Sunday, July 20, 2014

Quick Amateur Review - Yakiniku Sakura

Kakiage Soba Meal
My only pic of the place, my kakiage soba set meal
Today I treated my wife's family (parents, some siblings, some siblings' kids) for my birthday lunch. At the suggestion of my father-in-law, we ate at Yakiniku Sakura located along Pasay Road, near the new Park Square parking.

The place looks old. Maybe because it is old. If you've ever watched a Restaurant Makeover or a Restaurant Impossible episde, the place reminded me of that. It was sort of dark, and the decor was really old.

The food was relatively cheap. You'd probably spend about Php300 - Php450 per meal, depending on the order. Also apparently during lunch they have select dishes that they offer as a set meal. You get rice, pickled veggies, some sashimi slices (depending on the main dish), miso soup, and some fruits for dessert.

I was too hungry to take pictures of the other dishes, but rest assured the set meals were definitely bang for the buck. Just take a look at my order, a kakiage soba set meal.

Taste-wise the food was good. It was typical Filipino-Japanese fare, meaning it tastes good for the Filipino palette palate (edit 20140721 - wrong spelling), I guess. Maybe I'm underrating it. I enjoyed my dish. It was definitely worth the Php270 I paid for it.

Would I recommend eating there? Sure, as long as you're not the type of person who cares too much about ambiance. There's a reason why the place has been open for all this time, and to be honest I want to discover more of the food offerings they have.

I'll definitely do my best to try and eat there again.


Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

I've changed a lot in the past year. I think I'm more aware of my shortcomings, and I'm also a bit more optimistic than I was.

That doesn't mean it always goes that way.

A recent turn of interesting events has caused me to dive deep back into my negative, pessimistic, time-to-give-up attitude. My old, "Why does this have to happen to me?" thinking quickly surfaced last night. Fortunately it happened extremely late, and I was able to sleep after an hour or so of fretting.

My fretting was basically justified. I'd rather not talk about it online, as always. Let's just say there were equal parts Typhoon Glenda (international name 'Rammasun') aftermath, animal foreshadowing, and personal issues.

Okay, so the personal issues were unjustified. The first two were extremely justified, though. And contributed greatly to my sour disposition upon waking up this morning.

Still, life goes on and things seem to be heading toward a more positive swing. I've taken steps to make sure that the animal foreshadowing incident from last night might be averted. So we'll see.


Monday, July 14, 2014

Amateur Review - Mitsuyado Sei-Men

July 14, 2014 — My mom wanted to treat us to dinner at this ramen place she was raving about. Boy was I glad we ate there. The name of the place? Mitsuyado Sei-Men.

According to my mom, this place became known because of this cheese tsukemen dish they serve. What is tsukemen? Apparently it's ramen that is served separately from the broth. So it's sort of like dipping the noodles in the broth before you eat it.
Mitsuyado Sei-Men
The restaurant's facade
The inside of Mitsuyado Sei-Men reminded me of some ramen places in Japan. They have this old school look. I'd go so far as to say the decor made it look like a "classy carinderia"  for lack of a better term.
Decor inside Mitsuyado Sei-Men
The decor inside the restaurant
There were also tons of decor from Japan. So there really is a great Japanese vibe to the restaurant. Now that we've established the ambience, how would the food fare?
Dinner Time
The decor inside the restaurant
Mom got some chicken karaage and gyoza for starters. They were pretty decent, not that great. Personally, I think it wasn't a good idea to get the side dishes for the simple reason that the portions of the dishes were huge. The karaage and gyoza were just extra calories. I'm not saying they tasted bad, they were okay. I've had better, and I've definitely had worse.
Chicken Karaage and Gyoza
Chicken Karaage and Gyoza for starters
Then came my main course - Jumbo Chashu Tsukemen. This is my first time ever eating tsukemen. I never bothered to try it in Japan. What can I say about my dish? It was great. The chashu was "fork tender" and almost disintegrated if manhandled with the chopsticks.

