Sunday 22 February 2015

Spices: Quirky Bacon

More often than not, the restaurants near our place are the last ones I visit. When I found myself stuck at home because of heavy rains,I took that chance to visit the resto which was literally steps aways. As it was a rented home turned into a resto, it was pretty small, the place looks like it can only 15 to 20 people at one time.

To start we had the Guava Glazed Hot Wings. The chicken wings looked good as it was glistening, each piece of wing was evenly coated with the glaze. The sour cream was just drizzled on top though, leaving the middle parts without it. The wings were deliciously crunchy and I enjoyed the guava flavored glazed, the plate was totally wiped out with just bones left behind.

Guava Glazed Hot Wings - Php250

We asked the server his recommendation for our mains, he pointed out the steak. There were two cuts to choose from, the rib eye and the chuck. Not knowing how the steak would come out, we chose the chuck cut as it was cheaper. The steak was served with bistek onions and tamarind miso butter. It also came with your choice of side, we picked the Starmash, mashed potato with Star Margarine. The wagyu beef was perfectly cooked as we requested, medium rare. The steak was superb, tender and juicy and we couldnt believe that it only cost 500php. If you're a fan of Star margarine, you'd love the mashed potatoes, it does really taste of it. But for real butter lovers like us, we wished we ordered another side dish.

Seared Wagyu Steak Plate (Chuck Cut) - Php540

I picked the Bacon vs. Bacon for our second main dish as it seems that bacon was the house specialty since it was basically the resto's name. The dish consists of a tempura bacon and a pan fried apple wood smoked bacon, a six minute boiled egg and a cup of plain white rice. Both bacon slabs tasted pretty good but I felt that it lacked flavors, the whole dish was kind of boring. I hoped it had some kind of sauce or sides to compliment the bacon slabs to add the much needed umph to thw whole thing.

Bacon Vs. Bacon - Php440

I wouldn't mind dining here again. I really enjoyed the steak and there are a lot of things on the menu that I wanted to try. I also do hope that on my next visit that they've have wine on the drinks list. A good bottle of wine would complement a great piece of steak that they serve.

Quirky Bacon
Address: 192 Wilson St., San Juan
Tel.No.: 570 2494

Friday 6 February 2015

Spices: Toby's Estate

I first heard about Toby's Estate from our expat friends who are big coffee drinkers, they've mentioned that the cafe serves great tasting coffee. Moreover, I've read different posts raving about the said cafe. Being a coffee junkie, I just had to go and find out what the hype is all about.

Most of the time when I try out a new café, I would order myself a cup of espresso. Usually I would use the drink as my basis if the café serves good coffee or not. I must admit that I didn't like the espresso here, there wasn't much aroma plus there was barely any crema on top. Flavor wise, it left a sour and strong acidic taste. I felt that the coffee beans are too darkly roasted to be drank as an espresso with nothing on it.

Espresso - Php100

After being disappointed with the espresso, I had the urge to order another cup. This time around, it was an ordinary cup of plain Long Black. It was love at first sip, the coffee was so good! Strong, bold, full bodied that had earthy and caramely notes, perfect as it is. I asked the barista if they used the same beans for the espresso and other coffee concoctions and he said yes. The beans was called Wooloomooloo.

Long Black - Php120

The famous off of the menu coffee concoction that people order is the Gibraltar. It consists of two shot of ristretto and topped with milk. I prefer my coffee black but if a cup of this is place in front of me, I'd gladly drink this. Even with milk, the super creamy concoction taste of strong aromatic black coffee.

Gibraltar - Php130

The Café Mocha is also a must order. I'm a big fan of anything mocha and I pretty much liked this. More on the chocolatey side that has subtle hints of coffee.

Cafe Mocha - Php160

While we were sipping our cups of coffee, the store's manager came to our table to ask how we liked the cafe's coffee. We told him we loved it and he proceeded to introduce us to the two master baristas who were on duty, Paul and Andy. We had a blast chatting with them, we were sharing stories about the different varieties and brands of coffee we've tried. Its so much fun when you get to chat with people who knows their coffee.

Master Barista Paul and Andy

Paul suggested that we try out the single origin Ethiopian beans that the store carries. Even if we already had 4 cups, we said yes and to bring it on. The beans were lightly roasted and was to be brewed using the Chemex.

Single Origin Ethiopian Coffee Beans

Using the Chemex

The Ethiopian coffee looks pale in color and it smelled and tasted herby fruity. It was like drinking a cup of tea, this reminded me of the excellent cup of Ethiopian coffee that we had in Craft Coffee. After trying this out, it made me appreciate the complexities of coffee more.

Single Origin Ethiopian Coffee - Php150

We didn't get to try out the dishes on the menu but we did try some snacks and de. The Bucky's Chunky Blond Brownie looked good but I felt that it was way past its shelf life. The brownie was already tough and dry.

Bucky's Blond Brownie

The Calamansi pie was a treat. Dense yet creamy and the play of the sweet and citrus sour flavors was spot on. I forgot to ask where they got this from, I'll definitely ask on the next visit.

Calamansi Pie - Php190

There was a small stainless heated food keeper on the counter. In it was little pieces of what looked like pastries. I asked what was inside and they told me it was Mushroom with Gruyere and Truffle Oil Bocaditos. Out of curiosity I got a piece to try it out. I took a bite and went blank for a couple of seconds, it was to die for!!! The pastry was so flaky and the tender shitake mushroom with gruyere filling smells of truffle oil. I quickly stood up and went directly to the counter to get more but unfortunately they ran out. What's more disappointing is that the mushroom bocaditos were also sold out on my 2nd visit.

Mushroom with Gruyere and Truffle Oil Bocaditos - Php65 / piece

It was not until I talked to my cousin ( during new year's eve dinner that I found out where the mushroom bocaditos is actually from. Turns out that the bocaditos comes from Baked by Anita which was a few blocks away from our place. They sell it in frozen packs and you have to baked it on your own.

Baked Bocaditos

Funny thing was the next day while looking for a place to dine in SM Megamall, something caught my eye and there it was Baked by Anita kiosk. The kiosk sells different baked goodies but of course I was there for the bocaditos. They had frozen bocaditos as well as already baked ones. I got to try out the Chicken variety and Baby Spinach filling but still my favorite was the Mushroom with Gruyere and Truffle Oil.

Baked by Anita
Address: 5th Floor SM Megamall Fashion Hall
Facebook Page:

I am so glad that Toby's Estate decided to put up shop in Manila because as of the moment they are one of the, if not the best place to have a great cup of coffee. PERIOD. I'm pretty sure that fellow coffee lovers who've tried it here will agree with me.

Toby's Estate
Address: 125 L.P. Leviste Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City
Tel.No.: 403 1752