Friday, September 27, 2013

Sentro 1771: First in Modern Filipino Cuisine

Hey guys! How y'all doing? The weekend's coming up so I suggest you check out this restaurant that offers Modern Filipino cuisine - Sentro 1771. 

Way back in 2002, Sentro 1771 exploded on the local culinary scene with it original Modern Filipino cuisine. Executive Chef Vicky Pacheco brought Filipino cuisine to the next level by presenting local dishes in a chich and elegant setting which combines Swiss and French techniques with that familiar Filipino flavor that we truly love. 

I was honored to try their new menu last Saturday with some blogger friends of mine. 

Sentro 1771 has a menu not like any other. If you are used to the standard menu that features fish, meat, or appetizers without a distinct recommendation to the first timers, busy people and foodie in us. The menu line up of Sentro 1771 is special because if you are a first timer they have a section of must try's, while for the foodies they have the A la Sentro offerings. If you are a busy yuppie that has no time to cook but still want to enjoy a home cooked meal at the end of the day they have the Home Cooking and Filipino Favorites section. Vegetarians and healthy eaters will have a time with their time at Sentro 1771 in the Vegetables and Salad section.

Sentro 1771 really has the best of both worlds for their customers.

The setting of the restaurant has a very homey feel - like when you are visiting your Grandad or Grandma for the weekend.

The al fresco setting of the restaurant still has a homey feel which is perfect if you will be having that Sunday Brunch with your family after Sunday mass. They also offer a rocking chair for your lolo or lola in case they need to sit for a bit while waiting.

I love how they have the old school menu board outside of the restaurant and has written the menu for the day. It has that old rustic feel to it.

When we got inside to our table, I was greeted by this painting. There are actually several other paintings shown in the restaurant that is really nice since it becomes the 'modern' touch in this homey restaurant.

I was also amazed because they have an open kitchen so you can your food being prepared. I love this concept since it also makes the customer see how efficient the staff are as well. The also have a menu board above the open kitchen so if you are a newbie you can just check this out since they offer the specialty of the house  in this section.

Upon settling down in our table, we were served dalandan juice. The taste was really refreshing to my taste buds since its not too sweet nor sour. I would definitely recommend this is you would like a drink on a hot day.

For our first course, we were given Duck Pancakes. These were Peking pancakes filled with strips of native duck slow-cooked in beer, rhum vinegar, soy sauce and muscovado sugar. Priced at 170 php for 4 pieces. 

The taste was actually not like of what I've expected. the meat of the duck was tender, much like of corned beef if you ask me. The addition of the vegetable and also the way it was served was quite new to me and its actually a good concept since the serving was enough for only one.

Next to be served was B2B sticks. These are skewered and grilled organic chicken gizzards cooked adobo-style. Priced at 150PHP for 4 pieces as well.

If you grew up eating street food here in Manila that these are mainly called Balun Balunan. I remember my mom freaking out of me when I first ate a stick of these when I was kid. The ones offered at Sentro 1771 was a more tender and the taste would not make you think these were chicken gizzard in the beginning.

Next to our list was the Macau Chorizo and Cheese Tidbits. These are mini spring rolls filled with Macau Chorizo, challots, and keso de bola. Priced at 240PHP. 

These reminded me of Lumpiang Shanghai. The only difference is that this spring rolls contains chorizo instead of the typical pork and beef meat. It also has cheese which gives somewhat a smoothness into it.

Next that was served were the camote cups. Carved Sweet potato filled with stir-fried cabbage, Baguio beans and carrots, This is priced at 240PHP for four pieces. 

If you are on a diet but you don't want to feel deprived you can eat this since the cups can be eaten as well as a substitute for rice. The taste was something my mom would make me when I was younger since I am not much of a fan of vegetables. 

Now onto the meats. We were first served with Chicken Adobo sa Gata. Still retains the vinegar-garlic-peppercorn balance but thickened with coconut milk. Priced at 250PHP which is good for 2 people.

This kind of adobo is more of a delicacy for me since its not every that you eat this kind of adobo. I like that this has more like a simple taste but full on flavor. 

Next was lamb caldereta. Boneless Lamb shoulder stewed with carrots, bell peppers, tomato sauce, and spices. This can be mild or spicy, this is priced at 480php.

 I was very amazed with this dish. I haven't tried lamb ever so I was in a treat with this. The meat was very tender which is great and it has quite a kick of flavor with the spices. 

If you are into seafood, you can try their Fish of the day Pandan. It is a whole fish stuffed with sauteed onions, tomatoes, miso, and malunggay, tied with pandan. 220PHP per 100g. I heard that they use different kind of fish everyday that's why the taste my differ from each fish. I don't exactly know what fish this is called. The taste was quite nice but I can't really explain it any further. 

For vegetarians, you can try out the Two-egg ampalaya crepe. Sauteed bitter melon on an egg crepe, topped with salted duck egg. Priced at 150PHP. 

