Swish by Han

Travel to me = the opportunity to try new restaurants. This might explain why I always gain weight when I travel. :P My sister had heard about a new "upscale" Korean restaurant with great bi-bim-bap (which when literally translated means rubbed rice - sounds good doesn't it?) So my aunt, mom, sister and I went to Swish by Han.

First thing you notice when you walk in, is there aren't that many tables and it is decorated better than most Korean restaurants. Looking at the menu, the next thing you see is that this is likely going to cost much more than your typical Korean meal. Oh well... It is only Christmas once a year. I might as well enjoy my dinner. :D

Our first course was a hae mul pa jeon (aka seafood crepe/pancake.) The only issue with pa jeon's in general is the pa which is green onions. I HATE onions. So I am giving you the concensus around the table, that it tasted good since I did not eat any of it. I can attest to the fact that the salad under the pa jeon was very tasty. The seafood pancake looked like it had much better ingredients than your typical Korean seafood pancake which usually only has octopus legs. This one had octopus, big juicy (looking) shrimp, and scallops. My family thought it was a bit salty though. This was $10.

Next up was the famous lobster bi-bim-bap (I guess this is a follow up to my fabulous lobster risotto at Mis Trucos last week) This was my favourite dish. First because I love bi-bim-bap, and secondly because this one had an amazing amount of "nu-run-gi" the crispy rice that forms from the hot stone pot. Mmmmm... I really enjoyed this dish, my mom and aunt thought it was salty - I didn't find it too salty... but then again I do like my salt. Was this dish worth $18? Maybe... after all it did have the nice crisp nu-run-ji

Our third dish was a pork belly ssam (i.e. wrap). This one was tasty, but given that it was pork belly, it was fatty and a little overcooked on the hotplate. It came with ssam jang (hot red pepper paste) lettuce and kimchi - after all this is Korean food, it wouldn't be complete without kimchi

Once wrapped you end up with this photo on the side, which you pull
together into a small bundle and pop into your mouth (this is never done very gracefully since sauce is always dripping out of the lettuce.) It was tasty, but not worth the $16 since for $2 more I could have had the lobster bi-bim-bap which was way better.

Our final dish was what they call swish aka shabu shabu. They have several different flavours beef, seafood, and mushroom (sorry for all of you vegetarians out there... I do not understand how you can give up the glorious flavours of meat and seafood!) We ordered the seafood (clearly no vegetarians in my family!)

The best part of this dish were the handmade noodles that came after the seafood was all eaten. Reminded me of the cal gook su my grandmother used to make (sniff). The scallops were cut too thin so they were over cooked in seconds. Everything else was ok, but not "damn I need to go back again" good. At $30 I would probably skip this dish.

Finally we topped it off with some coffee pat bing su. This is one of a few Korean desserts. It is shaved ice topped with pat (red bean paste) ice cream. Usually there is some fruit on it, but in this case there was coffee and cinnamon. The first one that came the red bean that was in it had gone bad and it was sour. More than a little off putting. But... since it is my sister's favourite Korean food she asked for a second one. This one was much better and while me, my mom and my aunt each had one bite, my sister devoured the whole thing. I think the green tea pat bing su would have been better, but they were out of green tea ice cream. :(

All said and done I was stuffed, would I come again? Maybe for lunch, just for the lobster bi-bim-bap. I'd skip the rest of it.

Rating 2.5/5 (-1 for minor faults in food, -1.5 for serving rancid pat)

Mis Trucos

Ok. So this restaurant is a tiny little tapas restaurant. I had (yet another) groupon deal for this and I hadn't seen my friend Connie in ages so we met there. I walked in at 6, it is early, and only a couple other tables are seated. It might seat a grand total of 30 people. The walls are white, except for a few spots painted black and marked up with chalk. I love that there is a "blackboard" you can draw on in the bathroom. :)

I've also noticed a bit of a trend... I only blog about restaurants where I have ordered shitloads of food to photograph. Perhaps it is because I don't have anything really witty to say... just love eating. ;)

I started off with a French 75 which was made with a little Bombay Sapphire, some lemon, some cava and a cherry. Mmmm... tasty. (No photo. I drank it too fast!) By the time Connie arrived I was looking forward to our 6 course tasting menu.

Course 1 - Squid Ragu
So the first course was a squid ragu with a piece of garlic toast. This dish, was rather garlicky (which I LOVE) so it was good... but no kissing afterwards. I would have liked to have some more garlic toast to sop up all that ragu goodness. I was glad that there was still some of the baguette left that we started munching on (but at $3 for about a quarter of a baguette... I don't know if the bread was worth it)

Ah... a well cooked scallop is one of the quickest ways to my heart! :) This course was a seared scallop with crispy pancetta on a squash puree and I don't remember what the foam was. The scallop was well cooked and the pancetta - sigh - when isn't crispy bacon good? The squash puree, well, was a bit of an afterthought. It didn't really add too much flavour, although it might have cut the saltiness of the pancetta a bit. And, like I said earlier, I don't remember the foam. :P

Course #3

I think this was one of my favourites. Sea bream (which is actually a rather ugly fish). Cooked beautifully. The skin was super crispy which is the only way that I will eat fish skin. Mmm. It was served over a bed of pine nuts, raisins and something else which my woefully short term memory has forgotten.

Course #4 was my least favourite.

This was the chef's take on "Pork and beans." It was a crispy pork belly seated on creamy beans topped with a quail's egg. Issue #1. Quail's egg wasn't fully cooked. Now I understand that most people like their eggs this way, but I HATE runny egg yolks. Chalk it up to my paranoia about salmonella. Issue #2 the crispy pork belly, while flavour wise was good, texture wise it left much to be desired. The fat in this piece of deep fried pork belly was not cooked and so was soft and chewy rather than rendered down. :( Finally, beans are beans, and they have never been my favourite (other than garbanzo beans in the form of hummus!)

But the chef saved the best savoury dish for last. Lobster risotto. MMMMMMM!!!!
This creamy concoction had loads of flavour and a surprisingly large amount of lobster. What a fantastic end to the tasting menu.

The dinner was summed up with a panna cotta topped with diced pear and a caramel almond crunch. The pear and caramel topper added a nice texture to the creaminess of the panna cotta.

I can't say that this was the best dessert I've ever had, but it was better than the chocolate pudding that I had at the Market by Jean-Georges earlier in the day.

All said and done, I felt like I had eaten too much. Would I go back again? Absolutely! :) I think next time though I won't do the tasting menu and just go for some of their tapas items + the lobster risotto.

Rating: 4/5 Everything wasn't perfect so no perfect score.. but a respectable 4/5 and definitely worth going back for.

Harbour City

one of the food i missed is steamed rice so when i went home for vacation, i had to stop by this restaurant. my friend and i also ordered siopao, empress roll siomai, chicken feet, quail's egg siomai and crab pincher. all the food we ordered were delicious just like i remembered them.

Harbour City
Ayala Center Cebu, Cebu City 6000

3/5 (-2 for the dirty tap water they serve. one should instead order canned softdrinks or bottled water.)


when you're searching for restaurants that serves chicago deep dish pizza, UNO will come up in the list along with Giordano's, Lou Malnati's and Gino's East. last friday, we were craving for some deep dish so we picked UNO.

we had muchos nachos and wings in 3 ways: buffalo style, honey barbeque and wowza sauce. the nachos was very satisfactory. i enjoyed its melted cheese and jalapeno. the wings were not bad but not that significant.

we chose numero uno deep dish for our entree. it's like the super supreme pizzas of other pizza chains. the crust was crunchy and tasty. it was too meaty for me though but i enjoyed it's cheezy tomato sauce. i'm glad the filling wasn't that deep like the deep dishes in Giordano's.

UNO Chicago Grill
1160 Plaza Drive
Schaumburg, IL 60173

4.5/5 (-0.5 for the wings)

Sushi Kushi San3

Last night we ate at this cozy Japanese restaurant for dinner. The waiter immediately offered us hot tea or cold glass of water. Since it is getting cold outside, we chose hot tea. =)

They have an array of tempting dishes from sashimi, sushi, maki, rolls, soup, bentos and many more. We were served fried tuna roll with oyster sauce and Japanese mayo as appetizer, complements from the chef. It was perfect.

I ordered gyudon to compare it with the one in Mitsuwa. After tasting it, I could not decide though which one beats the other. I guess they are 5 stars both.

I'm definitely going back to this restaurant to taste their platter of sushi and sushi rolls.

Sushi Kushi San3
281 W Townline Rd
Vernon Hills, IL 60061

Verdict: 4.75/5 (presentation of their menu needs improvement)

Don Henricos

During Ayala's Midnight sale, we enjoyed our evening meal together at Don Henrico's, located at the Ayala Terraces, Cebu. The restaurant offers an affordable buffet table with a few but delectable choices. I spied the table and saw two pizza dishes, two pasta choices (white or red), a few appetizers, honey glazed chicken and dessert.
For groups on a budget, they can avail of packaged meals composed of pizza, a tower of iced tea, pasta and a plate of deep fried calamari. Of course, aside from those, diners can choose to order from their ala carte menu.

We had three pieces of their signature crunchy chicken paired with their heavenly gravy, seafood pesto and a 10-inch Rustic Italian Pizza peppered with meat, pepperoni, cheese and onions. The service was mediocre but the food is great. Since there were three of us, we were at first tempted to opt for the buffet table, but got discouraged by the lack of choices.

Pizza is outstanding, one of the best pizzas I've ever tasted (considering that this restaurant pioneers in making one of the great pizzas here in the Philippines). It's got a crispy crust that is baked just right to complement the pizza flavor's special blend. The toppings aren't too strong, and neither do they add up to make something salty. It goes well with the Caramba Hot sauce they have on the table. The calamari plate is a great choice of appetizer. Sadly, the tomato salsa doesn't match too well with it.

Their pasta is so-so, though their shrimp and squid serving size on top of the pesto is generous. You can't even taste the basil with too much flavor and toppings on the noodles. Their chicken is salty, so the skin should be avoided at all costs for those on a diet. The gravy is good, but deadly. I imagine they put a lot of butter in it to make it that delicious.

Don Henrico's
Ayala Center Cebu
Ayala Center Cebu
Cebu, Cebu, Philippines

A: 3.8/5
Service was so-so. Takes a while to get noticed. Trainees should be trained more. The trainee server picked up the fallen chicken off the table with his hand, a no-no when it comes to food serving.

Japas Bistro

So... Entry #2 :) I am not a one hit wonder!

The past few months I have been obsessed with these damn "groupon" sytle coupons which has led to my spending more than a little money on coupons. The one plus side to this is that I get to try out new restaurants once in a while. Japas Bistro was one of these. So, to start off with this restaurant is just 1/2 a block from the Broadway Canada Line Station which makes it super easy to get to. It is a hole in the wall which I would have never set foot into if it wasn't for this coupon that I had.

I would have never ventured out to this restaurant (afterall it is across a bridge!) if it wasn't for the 50% off that I got and I would have missed out on some tasty food. And as an added bonus, it came with a free drink!

The free drink was a watermelon based drink. I think it might have just been blended watermelon. Whatever it was made of... it tasted good. I ordered a 2nd one after. Although at $4 per drink for a non-alcoholic bevie, I might not order it again.

To start my friend Tina and I ate some edamame (no photos since edamame is pretty standard stuff). - oh... and I forgot to take a photo and I didn't think a photo of empty pods would make a good blog post!

Next up came gyoza.
I almost forgot to take photos of this too - which is why it only has 2 gyoza on the plate. I had never seen such long skinny gyoza before. They were tasty. Although, due to the long skinny nature of them, it made for not the greatest form factor for dipping in the sauce if you wanted to be able to avoid double dipping. I would order them again though.

Mmm... Pumpkin croquettes - how can you go wrong? Deep fried goodness. The pumpkin was nice, light and fluffy, the panko crust crispy. My only complaint with this dish was that two halves came on a soy based sauce and two halves on tartar sauce. Since I don't like tartar, this was a miss with me. Next time I order this - if it is still on the menu (I think it is a seasonal thing) I will ask for no tartar sauce.

Any trip to a new Japanese izakaya place would not be complete without trying the ebi mayo. I don't know why this is, because more often than not, I am disappointed. Japas Bistro was ok... not fantastic, but not bad. Pros - I loved the citrus flavour of the orange added to the ebi. Cons - too much mayo made it a little soggy.

Next course... beef short ribs. This one was the only dish I could say I will definitely not order again. The dish wasn't terrible but I much prefer korean galbi. To be honest, I think I liked the cabbage underneath the ribs that had soaked up the sauce better... but perhaps that is because by this point in the meal I was realizing that we hadn't really ordered any veggie dishes.

So this was the final dish, and without question the highlight of the night. Beef sashimi. The sauce was bizarre, but fantastically so. Mustard, olive oil, soy, and a lot of Greek seasoning. Tina mostly tasted the mustard, I mostly tasted the Greek seasoning. Either way we both loved it. I can honestly say that I have never had beef sashimi that tasted like this, and this alone makes this restaurant worth going back for. :)

Overall rating 3.5/5 The lack of ambiance in the restaurant automatically dropped this by a point, the food, was mostly good, with only one meh dish. I'll go back, but there are so many other groupons to use first!

Tita Julies's Fastfood

Julies Fastfood dates back to its humble beginnings as an expansion idea of a bakeshop owner. With plenty of other bakers sprouting here and there, the dream became a reality. Of course, the bakery is still strong as ever, regardless of how many other competitors the company has.

The restaurant boasts an assortment of grilled local dishes for the common folk from pork to seafood to pica pica. Aside from that, people are drawn into this establishment by the low prices and the unlimited soup and rice for every order of viand. It's the equivalent of eating at a buffet table, for its price.

We decided to try the buy 1 take 1 grilled pork chop and their chicken thigh barbecue. The price was just right and the servings were more than enough for two people.


A: 2.5/5 the taste isn't satisfactory for the Eat Out Enthusiasts. The food lacks a certain appeal without using any MSG or flavorings. Plus points for the cold temperature and clean surroundings, though.

Sutton Place Hotel Chocolate Buffet

My first post! :D

So... since I had to work over night Saturday into Sunday it seemed like a perfect time to indulge in the chocolate buffet. (I figure I can burn off some of the calories over night!) We arrived at the Sutton Place Hotel to a gaggle of teen and tween girls trying to snap photos of who they thought was Justin Beiber... (turns out it wasn't him though!)

First round:

From left to right, chocolate pecan torte, white chocolate raspberry crumble bar, triple chocolate croissant pudding (essentially bread pudding gone mad!)

The chocolate pecan torte was tasty, the crumble bar - ok, but not my favourite... but ooooo that chocolate croissant pudding... OMG! I almost went back and took seconds of this - but there was still too much to peruse.

Round 2:

From left to right: chocolate cheese cake, white chocolate mousse cake, not sure what the third thing was - there was no label!

The unknown bar was the best of these 3 followed by the cheese cake. The white chocolate mousse cake I could have passed on. I needed a break after these 2 rounds!

Chocolate Profiterole - I think I actually prefer regular profiteroles - Fairmont Hotel Vancouver's are better.

Raspberry White chocolate moussey thing. I can't remember what it was called. :P I was expecting it to be a more solid chocolate rather than mousse. But the raspberry was delicious (I think I was starting to get chocolate exhaustion at this point!) Hence the crepe next:

This was a Grand Marnier crepe with mango passion fruit sauce and Grand Marnier pastry creme on one side and regular whipped cream on the other. This was heaven. The mango passion fruit sauce was divine. I wanted a vat of the stuff.

Next up - can you believe I was still up for more?

Standard chocolate fountain with fruit. I dropped a strawberry in the fountain - but I SWEAR it was intentional - I wanted full chocolate coverage! :D

After the fruit... it was time for dessert!

This was a chocolate truffle cake - at this point it was almost too much chocolate. The side dish to the truffle cake was the dream bar below.

This was a crunchy bar with loads of chocolate and fudge.

It didn't end there.

Banana chocolate cream pie. This one was a bit of a miss. Too much banana, not enough chocolate.

Giving up on the banana chocolate cream pie after a couple bites I moved on to the mocha bar.

Who thought I would need more caffeine after all that chocolate?

So at this point, having tasted (if not finished) all of the above... I needed something to cut all of that chocolate so my final "petite four" portion of my meal was lemon sorbet with more of that delicious mango passion fruit sauce.

