Nov 24, 2014

paris: leon de bruxelles

another place i wanted to try because of blog posts i've read before is leon de bruxelles. the mussels and different methods of cooking looked so enticing. and though this is a actually a belgian restaurant, we tried it in paris.

the moules, forgot which method of cooking i chose, this was sad. the mussels were very small. the frites were unimpressive as well.

because my mom wants rice haha, huge shrimps/prawns dunno what they were came with quite a hefty price tag and it's nothing spectacular.

similarly, mediocre fish and chips.

creme brulee, i think it was part of my meal. it was so so as well.

totally disappointed and i've read quite a number of reviews on this one, oh well charged to experience.

leon de bruxelles
boulevard saint germain

paris: cafe du marche

i love duck confit. it's one of my fine dining staples. when i read divasoria's post, i've never forgotten about it. years later i finally get to try it :D.

it's mind blowing haha...ok maybe it's an exaggeration but it's far from any of the duck confit that i've eaten in asia. this one was very tender and not dry at all. the duck skin is brown and crispy. there was a good amount of fat which can be cloying but nothing that a good french mustard couldn't fix.

my dad had steak, which was so so. the servings were quite hefty especially with those piles of potatoes. i forgot what my mom ate...i don't have a picture!

cafe du marche
rue cler

my first parisian meal or not

our first meal in paris was thai. it was the closest resto from our hotel and we were famished. there are two bien bien restaurants along rue bergere. don't know which is which. coming from rue de fauborg montmartre it will be the first one. they served decent thai food, forgot the prices but it's around 10 euro per meal.

tomyum soup?

spring rolls vietnamese style

thai green curry chicken?
chicken with basil?
yellow curry chicken

happy tummy, sometimes you need some asian flavors to jazz up your palate with all the european fare you've been eating.

bien bien
30 rue bergere
near grands boulevards

Sep 10, 2014

florence: da nerbone

when you look up on good eats in florence you will always come across da nerbone a famous food stall in mercato centrale. i love that florence has an accessible market. it is filled with italian food items, it felt like i was in a specialty store...but then again these are normal food items in italy!

but i digress, da nerbone is an institution in florence. they serve one of the quintessential florentine dishes - lampredotto. it's the cow's stomach. you know me, i love offal =). so when i read about this i knew i had try it.

panino lampredotto

lampredotto is served in a sandwich, but you can also opt to just order it sans the bread. i requested the two sauces as everyone recommended. salsa verde and salsa piccante - one is parsley based and the other is chilli based but it's only a bit spicy. i find the bread crusty and perfect to absorb the juices of the lampredotto. other reviews recommend bagnato wherein the entire sandwich is dipped in the broth.

it's a bit bland. but i like the texture of the lampredotto, i wonder whether they can add more sauce for free :D.

panino bollito

the bollito is basically like a roast beef sandwich, thin beef slices with the same sauce as the lampredotto. i didn't get to try this anymore because i was stuffed with the lampredotto.

not exceptional, but it's a good cheap eat and it's very filling too.

da nerbone
mercato centrale
florence, italy

Sep 6, 2014

florence: la capanna

la capanna is right next to our b&b and it's a place i've read about in one of the blogs i follow. my first visit was when my parents didn't want to eat dinner and decided to eat fruits. i, on the other hand wanted a comforting meal. so i went downstairs and ate by myself...wee deliverance hahaha!

i wanted to eat rice, i was actually avoiding any wheat/gluten so i opted for their one and only rice meal. kept my fingers crossed on this one.

beef stew with rice pilaf and roasted potatoes. it was decent actually. the beef stew was more like beef cooked in gravy, the rice pilaf was more like plain white rice but surprisingly fluffy and the roasted potatoes? were the best! there was something different with the potatoes they were soft inside and very crisp on the outside i'm actually thinking they were store bought frozen potatoes that were deep fried, but i didn't care, the rosemary and garlic made a huge difference. 

second time was a lazy night again but my parents joined me. we haven't eaten pizza and we've been in italy close to a week already! so we had pizza for dinner. i was tempted to order gluten free pizza but the price is twice as much as a regular pizza so i said, screw my diet!