The taste was quite familiar to my palette since my mom and dad cooks a similar dish, but they actually mix the egg with the bitter melon. It wasn't bitter as to what I expected it to be which is good. 

We were also given the Seafood Bagoong Rice, which is rice topped with grilled squid, garlic shrimps and hito flakes. Priced 530PHP. 

The Seafood bagoong rice was a seafood lovers heaven. I don't really eat bagoong, or fermented fish paste, but in this rice dish there was not a trace of the aroma of the bagoong. I do like that it has fish meat so it will lessen your rice consumption. 

I know you have been craving with all the food porn that I have been showing you, trust me there is more to come so hold on in there! 

Now onto the next dish, This is actually Sentro 1771's specialty: Sinigang na corned beef! 

I know what your thinking...

WTH?!? corned beef?!?! 

Yes. My dear reader you read that right. It is corned beef. It is Corned beed short plate and boneless beef shanks in tamarind broth and native vegetables. Priced at 595Php. 

The taste was very much like what I remember but it wasn't as sour as I pictured it to be. We were told later that you can actually have the taste of the sinigang changed to your likeness. If you want it to be mild, you can ask for it to be milder or to be more sour. 

Now lets go to the desserts! 

This is Keso Flan. Its eaten with keso de bola and salted egg. The taste was something I didn't think off. I don't think this food combination will be replaced in my palette. It has a mixture of sweetness, saltiness, and a tart like taste with keso de bola. 

Next would be Fried suma which is basically fried suman topped with mango slices. The taste was mild and something I think perfect to be served with coffee or juice in the afternoon. 

Lastly, We were also served the banana tart. The taste was somewhat like an English pastry I would drink with tea. It was light but sweet whcih is perfect with tea! 

If you ask me, out of all the dishes that was served to me. My top picks would be the lamb caldereta, b2b sticks, camote cups and the desserts. 

I will definitely be back soon at sentro 1771, the First in Modern Filipino Cuisine for sure. Thank you as well to Ms. Cha Sy of for the invitation. Please do visit her blog too for the latest and the newest food stops in town. 

Sentro 1771 is located in Greenbelt 3 and also in Serendra. For inquiries and reservations call Sentro 1771 Greenbelt at (02) 7573941 or Sentro Serendra (02) 8560581. Also follow them on twitter and Facebook! 

Much Love! 

xx Alice 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Kit Kat Heaven!!!

Kit Kat is one of those treats that I rarely get exited for since the ones that I've tried when I was your was the regular variant. Nothing really special really - not until I was able to try out two new flavors of Kit Kat!

I tried out Passion fruit and the coveted Green Tea flavor.

These were actually sold to me by my co-worker since her sibling travels a lot. She retails these at about 370PHP per bag of 12 mini pieces. 

Each piece are individually wrapped and contains 2 wafers layered with the selected flavor then covered in the same icing. 

The passion fruit was more of a main stay in the Japanese market according to my cousin, since it has a 'normal' taste - her words not mine. 

So since it was my first time to try it, I was a bit curious with the taste of Kit Kat's passion fruit flavor. When I tasted it, all I could say was ...hmmm? yes.It wasn't a real word but more of an expression. 

The aroma was fruity with a hint of creaminess. The taste was somewhat confuses me since it has a creamy, kind-of citrus zing into it that makes you want to reach out for more. I was taken back with the taste of the passion fruit that I actually liked it the more I tasted it.

Now to the coveted Green tea kit kat. 

I didn't expect much with this because I basically grew up drinking green tea because my mom would get tons of green tea from her Japanese friends, which ends up being in my cup since she says its good for your health.

The moment I opened this piece I braised myself for an outpouring of childhood memories - of my mom running after me to drink my afternoon green tea. The thought of it makes me cringe.

I don't have anything against drinking Japanese green tea, its just that whenever I smell it, it just reminds me of like the smell of grass. I have drank gallons of Japanese green tea which quite honestly made me sick of drinking it, but I think eating it will be fine...right?

The aroma of this is very much like the once I've drank before, but somehow I don't feel tensed eating it. The aroma is not that overwhelming to the mouth which is great.

If you ask me between the two which one I like more?

I would go with Passion fruit. The taste is quite new and its something that you want to have over and over again while the green tea one is just something I was accustomed to thus making it more of like an afternoon delight.

Which one would you prefer?

Make sure to leave your comments below!

Much Love!


Sunday, September 22, 2013

My First Ever Ilocos Emapanada!

I like to travel and try food from the places I have visited, but I have never been to Ilocos ever! I have passed by Ilocos but not really stopped over and try the food. I was really hoping to go there this coming October but something came up and my buddies had to back out.

BUT STILL I was able to find a way to taste the infamous Ilocos Empanada! And it was actually just a jeepney ride away from my house.

I am talking about Farinas Ilocos Empanada!

But FIRST! What is an Empanada...mainly what is an Ilocos Empanada?

Ilocos Empanada is an Ilocano snack make out of green papaya, mongo, egg, and longganisa, enveloped in a crunchy orange-colored crust made out of rice flour with its signiture Ilocos vinegar as its condiment.  

