you need to know about the world you should learn about at home. My love for food definitely started at home.

3

Sumptuous Easter Dinner by Purok Singko. Bummed though I did not get to join them on this one.

Fast forward to the second part of this post: the older, more mature me. You see, food has the power of drawing together people with the same taste and/or palate. Personally, I make it a point (ha! surprise!) to make food kind of a criteria for knowing whether you are my friend for life. If you like exploring food and experiencing new things through dining then let’s be best friends!

Lucky for me, fate seems to know what I want in life and has allowed me to meet individuals who support my love for food. No one intended to base our friendship solely on food, but for my friends and I, food is the glue that makes us stick together. We would often act like food critics whenever we hung out at some place. It is even an ongoing inside joke that we are a bunch of foodies aiming to overthrow food connoisseurs all over the world. These friends have been with me the past year or two and on a fateful night, (errr it was actually a trip to Jollibee on wee hours after downing a bottle of Bacardi and pumping fists at Alchology) we officially came up with a name for the group – Purok Singko and as they say, the rest is history.

1

Say Hello to Purok Singko: Chime, KhuKhu, Axl, Me, Nathan, Jickoi, Chef Bibo and IDr Jason. The people responsible for pangdato dinner hacks. We also have extended the group to our different circles.

Part of our regular Friday night activities is to explore restaurants and bars for some great food, ambiance and, of course, the search for the best mojito in town.  From there,  the group has distinguished which restaurants in Cebu are just full of hype and which ones are worth raving about. You will know the minute one of us crinkles their nose after taking that first bite or that long interval between bites that something is quite off about the food. However, when KhuKhu’s face lights up and comments about the hint of spices on the food, that my friend tells you you are in the right place ordering the right dish.

4

Must Try: Chime’s Amazing Jumburger (Jumbo Buger)

The best thing about our group is not really when we eat at restaurants, but when we hold our private dinners at the Diet in a Box Headquarters on cheat days. It could be just us or we invite some of our circle of friends over to experience something out of the ordinary. We hold themed dinners complete with a salad, sides and a main course all made from scratch by *coughs* US! The nights are then filled with great food, a bottle of good wine and enjoyable chitchat about life and other current events. Pretentious as this might sound on prose, but we do have fun savoring dinners we put together.

7

Modern Filipino Delight: Spanish Sardines on crackers, Binagoongan Fusilli pasta with red cabbage, Chicken Afritada paired Roti, and fresh Mangoes and Greens Salad

On our themed dinners, our day often starts at 2 in the afternoon for grocery shopping and menu planning. Themed dinners may vary depending on availability of ingredients and laziness (haha!). One night, for Sinulog we had an American theme (yep on Sinulog) with an enormous serving of  Baby Back Ribs. Then, we had Modern Filipino night where we had Bagoong and Red Cabbage with peanuts on our pasta – like a Fusilli Pad Thai of some sort. At a time when entertaining guests, the guests had Mexican dinner at the patio while we had Kimchi Fried Rice, kimchi and Bacon inside the house. The list of dinner themes go on and on.

I have to be thankful for this bunch of friends because other than feeding me with great meals, I have the privilege of enjoying the company of real people who you go to not just on your highs but also on your lows. Beyond the affluent dinners, are the conversations no amount of money could equal to. Food and friends, if they go along well, all you need is a huge glass of wine and you will have the best time of your life.

15

Wine and cheese night with the crew!

Looking back on my greatest influences on food through this post, on this very random day when I should be working on my paperwork and snacking on fruit, I realized that  food has been an integral part of my life. From family, close friends and to colleagues, food has brought me closer to people in my life. This being a highly personal experience allows you, my readers, to get to know the beginnings of this very lazy foodie writer/blogger. Where I come from, and how I see food and dining experiences are based largely on my gustatory memory through the years that I am now eager to share to you here on this blog post.

2

Breakfast at Lunhaw Farm Resort with the gang. KhuKhu and her cup of Sikwate (Hot Chocolate).

I took it as a good way of regrouping my thoughts as a food blogger. Also, one of my friends on Purok Singko is leaving for a job abroad. Khu, if you are reading this, this is for you.

