Giligan’s Restaurant: Pork Barbecue, Grilled Bangus Belly, Sizzling Peppery Steak and Lumpiang Shanghai

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Giligan's RestaurantFor those who are wondering why this restaurant is one letter “L” short from the name of the comedy show, Gilligan’s Island, it’s because it’s a combination of that show and the business patriarch’s name Guilermo. My guess is it’s a means to avoid any registration disputes when they began in 1997.

2014-02-09 12.54.17

Ship’s Wheel

From their website they explained they wished to imbue the feeling you are traveling on a ship, hence the ship’s wheel, the overhanging ropes, maps and other ship themed artifacts. The waiters even wear bandanas; I guess to look like pirates. Sadly though, it didn’t inspire me with thoughts of nautical travels.

Tables and Seats

Tables and Seats

2014-02-09 12.53.31Space is quite plentiful since there are numerous tables that by my estimates could adequately accommodate more than a hundred people. The lighting is okay, not blindingly bright but just enough to relax your eyes. This one is located in SM City Masinag.

The F3 Meal. They had to remove the extra plate of Barbecue which was a mistake on their part.

The F7 Meal. They had to remove the extra plate of Barbecue which was a mistake on their part.

We opted for group meal F7 which consisted of four (4) sticks of Pork Barbecue, Grilled Bangus Belly, Sizzling Peppery Steak, a number of cut Lumpiang Shanghai, a big plate of rice and four (4) large glasses of lemon Iced Tea, everything for a mere Php 628.00 (US$ 13.96). We added Php 36.00 (US$ 0.80) for unlimited rice. We had four big plates of rice by the way. Carb blow out!

Notice how the servings look larger on the poster.

Notice how the servings look larger on the poster.

Now let me tell you frankly, the pictures on their website, as well as on the restaurant posters, is not accurate. The pictures show very large portions, but in reality they are not that big, adequate yes, but not plentiful to the point of busting your gut.

2014-02-09 12.56.03The Lemon Iced Tea tasted fine. It did not taste like a those made from powdered drinks which most restaurants do here. Three stars for this drink.

2014-02-09 13.02.38There was nothing special about the Pork Barbecue, pretty decent in terms of taste. Like most Filipino dishes, they are either sweet and sour or salty and sour; barbecues here are sweet. The ones we ate were served with “Kang Kong” atchara also known as pickled water spinach. Some pieces of meat were not of high quality because we chewed on some that had rubbery strands of tendon, so I give it two and a half stars. Average.

IMG_20140209_125851Next on our plate is the Grilled Bangus Belly. Among the dishes cooked, this was my least desired. I don’t mind eating fish; it’s just that I would have wanted the fish to have been marinated. It tasted like boiled fish and the fact it wasn’t deboned properly did not help. It was served with a soy sauce dip but even with the dip I did not enjoy it; one star out of five.

2014-02-09 12.57.20The Sizzling Peppery Steak was served with bean sprouts and it tasted a bit like the Pork Barbecue, only it had more sauce spread over the hot plate. The pieces were sliced thin so even if the meat still had some tendon, it wasn’t gamey. My rate for this dish is four out of five stars.

2014-02-09 12.57.31And now for what I consider as the star of the feast, the Lumpiang Shanghai or better known in the western world as spring rolls. It is basically minced meat with vegetables wrapped in rice paper and then deep fried to a golden brown. Served with sweet and sour dip, the dish is very tasty even if you do not use it. I rate this five out of five stars.

My beautiful daughter.

My beautiful daughter.

IMG_20140209_134901Overall I’d say the experience was okay. I want to reserve my final judgment after I’ve sampled some other dishes like roast pork and some of the soups but I still would encourage you to try and eat here based on the dining area and the polite service.2014-02-09 13.49.38

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Bon Chon: Team Bon Chon Group Meal

