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.

IMG_4637

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.

Advertisements

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.

IMG_4564

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.

IMG_4452

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.

IMG_4456

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.

IMG_4453

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.

IMG_4457

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

IMG_4308

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.

IMG_4313

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.

IMG_4316

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.

IMG_4320

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.

A quaint experience at Happy Garden Cafe

IMG_4018

On another solo adventure, I decided to walk the quieter streets of Jupiter. Moving past Makati avenue, amidst the unlit streets, I found myself seeing a garden of sorts and a sign that says ‘Happy Garden Cafe’. Stepping inside, it’s like a rustic white patio with mismatched tables and chairs, giving the feel of dining just by your own garden.

Although I was the only patron there for a Saturday dinner at the time, the place was lively because the staff were hard at work preparing for someone’s birthday party the next day.

The menu is varied with usual fares but with cheerful names like Delightful for how you like your eggs done in the French Omelet sets, to Transformed for chorizo and egg pizza. For my dinner however, I went with Mucho which consists of a pompano fillet with shiitake and caper sauce, along with some steamed vegetables and cauliflower rice (an upgrade from the rice pilaf that accompanies this dish).

IMG_4023

Mucho

Personally I’ve never tried cauliflower rice, which I have come to enjoy with its texture and different flavors melding together. And the steamed carrots and broccoli helps balance the palate. However, the main star of the dish, which is the fish, is lackluster. Yes, it was cooked with the right amount of juiciness and texture to make it a somewhat enjoyable meal. But, when the caper is the only thing one can taste distinctly, perhaps some adjustments can be made with how the fish is seasoned.

For anybody with green thumbs, they also have some plants on sale outside that’s good for any garden. In summary, I’m ambivalent about my meal here at Happy Garden Cafe, but there’s definitely room for improvement food-wise. It’s a good place to bring the barkada in for a simple lunch or dinner away from the hustle and bustle of Makati avenue or the central business district.

Food Score: 3/5. In some ways, there were upsides and downsides to the meal I had, but objectively, it was well-created and I did somewhat enjoyed the meal. However, it has to be said that flavor is important too and I found that part to be lackluster.

Ambiance / Service Score: 4/5. The service was more or less attentive to my needs and the place had a casual dining feel to it, which should be better for the mornings and with a group of people with you.

GERD Score: 4/5. An upside is that there are plenty of options for anyone dealing with heartburn with their different menu items. And my Mucho meal was rather nice and filling without triggering burping episodes.

Epilepsy Score: 4/5. Like many establishments of its kind, this cafe uses natural methods and seasonings for its dishes, thus making them friendlier for diners who may be triggered by preservatives. As bland as the dishes may seem, at least they are safe to eat.

Team Glasses Food Score: 4/5. Even with its miscues in terms of flavor, Happy Garden Cafe is still a place one can consider when in the Jupiter area and looking for a filling plate of healthy food that suits our respective conditions.

Happy Garden Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Paris Délice

After a rather hectic set of days for this week, Kat and I decided to take a visit one of our usual haunts, a French fast food place by the name of Paris Délice. And since we here at Team Glasses Food Blog have a fascination on French food, we can call ourselves as casual and familiar people who enjoy dates here.

Let’s go to their staples first, baguette sandwiches. In our visits, we’ve tried Le Mozza, L’Americain, and Le Parisien. For my exacting tastes, bread is always best freshly baked or at least in the level of crispiness between too soft or too brittle. They manage to get that nice Goldilocks zone on the ten inch baguettes often, and the ingredients are crisp and fresh. What you see on their pictures is what you get, which is appreciated. For the latest sandwich we had, I present to you Le Farmer, a simple looking sandwich that packs a punch with its symphony of fresh vegetables, ham, and brie. Just like their other choices, it’s both light and filling as a meal. C’est magnifique!

img_3241

Le Farmer

And then off to their pastas. Previously, we’ve tried the Salmon Fume which unlike most of overdone carbonara dishes drowning with cream; this is close to perfection itself. The sauce isn’t the star of the show, but rather, everything on it. The pasta’s well done, the salmon strips cooked well, and the sauce doesn’t overpower the two. Hints of basil leaves also helped balanced out the flavors of course. For today however, we had the poulet au pistou which is their take on chicken pesto pasta. Unlike other pesto preparations, this one was not cloying and overpowering to the palate.  This delicately flavored dish owes its character to its light creamy pesto sauce as well as the lightly seasoned chicken chunks. It is well balanced, like many of the other dishes in this restaurant.

img_3238

Poulet au pistou

Food Score: 5/5. For its price range, the food exceeds typical ideas of grimy fast food and gives the sense and the reality that the food reflects your money’s worth with a bit more than expected. And we definitely love the fact that it’s made out of fresh ingredients from vegetable to bread.

