Tag Archives: food

Food Stall Review: Manam Express

1502737_802711426421916_31361729_oFood Stall Name: Manam Express
Product: Filipino Comfort Food
Location: Food Choices, Glorietta 4 and Trinoma
Price: Php 149.00 (minimum)

Review In A Nutshell:
I’ve had a lot of mediocre to unpleasant experiences when it comes to Filipino food served in communal joints located in malls but that changed when I tried out Manam Express. It easily became one of my favorite places to eat.

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Truth be told, aside from books, another passion of mine is eating really good food. I like to cook so being able to sample good food once in a while is a must for me. When I can afford it, I like to eat out and try new restaurants. However, my usual lunch fare is pretty much what our cafeteria offers (which is free) or, if the menu has become too predictable for my own taste, I go to the mall and eat at Food Choices, Glorietta 4.  In one of those trips, I decided to try out a relatively new food stall, Manam Express. Since then, it has easily become one of my favorite places to eat.

Eating Your Way at Manam Express

Eating Your Way at Manam Express

Manam Express describes their meals as “Comfort Filipino” and in typical food court style, it’s prepared and served fast.  I didn’t have high expectations, only because I’ve had a lot of mediocre to unpleasant experiences when it comes to Filipino food served in communal joints located in malls.  However, I was surprised by the amount of care the servers gave in arranging my entire meal in one plate: it was clean and presentable. The best part: the food was so delicious and fresh that I found it hard to believe it only cost me Php 149.00 for everything. Now, that’s what you call value for money.

My first-try plate from Manam Express: Garlic Rice, Gising-Gising and Bagnet-Style Pork Belly

My first-try plate from Manam Express:
Garlic Rice, Gising-Gising and Bagnet-Style Pork Belly

Aside from the taste, price and swift preparation, I think what makes Manam Express such a hit among customers is its make-your-own-combo-meal concept: you can have a different plate every time you visit.  You get to choose from among 4 varieties of rice, 6 viands, 6 vegetable side dishes and 4 sawsawan (this bit I love because no Filipino meal is complete without one); imagine the number of meal combinations you can make. And the free soup is not just some poor excuse for a broth; it has flavor which is great if you’re the kind of person who enjoys putting some soup on your rice.  Aside from these, Manan Express offers Filipino-inspired beverages and desserts such as turon and mais con hielo, which are definitely worth trying out.

In all my visits, Manam Express have not disappointed me and I always look forward to the next one.  Sometimes, I secretly wish that our cafeteria menu would be boring just so I can go up and eat there, even if it means spending another 149 pesos or so for a plate of their flavorful meal.

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My Rating:
5 out of 5 stars

My Two-Cents:
If you ever find yourself in Glorietta 4 or Trinoma and you’re looking for really good Filipino food at an affordable price, pass by Food Choices and try Manam Express.  Also, don’t just stick to their menu, try out try their beverages and desserts even if it means spending a little more. I personally love their Kape, Sago at Gulaman drink and ChocNut Leche Flan (so sorry, I wish I could share pictures of these two; I only remember that I need to take one after I’ve finished them off).

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DISCLAIMER:
This is not a sponsored blog post. Like my other product or food-related reviews, I purchased the product and tried it out.

The logo image above is courtesy of Manam Express’ Facebook page. Other images featured are my own.

Product Review: Nestlé Temptations Flavors of the World Dutch Speculoos Flavored Ice Cream

1511590_401086316690183_1776087462_oProduct Name: Nestlé Temptations Flavors of the World Dutch Speculoos Flavored Ice Cream
Type: Ice Cream
Price: PHP 215.00
Where To Buy: In all major supermarkets and convenience stores nationwide

Review In A Nutshell:
For a product that uses a not-so-simple ingredient, a clean, straight-forward presentation is all it needs to win an ice cream lover’s heart.

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Hi there! How’s 2014 shaping up for you so far? I hope it’s not as frazzled as mine because I do realize that I have let 2013 pass by with only a few posts added.  I sincerely hope to change that as soon as I get Sydney,  which is my laptop, fixed.

However, I’m taking some time off this self-imposed hiatus (sort of) to write this product review.  Can I get a hurray? Hahaha.  I figured since I just finished reading a companion novel that featured a handsome Dutch, why not celebrate this accomplishment by treating myself to a flavored ice cream inspired by that character’s country? The idea sounded good to me.  Also, this is me fulfilling a review request sent over by one reader (still surprised and thankful, so I shall blush).

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Challenge accepted! Oh, my poor wallet. Haha. 😉

Since I started doing product reviews for this blog two years ago, I seemed to notice some food fads. In 2012, it was this particular brand of ice cream bar. My review for that product was quite popular and it still remains to be one of my top-viewed posts on this site. In 2013, I think, the food fad was Speculoos Cookie Butter.

Truth be told, I have yet to try this brand of Speculoos Cookie Butter and it annoys me that I have not seen or bought a jar of it locally. Every local personality I know and love have either tweeted or instagrammed themselves eating this product enough to make feel green with curiosity and envy. The good thing with food fads in this country, there will be some enterprising company who will make treats using Speculoos Cookie Butter as an ingredient.  And I was right on the money; I did get my Speculoos Cookie Butter fix and surprisingly, all of them were ice cream. The first was with Bono Artisanal Gelato. The second was with McDonald’s. And now, Nestlé with their Dutch Speculoos flavored ice cream which is part of their Temptations Flavors of the World line.  I distinctly recall that Pancake House and Krispy Kreme offered Speculoos Cookie Butter products last year; I regret not trying them out.

Image courtesy of Vera Greutink of Grown To Cook (www.growntocook.com)

Image courtesy of Vera Greutink of Grown To Cook (www.growntocook.com)

Speculoos, to the curious mind, is a spiced shortcrust biscuit that is traditionally eaten on or before St. Nicholas’ feast in the Netherlands. Spices used include cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, cardamom and white pepper.  The amount of spices alone suggest that this is not your ordinary cookie; it has a bite and packs a really good punch flavor-wise.  I have recognized this in my first two fixes of Speculoos Cookie Butter ice cream and I was not disappointed.  Thus, you can understand my expectations as I try on this one from Nestlé.

Here I go! The family gets to share too. :)

Here I go! The family gets to share too. 🙂

The first thing that came to mind when I ate my first two spoonfuls was that sense of familiarity, like  seeing an old friend who disappeared for years. By the succeeding spoonfuls though, you start to see that your friend had a makeover and it shocks you enough that you cannot decide whether you like it or not. Then, you get to a point wherein you have formed your opinion and politely say to your friend, “I love you but no, it’s too much.”

In my recent review of the product line, what made it a win for me was that the flavors were delectable and luscious but not over-the-top with sweetness. The first three flavors had a lot of texture and contrast, something which I failed to experience with this new one.  Speculoos Cookie Butter as an ingredient is quite over-the-top so to taste it as the ice cream’s flavor base and swirls/chunks of it with every scoop (just to remind you what you are eating) is too in-your-face, more annoying than pleasant. I was looking for something to balance it out, which made me resort to eating some salty chips along with it — a habit I like doing more as an act of indulgence rather than compensation. Honestly, I’m not entirely disappointed about the product but I wished some editing was made in terms of the flavor and contrast aspect of the ice cream, either…

– loose the Speculoos Cookie Butter swirls/chunks but keep the flavor in the ice cream itself;
– add dried fruits or nuts for texture; or
– keep the swirls/chucks but make the ice cream just plain vanilla.

I know that by doing the latter, Nestlé would not be able to differentiate from the other companies who have been offering the same.  So I wished they would have gone for the first suggestion.  Sometimes, keeping it simple may end up being the best thing. And for a product that uses a not-so-simple ingredient, a clean, straight-forward presentation is all it needs to win an ice cream lover’s heart.

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My Rating:
2.5 out of 5 stars

My Two Cents:
If you want a quick Speculoos Cookie Butter fix, you can get a cheap one for about Php 45.00 a cup (until that food outlet changes their dessert menu again) or the more expensive yet decadent one for Php 130.00 a scoop (I doubt this will disappear in that gelateria’s menu).  If the first recommendation disappears, then your next affordable bet would be this product.  However, among the four flavors in the product line, this is going to be the last one I’d be tempted to buy again.

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DISCLAIMER:
This is not a sponsored blog post. Like my other product reviews, I purchased the product and tried it out.

Image featured at the top of this review is courtesy of Nestlé Ice Cream Philippines’ Facebook page. Other images featured are my own.