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Bon Chon Logo 1An emerging restaurant to be reckoned with to the rising number of chicken based diners is Bon Chon. Bon Chon in literal translation is “Original Village” but probably would mean more to us as “Hometown”. Established in 2002 by founder Jinduk Seh due to the growing popularity of fried chicken in South Korea, his years of experience in Korean Cusisine was his advantage in rising above the rest.Ambience 05In fact, his Soy Garlic was so good within five years has built his first franchise in Leonia New Jersey and finally in New York. Now it boasts of 30 branches in America. It reached the Philippine shores in 2010 and as of the moment has ballooned exponentially to 41 branches. For franchise opportunities just go to their site.Ambience 07There are a few well designed Bon Chon restaurants like the one in Midtown New York, but I have to say, the one in Sta. Lucia East Grand Mall needs a little face lift. For one the place is just too bright in front. I get the feeling the foreground customers are spontaneously going to bust out into a show tune. There’s enough space, I guess, although I would prefer a little bit more to eat comfortably. Any place I eat where I can hear the other table’s conversation is a little too cramped for me.Ambience 02Recently I’ve been remiss of picking choice menu items and just order a group meal. It’s actually practical because (so they say) you get a bit of savings and removes the headache of picking what to eat. So I ordered the Team Bon Chon Group Meal priced at Php 645.00 (US$ 14.45) consisting of three thigh parts original flavor, three thigh parts hot and spicy, a small side order of Kimchi Coleslaw, one order of regular fries, one order of Chapchae, four orders of rice and four glasses lemon iced tea. At the price it was offered, affordability is definitive. Five out of five stars rating for price.Rice 01Chicken 02I’ll start with the main dish which is the soy garlic chicken. I don’t know if it tastes as authentic as the original recipe made by the founder but I can tell you it is perfect for the Filipino palate. Just the right amount of sweetness and saltiness for us Filipinos but may be a bit too much salt for some foreigners. The hot and spicy variant was true to its name, it was quite hot. My rate is five out of five stars.

Size comparison of the coleslaw kimchi with regards to the glasses of tea.

Size comparison of the coleslaw kimchi with regards to the glasses of tea.

The Kimchi was very spicy, of course, but even though I haven’t eaten real Kimchi yet, I have to admit I did expect more from the taste than just ordinary coleslaw laden heavy with pepper. This one I could do without. As I understand all kimchi variants are fermented, the one served apparently was not. I would have probably enjoyed the type served in New York called Dongchimi which is basically white radish fermented in vinegar. The one served here, however, was quite little for four people and had very little flavor to offer. My rate for this dish is one and a half stars.Reg Fries 02The fries was just what you’d expect, it was deep fried with a bit f salt. Since it was just one order we were, of course, wanting for more. My rate is two stars out of five.Chapchae 01This next dish deserves recognition. Chapchae, or Japchae, is a Korean noodle dish usually served at parties and/or special occasions and with good reason because this dish is very flavorful. The noodles are made from sweet potatoes which gives it that gelatinous composition. Stir fried with a variety of vegetables like carrots, onion, spinach and mushrooms, flavored with beef soy sauce and sugar then served with sesame seeds on top. Very tasty, I just wished there was more of it served than what we got which was probably just enough for a single person. Five out of five stars for taste.Iced Tea 01The iced tea served tasted like it was brewed and each glass was enough for a single person so they get three and a half stars for taste and volume.

I found this interesting yet confusing dish offered there. I've herad of Tex-Mex but never Mexi-Kor.

I found this interesting yet confusing dish offered there. I’ve heard of Tex-Mex but never Mexi-Kor.

We left the place sufficiently filled but not enough to say we had a blast. I’d go back there for taste but I feel you’d need to order a few more dishes to be fully satisfied.

My son (Christian Mananes) and daughter (Genlie) enjoying our meal. Isn't it apparent in my son's face?

My son (Christian Mananes) and daughter (Genlie Mananes) enjoying our meal. Isn’t it apparent on my son’s face?

Bon Chon 02

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Chowking: Family Lauriat Sulit Set C

Chow KingChowking is a Philippine based company supposedly established around 1985 by a Robert Kwon. As most Filipino Chinese businessmen, little is known of how they started and how they achieved success. What is known is that their menu was limited to noodle soups, dim sum and rice toppings. And by 1989 they started expanding despite the unfavorable market. I really feel bad when an emerging family owned company decides to sell instead of trying to manage a growing business but that’s exactly what happened when Robert Kwon decided to sell Chowking to Jollibee, the Philippines version of McDonald’s (cue facial grimace; pun unintended).

