Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Cello's Doughnuts & Dips: Donut Heaven!

For me, Cello's Doughnuts & Dips is the happiest place on Earth. I am not sure if it is the sugar rush, the soft and heavenly dough of their donuts, or both. But one thing is for sure: this is one of my favorite places to be.

If you visit Cello's, you will find out for yourself why I LOVE this donut place. Their regular sized Cello's original donuts cost P30, with my favorite flavors being Oreo, Choco-Oreo, M&M's, Cheese, and White Choco. God, just thinking about these flavors make me drool.. Lol.

The last time we visited there we got to try their premium doughnuts (mainly because it is usually sold out by the time we visit). I've tried their Dark Belgian Chocolate and it was orgasmically good. Lol. The first bite was an explosion of flavor a
nd had to take a few seconds to stop and try to savor the flavor - it was that overwhelming! Another flavor that E picked is Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookie, which is a chocolate donut sprinkled with bits of chocolate. Heaven!

Recently, I was also able to sample their ice cream crea
tions. Mine was an oreo overload topped with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, and a drizzle of chocolate syrup. See, I love donut (especially a chocolate donut) and I love ice cream. You put these two together and I went literally on a sugar high!

My nephew Andre love Cello's donuts so much that he always asks me to bring him their cocktails, which is a box of 15 mini doughnuts! He can finish 4 or 5 of them in one sitting! Already, I am looking forward to my next visit at Cello's...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

New Pasta Favorite: Rego's Pasta Express

Why haven't I got around to trying Rego's Pasta Express earlier? If only people realized how good this pasta place is, then people would flock at this humble restaurant located at Arellano St. corner Jacinto Extension in Davao City. Spotting this dining place won't be difficult because it is close by Johnny's Cupcakes and the Central Bank.

E and I have had our few favorites dining spots in Davao, but sometimes we want to try new places to whet our appetite. So, I went over and dragged him there. But I didn't have such a hard time convincing him because he is just as adventurous and willing as I am to experiment with food and sample new tastes.

I was surprised as we got to Rego's Pasta Express because the place was much smaller than I had imagined it to be. But it was actually a good thing as it helped to deliver that homey vibe and when you couple that with a good, er excellent, pasta meal, then it is going to be a satisfying dining experience for sure.

I order their Rego's Marinara special that comes with a hefty amount of pitted olives, shrimps, and a tasty marinara sauce, which I can tell was made out of fresh tomato instead of the bottled or canned ones you find at the supermarket. I forgot the name of E's order but it was a white carbonara sauce with bacon and mushroom. Both pastas were cooked al dente, which is just what I prefer so there is still a bite to it. I had to commend the prices for these pastas, too. Each order was priced at P 135, which is very affordable for the size of the serving. I was also quite excited that they have free bottles of cheese, pepper, and other condiments at the table, so I went crazy and sprinkled as much Parmesan cheese on my pasta as it would take to satisfy my palate. Not that the pasta dish wasn't tasty enough, but I love to have extra cheese on it.

In addition to the pastas, we also ordered their Fish & Chips. I forgot to ask what type of fish they used for making it but it was pure heaven to my taste buds. Grub's Fish & Chip and Tater's had very good Fish & Chips too, but this one was really up there with them. And their french fries was cooked with garlic such that it gave off that aroma that really worked up my appetite. I just got an idea on how to prepare my french fries at home, even when I am just using frozen fries at the supermarket.

All in all, Rego's Pasta Express is a culinary must-visit in Davao. If you love pasta, you don't even have to think twice about going. And the best part of all, the food is very affordable.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Red Kimono at Abreeza

It was our first time at Abreeza and so my boyf and I were clueless on where to eat. We decided to scour the entire mall for a while before we decide where to have our dinner. We ended up getting lost (oops, LOL) and it took us maybe around 30 minutes before we finally got settled. It was a tiny nook in the left side of the mall wherein we found Red Kimono. Other choices would have been TGIFriday's, Italianni's, and Mooon Cafe (my 3 other choices), but these restaurants were jam packed that night (it was a Wednesday) and neither I nor my tummy had the patience to wait!

