Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Vikings SM Marikina: A Feast from the.. River?

We've actually eaten at this branch of Vikings a couple of times already, and it's mostly because it's semi-convenient to get to, it's cheaper than the one in MOA, and you eat for free as long as it's within 3 days of your birthday (or on your wedding anniversary, for married folks out there)!

This place always has a very decent set of food, and for me, it has beaten out my favourite buffet, Saisaki, as the best value for money you can get at a not-super-ridiculously-priced restaurant.

The Buffet:
Vikings SM Marikina


Of course, you always start with sushi! Vikings has a really good selection of sushi, and I'd say it is around the same or has better quality than Saisaki. On the other hand, Saisaki does seldomly have Uni (sea urchin) though and Vikings simply does not!

vikings sm marikina

vikings sm marikina

Look at all the food I don't eat! There is just so many options in Vikings, that you need to be picky about what you indulge yourself with. I don't waste my time and space on salad and hot pot stuff.

vikings sm marikina

I love the drinks at Vikings. They're mostly just soda and iced teas, but Coke just goes so well with greasy, heavy food! As part of my dessert, I also usually go for the Milo Shake. :)

What we had:

vikings sm marikina

The world is not enough for the amount of sushi I want to eat for the rest of my life. Lovely stuff.

vikings sm marikina

Definitely not my fresh-looking shrimp. The effort to eat these is not worth it for me. I plead lazy.

vikings sm marikina

Now, that's more like it! Easy to eat AND delicious! Fair word of warning though: inspect the oysters well because we noticed that some of them smelled like old aquarium. I actually liked the weird, intoxicating smell, but it was apparently dangerous since a bunch of us had stomach problems the next day and this was the prime suspect!

vikings sm marikina

My non-sushi food: a messed up plate of meats and casserole of something.

vikings sm marikina

Steak, Hummus, and Caviar. Some fancy food on a very non-fancy plate. The beef and lamb, while a bit tough, is quite good. Order it as it should be to have it a tiny bit softer: Medium Rare! (or Rare!)

vikings sm marikina

I really, really enjoy unlimited yogurt and the occasional crepe from buffets, which is also why I like eating at Vikings. I cap my meal off with a minimum of 1 bowl of yogurt every time.

Verdict: Very Good

The Saisaki Scale: Passing - Definitely above the line on the Saisaki scale. It is significantly more expensive, but more than significantly more delicious and enjoyable. It has the variety and quality of a hotel buffet, without the actual hotel. If it wasn't so detrimental to my diet, I'd want to eat here even more frequently!

Will Vikings beat out Saisaki as the default birthday venue? Only time (and budget) will tell!

Love Vikings? Hate it? Let me know by commenting below, or just tweet me!

The Buffet Benchmark: The Saisaki Scale

2/F, SM City Marikina,
Marcos Highway, Marikina City
Operating Hours:
11:00 am - 2:30 pm
5:30 pm - 10:30 pm
Facebook: Vikings (SM Marikina): A Feast from the Sea
Website: http://vikings.ph/

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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Sarsa Kitchen + Bar: Fancy Kansi

It's almost six months since Alvie's new job and we figured it was time to celebrate by trying out a new Filipino restaurant making ripples in BGC named Sarsa. I was pleased to see online that this new restaurant is not following in the footsteps of Chef Laudico and Aracama. The prices, though slightly pricier than normal, weren't extremely expensive for good ol' local food.

sarsa kitchen + bar
Lechon Kawali with Batwan Tsokolate & Pinakurat, P250.00
I think it'd sound so much cooler as Batman Tsokolate. Haha. Well, the lechon kawali was pretty standard, but it was pretty interesting to dip it in rich chocolate sauce each time. I liked it but never really got used to the mix, which is also a good thing. Despite Pinakurat being one of the few kinds of vinegar I actually enjoy, I didn't even touch it.

Sizzling Kansi (Sizzling Bulalo) with Batwan Gravy, P335.00
Garlic Rice, P40.00 each
Fancy Kansi! These serving of Sizzling Kansi was enjoyable, but the batwan gravy was a bit batwan boring. Good, soft meat, but the bone marrow just isn't the same as the classic Bulalo. For this version, it was much easier to avoid. Haha. The garlic rice was pretty normal.

Entire Menu

Lechon Kawali with Batwan Tsokolate & Pinakurat: Good
Sizzling Kansi with Batwan Gravy: Good
Garlic Rice: Good

sarsa kitchen + bar
Simple and classic.
I am glad to see a new restaurant taking flight in a relatively new, previously barren area of the Fort. The rest of the menu looks good enough to come back for and try out! They were also nice enough to give us complimentary bowls of Kansi soup which was very tasty but a bit on the salty side.

Love Sarsa Kitchen + Bar? Hate it? Let me know by commenting below, or just tweet me!