IMG_20130604_203004IMG_20130604_202943Honestly, I haven’t entered a Chowking store without feeling I’d hit the other people eating on the other tables beside mine If I stand up to either get something or leave. We just happen to arrive here minutes before closing time. It’s quite claustrophobic and would appreciate it if they decide to lessen the tables. The other issue I have with their restaurants is the varied noises you will hear while dining; noise from too many people talking, noise from the service crew cleaning and noise from the kitchen. So as far as my rate goes, it is one out of five stars.

IMG_20130604_2018032013-06-04 20.18.47I really didn’t want to think of individual dishes for each on so I ordered the Family Lauriat Set C. Supposedly enough for three persons, the meal consists of five pieces of breaded fried chicken, pancit canton (chow mein), chopsuey, three cups of rice and three softdrinks of your choice. I say supposedly because I can certainly vouch that it would actually feed up to four people. Just order another cup of rice and a glass of beverage. The whole package costs Php 399.00 (US$ 9.16).

2013-06-04 20.19.342013-06-04 20.19.44Nothing really special about the breaded chicken, just flour, pepper and salt and deep fried to a deep golden brown but as far as fried chickens go this is very tasty. A word of caution though, the amount of salt put into the chicken is ideal for eating with plain rice or even a bland mashed potato side dish, not as a meal alone. Five out of five stars for my rating.

IMG_20130604_2016112013-06-04 20.16.50Pancit Canton is what we call our chow mein noodle recipe. To folks who are unfamiliar, basically it’s stir fried egg noodles with carrots, runner beans, cabbage, shrimps, chicken and/or pork meat simmered in meat broth so the flavor sticks to the ingredients then seasoned with salt and pepper. The taste is good by my standards but the serving however is just enough for two. Good thing there is another dish along with it. My rate for the chow mein is three and a half stars.

2013-06-04 20.17.11IMG_20130604_201734Chop Suey is more or less made the same ways as chow mein sans the egg noodles. The main difference probably is the thickened sauce from the same broth as the chow mein with the use of corn starch. Three and a half stars as well for my rate on this dish.

2013-06-04 20.24.42So with regards to the food, it is largely a good buy, but don’t expect to eat comfortably inside the dining area though. My tip is to just get take out and enjoy it in the comfort of your own home.Chow King 2

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Burgoo: Caesar Salad and Louisiana Pizza

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Burgoo Logo 01As far as I can tell, Burgoo is a relatively new chain of restaurants that started out early 2007 in Blueridge, Quezon City, Philippines. There’s really not much data out there about this restaurant even on their official website. And as I discovered there is a Canadian restaurant that already had the name Burgoo as early as 2001 so as long as they don’t intend to establish Burgoo in Canada they won’t have problems.Burgoo007

Turns out, the term Burgoo is an American stew cooked for large social gatherings, and has absolutely nothing to do with burgers. Claimed to have started as early as 1700’s, it’s still an integral part of American culture as they cook this during events as swap meets and charities.Burgoo003

Burgoo currently has nine branches and we ate at their SM Marikina City location. This particular branch can accommodate up to seventy people by my own estimates. Tables are spaced too near each other for me but luckily the table I chose was at the back and was not that congested at the time.Burgoo009

The wall décor is a hodgepodge of pictures, posters and hangings of American memorabilia that it just comes out as disingenuous and trying too hard. I do appreciate the soft lighting that just helps you relax, an integral part for me to enjoy your meal. My rate for the place is four out of five stars.Caesar Salad005

Their Caesar Salad was authentic as far as I can tell. People sometimes mistake Caesar Salad with having chicken and bacon, theirs did not and tasted heavenly. The Romaine lettuce was crisp and the dressing had perfect tang. The one thing that they could probably improve on is the croutons. I read in a recipe that in preparing croutons properly for Caesar salad is that the bread should be torn and not sliced. That way the rough edges of the bread catch the dressing.Caesar Salad003

I ordered the large sized Caesar Salad which costs Php 425.00 (US$ 10.06) but I found the servings a little less than what they claim which should have been good for four people. It was delicious but less in quantity than what I had hoped for. My rating is four and a half stars.Louisiana Pizza003

