Food Trip: Romulo’s

It should be obvious by now that I love to eat and I love Filipino food (of course! Love your own, right?). So when we were figuring out where to have dinner after a long day of meetings, I immediately voted for Romulo’s Cafe, over at Jupiter St., where Dencio’s used to be.
And based on the nice spread we had that night, I’d say it was a good vote.  

The place itself deserves kudos. In fact, one word I can think of to describe it is classy. Muted tones of black, white, and taupe greeted us when we entered the place, with black and white and sepia-print photos of Romulo hanging on the walls. 

Plus I really appreciated the high-ceiling and the general subdued atmosphere of the place. Noisy patrons are obviously not welcome here.
Loved the stencil-like patterns of the wallpaper and the refreshing jolt of color, courtesy of green potted plants which served as table tops.

The garden outside follows the same color scheme of the interiors, and I can imagine how romantic a dinner for two could be in that place.

The place has a second floor, although we didn’t venture anymore since a) we were hungry and b) we were just plain shy to ogle the place. Yes, I can be shy at times too. Hahaha!

Now, onto the food (sorry for the very long intro – it was my first time at Romulo’s and I really liked the place). Since we were a big group, we ordered quite a number of dishes – all the better for us too, so we can taste as many as possible. Hahaha.

Lola Virginia’s Chicken Relleno

The chicken relleno, was just ok. I am not a fan of relleno to begin with, but this one didn’t grind the chicken much – there were still whole chicken meat as far as I can tell, but the taste was nothing spectacular. Quite a big serving though and although I think it’s the most expensive chicken dish on the menu, the Php615 price tag was just right. But I don’t think I will order this if ever I come back to this place.
Boneless crispy pata

One dish I enjoyed was their crispy pata. Honestly, you can’t go wrong with crispy pata but I loved how they put the sauce right on top and grilled eggplants on the side. It’s nothing spectacular but the combination of textures was well played out (if you’re going to eat the pork and the side dish together anyway) and the presentation was nice.
Beef Caldereta with Cheese

Things started to perk up for me when I tasted the caldereta. I am a sucker for cheese (I can even eat an entire bar of cheddar cheese in one sitting) and I would just die when I eat dishes served with cheese. Plus, the meat was very tender and the sauce was just the right amount of spicy, salty and tangy. This one is something I would gladly order next time.
Moving on to the vegetable dishes – of which we had two – well, I can’t really say much. Again, I am not an avid fan of vegetables and I can barely tell which is which. I liked the laing although I have to say that I have tasted better.
Gising Gising

Laing with Adobo Flakes

Tito Greg’s Kare Kare

The kare-kare, was another low-performing dish for me. I didn’t really like the thick consistency of the sauce and I keep looking for a peanut aftertaste which I didn’t get. I’ve tasted better at some of our family reunions. And I somehow feel it was overpriced given that I didn’t see much meat.
Well, obviously this is rice. 😛

Crispy Hito

The clear winner for me, and upon survey of our group, was actually the unassuming hito. I mean, usually, hito tastes fishy but this one managed to be tasty without being fishy (I can’t believe I am rhyming in this post) and I loved the two kinds of sauces – a sour shrimp paste and the usual soy sauce with calamansi (or was it onion). Looking back, I find it rather ironic that the simplest dish became the biggest hit; I am quite torn whether that bodes well or not for the place.

And now dessert. Romulo’s has a wide cake selection as displayed on their cake bar but to be safe, we had the dome cake and mango tango plus the crispy suman and leche flan.
Lots of cake

Dome Cake

Crispy Suman sa Latik

Leche Flan

Mango Tango

Of the four, I am undecided between the dome cake and the crispy suman. I liked the dome cake because it wasn’t too sweet and it melted in my mouth but I liked the suman because I don’t like suman (rice cakes) in general, but I was able to finish off mine so that’s saying something. The suman wasn’t too sticky sweet, which has always been my complaint against its kind, and the syrup at the bottom of the “shot” glass containing the suman was a perfect foil to the sweet/salty suman. And the presentation didn’t hurt, either.

The mango cake was forgettable. In fact, I wouldn’t recommend it. And the leche flan was…different. It tasted like orange flavouring was spilled onto the leche flan mixture and it kind of put me off. All could think of was, where’s the leche in the flan? Plus, at Php 85, it was outrageously overpriced. And for me, one of the best leche flans would still have to be our friend Carli’s and this one didn’t even come close.

The Service
I usually don’t make much fuss on service or devote a section of my post to it but I was rather disturbed when I learned that the waiters got reprimanded just a few minutes before I got there, in full view of the patrons. Can’t it be done in the privacy of one’s office? And while I know the place was jampacked, I couldn’t help but notice that all their waiters seemed too hurried, like someone was always chasing them. 
 
