Groupon Craze

Monday, September 19, 2011

Probably most of you may be aware (or already went gaga) of the on going craze for group buying sites. These websites offer the best deals ever! May it be for food/restaurants, tour packages, hotels, gadgets, services and anything else that you could think of for consumers like us to enjoy at an insanely low price. I was very tempted to buy every deals posted on their sites but you know I'm just a poor little girl who relies on monthly paychecks. Can't afford all of them even if they're at 50-90% off!

Another thing that keeps me from trying out these great deals? It's the word credit card. You see I had always use paypal for online transaction as a secured way of keeping my credit card info. It has been 6 months now (and counting) since my paypal account got frozen for some reasons unknown and I'm not allowed to do any major transactions. Even my mystery shopping gig got halted because my payments go thru my paypal account, too. It was such a hassle I tell ya but for now I have no choice but to shy away from online shopping that uses credit card payments. It was a relief to know though that some of these groupon sites have over the counter payments thru banks and LBC.

Anyway, I finally got the courage to purchased a deal from Metrodeal. I hated lines at the bank so I went with the LBC payment scheme via Dragonpay. The trasaction was as a breeze. I patiently waited for the deal to end hoping that a lot of people would buy or else they will cancel the deal. Thank goodness the deal ended without getting canceled and I got my voucher for a 51% discount on pizza and pasta from Sandy's Pizza. I called the store then and informed them about the deal I got from Metrodeal. We choose to have the food delivered at home which we have to pay extra. I think we paid Php99 for the delivery.

. . . the packaging. See their phone number?

Sandy's Special Pizza - Family size. . .

They're very generous with the black olives which I loved. Kinda reminds me of Magoo's Pizza. Oh, I missed that pizza place. Anyway, we think the pizza left the oven a little early because the crust was still chewy. The toppings were great though. We didn't finish the entire thing so we had the leftovers for breakfast. In the morning we placed the remaining slices in the oven toaster and out came the pizza with crispy crust which made it better.

. . . carbonara with mushrooms

For the pasta, we wanted to get the Italian sausage and tomatoes but they said we can only choose between tuna arabbiata and carbonara. And we chose the later. The carbonara was okay. Just okay. I think I can whip up a yummier carbonara than this (yabang lang o!)

mozzarella sticks . . .

This was an extra order and not included with the deal. These were awesome (who can go wrong with cheese?). I wish we had ordered more.

The pizza and the pasta may not be that great but I'm not complaining. If I paid the full price, maybe I would. Will we give Sandy's pizza a try? Maybe. As I said we wanted to try the sausage pasta and some other unique pizza flavors. Will we buy deals from Metrodeal again? Definitely. Kaya buy na rin kayo and let's all have a good time. Yeah!

And oh, by the way, here's the dessert take outs from Mom and Tina's. I'm finally sharing them.

. . . mocha butter and carrot cupcakes

banoffe pie . . .

I'm into coffee flavored desserts lately.


Eat Well Delicious Kitchen

Nanay’s birthday is coming up and she has been giving me hints that she wanted to have a cell phone. Just like the other senior citizens out there. I’ve decided to make her dream come true so Tapioca and I went to Greenhills where you can get the best deal for cell phones. Since it’s going to be Nanay’s first phone we have decided to get her the basic phone that she can use to text and call. And maybe a few little features that might come in handy like the flashlight.

. . . Tapioca testing out the brand new Nokia phone

And what’s the most user-friendly phone in the market? Nokia cyempre.

After we bought the phone, it’s time to chow. I read about this new resto that opened in Greenhills. I convinced Tapioca to help me look for it. We had a hard time looking for the place because of name confusion. All I remember was they call it Delicious Kitchen. We were almost about to give up but good thing we did not. We've asked the concierge if they know that name. They said no. So we asked for the name of a newly opened Chinese resto. They said it's called Eat Well. Alright then, so that’s the right name.

