1. It's the best reason to eat at Spiral. Where else in the country, or even the world, can you get all-you-can-eat foie gras? The quality was not top notch of course, but it was adequate. This is a clear case of quantity winning over quality. The foie was a little veiny but still creamy, and it had that slightly gamey flavor that I love. And being sliced in bite-sized pieces meant that there were more seared surfaces.
|Foie gras and apricot compote at Spiral concept restaurant at Hotel Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila. 4/5
2. Why are the desserts at Spiral always so horribly, disappointingly bad? The chocolate soufflé thingy looked promising, but it was dry, tasteless and dense as a rock, and that orange syrup was a big joke. After taking a bite, I returned it to the dessert counter and hung around warning complete strangers not to eat those monstrosities. They really pissed me off.
|Chocolate horror at Spiral concept restaurant at Hotel Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila. 0/5
3. I had always wanted to eat at Zucchini's, but it's very expensive. (Ha! This from someone who recently spent US$270 on a single meal.) So when I saw their rib eye steak on DealGrocer for just Php850, I bought it. I would recommend this restaurant for its elegant yet relaxing ambience and very competent service, but sadly, the bland steak didn't meet my expectations. Maybe next time I'll order something else.
4. The xialongbao at Crystal Jade were butt-ugly, no doubt about it. But the taste was surprisingly passable. The skin lacked that telltale bounce that characterizes a perfect XLB (refer to this), but thankfully it wasn't mushy. And the filling was not bad at all. I wonder when we'll finally be able to get really good XLB in the Philippines.
|Xiaolongbao at Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao in Greenhills, San Juan City. 3.75/5
5. Now this was pretty good! Crystal Jade's la mian was quite memorable. The noodles had that wonderful springy texture and the soup/ gravy/ sauce/ whatever was nutty, spicy, sweet, salty, unctuous yum-yum. Pop and I took it home and it was still nice after reheating. I would go back to Crystal Jade for this.
|Sichuan-style la mian at Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao in Greenhills, San Juan City. 4.5/5
6. If you have an uncontrollable, incapacitating craving for Hainanese chicken rice, this will do. The chicken at Sing was flavorful but not as fatty as the real HCR-- which could turn out to be a good thing, actually. The rice did not suck and the chili sauce, the trademark of a genuine HCR master, had that hand-made quality about it.
|Hainanese chicken rice at Sing Hainanese Chicken House, Shangri-la Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong City. 3.75/5
7. The best mango torte in the metro is at a Petron gasoline station. Cuerva's mango torte is sheer perfection. That crust-- just thinking about it is torture! My friend BebehMomeh says that it reminds her of Violet Crumble. I am drooling all over my keyboard again.
|Mango torte by Cuerva Bakeshop, Petron Service Station, EDSA, Makati City. 5/5
8. And the best sans rival in the metro is at the same Petron gasoline station. Homaygad, I am dying inside as I'm typing this. Sorry for the fugly pictures, but they taste so much better than they look anyway.
|Sans rival by Cuerva Bakeshop, Petron Service Station, EDSA, Makati City. 5/5
9. Say it with me: "Haagen-Dazs mini ice cream cake." Sounds wonderful, right? It would have been-- it's Haagen-Dazs, after all-- but the presentation was a teeny bit sloppy. OK, I'm a nitpicker. Anyhoo, it tasted great.
|Vanilla ice cream with cinnamon drops and white chocolate coating mini cake by Haagen Dazs. 4.5/5
10. Bunny Rabbit used to avoid the restaurant FishBar Boracay like the plague, but it turned out that their seafood platter was the big surprise of the year. Their signature beer-battered fish and chips, calamari, croquettes and shrimp ukoy (fritters) came in pretty generous portions. Everything was crispy-moist and delicious. That vinegar with the sliced chilies was downright addicting. And the tartare sauce and cole slaw brought me back to the '80s.
|Seafood platter at FishBar Boracay, D'Mall, Boracay Island. 4.25/5
Crap, I just made myself hungry.
Spiral at Hotel Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila