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Even though I didn't order the expensive U.S. steak, I was very happy with the porterhouse that I got. It was tender and tasty and the portion was generous. The sauce on the side was also nice and salty. Even the corn and other vegetables were good. I wish I could have had french fries on the side, though. I was offered only mashed potato or rice.
They didn't seem to have enough waiters for the size of the place.
Overall, I enjoyed the experience and I look forward to going back with my family and friends.
7 years ago 2008-01-25
Trinoma’s P 1,000 pesos dinner date Challenge continues….
By Aly Abaquin
4th stop: PINOY PRIDE- ABE
If you and your date dig Filipino feel good cuisine and being patriotic about your meals don’t miss out on this resto-ABE’s excellent home cooked meals from the Capampangan region.
The resto is a tasteful tribute of a loving son to his passionate father. Mr. Larry Cruz of the LJC group of restaurants who owns Café Adriatico in Malate is behind this very successful restuarant which pays tribute to his dad Emilio Aguilar Cruz who is fondly called ABE.
Abe by the way is also capampangan word for friend and companion. So let the old champ enthralled us with his Capampagan Filipino cooking at its freshest and best . Newly opened in TRINOMA at the third (3rd) level.
THE FEEL: At first glance Abe’s location is prime with a breathtaking view of the hills from afar and lush greenery from a nearby Golf course- a perfect AL FRESCO dining under the stars.
The interiors is Filipino contemporary with its cool and soothing beige walls mix in with browns plus a dash of richly colored paintings in the walls makes you feel welcome. The “BANIG” inspired chairs are very comfortable, indigenious and durable amidst the multi-colored window seal reminiscing of a visit to some ancestral house in the proverbs but this is more hip and inviting.
Coveted seating : Forget about the Serendra branch you have more seats waiting for you here.Highly recommended is the dinner by candle light. AL fresco dining at its best . Take the leftside most table for clearer view then pray that it does not rain on your parade.
PRICE: Since we only have P1,000 pesos to spend –this really had my brain cells working. The price is reasonable but some of the items in the menu are a little bit pricey, but worth it. So many good dishes to choose from- but with a budget we need to spend wisely.
DRUM ROLL PLEASE!!!
I opted for the house specialties good for two DUHHH! NO BRAINER . Ben Cab’s Lamb adobo and Thelma San Juan’s mom rellenong mais that we love to try and SWAK na SWAK sa budget.
Remember this is a date not a pig-out. Coupled with a shake all these for only P 1,014.20 ( price based on Jan 12, 2008 inclusive of taxes)
Recommended menu : Rellenong Mais P 196, Lamb adobo P 392, 2 unlimited rice at P 62/pax (P 124)then 2 glasses of tamarind shake for the dessert flavor ala drink P 105/glass (P 210) + 10% service charge : Total: P 1,1014.20 not bad for a friendly date.
We wanted the Abellini cocktail drink - a refreshing white rum, cantaloupe, middle with shaved ice and laced with crush fresh mint leaves but on that day they run out of mint leaves too bad!!! So we opted for the tamarind shake which they recommended or the red wine- shirak at P 175/glass but hold on budget budget remember….. Boo!!! Hoo!!!! A challenge really.
The FOOD : The 3 pieces rellenong mais is a combination of sweet corn, tidbits of fresh catch shrimps, and cheese/ flour - all mix with farm fresh eggs then skillet fried for that omellete Filipino stlye.
It is good with tomatoe ketchup rather than soy sauce. ( If I could only improve it- I will add to its filling or topped it with crumbled goats cheese, freshly chopped basil and button mushrooms well that’s only artsy me-and only if Thelma’s MOM approved of it. He he he … DREAM ON ALY- dream on... . But the taste is classic and standard.
I just wanted to taste it after all. To find out whats the craze all about.
The Lamb adobo: it’s the sauce that is a mystery to me which you can drizzle to your unlimited rice ration and chow all you want. The lamb chops is succulently soft and amazingly chunky.
