Me Love Cookie Jar Milkshaaake!

I love cookies, and I love milkshakes, but seldom have I come across a cookie milkshake that’s particularly extraordinary. Most cookie milkshakes I’ve tried are run-of-the-mill oreo milkshakes. But just recently, I discovered a cookie milkshake that had me singing praises at my first sip.

The Lost Bread menu

Casey, Wolf, and I were just wandering around Megamall looking for dessert when we stumbled upon an interesting place — The Lost Bread. We ordered French Toast Cubes and were not that impressed, but I fell in love with their Cookie Jar Milkshake! It struck the perfect balance between cookies and a milkshake, with both desserts taking center stage. It was rich and creamy but not overwhelming, and the cinnamon was a stroke of genius. The cookies that adorned the mug were not the chewy kind, but their crunch complemented the smoothness of the shake quite nicely. The cookie dough that surrounded the mug was a welcome bonus for cookie lovers!

The Lost Bread menu

I got the baby size, because it was my first time to try it. Had I known it would be that awesome, I would have gone all out full size, calories be damned! Haha. I wasted no time taking a decent picture, and so all I have is this badly angled shot that is a far cry from the impressiveness of the real thing!

The Lost Bread Cookie Jar Milkshake

Of course, Wolf really liked it as well, being a cookie monster like his mom. Even Casey, who is not that into sweets, said it was good, and sipped from my shake more often than I would have liked. Haha. Next time, I’m not sharing! Coookiiiie! Milkshaaake! Om nom nom nom nom!

Cookie Monster meme

Food, Parenting, Travel

Our Family Staycation at Hotel Jen

Last Sunday, we kicked off the new year with a staycation at Hotel Jen. My dad and his wife, Tita Josie, gave us a gift certificate for an overnight stay at a Deluxe Room. The funny thing is Hotel Jen is right across Casey’s work place, Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP). So as we drove to the hotel, he felt like he was on the way to work. Haha.

Although Hotel Jen is under the Shangri-la group, it is just a four-star hotel, unlike the Shangri-la hotels in Edsa, Makati, and BGC, which are five-star establishments. The branding of Hotel Jen is hip and urban. They seem to be targeting yuppies. Given the four-star rating, we were not expecting Hotel Jen to be faultless. We had, for example, to take into account that the building was quite old, as it was formerly Traders Hotel. I hoped that we would not be assigned to one of the refurbished rooms, but alas, that is what we got.

The corridor of our floor smelled musty and was dimly lit. The room itself seemed a bit worn down, but it was clean and spacious. The bed was comfortable and had pristine sheets. Wolf highly enjoyed the crib that they provided, as it was just the right height for him to peep over at us. The bathroom was a bit small but well equipped with basic toiletries, a tub and shower, and hot water. Funnily enough, the toilet was exactly the same model as our toilet at home. The view outside was terrible, in Casey’s opinion, at least. It was a view of CCP. He didn’t look out the window even once. Haha.

hotel jen deluxe roomHotel Jen deluxe roomHotel Jen deluxe room Hotel Jen deluxe room Hotel Jen deluxe room Hotel Jen deluxe room

The food at the breakfast buffet of Hotel Jen was, unfortunately, several notches below the food at Shangri-la group’s five star hotels. The bread was dry, and the bacon was not crispy. The spread of dishes was limited and unremarkable. The only part of breakfast that I enjoyed was my omelette, which was prepared fresh at the egg station. The eggs were perfectly fluffy and creamy.

Hotel Jen has an outdoor pool, and so Wolf was able to swim for the second time in his life. Unfortunately, the water was quite chilly, and so we didn’t stay long.

Hotel Jen outdoor pool

What Hotel Jen lacked in accommodations and food, they made up for in service. All the staff members were cheerful and attentive. Booking a room, checking in, and checking out were a breeze, as the receptionists, guards, and cleaning staff all worked efficiently.

