T.G.I. Friday's, Eastwood City opens

>> Thursday, November 24, 2011

T.G.I. Friday's Eastwood Bacon Burger
T.G.I. Friday's brings back memories of crowded nights, sneaking out of the house and Glorietta. But if you didn't roam the club circuit in the late 90s, and if your bells don't ring to Hard Rock Cafe, Tower Records, Streetlife, Mule and Eric Gadd's "Do You Believe In Me", then T.G.I. Friday's does not mean gimik to you but a normal American restaurant. I'm not saying that I roamed that circuit as well, but I'm aware of enough to know about the 1990s Makati nightlife. (Disclaimer!)

T.G.I. Friday's Eastwood Chicken FingersIt's been years since I last ate at T.G.I. Friday's. I seem to have ordered all the wrong dishes and learned of too many dirty old men (DOM) that my only wonderful memory of it was when I had two tall glasses of strawberry milkshake. That's why I didn't think twice when C and I got an invitation to dine for free in the new T.G.I. Friday's Philippines' flagship store and lucky 13th branch in Eastwood City with several other Filipino bloggers.

T.G.I. Friday's Eastwood FajitasThe restaurant is sporting a new design. It's more open and well-lit, which I find much friendlier and welcoming than the old design. It is also more suitable to their target 18 to 25-year old demographic.

The servers first asked for our preferred appetizers and drinks, but the rest of the food was prepared to introduce to us their top dishes. C got the buffalo wings and I chose the six pieces of shrimp served with fries. Why I forgot to get a strawberry milkshake is beyond me.

T.G.I. Friday's Eastwood Buffalo Wings
C was happy with the spicy buffalo wings. That's all he paid attention to during our first minutes there. The sauce was pretty good, I must say, and spicier than most other regular buffalo wings, but because my knife skills are dismal compared with C, I chose to bite my way through the chicken. The meat was too tough for me to cut through. The wings were really made perfectly as finger food. They're very different from Charlie's Grind and Grill's buffalo wings but good in their own right.

T.G.I. Friday's Eastwood Shrimp
The shrimps were great too, and the french fries were a revelation.

Then came the dishes one by one. We were served pasta, bacon burgers, chicken fingers, salad, mini burgers, fajitas and divine desserts.

The highlights of the night were the buffalo wings, the fries, the cheesy bacon burger and the desserts.

T.G.I. Friday's Eastwood Mocha Mud Pie
The Mocha Mud Pie was served first, and we went trigger happy. When the Brownie ala Mode arrived, it was just too beautiful for words. It was difficult to stop taking pictures.

T.G.I. Friday's Eastwood Brownie Ala Mode
The brownie, in particular, is very dense. I had to use a knife! (Yes, because my forking skills are quite dismal as well.) But it really was heaven. I would go back to T.G.I Friday's in a heartbeat just for that.

Another high point of the night were the performing servers.

They. Were. Awesome.

T.G.I. Friday's Eastwood Crew DancingTheir energy was so up there that you'd want to stand up and dance in the middle of the room yourself. In fact, one non-Filipino customer joined them while grooving to Cali Swag District's "Teach Me How To Dougie".

What did I tell you? Their performance was no joke! They danced to a medley of at least three fantastic songs, opening with Black Eyed Peas' "I Gotta Feeling".

T.G.I. Friday's Eastwood Crew DancingOn your next visit to T.G.I. Friday's Eastwood at peak hours, ask them about the performance. Perhaps that would encourage them even more to make it extra special.

T.G.I. Friday's Eastwood Christmas TreeIf you're at the Eastwood City branch, look out the window. For sure that view will make you smile.

My morning brewed coffee fix

>> Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Brewed Coffee
Normally, I get the privilege of having free barako coffee in the morning. I cannot drink anything less. As I have mentioned before, I take my coffee black and sweet. And I'd rather not take any than drink instant coffee.