Hmmmh…. The secret is on how they marinated it with their secret spice mixture and how they slowly cooked/simmer in over medium low heat until the meat is almost tender then if my guest is right the spice mixture is not just your regular adobo mix but with-special kosher rock salt, pepper, turmeric, freshly ground white pepper, finely chopped red onions with garlic then mix with fine siling labuyo then sauted in oil and butter in a large sauce pan then slowly add the soy sauce, dried basil leaves and whole cloves garlic then simmer till the lamb is almost done… Hungry ka na -ha!!! . Hmmmh your guess is as good as mine…… we might have decoded the secret of this signature dish.
So far the LAMB ADOBO should be in any BALIKBAYAN’s itirenary. Superb !
Kudos to Ben Cab.
The tamarind shake is the local take on the green mango shake sweet and tangy just right for the dessert drink combi. While your server also serves each one of you a free burong mangga ( pickeled green mango over beer with sugar and salt). Okey but no thanks we had the tamarind remember…
SERVICE : Helpful, friendly and informative
ABE’s truly makes us proud to be PINOY!! HAIL THE LAMB ADOBO as Filipino culinary discovery ! 5 spoons.
7 years ago 2008-01-23
this restaurant does have a weird layout. i wonder why they put the bar in the middle of the restaurant with very few chairs and tables, though there are some seats with a good view at the back. food is average. their signature dishes are spaghettini and chicken fingers. the cakes are good, but they're from the neighbor restaurant jack's loft, so that doesn't count. i wouldn't bring my date there, unless she's not that special.
7 years ago 2008-01-22
TRINOMA's 1, 000 pesos FINE DINING (dinner date) Challenge!!! Continues. . . . .
By: Aly abaquin (http://alyabaquin.blogspot.com)
Third Stop: Holy Cow: Simple Contemporary Country Charm
For teenagers and twenty something couples out there that likes casual dinners that is fun-filled, no frills but pleasurable-here is an idea you need to follow by the letter so to speak.
Look no further a casual dinner for two plus a memorable gift and then capped it off with a romantic movie date is a sure WIN!
You only need to spend P770 for dinner for two and P 300 pesos for that movie date total P 1,070. Can’t believe it then read on ….Your bargain eater-outer recommends a visit to Holy Cow!!! Holy what??? Its Holy Cow silly!
Try the newest holy cow in TRINOMA. It is located in the 4th level-you can’t miss it coz it is the only resto that have a cow with halo and wings gracing infront of its façade. Let Holy Cow amaze you of that perfect dinner date for only P 770 pesos and then head off to Trinoma Cinemas and buy yourself and your date tickets for that romantic movie date. Let this resto seduce you of its easy going charm.
AMBIANCE: Modern and Traditional. Country and Contemporary. They may sound like strange bedfellows but when it comes to Holy Cow’s interiors it works.
Entering the resto, you immediately notice its high ceiling made of natural colored oak-wood which lends authenticity to the place. Making you feel that you are inside a barn house but contemporary in style. I love the understated furniture that doesn’t need to shout to be heard.
You know the kind, where you want to kick off your shoes and sink into the best seat in the house preferably with a bowl of good ice cream- that’s COMFORT.
The resto promises of comfort, simplicity and style.
COVETED SEATING: Black leatherette Wing chairs are comfy and a must to be reserved.
PRICE: Reasonable and competitive. (The menu pricing does not include the 10% service charge.)
Here’s the math : 2 orders of the Cornflakes Chicken Tots Meal at P 350 each + a Cute COW + 10% tax = P770.
You just order two of the Cornflakes Chicken Tots/ Kids meal. Surprise!!!The food serving is relatively standard and at P 350 per entrée no need to share. - Okay! Okay! You might be thinking of that HAPPY MEAL which quick service restaurants are offering –this meal is much better it has punch, pizzazz and spunk!
You have your own individual pasta, French fries, dessert and a regular ice tea plus a bundle of joy that comes in a soft plush toy cow available in blue, white or pink. All you need to do is talk and smile all through out dinner as you feed each other the Chicken Tots - Romance is in the air.
FOOD QUALITY: Highly recommended is the cornflakes chicken tots’ meal.
Fried Chicken takes on a new guise-crusted cornflakes was use to be the breading of the chicken nuggets as it is deep fried in healthy vegetable oils to be crunchy then set on top of the al dente spaghetti. You have a choice of honey Dijon mustard or BBQ sauce plus a side serving of Idaho potato fries.
