Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Superbowl: a long-time Chinese restaurant with better food and ambiance than before


Superbowl has greatly improved since I last tried out the restaurant ages ago. Their dishes have begun to show better taste and distinction. The interiors have also shifted from the usual purple look to a much more modern Chinese look. According to one of their executives, Superbowl has been around for 15 years, circa 2001. The restaurant has undergone numerous changes, yet it never failed to deliver excellent Chinese food bordering on the traditional style of cooking. 

I must agree with him on his claims. True enough, this fact was something I found out a few days ago at Superbowl SM Megamall. 

We tried out Superbowl's time-tested traditional favorites. 



The mango shake started our meal. It was a sweet blend of fresh mangoes with a cherry on top.


The Dimsum Combination Platter allowed us to try the best of their dimsum selection. It was composed of a large platter of steamed pork dumplings, hakao, fried sharksfin dumplings, vegetable rolls, and siu pao. The entire platter cost 350 pesos. I must admit, the entire platter was a convenient way for me to select the dimsum varieties which I wanted to try. I enjoyed the pork dumplings; because every bite of it was chock-full of pork and that meaty flavor which I craved for. 



With the sauce.



The Szechuan Shrimp was a delectable mix of nuts, whole dried chili, stir-fried shrimp,  turnips, bell pepper, and carrots. It was the right mix of spiciness, oiliness, and tanginess. Seafood lovers would surely love this due to the flavorful mix of different ingredients. 



The Braised Tofu with Mushroom was for vegetable lovers. It had a load of tofu and black mushroom, apart from the cabbage, beans, and other vegetable varieties. It was stir-fried to perfection. I loved the mushrooms for their meaty flavor.


The Fried Crispy Chicken was another fried favorite of Superbowl. This is a whole chicken fried to a golden brown goodness. The skin was thin and crispy. It was also filled with a tangy, oily goodness. The intriguing taste made me want to devour the entire chicken dish. I also loved the fact that the chicken was strategically chopped into small bite-sized pieces. 


The Peanut Buchi was a deep fried ball of taro and peanuts. Every bite was soft, mushy, and nutty at the same time. While not their strongest dish, this was still of good quality.


Eggplant with Minced Pork was a dish with a controlled taste. It was composed of eggplants stewed generously in ground pork. Despite the color, I'd say that the soft texture of the eggplants made it palatable. 


Deep Fried Pork Ribs with Spicy Salt was the cornerstone of the meal. This is arguably a Chinese restaurant's flagship dish. Fortunately, Superbowl's interpretation met my standards. The spareribs were pretty crispy and spicy. Add to that a garlicky flavor, and the dish was something I'd eat all day. 



Sweet and Sour Fish Fillet and Lechon Macau were also two Chinese restaurant favorites that figured prominently in Superbowl.  The former was a juicy dish that was composed of fried fish dipped in their signature sweet and sour sauce. The fish had a crispy fried breading and excellent choice for sauce. Unlike the variants of other restaurants, the sauce was an great balance between sweet and sour, with no flavor overpowering the other.


Lechon Macau with Hoisin Sauce. Considered as a luxury dish. This was a succulent sampler of the traditional Lechon Macau dish served in countless restaurants. Superbowl's version was excellent. There was no hint of oiliness in the dish, and the fatty part was truly flavorful. The hoisin sauce gave it an additional sweetness that perfectly matched the meat. 


The entire meal set


The ubiquitous Yang Chow Fried Rice was the staple of every meal with Chinese food. I liked the fact that the toppings were aplenty. There was Asado, peas, fried egg, leeks, onion, and Chinese sausage. This generously topped rice was excellent with every dish served. 

Superbowl served us a sample of Chinese favorites the traditional way. What is remarkable is that the restaurant has continued to improve its game, thereby making it one of the most popular brands in Chinese cuisine. 

Superbowl is located in Fourth Floor, Mega Atrium, SM Mega Mall, Ortigas, Mandaluyong, Ortigas.


Super Bowl of China Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wagner German Bakery: a niche for specialty German food in the heart of Makati.

Geman food is caters to a niche market here in the Philippines. Most Filipinos have never tasted the stuff ever. I am one of these people. Having been given the opportunity to try German food, I instantly jumped at the chance to do so. Enter Wagner German Bakery, a German restaurant located in the heart of Makati. It was established just last year by the brilliant restaurateur Angelo, who was of German and Filipino descent.

According to Angelo, he wanted to retain as much of the authenticity of German food back home; hence most of his ingredients were imported from the bread up to the viand. He also said that the food was inclusive for expat Germans and other people who want to experience a new kind of cuisine. The ingredients were also of the highest quality. 

