Thursday, May 26, 2016


L'Aubergine Restaurant is located on the 2nd floor, 32nd and 5th Ave. in Fort Bonifacio in the Philippines. This sophisticated yet not stuffy French restaurant has been in operation since 2007.  This was my first time here and it seemed appropriate to celebrate my mom and Sandi's birthday.

Before our appetizers, they served an amuse-bouche which was delicious. We started with several appetizers. Baked oysters were our first choice. We also had the Pan Seared French Duck Foie Gras: grilled watermelon, celeriac-apple mousseline, toasted brioche, salad greens in lychee dressing. I myself am not a fan of foie gras when it is pan seared, the rest of our party enjoyed it. The French Duck Foie Gras and Duck Breast Delight was truly a delight. Calvados jelly topped Foie Gras Terrine, pan seared duck foie gras on celeriac-apple puree. Home smoked duck breast with port wine scented mango, salad in raspberry dressing was a great companion to the wonderful terrine.  As soon as we finished our appetizers, they served a very light sorbet to cleanse our palate.

My brother Dino and I had the Beef and Sea Bass Composed; oven roasted US angus beef striploin, mashed potato, zucchini-mushroom salpicon, Madeira jus, Bearnaise. This entree came with Chilean sea bass, spiced fennel-apple compote and tagliatelle pasta with lemon beurre blanc. The steak was cooked to perfection and so was the sea bass which was flaky and tender.  My mom had the L'Aubergine Seafood Medley with parsley pappardelle, asparagus, saffron-tomato beurre blanc, some greens in lychee dressing. She was very happy with her choice.

Sandi had her favorite fish, Pan Seared fillet of Greenland Halibut with sauteed vegetable julienne, beetroot carpaccio, mustard seed-chive beurre blanc.  Her comment was" " It's the best halibut I have ever had". My nephew, Brian ordered the L'Aubergine Surf and Turf; grilled tiger prawns and roasted Australian Mulwarra beef tenderloin, pan seared duck foie gras, wild mushroom risotto, glazed vegetables, Madeira jus and Bearnaise sauce. He must have loved it as his plate looked like it just came out of the dishwasher!

For dessert, I ordered the Grand Marinier Souffle, Brian had the Chocolate Souffle. A Chocolate Brownie was shared. This brownie was not your typical brownie. I liked it as it was rich Belgian chocolate with a nice crust. They also brought out a little sampler plate of macarons and more chocolate.

While we were enjoying our desserts, they brought out a complimentary Chocolate Mousse Cake for the 2 birthday celebrants.  It had a candle with my mom's and Sandi's name written in chocolate.

Service couldn't have been better.  L' Aubergine is definitely a great restaurant for a special occasion. When you want great food, service and a nice ambiance, this is a place to consider.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016


A visit to Manila without a visit at Dulcinea is an anomaly. Churros Con Chocolate (pronounced chocolatte) is unlike the typical churros most people are accustomed to. These are thin; not like the Mexican or American churros. The Filipinos inherited these amazing churros from the Spanish. The proper way to eat churros is to dip it in the very thick "hot chocolate". I always thought it needed something sweet and regular sugar is too sweet so I always ask for powdered sugar on the side.

We got to the restaurant right after Sunday mass. FYI, the mass is held in a church at the Mega Mall.  At 11:15, it was close to lunch time so 5 of us decided to have something before we settle on the churros. My mom ordered her favorite Gambas al Ajillo; fresh shrimp sauteed in medley of garlic, olive oil with a kick of chili. The reason I never order that is because of the garlic. Garlic permeates through my skin and although it does not bother me, the people around me may suffer. Sandi and I had a bite with rice and my oh truly was and is outstanding! Dino and I had the Salpicao; tenderloin cubes sauteed in garlic, olive oil and spices. This was served with garlic fried hell with the garlic. This too was delicious. Sandi ordered the Chicken Sandwich with french fries. I really should have forbidden her to order this as it was to "common". This is not the United States and therefore probably not good. Unfortunately, my suspicions were right. It was not good.

Dulcinea has multiple locations throughout Metropolitan Manila. If you see one, it will be worth your while to stop by and order the Gambas al Ajillo and an order of Churros with a side of powdered sugar (sprinkled all over). You will never look at churros the same way again.


First dinner in Manila with the whole family was at Abe Restaurant. I have been there before and remember them having good Filipino food.

Before we ordered, they served us Chicharon which disappeared as fast as it was laid on the table. My mom ordered Buko Juice which is young coconut. I had no comment as I do not like anything coconut with the exception of anything cooked in coconut milk. Sandi and I had the Green Mango Juice. It was good but nothing compared to the one at Bangus Restaurant.

One of their "best seller" item on the menu was Lamb Adobo. We of course had to have that along with the Bamboo Rice; rice that is cooked in bamboo with shrimps, mushrooms and bamboo shoots.  The way it was served was interesting and entertaining. The server brings the bamboo and taps on it which makes noise; she did this several times. She then split the bamboo in half and served us the rice. It was delicious. I was not impressed with adobo. Though it had a good flavor, it was much to fatty.

We ordered the Knockout Knuckles, their version of the crispy pata which was good but not much meat in them. The Binukadkad na Pla Pla, an overgrown Tilapia butterflied and fried to a delightful crispiness was good with the bamboo rice.

The best dish of them all which was worth going to this restaurant was the Sinantol na Hipon. This was sauteed santol (tropical fruit) meat with shrimps, onion, bagoong, coconut milk and spices.  This was a seasonal item only served when santol is in season. It was absolutely wonderful.

For dessert, we were all curious about the Sikreto ni Maria Clara. Translated, means Maria Clara's secret. It looked like egg white with sticky rice and mango inside. I had a bite of it and it was good. Sandi and I split the Mango Crepe which tasted much better than it looked. The fresh mango was so sweet and went well with the liquor and the whipped cream.

Abe Restaurant has several locations in Metropolitan Manila.

Sunday, May 22, 2016


Our first meal in Manila was Kimpura.  My brother Dino treated Sandi, my mom and I for lunch.  We were planning to have a light lunch since I was treating the whole family at a Filipino restaurant for dinner.

My mom decided on the California Maki which has Kani, rice, cucumber and mango instead of the usual avocado and fish eggs. It was an easy choice for 3 of us to decide what to order. It had to be Shrimp Tempura.   We all skipped the soup and just decided to order a la carte. Three of us had our Shrimp Tempura with rice and Dino ordered his with Tenzaru Soba which is a noodle that has the texture and looks like rubber bands. It is served cold. This intrigued me so I naturally had to try it. I must say that it was not bad at all. It might be healthier than the regular white rice; at least by the looks of it.

We enjoyed the shrimps as they were very light. We were all good and adhered to the normal way of Japanese dining drinking hot tea. No soda, beer or sake, just plain tea to burn the calories.

Kimpura has several locations. We went to the one in Greenhills.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Desserts by Patrick

It's hard to believe I haven't been to see Patrick since he has been there since last year. My friend Cindy told me I had to try his eclairs. Sandi and I on the spur of the moment after eating at Carl's Jr. thought an eclair would be a good dessert. Before we went, I called to make sure they were open and find out if they had some eclairs left. I spoke to Patrick and he informed me he had a few and one of them was coffee so needless to say, I had him save it for me.

We got there and realized this was the old gelato place on Catalina Ave. in Redondo Beach. It still has gelato with the addition of French pastries. We met Patrick and his lovely daughter, Estelle. I bought a variety of items to take home and try. The bakery is quite small so there is no room for people to eat. That was disappointing since there is really no other place like L'Amande Bakery where you could eat wonderful French pastries, breads, and croque madames.

As soon as we got to our car, Sandi opened her package of Tuiles (made with egg white, sugar and almonds). It was very good; we both like the burnt taste. She also got a Raspberry Eclair which she was going to have at home. When I got home, I tried my Coffee Eclair. I decided to just have half of it as I wanted it cold. It was a bit soft as we had to make a stop before I got home. The coffee flavor could have been stronger. I had the other half the following morning for breakfast and the texture was perfect; a bit crusty outside but soft inside. I had mentioned to Estelle that Sandi and I loved the Salted Caramel Eclair at L'Eclair De Genie in Paris. She informed us that they do make them but were all out that late afternoon.

Another item Sandi bought which I did not, was the Cannele. It didn't look too exciting to me. While still in my car, I had a pinch and it was a bit hard so I good. When I finally got half, I took a bite and whoaahh, I absolutely loved it! It had a very nice flavor; it was chewy outside and still a bit chewy and airy inside. Sandi didn't care for it so she gave them to me. I also sampled 3 of their macarons; the lemon, coffee and chocolate. They were nice and crisp outside but soft and yummy inside. The lemon was my favorite.

While at the patisserie, I got the Chocolate Bears. Estelle explained to me that these are famous with the French children, they loved these bears. They don't make them, they are just imported from France. What she failed to mention is adults love them too, especially yours truly. It was light and not too sweet.

Cindy had mentioned that their Quiches are delicious. She bought a whole quiche for Mother's day and got a variety of eclairs which she served a day after and they were still delicious. I can't wait to try the Salted Caramel Eclair and whatever else I haven't tried........

Desserts by Patrick is located at 1820 S. Catalina Ave., Suite 103 in Redondo Beach, California.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Bottega Romana

We checked out a restaurant which is fairly new to us but were told that it has been there for 18 months. It's a nice size restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating. We always opt for indoors. First of all, no car pollution and second, we don't like our food to get cold fast, especially pasta.

Our server, Giovanni was most informative; a real Italian (not the fake ones that try to speak the language). Sandi and I were the fake ones who tried to practice our Italian with bene.
A basket of warm bread was served with the usual olive oil and balsamic vinegar. We tried not to finish the contents of the basket as we wanted to pace ourselves. For appetizer, we had the Calamari Fritti which was served with arrabbiata sauce. It was nice and warm when we got it. After squeezing some lemon on them we dipped them in the slightly spicy sauce. It was just beautiful e perfetto.

Two of the pasta dishes had to be ordered. They were the Spaghetti Alla Carbonara and the Fettuccine Bolognese. The verdict was unanimous as to which was better. The Carbonara made with egg yolk, pecorino romano cheese and smoked guanciale with fresh ground pepper took the cake. It was full of flavor; the guanciale was nice and crisp. We both didn't care too much for the Bolognese. It just didn't have enough flavor.

Giovanni asked us if we wanted to hear what they had to offer for desserts. Aside from the usual Tiramisu, Torta della Nonna, they had Panna Cotta. He described the panna cotta as having a burnt caramel sauce....this is all we heard and so we did order one to share. It was outstanding as it was very light and fluffy and the burnt caramel taste was oh so wonderful.

Bottega Romana is located at 215 Avenue I in Redondo Beach. California. They are open for lunch and dinner during the week, closed on Mondays and open for just dinner on Saturday and Sunday. If you stop by, ask for Giovanni who is an experienced server and probably should be the manager. He was more welcoming to the customers than the owners who just seemed to walk around and watch.