Your drink is a regular ice tea and compliment it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream drizzled with chocolate. Don’t forget to gift your date with the cuddly little baby cow that comes with its own barn house box for take out.
The food is standard a kick back in NO FUSS, NO MUSS style-kids and adults will surely love.
SERVICE: Staff are gracious and helpful but not informative. (They need to taste what they are selling to be knowledgeable on the ingredients so they can recommend.)
OVERALL HOLY COW tops for 3 Spoons for innovative dinner.
Comfort, simplicity and style that’s Holy Cow.
7 years ago 2008-01-21
TRINOMA's P1, 000 pesos FINE DINING (dinner date) Challenge!!! Continues. . . . .
By : Aly abaquin ( http://alyabaquin.blogspot.com)
Second stop: Haiku: Japanese Cuisine
In trinoma there is only one resto that uplifts the standard of the Japanese cuisine and that is HAIKU at the third (3rd) level. Your date would be impress since the setting is already a visual feast and makes you look forward to a truly pleasurable dinner.
So let’s rate HAIKU:
AMBIANCE: Hip and inviting with a contemporary twist by using the Japanese OBI-BELT as inspiration. The eyes are filled with vivid circular black and gold design overhanging as half domes enveloping diners below while seated on a circular HAIKU enclaves-cocooning you and your date for that romantic one-on- one. The music is soothing and relaxing (Enya was playing).
COVETED SEATING: The Haiku cocoon seating- there are only 3 circular enclaves of this sort so reserved in advance or you’ll be seating in their regular boxy seats.
PRICE: It is a little bit pricey buts its location and setting compensate for a memorable date. They’ve passed the P1,000 pesos challenge with a logical choice in the menu of their entrée worth P 725 and 2 glasses of Sake at P105/per glass. A total of P 935 pesos.
Menu: Entrée “A” – a choice of main dish of scallop teppanyaki plus sashimi. miso soup, salad, rice and dessert. P 725 and the house blend or Haiku sake for P 105/per glass. Grand Total P 935 pesos. (Based on Jan 10 2008 price list)
FOOD QUALITY: The entrée is good to share but the serving is bit average.
Miso Soup- the well blended of flavors of the tofu, miso paste, wakame seaweed in broth is a little bit salty but standard.
Haiku Style Sashimi Salad is a composition of tuna flakes, crabsticks, onion leeks, ginger, julienne carrots, nori squares and is tossed in select green cabbage drizzled with sesame seeds w/a special Haiku salad dressing topped with deep fried potato mini strips is a must try! The 3 sashimi strip and 3 Norwegian salmon on the side compliments well as appetizers.
Main Dish: The choices of either or ebi tempura and sashimi are classics and by the book but the scallops are superb.
Dessert: Ask for the Green Tea ice cream and you’ll know why is highly recommended.
WINE: Sake is good, though sweet compared to other Japanese restos. For dry or more robust sake ask for their selections.
Or your choice of the Haiku house blend drink of watermelon, cantaloupe, crushed ice with a special fruity blend topped with pandan syrup and is served in a large tall fluted glass good for sharing. Ask your server for 2 straws for that romantic sip.
PRESENTATION: The presentation is an art form in itself the entree are served in a big ceramic platter inside it are a symphony of containers mimicking an artful bento box.-To pretty to eat. Even your water is served artistically in white abstract hand-blown glassware.
NOTE: the servings are average in size and if your date is a hearty eater this is not the place for you.
SERVICE: Staff are gracious, informative and helpful
Haiku’s overall ratings: 3 Spoons
Flavors are fresh, presentation is an art form but a little bit pricey.
7 years ago 2008-01-21
TRINOMA is a MULTI-CULTURAL GASTRONOMICAL TREAT! You would experience an array of colorful flavors around the globe in just 90 minutes from America, Greece, China, Italy, Japan, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand and our very own the Philippines.
So can TRINOMA restos survive the P 1,000 pesos fine dining challenge? As a foodie at heart- my gaged for judging, qualifying and recommending a resto rests in the following Criteria: Ambiance, Food Quality, Service- Unique Dining experience (UDE) and Price. I rate them with my silver spoon awards. One spoon being the lowest while five spoons being the highest.
