Potato Corner Fries and Tea-riffic Tea, SM Cubao

I confess that my son is one of the millions of children raised on fast food french fries. Even I, who had recently gone vegetarian in the hopes of entering a healthier lifestyle, still struggle to resist the siren song of a steaming hot potato strip, deep-fried to a perfect sunshine-yellow crunch outside and creamy mealiness inside, all wrapped up in crispy flakes of salt. It is, after all, a vegetable.

So we headed off to SM Cubao to satisfy his potato craving for our afternoon snack.

Understand your product’s strengths. If you’re selling a classic product, know when to innovate on its best attributes. If not, just crank up its quality to the best that it can be. Either way, it increases your chances of standing out from the competition.

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Eliana Infatuation Cologne

THERE’S a nearby budget grocery that my son and I enjoy visiting every so often. During one of our visits last January, I discovered a new line of inexpensive colognes that are targeted toward the teenage female demographic.

Sometimes the value of a product lies in the experience of using it. Just because a product is cheap doesn’t always mean it’s bad or low-quality. You can find inexpensive products whose quality can match or even surpass the experience you get from using premium products.

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Peanut Butter and Co, Katipunan

I admit I’m not that fond of peanut butter — I’ll eat it every so often when the mood strikes, but that’s it. So when one of my good friends from college informed me that a Peanut Butter and Co. had opened up in Katipunan, Quezon City, it was curiosity and not a liking for the palate-clogging stuff, and especially not the environmental culture, that drove me there.

Be kind to waitstaff. They work long hours at minimum wage rates, and being unnecessarily difficult with them only speaks of your own breeding.

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Joanie’s Cupcakes, Tomas Morato

I came upon this charming little cupcake shop by chance, while walking from school with my son. It’s called Joanie’s Cupcakes, and it serves decadent cupcakes and cakes at affordable prices. So I decided to drop by.

A good product is the foundation of a good business. Whatever it is you choose to sell, make sure it’s the best it can be.

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Cafe Xocolat, Katipunan (Part 2 of 2)

FOLLOWING our lukewarm escapade to Pipino, we headed for Cafe Xocolat in Katipunan in the hopes of drowning our meatless misery in hot chocolate. And drown it we did.

Do you have one product or service that you’re particularly good at? Nurture it, develop it, showcase it, make it the center of your business, and promote it like it’s the best thing on earth, ever.

Some small establishments have thrived this way for years, and some have grown into large establishments, just by focusing on that one great product.

So where am I getting at? Continue reading

food review

Pipino Vegetarian Food by Pino, Malingap Street (Part 1 of 2)

A few weeks ago, a couple of friends and I visited Pipino Vegetarian Food by Pino at Malingap street. While we’re concerned with eating healthfully in moderation, we’re nowhere near a vegetarian state of mind. So when we decided to try Pipino, it was met with excitement and apprehension.

The place is located on top of its less restrictive sister restaurant, Pino. When we arrived at the place, we were still faced with the choice to go veggie or not. We chose the former — and soon regretted it. Continue reading

Jollibee at Tomas Morato

IF you have young children, chances are fast food is on the regular menu. My son is no stranger to this, as he will eat anywhere that serves french fries and crunchy fried chicken or pork.

We had our after-school snack at Jollibee, one of the leading local fast food chains. I’m not a big fan of their fare — I prefer McDonald’s — but since it’s my son who needs the extra food, it’s his call. Continue reading

Kitchen of Cakes and Coffee

Kitchen of Cakes and Coffee, Tomas Morato

SCHOOLDAYS can be very tiring for my son, so we have made it part of our routine to go out for a quick snack after I pick him up from school, before we head home. And by snack I mean a full meal: meat, carbohydrates, dessert, and a drink.

One such establishment that we recently visited is Kitchen of Cakes and Coffee (KoCCo) in Tomas Morato, Quezon City, which is a cozy little tea-and-dessert nook. We’ve been visiting the place for drinks and pastries to go since 2010. One of my absolute favorites from their offerings is the sylvannas (crispy-chewy meringue biscuits wrapped in buttercream frosting and rolled in cake crumbs) that came in several flavors — classic vanilla, strawberry, mocha, and green tea, to name a few, but discontinued their sale sometime last year. I’m also sold on their rosebud tea.

So without my old-time favorite on the menu, what else could I have? Continue reading

Manang’s Chicken, Tomas Morato

AFTER the Korean chicken craze hit the market a few years back, my son and I developed a hankering for double-fried chicken brushed with sweet, sometimes spicy, soy-based sauce. Even though we didn’t quite enjoy our Chicken Charlie experience as much as I had hoped, that didn’t quell our fondness for fowl.

Enter Manang’s Chicken. This may be a Philippine-owned company, but they serve up crunchy fried chicken tailored to Philippine tastes, glazed with your choice of soy garlic, mild spicy, or extra spicy sauce, reminiscent of Bon Chon Chicken (review to follow).

According to a feature segment I once saw on late-night TV, the story behind this product is that the owners’ old babysitter — Manang — used to whip up a special fried chicken recipe for them back in their childhood. It was so well-loved that it became the foundation for this scrumptious product that we enjoy now.

My son and I have been regular customers at Manang’s Tomas Morato branch, and for several months now we have been enjoying good service from the store’s regular staff (Anna and Louie) and consistent good product quality. That is, until Monday last week. Continue reading

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Grill Pan Hunt at SM Cubao

LAST Sunday I went on a brief foray for a good grill pan at the housewares section of SM Cubao. As expected, the store didn’t offer a wide selection of brands, especially since the holiday sale had just ended. I didn’t mind — there were a few decent and recognizable brands on display, and after a few moments of coordinated online research with my husband via mobile, I settled on a Meyer 28cm. oval grill pan, which happened to be the best choice available.

Meyer Grill Pan Photo2284

Now there were two sales staff that assisted me: a man assigned to handle Chef’s Classic, Sunnex, and few other brands, and a lady who handles Meyer. They both accommodated my slew of inquiries in the same friendly fashion, but the man was slightly more aggressive in his sales pitch (he even suggested that I consider buying a restaurant-type grill pan instead of the stovetop model I was gunning for). The lady, on the other hand, was slightly more reticent, and patiently stood by while I hemmed and hawed over my options.

I confess I can be stalled at times by indecision. This was one of those times. And when this happens, I don’t want anyone pushing me to make my choice, lest I regret it. Continue reading