Coffee and Clocks: A "UCC Clockwork" Review - 3rd Wave Coffee Shops in Manila

UCC Clockwork has some of the most Instagram-worthy dishes, and it’s something you have to visit if you’re on the lookout for pretty food to add to your feed.

Snow Ice Treats: A Hobing Review

Bingsu is a popular Korean dessert composed primarily of ice shavings, topped or mixed with various ingredients such as fruits, beans, milk, and nuts.

Carnivore Craving: A "Yoree Korean Barbecue Dining" Review

I was glad that it was going to be a smokeless cooking because we still had to get back to work and we didn’t want to come back smelling like we were the ones barbecued.

A Reply to Sean Ellis' Love Letter: A "Metro Manila" Review

Normally, good visuals with a great story is hard to come by in a time of poverty exploiting indie films. Yet, this time around, not only was it a great story, but visually stimulating as well.

Bayan o Sarili: A "HENERAL LUNA" Review

Tarog's feature is a masterful "work of fiction based on facts" that's needed to be seen by everyone who considers himself a patriotic Filipino.

Glorious Grease: A Sweet Ecstasy Review

Ah yes, Sweet Ecstasy. The name itself already gives the impression that you’re in for a real foodgasm in this establishment. The fact that we’ve heard several good things about it online (the “news” that Mar Roxas visited its Katipunan branch also helped in triggering curiosity) made my workmates and I put aside our baon and drive all the way to Uptown BGC to have some nice, juicy burger for lunch.

The BGC branch of Sweet Ecstasy was smaller than I imagined and in spite of going there on a lunchtime, only one of the tables were occupied. This was a bit of  surprise given the establishment’s recent popularity online.

They have a one-page, no-nonsense menu. You simply choose from the three varieties of burgers that they have, then have the option to order additional wings, fries, milkshakes, or drinks on the side.

Cheeseburger – Php 195.00
Hamburger – Php 175.00
The Double – Php 265.00

The difference among their three burger varieties is easy to grasp – them most basic is the Hamburger which only has a patty, lettuce, dressing, and tomatoes. The Cheeseburger obviously has an added cheese. Last but not the least is, The Double is a one-pound goodness with twin patties and cheese. Naturally, this was my order.

The Double
I lalaloved the burger and it was as good as I hoped it would be. The buns were soft, and the patties thick and juicy. I loved how the grease sticks on my lips and falls off my fingers as I greedily gobbled my burger. Needless to say, I finished the whole pound by myself.

Most workmates though settled for the single-patty Cheeseburger. They say it’s just as good , and this would be a great option if you don’t have the same appetite as I do. But given the borderline carnivore that I am, The Double would still be my go-to order in my next visit.

If you somehow wanted to lessen the guilt, and was brought to Sweet Ecstasy out of peer pressure in spite of your “strict” diet, you also have the option to swap the buns with a lettuce wrap for an additional Php 20.00.

Fantastic Fries – Php 80.00
Kamote Fries – Php 115.00
Onion Rings– Php 115.00

There are some of us who can’t go through a burger meal without having fries on the side. Burgers need to have a buddy, and Sweet Ecstasy has just the right best friends for those buns.

Fantastic Fries
Onion Rings (duh)
The Fantastic Fries and Onion Rings are pretty much the usual French fries and onion rings you would know. The delightful surprise though, was the Kamote Fries – which was a pleasing mix of sweet and salty – plus it’s less sinful than their potato cousins.

Kamote Fries
What I regretted not ordering was the Ecstasy Fries (Php 130.00), as I later on learned that this was Sweet Ecstasy’s specialty in the fries department. Oh well, I’m sure I’ll be having a second visit anyways.

Nutella Oreo Milkshake – Php 185.00

I usually order soda to go with my burger, but a friend strongly recommended that I try Sweet Ecstasy’s milkshakes when I visit. Because of this I was equally excited about having a sip of the milkshakes as getting a bite of their burgers.

Their classic vanilla and chocolate milkshakes are at Php 160.00. What I ordered though was one of the premium varieties – the Nutelle Oreo Milkshake.

The name alone should have already given me the idea that this is uber sweet. Don’t get me wrong, this milkshake was pretty good – thick and creamy just like how milkshakes should be. However, I think soda is still more effective in washing down all the salt and grease in your tongue. The milkshakes then would do well to refresh your palate with some sweetness after all that salty. Hmmm…no wonder they don’t have any desserts in the menu.

The hype was justified. Sweet Ecstasy’s burgers are really damn good, and it’s probably safe to say that this would be appreciated more by the hardcore burger lovers. I’m definitely coming back for more.

