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(Review) Mandarin Palace Restaurant – The Best Place for Chinese Food in BF Paranaque

I lived my whole life in Makati, so everything that I know is usually confined to the Central Business District and the shopping and dining areas where I lived. After marrying my husband whose family is firmly planted in the South, I soon started to discover the many restaurants and charming hole-in-the-wall eateries and bistros that dot the length of Presidents Avenue and Aguirre within the BF community.

One pleasant discovery is the Mandarin Palace Restaurant, located along Aguirre Street, just right after the village main gate/guard house

A delicious Chinese dining experience waits here
A delicious Chinese dining experience waits here

We were there to celebrate our father-in-law’s birthday — immediately, we are assisted by the friendly service staff. Immediately, we were plied with a cart-full of dimsum. My choice was the Hakao, which was served piping hot.

The sumptuous Hakao
The sumptuous Hakao

Our orders arrived in quick succession. There was no long wait for the whole order to be completed, like in other restaurants where food is brought out in progression and you have no idea if you should begin eating or not. Mandarin Palace, in spite a busy Wednesday afternoon,

Yanchow Fried Rice, Sauteed Mushroom with Broccoli
Yanchow Fried Rice, Sauteed Mushroom with Broccoli
Fried chicken, assorted cold cuts, birthday noodles
Fried chicken, assorted cold cuts, birthday noodles
Close up of the birthday noodles and its chock-full of ingredients
Close up of the birthday noodles and its chock-full of ingredients
My plate: Peking duck done two ways -- this time, chopped and wrapped in lettuce leaf, steamed fish fillet in garlic, braised beef and fried chicken. Yes, no rice for me
My plate: Peking duck done two ways — this time, chopped and wrapped in lettuce leaf, steamed fish fillet in garlic, braised beef and fried chicken. Yes, no rice for me

My hands-down favorite is the steamed fish in garlic, served on a bed of tofu. The fish was juicy and succulent, its flavors very distinct yet without the “lansa” usually associated with steamed seafood. The garlic bits and and the soy flavored sauce provided additional flavor to the fish and the tofu. Tofu was firm and does not fall off the chopstick, but melts in your mouth without the gritty texture associated with hard tofu.

A close second is the Peking Duck which was chopped, sauteed with vegetables and was served with lettuce. I loved the aspect of wrapping the meat in lettuce which was very crunchy and juicy. The other half of our duck order was served wrapped in lumpia wrapper with fresh veggies — this one, I did not like simply because I hated the sweet sauce it came with.

For someone who swore eternal loyalty to fried chicken, it was surprising that I didn’t get to eat the piece I got from the table. Not because it didn’t taste great (the crispy chicken skin was delicious!) but because I had fun concentrating on my steamed fish, my veggies and the cold spicy jelly fish which was served as part of the Chinese cold cuts platter (including slices of century egg, braised beef, pork intestines, lengua and chicken).

To accompany the meal, I order Avocado Shake. Mandarin Palace’s version was thick, sweet without being cloying and refreshing.

Service
We came on a Wednesday evening and was expecting the restaurant to be relatively empty. We were wrong. Tables are filled in quick succession and weren’t vacant for very long. However, staff is very attentive and efficient.

YAY or NOT?
Definitely a YAY! I know that Mandarin Palace is already famous among BF denizens and their surrounding areas. If you’re like me and out to discover new restos aside from those found from the reliable Ayala Center Makati and you are in the area — try Mandarin Palace. It’s worth it. Allot at least PHP500 per person.

Mandarin Palace
142 Aguirre Avenue, BF Homes, Paranaque
(02) 478 5420
http://www.facebook.com/mandarinpalace.ph


Disclaimer: This is NOT a paid review.

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Ripped on Trip Advisor

Someone hates me…I think.

You see I wrote a review about a recent strategic planning held in a hotel located in the hills of Antipolo. The review was far from stellar and is distinctly based on the experiences we were subjected to during the overnight stay.

Like the many hotels I stayed in, I make it a point to write my observations about the place at Trip Advisor. Being the seasoned budget traveler that I am–Trip Advisor has saved me from staying in miserable hotels countless of times. In a hindsight, I was just paying it forward.

So anyway, the hotel we stayed in was not my choice, in fact I was just an addition to the group of senior executives who will be having their planning. To put it bluntly, I was the junior exec assigned to baby sit the corporate big guns. Baby sitting the group would have been easy if not for the misery we were subjected in–where do I even begin?