Other Restaurants in The Fort:
Chuck's Deli: Buffy the Sandwich Slayer
Good Earth Roasts (GER)
Gyu-Kaku: The Time is Ripe to Grill Some Tripe
IHOP: The Latest Pancake Craze
Jollibee: Ultimate Burger Steak and Flip Float
Kasbah: A Moroccan Lunch
Kebabers: Cheese Kebabs
Órale!: The Best Quesadillas
Pancake House: Cookie Butter Pancakes Surprise
The Best Pasta of Pasto
SM Aura Premier: Pepper Lunch Express under the Sky Park
Racks: My Favourite Ribs
Red Garlic Bistro: Trotting the Globe, Clove by Clove
S&R: My Favourite Pizza
Saboten: Enjoyin' Some Loin
Saint's Alp: Taiwanese Chicken Goodness
Sbarro: Rolling in the Deep Dish
Seattle's Best: Sea Salt and Salad
Stacy's: The Sweet Kind of Retro
Stella Wood Fired Bistro: Nothing Less Than Stellar
Sunshine Kitchen: Second Dawn
Tapeo: Spanish Surprise at the Fort Strip
The Cheese Steak Shop: Philly Cheese Steaks in the Phillyppines
Toast Box: Going Goreng
Tokyo Tokyo: Burgers and Chopsticks
The Kebab Factory: The TKF Trilogy
URBN: Dining with Style
Uncle Cheffy: A Piece 'a Panizza
Wildflour's Cronut: The Doughnut and Croissant's Love Child
Wrong Ramen: The Weirder, The Better
Yabu: Bed of Rosus
Let Me See That Zong

Unit 1-7 Forum South Global, Federacion Dr. corner 7th Ave.
Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City
(0927) 706-0773
Operating Hours: 11:00 am-11:00 pm
Facebook: Sarsa Kitchen+Bar

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Monday, November 11, 2013

Hong Kong Disneyland Resort 2013

hong kong disneyland
The happiest place on earth!
Of course we would visit Disneyland during our Hong Kong trip! Why the hell not?? Despite the tight itinerary, we were able to squeeze in a day with Mickey and friends right after our arrival. Getting there was a bit of work (we had to move from the airport to the hotel and back to Disneyland, which took about 3.5 hours), but it was totally worth it.

I actually visited this place for the first time last year with my brothers and cousins when my Ninang took us an awesome trip. I couldn't be happier that I now have a reason to come back exactly a year later. It's also Alvie's first time here!

hong kong disneyland
Those eyes are still creepy, Woody.
Adult Admission Tickets, $450.00 or P2511.87 each.
Regular admission is 450 HKD, but if you purchase the ticket from the CTS (China Travel Service) counter in the Hong Kong Airport, it could be cheaper. We got ours for 420 HKD each. Not bad.

hong kong disneyland
Every little thing is magic.
The Disney magic begins from the Sunny Bay Station once you step foot on the Mickey Mouse train which runs to and from Disneyland.

hong kong disneyland
I wish upon a star that I'll be able to be back here every year!
A very short ride later, we were at the sunny heaven that is Disneyland.

hong kong disneyland
Wide open spaces and loads of fun and familiar icons await you upon entering the area. There was also a huge and lively fountain.

Just the right thing to get you hyped to start the adventure, right?? Well, there's a lot to talk about so let's just go about this story piece by piece.

The Snacks

Really? Snacks already? Haha. Let's just get this out of the way. Foodwise, there's a lot of fun options in Disneyland. Very many, actually, but there aren't a lot of wallet-friendly options. You can expect restaurant meals to be upwards of 90 HKD or 500 pesos. You may want to grab authentic Hong Kong cuisine before entering Disneyland, since there are many that would be much cheaper. Even doing that though, you can't expect anyone to have an active 6 hour day without any refreshments! Here's what we had:

hong kong
Roasted (?) Squid, about $30.00 or P167.13
Okay, I don't remember what it's called exactly or the exact price but this is about right. It's fun to snack on and chewy. Snack areas that serve this are located throughout the park, and you'll definitely smell when one is nearby. Follow your nose! Haha.

hong kong disneyland
Mango and Watermelon Shake, about $22.00  or P122.56 each.
Curry Fishball, $15.00 or P83.57 for one serving (4 pieces)
The shakes would quench the hell out of you on a bright and sunny day, and the curry fishballs were quite good. It had the same consistency of what you would get from good hotpot places we have here in the Philippines. Slightly spicy curry sauce was also very nice.

hong kong disneyland
Chocolate Mickey Mouse Ice Cream Bar, $28.00 or P155.99
I feel like a kid again! This was a bit pricey but I just couldn't bring myself to not have anything Mickey-shaped. It wasn't no Magnum, but it was alright. Also available snacks are Mickey Mouse waffles and turkey legs. I had also conditioned myself to purchase a turkey leg and was looking forward to it, but in the end, changed my mind because it didn't seem as appetizing as I remember. I only tried it in Ocean Park last year.

