Solstice by Ilustrado Gives a Taste of New Dishes

Solstice by Ilustrado merges 2 great cuisines and cultures together, Filipino and Spanish. Located at the ground floor of 8 Rockwell, this chic and cozy restaurant can conveniently accommodate 120 guests perfect for an intimate gathering or a corporate party.

It's amazing that I was invited to try out the new dishes which Solstice by Ilustrado launched. Conceptualized by Chef Bernice Pimentel, there are now more food choices to feast on during gatherings and special events.

While waiting for the other bloggers who were invited to the launch, we were served this soft warm bread which is good with butter, a little salt & pepper.

For appetizers, here are what was served:

Shroom Pizza
I like how the thin crust sour dough pizza was flavorful and crunchy which blended perfectly with its aromatic truffle flavored shrooms.

Chorizo Pizza
The chorizo was on the salty side but it's good with the thin crust sour dough pizza. I think with beer, it'll be even better when partnered with beer!

Sisig Kapampangan
It's not the regular sisig with mayo, calamansi, hot sauce and egg. It's crispy, meaty with bell pepper and carrot bits and sliced jalapeño pepper. Really good.

Baked Eggplant, Black Olives and White Cheese in Filo
It's the right balance of creamy, salty with a crunchy skin. Instead of having crunchy nachos dipped in a creamy sauce, it's like the sauce is in the crunchy pastry.

Truffles Hummus with Sour Dough Pita and Crudités
The hummus is creamy, salty with a right balance of spice good with warm pita. For those health conscious folks, the crudites is a great substitute to carbs.

Serrano and Manchego Skewers with Balsamic Glaze
I love the pairing of jamon serrano and manchego cheese. It's like it's made for each other. With wine, it's a lovely pair!

Before moving to the main entree, I ordered this unique Coconut Juice + Strawberry drink that's refreshing, light and healthy.

Chef Bernice introduced that the next dish is actually not new but new to Solstice which have been a favorite well-known dish in the famous Ilustrado in Intramuros. The Paella Ilustrado is something which patrons of Ilustrado in Intramuros never fail to order. The paella is cooked al dente with lots of perfectly flavorful seafood which I feel is a wonderful discovery why it has become a favorite in Ilustrado which I hope will also be a favorite in Solstice.

Callos Madrileña is another well-known dish in Ilustrado which was brought into Solstice. Now, there's no need for those in Makati CBD to go all the way to Manila to enjoy this dish. Out of all the dishes that night, this is one of my favorite. It's very rich in flavor with thick sauce and good with rice. It feels like a feast in itself already if you'd like to indulge yourself with good food for those stressful days.

Adobong Bagnet with Crab Fat
The crispy bagnet paired the salty and creamy soy sauce with the aroma of the crab fat makes it amazing. It's like a genius invention! With lots of rice, it'll be wonderful too!

Stuffed Chicken Ilustrado
It's an upgrade from the average chicken galantina during noche buena. It's really amazing on how soft the chicken was and it was infused with vegetables which gave it more flavors. I also like the extra crunch from the french beans and the rich gravy which makes the chicken really good.

Roast US Long Island Duck Al Orange
The skin of the duck is crunchy and the meat is soft, salty with a bit of sweetness which is good.

Norwegian Salmon Ceviche Poke
Since poke bowls have been invading the Metro, Chef Bernice shared that this is her version of the poke bowl except she wanted to serve it on a nice plate so that all the amazing stuff in this dish can be seen. Plus, it'll be easier to mix the items up in a plate which is true. The edamame beans give a certain crunch to the mix.

Pasta Aligue with Crispy Soft Shell Crab
This rich seafood dish is simply amazing! It has that deadly but good sinful taste which wants to make you dig in for more.

If you feel all the dishes above are GOOD, the best is yet to come because the desserts are fabulous!

Mango Jubilee with Sampaguita Ice Cream
I like the mix of sweet and tangy mangoes with the aromatic sweetness of the sampaguita ice cream can make one smile and say, "It's a good day!"

Matcha Cookies and Cream
This dessert feels like a Christmas morning where a day is out of the ordinary because of such crispy sweet and creamy treat. The matcha cookies paired nicely with the dreamy panna cotta. It's like cookies and milk in another way but a good one.

All these new dishes are satisfying yet comforting and hits the spot. For those celebrations in life or get together with friends or even just a food trip, go ahead and try these dishes soon! :)

To reserve a table, please call (+632) 802 1891 or (+63 977 748 8861). Solstice by Ilustrado is open from 11AM to 11PM daily. For more updates on the restaurant, follow @solsticebyilustrado on Instagram or in Facebook, go to http://facebook.com/SolsticebyIlustrado/.