We enjoyed our stay at Hotel Jen, because Wolf liked the new environment, because the bed was quite comfortable, and because service was excellent. However, I don’t think we will go back unless we are assured of better accommodations. I’m not sure if all their rooms are merely refurbished or if they actually have newly built rooms. This is something you should definitely ask if you plan to stay at this hotel. It’s ironic that Hotel Jen’s branding is youthful and fun, but their building and rooms are old and worn down.

Although we may not return to Hotel Jen, we are excited to try other hotels soon. The staycation was a great way for us to relax and enjoy some family time (aka time away from Casey’s computer and PS4). Haha! Here’s to more staycations this 2018!

Mom and babyMom, dad, and baby


Our Breakfast Date at Refinery

Now that I have a baby, one thing that I miss sorely is mobility. I used to be able to do whatever I want and go wherever I pleased. Spontaneous road trips were something that Casey and I used to do a lot as a couple, but now, I need to consider whether places are baby-friendly, and activities need to be spaced out so that Wolf doesn’t get exhausted.

I used to go to great lengths to come up with surprises for Casey during all the special occasions. I remember that even when I was six months pregnant, I charged through a heavy downpour to buy him a gift for his birthday.

However, for his birthday this year, which was last August 26, I could no longer prepare extensively, because with Wolf, I had less time to sneak around. I had to go back to the basics, scale down, and think simple. What would Casey enjoy that would be easy to plan? The answer was glaringly obvious–breakfast! We both adore breakfast food. So I searched online for nearby restaurants that serve great breakfast fare. Thanks to the Zomato app, I stumbled upon Refinery. As soon as I saw their menu, I placed a reservation without a second thought. Bacon? Pancakes? Coffee? Check!

We went to the branch in Promenade, Greenhills. We ordered Pancakes and Bacon, Angry Pasta (sausage, bacon, mushrooms, and tomatoes), and Bacon French Toast. Yes, all dishes had bacon. Bacon is life. Haha.

The pancakes took long to come out, because they had run out of batter. The waiter said that their stocks are low because demand is not that high for pancakes. This was a red flag, but we ordered pancakes anyway because they are a favorite of the birthday boy. As predicted, the pancakes were nothing to write home about. The waiter also informed us that they had run out of portobello mushrooms for the pasta, and so we opted to add more bacon instead. And since Casey doesn’t eat mushrooms, he had no complaints. The pasta was pretty good, al dente and tasty with just the right amount of spice. It was a tad too rich, but most likely that was due to the absence of mushrooms. But the star of our brunch was the Bacon French Toast. Served as a sandwich, it was the perfect balance of sweet and savory. Highly recommended!

We also enjoyed our drinks, a cappuccino for him and a matcha latte for myself. And of course, Wolf was happy with his bacon milk!


Peso Damage: P650 / head

Value for Peso: 4.5 / 5.0

Refinery is a relaxing place with great breakfast food and good coffee. We visited at 10 am on a Saturday, and the place was half full but not noisy. A bit more affordable than Wildflour and less crowded than mainstream coffee shops, Refinery is perfect for leisurely breakfast dates. With an impressive selection of alcohol, Refinery also seems like a nice option for nights out with friends.


Quality over Quantity: Unlimited Steak, Lamb, and More at Impressions

Yesterday was my husband’s birthday, and so as usual, we celebrated with a feast. For the first time, Casey received a birthday dinner treat from my dad! As I mentioned in my post about my birthday last month, this special privilege was previously reserved just for us daughters three. Now that Casey has been accorded the same treatment, I can say with confidence that he is a member of the circle of trust. Haha.

The birthday boy loves his steak, and so we went for BBQ Madness from the Grill, an unlimited selection of grilled items offered by Impressions in Maxims Hotel, Resorts World Manila. For P888 per head, one can indulge in endless servings of ribeye steak, lamb chops, duck breast, salmon fillet, tuna steak, and tiger prawns. While Casey had eyes only for the ribeye (See what I did there? 😂), I was looking forward to the lamb and prawns.