Next on our review is the Louisiana Pizza. Priced at Php 475.00 (US$ 11.24), this meal is pizza Cajun style.  Similar to Chicken Alfredo pasta in taste sans the pasta and zucchini and add in tomatoes and cayenne pepper and top all that on a pizza dough.Louisiana Pizza005

There are enough chicken chunks to distinguish this pizza and the cream and Parmesan compliment everything. As with the salad, I opted for the large one which probably was a foot in diameter. I would have wanted it bigger because the two slices just didn’t fill me enough. My pizza rating is five out of five stars for taste.Bottomless001

We downed everything with bottomless glasses of lemon iced tea and lemonade at Php 69.00 (US$ 1.63). Considering I drank at least 4 glasses myself, I’d say it was money spent wisely. I’m not sure if the tea was made fresh or instant but it did taste fine, same with the lemonade. My rate for the drinks is four out of five stars.Burgoo002
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Chicken Charlie: Charlie’s Signature Burger Meal (Value Meal F)

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Chicken Charlie 02First off, I want to make it known that I love Chicken Charlie’s food items. Their soy garlic chicken recipe is a refreshing change from the breaded chickens proliferated by both local and foreign popular brands. Essentially it’s a Chinese chicken recipe, only difference being is it’s deep fried and not stir fried. My only real issue with Chicken Charlie is its name. I’ll get back to that issue a little later.Ambience01

Established on April 20, 2010 by Ifore Yu; a Business Administration graduate of Saint Benilde; with a single location at the corner of Banawe and Retiro streets at the tender age of 25 (To the ladies with thoughts of romance, he currently has a girlfriend, sorry). He chanced upon the idea while on vacation in New York where he noticed a fad for plain deep fried chicken served with soy garlic sauce and thought of bringing it here. Taking his Php 800,000.00 (US$ 18,932.64) savings from working in the family owned construction business, this sole heir to the company decided to strike out on his own.

Interior design is by the owner's fiancee as I understand.

Interior design is by the owner’s fiancee as I understand.

He now has 18 or so branches scattered in Manila, Cagayan de Oro, Cebu and Davao; a far cry from his humble beginnings of a single branch with one cook, a cashier and himself doubling as waiter and busboy. During those early years this maverick literally was hands-on with the business; even looking for and buying the chickens and ingredients from Divisoria himself. He dreams of introducing Chicken Charlie internationally in the following years which brings up my point on the name. There are already two establishments in the US with similar names and you can view their sites here. As to my understanding he thought of the name to honor his father, but someone should’ve thought of Google-ing the name first so he could’ve thought of something better. Oh well.Ambience04

The SM Marikina City branch was adequate, unless of course if it’s a very busy lunch or dinner time then it becomes uncomfortable for me to eat. Face it, who can enjoy eating a proper meal, least of all digest when there’s too many people around talking? If I was eating at a party I would understand but not when I just want to enjoy a meal. My rate for ambiance is four out of five stars.Meal01

I was a bit lazy at the time my friend and I ate at Chicken Charlie so I just ordered two packaged meals, namely Value Meal F consisting of Charlie’s Signature Burger with a side order of fries and a glass of soda or tea priced at Php 145.00 (US$ 3.45). I did opt to enlarge our drinks with an additional fee of Php 10.00 (US$ 0.24) each because frankly, I have a sweet tooth and prefer eating my meals with any sweet drink.Burger01

Charlie’s Signature Burger is a generous slice of fried chicken with fresh and crunchy lettuce topped with garlic sauce sandwiched inside a sesame seed bun. What I find very appetizing is the unique hamburger bun. They use two kinds of sesame seeds, one is off white and the other is black. Had I not seen it myself I would never have researched how varied the color of sesame seeds were.Burger02The chicken slice was sweet and salty and the sauce complimented the whole meal well. That same sauce is what is served with the fries although you can avail of tomato catsup as well. My rate for the burger value meal is five out of five stars.Fries03