As they say, if you do not find time to explore your thoughts and experiences, you could never write from your heart. Perhaps, that is a good rebirth blog post right? By the way, I am still on my diet plan on weekdays for those who might think it contrasting to my post here. That’s just a cheat day a week. The dieting plan I will have to post on another blog post.

Thanks for reading 🙂 Bon Appetit and welcome back to this blog!

 

Diet in a Box – The Revolutionary Healthy Food Delivery Service in Cebu

13 Jul

*Brushes the dust and cobwebs from my virtual life*

diet in a box

Diet in a Box – revolutionizing your healthy meals

Hello from the outside! Yes, the outside because I haven’t been in tuned with the blogging world for over a year now. There seems to be a hundred new Cebu-based food blogs nowadays and even thousands more hashtag-dependent social media addicts. I don’t think I could keep up with them at all. All that posting their Instagram-worthy food trips, which I have, in fact, joined the bandwagon. I ran out of time to open my blog. Regretfully, I missed several blog-worthy restaurants and food trips, so I have FINALLY decided to start writing again.

I just turned 30 and all the years of binging on whatever good food I could get my hands on are finally taking toll on me. My addiction to food has got me closer to obesity. Well, I am here. Finally calling myself obese. That made me think I should start making life changes. I tried my way through exercise and believe me when I say I just end up eating my way through my work out. Results are slower too, if you only burn what you eat, so I never really got to see my actual weight loss. Now, what about the fat that’s already there? How can I actually lose weight?

chime bibo

Chime Osabel and Chef Bibo Moreno of Diet in a Box

Then, I had a great conversation with good friends of mine, Chime Osabel and Chef Bibo Moreno. I had to hear the hard truth: I wasn’t eating right as far as my daily activity was concerned. The reason why my weight loss is slowed to almost zero was because I ate way more than my daily activity, workout included. I still ate 3 cups of rice every day, so workouts were just enough to burn what I ate for the day. The rest of the fat that’s already in my body remains untouched.  I will have to pair it with a compatible diet plan with servings that are enough for me to survive the whole day, workout included.

That was when they lobbied the idea of their food venture Diet in a Box. Sure, there have been several healthy food delivery services that already existed before they put up their own, but by far, they were the first to fully answer my questions about following a proper diet plan. I have tried portion-eating before, I tried the salad diet, tried incorporating brown rice into my regular meals, but nothing seemed to work.   I just bounced back to my regular FULL meals because I couldn’t get as much variety as I would like and most healthy ingredients are way expensive or seem unavailable in the regular supermarket.

Chicken Coconut Laksa on Cold Soba Noodles

Chicken Coconut Laksa on Cold Soba Noodles

Every single diet service seem the same (for me) except for Diet in a Box. Maybe, it’s because of the variety that they offer every single day. It never failed to amaze me how they always come up with new combinations of meats and salads. Some of the dishes on the menu sound far too foreign sometimes, reading the menu of the week would already make my mouth water in anticipation. Perhaps, it’s the convenience of having your food delivered on-the-day, knowing that it’s fresh from the kitchen and you won’t have to mess your own to make your meals. The customer service is also impeccable – the way they handle your needs as a customer and how they make sure your meal experience feels very personal.

bibo

Ingredients are hand-picked by the Chef

For me, I am sure it’s not only about the service, the ease and the variety. It is knowing that you are getting food that comes from the most naturally available sources possible. With all the genetically modified and pesticide-laced ingredients around us, organic and fresh ingredients are hard to come by. Luckily, Diet in a Box boasts of its organic ingredients without charging much. For years, I have known Chef Bibo and their family, I knew they were already advocates of organic farming and now it has been put to good use. Their organic farms have been hosts to the fruits and vegetables that they put into your healthy box. To add to that, Chef Bibo handpicks ALL ingredients. If you’re like me, you would know that this is done by every chef with Michelin stars because they only want what’s best for their customers. It’s like a gourmet meal that’s super healthy and it comes in a box and delivered to your house. THAT CONVENIENT!

beef salisbury steak with garlic mashed potatoes

Beef Salisbury Steak with Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Now, I am sure if you have been reading this far, you would want to know how it tastes like and thank you for trusting me (ahem) where taste is concerned. Does  Diet in a Box taste like every diet meal – bland and dry? Absolutely not! And I am not saying that out of bias. It truly tastes good. You could really tell how fresh the ingredients are because you can still taste the crispness of the veggies, the sweetness of the fruit and the meat is cooked just enough to not be too tough or dry. The play of ingredients – some combinations may be far off – are so well-thought you couldn’t figure out they taste good together until you have tried them. Don’t get me started on the sauces. They are all to die for and yes fresh; built from scratch and not store-bought. All in all, the food is super good you sometimes would want to cheat with more rice (now that’s just me. So don’t judge. LOL).

diab packaging

Your Food Pack with your name and your menu on it!

Diet in a Box offers a variety of meal plans to choose from: Supreme Meals – Breakfast, Lunch Dinner, plus two snacks, Combo A – Breakfast and Lunch plus one Snack, and Combo B – Lunch and Dinner, plus a snack. All of these are calorie-counted according to your body mass index (BMI), your daily activities and your food preferences (like if you want fish instead of chicken).  You don’t even have to plan your meals for yourself. That comes with the service. Before I forget, deliveries are available Monday to Fridays. Clever, because they do know we always want to cheat on weekends, right?

menu july 8-15

Diet in a Box – revolutionizing your healthy meals

Meals are delivered on the day at your doorstep or your office. Just tell Chime and he will work it out for you. That’s why I so appreciate their service. Food tastes excellent, delivered fresh, and customer service is impeccable.

smoked salmon eggs benedict

Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict – POSH!

 

To order, visit their website http://www.dietinaboxinc.com or check and like them on Facebook: Diet in a Box. Instagram-worthy posts could also be tagged to their official hashtags #dietinabox or #dietinaboxph.

 

Happy Eating!

4 Jan

Just a Sunday thought for everyone because I know Sundays are meant for pigging out and this weather makes it even worse. I want to bury myself in steak today! Happy Sunday!

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/c56/23505660/files/2015/01/img_0666.jpg

Sweet Incantations Confectionery

2 Jan
Happy Happy at Sweet Incantations Confectionery

Happy Happy at Sweet Incantations Confectionery

Happy New Year everyone! Let’s ring in the New Year with a new and very indulgent post, shall we?

So my friends and I have this annual Christmas celebration together: where we eat, catch up and have our studio pictures taken (which we forgot to do in 2014! oooppsss). Since the metro was still experiencing rain showers following Typhoon Seniang, we opted to meet and have a quiet dinner at Ayala Center Cebu. We picked something familiar this time – Bigby’s – which I think I don’t have to elaborate much on since they are an institution in Cagayan de Oro City and here in Cebu. But we wanted to try out something new for dessert – it was either Butterbean or Sweet Incantations Confectionery.

If that's not mouthwatering I don't know what is

If that’s not mouthwatering I don’t know what is

Due to the limited parking space and the bright lights at Butterbean, my friend’s boyfriend thought maybe Sweet Incantations Confectionery was a better idea. Just a literal stone’s throw away, we ended up at one of the coziest cafes in Cebu (and a way better parking space too!).

From the outside, Sweet Incantations Confectionery looks pretty impressive already for its minimal decor. The wall was filled with photographs of travels around the world, perhaps of the owner. It had enough space for big groups and intimate spaces for couples as well. But the highlight of the place was its display case – not your ordinary display case at that! IT WAS A REAL SHOWCASE OF ALL THE MOUTHWATERING CUPCAKES MANKIND COULD EVER IMAGINE (ok now I am exaggerating but that was what I felt that moment). Needless to say, at that moment I fell in love. I wanted everything in it, but that wouldn’t be good for my diet (ha! as if I was on diet!).

Awesome Display!

Awesome Display!

They had cool sounding names for their cupcakes: Monkey Business, Red Vixen, Espressamel, and their holiday cupcakes Gingernog, Northpole and Pasko among others. Anyone could tell that they take this business pretty serious. It’s not fun making up names for cupcakes. Some would easily go by whatever they put on it. But Sweet Incantations – they have so much to give when it comes to cupcake-making. My friends and I gushed our oohs and aahs too loudly I think it annoyed the woman behind the counter.