The broth was salty but not overpowering. You could still taste the other ingredients in the broth, and they complement the chashu strips and the cold noodles. Yes, I chose to have cold noodles per the recommendation of our server. And it was definitely a good call, since the broth was relatively hot. The broth was so good I finished it up with the spoon you can see in the lower right of the picture below. I don't think you're supposed to do that, but the broth was that damn good.
Jumbo Chashu Tsukemen
Jumbo Chashu Tsukemen (regular size) for me
So would I go back there again? Absolutely. I saw a couple of items in the menu that I would love to try next time (I'm looking at you, curry ramen). The price was a bit on the high side, but it was definitely worth it. The taste was good, the service was decent, and the portions didn't leave me feeling like they skimped on ingredients like a certain ramen place we went to before.

Finally, do I have some complaints about the place? Yes. One, they don't have service water. They do have service cold tea, though. Two, the ceiling aircon drips. I had a drop splatter on my menu once, then again on my arm after I moved to the side a bit to avoid it. So if you're not careful or aware, you could be slurping on aircon drippings. I hope I didn't.

Those two faults I saw were pretty minor, well not really the second one. If that gets worse it could be an issue for other diners.

In closing, despite the two minor annoyances I would definitely recommend Mitsuyado Sei-Men to anyone who likes ramen. The food was good, the portions were decent, and the ambiance was nice. Just don't sit under the aircon vents.

For those of you interested in trying the place out, I took a picture of their address. Here you go:
Here's their address in case you want to visit

Sunday, July 13, 2014

362 - 365/365 - End Game

362/365 - New Clothes!
Got some new shorts I wore this weekend
363/365 - Another Laptop Wallpaper
One of my laptop's wallpapers that I took myself
364/365 - TBT — Osaka
Throwback Thursday - Japan 2013
365/365 - Wise Words
Wise words to live by
Well, I turned thirty-four yesterday. And I finished my Project 365. If you want to see all my photos you may view them here. I plan on looking at the photos again one of these days. I just don't know if I plan on reading the blogs. We shall see.

Anyway, I did miss a few days. I did finish the project. I never expected that a year could go by just like that. It seems like only last week that I decided to do this project, and now it's done.

I'm free. Free to take photos when I want, and how I want. No more feeling forced to shoot. I will miss it though, because it was a challenge everyday to try to look for something to shoot.

It was a fun one year.


Monday, July 07, 2014

361/365 - T-Minus Five Days

361/365 - New Tires
The Rav4 got new tires last Satuday, July 5, 2014
Five days to go. I have no idea what to write about. Part of me wants to write something deep, and another part of me just wants to finish this quick.

However, I will say this. I am very, very grateful for everything that has happened to me in the past year. No matter how horrible, or how great, I am very thankful to have experienced it. And I am very thankful to still be alive and to have the opportunity to learn from past experiences.


Sunday, July 06, 2014

354 - 360/365 - The End is Nigh

354/365 - Martina and Zumba
Martina trying out zumba
355/365 - The Race Car Meets My Car
I park my car at work and a race car parks beside me.
356/365 - Maica's New Monopod
I got Maica a monopod to help our selfies.
357/365 - Martina's Loom Bands
Loom bands for Martina
358/365 - Black Lit
Black lit Hello Kitty pin
359/365 - Bananas
Bananas from "the farm"
360/365 - What to Order?
We settled on pizza for dinner
End game is near. I can't believe there are only five days to go with this Project 365. Sure, I missed a few days of photos and cheated by taking a photo the next day. More often I was faithful with snapping any photo for a day. Uploading is a different story.

During the course of this project, a great many things happened in my life. Here are some highlights and lowlights.
  • I resigned from my previous employer, whom I had worked with for over five years. It was mostly because I needed time off to think and fix some negatives things about me, but I will not let them off the hook that easily. They played their part that lead to my resignation. I will leave it at that.
  • We euthanized our pet dog, Rebus. The day after my birthday. Like I said before, maybe he was just waiting for my birthday to say goodbye. I cried a lot that day, but I was also there by his side until the end.
  • I was jobless for over two months. That was stupidity on my part. My folks always told me never resign from a job until you have a landing zone. I decided to take a risk. I was rejected a lot of times, and it was an amazing wake-up call for me.
  • I found a new career. This was my very selfish choice. I wanted to stop doing what I used to do, because I couldn't stomach it at the time. Let's just say I needed to recharge my artistic juices.
I was thinking of blogging something similar on the eve of my birthday, or even during my birthday. However, maybe it might be better to focus on something else for my birthday.