A visit to My Kitchen by Chef Chris

I’ll be honest, I probably wouldn’t really think about eating here without a coupon or a Gourmet Society Card. The place is EXPENSIVE. Let’s get that out of the way before anything else. Located at the Oasis Hotel in Paco– which is definitely not a hotspot in terms of places to eat– I admit that this place entered and slipped my mind really quickly when it was recommended to me. We simply very seldom find ourselves in this part of Manila.

But as luck would have it, my brother found a Metro Deal coupon online that would allow us to get half off their famous panizza, so it seemed like fate was trying to point us in this direction. (How dramatic.) And despite how expensive this spot is, the restaurant filled up rather easily a few minutes after we arrived for an early dinner. In fact, I would suggest a reservation.

The restaurant doesn’t have any particularly special ambiance. It’s your typical dimly-lit casual-dining restaurant, and I’m just happy my camera phone managed to hold up in this low lighting. 😛 The fact that the restaurant was on the ground floor of hotel drew a lot of foreign visitors to the restaurant, and this probably also “justifies” its fine-dining prices. I wonder if the foreigners find the pricing of the food okay or expensive.

In fairness to My Kitchen, I think they did a heck of a job trying to prove to you that you’re getting your money’s worth with every single dish. The servings were generous, coming to your table in large pristine plates and fantastic presentation. Across all dishes, it was clear they did not scrimp on ingredients, and that these ingredients were fresh and of high quality. Also, I was very excited for the panizza.

As you try to pick from the numerous dishes on the menu, you are served with an appetizer of sliced wheat bread and pesto dip. I wish they warmed the bread up before serving it to us, but the pesto was nice enough to make up for that a little.

After we placed our orders, it didn’t take long for the first dish to arrive at our table. My dad almost always orders a salad dish to make sure we eat some veggies in every meal, and this one is the Oasis Salad (Php 540).

Now this is a salad! It’s got all the things that make me swoon in a salad, including artichoke hearts, caramelized onions, roasted peppers, sundried tomatoes, and fresh super juicy tomatoes, all laying on a bed of perfectly dressed arugula and Romaine lettuce. (Every leaf is smothered in dressing, I tell ya!) The capers and Kalamata olives here and there add a salty punch to the salad, making this one of the tastiest salads I have ever eaten for sure!
Gimme more from My Kitchen by Chef Chris! >>

Foodies, it’s time you get hold of the Gourmet Society Card

Filipinos love eating out, that’s a fact. Every time there’s a new or highly-rated restaurant, especially here in Manila, people line up so patiently to get first dibs on these hotspots. Sometimes the restaurant is not even new at all but just so consistently popular it still draws a crowd! It must have something to do with the excitement of sharing something mouth-watering on their feed, or it could just be the thrill of eating something delicious.

Either way, there’s an undeniable and obvious love for food being shown by Filipinos. With this in mind, our friends at Gourmet Society Philippines made it their goal to aid us all in our food-loving tendencies with their Gourmet Society card.

The Gourmet Society card is actually a prestige membership card partnered with some of the best restaurants in Metro Manila. Apart from discounts, the card also entitles the holder to some special vouchers and 2-for-1 deals. Reading through their partner restaurants numbering over 200, I spotted some crowd favourites like Early Bird Breakfast Club, Bagoong Club, Gumbo, Alchemy, Burgoo, just to name a few. I also saw a lot on their list of partner establishments that I’ve been meaning to try, and now that I’ve gotten my card I have all the more reason to go!

The Gourmet Society launched in October 2015, and at the price of just Php 1,999 per year, it mainly offers 20% discount when you dine in any of their partner restaurants that have a whopping 280 branches nationwide. No minimum orders or special reservations required, all you need is the card!
Learn more about Gourmet Society! >>

Getting a sweet fix with some Homemade Matcha Nama Chocolate

My absolute favourite treat to bring home from Japan is without a doubt Royce’s Nama Chocolates. When we get to the airport, it’s an automatic impulse for me to grab a box or two of Champagne and Matcha-flavoured Nama Chocolates. I don’t even have to think about it, especially since the exact same Royce chocolates are being sold here in Manila for double the price.

We do love to horde Royce Chocolate products, but the Nama Chocolates are our number one pick. They are are these super velvety rectangles of chocolate, which means they melt when exposed to heat (which also means they melt in the mouth), so during my second visit to Japan we actually brought along those little silver insulating bags just to store Nama Chocolate in. If that isn’t proof of how addicted we are to these treats, I don’t know what is.

No, wait. Actually, my making a homemade version is yet another proof. It’s been a while since we’ve been back from Japan and really I still get hit by Nama Chocolate cravings every once in a while. After coming across this recipe for Homemade Matcha Nama Chocolate, I knew I had to give it a try.
Get the recipe! >>

New favourite Japanese snacks, December 2015 edition

By now I think most people have heard about the most recent earthquakes that have created such destruction in Japan and Ecuador. This post is my way of showing solidarity during these difficult times. My prayers go out to all those who have been affected by the earthquake, both in Japan and Ecuador.

I’ve only ever been to Japan so I have more things to say about it, one of them being how much I admire how the Japanese of today are so disciplined, efficient, kind, and resilient, so I just know they as a nation will help one another to recover from this. But still, a little help can go a long way. To those who want to give a little aid, here are the channels I used to donate:

In the face of such heavy news, I wanted to talk about something a little lighter and sweeter, about Japan specifically. Visiting this country is never complete without filling up your suitcase with Japanese treats to slowly savour once you’re back home. (I think it helps with the separation anxiety!) You might remember the last version I made. Here are some of the new ones I discovered during my trip there last December, in no particular order except where I picked them up.

Let’s start with treats from one of the souvenir shops around Mt. Fuji.

You guys might be familiar with the Meiji Strawberry Apollos, specifically the original variant. My favourite is the Rich Strawberry flavoured one, which has a more strawberry taste and darker colour, but this Meiji Strawberry Mt Fuji Apollo version is really giving that a run for its money! It’s designed to look like Mt Fuji, but I really love the strawberry taste.
More Japanese treats please! >>