Sweet Ecstasy BGC

Address: 2nd Floor Unit 08A, Uptown Parade, 36th St. Cor 9th. Ave.
Fort Bonifacio

Contact Number: 0995 218 3000

Daily Schedule:
Sunday-Thursday : 11am - 12 midnight
Friday and Saturday : 11am - 1am

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Yakimix Metro Deal: My first visit to Yakimix Prime

In spite of Yakimix Prime being just a short walk away from where I work, I’ve never had the urge to give it a shot. I’ve tried the Yakimix branch at Trinoma some years ago, and I haven’t really had the craving to go back to any Yakimix branch ever since, unlike my occasional yearning for Sambokojin or Yoree.

I finally had my chance when a workmate announced that Metro Deal has a promo for Yakimix where you’ll get a 25% discount from their usual rate. The deal sounds good enough and this was finally going to be my chance to experience Yakimix Prime, so I gave it a shot.

I went to the BGC branch of Yakimix Prime and upon entering, the interiors will give you an impression that you’re in for a treat. It’s a bit more sophisticated than the usual Yakiniku buffets, and inspite of going there on a lunchtime, the place wasn’t crowded, which I liked .

It had the usual elements of a Japanese buffet – the sushi, rolls, soup, barbecue, seafood, and desserts are all here, but that’s already expected. I was trying to figure out what’s different about Yakimix Prime, and what makes it more special than the regular Yakimix branches.

As my usual habit in Japanese buffets, I started off with the rolls and sushi. This should keep my taste buds entertained while I wait for the barbecue to cook. They have a decent set of sushi and rolls, althought I gobbled up only a few to prepare me for my favorite part – the barbecue.

To be fair, Yakimix Prime had a wide variety of meat and seafood to choose from. I don’t usually pay much attention to each kind, but I often gravitate towards the ones that are marinated since they are more flavorful. For those meats that weren’t, I was happy to know that there some sauces and spices available that you can use to flavor your barbecue to taste.

The desserts are also pretty much what you would expect from a buffet. The cakes, pudding, ice cream, and yep – the chocolate fountain are all here.

I was already at the end of my meal yet I still can’t figure out what makes this Yakimix “Prime”.

I’m guessing it’s the classier ambiance and the bigger area. There were also a few additions in the selection of food that I don’t see in other buffets, but not so much that would make me choose Yakimix Prime over the others.

Yakimix Prime – BGC

Monday – Saturday
Lunch – Php 588.00
Dinner  -Php 788.00

Sundays and Holidays
Lunch – Php 788.00
Dinner  -Php 788.00

Yakimix Prime BGC Contact Number: 869-0888, 869-0777

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5 Million Cakes: A Quim's Cake Review

By now you’ve probably heard of the 5 Million worth of cakes that a quaint bakeshop in Quezon City promised to give away for free if ever Mayor Rodrigo Duterte wins the Presidential race. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you can check out the image below:

Since it’s apparent the Digong would be the next Philippine president, his supporters remembered Chef Jake Labang’s promise and asked for the free goodies. Surprisingly, Quim’s Cake released a statement saying they’ll keep their end of the bargain, and now the humble bakeshop has gained popularity online, with their Facebook Likes jumping from a few hundreds to an astounding 30K+ in just a matter of days! And that’s without any form of paid Facebook advertising!

Quim’s Cake has been the talk of the town, which is why when I had the chance to get a taste of what they have to offer to offer, I eagerly said yes!

Tucked along Tomas Morato in Quezon City, Quim’s Cake also used to offer baking classes and baking supplies, and slowly evolved into a full-fledged restaurant when the owners realized that there’s more demand for dine-in orders. You see, Quim’s Cake doesn’t only serve cakes, but a wide range of specialty dishes as well. Here are some of the one we tried during our visit.

Pigtasilog – Php 179.00

This isn’t your usual tapa, as this is also Chef Jhollow’s own version of Pangasinan’s Pigar Pigar – a dish made up of thin slices of marinated beef, which are then sautéed or deep-fried with white onion. Pretty much like the Pinoy bistek if you ask me.

Sashimi Mango Sinigang – Php 299.00

When it was served, I didn’t have the impression that this dish was supposed to be sinigang because the broth was served separately from the fish. It all made sense when the chef started pouring the mango-infused sabaw into the bowl with the fish and veggies.

But that’s not the only curious thing about this dish. Instead of the usual fish, you’ll have salmon sashimi with your sinigang, which you can eat on its own (hence it’s separated from the broth) or mix with the sabaw. It confused my palate when I ate it because I’m unfamiliar with the taste of cold, raw fish on sinigang. It’s an interesting mix of Pinoy and Japanese favorites.