Ambiance / Service Score:  4/5. The place is comfortable to stay in for a bit with a vibe, perfect for dates or just a quiet get together with friends. Lastly, service is cordial and warm and in the off-chance that the owner’s there, feel free to speak in French which is appreciated. My little nitpick would be just a bit more light, but that’s more of a matter of preference.

GERD Score: 5/5. While dairy or tomato sets me off in high amounts or steady portions normally, I never encountered any burping and acidity. As long as you keep in mind that citrus, soda, or things like tomatoes isn’t exactly your friend anymore, you’re pretty set. Noting down your trigger food and how you eat is your friend.

Epilepsy Score:  4/5.  Dishes here do not have high levels of preservatives, which are considered to be seizure triggers. Also the fruit juice selections at this place do not usually cause unwanted drug interactions with anti epilepsy drugs. However if one is sensitive to gluten, food options in this place would be more limited.

Team Glasses Score: 4.5/5. Paris Délice caters to our food needs as foodies with medical bugaboos, and at the same time has as welcoming vibe to anyone who eats there. This place is definitely a restaurant we continue to come back to.

Paris Delice Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Hummus Elijah

logo

While walking around the nooks and crannies of Rockwell, Poblacion, and Makati Avenue for a proper dinner yesterday, my foodie partner-in-crime spotted something she definitely knows I missed as a former OFW in the Middle East. So she grabbed my hand and led me to this small restaurant named Hummus Elijah which is located on top of a Thai massage parlor, just along Makati Avenue.

The place was a quaint nondescript establishment that could be mistaken for a café of sorts or a small eatery, but the relaxed atmosphere was a welcome relief. The walls and décor almost likened it to a comfortable diner to hang out with friends, instead of the usual touches of Persian or Arabian interior with brass décor and multicolored tiles and cushions strewn about. I think I even gawked at the spices such as saffron and cinnamon lined up on the shelves.

Service was alright since we did go there just before the dinner rush. We even got to see this cool shirt from their staff. Thankfully, they were fairly cordial during our stay.

We ordered Hummus Elijah, tabbouleh, and two mint teas. And feast we did. In our opinion, the hummus serving size would feed three people, give or take an extra order of pita. The mix of vegetables from the tabbouleh complemented the hummus quite well and the only thing lacking for me was either some kebab or kofta.  The best part was barely any burping from the GERD end even if we both had half of the meal and even ordered one extra pita to share.

The restaurant also sells bags of spices, Turkish coffee implements, and even pre-mixed curry and masala which we’ll definitely also give a try when we get back. Baklava, both in its usual form, and a sweet pie variant, is also available for dine in and take-out.

Food Score: 5/5. The food was enjoyable and managed to bring out plenty of good food memories I’ve had as an OFW. After all, balancing fresh ingredients, food presentation, and taste is not easy feat, but they exceeded our expectations at a fair price.

Ambiance / Service Score: 4/5. The service crew were attentive and cordial, and the interior, while well execute and pleasant to the eye, doesn’t evoke much of the feel that you’re eating in a Middle Eastern restaurant.

GERD Score: 4.5/5. While there are some fried items, such as samosas, that aren’t quite as friendly to someone who has heartburn, there’s enough variety to get you to come back often to try something out.

Epilepsy Score: 4.5/5. The food is freshly prepared and mostly free of preservatives, which is a plus. However for persons whose seizures or other conditions are exacerbated by spicy foods, it may be best to stick to the hummus or salads when eating here. Herbal infusions are not an option yet in this place, thus limiting the selection of hot drinks for those who are sensitive to caffeine.

On an added note, persons with blood uric acid issues may need to stick to the salad or vegetable dishes. After all, hummus is made out of chickpeas, and various lentils feature heavily in other dishes.

Team Glasses Score:  4.5/5. This type of restaurant or cuisine isn’t for everyone, however if someone is looking for fairly safe and authentic Turkish dishes, this place is worth considering for a light meal. It is also the sort of place to visit with a large group of friends, as there’s no fun in polishing off a plate of hummus by one’s lonesome. We’re definitely going back for more hummus adventures.

Hummus Elijah Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato