Monday, March 17, 2014

Enjoying the Sumptuous Paella Valenciana at Galli Village Café

Although Paella Valenciana is Spanish in origin, there’s no denying that Filipinos also loved this dish. That’s why I’ve decided to try it although I don’t know what to expect. What I know is that Galli Village Café offers the best Paella Valenciana in town

Galli Village Cafe | San Antonio Village, Makati
Photo by Aki Libo-on
The Cozy and Rustic Interiors of Galli Village Café

Located in San Antonio Village in Makati, Galli Village Café is the best place to visit when you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. It has quaint interiors that allow you to enjoy the pleasure of quiet dining.

Galli Village Cafe | San Antonio Village, Makati
Photo by Aki Libo-on
Galli Village Cafe | San Antonio Village, Makati
Photo by Aki Libo-on
At first look, you’ll have the impression that the whole place is like a house turned in to a small restaurant that could seat about 10 customers. Its colorful walls and paintings also gives you that “little Spanish village” vibe.

Galli Village Cafe | San Antonio Village, Makati
Photo by Aki Libo-on
Galli Village Cafe | San Antonio Village, Makati
Photo by Aki Libo-on
Another quaint thing about this place is that there are mugs hanging on the wall, and the window sills were turned into bookshelves. You can also enjoy outdoor dining at Galli Village Café since there are tables and chairs available outside.

Paella Valenciana—A House Specialty

One of Galli Village Café’s house specialties—and a must-try—is the Paella Valenciana. What would whet your appetite are the color and the scent of the saffron. To be honest, this is my first time to try Paella so I really don’t know what to expect. But what I love about this dish is that it’s very generous with the ingredients.

Served hot in a paellera, the Paella Valenciana is topped with pork chunks, chorizo, bell pepper, string beans, shrimp, egg and slices of lemon. It is very zesty because of the lemon; and its look and taste reminds me of Mechado. Another awesome thing about this meal is that you can get to share it with a friend or two for only PHP 295.00.

Paella Valenciana | PHP 295.00 (2-3 pax)
Photo by Aki Libo-on
However, this complete meal is not advisable for those who are in a hurry since it takes over 40 minutes to be cooked. My advice is that you order a soup so you won’t get hungry while waiting. But I swear, Galli Village Café’s Paella Valenciana is really worth the long wait.

Another tip: All of their best sellers are marked with a star. So if you'd like to try their specialties other than Paella Valenciana, you'll know what to pick.

Galli Village Café

(02) 899 6379
G/F YMCA Hotel, 7 Sacred Heart Street
San Antonio Village, Makati

Blogger Tricks

Friday, March 07, 2014

To Host or Not to Host Your Blog? And that is the Question

Food Blog for Starters is Lost in Flavors’ online hub of information and insights about starting a food blog and beyond.

One of the many questions that bug a newbie blogger is whether to have his site hosted or not. As for me, I’ve decided to stick with Blogger since I’m still testing the waters of food blogging. It’s not just about whether I can write and share my insights about a particular dish, but it also has something to do with learning the ropes of Search Engine Optimization, Internet Marketing and Social Media Marketing.

Web Host Servers | Flickr Commons
Photo by Infocux Technologoes
Additionally, I would like Lost in Flavors to be one of those blogs that are doing fine despite being on free host. However, a self-hosted blog has its own advantages.

Why You Need a Self-hosted Blog

Before we begin, let’s define a self-hosted blog first. Any blog or website that has its own domain name and is hosted in a paid server is called self-hosted blog.

Hosting a blog doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s expensive. You can actually buy your own domain on WordPress for $18 per year. This is an ideal choice for those who are seeking to build up their image online, as your URL doesn’t need to share exposure with your host. Imagine how awesome your domain would look like when it’s vs.

Moreover, a self-hosted blog offers greater level of customization. Compared to free-hosted sites that are very template-based for ease of management, a blog hosted on your own server offers flexible structure, design and placement. This means that you can lay out your blog to your liking. In addition, a self-hosted blog allows you to add as much plugins as possible.

Another good thing about having a self-hosted blog is having a sense of control. Any site that runs on a free host is at risk of being deleted when, for any reason, your service provider decided to shut it down. Having a blog hosted on your own server, on the other hand, gives you more control over your content. You can do pretty much anything to your blog when it’s self-hosted, as long as it adheres with your service provider’s regulations and you don’t do anything illegal.

Now What?

Self-hosted and free-hosted blog have their advantages and disadvantages. That’s why it is very important to know what factors to consider when starting a food blog. This way, you’ll know whether to bring your content to a paid host or leave it be with your free Content Management Service provider.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Having a Taste of Kusê’s Sapin-Sapin Crème Brûlée

Other than our love for Adobo and Sinigang, Filipinos are also known for their sweet tooth. Thus, kakanin—our version of dessert—is usually served on the table after meal. At Kusê, they give their desserts a twist, and among their specialties is the Sapin-Sapin Crème Brûlée.

Kuse | Lucky Chinatown Mall
Photo by Aki Libo-on
Sapin-Sapin + Crème Brûlée

Sapin-Sapin is a Filipino dessert made from glutinous rice and coconut milk. Its colored layers are what make it unique. In fact, the dessert’s name means “layered” in English. Crème Brûlée, on the other hand, consists of rich custard base that is topped with caramelized brown sugar.

To tell you honestly, it was curiosity that made me pick Sapin-Sapin Crème Brûlée among Kusê’s specialties. That’s because more than adding a twist to a well-known Filipino dessert, it is actually a combination of East and West.

Sapin-Sapin Creme Brulee - PHP 195.00
Photo by Aki Libo-on
It looks yummy on the first sight, and I also love that it’s topped with lost of caramelized Muscovado sugar. I am actually a fan of desserts because of my sweet tooth. So seeing tons of sugar over a combination of desserts is heaven! Moreover, the Sapin-Sapin Crème Brûlée is light in the tummy despite being a glutinous rice cake.

What I don’t like about it, though, is that the custard topping occupies a big portion of the dish. I didn’t see the colored layer of the Sapin-Sapin either. One more thing, it’s more of Ube Halaya than Sapin-Sapin. Although the combination of Ube Halaya, custard topping and sweetness of the caramelized Muscovado sugar is delightful to the taste buds, I still felt cheated. After all, the dish was named Sapin-Sapin and not Ube Halaya.

Served in a medium-size oval platter, you may say that Kusê’s Sapin-Sapin Crème Brûlée is a good deal at PHP 195.00. In my honest opinion, though, I must say that it’s not worth it. While the dessert looks and tastes like heaven, it would have been better if there’s really Sapin-Sapin instead of Ube Halaya in it.

(02) 708 9576
Lucky Chinatown Mall
3/F Reina Regente Street
Binondo, Manila

Friday, February 28, 2014

Which is the Best Blogging Platform for Your Food Blog?

So now that you’ve decided to start a food blog and already come up with a name for it, the next thing you need to consider is what platform to use. When we talk about platform, it means what service to use to get your content published on the Web. [NOTE: Hyperlink italicized phrases]

For quick reference, Mike Wallagher of Start Blogging Online put together a comparison chart of blogging platforms that would suit your purpose.

Blogging Platform Comparison Chart | Start Blogging Online
Photo by Mike Wallagher
With a handful of blogging platform available online, one would be confused as to what service to use. However, the most famous choice among them is either WordPress or Blogger. As to which one should you pick between the two lies on the type of blogging that you intend to do.

WordPress: For the Streamlined and Sophisticated Looking Websites

WordPress, which powers almost 19 percent of the Web, comes in two options. There is the that allows you to start a blog for free with limited customizations, as well as purchase your domain. On the other hand, enables you to host your blog on your own server, giving you much control to edit your themes, hack code, and add as many plugins as you like. Sign In Page | Official Website
Screenshot by Aki Libo-on
However, their wide array of customization options could be cumbersome and complicated for the less-experienced and non-technical user. That’s because redesigning a particular theme to make it more streamlined and look professional would require a plugin or CSS coding.

Nevertheless, its customization options and community of developers make WordPress still the number one option out there. Not to mention that this platform is useful for those who intend to turn their blog into a professional site.

Blogger: A Newbie’s Take on Blogging

Blogger is an ideal platform for beginners, especially to those who have zero knowledge about HTML and CSS. All you need is a Gmail account to get started, and you can now customize your blog’s background and layout that easy. It is actually the reason why I chose to use Blogger for Lost in Flavors.

It is also powered by Google, which happens to be the most popular search engine in the world. Additionally, it is hooked into the search engine giant’s AdSense program, Google+ and Feedburner.

Blogger Sign In Page | Official Website
Screenshot by Aki Libo-on
However, all Blogger blogs look the same. Take Lost in Flavors, The Pickiest Eater, YedyLicous and The Purple Doll for example and you’ll know what I’m talking about. That’s because their customization options pale in comparison to others. Due to this, sites using Google’s blogging platform looks less professional. But of course, those who use Blogger—including me—will just go “meh!” about it.

Which One Should You Choose?

As mentioned earlier, which platform to choose depends on the type of blogging you intend to do. Other factors you need to consider are your budget and technical skills. That way, you can pick the blogging platform that will suit you best.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Adobo Damaso by Crisostomo Restaurant: A Turn of the Century Filipino Food

Crisostomo Restaurant dubs itself as a “Turn of a Century Filipino Dining.” This is definitely true with their concept of fusing old and new—not just through their food but also with the restaurant’s interiors.

Crisostomo Restaurant | Alabang Town Center
Photo by Aki Libo-on
Embracing Moderns Times with a Nod to Heritage

I visited Crisostomo Restaurant’s branch at Alabang Town Center, and I find their place very quaint. What makes its interiors very Filipino are the wooden accents, the paintings on the wall, the floor and the wooden veranda-like structure in front of the restaurant.

Crisostomo Restaurant | Alabang Town Center
Photo by Aki Libo-on
Meanwhile, the wall’s sky blue paint color, as well as the chairs, reminds me of a French café. Another cool thing about this place is that the items on their menu are named after the famous characters from Dr. Jose Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo.

A Taste of Adobo Damaso

For the first-timers, must-try dishes at Crisostomo are labeled with a star. This includes their Adobo Damaso, which is basically Chicken and Pork Adobo. The twist here, though, is that it was cooked twice and toped with Adobo flakes and Kesong Puti.

What I love most about this dish is that the meat is very tender. You can easily shred the chicken and pork using your fork, and it is very easy to chew although it’s not the type that melts in your mouth.

Adobo Damaso - PHP 325.00
Photo by Aki Libo-on
But I guess what makes it special is neither the Kesong Puti nor the meat but its sauce. The Adobo Damaso has that distinct taste that Filipinos love. Instead of using soy sauce as base, they used sarsa with a kick of vinegar to come up with that tamis-asim flavor we know. And I must say, one bite of this dish and you’ll be asking for a cup of rice immediately.

Good thing, you can share this dish with your friend or family—all for PHP 325.00. Not bad for a well-loved Filipino dish with a twist.

Crisostomo Restaurant
(02) 869 0988
Alabang Town Center
Ground Floor, The Gardens
Alabang, Muntinlupa
Official WebsiteFacebook