iVegan

iVegan

Lee’s quick note: Hi everyone, it’s been a while since we’ve written anything down for Team Glasses Food Blog due to our jam-packed schedules and other commitments. If you’re still reading this, we sincerely appreciate it. We also want to hear from you! Now on to the article!

After several months of busy schedules, hectic classes, and other activities, Kat and I finally had time to ourselves for a dinner date and decided to pick something new and healthy. On the other side of Legaspi Street, guided by google maps from Greenbelt, we found iVegan

At first glance, a casual passerby wouldn’t notice the place by the side of the street, but once we headed down and stepped inside, the cosy and well-lit atmosphere drew us in.

For dinner, we shared Scallop for appetizers. I had a mildly spicy Wholesome Sisig and a glass of Tavernello Organic Sangiovese Rubicone. Kat, on the other hand, had Lemon Butter Pasta and Chamomile Tea. 

The Scallops

“The only scallops I can eat!” said Kat when she saw this one coming out with a slight twinkle in her eye. The Scallops were made out of seared king oyster mushrooms, pesto, and salsa with micro greens to garnish. The plating was impeccable and at first glance, one would actually think that they were being served scallops.

The zest of the salsa and fresh pesto brought out the slight earthy flavors of the mushroom with each bite and before we knew it, it was all gone and had us looking for more.

Wholesome Sisig

My dinner was the Wholesome Sisig which is made of mushrooms, green chilli, lime, and spring onions, with a choice of either white or brown rice on the side. iVegan also allows for diners to select the level of spiciness they would like to have on their meal. 

I’ve picked mildly spicy just to try it out and I was not disappointed with my choice.I found the slight heat as well as faint saltiness of tofu and mushrooms to be a subtle balance on the taste buds. The tofu and mushrooms were executed with care since all the ingredients blended well together.

However, a slight nitpick would be that I expected a slight bit more crunch from the tofu to really achieve the feeling that it is something close to sisig.

Lemon Butter Pasta

Kat’s dinner, the Lemon Butter Pasta was a delectable combination of angel hair pasta, vegan butter, lemon juice, lemon zest, broccoli, capers, and olives. It also had a ciabatta at the side.

We liked how the servers were all attentive to our needs during our entire stay, from explaining the choices of spiciness levels available for my Wholesome Sisig, to attending to our simple requests. This is definitely worth at least several more trips.

Food Score: 4/5: While we personally like a bit of an extra oomph with the sisig, that’s more of a matter of preference than anything else. The food here is comfort food for the soul, plain and simple. 

Ambiance Score: 4.5/5: The ambiance is perfectly casual without being overwhelming with the wooden tables and chairs, firm but comfortable couches, and quaint pictures of grapes gives one the feeling of eating near a vineyard with how spacious everything looks inside.

Service Score: 4.5/5: The staff are very attentive from the start to the time we left. They not only serve with a smile, they also ensure that the orders are done right, our need for water or other questions are quickly addressed. In short, iVegan’s staff is what good customer service should be. They also pay attention to small touches such as warming tea cups before serving

GERD Score: 5/5: The selection and variety of choices in iVegan’s menu is something well appreciated for anyone dealing with GERD / Heartburn. 

Neurodivergent 5/5: The food here uses practically no preservatives. Anyone with sensitivities to gluten and other allergens can pick from many alternatives on the menu.

Team Glasses Score: 4.5/5: iVegan is a great place to dine, especially when one is dealing with food restrictions GERD or Neurodivergent issues. We look forward to trying their other menu options soon.

Juju Eats

Juju Eats

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Before an event we needed to attend, Kat and I reminisced a bit from the times when our offices were still nearby and we’d catch a meal or two in the area. In the midst of the same old streets of Tordesillas, we spot Juju Eats, its green and white signage catching our eye neighboring another branch of Kite Bar. With our hungry tummies, we decided to pre-game here for a bit, and stepped inside.

The interiors were simply neat but rustic with its wooden surfaces and furnishings, and there’s plenty of space to move about, even to leave a bike or two around. It almost reminded us of a coffee bar, or a fancier version of subway at first glance. After ordering, the staff assembled the food in front of us as well, which is a plus.

