University Burger: The risk I’m glad I took

university burger

What is there to risk when all has been put on the line for the one you truly love?

The question popped after being whisked away one rainy evening to the sleepy J. P. Rizal Street in Makati City. I have meetings to join in and some ad hoc tasks to complete and yet there I was at the backseat of an orange Toyota Vios fumbling on my smartphone catching Pokemons along Makati Avenue (and I did catch a lot hahaha). So did I risk my life by catching Pokemons on wet wee hours?

Actually, we were out on that rainy Saturday morning for our lunch break (yes folks, I work at night for projects involving US based stakeholders). We were in a hunt for better, satisfying grub other than what our concessionaire RainTree Cafe offers. Our grumbling tummies brought us to Funeraria Filipinas (You read it right!). But you probably guessed it wrong…Our mini famine did not reach that alarming zombie state just yet. There’s this small and relatively new burger joint called University Burger just after the funeral homes at the corner of J. P. Rizal and Molina street. Be attentive because you might miss it!

The small joint isn’t small with what they have on the menu. Everything they have seemed interesting and yet we only have to make one choice (unless of course we succumb to one of the seven deadly sins)…and that alone is a risk you have to take when you start drooling over the menu! So let’s start, shall we?

university burger - repeater

The Repeater

So I got  myself their Repeater Burger. Why “Repeater”? It’s a double quarter pounder! There’s nothing too special about the bun and the veggies. It’s really the slabs of burger patties a quarter of a pound each! The sauce, I did not feel anything special about but it has a pretty consistent blend that goes well with the beefy patties. All the goodness of this heavenly treat was ringed a whopping Php 140.  Yes! it’s like buying a single quarter pounder from McDonald’s…it’s just way better in presentation, in content and in taste!

There were some other notable variety in the burger category. They have the cheesy bacon quarter pounder called muse and escort and the drop out burgerI forgot what it’s made of other than the burger patty (LOL)! These were just some that we sampled. The burgers alone are enough reason to put a return in order (get that marked on the calender, puh-lease).

Kung may bara, kailangan may panulak! Yup! Nothing beats a good drink to complete a meal. They offer beers but of course, there’s work after lunch. We settled for nothing less – after all, it was a payday Friday! We had Caramel Pops and Mango Espesyale! These were some of their signature concoctions from the shakers. Mine was Mango Espesyale and I loved it. It wasn’t too sweet. I’d like to think that sugar was intentionally omitted to let the natural sweetness of the ripe mango dominate the flavor while giving a hint of sourness for novelty’s sake. It was divine! Hahaha I’d like to say my Repeater and Mango Espesyale made a good pair!

mango espesyale - university burger

Mango Espesyale

 So there! One satisfying night! hahaha…the burger was my greatest risk of all. Sadly, I have that allergy for anything beef and there I was! Ate two quarter pound beef patties! To my surprise, when I was about to pay the bill, I found a lone foil of anti-histamine tucked it my coin purse for some reason…I’ve had no idea how it got there…must be my guardian angel or something otherwise I may actually end up in the nearby funeral house!

Overall, contrary to some reviews I’ve read, the serving time was reasonable. Some people just think burgers are fast food staples! The burgers they serve aren’t fast food quality. They’re grilled and meaty so be reasonable on the wait time. In addition, I like how they taste! I’m not a burger fan due to my allergy but theirs is just awesome! Then there’s their super yummy shake! And again, I don’t have a sweet tooth so I am subjective when I say the shake had that natural sweetness. It was not overly done with sugar and chocolate syrup. It was a perfect blend of natural fruit sugar and milk and chocolate!  For my P 240, I find my meal satisfying, heavenly even!

If you find yourself craving for burgers and shake, University Burger could be your option. I think they deliver too, but you’d have to check that with them. You can visit their facebook page:

Search @univeristyburger
or just go here:


From Spectrum to Spectre

It all started with a midnight sms from a friend asking if I have anything to do over the weekend and if I am in for some “laboy“. Of course I read it way later in the day.  I immediately agreed because I am a self-proclaimed kaladkarin. Apparently, I wasn’t paying attention to some of my telco’s adverts/notifications on some perks. We agreed, along with another common friend to meet at lunch time on Sunday (oh boy, this is a backlog) November 15!

whitespace manilaWhitespace Manila, Chino Roces (Pasong Tamo) Extension, Makati City

Jenn is not your typical friend (hahaha), so am I. Kaya kami nagkakasundo! She went ahead at the venue on her own and left Dexie and I negotiate how to get there…The hunt for Whitespace Manila came with a P 100 price tag! Hah! Not gonna complain.  While I always believed in the adventure of getting lost, it was not my intention to starve at lunch time in the middle of the humid metro. And so we end up flagging a cab from Cash & Carry to Pasong Tamo Extension in a place called Whitespace.

