Monday 14 April 2014

Spices: Tonkatsu by Terazawa

Ever since Yabu, The House of Katsu opened two years ago, there has been different katsu restaurants that's been opening up in the metro. Late last year I got to try out one of the new katsu restos that opened, Tonkatsu by Terazawa.

Tonkatsu by Terazawa

Since it was the well loved Yabu who kind of started the katsu craze, I'll use the resto as benchmark. Upon looking at the menu, Tonkatsu by Terazawa practically offers the same food items as Yabu. Sets consist of miso soup, fruit, unlimited rice and cabbage. The dressing for the cabbage was the same, a choice between a Ponzu Vinaigrette or Goma Mayonaise. Even the sauce for the katsu looks and tastes the same.

Katsu Set

To  go with our meal, we ordered a carafe of Sochikubai Sake.

Sochikubai Sake - Php 335 for a carafe

The first katsu set we got to try was the Oyster, Prawn, White Fish Set. It looked really good, beautiful pieces of golden fried delights greeted us. Among the three seafood katsu, my least favorite was the white fish. I'm really not sure what kind of fish they used, I felt that it was a bit overcooked, the texture of the fish was a little bit dry. The prawn was pretty good, I liked that the prawn was of generous size.  Among the three, my favorite was the Oyster, it was divine. The oyster inside the golden crispy shell was huge and cooked to perfection, juicy and milky.

Oyster, Prawn, White Fish Katsu Set - Php 490

Oyster, Prawn, White Fish Katsu

The next set we tried was the Kurobuta Rosu Katsu. The first thing I noticed was the thickness of the pork lion, I felt that it wasn't as thick as Yabu's. Flavors and texture wise, it was pretty good though the pork wasn't as tender as I expected it to be. On my very last piece, it was a turn off when I chewed on a tough rubbery piece of pig skin, kitchen staff must have forgotten to trim the skin off properly.

Kurobuta Rosu Katsu Set - Php 595

Kurobota Rosu Katsu

Tonkatsu by Terazawa serves good tasting katsu but Yabu sets the bar up high that it still remains to be my favorite katsu place. If I had a craving for katsu, I would definitely pick Yabu but if I found myself in the Makati area, Tonkatsu by Terazawa is a katsu resto that's worth visiting to satisfy my hankering for the crispy golden treats.

Tonaktsu by Terazawa
Address: Ground Floor, Greenbelt 2, Ayala Center, Makati City
Tel. No.: 729 9121

Sunday 6 April 2014

Spices: Spatzle Euro Market Cafe

Walking around the new wing of Shangri-La mall, we spotted Spatzle. The resto looked really interesting with its rustic interiors, we checked the menu and got sweet talked by a nice lady. She told us that Spatzle was actually a type of German egg noodle or pasta. She proceeded to tell us the resto's best sellers and specialties, we got sold and immediately took seats.


I really liked how the wooden utensils organizer looked like, simple and efficient. There was even a hand sanitizer spray bottle, nice!

A complimentary small bowl of crunchy potato chips was served when we got seated.

Complimentary Potato Chips

Upon ordering, it was frustrating to find out that every bestseller that the lady told us about was already sold out, we felt getting caught in a trap. Nonetheless we asked the server for other recommendations among what's available. First up was the Spatz Carbonara, the cream based Spatzle was served with Pancetta and on the center was a poached egg. It felt like eating a bowl of cream mush, the Spatzle was so soft, the addition of the poached egg added to the already gooey texture of the whole dish. This was terrible!!! It's my first time to try out Spatzle, I'm really not sure if the consistency and texture is really like this. They could have added more or bigger pieces of meat and the poached egg is totally a bad idea.

Spatz Carbonara - Php275 solo serving

Next up was the Roast Chicken Sausage on Mushroom Spatzle. A piece of chicken fillet stuffed with a housemade sausage. Chicken was a tad dry but seasoned well, the sausage tasted ok, nothing to rave or rant about.. I didn't like the way they drowned the chicken in gravy and I really didn't like the Spatzle that came with it.

Roast Chicken Sausage on Mushroom Spatzle - Php295

I know that I only got to try out two dishes but from what I tasted, I'm really not a fan. It will take a lot of convincing for me to come back here.

Address: 5th Floor East Wing, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong City

Tuesday 1 April 2014

Sights: A Quick Fun Weekend Getaway to SAN NARCISO, ZAMBALES

Just three to four hours away from the noisy and hectic metropolitan area, there is a beach where you can hit the sand and even catch some surf. The quiet town of San Narciso in Zambales is a perfect spot for some fun and relaxation over the weekend.


The easy journey starts with a bus ride from the Victory Liner terminal in Caloocan. Purchase tickets going to Iba, Zambales and just asked the conductor to drop you off at San Narciso. The bus will drop you off in front of the church, from there it's just a short tricycle ride to the beach. I've visited the three major beach resorts in the area, Crystal, Sabina and Johneva, just pick which one suits you well.

At Crystal Beach Resort

The beach was long and wide, you won't have any problem of finding your perfect spot. Sand was fine and grayish in color, nice enough to go barefoot. But when the glaring sun is up, the sand tends to get too hot to go around slipper-less. Walking around, I barely saw any litter laying around, the shore is nice and clean. No wonder that pawikans or turtles lay their eggs on their shore, the locals pride themselves of being protectors of this endangered species.

The water is cool and clear, continuous waves hit the shore one after the other. Most of the time you'll chance upon locals fishing for bangus or milkfish seedlings near the shore. I would always watch in awe how they could count the number of tiny seedlings using a tabo (small dipper) and palanggana (basin). I would ask them how they do it, they would always smile back and tell me that it's something they just got used to doing.

Hitting the Waves

Based on my experience from surfing here, the waves doesn't really get high, perfect for beginners or to those who just want to try it out.

Just head over the beach and look for this tent if you want to give surfing a go. From the last time I've been there, there are less than 10 surf instructors, so most of the time you have to wait for your turn. All of the instructors are super friendly and helpful, they never tire of teaching those who wants to learn. They are such a tight-knit group that it was fun bonding and joking around with them.

Surfing Base

Surfing in Zambales

We saw a group of Paddle Surfers but our instructors told us that they rarely see them hit the sea.

Paddle Surfing

One of the things I never get tired of watching over and over again are sunsets. I must say that the one in San Narciso is one of the most colorful and spectacular sunsets I've seen.

Every Saturday night, Crystal Beach Resort holds a bonfire acoustic night event. Even if you're not staying at the resort, as long as you're invited by the surf instructors, you'll be welcomed. It was fun hanging around with the instructors, fellow beach bummers and surfers. We were passing food and drinks around, listening and singing along to the music. The band even invite guests to perform on stage.

The quiet town of San Narciso in Zambales is so easy to go to that in a span of few weeks I've been here twice. One doesn't have to travel far anymore, San Narciso is my kind of place I'll go to whenever I'll feel the need to unwind and refresh over the weekend.