Saturday 22 December 2012

Spices: Wine Story

I am not a wine connoisseur but I do enjoy drinking wine every once in a while. I've been to different wine tasting events and I've considerably purchased and tried different brands, regions and types of wine. I got to admit it wasn't love at first sip but after learning the basic intricacies of wine, I started to appreciate until I fell in love with it. There is one wine bar that I've frequented and will always go back to...Wine story in Shangri La Mall.

Wine Story

With a tagline 'Tasting by the glass, before you buy', the place doubles as a wine store and a wine bar. It has an Enomatic Wine Dispenser installed, the system is a cool and clever dispensing machine that preserves the taste and quality of wine for weeks. It also serves the wine in its best possible condition. The store changes the wine lay out every two weeks.

Enomatic Wine Dispenser

Before going there, one might want to consider buying cheese from Rustan's Supermarket. Cheese is always an excellent companion for wine. Bread sticks are always given for free and you can ask for refills. Before, one can order food from any restaurant within the mall without any minimum purchase but as of the moment you have to purchase a whole bottle of wine before you can order food.

Italian Fontina, Italian Gorgonzola and a French Bleu

 Cheese and Wine Spread

The tasting area is pretty small, there were only two tall tables and eight bar stools per table. Although small, it has a very cozy and comfortable ambiance that I really liked. On the side of the tables are three banners with titles: The Etiquette of Wine, Wine Tasting 101 and 18 Wine Styles. Putting the banners on the side is a really nice and smart thing to do.

Tasting Area

The Three Banners

As one enters, you'll be given a card,  you can either choose to pre-load it with a certain amount or you can just pay for what you consumed later.

Wine Story Card

After getting the card, this is where the fun part begins. After choosing the wine you like, put in the card in the slot and choose from either a tasting portion, half a glass or full glass.

Choosing between Tasting Portion, Half Glass or Full Glass

Below each wine bottle are its corresponding brand, wine score, region, price and wine notes.

Wine Notes

Afterwards, you can proceed to look, swirl, sniff and sip. On the dispensing machine there is a lighted ledge where you can check the wine's characteristics and age. More often than not, the darker the color of the wine, the more intense the flavors. As for age, the lighter the color, the older the wine is.

"Which is the Older Wine?"

I strongly suggest that after swirling the wine to let it sit first for a couple of minutes before proceeding to sniff and sip. In doing so, the alcoholic smell and taste evaporates which will lead one to enjoy the aroma and taste better.

Letting the Wine Sit

I always enjoy going to Wine Story because this is where I'll get to try out superb high-scoring wines and most importantly it's a place where I know I'll learn more about the intricacies of wine. The sommeliers who works there are very knowledgeable and are always willing to share their insights. There was also a couple of times where I got to talk with random fellow wine-enthusiasts and even got to chat with a wine maker who was sharing the same table.

Wine Story at Shangri La Mall

Wine Story
Adress: 111 1st Level Shangri La Plaza Mall, Shaw Blvd cor. Edsa, Mandaluyong
Tel No: 633 3536

We are more of a beer drinking nation but I strongly think that more and more people are getting into wine. Foodies nowadays are so knowledgeable about what good food is and I'm pretty sure learning about wines is the next big step. As we all know good wine will always compliment good food, wine brings out  wonderful flavors in food and vice versa.

 I wish to greet everyone a Very Merry Christmas and Prosperous Happy New Year!!!! Cheers!!!


Sunday 16 December 2012

Spices: Food Channel

The shawarma craze has long been over, thousands of food carts and snack shops which offered the meat wrap has closed down. But there is one food stall who still remains serving the much loved shawarma, Food Channel.

Food Channel

I still remember back in the 90's where I would look forward to go to Virra Mall to eat shawarma at Food Channel. It has been more than two decades and the quality and taste of the shawarma hasn't change. In my opinion, the main reason why Food Channel has remained strong is that they tweaked the flavor of their Shawarma to suit the Filipino palete.

The Shawarma Rotisserie

Food Channel can be found in most areas in the metro but there is one which we frequent. The one in Lasapin Food Court along among Emerald Avenue in Ortigas is open 24 hours from Mondays to Fridays. This branch is relatively near our place and it has become our go to place whenever we get hungry during the wee hours of the morning.

