New snack discovery: Gardenia Pocket Sandwich

Okay, so since becoming a mom my life now basically revolves around my little family, especially my baby Tristan. I guess it is normal for any new mom–there is just so much to learn about motherhood that your life can pretty much be consumed by it. Proof is my blog and Instagram, as most of my posts are about my baby and mom life haha. Sometimes I wonder when it will get easier, but it doesn’t. I am just given a different set of obstacles just when I get slightly better at something. It is all wonderful though, and so worth all the hard work.

So, one thing I am trying to be good at right now is preparing good, healthy snacks for my family. Now that my little munchkin is almost two, he eats practically everything we do. That’s why my husband Carlos and I have made a conscious effort to eat right because we’re setting an example for our little boy. It has to be a good balance of taste and nutrition, because lets be honest here–food has to be tasty and delicious. We can talk about eating healthy all-day, but if the food isn’t yummy, then it wont be eaten (especially by a toddler).

I’ve been all about finding that balance lately, and though it has been quite a challenge, I’ve come to find that it isn’t impossible. There are great options out there that are yummy, healthy and convenient to prepare. One snack worth mentioning is Gardenia’s Pocket Sandwich. It has become quite the favorite in our household because it is super tasty and easy to pack/eat.

It is different from your regular loaf of Gardenia bread (a staple in our house) because it is made with two slices of soft and luscious white bread. It has no edges and is perfectly crimped and sealed to lock in the goodness–you can choose from a yummy chocolate or a peanut butter spread. What I love about it that it offers my family a convenient snack (especially since we’re always on the go) and it is not messy to eat.

More importantly, these sandwiches are high in iron, folate, vitamin B1 and is a source of vitamin A.  As you know, iron and folate contributes to normal formation of red blood cells and hemoglobin; vitamin B1 helps release energy from proteins, fats and carbohydrates; and vitamin A is essential for the function of the eyes. This makes it a quick and easy snack, especially when you don’t have the time to cook or prepare (working moms, I feel ya). And it is individually packaged so you can easily put it in your kiddo’s lunch boxes for their snack break! The best part: it is only P15, and is available in all leading supermarkets!

Inagiku at Makati Shangri-la

If you’re looking for an authentic Japanese experience without having to travel all the way to Japan, well, INAGIKU at Makati Shangri-la Hotel might just be for you. The Baby Barangay was recently invited to dine here, and wow–it is hard to put into words just how good the food is here. Each dish that was served was fresh, delightful, tasty without overpowering, and just amazingly good. The gang and I enjoyed our dinner here, which had us raving about our meal for weeks to come.

Now, I have to say, I absolutely love Japanese food. I really try to seek the best restaurants in the metro because I constantly crave for it and when I want it, I want the best. Through the years, I’ve learned to distinguish the fresh and authentic from the not-so, and the bottomline is: this restaurant serves delicious Japanese food. From what I was told, the ingredients are flown all the way from Japan, which explains why it tastes amazingly authentic. It literally felt like the best of Japan was served to us that evening, and it tasted incredible.

So, okay, we each ordered our own dish, but ended up putting everything in the middle so we can try everything. That was the best idea, ever, because wow, the flavors were just bursting in our mouths, and we got to taste as many dishes as we could that evening. Let me share what we ordered:

Tokujo Sushi (assorted premium sushi) – P2,600. This was super fresh, and each sushi tasted amazingly sweet. 2-3 persons can actually share this. It is pretty big.

Maguro Sashimi (fresh big eye tuna) – P560. My measure of a good Japanese restaurant is based on how fresh their sashimi is. I have to say, this was absolutely amazing. It was melt-in-your-mouth good!

Tekka Maki (6 slices) – P250. My favorite. I always order this when I dine in a Japanese restaurant. These were extraordinarily good.

    Shake (salmon) Sashimi – P390. This was Carlos’s order. This was also very fresh and sweet.

Agedashi Tofu (deep fried bean curd with tempura sauce) – P390. A must-order when at Inagiku! This was so flavorful–crispy on the outside and soft and tender on the inside–we ordered two of these. So good!

 Gindara Shiogama Yaki (grilled silver cod in salt block) – P1,570. The presentation of this was just amazing. We eagerly awaited the big reveal of the fish, which was so delicate and tender. Amazing flavors!

 Tokujo Chirashi Sushi (assorted premium seafood topped on sushi rice) – P3,200. This was Raoul’s order and it was huge! Props to him though, because he finished everything. It was that good.

Usuyaki Steak (thinly sliced beef with mushroom and garlic) – P3,140. This was so soft and tasty! The mushroom and garlic went perfectly well with the steak. I love that they are presented in a roll–perfect with fried rice!

Honjitsu No Dessert (dessert of the day) – P440. Of course, we ended the wonderful dinner with dessert! What an extraordinary experience.

