Mother's Fried Chicken

 We were actually curious as to how this restaurant still manages to stay afloat when other establishments their age have already closed down and moved on so we decided to pay this place a visit.

Siting at the third floor of Ayala Center Cebu, within walking distance from Metro Department Store, Mother's Fried Chicken has been home to several home cooked dishes for the past decade.

Although not as old as Sunburst, I suppose people come back here for the familiar taste of home like how Ma used to cook. On the plus side, you could really imagine home cooked meals here from the food that we ordered. It's like a blast from the past for me.

The food itself is less than desirable to look at, with no effort to make it look more appetizing. The sides of the eggs were burnt, and the sauce of the burger steak looked fatty (I was right, it had too much butter and grease in it). The chicken looked like it was cooked vigorously and the noodles were very dry. And the iced tea that comes with the set meals were too sweet for my taste.

Dessert was very much the same thing. 

The leche flan was too rigid and had too many holes, i think they added egg whites here.

Mother's Fried Chicken
Ayala Center Cebu

A: 2/5 While the food is borderline mediocre, it makes up for its very affordable prices and cozy atmosphere. We had 4 dishes and a dessert that cost us only 500 pesos. It is very cheap!

Pizza Republic

 Pizza Republic is one of the newly opened restaurants here in Cebu that is almost always full thanks to their innovative way to presenting and serving pizza to the local masses.

Situated right across Golden Cowrie, this restaurant is strategically located at the corner of La Guardia street that only takes about 10 minutes of slow paced walking to IT Park. The restaurant is filled most of the time with students and professionals alike, who are interested to grab a quick bite and some relaxation in between or after school/work. 

The inside of the restaurant looks like it came straight from a busy army cafeteria teeming with people happily chatting. 

Although they have no "real" menu and leaves most of the decision making in decorating the pizzas to their patrons, this restaurant still maintains a strict high quality standard of cleanliness and and organization in presenting their toppings. 

What I like about this restaurant is that there is a wide array of toppings to choose from with at least 4 cheese toppings to utilize. Not only that, the establishment also has several vegetables, pork, chicken, and seafood for the picky eater. No more complaints from the peeps who hate anchovies in their bite!

Pizza Republic
Salinas Drive corner La Guardia St.

A: 5/5
I like the establishment, the ambiance, and the way food is presented. It also doesn't take long for your own pizza to be cooked in their brick oven, in less than 10 minutes tops. The rustic look of the place feels right and the cleanliness is observed by the staff.

Tajimaya 168 Ramen House

Tajimaya 168 Ramen House is situated in the vicinity where several establishments of the Abaca Group of Companies are located. Sitting between Maya and A Cafe, this restaurant is comfortably nestled at the corner of Crossroads strip, the only one that offers patrons a chance to partake in their all-you-can-eat deal. For 450 bucks, each patron could eat as much squid ball, shrimp, beef and pork slices, chicken, and pork sausages.

We went there with my sister's friend, who was craving for some late night Japanese food. The place was packed and hectic. We had to wait for a few minutes to get seated. I still wonder if the place was really that good with the amount of people dining at this hub.

Anyhow, the ambiance is pleasant enough and we had our own booth to eat in, instead of an open table like many other restaurants that offer all you can eat deals. It was comforting to be given our own privacy.

All in all, our dining experience was okay. The service was so-so too. The price was a little too expensive though, and I can say a few restaurants that are reasonably cheaper than this.

Tajimaya 168 Ramen House
Crossroads, Banilad


A: 2.5/5

Pricey. I guess we didn't order the dishes they specialize in? 

Ice Castle

We visited Ayala on a rainy afternoon just when there was a huge inter-school accounting competition going on at that time so we decided to visit Ice Castle on the 4th floor just beside Flame It!. It was a noisy event filled afternoon and we just walked inside to get some reprieve from the screaming and the cheering of the students out to cheer for their representatives.

At this time, we seated ourselves by the window area that looks out into the wide area of the Terraces. The place had a splendid view of green and the tall buildings within the vicinity that was quite relaxing, really.

