Checking Out Another Burger Place: Grind Burger

There are a lot of new restaurants in The Block, SM North EDSA. We saw a burger place called Grind Burger. It’s located right in front of the Hypermarket at the Ground Floor.


Interiors are simple and pleasant to the eyes. The space is quite small, so there is no room for unnecessary clutter.


We ordered the Grind Burger, described as having “100% USDA house ground beef, brioche from the oven, vine ripe tomato, iceberg, sweet onion, American cheese and tiny’s secret sauce”. We were intrigued by the Deep Fried Mac and Cheese Balls, so we got that too.


The burger was a winner! The beef was juicy and the bread was delicious! They make their own brioche buns and they complement the burger wonderfully.


I liked the presentation of the mac and cheese balls. It gives a different twist to an old dish. But I wasn’t too crazy about it. I don’t think I’ll order it next time.

We enjoyed our burgers in Grind. It’s really great that they have delicious buns too.


Nadai Fujisoba: Japanese Noodles Other Than Ramen

I guess I’m still on a Japan hang-over. I met up with some friends for lunch at Nadai Fujisoba at the SM North EDSA The Block. I love Japanese food, but I haven’t tried other Japanese noodles besides ramen. Nadai Fujisoba offers hot and cold udon and soba, as well as other Japanese dishes.


I like the interiors of Nadai Fujisoba. The black and white decor on the walls provide a clean-looking aura.

I had the Ebiten Udon – hot udon noodles served with 2 pieces of tempura.IMG_4234_Fotor

I liked the udon – chewy and soft. My friends tried the cold noodles and they liked that too.  I’d gladly recommend Nadai Fujisoba. Price is reasonable, serving size is adequate and taste is good.


Still High On Japanese Food: Trying Out Dohtonbori

There’s a new restaurant that opened at the SM North EDSA City Center – Dohtonbori. We weren’t able to eat okonomiyaki (or Japanese savory pancakes) when we went to Japan. Dohtonbori specializes in okonomiyaki, so we decided to give it a try.

Apart from the main dining area, they have a separate room with teppan tables, for a more authentic Japanese experience. You are asked to remove your shoes and leave them in a locker before entering the room. Diners are seated  on the floor around the teppan table.

We ordered the okonomiyaki, gyoza, chicken teppan and katsudon. Aside from the katsudon, everything was cooked in front of us. You can choose to cook it yourself, but this being our first time, we had them cook for us.

Collage_Fotor_FotorThe okonomiyaki was good, but I would have preferred to have more meat in it, instead of having mostly vegetables. The teppan was okay, nothing great. The gyoza was quite dry and bland. The katsudon was okay too.

Collage_Fotor2_FotorIt was a novel experience, but not quite satisfying.

Japanese Cheese Tarts in Manila

During our trip to Japan, we discovered this delicious cheese tart in a convenience store. It had a pastry crust and the filling was very cheesy. To my surprise, I saw an article about some Japanese cheese tarts being sold in Cafe Kumori in SM North EDSA The Block.

Cafe Kumori sells a lot of bread products. I tried out a few of their specialties: the Kumori Signature Hanjuku Cheese (original), the Kumori Signature Cheese Tart, the Crabstick Bun and the Custard Butter mini.


I tried the cheese tart first. I liked this crust better than the one I tasted in Tokyo because it was sweeter. But the cheese filling here is less cheesy. It was still okay, though. The Hanjuku Cheese was soft and creamy and really melt-in-your-mouth. The crabstick bun was delicious, with generous amounts of crabsticks in it. The custard butter bun was quite plain.

There are still a lot of pastries that I want to try in Cafe Kumori. I hope I will enjoy them as much as I did the cheese tart and the crabstick bun.

A Convenient One-Stop Shop for Government Services

I used to dread having to avail of government services. Lines are long, offices are hot and uncomfortable, employees are grouchy. I needed to send something by mail, but I didn’t want to have to go to the post office. I was even willing to pay more to send it by courier, but the courier said they did not deliver to that particular area. I asked the ladies in the information desk of SM North EDSA if there was a post office within the mall. She wasn’t sure, but she said I could try looking in the basement of the Annex.

I’m in the mall fairly often, but I have not seen any post office there. The guard pointed me to the very end of the Annex, just before the bowling alley. You wouldn’t think there was anything beyond the two guards posted. You enter a corridor and at the end, you will see this:


With SM Government Service Express, now you can transact with these offices in the comfort of a mall. The offices were lined up against the walls, leaving lots of seats in the middle for the customers. When I got there on a weekday afternoon, there were hardly any people. So I was able to mail my parcel in a minute.

Thank you to SM Malls and the government for finding new ways to serve the public and to make their services more readily accessible to everyone.


Maisen: Just Another Katsu Restaurant

My family likes katsu. My son tries the katsu in every restaurant that has it. He was quite excited when he saw that there was another katsu restaurant that just opened in SM Megamall and SM North EDSA. The branch in SM North EDSA was just on its soft opening when we tried it.

