Quiapo Trip: Souvenir Island + Ramon Lee’s Panciteria

Quiapo is a bustling district in Manila that is full of adventure. There are many things to do and places to see in Quiapo. This is home to the famous Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene where millions of devotees flock during “translacion” to get a chance to touch or kiss the feet of the Black Nazarene. Right outside the church is Plaza Miranda where vendors and fortune tellers manage to do business.

My friend Malou and I went to Hidalgo Street to check some photography equipment and some home wall decals. We walked along Palanca Street and found this interesting shop, Souvenir Island General Merchandise. I also showed her the “secret” stores in Kilion where to get affordable spices, baking ingredients, and packaging supplies. We met Malou’s hubby and threaded the narrow streets going to Carriedo. We had our late lunch at Ramon Lee’s Panciteria. The restaurant has been there since 1929. This is history, man! With the walls adorned with photos of celebrities and politicians, I knew we found a “gem” in this spot. Hooray for a “fine meal” – chicken, pancit, pinsec frito, fried rice, soup, and banana. Yum!

 

Souvenir Island General Merchandise

Address: 135-137 1001, Carlos Palanca Sr., Quiapo, Metro Manila

Contact Number: (02) 735 4319

 

Ramon Lee’s Panciteria

Address: 1003, 540 Ronquillo St, Santa Cruz, Manila, 1003 Metro Manila

Contact number: (02) 733 0642

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Caution Hot + Insane Chicken Challenge (Maginhawa Street Food Trip 2)

This food trip is all about hot and spicy food in Maginhawa Street and we took it to the extreme. First off, we went to Caution Hot and got our spicy noodles fix. You get to choose your meat, broth, noodles, and level of spiciness. I had pork-Szechuan-egg noodles in 2nd degree burn. It also has mushrooms, greens, and fried egg in it. 2nd degree is tolerable and I think I can handle til 3rd degree burn. Thumbs up also to the Kuchay-Pork dumplings. I like it dipped in the soy sauce + chili sauce mix rather than the black vinegar. Yum!

Next stop was at 150 Maginhawa Food Park where we had 1lb of buffalo wings with INSANE level of heat…the hottest. We also had 1lb of chicken wings in WILD level of spiciness just in case we chicken out, literally and figuratively. It is indeed insane! My mouth was on fire!!! SAM’s Vanilla Caramel shake helped dilute the painful heat in my mouth. Whewwww! With 4 wings left on the table…I guess food wins in this challenge.

Caution Hot!

Address: Magiting Corner Maginhawa Street, Teachers Village, Quezon City Contact Numbers: 02 3309526 and 02 4523065

Wings Gone Wild

Address: One Fifty Food Place, 150 Maginhawa Street, Sikatuna Village, Quezon City Contact Number: +63 9178360087

SAM’S Ice Cream and Shakes

Address: Address: One Fifty Food Place, 150 Maginhawa Street, Sikatuna Village, Quezon City Contact Number: 02 3475606

Cheese Overload! Nachos ala Bomba!

Here’s a treat…Gooey grilled cheese with salsa and refried beans on your nachos! That is some awesome cheesy goodness! My lactose intolerant self couldn’t help but get a taste of this bomba. I also had roasted chicken with burrito rice and triple mac and cheese. Chicken is juicy and delicious as well as the rice. The triple mac and cheese needs a little ooomph as it is bland. Oh, the mango iced tea is good too! Visit La Carnita and have a taste of this ooohlala bomba.

La Carnita

Address: Regis Center, 2nd Floor, Katipunan Ave, Quezon City, Metro Manila

Manang’s Chicken – ang bagong fried chicken ng Pinoy

It was 2011 when I had my first taste of the famous double deep fried crispy chicken from Manang’s Chicken. I remember that was at Mercato Centrale. What I like most about their chicken is the crunchiness of the skin and the flavor of the soy garlic sauce that just hits the spot.

Now, I’m happy that Manang’s Chicken is introducing new items on their menu. My friend Sha and I got to try their Manang’s Chips & Dips, Garlic Pork Rice Meal and Red Velvet sundae.

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Manang’s Chips & Dips are all natural potato chips that are fried to golden perfection. You can choose from creamy cheese, garlic may or spicy ketchup or have all three as your dips.

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Their new entree, Garlic Pork Rice Meal, gives a different twist to the boring “Pork Chop” as their version has special garlic topping. The vinegar dipping sauce is a perfect match for this treat.

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Enjoy it with a choice of sides. We had buttered corn and macaroni salad.

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Of course we had Manang’s Chicken double deep fried chicken. Ang sarap papakin!

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We ended our meal with these… 2 cups of Red Velvet sundae. The red velvet cake at the bottom was served warm. I like how the warm cake and the ice cream mixed in my mouth. Sweeeeeeet ending.