Anyway, the server assigned to our table was nice enough so I really shouldn’t complain. 
The Verdict
Honestly, I think the place is over-hyped on the blogosphere. I loved the place (literally), what with its sleek design reminding me of a museum. But the food was nothing to rave about. There were some hits (I am salivating just thinking of the hito) but overall, the food was just average. And coming from a family with great cooks, average just won’t cut it. Price is okay though, in the same range as what you would spend in other restos in the metro.
Will I come back? Yes. I would love to explore their menu. Who knows? I might find another gem somewhere on their menu,
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The World According to Joey: The Three Little Kittens

I took the day off last Friday to do some mommy duties – attend Joey’s oral interpretation contest. I missed Joey’s first field trip a few weeks before so I didn’t really want to miss this one.

Joey had to recite The Three Little Kittens so we got him a black shirt and leggings (but don’t tell Joey we got it from the girls’ section) and some blue mittens which he loved so much and wouldn’t take off. Funny how when he was a baby, he never wore mittens – he’d shrug them off, even when he was an hours-old baby. I had wanted to get him some really nice cat costume but we couldn’t find one so I just settled for drawing some whiskers on his face.
I think the make up turned out okay, given that I hardly even know how to put make up on myself. 😛

Anyway, I was quite shocked to find out that he had to recite two poems (his school diary indicated only one, and we were given only the copy of The Three Little Kittens) but turns out Joey knew the 2nd poem even better. He fumbled one line of the first poem (I think he got distracted with wringing off the mittens) but got through clear on the other lines and the 2nd poem.
So no, he didn’t win. And I am whacking my head for not getting that leopard costume (some of his classmates showed up as leopards and one even won). Should have gotten him that costume. The little boybie was so sad he didn’t get a shiny medal but what can I do? He really did fumble one line, although I can’t blame him, especially since he must have been feeling sick already (he was burning with 38.6 fever when we got home) and had been absent for a total of five days the past two weeks leading up to the contest.
And besides, I never won a medal for performing back in my student days (except as part of my class or as a group), so maybe he took after me. 😀

Daily Fashion: Lace, Stripes and Butterflies

Whew. Such a long time with no fashion or beauty updates. Anyway, better start making up for it in time for my favourite season (yeah, as if we have so many I can choose from; and I like the cold season too, haha!).
Anyway, I’ve been dying to get my hands on anything from the Missoni for Target line launched last year (the same collaboration that caused Target’s website to crash due to customer traffic). But since we are unfortunately nowhere near a Target store and I practically had no chance of getting anything online, I had quite resigned myself to the possibility that I might never get anything.
Until I came across this tumbler page. And what do you know? There were some Missoni items there and the minute I saw one of the items that about my size, I just knew I had to have it.

My new babies! I was so excited when the package arrived last Friday.

Since it was going to be a long day of running all over the Metro today, I decided to put on my newest favourite dress, which also arrived last Friday. Perfectly comfortable yet dressy enough so I don’t look like a slouch even though I feel like one.

Lace dress, H&M; belt, Landmark; earrings from India; necklace, bangle, ring, Accessorize; bag, from a bazaar seven years ago!

I put touches of color through my shoes and my bright pink butterfly necklace.
Pardon my ugly feet. They may not be pretty but I was born with them, and therefore stuck with them for the rest of my life, and I do love them dearly.

Bright pink!

 

I think I’m all set for summer. What do you think?

Food Trip: Top of the Citi Take Two

I’ve been dying to try Top of the Citi a second time since my first wasn’t such a success (I didn’t like the food very much) and I just couldn’t reconcile this with all the hype about this place. Fortunately, I got my chance soon enough the other day.
Started the day with a hefty serving of clubhouse sandwiches – good enough but nothing spectacular. Then again, I can’t really figure out what would make clubhouse sandwiches spectacular; it’s a pretty standard fare. Oh, and I got the lemon grass tea to go with my sandwich. I am really loving lemon grass. I wish more restos would have this.

For lunch, I ordered their special set menu for that day. The menu changes every day so if you are planning to go there, better call and check. Another suggestion is to go their during lunch – their lunch set menu is quite manageable, price-wise, at around Php800++ per person but their dinner set menu is another thing. Ala-carte would easily cost you Php2,000 just to get a decent five course meal. 
seared tuna salad with seaweed and vinaigrette dressing
Now, back to my lunch. I must say I was really won over this time around. I loved the taste of the tuna /vinaigrette dressing/cheese on my salad; that slightly burnt fishy taste of the tuna and seaweed mixed with the salty cheese and sour dressing was enough to keep my taste buds busy. I don’t usually like salads (again, I must profess my love for Sonya’s) but I can imagine myself eating this one frequently.
pumpkin soup

I got the pumpkin soup with my meal. Nothing to say here; it was just okay. I still prefer the pumpkin soup over at Albergus. 
Next up – main course. Last time I ate here, I got the lamb curry. This time, I got the lamb steak which was infinitely better than the curry. The meat was very tender (think almost melts in your mouth) and flavoured right down to the tiniest morsel. I liked it so much I polished it off in less than ten minutes.