7-Eleven Brewed CoffeeWhen the golden cupboard runs out of coffee beans for brewing, I have no choice but to buy. My first go-to place is none of the popular coffee shops scattered around the city but a humble and dependable 24-hour convenience store: 7-Eleven. C and I are suckers for their coffee, which for us has the right amount of sweetness, bitterness, fullness and richness. I always get the large cup.

McDonald's McCafe Coffee Sausage McMuffin with EggIf for some reason I cannot reach the nearest 7-Eleven or they also run out of coffee, I seek refuge in McDonald's instead. Now that McDonald's branches have embraced McCafé brewed coffee, I no longer think twice about ordering one of their breakfast meals. My all-time favorite? Sausage McMuffin with Egg, which I realize has dropped "Mc" from its middle name. The breakfast meals are even better now that you can choose to upsize the coffee as well.

McDonald's McCafe Coffee Sausage McMuffin with EggOn rainy days such as today, however, I just wish I have barako coffee again so I won't have to go out and hunt for my morning fix. I cannot function without it.

Or perhaps other establishments can offer quality brewed coffee in large sizes and at reasonable prices as well?

Christmas Wish #2: A new smartphone

>> Monday, November 21, 2011

HTC Hermes 200 Dopod
I have been on HTC since 2004 when I got my O2 Xda II. Back then, HTC wasn't selling products under its own brand yet, and offered OEM and ODM products instead. I still remember the night I went home after a 12-hour bus ride from Baguio. I got stuck in major floods in Tarlac, but while in the middle of water world, I received a call confirming the new number I will be using with my new phone. I became excited to go home even more. And when I finally did, it was love at first sight.

Three years later, I was eyeing the HTC Hermes 200, which I luckily obtained in Hong Kong.

Fast forward to today, my HTC Hermes 200's battery is no longer dependable. I couldn't make a call without draining the battery right away, even more so when I go online or use the camera. Not having mobile Internet really sucks 'coz I've gotten used to being able to go online any time I want to. I was always online on Yahoo! Messenger and able to search the Internet for a quick reference. I can't do all those things anymore. Aside from that, I could no longer read my ebooks, RSS subscriptions and other files, nor write on-the-go. I miss my Windows Mobile programs too.

Christmas wish #2: A new smartphone that I can: read, write and edit documents on, get online on, and take pictures with

I honestly don't know what to get, but I'm eyeing three smartphones.

1. HTC Sensation 4G

HTC Sensation
Of the gazillions of phone models HTC is churning out on a regular basis, I've lost track. But because HTC has a special place in my heart, and having a wonderful relationship with it for almost a decade now, I had to look for an HTC. Plus, I'm a huge Google cheerleader, who naturally wants to get her hands on an Android phone.

I stumbled upon HTC Sensation and found the specifications quite impressive. The camera is great. The speed and memory capacity are fantastic, and it's on Gingerbread. It's also 4G. I like a gadget with forward-looking features.

2. Blackberry Bold 9790

Blackberry Bold 9790
The specs are awesome, and the price is expected to be much lower than the Blackberry Bold 9930. My only beef with Blackberry is the QWERTY keyboard 'coz I'm a huge fan of touchscreen, and the preposterous small amount of apps available.

C is on Blackberry, and he swears by it. But when I tried looking for a decent ebook reader to install into it, there was none. Sucks. The camera is bad too.

On the upside, it seems to be more affordable to go online on a Blackberry.

3. iPhone 4s

iPhone 4S
How worth it is this really, with the iPhone 5 to perhaps be launched soon and supposedly have the most amazing features ever? There is even a rumor going around that Steve Jobs himself will launch the iPhone 5 via a video he recorded before he died.

I admire Steve Jobs for the genius that he was, but I was never a Mac person. If I were to have an iPhone 4s, this will be the first ever Apple product I would own. That's right, I don't even have an iPod because when it came to existence, I already had an HTC smartphone that holds my MP3s and even video files.

And admit it, iPhone 4s is one expensive phone. Does it perform as good as its price tag?

So, there. I hope I can decide soon and save up enough for whatever I'd decide to get for myself. But if you're giving me one for Christmas, it doesn't matter which of the three I'll have! *eyelash bat*

T.G.I. Friday's unveils new flagship store in Eastwood with modern contemporary casual look

>> Friday, November 18, 2011

Press release from T.G.I. Friday's:

     “In Here It’s Always Friday”- this is the maxim that T.G.I.Friday’s continues to live by, in every location. And it rings true for the new 250-seater, multi-level store that recently opened in Eastwood City in Libis.  It is the only free standing Friday’s branch in the country since most are located inside the malls.

     The brand’s infectious energy and wholesome fun, great food and service, PLUS a whole new look characterize this new branch. From the iconic red and white stripes that are trademarks of T.G.I.Friday’s, to the ‘elegant clutter’ that decorate the walls and the bar where the action is, Friday’s Eastwood   showcases the new look that  makes it the perfect place to celebrate life and make it one big party, any day.  It is the restaurant chain’s 13th store.


     “T.G.I.Friday’s evolves with the times to relate to its growing market and  make the brand more exciting,”  says Lilet Martinez, Vice-President for Operations. Since T.G.I.Friday’s believes its doors are not merely entry points but a portal to what is exciting, fun, friendly and innovative, the  new look is evident right from its very façade. Gone are the traditional canopies and awnings. Greeting each guest is bigger, bolder T.G.I.Friday’s font to amplify the invitation.  Even from the outside, people can view the restaurant just like a retail display window showcasing good food and great times.

     The artistic ‘clutter’ of eclectic memorabilia, which is part of Friday’s heritage and tradition, is still there; only this time the decorative pieces have moved forward a few decades— to include knick knacks from  80s, 90s and even the new millennium. Disco balls and other more current icons such as Marilyn Monroe, Elvies Presley and Superman and even the posters of Sex and the City and Pirates of the Caribbean (Lets just take out the posters portion) are in  view.  Aside from the “Album Wall” (which highlights musical greats from Elvis Presley to Michael Jackson), there is another accent spot at the store’s second level which features Tonka toys, Toy Soldier, cassette tape, Sesame Street’s Elmo, M&Ms and other popular emblems which T.G.I.Friday’s “Generation Now” market could easily identify with.  Furthermore, there is a spot where guitars of different make and style is displayed.

     But even with these memorabilia,  the dining area has an airy, uncluttered feel.  “T.G.I.Friday’s décor of vintage Americana that has become one of the most recognizable symbols of the restaurant since its inception in the USA in 1965 remains; we rejuvenated the contents so they are relevant to the times and qualify as contemporary restaurant design.  Decors were framed and the arrangement is more organized so as to make the dining feel more  breezy. Given the changes in the look, Friday’s remains  approachable, familiar and relaxing -  qualities that make every visit memorable,”  Martinez explains.

     There are  sleek pendant lamps ( round drop lights in the dining area above each table) for  brighter lighting.  Comfortable seating is possible with  spanking red chairs,  community tables and flexible banquettes booths.  There are elevated booths with step up  and ‘huggable’ booths that create a  warmer feel for the guests.

     Colors and textures are warm and bright with touches of urban sophistication.  Friday’s signature red hue is now more evident unlike  the blue and red combination in other stores.


     While the interiors have been refurbished, there are some things that will remain: Friday’s energetic spirit,  great food and exceptional  brand of service.

