The JunA's Ramblings #7

Usually when someone asks a situational question (i.e. what if's), they're either already in or are going into that situation.

January Food Adventures Part 2: All Pinoy Kamay Kainan

About 90% of the reviews I've read about this restaurant is not very encouraging. I've read people complaining about badly prepared food, unruly staff, slow service, etc. There are countless anecdotes of people's bad experiences in the different branches.

Well, I couldn't care less about the reviews. It's a buffet! Who doesn't love buffets?

My boyfriend took me to Kamay Kainan in West Avenue for an early lunch last January 7. The experience wasn't so bad at all. Sure it took a while for the waitress to deliver our bill, but other than that everything else was A-okay.

The food wasn't so bad either. It's an all-Filipino buffet and you'll find classics like pork sinigang, beef nilaga, fried tilapia, binagoongan, lechon paksiw, pinapaitan, and the likes. Even their desserts are all-Filipino down to the dirty ice cream which I unfortunately didn't get to try. I enjoyed their ginataan immensely, 'though.

I read somewhere that they had a 2-hour maximum stay rule so leisurely eating may be out of the question. At less than 300Php (including refillable iced tea), however, it just might as well be worth the 2 hours maximum.

January Food Adventures Part 1: Yakiniku at YakiMix

Yes, I admit I'm a foodie. I may not look like it, but I love to eat. Food, for me, is an adventure that needs to be experienced. So it's only fitting for me to spend the first month of the year trying out the different flavors offered around the metro.

To get this food adventure started, we headed off to YakiMix.

I have heard rave reviews about this eat-all-you-can-smokeless-grill chain of restaurants (they're all over the metro), so when my boyfriend took me to Yakimix in SM North last January 3, I was, in a word, ecstatic. Since we went there pretty early (we went in at 6:00 PM, their buffet dinner starts at 5:30 PM) and on a weekday, it wasn't difficult to get a table, but I heard you'd usually be on the wait list if you come in late or on weekends. I guess it would be a good idea to call them for a reservation.

Anyway, on to the food.

Yakimix offers Japanese, Cantonese, and Korean cuisine so they pretty much offer quite a variety in their buffet table. They have a long section for sushi behind the buffet table, and I couldn't help myself but pig out on gimbap, maki, temaki, and nigiri. Their cooked dishes mostly consist of tempura, beef with broccoli, a couple of chicken dishes, and steamed veggies. They also offer a wonderful variety of desserts from ice cream, to fruits, to mini cakes.

The highlight, for me however, is the yakiniku. There's all sorts of raw meat and seafood, the names of which I could neither pronounce nor recall at all.

The smokeless grill on the table (and I am thankful it's smokeless so at least I didn't smell like what I ate afterwards), where you grill all you can get from the buffet, is what makes Yakimix the exciting buffet restaurant that it is. The food, in itself, is not bad, but it's not that mouth-wateringly scrumptuous either. What I really enjoyed is the novelty of getting to grill your own food right at your own table. It's the fun of getting to choose all the shrimp, squid, fish, pork, beef, or chicken you want and being able to cook it on your own table, that makes a great time for bonding with your date, friends, family, or whoever you're with.

Random Inspiration #4

And so something which I thought I was seeing with my eyes is in fact grasped solely by the faculty of judgement which is in my mind.

~René Descartes (1596 - 1650), Meditations on First Philosophy (1639)

Holiday Food Trip

'Tis the season to be full!

December had always been the time of year when people can pig out without guilt and I am no exception. So while on vacation in Baguio, I visited some of the old and some new places to dine and hang out.

Forest House

Like they say: "... a trip to Baguio would not be complete without a visit."

"Forest House was born of a concept to capture the very essence of Baguio City. A place to escape the harshness of reality and take time out for a breath of fresh air ... a place where you can sit back, relax, over a cup of freshly brewed coffee as you pine the hours away ... a place where you gather with friends and relatives to celebrate the joys of life ... a place you call home.

"The warm and cozy ambiance is one of kind that will keep you glued to your chairs as you listen to Baguio's best musical talents serenade you with their repertoire of jazz, classics, standards and probably even your favorite songs to reminisce by.

"Service is above par to compliment our international and local cuisine. Bagnet, an Ilocano pork dish, is the house special and is a must try, but the staff would be more than glad to assist you with your preference. And after a heavy meal, a wide variety of pastries and our very own BOTTOMLESS Forest House coffee awaits you. Oh, and not to forget, the WiFi is FREE!"

This one's pork chop topped with chili con carne on a bed of fries. I forgot what they called it.

This one's chicken with white wine sauce. It's like chicken pastel except that the sauce has white wine in it.

This is sinigang na bagnet. Yummy and fatty.

Cafe Will

I've been planning to visit the place since early 2011, but never got around to it. This holiday, I finally got the chance to check the place out.

The place is very elegant and roomy. The food is okay. Service is good.

Since I forgot to take a photo of the food before chowing it down, I thought I might as well get a snapshot of what's left of the seafood gambas.

Hill Station

Voted as one of Asia's finest restaurants, Hill Station at the old Casa Vallejo offers "robust dishes that blend the flavors of Asia’s hill stations with the tastes of Old World Europe and New World America."

Their Spanish Callos is a tasty blend of textures. I was never a fan of innards but this dish felt unexpectedly delectable to my taste buds.

The gyoza burger was simply divine!

While waiting for your meal, Hill Station offers you a complimentary bread basket served with olive oil dip and nuts with some spices reminiscent of satay sauce.

The Flying Gecko

Gecko, as we fondly call it, had always been one of our favorite places to hang out in while in Baguio. It used to be called Swiss Maid and had a cow with bell for a mascot and offered mostly juicy sausages and a variety of Swiss cheese. Then it became Bruno's before it came to be known as The Flying Gecko.

The restaurant is easily accessible, open 24/7 and offers free WiFi.

My last visit to the place was a little disappointing, however... Their once healthy servings aren't as healthy anymore. They now offer portions and their menu is shockingly a simple print out on a bond paper.

The photo above is a portion serving of a sad apple pie.

Steaks and Toppings

One of our favorite places to go to for a fulfilling budget meal, Steaks and Toppings used to be just a small, narrow restaurant in Patria de Baguio building at the corner of Session Rd. and Fr.Carlu St.

Now located in Puso ng Baguio Building at the heart of Baguio's central business district, they restaurant looks and feels more upscale but still offers affordable and tasty meals.

For only Php130.00, you can already enjoy this hearty 2-piece garlic steak.