marinara pizza - my mom loves plain pizza, and this surprisingly flavorful. it was really good if you want a light pizza this one didn't have cheese so she was really happy on how plain it was.

pizza melanzana -  i thought it would have cooked eggplants, but i was wrong. the eggplants were topped raw on the the pizza before cooking. the thing is, i like the caramelization of eggplants when they are cooked with a little oil, so this one turned out to be boring and cloying because the eggplants didn't add any dimension to the flavors.

spaghetti bolognese - because my dad can't get enough of spaghetti...actually he's easy to please. he can survive in europe eating just sandwiches or pastas or chicken mami haha. almost the same as zaza's but has more tomato flavor.

la capanna
via cavour 112/R
florence, italy

Aug 30, 2014

florence: trattoria zaza

i was looking forward to florence and was more excited with its culinary offerings....seems like there are more restos in florence and everything is within walking distance. i've read so many reviews about zaza and although it's very touristy, people vouched for their good food. and indeed, trattoria zaza didn't disappoint. we ate there twice, it could have been more if only there were nights we weren't lazy to walk.

spinach ricotta ravioli

this was awesome...the truffle scent was wafting and yet not overpowering. i super loved this dish. truth be told i got confused i was thinking that this ravioli was stuffed with meat... think tortellini so that it won't be cloying. i was so famished i was not thinking straight and ordered this ultra rich dish. you need something else to counteract the richness...that's what my parents' orders are for hehe.

pork dish

i forgot the name of this dish. it was good too. the pork loin was sooooo tender. the baked beans cooked in tomato sauce was reminiscent of canned pork and beans but was a couple of notches better. 

zaza's tuna spaghetti...i forgot the name again

this was a house special. you'd think it's so lame to order tuna spaghetti in italy, it's so "un-italian". but this was extraordinarily good. the herbs and spices just worked together. this was a nice contrast to my cloyingly rich truffle cream ravioli.

salad nicoise?

this was from our second outing, dunno why i ordered this. cannot remember if they have plain caesar which is what i should have gotten. there's nothing really special about this one it was so so.

fried zucchini flowers

i wish they were stuffed, i wanted them to be stuffed but they weren't. i just doused it with malt vinegar since it was bland. skip this.


i always thought that our pinoy spaghetti translates to the bolognese, but i thought wrong - blame it on my asian and american experiences! this bolognese has a different flavor profile, i liked the mildness of the italian herbs and it doesn't have that distinct tomato flavor, this totally redefined bolognese for me, it is not just plain red meat sauce.

bistecca fiorentina

this was a must! i couldn't leave florence without trying bistecca fiorentina. a traditional bistecca fiorentina is the t-bone from the chianina or maremmana breed which are more expensive. this one is a different breed, atleast 1.5 inches thick it's a minimum of 1kg. the verdict? the beef wasn't that flavorful...i want my meat really beefy - think dry aged beef. of course this one is fresh so the flavors are less intense. i wasn't super duper happy but i'm glad to have finally tried it.

there are hits and misses with zaza, you'd rather stick to the pastas which they do really well and zero in on the truffle menu if you like truffles =).

trattoria zaza
piazza del mercato centrale
(it's right outside the mercato centrale)
there are two zazas side by side and they are just the same

Aug 26, 2014

when in must eat gelato

unfortunately, i am not an ice cream lover. but i do enjoy this cool dessert once in a while. and because i'm in italy...gelato is a must whether i was in the mood or not. luckily the weather was warmer and enjoying a cold cup of gelato is actually a treat. i was only able to try 3 gelatos in italy. here's my take on each and everyone of them.

1. san crispino

i reckon this is the most famous gelato in roma. the caramel flavor is there, but somehow i didn't enjoy the sticky consistency of the gelato. it wasn't smooth and creamy as i expected it to be.

2. venchi

this wasn't on my list but the owner of our b&b recommended this place. this is right across the mercato nuovo and was perfect after all the walking we did in florence. again i had caramel or was it dulce de leche? i forget. this has the smoothest consistency this was like a rich ice cream not too dense but very creamy.

