Our #ClaraOlePotluck Fiesta, Boodle Fight Style!

We’re from Malabon, and if you know anyone from there or you’ve attended at least one fiesta or party hosted by someone who lives in our hometown, you know how festive our celebrations could be. And if you’ve been to one of our parties at home, you’ve seen how lavish we are when it comes to preparing food for our guests. We did just that when we hosted our own Clara Ole Potluck Fiesta party a couple of weeks ago.

Our Clara Ole Potluck Fiesta Boodle Fight spread!

The party took almost a month to prepare. The Clara Ole team gave us one task – to prepare a menu showcasing the wide variety of dishes you can make using their products, and how convenient and easy it is for anyone to serve delicious dishes, whatever level your cooking skills are and however small your kitchen is. We personally use Clara Ole products in my little kitchen in my Makati condo, and I tell you, everything I cook with their products come out perfect. 🙂 My favorites would be their pasta sauces and marinades.

Going back to our party, Ken and I thought of hosting a boodle fight, and we all agreed on the Pinoy Fiesta theme for our friends. Since it’ll be a boodle fight, Ken knew serving a couple of dishes won’t be enough. So, he came up with a menu composed of 14 dishes + the punch, which serves as my only contribution. 😀 All of the dishes were made using Clara Ole products, as listed below.

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OZEN Japanese Food Haven in Malabon Serves the Best Takoyaki We’ve Ever Had!

There’s this small Japanese hole-in-the-wall food stop near our house that we usually see jam-packed with customers at night. We really had no plans at all of trying the place, since we’ve had authentic Japanese fare from topnotch restaurants and hotels in Manila (Yabang naman! 😀 ) and we’re quite sure that the place will be nothing less than a disappointment. But it was until we met a fellow foodie who raved about how awesome their Takoyaki was that we finally decided to pay OZEN Japanese Food in Malabon a visit.

OZEN Japanese Food - hole-in-the-wall food haven in Malabon City

Our first try was a total disaster, service-wise. They had 3 groups of families that were dining in, so we had to wait over an hour to finally get our food. We ordered three sets of Takoyaki — two to-go and one for dining in because we wanted to take a quality photo of their Takoyaki for the blog. I didn’t get my hopes up, since my first encounter with a mall-bought Takoyaki was totally unremarkable.

You can order your Takoyaki for takeout too

I picked up a piece and took a small bite. My eyes widened in amazement, and from then I knew that it’s the best Takoyaki I’ve ever had my whole life! Well, I exaggerated a bit there. 😀 It took us a couple of balls to finally establish how delicious their Takoyaki was. It was so good that we came back the next day – in the afternoon this time – so we didn’t have to battle a crowd of patrons to get our food.

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The Maya Kitchen Baking Class with The Burp Society

After our dinner at Van Gogh is Bipolar, we thought it’ll be fun to organize a different kind of activity for the next The Burp Society meet-up. Thankfully, The Maya Kitchen gladly helped us organize a baking class for our group, which turned out to be a completely fun and learning experience for all of us.

The Burp Society and Ms Rory at The Maya Kitchen

Ken’s an excellent pastry chef, which has inspired me to want to learn how to bake. So, I thought it’ll be a great idea to hold a baking class exclusively for The Burp Society. And, almost immediately, I thought about The Maya Kitchen Culinary Arts Center.

Maya Kitchen display of products

I’m sure you’re all familiar with Maya, the brand well-known and trusted for decades by us Filipinos because of the quality of their products. You’ve probably prepared pancakes, brownies, cakes, cookies or even champorado at home with ease because of Maya’s mixes. But, did you know they have been helping out entrepreneurs and home bakers and cooks for years now through the classes they hold at The Maya Kitchen? You can learn more about this through their website: www.themayakitchen.com.

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A Mesmerizing Dinner at Van Gogh is Bipolar with The Burp Society

Ever since we started this blog, we’ve had this insatiable thirst for a one-of-a-kind dining experience. I can count with one hand the number of restaurants that left me speechless, but they’re mostly just because of the flavors and the food. None of them had a significant effect on me both gastronomically and emotionally. I’ve never had that experience yet.  Not until last June during The Burp Society‘s dinner meetup at Van Gogh is Bipolar by Jetro Rafael. I left that night with my heart filled with glee. 🙂

Van Gogh is Bipolar at Maginhawa Street

You most probably have heard of this place. The owner, Jetro, is an artist and has long been struggling with bipolar disorder. He discovered that changing his diet may play a big role in his healing. He cooked dishes with ingredients that made him happy, or at least improved his mood. It was his friends who encouraged him to share his mood-altering diet – he calls it the “Cuckoo Diet” – by opening up his own restaurant at Maginhawa Street. Here, he wants to continue celebrating his imperfections and embracing his flaws… something we should all learn to do. 🙂

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A Memorable Dinner at Cafe 1771

After months of planning and waiting for just the right time to officially kick off The Burp Society, we finally did it at Cafe 1771, a very posh cafe in El Pueblo. It was one night of almost unadulterated fun with our newfound foodie friends over scrumptious food at a gorgeously designed restaurant.