The disappointing rooms? The meal that was far from satiating? Anyway, I wrote all my observations, then promptly forgot about it.

Until today when Mr. Wayne’s EA called me to inform me that the “hotel people” were calling her repeatedly to inquire about my review. Apparently, one of the company’s big cheeses has read my less than glowing reviews and went ballistic. They have been trying to get my contact details for the last three days.

Anyway, I’ve just been notified by email that there was already a response from the “hotel representative”. Upon opening my Trip Advisor message center, I can immediately sense that the writer, “Maicy G” is scathing mad. Her email was threatening and sarcastic, pointing out that the booking was “very last minute” and that we paid a measly “USD57” for a stay that included an overnight stay and three square meals. She then proceeded to attack me that my recommendation to future clients to “book their events elsewhere” is killing their business and that “I am slowly wringing the neck of their workers because of a very bad review”.

The funny thing is that out of the five reviews that they have (including mine) — the other three mentioned the exact thing: TVs that do not work, water heater that is busted, the area that is not well maintained — yet, the company representative is livid of MY review.

I think that if your hotel is being slammed consecutively by 4 different people, you have to start working to fix the problems. By giving these comments, we want them to be inspired to improve. Running a hospitality business is a serious matter and quality should NEVER, EVER be sacrificed. But if you ask me if sending a frosty email to one of your clients is one way to counter the negative publicity, then we have a problem.

I have been very objective of my reviews, especially since I do not have anything to gain by posting either a negative or positive review. At the end of the day, YOUR customers deserve to hear the TRUTH, if you have a problem with negative comments, then start changing for the better.

wanna have the cheekbones of your dreams?

see the cheekbones?
the beautiful and yummy Godfrey Gao, modeling for Louis Vuitton
agyness deyn

If your cheeks quite resemble newly risen baked bread, I have the solution for you. Presenting, the means to achieve that sexy, protruding cheekbones that will immediately give you ten thousand model points.

My solution:

massage that cheek fat away!

Okay, forgive my ugly mug gracing this post. But what I am trying to demonstrate (or show, to be exact) is the pink contraption I have in my hand. I don’t know what they call it, a “face massager”? But this Y-shaped thing will massage your cheek fat to kingdom come, giving you chiseled looks that can win you any modeling campaign. (Though, do note that the chiseled face will have to come with a chiseled body too, of course).

I first saw this being used by one of the contestants on the local show Pinoy Big Brother. The girl was using this practically everywhere and I got curious (not to mention, desperate to rid myself of extra fat). So, I’ve been looking for this stuff for a year now, before finally encountering it in Saizen.

So, how do you use this? Quite easy actually. You just roll the wheels attached to both ends of the contraption then push and pull away, until you feel all your face fat melt. When you think you’ve finally achieved the face and body type of Agyness Deyn or Godfrey Gao, you can use the massager for headaches.

So, in the interest of science (and because I am a crazy girl), I will monitor if there are any changes in my face during the course of the period I am using it. Will it be able to transform my siopao-like cheeks to that of Agyness Deyn? Will I grow cheekbones? That remains to be seen… Boredom really has a way of making you do a lot of stupid things: here’s my plan — I will use the face massager for a month (starting yesterday May 03 and will end on June 03) and report to the three loyal people who reads this blog if there are any significant changes in my face. And because I have a way of inducing gag-reflex in my readers just by being all-out makapal ang mukha, I will post weekly pictures to prove if a) it’s working, so please buy one at Saizen; or b) it’s pure crap, use the PHP85 to buy a set meal of burger and fries instead. Or if all else fails, fake it with make-up.

I just hope you have strong tolerance for shite. My ugly mug can actually ruin your appetite 🙂
I also have a face soap and all-in-one cream given by a good friend which I hope to test and try out by next week. Will also let you know if it works.

Let the experimenting begin!

Idle Monday leads to beauty discoveries

Bored and refusing this watch TV this idle Monday night, I began to notice the stuff that I brought home these past few weeks. I had some beauty products from SeriAsia, given by my good friends from PMP during their recently concluded Vanity Fair event held a few weeks back.