What I like about Manang’s Chicken is that they serve food that matches the Filipino palate, the affordable meals, the size of their servings that are just right to what I pay for.

Clap, clap for Manang’s Chicken. I’ll drop by for some Red Velvet sundae one of these days. Absolutely perfect to beat the heat this summer.

 

Manang’s Chicken

http://www.manangschicken.com/

 

Bellissimo Ristorante – Brgy. Sacred Heart, Quezon City

Bellissimo Ristorante, the name speaks for itself- “Beautiful Restaurant”; it delivers a very beautiful dining experience that is worth repeating.

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Previously located in the busy Tomas Morato area, Bellissimo is now located within the residential area of Scout Rallos Ext. in Quezon City since September 2012. Celebrity couple Cesar Montano and Sunshine Cruz- Montano developed this place where people can celebrate their passion for Italian food, appreciate art, and enjoy music.

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Upon entering, we were welcomed with warm lights, wooden tables and seats, brick walls adorned with Cesar Montano’s fabulous paintings. His interesting artworks can be a conversation starter, as you wait for your food, with a classical music playing in the background.

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Upstairs, there are rooms for private gatherings or business meetings; Each room has its own design and is named after a family member of the Montano’s which gives this places its own unique charm. Overall, it has a great ambiance for a date night or catching up with friends.

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On the table:

For appetizer, we had a basket of  Italian Bread Stick with marinara and pesto dips.

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Pescatora spaghetti (Php370) is spaghetti enveloped with a tomato based sauce with shrimp, squid, and mussel and Parmesan cheese. This seafood pasta dish is rich, creamy and delicious. This festive dish encompasses a balanced flavor; I like it that it’s not too tangy. The sauce did not overpower the delicateness of the seafood. The pasta is cooked ‘al dente’ – firm to the bite; Good job for this one, chef!

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Cesare Pasta (Php 340) is spaghetti with extra virgin olive oil, bell pepper, black and green olives, tomato, capers, basil leaves, and Parmesan cheese. This dish is perfect for vegetarians. It has a light and fresh taste even non-vegetarians would enjoy. I like how the olives, tomato, and bell pepper give a refreshing taste.

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Aglio Olio (Php 365) is a classic Italian dish. It is spaghetti with extra virgin olive oil, garlic and chili anchovies, shrimps, clams, and Parmesan cheese. Alio Olio in English is garlic and oil; if you love garlic then you would love this pasta dish. This dish has my two thumbs up for the night; the garlic infused olive oil creates a gorgeous flavor that tickled my taste buds. Though it is packed with flavor, it does not overpower the sweetness of shrimps and clams. This dish is heavenly and worth coming back for.

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Ali di Pollo (Php 285) consists of 5 pieces chicken wings slowly cooked to perfection and smothered with Original or Hot Barbecue sauce. Although the amount of heat/spiciness is variable, I like the way Bellissimo Restorante’s Ali di Pollo is made; it’s sweet with just a hint of spicy flavor aftertaste.

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The best way to quench the heat is to match it with the Cesare Iced Tea (Php 75). It’s not your regular iced tea as it has secret ingredients that make it interesting.

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Sunshine Pizza (Php 465) is another favorite. It is a thin- crust pizza delightfully embellished with white sauce, mozzarella cheese, bacon, beef, Pocini mushroom, onion, minced garlic, bell pepper, oregano, and olive oil. I’ve tried different kinds of pizzas and this one gets two thumbs up for the flavor. It has superb- quality ingredients the restaurant should be commended for. You will undoubtedly fall in love with this pizza after taking your first bite.

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Bellissimo Supreme (Php 465) is another gourmet pizza cooked from a wood-fired oven. This visually appetizing pizza is loaded with tomato, mozzarella, cooked ham, spicy salami, sausage, mushroom, bell pepper, onion, pineapple, and oregano. I like the texture and taste at every bite. The crunch of the crust and the burst of flavors is ‘Amore’. It’s a feast to the eyes and the stomach.

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Bellissimo Ristorante offers a sufficient selection of wine to appease wine aficionados.

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Bellissimo Ristorante – The Chef in Action

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The Staff with Mr. Cesar Montano and Sunshine Cruz-Montano

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The Staff:

Christina D’ Souza – Head Chef

Ryan Tolentino- Asst. Chef

Chuck Dennis Amante- Asst. Chef

Giovanni Loyola- Asst. Chef

Lara Patricia Tio- Bartender

Margarette Cuerda- Server

Patrick Sison- Server

Jayr Muega- Server

Suzette Antigua- Cashier

Marivic Vargas- Secretary

Perla Corpuz- Asst. Secretary

The menu

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What I wish they could improve on is to extend their entree selection, perhaps Roasted Chicken or Baked Salmon, other than steak or ribs to provide more options for guests. On the bright side, I commend Bellissimo Ristorante for their wide selection of pizza and pasta.

