Food Truck Adventures: Flow

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With the heat and humidity in the Father’s Day event and our heavier-than-usual afternoon snack, some dessert was in order. Fortunately, there was one nearby, a handcrafted ice cream stall by the name of Flow.

Instead of the usual scooped ice cream placed on a cone with a Turkish man wearing a fez playing around before giving you your ice cream, Flow does “stir-fried” ice cream, basically using a cold pan or flat surface to turn a milkshake base of different flavors into the consistency of ice cream, flattening it out, and then scraping it out into rolls, served into a cup.

Their ice cream flavors also have catchy names such as Cookie Maltser to Rock Salt & Cheese. For this dessert trip however, we picked the Tsokolate-ughh and Avocadoe flavors.

The ice cream itself reminds me of an actual rolled-up cinnamon bark, which adds to the overall visual appeal of it. It’s light on the palate and bite, unlike typical ice cream that overwhelm one’s tastebuds in one spoonful sometimes.

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Avocadoe

As far as the Avocadoe goes, I’d have to say that the flavors were a bit too sharp for me and perhaps could be countered with a touch more salt or sugar, a matter of preference in my case. The texture was pleasing to the tongue however and cleans the palate well.

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Tsokolate-ughh

The Tsokolate-ughh on the other hand was bittersweet and a treat because of its tablea-like flavor which we appreciate.The consistency was smooth, making it easy on the tongue.

“Fried Ice Cream” is not a new innovation, however Flow Ice Cream takes it to a more delectable level. We look forward to see what else they’ll be stirring up soon!

Food Score: 4/5. The ‘stir-fried’ ice cream here at Flow is definitely good for an afternoon stroll at the park. With its appeal in both preparation and presentation, one can’t go wrong with it.

Ambiance / Service Score: 4/5. The stall and the people manning it were organized and the cold plate catches the eye well. The ice cream is served promptly, before it has a chance to melt on a hot day.

GERD Score: 3.5/5. While dairy is one of my triggers, however it didn’t do as bad on my GERD as I thought it would, just a few burps and was good to go. If dairy isn’t a trigger, by all means, try their ice cream. I do hope they’ll explore the soy milk option later on.

Epilepsy Score: 4.5/5. Most of the ingredients used for the ice cream are fresh, without additives. Since it doesn’t undergo a long freezing process like most other ice creams, nor is it in ‘soft’ form there are no extra ingredients added to make it ‘gel’ or become light and fluffy enough for spreading on a plate. In short, it’s all good.

Team Glasses Score: 4/5. Flow hits the mark with its delectable selection of fried ice cream flavors and the ingredients they use to create the ice cream itself. Definitely worth a taste every time they set up shop in different venues.

Food Truck Adventures: Buns & Bros

IMG_4421After watching the 22nd French Film Festival in Greenbelt 3, we decided to go off the beaten track and go for the nearby Father’s Day celebration just around the Power Plant Mall. In the idyllic afternoon sun, lo and behold, we found ourselves in a closed off part of a street with stalls, wooden picnic tables and food trucks around the area serving casual dining delights from Wagyu Cubes to Pizza Cones along with some craft beers on the tap.

For this one however, Kat decided to get her burger fix from Buns & Bros. With quirky names such as The New Kid, The Boss, The Eager Beaver, and the Assassin, and a selection of different buns namely Roasted Black Sesame, Classic Brioche, and Beer, the burgers from this place are an aesthetic wonder making you almost regret eating the burger itself.

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The Assassin

And for this one, she selected the Assassin burger. Made with Angus beef, shredded nori, barbeque wasabi sauce, lettuce, tomatoes, and their homemade roasted black sesame buns, each bite spotlights the different flavors and textures making up the burger. The first bite was a wonderful explosion on the tongue, with the savory juiciness of the meat mixing with the kick from the wasabi sauce. One could say we were ‘assassinated’ in the best way.

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That said, one of these days, we might just give their restaurant in Julio Vargas a quick peek soon.

Food Score: 4.5/5. From fresh ingredients to the medium to medium-well done burger meat, the burgers here have to be experienced more than once. The unique combinations of burger toppings as well as homemade buns were definitely worth exploring.

Ambiance / Service Score: 4/5. Even with the confines of a stall, everything was well organized and the staff were quick and attentive.

GERD Score: 4/5. The burger itself doesn’t feel too heavy to the taste buds or to the stomach which lends itself to be eaten leisurely without fear of having one’s heartburn act up. That said, the mantra of chew slowly applies well here.

Epilepsy Score: 4/5. Not all sauces may be friendly to the very sensitive. Also this is not a place for those with gluten issues. That being said, these burgers are freshly made and free of many additives and extenders

Team Glasses Score: 4/5. Buns and Bros is one of the burger joints one should drive all the way out to Pasig to experience, from the freshly made ingredients to how balanced the flavors are, even for people with our conditions.

Buns & Bros Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Have a break. Have a… Coffee Break

For the last part of this edition of the two-part Vigan special, I decided to retrace the steps of an adventure four years ago in the city and picked to cool my heels in Coffee Break near Calye Crisologo. Ironically, this is also the same place I tried to cool my heels in when I was caught in a middle of a storm in August of 2013.