The interiors:


Well-lit and ambient.


The large sign of Wagner German Bakery

The food was not limited to bread. They had a wide selection of viand ranging from authentic German dishes to a few international favorites. For the sake of this food review, we tried their German food.


The Germans are some of the biggest alcohol consumers in the world. Some would even start or end a meal by consuming a tall glass or mug of beer. Angelo gave us the experience by offering us a tall glass of Paulanner wheat beer. Wheat beer was originally made as a drink that could be allowed during Lent due to its filling nature and its low alcohol content. I loved its sweetness and full-bodied taste, though.


This beer was pretty light and easy to drink compared to the stereotypical German beers that will knock you down in one glass. I wanted to have more of it.


"One more glass, but then I'm done." is a popular German phrase used when ending a night of drinking.


The Nurnburger Bratwurste was a mix of traditional German Pork Sausage with Sauerkraut. The latter was the German version of Atsara or pickled vegetables. Sauerkraut was composed of pickled cabbage in a mildly sweet vinegar. This was way better than Atsara due to the less acrid taste and the mildly sweet flavor. The Pork Sausage exemplified the German fixation with the best sausages in the world. Every bite was packed with juicy and tasty pork bits of the highest quality. It was also fried well and not too oily. 


The Schnitzel is the German version of fried chicken strips with thick breading. The chicken was mashed to a thin sheet for easy cooking. The breading was truly crisp and tasty even. Add to that the tangy potato salad side dish, and you truly have a winner. I liked the Schnitzel 


The Leberkas Burger was made out of special meatloaf, lettuce, cinnamon bread, and sauerkraut. It came with a huge surplus of fries. The cinnamon bread was pretty sweet and blended well with the meatloaf. The meatloaf was pretty soft; and it was pretty easy to savor. It was unlike the other German meat that was intense on the taste. 


The Flaker Goulash was combo of Beef Goulash, fried egg, bread dumplings,chicken sausage, and bell peppers. According to Angelo, the goulash was originally popular among coach drivers who had to stay out in the cold. Served hot, this dish was composed of beef fried in a mildly spicy sauce. It was pretty homey and savory at the same time. The bread dumplings that came with the meat mixed and tasted well when dipped with the sauce. The chicken sausage was also excellent.


The Kasespatzle was composed of fried egg nodles with a cheese layer. It was topped with onion rings. It was quite oily, but tasty at the same time. the noodles were pretty thick and brimmed with cheese in every bite. 



The dishes in one huge array


The pretzels were pretty thick. According to Angelo, each region in Germany has its own way of making pretzels. His variant came from Munich, the home of BMW. The lower part was smaller while the upper part was huge. These were chewy and salty at the same time partly because of the lye.


The Kaiserschmarnn or the Emperor's mess was a pancake chopped into pieces. The dish came about when a chef served the Holy Roman Emperor a botched-up pancake. The Emperor enjoyed every bite of the pancake despite its ugly appearance. This variant came with raisin fillings and frosted sugar. I enjoyed it even if it was a tad sweet. 


This was the sourdough bread. The filling was chewy while the crust was a bit hard on the teeth. It was pretty tasty nonetheless, with the nuts and the distinct sour flavor.


This was the Lumberjack bread. A whole loaf had the appearance of a log with an axe chip, reminiscent of lumber. This was a bit bitter. However, it tasted better with a helping of Wagner's special pistachio ice cream.

There you have it folks. Wagner German Bakery is a restaurant enveloped in a lot of European history and culture. The recipes that they use are quite excellent even if it was my first time tasting them. 

Wagner German Bakery is located at Ground Floor, Two Central Building, Valero Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City.




Wagner German Bakery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Me Love You Long Time: Southeast Asian specialties at affordable prices


The line: "Me love you long time" came from Stanley Kubrick's iconic film called Full Metal Jacket, which was released in the 90's. This film was what the owners of the restaurant of its namesake had in mind when they started the venture. The interiors feature a makeshift downtown cafe akin to the ones found in Ho Chi Minh, complete with the street signs and all. The restaurant began in a food park, then moved to a secluded spot in Tomas Morato. 


The street signs of different countries.


The iconic line from Full Metal Jacket

The food features an array of Southeast Asian favorites. We were able to try a good number of their menu items, plus their dessert. The dish range from 200-300 pesos per dish. I'd say that the serving size and the taste were sufficient for the price. 


We tried the Thai Papaya Salad. This was a mix of green papaya, cucumber, onions, lettuce and vinegar rolled into a salad. This reminded me of our own pickled vegetables called atchara; hence, the taste was not so unique as I expected it to be. Nevertheless, it was still palatable.


The Vietnamese Spicy Chicken Wings were a tad salty and spicy at the same time. I appreciated the spiciness; yet I preferred a lesser degree of saltiness. To me, the overall taste was ruined by the excess salt. It was still tender, though.


The Fresh Spring Rolls were composed of shrimp, bacon, lettuce, and cilantro with a vegetable filling wrapped in a thin dumpling wrapper. It came with peanut sauce. The silantro was quite overpowering due to the quantity, yet it gave a minty flavor to the dish. The peanut sauce added consistency and texture to a light dish.


The Thai Tom Yum was a steaming hot sweet and sour soup were large prawns were boiled. The sauce was mixed with coconut milk for that peppery taste. While the dish servings were not so large, I still liked the broth for the spicy/sour mix. 


The Cebuano Ngo Hiong was Southern Philippine Specialty. There were fried spring rolls with leeks and other vegetable fillings. It was served hot and came with a tangy vinegar sauce. It had a bitter, salty taste.


My favorite for the night, the Chicken Satay, came with a generous helping of Sweet Peanut Sauce. The satay was grilled to a golden brown color. The meat was soft and tender, plus the sauce gave it a lot of flavor. The excessive peanut sauce was forgivable due to the excellent mix of tastes.



We also had the Indonesian Chicken Curry, which was a generously topped serving of chicken with curry sauce plus a few extra ingredients such as colored noodles, eggs, peppers, and bay leaf. The taste was similar to one I usually have at home. I must commend them for making it taste homey.


The entire array of the dishes




We also had the Beef Rendang. This was a very underwhelming dish due to the scant quantity of beef and excess amounts of potatoes. I must say that it tasted well even if the quantity was disappointing. It had a fiery kick due to the fresh chili slices on top.


The wall motifs of Vietnam


Another shot.


For dessert, we had their sticky rice with mango. It reminded me of Kakanin due to the way the rice was prepared. The mango served to accentuate the familar flavor of smoked rice. 


We also had their Turon Ala Mode, a mix of fried banana rolls and their homemade basil ice cream. I must say that this was the better dessert since I loved bananas and ice cream. The sweet and light basil flavor was complemented by the strong banana touch.

Me Love You Long Time has a wonderful variety of Asian dishes; but I hope that the restaurant can perform better. There is a lot of potential in their food; yet their offerings need much more improvement.

The restaurant is located at Second Floor, POs Building, Tomas Morato Avenue Corner Scout MadriƱan Street, Tomas Morato, Quezon City.

Me Love You Long Time Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Taco Bell's new Crunchy Core Burrito: an explosion of meaty and cheesy flavors


I was invited by Ms. Sol of Certified Bloggers to Taco Bell in Cyber Place Cubao. As one of their newest branches, the place boasts of a spacious second floor with enough seating for over 120 people. The place was also well lit. 

Just last week, I got a taste of Taco Bell's new product: the Crunchy Core Burrito. As one of their new flagship products, this overload of cheese and other premium ingredients is highly loaded with a mix of everything a traditional burrito has and more. 

The Crunchy Core Burrito has a melted cheese center which is particularly a blend of three cheese sauce and nacho cheese sauce wrapped in their signature flour tortilla in the first layer. The second layer is composed of a melange of tender beef chunks, Mexican rice, sour cream, and their special tomato sauce wrapped in another flour tortilla. This double layered burrito is the epitome of a cheese burrito and a traditional burrito in one. 

The Cheesy Core Burrito is available at Php 139 ala carte with a Php 179 price tag for their combo with nacho chips and drinks.

As I bit into the humongous burrito, I found this to be a good commercial-level Mexican dish. Not super remarkable, but rather unique in its own special way. The mix of Taco Bell's signature ingredients played their parts in giving a good, if not excellent, Mexican experience. There was an interplay of delightful cheesy and tomato flavors that gave the dish a sweet and pleasant taste. The beef was also tender and juicy. Hence, I'd say that while the Burrito was not the best, it had its own distinct taste. I'd say that for its price, the serving was pretty decent. The chips that came with the dish were generously served; but I couldn't help but compare them to commercial flavored chips. As I wash the burrito down with cool iced tea, I enjoyed the meal despite its imperfections.

You can visit Taco Bell at its official websit at tacobell.com.ph or follow them at fb.com/tacobellPHL.





A cross-section of the burrito



The burrito and chips combo


The servings were decent.


A waiter with Taco Bell's newest burrito


Samples for every one


The generous amount of nachos.



A party pack box for the bloggers


The well-lit counter


Taco Bell's combos


The storefront



Another shot


The drinks
Taco Bell Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato