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Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Top Five

During my last stay in Manila, there were a couple of places and things I tried and enjoyed. I thought I’d share them with you. For my readers based in Manila, I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. So this post serves as a reminder of some things that make living in Manila so great. And for my readers living abroad, well then, these are just my tips for things to try the next time you are ever in Manila =)

1.) Casa Armas – my friends took Jojo and I to dinner at their Podium location. They have really great Spanish food – their tapas (especially their gambas) were well prepared and they had a very good version of paella valencia. I am looking forward to going back and sampling the paella negra (one of my super favorite dishes!). But the highlight for Jojo and me was trying their super succulent and super delicious cochinillo. The roasted baby pig was so melt-in-your-mouth good that until today Jojo and I talk about that dinner and find ourselves drooling!

Casa Armas is located at 1/F The Podium, 18 ADB Ave., Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila. (02) 687-3663
*you need to call at least 5 hours ahead to order the cochinillo

2.) My new favorite brand for bags and shoes is Charles & Keith. The brand is actually Singaporean but they are located in almost all major malls in Manila. They have really nice stuff. My sister and I literally spent an afternoon in just one store. I love their products as they are both trendy and classic at the same time. I also love the fact that they are so affordable. Hard to believe you can get a great pair of shoes and a great bag to match all for a little over a hundred dollars! I hope someone gets the idea to open a Charles & Keith store here in LA.

Click HERE for the Charles and Keith website.

3.) Mary Grace cheese rolls. They are so good. Kind of like ensaimada but with a slice of cheese tucked inside. The contrast of the sweet and salty is just addictive! I love these rolls with a good cup of coffee. We had them almost every morning for breakfast. Mary Grace food stalls are located in almost all major malls and bazaars I’ve visited. It should be no problem coming across one when in Manila.

Click HERE to view the pricing for the rolls and for where to find them.

4.) Enderun College is a premier undergraduate college located in the Fort. The school’s academic partnership with the Les Roches International School of hotel management and the Alan Ducasse Formation offers the students the opportunity to perfect their skills in hospitality management and culinary arts. The school has a restaurant called 101 where we celebrated my uncle and aunt’s anniversary. The food was very good (their cream of forest mushroom soup with truffle foam was divine and their lamb duo cooked two ways – braised shank and a seared rack was done to perfection). But more than the food, I loved the elegant ambience of the place and the way the service was elevated to a whole different level.

Click HERE for the website of 101.

5.) Dessert at The Peninsula Hotel lobby. I absolutely love the place – especially over the holidays. The ice cream concoctions are wonderful and their halo-halo is legendary. My suggestion is to get a group together and order the Pen Pals. It is a huge bowl of 19 scoops of ice cream, brownies, fresh fruits topped with whipped cream and chocolate sauce. Yum! But aside from the food, what makes the whole thing an experience is the ambience of the place. It is classy and understated. The staff is attentive and corteous. Over the holidays the place took on a Xmas wonderland feel without going overboard. And the live orchestra playing Xmas carols are such a beautiful touch. It is such a pleasure to sit with family and friends amidst all that splendor.

Click HERE to see pictures of The Lobby at the Pen.

It was hard to limit this list to just 5 items. Since there are so many other wonderful things that come to mind. It would take me all day to list everything down. Since I have other things to do, I thought the top 5 would be a good place to start. =)


leslie ty said...

Hey jo =) i'm glad you guys liked Casa Armas =) It was really a great decision to eat dinner there! Let's try Terry's Selection next time so that you can compare with Casa Armas...they also serve great spanish dishes...

what about yakimix? =)

Auntie Lillian said...

Very good blog, Joanne - will try Casa Armas next time - I like lechon - anywhere. My cholesterol will just have to suffer a little bit. Thanks for the info.

Junarakasa's Story said...

Hey Lez, yup, Casa Armas is tops in our book! Followed closely by Yakimix, Minato, Choi Garden, Cafe Breton, Shnjuku, and everywhere else you took me too =) I swear between the two of us we can find the best places to eat in all of Manila and LA!

Hi Auntie Lillian, trust me, the cochinillo is worth the increase in cholesterol! =)

joyeee said...

I love charles and Keith too dets! next time we go to sing, we should shop till we drop there!:) Penpals from the Pen? Oh no! haha 19 scoops of ice cream with all kinds of topping...we didnt even finish it even though we were already 7 in the group...but we still had choco fondue on the side..hahaha too much order!:)

Junarakasa's Story said...

Joybee, we should tell Jim to get us stuff from C&K - diba he's going to Sing in a few weeks? =) And yes, I remember our attempt to conquer the infamous Pen Pals ... we failed but we sure had fun trying =)