The World of Robinsons Magnolia

Shopping and dining is even more rewarding when these are all done in one location. Thankfully, we’ve got malls to allow us to do these things all in one go. However, there are only a handful of malls that house boutiques and restaurants that you could rarely find, a mall that is not congested with people, and one that has a condominium nearby. Last May 13, I was able to experience the life I could have if ever live in Robinsons Residences thanks to RJ Ledesma of Mercato Centrale, Anton Diaz of Our Awesome Planet and Robinsons Residences. The Magnolia Residences offers both 36sqm one-bedroom and 78sqm executive two-bedroom units. The media headed first to the Magnolia Residences’ showroom, which truly wowed us.

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It truly felt like shopping and dining were just next door since the idea is to clearly make life convenient for those dwelling at the Magnolia Residences. Thus part of our itinerary was to head next to Robinsons Magnolia.  We went to Robinsons Magnolia food court located at the ground floor to visit three stores. We went straight to C’Verde by Big Chill, the first vegetarian quick-service restaurant. There, I munched on Bean and Cheese Taquitos. Next, we went to Zigla. Here, zizigla ka talaga (pun intended), because they prepare freshly-cooked food. However, we tried the pre-prep Tuna and Cheese Sandwich with high-fiber whole wheat loaf. We then went to Pad Thai. The store offers authentic Thai dishes, but at an affordable price. We got to try their Pad Thai Chicken. Considering that we went to the mall’s food court, Robinsons Magnolia has healthy and delicious offerings. I’d recommend the place to people who are figure-conscious.Image

We satisfied our sweet tooth by heading to the House of Silvanas. I’ve already seen some of its stalls in different malls. However, during our visit, I was able to taste their meringue wafer for the first time. This dessert comes in pandan (too sweet), strawberry (mildly sweet), mango (so-so), and ube (my right kind of sweet) flavors.  Despite their varying sweetness, they are all still luscious. Next, we visited Villa del Conte, which offers authentic Italian chocolates. Their watermelon chocolate is superb, but their praline ball is also excellent. Gosh, I just love how it satisfied my chocolate cravings!

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Sir RJ Ledesma, being the host, warned us that our tummies will be filled with more carbs as we were going to have our dinner at The Clubhouse and Gaucho. The Clubhouse is a house of modern comfort food and its ambience is cozy since its interiors felt like home. We had Tuyo Rice Bowl with pineapple salsa, Truffle Mushroom Scramble (the flavor is so-so), Hungarian Sausage & Eggs, and Vigan Longganisa Hash (I fell in love with this one the most). I’m going to marry The Clubhouse in the coming days.Image

The dinner’s mood shifted from cozy to stiff as we set foot to the two-level Argentinean-inspired restaurant called Gaucho. I describe the place’s ambience as stiff, because it is a fine-dining restaurant. However, the friendly staff makes up for all the stiffness. Their Falda ala Cruz (US Beef Shortplate) is tender and yummy. Meanwhile, their Cochino ala Cruz (native suckling pig) did not appeal to my taste buds. However, their Cordero Entero ala Cruz (Australian Young Lamb) was tasty and smelled really fresh.  Argentines are meat lovers so swirling a red wine is a must when dining in an Argentinean-inspired resto!

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I don’t know if you guys already know this trivia, but for those who don’t, then this one’s for you: It was in this place where Magnolia Ice Cream House was situated before.

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But hey, Robinsons has reconstructed a place that will make your eyes happy and your tummies groan. There are a lot of establishments to remember, but I guarantee you that all the places we’ve been to truly made our night. I like Crepe Parfait! With the heaps of ice cream we had, we never had to scream for more ice cream!

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Robinsons Magnolia

Doña M. Hemady Avenue, Quezon City

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Tired? Go to Coffee Empire

Whenever we are tired, all that we want is to have something comforting, something that will give us a sense of relaxation. Well, if you’re looking for a place to chill, then this is where Coffee Empire comes in. The establishment offers an impressive menu that features well-loved local and international dishes. So, if you want to try modern comfort food from different cuisines, pay The Coffee Empire a visit. It recently opened last March 14, 2014, so I was one of the few lucky people who got to try the dishes concocted by Coffee Empire’s Chef AC Agra.

These hand-cut potatoes called Duck Fat Fries (P 195.00), started off our feast with Mr. Cesar, the resident coffee consultant. The dish has duck fat and coffee spice that totally spiced up our night. Meanwhile, the Gambas Al Ajillo (P 375.00) is a garlic confit of tiger prawns with dehydrated prawn heads and dehydrated olives blanketed in its own juice. Well, prawns and shrimp are my favorites, so this truly satisfied me.

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If you are looking for a healthy, but hearty dish, then give their Organic Egg Caesar Salad (P215.00) a try. It’s made with bacon rashers and sous vide eggs for your protein needs. Meanwhile, their Tuna Salad Nicoise (P285.00) has tomatoes, tuna, and vinaigrette. What totally made the salad more bountiful were the croquettes on the side. I prefer the latter, but they are both good.

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For me, their French Onion Soup P 195.00 is just ordinary, but the Gruyere mozzarella surely delighted me. On the other hand, I’m sure that the Squash Cappuccino Soup (P  150.00) was beyond the expectations of another writer who were with us, because he finished his soup entirely. Yum!

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The goodness of this dish lies in the merging of complexity and superfluity. Imagine having gruyere mozzarella, parmesan, and béchamel into one dish. How could it not be so sinful? Well, it is and this is what would welcome your taste buds when you try their creamy Truffled 3-cheese Mac and Cheese (P 305.00). Next, the Cheeseburger Fondue (P 335.00) was a treat as well. The US beef patty is juicy and the melted cheese along with the BLT made a great combination.

