Thursday, February 28, 2013

A One-Of-A- Kind Buffet-Style Dinner @ Alba Restaurante Español

Just the idea of an All-You-Can-Eat Spanish Buffet was enough to tickle my imagination. And the fact that the resto has received several rave reviews from certified food experts made me look forward to dining at Alba Restaurante Español even more.

A week before our Sambo Kojin get-together, U & M  hosted another sumptuous dinner for the whole family. If Sambo Kojin emitted a spacious and casual vibe, Alba Restaurante Español radiated a more intimate and elegant ambiance. Our advance booking did give us the advantage of being seated right at the center of the room and just a few meters away from the buffet table. But since the resto was pretty small, all tables were just a few meters from the buffet spread.:) Although the choices were not as diverse as Sambo Kojin's, each dish really stood out on its own.

The Luistros @ Alba Restaurante Español

The presence of three minstrels armed each with his choice of musical instruments added a romantic note to our dining experience. What's worth mentioning is the fact that the trio did showcase a wide range of repertoire consisting of Spanish and Filipino songs- much to our sheer delight. :)


Tutapel, my nephew RJ and moi @ Alba Restaurante Español


Dedicated musicians @ Alba Restaurante Español

Tutapel with the Three Minstrels @ Alba Restaurante Español

After serenading us with a couple of Spanish tunes, I requested a Noel Cabangon song right away which was followed by another interesting VST & Company tune. Here's a snippet of their performance.

Courtesy of Timeless Confection Youtube Channel

ON THE TABLE:

There was a pitcher of sparkling Sangria placed on our table, but I never got to try it. Can you believe that I've never had a drop of alcohol ever since I can remember? I know, it's unbelievable, right? When normally asked about it, I always answer in zest, "It's a Nazirite thing." :) :) :)


Alba Restaurante Español
A Pitcher of Sangria

PLATE # 1:

Since we were being treated out, I was on my best behavior that night which translated to minimal photos as much as possible. I didn't want to embarass anyone or make any of my family member uncomfortable, just like what happened at the Changi Airport where I was berated by an airport official with a torrent of racial comments- just for taking pics. But that's another blog post.:)

To say that Alba's food is delish is definitely an understatement. I think I need to come up with several adjectives more to give each dish justice. Lemme try. :) I loved Alba's savory and ultra-crisp Lechon de Leche while its Pollo Cordon Bleu was unexpectedly tasty and unique. I fell in love with their Callos a la Madrileña at first bite! And if I were a stalker, Alba's Lengua Sevillana definitely became my object of affection that night for it was present in almost all of my dinner plates! :) 


Alba Restaurante Español
(L-R) Lechon de Leche; Pollo Cordon Bleu; Callos a la Madrileña; Lengua Sevillana

PLATE # 2:

Once again, everything on this plate was well-thought of, bursting with a symphony of flavors, textures and  dimensions. But what made my heart beat skipped a lot faster was Alba's Espaguetis Bolognesa (Spaghetti Bolognese)! The sweet and spicy sauce packed with ground meat and chopped veggies complemented my Pinoy tastebuds to a tee. In fact, my toddler who's actually a picky eater, loved it so that he requested it every time we went to the buffet spread! :)  


Alba Restaurante Español
(L-R) Pollo Al Ajillo; Pescado en Salsa Verde; Espaguetis Bolognesa; Paella Valenciana

PLATE # 3:

This was another winning plate if you ask me which proved to be even better than my first two plates, if you can believe it. :) The Pizza-like canapes on the left were so flavorful just like the Paella Verde beside it. I was delightfully taken with this type of paella, more so than its sibling, the Paella Valenciana, on my 2nd plate. I guess, for some reason, the Paella Verde had a lot more depth when it came to taste, aroma and flavors than its kin. I also loved the chewy nature of the Chorizo de Alba and the addition of french bread slices made the dish a lot more interesting.


Alba Restaurante Español
(L-R) Pizza-like Canapes ; Paella Verde; Tuhod y Batoc; Chorizos de Alba w/ Alba French Bread; Lengua Sevillana

DESSERT PLATE:

Alba featured a plethora of sweet things on its Dessert Spread that night; but, unfortunately, I only got to taste these four selections. Although the other three were relatively tasty, what I loved the most was Alba's Canonigo, a baked meringue topped with custard sauce. It's strong semblance to Brazo de Mercedes was a good enough reason for me to indulge in it sans the guilt. It was really sooo good! :)

Alba Restaurante Español
(L-R) Lemon Square; Mango Tart; Flan al Caramelo; Canonigo

Thanks again U & M for treating us out! You rock!

