Category Archives: An Ode to Food
Food. ‘nuf said.
There’s a new tea shop in town and I was lucky enough to have passed by this evening to check it out before heading home.
Toptea has just opened its doors to all Davaoeños today (August 4, 2013) situated at F. Torres St., Davao City. It offers a variety of drinks for tea and coffee lovers – and even juice lovers – alike. Their drinks come in different sizes ranging from small, medium, to large. Prices were quite affordable too. So whether you just want to give it a try or you want to have your fill of your preferred drink, there’s a size that fits you anytime of the day.
One of the store representative (not sure what post he held) was chatty enough to give a brief background of Toptea. According to him, what sets Toptea apart is that they use authentic brewed tea as base for their tea drinks, and fruit nectar for their fruit drinks instead of powdered mixtures. Currently, they have two branches nationwide. One in Quezon City, and the other is here in Davao. Toptea is also a sister company of Bioessence (one well-known spas here in Davao).
As part of their promo, drinks were on a “Buy 1 Take 1” deal. So aside from ordering my milk tea, I was able to choose another drink for free. Another store representative said that I could choose another beverage not just another milk tea. So I got a fruit juice for my cousin as well. While waiting for my drinks to-go, said store representative gave me a special treat: a Toptea keychain (yey!). I’m guessing it’s for a limited time offer only. So if you’re into milk teas, fruit juices, and trying out new places – as well as freebies and limited edition collectibles – then better head out for Toptea!
I’m no connoisseur of beverages, but here’s my two cents worth on the drinks I ordered. For the milk tea, I could distinctly taste the brewed tea which mixed well together with the milk and the flavor I chose. The taste was strong and yet it provided the right tinge of oomph that you’ll savor while drinking. As for the fruit tea, the tangy taste that the representative disclosed was evident with just the initial sip of the drink.
On a personal note, I am quite happy that the staff was able to spell my name correctly (without me having to spell it out for them). Plus points!!! Looking forward to hanging out with my friends there next week!
So if you’re eager to try something out with your friends, head on down to TOPtea – where every tea is a different brew. They’re open daily until 11:00PM.
Door #5, F. Torres St., Davao City just in front of Fairlanes Bowling Alley.
Telephone No. 282-4503
Check their Facebook page here.
If each birthday cake were an age marker, I think I’d have added a good 16 years worth of cake during my birthday week(end).
I’m not used to holding parties or any celebration of my birth for that matter especially during my working years. The hassle in preparation plus finding a perfect mix for a celebration was always too restricting fo me. I’ve gotten used to people giving hints on party details. Even at home, bigtime celebrations were a thing of the past.
Just imagine my pleasure when a day before my birthday (since August 11 was a Saturday) I prepared a small serving of food for my colleagues when they whipped out their surprise for me.
But aside from the surprise cake and other treats, my Grade Level colleagues gave such a beautiful prayer for me.
Really quite refreshing to be in an environment that’s very positive and selfless.
My celebration continued on the date of my birth itself. We only had one class in the morning and the rest of the day was given to me as a gift (so to speak). I decided to introduce some of my colleagues to Valhall Bar and Deli for cold cuts and other dishes.
When I got home, I found this… my second surprise birthday cake courtesy of my mom. Plus my most favorite Baked Macaroni from Kimbell’s (my childhood favorite baked macaroni baker.
Since Mom prepared for dessert, I opted to invite my #DavaoRusher friends (including my bff) to celebrate with me at home. And as luck would have it, I got my third cake surprise in likes of Red Ribbon’s Mocha Roll. How I LOVE mocha!
And to culminate my weekend birthday surprise, Mom ordered chocolate cake as a “make-up” surprise for all the years wherein she never got to do this. Expecting one piece of cake to bring to my workplace, she got her own surprise when her friend prepared a dozen and one mini cakes for me.
I know it’s a month late in posting. But I felt the need to really post this. Thank you for everyone who made this year’s birthday a very memorable one. The change in my life for the past few months have been such a whirlwind of experience and a rollercoaster of emotions. In all my years of working in an industrial setting, it is only through my current job that have experienced being treated exceptionally.
I wish I could have shared it with friends who were far away and loved ones who’ve gone ahead. Nevertheless, thank you for the greetings and memories I will always cherish.