We were ready to feast as soon as the restaurant opened for dinner at 6 pm. We were given three kinds of bread on the house. While my sisters and niece eagerly partook of the loaves, my dad and I restrained ourselves. We shared a look, and he knew what I was thinking before I said it. Bread! Carbs! Part of the ploy to fill you up so you don’t eat too much of the good stuff! Haha. The bread was quite yummy, according to my sister, Jica. It was only later on in the meal that I confirmed this by pinching off tiny morsels of each type of bread, careful to save my precious stomach space for what really mattered!

While the bread made its rounds, the waitress took our first orders. You can choose to order each item one by one, or you can order several at once. Casey immediately ordered his steak, while I ordered a sampler plate of all the items, so that I could decide which ones I would get more of later on. My dad did the same. Casey requested a medium rare for his steak, even though he really prefers a medium. He told me it’s because he expects the steak to be overdone. I requested medium for my steak, lamb, and duck breast.

After all orders were taken, we were served pumpkin soup (all part of the ploy). The serving was just enough though to whet our appetites, and so I ate my share.

When our first orders arrived, I noticed that the steak cut was very thin. I also saw that Casey’s assumption was correct. His steak was cooked to a medium, while mine was terribly overcooked, with burnt edges. My lamb and duck breast were well done. I pointed this out to the waitress, yet still ordered a medium throughout the evening, hoping to get exactly what I requested. Alas, my steaks were always medium well to well done, and so was my duck breast. The lamb, however, came out perfectly medium from my second plate onwards, which was good enough for me since lamb is my favorite meat. Meanwhile, Casey kept requesting medium rare and kept getting the medium steaks he really wanted. He also requested for thicker cuts, as ribeye was the only thing he was ordering. Only on his last order was a medium rare given. It was unfortunate that Casey didn’t enjoy the last steak that much (because he really prefers medium), but it was not a big deal as he was already stuffed by then.

One major downside of our dinner was the tuna steak and salmon fillet. They were both not fresh at all, and they made my dad’s lips itch. I did not even taste these items, because I couldn’t risk getting sick, as I have to care for Wolf. We decided not to get more of these items.

However, the ribeye, lamb, and prawns really made up for the fish. The meat was seasoned very well, with the steak so tasty that we did not need to add the sauce that they provided. I did pair my lamb with the mint jelly, not for lack of taste, but simply as a matter of preference. The prawns were fresh and plump.

Each plate was served with mashed potatoes and ratatouille, which complemented the mains quite well and added balance to our dinner.

The service was good, with the waiters always ready to attend to our needs. The place was a bit warm, and when we mentioned this, they brought in an evaporative air cooler, which we highly appreciated. When there was a fly, they were quick to bring out candles.

We asked the waitress to sing Casey “Happy Birthday.” She came out with a cake on the house, and sang.. alone. How brave of her, yet how awkward! Haha. So we happily joined her in song, and Casey blew out one candle for his 29 years of life! The cake was chocolate mousse, and it was really good. Even my dad and my sister, Melay, who are normally not fond of cakes, enjoyed this cake. As the cake was being passed around, everyone wanted to get the strawberry but apparently whispered among themselves that it should go to Casey. When he gave me the slice with the strawberry, they all thought it was so sweet.. until I told them that he doesn’t eat strawberries. Haha.

After four servings of succulent ribeye steak and a delicious slice of chocolate mousse, our birthday celebrant declared it a happy birthday indeed. Our sponsor also enjoyed immensely, and the rest of us were only too happy to benefit from the birthday treat.


Peso Damage: P888 / head (unlimited grilled items)

Value for Peso: 4.5 / 5.0

The unlimited grill offer of Impressions is definitely worth it. Don’t go in expecting a huge variety. Although the dishes are limited, most of them are excellently seasoned and cooked well. Their chef is not an expert at meat doneness, but you can always send back your order until it is to your liking. The dishes are cooked as you order them and served to your table. The service is excellent. I’m not giving a perfect score because of the fish that was not fresh and because of the issues with meat doneness, but otherwise, it was a great dinner!