The Luistros @ Alba Restaurante Español


Alba Restaurante Español Tomas Morato Branch

Alba Restaurante Español
Branches:
Alba Restaurante Español
38 Polaris St. Bel-Air Makati City
896 6950 to 51, 890 4372

Alba Restaurante Español
Tomas Morato corner Scout Lozano, Quezon City
925 1912, 928 7129, 411 7052

Alba Restaurante Español
Westgate Center, Commerce Ave., Filinvest Corporate City, Alabang, Muntinlupa City
771.2178 to 79

Next: 

Bonding Time @ Sambo Kojin Yakiniku Smokeless Grill

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Friday, February 22, 2013

Get A Chance To Win Tous les Jours Rose Inspiration Fresh Cream Cake Until February 24!

Craving for Tous les Jours Rose Inspiration Fresh Cream Cake?



Crave no more. By simply joining Tous les Jours Romantic Breakfast Photo Contest on Facebook, you can get the chance to win this delectable Love Month Cake ♥! 

Tous les Jours Romantic Breakfast Contest is extended until February 24!!

Here are the mechanics lifted from Tous les Jours Philippines Fan Page:

1.  Send your yummy breakfast to feedback@tlj.ph with a Subject of "Tous les Jours Romantic Breakfast 2013."

2. Message must include the following:
Name:
Facebook url:
Contact number:
Title: "Sweetest Breakfast for the Sweetest Girl"**
Tous les Jours Product Used: Tous les Jours Multi-Grain Pan Bread**

**Create your own title for it and include the Tous les Jours product used.

3.  Submit your entries until February 24, 2013, 12 Noon. Voting Period will start on February 24 to February 28, 2013! Tous les Jours will announce the winner on March 01, 2013.

Still not sure on which product to use? Simply click this link to have an idea on the many wonderful confections and bread choices at Tous les Jours.

Tous Les Jours Philippines
Website
Facebook
Branches:
Ground Floor, SM North Edsa The Block
UGF, SM Southmall
Ground Floor, North Parking Bldg., SM Mall of Asia
Corte de las Palmas, Alabang Town Center
Ground Floor, Greenbelt 5
1st Floor, Shop 3 Techno Plaza 2, Eastwood City


Related Posts:

Unboxing My Very First Tous Les Jours (Korean Bakery) Cake: Rose Inspiration Cream Cake!

Unboxing of Tous Les Jours (Korean Bakery) Mocha Crunch Cake

A Virtual Tour of Tous Les Jours Philippines SM The Block Branch


Aja! Aja! Fighting!

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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Bonding Time @ Sambo Kojin Yakiniku Smokeless Grill

Eat-All-You-Can Buffets continue to be a glowing part of the Philippines' rich and diverse food culture. Just imagine a place with an overflow of good food while surrounded by some of your most favorite people in the planet? Yes, it's a non-stop par-tee as far as I'm concerned. Well, that's precisely what happened when U treated the whole family to Sambo Kojin- a popular buffet resto here in the metro.

Just like its older siblings, Saisaki, DADS and Kamayan, Sambo Kojin emitted that same posh-like, homey vibe that I found appealing.


Sambo Kojin

The only difference, a good one at that, was the presence of a smokeless grill on the long table.


Sambo Kojin


Tutapel enjoying his fair share @ Sambo Kojin

What To Grill:

The bustling buffet table located a few meters from where we were seated, featured a plethora of thinly sliced beef in various marinades, veggies rolled in fresh bacon, fresh fish steaks, prawns, crab sticks and even button mushrooms.


Sambo Kojin's fresh premium beef and veggies rolled in fresh bacon


Sambo Kojin's assortment of fresh fish, crab sticks, and button mushrooms

I know that grilling is fun; but, eating those yummy selections right off the grill was even better. :) And the fact that these protein pushers were mostly South beach diet- friendly, I had the license to indulge without experiencing much guilt! :)  At least, that's what I kept telling myself. :) It was a good thing that a mini-condiments section was available on the table, including that of Sambo Kojin's trademark sauce which definitely added some zest on the grilled meats.  




Sambo Kojin Prawns, Premium Beef and Fish

Other Buffet Selections:

Sambo Kojin's Ebi Tempura and Tteokbokki.

