In the commercial jungle of Makati filled with offices, traffic and crowded streets, a regular day feels long and tiring especially if you're trying to beat a deadline in the office. Even though it's not a Friday night, there are times that you would just want a drink or two with honest to goodness quality comfort food. Here's where "After All Bar & Grill" at the Ground Floor of Jazz Mall (located in Nicanor Garcia, Makati) comes in.

The restaurant is created by a group of friends who aims to relax its customers after all the hardships and difficulties they've faced to just let loose and unwind. With amazing drinks, no judgement on how stressed you may look like, their servers will greet you with a big smile, may even remember your name and make you forget every stress that leaves you with nothing but enjoyment.

The Drinks
Long Island
Calibre - "After All Bar & Grill's" version of a Cuba Libre
Pompoms - the fruity goodness of buko & melon with a delighting alcoholic twist
Apple Yuki Matsuri: Inspired by Japan's Sapporo Snow Festival, this apple slushie drink is sweet, juicy and smooth.
After Sunset: a delicious citrusy drink that clears the mind and inspires the soul.
Honey Dew Mojito: A calamansi minty mojito blended with honey dew and alcoholic sweetness that leaves the tongue appetized and ready to eat.
Kara Java Daiquiri: coffee based liqueur that's awakening and yet gives you a feeling of zen at the same time. It's like realizing everything is going to be okay.
Every night from 7pm, there are different genres of music played by bands who are good and ready to make you feel refreshed, ready to sleep and face the next day.

The Food
Romanian Devilled Squid: lovely & soft squid that is good with a bowl of warm rice and a cold drink.
Crispy Pata: as the name says, it's crispy pork leg which is a popular Filipino delicacy for celebrations.
Saikoro Steak
Tuna Salpicao: very good with rice too!!! I could eat this all day. 😁
Seafood Teppanyaki
Waikiki Ribs
When I was there, I met two of the owners who told me that there are times they have stage actors or actresses who have day jobs that sings with the bands to unwind which they allow and makes the night even more magical. Well, even if you're not a stage actor or actress, you're actually free to request if you can sing with the band, as long as they can play the song, why not? You might meet a few new friends after all the wonderful jamming!
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"After All Bar & Grill" is open from 10am - 11pm. Despite being a great night spot, it's a nice quiet spot during lunch time that's great for meetings. Check out their lunch menu as well that's very affordable and good too.
This Sweet & Sour Fish Lunch Set is less than P300 which comes with soup and a drink! Can you believe it? 😊
For reservations to ensure your seats (it gets pretty full on meal times), call (02)816-3652.
I've always loved California Pizza Kitchen ever since it opened its doors here in Manila. I remember the first branch I visited is in Shangri-La Plaza Mall. I was so curious about this pizza place that my aunt in the US who lives in New Jersey buys a bunch from LA then freeze them to eat them slowly. After having its famous BBQ Chicken Pizza and Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza (that's not on their menu anymore), I was hooked.
(L-R) Fruit 'N Nut Salad, Cucumber-Lemon and Mint Shake, Quinoa-Arugula Salad and Spinach & Artichoke.
When I was invited to experience the 3rd run of the CPK Pizza Wars' final round, I said, "Yes!"
Mango-Watermelon Shake: a yummy treat that gives memories of summer! ^_^
"California Pizza Kitchen has distinguished itself as a pizza authority attributable to its wide selection of innovative and artisanal pizzas. But more importantly, the secret behind the success of CPK here is, of course, the people behind it. Which is why, apart from showcasing the talents of our pizza chefs who are equally passionate about food as we are, we wanted to challenge them to take their culinary skill set to new heights. And sure enough, they have proven to be up to that challenge," said Bob Vallar, Marketing Manager of Global Restaurant Concepts, Inc (GRCI).

I'd like to introduce the judges of the final round who were there with us: CPK President and CEO Archie Rodriguez, CPK Chief Financial Officer Griffith Go, Celebrity Chef and Philippine Culinary Icon Sandy Daza and Social Media Guru and Let's Eat Magazine's Editor-in-Chief Spanky Enriquez.
(L-R) Sandy Daza, Spanky Enriquez, Rommel Panaligan, Griffith Go, Danny Fernandez, Jay Mar dela Paz, Archie Rodriguez & Bob Vallar. 
For the final round, there were 3 finalists.
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Danny Fernandez of CPK Greenbelt 5 with his original Thai Beef Pizza.
Contender #1 Danny Fernandez's Thai Beef Pizza
The Thai Beef Pizza was a mixture of fresh, crunchy greens that consisted of broccoli, zucchini, carrots, onions and peanuts with the sweetness of soft sliced beef and topped with chili flakes. It was sweet, salty, spicy with a little hint of vinegar that makes it light and refreshing. It's actually my favorite pizza out of all that was presented so I gave my vote to this pizza.
Thai Beef Pizza
A slice in front of Spanky Enriquez, one of the judges. I was hoping he'll like it as much as I did.
Jay Mar dela Paz of CPK Promenade Greenhills with his Chicken Banh Mi Pizza.
Jay Mar dela Paz working it with his final touch!
Contender # 2 Jay Mar dela Paz's Chicken Banh Mi Pizza
The Chicken Banh Mi Pizza is very colorful with a really deep Asian flavor. A mixture of curry, cucumber, bean sprouts, carrots, turnip, spring onions and chicken on top of a crispy crust. It does give a very banh mi taste with its sweet crust taming the spiciness of the curry a bit.
The colorful Chicken Banh Mi Pizza
Rommel Panaligan of CPK Alabang Town Center with his Garlic Cream Cheese Pizza.
Contender # 3 Rommel Panaligan's Garlic Cream Cheese Pizza
The Garlic Cream Cheese Pizza is surprisingly not very garlicky but the aroma of cream cheese mixed with mushrooms and sausages makes it every meatlover's dream. For me, the taste is somewhat familiar. It's like a carbonara on a pizza except the drizzle of vinaigrette gives its flavor a twist.
Garlic Cream Cheese Pizza
The winner of CPK's Pizza Wars Year 3 will receive a P25,000 cash prize and his creation will be featured in August 2017 as part of CPK's National Pizza Day so watch out for the new pizza. So who won the challenge? Watch this.
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The new pasta offerings were also served to us during the event and I must say, they're very easy to fall-in-love with! Yes, I ate them all! (Please don't tell me why I'm fat. I know why so just shush. :P)

My favorite is the Foriana which is very Mediterranean in flavor. Sun-dried tomatoes, cherry tomatoes tossed in pasta with shaved Parmesan cheese and Foriana sauce.
THE Foriana
Look at the different shades of red by sundried tomatoes & cherry tomatoes mixed into the pasta.
The Chicken and Sausage Fajita on the other hand is a crowd favorite. It's the goodness of smoked sausage, grilled chicken with tri-color peppers and jalapeno mixed in spinach fettucine and garlic cream sauce.

Ready to try this year's Pizza Wars winner, Garlic Cream Cheese Pizza?  It's every meat-lover's dream to indulge it. Wait until August 2017 for CPK's National Pizza Day to order it. It will also become a mainstay in next year's CPK menu.

For more information on CPK, visit www.cpk.com.ph or follow them on FB and IG @cpkphilippines. There are currently 7 branches of CPK: Alabang Town Center, Bonifacio High Street, Greenbelt 5, Greenhills, Mall of Asia, Century City Mall and Shangri-La Plaza Mall.
Fariñas Ilocos Empanada started as a small stall in Visayas Avenue on December 2011 (almost 6 years ago) selling only 4 kinds of empanada for take out. The 4 kinds of empanada namely Ordinary (vegetables & egg), Special (vegetables, egg and 1 longganisa), Extra Special (vegetables, egg and 2 longganisa) and Super Special (vegetables, 2 eggs and 2 longganisa). A few months after, they added the Ultimate Empanada (vegetables, egg, longganisa and bagnet) and an option of extra cheese to be added on empanada orders.
Special Empanada
Vegetables, egg & 1 longganisa inside an orange crispy shell. The orange crispy shell is made out of sticky rice powder mixed with atsuete oil giving it the orange color. The vegetables are a mixture of mung beans and cabbage.
A bite into the crispy shell, the steam of longganisa, vegetables & egg can lure you to keep biting for more.
It's amazing on how just after a year, the take out stall has become a small restaurant offering dishes like pinakbet, longganisa meal and bagnet meal.