     Delightful American dishes served in huge portions continue to  elicit an excited “Wow!” from guests.  The menu, developed through years of experience  and  with  firm grasp of  diners’ pulse, features flavorful and delicious fare such  signature appetizers Fried Mozzarella and Potato Skins.  There is a wide selection of hearty choices ranging from salads, burgers, fajitas, pastas, sandwiches, steaks and seafood dishes.  Friday’s Chicken Fingers remains the topseller while the most popular dessert is the over-sized Oreo Madness.  You wouldn’t go wrong too if you decide to order  from the Jack Daniel’s Grill,  mouth-watering meat and seafood dishes smothered with  Friday’s exclusive sweet and savory Jack Daniel’s sauce.  These are served by a team of efficient and friendly waitstaff known to be some of the best in the local casual dining industry.  Guests can look forward to new dishes (such as  Almond Crusted Chicken Salad, Grilled Caribbean Wings, Jack Daniel’s Sampler, Honey Pecan Salmon, and new sumptuous desserts) that will grace the menu beginning this December 1.


     The bar is the center from where the energy radiates. The use of wood with stainless steel combination adds to a more casual feel as opposed to the granite material used in some stores.

     Friday’s Eastwood has a bar on each of the two levels where drinks are mixed and where skilled bartenders perform their signature bar flairs that adds excitement.  Boasting of a rich beverage tradition, the bar has a wide array of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks  such smoothies, flings and mocktails.

     Friday’s shakes things up a bit by offering “Bottomless Mojitos” at P305  everyday from  4PM onwards.

     Thus, for all those who look forward to loosening up and chilling out in a fun, casual atmosphere—any time of the day, any day of the week, the Friday’s bar is the place to be.

     “T.G.I.Friday’s promotes gathering together,  sharing  and connecting,” Martinez says. “From the food to the friendly service,  each visit is a celebration our guests look forward to. Anytime is really a good time for a “Friday’s” at Eastwood—one place you will  never get enough of!”

T.G.I. Friday’s Eastwood is open from 11 am – 12 MN ( sun – Thurs) , 11 am – 2am (Friday – Saturday) For inquiries, call 584-3479 or 696-7031. Also, check out its website www.fridays.com.ph Like us on Facebook: We Love Friday’s 

Christmas Wish #1: Cirque du Soleil in Manila 2012

>> Thursday, November 17, 2011

The other day I got news that Cirque du Soleil is coming back to Manila in August 2012 and moving to the yet to be fully constructed SM Arena at SM Mall of Asia. This time, they are showing Saltimbanco, "an abundance of joyful and colorful acrobatics", according to Cirque du Soleil's Saltimbanco website. Colorful indeed! But as for "joyful", that comes with one necessary condition: tickets to the show!

Christmas wish #1: Tickets to Cirque du Soleil's Saltimbanco show next year at SM Arena

They will start selling to the public on December 1. Cirque Club members will be able to buy tickets beginning November 30.

Here are screen shots I took of the site showing some of the acts:

The Chinese Poles act looks so beautiful! The colors, the lines, the fluidity, they're all perfect! And when I have somewhere to install a pole into, I'll learn how to pole dance. These performers are so strong and fit.

Catapult! Russian Swing is downright exciting! I must say, though, I've been on top of a human pyramid several times in my younger life.

I wanna learn how to fly the trapeze too! Okay, so maybe there are a lot of things I want to explore. Whenever I see trapeze artists at work on TV, it looks so fun!

I only know of "adagio" from playing the piano, but apparently it also refers to a form of acrobalance. Maybe if I studied how to do adagio when I was a lot younger, I can do it. (Feeling!) I love this photo on the Saltimbanco page because it looks so clean and fluid, and the mix of colors are very clever.

To know more about the show, go to the website on http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/en/shows/saltimbanco/default.aspx.

If you're curious about ticket prices, especially if you want to gift me one of course, I found these rates on http://chuvaness.com/2011/11/16/cirque-du-soleils-saltimbanco-in-manila-this-august-2012/.

By the way, SM Arena will be the venue for the opening games and ceremony of the next UAAP season. I was very surprised at first, and dismayed. It could feel so different from the energy and spirit Smart Araneta brings to the games, but when I found out that National University, the recently acquired university by Henry Sy, will be the next host, then it all made sense.