I love tempura of all kinds and Sambo Kojin's ebi tempura beautifully matched my expectations. What I did find astonishing was their Filipino-style Tteokbokki (Rice Cake). I say Filipinized because it was sweet all through out with just a bit of spiciness, nothing like the ones I've tried at Flammable Tteokbokki and at Sam Sam Korean Cuisine @ Food Republic, Pavilion Kuala Lumpur. Sambo Kojin's version was much richer and definitely a lot tastier, perhaps because of the addition of beef, veggies and sesame seeds.
  

Sambo Kojin's Ebi Tempura and Tteokbokki

Sambo Kojin Sashimi.

When I saw them, I can't help but really appreciate how beautiful they looked considering they were raw and all. :)  At that same time, a scene from my favorite Korean Drama Boys Over Flowers popped into my mind. Remember the time when Jun pyo treated Jandi out to eat sashimi at a Japanese resto? Although she was berated by the three evil girls, Jandi experienced being rescued by his dashing Prince Charming in the end. If that was not enough, Jun pyo even sent out a Japanese chef to Jandi's home, just so he could slice the big fish right in front of her parents, and enjoy sashimi like they did during their date. Sadly though, all I can do is reminisce because I'm not really fond of anything raw. :)


Sambo Kojin Sashimi

Sambo Kojin's Maki with a dollop of Kani Salad.

Aside from tempura, my other love is maki and I was more than ecstatic to indulge in an array of different maki from the buffet table. Each variant was delish in a unique way and brimming with all kinds of fresh ingredients. The Kani Salad too was something to rave about, most especially because it was drizzled with luscious, ultra-tempting roe.


An Assortment of Sambo Kojin's Maki with a dollop of Kani Salad


Sambo Kojin Maki with Roe on the side

Sambo Kojin's Teba Chili & Japchae. 

I truly enjoyed everything on this plate because each dish suited my taste to perfection. The Teba Chili (Japanese Chicken Wing) was sweet and spicy while the Japchae (Korean Stir-fried Noodles) was chewy and flavorful. 


Sambo Kojin's Korean Plate (L-R): Teba Chili; Tteokbokki; Galbi jjim; Japchae


Sambo Kojin's Galbi jjim.

But what I loved the most was Sambo Kojin's Galbi jjim (Korean Beef Stew). Tender, melt-in-your mouth meat that fell right off the bones, this Korean dish resounded in a symphony of sweet 'n' spicy flavors that made me come back for a third helping. :)


Sambo Kojin's Galbi jjim

Sambokojin Kamameshi Rice.

Served steaming hot right on the table, the kind staff poured just enough rice on each of our bowls. Their Kamameshi rice tasted a lot like Teriyaki Boy's Yakimeshi Rice-flavorful, salty with a hint of sweetness which I was very much fond of.


Sambo Kojin's Kamameshi Rice


Sambo Kojin's Kamameshi Rice

Beef Wrapped in Lettuce Korean-style.

Perhaps you've witnessed this particular scene countless times in Korean Dramas. The woman puts some grilled meat inside a piece of  lettuce, wraps 'n' seals it before feeding it to her man. How romantic, eh? At Sambo Kojin though, a male server did this beautiful gesture right in front of us. Talk about customer service! :)


Step 1: Insert the filling.


Step 2: Wrap and Seal.


Step 3: Ready to serve. 


Moi & Tutapel @ Sambo Kojin West Avenue

Desserts.

As Sarah Michelle Gellar said in my favorite movie, Simply Irresistible, "Dessert is the main point of any meal." And I can't help but agree. I kept on snapping photos of the different desserts we got that day, because they all looked divine! But amazingly, I fell in love with their chocolate ice cream simply because of their sprinkle-all-you-can choco chips! 

A sweet ending to an almost perfect family bonding time. Thanks again U! :) :) :)


Sambo Kojin Dessert Plate # 1


Sambo Kojin Dessert Plate # 2


Sambo Kojin Choco Ice Cream 

Sambo Kojin
Locations:

EDSA Greenhills Mandaluyong City
Tel. 726-4466 or 726-4520

Eastwood Citywalk QC
Tel. 421-0145 to 46

West Avenue Quezon City
Tel. 372-8846 or 921-2873

SM Southmall Food Street
Tel. 511-7843 or 511-7853


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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Seven Charming Confections That Say "I Heart You" This Valentine's

Not all sweet stuffs are created equal. Some are indeed more creative than others which may translate to being more expensive as well. But you can't really put a price tag on your significant other's blissful reaction while opening your Valentine's gift, can you?