Food Channel at Lasapin Food Court

My favorite thing to munch on is the Shawarma with Cheese. Tender juicy slices of beef with chopped onions and tomatoes doused with the house made garlic sauce and topped with grated cheese. Since I love anything spicy, I always put an extra dose of the chili garlic sauce. Yummy!!!

Shawarma with Cheese - Php75

Shawarma with Cheese

Aside from Shawarma, they also offer rice meals such as Shawarma Rice, Spam Rice, Korean Pork and Korean Beef with Rice.

Shawarma Rice - Php90

I got to try out the Korean Beef with Rice and I was so glad that I did. I was delightfully surprised how good the rice dish was. The beef slices was nice and tender plus I really liked the sweet and tangy flavor of the sauce, it did have that Korean flavor. I also liked how the onions was incorporated in the dish, it added a nice sweet crunch. What's great about it is that this only cost Php75, this is one great steal!

Korean Beef with Rice - Php75

I also regularly order the Chilled Taho with Tapioca Pearls. This cold sweet gelatinous soy bean treat is so addicting  I loved how silky smooth the taho is and how the chewy tapioca pearls adds another sensation and texture to the mouth.

Chilled Taho with Tapioca Pearls - Large Php30 / Regular Php25

Silky Smooth Taho with Tapioca Pearls

As I've mentioned, the quality and flavors of the shawarma hasn't changed ever since I first had my first Food Channel Shawarma. It has been operating for more than two decades and from how it looks, Food Channel will still remain strong as they continue to serve the much loved Shawarma and other delicious treats .

Food Channel's Shawarma

Food Channel
Adress: Lasapin Food Court, Strata 2000 Buliding, Emerald Ave., Pasig City
Operating Hours: 24 hours from Mon to Fri 
                             Till 4pm on Saturday
                             Closed on Sundays
*Also can be found in various locations in the Metrto.

Monday 10 December 2012

Spices: Poco Deli

I can still clearly remember how the sausages looked, smelled and tasted in Mickey's Deli in Jupiter St., Makati. It was one of the best places to feast on scrumptious sausages but sadly Mickey's has long been closed down. When I heard about Poco Deli, a deli that's said to serves sausages like the ones in Mickeys, I got excited to try the place out. Owner, Ms. Joy de Leon used to work at Mickey's, she learned the process of making sausages from there. Right now, the sausages that Poco Deli serves are her proud creation.

Poco Deli

The deli was relatively small and the place was packed for dinner. Aside from the sausages, the deli also offers a variety of other dishes. On the end wall, a display of  wines caught my eye. Majority of the wines that the deli sells comes from Spain.


We started our meal with a  2009 Campabarro Crianza Temparanillo. The wine was pretty good, full bodied and since this is a Crianza, the flavor was simple and smooth.

2009 Campobarro Crianza Tempranillo - Php570/bottle

For non-wine drinkers, one can choose a beer from the different foreign beers that the deli carries.

Imported Beers

We ordered a single serving of the German Sausage and Cheese Platter. One can choose three sausages from Keilbasa, Chicken, Bratwurst, Nuemberger, Bockwurst, Frankfurter, Cheese Krainier. There was also a choice of three kinds of cheese from Gorgonzola, Goat's, Pecorino, Padano, Emmental and Manchego.
A side of Sauerkraut and Bagel Chips was served on the side.

Sausage and Cheese Platter - Php300/single

The sausages were exquisitely good, it was packed with so much flavor and the casing had the 'snap' that I like in a sausage. I apologize for forgetting the kind of sausages and cheese that I got to try out.



Sauerkraut is  fermented cabbage that is usually eaten with meat and or sausages. The homemade sauerkraut which they also sell was indeed the perfect companion for the sausages. The sour flavor of the cabbage brought out the sweetness of the meat.

Perfect Bite: A Slice of Sausage with Sauerkraut

Aside from Sausages Platter, we also tried out their Chili Seafood Pasta.