Service is good and the staff was helpful with their food suggestions. I liked their Japanese salad dressing. I don’t ordinarily eat a lot of vegetables, but I had a lot of their salad. The katsu, though, was quite bland. That was the deal breaker for us. The meat was not so tender either. I guess we won’t be going back there anytime soon. There are other katsu restaurants within the same price range that serve better food.


Excellent Chinese Dinner at Lugang Cafe

Our birthday girl requested dinner at Lugang Cafe for her birthday. We got there early for dinner and found that there were very few people eating inside. We thought this was unusual as we had always seen big crowds in other branches of Lugang. We were escorted to our table and handed menus. The decor of the place is subdued, unlike most Chinese restaurants.


The four of us love Xiao Long Bao. We can’t seem to have enough of it. We had heard so much about the Xiao Long Bao of Lugang so we were very excited to try it. One order came with 8 pieces so we decided to order two servings of Steamed Pork Xiao Long Bao. We also ordered the Crispy Chicken (1/2 deep fried Hong Kong chicken), Taiwanese Salt and Pepper Shrimp and Golden Fried Rice with Shredded Pork.

The Xiao Long Bao was exquisite! The wrapper was thin, the soup was flavorful and it was priced reasonably. I think this is the best Xiao Long Bao we’ve had in Manila. Already, the kids are requesting a return to Lugang if only for this.

Steamed Pork Xiao Long Bao

Steamed Pork Xiao Long Bao

The shrimp was another great discovery! The meat of the shrimp was soft and cooked just right while the skin had a nice crispiness to it. I also liked that it was not too spicy. We’ve ordered variations of this dish in other restaurants and often, we find it a little too spicy. But this one was perfect.

Taiwanese Salt and Pepper Shrimp

Taiwanese Salt and Pepper Shrimp

We were united in saying that the Crispy Chicken was the best crispy chicken we’ve had. The skin was light and thin and ultra-crispy.

Crispy Chicken

Crispy Chicken

The Golden Fried Rice with Shredded Pork was good too. Not excellent like the other dishes, but still good. Serving size was quite small though.

Golden Fried Rice with Shredded Pork

Golden Fried Rice with Shredded Pork

We were all very happy with our meal. We will surely eat here again when an occasion comes up.

More Burgers: Wham! Burgers Disappoints

We used to eat at Wham! Burgers when they had an outlet in SM Megamall. We liked their juicy, tender burgers and the kids liked their spaghetti. They closed down that branch and we haven’t had Wham! since then. We were in SM North EDSA and saw that they had a branch there. We were eager to have their burgers and fries again.


The SM North EDSA branch is located in the 4th level of The Block. We ordered our burgers and waited eagerly.


The burger on the top left is the Wham! Burger with cheese (“one-third pound pure beef patty topped with ketchup, mustard, lettuce and tomato”). The one below it is a Wham! Burger with cheese plus add-on of bacon. The one on the right is the Double Whammy with cheese (“two one-third pound all beef, charcoal-grilled patties topped with ketchup, mustard, lettuce and tomato”).

We were surprised that the burgers were not as delicious as we had remembered. The burgers were quite bland. The bacon was stringy and not crispy. It was quite expensive too – the basic hamburger combo (with fries and drinks) costs P249! We were disappointed with our meal. With the proliferation of burger places all over Metro Manila, it’s unlikely we will come back to Wham! in the near future.

More Burgers: Zark’s Burgers at SM North EDSA

The larger dining area of Zark’s Burgers in SM North EDSA is outside their small store – in the middle of the corridors. Yet, lines are always long. We were curious about what makes Zark’s Burgers tick so we decided to try it out.


One side of their menu is devoted to their burgers. The Minor League burgers are made of 1/4 pound patties. They have a variety of toppings which are quite unique. The Major League burgers are the fanciers ones, and some of them are half-pounders. My husband ordered the Zark’s Ultimate Burger (“1/4 pound burger with cheese sauce in a bed of fresh veggies and then topped with sauteed mushroom and bacon!”), I had the Philly Cheesesteak Burger (“1/4 pound burger topped with chopped onion, sirloin strips, and cheese sauce” – although I had the onions removed) and our daughter had the King James’ Tomahawk (“Classic! Cheeseburger with lettuce and tomato”). For dessert, we had the Deep-fried Snickers a la Mode. Photos of our orders are in the collage below, counter-clockwise from the top right photo.


The burgers were huge and delicious! Not as juicy as those in The Burger Joint, but still good. Some of the sirloin strips in my burger were tough. Next time, I’ll get something with bacon instead. I was amazed that most of the diners ordered the bigger burgers – the half-pounders with so many toppings. The dessert was delicious too. I liked the gooey-ness of the softened candy bar inside the warm fried covering.

The food in Zark’s Burgers is reasonably priced. There were a lot of students eating while we were there. For serious burger lovers (or those who have big appetites), head on to Zark’s Burgers for your next burger binge.