So, we decided to go for Red Kimono since I had also been eyeing it for a while and anyone who knows me is aware that I am a massive Japanese food fanatic. This is their first time to open a branch in Davao City, so that is another reason for me to get excited.

I noticed that the ambience had
more of a modern Japanese feel, which was warm and welcoming. However, the place is tad too small especially since they had large tables for a group and we were seated in the table for two right at the center. It was difficult even for the waiters and waitresses to walk from one table to another without bumping into our table or chair. To make matters worse, E's chair also had a defect that he nearly fumbled when trying to lean over to one side. Hopefully, they could address this problem because it wasn't the most comfortable dining experience. Everything else was fine, though, and the service crew was attentive and accommodating.

As for the food, E ordered Sukiyaki (PhP 215) that comes wi
th Australian beef, tofu, and mushroom with noodles. I was able to taste it and it was really good. The flavors are subtle but rich. My favorite Japanese soup is still Rai Rai Ken's seafood hotpot, but it was some good competition. There was a bit of sweetness to the soup, too, which was a pleasant surprise.

Aside from Japanese food, I am also a sucker for seafood so I immediately scanned their seafood section. I ordered Fillet of Cream Dory (PhP 295) because the photo on their menu just looked so inviting! The fish was grilled to perfection (just as the menu said!) and the spinach was perfect compliment to the fish! The serving also came with mashed potato and E noted it was a little too garlic-y, but it was just perfect for me! Loved it, even.

It was an overall great dining experience for us and the food was indeed the highlight. Again, we wanted to try their maki and desse
rt but I guess that was all my tummy could take. Except for the few issues I raised above, I would recommend Red Kimono!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Lyndon's Worst Rib and Most Awful Chicken

Anyone who has tried Lyndon's will surely find the name of the place a misnomer. Indeed, the rib was not the worst at all, in fact it was the best. The chicken, too, was very tasty and very well seasoned. What I like the best about the chicken is that the marinade was able to reach deep inside the meat, not just on the skin. Hence, it was culinary goodness down to the bones. I could eat it everyday, except that it probably won't be too good for my health!

E ordered their Rib, which is one of the best I had tasted EVER. He tried to cut through it with the knife but realized too soon that it won't even be necessary. All you have to do is stick your fork on the meat and it will fall right off the bones - effortless! I even tried cutting it myself because I did not believe him at first, but it surely did fall off effortlessly from the bones. And th
e best part? It tasted heavenly - no hype, whatsoever.

Judging by the lack of ambiance (we visited the Wheels N More drive branch), I guess people do come here solely for the food. It was also impressive that there were quite a few patrons that were there on a Saturday night. And it sure is one of Davao's best. I am glad that I was able to try it. I would love to come back though and try out their seafoods.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Zabadani: New on the Menu

It has been over a month since I last visited Zabadani - my favorite kabab and Persian dining place in Davao (Majid's Kabab is a close second!). And I am glad I did because I know Wadi (the owner) does not disappoint with his culinary offerings. I tried something new on their menu, but when I opted for the Chuck Asparagus, Wadi says it was unavailable at that time. So, I opted for their Minty Fish Roast instead (diet says only fish or veggies are suited for dinner).

Oh boy, was I happy with my pick! Wadi says he used blue marlin because dory was not available at that time. But it was roasted to perfection with bits of rosemary and pepper sprinkled on top. The meat was also very juicy and tasty - just the way I like it! I'm not really a fan of blue marlin before this (I prefer salmon and dory), but my taste buds can't argue with me! I recommend all of you try it too!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Trellis N Vines

On March 30, the boyf and I had planned to have our dinner at Barrio Bistro in Bo. Obrero because I had been reading a lot of blogs about it and it really piqued my interest. Unfortunately, the place was exclusive for a party during our visit so we found ourselves looking for another place to dine instead. Thankfully, Torres St. is just close by and so we immediately headed there in search for a place to satisfy our palate and hungry tummies.