Chili Seafood Pasta - Php280

The pasta dish tasted just ok. I was disappointed with the pasta since it was overcooked. The pieces of fish and shrimp were cooked well, the Pomodoro sauce tasted nice though I didn't sense any spiciness in it.

The deli has a variety of cakes, we decided to try out the New York Cheesecake and Cappuccino Cake. The Cheesecake tasted ordinary though it was better then the store mall variety.

New York Cheesecake - Php165

I really liked the Cappuccino Cake. This is not the chiffon soft and moist type of cake, it was thick and dense. Initially I was taken aback on its texture but after a few bites I really enjoyed how it melts inside my mouth. The best thing about the cake is the aromatic flavor of coffee which was so eminent.

Cappuccino Cake - Php130

We also had a cup of their Coffee, it tasted decent. I asked the server what brand they carried and from where the beans came from and all they told me is the brand, Midnight Blend. They had no idea where it came from.

Americano - Php80

The sausages are definitely something that is worth going back for. As of the moment I can't think of another resto or deli who makes delicious sausages like Poco Deli. With so much other stuff to try out, I'm certain that I'll be back again.

Poco Deli
Address: 21 East Capitol Drive, Kapitolyo, Pasig City
Tel No.: 477 4332

Monday 3 December 2012

Sights: A Livelier PUERTO GALERA

It has been more than a decade since I've been here. Back then, the tallest structure I saw had two flloors and there were a few resorts and inns to say in. I've heard on how crowded the place has gotten and how thrash has littered the shores. Even with all the bad hearsay, I didn't have second thoughts on visiting the island again.

Puerto Galera

It was the lean season and a storm was reported to be heading towards Luzon. Luckily the boat ride from Batangas Pier  to White Beach was not as rough as we expected it to be.

The Bangka Ride Going to Puerto Galera

As soon as we reached the islands, I was surprised to see yachts anchored between the islands. I don't remember seeing this much or even one before.

Yachts Anchored around the Islands

We stayed at Tamaraw Beach Resort which has its own private beach. The resort was simple and clean, it offers the basic necessity. Judging from the number of rooms and how big the beach area is, the beach area looks like it can get really crowded during the peak season. But lucky for us, there were only a few guests and we pretty much had to beach to ourselves.

Tamaraw Beach

One reason why Puerto Galera is memorable to me is that this was the first spot where I got to snorkel. The snorkeling site pretty much hasn't change, there were even assigned locals patrolling the area guarding the marine life from poachers. Though there were only a few species of fish, it was still fun swimming around with them.

Just before the sunset, we made our way to White Beach, this is where we stayed and hanged out before. From Tamaraw beach, we had to walk and climb around big rocks along the shore to reach White Beach.

Crossing over to White Beach

When we reached White Beach, the first thing I noticed were the numerous bars and restaurants along the shore. Aside from the bars and restaurants, a lot of high rise inns and cottages were also built around the area.  The beach looked clean and pretty much the same as before.

White Beach

As night fell, the place starts to liven up, music started blaring out from the huge speakers of the different bars. As we sat down at a random bar, we found out that the bars would staged their own respective shows.
While waiting for the show, we ordered a pitcher of the most famous drink that originated here, the Mindoro Sling.  The sweet cocktail is always a must have whenever in Puerto Galera.

Mindoro Sling

The show started with the fire dance. This is the not the 1st time I've seen or watch something like this, it is now pretty common in beaches. But still I had fun watching the dancers twirling and spinning their poi.

Fire Dancers

As the Rain Fell, the Dancers continued to Perform

After the fire dance show, it was the drag queens who took center stage. Dancing and lip syncing to famous tunes, the drag queens were hilarious. I was laughing my head off at their performance, it was so much fun.

Drag Queens

Before leaving the island, we had breakfast at the terrace with a view of the sea. From how it looks, Puerto Galera can indeed get crowded specially during the peak season. One can view it in a positive way, as the saying goes, the more the merrier. As for me, I'm not a fan of huge crowds but I'm not discouraged to go back again. I can always choose to go here during the off peaks months, Puerto Galera will always be memorable to me. From having a calm and peaceful atmosphere, it has turned into a livelier beach destination.