Roasted Pork-Belly in Choco Bagoong Sauce – Php 259.00

We knew we just had to ask for rice when the roasted pork belly was served. Thick slices of pork belly were roasted to a delightful crisp and served on top of a bagoong-chocolate mixture. Chocolate and pork are some of my favorite foods, so this should be great!

The meat was tender and the skin had a decent crisp, but the real charm of the dish comes from the mixture of chocolate and bagoong sauce. The saltiness of the bagoong complements the sweetness of the chocolate, although personally I would have preferred more chocolate in the mix. I’m a sweet-tooth after all.

Hondashi Pasta  -Php 180.00 and the Heartbreaker Pasta  - Php 180.00

Aside from their Savory Meals, Quim’s Cake also takes pride in their pasta, with their bestsellers being the Hondashi and the Heartbreaker.

You can tell the Chef Jhollow likes experimenting, as the Hondashi is another unqiue fusion of ingredients from different cultures. Japanese ingredients like the Hondashi and bonito flakes are used in this pasta recipe. It makes me think of  seafood carbonara, only this one has a Japanese twist to it.

The Heartbreaker on the other hand, got its name because of the sinfully delicious aligue as its main ingredient. Eat in moderation as the heart can only take too much!

The Red Hot Dory Burger  - Php 250.00 and Pulled Pork BBQ Burger – Php 230.00

These burgers are overwhelmingly huge, that even with an appetite like mine, I had to find someone to share them with.

The Red Hot Dory Burger was a real eye-catcher, primarily because of its bright red bun. But don’t be intimidated by the fiery color – it only had a mild spiciness that still let’s you enjoy the patty that’s made of crispy dory wrapped in bacon.

The Pulled-Pork Burger also did not disappoint. The flavorful pork strips went so well with the smoked barbecue sauce, that I was tempted to ask for kanin.

Chocolate Moist Cake and the Chunky Carrot Cake - Php 700/whole and Php 99/slice

And now on to the highlight of the meal. I have been eagerly anticipating the confidential cakes which landed Quim’s Cake in Rappler, GMA News, and even BBC!

The Chocolate Moist Cake was a truly decadent treat, and definitely justified the “moist” part of its name. No wonder this easily ended up as one of the favorites. Personally though, I liked the Chunky Carrot Cake better, as it has just the right amount of sweetness to neutralize the satiation from a full meal.

If you wish to also have a taste of these cakes, worry not since as mentioned, Quim’s Cake will keep its promised and give away free 5 Million worth of cake samples. To do so, you simply have to pre-register in their Facebook page. Giving away of the free cake slices will be done in several phases, and you have to be one of the first 50 to pre-register in each phase to qualify.

If you’re one of the lucky ones, let me know what you think of the cakes, yeah?

Check out the Quim's Cake Facebook Page for more announcements.

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En Sabah Nope: An "X-Men: Apocalypse" Review

I don’t know what it is about X-Men movies that keeps me coming back in spite of the several disappointments that I got from the past films in the franchise. Maybe it’s my fascination with superheroes? Maybe it’s because it reminds me of the enjoyment I had from the X-Men cartoons and comics when I was a kid? Or maybe I’ve wanted to escape reality so bad I’d consume any superhero movie thrown at me.

But I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who was excited about seeing X-Men: Apocalypse, as evidenced by the fully-booked cinemas, and detailed discussions about its trailers online. I had high hopes for this movie, especially that I still vividly remember the Days of Future Past post-credits scene where we see a young Apocalypse effortlessly stacking blocks to form pyramids like they were Lego bricks. I don’t know why but I wasn’t surprised that the film turned out to be slightly underwhelming.  It’s as if deep inside I already knew that I shouldn’t be expecting much from this movie.

Apocalypse' followers chant "En Sabah Nur"

It’s hard to pinpoint the exact source of dissatisfaction but on top of mind I’d say it’s because of the lame-ass villains. Yep, I did just say that Apocalypse is lame. I don’t mean the character per se, as it was actually one of the reasons why I was hoping that this X-Men installment was going to be kickass – it’s more about the film’s take on the character. It’s how a character with so much potential for great material was put to waste.  Apocalypse was supposed to be an ancient super-being with unimaginable powers, yet he ended up being just another mutant with questionable choices for allies and problematic use of abilities.

If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll know what I mean. Apocalypse was first established as a mutant with godlike status, - heck he can bury people to the ground at the blink of an eye, or get rid of all the world’s nuclear weapons with just a single thought. Yet when the fighting ensues, he didn’t seem to make the most of all the mutant abilities he gained through several millennia. “Underwhelming” is the word I would use to describe the depiction of the character.

