NiceThings at Mati’s Meat and Bread

Made an amazing discovery earlier this week: Mati’s Meat and Bread. Tucked in a strip behind Festival Supermall, this gem of a find is one place that’ll soon turn into one of my favorite haunts. Thank goodness I’m a Southie!

mati's meat and bread

Mati’s Meat and Bread is located at Unit B2, River Park, Festival Supermall

Every single food I tried was amazing. The interesting mix of flavors and textures brought new dimensions to otherwise familiar dishes.

Got off to a great start with this Creamy Spinach Dip:

mati's meat and bread creamy spinach dip

This serving is for sharing but I can so finish it all by myself.

I never liked bone marrow (pausing for collective gasp from y’all), but I loved this Truffled Bone Marrow appetizer:

mati's meat and bread truffled bone marrow

This Truffled Bone Marrow was surprisingly delish!

Some of Mati’s Meat and Bread’s dishes are named after family members’s favorites. This one is Mama’s Buffalo Wings:

mati's meat and bread mama's buffalo wings

Sakto lang ang anghang #nomnomnom

They also serve rice dishes:

mati's meat and bread beef salpicao

This beef salpicao was tender and flavorful.

Their salads are also very good:

mati's meat and bread camille's spinach and arugula salad

Camille’s Spinach and Arugula Salad is refreshing.

mati's meat and bread vince's chicken arugula salad

You should also try Vince’s Chicken Arugula Salad.

Mati’s Meat and Bread’s pizzas are on the top of my list:

mati's meat and bread salpicao pizza and bia's four cheese

i’m totally with Bia on this choice of Bia’s Four Cheese Pizza. The Salpicao Pizza isn’t so bad either.

mati's meat and bread pepperoni pizza

This Pepperoni Pizza is made more amazing by pesto and jalapeno. Yum!

mati's meat and bread tali's gamberetti

I love seafood so Tali’s Gamberetti is an instant fave.

If you love pasta as much as I do, you have got to try Mati’s Meat and Bread’s Truffle Pasta:

mati's meat and bread truffle pasta

Creamy yet light – perfect!

This nummy seafood pasta is worth a try:

mati's meat and bread seafood pasta

This seafood pasta dish is oil-based.

Not only is the food phenomenal, the place is also stunning.

mati's meat and bread at river park festival supermall

Natural light floods the dining area. Can you say instagram?

As a seafood lover, I can confidently say Mati’s Meat and Bread knocked this oyster dish out of the park:

mati's meat and bread oyster rockefeller

Oysters. Cheese. Nuff said.

Mati’s Meat and Bread is named after Mati, the youngest member of the Santiago clan of Melo’s. From this famous family of restaurateurs comes Caron Santigo-Macasaet and her husband Paul. They wanted to bring something fresh to the Philippine dining scene as influenced by their travels around the world.

One refreshing idea that Caron and Paul cooked up is this intriguing balut dish cooked in aligue.

mati's meat and bread balut aligue

Before digging into Balut Aligue, consult your doctor. Seriously.

As we all know, Melo’s is synonymous with good quality steak and Mati’s Meat and Bread is fast becoming a close second.

You can cook your own steak at your table or have it cooked in the kitchen.

mati's meat and bread steaks

I like mine well done.

If you want to know more about Mati’s Meat and Bread, visit their Facebook Page, you’ll see adorable Mati on the profile pic. Or you can catch a glimpse of their menu here:

mati's meat and bread menu

They have more dishes than the ones listed here but check this to get an idea of their prices.

Will be heading off to Mati’s again very soon. See you there?


Singapore 2015 Part 3: Food, Fun, Friends, and Da Vinci

It felt like we didn’t have enough time to really experience Singapore but I’m glad we got to enjoy what mattered most and then some.

My top five favorite lil’ red dot moments: (drum roll)

5. Food, food, and more food

singapore food

My favorite food from the lil red dot.

4. Dropping by Books Actually (yes, that’s a real cat) books actually 3. Finding Boo

boo the world's cutest dog

Boo is the world’s cutest dog

2. Da Vinci: Shaping the Future at ArtScience Museum in Marina Bay Sands

da vinci shaping the future

To say Da Vinci was a genius is an understatement. His mind stretched limits that made impossible impossible.

and the top lil red dot moment is…

1. Wild surprises

at the manila bay sands singapore

Photo credit to Patintera’s left hand lol

Singapore 2015: Food, Fun, Friends Part 2

After grabbing lunch, we walked down the street some more since we don’t get to do it a lot back home. I had second thoughts about snapping this photo since security is fiercer at Istana but I just found those majestic trees too breathtaking to resist.

istana singapore

Istana is the official residence of the President of Singapore

Found our way to Ngee Ann City where we did some shopping. Ok, I didn’t really buy anything since I went there with SGD 20 in my pocket but I’m lucky to have a super bff who got me this really great gift:

Found Boo in Singapore

Found Boo in Singapore

One more thing I love about Singapore is the diverse choices of fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, and seafood.

fresh fruits in singapore

This pomegranate is a bit too pricey for me though

All that strolling left us exhausted so we went back to the hotel for a nap.

hotel re marilyn monroe elevator

Marilyn brought us up to our floor.

