New Restaurant Alert : Fireside by Kettle

One of the newest additions to the growing foodie scene at the SM Megamall Fashion hall is Fireside by Kettle. As the name suggests, it's run by the same group as Kettle (the highly successful comfort food joint in neighboring Shangri-La Mall). If you fell in love with Kettle, you will surely share the same sentiment with Fireside because it offers the same quality (which means big flavors and huge portions that are good for sharing and definitely value for money!) and comfort. It boasts of an entirely new menu but includes some spins on old Kettle favorites.

Get ready to indulge...


Truffled Potato Chips  
Php 199.99
Paper thin and deep fried to a crisp homemade potato chips with hints of truffle; covered and drizzled with a special blue cheese sauce and green onions. Warning : Highly addicting! I think I can finish the whole order, oh dear!

Crab and Artichoke Dip
Php 279.00
Nacho Chips with Crab Fat, Crab Meat and Artichoke

Mascarpone Cheesecake with Croutons, Arugula and Tomato Jam
Php 359.00
A show stopper : the mascarpone was light, creamy, slightly sweet. Spread it smoothly on top of the crouton and accentuate the taste with some tomato jam. To top it off,  give it a kick by adding some fresh and peppery arugula before you devour each crunchy bite. What a winner!

Sweet, Spicy and Salty Wings
Php 249.00 (3 pcs) They also have a bigger order of 5 pcs.
Inspired by the award-winning "pokpok" wings from  Brooklyn, New York. It is best eaten by hand so you can gnaw the meat to the bone and lick the sticky, sweet, salty and spicy sauce out of your fingers! 

Salmon Gravlax Tartare
Php 349.00
Refreshing and citrusy marinade on their home-cured gravlax served with baguette chips and cilantro peppercoulis. 

 Asian Shrimp Salad 
Php 299.99
Romaine, Cabbage, Grilled Shrimps, Cucumbers, Carrots, Cilantro, Rice Noodles, 
Lime Fish Sauce Dressing


Buttermilk Fried Chicken Fingers 
Php 489.00
Fireside's Spin on Kettle's all-time favorite. This time it is served as chicken fingers and with cornbread donut holes. Chicken is tender (though less juicy than Kettle's because it's white meat and the breast part versus the thigh/leg part in Kettle) but both have distinct flavors that you will surely come back for. Enjoy it with some gravy and drizzle a little honey... you can never go wrong! 

And oh! The donut holes are oh-so-AWE-some! Perfectly bite-sized cornbread balls that are a great compliment to the hearty chicken tenders. 

Grilled Halibut with Quinoa Vegetable Salad
Php 399.00 
One of the healthier options for those who are not into meat

For the carnivores out there;

Boneless US Ribeye 
350 grams Php 1,699.00

Double cut Pork Chop
Php 519.00
Ginormous and Thick Honey Cider Brined Porkchops served on a bed of apples, peppercorn mustard cream sauce and assorted grilled vegetables. Since I don't eat pork, I had to ask my husband to give his thoughts on this one. It's not easy to cook pork chops because there is always that tendency to overcook it and be left with dry pieces of white meat. My husband said that Chef Chiloy did a great job with the brine and cooking process because the dish turned out moist and juicy!

Sweet Endings

As if all of the things above were NOT enough, we made sure there was room for these sweets.
Always end something great with a BANG, right? That's exactly what we all did.  

Homemade Doughnuts with Salted Caramel, Chocolate and Rasberry Sauce

Coconut Checkered Cake
Php 259.00

Homemade Deconstructed S'mores
Php 139.00

Sticky Fig Banana Pudding with Vanilla Ice Cream and Caramel Sauce
Php 129.00 
This stood out amongst the desserts we had because it wasn't TOO sweet. The cake was nice and moist while the ice cream added a delightful contrast in texture. 

What a sumptuous bordering on indulgent feast this whole thing was! Sharing with you my personal favorites: Truffled Potato Chips, Cornbread Donuts from the Chicken Fingers Entree, Mascarpone with Tomato Jam and the Sticky Banana Fig Pudding! :) Be sure to check out the Fireside by Kettle the next time you find yourself in the Megamall area. 

Fireside by Kettle
3rd Floor SM Fashion Hall  - just beside Linguini Fini
Contact Numbers :  landline   (02)  532 1807

Take it easy,


Recipe Post : Homemade Falafels

I'm not sure why I've been on a Mediterranean food craze lately. Last week  is was Tabbouleh and the other day  I wanted Falafel. My favorite falafel spot is in Makati called Beni's Falafel. It's a hole in a wall gem found in a small street (Valdez St., Poblacion, Makati). It's actually just beside our restaurant Pink Panda found at the lobby of Y2 Hotel. Since I was no where near Makati that day nor did I have plans of going there, I had to make it myself.

Falafel is very popular in the Middle East as a fast food. Vendors sell it on the street corners in Cairo. As a main dish, it is served as a sandwich, stuffed in pita bread with lettuce, tomatoes, and tahini. As an appetizer, it is served on a salad, or with hummus and tahini. Falafel is a favorite among vegetarians. As a little trivia : In Egypt, McDonald's has their version of a falafel sandwich. Can you guess the name?  McFalalel of course! Hahaha! :)

I've tried several recipes from the past, this is a new one I tried;



1 cups dried chickpease or 16 oz. can of garbanzos
1 large onion , chopped
2 cloves of garlic
3 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons flour
oil for frying


1. Place dried chickpeas in a bowl, covering with cold water. Allow to soak overnight. Omit this step if using canned beans. 

2. Drain chickpeas, and place in pan with fresh water, and bring to a boil.

3. Allow to boil for 5 minutes, then let simmer on low for about an hour. 

4. Drain and allow to cool for 15 minutes.  Option to take out the white "skin" off just like the picture below. 

5. Combine chickpeas, garlic, onion, coriander, cumin, salt and pepper (to taste) in medium bowl. Add flour.

6. Mash chickpeas, ensuring to mix ingredients together. You can also combine ingredients in a food processor. You want the result to be a thick paste. 

7. Form the mixture into small balls, about the size of a ping pong ball. Slightly flatten.

8. Fry in 2 inches of oil at 350 degrees until golden brown (5-7 minutes). 

9. Serve hot. 

10.  Optional : Garlic Dipping Sauce : Greek yogurt, fresh crushed garlic, salt and pepper

* Serves 4. 

Happy Monday everybody! Enjoy the holiday!

love and light,


Homemade Bulgur Tabbouleh

Holidays mean more homemade meals in Casa Poniente. Yesterday I made myself a nice and citrusy Bulgur Tabbouleh Salad since I've been craving for it for days. 

Tabbouleh is a Mediterranean vegetarian dish (considered a salad) traditionally made of tomatoes, finely chopped parsley, mint, onion and seasoned with olive oil, salt and lemon juice. Bulgur is often added to the dish.  Traditional tabbouleh is really a parsley salad with some bulgur wheat scattered in to bulk it out. Mint and lemon also play an important role. Less common but still wonderful is the addition of ground allspice (or the more elusive Lebanese 7-Spice mix). 

1/2 cup bulgur (I get mine from the US but Healthy options should have this)
1 lemon
1 to 2 large bunches of flat leaf parsley, washed and dried

2 medium tomatoes
1/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
A few whole leaves of mint for garnish


1. Soak the bulgur. Place the bulgur in a small bowl and cover with very hot (just off the boil) water by 1/2-inch. Set aside to soak until softened but still chewy, about 20 minutes.  

2. Prep the herbs and vegetables. While the bulgur is soaking, juice the lemon and chop the parsley. You will need roughly 1 1/2 cup packed chopped parsley for this amount of bulgur. Medium chop the tomatoes; you will have roughly about 1 1/2 cups. Medium chop the cucumber, about 1/2 cup.

3. Dress the bulgur. When the bulgur is done, drain off any excess water and place in the large bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Toss to coat the grains. As you finish prepping the herbs and vegetables, add them to the bowl with the bulgur, but reserve half of the the diced tomato to use for garnish.

4. Season and toss.  Add 2 more tablespoons of olive oil and another 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and the optional allspice to the bowl. Toss everything together, taste, and adjust seasonings as needed.  

5. Garnish. To serve, garnish the tabbouleh with the reserved tomato and a few whole mint sprigs if you want. Serve at room temperature with crackers, cucumber slices, fresh bread, or pita chips.

Enjoy the rest of the long weekend and hopefully get a glimpse of the Pope,



Raw Vegan Cashew Milk : Sweet & "Cinnamon-y"

Happy New Year! It's 4 am and I am wide awake. My daughter S woke me up and told me she's hungry so I had to make her some breakfast (very early breakfast that is!). We are still obviously jetlagging and need to work on adjusting to the new time zone after a month-long holiday vacation in the US. It's my 2nd day back here and I hope to adjust by tomorrow. I have a full schedule ahead today starting with my yoga class at home this morning so I need the energy. Since I am up already, I thought I might as well do something productive while watching over my daughter. Thus this post which will actually be my first official entry of 2015. I am happy that it's about food and wellness. 

When life gives you cashews (raw), make nut milk. It's vegan, gluten-free and natural and can be done in 5 minutes or less. This recipe is not the usual cashew milk because its delicately sweet and cinnamon-y (I love cinnamon plus its really good for you too!). However for those who want it plain and simple, you may omit the other ingredients and just stick to cashew and distilled. It will work perfectly as well.

Prep Time : 5 minutes
Total Time : 5 minutes
Shelf Life : 3 days in the refrigerator


Ingredients :

1 cup of raw cashew
3 cups of distilled water
2 tablespoons of agave nectar or honey (in this case I used honey)
1 tablespoon of pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon sea salt

  • 1. Blend the cashews and water in a high-speed blender. Blend very well so that the liquid resembles a thin milk.
  • 2. Add the remaining raw cashew milk recipe ingredients and blend again.
  • 3. Drink this delicious raw cashew milk recipe and experience heavenly bliss! 

You can drink this as it is, serve with your favourite cereal or even as a dessert.

Keep it real,