Now, it’s almost the same as I remember it from then, a warm and welcoming ambiance with its wooden chairs, neutral hues, and the whirring sound of the espresso machine in the background. Of course, also a usual haunt for groups of students and tourists in the city for a quick cup of coffee.

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Mint Tea

Since I couldn’t have their coffee, I decided to get their pesto and a cup of mint tea. Now, as you readers may have noticed, we at Team Glasses Food Blog take our mint tea seriously and thankfully they have an excellent set there to cleanse the palate during and after the meal.

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Coffee Break’s Pesto Pasta

As for the pesto, it’s a nice blend of natural flavors that run-off-the-mill pesto could never quite capture since they prepare the meal there as you order. My only suggestion is that they should really lay off the cheddar into the pesto and could either go entirely without that or replace it with parmesan, but that’s more a preference than anything else.

Overall, the place has plenty to offer anyone looking for a relatively quiet place to stay and relax in one’s own Vigan tour. On another note, if you’re actually able to drink coffee, Coffee Break sells bags of fresh coffee beans.

Food Score: 3/5. There’s definitely room for improvement food-wise but since this is Vigan, a great stop for an Ilocos gastronomic journey, maybe a fusion of local and coffee shop staples wouldn’t be remiss and can be added or incorporated into the menu.

Ambiance / Service Score: 4/5. Thankfully the place is still as spacious as I remember it to be and in my experience at least, the staff were cordial and polite throughout my stay here.

GERD Score: 3.5/5. Besides tea, there’s also a variety of options one can choose from for food and drinks. Although dependent on one’s trigger, it’s safe to say that one can still enjoy a meal here.

Epilepsy Score: 3.5/5. As far as menus go, this place has a pretty good one in terms of food. However aside from mint tea, what else can one wash this food down with if coffee is a no-no?

Team Glasses Food Score: 3.5/5. Overall, Coffee Break is a good place to rest one’s feet and literally take a break after a long day walking around Vigan. But to dine here, the options are quite limited for people with conditions.

Team Glasses in the Kitchen: the 3 Dip Adventure

Of course there are days wherein we just aren’t up to the task of adventuring through the city in the name of finding healthy food. Last Saturday was one such occasion, and so we decided to whip up our own snacks at home instead of getting food to-go or ordering in. After a little searching and tweaking, we agreed to try out three dip recipes that hopefully wouldn’t trigger another of Lee’s GERD attacks:

  •         Yogurt and cucumber (a little bit like the Persian appetizer must o’ khiar)
  •         Cottage cheese with mint and coriander
  •         Salsa Fresca

Our ingredients ran as follows:

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For the yogurt and cucumber dip:

  •         200 grams of Greek yogurt      
  •         1 cucumber                                    
  •         Ground black pepper   

                                             

For the cheese dip

  •         200 grams of cottage cheese  
  •         15 grams of fresh coriander     
  •         3 fresh mint leaves
  •         Ground black pepper     

           

For the salsa fresca

  •         6 native tomatoes                       
  •         15 grams of fresh coriander     
  •         1 lemon                                            
  •         1 red onion       

             

All in all, these ingredients cost us just around 380 pesos—quite a bargain considering that a jar of commercially available salsa or cheese dip would cost around 180 to 250 pesos.

First up for preparation was the yogurt and cucumber dip, since we wanted to keep this as cold as possible. We peeled the cucumber and chopped it into cubes. Then we mixed the cucumber bits in with the Greek yogurt and added in a little pepper for a bit of extra kick.  

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The cheese dip was also just as straightforward: we chopped up the coriander leaves and the mint, and blended them all in with the cottage cheese and a little pepper. The resulting dip was rather chunky and mild, even for our tastes. Alternatively, we could have used a different cheese such as ricotta, or a blend of cottage cheese and another cheese such as cheddar for a zingier taste.

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Likewise.the salsa fresca  was also fairly simple: we chopped the tomatoes into chunks, and the onion and coriander into smaller pieces. We tossed all of these with the juice of one whole lemon and a quick mixing up.

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How long did it take for us to put all of this together? Just half an hour.

All in all, we had all these three dips and Lee’s GERD wasn’t triggered even after we went through a pack and a half of Melba toast with the three dips. In fact we still had plenty left over for the next day. We surmised that perhaps we should have invited two more friends over to share the food ,as well as tried other snacks for dipping such as carrot sticks, crackers, or slices of flat breads such as chappati, paratha, or pita. Most importantly we realized that GERD-friendly cooking did not necessarily mean bland cuisine. We could still experiment with a wide range of sharp and subtle flavors, and yet still avoid triggering another attack of reflux. It’s something that we will definitely keep in mind for our upcoming culinary experiments.

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Stay tuned for our next adventures in the kitchen!