For dinner here, I chose some Crispy Catfish (comprised of fried catfish, green mangoes, green papaya, cilantro, their house mix, red onion, cashew nuts, basil, and nampla dressing) while Kat picked the Bimbimbap Bowl (comprised of red rice, kimchi, oyster mushrooms, picked onions, carrots, romaine, cilantro, sesame seeds, and korean dressing).

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Crispy Catfish

With my Crispy Catfish, the mix of fresh ingredients and dressing almost overwhelmed the catfish at first go, but once it made itself known, the crispy fish complemented the crunch of the fresh vegetables and nuts, and nampla dressing (which unfortunately was spiced by chili, being a thai one). Perhaps my younger self without the heartburn would delight over this wholeheartedly, but with me, I still enjoyed it despite the chili.

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Bibimbap Bowl

The Bibimbap bowl was quite hot thanks to the kimchi, but the greens and vegetables provided a welcome respite from the heat. The red rice base made the dish substantial enough to be considered a light meal, albeit a little heavier than a salad.

The reusable glasses for water, along with the eco-friendly choices in serving food was just icing on the cake with our stay here. With our tummies full and satiated, we set out once more for another adventure, to our event and with another great place to dine included in our list.

Food Score: 4/5: We’ve held the belief that one can’t go wrong with fresh ingredients and a well thought-out recipe, and Juju Eats has them in both our Crispy Catfish and Bimbimbap Bowl. We do think that they could explore this further with other combinations in the future to spice things up.

Ambiance Score: 4.5/5: After our time here, we found that Juju Eats was definitely a place one can relax and dine after a long day at work, a quiet place to study for your next recitation in class, or to savor the moments of the day with a cup of tea.

Service Score: 4.5/5: The servers here were quick to get our orders, neat from start to finish on how they prepped our food, and always ready to be helpful with our questions.

GERD Score: 4/5: While Juju Eats has a great selection of healthy eats, I sincerely hope they make an update in its menu. There really isn’t any quick-to-see icon if the sauce is spicy or not, so those suffering from GERD might make the same mistake as I did today.

Neurodivergent Score: 4/5: Some of the ingredients may be a bit too much in terms of spice and seasoning for sensitive diners. However the array of gluten free and preservative free foods is not one to be passed up on.

Team Glasses Score: 4/5: After experiencing what Juju Eats has to offer, we found our stay to be a lovely experience, and recommend the place for anyone looking for a casual dine with family or friends, a study date with yourself, or even just to unwind after the week, while still eating healthy.

Berde

In our many meetups in the Ayala Triangle area, we have been keeping an eye out for this place named Berde, while it was still being remodeled inside one of the spaces there. And in the first week of October, we finally had the chance to do so.

Berde, which translates to the color Green in Spanish, runs with the concept of choose-your-own-toppings into a salad or rice bowl. And to simplify this, one picks their protein, grains, greens / vegetables, and sauce, or pick a pre-selected bowl combination. However, what sets them differently from Faburrito or Salad Stop is their selection that’s tailored to Filipino tastes. At the same time, they also like a bit of diversity since they display their fish of the day, which for today was tuna.

In our food trip here, I tried to make my own bowl which was composed of a rice and salad combo, fish kinilaw, calamansi singkamas slaw, crispy garlic bits, green sauce (fresh basil, cilantro, and parsley), and ginger and green papaya atchara. Kat on the other hand, picked the Manok-Out signature bowl, which is made out of chicken inasal, berde salad, red rice, malunggay coconut pumpkin mash, calamansi red onion pickle, peanuts, and green sauce.

For our foreign readers, here are some terms to help you familiarize with Filipino cuisine.  Kinilaw is raw fish soaked in vinegar mixed with ginger, and green onions. Calamansi is Philippine lemon, which is size of a marble. Atchara, on the other hand, is pickled green papaya with carrots and annatto for its distinct yellow color. And inasal is a local variant roast chicken marinated in a mixture of lime, pepper, vinegar and annatto, then grilled over hot coals while basted with the marinade.

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The Tuna Kinilaw Bowl

In my bowl, the red rice and greens combination was the perfect subtle base to enjoy the sour notes from the kinilaw and the atchara that comes along with it. Their green sauce and the crispy garlic bits added some texture and sophistication that tied everything together.