The saying “jack of all trades, master of none” can be applied to food. I’ve eaten at many buffets that offer an overwhelming variety, but with most of the food being mediocre, I end up stuffed but not satisfied. In the case of Impressions’ unlimited grill, they focused on just a few items, yet nailed most of them, particularly the ribeye steak, lamb chops, and prawns. It was a pleasurable dining experience that we would definitely want to repeat. We were, without a doubt, impressed!


My Unlimited Dim Sum Birthday Feast at Jasmine

Last Sunday, July 9, I turned 27! I remember how when I was in grade school, while my classmates aspired to be married by 28, I thought that it was such a young age to settle down. It’s so funny now how I’m not yet even 28 and I have a husband and son! But so far, I have no regrets. I am loving my life right now!

In our family, it is tradition for my dad to treat me and my sisters out for lunch or dinner on our birthdays. This year, I chose to go to Jasmine, a Chinese restaurant in New World Hotel, Makati. I chose Jasmine, because I wanted to eat unlimited dim sum. My first choice was actually Shang Palace in Makati Shangri-la, but their unlimited dim sum offer isn’t available on Sundays. Being buffet veterans, we arrived at Jasmine a few minutes before 11:30 am, which is their opening time for lunch. When we do buffets, we’re there from opening till closing, which in this case was 2:30 pm (What? Just three hours? Not enough tiiime haha).

unlimited dimsum at jasmine new world hotel makati
I say “buffet” but actually, Jasmine’s unlimited dim sum is not served buffet style. They give you a menu, and you can order as much as you want for a fixed price per head (P988). I suppose this is because dim sum  should be served fresh. I was able to try 25 out of the 33 items on the menu. Not bad!

unlimited dim sum menu at jasmine new world hotel makati
Jasmine’s Unlimited Yum Cha (Dim sum) Menu as of July 2017
hot and sour soup at unlimited dimsum at jasmine new world hotel makati
Hot and sour soup. A bit more spicy than usual.
Seafood spinach soup at unlimited dimsum at jasmine new world hotel makati
Seafood with spinach soup. Nice and lightly flavored.
siomai unlimited dimsum at jasmine new world hotel makati
Siomai. Filled with fresh shrimp and topped with tasty crab roe. Very good!
Yang chow fried rice at unlimited dimsum at jasmine new world hotel makati
Yang chow fried rice. Fragrant and lightly flavored. Good to balance out the richness of the other dim sum.
Hakaw at unlimited dimsum at jasmine new world hotel makati
Shrimp dumplings aka hakaw. Fresh, plump shrimp in delicately chewy wheat flour wrapper. Excellent!
Radish cake at unlimited dim sum at jasmine new world hotel makati
Radish cake. Tasty, with just the right amount of radish. Very good!
Mixed mushrooms dumplings at unlimited dim sum at jasmine new world hotel makati
Mixed mushrooms dumplings. Was more of a vegetable dumpling since it had just around 5% mushroom. Nothing spectacular.
Pork dumplings at unlimited dim sum at jasmine new world hotel makati
Glutinous pork dumpling and pan-fried pork dumpling. They looked the same and tasted the same. A bit too oily for me.
Spareribs tausi at unlimited dim sum at jasmine new world hotel makati
Spareribs tausi. Tasty and not too salty.
Asparagus dumpling at unlimited dim sum at jasmine new world hotel makati
Fresh asparagus dumpling. The asparagus added a nice twist to the classic dumpling.
Xiao long bao at unlimited dim sum at jasmine new world hotel makati
Xiao long bao. The wrapper was too thick and floury, and the filling was nothing special. A far cry from Din Tai Fung and Lugang. I guess xiao long bao is like ramen.. you need to get it at restaurants that specialize in making it!
Barbecued pork puff at unlimited dim sum at jasmine new world hotel makati
Barbecued pork puff. Really tasty and not as sweet as those of Tim Ho Wan. Melts in your mouth. I had like six of these babies! Excellent!
Chicken feet at unlimited dim sum at jasmine new world hotel makati
Chicken feet. Good but nothing groundbreaking.
Seafood taro puff at unlimited dim sum at jasmine new world hotel makati
Seafood taro puff. I was not expecting to like this, but it was surprisingly really good! It had just the right crunch, complemented by rich and creamy filling. Excellent!
Wonton at unlimited dim sum at jasmine new world hotel makati
Wonton. Good but there was too much wrapper, which made each piece too oily.
Wagyu beef mango roll at unlimited dim sum at jasmine new world hotel makati
Wagyu beef mango roll. Delicious and innovative, though a bit oily. Very good!
Chicken bun with black mushroom at unlimited dim sum at jasmine new world hotel makati
Chicken bun with black mushroom. This looked ordinary but tasted good! A nice break from all the pork!
Minced beef balls at unlimited dim sum at jasmine new world hotel makati
Minced beef balls. The beef was too blended to the point that the texture was not that appetizing. I didn’t like this one.
Mashed fish balls at unlimited dim sum at jasmine new world hotel makati
Mashed fish balls. Quite tasty, and not your ordinary fish ball.
Machang at unlimited dim sum at jasmine new world hotel makati
Machang. The rice had a good chewy texture and everything was rich and flavorful. Very good!

