Chilling Out with Chillo

After more than a year since Blenz Coffee opened in June 2009 at Solaris One Building, I finally gave in to the temptation of trying its coffee concoctions. I have seen a lot of professionals and students who come in the store for meetings, long chats and study sessions. Over time I have observed that it has gained an increasing number of regular customers.

On my way to the coffee shop I crossed my fingers and secretly wished that I would choose the right drink and that my money would not be wasted. I absolutely had no idea about the menu. Luckily though, as soon as I stood at the counter, the cashier gave me a list of the beverages. I spotted the ice blended beverages which the store named ‘Chillo’ and decided to order a MochaChillo.

Accoding to the barista MochaChillo is espresso with Belgian chocolate. Wow, Belgian Chocolate! The most gourmet of all chocolates and considered the best of the best. That must be the reason why for a Supremo (20 ounces) I paid a hefty P210. With greater expectations, I waited patiently for my drink to be served.

(FYI, a Regular (12 ounces) is P160 and a Medium (16 ounces) is P185.)

TOTALLY SMOOTH--- the perfect description for my MochaChillo. It felt as though I was sipping on whipped cream. The texture was not thick but it was even and gentle on the mouth. There were no ice bits until the last sip.

Coffee and chocolate are two flavors that taste great together. Unfortunately, the flavors were weak in my MochaChillo. I have a preference for strong coffee taste. Mixing rich dark chocolate on my coffee would probably give the similar full bold taste.

*** Blenz Coffee
G/F Solaris One Bldg, 130 Dela Rosa St., Legaspi Village, Makati City


Get on Board and Sail Away

When my eyes laid upon this Mango sailor-style top, I instantly fell in love with it. The crisp clean contrast of white and navy stripes is so classic. I tried on a Eur S and it was a perfectly relaxed fit. It is light-weight, cool and comfy.

The effortlessly chic pocket adorned with two navy buttons spells ‘nautical charm’.

Originally priced at P845 this tee was on sale at P695. What a steal!

I am planning to pair it with dark denim shorts and my favorite ballet flats during my casual days. I am confident it will also be perfect with skinny jeans and a solid blazer or cardigan or with buttoned wide-leg pants. Versatile and timeless- a breezy look all year round!


Turning Japanese

Being the core feature of fast food chains such as McDonald’s and Wendy’s, hamburgers are most often associated with the Americans. But have you ever heard of Japanese burgers? This exact curiousity prompted my J and I to try Sango! The Burger Master.

When we headed to the counter to order, I was surprised to see that there are over 20 burger choices on the menu. Chicken burger, fish burger, terriyaki burger. I ordered BLT Burger with cheese (P125) and my J had Master Cheese Burger (P125).

At the sight of my BLT Burger I was quite stunned of its size. It was not a super-size one but it wouldn’t fit in my mouth either if I intended to eat it the big-bite way. So I pressed on the top bun until the burger got a little bit thin. I loved that my burger was balanced with meat and vegetables. The lettuce and tomatoes were fresh and succulent.

The Master Cheese Burger was truly heaven. A layer of chili con carne, juicy patty and lots of minced onions completed this best-seller burger. It was quite messy to eat but that was what made the experience more pleasurable.

We also got a regular Master Fries (P105)- thick slices of Japanese fries served with special meat sauce and cheese. The fries was crunchy on the outside but soft (and hot!) inside. It would have been perfect if it did not taste too salty.

Overall, our meal was tasty and filling. The burgers tasted home-made (for me) so if you are looking for a burger with a twist, Sango! is a very good choice.

*** Sango! The Burger Master

Rm. 5 GF, Creekside Mall, Amorsolo St., corner Herrera St., Legaspi Village, Makati City

(02) 830.03.91 and (02) 889.44.45


The Price of the Size

This is an addition to the bandwagon of crazily fun gigantic food.

During her birthday bash my officemate M treated us to an eye-popping 30-inch Primavera Pizza from Pizza Niro. The pizza was topped with heaps of bacon, salami, pepperoni, ham, black olives, mushrooms, onions, bell pepper and mozarella. I was completely amazed of its size. It was way bigger than The Big Ben of Xtremely Xpresso. Even my other officemates were stunned at the sight of the pizza sitted on two tables in the office pantry.