So if you’re like me who is sick and tired of that famous breaded chicken with gravy from KFC and even its counterparts from McDonald’s and Jollibee then try out Chicken Charlie’s meals and begin to like fried chicken again.Ambience03Chicken Charlie 01
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Angel’s Hamburger: Cheeseburger, Jumbo Cheesy Footlong

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Angel's BurgerFilipinos have a habit of going over the top when there’s a new fad. Whether it be in fashion (ever notice there’s always a bevy of girls in skimpy short shorts in malls?), entertainment (K-Pop and Koreanovelas) and most surely food. When lechon manok (roast chicken) had its heyday in the late 80’s there was literally hundreds of stalls selling lechon manok. You could not go half a kilometer without running into one.Angels009

Now given that burgers have been around for literally a hundred years now and that it most likely was introduced to us when Americans colonized us it has not been as popular until we were urbanized and lived as cosmopolitans. Enter the quickest way to feed yourself, hamburgers. There’s enough protein and carbohydrates in these to get us through ‘til work ends.

I just wish that ALL of their branches were 24 hours. The ones in Calumpang and San Roque are not.

I just wish that ALL of their branches were 24 hours. The ones in Calumpang and San Roque Marikina are not.

It is really amazing how Angel’s Hamburger has expanded in leaps and bounds. With known branches in Mandaue and Bohol and the Greater Manila Areas peppered with stalls (in Marikina alone I count as much as four within less than a kilometer radius of each other). Unfortunately no known history, ownership, address or contact number of this establishment. Odd huh?Angels007

As early as the 90’s we here in the Philippines have been using meat extenders to make hamburgers more affordable. Protein derived from soybean, banana peels and cultured worms are just examples of what we’ve used. Now before you cringe at what I’ve said, let me assure you that the information I got from a very reliable source is that the hamburger patties Angel’s Hamburger use comes from CDO, a very reputable meat processing company. So if you want to know what CDO uses for meat extenders I suggest you ask them.Angels006

Angel’s Hamburger uses patties that are more popular to Filipinos in general hence the wide acceptance, that and a very low price. Given that their patties are not that thick but at Php 32.50 ( US$ 0.79) for two cheeseburgers, who in his right mind would complain. The patties are well cooked, probably because the patties are a bit thin but they do have enough taste, a bit sweet and salty. Not sure what kind and what brand of cheese they use but they do compliment the hamburger. If you do not want the banana catsup they put on top of that please do tell them to hold because they do it automatically as well as the mayo. Three and a half stars out of five for taste is my rating.

Okay, they look just like jumbo hotdogs but they actually are footlongs that we requested to b cut in half.

Okay, they look just like jumbo hotdogs but they actually are footlongs that we requested to be cut in half.

The Jumbo Cheesy Footlong Sandwhich to me is much flavorful and as with the patties they were made by CDO. Served also with banana catsup and mayo and priced at Php 36.00 (US$ 0.87) the single serving will fill the belly of an average sized person. I have tasted better hotdogs but theirs isn’t half bad. My rate is four out of five stars.  Angels001Angels011
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Tapsi Ni Jappo: Tapsilog

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Tapsi Ni Jappo FinalWhile my daughter and I were going home from jogging, we noticed a small place selling Tapsilog. Now I have already explained what “Tapsilog” is in an earlier blog but for those new to my articles “Tapsilog” is an abbreviation of three words; tapa, sinangag and itlog. “Tapa” is traditionally beef jerky here in the Philippines but is also available in other types of meat such as pork, goat, lamb and other domesticated farm animals.2013-03-11 09.02.39Jerky is just an old method of early civilization to preserve meat products in the absence of refrigeration technology. It essentially is the method of drying up the meat and adding salt to prevent fermentation due to bacteria. Oddly enough, this old method of preserving is still the best to my mind because it indefinitely preserves the meat, specially combined with vacuum packaging.Panoramic ViewOkay, enough of history lessons. Tapsi Ni Jappo will probably never branch outside barangay San Roque, let alone Marikina City, but if you live near this place it’s worth your time to visit. As you can see, the place is a bit small but very cozy. Pasting tiles on top of the plastic tables is ingenious, it absolutely made the tables look classier. That alone deserves five stars. This small diner is located near the  corner of J.P. Rizal street and N. Roxas street in San Roque, Marikina City. I’m totally digging this place, what would have been better was a little more ventilation so four out of five stars.2013-03-11 08.50.00Before I review the food I would like to note the packaging that it came with. So okay, it wasn’t eco-friendly paper but I did like it because they didn’t scrimp on the container if people wanted take out. And get this, they deliver, though I’m guessing restricted in their vicinity only. I do hope this establishment endures and eventually achieve some sort of success.2013-03-11 08.57.04Jappo01So for the food, the beef was good. There’s too many places out there serving Tapsilog but the beef were served into either flakes or bits. I don’t know about you but I like to chew my food, not swallow it straight. So they did the meat just right, even without vinegar and soy sauce, the usual condiment that goes with this, it was perfect for my taste.Jappo02The fried rice, or “sinangag” was just right. Not too salty, right amount of garlic and was fluffy. The slices of cucumber and tomato just add to the variety of flavors that make it such a treat. Topping everything of is a fried egg; “itlog” in our native tongue. This might be a bit too greasy for some folks but hey, it’s nothing a 4 kilometer jog won’t cure. Taste is five out of five stars.Jappo04This complete rice meal is only priced at Php 45.00 (US$ 1.10), a steal compared to the more popular “Tapsilog” joints that sell them for about Php 100.00. So Marikeños support your own and give a chance for this newbie establishment. Price is five out of five stars.2013-03-11 08.52.38
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Steak Escape: Burger Steaks and Franks

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Steak EscapeNot much information is available about Steak Escape here in the Philippines except for an early food review about it in 2010. I was surprised to hear that the name “Steak Escape” is also a well known restaurant in the United States. Now I’m wondering whether the owners of our local Steak Escape are aware of this.Steak Escape05There are no diners or restaurants, as far as I know, that our own Steak Escape has built, only kiosks situated inside the food galleries of big malls. This food gallery in EDSA Shangri-La Mall is nonetheless very spacious. So I didn’t mind there were lots of people eating so long as they were a few meters away from my table.Steak Escape02I ordered the Burger Steaks and Franks which came with one order of their version of Java rice. The two pieces of burgers, hotdog and rice, smothered in gravy was served hot on a sizzling plate, a bit too hot for my taste. The meal nearly burned my tongue. The picture on the menu showed it being served with mixed vegetables as a side order, but as you can tell from the photos, it was virtually non-existent.Steak Escape04The taste was good enough, but it won’t be winning any culinary medals anytime soon. I still would regard it as good value for your money since the meal cost about Php 89.00 (US$ 2.19). And, being Asian, I naturally had a weakness to compliment the meat on the plate with an extra order of Java rice priced at Php 20.00 (US$ 0.49). And to down it all I got a large cup of orange flavored soda, Royal Tru-Orange, available only here in the Philippines manufactured here by Coca-Cola Philippines and is probably akin to Fanta orange flavored soda in the U.S. The drink cost me Php 30.00 (US$ 0.74).Steak Escape01My verdict on the meal is three and a half stars out of a perfect five.Steak Escape06

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Chansel Pizza Haus: Pepperoni Pizza, Hawaiian Pizza

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ChanselTry as I might, I cannot find any information on the origins of Chansel Pizza Huas. Other than what I’ve read on comments of other Blogs that claim this business was already established in 2007, there is no other information I can come up with. Not even a link for franchise opportunities. Oh well, I guess if you want to know how to acquire a franchise you just have to ask the store clerks there.2012-10-14 12.36.12It’s ironic that Chansel has quite a number of stalls already but not one establishment they can call their own, taking into consideration their name is Chansel Pizza Haus I think they should invest in making even a small haunt for themselves. This kiosk is located in the basement level of Sta. Lucia East Grand Mall in Cainta, Rizal, Philippines.Chansel 08Chansel 01As far as affordability goes, their pizzas are very reasonable. Their Pepperoni Pizza isn’t exactly heaping with the processed meat but it does have a generous cheese topping on its ten-inch crust. And though the cheese isn’t mozzarella it is made by Kraft, a world leader in dairy products and well known for their cheddar cheese. At Php 133.00 (US$ 3.27) a pop, it’s not a bad deal.P1010840 copyAside from the pepperoni and cheese, they also have included slices of button mushrooms and white onions. I need to point out to our foreign readers though, this isn’t Italian in taste, but is more of a fusion of our own Filipino preferences on top of a basic pizza. My only critique about this pizza, as well as all the other variants they have, is that the size is a bit small for my choice, but in terms of taste I rate this as four and a half stars out of a five.Chansel 09The Hawaiian Pizza variant costing Php 121.00 (US$ 2.97) is simply a ham pizza with chunks of pineapple and slices of bell peppers as well as white onions. The pineapple chunks give the pizza a refreshing taste and the crunch of the bell peppers are a perfect combination for me, and for those who aren’t used to sweet tasting pizzas don’t ditch this taste altogether for you may still enjoy it. My rating is three and a half stars out of five.P1010833 copy2012-10-14 12.29.41