In this regard, I've made a list of Seven Charming Confections that make for excellent gift suggestions this Valentine's.

Let's begin.

1.  Sinfully by Makati Shangri-la Pralines.

Decadent pralines beautifully crafted inside and out, top our list of great Valentine's gift choices. Choose from a plethora of bestselling flavors such as Salted CaramelMiel (Dark Choco with Honey); Peanut ButterViolette de Coco (Ube with Coconut in White Choco); Pistache (Dark Choco with Pistachio); Italian Kiss (Milk Choco with Amaretto & Coffee)---and get a taste of heaven in every bite.

Pralines also come in a Gorgeous Gift Box ( Php 60/ piece) 

Sinfully by Makati Shangri-La
3rd Floor, Greenbelt 5

2.  Tous les Jours Artisan Cakes.

If you're going for semi-sweet cakes with a definite WOW Factor, then head over to Tous les Jours Korean Bakery! Select from a panoply of beautifully designed cakes, both regular-sized and juniors, enclosed in TLJ's trademark box with matching plastic pastry knife and candles to boot! 

Tous Les Jours Rose Inspiration Fresh Cream Cake (PHP 498). Up to six slices.

    Tous les Jours Mocha Crunch Cake (around PHP 600) Up to 8 slices.
Tous les Jours Rich Chocolat Junior Cake (Php 398)

Tous Les Jours Philippines
Branches:
Ground Floor, SM North Edsa The Block
UGF, SM Southmall
Ground Floor, North Parking Bldg., SM Mall of Asia
Corte de las Palmas, Alabang Town Center
Ground Floor, Greenbelt 5
1st Floor, Shop 3 Techno Plaza 2, Eastwood City

3. Bizu Patisserie Opera Cakes.

Want sweeter cakes instead? Then, opt for Bizu's Bestselling Opera Cake. Your beloved will truly love its soft 'n' moist sponge cake boasting of coffee butter cream and dark chocolate ganache!

Bizu Opera Cake 
(Petite Php 175/piece)
(Large sizes: Php 675/ Php 1025)
Bizu Patisserie & Bistro
Facebook
Branches:
Greenbelt 2
Glorietta 4
Greenhills Promenade

4.  Mochi Sweets.

If you're looking for something that's out of the ordinary, go for Mochi Sweets' famous desserts oozing with one-of-a-kind fillings! Since Mochi Sweets' fillings are not ice cream-based, you don't need to worry about melted confections at all. :)


Mochi Sweets Philippines
Twitter
Branch:
SM Mall of Asia beside the Skating Rink

5.  J.Co Donuts. 

Craving for good, old-fashioned donuts? Then I can think of nothing better than J.Co's! Semi-sweet and creamy donuts, boasting of fresh tasting fillings, your beloved will surely be pleased most especially if you give him or her, not just one, but two dozens of these assorted goodies! :)

J. Pops Baby Donuts from J.Co Coffee & Donuts,  Pavilion Kuala Lumpur



Assorted Donuts From J. Co Philippines

J. Co Donuts
Facebook
Website
Branches:
Trinoma Mall
SM Megamall
SM Fairview
SM Mall of Asia
Eastwood City

6.  Caffe Bene Liege Waffle.

Lastly, if your significant other is deeply into K-Pop/K-Dramas, why not take him or her to Caffe Bene? 
The coolest part is, this popular South Korean cafe chain was even featured in the popular Korean drama Secret Garden! To make the most of your time there, don't forget to order their most popular comfort food: Blueberry Cream Cheese Liege Waffle! 

Caffe Bene Blueberry Creme Cheese Liege Waffle (Php 165)

7.  Caffe Bene Bingsu. 

And while you're at it, don't forget to order another bestseller, Caffe Bene's Coffee Bingsu--- that's big enough for two! How romantic! :)

Caffe Bene Coffee Bingsu (Php 195)
Caffe Bene Philippines
Branch:
Ground Level, Eastwood City Walk 2

Related Posts:

Decadent Pralines & French Macarons From Sinfully by Makati Shangri-la @ Greenbelt 5

Unboxing My Very First Tous les Jours Cake

A Taste of the Korean Drama Secret Garden @ Caffe Bene Eastwood

Famous Mochi Sweets Luxury Deli @ Tokyo Street Pavilion Kuala Lumpur Is Now At SM Mall of Asia!

My First Afternoon Tea at Bizu Patisserie @ Greenbelt 2

Enjoying J. Co Donuts @ Pavilion Kuala Lumpur

Happy Hearts' Day!

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