If each birthday cake were indeed markers of age, then I wouldn’t mind getting thousands of cakes if it meant that I am loved.
Thank you everyone!
There’s a new (relatively) place for me that I’m enjoying as a snack place. ICE GIANTS! It has been operating for a few years in the city but it was only this month that I was able to try out the place (for a couple of times). I wasn’t able to try it out when I was in Manila during 2006 – 2007. But that’s okay. The good thing is I get to experience it in my own hometown.
So I’m sharing with you a couple of pictures I took on the orders I made:
Can I just say that I LOVE their ice creations and their food in general! I like the fact that I can share my platter of tortillas with my friends without feeling that everyone won’t get their fill. Their halo-halo is just divine! I long to create a perfectly iced halo-halo for my own business. One that one come close to their servings! Their berry blast specialty was a bit too sweet for me but, if shared with someone, it would be both economical and beneficial. The hungarian sausage was what I expected. Fully loaded and very hot (for my tastebuds that is).
What I love about Ice Giants is that it’s an ice cream parlor that you and your family and friends could go to and hang out and enjoy the good food. I am especially looking forward to trying out their 3 kilo ice concoctions!
There are currently 3 Ice Giants Branches here in Davao City. One in Damosa IT Park; the second one is at Sta. Ana Ave. (along Davao Central High School); and the third branch is at Quimpo Boulevard highway (along the intersection of Q. Boulevard and Sandawa).
I should have posted this last week but I didn’t have any internet connection. So I’m making this tribute post to my only Mom especially since it’s her birthday today – April 7!
Since it’s Black Saturday today and she’ll be attending a vigil tonight, chances are the celebration would be held tomorrow.
Anyway, Mom and I have been in an eat-out frenzy from March 25 – March 30. Initially we went out just to grab a couple of supplies for our new ice craze variations and snack foods when I asked my mom to have our lunch at Don Beppe. An Italian restaurant located at The Peak in Gaisano Mall of Davao.
Honestly, mom and I felt a bit out of place… If my dad was there, everything else would be just fine. Dad was such a personality that he could feel comfortable anywhere. Goes to show where I really take from. Nonetheless, their menu was quite daunting (more like the prices) so considering our budget, we opted for classic dishes with the Don Beppe twist. I ordered grilled steak, and mom got the tuna… something. I forgot. LOL.
Since they had free wifi, I got to check in on Foursquare then was able to go on Facetime with my aunt in Japan (teasing her with our food).
Just to humor my mom, I took a couple of her pictures at The Peak.
Our next date was for dinner at the most well-known restaurant in the Philippines… JOLLIBEE!!!
For 2 straight nights, mom and I had dinner at Jollibee. And yes, we still annoyed my teased my aunt about it. Mom was constantly craving for their Crispy Bangus (Milkfish) value meal. Plus, she finally got a taste of their new summer serving: Milo Mix-ins.
Our last stop for the week was last Friday’s dinner at SUMOSAM. A new Japanese restaurant at Abreeza Mall.
Again, I felt out of place. It would have been nice if dad was there.
So I ordered our food. A tonkatsu for me, and a Salmon dish for my mom. I wasn’t sure if they had any silverware for us to use but glancing around at the other customers, they were all using chopsticks. Thus… mom and I had no choice… chopsticks it is. Dinner was fun and stressful. Fun and stressful because mom kept laughing when I told her we won’t be returning there (chopsticks were such a challenge!!!). And when I was on my last spoon err… stick, she noticed that the customers eyeing us earlier on the other table before us were using spoon and fork. ARGH!! Talk about late news flash! Nevertheless, it was fun and a very fulfilling meal.
So that’s it for now! I wonder where we will be celebrating tomorrow? Hmm… I better search for other places to go to. Suggestions anyone?
Remember my Ice Craze business? Well, I hardly expected that we’d get a lot of customers. But for the past few months in operations, we were able to have a small following of students until the end of the school year.
Now that summer is here, another challenge is being presented to my small business. With students on their summer break, only our neighbors and friends come by to order. But it’s okay. At least I’ll have more time to improve what we will be offering.