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Taco Bell: Grande Meat Nachos Supreme, Barbecue Potato Bites, Gordita Supreme Beef, Churros

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Taco Bell 02Taco Bell has come a long way from Bell’s Drive-in, a hotdog stand from which the owner, Glen Bell, started out with in 1946 at the age of 23. He had grand visions of making it big with hotdogs and burgers in his hometown of San Bernardino California but as fate would have it, so did Richard and Maurice Mcdonald (yes the owners of the richest clown in the whole world) who were fellow residents.2012-09-20 20.03.49He had no choice but to diverse from his original plan and what he came up with were tacos. He sold his first hotdog stand and made another but now with tacos on the menu in 1952. His first serious attempt in the taco business was Taco Tia in 1954 with a partner in John Gallardi. From taco stands they grew into restaurants and when he felt he needed to expand further into new locations while his partner didn’t, he started another new taco business with four new associates and turned out El Taco in 1955.2012-09-20 19.09.13

As testament to his taste and vision both Taco Tia and El Taco are still operating and have loyal Californian patrons. He eventually sold all his rights to both businesses and struck out on his own in 1962 with Taco Bell. By 1975 it ballooned to 868 outlets and in 1978 sold the company to PepsiCo with a clause they make him a major stockholder in their own. Pretty darn good deal if you ask me.2012-09-20 19.07.19Taco Bell Philippines started out in 2004 in Gateway Mall, Quezon City where we ate. The place is quite expansive, not to mention attractively decorated, well to me anyway. By my estimate they can cater to as much as 90 persons at a single time and the service is relatively quick. Ambiance is five stars and service is four out of a perfect five.2012-09-20 19.15.092012-09-20 19.14.56We ordered a packaged meal good for two consisting of one Grande Meat Nachos Supreme, two Barbecue Potato Bites and two Gordita Supreme Beef and two refillable drinks costing us Php 379.00 (US$ 9.32). Except for the Gorditas and drinks, I would have wanted the servings for the rest to be bigger.2012-09-20 19.25.53As for the taste, I found the Grande Meat Nachos Supreme to be a bit sour and really is not to my liking, though it may just be my preference but this is the first Mexican type food I found not appetizing. Two out of five stars is my rate.

2012-09-20 19.23.20I really liked the Barbecue Potato Bites, still I think they should have added a few more pieces for me to consider I have gotten my money’s worth. Then again, my friend paid for it! 😄 This gets four stars.2012-09-20 19.29.312012-09-20 19.29.50With the Gordita Supreme Beef, I’m disappointed to say the least. Talk about false advertising. There was not enough ground beef and lettuce to make a proper meal. As for the cheese, well you can see from the pictures that they seem non-existent, and true enough I hardly tasted any. My rate is two and a half stars.2012-09-20 19.21.09

2012-09-20 19.20.41As for the Churros, we added this dessert as a whim but were glad we did when we saw that the actual servings were far from the pictures. The Churros are basically fried pastry dough and the real flavor comes from the chocolate dip in this instance.  I give three out of five stars.2012-09-20 19.08.05All things taken in consideration, I wouldn’t mind dining there again. Hopefully their U.S. counterparts make their meals a lot more tasteful, but if I’m really hankering for Mexican food, I would probably go somewhere else.2012-09-20 19.08.31
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