3. grom 

another perfect stop after an entire day of walking the streets of florence. the reviews are indeed correct. grom's flavors are rich but the texture is similar to san crispino just a bit better.

if you ask me venchi, wins just because of the consistency, it would be perfect if it has the richness in flavors as grom's gelato =). 

other gelato brands i would have loved to try would be flor in rome, gelateria la carraia and perche no in florence.

san crispino
via della panetteria, 42
(near the trevi fountain)
rome, italy

vicolo calimaruzza, 18
right across the mercato nouvo
florence, italy

via del campanile angolo delle oche
near piazza del duomo
florence, italy

Aug 22, 2014

the cannoli search ensues

if you've been following this blog, you'd know i'm obsessed with cannoli. (i had to edit my old post because i realized cannoli is the plural form and cannolo is singular). i've only tried it in las vegas and nyc so i was optimistic that i will find the perfect one in italy. let's see how i fared.

i only got to try two cannoli. both were in rome, from two pasticceria which are known for their cannoli.

ciuri ciuri, we were walking along via cavour as we were headed to the colosseo when i spotted ciuri ciuri. i took a mental note...must buy cannoli on our way back.

people have been raving about ciuri ciuri and they are known for freshly filled cannoli. verdict? it was too sweet! i like the thin crispy shell but i find the filling cloyingly sweet. i am not sure if it's just my palate or what but it was just too sweet for my liking.

la cannoleria siciliana, as the name suggests you'd think that cannoli is their specialty. however, i'm quite disappointed to find out they don't have fresh filled cannoli...or was it just for the bigger ones? i forget. i got the small versions only because i was afraid they might be too sweet again. the filling wasn't too sweet actually but the shell is a bit thick and because it's not freshly filled the shell has lost the crispness. 

sigh, i have yet to find that mind blowing cannoli. there was one more place i wanted to try in florence but missed the chance of trying it...if only my dad agreed to sit down and grab coffee then i could have tried that cannolo which has a better review. maybe next time.

ciuri ciuri
via leonina, 18/20
(it's on a smaller street parallel to via cavour, if you walk along via cavour you can see it because there are steps leading towards the store itself)

la cannoleria siciliana
via di monte brianzo 66-67
(street along the tiber near piazza navona)

Aug 18, 2014

rome: life

we were hungry and i didn't anticipate we would be in the spanish steps area by lunch time. i just checked yelp and saw life which was relatively nearby. i've read a couple of reviews on it so we decided to eat there.

my dad's vongole - didn't try it

truffle pasta, fragrant but nothing special. i even hate the pasta it was gummy.

my mom's grilled chicken with a slaw of veggies nothing special either 

via della vite
rome, italy

Jul 3, 2014

rome: ristorante santi

who doesn't love italian? i think everyone does. so i was pretty excited to be in the country that serves awesome food, or so i thought. in fairness to italy, rome isn't really the culinary capital. but i never expected food to be really mediocre. come on! this is italy and family owned restaurants should be one of those awesome finds.

i've done my research on the "best" eats in rome. ristorante santi was one of the forerunners because it was soooo near our hotel plus the food is relatively affordable plus people had good reviews about the place. these are the food items we tried during our several visits.

carbonara - it's rome's signature pasta dish. i only got to try it once and it was a bad version. the eggs were curdling, it wasn't creamy at all. only a faint taste of guanciale if they used guanciale at all or maybe they just used pancetta. authentic carbonara should use guanciale, cured pork cheeks while pancetta is the italian bacon. the plate was huge this can feed 2 people i didn't finish it.

lasagna - decent enough

seafood risotto - my parents said it was too buttery but i didn't find it as such. i thought risotto is supposed to be this creamy rice dish yeah i know this version doesn't have cheese! but the method of cooking risotto should yield a creamy porridgy consistency because of the starch in the rice meshed well with the broth!

arrabiata - nothing special

grilled seabass - i liked the idea of using garlic and parsley to stuff a fish. but nothing really special and the sides are just really sad.

dessert - this was like a crema catalan, i forgot  the actual name. so not worth the calories.