We went to the Davao Convention Center complex because there is a long line of restaurants to choose from. We wanted to try Ranch & Reef but it was jam-packed so it was not even an option for that particular night. There was Nonki and we have already tried it before so we wanted to opt for something new. Then we spotted Trellis N Vines and I immediately dragged E there.

Upon entering this cozy little restaurant, one thing that I immediately noticed was how beautiful the ambiance was. It was predominantly yellow and bright colors that I ended up telling E that I would definitely try out this place again with friends. I noticed that they had some excellent patrons, too – not the usual rowdy crowd that I encountered in a lot of dining places here in Davao.

The waiter was also quick to greet us and lead us to our table. I noticed that there was a huge selection of items on their menu… which is good for those with a discriminating taste bud so you can pick one that you like best. For this dinner, E ordered the Vietnamese fried chicken while I went for the beef broccoli. I was tempted to order the crepe for dessert but put that off because I have yet to see their serving….

We did not have to wait for too long either for our food to arrive, and I was glad I did not place my order for dessert yet because the servings were humongous. I think each order was good for 2-3 people, so I quickly thought to myself that this place could really be perfect for a group of friends or families. The Vietnamese fried chicken came with its own dip with (I suppose) Vietnamese herbs and spices. It was spicy indeed so I did not even give it a try… The dip was not necessary anyways because the fried chicken was well marinated and tasted real excellent. My beef broccoli was just as excellent, too. The beef was tender when I tried to cut through it with a knife. The tenderness of the beef provided a nice contrast to the crunchiness of the broccoli… I think they just blanched it and not cooked it along with the beef, which is perfect!

We were both very full after that dinner and yet we were unable to finish all of our orders. The bill was very reasonable and I am really quite happy about this dining experience. Looking forward to dining there again, with friends this time…

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Comfort Italian Food at Salutti

I don’t make claims to becoming an Italian food connosieur but I do recognize good Italian food. When I first visited Salutti at Casa de Habana compound, I knew that I was bound for my second Italian food trip at the said restaurant, sooner or later. That second trip took place a few weeks ago on a lazy Saturday night when my boyf and I wanted to try something new to satisfy our gastronomic cravings. It was a sudden decision to eat at Salutti since he enjoyed the Asian Beef Panini so much he’d been wondering when he’d be able to try it again.

Early in the evening, the restaurant is solemn. Casa d

e Habana compound is usually filled up with hippie groups of people, mostly college studes to un

wind on a Saturday night, during late nights. There are options to dine al fresco but Ed took the liki

ng of taking pictures of their lighting fixtures.

Ed opted for his favorite Asian Beef Panini yet again, couldn’t blame him because he’s been really craving for that ever since he had a taste. The meat was tender and sweet, which really blends well with the crispiness of the lettuce in the salad and the sweet-tart flavor of the mango sauce included in it. It is quite deceitful as it appears on first look as a light meal but it really does make up for one full meal in itself.

Meanwhile, I opted for the Chicken Fingers with Honey Mustard Dip. I admit, the serving was too much for my digestive system to take in, although it was a pleasant experience for my pallette. The dip had honey, mustard, and fresh basil chopped finely, that enabled its fresh flavors and aroma to incorporate really well with the mixture. Of course, I couldn’t finish the entire serving myself and so Ed was yet again tasked to finish the rest.

Eating at Salutti is fast becoming a favorite. Whether you love Italian food or not, it is something that your taste buds will thank you for. Good thing I’m in no diet so devouring on these delectable dishes left no feeling of guilt at all. And besides, we’re off to start our tennis sessions in the coming weeks, so now I have a way to increase my metabolism…just in case I get too caught up with the food!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Crepelato – Home of Dessert Goodness and Personalized Service

Since I first tasted Tata Benito’s A Whole Latte Love Coffee’s Mango Crepe, I thought for sure this was going to top my list of dessert favorites. I haven’t had the chance to go back to that same coffee shop but the craving for that rich and luscious tasting dessert never ceased to linger on my taste buds. So, I single handedly conducted my own research for the best place to satisfy my crepe cravings. And that is when I stumbled upon “Crepelato” in one of many Davao Food trip blogs.