Speaking of which, as part of our summer treat variations, I’m offering (per order only) Halo-halo and Mais con Hielo (both are specialties in our country). I’ve already practiced making halo-halo (which I seem to have gotten it right) but I still need to improve on my mais con hielo.
In addition, I’m practicing making flying saucers (an old school favorite of mine). It’s a sandwich in a burger bun flattened in a hamburger toaster. Hopefully it makes the cut on the customers!!
So that’s it for the moment! I’m also planning on making snow cones, but I don’t know how to make them. Research mode on!
Just out of the blue, I invited a friend of mine to accompany me in trying out some delicacies in Riley Simon Grilled Burger and Ribs.
I first saw an ad about it (more like a photo of a local newspaper featuring this diner) in Facebook by a friend. Judging from its caption, it was either her friend’s business or their family business. Anyway, I wasn’t too eager to try it out yet (diet mode: on). I didn’t even catch the name of the place then. However, when one of my rusher friends tweeted that we try out Riley Simon’s soon, I decided to check it out for myself first.
So last Friday, we headed out to the intersection of V. Mapa and Mabini St. for a first-hand experience. The place wasn’t too crowded yet when we arrived and the owners were very friendly in welcoming guests. And I was right! A family-owned business! I saw my high school senior year classmate busily going from the kitchen to the counter in catering to orders. I also saw a younger year schoolmate taking the reigns by the counter.
Not to call to much attention and bother them, we took our seats and ordered dinner. One RS#7 (Grilled Round Burger with Tomato, Lettuce, Cucumber, Cheese, Mayonnaise & Caramelized Onion) and the RS Rib#2 (1/4 kg Grilled Pork Ribs with Rice).
After waiting a couple of minutes for our orders to arrived, I tried checking for a WiFi signal since they didn’t post any signs in having a connection. And as luck would have it, I was in a WiFi hotspot! Not sure though if it were their own. LOL.
It didn’t take too long for the food to arrive. The RS#7 was the first to be served. It was my first time to order a “giant” burger. And honestly, I was wondering how I could finish it off. Luckily, my friend was willing to help me in eating it.
The burger buns were a bit too thick for me. But I guess it was to balance out all the toppings (fillings). All in all, the food was great! The ambiance was quite already (just don’t get caught in the dinner crowd rush). But with the hospitable owners and crews, you’d never feel unattended.
So congratulations to Davao, for having a new flavor added to what the city can offer!
By the way, Riley Simon is open everyday from 10AM to 10PM.
For fear of suffering pneumonia, I opted to take time off from my cycling. Weather has been crazy in our part of the country alternating from cool mornings, hot noon, rainy afternoons, and then humid-rainy evenings. Not healthy. I’m still suffering from cough and colds so I better not push my health limit. Mom would have a field day if I got sicker.
When a door closes, a window opens
Seeing that my cycling chronicles has been temporarily been put on hold (for the time being), I took this window of opportunity to jumpstart my planned business… ICE SCRAMBLE.
My idea of the Ice Scramble, was hazy, and uncertain. Too “streetly” to be ever taken seriously as a business venture especially when my co-worker, Ate Ebang, brought to the office the Iskrambol (street work for Ice Scramble) she bought from her son’s school. So when my other officemate (Joy) mentioned owning her own Ice Scramble business, I didn’t really get interested. Even when she came by our house and seeing that our area was a prime spot (with schools just nearby) and talked with my mom, I was only half-heartedly listening, relying on my mom to pick up the details and shoulder the capital for expenses.
However, last January 21, 2012, Joy was hired by Ate Ebang to serve her Ice Scramble to the Christening Celebration of her daughter (my newest godchild) thus having a chance to taste her ice creations. It was the ignition that I needed to commit to this venture. My own ICE CRAZE!
Taking a few notes on Joy’s tips and after careful consideration, I finally invested on an ice machine to get my business started. Ordering one machine online (with positive reviews on the item and the reliability of the seller), I was eager for its arrival last Saturday. After the initial terror of the late delivery, my mind was eased once I got steady communication with the courier informing me that the delivery was running a little late and that It’ll arrive. And it did! Whew! Thankfully Elmer was still around that time and he bought the machine for me in his motorcycle (since I was riding my back to work then and I was wondering: How would I be able to carry it?!).