I for myself, had this super Halo Halo, which was their trademark dessert, while my sister had a bowl of Super Buco, which is composed of young coconut meat, corn flakes, and two scoops of ice cream and a plate of double pork chops.

The food was so-so and nothing spectacular. The pork-chops were small, and the Buko was disappointingly not worth it.  It was a simple enough dish that didn't have any sort of zing to it to make it special. 

Ice Castle
4th floor Ayala Center Cebu

A: 2/5

I guess this place is only good for desserts. But even then, the trademark we've tried isn't even that good...

SGD Tofu House

after a hike at rancho san antonio, i joined the hiking group for some korean lunch at this place. it was recommended by one of the hikers. she said it's the only good korean restaurant around that area. a sample of seven different korean side dishes were served. i only liked the fish strips and kimchi. tofu soup with beef and clams was also served. it was fine, not remarkable. i got the bbq beef and vegetables with fried egg over rice bowl. the beef wasn't tasty. the korean air bibimbop even beats this restaurant's bibimbop. two of my companions ordered bbq pork. they both hated it since it had a lot of fatty cuts. the rest of the group ordered bibimbob in stoneware. i didn't hear them say good things about their orders.

Verdict: 1/5 (it's possible their soft tofu dishes are their specialty. it's a tofu house after all!)

SGD Tofu House
3450 El Camino Real #105
Santa Clara, CA 95051

Willow Street Pizza and Dolce Spazio Gelato

after a scenic stroll at montalvo arts center in saratoga and los gatos downtown, i was so looking forward to have a hearty dinner. a branch of this restaurant is very near to my place so it's funny that i get to try this branch which is farther from my place. i went with my vegetarian friend and i felt like doing family style. we decided on their "roasted vegetable california wood-fired pizza with homemade pesto sauce, burrata cheese, oven roasted tomatoes, cauliflower, zucchini and topped with arugula" and "mushroom pesto penne with mixed mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes tossed in a pesto cream sauce garnished with fresh basil and parmesan". both were so good! the vegetables on the pizza were fresh and the burrata cheese was a perfect on the pizza. if i am to choose, the penne had more edge on the pizza. the pesto sauce with the sun-dried tomatoes and mushrooms were so tasty! i could eat the entire plate!

even though i was full already, my mind was set on trying the famous gelato place which got some awards on being the best ice cream place. we were lucky to get in before the crowd. i took a taste sample on the pistachio and oreo. i decided on the white pistachio gelato on a cone. it was a very generous scoop. it was so yummy!

Verdict: 5/5

Willow Street Pizza
20 South Santa Cruz Avenue #218
Los Gatos, CA 95030

Verdict: 5/5

Dolce Spazio Gelato
221 N Santa Cruz Ave
Los Gatos, CA 95030

Hick'ry Pit

i gave this place a chance since it's very close to my workplace. i didn't even check the reviews before going. my officemate and i ordered the combo bbq platter. we picked pork spare ribs and new york steak. it came with corn and beans and two side dishes. we chose vegetable and meat soup and cream and cauliflower soup. all the items we got were so bad! the vegetable and meat soup was average while the cream and cauliflower soup was so salty and diluted! both steak and ribs were very dry and lacked seasoning and their bbq sauce couldn't even save the ribs. this is definitely not the place to go for bbq ribs and steak!

Verdict: 0/5 (this place will close down if people order their ribs and steak.)

Hick'ry Pit
980 E Campbell Ave
Campbell, CA 95008

McKeown's Restaurant & Bar

i found this place after looking up on yelp for recommended seafood places. i read that crab stuffed salmon is a must-try. i mistakenly went into the bar section where it was dark and people were drinking and  playing on a billiard pool. i was thinking to myself if i'm on the right place. i debated if should stay considering the unusual dining ambiance. i decided to leave and while walking i'm glad i found the door to the actual restaurant. it's a romantic place for fine-dining. they served me french bread with butter. the bread was not fresh and tasty. i ordered the crab stuffed salmon, "wild salmon stuffed with dungeness crab, cream cheese, spinach, artichoke hearts, parmesan and garlic then baked and served with garlic mashed potatoes and seasonal fresh vegetables". it was so delicious! the salmon and crab were fresh and high-quality! i wanted to make it at home after having it. the vegetables were cooked just right too, not over-cooked. the vegetables and mashed potato worked perfectly with the crab stuffed salmon. the entire dish leaves you a satisfied yet light tummy leaving me room for dessert.

on my way to the beach to catch the sunset, i passed by a donut shop which has this stick of 6 mini-donuts. i asked if i could get a stick of 2 flavors but the server said i couldn't. i ended up with chocolate glazed chocolate donut. it wasn't a remarkable one and it was so sweet.