To conclude, I would say that Bellissimo Ristorante is a restaurant that not only serves food with excellent quality but beyond that, it is a venue for sharing the passion for good food, art, and music. It’s a clap, clap, clap for Bellissimo Ristorante for great food, outstanding staff who are attentive to the customer’s needs, and cleanliness of the place.

We’ll definitely visit this place again…soon!

Bellissimo Ristorante

Contact Numbers: 4123553 / 9273162

Address: 135 Scout Rallos Ext. Brgy Sacred Heart, Quezon City

Shakey’s Prima Lasagna Bundle

I’ve been craving for lasagna since last week. Happy to find out about this promo. Wohooo! This awesome bundle is good for 5 persons and it’s only for Php 995.

Chip in Php 199 each, and you get to enjoy a large thin crust Italian Sausage, 5 pc Buddy pack Chicken n’ Mojos, a pitcher of Coke, and of course… the Prima Lasagna Platter.

Now that’s a great deal!

 

What are you waiting for? Stop staring at your computer screen. Go to shakey’s now.   🙂

 

*photo taken from shakeys facebook account

Zark’s Burgers – Taft Avenue

Finally! After waiting for such a loooooong  time, I’ve now tried the famous burgers at Zark’s. I’m from QC and I won’t travel to Taft just for a burger…well…not really!

Right after watching the Lateral Drift competition in Quirino Grandstand, the gang went to Zark’s for dinner. Though unsure if the shop’s still open (it was 9pm), we still drove to the Archer’s Nook building, fronting Lasalle, as if being summoned by the Burger Master.

We had to wait outside the store since the place was packed. We were number 5 on the wait list. The photos below were taken at the time we were leaving the place. Last call for orders were taken around 10pm.

The place is quite small and acoustics could get really bad. I don’t mind, as long as I have a towering burger stack in front of me.

Here are photos of those who’ve conquered the jawbreaker/tombstone challenge.

Check out the menu!!! Get ready for some heart-pounding, artery clogging, and calorie-packing choices. If you’re brave enough, try their Jawbreaker Challenge or the Tombstone Challenge…at your own risk!

It took some time for us to give out our orders. We wanted to try everything! Here’s what we ended up ordering.

On the table:

Fish ‘N Chips (Php 110) is Zark’s version of England’s famous fish and chips meal. At every bite, I could feel the crunch of the batter and the softness of the fish. The sauce is also flavorful and creamy. A slice of lemon would be perfect for this dish.

Wings ‘N Chips (Php 120) are 4pcs of buffalo wings. You can choose either classic or barbecue buffalo wings if you like it sweet or spicy. My nephew didn’t want fries; he had plain rice to go with the wings. We loved the barbecue sauce which is sweet and just a little bit spicy.

I’ll come back for this!

Oh! I forgot to mention how tasty the sauce was. I like it so much. Perfect dish. I just wish they serve bigger portions.

Zark’s is known its huge and out-of-this-world burger creations. We sampled the Jackhammer (Php 185) that is actually a 1/2 lb. patty stuffed with mozzarella and cheddar cheese. It comes with fries and a single serving of iced tea. You can add Php 20 for refillable drinks.

This is a heavy meal to finish. The creaminess of the mozzarella and the mild taste of cheddar make an awesome combination.


This is what I got, the Stone Cold Stunner (Php 185). It comes with fries and a single serving of iced tea. Each of us added Php 20 for refillable drinks; the waitstaff served us a pitcher of iced tea. 🙂

Check out this massive double bacon cheeseburger filled with lettuce, tomato, caramelized onion, and mushroom. OOOHLALA!!! I’m craving for one right now.

It’s huge! It’s tasty! I exactly feel the same way that guy in Man vs Food (Adam) feels when he has eaten too much. I felt bloated… and sleeeeepy after eating half of it.

It was so good. The feeling was diving. I was having Burger Lust. Hahahahah!

Wait… there’s more!

What is a triple cheeseburger with SPAM, bacon, lettuce, and tomato, that is drenched with cheese sauce???

Show some love to the… Jawbreaker!!! Priced at Php250, you can enjoy this tall stack of meat by yourself or you can share it. If you could finish the burger and fries in 5 minutes then it’s for FREE.

Tip: They serve more fries when you say you’re up for the challenge.

I love burgers and I love the ones at Zark’s, I give it a clap, clap, clap! I will come back for more. Might try their baby back ribs next time.   🙂

How about giving the jawbreaker challenge a shot? Share us your Zark’s experience.

 

 

Zark’s Burger

 

Address: 2464 Archer’s Nook, Taft Ave. (front of La Salle, on top of Yellow Cab) Manila

Contact Number: (02) 392-1211