I am part Ilocano thanks to my mother but I was not able to really embrace that side of my culture since I was raised here in Manila. I do know that Ilocanos are great cooks since I grew up mostly with Ilocanos as my housemates they cook delicious meals that not only are yummy to infinity but also healthy.

But yet again most of them did not grow up in Ilocos so I was really torn if these were authentic or not.

According to the owners of Farinas, Almost 90% of the ingredients that they use in their store are directly shipped from Ilocos to ensure the authenticity of the Ilocos empanada. Another thing I noticed is that the vegetables that they use are organic which is really great. They also use an organic munggo which is my first time to see as well.

I was able to try their tapa meal and also the infamous Ilocos Empanada.  

The tapa was specially marinated and the texture of the meat is exceptionally tender which is great because I don't really like to chew that much on my meat. The scent of the meat was really nice which did remind me of the ones I've tasted when I was young but that wasn't as tender as the one from Farinas. 

Now let's dig in to the infamous Empanada shall we? Since it was my first time to try it, I was a little scared because I don't know what to expect, but better dig in than never right? 

I was in a big surprise because at first bite, the taste just exploded in my mouth. It was like meeting a new friend in a way. The mixture of the vegetables and the meat was just right with the crunchy orange wrap. 

Other best sellers of Farinas is their ultimate empanada - why ultimate you ask? Because it has bagnet inside! 

Their store is quite small, but very homey. I remember a similar store I eat to that looks like this when I was in Highschool so this does remind me of my younger years. But even with a small store, they serve delicious food that I think both young and older generations would like. 

Its a must try if you ask me! You can have a taste of Farinas at 56 Visayas Ave, Project 6, Quezon City and also visit their Facebook page for more information. 

Have a safe and Happy Sunday ahead! 

xx Alice 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

A Little Piece of Milk Tea Heaven With Boba Milk Tea

I am quite curious with the milk tea craze nowadays. I don't really know why it is all the rage but I found myself craving for more after the first sip. Now I know why its all the rage.

I actually found this place when me and Anne of passed by it when were looking for a place to stay in Timog one Saturday night.

In a quaint little shop we saw boba milk tea! I can't really remember the exact of the milk tea I got but I remember that it has assam tea. Memory is getting a little scratchy so I think I need to take down notes next time. While Anne got I think was Jasmine or Wintermelon. Mine has the nata de coco while Anne doesn't have any toppings. 

Out of all the milk teas that I've tried, Boba milk tea really has more of the milky taste rather than the tea. It was quite weird but that is how I felt about it. And also I noticed that if add on toppings and changed the sugar level, the tea really changes its taste. 

Price wise Boba milk tea is quite affordable - a large size actually is about 70 pesos with the toppings! 

But aside from that I think Boba Milk tea is something that I could say can be a cheap thrill to me when on a night out and I want to kill the buzz of drinking too much or after partying with my friends. 

Boba Milk Tea is located at 195-A Tomas Morato Cor. Sct. Fuentebella, Kamuning, Q.C.

Have you tried Boba Milk Tea? 

What do you think about it? 

Make sure to comment below I would love to see your comments about this! 

Much Love 

xoxo Alice 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Cool down with Arizona Green Tea and Fruit Punch

There are days that the sun is like beaming down on me that I can't help but buy something to cool down. Like when I was with my friend Denise a couple of weeks ago. The sun was so hot that I was sweating bullets even inside the mall! 

Thankfully Denise went grocery shopping that I was able to stumble upon these drinks. These drinks are retailed at around 50PHP each which is about $1 in the US. I tried out three variants but I was only able to take a picture of the two that I liked. 

Let's start first with the Fruit Punch. 

This is good for 1 serving only and it has 100 calories in it. Definitely good if you are watching your weight. It does have 10mg of sodium and 25g of sugar. 

Unlike other 'Natural' fruit juices I've tried, the ingredients on this one does not have those hard to pronounce chemicals or substances which means it is all natural! 

As for the taste, It is really a fruit punch but not too sweet. I actually gave my nephew and nieces this drink and they really like it. Its definitely good to give to kids since its fruity yet not overly sweet that you want to hurl up. I actually really like this because it reminds me of summer.

Now let's move on to the Green Tea with Ginseng variant. I've actually tried this one before on its canned version when I ate at Yellow Cab and I must say that this drink is more into the health buffs.

This drink only has 70 calories with 10mg of sodium and only 17g sugar.

Compared to the fruit punch, this one has not a lot of ingredients but it has high fructose corn syrup. 

The taste is still the same if you ask me. The thing I like about the Green Tea with Ginseng is that its quite good for the health since ginseng has a lot of health benefits. 

Overall both drinks are great but I think the next time I drop by the grocery, I would opt for the Fruit punch since its something that my nephew and my nieces would like more. 

How about you? Have you tried this drink? What do you think about it? 

Let me know on the comments section below. 

Much Love! 

xx Alice