One Hyundai Life in Style

>> Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Press release from Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc.:

The One Hyundai Life In Style Microsite www.ohclifeinstyle.com.ph.
Please visit to know more about the upcoming event.

This January, Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. (HARI), starts the year with a blast as it holds the ultimate lifestyle event of the year. One Hyundai Club Life in Style is a grand lifestyle event that celebrates the good life that all

One Hyundai Club members and Hyundai customers truly deserve. Happening on the 14th of January, 2012, this event is HARI's way of thanking OHC members for their continued support and patronage throughout the years.

The event will feature the launch of the 2012 One Hyundai Club Life in Style Journal and will bring to life a taste of the various shopping, dining, beauty and wellness, travel and leisure activities and promos that the journal has in store for OHC members. Primarily intended for OHC members who will enjoy special perks and the chance to win exciting raffle prizes, the event is also open to other Hyundai car owners and guests.

One Hyundai club members and existing and potential Hyundai customers get the opportunity to experience the good life they deserve with the different activities lined-up that will surely cater to their various interests.

Log-in and register at www.ohclifeinstyle.com.ph, for more details, and like us at facebook.com/OneHyundaiClubLifeInStyle.

Don’t just live your life, live it in style.

Kogi Bulgogi, Eastwood City - Too hot for my bowl

>> Sunday, November 13, 2011

My first visit to Kogi Bulgogi was a feast. It was a get-together with relatives from the US, who also wanted to watch Rachel Alejandro's show that night. Our long table outside Kogi Bulgogi was on the balcony overlooking the stage. It was perfect. Almost.

That was when I had just quit on the fruit detox C and I tried for three days. We ate nothing but fruits, which was supposed to flush out all the toxins from our bodies by resetting the digestive system and absorbing only natural, unprocessed food and liquids. I didn't last long. I quit after barely 48 hours because my stomach was already going berserk. I guess that was the purging starting to take place, but I didn't have the balls to go on.

Little by little I ate meat and rice. I would eat more on each meal, trying not to shock my system. But shock my system I did at Kogi Bulgogi. When I arrived at the restaurant, our long table was already full of dishes already and we even ordered some more. Who was I to resist? I'm only human, after all. I had sushi rolls, ebi tempura, pork, fish and whatnots. I got myself a hot bowl of jjampong, too.

In Kogi Bulgogi, you can choose just how much kick your noodle soup has. I chose Level 5 hotness, which was the middle of the spectrum, and what greeted me was a fiery red noodle soup that was fiery hot. My tongue almost couldn't take it. As for my stomach, it was at its weakest, so even before I got halfway through what seemed like a mile-wide bowl, I already felt really sick, nauseous and painfully suffocated. As soon as I calmed down, my father brought me home.

Not that I wanted C to experience the same, but I did want him to try that bowl of fiery hot jjampong. We chose Level 5 again, but the Level 5 that the server placed on our table wasn't the same Level 5 that attacked me on my first visit. Perhaps they gave previously me a Level 10 by mistake?

When I took a cautious sip of the soup, I knew for sure that this was way less spicy than my first bowl. This Level 5 didn't even cut it for me, and so it did much much less for C. That's why he asked for chili powder. I don't know how happy he really was with that chili powder, but I would want us to go back and order another bowl of jjampong. Level 10.

Aside from the jjampong, we ordered Tuk Bulgogi, which took us several minutes to decide on. I was seriously considering a rice topping and the lettuce rice wraps. But it turned out to be a soupy day. Maybe next time.

You can either have the Tuk Bulgogi cooked in the kitchen, cooked on your table or cooked by you on your table. We asked them to cook it on our table just so we can watch. It's much cooler that way. After waiting several minutes, our sukiyaki was done! Oh, wait. I mean, bulgogi. Right. It tasted so much like sukiyaki, and C and I love sukiyaki so we loved this bowl. But we wanted to eat something more Korean than Japanese. I don't care if the two cuisines have many similarities.

