Sunday, November 27, 2011

Lord Stow's Egg Tarts

I have always loved egg desserts so much. It started about 20 years ago, when I first learned how to eat egg pies. This interest and fascination have since grown and expanded to include more custard-based desserts, like the Brazos de Mercedes, Leche Flan, Creme Brulee, and other similar egg-based goodies. Of course, Egg Tart is not an exception to this.

However, it's really hard to find a decent egg tart here in Manila. See, I don't live in Hong Kong, where this is sold in almost every bakeshop and, whenever I try to order this dessert in Chinese restaurants, it's always out of stock! It sucks because I've craved for egg tarts plenty of times already, but no decent Chinese restaurant serves it (although it's included in the menu).

Hence, because of this frustration, I really had to go to Binondo to try and taste Lord Stow's world-famous egg tarts.

Egg Tarts (P 42.00 per piece)

During this visit, I had a box of four egg tarts and had them packed for carry-out. The packaging was nice but I was a little shocked with the price. I mean, 42.00 a piece? It's a hefty price to pay for such a small tart! Whew! 
Now, let's try to see whether the egg tart was really worth the forty plus pesos  I paid for it.

For the first test, let's examine the crust. Exhibit A here shows that the crust was very flaky and my bite says that it was absolutely crisp on the outside and soft on the inside - it was perfectly baked! Also, my taste buds would agree that it was not too sweet and it just had that melt-in-your-mouth buttery goodness. 

Now, onto the filling. Exhibit B here shows how the egg custard filling was slightly browned and its luscious layer of egg, cream, and milk looked so tasty. My palate could not deny its amazingly creamy and velvety-smooth texture, paired with the right sweetness and its soft burst-in-the-mouth consistency. It's just so eggy-licious!

The verdict? Awesome! I was almost out of words after eating this. It was so hard to describe how delectable this dessert is.

So, your honor, I rest my case. This is the best egg dessert I've tried in my life and I will surely be back for more.

Lord Stow's Bakery
(02) 247 3305
G/F Unit E Imperial Sky Garden
707 Ongpin St., Binondo, Manila

Friday, November 25, 2011

Kozui Green Tea

I’ve been away for some time because I’ve been assigned in the province and it’s been really hard for me to write about the restaurants I’ve visited back in Manila before this assignment. However, today’s quite different. I’ve been stuck in this friggin’ shuttle terminal for more than an hour now because the driver wants to have the entire van filled with people before starting the darn vehicle. Hence, out of dire boredom, I decided to write this stuff.
Anyway, today, I’d like to talk about one of the teahouses I’ve visited the last time I had a Manila food trip, called Kozui.
This teahouse and mini restaurant is located in Tomas Morato.
It’s too small and it’s hardly noticeable, but its interior is actually nice.
It has this relaxing ambiance and there are a lot of interesting things inside, like these plant-like lamp accents.
There are also some native lamps on the second floor.
Everything seems to be refreshingly green.
Although there may have been some signs of wear and tear in the restaurant considering that it's not really a new establishment, generally, the interior is so nice and clean and it really feels cozy inside.
Kozui is known to serve organic and healthy green tea. 
They have every imaginable green tea blend in this teahouse and they claim that all of these are healthful options. 
Matcha Melon Korichio (P 130.00)
On this occasion, I chose to have one of the store's bestsellers, called Matcha Melon Korichio. At first, I thought that this drink would be a little overpowering because of its green color, but, when I took a sip, I realized that it was surprisingly delicious. I didn’t really expect that I’d ever like green tea, let alone enjoy it, but this one’s really different. It had just the right tea flavor, which was not too strong.
I was expecting that this drink would be a bit bitter, but it was actually sweet and it had this subtle melon flavor, which was so smooth and pleasant. This one’s a must try!
Matcha Lemon Teaz (P 95.00)
My friend, who was suffering from colds that day, had a ginormous mug of hot tea - the Matcha Lemon Teaz. I was surprised at how big the mug was for the grande size, and I was more surprised to see what’s inside.
It was a steaming-hot concoction of fresh tea leaves with slices of lemon on top. It was too green and, obviously, very scary. My friend had a difficult time consuming the entire mug because this one’s the real thing. I sipped a little and it felt like eating tea leaves raw - its tea flavor had a certain kick!
I wouldn’t recommend this drink to the weak at heart because this might be a tad too strong. However, it looked so nice to photograph and it was really fresh and hot when served, which I guess is  good thing for tea enthusiasts.
Apart from the enjoyable drink I had, I was also satisfied with the service in this teahouse. The crew was very friendly and accommodating and they give excellent suggestions to the customers. 
Now, onto the prices. I usually am not satisfied with the prices of beverages in different establishments but this one’s truly an exception. For less than a hundred bucks, you’d be served with a huge mug of tea from this store and for just the price of a grande caramel frappe from Starbucks, you could already get a healthy drink that’s very delicious and refreshing - that’s one great deal, don’t you think?
Ambiance - 4/5
Drinks - 5/5
Service - 4/5
Value - 5/5
TOTAL - 4.5
Kozui Green Tea
(02) 413 2705
258 B Tomas Morato cor. Sct. Fernandez
Quezon City, Metro-Manila

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Johnny Rockets

I wrote this blog post on paper while waiting to be served in one of the worst restaurants I’ve ever eaten in in my life (whose name I would not divulge to protect its identity). The service in that restaurant was just too slow that I was already able to complete a draft of this entry before my appetizer was served.

This incident reminded me of how great and professional the service in Johnny Rockets was and how this bistro had impressed me in this department. But, before we get to that part, I’d like to first talk about the overall look of this restaurant.

Johnny Rockets is one of those restaurants which I think is overdecorated, but in a good way. There are plenty of different things that can be seen inside the restaurant, which are really interesting.
For one, there’s this cool Johnny Rockets jukebox.
Then, there’s this mini jukebox accent on our table.
It also has this classic black and white floor and there are countless photographs and posters of American advertisements on the wall.
One last observation is that literally everything, from glasses to condiment containers, has a Johnny Rockets tag.
There’s just one minor thing that I didn’t like about this restaurant - their air conditioner. I know that a lot of people complain about poor ventilation in restaurants and many Filipinos love to eat in places that are frigidly cold but the temperature here is just way too cold in some parts. My friend who was then suffering from colds was not even able to enjoy her food because she felt too sick to even take a bite off of her hamburger. 
Nonetheless, the dancing waiters more than made up for this minor shortcoming. I know they’re not synchronized at all, but they’re fun to watch all the same.
Now, let’s head on to the food. For this meal, we ordered two different burger meals. One is the Route 66 and the other one is the Bacon Cheddar Single. They both come with unlimited fries and, yes, we did have our plate of fries refilled plenty of times! I’d get back to the fries later but, for now, let’s just talk about the burgers first.
Route 66 (P 465)
The Route 66 is one of Johnny Rockets’ premium burgers, containing Swiss cheese, grilled mushrooms, grilled onions, and mayo.
This was my friend’s order but I had our sandwiches cut in half so we can taste both burgers.Sharing a burger’s not really conventional, but we really had to do it. How can I be able to blog about this if I haven’t tasted this one, right? Anyway, I did have half (or more than half) of this burger and I realized that this one’s actually good.
The patty was grilled to perfection and it was tender and really very juicy. I think it had a tinge of Italian spice but I’m not too sure what herb in particular. The bun was soft and really tasty and the cheese and dressing blended perfectly well in this sandwich.
I did like this burger, but I wouldn’t recommend this to those who are not very comfortable eating burgers with a lot of herbs as the patty tastes a bit different.
Bacon Cheddar Single (P 395.00)
According to the menu, the Bacon Cheddar Single is composed of thick bacon, cheddar cheese, fresh lettuce, ripe tomato, onion slice, and “Bacon Cheddar Single” special sauce. 
Overall, I liked this burger. I don’t know what’s so special about the dressing but the bacon in the burger was crispy and toasted and the veggies were fresh. The patty of this burger is different from that of the Route 66, but I prefer this one over the other because this is simpler.
By the way, their burgers go well with mustard.
Unlimited Fries
Now, here’s what I’ve been discussing a while ago - the fries. Both the burgers came with unlimited fries and they were really crispy and freshly-cooked. We definitely lost count of the number of servings of fries we’ve had for the night.
And check the ketchup out. They’re cute.
Bottomless Iced Tea (P 110.00)
I actually had a glass of bottomless iced tea but I wasn’t able to have this refilled much. I only had around four refills (LOL). The iced tea was, of course, ordinary.
Now, here we are finally. Let’s talk about the happy service here. Our server that day was Tracie and we were pretty much pleased with her service overall. She served us water without asking for it, offered to refill our fries plate every now and then, helped us out with all our requests, and replaced my iced tea glass with a new one instead of just simply refilling it.
The service was just wonderful. Their waiters were also very courteous and polite and they seem to have smiles fixed on their faces all the time. They’re really adorable.They even told us to fill out a survey form about our experience in their restaurant, which shows that they’re really interested to improve their service for the satisfaction of their customers.  I’d dine here anytime for their great service. 
Well, I’d say that I was pretty satisfied with the food and the service here so I do not have any regrets at all eating in this restaurant. Although the burgers we had were a bit expensive, I think eating here was still well worth the money we had to shell out. 
Ambiance - 4/5
Food - 4/5
Service - 5/5
Value - 4/5 
TOTAL - 4.25
Johnny Rockets, Eastwood Mall
(02) 470-2117
G/F Eastwood Mall, E. Rodriguez Jr. Ave.,
Bagumbayan, Libis, Quezon City

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