I was planning to use them one of these days, but with the schedule I have at the office, the wedding coordinating thing that I have begun PLUS other stuff, the plan to use them and write my findings on the product has taken a backseat. Well, tonight is the perfect night to begin experimenting with all the products I have stashed here at home, especially since The Hubby is on night shift duty today (in exact, no one will be around to make the wise-ass remarks). Inside the nifty paper bag were two products, a sampler of the 6-in-1 Body Treatment Lotion and a 120g bottle of the Ganodema Body Moisturizer.

this is what's inside the small brown paper bag - the 6-in-1 lotion

I decided to try first the 6-in-1 Body Lotion, the little print out says that “it’s clinically-proven to reduce 6 inches in 1 month of use. helps achieve ideal body shape, reduces cellulite and fat, reduces muscle stiffness and fatigue, and restores skin’s elasticity…”

Well, I am a COPYWRITER and PR practitioner by profession, so I can easily say that to write a copy like that is easy–give and take about an hour.

But the truth lies on what happens next when you use it. After applying the product on the desired area (“slowly, on a circular motion” says the print ad), I began to feel a warm sensation on the surface of my skin where the product was applied. I can also feel the part of my skin (in exact: the dreaded tummy area) sweat a little. A good fifteen minutes after applying the product, I can still feel that warm yet comfortable feeling — what’s the best way to describe it? Imagine having a massage — that warm, comfortable feeling you get while the massage therapist or the masseuse is kneading on your skin, driving away the stress and strain? That’s exactly how it felt now. Like as if a massage therapist is slowly kneading away on my tummy — trying to massage away years of accumulated fat and strain.

The print out did not specify how long it would take to see results–IN EXACT, if the size of my muffin top would be significantly reduced–but I am guessing that this product needs a full month to take effect.

My plan is to finish the sampler given to me then purchase my own bottle of the 6-in-1 Body Lotion and let you know if my tummy fat has been lessened (no more muffin top!). I think this product retails at Watsons Stores (saw one at SM Makati) for PHP800.

I am not really into those wonder products that can significantly alter your body shape or your face. The most that I can go with beauty products is the requisite morning cream routine for SPF/sun protection and pore minimizer (I bought this at Avon! will let you know one of these days if it’s effective). But if SeriAsia’s 6-in-1 Body Lotion can help me achieve my dream body (without the embarrassing tummy spillage) I don’t see anything wrong with it. I guess as long as the product you use for your body does not harm you, others or the environment, I think it’s every women’s right to look and feel at their most beautiful.

For more information on Seri Asia, you may go to their site: www.seriasia.com

* This product was an event give-away. This is not a sponsored post.

Still waiting for my Ultimate Diner Experience

I have a thing for diners. I love the tiled floors, the jukebox, the milkshakes and the thought of being served by waitresses on wheels.

Blame my being ultimately raised by American television–but I find diner movie scenes so interesting. I love the feeling of being served hot coffee by a surly yet endearing waitress (wadddayawannnnt??????), refiling coffee in the middle of breakfast, drizzling syrup on heaps on pancake, while it sits comfortably in between two eggs cooked sunny side up.

Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as authentic diners in Manila. And if ever there is one, rest assured that the food is grossly overpriced and it is not as authentic as the one I see in movies. Anyway, there is a great diner somewhere in Burgos, Makati – complete with Elvis memorabilia and old posters. Unfortunately, the food is not only effing expensive but its location (being in the middle of the pick-up zone) also assures us that most of our co-diners were all foreigners from various countries, accompanied by their Filipina girlfriends who were all dressed up like as if we are in the height of fabric shortage. If you are lucky, you will be treated to an execrable display of PDA in between your milk shake and your all day breakfast fare.

Anyway, so when this new restaurant opened at Greenbelt 5 and was touted on the blogosphere as having taking its inspiration from American diners of yore–naturally I was curious. After so many planning (without anything happening at all) — I finally got to eat at Mr. Jones (the aforementioned restaurant) courtesy of my Unnichan (the Queen).

We got The Threesome: three different salads in ice cream glasses. The salads were macaroni salad, cabbage slaw and egg salad. It was to die for!

And oh, my date for the night was The Queen who I have not been seeing for the longest time these past few days due to work concerns.

The Queen, meanwhile ordered the biggest fish and chips! We were already full yet we still didn’t stop from eating:

We finally gave up on the fish and chips when it was almost half of the order. For drinks we had Coke Light which they costs a good PHP90 per piece.

So what can I say about Mr. Jones?

Pros:
1. Big servings
2. Ambiance is good!

Cons:
1. The waiters all looked like they were upset or something. They are not entirely rude yet they rarely smiled and looked like they couldn’t care less that there were customers.

2. Too expensive!!! A 12-oz Coke costs 90 bucks! In spite my love for excess, I know that’s simply too much.

Anyway, I will still go back to Mr. Jones…until I have my ultimate diner experience!