The best thing about eating at Korean restaurants is the selection of free appetizers. While waiting for our orders, six small plates were served. There was kimchi, togue, okra, fish or squid balls, dilis and caramelized sweet potato. I like kimchi a lot. I always have a grocery-bought bottle of it at home. But even if I enjoyed the mongo sprouts, dilis and caramelized camote, I still prefer the appetizers, especially the omeletlike one, served at Cho Sun in Shangri-La Mall. Too bad it has closed.

Kogi Bulgogi is located on the 2nd Floor of the New Eastwood Mall.

Chakabillies ft. Ely Buendia & Nitoy Adriano at Backdoor Blues Café!

>> Wednesday, November 09, 2011

It's a wonderful morning, isn't it? Wonderful, indeed, because tonight, Ely Buendia, Nitoy Adriano and Hilera will be performing at Backdoor Blues Café! See you there!

The Simpsons "foodie" episode

>> Tuesday, November 08, 2011

I want to cry!

I've loved The Simpsons ever since I was a kid. One of my first albums was The Simpsons Sing The Blues, which I still know by heart. I had The Simpsons merchandise. I watched The Simpsons episodes. I watched The Simpsons Movie. I still get a kick out of Bart Simpson being on the cover of Time magazine and making it to the list of 20th century's 100 most influential people, with The Simpsons being the century's best television series. I defend The Simpsons from haters. And I root for The Simpsons until they reach their 25th season on air. Yeah, Fox, I'm looking at you.

Bart Simpson TIME magazine cover
From Time
So, as soon as I read about The Simpsons doing a "foodie" episode, I almost wet my pants! The Simpsons and food? And blogging? I knew The Simpsons gets me. It's just overwhelming how they still get me two decades later. Either they've grown up with me or I didn't grow up at all. I'd like to think it's the former.

What's more eerie? Bart loving Sriracha and kimchi! C and I just went on a Sriracha hunt when we ran out of the one from Huy Fong Foods. Yep, that bottle with the rooster on it. It's the brand they use in Pho Hoa as well. At around P400, it kinda burns the wallet. We just recently scored a sale at S&R, but the fruits of that sale are long gone. I stumbled upon one in Landmark, which is kind of odd. It's only less than P200. The texture is quite different, and the heat isn't the same. But it's an alternative we can live with until we get our hands on that rooster.

Look, C even made a Tumblr out of it: Sriracha On Everything.

Sriracha sauce by Huy Fong Foods with rooster logo
From C
And look at Bart high between Sriracha and kimchi. God, I can't wrap my mind around how The Simpsons gets me!
Bart Simpson with sriracha and kimchi on foodie episode
From Grub Street NY
Food celebrities such as Anthony Bourdain and Gordon Ramsay will make a cameo, and the producers promise a lot of food jokes, of course.

My only gripe with all these awesomeness? I'm not a fan of the word "foodie".

Read the wonderful Grub Street NY article.

Link Lickin' List: From an awesome restaurant in Japan to women bloggers on Internet mysoginy

>> Monday, November 07, 2011

- Listen up, fellow coffee lovers! Don't we just love to read about how coffee isn't so bad for our health? I'm taking that to a higher level. Read up on how coffee can save your life.

- You think coffee just won't cut it? Get your caffeine fix from these caffeinated baked goods. Not really my choice of poison, though.

- Now, laugh with me while you shake off those nerves. This collection of photos of bottled water ads with women struggling to drink water is HILARIOUS! I know, right? What's up with that!

- On a related giggle, here are women laughing alone with salad. Crazy.

- How about women eating great food? I want to eat at this restaurant in Japan, Galali. I LOVE Japanese food, and I'm just so jealous!