So if you have only a P 1,000 pesos budget on hand –What do you do?
I always plan my attack. My philosophy being: "GOOD THINGS COMES IN THREES" to wit: PASTA, SALAD and WINE" (PSW) - Don't worry about eating a fancy entree, appetizers or lots of courses-My recommendation for a good eat-out for two is the PSW system- Everybody likes Pasta, Salad and include a glass of full-bodied red wine or a chardonnay then lean back and let the conversation roll -after all your eyes should be set on your date not on the menu!
Let the search begins: First Stop: GREECE.
CYMA ESTATORIO : A Greek taverna prides itself of the main idea that delicious food is a "PERFECT SIMPLICITY" meaning-not to interfere with the natural ingredient’s natural taste-"raw products are such flawless quality so covering them up with sauces and forceful flavors is exactly what SHOULD NOT BE DONE" according to its owner and Executive Chef Robby Goco.
AMBIANCE: the Resto is easy to the eyes-its airy and natural ambiance plays well to the senses. With its Blue Mediterranean colored chairs echoes the deep blue Aegean Sea that surrounds the magnificent isles of Santorini. By the way the blue color evokes honesty and simplicity-indeed they don’t want the interiors to bother you while you eat. But instead compliments your dining experience.
Coveted seating: For daters who like to smooch, play footsies and be touchy you might want to take the rightmost corner love seat- a must to reserved seating for that romantic/intimate interlude. Forget about the dome seating structures for this is usually for group diners.
PRICE : The Price is reasonable and competitive but with the P1,000 pesos challenge they are over by only P30-95 pesos but not bad since you got to taste Pasta, Salad, House blend Drink/Wine + dessert! Without the desserts Set “A” is P 885 Set “B” is P 900. ;)
The Food is simply fantastic and their servings are good for two pax- GOOD for Sharing! I strongly recommend the two menus for only -hold your seat P1, 030 and P1, 095 (note: the prices are vat inclusive and are base on their Jan 10, 2008 price list)
Set “A” Salates/ Salad : Horiatiki Salata “ Solo” P 195
Pasta : Yiouvetsi ‘Solo” P 320
Wine/ Drink : 2 glasses /Musa de Vauformozo P 370 (185per glass)
Dessert : Glyka : Pagato CYMA’s cheesecake sorbet P 145
Total: P 1,030 pesos
Set “B Salates/ Salad : Roka Salata “ Solo” P 295
Main Dish : Moussaka ‘Solo” P 235
Wine/ Drink : 2 glasses/Musa de Vauformozo P 370 (185per glass)
Dessert : Glyka : Flaming Mangoes P 195
Total: P 1,095 pesos
Set “A” – The Horiatiki salad or the greek village summer salad is a classic salad with feta cheese, tomatoes, cucumber, olives capers and red wine vinaigrette served w/grilled garlic bread- this salad would be a bit too much but very appetizing.
While the Yiouvetsi pasta of baked lamb w/orzo (rice shaped pasta) served w/ grated parmesan, parsley and EVOO! Is a great pair and is a traditional recipe in greece that is fulfilling and satisfying too and can be shared.
Be sure to wash this down slowly with the MUSA DE VAUFORMOZO (Tinto) a drink of mature fruit aroma (raspberry, blackberry) black fruits (cranberry) and floral notes giving it a good expression. All these harmoniously play in your mouth- feel the fresh flavors then sealed it with a sugary, sweet tangy dessert cyma’s cheesecake sorbet. - A perfect match for a perfect evening.
Set “B” My personal choice and favorite.
The food is simply prepared but very appetizing- the Roka Salata “solo” is a combi of fresh aragula (roka), chopped romaine lettuce, sun dried tomatoes, candied walnuts with shaved parmesan in traditional Greek vinaigrette is a must try-FABULOUS! Counter it with the Meatless Moussaka layered of seasoned green lentils and tofu, potatoes, zucchini, eggplant and Greek Béchamel sauce. ( for non-vegetarian pls order the moussaka with ground pork same price) then wash it down slowly of the MUSA de vau Formozo a drink that is just right for all types of light dishes,pasta,BBQ and grills.
Then OPA!! The Flambé Mangoes – Cyma’s specialty served w/vanilla ice cream on the side with end the night with a smile and satisfaction. Great Food for a great price.
SERVICE: Friendly and cheerful staff and attentive servers.
OPA! OPA! OPA!Unique dining experience: The servers Shouts OPA for every Flaming dish brought out. Cheering that good food is served.
RATINGS: 4 SPOONS
Cyma is an experience worth repeating! I shall return!!!
7 years ago 2008-01-21
for P250, you can enjoy around 30 to 40 dishes, including desserts such as ice cream, ginataang bilo bilo and pudding. not bad for treating a large number of friends with humongous appetites. though the service needs some improvement.
7 years ago 2008-01-21
Cyma was packed, so we tried this place beside it because there were a couple of tables available. Big mistake.
The seafood chowder was not hot. The Asian chop chop salad needed to be seasoned. The steak--which was supposed to be their bestseller--was overcooked and appeared to have been thrown on top of my fries and vegetables without any regard for presentation. Very little peppercorn sauce was poured onto the meat, which I guess was OK because the sauce was pretty tasteless anyway. Though the restaurant was far from full, they had run out of mashed potatoes, and the waiters didn't know it. Hell, the waiters didn't know enough to give us steak knives. We asked a manager for the knives and she brought us two, even though there were four of us so we had to ask for two more.
The layout of the restaurant also seemed wrong. There was a big useless counter in the middle and all the tables were squeezed against the wall.
Moral lesson: Patience is a virtue. Next time wait for a table at Cyma.
7 years ago 2008-01-13
restaurants are all about the service. some restaurants can get away with bad food at horrific prices only because the service is above par. at the trinoma food tour, an event which supposedly showcases trinoma restaurants, a certain "ann" who claimed to be the manager of cabalen practically shooed some guests from the food tour. very rudely, she said only three dishes were part of the tour and that the food tour people should not touch the other fare. hmm, had they wanted it to be this way, they should have prepared a spread, as what the other restaurants did, indicating that the food tour members should only relegate themselves to certain signature dishes. a separate setup could have prevented the humiliation of the guests, who weren't in the know as to who to talk to or where to go. if cabalen treats guests this way in a MARKETING event, where they invite people to sample their food, what worse fate awaits people who ACTUALLY PAY to dine with them? if you really like cabalen's food, stay away from the trinoma branch. there are other branches that treat customers better, like the ones in glorietta and festival mall.
7 years ago 2008-01-12
I’ve always liked Kapampangan food. I never had bad things to say about any Kapampangan restaurants until recently, during the TriNoMa Blogger Food Tour. I cannot speak for the other bloggers who were in my group, but I will speak based on my own experience. I have been working for a service industry for more than three years now and I know that customers should be treated well, if not that well, at least they must be treated with some dignity and respect.
Inside the Cabalen branch at TriNoMa, I felt like my dignity was trampled upon by no less than their manager named Anne. At least that’s what she told me she was. The blogger food tour was supposed to be fun and the participants were expected to learn more about the restaurants, their food and the whole dining experience. So I was expecting that all the partner establishments of the tour were gonna treat us well. I did not want special treatment, all I wanted was decent treatment.
In most of the establishments that we went to during the tour, the managers and staff welcomed us with smiles on their faces and they were very accommodating. I noticed that some of them went the extra mile just so we would feel special (and probably write good stuff about them). And yes, if you treat us well and we truly, honestly love what you offer, we will write good stuff about you.
But we will not write good stuff about Cabalen. The experience was so bad I wanted to make a scene. However, thanks to the previous restaurants we’ve visited, my stomach was no longer grumbling and the bugnuting bakla in me decided to keep cool.
I have never been treated so badly in an establishment the way I was treated, by no less than the manager, in Cabalen. Here’s what transpired based on my own recollection:
When we went in, we were welcomed by an almost-empty restaurant with no wait staff nor other staff i sight. I saw a woman at a table on a corner with what seemed like tons of paperwork. She saw me and the other bloggers I was with but she stayed put until I called her attention with a courteous smile and a friendly “hi.”. When the woman finally approached me, I told her courteously that we were there for the Blogger Food Tour.