Cafe 1771 at El Pueblo in Ortigas

Photos taken from their Facebook page.

It was meant to be. The Chateau Group invited us and The Burp Society (TBS) over for dinner and drinks at WineBar 1771 to introduce us to what they have to offer. With my growing love for wine, I was excited, plus the fact that it’s going to be TBS’ very first meet-up. However, since the date we chose was very close to the holidays, only the private room in Cafe 1771’s The Lounge was available. Still, our anticipation never wavered. Besides, we’ve heard only raves about the restaurant from fellow food bloggers.

Cafe 1771 is a member of the Chateau 1771 Group of Restaurants that includes Chateau 1771 in Greenbelt 5, Sentro 1771 in Greenbelt 3 and Serendra, and Sidebar in El Pueblo. I’ve heard about their restaurant concepts before, but it was my first time to finally dine in one of them. It was a wonderful introduction and I can’t wait to go back.

We had a huge spread of deliciously unique food from Cafe 1771 that night, so I’ll be writing about the meet-up in a separate post. But, more details would be on The Burp Society’s site.

Cafe 1771 is located in El Pueblo along ADB Avenue in Ortigas. It’s easy to find them because of the Colonial-themed facade that’s painted white, with tints of black on their windows.

Cafe 1771 entrance - El Pueblo, Ortigas

At night, the restaurant looks like a newly-constructed Colonial house, with almost an eery feel that I was tempted to use vignette effects on the photos I took. 😀

As soon as you enter, you’ll immediately feel welcomed by everyone at Cafe 1771. The interiors made me wish I can take photos with my eyes. Everywhere you look, you’ll find something strikingly vibrant and beautiful. Boy, we were all camera-crazy that night! Even the restrooms were eloquently designed. No, I didn’t take a photo inside, but it was only because I left my phone and camera at the table. 😀


Cafe 1771 The Whimsy and The Lounge

The restaurant is divided into two areas – The Whimsy and The Lounge – each offering a dining experience unique from the other. WineBar 1771 is located on the third floor.

For diners who are looking for a more casual breakfast, lunch or dinner, there’s The Whimsy. It’s the area that you see first as soon as you enter Cafe 1771.

Cafe 1771 The Whimsy in El Pueblo, Ortigas - gorgeous interiors!

It’s brightly lit and as you look around, you’ll agree that the name was fancifully appropriate. Shades of pink and blue are on chairs and the walls, playfully setting the mood to a fun meal.

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About Guilty Pleasures

Guilty Pleasures

Guilty pleasures – these can be food, activities or anything that gives you so much pleasure that you don’t mind the guilt you feel right after. Guilty pleasures are usually kept secret from others probably because you want to maintain a certain image, you simply don’t want anyone judging you for giving in to temptations or it’s just plain embarrassing to admit.

Though we enjoy discovering new restaurants or cooking up unique dishes, we have a list of food and drinks that we can’t simply get enough of. We always come back to them because nothing else can give us the same level of satisfaction. They’re our comfort food, so no matter what others may say about how unhealthy they can be, we felt that it’s about time we share with you our own guilty pleasures to hopefully entice you into admitting what you always crave for. 😉

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MHEL: I was one of the many people who were saddened upon learning that A&W stores stopped their operations here in the Philippines years ago. Imagine my joy when I found out that leading grocery stores still sell A&W rootbeer in cans. I blogged about that here. And every so often, I bring home at least 2 cans of A&W rootbeer to enjoy at home (I actually have a can currently chilling in our refrigerator). The intense rootbeer flavors and its frothiness can never be surpassed by any other rootbeer brands, and I know a lot of you would agree with me. 🙂

A&W Rootbeer 12-can pack

KEN: What’s not to love about Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups? Reese’s combines the two best things in the world – chocolate and peanut butter! I have tried countless times to make my own version at home, but nothing really beats the original. These peanut butter cups, covered in their bright orange wrappers, are, hands down, the best candy in the world!

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Miniatures Family Bag

MHEL: I LOVE cheesecakes, but since I had a taste of Ken’s version of Blueberry Cheesecake (New York style), I can’t get enough of it. I think we’ve had it numerous times over the past year. He doesn’t complain though ’cause I’m always the one buying the ingredients. 😀 Plus, he’s addicted to cheesecakes too. It’s the best Blueberry Cheesecake I’ve ever tasted, and I share this opinion with a lot of fellow foodies. 🙂

Ken's Homemade Blueberry Cheesecake

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Our Banchetto-Emerald Food Trip!

Update: 07/10/2011 – Banchetto now operates from Tuesdays to Saturdays in 3 different locations. Please check the bottom of this post for the schedules.

After attending Magnolia’s Summer Bloggers party, we (my friend Badeth and her photo booth guys, my bro and I) headed over to Banchetto in Emerald Ave. in Ortigas.

Banchetto started out as a very popular late night food strip in Ortigas. They recently opened 2 more venues in Libis, Quezon City and at Pioneer in Mandaluyong City (more info at the bottom of the post).

The Burp Society member Badeth and Kenneth at Banchetto in Ortigas - CertifiedFoodies.comBadeth and Kenneth at Banchetto

I’ve been reading a lot of raves about Banchetto and so I was pretty excited to check out all the food I can enjoy there. Oh, trust me, Banchetto is definitely any foodie’s heaven. You’ve got a lot of food choices. You can enjoy a full meal or something lighter if you’re on a diet. We even saw a stall selling food for vegetarians.

Okay, let the photos speak for me. Wipe off the drool after. Everything’s really mouth-watering! 😀

Oooohhh seafood pasta and pancit! - CertifiedFoodies.comIsaw, betamax, and other popular street food at Banchetto - CertifiedFoodies.com

I wanted to try the isaw since I haven’t had them for a very long time. But, I was a bit full after the buffet at the event we came from. Next time, I’ll make sure to not skip this.

Good Farm's booth at Banchetto - CertifiedFoodies.com

My bro and I are coffee and pastry lovers. So, when we saw Good Farm’s booth in Banchetto-Emerald, we were so eager to try their products. We ordered their Coffee Brownies with Vanilla ice cream, priced at Php 35.00. The lady in black was the one who baked the brownies.

Good Farm's Affogato with Vanilla Ice Cream - Php 35 - CertifiedFoodies.com

The brownies were really moist and chewy, just the way I like it. We were disappointed though ‘cause we were expecting a li’l more kick of coffee flavor. I guess we should’ve tried their Arabica Coffee brownies (Php 25).

More food at Banchetto - CertifiedFoodies.com

If you work in Ortigas, Banchetto-Emerald is definitely a place you’d be frequenting a lot. You can save on your meal expenses because there are many food choices at very affordable prices. There are even packed meals you can buy, as pictured below.

Packed meals, perfect for office junkies - CertifiedFoodies.com

What I also would love to come back for are all these grilled food at Banchetto. When I saw these huge squids being grilled, I felt my tummy grumble even when I know I’m still full. These are perfect for a quick late night drink with friends. 🙂

Grilled gigantic squids - yummy!! - CertifiedFoodies.com

Continue reading Our Banchetto-Emerald Food Trip!

Pizza Hut Night : Lechon Pizza Review

Back in November, I posted about Pizza Hut’s Lechon Pizza promo on their Facebook fan page where you can win a feast or gift certificates. Well, guess what!?! I WON!!! If only I wasn’t at our computer shop, I would’ve jumped up and down in glee! I won Php 1,500 gift certificates from Pizza Hut, one of my favorite pizza joints.

I had issues with how I could claim the gift certificates because I can’t close the shop just to pick them up. That’s why I’m so grateful that they accommodated my request to have my prize shipped to my home address through courier. Thank you so much, Pizza Hut!

My Php 1,500 gift certificates from Pizza Hut - CertifiedFoodies.com

So, I had it all planned. I tagged my friends from The Burp Society (formerly known as Tomador Inc. :D) on the photo post where I won and they were the ones who were invited, too, for the pizza party. It was supposed to be a super late birthday celebration for one of my friends, and a post-Christmas and New year celebration all rolled into one.

My friend Badeth had her Pizza Hut Palm card with her. I confirmed with Pizza Hut’s customer service agent that I could use the Palm card. I was asking ’cause I thought they had another promo for delivery, like their All-You-Pay promos in the past.

What did we order? I really, really wanted to try the Lechon Pizza so we ordered one (1) large (14″) pizza for Php 499.

Pizza Hut's Lechon Pizza - CertifiedFoodies.com

At first glance, I was a li’l skeptical about the Lechon Pizza. I mean, it looked a bit greasy to me. They had a separate package for the pork roasted skin that you can either break into pieces or grind to spread all over the pizza. They even include extra sauce.

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