- Perhaps I can write my way to Galali? After all, that's what's bringing the bacon to my tummy. And, yes, I do agree that reading about advice on writing is ironic. It only takes time off from actual writing! But writers do love to write about writing. And a lot more people like reading about it. So, here are some successful writers giving writing advice.

- Once upon a time, there were only men writers. And now that the fight for gender equality has come both a long way and just two steps forward, we see millions of women taking their voice to blogs. But with them come millions of people taking gender discrimination to these same blogs. The Internet provides a veil that harbors some major hate speech. Here are a handful of women bloggers speaking up on sexist abuse they get online.

- Need some comfort now? Yeah, me too. And I know just what can make us feel better: chocolate. Watch this video on how to dip chocolate truffles with me.

- What about a pumpkin soup recipe? Pumpkin or squash soups are my favorite, but I don't know how to make them. Shame.

- Still pretty shaken up? Stop feeling terrible. We're strong and fearless, and we have a voice. We may have mood swings and a sweet tooth, but we do eat glass. Huh?? I guess, we do. It turns out, hard candy IS glass.

It's a crazy world we're living in, but a little bit of nice can go a long way.

Asya, Eton Centris - Longing for Roti Canai

>> Sunday, November 06, 2011

The first time I was at Asya, I was surrounded by accomplished men and women, 10 to 40 years my senior. Imagine how quiet and polite I was, and perhaps uncomfortable. I had so much to say but very little to show for it, so they all stayed in my head. To appease myself, I kept reaching out to my plate of Roti Canai and drowned my anxieties in curry dip.

I loved that Roti Canai. It was my shield and my ally. And as one of the eldest in the room pointed out, he always ordered Asya's Roti Canai as well.

That Roti Canai pulled me back to Asya with C. I knew he would love it. I can almost feel the greasiness on my fingers and taste the raciness of the dip. Alas, when we sank into our chairs and perused the menu, we couldn't find Roti Canai. I panicked a little.

We asked the server if they no longer have Roti Canai. She said she'll ask the kitchen if they had any. They had none. And that was when sadness filled the room. According to her, they no longer have Roti Canai on the menu, but every now and then still offer some. That late afternoon, however, none were cooked/prepared.

From then on, I met each dish with inhibition. If something as good as Roti Canai was decidedly taken out of the selection, what kind of dishes would the same mind offer instead? My doubts were slightly dispelled when Texas Roll's description caught my eye. The medley of tuna, kani, chili oil and cream cheese was just too inviting. And, hoping to the surrounding lifelike chairheads that it tastes half as good, we ordered it.

It was the best on the table. The topping was rich with flavors and different textures, and a great complement to the sticky rice it sat on. Each bite will draw you in for more. A full stomach will be your only escape, which won't be too easy since Asya is pretty generous with the number of rolls per order. With eight pieces for Php 205, I can't complain. I would still however order the now-defunct Roti Canai over this. Or perhaps with it.

Getting Chicken Pandan (Php 275) is like saying, "I can't think of anything else to order." It is never more interesting than average, but no half-decent restaurant gets it wrong either. And that is what makes it safe. Asya's chicken pandan is no different. If you really just want to fill your stomach with no fuss, then go for it. We weren't able to finish this, by the way. There were a couple of pieces we ended up bringing home.

Grilled Cream Dory (Php 250) was the wild card, especially because I'm not a fan of cream dory. This is still a rational choice, though, because, how can you fail with inihaw na isda?

Asya's grilled selection came with several sauce options, and we decided to go for the Visayan kind. What's a Visayan sauce? That we had to ask. Apparently, that's what you call the basic mix of soy sauce, vinegar and onion, which is more popularly consumed with pork liempo. How could I have reached this age without knowing? I didn't think this simple amalgamation of condiments even had a name.

The meal wasn't so bad but it was also not exceptional. The Texas Roll pulled up the overall standard to "okay". We left Asya with a full stomach and one wish: that they bring back the Roti Canai.

Visit Asya's website at http://www.asya.com.ph for their menu.

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