And at this point... I am in sugar shock and will not be able to eat sugar for a long long while. (Maybe Monday I can have another piece of chocolate!)

Cost: $26 + tax & tip
Rating: 4/5 not 5 of 5 because it would have been nice to have more dark chocolate, and there was no standard chocolate cake!!! Only a bunch of mousse cakes/tortes/bars!

Wakamatsu Yakiniku

This unique all you can eat Japanese style restaurant has tables equipped with grills well as an overhead movable exhaust fan that suck the smoke out of each individual dining area. Their menu consists of a mix between Korean and Japanese cold cuts as well as raw food. Of course, depending on how much one can eat, any customer can order as much as they want.

The restaurant boasts its wide assortment of US, Aussie, Korean and Japanese meat, not to mention some seafood and a side dish of kimchi on the side. They also have traditional sake and shoju, in addition to local drinks, juices and shakes.

A = 4/5
I can't really say much about the food because the customer decides how he wants his meat.I have to reiterate that they serve bowls of delicious Korean cold noodles.

Casino Español

Vegetable salad, pork chop and fish fillet 

Lengua estofado, chop suey and fish fillet 

Chocolate monster

Casino Español de Cebu
107-109 V. Ranudo Street
Cebu City 6000, Philippines


N: 3.5/5 I had high expectations for their lengua but it was just ok..


Postrio is the best place to hang out on a lazy Saturday afternoon, especially when you're fed up with the usually coffee shop crowd. They serve freshly baked bread and pastries plus they have wifi and electric outlets so it's common to see people with their laptops and books piled up on their table, typing and enjoying their baked goodies.

We usually go here to buy whole wheat pandesal and sliced bread but today we decided to add lemon square and their best seller apple pie on our list. It was great that they have a couch just outside the premises that looks out to the fountain of The Terraces. That's where we whiled away the time till dinner at Red Kimono.


N: 4/5 I have yet to try their drinks but I love their pastries, their lemon square rivals Leona's. Now if they only have friendlier cashiers then it would be perfect. The one who attended me wouldn't give up the wifi password, what a grinch!

Bistro Ecila

Beef overload! Rib eye steak and wagyu beef with a band playing cheesy melodramatic songs in the background - a fine way to cap a Saturday night. The beef dishes were excellent but our calamari appetizer was so-so. I would pick Cyma's kalamarakia over this anytime of day.

I just noticed this last weekend, but it looks like all restos on the third level serve liquor and turn into gimik places come Friday and Saturday nights.

N: 3.5/5 non existent service on a Saturday night plus way expensive! rib eye is $7 per 100g - that's a person's salary for the day in Cebu.

++ because they have free wifi, -- because they don't have any discounts or freebies for Ayala discount card holders.

Bistro Ecila
3rd Level, The Terraces
Ayala Center Cebu


We were greeted by the attendants, one rainy night, who courteously offered us the menu as we entered the establishment. We expected good service, only to be dismayed as we were seated three feet away from the kitchen. Imagine having dining tables near the hot kitchen! It didn't end with just that, actually, all throughout the course of the meal, service was slow. The water tasted awful and that our food had to be served cold (we specifically asked the main course to be served even if the entrees weren't done yet.)

To make up for it, I guess, the interiors looked good and light despite the busy atmosphere. Just being there can make you feel at ease and calm, as you stare at the photographs on the walls or admire various pen inked artwork hung almost every angle of the restaurant.

As for food, if you're looking for eating on a budget or pigging out, you're at the wrong place. Price range of a dish here costs about 200-300 on average. Thankfully, they have entree packages of two or four in a plate at a reduced cost if you order them individually.

We had cubed egg and spicy cheese for starters. Not exactly the best, but manageable. Next to come was the the hot garlic bread for individual guests. Traditional to start with these. They also have wifi here, for those who are bored of waiting.

After that, we had pork tips , medium well beef steak and marlin fish fillet.

I don't know why people say that the food is bland. I guess most of them are just too used to adding one too many dashes of salt and spices, only to destroy their tasting senses. All of the dishes served here had an exquisite hidden tinge of flavor.

If you enjoy subtle tasting food with great presentation, this is the place for you.

Canvas: Bistro and Bar
Level 2, The Terraces
Ayala Center, Philippines


A: 3.6/5