Sadly, the above is true not only for Apocalypse but for his Four Horsemen as well. With the exception of Michael Fassbender’s Magneto, the rest of the Horsemen were poorly developed, and we don’t see enough reason why Apocalypse chooses them as his henchmen, except for the fact that these are one of the first few mutants he encounters after his hibernation. For a self-proclaimed god, I thought he’d be a bit more picky when choosing his disciples. For most of their screen time, the Horsemen just stood around posing like badass bodyguards, and when the time came for them to fight, they didn’t do so well either. That, with the fact that their powers were supposedly Apocalypse-boosted already.

But then again, maybe the reason why there was not enough character development was because of overwhelming number of characters in this movie. Where Captain America: Civil War succeeded in giving enough spotlight on each of the lead characters, X-Men: Apocalypse failed. Unlike Civil War, which was able to work out the excess of characters, X-Men: Apocalypse ended up having the other characters upstaged and faded into the background (case in point: Jubilee). 

James McAvoy and J-Law were given enough screentime of course, although I believe the material didn’t give justice to their acting prowess. Sadly, the stellar cast was put to waste, and they didn’t have enough material to showcase their remarkable acting.

At this point, the X-Men franchise’ timeline has become confusing. Sure, the filmmakers have created an alternate reality with Days of Future Past and First Class, but there are a lot of loose ends in terms of the characters’ development and introduction, that the X-Men franchise has become as confusing as the reason why Wolverine needed to have cameo in this film in the first place.

After seeing the X-Men: Apocalypse, I wasn’t sure at first if I liked it or not, but as  I discussed it with my movie buddy, I realized that most of what I had to say weren’t nice. Do I want my money back? Not really, as I still got to see an X-Men movie. But maybe that’s the problem – I feel okay about it only because it’s the X-Men, and not really because it was a good film to see.

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Credits to the images and videos used in this post go to "X-Men: Apocalypse", "Marvel" and/or to their respective owners. I do not own these materials. No copyright infringement intended.

Live With The King

Now I’m going to take a quick break from the usual food and movie posts that I do, so that we can put a spotlight on one of the best Android phones that I know that let’s you experience how it’s like to #LiveWithTheKing…well to some degree.

I’m talking about Huawei’s Nexus 6P.

Huawei’s confidently calls it the “King of Android”, and after a little bit of research and actually getting my hands on a unit (thanks to my tech blogger buddies), I can tell why this smartphone deserved the title.

Here are my Top 5 favorite features of the Huawei Nexus 6P – which are also pretty much the reasons why it’s a self-proclaimed King of Android!

Its Iconic Hardware Design

One look at the Nexus 6P and you’ll see the it screams “premium”. It has sleek and stylish written all over it – having a full-metal unibody, anodized aluminum, 3D curved glass, and diamond chamfers! Sounds fancy, right? Aesthetics-wise, this is one good-looking phone.

Low-light Loving, Powerful Camera

If you follow me on Instagram you’ll notice that majority of the pictures in my feed are food. Because I lalalove food. I’d be lucky if I have good lighting because it’d be easy to take nice shots, but in low-lights settings, I often end up deleting the pictures I’ve taken with my phone. The pictures’s grainy, and dark – making the food not look appetizing at all.

Nexus 6P’s 12.3MP lens solves this dilemma. The phone’s powerful camera captures more light, allowing you to take vivid and sharp pictures even in conditions with less than ideal lighting.

Its Stunning Screen Clarity

Because what use is a good camera, if you can’t appreciate your shots in a good screen? With 518 pixels per inch, Nexus 6P’s 5.7” AMOLED screen gives a stunningly clear display. I can imagine that this should also be pretty awesome when you’re watching videos, or playing games!

Fast Charging Due to its USB Type C Charging Port

A USB Type C connector basically allows faster charging and quicker data transfers. This means it would take you lesser time to juice-up your phone or move files between devices. This definitely suits guys like me who’s always in a hurry. Plus it makes transferring food pictures from my phone a whole lot faster!

The Best of Google in the Palm of Your Hand. 

It’s called the King of Android for a reason. Google Search, Google Maps, The Play Store, YouTube, and Gmail are pre-installed and can be used in a jiffy! If you ask me, all Android phones should follow Nexus 6P’s lead, yeah?

So those are my Top 5 favorite reasons why I think this is a great phone. But then, there's more to the Nexus 6P than the 5 features I mentioned above such as front-facing speakers, clear sounds, Ergonomic fingerprint ID, and a faster than ever performance. What more could you ask from a phone?

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