Now, Fariñas Ilocos Empanada has 16 stores all over Metro Manila, Batangas and Cavite with more dishes into their menu like Pansit Bagnet, Poqui-poqui and other authentic Ilocos fares to enjoy.

Pansit Bagnet
Sauteed miki with vegetables and shredded chicken meat topped with bagnet, chicharon and egg.
Noodles with lots of sauce, egg like flavor and a little crunch!
What's more amazing is that they're adding new dishes for us to crave for! With the salted egg craze invading the country, these crazy inventions were born:

Salted Egg Pansit Bagnet
Flavorful crispy bagnet slices covered with salted egg bits & powder on top of sauteed miki noodles with vegetables and minced chicken.



Salted Egg Bagnet with Toasted Garlic
No non-sense toasted garlic and chopped chili with salted egg dusted bagnet slices that's good when drenched in vinegar. Just add rice and you're in salted egg meat lovers' heaven!


But that's not all! Coming into the menu is this Bilao Fiesta Meal which comprises of Laoag longganisa, salted egg and tomatoes on top of steaming white rice that's good for 6! The platter is good for a quick family lunch or dinner, a birthday blowout to friends in the office or even for group studies at a classmate's house! Who can go wrong with having those meaty, garlicky and salty longganisa which you can dash with Ilocos vinegar?
For pica-pica, also known as something to munch while drinking (alcoholic drinks) with friends or just something to chew on while waiting for the main course, this crispy Boneless Dilis can do the trick! Don't forget to dunk it in vinegar before biting into it.
To look for the branch nearest you, just go to their Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/farinasilocosempanada/) or Instagram: @farinasilocosempanada for details. Another bonus for you guys, they have branches that are open 24 hours. Isn't that wonderful for a bagnet or Ilocos longganisa fix? :P
Based on the mega-hit film from the 1990s, "Sister Act" will be performed in Manila for the first time on a limited two-week run and promises the audience to dance and groove to the original score with music by 8-time Oscar Academy, Grammy and Golden Globe Awardee Alan Menken!


Produced by Whoopi Goldberg, who played the role of Deloris Van Cartier in the movie, "Sister Act" tells the story of Deloris, a wannabe disco diva, who witnessed a murder and is put into a protective custody in a convent! Disguise as a nun, she finds herself at odds with the uptight Mother Superior. However, she unexpectedly helps her fellow sisters in finding their voices and breathing in new life to their choir while discovering her own self. A sparkling tribute to the universal power of friendship, "Sister Act" is a reason to rejoice!

"To hear people laugh and cheer the way they do at 'Sister Act' - a show people think they know but are pleasantly surprised to discover is not what they are expecting - is a magical experience for a producer," says Whoopi Goldberg.
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For the Manila production, the cast of "Sister Act" are as follows:

Dené Hill as Deloris Van Cartier, a powerhouse disco diva wannabe with a dream of Donna Summer-esque glory. Mouthy, ballsy, brassy and quick on the quip. She has no faith in anything but herself.

Rebecca Mason-Wygal as Mother Superior, an old-school Catholic mother superior with a spine of steel, a will of iron, and an acid tougue but softy in the inside.

Brandon Godfrey as Curtis Shank, a super cool, confident and smooth bad guy with a soul. He is a narcissist with sex appeal and charisma. Handsome but dangerous.

Will T. Travis as Lt. Eddie Souther, a charming, appealing and straight forward cop who imagines himself as him and sexy.

Jarred Bedgood as TJ, nephew of Curtis who is well-intended, overeager young man but doesn't have the brain power to think ahead.

Moses Bernal as Pablo, the funny, comical bodyguard of Curtis.

Sophie Kim as Sister Mary Robert, a young novitiate who is torn to take her final vows or leave the convent to rejoin the world that intimidates her. Her shy personality masks a huge, show stopping powerful singing voice.

Emma Brock as Sister Mary Patrick, an upbeat, fun and optimist who is filled with love and elight in God and friendship. She is always the head cheerleader ready for an adventure, a life experience and between meal-time snack!

