Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Aljosh Café at Montevista Walk Park

Aljosh Café 
at Montevista Walk Park

Aljosh Café has been one of our favorite restaurants
way back in the mid 90’s when they used to serve
themed international buffet every weekend that
features cuisines from different parts of the world.


I also got to blog about Aljosh Café few months
ago where I raved about the good food but critical
about the tacky interiors, still there is no denying the
fact that this is a restaurant that keeps us coming back.

The new Aljosh Café is found
at the Montevista Walk Park,

…. a new lifestyle center located at the rear
portion of Puregold/ALDP Mall complex.


Montevista Walk Park, is a perfect location for the new Aljosh Café
as it features and air- conditioned Our Lady of Penafrancia Chapel,
that offers Saturday anticipated mass and the regular Sunday service.


It also has a lovely park at the back,


…and Kidslandia, an awesome
indoor playground for young kids.


Aljosh Café had a basic and straightforward interiors.
There is really nothing to rave about but it was basically
clean and tidy, comfortable and most of all- clutter free.

It is worthwhile for diners to check out the
photos on the wall showing old Bicol images
while waiting for their orders to be served.


We started our dinner with Asparagus Soup.
We all loved it as it was creamy and delicious


The baked Baked Tahong was perfect.
There was just enough cheese as it did
not overwhelm the delightfully intense
seafood tinge of the baked mussels.


Ampalaya with Beef is our all time favorite dish
and we always order it whenever  it is available in
the menu and this Aljosh version did no disappoint.


The Sizzling Sisig should not be missed in this restaurant.
It is was a little sweetish with just the right degree of spice.
It was oily but not too mayonaissy and it tasted very good.

We ordered for a fish dish but the waitress failed to include it 
on her list, and my young son who loves fish was disappointed. 

We then requested them to serve our pre- ordered dessert. 
We had  Yema Cake, that tasted fine but found it a little dry,

…and the divine Crema de Fruta, that tasted
heavenly and their best dessert offering so far.


Aljosh Café is one restaurant in Naga where diners could feast
 on delicious dishes which are affordable and budget friendly.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Triboo Grill’s Bibingka

Triboo Grill’s Bibingka 

It’s Christmas season and its Bibingka season.
Fortunately, there are several stores in the city
that makes this iconic Pinoy rice cake available
all year round. First is Bibingkinitan in SM City,

…second is Xandrix in Mayon Avenue
that I have already blogged in the past,
where puto bumbong is also available,

…and third at Triboo Grill in Mayon Avenue,


.... where there is a section  dedicated to serving Bibingka alone.


Tribo Grill’s  bibingka dough looked similar 
and interestingly tasted like Bibingkintan as 
it had a fluffy, pancake- like consistency, 


....and they offer four flavors.


First was the banana- stuffed bibingka called
Bibingkana, which was not available then.


Second was Bibingkalog, stuffed with itlog na maalat.
There is really nothing special about bibingkalog as all
Pinoy bibingkas are supposed to be flavored with salty
egg and should not be marketed as a special flavoring.


The salty egg also did not go well with the
sweet dough. Try adding itlog na maalat to
a pancake and it would  surely make you puke.


The third one, Bibingkabebe, stuffed with candied ube.
Having a purple yam was fairly acceptable for a bibingka
and it gave me an idea for a new pancake flavor at home.


The last one was Bibingkako, a buko stuffed bibingka.
Just like the ube, the candied young coconut meat also
went well with the sweetish dough, but there is nothing
special and nothing to rave for on this bibingka version.

Triboo Grill’s Flavored Bibingka is
a lot like the  popular Bibingkinitan,


…and not the traditional type of bibingka like
Xandrix Bibingka found in  Mayon Avenue.

They are oven baked pancake variants dressed
in banana leaves pretending to be a bibingka.

Read the link below for related posts:

Xandrix Bibingka and Puto Bumbong

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Sogo Hotel Naga: Rated GP

Sogo Hotel Naga 
Rated GP

Typhoon Monang was predicted to hit the Bicol Region
few weeks before Christmas, so we everyone got busy
fortifying our  house to prepare for the year end howler.

We had our roof were covered with protective nets,
and old tires were placed to provide extra weight,


…window typhoon shutters were shut down,


…plants were tied and fixed to the fence,


…Christmas decorations were packed and removed,


…breakables were set aside,


…books were wrapped and waterproofed,

…and off we went to become hotel evacuees,
we needed to rest and relax as we expected a
lot of house cleaning to do after the typhoon.