Machang at unlimited dim sum at jasmine new world hotel makati

Machang at unlimited dim sum at jasmine new world hotel makati
My surgeon papa insisted on expertly dissecting the machang to show what’s inside. Haha.
Asado siopao at unlimited dim sum at jasmine new world hotel makati
Asado siopao. Nothing extraordinary.
Butchi at unlimited dim sum at jasmine new world hotel makati
Deep-fried sesame ball aka butchi. Not too sweet. Delicious!
Chocolate glutinous rice dumpling at unlimited dim sum at jasmine new world hotel makati
Chocolate glutinous rice dumpling. Rich chocolate filling paired with a nutty and chewy exterior. Very good!
Butchi at unlimited dim sum at jasmine new world hotel makati
Butchiiiii ❤️
Mango cream sago at unlimited dim sum at jasmine new world hotel makati
Mango cream sago. Creamy and refreshing. Great end to the meal!
unlimited dim sum at jasmine new world hotel makati
These are just a few of the dishes that we gobbled up like it’s no one’s business. 😎

The food was quite good, but one issue we had was that the serving time was a bit slow, especially for our beloved hakaw (shrimp dumplings)! We had to follow up several times. I think it took long because hakaw is really a crowd favorite.

A significant drawback was that the offer did not include any drinks. I think that for P988, they should include at least one round of drinks. We ordered a pot of tea at P428, which the waiter said was refillable. We later found out, as the tea became progressively watered down, that they were just refilling the water without placing fresh leaves. For P428, they should replace the leaves every time the pot is refilled!

After our meal, the waiters sang Happy Birthday and I got a complimentary slice of cake. I don’t think they usually sing to birthday celebrants. I suspect that my dad coaxed them into doing so for me. Haha.

happy birthday at unlimited dim sum at jasmine new world hotel makatiHappy birthday at unlimited dim sum at jasmine new world hotel makati


Peso Damage: P988 / head (unlimited dim sum)

Value for Peso: 4.25 / 5.0

Jasmine’s unlimited dim sum offer is more expensive than many mainstream buffet restaurants, but if you are a fan of Chinese food, you will get your money’s worth here. Go here if you value quality over quantity. With only 33 items on the unlimited dim sum menu, picky eaters will have difficulty getting their fill. But if like me, you are an adventurous eater, you will appreciate both classic dishes like their shrimp dumplings and siomai and special creations like their wagyu beef mango roll and seafood taro puff. Maaan now I’m hungry! Can someone treat me again? It’s still my birthday week! 😂

Happy birthday unlimited dim sum at jasmine new world hotel makati
My favorite foodie buddies! ❤️
mom with baby at unlimited dim sum at jasmine new world hotel makati
Happy mommy, happy baby! 😍