Monday, March 31, 2014

Food Tasting #2: Hizon's

I received a couple of invites from Hizon's for their food tasting but it's either the venue is too far or my schedule wouldn't permit it. So good thing, their latest food tasting was held at Fernbrook Gardens in Alabang. So yesterday, me and J were able to attend their food tasting. My sister and my cousin accompanied us because my sister is also in search of her debut caterer. J coordinated with them while I was in Oz and he scheduled us for 10 am. A little early but I'm glad he pick the earliest slot as there's a few couples there yet and the food is still untouched.

Our AE is Maricar and I appreciate that she leaves us alone and just came back when we're done eating. That way, we were able to discuss the food presentation and taste without worrying that we might offend someone.

All the food during the food tasting are for the Php1190 package. We are actually considering the Php990 package but when we take a closer look with the inclusions, Php1190 is sulit na din.

J particularly like the Napoleon Chairs. J's only concern are the chairs, really. Remember what he really wants are tiffany chairs and not just the ordinary ones covered with white cloth. Kidding aside, he is more meticulous than me in terms of the taste and presentation.

Dessert Buffet Set-Up
Buffet Set-Up
Carving Station 
Chocolate Fountain
Salad Bar
Fruits and Choco Dippings
Pasta Bar

Quesadilla Bar (add-on Php80/head)

The dessert bar is for display only because they will be serving you pre-picked dessert selections. Now for the food tasting proper: For the scores/ranks, I based it on the number of votes it got from the 4 of us who taste it.

Top R (Clockwise): Tomato Mozzarella, Caramelized Onion with Cheese, Tempura Rolls (spoon), Bruschetta Al Fungi, Crispy Beef Spring Roll (spoon)
Tomato Mozzarella : 2/4
I actually can't remember its taste anymore
Caramelized Onion with Cheese: 4/4
Super Yummy! The onions are cooked so well and it complements the flavor of the cheese they've used
Tempura Rolls: 4/4
Everyone loved this. I would prefer it spicier but nonetheless its good
Bruschetta Al Fungi: 2/4
J loved this but I really can't get over the yumminess of the Caramelized Onions with Cheese so this is just so-so for me
Crispy Beef Spring Roll: 2/4
A little bit sweeter than I expected. Plus the roll's cold so medyo masebo yung after taste nya

L-R: Truffled Four Mushroom, Roasted Pumpkin Soup
Truffled Four Mushroom Soup: 2/4
Votes are divided for the soup because me and my sister loved the Mushroom one but J and my cousin liked the Pumpkin soup better. This tasted like butter with bits of mushroom and a hint of truffle taste.
Roasted Pumpkin Soup: 2/4
Again, the score is tie because the soups got 2 votes each from us. I don't like it that much because it has a sour after taste but the guys liked it.

*would have been better if the soups are served hot.

L-R: Peach Mango Salad, Grilled Vegetable Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
Peach Mango Salad: 3/4
I love Mango and Peach and Peach Mango, too but sadly I don't like this salad this much. I find it too sweet for a salad.
Grilled Vegetable Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette: 4/4
Just the fact that my sister was able to eat them considering it's vegetables are good points already. :) I love the taste of the grilled veggies with its dressing.

Bottom (clockwise): Baked Fish Stuffed with Spinach, Chicken Sambal in Prawn Sauce, Thrice Cooked Pork Belly with Mango Cucumber Salsa, Roast US Beef with Mushroom Gravy, Pork Salpicao with Grilled Vegetables and Mashed Potatoes, Beef Teppanyaki
Same as above but with Crispy Beef Rice
Baked Fish Stuffed with Spinach: 4/4
This is the bomb. It was so good I have to ask for J's share. Haha
Chicken Sambal: 1/4
The chicken is tough and the breading is so thick. The sauce is not that good, too
Thrice Cooked Pork Belly: 3/4
I didn't like it because the part that I got was not crispy anymore but they said their part is crispy
Roast US Beef: 2/4
My cousin said he prefers the Hickory Barbeque Sauce better than the Mushroom Gravy. It's really not that tender and the taste is just so-so
Pork Salpicao: 4/4
We love the Salpicao because it's tasty and the vegetables are good and the mashed potato are so yummy
Beef Teppanyaki: 2/4
Just your ordinary Teppan imho
Crispy Beef Rice: 3/4
I would prefer it to be hot rather than cold. Good thing, it's tasty.