Bull Outdoor Summer BBQ Feast

What is summer without BBQ and some fun under the sun? Boring, right?

When I was invited to attend Bull's Outdoor Summer BBQ Feast at Tagaytay Highlands, I gladly accepted the invitation. Despite the summer heat, it's always a good idea to swim and have BBQ on the side. Somehow, the aroma of BBQ on the hot summer air, gives more charm to the food that is ready to be feasted upon!

Roasted potatoes and look at those huge juicy squids!
Celebrity Chef Jessie Sincioco, who served Pope Francis when he visited 2 years ago, was selected to do a demo on how to use Bull Grill Carts and of course, did all the cooking! 
Bull Grill Carts may look a bit similar your regular stove with its burners & use of LPG, however, the possibilities of using this are endless. Accdg to Chef Jessie, it's very easy to use, versatile - not only grills but it can bake too like monster size steaks, cake or pizza and it's durable to be used outdoors.
So what can these grill carts serve? Take a look.
Fish, lamb chops & sausages.
Look at how nicely grilled these lamb chops are!

This is from a huge steak which was baked then sliced and grilled to medium for me. 
After all the feasting, I had the opportunity to have a photo op with Celebrity Chef Jessie Sincioco who I personally thanked for the sumptuous, mouth-watering feast!
For those who would love to have an outdoor BBQ Feast this summer, Bull Grill Carts are available in Wilcon Depot nationwide. For more details on Bull Grill Carts, you may check out https://www.bullbbq.com/grill-carts. A big thanks to Food Magazine for the invitation!

Tickle your Taste Buds with New Treats from Brooklyn’s New York Pizza

Brooklyn’s New York Pizza is bringing in four (4) new exciting dishes to tickle your taste buds this Mothers’ Day, May 14, 2017!

Watch out for these new sandwiches that comes with a side of fries made for you to enjoy more meat in your buns!

Raging Buffalo (P288)
Saucy and crispy buffalo chicken fillet with coleslaw. Delightfully flavorful!


Meatball Marinara (P288)
A blend of meat and secret spices made into balls of happiness slow cooked in Brooklyn’s New York Pizza’s original marinara sauce topped with a generous serving of mozzarella cheese baked into perfection. Cheese lovers beware!

The Patriot Sub (P268)
It’s sunshine in a bun starting with deconstructed longganiza, sweet and tangy atchara, tomato and topped with a fried runny egg.

An explosion of taste is set to invade your table as Brooklyn’s New York Pizza releases the Pizza Bomb (P460)! A mixture of ham, bacon, Italian sausages, cheese and vegetables enclosed in a dome. Setting the dome on fire will lock in the flavors and gives the dough a sweet taste. This extraordinary pizza experience is valid for dine-in only.

All these treats will be available on May 14, 2017 in all 7 branches of Brooklyn’s New York Pizza: Alabang Town Center (8509999), BF Homes (7757575), Chino Roces Makati (8969696), Robinson's Place Manila (4050505), Robinson's Place Las Piñas (5533555), Tomas Morato (3767676) and Madison Galleries Alabang Hills (7889935).

To get more updates on Brooklyn’s New York Pizza, just go to their social media accounts:
Instagram: @brooklynsnewyorkpizza

Hashtags: #HappyatBrooklyns #BNYPizza #TheBetterPizza

Noted Artist Al Gatmaitan releases Self-titled Album

Artist Playground proudly announces the official release of Al Gatmaitan's self-titled 3 tracks - single CD album 
which can be downloaded in iTunes and streamed via Spotify.

The links are as follows:
SPOTIFY: https://open.spotify.com/album/5Q39mmgTqJ5IHnJ7tPDatO



Al Gatamaitan is a Classical Crossover Artist and a 2-time Aliw Awardee for Best Male Classical Singer.
Award-winning composer Jesse Lucas (2016 Aliw Awardee for Best Musical Director) composed, arranged and produced the following:
1. Perché Ringrazio La Vita
Poem by Rodolfo Chirico
Music Composed and Arranged by Jesse Lucas

*” Perché Ringrazio La Vita” which means “Why I Thank Life” is a song about gratitude. The poem is written by Al’s Italian professor, the late Prof. Chirico.

2. Bituing Marikit
Lyrics by Servando Angeles
Music by Nicanor Abelardo
Arranged by Jesse Lucas
Guitar: Mark Reese Gelbolingo

*A new rendition with an updated arrangement of the popular and well-loved kundiman.

3. Sa Muling Pagsibol
Poem by National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera
Music Composed and Arranged by Jesse Lucas

*An inspirational song with the poem written in response to the devastation of the Super-typhoon Yolanda in Tacloban.