Time for the ingredients.
Sunday afternoon, I went out to look for the needed equipment and ingredients/toppings to properly organize and set everything in order. For the main ingredient though, I had to seek help from Joy. And after my initial labour in buying the goods (containers, coolers, tools, toppings), I was eager to learn and get the ball rolling.
Joy came by Monday evening to “tutor” us in making ICE SCRAMBLE. Both me and my mom were AMAZED as to how easy it was to prepare and the results were appealing, appetizing, and GREAT! The initial taste test was a success! Mom was giddy with excitement that it seemed like a game… but with earnings. The next morning, I prepared a fresh batch to have it taste tested by some of our close neighbours. Let’s just say that even if students wouldn’t pick up our spot, we still wouldn’t be missing out on customers.
We still haven’t decided on our price ranges so I’m still scouting our competitors and see how we fare.
The Window opens even more
One of our neighbours who taste-tested (my godmother), booked our small business on Friday for the Centrum – a science fair-like place (I think) that was having an event. What better way to market our product! Mom’s mixed with excitement and dread though. After all, she’s still getting the hang off the preparations and customer service issues. But then again, mom’s resilient. And hopefully though, her hired help can come along. Too bad that I couldn’t go though.
Eventually, there’ll be more iced delicacies we’ll be able to prepare. I’m considering the Filipino delicacy Halo-halo, Mais con Hielo, and Snow Cones (still need to find out how this is made).
The possibilities look promising! But for now, I’ll take it slow. At least we’re generating income while having fun in our trial run! One of the best things I got from this? Mom wouldn’t be TOO bored with her retirement.
Here’s a sneak preview of my first tarpaulin ad.
Last Monday, Aya caught my attention while talking about burgers – particularly GIANT burgers in Davao City. So he showed me a few photos of burgers served in the city that he was interested in trying out – Gino’s Burgers.
After viewing the photos and checking out their Facebook page and a few other blog reviews here and there while posting of mouth-watering photos and appetizing reviews, I was determined to check it out within the week. Luckily enough, a friend of mine invited me for a meet up that night so what better way to explore a new place than to bring along a friend.
Geared with the photo of the map I took, off we went and walked along Lapu-lapu St. With my basic knowledge of the area, it wasn’t so difficult to find it. After all, it was situated almost across the house of my former classmate.
The place had less of a diner feel but more of a carenderia atmosphere that served burgers and other sidings related to burgers. But for a relatively small space, the place was full of customers. I even noticed a few college students from my school who went there. I even noticed the owner (I remember him from one of the photos I saw) who was there assisting his staff with the orders. Nice.
Let’s proceed to our orders. My friend ordered a regular burger and I was debating on having the Baconmush Burger or the Hawaiian Burger. My craving for a more “tropical” dish won so Hawaiian for me and a serving of regular fries (which I shared of course!). I think we waited for about 5 to 10 minutes before our orders arrived. While waiting for our burgers to be charcoal grilled, I noticed a few patrons who came in to pick up their orders and others patiently waited for a table to free up. With the steady flow of the crowd, I was really eager and curious with the taste of their burgers especially since their sinages say that they never freeze their patties.
Here’s the photo-ops of our orders:
The first bite was the crucial one. And with that first bite, a gastronomic symphony started playing at the back of my mind. Delicious! The patty was just too juicy not take a moment to savor the taste in your mouth. And the burger buns were really soft and perfect for the grilled juiciness of the patty.
I don’t think I have the right words to describe the taste test I did that night. Goes to show that I need to brush up on my adjectives. LOL. But seriously, if you’re into burgers and would like to try something new, I highly recommend Gino’s Burgers. And if you want to try ginormous burgers (for free), you can join in on their eating contests every Saturday from 2 – 4PM. If you are able eat one GIANT burger in 3 minutes, you get it for free. Up for the challenge? Here’s how:
How to get to Gino’s Burgers:
Yu Uy Tong Building
Lapu-lapu St. near cor. Sobrecary St.
Agdao, Davao City
Tel. No. (082) 2262659
By the way, I seem to be deviating on my usual Food Trip Fridays so I’m short-naming my post titles into “Food Trip” instead.
