March 27, 2013

Ocean's Harvest - Freshest Bounty From The Sea

Situated in the middle of vast bodies of water, one of the things that the Philippines can pride on is the abundance of seafood that's ready for the taking.

Marriott Hotel Manila came up with the wonderful idea of incorporating a Filipino family favorite. If you've not heard of "dampa", these are places in Manila where a wet market is situated close to restaurants. You can buy your seafood fresh from the wet market, and have it cooked to your desire in the nearby restaurants.

At Marriott Cafe, they launched a weekend delight that is sure to entice more people to wine and dine in the resto. The Ocean's Harvest buffet lays out the freshest and best seafood ready for the picking. Afterwards, be creative and choose from different stations that will lead you to a gastronomic adventure on how you can have your seafood of choice be served. From teppanyaki, grill, saute, or bake, all options bring a different taste and flavor to your seafood of choice. 

Executive Chef Meik Brammer gave a brief speech during the launch and I was astounded with the big and fresh fishes that were delivered to the hotel on that same day. I've always admitted to having a love for seafood and this dinner experience was a wonderful evening spent. The Marriott Cafe outdid itself once more and I already have plans of bringing my family over to indulge in all these culinary treasures from the sea!

Marriott Cafe
Newport City Complex, Pasay City

March 26, 2013

A Syoss Hair Day

Wouldn't it be nice to wake-up every morning and have a perfect coiffure for the day?

Well, we could only wish that our crowning glory will be at its best everyday. Unfortunately, it can take a lot of maintenance and vanity investments to make it become as manageable as possible. Recently, a new haircare brand was introduced in Manila, hoping that it can be the solution for the usual hair conundrums that most people have.

One sunny morning, Syoss haircare from Japan recently had a media launch. It has become a challenge for me to wake-up early in the morning but I was interested to know about this global brand. International hairstylist Akira was in Manila for the launch, showcasing the different products of the line, while giving a "how to" guide on the application. 




After the demo and introduction of the products, a short video on Akira's studio and the behind the scenes of the hair show of the event was shown. Before ending the launch, guests were invited outside to see the Syoss Bus. This interesting bus is actually a mobile salon that will travel around the metro to give salon experience using Syoss products to different people. Inside were three chairs with hair experts who are supposed to show how beautifully maintained hair can be done right in one's home. To be fair, I asked my mom to try the Syoss Straight and Shine Glossy Jell. She's been raving about the product and already has plans to get some more when she sees the product in the market.


Briefly, I was able to congratulate Mike Huang on his company's new product. Henkel Beauty Care's Mark Chan - standing in the middle of Akira and Mike Huang - was also present during the launch. Chiaki Kuriyama, known for as one of the main villains in Kill Bill Volume 1, is one of the brand's endorsers. Her photo was also outside the Syoss Bus and in all the commercials played about the brand.  

Try Syoss out and it may become your hair's new bestfriend.

March 21, 2013

Thirty Years of Unwavering Beauty

It is always best to truly know a person in and out; everything in black and white.

Cristina Gomez, one of Manila society’s well-loved darlings, celebrated a wonderful milestone in her life. She recently became thirty, maturing ever so beautifully inside out! I used to work with Cristina and enjoyed each moment with her during events as we dressed to the nines, being at social functions after another. In the office, we would exchange a fun banter of interesting yet sometimes humorous thoughts, ending each with a smile or a giggle about anything under the sun. I’ve somehow become an adopted member of their family, working closely now with her equally lovely mother, Dandy Gomez, who paved the way for me to become the PR consultant for the country’s Climate Change Commission.

In a stylish mix of black and white ensembles, Cristina brought close friends together in an evening of laughter and catching up over martinis and daiquiris. It became a display of fashion of the most notable people in Cristina’s life. The only thing in a bold hue was the giant red birthday cake that Cristina stood by as guests sang a lively birthday song for her!

Guests of Cristina Gomez’s Private Black and White Birthday Celebration


I have this thought always in mind, “True friends are precious treasures most difficult to discover; yet when they are found, they are worth keeping until our lifetimes’ end.” 

March 18, 2013

A Hidden Teppanyaki Treasure

A craving satiated with an unexpected abundance of a favorite cuisine.

It was a long overdue schedule that was planned since last year. Still, it didn’t stop me to finalize a date with the ever so gracious people of Diamond Hotel. I sincerely anticipated my Japanese lunch, eager to try the teppanyaki buffet at their famous Yurakuen.

Oddly, I’ve craved strongly for Japanese food since the start of the year. Once in a while, I discover a new Japanese resto, or revisit some of my old favorites to satisfy my appetite. Surprisingly, my trip to Yurakuen became one the highlights for the first quarter of the year.

First on the table were big portions of assorted sushi and sashimi, served with my favorite miso soup. Of course, I requested for a glass of cold green tea to begin my lunch. I must say that the serving was more than enough and I was delighted to take my first few bites. All were fresh and I would have had more if I wasn’t saving space in my tummy for the teppanyaki lunch ahead. I was with my dear friend LA Ferriols and little did we know that an overwhelmingly tasty menu was being prepped for us. 

In front of us were three different sauces specifically for the types of food that will be served: ponzu or lemon sauce with soy sauce on the far right for the seafood; miso sauce in the middle for the vegetables; garlic sauce and soy sauce on the left for the red meat. 

The chef made his way to the teppanyaki table and started to pour oil on the hot table. I knew we were in for a culinary exhibition so I had my camera ready. He first got a small plate filled with giant scallops. I was amused to hear the popping sound as the scallops touched the hot surface of the teppanyaki table. I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into the scallops since those are my favorite. White wine was splashed on the scallops creating a small flame. It was juicy and my fear of it being overcooked disappeared after my first bite.

Next on the menu were two big squids. I’ve observed that Yurakuen pulls out all the stops and only prepeares the freshest catch. The serving made me love my lunch more since it was quite hefty.

My friend LA wanted a taste of Japanese fried rice prepared in front of us. In a few minutes, diced carrots and small shrimps were placed on the teppanyaki table. Afterwards, the chef made a little exhibition of breaking the egg into the teppanyaki table. I was so eager to catch the performance of sorts that I forgot to take a photo of the delish fried rice! Still, my palette was happy with it.



Vegetables were next and it was the first time for me to see the gray-knotted jelly made of vegetables. I didn’t even ask what it was made of but I was really curious with how it tasted. It was cooked beside the giant shitake mushrooms, followed by asparagus, carrots, enoki mushrooms, and other veggies.


Thinking that we’ve already had enough, cuts of sirloin was brought out from the kitchen. I was close to being full but I knew that lunch wasn’t over. It was steak-flambe! A big flame emerged after red wine was splashed on the meat. Pieces of fried garlic were added giving an enticing aroma to the dish.


Deviating from the usual tempura, we were served shrimps splashed again with white wine. The ponzu brought out more flavor to the shrimps as I enjoyed munching on its soft, succulent meat. It was cooked just right!

I thought desserts were supposed to be served last but the coup de grace of the lunch was the inoki mushroom wrapped in bacon. I was pretty full but the aroma of the bacon being cooked on the teppanyaki table made me forget how full I already was. It was bliss! I could have had another serving if only my tummy had extra space still.

Hidden in a far corner of The Diamond Hotel, this Japanese resto is definitely a treasure worth unearthing. The dining area is a romantic and cozy room, fit for a quiet dinner for two or a fun family gathering. The interiors of Yurakuen emulate a traditional Japanese ambiance with its steel cherry blossom trees and high ceiling. The room is seemingly shrouded, encapsulated in a lush virgin forest. One one side, a majestic waterfall is on the backdrop, transporting one to a scene from one of those stylized settings seen only in movies.


I definitely would go back to reawaken my craving for Japanese cuisine at Yurakuen!

Yurakuen, Diamond Hotel
Roxas Boulevard cor. Dr. J. Quintos St., Manila