All these are recorded at the Acoustic Underground, Inc. by Recording Engineer: Jaymee Ranoa and
mixed by Aji Manalo. Produced by Artist Playground, Jesse Lucas and Al Gatmaitan.

Tea-rrific Time at Ten Ren's Tea Philippines

The first time I've encountered Ten Ren's Tea was a tea pot with tea gift for my dad by an uncle from Taiwan years ago. According to him, Ten Ren's Tea is one of the most popular tea place in Taiwan. It was before all the tea places blossomed here in the Philippines. Being a Filipino-Chinese, having tea during meals or even after meals is a routine. Honestly, I can't remember how the tea that was given to us tastes like but I got excited when I learned that Ten Ren's Tea is in the Philippines!

Ten Ren's Tea opened its door last year at the 2/F Promenade in Greenhills and at The Galleon, G/F of SM Mall of Asia. I was quite surprised that I didn't heard about it (I also don't frequent these places, I guess) but I'm glad I finally got to pay a visit to their Greenhills branch.
As a first timer, the choices offered were very overwhelming. Good thing their servers are trained to suggest which drinks are good depending on their customer's needs.
I was offered with a taste of 913 King's Oolong which is their best-seller while I decide on my choice of tea.
So why the name "913 King's Oolong?" I was told that the word "King" in Ten Ren's Tea meant tea with ginseng which gives the body energy and resistance against sickness (hmm... I'd like that! What a great way to start my tea time!). The 913 King's Oolong is a bit on the bitter side but with a sweet finish.

Selection of teas on sale in Ten Ren's Tea
All drinks from Ten Ren's Tea are made from natural tea leaves hand picked from their farm in Taiwan to ensure the best quality tea is being served on the table. Aside from the quality of the tea, Ten Ren's Tea promises that they only use all natural ingredients like fresh fruits, taro (for drinks with it), fructose and honey (no sugar) to make their drinks the healthier option for health conscious tea drinkers.

From the array of tea on sale, the Cold Brew Teas caught my attention! Yes, there is such a thing! Will be getting this soon to try out.
The different selections of Cold Brew Teas
The serious tea drinkers can buy their personal tea pot or cup 
More choices for those who'd like to share their cup of tea
Since I wanted to try a best-seller that is cold (it's been really hot these summer days), I chose Green Milk Tea Float.
Green Milk Tea Float
Green Milk Tea Float is made up of Jasmine Green Tea which I was told that the green tea leaves were place on top of jasmine tea leaves for the green tea leaves to absorb the aroma of the jasmine tea leaves. This green tea is mixed with fresh milk and topped with a scoop of green tea ice cream which serves as its sweetener. Honey is used in the green tea ice cream so there's no worries on sugar.
It's as good as it looks! Yummy, green and healthy.
Even when there's no food available in the Promenade Greenhills branch (I heard that the MOA branch has some food items), just as simple as having tea gives a few moments of relief from stress which my regular cup of joe can't achieve. Somehow tea has this calming effect despite having caffeine in it.

As the saying goes, "There's always time for tea!" So I tried the other cold teas that they offer.
(L-R) Honey Lemon Black Tea, Green Tea Latte with Pearls & Fresh Fruit Green Tea
Honey Lemon Black Tea is actually where the regular iced tea came from but this is its natural form. There's a hint of bitter which the sweetness doesn't mask but somehow the blend of the mixture makes it go battling in your mouth. It's like giving your tongue an adventure in a cup.

Green Tea Latte with Pearls has a very light tea taste with very creamy fresh milk. I loved it too and I think it's something I can drink before I sleep. But alas! I was told that green tea actually has a high caffeine content. With tea, taste can be deceiving. Sometimes people order this at night which their staff had to explain to them first regarding its caffeine content. Some customers who insist have come back to tell them that they were not able to sleep at night after drinking this before bedtime so take this on daytime or if at night, make sure you need the caffeine fix.

Fresh Fruit Green Tea tops my list of teas to have in Ten Ren's Tea after knowing the benefits of this gentle thirst quencher! It's a mixture of orange, lemon, honey and matcha powder that aids in digestion and cleanses the stomach.

There's another tea which I didn't get to try called Cha Workout which is a level higher than Fresh Fruit Green Tea because it has fiber content which works real fast to flush away all the toxins in the body. Good for those who'd like to lose weight in a quick way!

With these benefits of tea, especially on cleansing & losing weight, I say "Tea is the answer! Cheers to a sexier body!" Hope I got to shed some weight off my body from all the tea I had today. Haha! :D
Now, when someone asks, "Want to have some tea?" You know the drill! ;)