The call ended with us seeing Jenn on the phone across Mead Johnson Nutritionals giving us instructions on her whereabouts. And like a good host (her getting to the venue in advance and literally invited us to the event made her our host), she started by getting us our tickets. Yes, the fair isn’t free.  It came with a P 150 price tag which our good friends from Sun Cellular were willing to cover!

free tix from sun Spectrum Fair Manila co-presented by Sun Cellular
Tickets are free for  Sun Postpaid Subscribers and their 3 friends

The journey began when we entered the colorful doors of Whitespace Manila.

rainbow doors

veins and marksTagged! We are officially in!

Spectrum Fair Manila is dubbed as an indoor-outdoor bazaar. The 240 square meters of the literal white space was transformed into a live marketplace with an outdoor garden theme.  Given that Jenn sold us the idea of lunch at the fair, the first order of the day was to hunt for food…and Spectrum Fair Manila did not disappoint! There were a lot of food to feast on!

anatomy of a ricebowl

Grilled pork from the Ricing Bowl

Among the choices I had, the ad depicting the Anatomy of Ricing Bowl got me. It wasn’t fancy like the wagyu beef sandwich nor the sushi on the other side.  It was not as appealing as the oven roasted pork belly I’ve read or even the seafood paella in a humongous paella pan. It was the Ricing Bowl offer that got me. There were some bit of a miss with Ate’s listening that had me ending up with grilled pork over chicken. Anyway, Ricing Bowl’s anatomy of a rice bowl is like this.

The Salted Egg Sauce did not disappoint at P  149

The other finds were yummy too! Jenn and Dexie got themselves the wagyu beef with rice. I wanna try it too but I don’t have any antihistamines in my pocket (blame my unpopular allergy from beef).

crisp milkshake

While Toasted Marshmallows looked appealing in this ad, Jenn and Dexie opted for the more decadent Nutella S’mores Milkshake!

smores nutella milk shake

Nutella S’mores Milk Shake by Crisp

jenn and milkshakethe kid starting the attack on the the s’mores

more cotton candiesCotton candies anyone!

donut poppsMini donuts from Donut Poppa
Poppin’ Toppins’ made with love


If there’s one thing I love the most, it’s Walrus

Aside from the food we ate with so much enthusiasm, we loved the drinks! I took a sip of their cocktails. I liked it but I don’t feel like alcohol-izing my Sunday afternoon so I took the alternative. For P 80, I got their mojito mocktail – calamansi infused mojito minus the vodka. Truly refreshing and it was relaxing after a sumptuous lunch.

It wasn’t long before the rain began to pour so we decided to head home, not because we wanted to call it a day but to get to other commitments and plans we had individually. Dexie went to church and Jenn paid her bills. I on the other hand went to see Daniel Craig in his last Bond stint called Spectre.

Photo grabbed from


After all the chasing and all the action…007 is retiring? I’ve read the chismis…seen the movie…what do you want me to believe in?


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Starbucks’ “Red Cups” and the “Christmas Panettone Latte” have arrived!

The moment I read that the Italian journal maker Moleskine is this year’s maker of the traditional Starbucks Planner, I have been too excited! Starbucks’ coffee and I have a very long-standing relationship. Starbucks keeps me alive everyday making sure I am up and running in all my meetings…While I am a regular coffee-holic, this time of the year makes coffee more than just a jolt in my morning. It’s that time of the year when we go gaga over coffee, (1) because of the holiday drinks (forever love for Toffee Nut Latte), (2)because of the stickers you get to collect to redeem a limited editions planner!

So the madness begins today! The much-anticipated “red cups” are here again! Holiday drinks are served in the traditional red cups. This year’s cup is as plain as scarlet red. It’s simple yet regal at the same time.  I know I will have a taste of my forever fave Toffee Nut Latte anytime, so to kickoff the this year’s madness, I tried the new flavor – Christmas Panettone Latte.


The literature says the panettone latte is inspired by the Italian fruit cake. Fruit cake in my book means interestingly fruity and nutty. And so the expectation was set only to be a bit disappointed. I don’t know…I guess it’s not my cup of coffee/latte. I didn’t get that lightbulb moment, that spark I got when Toffee Nut Latte graced my tastebuds! Really, it wasn’t that bad though, but it wasn’t the best either.  There were bits of fruity pieces, some nutty aftertaste and some feeling of bread to make me feel like I am eating a cake! So there! I am still hooked with the Toffee Nut Latte (there goes milk and me getting bigger).

Along with the coffee madness comes the race to fill those cards with stickers to own a limited edition 2016 Starbucks Planner by Moleskine. 

20151024-Starbucks_x_Moleskine_Planner-0Photo courtesy of Starbucks Philippines

For this year, there are 2 sizes. The large (176 pages) one is a weekly planner that comes in Green and White. There’s a smaller (400 pages) one that serves as a daily planner in Red and Black.

Again, here are the rules of the game! You can get your sticker cards free of charge. In fact, baristas will make you get one (lol).  Cards are available between November 2 to January 7 (ayan! you have a very long time to get at least a weekly and a daily planner)!

  • One sticker for every beverage (core or holiday drink), comes with a star too if you use your Starbucks Card!
  • There’s a total of 18 slots to fill the card
    • nine(9) core beverages
    • nine(9) holiday drinks (Christmas Panettone Latte, Toffee Nut Latte or Peppermint mocha)

So the rules are simple, isn’t it? Get those cards ready and start filling it with stickers!