Lamb steak

 

Given that I have pretty much enjoyed my lunch up to this point, I was almost worried that dessert might disappoint me, like it did me last time. Trust, I don’t think I will ever suffer a craving for their raspberry sorbet. This time, the dessert included in the set menu was cookies and cream ice cream – one of my favourite variants of ice cream ever. 
Cookies and Cream
And what do you know? I think it was one of the better cookies and cream ice cream I have tasted. I never thought I’d say this but I probably liked it so much because it didn’t use Oreo (I love Oreo but I guess sometimes, it doesn’t hurt to eat something else on your ice cream) – the cookies were crisp and sweet/salty and it played well against the milky texture of the cream itself. Loved it.
So what’s my verdict? Well, I guess Top of the Citi is one of those hit/miss places. Sometimes they get things right, sometimes they don’t. My second time was a pleasant dining experience and my tummy can attest to that. But if I wouldn’t experiment too much on what to order – if I do come back, I think I would stick with what is popular with their customers or what I liked based on my two visits. 
*Sorry for the crappy photos. I forgot to bring my digicam and had to resort to using my not so techie Nokia.

V Day 2012

This year is perhaps one of the most memorable I’ve had for a couple of reasons (in no particular order, hehe):

  • Hubby surprised me with a bouquet of roses delivered to the office (although I actually got a hint yesterday when he asked me what floor my office was at the tower; I just didn’t point it out to him then coz I didn’t want to spoil the mood, hehe). What’s sweet about this is that this is the first time in six years that he gave me flowers (the last one was for my birthday back in 2006; he was feeling guilty coz he was on vacation in the US).
flowers from the hubby and a card from the boybie
  • Joey gave us a Valentine’s Day card. Even though he probably just copied it from the board, this is still the best card EVER. And his hugs and kisses this morning are undoubtedly one of the best presents I can wish for. 

  • Hubby and I decided to join the bandwagon and eat out. No, it wasn’t planned. We just got hungry after the traffic going home so we decided to try the newly-opened Gram’s Diner at the Fort.

Now, I’ve always been a fan of Gram’s Diner but this was many years ago; I’ve never been to Gram’s since they closed the Rockwell branch (the nearest branch I know of is at SM MOA and I’m too lazy to go there). I can’t even remember the menu (that long!) but I think they used to offer more choices. Anyway, the food was as good as I remember it; hubby and I finished off our salad and roast beef. A feat considering that we usually don’t eat an entire order of salad (and now you’re probably gonna ask me why we order it in the first place; I don’t know).  I like the cozy set-up of Gram’s (like Mr. Jones’ at Greenbelt and Mile-Hi Diner at Burgos Circle) – laid-back and yet not too casual like a fast food.

forgot the name – chicken/bacon salad ? – but they serve only one kind of salad so there. haha.

roast beef. order is big enough for two, just add extra rice. 🙂

And since it’s relatively new (I think it opened just a few weeks ago) and located in a not so convenient spot (for commuters, at least; it’s near the MC Home Depot, beside the drive-thru Starbucks), it’s not crowded so your time is not wasted.

Oh, and to cap it all off, I am munching gummy bears while reading a new book. 😀

I’m so OC – in case you didn’t notice, I arranged the gummy bears based on the colors of the rainbow, then backwards, then all white (to signify presence of all colors; but the truth is, I ran out of the other colors). 😛

The World According to Joey: 020912


Joey will be celebrating his 5th birthday this month. One lazy weekend as we were playing, I told him he’s going to be a year older.
Joey at two months old.
Joey: I’ll still love you mom, even when I’m five.
Me: How about when you’re six?
Joey: I’ll still love you when I’m six. Even when I’m a grown up.
Me: (quiet)
Joey: I’ll still do anything for my mommy even when I grow up.
Me: (quiet… teary-eyed)