Happy eating everyone! 🙂
In my many solo walks around the city, I’ve passed by Trellis ‘n Vines but never got the chance to try out their cuisine. So after watching the movie last Saturday night, I was rearing to have dinner at a new place. So off I went to Araullo St. corner Mabini St.
As I understand, they have a different branch at Matina. The branch I visited, however, was located a bit closer to home. Quaint was the word that came to my mind upon the entrance. There was a certain personality with the presence of a porch-style entry that seemed to beckon people into checking out the place.
The interior was quite intimate. If you plan on hanging out with a couple of your closest friends or go out on a date, this would be a perfect setting for that.
I had fun browsing over their menu. If you didn’t have a specific order in mind, you’d be overwhelmed with their choices from appetizers to salads, soups, main dishes (your selection of pork, chicken, seafoods, and beef).
Being keen on trying the specialty of the house, I gave in to the waitress’s suggestion in ordering their Baby Back Ribs. Glad that I brought along a friend, the ginormous serving would have smothered me and I doubt I could finish it off on my own. For a reasonable price, one serving would already be enough for 3 persons. Just order extra rice.
Their ribs had a certain “wine-y” flavor (or perhaps it was the sauce) that I can’t find the exact words to describe it. Nonetheless, it was delicious! Maybe next time I’ll be able to get there earlier than just less than an hour from their closing time.
For a bird’s eye view of their location:
After dinner, I decided to take a relatively long walk home from Trellis. The general area alongside F. Torres St. was thriving with people. In addition, micro restaurant business were slowly paving their way in establishing themselves along the vicinity. So another stopover I made was to try out BANANA BERRY.
Banana Berry is situated outside Bigby’s along Metro LifesStyle Center F. Torres St. BB offers a wide variety of cold and hot drinks and blends, pastries, and Yogurt! Still have to clarify though if they’re open 24 hours.
I opted to try out their yogurt since I was still full from dinner.
It was the first time I tasted flavored yogurt that you could still taste the pulp of your chosen flavor. Quite different from what I’ve been used to tasting. But delicious yogurt nonetheless. I’m looking forward to hanging out here some time soon to really feel the whole place al fresco.
One of my bff (Toffee) was in town during the last weekend of September. This vacation was a spur-of-the-moment plan a few months back. Good thing she was able to get a seat sale from Cebu Pacific. So did one of her colleagues.
Anyway, a week before her arrival, I was already thinking what our plans would be for bff Rai’s birthday. But since Rai “initially” planned celebrating her day with her family (since it was a Sunday), I didn’t press the issue anymore. Instead, we decided to push through with our swimming adventure at Villa de Mercedes with her older sis MM, and first-time-in-Davao visitor Nina.
For a brief overview of my weekend, I’m marking it in days (sharing a few photos as well):
Friday (September 30, 2011)
Aya [Charles] and I was already set to go out with a couple of our workmates for a little RnR and get-together. Since Toffee was around, I asked her to join us. The videoke session with the guys was a FUN experience. Getting to see their more “rowdy” side made it more fun to get to know them altogether. I was even able to prod one of our officemates (Joy) to catch up with us. And I made a new discovery! Joy can sure carry out a tune!. Note to self: Must volunteer her for the Christmas party program. LOL.
After the 3 or 4 hours of singing, we decided to call it a night (since Aya and I still had an inventory to attend to the next day. So we said goodbye to our colleagues. So that left the 3 (aya, achi, and me) of us. Feeling a bit uppity, I asked them to eat Durian. (Which I ended up eating all to myself! Thank you aya for finishing of the LAST fruit for me).
Saturday (October 1, 2011)
Inventory day. Imagine sleeping only for a couple of hours then waking up to get to the office early. Lucky for aya, we just had to pick him up along the way to the farm. Sheesh! Talk about ZOMBIE-MODE. LOL. So off we went to our work. Good thing we finished early. I could catch a few Zzz’s before heading off to our basketball game that night. UNFORTUNATELY, my brain had other plans. I couldn’t even get a nap. So instead of sleeping, I decided to meet up with achi instead at the mall. Figured since she’d be watching my game, better go there together. And what luck! Raisa was also coming along.