Main Street, USA

hong kong disneyland
The Railroad
The first area that will greet you is Main Street, USA. Here you will find a couple of buildings and the Railroad that tours you through the whole park. We weren't able to ride because it was closed for the parade when we arrived at 3 pm. We weren't about to waste time waiting and weren't keen to watch the parade since we needed to go through the whole park despite our late arrival. We have to be efficient!

hong kong disneyland
A proposal.
Looks like some people were preparing for a proposal. Well, this would be a cool place!

hong kong disneyland
Monsters U!
This new place, Monsters University, was kind of like a small Monsters, Inc. museum. I haven't watched any of the movies so I wasn't interested and neither was Alvie. We prefer the rides!

Toy Story Land

hong kong disneyland
There's a snake in my boot!
This was a nice, playful area. We were planning to ride the Toy Soldier Parachute Drop, but the line was going to take 30 minutes we weren't willing to spare. Too bad, it looked like fun. There was also the RC Racer, which is pretty much Enchanted Kingdom's Anchors Away on steroids, and well, maybe next time. We did take a lot of pictures, though.

hong kong disneyland
A seat on a saliva-slobbered bench, anyone?
hong kong disneyland
Playskool is kool.
hong kong disneyland
Alvie and Rex!
hong kong disneyland
Remember this gal?
What we rode:
Slinky Dog Spin - A bit too kiddie and not worth the 15 minute queue.

Still fun, though.

hong kong disneyland
Very much the heart of this place, Fantasyland is located at the center of it all. Lots of photo opportunities and a couple of nice rides are scattered around this place. There were some kiddie rides like The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and the iconic It's a Small World, and a show called Golden Mickeys we weren't able to catch due to lack of time. We prioritized only the best ones.

hong kong disneyland
Remember these guys?
hong kong disneyland
Pumpkin cups.
hong kong disneyland
It's a small world!
What we rode:
Mickey's Philharmagic - A wonderful 4D(!!!!) show that is very fun to watch and features many Disney movies. The main character is my favourite from Disney: Donald Duck!

hong kong disneyland
Cool shades.
hong kong disneyland
*cue Disneyland Theme*
Mad Hatter's Tea Cups - Insane fun, especially if you spin the cups until you have to stop from too much laughing!

hong kong disneyland
Fun stuff!

hong kong disneyland
Behold the future!
It's not all castles and fantasy in Disneyland. This is a place where marvels of the future lie, including a Stitch show we didn't watch.

What we rode:
Space Mountain: Ghost Galaxy (twice!) - When I was here last year, I was really hoping to try the non-Halloween version of this ride the next time, but alas, no luck. This ride is a lot of fun and is one of the only roller-coasters that do not terrify me too much because you don't see how high up you are, or when the drops are coming. Alvie's favourite ride and my second.
Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters - You get to ride on a small vehicle for which you can control the direction you are facing. You get guns and points for all the little targets you are able to hit. A great time for kids and adults alike.

To infinity and beyond!
Mystic Point

A small, strange place which holds the best special effects we've ever seen from a ride.

What we rode:
Mystic Manor - Though we knew nothing about it going in, we had a great time being mystified by illusions and awesome special effects!

hong kong disneyland
Watch out for this eerily interesting place.
Grizzly Gulch

This old-timey mining town is definitely not one you would want to miss.

What we rode
Runaway Mine Cars (twice!) - My favourite ride! This isn't your run-of-the-mill roller-coaster. Not because it is scary, but because it has a reeling chain of events that is awesome to experience again and again and again.

hong kong disneyland
If you've ridden it, you'd remember the location from this image.

Home of Simba, and everything from the jungle, this lively place has quite a bit of adventure to offer. I wish we had time to visit Tarzan's Treehouse!

What we rode:
Jungle River Cruise - We thought this ride wouldn't be as nice in the night time but it turned out to be even better since the fake stuff seemed a lot more real. Haha. The lights were also very nice.

hong kong disneyland
Dumbo? No... ears are too small.
Disney in the Stars

To get a good view of the nightly fireworks show, we plopped down on the center floor of Main Street at 7:30 and waited for a good thirty minutes. The show lasted about 10 minutes, but the music, the lights, the fireworks and the pyro really made a memorable experience. Can I live here?

Well, soon after, we had to face the music and head back to the hotel. It was a slow walk towards our an hour something journey back.

hong kong disneyland
Bye, Sleeping Beauty's Castle!
hong kong disneyland
Bright lights and contented faces. This place knows how to say goodbye.
hong kong disneyland
Damnit, we weren't able to take the railroad! Haha.

That was definitely a day well spent. Really happy I was able to go back to Disneyland and even write this post about it. Notice that I named this post '2013' in the hopes that I get to go back every once in a while. Maybe.

hong kong disneyland resort
See how happy I am?
Love Hong Kong Disneyland? Hate it? Let me know by commenting below, or just tweet me!