At nine months
Kids… sometimes, I don’t want him to grow up. I wonder if he’ll still be as sweet when he’s much bigger. Sometimes I think I’m missing too much of his formative years and whenever I come home, I just want to hug him tightly.
*****
Hubby and I went home late the other night, tired and hungry, only to find out that the maid did not prepare any dinner for us. Rather than cook, we decided to just eat out.
Hubby: Joey, mommy and daddy will just go out to eat. You stay here with your ate.
Joey: But I love you that’s why I want to go with you. Because I want to be with you.
Me (to hubby): Ok, try finding your way out of that one.
In the end, Joey ended up joining us. I mean, how could we have possibly said no to him?
*****
The little brat sleeps with me and the hubby at night on our queen-sized bed. Before, it was a cozy fit but given that the little brat has been growing, Ipe and I have been relegated to hugging the walls (for my part) and edges of the bed (on hubby’s part) just so we can all fit. At times, one of us would end up on the couch just to get a decent sleep.
After a week of hubby and me alternating on the couch, I asked Joey if he can sleep in his own room (where we have already installed a double bed all in Cars-inspired sheets a year ago).
Me: Joey, do you think you can sleep here on your own? Ate will be using the other bed beside you (Joey’s bed has a pull out).
Joey: But I want to sleep beside my mommy.
Me: (turning a tearful eye to hubby)
Ipe: Fine. (He ends up on the couch).
Well, what can I say? Joey really knows what strings to pull to get us to say yes.
*****
As a continuation of our discussion on sleeping arrangements, hubby was reprimanding the little brat for kicking me all over during the night.
Ipe: Joey, stop kicking mommy when you sleep. You’re hurting her. I don’t want to lose my mommy!
Joey: (matter of factly) You mean your wife.

The World According to Joey: Cow, Angry and Panda

Back when cow still had a crown, two nostrils and full limbs, and Joey was, well, a baby
Joey has been quite preoccupied with his Angry Bird stuffed toy, given to him last Christmas by his ninong Jere. If you’ve been avid fans of Joey, you all know Cow as well, his stuffed toy since he was a tiny two-month old baby. I was wondering how Angry (as Joey calls him) fits in so I ask Joey a month after Angry joined his “famlly.”

Me: Joey, is Cow your baby?
Joey: Yes, I’m Cow’s daddy.
Me: How about Angry? Is he Cow’s brother?
Joey: No, they’re just friends. Cow’s my baby.
Cow, at four years old, in our crudely-made shirt
Fast forward to a month after, I was playing with Joey and his two stuffed toy.
Joey: Mom, Angry is Cow’s brother.
Me: So you’re their daddy?
Joey: Yes. They’re my babies. (Seems Angry has levelled up).
Two weeks ago, my officemate JR gave me a panda stuffed toy which I found too cute to leave at the office, so I brought it home to show Joey.
Me: Joey, look! I have Panda to play with Cow and Angry. You can have him if you want.
Joey: (ignores Panda) No, I don’t like Panda. You can have him. I want you to have him.
And same with Angry, I found out that Panda is now the mommy of Joey’s two little “babies.” Yes, we figured out Panda was actually a girl – she had pink ribbons and a “love” sign written on her left foot.
Joey growing family.

Big 3-0

I had a really fun time last Friday with my P&G friends as we celebrated my good friend Leah’s milestone 30th birthday. Eight hours of work + eight hours of fun! = happy campers! The birthday girl told us the dress code was something sparkly, shiny or glittery so that doubled the fun for me as you all know how much I love my sequins, crystals and beads. 🙂
First was dinner at Lusso where we surprised the birthday girl with a Prada cake:

Yey! We made the birthday girl forget WD3 so mission accomplished!

I just have to say I loved the food, the ambience and the impeccable service – it made us all feel pampered. I must make a mental note to come back here soon with the hubby.
We got the cake from Bake Happy. Since we weren’t really a creative bunch, we just told Marie that we wanted a round cake ala Devil Wears Prada. And voila! I can’t believe how pretty the cake turned out; in fact, everyone who saw it just went “AWWW.” And the cake itself did not disappoint – we got the red velvet flavour (we insisted that it was Leah’s favourite flavour, someting she never noticed before, but she orders a lot of red velvet flavoured-thingies) and it tasted good. We were kinda prepared to accept a cake that only looks good but doesn’t deliver on the taste but this one was a pleasant surprise. And everything was edible too! Well, except for the candle.
Yes, everything’s edible.

Look! Glittery ribbons on the red shoes! I just die looking at this.
Then it was drinks until morning at Skye Lounge, trying our best to finish the Absolut that came with our table. We talked, laughed and drank to our hearts’ content. Good times with good friends. We didn’t even notice the time, except that our feet were killing us after two or three hours of standing.
Too bad we were no match for the Absolut – we only finished half the bottle. A good thing that they let you leave the bottle and finish it some other time, provided you finish it all off within thirty days. So yeah, I guess we’ll be back here within the month.
Sharing the last pair of gambas

Happy birthday to my Pancake House/ranting session buddy and neighbour! Cheers to many more birthdays!
*You can get your custom cake from Bake Happy through Facebook or visit http://bakehappy.blogspot.com/.