Menu

Menu

Compared to other places, theirs was a little bit pricey, but not too much because cupcakes are now around PhP 55-65 I guess. Each of their cupcakes are at PhP 70. If you buy a box of six, that would only cost you PhP 400. Not bad at all especially when you get to taste their cupcakes! We ordered the box of 6 which was great for sharing with the group. Their cupcakes are HEAVENLY with emphasis on the capital letters. I’ve never had a cupcake with such thick frosting, with a texture that’s as thick as Marshie’s marshmallow. Hey, I am not a baker or some pastry person so I can’t really point out what kind of frosting that was, mmkay? So, yeah they definitely have the finest and most indulgent cupcakes I have ever had 🙂

IMG_0605[1]The cake itself is both dense and moist at the same time. I never liked too dense or too fluffy cupcakes. It was done just right and it went so well with the frosting – a real great marriage between cupcake and frosting. My favorites were the Espressamel, Butterscotch & Bubblegum and Little Black Dress – yeah I am a sucker for Chocolate & Mint. Apparently, these two were their bestsellers along with Sweet Saigon which had hints of Lemongrass and PB & J.

Sweet Incantations also serves Cookies at PhP 50 each and Gelato which is at PhP 85 for single scoop and PhP 130 for double scoop. We had double scoops of each flavor – Chocoholics Anonymous, My Name is Earl (my favorite since I love Earl Grey Tea), Monkey Berry and Espressamel. We had two tea pots as well and they serve Dilmah tea, if you might ask.

Their Gelato

Their Gelato

I absolutely have no protestations when the cupcakes were laid out on our table. They were served in little chopping boards. It dawned on me that every detail of this was well planned out down to the toilets. Teas were served on pristine white teapots that came with matching cups and even their service water was served in coordinated glasses and a resealable glass bottle almost similar to that of Shangrila’s. I’d have to say kudos to the owner who’s thought so much about what goes well with what without sacrificing flavor – which in fact is the greatest highlight of the place.

The little details that matter a lot - presentation!

The little details that matter a lot – presentation!

All in all, it was a happy night – good friends, great dessert. Sweet Incantations was what my friends and I would call a happy place and we don’t honor that name to just any restaurant or cafe. Only the deserving ones. I guess someone’s going to be a regular customer then, huh?

You can visit Sweet Incantations at the Ground Floor of the Avagar Bldg., Escario, Cebu City, somewhere between Kuya J and Simply J’s. Like their Facebook Page: Sweet Incantations Confectionery or Follow them on Instagram: sweetincph.

Enjoy!!

Oxford Brewing Co.

13 Dec
Welcome to Oxford Brewing Co.

Welcome to Oxford Brewing Co.

I have not been blogging in months as you all know that’s mainly because of out-of-town work. Since I am back in the city for good with a more stable internet connection and a free schedule, I am definitely ready to share to all of you my new find. Well, it’s not basically new because I have been there once in April for a business meeting that lasted for less than an hour. I was glad to get another chance to visit and I got to spend time with my cousins and sister at the same time.

Inside OxfordAnyway, I am greatly excited to share to you the newest comfort place for me: Oxford Brewing Co. It might be too far from where I live, but this unassuming place has attracted me in more ways than one. For one, it’s pretty cozy despite the limited space. There are only a few tables and chairs inside as well as outside. The decor isn’t very fancy, but the wall will definitely catch your attention. It’s a blown up photo of the Big Ben and a red telephone booth which we (or I rather ) often associate with London although I haven’t been there at all.

On my first visit I got to talk to one of the owners whose inspiration for the place came from her volunteer work in the UK. That explains the name! (Duh!) She had worked there for 4 years and poured a majority of whatever she’d earned on Oxford Brewing. This also inspired her and her partners to create an English theme for the Cafe especially with their teas. I am a sucker for anything with tea on it so the place definitely won me over on the first visit. That’s why I was eager to go for the second visit when my cousin offered after hearing mass at Tabor Hill.

My Guava Organic Iced Tea

My Guava Organic Iced Tea

I love fruit iced teas – a mix of brewed tea and Monin syrup on ice. Of all the places that offer them, I think it was only at Oxford that I had tasted the perfect mix between syrup and tea – Organic Iced Tea at that! The tea was strong enough to overpower the syrup rather than the other way around; so you can basically say they were using good tea leaves (or bags, I wasn’t really able to ask). I had Guava flavored, my cousin had Strawberry and the other cousin had Green Apple. The amazing part was they served them in Mason Jars with the lid on them. For me that’s a pretty unique touch and a feat for a place such as theirs.

My sister, on the other hand, tried out one of their fraps – Coffee Cookie Frappuccino – which was also a winner for me. It was good since it wasn’t sickly sweet and you could really taste coffee in it. We also ordered a few sandwiches and since it was dinner, we ordered their All Day Breakfast Tocino, which was pretty much standard (if not overpriced). They also offer Smoothies, Waffles and FLAVORED BEER!!

All in all it was a great experience for me, but I have to warn you, there might be periods within the day (or night) when Korean students frequent the place for beer, which can cramp the place. This doesn’t help much since the place is a bit too small for a crowd. Better visit during the day or in the afternoon rather than 8 PM onwards.

English Tea? No problem!

English Tea? No problem!

Oxford Brewing Co. is located at the Ground Floor of E-Park Mall in Talamban – on the way to Pit-os.

Oh, and before I forget, I might be changing some things around my blog. There might be posts where I don’t give ratings to places. 

Here are some other photos from our visit and their fit for photo op wall 🙂 Enjoy!

Their wall

Their wall

On The Menu...

On The Menu…

IMG_0169

IMG_0171

Our Food

Our Food

IMG_0177

Paradise in Cebu – Shangri la’s Mactan Island Resort & Spa

5 Sep
Shangri la's Mactan Island Resort and Spa

Shangri la’s Mactan Island Resort and Spa

Things have been very busy lately but I am having one of the best years of my life I think. Getting the new job and traveling at the same time was only the beginning. I had tons of opportunities this year I did not want pass up even if it meant I would leave some people behind. I thought to myself this was my life’s great adventure. It came a bit late, but it came anyway.

View at night

View at night

Since it has been raining a lot lately, all I could do at home (I’m still on a hiatus from work) is sit and stare at the pictures from the past months. I always scrolled back to this summer – one of my most memorable yet. It was when I started my new job, a chance to meet people from Iloilo and a chance to see beyond the paradise-like gates of the posh resort that is Shangri la’s Mactan Island Resort & Spa. This was before I got to the paradise that is Camotes (seen in this post).

If you are like me and you’re from Cebu, you’d think yeah they’re all the same. I’ve seen the beach fronts of BE Resorts and  Hilton, before it was acquired by Movenpick and way back before their improvements. They were nice but pretty standard to me back then. So, when the opportunity landed on my hands and I grabbed it even if it put me in a situation where I had to rush to work the next day.

The Gazebo on a Cliff

The Gazebo on a Cliff

It was a weekday, but it happened to be Labor Day; my sister and I had work the next day though so we couldn’t really go around and see much of the place together. We even hurriedly ate our breakfast 😦 But thanks to my new job, I was able to linger for a few hours and voila – I wandered through paradise, which I never got to see before beyond their main swimming pool. We stayed at the Ocean Wing which was the VIP area of the resort. Yep, we had access to some parts of the resort where no one could unless you’re checked-in in one of the suites there. It had better view, it was closer to the ocean and it had its own swimming pool in case it gets congested in the main pool. It also had its own lobby and the breakfast was served in a separate part of the resort.

So, I thought I would give homage to Shangri la on this post. I hope it would kind of make you guys think that you’d want to go there someday if your budget permits or if you guys get lucky as well. It’s a beautiful place. Cebu is beautiful and it has so many things and places left to be discovered. It is indeed more fun in Cebu 🙂 ENJOY!

I'm a sucker for Sunrise

I’m a sucker for Sunrise

The Ocean Wing Swimming Pool

The Ocean Wing Swimming Pool

The Pathway from the Garden to the Beach

The Pathway from the Garden to the Beach

Shangrila Mactan Shangrila Mactan Shangrila Mactan Shangrila Mactan Shangrila Mactan Shangrila Mactan Shangrila Cebu

The Garden

The Garden

Shangrila Mactan Shangrila Mactan

The Obligatory Selfie Shot

The Obligatory Selfie Shot

 

Ocean Wing Baby!

Ocean Wing Baby!

A little peek at the view from our room

A little peek at the view from our room

Our Suite

Our Suite

Disclaimer: NO, this is NOT a paid advertisement. AS IF THEY WOULD EVER DO THAT! If you guys should know I got to stay for one night through a friend who had the room booked for 4 nights and invited us to use it for one night. 🙂 So yeah again unbiased here!