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Manok-Out Bowl

The specialty Manok-Out bowl was a mix of delicate flavors, both from the chicken inasal as well as the greens and the vegetable puree. The rice added some body and fullness to the dish, helping round out the lightness of the rest of the bowl.

The entire place had a laid back vibe to it and made it perfectly suited for either a late breakfast, a quiet lunch, or a dinner date.

Food Score: 5/5: The main things we adore about Berde are the fresh ingredients and balanced selection that lend itself to be mixed and matched easily. And their Manok-Out signature bowl is spot on.

Ambiance / Service Score: 4.5/5: The place had a minimalist vibe to it, which made for a soothing feel during our quaint dinner here. And kudos to their staff, who walked us through the menu since it was our first time here and being attentive during our dinner.

GERD Score: 5/5: From selections to the spicy warning icon on the beef adobo, it’s a treat to dine here for anyone dealing with heartburn. And the portions here are enough to leave you full, but not bloated.

Epilepsy Score: 5/5: Fresh ingredients and natural modes of cooking, as well as a wide selection of viands and condiments make this place an option for sensitive diners or those with food restrictions.

Team Glasses Food Blog Score: 5/5: Simply put, we recommend Berde because they give a nod to Filipino tastes and keeping it healthy at the same time, especially for people with our respective conditions.

Berde Bowls Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Salad Stop: Salad’s Up

IMG_4641Hi Readers! Finally, Kat and I are taking our graduate degrees (she in MPH and I’m in Law), but it does mean that Kat and I won’t be able to publish as much as we would like to. But that said, we’re still going to write and find places to eat, as well as health information to share with everyone, just like my recent quick respite at Salad Stop.

After a particularly rough week with the start of classes and moving to a new place, I wandered around BGC High Street to find a decent meal to de-stress. I eventually found Salad Stop at the other end of the mall.

Going inside the restaurant, I noticed the light wooden panels complementing the grey concrete walls, surprisingly giving off the feel of breakfast at a garden with the well-lit ambiance

For this solo adventure, I chose the “Go Geisha” salad instead of its wrap counterpart. Normally, when one says ‘salad’, one expects a plate with leafy greens and carrots, but in this instance, it was much more than I expected.

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Go Geisha! (without the red and white lettuce)

The ‘Go Geisha’ salad has romaine, red, and white lettuce, firm tofu, asparagus, carrot, snow peas, soba noodles, cucumber, sesame seeds, and sweet corn, with their Japanese miso dressing. One could also add on baked salmon or fried garlic, which I unfortunately did not do for this trip. The sesame bread stick was a quaint touch as well.

While the restaurant ran out of red and white lettuce that night, the servers added some more romaine lettuce to address the discrepancy. After a few minutes of waiting, my salad bowl arrived. The lettuce greens and assortment of colors made for an appealing meal in itself, which tasted as good as it looked. The vegetables were crisp and fresh, the tofu soft and firm, and the miso dressing brought out another layer of complexity to the salad, with its slightly sweet and sour flavors.

The salads here are definitely a good start to a meal, or if chosen as a wrap, a vegetarian meal all to itself.

Food Score: 4.5/5. One main draw of the food here is the healthy and varied menu. There are salads to suit various tastes and appetites.
Ambiance / Service Score: 4.5/5. From start to finish, especially with the late hour that I got in, the staff maintained a professional and friendly demeanor to them. This Salad Stop has quick service, and the lovely dining experience is a welcome place to share a meal with friends of a light afternoon snack.
GERD Score: 5/5. While not all their selections are heartburn-friendly, the menu shows warnings as to what are spicy and those that trigger allergies from seafood to gluten.
Epilepsy Score: 5/5. An attraction about salad bars like this place is that one can pick or omit ingredients, thus making it easier for persons to avoid ‘trigger foods’ or ingredients that may interact badly with medications. On the whole, the selections are safe for people with seizure conditions.
Team Glasses Score:4.5/5. All things considered, we’re grateful for Salad Stop for being a great place to dine in for people like us who deal with medical conditions and allergies, and have to deal with limited dining options everytime we go out.

Knackering for a crunchy snack: Brown Rice Nutty-Fruity Bar

It’s no secret that Kat and I love learning new things about science, and it sure was a treat seeing advances, advocacies, and innovations during our adventure in this year’s National Science and Technology Week by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

To our surprise and delight, the said event also gave us more than mental stimulation; it also helped us to find food we can actually eat due to our respective conditions. In the same place we discovered RiMo Curls, we found the Brown Rice Nutty-Fruity Bar, a locally produced and healthier equivalent to the rice krispies snack.

