Dine at THE PENTHOUSE of Hotel Rembrandt

Monday, October 30, 2017

It was an awesome time to spend an afternoon with great friends... and twas time make new ones too.

An intimate luncheon was in session and I couldn't be more ecstatic to find out that it was going to happen at THE PENTHOUSE of Hotel Rembrandt. You see, this part of Quezon City is my hood. I've lived and breathed here all my life. Hotel Rembrandt used to be that sore thumb that naysayers said was crazy to actually been have put up in a residential district, but look at them now! Years after, they've been well received by the public, plus business travelers who want to be somewhere near the TV stations, fabulous restaurants of Tomas Morato and the multitude entertainment and businesses along Timog Avenue. This place held a lot of promise back then and in a way... they saw that coming. This place must have really smart owners.  

Anyway, our business was to actually experience their Gin Bar which was located in the hotel's top floor hence the name of the place.

THE PENTHOUSE is first and foremost a real deal Gin Bar which means you'll get specialty mixes and concoctions made of that. Since we were in the mood for good drinks, we had them prepare everything on the bar menu. The gin concoctions were quite good, it was spiced right, had different flavors which they design perfect for the season. Aside from the signature ones on the menu, they always prepare a Drink of the Month so you've got something to look forward to if you're planning to frequent this place. I wouldn't be surprised if you do.

While waiting for everything to be prepared, we were served canisters of Cashew nuts. Judging from the way it looks, it ain't the usual ones that are roasted or mixed with Garlic. This is their Sambal Chili Cashew Nuts, it's got that zing you would expect from those Malay/Singaporean Sambal Chili dishes that I also love. That's pretty good, don't tell them I almost ate half of this container ah?!

My friends and I each had one glass, except for one because he doesn't drink (Hi Rodel! LOL). These glasses fell off of the table (or probably disappeared after a few minutes) because they used real spices, berries and even real cinnamon barks that further enhanced the notes of the drinks they concocted. If you're a little too tired to design your own drink (oh yes they can do that for Php 230), go for the Penthouse or the Manila (which were my favorites). I would love to have some more but that probably asks for another visit. We prepared ourselves for a sumptuous feast, a 13 course meal (15 if you count the three desserts we had! LOL) so let's see!

The Freshly Baked Rosemary Scones was unbelievable. Instead of the usual jam and butter combo, it was served with a small jar of honey which you can put on the nice biscuits with cinnamon sticks. I was trying so hard to actually not eat too much of it because I've seen the menu first hand, but the Rosemary scent in each bit proved to be weakening, my knees folded and I began pitying myself as I started seconds. I was preparing myself for the other dishes. Then they came!

This appetizer is called Deep Fried Anchovies. It's served with a couple pieces of green chili that's probably got a Scoville heat index of zero. It had that flavor, plus those salty anchovies fried to perfection like tempura. I could have sworn they used a lighter beer batter with it. They also dipped it with it in a garlic aioli, my mouth was watering just like you.

For starters, we had this bowl of hearty Cream Root Vegetable Soup. As the name suggests, they used root crops as the base for it. They added peanuts so it would have a different texture in every spoonful. Pretty good.

This is the Roasted Carrot Salad. To tell you the truth, this is one of my most hated vegetable right after bitter gourd but surprisingly I ate it all. It's got slivers of oranges, roasted carrots (it made it sweet) plus a puree underneath. They also used a citrus based dressing for this one to counteract with the sweetness of the carrots. They also added cheese so you get that little bits of saltiness from it. It's a miracle for me.

This is their Vannamei Shrimp Roll. It's sweet and toasty, but lovely and savory on the inside. This would be dreamy for those who love shrimps. It reminds me so much of Banh Mi sans the liver spread. The bread is special too as it is made of tapioca flour/potato flour. It's got it's own sweetness on the bread alone.

This is their Seafood Pasta. It's got the lovely clams, mussels, shrimps and all the goodness of the sea. The lemon crumbs on top provide a bit of citrus on the plate making it cut through that thick seafood sauce it's enveloped in. You get this fresh with miniature greens and cherry tomatoes, my Mom would love this for sure.

This is Braised Pork Cheek Gyoza. Now really, I thought this wouldn't work, but man I was wrong. It's like your lovely Japanese Gyozas but filled with your favorite Filipino Sisig sans the tons of onions. They laid on on a bed of pureed red cabbage and swirls of balsamic vinegar. It was not guilt free, but worth every bite.

I have to say I liked their Pan Seared Salmon. I don't often eat salmon but this was good. It's seared both sides, prolly put inside the oven and cooked further. They also laid it on a bed of cream risotto and a bit of micro greens. It was meaty, sweet from the light citrus sauce and a tad peppery from those small greens. I liked this and finished the plate in no time.

This is their Squid Heads. It's a good use of fresh seafood and squid heads set on a squid ink sauce and a lot of heart warming gnocci which was boiled and prolly cooked in butter. This is comfort food, the kind that you fix in a bowl and curl up with a book while watching the rain pitter patter on the window while the monsoon passes by. Okay my mind floated there for a minute, but you get the gist right?

What you're seeing here is their Duck Duo Pan Seared Duck. This one was impressive as it wasn't gamey at all. I do shy away from the local ones because often times, they do not really raise them well. They actually use imported proteins in this hotel so that includes this one. You get what you pay for and for me, this was excellently prepared by the Chef. I think that's Spatzle if I'm not mistaken.

This is their 8 Hour Braised Lamb Shank. Again, they had this imported. The lovely mirepoix is a combination of staple vegetables from springtime in Europe. They do that and put a huge chunk of lamb on top, cooked that long to give you that super tender shank they prepared just for you. Quite good. 

My friends and I were talking about the plating when each of the dishes arrived. This is the Leek Ashed Wagyu Strip Loin. Just mention anything Wagyu and I'm there LOL. Well it's not just the tender piece of meat who's the star here but the Roasted Beet Root too. It was sweet and so good that you wouldn't think it was that when you see it. They also had a beet root puree with it which functioned as part of the sauce while they had a separate gravy in another container. I like the fleur de sel which the Chef put on top of the steak slices. It was perfectly seared, medium, like heaven in my mouth. Oh wait! There's dessert!

For dessert, we had a trio of Tart Au Chocolate, Berry Pavlova and Caramelized Bananas. Nothing was overly sweet, I like that they had options with real fruits on desserts because I prefer it that way.

At the helm of Hotel Rembrandt's restaurants is Chef Chester Delos Reyes. He's donned various restaurants here and abroad including Michelin starred ones. He also trained and did further studies in Vancouver, Canada. We talked to the young Chef in the sidelines, he just got married and stayed in the Philippines because LOVE conquers all!

Listen in:

THE PENTHOUSE at Hotel Rembrandt can hold small parties and functions (could sit around 50), just call ahead of time. They also accept walk ins, they're open business hours so don't hesitate to do that as well for lunch or dinner. The place is cozy, would be perfect for short meetings, even dinner dates or afternoon breaks. Whoever said Gin bars of this stature are not accessible should definitely try and give them a visit. They're not overly pricey, the ambiance is good and the service is great. If you don't want that to happen to your day, you must be crazy. Plus, again, the good food.

For those who don't know, the hotel is under the Art Stream Hospitality Management Group. This is a company that also manages Vitalis Villas in La Union and the gorgeous Le Monet in Baguio and the majestic Hotel Luna in Vigan. So it looks like this chain of hotels are named after famous artists, doesn't that just make you want to stay in the hotels even more? That and the food of course. There's a lot of other things to discover while in Hotel Rembrandt in Quezon City, the discoveries doesn't end there!

If you like what you've seen in this article, do the right thing and pay them a visit at their official website www.hotelrembrandt.com.ph or call them at +6323733333 for reservations or inquiries. The hotel is located at Tomas Morato Extension in Quezon City (very near ABSCBN). Cheers!

New BlueWater Day Spa Treatments for a Slashie Life

Saturday, October 28, 2017

I had so much fun during this event. I have always regarded BlueWater Day Spa as our family's go to place for rest and relaxation. My Mom and Sister are regulars in the branch near our place and I don't even blame them at all. The superb service plus the whole experience had them hooked the first time they tried it. It's already been beneficial, when there are aches and pains because of everyday work, this serves as a refuge for them and they always invite me along if I'm free. I'm glad they still think of their well being despite being busy at home and in the workplace. I don't usually have that luxury, but I indulge if I can if time permits.

BlueWater Day Spa is not holding back on improving what they offer. They now have different varieties of wellness and beauty services. The SLASHIE life they mention is how to maintine that time to relax, take a breather and recharge even if we all have an active lifestyle. They have different ambassadors for different services.

Good looking Ervic Vijandre and Benjamin Alves pushes for their favorites which are the ATHLETE's MASSAGE and the TRADITIONAL FILIPINO HILOT. They've vouched on how it could actually relax, soothe tense nerves and eliminate cold spots especially at the back area. Man of the World 2017 Winner Mustafa Galal Elezali on the other hand prefers to do REVITA SHAPE TREATMENT because of the way it tones and slims the body parts where it matters most aesthetically. David Licauco on the other hand wants you to experience the COMBO HERBAL MASSAGE with VOLCANIC STONE HERBAL PACK. It's heat treatments with Swedish and Shiatsu massage combined. I think I tried a similar treatment in their Tomas Morato branch a couple of months ago, but if they've improved that, this is exciting!

I was a bit surprised though that they also have treatment for kids. Imagine, this place has INFANT MASSAGE which is done by appointment only.Give them a call and see how you can promote health and growth of your young ones. It also helps digestion, increases blood flow and boosts their immune system. That's going to translate remarkable improvement on your kid's health if you ask me. During the program, I liked how the Mom and Fabio Ide got so crazy with the kids. They were a lot to handle! LOL!

Kim Chiu was so gracious and so approachable outside the venue. She obliged fans of selfies including me! :) She's promoting what is called MLD or Manual Lymphatic Drainage Massage. It's fit for those who don't want to have skin problems, sagging skin, PMS, sleep disorders, cramps, neck pains and lower back pains. Kim even told us how she experiences these things while shooting shows she appears in on ABSCBN. She suggests you do this twice a month because she does it too. If you want to avail of this you should book their services now!

If you want to know more about prices, like them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/bwdspa and message them there. Or if you prefer, they have hotlines for every branch like 8173126 for Makati, 7420426 for Ortigas, 9524829 for Capitol Hills, 9151247 for Eastwood City, 09351304250 for Cotabato City and soon in Banawe QC.

I can't wait to have mine soon!


JACK TV's Night Crawlers

I've seen this happen last year and got so envious with the people who did it... when I received an email inviting me this year, let's just say I was giddy to actually be part of it. JACK TV, one of my favorite cable channels showing some of my favorite cartoons and programs has been doing these events for quite some time now. In partnership with San Miguel Oktoberfest, we've been tasked to do JACK TV Night Crawlers. It's a pub crawl of some sort but a tad different because we're going to scour the favorite watering holes in Bonifacio Global City. It was traffic, but I braved all that and found myself lost at BGC's Burgos Circle which was the only location indicated on the invite. It became doubly hard to find the starting point because as soon as I walked around that area, it started to rain like hell hath no fury. I came alone and arrived at BUGSY's near that circle and found myself in the midst of millennial bloggers and about a handful of their Facebook contest winners, so it was quite awkward to note that I was joining a bunch of guys and gals whom I didn't know. I guess, just like the other pub crawls where you would generally have to turn strangers into friends. :)

At BUGSY's we were treated by the JACK TV team with quick mind games, asking about their shows like our life depended on it. The other team racked in points, although some of my team mates also answered really tough ones so it was quite okay even if they took this round. I bet my team mates are going to have the next ones. 

We transferred to RUE BOURBON and the rain didn't let out. We stopped here and waited a bit thinking that it would eventually stop, but did the necessary things a pub crawl should have... and that's beer. Out of the local beers in the market, my preferred bottle is an ice cold San Miguel Super Dry. Always have, always will be. Oh and Rue Bourbon had those fancy nacho chips in different colors, which were quite good actually especially for beer match.

Albeit a little drizzle was trying to stop us from enjoying the evening, we got to DWNTOWN HALDSTED next. That place was almost full to the brim when we got there. There were expats, treating themselves to really good bar chow. They've got real good cocktails also going on at the bar. We had take over the whole front and play some games again. Of course as expected, our team won this round. They have very good food there as I mentioned earlier, so what better way to celebrate but by having a small dinner there.

They had a pretty good spread. From well decorated NACHOS, the SALTED EGG CALAMARES (do I need to convince you? LOL), and the CRISPY PATA (fried pork trotters). Oh and there's more! To know who would win the pub crawl matches, we went to RELIK which was a couple blocks away from our last restaurant. We had to ride the JACK TV trucks to get there.

To win in the final game, we had to use a contraption that had a ring on it. We had to drink a mug of draft beer first though which made us a little woozy. I'm so glad I listened to my team mates Brent, his Dad and his family. I mean who would have known that the ones who won the Facebook contest were actually relatives, that's how far I got to the conversation. It was nice to actually nice to know how they were enjoying the whole thing, I loved how I connected with them quite well because it was like they were cool with anything. They had interesting stories in between bottles, and now they're my Facebook friends. :) This was the part where I enjoyed it most. RELIK Restaurant and Bar played music during my heydays and the people on my table were all singing the same tune. We were like kindred spirits... we were a little drunk but hey, we WON! It was just the right place and right time to have CHICKEN SKIN and BUFFALO WINGS! It was so good we had to have seconds. Thank you so much to ZOMATO and JACK TV for having us in this JACK TV Night Crawl! 

Thanks to you I now have new friends, I had had so much fun too that evening. I hope I get invited in the next ones because I heard they are planning a lot of events in the future! Thanks again JACK TV!

If you want to experience the same things I did, head on over to the JACK TV Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/solar.jacktv/ and their official website www.jacktv.ph.