The crust was thin but chewy. The pizza itself was TOO soft and almost close to being soggy. I couldn’t confirm if it was really made very saucy or if the texture was a consequence of the delivery service. On my first bite I didn’t need to put forth much effort because of the softness of the pizza. It felt like eating pizza without the dough, just the toppings sticking to each other. Moreover, there was something missing about the taste. After chewing and swallowing a portion, it was as though I had to chase the flavor to satisfy me. The pizza lacked that ‘kick’ to sway me into getting another slice.

On the other hand, there was one thing that I liked about this pizza. It was less oily. No need to pat a napkin over the greasy part.

M paid P1,460 for the 30-inch pizza which fed around 18 persons. Quite a superb deal, I should say. For parties this pizza is a good option. For personal consumption, I think otherwise.

*** Pizza Niro Take Out and Delivery
Dela Rosa II Carpark, Makati City
(02) 817.42.33


Ooohh-la-la Qoola

On a desperate search for comfort food during a hectic stressful Monday at work, my college friend and officemate K and I went to Greenbelt to try the latest yogurt place in the city. Qoola, a Canadian brand, is a self-service and weight-based yogurt house. I was thrilled to try it because I wanted to feel for myself how to swirl fresh yogurt from the machine. I liked the idea of being in complete control of making my own mix and putting a personal touch to my food. 

Qoola had four flavors of yogurt on the self-service machine- Original, Green Tea, Wild Berry and Strawberry. I chose the Original flavor because I wanted to know if it was great on its own. K chose Strawberry because she preferred the sweet taste of yogurt. One could actually combine two or more yogurt flavors in a cup but we decided to stick to a single flavor only and then just try the other ones on our next visits.

Next stop was the toppings counter- this was the most mouth-watering moment. K and I were like kids turning our heads left and right on the wide selection of toppings- fresh fruits, candy sprinkles, marshmallow, gummy bears, granola, oreo, smarties, rice krispies, chocolate chips, almonds, graham crackers. It was really a delight choosing which ones to put on my yogurt and after seeing that my cup was already flashing with colors, I knew it was time to stop. They also had syrups to pour on the yogurt but I controlled myself from getting some. I was thinking that I would not be able to distinguish the flavors anymore.

After putting on the toppings, we headed to the counter where our yogurt cups were weighed. I paid P165 for my 220g yogurt and K’s was P161.25 for 215g. Just an observation and reminder- the cups they provide were big so if you are an impulsive person, you will literally fill it up. There is no limit as long as your portion can fit in the cup. Because you pay for the weight regardless of your chosen toppings, it is a wise move to just get what you can consume.

Aside from frozen yogurt, Qoola also serves yogurt smoothies.

K and I stayed at the upper floor because we didn’t want to be disturbed by the customers going in and out of the store. The place was fresh-looking because of the bright green interiors, glass tables and chairs and white sofa chairs. The lush Greenbelt gardens also added a more relaxed feel to the place. I just noticed that night several tables were left with empty cups and napkins from customers and were not readily cleaned by the service staff. I guess it was because the service staff was actively entertaining and assisting customers on the lower ground that they failed to check if the upper floor was spick and span.

My verdict on the yogurt- the Original flavor was tangy-good. It gave me the sourness that I wanted. It was thick but smooth on the mouth. I was not disappointed because unlike commercialized yogurt, it didn’t give me the feeling that I was just eating plain ice cream. The toppings were no different from the usual ones offered by other yogurt chains. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the combo of fresh strawberries and the plain yogurt. The delicious zestful sour blend left me licking on my spoon.

At Qoola, it's really ALL up to you. Grab a cup then decide on your flavor(s) and toppings. Keep it simple or choose to get a bit of everything. Just be ready when you arrive at the counter. 

*** Qoola
Greenbelt 2 (across Cyma), Makati City


Behind a Scar

I only have one scar on my entire body- on my left knee. What’s ironic is I got it when I was already 21 years old. I can still remember that fateful night. We were in Batangas for an office teambuilding and during a game I lost my balance and landed on the gritty cement floor. Ouch! The thought of how that rough floor scraped my skin still makes me bite my lip until now.

Technically, that was not the first time I got into an accident and wounded myself. The only difference was I didn’t get a scar during the first time. I remember when I was still a kid, my childhood friend M and I took a bicycle one afternoon and strolled along our avenue. We lost our balance and I was the one who fell on the ground. M, however, wasn’t hurt at all. She helped me get up and she gasped in horror when she saw blood on my left (yes, left again) knee.