IMG_4549Compared to regular rice, brown rice is a good source of dietary fiber, and also includes vitamins and minerals like B6, magnesium, niacin, thiamine, and manganese. Typically, it has a more chewy texture, which is something Filipinos are not quite used to compared to white rice. Given this particular problem (even if it’s the healthier option), how to get Filipinos and especially kids to eat more brown rice?

 

NutriDense Corp, along with technologies by the DOST – Food and Nutrition Research Institute, came up with Brown Rice Nutty-Fruity Bar. It’s made out of brown rice crispies, honey, dried fruits, nuts, seeds, soy protein, and iodized salt.

My first bite reminded me of the Kelogg’s rice krispies cereal, but with contrasting flavors which improved it all together. The dried fruits added a touch of sweet and sour to the overall texture, while the sesame seeds and nuts gave another layer of crunch. Thankfully it was only mildly sweet because the makers used honey instead of refined white sugar. However, the nuts and soy ingredients pose a concern to those who have allergies to these ingredients.

We also have the energy bar’s nutritional facts in the image below. Given this, we think it’s a good step in the right direction since most of our locally-made snack bar selections are not on the healthy side of things.

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Brown Rice Nutty-Fruity Bar is manufactured and distributed by Nutri Dense Food Manufacturing Corporation. For more information, please contact the company at:

2/F UP-ISSI Bldg. E. Virata Hall, E. Jacinto St., UP Diliman Compound, Quezon City, Philippines

TeleFax No: (075) 600 8251

Mobile No/s: +63 999 729 0234 / +63 916 641 8611 / +63 923 703 2198

Email: nutridensefmc@yahoo.com.ph

Sick Day Specials: Phát Phơ

 

If one’s a regular reader of our blog, one would immediately see a trend. Ever since Kat introduced me to Phơ, we’ve been going to Vietnamese spots for a decent bowl of Phơ when one or both of us is sick.

As of this writing, we both have the snuffles and a bit of a cough (not sure if it’s going to go into an actual flu, hopefully not); so we decided to have a change of pace and try Phát Phơ at the Power Plant Mall.

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Seeing that it was only late merienda (afternoon snack) or early dinner, we both ordered the smaller portions of pho. I kid you not, small portions it was not. Kat had the Pho Bo Vien, flat rice noodles with beef balls. I, on the other hand, had the tried-and-tested chicken noodle soup solution by the name of Pho Ga.

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Pho Ga

For the Pho Ga, the broth was mild but still full of flavor, setting the canvas for the crisp vegetables, firm and chewy rice noodles, and tender chicken slices to shine. With each bite, one is able to savor the flavor of all its ingredients. This may look light on the stomach in a smaller serving but incredibly filling.

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Pho Bo Vien

The Pho Bo Vien was not too strongly seasoned, thus allowing the beef and vegetables’ flavors to come through. It was also another filling, hearty dish worth savoring on a not so great day.

And then we ended our early dinner with some hot lemon tea, perfectly suited to cleanse our palate after our meal.

In summary, we definitely needed the pho break and I leave you a picture of the aftermath of our bowls to describe how good it really was.

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Food Score: 4.5/5. The pho bowls we had hit the spot of what we needed for the afternoon and our respective less-than-stellar health.

Ambiance / Service Score: 4/5. While the place feels a little cramped due to space considerations in the mall, it still had the vibe and feel of a chic fusion Vietnamese restaurant with the subtle hues and color combinations. The servers were thankfully attentive to our needs.

GERD Score: 4.5/5. As someone who has to deal with GERD, I’d have to say that if you’re not doing smaller portions of the meals here, it’s best to share a bowl or meal with someone else. Other than that, I appreciate the fresh ingredients and well flavoured meal we had. Phát Phơ also offers plenty of other options which is something I also appreciate. (One more thing, keep your hands off the Sriracha, no matter how tempting or perfect it might be on the pho.)

Epilepsy Score: 4/5. The caveat with most broths is that one does not know all the stock’s ingredients, so some sensitive diners may be upset or thrown off. That being said, Phát Phơ has other dishes that may be more appealing to diners with specific food limitations.

Team Glasses Score: 4.5/5. All things considered, we enjoyed our meal here at Phát Phơ, something one or a group can enjoy on a rainy day even if you have one or both of our conditions. Pho is not just noodle soup; its ingredients are akin to many used in Filipino cooking, and thus can make the soup more of a hearty stew. We do hope that more people will consider and try out this dish.

P.H.A.T. Pho Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Healthy food for the Filipino Palate: Satinka Naturals

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As a fact of life here in the Philippines, and an inherent irony, is that a good portion of Filipinos don’t consider incorporating vegetables into their diet. Don’t believe me? What are we most known for in terms of food? Some examples are Lechon, Crispy Pata, Sisig, Adobo, and the list piles on and on. Or if one walks to a roadside eatery, we add in pork, beef, or shrimp into the few vegetable viands.

Thankfully there are some exceptions and one of them is Satinka Naturals.

It all started when Kat asked me to surprise her with our dinner pick and the place caught my eye while searching one. Satinka Naturals is found by the corner of Kamagong and Chino Roces / Pasong Tamo in Makati, as both a place to eat, and a place to get organic products for many needs.

The interior reminds one of a rustic home, a mismatched but well-kept and loved Filipino-Spanish home, but with some modern sensibilities to the place. In a word, the place is cosy.

We started our dinner with some Yoga Tea, a mixture of ginger root, cardamom, black pepper, and cloves. While unusual to the Filipino palate, taking a sip of this tea with honey was a delightful experience, especially for me with my discovered preference for adding spices. This also gave me an idea on what to do with the cardamom pods I brought home from Qatar.

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Greek Platter

For the main dinner itself, I ordered a Greek platter and Kat had the Vegan platter. The Greek platter had chicken strips marinated with oregano, paprika and caraway seeds, giving each strip a vibrant flavour with every bite. The spiced beef in tomato sauce and feta cheese helped balance the meal with its bits of acidity from the tomatoes. The accompanying salad and shredded cucumber, as well as the red rice knit these two meat dishes together, creating a memorable meal hands down.

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Vegan Platter

The vegan platter consisted of two types of ‘meatballs’ made with beetroot, carrot, and a mix of other veggies, a marinara dipping sauce, raw ‘zuchinni pasta’ and a garden salad. Now whoever said that vegetables weren’t filling has certainly not encountered this rich meal. The vegan balls were heavy and savory, thus necessitating the other greens to cleanse one’s palate. This meal may be a bit overwhelming for those not used to vegan meals, but it is certainly worth a try.

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Sagada Yogurt with Honey

We ended our night with a small bowl of Sagada yogurt with honey. It was a solid dessert after our hearty dinner here at Satinka Naturals. But if we were to do it again, we would have ordered the pot of tea after the meal to make it an absolutely perfect end to the night.

Food Score: 5/5. Aside from minor nitpicks here and there, we enjoyed the food not only through its taste alone, but also from preparation and presentation to the organic ingredients of our meal. There is a wide selection of entrees and group platters to choose from, all of which use healthy and fresh ingredients. The beverages section can boast of having Sagada Coffee, several types of tea, and craft beer all available. One must never be shy to order.

Ambiance/Service Score: 4.5/5. Throughout our stay, it was surprisingly quiet and the hustle and bustle of the outside world didn’t get inside at all. At the same time, their décor, tables, and cushions speaks well of not only their tastes, but also become a place to rest our minds after a long trip around the Metro. Their service is not only attentive, but also quick on their feet in handling anything we needed.

GERD Score: 4.5/5. Surprisingly, even with the large portion and serving, the food here doesn’t trigger my burping at all, which is remarkable in itself. Also, the food is spiced just the right amount, so as not to make it too spicy for people with heartburn / GERD. While there is some alcohol in the vicinity, there’s plenty of beverage options as well.

Epilepsy Score: 5/5. No MSG and artificial flavors! This is cause enough to celebrate. And the vegan meals have no gluten, thus making this a bonus for people sensitive to this substance. The non-caffeinated teas and fresh fruit shakes are excellent too for diners with restrictions due to either their seizures or their medication

Team Glasses Score: 5/5. Our entire dinner here was a great experience because they create great food for diners with health concerns like us.