Tapioca loves Chinese food and we are always on the look out for the best Chinese resto in town. Eat well’s menu was quite extensive and there’s a lot of pretty interesting dishes that we'd like to try. We were pretty adventurous at the moment so we gave in to whatever sounds yummy on the menu.

black gulaman and mint tea . . .

I love iced tea and after I saw this mint iced tea from the menu I decided to give it a try. Unfortunately it was not as wonderful as I was expecting it to be. I should have ordered the watermelon shake, my second fave drink. Tapioca on the other hand was having a good time with the black gulaman.

. . . xaio long bao

I discovered xaio long bao from people raving about these babies who had been to Hong Kong or Taiwan. They said its the best. Dumpling with meat, veggies and soup inside. I had never tried this and I'm not going to Hong Kong or Taiwan anytime soon so when I saw this on the menu I got excited. Imagine soup on the dimsum? How they manage to put the soup inside the dimsum was pretty amazing.

Hakao . . .

My all time fave. Dumplings filled with shrimp. Their hakao was full of plump and juicy shrimp. Hindi tinipid. I so lurve it!

. . . yang chow fried rice

This is a winner. Its overloaded with meat, shrimps and veggies. Big in servings but it comes in a cheap price. Seriously, the word scrimp does not exist in this place.

homemade bean curd with black mushroom . . .

We love tofu so whenever there’s tofu on menu we don't skip it. And they have this homemade bean curd dish that looks and tastes delish.

. . . 3 cups of chicken with basil

Tapioca picked this and we enjoyed this too. We were in luck because most of the food we've ordered were really delish. I actually ordered for a pork chop but they forgot it. I think they did it on purpose. They probably thought we ordered too much and we would not be able to finish them all. And they're right. With all these food we were sooo full. We left the store happy and promised to come back with empty stomach and a big appetite to try more of their dishes.


Tagaytay Day Trip - Picnic Grove and Zipline

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Hello there. This is the second and last part of our Tagaytay trip. After our brunch at Leslie's we headed to Picnic Grove.

. . . picnic grove cottages overlooking the Taal lake and volcano

The park remains the same except for their latest attraction which was the zip line and cable car. For the entrance fee we paid Php50 each. It bothers me that the Picnic Grove management didn't even regulate who gets in or out of the park. From the moment you enter the gate, going to the park, and on the actual park and the cottages, the vendors and fixers offering horse back riding were all over the place invading your personal space. This scares me especially those guys who just go up to us since most of them looked like gangster. How can you trust them when they didn't look decent enough.

Picnic Grove has been poorly maintained and the entrance fee do not serve any justice to the park's current condition. This is a shame to the local government of Tagaytay. Also worth mentioning was the blaring sound system from the Tagaytay Ridge Zip Line and Cable Car.

It was very sad to see how the place has turned out. Picnic Grove was a special place for me. I have lots of memories here from childhood to my early adulthood but it lost its touch with all the tourist traps/booboo. I know these people are trying to make a living but if any guest or tourist would like to get their service then there should be a right place for them to do business. I hope they would do something to improve the park for the future generations to come.

So that was the sad part. Moving on the happy part, we didn't let those pesky vendors and fixers ruin our day. We simply ignored them like they don't exist. I tell ya, it's hard dahil ang dami nila! We wanted to do horse back riding pa naman but it's really scary thinking sino kaya sa kanila mapagkakatiwalaan.

While enjoying our leisure walk in the park, we noticed this big dark cloud coming up . . .

Uh-oh, looks like we're not gonna stay here for long. Had to think of a fast, quick and in a hurry activity. Sayang ang entrance fee kung wala kaming maaccomplish. And the answer . . .

Tagaytay Ridge Zip line and . . .

. . . Cable Car

The cable car looks boring in my opinion so we chose the zip line. This was our first zip line experience and I was nervous as hell. Did I tell you I'm afraid of heights? Funny since I live all my life in an apartment building. But you know adrenaline rush like this makes the adventure more exciting and fun. Tapioca got our one way ticket which cost P200 per head with souvenir picture.

