Draft Gastropub: European Comfort Food

This post has been way overdue. We were here 4 months ago but I haven't gotten the time to write my thoughts on this fairly new addition to the Fort Strip...until now. It's my only day off from work (boo!) and I decided that writing an entry today would kind of relax my mind. I was updating financial reports  earlier so I figured this would be a nice breather. 

Draft Gastro-Pub has the ambiance of a typical New York sports bar... casual, chill and cozy. We came here for weekday lunch meeting and it was great because we were practically the only ones there that time. I hear this place gets packed by late afternoon everyday (especially on weekends). I hate overly crowded places because it's hard to enjoy a good meal so our timing was perfect. 

Our friends/colleagues Jenny and Gerick recommended the two best-sellers and so everything was practically set. 

 Caesar's Salad (Php 280.00) 

Classic Meat Pie (Php 480.00) - You definitely have to order this the first time you dine here! It's a very satisfying man's meal...hearty, meaty with extremely smooth mashed potatoes. WINNER!

Angry Drunken Mussels (Php 590.00) -  Another must-try. I love moules frittes (it was the only thing I ordered when we were in Belgium). It's a combination of mussels cooked in white wine and herbs served with crusty bread and fries. Their mussels are huge so I was pretty sure they were imported because I don't see mussels that size in the local market. They confirmed that these shells are frozen and shipped from New Zealand. I enjoyed each slurp of the zesty and tangy seafood!

We actually came back a second time for dinner and ordered the same items above with a new addition - their Pappardelle Bolognese. Pappardelle pasta is a broad type of fettuccine usually used with heavy sauces. This dish sure didn't disappoint! The al dente pasta was perfect with the luscious, rich and heavy meat sauce.

Thanks to our good friend Stephen (actually a part-owner of the place) for being our gracious and generous host that night! I will definitely take my boys (my Dad and my 2 brothers) here for a good beer (they serve pint-size imported beers which can last you the whole night already!) and some European comfort food.


Draft Gastro-Pub
Unit C The Fort Entertainment Center
Bonifacio Global City
+632 846 9725


Yabu : The House of Katsu

In it's most simplest form, Katsudon is a classic Japanese meal composed of deep-fried pork cutlet (tonkatsu) over rice topped with egg and green onions. I've always had good memories eating this because back in High School, my friends and I used to hang out in Komoro Soba (in Megamall - the time when it was just a single building!).  I remember I would order their katsudon and asked for extra sauce (soy) and literally drench the rice with it as if it were some sort of soup. Hahaha! Well now, after almost 10 years, YABU makes it debut in the Megamall Atrium. It prides itself with authentic Katsudon and Tonkatsu. Our good friend Daniel highly recommended it and since we have respect for his taste (he will laugh if he reads this!) we took his advise. We were very intrigued and excited to try it ourselves. 

YABU has a casual and chic ambiance with modern wood works and animation strips covering the walls. There were three of us and we wanted to sample all the best-sellers. And that's exactly what we did.

I must commend their presentation and creativity because even the mixing of their Tonkatsu sauce involved a small ritual. We were given ceramic sauce bowls with sesame seeds and small wooden sticks (used more like a mortar and pestle). Our server instructed us to gently crush the sesame seeds until the aroma comes out and then we can pour the special thick tonkatsu sauce. Pretty cool!

Slightly crushed sesame seeds

 Tonkatsu Sauce

This was the   Premium Kurobuta Tonkatsu Set (Php 515.00) which includes 120g of deep-fried Kurobuta Pork Cutlet (Berkshire pork), shredded cabbage salad (which is actually eat-all-you can so you can just keep on getting the salad), rice, miso soup and a fruit bowl for dessert. The pork was undeniably tender and melt in your mouth. 

This was the Pork Rosu Tonkatsu (Php 265.00) which was quite good as well. In all honestly, there wasn't much of a difference from the special Berkshire pork tonkatsu because this was just as tender. I would recommend this to those looking for value for money.

Then lastly, we sampled the Chicken Kastudon (Php 290.00) which was a real treat. Again, the chicken cutlets were surprisingly really tender and the kastuson sauce was heavenly. I love how the combination of the crispy tender chicken, hot rice, gooey runny egg, the sauce and green onions just collaborates in your mouth simultaneously. Yum!

So the next time you crave for Katsudon/Tonkatsu, head to Yabu! :)

Yabu: House of Katsu
2/F Mega Atrium
SM Megamall, Mandaluyong 
632- 576 3900


New York Edition : Mitsuwa Japanese Market

When we were still living in New York 2 years ago, we used to drive to Jersey every weekend to visit my mother-in-law. Our weekends were mostly reserved for family time. In our visit this year, we spent last Saturday morning in one of our favorite weekend markets in New Jersey called Mitsuwa. It's a Japanese supermarket and food court in one. They have everything from fresh produce, to Japanese appliances and home/bath accessories, to fresh Sushi/Sashimi to-go... and most of all they have a food court which offers delectable and mouthwatering Japanese dishes. We were lucky to catch the "Umai" which is the annual Japanese Artisan Fall Food Fair. They had special stalls selling Japanese delicacies. For instance, one Ramen stall sold just Shio Ramen made by this Japanese chef who just flew in for that fair. Obviously, we had to try that! 

Welcome to the Food Fair

 The Shio (salt-flavored soup) Ramen was wow! The broth had a beautiful rich flavor and the noodles were cooked perfectly...not too soft but chewy just the way I like

I got this Tekkadon to-go (shredded fresh tuna on top of sushi rice and some seaweed and pickled ginger) from the grocery as part of my lunch meal

 The long line for the extra special Ohban-yaki

 Other Japanese snacks that I didn't get to try because I just had so much already

Oban-yaki and Tea for dessert

Mitsuwa Marketplace
595 River Road
Edgewater, New Jersey


New York Edition : Dovetail Dinner with the Girls

I wanted to spend my last dinner in the City with my closest friends from way back High School. It was just hilarious because until the very last minute, we couldn't agree on where to go. My husband Joel made the first suggestion to do Fatty Crab at the Upper West Side but then we were told that their menu already changed and that the last time Coco (my other friend) ate there, it wasn't as good anymore. Thus, I had to think of an alternative and ended up making reservations at the famed Townhouse of David Burke. However, my friend Jammy became a bit reluctant because they were going to bring their 8-month old baby.  She figured he might be too fussy for that kind of restaurant. Ofcourse we wanted everyone to be present so we again changed it to China Fun. Just by it's name, you would infer that it's this typical no-nonsense Chinese joint where you go for a fast Chinese food. Anyway, the long of the short is that we again changed it for a third time to this place called Dovetail. It's a Michelin Star restaurant by John Fraser serving European cuisine using local ingredients. 

I got the AUTUMN TASTING COURSE ($85) and voila here it is:

This was complimentary cornbread to start off the meal.  

I got Joel an a first course since he only ordered an entree. He sampled the Brussel Sprouts Salad with fennel, Manchego Cheese and Jamon Serrano. Yum. 

 Long Island Squash Soup with pumpkin seeds, kale and peppers

 Lobster Cannelloni with burgundy truffles, scallion and celery root - this was oh-so- heavenly!

Joel's Roasted Sirloin with beef cheek lasagna 

 Halibut with saffron poached fennel, olives, fines and herbes broth

 Pistachio Crusted Duck wuth sunchokes, dates and spinach

Milk Chocolate Gianduja Bar - hazelnuts, banana brown sugar ice cream

 Petit Fours

BFB girls in New York with sleeping Kael

Over-all assessment is that the food was good not GREAT and something I will really rave about but it very well presented and carefully and meticulously plated. The service was excellent!

Dovetail New York
103 West 77th Street
New York, New York


New York Edition : Beecher : World's BEST Mac & Cheese

Ever since he was a kid, my husbank Joel has been in love with Mac & Cheese... the instant ones that is. The one you conveniently put inside a microwave and voila! Dinner is served. Then, he married a foodie wife (ahem ahem) who is not so used to eating anything instant or in a can. My late mother was a passionate cook thus refused to buy a lot of microwavable stuff! Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy the Easy Macs when we do buy them once in a while but I just don't look for it I guess. I'll eat it when it's there. Anyway, one of the things on our list this New York trip was to swingby this place which Joel heard about from Oprah's Show. She claims that they have "BEST MAC & CHEESE" in America. You can even order it frozen online and have it shipped right to your doorstep.

Beecher's was first launched in 2003 in Seattle by this cheese monger and food purist Kurt Beechers Dammeier. Their food goes by the mantra of all pure-all natural, full flavored food handcrafted in traditional ways using the best possible ingredients. The place is a cheese factory (you can see through a huge glass window how they make their fresh cheese), a retail store (they sell their cheese, books, etc) and a restaurant.

  Their chairs are huge milk cans which I found really cute! You can watch their cheese-making from this window.

 For a cheese lover like me, this was heaven! :)

Unfortunately we had a matinee play to catch that day so I didn't have the luxury to dine there. I just got everything take out. This was what inside our big brown bag;

 World's Best Mac & Cheese (16 oz) - $ 9.25
Penne cooked al dente with oozing, rich (in flavor and texture - it's not the smooth kind of white cheesy sauce) grainy and full-flavored cheese - I believe it's gruyere and their famous cheddar cheese. 

 Joel taking his first bite

 My Grilled Cheese which I split with Stephen
$ 6.50

I also got the tomato soup which complimented my sandwich really well (sorry I wasn't able to take a pic of that. It was real comfort food!

Say cheeeeeeese! :)

Beechers New York
Flat Iron District
900 Broadway (20th Street)
New York, New York 10003
212 446 3340


New York Edition : Halal Chicken Rice on 53rd & 6th

After more than a year (actually it's been 13 months to be exact), I am back in the City again! We arrived a little over 9 pm and guess where we went before going home to New Jersey? One of our all-time NY fave eats...the Halal Cart at 53rd and 6th! It's the legendary food cart which stands out amongst all the other numerous carts scattered around the city. People are known to line up to get a taste of this casual fare even at the height of winter. 

We meet again my friend. Oh how we missed you.
Halal Chicken Rice $ 6.00

 This halal meal consists of grilled shredded chicken (white meat) with, cut up lettuce and warm pita, long grain saffron rice and ofcourse the white sauce which makes all the difference. It's ( the magic white sauce) is suuuper addicting to the point that people think they put crack on it. I'm not making this up but I've read it in a couple of online reviews. Anyways, whatever "secret" ingredient it, it's absolutely amazing. We are hooked! 


My Big 3-0 Brunch Celebation

I finally got the pictures of this momentous event from my cousin last night...after almost 10 months! Yes, this post is 10 months delayed. I was still pregnant with my daughter Sofia when this happened :) Anyway, better late than never, right? So here it goes...

Last January, I celebrated my 30th birthday by hosting an All-White Brunch celebration here at home. I "catered" my own party so it was extra special. My preparations (like the dough for my quiche lorraine) started the day before and the rest we did early that morning. I had to wake up at 5 am and start cooking already :)  It was truly a labor of love. I wanted the people close to me to enjoy my home-cooked food!

My carefully handpicked menu which included my favorite brunch staples

 Cheese and Honey Plates

 The set-up

 Good Morning! :)

Drinks Station - with Olives on Sticks

Mini Celery Sticks for the Virgin (instead of Bloody) Mary Shots  - I was preggy this time so no alcohol allowed! haha!
Grilled Cheese and Tuna Melt Station

Choose your own fruit topping

 Smoked Salmon

 Condiments for the Salmon

Crustless Ham and Egg  Tart

 Brunch is served :)

 Homemade Lemon Ice Tea with Mint Leaves

My Quiche Lorraine - FCI recipe ofcourse :)

 French Toast

 Bagel and Crossaints

Chilled Milk - Fresh Milk and Chocolate Milk 

Buffet Style

 Fruit Kabobs

Focused on torching the brulees
Voila! Finished Product ready to be served!

 Breakfast cupcakes (from Layers and Layers)

Thank you for everyone who woke up extra early that weekend to make it! Love you all! Mwah!

Note : I got a lot of positive feedback about this party so I told myself that maybe I should make it a birthday tradition. Whatcha think? :)