Most of the hotels in Naga City were fully booked as
most Naguenos had a hotel exodus for typhoon Mona.
In desperation, I dialed the Sogo Hotel Naga, probably
the most maligned hotel chain in the Philippines and was
able to reserved two executive rooms for my family.

…and we were in for a pleasant surprise.


The Pirate Room

My son’s face brimmed with a wide, ear to ear smile
when he saw our pirate themed room. His reaction was
expected as it was every little boy’s  dream bedroom.

It had a huge king sized bed that is reflected on a ceiling
mounted mirror making you feel like you floating on air.


The careful attention to details was impressive.


 The bedside tables were made of barrels,


…and so were the chairs.


There we rope ladders suspended on the ceilings,


…and a faux- gas lamps served as mood lights.

There was an ample vanity area,

…that had an electronic safe at the base.


…and a working table which could double as a dining table, both 
of which are made of authentic  looking, faux hardwood lumber.

There was a huge flat screen LCD TV,


…and a DVD player.

Family traveling with kids should keep watch on the TV
as it had a complimentary, password free adult channels.


The best thing is this room is the spacious bathroom ,


...that had a Jacuzzi for a bathtub.


It also had a decent shower area,


…and the only hint that would give one
an idea that this is not a five star hotel is
having a rather limited generic toiletries.


There was only one land line phone by the bedside
and amazingly, it offers free international calls.


It promised a free in room wi fi, but maybe because of
the typhoon, internet service was down when we stayed.

James Bond 007 Room

My daughter instantly made this room her own upon
seeing it. It was bathed with a cool radiant blue glow,
it was a hip, modern, and  clutter- free suite room.

The 007 Themed Room also had a king sized bed,
and just like the Pirate Room, the careful attention
to details was just as impressive. There was a floor to
ceiling arched mirror mounting the sole window that
added depth and space to the beautifully glowing room.

The wall between the bedroom and the bathroom had
007’s close- up gun barrel logo. The barrel hole is made
of frosted glass that lights up when the bathroom lights on.

There was James Bond 007’s
silhouette by the vanity table,


…where the electronic safe
was located at the base.

There was also an image of 007’s iconic lady on fire
at the working table that works as dining area as well.


There was a huge flat screened LCD TV,
and no DVD player like on the other room.


Just like on the other room it offers a complimentary,
password free adult channels that families staying with
very young kids, like us should keep watch on the TV


There was also a spacious bathroom
equipped with an awesome Jacuzzi.

It also had a decent shower area,

…and just like the other room, the only hint
that would give one an idea that this is not a
five star hotel is having limited toiletries.


There was only one land line phone by the bedside
that offers free international calls and free in room
wi- fi, was also no working because of  the typhoon. 



Both rooms had an ante- chamber where guests could
keep their luguage to avoid clutter in the main room and
it makes up for the absence of closets inside the room.


Guests are also provided with sanitized rubber slippers

The best thing in this hotel is the availability of 
a secured garage at the at the floor level of the
suite rooms, making it an ideal storm shelter.


Sogo Hotel Naga is centrally located at the
city’s Central Business District 2 (CBD 2),

…just beside the Bicol Central Terminal,
the city’s main and biggest transportation hub.

It is located at the back of SM City Naga,

Puregold/ ALDP Mall,

…and the nearby Robinsons Place
that is currently being constructed.


Sogo Hotel is a perfect location for guests
wanting to go on shopping spree in the city.


Sogo Hotel is a drive- in hotel and
they have nothing  not much to offer
when it come to leisure activities,

…except maybe for the beautiful rooms and free
x- rated movies for couples who wanted to be kinky.



The food at Sogo Hotel came as a surprise for us.


They have a wide selection of affordable 
but delicious dishes for their room service,

…which are also available in the restaurant for
guests just wanted to dine without checking- in.

From a scale of 1 to 10, I would rate
the food in Sogo Hotel Naga at 8.

It is not a perfect 10 but I would still consider it as one of
the best restaurant in the city, and worth dining back again.


The Sogo Hotel chain may have the most maligned reputation 
in the Philippines, but with our personal experience on its 
Naga branch,  the rooms we stayed were absolutely awesome,

 ...and we felt like we were staying in a theme park 
resort hotel like Legoland and Disneyland.

Who says Sogo Hotel are just for adults?
Sogo Hotel Naga is rated GP and could be
enjoyed by families with young kids as well.