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INAGIKU Japanese Restaurant is located at Makati Shangri-la Hotel

To book a table, call (63 2) 814 2580.
Operating Hours

Lunch
11.30am – 2.30pm

Dinner
6.00pm – 10.30pm

Dress Code

Smart Casual

Celebrating Mother’s Day with the Baby Barangay

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What an amazing day! My Baby Barangay girls decided to celebrate Mother’s Day with each other and it proved to be the best idea, ever. We were able to get some much needed girl time, a break we mommas deserve!

We started off with an amazing lunch buffet at Spiral at Sofitel Philippine Plaza. Bianca, Nicole and I went ahead and indulged on our favorites which of course, included everything from the Cheese Room, extraordinary dishes from the Japanese, Spanish, Filipino and Chinese sections, and just every possible amazing dessert you can think of. We loved that Spiral now offers delicious and healthy dishes and juices as well, for us mommas who want to indulge but not go overboard with our choices. And of course, we made sure to pair our dishes with their excellent selection of wines.


Next on the list–to meet Cat and Patty at our favorite store: Zara! Yes, it was time for shopping. Oh my, can I just say, we had such a fun time trying on different outfits and sharing shopping/styling tips and advice. It was hilarious. And of course, we just had to snap our outfits, which turned out to be color coordinated!

The Baby Barangay moms had a wonderful time, and we’ve promised to make this a yearly tradition. Yes, we mommas deserve a girl day at least once a year–I recommend all mommy barkadas do this (or at least your own version of it).  

Happy Mother’s Day to all you hardworking, wonderful mommas out there. You are doing a fantastic job raising little humans, so yes, you deserve this treat! ❤ Sending all my love to you on your special day. Go MOMS!

Thanks to Ryan Ong for these amazing photos.

Sage Bespoke Grill at Makati Shangri-la

What a wonderful treat! The Baby Barangay was invited to dine at Sage Bespoke Grill at Shangri-la Makati, a restaurant with a new dining concept that showcases premium superior steaks, seafood and comfort food. I absolutely love steak, so yes, I was super excited about this invitation–I could not wait to sample their bestselling dishes. And oh my, I have to say, they did not disappoint. Actually, they far exceeded my expectations and set the bar high for what constitutes a good steak.  If you love steak and are looking to treat yourself to the best, well, look no further than Sage.

Sage’s very own Chef Eric Weidmann has created an a la carte menu of innovative dishes with flavours and textures that surprise the palate. You can start with their refreshing appetizers, such as Ceviche Scallops, Oysters and Wagyu Beef Carpaccio. The chef’s specials include pork short ribs, slow-cooked for 3 hours in the Josper grill, and the lobster roll with Boston lobster meat. And for the meat lovers, well, don’t forget to order the Josper-grilled mains – chateaubriand (Australian wagyu), bone-in ribeye (CAB certified Angus beef), and dry-aged bone-in strip loin. The dessert highlights include the traditional warm tarte tatin, caramelized pineapple, and chocolate sphere – brownies, 70% whipped ganache, poached pear, warm chocolate sauce.

6 Oysters. Shallot. Fresh Sea Grapes. P1,230.

Ceviche Scallops. Lemon and Sundry Tomato. Basil Oil. P920.

Wagyu Beef Carpaccio. Pesto. Parmesan. P670.

Sea Bass Tartar. Lime. Chive. Pink Pepper. P620.

Gravlax Salmon. Avocado. Grapefruit. Horseradish Sauce. P550.

 

The secret behind their perfectly cooked steaks is the Josper Grill. It combines a grill and an oven in a single machine, so your chosen dish can be grilled to perfection without the risk of overcooking. Also, it preserves the juiciness and texture to make it gastronomically balanced for the palate.

Australian Wagyu. Jacks Creek MB 5 Prime Rib Eye. 250gr P2,200 / 400gr P3,420 / 800gr P6,350.

Australian Wagyu. Jacks Creek MB 5 Tomahawk. 1300gr P8,200.

USDA Shortloin T-Bone Steak. 900gr P6,100.

We enjoyed the food so much, we went on a food coma after all that glorious steak!

Caramelized Pineapple Crumble. P315.

Floating Island. Caramelized Hazelnuts. Vanilla Creme Anglaise. P315.

Banana Sticky Toffee Pudding. Louisiana Pecan Nuts. Salted Caramel Ice Cream. P315.

Traditional Warm Tarte Tatin. Vanilla Ice Cream. P315.

Chocolate Sphere. Brownies. 70% Whipped Ganache. Poached Pear. Warm Chocolate Sauce. P315.

Singapore, every foodie’s haven

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Why is it that when someone mentions Singapore, I immediately think of food (haha, I’m sure I am not the only here)?! I seriously gave it some thought the other day and realized, I can’t help myself. Some of my most favorite food can only be found there, and I literally start salivating at the thought of chili crab, chicken rice, cereal prawns, fried rice and ice kacang. I can eat all that everyday for a month straight and I don’t think I will ever tire of it! Ahhhh, soooo good!

So of course, there is more to Singapore than the dishes I just mentioned. After all, the city is a foodie haven, which explains why so many people go back, because (1) they want to discover more delicious eats and (2) they want to revisit their old favorites. I did both during our last trip, and boy, did I eat well. Thankfully, I did a lot of walking to counter all the eating I did and Tristan still breastfeeds so all the food went to him. Needless to say, my family and I had an amazing time discovering what Singapore had to offer, especially as this time we ate our way through this wonderful city. To those of you who are curious about where we ate, well, here is a short list of restaurants for you to visit. Dining in Singapore is always such an incredible experience–we absolutely loved the restos we tried and I am pretty sure your tummies will be just as happy as ours after you’ve given these a go.

1.) Open Farm Community. This open-concept kitchen and restaurant brings something new to the table as it serves locally sourced, seasonal and innovative dishes that is a feast to the senses. This was the first restaurant we tried as soon as we landed and I was impressed. We had such a delicious meal made from freshly harvested ingredients–we really enjoyed our lunch! What I love about this concept resto is it is more than your typical dining experience. It is a place where families can come together and explore the many facets of food through art, tours of the vegetable and fruit orchards, talks, gardening workshops and many more. It promotes an edible garden city where you can grow your own food and eat locally-produced, super fresh ingredients. The dishes that arrived were innovative and new, but at the same time familiar and comforting. This is a must-visit when in Singapore. What to order: Smoked paprika buttered sweet corn with salted caramel popcorn and chimichurri; Saffron carnaroli risotto, chorizo, cuttlefish, green peas, crisp Serrano and ebb; and Spiced pumpkin cake, butternut ice cream, gula melaka jelly with garden herbs. 

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2.) Satay by the Bay. This is where I found my Singaporean favorites! Satay by the Bay features many different tasty stalls that serve delicious but inexpensive Singaporean cuisine. These are usually cooked in front of you, fresh off the grill and the dishes here are certified crowd-pleasers. The area is open-air and has a very casual dining layout, but the food is hard to beat. You can get all your faves in one area, which is probably the best thing about it.There is no air-conditioning, which can be very hot at times, but like I said the food makes up for it. What to order: Chicken Satay, Oatmeal Prawns, Sweet & Sour Pork and Chicken Rice. 

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3.) National Kitchen by Violet Oon. This was definitely a treat for us–to try authentic Nyonya cuisine that wonderfully reflects Singapore’s colorful culinary heritage. We had an amazing time discovering one tasty dish after the other, and in the end I became a fan of this cuisine. I love that in some ways it is similar to Filipino food, and in others, it is completely different. The dishes are authentic and delicious, and I was assured, were made without shortcuts or compromises. Violet herself was there to introduce each dish to us, and we were honored to have her host our lunch. What a revelation–this is comfort food at its best, but with chic interiors and gorgeous ambiance! What to order: Tau Hu Goreng (fried bean curd on a bed of julienned cucumber and fresh beansprouts topped with Violet’s signature sweet and tangy peanut sauce), Ikan Goreng Chilli (fried red snapper topped with a spicy fragrant chilli paid garlic rempah), and Beef Rendang (tender beef shin braised in a melange of spices flavored with kaffir and bay leaves in a creamy coconut sauce). Another option is to come in after lunch for Afternoon Tea–the restaurant serves a great selection of savory mini sandwiches and buns and plenty of sweet desserts.

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TUS’ Clay Pots and Skillets

The Baby Barangay (not so) recently had a wonderful Christmas dinner at TUS’ Clay Pots and Skillets in Westgate, Alabang. We enjoyed so much we stayed on until the restaurant closed! What an amazing dinner–it really was a night to remember as we sampled the restaurant’s bestsellers. We had the deep-fried breaded mozzarella sticks paired with marinara sauce (P220), giant BLT calzone with all the trimmings: bacon, tomato, lettuce, garlic cream sauce, mozzarella cheese, homemade pizza dough served with homemade aioli (P470), Fidea Negra, or short strands of pasta cooked in a fresh seafood broth and squid ink topped with shrimp, clams, squid, homemade aioli and lemons (P495), Spicy Lemon Pesto Steak, which is a delicious rib-eye steak topped with their own special mix of fresh herbs and butter) (P685), and topped with chewy, gooey and creamy Half-Baked Cookie for dessert (P185).

If you’re looking for a great resto in Alabang, well, look no further. TUS’ has the best eats in town.