It was finally last week that I decided to pay this dining place a visit. I tagged along my boyfriend, the mandatory food trip partner, to taste their specialty, as well as try out some other dishes that’s on the menu.

We did not have a hard time spotting it, since it is located right in front of the old Sampaguita Inn along Quirino Ave. The place was a tad smaller than I had expected, but that did not take anything away from the homey and welcoming feel that the overall ambiance emitted. I thought that the choice of color was a nice preview into what their specialty crepes and gelatos had to offer.

As my boyf and I were about to assume this cozy little corner table, we were invited over by one of their staffs to taste their gelatos, allowing us to choose one that we liked best to have on our crepe float. I thought it was pretty generous of them to do that free sampling, after all there is probably no other restaurant or dining spot in Davao City who offers that to their customers, and at the same time, it shows exactly their commitment to offer customer satisfaction, such that you’d know exactly how your order will taste like.

After sampling some of their gelatos, I choose to have their Capuchillo for my crepe float while Ed chose his favorite ice cream flavor – Vanilla. For our main dish, one of their waiters suggested their best-seller, which is Victorian Spare Ribs. And since I only came there for their dessert, I opted for a lighter meal – Pasta con Malunggay. I was a bit skeptic when I decided to order this pasta meal, but their owner reassured me that you won’t be able to taste any malunggay from the dish, which she probably have guessed is what worried me.

We only waited for a few minutes and I haven’t had enough time to take some pictures of their place and also observe some other customers who were (at this point) getting their free taste of the gelato, until my pasta dish was served – quick service indeed! I would have to say that I was very pleased with their spaghetti – it was a huge serving, for something that only costs P50! It was also very meaty and not too saucy, although there was nothing about this recipe that made it memorable. Nonetheless, at a P50 meal that satisfied my palate, I cannot complain really!

Then, a few minutes after my pasta meal was served followed up Ed’s order, the Victorian Spare Ribs. This one was priced at P150, although judging by the tenderness of the meat, the richness of the sauce, and the size of the serving, I would not mind paying for a bit more. It was THAT good! I earlier said I was not in the mood for rice but I could not resist tasting the dish as well – it was simply irresistible. And Ed savored every last bit of the meal! I can tell when he is happy and satisfied! :D

Then came the crepe floats… The presentation was very charming, colorful, and vibrant! These were the exact same qualities one would often look for in a dessert. It was yummy enough to look at! So, I did not waste any second to dig in. The gelato had the right consistency and I was congratulating myself for choosing the right flavor. It was sprinkled with cereals, which offered some crunch and nice contrast to the texture of the crepe and the gelato. I am not too sure about this, but I believe that each serving costs P65. And it was not bad at all knowing how rich each serving is and I savored mine up to the last bit!

Now, here are my ratings for Crepelato…

Pros: Customer service is excellent. I liked the fact that they were very accommodating to customers the moment you step into that door and by the time you walk out of it. The waiter also were very attentive to our needs and even offered to refill our glasses with water even if we did not ask for it. The owners were there too, and she was courteous enough to speak with us and asking us about the meal right before we left. It makes a whole lot of difference when the owners are very much hands-on with the services and the operation of an establishment.

Cons: I only visited the place once and it was rather a short one. As of now, I cannot spot any drawbacks to dining in Crepelato, although I wish that they would expand on their store to make it more roomy. But since they are in operation for only a few months, I bet they wold soon consider this, especially as more people will discover their heavenly crepe floats.

Overall: Crepelato was one of my most satisfying gastronomic experience as of late. There is always something that would top of an excellent experience; for instance, food was in very good quality, then it was topped by a warm, genuine service. And when it was time to pay our bill, we were surprised at how affordable the entire meal was. I will definitely see myself trying out some of the other dishes on the menu, as well as other flavors of the crepe floats.

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