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For me, the 42-Hour Pork Belly (P370.00) is the star of the menu. It is mildly sweet because it is cooked kakuni-style with cauliflower and pickled onions. We were also given another Japanese treat called Teriyaki Salmon (P 550.00). The fish used here is a Norwegian salmon bathed in teriyaki glaze with vegetables. Meanwhile, the fish is placed on a bed of wasabi mousseline. I’m  simply amazed!

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The next dish which is begging for hot rice is called Beef Shortribs Caldereta in Red Wine (P 390.00),but we obviously didn’t ask for a plate full of rice anymore because we were already full.

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What’s a meal without a dessert? Though we were ready to laze from all the food we ate, we still had to try this Speculous Crunchy Cookie Butter Pancakes (P140.00) smothered with (you guessed it!) Speculous. These pancakes come with butter, maple syrup, and powder. However, I missed giving its crunchy texture a try. Next, we were given their Vanilla Bean Crème Brulee (P 175.00) for which I have nothing but warm compliments to say.

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The Crepe (Mango/Orange/Banana-Nutella) is served with liquid nitrogen ice cream priced only at P 125.00.  Our last bite for the night gave us a delightful kick.

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If you are wondering about the coffee offered by the place, then wait for my next post. The full evaluation of the restaurant will be posted there, too.

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Ambiance: 5/5
Price: 5/5
Serving: 5/5
Service: 5/5
Taste: 4/5

The Coffee Empire

74 West Avenue, West Triangle, 1104, Quezon City

6:00 – 22:00

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Café Adriatico: Getting Old but Never Getting Behind

I was in Malate on a Friday night with my past special someone; we met again after 8 years. Walking along Remedios St. where his house is nested, we both laughed about our past and talked about our present. As we reached a corner restaurant, which sort of had this evocative vibe to it, we both bid goodbye. He went his way while I entered to the restaurant with a dim ambience.

It felt like I was on a time machine when I saw the interiors of the restaurant – wooden floors, wooden chairs and tables, (which I am guessing is made of Narra) lamps, fresh flowers, and French windows greeted me. It was refreshing and kind of melancholic when you take a peep through the window where the old Remedios circle can be viewed.

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Nevertheless, I was full aware that I was at the present because I was with the people I had recently known. The celebration for that particular night was for the 35th year anniversary of The LJC Group (see my post here). We were fed like hungry soldiers who just fought a battle because we were served with a full course meal.

Gambas al Ajillo P 250.00

This shrimp in garlic dish is flavored Catalan (or Mediterranean) style. The way it is seasoned is perfect for me – not too salty which I find delicious.

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Hummus with Pita Bread P168.00

This is another Mediterranean dish and it was my first time to try it. Hummus is an Arabic food spread or dip made from chickpeas, lemon juice, olive oil among others. It tasted like a dressing. Also their pita bread was well-baked. It surely was a new experience trying it with black olives.

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Cream of Two Mushrooms P110.00

This one is a combination of buttons and shiitake mushrooms. The soup is scrumptious.

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Pilaf Rice

The serving of rice signals the arrival of the main course. By the way, pilaf is a kind of rice cooked in a seasoned broth.

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Blue Marlin Provencale P425.00

I very seldom get the chance to eat fresh Blue Marlin, and I was glad I tasted one that night. The fish is topped with tomato and caper sauce that lends a tangy taste to it.

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Garlic Pork Leg Espagnole

It is a Spanish style pork leg with fried whole garlic cloves and potatoes on the side. We were told to eat the meat together with the garlic cloves. As for me, the garlic is slightly caramelized. What is entirely intriguing is the green dipping sauce which is called parsley con garlic. As a whole, I’d say that it is pretty much like a high-end crispy pata. Moreover, we were the first set of people who were able to taste this! Yeah, of course I want to brag about it!

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US Tenderloin Steak Solana

This pan-fried steak topped with onions, shiitake mushrooms, buttered zucchini slice – which I barely noticed because it is drowned in peppercorn sauce. The meat is so soft and was well-liked. However, we were almost full and we wanted to have room for desserts so we didn’t finish it.

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Buttered Vegetables

This has broccoli, asparagus and carrots, a perfect dish to condition ourselves for the dessert.Image

Mango Crepe P150.00

It is a flambéed fresh mango topped with chocolate syrup. From the ranfe of one to five, with five being the highest, I’d give this dish a 3.

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After the meal, we were given a book about Larry J. Cruz, the founder of LJC Group, along with a Chocolate Decadence whole cake. The dessert isn’t over for us yet, after all. Since the next day would be my birthday, I made this as my birthday cake, hahaha! Can you say perfect timing? The cake was very moist and the light brown filling reminds me of yema in liquid form. I super love it. It is priced P175.00 per slice but I don’t know how much the whole cake costs.

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Just like Larry J. Cruz, we all get old but the question is, how do we want to be remembered? For Sir LJC, he wants to be remembered by sharing to us his superb choices that will surely be enjoyed by people today and in the future. Happy 35th year The LJC Group!

Ambiance: 5/5
Price: 5/5
Serving: 5/5
Service: 5/5
Taste: 4/5

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Café Adriatico

1790 M. Adriatico St., Remedios Circle, Malate, Manila

732-8220

Mon – Sat: 7 AM to 6 AM; Sun – 7 AM to 4 AM