Travel Tip: Cars in Singapore drive on the left side of the road. Be mindful when crossing.

hotel re driver

Cars in Singapore are driven from the right side.

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Singapore 2015: Food, Fun, Friends

Patintera and I have been planning this Singapore trip since forever. It’s been six years since we stepped off the plane that brought us back home from the little red dot. Having lived in the city-state for a year then, I felt like I was leaving behind my second home.

So, this trip back to Temasek was a homecoming of sorts for me. I planned to revisit my favorite places and grab a bite of my favorite Singaporean eats.

But the real highlight of the trip was our surprise for our friend, Franz, who had been asking us to visit him since we came back to Manila. This fine city may not be known for affordability but the look on Franz’s face as we show up outside his office would be simply irresistible.

We booked as soon as another seat sale went up. It was a six-week wait to the actual trip and I almost slipped to Franz a number of times, nearly ending chat convos with “see you soon”. Good thing my fingers aren’t as quick as my mouth. LOL

D’ day came and we were ecstatic. We almost missed our flight, though, no thanks to someone’s tardiness *cough* Patintera *cough*. As soon as the cab pulled up at NAIA Terminal 3, we ran like crazy people looking for the Cebu Pacific counter for flights bound for Singapore. As expected, it was the one making its last call.

It was a good thing Patintera checked us in online and that we didn’t have check-in luggage. That saved us a good deal of time.

I had to run across the terminal to pay our travel tax and run back to the Cebu Pacific counter only to be greeted with a troubling “Ma’am, best effort po tayo, ha?” which meant they couldn’t guarantee that we’d actually get on the flight. Yikes!

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Valentine’s Day 2015: Love, actually, is all around

For several years now, I’ve been posting this cover photo during Valentine season on my Facebook account as my way of reminding people that Valentine’s is not just for lovers, that there’s room to celebrate love in every form.

love is all around

And celebrate we did. My BFF Patintera and I went on a single ladies date on Valentine’s day. We treated ourselves to a girls’ day out with only one goal in mind: to relax.

We both have hectic schedules so a day to ourselves with no deadlines, no issues to resolve, nor chores to finish, was a day full of love, Valentine’s or not.

I booked us a 3 PM appointment at Shine Spa and Salon in Makati. We planned on having lunch at Salcedo Market before getting our hair did…but we woke up late. When we got to the place at past 11 and finding a table meant waiting through lunch.

Salcedo Weekend Market

Salcedo Weekend Market

nice things at salcedo weekend market

Valentine’s at Salcedo Market

So, we decided to grab a couple of bite-size Japanese pancakes and headed straight to the salon.

Shine is on H.V. Dela Costa St. but we didn’t find it right away because the sign was hidden from street view. We walked in to check if they could accommodate us two hours earlier than our appointment. It turned out to be no big deal. Shine staff were super nice and got started on our hair immediately.

Shine Spa and Salon in Salcedo

Shine Spa and Salon in Salcedo

The salon was a bit of a surprise for me. It’s the first one I’ve ever been to that was actually quiet as a spa. Other spa and salon places have separate and distinct ambiances. At Shine, they managed to keep the spa vibe across the two areas, not to mention the heavenly scent. The whole place was so relaxing I dozed off while waiting for my hairwash.

shine spa and salon

Patintera’s hair dresser was sick that day

After the salon, we headed for Greenbelt but midway, the driver dropped all passengers at Ayala Triangle. Since we were there anyway, we decided to scout the area for some good food.

Our impromptu trip to Ayala Triangle was lovelier than we expected on such a day. It was near empty when we got there. I guess lovers were either out of town or decided to stay in (aherm).

Ayala Triangle boasts of several restaurants that offer different cuisines. We walked around a bit, debating whether to go with our usual haunts or explore something new. Explore we did.

Stepping into Poco Deli, though, I was unsure I would enjoy the place. I was not thrilled about the wooden benches, me with my bad back, but it turned out to be more comfortable than it looked.

Poco Deli Ayala Triangle

I think this bottle of wine was a personal welcome LOL

By the time we got there we were famished but since we were unfamiliar with Poco Deli’s serving size we decided to start with a plate of Chili Seafood Pasta and their German Sausage and Cheese Platter, which we washed down with a pitcher of Citrus Delight. Yum!

Poco Deli Ayala Triangle

On the table: Chili Seafood Pasta, German Sausage and Cheese Platter, and Citrus Delight

After our satisfying meal, we finally regained our wits, enough to admire the decor. The walls were lined with wines from around the globe—and they have quite a massive collection.

Poco Deli Ayala Triangle

They don’t have a wine list at Poco Deli, they have wine shelves

By the way, Poco Deli hosts wine tasting events monthly where their in-house sommelier does the happy job of orienting participants on different kinds of wine and the food they best go with. Serious job envy. lol

On the counter is a delicious display of cakes. We were glad we left room for dessert.

Poco Deli Ayala Triangle

Cakes and gourmet sausages at Poco Deli Ayala Triangle

The Blackout Chocolate Cake was yumazing! The chocolate gets richer as you slice deeper into it. Mmmmyeah…

Poco Deli Ayala Triangle

Blackout Chocolate Cake at Poco Deli

They even had artisanal ice cream. Joy!

poco deli artisanal ice cream

Almost missed this as it’s tucked in the corner.

The salted caramel ice cream was a delight.

Poco Deli Ayala Triangle

Salted Caramel Ice Cream at Poco Deli

We loved everything! The food was perfect. The drinks were perfect. The dessert was heaven.

Poco Deli Ayala Triangle

Cappuccino to end the meal

Can’t wait to go back for the wine tasting. Tee hee

Traveling Up North: La Union

Two reasons I adore Pope Francis: one, he always points people to Christ and two, his visit gave us a much-welcome five-day vacay. Woot! Woot!

The sudden free time gave me and my friends reason to go up North. My good friend Ciara invited us to visit her hometown Agoo, La Union where we experienced provincial life which, unlike Belle, I thoroughly enjoyed.

I’m actually thinking of moving my family to Agoo. The fresh air and even fresher food will do my ageing family good. The commute is a bit of a killer though. Not all buses take the SLEX and TPLEX for some reason and that translates to nine hours of uncomfortable bus ride from Pasay to Agoo. Ouchy booty!

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Tuguegarao Longganisa

A colleague surprised me with a pack of Tuguegarao Longganisa when she came back from her vacay to her hometown.

Over years of exploring the Philippines I’ve learned that nearly every province has their own version of this beloved breakfast staple, each with their own special flavor and secret ingredients.

longganisa tuguegarao

Cooking Tuguegarao longganisa in the oil it secreted after the boiling water evaporated. Talk about niluluto sa sariling mantika.

Tuguegarao longganisa boasts of having all-natural ingredients and zero preservatives. The only preservative it has is garlic and I’m beyond happy with that. Not only because it’s healthier but more because I luuurve garlic!

longganisa tuguegarao

Longganisang Tuguegarao with achara and fried brown rice

Sadly, I went through my entire pack quite quickly. And now I’m all Tuguegarao longganisa-sad.

I can’t wait for my colleague to take her next vacay hihi

Late post: Away at Lorenzo’s Way

Tucked in a corner of Bonifacio High Street is Lorenzo’s Way, a Filipino-Spanish restaurant from respected restaurateur Larry J. Cruz.

Lorenzo’s Way boasts of offering the best dishes from the late LJC’s famous restaurants Cafe Adriatico, Cafe Havana, Abe, and Fely J’s.

lorenzo's way larry j. cruz

Larry J. Cruz of Lorenzo’s Way greets diners as they come in

The Filipiniana interior is complemented by the relaxed ambience that invites you to leave the long, tiring day behind to come home to a satisfying meal.

Lorenzo's Way at Bonifacio Global City

Lorenzo’s Way offers Filipino-Spanish cuisine

And boy, was I glad. It was a long, tiring, holiday-traffic commute from Ortigas to High Street. Good thing we had a reservation because the place quickly filled up for 7 PM dinner time.

Since our friends were late and we were famished, my best friend Tinay and I decided to go ahead and eat. We ordered our all-time favorite Paella Valenciana and decided to try their Binukadkad na Pla-Pla since every single table in Lorenzo’s Way had it and we were not disappointed.

binukadkad na tilapya lorenzo's way

Binukadkad na Pla-Pla was on every table that night.

paella valenciana lorenzo's way

Sumptuous Paella Valenciana

dinner with friends at lorenzo's way

My sisters by choice

Our friends eventually made it and they ordered Spanish Garlic Chicken which I failed to take a photo of but they said it was delicious as well.

I pledged not to rant in this blog so I’m just going to chalk up the less-than-great service to the holiday craziness. All in all, making our way to Lorenzo’s Way was worth it.

Will we go back? Not any time soon.

Do I recommend it? Yes but with the gusto of someone who was satisfied but not blown away.

Paskong Pinoy sa Pinas

Nothing says Pasko to me like piping hot bibingka and colorful puto bumbong. The delicious steam wafting from the makeshift pugon melds beautifully with the cold December breeze creating a symphony that spells Christmas in Pinas.

This scene brought me back to the holiday of things amidst the crazed busyness of the season. Between rushing office deadlines and buying last-minute gifts, the Grinch in me pokes its ugly head questioning the wisdom and necessity of running around trying desperately to have a merry, festive season.

puto bumbong

Puto bumbong is best served with margarine and muscovado sugar.

Good thing good cheer is all around despite holiday traffic and incredible mall queues. And my go-to local delicacies never fail to satisfy.


Special bibingka served with salted egg and cheese

So, the next time you see me turning green and growing facial hair, remind me to stop and smell the rice cakes.

Maligayang Pasko!