She gave me a look and replied with a very dismissive “ok.” She proceeded to the buffet table full of what seemed like very delectable dishes. I knew they were good since I have dined at Cabalen (not the TriNoMa branch) on more than one occasion in my lifetime. In a very unfriendly tone, the woman quipped: “You can only taste 3 dishes: kare-kare, lechon and sisig.” I told her that was fine with me and initially thought that she was leading me to the area where all the three dishes were placed. But to my dismay, I only recognized the kare-kare and didn’t see the lechon nor the sisig anywhere near it. I politely asked her where the lechon and sisig were and she led me to the corner close to the kitchen door.
Noticing that she was quite beleaguered (or should I say bewildered?), I tried engaging her in conversation. My experience working with bar and restaurant owners and staff has taught me that sometimes, even if you are the customer, it is okay to make the first move and start something. I wanted to know more about the store and the food they served us. I wanted her to tell me, like how the other managers of the other establishments told me, why their food is the best and why they have been in business for a long time.
But she didn’t. Instead, I felt an air of arrogance, as if she was telling me that she was too important to be bothered by people who were there just for the free food. I let it pass. Strike two, I said to myself. I asked for her name , and she said it was Ann (or Anne?). I told her I presumed she was the manager to which she replied in the affirmative. I thought that was the end of it and that strike three wouldn’t come.
But no! She did a third strike. The only people who knew that only three dishes were part of the blogger food tour were I and some of the bloggers who went in together with me. Those who came in after we have started eating were not welcomed nor given an orientation about the dishes. There were numerous dishes on display at the buffet table, so it was natural for someone to try out the things that look the most appealing to them. I overheard her talking rudely to some of the bloggers, saying that only three dishes were part of the tour. Some of those who have already gotten items not part of the three had to put the food back onto the serving plates. The others, after some discussion, were allowed to consume the food they have already put on their plates.
This may seem very trivial but I was really offended by how I and the others were treated. I felt like I was dirt. I felt like a beggar being shooed away and told that beggars can’t be choosers. I am not a beggar as I’m sure the other bloggers aren’t. i know some of them are students and some of them are professionals. I will not use a personal attack on her even if she treated my person so badly. I felt really low. Parang tinapakan at inginudngod sa putik ang aking pagkatao. I wanted to confront her but I did not want to make a scene. Such unprofessional behavior should never be displayed in front of customers. We may have eaten for free, but that does not give her the right to treat us the way she did.
After consuming the minimal amount of food on my plate, I headed to La Maison where I was treated in a completely different way. Ann should learn a lesson or two from the management of La Maison who were very welcoming, accommodating and professional. They engaged us in conversation and made sure we enjoyed not only the food but the whole experience of dining with them. it was at that point when I wanted to go back to Cabalen and offer to pay for what we consumed — free or not.
But my other self reminded me to just keep it cool and let it go. Besides, I can always blog about it!
May this serve as a lesson for those working in the service industry: That no matter what type of customers you have, that even if they are dining for free, and even if they do not look as if they are able to pay for the food or cannot afford your food, treat them with respect and never trample on their dignity. I hope that Ann learns a lesson from this and I hope her superiors will give her proper coaching and train her well. I am not calling for a boycott of the establishment and it is not my intention to get her fired. All I want is for her to learn her lesson and gain more professional experience in her capacity as a manager.
But above it all, I just want to be treated with respect. Bakla Ako, May Reklamo?
7 years ago 2008-01-11
The Lamb Adobo alone is worth the trip. The Shrimp Binondo, Suam/Corn Soup an Pritong Baby Hito were good, but I remember them being slightly better at Serendra. The Gule Magalang, in particular, was a disappointment at Trinoma.
Since the Quezon City branch doesn't fill up with people, you don't have to wait forever to catch the attention of a waiter to bring you rice. (Hot, steaming, white rice!) On the contrary, the staff are friendly, knowledgeable and helpful.
7 years ago 2008-01-10
A two-piece meal now costs P117, an increase of close to ten pesos. They're also giving less rice and the soft drink seems to have gotten smaller, too.
I'm giving them an extra food star for consistency and product innovation.
7 years ago 2008-01-07