I cried my heart out on these incidents. As a kid, my Mama would surely scold me. As a teen, I was afraid to get my first scar ever and not anymore live up to being ‘flawless’. That night in Batangas I didn’t cry because of pain or humiliation. I cried because I knew that the wound would leave a scar. I saw how deep the cut was.

As the wound healed and dried up, a friend advised me to use Contratubex. It is a topical treatment for scars from wounds, burns and even acne. I went to a drugstore and bought one. It’s quite expensive (P435 for 10g tube) but I had to try my luck on the product. The pharmacist told me that Contratubex is effective in fading old and recent scars.

I religiously applied the gel on my scar twice a day. After two weeks I noticed that the scar lightened already but not totally faded. Until now the scar is still on my knee, although not as visible as before. It’s a little whiter now, blending to my skin color.

Well, I presume the scar will stay on my skin until it will eventually fade over time. Nevertheless it is a constant reminder to be carefree but not careless.


Extreme Appetite Challenge

My sister told me about a huge pizza in Xtremely Xpresso and bugged me about trying it. Out of curiosity, after our window-shopping bonding on a Saturday, we headed to the Marquee Mall branch to see it for ourselves.

We first ordered the appetizer plate (P320) which consisted of quesadilla, fried chicken wings, chicken strips, French fries and garlic mushroom. The platter was served with garlic mayonnaise, mustard and cheese dips. My favorite was the quesadilla. The tortilla was soft and the melted cheese was savory. I didn’t use the dip anymore since it was very good on its own. The fried chicken wings were dry. My sister didn’t like it too. The chicken strips, French fries and garlic mushroom weren't impressive. My sister and I reluctantly finished the platter and just asked for additional dips to compensate for the taste.

And now for the very reason why we came to Xtremely Xpresso- Big Ben (P649). A whooping 22 inches in diameter, this pizza is loaded with pepperoni, sausage, bacon and beef and the typical veggies, garlic onions, peppers, mushrooms, black olives and two kinds of cheese. We were very giddy while waiting for the pizza and we were thinking that for sure we would not be able to finish it so we would bring it home. After a few minutes, the server came with our pizza and upon seeing it, we gasped “woooooww…”. It would not fit on our table so the server got another one just for the pizza to sit on. We gamely got our own slice and because it was huge, I had to fold it on my plate to slice. I loved this pizza because of the bread-like thin crust, flavorful sauce and overly-generous toppings. After consuming two slices each, we asked the server to pack it for take-out.

On my recent Subic trip with my J and some officemates we had brunch at Xtremely Xpresso and to my surprise, the place was packed with families having early lunch after the Sunday mass. 

To please my starving stomach and to keep myself full on the trip back home, I ordered Arrabiatta (P180) and Chicken Terriyaki Sandwich (P150).

This is the BEST Arrabiatta I have ever tasted! The garlic, tomatoes and red chili were perfectly blended in the rich sauce. The chili gave this dish an added kick and left a lingering but filling heat at the back of my mouth. The tomatoes were so fresh and succulent that I even reserved a few slices to eat after I finished the noodles.

I ate my pasta along with the Chicken Terriyaki Sandwich and although I could feel I was full already, I still finished my meal. The pair was just so scrumptious! The sandwich had a very generous chicken meat lacquered with sweet soy terriyaki sauce. The bread was so soft and light to the point that I could not feel it anymore while chewing. 

My J had T-bone steak served with garlic rice and buttered veggies (P280). The cut was thick and although the meat was not so juicy, it was tender and flavorful.

To complete my very pleasurable meal I ordered Eskimo Mocha Frappucino (P100). It tasted like coffee and malt together. It was perfectly thick and smooth. I especially loved the indulgent chocolate syrup drizzled on the drink.

A combination cafe, restaurant, bakery, deli, and wine cellar, Xtremely Xpresso is truly a place you should not miss. Its warm country-style cottage interiors and wide array of carefully prepared American, Italian and Filipino dishes will surely tantalize your taste buds and work up your appetite.

*** Xtremely Xpresso
#1 Dewey Avenue, Subic Bay Freeport Zone, Olongapo City
Ground Floor, Meeting Place, SM City Clark, M.A. Roxas Avenue, Clark Freeport Zone
Ground Floor, Marquee Civic Park, Marquee Mall, NLEX, Angeles City