Beef & Chicken Quesadilla
Sauce: Salsa, Garlic Sauce and Cream Cheese
Beef Quesadilla: 1/4
The smell of the spices are too overpowering and overwhelming
Chicken Quesadilla: 3/4
We prefer this more because it is milder and it has veggies on it so hindi umay

Carbonara: 4/4
We're biased coz we loved Carbonara. But actually it is really good. It has flavors and not just the typical bland carbonara in a buffet spread
Puttanesca: 2/4
I don't like it because as I've said I am a Carbonara fanatic. Also, the olives here are too overpowering.

Bottom L (clockwise): Mango Pavlova, Sunken Island with Vanilla Creme, Red Velvet Cheesecake (center), Flourless Chocolate Cake
Mango Pavlova: 2/4
It's foamy and not too sweet
Sunken Island: 4/4
a.k.a Merengue
Red Velvet Cheesecake: 2/4
I am biased coz I love cheesecakes
Flourless Chocolate Cake: 4/4
It is chocolate-y and rich in flavor

We are actually considering Hizon's already. But it's too early to tell. I don't want the "what if" feelings so we'll try a couple more caterers for comparison. 

Disclaimer: I am not a food critic. :) Just someone who loves food.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Aussie Trip 2014

I've been dreading the day of my flight to Oz. I was so scared of leaving my comfort zone. Meeting new people doesn't excite me. Travelling alone makes me palpitate. Yeah, I'm a loser. :)

But looking back, I now wish I have stayed longer. I now wish that the time when I was there didn't go that quickly. It was one of the best experiences EVER!

Everything is just sooo amazing but here's some highlights for you:
(Warning: Picture Overload)

1. SOLO Travel
It was my first solo travel. Did I mentioned solo? Yeah, it's just me, myself and I. And it was so scary! I am used to having someone at my beck and call. Used to having someone carry my things. OK, not the PA type but someone aka "the BF". Haha. I asked for a window seat and I'm glad I got one. I prayed I'll be seated next to someone I can tolerate for the whole duration of flight. And I was seated to a fellow Pinay! Thank God!

2. Food Trip
I see to it that I'll eat foods that I wouldn't normally have back home. Eating is expensive in Oz, heck, everything is expensive! But the serving sizes are humongous and everything is uber yummy!

Bacon and Poached eggs with Vienna Toast
Hot Chicken Sandwich at Nando's
My 1st medium rare Steak!
Lamb Shank
Moussaka with Greek Salad
Yummy Italian Ice Cream
Japanese Omelette Rice
Typical Oz (BNE) food: Hotdogs and Fries
Elephant's Salad
Uber Yummy Jamaican Jerk Chicken *cravings!
3. Accommodation
They asked me if I have accommodations in mind but I said I leave the planning to them. Glad I did because the place is simply amazing. Not just your typical room with a bed and toilet. It's like a fully-furnished condo unit in the center of the city. Until now, I still miss my uber comfy bed. Ahh.. the pictures brings back fond memories.

4. The Drinking Sessions
OK, I am not really a drinker and my stay in Brisbane makes me realized that I can only tolerate a glass of champagne. Beyond that, the room will start spinning. Haha. These are just some of alcohol shots. On my last Friday there, we bar hop for 4x and I lost an earring during the night coz I was so dizzy already. But surprisingly, I had fun. 

5. The City of Brisbane from my POV
Used to be the tallest building in BNE

Overlooking Mt. Kootha

Story Bridge
Hip Bar
Man-made Beach in the City
(Real sand and saltwater)

The Eye of Brisbane

6. Encounters with the Wild
We spent my last Saturday there in Gold Coast and the Bird Sanctuary. Pictures of the Currumbin beach on my previous pictures and it was REALLY beautiful. 

Emily, the "sheep dog"

Tasmanian Devil
Bird feeding of honey and milk in a plate

Close encounter with the Kangaroos (with my Boss)

Close encounter with the Koala (1 picture for $20 @@)

Last but definitely not least, I was really blessed to have met such generous and warm people. They see to it that I am comfortable down to the last bit. They actually took care of everything from visa processing, tickets, accommodation, meals, transportation and even pasalubong and lakwatsa! Now, I am excited to come back and stay for a longer period of time. :)

After my short visit in Oz, my life will never be the same again. I gained experience, confidence, independence (a little) and a whole bunch of new friends. 

Thank you God for blessing me much more than I deserve. :)