Product Review: Nestlé Temptations Flavors of the World Ice Cream

1250_320387884760027_82622719_nProduct Name: Nestlé Temptations Flavors of the World Ice Cream
Type: Ice Cream
Price: PHP 199.00 SRP
Where To Buy: In all major supermarkets and convenience stores nationwide

Official TV Commercial:

Review In A Nutshell:
Each 800 ml. tub gives you an ice cream flavor that is unbelievably delectable and luscious, but not over-the-top with sweetness, which is definitely very European.

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Today marks the end of my long journey of eating three tubs of ice cream. Well, not really. Haha! The first time I saw this product in the cold storage of nearby supermarkets at work, I swore to myself I’d have my fill and make a product review. No regrets really despite the… uh… pounds I’ve added (*hides*) and… erm… the money I spent.

My European Journey Through Three Tubs of Ice Cream :P

My European Journey Through Three Tubs of Ice Cream 😉

Nestlé Ice Cream under its Temptations brand launched the Flavors of the World line-up in the Philippine market around April 2013. This new line-up features three (3) very European flavors — French Salted Caramel (France), Italian Coffee Affogato (Italy) and Belgian Chocolate Praline (Belgium) — adding up to its already enormous selection of ice cream variants. It retails at Php 199.00 and in it is only available in 800 ml. tub sizes.

At face value, it’s intimidating to try even a tub because it is very expensive. For its retail price of Php 199.00 and its 800 ml. tub size, you can get two (2) tubs or even a half-gallon of ice cream for the same price with other brands. Also, I think I’ve mentioned in my other reviews that I don’t have much of a sweet tooth so it did not really encourage me. However, when I do need a sweet fix, my instant go-to treat is vanilla ice cream! I don’t care where it comes from, as long as it’s vanilla ice cream, I’m good. In a way, the product itself passed the first stage of my curiosity maze: it’s ice cream so I’ll probably like it. What really got me to start trying these flavors were two words which sounded music to my ears: “Salted Caramel”. You can probably guess which of the three flavors I picked up first.

From Bottom Left to Top Right: Italian Coffee Affogato, French Salted Caramel, Belgian Chocolate Praline

From Bottom Left to Top Right: Italian Coffee Affogato, French Salted Caramel, Belgian Chocolate Praline

In terms of taste, each of the flavors offer something really different — from the rich salty, gooey caramel to the bitter coffee — but share one thing in common, it’s love with every spoonful. Each 800 ml. tub gives you an ice cream flavor that is unbelievably delectable and luscious, but not over-the-top with sweetness, which is definitely very European. With ice cream, I generally don’t finish a cup easily because of the richness of the buttermilk but I didn’t have a hard time with this. Also, the addition of cashew nuts (Italian Coffee Affogato) and bittersweet chocolate chips (Belgian Chocolate Praline) gave texture to the creaminess of the ice cream — plus points in my book. The longer you indulge in your tub of ice cream, you inevitably start forgetting how expensive it is. You even rationalize that it is still cheaper than buying two scoops of gelato from a mall stand or store in Greenbelt or Podium.

Desserts, such as ice cream, are the one of best indulgences a person can have. If Nestlé Temptations Flavors of the World Ice Cream’s goal was indulgence, it sure hit its target. However, I’m not sure how soon before I get another tub but it’ll definitely have one with either salty caramel or cashew nuts in it. 😛

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My Rating:
4 out of 5 stars (the price is still a deterrent, sorry)

My Two-Cents:
If you like ice cream and don’t really mind the price, this is definitely a must-try. And don’t scrimp, try all flavors, as in ALL. I hope they don’t remove it from the cold storage shelves anytime soon because I’m starting to see less of it.

My Ranking of the Three Flavors, Taste-Wise
1. French Salted Caramel: if you haven’t tasted any ice cream with a hint of salt, introduce yourself to this flavor.
2. Italian Coffee Affogato: for coffee-holics out there, this is definitely for you.
3. Belgian Chocolate Praline: what surprised me is that it wasn’t too sweet or chocolaty, good for a non-chocoholic like me.

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DISCLAIMER:
This is not a sponsored blog post. Like my other product reviews, I purchased the product and tried it out.

Images above are courtesy of Nestlé Ice Cream Philippines’ Facebook page. Other images featured are my own.