Nancy Evans as Sister Mary Lazarus, a tough, full of vim and humor novitiate who is quick on the wisecracks and always ready to roll up her sleeves and dig in.

Harry McEnerny as Joey Finnochio, a big, burly and fiercely loyal comic who fancies himself as a guy women can't resist.

Kevin D. O'Neil as Msgr. Howard, a stately but benevolent priest with an Irish twinkle. 

The other cast members are as follows: D’Naysa Jordan – Michelle/Ensemble; Caitlin Masiano – Mary Martin of Tours/Ensemble; Meghan Deeley and Tyler Simakh (Swing), Berlande Mills – Ensemble, Tina, Deloris (Understudy); Gabriel Rodrigues – Ensemble, Joey /Monsignor (Cover); Denzel Edmondson, Scott Fuss, Olivia Gjurich, Heidi Hayes, Kristin Litzenberg, Taylor Morgan Marsh, Ashley Masula, Paige McNamara, Damon McToy, Megan Opalinski (Ensemble); Stephanie Miller – Dance Captain/Swing).


Show Schedules are the following:
June 29, June 30 – 8 pm (Thursday – Friday)
July 1 and 2 – 2 pm and 8 pm (Saturday – Sunday)
July 4, 5, 6 and 7 – 8 pm (Tuesday - Friday)
July 8 and 9 – 2 pm and 8 pm (Saturday – Sunday)

Show duration: 2.5 hours with 15 min break. 

For tickets, call Ticketworld at (02) 8919999 or go to https://www.ticketworld.com.ph/. For more details on "Sister Act," connect thru Ovation Productions at www.ovationproductionsmanila.com or follow them on Facebook at Ovation Productions or Twitter @ovationprod.

A few months ago, my family attended an art exhibit by a very good friend in Angeles, Pampanga. On our way home, a cute familiar kitty caught our eye.

"Kitty Cafe" is beside McDonald's at Barangay Sta. Rosario! Where would you go? Of course, at "K
Since my Lil Dumpling is a huge fan of Hello Kitty ever since she was a year old, it was obvious that we needed to check this place out. Because this visit is for Lil Dumpling, presenting her meet and greet session with Hello Kitty!
I still remember clearly the day I've discovered she loved Hello Kitty even if we don't buy her character items. We were walking on the street when she was a year old and she saw a Hello Kitty sticker on the floor. She pointed that it's a cat and wanted to get it. I did not allow her to touch it because it's dirty but she kept insisting the whole time to the point of asking me again if she can get it even if we were afar.
A Panoramic Shot from the Entrance
This place is definitely a dream come true for every little girl who loves Hello Kitty. All around the place is tickled pink with paintings of Hello Kitty with her boyfriend Hello Daniel. There are also quotes from Hello Kitty's cartoon show which made the place even lovelier!

Each table top has its own Hello Kitty napkin holder.
Look at all those tables with the cute napkin holder!
On sale are some Hello Kitty items which guests can purchase and bring home as souvenir. The items are pretty pricey so I'm guessing they might be original items.
Here are the bathroom doors with Hello Kitty & Hello Daniel.
The meals on their menu is a mixture of Korean, Filipino & American cuisine with coffee, milkshakes and cupcakes. The cupcakes are just a little too cute to eat!
So what did I get?
Korean Mandu
Real Chicken Nuggets with Honey Butter French Fries
Chocolate Milk Shake
The whole place feels like it transported you to Hello Kitty land in Japan not just because of its decors but their TV plays Hello Kitty series continuously.
Actually I was yayaless during this trip and I only had The Hubby to help me out with Lil Dumpling but it was so much fulfillment to see how happy Lil Dumpling was that her parents are with her in her dream Hello Kitty world!
This is my haggard-but-happy look! Haha! #yayaless
Overall, I think this place deserves a visit when you go to Angeles, Pampanga. There are just so many corners where you can have your OOTDs. As you can see from all the panoramic shots, even for non-Hello Kitty fans, you'll feel the fun wholesome vibe of the place that lures you in to hang out and feel like a little girl again!
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