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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food review

World Goodies Boba Milk Tea, Tomas Morato

SINCE the hot summer days have made an early entry into the local climate, the sale of cold, ready-to-go drinks have began to boom again. One of my regular pit stops for such is the World Goodies 24/7 convenience store, which sells large cups of flavored Boba (or ‘bubble’) milk tea.

Make sure that all items in your product lineup are the best that they could be. To buyers, mediocrity and bad quality are the same.

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food review

Hunt’s Chili Beef & Beans and Pork BBQ & Beans

MOST days I don’t really go out to eat, and would rather have a home-cooked meal. And then there are days when I don’t even feel like cooking. This is one of the brands I turn to when I need a quick and satisfying meal or snack, depending on how famished I am.

A simple but well-thought out twist to a classic product can generate a renewed interest in your brand.

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food review

Sebastian’s Ice Cream, Katipunan

HAVING sated my curiosity and appetite at PB &Co., I suggested to my friend that we head over to the Sebastian’s Ice Cream stall downstairs.

Novelty fades quickly. If you choose to use novelty as a selling point in some of your products or services, make sure that your other non-novelty offerings are as good or even better than that novelty item.

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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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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.

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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

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

North Park logo

North Park Noodle House, Cubao

A few days before Christmas, my son and I ventured into North Park Noodle House in Araneta Cubao, because he had a massive craving for congee.

Upon entering the establishment, the first thing I noticed was the cheerful ‘Ni Hao’ greeting from the guard and the waitstaff. Now this greeting may be rote, and many of us may take it for granted, but this is something that matters to me.

Little things like friendly, courteous gestures from service staff can instantly brighten the customer’s experience, even if he ends up disliking the product.

Our server promptly seated us and took our order, and I was immediately taken by her cheery disposition. (Too bad I forgot her name, but if anyone from the North Park management is reading this, she’s one of the servers on duty last December 23, 2012, at around 6pm). Continue reading