30 August 2012

The Big Sale at SM Southmall starts tomorrow!

It's the end of August and start of the 'ber' months, I can't be more excited for the holidays! And we all know what this means, it's the start of the holiday shopping season. What better way to start than with a BIG sale.

SM Southmall has been our go-to mall nowadays, it's nearby for us who are in the south area and we don't even need to pass by Coastal road or EDSA to get to it. I have time off tomorrow so I will spy what's on sale.

The Department Store at SM Southmall is worth the mention. I don't know why but I always think they have the nicest racks of casual dresses. I always come home with a decent yet practical find for the closet.

Note to self: Don't forget my SM Advantage and Global Pinoy cards :)

Check out their Facebook Page or follow them on Twitter to get updates on the BIG sale.

20 August 2012

Weekend at the SM Megamall Food Sale - Pepper Lunch

I've never really heard of major shopping malls having a 'food sale'. Until last Saturday, we trooped to SM Megamall to satisfy our curiosity and bellies.


They've got posters and flyers about the 3-day Food Sale. A great way to help guide shoppers on participating restos - more establishments should copy this. The fun started when my date and I argued which restaurant to try.

Our top choices for lunch were Yabu, Masuki and Pepper Lunch. I won the debate with this deal:

 Beef Garlic Pepper Rice for only P168 (original price P215).

It's been a while since we ate at Pepper Lunch but I remember we always had fun cooking our own food. Plus, I always have an inner battle on whether to use the special honey brown sauce (Amakuchi) or the garlic soy sauce (Karakuchi).

The discount was an encouraging invitation for us to try new menu items too, at a fraction of the bill. Plus, a good spacious table was available for us food monsters to occupy. It pays to be early!

On our table we enjoyed sharing:

 Kani Shake! Shake! Salad

Simply the best Kani Salad I have ever tasted, ever! I know it's weird how the best kani salad will come from a fast food - but it does. It's far from mediocre Japanese salads I've had. It had authentic Japanese Mayo, Sesame Oil, and fresh Udon noodles at the bottom.

Although the salad came in a plastic cup, I was surprised how much greens could fit in a Shake! Shake! salad. Really the Udon noodles was a great surprise, it soaked up all the delish dressing like it read my mind.

Spicy Tuna Shake! Shake! Salad

My partner had this. We were both selfish with our own salads that we never shared. As far as I know, he loved it to bits and I just had to point out the Udon noodles at the bottom of the cup.

I wish Pepper Lunch could have Shake! Shake! Salads in XXL sizes.

Beef Garlic Pepper Rice

We love the addition of garlic flakes from the usual pepper rice. The wait staff was helpful in re-orienting us on how to prepare this. You should season the dish with Amakuchi or Karakuchi after the meat is cooked. Plus, mix mix mix to get the best pepper rice.

Combo Chicken and Angus Beef Pepper Rice

I am always bitin with meat at Pepper Lunch because they are so tasty. So I had a double whammy of meat chicken and beef. This dish has lots of veggies too, the rice comes as a side.

So again, cook the meet first by mixing well. I loved the Amakuchi on the chicken and the Karakuchi on the beef. Oh when will I see you again...

Vanilla Crepe Cake

If you don't like eating messy crepes, this is for you. A crepe cake is, you guessed it, made up of many layers of crepes. You can fork it once and you get a mouthful of crepes. Follow it soon after with a spoon of vanilla icecream with caramel sauce. Et voila! Delicious crepe fun with more poise. More than convenience, we love how sulit this dessert was (read: not filled with air). Perfect to share and to cap your Pepper Lunch experience with.

We wished our son was there to enjoy eating with us. But this was our couple 'date day' after all. We just got him this toy sizzling plate from Toy Kingdom (also on sale).

After Pepper Lunch, we enjoyed trying other restaurants who were participating at the Food Sale like Masuki.

Major thanks to the Pepper Lunch staff who were all attentive. I almost forgot my favorite Starbucks tumbler on the table until the staff run towards us with my tumbler in tow. Whew! 

I was still hooked on a Japanese theme (but we agreed not to eat at our usual Japanese spots). So we had Royal Milk Tea, Ice Coffee, and Okonomiyaki at Jipan.

Le Coeur de France also had their breads outside. It only means one thing and that these were also on SALE and buy 1 take 1's. I hoarded lots of Rice Loaf, Egg Tarts, Vanilla Mamons, Chocolate Croissants, and Ensaymadas.

I can't say how much I love the SM Megamall Food Sale experience! When is  the next one? And next time, I will make sure to bring the little food monster :)

17 August 2012

TGIF and it's the SM Megamall Mega Food Sale

If this doesn't make you want to go, I don't know what would!

I am not going today but tomorrow, I wish it will all be sunny and crisp :)

What's your favorite joint in SM Megamall?

06 August 2012

Surprising & Delicious Cabalen - SM Mall of Asia

Buffets are becoming the norm these days. Smorgasbords of international cuisine and desserts have never been this accessible. After trying out so many buffets from hotels to restaurants that take our taste buds into flight, it's normal to feel tired of the gastronomical jetlag. It's a good time to come back to where we came from.

Filipino cuisine. In Anthony Bourdain's trip to the Philippines, it's evident we've adapted to so many cultures and tastes. It's hard to find authentic Pinoy food. Even so, we've memorized Filipino buffets and can readily name three (and only three) - Kamayan, Barrio Fiesta, and of course, Cabalen.

Honestly, we know these restaurants but have chosen to forget them. I had a horrific experience (not with Cabalen) but from a similar restaurant where food were swimming in oil. No wonder no one was coming back to the buffet table!

So one night my partner invited me to dine with some friends and trial Cabalen's buffet, I felt hesitant, excited, and anxious at the same time.

Filipino Cuisine According to Cabalen

Their salad choices - steamed okra, sitaw, talong, and pipino with an array of 100% Pinoy dips like burong hipon and bagoong.

A breath of fresh air from the usual water lettuce!

This is the beginning of the many praises I will sing to Cabalen. First, all dishes are interestingly Filipino. Except for the very petite Asian section. Where else can you find a dish made from balut and kalabaw among many others?

  Not your usual balut - Balut ala Pobre

I've read write ups about Cabalen's limited food choices. But I also believe in quality outweighing quantity. Expect that dining in Cabalen is like attending a  Pinoy family feast - you don't expect Japanese sashimi or American ribs. But you can bet there's kaldereta, lechon, seafood, and many more dishes close to home.

Lechon Paksiw

And occasionally, those from foreign lands that left a mark on our hearts. Blame the Japanese.


 Vegetable Udon

 Oh yes, Tempura

You're not dreaming, there is tempura in Cabalen. Many diners thought and wrote there's none but ask and you shall receive. Cabalen has a thing for crispiness (check out their fried Kangkong) and to maintain the quality of Tempura - they are cooked as you order. No additional cost, totally included in the buffet, just ask.

Other cook as you order meals, included in the buffet

 Pinoy sisig, Lechon sisig, Tofu, etc.

 You can also ask for the lechon to come to the table

Cabalen's OC-ness in crispiness goes beyond to their quick refills, wait service, and their fast removal of used plates. This is an advantage of smaller, cozier buffets. You get noticed quickly and don't have to do much to ask for something.

More importantly, the quality of their dishes are that of home-cooked meals. So many of the dishes I tried reminded me of my mother's cooking. She is a great cook and I sing alleluia when she comes home and cook for us.

At the end of plate number 3, I am disappointed at how small my gut is. I wish I left more space for seafood like inihaw na hito paired with dinuguan and more lechon.

I was determined to sample their desserts though. I had guinataan which in Pampanga they call Sampelot. While my mates concocted their own Halo-Halo.

Guinataan aka Sampelot


Cabalen sure felt like home and it was hard to leave (especially with all the Lechon). It's not everyday that we find a good old restaurant that remained loyal to their patrons and only serve good, quality, and honest to goodness food.

All of us on the table rekindled our love for Filipino cuisine, talked about true Pinoy journeys of family and work, OFW talk, and so much more we all could relate. That's how good company Cabalen is.

Cabalen is at SM Mall of Asia, Glorietta, SM Megamall, and Trinoma. Dinner buffet weekdays is P468.