An Awesome Secret Foodies Tour

Sad fact: I’ve never been the type to try new things. Be it a new restaurant or a new trend, I always find myself hesitating when I venture out of my comfort zone. I am one of the few people that likes routine and schedules, and once I get used to doing something, I stick to it. So you’ll find me hanging out at the same places, ordering the same dishes over and over again. I know, I am pretty boring. If not for this blog and all the events I attend, I would never really know what else is out there!

And so, when I was invited to try a degustation tour, I was game for it. I kept thinking, finally, I’ll have new places to recommend to family and friends! No more of my boring old restaurants (which I still love and always stay loyal to by the way)! The tour was at Tuscany at McKinley Hill, where apparently some of the metro’s best-kept secret restos are located. The event is organized by Megaworld Lifestyle Malls together with RJ Ledesma and Anton Diaz, who are two of the most influential foodies in the Philippines. RJ and Anton personally hosted and toured the group during the event, which was loads of fun! We resto-hopped, visiting one establishment after the other and sampling the best dishes each one had to offer. What a yummy day!

“An Awesome Secret Foodies Tour,” runs on November 30, December 7, 14 and 21, 2013 (yes it already started!) from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM. A limited number of tickets will be available from 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM at the booth between Ukkokei Ramen Ron and Marciano’s. Ticket prices go for 1,000php per head.

Here are some of the establishments that I got to try, which are also part of An Awesome Secret Foodies Tour:

1.) PLANET GRAPES: Wine is always something that brings people together. For Manila’s connoisseurs or for family and friends that simply want to enjoy each other’s company over an excellent bottle of Pinot Noir, Planet Grapes is something worth checking out. With selections from all over the world (wine straight from Argentina, anyone?), their extensive roster of choices will surely delight all it’s customers. To help you pick your choice for the day, the store has a wine connoisseur on standby to guide your way through understanding and learning the art of drinking wine. The restaurant also features a quirky wine vending machine and a “wine meets street food” concept which is demonstrated on their menu. (Press release) 

RLO_3918Planet Grapes.

RLO_3968Our first meal on the list: our choice of wine served with balut, siomai, fishball and kikiam. Balut with wine, who would’ve thought?!

RYN_4529With Erica Paredes and RJ Ledesma.

RYN_4530Jess Tan-Gan.

RYN_4779Anton Diaz, Benjamin Bailleux, operations and business development director of Planet Grapes and RJ Ledesma.


RJ leads the way to the next restaurant.

2.) MAIN STREETThen Canadian-based restaurateur, Adam Tacderas-Tan, enjoyed spending his afternoons on Main Street in Vancouver. Immersing himself in the French-Canadian hybrid of culinary delights, he has come to create a soft-spot for this strip’s cuisine. Bringing in his source of coziness amidst chilly nights spent in Vancouver, Main Street in Tuscany offers magnificent samplings of comfort food made available to Filipino diners looking for a new-twist to old favorites.  A bite from these dishes will surely send you straight to a heavenly feast! (Press release)

IMG_3074Main Street specials.

RLO_3946Main Street’s interiors.


Main Street owner, Adam Tan.

3.) TRATTORIA POGGIO ARTICOWith rustic interiors reminiscent of street side cafés in classic Italy, Trattoria Poggio Artico is a one-of-a-kind restaurant that marries passion for cooking and the love for travel. Filipino-owned, Trattoria was the product of an inspiration which stemmed out from a memorable family vacation to the farms and meadows of Italy. Roland Lorilla wanted to take home with him the fresh flavors of Italian cuisine, that’s why he hired a chef with 15 years of training in the specialty and makes sure to use all organic ingredients and homemade breads and pasta for his diners to enjoy. (Press release)

 IMG_3078All the ingredients used in this restaurant are organic. They also make their own pasta and bread!

RYN_4635With lovely ladies Erica Paredes, Jess Tan Gan, and Regine Rafael.



Trattoria owner Roland Lorilla with RJ.

RLO_4000On to dessert.

3.) L.E.S. (Lower East Side) BAGELSFresh off the mill and oven, L.E.S. (Lower East Side) Bagels’ selection of gourmet bagels and cream cheese concoctions are mouthwatering combinations no one can resist! From the basics like blueberry, sesame, chocolate and wheat bagels combined with tasty cheese blends which include selections from salmon to berries to herbed greens—you’ll surely go loco at the amazing possibilities! L.E.S. Bagels also serve coffee, pastries, cookies and more. (Press release) 

IMG_3103New York-style bagels and designer cream cheeses.


They’ve got plenty to offer at L.E.S. Bagels.

IMG_3085The cream cheeses look amazing!!!

RLO_4068More dessert.

RYN_4716RJ tells us what we’re about to sample: white chocolate brownies and an assortment of bagels.

IMG_3096The end of our tour! We’ve got happy smiles (and tummies) to prove it.

RYN_4736L.E.S. Executive Chef, Chef Cuit and restaurant owner, Patrick Santos.

RYN_4759MegaWorld’s Tinay Magtira, Glenn Reyes, Trina Ong, Teresa Pesigan-Valentino and Krista Marco.


Other restaurants that are part of An Awesome Secret Foodies Tour: B&T Mexican Kitchen, Sophie’s Mom, Sauceria, and Marciano’s. And around the area you’ll also find: Ukkokei Ramen Ron, Manila’s first-ever ramen house, MilkyWay, a coveted Filipino classic loved across all generations, Banapple Pies and Cheesecakes, Serenitea, The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Black Canyon Coffee, Terry’s Selection, Wursty Wursty, TAKA Modern Japanese Cuisine, San Francisco Bistro and BBQ Chicken & Beer.

Participants may choose their preferred date for the public tour on a first come first served basis. There are no rebooking of tours and no ticket reservations will be done over the phone. Tickets must be claimed in person at the designated redemption booth.

For more inquiries, please call 709-0888, 709-9888 or 0917-838-0111.

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