lemon sorbet - to cleanse the palate

there were other items i forgot to take pictures of. i still cannot fathom the awesome reviews this place had. the food is so so, yes cheap/affordable by rome standards but seriously? there was a night we just opted to eat at chicken hut instead of going back to this place. the service is so so, even during our visits when it wasn't busy at all. sets are around 10 euros and that's cheap by eu standards.

ristorante santi
via daniele manin
off via principe amedeo 
parallel to via cavour near termini station

Jun 1, 2014

antwerp: frituur no. 1

aside from waffles, the belgians are known for their frites. probably the origins of "french fries." frituur no 1 is known to be one of the best in antwerp, luckily they serve other food items so we decided to just eat here for lunch.

a mountain of frites, this was just a small size that 3 of us didn't even finish. i ordered it with the traditional mayo. the mayo is not too thick, i'm convinced there's a little mustard there or maybe the egg they used is just really orangey giving the prominent yellow hue. honestly? i wasn't impressed, it was just normal fries for me. i was expecting this soft pillowy insides and a crunchy outside but that didn't happen. ohhh but you can taste the beef fat! yes, they fry it in beef lard...utterly sinful.

they offer sausages and other items, these are the only fresh items they have, basically like deep fried kebabs. they have chicken, pork and beef they deep fry it and then sprinkle some spice mix. if you ask me, don't order this because the meats get dried up i should have been unhealthy and ordered a sausage instead.

frituur no 1
very close to the grote markt

antwerp: the best waffles i've ever had

i did some research on where to get the best waffles in antwerp but the weather and schedule didn't permit it us to try the place. spent most hours inside the antwerpen train station and luckily there's a waffle stall inside.

you can choose the toppings you want or you can just choose from the default ones. i chose this from the display, it's just topped with whipped cream and fresh strawberries. it was sooooo good. i've never had waffles like this, and this was just a stall in the train station! there are two types of belgian waffles, brussels and liege. liege are more dense, buttery and sweet - this was a liege waffle...yums.

antwerp central train station
near starbucks

May 27, 2014

amsterdam: dutch treats

i went on an eu holiday, but please do not keep your hopes up, i failed miserably in the culinary front but let's not dwell on that.

i don't think the dutch people are famous for food but there are famous dutch treats and here's two.

poffertjes are small/mini pancakes. traditionally sold with icing sugar and butter which is what i had but you can have nutella or other toppings. surprisingly the icing sugar was not that sweet but i didn't enjoy them as they were gummy in texture. it reminded me of sidewalk pancakes being sold in pinas. btw, pancakes are a dutch thing think french crepes you can have them savory or sweet but unfortunately didn't get to try one.

the stroopwafel maker

stroopwafels are probably the most famous dutch treat. i used to hate it until a colleague from NL brought over some uber yummy stroopwafels that were oh so buttery. i should have asked him the brand because until now i haven't found anything that matched it. these on the other hand are fresh they are very big compared to the store bought ones. it has a strong cinnamon/spicy flavor which i am not fond of plus the caramel wasn't buttery as well.

another famous treat is herring which i didn't not have the guts to try =). if you wanna try these two and maybe do some shopping, visit the albert cuyp market.

albert cuyp market
amsterdam, netherlands

Mar 31, 2014

we love beso

the last of my 2013 eats and one of the best meals of 2013. we didn't have a kl christmas dinner so we decided to meet up in manila instead. beso exceeded our expectations, we liked it a lot.

forgot what this is called, but basically a selection of chorizos and ham.
we liked everything, they are not salty at all.

this isn't really spectacular but it's quite unique, dark chocolate and
chorizo on bread.

clams with white wine? yummy just soak the bread in the sauce.

mussels with a tomato based sauce..yummy too!

humongous prawns/shrimps were used for the gambas.
i am salivating right now as i try to recall this dish.

the paella is overloaded with seafood, this is the only
time i 'll complain about a paella not having enough rice.

we really loved this dinner. maybe we should make it a tradition and hopefully next time more kl friends can join. we had sangria too, such a gastronomic treat.

bhs central
bonifacio global city