#StickerMadness #StarbucksPlanner2016 #HolidayDrinks #Hearts&Stars 

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Morning Alug•bati

This morning’s breakfast was not something special.  No it’s not some continental brekky nor any Asian morning delight. It’s salad alright, one of my mother’s kitchen concoctions. Fresh from her garden she tossed and turned a delightful salad.

Basella alba is an edible perennial vine in the family Basellaceae. It is found in tropical Asia and Africa where it is widely used as a leaf vegetable. It is known under various common names, including Pui, vine spinach, red vine spinach, climbing spinach, creeping spinach, buffalo spinach, malabar spinach and ceylon spinach among others.  – Wikipedia

Mother’s salad is not for all.  Her’s was made of the local green called Alugbati. Savory and flavorful that is natural for the northern taste buds.

alugbati salad marked

Mother’s Alugbati Salad

Blanch some Alugbati tops until the stalks are soft. Remove from the water and set aside.
Slice some cherry tomatoes and toss it in the bowl of blanched Alugbati.
Throw in  some salted egg(s) and drizzle with some Ilocano flavor called “bagoong” or fish paste.  


Like I said, mother’s salad is not for everyone. If you are squeamish and does not appreciate the tangy flavor of the greens and the fish paste, you can find some substitute.

  • Camote tops to replace Alugbati
  • Iodized salt in place of bagoong

Because the bowl was colorful, I decided to post in my Instagram account and surprisingly created a bit of rave from friends in the urban jungle. Some have asked for the recipe and I was glad to share. The same reason I am posting it here today.

It’s local…cheap…fresh and healthy!

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Volante: a Pizza Party for One

salmon pizza by pizza Volante

After the sweet kind of breakfast from Tsokolateria, the rain did not stop this birthday boy (man) from wandering around Session Road. Armed with a flimsy umbro from Watson’s, a fleece jacket, hiking sandals and a mobile phone, I ventured into the ever busy street… I silently offered my heart’s eternal ache to the Lord and asked for His grace at the Baguio Cathedral. It wasn’t long and I felt like my small intestine was about to devour the larger kind (not that it can seriously happen but it felt that way!).

With a grumbling tummy, the descent from the Cathedral hill was agonizing yet grounding. Every step down the stairs was a moment of reflection (drama). That one last step opened the doors of heaven. When I looked up, the signage across the street was a welcome greeting! “Volante“…a word from one of my online searches the night before resurfaced from the subconscious! (visit OpenSnap to easily find a place to eat around Baguio CityVolante…Pizza VolanteI was in total joy stumbling on the talked/blogged about pizza place along Session Road I just have to try ’em! What better time but on my birthday!

I learned that this store is like Store #1…the place where it all started. It doesn’t look like it was engineered for dining though. The ground floor space looked small as the biggest part was consumed by a grand stairway. Pizza Volante along Session Road is a recycled cinema/movie house (that explained the stairway). Now on to the pressing matter – my angry tummy!…

Volante! (spoken like a true European…LOL) sounded and felt like a screaming Italian! It spells pizza, pasta and coffee!

I wished for a window seat(wish granted)… I liked seeing the rain pour over the busy street. I wanted to thank the sky for weeping…for sharing my heartache…

This day felt like an eternal loop of irony. After the Frozen Hot Tsoko, Coffee Volante was an irony on its own.  It was piping hot to ease the coldness of my heart. The dark elixir’s soothing warmth and distinct bitterness brings life to the gloomy sky and damp weather…it awakened my thoughts…rekindled my hope for love…

Against the darkness that was Coffee Volante was their Pasta Alfredo. The white sauce was nothing but creamy and savory. The pasta was cooked al dente while the sauce did not fall short of the expectation. Joining the merry-ness of the creamy sauce were other flavors that gave this pasta dish a festive mood. There was roasted chicken strips, button mushrooms, bacon bits and some generous dots of shrimps and herbs!

shrimp pasta alfredo at pizza volante

The pasta alone was filling but I could not let the opportunity to pass without trying at least one of their pizzas! (spell gluttony!) I asked for another round of dark elixir before I start with something bolder…

I said bolder because I went for the kind of pizza that has never crossed my mind nor my taste buds. I’ve seen anchovies on some pizzas (they were never my cup of tea) but smoked salmon? I said “this I got to try!“.

salmon pizza by pizza Volante

This 6-inch pan pizza was perfect! It’s a solo party for the broken-hearted birthday boy! (weh!). The rain kept pouring and the wind brought the chill to match the coldness radiating from my heart. The warm aromatic bread was comforting.  It has brought some reprieve like a chicken soup to the sick. The pizza has nothing but the mouth-watering slices of smoked salmon, onion rings and molten cheese. That distinct salmon taste cannot be missed in every bite! I say they were a generous host. A 6-inch pan costs only P 110! There was nothing to regret in this boldness…

And the last slice was gone!…the fun, the happiness and that short reprieve from the darkness of a sinking heart finally dissipated. The rain quickly washed away the smile as I stare at the window…again, wondering if this heart can still mend…

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