After purchasing food to eat, we took a taxi to Woodridge so I could prep up. Along the way, we were finally able to convince the birthday girl to come with us the next day. Since her family celebration was for lunch, it left plenty of time to spare in the afternoon. And as an added bonus? Our godsons got to have permission to come along. Perfect!
I love having my bffs there during my games. I get to have a boost of confidence in playing. Though at times I can’t concentrate. Too much publicity. LOL. But I’m truly happy they’re there.
Although we lost. I’m happy I was able to score a couple of 3 pointers. (Show-off!) My lack of sleep was slowly seeping in during the game. And the lack of players wasn’t helping though. Anyway, winning (or losing) didn’t matter. I was just glad I could sweat off a couple of pounds from my system every once in a while. Here’s to next year’s league! 🙂
Up next, dinner. Since we all ate a heavy late afternoon snacks, we skipped the dinner plans at Lyndon’s and went off to Barrio Bistro to grab their buy 1 take 1 pizza instead. If you remember, I posted about Barrio Bistro a few weeks ago. Check it out here. So off we went! We ordered their All Cheese Pizza and another Pizza (I forgot what it was called) and waited for it to be served while catching up with each other’s life. In addition, we had a small “exchange gift” moment too.
Sunday (October 2, 2011):
BFF Raisa’s birthday!!! Villa de Mercedes Swimming day!!!
Being the “planner” of the group, I still had one main problem for our activity. Transportation.
Just a little sidenote and background about Villa de Mercedes. VDM is an exclusive subdivision located at Catigan, Toril 585 ft. above sea level. When I say exclusive, I mean ELITE. The homeowners don’t just allow walk-in guests and use their clubhouse… particularly their infinity pool. That’s what discovered upon visiting VDM the first time. I was looking for a venue for our Christmas party when I remember VDM (courtesy of my former classmate who posted a few of her photos here. I didn’t get her words then when she said you needed an agent to get in). So when I was at their coffee shop, the barista explained that you needed to be a homeowner, or invited by one, OR have an agent to “sponsor” your visit. She then pointed me a brochure postcard indicating their “Agent For the Day” whom I could contact to be invited.
So flash forward. I already coordinated with the agent a few days ago but transportation was a last-minute problem. So when I informed the agent just to confirm our invite, she called me up to ask for other details. When we got to the point about the transportation (and lack thereof), she offered to drive my group instead. Yes! Problem solved! After meeting up with my bffs, my godsons, and meeting achi’s officemate Nina, we waited for Ms. Agent to pick us up.
The ride was quite pleasant and Ms. Agent was very open in sharing about Villa de Mercedes. Acting out as a tour guide, she happily gave information about each subdivision phase, from the main entrance… to the lots… the features… the amenities… and the overall briefing of its “ELITE-ness”. Impressive!
Finally, we were dropped off at the coffee shop to take a breathtaking view of the pool. After the final words, we went off to change and finally try out their ionized pool.
[For more information about Villa de Mercedes, I saw this site to share with you.]
After having our fill of swimming, we were ready to go and have dinner. Ms. Malou toured as to their “Kubo” area wherein visitors could eat the foods we brought along (since bringing in of foods at the clubhouse and pool area was prohibited). Good thing our godsons brought snacks for us to share with and munch on.
We did our perfunctory jumpshot (though I only posted mine. LOL) So Ms. Malou dropped us of at SM. Achi bought a couple of treats to bring back to Manila which we dropped off at their house then we went to…. LYNDON’S (remember by blog about them here?) with ate MM.
Can I just say that the reaction of Nina was priceless when she took that first forkful of spareribs! Utter bliss!
Next stop? Eating durian! However, we got a BIT sidetracked when we passed by Margie’s Bakeshop and remembered we didn’t have a cake for the birthday girl. So here it is!
To cap the day off (well… for me though since the four other girls were going to have a massage after), we went off to FINALLY have our Durian. Durian is one of the fruit specialties in Davao. With a smell like hell (so they say. Personally, I find the smell appetizing) but tastes like heaven. For Nina, it was a new experience and I was glad we were there to boost her into taking that first bite.
Well, that’s all I can share for now! Hope you enjoyed reading! I’m looking forward to my next adventure. 🙂