Verdict: 4/5 (-1 for the bread, it should be served hot and fresh.)

McKeown's Restaurant & Bar
1 S Holladay Dr
Seaside, OR 97138

Verdict: 2/3 (not many options)

Dundee's Donuts
414 Broadway
Seaside, OR 97138

Waterfront Pizza and Mediterranean

this is so far my favorite mediterranean restaurant in the bay.  the ambiance and location is perfect. i went there with a friend for lunch and we had a patio seating near the water. one could see ducks swimming, boats passing by and athletes kayaking. the line of rich houses which have their own boats was very picturesque.

the ambiance was not only perfect, the food was also delicious. i ordered lamb shish kabob and my vegetarian friend got falafel wrap-deluxe "falafel, tomatoes and cucumber salad and tahini sauce plus eggplants and potatoes". we both enjoyed our orders. the lamb was tender and so tasty. the salad and other trimmings were very well seasoned, even the rice was tasty! after finishing eating, we stayed a little bit more to enjoy the fresh breeze and scenic view. i'm sure the view at night would also be pretty. i definitely would like to come back here again and try their pizza since it's after all a pizza place too!

Verdict: 4.5/5 (-0.5 for mixing people smoking hookah with non-smoking group)

Waterfront Pizza and Mediterranean Restaurant
969 Edgewater Blvd
Foster City, CA 94404

Pig 'N Pancake

they say that when in seaside or cannon beach, one must visit this place. i came for breakfast and got the chance to pass by around dinner too. on both times, the restaurant was full with customers. that's a good indicator. there were a lot of options in the menu from breakfast items to salads to sandwiches and burgers. i set my sight on 3 little pigs in blankets which are hotdogs wrapped in pancakes and comes with generous serving of pineapple sauce and scoop of butter. it was a very heavy breakfast for me. two persons can share this meal. the pineapple sauce was a nice complement to the dish.

Verdict: 5/5 for breakfast, service was warm and personal, food was good and very affordable.

Pig 'N Pancake
323 Broadway St
Seaside, OR 97138

Lemon Tree

 One drizzling Sunday afternoon, just before we went to church, we drove by IT Park to visit the fairly new restaurant named Lemon Tree Fusion Restaurant. It was a spacious place that used to be occupied by La Tegola a few months back.

What caught my attention was the laid back atmosphere of the place and the playing slideshow of different pictures that covers several topics from depression to love and so on. There were also several pose mannequins that are part of the design they incorporated as a theme.

For starters, we were given a complementary plate of crisp tortilla topped with tomato and herb garnishing dashed with a hearty serving of olive oil.

Next came a plate of clam pasta, which I think was too salty. On the plus side, the dish came with real clam. Another appetizer dish we ordered was this plate of tortilla roll-ups that vaguely reminds me of phat pho's Goi Cuon (fresh spring roll). It comes with a sweet dip that neutralizes the salty tang of our earlier meal.

Our disappointment came when we were informed that the Gorgonzola pizza was currently unavailable. So instead, we ordered an whole platter of Seafood pizza instead. As an additional order, we also asked for a bacon and mushroom pizza (which came with a whole fried egg! How peculiar!). 

Altogether, the pizza was a very curious experience. The crust had sweet potato that made the eating the an very worthwhile endeavor. What used to be a boring task of eating the supposed to be bland end of the crust, is now a healthy and enjoyable experience.

Lemon Tree Fusion Restaurant
IT Park 

A: 3/5

The dishes are hit and miss. They have a lot of improvements to do to be better, but i'll give them props for their ambiance.