Four-Cheeses-Burger

8 Cuts

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Just before the start of Lent, we decided to have what Kat calls ‘Fat Tuesdays’ after work. And since the steak plan didn’t quite push through because I forgot to withdraw some cash earlier, we decided to try something that still goes on that level. Thick and juicy hamburgers, just like the doctor ordered in the Power Plant Mall at Rockwell.

Piggy-Burger

Piggy Burger

For this trip, I got the quarter-pound Piggy burger. They got my burger patty to a medium to medium well, that complements well with the crisp bun, fresh lettuce, cheddar cheese, and my favorite ingredient, a crispy strip of bacon. The textures work well with each bite, but a minor thing I’d like to say is that my bun preference is for the bread be a bit more solid even after grasping the hamburger itself.

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Four Cheese Burger

And then Kat had the quarter-pound Four Cheese burger. Aside from the hefty 8-cuts patty, this also featured generous helpings of sharp cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses, as well as a square of mozzarella breaded with parmesan. And yes, all in the same bun. This particular cheese blend was not overpowering, and made the burger taste even richer; if such a thing could be possible.

The prices are a bit on the higher end, but you get what you pay for in serving size and food quality. All in all, 8 Cuts is a perfect place for a casual burger craving with a date, family or with friends, whenever the craving comes.

Food Score: 4/5. The burgers are well crafted and in our burger craving, we forgot to share a bite of the other’s burger. Just a few bugaboos here and there, but the place really serves a solid selection of food
Ambiance / Service Score: 4/5. The service crew are attentive and patient with us, and the restaurant is cozy, matching the theme of a stylized hollywood diner.
GERD Score: 2.5/5. While the food is pretty good, one had to consider that too much oil makes the heartburn act up quicker and for a longer duration. Unfortunately for me, burping came a few minutes after eating. Thankfully, they have salad and sandwich options that one with heartburn can still partake in.
Epilepsy Score: 3/5. Definitely not friendly for those with issues about gluten (these are sandwiches after all). However the burgers are a far cry from the over-extended fastfood sort, and may be a better option.
Team Glasses Score: 3.5/5. Overall, we’ve enjoyed the burgers immensely and had a pleasant experience all around here at 8 Cuts. But at the same time, the place doesn’t have much options for ones with some health conditions to deal with.

Hi everyone, we’re taking in suggestions for our next food adventures, whether in Makati, Maginhawa, or anywhere in the Metro. Hope to hear from you soon!

8 Cuts Burger Blends Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Il Pittore Cafe

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For Team Glasses, this one is officially the start of our Maginhawa Street adventures together and for this one, my solo run and looking for a place to eat during the usual snacks in the afternoon. By a quick stroke of luck and proximity to where I was currently staying before my law school entrance exam, I found myself in Il Pittore, which means The Artist or The Painter in Italian. Hidden from view since it’s along the main street but tucked away in it’s own niche, it can be spotted readily enough with their distinctive sign.

Since it was cold outside after the rains, I decided on some soup first. When I visited, soup of the day was potato soup with hints of chopped parsley on top. I must say, that certainly hit the spot with its mild balance of flavors. Warm, hearty, and perfect for the cold.

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Potato Soup

Every thick and hearty soup needs some bread to go along with it. And lo and behold, I struck gold with their bruschetta. Simple ingredients of bread, a splash of vinaigrette, tomato slices, basil leaves, and shrimp, deceiving in its simple appearance, but to put it poetically, each bite leaves an array of colors that engulfs your tastebuds with its punches of flavor. In other words, a masterpiece.

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Brushetta

Throughout my stay, the owners Ryan and Olive were quite accommodating along with the coffee people outside, from what I needed to the story of how Il Pittore came to be. According to them, there’s a studio on the third floor, their fine dining room on second floor, and the actual cafe at ground level. I even got to do be part of the art but with a slight typo on the bruschetta, a perfect end to a great meal. I will definitely come back with Kat for more times to come when we have our Maginhawa food adventures.

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Food Score: 5/5. The food is balanced in its flavors and simple in execution, but their execution is what makes the food stand out and blend with the ambiance of the cafe.

Ambiance / Service Score: 5/5. Hands down, the customer service is impeccable and the ambiance of painted murals and dim lighting make for a relaxed artistic vibe, a place where you can relax, write, and draw in peace.

GERD Score: 4.5/5. While not all the items on the menu are heartburn friendly, there are plenty of options to choose from and still get your money’s worth.

Epilepsy Score: 4.5/5. Well, what can I say? What’s an Italian place without coffee? It’s a necessary thing here. Fortunately, there are smoothies and other drinks to tide people over. Also the ingredients are fresh, with almost no use of preservatives. The use of cured or preserved meats is kept to a minimum here, thus making dining much safer.

Team Glasses Score: 4.5/5. Il Pittore is a great place to eat, write, and create art for anyone with a taste for pasta, bruschetta, and doodling. The cafe’s has room for solo artists and groups of friends wanting their own niche to dine without the wine but in a private and cozy atmosphere.

Hi everyone, we’re taking in suggestions for our next food adventures  whether in Makati, Maginhawa, or anywhere in the Metro. Hope to hear from you soon.

il Pittore 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!

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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.

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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