We're next in line after these couple . . .

And we're done. Here's our souvenir.

It was a short ride, kinda bitin but it was awesome and a very thrilling experience. All the time I was looking off the ground which was about 300 feet and I kept on screaming while Tapioca was laughing his ass off me. Tapioca wanted to bring the camera during the zip glide but I did not let him risk it hehehe! It was a great experience and I wanna do it again. But prolly somewhere else naman para mas masaya.

Because of the rain we decided to go back to Manila instead of staying in Tagaytay. From Picnic Grove we went to Olivares terminal to catch the bus going to Cubao and surprise, surprise the same bus we took to get to Tagaytay happened to be the same bus we're taking to go home. The bus conductor even remembered us and commented how quick our trip was. Yeah, it was a quick trip and that was not expected but we felt that we have done enough. This is the end of our Tagaytay Day Trip and hope you like it. Until our next adventure.


Tagaytay Day Trip - Leslie's

Monday, September 12, 2011

Second day of our vacation leave. We woke up early so we can have our breakfast in Tagaytay. As I've mention from my previous post we didn't have a concrete plan. We're just gonna go there and find where our feet will lead us. One thing's for sure we wanted good food. Something that we can't just have here in Manila.

. . . camwhoring on the bus

From Cubao, we took the San Agustin bus going to Tagaytay. We paid Php104 each. It took us two and a half hours to get there. Traffic was terrible early that morning and Tapioca was getting impatient. When we finally see the pine trees and a huge fog on the road we knew we're almost there.

We dropped off at the Olivares Terminal. When we alighted the bus I kinda felt like I have been never been in Tagaytay before. Tagaytay has changed a lot from the last time I went there. I think the last time I went there was back in early 2000 with my college classmates. Back then we just graduated and we were all excited to explore new places. You know the happiness of hanging out with your classmates without thinking of assignments, projects and thesis. Yeah, kinda like welcoming our new found freedom.

Okay, okay, so I'm reminiscing here but I can't help but compare the Tagaytay that I knew then and the Tagaytay I'm seeing now. There were lots of establishments that wasn't there before like Jollibee, 711, KFC, Yellow Cab and the list could go on and on if I mention them all. Seeing all these commercial places tells you know how the city has developed. I can't say I like it nor hate it. But ya know, I'm all for progress.

And when in a progressive city you are and that city happens to be a tourist spot, expect scenes of haggling and locals offering their services. First thing that greeted us at the terminal were the tricycle drivers. There's plenty of them and if you're not familiar on how much the fare fee from one point to another (like us) expect to pay more. Oh well, we didn't really care as long as they take us to the place we wanted to be.

I asked our tricycle driver to bring us to Bag of Beans because we wanted to try their famous pies and cheesecakes. Due to my lack of research and poor planning, I didn't know that Bag of Beans has now 2 branches. The original branch which was far from Olivares and almost near the Batangas boundary, and the new branch near Rotonda. Unforch, the driver took us to the Rotonda branch which at that time still closed. Our tummies were unforgiving so we went to the next restaurant that was open.

leslie's . . .

We were the first customers for the day and I was sooo giddy because it means we can pick the best spot in the restaurant. And I'm talking about this . . .

See those guys on the ledge? That was Tapioca and our tricycle driver. Well, that's our spot. I have been to Leslie's but never had the place to ourselves until . . . . another group joined us :-(

Tapioca looked pissed but can't do anything about it. We don't own the place. If we want a privy place with unobstructed view of Taal Volcano, we can stay at these cute little cottages at Php500 for 3 hours.

Thanks but no thanks. We would rather stay on our spot for free and just ignore the noisy group on the other table. I let myself enjoy the view taking pictures of whatever caught my attention. The weather in Tagaytay was very chilly so I had to had something hot to drink. I was thinking of kapeng barako but they don't have any. I got stuck with the instant Nescafe. Hahaha!

Then our food arrived. And for some reason the group on the other table decided to change table. Hooray!!!!! Here are the food pics . . .

. . . a huge bowl of special bulalo with big bone marrow

prawns in garlic and butter sauce . . .

. . . and a mountain of rice

Cyempre hindi namin kayang ubusin lahat yan so we had our tricycle driver joined us but still we didn't finish the big bowl of bulalo. Just to give you an idea of how huge that bowl was here's another pic with Tapioca.

The food was awesome. And what makes it even better was the nice view of the Taal lake and volcano. As I said we wanted something that we can't have in Manila. Yes, we can always eat bulalo and prawns in Manila but we will never get the same experience. Thanks to this magnificent view . . .

the view . . .

We decided to stay a bit longer to enjoy the nice view we don't often see. After chilling out, time for more picture taking. Buti na lang we have a driver slash photographer.

. . . hindi naman halata na busog kami, noh?

More of our Tagaytay adventures coming up on the next post.


Mom And Tina's

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Our anniversary fell on a Friday weekend. What a perfect timing, right? We filed for a two-day vacation leave and on the 1st day we had a pre-celebration. Brunch at Mom and Tina's.

Mom and Tina's has two branches. One near our office in Libis and second in Dela Rosa Street, Makati. So where to go after shift? The closest one in Libis, of course. But wait they don't open until 10am. Uh-oh we are so not willing to wait. Good thing there is Plan B. And Plan B is at Apartment 1B. But hey, traffic in Ayala is terrible. And from Ayala we are way closer to Greenbelt where the other Mom and Tina's is located. Definitely nearer than Apartment 1B.

Time check 930am. Mom and Tina's Makati branch opens at 7am. Yay!

. . . blue lemonade

They have a long list of drinks. Coffee and tea variants, hot or iced, soda or juice, fruit shakes and the list goes on. Some drinks you can choose from single serving, bottomless or you can try all the iced tea flavors and lemonade unlimited which they call carousel. Cyempre adik lang sa iced tea so we chose the later. And our first glass was blue lemonade. It looked good on the eyes but it had a bad aftertaste similar to the artificial fruit juices. Good thing we are not stuck on this flavor alone. Three more flavors to go! Sana lang di kami mabusog kagad :-)

. . . clam chowder with garlic roll

Their soup of the day was clam chowder. At first sip it tasted like cream of mushroom. Then I was able to scooped out some clams and confirmed that it's indeed clam chowder. There were a few tiny pieces of clams in the soup but no fishy taste. The garlic roll on the other hand was yummy. It was soft and the garlic flavor was subtle. It was perfect with my soup.

. . . shepherd's pie served with 2 garlic rolls and our 2nd round of carousel

This was Tapioca's order. He has been on the look out for his American comfort food and this one dish he considered to be one of them. Oh well, Mom and Tina's is known for their baked goods but they also specialized in American home cooked meals. Now back to the shepherd's pie, Tapioca was expecting the dish to have crust like most pies do but this one was served in a ramekin with no crust at all. He said it was okay. Tapioca cannot remember the last time he had shepherd's pie so he can't make any comparison. Still his quest for the best shepherd's pie is on. Our second round of carousel was the green tea iced tea. Now the green tea has this frizzy taste. It's like a soda mixed with tea.

hot biscuits with strawberry jam and bega butter . . .

Here's another item Tapioca misses so much. He said back in the US, KFC serves their fried chicken with biscuits. And the biscuits taste so good withe their famous gravy. So there you go another food that Tapioca missed and we found it here. I tell ya, it did not disappoint.

. . . look at that

It was piping hot when it arrived on our table. And man oh man, the strawberry jam reminded me of Baguio. Biscuit + butter + strawberry jam = foodgasm!!!

fettuccine beef stroganoff . . .

Carbs overload. I wanted to try something new for pasta and that's the reason I ordered this. I love beef stroganoff and I think it's a perfect match with pasta. Unfortunately this dish did not work for me. Overcooked pasta and the sauce wasn't thick enough. Did not finish this. This dish came with the 2 pieces of garlic rolls.

chicken relleno . . .

Tapioca requested for java rice with this dish. If you will noticed most of our dishes had this cucumber garnish. It's like they have a thing with cucumber hehehe. Tapioca said the chicken was ok but he was expecting more from it.

our last round of carousel and more garlic rolls . . .

This was the final round of our carousel. With all the carbs we consumed, I'm actually surprised we were able to down 3 tall glasses. I had the lemon iced tea and Tapioca had the red (raspberry) iced tea. Of course I just have to try the red tea and I must say it's the one I liked best. The rolls were overflowing and as much as we'd love to eat them we were so full already. Can't eat anymore so they went with us at home.

My vow to never miss an opportunity for dessert was yet to be broken (again). I know we're full already but how can I resist when they have so much to offer. Check this out.

By the way that's just one part of their display cases. There's a lot more. Those pretty little cakes were screaming "take me, take me!". And I did. I took 3 of them with me to go. *Happy happy joy joy!* Still I haven't come to the best part of this post. Of all the dishes we ordered including my dessert take outs we only spent around Php1,200. All I can say prices were reasonable and I swear I will be back. They have an extensive menu and we would love try them all. Can't wait. What do you think I should order next?


Two Years of Being Together

Friday, September 9, 2011

Hello blog-o-sphere. Here I am again, posting away our 2nd year anniversary celebration. Can you believe it, 2 freakin' years? It felt like we have been together for a loooong time. Shucks, how time flies. FYI, we no longer celebrate our monthsaries. As much as I wanted to but Tapioca thought it's such a hassle when in fact we almost always go out on a date anyway with or without a special occasion to celebrate. Whenever we felt the urge or craving for something we just go right ahead.

I thought he has a point but on the back of my mind I wanted to scream, "Booo, di mo lang alam ang exact date!" Yeah, he's like that. He's so bad remembering the dates. But I have already accepted that fact and one of the reasons why we have stayed together this long is because we understand each other well. I'd say even waaaay better than before. Also understanding will not be enough if you can't accept the person for what or who he/ she is. So there you go Tapioca, you know na what it means, hehehe!

Enough said. Let me tell you guys how we celebrated our 2nd year. Naturally, I was the official planner. At first, I thought I did a bad job. I thought I did not fulfill my duty as the planner. Okay, I did make a list of places to go to for the 2-day vacation leave we filed at the office. Basically, that's all I did. Period. I've never been so lame planning out a vacation. Seriously.

Time and budget are the biggest factor in planning a vacation and these were pretty much limited in our case (and was totally forgotten on the planning phase) and I hated it. It makes planning even more stressful (and that's why I did not include them on my plan). I know it's suppose to be a challenge but come on, I had way too many challenges at work. All I wanted is a stress-free, easy going vacation. In my attempt to achieve it, we ended up spending way out of the budget and maximizing our time went somewhere out of the window.

But at the end of it all, we realized it felt good. No, I mean better. No regrets whatsoever. We may have went overboard with the budget but we were glad we did because we were after all in desperate need of a break. Break from all the office works , from all the chores, budget and planning at home. We may not have maximized the 2 day vacation because we took our sweet time to keep us from exhaustion and in order to enjoy our stay one place at a time without worrying on what attractions to see or where to go next. We might not able to do all the thing we wanted but we did achieve what we really needed. A relaxing and in-our-own-pace vacation.

This definitely change my perspective on traveling. I'm also sure that this will make a big impact on my future travel plans. Sorry if this is such a long post. I do hope you get my point. If not, I apologized if I wasted your time.

Peace, love and a bullet-proof marshmallow.

Coming up next are the (food) adventures. Stay tuned.


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